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.

Bad news for Gawker…

smileyA couple of scientists at the University of British Columbia have come up with some interesting [findings] about what kids find cool thesedays.

Apparently nice is the new snark. As described by surprisingly studly study director [Ilan Dar-Nimrod], “Just being nice and friendly and having talent — all the things your mom would love you to be — is the main part of how people perceive coolness now.” Dar-Nimrod sees the origins of the stereotypical cool rebel as arising from disempowered outgroups of the 1950s — blacks and youth — who wanted to resist the culture through personal expression. According to Dar-Nimrod’s colleague Ian Hansen, “open rebellion could get you killed, so a safer way to rebel would be ironic mockery of the dominant culture. Original coolness was a way of feeling like you were resisting oppression without actually doing what was necessary to throw it off.” Kids today are, apparently, not feeling very disgruntled about things and are more than happy to just get along. Exemplars of this trait are “cool”.

Of course, we can chalk a lot of this up to the general conservative vibe in the world and this study was, after all, conducted in Canada (sweet people, those Canadians), but it makes you wonder about who is consuming all the snarky too-ironic-by-half sludge that gets pumped from media outlets. Maybe not the next generation of media consumers. If I was Nick Denton I’d start wondering if I was really on the cutting edge of the next wave in publishing — or just pandering to the aging cynical wheezebags of the last generation.

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.

Baffling.

Remembering andrewsullivan.com

I’ve been tracking the decline of Andrew Sullivan’s once-popular[blog] over the past few months. Using the ranking system at [Technorati], I’ve watched him fall from his once-stable seat in the top 10 to his present place well below the top 100. The way Technorati rates a blog’s popularity is by tracking the number of other sites that link into it. Around last summer, Sullivan was getting about 2,500 other sites linking to his. Today, that has dropped to a little less than 2,000. Granted, not a huge drop — but the key is that there has been a real decline in a period when blog readership has exploded. For example, the most popular political blog, Daily Kos, has almost 11,000 sites linking to it. Today, Sullivan’s site is less popular than sites like “Stuff on My Cat”, wherein a guy posts pictures of his cat with things placed on it and “Yarn Harlot”, a site that explores the intricacies of knitting. Why has this happened? Read the rest of this entry »

The Male Pill. DOA.

OrestesThe BBC and others are [reporting] on a breakthrough in the development of male hormonal contraceptives — the Male Pill. Chalk this up to politically correct wishful thinking. Do they honestly think men are going to turn the tables on thousands of years of behavior and suddenly start shooting themselves up with God-knows-what to prevent their women from getting knocked up? Someone forgot to tell them that men already have an effective method of avoiding the repurcussions of unplanned pregnancy: it’s called walking.

Of course some men may very well try this — risks and all. But the ones most likely to adopt it are exactly the ones — well-educated upper middle class liberals — who already enjoy a close to zero fertility rate. If they really wanted this stuff to have a positive effect on society they’d slip it into the beer at Rangers games, cock fights, wrestling matches and Nascar races.

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