February 28, 2005
Coming Soon to a Theater Near You
Title: 2 Million Dollar Baby
More Shocking Photos from the Colonial and Native Party
Oscars, 2005: Live-blogging the Oscar Party
8:43pm: Fuck, I am so, so late. Supposedly this shit started at 8pm, right? But then there were all these issues with the express A-train lingering between stops in the tunnels under Manhattan for what seemed like forever. So I finally show up, and the hostess is all, "Hi, you're early...only a few people are here yet." I totally should have taken the C-train. It makes local stops.
8:44pm: The handful of attendees who have shown up thus far are dressed, shall we say, excessively well. Like, ties, and coats and shit like that. Apparently, there was a dress code of sorts? My t-shirt neglected to actually read the invite. Or rather, Evite. That's probably related to the fact that I fucking hate Evites.
The hostess, meanwhile, looks great in a sleeveless knit top and dark pleated skirt, and her boyfriend is wearing a magnificent outfit by D&G. I ask her who she's wearing, and it's clear she's already drunk as fuck, because her response is something along the lines of turning to the boyfriend and saying, "By the end of the night, him." Not so funny, and slightly dated, but, damn, the boyfriend's shoes really do work well with the slacks.
8:57pm: People have begun arriving in disparate groups of ones and twos and threes. We watch them as they stroll down the hallway into the living room, and pepper each new arrival with questions: Your name? Did you find the place OK? Did you fill out your Oscar ballot? You already missed the best original screenplay award, did you know that?
9:25pm: Everyone is talking about how great Cate Blanchett looks, you know, for a Brit. One guest makes a joke about British people's teeth that's met first with a chorus of laughs then several examples of British people with good teeth. Everyone agrees that Jude Law is very good looking and was robbed this year, maybe twice. Also, the pretzels bowl is getting dangerously empty.
9:54pm No one can name a single Sidney Lumet film before the montage begins. Man, the hostess' cat is so cute. He rubs his head into my ankle and even lets me pick him up.
10:20pm Cat's still in my lap! I can't believe it. Everyone is cooing at him, saying he's so cute. I sense some jealousy over how quickly the cat has taken to me. "I'm just a cat magnet," I say. "Like Jack Nicholson!" one of the guests says. When no one laughs, he explains that he meant "'Pussy magnet'—Nicholson's a pussy magnet." Groans all around. Penelope Cruz is on stage for some reason.
10:35pm People start taking photos of themselves. Someone says that Natalie Portman looks good, but I'm busy looking for the cat, who ran away a little while ago. It was my fault for shifting my weight in my chair.
11:03pm One of the guests makes fun of Sean Penn for his trip to Iraq. Another thinks he's brave. I go to the fridge and get another drink. How many has this been? I lost count around the second Beyoncé song. Damn, only hard ciders. 'Whatever,' I think, and twist the cap off.
11:05pm There's that cat. He's crapping in the litter box. Best not to bother him now, I guess.
11:07pm Still shitting.
11:10pm What the fuck did this cat eat?
11:20pm He's sitting on someone else's lap now. There's an opening next to her, so I go sit down. Cat seems to like me petting him better, but doesn't move to my lap. Oh, so that's what Charlie Kauffman looks like.
11:30pm Everyone chants along with Jamie Foxx. The cat runs from the room in fear. I'm getting a bit dizzy. Maybe the shrimp was bad.
11:36pm Maybe Dustin Hoffman had the shrimp, too. He looks bad. What? The room is practically spinning. Pretzel bowl empty.
11:40pm Everyone applauds and the girl next to me kisses me. Then I black out.
Monday, Feb. 28, 1:00pm What time is it? Where am I? Where are my pants? Who won what? And who is this next to me in the bed? Oh, it's that cat! I told you I was a pussy magnet.
Black and white and red all over: Spinning the news out of Iraq
Iraq Suicide Bomber Kills at Least 115, the Associated Press, February 28, 2005:
A suicide car bomber blasted a crowd of police and national guard recruits Monday as they gathered for physicals outside a medical clinic south of Baghdad, killing at least 115 people and wounding 132 the single deadliest attack in the two-year insurgency.
Election Shock Treatment: The Democrats try to get over Iraq's latest achievement, the Daily Standard/Weekly Standard, February 28, 2005:
WITH THINGS LOOKING UP for a change, this has been a rough patch of time for the Democrats. They have been suffering from Election Shock Treatment; which means the success of the Iraqi elections has shocked them into the realization that they may have to seek treatment, because of the trauma induced by the growing suspicion that President Bush has been right all along: right in the decision to go into Iraq; right in the decision to hang tough in Palestine; right in the belief that Muslims and Arabs may also want freedom; that elections there can be held, and succeed.
