October 29, 2004
It's such a powerful revelation, The New York Post had to bury it in its gossip page where it pushed aside the latest on Pharell and Mick Jagger's daughter. While the blurb itself is larded with legalistic caveats, the headline says it all: CONSPIRACY THEORY: KERRY 'TIE' TO OSWALD.
Conspiracy theorists are buzzing about John Kerry's connection to Lee Harvey Oswald and the JFK assassina tion. While no one in the lunatic fringe has gone so far as to suggest Kerry helped kill Kennedy - yet - they make much of the fact that a cousin of Kerry's, Michael Paine, was a close friend of Oswald who frequently had the assassin as a house guest.
Whoa. Do you really want to play this game, Page Six? Crumple up that tin-foil hat before someone reminds you that "conspiracy theorists" have been "buzzing" for years that John Hinckley's brother, Scott, was allegedly scheduled to have dinner with Bush's brother, Neil, the night John shot Reagan in 1981!
If we are to believe these shoddily-designed websites from people with even shoddier worldviews, the Bushes and the Hinckleys were supposedly best friends forever! (Imagine the barbecues at the Bushes: Hinckleys, Saudis, the Oak Ridge Boys: "Pass me another Coors Light, Poppy. More Ribs? You know it!")
Some dude even went so far as to tie Hinckley's attempt on Reagan with Kennedy's assassination by claiming that Reagan was "shot from the Bushy knoll"!
Wow. See how fucking stupid I sound saying this stuff? Elevating these wackadoos to even the most carefully vetted legitimacy, lowers a writer to, well, a fucking idiot.
Let's all learn from the recent obituaries for Kennedy Press Secretary Pierre Salinger, whose otherwise impeccable career in public service was marred by his late life promotion of a conspiracy theory he'd learned on the internet—that TWA Flight 800 was shot down by a missile.
If the foolish promotion of an unfounded conspiracy can cling like the smell of shit to a smart man with integrity, what do you think it could do to the writers of a gossip column for a ridiculous, unprofitable newspaper?
Nothin'. You're probably right.
Funny, That's What Those Thai Hookers Said, Too
"This matter has caused enormous pain... This brutal ordeal is now officially over, and I will never speak of it again."
What follows are excerpts from the Denver Post editorial page, endorsing George W. for president. Kind of.
...So the president has our endorsement for a second term, even as we call on him to steer a more moderate course that is in keeping with his campaign appearances, but not his first-term performance.
It's no secret that we part company with the president over many issues. Two glaring sore spots are his obsession to cut taxes even while piling up record deficits, and his mishandling of all things Iraq. He squandered global good will by taking a "my way or the highway" approach to matters of global warming, international law, Iraq weapons inspections and ultimately the Iraq invasion. He bows to corporate preference in matters of energy and environment, and his education funding levels leave far too many children behind.
Kerry has infused the 2004 campaign with energy and gumption, offering fresh ideas on health care and sensible plans for our tax structure. His are the superior proposals on environmental protection, on stem-cell research and judicial nominations. Sure, we've seen Kerry bend to the political winds over his long career, but we wouldn't mind one bit if more Washington politicians would reconsider their past judgments and ideological certainties. Kerry's growth on the campaign trail gives a glimpse of his potential.
Our support for Bush is tempered by unease over the poor choices and results of his first term. To succeed in his second-term, Bush must begin by taking responsibility for U.S. failures in Iraq, admit his mistakes and adjust U.S. strategy. Big time, as his running mate might say.
...But respect for his leadership was sharply diminished by U.S. missteps in Iraq and evidence that the president had ignored frequent warnings of Osama bin Laden's murderous ambition. Even so, there is opportunity for Bush to make adjustments that will validate the sacrifices of coalition forces and Iraqis themselves.
We believe George W. Bush is up to the challenge.
Well of course, that couldn't make any more sense, now could it? Oh wait, it could - the Denver Post's parent company, MediaNews Group, is owned by William Dean Singleton, a major donor to the Bush-Cheney campaign.
[via, yes, fine, I admit it, The Al Franken Show]
October 28, 2004
Positive campaigning on the international front
Hey, fellas: What've you been listening to lately? Brian Wilson's newly-revised and -released SMiLE? We thought so.
Frankly, it's rather impressive that Arafat was able to get ahold of a copy of this album after being holed up in his compound by Israeli tanks for two long years. You see, there is a practical application for those smuggling tunnels everyone's always going on about.
Crooked Letters Flock Together
The Who... Well, You Know
I know that pointing out the "irony" of The Who releasing an album called The Who Sell Out in 1967 and then selling out their every song to Madison Avenue and Hollywood is about as clever as suggesting that Alanis Morissette misunderstood the meaning of the word "Ironic." But The Who-ification of commercials, TV, movies, and trailers is starting to get out of control and it's time to put a stop to it.
Is there a single commercial in production that's not considering using a Who song? Will we see these song/product synergies in the near future?
"Only a man who knows what it is like to be defeated can reach down to the bottom of his soul and come up with the extra ounce of power it takes to win when the match is even," Muhammad Ali
Just five more days 'till we shake up the world...
Jim Rutenberg is Dumb
There has been a recent rash of pieces by journalists bemoaning the nasty tone of the letters they've been receiving from their readers. Personally, I think the real issue here is not that the tone of discourse of people who have traditionally written to journalists has taken a turn for the worse, but rather the convergence of two issues:
Now, I'll be the first to admit that telling Adam Nagourney that you hope his son gets killed in a Republican war is a pretty nasty thing to say, although I would counter that Adam is a semi-public figure who gets to go on the Charlie Rose Show, and the unfortunate downside of being a semi-public figure is that people might write you really nasty e-mails. But I really have to take issue with today's piece in the New York Times on the same topic:
"Most of us now realize that this is a constant conversation, and I think that largely that part of it is good," said Howard Fineman, chief political correspondent for Newsweek. "Some of the stuff includes very personal and nasty things about people - they go after people's physical characteristics, they'll say somebody's ugly - and you just have to ignore that."
It's certainly infantile to call people ugly and dumb when you disagree with their reportage, but I think it's equally (if not more) infantile to use your privileged position in the paper of record to whine about it. How thin-skinned are these people? Do they go to their mamas and cry whenever the mean bloggers call them names?
'Cause we've heard a few things about their mamas, too.
Rhys Ifans' new film, Enduring Love, is a charming sequel to his even charminger Danny Deckchair, in which Mr. Ifans' relationship with ballooning is further explored. Up next for Mr. Ifans? Maria Full of Grace 2.
After having already wrapped up your home state, this is how you alienate swing-state voters and lose Missouri's 11 electoral votes, jackass
RELATED: MISSOURI POLL: Missouri reflects tight race, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, October 26, 2004: "A new poll for the Post-Dispatch shows the race in Missouri tightening. President George W. Bush's earlier lead has slipped among the state's voters. But the Democratic challenger, Sen. John Kerry, has so far been unable to close the gap, in part because the poll shows a growing number of Missouri voters view him unfavorably."
ALSO RELATED: Red-Faced: Boston wraps up sweep, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, October 26, 2004
We've Been Hammering Away at his War Record, But Let's not Forget Enron, okay?
April 14, 1997
When you go to the polls, don't forget Grandma Millie.
Currently filming in lovely Vancouver, Man also stars Oscar and Nobel Prize nominees Rebecca Romijn-Stamos, Amber Valletta, and Gina Gershon, and, oddly, Air America Radio's own Sam Seder. (Sam, Sam, Sam. Well, I guess you and Ben are having some good talks about John Kerry.)
But if these names—and BEN AFFLECK—aren't enough to pump you up for this film, maybe its writer, director, and co-star will: Mike Binder!
You know, he of the sub-sub-sub-Woody Allen knock-offs The Sex Monster and Londinium (straight to cable and straight to your funny bone!), and HBO's second funniest show (after Arli$$, natch) The Mind of the Married Man! (Why only one season, HBO? Now we'll never know if Binder's character Micky Barnes ever followed through on that apt metaphor for the entire show and got that full-release massage or not.)
Truly, this will be a Man in full!
Sure, The Red Sox Won. But Can Jimmy Fallon Break the SNL Movie Career Curse?
"[Y]es, that was Fallon caught live on Fox extravagantly kissing a blonde who looked a lot like Drew Barrymore on the field right after the Red Sox won the World Series...The reason for their appearance: Jimmy and Drew are filming a new movie called 'Fever Pitch' about an obsessed Red Sox fan and the girl he loves."
The Scariest Part Is the Con-Ed Bill
Related: "...sweet crude oil down $2.71 a barrel to $52.46." Mmmm.... Sweet crude oil.
Col Allen's Show of Restraint
I guess the editors couldn't include "LOL!!!" and a bunch of smileys in the headline like they wanted to.
October 27, 2004
The 'W' Stands For "Will Work 'Till 80 if Social Security is Privatized"
A Handy Guide to Bush's Supporters (As Seen From Front and Back), Vol. 3
I am Jack's dated movie tie-in
Coming soon to your pretentious "anti-establishment" best friend's smoke-filled rec room: Fight Club: The Game from that bastion of anti-authoritianism, Vivendi Universal Games. (FOX must've passed on it since it destroyed Bill Mechanic's career.)
