Get Yr Blink On.

The Y.P.R. Book Club solicits your spur-of-the-moment, off-the-cuff, split-second, ad-lib snap judgements regarding Malcolm Gladwell's Blink: The Power of Thinking without Thinking.

Send us your reviews, parodies, deleted chapters, etc. by February 28th, 2005. Blink!

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This Is the Week That Is

BTdingbat3.gifIncoming! February 14, 2005
by your humble coëditor, Geoff Wolinetz, over at The Black Table.

& Recently . . .

Trapped in Malcolm Gladwell’s Hair by John Tolley

Blink . . . by Michael J. Ewing

A Brief, Reasoned Argument to Counteract the Two-Second Judgment You’ve Made to Buy Malcolm Gladwell’s Blink: the Power of Thinking without Thinking by Gideon C. Kennedy

More Modern Trends by Will Layman & Chris Osmond

Malcolm Gladwell, quick thinker

Dear Sam Raimi


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Monday, March 7, 2005   |    Disquieting Modern Trends

More Modern Trends

We really thought that if we both got iPods—the big honkin' ones with, like, 60-gig memory and a cool carrying case that makes us feel utterly up-to-the-minute and young again—we'd stop finding contemporary society to be a continual screech of disquieting annoyance. Yet here we are, 2005 well under way and our iPods chock-a-block with slippery funk rhythms, still finding many modern trends to be nails-on-a-chalkboard against our delicate ear-drum souls. Forthwith, those things making us cringe:

Music Too Hot For Work
The object at hand is the recent U2 single "Vertigo." This song has reduced both of us to unproductive and nigh-upon-uncivil quivering masses of flesh cowering between our iPod earbuds as we affect some sort of work-appropriate activity when in fact we are RAWKING OUT on the job. For those of you think that (a) U2 is a washed-up stadium-rock behemoth that is not as cool as the Arcade Fire, (b) you're tired of that iPod commercial and you would never think a song from a commercial was cool, or (c) Bono is a leftwing celebrity weenie who should shut up about world hunger and just play music, our reply is: have you heard this song? And, oh yeah, Bono and Liam Neeson (the Irish bastards) are both sleeping with your girlfriend.

People with Jobs That Make No Sense
Speaking of work: everyone we know, but everyone, now has a job that we cannot understand no matter how many advanced degrees we accumulate or how many cocktail parties we gamely attend while nodding sagely and lustily eyeing the Chex Snack Mix. It seems that all of America is now a "consultant" and not only does nothing but also works for no one. We demand that people return immediately to jobs that can be explained in a single non-jargony sentence such as "I am a fourth-grade teacher" or "I make shirts for cocker spaniels." No more Web-based marketing integration specialists, no more "technical assistance" consultants for state affiliate organizations, and—for crissakes—no more telecom-IT-network maintenance programming. Somebody, please, get a real job before China puts us all under martial rule.

Concern Over “The Obesity Epidemic”
O.K., folks, look: America is fat. It’s what we do. It’s what our boys are fighting for. Ever since Elvis deep-fried his peanut-butter-and-bacon sandwich, it’s been our birthright. So the news that grownups in this great country are more “wide load” than “compact” is not a news flash. If you like the Ho-Hos you’re gonna be packing a few extry, so quit whining or straighten up and fly right. And don’t get that Al Roker staple-your-stomach surgery either. That shit is sick and kind of gross. Didn’t mom tell you to chew your food? Long intestines are just like that, only—um, enzymatic. So don’t shorten, staple, spindle, or other wise dick with your GI tract. Just drink, like, water instead of Yoo-Hoo and walk some stairs. Or buy some proper shoes and go run. But no intestine-dicking-with. And Al Roker’s head is now way to big for his body. You don’t want to end up looking like a flesh-and-blood bobblehead now, do you?

Ringtones That Sound Either Like (A) Actual Songs, Not Cheesy Casio Synth-Songs or (B) Like Actual 1930s Telephones
First off, we have nothing but admiration for cell phones and cell-phone users, the ruder the better. Life is too freaking dull and having some goober talk to his wife about her upcoming gynecologist appointment in the local burrito place is entertainment to us, not to mention how it makes us feel about our burrito. But here we get nostalgic for the early days of the ringtone, when people had just started to branch out from irritating "Nokia Song" and get classics such as "Fur Elise," "The William Tell Overture," and "Genie in a Bottle" but (and this is the key) all played only in single beepy computer notes. This dorky sound was cheeky and great—Hey, it's Beethoven, but it's on my stupid little cell phone! Now people's phones are capable creating surround-sound polyphonous MIDI arrangements that make it sound like the person actually has Yo-Yo Ma and violin-diva Anne-Sophie Mutter in his front pants pocket. It's a phone, people, not a boombox. Of course, the opposite trend of having your cell phone ring as if Thomas Edison owned it is just the kind of pseudo-nostalgia we hate. We know several people who like to say, "I should have been around in the 50s!" at which point they usually start singing "Mack the Knife" or "Strangers in the Night." These people, antique ringtones and Anne-Sophie Mutter all: disquieting, deeply so.

Hey! What's the fucking deal with people who write "G-d" instead of "God"? I mean, is this some kind of "taking the Lord's name in vain" thing, or is it some kind of weird atheist thing? In other words, this particular affectation is so nonsensical and vague that you don't know if it's the fundamentalists or the heathen who are behind it. On the one hand, if you believe in a Big Guy Almighty Pulling The Daily Strings Dude, do you really think He cares if you type out His name properly using the vowel. I mean, in your eyes, He invented vowels, right? On the other hand, if He doesn't exist, if the world is chaotic whirl of chance and meaninglessness, writing "His" name without the vowel isn't exactly some kind of self-actualizing nihilistic touché, is it? We must consider renaming this column "Flat-Out Idiotic Modern Trends" as this one is not really disquieting but just dopey. We do not want anyone to dare write out our names in full from now on, O.K.? Make it "Chr-s" and "W-ll" from now on. St-p-d!