Wednesday, June 30, 2004

Hey Now!

TAKE THAT, CLEAR CHANNEL: Stern is holding a press conference now to announce that he's adding nine markets, going back on in many of the markets where Clear Channel pulled him -- including swing-state Florida -- and adding new markets. He's still talking about going to satellite when his contract is up in 18 months and he's still saying that if large personal fines are signed into law by Bush, he will just play music and shut up. But in the meantime, Viacom has shown its support -- and balls -- adding stations for Stern.

(thanks to Jeff Jarvis and Gawker)

Tuesday, June 29, 2004

One More Than Four

1) John Basedow



Fitness Made Simple's ubiquitous pitchman, in all his greased, hairless, pulsating glory, may just be the scariest human(?) in the "As Seen on TV" universe.

2) Sob Stories (Where did you sleep last night?)

Last week, we were asked to believe that Bill Clinton was forced to sleep on the couch post Hillary learning of Lewinsky. The leader of the free world's just like you and me! The White House is a one bedroom! (the view's what really sells it) Who knew? Now that lie's just lazy (but again proves the man knows his audience and how low their standards remain).

Mike Tyson (he of the recent and likely expensive face tattoo) now claims he's living on the streets, like a "bum" (this is a remark on his finances, not his character, mind you). Tyson is $38.4 million in debt (with a potential subtraction of $14 million, magnanimously offered by Don King, who'll likely then steal it all back). He plans to fight in seven bouts over the next few years to pay the rest off, maybe with another filmic abortion by James Toback thrown in to help out.

If Plan A flops, Plan B may take place under the freeway overpass (handjees, $25...blowjees, $40...novelty tattoo facials, $50...ear biting, punchline).

3) The Ride Home

The District Attorney's office to the Sherman Oaks compound. The 5 to the 405. 20-30 minutes to unclog my mind of case numbers, defendants, court dates, and criminal code. iPod mix: Sam Phillips "One Day Late," Doves "There Goes the Fear," Elliott Smith "Pretty (Ugly Before)," Gorillaz "19-2000," John Lennon "Look At Me," Jon Brion "Trouble," and half of Rufus Wainwright "Go or Go Ahead." Previous days: hearing "The Lullabye of Broadway" on 570 AM (Dean Martin...I think) and imagining an opening credit sequence with the song to an Altman-esque take on New York theater: byzantine affairs, lovers leaving bedrooms and apartments to avoid the person likely to occupy the space in bed they've just left warm, walking down empty city streets, early in the morning, bracing against chilled morning air, indulgent acting classes bent on finding and expressing tastes, early morning dance classes, sets being built, etc.

or...

A gossip columnist/journalist (think Mastroiani in La Dolce Vita) in love with a dancer in an opera. Dance studio. Columnist sings "In An Operetta" (Magnetic Fields, I) to friend, maybe dance class instructor. Female part sung by dancers as they stretch and move together. Focus on one he loves.

4) 'Natti (Birthday with the rentals)

Thursday...Mets v. Reds (probables: Leiter v. Acevedo). Friday...Bill Cosby beloved ribs at The Montgomery Inn. Monday...I age.

Overall, four days off from work. Huzzah!

5) Philip Baker Hall



On last night's episode of IFC's Dinner for Five, Hall explained that reading P.T.'s Cigarettes and Coffee back in the day, was like getting a new script by Eugene O'Neill or Shakespeare. He gushed further.

Monday, June 28, 2004

Not Fake

Title: Snakes on a Plane
Log line: An assassin unleashes lethal snakes aboard a packed passenger jet over the Pacific Ocean in order to eliminate a witness in protective custody. The rookie pilot and frightened passengers must band together to survive.
Writer: John Heffernan and David Loucka (The Dream Team, Eddie)
Agent: Ben Smith of ICM (Heffernan) and Matt Leipzig of Original Artists (Loucka)
Buyer: New Line Cinema
Price: n/a
Genre: Thriller
Logged: 6/28/04
More: C/W Productions' Don Granger will produce. Ronny Yu (Freddy vs. Jason, Bride of Chucky) will direct. Project was originally set up at MTV Films.

Sunday, June 27, 2004

Report: Pier and New Fetch Boyf Spotted at Hot Topic

Also, from Cosmo Girl:

"FroYo

Is there anything more pleasant than frozen yogurt with oreo bits mixed in on a mildly hot summer sunday afternoon?

The answer is no."

**UPDATE** Pier and fetch boyf part of search team, canvassing "cute" nature for lost bears and lost sense of humor...Correction, search parties not for bears, but for new story. New story found. Search party called off.

Speaking of Hitler/Nazi Analogies

There's this.

Quote of the Day

"But can't nobody [mess] with me. I'm like toilet paper, Pampers and toothpaste. I'm definitely proven to be effective." - Shaquille "Forget Tony Danza, I'm the Boss" O'Neal

The Particulars

Pier mentioned an interest in the services of one of the many hookers that apparently parade their wears up and down Curson. If you lived in Manhattan (and I wouldn't be too surprised if some up and coming, Fleiss wannabe has something like this in L.A.), you'd have a wealth of options:

Think of the services offered by this Manhattan-based companionship agency as being akin to the differences between getting a cup of coffee from the corner deli and a double-shot grande decaf soy latte from somewhere else: "If a Member Client will only see a French speaking German, who's taller than 5' 6" but shorter than him, and who wears her hair in a pixie cut, a pencil skirt on her hips and a French cuffed blouse—and who smokes—well, that's who and what he'll see. Right down to the brand of cigarette." If only ordering coffee were so easy.

Check it here.

(Thanks to Gawker by way of Fleshbot.)

Fuck you, Fuck you, You're Cool, I'm Out

Shaq makes it clear. He wants out. As has been stated in multiple publications, there aren't too many places he could go. Dallas is the most likely with a package, maybe, of Nash, Finley, Podkolzin, and either Marquis Daniels or Josh Howard but, according to most reports, the Lakers are insisting on a package built around Nowitzki. Then there's Indiana which is basically the same deal, with the Pacers offering a package featuring Artest and Al Harrington, but hesitant to include Jermaine O'Neal. Now if neither of these suitors can win the sweepstakes, there's Sacramento as a longshot with some kind of Bibby/Stojakovic/Miller package which makes less sense than the above two. Shaq's been very close to Jerry West his entire career which makes Memphis the darkhorse favorite in all this, with Pau Gasol and Stromile Swift being the likely centerpieces of the package. None of this makes any sense and trading Shaq is just about the dumbest thing I've ever heard of, but, hey, it's the Lakers, so, fuck 'em. The only way trading Shaq makes sense is if you trade him to the Knicks. Well, that at least makes sense to me.

Sausage Fest Over

Jessica joins the blogging ranks.

Saturday, June 26, 2004

Ben Continues to Fret

Jay's still missing.

LOL

From Defamer:

Whatever drugs the doctors have prescribed for her ailing knee have finally kicked in, as ETonline reports that Britney Spears is now engaged to her dancer boyfriend/tattoo BFF, Kevin Federline. We're, like, totally on IM with all of our bestest friends, reveling in the happy news! Check out this excerpt from the official Gawker Media AIM window:

thedefamer: OMG, ROTFHTGWKMBTHK!

gawkbox: Totally!

[Ed. note: Translation: Oh my god, rolling on the floor, hoping that God will kill me before they have kids!]

Seersucker

Wonkette reports. Did Santorum and Frist tie the knot? Are the bed sheets in their honeymoon suite now stained with santorum?

Ad Update

The ever-changing ads atop this blog are givin me the look, like they wanna go back to my apartment and make out. Knicks tickets and Knicks news. Not too shabby, ads. You know how to get in my pants.

Another One Bites the Dust

Tom joins in on the fun.

Template Change!

Ye olde template got boring.

In the spirit...

...of Josh's Muniz/Lohan argument, there's this from
You Can't Make It Up.

Oh, and in the spirit of linking fellow blogspot blogs (by people I don't know...or who are dead), Martin Van Buren has a blog.

Docs

Head over here (you may have to register with the Times to read it, but registration, as you likely well know, is free) and read up on the forthcoming Kerry doc by lifelong friend George Butler (Pumping Iron).

And in other doc news...$8.2 million on Friday.

Friday, June 25, 2004

NY Post Headlines

JERKY JUDGE, UH, POUNDED THE GAVEL IN COURT

You can see the article here.

Elvis Out, Manohla In?

According to the LA Weekly, L.A. Times film critic Manohla Dargis is headed to the gray lady to replace the already departed Elvis Mitchell.

Thursday, June 24, 2004

Denied

Pier, Ben, and I were far back in line for tonight's advanced test screening of The Life Aquatic. Alas, by the time we were reached, our demographic was no longer necessary. Pier expresses my sentiments exactly.

Clarke

I made the mistake of visiting HowardStern.com tonight. Howard has Michael Moore on tomorrow (sorry, Pier) and the site touched on the Richard Clarke/Bin Laden family flights controversy (a key topic of Moore's new opus). Now, here's Hitchens:

"In the interval between Moore's triumph at Cannes and the release of the film in the United States, the 9/11 commission has found nothing to complain of in the timing or arrangement of the flights. And Richard Clarke, Bush's former chief of counterterrorism, has come forward to say that he, and he alone, took the responsibility for authorizing those Saudi departures."

Now, here is Clarke's 9/11 Commission testimony:

Part A is where do we go in this difficult relationship? And part B is to further look at the difficulty here. You made a decision after 9/11 to, I think -- and I'd like to ask you more about this -- to allow a plane of Saudis to fly out of the country. And when most other planes were grounded, this plane flew from the United States back to Saudi Arabia. I'd like to know why you made that decision, who was on this plane, and if the FBI ever had the opportunity to interview those people.