So put down that dog-eared Hunter S. Thompson book and pick up your PS2 controller, you rebel. It's time to tear this whole fucking system down: from your couch!
Yes, in fully-pixelated glory, it's a recreation of the dilapidated yard you grew to love so much with your repeated DVD viewings of David Fincher's Fight Club...you remember the film, right? It came out in, ummm, 1999?
And there's that beautifully grimy, dimly-lit basement! It's almost as if Chuck Palahniuk himself is getting all up in your face, ready to pummel it into oblivion.
God. There's Meat Loaf, in what surely has to be his first-ever appearance on an X-Box or PS2.
And in the vein of a good self-help group session, video game fans are congregating and clamoring for changes to the way in which this particular one is played. From the manufacturer's forums:
"Wouldn't it have been awesome if, after the fight, both fighters, completely covered in bruises and blood would hug each other? That would have been so much funnier and different than all the other crappy fighting gmes target to pre-adolescent rap-boys with Girls, Money and Power on their minds.
Hey, man! The first rule of Fight Club is you do not reveal the queer subtext of Fight Club. The second rule of Fight Club is you DO NOT reveal the queer subtext of Fight Club. The third rule of Fight Club is take off your shirt and let's grapple.
Eh, Not So Much
If it is, it's not so funny, but it's better than the whole "We're white supremacists" thing.
If it's not... I guess that's why it's not funny at all.
Super Fun Military-Incursion Home Destruction Quiz: Iraq or Palestine?
ANSWER: Iraq, specifically Fallujah!
ANSWER: Palestine, specifically Gaza!
Be sure to check in again a few days from now when we have our next round of Super Fun Military-Incursion Home Destructions with which to work!
Unintentionally Hilarious Photo of the Moment, Vol. 41
Hey, come on now...there are millions of Americans living and breathing right this very second! And several of them are probably smiling or laughing, too
Golly gee. Who'd have ever thought that a few hundred tons of weapons gone missing in some Middle Eastern nation-state would have such an effect on the waning days of the race for the White House? Certainly not the American military unit that apparently wasn't told to search the weapons-storage facility from which these munitions were presumably taken. Realistically, if their bosses had known there were weapons floating around Iraq, they'd have been on high alert over this sort of thing, right?
From "Spokesman: Unit Didn't Search Al-Qaqaa", Associated Press, October 27, 2004:
The Kerry campaign called the disappearance the latest in a "tragic series of blunders" by the Bush administration in Iraq.
OK, there you go. This is how war works, and politics, too. It's that classic Cheney tactic: accentuate the positive, eliminate the negative. To wit, regarding the administration's now-very-clearly-fucked-up invasion of Iraq, the Vice President said in June:
"After decades of rule by a brutal dictator, Iraq has been returned to its rightful owners, the people of Iraq," Cheney said in a speech in New Orleans, which made the case that Bush had reversed a terrorist threat that grew unchecked before he came to office. "America is safer, and the world is more secure, because Iraq and Afghanistan are now partners in the struggle against terror, instead of sanctuaries for terrorist networks."
You see how that works? He plays up the good things that have come from the invasion and overthrow of Iraq and Afghanistan, and doesn't act like a certain senator from a certain state in the Northeast might, by focusing on, say, the fact that 3,000 Americans died three years ago, or that well more than a thousand American soldiers have died in military action since then, or that much more than ten thousand Iraqis and Afghans have perished at the hands of American weaponry in that interim...see, that's meaningless, folks.
Because at the end of the day, those hundreds of millions of Americans who don't fall into those "irrelevant" categories of deaths detailed above are, of course, safer. It's about positivity. Optimism. And that's the Cheney way.
At least I think that's how it works. Though I'm probably overlooking something. I can just feel it...
Oh, shit, I've got it! This, right here!
"The biggest threat we face now as a nation,'' he said, "is the possibility of terrorists' ending up in the middle of one of our cities with deadlier weapons than have ever before been used against us - biological agents or a nuclear weapon or a chemical weapon of some kind - to be able to threaten the lives of hundreds of thousands of Americans.''
You go, Dick! For a few fleeting moments up there I'd somehow managed to convince myself that you'd gone all Disney, all "hakuna matata" and "circle of life" and shit, but thanks for grounding us in the bare necessities: Vote or die.
Notes Towards an Election Week Mix Tape
"The Final Countdown," Europe
"Political World," Bob Dylan
"Power to the People," John Lennon
"Welcome to the Terrordome," Public Enemy
"Help!," The Beatles
"The Power," Snap
"I Started a Joke," The Bee Gees
"Whistle When You're Low," Cancer Boy
"Did You Ever Have to Make Up Your Mind," Lovin' Spoonful
"Manic Depression," Jimi Hendrix
"Heroes," David Bowie
"A Change is Gonna Come," Sam Cooke
"Authority Song," John Mellencamp
"You're a Big Girl Now," The Stylistics (for Dubya)
Question: What's on yours?
Fittingly, this more or less captures our feelings about next Tuesday's results
It's 4th and 10 with six days on the clock and hundreds of electoral votes to go...and John Kerry hopes that his Hail Mary Cheney play works!!!
And please take note that sports metaphors will never again appear on this site. Ever.
A Little Child Shall Lead Them
From In Deepest Ohio, I Was Embedded in Bush Bunker, by Philip Weiss, The New York Observer, Oct. 27, 2004:
In my hotel that night, I read a piece being given out at Crunch's headquarters in Butler County. It's called "Don't Close Your Blinds" and is an unsigned parable supposedly narrated by a war vet's mother. (It has also been on the Internet.) A 9-year-old kid asks his parents why we're at war, and the father brings him to the window and tells him to pretend that the neighbors' houses are other countries and that "our house and our yard is the United States of America and you are President Bush."
And here we thought the adults were in charge.
Despite This, You Should Still Vote
October 26, 2004
Hitch Your Wagon
Slate, in its noble but hopeless effort "to emphasize the distinction between opinion and bias," allows contributors to reveal their picks for President. And while the legion Mia-philes will be fascinated to learn that arts writer Mia Fineman is voting Kerry, it's Christopher Hitchens' endorsement that is likely to raise eyebrows - Hitch, per Slate, is voting Kerry.
Nevermind his recent endorsement of Bush in The Nation (titled "Why I'm (Slightly) for Bush"), nevermind his defenses of the Bush administration that occasionally border on the absurd, let Hitchens explain his choice, with the clarity and concision for which he is known. From Slate:
So his Slate endorsement is ironic, but his Nation endorsement is sincere? Or he's not interested in voting for Kerry for ironic reasons, but for obvious reasons? Or what the fuck? I'll bet that piece from the Nation will clear things up, where this Merlot-fueled master of the mot juste really gets to lay out his case. To wit:
I can't wait to see President Kerry discover which corporation, aside from Halliburton, should after all have got the contract to reconstruct Iraq's oil industry. I look forward to seeing him eat his Jesse Helms-like words, about the false antithesis between spending money abroad and "at home" (as if this war, sponsored from abroad, hadn't broken out "at home"). I take pleasure in advance in the discovery that he will have to make, that Abu Musab al-Zarqawi is a more dangerous and better-organized foe than Osama bin Laden, and that Zarqawi's existence is a product of jihadism plus Saddamism, and not of any error of tact on America's part.OK, so that was totally ironic. Totally. But then what to make of what follows?
It's Been A Long Campaign Season
We're all sagging a bit, but we can pull through, people!
Does Kerry believe in this war? Skeptics say he doesn't. They don't believe he has understood the significance of September 11. They rightly point to the antiwar and anti-Western attitudes of some in his base--the Michael Moores and Noam Chomskys who will celebrate a Kerry victory.
Frankly, we find it somewhat difficult to imagine the dour MIT linguist celebrating anything, especially the election of John Kerry, whom Chomsky endorsed, if anything, more reservedly and reluctantly than Sullivan did.
See? This is why you don't hire Hilary Duff to attend White House press briefings
So, like, yesterday the U.N.'s nuclear watchdog agency announced that a whole lot of explosives were missing or gone or something from an Iraqi weapons facility. This, like, looks so so bad for President Bush, who's been campaigning non-stop on the perceived strength of his, like, handling of this war on terror thing. We're, like, fighting terrorists, and if they have weapons that they shouldn't have, it's so totally bad for our troops.
Yesterday, White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan fielded questions on the munitions - which are, like, missing - from reporters aboard Air Force One.
Q: Are U.S. troops under any kind of higher alert because there's enough munitions for like 50 car bombs? Is there, like, any kind of alert going on for them? Are they on any kind of higher standard?
OMG those numbers totally shot you down, anonymous White House pool reporter! Or should I say...Ms. Lohan!
New Scandal Rocks Washington!
My Big Fat Ancient Greek Word
How does a writer make himself or herself sound real smart? Use big words!
"Lonnie Hanover, the club's publicist, began talking to the New York Daily News, the New York Post, and the New York Observer about the calls from Republican delegations and the “big name entertainers' who would be specially imported for their ecdysiastic needs," Live Nude Girls: Undercover at the RNC, by Mara Hvistendahl, The Philadelphia Independent, Oct. 2004. [via Gawker]
Thanks for making us all sound a little more literate, Mr. Mencken
The best part of the new Mr. Show with Bob and David season 4 DVD? The obligatory blooper reel of course.
