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Ben Greenman's Match Preview

Brooklynites

Welcome to today’s Layer Tennis competition. I’m your color commentator, Ben Greenman. The colors I will be using will be black and white and, occasionally, red.

Today's competitors are the designers Armin Vit and Sam Potts. Both are Brooklynites, as am I, which means that this entire match will be played in a small apartment overlooking Prospect Park and then disseminated throughout cyberspace. I will introduce the participants in reverse alphabetical order. Mr. Vit co-founded Under Consideration and runs the influential design sites Speak Up and Brand New, and last year he waged a fierce design battle against the Canadian designer Marian Bantjes. The rules prohibit me from disclosing the winner of that competition, but suffice it to say that design troops were massed in Blaine, Washington, armed and at the ready. Mr. Potts is a newcomer to design tennis, and in fact to tennis of all kinds. We sent an intern over to explain it to him and he kept saying "What the eff is mini-deuce?" Oddly enough, it is rumored that he is good at ping-pong.

Prior to today's competition, we flipped a coin, not for any particular reason. Then, about an hour later, we flipped a coin to determine who would go first in today's match, and Mr. Vit won. That means he'll go first. I'll be sitting here in this tiny Brooklyn apartment, scrutinizing their work, now and again checking in with pertinent and incisive commentary.

Oh, one more thing. As is custom in these parts, we offered the two designers an opportunity to talk trash to each other. Mr. Vit seized the reins, even though he was also set to go first in the competition--a true trash-talker doesn't worry about things like politeness. "Clearly, as someone that speaks both English and Spanish, along with 10 or 13 words of Hebrew, I have the upper hand," he said, sticking his tongue out at Potts. "I also have an iPhone. Do YOU have an iPhone, Sam?"

Mr. Potts riposted: "Oh, if you want to base this match on language, sir, I beg you to bring it on! I will remind you that I hold a BA in the liberal arts! I DO have an iPhone but I'll tell you what I DON'T have: parental obligations. No getting up in the middle of the match for walksies or bum-bums and all that business. No naptime over here!"

Then, Mr. Vit played the virility card: "Poopie diapers are known to enhance creativity. Another advantage I have is that I can grow much more convincing facial hair." The man can breed. The man can beard. But can he design? We will see. Enjoy the Vit-Potts fireworks.

Ben Greenman is an editor at the New Yorker and the author of several acclaimed books of fiction, including Superbad, A Circle is a Balloon and Compass Both, and Correspondences. His novel Please Step Back, about a funk-rock star of the 1960s, is coming in May. He also composes current-events musicals and writes a regular column at the music/psychology blog Moistworks.


Play by play commentary for this match is provided, as it happens, by Ben Greenman.

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