CLARKE: You're absolutely right that the Saudi Arabian government did not cooperate with us significantly in the fight against terrorism prior to 9/11. Indeed, it didn't really cooperate until after bombs blew up in Riyadh.

Now, as to this controversy about the Saudi evacuation aircraft, let me tell you everything I know, which is that in the days following 9/11 -- whether it was on 9/12 or 9/15, I can't tell you -- we were in a constant crisis management meeting that had started the morning of 9/11 and ran for days on end. We were making lots of decisions, but we were coordinating them with all the agencies through the video teleconference procedure.

Someone -- and I wish I could tell you, but I don't know who -- someone brought to that group a proposal that we authorize a request from the Saudi embassy. The Saudi embassy had apparently said that they feared for the lives of Saudi citizens because they thought there would be retribution against Saudis in the United States as it became obvious to Americans that this attack was essentially done by Saudis, and that there were even Saudi citizens in the United States who were part of the bin Laden family, which is a very large family, very large family.

The Saudi embassy therefore asked for these people to be evacuated; the same sort of thing that we do all the time in similar crises, evacuating Americans.

The request came to me and I refused to approve it. I suggested that it be routed to the FBI and that the FBI look at the names of the individuals who were going to be on the passenger manifest and that they approve it -- or not. I spoke with at that time the number two person in the FBI, Dale Watson, and asked him to deal with this issue. The FBI then approved -- after some period of time, and I can't tell you how long -- approved the flight. Now, what degree of review the FBI did of those names, I cannot tell you. How many people there are on the plane, I cannot tell you. But I have asked since: Were there any individuals on that flight that in retrospect the FBI wishes they could have interviewed in this country. And the answer I've been given is no, that there was no one who left on that flight who the FBI now wants to interview.

ROEMER: Despite the fact that we don't know if Dale Watson interviewed them in the first place.

CLARKE: I don't think they were ever interviewed in this country.

ROEMER: So they were not interviewed here. We have all their names. We don't know if there has been any follow up to interview those people that were here and flown out of the country.

CLARKE: The last time I asked that question, I was informed that the FBI still had no desire to interview any of these people.

ROEMER: Would you have a desire to interview some of these people that...

CLARKE: I don't know who they are.

ROEMER: We don't know who they are...

CLARKE: I don't know who they are. The FBI knew who they were because they... ROEMER: Given your confidence in your statements on the FBI, what's your level of comfort with this?

CLARKE: Well, I will tell you in particular about the ones that get the most attention here in the press, and they are members of the bin Laden family. I was aware, for some time, that there were members of the bin Laden family living in the United States. And, let's see, in open session I can say that I was very well aware of the members of the bin Laden family and what they were doing in the United States. And the FBI was extraordinarily well aware of what they were doing in the United States. And I was informed by the FBI that none of the members of the bin Laden family, this large clan, were doing anything in this country that was illegal or that raised their suspicions.

And I believe the FBI had very good information and good sources of information on what the members of the bin Laden family were doing.

ROEMER: I've been very impressed with your memory, sitting through all these interviews the 9/11 commission has conducted with you. I press you, again, to try to recall how this request originated. Who might have passed this on to you at the White House situation room? Or who might have originated that request for the United States government to fly out -- how many people in this plane?

CLARKE: I don't know.

ROEMER: We don't know how many people were on a plane that flew out of this country. Who gave the final approval, then, to say yes, you're clear to go, it's all right with the United States government to go to Saudi Arabia?

CLARKE: I believe, after the FBI came back and said it was all right with them, we ran it through the decision process for all of these decisions we were making in those hours, which was the Interagency Crisis Management Group on the video conference. I was making or coordinating a lot of decisions on 9/11 and the days immediately after. And I would love to be able to tell you who did it, who brought this proposal to me, but I don't know. Since you pressed me, the two possibilities that are most likely are either the Department of State, or the White House Chief of Staff's Office. But I don't know.

ROEMER: Thank you. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

KEAN: Senator Gorton?

GORTON: One more question on that subject. When the approvals were finally made and when the flight left, was the flight embargo still in effect? Or was that over; were we flying once again?

CLARKE: No, sir. No, Senator. The reason that a decision was needed was because the flight embargo, the grounding, was still in effect.

But then there's this piece, from The Hill (frequently referenced by other news sources), which has several quotations from Clarke, which conflict with his 9/11 hearing comments, likely leading to Hitch's assertion that Clarke has taken full responsibility for the Bin Laden family being flown out of the country.

Oy. Byzantine double talk like this must make Oliver Stone hard.


Hey now!

ESPN's Chad Ford grades the Knicks' draft:

New York Knicks
Round 1: No pick
Round 2: Trevor Ariza, SF, UCLA (No. 43)
Ariza is a very nice second-round pick. Many scouts feel that he would've been a lottery pick in two years. This is the type of kid you have to find in the second round.
Grade: A-

Thursday Wrap

Andrew Sullivan is this week's guest blogger on Fagistan. (And he's giving out awards!) Ben's on plastic surgery patrol, but fails to mention his own augmentations. (However, the man can keep a few secrets as long as he provides Timmy with scrumtrelescent and still unreleased Fiona Apple singles.) And Pier seems to think everyone gets it when it comes to Michael Moore. Ah, if only...

Wednesday, June 23, 2004

Dead to Me

Bob Odenkirk and David Cross are, to some, comedic deities. Mr. Show is, to quote a former roommate of mine, "the quantum physics of comedy." (I am merely repeating this and not attempting to ascertain what the fuck it means.) Now, I'll be fair...both these men have made me laugh. They've both had their moments. But, friends, if it isn't already abundantly clear (which it should be), this time has passed. (Am I a partisan hack? This shit is awful. It could be about Chester A. Arthur and still be horrible. It's witless and dull. It's a washed out t-shirt frayed at every edge with holes in the front that show too much of the flesh of your gut that only you think looks good on you.) I yearn for Bob's Miller ads or David's wretched recent stand-up or, or, or maybe, ummm, David returning in Men In Black III or Scary Movie 4 or Bob doing another completely useless, smug and unfunny show at Largo. Yeah! Comedy at Largo! Could you pass the arsenic? Please?

Moore, Moore, Moore

Great stuff from Fagistan. Check it.

Memory Lane

Riley now, more or less, oficially ends speculation that he will return to coach the Lakers. His meetings (which he now admits took place) were "just a trip down memory lane." I'm still not totally sold, but it looks more like it'll be Rudy T.

In other news, the Mavs trade Antawn Jamison to the Wiz in hopes of tempting the Lakers even more in their attempts to acquire the sequel rights to Kazaam.

Tuesday, June 22, 2004

Semi-Exclusive



I mentioned a day ago that Pat Riley publicly denied reports he might be interested in the newly open position of rapist wrangler...err...Lakers coach. Well, that greasy fucking liar is meeting with the Lake show's drunken owner, "Doctor" Buss. Hmmm...when that fucker signs on the dotted line, he'll probably still be denying it. I believe Riley about as much as I believe that the leader of the free world sleeps on a couch when he sticks his weiner in the orifice of another "admirer" and has to "confess" to his "clueless" wife. Riiiiiiight. Mark my words, Riley's at least interested, if not ready to commit to returning to coach the Lakers. (bet on the latter)

Snarky Bitch Disagrees

Slate poo-poos the new Budweiser ads that smack down the obnoxious Bob Odenkirk/Miller/President of Beer ads. I actually think they're great and snarky and the exact antidote needed when presented with the unfunny obnoxiousness of the Odenkirk ads. But that's me.

More from Defamer

"Sad news for fans of four-dollar bottled water and anonymous festival sex in porta-potties: Lollapalooza has canceled all dates for its 2004 tour due to poor ticket sales. (The festival had a local date at the Ventura County Fairgrounds July 22nd). We suggest that all ticket holders gather in the parking lot of the Fairgrounds and get high anyway; SoCal Morrissey fans can hang out on the perimeter in their BMWs and bitch about how these fucking KROQ kids can't, like, possibly understand his music."

Ha

From Defamer:

Looks like Fahrenheit 9/11 will open wide on Friday with an R rating. Michael Moore and his distributors lost their appeal to MPAA ratings board to release the film with a PG-13 so that more teens could see the film. After the hearing, MPAA head Jack Valenti was heard muttering under his breath, "Teenagers? They're just going to go home and throw one of those unprotected anal sex parties with the hip-hop, then steal the movie off the inter-thing."

One More Than Four

(1) The NBA Off-Season
Already, the Lakers semi-dynasty has begun to crumble. Big Chief Triangle has departed (next? Rudy T? Riles? Pamela Mackey?) and Shaq may not be far behind, with the Mavericks and Pacers as his most likely destinations. Kobe's said "King Me!" and Dr. Buss has agreed (or so it seems), after a few meetings with Kupchak and several cocktails. Payton's staying, which means Derek Fisher is leaving, maybe to Houston, where he may become the starting PG if Stevie Franchise is traded to Orlando for T-Mac. The Bobcats drafted 19 scrubs today (Gerald Wallace, Jason Kapono, Jahidi White, etc.) and will pick second in Thursday's draft, after a trade with the Clippers, who moved down two spots but will still likely draft prep star Shaun Livingston to be their point guard. Orlando, thinking of the future sans T-Mac, may draft Emeka Okafor with the #1 pick but now may be leaning towards high schooler Dwight Howard, who apparently LOVES the JC to the point that it's described as a "risk" to prospective suitors, leading to his status fluctuating wildly on predictive draft boards. And my Knicks, well, they haven't done anything, and won't have a pick in Thursday's first round, due to the Marbury trade. But soon enough the Post and the Daily News will begin printing rampant rumors surrounding Sheed and Okur.
The Finals were just last week!

