Pee-Wee Presents… Clones

cover_feb04.jpgHow psyched was I that Paper Magazine decided to buck newsstand trends and go with a coverboy who’s not only not promoting some new piece of shit project, but who also has the distinction of being so uncool he’s positively cool?
It’s heartening in this day and age of publicist-driven entertainment coverage to see a magazine stick its collective neck out and put someone on the cover like Paul Reubens, AKA Pee-Wee Herman. This one’s not for the trendsetters: it’s for the fans, man!
I didn’t pick the issue up, so I don’t know if they talk to him about his voice over work in Disney‘s new film, Teacher’s Pet, but who care, right? It’s Pee-Wee friggin’ Herman, and he’s awesome!


Capturing the Shopsins

Our big cool (imaginary) friend Elvis Mitchell reports from Park City about I Like Killing Flies, a film we mentioned a few weeks back. (On the Menu at Sundance: Quirky Chef and Dancers, The New York Times, Jan. 21, 2004)
Here’s director Matt Mahurin on his star: “Kenny would be pontificating about his ideas about life and death and sex and politics and even food… And when you went in, you would enter whatever family drama was going on that day.”
Check out the last few anonymous comments attached to our original Flies piece to see one person who’ll definitely skip this film.


Psychotic Break

stossel.jpgLike the late great Nell Carter before him, ABC News‘s mustachioed muckraker John Stossel wants us to Give [‘im] a break!
His new book, available at your local airport newsstand, right next to Bill O’Reilly’s Horton Hears a Who’s Looking Out For You, is modestly entitled Give Me a Break : How I Exposed Hucksters, Cheats, and Scam Artists and Became the Scourge of the Liberal Media….
Lifting a page from Spike Lee and Ralph Wiley’s By Any Means Necessary: The Trials and Tribulations of the Making of Malcolm X…, Stossel’s elliptical title continues inside of the book: “With a Million Motherfuckers Against Me.”
Since Stossel “hate[s] waiting around time” (“Please do not make me wait unnecessarily”) here’s my super-speedy impression of the book: crap.


But did she save Latin?

Max (Jason Schwartzman) and Amy: neither one of them has the slightest idea where this relationship is going.
The Onion A.V. Club‘s Nathan Rabin interviews the hilarious and lovely Amy Sedaris this week.
Since Amy (along with collaborators Stephen Colbert, Paul Dinello, and Mitch Rouse) created one of the most pathetic losers ever to (re-)attend high school, it’s interesting to catch a glimpse of her own school days:

O: What was your high-school experience like?
AS: I wasn’t a cliquey person, and I think that’s because I came from a large family. I got along with everybody, and I usually got along with the people that people didn’t like. I always liked my teachers, and I was in a lot of after-school projects. I was a Girl Scout until my senior year, when I couldn’t be a Girl Scout anymore. I was in clubs like Junior Achievement, and I ran track and field. My grades were good, but then toward 11th grade they were nothing. I always went to summer school.

She sounds like a regular old Max Fischer, huh? The only thing missing is the little one-act play about Watergate.
Related: Max Fischer grew up to become Joel Stein, right? Sic transit gloria, indeed.


Where Editors Fear to Tread

Col Allen, closet E.M. Forster fan?


Vote Y-E-S for V-I-N!

A happy (campaign) trail for Vincent Gallo?
And now, that other endearingly nasty compassionate conservative offers his State of the Union address:
“I want to thank you guys for inviting me here today. It’s a big honor… In my whole life, no one’s ever invited me or included me in any Republican event. As a matter of fact, I used to go to the Rush Limbaugh show with my best friend Johnny Ramone and a couple of other friends, and Rush never … acknowledged us. So I’m thrilled to be here.
“There’s a picture of me at 6 years old campaigning for Richard Nixon. I’ve always been the same. Always. I was against hippies… I’ve been on 125 magazine covers worldwide during my career—which is a lot for an unknown person who doesn’t have a career—and I’ve written about 200 articles in all kinds of magazines, and I’d like to let you know that there is media bias in an extreme way against the Republican Party…I would like to end my speech today by just saying, in terms of Europe, you know the United States has a great President—a, very, very great President—when the French hate him!”
Vincent Gallo, model/ actor/director/musician/
From The New York Observer, G.O.P. Gallo, by Lizzy Ratner
Read the whole story for the painful story of how liberal bias (and that commie-Calvinist Paul Schrader!) prevented Buffalo ’66 from winning anything at Sundance and for this little gem: “the Republican Party needs hipsters. If it wants to broaden its base, it needs hipsters.”
Yes, but they’ll settle for Vincent Gallo.


