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Archives for January, 2003

January 29, 2003

Blurb me, baby.

Daniel Radosh

I just noticed that the ads for the book of
Confessions of a Dangerous Mind
use a line from my People review: "Dangerously funny." Naturally, my editor, Kyle, came up with that particular phrase, but still... I haven't seen the movie yet, but the book, while probably not dangerously funny in the sense that you might actually risk injury, is worth a weekend of your life.

January 29, 2003

But who the fuck is Daniel Rodosh?

Daniel Radosh

Nice link to my Shakespeare Porn article from my favorite sex culture site, ErosBlog.

January 29, 2003

"Someone who's submitting themselves directly

Daniel Radosh

"Someone who's submitting themselves directly to the fiction editor probably isn't all that savvy about publishing and probably not about writing either." The Morning News' faux-unsavvy John Warner throws down a challenge to the snobbish new fiction editor of The New Yorker.

As I was halfway through Warner's piece, I thought of a different (meaner?) challenge: Submit previously published, but not famous, short stories from well-known writers (perhaps even ones that have appeared in the New Yorker) under different names, and offer a cash reward to the staff member (likely an intern) who either spots them for what they are or doesn't but wants to publish them. This would ensure that at least someone would be going through the slush pile looking for quality, and maybe they'd find something authentic while doing so. One way or another, there's a reality show in this.

January 27, 2003

But, hey, don't let that stop you.

Daniel Radosh

"Thoughtful people are usually skeptical about broad generalizations about people's souls on the basis of what car they drive." — David Brooks in The Wall Street Journal.

"Buying an SUV is... a way to connect imaginatively with a more inspiring life than the one you actually lead....They're symptoms of a latent spiritedness, even in a sedate suburban world." —Brooks, five short paragraphs later.

January 25, 2003

Why Germans don't like Bush?

Daniel Radosh

"Much of it is the way he talks, this provocative manner, the jabbing of his finger at you," said Hans-Ulrich Klose, the vice chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee in the German Parliament. "It's Texas, a culture that is unfamiliar to Germans." Right. What would Germans know about belligerent, finger-jabbing politicians?

January 24, 2003

Preview Bush's State of the

Daniel Radosh

Preview Bush's State of the Union Address. NOTE: The video is much, much funnier than the quote on this page would lead you to believe, I promise.

January 24, 2003

Context can give a work

Daniel Radosh

Context can give a work of art layers of meaning the artist never could have predicted. I think I would have admired this Lauren Greenfield photograph before the autumn of 2001. Now it gives me chills.

January 24, 2003

The Doin' It Factor.

Daniel Radosh

A real director is making a real film featuring real sex. He's promising that it won't be pretentious like those French films. And he wants you to audition.

January 24, 2003

Except, you know, by definition.

Daniel Radosh

"Some might say the Times is overzealous in this, but I don't think you can be too overzealous." — The New York Times' Philip Taubman, defending the paper's ethics code in this week's New Yorker.

January 23, 2003

Bob Dylan: The Motion Picture.

Daniel Radosh

Bob Dylan: The Motion Picture. "It will be a very Todd Haynes kind of approach," says Haynes. "It won't be a traditional biopic by any stretch of the imagination, which is why Dylan has agreed to it and has given me permission to do it. It's the first time he's done that for any film that's related to his life in any way. It will be refracted into seven different characters, who are all aspects of Bob Dylan standing in for parts of his life."

I was underwhelmed by Far From Heaven, but this sounds like it'll be more along the lines of Velvet Goldmine, Haynes' freaky, fabulous riff on David Bowie. Is it too early to buy tickets?

Naturally, Music Club is on the case. Check back after February 9th for our casting picks, and submit your own.

January 23, 2003

Um, Karl, did you forget to send me the new talking points?

Daniel Radosh

"Oh, sure, you hear the typical class warfare rhetoric, trying to pit one group of people against another." — George W. Bush, Jan. 22

"Give him a choice between Wall Street and Main Street and he'll choose Main Street every time."
"[He sides] with the little guy."
"Wealth is too important to be left to the wealthy."
Karl Rove, Jan. 22, explaining George W. Bush's economic philosophy, which he said, in The New York Times' paraphrase, "would actually put more of the total income-tax burden on upper-income people."

January 22, 2003

Does this mean I'm no longer an FoE!

