“The Approval Matrix” – Common Sense Delivered Weekly

November 10, 2009 § Leave a comment

As soon as I receive my weekly copy of New York Magazine, I have a decision to make: do I go to “The Approval Matrix” first, or, like cream cheese icing on a really good piece of carrot cake, do I leave it to the end?  Yes, for me it is a guilty pleasure.

The magazine describes the Matrix like this: “Our deliberately oversimplified guide to who falls where on our taste hierarchies.”  It covers a wide range of cultural, political, and entertainment topics, some specific to New York, some not,  placing them on a Cartesian plane:

On the X-Axis   Despicable — Brilliant

On the Y-Axis   Highbrow — Lowbrow

Often, I’ll hear a bit of news and think, really, you’ve got to be kidding me.  And further, is it only me that thinks this particular item is completely inane?  Then, I’ll come to find that, no, I’m not the only one who thinks so.  “The Approval Matrix” agrees.  There have been days that I’ve practically cheered out loud (in the privacy of my home) at the breathtakingly refreshing common sense of it.

Take this week, for example, on the Higbrow end of things, straddling the Y-Axis is  “An American wins the NY Marathon” (Brilliant) and “Complaints that the American marathon winner isn’t American enough because he wasn’t born here.  Isn’t that the point of America?” (Despicable).  Perfect sense.  And there’s Lowbrow-Despicable, “Swine-flu pandemic causes first case of actual violence (hair-pulling catfight on the subway), and  Lowbrow-Brilliant, “U2, Mick Jagger, and – really! – Fergie nail ‘Gimme Shelter‘ at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame concert.”  You get the idea.

See for yourself.  At least one of their entries is sure to put a smile on your face.

Saving the world?  Unfortunately, no.  Saving my sanity?  At times, yes.


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