Monday, April 14, 2014

Friday, April 11, 2014

Most/Least Favorite New Websites

Recently a couple of new websites have fallen before my glittery gaze:
Ezra Klein's left-ish, "serious"  political thing, Vox.com, and Matt Barber's hyper-right wing Christian Barbwire.com. I absolutely adore the latter, while the former is boring and vexing and I'll quickly forget it ever existed. Surprised? You shouldn't be.

Right off the bat, Vox annoyed me. It's dry, it's sterile-looking. Worst of all, it has this story banner right at the top:


Ring a bell? That's because I recently wrote about how much I hate the whole "What you need to know about ______" trope, and how it has become so crazily overused that even Buzzfeed, I suspect, is embarrassed by it now.

Otherwise, I suppose Vox is OK. It's irritatingly insidery, which I expected (it's basically JournoList: the website), and populated by supposedly high-profile journalists who I'm not really crazy about. For instance, when they hired Matt Yglesias, I couldn't help but wonder if they were also going to hire a full-time editor to clean up his monstrous, frequent grammatical and spelling errors. Look, he seems like a really nice guy, and everybody obviously loves him, and he knows, I guess, what's he's talking about, but everybody seems to charitably overlook the fact that the guy cannot write! I'm not talking about occasional typos and homophone errors; I'm talking about a profound inability to use the English language in either an elegant or logical manner, and an approach to style and grammar which suggests "vague familiarity" at the best of times. As writers, Matt Yglesias, Ezra Klein et al were made for TV.

Let's turn to the infinitely more fun Barbwire.com. Are you familiar with Matt Barber? He literally makes his living denouncing the hairdressers, and this is his new website devoted mostly to doing just that. It is amazing. You will think it is a brilliant satire. Almost every article is about the homo menace, and while some "conservative" sites have learned to cool it with the Nazi comparisons, Barbwire embraces them with such frequency and enthusiasm that it's almost like a verbal tic. Enjoy the comment threads while you can, because they're  totally dominated by liberal trolls (including me; I know it's lame but I couldn't resist!) and a few Christian commenters who are bizarrely, pathologically invested in combating the frightening gay demons in their midst. I expect they'll scrap the comment fields soon. The whole thing is so strident and bonkers that it makes One News Now look like hippies in comparison. You will LOVE it. Barbwire should be preserved in the Library of Congress so that future generations can marvel at it.

UPDATE: According to Talking Points Memo, conservatives hate Vox, but I'm a liberal and I hate... well, no, I don't hate it.  But I don't like it, either. I love Barbwire!


Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Condibox! Because Tech Companies Are Still Supercool!


Great news, everybody! Now, every time you use Dropbox, you're helping to keep Condi in her Ferragamos! The annoying app company or whatever it is selected Condi because she's always been known to show superior business acumen, displayed great knowledge of Silicon Valley in general and "Cloud" technology (ugh) in particular. Ha, ha, just kidding! They hired her because she's a celebrity spokesmodel who on occasion may be called upon to help grease a few foreign palms.

Hooray for Condi! Hooray for Dropbox! Oh, and don't forget that Condi is also the RNC's new spokeslady for income inequality issues 'n' such. It's great to be Condi!

UPDATE: Holy cow, response on Twitter is brutal.

And, as was inevitable, here's Drop Dropbox.

Monday, April 07, 2014

Fun With Your New Jennifer Rubin


This week's "What If?" column over at Wonkette is really strange. OK, stranger than usual. This time I've taken Sparklecrush Jennifer Rubin and inserted her rather unhappily into Thomas M. Disch's great short story "Fun with Your New Head". The result is unnerving and, probably, irritating. Enjoy!

Friday, April 04, 2014

Photoblogging: Enigma For A Spring Day


(Click for bigger.)

Fashion Victim: Incredible Journey

Sometimes I think my wardrobe leads a more exciting and glamorous life than I. I recently ordered the pictured camouflage sport coat by Dries van Noten, and my goodness, that thing is taking the most extraordinary route to get to me! It started in Bentivoglio, Italy, and then took a quick trip to Bologna, and then onwards to exciting Milan (how could a fashionable jacket skip Milan?). From Milan it headed to Germany, hitting first Nuremberg, and then Cologne, before finally getting on a plane for America. But not so fast! Why go directly to DC when there are more sights to see? Indeed, it's first stop was Louisville, Kentucky (?), and then, for some reason, Rockford, Illinois. Presumably at this point the jacket started to feel it was neglecting its new owner, so it reluctantly headed for Linthicum, Maryland, hopped the short distance to Landover, and now, supposedly, it's on the truck and on its way to my house, UNLESS its wanderlust returns and it decides to take a detour to... I don't know... I've heard Montana is nice!

This coat is going to be SO disappointed with its new life.Still, though, the fact that it passed through three Italian cities without getting lost is extraordinary, as anyone who has dealt with their postal system is sure to know.

UPDATE: The wayward couture is now in my loving arms, and I'm pleased and relieved to report that it fits like it was tailored just for me. All this goes to show that you cannot go wrong with Belgian fashions (although you may go broke).

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

Arizonan Plays Pocket Pool In Statuary Hall

(Photo: Mark Henle/The Republic)

Why is this man smirking?  

Because he's about to become Arizona's latest (and second) contribution to the U.S. Capitol's Statuary Hall. It's a Barry Goldwater revival!

I always feel sorry for modern sculptors who have to make men in glasses and business suits look artistic. That said, I think the sculptor, Deborah Copenhaver-Fellows, did a very good job. She's livened up the pose by putting one of Barry's hands in his pocket, the other gesticulating as if making a point, and rather than standing stock-still, the figure's weight is shifted to the left leg, with the right leg stepped almost casually forward. It's a nice contrapposto. 

And believe it or not, I'm giving a thumbs-up to the bolo tie. It's a specifically Arizonan detail (it's the official state neckwear). And what is the bolo design? It appears to be a variation of a Native American thunderbird. Perfect choice for the hoary old warmonger.

Interesting that Arizona would choose a figure who was soft on abortion and gay rights, and antagonistic towards the religious right, but who else have they got? Somehow I can't picture Mo Udall making the cut in today's Arizona.