Even Doug Wead knows this shit is non-alcoholic
February 24, 2005
Unintentionally Hilarious Photo of the Moment, Vol. 49
Our definitive thoughts on Paris Hilton (A rousing clarion call through the night!)
In the elevated, sanctimonious tradition of the inestimable Lloyd Grove, we issue this call to arms to pundits, writers, tastemakers, and (dare we say it) bloggers far and wide: Let us not speak of Paris Hilton again. Let us disregard those antics that would otherwise warrant so much fleeting press from so many fleeting media outlets. Let us divorce ourselves from her poisonous presence in American popular culture. Let us focus on more enriching enterprises, like rigorous discussions of the 17th season of The Apprentice, or Roger Avary's screenwriting, or the career of Ben Stiller. Let us speak of steroids, of baseball, of horse racing. Let us embrace the Kentucky Derby with renewed vigor.
Let us look past Ms. Hilton's three seasons of moronic reality-television output. Let us salivate no longer on the entity known as Paris Hilton: her casually-flouted nudity, her vapid imbecility, her patented pronunciations of "That's hot." Paris? Hot? You're not.
Let us look forward to a day when this name will be synonymous with an endgame in the turning point of American culture, a utopian point at which we will have foregone such asinine documentation of these characters: the intellectually frail, the idiotically fulsome, and the irritatingly frivolous. Let us collectively embrace an era when we, the pundit class, can transcend such vile antics, and shall no longer forcibly parlay in matters of such juvenalia, such loathsome simplemindedness.
Paris? Ms. Hilton? We shall never speak of thee again. We are so much better than that.
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February 23, 2005
Unintentionally Hilarious Photo of the Moment, Vol. 48
"And the Best Actor Who Overcame Career Embarrassment is..."
Office betting pools for the 2005 Oscar race are fast coming due, with the race for Best Actor seeming to pose a particularly difficult challenge for casual bettors and/or filmgoers. With that in mind, we've prepared this annotated list of nominees for Best Actor to help you make your picks this weekend...
February 22, 2005
Coming Soon to DSM: Paris Syndrome
The American Psychiatric Association (APA) has designated a new psychiatric disorder called Paris Syndrome, named for socialite and Reality TV star Paris Hilton.
Paris Syndrome is characterized by an acute sense of empathy towards Paris Hilton, particularly during times of public scandal and embarrassment.
According to Dr. Owen Spielvogel, chair of APA's gossip- and media-focused Loud Family Institute, "It's natural to feel a sense of guilt and shame at the pleasure one derives from the travails of Ms. Hilton. She's a larger-than-life figure, the subject of mockery and contempt. Paris Syndrome is different than mere guilt, something closer to Stockholm Syndrome. It occurs when the individual's superego overrides the giddy pleasure at Ms. Hilton's failures and the individual begins to identify with her. 'What if my personal life got splashed across the internet? What if people openly wished for my death?' goes the thinking. At that point, Paris Syndrome has set in and psychiatric consultation may be the answer."
The APA estimates that thousands of Americans, most of whom work in the media or as bloggers (web-loggers), may be afflicted with Paris Syndrome. There is no suggested course of treatment for Paris Syndrome at this time, but according to Dr. Spielvogel, "It passes eventually and the so-called 'normal' feelings of Paris Hilton hatred return." He also notes that a related disorder—Paris Hilton Fatigue, first designated by the APA two years ago—often cancels out Paris Syndrome. "Once the individual grows indifferent to Ms. Hilton and her assorted sex tapes, utterances of racial slurs, bruises, and hacked personal communication devices. It's likely that Paris Syndrome has passed."
The APA is the nation's oldest national medical specialty society with more than 35,000 members, all of whom hate Paris Hilton.
I'm sorry, I don't speak "European"...what exactly are you trying to say, here?
Oh, OK, wait a second...I think I get it.
It's a "polite" thing, and by invoking the "Mister", you're deferring to his title as a head of state. That's so impressively formal! We've got so much to learn from you Europeans.
"On the other hand..."
