phamos: (bamababy)
I would really like it if people would just stop talking about the damn New Yorker cover. Yes, it may be tasteless and/or destructive, but there are SO MANY MORE important things that we need to be focusing on. As in, every single one of John McCain's policy positions is either objectionable or nonsensical. When liberals fuel the fire of a non-issue like the New Yorker idiocy, it's just goading on cable news morons who would much rather talk about salacious stuff like cartoon Obama flag burning than substantive things like McCain's theory of "magic economics" where we can balance the budget by slashing taxes, spending more on defense, and getting rid of like $2 in earmarks. TA-DAH! But, you know, that would be vaguely complicated to talk about and might require multisyllabic words, so pundits would obviously rather grunt about terrorist fist jabs. DO NOT ENCOURAGE THEM. WE DO NOT NEED 10 SEPARATE BLOG ENTRIES ON HUFFINGTON POST WITHIN 2 HOURS ON THE NEW YORKER COVER.

That is my public service announcement for the day. Now back to iPhones.
phamos: (Default)
I was extremely disappointed with the Lee Siegel interview on The Daily Show last week. To recap, Lee Siegel is a writer for the New Republic who wrote some really crappy blog post about Jon Stewart, then sockpuppeted his way through the comments talking about how Lee Siegel is an authentic American hero, and you guyz r totally teh suck, so shut up! When his douchetastic sockpuppetry was found out, his blog got shut down and he was briefly suspended from the magazine. To kill time during said suspension, Siegel decided to write a whole book about how the internet is totally stupid anyway, and he totally doesn't care about what all the webdorks think of him. Actually, the totally BRILLIANT irony of the book is that his central thesis is that the web is an invalid forum for social criticism because you never know who is doing the posting. Everyone's a sock puppet! Not just me! And it's destroying Western culture, through its mass sockpuppetdom! As such, he insists that his "Sprezzatura" alter-ego on the blog was created as "a prank and a provocation", not because he's a whiny baby. So he's not really a petulant flouncy sock puppet, he's simply a damn troll.

Given that Siegel is a giant wank, and given that the post that started the whole thing was ABOUT JON STEWART, I was expecting at least SOME MENTION of the original incident during the interview. But the interview was surprisingly inert -- the New Republic blog disaster never came up, so there was a glaring lack of context for the book itself. Siegel just sat there, choading it up in his black-mock-turtleneck/tweed-sport-coat/self-satisfied-shit-eating-grin combo. I honestly think Jon Stewart was going to talk about it, but as soon as Siegel opened his mouth, he realized it would be totally futile to talk about anything of substance with the man, so instead he decided to make the interview as boring as possible to avoid stoking book sales for this absolutely useless human being. Pretty much the opposite tack as he took with Jonah Goldberg. (I'm still dying to see the unedited cut of that interview, by the way. I'm hoping against hope that now that the writer's strike is over, they'll post it on the web.)

But yeah, here's the Siegel interview. If you click it, prepare to be bored stiff. (Although it's kinda worth it just to see how lame and smug this guy is.)

phamos: (blowme)
Miscaviage vs. Denton. Ugh, I don't know who I'm supposed to root for in this -- they're both such horrible human beings. But, as usual, I'm on the fair use side of things, so...Denton. I feel dirty. To counteract that, I'm going to post links to the Gawker media posts I've found most heinous since Denton went on his 2008 page-views binge. (To clarify, starting January 1st, all the editors of Nick Denton's blogs get paid by the page view, so they've basically started trolling. It's pretty gross.)

Hey everyone! Let's make fun of some girl because her dad is a publisher! [Gawker]

Madams are inherently wise because they're sex-positive, even if we don't really know anything about how they treat their employees. Go Team Vagina! [Jezebel]

Fibromyalgia and Bipolar Disorder are totally made up by hysterical women. Shut the fuck up about your incurable pain, tools of the pharmaceutical industry! [Jezebel]

OK, to be fair, Moe's been posting obnoxiously inflammatory shit since before January.

