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Selected Articles:


Nostradamus of the Obvious,” media-critical essay on NPR commentator Cokie Roberts, staunch defender of the status quo and “mouthpiece for conventional wisdom who channeled the worldview of the D.C. elite for drive-time audiences.” The Baffler, January 8, 2020.


Edward Gorey’s Gothic Nonsense,” essay on gay themes and allusions in Gorey’s work, the queerness of Gorey’s aesthetic, and critics’ moral panic over my biography of Gorey, which acknowledged the influence of Gorey’s sexuality on his work. Gay & Lesbian Review, December 28, 2019.

Lost Object,” short essay on a World War 1-era photo of my grandfather in uniform at age 16. HiLoBrow, December 2, 2019.

The Last Time I Saw John Giorno,” personal essay about the performance poet on the occasion of his death. Hyperallergic, November 8, 2019.

Article on Edward Gorey’s Japanese interests and influences for the Japanese-language magazine Moe, November 2, 2019.

Nothing Succeeds Like Excess: Camp at the Met,” essay on the Fashion Institute show “Camp: Notes on Fashion,” at the Metropolitan Museum. Brooklyn Rail, July 2019.


Lisa Kereszi’s creepy photos of low-budget scare attractions,” article about “Haunted,” Kereszi’s ongoing series of photos of “temporary and semi-permanent scare attractions.” Boing Boing, October 31, 2018.

An Update of Edward Gorey’s Classic Abecedarium for Dark Times,” short article about “The Ghastlygun Tinies,” MAD magazine’s mordant update of Gorey’s Gashlycrumb Tinies for our age of school shootings. Hyperallergic, October 22, 2018.

Ziggy’s Reliquaries,” 3,000-word essay on “Bowie is” exhibition at The Brooklyn Museum. Brooklyn Rail, May 1, 2018.

Book review: Melancholy Accidents,” review of Peter Manseau’s anthology of three centuries’ worth of newspaper accounts of accidental shootings. Boing Boing, April 10, 2018.

Max Ernst’s Collage Novels Are Part Séance, Part Victorian Underworld, and All Uncanny,” essay on Max Ernst’s “collage novels” on the occasion of Dover’s reprint, for the first time in almost 40 years, of these Surrealist classics. Hyperallergic, February 9, 2018.

“Dawn of the Dead Mall,” essay on the rise and decline of the American mall, in Culture is Not Always Popular: Fifteen Years of Design Observer (forthcoming from MIT Press, November 2018). (Note: This essay originally appeared on Design Observer in 2009.


“Poe and the Pathological Sublime,” essay on Edgar Allan Poe’s aestheticization of the beautiful dead woman, in Death: A Graveside Companion, ed. Joanna Ebenstein (London: Thames & Hudson, 2017).

Peter Manseau’s Ghost Story,” profile of author Peter Manseau, pegged to his forthcoming book, The Apparitionists, Publishers Weekly, August 25, 2017.

Let’s deconstruct Nixon’s ‘Resignation Lunch,’ shall we?,” Boing Boing, August 10, 2017.

‘Monster Imagery Taught Me I Was a Monster’: Riva Lehrer on Beauty, Deformity, Disability,” Boing Boing, August 10, 2017.

Hawk Moon: Sam Shepard’s Forgotten First Book,Boing Boing, August 7, 2017.

Chemist of Mysteries: Man Ray’s Dream Photos,Boing Boing, July 28, 2017.

Mourning eBay’s Days as the Internet’s Kitschiest, Most Surreal Mall,” essay on “the passing of the old eBay [as] the last nail in the cyberflâneur’s coffin,” Hyperallergic, May 19, 2017.

The Eyes of The World Are Watching Now: Art and Photography Books Tap into Outrage and Activism,” feature on forthcoming art and photography books, Publishers Weekly, April 7, 2017.

“Dead Religion,” essay on artist Heide Hatry’s series “Icons in Ash,” in exhibition catalog, Icons in Ash: Human Portraits (May 1, 2017), ed. Heide Hatry (Barrytown/Station Hill Press).

“A Crash Course in Disaster Survival: A Critical Fiction About Paul Segers,” essay on artist Paul Seger’s performances and installations in exhibition catalog, The Scene Changes (Netherlands: Onomatopee, 2017).

“Foreword,” Culture Jamming: Activism and the Art of Cultural Resistance, ed. Marilyn Delaure and Moritz Fink (New York: NYU Press, 2017).

Chuck Berry and the Modernist Fable of ‘Johnny B. Goode,’” an essay on Berry as “Pop psychogeographer,” on the occasion of his death, Hyperallergic, March 28, 2017.

A Crash Course For the Ravers: Bowie Studies Comes of Age,” essay on serious scholarly interest in David Bowie, followed by an interview with philosopher Simon Critchley about his book Bowie, The Los Angeles Review of Books, March 16, 2017.


The Persistence of Hunger: Dalí’s Dissatisfying Cookbook,” essay on Surrealist cuisine, pegged to Taschen’s reprint of Salvador Dali’s cookbook, on Hyperallergic, December 29, 2016.

‘Most Evil’: Who Keeps Buying All These Mein Kampfs? Time has not dimmed the appalling (and ultimately soporific) evil tucked into the pages of a book so noxious that no book jacket will ever do it justice.” Essay. The Daily Beast, March 20, 2016.

Sci-Fi Hero Samuel Delany’s Outsider Art: The artistically eclectic author talks about his fiction, the importance of a visual imagination, and how hard it is to get decent artwork on a book jacket.” Profile/interview. The Daily Beast, March 5, 2016.

Afrofuturism Reloaded: 15 Theses in 15 Minutes. Why is a term coined 24 years ago – to theorize the dystopian fiction of being black in America, and the radical politics of remembering a dismembered past, and of writing yourself into the future if you’re black, brown, or beige, as Ellington would say – suddenly hotter than a bottle rocket?” Essay on the viral popularity of the “Afrofuturism” meme. Fabrikzeitung magazine, February 1, 2016.