But more specifically, the really best part is the fetishy tribute to show writer, producer, and sometime actor Dino Stamatopoulos that shows him riding his chopper, mucking around in a lake, and flubbing his one line in the excellent Amadeus parody "Philouza." ("There's Philouza!")
If Bob and David are the Lennon/McCartney of sketch comedy, Dino's the Frank Zappa: weird, obscure, beloved by a legion of creepy fans who obsess over his ouvre like members of a secret society— and then there are Dino's questionable Zappa-esque grooming choices. He's probably the funniest person you've never heard of.
If a show was funny, Dino has probably had his grubby hands in it: The Ben Stiller Show, Late Night with Conan O'Brien, TV Funhouse. (Memo to Comedy Central: Put that show on DVD post haste!) He's even had his hands in some not so funny shows: Take MAD TV. Please, take it.
Listen to the commentary tracks for Ben Stiller or Mr. Show and you'll see: It's Dino's world, we just laugh at it.
Related: Fun Bunch Comedy
George W. Bush sports his "Poppy" mask just in time for Halloween
Soon enough, they'll both be aged ex-presidents, after all, so it's only fitting that they've begin to look like one another. And by "soon enough," we mean, January 2009, unless certain American voters get their shit sorted in time.
EARLIER: Bush 41 and 43 in happier years, when little W. was content to merely drink Barbara's milk while wearing a Yale sweater, as opposed to his later-in-life consumption of JD while disingenuously sporting a cowboy hat.
John Peel's a Dead Cunt
John Ravenscroft, aka John Peel, legendary Radio One DJ, is dead of a heart attack. Pirate radio DJ, punk patron and OBE, Peel, according to legend, was the first DJ to play a record twice in a row. Download mp3's of recent Peel Sessions here.
Peel on Peel Sessions:
Lies, Falsehoods, and Total Fabrications, vol. 2
The lies will out...
At least six real-life crimes have been solved by actors from CSI.
There are four yoga poses that cause instant death: powerful members of the yoga community will not release the names of which ones.
If left in a bottle of Snapple overnight, a penny will completely dissolve.
In 1973, General Motors patented an engine that runs on ground up kittens: The ASPCA has prevented them from ever releasing it.
3 out of 4 Canadians are criminally insane.
Toke the Vote
'Perf' Post Piece Sends Circ Soaring
Today's a red letter day for The New York Post. They finally printed the Platonic ideal of Post stories.
No, I'm not talking about Steve Dunleavy's heartfelt tribute to his Iraq-bound son/critique of John Kerry. (Though, that piece is pretty close to ideal for The Post.)
I'm talking about Chris Wilson's 'Gay' Dogfight, which manages to set-off almost all of the paper's hot-buttons and embody everything we look for in a 25-cent birdcage liner. To wit:
¶Violence: Nothing gets the morning blood flowing like some violence in the paper. The New York Times has some story about some crap in Iraq, but the post has this: "He just kept stabbing me. At first I thought he was punching me, until I felt all the blood dripping down. He kept saying, 'I want to kill you! Why don't you just die already?'...The scissors were open, so every time he stabbed me, it was like getting stabbed twice."
¶Celebrities: "They regularly groomed J.Lo's cocker spaniel, Boots, and Janet Jackson's Rottweiler, Reilly. They also primped P. Diddy's canine posse: Sofie, the Maltese terrier; Honey, the Shar-Pei; and Lady, the Shih Tzu." J.Lo and P. Diddy? And their dogs? Wow, wow, and bow-wow!
¶Hilarious Homos: "The former partners — considered to be among the city's top pet groomers — penned the 'Queer Eye for the Scruffy Dog' column for The New York Dog magazine." These guys are like real-life versions of Scott Donlan and Stefan Vanderhoof from Best in Show!
¶Puns: Not only does Wilson get to use puns like "the fur flew" and "animal attraction," but the alleged attacker and victim ran a company called Doggie-Doo and Pussycats, Too!. C'mon! You can't make up puns like that. Actually, I guess you can.
¶Quotation Marks: We get a 'double dose' of patented Post quote marks: Gay 'Dogfight' (hed) and Celeb groomer 'stabs' his lover (sub-hed). Why the quotes around 'stab'? I guess it's not a real stabbing if it's gay dudes.
While this is a Platonically ideal Post piece, I sort of wish they could've fit in a slam at The New York Daily News circ numbers, John Kerry, and a trendspotting exposé about something six months old. Luckily, the rest of the paper comes to the rescue.
So, kudos to Chris Wilson and the editors of The New York Post for this story: Keep up the great work and our 25-cents will be yours every single day, except Saturday when the paper's thinner than a fax sheet. And Sundays, when it's 50-cents, and twice as worthless.
October 25, 2004
Fan, Meet Shit
Related: Anyone else out there get sent home with a note from your elementary school principal warning your parents not to let kids watch The Day After when it aired on TV?
Dozens may have died, but we nonetheless learned a valuable lesson in the process
Life lessons on how to navigate through the hellhole that is Iraq, gleaned from "New Violence Flares in Iraq, After Executions Leave 49 Dead", the New York Times, October 25, 2004:
"In the future, we will try to be more careful when the soldiers leave their camps," he added. "We will provide them with protected cars that can escort them home."
Phew! We can all rest assured, then, that slaughters of this magnitude will never happen again. I mean, the guy said, in the future, they'll try to be more careful about it.
Question for The New York Post Photo Department
Did you use this picture of the Olsen twins' Saturday Night Live parody of The Swan:
a) To be funny?
John Kerry for President
We here at low culture pride ourselves on several things: our good oral hygiene, our minimal use of 'and/or', and our scrupulously non-partisan coverage. We have a little motto around the office that we have hanging right above our collection of Jamaican jerk sauces: We Bring You the World, We Don't Spin It.
But now, at the end of one of the bitterest, most divisivest presidential campaigns in recent memory, we feel it is essential that we drop the veil of objectivity and endorse John Kerry for President.
Unlike some satirists who openly endorse the re-election of George W. Bush, hoping for four more years of amusing malaprops and even more amusing enlisted and civilian deaths overseas, low culture stands firm in the belief that there will still be things to make fun of when John Kerry becomes president after the drawn-out legal battle that will bring this country to the brink of civil war beginning November 3rd. Watching Kerry, his running mate John Edwards, the return of several funny Clinton cronies (as well as Clinton himself), and especially that batshit wife of his, we look forward to the next four years with not only confidence, but a feeling we'd all but abandoned years ago: hope.
Furthermore, we believe that despite their absence, we will still have George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, and their cabinet to kick around after the election. We look forward—again, with hope—to Vice President Cheney's return to the private sector and the amazing pay-out he will no doubt get from Halliburton. We can't wait for President Bush, a man near-universally derided as one of the worst public speakers to ever hold an elected office above PTA co-chairman, to receive six-figure speaking fees and team up with Rudy Giuliani on a book or DVD-ROM project. We're excited for John Ashcroft to finally molt his skin and reveal that he is an evil lizard monster in the vein of a David Icke nightmare gone awry, and rampage through the streets of Washington biting children and spitting venom at police. Poisonous venom.
None of these things will be possible if George W. Bush is re-elected next week.
As fans of unsigned editorials written by committee know, you cannot endorse a candidate merely by focusing on the flaws of his competitor. You must make the case convincingly—and quickly—and save room for the brassiere ads and other crap that appears at the base of page A18. So, these are the reasons low culture endorses John Kerry:
1. John Kerry will discard the simplistic Terror Alert color system and truly make the country feel safe from terrorism the only way we can feel safe. No more opportunistically selected heightened alerts around events like the Democratic National Convention. Kerry will make Terrorism like your grandmother's birthday: All but forgotten, but nagging at the back of your conscience from time-to-time. This is a good thing.
2. John Kerry will work hard to reunite the world community and rebuild alliances lost since the disastrous invasion of Iraq. He will do this mostly through saying things like, "Look, World Community, I know you all got screwed by my predecessor. But I'm not my predecessor and I'm not going to try to be. I'm just a guy, standing before you, asking you to agree with me that my predecessor sucked. Now, who wants ice cream?" (Terry McAuliffe enjoys pistachio, we hear.)
3. John Kerry has shown us that not all Vietnam vets have mustaches or are scary and reminiscent of some character from Jacob's Ladder. And despite hitting us up before the Democratic National Convention, they don't all beg us for money.
4. John Kerry will not privatize social security and will work to reform the health care gap in this country. This might not seem important to you, but one day you will be old or sick and we guarantee you, you're going to want ice cream. There is enough ice cream for the World Community and you. John Kerry will see to that, unless Terry McAuliffe acts like an asshole again and takes the bins of pistachio we've left out for Burkina Faso. Terry McAuliffe, incidentally, hates third-world debt relief.
5. Have you seen John Kerry's wife? John Kerry promises that she will do shit to make you laugh your ass off: crazy, out-of-the-box, next level shit that none of us can even imagine right now. Okay, we'll imagine it: She'll speak at a convention for kids with spina bifida and correct some kid's posture. John Kerry promises she'll do stuff like that all the time.
6. John Kerry will not make signs that boast "Mission: Accomplished" and then watch that mission spin completely out of control as thousands die and billions are spent on preemptive wars: John Kerry hates those signs.