Misquoting Katherine Heigl. [Defamer] Yeah, that one's totally minor, but it's still shoddy journalism.

Of course, when the atmosphere in a workplace drives an editor to quit after ONE DAY, what can you really expect? I know it's kinda cliché at this point to pile on Gawker, but whatever. Nick Denton is a jerk who gives his writers incentives to be assholes. Also, I'm pissed that he's forcing me to side with Vanessa Grigoriadis on something, which I don't like AT ALL .
phamos: (superpower)


Bill Kristol: Always, Always, Always Wrong.
phamos: (hotkarl)
I'm thoroughly aggravated by the coverage of the presidential campaign right now. I'm not SURPRISED by the way this is playing out, by the fact that the MSM (god I feel like a tool using that abbreviation, but it's useful in this case) creates a "narrative" for these campaigns rather than actually covering the FACTS and the ISSUES. Hillary's a cranky old witch and nobody likes her! Obama is the new incarnation of Martin Luther King and is UNSTOPPABLE! Oh but wait, Hillary kinda sorta almost cried a little bit and then the boys were all mean to her! Hillary pulls off a STUNNING upset of 2 percentage points; even though she was leading here in double digits for a year this is STUNNING and it's because all the women in New Hampshire came out and voted and burned their bras and spit in mean ol' John Edwards' pretty pretty face! (Did we mention that Edwards is stunningly beautiful? And Obama is, too? And Hillary is an ugly hag with LINES IN HER LIPS! Why can't the pretty men stop the unattractive woman?!?)

So, yeah, I knew that was how the papers and the stations rolled. I wasn't really expecting insightful coverage. I've been through the Dean Scream and the Gore Sighs and the Kerry Windsurfing Robot with the Foreign Ketchup Heiress Sugar Mama Who Dares to Speak Foreign Languages in the USA! USA! USA! I know. But I think it's almost different this time. In the past, I thought they did it all because it's a catchy way to sell papers, or get eyeballs on the screen for their eighteen different news tickers. But now...I think they're lazy. I seriously think the reporters on the campaign trail are writing things up this way because they really, really, REALLY wanted the campaign to be over in two states. It's so much easier that way. These reporters have already been following these chuckleheads around boring-ass Iowa and New Hampshire for a YEAR already, because the higher-ups decided that the race started as soon as the Diebold machines were being rolled back into the closets from the 2006 election. Can you imagine how boring it is to follow Mitt Romney around for a year through cow pastures? Or those poor people who had to stay up with John Edwards through his 36 hour tilt at windmills? The reporters want a break. If Obama had forced Hillary out last night, they would have gotten a damn nap. That's why there are so many Rudy-trashing articles right now. All the reporters are like, "You're kidding me, right? We've got to wait for your delusional ass to get whooped in FLORIDA before we can go home? Where can we find some more city-billed mistress taxi cab rides? Bernie Kerik probably molested children at some point, right? Can we dig that up?"

Last night I saw their laziness in action. I was reading through the New York Times lead article on the website last night after the election had been called for Hillary. STUNNING UPSET, yeah yeah whatever. But as I read down, I realized that they had just stuck a new lede graph at the top of the article they had written earlier in the day! If you continued through the whole article, you would find a paragraph that still talked about how Hillary's advisers were trying to regroup after her LOSS and whether or not she'd drop out! That is absolutely the worst editing, the LAZIEST editing, I have ever seen in the damn Gray Lady. If you were lazy enough to write out the post-election article hours (possibly days) before the election even took place, and then it turns out that you were completely wrong, MAN UP AND RE-WRITE THE ARTICLE. The media is not supposed to create the news, they are supposed to report the news. Do it right.

