June 30, 2004
Woolf in Fred Segal's Clothing
From left to right, Nicole Kidman and her Oscar-winning prosthetic nose, and the egregiously untalented Ashlee Simpson. Poor, poor girl. Check her pockets for rocks before she goes to the MTV Beach House.
And just like that, donations to his campaign stopped pouring in from Hollywood and Madison Avenue
From President Bush's speech in Turkey on June 29th, in which he defended democratic ideals:
"In some parts of the world, especially in the Middle East, there is wariness toward democracy, often based on misunderstanding. Some people in Muslim cultures identify democracy with the worst of Western popular culture, and want no part of it. And I assure them, when I speak about the blessings of liberty, coarse videos and crass commercialism are not what I have in mind. There is nothing incompatible between democratic values and high standards of decency."
June 29, 2004
Am I Veep Or Not? Vol. 2
For weeks, the media has been breathlessly scouring internal reports leaked from the Democratic camp, trying to winnow down a hypothetical list of presumptive 2004 Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry's picks for his vice-presidential candidate.
This just in! You heard it here first! Based on preliminary analysis of the above wire service photo, it looks like the 2004 Democratic vice-presidential nominee is...let's see...Senator Paul Sarbanes from Maryland!
Wait, who the fuck is that? Wow, this really comes a surprise. We'd been lead to believe that Kerry would go with someone who could bring him some very key electoral votes or inaccessible voting blocs in the so-called swing states, such as Bill Richardson in New Mexico, or Bob Graham in Florida, or even perennial runner-up Dick Gephardt from Iowa.
Well, to be sure, though Sen. Sarbanes may seem to be somewhat of a surprise pick, the Kerry camp must be confident that...hold on, wait, a correction. We've been so breathless from all this expectant websurfing and newsreading that we failed to notice that the photo was accompanied by a caption reading, "Democratic presidential candidate Sen. John Kerry, left, is introduced by Sen. Paul Sarbanes, D-Md., at a fund-raiser in Baltimore on Monday, June 28, 2004."
Shit, are we embarrassed. Well, it's back to the Edwards Watch for us!
Mini DV's mobility, on the other hand, caused Chelsea Walls to seem poorly framed
And then there's this, below, taken from New York magazine's current profile of Ethan Hawke as leading man/single man/bohemian:
There's a manual typewriter on his desk; he wrote both his books on it. “The computer has destroyed fiction,' he declares. “Paragraphs get so perfectly sculpted they lose all their juice.'
June 28, 2004
Unintentionally Hilarious Photo of the Moment, vol. 25
I think I recognize that actress...and her gamine-faced expression, too!
Three years ago, indie film fans across America saw AmŽlie and, apparently, fell in love with the film's lead actress Audrey Tautou...or at least that distinctively peculiar facial expression of hers. How else to explain the marketing of her subsequent films and the rash of look-alike film posters and DVD slipcases for movies in which she appears?
Anyway, you may also want to check out He Loves Me...He Loves Me Not, and if you're wondering how on earth you'll find this dark gem of a film in your local video store, fear not. Just look for Mlle. Tautou's inquisitive visage. Or, better yet, take a practice run below...You'll have to wade through films in which she merely plays a cameo, but that should be obvious by examining the ratio of Tautou-Face™ to the package's Total Surface Area:
The book was written by Yale University's honorary "Christopher Pike Professor of English"
From the case's promotional copy for the current DVD (re-)release of Disney's 1993 film A Far Off Place, which is noteworthy only in that it stars a younger, pre-Election, Reese Witherspoon:
"A classic adventure in the literary tradition of Holes"
Ray Charles, in turn, clearly inspired underground hip-hop artists such as Louis Logic and Prince Po
An actual letter to the editor which appeared in The Nation's July 12, 2004 issue, amidst readers' comments on the magazine's "tribute" to the many under-reported negative aspects of Reagan's presidency:
Boston - You omitted one salient fact: Ronald Reagan was responsible for creating the best marijuana in the world! When Reagan initiated his "war on drugs," the marijuana growers were hard pressed to beat the Feds. They had to re-engineer their plant, and they did so in one of the greatest breeding undertakings ever--no recombinant DNA, just conventional breeding technology. In a few years the marijuana plant was a dwarf plant that lacked the typical acrid odor, thereby allowing it to be grown indoors. Along with these changes came additional benefits--the best and most potent sinsemilla marijuana in the world. Bravo, Mr. President.
June 26, 2004
Wait, aren't the French supposed to be rude, and the Irish merely drunk?
Five highlighted responses by President Bush from his interview with the Irish press during his trip abroad this weekend (culled from "Interview of the President by Radio and Television Ireland", June 24, 2004):
1. "Let me finish. Let me finish. May I finish?"
June 25, 2004
On a Positive Note, the Hot Dog Vendor on the Corner of 38th and Broadway Will Likely Double His Sales
As a benefit to residents of the city of New York, as well as fans of urban planning and economic development in general, we at low culture are providing this quick-and-easy tear sheet/scorecard entitled, "Holding the 2004 GOP Convention in New York City."
It also imposes parking restrictions and reroutes bus service...
Streets bordering the convention to the north and south would be closed for several blocks...
A restricted area around the arena will be controlled by checkpoints, where police will demand identification from anyone seeking entry...
Cars entering the area, including those carrying delegates and dignitaries, will be screened for explosives and other contraband by devices that provide real-time video images of their undercarriages...