Daniel Radosh

The link to my Media Moments page has disappeared from McSweeney's. It's true that I recently emailed the final MM installment, with the notice that all such whimsy will now go straight to this blog. But I'd sort of hoped McSweeney's would at least post that one. And maybe link to this site. Or at least, not strip me from their index. sniff! I guess not everyone can be Michael Chabon.

January 21, 2003

Senator Kelly Was Right (fourth

Daniel Radosh

Senator Kelly Was Right (fourth item). In a dark day for geeks, Marvel Comics has convinced a judge that the X-Men are not human. (Next they'll be telling us it's just a comic book!) The debate hinges on the difference between dolls (human figures subject to 12% import duties) and toys (nonhumans; 6.8%). Some details from the full WSJ article by Neil King Jr:

"Toy Biz pulled no punches. The figures 'stand as potent witnesses for their status as nonhuman creatures,' the company argued. How can they be human, Toy Biz said, if they posessed 'tentacles, claws, wings or robotic limbs?'

"The U.S. government showed more feeling. Each figure had a 'distinctive individual personality,' the federal legal team argued. Some were Russians, Japanese, black, white, women, even handicapped. Wolverine, the government insisted, was simply 'a man with prosthetic hands.'

"Judge Barzilay... described in her ruling how she subjected many of the figures to 'comprehensive examinations.' At times, that included 'the need to remove the clothes of the figure.'"

January 21, 2003

Thomas Nugent in National Review

Daniel Radosh

Thomas Nugent in National Review Online thinks he's ferreted out why polls show that Americans disapprove of Bush's tax cuts: apparently those shifty pollsters skewed their results by including people who aren't fabulously wealthy in their sample! From now on, says Nugent, only the rich folks who benefit from Bush's policies should be asked for their opinion. That's only fair, isn't it?

January 19, 2003

The Persecution of Pee-wee Herman.

Daniel Radosh

The Persecution of Pee-wee Herman. In this must-read article, Richard Goldstein makes a persuasive case that the child pornography arrest of Paul Reubens is not just another celebrity scandal, or another case of an overzealous prosecutor spinning nonsense into headlines (though it's that as well). Reubens, see, is a serious collector of vintage physique magazines — which infrequently contained photos of teenagers that were legal at the time, but no longer.

Why should this matter to anyone other than Reubens? Goldstein writes: "Vintage gay erotica, some of it going back a century, is taken very seriously by scholars who regard such pieces as artifacts of homosexual history. These images show the continuity of queer desire, and that's important to a community whose past is a story long suppressed. Dozens of gay archives have opened in the past decade, and the thought that they might be subject to police surveillance raises a fearsome specter. Several archivists, speaking off the record because they were terrified of drawing attention from the police, admitted that they had never examined each image in their files. Cleansing a historic collection by destroying images that are now provocative is repugnant to these scholars."

January 17, 2003

Fascist zookeeper quote of the

Daniel Radosh

Fascist zookeeper quote of the week. "We've lost complete control," said Jane Tollini, the zoo's penguin keeper. "It's a free-for-all in here. After 18 years of doing this job, these birds are making mincemeat of me."

January 17, 2003

Madelyn Murray O'Hair In Hell.

Daniel Radosh

Madelyn Murray O'Hair In Hell. Speculative fiction from Kevin Guilfoile.

January 17, 2003

Even if their résumé lists

Daniel Radosh

Even if their résumé lists a degree from the University of Michigan?

January 17, 2003

How desperate can the Wall

Daniel Radosh

How desperate can the Wall St. Journal get? Here they cry double standard because remarks Ramsey Clark made about Jesus did not provoke the same outcry that Jerry Falwell's comments about Mohammed did. But even from reading only the WSJ's account, it's obvious that Clark isn't calling Jesus a terrorist (which is what Jer said about Mohammed), he's saying, awkwardly, "Anyone who calls Mohammed a terrorist could just as easily call Jesus a terrorist, if willfully misreading scripture is your bag of tricks." And is it worth pointing out that for all the media's left wing bias, it's Falwell who gets on 60 Minutes in the first place, while Clark is reduced to holding press conferences that no one covers.

January 17, 2003

In my spare time, I

Daniel Radosh

In my spare time, I put together a Web site for my mom's new book, Women Confronting Retirement. If you're a woman in or approaching her retirement years, you'll definitely want to check it out. Of course, if you're a woman in or approaching her retirement years and you're reading my blog, you're almost certainly already my mom, aren't you?

January 17, 2003

The news from Peru.

