Monday, May 30, 2005

Sunday Stylin': better late than never

In this week's desperately pathetic attempt to fill space gain advertising revenue, we learn that people are interested in sex, "moisturizing is the answer," and the mediocre young actor Emile Hirsch is frickin' cool.

More Sex, Less Joy. In this stunning expose, writer Ruth Le Ferla learns that people like sex. Some people will even buy books about it. Also, people today are raunchier than in the past, and want their sex books raunchier, too.

These books include terrible advice:
"Try going through each others' wardrobes; why not see what you'd look like in each other's clothes," suggests Paul Scott, the author of "Mind-Blowing Sex." Then there are certain calisthenics for the mouth that seem to require as much practice as learning to play the oboe.
Paul Scott, you're an idiot, and if anyone is desperate enough to take this advice, their lives are probably ruined. Either a middle-aged dude dressed in his wife/girlfriend's bra/thong/panties and loved it, or did so and lost his self-respect forever. He's ruined either way. On the other hand, Alex Kuczynski's boyfriend would get to wear a lot of scarves.

As far as the "oboe" reference, that just sounds like the product of La Ferla's overactive imagination. Keep your phallic fantasies to yourself, lady.

A Title That's Not as Boss as It Looks. Mid-level executives with meaningless jobs get overinflated job titles to compensate for their existential ennui.

Well, that's the Cole Slaw Blog take on it. Patrick McGeehan is more preoccupied with the bureaucratic confusion that ensues than he is with the J. Alfred Prufrock implications. But, whatever. It's tough to be interesting when your keyboard burps up 20 column inches about workplace vanities.

'But I Neeeeeeed It!' She Suggested. First, the headline. There are seven e's in need. If I were one of the production editors at the Times and the proper spelling simply would not suffice, I would have stretched it out to four e's, five max. But seven e's? That's just a showing off.

The young Alex Kuczynskis and Stephanie Rosenblooms of the world want lots and lots of material goods, only they're not scarves and sneakers, but iPods and $400 camera phones. The snotty kids bitch and whine until their craven parents acquiesce. Some mentally disturbed 18 year old in Illinios ran up a $600 cell phone bill and had to get a job at the carwash to pay it off. Many parents are drawing strict lines:
No sooner had Mr. Silvers's teenage daughter worn him down for a cellphone, he said, than his 12-year-old twin sons started "heavily panting" for them. He told them to wait, for now. Next year they will be teenagers. Mr. Silvers can already see the writing on the wall.
I feel like a curmudgeon, bitching about the kids these days, but the truth is, I was a curmudgeon when I was 14, so I'm entitled. The great thing about being a curmudgeon is you call bullshit when you see it. I dig my iPod, but if my hypothetical teenager started acting like an asshole about it, he'd get a Wham! CD and a boot to the ass.

This article is the half-witted cousin of some real reporting in the news section, which explores the class implications of consumer purchasing, including these same high-end gadgets. The Times's stories in its series on class in America have often resembled Styles section stories, except that they're written with insight, clarity, and intelligence. How the Times can publish both the class series and these Styles section atrocities is a mystery. Bill Keller needs a therapist.

Now You See It, Now You Wonder Just What 'It' Is. Something tells me that David Colman's bid to land in Bartlett's Familiar Quotations is doomed. "Magic is like beauty: without an audience it is just a trick of the light."

How true. I can't tell you how many times I've had that exact thought, but lacked the skills to articulate it clearly. But ... yes. Magic without an audience is indeed just a trick of the light. Deep.

More deep thoughts:
Even when she says moisturizing is the answer, as she did in a 1995 artwork bearing those words, she wants you to wonder, Well, is it?
I vote a hearty "no." But David Colman is easily provoked when he's talking about Sylvie Fleury, a lady who creates "proto-capitalist art" for the masses. She lives in a Swiss villa that once belonged to an 18th Century magician. Colman and Fleury take us on a tour that includes medieval half-assery, which proves, if nothing else, that the Styles section doesn't have a monopoly on inanity.
The piece, with a metal dragon-head base, recalls in a cheerfully cheesy way the griffin-infested early Dark Ages heyday of scrying, or crystal gazing, before Christian doctrine declared the practice a no-no. The balls became popular again with quasi-scientific diversions like phrenology in the late 19th century, about the time the Gypsy fortuneteller joined the Hall of Everlasting Stereotypes.
See, he's witty. The Hall of Everlasting Stereotypes? The "griffin-infested early Dark Ages"? Bravo, David Colman, bravo.

Emile Hirsch: Rolling with the Big Dogs
. I think I can speak for Flop when I say that both proprietors of Cole Slaw Blog are extremely excited about the new movie Lords of Dogtown. It's hard to wrap your mind around it, the prospect of a movie about skaters that manages to be both hip and edgy, with a slammin' soundtrack to boot. Hopefully there will be a Sum 41 song. So flippin' sweet, I can't wait.

Until the much-anticipated day (Friday) when Lords of Dogtown premieres and the work absentee rate becomes a nationwide epidemic, we can only learn from 20-year-old Emile Hirsch, a hip dude who wears Revenge of the Sith gear and eats Chinese food. Cool!

When Hirsch and friends see a bus ad for Dogtown, they pump their fists and yell, "Check it!" Hey! Cool! Very cool! (Full disclosure: When I was 12, I went barhopping with Jessica Tandy when Driving Miss Daisy came out, and she did the same thing.)

"In Dogtown," Mr. Hirsch said, "skateboards are like bikes to the Chinese." Dude, that's frickin' extremely cool. Yeah!

Later, Hirsch gets on a skateboard and yells, "Punk rock, bro!" while skating. Cool, cool, coooooool. Hooray!

I don't know if you can imagine this, but when I read that, I ran back and forth in my apartment, screaming, "Punk rock, bro!", Times-reader style. Damn you, Emile Hirsch, and damn you, Lords of Dogtown. Now I'm so pumped and excited for Lords of Dogtown that I can't finish my Sunday Styles roundup. Time to go outside and spread the word.

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