Between 6,000 to 10,000 officers have been assigned to patrol the streets and subways around the convention...
[Penn Station] riders could face delays, but no shutdowns, officials said...
Preliminary plans call for state and city police officers -- armed with bomb-sniffing dogs and hand-held chemical detection devices -- to board commuter and subway trains one stop before they reach Penn Station during the hours of the convention. The trains will be swept for suspicious packages and terror suspects before being allowed to continue into the station, officials said...
The Lincoln Tunnel, just to the west of the convention site, and the city's other tunnels and bridges will be heavily guarded, but open to usual traffic, authorities said."
Well...for all practical purposes, it seems as though the residents of the city of New York come out roughly even in the end, there, huh?
Thanks, Republican Party, and thanks, Mayor Michael Bloomberg! And at the very least, all of this inconvenience finally gives people something to get all riled up about (in the designated protest areas, of course).
Vote for the New World Order...Vote John Kerry '04!
June 24, 2004
It's Must Repent TV!
In yesterday's New York Times, the paper's Hollywood scribe Sharon Waxman shows how the success of Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ has given the former action star a newfound ability to effectively greenlight and produce a number of his own projects. (In addition to turning water into wine on cue.) Waxman writes that "Mr. Gibson's Icon Productions will have no fewer than three prime-time television series on the networks' fall schedule: 'Clubhouse' on CBS, 'Savages' on ABC and 'Kevin Hill' on UPN."
When detailing the nature of these projects, however, Ms. Waxman, regrettably, left out specifics regarding the shows' content, save for a few bullet points here and there.
What follows, then, is our exclusive insider guide to Icon Productions' fall television lineup, praise be He:
Marc Donato portrays a New York teenager who becomes a batboy for the Yankees. Sounds sort of tedious and Wonder Years-ish, right? Wrong...this tale's been Gibsonized! Herod, or "Harry", as he's better known in the clubhouse, first acquired fame in the New York tabloids as the product of an immaculate conception at North Central Bronx Hospital fifteen years earlier. The adolescent Harry, who now notoriously has quasi-biblical powers, comes to the attention of Yankees owner George Steinbrenner, who, in the series opener, is embroiled in a payroll accounting scandal, and in an effort to redeem himself in the eyes of God (and the New York media), hires young Harry to provide redemption for not just "this tired old Jew," but the entire team of sinners, as well.
And, thankfully, things shape up for the team pretty fast under Harry's guidance. When not providing the home plate umpire with new baseballs, or making sure Alex Rodriguez's batting gloves are well-oiled, Harry has the opportunity to counsel Jason Giambi on the perils of ingesting "Satan's Unnatural Poisons" in his effort to hit more home runs, and coaxing team captain Derek Jeter into giving up his womanizing ways after a nasty encounter with Satan's Temptress, played by the enchanting Rebecca Romijn. And when the Subway Series reprises itself during sweeps week, Mets catcher (and notorious homosexual) Mike Piazza learns that a good man is, indeed, hard to find, and subsequently falls in love with Harry's aunt, Seraphia, a former lesbian also cured by God's love.
Keith Carradine plays a single, working-class dad raising five sons. Pretty straightforward, huh? Well, need we remind you that this, too, has been Gibsonized? Keith plays Papa Barabbas, a former missionary in Peru, who has adopted five Incan boys as his own and now must go about raising them in the suburbs of Chicago, all alone. Diehard missionaries and men of God, after all, can't take a wife, which wreaks havoc on his blue-collar neighborhood after Barabbas forcefully renounces the advances of special guest star Bonnie Hunt.
And on the homefront, despite Barabbas' background in converting South Americans to Christianity, things are both difficult and hilarious for him as he tries to get his boys to stop speaking to each other in their native Quechua dialect. His sons, however, grow more and more flustered as they struggle with urban colloquialisms such as "What's up?" and "True, dat."
Former up-and-coming actor Taye Diggs settles into the role of a high-powered lawyer forced to become a father figure overnight when his cousin tragically perishes, leaving him with custody of a baby girl. Mel Gibson, a noted misogynist, initially balked at the idea of adapting the films Mostly Martha and Raising Helen into a television series, until the newfound mini-mogul realized he could retain the central character's ineptitude and inherent feminine dishonesty by transposing her character traits onto a whole new sort of "other," a black male protagonist. (On-set reports indicated that the Lethal Weapon star actually had trouble distinguishing Taye from his former co-star Danny Glover, until a representative for Mr. Diggs courteously stepped in and insisted that Gibson please stop calling his lead "Danny".)
Regardless, hilarity ensues when papa Taye, in the course of changing diapers, erroneously runs out of Pampers and has to "make do" with a copy of the Ten Commandments. God bless that baby's bottom!
June 23, 2004
June 22, 2004
From the New York Post's Page Six, June 22, 2004: ". . . THAT Vince Vaughn, Wyclef Jean and Lauren Bush were among the well-heeled celebs who accepted a goodie bag worth $35,000 at Entertainment Weekly's "Must List" bash the other night . . ."
That's great, because we hear. . . THAT a starting salary for Entertainment Weekly's editorial assistants is in the neighborhood of $27,000.
Oh, and the theme song to Titanic, too...
