Sunday Bloody NYT Sunday: Special Joe Biden Rides His Vette To The WHCD Edition

Sunday Bloody NYT Sunday: Special Joe Biden Rides His Vette To The WHCD Edition

Since it was Nerd Prom aka the White House Correspondents’ Association dinner last night, your Twitter timeline was already full of all the barbs and jabs and gentle ribbing that Obama put into his speech, but the the Old Gray Lady moves a bit slower, so the Times has Bamz’ comedic stylings as one of today’s lead stories.


Taking note of comments on the hue of House Speaker John A. Boehner’s skin, Mr. Obama noted that he feels sorry for the speaker because some Republicans are harder on Mr. Boehner than they are on him.

“Orange really is the new black,” Mr. Obama said.

That joke is not bad, Bamz! In fact, we’re kinda sad we never thought of it! But Bamz was, of course, overshadowed by Old Handsome Joe Biden, who made a seven-minute video with Julia Louis-Dreyfus of Veep fame AND Michelle Obama AND Nancy Pelosi. Biden drives a Corvette. Pelosi gets a tattoo. Bamz never had a chance.

On a less comedic note, at least for poor Condoleezza Rice, she had to back out of her commencement speech at Rutgers after students spent several weeks yelling “awww, HELL no!” about that choice. We have some complex feels about the yelling at your college until the speaker drops out, because like many good liberals we got pissy when people yelled about Bamz commencementing at Morehouse College last year. Also, we’re sort of befuddled by this level of brouhaha over graduation speakers since we went to the kind of colleges where graduation speakers were “some dude’s dad who is a county judge” or “that one guy that went scuba diving once with a friend of Jacques Cousteau” so this level of furor isn’t really something we can imagine.

In other once-popular-warmonger news, Lynne Cheney, wife of death’s head mask Dick Cheney, has written a book about James Madison. No, we will not read it. In fact, we barely skimmed the review. Cheney could have written the definitive Founding Fathers masterpiece and we would still not give her any of our monies ever.

If you were feeling like these articles were a little too lighthearted to start your Sunday, consider moseying over to this longread, a collaboration between the Times and ProPublica, about why only one top banker went to jail after they all obliterated our economy. You’ll be cartoon levels of angry, steam coming out your ears, in no time.

Continuing their tradition of really being on top of social media and app trends, the Times has just discovered that Vine exists. Pity the poor Times staffer that had to make Vine sound relevant to some 65-year-old reading the print edition this morning.

If Instagram feels like looking at people’s lives through rose-colored glasses, Vine feels like a tour of their chaotic, innermost thoughts. A recent spin through the service’s ultra-abbreviated videos revealed a hypnotic if wild carnival. There were close-ups of bubbling pots of ramen, a trio of girls jumping on a bed and a bobble-headed cartoon of the rapper Jay-Z pasted on the body of a dancing Beyonce.

This has to be the most pro forma and least compelling way to describe an app ever. Also too look for the Times to soon be forcing young reporters to make hip cool Vines at the start of stories about water quality in New Jersey and the like. You’ll be able to hear the reporter frustration from miles away.


We’ve got social etiquette AND wedding etiquette this week. Lucky duckies are we. In the wedding section this week, we learn that brides can now control what colors you — a guest, not a participant — wear to the wedding, because otherwise their wedding pictures will make them sad.

When LeslieAnn Dunn was married in Central Park last July, she asked her guests to wear “summer black and white with a splash of yellow” so her wedding photos would have a cohesive look. […]

Imagine the bride’s surprise when she spotted one of her oldest friends wearing a cherry-red dress. “I guess she didn’t read the invitation,” said Mrs. Dunn,[…]

The woman in red […] was “totally mortified” at her gaffe. So after the ceremony, she took a taxi to Lord & Taylor and found a black-and-white polka-dot dress on a sale rack for $32. She arrived at the reception at a Fifth Avenue penthouse “feeling much more like a team player,” she recalled.

As bad as the “wear only the colors I tell you to wear” trend is, there are apparently far worse trends afoot in wedding wear.

While once invitations simply stated “casual” or “black tie,” today’s couples are stipulating a wide range of demanding and often-confusing dress codes — think “mountain elegant,” “cowboy couture” and “cocktail grunge.” […]

Last summer, for the Big Sur wedding of the Internet billionaire Sean Parker, the former president of Facebook, guests were asked to wear “Lord of the Rings” costumes. Mr. Parker made it easy, providing costume outfits by Ngila Dickson, the film trilogy’s designer.

There is quite literally nothing on earth that would induce us to attend a wedding in Lord of the Rings costumes. We would unfriend anyone that tried to make us do so.

Seriously, wedding people are terrible! But the people writing into the social etiquette questions thingy each week are super duper terrible!

My wife and I and our two young children live next door to an elderly couple who were married for a million years and lived in their house for about as long. It’s a beautiful place, much bigger than ours. Sadly, the husband died a few weeks ago. We didn’t know him well, and we don’t really know the wife, either. But we would like to offer to buy the house, if she would consider selling. It would be much better for our family, and the widow may want to downsize, too. How can I approach her without seeming crass?

