The Two Stupid Faces of David Brooks: David Brooks Is an Idiot, Part III

Everyone always makes such a big deal about search engine optimization, but I don’t see anything impressive about it.  Search engine optimization is easy.  For instance, let’s say you’re a blogger, and you have a target audience who is interested in a variety of topics, such as “David Brooks idiot,” “David Brooks stupid,” “David Brooks hack,” “David Brooks asshole,” “David Brooks dickhead,” “David Brooks imbecile,” “David Brooks sucks,” “David Brooks wack,”  “worst David Brooks,” “David Brooks waste of organic matter,”  and “fire David Brooks.”  Just create blog posts about those topics, using those words, and internet success will be yours! Continue reading “The Two Stupid Faces of David Brooks: David Brooks Is an Idiot, Part III”

Trend of the Week: British Suits

I typically ignore the New York Times‘ “On the Runway” fashion reporting.  It’s not that I’m not interested in fashion, both personally and as a cultural phenomenon, but rather that articles about fashion shows and other events in the world of haute couture are so abstruse, they might as well be business section news about “On I.P.O, CDW to Fall Short of Boom-Era Valuation” or “S.E.C. to Vote on Proposal to Overhaul Money Funds.”  They might as well be about the N.B.A. draft.  Fashion reporters say things like “there was a bilge of chore jackets” and “Wherever Mr. Jones goes, he never loses sight of Vuitton’s sensibility….What Mr. Jones managed to reserve from the distilled American elements was a casual attitude.”   While conventional trend pieces strain too hard for relevance, high-fashion trend pieces take place in a rarefied world of tastemakers we’ve never heard of and cultural watersheds that have utterly failed to have any effect on us.  But it’s time to get over this aversion.  It’s time to learn what an honest-to-God fashion trend looks like, courtesy of Suzy Menkes’s “In London, All Hail the Suit.”

Continue reading “Trend of the Week: British Suits”

How to Be Perfect

In the past, this blog has perused the New York Times for insights on how to be cool.  Today, we turn to a more weighty topic.  While coolness is of abiding interest to lifestyle journalists, many of the luminaries profiled in the Times‘ pages transcend mere hipness; they are consummate examples of human perfection, without flaws either inside or out.  How can we emulate them?  Let’s find out.

Continue reading “How to Be Perfect”

Trend of the Week: Obsession Obsession

This trend piece comes to us from Teddy Wayne, bestselling novelist and author of one million mildly to somewhat amusing one-sentence articles for McSweeney’s.  (For those not familiar with McSweeney’s, it is an online humor site for people who hate dick jokes and love those Yelp reviews that are in the form of an open letter to an abstract entity, but wish they were a little edgier.)  But he’s not just a disarmingly quirky observer of modern mores; he’s also a concerned and judgmental observer of modern mores.  For instance, one day Wayne was on Amtrak, and overheard four debutantes conversing.  He found their discussion to be humorous, so he began typing what they said and posting it on Facebook for his friends to laugh at.   I know what you’re thinking:  “That’s a really cool story.  It’s a shame that only Teddy Wayne’s Facebook friends got to see those posts, when they should have been made available for everyone to read.  Teddy Wayne is too modest, making fun of teenage girls on Facebook and then trying to get out of taking credit for it.”

Continue reading “Trend of the Week: Obsession Obsession”

Bobos in the Panopticon; or, Why Does the New York Times Hate Freedom?

American culture abounds with knee-jerk displays of patriotism.  Fourth of July fireworks, Presidents’ Day, elections, baseball games, football games, gun shows, the Country Music Awards, pep rallies, NRA conventions, even the state fair — all come with flag-waving, anthem-singing, and the implicit belief that America is the best because we have the most “freedom.”  But does this assumption comport with facts, or is it a reductive, even jingoistic oversimplification?  The naïve citizen would claim that freedom means the ability to choose the direction your life will take, or a lack of undue burdens like oppression and bigotry.  These definitions create a false binary, putting freedom in the “good” category while consigning so-called “evils” like slavery, totalitarianism, unjust laws, bigotry, poverty and lack of opportunity to the “bad” category.  That kind of black-and-white thinking might fly in kindergarten, but it simply won’t do for the sophisticated readers of the Paper of Record!  They demand nuanced, rigorous thought.

New York Times editorialists are ready to give it to them.  And for most, that can mean only one thing.  Continue reading “Bobos in the Panopticon; or, Why Does the New York Times Hate Freedom?”

Trend of the Week: Extreme Facials

Here’s a little Cosmo-style quiz.  Instead of testing your Penis Perspicacity, you’re finding out whether you have what it takes to live the New York Times Style section lifestyle!  Just think about the question, formulate your answer, then read on to find your score.

You look in the mirror, and notice your skin isn’t looking very radiant.  You want to look younger, eliminate wrinkles and clogged pores, and have softer, more supple skin than ever. What do you do?

Continue reading “Trend of the Week: Extreme Facials”

Trend of the Week: Nail Polish

It’s impossible to keep up with New York Times inanity.  Every day there’s something to be incredulous about — like “truth vigilante,” “men invented the internet,” or the time David Brooks said his 12-year-old son’s “heroes include John Boehner and Tupac Shakur.”  Trying to read it all is like drinking from a fire hose, never mind producing comprehensive blog posts.  To make a greater dent in the backlog, I am launching the “Trend of the Week” series.  Each week, I will explore a recent (or not-so-recent) craze presented to us by the Paper of Record.

Today, we examine “Once Staid, Nail Polish Becomes Fashion Accessory,” by Style section colossus Ruth La Ferla.  Continue reading “Trend of the Week: Nail Polish”