An hideously horribly overly long edition of Thursday Styles with Tom Scocca, a weekly recording of an IM conversation with Tom Scocca, the New York Observer’s Off the Record columnist. Brought to you as a public service by your trusty Transom editor.
MediaTom: Well, have you read your Thursday Styles yet?
TheTransom: You know, I’ve been really busy thinking, as a man, manly thoughts about what men want.
MediaTom: Do tell. It seems to me, on first look, that men want George Clooney.
TheTransom: Well, I think, yes. I like a man who earns over 100,000 a year, looks like George Clooney, and “is already living the life he wants rather than merely chasing it.” Which, of course, is why I get aroused when I pass those RETARDED OFFENSIVE CITIBANK ADS on PHONE BOOTHS. So, as far as gay lifestyle porn goes?? i’m IN.
MediaTom: Are those the Citibank ads that are like, hey, bank with us, we don’t care about money? Like: McDonald’s: You’re Just Going To Shit It Out Eventually, Anyway? Yeah. It’s like handing your checking account over to a fortune-cookie-writing company.
TheTransom: YES. UGH. Goddam Citibank. But yes, really: Who is on the arm of Vogue readers? They’re called HOMOS. We used to call them ‘walkers.’ But I digress.
MediaTom: OK, the thing about Vogue for Men is this: the principal attractions that regular Vogue offers to the het male reader are (1) nipple photos, (2) the daft letters page, and (3) Jeffrey Steingarten.
The Transom: Barbeque and hooters? That makes it sound like… Maxim, just much shorter!
MediaTom: Surprisingly manly fare! Maxim with higher production values. Actually Maxim never contains nipple shots. Word to the wise, fellas! But Men’s Vogue..
TheTransom: …Has no women. Hence… no nipples?
MediaTom: But they do have Jeffrey Steingarten.
TheTransom: I know nothing about him. But I hear he’s a right bastard.
MediaTom: He’s got a lovable writerly persona, though. Except the part of the persona that hangs out with Amanda Hesser’s persona.
TheTransom: That sounds like a horrible persona entanglement. So wait. I need to, need to, talk about Alex Kuzsnipski. Like, I might need to get my therapist in here too.
MediaTom: “Call me the neurotic consumer.” Neurotic? Can we call you the some other kind of consumer?
TheTransom: She. Bought. A. Thank. You. Gift. For. A. Friend. That. Cost. 975. Dollars. HOW CRITICAL CAN THAT SHOPPING BE???
MediaTom: Hey, she put a hold on the $2,500 dress. Rather than buying it outright.
The Transom: The problem is, I guess, I don’t know, maybe I have Stockholm Syndrome with Alex Kuczwhatski because I start to admire her shopping by the end of the column. Wait, hold the phone. Suzy and I have to roam the streets for food.
MediaTom: Thanks for the invitation. Bitch. Have fun, guys!
TheTransom: YOU”RE INVITED! JESUS CHRIST. Were you a YOUNGEST CHILD? DON’T MAKE ME COME IN THERE AND BEAT YOU.
MediaTom: I was 2nd of 2. Technically that makes me “younger.”
Some Time Passes.
MediaTom: So anyway. Alex “Evita” Kuczynski declares “I hated ‘Lost in Translation,’ an admission that no doubt guarantees my exile from hipster America forever.” Technically, to be in “exile” from a place, don’t you have to have been there before?
TheTransom: Well, we can’t hold her good taste in husbands against her. BUT. This time I disagree with her shopping. The first daughter of Peru, set loose in Marc Jacobs, should at least come home with the servants bowed and stooped under her acquisitions.
MediaTom: I was impressed when she denigrated a Marc Jacobs dress by imagining the smart-alecky comment that Us Weekly would get from a fashion panelist if a celebrity were ever to be photographed wearing it.
TheTransom: See? Who says she’s un-reflective??
MediaTom:”Don’t blame me if this line isn’t funny! I didn’t say it! An imaginary person in a hypothetical scenario said it!” Maybe all her imaginary friends chipped in to buy the $975 satchel.
TheTransom: No one ever bought me a thousand-dollar handbag to say “thank you.”
MediaTom: And Alex Kucznyski offends you EVERY THURSDAY! Where’s your apology handbag?
TheTransom: RIGHT? WHERE’S MY GODDAM APOLOGY HANDBAG, ALEX?
More Time Passes.
MediaTom: Okay, I’m back. What about, “9/11: Light a Candle Or Party On?” Let me draw your attention to the “Or” in that headline in particular. Welcome to the down-to-earth world of reporters, Jodi Kantor!
TheTransom: It’s her first story on her new job! Of course she’s being hazed by the headline writers.
MediaTom: The best part is “But Dr. Eviatar Zerubavel, a professor of sociology at Rutgers, argues that as the years pass, the 9/11 commemoration will grow stronger.” Because nothing makes a convincing take-the-temperature-of-society piece like a titled expert WILDLY SPECULATING ABOUT SOMETHING COMPLETELY UNKNOWABLE.
The Transom: Oh, I liked the story. But you may be surprised to know that Dr. Zerubavel is the author of “The Seven-Day Circle: The History and Meaning of the Week.” Which must be RIVETING. (Oh, God, actually? It probably is.)
MediaTom: Jodi’s Dr. Zerubavel (whom I nearly just abbreviated to “Dr. Z,” which would have been a gross insult to the world’s greatest football writer, Paul “Dr. Z” Zimmerman)–then goes on to point out that “it wasn’t until 15 years after the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. that his birthday became a holiday.” Which would be a very clear precedent for future Sept. 11 commemorations–if we were CELEBRATING THE DAY DR. KING GOT SHOT.
TheTransom: Well, there’s the answer! We should celebrate the birthday of the World Trade Center!
MediaTom: Exactly! Thank heavens we have degreed academic experts to explain to us how our society works.
TheTransom: April 4, by the way. 1973. The World Trade Center ribbon-cutting ceremony.
MediaTom: Wait . . . that’s the date King got shot. April 4.
The Transom: AGH
MediaTom: Now I am very disturbed.
TheTransom: Eeek. 1968. You’re right.
MediaTom: Yes! But, you should join the Way We live Now staff! Man, they’re like the Navy SEALs. A quick, mobile strike force. Ready to write a piece anywhere in the Times!
TheTransom: Do they get to walk into people’s offices and commando the front page of sections? I hope so. Do I get to do that too?
MediaTom: Don’t you?
TheTransom: I dunno! I’ve never tried! Hold on, I’m going to march into the managing editor’s office and seize some column inches. AHOY! THIS IS THE WAY WE LIVE NOW, BITCH! In fact, I’m anointing myself as the entire Way We Live Now elite cadre of the New York Observer. I’m going to get some olive-drab outfits! And a small handgun!
MediaTom: Jumpsuits. Must have jumpsuits.
TheTransom: Watch out, motherfucker. I’ll seize your column, too.
MediaTom: Be careful what you wish for.
TheTransom: Why? Was Jodi Kantor careful what she wished for? Was Alex Kuzcrciplsky? WAS ANNA WINTOUR CAREFUL WHAT SHE WISHED FOR?
MediaTom: Jodi tells us that at the U.S. Open on Sept. 11, “before the men’s tennis final James Taylor will sing ‘America the Beautiful.’”
TheTransom: See? THAT’S THE WAY WE LIVE NOW!
MediaTom: Can I ask you something? Who hasn’t seen (1) fire and (2) rain?
TheTransom: Well, until this winter, my 10-year-old cat had never seen fire. And only rain through a window. So maybe the song is about HOW CATS LIVE NOW.
MediaTom: James Taylor: more profoundly experienced than a cat.