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You won't believe how much you don't care

  • Blog Post by: James Lileks
  • December 31, 2013 - 12:36 PM

Esquire has a story titled “Why You Shouldn’t Drink Champagne on New Year’s Eve.” Bossy today, aren’t we? No link for you. But here's the teaser:

Champagne is expensive and so burdened with the weight of forced festivity that it's almost impossible not to be let down when you remember you don't even like it.

Oh, shut up. I mention it only as another example of modern headlines - their hectoring tone and clicky-linky style. It’s taken over the internet, and you won’t believe what happened next! For example:

Well, yes, I probably will believe, since the dog became Doge and the rest is played-out meme history. Does anyone ever read these piece and reel away in a state of confusion and disbelief? It can’t be so! It can’t! Yet it is! As the year ends, and this trait shows no sign of abating, YOU NEED TO STOP WHAT YOU ARE DOING - sorry, sorry, that’s another cheap annoying trick - and read “4 Reasons ‘Viral’ Content Stopped Mattering in 2013” by Cody Johnston. It’s brilliant and hilarious and absolutely right. 

SCIENCE! Screencap of something from my Zite App, which doesn’t always assemble things the way the original poster intended:

A Peter O’Toole robot would be cool, but I’m not sure “highly attractive” is the right word.

Speaking of unattractive things:

ARCHITORTURE It’s nice that the commercial vernacular of the 70s is getting some attention; it’s just a pity it’s, you know, the commercial vernacular of the 70s. The Pizza Hut buildings were ungainly and ill-proportioned, but they were certainly distinctive. Atlantic Cities studies how they’re being reused:

For Pittsburgh resident Mike Neilson, proprietor of Used to Be a Pizza Hut, the iconic hump-roofed structure brings back happy memories of growing up the 1980s in the suburbs of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Back then, Pizza Hut pizza was "the de facto standard," he says, to be eaten while playing tabletop Pac Man games.

The one in North Fargo, where I learned the waitering trade, was overhauled in the strange suburban-chain style that’s regrettable in its own special way.


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In the comments someone says “there needs to be a ‘used to be a TacoBell’ website” Maybe. How about a “Used to be a Zantigo’s site”? A few examples still dot the metro.

ART Chris Ware has a New Yorker cover that will be familiar to any parent. For some reason he has to explain it, and convert the wry smile of self-recognition to glum worry:

Sometimes, I’ve noticed with horror that the memories I have of things like my daughter’s birthday parties or the trips we’ve taken together are actually memories of the photographs I took, not of the events themselves, and together, the two somehow become ever more worn and overwrought, like lines gone over too many times in a drawing. The more we give over of ourselves to these devices, the less of our own minds it appears we exercise, and worse, perhaps even concomitantly, the more we coddle and covet the devices themselves. The gestures necessary to operate our new touch-sensitive generation of technology are disturbingly similar to caresses.

Well, for him, perhaps, but I mostly use quick-flick motions and reverse-pinch-to-zoom, neither of which people seem to appreciate when applied to their faces.

But the point is solid. How many people tonight will be shooting the countdown to midnight - in vertical mode, of course - instead of looking directly at everyone else around?

Happy New Year, however you choose to celebrate it; see you in 2014!

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