President Bush, in his public statements on matters of great and non-controversial import, often makes sense. Then again, he does not. The ideas expressed therein will usually be very clear, very concise. Also, they will be very, very hard to decipher. When, on occasion, a matter of controversy is introduced in these contexts, Bush will leave himself little wiggle room for getting out of his assertions. Except when he leaves himself wiggle room for getting out of his assertions.
From Bush Denies U.S. Plans to Attack Iran, via the Associated Press, February 22, 2005:
"This notion that the United States is getting ready to attack Iran is simply ridiculous. Having said that, all options are on the table," Bush said after discussing the issue with European allies.
And earlier this year, in a similar vein, from President outlines role of his faith, via the Washington Times, January 12, 2005:
"I think people attack me because they are fearful that I will then say that you're not equally as patriotic if you're not a religious person," Mr. Bush said. "I've never said that. I've never acted like that. I think that's just the way it is."
RELATED: The Washington Post's Dan Froomkin on Bush's usage of "On the other hand" to convey variable meanings
Agence France-Presse, welcome to the world of cynicism (though A.P. and Reuters have yet to join you)
An actual caption for this wire service image, by way of Agence France-Presse (take note of the so-called 'snarky' quotation marks):
First lady Laura Bush thanked US troops based in Germany for their work in the war on 'terror,' as anti-war protesters across the country geared up for her husband's arrival (AFP/DDP/Martin Oeser)
RELATED: The A.P.'s more innocuous take on the same photo and event
February 21, 2005
Be Excellent to Each Other: A One Act Play
Secretary: Alex Winter for you, Mr. Reeves.
Earlier: Two Friends Talking: A One Act Play
February 18, 2005
Seriously, Who Appointed This Guy an Expert on Women Anyway?
"Among his comments to a conference of economists last month, according to the transcript, Dr. Summers, a former secretary of the United States Treasury, compared the relatively low number of women in the sciences to the numbers of Catholics in investment banking, whites in the National Basketball Association and Jews in farming."
February 17, 2005
Unintentionally Hilarious Photo of the Moment, Vol. 47
And with this announcement, the once-pesky C.I.A. flew away, gracefully, never to be heard from again
Even a Stopped Clock Is Right Twice a Day
low culture applauds President Bush's nomination of Nicholas Negroponte to serve as intel chief. As founder and director of MIT's Media Lab, Mr. Negroponte has done much to further all forms of digital media. His 1995 tome, Being Digital is a remarkably prescient distillation of the computer revolution. Most recently, he has pursued the development of a laptop computer that would sell for under $100. While Mr. Negroponte's relationship to the intelligence community is as yet unclear, the President's choice deserves accolades.
If Brandon Davis Swallowed Mischa Barton Whole...
February 16, 2005
Conan O'Brien Endorses Ibrahim Jafari
We can almost hear Blitz campaigning for Jafari now: "We... Want... Ibrahim... Jafari... To be Prime Minister of Iraq... To... Bring... Unity... And peace... And... I kinda look... Like him... And it... Would be funny... If I played him... On the show... But unity is the key... And my resemblance...."
No Disassemble! No Disassemble! (Or, How to Save Money on Caskets)
"The American military is working on a new generation of soldiers, far different from the army it has.
"'They don't get hungry,' said Gordon Johnson of the Joint Forces Command at the Pentagon. 'They're not afraid. They don't forget their orders. They don't care if the guy next to them has just been shot. Will they do a better job than humans? Yes.'
"The robot soldier is coming."
Toying with Nuclear Annihilation, or, The Ultimate DVD Release Cross-Promotion
A fuel tank falling from an Iranian plane could have caused an explosion in Iran's Bushehr province, where the country is building a nuclear power plant, Iran state television said on Wednesday.
New 'Darko' Sheds Some Light, the Washington Post:
After a jet engine falls through the roof and into Donnie's bedroom, things really get weird.
IN NO WAY RELATED: Iran, Syria Team Up to Confront Threats, Associated Press
Iran and Syria, who both are facing pressure from the United States, said Wednesday they will form a united front to confront possible threats against them, state-run television reported.
(With thanks to Dave.)
Unintentionally Hilarious Photo of the Moment, Vol. 46
February 15, 2005
Unflattering wire service photos that cause us to think maybe these reporters should be locked up, after all
Nation-Building: So Much Cheaper than War
The Associated Press has reported that, quite succinctly, "Bush Wants $82B More for Iraq, Afghan Costs". That's a pretty snappy headline, and more or less cuts to the quick on the president's supplemental budget request that was submitted to Congress yesterday. Because, realistically, when $75 billion of that request is slated to go to the Defense Department, it's reasonable to summarize the funds as going to cover the costs of our continued War on Terror™. Oh, and also the War in Iraq (nb: if, at this point in time, they are in fact now one and the same, please excuse our ignorance).
