Edit Text

Put “Fuck” in the Headline

It’s possible the editor – if they have such arcane old things – scanned the piece, said “this isn’t very good. Put fuck in the headline” and she had to comply, but it’s likely she was taking her cue from the rest of the site.

Lileks, J. (2017, August 4). The Bleat. Retrieved from http://lileks.com/bleats/archive/17/0817/080417.html



Binoche is a woman whose heart has been so pounded by war that she seems drawn to its wounded, as a distraction from her own hurts.

Ebert, R. (1996, November 22). The English Patient (Review). Retrieved from https://www.rogerebert.com/reviews/the-english-patient-1996


Grand Scheme of Things

For all his badassery, he never rises about the level of a minor supporting character—which is notable, since he’d probably be the protagonist in 90% of action thrillers taking place in urban America. The series is quite up-front about that fact that he’s just one cog in the social machine that keeps the drug trade afloat, and that few of his actions truly matter in the grand scheme of things.

The Wire Savagely Deconstructs Police Procedurals. Retrieved 2017, Dec 4 from http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/DeconstructorFleet


Super Accommodating

I always think of Calliou as that kid in the Twilight Zone episode who can kill with his mind, so everyone else has to be super accommodating.

gottabefunky (2017, Sept 28). Re: Henry wasn’t the only train to receive a death sentence [Reader Comment]. Retrieved from https://www.metafilter.com/169670/Henry-wasnt-the-only-train-to-receive-a-death-sentence#7179003

Like Emoticon

Because He Can

That’s the crucial thing about Facebook, the main thing which isn’t understood about its motivation: it does things because it can. Zuckerberg knows how to do something, and other people don’t, so he does it. Motivation of that type doesn’t work in the Hollywood version of life, so Aaron Sorkin had to give Zuck a motive to do with social aspiration and rejection. But that’s wrong, completely wrong. [Zuckerberg] isn’t motivated by that kind of garden-variety psychology. He does this because he can, and justifications about ‘connection’ and ‘community’ are ex-post-facto rationalizations.

Lanchester, J. (2017, August 17). London Review of Books: You Are the Product. Retrieved from https://www.lrb.co.uk/v39/n16/john-lanchester/you-are-the-product


Nothing is Static

It used to be enough that when I came home angry and knowing that my life wasn’t toeing my five-year plan, I could clean my condominium or detail my car. Someday I’d be dead without a scar and there would be a really nice condo and car. Really, really nice, until the dust settled or the next owner. Nothing is static. Even the Mona Lisa is falling apart.

Palahniuk, C. (2005). Fight Club: A Novel. W. W. Norton.


Predictable Answers

But let’s begin with him, skipping over his Republican enablers, who had nothing to do but lob softball questions and praise his answers.
If Judge Gorsuch wasn’t the least forthcoming Supreme Court nominee ever to appear at a confirmation hearing, it’s hard to imagine one who could be less forthcoming while still breathing. More interesting and less predictable answers could have come from Siri on an iPhone.

Greenhouse, L. (2017, March 30). The Empty Supreme Court Confirmation Hearing. Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/30/opinion/the-empty-supreme-court-confirmation-hearing.html


Neither Gifted with Intelligence

We meet two of the other local studs, John and Tom, neither gifted with intelligence, both violent products of brutal backgrounds. They have the same attitude toward women that the gun nut has about prying his dying fingers off the revolver.
The film is about hanging out in gas stations and roller rinks, and lying sprawled on a couch looking with dulled eyes at television, and soul-crushing jobs, and about six-packs and country bars and Marlboros. There is a reason country music is sad.

Ebert, R. (1999, October 22). Boys Don’t Cry (Review). Retrieved from https://www.rogerebert.com/reviews/boys-dont-cry-1999


Attacking the Media

Mr. Trump understands that attacking the media is the reddest of meat for his base, which has been conditioned to reject reporting from news sites outside of the conservative media ecosystem.

Sykes, C. J. (2017, February 4). Why Nobody Cares the President Is Lying. Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/04/opinion/sunday/why-nobody-cares-the-president-is-lying.html



Active Resistance

Havel believed, “as long as our humanity remains defenseless, we will not be saved by any technical or organizational trick designed to produce better economic functioning.”

Active resistance is necessary because it is the moral and political indifference of demoralized, self-seeking citizens that normalizes despotic power. According to Havel, true escape from despotism requires “living in truth,” which means not only refusing all participation in the regime of untruth but also rejecting all false refuge in the “small pleasures of everyday life.”

