“The Antipod” in the New York Times Magazine

Posted by Maximum Fun on 12th August 2008


Rob Walker writes my favorite New York Times column, “Consumed” in the Sunday Magazine. Each week, he looks at a consumer and marketing phenomenon; this week’s it’s Zune.

Rob and I have corresponded since I emailed him a couple years ago about how much I like the column, and when he was prepping for this one, someone mentioned to him what big Zune fans Jordan and I are. He gave me a call, and the final result was probably my most important contribution to American culture thus far: getting the phrase “rocket up your Zunehole” printed in the Newspaper of Record. I’m really grateful that Rob took the time to accurately and reasonably affect my feelings about Zunes. Here’s what he wrote:

But the most salient feature of the Zune seems to be that it’s not an iPod. Jesse Thorn, host of the public-radio show (and popular podcast) “The Sound of Young America,” is a Zune proponent, praising, for instance, its ability to sync wirelessly with a computer. Plus he was able to update his first-generation Zune with the improved software and firmware designed for the newer version — in contrast to Apple’s charging iPod Touch owners for upgrades, he makes a point of saying. Turns out Thorn has always resisted buying an iPod, having been put off initially by the price and later by the ever-growing number of “self-satisfied people carrying a ubiquitous object.” That sounds hostile, but Thorn is actually quite good-humored. On “Jordan Jesse Go,” another (less formal) podcast he co-hosts, he and his friend Jordan Morris regularly joke about the song-swap feature, inventing the term “rocket up your Zunehole” to describe the practice. Thorn also seems to take pleasure in examples of product-design oddities, like the inclusion of brown among the device’s first-generation color choices.

Here’s the piece.