Essays

“A Man Lost His Job to a Rape Joke,” The Guardian, Dec. 22, 2018.

Women Are Furious. Now What? Atlantic, November, 2018

“The Perils of Publishing in a #MeToo Moment,” New York Times op ed, Sept 25, 2018

“You Old Dog,” New York Review of Books, June 28, 2018

“Should There Be a Future for Seduction?” New York Magazine, June 10, 2018

“Letting Their Hair Down” New York Review of Books, May 24, 2018

“Kill All the Editors,”New York Review of Books, March 22, 2018

“Has #MeToo gone too far, or not far enough?” The Guardian, Jan 13, 2018

“Ballad of a Wounded Man,” Bookforum, Dec/Jan 2018

“A Kick to the Pricks,” New York Review of Books, December 21, 2017

“They Looked the Part,” New York Times Magazine, Dec 17, 2017

“The Liars Club,” Bookforum, Sept/Oct/Nov 2017

“Screw Wisdom “ In a bold new memoir of female middle age, libido obliterates the usual clichés. Atlantic, June 2017

“Narcissism: A Reflection”   Spiked, January 27, 2017

“Girl Manterrupted” What’s the role of cutesy workplace feminism. Slate, Sept 7, 2016.

“Thrall of Mirrors”  Kristin Dombek’s adventures in the world of contemporary narcissism. Bookforum, Sept/Oct/Nov 2016

“Critical Condition” A.O. Scott considers the state of criticism–including his own. Bookforum, Feb/March 2016

“My Title IX Inquisition” The Chronicle of Higher Education  May 2015

“The Deep, Dark, Ugly Thing” Can shame shape society? Harper’s, May 2015

“Marry By 30” Kate Bolick’s Spinster is billed as a progress report for women—but it’s exactly the opposite. Slate, April 2015

“Sexual Paranoia Strikes Academe The Chronicle of Higher Education, March 2015

“Resentments of Things Past”    The art of not letting go. Bookforum, Feb/Mar 2015 PDF logo

“Me, Myself, and Id”  The invention of the narcissist.Harper’s, Aug 2014 PDF logo

“Personae of Interest”    Thomas Bellar grapples with elusive literary icon J. D. Salinger. Bookforum, Summer 2014PDF logo

Charged Images”  Eric Fischl’s memoir, Bad Boy, New York Times Book Review, June 21, 2013

“Crazy in Love” James Lasdun’s Give Me Everything,  Bookforum, April-May 2013PDF logo

“Death by Self-Parody” Michel Houellebecq’s The Map and the Territory, Bookforum, Dec-Jan 2012PDF logo

“I Mean It”    RJ Magill’s Sincerity New York Times Book Review, Aug 10, 2012PDF logo

“Papa Paparazzo”  A gilt-edged tribute to Ron Galella, the godfather of celebrity photography. Bookforum, Summer 2012PDF logo

“Amazing Disgrace”  Wayne Koestenbaum’s Humiliation, Bookforum, Sep/Oct/Nov 2011PDF logo

“Why Is Contemporary Art Addicted to Violence?   Maggie Nelson’s The Art of Cruelty, New York Times Book Review, July 14, 2011PDF logo

Why Did Weiner Do It?”    Slate, June 9, 2011PDF logo

“Why is Eliot Spitzer on TV? Because Disgrace Doesn’t Stick Like It Used To.”   PDF logo Washington Post, October 3, 2010

“School for Scandal”    The larger meaning of these sordid little tales.Harper’s, Jan 2009PDF logo

Lust and Disgust    A short history of prudery, feminist and otherwise.Harper’s, September 2007PDF logo

On Scandal: A 5-week series on Slate.com Aug/Sep 2010

   Why We Can’t Live Without Them   PDF logo  It’s only when a great scandal breaks after a protracted dry spell that you realize how much delight other people’s transgressions
       provide the community and how monotonous things get when everyone plays by the rules.

They Produce Very Useful Scapegoats. Like Dr. Laura, for example.  PDF logo  Scandals about race hold a certain queasy fascination for Americans, but why wouldn’t they, given our history?

Roger Clemens, James Frey, and the Thrill of Watching the Overly Ambitious Fall   PDF logo Which is worse: lying to Congress or lying to Oprah?

What Tiger Woods Didn’t Understand About His Mistresses   PDF logo Sadly, the traditional sexual entitlements of the celebrity role come with new disincentives.

We’re All Scandal Addicts Now. And That’s a Good Thing.   PDF logo What ever happened to shame? A real scandal requires shame, but we’re living through a shame recession.