end run brought to you by ok soda
  February 22, 2006
Rumors of Our Demise Have Been Greatly Exaggerated, as Have the Criticisms of Stupid Headlines Like This

Internal Office Memorandum
TO: Matthew Haber
FROM: Jean-Paul B. Tremblay
CC: Guy Vincent Cimbalo VIII
DATE: Timeless, by Goldie
OK, gentlemen, you were right. That's really the only explanation I can surmise for this shot across the bow.

educating_ecuador.jpgGoing off to help teach impoverished and undereducated children in the wilds of Ecuador this winter –– whilst concurrently having left behind that online "Reader Feedback" forum –– turned out to be a dreadfully bad idea. Heinous, even. (Though my lack of internet connectivity proved to be beneficial in polishing my storytelling chops; it's quite striking how my ignorance of all things Denise Richards/Charlie Sheen and Randy "Duke" Cunningham/Mitchell Wade allowed my newfound gift for narrative confabulation to shine at those Quito-based USAID cocktail parties thrown in junction with Rafael and Lucio...I had people actually believing that I was an expert on everything from Supreme Court litmus tests to the canonical ambient compositions of Brian Eno and Harold Budd. Astounding!)

So, like I was saying, that "Reader Feedback" thing for low culture...a fucking bad, bad, bad idea.

denise_richards_randy_cunn.jpgThe indignant, self-righteous anger that poured forth from said forum! As though people were entitled to free content on the web! I've always felt that unless you're an impoverished Ecuadorian, you're not entitled to any such handouts. How very wrong I have since been proven.

And now, not only have we disappointed myriad readers, we seem to have incited some form of extremely aggressive hostility. I am humbled and chastened.

Apparently, these "blog" things are hot shit, and we missed the boat on this one, lads. Or I personally dropped the ball. Or darted home without tagging up at third base. Or mixed sporting metaphors. Fuck if I know; my athletic knowledge is limited to the realm of sexual acrobatics, and that's about it. (My mother once told me a man would fuck a snake if you held its head. I have since learned this is quite true.)

Anyways, let's a get a cease-and-desist out on these guys...there's got to be some form of copyright law or anti-parodic justification we can rely on, right? Do either of you know Lawrence Lessig?

Mucho regardo,

P.S.: Guy, I couldn't help but notice that somehow you managed to escape their assault...I mean, there aren't any embarrassingly amateur photos of you posted on that site. No Flickr attack whatsoever. So the idea that you were behind this, I have to admit, did cross my mind, though I am willing to give your treacherous ass the benefit of the doubt.

Posted at 12:04 PM in a Desperate, Shallow fashion.
  January 5, 2006
I'm more interested in buying a tree, some rope, and some sheets...and throw in the In Living Color boxed set, too, can you?


What classic American value! 14 episodes of the under-appreciated "Planet of the Apes" television series, finally available on DVD for a mere $43. I can put it on my shelf right next to other similar items, such as...


Ummm. OK, then. The "Similar Items" list also includes, for what it's worth, "Unforgivable Blackness: The Rise And Fall Of Jack Johnson" and "What's Love Got To Do With It (Full Frame)".

(Thanks to jfajitas.)

UPDATED: Apparently this was already caught by a blogger named SanDiegoJohnny back in October of last year, which somehow makes this even worse, in that it has remained unchanged for months, now, and an entire season of holiday shoppers was exposed to such post-Katrina Kommodity Kommentary.

Posted at 3:43 PM in a Shallow fashion.
  December 8, 2005
Even at this, the moment of his stature's greatest hype yet, James Murphy still slips under the radar...well, at least that of the Associated Press

grammy_trophy.jpgFrom "Carey, Legend, West Lead Grammy Nods", the Associated Press, December 8, 2005:

[Mariah] Carey's eight nominations tied John Legend and Kanye West. Soul crooner Legend's nominations included best new artist, while West is up for album of the year for "Late Registration" and song of the year for "Gold Digger." "I feel incredible," said Legend, a West protege whose debut "Get Lifted" was a million-seller. "You put a lot of expectations into what you want the record to be."

Other multiple nominees included 50 Cent, Gwen Stefani, U2 and Bruce Springsteen.

From the Academy's list of official nominees:

12. Dance Recording: "Galvanize," The Chemical Brothers featuring Q- Tip; "Say Hello," Deep Dish: "Wonderful Night," Fatboy Slim & Lateef; "Daft Punk Is Playing at My House," LCD Soundsystem; "I Believe in You," Kylie Minogue; "Guilt Is a Useless Emotion," New Order.

13. Electronic/Dance Album: "Push the Button," The Chemical Brothers; "Human After All," Daft Punk; "Palookaville," Fatboy Slim; "Minimum- Maximum," Kraftwerk; "LCD Soundsystem," LCD Soundsystem.

See, it's always good for the DFA-haters to get some perspective.

It's almost enough to make one think there still exists a segment of the record-buying populace who hasn't heard Murphy's debut album. Have these poor people not set foot in an Urban Outfitters this past year?

Posted at 1:35 PM in a Shallow fashion.
  November 14, 2005
The low culture 50 (Photos of People We Could Find)

People make the world go 'round.

Someone said that once, and while it's not technically true—angular momentum as explained in the equation L=m*w*r2 makes the world go 'round—people are much more fascinating, especially when they pose for photographs.

Welcome to the annual low culture 50, a definitive look at people whose photos we could find. This year's 50 run the gamut from cartoon characters to Presidents— and, no, that's not a political statement, silly! This is a 'shallow' post: None of that gloomy guff here. This is meant to make you smile. And if you're in The low culture 50, you really have a reason to smile!

Paul McCartney Wanda Sykes Ann Curry
Robert Johnson (BET) Robert Johnson (Blues) Ed Helms
Richard Perle Andre Agassi Jerry Rice
bell hooks Theo Epstein Steven Soderbergh
Fredric Jameson Carrie Underwood Elvis Mitchell
Stuart Price (aka Jacques Lu Cont) Martha Stewart Curt Freese, Ph.D
Keira Knightley Steve Case Steve Jobs
Les Moonves Harvey Mackay Robert W. Fogel
lc_50_aisha_tyler.jpg lc_50_christine_taylor.jpg
Howard Dean Aisha Tyler Christine Taylor
lc_50_dave_foley.jpg lc_50_eon_trotsky.jpg lc_50_frank_perdue.jpg
Dave Foley Leon Trotsky Frank Perdue
lc_50_goran_visjnic.jpg lc_50_grover_cleveland.jpg lc_50_jean_baudrillard.jpg
Goran Visjnic Grover Cleveland Jean Baudrillard
lc_50_jeff_greenfield.jpg lc_50_maggie_cheung.jpg lc_50_jesse_oxfeld.jpg
Jeff Greenfield Maggie Cheung Jesse Oxfeld
lc_50_jonathan_lipnicki.jpg lc_50_koko.jpg lc_50_little_ronnie_howard.jpg
Jonathan Lipnicki Koko Little Ronnie Howard
lc_50_mr_hat.jpg lc_50_nat_hentoff.jpg lc_50_Philip_Michael_Thomas.jpg
Mr. Hat Nat Hentoff Philip Michael Thomas
lc_50_quentin_tarantino.jpg lc_50_rakim.jpg lc_50_ringo_starr.jpg
Quentin Tarantino Rakim Ringo Starr
lc_50_sho_kasugi.jpg lc_50_the feral_child.jpg lc_50_wario.jpg
Sho Kosugi The Feral Kid from Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior Wario
lc_50_wilbur_wright.jpg lc_50_woody_harrelson.jpg  
Wilbur Wright Woody Harrelson  
Posted at 12:21 PM in a Shallow fashion.
  November 7, 2005
Sharon Waxman, Squeezing Water from a Handsome Stone (was: Jonathan Rhys-Meyers, World's Most Difficult Actor)


At Home in Oliver's Macedonia and Woody's London, the New York Times, November 6, 2005

Selected highlights from the Times' Hollywood scribe Sharon Waxman's interview/Q&A with actor Jonathan Rhys-Meyers, star of Woody Allen's upcoming tennis thriller Match Point...

First up? The 28-year-old actor touches upon this whole "crisis in the Middle East" thing and its relationship to his filming Alexander with director Oliver Stone:

RHYS-MEYERS: You had 20 young male actors, as his main friends, and then 350 soldiers who'd recently pulled out of Basra and Tikrit - they were all actual soldiers. These guys were constantly living their life to the full, because when they were finished, they were being sent back to the Middle East.

WAXMAN: Let's talk about "Match Point."

OK, so the subject of Iraq doesn't interest Waxman so much. Or, at least, an Irish actor's take on Iraq. What about an Irish actor's take on being, hmmm, an Irish actor?

WAXMAN: Are you very Irish?

RHYS-MEYERS: What's very Irish?

WAXMAN: Are you attached to being Irish?

RHYS-MEYERS: Am I in touch with my roots? Yes, I am very Irish.

And with that matter settled, young Jonathan returned to his pensive brooding, coyly maneuvering his gaze about the room, pausing ever-so-briefly to flit his eyelashes...and looking anywhere, anywhere but at this cursed interviewer who had deigned to help him promote his most recent film.

Posted at 2:59 PM in a Shallow fashion.
From the L'il Gangsta Series

Rims sold separately
12 mpg city/16 mpg playground
Some rollover risk

Posted at 2:04 PM in a Shallow fashion.
Bai Ling Is a Liar, or, More Fun with Pull Quotes


Posted at 11:55 AM in a Shallow fashion.
Once Again, Teen People Neglects to Note That Ashlee Simpson Is Actually Quoting Breton's Surrealist Manifesto


Posted at 5:47 AM in a Shallow fashion.
  November 4, 2005
The Moment You Realize You're Reading Too Much Us Weekly, Vol. 1

You assume they're referring to Chris Martin, lead feyboy of Coldplay, not Paul Martin, Prime Minister of Canada.

Posted at 3:29 PM in a Shallow fashion.
  October 31, 2005
Laugh Yourself Silly With the New York Times Magazine's "Funny Pages"

This week we made funny with:

Chris Ware's eavesdropping, sexist cripples!

Elmore Leonard's alcoholic spinsters and blood-thirsty lawmen!

"You shot the four guys who drove their car into the roadhouse that time, all of them coming out armed and standing fairly close. One of 'em, Nestor Lott, the ex-federal agent gone bad, packed two .45's cinched to his legs. Nestor pulled on you and you shot him and turned and shot the other three." Gary paused.

Carl said: "This friend of Peyton's, Venicia Munson, was an old-maid schoolteacher who drank Peyton's wildcat whiskey and didn't care who knew it. We're sitting in her kitchen waiting for Peyton to show, she told me she was scared to death. I said, 'Well, that'll teach you to get mixed up with a bank robber.' She said: 'You're the one scares me, not Peyton. I can tell you'd rather shoot him than bring him in.' She said it was why I became a marshal, to get to carry a gun and shoot people."

And Firoozeh Dumas' racially-profiled family!

As soon as my father showed up, we started singing "Happy Birthday" in English. It would have been more natural for us to sing in Persian, but if you are part of a large Middle Eastern contingency these days, you're already scaring people. Add to that a loud song with guttural sounds and clapping, and you have passengers speed-dialing the Department of Homeland Security.

Previously: More Hilarity from the New York Times Magazine's "Funny Pages," and As Seen On The New York Times Magazine's "Funny Pages"

Posted at 2:36 AM in a Shallow fashion.
  October 28, 2005
Slate's Breakfast Table, but Not (A conversation about the news of the day)

As Slate has been less-than-stellar about maintaining "The Breakfast Table," a once-beloved feature that, regrettably, has since been allowed to languish, we asked the site's editor Jacob Weisberg for permission to license it for our own usage, and he, of course, agreed, recognizing that low culture has always outshone his own tepidly downtrodden site in all the ways that matter, but most notably in the manner in which we've historically been very strong at using the format of two disparate-yet-complementary experts weighing in on the issues of the day. Also, he acknowledged how great we were with excessively long and unnecessarily verbose introductory sentences. He's a good editor.

And with that, we introduce our two "Breakfast Table" panelists for this leisurely Friday afternoon; first, we have one Alex Pareene, a student of dramaturgical matters and working-class struggle, and Jean-Paul Tremblay, a self-employed and self-professed expert in theatrical composition and post-Jamesonian Marxism.

From: Jean-Paul Tremblay
To: Alex Pareene
Subject: Scooting out the door?
Friday, October 28, 2005, at 2:06 AM EST


I probably shouldn't be starting our exchange yet, because it's not yet dawn and I just got back from the loudest, most raucous fucking dress rehearsal ever, but I just got a hunch on the cab ride home from the theater that Libby's going to go down today. I've traced this idea to a realization I had while watching my play's lead actor limp around onstage in crutches, whereupon I saw that if the character had been unable to afford healthcare, we'd have had to reformat the setpieces such that the entire play was comprised of a conversation on a couch. Which'd be far more David Rabe than Luigi Pirandello, and you know how much I go for an early twentieth-century motif with my body of work. Anyways, the dude's in crutches. And so is Libby, and Libby has money, and the crutches are his means of power...the money is the crutch. And the disability is his means of power. And if he's indicted today, and goes down, it'll totally be this unjust transfer of power. Why do I ingest so much ketamine when working with these dress rehearsals? I have to stop. It fucks with my mind and logistical reasoning.

From: Alex Pareene
To: Jean-Paul Tremblay
Subject: Puttin' On the Fitz
Friday, October 28, 2005, at 10:25 AM EST


Pirandello, my friend, was an inspired reference -- seeing Scooter Libby "go down," as you put it, brought to mind nothing so much as Pirandello's Enrico IV. Scooter, of course, is Berthold the valet. I see Cheney as the doctor and Judy Miller as Donna Matilda. The "mad" king is America itself, and today we learned that she is tired of wearing her mask.

"I just got a hunch," you say. I keep coming back to those words. Hunches and crutches, those tired dramatic devices. The hunch, Richard III's power, repugnant but impossibly attractive. The Neo-liberal hegemony fuctions in almost exactly the same fashion. And the crutch -- not money, I think, but the classical liberal ideal of the social contract. It's weakness, it's bathos, the greatest enemy of neo-liberal society. I've been revising my musical revue of historical materialism ("Sing, Sang, Materialistische GeschichtsauffasSung!"), so my thoughts are a bit scattered at the moment, but I think the entire leak investigation can be read as a critique of the Annales school's perversion of Marxist historiography. I'll tell you what I mean by that as soon as I finish skimming the Wikipedia entry about them.

From: Jean-Paul Tremblay
To: Alex Pareene
Subject: uggggh
Friday, October 28, 2005, at 4:04 PM EST

Alex, boyo,

It's really late in the afternoon, and I just woke up. Sorry about that. This is where the deconstructionist punster in me says, "Guess I missed 'breakfast,' huh?" And where you, the audience, groan.

Such audience participation is really what this whole Plame investigation was all about, I feel...with contributions from a range of professions as diverse as journalists and chiefs of staff. My theatrical production, premiering tonight, is derived from this participatory spirit, wherein I hope workers laboring within the coils of both Media and Government can unite to applaud the work of my crippled lead actor. Crippled by a staggering deficit, an astoundingly piss-poor educational system, and exposure to too much reality television.

In that vein, it's good to know that the populace will be focusing on possible jail time for this Libby fellow. Which, perversely, could be a boon for all of academia...just think of what Antonio Gramsci produced while in prison. I've often thought about adapting his "Prison Notebooks" for the stage, but have consistently come up short in this regard. Whom would I cast as "Hegemony," as you so briefly touch upon above? And in terms of undertaking such an adaptation, I never understood "hermeneutics" very much, to be honest.

I feel like such a sham. When people view my play tonight, they're going to know how phony I am, and how much I've borrowed from the Italian master. "Six Characters in Search of an Author"? I feel like my rendition is more akin to "A Nobody in Search of Some Credibility."

I hope you can make it. Coming by my show, I mean. I know you'll "make it" in all the other ways that matter, kid. You've got talent. Me? I feel like I'm about to pull a Benjamin and shoot myself.

Posted at 2:28 PM in a Shallow fashion.
The Eyes Have It

From Wednesday's Entertainment Weekly Popwatch!

Who knew cult director Darren Aronofsky was a fan of the boob tube? The Requiem for a Dream helmer has just signed on to direct an episode of ABC’s Lost, which will likely air at the beginning of May sweeps... "We will try to put together a story that will be well-suited for Darren’s talents and visual imagination."
So what can we expect from Aronofsky's turn behind the camera? low culture has the exclusive preview, but beware, SPOILERS AHEAD!

Hurley grows increasingly crazed when he starts using amphetamines as an appetite suppressant.

Charlie's heroin habit hits an all-time low.

Those damned amputees are finally explained.

And someone's eye figures as a visual cue... But whose?

NB: The Kate-Claire "Ass to Ass" scene is too graphic to be shown here.

Posted at 8:55 AM in a Shallow fashion.
  October 27, 2005
Stop speaking for my generation, you louts!

teenager_generation_old_reading.jpgby JACOB LINDSTROM

I'll tell ya, if there's one thing a young columnist likes me dislikes more than irresponsible kids doing irresponsible things, it's irresponsible adults doing irresponsible research. How else to explain the occurrence of yet another media frenzy about kids and their newsgathering sources?

Today's Romenesko (a daily news and gossip website for working journalists, both professional ones, like Kenneth Turan of the Los Angeles Times, and amateur ones, like myself) features another infuriating posting: a link to a story in the Chicago Tribune entitled "Papers not a must read: A generation of young adults turns to the Internet as its primary news source".

Well, guess what, Mr. Mike Hughlett? (He's the author of the piece.) I'm tired of having lesser-minded twits like one student you quoted, Heather Tody, whose "favorites are CNN.com, Weather.com and Oprah Winfrey's home page" represent my tastes and reading pleasures! Or Josh Darrah, whose information-gathering consists of "sites devoted to comics that are exclusive to the Web."

Mr. Hughlett, why don't you bother digging deeper in your investigative research? For instance, you could have asked me about my reading habits. Though I'm only 16 years old, and not part of the collegiate demographic you cite in your article, I still think I count as part of the generation about which you were trying so hard to make broad, sweeping generalizations. The Generalization Generation? That's you, Mr. Hughlett!

Each and every morning as I make my way to the dining halls here at Exeter, other students may be clutching their copies of Romeo & Juliet by William Shakespeare, or Algebra II by Houghton-Mifflin, in preparation for homeroom discussions or pop quizzes...but I always make sure to stop in the school's library and check out the headlines on the print edition of the New York Times and the Boston Globe. Why? Because you know that when something is printed on paper, it has endurance going for it, and more importantly, legacy, unlike the online editions of newspapers' websites, or the blogs kept by some of my classmates. Yes, Google has already cached the unpleasant things that Jeremy Forrester and Alfred Liu and Jesse Quinlan said about my behavior at lunchtime last Tuesday, when I slipped on a wet spot on the floor near where the trays are stored, but that doesn't mean Google was able to cache the cellphone photos they took of this unfortunate incident after I complained to Vice Principal Hartley and they had to take their entries down.

See what I mean? If this news had been reported in the print edition of the New York Times, it would have lived on forever, searing the truth into the public's conscience for all eternity. Much like the paper's reports about Superdome rapes, Wen Ho Lee, and Ahmad Chalabi, people many years from now might have picked up hard copy portrayals of my embarrassing tumble and laughed at my misfortune...and known the truth of that shameful day.

Ultimately, how we read is important. It's a matter of the comfort and security that holding a hard copy of a broadsheet newspaper provides its readers, whether they're scanning the familiar page layout for relevant headlines, or using the massive width of the sheet of unfolded paper to shield their eyes from their classmates' scowls and laughter. I only wish the paper stock were thicker and stronger, to better withstand the writing utensils and pen caps thrown my way.

But I'm still sticking with print, Mr. Hughlett.


Posted at 10:46 AM in a Shallow fashion.
  October 26, 2005
Hark! The Herald Angels Spin

Yes, it's that most wonderful time of the year, when Christmas yet again comes under siege from the shadowy forces of secular evil. It is fair to say that most American children today don't even know who Christmas is. But who can we blame? Two new books dare to finger the partisan Grinches responsible for stealing Christmas. A tale of the tape.

repubchrist.jpg libchrist.jpg
How the Republicans Stole Christmas The War on Christmas
Wordy Subtitle
The Republican Party’s Declared Monopoly on Religion and What Democrats Can Do to Take it Back How the Liberal Plot to Ban the Sacred Christian Holiday is Worse than You Thought
Ethnicity-Free Author Name
Bill Press John Gibson
White-Bred's Qualifications
Bill Press is a political commentator for MSNBC. Prior to joining MSNBC, he was cohost of CNN’s Crossfire and The Spin Room with Tucker Carlson. John Gibson is the host of The Big Story on Fox News Channel, which airs daily at 5:00 p.m. and is currently the sixth highest rated show in all of cable news.
If you go for that kind of thing.
Hell yeah.
Christmas Tree on Cover?
Yes Yes
American Flag on Cover?
Yes No
Ostensible Grinch
Republicans Liberal activists and "media people"
Real Grinch
Evangelical Christian cabal Jewish cabal
Sample Five-Star Amazon Review
I read this book in the aftermath of Katrina--ironically when Christian groups are now silent about morality. The federal, state, and local governments (packed with 'their' people) are accused of neglecting predominantly poor African American people who could not just jump into their cars and evacuate. Meanwhile, FEMA came under public scrutiny because then-director Michael Brown delayed sending in aid. 80% of our country is Christian and many of our national slogans etc. have the word God in them. How did it ever come to this, that the minority is calling the shots. NO ONE is taking away Christmas for me. Oh yeah, maybe they want us to celebrate Kwanza instead. This is an eye opening book.
Posted at 11:30 AM in a Shallow fashion.
  October 25, 2005
The HuffPo: Good for Politics, Bad for Laughs (or, yet another round of "This is Just Like That")

lampoon_parody_anything.jpgSituated at the tail end of one of the most recent missives on the Huffington Post, Arianna Huffington's new(ish) website with a political bent (and a penchant for really nailing, several times a week, the various inculcations of "Judith Miller Sucks" that fans of responsible journalism and transparent government have come to demand), was this incredibly depressing statement:

“The Secret Presidential IMs” will now be a regular feature on HuffPo. Check here each Tuesday for a new installment.

Tragic, this news...for this post's author, one Danielle Crittenden, is one of the most painfully untalented, uninspired writers currently occupying space online. And “The Secret Presidential IMs”, this "feature" of which she speaks? In computer parlance, we'd call this a "bug"...one which seems to recur on Arianna's site whenever anyone of her stable of writers attempts to post something that one may conceivably interpret as "funny".

"Ahhhh," you're saying to yourself right now, "the so-called humor content available on the site can't be that uninspired, that unfunny, and that insipidly unoriginal...can it?" (Because that's how you speak to yourself, isn't it? You faux-academic wonk.) And then you read these sampled lines below, and you weep with tears of great solemnity, sadly mulling over the Death of Laughter, and her playdate, Originality.

SumNobel4u2: yo prez
Kickass43: ?
SumNobel4u2: bono
SumNobel4u2: yr nu best bud
Kickass43: sonny?!
Kickass43: i thot u wer ded!!!!
SumNobel4u2: BONO
SumNobel4u2: as in rok star
SumNobel4u2: not as in “& cher”
Kickass43: o

"O," indeed. It's not as though Crittenden is cribbing from Arianna's own friend Bill Maher with her oh-so-fresh "Bono/Sonny Bono" take, right? Except, well, she is. And it's not as though the overarching framework, the "mock conversation" device, has already exhausted itself..."O," nevermind.

Time for some "hack"ing, then. Through some intrepid computer geekery, we got ahold of a recent IM conversation that was recently held between Arianna's Guffaw Gang: Danielle Crittenden and her partner in inept, unoriginal joke assembly, Bill Diamond -- or, as he's perhaps better known, the original Funnee Foto Guy. (Greg Gutfeld, the British Maxim editor, and another purported funneeman who sometimes posts on the site, is mostly exempted from this elite list because he's proven semi-capable of working the blogroom for an occasional laugh here and there, at least when he's not himself relying heavily on the Onion's template.)

frumkinsgal: i'm thinking of doing another presidential im post
BillDiamondsare4eva: ok, and then help me with a caption?
BillDiamondsare4eva: i found a funnee foto of bush in front of a statue
BillDiamondsare4eva: its funnee
frumkinsgal: haha ok
frumkinsgal: so david suggested this to me
frumkinsgal: harriet miers is pretty frumpy right and unqualified?
frumkinsgal: it would be funny to make fun of that and have her im with bush
BillDiamondsare4eva: maybe you can make it like she doesn't know how to use a computer even though she's a secretary
BillDiamondsare4eva: thatd be wickedly funny
BillDiamondsare4eva: she can keep messing up and saying "i dont know how to use this keyboard, its not an old typewriter, im so old!" haha!
frumkinsgal: haha ur great
BillDiamondsare4eva: haha
frumkinsgal: hahahah
BillDiamondsare4eva: hahahahahaa
frumkinsgal: hahaahah
BillDiamondsare4eva: hahaa
frumkinsgal: hahhahahaa
BillDiamondsare4eva: hahahahaa
frumkinsgal: hahahahhahah
BillDiamondsare4eva: haha
frumkinsgal: hahaahaha
BillDiamondsare4eva: haha
frumkinsgal: haha
BillDiamondsare4eva: haha
BillDiamondsare4eva: i wish i could come up with better captions to my funnee fotos though
BillDiamondsare4eva: the commenters seem to hate me and think i'm not funny
frumkinsgal: me too
frumkinsgal: it took me this long to realize that long im transcripts won't be read by impatient people
frumkinsgal: particularly if theyre unfunny
frumkinsgal: you know why i'm going to make it a weekly feature?
frumkinsgal: i hate myself
frumkinsgal: did i ever tell you i wanted to kill myself after i got my husband fired
frumkinsgal: i felt so "evil"
BillDiamondsare4eva: i dont understand
BillDiamondsare4eva: i'd say thats really meta if i understood the concept
BillDiamondsare4eva: but i'm too busy looking at yahoonews photos for funnee fotos
frumkinsgal: i would kill myself if it werent for humor
frumkinsgal: humor keeps me going
frumkinsgal went idle
Posted at 5:30 PM in a Shallow fashion.
  October 24, 2005
Visage Visionaries: South-of-Houston Hipsters, or Houston Astros?



Bearded men in ballcaps = National Leaguers feigning their being up to the task of winning the 2005 World Series.
Bearded man in black and white = anonymous Silverlake-type dweller who probably feigns liking Elliott Smith and Paul Auster. Also, he seems happy, unlike the soon-to-be-eliminated Houston Astros.

RELATED: Time for a shave: Astros rookie shares thoughts on Game 2 loss

Posted at 3:53 PM in a Shallow fashion.
More Hilarity from the New York Times Magazine's "Funny Pages"

You'll laugh as Chris Ware "takes out the trash"!


You'll roar when Elmore Leonard's tough guys hash over the Holocaust!


You'll roll in the aisles when Allison Silverman confronts the ugly face of anti-Semitism!


The Times Magazine Funny Pages -- Does the fun ever start?!?

Previously: As Seen on the New York Times Magazine's "Funny Pages"

Posted at 8:28 AM in a Shallow fashion.
  October 20, 2005
Apparently, the Clients Thought "Download More Porn with Intel" Wasn't Catchy Enough


Posted at 3:54 PM in a Shallow fashion.
  October 19, 2005
Adventures in the Skin Trade, Vol. 4

Key: Nutty Charlie Manson divided by Pretty Orlando Bloom equals Folksy Devendra Banhart

Posted at 10:49 AM in a Shallow fashion.
  October 18, 2005
low culture: What Happened? (A Long, Interminable History)
by Modesty Blaise
Special to The Bizarro-Times Picayune

low Expectations: Jean-Paul Tremblay, left; Matt Haber (A/K/A, Guy Cimbalo), right. (The editors requested a photo of the creators of low culture to accompany this article and received this one.)

Walking down the streets of New York's Greenwich Village, Jean-Paul Tremblay goes almost entirely unnoticed. Passersby young and old—and youngish and oldish, as well—walk by him, all but unaware that within their midst is a celebrity, albeit a celebrity of a wired, self-selecting, long tail-chasing, niche-y, early 21st century sort. Nobody knows that Tremblay, who is 29 but looks more like an undernourished 15 year-old street urchin in need of a haircut, a cup of soup, and a hug, is a bona fide celebrity of blogging: A blogebrity.

Then again, they may be walking by because he's merely a B-List blogebrity.

As he walks the streets, occasionally fielding cell phone calls that make him groan theatrically, he stops for a moment to ponder the new issue of TIME Magazine on the newsstand. The cover shows Secretary of Defense Donald Rumseld wearing a Yankees cap, eating a banana, and listening to iPod. "In the old days, I'd probably run right home and Photoshop that shit and make a post out of it," Tremblay says wearily.

"But now... I can't even figure out the joke. I couldn't even tell you where I'd begin."

No matter how many bananas public officials consume in photos, Tremblay cannot bring himself to post about it. Call him a "no-blognik": Lately, he feels he can't bring himself to blog, which has resulted in a pitiable lack of posts on his site as well as a declining profile among fellow writers of free, ephemeral web content.

"Blogger fatigue is very real, and it very really affects real bloggers," according to Dr. Owen Spielvogel, chair of the American Psychiatric Association's gossip- and media-focused Loud Family Institute. "Anecdotal research indicates it affects 1 in 10 real bloggers in a real way. Really."

I mention "blogger fatigue" to Tremblay as he glances at the cover of Time Out New York, which features Wayne Coyne of the band Flaming Lips also, inexplicably, eating a banana, wearing a Yankees cap, and listening to an iPod.

Tremblay sighs.

An autumnal breeze rustles the trees above us. I can almost see Tremblay's eyes misting up.

Continue reading...
Posted at 4:26 PM in a Satirical, Shallow fashion.
The Apple Falls Far, Far From the Tree

From today's New York Daily News:

William Ross, a retired U.S. Coast Guard captain now working for the Department of Homeland Security's Transportation Safety Administration, was being questioned for allegedly alerting his son of a possible terror attack - three days before Mayor Bloomberg and the FBI went public with the warning, sources said yesterday.

"As some of you know my father works for Homeland Security, at a very high position and receives security briefings on a daily basis," his son, Nick Seligson-Ross, who runs a dance troupe, wrote in an Oct. 3 E-mail...

Posted at 12:34 PM in a Shallow fashion.
The Cover Story

Yesterday, ASME (that's the American Society of Magazine Editors for you great unwashed) announced the 40 greatest magazine covers of the last 40 years. So how does one create a truly great cover? Well, once all the excitement died down, low culture began to search out the subtle threads that link so many of these great, iconic images. Next time, consider the following indicators of greatness before you go to press...

Nudity is Great

Pop Art is Great

Little Kids are Great

Gays are Great

Also consider: Black Backgrounds are Great, Vietnam is Great, Animals Doing Wacky Things are Great, 9/11 (2001 only) is Great

Posted at 12:05 PM in a Shallow fashion.
  October 17, 2005
Hey, Jack: My Reality Distortion Field is Bigger Than Yours


October 17, 2005 (avail. on newsstands): "How Apple Does It," Time Magazine's cover story from the October 24, 2005 issue

October 13, 2005: "The Apple Polishers: Explaining the press corps' crush on Steve Jobs and company," by Jack Shafer, the "Press Box," Slate

Posted at 5:40 PM in a Shallow fashion.
As Seen On The New York Times Magazine's "Funny Pages"




Because nothing says funny like emotional abuse, POW's, and Klosterman's fat mug.

Posted at 11:52 AM in a Shallow fashion.
  October 10, 2005
Steve Jobs' Reading List

Outside the Apple Store in Soho, downtown New York, Sunday, October 9, 2005

A close-up of the books featured in the window display, above.

Not one, nor two, but three copies of a book about "The White Power Movement"...?

Perhaps this reading selection explains why the black model of Apple's new iPod Nano is particularly weak, and prone to scratching and complaints?

Posted at 2:35 AM in a Shallow fashion.
  September 26, 2005
Lesbian Ass vs. the Commuter Class

This past weekend, Manhattan's customarily quiet and genteel neighborhood of Chelsea was overtaken by lesbian rage, as 22nd Street became the site of the LTTR Block Party, in honor of the release of the fourth issue of this largely-unknown feminist art/literature/music journal. (That's one more issue than n+1, in case you're wondering. Collect them now!)

So, what sort of clash ensues when the upper-income brackets of Chelsea's brownstone-residing queers play host to a bunch of art-world dykes? Hmm...phrased like that, the whole situation becomes confusing. Let's sort it out by pitting LTTR versus that beacon of aspirational capitalism, BusinessWeek.

BusinessWeek LTTR
lesbian_cover_businessweek.gif lesbian_cover_LTTR1.jpg
The publication's title pretty much says it all...you're getting the news of "this week in business". Concise, but boring. Kind of like your typical V.P. of Development. Not very gay in the least. The publication's title serves a dual function; first, it's an artful abbreviation of LETTER, get it? Because the printed word is comprised of letters. Secondly, it's an acronym of sorts, wherein issue number 1 went by the longhand variant of LESBIANS TO THE RESCUE, issue number 2 spelled out LISTEN TRANSLATE TRANSLATE RECORD, and then there's some additional wordplay with the idea of LESBIANS TEND TO READ. Semi-clever, mostly creative. And, therefore, very gay.
Inserts: Each issue includes subscription invitation cards that frequently fall out on the floor of the Metro North train on which its readership rides. Inserts: Past issues have included insert CDs with rare and exclusive tracks by artists such as Le Tigre. Apparently the group's frontwoman Kathleen Hanna has some sort of penchant for lesbianism?
Current Cover Story: When Rita Came Calling, examining how "after Katrina, Gulf Coast outfits like SBC, Coke, and Texas Instruments prepared extensively for this hurricane." Informative and matter-of-fact. And, again, boring as all fuck. Potential Cover Story: When Rita Came Calling, examining what happens when an ex-lover comes by your studio apartment in Williamsburg while you're racing to hide your new girlfriend's undergarments. Assuming she wears undergarments. Poetic and beautiful.
Packaging: Bound like ninety percent of all other magazines. Three staples straight down the side, gloss on the front, and poker in the rear. (Sorry, we're getting ahead of ourselves. Account Executives are just so goddamned aggressive after happy hour!) Packaging: The latest issue comes wrapped in textured paper, bound by a frilly ribbon. Very feminine, but not very durable –– and certainly not built to last in perpetuity. Where are those all-important subscription cards?

This, then, is why the breeders will always win.

Posted at 11:00 AM in a Shallow, Versus fashion.
  September 23, 2005
Ronald McDonald's Happy Steal


From L-R, McDonald's new female Ronald McDonald, as seen in a current Japanese TV campaign, and Milla Jovovich as Leeloo in Luc Besson's The Fifth Element (1997)

Talk about Hamburglars! (Ba-dum.)

Posted at 11:59 AM in a Shallow, Versus fashion.
  September 20, 2005
Ask Ben Kunkel

Today's Salon features an insightful, probing piece by Rebecca Traister on the humdrum, sorry state of being a Modern American Woman, and the trouble with dating the contemporary early-adult American male – specifically, how today's women are dissatisfied with this "new breed of man: a man of few interests and no passions; a man whose libido is reduced and whose sense of responsibility nonexistent. These men are commitment-phobic not just about love, but about life. They drink and take drugs, but even their hedonism lacks focus or joy. They exhibit no energy for anyone, any activity, profession or ideology."

Traister sagely acknowledges that writers such as Candace Bushnell et al have explored this subject to death, and, as such, she seeks a new hook: What might Ben Kunkel, the author of Random House's Indecision – this month's literary hotcake amongst the city's subway- and nightstand-reading set – have to contribute to this line of discussion? Of the author and his text's protagonist, she asks, "After I finished Kunkel's novel, I was curious about the man who had so precisely drawn a figure whose initial indifference is so painfully familiar. With Kunkel, I thought I might be able to have a safe, objective conversation about the kind of guy Dwight is as his story begins. How did we get a population of Dwights? Will they ever get better? Why do my friends and I continue to date them?"

But why limit Kunkel to a simple, one-track discussion on dating and relationships? We asked him, this literate, Harvard-trained man-about-town, to help our sullen readers with some of their sundry dilemmas. And boy, did he ever!

Welcome, then, to the first installment of our new, groundbreakingly opinionated, and most important, gentlemanly advice column.


ask_ben_kunkel.gifDear Ben,

I recently left my wife of five years after – for lack of a better way of phrasing it – losing my passion for her. Not falling out of love, mind you...just losing that sense of passion that keeps people together. Lately, however, I have been regretting my decision, and want her back. The problem is, she has taken up reading all sorts of self-help books that seem to discourage exes from reuniting. What should I do?

It can be very difficult dealing with the repercussions of our actions, particularly when it comes to love and the causalities thereof. Do we love for the sake of loving, or do we love merely to stay afloat in this pool of the everyday, the human interactions that define our existence? Hannah Arendt hit it right on the head when she put forth that being female was akin to being imprisoned by one's mind and morality, and that, no matter what we may do to attempt to break free, we – and, it may be said, all of humanity – will forever be subjected to a greater external framework, an ethical morass the likes of which no mere mortal can transcend. Which is why she encouraged her lover, Walter Benjamin, to take his own life. Ever the slattern, she then wound up fucking Heidegger over, too.

Dear Ben,

I recently moved into an elite co-op in Chelsea, and was thrilled to become a part of what felt like a second home, this tightly-knit community of likeminded, intellectually vibrant, book-reading wage-earners. But since settling in last month, I have learned my upstairs neighbor insists on playing his music far too loudly, and usually at moments when I am trying to sleep. I have thought of leaving notes on his door, but am uncertain of what this might do to upset the otherwise tranquil balance of our collective abode. Any ideas?

Noise, and music in particular, can be a source of great asymmetric tension. Historically, one may note, Theodor Adorno espoused nothing but the severest disdain for jazz music, or rather, what he termed "jazz music", but which was, in fact, a series of sounds akin to "big band" music, henceforth confusing generations of Marxists and music critics alike. It was his literal reading of this cacophony, the simpleminded focus on aberrant rhythms and layered ideas, that confounded his aesthetic judgment, and led to a great deal of turmoil in his dealings with his onetime partner in the Frankfurt School, Max Horkheimer. Horkheimer really got down with the horns, the clarinet, the vibrato...all of which conveyed an intricate melding of joy and sadness and expedient physicality. This tapestry of the old and new, incidentally, can be found in the recent works of Radiohead.

Benjamin Kunkel grew up in Colorado. He has written for Dissent, The Nation, and the The New York Review of Books, and is a founding editor of n+1 magazine.
Posted at 2:28 PM in a Satirical, Shallow fashion.
  September 14, 2005
Tragedies Come in Threes


This post is dedicated to Jean-Paul Tremblay, who was found dead in his apartment beneath a stack of old Nation magazines, surrounded by anti-Bush paraphernalia. Now you're Photoshopping with Jesus, sweet prince.

Posted at 6:07 PM in a Satirical, Shallow fashion.
  September 12, 2005
Just ask her son, Ryder Truck

From "What's in a Name, Katrinas?", an article exploring the irksome after-effects of being named "Katrina" in these troubling times of ours, appearing in Sunday's New York Times, by Allen Salkin:

Katrinas can expect three to five years of stoking bad memories before the sharpness of the pain recedes, said Katrina Cochran, a disaster relief psychologist who has worked with victims of the Oklahoma City bombings and the Sept. 11 attacks.

Ms. Cochran, who has been hired by Church World Service to counsel hurricane victims, said she hopes they will forgive her name. "People will see me trying to help and offering care and compassion, and it might actually help them recover more quickly," she said.

Posted at 11:41 AM in a Shallow fashion.
Introducing Kanye West, pre-eminent comedian and light, frilly jokemaker

Meet the new face of "poking fun".

The noted socially-responsible, orphan-adopting, AIDS-research financing, poverty-reducing, and Chilli-fucking R&B musician Usher on Kanye West's "outburst" last week:

"And the R+B star, who will be among performers appearing on an MTV telethon tonight (10SEP05), states, 'I wasn't mad at Kanye's statement - that's his opinion - but it's obviously not the opportunity or the time to poke fun or appoint blame.'"

Emphasis added, because, of course, you can't speak in boldface. Well, you can, but then you'd be a liar, as opposed to an idiot.

Posted at 11:17 AM in a Shallow fashion.
  September 1, 2005
A Brechtian Stageplay about the emergence of Gay Blogs, starring the new proprietors of "Queerty"


From Wired News' "Queer Blog for the Straight Web", September 1, 2005:

There are blogs for just about every hobby, interest and persuasion, but why don't any cover gay lifestyle?


I can't claim to have come up with the idea, though. David Hauslaib, 21, who operates gossip blog Jossip, did. Next week he is planning to launch Queerty (a play on Qwerty, the keyboard standard), which will feature the blogging of Bradford Shellhammer (yes, his real name: I checked his driver's license). Shellhammer, 29, spots fashion trends for JC Report, the online fashion magazine published by Flavorpill Productions, and has written for Abercrombie & Fitch Quarterly, The Baltimore Sun and Gay.com.

Recently I interviewed the two of them at a cafe in Manhattan's Greenwich Village, where they talked about their plans for Queerty.

SCENE: A small brick-walled cafe, colorfully--yet tastefully--adorned with the most masculine of motifs, including Robert Mapplethorpe photographs and rich, transcendently phallic iron sculptures. An isolated table with three chairs stands in the center of the room, at which is seated BRADFORD, a sleek and stylized prototype of homosexuality, and DAVID, a young and cherubically aspirational "gay bloke" who is wiping his face with stock certificates.

DAVID (sighing): Must reporters always be so fucking late? I swear...it's scandalous how delicate the nature of time is to these people. And time, of course, is money. Gay money!

BRADFORD: Oh, relax. This is his big piece. I'm sure he'll be here any moment. Give the fellow a break, eh?

DAVID: But we don't even know if he's cute!

BRADFORD: David, relax. I am so, so off the market. And he's just a writer! Hardly big-money-man material. Truly, while a little plug-and-play here and there has never hurt anyone, I am not willing to betray Gus' confidence in my behavior after that last fiasco in July.

A trim young bespectacled gentleman, ADAM, enters from STAGE LEFT. He smiles confidently at DAVID and BRADFORD and seats himself between the two.

Continue reading...
Posted at 12:15 PM in a Shallow fashion.
It's Probably Time to Change That Whole "Signature Drink" Thing

nawlins.jpg"The Pat O'Brien's motto is "Have fun!" and visitors to this cornerstone New Orleans establishment have been doing so since 1933. With roots that extend into the Prohibition Era, Pat O'Brien's has been serving signature drinks for more than 60 years and is best known for the Hurricane, its original invention."
-from the AOL City Guide

Posted at 12:04 AM in a Shallow fashion.
  August 25, 2005
Apparently Topping the Hot 100 Doesn't Warrant a Spell Check on Your Name

(courtesy Blender Magazine)

...or as Kayne Kanye put it, "It's Kanye, but some of my plaques, they still say 'Kayne.'"

Posted at 12:51 AM in a Shallow fashion.
  July 26, 2005
This is what makes "Premium" membership so worth it

Available now on Salon's elite newsfeed for premium subscribers, your questions about "why guys do those things they do", finally answered:

Killer instincts
What inspires young men and women to become suicide bombers? Religious fanaticism? Nationalism? Alienation? Or some toxic mix of all three? (by Laura Miller, July 26, 2005)

Divine secrets of the comb-over brotherhood
What makes powerful men embrace the world's lamest do? Twang those glistening strands and you'll hear a strange song about virility, status and even death. (by Melena Z. Ryzik, July 27, 2005)

Ladies, sleep soundly. Successfully unlock the secrets of either of these famous cults of masculinity, and this War on Terror™ will be over justlikethat, we're sure of it.

Posted at 10:15 AM in a Shallow fashion.
  July 10, 2005
Forget It, Jake. It's Sun Valley


"How many years have I got? She's mine, too": Above: 74 year-old Rupert and three year-old Grace Murdoch, Sun Valley, Idaho (via The Age); Below: Noah and Katherine Cross in Chinatown.

Posted at 10:57 PM in a Shallow fashion.
  July 1, 2005
Coming Soon: A Very Personal Film From The Director of War of the Worlds


Earlier: At Risk Kids

Posted at 10:53 PM in a Shallow fashion.
Draft Abdul: Two Steps Forward, Two Steps Back for America

A.B.C. (Anybody But Cowell): Let the record show, Paula Abdul already has an affinity for ruffles.

O'Connor, First Woman on High Court, Resigns After 24 Years, by Richard W. Stevenson, The New York Times, July 1, 2005.

Posted at 12:52 PM in a Shallow fashion.
  June 30, 2005
Mamma Mia!

Yeah, we know it's a little late, but it's not every day you discover someone copping Abba's style.

Big ups to James R.!

Posted at 8:53 AM in a Shallow, Versus fashion.
The Perfect Byline
by Quip Meekly

So Fresh and So Clean: Via The New York Times/Victor Lopes

Are Men Ready for the 5-Step, 10-Minute Shave?, by Nick Burns, The New York Times, June 30, 2005.

Apparently Silky Smooth was on assignment covering the "last throes" of the Iraqi insurgency.

Earlier: Beard Hacker: The low culture Guide to Shaving

Posted at 7:48 AM in a Shallow fashion.
  June 28, 2005
Blue Chips Ahoy

The recent revelation that Saddam Hussein has a taste for Jay Leno-approved nacho-cheese chip Doritos has sent shock waves through the snack food industry. I recently contacted PepsiCo's board of directors about their thoughts on the shocking, possibly treasonous, matter. (Disclosure: PepsiCo owns Frito Lays which owns Doritos which holds a majority stake in low culture heavy industries.)

From: guy v. cimbalo [[email protected]]
Sent: Thursday, June 23, 2005 12:13 AM
To: SPA - Board Of Directors {PEP}
Subject: Investment Concerns

Dear Sirs and Madames:

I am very concerned about recent revelations that Saddam Hussein enjoys Doritos. This man is a tyrant, while Doritos should represent peace, justice, and American snack food at its best.

PepsiCo. forms a large part of my mutual fund's investment portfolio and I have begun to feel that I should divest myself of the holdings.

I would like to know what Frito-Lay intends to do in order to quell this public relations nightmare.


Guy Cimbalo

Their response after the jump...

Continue reading...
Posted at 9:03 AM in a Shallow fashion.
  June 24, 2005
Maybe If She Tried Wearing A Hat...

Courtney Love (L) and Rocky Dennis (R)

"What's the matter, never seen anyone from the planet Vulcan before?"
1985's Mask

Posted at 8:18 AM in a Shallow fashion.
  June 21, 2005
low culture Presents: No Jacket Required, Vol. 1


Welcome to the bleeding edge! It's official, then...this "podcasting" thing is bloody hot!

low culture is proud to present the first, inaugural, premiere episode of "No Jacket Required", a no-holds-barred look at contemporary arts and culture. This mp3/podcast/olde timey radio broadcast runs somewhere around eleven minutes: perfect for your commute home, downtime at work, or on constant repeat throughout your day (it's possible to enjoy "No Jacket Required" over 130 times in the course of a 24-hour period).

You've come to rely on low culture for reasonably entertaining satire and comedy -- now give "No Jacket Required" a try. Seriously, we think you'll enjoy it. Earnestly, even.

And maybe it'll explain why we've been so damned absent of late?

No Jacket Required, Ep. 1, 11:35, 10MB

Posted at 6:15 AM in a Podcasting, Shallow fashion.
  June 17, 2005
low culture Exclusive: Tom Cruise's Actual Proposal to Katie Holmes

Vanilla Guy: "I WANNA WAKE UP!"

Film star Tom Cruise has asked girlfriend Katie Holmes to marry him, he announced on Friday, ending weeks of speculation over whether Hollywood's hottest couple would wed.

Appearing with Holmes at a Paris news conference, the 42-year-old explained how he had chosen the Eiffel Tower in the city of romance to make his move.

"Yes I proposed to Kate last night ... because it is very beautiful and romantic here," Cruise said, clarifying later that the engagement had actually begun in the early hours of Friday. - Cruise proposes to actress Holmes at Eiffel Tower, by Joanna Partridge, Reuters, June 17, 2005.

"That's more than a dress. That's an Audrey Hepburn movie. We barely know each other. I don't think we've had a single conversation about anything except your father. We got nothing to talk about. Sometimes you just gotta say 'What the fuck.' In this life, it's not what you hope for, it's not what you deserve—it's what you take I feel the need... the need for speed.

"I've drained you to the point of death. If I leave you here, you die. Or you can be young always, my friend, as we are now, but you must tell me: will you come or no?

"Where exactly are we going... exactly?...Where the rainbow ends? Good. Because for a minute there, I thought we were talking about A FUCKING MASK!... I'm afraid you'll break my heart. I want the truth!

"Help me help you. I will not rest until I have you holding a Coke, wearing your own shoe, playing a Sega game featuring you, while singing your own song in a new commercial, starring you, broadcast during the Superbowl, in a game that you are winning, and I will not sleep until that happens... I'm gonna let ya' in on a little secret: K-Mart sucks.

"Don't be afraid. I'm going to give you the choice I never had... No one could resist me, not even you... Just forget about that mortal coil. You'll become accustomed to it, all too quickly.

"Let me ask you something: are you out of your fucking mind? I will not apologize for who I am. I love you. You... complete me... Cause you're good. We're in this together. Fates intertwined.

"You're my motherfucker! I had your ass over the grinder and it's okay enough to thank me, shithead. Jump in my nightmare, the water's warm!"

Posted at 9:18 AM in a Shallow fashion.
  June 16, 2005
A MAG A PLAN A CANAL PAGAMA (Or, A Short History of Palindromic Titles)*






*Is it too late to jump on the Radar blogwagon? Oh, it is? Well, fuck off! I've been busy, okay?

Awww, c'mon, baby. Don't cry. Don't be like that. Matty's sorry. You know I love you, right? Oh, I don't? Then why do I do so much for you? Writing all these entries—for you. Finding photos that look like other photos—for you. Coming up with hack jokes—say it with me, for you.

What did you say? Don't you dare talk back to me! One more word out of your mouth and you'll be sleeping over your sister's blog tonight.

Posted at 2:33 PM in a Shallow fashion.
  June 14, 2005
Where's Mr. Segue Man When You Need Him?

SHOCK VERDICT CLEARS JACKO OF KIDDIE SEX - AND CROWNS DA TEAM THE KINGS OF FLOP, by David K. Li and Kate Sheehy, The New York Post, June 14, 2005.

BOYS ARE BACK, by Maxine Shen, ibid.

Posted at 7:48 AM in a Shallow fashion.
  June 13, 2005
The Man's Got Nothing On Him (Boys, On the other hand...)

Lucky (Boy) Fucker: Relieved, Jackson's going home to bury himself in his Blanket.

Posted at 6:43 PM in a Shallow fashion.
  June 11, 2005
Collapse That Metaphor

"Denise Jack and other car owners thought they had it bad when a 75-foot retaining wall in Washington Heights in northern Manhattan collapsed on May 12, burying their parked vehicles beneath untold tons of debris. But their ordeal was actually just beginning.

"Their cars remain buried there today, and none are expected to be unearthed until the rest of the wall is stabilized and the rubble removed - up to a year from now.

"Until then, they are caught in the world of insurance limbo.
"'These people have a bit of an uphill battle,' said Anthony Michael Sabino, a law professor at St. John's University."

- A Wall Fell on Their Cars. Then Bad Luck Set In., by Anahad O'Connor and Rachel Metz, The New York Times, June 11, 2005.

Posted at 11:59 PM in a Shallow fashion.
  June 8, 2005
With Apologies to the editors of Details (And Gays. And Fast food eaters. And Anyone who thinks comedy should be funny.)

Click for larger version.

Traditionally famous for his red hair and yellow jump suit, Ronald will be seen juggling fruit and snowboarding in a TV advert to be screened on Friday.

The leaner, more health-conscious Ronald will encourage children to get up and join him playing sports.
-Ronald McDonald turns health guru, BBC, June 8, 2005.

Hackier: The George W. Bush Book Club (All Hack Edition)

Posted at 11:19 AM in a Shallow fashion.
Life lessons, as overheard by those with friends who have blackberries or SMS-enabled phones

"Wow, Anne Bancroft is dead."

"Oh my God, I just got a text saying Britney got married."

"Holy shit, Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston are filing for divorce."

"Trey from the OC is on 1st Ave!"

"The Killers show is awesome."

"Fuck, I forgot to tivo SNL."

Posted at 8:10 AM in a Shallow fashion.
  June 5, 2005
The Voices! Those Blasted Voices! I Can't Stop The Voices In My Heeeeeaaaaad!

pyscho_analysis.jpg"'I have this little game I play in my head when someone gets an appointment,' said Chris Matthews, the host of MSNBC's 'Hardball.' 'And I say, "Now, how did that happen?" And then someone will say, "Well, they went to school together," or "They live next door to each other," or "Their wives are friends." And you go, "Oh, yeah," and it clicks.' On the other hand, he said, 'serendipity is a big part of our lives, but it grows in direct proportion to sociability.'"
- If They Gave Nobels for Networking. . ., by Elisabeth Bumiller, The New York Times, June 5, 2005.

Further Listening: Psychoanalyis: What Is It?, by Prince Paul
Related: Letters to a Young Blogger, by David Maria Brooks

Posted at 10:50 AM in a Shallow fashion.
  May 31, 2005
Fantastic Fall

This summer, as we eagerly await the release of yet another crop of comic book movies from the Marvel/DC Comics pipeline, Twentieth Century Fox's upcoming Fantastic Four is looking to be quite a rough-and-tumble tale. Well, at least the trailers make this out to be the case, featuring little more than a series of elaborate, action-packed falls from buildings on the part of the film's heroes and villains.

After all—and most studio executives will agree with us, here—nothing is more thrilling to today's moviegoing audience than a character's being hurled from atop a great height, right? I ask you, can an intriguing sub-plot be thrown from a skyscraper? No. A complex, well-shaded character arc? Can that cling desperately to a window ledge suspended fifty stories above street level? No, of course not.

So, here we are, with the Fantastic Four's fantastic falls:

An unidentified firefighter, on the verge of falling (from a bridge)

Mr. Fantastic, also on the verge of falling, but from a building

The Thing and Doctor Doom, actually falling, also from a building

Johnny Storm/The Human Torch, also falling, also from a building

The film's director, Tim Story: soon to throw himself from the highest building in Hollywood?

Posted at 6:42 AM in a Shallow fashion.
  May 26, 2005
The O.C.'s not on tonight? I think I'll go for a swim, then

oc_caleb.jpgThursday evening, 8 o'clock sharp. I used to spend this special time perched atop my loveseat, giddily staring at the television set and mentally preparing to absorb the wonders of West Coast suburban culture as filtered to me via the broadcast networks.

And then summer arrived, and they all abandoned me. Not the networks, I mean...they're still there, doling out quality product week after week. No, I've got a very specific axe to grind. I'm talking about Peter Gallagher. Mischa Barton. Josh Schwartz. Despots of the airwaves, each and every one of them. And Schwartz? He's their tyrannical leader.

My kids think I have a problem. My eldest son, fully-grown and fresh out of culinary school, has scolded me for what he deems an "unhealthy" interest in the goings-on of fictitious characters and/or executive producers and/or series creators. But my son, you see, never understood my focus, my diligence...

How I hate my son for his lack of compassion. How I miss presiding over real family bonding, such as the antics of Ryan Atwood and his nettlesome older brother, or Kirsten Cohen and her Jewish husband.

Sitting here at work, gazing out the window upon the parking lot below...I'm a sour, lonely, bitter old man. To hell with my initial idea of taking laps in the pool; I think I'll sleep in my office tonight.

Actually, I've never seen The O.C.; I'm sure it's pretty good.

The O.C. used to air on Thursdays at 8PM EST on FOX, but then summer started. It's not yet noon, and my night is already ruined.

Earlier: O.C.-centric entries, wherein we celebrated our joyous embrace of "all things Newport Beach".

Posted at 12:00 PM in a OC-centric, Shallow fashion.
The indiscreet charms of the bourgeoisie


WHICH set of former has-beens-that-never-were returned to the glare of the spotlight earlier this month? WHO reissued their most prominent document of fame and fortune yet, in what is either the ultimate comeback or merely another attempt to cash in on the zeitgeist of bourgeoisie socialism? WHAT makes this sort of bougie urban politicism that far removed from an overriding cultural interest in Jessica Simpson's techniques for obtaining a bikini-worthy body?

Unrelatedly, Maer Roshan's Radar project is out anew this month.

And, hey, you know what? Our tried-and-true "This looks like this, which is like that, which is like this" routine never ends! We'll be here all week.

(with thanks to Adit Nathan)

Posted at 11:25 AM in a Shallow, Versus fashion.
  May 20, 2005
If Buchanan Wasn't Against the War Before, He Sure Is Now

Separated at Bulge: Saddam Hussein on the cover of The Sun (via Drudge); Pat Buchanan on the cover of SPY, May 1992.

Posted at 11:26 AM in a Shallow, Versus fashion.
The delicate art of the "If...Then" statement "exclusive"

dailynews_olympics.jpgToday's New York Daily News cover story touts the boldest of exclusives: "New York's top lawmakers have been warned: Mess around with the West Side Stadium and the Olympics are lost." Meaning, of course, that unless the proposed real-estate grabbing, massively bond-and-taxpayer-funded West Side stadium is erected near Penn Station, there can be no 2012 New York Olympics. (How very sad! New Yorkers have surely been pining for a long-term re-enactment of the hassle that was last fall's 2004 Republican National Convention, right?)

Or, as the Daily News declares in their more appropriately condensed tabloid headline parlance, "NO STADIUM, NO GAMES."

Logic and deductive reasoning? It's, for the time being at least, another Daily News exclusive!

Of course, the rival Post won't take this challenge sitting down. Look for their very own upcoming series of cover-story exclusives, including, but not limited to:


And, of course,


Sigh. It's clearly time to move to Paris, huh?

Posted at 10:15 AM in a Shallow fashion.
  May 19, 2005
The Iraq Party: Hollow Point Bullets Galore!

iraq_end.jpgThe celebration of Iraqi democracy's second launch continues. In fact, it's moved into the wacky publicity stunt phase!