From President Bush's faith-based initiative-oriented "Remarks by the President in a Conversation on Compassion", Cincinnati, Ohio, June 21, 2004:
I know that many a good soul makes a mistake in their life and ends up in prison. And it seems to make sense to me to spend taxpayers' money to help these prisoners realize a better tomorrow when they get out of prison, give them a second chance. And I want that second chance to be done not only in kind of the traditional way, but also through faith--based and community--based programs. I mean, I can't--frankly, can't think of a better reentry program for somebody to be there with open arms saying, I love you, no matter what you may have done in the past. I want you to succeed, and here--and we're here to help.
If the White House's Office of the Press Secretary has the gall to call this speech a series of "Remarks by the President in a Conversation on Compassion", what, then, does the local Ohio media have to say on the matter? Let's check in with the Cincinnati Enquirer:
Well, now that the Enquirer mentions it, the President's speech on rehabilitating prisoners does bear a very, very loose metaphorical resemblance to Celine Dion's lyrics:
'Cause I am your lady/And you are my man/Whenever you reach for me/I'll do all that I can
Ah, prison jokes! Truly the lowest common denominator of humor. Well, that and films about Dodgeball.
June 21, 2004
Hi! My name is... (what?) My name is... (who?)
Yet again, the War on Terror™ rubric serves as an effective justification for nearly anything that might infuriate libertarians, however tangential such a connection may be.
From "High Court Rules on Police ID Requests", the Associated Press, June 21, 2004:
The Supreme Court ruled Monday that people do not have a constitutional right to refuse to tell police their names.
All the way from Velvet Goldmine to Napoleon Dynamite
Existing screenwriters/directors to whom Napoleon Dynamite writer/director Jared Hess owes a debt:
Alexander Payne, for his usage of the "everyday", contemporary America as a cinematic template.
Todd Solondz, for nastily ridiculing the above notions of "the everyday" and "those who are quirky", as well as "those who are lunkheads", "jocks", or otherwise boring as all fuck; knocking them all down a peg or two, and somehow giving an anti-hero hailing from the geeky dregs of mundane life a reason for the filmgoer to actually empathize with them.
Todd Haynes, for utterly nailing the ability to appropriate for appropriation's sake.
Well, he's certainly not being sworn in as the Minister of Interior Decorating
From Yahoo! News: "Vice-President Dick Cheney swears in Alan Greenspan for a fifth term as chairman of the Federal Reserve, the central bank said in a statement. (AFP/White House/David Bohrer)"
This Saudi crackdown on terror sure has been effective
From "Snow: Saudis Intent on Terror Money Cuts", the Associated Press, June 20, 2004:
"I think the two biggest exports of Saudi Arabia have been oil and terrorism, and that one of the ways in which they supported terrorism was by their support for the schools in which hatred was taught of the West, the so-called madrassas," [Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich.] told CNN.
Yes, Senator Lugar, Saudi Arabia is and will be in "deep trouble with regard to the oil business." Which in no way effects American consumers and the prices they pay for gasoline...
RELATED: John Kerry's campaign website (and this is their typo, not mine) on the matter of "Skyrocking Gas Prices and the Impact on America's Families, Industry and Economy"
Happy skyrocking! Me, I'm off to go spacedancing with my renewable-energy beatbox.
June 18, 2004
Airing all this weekend on the USA Network...
Another weekend, another new crop of films to consider seeing...but how to sift through the varied options and spend your hard-earned $10.25 wisely?
Thanks to media consolidation, however, there's a new option, one where you don't have to spend any money at all. In fact, the studios don't even have to spend anything either if they just make these movies with C-list stars for a D-List cable network. Big spending producers, read on and prepare to save your millions.
Pseudo Imaginary Trend, Continued: Fictional Characters Named after Writers
As reported here earlier, using the names of writers for movie characters is a growing pseudo imaginary trend in Hollywood. The creeping influence of literature is probably unavoidable, since screenwriters, as a group, are such a well-read lot. (A West Coast friend of ours actually called us once from Book Soup to tell us Brett Ratner was buying the collected works of Isaac Bashevis Singer—and this was way before that writer's centennial! And, presuming the books were in Hebrew, the director even attempted to read them from back-to-front!)
Anyway, the trend continues with the release of Steven Spielberg's The Terminal, in which pink-cheeked national treasure Tom Hanks plays a character named after pinko Nation editorial director and publisher, Victor Navasky. (This is not the first time Navasky has seen his name named on film: he's also the nomenclatural inspiration for Greg Kinnear's character in You've Got Mail.)
June 17, 2004
Am I Veep Or Not?
Odds of a Kerry/McCain 2004 Candidacy: 0/1,000,000
(cf. McCain, Bush Begin to Mend Ties; Senator Wooed by Kerry but Will Appear With Former Rival, Washington Post, June 17, 2004)
Tomorrow's Corrections Today, vol. 4
Slated to appear on the New York Times' Corrections page, June 18, 2004:
Because of an editing error, an op-ed by Maureen Dowd in yesterday's Opinion section, "Smack That Cheney-Bot!", accidentally revealed that the Vice President is a robot. The corrected article should have merely implied this fact. The Times regrets the error.
I thought I could, I thought I could
From the imagined ramblings of an alternate-universe George W. Bush, best-selling author of inspirational children's books, in response to the actual, real-world ramblings of the actual, real-world President Bush mere hours ago:
Right past that mountain, right over there, are the Iraqi people.
June 16, 2004
2004 Us cover subjects
Unintentionally Hilarious Photo of the Moment, vol. 24
Here it is, in black and white
While sports fans everywhere are abuzz with news of the Detroit Pistons's more-or-less unanticipated victory over the Los Angeles Lakers in the NBA Finals, we here at low culture readily acknowledge that the only thing we love more than sports are drugs, and, in the beloved tradition of Darryl Strawberry, preferably both at the same time.
