As we all know, Washington is a socially conservative and generally boring place to live. Thankfully, the Washington Post's new "Sunday Source" section has come along to save us from the doldrums.
It does this by printing 200-word feature stories that, as far as I can tell, are either written a) entirely by women, or b) by the gayest gay men from the planet Gaylon 12. Last week's section featured articles on both making a pretty customized place mat... for your dog, and how to dress your dog up in sweaters and little booties when it's cold out.
There's also no better place to go for articles on monogramming your tank tops, properly maintaining a fish bowl, throwing a Czech dinner party, and wearing clothing with skull designs on it because that's cool for reals, yo.
Occasionally Sunday Source will try to get you doing something athletic, such as in this article on curling (!), which begins like this: "Ah, curling."
Other times, they'll interview famous people and ask them what they like about D.C. For example, Mandy Moore likes the National Building Museum. Why do I feel stupider now that I know that?
The best/most useless part is the "big table of media stuff that comes out this week", which sadly is not online. They pick one or two titles from various forms of media (movies, books, video games, CDs, etc.) and give a half-sentence summary on why it's good and bad for each, along with a grade. The grades all range from A to B-minus. So presumably B is pretty bad, I guess. Who knows? The reviews only scratch the surface of why something is good/bad, so it's hard to make a judgment on whether it's something you would like.
That's why this TV advertisement (download the Quicktime video) is hilarious.
In the ad, a woman ostensibly named Lory Levitt (whom a Google search reveals may actually be a real person, so sorry for making fun of you) is sitting in her living room drinking a wine glass full of water. The first thing we hear her say is, "My husband says I suffer from TMC: Too Many Crafts." (Yeah, your husband's a dork, lady. So are you.)
Then she explains how the Sunday Source is like her, because it's like the little voice in her head that makes her go out and do new things (but not like the voice that tells her to set fires). As she's saying this, we see a little animation of the Sunday Source being pieced together, including articles on "soccer chic", one called "wash and ride" with a picture of a car wash (whee), one that says "run the rapids!", a syndicated column called "Tell Me About It" (which I've read and is clearly targeted towards retarded people), and the big, exciting feature article on cilantro, which the camera zooms in on until we can see all the little dots that make up the image of the cilantro. The camera loves it some cilantro.
And then, the comedy coup de grace. My wife and I wince every time this comes on the TV, at the moment when Lory utters:
"...whether it's going out to a new restaurant, or going to buy a CD of some group you've never heard of -- but they gave it a B+, so it must be pretty good."
This phrase has become the new comedic phrase that pays in my household. (It replaces yelling "Bad Boys II Soundtrack!" at random intervals, a la "Shake Ya Tailfeather". Thank you, Chingy or whoever, for telling me exactly on which album I can find this song, so that I may run out and buy it. And goodbye, whatever artistic integrity that had remained in rap.)
Anyway, it's funny that this woman would willingly base a CD purchase on the little capsules in Sunday Source, which tell you almost nothing about the music. It probably said, "What you'll like: Andre 3000's shimmy-inducing "Hey Ya"! What you won't: the free-form solos on Disc Two. Grade: B+."
Well, hey, they gave it a B+, so you know it must be pretty good.
Guh. The New York Times this ain't. They should rename it Now That's What I Call Reviews!
Anyway, I implore you to somehow use this rationale in everyday conversation. For example, if you're trying to convince someone to go with you to a movie, restaurant, sex shop, what have you: "Well, Sunday Source gave it a B+, so you know it must be pretty good." That can be your homework assignment while I'm in Vegas this weekend. (Sunday Source gave Vegas a B+, so you know it must be pretty good. See how easy it is?)