(2) The Magnetic Fields, "I Don't Believe You"

Sample lyric:
"You tell me of what once was
And all about Buck, Butch and Buzz
How they were not like me because...
But I don't believe you
I don't believe you"

(3) Angela Lansbury

"I'm so unhappy. I'm so sorry they had to mess with something that was so perfect. I couldn't believe it when I heard they were remaking it. I said, 'There's no way they would be foolish enough to walk into that trap.'" - on the Manchurian Candidate remake

(4) Advanced Screenings



The Life Aquatic this Thursday evening. (Hat tip to Pier)

(5) Chuck Klosterman's Advancement Theory

As linked by Ben, this killed me. My favorite bit:

Oh, I know Philip Seymour Hoffman is great, and John C. Reilly is pretty good, and Benicio Del Toro is not terrible. But Val Kilmer—who appears this month in Mindhunters , about an FBI profiler who's profiling a serial killer who kills FBI profilers—is so weird . And he's not weird in that obvious, look-how-weird-I-am manner that defines Johnny Depp; he's weird in a way that even Val could not explain. When he starred in David Mamet's Spartan, he played a government agent who appeared to have no philosophical relationship to the government. When he played real-life porn star John Holmes in Wonderland , he acted like someone who never actually existed. However, when he portrayed Jim Morrison in The Doors , he tried to act exactly like Morrison, injecting no element of himself into the role whatsoever. He did the same thing in Tombstone, despite the fact that nobody even knows what Doc Holliday is supposed to act like.

It just seems like nobody makes the kinds of decisions that Kilmer makes all the time. Plus, he was in the remake of The Island of Dr. Moreau. That's pretty Advanced.

Bring It On

Jack Shafer (of Slate) dares Michael Moore.

Monday, June 21, 2004

Chunks

The sound of someone vomiting. Y'know, these guys still can't find a second act to those screensavers where the toasters had wings.

Sage Advice

Gawker excerpts an interview with Onion editor-in-chief Carol Kolb (who they think might be imaginary). Best excerpt in the excerpt:

"Carol"'s advice for young comedy writers:

Yeah, have a really awful childhood. Get fingered by your uncle when you're eight or something like that. No, I think that it helps to just write a lot.

The entire interview is here.

Great Casting News

For those unfamiliar, "The Smoker" is a great short story contained in David Schickler's short story collection Kissing In Manhattan. This was just announced today:

Owen Wilson is in negotiations to star opposite Natalie Portman in the Scott Rudin/Paramount Pictures feature "The Smoker." Richard Linklater is set to direct the film that follows a teacher at an all-girls' school whose student proposes to him. The project is based on a short story of the same name by David Schickler that originally appeared in the New Yorker. Jeremy Conway has signed on as the production designer, with Sandra Adair editing. Wilson's recent films include "The Wedding Crashers," "Cars," "The Wendell Baker Story" and "The Life Aquatic." Wilson is repped by UTA.

Linklater's a great choice and maybe, just maybe Owen will finally do something great, sans Wes.

Man Crush



Blogger note: It is highly unlikely that I will find myself in any theater for a viewing of Farenheit 911. I do not have the energy, nor the requisite amount of self loathing to subject myself to another film by Michael Moore. I've seen nearly every inch of film he's vomited out (the exception being a few hours of TV Nation), and I just can't put myself through another couple of hours, especially considering the likely return of the kind of mindless, ineffectual prattle I had to endure the last time I saw a movie by this vile pig. (So, call me unfair in a moment, if you like. I don't give a fuck. Here's why...if you think I'm unfair, you probably have a soft spot for Mr. Moore and, well, my opinion of you just went down a notch. Yeah, that's right. I said it. Whateva. I'll do what I want.) But all that said, Christopher Hitchens' piece on this film in Slate today might just be the greatest thing ever. EVER. My man crush only grows. As important as I think it is to poke holes in and/or destroy the sacred cows (seriously, how appropriate) of either ideological side (and no one does this better than Hitch), I am reprinting the entirety of Hitch's piece below. Enjoy:

Unfairenheit 9/11
The lies of Michael Moore.
By Christopher Hitchens

One of the many problems with the American left, and indeed of the American left, has been its image and self-image as something rather too solemn, mirthless, herbivorous, dull, monochrome, righteous, and boring. How many times, in my old days at The Nation magazine, did I hear wistful and semienvious ruminations? Where was the radical Firing Line show? Who will be our Rush Limbaugh? I used privately to hope that the emphasis, if the comrades ever got around to it, would be on the first of those and not the second. But the meetings themselves were so mind-numbing and lugubrious that I thought the danger of success on either front was infinitely slight.

Nonetheless, it seems that an answer to this long-felt need is finally beginning to emerge. I exempt Al Franken's unintentionally funny Air America network, to which I gave a couple of interviews in its early days. There, one could hear the reassuring noise of collapsing scenery and tripped-over wires and be reminded once again that correct politics and smooth media presentation are not even distant cousins. With Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11, however, an entirely new note has been struck. Here we glimpse a possible fusion between the turgid routines of MoveOn.org and the filmic standards, if not exactly the filmic skills, of Sergei Eisenstein or Leni Riefenstahl.

To describe this film as dishonest and demagogic would almost be to promote those terms to the level of respectability. To describe this film as a piece of crap would be to run the risk of a discourse that would never again rise above the excremental. To describe it as an exercise in facile crowd-pleasing would be too obvious. Fahrenheit 9/11 is a sinister exercise in moral frivolity, crudely disguised as an exercise in seriousness. It is also a spectacle of abject political cowardice masking itself as a demonstration of "dissenting" bravery.

In late 2002, almost a year after the al-Qaida assault on American society, I had an onstage debate with Michael Moore at the Telluride Film Festival. In the course of this exchange, he stated his view that Osama Bin Laden should be considered innocent until proven guilty. This was, he said, the American way. The intervention in Afghanistan, he maintained, had been at least to that extent unjustified. Something—I cannot guess what, since we knew as much then as we do now—has since apparently persuaded Moore that Osama Bin Laden is as guilty as hell. Indeed, Osama is suddenly so guilty and so all-powerful that any other discussion of any other topic is a dangerous "distraction" from the fight against him. I believe that I understand the convenience of this late conversion.

Fahrenheit 9/11 makes the following points about Bin Laden and about Afghanistan, and makes them in this order:

1) The Bin Laden family (if not exactly Osama himself) had a close if convoluted business relationship with the Bush family, through the Carlyle Group.

2) Saudi capital in general is a very large element of foreign investment in the United States.

3) The Unocal company in Texas had been willing to discuss a gas pipeline across Afghanistan with the Taliban, as had other vested interests.

4) The Bush administration sent far too few ground troops to Afghanistan and thus allowed far too many Taliban and al-Qaida members to escape.

5) The Afghan government, in supporting the coalition in Iraq, was purely risible in that its non-army was purely American.

6) The American lives lost in Afghanistan have been wasted. (This I divine from the fact that this supposedly "antiwar" film is dedicated ruefully to all those killed there, as well as in Iraq.)

It must be evident to anyone, despite the rapid-fire way in which Moore's direction eases the audience hastily past the contradictions, that these discrepant scatter shots do not cohere at any point. Either the Saudis run U.S. policy (through family ties or overwhelming economic interest), or they do not. As allies and patrons of the Taliban regime, they either opposed Bush's removal of it, or they did not. (They opposed the removal, all right: They wouldn't even let Tony Blair land his own plane on their soil at the time of the operation.) Either we sent too many troops, or were wrong to send any at all—the latter was Moore's view as late as 2002—or we sent too few. If we were going to make sure no Taliban or al-Qaida forces survived or escaped, we would have had to be more ruthless than I suspect that Mr. Moore is really recommending. And these are simply observations on what is "in" the film. If we turn to the facts that are deliberately left out, we discover that there is an emerging Afghan army, that the country is now a joint NATO responsibility and thus under the protection of the broadest military alliance in history, that it has a new constitution and is preparing against hellish odds to hold a general election, and that at least a million and a half of its former refugees have opted to return. I don't think a pipeline is being constructed yet, not that Afghanistan couldn't do with a pipeline. But a highway from Kabul to Kandahar—an insurance against warlordism and a condition of nation-building—is nearing completion with infinite labor and risk. We also discover that the parties of the Afghan secular left—like the parties of the Iraqi secular left—are strongly in favor of the regime change. But this is not the sort of irony in which Moore chooses to deal.

He prefers leaden sarcasm to irony and, indeed, may not appreciate the distinction. In a long and paranoid (and tedious) section at the opening of the film, he makes heavy innuendoes about the flights that took members of the Bin Laden family out of the country after Sept. 11. I banged on about this myself at the time and wrote a Nation column drawing attention to the groveling Larry King interview with the insufferable Prince Bandar, which Moore excerpts. However, recent developments have not been kind to our Mike. In the interval between Moore's triumph at Cannes and the release of the film in the United States, the 9/11 commission has found nothing to complain of in the timing or arrangement of the flights. And Richard Clarke, Bush's former chief of counterterrorism, has come forward to say that he, and he alone, took the responsibility for authorizing those Saudi departures. This might not matter so much to the ethos of Fahrenheit 9/11, except that—as you might expect—Clarke is presented throughout as the brow-furrowed ethical hero of the entire post-9/11 moment. And it does not seem very likely that, in his open admission about the Bin Laden family evacuation, Clarke is taking a fall, or a spear in the chest, for the Bush administration. So, that's another bust for this windy and bloated cinematic "key to all mythologies."

A film that bases itself on a big lie and a big misrepresentation can only sustain itself by a dizzying succession of smaller falsehoods, beefed up by wilder and (if possible) yet more-contradictory claims. President Bush is accused of taking too many lazy vacations. (What is that about, by the way? Isn't he supposed to be an unceasing planner for future aggressive wars?) But the shot of him "relaxing at Camp David" shows him side by side with Tony Blair. I say "shows," even though this photograph is on-screen so briefly that if you sneeze or blink, you won't recognize the other figure. A meeting with the prime minister of the United Kingdom, or at least with this prime minister, is not a goof-off.

