Scathing Online Schoolmarm says:

Go ahead and signal your attitude toward your subject with a wittle bitty simile at the end of your opening paragraph:

“One thing that’s always been true in New York,” says Dan Doctoroff, “is that if you build it, they will come.” He is referring to Hudson Yards, the $25bn, 28-acre, mega-project that he had a critical hand in originating while he was deputy mayor of the city under Michael Bloomberg in the early 2000s. He can now look down on his co-creation every day from his new office in one of the development’s towers and see hundreds of people climbing up and down Thomas Heatherwick’s Vessel sculpture, like tiny maggots crawling all over a rotting doner kebab.


Scathing Online Schoolmarm says: There’s nothing like Archidreck.

Windswept wastes do bewail, they say; but SOS hears hymns of joy in the windy waste material wafting out of architect-whores when they defend lucrative massive destructive projects. Oscar Wilde called fox hunting “the unspeakable in pursuit of the inedible;” mega-mansioning is the unspeakable in pursuit of hilariously haughty vacuity.

Architect Thomas Hickey of GRADE New York, who has designed the vast home, admitted it is one not commonly found in the region. He described the style as “transitional” in a neo-Tudor style with modern details…

“We are not building history, instead a translation of history,” he said.

The psychotic billionaire from whom we got mucho bucks to build this thinks he is a Tudor king – a big fat bastard who rules the world, like Henry VIII – and his castle will certainly not “commonly” be “found in the region” (sniff) because it is a castle, see.

Cues were taken from the surrounding vernacular styles and paired down to create a modern design. 

Wouldn’t want to spend any of that money on spelling.

A Necklace of Dithertudes.

In response to student demand that a Sarah Lawrence professor be detenured by a committee made up of students with complaints against him plus faculty of color (the professor wrote a couple of op/eds about the liberal-leaning academy in The New York Times), the school’s president wove an exceptionally long strand of dithery platitudes. Or, as SOS calls them, dithertudes.

The aims of today’s students are not dissimilar to those who made their voices heard 30 and 50 years ago: they seek to ensure a truly inclusive environment of respect and support at Sarah Lawrence, especially for students of color and low-income students… [The complainants bring to the] fore many pressing issues that students at Sarah Lawrence face, especially students of color, low-income students, first-generation students, LGBTQ+ students and others, and I am grateful for the willingness of our students to share their concerns with me and the campus community… [Collaboration from] all parties is the best means to move these efforts forward, and this will require us to develop the most effective process for working with students as well as faculty and staff…

A little throat-clearing followed, in which the president suggested that forming a tribunal to drive out a conservative professor isn’t “appropriate.” But this woman’s creative energy overwhelmingly directs itself to thanking the students for showing everyone what a show trial looks like; for being “not dissimilar” to ‘sixties free speech advocates even though they are their absolute and exact opposite; and for being open to the sort of “collaboration” to which they are utterly opposed.

‘He has implausible style in hair art and has also kept a tight grasp on his ever-growing clientele.’

SOS often wonders: What did they mean? What were they, uh, grasping toward? Impeccable?

‘Oh, my aching pancreas, this is almost too good.’

You MUST know by now that UD/SOS loves people who write like Charles P. Pierce. Pierce, in a brief Esquire piece, lets rip his pleasure at having discovered that the Very Reverend Kenneth Starr Esq., Baylor University’s highest-ranking academic officer (until that campus rape thing) is one of Jeffrey Epstein’s lawyers. One of the guys who helped Epstein – a notorious sex offender – get a singularly light sentence.

As a headline from another source puts it:

Moralist Ken Starr Explains His Help For Billionaire Pervert Jeffrey Epstein

Ecoute: Those of us who love the full and frank exposure of full and rank hypocrisy love this story. It was written for us…. Continues to be written, cuz the tale of the high-profile men (including one of this blog’s favorites, FGM defenderAlan Dershowitz) accused of sharing Epstein’s underage sex slaves is finally – after years of flaccidity – up and at ’em again on the front page.

Not to mention the tweets.

‘While it remains unclear which incidents to which Polak was referring to…’

Scathing Online Schoolmarm says: Yikes. Yale?

‘We were disheartened to watch the video and learn of the mistreatment of these customers by another passenger. Our employees intervened to offer assistance and diffuse the situation in a calm and professional manner…’

Southwest Airlines assures its passengers that, faced with a very nasty situation, they did all they could to spread the problem around.

Scathing Online Schoolmarm says: Learn the difference between diffuse and defuse.

For America’s Favorite Sport, the Good News Just Keeps on Coming.

Long considered one of the best places to live in America, Damascus, Maryland – a short drive from UD‘s Garrett Park – has big houses and good schools and pretty landscaping. And (yawn) it has teenage anal rapers galore.