Daniel Radosh

This month, Peru's top court struck down the Fujimori-era laws under which Lori Berenson was convicted in 1996. "You don't fight terrorism with state terrorism," said Court President Javier Alva Orlandini. And yet, hmmm, Lori is not among those who will be granted a new, fair trial. Find out what you can do about it, and hear what Lori herself has to say about her case, Peruvian politics, and life in prison. It's a hell of an interview (that her parents are too embarrassed to admit originally appeared in Penthouse).

January 16, 2003

The great state of New York nominates...

Daniel Radosh

Music Club met again last weekend. As you'll recall, the theme was songs performed by artists whose name (first or last) is the same as the last name of a US president. Tricky enough, but several folks set the bar even higher. Some brought two-fers, in the form of songs whose titles are also president-themed. Some ferreted out presidential given-names of artists better known by nicknames. And Jill wrapped up the list up with a lovely bit of political commentary.

1. Happy Birthday, Mr. President — Marilyn Monroe
2. White House Blues — Bill Monroe
3. Milkcow's Calf Blues — Robert Johnson
4. Meanest Woman — McKinley "Muddy Waters" Morganfield
5. Jackson — June Carter & Johnny Cash
6. Will the Fetus be Aborted — Mojo Nixon & Jello Biafra
7. Bonnie & Clyde — Shawn "Jay-Z" Carter
8. Mama Told Me Not To Come — Wilson Pickett
9. Rome (Wasn't Built In A Day) — Johnnie Taylor
10. ABC — The Jackson 5
11. Happy Loving Couples — Joe Jackson
12. If Not For You — George Harrison
13. Isn't It Romantic — Betty Carter
14. It's My Party — Leslie Gore

Next month: Inspired partly by the great Britney Spears debate of 2002, our next theme is perfect pop songs. Define pop however you want. I'm thinking catchy, concise, polished. And I'm definitely seeking suggestions.

January 16, 2003

Saddam Actually Just Doing Research

Daniel Radosh

Saddam Actually Just Doing Research for Book on Weapons of Mass Destruction. Hacky, but irresistible.

January 16, 2003

I disagree with much of

Daniel Radosh

I disagree with much of what Howard Zinn says (sorry, Anthony), but he made a good point the other day on Bill Moyers. Asked if we don't need to do SOMETHING about Saddam Hussein, Zinn said absolutely -- there are a lot of things in the world we need to do something about. For instance, anyone can see that AIDS is a far greater threat to the world than Saddam Hussein, on both humanitarian and geopolitical levels. Bush aides have estimated the cost of an Iraqi war at $60-$200 billion. The UN has said the world can dramatically reduce the spread of AIDS for a mere $7-$10 billion per year, with the US's fair share coming to $2.5 billion (ten times our current pathetic spending). If your argument for war with Iraq is that it's necessary to make the world safer and relieve the misery of the Iraqi people, I say I'm open to believing that's the US's true goal -- as soon as it ponies up for the Global Fund for AIDS. Which, by the way, would certainly help our reputation in the world, and thus reduce the threat of terrorism, far more than invading Iraq will.

January 15, 2003

Please, Evan, try to remember the cover story.

Daniel Radosh

Kevin writes: "I caught my first hilarious minutes of Joe Millionaire last night. Joe (who is not a model) is showing the fake butler the clothes he brought with him (plain ol' plaid shirt and jeans) and when fake butler holds the pants up you see that they're torn to shreds. "Yeah, I got them caught in a combine," Joe says. Um, Joe: You're a construction worker. You're not a farmer. Construction worker."

There's something weird going on with this show (I mean, beyond the fact that we're all watching it). In that same sequence, for instance, it was a little odd that the clothes are the same ones he's wearing in the intro shots of him driving the bulldozer. Could costuming not spring for a second flannel shirt, maybe in blue? My theory is that after the reveal in the final episode, when the chosen lass agrees to date Joe even though he is 1) just a construction worker, and 2) dumb as a fucking stump, he's going to reveal that in fact he really is a millionaire after all (and, if he's faking the dumb as a fucking stump part too, the world's greatest actor).

January 15, 2003

The Forgetting, David Shenk's

Daniel Radosh


The Forgetting
, David Shenk's fascinating cultural history of Alzheimer's Disease, is now out in paperback. It's one of the most intellectually and emotionally engaging books of 2001, and if you don't know it, that's only because it was published on, like, Sept. 7 of that year.

