“Whatever Johnny Wadie Red Tabel was, it wasn’t whisky; its flavor was a medicinal blend of anise, vanilla, and laundry detergent, and its buzz arrived in tandem with its hangover.”
Lyric essay: This prose poem jumbles passages from slave narratives and self-help books, Walden and the Hadith, online therapy forums and celebrity memoirs, weaving together a series of age-specific moments that shed light on the boundaries of memory and the complexities of self-presentation.
Satire: “Hey there, I’m a TV show set in New Orleans. I’m about art and integrity, and I don’t give a shit what you think of me.”
Found poetry: “I loved drawing out / the symbols / of the alphabet. / They were all / their own kind / of monster with / their own kind of tongue.”
Sports commentary: During Kansas City’s inspired 2014 playoff run, social media only heightened the gloriously irrational, neurotic nature of baseball fandom.
Graphic memoir: Aided by illustrations by his adolescent nephew, Rolf plumbs the humiliations, triumphs, and idiosyncrasies of his own adolescence.
Personal essay: Thirty years ago, Rolf and a friend from elementary school created a vision of the future—a space opera put to tape—and buried it in a time capsule. Listening again today reveals how we remember the present as it never quite was.
TV criticism: HBO’s series about post-Katrina Louisiana obsessively works to prove it’s not a tourist in New Orleans. It ends up losing the city — and the viewers — in the process.
Cultural criticism: Dennis O’Rourke’s 1988 documentary “Cannibal Tours”, which probed the absurdities of global tourism, was as brilliant and cringe-inducing as any episode of “The Office” or “Curb Your Enthusiasm.” Twenty-five years after its initial debut, the rise of social media self-documentation has made the film feel more relevant than ever.
Cultural criticism: When, two generations ago, Susan Sontag wrote how “needing to have reality confirmed and experience enhanced by photographs is an aesthetic consumerism to which everyone is now addicted,” she very well could have been making a prophetic observation about “selfies.”
Commentary: A Chinese teenager defaced the Luxor Temple. That’s bad, but scribbling on Egyptian antiquity is as old as tourism itself.