The Incredible Disappearing Doomsday
Harper’s (April 2023)

“Where once the climate corps provided weary summations of daunting research, now they offer assurances that progress has been made and the future may be just fine. But did the science really change? Or was there simply a shift in how a handful of influential journalists interpreted it?”

Can Arthur Jemison Blow up Development without Destroying Boston?
Boston (January 2023)

“If Jemison fails to strike a balance between reform and the builders’ bottom lines, Boston could be faced with its pipeline of new projects running dry; that would not only exacerbate the problematic dearth of housing, it could also jeopardize the city’s ability to offer basic services to its residents.”

How the Border Went MAGA
New York Magazine (October 2022)

“As I traveled across the Southwest this summer, two competing visions of the borderland’s future were coming into focus — visions that map more neatly on to the polarized landscape of national politics than Democrats would like to admit, given that the region is full of Latino voters whom they recently considered to be a bank of safe votes.”

Audio version available on Curio

The Revelations Will Be Televised
The Baffler (September 2022)

“Though the January 6th Committee wields the ability to subpoena evidence and compel testimony, it does not have any prosecutorial power, meaning that the more than one thousand interviews it has conducted and one hundred forty thousand-plus documents it has gathered are useful only insofar as they can be used to tell a compelling story to the American public.”

A Dead Sea
The Nation (August 2022)

“The Salton Sea was formed before the Hoover Dam, before Lake Powell, before the aqueducts that stretch for hundreds of miles across the West. The region became dependent on these waterworks as soon as they were constructed, even as the Salton Sea was slowly transforming into a surreal and toxic landmark.”

The New York Times Book Review at a Crossroads
The Nation (April 2022)

“Adding to the uncertainty is the announcement on March 7 that Pamela Paul will be moving to the Times opinion section. Her replacement has yet to be named, and the future direction of the Book Review is not yet clear. Will the Times recommit to recommendations and reviews that double as ready-made blurbs in an effort to win over an audience that might not actually be interested in reading about books? Or will it publish the kind of criticism that appeals to readers who don’t require an approaching book club deadline to put down their phone?”

“We Woke Up and Lost Half Our Water”
New York Magazine (April 2022)

“Poor hydrology isn’t the only thing on the water managers’ minds: They’re also contending with the yawning cultural and political chasm between the region’s urban and rural interests as well as questions about who should suffer the most aggressive cuts and how to better engage Indigenous communities that have historically been cut out of the dealmaking. All of that makes the Southwest’s deliberations over the Colorado River a window into how climate change is putting pressure on divisions embedded throughout American society.”

Shrinking the Economy to Save the World
The Nation (April 2022)

“Tim Jackson and other degrowthers offer a forward-looking solution: Accept that people don’t want to have as many children as they once did and think about the baby bust as a step toward a more sustainable economy. If the graphs of birth rates in most countries already show a clear inflection point, why not seize the moment and create a similar inflection point when it comes to economic production?”

Fallowed Ground
Common Home (February 2022)

“The Southwest’s attempts to hammer out new revisions to the Colorado River Compact over the next few years will be the first concrete test of America’s ability to adapt to the climate crisis. So far, the clearest fault line that has emerged in the negotiations is between the Colorado’s urban and agricultural users.”

Princes of Infinite Space
The Baffler (January/February 2022)

“While his scientific peers offered various hypotheses for how a naturally occurring space object could behave so strangely, Avi Loeb argued that the field of astronomy was too disdainful of the search for alien life to accept the simplest explanation: ‘Oumuamua was not naturally occurring at all.” 

Give the People What They Clearly Need: More National Parks
The New York Times (August 2021)

“Going to a National Park in 2021 doesn’t mean losing yourself in nature. It means inching along behind a long line of minivans and R.V.s on the way to an already full parking lot.”

All Skies Are Gray
Real Life
(April 2021)

“Though the capacity of meteorologists to predict the weather has gotten infinitely more sophisticated in the digital age, presenting the full spectrum of data that previously served merely to generate a condensed forecast is hardly more informative than a local TV broadcaster proclaiming, “’It’s gonna be a hot one!’”

The Short Story Priesthood
The Baffler
(March/April 2021)

“What’s left for a writer of George Saunders’s stature? Why, to write a craft book, of course! And why not? Saunders is the prince of the MFA age, his pedagogy nearly as famous as his writing.”

The FinTech Industry Wants to Give Desperate Workers an Advance on Their Next Paycheck. It’s a Trap.
The New Republic
(March 2021)

“Consumer advocates are alarmed by the underlying power imbalance between wage-access providers and the low-income workers they serve, exposing once again Silicon Valley’s penchant for dressing up in utopian visions the dystopian brutality of its desire to make money.”

