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“I’m Wes Clark, and I approve of this message.”

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You’ve been good lately, so you deserve a treat. Watch this ad and have yourself a nice chuckle. (It’s an embedded QuickTime file.)
Ahh, pandering.
Sidebar: The Onion was dead-on yet again with their headline from about two months ago, Outkast Accepted By All (not online).

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Shallow

“Do I look fat in this, mom?”

truffleshuffle1.jpgWhy does Ronald McDonald hate your kid so much?
First, he made your kid fat with his super-size fries, now he wants you to dress him or her up in embarrassing McDonald’s-branded clothing.
According to The Post, “The clothing line will consist of cotton tops and casual pants, not T-shirts emblazoned with the Golden Arches, Howard said. In fact, some of the clothes will only carry the McKids logo on the inside label.”
Maybe they should just print targets all over it, because any kid caught wearing that crap will surely be pummeled by lunchtime. They might also succeed with WIDE LOAD printed on the back.
Related: McSpotlight.org
Fast food horror stories
Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All-American Meal by Eric Schlosser
“Stalking Chunk” by Norah Pierson

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Shallow

Who writes your material?

For as long as celebrity place-holder Carson Daly has been in the public eye, people have been comparing him to Dick Clark. It’s practically an article of faith that Daly is the new Clark, so I was surprised to read Mr. Clark taking the words out of Daly’s mouth in his interview with The Onion A.V. Club this week. Here’s the quote the editors of the A.V. Club saw fit to pull for its cover:
As a storekeeper, you’ve got to learn what you’re going to put on the shelves. That’s always been my role, even when I was in my 20s. I was a storekeeper. It didn’t reflect my personal tastes or my personal preferences. You just look at the audience, listen to what they want, and put it up there and see if they come in and buy it.
This is nearly identical to something Daly’s been saying (and saying, and saying) for years:
“In my other ventures, I’m more like a bartender serving up what people request…” (E! Online)
“If I’m a bartender and somebody orders a lame drink, I’m not going to sit there and knock ’em for it. I’m just serving it.” (Las Vegas Weekly)
“It’s like I’m a bartender. Someone wants a Zima, and I might think it’s kind of an iffy drink, but — you know what? — I’m gonna give it to him in a cold glass and hope he gives me a nice tip.” (quoted on MetaFilter)
“I’m just the bartender. If you want a cosmopolitan, even if I think it’s a pussy drink, I’m not gonna say, “No, have a shot of Jack and a Budweiser.” I’m gonna serve a cosmopolitan, take my money, and serve the next guy” (FHM via this site)

Shopkeeper/bartender. What’s the difference? I guess ‘bartender’ is more edgy, like naming your dog Stoli.

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Grave

Master and Commander: The Far Right Side of the World

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Time Magazine may have seen fit to put the be-wigged visage of Hollywood’s surliest bastard on its cover last week, but it’s this week’s Newsweek that shows us the real life Master and Commander: Vice President Dick Cheney.
The story, by Mark Hosenball, Michael Isikoff, and Evan Thomas is so scary, I half wonder why Newsweek editor Mark Whitaker didn’t run it on Halloween. Tales of Cheney’s monomania on Iraq, his “free floating power base,” his near-clinical paranoia, his incredible influence on the President and the direction of foreign policy, the fact that he’s “far to the right politically,” and the most frightening reference to Thomas Hobbes you will see all year add up to the thesis posited by Hosenball, Isikoff, and Thomas: Cheney is a “vice president who may be too powerful for his own good.”
What they don’t say—but what hangs over the piece—is the addition: He may be too powerful for our own good, too.
If you don’t have time to read the Newsweek piece—c’mon, you can print it out and read it on your ride home—at least read Maureen Dowd’s summary from today’s Times. You owe it yourself and to your country.

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Shallow

Even more on cupcakes

cptn_cupcake_small.gifFirst Gothamist told us that New York is a Cupcake Town. Then The Curiosity Guild introduced its cute (but totally inedible) crocheted cupcakes to the world.
Now, bringing up the rear (so to speak), is Rolling Stone with Jessica Simpson on its cover wearing cupcake panties.
Is this some kind of Hostess conspiracy or what? Is Captain Cupcake (left) the legendary Badgeman (AKA, “the Prince of the Puff of Smoke”) spotted near Dealey Plaza? (Personally, I think Sara Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone.)
Sidebar: For all you fans of glossy expertly-manufactured photos of glossy expertly-manufactured pop stars (that means you, Grambo), RS helpfully provides 88 (!) photos of Jessica Simpson, only one of which also features of Swiffer.

