Homo homini rodentius est

Where are they now?

The New York Post reports on one Robert Ray, whose claim to fame — prior to [getting snagged for stalking] — was as the guy who took over for Ken Starr as principal investigator of Bubba during the Lewinsky Affair. Moral watchdogs, indeed. Feh.

What planet are they on?

Time 100 Who Shape the WorldTime magazine has just released its list of the 100 People Who Shape Our World (Wait! Don’t run out to the newsstand — you can get it [here]). And, sorry to say, it’s another harbinger of the Apocalypse. That may be overstating it a hair, but, man, it’s just damned weird.

Well, the first problem with their list of 100 World Shapers is that it has 102 members (104, if you count Melinda Gates, George Bush Sr. and Chris DeWolfe as separate entities — I’m betting they would). Alright, so we can’t crtiticize newsmagazine editors for accuracy (after all, if God had wanted us to be able to count accurately to 100 It would have given us 100 fingers and toes), but we can question their perception of just who should be on their list of 100+1+1+1+1 World Shapers.

If you regroup slightly the people they drop willy-nilly into made-up categories like “Artists and Entertainers”, “Heroes and Pioneers” and “Builders and Titans”, you find that the largest single group, making up about 35%, are entertainers. That’s right, the flagship magazine of the news empire built by Henry Luce believes that our world is shaped — overwhelmingly — by people who cavort in costumes and greasepaint and jockstraps and guitars to entertain us. I told you. Apocalypse.

What, you may wonder, would cause sober editors at a respected Time-Warner news magazine to believe such things. After all, this isn’t People magazine (owned by Time-Warner) or Entertainment Weekly (owned by Time-Warner) or even the usual gang of idiots at Mad Magazine (owned by Time-Warner). I’m at a loss. I honestly don’t have a clue about why a serious news magazine, that just happens to be owned by a major media and entertainment company could somehow believe that entertainers are, as a class, the most important people in the world.


Zadie Smith schools Kurt Andersen

White Teeth author Zadie Smith took part today in a writer’s interview series at the New York Public Library and your friendly neighborhood rat was in attendance. She was interviewed by Kurt “I’m Snarking as Fast as I Can” Andersen. It was an interesting match up — a writer who strives for truthful realism in her work being interviewed by a man who has made a career standing at an ironic remove from the world he lives in. Read the rest of this entry »

Life well lived

Arthur Winston, the 100 year old transit worker who retired last month after an almost perfect record of never missing a day’s work in 70 YEARS, [passed away] this week. I can’t think of a better way to live and to die. Reference a [recent post] about how Boomers are scared to death of aging, here’s an example of how one does it. Granted, genetics got him to 100, but the lesson of his life applies to anyone: work at something you enjoy and place others at the center of your purpose (he supported family members throughout his life). He lived because he had something to get up in the morning to do. When his work was done, so was he. Just as it should be.

Extortionist, editor

Well, to be fair, I guess that should be “suggested” extortionist, Jared Paul Stern is guest editing Gawker this weekend and is using the opportunity of a slow news cycle and the likelihood that Ron Burkle’s lawyers are off for the day enjoying the holiday weekend with their families to vent his withered spleen. Not much that directly counters the charges against him as far as I can see, but lots of sleazy innuendo. What do we have to paint on our doors to make this nightmare pass?

Well, there’s one good thing coming out of “Burklegate”: it pretty much [saves us] from the next incarnation of Radar “The Little Magazine that Couldn’t”.

Gawker continues its furious race to the bottom. It’s like watching a train wreck in real time. First they promote celebrity stalking, thereby chewing off the hand that feeds them, now they’re promoting a sleazy gossip monger with a squishy handshake. In a word: blech.

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