Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Super best diary entry of the day

I love the blurry line here, between an anecdotal account and the strong likelihood that this is completely fabricated or, at the very least, embellished. Here's my favorite sampling from Pedro Almodovar's Volver diary/shooting journal:

A man comes up to me while I’m having breakfast in a bar. He tells me he’s seen “Bad Education” three times. I thank him, as I normally do.
The first time I fell asleep, the stranger explains.
Did it bore you so much?
No, on the contrary, he says. I was totally into it but I got sleepy and I let myself go. Then, of course, I went to see it again since the bit I had watched left me very intrigued.
And?
I liked it better than the first time but, again, at one point I was so relaxed that I fell asleep once more. And the same thing happened the third time.
So, you still haven’t seen the whole film?
Actually, no, I haven’t. Now I’m waiting for it to come out in DVD so that I can watch it calmly at home.
This man seems to be a little over fifty, without any particularly striking characteristics. I wouldn’t know what a narcoleptic looks like, but he certainly doesn’t look like he has the sudden sleep syndrome. And he doesn’t seem to be joking either.
Well, I don’t know what to tell you, I say.
Don’t be offended, he adds, it’s just that when I like something a lot it relaxes me so much that I can actually go to sleep. It’s a really pleasant feeling, I mean it as a compliment. And, also… I’m currently taking some medication to curb anxiety and the doctor warned me that it could make me sleepy.
Then, there’s no doubt, I tell him emphatically, that has to be the explanation. You are falling asleep because of the pills, not because of my film!
Don’t you suffer from anxiety, anguish or desperation, he asks, unaware that his words are the lyrics of a bolero.

(Via GreenCine Daily)

Monday, August 29, 2005

Yeah, Xanadu sucks, but come on

In Bill O'Reilly's Thursday Talking Points Memo, Bill gave a quick list of "indicators" to help you figure out if you are an extremist. Grouped together on said list were the following:
  • If you think the documentary "Outfoxed" tells the truth about this network, you're in the extreme zone. (As opposed to being in the No Spin Zone, which you are obviously in right now...smartass.)
  • If you admire the philosophy of the Third Reich, you're there. (Also, for those watching at home, if you just said "define admire" to the screen, you have yourself a problem.)
    Now, Outfoxed director Robert Greenwald is pissed(obvs):
    "O'Reilly has simply lost his mind. I demand that O'Reilly apologize." He also challenges O'Reilly to "a real debate on the issues, not his silly name-calling."
    Uh, yeah, Greenwald, to say he's lost his mind involves having control over his faculties in the first place. This is a guy who takes it to heart when a hooker tells him he's hung like a horse. So much so that he repeats it as part of his rap to ladies willing (or unwilling) to let him soap up their boobies or engage in loofa play. But getting back to this amusing little tiff, here's the FOX response:
    "Why would we book a has-been like Robert Greenwald on cable's highest-rated program? We wish him well on his road to extinction."
    Zing.

  • Friday, August 26, 2005

    Q & A of the Day

    When and why did Steven Seagal threaten to throw you out a window?

    I was assigned to write an article on him. And I guess he didn’t really agree with the thesis, which was that his career was over.

    From Claire Zulkey's very funny interview with A.J. Jacobs, author of The Know-It-All and the forthcoming The Year of Living Biblically.

    Thursday, August 25, 2005

    Tear down the opera house



    The work day is over. Earlier this week, as it was mandatory, I attended computer "training." At this "training," I learned many new and exciting concepts. CDs, aka compact discs, have holes in the middle. They also have a shiny side and a dull side. The shiny side goes down. Say it with me, class. Down. The shiny side goes down! The shiny side goes down! I'm going to jump out this window, but. No. Shit. SHIT. These windows don't open. FUCK. The shiny side goes down! Down, down, down!

    You get the point. Anyway, the work week is just about done. So, huzzah!

    I've been waiting a few weeks and my copy of i bet you say that to all the boys (+ a bonus disc) by The Scotland Yard Gospel Choir finally arrived. Again...huzzah! Combined with this morning's acquisition of tickets to the November 8th Broken Social Scene show at the Henry Fonda Theater and, well, you know what's coming...huzzah! In case you missed it, here's the track listing for BSS' forthcoming self titled jawn:

    1 Our Faces Split the Coast in Half
    2 Ibi Dreams of Pavement (A Better Day)
    3 7/4 (Shoreline)
    4 Finish Your Collapse and Stay for Breakfast
    5 Major Label Debut
    6 Fire Eye'd Boy
    7 Windsurfing Nation
    8 Swimmers
    9 Hotel
    10 Handjobs for the Holidays
    11 Superconnected
    12 Bandwitch
    13 Tremoloa Debut
    14 It's All Gonna Break

    and...the bonus EP, Be You and Me:

    1 Her Disappearing Theme
    2 Canada vs. America
    3 Baroque Social
    4 No Smiling Darkness/Snake Charmers Association
    5 All My Friends
    6 Major Label Debut (Fast)
    7 Feel Good Lost Reprise

    Okay. One more time. For the kids. Huzzah!

