Stuff I Read and Liked

“Big Trouble at 11:35,” by Mark Seal (from Vanity Fair), 2010.

“Joe Halderman, as he was known, had never met David Letterman, but the Late Show host represented for Halderman the increasingly problematic state of CBS, where he had worked for 27 years. Once the pre-eminent news network, home of Edward R. Murrow and Walter Cronkite, CBS News had steadily lost its status in the era of cutbacks and layoffs, shuttering foreign bureaus as the focus of all the networks shifted from news to entertainment. But the man behind the wheel of the Tesla—the wisecracking face of the CBS entertainment division—seemed oblivious to the catastrophes going on in the news department. Letterman had not only a large staff and a seemingly unlimited budget but also the use of a private jet and his own theater. “Now, here’s Letterman in a hundred-thousand-dollar car, and—the ultimate insult—he’s stealing Joe Halderman’s girl!” says Arnot. And doing it right in front of Halderman’s house. From where he stands, he can see them “in the car in a passionate embrace, and the way Joe interpreted it was: We just had hot sex and we’re going to do it again as soon as we possibly can,” says Arnot.”

“My Best Worst Friend,” by Joey (from Free Darko), 2010.

“I always knew that Michael had a gambling problem, but I didn’t understand its full dimension until I sat down across from him and got roped into his lunacy as he indulged his famously competitive zeal. The sky doesn’t usually turn from blue and sunny to black and foreboding over the course of three minutes, but that’s what had happened on this day, and the television was tuned to the Weather Channel so that travelers could follow the storm and adjust their plans. I guess that Michael had told the woman he was clutching that he could predict the weather–as though Michael Jordan needs pickup schtick–and fixing to mount the illusion of scarcity, she bet him a drink and phone number that she could beat him at it. Obviously, that got Michael going, in pretty much every sense of that well-worn expression. As I plopped down on the leather couch, he and the woman had just begun, and they both seemed eager to share their game with a stranger who could admire it and maybe cough up some cash.

“Excuse me–would you like to play a game with myself and my friend here?” Michael asked me.”

“Greatest.  Indie-est.  Band.  Ever.” by Chuck Klosterman (for GQ), 2010.

“There’s an inherent problem with writing about Pavement: People tend to know nothing or everything about them. To most of the populace, they were a band with a funny name, one minor MTV hit (1994’s “Cut Your Hair”), and a lot of abstract credibility among people who get mad at the radio. But to the kind of hyperintellectual, underemployed people who did not find it strange to buy concert tickets a year in advance—and who will buy the band’s upcoming greatest-hits release even if they already have all the tracks—Pavement are the apotheosis of indie aesthetics, the “finest rockband of the ’90s,” according to former Village Voice critic Robert Christgau. They are remembered as the musical center of the lo-fi era, a designation that’s spiritually true but technically wrong.¹ Over the span of five albums and nine EPs, Pavement became a decade-defining band, widely regarded as essential and game changing (at least among those who cared).”


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