The Call Up

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

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February 17, 2014 11:33 pm
"The most interesting news about Fox News is that for some years now it has been damaging the right far more than the left. As a pair of political analysts wrote at Reuters last year, “When the mainstream media reigned supreme, between 1952 and 1988, Republicans won seven out of the ten presidential elections,” but since 1992, when “conservative media began to flourish” (first with Rush Limbaugh’s ascendancy, then with Fox), Democrats have won the popular vote five out of six times. You’d think they’d be well advised to leave Fox News to its own devices so that it can continue to shoot its own party in the foot."

Interesting piece on the decline of the GOP and increasing irrelevancy of Fox News.  Rich thinks the Fox bubble has worked against the party, as the echo chamber just gets louder and more extreme.  He also argues that the left should just let them go ahead and shoot their party in the foot, since they’ve been doing it rather effectively for the last decade.  Hard to say whether it’s correlation or causation though.  

However, the notes about how blind Roger Ailes is to new media, the internet, and the importance of younger markets, is incredible.  Remarkable that someone who successfully overturned the media market now looks so crusty and old fashioned.
November 19, 2013 9:27 pm
"Spice Girls! I was 20 in 1998 and too old to appreciate the boy bands. But I did buy the Spice Girls CD, and a pair of platform sneakers. The best part about the Spice Girls is that they were really sloppy. It was like watching a junior-high talent show. I remember reading that Prince William had a crush on Baby Spice and I was disappointed in him, because Baby was such an obvious choice. Like, of course you like the blonde one. I always wanted to meet a guy who liked Scary."

Diablo Cody commenting on late-90s pop culture. Incredible. If you ever saw their SNL performance, her description is dead on.

(Source: vulture.com)

January 15, 2013 9:00 am January 14, 2013 10:00 am
"No one seems to remember New York City in the seventies, during the era of “white flight,” when Zsa Zsa Gabor was famously mugged in the Waldorf-­Astoria and Felix Rohatyn had to be mustered to rescue the municipality from financial ruin because Gerald Ford did not think it was worth federal funds. During the Abe Beame years, you could buy a three-bedroom apartment on Columbus Avenue for $15,000 and worry that you were getting ripped off."

I recently remarked to someone that I wish I could go back and see New York in like 1978-1984.  What a terrifying and totally unimaginable (in 2013) time.  Now it’s urban Disneyland, complete with scores of Euro tourists and overpriced everything.  

But anyway, this Eizabeth Wurtzel piece is sort of horrifyingly honest and epic.  It includes things like her terrifyingly reckless lifestyle, the treacherous growth of wealth in New York and the subsequent disappearance of all the fun people, the incredible brain power of David Boies, the desperate emptiness of most professional endeavors, and the fleetingness of friendships and relationships and life and choices.  Phew.

(Source: New York Magazine)

December 6, 2012 10:00 am
"Imagination costs less and is worth more than sumptuous materials and showy design. In most minimal, modern designs, all the messy stuff that makes buildings work gets stowed out of sight in hollow walls, false ceilings, and secret compartments. Here, the architects’ palms are open, their sleeves rolled. Look up, and there’s nothing but steel braces, a plywood frame, and fluorescent tubes. Look down, and it’s all polished concrete. There’s something comforting about being in a building with nothing to hide."
Gorgeous new home for the Parrish Art Museum.

"Imagination costs less and is worth more than sumptuous materials and showy design. In most minimal, modern designs, all the messy stuff that makes buildings work gets stowed out of sight in hollow walls, false ceilings, and secret compartments. Here, the architects’ palms are open, their sleeves rolled. Look up, and there’s nothing but steel braces, a plywood frame, and fluorescent tubes. Look down, and it’s all polished concrete. There’s something comforting about being in a building with nothing to hide."
Gorgeous new home for the Parrish Art Museum.

December 5, 2012 1:01 pm
"

But, in a strange way, that party was the end of the twentieth century. It was the great end-of-twentieth-century party. I remember going back on the barge afterwards with Natasha Richardson, Kate Moss, and all these people, and this big cold wave came flooding over the boat. It was two o’clock in the morning, and we were all soaking. It was like Cinderella waking up from the ball.

And, of course, that view of Manhattan from the party—very shortly, the Twin Towers were down. New York had changed utterly. Utterly. I mean, we never would have had that party after 9/11. It just ended like that. It was really, really romantic.

"

Tina Brown reflecting on the Talk magazine launch party. This piece is full of so many gems, I cannot recommend it more highly. First of all, she’s fearless. Second, she is incredibly insightful both in terms of what people want to read and what makes people tick. Third, she has some true zingers. A must read for anyone with designs on the media biz.