Last night, as part of the ongoing launch party for the most expensive, anticipated democratic regime since Tina Brown's revamp of the U.S.S.R., an insurgent lackey escalated the war of words by hurling several bullets at Dr. Ali Hameed, an official from Iraq's Oil Ministry. Dr. Hameed responded by being pronounced dead at 8 AM!

Did somebody say CATFIGHT!!!! Oh, yeah, it's on!

Iraqi Oil Ministry official gunned down [CNN]

Posted at 9:34 AM in a Shallow fashion.
  May 15, 2005
We'll Safely Assume That the Heroin OD Is On Its Way

Lindsay Lohan at some KIIS-FM event and Janis Joplin in mid-slur

Posted at 11:52 PM in a Shallow fashion.
  May 13, 2005
The Beautiful and the Damned

Mourning Wood: Nine out ten respondents surveyed said they'd sleep with three of the above people. Can you guess which ones? (via Yahoo/Reuters)

Related: "The harrah... The harrah..."

Posted at 2:36 PM in a Shallow fashion.
  May 10, 2005
low culture Exclusive: Oh, Man, I Can't Believe We're The First Blog That Thought To Make Fun of This Thing!


Have you seen The Huffington Post yet? Isn't it sort of... funny? (Get it!?!)

Posted at 9:36 PM in a Shallow fashion.
  May 6, 2005
Krisis In Krumpland!


From, Why Is Chappelle's Show at a Halt? Not Because of Drugs, an Aide Says, by Jesse McKinley and Lola Ongunnaike, The New York Times, May 6, 2005:

Representatives of the comedian Dave Chappelle yesterday denied rumors that drugs were involved in the suspension of production of his acclaimed sketch comedy show, 'Chappelle's Show.'
Indeed, some of the internal pressures may have come from the unique style of production employed by 'Chappelle's Show,' in which dozens of comedy sketches, musical numbers and other bits are shot in no particular order and assembled later in the editing room. 'They don't necessarily have a shooting script for a set episode,' said Mr. Labov.

Also, those elaborate sets and visual effects probably don't help.

Related?: Dave Chapelle [sic]

Posted at 8:42 AM in a Shallow fashion.
  May 5, 2005
Star Wars: Revenge of Rosencrantz & Guildenstern

th-48110_R.jpgPer low culture's reliable sources deep within Skywalker Ranch, there's a good reason Revenge of the Sith is getting such glowing reviews -- Tom Stoppard wrote the script. Producer Rick McCallum insisted Lucas find a ghost writer, and Stoppard was the only writer Lucas wouldn't interfere with.

[Confirmed here]

Posted at 3:26 PM in a Shallow fashion.
  May 2, 2005
More Hard Bodies for Your Monday

Tara Reid's putty-like stomach

via ez board

Screw Cristal, With Oil Prices Through the Roof, This Is Really Decadent

Shakira's "La Tortura"

Massive Attack's "Karmacoma"

Christina Milian's "Dip It Low"

Posted at 2:30 PM in a Shallow fashion.
  April 27, 2005
Fox Searchlight, Meet Award-Winning Director Jonathan Glazer




Above: Scenes from Jonathan Glazer's 1998 video for UNKLE's Rabbit in Your Headlights
Below: Scenes from Timur Bekmambetov's 2005 feature Night Watch

Previously: Twentieth Century Fox, Meet Award-Winning Director Chris Cunningham

Posted at 12:35 PM in a Shallow fashion.
  April 26, 2005
Killing Joke

Finally, a more shocking joke than "The Aristocrats." From, Man Says 7-Year-Old Joke Led to Killing, AP, April 26, 2005:

A man shot a former co-worker to death on Easter because he was offended by a joke told seven years ago, authorities said Monday.

Stanford Douglas Jr., 29, was arrested on murder charges Sunday after a two-hour standoff with police. He allegedly shot William Berkeyheiser, 62, three times in the chest and shoulder on March 27 at Berkeyheiser's suburban home.

Prosecutor Diane Gibbons said that Douglas told police he had been thinking about killing Berkeyheiser since 1998, when the two men worked at a Philadelphia nursing home and Berkeyheiser told a joke that offended Douglas.

The prosecutor would not say what the joke was.

The downside: This joke was clearly hurtful.

The upside: It was also clearly memorable.

Disclaimer: low culture does not advocate laughing at people getting killed. That would not be funny. In fact, it would be totally hack.

Posted at 2:44 PM in a Shallow fashion.
  April 21, 2005
Von Trigga, Please

That Word Must Mean Something Different in Danish: The Manderlay trailer.

The trailer for Lars Von Trier's latest exercise in actor torture, Manderlay, is out. If Von Trier brings his characteristic subtlety and humanism to the project, I'm sure it will transcend the Tarantino-esque language of his trailer. And it might even be better than what it looks like: a remake of Gualtiero Jacopetti and Franco Prosperi's execrable Goodbye, Uncle Tom.

Eh, who am I kidding? This thing has Mandingo 2005 written all over it. I'm guessing the reason Nicole Kidman's not in it is that it offends her kids. Wonder what New Wave song will close this one out.

[via Greg.org]

Posted at 5:54 PM in a Shallow fashion.
As A Public Service, We Offer A Guide to The Differences Between C.K. Williams and Louis C.K.

C.K. TK: Williams, left, and Louis, right.

C.K. Williams won the Pulitzer Prize and this year's $100,000 Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize.

Louis C.K. won an Emmy for The Chris Rock Show and is developing a sitcom for HBO.

C.K. Williams was born in New Jersey.

Louis C.K. was born in New York.

C.K. Williams published Flesh and Blood.

Louis C.K. made a joke about Bill Clinton breastfeeding puppies.

C.K. Williams wrote:

A squalid wayside inn, reeking barn-brewed vodka,
cornhusk cigarettes that cloy like acrid incense
in a village church, kegs of rotten, watered wine,
but then a prayer book's worn-thin pages,
and over them, as though afloat in all that fetidness,
my great-grandfather's disembodied head.

Louis C.K. wrote: "Dirty Dee, you're a baddy daddy lamatai tebby chai!"

C.K. Williams has a head of salt and pepper hair.

Louis C.K. is bald.

C.K. Williams has been published by Slate.

Louis C.K. has his own website.

Posted at 8:17 AM in a Shallow fashion.
  April 20, 2005
Adventures in Photoblogging: "I'm Rich, Shagitz!"



"Why is this leather interior different from all other interiors?": A Pesach caravan of Mitzvah Tanks led by a white stretch SUV limo head uptown on Sixth Avenue and West Fourth Street; noon, April 20, 2004.

Posted at 1:13 PM in a Shallow fashion.
  April 19, 2005
In Preparation For The Release of A Lot Like Love, Instructions for Ashton Kutcher Lovers

ashdog.jpgCongratulations on adopting or purchasing your Ashton Kutcher. In the coming days and weeks you will bond with your new Ashton Kutcher in ways that you can only begin to imagine at this time. Ask anyone who's welcomed Ashton Kutcher into their lives, and they will tell you that he becomes a fast member of the family, brings hours of fun, laughter, happiness, and joy to children, adults, and seniors.

But in order to enjoy your Ashton Kutcher to the fullest, there are a few things you need to know to take care of him the best way possible. Ashton Kutcher is an independent, mischievous animal; he needs attention, love, and a little discipline to feel comfortable and safe in your home. These helpful hints will make your life with Ashton Kutcher that much easier.

First off, know that in the wild Ashton Kutchers roam in packs, also known as 'posses.' This is an important fact, since as you bond with your Ashton Kutcher, he will come to think of you as his posse. Ashton Kutcher is loyal and intensely protective of his posse and he has a tendency to bond closest with the older alpha-female of the posse. Some even say Ashton Kutchers are nature's 'Mama's boys.'

Continue reading...
Posted at 5:19 PM in a Shallow fashion.
King of Kings or King of Pop?

Through all the accusations of pederasty, paedophilia, and boy-fucking, fans of both the Papacy and Michael Jackson have stood tall. Can you tell the difference? Click through for the answer.




Posted at 1:50 PM in a Shallow fashion.
  April 17, 2005
Finally, The Liberal Media Reveals the Truth

It's Gotta Be The Shoes: Ann Coulter on the cover of TIME, April 25, 2005

Posted at 11:04 PM in a Shallow fashion.
  April 15, 2005
I Learned It From Watching You, Drew!

Yankee Gary Sheffield inappropriately gropes at a fan at Fenway Park last night; Jimmy Fallon inappropriately gropes at Drew Barrymore in Fever Pitch.

Many have argued about whether and how powerfully movies can influence our behavior. Should filmmakers bear responsibility when the scenes they present as fantasy are reenacted by overzealous fans? Generally, we prefer to encourage freedom of speech and personal responsibility, but when a filmic scene of overly intimate contact across the low wall at Fenway Park is so eerily reprised at the same spot in real life, it's pretty clear where the idea came from.

Posted at 6:31 PM in a Shallow fashion.
A definitive and comprehensive list of African-American actors and characters appearing in films directed by Stanley Kubrick
kubrick_jamesearljones.jpgJames Earl Jones
as Lt. Lothar Zogg in 1964's Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb

Kills thousands.

kubrick_scatmancrothers.jpgScatman Crothers
as Dick Hallorann in 1980's The Shining


kubrick_dorian.jpgDorian Harewood
as Eightball in 1987's Full Metal Jacket


EARLIER: As 'Wicker Park' approaches, we present this definitive and comprehensive list of good, quality films starring Josh Hartnett

Posted at 11:39 AM in a Shallow fashion.
  April 14, 2005
Hommage à Nichols

Here's To You: Todd Solondz's Palindromes, 2005; Mike Nichols' The Graduate, 1967.

Posted at 7:56 AM in a Shallow fashion.
  April 11, 2005
Special FOX Double Feature: I Newhart Huckabees

Hi, Bob: The Bob Newhart Show, season 1; I ♥ Huckabees.

Posted at 10:31 AM in a Shallow fashion.
  April 8, 2005
Please Extinguish All Votives Before Takeoff

mass1.jpgSalvete in VaticanAir! Recumbete et relaxate in levamentum dum vos refovemus cum mantele madido.

Welcome to VaticanAir! Stretch out and relax in comfort as we refresh you with a moist washcloth.

mass5.jpgProbate defigere balteum vestrum per acensum descensionemque.

Be sure to fasten your seatbelt during takeoff and landing.

mass2.jpgGaudeamus praebere varietatem de materias lectorium pro iucunditate vobis.

We are happy to offer a variety of reading materials for your pleasure.

mass3.jpgServabitur prandium parvum per fugum.

Light in-flight refreshment will be served.

mass4.jpgCistas vestri portabitur cum curam maioram.

Your luggage will be handled with the greatest care.

[Indulgete omnia errata mea, magistri mei...]

Posted at 2:49 PM in a Shallow fashion.
Popestock 2005


Reports of the "festive" atmosphere in Rome, where hundreds of thousands of pilgrims have camped out to celebrate grieve the death of the Pope, can't help but prompt speculation about how many little miraculous conceptions -- immaculate or otherwise -- might arise from this event. A clever newspaper editor should keep track of some of these pilgrims and then check maternity records in 9 months or so.

Of course, it should be no surprise that young love can blossom in even the gravest circumstances:


Posted at 12:06 PM in a Shallow fashion.
  April 7, 2005
It Really Depends On What Your Criteria For Success Is

High Rate of Failure Estimated for Silicone Breast Implants, by Gardiner Harris, The New York Times, April 7, 2005.

Posted at 1:59 PM in a Shallow fashion.
  April 5, 2005
Presenting Todd Solondz's Soon-to-Be NAACP Image Award-Winning Film, Palindromes


Better make room next to that 2001 Impact award for Story Telling.

Is anyone else looking forward to when Solondz makes the John Waters-like transition into Broadway musical kitsch maestro? Welcome to the Dollhouse is basically ready. (It even has a killer signature song.) Happiness, on the other hand, is a harder sell.

Well, people paid to see Assassins.

Posted at 5:34 PM in a Shallow fashion.
  April 4, 2005
low culture Exclusive: Prince Harry's Wedding Outfit


Related: Prince Charles Pushes Wedding Back a Day.
Elsewhere: Deconstructing Harry

Posted at 7:08 PM in a Shallow fashion.
  April 1, 2005
On April Fool's Day, The Whole World (Wide Web) Is A Target
by Sarah Boxer

fools.jpgBloggers, or 'Web loggers,' may not have invented April Fool's Day (that would be Pope Gregory with his conversion to the eponymous Gregorian Calendar in 1582), but as with so many other things, they have taken credit for improving on it.

As the clock struck midnight on April first, several prominent bloggers created puckish, at times almost humorous, stabs at April Fool's content. As you might expect, many were parodies of other websites and the conventions of the medium. "Bloggers are a world onto themselves," said Jeff Jarvis, who runs the website Buzzmachine.com and who actually called this reporter himself assuming she'd be doing this story. "So, of course, they'd parody their world."

Continue reading...
Posted at 7:54 PM in a Satirical, Shallow fashion.
A Modest Proposal


Father Guido Sarducci

Posted at 6:45 PM in a Shallow fashion.
One Word For You: Premium

Remember the party scene in The Graduate where Benjamin Braddock is buttonholed by his father's friend who has one word for him, "Just one word"?

Well, we have one word for you: Premium.

Due to the amazing success of our reader feedback module (you know, the little "Did you find this content useful?" radio buttons that have sprouted up on this site like wild flowers on the side of the highway), we've decided to go premium. Following the successful model of Salon and several other pay-per-view sites, we've implemented a premium area to provide our core readers with the best this site has to offer.

Membership has its privileges:
- Only Premium subscribers can turn off pop-ups and sirens.
- Premium members get a 10% discount at the low culture store.
- Premium members get customized content: no more 'Shallow' posts for all you political junkies; no more 'Grave' for all you pop culture vultures.
- Premium members are automatically signed up to receive information from our advertisers and special weekly e-promotions.

Sign up now!

Posted at 5:55 PM in a April Shallow, Shallow fashion.
  March 29, 2005
Beard Hacker: The low culture Guide to Shaving

From, The Five Obstructions, Jørgen Leth, 2003.

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...
Posted at 8:58 PM in a Shallow fashion.
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?

Posted at 7:33 PM in a Shallow fashion.
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.

Posted at 5:12 PM in a Shallow fashion.
  March 28, 2005
Separated At Mirth

Once Were Worriers: Ben Stiller and Janeane Garofalo in 1999 (via CNN)

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...
Posted at 8:58 AM in a Shallow fashion.
  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!]

Posted at 2:21 PM in a Satirical, Shallow fashion.
  March 25, 2005
New From the Network That Brought You Suddenly Susan


Now only $9.99 at The NBC Store.

Posted at 11:30 AM in a Shallow fashion.
  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.
- "Moore's War", by Judy Bachrach, Vanity Fair, March 2005.

Since Moore's last film was so successfully at solving the problem it addressed, here are some other topics we hope he tackles with his magical movie camera:

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!"

Posted at 3:40 PM in a Shallow fashion.
Out-of-Context Outrage!



From Reuters: "Penitents take part in the Holy Week procession of the 'Santo Cristo de la Santa Cruz' brotherhood in Palma de Mallorca, late March 23, 2005. Hundreds of Easter processions take place throughout Spain during Holy Week around the clock drawing thousands of visitors. Picture taken March 23, 2005." (REUTERS/Dani Cardona)


Posted at 12:05 PM in a Shallow fashion.
  March 23, 2005
Sometimes the World Writes Its Own Satire

Main, Michael Jackson, Santa Maria, CA, March 23, 2005 (via Reuters); inset, Tommy Smith and John Carlos, Mexico City Olympics, 1968 (via Sixties City)

Earlier: Dancin' Fool and Radical Shnook

Posted at 10:45 PM in a Shallow fashion.
Real Life Workplace: Deep Inside the CIA

bristow.jpgToday'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.
Jack Bristow: It's my pleasure, I'm sure. I am, however, a very busy man, so let's get down to it.

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.
Jack Bristow: Fine. But know that some things are classified.

low culture: Right. So, you work for the CIA, right?
Jack Bristow: Classified.

low culture: But you previously worked for an organization called SD-6, right?
Jack Bristow: Again, classified. I cannot answer these questions and if you persist in asking them, I'll have to terminate this interview.

low culture: Got it. Okay, so, you, um, you work with your daughter, Sydney, right?
Jack Bristow: Yes, that's true.

low culture: Your daughter is so hot.
Jack Bristow: Pardon me?

low culture: Nothing. So, is it difficult working so closely with a family member?
Jack Bristow: There are challenges inherent in any workplace. Ours is no different. People occasionally don't get along, alliances and relationships shift or breakdown. These things happen.

low culture: Right, but, you had problems with your daughter for a long time, is that correct? Didn't you kill her mom?
Jack Bristow: What? What sort of interview is this? I'm going to have to hang up now unless you refrain from such inappropriate personal questions.

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?
Jack Bristow: Weird me 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?
Jack Bristow: Now you listen to me...

low culture: Wait, wait. You misunderstand. I apologize: English is my second language. I'm French Canadian.
Jack Bristow: Really? I was born in Ontario.

low culture: No way! Did that make it hard to get high level CIA clearance?
Jack Bristow: That's classified.

low culture: Oh, right, right. So, your daughter was dating a colleague. Is that strange?
Jack Bristow: Why so many questions about my daughter?

low culture: Have I been asking so many questions about your daughter?
Jack Bristow: Yes, in fact you have.

low culture: Oh, she's just so super hot. What's her email address?
Jack Bristow: Now you listen to me, this is the least professional interview I've ever been subjected to!

low culture: Alright, alright. Is it like yours? I assume it's something like [email protected]. Would that work?
Jack Bristow: This interview is over. I don't even know how you got this number.

low culture: Can you just tell me one last thing? One last thing for all the job hunters, employers, and the like? Please?
Jack Bristow: Fine. One question.

low culture: What does she smell like?
Jack Bristow: Whom?

low culture: Your daughter, Sydney. I kind of imagine she smells like soap, but also a little bit of sweaty b.o.
Jack Bristow: What?

low culture: Clean, sporty girl b.o. like a field hockey player. Not gross b.o. like some sweaty freak.
Jack Bristow: Rest assured, you will be disappeared within 24 hours.
low culture: Hello? Sounds like you're still on the line. Helllllo? Agent Bristow? Jack...? Sydney?

Related: If you have any information on Jack Bristow's daughter (particularly photos), please email low culture. (Within 24 hours at the latest.)

Posted at 9:45 PM in a Satirical, Shallow fashion.
Deaf, Dumb and Bald

matlincar.jpgTotally 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.

Posted at 7:17 AM in a Satirical, Shallow fashion.
  March 22, 2005
Sixty-Nine Love Songs (Or, "Pat O'Brien's Awesome Rehab Playlist")

Featuring "Honey, Just Allow Me One More Chance (To Eat Your Ass)."

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

Posted at 9:56 PM in a Shallow fashion.
  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


Guess What I Won't Be Seeing: Above, Guess Who, 2005; below, Guess Who's Coming to Dinner, 1967.

But, man, its go-cart racing scene kicks the original's ass!

Posted at 9:45 PM in a Shallow fashion.
Paging Andy Borowitz


I'm sure you have something hilariously topical to say about this, sir:
An Al Jazeera IPO?, by Aaron Smith, CNN/Money, March 18, 2005.

Don't let Jay Leno make the awesome jokes about "exploding markets" and/or Control Boiler Room first!

Posted at 6:25 PM in a Shallow fashion.
R.I.P. John DeLorean, 1925-2005


1980s carmaker DeLorean dies at 80, CNN.com, March 20, 2005.

Posted at 2:00 PM in a Shallow fashion.
  March 17, 2005
low culture 2.0 (minus 1, minus 1, minus 1, plus 1)

three_friends.jpgThis 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.

Posted at 9:34 AM in a Shallow fashion.
  March 16, 2005

lilytones.jpgAlthough 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.

Posted at 9:09 AM in a Shallow fashion.
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...

Dear Miranda,
My boyfriend isn't circumcised and it kind of creeps me out. What can I do to get over it?

Dear Skeeved,
Isn't it liberating to talk about sex like this? Getting your problems out in the open can really put things in perspective.

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!

Posted at 8:29 AM in a Shallow fashion.
  March 14, 2005
We Gotta Thank Our Parents, First and Foremost

worlds_greatest.jpgOn 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)

Posted at 4:12 PM in a Shallow fashion.
'The Boots Report': Jake in Progress: ABC's Midseason 'Hip' Replacement

jake_progress.jpgTo 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."

icon_stevie_boots.gificon_stevie_boots.gificon_stevie_boots.gif (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.

Posted at 10:58 AM in a Shallow fashion.
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!

Posted at 8:38 AM in a Shallow fashion.
Everyone Says "Yah Crazy!" (Or, Welcome to the Annie Hall of Mirrors)



s_green.jpgSeth Green as Joe, Radio Days.

Physical Appearance: Tiny, boyish
Physical resemblance to director: High.
Demeanor: Nervous, fearful of women.
Personality resemblance to director: High.

j_cusack.jpgJohn Cusack as David Shayne, Bullets Over Broadway.

Physical Appearance: Bespectacled, stubbled, handsome.
Physical resemblance to director: None.
Demeanor: Nervous, condescending to women.
Personality resemblance to director: High.

e_norton.jpgEdward Norton as Holden Spence, Everyone Says I Love You.

Physical Appearance: Slight, thinning hair, poorly dressed.
Physical resemblance to director: High.
Demeanor: Nervous, condescending to women.
Personality resemblance to director: High.

k_branagh.jpgKenneth Branagh as Lee Simon, Celebrity.

Physical Appearance: Bearded, handsome, given to tweeds.
Physical resemblance to director: Moderate.
Demeanor: Nervous, condescending to women.
Personality resemblance to director: High.

j_biggs.jpgJason Biggs as Jerry Falk, Anything Else.

Physical Appearance: Small, twitchy, unattractive.
Physical resemblance to director: High.
Demeanor: Nervous, condescending to women.
Personality resemblance to director: High.

w_ferrell.jpgWill Ferrell as Hobie, Melinda and Melinda.

Physical Appearance: Tall, oddly attractive.
Physical resemblace to director: None.
Demeanor: TBD.
Personality resemblance to director: TBD.

Posted at 5:34 AM in a Shallow fashion.
  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 RobertsAshton Kutcher on the side of a bus, advertising his new film Guess WhoLauren Graham on ABC Family's 11 am showing of Gilmore GirlsLizzie Grubman in the post just below this one…

Send your seen on the scenes to low culture!

Posted at 11:08 PM in a Shallow fashion.
Brief Thoughts on PoweR Girls

For those who didn't witness the grand guignol debut of MTV's PoweR Girls, the show follows four primped PR interns and Lizzie Grubman – the suppurating spin doctor, that leathery, bottle-blonde grotesquerie – who is established as the show's object of aspiration. It seemed impossible that a reality-show godhead could get more nauseating than short-fingered vulgarian Donald Trump, but with PoweR Girls, MTV's endlessly innovative programming incubi have found reality TV's latest emetic. Is it Lizzie's factory-made face, the impossible sense of entitlement, or, lest we forget, the fact that she drove Daddy's Mercedes into a crowd of people?

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.

For a group of people whose entire job is to kiss ass, these women don't quite manage to ingratiate themselves to the audience. The half-hour was enough to make me wish her offices weren't on Lafayette but were instead in the World Trade Center. PoweR Girls was like watching a quick-cut adaptation of Bret Ellis' Glamorama, but at least you could imagine those ciphers were attractive – with Power Girls we get four repellant wannabe's and one revolting queen bee. God knows I'll watch it next week – it was excellent.

Posted at 11:01 PM in a Shallow fashion.
This job'll require a hammer, some nails, and a good case of the O.C.

oc_juliecooper_det.jpgI'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.

Posted at 3:51 PM in a OC-centric, Shallow fashion.
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".)

Posted at 10:45 AM in a Shallow fashion.
  March 9, 2005


Come on, Michael.

Michelle Malkin ditched that look weeks ago.

[via Reuters]

Posted at 11:09 PM in a Shallow fashion.
Am I Excited About This Film? Can't Say.

mystery_man.jpgFrom Done Deal:

Title: Unknown
Log Line: Being kept under wraps.
Writer: Darby Parker and Matt Waynee
Agent: Jon Huddle and Shaun Redick of ICM
Buyer: GreeneStreet Films
Price: n/a
Genre: Thriller
Logged: 3/8/05
More: Rick Lashbrook, John S. Schwartz, and Stronghold Entertainment's Darby Parker will produce. Simon Brand will direct. GreeneStreet will handle foreign sales. Jim Caviezel, Greg Kinnear, Joe Pantoliano, Bridget Moynahan, Jeremy Sisto and Peter Stormare will star. This film will be independently financed.

Posted at 6:35 PM in a Shallow fashion.
  March 5, 2005
lc Regrets: A Look Back Our Occasional Lapses in Judgment

a_winter.jpgLast 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.

Earlier: New York Second;
Twentieth Century Fox, meet award-winning director Chris Cunningham.

Related: Paramount/MTV Taking a Napster

Posted at 5:39 PM in a Shallow fashion.
  March 3, 2005
An O.C. exercise: The Five Obstructions (Well, three, at least)

oc_tate_dancing.jpgBeing 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.

Posted at 3:35 PM in a OC-centric, Shallow fashion.
  March 2, 2005
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.

Posted at 1:47 PM in a Shallow fashion.
  March 1, 2005
low culture: now in convenient t-shirt form

Serving Suggestion: Dumb shirts for smart people, and vice versa

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.

Then it hit us: Poorly made T-shirts, undergarments, and mugs with clever slogans: those would sell, right? Heck, even halfway clever slogans might sell.

So we went with the halfway clever slogans. With that in mind, we present to you lowculturemart, home of our new, excessively large line of overpriced, crummy products.

Buy our crap, please: Fonzworth will be so proud.

Posted at 7:06 AM in a Shallow fashion.
  February 28, 2005
Coming Soon to a Theater Near You


Title: 2 Million Dollar Baby
Log Line: Sequel to the Oscar winning film. A female boxer from the wrong side of the tracks fights her way back from heaven to kill the man who snuffed her out.
Writer: Brian Helgeland
Agent: CAA
Buyer: Warner Bros.
Price: n/a
Genre: spiritual boxing drama
Logged: 2/28/05
More: Clint Eastwood will direct, star, and score. Oscar winners Hilary Swank and Morgan Freeman will reprise their roles

Posted at 9:28 PM in a Satirical, Shallow fashion.
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.

Posted at 1:15 PM in a Shallow fashion.
  February 24, 2005
Our definitive thoughts on Paris Hilton (A rousing clarion call through the night!)

paris_hilton_whited.jpgIn 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.

paris hilton nude celebrity sex tape rick solomon paris hilton sucking cock sex tape lesbian sex nude celebrity paris hilton fucking sucking nick carter maroon 5 st. louis rams nfl commissioner paul tagliabue naked celebs naked paris hilton nude celebrity sextapes fucking paris hilton blackberry stolen photos sex tapes paris hilton gay sex paris hilton tits paris hilton pussy paris hilton fucking sucking tits cock pussy sucking fucking paris hilton sex celebrity nudity hollywood whores dirty paris hilton paris hilton nude celebrity sex tape rick solomon paris hilton sucking cock sex tape lesbian sex nude celebrity paris hilton fucking sucking nick carter naked celebs naked paris hilton nude celebrity sextapes fucking paris hilton blackberry stolen photos sex tapes paris hilton gay sex paris hilton tits paris hilton pussy paris hilton fucking sucking tits cock pussy sucking fucking paris hilton sex celebrity nudity hollywood whores dirty paris hilton paris hilton nude celebrity sex tape rick solomon paris hilton sucking cock sex tape lesbian sex nude celebrity paris hilton fucking sucking naked celebs naked paris hilton nude celebrity sextapes fucking paris hilton blackberry stolen photos sex tapes paris hilton gay sex paris hilton tits paris hilton pussy paris hilton fucking sucking tits cock pussy sucking fucking paris hilton sex celebrity nudity hollywood whores dirty paris hilton paris hilton nude celebrity sex tape rick solomon paris hilton sucking cock sex tape lesbian sex nude celebrity paris hilton fucking celebs naked paris hilton nude celebrity sextapes fucking paris hilton blackberry stolen photos sex tapes paris hilton gay sex paris hilton tits paris hilton pussy paris hilton fucking sucking tits cock pussy sucking fucking paris hilton sex celebrity nudity hollywood whores dirty paris hilton paris hilton nude celebrity sex tape rick solomon paris hilton sucking cock sex tape lesbian sex nude celebrity paris hilton fucking sucking naked celebs naked paris hilton nude celebrity sextapes fucking paris hilton blackberry stolen photos sex tapes paris hilton gay sex paris hilton tits paris hilton pussy paris hilton fucking sucking tits cock pussy sucking fucking paris hilton sex celebrity nudity hollywood whores first i'm going to bend you over then i'm going to fuck you from behind with you on your knees and your ass in my face dirty paris hilton

Posted at 10:56 AM in a Shallow fashion.
  February 23, 2005
"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...

ba_oscar2005_leo.jpgLeonardo DiCaprio
Not honored for his role as
Luke Brower in 1991's Growing Pains

Getting into character for this part required hours and hours of sleeping in a classroom closet. And being unbearably fucking handsome. Or is that unbearably fucking homeless? Aw, fuck it, look how goddamned cute this little street urchin is! First he stole our hearts, and then he fucked Katherine Hepburn.

ba_oscar2005_depp.jpgJohnny Depp
Not honored for his role as
Officer Tom Hanson in 1987's 21 Jump Street

Yeah, that's stubble on my chin. I haven't shaved in like two weeks, you know. You can totally tell. I'm thinking of growing it out. What? Huh? Yeah, that's a fucking gun in my backpack. It goes nicely with those drugs in your pocket, punk. You, against the lockers, now!

ba_oscar2005_clint.jpgClint Eastwood
Not honored for his role as
Philo Beddoe in 1978's Every Which Way But Loose

Because who doesn't like to fuck monkeys? (This character was purportedly spun off to create the hit 1979 television series, B.J. and the Bear.)

ba_oscar2005_jamie.jpgJamie Foxx
Not honored for his role as
Wanda the Ugly Chick in 1990's In Living Color

Being blind is one thing. But the foulest lay imaginable?

ba_oscar2005_cheadle.jpgDon Cheadle
Not honored for his role as
Basher Tarr in 2001's Ocean's Eleven

Getting into character for this part required hours and hours of listening to George Clooney and Steven Soderbergh's pitching each other various TV series and film projects. All of which seemed like good ideas at the time.

Posted at 1:03 PM in a Shallow fashion.
  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.

Posted at 8:46 PM in a Satirical, Shallow fashion.
  February 21, 2005
Be Excellent to Each Other: A One Act Play


Secretary: Alex Winter for you, Mr. Reeves.
Keanu Reeves: All right, put 'im through.
Hey, Alex.
Alex Winter: Ted Theodore Logan!
KR: Ha ha. What's up, man?
AW: Excellent!
KR: Funny. So, what's up, Alex?
AW: Heinous!
KR: Right, right. So, what's goin' on?
AW: Nothin' bro. Just calling to congratulate you on the boffo Constantine box office, man. Congratulations.
KR: Oh, thanks. Yeah, it's a good movie. We're all really proud of it.
AW: Cool, cool. Did I ever tell you how much I loved that Matrix series? God, it was so good!
KR: Aw, I'm flattered, dude.
So, what's up with you?
AW: Oh, you know me. Writing, auditioning, do my thing. I'm still in the game, you know. I mean, not in the Constantine type game, but you know it's like a trade-off: you make those hundred million dollar flicks, but you gotta, like, get on that treadmill and sell it, promote it.
KR: Right...
AW: Yeah, I'm totally happy where I am, you know? Remember when we were kids, man, and we'd dream about our careers between set-ups? God, we were so fucking naive, dude! I wanted to be the next David Lynch, you were gonna be the next Marlon Brando!
KR: Funny. Hey, Alex—
AW: And you said you'd be my Kyle MacLachlan and star in all my movies.
KR: Right—
AW: Anyway.
KR: Anyway.
AW: So, any sidekick parts in your new flicks?
KR: No. Sorry, man.
AW: What about, like, secondary sort of—
KR: Alex, you know, the thing is, I'm taking some time off since I worked, like, nonstop since '99.
AW: What about The Night Watchman?
KR: Alex, I gotta—
AW: What about Il Mare?
KR: Shoot, Alex. I've got a meeting and—
AW: Cool, cool. Let's talk again later.
KR: Totally. Good to hear from you, man.
AW: Hey, do you know anything about the Lost Boys remake? Wouldn't it be hilarious if I played the grandpa? Like, in age make-up, you know?
KR: Yeah, if I hear anything—
AW: I mean, I did age makeup in Bogus.
KR: Alex. I got people outside the door. Talk to you later?
AW: Yeah, yeah. Well, congrats again on Constantine. I mean, wow!
KR: Thanks.
AW: Well, um, be excellent, Ted.
KR: Be excellent... Bill.

Earlier: Two Friends Talking: A One Act Play

Posted at 11:39 AM in a Shallow fashion.
  February 18, 2005
Seriously, Who Appointed This Guy an Expert on Women Anyway?

You Do the Math: Harvard President Lawrence Summers

"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."
-Furor Lingers as Harvard Chief Gives Details of Talk on Women, by Patrick D. Healy and Sara Rimer, The New York Times, Feb. 18, 2005

Posted at 8:13 PM in a Shallow fashion.
  February 17, 2005
If Brandon Davis Swallowed Mischa Barton Whole...

...he'd probably look a lot like his older brother Jason.

Posted at 10:01 AM in a Shallow fashion.
  February 16, 2005
Conan O'Brien Endorses Ibrahim Jafari

Comedy Gold: Iraq's possible new Prime Minister, Ibrahim Jafari (via The Washington Post)
The Man Who Would Be Jafari: Andy Blitz (via Seattle Post-Intelligencer)

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...."

Posted at 5:19 PM in a Shallow fashion.
No Disassemble! No Disassemble! (Or, How to Save Money on Caskets)

The Few, The Proud: Johnny 5 alive and in action.

"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."
- A New Model Army Soldier Rolls Closer to Battle, by Tim Weiner, The New York Times, Feb. 16, 2005.

Posted at 4:56 PM in a Shallow fashion.
Toying with Nuclear Annihilation, or, The Ultimate DVD Release Cross-Promotion

donniedarko_dvd.jpgFalling Fuel Tank May Have Caused Iran Blast - TV, Reuters:

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.

"A local source said the explosion could have been the result of the falling of an empty fuel tank from an Iranian plane," Al-Alam said.

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.)

Posted at 3:34 PM in a Shallow fashion.
  February 15, 2005
Unflattering wire service photos that cause us to think maybe these reporters should be locked up, after all

Time magazine correspondent Matthew Cooper, left, and New York Times reporter Judith Miller, right

Posted at 4:39 PM in a Shallow fashion.
"What do you mean I'm contractually obligated to wear that thing?"

Access Hollywood "reporter" Nancy O'Dell sports Wendy Pepper's winning abomination from Project Runway

"But Nancy, saffron is so hot right now."

Posted at 9:53 AM in a Shallow fashion.
  February 14, 2005
Building a Better Soundtrack (Or, What, No "Sister Christian"?)

It should be noted that the Inside Deep Throat soundtrack is killer, laced with pounding hits from the '70s. - A Little Variety, Inside Deep Throat Blog, Feb. 4, 2005

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
"Brand New Key," by Melanie
(from Boogie Nights)

"Jungle Boogie," by Kool & the Gang
(from Pulp Fiction)

"Superfly," by Curtis Mayfield
(from Superfly)

"Love Is Strange," by Mickey & Sylvia
(from Dirty Dancing)

"Draggin' the Line," by Tommy James & The Shondells
(from Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me)

The Inside Deep Throat Soundtrack will, no doubt, be available in stores soon.

Posted at 9:43 PM in a Shallow fashion.
What? They're Different People!?! (And Those Are Different Magazines!?!)

Separated at the Kleenex Box: Brooke Burns, Maxim, Feb. 2005... Brooke Burke, Stuff, March 2005

Posted at 3:39 PM in a Shallow fashion.
All Things Considered, It's Not the Worst KISS Tie-In Ever

Stick It Up: Former KISS billboard-turned-roof (via The New York Times)

That would be The KISS Kasket.

Posted at 3:18 PM in a Shallow fashion.
Even College Dropouts Find the Work of Tony Kushner Inspirational

Kanye West at the Grammy's and Emma Thompson in Angels in America

Posted at 2:14 AM in a Shallow, Versus fashion.
Old Timers

Sunday's New York Times embraces the Point-Counterpoint, albeit in entirely different sections.

From Week In Review, Balding Rockers, Big Money:

But according to a new list of the 50 top-earning pop stars published in Rolling Stone, over the hill is the new golden pasture. Half the top 10 headliners are older than 50, and two are over 60...This means that, while it is good to be the next big thing, it is better to be a-couple-of-big-things-ago. Though pop music glorifies the young and the new, it actually sells these qualities at a discount..."In five or six years you're going to see Echo and the Bunnymen and New Order and the Cure getting the high ticket prices," Mr. Calderone said, referring to a generation of bands that is not yet content to rest on its oldies.

From Arts & Leisure, We Hate the 80's:

Yet despite the grass-roots enthusiasm and VH1 dogma - not to mention millions of dollars in marketing - the 80's are not selling...some label executives said they had turned away former stars who came shopping for new record contracts. "I just wasn't convinced that the songs were compelling enough to compete in today's marketplace," said Andrew Slater, president of Capitol Records, who says he passed on both Duran Duran and Billy Idol...But those lucrative concerts play to fans eager for one (or two) glorious nights of nostalgia, not those interested in watching the band try to grow.

Posted at 12:57 AM in a Shallow fashion.
  February 13, 2005
low culture Exclusive: Eustace Tilley Speaks

eustace.jpgThere is no getting rid of him. He’s the enigma who came to stay.
- Louis Menand, Mystery Man, The New Yorker, Feb. 14 & 21, 2005.

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...
Posted at 3:19 PM in a Satirical, Shallow fashion.
  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,

Eeyore doesn't see himself as gloomy; he just has low expectations... Eeyore's tiny bright pink bow on his tail, the one hint of color against his gray, is a perfect symbol of the kernel of joy that occasionally surfaces in Eeyore.
So bring on the ultra-pink plastered smiles - the good folks at Pfizer et al. would be proud.

(Big ups, Patrick)

Posted at 1:55 AM in a Shallow fashion.
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.

debbierowe.jpgUnfortunately 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:

The drawing has been framed and signed on the back by Debbie Rowe and includes the message, "Best wishes, enjoy from my collection…Debbie Rowe." She has also included a doodle of a face below her signature. Debbie Rowe is known for being Michael Jackson's second wife and the mother of his first two children, Prince Michael I and Paris Jackson.
The item has yet to register a single bid.

ivanaapprent.jpgOr 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.

hoggies.jpgMost 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.

A phone call from One Tree Hill hunk Chad Michael Murray is going for over $600, and an Ashlee Simpson concert experience (start your jokes) is already fetching over $3000.

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."

Posted at 1:08 AM in a Shallow fashion.
  February 10, 2005
Scalp thee not, knave, for the O.C. awaits

oc_manifestdestiny.jpgYou 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.

Posted at 7:01 PM in a OC-centric, Shallow fashion.
The Celesbian Dating Game

celesbian_logo.gifEditor'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.

Coming soon: Famous people of color should hook up with other famous people of color.

Posted at 4:37 PM in a Shallow fashion.
  February 8, 2005
Texas Hoax?

pc-th.jpgAccording to the New York Times, Texas Homos, a play about... well, guess, was written by one Jan Buttram.


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:

"Ms. Buttram doesn't quite know when to stop; the momentum she builds is squandered by a drawn-out denoument."

Posted at 8:45 PM in a Shallow fashion.
What Ever Happened to Baby Paris?


But cha AAH, Nicky, ya AAH in that chair.

Posted at 2:38 PM in a Shallow fashion.
Who Says the French Aren't With Us?


Actress and Johnny Depp's baby mama Vanessa Paradis shows her support for the Iraqi elections.

Posted at 1:18 PM in a Shallow fashion.
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:

A successful magazine launch is always fun for the serious gamer.

Unless that's a 30,012 word essay, I'd pass.

Nothing says party at the grotto like a formal handshake with "rockstar" Uncle Kracker.

(Screenshots courtesy Gamespot)

Posted at 12:30 PM in a Shallow fashion.
  February 7, 2005
The George W. Bush Book Club (All Hack Edition)

charlotte_hack.jpgSince The New Yorker's a double this week, and Andy Borowitz has been spreading himself a bit thin lately, I'm gonna take bad comedy matters into my own hands.

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.
- Bush's Official Reading List, and a Racy Omission, by Elisabeth Bumiller, The New York Times, Feb. 7, 2005.

Also on George W. Bush's reading list:

The Five Thousand Dead Iraqi People You Meet in Heaven

Beats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Abu Ghraib

Baby-killers' Club Friends Forever # 12: Wolfowitz and the Disaster Date

Me Talk Pretty One Day

Blank : The Power of Thinking Without Thinking

He's Just Not That Into You: The No-Excuses Truth to Understanding Gays

Dreams from My Father : A Story of Golf and Inheritance

This I Believe: An A to B of a Life

Posted at 10:19 PM in a Shallow fashion.
  February 6, 2005
Things About Which I Am Newly Excited

Ford Mustang convertible
Diet Pepsi (and P. Diddy and Carson Daly and Wilmer Valderrama)
Olympus M:Rope
Ameriquest Mortgage
FedEx Kinko’s (and Burt Reynolds)
Bud Light (and Cedric the Entertainer )
Volvo (and Virgin Galactic and Richard Branson)
Diet Pepsi (and Cindy Crawford and Carson Kressley)
Godaddy.com (and enormous breasts)
The Longest Yard
Bud Light
The Longest Yard
McDonald’s (and Abraham Lincoln)
The Simpsons
Visa Check Card (and Marvel Comics)
Ameriquest Mortgage
Quizno’s (and Baby Bob)
Ameriquest Mortgage
MBNA (and Gladys Knight and John Travolta)
24 (and nuclear disaster)
American Idol

Continue reading...
Posted at 10:30 PM in a Shallow fashion.
Things About Which I Am Not Excited


Posted at 10:24 PM in a Shallow fashion.
A Note of Self-Congratulatory Navel Gazing

Yes, it finally happened on Saturday, and it was low culture to first break the news of Julian Casablancas' engagement to Juliet, on April 21st of last year. Best wishes, kids.

low culture, your online gossip resource.

Posted at 9:46 PM in a Shallow fashion.
  February 4, 2005
The low culture Consumer Advisory

marlboro-1.jpgPerhaps 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.

Posted at 2:25 PM in a Shallow fashion.
Aim High, Vote low (culture, duh)

Okay, we admit we're not above begging. Please go to The 2005 Bloggies site and vote for us for 'Best Weblog About Politics' and 'Best Group Weblog.'

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.)

Posted at 12:02 PM in a Shallow fashion.
  February 3, 2005
For Ruth, the O.C., florid and pure

there it was.
The endowment was bequested
to POETRY magazine.
The Eli Lilly widow's 2003
was a banner year
for gifts, for life, for language,
you've felt a renewed hope for
your dead, dead
(Empty? Forsaken? Barren?)
Poetry. Poesy, posies...

You prey upon the culture
around you, within you, upon you
and you are Us. And

You are thus told, nay
commanded, commandeered, commended
to know about The O.C..
Newport. The lives of the rich
(Empty? Forsaken? Barren?)
in turn prey upon you.

And you love Seth Cohen. Desire
knows not these constraints,
these passionate ties
of 8 through 9pm on Thursdays.

They occur

And you take a breath (deeply!). And
contain your desire, and
sit up in your couch, and
Grab your notepad.

Are you pretty sexy?
What sort of knickers are you wearing?
These are not lines that Seth would ask of you.
He listens not to you, but he reads
and, verbally, you smile upon him (deeply!)

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.

Posted at 7:16 PM in a OC-centric, Shallow fashion.
Keeping It Real

bunnygamer.jpgIf 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.

Posted at 1:54 AM in a Shallow fashion.
  February 2, 2005
Damn Those Production Deadlines

From the February/March issue of Complex magazine:

Maldives in Monsoon Season
Some of the best surfing in the world takes place on this small island off the coast of India as winter comes to its stormy end.
"The Complex Dozen: Things that matter in February and March"

Related: Tsunami, a Long-Term View

Posted at 1:10 PM in a Shallow fashion.
Overheard During Intermission of Last Night's "Hurlyburly"

If I wanted to watch a bunch of people sitting around doing coke and talking I could have stayed at the apartment.

(With apologies to Overheard in New York, and David Rabe's Hurlyburly)

Posted at 1:02 PM in a Shallow fashion.
  January 31, 2005
Does Anyone Else Find It Strange That Henry Darger Was Hired To Sketch the Jackson Trial?

The Vivian Girls, in What is known as the Realms of the Unreal, identify their Assailant.

At Neverland Ranch, only to escape again.

More on Henry Darger, and more creepy courtroom sketches of Michael Jackson.

Posted at 7:46 PM in a Shallow fashion.
Vanity Fair Wants to Know What You Think!

Take the V.F. poll, at the all new VanityFair.com.

Related: Graydon Rides the Wave, by Jennifer Senior, New York, 12/11/00

Posted at 2:10 PM in a Satirical, Shallow fashion.
  January 30, 2005
Riverdale High: The Duel for the Dirt


Posted at 3:13 PM in a Shallow fashion.
low culture Exclusive: The Aristocrats Punchline Revealed

aristo.jpgThe Aristocrats, the documentary directed by comedian Paul Provenza and featuring George Carlin, Whoopi Goldberg, Gilbert Gottfried and others performing their variations on the legendary, unspeakable 'aristocrats' joke, has emerged as a surprise hit at the 2005 Sundance Film Festival. It was acquired by ThinkFilms for an estimated $750,000, according to Reuters.

Most articles about The Aristocrats point out that even if they could publish the shocking, disgusting 'aristocrats' jokes, they wouldn't dare for fear of ruining the punch line. According to press reports, 'the aristocrats' is the funniest joke ever, and to reveal it would be tantamount to a crime against comedy, not to mention, the film's word-of-mouth marketing effort.

Well, since we walked out of The Crying Game and told everyone on line for the next showing that Jaye Davidson is a man, and delighted in revealing that the wife did it in Presumed Innocent, we're gonna break ranks. Once you read the joke, you can decide for yourself if it is, indeed, the funniest joke ever told.

Knock knock?

Who's there?

The Aristocrats.

The Aristocrats who...?

Continue reading...
Posted at 3:00 PM in a Shallow fashion.
  January 27, 2005
Save the O.C. for a later date


You're so goddamned livid right now. The DVR is fucking up, again, and keeps looping the first few frames of tonight's episode of The O.C., which you had set to record because you were in Queens visiting your old friend from college. Well, not so much a friend, but an ex-lover. Girlfriend, whatever. You broke it off with Claudia before graduating, you recall, and that worked out fine until she moved to Astoria and called you up saying how nice it would be to visit her using the fucking 7 train. As if, man, as if. That line on the map is fucking purple, and you look that homo shit right in the eye, and renounce it like there never was a Bravo Network. But you had a momentary relapse and went out to some goddamned Greek restaurant to have a catch-up dinner with her. Fuck, it was tedious, and she kept talking about how Manhattan real estate was so over-rated, but at least you knew you had your DVR slated to capture The O.C. to its 80-gig harddrive. The grape leaves were worth it, though, as was your knowledge that you had hours of available recording time free on your machine.

At least you think you did; the tech/sales guy on the phone wasn't entirely certain, but then again, he was working out of some fucking province in India. So you're now back at your place in Gramercy. And you're feverishly gripping the goddamned all-in-one remote, and trying to get the episode to play, because it's approaching midnight and you need to get into work tomorrow before 8am. PLAY, goddamnit. Peter Gallagher's face is frozen in some actorly-contortion, and the image keeps flickering back and forth between two consecutive frames of video. The DVR's interface is just hanging there onscreen, its cutesy late-'90s fast-forward and rewind arrows just taunting you with their promise of television on your terms.

You hit the exit key rather ungracefully, and you're now out of the onscreen programming guide. You were almost clumsy in your haste to remedy this shit. Got to be more pro-active, responsible. Rational. Calm.

You select tonight's episode again. And it jumps to the credits, the fucking end credits. 1:00:01, it says on that cutesy little bar at the base of your 32-inch television screen. That's just what you needed, right, for it to be midnight and Point Pleasant to come on and taunt you with its insipid content. It's not nearly as inspired as The O.C.. You fucking have to find out what's going on with that Mexican gardener boy, and Julie Cooper's reconnection with Mischa's dad, and that hottie bartender. Yeah, the hottie bartender. Blond. And fucking bisexual. You read online that there's going to be some lesbian shit in upcoming episodes, and, despite your general protestations of all things homo, you can, and will, make an exception when it comes to some tongue-kissing action between Mischa and the blondie.

But these Point Pleasant title sequences are just hanging there, teasing you. You put your hard-on away. You bring up the dialog box, the one that says, "Play from the beginning," and, fuck, fuck, it does just that. You are content. Peter Gallagher appears onscreen again, only as he's speaking fluidly, now, that single-frame grab you were subjected to moments ago seems so much more appealing. Almost Emmy-winning in caliber. He's going to wreck the rich motherfuckers in Newport! Low income housing, he's saying, low income housing. Tell that shit to Claudia, maybe, because, fuck, Astoria pissed you off tonight. And now you're distracted, so you try to rewind a minute or so. And, again, the screen fucking freezes. Fuck you. Time Warner Cable is getting a curt little phone call first thing in the morning tomorrow. You'll be at your desk, and your friends will be talking about The O.C., and you're going to hate them for that.

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, now collected in a limited-edition DVD box set, retailing for $34.97 at your local Best Buy. Formatted for Region-1 players.

Posted at 5:31 PM in a OC-centric, Shallow fashion.
The Louise Post Post

Veruca Salt's Louise Post goes Anna Nicole Smith.

From Willy Wonka's I Want It Now, sung by Veruca Salt (the character, not the band):

I want a feast
I want a bean feast
Cream buns and donuts and fruitcake with no nuts
So good you could go nuts
I want a ball
I want a party
Pink macaroons and a million balloons
And performing baboons
Give it to me
(Thanks Erin)

Posted at 3:19 PM in a Shallow fashion.
Screw Park City, This Year It’s All About Davos

Among the attendees at the World Economic Forum, (clockwise from top left) world spokesman Richard Gere, U2 point man Bono, Citigroup Chief Executive Hottie Charles Prince, and Catwoman star Sharon Stone.
(photos via AP)

Posted at 1:02 PM in a Shallow fashion.
low culture Gossip Alert Vol. 3

Despite Page Six's lede, Pete Doherty, formerly of The Libertines, currently of Babyshambles, is indeed disappointingly, crashingly sober. And not only do Kate and Pete dance the 12-step together, he's now attempting to guide the ur-waif's new singing career.

Update: Or not.

And yeah, Juliet and Julian dance down the red carpet of commitment this spring. But what of the band's rhythm section, similarly due for new tax filings, and the ceremony newly transported from France to New York? Now that's news...

Posted at 6:33 AM in a Shallow fashion.
  January 26, 2005
Or, As I Like to Call Her, "The Future Mrs. Matt Haber"

J.K. Rowling Names Daughter Mackenzie

Posted at 3:01 PM in a Shallow fashion.
How to design a record sleeve for your favorite hipster band

L-R, Tegan and Sara, So Jealous; Bright Eyes, Digital Ash in a Digital Urn

Hmmm...and you're still wondering what the next Bloc Party or Dears LP will look like?

Posted at 2:34 PM in a Shallow, Soundproof, Versus fashion.
Most Incomprehensibly Confusing Press Event Ever

mysterypr.jpgBond Beauty Drops in to Boost World Record Abseil Attempt: Rachel Grant at Twickenham Rugby Stadium, London

Who in the hell is Rachel Grant?


Was the attempt successful?

We assumed a brief Google could set our minds at ease. We were wrong.

Posted at 12:05 PM in a Shallow fashion.
  January 25, 2005
Overlooked by Oscar

Jude Law in Alfie... Jude Law in I ♥ Huckabees

Jude Law in Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events... Jude Law in Closer

Jude Law in Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow... Jude Law in The Aviator

Bastards just hate a handsome motherfucker.

Posted at 10:23 PM in a Shallow fashion.
On the Value of Specificity in Writing


Ask Men, the online portal for anything with testes, has declared its Top 99 Most Desirable Women (get it? That’s one less than a hundred). Aside from the rather disappointing photos, the accompanying text for each babe also leaves something to be desired – any sense of actually describing the buxom beauty in question.

It’s a sure sign of the homogenization of popular culture. Or a sign of the overwhelming demands that society places on women’s appearance. Or maybe it’s a sign of AskMen’s lackluster editorial content. Eh, it’s probably something.

Just try to match each babe with her sexy vagaries.

Total Hottie Banal Sentiment
1. Vivica A. Fox A. …this girl could rival NASCAR. There's a sweetness about her that keeps people tuning in for more. Add to that a curvaceous figure and cleavage like the Appalachian Mountains -- well-shaped, impressive and all-natural.
2. Kristanna Loken B. Her mocha skin highlights every nook and cranny of her flawless body.
3. Alicia Keys C. What, you never looked at her legs? You never imagined what those bee-stung lips feel like? For all men and -- let's be honest -- many women, X remains an icon of unique sexiness that begs for further screen appearances.
4. Fergie (from Black-Eyed Peas) D. She's no teenage waif in skimpy clothes. She's got the curves, the moves and the attitude to make any man pay attention. She oozes more sex appeal per square inch than the whole of Sweden.
5. Nikki Cox E. X's striking face and luscious body attract men and women alike -- she has an impressive lesbian following. She's been dancing for years and it has paid off with a tight and toned body.
6. Demi Moore F. Her proportions and facial features are flawless, and there's nothing we can say about her lips that hasn't been said a dozen times already.
7. Uma Thurman G. In a blonde-saturated popular culture, X provides a refreshing respite with her sensual dark-haired aura. Her luminous eyes still give the movie screen an extra glow in those many close-ups.
8. Halle Berry H. Her beatific face, long legs, perfect curves... is it hot in here? One look at her is enough to realize why she became a model before turning to acting.
9. Angelina Jolie I. Yet she still maintains an allure usually restricted to the mysterious, and each time we see her scantily clad it's like the first time.
10. Brooke Burke J. A perfectly contoured stomach, toned legs and a more than ample chest should secure X a spot on this list for years to come.

Answer Key: 1-d, 2-h, 3-b, 4-e, 5-a, 6-g, 7-c, 8-i, 9-f, 10-j

Posted at 2:01 PM in a Shallow fashion.
Say It Ain't So, Larry, Say It Ain't So

On crotch-cam auteur Larry Clark's new feature, Wassup Rockers:

The story follows Latino skateboarders from South Central Los Angeles who eschewed the gangbanger lifestyle in favor of their boards and punk rock. In an interview with Variety, Clark says "I got to know them and became fascinated by their lifestyle and the peer pressure they encountered because they didn't like hip-hop, didn't want to be gangsters and weren't into drugs."

Ken Park, we hardly knew ye.

[via Dark Horizons]

Posted at 9:44 AM in a Shallow fashion.
Dorkus Wins for Once in Her Loser Life

Stinkbomb Sue Anna Yeh, left, poses between classes in Sugar Land, Texas Thursday, Jan. 20, 2005. Yeh, a total spazoid and obvious lesbo at First Colony Middle School in Sugar Land, wrote a poem about No Name-Calling Week that won first prize in a lame-assed contest related to the event, which will be observed at hundreds of middle schools nationwide next week. (AP Photo/Pat Sullivan)

(We’re really not always this mean. It must be the time of year.)

Posted at 7:23 AM in a Shallow fashion.
  January 24, 2005
Sexing It Up At Sundance

Alexandra Kerry and Tobey Maguire make love to the camera.

Posted at 10:00 PM in a Shallow fashion.
That Cold Park City Weather Is About To Get a Blast of Hot Air


Posted at 6:46 PM in a Shallow fashion.
Another One Bites the Dust


Today marks William Safire’s last Op-Ed piece article for the New York Times, and the paper has set up a lovely multimedia farewell to him online. Even readers are encouraged to get in on the good cheer and offered the chance to “share memories of the columnist.” We thought it might be nice to share some of their moving tributes below.

From Rajivshorey:

Outright thugs in the administration and out of it like Mr Safire are responsible for the utterly venal and criminal policy on Iraq war.

From farmhand07:

Think of all the good he could have done if he had just stayed with selling refrigerators. Instead he used his "salesman" writing style to foist and then prop up the most reprehensible figures in recent American politics. Agnew, Nixon, et al.

Good riddance.

From krome9:

Safire's logic was sometimes just missing and most times corrupt.

From richeeboyee:

You’re a hell of a liar – good riddance.

From jazztenor:

Mmmmm...interesting illustration by Barry Blitt of Safire's self-important melodramatic farewell...

Are we to surmise he is jumping into an empty pool?

Continue reading...
Posted at 12:07 PM in a Shallow fashion.
An Open Cover Letter To the Editors of The Paris Review

Dear Sirs/Madames:

I was sorry to hear about the recent loss of your editor, Brigid Hughes. All consolations aside, may I suggest my own editorial services to the rescue?

Much like your former editor George Plimpton, my many urbane acquaintances would describe me as possessing the bonhomie and ruddy good cheer of any chronic tippler, whilst still maintaining adequate compos mentis to run the football pool on a Sunday afternoon.

Unlike Mr. Plimpton, however, who forever played the "professional amateur," I am a "consummate professional." Could Mr. Plimpton program basic HTML? I can. Did he boast a proficiency in Excel Spreadsheets and the rest of the Microsoft Office suite? I boast. And I can safely assume that my WPM’s far outstrip Mr. Plimpton on even his best days.

To put it bluntly – I am not possessed of the terminal wanderlust that so plagued Mr. Plimpton. Nor do I possess any aspirations to play the jack-off-of-all-trades: I have no interest in getting in the ring with Archie Moore. I have neither the interest nor the talent to write the Great American Oral Biography. In short I have few, if any, interests – a valuable asset when it comes time to meet the bruising deadlines of a literary quarterly.