The president is also captured in a well-worn TV news clip, on a golf course, making a boilerplate response to a question on terrorism and then asking the reporters to watch his drive. Well, that's what you get if you catch the president on a golf course. If Eisenhower had done this, as he often did, it would have been presented as calm statesmanship. If Clinton had done it, as he often did, it would have shown his charm. More interesting is the moment where Bush is shown frozen on his chair at the infant school in Florida, looking stunned and useless for seven whole minutes after the news of the second plane on 9/11. Many are those who say that he should have leaped from his stool, adopted a Russell Crowe stance, and gone to work. I could even wish that myself. But if he had done any such thing then (as he did with his "Let's roll" and "dead or alive" remarks a month later), half the Michael Moore community would now be calling him a man who went to war on a hectic, crazed impulse. The other half would be saying what they already say—that he knew the attack was coming, was using it to cement himself in power, and couldn't wait to get on with his coup. This is the line taken by Gore Vidal and by a scandalous recent book that also revives the charge of FDR's collusion over Pearl Harbor. At least Moore's film should put the shameful purveyors of that last theory back in their paranoid box.

But it won't because it encourages their half-baked fantasies in so many other ways. We are introduced to Iraq, "a sovereign nation." (In fact, Iraq's "sovereignty" was heavily qualified by international sanctions, however questionable, which reflected its noncompliance with important U.N. resolutions.) In this peaceable kingdom, according to Moore's flabbergasting choice of film shots, children are flying little kites, shoppers are smiling in the sunshine, and the gentle rhythms of life are undisturbed. Then—wham! From the night sky come the terror weapons of American imperialism. Watching the clips Moore uses, and recalling them well, I can recognize various Saddam palaces and military and police centers getting the treatment. But these sites are not identified as such. In fact, I don't think Al Jazeera would, on a bad day, have transmitted anything so utterly propagandistic. You would also be led to think that the term "civilian casualty" had not even been in the Iraqi vocabulary until March 2003. I remember asking Moore at Telluride if he was or was not a pacifist. He would not give a straight answer then, and he doesn't now, either. I'll just say that the "insurgent" side is presented in this film as justifiably outraged, whereas the 30-year record of Baathist war crimes and repression and aggression is not mentioned once. (Actually, that's not quite right. It is briefly mentioned but only, and smarmily, because of the bad period when Washington preferred Saddam to the likewise unmentioned Ayatollah Khomeini.)

That this—his pro-American moment—was the worst Moore could possibly say of Saddam's depravity is further suggested by some astonishing falsifications. Moore asserts that Iraq under Saddam had never attacked or killed or even threatened (his words) any American. I never quite know whether Moore is as ignorant as he looks, or even if that would be humanly possible. Baghdad was for years the official, undisguised home address of Abu Nidal, then the most-wanted gangster in the world, who had been sentenced to death even by the PLO and had blown up airports in Munich and Rome. Baghdad was the safe house for the man whose "operation" murdered Leon Klinghoffer. Saddam boasted publicly of his financial sponsorship of suicide bombers in Israel. (Quite a few Americans of all denominations walk the streets of Jerusalem.) In 1991, a large number of Western hostages were taken by the hideous Iraqi invasion of Kuwait and held in terrible conditions for a long time. After that same invasion was repelled—Saddam having killed quite a few Americans and Egyptians and Syrians and Brits in the meantime and having threatened to kill many more—the Iraqi secret police were caught trying to murder former President Bush during his visit to Kuwait. Never mind whether his son should take that personally. (Though why should he not?) Should you and I not resent any foreign dictatorship that attempts to kill one of our retired chief executives? (President Clinton certainly took it that way: He ordered the destruction by cruise missiles of the Baathist "security" headquarters.) Iraqi forces fired, every day, for 10 years, on the aircraft that patrolled the no-fly zones and staved off further genocide in the north and south of the country. In 1993, a certain Mr. Yasin helped mix the chemicals for the bomb at the World Trade Center and then skipped to Iraq, where he remained a guest of the state until the overthrow of Saddam. In 2001, Saddam's regime was the only one in the region that openly celebrated the attacks on New York and Washington and described them as just the beginning of a larger revenge. Its official media regularly spewed out a stream of anti-Semitic incitement. I think one might describe that as "threatening," even if one was narrow enough to think that anti-Semitism only menaces Jews. And it was after, and not before, the 9/11 attacks that Abu Mussab al-Zarqawi moved from Afghanistan to Baghdad and began to plan his now very open and lethal design for a holy and ethnic civil war. On Dec. 1, 2003, the New York Times reported—and the David Kay report had established—that Saddam had been secretly negotiating with the "Dear Leader" Kim Jong-il in a series of secret meetings in Syria, as late as the spring of 2003, to buy a North Korean missile system, and missile-production system, right off the shelf. (This attempt was not uncovered until after the fall of Baghdad, the coalition's presence having meanwhile put an end to the negotiations.)

Thus, in spite of the film's loaded bias against the work of the mind, you can grasp even while watching it that Michael Moore has just said, in so many words, the one thing that no reflective or informed person can possibly believe: that Saddam Hussein was no problem. No problem at all. Now look again at the facts I have cited above. If these things had been allowed to happen under any other administration, you can be sure that Moore and others would now glibly be accusing the president of ignoring, or of having ignored, some fairly unmistakable "warnings."

The same "let's have it both ways" opportunism infects his treatment of another very serious subject, namely domestic counterterrorist policy. From being accused of overlooking too many warnings—not exactly an original point—the administration is now lavishly taunted for issuing too many. (Would there not have been "fear" if the harbingers of 9/11 had been taken seriously?) We are shown some American civilians who have had absurd encounters with idiotic "security" staff. (Have you ever met anyone who can't tell such a story?) Then we are immediately shown underfunded police departments that don't have the means or the manpower to do any stop-and-search: a power suddenly demanded by Moore on their behalf that we know by definition would at least lead to some ridiculous interrogations. Finally, Moore complains that there isn't enough intrusion and confiscation at airports and says that it is appalling that every air traveler is not forcibly relieved of all matches and lighters. (Cue mood music for sinister influence of Big Tobacco.) So—he wants even more pocket-rummaging by airport officials? Uh, no, not exactly. But by this stage, who's counting? Moore is having it three ways and asserting everything and nothing. Again—simply not serious.

Circling back to where we began, why did Moore's evil Saudis not join "the Coalition of the Willing"? Why instead did they force the United States to switch its regional military headquarters to Qatar? If the Bush family and the al-Saud dynasty live in each other's pockets, as is alleged in a sort of vulgar sub-Brechtian scene with Arab headdresses replacing top hats, then how come the most reactionary regime in the region has been powerless to stop Bush from demolishing its clone in Kabul and its buffer regime in Baghdad? The Saudis hate, as they did in 1991, the idea that Iraq's recuperated oil industry might challenge their near-monopoly. They fear the liberation of the Shiite Muslims they so despise. To make these elementary points is to collapse the whole pathetic edifice of the film's "theory." Perhaps Moore prefers the pro-Saudi Kissinger/Scowcroft plan for the Middle East, where stability trumps every other consideration and where one dare not upset the local house of cards, or killing-field of Kurds? This would be a strange position for a purported radical. Then again, perhaps he does not take this conservative line because his real pitch is not to any audience member with a serious interest in foreign policy. It is to the provincial isolationist.

I have already said that Moore's film has the staunch courage to mock Bush for his verbal infelicity. Yet it's much, much braver than that. From Fahrenheit 9/11 you can glean even more astounding and hidden disclosures, such as the capitalist nature of American society, the existence of Eisenhower's "military-industrial complex," and the use of "spin" in the presentation of our politicians. It's high time someone had the nerve to point this out. There's more. Poor people often volunteer to join the army, and some of them are duskier than others. Betcha didn't know that. Back in Flint, Mich., Moore feels on safe ground. There are no martyred rabbits this time. Instead, it's the poor and black who shoulder the packs and rifles and march away. I won't dwell on the fact that black Americans have fought for almost a century and a half, from insisting on their right to join the U.S. Army and fight in the Civil War to the right to have a desegregated Army that set the pace for post-1945 civil rights. I'll merely ask this: In the film, Moore says loudly and repeatedly that not enough troops were sent to garrison Afghanistan and Iraq. (This is now a favorite cleverness of those who were, in the first place, against sending any soldiers at all.) Well, where does he think those needful heroes and heroines would have come from? Does he favor a draft—the most statist and oppressive solution? Does he think that only hapless and gullible proles sign up for the Marines? Does he think—as he seems to suggest—that parents can "send" their children, as he stupidly asks elected members of Congress to do? Would he have abandoned Gettysburg because the Union allowed civilians to pay proxies to serve in their place? Would he have supported the antidraft (and very antiblack) riots against Lincoln in New York? After a point, one realizes that it's a waste of time asking him questions of this sort. It would be too much like taking him seriously. He'll just try anything once and see if it floats or flies or gets a cheer.

Indeed, Moore's affected and ostentatious concern for black America is one of the most suspect ingredients of his pitch package. In a recent interview, he yelled that if the hijacked civilians of 9/11 had been black, they would have fought back, unlike the stupid and presumably cowardly white men and women (and children). Never mind for now how many black passengers were on those planes—we happen to know what Moore does not care to mention: that Todd Beamer and a few of his co-passengers, shouting "Let's roll," rammed the hijackers with a trolley, fought them tooth and nail, and helped bring down a United Airlines plane, in Pennsylvania, that was speeding toward either the White House or the Capitol. There are no words for real, impromptu bravery like that, which helped save our republic from worse than actually befell. The Pennsylvania drama also reminds one of the self-evident fact that this war is not fought only "overseas" or in uniform, but is being brought to our cities. Yet Moore is a silly and shady man who does not recognize courage of any sort even when he sees it because he cannot summon it in himself. To him, easy applause, in front of credulous audiences, is everything.

