Below are the finalists we’ve selected for the Poseur Alert Of The Year, please review them and then vote for your pick at the bottom of the page.
1) Alain de Botton on Meteorologists:
“What is above us in the atmosphere is daily simplified into one or another of those icons beloved of weather forecasters, which, in their naive reductiveness, stand in relation to the subtleties of the sky rather as news reports stand in relation to the complexities of existence,” – Alain de Botton, in his new book The News: A User’s Manual. Flagged by Claire Carusillo in a list of the book’s “11 most Alain de Botton sentences.”
2) Susan Elizabeth Shepard and Charlotte Shane on the 69:
“69 confronts us with an unfortunate truth: it is a distinctly capitalistic, efficiency-emphasizing endeavor that erases the unique personhood of each participant by relying on a crude approximation of how human bodies fit together if human bodies are conceived of as identical, two-dimensional figures like the numbers of its name. … The position also echoes the service economy in its demand (mainly on women) of a convincing performance of pleasure. It’s not enough to simply be present and to competently do the job that’s asked of you by your lover, you must also appear to simultaneously enjoy said lover’s ministrations, regardless of the delicate balancing requiring to keep from suffocating him or breaking his nose. This is a form of emotional labor like that demanded from baristas, servers, and sex workers; not only do you have to do a good job, you have to like it,” – Susan Elizabeth Shepard and Charlotte Shane.
Dan Savage suspects the piece is a parody. But several of his commenters are taking it seriously.
I don’t think it’s parody so much as whimsy. This paragraph convinces me:
We will be silenced by your sexual hubris no longer. There can be no freedom without an end to the tyrannical mediocrity of 69. Let us commit to a new world where this vision can be realized. Working together – but not at exactly the same time – we can achieve it.
I would call this “tongue-in-cheek” in any context less charged.
“I have no axe to grind about the ban on smoking in public places, nor do I resist the shift in social mores that nowadays makes it, oftentimes, a solecism to light up in a private home. Nonetheless I miss smoke; it draped a decent veil across interior vulgarities, while softening our loved ones’ hateful features. Moreover, it was something to look at: its chiffon convolutions and tulle thunderheads made perfectly dull places seem excitingly mysterious. I don’t think the NHS’s smoking cessation schemes make enough of this: what we smokers need to help us kick this obnoxious addiction is a portable son et lumière, not a packet of nicotine gum. Nicotine gum is in fact the spatial inversion of smoking: the gum-chewer, instead of looking out, as the smoker does, on a roiling boiling atmosphere, has his attention driven entirely inward to a dark and claustrophobic space where giant teeth clash and clash again,” – Will Self.
4) Dwight Garner’s Review of The Mockingbird Next Door:
‘”The Mockingbird Next Door’ conjured mostly sad images in my mind. Ms. Lee has a regular booth at McDonald’s, where she goes for coffee. She eats takeout salads from Burger King on movie night. When she fishes, she uses wieners for bait. She feeds the town ducks daily, with seed corn from a plastic Cool Whip Free container, calling “Woo-hoo-HOO! Woo-hoo-HOO!” Somehow learning all this is worse than it would be to learn that she steals money from a local orphanage,” – Dwight Garner, NYT.
(Hat tip: the wonderful Michelle Dean)
“As a friend put it to me: A tattoo isn’t the Word made flesh, but the flesh made word. It may strike old-fashioned types as pedestrian narcissism and adolescent conformity, and sometimes it surely is. But in a deeper and more troubling way, it is canny and subversive artifice, spiced with a moralistic claim to personal liberation. A tattoo is a personal statement but also an anthropological position that accords with the prevailing transvaluations of our time. It’s a wholly successful one, too, judging from the entertainment and sports worlds, and youth culture. With the mainstreaming of tattoos, another factor in the natural order falls away, yet one more inversion of nature and culture, natural law and human desire. That’s not an outcome the rationalizer’s regret. It’s precisely the point,” – Mark Bauerlein.
Browse our Poseur Alert archive here. Last year’s winner is here. Polls will close on Wednesday, December 31, at midnight. Winners will be announced soon after. Be sure to also vote for the rest of our 2014 awards below:
- Beard Of The Year
- Chart Of The Year
- Cool Ad Of The Year
- Face Of The Year
- Hathos Alert Of The Year
- 2014 Malkin Award
- Map Of The Year
- Mental Health Break Of The Year
- Window View Of The Year
- 2014 Yglesias Award
Please note: due to there not being enough nominees this year, we will not be issuing a 2014 Hewitt Award, Moore Award, or Dick Morris Award. Learn more about all our awards here.