June 15, 2004
God's Omnipotent Smite List (3rd edition)
Christ, God's a busy sumbitch, so please forgive Him for neglecting His editorial duties here at low culture for the past several months. When He was last made available to us to proffer his eminent Smite List, things were going quite poorly in Iraq, there were genocidal concerns in Sudan, and Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry had failed to establish a concrete position on the United States' role in international and domestic affairs.
Thankfully, things have changed for the better since then, and now that his Son has become a major box office draw, and continues to command the interest of the electoral masses as his Holy Vessel (Catholic Division®) is paid visits by the American President, God has more time for Himself with which to erupt and set forth His metaphorical Vesuvius.
Hear ye, cretins, this be the word of God!
Thee Who Shalt be Smitten (on this, the Third Day)
1. Vice President Dick Cheney: Richard, my forsaken son, you have lied in my name time and again, and I have turned a blind eye. I even hoped you'd have taken the hint regarding this matter when I made clear that there has never been worthwhile evidence for your conflation of the al Qaeda operation and Saddam's regime. But then, just yesterday (many months, if not years, after I dispelled this nonsense, or thought I had), you lied again, in public, to actual, living people, and said, regarding Saddam, "He had long established ties with al Qaeda." Richard, this was June 14, 2004, and you said this in the context of a campaign speech. In keeping with this insouciance, Richard, I condemn thee to an eternity of being bound and tied to Osama bin Laden, once I find him.
2. Sec. of Defense Donald Rumsfeld: Seriously, Donald, though you rarely, if ever, invoke me by name, I'm nonetheless sick to fucking death of these needless wars you've embarked my people upon. And your title! You're like the Secretary of War, with Ridge more appropriately staffing the Defense position. Come the fuck on. After the photos of torture in Abu Ghraib and other anonymous leaks that I brought to my good friend Sy Hersh (while wrapped in angel feathers and standing atop a fire-borne chariot so as to not draw attention to myself amidst the melee that is Washington), I was certain you'd resign, or perhaps be fired, the latter of which would have allowed you and your family to partake of six months of unemployment checks. Instead, despite your superbness, I shall have to smite thee.
3. Sec. of State Colin Powell: Come on, Colin, I've sat on my jewel-bedecked couch with bated breath (and quills in hand) on many occasions over the past months, confident you'd come forth and spill those secrets about the Bush Administration's dishonest and criminal behavior that only you, me, and your bosses know about, but since it would be considered bad form for me to use Richard Clarke and Paul O'Neill as mouthpieces yet again to get this information out (though I did enjoy it the first two times, I must admit), I'd been relying on your supposed conscience to take care of things. Alas, you've proven yourself to be quite the noble tool, subtly implying that you'll be leaving the Administration next year, but not going so far as to give American voters reason to force this process upon you, say, were they to vote your boss out of office this fall due to information you might have shared with the populace. So noble, you simpering coward.
4. Insurgents, Terrorists, Fedayeen et al: I've said this before, chumps, but cut this shit out, and I mean it this time. You're not just taking out contractors and soldiers who are a part of the Occupying Powers, you're harming innocent civilians, too, which doesn't make you any better than the American armed forces who drop bombs on wedding parties or whatnot and then try to justify it post-haste. Regardless, I'm going to have to force the whole lot of you to consort for time immemorial with my boy Richard, mentioned above.
5. Kevin Shields: Hey, I like discordant music, OK? A deity can only listen to well-tuned harps for so long, and as I fear that Armageddon approacheth, I would hope that you would hurry up with those My Bloody Valentine rarity box sets you've been promising fans for some time now. Their having to wait until 2005 or 2006 is inexcusable, however. I understand that I could remedy this myself through various means, of course, but after my experience with the years-in-the-making -- but nonetheless rushed-feeling -- New Order Retro box set, I learned it was best to stay out of such things. Creative genius does not come from above, contrary to conventional wisdom or whatever you may have learned from Grammy acceptance speeches.
6. President Ronald Reagan: What, am I missing something here? Why are you looking at me like that?
In John We Trust
After last week's embarrassing revelations by the U.S. State Department that key data had been "creatively" edited out of a year-end report that claimed to document the "success" of the War on Terror (which, had the data been included, would have instead conveyed a sharp rise in terror-related attacks), fans of terror-themed prosecutions can rest assured that Ashcroft and Co. are back in business with yesterday's announcement of the indictment of Nuradin M. Abdi, 32, in Columbus, Ohio.
The Somali native, according to the FBI's Cincinnati office, allegedly planned to blow up an unspecified Columbus-area shopping mall, and has thus been charged with misusing immigration documents, fraud, and supporting terrorist activity. Furthermore, according to WABC-TV in New York,
Authorities say they have linked Abdi with Iyman Faris who is a convicted Al-Qaeda member who tried to blow up the Brooklyn Bridge.
Well, that's comforting, particularly in the wake of the FBI's resounding success in prosecuting University of Buffalo art professor Steve Kurtz, whose work as an artist explores the politics of biotechnology, for violating the USA PATRIOT act, and Brandon Mayfield, the lawyer in Oregon who had been arrested for his supposed involvement in the Madrid commuter train bombings earlier this spring, after his fingerprints allegedly (and, more significantly, only fleetingly) matched up with those found on a bag used in connection with the attacks.
