From Gamergate to “Ghostbusters” to Suicide Squad: The Problem of Fan Entitlement

Published: Salon (August 9, 2016)

It’s easy to roll your eyes at the “Suicide Squad” petition. In case you’ve been lucky enough to miss the news, fans of the new movie “Suicide Squad” have created an online movement to shut down aggregation site Rotten Tomatoes for posting predominantly negative reviews of their beloved film. Cue the inevitable jokes about how nerds need to get a life.

Is it really that simple, though? Over the past few years, it’s become increasingly clear that fans of pop culture properties – whether movies, TV shows, books, video games, or anything else – don’t merely view them as forms of entertainment, or themselves as consumers of said media. From Comic Cons to the nostalgia craze, it is clear that millions of people deeply identify with the culture produced by others, and, as a result of this feeling of ownership, many of them have developed a deep sense of entitlement that at its most innocuous is merely silly, and at its worst manifests itself in ugly bigotries.

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The troubling and counterproductive trend of liberals policing free speech: We cannot silence those we disagree with

Published: Salon (August 5, 2016)

co-authored with Mark Schierbecker

When Donald Trump was asked last November to give his opinion on the student-led protests at the University of Missouri, he called them “disgusting,” adding to Fox Business News that “I think the two people that resigned are weak, ineffective people. […] Trump should have been the chancellor of that University. Believe me. There would have been no resignation.”

While Trump’s language was hyperbolic and insulting, he wasn’t simply making these comments out of spite. Throughout his presidential campaign and into the year 2016, free speech issues have been a touchstone among right-wing politicians… and not entirely without cause. Trump may be hypocritical in criticizing others for suppressing free speech, but there is a deeper problem in our political culture that has bred demagoguery like his own.

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Campus protests can go viral in no time–so can the backlash

Published: The Daily Dot (November 27, 2015)

It’s hard to follow the recent flurry of college protests without being reminded of President Harry S. Truman, who famously said that “there is nothing new in the world except the history you do not know.”

As the media continues to fete attention on high-profile student demonstrations at Yale, Wesleyan, Princeton, and the University of Missouri, one could be forgiven for thinking there is something novel about the state of American universities today.

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Hillary Clinton, unpaid internships, and the culture of exploiting young workers

Published: Daily Dot (July 9, 2015)

Although Hillary Clinton has proposed a series of programs for reducing youth unemployment, she has also come under fire on the Internet for staffing her presidential campaign with unpaid interns. In response, Clinton announced on Tuesday that she was hiring 20 paid staffers in Iowa (the first state to hold a presidential primary or caucus next year). But, as Joanna Rothkopf of Jezebel noted, “the new hires don’t do anything to interrupt the trend of forcing even high-ranking staffers to work as unpaid ‘volunteers’ before being officially hired.”

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What 9 World Leaders Were Doing In Their 20s

Published: Question of the Day (June 2, 2015)

These were really formative years. The 20-something years are often as sharply defined by the “something” aspect of that term than by their numerical designation. This is the decade in which so many of us struggle to find ourselves in our careers; for some, the path lies clearly in front of us, while for others it wind around and is covered in shadows.With that in mind, what were the world’s most powerful leaders of today doing in this formative decade of their lives?

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The Plight of the Basement Dweller

Published: Good Men Project (April 21, 2015)

Basement dwellers. Trolls. We’re all familiar with this personality type: Matthew Rozsa offers an explanation as to why they exist in the first place.

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“Cellar dwellers.” That was the expression that my friend’s husband used when referring to the trolls who posted misogynistic comments under her latest article. After laughing at the generation gap revealed by that statement (the youngins like me prefer the term “basement dweller,” although the rhyming “cellar dweller” has an undeniable ring to it), I began to reflect on my own experience. After all, several of my closest friends fit the general description of being a basement dweller: They live with their parents, have failed to continue their education, languish in matters of romance and love, and are either sporadically employed or remain stuck in dead-end menial jobs.

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Why I’ve Never Thrown Myself A Birthday Party

Published: Good Men Project (April 4, 2015)

Like so many Millennials, Matthew Rozsa isn’t sure he sees the point in throwing birthday parties.

It recently occurred to me that, in less than five weeks, I will be turning thirty years old. May 8th, to be exact – I was born on the same day that New Coke was released into the global marketplace with infamously lackluster results. It was also the 40th anniversary of V-E Day, the 101st anniversary of Harry Truman’s birthday, and (for specialists in arcane history) the 27th anniversary of the day in which Vice President Richard Nixon was nearly murdered by an angry mob in Lima, Peru.

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In Defense of Being Opinionated

Published: Good Men Project (April 2, 2015), Daily Dot (April 6, 2015)

Is it entitled for millennials to believe their opinions matter? Matthew Rozsa argues: No.

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Writers tend to be argumentative creatures (it’s part of our opinionated personality type), and consequently some of my most memorable debates have been with other practitioners of my craft. Such was the case a couple months ago when I had this exchange with a fellow writer who insisted, somewhat confrontationally, that people our age should not be writing op-eds:

My friend: “I think for some reason our generation thinks the world cares about our opinions. They don’t. I think it’s tremendously self-entitled. I don’t care about anyone’s opinion unless they have significant first-hand knowledge of something, or they’ve been reporting for about 30 years. Real reporting.”

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