March 30, 2005
In which President Bush furiously solicits even more praise from otherwise unsuspecting fans
March 29, 2005
Beard Hacker: The low culture Guide to Shaving
Lord Byron once called shaving “A daily plague, which in the aggregate, may average on the whole with parturition.” After looking up that last word, it’s obvious that this Byron fellow probably had no idea how to shave. Had he been lucky enough to live in the era of informative how-to websites such as this one, he could’ve learned in eight simple steps.
Following these eight steps, you’ll be a smarter and closer shaved man than Lord Byron could ever have hoped to be.Continue reading...
Some Jokes Just Write Themselves
Meet the Tuminator, by Barry Wigmore, Daily Mail, March 29, 2005.
Curing Obesity through Sterility: California 's Controversial Program Under the Microscope, Pacific Northwest Medical Journal.
Related: Is it April Fool's Day already?
First Impressions Of Beck's Guernica
As some have noted, Beck's latest work, Guernica, is his most mature offering to date. At a time of war, the artist has brought us a wrenching, disturbing work that confronts his fans while pushing his oeuvre into newer, more challenging directions. It's a breakthrough—and a triumph.
Guernica emerges after Beck's much-remarked upon 'Blue Period,' in which his work wallowed in despair. While sadness was the dominant feeling in his recent work, Guernica's prevailing emotion is anger: anger at war, anger at the flaws of his fellow man, anger at the simplistic head-on view of reality. Guernica shows us different sides of man, the various, conflicting dimensions in each of us. All at once. Every character in Guernica is twisting, groping, angling for recognition. As we're reflected in Guernica, people are complex, frightening, and beautiful beasts.
These are just preliminary thoughts. Fans and historians will be marveling over Guernica for generations. And then it will be covered by callow idiots.
Feed Your Face
You know 'em when you see 'em: The idealists, the dreamers, the home schooled children, and self-proclaimed Messiahs holding handmade signs that say "I need a miracle." They love to hug, yet their hungry, vacant eyes look a thousand yards past you.
They are, of course, the Not-Deadheads. And they're coming to a town near you.
The Not-Deadheads may seem freaky, but they're mostly harmless. They're just chasing bliss on the tail of Captain Trips, man. Don't kill their buzz, and they won't harsh your mellow.
Your Privacy Is Important to Us
As Terri Schiavo's parents, please accept this humble donation of $500 in support of your battle to keep your beautiful daughter alive. Our thoughts, prayers, and pocketbooks are with you in your time of need, and may God bless you in your support of the sanctity of Life.
Check here if you would like to opt-out of any mass-mailings and direct marketing plans.
RELATED: List of Schiavo Donors Will Be Sold by Direct-Marketing Firm, the New York Times, March 29, 2005
(Thanks to Jeff.)
March 28, 2005
Lord of the Flies II: Piggy Sacks Jack
Today's New York Times features a story by Richard W. Stevenson that reads like a sequel to Lord of the Flies, if Piggy had been the shadow chief of the hunter tribe. As Stevenson writes in With Bush Safely Re-elected, Rove Turns Intensity to Policy:
Jack Kemp was causing problems for President Bush's drive to overhaul Social Security, and it naturally fell to Karl Rove, Mr. Bush's strategist, enforcer and closet policy expert, to take him on.
This has to be the first time in human history a football star has been tackled by a model U.N. nerd.
Separated At Mirth
Art and Commerce.
The truth about art and commerce is not unlike a certain movie title about cats and dogs: the two don't always get along. In fact, they rarely ever do. And like animal lovers, sometimes you have to choose which you want in your life more: art or commerce. You can't have both, unless you want your house torn apart and your life to become a dizzying mess of complications and compromises.
I was reminded of this fact this weekend while reading The New York Times' 'Arts & Leisure' section, particularly two stories that, while not linked editorially, were nonetheless inverted images of each other. One reflected art (more or less), the other commerce (pretty much intrinsically).Continue reading...
March 27, 2005
In The Army's Defense, It Was a Very Strongly Worded Letter
From Pentagon Will Not Try 17 G.I.'s Implicated in Prisoners' Deaths, by Douglas Jehl, The New York Times, March 26, 2005:
Despite recommendations by Army investigators, commanders have decided not to prosecute 17 American soldiers implicated in the deaths of three prisoners in Iraq and Afghanistan in 2003 and 2004, according to a new accounting released Friday by the Army.
March 26, 2005
Outrage! Jets Sold To Pakistan!
The already heated debate about the proposal for a new West Side stadium for the New York Jets has reached a new level of outrage and absurdity this week with the stunning news that the Jets are to be sold to Pakistan!
Now, I'm sure that the NFL would like to expand into Central Asia, but it seems like a losing proposition to try to impose, top-down, an American-style football regime in an area of the world that has had no experience with it. On the plus side, Gang Green's color scheme matches the Pakistani flag rather nicely, so perhaps there's hope after all.
[Thanks to Lamont Cranston for the tip!]
March 25, 2005
New From the Network That Brought You Suddenly Susan
Now only $9.99 at The NBC Store.
