Michael Mechanic

Michael Mechanic

Senior Editor

Michael has been a senior editor at MoJo for eight years, after spending the previous six as an award-winning features editor at the alt-weekly East Bay Express. In addition to editing stories for print and web, he is in charge of the magazine's Mixed Media section. His writing has appeared in a range of alt-weeklies, newspapers, and magazines including Wired, The Industry Standard, and the Los Angeles Times. He lives in Oakland, California, with his wife, two kids, four chickens, striped cat, and too many musical instruments to master.

Full Bio | Get my RSS |

Michael has been a senior editor at MoJo for eight years, after spending the previous six as an award-winning features editor at the alt-weekly East Bay Express. In addition to editing stories for print and web, he is in charge of the magazine's Mixed Media section. His writing has appeared in a range of alt-weeklies, newspapers, and magazines including Wired, The Industry Standard, and the Los Angeles Times. He originally set out to be a scientist, and as an undergrad spent a year in an organic chemistry lab at UC-Berkeley, where he was a biochemistry major, trying to synthesize tropical frog poisons. He later earned a masters degree in cellular and developmental biology from Harvard University and a masters in journalism from Cal. In 2009, he was named a finalist for a National Magazine Award for his contribution to MoJo's "Torture Hits Home" package. (His contribution, "Voluntary Confinement," involved a reality TV show that held contestants in isolation.) He also won a 2014 Society for Professional Journalists award for "It Was Kind of Like Slavery," a photoessay he wrote with photographer Nina Berman. Michael lives with his family in Oakland, California, where, after years of classical piano and punk-rock drumming, he now sits on his front porch and tries to play the fiddle.

No Wonder Teens Are Huffing Nicotine

| Sat Apr. 18, 2015 6:00 AM EDT
The online version of Lorrillard's Sports Illustrated ad featured "zoom-in" magnification.

You thought Big Tobacco was on the wane in the United States?

(Insert cartoon villain voice:) "Mwa-ha-ha-ha-haaaaa!"

In fact, the domestic tobacco industry is on the rebound thanks to its heavy investment in smoking "alternatives"—a.k.a. e-cigarettes, nicotine-delivery devices marketed in a variety of kid-friendly flavors. (The federal government banned the marketing of flavored tobacco cigarettes back in 2009.)

Advertise on MotherJones.com

Let the 2016 Presidential Poster Wars Commence!

| Wed Apr. 8, 2015 9:20 AM EDT
Michael Mechanic

Is this the first salvo in the 2016 presidential campaign poster wars? This past week, somebody plastered this poster—guerilla style—at well-trod locations around San Francisco.

What was the artist thinking? Was this a subtle jab at Cruz's hubris or a bona fide attempt to promote the guy—or just a cool design? I could see it psyching up the GOP base in Kevin's Orange County stomping grounds. But in San Francisco? Only 13 percent of this city voted for Romney. A Ted Cruz fan hoping to boost the Texas senator's presidential hopes would be wasting his time posting these around here—even if they are pretty cool looking.

Maybe the message was meant to reach rich tech libertarians who have moved north from Silicon Valley and might be game to donate. You know, the crew who admire Ron and Rand Paul and seem to have forgotten that the tech industry was built on massive government funding. Then again, given Cruz's head-scratching position against net neutrality—he's called it "the biggest regulatory threat to the internet"—he's not likely to get much love from the tech world. Even the Obama-haters on Cruz's Facebook page had to ridicule his position.

My favorite Cruz poster to date went up last March around Beverly Hills, where Cruz was slated to appear at the annual dinner of the conservative Claremont Institute. (The artists, being artists, got the hotel wrong.) But Cruz was indeed, as the poster joked, "loving it." Here's what he tweeted:

I just hope Bernie Sanders, the left's favorite bomb thrower, decides to run. I'm dying to see what street artists will make of him. 

Fri Oct. 21, 2011 6:30 AM EDT
Mon Jun. 20, 2011 8:51 PM EDT
Mon Jun. 6, 2011 6:30 AM EDT
Mon Jun. 6, 2011 6:30 AM EDT
Mon May. 16, 2011 6:50 AM EDT
Tue Mar. 29, 2011 7:00 AM EDT
Tue Mar. 29, 2011 6:30 AM EDT
Mon Mar. 28, 2011 3:25 PM EDT
Fri Mar. 25, 2011 6:30 AM EDT
Fri Mar. 25, 2011 4:01 AM EDT
Mon Mar. 21, 2011 2:46 PM EDT
Mon Mar. 21, 2011 7:00 AM EDT
Thu Mar. 17, 2011 7:30 AM EDT
Mon Feb. 14, 2011 6:57 PM EST
Mon Jan. 31, 2011 7:45 AM EST
Mon Jan. 17, 2011 2:46 PM EST
Mon Jan. 3, 2011 7:47 AM EST
Mon Dec. 20, 2010 7:25 AM EST
Mon Dec. 13, 2010 7:30 AM EST
Mon Nov. 15, 2010 7:25 AM EST
Wed Oct. 27, 2010 6:37 AM EDT
Tue Oct. 26, 2010 3:03 PM EDT
Mon Oct. 18, 2010 7:00 AM EDT
Mon Oct. 18, 2010 6:51 AM EDT
Mon Sep. 27, 2010 6:31 AM EDT
Wed Sep. 22, 2010 6:16 PM EDT
Mon Sep. 20, 2010 6:18 AM EDT
Thu Sep. 16, 2010 11:13 AM EDT
Tue Jul. 13, 2010 3:51 PM EDT
Thu Jul. 8, 2010 7:04 PM EDT
Mon Jul. 5, 2010 1:23 PM EDT
Fri Jul. 2, 2010 5:46 PM EDT
Mon Jun. 28, 2010 7:10 AM EDT
Thu Jun. 10, 2010 5:34 PM EDT
Tue Jun. 8, 2010 3:34 PM EDT
Tue Jun. 8, 2010 1:52 PM EDT
Wed Jun. 2, 2010 8:48 PM EDT
Tue Jun. 1, 2010 5:50 PM EDT
Mon May. 31, 2010 7:02 AM EDT
Mon May. 31, 2010 7:00 AM EDT