Lisa Schwarzbaum, Let's Call It EvenIn her March 15, 1996 review of David Foster Wallace's just-released Infinite Jest in EW, Lisa Schwarzbaum despaired of ever being able to finish the book; it is unclear from her "review" if she ever did, but that did not prevent her from "reviewing" it. She noted its length, its weight, its cumbersome bulk ... hers is a very thorough review of book-as-physical-object. But as a review of book-as-medium-of-transmission-of-plot-characters-and-ideas?
Yeah, not so great. I was always kinda puzzled that the powers-that-be at Entertainment Weekly allowed someone who evidently didn't finish a book (or, if she did, did not, by her own admission, understand much of it — perhaps not any of it) to review it, nonetheless. I don't think it hurt the sales of IJ, because its reputation as being borderline-unreadable was part of its cachet.
But I can no longer judge Ms. Schwarzbaum; because in the current EW, she begins her review of the Steve Carell/Tina Fey movie Date Night thus (emphasis added):
In their respective hit television series The Office and 30 Rock, Steve Carell and Tina Fey play neurotic characters who are amusingly single — his Michael Scott and her Liz Lemon are, in their distinctive ways, pathologically bad relationship material in a world built for couples. Yet the appeal of both gifted comics is rooted in emotional maturity. Carell and Fey (each married in private life, each a parent) project an intellectual sharpness and an understanding of what's important in life — and what's ridiculous — that are the hallmarks of endearingly sane adults ...Reader, I confess that, after reading that gross mischaracterization of Carell, Fey and both of their shows, I ... I ... could not finish this movie review! One wonders if Ms. Schwarzbaum has ever seen either The Office or 30 Rock in her life.
Entertainment Weekly is normally about 60 or 70 pages long; the magazine is bendable and doesn't weigh too much (a couple of ounces, tops) and so is readable on long commutes to work on the train or subway as well as in the bathtub or (to put it as genteelly as possible) while sitting atop other bathroom "furniture". Others have told me that Lisa Schwarzbaum can, at times, be a very insightful movie reviewer. But I cannot review her review of Date Night because I could not finish it after that monumentally wrong-headed opening paragraph. And so I have instead reviewed the physical characteristics of the magazine the review appears in. Reader, I hope you find this helpful in your decision as to whether or not to subscribe to Entertainment Weekly.
Sadly, I, unlike Ms. Schwarzbaum, have received no payment for my
I was watching a DVR'd episode The Colbert Report the other day and saw the following (you'll have to watch an ad first — sorry, not my choice):
|The Colbert Report||Mon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c|
|Science Catfight - Joe Bastardi vs. Brenda Ekwurzel|
I thought parts of this bit were pretty funny but, at the end of it, I ended up being more than a little angry with the Union of Concerned Scientists for sending such a blatantly incompetent representative of the scientific view. I actually contribute to the UoCS because I generally like the work they do fighting the inroads of the anti-science obscurantists, but this Brenda Ekwurzel was incredibly inept in her arguments. Most of her arguments boiled down to "we scientists all agree that ..." — a blatant appeal-to-authority fallacy. Nobody cares that you agree on something when the question being posed is why do you believe that. I realize that global warming deniers are not going to be convinced by facts that the science of global warming is valid any more than teabaggers are going to be convinced by the fact of the Hawaiian birth certificate that Obama is a native American, but this Ekwurzel managed to have her behind handed to her by Steroid Joe the Weatherman. She managed not to make even one convincing point in a debate where she had the distinct advantage of having scientific truth on her side.
It's hard to believe that the Union of Concerned Scientists couldn't find a better spokesperson than Ekwurzel. She had a chance to make a good case and she just utterly failed.
It's a beautiful Spring day here in Joisey and so I have plotted out a 10.04-miler which I intend to run as soon as Teh 'B. gets back from her yoga class.
UPDATED 12:11 p.m.: Actual run: 10.49 miles in 1:36:25 for a 9:11 pace according to MapMyRun. I'll take that without complaint.