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September 28, 2013

4,000 posts

Apparently this is my 4,001st post on this site.

I'm gonna go think about that for a second.

But thanks everyone for reading.  Four thousand posts.  Hoo.

Posted by mrbrent at 11:55 AM

September 27, 2013

that old shuck and jive

There are a couple things that I would like to get into at length should I get the chance, but right now is not so much the chance.  So in the meantime, have some carelessly spoken words:
The Republican National Committeeman in Arizona used the phrase "shucking and jiving" on Thursday in a Facebook post intended to mock the Obama administration's decision to delay certain parts of the Affordable Care Act.

But come on, man, he's a big fan of Bill Cosby!  He can't be racist!

And for the record, I have no compunction against using that particular phrase.  However, I know enough not to use it in reference to our president, or any other descendant of actual slaves.  And I'm not even that smart!

Posted by mrbrent at 10:09 AM

September 26, 2013

buzzfeed's aimless vendetta against democrats

I'm on the record (though maybe only on Twitter) as someone who is leery of the website Buzzfeed.  They're good for a cute baby animal (and they've actually run some outstanding long features, like this one), but I believe that their editorial bent leans more towards the Daily Caller than it does an actual news-gathering organization.  Further, BF has yet to answer directly the extent of its involvement with the Koch brothers.  Generally speaking, they have this slimy underbelly that is seemingly camouflaged by the gifsets of celebrities or last night's TV show or sideboob or whatever.

Yesterday a pretty clear example of this sliminess ran.  (Sorry, no link for them!)  It was a non-story about how US Senate candidate and Internet-famous person Cory Booker communicated with a stripper on Twitter.  It's a non-story but BF ran with it, breathlessly and sloppily:

But [the] article takes us through a long photo-and-haha-GIF-heavy explanation of who the stripper, Lee, is, and how she knows Booker (they were in a movie about Twitter together), and what they have in common (pets). The post shows five exposed nipples, three erect nipples visible through a tank top, three bikini photos, and four GIFs. Yet it shows only two direct messages sent by Booker. Two banal direct messages. "And the East Coast loves you and by the East Coast, I mean me," Booker says. "Well now I'm blushing :)" Lee, replies. "It's only fair," Booker says. That's it.

BF's meat and potatoes is sending reporters to scour the social media accounts of its targets, in this case very popular Democrat Cory Booker, looking for some irrelevant but embarrassing event to splash as if its a scoop.

Of course each media entity is free to do such things as they will — other outlets do this all the time, and maybe there's some intentionally mainstream website out there sifting through Ted Cruz's garbage as I write this.  But in the same sense I am free to call BF slimy, and to point out that anything else BF might do is tarnished with yellow journalism that would make William Randolph Hearst proud.

Posted by mrbrent at 10:04 AM

September 25, 2013

michelle dean on cities

Ripping myself away from the Ted Cruz open-mike for a second, I'm suggesting that you give this meditation by Michelle Dean on artists and the city a read.  Affordability is a big issue making the conversational rounds here in Gotham, and it seems that everyone's taking turns writing their "Why I Left/Am Going To Leave NYC" confessions.  But!  Many of these people with their GBCW are what you would call members of the creative class.  Dean wonders maybe if the point is being missed.
It's not so much that I don't think art is important and vital and even crucial to our collective survival; it's that I'm wary of the way the "collective" is defined here. It is my informed impression that whenever cities get on their high horse about preserving "creativity," what they really mean is preserving the sort of store in Brooklyn (or, hell, Portland) that stamps a bird on everything and prices decent groceries out of the area.

Shot fired.

And I may be pulling this out of thin air, but I think that element of "urban renewal" that Dean isolates is the direct result of the slow commodification of everything.  The accidental gentrifications of history (Greenwich Village, then Soho, then EVil, etc.) were borne out of necessity: young disaffecteds aggregating in disused corners of the city.  Now, they are rezoned by the mayor and backed by real estate developers, and the gentrifying agents drawn in are only interested in the appearance of disaffection.  In fact, they are affected.

But that's only tangential to what Dean is writing about.  She's talking about how the city, as an entity, controls or tries to control its artists, and their relative importance to the food chain.  She's smarter than I am.  Give her a read.

Posted by mrbrent at 10:39 AM

September 24, 2013

ted cruz the unmentionable

I'm sure you're as sick as the next dude of listening to someone not that old bitching about being old, this is one of the frustrating things about getting older.  Turns out that TPM's Josh Marshall (and his wife) went to college/grad school with Sen. Ted Cruz:
Over the last few months I did some poking around too in Ted's last past his late 20s. Unlike his college and law school years when I had tons of mutual acquaintances I could go to, here I had fewer. But the gist was the same.

And this is why I've been saying since Ted Cruz replaced Michele Bachmann as the King of the Tea Partiers that the reaction to Cruz in the senate is simply the reaction Ted's gotten at least at every stage of his life since he arrived at college in 1988. An incredibly bright guy who's an arrogant jerk who basically everybody ends up hating.

Now, I'm not really shocked that Ted Cruz is an asshole—if there was ever anyone that asshole was written all over his face, etc.—it's just that I'm older than Marshall by a couple years.  I know people who have really important jobs, and I know people who are movie stars, but it hasn't sunk in that people that could even be me could be walking the corridors of power down there in D.C.  I still feel like the people that pull the levers are the old folk, my parents, or slightly younger than my parents.  (This also serves to abdicate a little any generational responsibility, maybe?  Like, It's Not Our Fault?)

But yeah, that asshole Ted Cruz is my little sister's age.  (Don't tell her I told!)  I was not prepared for that.

Posted by mrbrent at 8:52 AM