Zagat Guide, 2004: State of the Union address

In which lines that were spoken and events which transpired during President Bush’s January 20, 2004 address to Congress stand in for local restaurants:
Lines which, when spoken, lead Bush to stare directly into the camera
13 instances, i.e. 13 discrete messages conveyed to his supporters, i.e. 13 soundbites created for the news recaps
0 – 0 – 0 – $$$$
“We ended the rule of Saddam Hussein and…the people of Iraq are free”…”The United States of America will never be intimidated by thugs and assassins”…”America will never seek a permissions slip to defend the security of our country”…”We will finish the historic work of democracy in Afghanistan and Iraq so those nations can light the way for others and help transform a troubled part of the world”…”We understand our special calling…this great republic will lead the cause of freedom”…”This economy is strong, and growing stronger”…”Unless you act, Americans face a tax increase”…”I urge you to pass legislation to modernize our electricity system, promote conservation, and make America less dependent on foreign sources of energy”…”Any attempt to limit the choices of seniors or to take away their prescription drug coverage under Medicare will meet my veto”…”Drug use in high school has declined by 11 percent over the last two years. 400,000 fewer young people are using drugs than in the year 2001″…”Tonight I call on team owners, union representatives, coaches and players, to take the lead, to send the right signal, to get tough, and to get rid of steroids now”…”Abstinence for young people is the only certain way to avoid sexually transmitted diseases”…”Activist judges, however, have begun redefining marriage by court order, without regard for the will of the people and their elected representatives…Our nation must defend the sanctity of marriage.”
Lines which, when spoken, lead CNN’s cameras to focus on Sen. Ted Kennedy (D) and his various scowls
3 instances in which this occurred, conveying liberals’ disgust with Bush’s statements
0 – 0 – 0 – $$$$
“The bill you passed gave prescription drug benefits to seniors”…”Had we failed to act, the dictator’s weapons of mass destruction programs would continue to this day”…”Starting this year, millions of Americans will be able to save money, tax-free, for their medical expenses in a health savings account.”

Grave Satirical

Number Three With a Bullish (attitude)

If you thought he was intense in Betrayal, wait ’till you see him go totally Over the Top!
“Not bad, but a bit stale!”— Variety
“Another well-executed movie poster parody that no one appreciates!”— Entertainment Weekly

Satirical Shallow

It’s a Wonderful Night for a Sundance

Ashton Kutcher enjoying that Holocaust documentary
Dateline, Park City, Utah— The temperature is dipping below zero tonight at the Sundance Film Festival, but the scene is heating up here at the Miramax/Metamucil party in honor of My Baby’s Daddy. While technically not part of the festival, the movie has the distinction of being the eighth highest grossing film in the country this past weekend. Truly, this is a great moment for Miramax, the little New York indie that helped put this little Utah town on the map.
No wonder Harvey Weinstein, Miramax’s Ozymandias-like president, is feeling magnanimous tonight. The big man has taken it upon himself to greet every guest personally: he offers a firm handshake to every man, a courtly kiss on the cheek to every woman, and in a display of his wonderful sense of humor (this is the man, after all, who snapped up that modern classic, Happy, Texas at the fest five years ago), he’s putting every journalist present in loving headlock.
To answer your two top questions: Yes, and Old Spice.