The Times has written a puff piece on every one of the major candidates at this point (John McCain bonded with his children at barbecues so it's OK that the rest of the time he was a totally cold PTSD-ed out dad; Mike Huckabee plays the bass in some kind of Christian rock band with Chuck Norris so let's ignore that his son rapes puppies and smuggles semi-automatic weapons onto planes or whatever...), but only ONCE have I seen them actually finally write out a chart of where each of the candidates stands on, you know, the myriad of issues at play in this election. If you read just the front page of the Times for the past year, you would know absolutely nothing of use about any of them. You would know that one or the other was grumpy and defensive at a debate, or that somebody spent a ludicrous amount of money on some sort of cosmetic procedure or luxury transportation, or that Bloomberg is maybe running but not necessarily but maybe and then wouldn't that be interesting and awesome and it could be three New York candidates vying for the legacy of 9/11 and then we can have some sort of flag graphic. YES. Oh, and don't even get me started on this new, ridiculous speculation that Lou Dobbs might decide to run on an independent ticket. The Xenophobic Hair-Dye-Addict party! Let's make Lou Dobbs a candidate, and let's have Chris Matthews talk some more about how he wants to make sweet gentle love to Barack Hussein Obama, and let's just make the campaign all about the cable newscasters and how they personally relate to the candidates, rather than about anything of substance. It's easier for everyone that way. Writers won't actually have to write anything beyond Mad Libs-level fill-in-the-political-blanks, and the newscasters can look pretty and advertise their next "Live Your Life Like a Campaign" or "Liberals are Doodyheads" book currently on the front table at your nearby Barnes and Noble (10% off for Barnes and Noble cardholders!), and the candidates can stop worrying about any ideological heavy lifting and just protect their rear flank against 527 neo-Swift Boating. And the rest of the country can watch American Gladiators and get their homes repossessed. And I can rock here in the corner in the fetal position. Everybody wins.

Lady L

Dec. 24th, 2007 05:37 pm
phamos: (meat)
Linda Cardellini does Maxim. She looks skanky, as expected for the forum, and also too skinny. Which is ironic, considering she apparently dumped Jason Segel for getting too fat. Conclusion: Linda Cardellini is skinny AND dumb, because Jason Segel is a big cuddly ball of AWESOME. (I am glad to see that she's not a blonde anymore. I don't know what the deal is with the ER hair people, but they're obsessed with making people blonde who totally shouldn't be. I stopped watching when they bleached Maura Tierney's hair. That's just wrong. And then Carter went to Africa or something...whatever, it sucked, and she was too blonde. End of story.)
phamos: (posers)
I'm reading an article in an old Spin magazine about this kid who shot his parents while playing a Silverchair song. The story is vaguely interesting, but the piece mostly stems from the fact that the guy was a Cobain fan from Aberdeen, and the author really REALLY wanted to use the phrase, "He's the one who likes all the pretty songs, and he likes to shoot his gun, but he don't know what it means" in the article. I really shouldn't laugh when reading about such a gruesome crime, but I got nostalgic for the somewhat ludicrous Kurt-worship of the mid-'90s. It was a lovely time, when journalists wished that Kurt Cobain would experience a "Leonard Cohen afterworld" in pretty much every obituary with total straight faces. Teenagers don't listen to Nirvana anymore, do they? The only false note I observed during the last season of Friday Night Lights was when the paralyzed quarterback throws a hissy-fit because his mom moved his Nirvana CD. And I was like, Really? Nirvana? High school jocks in Texas listen to Nirvana in 2006? I'm pretty sure that's not the case. Jack Shephard listens to Nirvana, while wearing Ray-Bans and driving his Jeep Wrangler and simultaneously experiencing post-traumatic stress syndrome and a serious mid-life crisis. But not Jason Street.
phamos: (headdesk)
Aw, Safire's such a cute old man. Does this remind anyone else of that old "grungespeak" article in the Times? (I still think that anyone who can come up with "swingin' on the flippety-flop" off the top of their head is a genius.)
phamos: (superpower)
To come in and preside over the rape of so many people with a big smile on your face and an attitude of benevolence and righteousness...it was almost too offensive to comprehend. A lot of these people sincerely believed that their North American birth and their superior dentistry made them the arbiters of public morality by default. Growing up, I'd been taught that that sort of attitude had died out of American life with King George. It hadn't.

