LATELY — 16 December 2005

DOs and DON'Ts redux

So, I bought Vice’s “DOs and DON’Ts” book yesterday. The DOs and DON’Ts are some­thing to study & admire, I think: so very original, consistent, distinctive, funny, controlled. From the Preface you learn that: (a) they’re all written by the same guy; and (b) he will some­times (I was won­der­ing this…) “stick a DO in the DON’Ts because we have too many DOs that month.” (“Like I put this Lizard Man in the DON’Ts even though I think it’s pretty ballsy to become a freak for life like that. He covered his whole body in green scale tattoos and split his tongue down the center and I’m calling that a fashion faux pas? Often there’s no dif­fer­ence between DOs and DON’Ts. It’s just what­ever works better.”)

One of my favourite ever DOs:

“When you rate girls from 1 to 10 on the street you’re allowed to play with the per­son­al­ity a bit. Like, if you see a 7 go by you can pretend she has a huge record col­lec­tion and can play the piano and that then makes her an 8. Of course, when you see a 9 and she has weird tattoos and boots like these, you don’t have to fill in the blanks. You are looking at a moth­er­fuck­ing 10 and that happens about twice a year–at the most.” (v. 2 n. 7.)

Only the winner of Vice’s recent caption contest got any­where close to the Vice house style. But even the winner’s entry didn’t seem quite right. The­mat­i­cally and “narratively” (is that a word? I’m not getting spelling mistake underlines) it’s spot-on, but three ex­cla­ma­tion marks? Mothers who swear?