Best Of

Organized by Date of Publication:

The Oral History of the Money Shot,” “How Porn Consumers Gorged Themselves on Cream Pies,” and “Meet The Porn Pioneer Who Sold Bukkake to America” (VICE, December, October, and September 2016)

  • Three tightly connected oral histories exploring the origins and influence of major tropes now treated as a given in mainstream pornography and sexual discussions. The subject matter seems scandalous, but this is one of the most interesting pieces of history I’ve ever worked on.

Datagasm” (Aeon, July 2016)

  • A long-form report on mainstream pornography’s surprisingly slow journey towards embracing data-driven content production. This shift, I try to point out in vivid detail, has the potential to skew porn’s influential depictions of sex and sexuality towards the most profitable fetishes.

Permanent Buddhism” (Tricycle, May 2016)

  • One of the more personal pieces I’ve ever written—navigating cultural appropriation, the West’s engagement with “Eastern” religions, and idiosyncratic spirituality through the quest to design a tattoo that reflects my own piecemeal spiritual life.

The Piha Stays in The Picture” (Roads and Kingdoms, December 2015)

  • This piece is ultimately about the irritations plaguing a naturalist subculture. But I view it as some of my best nature and descriptive writing. I’m attached to the imagery involved, and to the depth of knowledge and passion my sources on this piece had for misplaced birdsongs.

The Secret Life of Cheese” (Roads and Kingdoms, July 2015)

  • This is perhaps the best-performing piece I’ve ever written. I didn’t expect that would be the case when I was typing it up. But I suppose people love cheese, reevaluating common products like cheese, and learning about particularly disturbing cheeses. So it makes sense in retrospect.

A Whale Blasted an Ungodly Amount of Ass Ham All Over Some Divers” (VICE, January 2015)

  • This is a fucking silly article. But it was a master class in coming up with ridiculous euphemisms for poop. I laughed the entire time I was writing it up.

Who Owns Chicken Tikka Masala?” (Roads and Kingdoms, May 2014)

  • Deconstructing myths about culinary history, probing the national politics embedded in food, and digging up some truths through a great aha moment. I didn’t expect this to turn into such an interesting project, but I definitely understand why it’s one of my best-performing pieces.

It’s Hard Out Here for A Male Belly Dancer” (VICE, April 2014)

  • On the surface this is just a profile of a small community of men who practice the aggressively feminine / female art of belly dancing. But it remains one of my favorite subculture profiles because it gave me a chance to seamlessly explore tough questions on gender and identity.

Clowns without Borders Go Into War Zones Armed Only With Smiles” (VICE, December 2013)

  • One of my favorite interviews that I’ve ever had the chance to conduct. It profiles a group of clowns providing psychological relief to children in disaster and conflict zones. The piece also gets into clown lassoing, clowning during IVF, and clowning at Palestinian border checkpoints.

Hyenas in Ethiopia Will Eat Out Of Your Mouth” (VICE, October 2013)

  • A relatively basic travelogue, recounting my experience with a little known and seemingly insane local tradition. I like it because I feel like it’s one of the purest manifestations of my voice and character—something backgrounded in most of my works—and distillation of my interests.

Your Name Here” (The Blue and White, March 2011)

  • Romping around the tunnels beneath Columbia University and uncovering the neglected history of subterranean urban worlds. Remnants of secret societies, buried and forgotten historical sites, and sealed-off Manhattan Project remains. This was just fun as hell to report.

Paper Chasers” (The Blue and White, Spetember 2010)

  • One of my earliest attempts at a little shoe leather reporting—and it turned out pretty well. Some of the information is outdated, but the piece still points towards the fact that it’s possible to buy your way into an ivy league degree with the right connections and a suitable wad of cash.