And he's NOT talking about Iraq, folks! (Actually, this was written about the American expatriot/USAID contingent in Moscow during the loans-for-shares scandal in the '90s.)
phamos: (superpower)
I've already made my first somewhat-large change to my paper, totally independent of my advisor. I read a fun article this morning about a lovely man named David Addington who has apparently been the muscle behind Dick Cheney on executive privilege and torture and all kinds of neat stuff. (Reading this made me feel really out of the loop...I'd had those Post articles about Cheney sitting next to my bed for months now, but figured it was just all that "man-sized safe" stuff Jon Stewart was ragging him about. I suck.) This was actually a good discovery, because he makes a much more compelling villain in the whole "Geneva Conventions are quaint" debacle than Alberto Gonzales. Fredo's really kind of a dead weight; apparently Addington (along with John Yoo, who I already mentioned in the paper) was the real author of all the infamous memos. And Gonzales has no connections to the major neocon groups, whereas Addington's right there in the thick of things with Cheney. Works much better for my paper. Not as good for the country, but good for my paper. And isn't that really what matters.

ETA: Apparently I have some sort of cognitive block when it comes to Addington's name -- I keep wanting to call him Addison. (This happened when I was looking for him on Wikipedia, too.) Don't worry, I got it right in my paper.
phamos: (goth)
New Rolling Stone article by Matt Taibbi, as pointed out by [livejournal.com profile] talamasca. Contains my new favorite Matt Taibbi quote:

George W. Bush's war in the Mesopotamian desert was an experiment of sorts, a crude first take at his vision of a fully privatized American government. In Iraq the lines between essential government services and for-profit enterprises have been blurred to the point of absurdity -- to the point where wounded soldiers have to pay retail prices for fresh underwear, where modern-day chattel are imported from the Third World at slave wages to peel the potatoes we once assigned to grunts in KP, where private companies are guaranteed huge profits no matter how badly they fuck things up. And just maybe, reviewing this appalling history of invoicing orgies and million-dollar boondoggles, it's not so far-fetched to think that this is the way someone up there would like things run all over -- not just in Iraq but in Iowa, too, with the state police working for Corrections Corporation of America, and DHL with the contract to deliver every Christmas card. And why not? What the Bush administration has created in Iraq is a sort of paradise of perverted capitalism, where revenues are forcibly extracted from the customer by the state, and obscene profits are handed out not by the market but by an unaccountable government bureaucracy. This is the triumphant culmination of two centuries of flawed white-people thinking, a preposterous mix of authoritarian socialism and laissez-faire profiteering, with all the worst aspects of both ideologies rolled up into one pointless, supremely idiotic military adventure -- American men and women dying by the thousands, so that Karl Marx and Adam Smith can blow each other in a Middle Eastern glory hole.

to replace my old favorite Matt Taibbi quote:

