Loom and womb! The tale of the vaginal knitter: We don’t expect to keep writing about the new Salon. But three new pieces at the site represent a type of problem.
This morning, we were puzzled by a piece by Koa Beck. It appears under this designation:
Passing for white and straight: How my looks hide my identityQuick summary: Beck—full name Koalani Beck—is a youngish, Hawaiian-born woman whose father is white and whose mother is a light-skinned “black-Italian.” Beck, who is gay, is about to marry her partner.
I'm neither straight nor white, but I'm frequently mistaken for both—and it's taught me a lot about privilege
SUNDAY, DEC 8, 2013 07:59 PM EST
These circumstances produce a large number of apparent complaints from Beck. That said, we’ll admit we can’t quite discern what the complaints really are.
Apparently, most people can’t tell, simply by looking, that Beck identifies as black. Others can’t tell that she’s gay.
Is a genuine complaint lurking there? It’s possible, but it’s hard to tell what that complaint is from reading Beck’s piece.
That may be a function of Beck’s writing, which is highly writerly and extremely unclear. According to the headline from Salon, Beck has learned “a lot about privilege.”
Go ahead! Try to discern what it is.
Beck’s strikes us as writerly but unclear. So too with a tremendously puzzling piece which ran under this name-calling summary:
Travels with right-wing nuts: My road trip on Route GOP with Paul Ryan and Michele BachmannThis is a very long, rambling piece by a 25-year-old fellow who spent four days driving around the Midwest, visiting the congressional districts of Ryan, Bachmann and Steve King, apparently in search of something.
One liberal, three GOP strongholds: What a drive through Ryan and Bachmann country says about America right now
SUNDAY, DEC 8, 2013 07:00 AM EST
That headline grabs the eye with its familiar name-calling. To his credit, Lutz doesn’t do a lot of name-calling himself, although he engages in a fair amount of tribal snark.
Below, you see the way he starts, as he strolls through Ryan’s home town.
“Hibernal” means wintry. It isn’t clear that Lutz is the person to be calling things boring:
LUTZ (12/8/13): Janesville is boring.Let’s state the obvious. Even Salon’s new slate of writers can’t believe that driving 1200 miles across the Midwest in four days enables a person to “shed some light on the political right wing currently waging war on the federal government—or at least paint a portrait of the culture they were birthed from.”
It’s Nov. 4, just after 11 a.m. The sky is the color of steel, the air hibernal. I’m walking past Rep. Paul Ryan’s district office. Except for some people waiting for a bus, there’s nobody else outside.
I’ve come here from Chicago on a sort of anthropological mission: Over the next four days, I’ll see Paul Ryan’s congressional district in southern Wisconsin, Michele Bachmann’s district in the suburbs of the Twin Cities, and Steve King’s district in western Iowa—a 1,200 mile drive across the Midwest in search of the region’s secrets. I’m not sure what I expect to find, but I hope visiting these places, and trying to understand them, will shed some light on the political right wing currently waging war on the federal government—or at least paint a portrait of the culture they were birthed from.
Tall order for a road trip, I know.
I’m not sure what I was expecting. People casually sporting tri-cornered hats? Mobs burning copies of the Nation and Mother Jones?
Come on! Even Lutz can’t have believed that this burst of hard travelin’ was going to help him unearth “the region’s secrets.”
Obviously, Lutz is being disingenuous about the reasons for his utterly pointless road trip, in which he appears to have spoken to no one but a few desk clerks in the three congressional districts he ever-so-briefly visited.
Lutz seems like a nice young person who is trying to be a colorful writer in the tradition of earlier colorful writers. That said, this is highly ridiculous writing even by the new Salon’s persistently ridiculous standards.
In comments, quite a few people noted Lutz’s total failure to interact, “anthropologically” or otherwise, with any of the actual people who live in those congressional districts. That said, his remarks about tri-cornered hats were snarky enough for the new Salon.
The headline writer jacked up the snark, turning it into raw insult.
Completing the rule of three, we direct you to this remarkable piece. Yes, this actually ran in the new Salon:
Meet the world’s most famous vaginal knitterYes, that’s what it said! As you can see if you read this piece, “performance artist” Casey Jenkins is knitting out of her vagina—and talking right out of her asp!
Performance artist Casey Jenkins talks to Salon about her decision to knit with yarn inserted into her own vagina
SATURDAY, DEC 7, 2013 08:00 PM EST
Other remarkably stupid pieces appeared at the new Salon this weekend. These pieces betray obsessions with race and gender—serious topics!—mixed with the complete inability to say something identifiable about these high-interest matters.
The writers are young and underwhelming—deeply, profoundly underwhelming. Race, sex and gender are serious topics—and the new Salon is in the hands of some underfed, extremely young, not-quite-actual-writers
What can it mean for progressive interests when a new generation comes along mixing this set of obsessions with an overwhelming lack of talent and seriousness? Sometimes with massive self-absorption? With the cynical, click-baiting headlines for which the new site has already made itself famous?
On balance, we’ll guess it could mean something bad. The plutocrats dream of new waves of piddle—piddle designed to make the world think that, anthropologically speaking, we libs are a carload of children, complainers and clowns.