Friday, February 29, 2008

After these messages...

I have always dreamed of purchasing ad space on a billboard and putting some kind of self-promoting nonsense on it (like a picture of myself surrounded by scantily clad women wearing chains and holding a Tek 9). Actually, I have always dreamed of the time shortly after I purchase ad space on a billboard when a friend or acquaintance sees the ad and gets a kick out of it. The Billboard Liberation Front has employed a similar idea only they're trying to make a point, which is cool, I guess. Actually, I think it's really cool and congrats to them for taking street art to a new place.

Sometimes Vanity Fair is like US Weekly for really high minded individuals or "society" types. This article is one of those times and it's fucking great. Michael Joseph Gross did some really really extensive reporting to tell that story and did it very well.

The City-Journal continuously publishes thought provoking articles. This article is flawed in that it blames the sexual revolution of the 60’s for creating the hyper-sexualized campus environment of modernity while arguing that the campus rape phenomenon is more myth than reality. In effect Heather Mac Donald blames the sexual revolution for a problem she argues doesn’t exist. On the plus side she does argue correctly that there are hypocrisies within the rape prevention complex that should be addressed. In particular she reprints this astonishing passage from the magazine Saturday Night: Untold Stories of Sexual Assault at Harvard:

What can I tell you about being raped? Very little. I remember drinking with some girlfriends and then heading to a party in the house that some seniors were throwing. I’m told that I walked in and within 5 minutes was making out with one of the guys who lived there, who I’d talked to some in the dining hall but never really hung out with. I may have initiated it. I don’t remember arriving at the party; I dimly remember waking up at some point in the early morning in this guy’s room. I remember him walking me back to my room. I couldn’t have made it alone; I still had too much alcohol in my system to even stand up straight. I made myself vulnerable and even now it’s hard to think that someone here who I have talked and laughed with could be cold-hearted enough to take advantage of that vulnerability. I’d rather, sometimes, take half the blame than believe that a profound evil can exist in mankind. But it’s easy for me to say, that, of the two of us, I’m the only one who still has nightmares, found myself panicking and detaching during sex for many months afterwards, and spent more time looking into the abyss than any one person should.

The dereliction of personal responsibility in this passage is horrifying and an affront to actual victims of sexual assault. It’s not that she “deserved” or “was asking for it” but it seems very out-of-character for a “cold-hearted” rapist to walk his victim back to her room the following morning. It seems certain to me that the “offender” in this case does not think of himself as a rapist, perhaps he was also drunk and didn’t realize how out of it this woman was. . She got drunk to the point that she made several bad decisions, if two nights hence he blacks out and ends -up in bed with some woman he barely remembers from the night before was he raped? I’m not trying to make excuses for his behavior but she is certainly trying to make them for hers.

Skeptics are people who never believe.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Debating Times

I'm baffled by the timing of the Democratic debate this evening. Why would they schedule a debate for 11:00 p.m. EST? I realize the debate is in Cleveland and the big prizes in the March 4 primaries are both in the Central time zone but it's still 10 pm in both Ohio and Texas. Further the other two March 4 primaries are in Rhode Island and Vermont, I know they don't provide big delegate bounties but shouldn't the Dems at least give the people in those states an opportunity to see the debates for themselves?

The real loser in all of this is the newspaper business. It is a testament to the amount of influence the business has lost that the late start makes it nearly impossible for east coast newspapers to cover the debate in their early editions. The fact that the NYT, WSJ, and WaPo are all severely limited in the amount of space they can give to the debates (if they can cover them at all) is a bad indicator for the longevity of the industry.

Saturday, February 23, 2008


Parodying his own irony. This is a seminal moment for post-hipsterism.


I am currently downloading Michael Jackson Essential and as far as greatest hits/best of albums go it doesn't get much better than this. I feel like my head is about to explode I'm so excited to listen to this record.

