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Aug. 1 2002 11:51 AM

We're Having a Heat Kink

Things got hot all over Slate and all over The Fray this week. There were heat waves, heat kinks, sweaty guys at parties, and sweaty guys at parties drinking girly drinks, not to mention the usual flame wars.


How to stay cool? Captain Ron Voyage and others sarcastically offered that you could buy an Apple. Will Allen convincingly inveighed against malternative beverages. JTF turned to Mountain Dew, wondering, "How long will it take Mountain Dew to exploit the fact that the 9 miners survived by sharing a can?" Butterscotch made the road to exploitation that much shorter. He certainly can can-can.

Subject: The Decline of Vice

Re: "Shopping: Malt Me!"

From: Will Allen

July 24, 2002 11:03 a.m.

When it gets to the point that a libation gains popularity because it tastes nothing like booze, it can be safely said that the pursuit of vice has become such a frankly amateurish enterprise among large segments of the population that it causes one to reassess the wisdom of Prohibition. God aw'mighty, the very existence of swill like Captain Morgan's rum, to say nothing of their latest "innovation," when free people have it within their power to quaff superior concoctions from all manner of sugar-cane-producing locales throughout the Caribbean, is proof that this Republic has become as deficient in transmitting to its youth knowledge of the importance of the proper enjoyment of vice as it has the knowledge of the nation's civic traditions. … Folks, if you're not willing to be good at vice, go stand with the poor, parsimonious, tut-tutting, puritan kill-joys, and leave the playing field to those who pursue hedonism with the level of professionalism it should command.

[Find this post here.]

Subject: The Invisible Epidemic

"Medical Examiner: Dead Heat"

Glen Tomkins

July 30, 2002 11:21 a.m.

If a child dies because he or she is left locked in a car in the summer sun while their parent drops into a Starbucks for a latte, the story is carried nationwide by the media, the nation is shocked, the guilty parent is led away in handcuffs. If a 90-year-old who is every bit as trapped in his or her un-air-conditioned apartment … dies a death from dehydration as predictable and preventable … as the toddler's death—there is no public outcry, and there will be no guilty parties, no matter how egregious their neglect, led away in handcuffs.

The difference is that we, as a society, hold parents responsible for providing for the welfare of their minor dependents, but we refuse to recognize any parallel responsibility for adult children to provide for their parents, even as those parents decline into a dependence on others as profound as that of a newborn.

[Find this post here.]

Subject: Cool for Sale

"Ad Report Card: Apple's Bait and Switch"

Captain Ron Voyage

July 29, 2002 9:27 a.m.

"Apple—computers for people who need to buy their way into the cool club."

Invariably, the people I know who like Apples are the same people who buy most of their clothes at Urban Outfitters and think the new Beetle is a really great car.

[Find this post here.]

Subject: More Cool for Sale

"Ad Report Card: Apple's Bait and Switch"

Brian McReynolds

July 29, 2002 12:12 p.m.

… and they are probably the first people to complain about market manipulation. "Think out of the box." Sure, whatever the ads say.

[Find this post here.]

Subject: Miner Miracle

Best of the Fray Fray


July 30, 2002 9:44 a.m.

… screen is black … there is a deafening sound of water rushing ... thunderous ... unending ... you can begin to hear the faint shouts and cries of human voices ... they grow louder ... there is sheer panic ... deathly silence ...

(still dark screen ... water movement as sound)

miner 1: "Hey! Everybody okay?"

miner 2: "Yeah! I saved the Dew!"

Nine helmet lights turn on and move frantically around the water-filled cavern ... until they all find and shine their lights on the Dew ...

from the men.

miner 3: "Hell, I'll even settle for the backwash!"

Good-natured laughter ... miners floating on their backs spitting out water like whales ... camera pulls back up and out of the "hole" and the scene is utter chaos above ground ... 'copters, police, and rescue units ... hundreds of onlookers and a Dew truck drives by and the driver doesn't even notice the chaos while sippin' his own "Dew."

[Find this post here.]

Fray Notes:

Contest results:
In which posters were invited to find new ways for Slate to place products and further its drive toward profitability. Entries were uniformly good, but scarily close to things Slate might actually want to try. History guy contended David Plotz had already won for including Qwest's "Chief Executive Dinosaur" Joseph Nacchio in the "Corporate Scandal Trading Cards" (he receives a bundle of bandwidth which he must promptly swap back); Pylon Moore suggested I had already won for convincing dedicated Slate readers to think about our sponsors at length (Pylon receives first dibs on Athens, GA: Inside/Out at the local video emporium). BDell wins here because the entry encourages exactly the kind of confident consumer borrowing we need in this economy (BDell receives the right to pooh-pooh a Polonius quotation).

Pardon the interruption:
"The Sports Pages" ended its run this week with a suspicious farewell from Bryan Curtis. More time with the family? Less Wilbon?

New stars:
Next week. No jostling is needed. The decisions are made. I am simply finalizing hors d'oeuvres with my party planner.

J.D. Connor is assistant professor of English and of Visual and Environmental Studies at Harvard. He is working on a book about neoclassical Hollywood.

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