If and when I do pursue my acting career, I will serve as a far better representative for The Paris Review than Mr. Plimpton did in the failed Tom Hanks vehicle Volunteers.

When I served as Editorial Intern for Harper’s in the summer of ’97, my dedication to fact-checking the trademarked Index was responsible for the eventual publication of several scathing statistics that concerned federal budget allocations. My recent experience in posting to low culture has presumably prepared me for other things, things of which Mr. Plimpton could only have dreamed. Did Mr. Plimpton post to low culture? I’m fairly certain he didn’t.

As for meeting (and exceeding) the qualifications of your most recent editor, let’s just put it this way: I can urinate standing up.

I am available to move into Mr. Plimpton’s apartment effective March first (when my sublet ends). I look forward to speaking with you about this opportunity.

Guy Cimbalo

Posted at 3:47 AM in a Shallow fashion.
The Inevitable Johnny Carson Post

theres_johnny.jpgExcerpted from "The Tonight Show," September, 1991, on the occasion of the Soviet Republics' movement toward independence:

To me, democracy means placing trust in the little guy, giving the fruits of nationhood to those who built the nation...Democracy is people of all races, colors, and creeds united by a single dream: to get rich and move to the suburbs away from people of all races, colors, and creeds.

Democracy is buying a big house you can't afford with money you don't have to impress people you wish were dead. And, unlike Communism, democracy does not mean having just one ineffective political party; it means having two ineffective political parties. Democracy means freedom of sexual choice between any two consenting adults; Utopia means freedom of choice between three or more consenting adults. But I digress.

Democracy is welcoming people from other lands, and giving them something to hold onto -- usually a mop or a leaf blower. It means that with proper timing and scrupulous bookkeeping, anyone can die owing the government a huge amount of money.

Yes, democracy means fighting every day for what you deserve, and fighting even harder to keep other, weaker people from getting what they deserve. Democracy means never having the Secret Police show up at your door. Of course, it also means never having the cable guy show up at your door. It's a tradeoff. Democracy means free television. Not good television, but free.

And finally, democracy is the eagle on the back of a dollar bill, with 13 arrows in one claw, 13 leaves on a branch, 13 tail feathers, and 13 stars over its head--this signifies that when the white man came to this country, it was bad luck for the Indians, bad luck for the trees, bad luck for the wildlife, and lights out for the American eagle.

Posted at 1:57 AM in a Shallow fashion.
  January 22, 2005
"Cool Mom" Accused of Being "Really, Really Cool Mom"

"A 40-year-old woman faces charges of sexual assault and contributing to the delinquency of a minor for allegedly supplying drugs and alcohol to high school boys and having sex with some of them.

"Sylvia Johnson, 40, told police she wanted to be a 'cool mom,' according to an arrest affidavit..."

- 'Cool Mom' Threw Sex Parties for Boys, AP, Jan. 21, 2005.

Posted at 10:02 AM in a Shallow fashion.
  January 21, 2005
Can't We Just Agree on an Approach?


Posted at 10:22 PM in a Shallow fashion.
Super-Fun Friday Photo Caption Contest*


How to Enter: Using the 'comments' area, enter your best caption to the above photo (via AP).

Prize: The best caption, as chosen by the editors of this site, will be posted on the main page.

Rules: Enter as often as you like. No libel, etc.

* low culture cannot guarantee that you have "super-fun".

Posted at 9:33 AM in a Shallow fashion.
  January 20, 2005
The Way to a Girl's Heart is Through Her O.C.

ben_pool_1_72.jpg"Other strategies are being considered, such as having a regular column devoted to 'The O.C.,' the Fox show, which is a huge hit among girls in their twenties�'so much so that the CollegeHumor boys have discovered that discussing the show’s plotlines is an excellent way of striking up a conversation with a girl." -Funny Boys, by Rebecca Mead, The New Yorker, Jan. 24, 2005

Hi, is this seat taken? Oh, god. That sounded so cheesy. I mean, that's worse than asking your sign, right? I'm such a cheeseball.

My name is Dave, what's yours? Marissa? Like Marissa on The O.C.?

What? You don't watch The O.C.? Ha! I totally knew you'd be into The O.C.! Not that you're, like, a 'type,' I mean, you're not a cliché.

You know what the best part of The O.C. is? During the winter, it's like a blast of sunshine in my apartment. Isn't that weird how some shows totally make feel, like, seasons? Like, I always need to wear an extra sweatshirt when I watch The Ice Storm! Weird, right?

Or, like, some albums are the same. For me, Bob Marley is spring. Whenever I put on Legend I just feel I'm on spring break in Jamaica like I was junior year of college.

Have you ever been there? Oh my god, it is awesome! It was just me and my boys for five days: sleeping late, drinking, hanging out on the beach all day. And there were so many hotties—

Wait, that sounded so childish. What I meant was, there were great people from all over, just meeting each other, hooking up... God, I'm sorry. I sound like such a fucking fratboy.

I'm really not like that. I mean, I was in a fraternity, but I'm a regular, down-to-earth guy. I mean, the fact that I would admit to watching The O.C. is, like, totally proof of that. If I were some sort of macho frat dude, would I admit to watching a show that's—let's admit it, okay, Marissa— is kinda gay. I mean, it's totally the sort of show that some closet case would watch at the gym before having down low sex in the locker room, right?

But, um, the fact that... What the hell was I saying, Maria? I mean, Marissa? Wait! Where are you going? I was gonna buy you a drink—and not in a cheesy way!

Wait, come back.

Fucking bitch. If we were in college she'd worship my di-dick. Damnit. I'm so lonely. Why am I so very lonely?

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. crapola

Posted at 4:03 PM in a OC-centric, Shallow fashion.
ID4 (More Years)


Shock and Awe: Fireworks over the White House, top (via Reuters), Independence Day, bottom (via Catastrophe in the Movies)

Posted at 12:41 PM in a Shallow fashion.
  January 19, 2005
Dance Macabre

crisper.jpgAh, Park City in January, otherwise known as the Dance Season – that’s Sundance, Slamdance, and Nodance (now defunct). Those of you foolish enough to brave Park City’s bad hat weather and blue law strictures, however, would do well to catch the debut of Crispin Glover’s What Is It?

That’s right, Glover’s long-awaited, first-in-a-trilogy, what-the-fuck, madhouse will enjoy three public screenings, all followed by Q&A Sessions with the creepy auteur. The film, as per imdb:

Being the adventures of a young man whose principle interests are snails, salt, a pipe, and how to get home. As tormented by an hubristic, racist inner psyche. What Is It? is a bewildering, unnerving, surreal, blackly comic film from the visionary mind of Crispin Glover that tells the inner and outer struggles of a young man facing villains and demons on multiple planes.

The film features a cast consisting largely of actors with Down Syndrome, a snail with the voice of Fairuza Balk, and legendary publisher Adam Parfrey playing “Jealous Minstrel.”

What is it? Indeed. Some help might be gleaned from Glover’s Apocalypse Culture II essay of the same name, in which he blames Steven Spielberg for Columbine, kind of.

The trailer for “What Is It?” is available from Crispin Glover’s official site – it is, however, not safe for work.

After the jump, witness an early poster for "What Is It?" featuring Shirley Temple nude, in Nazi garb. Clearly not safe for anywhere.

Continue reading...
Posted at 10:54 AM in a Shallow fashion.
  January 18, 2005
And what does Jim Crow wear to the Golden Globes?


Best Actor, White (aka "Drama"):
Leonardo DiCaprio, The Aviator

Best Actor, Black (aka "Musical or Comedy"):
Jamie Foxx, Ray

Posted at 5:29 PM in a Shallow fashion.
Unintentionally Hilarious Photos: Golden Globes Edition

P. Diddy and Rosario Dawson

Nicole Kidman, Naomi Watts and Juan Valdez

Hugh Hefner (forgive the watermark)

(Thanks TK)

Posted at 11:40 AM in a Shallow, Unintentionally Hilarious fashion.
Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Headline

rashers.jpgRashomon, in case you were wondering, is Akira Kurasawa's 1950 classic in which the account of a murder-rape is told from four very different points of view. There's nothing quite like it -- an opinon borne out by newspapers' insistence on invoking the film whenever accounts of any given event differ, which is, like, all the time. A brief Lexis-Nexis search later and it becomes apparent -- the New York Times is by far the most egregious abuser of the "Rashomon" shorthand. Confer:

Rashomon in Melbourne
To hurl a bustling, kaleidoscopic, Rashomonian novel into the present climate is to indulge in a gamble -- a bid for space and quiet and the willing suspension of disbelief -- that is either foolish or heroic or, most likely, both.
by Daphne Merkin, 1/16/05

The Suspense Is Killing Me
Burt makes the most of a Rashomon approach, deftly demonstrating that what lives vividly in one person's memory can be erased or deeply buried in another's.
by John Hartl, 12/19/04

Five Faces of Antigone, From Surfer Babe to Widow
''Antigone Project'' fast-forwards its Greek heroine to the present, then offers a Rashomon-ized view of her tragic plight, interpreted by five female writers paired with five female directors.
by Phoebe Hoban, 10/27/04

"Rashomon" Meets "Gilligan's Island"
''Lost,'' a new ABC drama about air-crash survivors marooned on a spooky deserted island, sounds ludicrous -- ''Gilligan's Island'' meets ''The X-Files.'
by Alessandra Stanley, 9/12/04

Moody Loners Vs. Bad Guys
[...] and on "Boomtown," the Rashomon of crime shows, all the characters get a chance to interpret the evidence their own way.
by Alessandra Stanley, 10/26/03

Partly Mozart Followed by the Real Thing
Mozart got the Rashomon treatment at the Mostly Mozart festival on Tuesday night.
by Anne Midgette, 8/7/03

An article last Sunday about the Albany budget negotiations misstated the source of the "Rashomon" narrative technique, which reveals shifting views of the same event through different witnesses. It was used in the 1950 film of that name by Akira Kurosawa, not in the short story by that name. (The film was based on two stories by Ryunosuke Akutagawa -- "In a Grove," which uses the technique, and "Rashomon," which does not.)

We could go on, and we will -- more "Rashomon's" after the jump.

Continue reading...
Posted at 6:55 AM in a Shallow fashion.
  January 14, 2005
Blind Item Guessing Game

Despite low culture's attorney's protestations, we're pushing through with our New York Times Op-Ed Page blind item guessing game, pesky legal troubles be damned.

From yesterday's Maureen Dowd column:

A few years ago at a White House Correspondents' dinner, I met a very beautiful actress. Within moments, she blurted out: "I can't believe I'm 46 and not married. Men only want to marry their personal assistants or P.R. women."
Send your (nonlibelous!) theories to tips@gaw, er, just post them in the comments or something.

Posted at 8:55 AM in a Shallow fashion.
The Krush Groove Asana

Russell Simmons offers up some truly troubling stills from the set of Phat Farm's new sneaker campaign.

At least it doesn't look like his maids are going to make another appearance...

Posted at 5:13 AM in a Shallow fashion.
  January 13, 2005
Though, after a great deal of effort on my part, I just can't get into Drea de Matteo

oc_julie.jpgApparently, The O.C. is all popular and shit, and a lot of people seem to like it. They're all, like, "We love The O.C.!" We, however, are alternative-minded types. We vote Nader. We drive Toyota Scions. We shop at fucking Trader Joe's and buy their cheap-ass wine. And then we don't get drunk, we get intoxicated. And, also, you know what? We watch Joey.

That sounded more hostile than was intended.

Actually, I've never seen The O.C.; I'm sure it's pretty good.

The O.C. airs at 8PM EST on FOX.

Earlier: When we had a bit more time than at the present, it turns out we were all just a bit too O.C.-centric.

Posted at 5:16 PM in a OC-centric, Shallow fashion.
Truly Shocking!

Hols from £9.50? That 8-Page pullout and booking form must be amazing.

Posted at 3:22 PM in a Shallow fashion.
  January 12, 2005
Perfect For Airline Travel!


[via bOING bOING, via waxy, via Eye Beam, via Pop Gadget, so you've seen it]

Posted at 3:31 PM in a Shallow fashion.
  January 11, 2005
Amber Alert: Andrea Peyser Demonstrates An Unusual Self-Awareness

From everyone's favorite Columnist of the Year, Andrea Peyser, in today's New York Post:

C' mon, Amber. I'm really a lot of fun when you get to know me.
Her blue-green eyes puffy from apparent lack of sleep �' or was it tears? �' and her hands trembling nervously, the literary welterweight formally known as Amber Frey looked up into my eyes. And grimaced.
Well it's true �' I'm no Scott Peterson.
And in this starkly unromantic setting, our eyes met. Amber clutched her stomach queasily with her hand.
I feared she'd throw up.
Amber 'Victim Tour' Lands Here
And in only vaguely related news, enjoy another look at Amber's massive braces and minimal assets. (Safe neither for work nor much anywhere else.)


Posted at 10:58 AM in a Shallow fashion.
Dax Power

daxter.jpgIn honor of today’s DVD/video release of the Dax Shepard vehicle Without a Paddle, low culture is proud to present the following unpublished excerpt from an interview with Ashton Kutcher, Dax’s Punk’d co-star. (The interviewer shall remain nameless.)

X: Alright my friend has a question for you. He wants to know if we were supposed to accept Dax Shephard as an actor in Without a Paddle or if we were being Punk’d? (chuckles)

Kutcher: I haven’t seen the movie. It may have been. You better tell your friend to stop talking shit about my friend unless he’s an actor and he can outperform that.

X: (chuckling) Do you ummm… are you doing like… your roles like a business person and like a producer?

And now Ashton will finally have his chance to catch the film, described by the Boston Globe as “harmlessly cretinous.”

Posted at 9:35 AM in a Shallow fashion.
  January 10, 2005
I Almost Drowned, But They Saved Me (and Then I Lost My Pants)

America's Funniest Rescue Video

You gotta watch this dramatic real-time video (QT) of a guy being saved from the Los Angeles river from CNN.com. (Or, choose your preferred version here.)

Now, try watching while listening to the music from The Benny Hill Show.

And before you get mad at me, the guy was okay.

Update: Turns out video is for CNN Premium subscribers only. Damn, but it was so funny.

Posted at 6:37 PM in a Shallow fashion.
You've Come A Long Way, Big Willie

King of Queens: Will Smith and Kevin James in Hitch.

"Talking about Six Degrees [of Separation] with Premiere magazine a decade ago, Smith raised eyebrows in the p.c.-sensitive media by confessing that before he accepted the role, his friend Denzel Washington had warned him, 'Just don't be kissing no man.'"
- It's a queer eye for the straight thesp, by David Rooney, Variety, March 14, 2004 (subscription required).

Posted at 6:08 PM in a Shallow fashion.
Adventures in the Skin Trade, Vol. 3



(Answer Key: John Goodman + Ricky Gervais = Michael Moore at Sunday's People's Choice Awards)

Previously: Vol. 2, Vol. 1

Posted at 8:06 AM in a Shallow fashion.
Least Believable Pull Quote Ever

spearsseventeen1.jpgFrom the (barely visible) cover of February, 2005's Seventeen magazine:

Jamie Lynn Spears - Britney's Sister Confesses... "I Don't Want to Get Too Famous"
Really? Then why exactly are you on the goddamned cover of Seventeen?

Posted at 8:02 AM in a Shallow fashion.
Everything Is Shit

With a new Amazon entry for the Jonathan Safran Foer novel Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close (via Maud), the literary set is treated to a sneak-peek at the wonderblah’s sophomore effort. And boy-o, does it look hot…

From our Amazonian product description:

Oskar Schell is an inventor, Francophile, tambourine player, Shakespearean actor, jeweler, pacifist. He is nine years old.

Already we’ve got a Wes Anderson adaptation waiting to happen (Rushmost?). Maybe Jonathan Lipnicki is a little old – but wouldn’t he be perfect? Precocious, non-threatening and Tiger Beat enough to pull off this acrobatic feat of cutesiness. But wait, there’s more. Still from Amazon:

And he is on an urgent, secret search through the five boroughs of New York to find the lock that fits a mysterious key belonging to his father, who died in the attacks on the World Trade Center.

Oh, snap. No he didn’t.

Oh, yes, he did. But it couldn’t get any bigger, could it? It could, and it does:

His search for the lock careens from Central Park to Coney Island to the Bronx and beyond. But it also travels into history, to Dresden and Hiroshima, where horrific bombings once shattered other lives. Along the way, Oskar encounters a motley assortment of humanity �' a 103-year-old war reporter, a tour guide who never leaves the Empire State Building, lovers enraptured or scorned �' all survivors in their own ways.
Now we’ve got firebombing, nuclear annihilation and the Cyclone thrown in the mix – you just know this shit’s gonna be deep. Oprah deep. Liev Schreiber deep.

If only Foer had a chance to add the tsunami – this thing could have been really hot.

Posted at 8:01 AM in a Shallow fashion.
  January 8, 2005
Tomorrow's Corrections Today, Vol. 6

"'Strange Love' is a documentary about Brigitte Nielsen, the Danish giantess from 'Rocky IV' turned dissolute nudist, and Flavor Flav, the wily Ritalin-deprived clock-wearing Public Enemy hype man from the South Bronx.
"But Flav, who steals the show here, also lets his guard down sometimes, admitting to crippling anxiety. And when he is not able to make Brigitte laugh with his antics, and the cultural gulf between them seems unbridgeable, he can also look like a small, lost old man who has come far from the South Bronx but does not quite know how or why."
-Flouting Convention, Embracing Eccentricity, The New York Times, Jan. 8, 2005.

"[Meth] Aiyyo Flav
[Flav] Whassup Meth?
[Meth] What you know about niggaz from Long Island right?
[Flav] Huh?
[Meth] True Long Island right?
[Flav] All my life!
[Meth] All your life right?
[Flav] All my life!
[Meth] Westbury
[Flav] Word up, Freeport, Long Island, Roosevelt, Long Island"
- "Soul Power (Black Jungle)," Wu-Tang Clan, feat. Flavor Flav

Artist Name: Flavor Flav
Born: 1959
In: Roosevelt, Long Island, NY
- AOL Music: Flavor Flav

Date of birth (location)
16 March 1959
Roosevelt, Long Island, New York, USA

Posted at 7:38 PM in a Shallow fashion.
This Year At the Movies: Have A Ball!

The Woodsman, in theaters now... Coach Carter, opening Jan. 14, 2005

Posted at 6:43 PM in a Shallow fashion.
  January 7, 2005
Made of Clay

claymate.jpgThe following are troubling sentences taken out of context from Clay Aiken's sure-to-be-smash hit, Learning to Sing: Hearing the Music in Your Life, his memoir-cum-self helper-cum-religious manifesto. All quotes courtesy Amazon's "Search Inside This Book."

Page 5: She replied that a wife was someone who would cook for me and wash my clothes and love me, and I said to her, "I'm already married." Mom laughed and said, "To whom?" And I said, "You, Mama!"

Page 38: I was so conflicted.

Page 65: Little boys don't wake up and say, "Gee, my yanking that little boy's underpants out of his corduroys is mean-spirited..."

Page 96: For some reason I've rarely been able to say "I love you" straight to his face.

Page 126: I felt out of control. I was this big, wet mess, trying to crawl into an old woman's arms.

Page 145: Jeff trusted me to run a camp of 150 kids.

Page 197: That I never need to see another video with a pretty young girl dressed like a hooker.

Page 224: I met some people who were Moravian.

Page 229: Determing what faith a child will have is a decision that should be made at home, not at the YMCA camp.

Posted at 3:51 AM in a Shallow fashion.
Lady Metroland's Guide to the Jet-Set

Rule 1: Whilst attending an event with Mohamed Al-Fayed, avoid photo ops at all costs.

Jennifer Love Hewitt and al-Fayed open the Harrods January 2004 Sale.

Lucy Liu and al-Fayed open the Harrods January 2005 Sale.

Lucy Liu and al-Fayed open the Harrods January 2005 Sale (cont.).

[Big ups TK...]

Posted at 3:09 AM in a Shallow fashion.
  January 6, 2005
This is the sound The O.C. makes

OC_soundtrack.jpgYou're going to write the perfect three-minute pop song. You've been saying this to yourself since you saw Beck open for Beth Orton at that secret show he did at the El Rey for her a few years back, only, for you, it wasn't a secret show, because you knew about his playing an intimate acoustic set hours in advance. And when an excited hush fell over the floor when Beth Orton came out to announce her opening act, you smiled knowingly. Your friends said you glowered, but that was most likely because you thought Orton's Central Reservation was such a letdown. You have nothing against Beck.

Besides, he's the old guard. You're all about Rooney, now, and The Walkmen, and labels like Sub Pop. You adored Eric's Trip way back when, and you've been listening to Minnesota's slowcore riot act Low well before they first appeared on "Music From the O.C. Mix 3: Have a Very Merry Chrismukkah". Fuck, you had that original EP before the word "Kranky" was being whispered by every other record-buyer at Amoeba. You know droning music, and you're not even Finnish like that Mika Vainio motherfucker. That shit's just noise. Static. Like Felix Kubin on fucking heroin. You know this because you got yourself a Nord Lead years ago, just so you could create your own take on the percussive mathematic chaos of labels like Schematic and Warp. You were going to outshine Autechre.

But then you ended up having to work seventy-plus hours a week at your marketing firm during that product launch for Coke's newest clear soda, and you lost interest. You fucking hated clear soda. You did, however, develop a severe drinking problem, in that other sense of consuming fluids. And started to appreciate the way that vocal-based indie music better complemented your commute on the fucking 10 freeway as you rolled into work later and later after those long nights out, and you tuned off KCRW and KXLU and popped in the latest Doves record. That somehow led to your getting, finally, that old Unkle record from 1998, which you had ignored for so long, because you never liked DJ Shadow, even when he did his own production work, much less his manning the decks for that cross-eyed James Lavelle motherfucker as he did on this record...but then you heard Ian Brown sing on that remake of that one song, and Richard Ashcroft, and Thom Yorke, and you were hooked. It was like the Britpop fad from the mid-90s, all NME and shit, but, somehow, cooler. Like, Flaunt- or index-caliber. And so you bought the soundtrack to Jonathan Glazer's "Sexy Beast" because Unkle collaborated with South on it. And you grew to love South, too. Those beats were so slinky. And the guitars, so synthetic. You traded in your Nord Lead for a Fender Stratocaster and an amp. You couldn't really figure out which effects pedals to get, so you winged it, and fucked around with the sounds as they ran through your G4 laptop.

And it all sounded like shit. It certainly didn't sound like Interpol's first record.

You had somehow failed to capture that mélange of angst and self-loathing and morose despair that ran throughout "Untitled". Instead, you had penned a series of asinine ditties that sounded more like the fucking Shins, which was ok, except you weren't into Sub Pop just yet, so it wasn't ok at the time. You were a wreck. You hated yourself, and your friend Leslie, who had played drums on the record in certain parts, invited you over to her place in Los Feliz to watch this new Fox TV pilot for which she had done some of the casting. And when The O.C. began, and you heard those first few strains of Phantom Planet singing their rapturous hit "California", you were hooked. Really, it was, just...rapturous (and yes, you fucking hated the DFA up to this point, so re-treaded disco beats had been done to death as far as you were concerned, and you were instead eagerly seeking out guitar hooks).

Phantom Planet, man...You still hate Jason Schwartzman. He was at the Wiltern once while you were watching Damien Rice play, and he just looked so fucking smug. Then he made some small talk with the bandmembers, and they ushered him backstage, and you really, really hated him. You fucking love Damien Rice. And you're going to write the perfect three-minute pop song about that. It'll be like that song that girl group wrote about David Duchovny in 1998, only less stalkerish. Probably more like the song Ben Gibbard wrote about Evan Dando in 2001 as part of the build-up to his later Postal Service success. You could totally do that. Three minutes. That's all you need. Now for some inspiration...sixty fucking minutes thereof.

Actually, I've never seen The O.C.; I'm sure it's pretty good.

The O.C. airs at 8PM EST on FOX.

Earlier: You can't stop R.O.C.K.ing, can you? You just can't.

Posted at 4:06 PM in a OC-centric, Shallow fashion.
  January 5, 2005
How Many Things Are Wrong With the Following PR Quotable?

From US Weekly, January 10, 2005:

"Three days later, [Angelina] Jolie strolled around a market near Beirut, Lebanon. '[My son] Maddox is Buddhist, so I'm making Christmas a time where he learns about new countries,' she said recently."

Posted at 2:57 AM in a Shallow fashion.
  January 4, 2005
Super Boys' Club

Comic Book Resource features its share of explosive comic book rumor-mongering (Magneto fears for the life of Scarlet Witch?!), but nothing can quite compare to the journalistic dynamite contained in Rich Johnston's most recent column. Specifically,

But then there was the Superman movie rumour. Still not totally resolved, still looking more likely by the minute, with massive impications all over the place, it had to be Rumour Of The Year.

That Bryan Singer wanted to cast an actor who was in the closet, and who would declare themselves to be gay in the lead up to, or during the release of the film. So that it would have a meta-textual element, over secret identities, and also give young gay individuals a positive role model in their lives. And presumably, not make stereotypical remarks about men dressed in tight colourful leotards.

On, and then, Brandon Routh being cast in the lead.

As the evangelical churches of the USA hold their breath, ready to start an onslaught of whipped up mob-hatred, Dan DiDio gingerly accepted the award on behalf of DC. "You know, we're appointing a Senior Vice President of Marketing? Something tells me I think we're going to need him..."

Let's take a look at some of the evidence available for speculating on Brandon Routh's sexuality, and see if we can't clear things up.

-According to his imdb entry, Brandon is sometimes credited as "B. J. Routh". B.J. is homosexual slang for a hummer.

-Among B.J.'s television appearances? An episode of Will and Grace, a homosexual sitcom, titled "A Gay/December Romance."

-B.J.'s official site is BrandonRouth.tv. In homosexual patois, TV stands for transexual.

-According to some, largely unsubstantiated reports, director Bryan Singer is gay.

The verdict? Get ready to start your righteous indignation...

Posted at 2:03 PM in a Shallow fashion.
  January 3, 2005
So We Can Safely Assume She Won't Be Appearing In Brown Bunny 2...

gallobolly2.jpgFrom Reuters, "Bride and Prejudice" Star Mulls Screen Kiss, Sunday, Jan. 2, 2005:

"Bride and Prejudice" star Aishwarya Rai, one of the top stars of India's prim film industry, says she won't rule out kissing in films when she moves from "Bollywood" to Hollywood -- although she says it is certain to create a minor scandal among her fans.
She has never kissed on screen -- not even after 24 films because kissing is taboo in the Indian cinema. Rai said if she did kiss someone on screen in a Hollywood movie, it would create a minor scandal among her fans.

Related: Your Ultimate Movie Guide

Posted at 8:38 PM in a Shallow fashion.
  December 30, 2004
The O.C. Shall Set You Free

003OC.jpgYou've never seen The O.C., but you're sure it's pretty good. You're gonna watch it tonight, though, since there are two back-to-back episodes.

You need to watch it, especially since your career is in the crapper and your New Year's resolution is to write a decent spec script and land an agent. Maybe then you can move out of Culver Fucking City and get a decent car like a Mini-Cooper or a BMW or, seriously, a Prius, please, a Prius, and maybe finally get a development deal with a major. Then, barring any further complications, get laid without paying for it.

It wasn't supposed to be this way. When you moved to L.A. five years ago, you were bursting with ideas and potential. You were gonna be David E. Kelley, Joss Whedon, and J.J. Abrams combined.

Now, look at you. You're writing questions for a kids' basic cable game show that unwisely has the word "Cyber" in the title. In '98 it seemed like such a great title, what with the web-television convergence plan the 29 year-old producer pitched: now, the website's been dead since 2003 and that 29 year-old producer drives a Boxter and is developing a show with Jon Lovitz for Gavin Palone. (Why won't that fucker not return your goddamn calls?) You still live in a one bedroom—and not even a big one by L.A. standards— and you're not in a union. You can't get a single agent on the phone and most of your friends with deals laugh and say they'll call you when they need a little 'cyber' touch. Assholes. It wasn't your idea: you weren't even part of the show until last year!

That's why tonight's O.C. is so important. You're not gonna just watch, you're gonna study it, figure out what makes it tick and become an instant expert. It'll be like when you pulled all-nighters in school: you'd spend a couple of hours catching up on all the Folk and Myth readings you'd snoozed on while attempting another round of 'Poon submissions, then spend the rest of the night just banging out the paper. And some of them were great! One professor—okay, one adjunct—even suggested you submit your paper on The Family Guy ("In the Family Way: Stewie and Freud's Theories of Early Childhood Sexual Development") to a journal. You could've had a big career in academia, pounding out searing interpretations that turned conventional pop culture 'wisdom' on its head. You might've even gotten to write for the mainstream: Times op-eds, maybe some droll "Shouts and Murmurs" for The New Yorker.

Instead, you're basically rephrasing Trivial Pursuit questions for 9 year-olds. You need to do something better with your life, something more meaningful.

Like writing for The O.C. If you could just watch the show, get a sense for its rhythm, internal logic, and... that third thing the screenwriter of the Justine Bateman film suggested in that Learning Annex class that cost you $400, you can do that. (Where are your notes?)

You need to hitch yourself to this show: It's like this year's Ally McBeal or Popular: It's the show, and only a quality O.C. spec script can change your life—can make your life. You can almost envision your plot already: it'll be something about a foreign exchange student from Sudan and it will address genocide and female genital mutilation. And a love plot. A love triangle. God, this is gonna be so good: your script is going to fully embody the show while simultaneously transcending it! Where's your notepad? This is too good to forget.

After that, it's a top tier agency. Then a good writing gig. Then a side project and movie sale. Then a producer job. Invites to Stuff parties and the "Midsummer Night's Dream" party at the Mansion. Then, who knows? All this from The O.C.! Can you feel it? I can feel it!

Tonight I will watch The O.C.; It better be pretty good.

The O.C. airs Thursday nights at 8PM EST on FOX. Even when they're just reruns.

Earlier: O.C.

Posted at 11:55 AM in a OC-centric, Shallow fashion.
  December 29, 2004
Unintentionally Hilarious Photo of the Moment, Vol. 43


Posted at 7:09 PM in a Shallow, Unintentionally Hilarious fashion.
These headline writers have water on the brain

From today's edition of the Los Angeles Times (December 29, 2004):

"Tsunami Death Toll Hits 60,000",
by Richard C. Paddock and Mark Magnier

Tragic news, indeed. But the disaster's influence is also spreading throughout the realm of international news reporting. To wit, there's this example of borderline-tasteless syntax from the very same paper:

"28 Die in Wave of Insurgent Attacks in Iraq",
by Edmund Sanders

Posted at 11:18 AM in a Shallow fashion.
  December 23, 2004
No O.C. Post This Week

Do try to contain yourself.

Earlier: O.C. junk.

Posted at 7:59 PM in a OC-centric, Shallow fashion.
  December 22, 2004
Well, He Does Have Experience "Dropping the Ball"

From COLIN GLAD TO DROP NEW YEAR'S BALL, The New York Post, Dec. 22, 2004:

"Secretary of State Colin Powell will return to the city of his birth and drop the famous Waterford Crystal ball in Times Square on New Year's Eve, Mayor Bloomberg announced yesterday.

"'Colin Powell is the American dream come true,' Bloomberg said of the Bronx-raised outgoing secretary of state.

"'He's done everything his country has ever asked.'..."

Yes, well, that's been his undoing.

Posted at 8:10 AM in a Shallow fashion.
  December 21, 2004
The Curious Incident of the Pulitzer in the Night-Time

Why is the Times so obsessed with autism? It's like they're in their own little world, not looking out, just focusing inward.

Battling Insurers Over Autism Treatment, December 21, 2004, by MILT FREUDENHEIM, appearing in the Business section

How About Not 'Curing' Us, Some Autistics Are Pleading, December 20, 2004, by AMY HARMON, appearing in the Health section

In Autism, New Goal Is Finding It Soon Enough to Fight It, December 14, 2004, by ANAHAD O'CONNOR, appearing in the Health section

For Siblings of the Autistic, a Burdened Youth, December 10, 2004, by JANE GROSS, appearing in the National Desk section

One subject matter. One human interest. Three different sections. Three different weeks. Four different dates. Four different writers.

Posted at 3:50 PM in a Shallow fashion.
  December 20, 2004
Exercises in suitable captioning, where "suitable" means "tasteless", which in turn means, "What the fuck were they thinking?"


More proof that wire-service photo editors have a top-notch sense of humor, at least when it comes to fetuses and acts of depravity: The above image was attached to the latest A.P. wire story about that whole "I killed a woman and cut her unborn baby from her mangled womb" news item from last week.

Seriously. That image right there. Of the suspect maternally holding a fucking chihuahua or some other hirsute little newborn.

Thankfully, they clarify the presence of the dog with their accompanying caption:

This is an undated photo showing Lisa M. Montgomery, a resident of Melvern, Kan. Montgomery was arrested late Friday, Dec. 17, 2004, and charged with kidnapping resulting in death in a case of a woman being murdered and her 8-month-old fetus cut out of her womb. The baby of Bobbie Jo Stinnett was recovered and was reported in good condition on Saturday. (AP Photo/Maryville Daily Forum)

See? Embedded somewhere within those clauses is a full and rational explanation for using this particular photo of the woman. You just have to be one of those university-trained "close readers", perhaps.

Me? I'm just a loving asshole who adores puppy portraits, and fuck if I don't get angry when such cute photos are tainted with the Anne Geddes-esque stigma of dead mothers and shortened pregnancies.

Posted at 1:10 PM in a Shallow fashion.
  December 17, 2004
Adventures in the Skin Trade, Vol. 2

Wes Anderson (left) at "The Aviator" premiere and C. Montgomery Burns (right)

Posted at 12:02 PM in a Shallow fashion.
  December 16, 2004
An Exclusive Excerpt from the New Osama bin Laden Tape

OBL.jpgIf it is not too unseemly for a man of my wealth and abundant religious and intellectual gifts to complain, I must say that the hardest part of being on the run in the mountains of Tora Bora is how often I miss my favorite infidel television program, The O.C.

Why are you laughing? Who says that a righteous man, a man who seeks to break the back of the American Satan, cannot enjoy a few laughs once in a while, a little eye candy? I work 24 hours a day to destroy America and the secularist lambs that follow it like, well, like lambs. Can I not take one hour a week to bask in the comforting Southern California glow of The O.C.? Can I not spend a little Osama time in the land of perpetual summer time?

Do you know what I go through just to see the show you infidels take for granted? It must be taped off a secure satellite feed by one of my operatives, and then smuggled inside his rectum as he traverses the unforgiving Afghan terrain to whatever cave or modest safe house I am inhabiting that day. All this, so that I may re-immerse myself in the travails of the Jew Seth Cohen and the Christian Ryan Atwood? (Don't even get me started on Chrismukkah: I love it, but I don't even know which part of that holiday I'd want to destroy first if I had the chance.)

While I enjoy the jihad thing, the best part of my week is watching The O.C. while eating some sugar free SnackWell Cookies which have also been smuggled to my lair in someone's rectum. (What? I do not judge your infidel food—and I saw Supersize Me!)

Now do you understand why I often appear cranky and irritable in the videos I send to Al Jazeera? I am usually mad because my holy soldiers are so often captured or killed by your army as they make their way to me with my tapes! I have missed whole plot arcs—and I would thank you not to tell them to me, I fully intend to see them eventually—and while reading infidel websites like Television Without Pity help, it is just not the same. I want my O.C., and without it, Osama becomes a grumpy Gus!

Let me be truthful with you: I am very ill and the only thing that is keeping me alive at this point is The O.C.. I have been going through the motions of hating America for over a year now (frankly, you can all fuck yourselves, I'm so over you), but what keeps me going is this show, this popular culture phenomenon that we share together.

It's actually quite nice to be a part of something, instead of always being on the outside looking in. I do not know you, but because of The O.C., I feel we could be friends. Maybe we can IM a bit after the show tonight, if you're not too busy? If not, I can come visit you soon at your home.

Actually, I can almost guarantee you that I will be visiting you at your home soon. I hope you have some sugar free SnackWell Cookies. I do love them so.

Actually, I've never seen The O.C.; I'm sure it's pretty good.

The O.C. airs Thursday nights at 8PM EST on FOX.

Earlier: Other thoughts on The O.C

Posted at 3:44 PM in a OC-centric, Shallow fashion.
  December 15, 2004
Meet Your New Model Overlord

In a complete miscarriage of justice, it's Eva, while anyone in their right mind knows Yaya was robbed.

(And that Adrianne Curry has been such a rousing success.)

Posted at 9:38 PM in a Shallow fashion.
  December 13, 2004
In the Crosshairs

As part of low culture’s ongoing commitment to taking the fun out of everything, we are proud to present our first (and possibly last (it’s very annoying typing this in)) New York Times crossword puzzle cheat sheet. Impress friends, lovers, or anyone who is actually impressed by this kind of crap.

Continue reading...
Posted at 12:16 PM in a Shallow fashion.
  December 10, 2004
"Sic Semper Tyrannis" It Ain't

"You broke up Pantera."

Posted at 2:57 AM in a Shallow fashion.
  December 9, 2004
The O.C.: It's way, way better than getting instant messages about that new red-headed girl that Grant likes

oc_rachelbilson.jpgYou need to set your away message right now because it's almost 8 o'clock and you have to watch The O.C. because it's Thursday and it's on right now. Kelsey says she'll text you later, and next thing you know, you're down in the den, sprawled out alone on the couch, your eyes glued religiously to the sights of Seth Cohen and Marissa Cooper being introduced onscreen as you strain to hear the sounds of Phantom Planet singing plaintively about what is totally your favorite state, and you totally said that to Mr. Roberts last week when he was running through the geography prep quiz in fourth period, and he chuckled because he's so old and doesn't even watch TV, probably.

Whatever, because when they show Summer Roberts on the TV you always cringe! She looks just like your sister Justine, who graduated from law school at Berkeley two years ago, and it was called Boalt, and anyway she is so much older than you, and Mom always rubs that in, because Mom is 57, and Justine is 27, and you were Mom's "surprise" 12 years ago and so you're totally able to stay up later than both Mom and Dad because they go to bed so early. Like, they'll probably be asleep by the time The O.C.'s over. Justine's almost like your Mom anyway, because she always talks about how she was the one who changed your diapers and babysat you when you were a crying infant, and she totally wrote about that in her law school applications, about how that early responsibility had made her a strong leader, and you're so sick of hearing it, but you still love her because she's your sister.

Also Mom keeps saying to be nice to her, too, because Justine is sterile and her uterus doesn't work properly and she can't have children of her own, so raising you comes a close second in her book, that's what Mom says, and you also overheard Justine talking about it with her last year when she visited over Christmas. And that's why Justine has a job at this place called UNICEF where she says they help kids in other countries. Maybe even Mr. Roberts would know where they are? Whatever! You're all about Newport Beach.

Ryan is being such a jerk this week.

The Summer Roberts girl's sweet like your sister too, but Kelsey always tells you every single Friday before homeroom how much she likes Summer on the show, and you're tired of your sister, and also Summer, too. Maybe Summer can't have kids too? Anyway she's too young and she's not going to have babies yet anyway. You hope you can have kids someday, unlike Justine, and you're going to rub it in her face when you do, and she's an old lady. You get bored when they cut to the stories about Sandy and Kirsten, though they seem like a cool Mom and Dad. Marissa is totally your favorite one on The O.C., because she tries so hard, you know? That's really important, you think. And you forgot to put your away message on, and you're still signed on, because you can hear IM's coming in on the computer in the hallway. It's probably just Grant, and you don't even like him anymore anyway. You totally never did, and that was all a big mistake anyway, he doesn't even watch The O.C.

Actually, I've never seen The O.C.: I'm sure it's pretty good.

The O.C. airs at 8PM EST on FOX.

Earlier: Additional OC-centric material...

Posted at 5:32 PM in a OC-centric, Shallow fashion.
  December 7, 2004
They can say that with such confidence, apparently, because the site didn't actually crash

As reported in today's Daily Variety, the "online premiere" of Fahrenheit 9/11, rabble-rousing director Michael Moore's Pixar-animated comedy starring the voices of Tom Hanks and Christina Applegate, drew a meager 89 viewers, according to information released by the briefly-downloadable film's website host. More specifically, "a rep for CinemaNow said 'Fahrenheit 9/11' special, which brought in $885.55 in revenue, was a 'success,' noting that the three-hour window in which it was available was unusual for the Internet."

Damn you, Jack Valenti, for departing us so sadly, and so soon! With you gone, it seems as though the entire motion-picture industry's standards for "success" have waned considerably. Seriously, seriously waned. 800 fucking dollars?

Because it's certainly not as though this CinemaNow website (whatever the hell that may be...I can't even be bothered to link to the fucking thing) likely had a staff of well-paid site producers and designers working days beforehand on this "premiere extravaganza", right? Right?

Posted at 4:05 PM in a Shallow fashion.
  December 6, 2004
The Humorous Life of Brian

Mr. Williams: Not Robin, but almost as Funny.

"There's definitely ways to try and capture that personality without taking away from what is a very serious newscast in very serious times... There are ways to find little moments of absurdity or humor in life and we're going to try and find ways to do that—but, we have to find the right way to do that," " NBC News chief Neal Shapiro
(From, Only When He Laughs, Don Kaplan, The New York Post, Dec. 6, 2004.)

Some suggestions:
-Accompany Iraqi death count reports with "Waw-waw-waaah" horn sound effect from Let's Make a Deal

-Refer to the president as "Cuddles"

-Five Words: Rip Taylor, White House Correspondent

-Swap out hurricane clips with footage from Land of the Lost

-Goodbye, bespoke suits. Hello, tuxedo T-shirt!

-When analyzing reports with Tim Russert, pretend to be all stoned like Cheech and Chong

-End each broadcast with an America's Funniest Home Video-type clip, possibly a "blooper" from the Iraq war or amusing footage of famine-torn nations.

-New theme song by "Weird Al" Yankovic

-Overdub foreign-language speakers with Peanuts-style adult "squawking" voices

-Knock knock jokes. Lots and lots of knock knock jokes

-Get Mo Rocca: Everybody finds that dude hilarious

Posted at 11:04 PM in a Shallow fashion.
The low culture Guide to Jury Duty

The Jury Pool: Come on in, the justice is fine.

Jury Duty isn't just your civic duty: It can be your civic pleasure as well. With these simple tips, your time in the jury pool can be productive, enjoyable, and above all safe. Failure to follow these suggestions may result in jail time, so be forewarned: What you are about to read could save your life.

-Make sure you haven't eaten for at least twenty minutes before entering the jury pool so as to avoid uncomfortable cramps.

-Similarly, make sure you've drunk something—preferably a strong, alcoholic beverage—before the proceedings begin. It will lend a festive air to the entire affair, which is good, since you will probably want to kill yourself the moment you arrive 'till several weeks later when the details of the case will come back to you in nightmares. (But in your nightmare, the killer will be your dad: Don't ask us, we're not shrinks.)

-Don't bring a book or a magazine unless you want your fellow jurors to think of you as some sort of snob. Furthermore, displaying the ability to read will lead directly to the court officers not selecting you for trial. Best to show up with a lot of photos of your cats or your grandchildren, the better to facilitate conversations with those around you. If you must bring a book, bring a Bible: Everyone loves talking about the Bible with strangers.

-It's easy to get laughs in the jury room. Everyone there is stressed out and wants to be somewhere else: It's a perfect recipe for comedy. When the court officer calls out your name and asks if you are able to serve, be sure to say something funny like, "Ready? I was born fucking ready!" Also, classics play well: If you can get a Whoopee Cushion through security, it's worth putting on the judge's seat. Your fellow jurors will thank you.

-Many people try to get out of jury duty by claiming to be racists. While this is a good strategy, we recommend using it to get out of other things, like childcare payments and doctor's appointments. You shouldn't limit your mock pronouncements of racist ideology just to the courts. Speak them freely (on the subway, at the supermarket) and you'll start to see that you're not the only one who thinks that way. You may even be invited to join some cool secret societies.

-Do not watch the clock. Everyone who's ever gone through high school knows that watching the clock during a boring activity does not make time move faster. (Only meth can do that.) Instead, stare dead into the eyes of the person closest to you. Make a game out of it: How long can you stare at them before they turn away? Now, can you double it?

-This is so simple, it's the easiest to forget: Case out the room for single people of the opposite sex. (If you are gay, you should confine this search to the restrooms, which, as we all know, are hotbeds of municipal butt-sex. If you are a lesbian, you should've already gotten a jury exemption and be seeking a partner at your job at the organic food co-op.) The jury pool is a great pickup scene, mostly because you already have so much in common. You're potentially spending the next two weeks seeing this person every day: that's a perfectly acceptable length of time for a relationship. In fact, it's probably a little too long.

-Finally, if you are selected to be on the jury, you should not pump your fist and gloat. Be respectful to your fellow jury pool members who were not selected since they'll be deprived of all the fun you're about to have. Not everyone gets into this party, but you will set yourself apart by being gracious and serving with all the dignity your buzzed, staring, Whoopee Cushion-having ass can muster. Jury duty is an honor. Don't make us regret living in a Democracy.

Posted at 4:21 PM in a Shallow fashion.
Bulworth meets Bush Worthless

001beatty.jpgThere's an old joke, often attributed to Woody Allen, that goes:
"Q. What would you like to be reincarnated as?" "A. Warren Beatty's finger."

Somehow, I'm guessing whoever said that wouldn't have said it about last night, when Beatty was honored by the Kennedy Center. (Check out Kennedy Center Salutes Six Artists, by John Files in The New York Times for a teeny-tiny photo of those fingers wrapped around Bush's.) Poor, poor Beatty finger.

It's a long, slow slide from Capucine to Julie Christie to Madonna to Annette Bening to... Colin Powell.

A sad one, too. Can a man's finger kill itself?

Posted at 12:10 PM in a Shallow fashion.
  December 2, 2004
The O.C.: Don't even worry about coming out of this closet

oc_tatedonovan.jpgYou're looking good lately. Really nice, even. Those pecs...you're packed tight, man. Nicely chiseled. You're working out, aren't you? Yeah. You are.

It's reassuring to know you can watch The O.C. every Thursday night while you're on the stairmaster at Bally's 24-Hour-Fitness, plugged in to little more than a set of earbuds and, don't you know it, an entire world of opulent gorgeousness. This is the sort of drama you dream about mindlessly as you polish the sweat from your glistening calves. Of course, the television sets lined up next to the one blaring FOX's hottest second-season property may try and distract you with their depictions of a smirking Bill O'Reilly or some aging Matt LeBlanc character study, but you won't be swayed. You understand guys like Tate Donovan, you really do.

He looks a lot like that guy who comes in on Tuesdays. That guy. He lingers around the benches for about thirty minutes. Eyes you as he pulls up his socks around his shins. You're sure he's the most beautiful man you've laid eyes upon...at least at this gym, right? Ha. You know what I'm saying. You're a total pro.

And Catherine keeps calling you from the car. You just know she'll be home before you, destined to get off early from her freelance gig at Leo Burnett. Why don't you tell her about this guy? This perfect specimen of O.C.-esque beauty laying out in front of you, his arms pushing and pulling on the bars of a free-weight machine, such that you're just positive what he's doing with those lifts could "plug-n-play" nicely with your own frame.

You're glistening, again. Sweating. Excited. And Catherine keeps on fucking calling you, and you just let it go to voicemail. What the fuck, right? Let her bring something back from Koo-Koo-Roo or California Pizza Kitchen for the two of you to eat later that night. The fuck if you care, right? You're all over this guy. All over him. And he's reading you just right.

Time to towel off, then. You nod at each other. It's not even like some obscure code anymore. You know the drill. And he doesn't even bother wrapping himself in a towel as the two of you leave the gym's shower and head to the back lockers. Again, you know the drill. And, fuck, it's a good thing Catherine doesn't, right? God, would your life be over, or what?

And speaking of, you better finish up in here. Hurry. Hurry. Hurry. Right there. Sharp, so sharp. This may or may not be the world's longest commercial break, but you don't want to miss seeing the end result of Marissa's hooking up with the pool boy. Pool boys. So perfect. So very, very right.

Actually, I've never seen The O.C.: I'm sure it's pretty good.

The O.C. airs at 8PM EST on FOX.

Earlier: Obligatory Pop Culture Entry to Prove We Haven't Become Humorless Prigs; O.C.D.; The O.C.: Your One and Only Friend; The O.C.: Your 'Not Guilty' Pleasure.

Posted at 4:44 PM in a OC-centric, Shallow fashion.
  December 1, 2004
Great Minds Think Alike (And For Only About Two Minutes Before Slapping Up The First Joke They Come Up With)

The Heartbreak's Ours: The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, Dec. 1, 2004.

Earlier: Entertainment Alert: Orange, Nov. 30, 2004.

Posted at 11:07 PM in a Shallow fashion.
God, I Miss Clinton

Snooze: Bush in Canada on Nov. 30, 2004, blah, blah, blah.

It would've been so much easier to make a 'Royal Mounted Police' joke if we still had Bill. Sad.

Posted at 11:21 AM in a Shallow fashion.
  November 30, 2004
Hack Comedy Writers, Fire Up Your Joan and Melissa Rivers Jokes

"Nobel Peace Prize laureate Wangari Maathai of Kenya will be feted at a Dec. 11 concert to be hosted by Tom Cruise and Oprah Winfrey that will air on E!

"Festivities will be held in Oslo the day after the award ceremony, where Maathai will become Africa's first Nobel laureate for her contributions to the environment and women's rights.

"E! has secured exclusive rights to the telecast and will show the two-hour concert Thursday, Dec. 23."

(From, E! to broadcast starry concert for Nobel winner, Variety, Nov. 28, 2004.)

Double hack score for implying that E! will be broadcasting the actual Nobel ceremony. Triple hack score for working in a Scientology joke, an Oprah "You get a Nobel! You get a Nobel!" joke, or a dig at Polyphonic Spree for being not unlike a cult. (Joss Stone joke, optional.)

[via TVTattle]

Posted at 9:51 PM in a Shallow fashion.
Wonder Boy

Don't Say a Word: Douglas let's his breath do the talking, Nov. 30, 2004.

Congratulations to Michael Douglas on his "Walk of Fame" star! You've earned it, big guy.

Now, who's up for pizzas at Spago?

Posted at 6:07 PM in a Shallow fashion.
Bitten by the Humbug

Christmas Time in Ames, Iowa: Leslie Hall and a friend.

Yes, Christmas begins before Thanksgiving. Yes, it's a marketed, commodified celebration of consumption. Yes, the true meaning of the holiday has been forgotten. (Some Jewish kid was born in a barn, or something...) Yes, it's just totally cheesy.

But it's kind of awesome, too. Like, when hardcore heads get into the Christmas spirit and release holiday raps. Remember Run-DMC's "Christmas in Hollis," or Doug E. Fresh, The Treacherous Three, and The Magnificent Force's "X-Mas Rap" in Beat Street, or P. Diddy's "Bad Boy for Life (Santa Gave Me a Lump of Coal, Yo)"? Classics, all.

Add to the hip hop Christmas canon the latest from the Canadian rap 'n' racism bible-approved Iowa-reared MC supergroup, Leslie and The LY's. Watch "Christmas Rap" and prepare to have your planet rocked.

If the Missy Elliott-inflected lyrics don't make you smile, the Flash-meets-Rodney Alan Greenblat video will. And if that doesn't put you in the Christmas spirit, your soul is dead and you embody everything that is wrong with this country, and shame on you.

Posted at 10:23 AM in a Shallow fashion.
Sir Corky Romano... Knockaround Blokes... Mickey Blue Blood!

Today's 'let's git' high concept pitch comes courtesy of Done Deal:

Title: Jersey Dukes
Log Line: A New Jersey mob boss sends a crew over to England to check on his daughter's impending wedding to a royal. The mobsters discover that England is perfect for mob expansion, especially once they are offered help by some dukes and duchesses in need of money to hang on to their country estate.
Writer: Fred Wolf
Agent: UTA
Buyer: Paramount Pictures
Price: High six against low seven figures
Genre: Romantic Comedy
Logged: 11/30/04
More: Pitch. Lorne Michaels will produce.

So, we're looking at James Caan, Jim Broadbent, Kiera Knightley, Vanessa Redgrave, jokes about bad English food, a scene where a New Jersey chef is flown in to make 'gravy' in an old Manor House kitchen, an uptight British dude handling a gun with ease (since he dueled back in Oxford), and a set piece inside Big Ben? Works for me.

Posted at 8:25 AM in a Shallow fashion.
  November 29, 2004
An Eye For Trends

One's a Trend: Gwen Stefani on i-D's Dec./Jan. cover...Val Kilmer as Philip in Alexander.

Related: Sammy Davis, Jr.; Murray Wilson.

Posted at 3:00 PM in a Shallow fashion.
Don't Look Back

The Life Aquatic poster... Milton Glaser's Bob Dylan poster.

Gothamist is running a contest to promote Wes Anderson's cruelly under-hyped film The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou this week.

What caught my eye immediately was the excellent poster for the film (above left), an obvious homage to Milton Glaser's iconic Bob Dylan poster from 1966 (above, right). Since the Zissou image didn't link, I don't know its provenance, but I was surprised that there was no mention of Dylan or Glaser, since just last week, Gothamist was singing Glaser's praises in a piece about the new New York Magazine logo.

I guess Glaser's just one of those artists whose work is so ubiquitous, it's become wallpaper for the culture. It's like "Happy Birthday to You": Everyone knows that song, but can anyone name its composer? It's a shame, too, since Glaser created so many excellent, memorable designs, like the beloved logo for Grand Union.

Related: "When I went upstairs, my bedroom felt like an overwarm sickroom. The clearest remaining vestige of Tom was the 'Don’t Look Back' poster that he’d taped to a flank of his dresser where Bob Dylan’s psychedelic hair style wouldn’t always be catching my mother’s censorious eye." The Comfort Zone, by Jonathan Franzen, The New Yorker, Nov. 29, 2004.

Posted at 1:21 PM in a Shallow fashion.
Isn't That A Clear Conflict of Interest?

High Court to Hear Medical Marijuana Issue.

"Session" to begin promptly at 4:20.

Posted at 10:11 AM in a Shallow fashion.
When Stupid Copy Editors Ruin Your Publicity Stunt, vol. 1

Aerosmith's Tyler Visits Women's Rehab Center

Related: Aerosmith: You Gotta Move DVD, released Nov. 23, 2004.

Posted at 8:01 AM in a Shallow fashion.
World Peace, TK

Actress Julia Roberts has twins

Posted at 7:56 AM in a Shallow fashion.
The New York Times: Obsessed with Vaginas

From The Most Private of Makeovers (Nov. 28, 2004):

As millions of women inject Botox, reshape noses, augment breasts, lift buttocks and suck away unwanted fat, a growing number are now exploring a new frontier, genital plastic surgery. They are tightening vaginal muscles, plumping up or shortening labia, liposuctioning the pubic area and even restoring the hymen, sometimes despite their doctors' skepticism about the need for such cosmetic measures.

From Trying to Avoid 2nd Caesarean, Many Find Choice Isn't Theirs (Nov. 29, 2004):

Women around the country are finding that more and more hospitals that once allowed vaginal birth after Caesarean, or VBAC (commonly pronounced VEE-back), are now banning it and insisting on repeat Caesareans. About 300,000 women a year have repeat Caesareans. The rate of vaginal births in women who have had Caesareans has fallen by more than half, from 28.3 percent in 1996 to 10.6 percent in 2003.

From Wes Anderson's Faithful Diving Team (Nov. 28, 2004):

It is a question that Mr. Anderson, 35, has been fretting about of late. "The only thing I worry about is that I'm going to have my same exact audience that I've had, which I'm lucky to have in the first place," he said, while dissecting a plate of branzino at the same table at Bar Pitti restaurant in New York where he and Mr. Baumbach invented their cranky underwater patriarch.

Posted at 3:05 AM in a Shallow fashion.
  November 28, 2004
Measure for Measure

Tool Time: TIME, Dec. 6, 2004... Esquire, March 1997.

Posted at 11:18 PM in a Shallow fashion.
Thank Heaven For Little Girls...

... And the dirty old men who love them.

Hucka-Hucka Burning Love: Hu-ka-poo: the tip of the tongue taking a trip of three steps...

New York Magazine helps Daniel Radosh live out his Huckapoo fantasy. I'd read the story, but the D.A.'s office would require me to register myself on some sort of list.

Related: The Four Stages of Huckapoo: Curiosity, love, fixation, protection. Pardon me while I go scrub my soul.

Posted at 10:40 PM in a Shallow fashion.
Comments Are Back, For Now at Least


Posted at 10:20 PM in a Shallow fashion.
Mike Nichols: Look Homeward, Auteur

001nichols.jpgCulture critics across the spectrum agree: Mike Nichols returns to his roots with his latest film, Closer.

But which roots? No one seems closer to agreement:

Mike Nichol's latest movie, 'Closer,' adapted from a play by the British dramatist Patrick Marber, is about four people, arranged in crisscrossing couples, who spend most of two hours slicing one another to bits with witty and vengeful repartee. In this respect it is a lot like his first movie, 'Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?,' which in 1966 was adapted from Edward Albee's celebrated play, which to this day remains unequalled in its portrayal of heterosexuality as a form of ritualized verbal blood sport.
(Who's Returning to Virginia Woolf?, by A.O. Scott, The New York Times, Nov. 28, 2004.)


Thirty-three years ago, director Mike Nichols tackled love, sex, betrayal and relationships in a frank and unflinching fashion with 'Carnal Knowledge.' That film, which starred Jack Nicholson, Art Garfunkel, Candice Bergen and Ann-Margret, became a classic for its refusal to sugar-coat emotional tangles and for its utter lack of a sun-drenched, music-swelling happy ending.

With 'Closer,' he returns to this familiar battlefield and finds, well, things haven't gotten rosier over the years.
('Closer' to the Truth, by Andy Cocker, The New York Post, Nov. 28, 2004.)

Personally, I thought it was a return to The Day of the Dolphin.

Posted at 8:15 PM in a Shallow fashion.
The Blurbin' Fool Presents: Thanksgiving at the Movies

As anyone who's been disowned by his family and rejected by even his mail-order bride knows, the only thing to do on Thanksgiving when you're painfully alone is to see a lot of movies. It's so much easier to cry in a dark movie theater, but it's even better to laugh!

