“Austin doesn’t have to play “the pretend game,” as he calls it, anymore. At his middle school, he has come out to his close friends, who have been supportive. A few of his female friends responded that they were bisexual. “Half the girls I know are bisexual,” he said. He hadn’t planned on coming out to his mom yet, but she found out a week before the dance.”—Coming Out in Middle School
“All comedies are based on three very simple things: the premise and the plots that stem from it, the characters, and the jokes. A show needn’t have all three of these things functioning at a high level to completely work, but a show with, say, a really solid premise and plots, but predictable joke-writing, will eventually stop seeming funny, no matter how well-crafted the plots are. The most important thing to a good comedy, though, is a set of good characters and good relationships between those characters. This is the ground floor for television sitcoms, the foundation that makes everything else work.”—Article about 30 Rock
Then the kicker: “Even if I give her a playlist, she can just take the songs she likes or knows and put them on a different playlist.” What about all the time you spend putting the order together? What about the sleeper hit—the 3rd track on side B, the open ended finale of side A? Does anybody remember laughter?
I actually feel like the death of romantic mixtapes is a far more upsetting thought than the death of the “album.” Rock and Roll began as a singles industry and maybe even works better that way, but mixes for your crush were never meant to be altered.
“Now, the dudes are lining up cause they hear we got swagger
But we kick em to the curb unless they look like Mick Jagger
I’m talkin’ bout - everybody getting crunk, crunk
Boys tryna touch my junk, junk
Gonna smack him if he getting too drunk, drunk”—Apparently this is what teen girls are into.
“Some people were shocked by Lynn Viehl’s very revealing and incredibly generous post about how she only earned $24,517.36 after taxes and commission on her mass market NY Times Bestseller TWILIGHT FALL. In the post she also estimated the publisher’s gross at $450,000 and guessed the net profit to be something around $250,000. This raised some eyebrows - how could publishers make so much and the author earn so little?”—The Economics of Publishing
In “Reality Bites,” Winona Ryder, applying for a newspaper job, is stumped when asked to “define irony.” It’s a good question. Ryder replies, “Well, I can’t really define irony … but I know it when I see it.” Really?
Irony confuses. Let’s leave dramatic irony (you know, back when irony was tragic and the audience knew what was going to happen to Oedipus before he did) aside, as well as the debate over the supposed death of irony (after irony became comic, a subject that the Book Review’s former editor Chip McGrath amusingly chronicled here). Instead, let’s talk about how we talk — and write.
A small group of young writers and artists who work out of the back of a stationery shop in the Mission District - and are dedicated to preserving the printed word - have turned their attention to “old” media: the newspaper.
On Dec. 8, McSweeney’s, an independent publishing house founded in San Francisco by writer Dave Eggers, will release its version of a newspaper, San Francisco Panorama, and selected content will be featured in The Chronicle starting in December.
My father came back a couple of weeks ago with a suitcase full of presents from Bangladesh. We were in the living room and he unpacked scores and scores of colorful saris and shalwar kameezes. He then reached into suitcase number two and pulled out a stack of plastic wrapped T-shirts. “I got these from your uncle’s factory,” he said with pride in his voice. “They export these to Europe! They even export to Wal-mart!”
I hesitated. My dad was so proud that his Bangladeshi relatives owned clothing factories in Bangladesh. You could hear it in his voice because as far as Bangladeshi standards are concerned, they had made it because they were exporting to Wal-Mart.