Looking Blackward (With Apologies to Edward Bellamy).” Essay on the coining of the term “Afrofuturism.” Fabrikzeitung magazine, February 1, 2016.


The Beautiful Books the Nazis Burned: Before the Nazis took over, the Weimar republic played host to all kinds of innovative art that pervaded the culture, right down to the designs on book jackets.” Essay. The Daily Beast, October 17, 2015.

Lawrence Ferlinghetti and the Romance of City Lights: Ginsberg’s ‘Howl’ was the most famous of the Pocket Poets series published by City Lights Press, but those striking looking little books changed the course of American lit.” Essay/interview. The Daily Beast, September 15, 2015.

A Series of Unfortunate Questions for Daniel Handler,” interview, with introductory essay, with bestselling children’s and adult author Daniel Handler, a.k.a. Lemony Snicket, pegged to the release of his adult novel We Are Pirates. Boing Boing, July 16, 2016.

Strunk and White’s Macho Grammar Club: The sleek, no-frills esthetic of Modernism and the gray-flannel ’50s both influenced the utilitarian mindset that dictates the rules of usage in The Elements of Style.” Essay. The Daily Beast, July 12, 2015.

Edward Gorey’s Best Book Jackets. Famous for his droll, macabre illustrations and stories, nearly all in black and white, Edward Gorey was also a master of color, as he proved repeatedly with his book jacket designs.” Essay. The Daily Beast, May 25, 2015.

Guest-edited special issue of Review: Literature and Arts of the Americas, “Latin America and the Technological Imaginary in the Digital Age,” Volume 48, Number 1, May 2015. “The contents of this issue, by a plethora of cutting-edge writers and scholars, explore the topic of the border as well as innovations in pop music, contemporary bio-art, burgeoning forms of digital writing, gender boundaries and representations, science fiction, and the often fine line between human and artificial life—all in relation to cyberculture as manifested in both the United States and Latin America (in countries such as Chile, Colombia, and Mexico).” Purchase a copy here.

Richard Powers’s Pulp Surrealism. In the first installment of a series celebrating book cover art and design, Mark Dery introduces the ’50s sci fi mash-ups (Dali meets Asimov) of the extraordinary Richard Powers.” Essay. The Daily Beast, March 15, 2015.

Eat the Rude: Hannibal Lecter meets the 99%. The good doctor’s tastes illustrate our insecurities about class. Here’s what’s really on the menu in Bryan Fuller’s Hannibal.” Essay. Boing Boing, February 17, 2015.

Let’s put the guilt back in guilty pleasures. Guilty pleasures aren’t always merely self-loathing elitism or ironic tastelessness. They can also be a sign of genuine ambivalence—a feeling to cherish.” Essay. Boing Boing, February 2, 2015.

“Self-Dissection: a conversation with satirical English author Will Self.” Essay, lengthy interview. Boing Boing, January 21, 2015.


Death, Science, Sexology: Mark Dery shines a light into the literary unconscious of Joanna Ebenstein, director of the Morbid Anatomy Museum.” Boing Boing, November 25, 2014.

Solitary Vices: Mikita Brottman on the Books in Her Life,” essay on/interview with the critic and psychoanalyst Mikita Brottman about the terrors of reading, pegged to her book The Solitary Vice: Against Reading. Boing Boing, October 16, 2014.

The Tattooed Dragon Meets The Wolfman: Lenny Kaye’s Science Fiction Fanzines,” essay/interview about Patti Smith guitarist Lenny Kaye’s exhibition, at the New York Art Book Fair, of his collection of science-fiction fanzines spanning the ’40s through the ’70s. Thought Catalog, September 25, 2014.

Shelfie: Evan Michelson,” interview (in the form of a “listicle”) with the antiques dealer and writer Evan Michelson, star of the Science Channel reality TV show Oddities about the Books in Her Life. Part of an ongoing series. Thought Catalog, August 15, 2014.

Shelfie: Luc Sante,” interview with the writer Luc Sante about the Books in His Life. Part of an ongoing series. Thought Catalog, August 13, 2014.

William S. Burroughs and the ‘Dead-End Horror of the Centipede God’: Mark Dery takes a deep, dark look at the world of Chilopodophobia,” essay on the symbolism and psychobiographical roots of centipede imagery in the fiction of Beat writer William S. Burroughs. Boing Boing, August 4, 2014.

Sick Roses: Disease and the Art of Medical Illustration,” interview with cultural historian Richard Barnett on the occasion of the publication of his history of medical illustration, The Sick Rose. Thought Catalog, August 2, 2014.

The Utterly Other: Towards a Politics of the Many Legged,” Part of a series of essays in the “Natural-History Gothic” genre. Essay on bugs, insects, and arthropods as racist metaphors in the context of colonialism, social Darwinism, eugenics, wartime propaganda, and Orientalism, with references to Edward Said and H.P. Lovecraft. Concluding thoughts on the insect metaphor in the age of “object-oriented ontology,” a new philosophical movement that rejects anthropocentricity and considers the ontological status of the “subhuman” and the nonhuman. Conclusion to  a series of essays in the “Natural-History Gothic” genre. Thought Catalog, July 22, 2014.

Nightmares with Many Legs: Centipedes Among Us,” bellelettristic popular-science essay on the evolutionary history, morphology, and behavior of centipedes, and their interactions with humans. Part of a series of essays in the “Natural-History Gothic” genre. Thought Catalog, July 21, 2014.

“‘My God, Kill This Thing!’: Natural-History Gothic,” essay on natural-history writing read as a subgenre of gothic fiction. Part of a series of essays in the “Natural-History Gothic” genre. Thought Catalog, July 16, 2014.

