Harry asks in the comments below why I haven’t said anything about Richard Cohen’s incredibly stupid column earlier this week:
and nancy, your silence on richard cohen’s snit about colbert fills the room. you’ve run some of cohen’s columns when he made some sense, but not to call him out for that one seems like you’re covering for him when you shouldn’t.
Covering for him? Uh, no. I just thought the column wasn’t worthy of much other than the Randy Jackson take: “Dawg, not your best performance. You were pitchy and all over the place, and you never really got it together.” Also, I’m sick of this story. Very few people seemed to say what finally occured to me, reading about it: That Colbert’s audience was ostensibly the people in the room, but his real audience was the people watching clips on the web and e-mailing the best lines to all their friends. All this talk about whether he was rude to this or that constituency sitting in the room with him overlooks this, because he knew he was really talking to the folks at home. It’s the reason the press covers commencement speeches and others that, on paper, don’t seem all that important.
If Colbert had done what the Cohens of the world said he should have done — told some stupid jokes at his own expense, been polite and respectful to the leader of the free world, etc. — he’d still be a guy with a relatively low national profile and a show on Comedy Central. Now? He’s New York Times boy. Not a bad night’s work.
(And thanks to The Poor Man for unearthing a Mel Brooks quote I hadn’t heard before: Tragedy is when I cut my finger. Comedy is when you walk into an open sewer and die. I will consider this when I’m enduring Kate’s new preferred dinner-hour television. Last year it was “Wheel of Fortune” and “Jeopardy!,” this year it’s “America’s Funniest Home Videos,” the comedy stylings of which consist of some poor slob either cartwheeling over some handlebars to fall on his head, or else slipping off a narrow rail/rope to rack up the family jewels big-time.)
Actually, today I’m wondering what it must be like to be one of Earl Woods’ other three children. I understand that they had the famous half-brother, and I really don’t know what his relationship with them was, after he left his first family behind and made a second stab at things, but when you find yourself lumped in as a last-graf afterthought, man, that’s gotta hurt.
Watch Nance Grow Old in Real Time, Chapter XXXIX: A couple weeks ago the NYT magazine featured a profile of Dov Charney, the alleged genius behind American Apparel, evidently some sort of cotton-jersey version of The Gap. You can find any number of these stories out there, all of which do some version of a tap dance around the fact Charney is, um, fond of his dick. Evidently he likes to handle the merchandise in front of reporters. (As a reporter myself I’ve seen this happen on a metaphorical level many times. In the literal flesh, though, no.)
But that’s not the story here. If a guy sells good T-shirts, I’ll forgive him anything, even that. I’m a T-shirt gal, and as summer lines up behind spring, of course I’m in the market. So when yesterday’s errands had me in Royal Oak, and I passed the distinctive Helvetica sign of an American Apparel shop, I swerved to the side to check it out. I was looking to fact-check the veracity of this claim in the NYT article:
He began a fixation that continues to this day on what he calls American commodity manufacturing: clothing items and other goods that defy fashion and stand outside of seasonal requirements, things that are simple, well made and possessed of such innate organic style that they become iconic: Levi’s 501’s, Sperry Top-Sider deck shoes, Russell Athletic heather-gray T-shirts.
Well. I own two of the three items on that list, and let me just say, American Apparel, you’re no Levi’s 501s. The line at center stage at the moment is something called “sheer cotton,” which is another word for “cheap” where I come from. I owned a sheer cotton T-shirt a few years ago; I bought it mail-order from Eddie Bauer, and it marked my final estrangement from that once-worthy brand. It was so sheer I couldn’t wear it to work without a jacket, and inspired my new rule about white T-shirts: I pull the fabric over my wrist, and if I can read my watch through it, it goes back on the rack.
Some of the styles were OK, but please — a few of the T-shirts had necklines with a raw edge. Raw, like you’d cut the finished one off with scissors, like in “Flashdance.” No, thanks.
I realize, being approximately two decades past A.A.’s target market, this will not cause anyone to lose sleep at night. I just hate to see young people, who have fewer disposable dollars than anyone, paying $18 for a shirt they can read their watches through.
I liked the amateur-porny-type photos on the wall, though. I’m not that old.
After I left I was lured, by the nose, into the place next door, billing itself as an “eco-luxury” store — organic cotton this, all-natural that. They were going out of business, selling down to the walls, and if there’s one thing that can get me through the door it’s a giant sign reading 50-70 PERCENT OFF. The pleasantly scented botanical skin products were only the hook.
I swiftly discovered that a $100 shower curtain marked down by half is still a $50 shower curtain, and honestly, I don’t care if it’s woven of natural hemp. But there was a nice chair there, lightly used, that looked close to what we want for our family room. A price tag dangled sadly from its back. Won’t Alan be pleased when I tell him I found our chair in an upscale-hippie den of hemp! I reached for it with trembling fingers. Twenty-two HUNDRED dollars. For a chair.
Not only am I too old for the world, I’m too poor.