The New Yorker recently had a profile of Henry Luce and Time and Harold Ross and The New Yorker’s opinion of them. Balloon Juice highlighted a couple of the good parts. This is the type of cattiness we could use a little more of.
[A] brutal parody of Timestyle, called â€œTime . . . Fortune . . . Life . . . Luceâ€: â€œBackward ran sentences until reeled the mind.â€ He skewered the contents of Fortune (â€œbranch banking, hogs, glassblowing, how to live in Chicago on $25,000 a yearâ€) and of Life (â€œRussian peasants in the nude, the love life of the Black Widow spiderâ€). He made Luce ridiculous (â€œambitious, gimlet-eyed, Baby Tycoon Henry Robinson Luceâ€), not sparing his childhood (â€œVery unlike the novels of Pearl Buck were his early daysâ€), his fabulous wealth (â€œDescribed too modestly by him to Newyorkereporter as â€˜smallest apartment in River House,â€™ Luce duplex at 435 East 52nd Street contains 15 rooms, 5 baths, a lavatoryâ€), or his self-regard: â€œBefore some important body he makes now at least one speech a year.â€ He announced the net profits of Time Inc., purported to have calculated to five decimal places the â€œaverage weekly recompense for informing fellowman,â€ and took a swipe at Ingersoll, â€œformer Fortuneditor, now general manager of all Timenterprises . . . salary: $30,000; income from stock: $40,000.â€ In sum, â€œSitting pretty are the boys.â€
â€œThereâ€™s not a single kind word about me in the whole Profile,â€ Luce said. â€œThatâ€™s what you get for being a baby tycoon,â€ Ross said. â€œGoddamn it, Ross, this whole goddamned piece is malicious, and you know it!â€ Ross paused. â€œYouâ€™ve put your finger on it, Luce. I believe in malice.â€
I BELIEVE IN MALICE!
Buffalo Beast is out with this year’s version of The 50 Most Loathsome Americans. Incidentally, the person in #1 is also #1 in the Most Powerful People in Food list I posted earlier. Most importantly, Buffalo Beast needs to be commended for including a list this long all on one page.
EDITORâ€™S NOTE: 2010 was the most loathsome year on record, and it was difficult choosing between the literally hundreds of deserving scoundrels who couldâ€™ve made this yearâ€™s list. Some people are perpetually awful and weâ€™re tired of writing about how awful they are, so there are some intentionally glaring omissions. We surely missed someone you hate. We missed a lot of people I hate. Check out the Loathsome Americans from 2002, (the dog eated it in 2003) 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009 (wow, weâ€™re getting old) before your head explodes because your favorite asshole isnâ€™t featured above.
Via Balloon Juice
This list features 1000 Jazz standards. For some reason, the list is ranked, letting us know that while 1930’s Body and Soul is the number one Jazz standard, 1946’s To Each His Own is number 1000. How you quantify the 1000 top Jazz standards is so far beyond me, it’s on another blog, but these guys have done it.
Via Balloon Juice.
Hendrik Hertzberg explains the Oscars’ new voting system. The change, while making it more likely that blockbusters will be nominated, makes it more likely that an underdog will actually win.
From 1946 until last year, the voting worked the way Americans are most familiar with. Five pictures were nominated. If you were a member of the Academy, you put an â€œXâ€ next to the name of your favorite. The picture with the most votes won. Nice and simple, though it did mean that a movie could win even if a solid majority of the eligible votersâ€”in theory, as many as seventy-nine per cent of themâ€”didnâ€™t like it. Those legendary PricewaterhouseCoopers accountants donâ€™t release the totals, but this or something like it has to have happened in the past, probably many times.
This year, the Best Picture list was expanded, partly to make sure that at least a couple of blockbusters would be on itâ€¦ To forestall a victory for some cinematic George Wallace or Ross Perot, the Academy switched to a different system. Membersâ€”there are around fifty-eight hundred of themâ€”are being asked to rank their choices from one to ten. In the unlikely event that a picture gets an outright majority of first-choice votes, the countingâ€™s over. If not, the last-place finisher is dropped and its votersâ€™ second choices are distributed among the movies still in the running. If thereâ€™s still no majority, the second-to-last-place finisher gets eliminated, and its votersâ€™ second (or third) choices are counted. And so on, until one of the nominees goes over fifty per cent.
This scheme, known as preference voting or instant-runoff voting, doesnâ€™t necessarily get you the movie (or the candidate) with the most committed supporters, but it does get you a winner that a majority can at least countenance. It favors consensus.
Via Balloon Juice
(I’ve had this post in “Drafts” since January when I had the idea to do a week of new words/theories/definitions, but who knows if that will ever happen, and now that Balloon Juice is building a dictionary, I figured I’d post it. Carry on.)
I heard this phrase the other day and traced the first usage back to Balloon Juice. I think it’s perfect. I’d nominate it for phrase of the year, but it was from last year, so, well, we’ll just have to enjoy it without the awards.
Wingnut Voltron, noun: The act when the right wing blogosphere comes together to form a powerful and passionate opposition to important things, such as scarves in a donut commercial. Derived from the childrens’ cartoon Voltron.
In a previous Unlikely Words post, we inadvertently implied that the Times publishes articles in which “All the dates and facts are wrong.” In actuality, some articles only have mostly incorrect facts and dates. Unlikely Words regrets this error.
Proof from the New York Times that you too can be a journalist even if you don’t want to use the correct dates or facts in an article. In fact you can use any date or fact you want as long as it’s sort of close to the actual date or fact. This is OK even if ALL the dates and facts are wrong. This proof comes in the form of a correction of an Alessandra Stanley piece.
An appraisal on Saturday about Walter Cronkiteâ€™s career included a number of errors. In some copies, it misstated the date that the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was killed and referred incorrectly to Mr. Cronkiteâ€™s coverage of D-Day. Dr. King was killed on April 4, 1968, not April 30. Mr. Cronkite covered the D-Day landing from a warplane; he did not storm the beaches. In addition, Neil Armstrong set foot on the moon on July 20, 1969, not July 26. â€œThe CBS Evening Newsâ€ overtook â€œThe Huntley-Brinkley Reportâ€ on NBC in the ratings during the 1967-68 television season, not after Chet Huntley retired in 1970. A communications satellite used to relay correspondentsâ€™ reports from around the world was Telstar, not Telestar. Howard K. Smith was not one of the CBS correspondents Mr. Cronkite would turn to for reports from the field after he became anchor of â€œThe CBS Evening Newsâ€ in 1962; he left CBS before Mr. Cronkite was the anchor.
Via Balloon Juice.
I don’t think this xkcd about sharks and balloons is funny because the amount of sharks in the ocean is worrying enough, we shouldn’t have to worry about them on land as well. Via Balloon Juice.