Moore has announced that he won't even appear on TV shows where he might face hostile questioning. I notice from the New York Times of June 20 that he has pompously established a rapid response team, and a fact-checking staff, and some tough lawyers, to bulwark himself against attack. He'll sue, Moore says, if anyone insults him or his pet. Some right-wing hack groups, I gather, are planning to bring pressure on their local movie theaters to drop the film. How dumb or thuggish do you have to be in order to counter one form of stupidity and cowardice with another? By all means go and see this terrible film, and take your friends, and if the fools in the audience strike up one cry, in favor of surrender or defeat, feel free to join in the conversation.

However, I think we can agree that the film is so flat-out phony that "fact-checking" is beside the point. And as for the scary lawyers—get a life, or maybe see me in court. But I offer this, to Moore and to his rapid response rabble. Any time, Michael my boy. Let's redo Telluride. Any show. Any place. Any platform. Let's see what you're made of.

Some people soothingly say that one should relax about all this. It's only a movie. No biggie. It's no worse than the tomfoolery of Oliver Stone. It's kick-ass entertainment. It might even help get out "the youth vote." Yeah, well, I have myself written and presented about a dozen low-budget made-for-TV documentaries, on subjects as various as Mother Teresa and Bill Clinton and the Cyprus crisis, and I also helped produce a slightly more polished one on Henry Kissinger that was shown in movie theaters. So I know, thanks, before you tell me, that a documentary must have a "POV" or point of view and that it must also impose a narrative line. But if you leave out absolutely everything that might give your "narrative" a problem and throw in any old rubbish that might support it, and you don't even care that one bit of that rubbish flatly contradicts the next bit, and you give no chance to those who might differ, then you have betrayed your craft. If you flatter and fawn upon your potential audience, I might add, you are patronizing them and insulting them. By the same token, if I write an article and I quote somebody and for space reasons put in an ellipsis like this (…), I swear on my children that I am not leaving out anything that, if quoted in full, would alter the original meaning or its significance. Those who violate this pact with readers or viewers are to be despised. At no point does Michael Moore make the smallest effort to be objective. At no moment does he pass up the chance of a cheap sneer or a jeer. He pitilessly focuses his camera, for minutes after he should have turned it off, on a distraught and bereaved mother whose grief we have already shared. (But then, this is the guy who thought it so clever and amusing to catch Charlton Heston, in Bowling for Columbine, at the onset of his senile dementia.) Such courage.

Perhaps vaguely aware that his movie so completely lacks gravitas, Moore concludes with a sonorous reading of some words from George Orwell. The words are taken from 1984 and consist of a third-person analysis of a hypothetical, endless, and contrived war between three superpowers. The clear intention, as clumsily excerpted like this (...) is to suggest that there is no moral distinction between the United States, the Taliban, and the Baath Party and that the war against jihad is about nothing. If Moore had studied a bit more, or at all, he could have read Orwell really saying, and in his own voice, the following:

The majority of pacifists either belong to obscure religious sects or are simply humanitarians who object to taking life and prefer not to follow their thoughts beyond that point. But there is a minority of intellectual pacifists, whose real though unacknowledged motive appears to be hatred of western democracy and admiration for totalitarianism. Pacifist propaganda usually boils down to saying that one side is as bad as the other, but if one looks closely at the writing of the younger intellectual pacifists, one finds that they do not by any means express impartial disapproval but are directed almost entirely against Britain and the United States …

And that's just from Orwell's Notes on Nationalism in May 1945. A short word of advice: In general, it's highly unwise to quote Orwell if you are already way out of your depth on the question of moral equivalence. It's also incautious to remind people of Orwell if you are engaged in a sophomoric celluloid rewriting of recent history.

If Michael Moore had had his way, Slobodan Milosevic would still be the big man in a starved and tyrannical Serbia. Bosnia and Kosovo would have been cleansed and annexed. If Michael Moore had been listened to, Afghanistan would still be under Taliban rule, and Kuwait would have remained part of Iraq. And Iraq itself would still be the personal property of a psychopathic crime family, bargaining covertly with the slave state of North Korea for WMD. You might hope that a retrospective awareness of this kind would induce a little modesty. To the contrary, it is employed to pump air into one of the great sagging blimps of our sorry, mediocre, celeb-rotten culture. Rock the vote, indeed.

Ugly

Hitch and Katrina together on Tucker's first panel. Blood may be spilled. (June 26th)

Sunday, June 20, 2004

"N'ya," says Riles

Once upon a time, Pat Riley denied he was leaving the Knicks, walking out on the final year of his contract. But if we are to believe him, he's not coming back to LaLa. Now, I think he'd be perfect for what the Lakers may become, a team with a great center but with an uppity off guard (yes, I know Kobe is far better than John Starks...but Starks understands what "room service" means) who never wants to give the ball up. Riley loves coaching a team in this style (if confused, check Game 6 of the '94 Finals the next time it's on ESPN Classic).

Doors Open, Tops Off

Mia Leist may be trolling the bars of America, looking for the next great box eating contest, as these very words are typed. But what she needs to do is stop hiding Joe Francis' coke bindle, and get on a plane to Calgary.

Report: Pier Not Welcome in Virginia

Also from AdRants:

"To combat what appears to be rampant sex between men and young old girls - 219 births among 13 and 14 years old girls from men over 18 in 1999 and 2000, the Virginia Department of Health has launched a statewide billboard campaign telling men to keep it in their pants. With headlines, "Isn't She A Little Young?" and "Sex With A Minor, Don't Go There" the campaign also appears on posters, coasters and napkins in bars - the likely hangout for these sexaholic men who seem to be incapable of getting it on with women their own age."

My TV Has Herpes

From AdRants:

"If you can't get enough of Ryan Seacrest, don't worry because soon his mug will grace a fourth, yes, fourth television show. This time it will be tentatively titled American Top 40 Awards, a TV version of his radio show. It's planned to air on FOX in 2005 with Seacrest as host and executive producer along with Tony Eaton and Dave Broome. Seacrest can also be seen on American Idol, On-Air with Ryan Seacrest and was seen last year on the Radio Music Awards."

Ben v. Ben

Despite Ben's wishes of death on Ben Stiller's career and wife, Josh's favorite monkey man comes out on top...this week, at least.

Friday, June 18, 2004

Clinton v. Josh

Just as Josh is annoyed by heaven, there's this:

Mr. Clinton closes the book with a short meditation on the lessons he has learned about accepting personal responsibility, letting go of anger and granting forgiveness. He said that in the many black churches he has visited he has heard funerals referred to as "homegoings."

"We're all going home," he wrote, "and I want to be ready."

T-Mac Wants Out

And the Knicks are his first choice. No, not really. The theory that the Knicks could get T-Mac in any kind of scenario (even the most outlandish and unreasonable ones that I, myself, have thought up) is in the same genre as quoting the mini-David Chase in your head.

NERD ALERT...I am proud to link to my own blog. I'll do what I want. Whateva.

More Ben News

Ben has a boner for Michelle Malkin. Josh is aghast at the news. And I think Ann might take some revenge after losing her place at the top of the "Crazy Conservative Cunts" List...the Triple C's...which is not some bizarre porno bra size....ample but not outrageous!

Are they talking about Ben?

No...

"Hideous hipster/hippie worlds collide tonight at Brooklyn, as Phish play their last ever NYC show. Avoid the dirty old man wearing outpatient scrubs saying that the sky is yellow and the sun is blue (true story). " (from Gawker)

Or are they?

Thursday, June 17, 2004

Back Biter



James Dolan, the born-again fundamentalist owner of my beloved Knicks, openly admits to knowing very little about the game of basketball. He, thankfully, has left the job of running the team's day to day activities to Isaih...for now. You have to watch fuckers like this. But, now, in another example of his infinite wisdom (see also: the hiring of Scott Layden and nearly every single roster move made by Layden), he's done this:

Marv Albert has been dumped as the play-by-play announcer for the New York Knicks telecasts after officials of the MSG Network broke off contract renewal negotiations with him following Albert's refusal to agree to take a more positive stance towards the team, published reports said today (Thursday). The New York Times quoted two industry executives as saying that Albert particularly angered Cablevision President James Dolan, whose company owns Madison Square Garden and the Knicks. "Jim felt all broadcasters had to be cheerleaders and sell tickets," one of the executives told the Times. Albert himself told the newspaper that his dealings with Dolan sometimes made him feel as if he were working for the "theater of the absurd" instead of the MSG Network. "This is a chapter in journalism about how a broadcast should not be handled," he said. Rumors immediately arose that Albert could wind up next year as the play-by-play announcer for the Los Angeles Lakers.

I, for one, will miss Marv. Unlike the bozo upstairs, when I hear Marv, I automatically think it's a Knicks game, even if it's not. (An important thing to the flavor of sports...especially locally...something Mr. Dolan and those of his ilk do not understand.) Oh well. He'll be missed. And I guarantee you, that fucker won't hire someone who likes to dress up in women's clothing and bite his lady friends. And that, my friends, is a damn shame.

Bay...Char...

From Bill Simmons:

Q: Out of the relentless ABC promos for their fall lineup, which show looked the most promising?

A. Probably "Lost," the one where the plane crashes and everyone's stranded on a desert island. I've been waiting for them to make this show for years -- the untapped sexual potential of "Gilligan's Island" was always off the charts. As an added bonus, they gave the guy who played Charlie from "Party of Five" one of the lead roles. They should have just made believe that Charlie was on the actual plane; that would have been much more fun. No, I can't help you guys build a raft ... you don't understand, I have cancer! When are you guys getting that through your sick skulls? I'm very sick! I have cancer!

