Monday, October 31, 2005

The Loft Boys 

Ah, I skip a week of reading New York and they print a piece outlining the sociological significance of my neighborhood (btwn the Montrose and Morgan stops on the L), from a Williamsburger seething with righteous hipster hate (natch). The, uh, focus of the story wanders a bit once Mr. Graeber and the L-linked neighborhoods run out of bourgeois signifiers, but he gets in some good digs at me and my kind on the way:

Where on Bushwick I had seen a 99-cent store advertising new clothes for low prices, on McKibbin I find a vintage shop selling used T-shirts for twenty times that [The shop in question is actually also on Bushwick, just off McKibbin. -Alex]. There’s graffiti on the buildings here, but the tags and gang marks are now mixed in with what the gallerists call street art: words and cartoons recognizable from Soho and Williamsburg and coffee-table books in the St. Marks Bookshop. What looks like graffiti is actually guerrilla marketing.
A black skater cruises by in a tight Izod, jeans, and one of those now-ubiquitous Fidel Castro caps. Then a white couple emerges from a car-service Buick with tinted windows. They are dressed as Gregg Allman and Cher circa 1975. And maybe that’s who they are. It certainly seems possible. This hipster island has a Land of the Lost feeling, as if some piece of 1995 Williamsburg had drifted like Madagascar off the main continent.

Hipster island is a fairly common name for my area, which the Times already attempted to define in June. It is (so far, anyway) a narrative of failed gentrification -- the number of business catering to this new crowd hovers around three or four, no new lofts are being converted and the existing ones are filled to capacity, petty street crime has, instead of declining, taken off over the last year, and the neighborhood has no anchor beyond one crummy bar. Everyone's in a band, of course, but there's nowhere to play. And the MTA, for once taking a very positive, principled stand, has cut off the interlopers at the source, by making sure that no L trains ever run this far Friday and Saturday nights. Case in point -- a friend's Halloween party last night featured no Manhattanites, who couldn't be bothered to transfer to a bus halfway thru the journey. The walking-distance turnout topped off at around 13 people.

But to get back to the piece at hand, we note only that every feature writer in New York must have the number of a loquacious and insightful homeless man saved in their phones for when they need a quick, poignant wrap-up to an aimless story.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Someday this war's gonna end... 

This is true. Walking around lower manhattan last night, the maple syrup smell was unmistakable. If that's the smell of biological warfare, bring on The Omega Man.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Vague Space 

Ran the Gawker marathon today, without a partner. Hence, per usual, I'm not particularly talktative. Just go here for funny pictures and here for a devastating and draining story. Sorry about the jarring tonal shift between those two links, but I contain multitudes and all that. Have a glass of water and some crackers to cleanse the palate in between clicks.

THIS JUST IN: The first Malkmus solo album is way better than I remembered. None of the three are as good as Tanglewood Numbers.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Also Why Circulation Keeps Falling 

See, this is precisely why no one trusts the media.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Run Run Run 

Velvet Underground 3D Death Chase.

That is all.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Such a Pleasure to Employ 

And as long as I'm continuing to write about things I wrote about at Gawker, except to an audience of three or four (and hell, why not keep using the funny pictures I found?), here's a bit of today's "Metropolitan Diary":

Although deemed too young to enter kindergarten, the granddaughter of my friend Sue Teich was nevertheless granted an interview at a selected school.

The interviewer asked the child if she could count to 10. The child obeyed and proceeded to count from one to 10 without missing a beat.

"That was excellent," the interviewer said. "Now can you count backward?"

The child turned her back to the interviewer and began again without missing a beat, "One, two, three ..."

If only creativity were the criteria for admission.

Twice. Twice in one fucking cute kid anecdote.

They are mocking me.

The Judy Beat 

Judy does make a rather troublesome Hero to Journalism, doesn't she?

Craig Pyes, a former contract writer for the Times who teamed up with Miller for a series on al Qaeda, complained about her in a December 2000 memo to Times editors and asked that his byline not appear on one piece.

