The Apple Falls Far, Far From the Tree

From today’s New York Daily News:

William Ross, a retired U.S. Coast Guard captain now working for the Department of Homeland Security’s Transportation Safety Administration, was being questioned for allegedly alerting his son of a possible terror attack – three days before Mayor Bloomberg and the FBI went public with the warning, sources said yesterday.
“As some of you know my father works for Homeland Security, at a very high position and receives security briefings on a daily basis,” his son, Nick Seligson-Ross, who runs a dance troupe, wrote in an Oct. 3 E-mail…


The Cover Story

Yesterday, ASME (that’s the American Society of Magazine Editors for you great unwashed) announced the 40 greatest magazine covers of the last 40 years. So how does one create a truly great cover? Well, once all the excitement died down, low culture began to search out the subtle threads that link so many of these great, iconic images. Next time, consider the following indicators of greatness before you go to press…
Nudity is Great
Pop Art is Great
Little Kids are Great
Gays are Great
Also consider: Black Backgrounds are Great, Vietnam is Great, Animals Doing Wacky Things are Great, 9/11 (2001 only) is Great


Hey, Jack: My Reality Distortion Field is Bigger Than Yours

October 17, 2005 (avail. on newsstands): “How Apple Does It,” Time Magazine’s cover story from the October 24, 2005 issue
October 13, 2005: “The Apple Polishers: Explaining the press corps’ crush on Steve Jobs and company,” by Jack Shafer, the “Press Box,” Slate


As Seen On The New York Times Magazine’s “Funny Pages”

Because nothing says funny like emotional abuse, POW’s, and Klosterman’s fat mug.


Steve Jobs’ Reading List

Outside the Apple Store in Soho, downtown New York, Sunday, October 9, 2005
A close-up of the books featured in the window display, above.
Not one, nor two, but three copies of a book about “The White Power Movement”…?
Perhaps this reading selection explains why the black model of Apple’s new iPod Nano is particularly weak, and prone to scratching and complaints?

Shallow Versus

Lesbian Ass vs. the Commuter Class

This past weekend, Manhattan’s customarily quiet and genteel neighborhood of Chelsea was overtaken by lesbian rage, as 22nd Street became the site of the LTTR Block Party, in honor of the release of the fourth issue of this largely-unknown feminist art/literature/music journal. (That’s one more issue than n+1, in case you’re wondering. Collect them now!)
So, what sort of clash ensues when the upper-income brackets of Chelsea’s brownstone-residing queers play host to a bunch of art-world dykes? Hmm…phrased like that, the whole situation becomes confusing. Let’s sort it out by pitting LTTR versus that beacon of aspirational capitalism, BusinessWeek.

BusinessWeek LTTR
lesbian_cover_businessweek.gif lesbian_cover_LTTR1.jpg
The publication’s title pretty
much says it all…you’re getting the news of "this week in business".
Concise, but boring. Kind of like your typical V.P. of Development. Not very
gay in the least.
The publication’s title
serves a dual function; first, it’s an artful abbreviation of LETTER,
get it? Because the printed word is comprised of letters. Secondly,
it’s an acronym of sorts, wherein issue number 1 went by the longhand
variant of LESBIANS TO THE RESCUE, issue number 2 spelled out LISTEN
TRANSLATE TRANSLATE RECORD, and then there’s some additional wordplay
with the idea of LESBIANS TEND TO READ. Semi-clever, mostly creative.
And, therefore, very gay.
Inserts: Each issue includes subscription
invitation cards that frequently fall out on the floor of the Metro North
train on which its readership rides.
Inserts: Past issues have included
insert CDs with rare and exclusive tracks by artists such as Le Tigre.
Apparently the group’s frontwoman Kathleen
has some sort of penchant
for lesbianism?
Current Cover Story: When
Rita Came Calling
, examining how "after Katrina, Gulf Coast outfits like
SBC, Coke, and Texas Instruments prepared extensively for this hurricane."
Informative and matter-of-fact. And, again, boring as all fuck.
Potential Cover Story: When
Rita Came Calling
, examining what happens when an ex-lover
comes by your studio apartment in Williamsburg while you’re racing to
hide your new girlfriend’s undergarments. Assuming she wears undergarments.
Poetic and beautiful.
Packaging: Bound like ninety percent of all other magazines. Three staples straight down the side, gloss on the front, and poker in the rear. (Sorry, we’re getting ahead of ourselves. Account Executives are just so goddamned aggressive after happy hour!) Packaging: The latest issue comes wrapped in textured paper, bound by a frilly ribbon. Very feminine, but not very durable –– and certainly not built to last in perpetuity. Where are those all-important subscription cards?

This, then, is why the breeders will always win.

Shallow Versus

Ronald McDonald’s Happy Steal

From L-R, McDonald’s new female Ronald McDonald, as seen in a current Japanese TV campaign, and Milla Jovovich as Leeloo in Luc Besson’s The Fifth Element (1997)
Talk about Hamburglars! (Ba-dum.)