March 24, 2005
Four Moore Films
[Michael] Moore's newest project, Sicko, about the health-care industry, for which he'll be paid about $25 million, will have a more resilient target: "It'll never be the same for the H.M.O.'s again," says Moore.
Hot Hot Heat: Global Warming, Local Warning - A hard-hitting look at how changes in the environment affect the weather. "This one's gonna fix the whole planet—and the hole in Ozone above it," says Moore.
Genocide X - Moore takes on another 'Big One': Genocide in Darfur. "We're gonna speak truth to powerful warlords. We're gonna save lives."
Persons of Interest - More Americans are in debt; Moore, American, is incensed. "We're gonna turn Greenspan green with this one."
Don't Drink the Water - Those clear bottles of spring water may look pure, but what's inside them is anything but: the bottled water industry is all wet. "This film will refresh you—with insight!"
March 23, 2005
Sometimes the World Writes Its Own Satire
Earlier: Dancin' Fool and Radical Shnook
Real Life Workplace: Deep Inside the CIA
Today's 'Real Life Workplace' interview is with Agent Jack Bristow, a thirty-five year veteran of the CIA. What sorts of challenges come from working in a high pressure environment where national security is a daily concern?
What's the CIA like on the inside? Read on and find out.
low culture: Thanks for taking the time to talk to me, Agent Bristow.
low culture: Sure, sure. So, in case you don't know, low culture is a careers website. We offer information for job hunters, employers, and the like. I'm interested in talking to you about your work.
low culture: Right. So, you work for the CIA, right?
low culture: But you previously worked for an organization called SD-6, right?
low culture: Got it. Okay, so, you, um, you work with your daughter, Sydney, right?
low culture: Your daughter is so hot.
low culture: Nothing. So, is it difficult working so closely with a family member?
low culture: Right, but, you had problems with your daughter for a long time, is that correct? Didn't you kill her mom?
low culture: Sorry, sorry. So, is it hard working with your daughter when she has to get dressed up in so many different outfits all the time? Does that weird you out?
low culture: You know, do you ever see your daughter done up like a blond Swedish hooker or a Russian astrophysicist and you, like, get wood?
low culture: Wait, wait. You misunderstand. I apologize: English is my second language. I'm French Canadian.
low culture: No way! Did that make it hard to get high level CIA clearance?
low culture: Oh, right, right. So, your daughter was dating a colleague. Is that strange?
low culture: Have I been asking so many questions about your daughter?
low culture: Oh, she's just so super hot. What's her email address?
low culture: Alright, alright. Is it like yours? I assume it's something like email@example.com. Would that work?
low culture: Can you just tell me one last thing? One last thing for all the job hunters, employers, and the like? Please?
low culture: What does she smell like?
low culture: Your daughter, Sydney. I kind of imagine she smells like soap, but also a little bit of sweaty b.o.
low culture: Clean, sporty girl b.o. like a field hockey player. Not gross b.o. like some sweaty freak.
Related: If you have any information on Jack Bristow's daughter (particularly photos), please email low culture. (Within 24 hours at the latest.)
OK, OK...I admit, you sold me. Now I see the urgency.
You in the corner, with your long hair and nose rings, lobbying against privatization! There's no time to waste. Put your pickets and placards down. Hasten, you. Right this very moment, let us all clasp our hands together: the end is nigh.
One whopping year "nigher", if you will: take note of the Bush Administration's latest round of hysterical claptrap regarding the crisis-laden government program that is Social Security, by way of Trustees Foresee an Earlier Insolvency for Social Security, from the New York Times, March 23, 2005:
Beginning in 2017, not 2018 as previously projected, the revenue from Social Security payroll taxes will be less than the benefits the government will be paying out, Treasury Secretary John W. Snow said, forcing the government to dip into reserves.
Deaf, Dumb and Bald
Totally deaf human-person Marlee Matlin deserves to be given the hand gestures for enthusiastic applause and patronizing congratulation upon the news of her appointment to head a new, conservative imprint for Simon & Schuster. Despite Matlin's complete inability to hear, and her limited ability to speak like a normal person, she has not only won a Special Academy Award but also managed to domesticate notorious pussy-hound James Carville. The two have become ubiquitous for their "opposites attract" romance: Carville is the classic Clinton-era liberal while Matlin is completely, defiantly deaf. They both starred in the cult classic K Street and have become poster children for people who have starred in K Street.
Because of Matlin's handicapability, her as yet unnamed imprint will undoubtedly offer its conservative titles in Braille editions. And that presumptive breakthrough, shattering the conservative publishing industry's notorious deaf-glass-ceiling, deserves enthusiastic, visually demonstrative applause.
March 22, 2005
Sixty-Nine Love Songs (Or, "Pat O'Brien's Awesome Rehab Playlist")
By now you've probably heard Insider host Pat O'Brien's latest release: nearly five and a half minutes of repetitive, profanity-laced nasal sex talk with occasional music. Naughty, nasty stuff. Frankly, I can't believe he kisses George Clooney's ass with that mouth.
You probably also know that this Internet-only single has landed him where countless artists have gone before: rehab.
