The Call Up

The best of the internet as curated by me. Put me in coach.

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August 26, 2013 5:19 pm
"So, as managing editor of, I want our readers to know this: All you are to us, and all you will ever be to us, are eyeballs. The more eyeballs on our content, the more cash we can ask for. Period. And if we’re able to get more eyeballs, that means I’ve done my job, which gets me congratulations from my bosses, which encourages me to put up even more stupid bullshit on the homepage."

The Onion eviscerates for putting Miley Cyrus in the top news spot this morning. Perfect.

(Source: The Onion)

June 29, 2013 1:45 pm
"Is David Gregory a journalist? As a thought experiment, name one piece of news he has broken, one beat he’s covered with distinction, and any memorable interviews he’s conducted that were not with John McCain, Lindsey Graham, Dick Durbin, or Chuck Schumer."

Daaaaaamn. Frank Rich getting sassy with David Gregory.

(Source: New York Magazine)

June 9, 2013 8:04 pm

As someone who used to cover the Oscar season, I watched again and again as people used [Deadline] as the seedy park on the outskirts of town where they sneaked up on others and stabbed them from behind.

Absent that venal ecosystem, Ms. Finke would be just one more rage-aholic with a modem. But she prospers by exploiting a narcissistic industry that lives on fear and self-preservation…If it is true that people get the government they deserve, then many industries get the media coverage they merit as well. Regardless of her base of operations, Hollywood deserves Nikki Finke.


David Carr taking the Hollywood press to task.  

(Source: The New York Times)

February 22, 2013 10:00 am
"Yes, the life of politics and the life of the myth had diverged too far. There was nothing to return them to one another, no common danger, no cause, no desire, and, most essentially, no hero. It was a hero America needed, a hero central to his time, a man whose personality might suggest contradiction and mysteries which could reach into the alienated circuits of the underground, because only a hero can capture the secret imagination of a people, and so be good for the vitality of his nation; a hero embodies the fantasy and so allows each private mind the liberty to consider its fantasy and find a way to grow."

Norman Mailer on JFK in 1960, in one of his earliest pieces of political journalism.  The guy was absolutely merciless.  His lens had no filter, no buffer…it was like an assault of ethos.


February 10, 2013 2:24 pm
"“It’s all or nothing,” she wrote, flagging a dichotomy: cooking in trendy restaurants has never been fattier, while the trend of “cleansing” with a severe regimen of liquefied fruits, vegetables and nuts has never been hotter. Feast or famine. Binge or beet juice."

As I sat in a restaurant this week, seriously discussing the virtues of juicing, wheatgrass, and kale with a heterosexual man, it occurred to me that while LA is utterly absurd, I prefer this absurdity.  I could watch myself having this totally insane conversation, one which I would have mocked a year ago, and I loved every second of it. 

Leaving Chicago, where bacon, pork belly, butter, and beer dominate the dining scene, I can’t help but notice how much I don’t miss it.  At all.  In Chicago, NYC, and even SF, to be hip is to have tried the newest restaurant, done the full 12 course tasting menu, and then go for brunch the next day.  Don’t get me wrong, my juice cleanse was closely followed by In n Out and my diet would horrify the more image-obsessed Angelenos out there (of which there are many), but the food fixation just isn’t the same.

But outside of that, this piece is discussing the broader trends of extremes in this country — in food, in sports, in politics, in media consumption.  Bruni blames the internet…I blame consumer, ad-driven culture.  When industries and empires are built on convincing the public of how much stuff we need to eat/watch/buy/try, it’s inevitable. Marketing and advertising work.

(Source: The New York Times)

February 6, 2013 11:00 am
"Surely there were other questions to ask as the minutes ticked by: Why did the N.F.L. fail, throughout the entire interruption, to provide an informed spokesman to explain the problem and the plan to fix it? Who was responsible for the stadium’s operations? What did the local utility, Entergy, have to say? Could the mayor of New Orleans, who was surely in the stadium, be summoned on camera?"

The questions that should have been asked in the interminable Super Bowl blackout.  Steve Coll notes: “CBS acted as if it possessed no news division.”  And indeed…the whole reason why it happened has been more or less forgotten.  Maybe it didn’t matter, maybe no one cares, or maybe it’s just that CBS failed to do its job.


February 1, 2012 8:08 am
"Through Nexis searches and sheer intuition, a portrait emerges of the use of the term “portrait emerges” in the pages of the New York Times — that of a highfalutin cliche that reporters invoke to imbue their feature writing with the feel of high art. The New York Times is particularly good at spotting portraits emerging — more than 130 of them in the past five years, according to a Nexis archive of Times stories."

Oh New York Times, you are so predictably snobbish. 

(Source: Washington Post)

January 16, 2012 4:19 pm
"…the “post-pointless” era of journalism, in which any and all experiences no matter how banal can be packaged as journeys of discovery and wonder, and sold to superficially pop-intellectual sites like Slate and Salon as something that appears just meaningful enough for a bored office worker with an advanced degree to justify wasting ten minutes of her life reading it, only to be left with the mental equivalent of the junk food hangover we get from feasting on an entire bag of unadorned Tostitos™ brand white corn chips…"

Hamilton Nolan of Gawker (via eyefivestyle)
Ahhhmazing.  The best part is, this is from a GAWKER staff writer…whose entire career consists of reading things and mocking them.  Nevermind junk food fluff pieces, he’s just mainlining sugar. 

(via eyefivestyle-deactivated2014072)

January 13, 2012 1:12 pm

It was the latest sally by the president, who has gone on the offensive against Congress as he embarks on his re-election bid. He appointed a new head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Richard Cordray, as well as other appointees to regulatory agencies, during a Congressional recess, to get around the opposition of lawmakers.

Under the terms of the reorganization proposed Friday, six relatively small agencies — the Small Business Administration, the Office of the United States Trade Representative, the Export-Import Bank, the Overseas Private Investment Corporation, and the Trade and Development Agency — would be consolidated into a single agency focused on opportunities for the private sector.


Here’s what’s notable about these two paragraphs: they are consecutive paragraphs quoted directly from the midpoint of an article about Obama’s plan to consolidate the government.  Does this strike anyone else as strange?  Why did it take 12 (yes I counted) paragraphs of political analysis and opposition quotes before describing the plan?  This goes back to Jay Rosen’s piece which discusses how true, fact-finding journalism has been replaced by the kind of insider gossip that worships the all-knowing and savvy media player.  No one bothers to actually discuss the facts and analyze them for what they are.  Instead it jumps straight into the gamesmanship at hand, name drops a few big players, and launches into inside baseball analysis of the political stakes. 

When I finally got to the actual description of the proposal, I drew my own, very obvious, conclusions: good proposal, but very limited and business-friendly. Clearly designed to steal some of the political spotlight from the GOP and give Obama an easy Congressional win (or embarrassing Republican flip flop).  The article improves from there, describing the facts of what reorganization means, what it costs and what this program will actually do.  But the whole piece has already been colored, it’s too late.

(Source: The New York Times)

July 15, 2011 10:54 pm
"It is really interesting to me that Pitchfork has reached the level of prominence without having the bylines that you die to read,” he says. “I think it’s partly about the brand. Make the brand as big as possible. Take Lollapalooza. That fest has nothing to do with the name it comes from. Pitchfork has been really good at building a name. What does that mean for criticism? The jury’s out."

Very true.  There are no names in the company, no reporting, no dissension.  And the conflation of criticism and concert promotion is uniquely self-serving.