Sunday’s New York Times included a story that movie fans should find as terrifying as anything since the last 20 minutes of Silence of the Lambs. In it, writer Brooks Barnes introduces us to Vinny Bruzzese, a “chain-smoking former statistics professor” who has “started to aggressively pitch a service he calls script evaluation. For as much as $20,000 per script, Mr. Bruzzese and a team of analysts compare the story structure and genre of a draft script with those of released movies, looking for clues to box-office success. His company, Worldwide Motion Picture Group, also digs into an extensive database of focus group results for similar films and surveys 1,500 potential moviegoers.” In other words, studios write Bruzzese and his company a check, and in exchange, they’re told how to make their movies as bland, homogenous, and predictable as possible. Sounds like the recipe for a golden age of moviemaking! … Read More
New York Times
If the prototypical highly educated, white, 20-something city dweller is a skinny dude in a vintage Stryper T-shirt with elaborate facial hair, then The New York Times is the used-to-be-cool middle-aged parent squinting skeptically at that clothing and mustache, trying to figure out whether this is all a joke at her expense. It has now been almost two years since Brian Williams, who was already over 50 at the time, shamed the paper of record for treating Brooklyn and its denizens with a condescending brand of anthropological wonder. But The Gray Lady just can’t leave so-called “hipsters” alone.
The latest entry in what will probably one day be compiled into the worst book ever written is “How to Live Without Irony,” a dire op-ed by Princeton French professor Christy Wampole that begins with the bold pronouncement, “If irony is the ethos of our age — and it is — then the hipster is our archetype of ironic living.” But it isn’t just the time-machine-to-2002 vibe of the piece that’s got Twitter in a spin; it’s the imprecise definition of “irony,” the tired hand-wringing about modern technology, the laughable insistence that the ’90s of the author’s youth was irony-free, the contention that “nonironic living” is now so endangered that its practitioners are limited to “very young children, elderly people, deeply religious people, people with severe mental or physical disabilities, people who have suffered, and those from economically or politically challenged places where seriousness is the governing state of mind.”
If you were to construct a Reactionary Social Criticism Bingo card, this essay would provide no shortage of paths to victory. But since that might be considered an “ironic” way to respond to the piece, let’s go a different route. After years of publishing articles that misunderstand and indict young adults, the Times deserves to have the tables turned. So now it’s time to engage in some rapid-fire deconstruction of the op-ed and its author. Below, we’ve formulated 15 ways of looking at “How to Live Without Irony.” … Read More
You may remember that last summer, in the wake of the critical acclaim that attended Jonathan Franzen’s Freedom, there was quite a bit of discussion about the gender disparity in book reviews by The New York Times, with two bestselling female authors, Jennifer Weiner and Jodi Picoult, leading the charge. The case by the numbers: of the 545 books reviewed by the Times between July 2008 and August 2010, 62 percent were written by men and 38 percent by women.
Yesterday, Weiner posted a follow-up on her blog, wondering if The New York Times did any better this past year. Her answer is, basically, not really. She writes, ”To quote Reverend Lovejoy of Simpsons fame, short answer yes with an if, long answer no with a but.” At her count, the paper reviewed 254 works of fiction in 2011, 59.1 percent of which were written by men and 40.9 percent by women. And almost as many female authors’ books were reviewed twice as male authors (21 versus 22). So, improvement! Except that in other areas that Weiner values, such as number of women getting two reviews and a profile (just Téa Obreht, apparently), the Times is still lacking. ”The Times showed improvement,” she writes, “at least in terms of fiction, in the two-review department, but the disparity between men and women who get that coveted two-reviews-plus-a-profile is still shocking.” … Read More
You’d think running the New York Marathon today would be project enough (our quads hurt just at the suggestion), but New York Times cartoonist Christoph Niemann is not only running it, but he’s also live-illustrating the race and live-tweeting his illustrations every ten minutes or so. From the looks of it, he’s having a… Read More
We’ve made no secret of the fact that we’re giant Roger Ebert fans here at Flavorwire, so we certainly weren’t going to miss his rare trip from his home turf to ours, for Tuesday night’s installment of The New York Times’ ongoing lecture/interview series, “Times Talks” — “or, in my case, Times Types,” as Ebert mused, via his computerized voice “Alex.” The program allowed the critic to answer A.O. Scott’’s questions via his laptop, and as “Alex” said his words, Ebert would frequently act out his answers, accompanying the robot-voiced words with his own gestures, nods, shrugs, and mugs (frequently calling to mind the great silent clown Harpo Marx — “the most articulate” of the Marx Brothers, according to Mr. Ebert).
Because his responses were literally written, the conversation was more quotable than most. After the jump, we’ve assembled our ten favorite Ebert-isms of the night. … Read More
Beginning this weekend, formidable British author Geoff Dyer will begin writing a column for the New York Times Sunday Book Review entitled “Reading Life,” in which (the editors tell us) he will detail “the ups and down of his long relationship with the written word.” Today’s inaugural column, which you can… Read More
Welcome to Conversation Pieces, where Flavorpill curates five articles from the past week that you should read. Some are long, others are short. Some are from major publications, others aren’t. The only thing all these articles have in common is that they’re interesting. This week we examine The Strokes after 10 years, Dan Savage as America’s moralist, the science behind awful dancing, why rape is a sensitive issue and should remain that way, and more. After the jump, find something exciting to discuss this weekend in the home, at the bar, or on the street. … Read More
The New York Times has, it seems, finally admitted (if implicitly) their completely pussy-footed outsiderism when it comes to Brooklyn. This week, their popular 36 Hours travel feature, which has recently covered cities such as Santiago, Lisbon, Valencia, Santa Cruz, and Marrakesh, has turned its gaze on Brooklyn, the borough the NYT loves to awkwardly love. Though they did make some good (if obvious) choices for a hypothetical weekend across the river (Tom’s Restaurant, the Brooklyn Museum and the Botanical Garden) they also left out some serious (and also obvious) draws (the Brooklyn Flea, Roberta’s, the whole of Red Hook). But we know they had to make choices, and not everyone can hang around in Brooklyn forever. However, we imagine that certain parts of the article could be a little obnoxious to Brooklyn natives, as, true to NYT fashion, they kind of miss the mark when it comes to talking about their other half. Click through for the 6 most annoying parts of their 36 Hours in Brooklyn, and our indignant rebuttals. … Read More
Attention Sunday Styles devotees: The trailer for Richard Press’ documentary on the New York Times’ intrepid street photographer Bill Cunningham just landed online, and it looks to be just as adorable as the man himself — even Anna Wintour acts like a giddy schoolgirl when talking about him. As Fashionologie reports, when Press first approached Cunningham about the project in 2000: “He just pooh-poohed the idea. He couldn’t entertain it. He said, ‘Why me? There’s no subject here.’” If you need even more reason to love the ever humble, 81-year-old Schwinn devotee (or if you’re just looking to familiarize yourself), check out an excellent profile of him that ran last year in The New Yorker, and click through to watch the trailer. … Read More
Often, when we mention the New York Times, it’s to go on at length about one of their ridiculous faux trend pieces. But even we have to admit that, for the Times magazine’s upcoming Hollywood Issue, they’ve put together something totally awesome. “14 Actors Acting” is a video gallery of the year’s most… Read More