September 6, 2010

"Cafes... have always been venues for conspicuous contemplation... places to read Camus’ most obscure collections of essays, places to doodle evocatively in your large Moleskin notebook."

Free WiFi users wreck the hip LoFi ambiance of the coffeehouse in Greg Beato's brain.

Blackbird Parlour
(Photo by John Althouse Cohen)

13 comments:

shoutingthomas said...

Sometimes, Ann, you are just too Stuff White People Like.

A moleskin notebook?

lyssalovelyredhead said...

This is probably a really dumb question, but is moleskin actually made of the skin of moles, or is it just a term? I've never been clear on it. Either way, it seems like a gross descripter.

Dave in Tucson said...

One would think a web site taking the name 'thesmartset' would know that it's Moleskine.

the tiniest, dingiest laundromat in the neighborhood displays a similar [Free WiFi] notice in its smudgy front window.

Don't hold back, tell us how you really feel (Jeeze--what a bunch of snobs)

Ann Althouse said...

"Sometimes, Ann, you are just too Stuff White People Like."

Is that supposed to mean I'm laughing at Beato or not?

Ann Althouse said...

"This is probably a really dumb question, but is moleskin actually made of the skin of moles..."

It's actually made of the skin of moles!

shoutingthomas said...

No offense meant, Ann.

Your SWPL stuff is charming.

I don't know. Are you laughing?

tim maguire said...

Someone gave me a Moleskine notebook recently. The tabbed categories are so dumb I can't imagine anyone putting it to its designed use. (Facilities, Sights, People, Food, Bed, for real.)

It's a nice little notebook that I try to think of useful things to do with, but I just can't. Facilities? Bed?!?

John Stodder said...

Hell, I don't mind all the wi-fi enabled customers at Starbucks interacting with their friends online instead of me -- in fact, I prefer it! But what's really wrong with free wi-fi is that it has in effect given people permission to set up small businesses in a favorite chair inside the store. I wouldn't even mind that, if the small business merely involved interacting and reading on the Web. But no. My local, beach-adjacent, formerly charming Starbucks is now the business address of a Bible-quoting pseudo-rock-and-roller with a small "roadie" briefcase, two computers going simultaneously and clients who visit him and talk loudly about Jesus, the Web and making money. His daily rent is one cup of coffee, which apparently allows him to stay all day and into the night. The management seems to tolerate this loudmouth jerk, but they've lost me. This Starbucks used to be a respite for a couple of homeless people, which made it a little skeevier than most due to the body odor, but the homeless guys are benign compared to this Christian exhibitionist entrepreneur with long blonde hair and a Marc Bolan hat.

Eventually, all Starbucks will have their variation of this character. Free wi-fi was a mistake.

HDHouse said...

it is usually made of cotton - almost always now.

ironrailsironweights said...

Hotels are the main exception to the free WiFi trend, they all seem to charge exorbitant prices.

Peter

Shanna said...

I noticed that they had free wifi at Chick Filet the other day! And it was really nice inside! I know they have it at McD's too but who wants to sit at Mcdonalds with your laptop? I guess it would be nice if you were on a long drive, because it would be easy to find.

Reading Camus and doodling in your Moleskin notebook? That was an insult, right?

ricpic said...

The place where I eat breakfast most mornings is a cafe, but it's pretty downscale, a cafe in a supermarket. Anyway, there is one old dude, a regular, who is always scribbling away like mad in his notebook. There must be anywhere from 5 to 10 customers with their faces glued to their laptops (that doesn't sound right but it'll have to do). All the rest are sitting around kibbitzing. I'm one of the few paper readers. Writing down deep or not so deep thoughts and reading the morning paper are fading fast as cafe occupations. Sigh.

rhhardin said...

I have notebook volume after volume of hand-copied Derrida, in fact done at lunch counters as well as the usual library.

It's a technique to slow you down.