MEISEL | Pulling the Wires from the Wall

The past 20 years or so have witnessed a significant increase in the proliferation of technologies that transform the ways we make, distribute, listen to and think about music. Dangerous combinations of file-sharing and MP3s destabilized the industry. CD players sunk into obsolescence. We lamented the loss of vinyl only to take part in a resurgence of interest in physical media. A lot has changed.

MEISEL | Addressing a Canonical Conspiracy

And When I Die, I Won’t Stay Dead is a documentary about the American Beat poet Bob Kaufman, directed by acclaimed filmmaker Billy Woodberry. It was first released in Portugal last fall, but it will start showing at the MoMA this Friday. Although I haven’t seen it, what I can glean from reviews is that it is an honest attempt to make a substantial, non-fictional account of Kaufman’s life — which was a tough one in many ways. This profound aspect of the film is enough to merit approval, or at the very least, foster significant interest. Bob Kaufman’s poems are unique.

MEISEL | Understanding the Superbowl

On Sunday Jan. 1991, 10 days before the commencement of Desert Storm — which kicked off with our noble nation dropping 88,500 tons worth of bombs onto the nation of Iraq — Whitney Houston stepped out to the microphone in a red, white and blue tracksuit. With a powerful voice trained in nightclubs and gospel choirs and accompanied by the Florida Orchestra, she then performed one of the best and most popular renditions of the Star Spangled Banner in U.S. history. It became a hit, actually charting at 20 on the Billboard Top 100. After Sept.

MEISEL | White Supremacy, Poetry and You

There is an incomprehensible “free-speech” backlash to the university student protests going on across the country. Apparently some people think that only spoiled children don’t like getting swastikas smeared in shit across someone’s wall. I guess they should just suck it up and deal with it. It’s all just meaningless stuff you shouldn’t pay attention to, because they don’t really mean it. Didn’t you know that someone was making an ironic critique of Nazism by taking their turd in their hands, holding it lovingly, and spreading its fecal substance all across the walls of a Mizzou dorm like a kind of ultra-racist, disgusting Banksy?

MEISEL | On ClickHole Quizzes and Credibility

The Onion has been on the Internet for a long time — since 1996, actually. Before that, the famous fake news outlet began in print, but most of us within the demographic of 18-34 year olds only recognize it due to a significant online presence, featuring anything from satires of VICE magazine documentaries to articles with names like “Scientists Find Strong Link Between Male Virility, Wearing Mötley Crue Denim Jacket” and “Mom Leaks Out Another Divorce Detail During Drive to SAT Prep Class.” Unsurprisingly, a model so successful is bound to have its spin-offs, Cornell-related spin-offs included. And from the looks of it, the Onion does not show signs of slowing down. Its past few years as a company have been ones of expansion and growth, taking its momentum primarily, of course, from its flagship fake news website, but also from other clever concoctions such as ClickHole and StarWipe. But what is it about the Onion that seems to make it so popular?

MEISEL | Lies About Bad Jokes and Triggers

A lot of discussion has taken place recently about the merits of “trigger warnings” in academic environments. We can see that students, professors and administrators are all now part of an important conversation which deals with trauma and its role in the classroom. Some are fans of trigger warnings. Others, like President Elizabeth Garrett (to reporters at the Cornell Club), say that “there shouldn’t be any limits on the substance of freedom of speech at a university.”

And on a tangential note, any casual observer of the Cornellian social media scene will also see that a related division of opinions has happened on the oh-so-exciting “Overheard” group. The typical incident usually goes like this: A makes a joke in poor taste.

MEISEL | On the Question of Artistically Motivated Suicide

Our culture and media emit a two-faced discourse about suicide. On the one hand, suicide demonstrates stupidity, weakness and mental illness; so for the sake of our dignity we should never consider it. That’s it. End of question. On the other hand, we make it out to symbolize the climax of a particular kind of lived experience in which a person has a disastrous yet beautiful temperament of both brilliant intelligence and emotional sensitivity.