I've also downloaded Reasonable Doubt by Jay-Z and honestly, if you like rap you must have this record. It's smoother than butter and a fascinating look at hip-hop's CEO when he was still in the mail room.

I have so much respect for Jay-Z's blind ambition (Blind Ambition should definitely be the name of a skinimax feature, I'm going to check after this diatribe if it is). In Reasonable Doubt at one point he mentions Rockafeller Records like he was confident that it was going to be what it became. That type of self-assuredness is only endearing and charismatic when backed by some one who makes it happen - and cheers to Jay-Z for making it happen.

My semi-final download was Lupe Fiasco's The Cool. I'll write about this record within the next week or two.

I'll be back soon, I've had a bunch of ideas I want to expand upon during the course of this post. Including: We're judged by the way we treat the weakest among us. I don't believe that the weakest among us need be treated like I treat my dog, that is what informs my politics.

See here.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

The Perils of Non-Profits

The thing about working at a non-profit is that it's difficult to express real discontent to others without feeling guilty. It's not that I don't like my job it's just that sometimes I want to bitch about my job like everyone else. I miss being able to do that without hesitation.

I just watched the Wu Tang Triumph video where Method Man looks like a bad mother fucker and refers to himself as "The Iron Lung". My next thought was him in the Speed Stick commercials with Redman. I don't mind aging I just don't ever want to become whatever the Speed Stick equivalent for myself would be.

Speaking of Method Man, or Cheese as he is known on The Wire. The March issue of Esquire (with Schwarzenegger on the cover) totally makes up for the terrible February issue. Tom Chiarella has a great article on taking up smoking for a month - for the first time of his life - at the age of 46. A.J. Jacobs has a funny essay on manufactured optimism, Klosterman has a dead on piece on the McLaughlin group and David Simon, the creator of The Wire, has a fascinating essay on the fall of the American newspaper (he doesn't really offer up much in the way of answers but man is that guy angry).

Also, I wonder if anyone has noticed the music that plays at the beginning of The Wire this year sounds unusually like the music that plays at the beginning of Law and Order. This confounds me greatly but I think it just means that I'm delusional.

I finished another article for DRN Magazine earlier today. I'd post them here but I think there might be legal restrictions (like the Blog Police would arrest me for posting such boring shit on blogspot), hope to be back soon.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

On the G-Men and Solipsism

Solipsism: the theory that only the self exists, or can be proven to exist.

Allow me a moment of consideration, pedantry, and idiocy:

In our time, a time in which individuals are granted the opportunity (for better or worse) to consider their place in the world at large, everyone occasionally entertains thoughts of solipsism. How can it be that so many of the world's factors have conspired against me - One might ask. How is it that I am so fortunate to experience this moment - One might consider.

When we are aware of the world around us - as it necessitates we be - how could we not wonder how a series of coincidences have brought about our fortune? How could we not wonder how all these odd coincidences have occurred to bring about our very being?

These questions at the very least require a consideration of solipsism. And to the feeble minded, like myself, they require a very serious consideration. Particularly whenever something of monumental goodness or stark evil has occurred.

It is with that in mind that I experienced one of the greatest evils that has ever been perpetrated upon man.

Leading 3-0 in the 2004 ALCS the forces of good, that had prevailed throughout my existence - and those who had "existed" before me - suffered defeat at the hands of a force that was inarguably evil.

It was a shattering relization of what might occur - what would occur - when the world only I existed in, decided against me.

What would occur when I wore the wrong hat on October 20, 2004.

Sure, the possibility existed that it wasn't my hat. Maybe it had something to do with my shirt. My boxers. The time I lied to that brunette and ended up in a strange room in central Virginia.

Regardless, I had failed. And now I was to be punished by an overweight blowhard with a crayola red sock, an aloof illiterate and a Dominican Stay-Puft Marshmallow.

