Why the Internet needs Monica Lewinsky

Published: Daily Dot (October 23, 2014), Huffington Post (October 24, 2014)

It’s hard to imagine anyone wanting to trade places with Monica Lewinsky. Not only is she destined to be remembered in textbooks as the “other woman” in one of America’s most infamous sex scandals (culminating in the first presidential impeachment since Reconstruction), but she continues to be a cheap and popular punchline in the contemporary zeitgeist. A decade-and-a-half may have passed since her name was a staple in headline news and talk-show monologues, but “Lewinsky” is still synonymous with everything from soapy political melodrama in general to the specific sex act she performed on President Bill Clinton. read more

Gamergate and the Basement Generation

Published: Good Men Project (October 23, 2014), Daily Dot (October 27, 2014)

Matt Rozsa doesn’t see the passion of the basement generation as necessarily a bad thing, but it needs to be used for good.

“Man, I see in Fight Club the strongest and smartest men who’ve ever lived. I see all this potential, and I see it squandered. God damn it, an entire generation pumping gas, waiting tables – slaves with white collars. Advertising has us chasing cars and clothes, working jobs we hate so we can buy shit we don’t need. We’re the middle children of history, man. No purpose or place. We have no Great War. No Great Depression. Our great war is a spiritual war. Our great depression is our lives. We’ve all been raised on television to believe that one day we’d all be millionaires, and movie gods, and rock stars, but we won’t. And we’re slowly learning that fact. And we’re very, very pissed off.” read more

How being best friends with Siri saved an autistic boy’s life

Published: Daily Dot (October 23, 2014)

Earlier this week, the New York Times ran an editorial by Judith Newman about her autistic child and the bond he has developed with Siri, the iPhone app. After discovering there was “someone who would not just find information on his various obsessions…but actually semi-discuss these subjects tirelessly,” Newman has found that her son Gus now has a “friend,” one who doesn’t judge him when he fails to pick up on interpersonal cues or indulges in esoteric interests. read more

5 ways to make sure you’re not that customer the Internet hates

Published: Daily Dot (October 21, 2014)

If there’s one topic food service employees love to discuss, it’s the pros and cons of working in their industry. People seem to hold a different standard for how they treat waiters, fast food clerks, and the wide range of other men and women who serve their meals. This was most recently evidenced by the viral story of a high school football player who thought it was humorous to use his bill as toilet paper in lieu of leaving a tip for his waiter.

This story prompted me to talk with roughly half a dozen food service employees about their experiences. Even if you’re not as boorish as the aforementioned teenager, it is generally a good idea to remember the following list of tips on food service etiquette. You don’t have to be like the folks who left an $100 tip for bad service, but a little courtesy is a good place to start. read more

The one thing everyone forgets about Obama’s legacy

Published: Daily Dot (October 16, 2014)

Unlikely though it might seem, First Lady Michelle Obama’s new viral video “Turnip for What” is more than just a silly video that parodies a hip-hop hit to teach Americans about the joys of eating the titular vegetable. Indeed, even as pundits continue to debate Paul Krugman’s controversial Rolling Stone article detailing Barack Obama’s policy successes and arguing that they place him among America’s greatest presidents (a claim with which I completely agree), “Turnip for What” is being dismissed as a humorous novelty. read more

I’m a real teacher, and I love Rate My Professor

Published: Daily Dot (October 13, 2014)

The website Rate My Professor, which allows users to rank and write reviews of their teachers, is more than just a valuable tool for college students who want to be smart consumers about their classroom experiences. It also embodies the greatest promise of the Internet revolution—its ability to not only disseminate information, but encourage people to better understand why quality education is so important in the first place.

When I worked as an assistant T.A. for a seminar on medieval Europe, I was asked to teach The Cheese and the Worms, a classic microhistory by the legendary Carlo Ginzburg that tells the tragic story of Menocchio (real name Domenico Scandella), a 16th-century Italian miller who was tried and eventually executed for heresy by the Inquisition. Since this also happens to be one of my favorite books, I made a vow to myself that no student would leave the classroom without having caught my eager-beaver bug for the material. I even gave out some comical brain food before class (cheese puffs and gummy worms—I will fiercely defend my pedagogical privilege to force puns on my students) to make sure everyone was in good spirits when I started my lecture. read more

Navigating with Anxiety

Published: Good Men Project (October 12, 2014)
co-author: Liskula Cohen

Two people, one condition. See how anxiety affected the lives of Liskula Cohen and Matt Rozsa.

There is a chaotic quality to suffering from anxiety. As this article was being developed, it became clear that it’s impossible to effectively capture the experience of clinical anxiety in the same linear fashion used for other medical conditions. In the following piece, I cut between Liskula’s experiences and my own, covering them in rough chronological order (her words are in plain text and mine are italicized). – MR

I thought I was a dying slow, torturous, evil death. read more

America’s flip-flop foreign policy: Rand Paul, Hillary Clinton, and the new millennial voter

Published: Salon (October 11, 2014)

Previously, politicians fought to be seen as more hawkish than their opponents. Here’s why those days are over

Senator Rand Paul, ostensibly the heir to his father’s reputation as one of America’s premier go-to libertarians, recently said that as president he would “destroy ISIS militarily.” Given that libertarians often see eye-to-eye with the left in opposing imperialism and the security state, the media gave the story a moderate amount of attention before letting it fade into the static. After all, in the post-Romney era, what’s so new about a probable presidential aspirant flip-flopping when it’s politically expedient? read more