With those feats of idiocy in mind, it's likely that the FBI's evidence in the mall-bombing case likely consists of some nonsense akin to the following, e.g., this hypothetical letter to home:
Cousin Akbar! I am missing you and the family very much, but I am liking America. I am making friends, and I am even learning to speak the cool vernacular. For instance, I played miniature golf, which was quite dope. I am also planning to blow up the spot later this week at the mall...It will be hot! Smoking, even!
"My Life" by Bill Clinton: Exclusive Extract!!!
Finally, the real story! What follows is an exclusive, embargo-shattering leaked excerpt from our 42nd president's memoirs, including, hopefully, the inside dirt on everything you ever wanted to know about the Clinton presidency but were afraid to ask Ken Starr!!!!
From Chapter XXVII: "1995: A Hope for European Renewal":
In the wake of Finland's accession to the European Union in 1995, I recall spending an entire afternoon with President Martti Ahtisaari, sitting there for hours on end in the White House's State Room. There were the usual interruptions, of course, as Betty would scurry in and out of the chamber with information on the progress of our normalization efforts with Vietnam, but for the most part, we were left undisturbed.
June 14, 2004
The End Times
(Click here to see Time's actual cover for this week's issue.)
No respect! Seriously, I don't get any respect. I mean, no one respects me.
Through the benefit of fine films such as Journeys with George, it's long been established that our current President is a jocular, fun-loving guy. We've even paid tribute to his chummy tenor ourselves on a few occasions using our tried-and-true Scientific Joke Assessment methodology. However, bestowing nicknames like "Scrappy" or "Shruggy" or whatnot on White House press correspondents or members of your cabinet only goes so far, and at some point a truly engaging president must rely on clever speechwriters to amuse a crowd.
Let's get going, then. To wit, here are the opening quips from Bush 43's remarks at his father's 80th birthday tribute event this weekend.
"Thank you all. As you can see, I have been given the high honor to represent my three brothers, my sister, and our respective families at the 80th birthday party for our dad, our Gampy."
OK, not a bad start. Cute, even. It cuts to the point, with the inclusion of "Gampy" gently invoking a bit of familial interplay. The president continues,
"You're probably wondering how I got to be the family spokesman. (Laughter.)"
Again, pretty funny, all thins considered. He's riffing on the fact that he's the sitting President of the United States -- the most powerful man in the world -- and his father's eldest son. It also bears noting that one of his brothers is merely a governor of some state that juts off from the continental United States, while another brother is an established crook and scam artist from the savings and loan bailouts of the late '80s and early '90s. Much like the "Gampy" line above, he's delicately playing on issues of love and familiarity in a larger, broader context. Continuing,
"Well, we polled the family. And rumor has it, somewhere in our large family, the tiebreaking vote for tonight's speaker was cast by a fourth cousin by the name of Chad. (Laughter and applause.)"
Hmm. Well, OK, we'll give him this one as an act of good faith. He's using the family angle again, which is good, given the setting, though obliquely embarking on this "Chad" tangent may be a bit dicey. After all, it's not really relevant to his father's 80th birthday in any direct form, and it seems ill-advised to reference an issue that many people consider a black mark upon his own supposed presidency, that is to say, that whole Katherine Harris/Jeb Bush/illegal removal of thousands of black voters from the election rolls fiasco. But, yeah, we'll concede the point here. Seriously, it's at least partially clever to go out and make up a fictitious family member in the act of telling a good joke. Continuing, then,
"While holding his son above the crib, Chad's father reports that the lad burped, and it sounded like, "George W." (Laughter.)"
Umm, yeah, he's treading into some poorly-considered territory here. The recount joke/fictitious family member's role has been elongated an extra beat, but now with the addition of a semi-juvenile burping gag. Ugh. Continuing, and really, maybe, he shouldn't,
"Once again, my life was affected by a dangling chad. (Laughter and applause.)"
Oh, fuck! He actually did it! He went back and more or less made stark the otherwise subtler implications of his earlier lines. At this point, it's a wonder he actually moved on in the speech and began to speak about the funeral for his surrogate papa, Ronald Reagan, rather than continue with even more painfully drawn-out jokes about the fictitious baby in the crib also being named Chad, just like his father, and having the cutest dimples this side of the twins' baby photos, ad infinitum.
Here's to you up in heaven, ol' cowboy...Thank you, Ronnie, for enabling us to be spared any jokes about Jews for Buchanan.
RELATED: About.com's Florida Recount Jokes website
We rewrite, you decide, Vol. 4
From the White House's Fighting Corruption Fact Sheet: Fighting Corruption and Improving Transparency from the G-8 summit last week, dated June 10, 2004:
U.S. Actions: The U.S. has taken the lead in the global fight against corruption. On January 12, 2004, President Bush issued a proclamation to deny entry into the United States of corrupt foreign officials, their dependents, and those who corrupt them. The U.S. also led international efforts to gain agreement on the U.N. Convention Against Corruption.
From White House Officials and Cheney Aide Approved Halliburton Contract in Iraq, Pentagon Says, the New York Times, June 14, 2004:
"In the fall of 2002, in the preparations for possible war with Iraq, the Pentagon sought and received the assent of senior Bush administration officials, including the vice president's chief of staff, before hiring the Halliburton Company to develop secret plans for restoring Iraq's oil facilities, Pentagon officials have told Congressional investigators.
