Mar 10, 2009, 10:56AM

We Celebrate Ourselves, Part 2

The best of Splice Today: Year 1.

Without going overboard with the it's-been-a-whole-year-look-at-us-go! sentiment, I'd like to supply a few additions to John Lingan's list of 10 (out of many) memorable articles from our archives.

In picking back through my brain and our archives (which took hours, which is a measure of the scope and depth of Splice's contributors), it was most tempting to hold up political coverage up to the light of hindsight and chuckle—thing is, there were few columns that wildly missed the mark, if at all. Oddly enough, though, a September column—a month that was, obviously, torn apart with political commentary—by Chloe Angyal popped out. "A Celebrated Summer" lists the various positive steps made in women's rights last summer; and when one recalls the vigor and vitriol from those who defended and attacked Sarah Palin, Chloe's piece is breath of retrospective fresh air.

Two political pieces that still hold a lot of water: Zach Kaufmann's interview with Mike Gravel and Isaac Cheriyathu's column on Obama, Catholicism and abortion.

But if Splice has provided a font of political commentary, its music coverage has been stellar and, at times, pretty damn odd: Ari Samsky, the man behind Splice fountain pen fetish, wrote a column on Tom Waits tunes—specifically, ones he imagined could be made into films; Gabriel Baker, Lloyd H. Cargo and Zach Kaufmann rolled up their sleeves and debated the various merits of auto-tune; Cargo's lists (on covers of "Summertime" and videos of old people) are the stuff of chain-email lore; Baker's review on jenkem-inspired music is simply too gross to be re-explained; and, of course, the various lists of music to have sex and make-out to by Kaufmann, Claire Taylor and Daniel Polansky.

With literature, our office book worm (and managing editor) is John Lingan. What first comes to mind is his eulogy for David Foster Wallace:

This desire to somehow see the total complexity of modern life by way of careful cataloging can be seen in his more recent essays about Roger Federer or Jorge Luis Borges (who he tellingly praised for being “a first-rate human mind stripped of all foundations in religious or ideological certainty—a mind turned thus wholly in on itself”), and particularly in his increasingly detail-heavy fiction. "Good People," a story that appeared in The New Yorker last year, was an extraordinarily descriptive rendering of a young couple coming to terms with a pregnancy. Almost devoid of Wallace's trademark linguistic pyrotechnics, the story's power derives from its depth of emotional observation. 

But right up there is Lingan's widely trafficked analysis of Christopher Hitchens, which acts as both a good primer for those new to the man and as some context for those trying to simply get a handle on him.

I can still remember getting railroaded by Lina Goldberg's piece on Jesse Camp. In a few hundred words Goldberg brought my junior high school memories crashing down around my trash-strewn desk. Money quote:

When Jesse arrived at the counter to make his fraudulent purchase I looked at him through eyes that had once loved him, but now I could only see the sadness of the situation—the tragic ex-VJ forced to steal glam rock records. When I confronted Jesse about his price tag switcheroo, he broke down in a flood of apologies. “Are you okay?” I finally asked.

And I could go on. But, as all lists must, it's time to end. I'm going to let Pete Backof send us out with a quote from his column on the taming of the Internet:

Ever since its rise to popular consciousness during the 1990s the Internet has often been referred to metaphorically as a kind of Wild West. The predominant interpretation of the metaphor to date has focused on its positive and aspirational aspects. But respectable people are staking their own claim to the Internet, and just as churches and schools worked their way across the North American west 150 years ago, it appears that laws and institutions are coming to civilize the web.

More than a few of those people are planting flag poles right here at Splice Today. As for the laws and institutions and "civilization," we're doing fine with our own brand.



Register or Login to leave a comment