How Poland’s Opposition Won an Unfair Election

The Civic Coalition Is Proof That a Highly Motivated and Well-Organized Campaign Can Win—Even Against a Ruling Party That Cheats

On a blustery day in early October 2023, half a dozen volunteers stood outside a street market in Łódź, Poland’s fourth largest city, handing out flyers, stickers, and cherry cakes. We were campaigning for Aleksandra Wiśniewska, a 29-year-old former humanitarian aid worker and political novice, who was running for parliament from the Civic Coalition (KO) list, the largest Polish opposition party. I was her campaign manager.

Unexpectedly, Zbigniew Rau, the Polish foreign minister and a member of the nationalist-conservative ruling party, Law and Justice (PiS), appeared. He interrupted the event and …

Francis Barraud's 1898 black and white painting of the dog Nipper looking into an Edison Bell cylinder phonograph.

Her Voice Memos and My Grief

A Friend’s Digital Messages in a Bottle Carry on a Centuries-Long Tradition of Auditory Remembrance

One of my best friends died recently.

It still doesn’t feel real. The last time I saw her was the day after the Fourth of July. Her smile always lit up …

What Should We Do About Instagram
Colonialism?

Social Media Is Ruining Tourism Hot Spots Like Tulum—And Even If We Don’t Stop Traveling, We Can Stop Posting

This summer, a record-breaking, estimated 220 million U.S. tourists—85% of American adults—have been on the move. Many of them will head to Tulum, Mexico, which I also recently visited. Businesses …

Let the Kids “BeReal” on Social Media

Restricting Internet Use Is a Violation of Young People’s First Amendment Rights

My best friend’s 13-year-old son recently asked me to friend him on the social media app BeReal.

She had decided to let him download BeReal partially because it lets users post …

Social Media Won’t Kill the Whoopee Cushion

Today’s Pranks May Be Boosted by the Algorithm, But They’re Still Cultural Weapons for Both the Powerful and the Petty

The whoopee cushion, sure to be dusted off by pranksters young and old this April Fools’ Day, is among the most enduring pranks in human history. The gag was already …

Are We Entering a New Age of Vaudeville? | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

Are We Entering a New Age of Vaudeville?

This Ecosystem of Diverse, Constantly Changing Variety Acts Was Once America’s Most Popular Form of Entertainment. Now It’s Back—on TikTok

If the viral Change.org petition that made the rounds this summer to “MAKE INSTAGRAM INSTAGRAM AGAIN” is any indicator, Instagram’s lurching attempts to try to become more like TikTok haven’t …