With very few exceptions almost everyone who jumped onto the Don Imus pigpile was a shameless opportunist whose mind was made up years before this incident even happened, and used the occasion of a radio jock stepping in shit to robotically jerk off his constituency for a cheap buck. First of all, let's just get this out of the way: the idea that anyone in the media world gives a shit about the dignity of women, black or white, is a ridiculous joke. America's TV networks have spent the last forty years falling over each other trying to find better and more efficient ways to sell tits to the 18-to-35 demographic. They make hour-long prime-time reality dramas these days about shopping-obsessed sluts hitting each other with pocketbooks, for Christ's sake. Paris Hilton, a dumb, rich slut with a cock in her mouth, gets her own primetime show. MTV, the teenie mags, the pop music industry, they're basically all an endless parade of skinny, half-naked brainless whores selling makeup and jeans to neurotic, self-hating, weight-obsessed little girls. The idea that NBC -- the company that proudly produced 241 episodes of Baywatch, a show whose two main characters for nearly a decade were Pamela Anderson's tits -- the idea that that network was "offended" by the use of the word "ho" is beyond preposterous. Until this incident, I would have wagered very good money that "Ho" would be in the title of at least one NBC-produced reality pilot within the next ten years. You can't see that? Trivia-battling sluts in Ho-llywod Squares? An irony-for-irony's-sake callgirl-improvement show called Pimp My Ho? Would you bet real money that the Paris-and-Nicole vehicle The Simple Life wasn't originally called Whore Acres at some stage of the pre-production process? I sure as hell wouldn't. Programming decisions of the The Bachelor ilk aren't spontaneous mid-show farts by an aging drug-battered brain like the Imus deal -- they're wide-awake decisions, forged in the crucible of number-crunching corporate reflection, to use reactionary images of cheap brainless skanks to sell Fritos and pickup trucks.

The man may be vulgar, but he's a damn entertaining writer. He knows these issues inside and out, and he sees through all the crap. Now, how much of that is genuine bile, and how much is him realizing that this persona is his meal ticket, I can't say. His dad is a correspondent for Dateline NBC, so it's not as if his blood lines are pure of douchebaggery. All I know is, when I read him I am simultaneously full of righteous indignation and laughing my ass off. That's pretty much my sweet spot.
phamos: (headdesk)
I was just reading through an old Rolling Stone magazine from about 10 years ago, and I laughed when I saw record exec Don Ienner referred to as "Donny Inner". Good background research, writer! Good copy-editing skills, editor!
phamos: (ramona)
This article on family leave from the New York Times Magazine was written by Eyal Press, who went to my high school and graduated with my sister. Eyal wrote a book a couple of years ago about his father, who was the only abortion provider left in Buffalo after Barnett Slepian was shot and killed. I think he's a very good writer, which pains me to say because he credits Dick Stratton in his book. (*gag*) He's also got a more distinguished record at the Times now than his classmate Dave Kirkpatrick, who's best known for getting in a ridiculous feud with Dave Eggers that conveniently disappeared from the McSweeney's website at some point in the last year. OK, that's not being fair to Dave Kirkpatrick, who's been doing solid work for the Times for ages now, but the Eggers thing really did taint his reputation. For the record, Dave Kirkpatrick is a good writer, and his sister was an awesome babysitter.
phamos: (headdesk)
The Harry Potter issue of Entertainment Weekly is cracking me up. Apparently whiny fandom wank has made it to the level of major weekly publication. There's a sidebar by a guy named Andrew Keen decrying the carpet book and bitching about how people on the internet are just big fat meanies.

Online spoilers need to be held much more accountable. Websites must be more aggressive in deterring antisocial action. Otherwise the jerks really will take over the internet. And the tears of Harry Potter fans will become all of our tears.

Really? REALLY?!? If this were an argument about copyright violation (which he makes a quick and very vague mention of earlier), then I might be willing to listen. But this is just...goofy. Keen isn't involved in that whole Bill O'Reilly "Daily Kos says 'fuck' in the comments and ALL OF SOCIETY IS GOING TO COLLAPSE" ridiculousness, is he? I've honestly never heard of him before. It looks from his wikipedia entry like he's a columnist for the Weekly Standard who thinks web 2.0 is some sort of Marxist conspiracy. I bet he and Bill Kristol have really fun cocktail parties.
phamos: (posers)
In honor of the long-time-coming death of Jane magazine, here's an old article from Bitch about the many loathsome attributes of the Sassy spinoff.

