A Flea in the Fur of the Beast

“Death, fire, and burglary make all men equals.” —Dickens

New Yorker Self Parody Watch, Comprehensive Retroactive Pretention Edition

by evanmcmurry

Number of words in a New Yorker sports article before you get to an umlaut: 379, bringing their running average to 316.

But this week’s case is special, for the umlaut appeareth not in the New Yorker‘s text, but in a quote from an ESPN article. Here’s the New Yorker version:

Back then, it was a different culture. It was very loose. I was young. I was stupid. I was naïve. And I wanted to prove to everyone that, you know, I was worth being one of the greatest players of all time. And I did take a banned substance. You know, for that I’m very sorry and deeply regretful.

Here’s ESPN‘s version:

Back then, it was a different culture. It was very loose. I was young. I was stupid. I was naive. And I wanted to prove to everyone that, you know, I was worth being one of the greatest players of all time. And I did take a banned substance. You know, for that I’m very sorry and deeply regretful.

That’s right: the New Yorker actually added an umlaut to Alex Rodriguez’s statement in the ESPN article. That’s some comprehensive, retroactive pretension. I guess a “[sic]” would have been heavy-handed?

ESPN responded, “At least we don’t employ Andy Borowitz.”

Why You Shouldn’t Worry Too Much About the GDP Drop

by evanmcmurry

John Cassidy, on why the surprising fourth-quarter downturn in the economy is most likely a one-off. To back him up, rarely does the economy surprise. The last time it did was summer of ought-12, when weekly labor stats were picking up only to result in month after month of dismal monthly job reports. Every month economists predicted a strong labor report, every month the numbers disappointed, until it looked like nobody knew what they were talking about. Then the numbers were revised up, as they often are, and now it looks like a slow but steady increase toward our current unemployment rate. Moral of the story: rarely does the economy surprise.

Of course, none of this would have happened if we’d elected walking confidence chalkblock Mott Rimney, or whatever his name was.

Burying The Lede

by evanmcmurry

Jeff Bezos is great! ‘Cept this:

Part of the challenge here is that the obvious long-term strategy for Amazon—drive all rivals out of business with ultra-low margins, then exploit some barrier to entry to hike prices and earn monopoly profits—is probably illegal, so you can’t articulate it publicly.

Other than that, though, genius CEO.

Coffeeshops in Austin

by evanmcmurry

This is massively overstated, but given that my old roommate and I would leave our Cherrywood house every morning with me going left to Thunderbird and him going right to Cherrywood Coffeeshop, it certainly contains an element of truth. (To say nothing of the Jo’s or Bouldin Creek crowds.)

This is the thing I missed most [about Austin, Texas] when I lived in New York and was writing this book, honestly: this sense that the borders between different social worlds are utterly porous, and that there’s no vertical hierarchy to society whatsoever: only a horizontal one. Who you hang out with doesn’t depend on how much you make, where you were last published, or what borough you live in: it depends solely on what coffee shop you hang out at. This is a completely value-neutral decision and it determines everything about you.

I hope I got this quality right in the book, but it’s that same horizontal organization to Austin that makes it hard to write a “book about Austin,” which in some ways was the goal here. There are as many Austins as there are coffee shops. This is meant both as praise and damnation.