The Strange Time of our Times
Dubious claims made in Sunday's New York Times Magazine:
Lest you jump to the conclusion that they attend a finishing-school where ladylike deportmant is instilled along with a wobbly grasp of the 3 R's, both girls are ninth graders at Brearley, a Manhattan girls' school that prides itself on its high academic standards and is renowned for producing independent-minded young women...
Q: You're the daughter of the novelist Alice Walker. Why did you decide to take her name instead of your father's, who is a lawyer?
"Andrea's work has been about exposing the mechanism of the whole art system," explained Dan Cameron, senior curator at the New Museum... "It underscores the paradox of ownership and pushes it into a realm that hasn't been so pointed before."
Now he's releasing his first solo album, "The Slow Wonder," under the name A.C. Newman - his initials "sound more rock, like AC/DC," he explains - having received a grant from a Canadian foundation to record it.
Carl Nelkin, a 43-year-old Dublin-born Jewish aviation-law consultant, has been trying to improve the situation by "marketing Ireland as a destination for Jewish people to move to."
"Golf is the new rock 'n' roll," says Tim Southwell, editor of a new magazine called Golf Punk.
June 11, 2004
Hit over the head(line)
We couldn't get 'rid' of the nagging suspicion that there was a film opening this weekend that we were 'racing' to see, until it hit us at perfect 'pitch': The Chronicles of Riddick is in theaters today! Since it's almost the weekend, headline writers from the AP to USA Today have, apparently, taken the day off, leaving us scratching our, well, 'heads'.
As such, here's a quickie instamatic guide to the headlines of the film's various reviews.
1. Use puns which reference the lead actor's surname, which just happens to be a specific form of fuel. Bear in mind that many engines run on fuel, and incorporate this secondary idea as well:
Diesel fuels sci-fi action
2. Engage in wordplay with the lead character's name:
3. Pare your entire review down to one declarative sentence for your headline:
4. Go the laziest route possible:
5. Or, finally, write for the New York Times and dazzle us with your mystically opaque headline, existing somewhere between Judith Butler and Carl Sagan:
Like father's boss, like son
"Bush makes it a point to emulate Reagan", Reuters, June 08, 2004
"Reagan's Failure: A scathing report on Iran finally forces Regan out. But can the president recover?", Newsweek, March 9, 1987:
That private signal made it harder to establish that any decision had been made, and easier for the president to forget what he had done. Regan still insists that the president did not approve the August 1985 Israeli shipment in advance. Reagan himself first told the Tower panel that he had approved it; then, after staff briefings, he said he hadn't. Finally, in a letter to the board, he said he might have allowed others to influence his recollection: "The simple truth is, I don't remember -- period." The flip-flop, his aides said, was humiliating to Reagan; if he couldn't remember when he made a decision to sell weapons to Iran in exchange for U.S. hostages, his critics wondered, what could he remember?
"Bush: U.S. Expected to Follow Law On Prisoners; President Is Pressed On Interrogations Memo", Washington Post, June 11, 2004:
Pressed repeatedly during a news conference here about a Justice Department memo saying torture could be justified in the war on terrorism, Bush said only that U.S. interrogators had to follow the law.
June 10, 2004
I don't like Pepsi, either
The least-interesting angle from the N.Y. Times' panoramic-camera coverage of Reagan's wake at the Capitol today
The least-interesting angle from inside Reagan's casket at the Capitol today
Twentieth Century Fox, meet award-winning director Chris Cunningham
Pimp My Ride (Iraq edition): Leather seats, CD changer, and an interim government
Showing off his new toy: "U.S. President George W. Bush drives Iraqi President Ghazi al-Yawar past photographers after their meeting at the Group of Eight Summit in Sea Island, Georgia, June 9, 2004." (Reuters)
You should see the third side of his mouth
From "Post's Woodward: Journalists should have been more skeptical about Iraq war buildup", Associated Press, June 9, 2004:
''I believe we have a duty to free people and liberate people,'' Woodward said Bush told him during interviews for his book ''Plan of Attack.''
From Condoleeza Rice's remarks to the Republican National Convention, August 1, 2000:
"[George W. Bush] recognizes that the magnificent men and women of America's armed forces are not a global police force. They are not the world's 911."
The Visual Display of Quantitative Information
(Incoherent chart taken from Yahoo News/Los Angeles Times)
June 9, 2004
If found, please alert P.T. Anderson
Swingin' Summit: G8, live from Orange County
Unintentionally Hilarious Photo of the Moment, vol. 23
(Though it may be a bit hard to tell, that is indeed Tony Blair at the G8 summit.)
Politicking in the age of America's "most popular modern President"
For those of you who don't regularly visit George W. Bush's campaign website and official weblog and Meet-Up site, you may not have known that for the past several days, the site's front page has been overtaken by the gargantuan, one-thousand-pixels wide layout sampled above. (Constructive note to the G.O.P. web team: It's doubtful that the majority of Republican Middle American visitors to your website have screen resolutions greater than 800x600. Just a tip for any future pandering ideas you may have.)
In case you'd forgotten, President Bush has claimed over and over again to have modeled his presidency on Reagan's, and many articles made available this week have reified this point nicely, if not a bit sardonically. You know, tax cuts, deficit spending, reduction of benefits and social services, increased arms spending, etc. Oh, and patriotism. That last thing comes in handy when you consider the 24/7 orgy of Reagan-worship television viewers have been subjected to since news of his death on Saturday. Notably, many commentators have gone so far as to iterate the idea that Ronald Reagan was the most beloved and popular president of modern times.