“At some point, I started writing stuff. Bad stuff. Semi-autobiographical stuff that had no real substance or direction, and even less craft. I didn’t know any writers and even fewer artists. Back then, I did not read books much, either. I had no idea how to become a writer, but I started to think that I wanted to. So I did what was familiar to me, I started looking for a school. School I could do, school had always been easy for me. Apparently one could go to school and become a writer. So I researched creative writing programs, and kept on with the bad semi-autobiographical writing until I had the required 60 pages for a writing program application; and then sent off my packages to a few universities.”—Sonya Chung, “How to Become a Writer”
“For more than 10 years, the intricate, multiseason narrative TV drama has exercised a dominant cultural sway over well-educated, well-off adults. Just as urbanish professionals in the 1950s could be counted on to collectively coo and argue over the latest Salinger short story, so that set in the 2000s has been most intellectually, emotionally, and aesthetically engaged not by fiction, the theater, or the cinema but by The Sopranos, Six Feet Under, The Wire, Deadwood, The Shield, Big Love.”—Mad about Mad Men
“Concerned about rising rates of both in a graying nation, Japanese lawmakers last year set a maximum waistline size for anyone age 40 and older: 85 centimeters (33.5 inches) for men and 90 centimeters (35.4 inches) for women.”—Fat in Japan? It’s Illegal
“Sure. First, let me explain to everybody what a critique group is: A collection of fellow writers who come together to improve each other’s writing. (And, yeah, occasionally they come together to smack down the arrogant, or to make themselves feel better by criticizing someone else…but the GOAL of the group is to help everyone improve.) Sometimes you’ll just have one or two people who are your crit partners; other times you might be part of a group that gathers on a weekly or monthly basis. You pass your work around ahead of time, the others make notes, then they come and share them with you.”—Creating a Critique Group
Katelyn Rose was a Teen Vogue Girl of the Week over the summer, and beyond her own envy-worthy closet, the 17-year-old San Diego native has created Suddenly Darling, a site that showcases her unique finds, interesting vintage pieces and ingenius styling. Suddenly Darling also aspires to help girls dress fashionably with a modest twist.
“And throughout, he has become unquestionably the most vividly athletic player on the team. Garnett is an emotional cyclone and Allen has his spun-gold jump shot. Pierce has a dozen ways to score he hasn’t tried yet. But it is Rondo who brings people out of their seats. Defensively, he appears to be possessed of the same kind of athletic clairvoyance — in reality, a kind of hyperattuned anticipation — that Bird once had on offense. There were plays in which Bird would throw a pass, and the lane that he saw instantly was visible to the casual viewer only in the slow-motion replays. Flashing for an interception, Rondo can be just as sudden and startling.”—The Essential Rajon Rondo
“South Korea was the first country from which Americans adopted in significant numbers. They currently make up the largest group of transracial adoptees in the United States and, by some estimates, are 10 percent of the nation’s Korean population.”—Adopted from Korea and in search of identity
I’ve always had a soft spot for Tiffany cause basically she was a little girl shoved into this position of playing redhead Valley Whore to Debbie Gibson’s upscale East Coast Virgin. Did you know that Debbie Gibson wrote, sang, played the instrumentals on AND produced all her own music at age fourteen? No shit! What a fuckin prodigy!
Meanwhile, Tiffany was a low-class mallrat who clearly could not afford piano lessons, much less saxophone. I remember my mom being like, “Can’t you listen to Debbie Gibson instead?” Cause despite Tiffany’s superior voice, she just seemed poor, and by extension kinda slutty and dangerous. I mean, this person was literally a child.
In my own old age I’ve come to have an appreciation for Debbie Gibson as well, but Tiffany’s music has so much more pathos, plus she has the greatest hair. In this obscure B-Side she makes a contribution to the venerable tradition of Boyfriend in Jail music, which Debbie never ever would have done.
Every group of female college friends goes between eight and nine girls deep. Within that group, there might be three or four little cliques and the backstabbing is through the roof, but the girls get along for the most part and make a big deal about hanging out, doing dinners, having special weekends, and everything else. Maybe two of them get married early, then the other ones start dropping in their mid-20s until there’s only five left — the cute blonde who can’t get a boyfriend because she’s either drunk, an anorexic, or a drunkorexic; the cute brunette who only attracts assholes; the 185-pounder who’d be cute if she lost weight; the not-so-cute one with a great sense of humor; and the sarcastic chain-smoker with 36DDs who isn’t quite cute eough to land anyone but hooks up a lot because of the 36DDs.
In this scenario, the cute brunette is the Tipping Point Friend — as long as she’s in the group, guys will approach them in bars, clubs, or whatever. Once she settles down with a non-asshole, now all the pressure is on the drunkorexic and if she can’t handle it, then the girl with the 36DDs has to start wearing crazy shirts and blouses to show off her guns.
My point is this: the Jazz were the sarcastic chain-smoker with 36DDs who hooked up often but never found a serious suitor. By 1997, their competitors had dropped out and they were suddenly the hottest friend in their group. Does that mean they were hot? No!!! No!!!!! For the love of God, no!!!!