Tony Soprano

Under the Influence: Why We Let Others Persuade Us

This all begins with The Sopranos. I keep saying that I’m currently ‘revisiting’ the series, but that’s because I’m too embarrassed to admit that I’d only seen maybe half an episode prior to this current marathon — I started with the pilot two weeks ago and am steadily working my way forward. By now I am so swayed by the brilliance of everything about this show, from the writing to the directing to the performances, that

Adam von Rothfelder

5 Resolutions You Can Live With, Without (Too Much) Sacrifice

I’m going to begin with a hats-off to myself, via a bit of news that is seemingly irrelevant to this piece, but I’ll pick it up later on and weave it in like magic.  Promise.

A sensible thing happened this week, and it wasn’t the fiscal cliff compromise: My evil twin, Andrew Sullivan, was either booted out by Tina Brown at The Daily Beast, or he didn’t renew his contract on purpose, which seems unlikely to this Sully cynic.  He’s now going to charge for his content and go his merry way with his pooches and staff of seven.  Given the trouble Tina has had this year with Newsweek ceasing print publication and other internal upheavals—not to mention Sully’s embarrassing, unnecessary meltdown after Obama’s first debate, which singlehandedly un-pundited the super-blogger once and for all—I have a feeling he was a vanity case that could no longer be supported.

As a content creator, I wish Sully well, I really do.  He’s a smart guy, often misguided in his opinions, so blinkered in his observations that he is blinded (not a good trait for a pundit), not to mention as hysterical a queen as queens can get, but he works hard, thinks harder and deserves a measure of success.  I’m also sure this experience will transform him and balance him out.  Eventually.

So, in addition to my slogan, “Shoot your heroes,” I add another: Deflate all divas.  It’s for their own good.

Andrew Sullivan and Staff

Sully and staff put on brave faces for the year ahead. Tinsel and youth help.

Barack Obama Telephone

ELECTIONS 2012: Seeking That Objective Reality

From the viewpoint of my own particular reality, it makes no sense whatsoever to vote along party lines.  It’s a type of tribal thinking that I have never been able to grasp; it just seems so terribly wrong.  And when it comes to America in particular, with its leadership position in the world, it seems all the wronger.  As with any job, we hire a person based on qualifications, not party allegiance; that’s something China and Iran does, not here.

A piece I wrote over a year ago (shit, but this election has been endless!), “Do Republicans Dream of Electric Elephants?,” has been getting some traction recently on a political forum by way of a quotation of mine someone appropriately named Bonkers reposted.  I’d forgotten I’d written these words, but I stand by them even more today:

I guess my warped way of thinking just can’t embrace the notion of supporting a political party.  I understand the need for governance of some kind to maintain social order, I understand being conservative in your views, or liberal, but I question the whole concept of being part of a political organization when so many members of that party are so manifestly corrupt, morally subversive or just plain vile.  Why would you want to be part of anything that has even a little bit of rot in it?

Trick or Tweet

THE WEEK FROM MY VIEW

by James Killough

My good friend Shawn Riegsecker, whose unique brand of seductive enthusiasm should be patented, set a goal for me three months ago: I should have one quarter of the amount of comedian Rob Delaney’s followers on Twitter by the end of the year.  After he fixed that target and I set up my Twitter account, he actually looked up how many followers Delaney has: three hundred thousand, which makes seventy-five thousand for me by 2013.  “Hah!” Shawn said.  “You’re fucked!”

Real men use BlackBerry.

I am currently at seventy-five followers, three zeros short.  It will probably drop to seventy-four by the end of today once Twitter’s algorithmic bots sweep through and find out that @CoastalOptometry isn’t so enthralled by surreal, esoteric quips about atheism that it has followed me, but is in fact a spammer. This means I have to increase my base by over one hundred thousand percent in eight months, if my primary-school math still holds.

To the Beat of the Frum Drum

THE WEEK FROM MY VIEW

by James Killough

Well, whaddaya know.  No sooner do I publish a diatribe against Andrew Sullivan urging Tina Brown to cut him loose than she runs out and buys herself not-meshuganuts conservative thinker David Frum, with whom I don’t always agree, but who at least doesn’t outrage me with his whacky, sanctimonious claptrap.

Open letter to Tom: Come home soon. Daddy needs you. Contact details in the right margin xoxo

Well done, Tina.  This is the sort of Other Side opinion you need to balance out Newsweek/The Daily Beast.  I knew you could do it.  Guys like Frum are the best hope we have for a rational, civilized, reasonably intelligent dialogue between left and right.

The Swish Inquisition

THE KILLOUGH CHRONICLES

by James Killough

There comes a time in every gay writer-director-producer-bloggueur’s career when he must decide if he ever wants a knighthood, which he is eligible for thanks to his dual citizenship with Australia, or an award from the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD).  Just the fact I have been calling them “the Swish Inquisition” for a while now means that forswearing such a coveted prize is a foregone conclusion.

I don't think Adam Lambert is fixin' to do a Gillette commercial any time soon.

As for the knighthood, I have a Groucho Marx attitude toward all awards: I don’t want anything that would be handed out to someone like me.  Rewards, on the other hand, I’m all for.

Enthralled with Thiel?

THE KILLOUGH CHRONICLES

by James Killough

There are so many challenges looming before the Modern Ghey: actually asking a guy’s name before you have sex with him, maybe even going on a few dates before it happens; whether to enlist your mother’s help in planning the wedding, even though you will never fit into her dress (not like you did as a child, anyway); what to do about the Christian conservatives in our midst, the pariahs of a subculture that has been a pariah itself for so long.

Either 44-year-old Peter Thiel is already taking advantage of anti-aging technologies, or the retouchers at Condé Nast are just doing their job.

I am not talking about one of my favorite soft targets, my evil twin, Andrew Sullivan.  As my Republican brother once said in disgust, “He’s not even right wing!”  Indeed, as smart as he is, Sullivan’s politics seem to vacillate throughout the day, so much so his profile on the online hookup site Bareback City lists him as “versatile,” when we all know he’s a big ol’ bottom.  While Sullivan describes himself on The Daily Beast as being of no particular political party, I think he has simply mastered the art of being controversial in order to drive up page views.  And in that he has been very successful.

…Is Good For The Gander

THE KILLOUGH CHRONICLES | INDIA FILES

by James Killough

This is a part two of yesterday’s musings, so you’d best read that first if you’re going to try to follow my ramblings here.

My fellow contributor Eric Baker, a man I have tremendous respect for even though we have never met in person or even spoken on the phone, left a very sweet comment to yesterday’s post saying something to the effect of being proud of being associated with someone so “erudite.”  The reason I have so much respect for Eric is not just that he writes superbly, with honesty and a great deal of un-cheap humor, it’s also because he’s like me, utterly dependable and delivers on time.  And people who are, like, real mensches and stuff, are few and far between.

That's right: infrastructure comes from heaven. Says so right there in the Good Book, Mark 6:31-44, when the Lord divided the loaves and the fishes.

Erudite to me means academic, but Eric is probably right in using it in the context of my writing in this blog because it actually means “to show great learning,” which is distinct from academic, or specifically well read.

In honor of the hopeful revolution sweeping this country, let me digress a bit to talk about my own rebellion, which I consider more of a pilgrimage to my Self than a deliberate act of defiance.