    Quote of the Day

    "I'd like to be a little oinker, myself. If he's the chief porker, I'm upset." - Rep. Don Young (R - Alaska) upon hearing that he ranked second in the entire U.S. Congress in securing pork barrel projects, such as two bridges ($230 million each), as part of the recently signed Highway Bill, one of which will be called "Don Young Way." (via Hit and Run)

    Wednesday, August 24, 2005

    Boo-urns

    In the Cornell Daily Sun, writer Tracey Zhang hates on Los Angeles. Her commentary is about as tired as it gets, but letting such drivel slide isn't my style. First up:
    A trip to Whole Foods (the health food supermarket that seemed to have overran the city) revealed that I had previously been living in the dark ages. Just the bread aisle yielded seemingly impossible varieties of bread such as flour-free, wheat-free or even one made specifically for women, menopausal women that is. It seemed that the entire city was fueled by one purpose: looking good. I know it may seem that I was being entirely superficial in my generalization, but that's only because I was being entirely superficial in my generalization. Even restaurants were following with the trend, advertising themselves as "macrobiotic vegan" or "gourmet raw food." Before I knew it, even I was starting to buy into the entire drive to succeed aesthetically, pressured by the entire avenues of yogalates studios and gyms that I passed everyday on my way to work.
    Whole Foods is currently in 30 states (including California) and has three locations in the District of Columbia. Gosh, Tracey, you've really uncovered another L.A. phenomenon. Bravo! Do the other kids in Ithaca look at you with mouths agape when you make such observations? Do they doubt your veracity, stunned by the weirdness you expose?

    But let's move on. Tracey closes strong, with a cell phone joke...reference...I don't know and, yes, a Botox joke:
    I want to say that I adapted just fine, with my cell phone glued to my ear and my boho purse slung haphazardly over one shoulder as I browed through boutiques on Robertson Boulevard. Instead, I just stared. Starred at the rows and rows of sunsoakers at every beach I went to and also at the outrageously outfitted entourages of teenagers from Bel Air who drove European cars whose names I couldn't even pronounce. That being said, the worst thing I encountered (besides the non-stop traffic and cutthroat parking situation) was the pollution.

    Despite initially giving off an impression of superficiality and an unhealthy preoccupation with appearances, Los Angeles was surprisingly helpful in an ironic way. With a driven population completely unimpressed with the entertainment industry that the rest of the world designates as its source of identity, L.A. forced me to just get over it. So what if the street or the local Coffee Bean was suddenly closed due to filming of some show or commercial, all it meant was perhaps a slightly longer walk to the nearest Starbucks. Who cares if you have a friend who works in "the industry" because the accountant at my office is actually a reoccurring cast member on a new fall pilot.

    So thank you L.A., for making me jaded and level-headed, no really! Without you, I would still be gushing over every new Hollywood commodity with shameless glee. But now I know better. I know that without Botox, the entire west side of L.A. would not show up for work on Monday morning. Just kidding!
    Okay, okay, okay. How does she know they're from Bel Air? Huh? Oh, wait, that's right, Bel Air is a known name to the douchetards who will read this and nod their heads or...gasp...laugh. This piece makes me want to die. I know, I know, I should be used to crap like this. The minute I stepped into New York City a few months back, the barrage of "When are you coming back east" questions struck, as if the notion that people could survive somewhere without two Jekyll & Hyde theme restaurants to tickle their fancy was unheard of. To Tracey and all the other haters, stay where you are. We don't want you. (via LAist)

    Most obvious joke ever



    Disney said on Monday it was looking for a sexy man of mystery with a rock singer's voice and a swimmer's physique to play the lead role in a new Broadway musical called "Tarzan."

    OBVS. Me, Tarzan. You, Jane. Son, Hobey. (And if the above photo is not enough, the show's producers should check this shit out. Stat.)

    It's not TV, it's Pat Robertson



    With the success(?) of Hogan Knows Best, I have recently been considering pitching a similarly structured reality program to my personal hero, Rev. Pat Robertson. Robertson's personal history lends itself to great television. Pat or Marion (as he's known to close friends like me) has ample bling (he's worth between $200 million and $1 billion), has a stellar fake military record (he did not imagine liberating the concentration camps...oh well, but he is known to have caroused with many a Korean whore), is chummy with war criminals (the Charles Taylor sans Kate Moss induced boner...well, as far as I know about that Charles Taylor's boners), is involved in the bloody diamond industry, can halt and/or redirect hurricanes with the power of his prayers, presumably towards the gay part of town (or in the case of Hurricane Gloria right into my front yard, on my very Jewish block, where a tree was uprooted and fell on a car), and he digs assassinations and Chinese abortions. Now, things, of course, need to be spiced up for TV purposes. I think a slutty granddaughter would be nice. We can cast her or Pat can just ask one of them to participate. And I assume Pat's wife is wacky enough for her own show, but this is merely conjecture.

