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Archives for November, 2004

November 30, 2004

My work here is done

Daniel Radosh

In an interview today on Fresh Air, Kinsey director Bill Condon responds to a question about Kinsey's most extreme critics by reading a paragraph of my New Yorker article. "That’s the level that you’re dealing with, the level of reality," Condon says after reading Judith Reisman's opinions on homosexuality. "It’s a little frustrating because you’re not dealing on a rational level with these people."

By the way, Reisman objected when the fact checker called to ask her, Is it correct to say you believe X and Y? "No, that's not something I believe," she said. "It's a fact."

Condon doesn't mention my name, of course, but he'd have pronounced it wrong anyway. (It's RAY-dosh, if you're wondering.)

Update: Go figure...

From: Judith Reisman
To: Daniel Radosh

Dear Daniel,
Well, you did a pretty fair job at that!
Now, if you can ever shame a mainstream television station into broadcasting the Yorkshire Television documentary of  "Secret History: Kinsey's Paedophiles," you will deserve the Nobel prize. All of England saw it in 1998.
Best, and thanks for trying.

Judith R.

Personally, I'd rather have an Abstie than a Nobel.

Just in case anyone else is confused, let me be clear. Reisman's charges against Kinsey (and those in the "documentary" she hypes) are complete and total bullshit.

November 30, 2004

At least he doesn't end with, "see you on the funny pages."

Daniel Radosh

As someone who probably needs to be a better writer and who always looks for excuses to read comics, I was primed to read an article headlined, Super Prose: How Comics Can Make You a Better Writer.

Unfortunately, the impossibly clichéd opening sentence made it clear that this guy is in no position to teach anyone about good writing.

November 30, 2004

Something tells me the Jews aren't going to be too happy either

Daniel Radosh

Christians in the town of Roseburg, Ore. are protesting the re-installation of a 1908 statue of a pagan goddess. The 12-foot fountain depicts Hebe, the goddess of youth, holding a cup of nectar. "She is offering an intoxicant to the gods," resident Dick North said. "She doesn't uphold morality." Yeah, but she's very good with money.

[via Tongue Tied]

November 29, 2004

Rove has got to stop micromanaging

Daniel Radosh

It's one thing when the president needs to wear a wire -- everyone knows how dumb he is -- but when the nominee for commerce secretary is being coached from the back room, you know we're in trouble.

Bulge conspiracy theorists, Happy Scrappy has the picture The Man doesn't want you to see.

November 29, 2004

Damn you, Alanis Morissette! You've out-meta'd me again!

Daniel Radosh

Alison, the last remaining Alanis Morissette fan, takes issue with an article I wrote eight years ago mocking the singer's misuse of the word ironic.

excuse me I have an...enquiery!
all the things she puts in her song'ironic' are actually ironys because she knows they aren't ironic ,so shes being ironic
so please don't jump to conclusions.
and write it in an article to get paid,its really not even that interesting...

Don't worry, it was the New York Press, so I didn't get paid very much.

November 29, 2004

I'm not a stalker, I'm a journalist

Daniel Radosh


You know Huckapoo has jumped the shark now that those notorious cultural illiterates over at New York Magazine are fawning all over them. The new issue has an article titled, Who Loves Huckapoo? Manufacturing a prefab Girl Group, one licensing deal at a time. Sure that sounds like it's going to be legitimate behind-the-scenes reporting, but it's quite transparently nothing more than some creepy aging writer's excuse to hang around with five teenage... hey, wait a second -- I wrote this!

Yep, I've shamelessly taken advantage of Adam Moss's relaunch delirium to turn my personal obsession into a 3,000 word feature.

And the first draft was twice as long. Seriously, if there's anything you want to know about Huckapoo, anything at all, just ask. The comments section is open for questions. Here, I'll get you started.

Continue reading "I'm not a stalker, I'm a journalist" »

November 29, 2004

The Kinsey Retorts

Daniel Radosh

If you've read any of the recent articles about Alfred Kinsey, you may have seen reference to, or quotes from, various "critics," such as Judith Reisman. Did you wonder who these people are, and if they're all batshit insane? So did I. A profile of Reisman is my latest for Talk of the Town.

Related entry: A Kinsey primer.

November 28, 2004

Oh, like Borowitz would have done any better

Daniel Radosh

So the other day a guy at the New York Times calls me up and asks if I can quickly put together an Op-Art piece about TV shows based on government documents. I told him, sure. But I didn't promise it would be funny.

I like John Fullbruck's design, but it's not exactly what I was expecting, which is why not all the entries read like real TV listings. The Desperate House Majority Leaders joke was originally supposed to be illustrated with a photoshop job of DeLay dropping his towel, and the headline was "Meet Little Hammer," which made the first round of cuts before the editor asked, "Is there some joke I'm not getting...?"

