The New York Times is like the prom queen of the media industry: Everyone's interested in it, and everyone loves to put it down. In addition to the blogs that rip apart the Times' news stories and food reviews, there's the deliciously vicious Veiled Conceit (veiledconceit.com), whose only mission is to mock the blue bloods in the Sunday Times' "Weddings and Celebrations" section.
Veiled Conceit dissects the wedding notices for comic potential, seizing on vague mentions of hospital visits, lost weekends and short engagements to concoct hilarious back stories about the lives of the privileged. One of its finest features is "The WASP's Nest," which imagines the awkward dialogue between several recently profiled couples who meet for a fictional brunch.
Snatching laurels from the upper crust and turning them into folly, Veiled Conceit plays a sort of waggish Robin Hood, crusading for the cause of keepin' it real.
Zach Miller, 27 and the creator of Veiled Conceit, is a former New Yorker who moved to Chicago last year. He can't reveal his occupation because his employer prohibits blogging, but he says he doesn't work in the media. I read your blog but not the Times' wedding notices. Is that wrong?
A lot of people do that. I think there are two camps: the people who come because they always read the announcements, and the people who just find the blog funny.
Why do you find the Weddings section amusing?
Because of the superficiality and the excess of the announcements. Some of these people, with their mutated genetic histories, are, by definition, absurd. Also, the nature of the announcement itself is that they identify only the superficial things that aren't meaningful. Like if you say that someone studied at Oxford, you're supposed to think a certain way about a person.
Are some people harder to make fun of than others?
One thing I didn't anticipate is that there have been some major re-orientations of the type of couples they select. They are trying to make it more accessible for people who aren't rock stars or the Vanderbilts. It gets especially difficult in the winter months.
Because the winter people are rather normal and approachable. There aren't as many society people who are having an outdoor wedding on their parents' estate or at a rented place in the Hamptons. When it's warmer, the elite come out of the woodwork.
How does a person get into the Weddings section?
You apply, and the Times has firm rules for being picked. The one noteworthy requirement for photos is that the eyebrows must be aligned, and it's funny to see the photos where people have clearly gone to a lot of trouble to make that happen.
So people who apply are kind of vain?
Yeah. Sometimes I feel bad and question the value of this blog, but then I remember that they did apply, after all. I try to keep it at a schoolyard level of teasing and not impugn something that would be really meaningful to someone - unless a person is particularly loathsome.
Who's someone that was loathsome?
There was a guy who played guitar and sang a song he wrote for his bride called "I Didn't Count on Crazy." He was bad.
Have any of your subjects ever written you?
Yes. Generally, they are very good-humored. Sometimes they'll answer a rhetorical question I asked in a post. The few who complained said they got teased at work, so I took the post down. As soon as I did, they were very kind about it, which maybe says something about my uninformed judgment of these people.
Does the Times know about your blog?
I'm sure they do, but they've never contacted me. I think the Style section editors want to stay in their citadel. They are intentionally cloaked in obscurity.
Do you have any other blogs?
No, but I did have an April Fool's Day joke plan to make one called "The O-beyatch-uaries," where I would make fun of the obits. The idea is I'd write a fake obit and then skewer it. But I totally forgot to do it. Maybe next year.
What's your writing background?
I've done a lot of writing through school, but I've never tried to be published or write for a magazine. But I write pretty good e-mails to my friends.
In a word:Sardonic
E-candy for:People who weren't in the popular group in high school
In sum:Blog lampoons The New York Times Weddings/Celebrations section and the couples featured there
This blog as a person:High-society skeptic Oscar Wilde
Sample topics:Limericks written in honor of a new bride whose name is Ling-Ling Hu Ingerick. A fictional brunch conversation between a gay couple, a white-bread couple, a humorless academic couple and a regular couple, all recently featured in the Times.
Classic post:"Despite her resemblance to Jasmine Guy, both the bride and groom seem like perfectly reasonable, nice, and normal people. This being said, his pointy sideburns are relentless and jarring, almost taunting you as they cling to his head like the talons of some prehistoric 'carefully tousled hair' bird." (Jan. 4, 2006)
Updates:Once or twice a week
Writing:Smart and totally hilarious (and occasionally profane)