Regardless, after deducting the Defense Department's war costs, that still leaves the administration with a fairly large $7 billion worth of funds to disperse. And how! Let's take a look at some of the various line item expenses:
- $2.242 billion to counter drugs, pay for security, and support democracy and reconstruction in Afghanistan.
The lesson? Promoting American-style democracy costs a shitload. It's almost as though there's a correlation between our mania for capitalism and our mania for freedom and liberty. Thankfully, I can still buy heroin for cheap, however. Hamid, you're a grand ol' motherfucker! Love you!
- $400 million to reward nations that have taken political and economic risks to join the U.S.-led coalitions in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Uh-oh. That whole "coalition of the willing" thing from way back when? At least we know we never bribed them, right? Or had to shell out millions of dollars so we could play host to 32 Macedonian mess-hall workers on our bases in Iraq?
- $950 million to help areas affected by the recent tsunami in the Indian Ocean.
In other words, that "$15 million in tsunami relief" figure that was quoted so long ago was, well, incorrect. It should never have been reported. $950 million. That's what we meant all along.
Finally, there's this:
- $200 million in education and border security aid for the Palestinians.
Fuck, we're so glad Yasser Arafat's dead!
"What do you mean I'm contractually obligated to wear that thing?"
"But Nancy, saffron is so hot right now."
February 14, 2005
Building a Better Soundtrack (Or, What, No "Sister Christian"?)
Building a motion picture soundtrack from the component parts of other popular motion picture soundtracks is a great way to reward your audience for their previously exhibited good taste. Besides, the deeply rooted associations the audience has with the other film (whether it's the giddy rush of the adult film business in the 70's or the gritty thrill of crime addled Times Square) will act as a Pavlovian trigger, placing your film in a richer, more satisfying cultural context.
Here's how to do it the Inside Deep Throat Way:
"Spill the Wine," by War
"Jungle Boogie," by Kool & the Gang
"Superfly," by Curtis Mayfield
"Love Is Strange," by Mickey & Sylvia
"Draggin' the Line," by Tommy James & The Shondells
The Inside Deep Throat Soundtrack will, no doubt, be available in stores soon.
What? They're Different People!?! (And Those Are Different Magazines!?!)
Did We Say "No" Child Left Behind? That Was Just, Like, Branding... Or Something
New U.S. Secretary Showing Flexibility on 'No Child' Act, by Sam Dillon, The New York Times, Feb. 14, 2005.
All Things Considered, It's Not the Worst KISS Tie-In Ever
That would be The KISS Kasket.
Poli-Sci 315: Nuclear Arms Proliferation (The professor will now field questions from the audience)
Swearing-In Ceremonies: Special Valentine's Day Edition
Even College Dropouts Find the Work of Tony Kushner Inspirational
Sunday's New York Times embraces the Point-Counterpoint, albeit in entirely different sections.
From Week In Review, Balding Rockers, Big Money:
From Arts & Leisure, We Hate the 80's:
February 13, 2005
low culture Exclusive: Eustace Tilley Speaks
There is no getting rid of him. He’s the enigma who came to stay.
Enigma my aunt Sally! I am no enigma, I am a man. And since Mr. Menand conveniently forgot to mention a key fact in his little piffle, I must tell you myself: I am still alive.
Of course, I'm not quite as active as I was in the old days: you try donning your top hat and starched collar when you're nearly 100. These days, my monocle is bifocal and instead of examining butterflies up close, I squint intently at my own dark, brown liver spots.
It wasn't always so. Back in the old days, I was quite the playboy! In the '30s, high on all that early New Yorker acclaim (what the limey dame editor of the magazine in its bloated late life would've termed "buzz"), I was everywhere, celebrating the glorious literary life with Joey Mitchell, Bunny Wilson, Dotty Parker, and James "Jiminy Cricket" Thurber.
Oh, the gay times we had! And by 'gay,' I mean it in the old sense of the word: we drank gin distilled in our bathtubs, danced with negro chorus girls, and on occasion, performed oral sex on each other. (We called it 'rhinebecking,' after the quaint little town where Bunny rented a cottage during the summer of '36.)Continue reading...