But what you haven't heard is Pat O'Brien's rehab iTunes playlist, which he put together shortly before his twelve step journey. Here's but a small sample:
- "I Wanna Hold Your Hand (And Eat You, If Betsy Says It's Okay)," The Beatles
- "You Can't Always Get What You Want (Even Though You're So Fucking Hot. I'm So Into You)," The Rolling Stones
- "This Love (Plus Some Coke, and Betsy. Let's Get Crazy Together)," Maroon 5
- "Oh, Pretty Woman (I Want to do Everything With You, Eat Your Ass, Everything)," Roy Orbison
- "Baby I'm-a Want You (To Be Into Betsy. You're So Fucking Hot)," Bread
- "Why Can't We Be Friends (With Betsy, Too. I'm So Into You)?," War
- "Don't Speak (Just Give Me a Smile Next Time I See You, You're So Fucking Hot)," No Doubt
- "Pour Some Sugar On Me (And By 'Sugar,' I Mean Coke. I'm So Fucking Into You)," Def Leppard
- "Eat It (And By 'It,' I Mean Your Ass. You're So Hot)," 'Weird Al' Yankovic
Further proof there is no God
RELATED: Judge Rejects Schiavo Appeal, FOXNews.com, March 22, 2005
March 21, 2005
Sure, Guess Who Will Be The Dumbest, Lowest Common Denominator Piece of Shit Ever Leaked From the Abscessed Bowels Of The Least Talented Hollywood Hack To Crawl Out of Primordial Ooze And Learn to Type In Final Draft With His Webbed Fingers
But, man, its go-cart racing scene kicks the original's ass!
Paging Andy Borowitz
I'm sure you have something hilariously topical to say about this, sir:
Don't let Jay Leno make the awesome jokes about "exploding markets" and/or Control Boiler Room first!
R.I.P. John DeLorean, 1925-2005
1980s carmaker DeLorean dies at 80, CNN.com, March 20, 2005.
The Murderer Has Two Faces
From Bush Signs Bill That May Let Schiavo Live, the Associated Press, March 21, 2005:
President Bush signed the bill almost immediately after its passage early Monday, vowing in a statement to "stand on the side of those defending life for all Americans, including those with disabilities."
From The Texas Clemency Memos, the Atlantic Monthly, July/August 2003:
On the morning of May 6, 1997, Governor George W. Bush signed his name to a confidential three-page memorandum from his legal counsel, Alberto R. Gonzales, and placed a bold black check mark next to a single word: DENY. It was the twenty-ninth time a death-row inmate's plea for clemency had been denied in the twenty-eight months since Bush had been sworn in. In this case Bush's signature led, shortly after 6:00 P.M. on the very same day, to the execution of Terry Washington, a mentally retarded thirty-three-year-old man with the communication skills of a seven-year-old.
RELATED: George W. Bush: The Death Penalty Governor, by Alexander Cockburn, Common Dreams
March 17, 2005
low culture 2.0 (minus 1, minus 1, minus 1, plus 1)
This past week, we've received a lot of emails and been approached by a lot of people concerned about the direction of low culture. We tried to explain why we hired four new writers, pointing out that we were giddy about the success of our shop and the major awards we were then being nominated for. But looking over the new writers' work, it's clear we made a mistake.
After much soul searching and consultation with our backers, we've reluctantly decided to lay some people off. As of today, Otto Preminger, Miranda Gonnerman, and Carter Blanche will no longer write for low culture. (They are now available for other work, if anyone remains interested in their endeavors.)
On the positive side, however, Stevie Boots has been promoted to editorial director of the site.
March 16, 2005
'Advise and Consent': I can do these things all day long
Newsflash from the blogosphere! No, not another update on my stance regarding Paul Wolfowitz's nomination to head the World's (most powerful) Bank...Rather, consider this an update on the updates! It may come as no revelation to you, the loyal readers of this column, but it has come to my attention that this sophisticated web technology allows me to publicly pontificate multiple times daily, which is a major improvement over my last column-writing gig, whereby I was limited to weekly musings on Chechnya or socialized medicine or bankruptcy bills.
And as part of this exciting era of the 24-hour news cycle in which we live, it remains vital to understand that news happens constantly, consistently, and continually. As such, it stands to reason that we need quality, real-time analysis of the world's goings-on, right?
With that in mind, then, I continue to point you, the readers, to the smorgasbord of thought and opinion that exists out there on the world wide web. Since having posted my initial musings on Wolfowitz's anticipated ascendancy to the position of Chief Global Bankman, it has come to my attention that other pundits and news-analysts have also posted their thoughts on this matter. I particularly refer you to one Daily Kos, who, though prone to a bit of foul language here and there, seems to have a remarkable grasp of the dynamics of news analysis.
Furthermore, there is a website entitled Instapundit that is also covering this rapidly-breaking news story. Check it out! Our opinions, like a collective dab of potter's clay, await these opportunities to be shaped and re-formed!
'Advise and Consent': Banking on the World's Trust
Greetings, fellow moneymen! Today is a significant day on the global monetary front...with President Bush's announcement that he was putting forth Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz's name as his choice to head the World Bank. By "putting forth his name", I mean to say, President Bush is pushing for this Wolfowitz fellow to preside over the banking conglomerate, and not merely his "name". That device is a staple of quality writing, rest assured.
