Father John Misty, Taylor Swift, and the Internet Outrage Machine

If you recently Googled the phrase “Taylor Swift virtual reality sex” (or some variation thereof), you may have come across reporting on a “scandal” that embodies just about everything that is wrong with our culture. Here’s what happened. Josh Tillman (aka Father John Misty), an oft-bearded musician beloved by hipsters, performed a song from his … Continued

Celebrities, Music

Is Everything About to Vanish In The Cloud?

There’s an ongoing debate about whether we should be scared of technology. Nicholas Carr, author of The Shallows, recently extended that question in an interesting way: Should we be afraid of what the Internet does to cultural memory? Carr makes a great argument: Because memory is not just a mental phenomenon but is also tied … Continued


Fear, Loathing, and Artificial Intelligence

Recently in the Washington Post, Joel Achenbach wrote a long and very smart piece of reporting on the state of Artificial Intelligence doom mongering. The short version goes something like this: Science fiction writers have been worrying about the possibility that Artificial Intelligence (AI) could bring about a cataclysm since the 1950s, when computers barely … Continued

Culture, Tech

Yes, Those Ashley Madison Users Got What They Deserved

The recent hack of the adultery website AshleyMadison.com was the kind of digital earthquake that sends devastating, long-lasting shockwaves through the Internet. For many, the first shock was learning that a website devoted exclusively to facilitating infidelity even exists. Then, there was the aftershock that the site boasts close to forty million American users. Finally, … Continued


Is Taylor Swift Really Queen of the Internet?

Recently, Taylor Swift was hailed as a hero on the internet after convincing the millennial generation’s least favorite mega-corporation, Apple, to slightly alter the compensation policy on its new streaming service, Apple Music, to ensure that artists aren’t giving away content for free. The 25-year-old pop icon was declared “queen of the internet” (Wired), “the … Continued


Did Mocking Justine Sacco Improve Our Culture?

Few Americans would be comfortable watching a person stand in a town square while being shouted out at by angry strangers. So why do we embrace it online? Just take the case of Justine Sacco, the PR chief who found herself a national figure after she sarcastically tweeted, “Going to Africa. Hope I don’t get … Continued


Wasting Time 101: Coming to an Ivy League School Near You

Do you wish you could surf the Internet mindlessly all day? Lucky for you, there’s a class for that. Kenneth Goldsmith, a poetry professor at the University of Pennsylvania, is going to teach a new class in the coming spring semester—a class completely devoted to wasting time online: Although we’ll all be in the same … Continued


Why Privacy Violations Should Outrage Us

In light of the recently minted “Snappening”—the latest nude hack involving 200,000 photos of Average Joes culled over several years, it’s time to rethink our stance on privacy. Privacy in the domain of technology is considered a privilege that many Americans are quickly willing to shrug off, including my Acculturated colleague who penned “Celebgate and … Continued

Culture, Tech