Imagine what it must be like to be the editor of globalism's Rain Man, Thomas Friedman. Your job, ostensibly, is to hammer this man's prose into some semblance of logical readability, and yet he has built a fabulously lucrative career on his total lack of logic, readability, or, really, variety of any kind. Clearly, his editors have now made the only sensible choice: "Eh, just put that shit right in the paper exactly how he typed it on his Blackberry." (*Big shot of heroin*)
Chalk one up for middle-aged mundanity over the edgy glamour of youth. Disney will pay around $40 million for Babble Media, the oft-maligned blogging hub for hipster parents, sources tell Business Insider. Disney will also onboard Babble's founders, whose hyperliterate porn mag Nerve was a critical smash but never very financially successful.
Faced with looming ovary-shrivel in her late 30s, Colette Labouff Atkinson opted to finish her manuscript instead of using her creative energies to pop out a baby, she writes in an essay today on Babble. Fair enough! She even got a card from a friend: "Congratulations! It's a book!" Heh. Just one thing, though: where's Colette's book baby now? The internet doesn't seem to have heard of it, and there are no deals listed on Publisher's Marketplace. Maybe she put it up for adoption.
So Nerve—which used to be a sleek sexy magazine, and then split off a company that ran personal ads, and is also a place that gets snippy every time we mention them, by the way—is now all about the fetus and the newly post-fetal. It began with their new site Babble, "the magazine and community for the new urban parent," which I'm sure would make my mom, the old urban parent, stab someone if she saw it. But now it seems there's money in them thar baby bumps! Their celebrity baby blog FameCrawler is up and live. Nerve: They are New York. They went from screwing to breeding but like totally kept that edgy 'tude. Just like Amy Sohn! Also Drool.icio.us is their blog for "the top million baby products," if you were in need of a $390 crib in environmentally-safe fabrics or whatever. Not a good site for bitter childless fags to visit, apparently. For them, I hear, it can be a real downer.
Hey, do you have a burning question along the lines of "How do I best indoctrinate my son into good music? Do you have recommendations for good starter music? When is it too early to take a baby to see The Arcade Fire or Wilco?" Ask America's premiere hip-parenting expert Neal Pollack! His advice column, "Ask Alternadad," can be found on new parenting-blog agglomeration Offsprung, which is sort of like Babble, except it's not called Babble. Offsprung's slogan is "Your life didn't end when you became a parent." Heh. Oh, and for the record, here's Neal's deeply considered answer to the question above: "As far as music goes, Elijah received a heavy diet of punk rock early on, but that's because I was researching a book about the history of punk and playing in a band myself. While there's still plenty of rock in my rotation, I often spend the day listening to nothing but Miles Davis. Hell, I get excited when the theme to The Rockford Files comes up in my ITunes shuffle." Great advice.
Mad at the fancy strollers jamming up your sidewalk? Blame those damn babies and their fertility doctors, sure, but also blame Dutch designer Max Barenbrug, who invented the $800 Bugaboo. He doesn't think he did anything wrong, though. Today he refutes BusinessWeek's assertion that the uber-cool, all-terrain stroller is "the Mercedes-Benz of strollers: practical, built like a tank, and very expensive."
You know, we've been on the fence for a while about Babble. We mean, do 'cool, urban' parents really need another venue in which to, um, babble about their kids' precocity? They've already got Child, Cookie, and New York Magazine! But can you imagine any of those publications thoughtfully and unpuritanically answering a question from a pregnant mom who signs her letter "Sick of Being Smokeless"? Rebecca Odes and Ceridwen Morris don't come up with a conclusive answer—in fact, it seems that there kinda isn't one—but they also don't shilly shriek about the effect that a few morning-sickness-supressing tugs on, say, a vaporizer might have on a developing fetus. Thanks, Babble—we think we might be able to someday bear children after all!
Just How Dangerous Is Smoking Pot While Pregnant? [Babble]
Tattooed East Village gal-writer J. L. Scott has an odd confession to make. Though she's single and kid-free at the ripe old age of 25—just two years before fertility begins to decline, she reminds us!—she still spends some of her "down time" at work getting all caught up in the parental dramas of people she doesn't know in the Midwest. "My favorite is Amber. She's my age, has two children and lives in the Midwest ... One of my other single-girl friends is obsessed with parenting blogs too, and we call each other if Amber's daughter has missed a developmental milestone." What a bizarre weirdo J. L. is, we thought, all judgmental-like. And then we realized that we were reading Babble.
More in the "a generation of self-consumed male hipsters have suddenly discovered parenthood, and we'll be forced to listen to them for years on end" department: did you know that author Steve Almond, formerly content merely to sit back and vindictively sling mud at bloggers, now has a pro blog of his very own? It's on new Nerve spinoff site Babble, and it's exactly as self-conscious and caught up in the tired 'bragging about how cool I used to be and now I'm not, but it's ok because parenthood is a Higher Calling than coolness' thing as you'd expect it to be. Witness this scintillating tidbit: "So I guess that's what we're doing: we're enjoying this time. Not doing much work. Not going out at all. Just sitting around worshipping our kid. It rules."
We're excited to start reading Nerve publisher Rufus Griscom (center)'s offshoot parenting web magazine, Babble, because it is obviously going to be sooo awesome. Just like Nerve, it aims to appeal to that elusive "urban hipster" readership. ("It's a very valuable psychographic in that the urban hipster lifestyle is something that a lot of people aspire to, even if they don't technically live it," says a marketing exec quoted in the article) and to shatter taboos. Like, for instance, the taboo around being a decent fucking human being: