Michael Mechanic

Michael Mechanic

Senior Editor

Michael has been a senior editor at Mother Jones for eight years, after spending the previous six as an award-winning features editor at the 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 newspapers and magazines including Wired, The Industry Standard, and the Los Angeles Times. He lives in Oakland, California, with his wife, two kids, three chickens, striped cat, and too many musical instruments to master.

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Michael has been a senior editor at Mother Jones for eight years, after spending the previous six as an award-winning features editor at the 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 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 also 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 with photographer Nina Berman. Michael lives with his family in Oakland, California, where he sits on his front porch and attempts to play the fiddle.

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Book Review: The Unspeakable

The Unspeakable

By Meghan Daum

FSG

In a series of essays reminiscent of a slightly restrained David Sedaris, Los Angeles Times columnist Meghan Daum comes off as humorously dysfunctional and occasionally deranged as she plunges into topics best avoided: her true feelings as her mother lay dying, disdain for motherhood, bad dating choices, courting of lesbians (she's straight), abject failure as a Big Brothers Big Sisters mentor and prospective foster parent, and even her awkward encounters with the singer Joni Mitchell. Reading The Unspeakable is a bit like watching Zach Galafianakis act: funny and slightly unsettling. You're not sure you like Daum, but you can't wait to see what she'll say next.

Jon Stewart had Atul Gawande, the fabulously talented writer and surgeon, on his show yesterday to laugh in the face of death. Gawande's new book, Being Mortal, is a must-read for anyone who doesn't want to die in an ICU. It tackles the thorny subject of how the medical profession has failed badly when it comes to the needs of the dying, or, as Gawande put it to me a few hours before the Daily Show taping, "We have medicalized aging, and that experiment is failing us." Let's hope this book makes a difference when the time comes.

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