The Anatomy of Disgust: Creeping Things That Creep Upon the Earth,” a philosophical investigation into the emotion of disgust using the centipede as a quintessential example of disgusting things. Part of a series of essays in the “Natural-History Gothic” genre. Thought Catalog, July 14, 2014.

The Centipede Feeds: Predator Porn on YouTube,” an inquiry into the largely (if not entirely) male subculture of centipede hobbyists who post videos, on YouTube, of their giant centipedes eating “pinkies,” as hairless newborn mice are known, and the fear and loathing these videos inspire among non-enthusiasts. Part of a series of essays in the “Natural-History Gothic” genre. Thought Catalog, July 7, 2014.

Memory Palace: Fay Ballard’s ‘House Clearance,” a review-cum-essay-cum-interview inspired by J.G. Ballard’s daughter’s exhibition of drawings of objects, magically charged by memory, which she found while clearing out her father’s Shepperton home. Thought Catalog, May 30, 2014.

The Rat King: On the Fascinations (and Repulsions) of Rattus,” longform digressive essay on the rat as pest, symbol, incarnation of gothic horror, catalyst for digust, human surrogate, food source, and more. From the website blurb: “In what he calls ‘an Experiment in Controlled Digression,’ Mark Dery touches on  Victor Hugo’s fondness for rat pâté, rat-baiting as a betting sport in Victorian times, the rat as New York’s unofficial mascot, Luis Buñuel’s pet rat, scientific research into such pressing questions as whether rats laugh, and whether rats will inherit the Earth as a result of climate change, Dracula’s dominion over rats, and of course the (cryptozoological myth? well-documented phenomenon?) of the Rat King.” Boing Boing, May 27, 2014.

Pipe Dreams: The Curious Case of Rene Magritte,” longform essay on the Surrealist artist Rene Magritte, his interest in philosophers such as Hegel and Foucault, and his role as a philosophical detective, sleuthing out what he called “the mystery” inherent in reality. Thought Catalog, May 19, 2014.

The Revenge of the Lawn: Mark Dery charts America’s ecocidal obsession with nice grass,” longform essay on the social history and ecological costs of the perfectly manicured, unnaturally green suburban lawn. Boing Boing, May 7, 2014.

Permission To Laugh: Isa Genzken’s Exceedingly Unsmiling Art,” review of a retrospective devoted to the German artist Isa Genzken—”grungy, dispirited installations and assemblages suffering from a debilitating post conceptualist hangover.” Thought Catalog, January 31, 2014.


Why the Nightingale Sings: On Bobby Darin’s ‘Beautiful Things.‘” “His studied cool, like a high-roller blowing smoke rings with overdone unconcern, is a dead giveaway. So, too, is the plinkety-plink of marimba keys, so high they make a sharp, brittle noise, like bones, as he sings those words.” Thought Catalog, October 22, 2013.

“On the Aesthetic of Vulnerability,” short essay responding to the assigned theme, “What art has made you feel vulnerable?” in a special issue of The Brooklyn Rail, October 3, 2013.

“The Politics of Style: Reading T Magazine,” essay on the class politics of the fall men’s fashion issue of T, the New York Times Style Magazine. Thought Catalog, September 28, 2013.

Getting the Fear: Manson, Me, and the Summer of Hate,” personal essay on growing up in Southern California, in 1969, in the shadow of the Manson murders. Thought Catalog, September 23, 2013.

The Uncut Hair of Graves: Surrealist Gardening,” an essay on the bourgeois politics of gardening, and some speculative thoughts on what bohemian, even transgressive, gardening might look like. Thought Catalog, September 1, 2013.

Blood Sports in a Starched Collar: Surrealist Etiquette,” a political history, and cultural critique, of etiquette. Thought Catalog, July 30, 2013.

Skin in the Game: An American Gothic, in Black and White,” an essay on race hate, the history of lynching, and the murder of Trayvon Martin. Thought Catalog, July 22, 2013.

Castle of the Living Dead: Time, Embalmed,” an essay, equal parts philosophical investigation (of memory, time, and museum vitrines) and autobiography (the author reminiscences about the suburban horror of nature in Southern California, where he grew up, and his fossilizing memories of that time). Thought Catalog, June 30, 2013.

Josh Ozersky,” interview with the noted food writer and cultural historian as part of “Mythologies.” Thought Catalog, June 11, 2013.

All the Young Dudes: Why Glam Matters,” an 8,000-word essay, published for the Kindle e-reader by Boing Boing, on 1970’s glam rock as rebellion through style. Equal parts fan letter, visual-culture criticism, queer theory, and true confession, “All the Young Dudes” explores the cultural politics, especially its implications for straight masculinity, of a movement often dismissed as  clothes-horse escapism. Boing Boing books, June 3, 2013.

But I Digress: On the Point of Not Getting to the Point,” an essay on the digressive essay as the literary answer to the Situationist dérive, an aimless stroll through a city in search of the unexpected and the revealing. Thought Catalog, June 2, 2013.

“‘Thank God I’m an Atheist: Bunuel’s Last Laugh,” an essay on the Surrealist filmmaker Luis Bunuel; second in a series called “Self-Help for Surrealists,” Thought Catalog, May 29, 2013.

England My England: Anglophilia Explained,” a 29-page essay, published on March 11, 2013, as a Kindle single by Thought Catalog, on the American obsession with Britishness, and what it means.

Nerval’s Lobster,” essay on the proto-Surrealist poet Gerard de Nerval, who famously took a lobster for a walk in a Paris park; first in a series called “Self-Help for Surrealists,” Boing Boing, February 18, 2013.

The Kraken Wakes: What Architeuthis is Trying to Tell Us,” bellettristic (yet heavily reported!) science article, featuring interviews with the world’s three top squid scientists, about the first-ever capture of the giant squid on video, Boing Boing, January 28, 2013.


