First Course

First Course

First Course

Arts and arguments in the news.
July 16 2001 11:30 PM

First Course

Some years ago, the Spectator published a cartoon depicting a balding man sitting alone in the vast dining room of some grand hotel. It's breakfast time, as a clock on the wall indicates, and the only other person present is a waiter who has, one can tell, recently presented the man with a menu just as daunting as the gilded décor all around—an overwhelming menu that has the man not only floundering as to where to begin but also, despite the hour, saying meekly but with rectitude: "I think I'd like to see the wine list." In certain respects, the reaction of many people to this page's predecessor, Omnivore, was akin to this man's feeling about that menu: There was simply too much material (though Media Metrix traffic statistics do not, alas, reveal if their next reaction was, like his, to head for the bottle). Yet that was the idea: The page was designed to look similar to a menu you might see in a diner, or a grand hotel, and to be something to gorge upon.

As it is, and as I should have known, diners and grand hotels are not where you or I choose to eat all the time, and the same is true of the Internet, where simplicity, clarity, and a degree of minimalism matter. So, the page has been reinvented—even the vague title has gone—but like its predecessor, it will be updated everyday. You won't see as much—there will be only one item about a single idea on the menu—but at least you won't be rushing to the drinks cabinet to help out those sore eyes of yours, if you ever did. You'll also be able to bookmark the page. Finally, I'd like thank those of you who sent me links over the last year and to thank you in advance for doing so in future; they have been and always will be immensely useful. My e-mail address is below. A caveat: If you wish to spam me with porno and dubious financial advice sent from shadow domain names, I ask you to refrain. It's tedious receiving junk e-mail—sometimes it's tedious getting important e-mail, too—though if this page transforms itself yet again and becomes a site about how to get your kicks and make big bucks, you'll be the first to know. For now, however, I'm not interested.

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