    And perhaps a running gag through the first season can be that the house next to the Robertsons is up for sale. They're all very concerned who will move in...and the season can end with the stunning twist that one or more than one of Pat's old Korean whore flames has moved in, dredging up the past that Pat so dearly wishes he could forget/ignore/cover up/assassinate. But being a lying, weak willed pussy is not going to convince the folks at VH1:
    "I didn't say 'assassination.' I said our special forces should 'take him out.' And 'take him out' can be a number of things, including kidnapping; there are a number of ways to take out a dictator from power besides killing him."
    One, yeah you did. Two, you said covert ops guys, which is different in many crucial ways than special forces. Three, we know you're a raving mad man, Pat. You're a full bag of nuts, and that's why we love you. There's no need to back away from your statements. (It should be noted that on multiple occassions, while watching The 700 Club and hoping that the prayer circle would try to cure me today or that the dramatization involving a young man who mixed drugs, alcohol and Metallica(!) would be re-aired, I have yearned for Pat to be assassinated. Yes, I've said this out loud and I might have even gotten up and yelled at the TV as if Pat or anyone else --bizarro Bernard Shaw, Gordon, the lady -- could hear me. And I don't know exactly how I'd feel if I was in Hugo Chavez's shoes right now, especially with my lack of experience as a dictatorial thug. But I believe my reality show idea can be a successful way of making amends with Pat.)

    So, Pat, if you're reading this, call me.

    Note: Can someone please explain to me why Robertson is posed like that? What's in his hand? Does he have some kind of palsy and that's how "Marion" grips his lapel? And I doubt it's a nod to his penchant for magic, as Pat would certianly not want to be associated with the "dark arts." Anyone know?

    Scattered Ashes

    I’ve just finished Lunar Park. I waited seven years and devoured it in a week and a half. I’ve read the negative reviews, which for some reason seem to shock people every time, as if Ellis’ previous work had been lavished with critical praise. I’ve heard people talk about how they wanted to tear out the first chapter in disgust, but how the Stephen King-like elements made them happier. I’ve read it be described as the worst book someone’s ever read, and that person was not Victoria Beckham. There’s a lot swimming around in my head, so let me try to break this down. If it makes no sense, I apologize.

    I think there’s an interesting development in these last three books and since so much of Ellis’ work is interconnected, be it by locations or people, I guess it should come as no surprise. American Psycho is a book entirely shrouded in darkness, no matter the distractions, be they a dissertation on Phil Collins or anything else. (The key flaw of Mary Harron’s film is that it misses the darkness inside the satire. It’s too tame, too coy, for it to truly work. But it’s still the best thing anyone’s ever done with an Ellis book.) There is no exit, even if it’s all in his head, the thoughts in his head are enough. It’s also, as Ellis has stated numerous times, about his father, a dark and abusive man, never satisfied, never able to connect with anyone.

    Then, comes Glamorama, the story of a dumb kid thrust into fame, unable to handle it, who falls into a diabolical terrorism plot that his father is involved with, in order to replace him with another man that looks just like him that will behave more in line with his father’s wishes. The darkest element of this dark twist is that only because of his son’s fame will the plot work, so as much as he is dissatisfied with his son, he is drawn to and in need of his fame for it all to work. It ends with the lost son (under the watchful eye of his father’s cronies), eyeing the painting of a mountain, yearning for more, promising that his life can contain more than “specks.”

    And now comes Lunar Park, Ellis’ inside-out memoir cum horror story, where the ghost is his father, himself, and his fictional son (who exists and, at the same time, does not…see, also, everyone else). He escapes to the suburbs, as a response to his decadence, as so many “adults” do, and he tries to be a better father than his father was to him. He doesn’t succeed, but knows he hasn’t, knows he hasn’t done better than his father and it kills him inside (the hope it seems that Ellis has for his father…you always want the person that hurt you to regret it, even if just a little, so that it gnaws at them).

    But the trick Ellis pulls is masterful, because the book is less about himself or his own fictional problems (they all implode on themselves as they were just as much hallucinations as the many ghosts and monsters) and more about his own yearning to forgive his father (who becomes his character) and for his father to be a better man. (By no coincidence, Ellis father’s name is Robert and his son’s name is Robby.) For them to say “I love you” to each other at a dinner where they never said it and where Ellis remembers wishing he had. The man who wanted us to slide down the surface of things, has now asked us to dig through the layers of self, to see ourselves as the pieces of many others, to face up to being the man you swore you’d never become and to attempt to forge ahead and be better, make the choices he never made, and not be in a situation where your lost son can say only a few words to you in a McDonald’s in Sherman Oaks before leaving, not so much wanting to be around you for too long, but wanting you to only know that he’s alright so you can go back to only worrying about yourself.