I trust the president's judgment on this matter, and, more significantly, I approve of his choice. I myself once had the privilege of meeting Paul Wolfowitz eighteen months ago, after he presented a lecture at Harvard University's JFK School of Government on the Bush Administration's decision to invade Iraq and topple that monstrous Saddam Hussein figure. There were a number of liberals in the audience that insisted on asking him many pointed questions regarding ill-advised intelligence briefings and bad military judgments, but he deftly brushed aside their trivial concerns with his proclamations that "Evil is as evil does, and Saddam Hussein was and is an evil man." That shut them up, I'll tell you. In Latin, I would say, this is a case of ad reducto absurdum, or, better yet, corpus christi.
But I digress. After his lecture, I made my way to the nearby Dunkin' Donuts on Eliot Street to sample one of their refreshing Caramel Swirl Lattes, a splendid coffee drink the likes of which I haven't seen outside of Cambridge. As I stood before the counter, clutching this caffeinated treasure in my hands, the clerk began to dole out my change and looked up behind me. I turned, and there he was. Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz himself. The architect of the war with Iraq, and Richard Perle's chief partner in Middle Eastern crimesolving. I smiled at him as he made his way to the counter, and, after tugging delicately at the tie around my neck, I noticed I had inadvertently coated my cravat in the gentle white foam of the Latte in my hands.
Rather sheepishly, I addressed him: "Great speech tonight, Mr. Wolfowitz. Really, truly excellent. Remarkable." He, in turn, smiled back at me, and motioned towards the clerk behind the counter. "Don't forget your change, sir," he then said to me, for, in the midst of my excitement at being in the presence of such a mastermind of war and Western imperialism, I had neglected to gather the various coins that the Dunkin' Donuts clerk had been holding out for me to collect.
What an attention to fiscal detail this Wolfowitz fellow had that night! It is for this reason, largely, that I am confident that he will be able to responsibly manage and monitor the world's most significant moneylender and debt creditor. Kudos to you, fine sir, and those that had the courage to nominate you!
Although I thought the previous Lilytones split 7" with Shindig! sounded decidedly sub-par, I took the dare, did the deed, and bought the Lilytone's newest EP, Blowin' Fuses. I should have known better.
All the post-coital sensuality of Lilytone's debut, The Dreyfuss Affair, is gone. Even worse, the gimlet-eyed lyrical sensibility that earned singer Pete Crease comparisons to Davies and Albarn has been undone by Crease's insistence on singing in an incoherent, vocoder-ed falsetto.
Consider the track "Fish Are Flying": over Blather's soaring guitar and Rott's pounding zither, producer Russ Argent (late of twee supergroup The I Reckon's) insists on gilding the lily with an upside-down theremin and a full woodwind section. And when Crease's squeaking falsetto finally makes its appearance, the song simply equals more than the sum of its parts.
Even guest-vocals from Regina Spektor on "Pincushion," Crease's lighthearted sing-along about heroin addiction, can't hide the fact that the Lilytones are just painting by numbers.
It pains me to say it, but this could spell the end of the Lilytones - for this reviewer, at least. Let's hope their forthcoming LP, Disemployment Officer, finds the band in back-to-basics mode.
Let's Talk About Sex!
Hey party people - Miranda here, ready to answer all those embarrassing questions you might have about you know what. You know, it. So without further ado, let's get down to it...
So don't worry! You're not the only one who thinks Abraham and God had the right idea with that whole covenant thing - foreskins also creep me out. I have to admit balls kind of creep me out too. I still don't have an effective technique to get around my testicular trepidation, so I asked an expert, Dr. Nancy Ambergris, author of Getting the Shaft: A Modern Girl's Guide to Fellatio.
"Miranda," Dr. Ambergris explained to me, Miranda, "that's an age-old problem. And aside from holding your breath, closing your eyes and thinking of something else (like the Hamptons), there's not much option. Of course, depending on Skeeved's commitment level with her boyfriend, she could always start dating someone else."
So there it is, kids, advice from the experts. Keep your questions coming!
March 14, 2005
We Gotta Thank Our Parents, First and Foremost
On behalf of the entire low culture team, I wanna thank everyone who voted for us!
This is so awesome, I don't know what to say. I wish I'd prepared something. Basicially, we're just a bunch of goofy guys doing our own thing: it makes us really proud that people are enjoying it so much. We gotta share this award with all of you!
We never thought we'd win an award, but just because it's not your dream doesn't mean it can't come true.
Next year: World's Greatest Lover!
Earlier: Aim High, Vote low (culture, Duh)
Young Love, Republican Style
Hmmmm...my American education taught me that girls can get pregnant from heavy petting, even when you're as furious about it as this guy is.
'Advise and Consent': Social Security: Can we really afford this safety net?
Greetings, all, and welcome to my new column for low culture. Since we've already been introduced, I'll just jump right into the fray: we're going to tackle the hot-button issues, here and now!
First and foremost on the lips of pundits on Capitol Hill is the matter of social security: White House aides will have you believe that it's in crisis, and needs to be reformed urgently, while Democratic leaders from across the aisle, such as former vice-presidential candidate Joe Lieberman, are more temperate about this issue. So, tongues are wagging: what to do about this problem?