Here are my blurbs for this holiday weekend's releases. Messrs. Ebert and Roeper, eat your hearts out:

National Treasure: A national disaster!

Kinsey: Hideous Kinsey!

The Incredibles: Incredibly bad!

Bad Education: You said it, not me!

Alexander: Alexander the So-So!

Finding Neverland: Lose it!

Ray: Gay!

After the Sunset: Ratner scores again! A roller-coaster ride of thrills and laughs: a witty tropical romp that's as cool as a Daiquiri and twice as intoxicating!

Posted at 7:49 PM in a Shallow fashion.
  November 26, 2004
Yellow Alert... Orange Alert... Red Alert

The Macy's Thanksgiving Parade, co-sponsored by The Department of Homeland Security

Can't make this up: Go here to learn about the DHS's real parade on November 26.

Posted at 10:33 AM in a Shallow fashion.
  November 24, 2004
The O.C.: Your 'Not Guilty' Pleasure

001gallagher.jpgGod, it's so weird being home for Thanksgiving: sleeping in that narrow little bed, feeling like you have to ask permission to go for a drive like you're a teenager even though you're twenty-nine.

It's even weirder now that you're divorced. Everyone's being all cool and polite about it, which makes it a little easier to be here alone for the first time since high school. Your "funny" uncle hasn't made a single joke about wanting the money for that fondue set he got you and your ex from Crate & Barrel, and even your usually snide little sister hugged you a little longer and asked, "How are you, sis?"

Sure, your mom cut out an article from The Times 'Style' section on "starter marriages" (never mind that the article was printed before your wedding hit the skids last winter in Aspen—has mom been saving it all this time?), and she keeps offering you herbal tea and wanting to talk. You can tolerate it, especially since she paid for your ticket home.

But there's one hour Thursday night when they all better steer clear of you: 8 PM EST, when The O.C. airs.

If any of those fuckers even tries to talk to you during The O.C., you're going to explode in a screaming fit, thrashing about and destroying your father's fancy new stereo and reducing your mother's precious Hummels to dust. For real: no jury in the land would convict a 29 year-old divorcée for killing her entire family on Thanksgiving night if they knew that all she wanted to do was watch The O.C.

Shit. Now you'll need a good lawyer. Not one of those awful public defenders with dandruff and a baggy, hand-me-down Brooks Brothers suit. (Can't you get it tailored—it only costs like forty bucks?) You'll need one of those slick ones who do pro bono work, especially for still pretty women accused of crimes of passion. Maybe he'll even be sexy like Peter Gallagher on The O.C.

After a long, public trial, dutifully covered in People and on CNN ("Whoa, is that Dominick Dunne in the audience of my murder trial?"), you'd be acquitted when your motive is fully explained: Not guilty by reason of O.C.

It'll be hard to put the trial behind you (and, you know, the death of your whole family, including your "funny" uncle), but you've always been remarkably strong. You pride yourself on having only cried at work once—that goddamn toner got all over your skirt, it wasn't your fault—and even when your ex was playing all those sadistic mind games, you never once threw it in his face that you knew it would be a bad idea to marry a Jew. (Situational anti-Semitism: so weak.)

Yes, you are a strong, independent woman, and now that your murder trial is behind you, you will fulfill your destiny by finding a nice man and bearing his children. But there's something you need to do first: you need to go to the video store and buy the DVDs of the last two seasons of The O.C., since you sort of lost track of the show while you were in jail. Today is the first day of the rest of your life, and The O.C. is there for you, unlike those dead jerks in your family. Now, who does a woman have to kill around here to get some service at this fucking Blockbuster?

Actually, I've never seen The O.C.: I'm sure it's pretty good.

The O.C. airs at 8PM EST on FOX

Earlier: Obligatory Pop Culture Entry to Prove We Haven't Become Humorless Prigs; O.C.D.; The O.C.: Your One and Only Friend.

Posted at 1:00 PM in a OC-centric, Shallow fashion.
Wow, What an Amazing Coincidence!

This press release article alerted us to an insultingly cynical incredible, fortuitous confluence of cross-promotional marketing events:

Donald Trump's fiancee, Melania Knauss, says her appearance on last week's episode of "The Apprentice" has landed her a job modeling Levi's jeans.

"I was on 'The Apprentice' and they saw me and they asked me if I would do the advertising for them and I said, of course," Knauss said on yesterday's episode of "The View."

During last week's "Apprentice," the teams were instructed to create a Levi's catalogue.

-DREAM OF JEANIE, by Michael Starr, The New York Post, Nov. 24, 2004.

So, all it took was a product placement segment on a top-rated show hosted by her "billionaire" fiancé to get the gig? This overnight success story is sure to go down in legend like Lana Turner getting discovered at the Schwab's Soda Counter. It makes us all sick proud.

Related: Post "copy" "editors": It's You've Got Mail, not You Have...

Posted at 9:57 AM in a Shallow fashion.
Mommy's Little Zealot

001prayer.jpgMichelle "Three Cheers for Internment" Malkin, who never fails to make me smile (mostly at the thought that I too can have a syndicated column if I work hard enough at being bigoted and mediocre), has a sweet little Thanksgiving-themed column today called Grace, gratitude and God. (It's my sincere hope that this becomes a perennial holiday column, something along the lines of "Yes, Virginia, there was an Iraq-al Qaida link.")

After an endearing little homily about her four year-old daughter learning to say "grace" before meals, she tells us:

In typical toddler fashion, my daughter is now absolutely fanatical about her new routine. Not only must we say grace before every meal, but also before each snack. And anytime we have a drink. And anytime her baby brother gobbles Cheerios in his car seat. Failure to give thanks to God is met with swift retribution. Our daughter has no qualms about chastising us in public—at restaurants, airports or Starbucks:

"Hey, stop eating! You forgot to say grace!"

Despite the embarrassment it sometimes causes, I love her unrepentant zeal. It reminds us not to take for granted our too-infrequent gestures of daily thanksgiving. It reminds us to be humble. Following her lead, we must all bow our heads and fold our hands and shut our eyes and shout a full-throated "Amen!"

Absolutely adorable! (And, Hmmmm... for some reason I'm craving Starbucks.)

I won't make fun of Malkin's red state, red meat, red-baitin' (red shirt wearin') religion, since the rest of the column is all about the evils of Bible-bashing ("[S]nobs of secularism will no doubt disparage such simple-minded expressions of piety..."), but I would like to point out that Malkin is seriously remiss in the way she's raising her child. In fact, she's putting her precious life at risk every single day.

Not once—once!—does Malkin mention teaching her god-thanking offspring to wash her hands before eating. Talk about a breakdown of traditional values: This is tantamount to child abuse!

How can we expect to raise the next generation of good little Christian soldiers if they're brought low by bacterial infections? How can America remain the most powerful, compassionate, and ass-kickingly awesome country in the world if we don't teach the wee little ones to wash their hands before eating? (I happen to know for a fact that in the employee washrooms of sweatshops all over Asia and Guatemala there are "Employees Must Wash Hands" signs: Those are well-trained four year-olds.)

So, Michelle, please tell the little one to lather up those hands before clasping them together in prayer. And don't forget to remind her that immigrants are especially dirty, and that even god cannot protect her if she should accidentally brush against one of those beasts.


Earlier Mal-Content: Why... Is Michelle Malkin the New Jadakiss?

Posted at 9:00 AM in a Shallow fashion.
  November 23, 2004
No Comment(s)

Como se wha?: Well, a few anyway.

Hi, loyal readers who couldn't get the full week off for Thanksgiving. (Or "Thanks-taking," as my friend Sam likes to call it.) We apologize to the three of you who emailed us to say you can't post comments, and the other three of you who noticed, but couldn't be bothered to send us a complaint. (Thanks for that, actually.) Once again, it's something beyond our control, and we're looking into the issue right now. We'd invite you to use our comments area to offer your suggestions, but (ha!) comments don't work.

So, this Thanks-taking, when you sit down to enjoy the cascading bounty of the American horn-of-plenty, say an extra little thanks for all the terrible, hackneyed, totally worthless blogs that never seem to crash or have software problems. God bless them, for we know not why their sites function so well.

Now, excuse us while we throw another small pox blanket over our server.

Posted at 3:21 PM in a Shallow fashion.
Shaggy Dog Joke

001bachelder.jpgI'll admit right upfront that I have not read all of Chris Bachelder's Lessons in Virtual Tour Photography (since it's 161 pages long and my brain has atrophied to the point where I can only ingest 150-word blog entries, soundbites on VH1 clip shows, and charts in Entertainment Weekly), but from what I've seen, it's some weird, funny shit.

Download the .pdf version from McSweeneys.net and you'll get some great advice like this (from Lesson 5 "How to Have Sex With The Estranged Girlfriend"):

1. Do not, under any circumstances, expect or hope to have sex with The Estranged Girlfriend. You can’t just roll into town without warning in the middle of a weeknight and expect to entwine as in the days of yore. You’re unbelievable. You’re just so fucking unbelievable.

2. Go to the bathroom. Wash your face. Stare at yourself in the mirror. Immediately, and without intent, start thinking about the act of staring at yourself in the mirror. A self-consciousness about staring at yourself. Get so weary.

3. Open the mirror cabinet and look for her pills. Assuage your guilt by imagining the very tight camera shot. There’s no music here, just the soft sounds you make as you explore the contents of the cabinet. You’re not alone and this is not a real transgression. It just looks real. Your job, as an actor, is to make it look convincingly real...

Related: Bear v. Shark: The Novel, also by Chris Bachelder.

Posted at 9:58 AM in a Shallow fashion.
It's Like Capote's Black and White Ball, Only for Losers

001capote.jpgParties don't get more glamorous than this:
Henry Kissinger
Brian "Kato" Kaelin
Geraldo Rivera
Tina Louise
Don King
Donald Trump (Senior and Junior)
Mickey Sherman

"a variety of celebrities of all ilk and importance including Stephen Baldwin, Jaid Barrymore, astronaut Buzz Aldrin and singer Michael Bolton."

And, of course, Roger Friedman.

What, Sylvia Miles had something else that night?

Posted at 7:42 AM in a Shallow fashion.
  November 22, 2004
A World Gone Mad


Is Beyoncé technically even allowed to appear off-center in photos? Suddenly, nothing makes sense to me anymore.

Posted at 4:41 PM in a Shallow fashion.
I Am Trying to Ape Your Art

The Wilco Book, October 2004... Brief Interviews with Hideous Men, April 2000

Okay, so I should've written about this when the book came out a month ago. I would've, but we were busy trying to avert an electoral disaster. (Lotta good that did. I'm filing that experience along with college and my last two jobs under 'H' for 'Heartbreaking Failures.')

So, let's chalk this up to the science of Amazon recommendations: If you listen to Yankee Hotel Foxtrot on your iPod, you might like carrying around Infinite Jest. (And, yes, you might be the coolest fucking person ever. At least in your own mind, man.)

Posted at 12:01 PM in a Shallow fashion.
What's the Worst That Could Happen?

001flies.jpg"NBC's Saturday morning block is getting a new series that plays like a kiddie version of the ABC primetime hit Lost. Discovery Kids on NBC has given the go-ahead to 13 episodes of 29 Down, which chronicles the adventures of a group of kids whose airplane crashes on a deserted island. Shooting in Hawaii, Down will join NBC's Saturday morning lineup—programmed by Discovery Networks—next year."
-Hotline: Latest Hollywood creative coincidence, Boston Herald, Nov. 18, 2004.

[via TVTattle]

Posted at 9:15 AM in a Shallow fashion.
This is Great

But why are they calling it a satire?

Posted at 8:09 AM in a Shallow fashion.
  November 21, 2004
The New York Post: As Racially Sensitive as They Are Original

The New York Post, Nov. 21, 2004... Paul Rodriguez, 1994

Posted at 5:04 PM in a Shallow fashion.
  November 19, 2004
Bovs on your Mane

Snoochy Boochy: You can preserve us anytime, baby!

Cough, cough. I mean, well crafted, intelligent joke to justify posting this attractive woman's photo. Cough.

Posted at 12:41 PM in a Shallow fashion.
It's been one year since his split with Uma, and Ethan Hawke's looking quite a bit worse for wear


Posted at 12:23 PM in a Shallow fashion.
Poutin' Powell


"Not even my new U2 Special Edition iPod can make me smile today."

Posted at 9:44 AM in a Shallow fashion.
Hooray for Product Placement!


National Treasure is so hot, you'll need a case of refreshing Aquafina water, from the good people at Pepsi.

Update: Turns out the professional wise-asses at The Onion AV Club made nearly the exact same joke as the above—three days ago. Either those guys saw my post and then built a time machine and went back to steal my idea, or hack minds think alike. We got beat: I guess that's why those dude's have the big first-look deal with Miramax and I'm just here blogging. Oh, well.

Posted at 8:37 AM in a Shallow fashion.
The Single Greatest Album Since The Stones' Sticky Fingers


1. Enter the Wang
2. Bukkake Sunrise
3. Yellow Bile / Desperate Ground
4. Lucky Duck
5. Pipestone Octopus with Horseheart
6. Access of Evil
7. The White Death
8. Invisible Order
9. Horseheart Revolution
10. Pillow of Green Light
11. My Dust Will Be What I Am
12. Hidden From The Hidden Ones
13. Custody's Last Battle / Secret Wars
14. Black Bile
15. Circular And Made of the Earth

Listen to the Master Musicians of Bukkake for yourself.

Posted at 8:30 AM in a Shallow fashion.
Pray for Publicity

The Reverend Billy in The New York Times, Nov. 19, 2004.

Does anyone else think that in another life, this guy would be the best publicist in the business?

Posted at 8:26 AM in a Shallow fashion.
  November 18, 2004
The O.C.: Your One and Only Friend

002oc.jpgYeah, you've kinda lost your edge. You're still listening to that Spin Doctors CD from college and you couldn't tell the difference between The Hives and The Vines if your life depended on it. (And back-channel al Qaeda chatter indicates that millions of Americans' lives may, in fact, depend on knowing the difference between these two bands.)

That's what's so great about The O.C. You can feel cool again, plugged in. When you watch The O.C., you feel like one of the cool kids, instead of a paunchy, weak-kneed loser sliding into a wide, ugly middle age of quiet desperation, which is what you are.

But, man, for that hour The O.C. is on, you're that kid in the front row at the pep rally, applauding for your incredibly cute girlfriend, the head cheerleader. Sometimes your dumb friends make jokes about her being the head cheerleader, but screw 'em, they're just jealous. You guys are a good couple and nothing's gonna come between you. I mean, not until college at least.

College is gonna be great. No parents! No dumb rules or homework! Will you pledge a fraternity? Maybe! Will you finally get to have a threesome? Maybe! Will you make friends for life who will support you, care about you, hook you up with awesome jobs when you graduate? Maybe!

Then again, maybe not. Those guys are so selfish. None of them return your calls and the last time you hung out with them, they made fun of your job, your Today's Man suit, and your studio apartment. Such snobs. Maybe you should call that girl you dated in high school, that cheerleader you dumped freshman year of college when you were sure you'd be getting tons of dorm room nookie.

What, she's married now? To whom? That guy from your fraternity? Goddamnit! Those jerks! Well, there's always The O.C. Now you feel better, don't you, ya fuckin' loser?

Actually, I've never seen The O.C.; I'm sure it's pretty good.

The O.C. airs at 8PM EST on FOX.

Earlier: O.C.D.; Obligatory Pop Culture Entry To Prove We Haven't Become Humorless Prigs.

Posted at 5:06 PM in a OC-centric, Shallow fashion.
I Can All But Guarantee That This Photo (or a worse one) Will Be Used in Tomorrow's Post or Daily News

Howard Stern in Union Square, Nov. 18, 2004.

And the headline will be STERN FACED or SIRIUS EXPRESSION.

001carnac.jpgMmmmmyah. May Burt Reynolds sell you a used bearskin rug. Call me Carnac.

Posted at 3:17 PM in a Shallow fashion.
The Source Awards

One of the most desperate tactics a journalist can resort to is using another journalist as a source. It's even more desperate when the journalist used as a source is from the antipodal publication to your own, a publication whose credibility your worthless paper would never endorse were you not in a bad bind and really needed to flesh-out an unformed rehash of a story. But it's really desperate when the journalist you use as a source is funnier and more effortlessly talented than you are, and upstages you with brio.

Take today's New York Post, which features a not-so timely piece on whether or not Oliver Stone's Alexander is too gay. Written by the Post's giddy answer to Walter Monheit, Jr., "Captain" Lou Lumenick, it's called Light in the Sandals. (Get it? That's, like, a joke about fags.)

After a few paragraphs of quoting from the trailer and citing articles previously published in Playboy and Entertainment Weekly (in the biz, we call this sort of shoe leather-preserving reporting "a rounder"), Lumenick gets someone on the horn:

"Village Voice columnist Michael Musto, who has long monitored homosexual behavior in Hollywood films, says they tend to shy away from showing the physical aspects of gay love, especially when major stars are involved.

'This film tries to have it both ways, like Alexander himself,' Musto said."

See, this is the problem with resorting to this sort of lame, lazy journalism. In one well-turned, humorous phrase, Michael Musto steals his equally alliterative interviewer Lou Lumenick's article right out from under him. (I also like how Lumenick makes his source sound like some sort of anthropologist of gay Hollywood, endowed, as it were, with a grant from the N.E.H.)

Lumenick probably sought out Musto for his years of experience dispensing soundbites like that on VH1 and any show that will cover his steep per diem (zip, as it turns out), but if Lumenick were a real journalist, he would've just stolen Musto's joke and called it his own. That's how the pros do it.

Related: More gay Oliver Stone news from today's Post.

Posted at 7:56 AM in a Shallow fashion.
  November 17, 2004
We Invented the Remix

Mean People Suck: Yeah, we think we're better than this, too.

Posted at 9:46 PM in a Shallow fashion.
Southern Fried Gothic

001conroy.jpgDo you like to cry while you eat? Does every flavor you taste remind you of what flawed, complicated people your parents were? Are you a stout Southern gentleman with the temperament of a drill sergeant but the heart of a poet?

Have we got a cookbook for you! Introducing, The Pat Conroy Cookbook: Recipes of My Life.

You'll savor the bitterness of The Great Santini Steak Au Poivre. You'll marvel at The Lords of Discipline Dumplings. And you don't want to miss The Prince of Tides Salmon, salted to taste—just like your tears.

Order now and receive a free canister of My Losing Season seasoning spread, guaranteed to make your meal a mass market masterpiece!

Available now at a train station or airport bookstore near you.

Posted at 1:56 PM in a Shallow fashion.
Their Friend to the North Shows His Support (and Almost Everything Else)

Farmers from Veracruz, Mexico, protest the seizure of their land.

The Naked Cowboy sings songs of freedom for his comrades in Veracruz.

Posted at 9:17 AM in a Shallow fashion.
  November 16, 2004
Pillow Talk: The First in a 12 Part low culture Series on Linen Innovations—Linenvations, If You Will

Truly, we are in a golden age of anthropomorphic pillows.

Surely you've noticed that the best and brightest minds in the fields of science, design, and, upholstery have dedicated themselves to creating wonderful, almost human pillows the likes of which mankind has never imagined?

Prepare to be dazzled: your head will literally spin at the sight of these amazing pillows. Luckily, it won't be hard to find somewhere to rest it.002pillow.jpg

First, there was the 'Boyfriend Arm's Pillow' (U.S. $80), which is a lot like the classic husband, but requires less commitment and no costly wedding ceremony. This pillow may prove to be a major breakthrough after the draft is implemented and the male population in America and the coalition of the willing (Poland! Don't forget Poland!) drops dramatically. Scientists are already at work on a pillow that can inseminate a woman's eggs. Can half baby pillows be far behind?

001hugs.jpgActually, they already exist. Scientists at Carnegie Mellon have developed an electrical pillow that allows grandparents to 'hug' their grandkids long distance through a series of vibrations and squeezing motions.

This incredible pillow-based innovation permits grandkids to obviate unpleasant grandma kisses and avoid exposure to toxic grandpa odors. It also prevents too-tight grandkid hugs from shattering grandma's brittle bones.

Unfortunately, this pillow also eliminates the silver dollars and hard candies traded as currency in the typical grandparent/grandchild hug transaction. (Hard candy pillows, anyone?)

For overgrown male children who continue to dislike hugging gross female humans with their body hair and heart beats, the latest pillow breakthrough may be of some help.

As recounted by the world wide weirdness curators at bOING bOING, the 'Girlfriend's Lap Pillow,' Japanese scientists have developed perhaps the most important pillow-based innovation of the decade.
Combining the up-with-women design philosophy of A Clockwork Orange's Korova Milkbar with the idealized proportionality of the very best of female drawings by R. Crumb, this pillow is a must-own for men who love comfort, but hate women's revolting upper bodies and blabby mouths. (To say nothing of their hair, which sometimes smells of fruit and can get stuck on the tiles in the shower.) This is the ultimate 'companion' piece for your terrifying subterranean lair where you make girl suits and stand naked before your video camera speculating on what you'd like to do with yourself if anatomy would just let you.

What's next for pillows? The sky's the limit, really. Might we see such innovations as a realistically rendered Diane Lane pillow? Or perhaps a fully articulated Mugatu-shaped pillow that emits a real fur and musk scents that's also edible? I have no idea. I'll leave it to the pillow pros.

The future looks bright. Bright and downy soft. Pull up a pillow and rest your head, won't you?

Posted at 10:46 PM in a Shallow fashion.
And It's Not Even Hump Day Yet

Did Slate, everyone's favorite (temporarily) Microsoft-funded journal of punditry and funditry, stick one of those sex patches to its crimson skin?

How else to explain how horny the site is this week? Check out these heds:

Come Again? A history of the orgasm completely misses the point., by Thomas W. Laqueur (Don't stop...)

The Thinking Man's Guide to Sex: What could be wrong with She Comes First?, by Dan Chiasson (Slower, slower...)

"Let's Get It On"…Again: The remix of Marvin Gaye's classic is better than the original., by David Ritz (Yes, yes, that's good...)

Why Powell Had To Go: And how will Condi fare as his successor?, by Fred Kaplan (Um, less like that...)

The See-Through Times: An internal memo promises to rub out anonymice and other credibility killers., by Jack Shafer (Ah, that's good...)

I don't know about you, but I feel like I need a good, long shower.

Posted at 10:08 AM in a Shallow fashion.
  November 15, 2004
And then they wrote "In Bloom" after seeing tons of stick figures hanging in the woods


In December of 1987, three student musicians disappeared in the woods near Aberdeen, Washington while recording a demo.

One year later their footage was found.

...then released sixteen years later by Geffen Records as "With The Lights Out", a 3CD/DVD box set by Nirvana, after years of disputes between surviving bandmembers and the widow of the deceased frontman.

While it looks as though Kurt Cobain is doing his best Blair Witch impersonation as he stares into the corner (above, in a still taken from previously-unreleased video footage appearing on the accompanying DVD), bear in mind that this was years before the late 90's film phenomenon.

Sometimes it seems like everyone ripped off Kurt.

RELATED: The Blair Witch Project and "Why is Mike standing in the corner at the end of the film?"

Posted at 12:33 PM in a Shallow fashion.
  November 14, 2004
Judging by the syntax of this headline, it seems as though someone at the Times is a little too excited about May 2005


The New York Times, excitedly reporting on American "progress" in the conquering of Fallujah by U.S. forces:

U.S. Armored Forces Blast Their Way Into Rebel Nest in Falluja

RELATED: Episode V, The Empire Strikes Back

Posted at 5:19 PM in a Shallow fashion.
Russell Jones, 1968-2004

Mr. Courageous: O.D.B. (AKA, Big Baby Jesus, Osiris, Dirt McGirt)

Rapper ODB Dies in Studio

"Number one, I got shot. It made me understand that I do only have one life to live and that it can happen to me. And shit happens when you be in the wrong place at the wrong time. The bullet went through my back and it came out my front. It ruptured my spleen, but it didn't hit no bones or nothing. The doctors don't even know how that happened, so that's all praise due to Allah. It just lets you know that I was meant to be here. And anyway, I wasn't going nowhere because ain't nobody take me off this motherfucker till I'm ready to leave this motherfucker... Hell no. I don't play that dying shit."
(Quoted from The Nutty Confessor, by Rob Marriott, SPIN, circa March 1995.)

Posted at 10:34 AM in a Shallow fashion.
  November 13, 2004
What Makes Ratner Run?

001ratner.jpgBrett Ratner's talent, such as it is, is bullshit.

The director, whose most recent piece of pandering, formulaic pap, After the Sunset, will probably be number two at the box office this weekend, could comfortably be described as a bullshit artist, or, more charitably, a complete and total bullshit artiste.

If his critics are to be believed (and in this case, they are), his artistry doesn't lie in filmmaking, a craft for which he is frightfully unskilled, yet tenaciously and gainfully employed. Ratner has no particular intuition for camera placement, editing, or working with actors: His films are about as enjoyable as a vigorous session of C.B.T.

What Ratner is good at—what he unquestionably excels at—is bullshit. Take the mini profile of him in Saturday's New York Times 'Arts' section, A Hollywood Early Bloomer, Bringing It All Back Home, by Lola Ogunnaike, which is chockablock with Ratner's bald-faced lies and egomaniacal bullshit.

Continue reading...
Posted at 9:25 PM in a Shallow fashion.
  November 12, 2004
Has This Been Optioned for the Movies Yet? It Really Should Be Optioned for the Movies.

Meatball Run?: The lovely Chief Inspector Laura Ciano and her sidekick, Superintendent Vincenzo Bizzarro

"It is not a toy, they swear, but a serious piece of police gear, no matter how many Japanese tourists stood at a highway rest stop here snapping away in awe.

"'It's a responsibility to drive it,' said Chief Inspector Laura Ciano of the Italian highway police.002italy.jpg

"Paolo Mazzini, a highway police commander, said: 'Italian people are not always friendly toward authorities. They are curious, so they accept the ticket more readily.'

"'It's not for fun,' he added.

"Still, Superintendent Vincenzo Bizzarro wore a satisfied look on his face when he gave a reporter, fingers dug into fine leather seats, a small taste of what the force's new Lamborghini Gallardo patrol car can do: nearly 100 miles an hour in just a few seconds, with a row of tollbooths approaching awfully fast..."

From, Whoosh! For Speeders, Speedier Justice, via Lamborghini, by Ian Fisher, The New York Times, Nov. 12, 2004.

Posted at 12:10 PM in a Shallow fashion.
Somehow They Ruled Out Terrorists

001subway.JPG"It wasn't clear if the off-message message was an inside job or the work of a high-tech prankster. A Transit Authority spokesman said the agency was investigating the incident."

"Token booth clerk David Romero, who notified the TA command center of the bogus message, speculated that someone broke into the TA's computer system."
-Ugly Sign Misses the Mark in Subway, by Celeste Katz and Pete Donohue, The New York Daily News, Nov. 12, 2004.

Posted at 9:04 AM in a Shallow fashion.
When To Walk Out on Bridget: or, How To Tell You're Surrounded By Career Women in Their Mid-Twenties

"Don't you dare try to eat mommy's Häagen Dazs, Miss Whiskers!"

You're watching Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason, and Bridget's love interest, the supportive "human rights lawyer" Mark Darcy (as played by the normally acceptable Colin Firth) utters the following line in the middle of an argument between the two lovebirds:

DARCY: I'm not angry at you, Bridget. I'm disappointed. (He smiles.) Disappointed that I can't go home with you right now.

And the audience collectively coos a unified, "Awwwwwwwwwww..."

Posted at 8:46 AM in a Shallow fashion.
Roger Friedman on Cruise Control (Get It?)

001losinit.jpgRoger Friedman, FOXNews.com's usually spot-on gossip monger (and by 'spot on,' I mean joyfully, hilariously bad, and by 'gossip monger,' I mean Miramax party fixture) has an item on Mission: Impossible 3 today. Since he (or the associate producer who formats his column for the web) phoned the headline in, I thought I'd offer some help.

Here's Friedman's:
Cruise Out of Control on Impossible Mission
Not horrifically bad (FOXNews.com's fishwrap sister publication has ten worse every day), but it's not quite... good enough.

Here are some suggestions:
A Few Not So Good Men Top Gun for a Legend

Minority Report on Cruise's Risky Business

Do Outsiders Have All The Right Moves, or Is Cruise's Vanilla Sky Turning Into Days of Thunder as the Color of Money Taps the Legend to Hit The Firm Cocktails as He's Losin' It?

Yeah, you're welcome.

Posted at 7:46 AM in a Shallow fashion.
  November 11, 2004

001mischa.jpgAs everyone knows, today is a special day. It's a day when we take a little time to think about the brave people who give their all and pay the ultimate price for us to live better lives.

No, I do not mean the veterans. (Don't you read the right side of this website? We fucking hate the soldiers and we're huge supporters of the insurgents: I have a picture of that dreamy Muqtada al-Sadr hanging in my cubicle.)

I'm talking about The O.C., of course! Today is episode two of The O.C.'s second season, and I, for one, am excited.

I'm so excited about The O.C., I can hardly think of anything else. This past week's news cycle is just a blur to me: Is Yasser Arafat alive or dead? Did someone in Bush's cabinet resign or get fired or something? Honestly, when I get the paper, I just turn to the TV section to see if there's an article on The O.C., like a cool lifestyle piece on people having parties to watch the show, or style pieces on fashion inspired by the wardrobe, or some sort of medical study on how watching The O.C. can clear up your skin. How come no one has written these pieces yet? What are journalists focusing on that's so much more important than The O.C.?

Here's what I like about The O.C.: It's an escape, okay? I can put aside my own life for a little while and immerse myself in the lives of some truly amazing characters. You might find this hard to believe (especially coming from someone who puts his thoughts on the internet for the world to read—sans payment), but I'm happy not to think about myself for a little while.

When I watch The O.C., I almost never think about that mole on my shoulder that's been getting bigger and becoming bumpier, or the fact that skin cancer runs in my family, and I don't have a doctor or health insurance. I don't have to think about the fact that I had to buy new pants one waist size larger than my last, or that the last time I did any exercise was in high school gym class, and even then, I mostly faked stomach aches so I wouldn't have to change in front of all those vicious jocks who'd snap me with towels and call me a "queer." (Me, a queer? I wasn't the one who was walking around half naked, patting my teammates on the butt and saying, "Good game, big guy." I mean, so what if I had a picture of that dreamy Moammar Qaddafi hanging in my locker? I have a soft spot for dynamic, photogenic despots, okay?)

What was I talking about? Oh yeah, The O.C.. I also like that while watching The O.C., I can use my mind to manipulate space and time, opening a portal to an alternate universe better than our own. What? You don't do that?

Continue reading...
Posted at 11:58 AM in a OC-centric, Shallow fashion.
Make the Pain Stop

Hugh Grant Signals End to Acting Career

I don't know if I can take any more bad news.

Posted at 11:02 AM in a Shallow fashion.
  November 10, 2004
The Good News: Scientists Have Used Stem Cells to Clone Reagan. The Bad News: He's Gigantic. And a Cannibal.

Hearts, Then Minds: "Mmmmmm.... Daddy's hungry."

Related: Separated by the art director?

Posted at 8:12 AM in a Shallow fashion.
  November 9, 2004
Introducing: The Not Ready For Packaging Players

The Golden Era: Jimmy Fallon, Tina Fey, Chris Farley, Will Ferrell...some old people

Five Stars: "Trivial Pursuit SNL Edition is fun. There's over 2000 questions about Saturday Night Live. Don't buy it if you have been watching it for less than 10 years because most of the questions are about old sketches, cast members and characters. The DVD part is a lot of fun because you get clues to the questions, your timed and the game goes a lot faster. If you like Saturday Night Live and you have been watching it for a while you should buy this game."[empahsis, mine]
-Amazon.com user review of Trivial Pursuit: Saturday Night Live Edition
Posted at 3:28 PM in a Shallow fashion.
Man, Women Are Lazy


But not as lazy as photographers, apparently.

Posted at 11:28 AM in a Shallow fashion.
I Learned It From Watching You!

001maxim.jpg"The mock petition concludes that without the protection of a government 'endangered' listing, 'man will surely succumb to the ravages of an effeminate, feng shui world gone mad.'


"The premise - that excessive grooming, smoothies and wimpy sports are draining masculinity from men - may deserve to be filed under hyperbole. But the underlying notion is that Maxim affirms certain behaviors in men before offering them to advertisers. As the Mantropy brochure says, 'Monthly doses of Maxim magazine, and strict adherence to the lifestyle outlined in its pages, have proven effective in curing even the worst cases of Mantropy.'"
Maxim Seeks to Portray Itself as Sophisticatedly Macho, by Nat Ives, The New York Times, Nov. 9, 2004


I’ve heard that celebs get rid of under-eye bags with Preparation H. Is it true?

Yep, the over-the-counter yellow goo isn’t just for butt relief anymore. Preparation H has been touted as fishing bait, balm for cocaine-ravaged nostrils, a caulking agent, and, yes, an eye-bag-busting facial cream. Nervous company reps won’t comment on anything except their product’s stated purpose: relieving raging ’roids. But when it comes to getting rid of the droopy Bill Clinton-during-impeachment look, dermatologists agree that Preparation H does the trick. “It tightens facial skin by temporarily constricting blood vessels and shrinking under-eye tissue�'the same way it constricts and shrinks rectal blood vessels and tissue,” explains Debra Jaliman, M.D., a clinical instructor in dermatology at New York’s Mount Sinai School of Medicine.

Don’t worry, you won’t do your skin any damage by rubbing it on before an early meeting. But be warned: This stuff has the consistency of rubber cement, and it smells more like feces than flowers. Should you get some in your eye, it’ll burn like hell. Safer, better-smelling eye-bag eliminators: an ice pack, chilled cucumber slices, or a raw steak placed over your closed lids. These things don’t contain any magic ingredients (on the plus side, they won’t attract striped bass, either), but the cold will reduce puffiness, making your mug more presentable without causing you to make an, uh, ass of yourself.

Ask Dr. Maxim, June 2001, Maxim.

Posted at 8:58 AM in a Shallow fashion.
Dating is Fine. Marriage, apparently, is problematic

"Does President Bush have a "mandate" for his second term? You would think that a man closing in on 60 million votes might be in a strong political position, but that's not what many influential liberals and leftists are arguing this week.

"Mandate, schmandate, they say."

- WHAT W WON, John "Norman's Son" Podhoretz, The New York Post, Nov. 9, 2004.

Hey Johnboy, are schmandates frum? (Not that Frum, jagoff.)

Posted at 7:52 AM in a Shallow fashion.
Trendwatch 2004

COPS: GAL'S SICK KID-SEX 'FANTASY... Nicole Kidman in Birth

Posted at 7:37 AM in a Shallow fashion.
  November 8, 2004
Did Someone Get Paid to Make This Graphic for AFP?


Because if they did, it was too much. Way, way too much.

Related: TIME, April 8, 1966; Esquire , Oct. 1966.

Posted at 9:32 PM in a Shallow fashion.
Further Thoughts on Wayne Llewellyn, President of Distribution at Paramount

From today’s New York Times:

Wayne Llewellyn, the president of distribution at Paramount, said that the conservative ethos reflected in last week's election results might have hurt [Alfie].

"It could be the mood of the country right now," he said. "It seems to be the result of the election."

But Alfie’s lackluster o.b.o. wasn’t the only thing to come out of this election. A look at some of November 2nd’s lesser publicized consequences:

DVD sales of Farenheit 911 dropped significantly.

The third season of Reno 911? Totally put on hold.

Jonathan Safran Foer’s drunken boast – "I’m so getting out of this fascist country" – now repeated ad infinitum to friends.

David Blaine’s healing powers significantly diminished. Street magic, however, is promised to continue.

I might have, just totally randomly, you know, just hooked up with this other girl, but it totally stopped before, you know… I can’t believe this election.

Syria? That shit’s on.

And remember how I said you should move in with me? It’s just that after this whole election thing, I don’t know if that’s really a great idea. In light of the election.

John Kerry unlikely to become President on January 20. American government largely overrun by crypto-fascist evangelicals.

I’m in love with someone else. Election.

Related: Yes, And the Story of an Old-Fashioned...

Posted at 10:24 AM in a Satirical, Shallow fashion.
Yes, And the Story of an Old-Fashioned, Dimwitted Egomaniac Who Tries to Save the World Alone Only to Fail and Realize He Needs the Help of Others Fits Our Mood Perfectly

Mr. Incredible in Fallujah: "Must... save... defenseless... kittens."

"Paramount's "Alfie," a remake of a romantic comedy about a roguish womanizer starring Jude Law, opened to a dismal $6.5 million in more than 2,000 theaters, far below expectations... Wayne Llewellyn, the president of distribution at Paramount, said that the conservative ethos reflected in last week's election results might have hurt the film.

"'It could be the mood of the country right now,' he said. 'It seems to be the result of the election. Maybe they didn't want to see a guy that slept around.'"
Disney and Pixar Score Again as 'The Incredibles' Opens Big, Sharon Waxman, The New York Times, Nov. 8, 2004.

Related: Weekend box office report

Posted at 9:17 AM in a Shallow fashion.
God Is My Second Unit A.D.

Amazing Grace: Mel Gibson sees the light at the Catholics in Media Associates Awards Ceremony, Nov. 7, 2004

Posted at 8:53 AM in a Shallow fashion.
Digital Divide, 2004

Television is red.

The web is blue (last item).

Skywriting, still undecided.

Posted at 8:09 AM in a Shallow fashion.
  November 6, 2004
Atlas Shrugged


We're all tired. You earned your week off, Frank.

Posted at 10:40 PM in a Shallow fashion.
  November 5, 2004
Team Zissou Meets the PLO

Yasser Arafat, world's biggest Wes Anderson fan, prepares for the Life Aquatic marketing juggernaut.

[With apologies to Radosh who, unbeknownst to me, got there first.]

Posted at 9:46 AM in a Shallow fashion.
Jude Law Is Really Hot

alfie.jpgIs the remake of Alfie any good? Who cares, when you get to salivate over the universally acknowledged eye candy that is Jude Law, rendering film critics woozy with his piercing blue eyes and razor-sharp cheekbones. A sampling:

The movie has only flattering things to say and is driven by images of Law looking never less than scrumptious.
Boston Globe

At any rate, Jude Law provides tasty eye-candy for an hour and a half.
The Guardian

The other �' who shall be known as M2 �' just wanted to see Jude Law's naughty grin and sea-blue eyes, and to appreciate how dazzling he would look in his slim-cut retro suits, and...
Seattle Times

Law seizes the moment -- delivering Alfie's racy monologues to the camera with charm, wit and enough sizzle to melt cold steel.
Rolling Stone

Millions of women would happily watch the aesthetically pleasing Jude Law read the phone book...
New York Post

...Jude Law's beauty and easy charm go a long way to softening the edges...Seducing the audience can't be hard work for Mr. Law. Certainly Mr. Shyer seems besotted by his star, and it's easy to see why...
New York Times

Law, with his elfin grin and just-unkempt-enough-to-be-adorable copper hair, is served up as such a tasty treat of a man that every leggy beauty on the street casts a longing look his way. The new Alfie is so irresistible that he hardly requires contempt.
Entertainment Weekly

This time he's a kinder, gentler (not to mention hotter) superficial, misogynistic, womanizing scoundrel...Perhaps he's simply too pretty on the outside to play someone so ugly on the inside.
Seattle Post-Intelligencer

Previously: Why Are These Men Smiling?

Posted at 9:06 AM in a Shallow fashion.
Upon Cancellation of Tough Crowd with Colin Quinn, a Look Back at Its Funniest Moments

That time the Italian guy said something nasty to that black guy and then the black guy said something nasty back to the Italian guy and Colin was all like, "We just tell it like we see it, people."

Posted at 12:03 AM in a Shallow fashion.
  November 4, 2004
Obligatory Pop Culture Entry To Prove We Haven't Become Humorless Prigs

001OC.jpgThe O.C. is back! Dude, The O.C. is totally, totally back!

And not a minute too soon. Nothing makes me forget the difficulties of being an adult than watching a bunch of attractive actors play out fantasy scenarios of the awesome teen years I never had. After a long day of commuting to work, being belittled and humiliated by employers, forced into small talk with ignorant coworkers, trips to the ATM to see you have less money than yesterday, skimming magazines and seeing images of a good life you will never be able to attain, and commuting home to your tiny, over-priced hovel for another night with the partner you've settled on, nothing speaks to you like The O.C., baby!

Guys, isn't it so awesome that you can ogle the chicks on the show even though they're underage? It's like an hour-long suspension of all known statutory rape laws. They're so much younger than your wife or girlfriend, and it's a lot safer than talking to girls in AOL chat-rooms or flirting with your daughter's friends. And you can totally masturbate to it if you watch it in your den with the door closed.

And ladies, isn't it so great that you get to be in love with that nerd character, even though when you were in high school, you would've wanted nothing to do with him and probably spent the majority of your day making his life a living hell? But compared to your insensitive, foul-smelling, hairy-backed manchild of a husband or boyfriend, the so-called man who makes love to you with the repetitive, passionless finesse of a Punch Press, that O.C. geek is like prince charming. You even cut his photo out of Entertainment Weekly. You are too cute!

God, when did your life start to suck so bad that the completely fictional lives of imaginary rich kids become the ultimate escape? If you think about, you almost want to cry. You almost want to shoot yourself with a diamond bullet that would tear you apart, shattering the numbing boredom of your life, the endless trips to the gas station, the loading and unloading of the washing machine, the mortgage payments, the judgmental glares of all those people who think they're better than you even though you try your best to be a good person, the microwaved leftovers that are still cold in the middle, that feeling you have after three beers on a Sunday, sitting on the couch not quite drunk but dimly aware that this is it, this is all there is to your life. And you're, what, 32? Jesus.

Yay! The O.C.! Yay!!!

Okay, that was a complete failure. I've never even seen The O.C.. I'm sure it's pretty good.

The O.C. airs 8PM EST, on FOX.

Posted at 10:47 AM in a OC-centric, Shallow fashion.
We're Back (Like It Matters)


Hi. Hey, how are you? You look really good. Are you working out? Or, wait, it's your hair. It looks great! How did we not notice your haircut? It's so, so great.

Us? We're alright. I mean, we're okay. Actually, we're not so good. You won't believe the week we had. First, our site went down. I know, it's nuts! Right before the election! Some software crap. Or server crap. Or some combination thereof. Messy stuff. Stressful, too.

We're fine now, I think. I mean, we're still coughing up chunks of phlegm the size of walnuts, but we're gonna go back to work and stuff. We'll survive.

Luckily, not much happened in our absence. Oh, that election thing? That's nothing. We're not even thinking about it. These new meds our doctor gave us create a cool, calm feeling inside us that makes this election look like... Well, it looks like everything else right now: sort of hazy, flowing like blue-tinted liquid glass that encircles our awareness of reality and encloses the burning rage and despair we feel deep down in the part of us that's still alive. It's awesome: you gotta get some medication, you won't be sorry.

And we got our hair cut, too! Do we look good? Well, we'll be back to posting shortly, in between cutting ourselves and lighting fires behind our house. It's good to see you. We really love your hair.

Posted at 8:38 AM in a Shallow fashion.
  October 29, 2004
Funny, That's What Those Thai Hookers Said, Too

"This matter has caused enormous pain... This brutal ordeal is now officially over, and I will never speak of it again."
Bill O'Reilly

Posted at 7:43 AM in a Shallow fashion.
  October 28, 2004
The Who... Well, You Know


I know that pointing out the "irony" of The Who releasing an album called The Who Sell Out in 1967 and then selling out their every song to Madison Avenue and Hollywood is about as clever as suggesting that Alanis Morissette misunderstood the meaning of the word "Ironic." But The Who-ification of commercials, TV, movies, and trailers is starting to get out of control and it's time to put a stop to it.

Is there a single commercial in production that's not considering using a Who song? Will we see these song/product synergies in the near future?

  • "Fiddle About" to promote Pampers?
  • "Behind Blue Eyes" to promote Fresh Look color contacts? (Or does "Eyesight to the Blind" work better?)
  • "You Better You Bet" to promote Atlantic City tourism?
  • "Tommy Can You Hear Me?" to promote hearing aids?
  • "Squeeze Box" to promote laser vaginal rejuvenation surgery?
  • Really, Pete and Roger: We've all just "Had Enough."

    Posted at 2:54 PM in a Shallow fashion.
    Balloon Man

    Rhys Ifans in Enduring Love and its prequel Danny Deckchair

    Rhys Ifans' new film, Enduring Love, is a charming sequel to his even charminger Danny Deckchair, in which Mr. Ifans' relationship with ballooning is further explored. Up next for Mr. Ifans? Maria Full of Grace 2.

    Posted at 11:15 AM in a Shallow, Versus fashion.
    Man Underwhelmed

    Gentle Ben: Man, you don't look so good.

    You survived Christmas... You collected your Paycheck... But are you ready for Ben Affleck's next cinematic blast of explosive diarrhea, Man About Town?

    Currently filming in lovely Vancouver, Man also stars Oscar and Nobel Prize nominees Rebecca Romijn-Stamos, Amber Valletta, and Gina Gershon, and, oddly, Air America Radio's own Sam Seder. (Sam, Sam, Sam. Well, I guess you and Ben are having some good talks about John Kerry.)

    But if these names—and BEN AFFLECK—aren't enough to pump you up for this film, maybe its writer, director, and co-star will: Mike Binder!

    You know, he of the sub-sub-sub-Woody Allen knock-offs The Sex Monster and Londinium (straight to cable and straight to your funny bone!), and HBO's second funniest show (after Arli$$, natch) The Mind of the Married Man! (Why only one season, HBO? Now we'll never know if Binder's character Micky Barnes ever followed through on that apt metaphor for the entire show and got that full-release massage or not.)

    I for one cannot wait to see the one-two comedy punch of Binder and Affleck. Oh, and did I mention that it also stars the coolest teacher at "Manhattan High School," Howard Hesseman? Well it does!

    Truly, this will be a Man in full!

    Posted at 9:52 AM in a Shallow fashion.
    Sure, The Red Sox Won. But Can Jimmy Fallon Break the SNL Movie Career Curse?

    Roger "I Don't Just Flack for Harvey" Friedman reports:

    "[Y]es, that was Fallon caught live on Fox extravagantly kissing a blonde who looked a lot like Drew Barrymore on the field right after the Red Sox won the World Series...The reason for their appearance: Jimmy and Drew are filming a new movie called 'Fever Pitch' about an obsessed Red Sox fan and the girl he loves."

    Directed by the Farrelly brothers from a script adapted by Lowell Ganz and Babaloo Mandel. Heart, prepare to be warmed!

    Posted at 9:04 AM in a Shallow fashion.
    The Scariest Part Is the Con-Ed Bill

    "Candy? We spent all our money on lights. Lights are like candy for your eyes."

    Related: "...sweet crude oil down $2.71 a barrel to $52.46." Mmmm.... Sweet crude oil.

    Posted at 8:25 AM in a Shallow fashion.
      October 27, 2004
    I am Jack's dated movie tie-in

    Coming soon to your pretentious "anti-establishment" best friend's smoke-filled rec room: Fight Club: The Game from that bastion of anti-authoritianism, Vivendi Universal Games. (FOX must've passed on it since it destroyed Bill Mechanic's career.)

    So put down that dog-eared Hunter S. Thompson book and pick up your PS2 controller, you rebel. It's time to tear this whole fucking system down: from your couch!


    Yes, in fully-pixelated glory, it's a recreation of the dilapidated yard you grew to love so much with your repeated DVD viewings of David Fincher's Fight Club...you remember the film, right? It came out in, ummm, 1999?


    And there's that beautifully grimy, dimly-lit basement! It's almost as if Chuck Palahniuk himself is getting all up in your face, ready to pummel it into oblivion.


    God. There's Meat Loaf, in what surely has to be his first-ever appearance on an X-Box or PS2.

    And in the vein of a good self-help group session, video game fans are congregating and clamoring for changes to the way in which this particular one is played. From the manufacturer's forums:

    "Wouldn't it have been awesome if, after the fight, both fighters, completely covered in bruises and blood would hug each other? That would have been so much funnier and different than all the other crappy fighting gmes target to pre-adolescent rap-boys with Girls, Money and Power on their minds.

    VU, you missed your shot to create something truely [sic.] special.

    Hey, man! The first rule of Fight Club is you do not reveal the queer subtext of Fight Club. The second rule of Fight Club is you DO NOT reveal the queer subtext of Fight Club. The third rule of Fight Club is take off your shirt and let's grapple.

    Posted at 5:07 PM in a Shallow fashion.
    Eh, Not So Much

    Is this another prank from those tricky Canadians at Vice?

    If it is, it's not so funny, but it's better than the whole "We're white supremacists" thing.

    If it's not... I guess that's why it's not funny at all.

    Posted at 4:40 PM in a Shallow fashion.
    Notes Towards an Election Week Mix Tape

    "The Final Countdown," Europe

    "Political World," Bob Dylan

    "Power to the People," John Lennon

    "It's the End of the World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)," REM

    "Welcome to the Terrordome," Public Enemy

    "Help!," The Beatles

    "The Power," Snap

    "I Started a Joke," The Bee Gees

    "Whistle When You're Low," Cancer Boy

    "Did You Ever Have to Make Up Your Mind," Lovin' Spoonful

    "Manic Depression," Jimi Hendrix

    "Heroes," David Bowie

    "A Change is Gonna Come," Sam Cooke

    "Authority Song," John Mellencamp

    "You're a Big Girl Now," The Stylistics (for Dubya)

    Question: What's on yours?

    Posted at 11:28 AM in a Shallow fashion.
    Despite This, You Should Still Vote

    Green Party: Punks Dead and Your Next [sic.]

    Earlier: Another counterculture icon for participatory democracy

    Posted at 9:06 AM in a Shallow fashion.
      October 26, 2004
    It's Been A Long Campaign Season

    July 29, 2004... October 21, 2004

    We're all sagging a bit, but we can pull through, people!

    Posted at 10:46 PM in a Shallow fashion.
    Chomsky Shrugged

    partychomsky.jpgBipartisancurious Andrew Sullivan seems to strain credulity a bit with this passage in his endorsement of John Kerry:

    Does Kerry believe in this war? Skeptics say he doesn't. They don't believe he has understood the significance of September 11. They rightly point to the antiwar and anti-Western attitudes of some in his base--the Michael Moores and Noam Chomskys who will celebrate a Kerry victory.

    Frankly, we find it somewhat difficult to imagine the dour MIT linguist celebrating anything, especially the election of John Kerry, whom Chomsky endorsed, if anything, more reservedly and reluctantly than Sullivan did.

    Posted at 10:17 PM in a Shallow fashion.
    My Big Fat Ancient Greek Word

    How does a writer make himself or herself sound real smart? Use big words!

    "Lonnie Hanover, the club's publicist, began talking to the New York Daily News, the New York Post, and the New York Observer about the calls from Republican delegations and the �big name entertainers' who would be specially imported for their ecdysiastic needs," Live Nude Girls: Undercover at the RNC, by Mara Hvistendahl, The Philadelphia Independent, Oct. 2004. [via Gawker]
    * * *
    "GINA Gershon really threw herself into her latest role in 'Prey for Rock & Roll,' portraying a sexy songbird who frequents ecdysiastic establishments. The brunette beauty had no problem getting into character, reports our spy who sighted her at Scores. In "Prey," she fronts the not-so-subtly named all-girl group Clamdandy and reprises some of the sapphic shenanigans she last performed in 'Bound' and 'Showgirls,' Page Six, by Richard Johnson, et. al, The New York Post, Aug. 26, 2003.

    Thanks for making us all sound a little more literate, Mr. Mencken

    Suggested:: callipygous.

    Related: Ecdysiastic.com.

    Posted at 1:41 PM in a Shallow fashion.
    Dino's List

    Dino Stamatopoulos: He puts the grrrrr in Totally Obscure Comedy Cult Figure

    The best part of the new Mr. Show with Bob and David season 4 DVD? The obligatory blooper reel of course.

    But more specifically, the really best part is the fetishy tribute to show writer, producer, and sometime actor Dino Stamatopoulos that shows him riding his chopper, mucking around in a lake, and flubbing his one line in the excellent Amadeus parody "Philouza." ("There's Philouza!")001MrShowbox.jpg

    If Bob and David are the Lennon/McCartney of sketch comedy, Dino's the Frank Zappa: weird, obscure, beloved by a legion of creepy fans who obsess over his ouvre like members of a secret society— and then there are Dino's questionable Zappa-esque grooming choices. He's probably the funniest person you've never heard of.

    If a show was funny, Dino has probably had his grubby hands in it: The Ben Stiller Show, Late Night with Conan O'Brien, TV Funhouse. (Memo to Comedy Central: Put that show on DVD post haste!) He's even had his hands in some not so funny shows: Take MAD TV. Please, take it.

    Listen to the commentary tracks for Ben Stiller or Mr. Show and you'll see: It's Dino's world, we just laugh at it.

    "There's Philouza!": He finally nails it.

    Related: Fun Bunch Comedy

    Posted at 12:27 PM in a Shallow fashion.
    John Peel's a Dead Cunt

    johnpeel.jpgJohn Ravenscroft, aka John Peel, legendary Radio One DJ, is dead of a heart attack. Pirate radio DJ, punk patron and OBE, Peel, according to legend, was the first DJ to play a record twice in a row. Download mp3's of recent Peel Sessions here.

    Peel on Peel Sessions:

    Over the years we've had almost everybody, except the Beatles and the Rolling Stones, of the kind of big bands of the past. More recently Oasis, I never really thought Oasis were much good to be honest, so they didn't do one. Whereas Blur did a couple of times. My favourites would be fairly obscure things - the two sessions the Slits did during the punk era which were just magical, I thought, were just terrific. Oh, there have been so many. There have been so few that have been bad, it's amazing, really, when you consider how many have been done. Many thousands now. Very few of them have been disappointing. The Clash did half one, and then amazingly said that the equipment in the studio wasn't up to the standards that they'd expected so they couldn't complete the session. Which seemed to me to be unbearably pretentious of them.

    Posted at 10:57 AM in a Shallow fashion.
    Lies, Falsehoods, and Total Fabrications, vol. 2

    001gunslies.jpgThe lies will out...

    At least six real-life crimes have been solved by actors from CSI.

    There are four yoga poses that cause instant death: powerful members of the yoga community will not release the names of which ones.

    If left in a bottle of Snapple overnight, a penny will completely dissolve.

    In 1973, General Motors patented an engine that runs on ground up kittens: The ASPCA has prevented them from ever releasing it.

    3 out of 4 Canadians are criminally insane.

    Earlier: Lies, Falsehoods, and Total Fabrications, vol. 1

    Posted at 10:31 AM in a Shallow fashion.
    'Perf' Post Piece Sends Circ Soaring

    Gays, Dogs, Scissors: You just can't make this shit up!

    Today's a red letter day for The New York Post. They finally printed the Platonic ideal of Post stories.

    No, I'm not talking about Steve Dunleavy's heartfelt tribute to his Iraq-bound son/critique of John Kerry. (Though, that piece is pretty close to ideal for The Post.)

    I'm talking about Chris Wilson's 'Gay' Dogfight, which manages to set-off almost all of the paper's hot-buttons and embody everything we look for in a 25-cent birdcage liner. To wit:

    Violence: Nothing gets the morning blood flowing like some violence in the paper. The New York Times has some story about some crap in Iraq, but the post has this: "He just kept stabbing me. At first I thought he was punching me, until I felt all the blood dripping down. He kept saying, 'I want to kill you! Why don't you just die already?'...The scissors were open, so every time he stabbed me, it was like getting stabbed twice."

    Celebrities: "They regularly groomed J.Lo's cocker spaniel, Boots, and Janet Jackson's Rottweiler, Reilly. They also primped P. Diddy's canine posse: Sofie, the Maltese terrier; Honey, the Shar-Pei; and Lady, the Shih Tzu." J.Lo and P. Diddy? And their dogs? Wow, wow, and bow-wow!

    Hilarious Homos: "The former partners � considered to be among the city's top pet groomers � penned the 'Queer Eye for the Scruffy Dog' column for The New York Dog magazine." These guys are like real-life versions of Scott Donlan and Stefan Vanderhoof from Best in Show!

    Puns: Not only does Wilson get to use puns like "the fur flew" and "animal attraction," but the alleged attacker and victim ran a company called Doggie-Doo and Pussycats, Too!. C'mon! You can't make up puns like that. Actually, I guess you can.

    Quotation Marks: We get a 'double dose' of patented Post quote marks: Gay 'Dogfight' (hed) and Celeb groomer 'stabs' his lover (sub-hed). Why the quotes around 'stab'? I guess it's not a real stabbing if it's gay dudes.

    While this is a Platonically ideal Post piece, I sort of wish they could've fit in a slam at The New York Daily News circ numbers, John Kerry, and a trendspotting exposé about something six months old. Luckily, the rest of the paper comes to the rescue.

    So, kudos to Chris Wilson and the editors of The New York Post for this story: Keep up the great work and our 25-cents will be yours every single day, except Saturday when the paper's thinner than a fax sheet. And Sundays, when it's 50-cents, and twice as worthless.

    Posted at 9:06 AM in a Shallow fashion.
      October 25, 2004
    Fan, Meet Shit

    TIME, Nov. 1, 2004... The Day After, 1983

    Related: Anyone else out there get sent home with a note from your elementary school principal warning your parents not to let kids watch The Day After when it aired on TV?

    Posted at 6:14 PM in a Shallow fashion.
    Question for The New York Post Photo Department


    Did you use this picture of the Olsen twins' Saturday Night Live parody of The Swan:

    a) To be funny?
    b) To piss off your corporate sister network?
    c) Totally and completely by mistake?
    d) All of the above.
    e) None of the above.

    Posted at 5:17 PM in a Shallow fashion.
    Is Ashlee Wired?

    SNL Moderator Jude Law introduces the second address from Ashlee [sic] Simpson.

    Fun pose has been struck, appealing to "security moms" and suggesting Ashlee's [sic] opening statement is about to begin.

    Pre-recorded vocal track neglects to kick in, sending Ashlee [sic] into a series of uncomfortable smirks and horrifying dance moves.