Yawn because do you know how many teenage anal raper stories I’ve covered on this blog? So many high school football teams in the country seem fiercely devoted to jamming broomsticks up the asses of new players as a kind of Welcome Wagon gesture… If I wanted, I could blog every week about pool cues, broomsticks, and pretty much anything else being jammed up the anal canals of newbies.

Why? Why? Why?

Oh, who gives a shit. It’s a thing, a major thing, part of the university fraternity hazing continuum, only I guess more intense because of the very small closed absolutely brutal world of the football team.



If anally raping junior players is the key to success, why mess with a good thing?

With a victory Friday [this was the Friday just before the rapes were discovered], Damascus will pass Urbana (1998-2001) for Maryland’s longest winning streak of all time and add onto the country’s longest active winning streak.

Yes, with its patented broomstick-up-the-ass technique, Damascus has formed a truly unbeatable team bond!

Scathing Online Schoolmarm notes, however, that the experience of reading the Washington Post’s breathless pre-rape article about the school’s amazing achievement is a little different now, with the eye landing hard on certain words, the mind automatically altering certain words…

‘Over Damascus’s 50-game winning streak, Coach Eric Wallich has searched for new ways [LOL] to motivate his team.

… With a victory Friday, Damascus will pass Urbana (1998-2001) for Maryland’s longest broomstick [haha make that winning streak] of all time…

… Damascus (8-0) has become the premier team in Montgomery County this century — winning six state crowns since 2003 — by relying on a rape-heavy [ahem! run-heavy] system.

… Kids look on and dream of donning the green, gold and white jerseys, even as high school football participation has dropped nationally because of concussion and health concerns, among other reasons. [Like anal rape.]

… The Urbana teams that set the state winning-streak record also featured a savvy run game and deep-threat ability. [Turns out you can go to jail for deep-threat ability.]

… [One of the players] said Damascus players are also viewed highly at school and in the community. Handling that attention has helped them manage the spotlight in crucial games. [Managing the spotlight just got a lot more pesky.]’


Hey but wait but oh oh oh says the school’s principal: It was the JUNIOR varsity team, not the big boys with the new state record!

A commenter on this article speaks for UD:

In all the media reports the emphasis from Principal Crouse about this not having anything to do with the powerhouse varsity team is a little disturbing and I question her priorities.

Correct. You might have noticed that football everywhere has a (cough) culture problem. You don’t get to break up the team when something like this happens. You don’t get to suddenly chuck all your language about how everyone’s part of the team, we’re all a unit, blah blah. You don’t get to claim in your official statement that the group rape is “unrelated to the varsity football team.” First of all, we don’t know that yet. Second, this is the varsity team in a very short time. And if you’re trying to convince us that the event was a bizarre one-time, Halloween-night grotesquerie etc. etc. good luck with that.

Another thing: UD knows of virtually no group teenage anal rape these days, football or non-football, that doesn’t include someone recording the thing, texting about the thing. If the Bixby Oklahoma case is anything to go by, parents are currently trying to buy the evidence (!) and everyone’s madly erasing tapes and texts. Damascus has a state-wide record to protect… IOW: get ready for the investigation.

The Kingdom of the Texas Cancer Researchers

The idea was to fund a team to study carcinogenesis — how cancer starts. But in reality, [Jim] Allison soon discovered, they pretty much had free reign.

The Way of Hate, by Scathing Online Schoolmarm


When you meet a boy
That you hate a lot
And you want to say
All the hate you’ve got

If a trope should start
As you stand and jeer
Better keep your art
Out of danger, dear

For a “serpent covered
In Vaseline”

Is a bit too strange
To be truly mean

So try once again
To consult your muse
If you really want
To revile Ted Cruz


PS: For inspiration, go here – see esp. “a great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity, relentlessly jamming its blood funnel into anything that smells like money.”

Scathing Online Schoolmarm Salutes the Superintendent of Terrell County Texas Schools…

… for use of passive voice above and beyond the call of duty. In response to a more than ordinarily ugly fight among players – and a coach!- at a recent football game, she wrote the following:

The incidents that occurred at the Sanderson v. Marfa football game on Friday, September 7th are unfortunate and embarrassing for both communities and school districts. There were actions by both teams that were unacceptable. The appropriate notifications have been made to UIL and TEA. The district will review the incident. Once all the facts are gathered, a decision regarding necessary actions will be taken. Until that time, and based on what is known now, we support our coaching staff.

Ya gotta admit that when it comes to failing even to touch on the subject of her statement – i.e., to use the word fight – the woman is punching above her weight. The incidents that occurred is so wondrous a phrase in its avoidance of actuality that even here, in her very first words, she sets a standard. There were actions by both teams that were unacceptable. Let’s not say what they were. And let’s use the passive voice: actions by both teams.. What actions? Don’t ask.