The answer to this question is YOU ARE A CRASS UNFEELING MOTHERFUCKER. Social etiquette guy doesn’t quite say that, but does not that maybe waiting six — or even nine — months might be prudent. We like our answer better.

You know how we do here at Happy and you know we read the real estate big ticket listings with a jaundiced eye. We feel especially cynical this week about the Soho penthouse that sold for $26 million and has a nicer outside than any of our homes have on the inside.


[T]he penthouse’s sprawling rooftop terrace has an authentic water tower augmented by an outdoor kitchen, a Boffi shower, Balinese stone walls, a covered patio with video and audio, and a synthetic lawn with an oversize hammock.

We were going to look up what a Boffi shower was, but then we decided to just curl up in a ball and weep about our lot in life instead.

We dried our tears in time to buck up and read Maureen Dowd, even thought we really shouldn’t have to after all that. Give yourself whatever prize you feel you deserve if you guessed that MoDo would be writing about the Clintons this week. Christ, we love Hillary, but can you imagine if she becomes president? MoDo will write weird things about the Clintons EVERY WEEK. MoDo has discovered that people who backed Bamz in 2008 and said mean things about Hillz may now be retracting those things and supporting a Hillary run! BREAKING MUST CREDIT MODO THIS HAS NEVER HAPPENED IN THE HISTORY OF POLITICS. Except all the time, forever, because that is how party politics work. MoDo probably knows this, but her blind spot/creepily obsessive focus on the Clintons makes her see Rasputin (no, really) ’round every corner.

But the Clinton machine, once described by David Geffen as “very unpleasant and unattractive and effective,” has a Rasputin resilience. And now those who broke away are in the awkward position of having to make nice with the woman they helped vanquish.

Yes, because your other choice is to back an as-yet-unnamed draft pick and just roll the dice that your favorite unknown will beat Rand Paul or Marco Rubio or Ted Cruz or Zombie Ronald Reagan or Near-Zombie John McCain in 2016.

Say what you will about Thomas Friedman, but at least the man is only obsessed by the sheer genius of Thomas Friedman rather than turning his weirdness outward. This week is another patented sprawling Tommy Friedman Thinks Big Thoughts column where he veers from the Middle East to ‘Merica to the Ukraine and back again. We tried to understand what the hell he was on about, but then we got to the magnificent last paragraph of the column, a paragraph that was so Friedmanesque in its opacity and ridiculousness, that we thought we’d just leave it here for you.

What is most scary to me about the world today is the fact that we are doing neither smart nation-building abroad to make the world more stable nor smart nation-building at home to make America more resilient and strong. We need both to be safe. We need more leverage from nation-building at home to have the staying power to lift others, but we also need those foreigners to provide a solid, unified foundation so our leverage can work. It’s hard to replace a flat tire, when your jack is broken or is sitting on quicksand. This is not just about Obama.

So wait. Are we the flat tire or the quickstand or the jack? Tommy, we’d say you reached peak Friedman with this, but we’re sure you’ll say something that is more confusing (and weirdly arrogant) quite soon.

Hello, Ross Douthat! Did you read another book this week, Ross? Good for you! Your mom must be so proud. Last week Ross Douthat yelled at us all about Thomas Piketty’s new book while at the same time admitting he didn’t understand the economic models of Piketty’s book. This week, Ross is back to tell us all about Paying for the Party.Most people think this book is about social mobility and class and money and how if you’re working class, going to a moderately selective college with a strong Greek sorority/fraternity system will not result in your future economic success but will instead just saddle you with debt because you are ill-equipped to enter into or deal with the social demands of that system, which is essentially “network and party and bullshit your way to the top” which you will not be able to do if you are not rich or connected. Though even Ross admits the book is mostly about class inequity, he figured out that it does touch upon the hookup culture being something that can disadvantage women in an economic and structural way, but all Ross read was “hookup culture” and then he was off and running and slut-shaming and culture-scolding.

[This book] gets at a point about class hierarchies that social conservatives are more likely to appreciate. “Paying for the Party” is also a story about the socioeconomic consequences of cultural permissiveness — about what happens, who wins and who loses, when a youth culture in which the only (official) moral rule is consent meets a corporate-academic university establishment that has deliberately retreated from any moralistic, disciplinary role.

The losers are students ill equipped for the experiments in youthful dissipation that are now accepted as every well-educated millennial’s natural birthright. The winners, meanwhile, are living proof of how a certain kind of libertinism can be not only an expression of class privilege, but even a weapon of class warfare.

By this I mean that an upper class that practices and models bourgeois virtues — not only thrift and diligence but chastity and sobriety — will be more permeable, less self-protected and self-perpetuating, than an upper class that tells the aspirational that they can’t climb the ladder unless they join the party first.

Let’s see if we can get this straight. Because universities won’t police student morality and expel people for doing the sexytime with lots of people, students are losers unless they are slutty, but only if the upper class were not Slutty McSluttersons, then more people could become upper class because they would be thrifty and diligent. Did we get that right? Actually we do not care if we got that right, because we are not going to read it again to figure it out.


Ross, you are 34, and you are rapidly reaching an age where obsessing about college student sexxxing is veering into the deeply creepy, so you might want to find a new hobbyhorse to ride and flog as you get older. Anything that involves people older than 20 will probably be less unseemly.


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