In my lecturing days, I used to examine the fallibility of this elaborate system of social-insurance in terms of the following analogy: If your house is on fire, you better get out! The students in my courses, after I would spring this on them with great aplomb, would often look quizzically at one another. The confusion and dismay on their university-trained faces was priceless. And then, of course, an outspoken student would inevitably question my analogy: "Professor Preminger, why would you assume going into the argument that the system is inherently flawed? Is there not room for debate on the solvency of the New Deal's greatest social legacy?"
While I was technically a guest-lecturer and not a full-fledged professor, I wouldn't take issue with the phrasing of their questions, and would instead drop the following pearl of wisdom: Social Security, I'd say while putting down my chalk and tugging delicately at my tie (an act which would often leave white marks across my chest), functions as a system of economic redistribution, whereby payments are guaranteed to those who contribute during the course of their lifetime. And what had we learned from the (then-recent) collapse of Polish and Romanian communism, other than that systems of economic redistribution must ultimately result in a subsequent economic collapse that in turn leads to said nation exporting its teenaged daughters abroad to appear in Western pornographic films? Is this the sort of legacy of social security with which we want to be burdened as Americans?
When making this last point, I would always be sure to peer directly at the various co-eds scattered throughout the lecture hall. I wanted them to understand that their livelihoods as future lawyers, doctors, and housewives were in danger if we didn't open our minds to the prospect of, say, privatizing our support network for the nation's elderly. (Also, I should add as an afterthought, women are perfectly capable of being lab technicians, programmers, and construction foremen, just to be clear. I don't want the low culture ombudsman to be over-inundated with anxious remarks from yippity feminists.)
So, returning to the point at hand, social security: is this a net that can afford to catch each and everyone of us, or has this system of public subsidies left the roping on this allegorical net dispersed so widely apart that we will all fall through the cracks someday in the not-too-distant future? And what is under this net, but the vast expanse of the Sea of Lonely Death?
That, my friends, lovers, and countrymen, is a pool in which I don't want to go swimming.
'The Boots Report': Jake in Progress: ABC's Midseason 'Hip' Replacement
To paraphrase the name of a classic TV sitcom, ABC Can't Lose!
Following the commercial and critical success of Desperate Housewives, Lost, and Blind Justice, last night ABC introduced Jake in Progress, the best midseason replacement show I've seen in years. Maybe ever!
Jake in Progress stars John Stamos as "Jake Phillips," a likable, fast-talking New York publicist. The twist is, Jake is a heterosexual and he loves women—a lot. He's sort of a male version of "Carrie Bradshaw" from Sex & the City: he's a bit glib, a bit flighty, but he has a heart of gold. He also dresses well. (There's another piece to be written about the new trend of TV show's about publicists, but that's for another time.)
You might remember Stamos from his other ABC hits, Thieves and Full House: he's so at ease on TV, there's no doubt why he's a star. But Jake in Progress is also marked by an amazing supporting cast, all of whom have long, illustrious TV careers.
Playing "Jake's boss" is Wendie Malick, who was amazing in Just Shoot Me (and, for fans of obscure TV history, she was also on Dream On with Brian Benben—where's that guy been?). Ian Gomez, whom you might recall as "Javier" from Felicity is Jake's best friend, "Adrian." (Little bit of trivia: Gomez is married to My Big Fat Greek Wedding phenom Nia Vardalos. Wonder if he uses Windex as aftershave?) Rounding out the cast is Rick Hoffman, whom I loved in The $treet, which was also like a male version of Sex & The City and not just because it was exec. produced by Darren Star. Oh, and I forgot Mädchen Amick from ER and Twin Peaks.
But enough about the awesome cast: Jake in Progress is also extremely well-written. This is a show so hip, the writers were able to sneak in tons of cool references for people who "get" them: David Blaine, Lipsynka, Jerry Maguire, Seabiscuit. You've gotta be smart to keep up. This is definitely not CBS's Yes, Dear. (Although, that show is pretty great, too.) The dialogue is snappy, like one of those old screwball comedies. And the camera work is frenetic but not overwhelming.
Most of all, this show is for adults—and not in an HBO way. (Don't get me wrong: I looooove HBO: The Sopranos is the best, followed by Six Feet Under, then Deadwood, then Carnivale then Unscripted: love it all!) I mean, it's a show about what it's like to be a grownup in contemporary New York. It's not a show where 35 year-olds have roommates and ducks like on Friends (though I love Friends and still watch it in syndication) and it's definitely, definitely not a show about "nothing" like Seinfeld. (Which I got on DVD for Christmas this year—thanks, Randy!).
I can't wait to see how this show develops over the course of the season. Jake is already making great "progress."
(3 out of 4 "Boots")
And now, like the host of my favorite guilty pleasure show, I can say: Stevie Boots—out!
Related: Other shows with "Jake" in the title: Jake and the Fatman; Jake 2.0; Body by Jake.
low culture 2.0: See How Low We Can Go!
Hey, everybody. I don't usually write for the site that often, preferring instead to stay behind the scenes working on business stuff, but I'm stepping out from behind the curtain to announce some super exciting changes here at low culture.