    As Ashlee [sic] leaves the stage a bulge is clearly visible from the rear. Could this be the result of a puckering in her Lucky Brand jeans, a wireless mic, or an especially large mole?

    Marshall stacks and audio cables are evident. Ashlee's [sic] shadowy backers attempt to maintain the facade that they are playing live.

    Previous thoughts on Ashlee Simpson.

    Posted at 2:17 AM in a Shallow fashion.
      October 24, 2004
    But That's the Name of Scott Ritter's Book

    Lizz Winstead's advice to Jon Stewart, from If You Interview Kissinger, Are You Still a Comedian?, by Damian Cave, The New York Times, Oct. 24, 2004:

    "Jon should be the guy who asks the satirical questions... He wouldn't have to nail someone and make them uncomfortable, but since Jon is so brilliant at being satirical, why not say to Richard Perle on the show, 'Did you ever think of calling your book 'Confessions of a Chicken Hawk?' "

    Related: One more Kissinger mention and my next coffee's free!

    Really Related: Winstead chatted with Kurt Andersen about this very topic in Mother Jones in May/June (it was a long chat):

    KA: Speaking of The Daily Show, I'm always impressed by how comfortably Jon Stewart interviews Kissinger or even Richard Perle.

    LW: Jon's tremendous. I feel, though, when you are interviewing a Richard Perle or a Kissinger, if you give them a pass, then you become what you are satirizing. You have a war criminal sitting on your couch�to just let him be a war criminal sitting on your couch means you are having to respect some kind of boundary.
    KA: But Vietnam happened longer ago. Cambodia happened longer ago.

    LW: I think that illegal bombings and massacres have more weight.

    KA: So did that disappoint you, when Jon Stewart was nice to Kissinger?

    LW: I don't mean that you would necessarily need to grill Kissinger. But to let it go.�

    KA: So you should jokingly say, "Say, Dr. Kissinger, what about those 2 million dead Cambodians�?"

    LW: Exactly! As a way to say something. To me, it seems like the elephant in the room.

    Yay! Free coffee time!

    Posted at 1:21 PM in a Shallow fashion.
      October 23, 2004
    Dubya the Dread

    What happened to you, Christopher? You used to be cool.

    Why I'm (Slightly) for Bush, by Christopher Hitchens, The Nation, Oct. 21, 2004.

    Related: Well, Comrade Hitchens has endorsed worse.

    [via Jimmy "Dyno-mite! Wolcott]

    Posted at 3:38 PM in a Shallow fashion.
      October 22, 2004
    Actually, You Can Just Skip That First Step


    Posted at 4:53 PM in a Shallow fashion.
    Best. Google. Search String. Ever.


    My favorite part is the little survey NBC41.com saw fit to include: Should these men have been arrested?
    No, it was just pie.
    Yes, they attacked her.

    Survey said?! No, they should be beatified.
    [via Gawker]

    Posted at 10:11 AM in a Shallow fashion.
    Well, That's Like 40 Votes Right There


    The Polyphonic Spree endorse Bush/Cheney.

    Posted at 8:42 AM in a Shallow fashion.
      October 21, 2004
    Unintended Irony Alert


    From imdb's Movie & TV News:

    Ricky Martin Blasts Child Sex Tourism
    Martin says, "This is slavery and this is the year 2004 and we are still dealing with it. There is a lot of denial. I want to see abolition of this slavery. I need to see the world step out of denial and see this happening here."

    From Kidzworld.com's Ricky Martin Bio Page:

    Ricky Martin's first real glimpse of the spotlight came when he landed a spot in the teen Latin pop group Menudo. Ricky Martin tried out when he was 10, but didn't make the group 'til he was 12 cuz they thought he was too young. Ricky Martin spent five years with the band and left in 1989, feeling burnt out and wanting a change.

    Posted at 12:20 PM in a Shallow fashion.
    Move Over, Tragedy. Hello, Farce!

    "I'm sure the gift shop's right around here somewhere."

    Perhaps the worst trip idea I've ever heard of: a 16 day Apocalypse Now-theme vacation in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia.

    Really, which is a worse experience to retrace: The fictional journey (random shooting, freak-outs, beheadings, explosions) or the cinematic journey (typhoons, heart attacks, bankruptcy)? Have fun! Don't forget to write!

    As creepy as this is, I guess it's better than The Sorrow and the Pity Parisian Excursion, The Silkwood Seniors' Weekend, or The Alive Andes Adventure.

    [via Green Cine Daily]

    Posted at 9:15 AM in a Shallow fashion.
    Beyond the Valley of the Pols

    Reaching for votes in Iowa

    Reaching for pills in Valley of the Dolls.

    "Query": Gayest low culture entry ever? Nope and noper.

    Posted at 8:08 AM in a Shallow fashion.
      October 20, 2004
    Worst Choke Ever

    intangible2.jpgI'm not surprised, but now that it's actually happening, it's worse than I thought it would be. This is the worst choke since the drummer from Spinal Tap choked on someone else's vomit.

    EARLIER: Post-Imperial Melancholy

    Posted at 9:48 PM in a Shallow fashion.

    McGreevey's Wife, Going Her Own Way, Buys a Home of Her Own

    Thank you! We'll be here all week!

    Posted at 8:18 AM in a Shallow fashion.
    You Know, From Hookers or Kissinger or Whomever

    "[C]alling me a d- -k or making fun of my bow tie is not gonna rattle my cage. It's not like I haven't heard that before." — Tucker Carlson, quoted in Page Six.

    Posted at 7:24 AM in a Shallow fashion.
    Post-Imperial Melancholy

    40millionofmisery.jpgIt is clear that the Red Sox will soon delight their long-suffering fans by reaching the World Series for the first time since 1986. We applaud them for their historic comeback, as much as it irks us to lose to them, of all teams.

    Undoubtedly, there are many readers who have no sympathy for the Yankee fan, and not merely the joyous citizens of the so-called Red Sox Nation. To fans of all other baseball teams, the Yankees and their fans appear much as Americans appear to the citizens of all other nations -- spoiled with obscene prosperity that they then, adding insult to injury, proceed not merely to enjoy, but to expect, at all costs. To the rest of the baseball world, the Yankees are the hyperpower, led by a boasting, undiplomatic, bloviating madman named George, using their tremendously disproportionate wealth to tilt the playing field in their favor and to insidiously appropriate the resources of the less fortunate.

    Continue reading...
    Posted at 2:04 AM in a Shallow fashion.
      October 19, 2004
    An All-Star Cast


    "Gary goes through the usual three-act gamut of rivalry (with a puppet whose resemblance to Seann William Scott is surely intentional), romance (with a puppet whose resemblance to Elisabeth Shue is probably not), self-doubt and redemption, much of it set to music."
    —A.O. Scott, The New York Times.

    "[H]is performance as John, the actor-phobic Team member is the best of Aaron Eckhart's career."
    —Greg Allen, Greg.org.

    "The team's control-room chief, Spottswoode, a white-haired bureaucrat in the James Mason mold, never loses his stentorian cool, even when he's commanding Gary to, uh, go down for his country."
    —Owen Gleiberman, Entertainment Weekly.

    "What's different is that, yes, the hero is a puppet, and you can see his strings. And he's not a fighter pilot, he's a Broadway actor, recruited by a Charlton Heston-like figure with an omnipresent highball to save the world with his ACTING by infiltrating an Islamic terrorist group."
    —David Edelstein, Slate.

    Posted at 9:43 AM in a Shallow fashion.
    Yes, But He Was Still Funnier That Night Than Jimmy Fallon Was in Taxi

    Astronaut Jones: Blast off! For fun and adventure.

    According to the (criminally Pulitzer Prize-free) reporters at Page Six:

    FORMER Saturday Night Live star Tracy Morgan had an embarrassing episode at Suede last Thursday night. A spywitness tells us the highly intoxicated comic stripped off his shirt, crawled around on all fours and vomited on the floor before concerned friends eventually carried him out of the club. It wasn't the first time Morgan melted down during a night on the town � he's still banned from Madame X after a drunken debacle there a few years back. Morgan's manager did not return calls.

    Confidential to Tracy: Pull it together, man. Your destiny is not here.

    Posted at 8:27 AM in a Shallow fashion.
    When Life Sort of (But Not Quite) Imitates Satire

    low culture, January 22, 2004:


    The Believer, October 2004:


    For our younger readers, the man on the right is Howard Dean.

    Posted at 8:01 AM in a Shallow fashion.
      October 18, 2004
    Why Are These Men Smiling?

    Rakes' Progress: Jude Law and Mick Jagger (and Jude Law, background)

    You'd be smiling too if you slept with half the women in the world and your buddy slept with the other half.

    Posted at 9:26 PM in a Shallow fashion.
    Hack Writers, Start Your Puns


    Tomorrow, NBC premieres the latest entry in the decline of Western Civilization Reality TV genre, The Biggest Loser in which some people do something to win some money or maybe something else. It's gonna be awesome—or something.

    Since most TV critics are filing their reviews with their editors right about now, I thought I'd offer them some help with their inevitable shitty puns and fat jokes. Feel free to use any of the following phrases in your articles or headlines, or um, become a better writer:

    ·Fat Tuesday
    ·Weighty Matter
    ·Light-Weight Entertainment
    ·Thick as Thieves
    ·The Weight Is Over
    ·Big Men and Women on Campus
    ·Fat of the Land
    ·Big, Fat Obnoxious [Anything]
    ·Big, Fat Hit
    ·Weighed Down
    ·Well-Rounded Cast
    ·Fatty Ass-heads
    ·Must Eat TV
    ·Hungry for Ratings
    ·Fat Chance
    ·Battle of the Bulge
    ·Thin Premise
    ·Fat Sells
    ·Big Competition
    ·Chubby Reign
    ·Waist of Airtime
    ·Devouring the Competition
    ·Chewing the Scenery
    ·Broad Humor
    ·The Thickest Link
    ·Livin' Large
    ·Large and in Charge
    ·Wide Margin
    ·Fat of the Land
    ·Morbidly [Anything]

    Posted at 5:10 PM in a Shallow fashion.
    When Oscar Met Jesus


    "Hollywood, with its Jewish roots, did not experience The Passion as a transcendent religious and emotional event, as so many other viewers did. Some haven't forgiven Gibson for even making the film, let alone forgotten his father, Hutton, and his inflammatory statements about the history of the Jews. 'I'll tell you why The Passion won't be nominated,' snaps one industry executive. 'Happily, there are too many people in the Academy who believe the Holocaust actually happened.'"

    Will Oscar Listen?, Sean Smith, Newsweek, Oct. 25, 2004.

    Posted at 8:27 AM in a Satirical, Shallow fashion.
      October 15, 2004
    It's a Simple Formula, Really


    'World Police' Creators Say Anger = Publicity

    Easy as ABC!

    Posted at 9:20 AM in a Shallow fashion.
      October 14, 2004
    Last Derrida Post Ever

    snowyhairedderrida.jpgWe couldn't help but notice that since we issued our "modest defense" of Jacques Derrida, various arms of the media empire seem to have rethought their initial scorn towards the late French philosopher and his work. This critical reappraisal is most apparent in the New York Times, which offers this panegyric, revealing, among other things, that Derrida gave carnival masks to young children of American academics.

    The Guardian has a more diverse sampling of opinion from across the pond, some pro and some con.

    Less hagiographically sympathetic (and somewhat saucier) than the Times op-ed is Marco Roth's piece in the upstart literary journal n+1, which has the virtue of describing a hot chick with whom the author attended Derrida's lectures in Paris:

    ...I watched the raven haired girl who always wore a miniskirt and a fur coat, the sort of Parisienne I fantasized about meeting before my trip. She filled line after line of graph paper in a neat miniscule hand, never stopping. She seemed to be able to take him down verbatim. At the end, she would dash out of the hall. Where?

    To sum up, the new media consensus seems to be "Derrida: Not Necessarily A Pernicious Nihilist Who Threatened The Very Foundation Of Western Society And Cutlture." And, as always, dear reader, you heard it here first.

    EARLIER: Confessions of a Teenage Deconstructionist

    EVEN EARLIER: Jacques Derrida, 1930-2004

    Posted at 2:29 PM in a Shallow fashion.
      October 13, 2004
    Why... Is Michelle Malkin the New Jadakiss?

    Malkin and Kiss... Why?

    The many questions of Michelle Malkin:

    How... many hate crime anecdotes does it take before the mainstream media spot a trend?

    But what... happens when the targets are the wrong kind of victim?

    What... happens when conservatives and Republicans are on the receiving end of discriminatory threats or harassment or worse?

    Hello..., reporters?

    Is... anybody home?

    Is... it my imagination or do I hear pins dropping in the grievance corners of America's otherwise victim-friendly newsrooms?

    Can... I get a hair appointment and pedicure before appearing on Scarborough Country on Friday?

    Will... The pedicurist be an immigrant?

    Should... I cancel it if she is?

    Why... is my Amazon rank so low?

    Posted at 12:15 PM in a Shallow fashion.
    Holy Shit, We Need to Get Ourselves One of These Blog Things

    The Internets are on fire today, man. As they say in Latin, ¡en fuego, hombre!

    First comes this excellent article from a newspaper called The New York Sun that not only tells us about blogs, but finally—finally!—explains that "jumping the shark" phrase our 15 year-old cousin always uses. (It has something to do with Happy Days.) There's also an excellent little primer about a show called Oz, which we're definitely gonna watch this week.

    The article, by a writer named Eric Wolff (remember that name!), is all about a website called Gawker, which we plan to check out after we have our morning coffee! It also answers the age old question: Who gives the best soundbites, Condé Nast editorial assistants, or 'cyber-hostesses'? (It's a draw! They both bring the noise and the bite!)

    Then there's this Tom Scocca piece from The New York Observer about a guy who runs a site called The Minor Fall, The Major Lift (definitely gotta check his stuff out) who was once annonymous but is now going by his real name, Alex Balk! Plus, he's now writing for The New York Times! Like other bloggers! (Memo to self: Pick up the Times this weekend on the way to brunch!)

    What's exciting about this (and warrants all these exclamation points!!!) is that we can now see that far from being an annonymous wag, this Balk fellow was actually hiding in plain site all along, submitting to a website called McSweeneys and playing along on the Slate News Quiz with Emmy-winning TV writers and producers! Next Major Lift, Hollywood!?!

    Phew! This entry has fairly knocked us out (we topped off our exclamation point quota in the second paragraph!), and now we're off to go figure out how to get one of these blogs set up. Our 15 year-old cousin is great with computers, and we think the "domain" JackieHarvey.com is still available!

    As they say in Latin, Excelsior!

    Posted at 8:41 AM in a Satirical, Shallow fashion.
    Rooting for the Overdog

    mussina.jpgAs gratifying as it is to win these games, they have become so excessively fraught that to watch them is emotionally taxing in the extreme. I thought I'd be able to relax and get some work done when the Yankees opened up an eight run lead, but the Red Sox regrouped, metastasized, and emerged with a deadlier-than-ever assault. Clearly, they pose a threat that requires constant vigilance. Some day, they will win -- perhaps tomorrow. It's not a question of if, but when.

    It may be unpopular and controversial to put it this way, but I think we have to get back to the place we were, where the Red Sox are not the focus of our lives, but they're a nuisance. We're never going to end this rivalry. But we've got to reduce it to a level where it isn't on the rise. It isn't threatening people's lives every day, and it's not threatening the fabric of your life.

    Posted at 12:50 AM in a Shallow fashion.
      October 12, 2004
    We Love Disney, We Love It Not...

    Can a mindless paper be of two minds on a given subject? This is an ontological question worthy of the world's best existential detectives.

    But when it comes to a force as polarizing as the mighty mouse, who can blame them for being a bit schizo in their coverage? That, or the editors don't even read their own rag. Either way, Michael Eisner is going to be very angry... Then very happy... But then angry again... Followed by happy.

    happy_eisner.jpg sad_eisner.jpg
    Love 'Em Hate 'Em
    THE ROLE OF A WIFE-TIME, by Don Kaplan. "The hottest star of fall's hottest show is no longer desperate � or a housewife.

    "'Desperate Housewives' sexpot Eva Longoria, recently divorced from her actor hubby, Tyler Christopher, is having trouble realizing she's catapulted from unknown soap-opera actress to bona fide star.

    "'I haven't gotten my head around it,' Longoria, 29, told The Post yesterday as a private jet whisked her and the rest of the series' cast to a taping of 'Oprah.'

    "'It's all a little overwhelming, and it's really new for me, so I'm just trying to enjoy every moment,' she said."
    SMOKING GUN "Conservatives are up in arms about the memo written by the chief politics producer at ABC News, which leaked out on Friday. They shouldn't be. Mark Halperin's memo is very useful: It reveals as no other document ever has the existence of a deeply ingrained double standard in the way political news is reported in the United States.

    "Simply put, Republicans and conservatives are subject to exacting scrutiny of their actions, while Democrats and liberals are treated with far greater leniency..."
    FEELING THE LOVE, by Don Kaplan (again). "'Desperate Housewives' has done what only a handful of TV shows have ever done - debuted as the No. 1 show in the country and kept right on going.

    "Some 20 million viewers tuned in Sunday night for the series second episode - down just slightly from the nearly 22 million who saw the show's record-setting debut last week."
    SICK KIDS VS. DISNEY IN 'PETER PAN' DUSTUP, by Holly M. Sanders. "It's a story that would make Peter Pan glad that he never grew up.

    "Walt Disney Co. is caught in a feud with a U.K. children's hospital over the copyright to J. M. Barrie's classic novel, 'Peter Pan.'

    "London's Great Ormond Street Hospital is talking with its lawyers about whether a book published in August by Disney and billed as a prequel to the original infringes on the hospital's ownership rights to the fairy tale.

    "The hospital has earned millions in royalty fees from Pan, thanks to Barrie's decision to donate the rights to the hospital's charity before his death in 1937.

    "The hospital uses that money to support the hospital and treat sick children."
    Posted at 9:57 AM in a Shallow fashion.
    We're Hiring

    Please send all resumes in MS Word format.

    Posted at 7:12 AM in a Shallow fashion.
      October 11, 2004
    Confessions of a Teenage Deconstructionist

    Ceci est une PipeWe all have our youthful indiscretions, those young and irresponsible things that we did when we were young and irresponsible. Senator Robert Byrd, for example, was in the Klan, while George W. Bush was a cheerleader at Andover, and, most seriously of course, John Kerry was a war hero.

    My own modest indiscretion is that I Was A Teenage Derridian. Yes, as a literature major in the early 90's, I was inundated with the "critical theory" associated with various continentals from Adorno to Deleuze to Foucault and most of all, Jacques Derrida. And let me make it clear that I was not merely the victim of all this theory; in fact, I eagerly sought it out. Indeed, some witnesses even report that I had Derrida's famous statement "il n'ya pas de hors-text" ["there is nothing outside the text"] stencilled upon my cap at graduation.

    [Long, boring article follows below the break.]

    Continue reading...
    Posted at 7:42 PM in a Shallow fashion.
    Three years and zero washes later...


    Where do you live, Jimmy Fallon? From left to right, the SNL wunderkind on the cover of Paper's November 2001 issue; and the star of Taxi featured as "Man of the Week" in the October 18, 2004 issue of Us

    Posted at 2:15 PM in a Shallow, Versus fashion.
    With the Sports Illustrated cover curse, you merely lose games, but not friends and supporters

    Presidential candidate John Kerry gracing the cover of this Sunday's New York Times Magazine, an appearance which inevitably subjected him to the magazine's notorious cover curse

    From Sen. John Kerry's remarks at the Second Presidential Debate, Washington University, St. Louis, Friday, October 8, 2004:

    Chris Reeve is a friend of mine. Chris Reeve exercises every single day to keep those muscles alive for the day when he believes he can walk again, and I want him to walk again.

    I think we can save lives.

    From "'Superman' Star Christopher Reeve Dies at 52," The Associated Press, Monday, October 11, 2004:

    Christopher Reeve, the star of the "Superman" movies whose near-fatal riding accident nine years ago turned him into a worldwide advocate for spinal cord research, died Sunday of heart failure, his publicist said. He was 52.

    Reeve fell into a coma Saturday after going into cardiac arrest while at his New York home, his publicist, Wesley Combs told The Associated Press by phone from Washington, D.C., on Sunday night. His family was at his side at the time of death.

    Posted at 9:02 AM in a Shallow fashion.
      October 10, 2004
    Jacques Derrida, 1930-2004

    derrida.jpg "My death, is it possible?" asked the late philosopher Jacques Derrida in his book Aporias.
    As one wag put it yesterday upon hearing of Derrida's death, "I guess that answers THAT question." (Thanks, Sarah)

    Posted at 10:05 PM in a Shallow fashion.
      October 7, 2004
    What next, an NEA grant for Mapplethorpe?

    jelinek.jpgOnce, years before a hyperbole-prone Graydon Carter pronounced "the end of the age of irony", the more astute Tom Lehrer remarked that Henry Kissinger's 1973 Nobel Peace prize rendered political satire obsolete.

    One wonders what Tom Lehrer thinks of today's announcement that the the Nobel Prize in Literature was awarded to the perverted Austrian novelist Elfriede Jelinek. While not an act of cosmic irony on par with Kissinger's Peace Prize, it is, if nothing else, the last nail in the coffin for kinky books. Even if you are inclined to enjoy nauseating, degenerate art-smut like this (and if you are, you should be ashamed), you have to acknowledge that the authors of these nasty things should not be rewarded for writing and promulgating them. Most of Sade's horrid output was written in prison, and rightly so. Georges Bataille published the shockingly perverse "Story of the Eye" under a pseudonym and spent his wretched life as a creepy librarian, unwilling to face the well-deserved umbrage that even his fellow Frenchmen would have unleased upon him had he taken responsibility for his "work."

    Of course, we here at low culture regard this kind of cultural output as not merely beneath contempt, but in fact a danger to our American way of life and values, the sort of pernicious decadence that leads to the downfall of great civilizations. But even if we did care for this kind of thing, isn't it a fundamental element of these naughty books that they and their authors are "transgressive", that they are breaking the rules of society? And shouldn't society respond to transgression with censure and condemnation, not fancy medals and prizes? Indeed, in a year in which the world was appalled by images of grotesquely sadistic acts, is it not poor timing -- if not a bit perverse -- for the Swedish Academy to award its Literature prize to a pornographic writer who celebrates perversity?

    Posted at 6:30 PM in a Satirical, Shallow fashion.
      October 6, 2004
    More Notes Towards the October low culture Index

    rideemjewboy.jpgFrom the New York Times:

    Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, who donned a tan cowboy hat, joked that he was working on a song called "Mamas, Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Mayors."

    Number of jokes made by Mayor Bloomberg about writing country songs: at least 1.

    Additional number of such jokes desired by New Yorkers: 0.

    Total number of such jokes desired by New Yorkers: 0.

    Posted at 1:22 PM in a Shallow fashion.
    The Most Embarrassing New York Post pop culture mistake since Jam Master Jay Spotted

    "Fallon, who has zero screen presence, flounders around, dribbling forth what can only be improvised dialogue in the most embarrassing SNL vehicle since Pootie Tang."

    'TAXI' DRIVEL, by Megan Lehmann, Oct. 6, 2004

    Posted at 9:57 AM in a Shallow fashion.
    Notes Towards the October low culture Index

    Age under which commercial composer and tea salesman Moby says every celebrity seems like a "half-wit": 23

    Year Harvard educated action figure model Natalie Portman was born: 1981

    Posted at 7:53 AM in a Shallow fashion.
    Rodney Dangerfield, RIP

    rodney-loose.jpgI had the pleasure of interviewing Rodney Dangerfield two years ago. He was a great guy, a little out of it, but still as funny and nasty as you could hope for.

    I met Rodney in his Westwood apartment, where he lounged in a loosely held bathrobe - that night I saw more of Rodney Dangerfield than I expected, a softer, more fleshy, less circumcised side. I also met his wife, who was beautiful, blonde and half his age (placing her somewhere around fifty), but she was surprisingly sharp and impossibly nice.

    Rodney was in show business for more than sixty years and worked every gig imaginable, from singing waiter to The Dean Martin Show. He discovered Kinison and Hicks and countless others. In many ways Back to School is to blame for my own sub-par performance in college. And how many times can you wring your collar and declare "No respect" before it gets tired? Never.

    What follows are excerpts from the interview or the transcript.

    On Overcoming Depression:

    "When you're smart," Rodney says, "you've got no one to talk to. I've done everything for it, including forty-eight Austrians, OK? It's not easy."
    "I have no idea what that means" is the best I can come up with.
    "I keep myself dumb, I make plenty of friends that way. It's easier to get a chick when you're dumb."
    OK, but thers thers got to be more. Does he take anti-depressants?
    What about the alcohol cure?
    "No, I hardly touch it. I smoke pot," he says, "I smoke a lot of pot."

    On Romance:

    "Listen man," he offers, "You can always find a chick with a nice ass. You find a chick who'll actually listen to you, and you can bring yourself to listen to? That's what you hold on to. If she has a nice ass too, that's not so bad either."

    I like Rodney's advice - it seems honest - but this comes only minutes after he's said, "I told my wife she's awful in bed. So she went out and got a second opinion. And then she got a third opinion, and a fourth opinion."

    And the inevitable follow-up, "My wife, she likes to talk during sex. The other night she called me from a motel."

    Continue reading...
    Posted at 7:09 AM in a Shallow fashion.
      October 4, 2004
    The New York Times Redesign: Skewing Younger, Much Younger

    Little Jackson Pollocks, Exploring in Oil Paints
    New York Times 10/4/04

    Which Was Painted By a Child?
    New York Times 10/3/04

    A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Girl
    New York Times 9/28/04

    Posted at 1:04 PM in a Shallow fashion.
    Love and a Village Charmer w/ WOOD BRNING FRPLC

    Before I moved to Manhattan, spent far too much time in graduate school learning to be erudite about le cinema and became the Cinecultist, I used to just be a movie fan. I loved certain films unabashedly and a tad obsessively � particularly ones about the life of young, single New Yorkers � watching them over and over again until the VHS tapes (remember those?) almost gave out. Nearly at the top of the list was, and still is, Warren Leight's The Night We Never Met (1993) starring Matthew Broderick and Annabella Sciorra.

    The premise is three strangers share an illegal time share in a West Village brown stone walk-up. The lease holder's a Wall Street type about to get married who's moved into his girlfriend's co-op but doesn't want to permanently give up the locale of his boy's club debauchery and so, rents out the space for four other nights a week.

    In this pre-Craig's List era, a broken-hearted struggling chef (Broderick) and dental hygienist from Queens (Sciorra) answer his assistant's ad and take the space for cooking/dating and painting, respectively. They only know one another from the names on a posted schedule of assigned days, but with a predictable switch of Tuesday for Wednesday, Ellen the hygienist begins to fall for Sam the chef, but thinks he's called Brian, who's actually the trader. Ah, the vicissitudes of love.

    Continue reading...
    Posted at 8:30 AM in a Shallow fashion.
      October 1, 2004
    Shabbat Shalom, from your friends at the New York Post

    Oy, we're kvelling over here about how many mentions of Jews there are in today's New York Post! Nu, it gives us such nachas to see that this city's true paper of record is finally recognizing Jews' valuable contribution to the city!

    First, there's an article on Jews in reality TV shows sensitively headlined Jew-Insult 'Apprentice' Fired Twice by Don Kaplan and Braden Keil (two nice Jewish boys, yes?). Strangely, this piece about Apprentice contestant Jennifer Crisafulli's anti-semitic comments ("It was those two old Jewish fat ladies!") is not on the Post website (conspiracy?), but you can read all about it here. (Why isn't this article online? Such a shande!)

    Then the Post saw fit to run a press release article by Suzanne Kapner (a nice Jewish girl, maybe?) about a hip [sic.] Jewish clothing company called Jewcy.

    From the hilarious headline (New Jewcy.com Web Site's Offerings Are Strictly Kosher) to the article's pitch-perfect lede ("Call it knish kitsch."), this has to be one of the best, most spot-on pieces about Jews I've ever encountered! And I've read tons of Jewy crap!

    Since the very headline was a plug for Jewcy junk, you just gotta check out their website for hilarious T-shirts emblazoned with such clever, easily accessible Yiddishisms as Yenta, Kvetch, and Meshuggenah! It's shtetl fabulous—even for your shagetz boyfriend who gives your mother such tsuris and makes her want to plotz!

    Feh, it's enough to make you chaloshes! I just wish I could remember Jewcy's URL and help them make some more gelt. Oh, well, guess they get bubkis.

    Posted at 12:54 PM in a Shallow fashion.
    Presidential Debate Highlights, as selected by Benji Harmon, 8 year-old pundit
    (Or: The Debate was so fucking painful, I reverted to early childhood)

    head_left.gif"This nation of ours has got a solemn duty... We have a duty to defeat this enemy. We have a duty..."

    "Now, we're doing our duty..."

    "...active duty..."

    "We're being challenged like never before, and we have a duty..."

    " It will help change the world. That we can look back and say we did our duty..."

    "...the enemy attacked us, Jim, and I have a solemn duty..."

    "...active duty..."

    "I add two active-duty divisions..."

    Posted at 9:52 AM in a Shallow fashion.
      September 29, 2004
    And, the Sentence of the Day Award Goes to...

    Joe Hagan of The New York Observer:

    "By the time Mr. O'Brien came to the program, the sensibility had developed from comedy to irony, past self-awareness in a trilling triplicate, approximating the absorptive sophistication of a media-glutted viewership, having steamed past the grizzled Mr. Letterman who has more and more developed the aspect of an aging, crotchety pioneer�old Davy Crockett in the U.S. Congress."

    From, Jay Leno Deferred To Culture Quake As Conan Gets It, Sept. 29, 2004

    Unfortunately, we've run out of time for Hagan's acceptance speech.

    Posted at 3:00 PM in a Shallow fashion.
    Who Writes Your Material?


    Where on earth does hard-hitting editorial cartoonist Sean Delonas come up with his ideas?

    Oh, right.

    Posted at 2:20 PM in a Shallow fashion.
      September 28, 2004
    At least they agree it was Central California

    "Powerful Quake Strikes Central California"
    Associated Press

    "Moderate Earthquake Shakes Central California"
    Voice of America

    Posted at 4:19 PM in a Shallow fashion.
      September 27, 2004


    That's a heart. And it's for you. Well, it's for you if you plan to blog about I ♥ Huckabees this week.

    But be careful. It's easy to mess up this special tag and wind up with the wrong title, like:

    I ♣ Huckabees (Way too violent.)
    I ♠ Huckabees (The ASPCA does advocate the spaying and neutering of Huckabees, but only by a trained veterinarian.)
    I ® Huckabees (Only David O. Russell can say that!)
    I ‾ Huckabees (Only Jon Brion can say that, and he doesn't tend to over-score the movies he works on. Well, other than Magnolia, that is.)

    And, finally, a title that seems unlikely since Huckabees is opening in limited release against Ladder 49 and Shark Tale this Friday:
    I $ Huckabees.

    I'd ♥ that, but I doubt we'll see it.

    Posted at 12:33 PM in a Shallow fashion.
      September 24, 2004
    Meet Ivan: not the hurricane, but the weary dog lingering outside your gas station

    "Weakened Ivan circles Gulf; expected to die", The Advertiser, Lafayette, Louisiana

    Posted at 10:46 AM in a Shallow fashion.
      September 22, 2004
    New & Improved, Tastes Better, 33% More Tabloidy

    us_12bonuspages.gifYou see this exciting, bold, vibrant graphic peeled from the cover of the most recent issue of Us Weekly (October 4, 2004), the issue that insouciantly proclaims that Britney Spears' much-hyped marriage last weekend to Kevin What-the-Fuckshisname was "staged" and "faux"?

    The circle, which appears alongside the magazine's logo in the topmost corner of the cover, boasts about there being "12 bonus pages" to the issue, which, I guess, is a worthwile, valuable component, except the "bonus" factor is somewhat diluted by the fact that each and every issue of Us has borne this same tagline since, ummmm...bear with me, here...the May 24, 2004 issue. May. Spring. We're talking flowers, not fall foliage.

    Or, for a better sense of perspective, the cover feature for the very first appearance of this "New! 12 Bonus Pages" promotional graphic was a large portrait of a beaming Jennifer Lopez and the headline, "New Ring, Big Trouble: Jen's flashing an 8-carat rock from married Marc Anthony. As his wife fumes, is Lopez headed for more heartache?"

    Well, we all know how that worked out. She got married. And what's new is old again.

    Posted at 3:35 PM in a Shallow fashion.
      September 21, 2004
    Hipsters vs. G-d

    Harper's Magazine has kindly translated from Hebrew a Hasidic Jew petition/prayer distributed during a January protest in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. The Jewish group was particularly distraught with the rising costs of housing in the neighborhood, a trend that they have affiliated with the trendy young people now populating that area of Brooklyn.

    This prayer goes a step beyond playa-hatin', it likens the hipsters to the plague:

    Master of the Universe, have mercy upon us and upon the borders of our village and do not allow the persecution to come inside our home; please remove from upon us the plague of the artists, so that we shall not drown in evil waters, and so that they shall not come to our residence to ruin it.
    Posted at 1:06 PM in a Shallow fashion.
    The New Newspeak

    For those who care to remember, HBO's Not Necessarily the News was a kind of embryonic Daily Show with John Stewart, offering its own �skewed' take on Nancy Reagan, Mikhail Gorbachev and the Noid. While the show appears horribly dated from here, one segment is apparently timeless - Rich Hall's Sniglets, in which ordinary people (i.e. just like you and me) invented words that don't appear in the dictionary but should. Mostly this amounts to amusing portmanteaus that concern the refrigerator lightbulb or frayed shoelaces.

    But leave it to the original cats from McSweeney's to find a whole new application for Sniglets. It's called The Future Dictionary of America (not to be confused with Faith Popcorn's incisive Dictionary of the Future) in which cute, non-threatening writers like Jonathan Safran Foer and Sarah Vowell present new vocabulary words for the dystopic future that awaits us all.

    See if you can distinguish between the Sniglets and the works of capital L Literature. (Answers below.)

    Dopeler effect: the tendency of stupid ideas to seem smarter when they come at you rapidly.

    Idiolocator: the symbol on a mall or amusement park map representing "You Are Here"

    Giraffiti: vandalism spray-painted very, very high.

    Fictate: to inform a television or screen character of impending danger under the assumption they can hear you.

    Zzzunday: national holiday occurring once every 28 years, when a Leap Year coincides with a Sunday.

    Jukejitters: fear that everyone thinks that you picked the awful tune emanating from the jukebox when it was actually the person before you.

    Gertatious: having the adolescent fear that hanging one's arm over the bed at night will mean being dragged under.

    Answer Key: Except for Zzzunday, they're all Sniglets - I'm not about to shell out 28 bucks for a fake fucking dictionary.

    Posted at 9:24 AM in a Shallow fashion.
      September 20, 2004
    Emmy 2004: Adventures in the Skin Trade



    Posted at 3:38 PM in a Shallow fashion.
    Next issue, "The Apprentice vs. The Benefactor: The Commodification of the Capitalists"


    Posted at 1:06 PM in a Satirical, Shallow fashion.
    Pointing out cliches is so...cliche

    rich.jpgLet it be known that we adore, nay, cherish the pearls of wisdom put forth by columnist Frank Rich each and every Sunday in the New York Times. Yes, in the past, we may have thrown the gauntlet on occasion and gotten all up in his business, but we're willing to let bygones be bygones. And, like our new hero Frank Rich, we're willing to overuse and abuse a slew of conversational cliches in our writing.

    In Rich's latest missive, "This Time Bill O'Reilly Got It Right," (which appeared in the September 19, 2004 edition of the Times) readers are treated to a feast of such verbal banalities. To wit:

    "If a stopped clock is right twice a day, why shouldn't Bill O'Reilly be right at least once in a blue moon?"

    "This was G.O.P. TV raised to not-ready-for-prime time self-parody, lacking only the studio audience to yuk it up."

    "CNN, the inventor of 24/7 news, once prided itself on being a straight shooter."

    "Now it and Mr. Carville have argued that the line wasn't blurred here..."

    "At some point after 9/11, the news business jumped the shark..."

    "Should network news ride into the sunset..."

    "The only hope for a successful alternative is not to fight Fox's fire with imitation Fox fire in the form of another partisan network but to reinvent the wheel with a network that prizes news over endless left/right crossfire..."

    Posted at 11:02 AM in a Shallow fashion.
      September 17, 2004
    Nothing's Sacred

    hipster_vice_hater.jpgHey, world: Stop Playa-Hatin', okay?

    First, you piss in our PBR by telling us that the batteries in our iPods have about as much lifespan as a potato clock.

    Now, you rain on our dodgeball game by telling us that our bikes would be safer secured with a diary lock! Goddamnit! Why must you hate on our hipster lifestyles*? Are you jealous or something?

    What's next? Onion T-shirts cause cancer? Are you gonna tell us that The Killers abuse child labor laws? Oh, is blogging going to be characterized by the DSM V as a mental illness? Then I bet you'll tell us that PBR is already 70 percent piss! Thanks for sharing, you goddamn haters.

    * Yes, your middle-aged boss has an iPod and your mom has a bike. Maybe your boss and your mom are hipsters, ever think of that, jackass? (I guarantee your boss has a Member's Only jacket in his closet and your mom wears those flat nurse's shoes.) Next you're gonna tell me that making fun of old people and squares makes you look like an immature, bitter, Urban Outfitters-shopping monkey-boy! Goddamn haters!

    Posted at 9:30 AM in a Shallow fashion.
      September 16, 2004
    This fall, bad ideas just got a little...worse.


    While it's long been held that Hollywood's best and brightest go to work in the studio system's various marketing departments, never before has this been more apparent than with the onslaught of this fall's round of catchy advertising taglines for upcoming entertainment productions. Incredibly, the folks in Burbank and Culver City and west Los Angeles are breaking radical new ground here with their ability to reduce the elaborate plotlines of, say, a thriller about a woman calling a cell phone to a simple, high-concept notion that even a third grader can comprehend. And in the wake of far too many two- and three-hour films coming forth from this town, that shows some skillful concision.

    What follows is a round-up of some of these slogans and, quite simply, a resulting assessment of the perceived quality of each film or television series...

    Cellular: "If the signal dies, so does she."

    Seriously? A movie this bad surely deserves a tagline this reductivistly imbecilic.

    The Mountain: "Conditions are about to get nasty."

    OK, judging solely from the one-sheet and various ads, there seem to be a bunch of twenty-somethings doing something adventurous in, umm, the mountains. But this tagline? Does this imply that, in addition to action and adventure and tumult, the show features its bitches getting it on with the dudes in a skanktastic style? Or maybe the characters have some sort of personality problems akin to the castmembers of "Real World Las Vegas"? Fuck if I know, because I'm never going to watch this show.

    Wimbledon: "She's the golden girl. He's the longshot. It's a match made in..."

    Oh! Oh! Oh! I know this one! Wimbledon! And - I'm totally guessing here - the tennis superstar played by Kirsten Dunst falls in love with the wizened underdog fleshed out by Paul Bettany. Or vice versa. One certainty: this seems to be a fairly conventional tagline structure for what must be a fairly conventional film. Syd Field would love this shit.

    Head in the Clouds: "In a city of glamour at a time of decadence they met. An aristocrat, a soldier of conscience, and an entertainer. Together they shared a deep passion."

    Thank you for the summary. Now I don't need to see this film, and neither does anyone else who read this little novella you pieced together here, Mr. Tolstoy.

    The Motorcycle Diaries: "Let the world change you... and you can change the world."

    The story of a young Che Guevara and his youthful travels throughout South America. See, by virtue of his traveling, the world changed him...and he became a leftist rebel. Because, presumably, he saw all the various turmoil caused by economic injustice and military coups and secretive interventions by the U.S. government. Not to mention, it stars that totally hot guy from Amores Perros who looks a hell of a lot like an even handsomer Tobey Maguire. So there.

    Shaun of the Dead: "A romantic comedy. With zombies."

    Short and punchy, but sort of...askew, right? Just like this film, I reckon! Well, if Moriarty liked this flick, then that's good enough for me.

    Mr. 3000: "He's putting the 'I' back in team."

    See, star Bernie Mac is a loudmouthed fellow, and he's arrogant, too. Also, sports are somehow involved in the storyline.

    Shark Tale: "The story of what happens when one little fish tells a great white lie..."

    So Dreamworks' animation division decides to rip off Finding Nemo. The very first Shrek had all those adult-oriented digs at Disney at Jeffrey Katzenberg's insistence. Jeffrey Katzenberg hates Michael Ovitz. And Michael Eisner, meanwhile, is slated to leave Disney by 2006. The two Michaels have historically argued over who prefers flounder and who likes trout, a schism which purportedly lead to the dissolution of their business relationship in the mid-90s.

    The Last Shot: "The true story of the greatest movie never made."

    Forgive the Horatio-Sanz-as-Gene-Shalit routine, but...I only wish Alec Baldwin and Matthew Broderick hadn't made this movie. Ha, ha, ha!

    First Daughter: "The girl who always stood out is finally getting the chance to fit in."

    Hmmm...the President's daughter finally gets to live a normal life? Because her dimwitted, lying, inept father was voted out of office this November? Or is that just wishful thinking?

    The Forgotten: "On September 24th everything you've experienced, everything you've known, never happened."

    How very metaphysical! It's like I never saw The Butterfly Effect! (Which I didn't, for what it's worth.)

    Posted at 8:34 AM in a Shallow fashion.
      September 15, 2004
    Poster Boys

    A Dirty Shame, feat. Waters (lower right)...Jersey Girl, feat. Smith (upper left)

    Designing movie posters isn't easy.

    Believe me, we've done enough parody movie posters around here to know. Trying to sum up a two hour film in one image while tapping into various mutually exclusive market forces—Teenage boys! Adult Women! Down-Low Homosexuals!—is hard work. And even though it's essentially a marketing medium, there are enough iconic examples of the form to make designers want to aim for the rafters.

    But listen up movie poster designers, there are some things that are beyond lame. Like squeezing the movie's past-his-prime director into the poster like an apparition: These eerie, out-of-context photos are like Banquo's ghost crashing an otherwise fine party.

    Take the poster for John Waters' latest, A Dirty Shame. What does Waters' creepy visage (the director himself is fond of pointing out how closely he resembles a child molester) add to the poster that Selma Blair's pneumatic prostheses or Johnny Knoxville's Gene Simmons-esque fake tongue don't? If anything, most young filmgoers have no idea who John Waters is and probably assume he's just another cartoon pervert in a cartoonishly perverted movie.

    And then we have Jersey Girl, the DVD and video box for which shows Kevin Smith looking as surprised as we are that he'd be involved in this sub-PAX daddy-daughter cutie-patootie 'comedy.' (The masked bandit over at Defamer already deconstructed this box to great effect in two recent entries.)

    It's only natural to make some connection between the quality of these films ("crammed with wince-inducing contrivances, false notes and fizzled jokes," The Times Stephen Holden wrote with noble restraint) and the desperate attempt to remind potential filmgoers of the directors' alleged marks of quality. Does the movie suck?, goes this line of thinking. Then let's slot in the creator and hope that at least the hardcore fans come out to see it. (And hardcore fans don't come much harder core than those of Mr. Smith's: someone somewhere bought this. He—certainly he—may have even watched part of it.)

    But what about the early example of Wong Kar Wai's excellent Chungking Express, the box for which is marked by the stubbled face of Quentin Tarantino who served as the film's "executive producer"? (Read: the cool director who convinced Harvey to distribute the film in America.) me2.jpgAdding QT to the design was bad, but hardly a red flag for the film, which ten years after its release is still enjoyable. (Faye Wong dancing around to her own cover of The Cranberries' "Dreams" and Tony Leung talking to his forlorn bar of soap are still great.)

    I just hope we've seen the last of this trend. God forbid this chump's carb face starts popping up on the posters for his next couple affronts to cinema.

    Posted at 7:34 AM in a Shallow fashion.
      September 13, 2004
    Coming soon, unless LAX is DOA


    Posting today's gonna be lax. "LAX", in fact! In honor of tonight's premiere episode of NBC's hour-long drama starring the forever-relevant Heather Locklear and the forever-handsome Blair Underwood, we're throwing aside creativity and getting a bit—you guess it!—lax!

    According to the press clippings for the show, it "explores the behind-the-scenes dramas and conflicts of both travelers and staff transpiring daily at the bustling Los Angeles International Airport." The show's characters are jockeying "to be named the new director of the airport while working together to solve everything from bomb scares, to VIP arrivals, drunken pilots and roaming pets—all beneath the din of a frantic "hub" with spokes that touch all corners of the world."

    We have such high hopes for this show we're already holding our breath for the inevitable Law & Order/C.S.I.-esque spin-offs. To wit:

    "SJC": Slated for a mid-season replacement slot. Covers the trials and tribulations of customs agents working at San Jose International Airport, in Northern California's little-known but most-populous city, as shady foreign businessmen try to steal trade secrets from Silicon Valley's bustling computer and technology industry. This series, incidentally, is set in 1996.

    "EWR": Another mid-season filler. For those of you not well-versed in our nation's many lesser-known airports, EWR refers to New Jersey's Newark International Airport. This gripping boardroom drama concerns the NY/NJ Port Authority's efforts to bring the consumer-class convenience of budget carriers such as JetBlue to little ol' Newark. "You know how much traffic we're losing to goddamned LaGuardia? We've got fucking Song and that's it," series lead Eric Roberts repeatedly barks to his underlings in the well-received pilot, which is, somewhat notably, the first drama about airports to feature heavily-excised language.

    "EYW": Air travel doesn't come easy when you're located amidst miles and miles of waterfront property with docks and piers extending as far as the eye can see...and the staff at Key West International Airport knows this firsthand. For years, a battle has been raging between local boat-rental companies and the cozy airport's ringmasters, but that battle just got a little more even with the arrival of drug baron Raoul Mendoza and his posse of depth-charge-dropping small-bodied Sandpiper aircraft.

    "IND": If there's one thing flight mechanics don't like, its a nasty labor dispute. And when the fictitious USAirlineways, which is in no way related to the real-life USAirways, files for bankruptcy and threatens to reduce its nonstop service between the titular Indianapolis International Airport and Boston, Pittsburgh, Charlotte, N.C., and Philadelphia, these laborers get mad. But what they don't know is that USAirlineways' chief labor negotiator is from Baltimore, and has carried a nasty Eric Dickerson-related grudge since that fateful day in 1984 when the Colts left his city to head to Indiana. (This pilot currently only exists in script format and has yet to be filmed.)

    Posted at 10:49 AM in a Satirical, Shallow fashion.
      September 10, 2004
    ...And we threw this entire post together without using the word "tasteless"

    In today's New York Times, writers Kevin Flynn and Jim Dwyer have assembled one of those contemplative think pieces about the events of September 11, 2001 that will presumably continue to be annual media occurrences for at least the next few years. Nothing wrong with that, of course, but in their "Falling Bodies, a 9/11 Image Etched in Pain", the authors engage in a multi-page examination of the cultural impact (or lack thereof) of those people who specifically perished by leaping to their deaths from the intimidating heights of the two towers of the World Trade Center. And it is a suitably sad and moving tale, though presented rather analytically.

    From a syntax standpoint, however, we have to ask: how did the word "defenestrate" not make one single appearance in this article?

    Posted at 5:13 PM in a Shallow fashion.
      September 9, 2004
    Perfect Set... Bumping Uglies... Volley Girls!

    Yes, we're reusing this picture. How could we not?

    And now, the easiest spec script sale in the history of man (from Done Deal):

    Title: Untitled Addario-Syracuse Pitch
    Log line: Two intensely competitive rivals on the women's beach volleyball tour must learn to combine their vastly different playing styles to win back their honor.
    Writer: Lisa Addario and Joey Syracuse
    Agent: Sandra Lucchesi of The Gersh Agency
    Buyer: Paramount Pictures
    Price: Mid-six figures
    Genre: Sports Drama
    Logged: 9/9/04
    More: Pitch. Preemptive buy. Vincent Newman Entertainment will produce.

    No title, stars, or director? I know I've bought my ticket already!

    Posted at 2:08 PM in a Shallow fashion.
    Adjust the 'Ph' Balance, please

    Butler75.jpgHell just got a little bit more crowded, according to today's New York Times.

    Richard G. Butler, founder of Aryan Nations, died at age 86. (Not to be mistaken with Richard Butler, the former UNSCOM chairman who warned us about Saddam's phantom W.M.D.'s.)

    According to the Times's Daniel Wakin (Richard G. Butler, 86, Founder of the Aryan Nations, Dies), Butler, who had congestive heart failture, died in his sleep in Hayden, Idaho. No word on how much drawn-out, agonizing pain the old man endured or his karmic fate as a furrier's mink in his next life.

    The reason I point towards this piece is to address one of my biggest pet peeves: the misspelling of Adolf Hilter's Hitler's [Thanks, Matt!] name. According to Wakin, Butler, "lived out his final years in a house adorned with crosses, relics and books about Adolph Hitler and Holocaust denial."

    Sure, we all make mistakes, but this is one that seems to occur so often in publications it's like a strange, unshakable tick. One possible excuse may be Microsoft Word's spell-check preference for "Adolph" over "Adolf": Can anyone explain that?

    When "Adolph Hitler" appears on the web or squeaks through at an alt-weekly, you can almost overlook it, but because of its status as "the paper of record" a mistake like this in the Times makes it almost canonical, especially for copy editors who'll frantically Nexis/Lexis the spelling during hellish, late night closes for their jobs and make the same error. So, hypothetical, overworked copy editors: use The New Yorker, and ignore MS Word, okay?

    So, once and for all: It's Adolf Hitler. 'F' 'im—please.

    Posted at 10:43 AM in a Shallow fashion.
      September 8, 2004
    Darling, you must tell me where you got that wonderful outfit!

    Teresa Heinz Kerry, New York Observer, Sept. 9, 2004... Hillary Rodham Clinton, SPY, Feb. 1993

    Posted at 8:52 AM in a Shallow fashion.
      September 3, 2004
    Coming Out Soon: The Defense of Prancing Act


    Posted at 8:34 AM in a Shallow fashion.
      September 2, 2004
    This is Bushworld*

    *This guy just lives in it.

    A Bush supporter in Albuquerque, NM... Maureen Dowd's books, Bushworld

    Posted at 9:08 AM in a Shallow fashion.
      September 1, 2004
    Retards & Reporters

    "Hey, what's goin' on over here?"

    Headline from The New York Post, Sept. 1, 2004

    SYLLABICATION: hay�seed
    NOUN: 1. Grass seed shaken out of hay. 2. Pieces of chaff or straw that fall from hay. 3. Slang A bumpkin; a yokel.
    The American Heritage� Dictionary of the English Language: Fourth Edition, 2000. Category: Offensive

    Posted at 8:50 AM in a Shallow fashion.
      August 31, 2004
    Conventionist: The Governator Speaks


    From our perch in the upper balcony, Conventionist was able to get a strong feel for the enthusiasm with which California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's speech was greeted tonight - and this is in New York! Conventionist - while we don't generally get involved in political matters - is excited by the idea of the star of Kindergarten Cop taking the stage someday in the near future to run for national office.

    And while his accent proved to be a handful to some of the delegates from the so-called "Red States", they still whooped and hollored as the star of Red Sonja spoke of his support for President Bush's getting re-elected.

    (UPDATE: Gov. Schwarzenegger did not star in Red Sonja, that was Brigitte Nielsen. And readers have written in to tell us that there is an amendment preventing a foreign-born citizen from running for our nation's highest office. Conventionist still holds out hope that this can be worked out...are you listening, Mayor Bloomberg?)

    Posted at 8:24 PM in a Satirical, Shallow fashion.
    Conventionist: The Nominations are IN


    The Republican Party delegates, as expected, have made it official: President Bush is the party's official nominee for the election. While Conventionist shies away from political matters, as an unofficial rule, we still hope that the race for the White House will be as exciting as it was for us to see the congregation of delegates from Pennsylvania gleefully cheer as their votes were cast, which officially gave the President the count he needed.

    Conventionist hasn't been this excited since our on-set visit to Aaron Sorkin's "West Wing", where we had the opportunity to have our photos taken with Allison Janney. (More photos available at BlueJake.)

    Posted at 8:22 PM in a Satirical, Shallow fashion.
    Conventionist: Laura Bush and the Floor Report


    As expected, Conventionist toured the floor in full force tonight, and, lo and behold, not a single panda was in sight. You can imagine Conventionist's disappointment at this unexpected development...but Laura Bush's keynote address more than made up for this lack of Grand Ol' Pandas.

    Conventionist would like to think that, politics aside, all New Yorkers, and, for that matter, all Americans, would be able to rally behind what sounded like a real tour de force to these ears. And while some readers may have problems with Mrs. Bush's husband, it's important to bear in mind that she showed her true colors tonight, and they are red, white, and blue.

    Also, Conventionist recommends that all delegates see Radio 4 perform tonight at the Knitting Factory. Doors open at 9:00pm.

    Posted at 7:57 PM in a Satirical, Shallow fashion.
      August 27, 2004
    The definitive hot new cover pose for September 2004 magazines


    Posted at 4:25 PM in a Shallow, Versus fashion.
    If It's Brown...

    gallo.jpgDear Newspaper and Magazine Headline Writers,
    Hi. How are you? (I know you can't answer questions posed in a letter, but I want you to know I'm wondering how you are.)

    We gotta talk (er, 'write,' whatever). I know I've made fun of you guys in the past, and I know that's totally uncool. I was, like, in a bad place then, guys. I was just lashing at you for problems I was having with myself. Can you forgive me?

    But, listen up. You gotta stop using GALLO'S HUMOR as a headline for Brown Bunny reviews, okay? I'm talking to you, New York Post, and whoever the hell you are, Zap2it.com. And, this sort of hurts me to say it, but you too, New York Times Magazine: I loved you the most.

    Oh, come on. Don't cry. Please, please. Stop. I'm not just here to criticize, I'm here to offer help. If Vincent Gallo ever convinces international financiers to fund another film for him, you can use these headlines, okay?

    Earnest Gallo Whines
    Heaven Vincent
    Gallo Blows
    Vincent, Man, Go!
    A Vince Among Men
    A Gallo Down Dirty Shame
    Vincentient Being
    My Gallo Friday
    Lather, Vince, Repeat

    They might not be perfect, but who is, right? (Pobody's Nerfect!) I still think you guys are great. BFF?

    Matt Haber

    Posted at 8:40 AM in a Shallow fashion.
      August 26, 2004
    Shul of Rock

    shulofrock.jpgAccording to ScriptSales, Tina Fey and her agency, Endeavor, have just sold Curly Oxide and Vic Thrill for mid-six against seven. (Which anyone who's seen Adaptation. knows is 'industry speak' for "I know industry speak.") The story of "[a] Hasidic Jew and a grizzled rock musician [who] form a band," was inspired by a report on NPR and will inevitably star Adrien Brody (in a furry hat) and Colin Firth (in a name tag, since no one knows who the fuck he is). And the best part? While delivering some scripts upstairs, we heard that Brett Ratner might direct it!

    As that last sentence hinted, we just started our new day jobs in the mailroom of the mailroom at Endeavor. (We couldn't get into the mailroom proper without M.B.A.'s.) It's a little thing called workin' your way up the old fashioned way, by being abused, and humiliated - and urinated upon - for years. It's awesome, and a great use of our combined $245,000 educations. (How's that for a mid-six against seven, huh, boss?). And, we actually managed to scoop a copy of Curly Oxide and Vic Thrill's first-act outline from the main fax machine before Hector, one of the senior mailroom guys, busted us. We're gonna do our best to score the other two acts when Hector goes on his 3 PM Jamba Juice run, and, yes, that's Pacific Standard Time, for all of you who think anything of note happens in New York.

    In the meantime, check out this exclusive Tina Fey comedic buzz...

    Continue reading...
    Posted at 4:39 PM in a Satirical, Shallow fashion.
    Settings > Repeat > On

    ipod-shuffle.jpgIn today's excitingly fresh edition of the New York Times' Circuits section, reporter Rachel Dodes has put together a charming little piece about iPods and the way in which they've begun changing music fans' listening habits. In "Tunes, a Hard Drive and (Just Maybe) a Brain", she presents a cute anecdote about a Columbia University grad student who threw a delightful dinner party while entertaining his guests with music played in a random order from his library of digitized music files, only to have the partiers erupt into laughter when the Shuffle-Button-as-DJ transitioned from Guns N' Roses into Elton John, which was apparently quite embarrassing.

    "Such are the perils of using Shuffle, a genre-defying option that has transformed the way people listen to their music in a digital age. The problem is, now that people are rigging up their iPods to stereos at home and in their cars, they may have to think twice about what they have casually added to their music library.

    Shuffle commands have been around since the dawn of the CD player. But the sheer quantity of music on an MP3 player like the iPod - and in its desktop application, iTunes - has enabled the function to take on an entirely new sense of scale and scope. It also heightens the risk that a long-forgotten favorite song will pop up, for better or for worse, in mixed company."

    Well, it certainly hasn't heightened the risk that a not-so-long-forgotten article from the Times' family of newspapers might be repurposed by the parent company. Writing for the Boston Globe on April 7, 2004 - a whopping four months ago - writer Joseph P. Kahn entertained readers with his "iPod Shuffle revolutionizing listening habits", which, you guessed it, discusses iPods and the ways in which they've begun to change music fans' listening habits. Or, in his own words, since the "Circuits" section's editors felt a literal transcription to be unnecessary,

    "Even more wondrous than its sophisticated technology, though, is how the iPods and their ilk are changing the way music is being experienced, or reexperienced, by all sorts of audiophiles in all sorts of settings, from health clubs and school cafeterias to malls and subway cars.


    When thousands of titles are transferred onto the machine's hard drive and in rotation, users say, what happens on the listening end can be aesthetically stimulating, even liberating. This is not necessarily because the tracks are unfamiliar, but because the software's shuffle-play capability juxtaposes them in intriguing ways, not only across an entire 5,000-track collection but within, say, a compilation of blues tunes or Broadway melodies, or even shuffling through only the tracks played in the past 90 days."

    For what it's worth, we, too, are guilty of repurposing our own content, in the sense that we've already made light in the past of the Times' short institutional memory.

    Posted at 8:30 AM in a Shallow fashion.
      August 25, 2004
    Swift Boat Veterans Against Borgnine

    What exactly happened on that PT Boat? Only Lt. Cmdr. McHale knows for sure.