February 11, 2005
Further Evidence of the Wide-Sweeping Cultural Impact of SSRI's
Opening today is Pooh's Heffalump Movie, the newest attempt from Disney to expand its Winnie the Pooh franchise. The Heffalump, for those of you not up on A.A. Milne's creative output, never actually makes an appearance in the original books. As imagined by the Heffalump screenwriters, this mythical beast appears to be nothing more than 68 minutes of treacly good cheer (does 68 minute running time count as a feature?).
It would further appear that Heffalump is no more than the well-medicated counterpart to Eeyore, Pooh's perpetually depressed donkey friend. Although Disney now disputes even Eeyore's seemingly certain clinical diagnosis. Their character bible claims,
(Big ups, Patrick)
US for Africa, or India, or Wherever the Hell that Tsunami Happened
Leave it to the humanitarians at US Weekly to lend a hand to tsunami relief. (If you can’t remember, the tsunami was that thing before Brad and Jen broke up and after Christmas.) As if bravely publishing the brave photographs of brave Petra Nemcova weren’t enough, US Weekly and its stable of concerned celebs have bravely assembled an eBay auction to benefit tsunami victims.
Unfortunately the auction isn’t quite living up to expectations - the lion's share of brave donations have yet to earn a single bid. But with items such as Debbie Rowe’s signed original Fox and the Hound pencil drawing, how could they possibly go wrong? From the sketch's description:
Or how about the bikini that Ivana from The Apprentice revealed to allure the financial district's finest? Though eBay doesn't specify if the item has since been washed, who could resist Ivana's sharpied signature on the ass? The H&M bikini bottom and top (a mere 32A) can be yours for anything above a $72.50 bid. Meanwhile, the Nicole Miller dress and Nike shoes worn by Apprentice skank Heidi has not garnered any interest.
Most surprising, perhaps, is that Eva Longoria's cheerleading uniform from her days shaking it at Texas A&M is similarly un-bid upon. Frankly America, you should be ashamed – don't the children deserve better? Think of the children.
But US Weekly isn't the only venal rag to auction off empty celebrity signifiers in support of tsunami relief – Teen People and Ashlee Simpson have also thrown their hat in the tax-deductible ring. Their auction, however, is doing significantly better.
Incidentally, a personalized phone call from low culture's resident hottie Jean-Paul Tremblay is also available, with all proceeds going to the "low culture Jamster Ringtones Fund."
February 10, 2005
Rummy, Mr. Nice Guy
Scalp thee not, knave, for the O.C. awaits
You peer out across the rolling vista stretching endlessly away from your frame, your gaze occupied by the gently sloping ups-and-downs of miles upon miles of unfettered grain, sprinkled with two distinct herds of buffalo, and what appears to be a small outcropping of what must be oak trees. Oak trees, yes? The horticulturist concurs. This is the Other Country, he says. The O.C. But what is that over yonder?
It appears to be savagemen on horseback. Reds. Indians. The horticulturist nods again; yes, they are Indians, and that is what they are to be called (as though this were really his specialty; James merely tagged along on your voyage out West to escape the clutches of your sister's affections, and while you understand this motive, you nonetheless resent his schooling Degree from that University in the Northeast––though not his presence, as his understanding of the numerous families of barley and grain has proven to be quite useful for your campfire dining endeavors of late).
But digression is your latest endeavor, no? The savages, the Indians...they appear to be rapidly approaching your camp. What will become of this, James asks you, and you nod in Daniel's direction. A thuggish lad by nature, Daniel has proven to be quite...versatile in your travels. And handy with a shotgun, too, though you recklessly traded away far too many shells at that last outpost in Nebraska several nights ago, because you were overloaded with ale and that gentleman who claimed to have traveled all the way from Southern California mistook you for a Betting Fool. And wound up being quite right, it seemed, as the ale had its way with you, and you were suddenly awakened several hours later by a comely red-headed whore's bottom perched atop your face in an upstairs parlor. Several shells short. Even sturdy Daniel had proven unable to re-acquire them.
How you could use those shells now, you yell at Daniel! O, to fire gracefully upon these savages, and thereby prevent a recurrence of the episode in Missouri Country even earlier, when you found your youngest compatriot scalped mercilessly after he forced his way upon the Red-skinned lass your crew had encountered as you swept across the great Mississippi River. Victor had never been much much of a ladies' man in Virginia, and after the Depression of 1839, and his loss of steady employ at the stitcher's place, he asked if he, too, could come with you as you set forth to cross the frontier, and establish a legacy anew in the Western Territories––particularly Southern California, as you heard they were riddled with wide-open ports which served as gateways to the Sea, the open Sea, and you aspired to return to your Father's once-proud tradition for shipping. You would make your money back, and start life anew. Crates beckoned, they did. 'Twas destiny, and 'twas manifest.
