Elizabeth Nolan Brown // Blog

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Archive for the ‘Asides’ Category

Talking Hula-Hoop Smack

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large_Hula-Hoop_1958a

I am So Doing This when I get to New York:

For all of you who have been intrigued but too lazy to try pilates, Jen Bleier has a word for you: Hoopilates.

Part pilates, part hula hooping, she married the two as a way “to get friends who aren’t avid exercisers to come out and play.”

I hope hula-hooping as exercise, dance party accoutrement or generally acceptable adult leisure activity catches on, because I rock at it. I challenge you (and by “you,” I mean ANYONE IN THE WORLD) to a hula-hoop longevity contest. Seriously. That’s how good I am.

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Written by Elizabeth

August 7, 2009 at 10:48 am

Posted in Asides, Self-Promotion

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Curio: Girls, Cakes, Bikes, Beards

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• Those Darlins released their first album yesterday! These girls are just so adorable you will want to drink lots of cheap beer with them somewhere stiflingly hot, where you are all wearing summer clothes & there are free pretzels on the table, and also to listen to their new album a whole lot (go on. give ’em a listen).

• My friend Katie made the most beautiful cake I have ever seen (in-progress pic above).

• I was searching for this New York Times article on women & biking that ran last week, but instead I found this:

• In case you are on the fence: 10 Very Good Reasons Why You Should Grow a Giant Beard

Written by Elizabeth

July 8, 2009 at 3:45 pm

Posted in Asides, Curio

Mustard Beer

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PIC-0210… is delcious. Last weekend, I tried Belgian-beer Wostyntie, a “mustard ale,” and you should, too. It’s kind of like drinking a really awesome stadium pretzel.

Written by Elizabeth

July 7, 2009 at 3:07 pm

Posted in Asides, The Best Things

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Hiatus

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I’m on hiatus from The Internet. Of sorts.

Hiatus from this blog, at least. I am working on:

1) Creative writing

2) Secret blogging ventures

Which means exciting or terrible things will be afoot soon.

P.S. I was also recently out of the country for two weeks. I promise heartwarming tales about Sicily and cold, scary tales about London will soon be told.

Written by Elizabeth

April 9, 2009 at 3:03 pm

Posted in Asides, Memo

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Fending off the dental hygienists …

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Singing in this nation is almost 100 percent volunteer. That’s what will happen to newspapers. In the future, a dental hygienist will take two days off, travel to Berkeley to interview the latest Nobel Prize winner, write an article, then return to her job. […]

[Former journalists] will get ordinary jobs: in bowling alleys, Wal-Marts, hat shops.

I’ve seen a lot of crackpot theories about the future of journalism, but this may be the silliest. Well, aside from the hat shop part. In the New Depression, I could see a lot of journalists picking up extra cash in the haberdasherial arts, sure.

[Fun fact about haberdashers from Wikipedia: I am using the word wrong. “A haberdasher is a person who sells small articles for sewing, such as buttons, ribbons and zippers. In U.S. English, haberdasher is another term for a men’s outfitter. Obsolete meanings of the term “haberdasher” refer to a “dealer in, or maker of, hats and caps.”]

Written by Elizabeth

February 9, 2009 at 10:18 pm

Curio: vanity & redemption

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“It’s clear that, besides the occasional small or large check, most writers—ourselves included—write out of vanity and compulsion. One believes in being a writer more, it seems, than in writing. What is it, again, you once had to say? And who, supposedly, wanted to hear it? Still, Bolano-like, you can’t conceive any redemption for you and your friends except through the production of masterpieces. Masterpieces, however, are always unlikely, and redemption impossible.”—from ‘the intellectual situation,’ n+1, issue 7

Written by Elizabeth

January 27, 2009 at 12:58 pm

Posted in Asides, Curio

New Blogs!

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My friend Rachel was recently laid off … and lived to blog about it:

Friday, January 16, 5:15 PM, conference room: I was laid-off. It happened. The news wasn’t lying about the economy. I’ve never been laid-off before. This was a new experience and I thought I’d spend the weekend letting the ones I care about know what was going on. Because of that, I thought I’d share what I appreciate but didn’t help:

1. Oh that sucks.
2. Really? I’m sorry.
3. F**k.

Go commiserate in ways that don’t echo the above.