In that vein, then, here's some additional information on The Deity That Was Reagan:
"As measured by Gallup polls, Reagan on average had a 53 ... Reagan's highest job approval rating was 65 percent...His average approval rating was 48 percent in 1987 and 53 percent in 1988, though, like most presidents, he got a final lift in his last month of office, getting a 63 percent approval rating in December 1988."
Here, as well, is some additional information on The Shame That Was Clinton:
"The president leaves office with 61% of the public approving of the way he is handling the job, combined with a surprisingly lofty 64% favorability rating (up from 48% in May 2000)..."
On that note, John Kerry's official campaign website is expected to soon post the following splashpage:
You're Not Following Orders, Soldier!
In today's Los Angeles Times: "Prison Interrogators' Gloves Came Off Before Abu Ghraib"
"I said, take the gloves off, soldier!"
Girls Gone Anti-Bush!!!!
Following up on our earlier post that asked, "What is the deal with photographers only shooting pretty girls at protests and rallies?", here are the latest images from the G8 rallies.
The Rich (and the Fantanas) Are Different From You and Me
Are you confused by the seemingly endless onslaught of boldface names? Who are all these Binky's, Basso's and Baron's, and how do they keep busy when not being photographed at the kind of lavish society galas you could only dream of attending? Fret no more, social upstart, our friends at New York Social Diary have premiered a new feature that promises to answer all these questions and more, The NYSD List. Not to be confused with the Quest 400, David Patrick Columbia'a other New York social circuit resource, "The NYSD List" is generous enough to provide brief bios of these beautiful and/or rich people.
Try to figure out if the insipid copy below is a high-society profile from the "List" or if it's actually from the brief bios provided for the (fictional) Fantanas, those saucy spokegirls from the Fanta campaign. Answers below.
A. [A's] parents made her study ballet from the age of three. She has appeared in countless versions of the Nutcracker Suite…Although she still loves ballet, her heart is really into modern dance…
B. [B,] who is tall, blonde and royal looking, often visits New York where she is at present preparing for the publication of her book, The Serpent and the Moon…
C. She loves a good time too, (natch) and is the possessor of that irresistable smoky-voiced laughter that can get anyone talking…
D. If there's such a thing a femme fatale, or even if there's not, the closest thing to it is the beautiful [D]…
E. Her passion for life is infectious. She is upbeat, sunny and a little daring - it's no wonder that people want to be around her.
F. [F. has] lots of friends and like a lot of the Brits she mixes ‘em up with lots of Euros thrown in...party boys and girls, slackers, yakkers, and of course, the aristos…
G. [G] is always amused that the [man/woman] in [her/his] life is named after a vegetable.
June 8, 2004
Because Bowfinger was such a biting satire of Hollywood...
Paramount, the studio that cruelly brought us Tomb Raider 2 and The Italian Job, has released yet another teaser trailer for their ill-advised remake of The Stepford Wives, only this one has apparently rubbed a handful of prudes the wrong way. Or rather, one particular woman, which in turn lead to a report on this mini-phenomenon by her local television station, which lead to this post, which lead to your being reminded that a film entitled The Stepford Wives is being released soon, hey, this weekend in fact, and hey, maybe I'll go see that, huh? Hmm, unless I'm going out with my neighbor. I really ought to check my Blackberry.
Anyway, here's hoping the studio's P.R. executives are thanking the uninspired marketers who, in this latest teaser, decided to convey the nightmarish prospect of a nation of "Stepford Wives" by including a brief shot depicting President Bush's National Security Advisor Condoleeza Rice as a Grace Jones-esque topless model and Senator and former First Lady Hillary Clinton as an everyday homemaker (which really isn't that far removed from Laura Bush, though, right?).
"It's just inappropriate, and it needs to be stopped," said the Kansas City woman who brought up the initial complaint. And in hopes of gauging the reaction of a wider audience than just this one woman, the news report mentioned above solicited additional quotes on the matter, like any good entertainment reporter working for a local news outlet should be doing.
Pat Gray, who works with Northstar Marketing Group, said the ad shows bad taste toward Rice and Clinton.
OK, fair enough. But, realistically, people are reacting negatively to the wrong shot in this wannabe-notorious trailer. In fact, it's the very last shot, which we excerpted below, that really should be serving as discouragement:
(Thanks to Rory MacDonald.)
Double feature with Fahrenheit 9/11
(Original photo of Iraqi children part of this Reuters article.)
Tear down this velvet rope! (I can't see him from here)
Members of the public solemnly view their fallen leader in Simi Valley, CA, June 8, 2004.
Members of the public solemnly view their fallen leader in Red Square, Moscow, undated.
(Thanks to Choire.)
Entertainment (So Last) Weekly
Entertainment Weekly, in its continuing commitment to bring you news you've already read elsewhere, outdoes itself in this week's "Secrets of Harry Potter" spectacular. To get an idea of just how warmed-over this shit gets, let's flip through EW's front of book together:
First up we've got EW's interview with Dick Wolf, "Making the Brand" by Allison Hope Weiner:
We won't even trouble you with the A as you probably know what Wolf has to say already. That's because his answer appeared in the March 4, 2002 New Yorker, "TV on the Cheap" by James Surowiecki, and even then it was old news:
Or how about "The Sopranos Pop Quiz" in which EW's Alynda Wheat wonders if The Sopranos' Little Carmine is meant to parody George W.'s various malapropisms.