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Shallow

New York‘s Amazing Feet

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It seems that New York Magazine has taken Gawker‘s scientifically-precise criticism of its covers to heart, and decided to create a concept cover this week that harkens back to its Felker/New Journalism era. By using the image of an enormous woman towering over a man, it simultaneously evokes dread, feminist backlash, recession anxiety, and kinky fetishism: a deft combination of rapid-succession signifiers that would’ve done Esquire‘s George Lois proud.
You gotta hand it to New York, it’s not bad. Sadly, it’s been done before. In 1995.
Submitted for your approval is the cover of The Nose, issue 26. For those who missed its brief—but great—run, The Nose was a satirical news and entertainment magazine out of San Francisco. It was sort of like a West Coast version of SPY Magazine, or The Onion, were it more obsessed with conspiracies, porn, cable access shows, and comedians. There’s really almost no legacy of The Nose on the Web, but you can check out founding editor Jack Boulware’s book, Sex, American Style: An Illustrated Romp Through the Golden Age of Heterosexuality. Oh, and in case you’re wondering: smushed under the pump of that amazon woman is the comedian Patton Oswalt, who also wrote the accompanying article about the “giant woman” fetish.
I’ll leave it to other, more skilled writers to critique the actual article accompanying the New York cover.

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Grave

Welfare Reform (not circa 1996)

Wow, those writers and editors at the New York Times really have a flair for irony, huh?
How else to explain today’s solemn and daring exposé on the manner in which various companies have abused and manipulated public funds to obtain subsidies for various corporate endeavors, largely under the pretext of either retaining or luring jobs to the relevant locality? The Times’ article features an illustrative anecdote about United Airlines’ usage of subsidies from the state of Indiana to construct a $320 million aircraft maintenance center that has since been abandoned by the airline. Of course, the promise of jobs at this defunct plant has long been abandoned, too.
So, the Times’ thesis is pretty clear: Corporate Welfare is Bad. Why, they’ve been on this issue for years and years, and have even got Op-Ed pieces from way back in 2002 asserting this very same point! Not just any Op-Ed, mind you, but one written by He Who Spoiled Florida for All of Us in 2000.
For what it’s worth, if you search the Times’ archive for relevant terms, like, say, “corporate welfare” and “New York Times,” you most certainly will not find articles like this one in the June 17th, 2002 edition of the Village Voice documenting the Times’ own political manipulation and abuse of public subsidies to construct a new office complex for the paper in the heart of the city.
As a consumer of New York media, however, I’m so very glad the city and state of New York was able to pony up the resources to allow us to keep the New York Times here in, well, New York. Because the absurd prospect of the New York Times’ relocating to New Jersey or Pennsylvania wasn’t absurd enough, I guess.
And United Airlines sure makes a better villain.

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You’re a lucky mother, Tucker

tuckercarlson.jpgWill the bias and the slander of the liberal media ever end? Sadly, not in our lifetime, as the new Mel Gibson movie and TV series prove.
And now this: today brings news that bow tie-loving conservative commentator Tucker Carlson has been given a new show by PBS scheduled to air sometime in June 2004. According to reports (translation: press releases spun into articles), the still-untitled show will be “a lively discussion of the week’s news stories from a wide range of perspectives.” So, I’m guessing it’s a lot like The Man Show meets This Week… with bow ties. I don’t know about you, but I’m setting my TiVo now!
Anyone have any suggestions for titles? I was thinking Nip/Tucker or maybe Tucker MC’s Call Me ‘Sire’ but both sort of suck. Little help? Anyone…

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Grave

Why it’s time to consider moving to San Francisco

Despite over-hyped phenomena such as “rocking the vote” and last year’s 33-year-old Newark, New Jersey mayoral candidate Cory Booker, it’s most certainly not an exciting time to be young and in love with politics.
Unless you live in the Bay Area, where San Francisco’s mayoral race has been winnowed down to two candidates, Gavin Newsom, 36, and Matt Gonzalez, 38. From the Los Angeles Times:
“Newsom, a liberal Democrat by the standards of most other cities, has been cast by opponents here as a socialite “Republocrat.” He is allied with billionaire Gordon Getty and lives in a multimillion-dollar mansion in Pacific Heights, one of the city’s most expensive neighborhoods, with his wife, a prosecutor and CNN commentator who is a former lingerie model.
By contrast, Gonzalez, an arts aficionado and poetry buff, doesn’t own a car and rents an apartment in the considerably less fashionable Western Addition neighborhood. Newsom’s supporters portray Gonzalez as an ultra-left “cafe brat” whose support won’t extend beyond the city’s young hipsters.”
In any other circumstance, anytime one encounters the word “hipster” in an article about politics, giant warning signs should go off in your head. I mean, it’s one thing to write about “Deanie Babies” and “Liebermaniacs,” but “hipsters”? Last I checked, Sarah Records was not a political party and The Rapture wasn’t running for office on the DFA ticket (and just how many electoral votes are Greenpoint or Silverlake worth, anyway?).
Regardless…this election in “the City by the Bay” is a promising blip on the otherwise shameful map of Californian politics. I’ll refrain from commenting on the “lingerie model” and “poetry buff” aspects of this mayoral race, but it’s nonetheless heartening to have to choose between voting for a “liberal Democrat” and a Green party candidate with at least a fighting chance.
Then again, this is San Francisco, so I guess it’s to be expected.

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Shallow

Different Strokes for Different (Network) Folks

When two seemingly unrelated phenomena occur at the same time, we call it a trend. Used to be three things, but among its many contributions to the culture, Entertainment Weekly lowered the bar to two phenomena.
Here’s how it works:
FOX Sends ‘Skin’ Crawling After Just Three Shows
Can you be a Porn Star? The Ultimate Reality Show
[Thanks Krusty!]