November 24, 2004

Shouldn't you be spending time with your family, or purchasing stuff?

Daniel Radosh

I'm taking a long weekend, but I'll back back on Monday. You'll want to be here too, because I've got something big in store, and it's not about Huckapoo.

Continue reading "Shouldn't you be spending time with your family, or purchasing stuff?" »

November 24, 2004

Only 13 shopping days left

Daniel Radosh

Jew School, which has some righteous t-shirts of its own, finds this even classier one one from T-Shirt Hell.

November 24, 2004

But, hey, I'll give thanks for the traffic

Daniel Radosh

Apparently Gawker uses one of those pre-Gregorian calendars that only has two weeks on it.

I guess she could be including a brief correspondence from January that Okrent initiated, but she's not that behind the curve, is she?

November 23, 2004

I wanted to be the first person to say it at least

Daniel Radosh


Somewhere, right now, a hack humorist with more programming ability than I have is making Teddy Reloaded, a Chappaquiddick simulator.

November 23, 2004

Remember when they said we had no future? Well this is it

Daniel Radosh

A horrifying story out of Michigan last week.

It was an unwanted pregnancy, police said.

And for several weeks, her 16-year-old boyfriend struck her in the belly with a baseball bat in an effort to terminate her pregnancy, police said.

In October, the 16-year-old girl had a miscarriage... Afterward, the teens wrapped the fetus in plastic and buried it in an open field.

What would drive kids to such an act? Maybe, just maybe, the fact that the state has done all it can to leave them with no other options.

A recent NARAL survey found that Michigan ranks 44th in the nation for reproductive rights, with an F-grade for anti-abortion laws that include gag orders, restrictive waiting periods, and punitive "informed consent" rules -- all in a state where 83% of counties have no abortion clinics anyway.

I read this story with a sinking feeling that we'll be hearing a lot like it in the coming years -- and, worse, not hearing even more. But, hey, it's Mifepristone that's unsafe, not wailing on your girlfriend with a Louisville Slugger.

But as I read on it became even worse. Apparently, the question this story raises for Michigan is not, "How have we so failed our children that they've been reduced to such self-destructive brutality," but rather, "Can we charge them with a crime?"

There is no law in Michigan that specifies when terminating a pregnancy is equivalent to killing a baby. But Smith said case law indicates that the fetus must be able to survive outside of the womb for manslaughter charges to be considered.... The teen mother was visiting friends recently in the Upper Peninsula when she told them about the fetus. The friends then went to police.

What are friends for?

November 23, 2004

"He's probably crazy"

Daniel Radosh

The hunter murders story takes a twist with the news that the killer is a Hmong.

That has people wondering if ethnic tensions are at play here, and while it doesn't look like it on any overt level, you have wonder given the strange and tortured history of the Hmong in America.

Two absolutely fantastic reads on the subject are Anne Fadiman's The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down, which you probably know about, and a chapter in Calvin Trillin's Killings. If you only know Trillin's recent twee stuff with the food, and the family, and the Bush-bashing rhymes, this earlier work of gimlet-eyed cultural journalism -- a collection of articles about killings and American communities -- will be a revelation. If you like audiobooks, see if you can find the edition with Trillin reading it himself, not the apparently inferior version available on Amazon.

November 22, 2004

I knew it. Bill Gates is the Umbrella Man

Daniel Radosh

Despicable. Awful. Bad taste. Everyone is outraged over the new "JFK slay video game." But while most people are concerned about respect for the late president, Mac Daily News has a more serious concern: "Players can win more than £50,000 if they replicate Lee Harvey Oswald's shots, but they must be using Windows - there is no version for Mac OS X, Linux or other superior operating systems."


November 22, 2004

Mommy, make the scary bloggers stop hurting me, part XXIV

Daniel Radosh

The Washington Post's Richard Morin has a strange definition of "abundant arrogance." He thinks it's bloggers who are guilty of that, because they published exit poll data on election day.

Let's be clear: bloggers didn't get anything wrong. They accurately reported numbers that were themselves inaccurate -- and for the most part made it clear that this might very well be the case. The fundamental question is, should questionable information only be available to "mature adults" like Morin? He's not saying HE should be kept in the dark after all. The argument that the public can't handle the same facts that people in the media can is what's truly arrogant.

Morin even says that "If a few hours on the roller coaster of ecstasy and agony were all that anyone had to endure, only the political junkies would be interested in the whys and wherefores of the exit poll confusion. But the false picture had real impact." He gives three examples of that impact. Let's take them one by one.

