Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Style, or the lack thereof.

The blogosphere has already taken the Post's most recent exercise in vapidity out behind the shed and subjected it to a rather entertaining beating. But I couldn't let their most recent article about intern culture pass without comment. And I'm not going to let the fact that I could only get through the first few paragraphs before vomiting all over my laptop stop me.

First of all, no, I do not think that the Style section has gotten to the point where it needs to be blown up. And it's not just because I heart Amy Argetsinger. Indeed, I think the creeping shallowness ushered in by Laura Sessions Stepp (who did not write the most recent story, no doubt because she's off working on her four-part article series entitled "OMG Y'all! Have You HEARD About These Clubs That Have Beds Instead of Tables!? They Make My Yoni Tingle Just Thinking About Them!") works to the detriment of our Reliable Sourceresses, because their column, set against the idiot stories of Wingmen and the Cum Dump they aid and abet, comes off looking like Anna Karenina by comparison.

Personally, I think that the recent uptick in moronic Style section fare has mostly to do with the awarding of a Pulitzer to Robin Givhan. The second lesson Ana imparted to me over at Wonkette is that Givhan ALWAYS provided at least one story that snarked itself (the first lesson was that, yes, Nick Denton really would pay for a story a day about Butterstick). Since the Pulitzer started giving out awards for...vacuousness, I guess--what we've seen at Style are some reporters trying to take the inside track to the race to the bottom.

But enough ill-advised prepositions. The article--at least what I've read of it--features someone named Ryan Holte. Here's all you need to know about Ryan Holte. In fact, this is, for all intents and purpose, just about all you ever need to know about Ryan Holte, unless you are unfortunate enough to one day take out a restraining order on him or end up tangentially attached to his estate. He's an intern. At the time of the interview, he's standing inside Tortilla Coast. And he's in possession of a spreadsheet that purports to document all the area's happy hours.

Now, this spreadsheet has been around a long time. I've seen the spreadsheet. Ryan would be well-served to check the "Modified By" date. The last time I saw the spreadsheet, it was several jobs ago. A recent hire, newly moved to the area, was showing it to me at work, as if it were something that should impress me.

But it did not impress me, because I had learned by then that this spreadsheet was a talisman indicating the presence of a jagoff, and I had learned already that this coworker of mine was a jagoff. He was from third-rate dump town with a BA in Business Administration from some middle of the pack university and he thought the funniest thing in the world were sending out the same old email forwards that have threatened to cripple this series of tubes called the internet since Al Gore invented it. I remember he had this signature at the end of his emails that read "Killin' it as usual in the 202!"

But, like Mr. Holte, my coworker was not, in fact, "killin' it." Far from it. He was mainly doing the absolute drudgery of office work. Filing grant applications, routine data entry, counting out various amounts of rubberbands and staples and placing them in ziplock bags (don't ask--I wasn't killin' it either back then, though I was at least the guy who said what amount of rubberband went in the bag). He was a jagoff with a forty-minute commute, living with two other jagoffs in a forgettable Ballston highrise with a dishwasher and a balcony, and that spreadsheet was not some sort of ticket to ride--it was a survival mechanism. It was the enforcement of an illusion that's so important for jagoffs--the illusion that they had a life with value. That spreadsheet codifies the jagoff existence, gives it the only weight or substance it shall ever have. It guides the young jagoff through the maturation process into a full-fledged collar-poppin' daddy. What happens after that, no one knows about or cares.

At the same time, the depths can be plumbed to a level still lower and more shameful. That's
where Ryan Holte is right now. I mean, first, consider this. Could you imagine having a list of seventy-five bars and STILL ending up at Torilla Coast? Could you imagine having a list of five bars and STILL ending up there?

But, my good sweet god. This asshat has got the spreadsheet uploaded onto his fucking Treo. HIS FUCKING TREO!

My mind sputters and whirrs and gurgles trying to bend itself into something suitably farfalle-like to even begin to comprehend what sort of loser I'd have to be to even bring myself to put the stupid thing on a Treo and go around whipping it out. I mean, checking up on it while you are at a bar already? Telling the reporter that it's "where you need to start?"

Had I been there, with a hypodermic needle of powerful truth serum, I would have reared back and plunged that bad boy deep into his heart, Pulp Fiction-steez. And he would have inhaled, sharply. His eyes would flutter and he'd become briefly disoriented. But then the truth serum would jack itself into his bloodstream. He'd get calm. He'd get quiet. And he'd look up at me and say, "My God. At this very minute, there are people the same age as me...even younger...getting cut to ribbons in Iraq. And here I am with a three hundred dollar piece of equipment that I am using to keep track of two-dollar shots and cheap hot wings. And for what? So I can get my twenty seconds of face time with some dickhead Congressman who could give a rats ass if I live or die? My God, I understand now. I am, quite simply, the single most frivolous person on the face of the earth."

And I'd take him in my arms, comfort his shivering body, and whisper to him, gently, "There, there, Ryan. That's not true. You're nowhere near as frivolous as this reporter."


Jodasm said...

I'm totally going to vote for this as the year's "Best Blog Post" in the 2007 Washington Post sponsored Best Bets competition.

Rusty said...

I wish this junk were in the Style section. It was in the Metro section. Meaning that someone had the audacity to place this ridiculousness in the same section as the local crime and obits.

The Deceiver said...

Holy crap. I did not even notice.