(Source: New York Magazine)

April 17, 2012 6:23 pm
"The brothers both have magnificent Civil War–period beards. They grew up in Iowa and moved to New York to become a chef and a filmmaker, only to be waylaid by artisan dreams. When they speak of their chocolate, they’ll say things like it “represents more than just a candy bar; it represents a new way of crafting food,” and it embodies “a fiercely independent, almost Emersonian spirit.”…“We don’t have a marketing department,” Rick says. “We have an education department.” For a chocolate bar that has sailed into the hearts of urban sophisticates largely under power of its packaging, backstory, and media-bait olde-tymey-ness, this statement sounds like rank corporatespeak, but the brothers seem to earnestly regard their candy bars as a pedagogical tool."

It’s a funny thing to watch hipsters age.  If you think about it, the hipster phenomenon began around 2007, going on a half decade of varying flights of aesthetic fancy and small batchery.  Eventually, the raw-denim-wearing, single-speed-bicycle-riding collegiates had to make a living.  So rather than ditch the trappings of their misspent youth in search of a more corporate reality, they just adapted and society adapted along with them.  Regardless of your feelings on hipsters, chances are you’ve come to enjoy their particular style of living (or the style the internet is selling us)—artisan handmade local organic social sustainable authentic lifestyle blah blah. 

It’s exactly what every generation before us has done.  The hippies pioneered casual Friday and Silicon Valley chic (please see David Brooks’ Bobos in Paradise for further information).  Gen X turned the internet into the biggest cash machine in history; making pajama-clad, vitamin D-deficient engineers the world’s millionaires.  Thus, the generation whose central identity mainly revolves around aesthetic particularity and alternative business models in a shit economy has us all ensconced in a hipster pleasure factory.  

And thus, I officially declare us to be post hipster.  As hipsters have grown up and turned their little niche of tweeness into profit, the lifestyle has gone mainstream and fully saturated every corner.  News anchors are wearing Warby Parkers.  Your parents are drinking craft cocktails.  The first lady is doing urban gardening.  Hipsters: your time has come.

(Source: New York Magazine)

January 26, 2012 9:11 am
"Join me for a drink at The Drawing Room, @AlbertBrooks? Me and Serkis have been here since 6am … See you later tonight. Might be out of booze — Serkis has Pogues on the jukebox & Fassbender just showed up in a pirate hat … Oh shit — we’re DEFINITELY going to run out of booze. Charlize & Tilda just pulled up in a stolen police car … Dude, GET DOWN HERE. Gosling is doing keg stands and Olsen & Dunst LITERALLY just emerged from a shower of rose petals … Nolte & Plummer just drove past, mooning us. Serkis & Tilda are signing "Is There Life on Mars?" … Oops — Von Trier just pulled up in a pass van dressed as Goering. "Let’s go to Legoland!" With a boozy hurrah, we’re out! … Oh. My. God. Just pulled up to Legoland. DiCaprio’s rented the park for the day. Dibs on the Duplo Gardens! #andscene"

Patton Oswalt totally sums up all of my feelings about the Oscar nominees this year.  How did Drive and Margin Call get absolutely no love for their directors or actors.  Nonsense!  Tree of Life over Melancholia?  Elizabeth Olsen?  Tilda!?  Take Shelter? BAH.  You’re really telling me it’s War Horse and Midnight in Paris instead?  If the Descendants win, I’m fire bombing the academy.

(Source: New York Magazine)

January 17, 2012 2:41 pm
"Oh, God, another damn impersonation … Streep and her accents … Might as well give her the Oscar nomination now … the Great Lady of Cinema … We’ll see the acting, that’s for sure. Can’t she ever just be real? I’m not falling for her pyrotechnics again, I’m hardened to her virtuosity … Here we go. Looks like they start when Thatcher is old and losing it. Gee, Meryl, what big English teeth you have. Holy shit, that’s good makeup…Now she’s talking to Jim Broadbent as her dead husband, Denis … It’s so private the way she teases him I’m almost embarrassed. Okay, she does the old lady well, but what about the flashbacks to when she’s middle-aged? Hunh. She sounds like Thatcher. She has a great ear. She gets the music in the voice and through the music the mind and through the mind the emotions and through the emotions the way the body takes the space. Yes, that’s how Thatcher took the space…This is … uncanny. This is … one of the greatest impersonations I’ve ever seen. It’s so distilled but so in the moment, so real. Curse you, Meryl Streep! You’ve won again. You’re too frigging marvelous to resist."

This could pretty much be my inner-monologue for every Meryl Streep movie I’ve ever seen.

(Source: New York Magazine)

November 11, 2011 3:24 pm
"J. Edgar is the latest chapter in Eastwood’s never-ending project to deconstruct the macho, jingoist, homophobic, right-wing archetype he once embodied—and prove himself an artist whose simplicity of style belies the most sophisticated understanding of the dual nature of the American character of any living filmmaker."