Since we did so well with our line of T-shirts, mugs, and undergarments, we have enough money to hire some new writers. We're super-psyched to have these new voices on the site and we're sure they're going to revitalize low culture for the better.
First up is Stevie Boots, our new low culture TV critic. Stevie's written for People, The Chronicle of Higher Education and Res. (Don't bother googling his name: his stuff was all un-bylined.)
Also on the culture front is Carter Blanche, our new music critic. He co-edited the semi-legendary MP3 blog Sound, Dur, which was nominated for a 2005 Bloggie and was mentioned in Time Out NY. He listens to everything from hip hop to crunk and we're proud that he'll be bringing his expertise to low culture.
On the 'Grave' side of the spectrum is our new politics and books writer, Otto Preminger. Otto was an assistant editor for The Public Interest and has contributed to Post-Neo-Natal: The Under-30 Political Generation Comes of Age, the highly regarded anthology of political writings. Otto's also an excellent cook and runs a sort of political cultural salon out of his Brooklyn Heights apartment that has attracted staff members from The New Yorker and The New York Times.
Last, but definitely not least, is our hot new sex columnist, Miranda Gonnerman. Miranda wrote 'Miranda's Right,' Kenyon College's sex column where she covered everything from bisexuality to lesbianism to threesomes! (Her column was so hot it's not even available online! Sizzzzzle!) You can send your sex queries to Miranda and she'll offer you expert advice.
So, that's us. Consider this a soft launch for low culture 2.0. We've got a lot of awesomely excellent ideas we're bouncing around with some powerful, creative people in the industry. Stick around and see!
Everyone Says "Yah Crazy!" (Or, Welcome to the Annie Hall of Mirrors)
March 11, 2005
Meet Sen. Jim Talent, American Idiot
In the wake of yesterday's disavowal of any sort of Defense Department responsibility for anything and everything relating to that ol' Abu Ghraib fiasco from way back when, we encourage our readers in Missouri to become more intimately acquainted with their very own Senator Jim Talent (R). Look closely, folks...let the idiocy soak in. Bask in the impressive display of anti-logic. Get sodamnedclose that you're tempted to hit the guy in the face with a bunch of rolled-up newspapers dating back to last year, hoping he'll maybe take that opportunity to finally see what exactly introduced the term "Abu Ghraib" into the public lexicon:
"I don't need an investigation to tell me that there was no comprehensive or systematic use of inhumane tactics by the American military, because those guys and gals just wouldn't do it," said Senator Jim Talent, a Republican from Missouri. "Everything about the culture and the training in the military and at home works against that. That's why the terrorists are attacking us -- because we're not the kind of society that would do that."
This has nothing to do with anything, but Sen. Jim Talent is up for re-election next year, Fall 2006.
March 10, 2005
The low culture Vulture
Recently seen on the scene… Penelope Cruz in a photograph from an extravagant Oscar gala, partying with the likes of Salma Hayek and Julia Roberts… Ashton Kutcher on the side of a bus, advertising his new film Guess Who… Lauren Graham on ABC Family's 11 am showing of Gilmore Girls… Lizzie Grubman in the post just below this one…
Send your seen on the scenes to low culture!
Brief Thoughts on PoweR Girls
To her credit, neither Lizzie's nature nor her nurture is all that – her father (who represents Barry Manilow) has a portrait of his wife's nether region hanging over the bed – seriously. And she is the one who discovered hip-hop.
This job'll require a hammer, some nails, and a good case of the O.C.
I've got a second-floor office in Irvine. It's only a few years after the war with the Japs, and there ain't a P.I. left in Irvine that's better than me, but that don't mean business is steady down here. I've got too much time on my hands, kid, and too much whiskey in my desk drawers.
Then this dame walks in. Says she's stopped in from Riverside, but I can tell right away the broad's from Newport Beach. She's got shoreline written all over her. Beachfront property, I'd say. The kind of class babes just don't have in the inland empire. Classy, this babe.
She's got her hair up and her sunglasses on, and I can see she's hiding something. Tears. Maybe she's lost someone or something, or maybe her man's the abusive type...that's for me to find out, is all I know. I'll hear it soon enough.
She starts in with her story, about how her husband's in the real estate game, and her father's a bigtime mover and shaker, a real player. But this dame knows too much about her husband's business, I can tell. Taxes, liens, eminent domain...knows a bit too much about real estate in general. It's clear she's the brains in the enterprise. The father's just the moneyman, and the husband...the husband? What's his role? And why's she crying like this?
I hand the babe a tissue. She dabs her eyes, starts in on her ex-husband. Says he’s on a boat. Something about someone’s sister. She’s bawling again, I can’t understand what she’s saying. She wants my help, she says. Needs to find her ex-husband, but she doesn’t know where he is. Her daughter won’t speak to her, she’s crying, unless she can get this ex-husband to come back to town.
Retrieving a lost love? No big deal, I can handle that. No, she says – he’s no lost love. She’s fine with her husband and his money. This is about her daughter. The broad is taking deep breaths now, trying to tell me about her daughter. The kid sounds like a real rebel. Hellcat with a flask. Bringing punk girls home just to shock mom. I try to be sympathetic, but this sounds like a job for a shrink.
