Rake Appeal { Object Lust

It’s been a few years since Montblanc, the German jeweler, brought out the Meisterstück, the world’s grandest fountain pen. In fact, it was an old design going back to the early twentieth century, but through some kind of marketing alchemy, the pen suddenly became ubiquitous in American malls and upscale catalogs in about 1988. I […]

So Not Not Funny

A couple of notes to add to yesterday’s gathering fumes. I see my old friend Chris Lehmann has written at length about the Colbert routine, and as usual it’s a smart and biting essay worthy of his best work back in the day at Suck. Still, I think he’s wrong. So is this guy. It […]

Everyone's A Critic. Thank God.

Stephen Colbert’s relentless standup at the White House Correspondent’s Dinner would have gone unremarked, if not for the power of the internets. This is understandable. When you shit on everyone in the room, they tend not to run outside and brag about it. And given that the shit-sandwich was cut in half and shared in […]

I Guess I'll Never Work In That Town Again

I was holding off on commenting about the relative mess at the Village Voice in New York. But since no one came around begging for my opinion (the way they do all the time, y’know), I selflessly offer it here. Only the cruel and the masochistic cheer when the lions of our so-called profession are […]


The other day, we were surprised to see a certain advertisement in Newsweek and the New Yorker. It was a bold yellow page that made a startling claim: Everything you’ve heard about mercury poisoning in fish is false. According to the ad, published by a mysterious organization identified only as FishScam.com, all the claims about […]

For White People

You probably didn’t notice, but due to a bureaucratic mix-up, there was no Shortlist Music Prize awarded this year. The “Shorty” was a newish but well-respected award that tried to recognize serious pop and rock bands for doing important new work, regardless of popularity. The main symptom of doing important work was selling less than […]

Stupid Executive Tricks

David Carr, a native Twin Citizen, has carved out a nice niche at the New York Times as a media columnist. After a couple years on the media beat, he recently rose a notch up the masthead. His byline has ripened into a headline, and he gets to insert informed commentary into his semi-regular stories […]

Out-Takes: The Ups and Downs of Being Untouchable

Tom Friedman was in town this week to speak at Macalester College, which turned out to be his stump speech for his best-seller The World Is Flat. It’s a good speech that nicely summarizes his arguments, and it’s clear that he’s given this lecture quite a lot– which sort of supports Chris Lehmann’s view, expressed […]

Click-Through Fatigue II

Another nice episode of “Future Tense” this morning, following up on this obsessing issue of online advertising. A study just out from Nielsen Norman has found that online advertising “works” about 0.01 percent of the time–in other words, hardly ever. What did the study consider “working”? Apparently, they found a way to measure the amount […]


Despite Daunte Culpepper’s departure for Miami, he’ll be making a few non-voluntary return trips. That’s because the Vikings Sex Boat scandal continues to play itself out in the legal system. We trust our courts of law, of course, but it was never clear to us what laws precisely were broken in that unseemly episode. Last […]