As a public service, The Transom presents its weekly (okay, whatever, semi-monthly) Thursday IM chat with Tom Scocca, the New York Observer’s Off The Record columnist, on the subject of the New York Times’ new Thursday Styles section.
MediaMob: Before we begin with this week’s session, we need to revisit our last edition. I have been rebuked for calling Renee Zellweger a “sow.”
TheTransom: Well, your rebuker does have a point… She’s not really a sow.
TheTransom: Who rebuked you thusly?
MediaMob: I was rebuked, OK? Let’s leave it at that.
TheTransom: Heh. Wife got pissy, eh?
TheTransom: Phew. Do you wish to apologize/
MediaMob: I wish to set the record straight.
MediaMob: When I referred to Renee Zellweger as a “sow,” I was talking about the cases where she moonlights as a fashion model.
TheTransom: Ah. You’re talking about a context, in which she compares sowly.
MediaMob: It was in the same spirit in which I used to refer to Philadelphia Eagles defensive lineman Mike Mamula, listed at 252 pounds, as a puny little shrimp.
TheTransom: Right, except in the inverse, in this case. Err, obverse?
TheTransom: Concave, convex. I am high. Stalagmite. Stalactite.
MediaMob: A fashion model is basically an ambulatory clothes hanger–an unnatural human body type–and Ms. Zellweger, being of more natural proportions, is unsuited for the role.
MediaMob: Women and girls should not desire nor try to be thinner than Renee Zellweger; it is unhealthy.
TheTransom: Wow, some chick really beat you with a copy of “Our Bodies, Our Selves.”
MediaMob: There is nothing about Renee Zellweger’s figure that disqualifies her from her regular chosen job of being the lead actress in romantic comedy movies, the object of healthy male desire.
MediaMob: No, in that context, the problem is all about her piggy little eyes.
TheTransom: Ugh, I KNOW. She looks like a character from Charlotte’s Web.
MediaMob: Not cute.
MediaMob: Anyway, now that we have steered our impressionable female readers away from gender-based body-image disorders–what is Thursday Styles trying to do to men?
MediaMob: Laser beard-line treatment?
TheTransom: My three favorite sentences in the whole section are in Peter Jaret’s laser surgery beard story.
MediaMob: “The truth is, most men who sport sexy, two-day growths end up spending more, not less, time in front of the mirror.”
MediaMob: Admittedly, the word “sexy” makes the whole subject group sort of hard to define.
TheTransom: Right. Speaking as someone who hasn’t shaved in three weeks? Yes.
MediaMob: All too often, I can be seen sporting a two-day growth, which in my case is achieved by not shaving for four to 10 days.
TheTransom: I noticed that in the editorial meeting today. I thought perhaps someone had rubbed a lint trap over your chin. Then I realized you’d hit blonde puberty finally.
TheTransom: But let me say this about this article: “But my beard hair was growing into my chest hair, and I’m really not into that,” says one of their posterboy subjects.
TheTransom: The question: how can he manage to articulate all that with a cock in his mouth?
TheTransom: Because this is the *single faggiest thing* I have ever read. And I’m reading a book called “Tearoom Trade” right now.
MediaMob: Ditto, and I’ve read RuPaul’s autobiography.
TheTransom: My other fave sentence: “And believe me, the last thing you want to do is get blood all over a $250 Ermenegildo Zegna shirt.”
TheTransom: God, how many times a day do you and I say THAT?
MediaMob: Burn off your beard with a laser . . . or SHAVE BEFORE PUTTING ON YOUR SHIRT?
TheTransom: Hmmm… the modern problems are so tricky!!
MediaMob: I actually would very much like to get blood all over a $250 Ermeneglido Zegna shirt.
TheTransom: Preferably in the store.
MediaMob: It’s doesn’t specify whose blood or whose shirt.
TheTransom: Quite so.
MediaMob: I also liked the part about how “because the laser is imprecise, the result can be patchy.”
MediaMob: The laser is imprecise?
MediaMob: Or does ol’ Doc Beard-Burner have the shakes again?
MediaMob: I mean, can I try that in traffic court?
TheTransom: Right, and a patchy result would seem to obviate the whole theory of getting laser surgery to undo patchiness, no?
MediaMob: According to the New York Times, the laser is imprecise, your honor!
MediaMob: And the two guys in the pictures . . .
TheTransom: It’s too mean. I can’t even talk about them.
TheTransom: I actually sort of admire their bravery.
MediaMob: Let’s just say that they give the impression that ALL their manly attributes have been delicately trimmed down with advanced laser technology.
MediaMob: And speaking of people uncomfortable with their natural developmental status . . . spelling bees for Billyburg?
TheTransom: I won’t read that story and you can NOT, CAN NOT, MAKE ME.
MediaMob: What’s next, FINGER-PAINTING?