How has this reality never occurred to me before…

(Source: New York Magazine)

November 7, 2011 3:30 pm
New York Magazine, how do you know everything I want to read about?  First, Steinem: A couple of things struck me about this article.  The infighting!  Oh my god.  Are we feminist enough? was a question constantly being asked.  And everyone had an opinion.  More than anything, Ms. magazine was successful because it was the product of a specific vision and adhered to that, regardless of whether it was popular or would alienate a certain audience.  Feminism is intrinsically alienating.  If you’re a mom, you’re not radical enough.  If you’re radical, you must be a lesbian.  If you’re a man, you’re the enemy.  Also, this quote in response to the release of Ms.: “For the first time you can read a publication that expresses total female sentiment, not sentiment based on some male publisher’s assumption that all women like to read about recipes, beauty tricks, wardrobe wizardry and entertaining.”  In particular, that line could be written today, just throw sex advice in that list.  It still boggles my mind that no women’s magazine tackles substantive topics, politics, writes juicy articles or in depth profiles in the manner of the men’s magazines.  Next: the new feminist writers of the blogosphere.  It’s curious to me that these forums exist almost exclusively online. The evolution is interesting though, the wider scope, broader acceptance.  And this: ”Perhaps most strikingly, there was a freewheeling fascination with celebrity culture and ‘reality’ television, even on the most radical sites. Instead of viewing pop culture as toxic propaganda, bloggers embraced it as a shared language, a complex code to be solved together, and not coincidentally, something fun.”   

New York Magazine, how do you know everything I want to read about? 

First, Steinem: A couple of things struck me about this article.  The infighting!  Oh my god.  Are we feminist enough? was a question constantly being asked.  And everyone had an opinion.  More than anything, Ms. magazine was successful because it was the product of a specific vision and adhered to that, regardless of whether it was popular or would alienate a certain audience.  Feminism is intrinsically alienating.  If you’re a mom, you’re not radical enough.  If you’re radical, you must be a lesbian.  If you’re a man, you’re the enemy.  Also, this quote in response to the release of Ms.: “For the first time you can read a publication that expresses total female sentiment, not sentiment based on some male publisher’s assumption that all women like to read about recipes, beauty tricks, wardrobe wizardry and entertaining.”  In particular, that line could be written today, just throw sex advice in that list.  It still boggles my mind that no women’s magazine tackles substantive topics, politics, writes juicy articles or in depth profiles in the manner of the men’s magazines. 

Next: the new feminist writers of the blogosphere.  It’s curious to me that these forums exist almost exclusively online. The evolution is interesting though, the wider scope, broader acceptance.  And this: ”Perhaps most strikingly, there was a freewheeling fascination with celebrity culture and ‘reality’ television, even on the most radical sites. Instead of viewing pop culture as toxic propaganda, bloggers embraced it as a shared language, a complex code to be solved together, and not coincidentally, something fun.”   

October 27, 2011 8:23 am
"Productive workers and managers were rewarded, while unproductive ones were cut loose. Corporations realigned themselves to deliver more value to their shareholders, increasing dividend payments and stock buybacks. Within a decade, ordinary businesses were giving large stock and option packages to CEOs. Executive compensation soared. ‘These Bain Capital guys,’ says Neil Fligstein, an economics-sociology professor at the University of California, Berkeley, ‘were agents of the shareholder value revolution.’"

Turns out Mitt Romney and Co. are responsible for the collective shit hitting the fan.  They pioneered the idea of rewarding managers and CEOs for being ruthless, shedding jobs, keeping their eye on the bottom line regardless of the implications for the labor force or local economy.  And the amazing thing is they regard it as an inevitability that they merely helped facilitate. 

(Source: New York Magazine)

8:12 am
"This movement does not necessarily have a historical precedent. The movements in Spain in Greece are thinking about the same questions we are. Questions like, How do we create communities that aren’t based on capital and valuing things in terms of money? How do you create those sorts of communities? That’s what is exciting about being in a space like Zuccotti Park: It’s a place where you have the chance to radically reimagine the world."

AAAHHHHHHH.  Occupy Wall Street is quickly validating all the shit everyone has talked about them.  Why must all the people they pick to get shoved into the press be absolute morons?

(Source: New York Magazine)

October 26, 2011 3:52 pm
"…perhaps nothing has revealed how much the class warriors of the right and left of our time have in common than the national outpouring after Steve Jobs’s death. Indeed, the near-universal over-the-top emotional response—more commensurate with a saintly religious or civic leader, not a sometimes bullying captain of industry—brought Americans of all stripes together as few events have in recent memory."

This is something that I’ve been thinking about.  Why is it that everyone in America had this collective sadness over Jobs?  He was actually a pretty controversial figure in life, kind of a jerk, and the things he created were simultaneously examples of all that America was capable of achieving, and the vast disparities in wealth and material goods that divide us.  Perhaps he was an example of one of the last great inventors, a representative of a material age that seems to be slipping away, or the end of an age of American creativity.  Either way, his death feels like more than an individual passing, it feels like the end of something.

(Source: New York Magazine)

October 20, 2011 2:38 pm
"The worth of a little metal badge that validates a yellow cab in the eyes of the city has grown faster in the last three decades than the Dow Jones industrial average and the price of gold or oil, the New York Times reports, hitting $1 million yesterday in two sales."

You have got to be kidding me.

(Source: New York Magazine)