Satirical Shallow

Ask Ben Kunkel

Today’s Salon features an insightful, probing piece by Rebecca Traister on the humdrum, sorry state of being a Modern American Woman, and the trouble with dating the contemporary early-adult American male – specifically, how today’s women are dissatisfied with this “new breed of man: a man of few interests and no passions; a man whose libido is reduced and whose sense of responsibility nonexistent. These men are commitment-phobic not just about love, but about life. They drink and take drugs, but even their hedonism lacks focus or joy. They exhibit no energy for anyone, any activity, profession or ideology.”
Traister sagely acknowledges that writers such as Candace Bushnell et al have explored this subject to death, and, as such, she seeks a new hook: What might Ben Kunkel, the author of Random House’s Indecision – this month’s literary hotcake amongst the city’s subway- and nightstand-reading set – have to contribute to this line of discussion? Of the author and his text’s protagonist, she asks, “After I finished Kunkel’s novel, I was curious about the man who had so precisely drawn a figure whose initial indifference is so painfully familiar. With Kunkel, I thought I might be able to have a safe, objective conversation about the kind of guy Dwight is as his story begins. How did we get a population of Dwights? Will they ever get better? Why do my friends and I continue to date them?”
But why limit Kunkel to a simple, one-track discussion on dating and relationships? We asked him, this literate, Harvard-trained man-about-town, to help our sullen readers with some of their sundry dilemmas. And boy, did he ever!
Welcome, then, to the first installment of our new, groundbreakingly opinionated, and most important, gentlemanly advice column.
ask_ben_kunkel.gifDear Ben,
I recently left my wife of five years after – for lack of a better way of phrasing it – losing my passion for her. Not falling out of love, mind you…just losing that sense of passion that keeps people together. Lately, however, I have been regretting my decision, and want her back. The problem is, she has taken up reading all sorts of self-help books that seem to discourage exes from reuniting. What should I do?

It can be very difficult dealing with the repercussions of our actions, particularly when it comes to love and the causalities thereof. Do we love for the sake of loving, or do we love merely to stay afloat in this pool of the everyday, the human interactions that define our existence? Hannah Arendt hit it right on the head when she put forth that being female was akin to being imprisoned by one’s mind and morality, and that, no matter what we may do to attempt to break free, we – and, it may be said, all of humanity – will forever be subjected to a greater external framework, an ethical morass the likes of which no mere mortal can transcend. Which is why she encouraged her lover, Walter Benjamin, to take his own life. Ever the slattern, she then wound up fucking Heidegger over, too.
Dear Ben,
I recently moved into an elite co-op in Chelsea, and was thrilled to become a part of what felt like a second home, this tightly-knit community of likeminded, intellectually vibrant, book-reading wage-earners. But since settling in last month, I have learned my upstairs neighbor insists on playing his music far too loudly, and usually at moments when I am trying to sleep. I have thought of leaving notes on his door, but am uncertain of what this might do to upset the otherwise tranquil balance of our collective abode. Any ideas?

Noise, and music in particular, can be a source of great asymmetric tension. Historically, one may note, Theodor Adorno espoused nothing but the severest disdain for jazz music, or rather, what he termed “jazz music”, but which was, in fact, a series of sounds akin to “big band” music, henceforth confusing generations of Marxists and music critics alike. It was his literal reading of this cacophony, the simpleminded focus on aberrant rhythms and layered ideas, that confounded his aesthetic judgment, and led to a great deal of turmoil in his dealings with his onetime partner in the Frankfurt School, Max Horkheimer. Horkheimer really got down with the horns, the clarinet, the vibrato…all of which conveyed an intricate melding of joy and sadness and expedient physicality. This tapestry of the old and new, incidentally, can be found in the recent works of Radiohead.

Benjamin Kunkel grew up in Colorado. He has written for Dissent, The Nation, and the The New York Review of Books, and is a founding editor of n+1 magazine.

Satirical Shallow

Tragedies Come in Threes

This post is dedicated to Jean-Paul Tremblay, who was found dead in his apartment beneath a stack of old Nation magazines, surrounded by anti-Bush paraphernalia. Now you’re Photoshopping with Jesus, sweet prince.


Just ask her son, Ryder Truck

From “What’s in a Name, Katrinas?”, an article exploring the irksome after-effects of being named “Katrina” in these troubling times of ours, appearing in Sunday’s New York Times, by Allen Salkin:

Katrinas can expect three to five years of stoking bad memories before the sharpness of the pain recedes, said Katrina Cochran, a disaster relief psychologist who has worked with victims of the Oklahoma City bombings and the Sept. 11 attacks.
Ms. Cochran, who has been hired by Church World Service to counsel hurricane victims, said she hopes they will forgive her name. “People will see me trying to help and offering care and compassion, and it might actually help them recover more quickly,” she said.