B. "Of course no one wants all-out conflict, but historically, historic changes have come out of war."
E. "The fundamental question is, Will I be as effective as a boss like my dad was?…Until I am, it's gonna be hard to verify that I think I'll be more effective."
But then what of weblog The Bonassus which took note of the very same (and not quite self-evident) parallel over a month ago?
Little Carmine: The point I'm trying to illustrate is that of course no one wants all-out conflict, but, historically, historical changes have come out of war.
The tortured syntax. The stupidity. The belief that the father's successes were in fact failures. The eminence grise with heart trouble and a belief that multilateral institutions are for the weak. I'm telling you, man, it's George Bush, man.
And it continues. There's EW's piece/graph about Kate Hudson's falling fortunes that appeared nearly verbatim in USA Today's Life section on May 25. And there's "Weather, or Not" EW's hard-hitting two-column-inches look at the reality of The Day After Tomorrow's portrayal of climate change - we could likely provide several hundred pieces "investigating" the same issue.
While imitation may be the sincerest form of etc., when it's EW doing the "imitating," it just feels dirty.
June 7, 2004
No, look down, down, buried under the beaches of Normandy
Though you may have missed it while gazing up to the heavens in hopes of getting a glimpse of a fallen leader, President Bush was interviewed by NBC's master interlocutor Tom Brokaw this weekend amidst the events commemorating D-Day's 60th anniversary. At least, I think this was the case, as I was honestly too busy trying to decide which Sunday-evening activity would qualify me as a Better American™: watching cable news network tributes to Ronald Reagan's life of honesty and virtue, or tuning in to see how this season's Sopranos resolved itself.
And, fuck, I ended up watching the other Tony, that awards show.
But here's a notable selection from what President Bush had to say re: the whole Iraq boondoggle in this weekend's chat with Brokaw:
BUSH: “I think it's fair to say that, you know, that the enemy didn't lay down its arms like we had hoped.'
Also this weekend, two Americans and two Poles were thanked by the people of Iraq. Well, maybe "thanked" was a poor choice of words.
A personal remembrance from Ronald Reagan's costar, Bonzo
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June 3, 2004
Unintentionally Hilarious Photo of the Moment, vol. 22
"Fool me once, shame...shame on...you. Fool me - can't get fooled again!"
From "Bush Finds Lawyer to Use if Called in Leak Case", the New York Times, June 3, 2004:
President Bush has met with a private lawyer whom he intends to hire to represent him if he is questioned as part of a grand jury investigation into the public disclosure of a C.I.A. undercover officer's identity, the White House said Wednesday.
From Vice Presidential candidate Dick Cheney's address to the Republican National Convention, August 2, 2000:
"George W. Bush will repair what has been damaged. He is a man without pretense and without cynicism. A man of principle, a man of honor. On the first hour of the first day...he will restore decency and integrity to the oval office. He will show us that national leaders can be true to their word...and that they can get things done by reaching across the partisan aisle, and working with political opponents in good faith and common purpose."
From Condoleeza Rice's remarks to the Republican National Convention, August 1, 2000:
"George W. Bush will work with Congress so that America speaks with one voice. He has demonstrated in this campaign that he will never use foreign policy for narrow partisan purposes."
And from his concession speech next fall, "John Kerry will make a superb president"
President Bush on CIA director George Tenet, upon learning of his resignation, June 3, 2004:
"He's been a strong and able leader at the agency, and I will miss him. I told him I'm sorry he's leaving. He's done a superb job on behalf of the American people."
President Bush on Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, upon learning that a number of people were calling for his firing, May 10, 2004:
"You are courageously leading our nation in the war against terror. You are doing a superb job. You are a strong Secretary of Defense and our nation owes you a debt of gratitude."
June 2, 2004
Dubya, Dubya, Too
In today's commencement address to recent graduates of the Air Force Academy, President Bush sought to make his modern-day War on Terror analogous to the heroic fighting of World War II. And in the grand tradition of Bush's prior usage of black-and-white absolutism, the speech framed the current struggle in the Middle East in terms of very clear and sharp contrasts: right and wrong, good and bad, democracy and fascism, father and son, etc.
His speech was notably short on specifics, however. Admittedly, his communications director Dan Bartlett is probably very overworked right now, having to fend off an increasingly combative press and increasing dissension in the ranks of the Bush White House, so we thought we'd help and compile this list of additional WWII analogies Bush might have invoked this afternoon, had his writers and researchers been given more time.
D.C.-beat writers die of pun overdose
Worst Blog-Related Headline Ever
Unintentionally Hilarious Photo of the Moment, vol. 21
June 1, 2004
Next time, consider whipping Mandy Moore for two-plus hours
How not to mobilize your base during an introductory roll-out:
Weekend box office, May 28-30, 2004:
Weekend box office, February 27-29, 2004:
The Passion of the Christ
From "Choice Breaks Deadlock on New Government; Council Disbands", the New York Times, June 1, 2004:
After the announcements [of appointments to the new prime minister's cabinet], a member of the Iraqi Governing Council said the body would immediately dissolve rather than remain in office until the June 30 transfer of sovereignty.
TOTALLY UNRELATED LINKS:
"Council member ambushed in Najaf", CNN.com, May 27, 2004
"Head of Iraqi Governing Council Killed", the Guardian, May 17, 2004
"Iraq governing council member shot", CNN.com, September 20, 2003
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