• From the Department of Bad Ideas: Gawker has created a Privilege Tournament in the form of an NCAA–style bracket. "Privilege has its benefits," writes creator Hamilton Nolan, "but the lack of privilege confers that sweet, sweet moral superiority." Keep it classy, Gawker. [Feministing]
• From the department of extra-bad ideas: Author and University of Toronto professor David Gilmour caused a continental stir yesterday when an interview revealed this quote: "I'm not interested in teaching books by women." He went on to say, "What I teach is guys. Serious heterosexual guys. F. Scott Fitzgerald, Chekhov, Tolstoy. Real guy-guys. Henry Miller. Philip Roth." Roxane Gay addresses his shortsightedness with a reading list and some pointed responses. [Salon]
• Cloudy with a chance of bigots: Guido Barilla, CEO of pasta giant Barilla, declared that the brand would never advertise with images of gay families, saying "I think the family we speak to is a classic family." He walked back his remarks a bit once news of the statement sparked a Barilla boycott, but the damage seems to be done. Good news for Ronzoni! [The Guardian]
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Because I live in Brooklyn and I like books, it's been hard to escape the name Jonathan Ames, but I haven't, admittedly, read him. His popularity among a certain set of people has triggered the contrarian in me and I gracefully skirt his work in bookstores and magazines alike. You see, Ames is the kind of person who, the Village Voice tells me, does delightfully irreverent New York things like attend charity events of which he can say, "It's to raise money for Chihuahuas." He names his protagonists after himself. If you've caught my drift, this is the kind of writer who I worry is so well-regarded because he represents a certain kind of trendy New York existence in which everyone nurtures a delightful hip Zooey-Deschanel-esque quirk so that they may safely inhabit a world without regard to responsibility or the dreary business of doing things that are true or meaningful. Or, um, wage-earning.
Someday I shall have to test this prejudice of mine out by reading his books, obviously. For now, HBO has obliged me in delivering a version of Jonathan Ames (penned by Jonathan Ames and called, of course, Jonathan Ames) in thirty-minute morsels (called Bored to Death) to confirm my prejudices. While I've only watched the one episode - which aired last night on HBO but which you can get from OnDemand or, I believe, as a free podcast on iTunes - thus far it has done nothing to alleviate my concern.