Tuesday, January 05, 2010

whole foods, boy bands, grace kelly and the UC system

Three profiles and some bad news. Now that's a New Yorker. Something about each and everyone of those topics.

Paumgarten goes over the Mackey basics for people who don't already avoid Whole Foods. From where I sit, he's trying to be even-handed, but the very last paragraph seems entirely dismissive, like something you'd write about someone who you are very glad to see go:
Talk turned to food, as it often does. “You only love animal fat because you’re used to it,” he said. “You’re addicted.” He urged me to consider reprogramming my palate. He also suggested that I try Grofian breathing.

After a moment, he got up to leave, and I watched him walk toward Sixth Avenue, in a suit that looked a size or two too big, thinking, or not thinking, about what he was going to say on the Fox Business channel.

Read more: http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2010/01/04/100104fa_fact_paumgarten?currentPage=all#ixzz0blAMmSpS

The thing about boy band Vampire Weekend (well, not that kind of boy band, but still) was a little more indulgent. Like their older sister wrote it. I bristled at the quote from bandmember Koenig: "There are probably a lot better reasons why you could say we're not good." Sooooo smart he knows better than you do what is wrong with the particular brand of wool he's pulling over your eyes. But this profile also included a pithy paragraph of disdain, but this time from a quoted source, rather than the author. Pitchfork said:
"The image they project is practically The Darjeeling Limited brothers of indie rock bands - globe-trotting sons of distinguished men clumsily exploring distant cultures, despite only being passively, naively invested."
And Pitchfork's readers said: "It's like the Whiffenpoofs started a ska band." Eeek.

Anthony Lane on Grace Kelly is hilarious and kind of meta when he explains the concept of "the Chinese whisper, whereby [a biographer] quotes somebody who quotes somebody who knew the subject in question." The things folks said about Grace Kelly (naughty and nice) were only somewhat interesting.

And Tad Friend's letter from California, about the crisis in the UC education system, was useful, timely and much more important than the other items mentioned here . . .

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