Sheed

From the semi-reliable Chad Ford of ESPN:

Sheed a Knick?: The Lakers aren't the only team that may lose a valuable player or two this summer. The assumption has been that Rasheed Wallace will re-sign with the Pistons this summer. They can offer him more money, and he just won a ring there. That, however, doesn't seem to be the end of the story. It's still very possible Wallace could elect to sign with New York as a free agent.

"That's where he wanted to go from Portland, and we tried like hell to get it done," said his agent Bill Strickland, adding it's too early to speculate on whether Wallace will sign with Detroit.

"Don't get me wrong, I think they're a great group of guys that I'm playing with," Wallace said. "But my family, they are going to have the last decision."

Smug

This made me laugh...

From Gawker:

"Take your pick: rub shoulders with obnoxious NYU students from the Midwest today at Webster Hall, or obnoxious trust fund Brooklynites tomorrow at Volume [Update: Not at Warsaw. Volume. They got their permit, we hear]. Either way, go see what all the fuss was about 8 minutes ago as Glaswegians Franz Ferdinand take the stage."

More Time to Defend the Bullpen

My Mets acquire Richard Hidalgo (replacing bullpen brawler Karim Garcia in right) from the 'Stros. ESPN's Rob Neyer sums it up:

"Three and a half million bucks for three and a half months of Richard Hidalgo? It's a gamble, but it's not a bad gamble. As awful as Hidalgo's been this season, Mets right fielder Karim Garcia has probably been more awful. More to the point, looking forward, Hidalgo's got a better chance than Garcia of not being awful."

Play a fun game...if you will...and insert "Kerry" for "Hidalgo" and "Bush" for "Garcia." This may lead to a future "Bush is Garcia" game (She trims her Garcia, Push-Push-Push in the Garcia, etc.), similar to Christopher Hitchens and Martin Amis' game of "Pussy is Bullshit."

Leaving Doors Open

Is Martin Short part of the "1%" because Dennis Quaid was inside of him?

Would The Day After Tomorrow have been better if Martin Short had been inside of Dennis Quaid as he snowshoed about?

Retirement

Phil Collins is set to retire from "music." What does this mean? Less time devoted to theme songs for mediocre animation, more time to divorce by fax and hate Jews. But before he retires, Phil's decided to lash out at his "fans."

Hastert Admits to Friendster Affairs, Addiction

Not true. But here's what Newt's doing. (Via Drudge,whose boner for new Clinton news knows no bounds.)

Oops, I Crapped My Pants

Page Six has insight into Larry King's choice of geriatric undergarments.

Did You Get the Memo?



MSNBC as Office Space. Wonkette's on the case.

Wednesday, June 16, 2004

Quiz Results



"You're a Speak & Spell!! You nerd, you. Just because you were disguised as a toy doesn't mean you weren't educational, you sneaky bastard."

Tuesday, June 15, 2004

Motown

The Pistons kill off Big Chief Triangle and his minions.

It Doesn't Get Much Better...

...than Hitch!

One More Than Four

As per Ben's request...

(1) Philip Roth's American Pastoral



Sensational for those unaware. One of the most emotional reading experiences I've ever had. And having finished it several weeks ago, I thought I had fully processed it, let it go, whatever. And then it's in my dream last night. Radical enigma Rita Cohen all up in my grill in some bombed out Newark motel room, spitting at me, cursing. (Cohen acts as go-between for the book's main character and his lost daughter, who has fled after bombing a local post office, in an act of violent protest to the Vietnam War.)

(2) Pablo Sarasate's Carmen Fantasy
A musical tightrope act, sans net.

(3) Tom Stoppard's "The Real Thing"
A witty, mature, and stylistically topsy-turvy take on love, theater, art, friendship, and politics. When originally put up, the production was directed by Mike Nichols and starred Christine Baranski, Jeremy Irons, Glen Close, Peter Gallagher, and Cynthia Nixon. It was revived in 1999.



(4) Michael Chabon presents The Amazing Adventures of the Escapist
Most notably, "The Lady or the Tiger," written by novelist Glen David Gold (Carter Beats The Devil).

(5) Larry Brown (head coach, Detroit Pistons)
For going to toe to toe with Big Chief Triangle, and, thus far, giving that arrogant fucker one hell of a fight.

Remakes



I also don't hate all remakes...but The Manchurian Candidate is just egregious, especially from Jonathan Demme who's now remaking better and better films (first Charade and now this). There are remakes I like (see photo above) and have enjoyed, but I don't even know if I'll be able to bring myself to see the new Manchurian. Boo-urns.

As I throw in the towel...

...I still don't grade on a curve. And to clarify, you can obviously compare films, remakes or otherwise, but if it's "silly" to compare The 400 Blows to Barbershop 2, and, thus, killing the conversation, what the hell are we talking about? There is comparing two films of similar genres and then there is comparing one film to a heap load of other films (including films outside of the genre) and giving said film extra credit because that other material is not good. Top ten lists were brought up in this too, so, how does this work? If you're #1 on a top ten list in a weak year, are you given extra credit because you've saved us from the dregs of the year or are you no better or worse than a great film in a great year that has somehow found the way to the top of your list? To be specific, the Coens can be accurately and thoughtfully compared to their earlier work and works in the same genres they are working in at the time. Listing three bad movies from the year a Coens film came out in and saying "it's better than them" is still no way to judge the Coens. It does happen to be a frequent defense of their lesser work...that..."it's so much better than everything else"...but it's still not a genuine comparison or argument. And, seriously, just because I asked questions in this, don't feel the need to answer. Because the subject line is how I feel. I'm spent with this topic.

Monday, June 14, 2004

Buyer Beware

Salad bar patrons, chairs (and all other inanimate objects), players (even those with the same last name and shared lineage), athletic directors (assistant coaches, deans, professors, etc.), and anyone with the inclination to greet their school's head basketball coach with a pleasant "Hey," in Columbus, Ohio, beware. Bob Knight would be all ears to an offer to coach the Buckeyes.

Speaking of Remakes



The Manchurian Candidate remake is coming soon to a theater near you, proving, once again, there is no God. Meryl Streep takes over for Angela Lansbury, and, apparently, strikes quite a resemblance to Mrs. Clinton. Blech.

Predictions

Kobe guarantees a game five victory for the Lake show. No word yet on whether he'll bend Rip Hamilton over and give it to him, "Colorado style."

More Fun from the Comments Page

(Pier's comments are in quotations)

"there is art (the 400 blows) and then there are hollywood comedies (bringing down the house). the later films in the coen canon fall in to hollywood comedies. so i used hollywood films that are comedies or big budget spectacles as a reference point. hollywood has never made all artful films. they make a lot of dreck. i have never stated or thought any different. but please, feel free to make any jump in logic that you so choose."

What is this reference point's purpose? If Ben is "silly" to compare The 400 Blows to Barbershop 2, what is your purpose in comparing "the best shot Hollywood films around" to slapdash dreck? In regards to your defensiveness over the larger argument of what Hollywood does or does not make, I feel as if my question is the one I just asked. If we are to be thankful for the Coens for making such solid films in this time period (when Hollywood is churning out the films you mentioned...Cheaper By The Dozen, Bringing Down the House, Troy), then are we to judge their films, in any time, by what surrounds it? This is what I was trying to say in the general point about an argument I wasn't accusing you of making, but that I hear often. That said, is Raising Arizona's quality determined by the other films or films in its genre of that year? The same goes for all of their films. Or, for that matter, the films of any artist or artists. Do we determine the quality of their work by the potential lack of quality in the work of their peers? For example, there is often (and this is again what I was trying to say) an inclination to give extra credit to every film ever made in the 1970's. The Easy Riders, Raging Bulls documentary is very guilty of this. The same can be said of any other era deemed "golden" by critics or artists.

All in all, what I'm saying is that the Coens' films are no better or worse by what other people are making. They are to be judged on their own merits. You like Intolerable Cruelty a lot. I hated nearly every second of it. But all I'm trying to say is my estimation of it is not going to improve because Steve Martin made two shitty comedies. I'm not a believer in this sort of thing. A lot of people (and I'm not saying you), give extra credit to things for reasons having little or nothing to do with the final product...how much it cost, the year it came out in, etc. This is not, "wow, this was made in 1939...look at the innovation." It's more, "gosh, this cost next to nothing and we should give it a pass or a gold star even if every ounce of it is wretched." (why be subtle...I'm talking about Clerks)

"there are people doing much better work than the coens, but no one doing work like the coens (for my better and your worse). i still enjoy their movies and have a great feeling when i come out of them. have you or ben even seen "the ladykillers"?"

I don't know how this would affect my opinion of other films, but, no, I have not seen The Ladykillers. I have seen the original which I like quite a bit. I don't particularly like most remakes and have an especially hard time going to see remakes of movies I like (see also: The Manchurian Candidate). I do plan on seeing the Coens version eventually, but I'm still unsure what that has to do with anything we were talking about.

Glib Forgetfulness

Ben has decided to end the war of words over Eggers, QT, and the Coens. I've stayed out of the fray but I wanted to point just one thing out. Pier's last post contained the following:
"OF COURSE THE 400 BLOWS IS BETTER THAN BARBERSHOP 2. Listen, if you want to get all silly and shit, fine, then i will stop the discussion right now."

This came in response to Ben's sarcastic assertion that The 400 Blows is a superior film to the Barbershop sequel. The reason for this statement was the following quote, from Pier's initial missive (which Ben responded to with the aforementioned joke):
"My whole take on the later films is they are movies made to be movies. In a time when Cheaper By The Dozen, Bringing Down the House, and Troy are being made with reckless abandon, these quirky comedies with big stars are refreshing to me."

