The mark of the Wolff

Wow. What can one possibly say in defense of this bizarre travesty? This is what the Wolff Olins agency came up with as a logo for the 2012 London Olympics.

The organisation said that the new emblem aims to be “dynamic, modern and flexible” and “will work with new technology and across traditional and new media networks”.

“London 2012 is inspired by you and it’s for all of you,” said Lord Coe, the chairman of the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games. “My pledge is that I will make these everyone’s games.”

So the future is magenta. And hideous. If you didn’t notice that the jagged shapes sort of spell out 2012, well, neither did the rest of us. (Also, the London Olympics are for you, Time’s person of the year! Congratulations. Again.)

Many thousands of dollars were presumably spent on coming up with a logo for the Olympics and this is the best they could do? Something that would’ve seemed anachronistic 15 years ago? More than 80% of respondents to a BBC poll disapprove of the logo. Hopefully this will be like the NBA’s microfiber ball and get recalled after a few months of griping. Otherwise, you can look forward to this eyesore polluting the city’s landscape for years to come.

Blog interrupted

And we’re back. Sorry for the unannounced vacation, loyal readers. Still working my way back into the swing of blog-things so here’s a clip from Conan O’Brien, a show I’ve sorely missed over here in the UK.

Mitt-igating circumstances

I don’t know who Chris Kelly is but he’s figured out something I’ve been wondering for a while: who the fuck is Mitt Romney? Used car salesman or the next President of the United States? Creepy double-dealer or just the most honest liar of the bunch?

Mssr. Kelly comes to a poetic conclusion:

When the dust settles, and the candidates with anger management issues and/or cancer fall away, Mitt Romney will be the nominee, and I think I know why: Because Mitt Romney is the first candidate to take pandering so far beyond cynicism that it’s not even cynicism anymore. It’s Romantic Irony.

Romantic irony — the most wistful irony of all — occurs when a character draws attention to the fact that he’s just a character, or a narrator interrupts a story to remind the audience that it’s just a story. And Mitt Romney — alone among presidential hopefuls — understands that he’s a character in a work of art and that his character’s job is to say anything, to anyone, at any time, to get elected.

There aren’t any contradictions, because life is all made up anyway. He only appears to be a compulsive liar. Actually, he’s capturing what Friedrich Schlegel called the “clear consciousness of eternal agility, of an infinitely teeming chaos.”

It’s a beautiful thought — until you actually imagine President Romney, dropping his not-at-all-fictional bombs on a very real Iran.

Dubai to all that

For those few remaining pollyannas among us who doubt that the apocalypse is nigh, please read this article from the Guardian on the Theme Park Formerly Known as Dubai:

If you drive along the al-Ain highway towards the mountain range that marks the border with Oman, you enter what remains of Dubai’s desert. But before you do so, you pass mile after mile of signs marking the location of what will soon be known as Dubailand. Once completed, this will be the world’s largest theme park, twice the size of Florida’s Disney World. Scheduled to open between 2015 and 2018, it aims to be the centrepiece of Dubai’s tourism infrastructure, attracting up to 200,000 visitors a day. Already, a replica Taj Mahal and Eiffel Tower stand awkwardly in the desert.

Dubai Holding, which is building the mega-project, says that at 278 sq km it will include the world’s largest shopping mall, the world’s largest observation wheel, 29 sq km of themed worlds, including “Women’s World”, and 75 sq km of “Eco-tourism World”, including a safari park, a vast sporting complex and a snowdome six times bigger than Ski Dubai – the emirate’s existing 25-storey skiing centre, where around 30 tonnes of snow are created each night as chilled water is sprayed from 21 snow-makers attached to the roof. Yet, according to last year’s United Nations report Global Deserts Outlook, the United Arab Emirates, of which Dubai is a part, is now one of the most “water-imperilled” nations in the world, while also one of the most water-hungry.

That’s fucking hilarious! And it gets better: the people building this rich person playground are really, really poor! Savor the irony.

An hour’s drive into an area of Dubai that is about as far off the tourist map as it is possible to get brings us to Sonapur, an unhappy place in so many ways. Even its name cruelly teases its residents. The name of Dubai’s largest labour camp means “city of gold” in Hindi, and it also sounds very similar to the local slang word for a female orgasm, as Khaled, my translator, seems to rejoice in telling me.

I doubt that most of the 150,000 male workers who live here (some claim it is as many as 500,000, but there is little official headcounting going on), smile at the irony of living in a place so empty of wealth and women.