    Posted at 1:55 PM in a Shallow fashion.
    Is there even a market for televising women's sports? I mean, why would beer-swilling, loutish men ever want to watch these events?


    "USA's Kerri Walsh, bottom, and teammate Misty May celebrate after beating Brazil in the gold medal beach volleyball finals during the 2004 Summer Olympic Games at Faliro Beach Volleyball Stadium in Athens, Tuesday, Aug. 24, 2004. (AP Photo/Adam Butler)"

    (Thanks to Jessica B.)

    Posted at 1:08 PM in a Shallow fashion.
    Your Ultimate Movie Guide for the Week of August 27

    As Friday approaches, discriminating moviegoers across the nation (or at least in New York and Los Angeles, which technically spans the nation) will have to opt between some stellar choices when they head out to see some of the various new releases that the studios are unleashing this weekend. In the interest of simplicity, we've reduced the available films to a concise list of two, both of which will realistically be of keen interest to this site's loyal readers.

    SuperBabies: Baby Geniuses 2 The Brown Bunny
    todo_superbabies.jpg todo_brownbunny.jpg
    The first Baby Geniuses, to the best of my recollection, had a standout performance by Kathleen Turner, who was also in Academy-darling Sofia Coppola's debut film. Sofia Coppola next went on to direct Lost in Translation, which peripherally dealt with issues of cultural differentiation, that is, when it wasn't sucking. And this round of Geniuses, meanwhile, will most definitely be about the generation gap between babies and their parents, and will almost inevitably feature sucking, as well (be it of the thumb, or teat, or bottle-top variety). Right off the bat, everyone's going on and on about the fucking blowjob scene. Well, this is art, my friends, and writer-director Vincent Gallo will be sure to beat that point home through the usage of his long single-take shots of "the road ahead", which, as any cinephile knows, is as heavy a metaphor as one can find. On that note, pay attention to the anticipated slew of references and winks to director Chantal Akerman's notorious Jeanne Dielman, 23 Quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles, which was probably the last film to be released that featured equal amounts of skull-crushing existential boredom alongside loose-lipped whoredom. And that was 1976.
    Upon deciding to see this film, you'll finally feel comfortable going up to that irksome woman in Human Resources with that fucking Anne Geddes calendar and asking her out. You'll be able to assure her that it'll be "our special night, just you, me and lots of babies, just like we may someday make together." If she doesn't swoon, it means she's likely fucking that guy in the COO's office. In keeping with this date motif, expect lots of sweet bonding opportunities as you and your partner in Gallo-fandom exchange humorous eye rolls during the long, long, long scenes of nothingness. And then prepare for some total discomfort when Chloe Sevigny begins sucking on Vincent Gallo's penis. I mean, seriously, that's almost funny, how awkward that'll be for the two of you. At least with the Anne Geddes chick you know you'll be going straight for the baby-making.
    The characters (due to their age) are primarily played by twins and triplets, which, under the right circumstances, could be seen as referencing Luis Bu�uel's work. That might be an overly generous interpretation, however. There is but one Vincent Gallo, and he is a prime specimen of bohemian conservativism, as well as a compelling songwriter who penned what I believe to be the first-ever song about Paris Hilton, way back in, like, 2001.
    It's distributed by Sony, which means you're indirectly supporting their proprietary "Connect" digital download music service, whose songs you won't be able to play on your iPod, which you probably don't own, because you're seeing a film called fucking Superbabies. It's distributed by Wellspring, who has a rather annoyingly low-budget production-credit intro sequence that appears before their films. But, more to the point, by seeing Vincent Gallo's film, you're supporting the Republican Party. Well, maybe just "sort of", but, still.
    Posted at 11:35 AM in a Shallow fashion.
      August 24, 2004
    A brief summary of the 2004 Olympics thus far, from the perspective of someone who has not been following the Summer Games

    1. The U.S. basketball team lost in the first round to Puerto Rico, which is apparently some sort of American colony. This was very humiliating.

    2. The American softball team took the gold. Softball is played by women. I have no idea what is happening in the baseball realm.

    3. I think I saw something about some tremors or an earthquake of sorts striking Athens. That, or I might have been having flashbacks to The Day After Tomorrow.

    4. The newly-sovereign state of Iraq sent a team of soccer players to the games this year, alongside one swimmer. I like to imagine that this waterbound fellow is the ultimate Pixies fan and is known to pump himself up before meets by singing "Ride a tire, down the River Euphrates..." He has not stated for the record, however, his opinion on Trompe Le Monde, though I'm fairly sure he would agree that "Alec Eiffel" is a great track.

    5. I miss Greg Louganis. That was a human interest story that I could really wrap my head around.

    Posted at 1:09 PM in a Shallow fashion.
      August 19, 2004
    Oh Yeahhhh! I've fallen prey to outsourcing

    From L to R, the iconographically cute representation of China's anti-AIDS/clean blood initiative, and America's favorite sugar warrior, the Kool-Aid Man

    Posted at 12:54 PM in a Shallow, Versus fashion.
      August 18, 2004
    David LaChapelle can go saturate himself

    From left to right we've got whoever the fuck these people are, Daria Werbowy, Natalia Vodianova, Gisele Bundchen, Isabeli Fontana, Karolina Kurkova, Liya Kebede, Hana Soukupova, Gemma Ward, and Karen Elson. (AP Photo/Courtesy Vogue, Steven Meisel)

    September approacheth! The all-important ninth month of the year, the introduction to the fall fashion season, when Vogue annually releases their most important issue ever, with all its concomitant power to make or break fashionistas everywhere. And now, here it is: the cover image for their much-anticipated September 2004 issue, and, hold on a minute and put away your excitement stick, because there are fucking models on the cover. Quelle surprise! I, personally, was at least hoping for a shake-up of sorts, maybe some Vanity Fair-esque "celebrities", but, alas, photographer Steven Meisel is notoriously stronger behind the camera when dealing with your everyday stellar-looking pretty faces than those who are famous for being famous.

    Thankfully, we can bear verbal witness to Master Meisel in action due to the release of these exclusive, in-no-way-fictionalized on-set transcripts from the magazine's cover shoot. All 25 inches thereof.

    "Daria, darling, move left more...more...more. Don't you worry about being obscured by the barcode. I hardly know who you are anyway, but you're lucky to be on the cover in any form, and we absolutely need to fit more of Gisele in the shot here. Yes, of course. Ms. Bundchen is our star! Yes, my angel. This is the September issue...a triple-gatefold, honies, and there are nine of you, and as I'm sure you're well aware, you calculus-laden vixens, you, we need an evenly divisible increment of nine, or three ladies per panel. Believe me, if I could chop one of you in half and do a two-paneled 4.5er, I would. But it's Lancome's mathematics, ladies! And, if anything, I'm quite nearly positive that Lancome is the guy who discovered the constant ratio of a circle's radius to its circumference. How many times does pi go into a triple gatefold September cover, I wonder?

    And stylists! Stylists! Snap to attention. I need more pink! Rich, vibrant pink! Reds, reds, pinks, whites. Layer gorgeously, ladies, layer it. Shades of pink abound. Bathe in its glorious glow. Wrap yourselves, honies, wrap yourselves. Let these gowns absorb you, cherish you, encapsulate you...And stay on the tape line. Focus, ladies, focus. Gisele, put your mobile away. You can call that little man of yours when you are not on my clock. On, I say, as opposed to over, which is what he is.

    Who is that colored woman? Liya? Get her out of the first panel. This is Vogue, not National Geographic. OK, I'm sorry, you're right. Sorry. Ha ha, I joke! But I am serious nonetheless. This is September, after all, when I am most prone to racist humor. But you ladies knew that already. Now, move her. No, Karolina, you're in the second panel. No, no, scoot over. Your agency and I agreed to this. I don't care what she told you. No, I DO NOT CARE about Sports Illustrated. I swear, honey, you need to look more passionate as you clutch Isabeli's arm. It's passion, that's all. Keywords: Desire. Sensuality. Fabric. Threadbare. Discomfit. Petulant. Oblique. Garage. I would hope that each of you can simply clutch a goddamned arm for a few minutes, and continue to look gloriously still and inanimate in the process. I'm a modern-day Vermeer.

    Good gracious, where is Karen? Number nine? Anyone? Todd, go check her dressing room. Right now. Go, go, go. Gogogogogogo! Oh, she's still at Bing's pad, huh...Goddamn that rascal, I've had more of my shoots befouled by that man, directly or indirectly, than Gregory Crewdson's got issues with his F-stop! Ha, ha, ha! A little joke. September is also the month when I feel free to "dis" my photographic peers, because, yes, I am shooting Vogue magazine. All right, then, we'll put her in afterwards. How I abhor working digitally, but it's got to be done.

    My, how you lot infuriate me. I'm Steven fucking Meisel, and I'm almost of the mind to subject you to a delicious Meisel-brand ass-raping, but alas, I've got another E! network taping to attend at 3 o'clock this afternoon. Bon-bon!"

    Posted at 4:50 PM in a Satirical, Shallow fashion.
      August 17, 2004
    So, What Do You Do, Neil Strauss's Dirty Subtext?

    Today, every unemployed New York freelancer's favorite website, Mediabistro (okay, second favorite after this), interviews renaissance man Neil Strauss about his latest as-told-to book, How to Make Love Like a Porn Star: A Cautionary Tale, by New York Magazine zeitgeist girl Jenna Jameson.

    Since the interview is sort of boring, I thought I'd help spice it up by selecting the hottest bits and excerpting them for you. So, herewith are the choice cuts sure to excite even the most passive reader:

    Tongues wagging... hard time... deviant... comes... oral... atop... mouth... came... came together... comes... Judith Regan asked me if I wanted to do it... hanging out... How did you get her to open up... we were both totally shaken... She couldn't even sleep that night... very intense... stripper... pimps... get in touch with the female... told Jenna to tweak anything she wanted... David Laskin, took me... mature... Britney Spears... I got started so young... opened... climbing into bed with Jewel... tangled... I'm stuck... restrictive... fucking as an art...
    Posted at 9:28 AM in a Shallow fashion.
    This Is My Truth, Tell Me Yours

    Last week the literary-minded blog world (the mind reels) got bent out of shape by Leon Wieseltier's review of Checkpoint in the New York Times Sunday Book Review. This week, however, those same watchdogs seem to have missed a more legitimate target - the Times' apparent inability to distinguish fiction from non-.

    This week's non-fiction Books in Brief section featured the presumably non-fiction title Borges' Travel, Hemingway's Garage. Per the Times, Mark Axelrod's book recounts some of literature's secret histories:

    �as Mark Axelrod tells it, Hemingway opened a garage in Santa Ana, Calif., a venture that inspired his short story �A Clean, Well-Lit Pit Stop.'

    Axelrod reports on the philosophical quarrels between Leibniz and Newton that fueled the competition between dueling cookie franchises Choco Leibniz and Fig Newtons�

    Rembrandt invented the toothpaste that bears his name not only to avoid financial crisis, but, according to Axelrod, because he was tired of painting portraits of unsmiling subjects afraid to display their bad teeth.

    While the average cultural illiterate/Times editor might reasonably take Axelrod's stories for truth, perhaps the name of Axelrod's publisher - Fiction Collective Two - should have tipped someone off.

    Posted at 8:37 AM in a Shallow fashion.
      August 16, 2004
    Seven ways to mend Open Water's open wounds

    openwater_poster.jpgSince we consider ourselves humanitarians at heart, we're thoughtfully putting forth this helpful list of activities in which you may want to consider engaging, in lieu of seeing the recently-released hokum that is Open Water. Seriously. Any of these options serve as good, worthwhile alternatives. Hell, exhaust the list if you have to.

    1. Bask outside near a neighbor's pool, or a city pool, or whatever. It hardly matters. Study the people flailing about in the water and try and pick out who you think might be the worst actors if you were to go into a career producing community theater workshops and needed to hire these people. While engaging in this impromptu casting session, it could be fucking raining or hailing and you'd still be better off.

    2. Oh, and before you go to the pool, or beach, or whatever, take at least twenty to thirty minutes too long to get there, until you've bored your mates to death with some asinine and wholly irrelevant setup about how "you need your vacation time to escape this crazy job." Even if you're not on vacation, because remember, the only possible goal for this entire exercise is to annoy your audience, unless maybe you're merely padding the trip's length, in which case, it's still not OK, and you, my friend, are an asshole. And when you eventually arrive at the pool, sit around for a good while longer doing nothing more than engaging in some worthless exposition about how nice it is to not be working.

    3. Stare at the pool longingly, and mull over the fact that maybe, just maybe, the water is well-heated, and if you were to slit your wrists and just lay there awhile, you might be put out of your misery.

    4. Eh, fuck the pool. Throw a dinner/discussion party, and set the evening's topic to "Examples of Films Being Produced on DV Because They Don't Deserve a Real Film's Budget". If anyone brings up Anniversary Party as an example, come to its defense, and explain how you'd rather watch that film ten consecutive times than have to endure Open Water.

    5. As dinner approaches, keep devising stalling tactics to fill up time. For instance, exclaim loudly that you think your leg is getting cramped. Oh, wait, look at that, that cleared up! Phew! Now, however, you're falling prey to motion sickness, even though you're seated at a table. Oh, that, too, passed. Wait! Hey, look, I think I saw a car drive by outside this window over here, oh, wait, it turned the corner and is gone now. Shit, I'm getting a cramp again. If your dinner guests start beating you about the face mercilessly, it's entirely forgivable because they clearly have some understanding of a bad narrative structure.

    6. Think about that episode of Magnum, P.I. that was comprised solely of Tom Selleck being stranded in the ocean, having to tread water for hours on end while he endured a torrent of waves and other oceanic dangers for the duration of the entire episode. Make note that this particular episode of what would otherwise be bad network television comes off like fucking Antonioni or Kieslowski compared to Open Water.

    7. Check out Maria Full of Grace or Code 46 and marvel at the injustice of studios' marketing initiatives.

    Posted at 3:40 PM in a Shallow fashion.
    And fallen idol Pete Rose? He's just like the river Styx. No, wait, maybe Icarus?

    San Francisco Giants manager Felipe Alou, after yesterday's win over the Philadelphia Phillies kept his team in playoff contention, whips out his copy of Edith Hamilton and waxes rhapsodic on classic Greek mythology:

    "The wild card is the purgatory of the lost," Alou said. "It's a place souls go and wait millions of years until redemption. We have had a tough time, but there was always the possibility of the wild card. There are so many teams in this purgatory."
    Posted at 8:21 AM in a Shallow fashion.
      August 13, 2004
    The Continued Importance of Adult Literacy



    Posted at 8:51 AM in a Shallow fashion.
      August 12, 2004
    You Shall Know Our Inspiration!

    Without a Paddle, starts Aug. 20....You Shall Know Our Velocity!, now in paperback

    "In You Shall Know Our Velocity!, his first novel, Eggers tells another story of loss and its aftermath. After their childhood friend Jack is killed in a highway accident, Will and Hand decide to fly around the world, giving away the windfall money Will has recently received. And while their travels take them from Chicago to Dakar, Morocco, Estonia, and Latvia, the real journey is an interior one, into Will's tormented consciousness. He can give away his money�and the occasions for doing so range from the hilarious to the awkward to the poignant�but the voices in his mind are another matter."— You Shall Know Our Velocity!, summarized on ReadingGroupGuides.com

    "This is the story of three friends (Green, Lillard, Shepard) from the big city of Philadelphia who go canoeing together out in the woods and mountains of Washington State after the death of a friend, Billy. Billy was obsessed with going there to search for the unaccounted-for $194,200 out of the $200,000 that famed airliner highjacker D.B. Cooper parachuted with quite possibly to his death in 1971 $5,800 of his marked ransom loot was found in 1980. Canoeing down the Columbia River, the trio soon finds that their canoeing experience goes wrong..., both horribly and hilariously wrong, as the river turns dangerous, and they have encounters with the crazy mountain men (Burt Reynolds) plays who live near the river..." —Without a Paddle, summarized on us.imdb.com

    Posted at 4:54 PM in a Shallow fashion.
    In Pompano did Publa Porn, a Portly Pleasure-Dome Decree

    Al Goldstein, during his salad—okay, double cheeseburger and fries—days

    I usually leave these sorts of high/low literary parodies to the professional, but something about this piece in The New York Times today made me think of a poem I read in high school. (Insert your own "deep romantic chasm" joke here, pervert.)

    [Al Goldstein's] company, Milky Way Productions, home of Screw and his long-running cable show, "Midnight Blue," went into bankruptcy last year. His mansion in Pompano Beach, Fla., with the 11-foot statue of a raised middle finger out back, was sold in June to pay debts.

    68 and Sleeping on Floor, Ex-Publisher Seeks Work, by Andy Newman, Aug. 12, 2004.

    The saddest part is the photo, which doesn't appear online. Goldstein is literally half a man: he must've lost 200 pounds from his stately plump frame. It's like watching Orson Welles turn into Don Knotts in the end. Actually, maybe the "colossal wreck" of Al Goldstein reminds me of another high school-era poem.

    Posted at 9:36 AM in a Shallow fashion.
      August 11, 2004
    Scott Peterson, the New Playboy Advisor?

    001strawberries.jpgOr at least a Maxim advice columnist. This guy has moves straight out of The Ladies Man:

    "Peterson first took her to an intimate dinner at a fancy sushi bar, where he paid extra for a private room, she said. He then asked her to come back to his room at the Radisson Hotel so he could change. He wasn't wearing a wedding ring, Frey said.

    "Once in the room, he suddenly produced a bottle of champagne and box of strawberries from his leather bag.

    "'[He] put one [strawberry] in each of our glasses,' Frey said. 'I remember eating one. They were a little bit sour.'

    "The pair then went to a karaoke bar, where they slow-danced, nuzzled affectionately and then shared a single, passionate kiss."
    MY CHAMPAGNE CASANOVA SCOTT SEDUCED ME INTO 1ST-DATE SEX: AMBER, by Howard Breur, The New York Post, Aug. 10, 2004

    Posted at 8:28 AM in a Shallow fashion.
      August 10, 2004
    Funny Money

    Perception: KING OF BLING? . . . Reality: Trump Hotels Planning Bankruptcy [click cover(s) for detail]

    Related: Ten (or 13) Years Ago in SPY:
    "In the history of finance, Donald Trump will be known for one brilliant innovation. No one before Trump has used the press so cunningly to give himself legitimacy with creditors. Trump made the media his balance sheet. Reports of Trump's wealth in newspapers and especially in sober business magazines such as Fortune and Forbes were the basis upon which banks lent him money and public bought his bonds."
    ALL OF THE PEOPLE, ALL OF THE TIME (How Donald Trump Fooled the Media, Used the Media to Fool the Banks, Used the Banks to Fool the Bondholders and Used the Bondholders to Pay for the Yachts and Mansions and Mistresses) A Special SPY Investigation by John Connolly, April 1991, p. 50

    Posted at 9:10 AM in a Shallow fashion.
    "Man Who Would Be Woody" Has publicist who would be Rubenstein

    The board reads: "AIM: Get Famous By Selling Own Hand-me-Down Neuroses."

    Coming soon to JTV: Straight Frum My Heart, a new reality dating show hosted by Keith Black, future relationships columnist for HEEB, and inspiration for a posable action figure (with tefillan grip!) from McFarlane Toys.

    You know Keith Black, the new Woody Allen, right? He's everywhere, except on Friday nights and Saturday mornings. He's even in the papers:

    "As a neurotic, bespectacled, highly therapized Jewish filmmaker from New York, Keith Black has more than a few things in common with his idol Woody Allen—except for one.

    "'I'm looking for my Annie Hall,' says the lovelorn 35-year-old, whose new short film, 'Get the Script to Woody Allen,' is as concerned with his dating mishaps than his desire to be famous...."

    THE MAN WHO WOULD BE WOODY, by Maureen Callahan, The New York Post, Aug. 10, 2004

    Too bad his dream girl's taken.

    Oh well, you certainly can't buy publicity like that, right?

    Or this:
    Following in Woody's Footsteps

    Or this:
    Today Malverne, Tomorrow Cannes?

    Or these:
    A Woody Wannabe Mines His Neuroses

    Allen Encounter Adds Up to Black's 'Woody Short'

    Woody Wannabe Plays Many Roles with 'Script'

    [Links via Keith Black's website]

    Posted at 8:26 AM in a Shallow fashion.
    Harold and Kumar Go On Friendster

    For those interested in learning more about America's greatest civil rights triumph since the march from Selma, aka Harold and Kumar Go To White Castle, you might want to check out co-writer Jon Hurwitz's Friendster profile.

    Among his nine testimonials, there is the Asian Harold who offers:

    Jon writes about and enjoys life by chronicling what he knows best: things that are really, ridiculously funny and amusing. He draws much of his material from his own experiences and friends.

    And then there's his Indian Friendster Raza who writes:

    I remember this one magical summer Jon and I spent in Nora Ephron's Manhattan, where we watched animated features and romantic comedies, ate dim sum and rode the subway. Not that there's anything wrong with that. There was also the incident at [a certain movie studio where I took really long lunches ... I mean worked], but I'm not allowed to talk about that.

    Is it possible that we have located the ur-Harold and Kumar? Could this prove the Rosetta Stone to unlocking the secrets of this milestone film? Yeah, whatever.
    [Thanks Carone!]

    Posted at 7:50 AM in a Shallow fashion.
      August 9, 2004
    I Want My Oy TV


    Hoping to Build Network for 'Nice Jewish Boyz', by Jacques Steinberg, The New York Times, Aug. 9, 2004

    Some jokes are just too easy to make�even for us.

    Posted at 10:54 AM in a Shallow fashion.
    A Berg type film

    Friday Night Lights


    Witness an emerging trend in Hollywood marketing: if your film in some way involves Peter Berg (perhaps best known as the actor-turned-Very Bad Director of Very Bad Things), we can be sure that the trailer's typographic design will feature a simple sans-serif font (in the vein of Helvetica Neue) partially obscured by blurry type in the background.

    We'll wait to see Berg's imaginatively-titled Hip-Hop Cops in 2005 to see if the trailer adheres to the Good 'n Berg (Style) Bible.

    Posted at 8:43 AM in a Shallow fashion.
      August 7, 2004
    It's Raining Men!

    TIME, Aug. 9, 2004... The New York Times Magazine, Aug. 8, 2004

    Update, Aug. 8, 2004:
    Parade, Aug. 8, 2004

    Posted at 9:56 AM in a Shallow fashion.
    As 'Wicker Park' approaches, we present this definitive and comprehensive list of good, quality films starring Josh Hartnett



    Posted at 5:09 AM in a Shallow fashion.
      August 6, 2004
    HOT Literary Accessory: Axes

    "Hot Trouble," Abigail Vona from Rolling Stone... Hatchet-Man Dale Peck

    Posted at 11:50 AM in a Shallow fashion.
    No Way, Boss. Everyone likes you. 'Cause you're great!

    The chairman

    Guys, you know when your girlfriend asks you if you she 'looks fat in this' and you have to be like, "No way! You look fantastic!" But sometimes she does kinda look fat in that and maybe a guy on the street will say something like "thick" as she passes and you have to be like, "That guy is insane! You do not look fat at all!" But you're sort of relieved that someone else got to say it and not you? (Gals, this is probably like when your boyfriend asks about his endowment and you have to spin like Ari Fleischer at Equinox.)

    Anyway, that's what it must be like to review a film critical of your boss for the newspaper your boss owns and operates.

    Poor Meghan Lehman drew the short straw and had to review Outfoxed: Rupert Murdoch's War on Journalism for The New York Post, while her colleague Lou Lumenick got to see Code 46. (Mysteriously, Outfoxed's website is down! Coincidence?... Probably.)

    With a headline like FAIR AND BALANCED, THIS DOC'S NOT, you can kind of guess what the critic is going to say without even reading the review. Lehman's conclusion? "Unbalanced." But my favorite part is this little rah-rah nut graph towards the end:

    Fox News Channel consistently beats CNN and MSNBC, yet Greenwald approaches not a single viewer to probe the reasons for its popularity, nor a single current employee.

    Yay! (I'll leave it to this guy to confirm or refute that claim.)

    Related, in today's Post: BIZ LEADERS HAILED AS HARLEM HEROES "Post Publisher Lachlan Murdoch received an Excellence in Journalism Award..." As his father would say, "Excellent."

    Posted at 8:30 AM in a Shallow fashion.
    Prattling, ranting, and shopping: these are things women do.

    Thursday. Some say it's the new Friday, and Friday is the new Saturday, and so on and so forth, but I say Thursday is still yesterday.

    Yesterday, my friends, was quite a day. From the FEMALE PERSPECTIVE, of course. You want the grit and gristle of womanhood? Here it comes:

    What would give you insight? Um, how about a trip to that affordable mecca of disposable fashion, H&M? Yes! That's right: females like to shop. And when you're this particular female, you shop on a budget. The Swedish superstore is the solution! Retail therapy is a cheaper version of Klonopin, after all.

    Unfortunately, H&M was doused in pink. Yep -- pink shirts, pink pants, pink fucking socks from floor to ceiling. Suffice to say, Peptowhatever is in.

    Not that I have a problem with pink.

    I just don't like looking like a precious, vomitous mess. At least not on Thursday. Instead, I bought a brown shirt. And I bought it to look "hot" for you "men" so I don't have to "buy" my "own drinks."

    Until the pay scale is completely equal, this is how it will be. At least it's all out on the table.

    Posted at 4:00 AM in a Shallow fashion.
      August 5, 2004
    This is not my beautiful wife

    So, in some strange twist of fate, my internet "presence" has landed over here at the lovely low culture where, I suppose, I am expected to lend a female voice. Meanwhile, JP will be launching diatribes of undetermined nature over at my old and neglected site, The Blueprint.

    Female voice. Interesting. Inevitably, such a directive will lead to talk of menstruation -- and I'm not sure I'm ready to confess to you all that I'm two weeks late.

    That being said, I'll be here and there today but more present tomorrow, at which point I'll have a better understanding of what it means to be a woman, thanks to some handy lessons from Matt and JP.

    Posted at 12:31 PM in a Shallow fashion.
    Mann at Work

    Mann's man, Tom Cruise: "Getting hurt, giving hurt� I got no illusions."

    As everyone knows, Tom Cruise goes 'dark' in Michael Mann's Collateral tomorrow. Paradoxically, his hair went 'light' to do so. (Shades—light shades—of Leland Palmer?) Cruise plays Vincent, a hitman destined to be described by lazy critics as "cooly efficient," who dragoons Jamie Foxx's Max into being his wheelman during a long night of Los Angeles mayhem. Most of the hits appear to take place in LA's East Side, preventing Mann from bringing us any more death in Venice. (Sorry, I couldn't resist.)

    Cruise is the most dapper, put-together hitman you're likely to see this year. (Generally, it's a bad idea to wear $400 shoes when you're killing people for a living.) Violating Pat Kingsley's embargo against any and all innuendo around her star client, Mann described Cruise's character to Lynn Hirschberg in The New York Times Magazine as "rough trade in a good suit." Watch out for that word trade: in Mann's world, it's everything.

    Having not seen it, I can't tell you if Cruise pulls it off. But I can tell you I have all the faith in the world in Collateral's actual cooly efficient hitman: Michael Mann. Mann is the auteur of professionalism, a focused, precise observer of focused, precise men at work. Think of Robert De Niro in Heat, reading metallurgy textbooks to further his knowledge of impact-resistant safes, or Will Smith as the most intuitive, innately intelligent sweet scientist in Ali.

    I always think of the eighties when I see Michael Mann's films. Maybe it's because of Miami Vice (a show I watched so obsessively as a kid that I think I believed I'd grow up to wear white pants with espadrilles to work as an adult). You can practically hear the sax solo from Glen Frey's "You Belong to the City" as the actors—usually men, but sometimes the criminally under-employed Diane Venora—smolder in the foreground and neon lights blur behind them in Mann's films. (Mann used the song in Miami Vice, but it wouldn't be out of place in Collateral, especially the part that goes "Nobody knows where you're goin',/ Nobody cares where you've been/ 'Cause you belong to the city/ You belong to the night/ Livin' in a river of darkness/ Beneath the neon lights.") Even The Insider, which was about corporate intrigue and journalistic ethics, not crime and brutality, looked and felt like a fresh police procedural, another Mann against the world epic.

    Nick James, who literally wrote the book on Mann's Heat, pointed out the visual rhyme between that movie's black suited gentlemen bank robbers and ur-eighties artist Robert Longo's Men in the Cities series of drawings. Men in suits; men in the zone.

    It's not Longo I'm reminded of when watching Mann at work, it's another eighties icon of cold masculine artistry: Mike Tyson. Before he turned into a circus sideshow act, Tyson was also seen as a technician, a man who did his job with ruthless precision. As artist/writer Keith Piper tells it in his Step Into the Arena monograph, "The story of the latter half of the 1980's is the story of the ascendancy of the specialist, and within this ascendancy Tyson has come to represent the supreme professional." Kobena Mercer, an art theorist and sometime Piper collaborator went so far as to describe Tyson as "a Reaganite cyborg, a fighting machine indifferent to anything outside the corporeal elimination of his opponent." (Tyson himself called his sport "the hurt business," rationalizing his passionless brutality as a job in which he's "Getting hurt, giving hurt� I got [sic.] no illusions about boxing�none. This is a brutal business," according to Donald McRae in Dark Trade: Lost in Boxing.)

    A 'brutal business.' Sounds a lot like Vincent's gig in Collateral. Perhaps by pairing this character with an actor of similarly focused, cobalt ambition (Cruise is nothing if not a Reaganite cyborg, an acting machine), Mann has finally found an on-screen embodiment of his aesthetic and r'aison d'etre.

    Well, maybe that's the explanation for Cruise's gray blow-out.

    Posted at 9:58 AM in a Shallow fashion.
    Someone Got a New Publicist

    Mickey Dolenz: Where is he not now?

    "MICKEY [(page) sic.] Dolenz, the ex-Monkee now starring in 'Aida,' celebrating at Un Deux Trois with co-author Mark Bego on the second printing of 'I'm a Believer: My Life of Monkees, Music, and Madness.'"

    Page Six, 4/5/04

    "I told ex-Monkee MICKY DOLENZ that just coming to Brooklyn was scary enough for me�and I'm from there. 'They don't even have to show the movie,' he said, nicely going along with the joke..."

    –Michael Musto, La Dolce Musto, 4/3/04

    Have you heard this much about this guy in the last three decades? Frankly, we'd rather hear more about his once and still hot daughter, Ami, because she's out of control.

    Posted at 7:53 AM in a Shallow fashion.
      August 4, 2004
    Yet Another iPod Parody


    Actually, no. It's a highly stylized riot in South Korea.

    Earlier iPod parodies: Here, here, and here.

    Posted at 10:13 AM in a Shallow fashion.
      August 3, 2004
    DNC and Out in Beverly Hills

    Eric Alterman's Radical Pique: Mmmmmmmmm. These are nice.

    As any first year journalism student worth his or her Bartlett's knows, someone once said, "The job of the newspaper is to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable." What's usually left off from that quote is the second part: "Attend lavish parties thrown by the comfortable, enjoy the free drinks and delicious appetizers, then stab your hosts in the back with the little stick on the chicken satay."

    Take Eric Alterman's September Atlantic article, "The Hollywood Campaign." Alterman seems to have spent most of spring lingering on the periphery of every industry party in Bel Air, Malibu, and Beverly Hills, visiting the sets of shows like The West Wing, and generally acting like a quiet, very judgemental member of every lefty stars' entourage, taking notes between sips of vintage wines.

    It certainly reads like a fun assignment, much better than William Langweische's last few reports for the magazine. But the east coast red meat-loving lefty's time among the west coast lotus eaters seems to have bred some contempt in Alterman, the liberal liberals love to hate. His piece, replete with one of those oh-so-Grosz Steven Brodner caricatures of stars like Barbra Streisand and Robert Redford, is one of the most condescending portraits of Hollywood values since Nick Nolte plunged into Richard Dreyfuss and Bette Midler's pool in Paul Mazursky's Down and Out in Beverly Hills.

    The comparison to Mazursky's film is especially apt, since Alterman draws similarly broad and contemptuous portraits of the people he encountered out in La-La-Land. Here's Alterman on Laurie David, environmental activist and wife of Larry David:

    A pretty, brassy Jewish girl from Merrick, Long Island, whose close friends describe her as "pushy," David is one of those people who carry energy as if it were a communicable disease.

    So, she's a JAP? Not just that, a hypocritical JAP: "Laurie David, who dedicates herself to fighting for improved fuel-economy standards and reviles the owners of SUVs as terrorist enablers, gives herself a pass when it comes to chartering one of the most wasteful uses of fossil-based fuels imaginable: a private plane. (She's not just a limousine liberal; she's a Gulfstream liberal.) "

    So, she's a hypocritical JAP? Add to that, cheap:

    Before joining ACT's finance committee, David sought entr�e with a donation of $100,000. A number of Hollywood activists think she is taking a larger than warranted role, given that her wealth would allow her to be far more generous. These people, none of whom are willing to be named, told me that David tried to get away with giving ACT a mere $10,000, but was told that ten times that amount would be the minimum for the role she planned to play.

    I'm sure Laurie's famously press-averse husband (squirm through Scott Raab's Esquire profile or James Kaplan's New Yorker piece to see just how little he likes being interviewed) is pleased he granted Alterman all that face time now.

    Here's Alterman's description of political consultant Marge Tabankin:

    In a town known for its obsession with thinness, Tabankin looks not unlike a kinder, gentler Bella Abzug, with warm green eyes and an inviting smile.

    Yes, but is she jolly? And does she wear muumuus, Eric?

    It's not just women who come in for a bashing for their unpleasant adherence to ethnic stereotypes or their weight. Alterman has some things to say about Hollywood's liberal men, too. Take screenwriter/checkwriter Steve Bing, who gets the old compliment followed by insult treatment:

    And then there is the dashing Steve Bing, who manages to maintain his boyish, almost adolescent good looks despite a few lines on his face and a head of closely cropped gray hair. A film producer and real-estate heir, he has been nicknamed "Bing Laden" and called a "spermicidal maniac" by London tabloids, owing to his various romantic entanglements. (When the actress Elizabeth Hurley announced that she was pregnant with Bing's child, he issued a news release claiming that she had chosen "to be a single mother" and stating that their relationship was a non-exclusive one. He began proceedings to force a DNA test, which resulted in his accepting responsibility for the child. Bing also sued the billionaire corporate raider Kirk Kerkorian for invasion of privacy after Kerkorian had an employee grab some dental floss out of Bing's garbage in an attempt to prove that Bing was the father of his ex-wife's daughter.)

    Wait, did I drop my copy of The Atlantic and pick up Vanity Fair (circa July 2002)?

    With its sprawling scope and condescending tone, Alterman's piece evokes another, far superior, critique of wealthy liberals: Tom Wolfe's oft-referenced (but, based on the references, little read) Radical Chic & Mau-Mauing the Flak Catchers. Both pieces portray the wealthy as guilty, eager to please, easily fleeced babies swaddled by all that money.

    Yes, it's fun to mock these people (South Park made great sport of Rob Reiner last year and has also bashed Barbra and ripped Redford), but it's too facile, too laden with envy and aspiration to hit the mark. Here's what Alterman concludes about the incongruity of millionaires and billionaires feeling disenfranchised in Bush's America:

    On occasions when I've mentioned such contradictions and blind spots to smart Hollywood fundraisers, the response has been not so much explanation or excuse as a plea for indulgence�as if one were, after all, dealing with children, children who are very good at sharing.

    Harsh, to be sure. Hopefully these "children" will forgive their mean new friend Eric, who came to their parties, behaved politely, and then said such hurtful things about them in the schoolyard the next week. As any parent will tell you, some kids play nice, and others never will.

    After fifteen pages of Alterman's letter from Los Angeles (homeboy should change his title from 'senior fellow at the Center for American Progress' to senior longfellow!), I was reminded of another famous quote about journalism that every first year student can recite by heart as well. It's from Janet Malcolm's The Journalist and the Murderer, and it's so succinct, so canonical, it should be written in calligraphy on every J-school diploma:

    Every journalist who is not too stupid or too full himself to notice what is going on knows what he does is morally indefensible. He is a kind of confidence man, preying on people's vanity, ignorance, or loneliness, gaining their trust and betraying them without remorse. Like the credulous widow who wakes up on day to find the charming young man and all her savings gone, so the consenting subject of a piece of nonfiction writing learns—when the article or book appears—his hard lesson. Journalists justify their treachery in various ways according to their temperaments. The more pompous talk about freedom of speech and 'the public's right to know'; the least talented talk about Art; the seemliest murmur about earning a living.

    And let's not forget that delicious chicken satay. Mmmmmmm. Those are nice.

    Posted at 3:42 PM in a Shallow fashion.
    Young Men of Respect

    First off, let me start by saying that I mean no disrespect by this post. I hope that the young Gotti boys—"The Hotti Gottis," as their website calls them—understand that this is a joke and don't get too upset. I watched your mom's show last night and thought it was great: like The Osbournes, but with fewer dogs and no satanic home decor. But you fellas reminded me of some brothers from another mother, and I just wanted to point it out.

    John (school V.P., honor roll)... and Joseph (Gimme A Break, Blossom

    Frank (honor roll, seventh in his class)... and Andrew (Jack Frost, Oliver Beene)

    Carmine (honor roll)... and Matthew (Mrs. Doubtfire, The Hot Chick)

    Whoa! I don't know whose wallpaper I should download, the Gottis' or the Lawrences'.

    Posted at 8:48 AM in a Shallow fashion.
      August 2, 2004
    An Open Epistle to One Night Shyamalan: 'Tis true, thine Village is but a mess, and rightly so


    Ah, neighbor! Fear not that I shall spoil the contents of this tale, this Village, by Mr. M. Night Shyamalan, who is of the East Indian Colony descent. To spoil this particular collection of moving images would be to sully and tarnish what may, in other circumstances, be considered the very first adult-oriented dramatic work by Mr. Night (but, wait, shall I refer to him as Mr. Night? Or Mr. Shyamalan? Do tell....where has my Manual of Victorian Protocols and Civilised Behaviors gone?).

    Alas, it's already been predestined that this work has been sullied and tarnished by prior hands...the hands, in fact, of The Village's very creator. For what was, during the course of its first two acts—and, dare I say, well into its third—a fairly well-tailored, though not strikingly philosophical, manifestation of an adult morality tale conveying the struggles of a responsible people moving towards the 20th century, rapidly descended into ill-suited pablum of the worst bearing. It's the twist, you see, that did this so. The twist. A common gimmick, a device of unscrupulous origins, better served by carnival barkers and those who peddle ill-advised medicinal herbs and the like (and others of such questionable ilk and lower standing).

    A truly gifted story-teller should, nay, would know when not to wield such gimmickry. I put forth these opinions not because I believe that this or any other thing was so because I thought so, but only because I did think so and I want to be quite candid about all I thought and did. These were my thoughts about The Village. I thought I often observed besides how right our story's guide was in what he had said (and what he had drawn for us onscreen), and that the uncertainties and fears on my part, that he would behave as he had in the past, and undermine my newly-restored faith in his skills as a narrator, would cheapen this current work so...

    And then, his twist. His cursed twist, brought forth unto his audience like a wanton harlot, ravaged by storytellers of lesser merits, and thrown to the pack of judicious scoundrels who perhaps feared having to sit through two hours (by my pocket watch) of well-considered ideological narrative.

    I've imparted to his nature this bit of ill-gotten reliance on commonplace conventionality, and I thus entreat him to explain his motives. And I may render a new line of consideration, as well: Where were the Negroes amongst the townspeople of this Covington Village? Pray tell, why would this assembled gathering of families and individuals take flight from the ravages of urban life, with its concomitant looting and violence and savage rapes and murders aplenty, and not one of those hailing from this Philadelphia region of the Pennsylvanian state would not be of the peach-hued variety?

    (In my many travels, I have heard the rhymes of that city's great Roots band, and they are not of the peach-hued variety.)

    Who, then, goes into the woods and hides from "hordes of destruction" but those with fear and prejudice coarsing through their hearts? Why, White Supremacists, they might be called, and rightly so! And should the dusky-hued venture into such a town, would they not find themselves dangling from trees, cheeks bulging forth like overripened fruit? Strange fruit, indeed.

    I ask of you, in the absence of modern lighting, do not flaming crosses illuminate a town such as this?

    Mr. Shyamalan, you have some explaining to do. I should hope to receive your rejoinder, post marked with the utmost haste, delivered upon my doorstep and stamped with your signet within the fortnight.

    If not, I can only conclude one thing: not only do twists you bring about, but you be twisted yourself.

    Posted at 3:12 PM in a Shallow fashion.
    It's uncanny how much her experience mirrors my last breakup

    parishilton_nickcarter.jpgFrom "Suddenly single: Paris Hilton: Why I Split with Nick," an interview in the August 9, 2004 issue of Us:

    "I was getting my makeup done [for a photo shoot for an upcoming cover of YM magazine], and it just hit me: I love Nick, but I need time alone. I called my psychic [L.A.-based Cipora Rekrut], and I asked her opinion. She thought I should be alone, and I agreed with her...I went straight to the Kabbalah Centre [in L.A.] and told everyone about the breakup and got a new [red string kabbalah] bracelet."
    Posted at 3:01 PM in a Shallow fashion.
    A Vast Literary Conspiracy

    What's that in Denzel Washington's hand? Why, it's a book.

    Jonathan Demme's updated version of The Manchurian Candidate opened to $20M at the box office this weekend. The film was preceded by much conspiracy-mongering about what sort of left-leaning hobbyhorse Demme and Paramount chief Sherry Lansing rode in on and if their film about the country's first "corporate owned V.P." bears any resemblance to anyone in real life.

    Well, it turns out there is a covert agenda floated forth in The Manchurian Candidate, but it's not what you think: It's a vast conspiracy aimed at making freedom-loving American people do something we are constitutionally averse to do: read.

    Demme's film is lousy with literary cameos. Check it out:

    Walter Mosley (Bill Clinton's favorite author) plays a congressman

    Edwidge Danticat plays Rosie's sister (seen in a photo)

    Roy Blount, Jr. plays a pundit (who, along with actress/playwright Anna Deavere Smith, hip-hop pioneer Fab Five Freddy, monologist Reno, Def poet Beau Sia, and director Sidney Lumet seem to have fallen to the cutting-room floor)

    E. Jean Carroll plays a reporter

    Al Franken also plays a reporter

    August Wilson appears (sort of) in a lingering shot of a Playbill for his show Jitney on Rosie's wall.

    Of course, this being a Demme film, there are tons of other cameos from friends and colleagues: Roger Corman (also an author!) appears as a former president, a promotion from FBI Director in Demme's Silence of the Lambs. Artist/professor/fellow Lambs cameo-maker Jim Roche pops up, as do rocker Robyn Hitchcock, and the dude who plays Fuse TV's own presidential candidate, Haymish Fuse.

    None dare call it conspiracy! We are through the looking glass, people. Who will stop the reverse vampires?

    Posted at 8:56 AM in a Shallow fashion.
      July 28, 2004
    As any David Lynch fan will tell you, it really stands for "Beware of Bob"


    From "Sick Bag Note Caused United Flight To Turn Back", July 28, 2004:

    ...An air sickness bag with the letters "B O B" scrawled on it had been found in a toilet on board.

    The pilot decided the note could have meant "bomb on board" and returned to Sydney, dumping almost a full load of fuel before the Boeing 747-400 landed safely.

    Several other possibilities were being investigated, including that the note could have been a popular flight crew acronym for a good looking passenger, or simply a man named Bob.

    One suggestion: aviation officials ought to have paid closer attention to the phrase "FIRE WALK WITH ME" that was scrawled on the bag's flipside.

    Posted at 12:32 PM in a Shallow fashion.
      July 26, 2004
    43, 42 Years Later


    Last week, the reliably over-reactive Matt Drudge posted an urgent news flash for his legions of readers:


    THAT MORE OR LESS TURNED OUT (whoa, sorry, was momentarily stuck in all-caps/shouting mode) to be the news item in its entirety, in that Drudge's pithy exclamation consisted solely of a handful of quotes from "Pop culture takes on the fear game," an article by the New York Times' Frank Rich (whom we absolutely adore, by the way) that appeared in Friday's International Herald Tribune. Here's the particular passage that got Drudge so worked up:

    "[The act of turning the Bush-Cheney administration into an object of fear] can be seen at full throttle in Jonathan Demme's remake of the classic cold war thriller 'The Manchurian Candidate,' which opens in the United States the morning after the Democratic convention ends. This movie could pass for the de facto fifth day of the convention itself.

    I cannot recall when Hollywood last released a big-budget mainstream feature film as partisan as this one at the height of a presidential campaign. That it has slipped into action largely under the media's radar, as discreetly as the sleeper agents in its plot, is an achievement in itself. Freed from any obligations to fact, 'The Manchurian Candidate' can play far dirtier than 'Fahrenheit 9/11.' Not being a documentary, it can also open on far more screens - some 2,800, which is more than three times what Michael Moore could command on his opening weekend (or any weekend to date).

    Aw, Frank, Matt...you guys needn't get so riled up about the undercurrent of hostility towards this year's race for the presidency that has apparently surfaced in Demme's remake. In fact, there were already a slew of winks and nods to the current 2004 campaign running throughout John Frankenheimer's original 1962 film. Prescient, indeed.


    You've got Texas versus Massachusetts...

    And the convention held at Madison Square Garden in New York...

    Featuring a first-class imbecile on the presidential ticket...

    And, finally, the minor-yet-significant role of Heinz ketchup in the race for the presidency.

    Let's hope the real convention ends better than the one in the film!

    Posted at 1:14 PM in a Shallow fashion.
      July 21, 2004
    Hilary, darling, that look is sooo Sofia's last film

    Hilary Duff stars in A Cinderella Story, 2004

    Scarlett Johansson promoting Lost in Translation at the Venice Film Festival, 2004

    (With thanks to Kristina Dalberg.)

    Posted at 12:38 PM in a Shallow, Versus fashion.
      July 20, 2004
    Look out, Sasha Frere-Jones and Simon Reynolds...here comes Victoria Murphy of Forbes Magazine


    Following in the wake of the "controversy" surrounding Jadakiss' provocative lyrics ("Why did Bush knock down the towers?") in his hit single, "Why?", Fox News' irascible hip-hop maestro Bill O'Reilly invited Forbes Magazine's senior reporter Victoria Murphy on to his Monday, July 19, 2004 edition of the O'Reilly Factor to discuss a tangentially-related matter, Microsoft's usage of the rapper in an X-Box promotion.

    But when you're a 23-year-old reporter, why confine yourself to talking about boring, adult-oriented things like "marketing initiatives" and "public relations controversies" when you can wax rhapsodic on pop music and its performers?

    MURPHY: This rapper's probably a one-hit wonder anyway, and it turns out it probably wasn't such a smart decision, but Microsoft is a smart company and what they want to do is sell more software, not promote some rapper's political ideas...

    O'REILLY: Yeah, I mean we understand what their marketing is, to get kids to play this X-Box with Jadakiss, but you know, July 5th, Jadakiss is arrested in Fayetteville, North Carolina, for, uh...

    MURPHY: Right, but that's what rappers do right, they get arrested?

    O'REILLY: Yeah, I guess that's what they do...

    RELATED: One random fan's Amazon selection of Jadakiss and the LOX's various platinum- and gold-selling records.

    Posted at 3:38 PM in a Shallow fashion.
      July 19, 2004
    (Gotta Get) Back in Time

    time_magazine_vegas_baby.jpgTIME Magazine's July 26, 2004 issue, Vol. 164, Number 4

    ...in which the cover-story editors draw from the ten-year-old script for Jon Favreau and Doug Liman's Swingers, liberally quoting Vince Vaughn's Trent character.

    ...in which the "The Arts" section profiles Clara Peller, noted for her catchy quip, "Where's the beef?"

    ...in which we learn about Ms. Pac-Man, the surprisingly successful spinoff to everyone's favorite coin-operated arcade game

    ...in which the movement to impeach the President for his knowledge of an illegal break-in at the Watergate Hotel is examined

    ...in which the "Nation" section document's the cultural obsession with the Lindbergh baby trial


    ...in which the "Science" section profiles Gumma, the universe's very first single-celled organism, and noted neurotic, in an article headlined "Mitochondriac"

    Posted at 11:12 AM in a Shallow fashion.
      July 14, 2004
    That's not reverb, that's delay you're hearing from the mic

    karaoke_hipster_ironic.jpgToday's New York Times Metro section runs a piece about the city's night spots and the hipster embrace of—get this, kids—karaoke. In "'Sweet Caroline' Never Seemed So Good: So Uncool That It's Hip, Karaoke Enjoys a Comeback", Times readers commuting via the downtown 1/9 trains had the opportunity to learn about this thriving new subculture amongst the city's ironic set:

    "Clearly, given the demographics, this is not the karaoke of crazy drunken uncles who worship Neil Diamond, nor is it the more studied karaoke first pioneered by Japanese businessmen. Instead, it is more akin to the swing-dancing craze of the 90's - a form of urban group expression that satisfies a longing for community."

    While an instinctive critique of the paper may be expected to run along the lines of, "Why doesn't this paper cover these phenomena when they're more relevant, and hire younger, more plugged-in writers and reporters," it turns out that a better and more applicable critique may be along the lines of, "What the hell happened to their older staff, those people who actually remember what the paper has published in the past?" To wit, observations from "Noticed; Karaoke: Once More, With Irony" in the paper's Style section (a mere six years earlier, on July 5, 1998), which noted

    "a reawakened interest among New York hipsters in the sing-along pastime imported from Japan. ...Just when it seemed the loose-tie recreation of the 1980's had been safely put to rest in church basements and suburban strip-mall bars, karaoke is being revived by young downtown scene-makers, along with so many other retro relics of the Reagan era. They are frequenting new karaoke clubs, as well as infiltrating traditional ones with a largely Asian clientele."

    Well, be it 1998 or 2004, one thing is certain: it must be cool if the Bush twins are doing it.

    Posted at 5:21 PM in a Shallow fashion.
    Blonde, and bigger than ever before


    Blonde Items:

    WHAT hairy havoc have Jennifer Lopez, Beyonce Knowles, et al wreaked upon the world of up-and-coming black and Latina starlets? WHEN did Christina Milian, brunette teen songstress and star of last year's Love Don't Cost a Thing, have her handlers reconstruct her image and give her a post-Beyonce blonde re-do? WHY did no one realize that "Dip it Low" is a strong enough pop single on its own merits that its vocalist did not need this egregious white-person-accessibility reinvention? WHEN did we forget about that scene at the beginning of Spike Lee's Malcolm X where the young leader of the Black Power movement becomes embarrassed by his usage of hair-straightening products? WHY has Angela Davis never fronted a pop group?

    Posted at 1:39 PM in a Shallow fashion.
      July 12, 2004
    Father Figure: The Origin of Ron Burgundy

    After Will Ferrell's Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy took in an estimated $28 million and landed in second place at the weekend box office, we took it upon ourselves to help flush out the work of producers for esteemed shows such as ET and Access Hollywood and get to the bottom of things: just who is Ron Burgundy, Anchorman?

    After flipping through a copy of the June, 1979 issue of National Lampoon (or, to be honest, the version archived on the Lampoon's website, since we don't actually collect old magazines like a goddamned packrat), realization set in that we were gazing upon the Genesis of an Institution, and the Dawn of Buffoonery. The following images are taken from a feature entitled "Emergency Fathering", written by John Hughes, Tom Corcoran, Gerrald Sussman, and Judy Corcoran.



    Are we looking at illustrated archival documentation of the Ron Burgundy's baby years, which might in some way explain the character's later behavior as an adult? But wouldn't that make Ron a youthful 25 years old today? And, wait, isn't the film itself set in the 1970s? Oh my god, I totally cannot process all of this. Maybe it's merely cinematic inspiration?

    Only John Hughes knows for sure. I, meanwhile, am off to go watch Wonderland and then Boogie Nights. Or vice versa.

    Posted at 2:56 PM in a Shallow fashion.
      July 6, 2004
    Clearly it's this pun that's the tramp


    ON NEWSSTANDS NOW: i-D Magazine's July 2004 issue, left, and V Magazine's Summer 2004 issue, right

    Posted at 3:57 PM in a Shallow, Versus fashion.
    Post Pile-on, Continued


    Greetings, New York Post reporters! You've got a sympathetic ear here, and we'd like to remind you that when your peers decide to ridicule you for your constant butchering of the facts, remind them that any and all errors and inaccuracies can and should be blamed on the Islamist Web sites of the Army of Ansar al-Sunna that tipped you off to the (non)-beheading of an American hostage this weekend, and, presumably, also let you know that Dick Gephardt would be joining the Kerry ticket.

    Those goddamned terrorists, sullying and tarnishing your respected brand like that!

    From the very restrained and downright reserved article entitled "NO END TO EVIL: CREEPS BOAST OF MARINE MURDER", which was garishly splashed across the cover of this weekend's New York Post, July 4, 2004:

    Bloodthirsty Iraqi terrorists yesterday claimed to have beheaded captive American soldier Wassef Ali Hassoun � and vowed to release a videotape of the savage slaying � in the first decapitation of an American Muslim hostage.

    And from today's decidedly trashy and sensationalistic New York Times, "Abducted Marine Is Free, His Brother Says", July 6, 2004:

    A United States marine held by an Iraqi militant group is alive and has been released, the marine's brother said today.

    Well, guys, you lose some, and you lose some.

    Posted at 1:10 PM in a Shallow fashion.
    Do we defeat true men?


    Yes, it's an easy target. And yes, we've already harped on for some time about how the New York Post is very, very error-prone. But today's Post has three egregious errors, and we thought it pertinent to point them out, in fulfillment of our duties here at low culture as Honorary Ombudsmen of the Paper of Disrepute.

    1. From STERN'S LADY IN LAD MAG: "Almost as good is a celebration of the enduring comedy "Nerds," which this year turns 20." Let's see: either they're reporting on an obscure, under-appreciated documentary depiction of the creation of the Willy Wonka-themed candy of that name, or they left off a key "Revenge of the" preceding modifer. But, hey, everyone loves a good shorthand now and then, right?

    2. While not an error, per se, the paper's HARVEY SET TO BOLT MIRAMAX on Page Six seems a bit, erm, unlikely. "Under the plan being considered, Weinstein would leave to start his own movie company and Miramax would distribute his films, sources say. Harvey's brother and Miramax co-founder Bob Weinstein is expected to stay at the company, where he runs Dimension Films, a Miramax division that focuses on medium-budget action and horror films." Fans of studio politics everywhere understand that while Harvey's a boor, Bob is merely churlish, and boors hardly ever stand down for churls.

    3. Oh, and there's also some big hullabaloo about some error they may have made regarding the cover story above...Something about a cabinet pick, or an election or something? DEVELOPING...

    Posted at 8:50 AM in a Shallow fashion.
      July 5, 2004
    That leaves about five percent of them who can reasonably lust after Lindsay Lohan or Orlando Bloom

    While fans of lawsuits and/or insipidly lowest-common-denominator clothing chains may best know about West Virginia from its run-in with Abercrombie & Fitch last year over the company's sale of T-shirts with the mocking phrase, "It's All Relative in West Virginia," it may be time to update your repertoire of insults for the 35th state in the union.

    Mull over this disturbing factoid from the Associated Press, which comes via President Bush's visit to the southern state on the fourth of July this past weekend.

    Making a pitch for votes in a state where 200,000 veterans comprise 15 percent of the population, Bush praised veterans for "setting a good example for those who have followed ... in Afghanistan and Iraq," said Bush. Thirty-six percent of all male West Virginians fought in World War II, 16 percent in Korea and 20 percent in Vietnam.

    Now, that last line seems ridiculously erroneous, and most probably involves some sort of grammatical error in relation to the first sentence of the paragraph sampled above. Because, otherwise, that means roughly 70 percent of West Virginian men are approaching retirement age.

    And if that is in fact true, be on the lookout for next week's hard-hitting TimeOut New York cover story, "WV to NY: Young and single West Virginians hit big on the New York bar scene!"

    Posted at 5:31 PM in a Shallow fashion.
      June 30, 2004
    Woolf in Fred Segal's Clothing


    From left to right, Nicole Kidman and her Oscar-winning prosthetic nose, and the egregiously untalented Ashlee Simpson. Poor, poor girl. Check her pockets for rocks before she goes to the MTV Beach House.

    Posted at 5:39 PM in a Shallow, Versus fashion.
      June 29, 2004
    Mini DV's mobility, on the other hand, caused Chelsea Walls to seem poorly framed

    Photo of Ethan Hawke, Julie Delpy, and Richard Linklater peering at an Apple laptop computer, taken from Dennis Lim's piece about Linklater's Before Sunset in this week's Village Voice

    And then there's this, below, taken from New York magazine's current profile of Ethan Hawke as leading man/single man/bohemian:

    There's a manual typewriter on his desk; he wrote both his books on it. �The computer has destroyed fiction,' he declares. �Paragraphs get so perfectly sculpted they lose all their juice.'
    Posted at 10:42 AM in a Shallow, Versus fashion.
      June 28, 2004
    I think I recognize that actress...and her gamine-faced expression, too!

    Three years ago, indie film fans across America saw Am�lie and, apparently, fell in love with the film's lead actress Audrey Tautou...or at least that distinctively peculiar facial expression of hers. How else to explain the marketing of her subsequent films and the rash of look-alike film posters and DVD slipcases for movies in which she appears?