    He's haunted. His house is haunted. His past and present are haunted. He has to face the monster (his father) or end up becoming the monster, if he hasn't already.

    Monday, August 22, 2005

    Quote of the Day

    "One of the important ideas of a democratic culture is that we all have equal standing in the public square. That doesn't mean stupid ideas should be taken as seriously as smart ones. It means that the content of an argument should be judged on its own merits.

    The left seems to be embracing the notion of moral authority in part as a tactical response to the right. For years, conservatives have said or implied that if you criticize a war, you hate the soldiers. During the Clinton years, conservatives insisted that the president lacked "moral authority" to send troops into battle because he had avoided the draft as a youth or, later, because he lied about his affair with Monica Lewinsky.

    So adopting veterans or their mourning parents as spokesmen is an understandable counter-tactic. It was a major part of the rationale behind John Kerry's candidacy. The trouble is, plenty of liberals have come to believe their own bleatings about moral authority. Liberal blogs are filled with attacks on "chicken hawk" conservatives who support the war but never served in the military. A recent story in the antiwar magazine Nation attacked my New Republic editor, Peter Beinart, a supporter of the Iraq war, for having "no national security experience," as if Nation editors routinely served in the Marine Corps.

    The silliness of this argument is obvious. There are parents of dead soldiers on both sides. Conservatives have begun trotting out their own this week. What does this tell us about the virtues or flaws of the war? Nothing.

    Or maybe liberals think that having served in war, or losing a loved one in war, gives you standing to oppose wars but not to support them. The trouble is, any war, no matter how justified, has a war hero or relative who opposes it.

    Sheehan also criticizes the Afghanistan war. One of the most common (and strongest) liberal indictments of the Iraq war is that it diverted troops that could have been deployed against Al Qaeda in Afghanistan. Are liberals who make that case, yet failed to enlist themselves, chicken hawks too?" - Jonathan Chait turning down the volume just a bit and hitting it on the head.

    Sunday, August 21, 2005

    Gore Vidal's Wet Blanket

    Get your filthy minds out of the gutter. Jesus. Vidal, in a piece on Hollywood's rejuvenated love affair with F. Scott Fitzgerald ends things on this note:
    "The problem of trying to adapt a great work of fiction - 'Gatsby' is not that, but it's a lovely little novel - is you can't get that on screen, and filmmakers have never understood that. It's a tone of voice, and the tone of voice is that of the author. And, if I may say so, films have no authors, no matter what the prints say. It's a collaborative effort."
    Along with this, there's news on a Tender is the Night remake, Fincher's Benjamin Buttons, Robert Evans' past (and present) myopia, and Z Channel fave Stuart Cooper's A Short Trip Home. Check it.

    Tuesday, August 16, 2005

    Your Mother Should Know

    Here's a hypothetical. A 9/11 widow stages a protest outside the White House or on the outskirts of the Crawford ranch. She grieves for her husband, an unwitting civilian casualty in a heinous terrorist action, aided by the ineptitudes of a teeming bureaucracy asleep at the switch. It could have been prevented but nothing has been done to make those who failed us pay. No firings. No substantive changes. She grieves and in grieving, grows angry at her president and her government for their failings, for their inability to protect its citizens, for then endangering more of its citizens with further military "adventures."

    In the process of protesting, demanding a face to face with her president, to air her grievances, she comes upon a theory, which she expresses without hesitation. This theory, in conjuction with the agonizing pain of losing a loved one so suddenly, is the basis for her protest. She asserts her intelligence, her ability to see the forest for the trees, and professes to know the true cause of her husband's death. She has heard it from "reliable sources" and isn't "stupid" enough to believe the lies anymore.

    The Jews were behind 9/11. As per a directive from on high, none of them came to work that day. She has heard all the stories you've heard, of a horde of them, Jews, enjoying a leisurely breakfast that very morning, at the 2nd Avenue Deli (so many of them that it must be true), stroking their beards, reveling in Zionist bliss at the prospects of this diabolical act, of how it will lead to the resolution of their master plan, to finally evacuate Gaza and the northern West Bank. Oh, the glory of God smiles upon us today!