Now she’s getting defensive. I’m the one to help her, she says, not some mental magician. The back story doesn’t matter, does it? She wants to bring back her ex, this Jimmy character, so that crazy daughter of hers will straighten up her act and she can go back to watching her husband’s money. She's glaring at me, now, but she opens up her pocketbook and takes out this wedding photo from years gone by. Coolidge administration, I'd say. That'd make the daughter older than I thought, and this dame...let's just say looks can be deceiving, but age never lies.
And there's a problem. This Jimmy guy...I recognize him. Of course. The dame's trying to read my face, so I whip out my P.I. cards and play poker with her. The boat, the money...I should have put two and two together when the broad came in through the door. Then again, that's why I'm working out of Irvine and not up there in Hollywood with all the other, better, private dicks.
Jimmy, Jimmy, Jimmy. I took him out last weekend under a pier in Long Beach. He'd gotten rough when I confronted him on some outdated loans my client had needed collected, and I'd had no choice but to gun him down. It hadn't been easy, either, and I'm not normally that cold-blooded – I mean, I work in Irvine. But I'd had no choice. And I sure as hell hadn't known he was a family man.
I shake my head. This daughter, there ain't no helping her now.
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, wherein Raymond Chandler ravages Mickey Spillane in a shed out back. Intense.
Staying on message, and keeping it consistent
How President Bush spent his Wednesday:
How Sens. Barbara Boxer and Charles Schumer spent their Wednesday:
Finally, the news business is getting serious (or, "In Loving Memory of Dan Rather")
Now that everyone's favorite pseudo-liberal Texan is off the air, it's reassuring to know that the remaining network newsmen are still sticking to the really important issues in their relentless pursuit of the Truth.
(Thanks to Jeff. Sorry about rendering you "shallow".)
March 9, 2005
Somebody Up There Likes Dean
But does anybody down here?
NB: That's a rhetorical question. Please use comments to debate the following: Dogs are better than cats.
Come on, Michael.
Michelle Malkin ditched that look weeks ago.
Am I Excited About This Film? Can't Say.
From Done Deal:
March 8, 2005
Daddy's Little Churl
March 7, 2005
Milk, it does a body politic good. (via Reuters)
March 6, 2005
Canadians: Always The Funniest Guys in the Room
March 5, 2005
lc Regrets: A Look Back Our Occasional Lapses in Judgment
Last week, low culture presented "Be Excellent to Each Other: A One Act Play," in which fictional versions of the actors Keanu Reeves and Alex Winter discussed their lives and careers.
At the time of that writing, we had no idea that Missy Schwartz, a writer for Entertainment Weekly, one of the nation's most respected and highly regarded weekly entertainment magazines that focuses on entertainment and comes out on a weekly basis, was working on a "Deal Report" column about Alex Winter (with additional reporting by Geoff Keighley, Michelle Kung, and Adam B. Vary):
Remember Alex Winter? He was Bill to Keanu Reeves' Ted. Now he's set to write Napster: The Shawn Fanning Bio Project for Paramount/MTV Films. Winter penned a version of the script as a TV movie in '03, but the story of the college dropout who developed music-file-sharing was so rich that Paramount decided to make it a feature. It's about "a punk kid with a lightning-bolt moment," says Winter, "who takes that dream into the shark-infested deep end of the big-business world and then has the whole thing blow up in his face." Winter also plans to direct Acts of Charity, an indie political satire with Alan Rickman, this year. Excellent! (Entertainment Weekly, March 11, 2005.)Had we known that Entertainment Weekly was working on this story, we would've instead focused on Curtis Armstrong, one of America's greatest character actors who is back from his post-Revenge of the Nerds exile with roles in Dodgeball, Ray, and Man of the House. (The latter of which is out now.)
We would've written a gag intro hailing a familiar but semi-unknown actor who's worked with "greats" like Tom Cruise, John Cusack, and Bruce Willis then thrown in Steve Guttenberg to be funny, before launching into a short, pithy piece that argued, far from being a relic of the 80's (we'd mention Bronson Pinchot here), Armstrong's been working more or less steadily since the days of Duran Duran (a slightly decontextualized reference that would nonetheless ground the piece in a certain time period). We would've concluded by suggesting that one day (god willing), Armstrong might be the first Oscar winner to ever have a character named Booger on his resume.
low culture regrets the error.
Related: Paramount/MTV Taking a Napster
March 4, 2005
Unintentionally Hilarious Photo of the Moment, Vol. 50
RELATED: Bush Denies That Private Accounts Are in Serious Trouble, March 3, 2005, the New York Times
March 3, 2005
An O.C. exercise: The Five Obstructions (Well, three, at least)
Being a choreographer isn't all that bad, really. It's being a male choreographer that gets somewhat awkward, at times. I mean, I like to dance, you know? And more significantly, I like to envision grand schemes in which others convey the motion of the human form, the ways in which our bodies can take flight while syncing to a hot, hot beat, or a sweepingly majestic orchestral hook...I'm versatile.
