Yeah yeah, cue your jokes about us being dads for linking to NPR, but the new Mountain Goats album is so freaking worth it. We like “Damn These Vampires” and “Birth of Serpents” a lot and have it on repeat while we eat carrots and parse John Darnielle’s consistently excellent lyricism. Ugh, it’s just good, check it out already.
In November 2000, the United States held a presidential election, and nobody knew who won, so we just kind of made up an outcome and tried to act like that was normal. Less than a year later, airplanes flew into office buildings, and everybody cried for two months. And then Enron went bankrupt, and the U.S. started acting like a rogue state, and ‘The Simple Life’ premiered, and gasoline became unaffordable, and our Olympic basketball team lost to Puerto Rico, and we reelected the same president we never really elected in the first place. Later, there would be some especially devastating hurricanes and three Oscars for an especially bad movie called ‘Crash.’
Things, as they say, have been better.
I’m only 33 years old, so I’ll concede that my life experience is limited. But the past five years have been an especially depressing stretch to be an American, and I don’t think many people of any age would disagree with that sentiment (except for maybe Kelly Clarkson… things seem to be working out OK for her). If it’s the era of anything, it’s the Era of Predictable Disillusionment: a half-decade in which many long-standing fears about how America works (and what America has come to represent) were gradually—and then suddenly—hammered into the collective consciousness of just about everyone, including all the people who hadn’t been paying attention to begin with.
This will not be lost on future historians. In 50 or 100 years, they will search for events within the popular culture that supposedly embodied the zeitgeist of the time. Some of these people will use sports, not unlike the way contemporary historians might use Muhammad Ali as a means to define the 1960s. As these future historians try to explain what was wrong with the world in the early 21st century, I suspect they will use Barry Bonds. Here was a man accomplishing unbelievable things—things so unbelievable that they literally should not have been believed, even as they were happening. But we did not really believe or disbelieve. We just sort of watched it happen, and then we watched it get out of control, and then we expressed shock without feeling a grain of surprise, and then we tried to figure out how we were supposed to reconcile an alien reality we unconsciously understood all along.
This was all I could think about while watching Charlie Sheen’s absolutely calamitous interview today. Couldn’t stop wondering if those future historians who will go looking for cultural artifacts to represent our contemporary zeitgeist won’t just seize on the day that I and untold thousands of others sat at our desks one dreary Monday and spent our lunch hours watching an internet live stream of this train wreck going over a cliff.
Texas state rep. Leo Berman explaining to Reeve Hamilton why he suspects the President of the United States was not born in the United States. He saw it on YouTube, duh. (via motherjones)
Hahah, I’m just, no, yeah, this speaks for itself. YOUTUBES! I wonder how many he’s watched. All of the ‘Tubes, or just some of them? Tell us more!! There is a video of this guy getting seriously treated by Anderson Cooper—go to www dot Youtubes dot com and search for it, it’s a winner!
Zuckerberg grew up in Dobbs Ferry. This is a nice area of New York. He went to boarding school at Philips Exeter Academy. You can’t get a finer education at a private boarding school. Then he went to Harvard. He’s not some underdog. The entitlement of the story is that Zuckerberg thought because he’s the computer guy, he was entitled to the idea and entitled to the whole thing.
Regardless of who you are, I believe that everybody in this country is entitled to justice. That’s the entitlement that our characters believe they have: justice. I would hope that people don’t come away from the movie believing that Zuckerberg is the underdog. if you’re rooting for Zuckerberg, you’re rooting for a lawless place, a place where fraud is acceptable, a place where there is no protection.
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“'I’m Jim Carrey': He declares himself Jim Carrey, George Clooney, Ashton Kutcher and Brad Pitt all in the first verse. Thematic continuity: things that are not true. The idea is that his life is like a movie because it is so surreal, but then talks about how real he is because he makes his own shoes. Also all of a sudden being tattooed on his neck has become an integral theme.”—
“One of the challenges in networking is everybody thinks it’s making cold calls to strangers. Actually, it’s the people who already have strong trust relationships with you, who know you’re dedicated, smart, a team player, who can help you. Even college students have professors, family friends, alumni of their college. Your network is the people who want to help you, and you want to help them, and that’s really powerful.
What’s happened is that since most of your college kids have been in very structured environments, they don’t realize that what’s really essential is the network. They’re like, oh, my friends, they don’t know anybody. The actual answer is they might.”—Reid Hoffman, LinkedIn CEO
“Getting beat on the buzzer is frustrating, but are you kidding? I AM PLAYING A PRIME-TIME GAME SHOW AGAINST A SUPER-ADVANCED ROBOT! This is the coolest thing I will ever do in my life by a factor of a million.”—Ken Jennings is actually a pretty funny dude. He answers some reader questions today in TWP - Jeopardy! Champ Ken Jennings (via spytap)
From T Magazine, a scrolly bar that lets you see models before and after makeup:
The photographer Greg Kessler captures the transformations of New York Fashion Week. Here, the model Alana Zimmer from Ford Models before (left) and after (right) transforms, with makeup by François Nars for NARS and hair by Guido Palau for Redken. (Drag the orange bar left to reveal the full transformation.)
Back and forth, back and forth, back and forth! Mesmerizing. (Thanks to The Hairpin for pointing this out.)