    Which brings me back to the reality of Cindy Sheehan. She has every right, if not more than most, to protest this president for commanding her son and so many others into harm's way. But Sheehan has gone beyond a protest of this sort. She has now spouted off politically, expounded on conspiracy theories, etc.:
    Am I emotional? Yes, my first born was murdered. Am I angry? Yes, he was killed for lies and for a PNAC Neo-Con agenda to benefit Israel. My son joined the army to protect America, not Israel. Am I stupid? No, I know full well that my son, my family, this nation and this world were betrayed by George Bush who was influenced by the neo-con PNAC agendas after 9/11. We were told that we were attacked on 9/11 because the terrorists hate our freedoms and democracy … not for the real reason, because the Arab Muslims who attacked us hate our middle-eastern foreign policy.
    She has, in my opinion, made a fool of herself. But spare me the notion that I can't say that because she lost her son. I would not listen to a legless veteran tell me that the best plan would be to kill 'em all and let God sort them out and allow him carte blanche. He served, he's been there, he can say whatever he likes without challenge. His loss and her loss cannot be fathomed by most. Their politics, be they mad ravings or well scripted nonsense from support groups (the difference is subtle, I know), can and should be challenged if one sees fit to do so.

    It's sad when a cause tries to foist upon us the speaker who cannot be challenged. The Jonathan Pollard crowd does this by sending out his sister to prattle on about his Torah study and his idyllic childhood. Can't yell at the sister. She's family. She yearns for her brother's release. I'm proud to have asked her a question once, at an event where her ass was kissed as if it might bring one eternal life, and I'm proud to have been hissed at and then ignored.

    I don't speak for Cindy Sheehan's son or her or attempt to understand her grief. But she has now attempted to speak for me, for all of us, and in that, she's failed.

    Motivation for this post: Hitch on Sheehan and Josh on Hitch on Sheehan.

    Monday, August 08, 2005

    Quote(s) of the Day

    In response to the following from Ann Coulter:
    Republicans are desperately trying to convince themselves that Roberts will be different because they want to believe Bush wouldn't let us down on the Supreme Court. Somewhere in America a woman is desperately trying to convince herself that her husband won't hit her again because he told her "things are going to be different this time." (And yes, that woman's name is Whitney Houston.)
    Josh has this, a rant so funny that I nearly spit out my coffee on this Monday morning, which like all other Monday mornings (and every other weekday morning for that matter) involves various plots to call in sick, frequent lamentations on the state of my life, and profanity laced groans of how I don't want to go to work:
    Usually, I'm amused by Ann's ravings, so calculated to outrage liberal sensibilities without actually having any intellectual heft. She's the kind of scorched-Earth anorexic we all crave to fill our lives with incendiary, yet meaningless, diatribes. She's like an Al Qaeda video without, you know, the suicide bombers. She becomes funny because she's willing to utterly ignore basic decency and anything vaguely resembling balance, but she's hysterical because she's utterly impotent, a shrieking goddess with no power and her only worshippers are horny guys with "The South Will Rise Again" bumper stickers and dirty fags who have an endless appetite for emotionally disturbed she-monsters without a shred of humanity! She's like the Joan Crawford of politics. Captivating and campy, but utterly useless out of the little niche she's carved herself.

    But somehow, this passage crosses some kind of line. Even I, who posted with great schadenfreude about a man bashing his wife's head in with a hammer, who has not a shred of sympathy for that drug-addled chanteuse Mrs. Bobby Brown, find this paragraph so tasteless it makes me vaguely ill. I'm not even sure why, but I stand by my impulses.

    Ann, you're a fucking cow. Lose some weight, okay? Your ankles are looking a little puffy.
    Someone needs to help Ann with her doodie bubbles. If not our Fearless Leader, then who? Anyone? Anyone? Yeah, that's what I thought.

    Sunday, August 07, 2005

    Trailer Park



    Go on and peep the trailer for Everything is Illuminated. Lookin' good. And if you're wondering what the song is (and you will be, because it's great), it's "How it Ends" by Devotchka. It's available on iTunes. Natch. (via AICN)

    Quote of the Day/"We all go a little mad sometimes. Haven't you?"



    "It will be very, very different from the usual Rufus -- not my usual voluptuous and grandiose view of the world. I want to get more streamlined. I feel like [Alfred] Hitchcock after making 'Vertigo' and 'To Catch a Thief,' his big Hollywood films. All of a sudden he made 'Psycho,' And then we knew where he really was coming from, you know?" - Rufus Wainwright, on his next album (via largehearted boy)

    Saturday, August 06, 2005

    Some friendly advice from your neighborhood blogger



    Head on over to Said the Gramophone and download "Tear Down the Opera House" by The Scotland Yard Gospel Choir. Once you've done that, head over to the band's MySpace page and listen to some of their new material and once you've soaked all that in, take the time to do what yours truly did and buy their 2003 release I Bet You Say That to All the Boys. With your purchase you get a free CD featuring new material soon to be released on a forthcoming album. H-O-T. Afterwards, if you're in Los Angeles, interrupt your work on a new screenplay (or any other endeavor, artistic or otherwise) and order some Joe Peep's and watch Phenomenon. Or not. Whatevs.

    "They're not big lies, you know; I just play around with things."

    Bret Easton Ellis: The Man in the Mirror. A pretty great profile in this Sunday's New York Times. Check it. (Note: Lunar Park drops on August 16th.)