No, that doesn't mean I'm gay. I get that a lot. Most men in this field are, of course, homosexual. To such an extent, really, that I felt at some point I'd need to hide my attractions for the female gender, just to get ahead. A man's got to do what a man's got to do, right? And sometimes a man's got to do a man. (I'd use that line a lot more than I do, but, you know, I try to keep this heterosexuality thing quiet.) That was my younger-incarnation line of thinking, at least...Until I began to watch The O.C. every Thursday.
I think it was watching Marissa and Alex share that first lesbian kiss on the beach a few weeks back that really got to me. I mean, yeah, the raging heterosexual in me started getting all lascivious, like, "Hey, you fucking prudish censors, don't pull away now," but the part of me that hooks up with guys like Mark Morris in order to get continued work just flat-out cringed. Like, I was disgusted with myself. Was I pulling a Mischa Barton, and making out with the wrong gender just to advance my goddamned career? I'm so above and beyond that.
When I work with my dancers, I try to instill a sense of pride in the art form in the way in which they approach their evening's endeavors. I try to get them to think about the rich history and tradition of dancing as a mode of expression, to get them to open their eyes to the ways that a graceful, limber body can convey a range of emotions heretofore untapped by the limitations of language. And I think they listen, and understand it, which makes me feel good about my role in propagating this grand pageantry of dance.
In that vein, that commitment to the craft, some of my dancers, though, are hard to get through to...like on this Faith Evans video I worked on yesterday, for instance. The motif? It was a high-school cheerleader-themed video shoot (I think the director was ripping off "Smells Like Teen Spirit," just between you and me) and there was this one girl who kept complaining about her toes hurting. As you can imagine, this happens a lot with dancers. And while lesser choreographers may readily insist that gout is the classic big-red-toe disease – and I'm not naming any names, there – I myself am prone to thinking sometimes a girl just stubbed her toe. Simple as that.
Necole, that's her name, is this totally sweet, pretty young babe. Sophisticated and not at all naive. Given her character, I insisted that she handle the distribution of props to the other dancers. Wait, let me explain. So as part of the routine I had drafted, various dancers congregate on the simulated playing field and toss lightsticks and batons to and fro. It may sound asinine, but, I swear, it really works well with the source material. Faith Evans, right?
This other dancer, a guy named Bradford, whom I had put in charge of managing a difficult baton-twirl/hip-flipping manuever, starts freaking out about how heavy and weighty the baton prop is. And, I swear, he was right. The prop department had whipped up some gargantuan lead-based relic. But we were on deadline, so I insisted Bradford work with what we had on-set. And the motherfucker challenged me! Said, "OK, give it a try, and see how difficult it is!" I'd show him.
So I stand up straight. Curl my toes. Bring my elbow perpendicular to my ribcage, and...a problem. I was dismayed to find that I could no longer control the mighty baton between my legs. It was just too heavy, too dominating, too physical...and Necole, Necole was looking at me. And it hit me, just like that, like that moment on the beach between Marissa and Alex, but from a different angle: I'd had enough of the gay-choreographer charade that was my life. I wanted to fuck Necole. Right then and there. I could see she had it in her, as well. Though I'm no semiotic genius, and am just a fabulously gifted choreographer, I could tell it was the whole baton thing that was getting her attention. This girl, this dancer, wanted to get avant-garde, you know? And engage in some very public, though very intimate, frolicking with the dancemaster. I motioned Bradford over...I had fucked him the week prior, I mean, despite my suspicion that he, too, was straight (It's a sick fucking business, yeah?), so I knew he had no problem with sex, or physicality, or anything of that nature. I clutched Necole's shoulders, and explained to Bradford that he needed to get the photographer's light-deflecting umbrella, and hold it to the side, so as to shield the intense round of fucking that was about to ensue from the rest of the crew. Gaffers can't handle impromptu sex, you know?
Bradford just smiled, and said cryptically, "Farnsworth Bentley is the original personal umbrella holder, that lucky bastard." And I knew then, I had to put on the show of all shows, even for this audience of one. Biggie would've wanted it that way.
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, serving as exercises in hating the player, and not the game.
March 2, 2005
Together Again: America's Favorite Vaudeville Team
"After you, my dear Alphonse!"
"You first, my dear Gaston!"
Update: How on earth did I miss this?
Hand Over Fist: Day One of low culture's Lucrative Foray Into E-commerce
How's the low culture shop doing? Amazingly, thank you very much! Soon enough we'll be able to afford a wheelbarrow for the piles of cash we're making.
Here's our latest sales report. Read it and weep, bitches!
I know we did.
March 1, 2005
low culture: now in convenient t-shirt form
Ever since we took that Learning Annex course on maximizing your brand through cross-promotional marketing (taught by Fonzworth Bentley of P. Diddy's umbrella-handling fame), we've been trying to figure out a surefire way to extend the mighty brand that is low culture.
At first, we considered branching out into television, but honestly, any moron can get a show on TV nowadays. Next, we thought about a line of children's multi-vitamins, but the damn Flintstones have that market locked. Also, our bodies aren't available in easily-swallowed shapes.
Buy our crap, please: Fonzworth will be so proud.
Make our "team" part of your "team"