Joel Stein (born July 23, 1971) is an American journalist who wrote
Los Angeles Times
Los Angeles Times and is a former columnist for Time.
1 Early life
3 Controversial columns
5 Depictions in popular culture
7 External links
Stein grew up in Edison, New Jersey, the son of a salesman. He is
Jewish. Stein attended J.P. Stevens High School, where he was a
writer and entertainment editor for Hawkeye, the student newspaper. He
majored in English at
Stanford University and wrote a weekly column
for the school's student newspaper, The Stanford Daily. He graduated
in 1993 with a BA and an MA and moved to New York City, and then to
Los Angeles in 2005.
Stein's career began as a writer and researcher for Martha Stewart
Living. He worked a year for Stewart and later quipped that she had
fired him twice in the same day. Stein did fact-checking at various
publications before becoming a sports editor and columnist for Time
Out New York, where he stayed for two years. While working at Time Out
New York, he was a contestant on MTV's short-lived game show Idiot
Savants. Stein joined Time in August 1997 and his last column for the
magazine appeared on November 16, 2017. In signing off, he began,
“Since my first column, 19 years ago, readers and co-workers have
clamored to have me fired.” He concluded, “There are times when
society needs a punk who doesn’t care. There are far fewer times
when society needs a 46-year-old punk who doesn’t care. I’ve
always been guilty of hanging on too long out of fear of graduating
college, ending relationships and transitioning from democracy to
authoritarianism. I look forward to a future columnist who makes me
laugh about that.” 
Stein sometimes appears as a commentator on television programs such
as I Love the '80s. He also co-produced three TV pilots: an animated
VH1 and two for ABC. The animated show, titled Hey Joel,
aired in Canada and later in South Africa, while the other two were
never picked up. He was a writer and producer for the sitcom Crumbs.
Stein taught a class on humor writing at
Princeton University before
Los Angeles in early 2005 to write for the Los Angeles
Times. In 2012, he published a book, Man Made: A Stupid Quest for
Masculinity (ISBN 978-0446573122).
On January 24, 2006, the
Los Angeles Times
Los Angeles Times published a column by Stein
under the headline "Warriors and Wusses" in which he wrote that it is
a cop-out to oppose a war and yet claim to support the soldiers
fighting it. "I don't support our troops. ... When you volunteer for
the U.S. military, you pretty much know you're not going to be fending
off invasions from Mexico and Canada. So you're willingly signing up
to be a fighting tool of American imperialism ...". He prefaced his
argument by stating that he does not support the troops in Iraq
despite supporting the troops being "a position that even Calvin is
unwilling to urinate on." Stein states he did three interviews
about the column on the
Hugh Hewitt radio show, with Tony Snow, and
with a "liberal" in Oregon.
Mark Steyn wrote in a New York Sun
opinion piece that Stein was to be congratulated for the consistency
of his position: "Stein is a hawkish chicken, disdaining the weasel
formulation too many anti-war folks take refuge in." Warrant
Officer Michael D. Fay wrote in
The New York Times
The New York Times that Stein's
comments made him feel "sad because they're so mistaken, sad because
their voices are granted a modicum of credence in the public forum,
and sad because they leave me feeling a little less at home."
In 2008, Stein, being Jewish himself, wrote an article for the Los
Angeles Times titled "Who runs Hollywood? C'mon". It attempted to
highlight and yet argue against the importance of supposed Jewish
control over Hollywood. It has since been picked up by Lew
The Guardian newspaper, the Jewish Journal, and
Professor Kevin B. MacDonald's Occidental Observer.
In July 2010, Stein wrote a humor column for Time in which he
expressed his discomfort at the impact immigration of Indians has had
on his hometown of Edison, New Jersey. Time and Stein subsequently
publicly apologized for the article. Stein's apology read: "I truly
feel stomach-sick that I hurt so many people. I was trying to explain
how, as someone who believes that immigration has enriched American
life and my hometown in particular, I was shocked that I could feel a
tiny bit uncomfortable with my changing town when I went to visit it.
If we could understand that reaction, we'd be better equipped to
debate people on the other side of the immigration issue." United
States Senator from
Bob Menendez submitted a letter to Time
stating that the column "not only fell terribly flat but crossed the
lines of offensiveness toward a particular community that has dealt
with violent hate crimes in the past. Mr. Stein's mocking allusions to
revered deities in the Hindu religion are particularly
reprehensible." Kal Penn, actor and former associate director in
the White House Office of Public Engagement, also criticized the
column for its portrayal of Indian Americans.
Slate magazine writer Tom Scocca wrote of the column, "To a charitable
reader, it's clear that the piece was trying not to be offensive.
Stein's description of his childhood small-town idyll before the mass
immigration is deliberately fake-sentimental, describing lowlife white
kids stealing things and getting drunk. He was trying to make more fun
of white people than he made of Indian people." Nonetheless, Scocca
wrote, many Indian-Americans received the column "as an unironic
In May 2013, Stein penned a Time cover story titled "The Me Me Me
Generation" about the narcissistic and immature tendencies of
millennials, but how they will also "save us all." The New
Republic, The Atlantic, New York, and The Nation,
criticized Stein for selective use of evidence, for making sweeping
generalizations about the behavior of millennials, and for repeating
claims that prior generations had made about the young people in their
“Stein can occasionally be funny,” wrote Variety TV columnist
Brian Lowry when Stein was writing his column for the Los Angeles
Times. “But what really bothers me about his work is that none of
the ideas seem to have the weight to sustain a column. They’re more
like random musings str-et-ch-ed to column length. . . . Somehow,
every column keeps cycling back to Stein’s favorite subject—Joel
Stein, and finding employment opportunities for Joel Stein.”
