‘ He would listen to my radio show and tell me how dumb I was for something I said. I’d ask him how someone so dumb could get into Rice.’

An example of very good writing.

Structurally unsound canapés

Where UD learned her manners.

Calm writing about rage.

Not easy to do, but this New York Times writer manages it.

Regardless of what happens to Kavanaugh, … this scandal has given us an X-ray view of the rotten foundations of elite male power. Despite Donald Trump’s populist posturing, there are few people more obsessed with Ivy League credentials. Kavanaugh’s nomination shows how sick the cultures that produce those credentials — and thus our ruling class — can be.

… His story shows, in lurid microcosm, how a certain class of men guard and perpetuate their privileges. Women who struggle ceaselessly to be smart enough, attractive enough, ambitious enough and likable enough have been playing a rigged game. As they realize that, their incandescent fury is remaking our politics. We’ll know things have changed when palling around with sexual abusers carries more stigma than being abused does.

‘GOP Men Let Lady Attorney ask Lady Accuser Questions about Fine Man Kavanaugh’

Best headline today.

Wonderful, funny writing from Frank Bruni.

To judge by his tweets, tantrums and apparent belief that Rudy Giuliani is an appropriate advocate, Donald Trump teeters at the precipice of incoherence and self-destruction, needing only a shove. Who best to administer it but a spouse with her own, separate bedroom in the White House and her own, separate hotel suite when they travel?

She inches ever closer to open contempt for him. She finds increasingly clever ways to show it. And it’s a perfect wedding of patriotism and payback for all the humiliations that he has heaped on her.

… Other first ladies beautified highways, promoted reading, planted squash. This one could abbreviate a nightmare.

Quotation of the Day

Amanda Petrusich, on the suicide of Frightened Rabbit singer Scott Hutchison:

Frightened Rabbit was virtuosic when it came to expressing the odd anxieties of an early, hungover morning, when a person wakes up and has to reckon with herself, again — the relentless ennui of being, and being, and being, and being.

********************************************

Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow,
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day,
To the last syllable of recorded time;
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!
Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player,
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage,
And then is heard no more.

Avian Psychopharmacology

Nice writing about choosing the right vacation while still deeply mourning the sudden death of your husband.

As autumn approached, my parents agreed that it would be good for my mental health to skip my first holidays without Peter. “Let’s go on a trip,” my father said. “Anywhere but Asia or Australia. I don’t want too long a flight.”

“Let’s go to Peru,” I suggested. An avid bird-watcher, I had always wanted to visit the Tambopata region of Peru, home to the largest known clay licks on Earth. (A lick is a cliff where macaws, parrots, and parrotlets congregate to ingest mud, a vital source of sodium.) I can think of no more breathtakingly gaudy sight in the world. As our guide marched us through the jungle, day after day, in search of an ever-narrowing list of the area’s antbirds and antthrushes and flycatchers and manakins, I came to see the trip as avian psychopharmacology. It was a perfect, if privileged—and wet and buggy—way of avoiding the tinselled and ornamented triggers of the holidays.

Fuck a Dodge Ram Today

I am certain that there are many, many, many, many, many [people] who watched that [Superbowl ad] and were moved by it — who appreciated MLK’s message infused with vague instances of Really, Really Real Americans in Really, Really Real America and will buy and perhaps even fuck a Dodge Ram today.

Damon Young, The Root.

Subterranean Ruin Porn

[A] sewage pipe [recently] spewed waste onto a heavily trafficked concourse — an honest-to-God shitstorm. “I’m like, ‘Literally, it’s raining in Penn Station,’ ” recalls Marigo Mihalos, a booking agent from New Jersey who witnessed the fecal deluge on her way to work.

…The addition of New Jersey Transit trains in the 1990s was both an economic boon to the region — I bought a house in Maplewood, N.J., in 1996 so I could ride the new Midtown Direct to work — and the beginning of Penn Station’s transformation from mere malodorous eyesore to Hieronymus Bosch-grade hellhole.

‘[A] school already serving probation has reinforced its scofflaw reputation by having basketball coaches implicated in a bribery scheme documented by FBI surveillance.’

A writer could almost envy Louisville’s sports journalists. The whores, the bribery, the coaches, the chiseling ex-president – it’s almost too good. Tim Sullivan takes full advantage, in passages like this one:

At a time when it has been absolutely essential for [the University of Louisville] to be beyond reproach, it appears to have strayed beneath contempt. Lecturing the NCAA Committee on Infractions on precedent and proportionality from such a disadvantageous position risks being received as the epitome of arrogance and the nadir of self-awareness. It’s like complaining to a cop about being cited for speeding upon crashing into a parked car.

Nice. This is also good:

“At bottom, the penalty the COI imposed is simply unfair,” U of L’s appeal reads. “It wipes away the collegiate careers of numerous student-athletes because they were unwillingly drawn into McGee’s schemes; ignores the University’s efforts to investigate and redress McGee’s misconduct; and imposes one of the most severe sanctions possible – the vacation of a Division I NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship, two Final Four appearances and multiple seasons of competition – because of the participation of a handful of student-athletes who did little wrong.”

The problem with this account is that it paints members of the 2013 team as unwitting innocents — this though Powell has described several of them as enthusiastic regulars. At least two of those players – Chane Behanan and Montrezl Harrell – were formally disassociated from U of L for failing to cooperate with its investigation.

If your goal is to depict players as having sex foisted upon them, their active participation could pose a high hurdle.

LOL.

“[T]he Bible Belt is down around your knees.”

Some good writing from an Alabama scribe. ‘Course it’s about ol’ Roy.

‘Old New York was a much feebler second boiling from the tea-leaves of The Age of Innocence.’

UD loves this sentence from Edmund Wilson’s 1938 essay about Edith Wharton. Maybe because UD is such a tea drinker.

UD laughed madly throughout this brilliantly written casting call.

Here are the exact phrases that prompted her to laugh; the laughpoints, call them:

his ‘80s teen movie villain sons

smarmy rich assholes

the consummate douchebag

a loudmouth, handsy asshole

dickhead golfer Shooter McGavin

bloated loudmouth dick’s shenanigans

a serious De Niro-in-Raging Bull food binge

bloated, women-terrorizing ass

the accused serial sexual harasser/lardass

*********************

Hm. A close reading reveals four uses of the word ass, and two of the word dick… Make of this what you will… But UD will say that the combination in strict proximity of a high class word and a low class can be very funny. Example here: consummate douchebag.

Also – a pile-up of adjectives is often funny (bloated loudmouth dick’s, bloated [hey, there’s another repetition] woman-terrorizing ass).

‘I sat next to an attractive woman who rang no bells. She was really not up for any kind of chitchat. Later, when I repeated the name I’d seen on her place card, Kelly Ripa, I learned that this was a deeply celebrated television artist; I felt bad that she had voyaged all the way down to Florida only to find herself stuck next to the wedding’s one nobody, and I understood her taciturnity and the pain that lay beneath it.’

A New Yorker writer remembers Trump’s most recent wedding.

Scathing Online Schoolmarm Says:

Extremely good writers can take what you know, re-charge it, and scare you.

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