About Me

Kyle Smith (Twitter: @rkylesmith) is critic-at-large for National Review, theater critic for The New Criterion and the author of the novels Love Monkey and A Christmas Caroline. Type a title in the box above to locate a review.

Buy Love Monkey for $4! "Hilarious"--Maslin, NY Times. "Exceedingly readable and wickedly funny romantic comedy"--S.F. Chronicle. "Loud and brash, a helluva lot of fun"--Entertainment Weekly. "Engaging romp, laugh-out-loud funny"-CNN. "Shrewd, self-deprecating, oh-so-witty. Smith's ruthless humor knows no bounds"--NPR

Buy A Christmas Caroline for $10! "for those who prefer their sentimentality seasoned with a dash of cynical wit. A quick, enjoyable read...straight out of Devil Wears Prada"--The Wall Street Journal

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  • Ladies of the Internet, Man Up and Ignore the Trolls

    By kyle | August 16, 2016

    Online abuse happens to everyone who has any public profile whatsoever. Stop whining about it, ladies. More in a column.

    Topics: Tech | 1 Comment »

    What the Facebook Scandal Tells Us

    By kyle | May 10, 2016

    The tech-media complex is marching to the same old progressive tune. More in a column.

    Topics: Tech | 10 Comments »

    Oculus Rift: The Real-Life Orgasmatron

    By kyle | May 5, 2016

    A column in which I predict that virtual reality devices like Oculus Rift are going to further the tech project of driving families apart.

    Topics: Tech | No Comments »

    Millennials Are the New Soylent Green

    By kyle | April 4, 2016

    In my Sunday column, a look at how a tech firm churns through cheap Millennial labor in order to make a handful of officers and investors rich in an IPO.

    Topics: Tech | 2 Comments »

    iPads Are for Rich, Snobby Elite

    By kyle | December 22, 2011

    Or so says the Chronicle of Higher Education, which notes that some students are reluctant to carry them because that wouldn’t be in keeping with their prolier-than-thou self-image. There’s definitely a show-offy aspect to them, but I can’t see this catching on….all negative feeling is out the window when it comes to sparkly Apple products.

    Topics: Tech | No Comments »

    First Thoughts on Kindle Fire

    By kyle | November 15, 2011

    Instapundit reviews, finds some things that weren’t so great but overall gives it a thumbs-up. I’m not sure whether I’ll get one since we already have an iPad in our household and I do plan to get a Kindle Touch (primarily for reading pre-1922 material).

    Topics: Tech | No Comments »

    More on Jobs’ Deadliest Mistake

    By kyle | October 20, 2011

    Steve Jobs put off having a tumor removed for nine months while pursuing quack cures
    in accordance with his wacky anti-science religious beliefs:

    He tries to treat it with diet. He goes to spiritualists. He goes to various ways of doing it macrobiotically and he doesn’t get an operation,” biographer Walter Isaacson said in the interview.

    Jobs deeply regretted putting off a decision that might have ultimately saved his life, according to Isaacson.

    “I think that he kind of felt that if you ignore something, if you don’t want something to exist, you can have magical thinking …. We talked about this a lot,” he said.

    The lesson: No matter how smart you are, know what you don’t know. Arrogance can cost you your life. Also: belief in supernatural forces is equally silly whether you brand it voodoo or Zen Buddhism.

    Topics: Tech | 3 Comments »

    Steve Jobs’ Deadliest Mistake

    By kyle | October 7, 2011

    It’s horrifying to learn that Steve Jobs, for all his brilliance in some fields, was massively hostile to science. That decision probably shortened his life and may well have cost him a normal lifespan. When he first learned he had cancer in the pancreas, this Zen buddhist, like many another California celebrity, rejected conventional wisdom and the near-unanimous opinion of the medicial community and pursued quack cures such as dietary adjustments. Nine months later, when he discovered the tumor had become enlarged (and apparently spread to nearby organs), he finally chose surgery. “Think different” and “follow your dreams” are said to be the lesson of Jobs’ life. A wiser one might be, “Know what you don’t know.” Consider whether a knee-jerk contrarian attitude, even to fields in which you have no expertise, is wise. To be plain, Jobs shortened his life because he thought he was smarter than his doctors.

    Jobs raises anew what I might call the Mickey Mantle question: In a zero-sum situation such as allocating livers for transplant in a world in which demand exceeds supply, is all human life to be valued at the same level? Mantle was a drunk who received a new liver he didn’t really deserve and anyway died a couple of years later.

    Jobs had a liver transplant in 2009. That means some other person who needed a liver didn’t get it. This new liver may have shortened his life further (transplants require drugs to suppress the immune system, which is unwise if you have metastasized cancer) but in any case didn’t extend it beyond two years. I assume it would have been evident to the doctors who installed Jobs’ new liver that the chances of a long-term favorable outcome were very poor since the liver was not the site of localized disease but of metastasized cancer, which is more or less a death sentence.

    I don’t know whether Jobs jumped the queue but it does seem that celebrities and rich people enjoy remarkably good fortune when it comes to confrontations with bureaucracy. Granting that Jobs was a great man — should great men be allowed to jump the queue for liver transplants? What if the person who didn’t get one would have lived another 25 years? Is two years of Jobs’ life worth 25 of an ordinary person’s?

    Topics: Philosophy, Tech | 17 Comments »

    More Bad News for the Kindle

    By kyle | January 20, 2011

    Giffords Standing Up and Using iPad. Amazing.

    Topics: Tech | No Comments »

    Hating on the iPad

    By kyle | December 28, 2010

    A very funny rant from earlier this month on the many, many reasons not to buy an iPad. Christmas giftees: return it! And buy something sensible.

    The scarcest resource in life isn’t money, land, fresh water or gold. For singles under 25, the scarcest resource is sex, and for the rest of us it’s time. And the biggest waste of time I’ve ever discovered—after games (see above)—is the Web. Nothing comes close. It’s a total black hole. Do I want to carry a device that lets me surf the Web endlessly wherever I am? That’s easy. It’s amazing how much time I have to read now that I never look at Facebook. . . .

    This year’s totem is next year’s meh. Economists call this “the hedonic treadmill.” Human beings quickly get bored of each new item. We always want the buzz from something newer, better, bigger, faster or fancier. But the treadmill never stops. Think of how amazing the first Palm Pilots seemed back in the 1990s. Look at them now. The iPad may look like the eighth wonder of the world today. Soon it will seem so old.

    Topics: Tech | No Comments »

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