Stein “is not funny,” wrote Tom Scocca in Slate, arguing that his
"lack of funniness is the key to understanding any phenomenon
involving Joel Stein. He is a bad and incompetent humor writer, a
writer who lacks the basic ability to control his tone and persona. I
know no one under 50 who does not hate him because of this.” Scocca
Joel Stein is a soft writer in a soft gig, dressed up in
an older generation's clothing, with an expired comic license in his
"In a magazine whose regular essayists include such deep thinkers as
Margaret Carlson and Roger Rosenblatt, Stein's
column is decidedly lightweight," wrote the Stanford alumni magazine
in fall 2001. "No one would call Stein's commentary sophisticated."
Stein acknowledged, "My whole goal is to use Time magazine to make
important people do stupid things."
In an online column for Vanity Fair, Juli Weiner characterized Stein
as a "forgettable I Love the '80s participant and Time magazine humor
(?) columnist." 
“I don’t think I am a real journalist,” Stein told Alex
The New York Times
The New York Times in 2000. “I feel like I am, well,
whatever we all are now: I am a celebrity journalist.” Kuczynski
wrote that Stein's columns were marked by "bawdy humor, tasteless
one-liners and something that can best be described as a sort of
polished vulgarity." 
Depictions in popular culture
The Onion spoofed Stein's persona in a satire whose headline
was "Cocktail-Party Guest Cornered by Joel Stein." 
In 2014, Stein played himself on an episode of The Neighbors along
Lawrence O'Donnell and Bill Nye.
^ Stein, Joel (24 May 2012). "What I Learned When My Son Was Born".
The Huffington Post. Retrieved 2013-08-08.
^ Black, D. Grant (15 June 2012). "A wine-sipping, sensitive dad in
search of real manhood". The Globe and Mail. Toronto. Retrieved
^ Stein, Joel. (2012-05-21) The Best Book I've Ever Read. Time.
Retrieved on 2012-06-02.
^ "Authors@Google: Joel Stein". YouTube. September 28, 2012. Retrieved
January 19, 2013.
^ Joel Stein, Warriors and wusses,
Los Angeles Times, January 24,
Joel Stein chat transcript,
Los Angeles Times, January 23, 2007.
^ Mark Steyn, Now We Know, The New York Sun, January 30, 2006.
^ Michael D. Fay, The Next 'Best Generation', The New York Times,
March 27, 2006.
^ Stein, Joel (19 December 2008). "Who runs Hollywood? C'mon". Los
Angeles Times. Retrieved 2013-08-08.
^ Stein, Joel (19 December 2008). "How Jewish is Hollywood?". Los
Angeles Times. Retrieved 2013-08-08.
Joel Stein on Who Runs Hollywood". LewRockwell.com. 6 July 2010.
^ Marks, Lisa (24 December 2008). "Why it's still great to be Jewish
in Hollywood". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 2013-08-08.
^ Berrin, Danielle (6 January 2009). "
Joel Stein hates Torah (but
loves that Jews run Hollywood)". Jewish Journal. Retrieved
^ MacDonald, Kevin (28 July 2010). "Oliver Stone". The Occidental
Observer. Retrieved 2013-08-08.
^ Stein, Joel. "My Own Private India". Time. Retrieved July 2,
^ Senator Menendez Press release, July 12, 2010.
^ Penn, Kal (July 2, 2010). "The "Hilarious" Xenophobia of Time's Joel
Stein". The Huffington Post. Retrieved July 14, 2010.
^ a b Tom Scocca (July 6, 2010). "Joel Stein's Immigrant Problem".
Slate. Retrieved 8 July 2010.
^ Stein, Joel (May 20, 2013). "The Me Generation". Time. Retrieved
November 13, 2013.
^ Tracy, Marc (May 9, 2013). "Time Magazine Cover Story on Millennials
Misses Mark". The New Republic. Retrieved November 13, 2013.
^ Reeve, Elspeth (May 9, 2013). "Every Every Every Generation Has Been
the Me Me Me Generation". The Atlantic. Retrieved November 13,
^ Coscarelli, Joe (May 9, 2013). "'The Me Me Me Generation' vs. 'The
Me Decade'". New York. Retrieved 13 November 2013.
^ Crockett, Emily (May 16, 2013). "Why
Millennials Aren't Lazy,
Entitled Narcissists". The Nation. Retrieved November 13, 2013.
^ Brian Lowry. "Why Joel Stein's Column Irritates Me". Variety.
^ "Stanford Magazine - Article".
^ Juli Weiner. "Time's
Joel Stein Tries to Fit All Known Indian
Stereotypes into Single Column". Vanity Fair.
^ "Time's New Voice Sure Whines a Lot; Humor Columnist Gives Weekly A
Truly Singular Perspective". The New York Times. 10 January
^ "Cocktail-Party Guest Cornered By Joel Stein".
Joel Stein's official site
Biography at the
Los Angeles Times
Biography at TIME
Joel Stein on IMDb
Rumpus interview with Joel Stein