Edward Gorey’s gothic tales from the vault: Edward Gorey’s arch eccentrics are on display in two reissues and a never-before-published story,” book review, The Los Angeles Times, October 26, 2012.

The Last Roman: What Gore Vidal Taught Us,” essay on Gore Vidal’s literary persona, that of a disillusioned patrician noting the decline of American democracy, Thought Catalog, August 24, 2012.

A Sock in the Face: A Look Back at Gore Vidal’s Famous Feud,” short essay on Gore Vidal’s 1968 near-brawl, on national TV, with William F. Buckley, Las Vegas CityLife, August 8, 2012.

“Last Word: Lost in Limbo,” essay, “Mark Dery, reflecting on his recent life as a self-described ‘career patient,’ implores hospital architects to collaborate with interior designers, psychologists and neuroscientists in order to eradicate forever the pain of ‘medical incarceration,'” Architectural Review Asia Pacific, issue #124, June 15, 2012.

The Dark Carnival shuts down: A searing tribute to that Nostalgic Futurist, Ray Bradbury,” essay on Ray Bradbury as conservative visionary on the occasion of his death, Las Vegas CityLife, June 14, 2012.

Mail Bonding:  Mark Dery on Floating Worlds: The Letters of Edward Gorey and Peter F. Neumeyer,” The Los Angeles Review of Books, May 7, 2012.

A Season in Hell,” lengthy essay on My Cancer Year, the psychology of being a patient, the “overlit purgatory” of the hospital, and how being a writer kept me sane in the face of a near-fatal disease, Boing Boing, April 12, 2012.


The Importance Of Being Ernest: Hemingway Meets The Gay Gothic,” essay on Hemingway’s anxious masculinity—his homophobia, latent homosexuality, transvestic fantasies, hair fetishism, and overall “genderqueerness,” pegged on the “restored edition” of A Moveable Feast, Thought Catalog, December 9, 2011.

Brazil: Nonstop Carnival? One Big Favela? Country of the Future? Gunter Axt Explains It All For You,” interview with the Brazilian cultural historian Gunter Axt, Thought Catalog, October 21, 2011.

Profile of architect Miles Kemp, practitioner of robotic/interactive architecture, Icon magazine, issue 099.

Slicing Open the Eyeball: Rick Poynor on Surrealism and the Visual Unconscious,” interview with the visual-culture critic Rick Poynor about the persistence of Surrealism, Thought Catalog, March 17, 2011.

Ghost Babies,” an extensively revised version of an essay previously published in the Australian magazine Photofile, on the traffic, on eBay, in Victorian post-mortem photography, Boing Boing, March 25, 2011.

“‘It’s what’s inside you’: Decades after the Enterprise was mothballed, why is Star Trek still boldly going?,” essay on the Trek mythos and its indefatigable fandom, Las Vegas City Life, March 24, 2011.

“Dawn of the Dead Mall: The landscape is littered with the giant carcasses of failed retail emporia. Ideas for what’s next are no less visionary. But are they any more practical?,” reprinted in Signs of Life in the U.S.A., 7/e, ed. Sonia Maasik and Jack Solomon (New York: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2011).

Edward Gorey’s Sensibility is Growing Like Nightshade,” feature on the artist Edward Gorey’s posthumous popularity and his mounting influence on pop culture, The New York Times, March 2, 2011.

Architecture Fiction: Premonitions of the Here and Now,” essay on the emerging literary genre of architecture fiction, Thought Catalog, February 9, 2011.

“Eloquent Hands,” essay on a “celebration gift book” (ca. 1908), produced by Dr. W.H. Whitslar, Treasures of the National Library of Medicine, ed. Michael Sappol (New York: Blast Books, 2011).

Gun Play: An American Tragedy, in Three Acts,” essay on guns in the American imagination, and the role of toy guns in American boyhood, Thought Catalog, January 19, 2011.


Hate is All Around: The Politics of Enthusiasm (and its Discontents),” essay on the insistence, in socially networked Web culture, that we Favorite This! and Like that, Thought Catalog, December 13, 2010.

“Dystopia: The Psychopathology of Everyday Life,” essay on the photographer Nicholas Cobb, Photofile, Issue 91, December 10-March 11, 2010, pps. 42-51.

This Mortal Coil: A Final Report on Peter ‘Sleazy’ Christopherson,” essay on the late Christopherson, who in the ’80s pioneered the industrial aesthetic with the band Throbbing Gristle, Thought Catalog, November 29, 2010.

“Embalmed on eBay: Mark Dery explores the forensics of ghost babies online,” essay on the growing traffic in post-mortem photography, Photofile, Issue 90, August-November 10, 2010, pps. 56-63. (Reprinted in the webzine 21.C, here.)

Goodbye to All This: On Leaving True/Slant,” essay on writing in the age of “content farms” and algorithmically determined article topics, True/Slant, August 2, 2010.

Mysterious Stranger: Twain Autobiography Reveals Grandpa’s Dark Side,” True/Slant, July 16, 2010.

Public Regions: The Fate of Solitude in the Age of Always Connect,” essay on the tension between privacy and public in online culture, and the disappearance of solitude in American life, True/Slant, June 25, 2010.

“Dark Places: Historical Memory in the Land of Amnesia,” essay on the politics of memory in Southern Californian culture, in Art is Dead/Art is Alive, ed. Perry Vasquez (San Diego, CA: Border Corps Publishing, 2010), catalogue for the exhibition “Here Not Here: San Diego Art NOW,” Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego.

Why Margaret Thatcher is Sexier than Sarah Palin: On Irony and the Iron Lady,” essay on Thatcher’s sado-masochistic sex appeal (in the eyes of some English male intellectuals), and the possible roots of that allure in the British prep-school fondness for caning, True/Slant, June 16, 2010.

Have We No Sense of Decency, Sir, at Long Last?“: On Adult Diapers, Erectile Dysfunction, and Other Joys of Oversharing,” essay on the death of shame and the end of privacy, True/Slant, June 7, 2010.