There are many, many more reasons to elect John Kerry, but we need to make room for a bra ad.
Please do the right thing for the nation, the world, and yourself and elect John Kerry for President on November 2nd.
Now, who wants ice cream?
A handy guide to Bush's supporters (as seen from front and back), vol. 2
Coming Soon To A Town Near You!
Huge Cache of Explosives Vanished From Site in Iraq
Worst case scenario: A deadly manuscript bomb set off in an American city.
Is Ashlee Wired?
Previous thoughts on Ashlee Simpson.
October 24, 2004
Return of the Wolfman
I dreamed that it is night and I am lying in my bed (the foot of my bed was under the window, and outside the window there was a row of old walnut trees. I know that it was winter in my dream, and night-time). Suddenly, the window opens of its own accord and terrified, I see that there are number of white wolves sitting in the big walnut tree outside the window...
I thought about the Wolfman recently, since Freud might just be the man to decode Wolves, the new scare ad from the Bush/Cheney camp, released just in time for Halloween (Oooh, Veddy Scary!). There's a raw, hypnopompic quality to the spot: it has the sweaty, blurry feel of a nightmare. (A not dissimilar feeling to this entire gut-wrenching campaign season.)Continue reading...
But That's the Name of Scott Ritter's Book
Lizz Winstead's advice to Jon Stewart, from If You Interview Kissinger, Are You Still a Comedian?, by Damian Cave, The New York Times, Oct. 24, 2004:
"Jon should be the guy who asks the satirical questions... He wouldn't have to nail someone and make them uncomfortable, but since Jon is so brilliant at being satirical, why not say to Richard Perle on the show, 'Did you ever think of calling your book 'Confessions of a Chicken Hawk?' "
Related: One more Kissinger mention and my next coffee's free!
KA: Speaking of The Daily Show, I'm always impressed by how comfortably Jon Stewart interviews Kissinger or even Richard Perle.
Yay! Free coffee time!
October 23, 2004
Dubya the Dread
What happened to you, Christopher? You used to be cool.
Why I'm (Slightly) for Bush, by Christopher Hitchens, The Nation, Oct. 21, 2004.
Related: Well, Comrade Hitchens has endorsed worse.
October 22, 2004
low culture Exclusive: Bill O'Reilly's Internet Bookmarks
Sir, If I May Say, You Bomb Cambodians Like No Other. And I Find You Very Attractive.
Everybody loves Henry!
"The only reason for this call was to tell you that despite all appearances to the contrary in this city you still have some friends."—CBS correspondent Marvin Kalb.
"It has been an extraordinary three years for me, and I have enjoyed it immensely. You are an intriguing man, and if I had a teacher like you earlier I might not have been so cynical"—Ted Koppel.
"I couldn't agree with you more, my friend... I will make a call and see what I can do"— James Reston, New York Times columnist.
New York Post Really, Really, Really Endorses Bush. Really. For Real.
tell (n) A mannerism that gives away your holdings. Smiling when you have a big (very good) hand is an obvious tell. More subtle tells include iris dilation, a throbbing pulse, or acting in a certain manner in a given situation.
These are not strong words of endorsement:
...quite good enough for us...
Wow, with endorsements like that, who needs endorsements?
But perhaps the key phrase—typed with hams on fist by an unreliable narrator worthy of Nabokov—is this withering appraisal of Osama bin Laden:
[H]e is increasingly a general without an army, and he is off-balance and on the run.
Really, really, really sounds like someone else, doesn't it? Really. For Real.
Unintentionally Hilarious Photo of the Moment, Vol. 40
Best. Google. Search String. Ever.
My favorite part is the little survey NBC41.com saw fit to include: Should these men have been arrested?
Survey said?! No, they should be beatified.
Well, That's Like 40 Votes Right There
The Polyphonic Spree endorse Bush/Cheney.
October 21, 2004
God is the Biggest Flip-Flopper of Them All
From Robertson Says Bush Predicted No Iraq Toll, by David D. Kirkpatrick, The New York Times, Oct. 21, 2004:
"In the CNN interview, [Pat] Robertson reversed himself on one prophecy. On his '700 Club' television program in January, he declared that Mr. Bush would win re-election 'in a walk,' and added, 'I really believe I'm hearing from the Lord it's going to be a blowout election in 2004.'
How much can we "trust" in God, if He can't be held a simple, clear point of view? Does God have the experience, the know-how, and the can-do attitude this country needs right now? Is God truly a uniter, or is He the worst divider known to man? It's time to send God and the other fat cats from heaven a message on November 2nd. Vote God out.
I'm the anti-Christ, and I approve this message.
We thank you for dutifully informing us of the past 24 hours' noteworthy injuries
Prince Harry? M'lŽed! Crikey, the young lad was totally gutted about the face with a camera amidst some fracas with photogs!
Fidel Castro? Yeah, he was hurt, too. Tripped and fell, and broke some bones. Hope he gets better!
Iraqi airline workers? Yep, 14 women were wounded, and one killed, when those troublesome insurgents opened fire on a bus carrying the women and, like, shot them and shit. The guns were totally fucking blazing, I bet.
Oh, and while we're on the subject, what are Prince Harry's thoughts on the American and British occupation of Iraq? He's never been as good-looking as his older brother, so I'd wager he's got this younger-child syndrome, and is all, "Wah wah, Iraq distracted us from Afghanistan."
Unintended Irony Alert
From imdb's Movie & TV News:
From Kidzworld.com's Ricky Martin Bio Page:
Move Over, Tragedy. Hello, Farce!
Perhaps the worst trip idea I've ever heard of: a 16 day Apocalypse Now-theme vacation in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia.
Really, which is a worse experience to retrace: The fictional journey (random shooting, freak-outs, beheadings, explosions) or the cinematic journey (typhoons, heart attacks, bankruptcy)? Have fun! Don't forget to write!
[via Green Cine Daily]
Beyond the Valley of the Pols
October 20, 2004
Worst Choke Ever
I'm not surprised, but now that it's actually happening, it's worse than I thought it would be. This is the worst choke since the drummer from Spinal Tap choked on someone else's vomit.
EARLIER: Post-Imperial Melancholy
This election season, be very, very, very afraid (of asinine accusations dropping from left and right)
From "Bush Defends Himself Against Kerry's Charges", the Washington Post, October 20, 2004:
President Bush pivoted sharply to domestic issues Tuesday, parrying Democratic presidential nominee John F. Kerry's charges that the president had bungled the flu-vaccine program and would undermine Social Security in a second term.
From "Kerry Discovers Flu Vaccine Shortage in Battle Against Bush", Bloomberg, October 20, 2004:
Bill Pierce, a spokesman for Thompson, defended the Bush administration's handling of the flu-vaccine issue. "What we don't need people to do is scare seniors,'' he said. "Senator Kerry has been doing that.''
And, finally, the coup de grace, from "Cheney, Invoking the Specter of a Nuclear Attack, Questions Kerry's Strength", the New York Times, October 20, 2004:
Vice President Dick Cheney cast doubt Tuesday on whether Senator John Kerry was strong enough to fight terrorism, and asserted that the nation might one day face terrorists "in the middle of one of our cities with deadlier weapons than have ever before been used against us,'' including a nuclear bomb.
Kerry Not a Heretic
BOSTON, Oct. 19 - The Roman Catholic Church's official news service quoted an unnamed Vatican official on Tuesday as saying John Kerry was "not a heretic" for his stance on abortion rights.
Way back a long time ago, there was an ugly sentiment in this country that the Catholic Church was a foreign organization whose leadership went out of its way to control the decisions of its members, and that its members, therefore, could not be trusted to be good American citizens. Of course, that view was just used as a pretext by Americans who were simply anti-immigrant. But it seems to me that the (admittedly very few) bishops who are going around saying that it's a sin to vote for pro-choice candidates are playing into exactly that stereotype.Continue reading...
Attack of the Weasel Vaccines
From the BBC:
Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson said on Tuesday that vaccine manufacturer Aventis Pasteur would be able to produce an extra 2.6 million doses.
What Secretary Thompson neglected to mention was that the so-called Aventis is the result of a merger between a French (Rhône-Poulenc) and a German (Hoechst) company. Does the Bush Administration not realize that this company practically personifies the Axis of Weasel? Is it not possible that these vaccines could secretly contain defeatist chemicals intended to weaken our country's resolve? Should they not, at least, label these vaccines such that patriotic Americans can be aware of the origins of the vaccines being injected into their (equally patriotic) children?
2BR, 1.5 BTH, WBFP, NO CLOSETS
Thank you! We'll be here all week!
You Know, From Hookers or Kissinger or Whomever
"[C]alling me a d- -k or making fun of my bow tie is not gonna rattle my cage. It's not like I haven't heard that before." — Tucker Carlson, quoted in Page Six.
It is clear that the Red Sox will soon delight their long-suffering fans by reaching the World Series for the first time since 1986. We applaud them for their historic comeback, as much as it irks us to lose to them, of all teams.