One, if you're going to play by one set of rules, everybody gets to. Secondly, the statement regarding the climate in which the Coens later work is made seems to be to be a specious argument. It implies that the earlier, superior work took place in some kind of rarified air, where films like Troy or Bringing Down the House were not the norm. (this comes under that wretched argument that once upon a time, Hollywood was pure and good and the films were all artful...not like today...oh no...psssh...please) And, furthermore, defining a film's quality on the basis of other films' lack of quality is not any way to judge quality. And in regards to the years where Coens films fell, there are plenty of examples of films and filmmakers doing equal to or better work than the brothers Coen. If you need to help their cred by pointing out that which is worse, okay. But all you're doing is trying to fill an already torn balloon with a lot of hot air. (for further lame metaphors, please continue to visit this blog...thanks)

Quote of the Week

"My god, what beauty, what sublime determination of these characters." - from the imaginary David Chase in Pier's mind, in response to the season finale of Deadwood.

Sunday, June 13, 2004

War of Words

Ben, Josh, and PL get into it over Dave Eggers, Tarantino, and the Coens. Josh started it here and added more here. Then, Ben responded. And then Pier, believing he had been "directly challenged" to do so, responded here and here. I've been brought up briefly in all this, and with that, let me respond to Pier's lone comment. Expecting a college film professor to "agree" with you or your taste seems like a fairly futile endeavor. Stephen Geller is opinionated and closed minded and attempting to spar with him over what is "good" or "bad" seems pretty silly to me. Every class I ever took with the man was a test of endurance. The class would be three hours. One hour would be devoted to stories of how Hollywood was evil, another to random Geller exploits with Fellini or Italians or mistresses or Italian mistresses he met while talking to Fellini about being abducted by aliens. The final hour would have something to do with the content of the class. Now, sure, he said things that might have been crazy or even wrong, but I still believe I learned something from him. I had to wade through a lot of bullshit, but unlike many people I know, I found Fellini, Fosse, and Sinatra (a Geller class for those who didn't call BU home) to be valuable. Because I picked through a lot of the nonsense and got to the core of what he was trying to teach. And, really, I think that's what it's all about. His ideas on writing, if poorly articulated at times or even poorly practiced in his own work, are still crucial elements to what I bring to my own writing or how I prepare what I'm going to write. This can also be said about his wife's teachings or Prof. Bliss' teachings which closely resembled both Gellers. Now, did I like them as people? Not really. Did I agree with their taste in movies? Sometimes, but not always (not that I expected to after many classes with them). But they helped me become a better writer and that's why I took their classes.

Crack's Not Wack?

Barry's back.

Nerd News (2)



Bale the Bat.

Legality, Shmegality

"No! I'm not dating anyone at the moment because everybody's taken or too old. The thing that's hard is that when you're looking for a boyfriend, you're not going to find one. Besides, I prefer 24-year-old guys and that's not legal." - Lindsay Lohan, on her taste in men

Saturday, June 12, 2004

Stem Cell Research

Sen. Kerry steps up. Huzzah!

V.P.

Kerry can't get his man. (If this scenario were to ever work out, my one time conservative roommate, who wrote in McCain on the 2000 presidential ballot, might actually have to vote for Kerry. And would he be alone in that decision? But would the potential drain from the rank and file be too big for Kerry to survive by picking a pro-life, pro-war, rather conservative running mate?) Maybe Kerry'll listen to the man who runs L.A.'s Newsroom Cafe and draft Dean as his running mate. He could also shoot himself in the face, but the usefulness of that remains questionable.

From the pages of Salon.com...

Josh skewers Dave Eggers' novel in progress on Salon.com.

Friday, June 11, 2004

For real?

A bit of news I only found linked on Drudge, not that the possibility hasn't been brought up before.

Peeg Vater



I spent a summer living with three of the five members of the Boston (now NYC) based band Moonraker. Their new album dropped this week. Check it.

Thursday, June 10, 2004

Sacred Cows

I get a lot of shit for not regularly watching and or bowing down to the altar that is Chapelle's Show. As I was informed this weekend, if it wins Emmys, I'll start to like it. (see also: cocksucking motherfucking Deadwood) Speaking of which, I just love NYPD Blue and Frasier...or not. No matter. This was in the trades today. I hope it's funnier than Coneheads. As Dean of Boston's Dean's Home Furnishings might say, "I DOUBT IT."

Title: Memoirs of a Super Freak
Log line: Centers on the life of funk rocker Rick James.
Writer: Rick James (author)
Agent: n/a
Buyer: Paramount Pictures
Price: n/a
Genre: Drama Bio
Logged: 6/10/04
More: Autobiography. Lorenzo Di Bonaventura will produce. David Chappelle is in early talks to star.

From the Comments Page

Pierluigi said...
"I honestly don't think that there is anything wrong with Larry Legend's comments. I think it might be very un-PC, but it is pretty true. i love the fact that he was "disrespected" by being guarded by a white guy (which is kind of true, if you think of it in a classical sense, the scrubs in the army world never really took on the big boys and if they did the big guys would just scoff and react the same way)."

"and the parcells thing was dumb, but he came from that era and he said "no disrespect" a thousand times and just stated what he and his people call the plays."

"People need to calm the hell down."

First of all, let's not begin celebrating middlebrow thinking because it's "un-PC." Frankly, let's say "fuck you" to the entire paradigm of "PC" and "un-PC."

Let's pick this apart. Larry Bird is arguably one of the five or ten best players ever. Not of his era but ever. So, he gets mad when the white player guards him. Okay. In his time, about three players come to mind who played his position and could guard him: James Worthy, Scottie Pippen and Dennis Rodman. And for good measure, let's throw in Jordan, Magic, and, let's say, Charles Barkley. Six hall of famers, with some of the fifty best players ever among them. Um, yeah, few people, black, white, Cuban or Asian can guard Larry Bird. Why is it important to point out that the player guarding him is white when said player cannot guard him? Who can guard him? And if a black guy can't guard him and might suck (see: half of the league's small forwards at the time), why not bring that up? Now, the racial part of this brings up an interesting quandary. If basketball is "a black man's game" and the league could sure use more white stars, why is it insulting when back in the day Isaiah Thomas and Dennis Rodman (among many others) implied that Larry Bird was only highly thought of as a player because he was white? And if Bird's statements are to be taken as valuable or worthy, shouldn't the old grudge between Isaiah and Larry be over and done with? It's not like Bird fired Isaiah as coach of the Pacers the minute he took over, against the wishes of the team's franchise player, leading many to wonder how strong that grudge was still held. Oh, wait a second. Now, let's also pretend that the league has no white stars as we speak. But I guess Pau Gasol and Dirk Nowitzki and Steve Nash don't count because, well, they're from Europe or Canada, which also nullifies the blossoming talents of Mano Ginobli, Darko Milicic, etc.

Now, to be fair, I am not a players based fan. I am a uniform based fan. I don't so much care who is on my teams as long as their last names are not Bonilla and as long as they're winning and/or not raping young women in Colorado. And I am well aware of the idiotic phenomenon of white fans seeking out any and all white players (no matter their talent) and proclaiming them their favorite players. Even the most obnoxiously ultra-PC people I know loved the Miami Heat's mediocre guard John Crotty way more than was necessary with little to no discernible reason given. But are you telling me that it's somehow needed or worth caring about that some idiots need to have a Bill Wennington on the Bulls to subsequently root for Michael Jordan? This is the kind of bullshit commentary that I've come to loathe, the kind of, I don't care if this is offensive, I'm going to say it. Well, gee, how great. Too bad what you're actually saying has no merit, but you're super fucking daring to say it, asshole. Hey, perhaps Larry's choice to fire Isaiah had nothing to do with Isaiah's once upon a time comments and more to do with the lack of playing time he gave to Austin Croshere (white). But thank God he gets playing time now. That motherfucker sure does sell sneakers. And that's the other thing about this...he uses the term "stars." Who the hell is a star? (especially considering the level of star making these comments) And if they're all black, so what? Do you know how many black players that are great that never get a shoe deal that anyone knows about but them and their agent because they're charmless or on a bad team or playing in a small market? This is not commentary on the nature of race in sports. This is tiresome and boring and, well, dumb.

And in the case of Mr. Parcells. I love the Tuna. He coached the Giants to two Super Bowl championships. So, of course I love the man. But, I'm sorry. You are the most famous coach in maybe the most famous sport in this country in a state with an immeasurable obsession with said sport. You coach "America's team." You burp and someone writes about it. You swap out your starting left tackle for a rookie and thirty columns are written about it that day. So, yeah, he's not a hooded racist lighting crosses all across the deep South. But, hey, wake up. It's not cool to call them "Jap plays," if that means anything to anyone other than morons. Would it be okay if he referenced Antonio Bryant as the colored wide receiver I just demoted to third string? No. And, frankly, above all else, it never ceases to amaze me that a man who has been doing this as long as he has, still does not understand that the microphones are connected to recording devices. So, if you say something and you are surrounding the statement with profuse apologies, as you're saying it, you might do a better job of shutting your stupid pie hole.

Wednesday, June 09, 2004

Microphones Continue to Cause Problems for Idiots

Larry Bird yearns for additional white meat. Bill Parcells apologizes for discussing his team's "Jap plays."

Report: Brock Enters Fagistan...Invasion "Brutal"

If true, this will be a chapter in the forthcoming biography.