    Friday, August 05, 2005

    A retort from the grave

    In response to Rick Santorum's recent posturing on the nature of conservatism, comes the wavering voice of the Gipper as he rises from the grave to haunt everyone's least favorite senator/anal leakage:
    "If you analyze it I believe the very heart and soul of conservatism is libertarianism. I think conservatism is really a misnomer just as liberalism is a misnomer for the liberals–if we were back in the days of the Revolution, so-called conservatives today would be the Liberals and the liberals would be the Tories. The basis of conservatism is a desire for less government interference or less centralized authority or more individual freedom and this is a pretty general description also of what libertarianism is."
    Oh that's just mean, jelly bean.

    Horns Aplenty/Handjobs for the Holidays

    The track list from the new Broken Social Scene album:

    "Our Faces Split the Coast in Half"
    "Ibi Dreams of Pavement (A Better Half)"
    "7/4 (Shoreline)"
    "Finish Your Collapse and Stay for Breakfast"
    "Major Label Debut"
    "Fire Eye'd Boy"
    "Windsurfing Nation"
    "Swimmers"
    "Hotel"
    "Handjobs for the Holidays"
    "Superconnected"
    "Bandwitch"
    "Tremoloa Debut"
    "It's All Gonna Break"

    It's coming out in October and it's apparently self titled. (via Coolfer)

    **UPDATE** Stereogum has a live version of one of the tracks ("Shorelines" or "7/4 (Shoreline")) available for download. Check that shit.

    Hoops

    Hoop #1: The hoop that Rush Limbaugh seeks to jump through is unlit. His attempt is to prove that discrimination on a state level is good and should be upheld if supported by a majority of individuals in that state. Denial of employment or housing based on the sexual orientation of the applicant is a good thing for the state and the country. Insinuate that despite Roberts work in aiding to overturn this Colorado ruling, he wasn't truly supporting the case nor was he considering the ramifications of the decision because he was only involved in a minor way. Jump through that hoop and land on some nonsense about "D.C. culture" and how conservatives will be mad at the mere notion that a "conservative" would assist gay activists. Behold:
    Then you go to the Los Angeles Times today: "Roberts Donated Help to Gay Rights Case." This is an attempt here, the LA Times, to use gays as a wedge against Roberts by angering those in the so-called religious right. "Supreme Court nominee John G. Roberts Jr. worked behind the scenes for gay rights activists, and his legal expertise helped them persuade the Supreme Court to issue a landmark 1996 ruling protecting people from discrimination because of their sexual orientation. Then a lawyer specializing in appellate work, the conservative Roberts helped represent the gay rights activists as part of his law firm's pro bono work. He did not write the legal briefs or argue the case before the high court, but he was instrumental in reviewing filings and preparing oral arguments, according to several lawyers intimately involved in the case. Gay rights activists at the time described the court's 6-3 ruling as the movement's most important legal victory."

    You know what this ruling was? It was Romer vs. Evans, and this was a ballot issue. The people in Colorado had voted to prohibit the inclusion of sexual orientation in civil rights laws. The people of Colorado had voted this way and Romer vs. Evans reversed the people of Colorado, and this is the case that Roberts worked on, pro-bono, with the gay community or gay activists, and the Times says his work was valuable. Romer vs. Evans, that case barred the enforcement of a Colorado ballot initiative that was passed by citizens of Colorado which prohibited the inclusion of sexual orientation and civil rights laws. The Supreme Court decision was 6-3. Anthony Kennedy wrote the majority opinion, and they ruled that the ballot initiative violated the Fourteenth Amendment's equal-protection clause. Now, it's interesting to note that this decision, Romer vs. Evans, then led to the next decision, Lawrence vs. Texas. That was the case in which the Supreme Court reversed a prior decision called Bowers vs. Hardwick -- by the way, so much for upholding precedent because here you go. The Supreme Court overturning the duly elected people of Colorado and their duly elected ballot initiative, and here's the Supreme Court overturning itself, Bowers vs. Hardwick via Lawrence vs. Texas, and they held in Lawrence vs. Texas that same-sex sodomy is also protected by the Fourteenth Amendment. "Both these cases, Romer vs. Evans and Lawrence vs. Texas are considered to be the building blocks that the Supreme Court will eventually use to strike down state laws that limit marriage to heterosexual couples," and this is being done through the misuse of the Fourteenth Amendment's equal-protection clause. So these two cases, court-watchers all agree that you take steps, and these are two steps along the path to finally striking down the notion that marriage is strictly a heterosexual affair and it could be between anybody.