TheTransom: Well, the end of adolescence in New York City for the average man is, as we well know, 34.
MediaMob: Or 50, in Brooklyn.
TheTransom: I was in a spelling bee a few years ago. With Jonathan Ames, in fact.
TheTransom: I was illegally disqualified, because my variant spelling was in the OED, and the judge wouldn’t admit it.
TheTransom: I’m still mad.
TheTransom: I don’t really have a point to this story, except that I’m really out of it today and also I’m not 34 yet.
MediaMob: This is why I live in Queens.
TheTransom: I thought you lived in Queens because you are poor.
MediaMob: Funny how those things all go together.
TheTransom: Choices: Some of them are.
MediaMob: Like the choice for a man to wear $750 pointy-toed shoes.
TheTransom: Is that a choice? I suppose it depends on what kind of gigolo you are.
MediaMob: “Sensible? No. Supercool? Yes.”
MediaMob: The New York Times: All the News That’s Supercool.
TheTransom: You know, the pointy shoe is “not a shoe that people find by happenstance,” which is an excellent point.
TheTransom: It’s a shoe you find because you’re an absolute retard.
MediaMob: “[T]heir appeal is both tasteless and timeless–and now timely.”
TheTransom: Except for all the people that they called who wouldn’t sign on to the pro-pointy shoe agenda.
MediaMob: Again, feeble and gutless.
MediaMob: Thank goodness for Alex Kuczynski.
MediaMob: She knows what she is.
MediaMob: And what she is this week is ANGRY AT THE HELP.
TheTransom: Oh, I thoroughly enjoyed Alex K. this week. I’m mad at the help too at Century 21! They’re BITCHES down there.
TheTransom: You’d think they worked, I dunno, across the street from a giant temple of death.
MediaMob: Well, now they’re gonna be FLOGGED for it.
TheTransom: I’m so on her side this week.
MediaMob: “I have spent the both the best and worst shopping days of the last year at Century 21, the celebrated discount department store at the lip of the basin where the World Trade Center once stood.”
TheTransom: Such a tricky, tricky sentence…
MediaMob: You know what was a REALLY bad shopping day at Century 21? FOUR YEARS AGO.
MediaMob: It’s a milder terror down there these days, now that Alex has bitched out the operations director at Century 21.
MediaMob: “The store, he said, has instituted a training program to ensure that employees react to customers in a friendly manner. He said that if they can’t treat customers with care and courtesy, he would resign from his job…”
MediaMob: It’s like Call for Action.
TheTransom: I can’t believe she’s getting people to offer to QUIT THEIR JOBS. 9/11 didn’t do it — but Alex K. can?
MediaMob: I like the word “basin.”
MediaMob: So tasteful and decorative.
TheTransom: It’s a sweet word. Reminiscent of birdbaths, and jacuzzi tubs.
MediaMob: And those designer sinks with no place to put the toothbrush.
TheTransom: How I adore those. I wish Thursday Styles would write about that.
MediaMob: Rick Marin might steal it for House & Home.
TheTransom: I started to read that section and realized that I couldn’t stretch myself today. Thursdays take emotional self-care.
MediaMob: Reading the beard-burning article pretty much was like reading Rick Marin.
TheTransom: Limp? Limpid?
MediaMob: “Your wife begins to question your sexuality–again.”
MediaMob: Whoops. Looks like we’ve wandered clear out of Thursday Styles.
TheTransom: It has a porous and surprising boundary.
TheTransom: Like many areas in Iraq.
MediaMob: Are we done?
TheTransom: What else can I say? I liked Guy Trebay, actually, though I preferred Rebecca Traister’s take in Salon on Kate Moss. And I’d also like to say this:
MediaMob: (It needs a good laser treatment around the edges.) Yes?
TheTransom: If Marc Jacobs wants to go touting his membership in a 12-step program, well, that’s really going to be fun for us twats in the press the next time he’s found with a needle on his arm and a monkey on his back. Fool.
MediaMob: Also, isn’t it Narcotics ANONYMOUS?
TheTransom: Well… yes. But it’s hard when, you know, you’re drug-addled to keep track of concepts. Easy to round up a marching band for your fashion show though!
MediaMob: “‘Do I smell Chanel?’ is backstage code for ‘Got coke?'”
TheTransom: I have to admit, I’ve never head of that. But? Everyone knows I’m a huge wet blanket backstage.
MediaMob: I thought it was code for “Who farted?”
TheTransom: Do model farts smell like No. 9?
MediaMob: I think they smell like Popsicles and Ex-Lax.
TheTransom: By the way, we got hate mail last time we did this!
TheTransom: Something like, “You’re right, I don’t know WHY you put this shit on the internet either!”
TheTransom: As if the internet were 1. Finite, and 2. Not already clogged with shit.