Every week, I write about Monday Night Football in advance of the live thing I do at FOOTBALLZ.ORG. HERE IS THIS WEEK’S WRITING THING!
YESSSSSS! My favorite semi-regular video series Artworks Weekly is BACK!
Well, this is Saul Steinberg and it isn’t of a rich person unless you consider Mickey Mouse a person, because it kind of looks like Mickey Mouse, so that’s a step in the right direction but other than that this one is pretty meh.
Talk of the Town
We start off this week with David Remnick telling everybody to get off the president’s back about foreign policy already and I tend to agree. This president walked into an office so screwed up by his predecessor that just getting the rest of the world to work with us again was a major accomplishment. The United States will never be able to be the world’s policeman nor will it ever be able to disengage itself from affairs in other countries either so finding a third way needs to be muddled through and the president has certainly been doing that. Bonus points for Remnick soning all candidates for 2016 super hard in the process. After that a kind of token 9/11 remembrance piece that really got me about an electrician who took photos of the inside of the north tower while he worked the night shift. It left me wanting to but being scared of seeing these photos. Then a thing about the Brill Building and the last songwriting shop in there, uh, this was boring. Then, as if an alarm sounded in the magazine’s offices that they hadn’t written anything about a rich person or child of a famous in this TotT, a bit about the movie that Mike Nichols kid has made. It also refers heavily to The Graduate if you didn’t understand who Mike Nichols is. Lastly a thing about classical music or something that I really didn’t care about.
Annals of Comedy
Oh man did I love Bill Cosby. His eponymous show (the first one, not the one on CBS which was like only being allowed to listen to the midi version of your favorite song) was one of the last non-sports things that my family would watch together. When we went to see him at the Puyallup Fair he was amazing and the show was not too different than it is now as described by Kelefa Sanneh in his excellent if a little slight article on the Cos. Sanneh uses the release of a new and authorized, and implied somewhat anodyne, biography to trace the career of the man who seemed to be everyone’s dad in the 80s to his late career tours of the American hinterlands. Sanneh details his shift away from the radical in his early comedy career and how that lead to his success but also gave fuel to his detractors. He goes over Eddie Murphy’s famous routine from Raw, in which Murphy as Cosby admonishes Murphy for his use of coarse language (this is how I learned to impersonate Cosby, and it remains the only impersonation I can do with any acuity) as well as Cosby controversial Pound Cake speech of 2004. The Cosby of the 80s seemed joyful and amazing but now, in old age, he seems to have curdled into a cranky old man. Maybe I’ve gotten older or maybe it is the many allegations of sexual impropriety, some of which are detailed disturbingly in the article, that have turned me against a dude who was one of my heroes but man it is a bummer.
Shouts and Murmurs
Did not read.
Once, a long time ago, a friend referred to The New Yorker as a “homework magazine” and while I bristled at the comparison, I totally admit that was a sick burn. Reading this article about a new and exciting cancer treatment made that joke reverberate in my head. I am, admittedly, a science dummy. I blame a high school biology teacher who seemed to take insane delight at showing us her formaldehyde scarred palms at every opportunity for my lack of interest in the subject (though it’s probably because I’m super lazy when it comes to the stuff and prefer subjects that I can bullshit my way through, but if you’ve read this far down you probably figured that out already). This article did not make this new cancer treatment exciting to me and that made me feel guilty because it is probably something I should care about. The guy who wrote is named Jerome Groopman though, that’s pretty cool.
I’m not sure why you want to profile Al Pacino now, he really hasn’t done anything interesting in a while (outside of the theater, but that stuff doesn’t exist to me). I suppose it was interesting to find out why he has made so much garbage (and to be reminded of this insane commercial that you should stop reading this and watch immediately, I’ll wait) in the last few years (not to spoil it but he had a bad business manager) and to hear a story about how he punks Bill Belamy super hard then wipes bbq sauce off of his fingers. Other than that it was kind of rote slightly interesting New Yorker profile time, which is kind of great when you’ve never heard of the person before or when their profession hasn’t been overexposed to an insane degree. A pretty breezy read.
A Reporter at Large
This was the opposite of the “homework” article, a deep dive on a topic that deserves intense scrutiny. The plight of food service workers in today’s economy is heartbreaking and William Finnegan’s story about their struggle for union representation should be held up against the sneers of the ultra rich and dickheads that post things like this on the internet. It’s bad enough that people have to look to these jobs for a living wage, but to have their employers actively seeking out new ways to prevent this is verging on criminal. This story should be read by every free market asswipe out there. If you can come up with a good reason why the people profiled in this article do not deserve a living wage and that doesn’t invoke the idea that they should just “get a better job” or “get more education” then I will salute you. How a CEO that makes 1200% more than an employee can sleep at night is some serious delusional bullshit. The anger that comes from the other side of this argument boggles my mind, why are people so pissed that other humans just want a livable wage?