    Anyway, you may also want to check out He Loves Me...He Loves Me Not, and if you're wondering how on earth you'll find this dark gem of a film in your local video store, fear not. Just look for Mlle. Tautou's inquisitive visage. Or, better yet, take a practice run below...You'll have to wade through films in which she merely plays a cameo, but that should be obvious by examining the ratio of Tautou-Face� to the package's Total Surface Area:

    at_amelie.jpg at_godisgreat.jpg

    at_helovesme.jpg at_auberge.jpg

    at_dirtyprettythings.jpg at_happenstance.jpg

    Posted at 9:08 AM in a Shallow fashion.
    The book was written by Yale University's honorary "Christopher Pike Professor of English"


    From the case's promotional copy for the current DVD (re-)release of Disney's 1993 film A Far Off Place, which is noteworthy only in that it stars a younger, pre-Election, Reese Witherspoon:

    "A classic adventure in the literary tradition of Holes"

    Posted at 8:11 AM in a Shallow fashion.
    Ray Charles, in turn, clearly inspired underground hip-hop artists such as Louis Logic and Prince Po

    An actual letter to the editor which appeared in The Nation's July 12, 2004 issue, amidst readers' comments on the magazine's "tribute" to the many under-reported negative aspects of Reagan's presidency:

    Boston - You omitted one salient fact: Ronald Reagan was responsible for creating the best marijuana in the world! When Reagan initiated his "war on drugs," the marijuana growers were hard pressed to beat the Feds. They had to re-engineer their plant, and they did so in one of the greatest breeding undertakings ever--no recombinant DNA, just conventional breeding technology. In a few years the marijuana plant was a dwarf plant that lacked the typical acrid odor, thereby allowing it to be grown indoors. Along with these changes came additional benefits--the best and most potent sinsemilla marijuana in the world. Bravo, Mr. President.


    Posted at 7:17 AM in a Shallow fashion.
      June 24, 2004
    It's Must Repent TV!

    In yesterday's New York Times, the paper's Hollywood scribe Sharon Waxman shows how the success of Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ has given the former action star a newfound ability to effectively greenlight and produce a number of his own projects. (In addition to turning water into wine on cue.) Waxman writes that "Mr. Gibson's Icon Productions will have no fewer than three prime-time television series on the networks' fall schedule: 'Clubhouse' on CBS, 'Savages' on ABC and 'Kevin Hill' on UPN."

    When detailing the nature of these projects, however, Ms. Waxman, regrettably, left out specifics regarding the shows' content, save for a few bullet points here and there.

    What follows, then, is our exclusive insider guide to Icon Productions' fall television lineup, praise be He:

    Airing this fall on CBS

    Marc Donato portrays a New York teenager who becomes a batboy for the Yankees. Sounds sort of tedious and Wonder Years-ish, right? Wrong...this tale's been Gibsonized! Herod, or "Harry", as he's better known in the clubhouse, first acquired fame in the New York tabloids as the product of an immaculate conception at North Central Bronx Hospital fifteen years earlier. The adolescent Harry, who now notoriously has quasi-biblical powers, comes to the attention of Yankees owner George Steinbrenner, who, in the series opener, is embroiled in a payroll accounting scandal, and in an effort to redeem himself in the eyes of God (and the New York media), hires young Harry to provide redemption for not just "this tired old Jew," but the entire team of sinners, as well.

    And, thankfully, things shape up for the team pretty fast under Harry's guidance. When not providing the home plate umpire with new baseballs, or making sure Alex Rodriguez's batting gloves are well-oiled, Harry has the opportunity to counsel Jason Giambi on the perils of ingesting "Satan's Unnatural Poisons" in his effort to hit more home runs, and coaxing team captain Derek Jeter into giving up his womanizing ways after a nasty encounter with Satan's Temptress, played by the enchanting Rebecca Romijn. And when the Subway Series reprises itself during sweeps week, Mets catcher (and notorious homosexual) Mike Piazza learns that a good man is, indeed, hard to find, and subsequently falls in love with Harry's aunt, Seraphia, a former lesbian also cured by God's love.

    Airing this fall on ABC

    Keith Carradine plays a single, working-class dad raising five sons. Pretty straightforward, huh? Well, need we remind you that this, too, has been Gibsonized? Keith plays Papa Barabbas, a former missionary in Peru, who has adopted five Incan boys as his own and now must go about raising them in the suburbs of Chicago, all alone. Diehard missionaries and men of God, after all, can't take a wife, which wreaks havoc on his blue-collar neighborhood after Barabbas forcefully renounces the advances of special guest star Bonnie Hunt.

    And on the homefront, despite Barabbas' background in converting South Americans to Christianity, things are both difficult and hilarious for him as he tries to get his boys to stop speaking to each other in their native Quechua dialect. His sons, however, grow more and more flustered as they struggle with urban colloquialisms such as "What's up?" and "True, dat."

    gibson_diggs.jpgKEVIN HILL
    Airing this fall on UPN

    Former up-and-coming actor Taye Diggs settles into the role of a high-powered lawyer forced to become a father figure overnight when his cousin tragically perishes, leaving him with custody of a baby girl. Mel Gibson, a noted misogynist, initially balked at the idea of adapting the films Mostly Martha and Raising Helen into a television series, until the newfound mini-mogul realized he could retain the central character's ineptitude and inherent feminine dishonesty by transposing her character traits onto a whole new sort of "other," a black male protagonist. (On-set reports indicated that the Lethal Weapon star actually had trouble distinguishing Taye from his former co-star Danny Glover, until a representative for Mr. Diggs courteously stepped in and insisted that Gibson please stop calling his lead "Danny".)

    Regardless, hilarity ensues when papa Taye, in the course of changing diapers, erroneously runs out of Pampers and has to "make do" with a copy of the Ten Commandments. God bless that baby's bottom!

    Posted at 3:45 PM in a Satirical, Shallow fashion.
      June 23, 2004
    White Chicks, feat. Lil Kim


    Posted at 7:51 AM in a Shallow fashion.
      June 22, 2004
    We hear...

    From the New York Post's Page Six, June 22, 2004: ". . . THAT Vince Vaughn, Wyclef Jean and Lauren Bush were among the well-heeled celebs who accepted a goodie bag worth $35,000 at Entertainment Weekly's "Must List" bash the other night . . ."

    That's great, because we hear. . . THAT a starting salary for Entertainment Weekly's editorial assistants is in the neighborhood of $27,000.

    Posted at 4:59 PM in a Shallow fashion.
      June 21, 2004
    All the way from Velvet Goldmine to Napoleon Dynamite

    Dynamite, get it?

    Existing screenwriters/directors to whom Napoleon Dynamite writer/director Jared Hess owes a debt:

    Alexander Payne, for his usage of the "everyday", contemporary America as a cinematic template.

    Wes Anderson, for imbuing the quirkiness of characters with a celebratory yet sentimental quality—though not going nearly as overboard as Anderson ultimately does in this regard.

    Todd Solondz, for nastily ridiculing the above notions of "the everyday" and "those who are quirky", as well as "those who are lunkheads", "jocks", or otherwise boring as all fuck; knocking them all down a peg or two, and somehow giving an anti-hero hailing from the geeky dregs of mundane life a reason for the filmgoer to actually empathize with them.

    Chris Smith (of American Movie and Home Movie fame), for successfully (and effectively) conflating such ridicule and empathy.

    Todd Haynes, for utterly nailing the ability to appropriate for appropriation's sake.

    Adam Shankman (of Bringing Down the House infamy), for relying on some really regrettable racial stereotypes. Wow...whites, blacks and latinos are different, get it? Haha!

    Posted at 12:04 PM in a Shallow fashion.
      June 18, 2004
    Airing all this weekend on the USA Network...

    Another weekend, another new crop of films to consider seeing...but how to sift through the varied options and spend your hard-earned $10.25 wisely?

    Thanks to media consolidation, however, there's a new option, one where you don't have to spend any money at all. In fact, the studios don't even have to spend anything either if they just make these movies with C-list stars for a D-List cable network. Big spending producers, read on and prepare to save your millions.

    usaremake_terminal.jpg The Terminal

    Starring Yes, Dear's Anthony Clark and Kyra Sedgwick
    usaremake_stepford.jpg The Stepford Wives

    Starring Brooke Shields
    usaremake_potter.jpg Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

    Starring Quintuplet's Ryan Pinkston, as Harry
    usaremake_dayafter.jpg The Day After Tomorrow

    Starring 7th Heaven's Jeremy London, and featuring Tony Danza as his concerned father
    chroniclesofriddickposter.jpg The Chronicles of Riddick

    Starring Charlie Sheen and pop/R&B star Brandy
    usaremake_beforesunset.jpg Before Sunset

    Starring Sean Astin and Neve Campbell as lovers reunited
    usaremake_troy.jpg Troy

    Starring Ryan Seacrest as Achilles, and Eric Bana
    Posted at 11:11 AM in a Shallow fashion.
    Pseudo Imaginary Trend, Continued: Fictional Characters Named after Writers

    Tom Hanks as Viktor Navorski.... Victor Navasky as, well, Victor Navasky

    As reported here earlier, using the names of writers for movie characters is a growing pseudo imaginary trend in Hollywood. The creeping influence of literature is probably unavoidable, since screenwriters, as a group, are such a well-read lot. (A West Coast friend of ours actually called us once from Book Soup to tell us Brett Ratner was buying the collected works of Isaac Bashevis Singer—and this was way before that writer's centennial! And, presuming the books were in Hebrew, the director even attempted to read them from back-to-front!)

    Anyway, the trend continues with the release of Steven Spielberg's The Terminal, in which pink-cheeked national treasure Tom Hanks plays a character named after pinko Nation editorial director and publisher, Victor Navasky. (This is not the first time Navasky has seen his name named on film: he's also the nomenclatural inspiration for Greg Kinnear's character in You've Got Mail.)

    Posted at 11:09 AM in a Shallow fashion.
      June 17, 2004
    Tomorrow's Corrections Today, vol. 4

    Slated to appear on the New York Times' Corrections page, June 18, 2004:

    Because of an editing error, an op-ed by Maureen Dowd in yesterday's Opinion section, "Smack That Cheney-Bot!", accidentally revealed that the Vice President is a robot. The corrected article should have merely implied this fact. The Times regrets the error.
    Posted at 1:02 PM in a Shallow fashion.
      June 16, 2004
    2004 Us cover subjects
    J.Lo llll ll
    Jennifer Aniston llll
    Reality TV "stars" llll
    Britney Spears lll
    Jessica Simpson ll
    Miscellaneous topical content lll
    Posted at 3:58 PM in a Shallow fashion.
    Here it is, in black and white

    While sports fans everywhere are abuzz with news of the Detroit Pistons's more-or-less unanticipated victory over the Los Angeles Lakers in the NBA Finals, we here at low culture readily acknowledge that the only thing we love more than sports are drugs, and, in the beloved tradition of Darryl Strawberry, preferably both at the same time.

    Lance Armstrong Barry Bonds
    vs_lance_armstrong.jpg vs_barry_bonds.jpg
    Pre-eminent cyclist...the greatest ever? Pre-eminent baseball player...the greatest ever?
    5 Tour de France titles over the past 5 years 6 MVP awards, including the past 3 years
    Highly-respected and liked by the general public; has "a good attitude" Highly-respected, though disliked by the general public; has "a bad attitude"
    Publicly battled cancer Publicly battled the death of his father from cancer
    Currently embroiled in a steroid/doping scandal that threatens his legacy Currently embroiled in a steroid/doping scandal that threatens his legacy
    The big issue, according to the Independent Online: "Emma O'Reilly, an Irish woman who worked for several years as Armstrong's "soigneur" - a combination masseur, physical therapist and personal assistant...claims Armstrong asked O'Reilly to dispose of a black bag containing used syringes after the Tour of the Netherlands in 1998...A year later, the book claims, Armstrong asked O'Reilly for makeup to conceal syringe marks on his arm at the Tour de France medical checkup, an event closely followed by reporters and photographers." The big issue, according to the San Francisco Chronicle: "Greg Anderson, Bonds' personal weight trainer and longtime friend...allegedly obtained a so-called designer steroid known as "the clear" and a testosterone-based steroid known as "the cream" from BALCO and supplied the substances to all six baseball players, the government was told. In addition, Bonds was said to have received human growth hormone, a powerful substance that legally cannot be distributed without a prescription, investigators were told."
    A possible explanation: "O'Reilly acknowledged she did not know what was in the syringes...Armstrong said he had used a skin cream for his saddle sores that contained glucocorticoid, an anti-inflammatory steroid commonly used to treat rashes." A possible explanation: "The information shared with The Chronicle did not explicitly state that the athletes had used the drugs they were said to have obtained. Bonds, who is baseball's single-season home-run king...[has] publicly denied using steroids...Last week, attorneys for Anderson and Conte quoted their clients as saying Bonds had never used illegal drugs."
    Fan and media response? Supportive of Armstrong, and incredulous towards accusers. Fan and media response? Suspicious of Bonds, and wary of his exploits.
    Caucasian, but that has nothing to do with it, right? African-American, but that has nothing to do with it, right?
    Posted at 12:39 PM in a Shallow, Versus fashion.
      June 15, 2004
    "My Life" by Bill Clinton: Exclusive Extract!!!

    mylife_clintoncover.jpgFinally, the real story! What follows is an exclusive, embargo-shattering leaked excerpt from our 42nd president's memoirs, including, hopefully, the inside dirt on everything you ever wanted to know about the Clinton presidency but were afraid to ask Ken Starr!!!!

    From Chapter XXVII: "1995: A Hope for European Renewal":

    In the wake of Finland's accession to the European Union in 1995, I recall spending an entire afternoon with President Martti Ahtisaari, sitting there for hours on end in the White House's State Room. There were the usual interruptions, of course, as Betty would scurry in and out of the chamber with information on the progress of our normalization efforts with Vietnam, but for the most part, we were left undisturbed.

    President Ahtisaari spoke with me at great length about the way in which his Social Democratic Party hoped to push forth progressive goals for not just the nation of Finland, with its population of roughly 5 million people, but the entire Baltic region. The son of a Norwegian, Martti had been raised with a great appreciation for cold weather, and despite my upbringing in the hot, rural south, we bonded that afternoon over some of his nation's exquisite gl�gi, which is an exceptional mulled red wine.

    It was served hot, and had been mixed with the most savory, delicious spices I had had the opportunity to sample. Martti explained that it was the Scandinavian version of vin chaud, which lead me to recall my experiences in the mid-1970s visiting southern France with Hillary. But the primary distinction between the gl�gi we sampled that afternoon, and the vin chaud I had consumed in my travels with Hillary during her leave from Yale so many years prior, was the noteworthy addition of cinnamon and other herbs to the well-heated fluid. Bear in mind, this was wine that was heated, but never boiled; the Finns have truly mastered the manner in which one approaches a wine's boiling point without transgressing that fine line.

    The gl�gi, I fondly recall, was served with White House Chef Walter Scheib's delicious assortment of raisins and almonds, a delightful sample of American fruits and nuts which had been culled from states as diverse as California and my very own Arkansas. I explained in great detail to Martti the pan-global nature of our magnificent snacking experience, and he nodded, and said that this very meal could serve as a symbol of American-Finnish relations for years to come.

    Posted at 10:02 AM in a Satirical, Shallow fashion.
      June 14, 2004
    The Strange Time of our Times

    Dubious claims made in Sunday's New York Times Magazine:

    Lest you jump to the conclusion that they attend a finishing-school where ladylike deportmant is instilled along with a wobbly grasp of the 3 R's, both girls are ninth graders at Brearley, a Manhattan girls' school that prides itself on its high academic standards and is renowned for producing independent-minded young women...
    The Machines Men Still Want? by Daphne Merkin

    Q: You're the daughter of the novelist Alice Walker. Why did you decide to take her name instead of your father's, who is a lawyer?
    A: It's not that important for me right now. Can we talk about something else?
    Questions for Rebecca Walker by Deborah Solomon

    "Andrea's work has been about exposing the mechanism of the whole art system," explained Dan Cameron, senior curator at the New Museum... "It underscores the paradox of ownership and pushes it into a realm that hasn't been so pointed before."
    Sex, Art and Videotape by Guy Trebay

    Now he's releasing his first solo album, "The Slow Wonder," under the name A.C. Newman - his initials "sound more rock, like AC/DC," he explains - having received a grant from a Canadian foundation to record it.
    Page Turner by Chris Norris

    Carl Nelkin, a 43-year-old Dublin-born Jewish aviation-law consultant, has been trying to improve the situation by "marketing Ireland as a destination for Jewish people to move to."
    The Fading World of Leopold Bloom by Jonathan Wilson

    "Golf is the new rock 'n' roll," says Tim Southwell, editor of a new magazine called Golf Punk.
    Dressed to the 9-Irons by Horacio Silva

    Posted at 8:58 AM in a Shallow fashion.
      June 11, 2004
    Hit over the head(line)

    chroniclesofriddickposter.jpgWe couldn't get 'rid' of the nagging suspicion that there was a film opening this weekend that we were 'racing' to see, until it hit us at perfect 'pitch': The Chronicles of Riddick is in theaters today! Since it's almost the weekend, headline writers from the AP to USA Today have, apparently, taken the day off, leaving us scratching our, well, 'heads'.

    As such, here's a quickie instamatic guide to the headlines of the film's various reviews.

    1. Use puns which reference the lead actor's surname, which just happens to be a specific form of fuel. Bear in mind that many engines run on fuel, and incorporate this secondary idea as well:

    Diesel fuels sci-fi action
    Diesel fuels futuristic farce
    Diesel-fueled 'Riddick' chokes on its exhausting action
    'Chronicles' benefits from Diesel power
    Vin Diesel, driving on a tankful of cool
    In the driver's seat

    2. Engage in wordplay with the lead character's name:

    Riddick Riddled With Silliness
    "Riddick" riddled with sci-fi mumbo jumbo

    3. Pare your entire review down to one declarative sentence for your headline:

    'Riddick' delivers sci-fi fun
    �Chronicles' will leave you muddled and in the dark
    'Riddick' is a computerized mess
    The script is terrible but the set looks neat
    This sci-fi sequel fades from 'Black'

    4. Go the laziest route possible:

    Review: 'Riddick' big, boomy, bad

    5. Or, finally, write for the New York Times and dazzle us with your mystically opaque headline, existing somewhere between Judith Butler and Carl Sagan:

    Signs of Testosterone Are All Over the Universe

    Posted at 12:27 PM in a Shallow fashion.
      June 10, 2004
    I don't like Pepsi, either

    Britney Spears, from her upcoming Outrageous video, via Stereogum, and borrowing a look or two from...

    Shakira, from her Rolling Stone cover appearance

    Posted at 3:11 PM in a Shallow, Versus fashion.
    Twentieth Century Fox, meet award-winning director Chris Cunningham

    From L to R: Chris Cunningham's 1998 music video for Bjork's "All is Full of Love," and Alex Proyas' 2004 full-length I, Robot.

    Posted at 12:18 PM in a Shallow, Versus fashion.
      June 9, 2004
    If found, please alert P.T. Anderson

    Have You C.'n This Man?

    Posted at 4:58 PM in a Shallow fashion.
    Girls Gone Anti-Bush!!!!

    g8_girl_protests.jpgFollowing up on our earlier post that asked, "What is the deal with photographers only shooting pretty girls at protests and rallies?", here are the latest images from the G8 rallies.

    Available here: one and two.

    Posted at 12:11 PM in a Shallow fashion.
    The Rich (and the Fantanas) Are Different From You and Me


    Are you confused by the seemingly endless onslaught of boldface names? Who are all these Binky's, Basso's and Baron's, and how do they keep busy when not being photographed at the kind of lavish society galas you could only dream of attending? Fret no more, social upstart, our friends at New York Social Diary have premiered a new feature that promises to answer all these questions and more, The NYSD List. Not to be confused with the Quest 400, David Patrick Columbia'a other New York social circuit resource, "The NYSD List" is generous enough to provide brief bios of these beautiful and/or rich people.

    Try to figure out if the insipid copy below is a high-society profile from the "List" or if it's actually from the brief bios provided for the (fictional) Fantanas, those saucy spokegirls from the Fanta campaign. Answers below.

    A. [A's] parents made her study ballet from the age of three. She has appeared in countless versions of the Nutcracker Suite�Although she still loves ballet, her heart is really into modern dance�

    B. [B,] who is tall, blonde and royal looking, often visits New York where she is at present preparing for the publication of her book, The Serpent and the Moon

    C. She loves a good time too, (natch) and is the possessor of that irresistable smoky-voiced laughter that can get anyone talking�

    D. If there's such a thing a femme fatale, or even if there's not, the closest thing to it is the beautiful [D]�

    E. Her passion for life is infectious. She is upbeat, sunny and a little daring - it's no wonder that people want to be around her.

    F. [F. has] lots of friends and like a lot of the Brits she mixes �em up with lots of Euros thrown in...party boys and girls, slackers, yakkers, and of course, the aristos�

    G. [G] is always amused that the [man/woman] in [her/his] life is named after a vegetable.
    Hint: It's not Claus von B�low.

    Answer Key
    A. Sophia (Fantana who loves Grape!)
    B. Princess Michael of Kent (NYSD)
    C. Nina Griscom (NYSD)
    D. Nina Griscom (NYSD)
    E. Kiki (Fantana who loves Orange!)
    F. Euan Rellie and Lucy Sykes (NYSD)
    G. Boykin Curry and Celerie Kemble (NYSD)

    Posted at 9:21 AM in a Shallow fashion.
      June 8, 2004
    Because Bowfinger was such a biting satire of Hollywood...


    Paramount, the studio that cruelly brought us Tomb Raider 2 and The Italian Job, has released yet another teaser trailer for their ill-advised remake of The Stepford Wives, only this one has apparently rubbed a handful of prudes the wrong way. Or rather, one particular woman, which in turn lead to a report on this mini-phenomenon by her local television station, which lead to this post, which lead to your being reminded that a film entitled The Stepford Wives is being released soon, hey, this weekend in fact, and hey, maybe I'll go see that, huh? Hmm, unless I'm going out with my neighbor. I really ought to check my Blackberry.

    Anyway, here's hoping the studio's P.R. executives are thanking the uninspired marketers who, in this latest teaser, decided to convey the nightmarish prospect of a nation of "Stepford Wives" by including a brief shot depicting President Bush's National Security Advisor Condoleeza Rice as a Grace Jones-esque topless model and Senator and former First Lady Hillary Clinton as an everyday homemaker (which really isn't that far removed from Laura Bush, though, right?).

    "It's just inappropriate, and it needs to be stopped," said the Kansas City woman who brought up the initial complaint. And in hopes of gauging the reaction of a wider audience than just this one woman, the news report mentioned above solicited additional quotes on the matter, like any good entertainment reporter working for a local news outlet should be doing.

    Pat Gray, who works with Northstar Marketing Group, said the ad shows bad taste toward Rice and Clinton.

    "In today's media environment, I don't know whether it's unacceptable morally or not -- distasteful, for sure," Gray said. "If I were them, I'd probably sue."

    Gray also said the ad wouldn't drive him to the theater.

    "That certainly wouldn't stimulate me to go see the movie," he said.

    OK, fair enough. But, realistically, people are reacting negatively to the wrong shot in this wannabe-notorious trailer. In fact, it's the very last shot, which we excerpted below, that really should be serving as discouragement:


    (Thanks to Rory MacDonald.)

    Posted at 3:57 PM in a Shallow fashion.
    Entertainment (So Last) Weekly

    Entertainment Weekly, in its continuing commitment to bring you news you've already read elsewhere, outdoes itself in this week's "Secrets of Harry Potter" spectacular. To get an idea of just how warmed-over this shit gets, let's flip through EW's front of book together:

    First up we've got EW's interview with Dick Wolf, "Making the Brand" by Allison Hope Weiner:

    Q: If cast members on your show had banded together for raises, like on Friends or The West Wing, what would you have done?

    We won't even trouble you with the A as you probably know what Wolf has to say already. That's because his answer appeared in the March 4, 2002 New Yorker, "TV on the Cheap" by James Surowiecki, and even then it was old news:

    Six years ago, the cast members of the sitcom "Friends" threatened to walk out unless NBC agreed to renegotiate their contracts. Each of them was earning forty thousand dollars per episode, and they were now demanding six-figure deals. When Dick Wolf, the executive producer and creator of "Law & Order," heard the news, he called Warren Littlefield, then the president of NBC Entertainment, and told him that he should start firing the young stars, one by one. "I guarantee you that Warren would not have had to get rid of more than two of them before they caved," Wolf said recently.

    Or how about "The Sopranos Pop Quiz" in which EW's Alynda Wheat wonders if The Sopranos' Little Carmine is meant to parody George W.'s various malapropisms.

    �with his Texas-size belt buckles and curious turns of phrase, [he] bears more than a passing resemblance to a certain Commander-in-Chief. Can you tell the difference between George W. Bush's presidential parlance and that of the Mob malapropster?


    B. "Of course no one wants all-out conflict, but historically, historic changes have come out of war."


    E. "The fundamental question is, Will I be as effective as a boss like my dad was?�Until I am, it's gonna be hard to verify that I think I'll be more effective."

    But then what of weblog The Bonassus which took note of the very same (and not quite self-evident) parallel over a month ago?

    Is Little Carmine George Bush?
    I noticed this exchange on last night's (brilliant) episode of the Sopranos:

    Little Carmine: The point I'm trying to illustrate is that of course no one wants all-out conflict, but, historically, historical changes have come out of war.
    Carmine's Advisor: As far as I'm concerned it's a new day. All old treaties and ways of doing things are null and void.
    Little Carmine: Exactly.
    Angelo Garepe: And the Joe Peeps thing: where does that leave us?
    Carmine's Advisor: When you've had a quadruple bypass like I did, it gives you a lot of time to think. The only thing Johnny understands is force.
    Angelo G: But the fact is, we've pissed on a bee's nest.
    Unknown Character: So what's the other option: roll over?
    Angelo G: We could've had a sit-down...the other captains maybe.
    Little Carmine: This isn't the UN, Angelo. I won't let what happened to my father happen to me.
    Carmine's Advisor: God forgive me, but you may be a stronger man than your dad was.
    Little Carmine: The fundamental question is, will I be as effective as a boss like my dad was, and I will be. Even more so. But until I am, it's gonna be hard to verify that I think I'll be more effective.

    The tortured syntax. The stupidity. The belief that the father's successes were in fact failures. The eminence grise with heart trouble and a belief that multilateral institutions are for the weak. I'm telling you, man, it's George Bush, man.

    And it continues. There's EW's piece/graph about Kate Hudson's falling fortunes that appeared nearly verbatim in USA Today's Life section on May 25. And there's "Weather, or Not" EW's hard-hitting two-column-inches look at the reality of The Day After Tomorrow's portrayal of climate change - we could likely provide several hundred pieces "investigating" the same issue.

    While imitation may be the sincerest form of etc., when it's EW doing the "imitating," it just feels dirty.

    Posted at 8:37 AM in a Shallow fashion.
      June 7, 2004
    A personal remembrance from Ronald Reagan's costar, Bonzo


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    RELATED: Other monkeys' thoughts.

    Posted at 10:44 AM in a Shallow fashion.
      June 3, 2004
    Y Tu Muggle, Tambien



    Posted at 1:14 PM in a Shallow fashion.
      June 2, 2004
    Worst Blog-Related Headline Ever

    "Sex-driven society won't let sleeping blogs lie"

    Posted at 10:16 AM in a Shallow fashion.
      June 1, 2004
    Next time, consider whipping Mandy Moore for two-plus hours

    How not to mobilize your base during an introductory roll-out:

    Weekend box office, May 28-30, 2004:

    $345,000 (studio estimate)
    20 screens

    Weekend box office, February 27-29, 2004:

    The Passion of the Christ
    3,043 screens

    Posted at 11:27 AM in a Shallow fashion.
      May 27, 2004
    Jake Gyllenhaal's So Hot, He Melted the Ice Caps!

    From US Weekly's review of The Day After Tomorrow, appearing in the June 7, 2004 issue:

    "Global warming has never looked so cool!"

    Posted at 3:44 PM in a Shallow fashion.
    Former low culture executive editor Matt Haber sent this e-mail to Santa Monica Daily Press gardening columnist Stu Moran with a copy to Poynter

    Dear Mr. Moran,

    Since the Editors' Note in low culture yesterday cited stories published while I was executive editor, I understand your interest in my thoughts on the subject. First and foremost, I agree with the editors' statement that the stories were published in a reasonable effort to share with our readers the best knowledge that we had at the time. We relied in that period on a group of music and style reporters who worked tirelessly to keep up with developments in the search for Julian Casablancas' fianc�e. It is inevitable that blog entries of this kind -- usually based on information from interested parties in the Lower East Side and elsewhere -- are incomplete and in some cases reflect the agenda of the sources. Follow-up, as the editors' note correctly observed, is always in order.

    Personally, I do not agree with the contention in the editors' note that problems in the Julian Casablancas engagement stories came about because some editors felt pressured to get scoops into the website before the necessary checking had taken place. I cannot read the minds of others in this regard. My feeling is that no editor did this kind of reckless rushing while I was present. Any of the 30 or so people who sat in our site meetings during the run-up to the Casablancas proposal and the first phase of his new relationship can attest to the seriousness with which everyone took this story. As for my part, I can tell you positively that in 25 years at low culture and in 21 months as executive editor, I never put anything into the site before I thought it was ready.

    Somewhat to my surprise, I was not contacted by anyone at low culture prior to yesterday's commentary. Had I been I would have repeated my concern that editors' notes do not give readers the facts, analysis and context they need about disputed stories. I found this editors' note as vague and incomplete as some that have preceded it.

    I believe low culture remains an indispensable Web site because of the values it stands for. I continue to believe that the site also needs to be sharper competitively. The performance of Gawker and Lindsayism on the Casablancas stories shows that this need continues, and I was heartened to see the comment in a letter to the staff from Mr. Cimbalo and Mr. Tremblay about the continuing need for hard reporting and for setting the record straight.

    All best regards,
    Matt Haber

    P.S. How can I keep squirrels from digging up my bulbs? Do I need to put jars over them, or what? (The squirrels, I mean.)

    Posted at 12:19 PM in a Shallow fashion.
      May 26, 2004
    From the Editors: low culture and The Strokes

    Over the past several months this website has shone the bright light of hindsight on decisions that led Julian into Juliet. We have examined the failings of gossip and music industry intelligence, especially on the issue of the Strokes' aural charms and possible connections to international women. We have studied the allegations of official gullibility and hype. It is past time we turned the same light on ourselves.

    In doing so -- reviewing hundreds of posts, or rather, one, written during the prelude to Julian's engagement and into the early stages of the co-occupation of an apartment -- we found an enormous amount of journalism that we are proud of. In most cases, what we reported was an accurate reflection of the state of our knowledge at the time, much of it painstakingly extracted from gossip sources that were themselves dependent on sketchy information. And where those posts (or, well, that one post) included incomplete information or pointed in a wrong direction, they were later overtaken by more and stronger information. That is how news coverage normally unfolds.

    But we have found a number of instances of coverage that was not as rigorous as it should have been. In some cases, information that was controversial then, and seems questionable now, was insufficiently qualified or allowed to stand unchallenged. Looking back, we wish we had been more aggressive in re-examining the claims as new evidence emerged -- or failed to emerge.

    Some critics of our coverage during that time have focused blame on individual reporters. Our examination, however, indicates that the problem was more complicated. Editors at several levels who should have been challenging reporters and pressing for more skepticism were perhaps too intent on rushing scoops onto the website. Accounts of other suitors were not always weighed against our strong desire to have Julian taken off the singles' market. Articles based on dire claims about the Strokes tended to get prominent display, while follow-up articles that called the original ones into question were sometimes buried. In some cases, there was no follow-up at all.

    We consider the story of Julian's engagement, and of the pattern of misinformation, to be unfinished business. And we fully intend to continue aggressive reporting aimed at setting the record straight.

    On an unrelated note, Judith Miller has been fired from her position as low culture's Satire-but-Not-Credited-as-Such reporter.

    Posted at 11:07 AM in a Satirical, Shallow fashion.
    In Movie News

    Highly anticipated disaster flick The Day After Tomorrow opens the day after tomorrow.

    On Friday, the day after tomorrow, when The Day After Tomorrow opens, the day after tomorrow will be Sunday.

    Posted at 9:31 AM in a Shallow fashion.
      May 25, 2004
    Hanoi Madge

    Madonna ReInvention Tour (left) and Jane Fonda Aerobics (right)

    Madonna ReInvention Tour (left) and Jane Fonda Aerobics (right)

    Both come complete with anti-war rhetoric and thigh-toning exercise!

    Posted at 8:08 AM in a Shallow fashion.
      May 24, 2004
    Food Fight

    dietdrive.jpgYour Diet Is Driving Me Crazy, by the unfortunately named Cynthia Sass, hits retailers this week; the book is designed to help couples and families cope with the trauma of having a dieter in their midst. And so it has finally arrived - the meta-self-helper - a title intended to solve the problems that arise when someone else has chosen to solve their own problems. But Your Diet shouldn't come as much surprise - in our endlessly bootstrapping culture, it's more shocking that noone has thought of the meta-self-helper before.

    Imagine the endless opportunities to piggyback on the endless procession of self-help literature: (I Don't Want to) Go to South Beach, or, Why Should I Care About the Color of Your Parachute?, or, for the kids, Why Doesn't Daddy Sweat the Small Stuff?. And let's not forget the chance for talk show topics like "Dr. Phil Is Ruining Our Marriage," "How Could You Possibly Watch LoveLine?" or, "If Men Are from Mars and Women from Venus, Then Where Do I Belong?"

    Yes, Your Diet has ushered in a brave new era for dubiously-licensed and syntactically-challenged physicians everywhere. It's only a matter of time before societal ills, unhappy marriages, unsightly fatties and the concerns about those concerns, are a thing of the past.

    Posted at 3:13 PM in a Shallow fashion.
    Nice cover, but this one is more tweaked


    Left to right, "Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim" by David Sedaris, and "White Guys: Studies in Postmodern Domination and Difference" by Fred Pfeil.

    Make of that what you will.

    Posted at 10:26 AM in a Shallow fashion.
      May 20, 2004
    Carlos D. is ripped!


    Posted at 11:11 AM in a Shallow fashion.
      May 19, 2004
    But, realistically, Michael Moore would, no, could have never made this film


    From a sampling of reviews for Morgan Spurlock's "Super Size Me":

    Portland Oregonian, Karen Karbo:

    In the tradition of the contemporary muckraking documentary -- of which director Michael Moore is the most recent accomplished practitioner -- "Super Size Me" entertains serious sociological and political questions.

    Boston Globe, Ty Burr:

    Morgan Spurlock's outrageously amusing "Super Size Me" is the redheaded stepchild of Michael Moore and "Jackass," a low-budget nonfiction stunt with a sharp point of view, a sheaf of alarming statistics, and the willingness to entertain us until we cry uncle. Like "Bowling for Columbine," it's less a documentary than a provocumentary, and, like Moore, Spurlock is a born showman.

    Chicago Tribune, Mark Caro:

    Spurlock is a lanky thirtysomething Manhattanite taking a Michael Moore-type approach to a subject previously surveyed in Eric Schlosser's non-fiction bestseller "Fast Food Nation."

    USA Today, Claudia Puig:

    Riveting and darkly comic Super Size Me is a whip-smart documentary in the tradition of Michael Moore's Roger & Me.

    Dallas Observer, Robert Wilonsky:

    The movie was a big hit at Sundance and beyond; it's turned Spurlock, an aspiring filmmaker and graphic designer, into Michael Moore, an agit-prop star proselytizing about the greed of a company that doesn't care about the content or impact of its unhealthy and potentially deadly product. Like Moore, he tries repeatedly to talk to someone at McDonald's corporate headquarters about the nutritional value of its food, and of the results a monthlong diet has taken on his body. But he's given the brush-off in a game of never-ending phone tag, and it feels like a page lifted from the Moore playbook of how to make a company look decidedly evil.

    The Onion (A.V. Club), Nathan Rabin:

    An irresistible combination of muckraking activism and populist entertainment, Super Size Me takes a page out of the Michael Moore playbook by using a David-vs.-Goliath-style personal quest as a starting point for an irreverent and impassioned critique of a pressing social issue.

    Village Voice, Dennis Lim:

    Indeed, Spurlock, whose affable-doofus persona is somewhere between Johnny Knoxville and Michael Moore, was responsible for MTV's cash-for-stunts series I Bet You Will, and is preparing an SSM-modeled show called 30 Days.

    Washington Post, Michael O'Sullivan:

    A gonzo documentary in the Michael Moore mold -- but without Moore's grating presence -- "Super Size Me" is an anti-junk-food screed that manages to entertain even as it informs and alarms.

    New York Times, A.O. Scott:

    Mr. Spurlock, originally from West Virginia, works in the good-natured, regular-guy populist style of documentary rabble-rousing pioneered by Michael Moore. He is a bit less confrontational than Mr. Moore (as well as thinner), but he similarly relishes letting polite, well-scrubbed corporate flacks entangle themselves in bureaucratic doublespeak.

    Posted at 11:17 AM in a Shallow fashion.
    No, write your own column

    "Write your own Thomas Friedman column!"
    Michael Kubin, The New York Observer, May 19, 2004

    Michael Ward, McSweeney's, April 28, 2004

    Posted at 10:10 AM in a Shallow fashion.
    Pal Joey

    joey1.jpgJoey, NBC's answer to the scheduling hole left by "Friends," was screened at the network upfronts on Monday, and low culture was there. We've provided a brief synopsis below, and we're certain you'll agree - "Joey" is a hit.

    Cold Open
    We find Joey moving into his new apartment complex - think "Melrose Place." While Joey should be directing the movers, he's too busy ogling his hot neighbors. By the time Joey gets into his new place, he discovers that the movers have placed everything upside down - even the TV!

    Act One
    Joey auditions for various agents but doesn't find any success. When his brainy cousin Michael (Paulo Costanzo) suggests Joey Tribbiani might sound "too Italian," Joey considers changing his name to Joey French.

    Joey insists that his sister Gina (Drea de Matteo) not show off her large breasts. When Gina asks why it's OK for her friend (Ashley Scott) to wear the same top, Joey explains that when her friend wears the top "It's sexy," but when Gina wears the top, "it's just, ewwww."

    Joey finally lands a big audition with the "big-time director Frank Draco," for a big action movie. But when Gina's son loses the script, all hell breaks loose.

    Act Two
    It's an hour before the big audition and Joey still can't find his script. And when he goes to enjoy the meatball sub that Gina made, he discovers his cousin Michael has eaten it. "I can't audition on an empty stomach," Joey laments, "that would be like doing� anything on an empty stomach."

    Joey, still without his script, tries to ad-lib for "big-time director Frank Draco" - but the audition descends into a monologue about meatball subs. Needless to say, it doesn't go very well. As Joey leaves the audition, "big-time director Frank Draco" asks his assistant to get him a meatball sub.

    Joey returns to his sister's apartment in poor spirits, and not even Gina's bosomly friends can cheer him up. When his nephew (who lost the script) returns home from school, Joey begins to violently beat him. Gina, infuriated, throws Joey out.

    Act Three
    Joey sits in his apartment, dismayed. Turning on the TV to cheer himself up, Joey discovers that it's still upside down. He watches the TV anyway, craning his head around to figure out what's on.

    When Gina won't return Joey's calls, he decides to go out on the town to cheer himself up. At a flash Hollywood bar, Joey meets a woman he recognizes from "adult films." Joey is reduced to Jerry Lewis-like inanities, but she takes a liking to him anyway.

    Joey returns to the adult actress' Canoga Park track housing, where she turns him onto crystal meth. "Whoa," he opines, "for the first time in my life, I don't want to eat!"

    Joey quickly descends into a haze of meth addiction - his sister and cousin want nothing to do with him. It isn't long before Joey begins sucking dick for cash. "Just pretend it's a meatball sub," he tells himself, before descending on the crotch of a particularly unsavory man.

    Credit Roll
    Joey is hustling on Melrose with the transvestites and rent-boys when a limo pulls to the curb. The rear window rolls down to reveal - "big-time director Frank Draco!" Spotting Joey, Draco yells, "Hey meatball sub, you into the rough trade?" Joey has no idea what Draco's talking about - "Is that like trading baseball cards?" Draco laughs and waves him into the limo.

    Posted at 9:09 AM in a Satirical, Shallow fashion.
      May 18, 2004
    "Cannes-Do" Marketing


    In preparation for the film's July release date, Paramount has begun to reveal its marketing materials for Jonathan Demme's upcoming "The Manchurian Candidate", which is, of course, an oh-so-necessary remake of the John Frankenheimer-directed Cold War original.

    Their campaign includes the release of teaser ads for the film appearing at the currently-in-progress 2004 Cannes Film Festival, as shown here and re-created above.

    Advertising for a summer blockbuster at the Cannes Film Festival, alongside what was once ostensibly a gathering for artsy films...something seemed very "off" about this particular marketing ploy, until we stumbled upon the solution, below.


    Posted at 4:20 PM in a Shallow fashion.
    Idol hands, frenetic fingers


    This week's issue of Broadcasting & Cable breaks a scandal that most assuredly affects America's core values of fairness, equality, and democracy. (NB: if that lead sentence had been published in the entertainment section of some mid-level newspaper reaching a metropolitan audience of about 50,000 people, you might have seen a greater effort to unimaginatively give the impression that this "scandal" is in some way connected to recent events in the Abu Ghraib prison, but alas, you've instead been subjected to this awful, self-reflexive introduction. Sorry.)

    Deborah Starr Seibel's "American Idol Outrage: Your Vote Doesn't Count" offers a fair share of anecdotal evidence that, contrary to the seemingly democratic voting process promoted by the producers of the beloved show, millions of fans' votes are disappearing into the ether. And speaking of vacuousness, the article, subtitled "An in-depth look at America's most popular show reveals a seriously flawed voting system," might have better read, "An in-depth look at America's most popular show reveals a seriously flawed America."

    How else to explain some of the quotes and actions attributed to one Dee Law?

    But as the show speeds toward its May 26 conclusion with three songbirds left, the 40-year-old Pennsylvania homemaker couldn't care less about the outcome. A Clay Aiken fan, she lost faith in the process after making a shocking discovery last year: No matter how often she tried, she couldn't place her vote.

    Law says she tried to dial "five or six hundred times" on the final night of competition but hasn't tried since. "I'm not gonna get suckered into voting again," she says. "Why should we sit here and waste two hours of our time when our votes aren't going to be counted?"


    Anyway, putting aside a range of misanthropic feelings for the moment, we at low culture would like to take this moment to actually assist (yes, help) those poor sad-sack losers who have chosen to devote two nights of their week to feverishly clutching their handset while shrieking inconsolably as Diana Degarmo erupts into so-called "song".

    Below, we've coordinated (all in one place, and sorted by manufacturer or service provider) a series of links to speed-dialing instructions at various telephone manufacturers' websites, such that hardcore Jasmine Trias devotees (or fans of Fantasia Barrino, or Diana Degarmo, or Crystal MacAzure, or Jacinta DuPres, or who-the-fuck-ever) can learn to get more votes in during those precious two hours.

    Cavalier Telephone
    Meridian Digital
    SBC Communications

    Oh, fuck it. However immoral this may be:

    Cool Ways to Kill Yourself

    Posted at 1:01 PM in a Shallow fashion.
      May 17, 2004
    Unfortunate Irony Alert

    From Reuters, "Shrek Finds More Beauty in Being Ugly in 'Shrek 2'":

    "Shrek 2" zeros in on a cultural obsession with image, and there's no better place to do that than in Hollywood.

    From The Sun, "Diaz Sends for Zit Squad":

    Beauty Cameron Diaz sent an SOS after bursting out in zits before the Cannes premiere of Shrek 2.

    Posted at 5:01 PM in a Shallow fashion.
    Re-Doubled Trouble

    In our typically paranoid and narcissistic state, we couldn't help but notice that a May 14 "Entertainment Weekly" piece detailing New York Minute's various �appropriations' bore a striking resemblance to our own New York Minute piece from a month earlier. Of course our take on the Olsens' film did lack that trademark EW snark, but still, Amy Feitelberg's piece echoes low culture's a bit too close for comfort.

    Decide for yourself. From EW:

    Why ''New York Minute'' audiences are doing a double take - The Olsen girls' movie pays homage to movies past - a lot.
    by Amy Feitelberg

    Is this deja vu, or do the Olsen twins have us seeing double? Their new New York Minute is littered with scenes from cinema past. ''I stuffed it full of every fun reference I could imagine,'' says director Dennie Gordon. ''Because when parents take their kids to see a movie, they still want to have as much of a giggle as the kids do.'' Let the laugh riot begin.

    There's Something About Mary
    In Minute, there's something about a microchip-swallowing mutt going out a window.

    The First Wives Club
    Middle-aged women plunging down the side of a building? How 'bout minors in towels!

    The Matrix
    One of the twins (who knows which?) kicks butt Matrix-style. How does she know how to fight in slo-mo?

    Legally Blonde
    Beauty salons just make you wanna dance. The girls do their own take on the ''bend-and-snap.''

    One of the twins (don't ask us which) calms the other with a Cher-like slap and a ''Snap out of it!''

    Ferris Bueller's Day Off
    A habitual hooky player on the lam? Can anyone say ''Bueller?'' ''Bueller?'' ''Bueller?''

    Now read our original piece - it describes the film's allusions to Ferris Bueller, Moonstruck, The First Wives Club and There's Something About Mary. We missed The Matrix (it wasn't in the trailer) and described the Legally Blonde scene as a Beauty Shop ripoff.

    Perhaps Ms. Feitelberg was paying homage to our homage to New York Minute's homages. Or maybe she's just a lousy plagiarist (who should really choose to copy better material).

    Posted at 9:00 AM in a Shallow fashion.
      May 13, 2004
    Introducing: the low culture Subtext Finder

    We live in a world full of sneaky journalists and duplicitous editors who hide the subtexts just below the, um... well, the text. How is a reader supposed to understand what an article is actually about if everything is all coded and coy?

    That's where The low culture Subtext Finder comes in! Using our patented formula, we unearth a given article's subtext and bring it to you, the reader. Today's sample: A Mobile Link for 90 Mutual Friends from The New York Times' Circuits section. Using our formula, this article would be renamed Cool New Tool to Get You Laid. Now, read the new article with the subtext in the text (and in bold):

    Gone are the nights when Brian Battjer left barhopping in New York to chance.

    He took control of his social fate when he signed up for Dodgeball.com, a free social-networking service that is becoming popular with young singles. The site uses cellphone text-messaging to wirelessly connect thousands of friends, and friends of friends, to get laid.

    Just hours after he subscribed, Mr. Battjer, 27, received his first Dodgeball message: Alyssa, a friend of his friend Greg, it read, was at Luna Lounge, only two blocks away. Mr. Battjer had never met Alyssa, but inspired by the thumbnail-size picture sent with the message, he decided to find her and get laid.


    "Dodgeball has changed the social fabric of everything," he said. "The technology augments [getting laid] in a way that has never been done before."


    Based on the mutual-friends model popularized by Web sites like Friendster, Dodgeball helps users meet up with their friends or new acquaintances - but while they're out on the town instead of sitting in front of their computers, where it's harder to get laid.


    "It's like a shortcut," said Alexander Clemens, 36, a political consultant and Dodgeball user in San Francisco. "All it takes is one quick note to tell my friends where the party's at so we can all get laid."

    Clay Shirky, an adjunct professor of communications at N.Y.U., predicts that with a little time and fine tuning, software that "caters to users' geography rather than their affinities" will [help you get laid] with the same force Friendster did two years ago.

    "It has already been successful [getting people laid]," Mr. Shirky said. "But eventually, Dennis and Alex are going to figure out uses and applications they hadn't even thought of before."

    Like, um, totally getting your ass laid!

    Related: This article is like a Gothamist Interview Reunion: Brian Battjer, Dennis Crowley, Clay Shirky. Someone needs to cut Andrew Krucoff a check.

    Posted at 12:18 PM in a Shallow fashion.
      May 12, 2004
    Candy Flipping

    Either Dany Levy's minions are easily fascinated or they should think about changing their meds. Daily Candy, Levy's digest of overpriced baubles and prime evidence of why Americans deserve to be hated, has charted endless novelty items over its three years of existence, but few of them seem deserving of the intense interest with which Candy invests them. Indeed, available evidence would suggest that Candy's writers suffer from OCD with a side-order of ADD. A sampling of their various �obsessions':

    Failed Half-Hour The Oblongs
    Suffice it to say, we're obsessed.
    The Oblongs

    Golly, you'd think we were obsessed.
    Oh, Fudge!

    Tee Shirts
    We know, we're obsessed.
    Sweet Tees

    Continue reading...
    Posted at 9:03 AM in a Shallow fashion.
      May 11, 2004
    Oral Report

    teenager.jpgThe Guardian reports that encouraging teenagers to engage in oral sex could prove the most effective means of curbing teen pregnancy. Not only does low culture applaud such bold initiatives, but we would like to provide a few of our own. Teenagers need never be "troubled" again.

    First the problem, then the solution:

    Gang Violence - Encourage your teen to become a sulky loner
    Bulimia - Encourage your teen to develop other insecurities. Acne, lack of popularity, and athletic inability are all excellent alternatives.
    Secret Cutting - While secret cutting affects untold numbers of teens, public cutting never hurt anyone. Even successful, well-adjusted rock stars like Iggy Pop, Britney Spears and Richey Manic are doing it.
    Huffing Glue - Move out of the trailer park.
    Underage Drinking - Although alcohol is an omnipresent danger for teens, Ecstasy users typically drink water instead of liquor. Try to give your teen a roll before he goes out for the night.
    Oral Sex - If your teen is engaging in oral sex to avoid pregnancy, encourage him or her to experiment with anal sex.
    Anal Sex - Do you suspect that your teen is having anal sex to avoid having oral sex to avoid getting pregnant? Try turning your teen onto pregnancy-safe alternatives such as foot fetishism, bdsm or homosexuality.
    Social Difficulties - Does your teen have trouble fitting in at school? Teach him or her to give a really good hummer. Everyone loves a slut.

    Posted at 8:21 AM in a Shallow fashion.
    As Lots of Time Goes By

    From the Associated Press, May 8, 2004:

    In homage to the movie Casablanca, a former U.S. diplomat has opened a Rick's Cafe in this bustling port city�"Because there has never been a Rick's Cafe here, I could be reasonably assured that it would succeed," she said. "It was already an institution, and it never even existed. It's not often you get a chance to turn myth into reality."

    Is it possible that no one thought to open a Rick's Caf� in Casablanca before? Now if only we could do something with that Lawrence of Arabia movie.

    Posted at 12:15 AM in a Shallow fashion.
      May 7, 2004
    With Friends like these...


    low culture exclusive: must credit low culture (or not):

    On Thursday, May 6, 2004, while fifty million Americans tuned in to see the end of Friends on NBC, what were Chris Rock and Jerry Seinfeld doing? Eating hotdogs and watching the Mets battle Barry Bonds and the San Francisco Giants from behind the visitors' dugout at Shea Stadium.

    Finally, an explanation for that whole sitcom-star subplot of Larry David's "Sour Grapes".

    Posted at 11:25 AM in a Shallow fashion.
      May 6, 2004
    So Cute!


    Posted at 10:23 AM in a Shallow fashion.
      May 5, 2004
    What does Jack Black's gut have to say for itself?

    envy_poster.jpgThough moviegoers were most likely spending last weekend at the multiplex watching writer Tina Fey's monstrously mediocre "Mean Girls", odds are at least a small handful of devoted Ben Stiller and Jack Black loyalists turned out to see director Barry Levinson's latest debacle, "Envy", as $6 million dollars were somehow channeled to the film's producers by way of the box office.

    An even smaller handful of internet enthusiasts subsequently posted reviews of the film on the IMDB, including this gem, which was apparently written by Ben Stiller's conscience:

    "This is the worst movie I have seen in several years. Very dumb story, dumb humor, painful acting, hard to watch. This is the type of movie that should be destroyed instead of inflicting it upon audiences. Ben Stiller has proved himself to choose very bad movies and I thought perhaps Jack Black would have made it a good movie but he did not. I am making it a policy that I will boycott movies that have Ben Stiller in it. If Ben Stiller is in the movie it is likely a bad movie and this is probably the worst movie he has been in. Movie stars do a diservice to the audience by working on junk like this and perhaps if they don't care about their reputation and put out junk like this the audience should boycott movies they are in. There is absolutely no excuse for a piece of junk like this movie. They should pay me for waisting my time on this."
    Posted at 2:44 PM in a Shallow fashion.
    Chan On Fire

    coochan.jpgHas Steve Coogan's young and promising film career already jumped the shark? After turning in a near-perfect performance in the near-perfect 24 Hour Party People, what is Coogan's next move? Appearing opposite Jackie Chan, of course, in Disney's summer release Around the World in 80 Days.

    Coogan will star as the eccentric Phileas Fogg and Chan will play his French manservant Passepartout (at least if the film remains true to Verne). In other words, it's the same surefire comic dyad that has served us so well in Rush Hours 1, 2, and yes, 3; Shanghai Noon and Knights; The Medallion; and The Tuxedo.

    Before managing to effectively raze Clare Forlani's and Jennifer Love Hewitt's careers into the ground, Jackie Chan transformed the occasionally funny (and occasionally irritating) Chris Tucker into an unfathomably execrable onscreen presence. But not content to stop there, Chan went on to reveal that the potentially annoying Owen Wilson is, in fact, the intolerable wet blanket we suspected all along.

    And so we beg you Mr. Chan, don't take Steve Coogan down with you. What about David Cross or Hank Azaria? You can have them, they're all yours - just not Coogan.

    Posted at 9:03 AM in a Shallow fashion.
    Twenty Years Ago in low culture

    "Although Harrison Ford is ostensibly the film's star, there is little doubt that Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom belongs to Ke Huy Quan, aka Short Round. Only thirteen years old, Quan brings a complexity and passion to the role that is sure to stand him well in future years. Ladies and gentleman, meet the next Marlon Brando�"
    Short Round, Big Future, May 5, 1984

    Posted at 8:56 AM in a Shallow fashion.
      May 3, 2004
    Too Rich or Too Thin?

    riis.jpgWhere have all the destitute skinny people gone? There was a time, not long ago, when poverty at least ensured a reasonable Body Mass Index, but as today's USA Today reports, that golden era of weight loss is over.

    In an interview with self-proclaimed �grocery guru' Phil Lempert, USA Today breaks down just how expensive all those fad weight loss trends can be.

    The Atkins diet's ongoing weight-loss phase (45 grams of carbs a day) averaged $14.27 a day, ranging from $11.04 to $15.97.

    South Beach diet's Phase 2 averaged $12.78 a day, ranging from $11.16 to $14.90.

    The Thrifty Food Plan from the USDA averaged $6.22 a day, ranging from $6 to $6.61. (The government's calculation is slightly lower.)

    The answer is clear - until the government begins to subsidize Atkins and South Beach dieters, we may never see another factory waif again.

    Posted at 3:52 PM in a Shallow fashion.
    Where Are My Feet?

    Alternately: U Bulbous Mass, Gorge Away, Gigantic.

    Posted at 2:44 AM in a Shallow fashion.
      April 30, 2004
    It's Legally Blonde Meets the Bell Jar!

    wurtzel.jpgThat Courtney Love of the lit world, Elizabeth Wurtzel tells Fox 411s Roger Friedman that she plans to attend Yale Law School come September. In a low culture exclusive, we have obtained Wurtzel's successful application essay. Enjoy.

    Question #10: Please add to this application whatever additional material you believe will enable admissions readers to make a fully informed judgment on your application. The admissions file readers especially welcome statements that enable them to understand the contribution your personal background would make to the student body at Yale Law School.

    Extremely Personal Essay
    by Elizabeth Wurtzel

    The joke's on me, but it's gonna be okay
    If I can just get through this lonesome day
    It's alright, it's alright, it's alright
    It's alright, it's alright, it's alright
    "Lonesome Day" Bruce Springsteen

    It's been hard, I won't deny it. And no, it's not alright.

    I must have been eleven, maybe twelve, possibly thirteen, when it struck me: I had never been molested, never raped, barely even made the object of a lascivious gaze. Indeed, I had been victimized by my own lack of victimization. Where was my victimhood? It was then that it struck me, at age eleven, maybe twelve, I would have to victimize myself.

    It hasn't been easy, I won't deny it. I have suffered Job-like indignities in my relentless self-persecution.

    I have survived dark nights of the soul when I forced myself to do drugs so that I might wake up the next morning suffering from the depression that excessive cocaine use often induces. Do you know what is like when you have to do an eight-ball of prime Colombian just to feel shitty? Really great at first, but then, not very good at all.

    There were my desperate prayers for cancer. You cannot understand the compulsive, hopeful search for a lump until you've been there, standing in the shower, madly palpating each of your breasts as you murmur the word "melanoma." I have been there.

    It got to the point where I began spinning in circles for hours a day, if only to mimic the dizzy spells of a tertiary syphilitic.

    I have been portrayed by Christina Ricci in a feature film that will never see the light of day. I mean, Christina Ricci? What about Scarlett Johansson or Kirsten Dunst or even Charlize Theron? No, Liz, we're going to have you played by a fat, whiny actress who can't even open a film. You can imagine what that's done to my self-esteem.

    But through the suicide attempts, accusations of plagiarism, and flagging book sales, I have relied on one certainty -- my love of the law. Through all my whining, mewling, and caterwauls of privileged desperation, there has been only one constant -- my desire to attend Yale University Law School.

    Ultimately, I am a woman, a bitch, a lover, a sinner and a saint. Thank you India, thank you terror, thank you, thank you silence. Pity me, poke me, admit me to Yale, just don't bother with goodbyes come morning. I can get through this lonesome day after all.

    (N.B. I don't recommend assigning me any roommates.)

    [Matt, big ups for the heads up]

    Posted at 9:36 AM in a Satirical, Shallow fashion.
      April 28, 2004
    Today's Journalism Lesson from the New York Post

    Turning a press release into an article or caption is easy and fun. First, take a press release, say, for example, Gretchen Mol to Play the Title Role in Killer Films' THE BALLAD OF BETTIE PAGE; Financed by HBO, Film is Directed by Mary Harron, and Written by Harron and Guinivere Turner (from March 31, 2004).

    Now, using your mouse, select the portion of the text you want to use and select 'Cut' from your 'File' menu. (There is a shortcut for this, but we only recommend that seasoned writers attempt to use that.)

    Using the example press release, select the following text:

    The most successful pin-up model of the 1950s, Page's legendary bondage photographs made her the target of a Senate investigation into pornography, and turned her into one of the first American sex icons.

    You may also want to scroll down in the press release and copy this portion:

    The cast also includes Lili Taylor ("Casa de los babys"), David Strathairn ("Twisted"), Jonathan M. Woodward ("Pipe Dream"), Cara Seymour ("Gangs of New York"), Tara Subkoff ("The Cell") and Kevin Carroll ("The Secret Lives of Dentists").