Jane magazine has always made me sad. It made me sad from the very first issue, which I bought because Drew Barrymore was on the cover and I needed something to read on a plane. I had no idea it was affiliated with Sassy, but I soon found that the chatty girlfriend tone that Jane had taken in her editorial column was immeasurably more irritating when aimed at grown women rather than impressionable adolescents. Teenagers needed cool big sisters like Jane and the gang. But once you were old enough to read Jane (and have the disposable income to afford the ridiculously overpriced fashions in its pages), her not-terribly-convincing hipster-speak was cloying rather than empowering and inclusionary. The name-dropping that had filled my twelve-year-old self with squee was aggravating once it became clear that she just wanted to subtly allude to her dalliances with the sexually flexible likes of Michael Stipe and the aforementioned Drew. (Her confirmation a few months ago that she had, indeed, briefly taken up with Drew made my heart sink. I don't know why I keep expecting Drew to make reasonable romantic choices -- for every short-lived Jeremy Davies relationship, there's a corresponding Tom Green or random bartender to marry.)

So, Pratt now has two dead titles to her credit. That actually wouldn't be that bad a record if they weren't the ONLY two magazines she had ever worked for, and if they weren't both so inextricably bound to her own persona. The rejection of Jane, however, feels like more of a personal rejection of Jane Pratt herself than the death of Sassy. By the time Sassy ended, Christina Kelly had pretty much taken over while Jane ran around town pursuing ill-fated talk show deals. There were upsides and downsides to the reign of Christina Kelly at Sassy. Even though the musical coverage was bizarrely offbeat and awesome for a teen magazine, and the fashion spreads featured actual affordable clothes and non-intimidating models, the editorial tone became exponentially more bitchy. What had once been an overriding sentiment of "Be yourself-it's cool!" suddenly turned into "Be different from everyone else--now now NOW now now!" But hey, you can't really look a gift horse in the mouth, and Jane turning the reigns over to Christina led to a definite reduction in obsessive odes to the hotness of Michael Hutchence, for which I think we were all grateful.

I won't miss Jane magazine -- in fact, I haven't much been missing Jane Pratt since she was actually removed from the magazine's editorship many months ago. And despite my occasional dislike of Bitch (it's somewhat strident, and the constant desperate reach for significance in purely idiotic cultural phenomenon can make for a tiresome read), I think the above-linked article will be my lingering feeling for Pratt's overall oeuvre.
phamos: (straightforward)
Oh, Entertainment Weekly. You've got to love a magazine that follows a puff propaganda piece about the Transformers movie with a solemn profile of Joyce Carol Oates and a rapturous tribute to Xanadu. The cognitive dissonance is too much for my brain to take on a Friday night.
phamos: (bruce)
Sasha Frere-Jones from the New Yorker needs $5K to retrieve photos off his crashed hard drive. I have a couple of thoughts about this.

1) I now feel much less guilty about asking for money when Fidget died, and I was very amused that someone in the comments mentions how setting up a fund for your sick cat is a much more efficient way of getting people to send you cash.

2) Sasha Frere-Jones doesn't make enough money to pony up five grand? It's not like he's a freelancer. If he cares about the pictures that much (enough to beg perfect strangers to give him money), he can opt out of the New York social scene for a year or so and save the damn money himself. Jesus, what's he spending his paycheck on, anyway? What I wouldn't give for a job that would comp you all of your CDs and concert tickets!

3) How on earth would you have to pay $5K for data retrieval? Is the hard drive actually located on a deserted island, with angry natives and rogue polar bears and smoke monsters and a shadowy pirate with telekinetic powers tied to a chair? Because then it might warrant the hazard pay. Otherwise, go to frickin' TekServe and pay a couple hundred bucks.

4) Sometimes, you lose stuff that is of great sentimental value. I have, and it totally sucks. You have to be somewhat zen about it, or it will drive you crazy.

5) Sasha Frere-Jones is a pretty crap writer. I've heard him speak in person, too, and he seems like a dickwad. This situation pretty much confirms my initial character analysis.
phamos: (iwishiwasbig)
You know how I always complain about how reading the internet makes me feel old? Well, I just got junk mail from Time magazine offering me the senior citizen's rate. NOW I feel old.

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