"I'm not willing to work further on this project with Judy Miller," wrote Pyes, who now writes for the Los Angeles Times. He added: "I do not trust her work, her judgment, or her conduct. She is an advocate, and her actions threaten the integrity of the enterprise, and of everyone who works with her . . . She has turned in a draft of a story of a collective enterprise that is little more than dictation from government sources over several days, filled with unproven assertions and factual inaccuracies," and "tried to stampede it into the paper."

Judy's first-person piece in Sunday's Times did end up being a little more interesting than the official one, loaded, as it was, with Reaganesque plausible deniability and Nixonian stonewalling.

And it's made all the more interesting with this little revelation:

The paper's two-story Sunday package--a 5,800-word account of Miller's role in the Valerie Plame affair and Miller's own first-person tale of her conversations with vice-presidential chief of staff I. Lewis (Scooter) Libby--missed the deadline to be included in the bulldog edition, 100,000 copies distributed nationally.

Judy may not be a very good journalist, but she is an exceptionally experienced one -- I think she probably could've made the deadline if she'd really, really wanted to. But, of course, that may have given her colleagues a chance to fact-check her piece and quote the relevant portions with that subtle "WTF?!" tone the Times occasionally trades in when dealing with the especially easily disproved:

It is not clear why. Ms. Miller said in an interview that she "made a strong recommendation to my editor" that an article be pursued. "I was told no," she said. She would not identify the editor.

Ms. Abramson, the Washington bureau chief at the time, said Ms. Miller never made any such recommendation.

Oh, the fun never ends.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

"Drinking games seem to be most popular among college students" 

Beer pong. On the cover the New York Times.

Some games are based on luck and revolve around cards and dice. A few are simply organized binges, like "Edward 40-Hands," in which players tape 40-ounce malt liquor bottles to their hands. Others, like flippy cup and beer pong, take a little skill.

Edward 40-Hands. In the New York Times. Preserved forever in Proquest for the edification of our hard-partying descendents.

New York Times, I love you. All is forgiven.

Oh, and that Judy Miller article's a trip too.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

I Really Need To Get Away From My Computer For a Year Or Two 

This is like the greatest thing I've ever read.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Simon and Garfunkel Sing "Spoilt Victorian Child" 

Sir Elton John is joining a group of musicians recording a tribute song to the late DJ John Peel.

He will sing and play piano on a cover of the Buzzcocks hit Ever Fallen in Love, alongside The Who's Roger Daltrey and Led Zeppelin's Robert Plant.

There is no possible sarcastic comment to add to this news that would do it justice. None. All one can do is ask if there is anything they could do to make it something John Peel would be more musically offended by. Add Eric Clapton and make it a Fall song, maybe.

BBC radio, October 10. That's tomorrow, kids. Mark your calendars.

UPDATE: Listen here, everyone! It debuts at 8:10 a.m. British Summer Time, or 3:10 a.m. EST.

UPDATE2: It was surprisingly not quite awful. The Futureheads or whomever-the-hell played it basically note for note, and the wall of sound of "Ever Fallen In Love," one of the greatest Buzzcocks songs, masked the rock dinosaur vocal histrionics just enough to make it tolerable.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Blog Blog Blog 

I'm at Gawker this week.

Go there.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

As Much As I Love the Emails... 

Dear Everyone,

The first non-quoted line in this comment is, in fact, a little joke -- one that, it turns out, is apparently more subtle than I intended. You see, Nick Denton was talking about exclusivity in a sort of negative tone, and I made a what I thought was a funny about it.

So -- if I have no idea who you are, I will probably respect my boss's wishes (always wise) and not extend you a Gawker comments invite. You can always go here. I already feel like an asshole, so don't get on my case. That said, if you send a really funny email or if you are famous, I'll make an exception.

And, of course, you are always welcome to comment here.

Yours sincerely,

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