Defense

That motherfucker at The Whine Colored Sea compared me to those sniveling pacifists at MoveOn.org because I regretted even remotely involving myself in his lover's quarrel with the mayor of Fagistan. Side note: John Kerry was pandering, Josh. But, in some ways, the questions requires him to do so, making the issue of what he said less important than why he felt the need to answer it in the way he did. As I've said before and I will now say again, I am voting for Mr. Kerry. I would like it if the man could answer a simple question without twelve corrolaries. For example, he could've said The Bible and covered both new and old Testaments, but instead he implies that "The Bible" is only the New Testament and then must also say the Torah is important reading, perhaps to remind voters (see also: Jews) he's heard of it. And, in a way, there's nothing wrong with that, but then to ramble on a bit more and try to cram in the name of every major religion seems to me less than a stellar performance in regards to his answering the question. Is it pandering? Perhaps and perhaps not. But his answer certainly doesn't provide us with any kind of clarity on the matter. And, frankly, considering that the question is not all that important, who cares, but as we all know, Kerry has a problem answering any question without hemming and hawing and trying so hard to recite a dissertation as opposed to telling us what he thinks. Bush is blunt and narrow and direct. I am not asking Kerry to stoop to his level, but if he gets up there and does this kind of endless yammering, he's going to look like a blowhard who can't make up his mind. And as a Kerry voter, that doesn't make me happy.

Anyway, fuck you, Ben...and...yeah, at least I don't hate Jesus.

Nerd News

The new batmobile is unveiled.

No Spin

Sully on O'Reilly: "O'Reilly is another case. When I listen to him blather on, I'm reminded of a drunk Irish uncle at Christmas, who can't shut up and cannot be argued with. Switch him off."

And on and on...

Josh v. Ben continues. I've been dragged into it a little, I guess. I should've stayed out of it.

Tuesday, June 08, 2004

PL

A new blogger. Say hello to Pier.

From the Battlefield

John Kerry has contempt for what the Dude might call, "the whole brevity thing." Ben and Josh fight about it. Witness Ben's punches here, here, and here and Josh's here and here. Now, after reading this blog skirmish, you might think that their argument was about religion. Wrong. If Senator Kerry hadn't unnecessarily rambled and pandered to, well, everyone, this conversation between my two readers might never have taken place.

Monday, June 07, 2004

Gutting the Gipper

Hitch on Reagan.

Friday, June 04, 2004

Ben

He's on the radio this weekend in all 50 States. The kid's fucking turning into Drudge. The exclusive is here. Huzzah!

More Great Shit from Sully

WHAT ROVE HATH WROUGHT: I've known David Catania for years, and count him as a friend and a bit of a hero. He ran as a white gay Republican in Washington D.C. for the city council and has been re-elected, and become something of a legend in the city. He's an inclusive, tax-cutting, bureaucracy-terrorizing, rising political star. But he won't be endorsing George W. Bush in November, for the obvious reason. So he's been barred from being a delegate to the Convention. Here's a money quote from an interview in Salon:

Whether or not a few [gay] leaders stay with the party until they drop dead isn't the issue. The fact of the matter is, there ain't no there there anymore. The constitutional amendment issue is kind of a watershed moment. It reminds me of the 1964 election, and this is why: In 1960 Richard Nixon won 26 percent of the black vote. We forget that it was 44 years ago, but the Republicans were still winning a quarter of the African-American vote. That went from 26 percent in 1960 to 12 percent in 1964. What made that happen? [Nominee Barry] Goldwater was opposed to the 1963 Civil Rights Act, and the African-American community viewed that as a betrayal. For 40 years, we have never as a party recovered from that.
In 2000 George Bush won 25 percent of the gay vote. You see the parallels? The president decided to trot out a constitutional amendment to remind us, even though we are already reminded daily, that we are second-class citizens. In case we harbored any illusions that we were equal, he wants to write this into the Constitution. He'll be lucky if he gets 12 percent [of the gay vote] in this election.

12 percent? I'd say 5 percent. Not that Rove cares. There isn't a pretense any more that gay people are even worthy of consultation in the Republican party. Catania exonerates Bush. I think he's being too kind. I've no doubt that Bush wants to believe he's a tolerant, nice guy; and I'm sure he conducts himself admirably with people of different backgrounds. But he does not even remotely understand the social revolution of the last two decades. He thinks gay people can be treated as they were in the 1950s and that's a measure of tolerance. It's this blindness that rankles. Who, for example, did Bush talk to about the constitutional amendment? Richard John Neuhaus. Did the president talk to a single gay person? Nope. Is there a single gay Republican or gay conservative willing to defend the constitutional amendment? I have yet to find one. I think David under-estimates the extent of the damage.

Sully on Salon and Word Choice

From Andrew Sullivan:

DON'T CALL IT TERROR: The anti-Western left has come up with a new term for a terrorist. It's "commando." Check out this strange story on Salon. It's a memoir of a young Palestinian terrorist by a young woman who knew him while he was being protected in the 1980s by Yugoslavia's Communist regime. The essay attempts to show how the young man came to recognize at one point the humanity of those Israeli civilians he was about to murder. But the euphemisms in the piece are priceless. Take this sentence:

The recent (and bumbling) Achille Lauro assault, during which young Palestinian commandos hijacked a Mediterranean cruiser and killed an elderly, wheelchair-bound American tourist, coupled with those ghastly shootouts at the Rome and Vienna airports, had made a mockery of the Titoist soft spot for resistance groups and rendered dinner chats with Western diplomats unbearably awkward ...

The problem with the Achille Lauro hijacking was that it was "bumbling"? If only they'd killed more Jews more effectively! Notice also that it was somehow "during" the "assault" that a murder took place. Hmmm. Wouldn't it be more, er, accurate to say that the hijacking occurred in order to murder civilians? Notice also here the unequivocal use of the term "commando" for "terrorist." One reader emailed me to say he thought that "commandos" were more plausibly viewed as those who try to rescue hostages, not those who try to kill them. Such silly distinctions! Elsewhere in the piece, the terrorists are called "operatives." Like Valerie Plame. The author knew that her friend was about to kill innocent civilians but glosses over this ugly fact by saying:

Looking back now on that snowy afternoon at Abu Moses' place, the last time I would see him, it took longer than one might expect for me to comprehend what the trip to Cyprus meant. Indeed, months of denial and doubt.

It appears those months of denial and doubt are now indeed years. And denial has morphed into excuse. And excuse into euphemism. Who is the author? We are told: "D.N. Rosina is the pseudonym of a Bay Area writer now reporting from the Middle East." So there's a reporter out there who thinks that terrorists are commandos. Who is she reporting for? Why has she decided to remain anonymous? And why have the editors of Salon decided to grant her that anonymity?

Thursday, June 03, 2004

Knives Don't Kill People, People Kill People

Great snarkiness from Fagistan.

Job Postings

Ben observed that my blog ads were about careers in anti-terrorism which may be the gov't's subtle way of posting the newly available position of Director of the CIA. (Will Woolsey come back? Will J.J. Abrams be consulted?) My blog seems to be advertising for some kind of liberal media outlet now...which I hear you can work at for free! Tenet went the way I always hoped Janet Reno might go and that I still think Rummy will go...the old resignation for personal reasons or to spend more time with the fam when really you got your ass kicked out the door behind the scenes because your superiors are too much of pussies to do it in full public view. Unfortunately, Tenet can't do what unofficially fired coaches always do in sports, which is pretend to want to spend more time with the family...do that for a few days, but during that time, negotiate a broadcasting deal with a Turner network and travel from city to city for the next six months. (see also: Josh's thoughts)

From Slate

Timothy Noah on slogans and responsibility.

Wednesday, June 02, 2004

Drudge Lies When He Cries

The account of what it is to be the hottie John Kerry didn't fuck.

Death Rattle

I refuse to read most Salon.com stories, Free Day Pass or no. But I do love to read the link blurbs and ponder what the story might contain...here are two examples:

Bush stumbles to Rome in search of Catholic votes -- but the pope may give him a much-needed lecture instead...(interesting who Salon's writers desire to lecture the president...you'd think they'd want someone not into cover-ups)

Channeling Bob Marley and Bob Dylan, Wyclef Jean (Howard Dean's favorite musician) is saving hip-hop from its purgatory of bling-bling and booty (What-what-what?)

I've Been What?

Notice on the comments page that I've been "poemed" by the "Poemster?" Ben, is this your alter ego?

Title Change?

Title: Joan of Bark: the Dog that Saved France
Log Line: Described as a satire about pop culture.
Writer: David Mamet
Agent: Jeff Berg at ICM and atty. Stan Coleman of Weissmann, Wolff, Bergman, Coleman, Silverman & Holmes
Buyer: Columbia Pictures
Price: n/a
Genre: Satire
Logged: 6/2/04
More: John Calley will produce. Mamet will direct as well. Will Ferrell will star.

Wow

Again, wow:

HILLSBORO -- A Portland lawyer says suffering by African Americans at the hands of slave owners is to blame in the death of a 2-year-old Beaverton boy.

Randall Vogt is offering the untested theory, called post traumatic slave syndrome, in his defense of Isaac Cortez Bynum, who is charged with murder by abuse in the June 30 death of his son, Ryshawn Lamar Bynum. Vogt says he will argue -- "in a general way" -- that masters beat slaves, so Bynum was justified in beating his son.

The slave theory is the work of Joy DeGruy-Leary, an assistant professor in the Portland State University Graduate School of Social Work. It is not listed by psychiatrists or the courts as an accepted disorder, and some experts said they had never heard of it.

DeGruy-Leary testified this month in Washington County Circuit Court that African Americans today are affected by past centuries of U.S. slavery because the original slaves were never treated for the trauma of losing their homes; seeing relatives whipped, raped and killed; and being subjugated by whites.

Because African Americans as a class never got a chance to heal and today still face racism, oppression and societal inequality, they suffer from multigenerational trauma, says DeGruy-Leary, who is African American. Self-destructive, violent or aggressive behavior often results, she says.

Fake?

This seems semi-fake (her head seems to be shaded oddly) but then again, this is Ms. Duff we're talking about, and, well, everything about her is bogus. (Tip of the hat to Ben and Stereogum for this one.)