Notifications have been made. Who made them? What do you mean by notifications? Teams, not people, attacked other… teams. And the district will review… Do you mean you? The superintendent? Teams, district — keep it vaguely corporate and the appalling immediacy of students and their coach beating the shit out of people on a football field disappears. Once the facts are gathered, a decision will be taken. Gathered by whom? What sorts of decisions are available? Who will make them? Where are we…? What is known….? Who knows it…?

Let’s translate into English.

The fight at the Sanderson v. Marfa football game on Friday, September 7th angered and embarrassed all of us. Players on both teams attacked other players, and even a coach reportedly joined the fight. After I review footage, and talk to participants and witnesses, I’ll decide on punishments.

Note that SOS has dropped the superintendent’s last sentence. It’s dumb and unnecessary for her to pick sides when she just made clear she doesn’t know the full story.

‘He’s not Joe Paterno; he’s just some loudmouth in a windbreaker. Why are people lining up to defend this guy when he’s accused of such pointless cruelty?’

SOS says: Nice phrase: Some loudmouth in a windbreaker.

Scathing Online Schoolmarm Doffs her Hat to George F. Will.

It don’t get no more scathing than his instantly famous Washington Post column about you know who, post-Putin.

Let us consider why, amid two years of howling verbal shitstorms, it is Will and Will alone who has captured the attention of the world. What’s he got?

A strong, funny, opening sentence featuring an apt extended metaphor with alliteration and assonance (I’ve bolded the Ps and the long As):

America’s child president had a play date with a KGB alumnus, who surely enjoyed providing day care…

More put-down comedy:

Precision is not part of Trump’s repertoire. He speaks English as though it is a second language that he learned from someone who learned English last week.

You may recall this from the similar technique of Paul Krugman on the subject of Newt Gingrich:

A stupid man’s idea of what a smart person sounds like.

Merciless no-muss no-fuss direct statement:

Trump has a weak man’s banal fascination with strong men whose disdain for him is evidently unimaginable to him.

The winner-word here is banal – really cuts the dude down to size, as in Arendt’s unsparing banality of evil.

Even more — and bear with me here – when you couple a word dominated by the word anal with Uranus – a word NO ONE can read or speak without translating it into your anus – I think you also begin to… infer… Will having some real fun with the anomalous ass in the White House:

[J]ust as astronomers infer from anomalies in the orbit of the planet Uranus the existence of Neptune before actually seeing it, Mueller might infer and then find still hidden sources of the behavior of this sad embarrassing wreck of a man.

Even as[s]tronomers works for Will here as he uh bends over backwards NOT to say that the hidden source of Trump’s anxious Russophilia is long-rumored twisted sex play in a Moscow hotel, about which Putin knows…

Finally, Will knows how powerful iambic pentameter can be. As in:

this sad embarrassing wreck of a man.

The finely controlled language of his whole piece implicitly juxtaposes Will’s (and his assumed reader’s) calm Shakespearean maturity and Trump’s mad-hatter hauteur, and this final poetic line (still the well-deployed assonance: sad/embarrassing/man) is the quintessence of the basic move: crude content/elegant style. You recall how it works for Shakespeare:

Of this dead butcher and his fiend-like queen

In the rank sweat of an enseamèd bed

A poor, bare, forked animal as thou art

Like most really good writers, Will has learned from him.

As in all of the tragedies, the elevated language invokes a noble past and promises a noble future; but for now, words of contempt and hopeless pathos must in our phrases be enseamèd.

‘The Russian World Cup has been troubled by politics from the start, when the country was awarded the tournament by FIFA in a 2010 vote wildly believed to have been tainted by corruption.’

Giggle, giggle, goes Scathing Online Schoolmarm.


Make that laugh out loud.

Talk about Freudian slips getting by reporters and their editors.

In an article stating the obvious – Moscow under the imminent World Cup regime will be both the world’s strictest police state and the world’s violent epicenter – the LA Times writer can’t help but let slip the even more obvious point that Russian corruption, in this and every other sphere, is not only widely, but wildly, credited.

Annals of New Pretentious Terms

From a full-page print ad in today’s New York Times for 108 Leonard, a new apartment building.

108 Leonard features distinctive 1 to 4 bedroom residences and over 20,000 square feet of amenities including a 75-foot pool and rooftop gardens, as well as motor reception with private parking.

UD thinks motor reception is what we used to call valet parking; but maybe for the cost of your apartment (“Priced from $1,535,000 to over $20 million.”) you get a catered reception.

When Googled, the term “motor reception” shows up only in the context of speech and hearing studies (“the learner’s motor reception… the latent sequential imitation that analyses the articulatory-phonetic sequencing…”).

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