This blog covers everything except sports and gardening, unless we find a really good link about using dead professional bowlers for mulch. The author is a StarTribune columnist, has been passing off fiction and hyperbole as insight since 1997, has run his own website since the Jurassic era of AOL, and was online when today’s college sophomores were a year away from being born. So get off his lawn.

The Insanely Boggling Impalas

Posted by: James Lileks under Architecture, Praise, Technology Updated: April 21, 2014 - 12:39 PM

Obvious headline: These Upworthy Titles Will Restore Your Faith in Humanity. But You Won’t Believe What Happens NextArticle:

Clickbait is bad. Clickbait is ruining journalism. Everyone knows this. Everyone hates the formulaic success that BuzzFeed has generated with endless listicles about animals, the 90s, and animals in the 90s. Upworthy inspires a slightly more complex disdain: it claims to engage in advocacy by “raising awareness” through viral videos about “issues” instead of cats and the quizzes. Most of the more political friends I know HATE this “clicktivism,” since it gives “readers” a sense of political involvement because they watched a video about a kid who stood up to bullies. And traditional media don’t seem too happy with Upworthy either; responses range from indignation to smirking analysis to truly depressing defeatism.

The article goes on to describe the grammar and style of click bait headlines.

A quick perusal of today’s Upworthy page shows sundry examples of this construction, which range from the accusatory:

There’s A World War Happening Online Right Now. And You Might Be A Mercenary In It.

to the empowering:

If You Could Press A Button And Murder Every Mosquito, Would You? Because That’s Kinda Possible.

No, it’s not. And sit up straight. Stop using words like Kinda in headlines. Here are some upworthy-style headlines I noticed over the weekend. Didn’t click on one.

What, they found it ten miles away, with its hair tousled? NEXT

"Insanely powerful" should be reserved for stories on Idi Amin. NEXT

I love how this article had the keyword "Impala," in case I want to store it for more boggling revelations about the inscrutible reasons for impala movement. NEXT

Unless it's "stop reading clickbait," I'm not interested.

AWWWW  LiveScience: Ancient Puppy Paw Prints Found on Roman Tiles - from 2000 years ago, in England. BuzzFeed version, up tomorrow: You Can't Stop Looking at these Adorable Indentations

TECH Why didn’t videophones catch on? This Mashable piece takes a look at the difficult history of the device everyone thought was the next inevitable step. What took so long? It has the answers.

I’m not convinced people want to be seen when they make a call. They like to see the other person, but it’s not necessary to be seen.

URBANISM Can Paradise Be Planned? asks this NYT article on Garden Suburbs, as the author joints the ranks of people struggling to understand why people live in places the author does not like. I mean, listen to what a futurist says about a collection of aerial photographs of suburbs:

“It is an encounter in the most literal sense,” writes the futurist Geoff Manaugh in Gielen’s jarring yet utterly mesmerizing new book, “Ciphers.” “A forensic confrontation with something all but impossible to comprehend.”

The dreamless law of Cthulul? No, a picture of an Arizona subdivision.That said, the aforementioned futurist is Gizmodo’s editor-in-chief, and has an interesting architecture / urban blog. Speaking of which: when a Giz writer looked at New Urbanism, she had to ask: why is it “so gosh darn creepy?” In the example she cites, the evidence suggests an obvious answer: because it’s pre-fab gimcrack historicism plopped in place all at once.

When done right, though, it provides a model of urban design some people prefer to the classic suburb with a rambler and a garage. It’s not for everyone. No model is. So let the developers build what they think the market will bear. I’d rather learn from what people choose than listen to this NYT commenter:

I think most people might choke on #4.

TV In case you haven’t bookmarked it, a reminder to hit Vulture on Monday for Matt Zoller Seitz’ “Mad Man” recap. Haven't read the comments yet, but I'm sure everyone is praising Sally. I can't stand that kid. 

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