Friday, January 21, 2011

On Inconsequential Things That Matter To Me (Media Criticism Edition)

1. Local Radio Advertisements

It's not that I think "Let the Good Times Roll" is one of the Cars' better efforts, but it does confound me that I still associate it with an advertisement for Taps, a now-defunct bar in State College, Pennsylvania that co-opted the song for its own purposes. Why is it that I cannot eliminate this jingle from my memory? What potentially more useful information is it crowding out? If I could somehow trade it out for an ability to recall a single sentence in any book I've read--at the risk of being rendered deaf during any rendition of "Let the Good Times Roll"--I would take that deal.

2. Esquire

By "Megyn," he means, of course, Fox fox Megyn Kelly, the meanest of the mean girls, the heaving, sumptuous blond with the wide-set eyes, the briskly triangular chin, and the porno sneer she directs at ill-fated liberal guests.--Tom Junod, in his Esquire profile of Fox News chief Roger Ailes.*

If you enjoy lively and experimental and insanely precise exercises in magazine journalism, you should be familiar with Junod. What's funny is that, in reading the story, I had something of a flashback to the early 2000s, when both Esquire and GQ seemed entirely flummoxed by the sudden popularity of a lowbrow lad magazine called Maxim, and thereby briefly lost their mojo. You know what they did that kept them alive? They stayed true to themselves. Which is perhaps the most distressing part of a profile that weaves many distressing moments into a brilliantly hyperbolic portrait: All those television executives who constantly ask themselves What Would Roger Do are systematically unraveling their own identities.**
3. GQ

And for the sake of equal time for men's magazines, you should read this profile of Deadspin's A.J. Daulerio in GQ, if you haven't already.

*In every great story/article/novel, there are certain sentences that render fellow writers so jealous/angry/inadequate that they briefly consider quitting the craft. This, for me, was one of those sentences.
**On a related note, Esquire's consistently excellent Chris Jones has launched a new blog about writing. If you care about such things, this is worth a bookmark.

(Graphic via Esquire/Thomas Porostocky)

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