News of Life
The Believer
(October/November 2020)

“Each of the Southwest’s great cities represents a precarious effort by its population to band together in opposition to the desert’s depredations. It is within their sphere—rather than out in the lonesome, dusty badlands—that the contemporary culture of the Southwest resides.” 

Adapted for Black Mountain Radio

The Re-Education of the Museum of Fine Arts
(November 2020)

“As the MFA welcomes visitors into its galleries again, the top question on many people’s minds isn’t whether they’ll get a chance to see the latest Basquiat and Monet exhibits, or even whether it is safe to visit during a pandemic. It’s whether the exclusionary museum of yesteryear has finally become a place where all Bostonians feel welcome.”

What the Chart Wants
Real Life
(October 2020)

“Each new election model follows a line of sophisticated forecasts that have propagated over the last dozen years, and each provides a distinct opportunity to experience elections on a daily basis. Users, it is presumed, can’t get enough of immersing themselves in the aesthetics of prediction and uncertainty: concepts illustrated, of course, in those same contrasting colors that signal history in the making.”

Why it’s Harder Than Ever to Make it in Hollywood
The New Republic
(July 2020)

“Just as in every industry disrupted by a fast-talking founder with a Silicon Valley area code, Hollywood finds itself in a new status quo, one that’s forced the proletariat of writers, actors, and key grips into a never-ending hunt for their next job. And this perpetual hustle only promises to grow more frantic the longer Covid-19 maintains its grip on the nation’s throat.”

Praising Arizona
Columbia Journalism Review
(June 2020)

“Highways is the most beloved publication in Arizona. It has become an institution in a state too young to have many, as likely to be cited by historians and policymakers as any newspaper…. The reverence Arizonans have for the magazine is rooted in its upward trajectory over the course of the twentieth century, one that matches the rise in stature of the state itself from an obscure wasteland to a place of universally acknowledged natural splendor and cultural vibrancy.”

On the Waterfront
(June 2020)

“The Seaport is far from a finished product. The twin challenges of Covid-19 and climate change will surely usher in a new chapter for the city’s sleekest neighborhood—and possibly its most important one. This is the story of the Seaport, told by the people who shaped it—a tale of rowdy punks, squatting artists, visionary planners, bungled opportunities, and a future that remains unwritten.”

For All Fankind
The Baffler
(September/October 2019)

“Success in Hollywood now has as much to do with the number of people who see a particular film or TV show as with how easily its intellectual property can be franchised. Why settle for one Iron Man when you could have over a decade of Avengers movies? For both Hollywood and the digital newsrooms of Vulture, Nerdist, and their imitators, the logic is obvious: cater to a readymade fanbase, and the dollars will take care of themselves.”

Translated into Spanish for Contexto

Dinner with Schmucks
The Baffler
(March/April 2020)

“The restaurant reviewer’s creed: no price point is too high for sufficiently delicious food. That key tenet of the profession has endured even as spreading awareness of extreme wealth inequality in the long wake of the Great Recession has prompted other journalists to expose how the preferences of the elite disfigure their various fields of inquiry. Food critics have been left behind in this reckoning, with only the most self-aware scrambling to justify a job that revolves around assessing the quality of restaurants only rich people can afford to eat at.”

This Website Was Free
Real Life
(February 2020)

“Being a retroactive Vine historian means immersing oneself in the YouTube collections until the classics can be rattled off by memory, their eminent status either underscored or complicated by the strains of divergence encapsulated by whichever rare Vines they’ve been paired with. The historical perspective available now allows for what was once an overwhelming quantity of six-second clips to be generalized based on their salient characteristics, a process through which the genre of social media Vine represents becomes definable. And, once defined, calcified into a concrete perch from which the rest of the social media landscape can begin to be mapped”

Is Harvard Destroying Allston — or Saving It?
(September 2019)

“Longtime Allston residents say they’re struggling to comprehend how all of these nice new buildings’ white-collar tenants will fit into a neighborhood they might otherwise shun as a vortex of hipsterdom and dreadlocked college students. And whether at community meetings, neighborhood bars, or band-practice spaces, they haven’t been afraid to ask this question: Is Harvard about to overrun bohemian Allston? Or will it find a way to integrate one of Boston’s most enigmatic neighborhoods into the thriving city that surrounds it?”

Party Monsters
The Baffler
(November/December 2018)

“Left to their own devices, our most prominent television critics seem solely interested in defining the best and the greatest, as determined by increasingly esoteric criteria. Such parlor room conversations would all be in good fun, were their effervescent tone not so clearly impairing the ability of the critics to view their subject with even a modicum of distance or restraint.”