That’s just about the worst thing I’ve ever heard. Also, why don’t all languages have different words for male and female orgasm?


Matt Drudge: Internet pioneer, closeted gay, one-man fedora revival. And, now, you can add to the list inventor of words.

* * *

UPDATE! It looks like someone informed Matt that “zlop” is not, in fact, a word. Or maybe he’s been reading this blog?


Truth to power

This man knows how to promote a book.

What do a couple of fascists, Bob Dylan, and the Godfather all have in common?

People always tell me I look like Anwar Sadat! Find out who you don’t really look like here. It’s kinda fun!

Judgment day

Two days after September 11, Falwell fingered those who were responsible. “I know that I’ll hear from them for this. But, throwing God out successfully with the help of the federal court system, throwing God out of the public square, out of the schools. The abortionists have got to bear some burden for this because God will not be mocked. And when we destroy 40 million little innocent babies, we make God mad. I really believe that the pagans, and the abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays and the lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle, the ACLU, People for the American Way — all of them who have tried to secularize America — I point the finger in their face and say you helped this happen“.

Apartheid supporter and human blimp Jerry Falwell is dead at 73. Luckily for him, there’s no such place as hell.

Wonkette already went ahead and ran this infamous bit of nostalgia from Hustler magazine, but I thought I’d pile on anyway. It’s still pretty funny twenty years later.

Jerry Falwell: My first time was in an outhouse outside Lynchburg, Virginia.

Interviewer: Wasn’t it a little cramped?

Falwell: Not after I kicked the goat out.

Interviewer: I see. You must tell me all about it.

Falwell: I never really expected to make it with Mom, but then after she showed all the other guys in town such a good time, I figured, “What the hell!”

Interviewer: But your Mom? Isn’t that a bit odd?

Falwell: I don’t think so. Looks don’t mean that much to me in a woman.

Interviewer: Go on.

Falwell: Well, we were drunk off our God-fearing asses on Campari, ginger ale and soda—that’s called a Fire and Brimstone—at the time. And Mom looked better than a Baptist whore with a $100 donation.

Interviewer: Campari in the crapper with Mom . . . how interesting. Well how was it?

Falwell: The Campari was great but Mom passed out before I could come.

Interviewer: Did you ever try it again?

Falwell: Sure. Lots of times. But not in the outhouse. Between Mom and the shit, the flies were too much to bear.

Interviewer: We meant the Campari.

Falwell: Oh, yeah, I always get sloshed before I go out to the pulpit. You don’t think I could lay down all that bullshit sober, do you?


So long, old friend.

Wow, I’ve been really terrible about updating this blog. In my defense, I’ve been sick with a cold and had out-of-town visitors this week. Still! No excuses. I promise to try and be more productive — if that’s a word one can use in regard to blog posting.

So much has happened in the last week, too. Blair announced his resignation, Chirac’s successor was elected. But most importantly: Bob Barker is throwing in the towel. Hank Stuever gives the Price is Right host a funny (and only slightly mocking) send-off in a piece from the Washington Post:

Just the sound of it feels, somehow nostalgically, like being in bed with the flu. (“Come on down!” roars the announcer, Rich Fields — who replaced the late Rod Roddy in 2003, who replaced Johnny Olson in 1986 — as you beg some 7Up and toast to stay on down.) There is the sound of it starting at 11 a.m., over those gooey-warm CBS airwaves, just when the day is still technically young and yet already somehow wasted. It feels like skipping class again and again, the MWF 10:30 section of Lit 125: The Emerging Self.

That sounds about right. Is it possible, by the way, to have a television set in America without having seen the show? And could it ever work without the Barkman and his preposterous mic?

God vs. atheism, unplugged

These two maybe have more in common than they realize.

It is a wonderful world: two of our culture’s most entertaining buffoons, Al Sharpton and Christopher Hitchens, got together last night to debate the existence of God. I’d say this event could be seen as a pretty good argument for either side. It was apparently a very well-mannered and thoughtful debate, truth be told. (How disappointing.) To sum up: Hitchens blasted religion for its propagation of “blood-stained old myths” and “eye-for-an-eye vengeance”, while Sharpton stuck to defending an abstract Almighty rather than actual organized religion, agreeing that the latter has been “misused.”

Despite my general agreement with Hitchens, Reverend Al unquestionably landed the best jab of the night:

“At the end what is refreshing is that you are a man of faith,” Mr. Sharpton told Mr. Hitchens, to much laughter, “because any man that at this point has faith that there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq has more faith than any religious person I know.”

Point, set, match.