Undoubtedly, there are many readers who have no sympathy for the Yankee fan, and not merely the joyous citizens of the so-called Red Sox Nation. To fans of all other baseball teams, the Yankees and their fans appear much as Americans appear to the citizens of all other nations -- spoiled with obscene prosperity that they then, adding insult to injury, proceed not merely to enjoy, but to expect, at all costs. To the rest of the baseball world, the Yankees are the hyperpower, led by a boasting, undiplomatic, bloviating madman named George, using their tremendously disproportionate wealth to tilt the playing field in their favor and to insidiously appropriate the resources of the less fortunate.Continue reading...
October 19, 2004
Speed Bump on the Campaign Trail
For many of us, it's a dream come true: Bush Adviser Lays Under Air Force One.
Sadly, the plane was motionless: Rove lives to scheme another day. I guess it's just another example of what a wacky card that Rove can be! (No, not that Card, wiseguy.) Wanna know Rove's next hee-larious joke? Wait 'till November 2nd: It's on you... and you... and you... and you...
Related: Anyone else notice that this photo has an uncanny visual symmetry with this famous shot?
God Plays His Hand
Although the "senior Vatican official" is not named by the Times, draw your own conclusions.
The Real Team America: World Police
Also, for political views a bit more cogent than those dudes' "dicks-pussies-assholes" analysis, check out this special section featuring Kwame Anthony Appiah, Norman Mailer, Michael Ignatieff, and others on the election.
(Thus concludes our extensive Team America coverage for the day.)
An All-Star Cast
"Gary goes through the usual three-act gamut of rivalry (with a puppet whose resemblance to Seann William Scott is surely intentional), romance (with a puppet whose resemblance to Elisabeth Shue is probably not), self-doubt and redemption, much of it set to music."
"The team's control-room chief, Spottswoode, a white-haired bureaucrat in the James Mason mold, never loses his stentorian cool, even when he's commanding Gary to, uh, go down for his country."
"What's different is that, yes, the hero is a puppet, and you can see his strings. And he's not a fighter pilot, he's a Broadway actor, recruited by a Charlton Heston-like figure with an omnipresent highball to save the world with his ACTING by infiltrating an Islamic terrorist group."
Yes, But He Was Still Funnier That Night Than Jimmy Fallon Was in Taxi
FORMER Saturday Night Live star Tracy Morgan had an embarrassing episode at Suede last Thursday night. A spywitness tells us the highly intoxicated comic stripped off his shirt, crawled around on all fours and vomited on the floor before concerned friends eventually carried him out of the club. It wasn't the first time Morgan melted down during a night on the town — he's still banned from Madame X after a drunken debacle there a few years back. Morgan's manager did not return calls.
Confidential to Tracy: Pull it together, man. Your destiny is not here.
When Life Sort of (But Not Quite) Imitates Satire
low culture, January 22, 2004:
The Believer, October 2004:
For our younger readers, the man on the right is Howard Dean.
October 18, 2004
Why Are These Men Smiling?
You'd be smiling too if you slept with half the women in the world and your buddy slept with the other half.
Hack Writers, Start Your Puns
Tomorrow, NBC premieres the latest entry in the
Since most TV critics are filing their reviews with their editors right about now, I thought I'd offer them some help with their inevitable shitty puns and fat jokes. Feel free to use any of the following phrases in your articles or headlines, or um, become a better writer:
Well, That's One Way Around the McCain-Feingold Regulations
"George W. Bush" robs a bank in Pennsylvania and The Smoking Gun has the security camera stills. Not pictured: Rumsfeld behind the wheel of the getaway car.
Earlier: Ronald Reagan and Richard Nixon rob several California banks.
When Oscar Met Jesus
Will Oscar Listen?, Sean Smith, Newsweek, Oct. 25, 2004.
October 17, 2004
Reality Used To Be A Friend of Ours
From Ron Suskind's Without a Doubt, The New York Times Magazine, Oct. 17, 2004:
"In the summer of 2002, after I had written an article in Esquire that the White House didn't like about Bush's former communications director, Karen Hughes, I had a meeting with a senior adviser to Bush. He expressed the White House's displeasure, and then he told me something that at the time I didn't fully comprehend — but which I now believe gets to the very heart of the Bush presidency.
Donald Rumsfeld on whether wrestling has helped him in his current job (earlier on low culture, via Brendan Bernhard in The LA Weekly):
“It does... First of all, the friendships, the discipline, the reality that you have to produce and make a contribution. So I feel very fortunate that I was able to wrestle for all those years."
October 15, 2004
She's Spunky! Well, Actually, She's Probably Not
EARLIER, indelicately: John Kerry, Debate 2004: Gay, gay, gay, gay, gaygaygaygay
EARLIER, sanctimoniously: "Mention of Gay Daughter a Cheap Trick, Lynne Cheney Says", Washington Post
A Woman Without Qualities
These titles were already taken, but are just as good:
It's a Simple Formula, Really
Easy as ABC!
One of my favorite games as a kid was to have my dad read me the headlines of op-ed columns and let me guess what the writers were going to say. We used to call it "The Great American Thesis Guessing Game," and we'd pass many joyful hours this way, usually as I waited for my various spelling bees and model U.N. to begin or on the train to an educational weekend trip to Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, or Colonial Williamsburg (where I learned all about early American trucker hats). It was my absolute favorite game after memorizing every state comptroller and listing all the elements on the periodic table in weight order.
Maybe I was feeling nostalgic for those bygone days (the humdrum accomplishments of being an "adult" are so boring compared to the achievements I enjoyed as an adorable, opinionated child genius), since this morning I decided to play my favorite game with John "Norman's Son" Podhoretz's latest New York Post opus (Popus?), BUSH'S BIGGEST FLAW.
Ooh, ooh! I can guess! I can guess!
·He loves too much?
So, Pod-man, what's Bush's "biggest" flaw?
Damn. How could I have missed that one? My dad's gonna be so disappointed when we go to bird-watching this weekend.
October 14, 2004
Unintentionally Hilarious Photo of the Moment, Vol. 39
(With thanks to Chris M., again.)
Last Derrida Post Ever
We couldn't help but notice that since we issued our "modest defense" of Jacques Derrida, various arms of the media empire seem to have rethought their initial scorn towards the late French philosopher and his work. This critical reappraisal is most apparent in the New York Times, which offers this panegyric, revealing, among other things, that Derrida gave carnival masks to young children of American academics.
The Guardian has a more diverse sampling of opinion from across the pond, some pro and some con.
Less hagiographically sympathetic (and somewhat saucier) than the Times op-ed is Marco Roth's piece in the upstart literary journal n+1, which has the virtue of describing a hot chick with whom the author attended Derrida's lectures in Paris:
...I watched the raven haired girl who always wore a miniskirt and a fur coat, the sort of Parisienne I fantasized about meeting before my trip. She filled line after line of graph paper in a neat miniscule hand, never stopping. She seemed to be able to take him down verbatim. At the end, she would dash out of the hall. Where?
To sum up, the new media consensus seems to be "Derrida: Not Necessarily A Pernicious Nihilist Who Threatened The Very Foundation Of Western Society And Cutlture." And, as always, dear reader, you heard it here first.
EVEN EARLIER: Jacques Derrida, 1930-2004
"Profiling the Elusive Undecided Voter," or, "When teenagers who can't vote are smarter than the nimrods who can"
In today's New York Times, we elite-coasters finally get to meet - up close and personal - that rare breed of imbecilic American voter who hasn't been able to glean a fucking difference between Candidate A and Candidate B (perhaps better known as President George "God says I can kill people" Bush and Senator John "You may want to reconsider the implications of engaging in such an act of wanton destruction, for acts of such nature rarely lead to success, and more often bring us down the path of national woe and angst, which is German for despair" Kerry).
While we wait for the poll tax to be re-jiggered such that one needs to pass a fucking news-reading test in order to exercise their precious right to vote, here are some tragic highlights of the Times' "After the Final Debate, Some Voters Are Still Sitting on the Fence":
The Great Undecided Masses, on Kerry's indelicate reminder that the Vice President's daughter is a homo:
"That is very unfair," blurted Patsey Farrell, 64, one of a handful of undecided voters gathered here to watch the final presidential debate Wednesday night. "I'm sorry, that's too personal. That's too hurtful."
Painful, hurtful, Mrs. Farrell? Not unlike the idea that President Bush wants to introduce a galvanizing amendment to the U.S. Constitution that alienates an entire class of citizens? You dimwitted bitch.
The Great Undecided Masses, on discomforting moments in the debate:
Mr. Uhde cringed when Mr. Bush made an attempt at a joke about "credible news organizations" - and also when Mr. Kerry defended himself against Mr. Bush's accusation that he voted 98 times to raise taxes by saying "everybody knows" you can play with the votes.
Here's some credible news for you, Mr. Uhde. You are, in fact, pretty fucking stupid.
The Great Undecided Masses, on irony and their inability to get a fairly well-crafted joke:
Mrs. Farrell said that Mr. Kerry had proved himself a better debater, but that she was turned off by his comment about "marrying up," perhaps because his wealthy wife, Teresa Heinz Kerry, has left a bad taste with her blunt comments during the campaign.
Christ, Mrs. Farrell, you're really testing our patience here. Try reading some topical news for once instead of inundating yourself with Bush campaign ads while you watch reruns of Hannity and Colmes.