And to this suffering was added a dynastic football team lead by a Jeterian quarterback. A team that could not be stopped and a quarterback that should be respected. All from the city that brought us (brought me!) Ben Affleck, Ferdinando Sacco, Bartolomeo Vanzetti, and Cowboy Up!.

I rarely give into the fear that God exists, let alone that he has damned me, but it is even more rare that I dismiss this fear entirely. And over the last several years I have considered my own damnation more often than I care to admit.

And then Sunday, February 3, 2008 happened and I was once again assured - whether it was I alone who existed, or the millions of fans with which I stood - that if God did exist, then he loved us very much. That the highest, the biggest, of our beliefs would triumph over extremism. That greatness, largeness, would triumph over jingoism.

That Gigantism would triumph over Patriotism.

That Good would conquer Evil.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Imperfection is Beautiful

Thoughts on the Giants and solipsism to come.

Well done G-Men.

Friday, February 1, 2008

What's the female opposite of a mensch?

Last week I wrote about the City Journal. A publication I recently discovered and very much enjoy. But this article, on what David Brooks labeled the "Oddesy Years," is so devoid of a reasoned argument that I had to devote a post to it.

First, I reject the premise that there is something wrong with people in their 20’s waiting to get married and settle down. For our entire youth we’ve heard about 50 percent of all marriages ending in divorce. I think I remember that statistic with more clarity than any other I heard growing up. The 26 year-old in 1965 the article mentions is now twice divorced and has been paying alimony for the last 30 years. To purport that we should blindly follow the paths our parents blazed to broken homes and visitation rights is ridiculous and moronic.

Second, this paragraph: But while we grapple with the name, it’s time to state what is now obvious to legions of frustrated young women: the limbo doesn’t bring out the best in young men. With women, you could argue that adulthood is in fact emergent. Single women in their twenties and early thirties are joining an international New Girl Order, hyperachieving in both school and an increasingly female-friendly workplace, while packing leisure hours with shopping, traveling, and dining with friends [see “The New Girl Order,” Autumn 2007]. Single Young Males, or SYMs, by contrast, often seem to hang out in a playground of drinking, hooking up, playing Halo 3, and, in many cases, underachieving. With them, adulthood looks as though it’s receding.

So women in their twenties and early thirties are shopping? That is so adult of them – and so revolutionary, they must be the first generation of women to shop. They dine with friends? Nothing says adult like eating with friends.

As for her assertion that 20 something men “hang out in a playground of drinking, hooking up playing Halo 3 and, in many cases, underachieving” it’s difficult to argue against as she has provided no “facts” or “statistics” from which to examine. Although according to her characterization of the prototypical SYM in the second paragraph, he’s finished college, of which only 29% of the male population over the age of 25 has, and (according to the 7th paragraph) he makes an average of $60,000 a year, $12,000 more than the average household income in the US. Hardly an “underachiever” by any unbiased metrics. In fact, the only area where he seems to underachieve is in the mind of Ms. Hymowitz who likely has a daughter (who shops and has dinner with friends) that just had her dreams of a $75,000 wedding dashed by a “mensch” tired of her nagging and horrified of his potential mother-in-law.

Also, it is curious to think of who these SYMs are hooking up with, certainly not the shopping adults previously mentioned.

And Third, Ms. Hymowitz makes an argument that SYMs are not interested in settling down by using a series of references to pop culture and celebrities (yes, of course Sex and the City gets a mention). Perhaps she’s onto something here, I know that I am invariably turned off when I see a woman reading gossip magazines or discussing vapid programming. But I’m not sure if she meant it that way.

One last note on this article, in this sentence: the Frat Packers are the child-man counterparts to the more conventional leads, like George Clooney and Brad Pitt.

Why does Clooney get a pass? Isn’t he the eternal child-man according to her definition? And Pitt’s been divorced for fucks sake.

Maybe it's not such a good idea to judge "manliness" by a willingness to get married and have children.

Maybe there is a reason the word settle is so prominently involved in the term settle down.