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Delight in disgusting ‘70s designs

"Interior Desecrations" recalls disastrous designs of the '70s. (Knight-Ridder / The Spokesman-Review)
Ellen Henderson

What it is: “Interior Desecrations” ($23.95, Crown) is a new book – with an accompanying Web site at institute/interiors/ – from master of mockery James Lileks, whose Institute of Official Cheer has long been a favorite Internet destination.

What it’s all about: Lileks’ 2001 release, “The Gallery of Regrettable Food,” featured his dryly entertaining commentary on gasp-inducing recipes and food products of bygone eras (boiled cow elbow with plaid sauce, anyone?). In “Desecrations,” Lileks, a columnist for Minneapolis’ Star Tribune, turns his acerbic wit on what is, admittedly, a fairly easy target – interior design from the 1970s.

Why we like it: Yes, it’s true – anyone can poke fun at the overgrown shag carpets and unadvisable Earth tone combinations of the ‘70s, but can they do it as delightfully as Lileks? Doubtful. The Web site alone, which contains only bonus material not included in the printed book, has enough laughs to keep you occupied during a work-time break (sample commentary: “This appears to be a work of art based on the butts of three shaved cats,” or “This is a teenaged girl’s room. Toss a modern Goth chick in here and she’d dissolve on contact.”), and it’s scheduled for weekly updates with new hilarities. The hardback book would make an ideal coffee table conversation-starter – or the perfect gift for the person who can’t quite recall what was so bad about the decade of disco and distasteful design.

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