Did not read.
The Critics: A Critic at Large
OH BOY, MORE HOMEWORK! Seriously, just the phrase “Frankfurt School” gives me a fucking headache. This article is chiefly about the lives and ideas of Theodor Adorno (even this dude’s name in annoying, WHERE’S THE E TEDDY?) and Walter Benjamin (who is a close second to Ed Ruscha in the “really, his name is pronounced like that?” contest) and pop culture and blah blah blah blah. This all takes me back to my one semester of muddling through Marxist Literary Theory and my feeling it should not be taught in a place where pot is so readily available. I get that the ideas are important but jeez, can these dudes be spoken about in plain language ever? Or do the ideas always have to be presented as IMPORTANT. This is why everyone hates grad students.
Emily Nussbaum is entertaining again talking about one show she doesn’t like and one that she does. Unfortunately I was not going to watch either on of these tv shows anyway so thanks for playing Emily.
The Current Cinema
David Denby does better with persuasion if not with style then his fellow writer. Starred Up sounds like a movie I would watch after his review, which makes the movies interesting even if his writing about isn’t. The other movie sounds like a dumb band idea that Harvey Weinstein cooked up, NO THANK YOU.
THAT’S IT DOGGGGSSS, SEE YOU NEXT WEEK!
More football and FOOTBALLZ!
Writing abysmal poetic laments, watching The Crow on endless loop, sleeping all day with your sunglasses on, and teasing your hair into a proper Robert Smith ape scrotum explosion can all add up to awfully hungry work, but regular food is so fucking conformist you could PUKE, and last we checked, there’s no such thing as SNACK Bar Sinister,* so when the pangs in your stomach echo the desperate, rapacious emptiness of your dismally fetid life itself, what’s a ravening Batcaver to do? Luckily, Japan has the answer. Not the band (though they did have plenty of good tunes), but Japanese Burger King. Via Kotaku: Burger King Japan is rolling out another “Kuro Burger” (“Black Burger”), with buns made from bamboo charcoal, an onion and garlic sauce made with squid ink, beef patties made with black pepper, and black cheese, which is also apparently made with bamboo charcoal. There are two types of burgers: the Kuro (Black) Pearl and the Kuro (Black) Diamond with all the fixings. The burgers go on sale later this month in Japan for a limited time only I’ve had pasta and paella colored black with squid ink, but the bamboo charcoal…
THE MOST IMPORTANT NEWS
Well, here it is, the fucking Derek Jeter cover I’ve been dreading for months. Not too long after I moved to New York Derek Jeter announced that he would be retiring after the current season. The news was met with the usual word collage used when referring to the longtime Yankees shortstop, blah blah classy blah blah role model blah blah doing it right. I felt an immense nausea upon hearing about it myself, knowing that this meant more attention for a middling team that already is overexposed to the poor humans who don’t give a crap about them and more attention to a man long past his prime and I get the feeling cares little for the people who watch him. This cover is an apt one though, Jeter larger than life, his back to us, his face unseen, a perfect portrait of someone who has people mistake his complete lack of character for “class” and “professionalism”. Jeter to me has always represented the platonic ideal for a certain kind of asshole, being so good at something and so rich that you don’t have to be interesting but you still manage to have sex with lots of hot ladies and nobody bothers you about it. When his last game finally rolls around in a couple of weeks I will applaud, not for him but for this whole baseball season long canonization to be over.
Talk of the Town
We return to the super depressing situation in Iraq and Syria to start us off, another update on the gordian knot of ISIS and how America will deal with them. Man, we really fucked up. Every article I read about this makes me sick thinking about the chain of events that lead us to this situation and how no matter how many quirky paintings he makes, George W. Bush is a smirking idiot who’s election might have been the worst mistake of the 21st century so far. Speaking of making me sick, next we have more Jeteria from usually fun to read Roger Angell, and it sucks. He calls him Derek throughout like they were pals or something, yeesh Rog, he’s not going to read it and ask you to hang out or something. Then there’s a thing about the lead singer of Belle and Sebastian, a really great band that I came to very very late in the process because I was just listening to rap music during their initial success. I enjoy their music so much that I’m willing to forgive that Stuart Murdoch was wearing a fedora while being interviewed. Apparently he has made a musical movie, I will probably see it. When I do I hope it will be raining outside because in my mind it is always drizzling around old Stu. Bonus points for him feeling like New York vintage stores are overpriced! Next up a bit about the US Open’s decision to open its practice courts to the public and how it has or has not annoyed tennis players. Mostly this was interesting for how cooky tennis players are and the info that there is a SECRET TENNIS COURT IN GRAND CENTRAL. WHA WHA WHAT? Finally there is a thing about a special effects company that does stuff for musicals and stage shows and it sounds cool and that’s just about all I can say about that.
