What We Talk About When We Talk About The Middle Class
Los Angeleno, Jan 2020
So, as we figure out who we are when we’re not middle class, we are going to have to demand a greater horizon than partial ‘access to affordable health care.’ It’s hard to look up when you’re in survival mode.
The Rise of Behavioral Economic Masculinity
American Literary History, Dec 2019
This essay begins a cultural history of the behavioral economic narrative mode in American popular media. From podcasts to Michael Lewis’s books and films, the behavioral economic mode of narration changes the character or figure of economic knowledge. Instead of the distant financial expert, this mode insists on the narrative authority of the (white, male) friendly explainer.
A podcast of this talk in Sydney, 2019.
Where I Am From
From Slouching Towards Los Angeles
Living and Writing in Joan Didion’s Light
from Rare Bird Press 2020, published here on LitHub.
Powerful land-owning families play a role in how we build our cities, how we claim and imagine the land. I wanted Didion to cop to her role in the process. So I dug through the land records.
I don’t know that trying to talk to Catherine that night about her family’s Japanese-American neighbors would have changed her mind. But I believe now that I should have tried, with empathy and respect. This is my effort to speak with her now, across the transom.
Getting Us Through: Dance Church Sia
How do you cut your hair? If I am to be taken seriously when, for example, discussing the economy does this mean that I must never dance, or speak openly about hair and make up? Is my self-care and survival nothing more than a passing personal concern?