Category Archives: Grotesqueries

Matt Lauer

I always wondered when an erudite commentator would write a fine article about the illiteral rise and shine of the morning shows. It’s happened in last week’s (or was it two weeks now) issue of The New Republic.
I can’t recommend this piece highly enough. In it, Lee Siegel brilliantly and so cogently deconstructs the awkward ties between the emotional and monetary oddities that play out on shows like The Today Show, where Matt Lauer’s thin hair is a point of dishonest shamefulness (unlike my own) and Katie starts to look a bit like a stuffed animal. Siegel makes the point that, as the morning shows have eclipsed all other “news” programs on television, the strained and self-conscious faces of the commentators have taken on a reality that everyone can bear, particularly in the morning. I’ve always thought that it was odd that these people are pretending to be like our jagged morning selves and because they’re tired and well-paid, they are. Just a few excerpts, which do so much more justice to the entire affair:
Diane Sawyer is the master of the endearing awkwardness, sometimes forgetting which way to walk on the soundstage. (She always remembers when to forget.) There is even a kind of daily duel between her and her office-husband, Charles Gibson, over who is a more flawed and ordinary human being.
Matt Lauer makes Sammy Glick look like Khalil Gibran. The new haircut, revealing the thinning hair, gives his anxious pushiness both justification and pathos. His facial expression is always one step ahead of his conversation. He is a man whose eyes have never been introduced to his tongue. If he is talking with someone who just lost a child, his expression indicates that he is thinking about his next guest, who just made a new movie.
and mostly:
Gide said that you cannot appear sincere and be sincere at the same time.

The Tiffany Mark

A number of years ago, I along with my many former OVEN Digital colleagues, worked on the Tiffany & Co. website. Tiffany was a good client and their jewelry really is as impressive as they want you to think it is. Today I received a massive marketing piece from TCO (as we used to call them) introducing The Tiffany Mark. It’s actually a book, filled with gorgeous photos of new watches that, yes, any man would buy if he had an unlimited flow of dollars. The book is carefully composed, as are all TCO collateral, and there are even Gray’s anatomy-like diagrams of the watch innards, complete with plastic overlays. The photographs are stunning, the text crisp and persuasive, and the heavy black binding would leave a bookbinder bound. The level of detail, and the fact that the book was published and sent prior to this “fall back” Daylight Savings weekend, is remarkable. What does it all mean? Nothing.

Sticker Shock

I noticed on a walk today a bumper sticker (on a car). This, in and of itself, is quite unusual as the bumper sticker has gone the way of fingerless gloves on young ladies. It seems that today the only folks that wear bumper stickers on their cars are ideologues who don’t mind getting stares and odd fingers pointing at them. Face it: it takes courage to have a bumper sticker. There’s nothing uglier, though, than a 1994 VW Jetta GLS sedan with rainbow stickers and an “I Love Clinton” bumper sticker. A few observations:
1. The “clean” aesthetic that we are all so fond of has essentially obliterated the possibility of the bumper sticker truly coming back. Cars these days just don’t have flat, black vinyl bumpers that look as if they need a decal of some sort or another.
2. On the other hand, I think a candidate for the upcoming elections should pioneer the peelable bumper sticker, which would temporarily be affixed to the car. This way, at the end of the election, you could say bye-bye to that red, white, and blue stripe and move on to other issues. In this way, too, bumper stickers might become slightly stylish again.
3. The bumper sticker I saw today read “God Bless America!!” I mistook the “!!” for “II,” thus thinking that we are now in America II, which maybe we now are what with no bumper stickers around and 9/11 being the new beginning of everything.


A series of random sites connected by thought:
It just seems that there is never enough time in the day. Ever feel that way? Of course. The laundry list gets longer, the laundry gets piled higher, and the list bears lists.
So what to do? Well, a lot of small companies have come up with software to help you keep track of notes, dates, passwords, and boyfriends names. Other folks tend to use tons of Post-It (R) notes. Still others like to put their Palm to use.
I do all of the above and still to no emotional avail, with my lists burgeoning, my Palm bloating, and my sticky paper billowing. And the truth is, I’m one of the most fortunate people sitting on the face of the earth.