January 15, 2003

We We're Gonna Go With Women For The Right To Kill Pre-Viable Human Life, But The Domain Name Was Taken.

Daniel Radosh

"In criticizing Naral's new name, Ken Connor, president of the conservative Family Research Council, accused the group of wanting to 'isolate the rhetoric from the reality.' He is correct. The abortion-rights movement should be honest. Legal abortion kills pre-viable human life. But the rights of a pre-viable human life should not take precedence over the rights of a woman." -- Peggy Loonan in a New York Times Op-Ed, arguing that the National Abortion Rights Action League should not have changed it's name to Naral Pro Choice America, because that disingenuously makes "the issue about choice, and not rights," in order to win over moderates. The name of Loonan's organization: Life and Liberty for Women.

January 15, 2003

The curse of the long lead time.

Daniel Radosh

Right now at your local magazine purveyor, you'll find copies of the February issue of Esquire. Therein, you'll find the annual Dubious Achievements Awards. I wrote about two-thirds of the jokes, and the rest were written by other very funny folks. You'll love it. Sadly, however, my own best entry now feels like it's missing something...

A SHOTGUN AND NEVER LEARNING MORE THAN THREE CHORDS MADE THAT DREAM COME TRUE
In rock star Kurt Cobain's journals, which were published in November, the former Nirvana frontman said: "I hope I die before I turn into Pete Townshend."

January 14, 2003

Bush has Americans snowed...

Daniel Radosh

According to a new poll, half of all Americans believe that one or more of the 9/11 hijackers were Iraqi citizens. Some twenty percent say most or all were. Nearly one in four people say the Bush administration has released evidence implicating Iraq in the planning and funding of the attacks. One in three don't know if he has. Oh, and two-thirds of respondents say they have a "good grasp" of the issues surrounding the Iraqi crisis.

...But not sold. And yet, 66 percent of Americans oppose a unilateral war.

March on Washington, Saturday, January 18th

January 8, 2003

And as far as space-based missile defense... hey, look, it's Jennifer Lopez!

Daniel Radosh

"It all works out in the end. Trust me." — Bush administration official explaining why people who have 401(k)s will still pay dividend taxes when they withdraw their money, while the smaller, richer group of people who get dividends directly will pay no taxes under the Bush stimulus plan.

January 7, 2003

Well, not the VERY end, I guess.

Daniel Radosh

"Clearly you're playing to a populist beat and you know, frankly, at the end of the day it was a pretty effective message for the vice president." — Al Gore's 2000 press secretary Chris Lehane explains why John Edwards is running as a "champion for regular people."

January 3, 2003

Homo Superior.

Daniel Radosh

Over at the American Enterprise, my čbergeek pal Todd Seavey takes the Rawhide Kid hype down a peg, and delves into the real history and significance of gay comic book heroes: "The paranoid conservative response might be to interpret all this as propaganda for an impending global conquest by gay eugenicists, but Morrison appears to intend it as a metaphor for humanity's capacity for improvement and transformation." In two parts, here and here.

Even cooler—if you measure cool, as I do, in the Bizarro-Earth fashion—Todd also wrote the new issue of Justice League Adventures, on sale now at your favorite comics emporium.

January 2, 2003

Admit it, the only thing

Daniel Radosh

Admit it, the only thing you want to read more than the new
MTV's Cribs book
is my review of same. It's in the January 13 issue of People (but not on the People Web site, sorry). I don't want to give anything away, but let's just say that the "holy crap, this sucks" page of my thesaurus is now permanently dog-eared.

January 2, 2003

Blogs: The Newest New Journalism.

Daniel Radosh

Blogs: The Newest New Journalism. Somewhat lukewarm off the press, this Briefing is my attempt to explain blogs to the readers of The Week. Mocking clueless print publications that try to delve into the mysteries of the Internet is a venerable tradition, so to the extent that I expect any responses to this piece, I expect them to be flames. Fair enough, but keep in mind a few points. This article is written for people who 1) may know virtually nothing about blogs (hard to believe, but they're out there), 2) want to know enough to get by, but expect a lot of possibly important information to be sacrificed for the sake of a fun, quick read (so, for instance, I name check Blogger as the most important DIY blogging tool, without going into its predecessors and competitors), and 3) are news junkies, and therefore primarily interested in blogs as they pertain to politics and punditry (the Briefing is intentionally weighted toward war blogs; when I say things like pre-9/11 blogs were "rarely controversial or newsworthy," I mean "to readers like you"). Now, flame on.

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