Mishra, P. (2017, February 8). Václav Havel’s Lessons on How to Create a “Parallel Polis.” Retrieved from https://www.newyorker.com/books/page-turner/vaclav-havels-lessons-on-how-to-create-a-parallel-polis



Pointless, Impotent Power

Consumption in absentia. Like having a hit song you recorded decades ago still occupy the mind of a Chinese sweatshop worker you’ll never meet. It’s power, but a kind of pointless, impotent power.

Palahniuk, C. (2011). Damned. Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group.


If You Don’t Like It…

Several former Weinstein employees told me that the company’s human-resources department was utterly ineffective; one female executive described it as “a place where you went to when you didn’t want anything to get done. That was common knowledge across the board. Because everything funneled back to Harvey.” She described the department’s typical response to allegations of misconduct as “This is his company. If you don’t like it, you can leave.”

Farrow, R. (2017, October 23). From Aggressive Overtures to Sexual Assault: Harvey Weinstein’s Accusers Tell Their Stories. Retrieved from https://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/from-aggressive-overtures-to-sexual-assault-harvey-weinsteins-accusers-tell-their-stories



Whatever her intent, The Beguiled is a curious reckoning of the myths of white womanhood — how they use fragility as a shield for deviousness and insulate themselves from the horrors of a world that they too are responsible for.

Bastién, A. J. (2017, July 10). How The Beguiled Subtly Tackles Race Even When You Don’t See It. Retrieved from http://www.vulture.com/2017/07/the-beguiled-subtly-tackles-race-even-when-you-dont-see-it.html



Bullshit Asymmetry Principle

I know the Brandolini’s Bullshit Asymmetry Principle that “the amount of energy necessary to refute bullshit is an order of magnitude bigger than to produce it.”

Hulk, F. C. (2017, August 4). Film Crit Hulk SMASH: On Criticism In The Intersectional Age. Retrieved from http://birthmoviesdeath.com/2017/08/04/film-crit-hulk-smash-on-criticism-in-the-intersectional-age

Server Rack

Indifferent to Getting Rich

By all accounts, these programmers turned entrepreneurs believed their lofty words and were at first indifferent to getting rich from their ideas. A 1998 paper by Sergey Brin and Larry Page, then computer-science graduate students at Stanford, stressed the social benefits of their new search engine, Google, which would be open to the scrutiny of other researchers and wouldn’t be advertising-driven. The public needed to be assured that searches were uncorrupted, that no one had put his finger on the scale for business reasons.

Cohen, N. (2017, October 13). Silicon Valley Is Not Your Friend. Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2017/10/13/opinion/sunday/Silicon-Valley-Is-Not-Your-Friend.html


One-Line Dismissal

That’s why I find it frankly cringe-inducing when someone sits back with a smug grin on their mug after uttering a lazy one-line dismissal to a thousand-word review, not to mention the site in general. Whoever does that – you didn’t just “win” at anything. Quite the contrary.

Mancuso (2017, Oct 4). Re: Blade Runner 2049 (A Review) [Reader Comment]. Retrieved from https://www.rogerebert.com/reviews/blade-runner-2049-2017


Done Before and Better

Imagine that everything even remotely clever in them has been done before and better by someone else. Imagine that each one flaunts the kind of “research” that can be achieved by leafing through a trade magazine for 30 minutes and is riddled with grating errors. Imagine that these books traffic in the half-baked nihilism of a stoned high school student who has just discovered Nietzsche and Nine-Inch Nails.

Miller, L. (2003, August 20). Diary (A Review). Retrieved from https://www.salon.com/2003/08/20/palahniuk_3/

Sieg Heil Arm

Social Duress

He was the cause of all this mayhem; it was the people who were unable to deal with their social duress, who put one authoritarian figure at the top to control them.

fda (2014, Aug 19). Re: Fight Club(A Review) [Reader Comment]. Retrieved from https://www.rogerebert.com/reviews/fight-club-1999


In Command Now

His rambling, awkward, cliché-ridden eulogy/I-am-in-command-now-speech tells us right away this guy isn’t qualified to command a beer run, which makes one wonder exactly why he was even given the XO post in the first place.

Narm / Alien: Covenant. (Accessed 2017, Dec 03). Retrieved from http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Narm/AlienCovenant


Then Sir Topham Hatt, the railway director, who is also known as the Fat Controller, arrives on the scene. (He looks like Monopoly’s Rich Uncle Pennybags but with eyes that have almost surely witnessed murder.)

Tolentino, J. (2017, September 28). The Repressive, Authoritarian Soul of “Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends.” Retrieved from https://www.newyorker.com/culture/rabbit-holes/the-repressive-authoritarian-soul-of-thomas-the-tank-engine-and-friends