Awesome. Jeremy Lott has given in to my pathetic arm-twisting and passed me the Caesar’s Bath meme.
Behold, the Caesar’s Bath meme! List five things that people in your circle of friends or peer group are wild about, but you can’t really understand the fuss over. To use the words of Caesar (from History of the World Part I), “Nice. Nice. Not thrilling . . . but nice.”
I’ve noticed some people accidentally writing about things which flat-out suck, and that’s probably easier but not as fun. I’m going to try and stick to things that most of my friends have opinions on, too.
1.)24. I have watched the entire first season of this show, and episodes from all the other seasons, and … meh. It’s certainly better-written and cast than your average action series, but it’s still a damn action series. And in order to meet its weekly adreneline quota, it jerks the characters around to a level that’s just plain annoying. One kidnapping I can understand … one “I’ll trade my life if you let so-and-so go” is good. Not several of each in a 24-hour period.
2.)Chicago. I chose my alma mater (Northwestern) blind, partly because of the assurances that I’d be close to a “world-class” city. And that may be right. After all, Brussels is a world-class city. It’s also boring. The same can be said of Chicago. I think it’s cumbersome and hard to get around in – the city is longer than it is wide, and cool neighborhoods are absurdly hard to reach from the suburbs. If you’re trying to reach something west of the Chicago river, you travel all the way downtown and transfer to a train that takes you back north. If you’re trying to reach Hyde Park, you take the red line all the way through the city, then hop on another train altogether. Mind you, this is mostly a problem for college kids living in the northern suburbs. But while I wouldn’t turn down a chartered limo taking me to key music stores, the city’s still sprawling and mostly dull, unless you’re a business consultant who wants to pick up other business consultants in Wrigleyville. And did I say it’s cold? It’s cold.
3.)Rock concerts. You’d figure I’d love going to concerts, since I spend all of my surplus cash on music and now have around, oh, 2800 CDs. But the rigamarole of a live concert is just unbearable. Admit it. Do you enjoy running ahead of your fellow fans to elbow up to the stage? If you’re alone, do you enjoy drumming your fingers on said stage for 2 hours until the opening act comes on? If you’re with friends, do you enjoy SHOUTING AT THE TOP OF YOUR VOICE to keep some kind of conversation going? Do you enjoy silently, cooly scheming to grab the set list as a dozen other hipsters hatch their own plots beside you? Pretty often a concert will be kickass enough to make you forget this stuff, but for me the huge waiting period before a concert is enough to scare me away from most shows I could see. “But Dave,” you may ask. “Aren’t you just bitter that your girlfriend broke up with you after a concert?” Maybe that’s part of it.
4.)Instapundit. Actually, I reckon most people in my “circle of friends or peer group” are pretty split on Instapundit, and few would argue that he’s totally awesome. But few would argue, as I do, that he’s gotten plain mediocre. It was bound to happen – when blogs were new and the world was green, Glenn Reynolds had plenty of time to scan the small blog universe and post everything he found interesting. But the blog world has expanded, and blog hype has expanded expontentially, giving Reynolds lots of distractions and some obvious sense of triumphalism. The site has ceased to be a go-to blog aggregator. Now, it’s the journal of a center-right law professor with some famous friends (Hugh Hewitt, Mickey Kaus, James Lileks). This isn’t bad – it’s just not very compelling, and nowhere good enough for the level of popularity and cred that Reynolds continues to enjoy.
5.)The Washington Monthly. There seems to be this consensus that the WaMo “came to life” in the last few years, and it’s heads and tails above other liberal magazines. Yes and no. It did get more interesting around 2001-2003, but it seems to have taken a turn for the boring since Joshua Green left, with too few breaking stories and too many analyses of well-trod topics. I couldn’t find anything much of interest in the last issue with the Lindsey Graham cover and, remember the “Bring back the draft!” cover package? Yeah, I thought so. As liberal magazines go, it’s not even one of the three best – I’d say The Nation is actually the most entertaining these days, followed by the American Prospect, and then TNR, whose interminable “LIBERALS SUCK GRAHH” editorials are cancelled out by the terrific reporting and reviews. TNR and The Nation seem to take a lot more flak than the Monthly, and I don’t think that’s fair right now.
I pass the baton to John Tabin, Ellen Shapiro, and Shawn Macomber.