Best of Salon: 1999

From Ruth Shalit's takedown of advertising follies to David Gates' "Breaking Up With the Beats" to James Poniewozik's Media Circus columns, Salon partied like it was 1999.



Breaking up with the Beats
Kerouac and company were my first literary loves — but I had to get off their road.
By David Gates

The baby girl I gave away, Part I of III
Putting up a baby for adoption was the first act of my adult life, but it took me almost 30 years to face what that decision meant for me and my daughter.
By Ceil Malek

My mothers daughter, Part II of III
A child of adoption wonders: How much is my nature a product of my nurturing?
By Kristina Zarlengo

On mothers gain, Part III
After adopting three children, a mom says it’s love, not blood, that makes parents.
By Maurine Zarlengo Christ

Machine dreams
In an industry of clones, Steve Jobs puts his smart, stylish, stubborn stamp on our computers.
By Scott Rosenberg

It keeps right on a-hurtin.
In his masterful account of Elvis Presley’s decline, Peter Guralnick has written an American tragedy with a rock ‘n’ roll beat.
By Charles Taylor

Magazine racks
Esquire, Cosmo, Self and Mens Health show us their tits.
By James Poniewozik

Two nations under God
American spirituality is torn between hellfire fundamentalism and new age navel-gazing — and sometimes theyre hard to tell apart.
By Carol Lloyd

The man without principles
The career of the great German cultural critic Hans Magnus Enzensberger is a case study in the virtues of intellectual inconsistency.
By James Poniewozik

No apologies
How I learned to fight for my country, proudly.
By Debra Dickerson

The mysterious death of Tyisha Miller
Black leaders in Riverside, Calif., insist the 19-year-old victim of a hail of police bullets would be alive if she were white. But would she?
By Lori Leibovich

George Jones
His voice weathered and mellowed, this country legend still sings about living –and he’s got plenty of it under his belt.
By Stephanie Zacharek

Mommie dearest
Linda Tripp, America’s favorite back-stabber and ghoul, kicks off her long-awaited national rehabilitation tour ’99.
By Gary Kamiya

Storming The Beach, Part I of II
A backpacker in search of adventure in Thailand puts the moves on Leonardo DiCaprio.
By Rolf Potts

Backstage on The Beach, Part II
A backpacker’s quest to storm Leonardo DiCaprio’s movie set ends in an epiphany that won’t play in Peoria.
By Rolf Potts

Roger and him
Remembering Gene Siskel, 1946-1999.
By Sarah Vowell

The fabulous kingdom of gay animals
A biologist offers the first vision of a tantalizingly diverse natural world: not all animals are straight arrows.
By Susan McCarthy

Tipping the antitrust scales
How the right helped make the federal courts safe for Microsoft.
By Andrew Leonard

Spurious George: A geek tragedy
In yet another tell-all book about President Clinton, former aide George Stephanopoulos offers a tour de force of betrayal, self-loathing and self-promotion.
By Jake Tapper

Why Bill Gates still doesnt get the Net
While his new book peddles PCs as the ultimate corporate intelligence system, the industry is mutating right under his nose.
By Scott Rosenberg

Fun soul mother
Once my ex-husband and I danced to the funk as if we had no choice. Now, in the kitchen on Saturday nights, I clean, listen, dance, remember.
By Susan Straight

Out of focus
A peep through the one-way mirror at that great American institution, the focus group, reveals a glittering lineup of cheaters, repeaters and sad sacks who wash their hair with Jell-O.
By Ruth Shalit

Was Lincoln gay?
Firebrand Larry Kramer says he has the evidence to prove it. Lincoln scholars are holding their fire until they see it. Get ready for the second Civil War.
By Carol Lloyd

Dancing with death
The loss of a child leaves a hole in your heart that never heals.
By Camille Peri

The woman in the gray flannel Mao jacket
After two months as an ad woman, Ruth Shalit surveys the historic depiction of her profession and decides she’d rather be a late-capitalist soul-snatcher than a cringing drunk or a thieving ho’.
By Ruth Shalit