    I guess you could marry the horse that you made love to out there in the stud farm out in the state of Washington, which we talked about yesterday, as long as the horse enjoyed the sex afterwards. It's getting insane. But the Los Angeles Times story is running its story, making it look like none of this would have happened, that Romer vs. Evans in Colorado wouldn't have happened without the pro bono work of John Roberts, the president's nominee. Now, there's no question this is going to upset people on the right. There's no question the people on the right are going to say, "Wait a minute. Wait a minute! The guy is doing pro-bono work and helping gay activists?" and people are going to say, "See? This is what happens when you get caught up in the DC culture. This is what happens when you get caught up in the Washington establishment and culture: you want to be seen as enlightened and so forth." Roberts, for his part, says he doesn't really remember this case. He didn't write anything.
    Hoop #2: This hoop has been lit. Having already referred to Romer v. Evans as the beginning of a dangerous stretch of decisions by the Court on matters of gay rights (civil rights and marriage rights), equating gay marriage with marrying a horse, and already stating that the "so-called" religious right will be upset about this issue, presumably because of their wild monkey love for the 14th Amendment and that wild monkey love only, Limbaugh now attempts to prove that the only reason for this story is because the liberal media erroneously believes that all conservatives or all members of that "so-called" religious right hate homosexuals and that, obviously, this notion is patently false. Behold:
    The LA Times today has a story, the headline of which is: "Roberts Donated Help to Gay Rights Case -- In 1996, activists won a landmark anti-bias ruling with the aid of John Roberts." This story is attempting to use gays as a wedge against Roberts with the so-called religious right and other conservatives. There's something really insidious about this story as well, ladies and gentlemen, and it is this. It carries forward without question and with just huge assumption, this notion that conservatives hate gay people, that conservatives despise them -- and it just assumes that because of that, conservatives will now not like Roberts because he's worked with gays. The presumption is clear in this story that conservatives have to hate gays, otherwise why do the story?

    Why would this be a big story to the New York Times if they didn't think that conservatives hate gay people? And so now they want to try to make conservatives hate Roberts as well, but that's really not the point. The point here is that this LA Times story makes it appear that he is a stealth pro-gay individual to the point of assisting in the overturning of a duly passed Colorado ballot initiative.
    As if that weren't enough to make you giggle, then gag, then scream, Limbaugh puts the cherry atop his shit sundae:
    So it's vicious out there, and the president asked for "decency." The president asked for a decent investigation and hearing -- and, of course, that's now all out the window.
    Delicioso.

    Thursday, August 04, 2005

    Village of the Damned

    When not getting the patented fuzzy wuzzy treatment from Jon Stewart during Santorum's press-the-flesh (in a completely holy sense of the term) tour to promote his new book (It Takes A Family), Sen. Rick Santorum is consistently reminding each and everyone one of us who listens (and politely refrains from bringing about a brain hemmorhage by reading his book) that he is a full bag of nuts:
    One of the criticisms I make is to what I refer to as more of a libertarianish right. The left has gone so far left and the right in some respects has gone so far right that they come around in the circle. [...]

    This whole idea of personal autonomy -- I don't think that most conservatives hold that point of view. Some do. And they have this idea that people should be left alone to do what they want to do, that government should keep taxes down, keep regulation down, that we shouldn't get involved in the bedroom, that we shouldn't be involved in cultural issues, people should do whatever they want. Well, that is not how traditional conservatives view the world. And I think that most conservatives understand that we can't go it alone, that there is no such society that I'm aware of where we've had radical individualism and it has succeeded as a culture.
    Odd that a man so opposed to "villages" raising children would yearn for more government involvement in the home, the bedroom, the bathroom, the shower, and all other areas where one's mouth, hand, or any other extremity might come into contact with one's own dirty bits or the dirty bits of another, be they of the same or opposite sex. That said, we commend Sen. Santorum for his tactful and polite conversation with Jon Stewart last week, because if he wore a bow tie or yelled and screamed about how much of a fascist jacktard he is, we might get mad, as opposed to the warm feeling we currently have in our bellies, knowing that we are polite, urbane, and the equivalent of safety scissors. They "do the job" but they're no fun to run with.

    Now, thankfully, Stewart is willing to acknowledge that this approach might not be the best ("Everybody, the entire country abuzz about my interview last night with Rick Santorum. A real controversy over the relative suckiness of that interview. Some people thinking it sucked, whereas other people thinking it (in falsetto) suuuuuuucked. So tonight I can assure you, Diane Lane is going down!) but then again, he always does. To enjoy the full-on suckfest that was that interview, you can check the transcipt here, by way of towleroad.

    Now, we here at the OV sincerely hope that, soon enough, Rick Santorum will be nothing more than an ugly memory, like that stain on your bed that may be poop, might be cum or just might be that magical mixture of the two. I'm ready for Bob Casey. I hope Pennsylvania is too.

    (Santorum text from his interview this morning on NPR via Hit and Run.)

    Worst Vatican Operative EVER

    Supreme Court nominee John Roberts (Darth Vader to Ratzinger's Emperor in Hitch's infantile Catholic bashing nightmares) sure seems to have had odd ways of spooning with the Vatican:
    Supreme Court nominee John G. Roberts Jr. worked behind the scenes for gay rights activists, and his legal expertise helped them persuade the Supreme Court to issue a landmark 1996 ruling protecting people from discrimination because of their sexual orientation.

