Posts from October 2002

Never forgetting: I was just

Never forgetting
: I was just thinking this morning that though, of course, 9.11 comes to mind every day, many times a day, it’s no longer so much atop the mind.

And then we went to lunch.

At this little place in Stirling, NJ, where we sit out back and have bean burgers, the big backyard was filled with a private party. “A benefit,” the waiter explained, “for Flight 93.”

Friends and family of the stewardesses of United Flight 93, the jet that crashed in Pennsylvania.

Their brochure listing the donations they received to raise money said: “Last year, we learned to laugh again. And started a tradition. This year the tradition continues. So today laugh, dance and have a great time, but never forget the real reason we’re all here.”

Can’t forget. Can’t ever forget.

Times squared
: Lileks knows (and loves) my neighborhood — Times Square — better than I do.

The gang that couldn’t catch

The gang that couldn’t catch the gang that couldn’t shoot straight
: John Ashcroft called yesterday a defining day in America’s war against terrorism.

He wishes.

Let’s look at the scorecard:

: They put an idiot Marin-minded kid from California away for 20 years for being stupid enough to go to Afghanistan and stop bathing.

: They got an idiot kid from Britain who couldn’t blow up his own shoe to confess to being a damned fool.

: They arrested a bunch of losers in Buffalo for not quite doing something bad.

: They arrested a bunch of losers with outdated Commie names (October?) in Oregon and elsewhere for trying and failing to fly to Afghanistan.

: They arrested a guy who was probably stopped from being the 20th hijacker by the hijackers themselves because he was such an idiot.

: Note that not one of these arrests did anything to make us in America any safer; they did not get any cells like the ones that attacked us on Sept. 11.

: They haven’t managed to crack a clue in the anthrax attacks.

Oh, yes, it was a defining day: the definition of inadequacy.

: And they say bin Laden is still alive.

One man’s annoyance is another man’s art
: A cell-phone symphony [via Shift]

Time flies when you’re having fun
: Haven’t seen her in ages. Jenni is aging.

Art: TV is rarely considered

: TV is rarely considered art but that’s snobbish crap. TV is art and it’s art that matters because people watch it; it speaks to them.

There is art that doesn’t matter because it’s not seen or can’t speak to people or is just bull.

Take today’s New York Times business section. Good for the New York Times that they sold eight pages of advertising and called it art. Bad for my fellow Deutsche Bank shareholders that we paid the bill for this murder of trees in the name of art.

Those eight pages are filled with tiny print — at first, you think it’s another kind of stock table with words, not numbers — that turn out to be just a list of words collected from the many people and many languages of New York. “Wordsearch, a translinguistic sculpture,” it’s called.

This is one of those things that sounds like a good idea… but isn’t. (As Nick Denton once said — I remember it even if he doesn’t — regarding business: “I can’t afford brainstorming anymore.” The same could be said for the meeting that lead to this project.)

Eight big pages of tiny words.

What’s the point?

You know what, don’t answer that. I don’t care. The point is obvious but still, I don’t care.

This is self-absorbed show-off snobbish-wolves-in-populist-sheep’s clothing. It’s a waste of paper and ink. It makes my head explode.

I’ll take popular culture any day.

: And while I’m on my populist rant, let me complain about the lead of Caryn Jame’s review of the Forstye Saga in the NY Times today:

Oh, the English and their wacky sense of humor! Mark Thompson, the chief executive of Channel 4 in Britain, recently gave a lecture about the state of television and said, “When you’re looking for ambitious, complex and above all modern TV, you find yourself watching not British, but American pieces.” To American viewers that idea rings with a Monty Pythonesque absurdity that could keep us howling with laughter all season. If American television represents the avant-garde, we’re all in very deep trouble (even though Mr. Thompson was right in citing the anomalous “Six Feet Under” and “24” as models of innovation).

What incredible snobbery! What knee-jerk anti-American, anti-cultural-populism!

Yes, damnit, American TV is giving us “ambitious, complex, and above all modern TV” and a TV critic at America’s most-respected newspaper should know that. Start with The Sopranos, West Wing, Six Feet Under, 24,and Oz and keep going through the reinvention of news (FoxNews, love it or not, gives news personality) and the invention of late-night humor (Germany clones David Letterman for a reason) and the addition of wit to the crappy reality genre Europe exported to us (they created Big Brother; we created The Osbornes). No, British TV is not smarter than American TV. No, Masterpiece Theater is not the smartest thing on TV. No, American TV — and Americans — are not classless and dumb. Oh, how I hate this cultural treason.

I think I need to write a book about this.

What he says
: I have long contented that the so-called Golden Age of TV was just a figment of Milton Berle’s ego — it was just bad vaudeville on video — and that TV is better than ever today. Now I know I’m right … ’cause my fellow TV Guide veteran Lileks says so:

This is not one of those TV

Unwired hot, wired not: This

Unwired hot, wired not
: This beats Starbucks’ T-Mobile hot spots. From the newsletter:

Sometime ago Singapore