Miranda Popkey

  • Get Smart

    LET ME TELL YOU about the left hand of Marcus Smart, how it rose above the heads of three defenders to bank in a basket with 1:10 to play in the fourth quarter of the second game of the first round of the playoffs. We are in Boston, Massachusetts, and it is Wednesday, April 20; we are in the Eastern Conference of the National Basketball Association. Marcus Smart, recently named Defensive Player of the Year, the first time he’s won this award, the first time a guard—a little guy—has won this award since Gary Payton (aka “the Glove”) won it in 1996, and the Boston Celtics are up 110–100 on the

  • culture March 16, 2016

    All The Houses by Karen Olsson

    Small human dramas, translated onto the world stage: this is the organizing principle beneath the deceptively fragmented surface of Olsson’s novel. It is also, her novel suggests—and convincingly—part of the secret history of foreign policy. “Here were both the grand mystery of government and its little human movers, with their travel mugs,” Olsson notes, “so small compared to the massive buildings.”


    IRAN PAYMENT FOUND DIVERTED TO CONTRAS; REAGAN SECURITY ADVISOR AND AIDE ARE OUT. This was the six-column, all-caps headline on the front page of the New York Times on November 25, 1986. It marked a turning point in what would come to be called the Iran-Contra affair, but the political scandal was so tangled that it never seemed to reach resolution. The security advisor, John Poindexter, and the aide, Oliver North, referenced in the Times headline would later be tried and convicted on various counts—conspiracy, obstruction of justice, perjury, destroying documents, and bribery among them.

  • politics September 17, 2015

    On Joan Didion


    “She cooked nonstop,” Eve Babitz, the Los Angeles–based artist and author of Eve’s Hollywood, remembers. “She made stuff like beef Wellington—for a sit-down dinner for thirty-five people—with a side dish, Cobb salad or something, for those who didn’t eat meat. . . . It’s the first time I ever saw Spode china. . . . She could make dinner for forty people with one hand tied around her back while everybody else was passed out on the floor.”

    Babitz is describing the dinner parties Joan Didion and John Gregory Dunne hosted, in the late 1960s and early ’70s, in the “sprawling, spooky house” they

  • culture July 30, 2015

    The Dark Net: Inside the Digital Underworld by Jamie Bartlett

    Bartlett’s investigations take him to the Hidden Wiki (an index of illicit websites that are accessible only on a Tor browser), where he finds, in two mouse clicks, a link to a child pornography site. He visits dark net markets, where he purchases marijuana (the customer service, he reports, is excellent).

    “You are going to die and I am the one who is going to kill you. I promise you this.” Slate writer Amanda Hess received this tweet from the charmingly named user “headlessfemalepig.” She wrote about the experience—and, more generally, about the hazards of being a woman online—for Pacific Standard in early 2014. In that article, for which she later won a National Magazine Award, she details some of the exhausting consequences of online harassment: “Threats of rape, death, and stalking can overpower our emotional bandwidth, take up our time, and cost us money through legal fees, online protection