“(Face)Book of the Dead,” a Boing Boingspecial feature (substantially expanded version of Cabinet essay of the same name), May 26, 2010.

Kraken Rising: How the Cephalopod Became Our Zeitgeist Mascot,” H+magazine, May 24, 2010.

When Animals Attack!: On Gordon Grice’s Deadly Kingdom,” True/Slant, May 21, 2010.

Endtime for Hitler: On the Downfall of the Downfall Parodies,” True/Slant, April 27,  2010.

Horde Mentality: Mark Dery probes the intersection of anti-government paranoids and pop culture’s favorite symbol of doom, zombies,” Las Vegas Weekly, April 22, 2010.

Aladdin Sane Called. He Wants His Lightning Bolt Back: On Lady Gaga,” True/Slant, April 20, 2010.

Bunker of Broken Dreams,” a review of “Landscapes of Quarantine,” a group show at Storefront for Art and Architecture, Change Observer, April 4, 2010.

“(Face)book of the Dead,” an essay on friendship in the age of social networking, in Cabinet magazine, issue 36, Winter 2009/10.

Dead Metaphors: What Do Zombies Mean?, Part 2,” True/Slant, March 25, 2010.

Dead Man Walking: What Do Zombies Mean?,” True/Slant, March 17, 2010.

Coming of Age in Wonderland: Burton’s Alice, Depp’s Hatter, Carroll’s Dreamchild,” True/Slant, March 8, 2010.

What’s Inside The Hatter? The surprising significance of the top hat, in Alice and other wonderlands,” The Las Vegas Weekly, March 4, 2010.

“How I Lost One Leper Messiah, and Gained Another,” an eight-part serialized essay in Religion Dispatches that used the author’s conversion, in the mid-1970s, from teenage Jesus Freak to devout Bowie fan, as a lens for examining the connections between evangelical Christianity and rock fandom:

“‘Till There Was Rock You Only Had God’: How I Lost One Leper Messiah, and Gained Another,” Part 1, Religion Dispatches, February 26, 2010.

“‘Should I Scream and Shout, Should I Speak of Love?’: How I Lost One Leper Messiah, and Gained Another,” Part 2, Religion Dispatches, March 5, 2010.

Coffeehouse Churches and the ‘Party-on Messiah’: How I Lost One Leper Messiah, and Gained Another,” Part 3, Religion Dispatches, March 12, 2010.

Jesus Loses His Freak: How I Lost One Leper Messiah, and Gained Another,” Part 4, Religion Dispatches, March 19, 2010.

“‘My Prayer Flies Like a Word on a Wing’: How I Lost One Leper Messiah, and Gained Another,” Part 5, Religion Dispatches, March 26, 2010.

“‘Make Way For The Homo Superior’: How I Lost One Leper Messiah, and Gained Another,” Part 6, Religion Dispatches, April 2, 2010.

The Church of Man-Love: How I Lost One Leper Messiah, and Gained Another,” Part 7, Religion Dispatches, April 9, 2010.

The Transfiguration of the Fanboy: How I Lost One Leper Messiah, and Gained Another, The Conclusion,” Part 8, Religion Dispatches, April 16, 2010.

A Locker-Room Rap with Coach Chomsky: The Politics of Sports, Part II,” column for the website True/Slant, February 24.

Ghostcards: Thanks to Folk Photography, at long last, we’ve got mail,” essay on Luc Sante’s book Folk Photography, about early 20th century postcards, The Las Vegas Weekly, February 17, 2010.

Jocko Homo: How Gay is the Super Bowl?,” column for the website True/Slant, February 9, 2010.


The Vast Santanic Conspiracy: Is St. Nick the Tool of a Plot Too Monstrous to Mention?,” Las Vegas Weekly, December 24, 2009.

“‘Stardust’ memories: Bowie reconsidered,”  Las Vegas Weekly, December 16, 2009.

“’Naked Lunch’ at 50: The years haven’t dulled the grotesque, ‘gut-grabbing jolt’ of this twisted classic,” Las Vegas Weekly, December 2, 2009.

Dawn of the Dead Mall: The landscape is littered with the giant carcasses of failed retail emporia. Ideas for what’s next are no less visionary. But are they any more practical?,” Change Observer, November 12, 2009.

2012: Carnival of Bunkum,” H+ magazine, November 12, 2009.

Words I Want Carved on My Tomb: Jim Carroll, R.I.P. Paying respects to the cult figure who was a writer’s idea of a punk rocker and a punk rocker’s idea of a writer,” Mother Jones, September 21, 2009.

Paradise Fouled: Joe Berlinger’s documentary film Crude spotlights an enviromental atrocity that has gone almost unnoticed,” Change Observer, September 9.

“Cortex Envy: Bringing Up Baby Einstein,” a psychobiographical essay on the IQ test, in Cabinet magazine, issue 34, summer 2009.

Featured guestblogger, (the Web’s fifth most popular blog, according to the blog-ranking site Technorati), August 3-17. Posts included the following mini-essays:

My Roman Holiday

A Young Person’s Guide to the Pathological Sublime

Dery and Lecter Do Italy

Abjection Sustained

Great Caesar’s Ghost

Aphrodites of the Operating Theater

Smart Bombs: Mark Dery, Steven Pinker on the Nature-Nurture Wars and the Politics of IQ,” interview with the Harvard neuroscientist and linguist,, August 14.

“Spotlight” review of Lucha Libre: The Family Portraits by Lourdes Grobet, Barnes & Noble Review.

“Solar Flare: Sun Ra’s album covers were wild, inspired, and a universe away from Blue Note,” feature on the graphic-design sensibility of the jazz composer Sun Ra, Print, June 2009, pps. 86-93.

