The New York Times Has a Really Kooky Boner for Curation Wizard Maria Popova

The New York Times has a fairly lengthy profile of the 28-year-old former recreational bodybuilder, University of Pennsylvania graduate, and "mastermind," Maria Popova.

For those who don't know Popova, she's the creator of a blog called Brain Pickings, a place where one can find a splattering of posts that intend to inspire said reader with a bunch of quotes from old books and vintage pictures.

It's like Buzzfeed, but boring.

Popova entered the news earlier this year when she created the Internet's worst thing ever: the Curator's Code. It's a set of rules and standards for attributing information on the web. There are symbols like "↬" and "ᔥ" involved. It's terrible and developer/writer Matt Langer sufficiently skewered her for it at the time.

The Times is obsessed with her, natch. Let's examine the evidence and look at all of the self-indulgent stuff she says.

Her exhaustively assembled grab bag of scientific curiosities, forgotten photographs, snippets of old love letters and mash notes to creativity - imagine the high-mindedness of a TED talk mixed with the pop sensibility of P. T. Barnum

TED talks are circus-like enough, thank you very much.

Exactly 70 minutes later, she returns to her modest one-bedroom apartment to write a brief essay about Freud and daydreaming, file her thrice-daily blog entries and schedule her regimen of 50 Twitter messages a day. She does this while balancing on a wobble board.

Writing three blog entries a day, especially when they're made up of "curated" content is not impressive at all. Also, she sits on a wobble board.

"I try to sit still when I work, but my mind goes spiraling elsewhere," she said in a mild Slavic accent reminiscent of Bond girls in the 1970s. "When my body is moving, it's almost like it takes the wind out of this mental spinning, and I'm able to focus."

Emphasis ours. This phrasing is something straight out of a baby boomer's wet dream.

"I realized a lot of what I do is organizational, almost like a Dewey Decimal System for the Web."

There is no section of Brain Pickings that deals with Goatse. Until she has that, her library is completely useless.

While still a student, she was working part time at an advertising firm in 2005, when a colleague sent around an e-mail with clippings of rivals' work to inspire the team.

Ms. Popova thought it was the wrong way to spur imagination, so she told her boss she would begin sending around her own inspirational e-mail regularly.

"Hi, yeah it's Maria. Did you get that email? Yeah, so NOT inspiring. Who does she think she is, Maria Popova?"

In some ways, this reflects her personal style: she favors simple black clothes, highlighted by playful yellow accessories, including a yellow Lego ring and yellow clogs. Her apartment is filled with yellow boxing gloves, a yellow fire extinguisher and a giant yellow Lego piece.

And jars of urine. Jars and jars of urine filled with bright yellow urine are left all around her house for all to see.

The woman who rails against her contemporaries for turning their backs on old books said she had no interest in writing one. "That's such an antiquated model of thinking," she said. "Why would I want to write something that's going to have the shelf life of a banana?"

Also, books require a lot more than just aggregating content, so that's probably why she does not want to write one.

Instead, she is committed to the Internet. "So much of what the Web is presenting lowers people down," she said. "What Paris Hilton ate for breakfast"; by contrast, the vast majority of its gems remain untapped.

If you know what Paris Hilton ate for breakfast please get in touch. It would inspire the crap out of me.

↬ NYT [Image via Twitter]