A Member of the Squad Goes Rogue

…While the Squad has made headlines for its forceful progressivism, Pressley has never quite matched the image of the brash outsider, pushing against the establishment with bare knuckles and take-no-prisoners rhetoric. Instead, her history in Boston—from her stints as a staffer for solidly mainstream Democrats to her eight years on the Boston City Council—has been aContinue reading “A Member of the Squad Goes Rogue”

The Hard Work of the 2020 Instagram Spouse

As social media becomes a critical tool in politics, Instagram is increasingly used as a soft-focus medium to showcase a candidate’s relatability. Even Joe Biden, who is definitively not of the Instagram generation, has a carefully managed feed with 1.3 million followers. His posts, like those of most candidates, have a different voice from hisContinue reading “The Hard Work of the 2020 Instagram Spouse”

How Trump Turned Liberal Comedians Conservative

There’s no greater threat to the liberal establishment than Donald Trump. And in the past three years, something about comedy has shifted. In class, University of Delaware communications professor Dannagal Young has her college students diagram late-night jokes and label the incongruities—the hidden arguments that aren’t actually stated in the text. When they come toContinue reading “How Trump Turned Liberal Comedians Conservative”

Why Matt Lauer’s firing feels different

Originally published in Politico Magazine Even if you weren’t a faithful viewer of NBC’s “Today”—even if you were inclined to feel a little cynical about the whole morning TV enterprise—the news of Matt Lauer’s termination hit like an earthquake. It’s not just that another prominent media name wound up on the list of men behavingContinue reading “Why Matt Lauer’s firing feels different”

Why won’t TV show people who aren’t rich?

Originally published in Politico Magazine This year marks the final season of what might be the most underappreciated sitcom on TV, ABC’s “The Middle.” It’s a single-camera show about an Indiana family—the title refers to its characters’ Middle-American, middle-class existence—and unlike the edgy comedies and tear-jerker dramas that dominate awards time, its humor is unapologeticallyContinue reading “Why won’t TV show people who aren’t rich?”

The political power of outsider women

  Originally published in the Boston Globe Magazine A YEAR AGO, Jackie Katz wouldn’t have called herself a political person. She voted. She followed the news. But the Wellesley High School history teacher, 34, says she “was one of those people who was disillusioned about politics. Because this system feels broken and corrupt.” Then cameContinue reading “The political power of outsider women”

Hollywood’s gun fetish

SO I just watched the trailer for “Gangster Squad,” and it goes something like this: Gun, gun, shot of phallic-looking building, Ryan Gosling, gun, firefight, is that Nick Nolte?, firefight, guns getting handed out like candy, someone getting hit with a gun barrel, guy pointing gun in other guy’s face, gun, gun, firefight, explosion, raid involving guns, casingsContinue reading “Hollywood’s gun fetish”

The end of retail politics?

SALEM, N.H. — IF BUDDY Roemer was ever starry-eyed about his candidacy for president, he isn’t anymore. He knows how to read polls, and also calendars. So he had an air of resignation last week as he prepared to meet a friendly but skeptical crowd, a half-dozen locals in a tiny room. “I would haveContinue reading “The end of retail politics?”

Thanks, Newt? Changing the immigration conversation

FROM TIME to time, TV debates manage to suss out the truth from the talking points. When Rick Perry can’t remember the federal agency he wants to cut, it shows how little he’s committed to the idea. When Herman Cain refers to Wolf Blitzer as “Blitz,’’ it shows how blithe he is about everything. (SoContinue reading “Thanks, Newt? Changing the immigration conversation”

Perry, “oops,” and late-night TV

RICK PERRY’S presidential campaign may or may not be toast, but his prospects for hosting “Saturday Night Live’’ have risen considerably – and in politics, that’s not such a terrible thing. The night after his brain freeze on the CNBC debate, Perry was doing the Top 10 list on “The Late Show With David Letterman.’’Continue reading “Perry, “oops,” and late-night TV”