The Great Undecided Masses, on being a selfish American:
Phyllis Bobb, 68, a member of the church, said of the president, "He's not responding well." Ms. Bobb, 68, said she would vote for "the person who will help seniors."
Good going, Mrs. Bobb. It's really impressive how you're able to winnow down the needs of a nation of hundreds of millions of citizens (many of whom will likely be subjected to a bankrupted Social Security system, a widening class-system divide, and an environment on the brink of destruction) to the concerns of a smattering of near-death people in walkers. That's some considerate shit.
The Great Undecided Masses, on skipping biology class in high school:
And during a discussion on abortion, Mr. Brokenborough, 52, turned away from the television to say, "Who is going to be the advocate for the baby?"
That's a powerful question, Mr. Brokenborough. And who will be the advocate for my fingernails, which I just trimmed, or my hair, which I just had cut at a delightful salon on the Upper East Side, or perhaps the formerly functional legs and arms of several soldiers who subsequently lost limbs in the past few days of bombings and attacks in Iraq?
The Great Undecided Masses, on the merits of statistics:
But Mr. Kerry's performance left Jay Edmonds, 77, wishing for a little more clarity. After the Democratic candidate cited the number of job losses in Arizona and the lower pay of the jobs created in their place, Mr. Edmonds shook his head.
Well, Mr. Edmonds, I don't think you add job losses to lower wages. In mathematical terms, this might be considered to be two different equations or aspects of the same problem - though nonetheless fundamentally linked. Sort of like an x- and y-axis, you fucking idiot.
The Great Undecided Masses, on senior citizens' sleeping habits, taking into account the fact they often inexplicably get up at dawn:
Although several residents dozed off about 20 minutes into the Bush-Kerry show, Mrs. Small continued to watch intently.
Good for you, Mrs. Small. You may be uncertain as for whom you're going to be casting a ballot in a few weeks, but at least you're able to stay upright in your chair, all the while subjecting yourself to the theatrics of this third and final debate.
The Sun-Sentinel newspaper in South Florida, meanwhile, went another route and interviewed, get this, teenagers for their thoughts on the debate they'd just witnessed. You know, teenagers. Those young Americans who are old enough to be executed, yes, but not to vote. And, sadly, in contrast with the intelligentsia-stragglers profiled above by the New York Times, Florida's population of the under-18 set comes off like a bunch of aspirationally-observant geniuses.
From the Sun-Sentinel's "Reaction from teens to the presidential debate":
"Although this debate proved to be the most entertaining, the candidates' contentions have surpassed repetitive and reached mind-numbing. There is a significant difference between using colloquialisms to appeal to the nation and simply conveying sheer ignorance. The president crossed that line."
Note that this last kid is fucking 13 years old. Someone ought to introduce young Shivam to the Uhde family mentioned earlier.
Lies, Falsehoods, and Total Fabrications, vol. 1
We hold these lies to be self-evident...
Several prominent psychologists speculate that if Bush wins the election, the national suicide rate will increase by as much as 35%.
George Bush wrote a poem in high school called "Little Me, in Poppy's Shadow."
Teresa Heinz was a back-up singer for Bob Dylan's Rolling Thunder Revue tour.
As a young man, Donald Rumsfeld used to run numbers with Malcolm X, then known as "Detroit Red."
John Kerry keeps all of his kids' baby teeth in a satchel in his pocket. He rubs them when he's nervous.
The Bush twins were conjoined at birth, sharing a liver. This is why they get drunk so easily.
John Edwards's battle with a childhood illness formed the basis of the 1976 after-school special, The Boy in the Plastic Bubble starring John Travolta.
It has been proven that electronic voting machines are essentially the same technology as the Simple Simon light game.
Condoleezza Rice had a small speaking part in the film version of Hair.
Laura Bush is allergic to most root vegetables.
O, what a manly man! As an undecided voter, I admit that I might be swayed by his powerful aura of masculinity
And, hey there, swing-state voters, don't forget that Senator John Kerry used to be in a rock n' roll band.
Debate 2004: Gay, gay, gay, gay, gaygaygaygay
From last night's third and final debate in Tempe, Arizona, between Democratic Sen. John Kerry and Republican President George W. Bush, a line uttered by Kerry in response to a question by moderator Bob Schieffer of CBS News about whether homosexuality is a "choice," or genetically ingrained, or something that one ill-advisedly buys in the check-out line at Target:
"We're all God's children, Bob. And I think if you were to talk to Dick Cheney's daughter, who is a lesbian, she would tell you that she's being who she was, she's being who she was born as."
EARLIER: V.P. Candidate John Edwards on the gaygaygay issue
EVEN EARLIER: President George W. Bush on the gaygaygay issue.
Hopefully, the reminder that a cruel and offensively dehumanizing constitutional amendment is at stake puts all this in perspective for Democratic partisans who may have grimaced in awkward discomfort at last night's utterances by John Kerry, as sampled above.
October 13, 2004
Why... Is Michelle Malkin the New Jadakiss?
The many questions of Michelle Malkin:
How... many hate crime anecdotes does it take before the mainstream media spot a trend?
But what... happens when the targets are the wrong kind of victim?
What... happens when conservatives and Republicans are on the receiving end of discriminatory threats or harassment or worse?
Is... anybody home?
Is... it my imagination or do I hear pins dropping in the grievance corners of America's otherwise victim-friendly newsrooms?
Can... I get a hair appointment and pedicure before appearing on Scarborough Country on Friday?
Will... The pedicurist be an immigrant?
Should... I cancel it if she is?
Why... is my Amazon rank so low?
Holy Shit, We Need to Get Ourselves One of These Blog Things
First comes this excellent article from a newspaper called The New York Sun that not only tells us about blogs, but finally—finally!—explains that "jumping the shark" phrase our 15 year-old cousin always uses. (It has something to do with Happy Days.) There's also an excellent little primer about a show called Oz, which we're definitely gonna watch this week.
The article, by a writer named Eric Wolff (remember that name!), is all about a website called Gawker, which we plan to check out after we have our morning coffee! It also answers the age old question: Who gives the best soundbites, Condé Nast editorial assistants, or 'cyber-hostesses'? (It's a draw! They both bring the noise and the bite!)
Then there's this Tom Scocca piece from The New York Observer about a guy who runs a site called The Minor Fall, The Major Lift (definitely gotta check his stuff out) who was once annonymous but is now going by his real name, Alex Balk! Plus, he's now writing for The New York Times! Like other bloggers! (Memo to self: Pick up the Times this weekend on the way to brunch!)
What's exciting about this (and warrants all these exclamation points!!!) is that we can now see that far from being an annonymous wag, this Balk fellow was actually hiding in plain site all along, submitting to a website called McSweeneys and playing along on the Slate News Quiz with Emmy-winning TV writers and producers! Next Major Lift, Hollywood!?!
Phew! This entry has fairly knocked us out (we topped off our exclamation point quota in the second paragraph!), and now we're off to go figure out how to get one of these blogs set up. Our 15 year-old cousin is great with computers, and we think the "domain" JackieHarvey.com is still available!
As they say in Latin, Excelsior!
Rooting for the Overdog
As gratifying as it is to win these games, they have become so excessively fraught that to watch them is emotionally taxing in the extreme. I thought I'd be able to relax and get some work done when the Yankees opened up an eight run lead, but the Red Sox regrouped, metastasized, and emerged with a deadlier-than-ever assault. Clearly, they pose a threat that requires constant vigilance. Some day, they will win -- perhaps tomorrow. It's not a question of if, but when.
It may be unpopular and controversial to put it this way, but I think we have to get back to the place we were, where the Red Sox are not the focus of our lives, but they're a nuisance. We're never going to end this rivalry. But we've got to reduce it to a level where it isn't on the rise. It isn't threatening people's lives every day, and it's not threatening the fabric of your life.
October 12, 2004
Cherish the Memories: Iraqi Yearbook Photos (8x10 blowups available via Jostens)
We Love Disney, We Love It Not...
But when it comes to a force as polarizing as the mighty mouse, who can blame them for being a bit schizo in their coverage? That, or the editors don't even read their own rag. Either way, Michael Eisner is going to be very angry... Then very happy... But then angry again... Followed by happy.
"Fine, Daddy, I'll Talk to the Goddamn Kiwanis Club for you... Oh my god, are those Buffalo Wings Free!?!"
October 11, 2004
Confessions of a Teenage Deconstructionist
We all have our youthful indiscretions, those young and irresponsible things that we did when we were young and irresponsible. Senator Robert Byrd, for example, was in the Klan, while George W. Bush was a cheerleader at Andover, and, most seriously of course, John Kerry was a war hero.
My own modest indiscretion is that I Was A Teenage Derridian. Yes, as a literature major in the early 90's, I was inundated with the "critical theory" associated with various continentals from Adorno to Deleuze to Foucault and most of all, Jacques Derrida. And let me make it clear that I was not merely the victim of all this theory; in fact, I eagerly sought it out. Indeed, some witnesses even report that I had Derrida's famous statement "il n'ya pas de hors-text" ["there is nothing outside the text"] stencilled upon my cap at graduation.
[Long, boring article follows below the break.]Continue reading...