Love in the Time of Swine Flu: David Lida’s Affair with Mexico City,” feature article on David Lida, author of First Stop in the New World: Mexico City, the Capital of the 21st Century, The Brooklyn Rail, June 2009.

Miracles of Life: J.G. Ballard’s Pre-posthumous Memoir: A surreal sort of life,” essay on J.G. Ballard, pegged on his autobiography Miracles of Life, The L.A. Weekly, February 10, 2009.

“Vector Block on Telecoms Avenue,” essay on/inteview with Critical Art Ensemble, Proud to be Flesh: a Mute Magazine Anthology, ed. Pauline van Mourik Broekman and Simon Worthington, (New York: Autonomedia, 2009).

“Jesus is Just Alright,” in Believer, Beware: First-Person Dispatches from the Margins of Faith, ed. Jeff Sharlet, Peter Manseau, and Meera Subramanian (Beacon Press), anthology of writings on religion from the webzine Killing the Buddha.


Does the Orphan Works Bill Mean Copyright Chaos?,” Print, December 2008.

“Cowgirls and Werebabes: When Porn Leaps the Species Barrier,” in Pr0nnovation? Pornography and Technological Innovation, ed. Johannes Grenzfurthner, Guenther Friesinger, Daniel Fabry (San Francisco: RE/Search Publications, spring 2009), anthology of papers from the 2007 Arse Elektronika conference in San Francisco.

McClellan’s ‘Matrix’ moment: Bush’s former press secretary has stumbled out of a White House that lets political rhetoric shape reality,” op-ed, The Los Angeles Times, June 7, 2008.


“Black to the Future: Afro-Futurism 1.0,” essay on African-American technoculture, in Afro-Future Females: Black Writers Chart Science Fiction’s Newest New Wave Trajectory, ed. Marleen Barr (Ohio State University Press).

The Hidden Costs of America’s Hypermasculine Culture: How America’s fear of femininity is driving some of our worst foreign policy mistakes,” alternate, expanded version of LAT op-ed,, posted May 9, 2007.

Wimps, Wussies, and W.: How Americans’ infatuation with masculinity has perilous consequences,” op-ed, The Los Angeles Times, May 3, 2007. (This one really went viral, inspiring a vomitorium’s worth of semiliterate, semicoherent right-wing hate mail, guest appearances by your narrator on the radio shows of Fox commentators Bill O’Reilly and John Gibson, and a Director’s Cut version of the original essay on the left/liberal website AlterNet.)

Idol slayer? Can one man topple an empire?,” brief thoughts contributed to an online roundtable on American Idol,, April 4, 2007.

“Armies of the Night: Satan’s Fetus Stalks the Suburbs,” essay about the Jerusalem Cricket as myth and symbol in the “Insects” issue of Cabinet magazine, issue 25, pps. 68-74.

“Paradise Lust: Pornotopia Meets the Culture Wars,” essay on the cultural politics of online sexual subcultures, and “Naked Lunch: Talking Realcore with Sergio Messina,” interview about “realcore” amateur porn phenomenon with online sexology researcher Sergio Messina, in C’Lick Me: A Netporn Reader, ed. Katrien Jacobs, Matteo Pasquinelli, and Marije Janssen (Amsterdam: The Institute of Network Culture).

“Word Salad Surgery: Surrealist Spam, Deconstructed,” published in Spanish and English in the Colombian magazine El Niuton magazine.

“The Being John Malkovich Syndrome,” essay on blogging, published in Portuguese in the Brazilian magazine Revista Cult, June 2007.

“Fatiga de Batalha,” revised and expanded version of essay on camo chic, published in Portuguese in the Brazilian newspaper Zero Hora, February 17, 2007.

The Devil Wears Camo—or Does He? Cultural Confusion Over a Military Motif,” revised and expanded version of I.D. essay “Pattern Recognition,” Utne Reader, March-April 2007, pps. 38-39.


“Q&A: Cultural anthropologists Stuart Ewen and Elizabeth Ewen on the history of stereotyping,” interview, I.D. magazine, December 2006, pps. 32-33.

“‘Always Crashing in the Same Car’: A Head-On Collision with the Technosphere,” essay on the cyborgian psychology of car and driver, in Against Automobility (Oxford: Blackwell Publishing/Sociological Review), pps. 223-239.

Ancient Astronauts and Forgotten Dreams: A Requiem for the Space Age,” reprint of extensive excerpt from “In Search of Ancient Astronauts: A Requiem for the Space Age” (Cabinet magazine) in Utne Reader, November-December 2006, pps. 41-43. Cover story.

Pattern Recognition: Why aren’t designers and wearers of camouflage chic experiencing a sharp pain in the conscience?,” I.D. magazine, November 2006, p. 26.

“Struck By Noetic Lightning,” essay on/interview with digital-culture philosopher Terence McKenna, and “Postfuture Shock,” interview with me, in Follow for Now: Interviews with Friends and Heroes (Well-Read Bear/Front Wheel Drive magazine), ed. Roy Christopher.

“Bound for Glory: Advances in screen-based reading may make the book as we know it extinct. Mark Dery wonders what we’ll lose when all that paper melts into zeroes and ones.” Essay on the death of the print medium, Print magazine, Jul/Aug 2006, pps. 44-49.

The Great Scapegoat: Paris may be burning, but Le Corbusier didn’t light the match,” essay on modernist master-planned housing in France and its role in the revolt of the immigrant underclass, I.D. magazine, June 2006, p. 28.

A Cartoonist in Despair? Now That’s Funny,” feature on underground cartoonist Mark Newgarden, The New York Times, “Styles” section, March 19, 2006.


“Scary Cute,” feature on the designer toy movement’s roots in Japanese aesthetics, in I.D., November 2005, Vol. 52, Issue 7.

“Brown Power: The Mass-Marketed ‘Cholo’ Style is Only a Fragment of an Influential Collage of Mexican-American Symbolism and Pop-Culture Design,” article on Mexican-American design culture, in Print magazine, Sept/Oct 2005, pps. 94-101.

