Barely Legally

Confessions of a Moot Court Bailiff

Wire, Cut Thyself

Doug Van Hollen is of two minds about Wirecutter:

At first, I felt that this was the greatest website I’ve ever seen, and possibly the greatest service that the Internet has ever done to humanity (or at least capitalism). It was like Consumer Reports, except free and on an angel dust-Adivan cocktail (most reviews clock in at over 10,000 words). And the reviews are actually good. We bought our washer/dryer, dish soap, paper towels, and cheap earbuds based entirely on Wirecutter’s recommendation, and they have all been flawless decisions. And, best of all, decisions that I didn’t have to make. […]

But then I noticed the downside. I looked around my life and I saw all the things that I’d already bought, in the past, without the help of Wirecutter. These garbage products consumed without even three thousand words of testing and analysis. […]

I started to purge, at random, whatever was within arm’s reach.

The whole thing is very funny and very smart. He somehow simultaneously skewers both the fetishization and eschewal of the Platonic ideals which consumerism implies. And the whole concept of an “ideal paper towel” itself. It’s beautiful. But the single best part is that his primary target appears to be his own neurosis, which is also pretty much my neurosis.