Also, several of my favorite Y-chromosomed bloggers (E.D. Kain of Indiepundit, Freddie de Boer of L’Hote, Scott Payne of The Politics of Scrabble, and some others) have  started a new group blog, The League of Ordinary Gentleman.

The League of Ordinary Gentlemen is a group blog that hopes to bring a new style and sensibility to blogging. The contributing writers hail from various points along the political spectrum, but all hold a deep and abiding commitment to the exploration of ideas outside the foray of rhetorical and ideological cul de sacs. The entries are less posts than they are dialogues with an aim towards sustained discussion on topics and issues that lay at the foundations of our lives. This approach, we hope, will provide readers with a thoughtful and searching alternative analysis.

So far, gay marriage, post-post modernity, the good side of partisanship, and more!

Written by Elizabeth

January 26, 2009 at 10:55 pm

Posted in Asides, The Best Things

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10 Hail Mary’s and a Requirement to Pay Attention to the ‘Future of the Conservatism’ Debates My Friends Are Having on Twitter?

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So I seem to have caught a virulent strain of anti-intellectualism as of late. I haven’t finished a book in a month. The only blog posting I’ve done since the holidays has been on celebrity fashion, my holiday travels and pants. I haven’t picked up a newspaper in I don’t know how long. I skim the blog posts in my RSS feed that look too serious. Not that I’m generally an overly-serious or intellectual person, but I certainly do better than this. So I suppose this is my 10-years of Catholic schooling at work here—I feel the need to confess my sins in public. Suggestions for penance?

Written by Elizabeth

January 12, 2009 at 10:43 pm

Posted in Asides, Memo

Oh, no! …

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… One of my favorite DC local-stuff bloggers (okay, the only DC local-stuff blogger I read—but there’s a reason for that), Marissa at The Anti DC, was fired from her job for blogging. That still happens?

Written by Elizabeth

January 12, 2009 at 6:57 pm

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This Is What I Like About Helen

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She calls for committed hussies and committed smokers:

… smokers and their advocates should feel free to defend irrationality secure in the comfort that they’re in good company. After all, bohemians, daredevils, and international playboys don’t make sense either, and we love them for their anti-utilitarianism.

I’ve defended smoking as an affirmative good before, not because I want people to start smoking—addiction is like soul, you got it or you don’t—but because I think that a full-throated defense of smoking as an irrational but nonetheless legitimate decision is the only way to stop smoking bans in a non-libertarian country like America.

Written by Elizabeth

December 11, 2008 at 5:10 pm

Posted in Asides, Feminism, The Best Things

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Curio: What I am obsessed with at this very moment—

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—aside from drinking red wine in my very-comfortable parlor-esque living room and manically posting things on the Internet when I really should at this moment be doing more productive things:

Helen Dewitt—whose yet-unpublished novel, Your Name Here, is excerpted in the old n+1 I am also obsessed with right now and from which reading you will learn at least six letters in Arabic and fall down an evil spiral/rabbit hole of meta

Alyosha Het—who may or may not be a kid I briefly studied playwriting with circa 2003, who disappeared, and who regardless if he is or isn’t posts totally awesome elliott-smith/kinks-esque music-videos-esque things on MySpace

Written by Elizabeth

November 23, 2008 at 11:12 pm

Posted in Asides, Curio

‘If obscure books start raining down …’

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I just got around to beginning reading the Winter 2008 volume of n+1, which I picked up circa last February, promptly placed on my bookshelf, and ignored (it was just post-Christmas! I had so many new books to read!). I came back to it this week, as some combination of hearing about Megan O’Rourke, reading about Bellevue in NYMag, again trying to write fiction, and watching Gossip Girl this week has inspired this resurged interest in Reviews! and Lit Journals! with me (I subscribed to both Paris Review and n+1 last week). Anyway, anyway, an interesting bit from the “intellectual situation” section of winter 2008 n+1:

Canons in daily life, however, just demarcate the books you can count on other people feeling comfortable about in conversation. And these books are often capable of substitution—you don’t have to have read a particular one, if you know the rough feeling. You have read Kerouac. Unless you haven’t; in which case you can substitute Bukowski, Tom Robbins, or even Sylvia Plath. If someone else wants to read the newly republished complete original scroll of On the Road in hardcover, that’s really their problem, and it doesn’t affect your ability to talk—you served your time, you’re available for conversation. You’ve read The Great Gatsby, if you went through high school English. And you probably read Beloved, if you went through college in the last twenty-five years. If you’re in a book group, you’ve read The Kite Runner; or The Tipping Point; or Fast Food Nation. The point is, all of informal reading life works by points of safety which exist because of canons. All of these canons are pretty clear, if rarely discussed: the teen angst, high school English, college English, and short-term educational bestseller canons. There’s a “major prize” canon, too: if it won a Nobel, a National Book Award, or a Pulitzer, you put it on a mental list of books you either will read or talk about meaning to, een if you still can’t pronounce the author’s name, a decade after the Nobel went to Wislawa Szymborska.

These canons are like sturdy umbrellas you can hide under if obscure books start raining down.

Written by Elizabeth

November 23, 2008 at 10:53 pm

Posted in Asides, The Best Things

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Curio: Fabulous Posts I Have No Comment On

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• Ann Friedman: We eat brownies shaped like “traditional marriage.”

Megan McArdle: But whatever your feeling about government intervention in the economy, or the correct level of income inequality, I think there’s one thing we can all agree on: for the world to get better, things that don’t work have to fail.

• Kerry Howley on libertarianism and feminism again: We don’t call it “consciousness raising” when we explain why you ought to be able to shoot up while selling your kidney to a sex worker, but that’s what it is.

Written by Elizabeth

November 14, 2008 at 1:08 pm

Posted in Asides, Curio

Poor Conor

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If you think watching and reading about the debates is tedious at this point, imagine being compelled to try and still think of something interesting to say (in more than a 140-word tweet) about them. Which is why I like that Mr. Friedersdorf’s response at the C11 blog was this:

I’ve watched every debate since the primary season began. Should I perish at the age of 65 or 70 rather than 85 or 90, those attending my funeral may wonder whether youthful consumption of alcohol and cholesterol hastened my demise. Let them note that my early death is as likely due to binging on 2008’s political rhetoric.

It is turning my mind to mush.

Written by Elizabeth

October 16, 2008 at 6:10 pm

Posted in Asides, The Best Things

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New Goal in Life: Become ‘Great, Insane Lady’

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Early gossip-girl Liz Smith in NYMag:

“There are no Great Big People anymore,” says Smith. “Big business produced all the stars of the eighties and nineties, the two greed decades, when people like Donald became famous. And that Disney guy, Michael Eisner, and Michael Ovitz, to some extent. But there’s very little glamour. So maybe Jackie was one of the last. All of those kind of great insane ladies disappeared.”

And—oh!—there are so many fun quotes in this article I can’t resist another:

“The worst thing that ever happened was Bonnie Fuller telling us that stars are just like us,” says Smith. “Because if there was ever anything that we didn’t want, it was for our stars to be just like us. We are all fucked up and we never realized our potential for looks or happiness or … anything.” She longs for the days before we knew too much. “I really miss it, because, honey, there is nothing to write about! There’s a mania now for examining people’s potential to become pregnant. We have to read about when they become pregnant, when they begin to show, when the baby is born, and then they sell the pictures. I am so bored with that.”

Written by Elizabeth

October 13, 2008 at 10:05 pm

Men with cats will cook you dinner, bring you flowers, solve the economic crisis and kick ass at Wii football …

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Fun fact: You can't tell from this picture, but I used to live in a house with more cats than roommates.

This is one of the silliest articles I have ever read: More Men are Unabashedly Embracing Their Love of Cats

That is all.

Okay, not it’s not. I just read more of the article (it was so silly I had to stop half-way through and post this). Here is a sample two paragraphs:

Many women agree that guys with cats are extra special.

“They make the best boyfriends because they’re totally cool with staying home and watching a movie,” said Elizabeth Daza, 28, a video producer in Manhattan, who dated a cat-owning man for eight years. “Straight men with cats seem to be really secure and stable. They don’t need to be running around the park and proving their masculinity like the dog guys.”

Really, Elizabeth Daza, really? Men with dogs will never just stay home and watch a movie? I know we’re trying to dispel the crazy old spinster feminist cat lady image here, but I think this is just a little heavy-handed.

Written by Elizabeth

October 9, 2008 at 9:50 am

Posted in Asides, The Best Things

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I think that would be when I moved to DC…

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A half hour or so before the debate yesterday, my phone kept making the you’ve-got-a-text-message sound. “Oh god, I’ve really got to turn off my twitter device updates during the debate,” I said to my friend from out of town, who was watching the debate with me.

Him: Wait, so do you have a lot of friends who will be live-blogging the debate?

Me: Well, yeah, or at least twittering about it throughout.

Pause

Him: So where do you think you went wrong in life?

Written by Elizabeth

October 3, 2008 at 11:23 am

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LadyBlog & Culture11

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So I mentioned last week that I’m part of the cabal of LadyBloggers over at Culture11. This next part feels a little silly explaining, because everyone I know in DC seems to be writing for Culture11 in some way or other, but I realize some people read this who aren’t the 30 people I know in DC. So …

Culture11 is a new online magazine—it’s still in Beta right now—that was/is aiming, at least theoretically, to be like Slate or Salon but with a slightly right-of-center bent. A few months ago it began snapping up various talented libertarian-ish writers, including three of my favorites: Peter Suderman (C11’s culture editor), James Poulos (C11’s politics editor) and Conor Friedersdorf (C11’s features editor). The whole endeavor seemed radically promising. Where it will go still remains to be seen, obviously—right now, the amount of content is a little light and every now and then article choices just seem weird —but it is still in beta and I think it’s off to a good start.

And now, this brings us to LadyBlog. Please understand that everything I say from here on out should not be construed as criticisms of Jillian Bandes, C11’s assistant editor and the Madam of LadyBlog, if you will (who was nice enough to let me be a part of this project despite the sum of my conservative credentials being “not Democrat,” and who handpicked a very interesting slew of diverse women bloggers and is, in these early stages, currently taking a generously laissez faire attitude towards what we write). Nor of the very smart, very funny women—Phoebe Maltz, Amber Bryer-Wotte, Jillian, Katherine Mangu-Ward, Dara Lind, Nicola Karras, Penny Larkin, Cheryl Miller, to name a few—writing on LadyBlog.

But let me just say that LadyBlog is a weird, weird place. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Elizabeth

September 23, 2008 at 5:47 pm

Real American Blogger Crushes

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Several times in the past weeks, I’ve wanted to comment about posts by Phoebe Maltz and Freddie, but then realized I had nothing to add to what they’d written because I was in complete agreement. And then I’d read the next post each wrote, and feel the exact same way. And again, and again.

So this is really just to say that I have two big old blogger crushes. And that if you are not already reading them, you should find room in your RSS feed. Phoebe is a socially-liberal conservative and Freddie is … well, I’m not even sure. Neither fall into neat ideological categorization, which is what makes them interesting. And both are, currently, preoccupied with the concept of elitism and intent on pulverizing the myth of the “real American” that’s ever-increasingly being trotted out as this campaign season wears on. Some choice quotes:

Freddie:

Much has already been said about the bizarre and destructive notion that it’s bad to be elite, and I continue to maintain that thinking that a president should be “a regular guy” or whatever is lunacy. I like urban people. I like educated people. I like entertainers and artists and nonconformists and thinkers and writers and, yes, I tend to like liberals. None of this indicates that I dislike the “common folk”, or whatever other euphemism is in style at conservative blogs. It’s no insult to the salt of the earth to say that I also really dig the pepper.

Phoebe:

Which brings up the question: if we’re defining as ‘real’ those who live in small towns, those whose lives are not represented in sitcoms, where does that leave those of us who see movie stars at the local Starbucks, those of us who took the subway to high school, those of us for whom both the snooty-sounding or ‘ethnic’ foods and tiny apartments that mark city life (that is, outside of abject poverty) are the default? Am I less of a real American because churches and exurbs are not my own life experience, because I’m 25 and no one I know my age yet has a kid? I’m not running for any office, and so have no need to claim a life other than the one I’ve led. But is it elitist and un-American simply to be who I am, a New York Jew, an atheist, and (and this is starting to be embarrassing) incapable of driving a car? It’s one thing to say my experiences are not representative, but must they be denounced as those of a foreigner?

Phoebe also has a great post at Culture11’s LadyBlog on the inanity of using WalMart as a proxy for ‘real.’

Written by Elizabeth

September 17, 2008 at 8:37 pm