In Search of Ancient Astronauts: A Requiem for the Space Age,” essay on growing up as the son of an aeronautics worker, in the aerospace culture of Southern California in the ’70s, in Cabinet, issue 18, pps. 35-39.

“Stranger in a Strange Land: How East Coast Native and Pop-Culture Guru Mark Dery Became a Chula Vista Homeboy,” cover story in San Diego CityBeat, June 1, 2005, by Kelly Davis. Brief interview/profile and lengthy excerpt from my essay “Loving the Alien: Or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Become Californian.”

“Loving the Alien: Or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Become Californian,” essay on Southern Californian culture in the 1970s, in Sunshine/Noir: Writing From San Diego And Tijuana, ed. Jim Miller (San Diego: CityWorks Press, 2005).

“Trumpery: Why should The Donald be Fired? Look up.,” I.D., May 2005, p. 30.

“The Mechanical Bridegroom Stripped Bare: A Catechism of McLuhanism for Unbelievers,” essay on the religious subtext of Marshall McLuhan’s theories of media, in The Legacy of McLuhan, ed. Lance Strate and Edward Wachtel (Hampton Press, 2005), pps. 95-106.

“Paradise Lust,” an essay on the sexual experimentation of the ’70s and the current backlash against freedom of sexual expression, in Vogue Hommes, spring/summer ’05, pps. 244-7.


“Dead Seas,” essay on the psychological effects of landscape (specifically, the “psychogeology” of Southern California), Cabinet magazine, issue 16, Winter 2004, pps. 57-63.

“Killing Time” and “Paradise Recycled,” essays on the postmodern sense of time and obsolete utopias, respectively, in Ciberliteratura, a volume in the Ciberscopio anthology (Portugal: Ariadne Editora, 2004), which includes seven digital culture-related titles. Distributed in Portugal.

“Axles of Evil,” essay on the relationship between America’s love affair with SUVs and its oil-driven foreign policy, Vogues Hommes, fall/winter 04-05, pps. 148-9.

“Design Beyond Reach: Why is the promise of well-wrought, affordable products still mostly hype?,” I.D., September/October 2004, p. 34.

“The Sex of Joy,” social history and cultural critique of illustrations in sex manuals, Print, July/August, pps. 78-81.

“Blinded by the Light: Religion, California style,” Vogues Hommes, spring-summer 2004, pps. 230-233.

“A Terrible Beauty: Does our humanity falter if we acknowledge an esthetic gratification in the visual facade of tragedy?,” essay on the moral questions raised by aesthetic appreciation of images of tragedy and catastrophe, Print, January/February 2004.


“Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Severed Head,” Cabinet, essay on the symbolism and cultural history of the severed head, spring 2003.

“The Future We Deserve,” Dwell, profile of sci-fi novelist and design theorist Bruice Sterling, Nov/Dec 2003, p. 130.

“Distress Signal: Mark Dery on Recent Ruins,” Bookforum, Winter 2003, p. 31.

Streaming Media: Mark Dery on futuristic fetish sites—money shots meet The Matrix,”, August 11.

“Goodbye, Cruel Words,” Bookforum, essay on the suicide note as literature, Summer 2003, p. 56.

“Public Enemy: Confrontation,” in That’s the Joint!: The Hip-Hop Studies Reader, ed. Murray Forman and Mark Anthony Neal (Routledge).

“Nothing Obsolesces Like the Future,” Dwell, May 2003, pps. 102-106.

“The Mother of All Bodice Rippers: Mark Dery on Saddam Hussein, romance novelist,” Bookforum, Spring 2003, p. 56.

“Fascinating Fascism 2.0,” Vogues Hommes International, essay on pop culture’s obsession with the Third Reich, spring/summer 03, pps. 252-255.

“Memories of the Future: Excavating the Jet Age at the TWA Terminal,” from the anthology Prefiguring Cyberculture: An Intellectual History, ed. Darren Tofts, Annemarie Jonson, Alessio Cavallaro (Sydney, Australia/Boston, MA: Power Publications, University of Sydney/ MIT Press).


“Mind Games,” Print magazine, 2002 LVI:III, pps. 70-75. Critique/profile of the webdesign team Hi-Res!

“Blunt Instrument,” BookForum, Winter 2002, p. 56. Invisible Lit column on the MMPI (Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Index) as literature.

Gray Matter,” essay on the New York Academy of Medicine Library, in the Village Voice Literary Supplement, Fall 2002, p. 116.

“Object Relations,” essay on the auction catalogue as cultural artifact, in Bookforum, Fall 2002, p. 52.

“Tripe Soup for the Soul,” Bookforum, essay on the Daily Affirmation as a literary form, Summer 2002.

“The Sunshine Syndrome: Portrait of the Artist as a Jaundiced Don Diego,” in Take My Advice: Letters to the Next Generation From People Who Know a Thing or Two, ed. James L. Harmon (Simon & Schuster, 2002), pps. 84-91.

“Robocopulation: Sex Times Technology Equals the Future,” in Cyber Reader: Critical Writings for the Digital Era, ed. Neil Spiller (Phaidon, 2002), pps. 274-279.

“Lone Gunmen,” Bookforum, Spring 2002, p. 52. “Invisible Lit” column on investigative-reporting website,, and its founders’ obsession with government documents and criminal records.

“Curvature of the Spline: Trends in Biomorphic Design,” I.D., April 2002, p. 54.


“Hotlist,” Artforum.

“Memo Mori,” NOEMA, Winter 2001.

“Blade Runner: A Eulogy for Just Merrit,” Telepolis.

The Necro Files: Apocalypse Culture Falls Off the Edge,” in War of the Words: 20 Years of Writing on Contemporary Literature, ed. Joy Press (Three Rivers Press), pps. 276-78. Essay on Feral House publisher Adam Parfrey and the death of alt.culture.