    Then a lawyer specializing in appellate work, the conservative Roberts helped represent the gay rights activists as part of his law firm's pro bono work. He did not write the legal briefs or argue the case before the high court, but he was instrumental in reviewing filings and preparing oral arguments, according to several lawyers intimately involved in the case.

    Gay rights activists at the time described the court's 6-3 ruling as the movement's most important legal victory.
    Whole story here.

    Crit of the Day

    "Now, I'm as riveted by a fine pair of gams as the next ostentatious heterosexual, and I left The Dukes of Hazzard bummed-out. Sad to say, Chandrasekhar doesn't know how to photograph those sculpted Daisy Dukes or their extraordinarily toned contents. What's with all the medium close-ups? What's with holding every long shot shot for barely two seconds? Of course, there is always the possibility that I was blinded by Simpson's teeth, which appear to have been polished with plutonium..." - David Edelstein, from his review of Dukes of Hazzard

    Tuesday, August 02, 2005

    Other Plans



    It's also, and I think it's important to some how get the sense of this--wonder, again--into the movie, a world of hidden cities, secret island laboratories, remote Central European countries where feats of incredible technology are performed, orbiting outposts of alien intelligences, underground kingdoms, etc.

    I don't think the movie should be about how they got their powers. It's a pretty goofy origin story.
    Michael Chabon's pitch to write The Fantastic Four, from back in 1995 when the project was controlled by 1492 and Chris Columbus. Check it.

    Also, speaking of Chabon, Josh, it has been way way waaaaaay too long since we've gotten an Ayelet Waldman related rant from you. Bring it.

    Off with her head

    Behind the scenes shots from Sofia Coppola's forthcoming Marie Antoinette. Powdered wig hotness. (via The Thighmaster)

    His piss is so clean, I would drink it



    Compare and contrast:

    "To help children make right choices, they need good examples. Athletics play such an important role in our society, but, unfortunately, some in professional sports are not setting much of an example. The use of performance-enhancing drugs like steroids in baseball, football, and other sports is dangerous, and it sends the wrong message -- that there are shortcuts to accomplishment, and that performance is more important than character. So tonight I call on team owners, union representatives, coaches, and players to take the lead, to send the right signal, to get tough, and to get rid of steroids now." - George W. Bush (excerpted from his Jan. 20, 2004 State of the Union address)

    "Rafael Palmeiro is a friend. He testified in public and I believe him. He's the kind of person that's going to stand up in front of the klieg lights and say he didn't use steroids, and I believe him. Still do." - George W. Bush, commenting today on Rafael Palmeiro's ten game suspension due to his positive steroid test result, which may have come as early as this past May, but was reportedly held up thanks to Palmeiro being offered the right to appeal, a right not granted to the majority of players in the major or minor leagues

    BFF indeed.

    Power Bottom

    As visitors to Fagistan well know, I'm the Minister of Venereal Disease in that festering hellhole Josh calls a nation state, and I'm also known by other monikers, one of which happens to be "resident Hitchens butt boy." I heard about Hitch's piece last night, but hadn't read it until today. Based on the rumor that Supreme Court nominee John Roberts told Sen. Dick Durbin that he would recuse himself on matters that the Catholic Church would consider immoral, Hitchens makes the case that Roberts may be unfit for the court. The problem here is both in the premise and the argument.

    One, I don't believe this story for a second. Behind closed doors, Durbin shows off his litmus test poker face and asks an unnecessarily vague question only to get the most ridiculous and unbelievable answer possible. Maybe I'm misinterpreting what Roberts supposedly implied here, but am I to believe that he will not participate in any ruling that might involve a morally tenuous or controversial issue. Marriage rights? Sorry, no. Can't do it. Ratzinger says I must recuse myself. Excuse me while I abscond to Vatican City for further instructions. Please. What is the logic behind this story? Is there any?

    Hitchens seems to think that Roberts potentially conservative ideals aren't enough to dissuade those of us on the fence about him. If he is so in bed with the Vatican, then I think it's pretty clear where he'll stand on any number of issues, from abortion to gay marriage to the separation of church and state. His Catholocism seems to be nothing but grounds for a petty dig and some good old hysteria. I guess Roberts will also halt the president's war efforts, by way of military tribunals and the like, since the Vatican opposed the Iraq war. I think there is enough in regards to Roberts' wife being a pro life activist and his record to indicate that he leans to the right. There's no need to turn it into another headache inducing rant about the evils of all organized religions. Please, Hitch, explain to me one more time what's not in the Ten Commandments...I haven't heard that one. I expect more than the alternate version of Ann Coulter's hysteria. Point, counter point at its lamest. So lame, you can't tell the difference.