But these Indians, these savages! They arc across the nearest crest of grain-laden hills, far too close for this to be a pleasant experience. James corrects you, and asserts that they are, in fact, cresting atop what is actually an offshoot of maize, and is therefore not a grain in the literal sense. James can be quite a cretin, and you've more than once grown weary of his verbal antics. Most notably, just the other evening in the Kansas Territory, when he kept your entire camp up well past nightfall with his forlorn tales of what he imagined young adulthood must be like out West.
While you enjoyed hearing his fantastic stories of neighborly betrayal, and wanton adolescent lust, which reminded you of your own boyhood, you felt his characters lacked the great depth that only a Serious Novelist could bring to such a tale. And these names he used were quite questionable. You were proud of characters such as Caleb and Luke, who would carry themselves in a good Christian fashion, but Marissa? Seth? Sandy? Were these not the ideals of Jewry embodied in James' storytelling? His schooling had poisoned his Nature, it seemed.
And Nature is now unkind to you, too, as the savages are upon your camp. It seems these Redskins are of the same bloodline as those Indian females that several of your men had been, well, rather...aggressive with yesterday morning after your morning baths. James had warned your lot about the perils of this sort of sexual and physical recklessness, but the gentlemen had laughed off his concerns as they wantonly had their way with the Red women. And now, it seems, there is, indeed, a price to pay; James, that smug bastard... Oak trees, maize, and immoral sexual congress.
You toss aside your rifle, and the empty, spent shells, and you run. You run, run, run across the fields. You know not where you go, but the West beckons. James' Other Country, his O.C....it's there, a ways across the horizon.
Actually, I've never seen The O.C.; I'm sure it's pretty good.
The O.C. airs Thursdays at 8PM EST on FOX.
Earlier: O.C.-centric entries, embodying the Manifest Destiny inherent in Rupert Murdoch's modern-day empire.
The Celesbian Dating Game
Editor's Note: Since lesbians are way hot (both in the media right now, and, you know, like, in general), low culture asked our special alternative lifestyles correspondent to weigh in. Here now, from our Soho office, Nikki:
The recent coupling of Ellen DeGeneres and Portia de Rossi has given rise to many inches of tabloid gossip. (And for one delirious week, before the door slammed shut, everyone and his two mommies were trying to pair up Marcia Cross with another TV star.)
Everyone likes to hear about women getting it on, but it's also comforting when famous gay people go out with other famous gay people—that's fewer gays to keep track of! So it was with a sigh of relief that straight people everywhere read that two celesbians were newly nestling in the Hollywood Hills, after dumping what's-her-name and what's-her-face. Meanwhile, the Christian Right can point to the degeneracy of the liberal film industry and take heart that soon Scientology will make straight pod people of them all.
(The English, of course, outclass us even in lesbians. Instead of a high-profile stand-up and TV twosome, they have the theater-and-film duo of Fiona Shaw and Saffron Burrows. Cherry Jones has taken note, but none of you care about theater people, so let's move on.)
In light of this, here's a fun game you can play alone or with friends: Come up with your own gay celebrity pairings to make things easier for everyone! Strangely enough, there aren't too many gay famous people, so the permutations are limited. Don't worry if the stars are in committed relationships and even have children together-- at least there won't be messy papers to file! Extra points for matching haircolor. Send in your answers to Liz Smith, or post them in the comments.
Rice's Diplomacy: the Art of Backpedaling
From North Korea Says It Has Nuclear Weapons, the Associated Press, Feb 10, 2005:
"The North Koreans have been told by the president of the United States that the United States has no intention of attacking or invading North Korea," Rice told a news conference in Luxembourg.
From The President's State of the Union Address, January 29, 2002:
North Korea is a regime arming with missiles and weapons of mass destruction, while starving its citizens.
February 8, 2005
You know, we hate to be so skeptical, but after Dan Rather's superscript problems, and Jayson Blair, and that time that some random Sub Pop employee convinced the Times that "swingin' on the flippity flop" was what people in Seattle said instead of "hanging out," wouldn't the alleged authorship of this little bit of stagecraft raise an eyebrow or three?