Review of Selling Ben Cheever: Back to Square One in a Service Economy, by Ben Cheever, Wired, November 2001, p. 206.

“The Guru of Grunge,” I.D., October 2001, p. 26. Brief article on punk graphic designer Art Chantry.

“The Possessed,” Washington Post Book World, September 16, 2001, pps. 6-7. Review of American Exorcism: Expelling Demons in the Land of Plenty, by Michael W. Cuneo.

“Paper Trail,” Bookforum, Fall 2001, pps. 50-52. Essay on information anxiety.

“Give Us This Day Our Daily Read: Infomaniac Mark Dery mourns his addiction to The New York Times,” Mute, July 2001, Issue 20, p. 23.

“The Blob That Ate Design,” Interiors, June 2001, p. 71. Column. Essay on the “blobject” aesthetic in industrial design.

“Exquisite Corpses,” Bookforum, Summer 2001, p. 5.

Review of Cyborg Citizen: Politics in the Posthuman Age, Wired, May 2001, p. 169.

Fleshed Out,” Village Voice, April 10, 2001, p. 123.

Gorilla Warfare,” Village Voice, March 13, 2001, p. 119.

Ancient History (pre-2001):

“Media Orgy: Cybersex Addiction,”, July 5, 2000.

“Finding God Among the Aliens,” Salon, June 30, 1999.

“Fractal Flesh: Stelarc’s Aesthetic of Prosthetics,” TalkBack! e-zine, 1996.

“The Merry Pranksters And the Art of the Hoax,” The New York Times, December 23, 1990. The first major feature in a national publication on “culture jamming.”

“Wild Nature (The Unabomber Meets the Digerati),” 21.C. Early essay version of what would later become a chapter in The Pyrotechnic Insanitarium.

Hacking Barbie’s Voice Box: “Vengeance is Mine!” Originally published in New Media magazine, “Technoculture” column, May 1994.

Slashing the Borg: Resistance is Fertile. (An essay on Star Trek porn, textual poaching, and the closeted desires of the leather-bound Borg, originally published in the Australian cyberzine 21.C.)

Terrorvision: Panopticism in the Age of Totally Hidden Video.” Originally published in Mondo 2000.

Wired Unplugged,” originally published in Educom Review, Volume 30, Number 3, 1995.

Marshall McLuhan: The Medium’s Messenger . Originally published in Educom Review; later extensively revised and vastly expanded for The Legacy of McLuhan, an academic anthology edited by Lance Strate.


A heap of steaming Suck columns. (Scroll past bio blurb; links at bottom of page.) If only that heartwarmingly snarky webzine were still around…

A slew of articles for the late, lamented webzine, GettingIt.

My index page on the resurrected website for the technoculture magazine 21.C, the tragically hip Australian glossy that had a lock on the ’90s zeitgeist. 21.C continues to publish, albeit erratically, as an online-only publication.

Just what the world’s been waiting for: An even more thorough accounting of my Village Voice articles. Here’s my review of Advertising Today by Warren Berger. Here’s my article “Fleshed Out,” about Stephen T. Asma’s Stuffed Animals and Pickled Heads. And here’s “Brain Food,” my VLS cover story on Hannibal Lecter as cultural icon, pegged on the novel Hannibal (which sucked and blew. But you knew that). I wrote a half-dozen other articles for the Voice, but its current corporate parent is either too cash-strapped or too criminally clueless to put its vast, historically invaluable archives online, a move that would surely increase its ad revenue by cranking up pageviews. And they wonder why The Revolution was a fail

Rock’s Back Pages, a mammoth, pay-per-view “exclusive archive of 50 years of rock ‘n’ roll history,” ranging from articles to audio recordings of interviews, now offers (to paid subscribers, with a few freebies to bait the trap) some of my rockcrit and music journalism from the Early Years of Bitter Struggle.

My page is HERE.

Some of my Greatest Hits include stories on, or round-up features including, Laurie Anderson, Afrika Bambaataa, John Zorn, De La Soul, Negativland, Gary Lucas, Coldcut, The Cure, Digital Underground, Grandmaster Flash, Kraftwerk, Husker Du, The Orb, Sonic Youth, the unforgettable Sonny Sharrock, and the incomparable Shriekback (a personal favorite, whom I leapt at the chance to interview).

Selected Interviews:

“Struck By Noetic Lightning: Terence McKenna Meets the Machine Elves of Hyperspace.” This, one of my favorite interviews, originally appeared in 21.C.

The Rabbit Warren Report: An Investigation into the Funhouse Logic and Reality Tunnels of novelist Robert Anton Wilson.” Another brain-jangling exchange first published in 21.C.

“At Work in the Fields of the Mouse: What do you get when a postmodernist ethnographer from New York City decides to live and work among the natives of Disney’s neo-utopian Florida town,” an interview with Andrew Ross for The Atlantic Online, September 15, 1999.

“With Liberty and Justice for Me: Is the Internet giving ordinary people more control over their lives,” an interview with Andrew L. Shapiro for The Atlantic Online, July 22, 1999.

“Virtual Reality Bites Back,” an interview with Julian Dibbell for The Atlantic Online, January 28, 1999.

Interview with Clive Barker for Carpe Noctem, a goth ‘zine, issue 13.

Interview with Critical Art Ensemble. Originally published in the Australian technoculture magazine 21.C.

Interview with Stuart Ewen , November 11, 1996,

Downsizing the Future: Beyond Blade Runner with Mike Davis.” Originally published in the Australian technoculture magazine 21.C.

Out of Control, a “trialogue” with Deleuzean philosopher Manuel De Landa and machine artist Mark Pauline of Survival Research Laboratories, originally published—and hamfistedly edited—by Wired; this version includes a clunky opening graph, grafted onto the piece without my consent.