Election Primer: four letters, starts with “I”

While elections may be newsworthy in both Iowa and Iran of late, it’s the lack of elections in Iraq that’s generating all sorts of press these days.
Here’s one primer, courtesy of Dilip Hiro, in the February 2, 2004 issue of The Nation. As American presidential candidates begin to discuss “planting the seeds of democracy” and ponder the status of United States-led plans for a “post-Saddam” Iraq, bear the following in mind:

“This internecine power struggle is being conducted under the hegemony of the US occupiers, who have their own scenario of the New Iraq: secular, democratic, unabashedly capitalist and openly tied to Washington politically (with its government committed in advance to welcoming US military bases), economically (with unfettered access to Iraqi oil) and strategically (as a pressure point against the regimes in Iran and Syria).
Washington’s vision is a nightmare to most Sunni and Shiite Arabs. Militant Sunnis, imbued with Iraqi nationalism, are in the forefront of the continuing armed resistance. So far Shiites, three-fifths of Iraq’s population, have generally been quiescent, hoping to emerge as the leading political force by exercising their franchise. But even as early as last April, some 1.5 million Shiites marched to Karbala to commemorate the death of Imam Hussein (martyred in AD 680), shouting, “No, no to America! Yes, yes to Islam!” At Hussein’s shrine, a deputy of Grand Ayatollah Ali Husseini al-Sistani declared, “Our celebration will be perfect only when the American occupier is gone and the Iraqi people are able to rule themselves by the principles of Islam.” Recent demonstrations in the Shiite cities of Basra, Amara and Kut are symptomatic of rising Shiite discontent against Anglo-American occupation.
In the wake of the dissolution of the Sunni-dominated Baath Party, the Shiites are now the most organized community, led by the redoubtable Sistani. In June he issued a religious decree that only directly elected bodies have the right to administer Iraq or draft its Constitution; he reiterated this demand on January 11. In between he stated that he wants clerics to act as watchdogs to insure that Iraqi legislation does not contradict Islam, and he has disapproved of the way the Coalition Provisional Authority and its handpicked IGC altered laws on nationality and foreign investment, both of which impinge on Islamic principles. He has pointedly refused to meet CPA chief Paul Bremer.”

Well, that doesn’t bode well for American plans for a non-Islamic fundamentalist Iraq. And, were there to be democratically-held elections, with 56 percent of the nation’s voters expressing support for a Sistani-styled government, it would certainly be embarrassing for the Bush administration to have sponsored the creation of an Islamic nation built on this Iranian paradigm, what with all of the President’s talk over the past few months of human rights and feminism and democratic principles.

“The only way Bremer can counterbalance the power of Shiites is by co-opting the Sunnis (which has proved next to impossible) and getting them to coalesce with the Kurds. But while Kurds are 95 percent Sunni, they identify themselves first and foremost on ethnic, not sectarian, grounds.And their leaders have been no more eager to form an alliance with the Shiites. Powerful Shiite clerics would most likely oppose Kurdish demands for a federated Iraq, on the ground that in Islam there are different sects but not different ethnic groups.

All talk of “fuzzy math” aside, there is no mathematical way these numbers can lead to any sort of positive scenario for the American architects of the war in Iraq, at least while adhering to respected, internationally-sanctioned principles of democratic behavior. You know, that old adage about “one person, one vote.” In this vein, Monday’s papers documented a day-long march by almost 100,000 Iraqi Shiites in support of Ayatollah Sistani and his vision for an Iraq governed according to tenets of Islamic law.

“American helicopters buzzed overhead as an announcer with a bullhorn urged the marchers onward. ‘Say yes, yes to elections and no, no to appointing the people in any way other than elections,’ he said.”

Admittedly, the protester’s refrain isn’t nearly as catchy as, say, “Hey hey, ho ho, the appointed council’s got to go,” or the even less popular, “Hey hey, it’s time, we Shiites have such scorn for rhyme,” but like all works of translation, the announcer’s cry was better in the original, I’m sure.