But perhaps the liberal media types over at the Times are in on the joke? Exhibit A:
What Ever Happened to Baby Paris?
Who Says the French Aren't With Us?
Play On, Playa
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to edit the financial black hole and editorial snooze that is Playboy magazine? With Playboy: The Magazine, a new game for Xbox, you can. After a little practice, you couldn't do much worse than Christie Hefner. For those of you who only play Playboy for the pictures, here are some exciting screencaps from the game:
(Screenshots courtesy Gamespot)
This is how a Republican President sits: surrounded by Money and War
President Bush announces his 2006 U.S. budget, seated comfortably between Treasury Secretary John Snow and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.
RELATED: Pentagon Budget Up; War Cost Is Excluded, the New York Times; Congress Unlikely to Embrace Bush Wish List; Experts Say Cuts in Farm Subsidies, Medicaid and Other Domestic Programs May Be Unrealistic, the Washington Post
And just like that, with one brave budgetary blow, we set forth to destroy this planet and get the fuck out of here
From a rather bluntly-sequenced series of sentences in President Offers Budget Proposal With Broad Cuts, the New York Times, February 8, 2005:
"The Environmental Protection Agency would cut by $500 million its program to help poor communities build wastewater treatment plants and other water projects.
Scenes from a newly democratic Iraq
February 7, 2005
The George W. Bush Book Club (All Hack Edition)
Here's something twice as unfunny as you're likely find on The Times op-ed page or in The New Yorker's 'Shouts & Murmurs' and you can read it for free.
If you ask the White House what President Bush is reading these days, the press office will call back with the official list: "His Excellency: George Washington" by Joseph J. Ellis, "Alexander Hamilton" by Ron Chernow and, not least, the Bible.
What the official list omits is Tom Wolfe's racy new beer- and sex-soaked novel, "I Am Charlotte Simmons." The president, a fan of Mr. Wolfe, has not only read the book but also is enthusiastically recommending it to friends.
Also on George W. Bush's reading list:
February 6, 2005
Things About Which I Am Newly Excited
A Note of Self-Congratulatory Navel Gazing
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Line Item: Printing Costs, 2006 Federal Budget, first edition: $10 Million.
February 5, 2005
Another Campaign Promise Broken
From Wolf's Future in Wyoming, as Predator or Fragile Species, Is in Court's Hands, by Kirk Johnson, The New York Times, Feb. 5, 2005:
CHEYENNE, Wyo., Feb. 4 - Gray wolves have thrived in the West since their reintroduction into Yellowstone National Park 10 years ago last month. No one disputes that. There is also broad agreement among federal wildlife officials, ranchers and conservationists that the time is ripe to remove the protections of the Endangered Species Act under which the wolves made their comeback.
What the fuck? Bush and Cheney promised they'd prevent the wolves from attacking us. They promised!
What's next? Social Security won't hit an iceberg?
February 4, 2005
The low culture Consumer Advisory
Perhaps you've seen the ads for Marlboro Seventy-Twos in Seventeen magazine, while watching MTV, or at your local youth center. And perhaps, like low culture, you've been tempted to find out more about Philip Morris' newest teen sensation and buy a pack. Don't.
A quick phone call to the suicide hotline at Philip Morris revealed that the "Seventy Twos" are merely shorter cigarettes. That's right - no value-added tar, chemicals, toxins or tobacco - it's just less cigarette at the same obscene price. If the tobacco companies can't be trusted to offer their consumers the best value, can they be trusted at all? Probably.
President Bush displays the costs of continuing with his current policies
Wait, wait, wait, my mistake. This particular chart was prepared to demonstrate the dire failings of Social Security, and not the President's reckless federal budget.
Alert graph readers can make note of this by observing that the above chart depicts a spending deficit occurring sometime after 2020, whereas, with the President's budget, we've had a federal deficit since early 2002.
Aim High, Vote low (culture, duh)
It means a super lot to us! (Which is why we're begging!!) And we'll totally remember you when we're famous. And, um, we'll make T-shirts! And we'll do TV talking head shit. Please, anything. Please, baby, please, baby, baby, baby, please!
Go vote today!
(I'm Matt Haber, and I approve this message.)
February 3, 2005
For Ruth, the O.C., florid and pure
You prey upon the culture
You are thus told, nay
And you love Seth Cohen. Desire
And you take a breath (deeply!). And
Are you pretty sexy?