Tomorrow's Corrections Today, vol. 5
Slated to appear on the New York Times' Corrections page, October 12, 2004:
Because of an editing error, an article in yesterday's International News section by Terence Neilan about the release of Yaser E. Hamdi, an American citizen who had been held in U.S. prisons for three years without having charges filed against him (until a Supreme Court ruling in June found the detention to be unlawful), "U.S. Returns Detainee to Saudi Arabia After 3 Years", was both erroneously titled and published too early. The corrected article was slated to run in late January 2005, and should have been titled "U.S. Returns President to Texas After 4 Years". The Times regrets the error.
Campaign 2004: David Cobb for President (Only kidding. Sort of.)
We loves us some nuance when it comes to saying whether or not invading Iraq was a good idea. Or maybe just endorsing the resolution approving the matter. Or whatever. We hate nuance.
George W. Bush, October 9, 2004:
"Knowing what I know today, I would have made the same decision. The world is safer with Saddam in a prison cell."
Dick Cheney, October 7, 2004:
Vice President Dick Cheney asserted in Miami Thursday that the report justifies rather than invalidates Bush's decision to go to war. It shows that "delay, defer, wasn't an option," Cheney told a town-hall style meeting.
John Kerry, August, 2004:
Asked by a reporter, he said he would have voted for the resolution - even in the absence of evidence of weapons of mass destruction - before adding his usual explanation that he would have subsequently handled everything leading up to the war differently.
John Edwards, October 8, 2004:
Democratic vice presidential candidate John Edwards said last week's Central Intelligence Agency report confirming the absence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq hasn't convinced him it was a mistake to authorize President George W. Bush to take military action.
RELATED: Cobb/LaMarche 2004, "Vote Green for Peace"
Three years and zero washes later...
Where do you live, Jimmy Fallon? From left to right, the SNL wunderkind on the cover of Paper's November 2001 issue; and the star of Taxi featured as "Man of the Week" in the October 18, 2004 issue of Us
Campaign 2004: How do the candidates treat their youngest supporters?
With the Sports Illustrated cover curse, you merely lose games, but not friends and supporters
From Sen. John Kerry's remarks at the Second Presidential Debate, Washington University, St. Louis, Friday, October 8, 2004:
Chris Reeve is a friend of mine. Chris Reeve exercises every single day to keep those muscles alive for the day when he believes he can walk again, and I want him to walk again.
From "'Superman' Star Christopher Reeve Dies at 52," The Associated Press, Monday, October 11, 2004:
Christopher Reeve, the star of the "Superman" movies whose near-fatal riding accident nine years ago turned him into a worldwide advocate for spinal cord research, died Sunday of heart failure, his publicist said. He was 52.
October 10, 2004
Jacques Derrida, 1930-2004
"My death, is it possible?" asked the late philosopher Jacques Derrida in his book Aporias.
October 8, 2004
Democracy in Action
From The New York Times Letters page, Thursday, October 7:
From a mass email from Bush Campaign Manager Ken Mehlman, received Wednesday, October 6, 6:13 am:
(And dude, getting a perfect Math League score ain't much of a chick magnet.)
October 7, 2004
What next, an NEA grant for Mapplethorpe?
Once, years before a hyperbole-prone Graydon Carter pronounced "the end of the age of irony", the more astute Tom Lehrer remarked that Henry Kissinger's 1973 Nobel Peace prize rendered political satire obsolete.
One wonders what Tom Lehrer thinks of today's announcement that the the Nobel Prize in Literature was awarded to the perverted Austrian novelist Elfriede Jelinek. While not an act of cosmic irony on par with Kissinger's Peace Prize, it is, if nothing else, the last nail in the coffin for kinky books. Even if you are inclined to enjoy nauseating, degenerate art-smut like this (and if you are, you should be ashamed), you have to acknowledge that the authors of these nasty things should not be rewarded for writing and promulgating them. Most of Sade's horrid output was written in prison, and rightly so. Georges Bataille published the shockingly perverse "Story of the Eye" under a pseudonym and spent his wretched life as a creepy librarian, unwilling to face the well-deserved umbrage that even his fellow Frenchmen would have unleased upon him had he taken responsibility for his "work."
Of course, we here at low culture regard this kind of cultural output as not merely beneath contempt, but in fact a danger to our American way of life and values, the sort of pernicious decadence that leads to the downfall of great civilizations. But even if we did care for this kind of thing, isn't it a fundamental element of these naughty books that they and their authors are "transgressive", that they are breaking the rules of society? And shouldn't society respond to transgression with censure and condemnation, not fancy medals and prizes? Indeed, in a year in which the world was appalled by images of grotesquely sadistic acts, is it not poor timing -- if not a bit perverse -- for the Swedish Academy to award its Literature prize to a pornographic writer who celebrates perversity?
Unintentionally Hilarious Photo of the Moment, Vol. 38
An art-history undergrad's C-plus critique of the occupation of Iraq
O, what beauty has been sown from destruction! As with Picasso's famed "Guernica," art aficionados once again have the opportunity to witness anew the innermost depths of visual purity that have arisen from the turmoil and despair of some mysterious "other."
Ostensibly having undertaken a photographic portrait of today's rocket strike upon a hotel in central Baghdad, the artist, Anja Niedringhaus, has done an exceptional job of framing the composition in such a manner that the merits of using the classical painterly technique known as chiaroscuro become, well, painfully obvious. Notice the interplay between light and dark in Niedringhaus' image, the way in which the otherwise abstract notion of "Iraqi rage" billows outward and takes on a life of its own amidst the spiritual and political darkness of the Western world - here represented by the image's being set at nighttime.
Furthermore, be sure not to disregard the inherent conflict between "nature" and "mankind" as it is displayed herein; take note of the image's striking left-and-right contrast between the fluidly burning palm trees and the sharp, jarring architecture of the civilized world. Or the usage of the color yellow as the portrait's focal point; one is literally drawn into this veritable heart of fiery Baghdad, where, hopefully, the viewer will be able to partake of the wonderfully restored social services (e.g. the reconstruction of fire stations and water pipes) that have been restored by Halliburton and Bechtel. What? Am I missing something?
October 6, 2004
More Notes Towards the October low culture Index
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, who donned a tan cowboy hat, joked that he was working on a song called "Mamas, Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Mayors."
Number of jokes made by Mayor Bloomberg about writing country songs: at least 1.
Additional number of such jokes desired by New Yorkers: 0.
Total number of such jokes desired by New Yorkers: 0.
"Goddammit, why did you have to go and bring that up?"
NEWS FLASH FOR GOD-FEARING MIDDLE AMERICANS WHO DON'T FOLLOW THE NEWS VERY CLOSELY (by way of John Edwards' deft placement of this small nugget of information within the context of last night's vice presidential debate): Vice President Dick Cheney has a homosexual daughter.
EDWARDS: ...Now, as to this question, let me say first that I think the vice president and his wife love their daughter. I think they love her very much. And you can't have anything but respect for the fact that they're willing to talk about the fact that they have a gay daughter, the fact that they embrace her. It's a wonderful thing.
Yes, Senator Edwards, and it's also a wonderful thing that you were able to remind the Republican Party's conservative base that Cheney, their chief standard-bearer in oppressing the oppressed, was clearly a very bad parent by right-wing Christian fundamentalist standards, in that he raised a daughter who is now a homosexual. In addition to being a homosexual, Mary Cheney is also purportedly a lesbian or dyke, or whatever labels or epithets conservatives would like to use as they harass and/or beat up gay people in cities and towns across America.
Oh, Dick, Dick, Dick...where did you go so wrong? And what else have you not been forthright about in terms of a possible penchant for supporting and encouraging sinful acts? We'll never know, as the Vice President was able to skillfully conclude this line of uncomfortable (and far too revealing) questioning rather abruptly:
IFILL: Mr. Vice President, you have 90 seconds.
I'm very forgetful...when did you say the last debate took place?
From the transcript of last night's sole vice-presidential debate in Cleveland, Ohio:
"What the vice president has just said is just a complete distortion. The American people saw John Kerry on Thursday night. They don't need the vice president or the president to tell them what they saw."
Wait, I get it. John Kerry won that debate quite decisively, and you're reminding the public of that fact. Nicely done, and none-too-subtle!
The Most Embarrassing New York Post pop culture mistake since Jam Master Jay Spotted
"Fallon, who has zero screen presence, flounders around, dribbling forth what can only be improvised dialogue in the most embarrassing SNL vehicle since Pootie Tang."
'TAXI' DRIVEL, by Megan Lehmann, Oct. 6, 2004
Notes Towards the October low culture Index
Rodney Dangerfield, RIP
I had the pleasure of interviewing Rodney Dangerfield two years ago. He was a great guy, a little out of it, but still as funny and nasty as you could hope for.
I met Rodney in his Westwood apartment, where he lounged in a loosely held bathrobe - that night I saw more of Rodney Dangerfield than I expected, a softer, more fleshy, less circumcised side. I also met his wife, who was beautiful, blonde and half his age (placing her somewhere around fifty), but she was surprisingly sharp and impossibly nice.
Rodney was in show business for more than sixty years and worked every gig imaginable, from singing waiter to The Dean Martin Show. He discovered Kinison and Hicks and countless others. In many ways Back to School is to blame for my own sub-par performance in college. And how many times can you wring your collar and declare "No respect" before it gets tired? Never.
What follows are excerpts from the interview or the transcript.