I like John McPhee. He, along with Gay Talease, was one of the first people to actually get me to look at who writes articles rather than just thinking that they were put together by newspapers and the machines that run them. Levels of the Game is one of my favorites and I will praise him until the end of my days. However, THIS ARTICLE IS SUPER SUPER BORING (and it should be noted that this is not the first case of boring John Mcphee stuff in the magazine). No one has ever made the early version of football interesting, not even George Clooney (god help you if you watched that whole movie), and McPhee is no exception. There are a bunch of words about people from the olden times with like, leather helmets and no forward passing and ladies with long dresses and really I cannot tell you why this article was published.
Shouts & Murmurs
I actually read this, mostly because it was was written by the excellent Heather Havrilesky who writes the when-I-have-the-patience-to-read-it-very-entertaining Ask Polly column for The Awl. Unfortunately this is just as boring and not funny as the usual Shouts & Murmurs, sorry Heather.
Letter From Mauritania
Well here is some stuff I knew absolutely nothing about. Mauritania was a place that I heard of because I studied abroad in their neighbor to the north, Morocco (sorry to friends who are reading this who, for a period of my life, had to hear me say those words many many times. IT WAS A VERY IMPORTANT EXPEREINCE FOR ME and I was probably pretty boring outside of that fact for a little while). Turns out Mauritania is hella messed up! They have straight up slavery there, like Game of Thrones style, and there is no lady who’s storyline is boring outside of her having dragons to come end it. There is just a horribly grinding process being led by the subject of this article who is a much stronger person than I. A+ job getting me caring about a place I have never even thought of before and keep doing your thing Biram!
A Reporter at Large
OH BOY, nothing is as awkward a read as an old school journalistic magazine writing about “hackers”. Maybe it’s the font but chatspeak on printed glossy paper just kind of makes me giggle. Minus points for David Kushner not recognizing one of the early hackers’ names as from Battlestar Galactica, how you gonna get these guys to trust you if you can’t grok the language. Anyway this whole thing is about the rise of Anonymous and how maybe they are good and maybe they are not but also about how there is no real structure so parts of it can be good and bad at the same time. LIFE IS CRAZY LIKE THAT RIGHT NOW. This article will totally make me think that every crazy looking dude in a coffee shop/library using a laptop is a hacker rather than someone trying to sneak some porn in, man I wish that was true cause I’m sure most of those guys are def looking at porn.
Our Local Correspondents
More stuff about places I know exist but never really think about, this time it’s Staten Island and the enormous problems they have there with prescription drugs and heroin! It really seems like the problem is super big! I, again, have little to say about this since I don’t spend a lot of time thinking about that kind of drug abuse. All I can say is good luck humans of Staten Island! Also, prescription drug companies are terrible! Oh, and the illustration that accompanies this article is well done!
Did not read
The Critics: Books
This is a thing about the new book by the dude who wrote Cloud Atlas, a book that I have read and enjoyed but maybe thought wasn’t as big a deal as people made it out to be. It was super fun but maybe didn’t make me think about anything but the tricks that David Mitchell was pulling off. James Wood seems to think the same thing about Mitchell’s new novel. He makes a greater point about how narrative has become much more important than character in the modern popular novel. I would agree with this but I don’t really read new books. I don’t do this in some sort of protest, there’s just lots of really good books and for a while I did read all the new cool novels and they were almost all about how it was hard to be a comfortable white person.
Did not read.
The Current Cinema
Another review of a teen age weeper that I feel like was reviewed a few issues ago and then a review of movie about Errol Flynn that I might watch on Netflix.
THAT’S IT GUYS! LOTS OF LEARNING ABOUT STUFF THAT I KNEW NOTHING ABOUT THIS ISSUE! KNOWLEDGE IS EXCITING! CAN’T WAIT TO BREAK OUT THE “YOU KNOW THEY HAVE HUGE PROBLEMS WITH DRUGS THERE” LINE THE NEXT TIME SOMEBODY TALKS ABOUT STATEN ISLAND! See you next week!
FOOTBALLZ, the internet’s first/only/best alternative audio broadcast of Monday Night Football is back with our first broadcast of the year tonight at 7pm eastern. Here’s my preview of tonight’s game.
by TD SIDELL
In case you forgot, TD Sidell moved to NEW YORK CITY, and therefore has seen many ce- lebrities. He figured that you guys were sick of trading stories about seeing Peter Wolf getting his clothes re-blacked or whichever white dude is mayor now eating…
More celebaction (which in this case means celebrity action and not celibate action)!
Football (and FOOTBALLZ) season is upon us, here is a super breif preview for what to expect this year in America’s favorite sport/business.