And the theme music begins. This
Means you are the Winter to his
Actually, I've never seen The O.C.; I'm sure it's pretty good.
The O.C. airs Thursdays at 8PM EST on FOX.
Earlier: O.C.-centric entries, which may or may not avoid both iambic pentameter and high-school caliber angst.
State of the Union, 2005: Fun with Word Counts
Arbiters of language and justice are seemingly obsessed with the issue of word count in President Bush's speeches – in particular, his noted recent over-emphasis on the grandiose notions of "freedom" and "liberty".
Well, then, this seems like an easy (if not excessively lazy) manner of proving any sort of ideological point, however disingenuous it may be in spirit...and with that in mind, we hereby are setting out to prove, through careful study of last night's 2005 State of the Union address, that while President Bush does in fact love the idea of spreading American ideals around the world, he nonetheless hates the people who clean his toilets.
Ok, now, you need proof? Take a look at this precise, scientific statistical breakdown of the President's address last night:
FREEDOM: 21 instances.
POOR: 1 instance.
Oh, and there's one other remaining gem buried within this close reading of the President's address:
ASBESTOS: 1 instance.
The White House, incidentally, was heavily redesigned in the 1980s, so it's totally "safe" in this matter. Contractors added this cute little balcony on the South Portico during the Reagan administration, and while uptight White House historians like Doris Kearns Goodwin readily insist this was done under President Truman's watch, we all know how Goodwin has herself been discredited time and again as a liar.
Ergo, asbestos...Reagan...Bush hates poor people.
Keeping It Real
If Fahrenheit 9/11’s and Super Size Me’s box office numbers didn’t prove evidence enough, the recent Sundance Festival should convince you – documentaries are a hot commodity. And amid the non-fiction hullabaloo arrives The Documentary, the sizzling hot hip-hop debut from Dre’s latest discovery, The Game.
Unfortunately, The Game’s depiction of thug life stands up to scrutinous fact-checking no more than your average Stephen Glass color piece or Michael Moore agitprop. Aftermath Records? There is a Fabulist among you. Consider the facts:
Fabrication: On his rap song "Dreams," The Game asserts "They say sleep is the cousin of death..."
Fact: Virgil considers death the "brother to sleep," ("consanguineus Leti Sopor") (VI.18). Cf. Heine’s Death, and his Brother Sleep. Brother and cousin represents a material discrepancy.
Fabrication: On the track "Hate It or Love It," The Game declaims "Kill a nigga on my song but really do it/ That's the true meaning of a 'ghostwriter.'"
Fact: According to Merriam-Webster's Online Dictionary, ghostwriter means "one who writes for and in the name of another" (transitive sense). No proffered definition, contemporary or obsolete, describes "killing niggas."
Fabrication: On his hot joint "Higher," The Game boasts "Like Dre did/ I created a buzz without a single…"
Fact: Per hip-hop resource Rolling Stone, "The Documentary" relies upon the "killer single, 'How We Do,' an A-list Dre tune that's piled with hooks." Rolling Stone is beyond reproach. Obviously.
Fabrication: On "Don’t Need Your Love," The Game goes so far as to brag, "got all the critics watchin [sic] my pivot/ On my block in the Coupe reading [sic] kites from prison…"
Fact: To document this statement’s countless failings in source materials and matters of fact would require more space than is available. However, let it be said that New York Times critic A.O. Scott, among others, has never acknowledged watching The Game’s pivot, publicly at least. Additionally, kites, whether box, sled, delta, or winged box, are rarely, if ever, allowed in prisons.
Fabrication: According to The Game's flow on No More Fun & Games, "Not to down Eminem I fuck black bitches, fuck white bitches, nigga I like bitches/ Them half and half Alicia Keys dyke bitches."
Fact: There is no evidence that Alicia Keys sapphic inclinations represent only half her gender identity. The preponderance of oral history suggests Ms. Keys is entirely a "dyke bitch."
Fabrication: On his track "Special," The Game promises, "I’ll take you to New York City, Atlanta too/ Show you how to fly them birds…"
Fact: Thus far, The Game has not taken me to New York or Atlanta, nor has he shown me how to fly any birds. I am, however, available for promised activities – The Game can contact me here. I also like bitches.
February 2, 2005
Previewing the State of the Union, 2005: The President practices his applause lines (all three of them)
Damn Those Production Deadlines
From the February/March issue of Complex magazine:
Related: Tsunami, a Long-Term View
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