1. I enjoyed reading the Guardian's back-handed insult of an obituary to Jesse Helms. Although it was restrained – more condescending and glib than mean – it reminded me of some others I've enjoyed, including The New York Times' scathing obituary of John C. Breckenridge (warning: contains old-timey 1860s-speak) or H.L. Mencken's over-the-top vituperative send-off of William Jennings Bryan. Though written 70 years ago, it could be cut-and-pasted for Helms today:
Bryan was a vulgar and common man, a cad undiluted. He was ignorant, bigoted, self-seeking, blatant and dishonest. His career brought him into contact with the first men of his time; he preferred the company of rustic ignoramuses. It was hard to believe, watching him at Dayton, that he had traveled, that he had been received in civilized societies, that he had been a high officer of state. He seemed only a poor clod like those around him, deluded by a childish theology, full of an almost pathological hatred of all learning, all human dignity, all beauty, all fine and noble things. He was a peasant come home to the dung-pile.
This Helms-inspired trip down memory lane reminded me of just how much I enjoy a vicious, scathing piece of journalism, some deserving person or thing being ripped to shreds. Outside of the obituary page, my favorite example has to be Matt Taibbi's review of Thomas Friedman's The World Is Flat (read it. seriously, read it.)
On an ideological level, Friedman's new book is the worst, most boring kind of middlebrow horseshit. If its literary peculiarities could somehow be removed from the equation, The World Is Flat would appear as no more than an unusually long pamphlet replete with the kind of plug-filled, free-trader leg-humping that passes for thought in this country. It is a tale of a man who walks 10 feet in front of his house armed with a late-model Blackberry and comes back home five minutes later to gush to his wife that hospitals now use the internet to outsource the reading of CAT scans.
Let's keep this theme going: what are your favorite examples? Nasty book reviews, movie reviews, music reviews, obituaries, restaurant critics….anything. Help me out here.
2. Hold on, I have to go step in front of a speeding train because this band and this band not only exist but, with 100,000+ myspace friends apiece, are about 1082820865 times more popular than mine. (make sure your speakers are turned on! wouldn't want to miss the good stuff!) Seriously, fuck it. I'm just going to start a "band" of rapping clowns. It will be 1780s-themed and called Articlez of Krunkfederation. Unless you have a better idea (note: all suggestions must incorporate the word "krunk.")