    Open a text-editing document and select 'Paste' from the 'File' menu. Now comes the hard part: editing. You'll want to add the name "Bettie Page" in that first sentence. You'll also want to shorten the second paragraph a bit. Also, you might want to write your own topical hook in the beginning, since this press release is a bit old.

    Congratulations, you have an article or caption. To see the fruits of your labor, check out GORGEOUS GRETCHEN A CONEY EYEFUL in today's New York Post:

    Actress Gretchen Mol dazzles yesterday as she struts her stuff while on location shooting "The Ballad of Bettie Page" in Coney Island.

    In the film, the 31-year-old stunner plays the 1950s pinup girl whose legendary bondage photos made her the target of a Senate investigation into pornography.

    Dubbed the "Girl with the Perfect Figure," Page was one of America's first sex sirens.

    She graced the pages of hundreds of magazines, including Playboy.

    The flick also stars Lili Taylor and David Strathairn.

    Earlier: How to Write An Obituary Without Breaking a Sweat

    Posted at 10:13 AM in a Shallow fashion.
      April 27, 2004
    Dying Young

    tobyYoung.jpgAlright, this posting is a few days late (in the blog world an eternity), but Toby Young's Slate diary was too infuriating to go ignored. For those of you unaware, Slate's diary is kind of like MTV's Diary for old people who are nowhere near as famous, and Toby Young is a bald media gadfly who has made a name for himself by being obnoxious. Based on Young's entries, however, he's taking his trademarks - contrived spite and pseudo-impudence - up a notch.

    There's Monday's diary in which Young very nearly asks Matt Damon and Ben Affleck to sue him. That's because Young's novel-in-progress, Starmageddon, actually uses the duo as characters! And from the sound of Young's new novel, it's pretty clear he's designed the plot to hit as many media flashpoints as possible - the Holocaust, celebrity culture, post-Apocalyptic America, and right-wing demagoguery. Young is practically daring you to ignore this book.

    And then Tuesday's diary, in which Young offers this remarkable insight into L.A. (he's been there a little over a week):

    In the same way that other cities have been ravaged by certain drugs, L.A. is in the grip of a fame epidemic. Like cocaine, it used to be the drug of choice for a privileged few, but now it's gone mainstream, often in a very adulterated form. The kind of notoriety that comes from appearing on a reality show, for instance, is the equivalent of crack.

    Among other revelations Young dishes up: celebrities get big trailers; these celebrities also receive other big perks; Young used to live with Euan Rellie, aka Mr. Lucy Sykes (he also used to live with Sophie Dahl - presumably he didn't find these apartments on Craig's List).

    Onto Wednesday's diary entry and more juicy L.A. dirt! Apparently, people in Los Angeles like to drive S.U.V.'s. And somehow Young gets even more repellant - he and his wife honeymooned in Los Angeles.

    Thursday's entry - comparing L.A. restaurants with London restaurants - actually isn't so bad, so let's just ignore this one entirely.

    I'm not sure what happens in Friday's installment. I got through the first paragraph before the bile - the product of disgust and, yes, low-level envy - started to choke me.

    Years ago, I met Mr. Young several times at MaryLou's - insofar as you met anyone at MaryLou's - and he seemed pleasant, if a bit self-promoting. Who would have thought the guy would get sober (relatively) and then turn into an asshole?

    Posted at 1:12 PM in a Shallow fashion.
      April 26, 2004
    The Right Address, Parents, Education, et al.

    From the Times' Sunday Styles:

    And this week will bring the publication of "The Right Address," by Carrie Karasyov and Jill Kargman. Their novel skewers a certain kind of woman found on the Upper East Side whose only ambition is to preside over benefit dinners (even if she goes to so many she cannot remember from night to night if she is at the Irritable Bowel Syndrome Ball or the Food Allergy Ball), and to have her tiny, shiny-face photograph appear in the party pages of any magazine.

    # of photos of Carrie Karasyov, nee Doyle, featured in New York Social Diary: 14

    # of photos of Jill Kargman, nee Kopelman, featured in New York Social Diary: 18

    # of photos of Jill Kargman, nee Kopelman, featured in Wire Image: 4

    While we could mutter at some length about how satire is traditionally used to skewer those more powerful than you, we will refrain from commenting on making fun of those who dare to aspire toward one's own lofty perch.

    [Oddly, Jill Kargman's apartment was also featured in Sunday's Real Estate section.]

    Posted at 2:46 PM in a Shallow fashion.
      April 23, 2004
    Tru(deau) Life: I Want a Famous Face

    Although some voices have deemed this week’s Doonesbury too violent for the comics page, others have praised its realistic (though cartoonish) depiction of wartime Iraq. But where discord is sown, low culture offers peace. What follows is a revised Doonesbury for the week of April 19-23, 2004, designed to appeal to more popular tastes and delicate, war-resistant sensibilities.

    It’s sure to please everyone, and unlike the war itself, offend no one.

    MONDAY's revised strip (click thumbnails to enlarge):

    TUESDAY's revised strip:

    WEDNESDAY's revised strip:

    THURSDAY's revised strip:

    FRIDAY's revised strip:

    Posted at 9:33 AM in a Shallow fashion.
      April 22, 2004
    Separated at Pitching Meeting

    James Brown: Funny, times two.

    Ah, Spring, when a young humor writer's thoughts turn towards... James Brown? Don't ask us why, but for whatever reason, The Godfather of Soul, the Hardest Working Man in Showbiz inspires some of April's best humor writing.

    Take for example, this item from this week's Onion, Why Can't This Family Ever Have A Funky Good Time by one "Tomi Rae Brown":

    Maceo! I said Maceo! Uh, Maceo! Don't just keep saying "what," boy. Go get that pecan pie out the kitchen. Take it into the living room. We gonna have a funky good time, and I don't want you starting off before everyone. Bring the pie here. Right here. Everybody grab a piece—don't be greedy now. We family, after all. There's enough of this pie to go around. That's right, y'all. Enough pie for all! Pecan pie! Mother-made pie! Good pie! Damn good!

    Funny shit, right?

    We were laughing so hard, we almost forgot about Papa's Got a Brand New Play that ran in Spy Magazine back in April 1995. That was funny, too:

    Steve: Oh Baby, Don't You Weep. I Can't Help It (I Just Do-Do-Do). (1964, 1965)

    Caldonia: There Must Be a Reason -- What Kind of Man ... Keep On Doin' What You're Doin'? (1959, 1968, 1971)

    Steve: Got No Excuse. I'm a Greedy Man. And I Do Just What I Want. [looks off wistfully into the distance] Sometimes That's All There Is. (1965, 1971, 1960, 1980)

    Caldonia: I'll Never Let You Break My Heart Again. [she gets up, goes inside the house, and comes back out, carrying a suitcase.] I Won't Be Back. (1972, 1964)

    Steve: Baby Baby Baby. Hold It. [jumps to his feet and takes her arm.] You Don't Have to Go. Stay with Me. I've Got to Change. I'll Work It Out. Stop and Think It Over. (1964, 1961, 1962, 1981, 1963, 1968, 1965)

    Caldonia: Tell Me What You're Gonna Do. (1964)

    Steve: I Need Your Love So Bad. [caresses her cheek.] I'll Be Sweeter Tomorrow. (1975, 1969)

    Yes, the Godfather giveth. And giveth. But only in April, apparently.

    Posted at 3:01 PM in a Shallow fashion.
    Page Six's union sympathies: International Brotherhood of Typo Writers

    From the New York Post, Page Six, April 22, 2004:

    The union has set a May 2 deadline for reaching a new contract. "I came out of the meeting thinking there could be a strike," said one writer.

    The A-list participants at the closed-door powwow were David Kepp, who just got $3.5 million for penning "Zathura," the sequel to "Jumanji"; Richard LaGravenese, whose credits include "The Fisher King" and "Bridges of Madison County"; Tom Gilroy, "The Bourne Identity"; Stephen Schiff, "Lolita"; Brian Kopelman and David Levien, the partners behind "Rounders" and "Runaway Jury"; Robert Benton, "Kramer vs. Kramer"; Nora ("Sleepless in Seattle") Ephron and her husband Nick ("Goodfellas") Pileggi; and James Shamus, the head of the Writers Guild East who wrote "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" and "The Hulk."

    Four typos in one sentence! Nice work, guys. In a non-union shop, the Post would have substituted "David Koepp" for their "David Kepp," "Tony Gilroy" for their "Tom Gilroy," "Brian Koppelman" for their "Brian Kopelman," and "James Schamus" for their "James Shamus."

    Posted at 11:08 AM in a Shallow fashion.

    Pottery Barn claimed yesterday that its stores in fact do not use the �You break it, you buy it' policy. While this should prove adequate to blow the lid off that lying buffoon Bob Woodward, what will become of Colin Powell's catchy slogan for geopolitical strife? low culture provides some alternatives:

    Ikea Rule: Some assembly is required
    Olive Garden Rule: When you're here, you're family
    Starbucks Rule: Contents may be extremely hot
    Dominos Rule: Delivered in thirty minutes or it's free
    Outback Steakhouse Rule: No rules, just right
    Burger King Rule: Your way, right away
    Pringles Rule: Once you pop, you can't stop
    Visa Rule: And they don't take American Express
    Ja Rule Rule: Holla Holla
    Crunch Rule: No handjobs in the steam room

    Posted at 9:08 AM in a Shallow fashion.
      April 21, 2004
    low culture's Only American Idol Post Ever

    quartet.jpgFor American Idol contestants, the competition has officially turned cruel - and we're not talking about Simon's poorly scripted barbs. No, the indignities these kids suffer is the result of Idol's �Theme Weeks,' in which songs are culled from one songwriter's oeuvre.

    Could it get more sadistic than forcing Idol finalists to sing music from Neil Sedaka and Barry Manilow? Aside from the obvious fact that the music's as bland as gets, six of the seven remaining Idol finalists are nowhere near white. And no one is going to mistake Week 12 songstress Elton John for a black man anytime soon.

    Making George Huff sing country music, as Idol did on Week 10, doesn't help anyone. Sure, there might be some entertainment to be gleaned from watching a Southern black man singing about redneck America, but American Idol sure as hell isn't the venue.

    Posted at 10:27 AM in a Shallow fashion.
      April 20, 2004
    Girly-Boys Gone Wild

    Wimp.jpg It is clear -- the time has come for the MetroSexual Anti-Defamation League. As this casting call should reveal, those simpering, moisturizing girly-boys are about to be subjected to the sadistic imaginations of reality show producers. Have we learned nothing from Playing It Straight?

    We're looking for guys, 21-35, to star in an upcoming reality series for a major cable network. He just needs to be for adventure -- and extremely UN-manly.


    We want to hear about any guy you'd consider extremely UN-manly -- the guy who needs to get in touch with his more primal side (and has a sense of humor). It could be a mamma's boy, metrosexual, or minivan-driving carpool dad. Think George Costanza, Frasier Crane or Raymond without the whole everyone loving him part. Any version of modern emasculated man will be more than welcome. Be creative and have fun with it! To spark your imagination, here are a few examples:

    Ladies, it could be your
    ...husband who's painted NASCAR stripes on the minivan.
    ...new-age vegan ex who's been so busy trying to save the world, he's never experienced it.
    ...metrosexual boyfriend who thinks he's prettier than you.

    Guys, it could be
    ...the one guy that you and your buddies all think needs to grow a set.
    ...your old friend who's serving time as a middle manager in a suburban office park.
    ...your trust fund college roommate who's never had to work a day in his life.
    ...the guy in the office who's over 30, still lives at home and has his clothes laid out for him. He may or may not be a virgin.

    Interested applicants or angry wimps can find more information here. We're assuming the show will air on FX.

    Posted at 12:32 PM in a Shallow fashion.
      April 19, 2004
    Whack Attack

    Ever since Sylvia Plath tortured Esther in The Bell Jar, female magazine editors (FMEs) have been a favorite staple of television and film alike. Perhaps inspired by Tina Brown's previous incarnation as a success, screenwriters have turned to the FME with increasing frequency in recent years. And with Friday's release of 13 Going On 30, featuring yet another FME, only one question remains - what have they named the fake magazine where Jennifer Garner is fake employed? If history is any indication, we can be certain of one thing - it will have an awful title. Confer:

    How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days - Composure Magazine
    High Art - Frame Magazine
    Office Killer - Constant Consumer
    Six Days, Seven Nights - Dazzle Magazine
    Just Shoot Me - Blush Magazine
    Central Park West - Communique

    Unfortunately, the best fake magazine title ever committed to celluloid doesn't make the FME cut. That honor goes to the Three Stooges short-lived gig as photographers for Whack Magazine. �Whack's' slogan? �If it's a good picture, it's out of Whack.'

    Posted at 2:57 PM in a Shallow fashion.
    Tina Brown's worst dinner party ever

    "Would you please pass the apocalypse?"

    Artwork taken from the April 19, 2004 issue of the TIME 100 ("our list of the 100 most influential people in the world today").

    And sitting next to Hillary Clinton in the foreground...what the hell did Jeff Jarvis do to get invited?

    Posted at 11:32 AM in a Shallow fashion.
    Tomorrow's Corrections Today, vol. 3

    Slated to appear on the New York Times' Corrections page, April 20, 2004:

    Because of an editing error, an article by Julie Flaherty in yesterday's Business section, "Many Started Web Logs for Fun, But Bloggers Need Money, Too," accidentally misstated the number of internet users who read Web logs, or blogs. The article claimed that blogs "are frequented by only about 10 percent of people who use the Internet." The corrected sentence should have said, "are frequented by only about 10 people who use the internet." The Times regrets the error.
    Posted at 10:28 AM in a Satirical, Shallow fashion.
      April 16, 2004
    Dorff on Britney


    If you were dating Dorff, you'd kill yourself too.

    [Click on Dorff for the full video.]

    Posted at 11:22 PM in a Shallow fashion.
    I'm Lovin' Shit

    munchright.jpgIn a major press conference yesterday, McDonald's, alongside Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson, unveiled a new line of "Go Active" meals - the fast-food giant's response to having created a nation of fatties. Not only will these adult "Happy Meals" contain bottled water, McDonald's will also include a brochure encouraging adults to walk more. With this bold move McDonald's has made it clear - the obesity epidemic ends here. Or as Secretary Tom Tom put it, "It's important to recognize companies doing the right thing."

    If McDonald's adult campaign is anywhere near as exhaustive or successful as their children's crusade, we may be certain that "Go Active" will have absolutely no impact at all. graindudes.jpgThe What's On Your Plate program encourages kids to stay fit through a variety of techniques intended to teach them "how to maintain a balanced diet and enjoy a healthy lifestyle. By talking to kids in their language, [it] tackles important questions such as, 'Is it ok to eat cake everyday?' and 'Why does mom want me to eat all different foods?'" That's right, the important questions.

    "What's On Your Plate's" mascot is Willie Munchright, who looks more like he should feature in an animated version of Super Size Me than any anti-obesity campaign. Pasty and pale Master Munchright has dark bags under his eyes; he also appears to be losing his hair. He's a kind of Edward Gorey vision of the average McDonald's consumer. But with answers like these appearing on the McDonald's website, who could be surprised that little Willie's HDL might be a little high?

    Q: Can McDonald's food be part of a healthy, balanced diet?
    A: Yes. Many nutrition professionals agree that McDonald's food can be part of a healthy diet based on the sound nutrition principles of balance, variety and moderation.

    Q: What role does fast food play in obesity?
    A: Health experts the world over - including the World Health Organization, the U.S. Surgeon General and the American Dietetic Association - agree that no single factor is responsible for obesity.

    On May 6, "Go Active" meals will be available in McDonald's nationwide. And if these exciting steps forward really do change America's eating habits, we can all look forward to a summer filled with even more toned hardbodies than usual.

    Posted at 9:26 AM in a Shallow fashion.
    As Seen on Cinemax After Dark...

    From an interview with Alexandra Robbins, author of Pledged: The Secret Life of Sororities:

    [The sorority] had a tradition called boob ranking where pledges had just a limited amount of time to strip off their shirt and bras to examine each other topless so that by the time the clock was up, they were basically lined up in order of chest size in order of [sic] the sisters to inspect. Some sororities hold what they call "naked parties," during which after a few drinks sisters and pledges strip off their clothes and basically run around the house naked, some of them hooking up with each other before they let the boys in.

    Posted at 8:21 AM in a Shallow fashion.
      April 14, 2004
    Banking on the West Bank

    quiznos_logo.jpgFrom Ad Age, April 12, 2004:

    Commercial messages have seeped into the plots of movies, the very fabric of TV shows and video games, and even into the plots of novels. But that may have been just the beachhead. Now a growing number of marketers want to persuade the nation's print magazines to open the text of their editorial pages to product placements.

    From The New York Review of Books, April 29, 2004:

    The Disintegration of Palestine
    By Edward R.F. Sheehan

    Nablus is a pleasing city, the most populous in the West Bank. A visitor is struck by the limestone dwellings on verdant mountainsides that surround the ancient town. These limestone bricks, as smooth as Norah Jones' new album �Feels Like Home,' glimmer under the inescapable sun of the West Bank. The city is now inhabited by nearly 200,000 Palestinians, suffering badly from the Israeli occupation and the growing disintegration of their society.

    Since mid-December 2003, the Israeli army has intensified its incursions, seeking suspected terrorists, militants of Hamas, and munitions makers. In a campaign as curiously powerful as an Altoids mint, the Israelis have destroyed or badly damaged two mosques, three churches, and hundreds of other buildings and homes.

    Walking through the old city I saw shops, insecticide factories, and pharmaceutical factories, all turned into heaps of rubble. An entire city block that housed a soap factory has been leveled. It is a landscape that only a Range Rover could handle - its Dynamic Stability Control and Electronic Air Suspension offering the driver a smooth and stable ride over the leveled homes that once sheltered militants and innocent families alike.

    This is drama as powerful as the WB's breakout hit One Tree Hill - but Nablus' drama doesn't feature that show's hunky Chad Michael Murray. On a street in the Balata refugee camp, where I met many undernourished children, a boy of six was eating a sandwich - perhaps one of Quizno's deliciously toasted subs - on his doorstep when a soldier shot him dead for no reason. The Israeli army promised to investigate the killing, but so far has issued no findings.

    Like Visa Cards, the Israeli Army is everywhere you want to be. I left Nablus on the road to Qalandiya, about twenty miles to the south. At a junction, soldiers at a mobile checkpoint suddenly appeared, and my shuttle taxi was ordered to stop. An Israeli soldier with a pistol advanced on us, ordering us out of the car, followed by another soldier with an assault rifle pointed at our heads. Clearly, the Israeli army attempts to offer the kind of protection that only Soft & Dri's Cool Gel could provide. When our group set out again for Qalandiya, the Palestinians with me were silent. Were they resigned to such humiliation, or was their anger so deep that they could no longer express it? The only certainty on which I could rely was the knowledge that Clinique's Repairware Day SPF 30 Intensive Cream would protect my complexion from the cruel sun of Israel.

    Abed Rabbo is not optimistic. "I don't know whether the initiative will succeed," he told me in Ramallah. �We'll keep trying. I want the United States to be involved under the �road map' and consider the Geneva Accord to be the embodiment of the third phase of the road map�a final Palestinian state. [As I shaved this morning, using the glorious Mach 3 razors offered by the great and glorious Gillette, I realized that] I'm against any provisional borders. We want to go straight to the final phase. [Do you have any of those Cool Ranch Doritos left? Truly they are delicious.] We think that interim solutions cannot succeed. [You have the Guacamole Doritos? I didn't even know they made those. Oh, it is as if Allah himself resides in my mouth!] The chief virtue of our plan is its clarity�it's comprehensive and without ambiguity.'

    Al-Omari and his associates argue that the accord signifies a new and realistic approach for the Palestinians to follow. Chappelle's Show - still Dave, still Dangerous - Wednesdays 10:30 pm, only on Comedy Central. Many Palestinians had clung to the old fantasy of liberating all of Palestine, eliminating Israel, and allowing a huge return of Palestinian refugees to their homeland. Unleash your style with Garnier Fructis Super Stiff Gel! The new plan looks not backward but forward, relinquishing absolute justice (a large-scale return) in favor of self-determination and independence in a state that would constitute 22 percent of historic Palestine. Al-Omari said, "There is no going back to Haifa."

    Is it inconceivable to make real the language of the Geneva Accord�that Israelis and Palestinians will "establish relations based on cooperation and the commitment to live side by side as good neighbors, ENLARGE YOUR PENIS NOW!!! aiming both separately and jointly to contribute to the well being of their peoples"? Nearly everything one sees in the Occupied Territories casts doubt on this Carb Blocker is THE ONLY All-in-One Carb/Fat Blocker vision. Only the fact of the accord itself having been negotiated and signed offers a glimpse of hope.

    Posted at 9:45 AM in a Satirical, Shallow fashion.
      April 13, 2004
    Frankly, baffling


    From "Rage Inside the Machine: MTV News star Gideon Yago incites young voters" by Joy Press, in the April 13, 2004 issue of the Village Voice:

    "Suddenly I was reading Tom Wolfe, Joan Didion, Jack Kerouac, H.L. Mencken�all these writers who saw America as half monster, half angel."

    When asked if he's able to put any of those influences into his current job, Yago shrugs. "I try to. But I work for MTV; I know what our role is. We're doing Civics 101." He says his own taste runs more toward cultural critics like Baffler editor Thomas Frank, and claims that The Baffler's 1997 book Commodify Your Dissent "was a big reason I went to work at MTV in the first place."

    Incidentally, Carson Daly's favorite book was "Boob Jubilee", at least until he tried to read it.

    Posted at 4:04 PM in a Shallow fashion.
    He might be a "problem child" if he's 30 feet tall and made of plastic


    The cover of New York magazine's April 19, 2004 issue, alongside this snippet from Yahoo! News:

    Danish Crown Prince Frederik and his fiancee Mary Donaldson look at the Ron Mueck sculpture 'Boy' at The Aros Art Museum in Aarhus, Denmark Wednesday April 7, 2004.
    Posted at 1:13 PM in a Shallow fashion.
    AP Writer is Unimaginative

    Completely, totally, the worst headline ever run over a wire service, from an article by Christy Lemire, AP Entertainment Writer:

    Review: 'Kill Bill - Vol. 2' Is Stylized

    Note: Yes, writers rarely come up with their own headlines. You're so damn insider.

    Posted at 9:59 AM in a Shallow fashion.
    She Must Have Meant a Different Russia

    From Russian Fashion Week:


    From the Times Sunday Styles, �In Russia, Class for the Masses':

    �the models working the catwalks during Russian Fashion Week showed off collections that left behind the avant-garde, often downright odd designs that have long dominated Russian high fashion�Increasingly, subtle is in.

    Subtle, like Amanda Lapore.

    Posted at 9:37 AM in a Shallow fashion.
    New York Second

    marykateash.jpgAt last, the trailer for the upcoming Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen feature, New York Minute, has been released on the web. In keeping with the whole Two of a Kind theme, the trailer reveals, in stunning detail, just how frighteningly secondhand these gags are. Keeping in mind these are just from the trailer, here are a few examples.

    Eugene Levy announces himself as a Nassau County Truancy Officer, drives a light blue Plymouth, and obsesses over his own white whale of a wayward student. Aside from the obvious Ferris Bueller ripoff, how did Eugene Levy become the de rigueur wacky old guy in teen movies?

    A dog flies through an open window - a scene that might be familiar to any one of millions who have seen There's Something About Mary.

    There is a fairly offensive looking Beauty Shop sequence, although New York Minute does manage to beat the Queen Latifah project to theatres by a couple months.

    Eugene Levy crashes to the ground while attempting to stage dive. Presumably this is different from School of Rock's opening because Jack Black is fat and Eugene Levy is not.

    While standing on scaffolding, Mary-Kate and Ashley drop precipitously down the side of a building, an almost shot-by-shot ripoff of The First Wives Club. Insult to injury, as the girls plummet to earth, the Olsens' towels remain suspiciously in place, certain to disappoint some.

    MaryKateAshley slaps AshleyMaryKate, declaring, �Snap out of it!' -- more than recalling Moonstruck's big moment. Admittedly this scene appears to be more �reference' than �theft,' though who in the fuck among the teen demo is going get that?

    The trailer ends with Levy singing the theme from Cops, a la Bad Boys II.

    And the best part of all this �appropriation'? One of the screenwriters is actually named Bill Collage.

    Posted at 12:16 AM in a Shallow fashion.
      April 12, 2004
    Gibson Resurrects Passion B.O.; Hair Next

    See, if Mel Gibson were Jewish, he could fix that whole situation "up there" with a nice Yarmulka.

    Mel's got it covered—the box office, that is.

    This past Sunday, The Passion of the Christ's box office benefited not only from some great timing, but nimrods like this:

    "I waited until today because today is the day that Jesus rose from the dead," said Linda Brown, 40, of The Bronx as she headed into the AMC Theatres Empire 25 in Times Square. "I thought it was appropriate to see this film instead of going to church."

    And all we can say is, Thank god! Our screening of The Whole Ten Yards was wonderfully—blessedly—empty. And with the lack of laughs, it was quiet as a church.

    Posted at 11:12 AM in a Shallow fashion.
    Queer Eye for an Eye

    carson_pic.jpgThe Bible is the new bible of the self-help movement. In yesterday's Times Magazine, Rob Walker examined the phenomenal success of The Purpose-Driven Life, a Christianity-based guide to improving yourself. In turn, Sunday's New York Post gave readers a first look at The Maker's Diet, a weight-loss tome based on rules set forth in Leviticus and Deuteronomy. And for those religious gym bunnies, there's always The Lord's Gym (via Slate), a fitness center founded on Christian principles.

    Indeed the influence of the Bible can be found in the unlikeliest places -- the new self-helper from Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, for example. Surely those godless sodomites don't find inspiration in the Bible, right? Wrong. Just compare the two:

    On grooming:

    Then Moses said..."Do not let your hair become unkempt, and do not tear your clothes, or you will die and the LORD will be angry with the whole community."
    Leviticus 10: 6

    Hair is the most visible thing we can play with to change our appearance, so start on top. It's crucial to find a stylist you trust -- not only will they help you with a cool new haircut, they can also be a great source of expertise on how to style and care for it.
    Kyan 92

    Wine tasting:

    There they offered Jesus wine to drink, mixed with gall; but after tasting it, he refused to drink it.
    Matthew 27: 34

    If it's corked, it will smell moldy, or taste like vinegar, or be revolting in some other fairly obvious fashion. If you think there's something terribly wrong with it, ask the wine steward to taste it.
    Ted 45

    On skin care:

    After he had washed, put on lotions and changed his clothes, he went into the house of the LORD.
    2 Samuel 12: 20

    Look for a moisturizer that's free of fragrance and hypoallergenic if you have sensitive skin that's easily irritated. Lotion is the most common form of moisturizer, good for normal or combination skin.
    Kyan 108

    On lighting:

    They are to take a blue cloth and cover the lampstand that is for light...
    Numbers 4: 9

    I'd be happy with a dimmer on every light in the house -- they're crucial to modulating the mood of a space.
    Thom 126

    On decorating:

    In your marketplace they traded with you beautiful garments, blue fabric, embroidered work and multicolored rugs with cords twisted and tightly knotted.
    Ezekiel 27: 24

    Go window-shopping -- wherever furniture is sold, just walk around and browse.
    Thom 130

    On belts:

    This is what the LORD said to me: "Go and buy a linen belt and put it around your waist, but do not let it touch water."
    Jeremiah 13: 1

    Personality starts in the crotch region. But you knew that. Get a vintage leather strap and find a belt buckle that says something about your personality.
    Carson 179

    On the thank you:

    Then he will thank you, and it will be regarded as a righteous act in the sight of the LORD your God.
    Deuteronomy 24: 13

    If someone holds the door open for you, say thank you. No one will ever say that being too polite is rude, so when in doubt, express your appreciation.
    Jai 216

    On despair:

    And at the ninth hour Jesus cried out in a loud voice, "Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?"-- which means, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?"
    Mark 15: 34

    In the last year, American men have come to know and expect that the dramatic arrival of five impeccably dressed gay men at their door can mean only one thing: Their life is about to get more fabulous.
    Introduction 11

    Posted at 8:26 AM in a Shallow fashion.
      April 9, 2004
    Now put him to sleep

    From the New York Daily News' Daily Dish, April 9, 2004:

    Carson Daly is getting long in the tooth - old, that is - for the MTV crowd.

    How old is he? So old, that at 31, he's going to get a Lifetime Achievement award at MTV's upcoming TRL Awards.

    Posted at 1:09 PM in a Shallow fashion.
      April 8, 2004
    Tomorrow's Corrections Today, vol. 1

    Slated to appear on the New York Times' Corrections page, April 9, 2004:

    Because of an editing error, we misidentified the author of an op-ed which appeared in Thursday's paper about Nirvana's Kurt Cobain and the growth of alternative rock music. The article was written by former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich, not Sonic Youth guitarist Thurston Moore. The Times regrets the error.
    Posted at 10:13 AM in a Satirical, Shallow fashion.
      April 7, 2004
    Basic math for Observer reporters

    observer_egirl.jpgIn this week's Observer, author Jake Brooks reveals his close reading of Mark Ebner and Andrew Breitbart's recent trash-tome Hollywood Interrupted, as he rehashes one of that book's chapters for a follow-up piece entitled "You've Got Chutzpah! E-Girl Mines AOL Data for Hollywood Gold" about "an America Online customer-service representative named Heather Robinson who allegedly mined her employer's database for the e-mail addresses of numerous actors, producers and movie-industry operatives." The article goes on to examine the ways in which she flouted her online persona to sexually titillate and seduce these selfsame operatives.

    But a close reading of Brooks' close reading reveals some room for, shall we say, "inaccuracies" on the part of Ms. Robinson and her story.

    "It's going to be more a take on how these celebrities and politicians helped me. Mark [Ebner]'s chapter was more of a darker version," said the 25-year-old Ms. Robinson with a staccato laugh. "This one is going to be more lighthearted," she added, "showing how I went from a customer-service rep at AOL to selling a screenplay and now producing my first screenplay."

    Fair enough. It's 2004, right, and she's 25 years old. Continuing, we learn that

    According to Ms. Robinson, for the period of roughly a year and a half in 1997 and 1998, she used her position at AOL to gain access to private information regarding celebrities, then sought them out.

    Hmmm. OK, so in 1997, at the tender and inexperienced age of 18, she was a customer-service representative for AOL. Sounds like a bit of a stretch, potentially, if, in fact, AOL, the largest internet service provider at that point in time, was hiring recent high-school graduates to talk customers through installation issues and dial-up problems.

    Oh, but we learn more:

    She went by the screen name HooterR. Her member profile, which can still be found on AOL, identifies her as a single wine-lover splitting her time between Tucson, Ariz., and Santa Monica, Calif. And her personal quote�of her own making�sounds like the slogan from an old 70's T-shirt: "God Created Women with Breasts to Hold Beer."

    Again, this is an 18-year-old. Old enough for agents to sleep with, certainly, but not to be pouring champagne all over her bosom before they climb on top of her. Though she was still apparently old enough to sell her first script, The Perfect Man, which

    is scheduled to start production on April 26, with Hilary Duff in the starring role. It's about a teenager who lies and steals to create a fictitious suitor for her single mother. The movie is loosely based on another of Ms. Robinson's adventures in the virtual world�this one with real legal consequences. When she was 16, Ms. Robinson was arrested, along with a high-school friend, for purchasing a diamond ring for her mother that cost close to $4,000 with stolen credit cards. Because her friend lifted the plastic and doctored the ID herself, Ms. Robinson was charged only as an accomplice. And since she didn't have a prior record, the charge was reduced from a felony to a misdemeanor, and she was sentenced to 120 hours of community service.

    So she was arrested and charged as an accomplice to stealing credit cards at the age of 16...all the way back in 1995, a mere two years before being hired as a customer-service rep for AOL. This alone is almost enough to cause one to become a proponent of outsourcing these sorts of tech-service jobs to India, right?

    Meanwhile, with Hilary Duff slated to star as Ms. Robinson in the former AOL employee's first upcoming autobiographical film, we have the perfect suggestion for the role of Observer writer Jake Brooks in the eventual first-person adaptation of the events following the production of this film: Hayden Christensen.

    Posted at 11:06 AM in a Shallow fashion.
    No Nose Jobs


    Gisele Bundchen, bridging the years

    Posted at 3:23 AM in a Shallow fashion.
    The New A&F

    afvase.jpgAbercrombie & Fitch has released its Summer catalogue, their first since the execrable National Coalition for the Protection of Children and Families managed to have the magalog shuttered. After the Christmas Issue was pulled, the �Spring Break' issue never even made it to the stores. But in good news for the corporation, it looks like the reinvented, post-boycott A&F catalogue isn't going to ruffle any religious-right feathers. Below, a brief comparison between the two.

    exposed female breasts in �Spring Break': 19
    exposed female breasts in �Summer': 0

    homoerotic embraces in �Spring Break': 7
    homoerotic embraces in �Summer': 0

    body hair visible in �Spring Break': negligible
    body hair visible in �Summer': negligible

    male buttocks in �Spring Break': 10
    male buttocks in �Summer': 0

    black models visible in �Spring Break': negligible
    black models visible in �Summer': negligible

    dolphins pictured in �Spring Break': 0
    dolphins pictured in �Summer': 9

    Posted at 2:07 AM in a Shallow fashion.
    Miserable Scripts Love Company

    Hollywood, it would seem, has caught spring fever. Both of these "Honeymoon with..." movies were logged today on Done Deal.

    Title: Honeymoon With Harry
    Log line: A man loses his fianc�e two days before their wedding and must go on his honeymoon with his fiancee's father, who hates him, in order to scatter her ashes.
    Writer: Bart Baker (author)
    Agent: Mngr. Bob Sobhani at Zide/Perry Entertainment and atty. Mitch Smelkinson of Stone, Meyer, and Genow
    Buyer: New Line Cinema
    Price: Mid-six against low-seven figures
    Genre: Drama-Comedy
    Logged: 4/6/04
    More: Unpublished first novel. Karz Entertainment's Mike Karz will produce. Karz's Russell Hollander will executive produce.


    Title: Honeymoon With My Brother
    Log Line: In the course of a month, a man is demoted from his executive job and dumped by his fiancee days before they are to walk down the aisle. He decides to hold the wedding anyway, followed by a honeymoon with his estranged brother, Kurt. The two men end up on a two-year adventure that takes them around the world.
    Writer: Kevin Bisch
    Agent: ICM
    Buyer: Sony Pictures
    Price: High six against low seven-figure
    Genre: Comedy Adventure
    Logged: 4/6/04
    More: To be adapted from Franz Wisner's upcoming memoir. Gold/Miller's Eric Gold and Jimmy Miller to produce. Gold/Miller manager Julie Darmody brought the property to the company.

    Truly, love is in the air.

    Posted at 12:15 AM in a Shallow fashion.
      April 6, 2004
    You must mean "Red"

    hellboy_red.jpgQuickly: what color is Hellboy?

    "...skin the inflamed, velvety hue of a baked ham,"
    Ty Burr, Boston Globe

    "...red as sin,"
    Elvis Mitchell, New York Times

    "...big order of tandoori chicken,"
    J. Hoberman, Village Voice

    Posted at 11:34 AM in a Shallow fashion.
    Hard Boiled Eggers

    eggersmic.jpgAs part of low culture's continuing commitment to you, the reader, we hoped that a summary of Dave Eggers' newest novel might come in handy. Taking our cue from The Guardian's Digested Reads and inspired by our dedication to you, the reader, we intended to provide brief summaries of the untitled novel as it is serialized in Salon. We at low culture, however, never quite anticipated how boring that task would prove.

    Enter Microsoft Word's �AutoSummarize' feature. After plugging Episodes 1 through 18 into a Word doc, we simply let our PowerBook do the reading for us. What follows is the 275 word AutoSummary - it's not entirely coherent, but perhaps it will be of service to someone, somewhere.

    "Bastards!" said Sergei.

    Sergei said, as it took shape. Poor Little Nicky. Nicky whistled.

    Sergei and Nicky had no blimp. "Fucking internet," Sergei muttered. Sergei turned to Nicky. "See if there's another blimp."

    Sergei sighed. Man, she was a hard woman. Stuart had started to speak. Stuart couldn't find a word. "Have you seen Sergei?" Stuart asked.

    Stuart demurred.

    Neither Jeannie knew exactly where Sergei was.

    Each time Stuart caught someone's eye, he would extend his hand and smile. "Look who's here," Sergei said.

    Little Nicky smiled like it hurt. Truth be told, Nicky didn't much like Stuart.

    Stuart stopped looking impressed.

    "That blimp is our enemy," Sergei said.

    Stuart nodded. If Sergei used one exclamation point, he used three. Nicky said. "For state representative."

    Sergei wondered. Stuart was running low on Wet Wipes.

    Sergei feigned disinterest.

    "Right, right," Sergei said, "he plays cards." Sergei grimaced. Sergei pleaded. Sergei asked.

    Sergei asked.

    Nicky whispered to Sergei. Nicky asked.

    "I'm not calling Olongapo a boob," Stuart said.

    Stuart stepped back. "Yikes," said Nicky.

    Sergei thought Stuart's ease with people was amazing and wondered whence it came. Had Stuart run for office before, ever, even in high school? Stuart asked.

    Rebecca Romaine was 45. Never. "Church," Rebecca said.

    "Rebecca, you have to run."


    Senate. Rebecca tried not to sputter. Rebecca said. Rebecca glanced down at his name tag: George Papadolopsolous.

    Giacomo asked.

    Rebecca considered the question rhetorical, but the young man was waiting for an answer.

    Rebecca asked.

    "I'm sorry," Rebecca said. Rebecca said.

    "I'm intrigued," said a voice behind Rebecca. "I'm Giacomo. I'm running this campaign."

    "Oh?" Rebecca smiled and then felt sick.

    Rebecca checked her watch: 8:06. Rebecca thought. Giacomo sighed. "Rebecca, no! "Rebecca," said Giacomo.

    Posted at 8:35 AM in a Shallow fashion.
    Separated At Birth? Vol. 2

    Ripley-esque George W. and Weirdo-esque John Malkovich

    Posted at 2:54 AM in a Shallow fashion.
      April 5, 2004
    Quest Love

    socbozo.jpgQuest Magazine (not to be confused with the bimonthly about living with neuromuscular disease) features in its April issue The Quest 400, their annual list of Manhattan's social elite. The 400, like all of Quest Magazine, does not concern itself with the sordid worlds of show business or pro sports (too many minorities, presumably). No, we are offered only an alphabetized list of Manhattan's Botox-Boomers, old-money layabouts and John Jacob Astor descendants.

    The list was compiled by Quest editor David Patrick Columbia, also known for the dangerously compelling New York Social Diary. Unfortunately the good Mr. Columbia finds no need to explain why or how he determined who gets on the list and who's left out. In fact, all we get is a White Pages of people with last names like Biddle, Hearst and Pulitzer. Its complete lack of context recalls The Spy List -- Spy Magazine's mysterious column listing only a series of proper names.

    As tribute to both of these formidable publications, we are proud to present

    the low culture list

    Montgomery Clift
    Tatianna von Furstenberg
    J.P. Getty
    Brad Renfro
    Horatio Sanz
    Bijou Phillips
    James Murdoch
    Nia Vardalos

    Posted at 8:40 AM in a Shallow fashion.
    I Hate Him and Want Him To Die

    frey_photo.jpgThe endlessly irritating James Frey is at it again. Today's issue of Black Table asks some writers for their thoughts on Kurt Cobain -- he killed himself (or did he?) ten years ago today. Frey's contribution is a little three-act about his ever-shifting opinion of Nirvana. From Act III:

    On the first anniversary of his death, I went with a friend to a house in Wicker Park, Chicago. An altar had been set-up with Cobain's picture, some candles, a hypodermic, a bindle of dope and a small pile of letters addressed to him. A Nirvana disc was in the stereo. There were 10 or 12 people, several were crying...

    My nausea had become unbearable, so I skimmed ahead. Spotting "lame," I felt some relief. But it was not to last:

    At that moment, I stopped thinking Nirvana was lame. I stopped thinking Nirvana was a creation of MTV. I realized Cobain spoke for a lot of people, changed a lot of lives, touched an untold number. I bought In Utero the next day, listened to it. I realized maybe Cobain spoke for me as well.

    Frey's little sampler of idiocy brings to mind Martin Amis' essay on John Lennon from Vising Mrs. Nabokov. Amazon won't let me "Search Inside The Book" and I can't find my copy, so I've got to paraphrase here. Speaking of the maudlin vigil held after Lennon's death, Amis writes that if Lennon were still alive, he'd probably be the first person making fun of these people.

    Posted at 1:12 AM in a Shallow fashion.
      April 4, 2004
    Metaphorically Piquing

    conan_metaphor_helicopter.jpgIn "Conan's Late Start", which appeared in the April 4, 2004 New York Times Arts & Leisure section, author Bill Carter examined Conan O'Brien's as-yet-unfulfilled late night legacy, particularly his concerns and those of his agents in regards to his 11:30PM time-slot destiny. Not much is revealed, however, save for the fact that comedians and their agents confine themselves to describing their lives exclusively in the context of a torrent of metaphors. Documentation of a funnyman's feelings is best kept to a minimum, apparently, unless filtered through the detached voice of an analogous narrative. To wit:

    Conan on returning to Rockefeller Center after taping in Toronto: "It's like when you go back to third grade and suddenly you notice the water fountain is like 4 inches off the ground."

    Conan on his future: "It's the elephant in the room that no one is talking about."

    Conan on comparisons to Letterman's circumstances a decade ago: "With me at 12:30, you can still feel there's order in the heavens somewhat."

    Conan on late night as his true passion: "I've got the bit in my teeth with this show and I'm very determined to take it as far as it will go."

    Conan on easing out Leno: "My agents can say that � and they do. But I have no control over them. They're Rottweilers that I bought. Their job is to attack."

    Conan on the NBC executive who nearly cancelled his show: "But if John Agoglia somehow fell to the bottom of a coal mine and I was the only one who knew about it, I'm not saying I wouldn't alert the authorities, but I might take my time about it, maybe wait a week or two � provided he had plenty of fresh water."

    Conan on his legacy with American youth: "You make an emotional connection, sort of the way Led Zeppelin made an emotional connection with people at a certain age, and for the rest of their lives all they want to do is put on a Led Zepplin record."

    Gavin Polone, Conan's manager, on the crowded late night marketplace (while indirectly indicating why he's a manager and not a writer): "You might have three companies that need new jetliners at the same time, and we'll be the only company actually building a jet," Mr. Polone concludes. "Other people may be building washing machines. But why go to a company offering washing machines when you need a jet?"

    Posted at 7:56 PM in a Shallow fashion.
      April 2, 2004
    The Prince & Me & not Us

    fridaymovie_theprinceandme.jpgAfter due diligence on the part of our friend Sharon in the P.R. department at Paramount Pictures, we at low culture were once again given access to the media goodie bag and allowed to see a pre-release screening of Julia Stiles' latest film, "The Prince & Me."

    It's a good thing, too, because we were part of the flock of fans who showed that we "could do it, put your back into it" when we watched this beautiful young Columbia University undergrad take on the mantle of interracial love -- and interracial dancing -- when she charmingly swept America off its feet in 2001's "Save the Last Dance." Well, she's back, and this time, she's traded in Ice Cube's lyricism and the concomitant "street cred" for Freddie Prinze, Jr.'s cool, calm, and collected flirtation with royalty.

    First-time helmer Martha Coolidge's compelling narrative loosely concerns the trials and tribulations of an average American girl's behavior when she's forced to choose between her deeply-embedded principles and that most elusive of sentiments, true love. Of course, this is all "fancy-talk" for saying that she has to choose between a crush on her favorite boy, and the fact that he lied to her by not letting her in on the fact that he was an heir to the throne of Denmark (and yes, there are more than enough self-referential Hamlet jokes sprinkled throughout the film for all you fans of both classic Shakespeare and youth-oriented films).

    Stiles takes on the role of college student Paige Morgan with much aplomb, and her experience as an actress shines through on her initial scenes with the young Prinze (who far outshines Eddie Murphy's rendition in the original film) when they meet at a Greenpeace rally on the steps of the school's library. It turns out that the Prinze has more than just a passing interest in environmental regulation, though, because he sweeps Paige off her feet with his passionate rhetoric regarding the damage caused by oil spills in the Baltic Sea. Paige, of course, passes off this worldliness as a part of his exchange-student persona, but quickly falls in love with his debonair presence and the humanizingly endearing way he quirkily drops the T's and W's from his words when speaking aloud, as all Danes are wont to do.

    But, as with all instances of true love, there's a catch: the Prinze, through a series of escalating misunderstandings exacerbated by his two roommates' miscommunication, had neglected to inform Paige that he was, in fact, royalty, before taking her virginity. This understandably upsets Paige a great deal, and she calls him a Danish imperialist, which only complicates things further, because the Prinze's father is in court at the ICC at that very moment for war crimes committed against the neighboring Swedes. The Prinze is crestfallen, as he has spent his entire life modeling himself on becoming all that his father (deftly played by James Caan in a stirring cameo) stood against, including a value system that apparently rules out sleeping with girls with misshapen faces that haven't aged well as they've exited their teenaged years.

    The film's winsome examination of collegiate love-with-princes strikes a heartwarming note when the audience realizes that things will, of course, work out...such is the nature of fairy tales, and such is the nature of true love.

    Posted at 1:15 PM in a Satirical, Shallow fashion.
    Jennifer '98 Lee

    8lee.jpgJennifer 8. Lee is the New York Times comer known for her networking skills the New York Sun has gone so far as to suggest that Lee is the second coming of Katharine Graham. And though the comparison may be apposite, it's unlikely the legendary Washington Post editrix ever used Yahoo Groups to help report her stories.

    While the Harvard98 Yahoo Group typically traffics in less-than-rousing political banter and questions about housing in Dallas, subscribers are occasionally met with queries from Jenny 8. herself.

    Most recently Jenny inquired about people scared to eat fish because of mercury levels; it's fair to assume we can expect a Times article on that very topic in the near future.

    Don't believe it? Well consider the following email sent to the Harvard98 group on April 12, 2003:

    From: "Jennifer 8. Lee"
    Date: Sat, 12 Apr 2003 08:06:03 -0700 (PDT)
    To: [email protected]
    Subject: [harvard98] SARS: affected by sars in seattle (SF/LA)

    this has to be one of the stranger requests i have made to this list

    does anyone know of people in seattle (most likely with links to asia) who is thinking of/affected by SARS. that is (not in parallel structure), family there, school exchanges that were cancelled, business trips that have been cancelled, local tourist business that is down, quarantined etc.

    and if not seattle, people in San Fran and Los Angeles would be good too.


    And then treat yourself to her article in the New York Times four days later, In U.S., Fear Is Spreading Faster Than SARS, datelined April 16, 2003 and reported by Jennifer 8. Lee. From the article: Back in Seattle, though, concerns among co-workers led several employers to ask the participants to work from home

    Still don't believe it? Well screw you.

    This is not the first time Jenny 8.s Harvard cronies have assisted her. Wonkette has bravely exposed the shadowy cabal of former classmates who have helped make Jennifer 8. Lee the heir to D.C. royalty. The master's house continues to burn.

    Posted at 8:31 AM in a Shallow fashion.
    April Fool's "Hipster Fuck-for-all"

    lc_april_flowers.jpgThings we gleaned from various comments, here and elsewhere, after posting our super-special, super-personal, and perhaps all-too-misguided, April Fool's Day edition:

    "i was getting kinda up in arms at the vacuousness of the posts"

    "when did this delicious blog turn into a hipster fuck-for-all, replete with cat blogging and musical faves?"

    And then there was an exquisitely enjoyable comment, which we're paraphrasing here, after its having been apparently deleted from the relevant Gothamist post, explaining the author's thesis that

    "April Fools jokes, by their very nature, need to be funny, and unfortunately, Low Culture is not funny."

    Seriously, though, "hipster fuck-for-all" is the best-ever grouping of words we've ever come across.

    Posted at 12:01 AM in a Shallow fashion.
      March 31, 2004
    Boring Stiffs

    jfkjr.jpgThe New York Post this week reveals the stunning excerpts from model turned D-lister Michael Bergin's forthcoming memoir The Other Man, in which he details his romantic dalliances with Carolyn Bessette Kennedy, aka Mrs. JFK Jr. Perhaps the most shocking detail of all, however, is just how boring this stuff is.

    Typically extramarital affairs are racy material, cf. Unfaithful, or even Fatal Attraction. An extramarital affair with a Kennedy (through marriage or not) should be explosive. But instead of Marilyn Monroe sex romps or Chappaquidic debauchery, all we get are passages bordering on the obscenely banal:

    But suddenly, none of that mattered; suddenly we were making love. Carolyn and I were locked in each other's arms, and it was everything I remembered it to be and more. It brought back all the craziness.

    Or this erotic gem:

    All we needed was the red futon.

    And then...

    We walked through the door, straight into my room, and began kissing and taking off each other's clothes�And we made love. It wasn't about sex with us. It was lovemaking as I had never experienced it before.

    Sure, it might not be fair to expect de Sade from a �Baywatch' alum, but Bergin doesn't even hint at the issues that truly matter - did the cuffs match collar? Any odd sexual predilictions? And where is the much rumored white sheik? None of it's there; instead all we get are soft-focus embraces and tortured syntax. For a memoir as patently indiscreet as Bergin's, he's chosen discretion in all the wrong places.

    Posted at 4:04 PM in a Shallow fashion.
      March 30, 2004
    Sex and the Sunday Comics

    Are Sundays just not the same without that Sex and the City fix? Well, for those modern gals who count SATC, Tasti D-Lite and Sunday Styles among their desert island picks, low culture has the remedy.

    Ladies, treat yourself to a lo-cal binge on the comic strip Cathy. In many ways our Cathy is the original Carrie Bradshaw - perpetually whining, pathologically self-aware, and ultimately interested in only the four c's of diamond buying (that's cut, color, carat, and clarity if you didn't know). But Cathy is more than just ur-SATC - she's newly engaged.

    irvinggalotti.jpgIndeed that Mr. Big of the comics page, Irving, has finally proposed. And Cathy said yes! Although she might not have the fantastic support group that Carrie did, her ever kvetching mother is sure to provide all the doubt and dialogue that the three viragos of SATC managed to shriek. And while you can't buy Cathy's clothing, wouldn't a collectible print of Cathy's journey to wedded bliss prove the perfect alternative?

    With this record-length will they/won't they finally resolved, we can finally shift our concerns to other comics: will Heart of the City ever play doctor with sci-fi geek/sidekick Dean? Will Mallard Fillmore ever agree with those liberal professors? And can the Lockhorns ever get along?

    Indeed the mewling, man-hungry women of SATC may have retired, but the comics page is here to save the day.

    Posted at 1:30 AM in a Shallow fashion.
      March 29, 2004
    We Will Never Forget

    50_first_sunshines23.jpgHow many high-concept romantic comedies can one moviegoer take? Two, apparently - 50 First Dates and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind - although we'll just have to wait until Friday for The Prince & Me. Clip and go with low culture's handy guide to all those heady laughers and never get confused again.

    Island setting:
    50FD - Oahu, Hawaii
    ESSM - Rockville Centre, Long Island

    Former comedian turned serious actor in lead:
    50FD - Adam Sandler
    ESSM - Jim Carrey

    Female lead with body issues (chubby):
    50FD - Drew Barrymore
    ESSM - Kate Winslet

    Unattractive, humorous male sidekick:
    50FD - Rob Schneider
    ESSM - David Cross

    Former Hobbit in supporting role:
    50FD - Sean Astin
    ESSM - Elijah Wood

    Long-term or short-term memory loss?
    50FD - Short-term
    ESSM - Long-term

    Literary aspirations:
    50FD - Lead character named for writer Henry Roth
    ESSM - Title taken from Alexander Pope poem

    Piece of crap?
    50FD - Yes
    ESSM - No, mostly

    Posted at 5:45 PM in a Shallow fashion.
    Ass Backward

    Did anyone else assume this cover story would be about forced sodomy among little leaguers?

    Posted at 5:41 PM in a Shallow fashion.
    Lars Von Trier: His own worst critic

    (Click the pseudo-Dogville thumbnail image to enlarge)

    Posted at 12:28 AM in a Shallow fashion.
      March 28, 2004
    Ear-ly Itchy and Scratchy


    From CNN, March 26, 2004:

    GARMISCH-PARTENKIRCHEN, Germany (Reuters) -- A four-eared German kitten has been given a new home after a German animal shelter was deluged with requests to adopt the animal born six months ago with the genetic defect.

    From CNN, nine years earlier, October 25, 1995:

    MASSACHUSETTS (CNN) -- Researchers in Massachusetts have created something that sounds more like science fiction than science fact. They've taken a prototype human ear made of polyester fabric and human cartilage cells, and implanted it on the back of a hairless mouse.
    Posted at 8:58 PM in a Shallow fashion.
      March 26, 2004
    Scooby Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed, Sight Unseen

    ABOVE: a mirror image of the expressions you and your well-tailored friends will sport as you sit on your couch watching this film on HBO this fall

    This may come as a surprise to some of low culture's readers who expect us to hide behind our patented cool and ironic stance, but we were huge fans of Scooby-Doo. Well, guess what, Jack: We were lucky enough to be invited to an early screening of the film, and ta da: we're even bigger fans of Scooby-Doo 2, which has to be director Kinka Usher's finest film since, well, Mystery Men.

    Fans of the cartoon series' bizarre juxtaposition of guest stars will love the pre-credits teaser. In a hilarious yet timely scenario, Shaggy, Fred, Daphne, and Velma are testifying at a congressional hearing about the mass brain-washings on Monster Island (from the series' first film). Scooby's there, too, but he's forced to dress up like a bedraggled Vietnam vet (shades of Born on the Fourth of July?) in an army jacket and wheelchair. (It's funnier than it sounds--especially when Scooby barks "Yooooooou can't hannnnnnndle the truuuuuuuuuf!") After several probing, incisive questions from the unseen congressmen (that make Fred and Shaggy sweat and brings out Velma's brainy side and Daphne's flirty side), we see exactly who is asking these questions: The Harlem Globetrotters, the living members of the "Addam's Family," Joyce DeWitt from "Three's Company," boxer "Sugar" Shane Mosley, and the ubiquitous Steve Buscemi (in his black Reservoir Dogs suit).

    Of course, with a film this fun, the soundtrack couldn't be more of a gas! Featuring the pop stylings of Hilary Duff, Willa Ford, and Warner Music's promising young siren Bonnie McKee (not to be confused with Sony's lesser songstress Nellie McKay), the movie's raucous tunes had the youngsters who accompanied us to the screening dancing in the aisles.

    Other highlights include Sarah Michelle Gellar's star-making turn as Daphne (I'm telling you, if Harvard-educated director James Toback hasn't heard of this ingenue yet, he will have by now!). Imbuing a character of such heretofore-renowned vapidity with an emotional resonance not seen since Emily Watson's perfomance in Breaking the Waves, we're left to wonder how other, less-experienced actresses considered for this same role (read: Elisha Cuthbert) might have fouled up a particularly tense scene in the film's climactic lighthouse sequence, which combines the thrills of So, I Married an Ax Murderer with the laughs of Hitchcock's Vertigo.

    But what really makes this scene a cinematic classic is its heart: when Daphne fights the ghost of the monster's computer virus, she's doing so to avenge the death of her beloved Fred, who was killed (there's even a suggestion he may have been raped!) by the ghost of the monster's computer virus's creator (Whoopi Goldberg, almost unrecognizable under pounds of latex and make-up). When Gellar's Daphne busts into a Matrix-type 'bullet time' roundhouse kick, the audience not only cheers, they weep. Including, again, those youngsters seated next to us. Of course, we'll miss Fred in any sequels, but there's a suggestion that the wizard (deftly played by The Sweet Hereafter's Ian Holm) might be able to reanimate him using the sacred stones.

    We'll be waiting for Scooby-Doo 3: Space is the Place to see if the geniuses behind this awesome series can "doo" it again. Scooby-Doo it again, that is!

    (Confidential to Sharon at Warner Brothers' PR: Thanks!)

    Posted at 9:17 AM in a Satirical, Shallow fashion.
      March 24, 2004
    The Web of Babel

    Like a website designed by Borges with OCD, Slate has taken its organizational impulse to a new level. Increasingly minute divisions in Slate's content are filtered into increasingly nebulous departments - presumably someone thinks this is useful. Just a cursory look at some of these headers strongly suggests that someone on the masthead has lost the plot. Decide for yourself:

    The Boxes:
    press box
    ballot box
    music box

    Categories Suggesting Daily Content:
    day to day

    Content from Somewhere Else:
    today's papers
    in other magazines
    summary judgment
    cartoon index

    Slate Knows Best:
    history lesson
    dear prudence
    everyday economics

    supreme court dispatches

    And a Fraction of the Rest:
    war stories
    fighting words
    brave new world
    ad report card
    tv club
    slate fare
    damned spot
    left field

    Posted at 3:10 PM in a Shallow fashion.
      March 23, 2004
    Separated at Birth?


    Deceased Hamas leader Sheik Ahmed Yassin and Sauron pawn Saruman the White

    Posted at 11:09 PM in a Shallow fashion.
    Rosemary's Baby


    Actually, his name's Seamus. But he's still creepy-looking.

    Posted at 5:14 PM in a Shallow fashion.

    boohbahlogo.gifWhile Boohbah, PBS's newest toddler TV/marketing juggernaut, should prove a valuable resource for indolent parents everywhere, Boohbah's online component definitely demands a more vigilant adult supervision. The website itself is harmless fare - offering children, stoned collegians, or the easily entertained endless hours of good Flash fun. But it's that url, specifically the �Boohb' of �Boohbah,' that could prove a thornier proposition.

    low culture has researched the possible misspellings that any otherwise well-intentioned six-year-old might encounter while searching for his foreskinned cartoon buddies. Some of our results:

    Boohbah.com -- A �charming website for kids that fosters creative thinking.'
    Boobe.com -- �Free Adult Web Hosting!'
    Boobs.com -- �Big tits, huge boobs, large hooters, juggs, knockers and all sizes of titties!'
    Booby.com -- �Helpful links for writers'
    Boob.com -- �Welcome to Pornville.net!'
    Booba.com -- Features a link to the �Young Black Stallion Web Site'

    Posted at 4:49 PM in a