On Overcoming Depression:
"When you're smart," Rodney says, "you've got no one to talk to. I've done everything for it, including forty-eight Austrians, OK? It's not easy."
"Listen man," he offers, "You can always find a chick with a nice ass. You find a chick who'll actually listen to you, and you can bring yourself to listen to? That's what you hold on to. If she has a nice ass too, that's not so bad either."
I like Rodney's advice - it seems honest - but this comes only minutes after he's said, "I told my wife she's awful in bed. So she went out and got a second opinion. And then she got a third opinion, and a fourth opinion."
And the inevitable follow-up, "My wife, she likes to talk during sex. The other night she called me from a motel."Continue reading...
October 4, 2004
Unintentionally Hilarious Photo of the Moment, Vol. 37
Earlier: How to Replace Your Lesbian Daughter
Biting the (Invisible?) Hand
It's often observed of George W. Bush that, per the old saw, he was born on third base but he thinks he hit a triple. On the other hand, like him or loathe him, Dick Cheney came from humbler circumstances, and must be given some credit for the sharp elbows and all-American ambition that led him to success. But don't let's get too misty-eyed prasing Dick for his enterprise, because he's not all that different from Dubya when it comes to admitting that he may not have done it all by himself.
As we await the vice-presidential debate, this exchange from the 2000 VP debate comes to mind:
LIEBERMAN: I think if you asked most people in America today that famous question that Ronald Reagan asked, "Are you better off today than you were eight years ago?" Most people would say yes. I'm pleased to see, Dick, from the newspapers that you're better off than you were eight years ago, too.
Oh really? This lone-wolfish insouciance comes from a guy who has been working in government since the late 60's and whose father and father-in-law were both federal civil servants. He seems more than happy to accept the largesse that comes with being a public servant, including free, world-class health care, a government pension, and free trips in a Gulfstream jet to go duck-hunting with pals. Now, all of these goodies probably don't mean much to a man with a net worth of $50 million, but as far as we know, he hasn't forsworn any of these perks, nor has he offered to pay for them himself. Guess big government isn't always so reprehensible. (But maybe he can't help it -- it's just that pernicious "culture of dependency"...)
Most of Cheney's fortune, of course, comes from his tenure at Halliburton, and while we must all tip our hats to the chutzpah of a man who appointed himself to the positions of CEO and running mate, could Halliburton's abrupt decision to hire Cheney -- who had no prior experience in business management -- have had anything to do with the Cheney's work in government, or, specifically, the fact that, as Secretary of Defense, he'd awarded lucrative contracts to Halliburton as part of a program to outsource military functions to private contractors?
The New York Times Redesign: Skewing Younger, Much Younger
Little Jackson Pollocks, Exploring in Oil Paints
Which Was Painted By a Child?
A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Girl
Love and a Village Charmer w/ WOOD BRNING FRPLC
Before I moved to Manhattan, spent far too much time in graduate school learning to be erudite about le cinema and became the Cinecultist, I used to just be a movie fan. I loved certain films unabashedly and a tad obsessively — particularly ones about the life of young, single New Yorkers — watching them over and over again until the VHS tapes (remember those?) almost gave out. Nearly at the top of the list was, and still is, Warren Leight's The Night We Never Met (1993) starring Matthew Broderick and Annabella Sciorra.
The premise is three strangers share an illegal time share in a West Village brown stone walk-up. The lease holder's a Wall Street type about to get married who's moved into his girlfriend's co-op but doesn't want to permanently give up the locale of his boy's club debauchery and so, rents out the space for four other nights a week.
In this pre-Craig's List era, a broken-hearted struggling chef (Broderick) and dental hygienist from Queens (Sciorra) answer his assistant's ad and take the space for cooking/dating and painting, respectively. They only know one another from the names on a posted schedule of assigned days, but with a predictable switch of Tuesday for Wednesday, Ellen the hygienist begins to fall for Sam the chef, but thinks he's called Brian, who's actually the trader. Ah, the vicissitudes of love.Continue reading...
October 2, 2004
An old Rove mind trick
From the New York Times:
But in a sign that the Bush campaign suddenly found itself on the defensive, the president's chief political adviser, Karl Rove, who is normally elusive to the press, sought out reporters to push the campaign's argument that Mr. Kerry was a walking contradiction on Thursday night and that Mr. Bush was focused and pensive during the encounter, not peevish.
Rove: You don't need to see Bush's qualifications.
Rove: Bush was focused and pensive.
Rove: Kerry is most likely a pedophile.
October 1, 2004
Morning-after cockiness, manifest on the airport tarmac
And he'll remain this cocky all weekend long, until Karl Rove implies that Kerry is a pedophile. Or so we heard.
Shabbat Shalom, from your friends at the New York Post
Oy, we're kvelling over here about how many mentions of Jews there are in today's New York Post! Nu, it gives us such nachas to see that this city's true paper of record is finally recognizing Jews' valuable contribution to the city!
First, there's an article on Jews in reality TV shows sensitively headlined Jew-Insult 'Apprentice' Fired Twice by Don Kaplan and Braden Keil (two nice Jewish boys, yes?). Strangely, this piece about Apprentice contestant Jennifer Crisafulli's anti-semitic comments ("It was those two old Jewish fat ladies!") is not on the Post website (conspiracy?), but you can read all about it here. (Why isn't this article online? Such a shande!)
Then the Post saw fit to run a
From the hilarious headline (New Jewcy.com Web Site's Offerings Are Strictly Kosher) to the article's pitch-perfect lede ("Call it knish kitsch."), this has to be one of the best, most spot-on pieces about Jews I've ever encountered! And I've read tons of Jewy crap!
Since the very headline was a plug for Jewcy junk, you just gotta check out their website for hilarious T-shirts emblazoned with such clever, easily accessible Yiddishisms as Yenta, Kvetch, and Meshuggenah! It's shtetl fabulous—even for your shagetz boyfriend who gives your mother such tsuris and makes her want to plotz!
Feh, it's enough to make you chaloshes! I just wish I could remember Jewcy's URL and help them make some more gelt. Oh, well, guess they get bubkis.
So safe, it hurts
From George W. Bush's unofficial opening arguments in last night's first presidential debate with Democratic nominee Sen. John Kerry:
"In Iraq we saw a threat and we realized that after Sept. 11 we must take threats seriously before they fully materialize. Saddam Hussein now sits in a prison cell. America and the world are safer for it."
Visual reinforcement, from A.P. wire service images taken over the last 48 hours, of America's steady progress in President Bush' War on Terror™ or however it's being billed at this moment. I'm guessing that the "safety zone" is located well outside Baghdad's notorious "Green Zone" enclave.
The news networks covering the debate, the best they know how
Selected highlights from the cable news networks' coverage of the buildup to last night's first presidential debate between Pres. George W. Bush and Sen. John Kerry, as aired September 30, 2004:
CNN, PAULA ZAHN NOW: Zero Hour Nears For Presidential Debate, WOLF BLITZER, noted company man, 8:48 PM:
"Fascinating, indeed. Our viewers will be fascinated, no doubt. We'll be watching very closely. Bill Hemmer, we'll get back to you.
MSNBC, Pre-Debate Countdown, hosted by Chris Matthews, TUCKER ASKEW, Bush White House communications adviser and noted grade-school punning champion, 8:18 PM:
"...Kerry's a master debater..."
FOX News, FOX Report with Shepard Smith, SHEPARD SMITH, news anchor, fearmonger, and ratings whore, 7:59 PM:
"Stay tuned, as the war on terror continues on FOX..."
Presidential Debate Highlights, as selected by Benji Harmon, 8 year-old pundit
(Or: The Debate was so fucking painful, I reverted to early childhood)
"Now, we're doing our duty..."
"We're being challenged like never before, and we have a duty..."
" It will help change the world. That we can look back and say we did our duty..."
"...the enemy attacked us, Jim, and I have a solemn duty..."
"I add two active-duty divisions..."
An analysis of the president's idea of hard work
I know what you're saying. This is too easy, but nonetheless...
"In Iraq, no doubt about it, it's tough. It's
Which is why my back is clenched up so tight it's ready to snap.
"I wake up every day thinking about how best to protect America. That's my job...There's a lot of really good people working hard to do so. It's hard work."
I'm not really sure what any of this shit means, but I refuse to tell people to go to georgewbush.com
Watching TV is really hard, yeah, especially the one at the White House with the TiVo. Have you tried to operate TiVo? It's really hard. And Cheney is always stealing the damn remote.
"The plan says we'll train Iraqi soldiers so they can do the
And it was really hard to think up a plan, we wouldn't want to waste all that hard work just because it doesn't work.
"We're making progress. It is
It's hard work to go from a televised quagmire to speeches about progress, we're running out of material.
"And, you know, I think about Missy Johnson, fantastic young lady I met in Charlotte, N.C., she and her son, Brian. They came to see me. Her husband, P.J., got killed-been in Afghanistan, went to Iraq. You know, it's
Wait a minute! Is the president admitting an affair here? Whoa, bombshell!
"Yeah, we're the job done. It's
And that enemy is John Kerry, no wait, Saddam Hussein - no, that's not it. Warmer?
"We've done a lot of
Well, mostly I watched it on television, but you get the idea.
Make our "team" part of your "team"