Links to Lileks

  By Shamus   Jun 7, 2007   14 comments

Back in 1999, I was a 3d modeler / texture mapping artist. I wasn’t particularly talented. I’m still not. I just don’t have a lot of artistic style, but I made up for it with raw technical knowledge and a Jedi-Master level command of shortcut keys. Sometimes I’d get an assignment to to something that required a bit more art than I had to give. At one point I needed to come up with some realistic domestic scenery: Houses, interiors, and whatnot. I wasn’t sure where to begin.

I turned to Google Image Search, looking for stuff on interior design. I was hoping for some sort of crash-course on home interiors. Instead I found James Lileks’ Interior Desecrators and I blew the next hour or so of work surfing around his site and laughing. Eventually I stumbled on his blog (although I don’t think I knew the word “blog” at the time) and I’ve been reading The Bleat ever since. He’s a newspaper columnist. He’s not as funny as Dave Barry, but that’s like saying he’s poorer than Sheik Al-Mufar Petrol III and he’s not quite as focused as Batman. There are worse faults a man can have. Anyway, I love his work.

I even subscribed to the on-line portion of his newspaper Star Tribune, just so I could read his column there. A couple of years ago they cut his already-meager newspaper column down, and what was once a “fun size” bag of Fritos became A Frito, singular. He was the only reason I visited their site, and sometimes they couldn’t give the guy enough space to sum up the plot to an episode of Full House. It seemed silly to me, but then I’m half a country away and not exactly their target audience. Maybe they didn’t care if I was reading or not.

Then some sort of buyout happened, and they took Lileks away from his Quirky Column duties and were going to make him a reporter. A recorder. A summerizer of events. A job that, by its very definition, precludes the making of ironic observations or the spouting of witticisms. This is like giving James Earl Jones a job as a movie theater projectionist. Sure, I bet he could do it, but aren’t there better things you could have this guy do?

The news spread on the internet, and There Was An Outcry. As with most outcries on the internet, there really weren’t any instances of anyone crying out, but I was vaguely aware that some people got mad and blogged about it.

The paper has changed their minds. They have decided to pay Lileks to blog. Here.

From his debut post:

Hello everyone: I’m the new Buzz.mn content-wrangler. I’d say “editor,” but to me, the words “James Lileks, Editor” look like “Wile E. Coyote, Genius.”

Do give it a look. Maybe say hi. The site even has open(ish) comments, which is pretty cutting-edge thing for a newspaper site to do.

1414 comments. (Fourteen is the sum of the first three squares.)


  1. Knight says:

    Heh. Pretty good reading, I’ll have to keep an eye on this one.

  2. TJIC says:

    I have it on good authority that Lileks will be beginning another simultaneous gig at yet another website, in about three weeks.

  3. Shamus says:

    TJIC: Looking forward to hearing more about that. Thanks.

  4. Oleyo says:

    i am sure you have seen most of Lilek’s site, but there is one part that I found really great. He takes an old four frame detective “comic” and extrapolates an entire story based on the three or four sentences therein. What is really clever is that he used it as a sort of writing exercise, and gave himself something like a half hour to write it all with no editing. It is really funny the way he creates personality and background for the characters who were meant to be thrown away.

    Anyone interested in writing or who just enjoys clever writing should check it out:

    http://www.lileks.com/comics/lance/index.html

  5. General Ghoul says:

    4 Oleyo Says:
    June 7th, 2007 at 9:42 am

    Anyone interested in writing or who just enjoys clever writing should check it out:…

    I find it unusual that Shamus appears in this comic about possible lesbians.

    http://www.lileks.com/comics/lance/11.html

  6. datarat says:

    I’ve also been a fan of Lileks for some time (though not as long as you). I’m interested to see where this goes.

    Also, my local paper, freep.com and detnews.com has open comments on their articles. Generally any subject can become a cesspool of vindictiveness and rhetoric in a matter of minutes. It makes me sad.

  7. Telas says:

    I just checked out the Interior Desecrations site, and I’m about to crack a rib from trying not to laugh out loud at work.

    I’m 40. I remember this crap. Yes, it was that bad, and yes, it was frakkin’ everywhere.

  8. It’s been a while now, but I used to read his site. It’s always a good laugh, and for me a good way to learn complicated english… (he is a contortionist with sentences sometimes.)

  9. Rich says:

    With all due respect. IMHO Lileks is very funny. But Dave Barry? Meh. Like I said, just one man’s opinion.

  10. Doug Brown says:

    I was going to comment here before, and after your latest post, feel obligated to say it now:

    I have noticed that, even with the commonness of vitriol around the internet, the sites that I visit daily are the ones that are written by decent, humane, kind-seeming people. People like Lileks. And you.

    So, chin up! If you quit (or cut back), the terrorists win.

  11. Sartorius says:

    Saying that Lileks is not as funny as Dave Barry is like saying that John Cleese is not as funny as Chris Farley. It depends upon what you like, I guess.

  12. Ryan says:

    Wow. People really CANNOT stop with the nitpicking and being contrary even after a request (command?) to end it.

  13. Jaquandor says:

    I’ve never much liked Lileks, but even with newspapers cutting corners as much as humanly possible making the termination of a local humor columnist pretty much inevitable, this seems like a good compromise to keep him aboard.

  14. Jimmy says:

    > Wow. People really CANNOT stop with the nitpicking and
    > being contrary even after a request (command?) to end it.

    Yes, they can. They simply choose not to.

    (sorry, I couldn’t resist)

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