An irregular feature—posted tardily because, you know, one sometimes must commit actual work—presented as a public service by The Transom, in which Off The Record columnist Tom Scocca explicates the Thursday Style section of the New York Times.
The Media Mob: Know what yesterday was?
The Daily Transom: The day the last of my important brain cells died, right here in my office? Sort of apropos: today our fantabulous receptionist presented the theory to me that the older a man gets, the more his brain dies, solely because of his cumulative lifetime total of erections. You see?
The Media Mob: Yes! Also, apparently there is a new trend: women are buying expensive pocketbooks.
The Daily Transom: Oh god. I didn’t even read Thursday Styles.
The Media Mob: “‘How did this happen?’ Nina Collins asked as she settled down to a lunch of miso soup and salad in downtown Manhattan. ‘When did we get to this place where we spend $1,000 on a bag?'”
The Media Mob: And how did we get to this place where the non-revelatory lunch-menu celebrity profile “scene” lead is now used to open a piece that is not a profile and does not deal with a celebrity?
The Daily Transom: You’re going to make me read this aren’t you? You’re a horrible awful man. Also, for the record, Nina Collins is totally, utterly fabulous. The woman lives large. And I’m not just saying that because she’s my agents’ boss.
The Media Mob: Well ain’t you the Peach Festival Queen.
The Daily Transom: But, all my disclosable ties aside—and here let me reiterate my deep, luscious, and not at all fulsome appreciation of Ms. Collins—your point is well taken. This miso soup? It is filled with red herring.
The Media Mob: Like, where else are they going to start doing the celebrity-style lunch lead?
The Daily Transom: Baghdad, I hope.
The Media Mob: “It’s tough when you let a team like the Angels hang around,” Joe Torre said, picking at a plate of chicken fingers and a cup of chili from the clubhouse buffet table after seeing the Yankees slip into a 1-1 tie in the American League Divisional Series.
The Media Mob: “The boat looked completely normal, and all of a sudden it was upside-down in the water,” said Gladys DuBois, 75, nibbling on a cheese danish and sipping Maxwell House from a styrofoam cup as she stood on the shore of Lake George, wrapped in an emergency blanket.
The Daily Transom: Or the logical progression: “Oh, it’s the hardest choice in a woman’s life,” said the actress Shirley Maclaine. The New Age visionary and comeback queen let her fingers trace the stiff tablecloth at The Ivy. Meanwhile, across town, Dolores Mierda was preparing for her first abortion.
The Daily Transom: I blame Capote.
The Media Mob: The man or the movie?
The Daily Transom: Well, I’m not sure anyone but me saw that movie…
The Media Mob: How was it?
The Daily Transom: Essentially, it made being a nonfiction writer something comparable to, oh, being a shipper of empty eBay packages, or perhaps a grifter, or a White House employee.
The Media Mob: So it’s a documentary. Speaking of Truman Capote, Guy Trebay is unhappy that models look like Kate Moss.
The Daily Transom: But Russians are the new Canadians who are the new Belgians who are the new Brazilians!
The Media Mob: Where was mean, stomping Carmen Kass from?
The Daily Transom: Carmen Kass, the chess-playing Estonian?? Who went from being Miss Paide to being Miss Jrvamma??
The Media Mob: I thought maybe she was Brazilian, because her last name sounds German. Where’s Karolina Kurkova from?
The Daily Transom: Oh I’m sure she’s Czech. She’s my people.
The Media Mob: We strolled past her on Broadway a couple of weeks ago. She was saying “Ciao!” into her cell phone. Much better model sighting than that time we saw Giselle Bundchen down on Union Square with her bare, emaciated, lumpy skeleton back and her distinctly unerotic buttcrack showing. Weren’t we reading a newspaper or something?
The Daily Transom: I miss Linda Evangelista. So does Gay Trebuy, to his credit.
The Media Mob: Yes. Her “haughty demanding beauty.” As she stalked the runways with twitching human arteries dangling from the corner of her broad, elegant mouth.
The Media Mob: Meanwhile, the “Online Shopper” column spent 30-odd words EXPLAINING WHAT CRAIGSLIST–sorry, “Craigslist dot org”–is? “Craigslist.org, an online bulletin board where local buyers and sellers meet in communities–from Beijing to Boise–all around the world, listed 117,977 items for sale in the San Francisco area, where I live, with 20 described as phonographs and 155 described as record players, including . . . ” So that means that 117,802 of those items have NOTHING TO DO WITH YOUR PIECE.
The Media Mob: “I turned on my modem–short for ‘modulator / demodulator,’ a piece of equipment which allows one computer to communicate with other computers–and proceeded to ‘log on’ to a network of computers all over the globe, which is fittingly referred to as the ‘World Wide Web.'”
The Daily Transom: Also? I don’t have any joke for this, but really, really, this piece has THE WORST KICKER EVER. Her daughter didn’t know record players had needles. SO SHE OF COURSE ALSO DOES NOT KNOW WHAT A 78 RPM RECORD IS. THE END.
The Media Mob: My old housemate used to have a 78 of calypso by The Charmer. Before the Charmer decided his name should be Louis Farrakhan. I read profiles of Colin Powell sometimes, about how he was such a deeply dedicated calypso fan in his youth, and I picture him going off to see the Charmer.
The Daily Transom: Well, ta da! You’re in luck: The Charmer sound files.
[Calypso plays throughout the office.]
The Media Mob: So now Alex K., that critical shopper, is venturing to New Jersey. “I tossed a scarf around my neck and thought, ‘Hmm, not as soft as that Hermès cashmere scarf someone left in my apartment a few years ago and that I neglected to return.’ (You know who you are, and you still have my Burberry umbrella, so there.)”
The Media Mob: Seems like Alex K. is maybe trying to get her Joyce Wadler on.
The Media Mob: Nobody beats Auntie Joyce, as she demonstrated oh-so-well this week, in that piece buried at the back of House & Home, AKA the “Wait, I Thought WE Were Thursday Styles” section.
The Daily Transom: Oh, were we still talking? I was outside smoking. Much as Auntie Joyce probably is. That piece was totally amazing, no matter how nuts she is.
The Media Mob: No wonder they dumped her in the back of the paper. She’ll always be a boldface name in our book. Like this: Joyce Wadler.
The Daily Transom: Not that we’d ever want God’s gift, Campbell Robertson, to leave that post. Especially after today’s absolute evisceration of Tim Robbins. Anyway. Jesus. Are we done?
The Media Mob: –30–