Guns and penises
American society’s problem isn’t firearms — it’s the sexually dysfunctional men and women who abuse them.
By Camille Paglia

I smell like the presence of Satan
Is Littleton’s evangelical subculture a solution to the youth alienation that played a role in the Columbine killings, or a reflection of it?
By Dave Cullen

Fear of links
While professional journalists turn up their noses, weblog pioneers invent a new, personal way to organize the Web’s chaos.
By Scott Rosenberg

Buddha with a whip
He heals his lovers by subjecting them to rituals of ancient torture, but how can sado-masochism offer a path to sexual health?
By Virginia Vitzthum

The masters last word
“Juneteenth” offers a tantalizing new slice of Ralph Ellison’s genius for capturing America’s racial conundrums.
By Colson Whitehead

Star Wars despots vs. “Star Trek” populists
Why is George Lucas peddling an elitist, anti-democratic agenda under the guise of escapist fun?
By David Brin

Searching for silicon soil
“The Nudist on the Late Shift” and “The Silicon Boys” sift the valley’s culture for something more than wealth and greed.
By Andrew Leonard

Brilliant Careers: Willy Mays
In the mid-’60s, whites weren’t ready for the best baseball player to be black, and blacks weren’t ready for him to be black like Mays.
By Joan Walsh

My own private IPO
We invite your investment in our ill-defined but well-hyped venture.
By Carina Chocano

What a riot
Diary of a Woodstock ’99 survivor.
By Jeff Stark

Girl talk
Are frank online discussions of blow jobs and masturbation empowering teen girls — or turning them into Lolitas?
By Janelle Brown

Conquering Half Dome — and the fear of falling
When a simple hike turns into a paralyzing ascent, a father has to overcome his terror.
By Don George

Take me to the hospital! Part I of III
What possessed me to think there was something appealing about cleaning up after the birth of my own child?
By Susan Gerhard

Give me drugs! Part II of III
What’s so feminist about a painful childbirth?
By Nina Shapiro

Cut me open! Part III
I just had my second scheduled Caesarean and, yes, I still consider myself a feminist.
By Jean Hanff Korelitz

Brilliant Careers: Fred Rogers
For three decades,”Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood” has been an oasis of peace and calm, familiarity and safety in a kid-unfriendly world.
By Joyce Millman

Harvard and heroin
I coasted to an Ivy League degree as a drug addict, but forever damaged the bond between mother and son.
By Seth Mnookin

My son, the junkie
I finally had to let him save, or kill, himself.
By Wendy Mnookin

Inside the Columbine High investigation
Everything you know about the Littleton killings is wrong. But the truth may be scarier than the myths.
By Dave Cullen

The return of the hidden persuaders, Part I of II
Driven by a booming economy, a corporate obsession with brand-building and a feelgood philosophy, a motley crew of ex-grad students, starry-eyed admen and hypnosis gurus are probing the consumer unconscious to sell soap.
By Ruth Shalit

Hypnotizing slackers for Starbucks, and other visionary acts of marketing research, Part II of III
Through hypnosis, deconstructive theory and other advanced techniques, marketing experts have definitively established that champagne is associated with romance.
By Ruth Shalit

Why is Madison Avenue gripped by insanity?, Part III
After pondering the “cultural meat values” of Peparami, the only question remaining is: What are these guys smoking?
By Ruth Shalit

Brilliant Careers: Vin Scully
For 50 years, an Irish redhead from the Bronx has been the gold standard for baseball announcers.
By Gary Kaufman

How the Internet ruined San Francisco
The dot-com invasion — call them twerps with ‘tude — is destroying everything that made San Francisco weird and wonderful.
By Paulina Borsook

Crashing the black rose, Part I of II
In a suburban Ramada Inn, 1,500 players gathered to teach and discuss the sexual art of power and pain.
By Virginia Vitzthum

Decending into the dungeon, Part II
At the Black Rose, leather-clad sadomasochists walk the tightrope between pleasure and pain.
By Virginia Vitzthum

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