Monthly Archives: January 2009

Now usually I don’t do this . . .

R. Kelly’s recent legal troubles – as well as the success of his magnum opus, “Trapped in the Closet” – tend to obscure his brilliant early work. But before TP3, there was Chocolate Factory. And before “Trapped,” there was “Ignition (Remix)”:

More Kelly-philia: my second favorite bad R. Kelly sex jam has to be “Sex in the Kitchen.” My favorite bad R. Kelly lyric is probably “I be drillin’ these chicks like Major Payne” – which captures the coveted double crown of objectifying women and referencing an awful movie.

Enjoy your weekend.

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Filed under Culture, Music

Gone to Pot

Forget the terrorists – Google Earth poses a serious threat to the domestic cannabis industry. Shut it down!

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Filed under Uncategorized, Worthy Links

Ouch

Reason’s Nick Gillespie has some harsh words for DC:

D.C. was the world’s first Brasilia—a fake capital created just for political shenanigans. In many ways, the city still reveals its roots—or more precisely, its lack of roots. Unlike, say, Philadelphia or New York, the life here isn’t thick in the way it is in a city that gets built from the ground up. What’s the last retail trend or store that started in D.C.? For the most part, it’s a place where chains come after they’ve been proven in Los Angeles, Chicago, or elsewhere. It’s got genuinely abysmal public schools, which cost as much or more than anywhere else. It’s filled with the most shallow, careerist folks this side of Hollywood. It’s overpopulated with the detritus of failed regimes that are practically carried around on litters, like ancient rulers. Remember Clark Clifford, the great D.C. fixer whose big claim to fame was being an even worse Secretary of Defense than Robert McNamara and who was finally revealed as the dime-store cheater that he was? D.C. is chock full of junior varsity Clark Cliffords.

Criticizing a snarky interview in Splice Magazine is probably an exercise in futility, but I’ll give it a shot anyway. Call me a statist if you must, but I actually like DC’s federal aesthetic.  There are, of course, exceptions – this Air Force Memorial in Arlington looks like it was inspired by Barad-dûr – but I tend to prefer towns that reflect some underlying sense of purpose (even if that purpose is a bit unsavory). Sure, the Late Night Shots crowd makes me want to commit seppuku on the steps of the Capitol, but we’ve also got some decent cultural spots – the Atlas District, my beloved 9:30 club – the mall is still pretty awesome, and most of our monuments have gradually morphed into graceful civic shrines. As for Gillespie’s “central planning sucks” schtik, Louis-Napoleon may have been more concerned with suppressing would-be revolutionaries than walkable neighborhoods when he commissioned Baron Haussmann, but the end results turned out pretty damn well. Given the circumstances, L’Enfant’s heroic attempt to make life on the Potomac bearable wasn’t half-bad, either.

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Filed under History, The Media

Small Mercies

Lord, please grant the Old Dominion a well-deserved reprieve from the frightening prospect of Terry McAuliffe as governor.

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Filed under Politics, Worthy Links

Don’t leave the light on, baby

I’m under no illusion that the market is a perfect mechanism for sorting out the good from the bad, but it’s a bit galling to find that another crummy mainstream conservative website has just launched in the wake of Culture11’s demise. Adding insult to injury, the New Ledger is helmed by none other than Benjamin Domenech, the same guy who got cashiered by the Washington Post for plagiarism.

On a related note, Andrew Sullivan and Scott Payne put up nice tributes while Josh Trevino and William Beutler offer their own Culture11 post-mortems. To be perfectly honest, a lot of what they say rings true. The name was weird, the social-networking stuff never really took off, and the range of stories and features was ocassionally jarring. But there was a cool, experimental vibe to the site that reflected the editors’ willingness to try anything and everything while offering a platform for an incredibly diverse range of ideological viewpoints. In hindsight, this may not have been the best business model, but it made for a great (if short-lived) forum for free-wheeling political dialogue.

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Filed under The Media

Rush Limbaugh, New York Times Columnist

Leaving aside the merits of his confused article in today’s Journal, it’s now abundantly clear that Rush Limbaugh would be an awful pick to replace Kristol’s Times column because he sucks at writing. I know that “heartland conservatives” scoff at aesthetic considerations, but a good columnist doesn’t make reading a chore. Stick to radio, Rush.

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Filed under Conservatism, The Media

The recession hits home

Can you feel emotionally invested in a publication? It sounds stupid, but when David Kuo and Conor Friedersdorf announced that Culture11 was closing up shop, I felt like I’d been punched in the gut. I just learned that a secretary at work was laid off a few days ago – she found out when her name was left off the new inter-office call sheet. Now half of my favorite writers are joining the ranks of the unemployed. Economic crises really blow.

It was pretty cool to witness the formative months of a new magazine. I commented over there pretty frequently, and a few of the editors were kind enough to drop by my comments section to explain their mission statement. They even managed to publish an amateurish article I wrote. Getting a check in the mail for something I’d do for free was incredibly gratifying, but I’d give it all back if it would help keep them afloat, plus interest.

Culture11 was a pretty special publication. The editors gave new writers a shot, published authors from across the ideological spectrum, and provided something of a one-stop shop for great blogging. But beyond all that, I felt close to the writers, who always did their level best to respond to interesting comments, reply to our emails, and even solicit reader submissions. So much of this new media bullshit is hype and snake oil salesmanship, but at Culture11, technology actually enhanced the relationship between publication and audience.

At this point, I can only hope that Culture11 becomes the Velvet Underground of 21st century Internet journalism, spawning hundreds of imitators across the blogosphere. For the immediate future, however, I wish the editors all the best. They have a lot to be proud of.

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Filed under Culture, The Media