Archive for January, 2011

The Drawing Board: Sarah Palin

What is everybody’s problem with this lady? I’m not saying I like her, but she’s kinda hot so I definitely don’t hate her. I mean, hey, if she’s been living in Alaska, no wonder we have global warming because she is hot! (Hot things raise the ambient temperature, which is symptomatic of global warming, if you follow me.) Now all you girls reading this, don’t give me that “Oh my God, ew, Sarah Palin is not hot!” First of all, I said kinda hot. Second of all, relative to her position in life, yes, Sarah Palin is quite hot and probably hotter than you’ll be at that age. Do you really want to take that wager? Because I will follow through on it and call you out in front of your FIVE kids. Okay then, shut up about me calling her “kinda hot”.*

*This point is purely academic as there are no girls who read this column. Continue reading

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This Day in Revisionist History

January 19:

“Wait, are you telling me you actually sent that? For God’s sake, woman—it was a joke!” – a hysterical Arthur Zimmermann to his secretary Gretchen, after learning that she had just sent a real telegram on its way to Mexico proposing an allied attack on the United States at the height of World War I.

Gretchen Ziegler certainly was a sweetheart. Whatever else may have been uttered about her in the years that would follow that historic morning, she really was an absolute peach. In an attempt to contribute to the war effort, the shapely university student worked part-time for Foreign Secretary of the German Empire Arthur Zimmermann, who was a friend of her father. It was widely agreed that her charming demeanor, calm blue eyes, and silky voice made her especially suited to sit at the desk of so busy and esteemed a man as Zimmermann. And indeed, naïve though she was, Gretchen was not without intelligence, having earned excellent marks in school. Thus it came almost as a complete surprise when, on the morning of January 19, she committed a grave error that would severely alter the course of modern history.

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Got a Secret? About Pretty Little Liars’ “Know Your Frenemies”

Before we dive into another terrific episode of Pretty Little Liars—the best, I think, of Season One, Part Two—we have to address something upfront.

Hanna Marin is apparently the teenage girl equivalent of Logan Howlett, a.k.a. Wolverine, with her truly miraculous recovery from her broken leg. Last we saw Hanna, she was struggling to navigate her way around her own house in a wheelchair while doped up on pain medication. This week, she’s out and about as if everything—spleen, leg, bruised ribs—are just fine and dandy.

Now, clearly some time has passed: Ian and Melissa are back from their honeymoon, Emily’s dad has left for Fort Hood again. But broken legs aren’t dislocated fingers; they don’t heal within a few days. We’re talking—and I did tons of research on this by asking one other person—a minimum of two to three weeks of casting on the broken leg and doubtless some lingering effects even after the cast comes off. WebMD says 6-8 weeks recovery time overall.* Six to eight weeks can’t possibly have passed since Camp Mona; two weeks seems too long a period of time to have passed (unless that was a fairly long honeymoon AND Noel’s blackmail of Mr. Fitz was really drawn-out and commenced toward the beginning of a traditional high school marking period).

*It also says that symptoms of a broken leg include “severe pain.” Thanks, WebMD!

All this is to say, Ashley Benson should have sucked it up and kept the cast on longer.

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Monday Medley

What we read while eating a goddamn snack on Revis Island:

The Drawing Board: UFOs

Let me set the scene for you: It’s a clear, balmy night in the small town of Roswell, N.M., and the stars are shining as brightly and crisply as I’ve ever seen them—and no, it’s not the first time I’ve ever looked. I’ve made the decision to spend the night here as I make my way to Phoenix. As of this moment, it’s been an ordinary night quite like any other, only for some reason I feel like it’s not taking as long for me to sober up, and I’m not happy about it.

A screaming comes across the sky.

As is always the case when I travel, I’ve got my copy of Gravity’s Rainbow, and I’ve cracked it open for a little reading before bedtime. Strange as it may sound, I’ve never made it past that first sentence, usually due to drunkenness, but as I’ve said, I’m not feeling so drunk tonight. And again I will fail to read on, for as I make my way toward that elusive second sentence I’m suddenly interrupted. An eerie light floods the clouded window pane of the cheap motel room I booked on expedia.com. The light draws closer, and I tremble as the rational part of me recedes as quickly as what little shadow persists beneath the window sill. Continue reading

In Defense of Duke

As we at NPI have previously hinted, we have all emanated from that majestic and triumphant institution of higher learning, Duke University. In fact, it is fair to say that, without Duke, this blog would not exist. Other gifts to humanity that Duke has bestowed include basketball extraordinaire Jason Williams, former Heroes star Jack Coleman, novelist Reynolds Price, journalist Charlie Rose, and former NFL star Sonny Jurgensen. That’s not a bad list, and it’s by no means everybody.

Of course, Tim, Josh, and I would not say that Duke is perfect. For one, we’re not the kind of people that love institutions unconditionally. It’s pretty obvious that every university has its flaws. In fact, we probably wouldn’t object if you said that Duke has more flaws than your average elite institution.

But when someone who writes for a prominent magazine—like, I don’t know, let’s say The Atlantic—writes an unjustified hatchet-job that is illogical, mean-spirited, and not supported by any hard evidence…well, that really grinds our gears. See, hating Duke has been trendy for about two decades now (it probably started when Christian Laettner stepped on Aminu Timberlake). There are a lot of reasons for this that I won’t bother going into here, but suffice it to say that sometime around 2006, when three members of the Duke lacrosse team were accused of rape,* members of the non-sports media realized they could churn out “polarizing” columns by regurgitating the same accusations of racism and elitism that had been levied against the basketball team for 15 years. Continue reading

Got a Secret? About Monday Night’s “Pretty Little Liars”

“I couldn’t forgive him or like him but I saw that what he had done was, to him, entirely justified. It was all very careless and confused. They were careless people, Tom and Daisy—they smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness or whatever it was that kept them together, and let other people clean up the mess they had made….”

Pretty Little Liars had been a bit light on the intertextuality over the last few episodes, but it came back big-time in “Salt Meets Wounds,” or as I will forever know it as, The Gatsby Episode.

PLL, of course, executed its Gatsby theme with subtlety and class. Its thesis statement—Nick Carraway’s concluding analysis of the Buchanans reproduced on Mr. Fitz’s chalkboard and in the epigraph—wasn’t revealed until a quarter of the episode was through, and it was largely obscured by Ezra’s head:

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