Continue reading "Mommy, make the scary bloggers stop hurting me, part XXIV" »

November 21, 2004

Gobble, gobble

Daniel Radosh

I don't envy The New York Post's Bill Hoffman who obviously drew the short straw to be assigned the task of rewriting a Census Bureau press release about Thanksgiving foodstuffs. But Hoffman's spin, "At the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays, revelers are eating less [turkey] and are opting for a greater variety of foods to feast on," isn't even remotely what the stats say. It's true that the number of turkeys raised this year is down four percent from last year, but there's no indication that lower consumption during the holidays has anything to do with that. Or lower consumption at all, really, since the release also says that, "Per capita turkey consumption is virtually the same as in 1990, but 70 percent higher than in 1980." What accounts for the discrepency? I'll wager that turkeys have gotten bigger. Thanks to off-shore nuclear testing.

November 20, 2004

Everything you always wanted to know about Alfred Kinsey*

Daniel Radosh


*Except the stuff about urethral insertion

In the new issue of The Week, I have a briefing about the amazing career of Alfred Kinsey, just in case you want to know more than what's in the film.

If you want to know more than what's in the briefing, I recommend Gathorne-Hardy over Jones. Jones has the dirt, but his attitude is off-putting.

November 20, 2004

A gesture in the direction of decency

Daniel Radosh


Gina pointed out something odd about the cover of this week's Star. It features Kirstie Alley flipping off the photographer. That's not the odd part. The odd part is: The magazine has discretely covered Alley's right middle finger with a star, while leaving her left middle finger exposed. And also, her face. What gives?

The cover isn't a total disaster, however. Look over there on the left: Lohanboobies — and she's single again! The caption for that photo inside the magazine is, "Lindsay shows some stress after a night of dancing." Is that what they're calling it? Stress?

November 20, 2004


Daniel Radosh


Huckafriends, those Joey-come-latey fan sites may have clips of every Huckapoo song recorded, but only Radosh.net brings you the songs from before Huckapoo got hold of them. Via the fine Tin Pan Alley establishment of Shapiro Bernstein & Co. here's singer-songwriter Jessica Harp performing thirty seconds of the Huckahit Perfectly. Jess has a pretty enough voice, I guess, but let's face it, she's no Angel Sparks.

Meanwhile, according to my calendar, it's time to deck the halls with boughs of Huckapoo. The front page of the official site features two tracks from the band's new Xmas CD. Someone has had the absolutely brilliant idea to remake 867-5309/Jenny as a Christmas song, and the, um, other idea to record Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.

November 19, 2004

Every Jew should have a list of favorite Christmas movies

Daniel Radosh


I can always tell when the holiday season has started (Nov. 1st, more or less) because I start seeing a spike in Google searches such as "Best Christmas Movies" leading people to my list of Ultimate Christmas Flicks from the Dec. 2001 Gear.

This is one of the few film lists I've made (and I've made a lot, mostly for my own amusement on long car rides) where narrowing it down to three was not hard, because I could only think of four Christmas films that are any good at all (the runner-up was Die Hard).

My list (justifications here): It's A Wonderful Life, Metropolitan, A Christmas Story.

What's yours? And, sorry, but counting TV specials is cheating in my book. (By the way, this lady's criticism of It's A Wonderful Life -- subversive! -- goes a long way toward explaining what I love about it).

Oh, and did an Amazon customer really recommend The Wonderful, Horrible Life of Leni Reifenstahl in addition to It's A Wonderful Life? Is it because of the similar titles, or because both movies contain the line, "Why must you torture the children?"

November 19, 2004

Attention Purdue students: Demand your tuition money back

Daniel Radosh

Any professor who assigns my PowerPoint Anthology of Literature is probably a charlatan. At the very least, ask to see her credentials.

November 18, 2004

Finally, common ground

Daniel Radosh


The healers looking to build bridges between Red and Blue America now have a place to start: mutual animosity toward crossdressing schoolchildren. Today's story is the more predictable one. A Texas school cancelled its annual crossdressing day (aka TWIRP...) after conservative Christians complained that it could lead to homosexuality.

"It might be fun today to dress up like a little girl -- kids think it's cute and things like that. And you start playing around with it and, like drugs, you do a little here and there (and) eventually it gets you," Davies told reporters.

"It is outrageous that a school in a small town in east Texas would encourage their 4-year-olds to be cross-dressers," institute litigation director Hiram Sasser said.

Well right-wing nuts, shake hands with left-wing nuts! A month ago a New York school cancelled its crossdressing day on the grounds that it was "disrespectful to transgender people."

It's good to know that whether you're a liberal or a conservative, we can all agree that children must be prevented from expressing themselves at all costs.

True the Red and Blue schools came up with different alternatives -- the New York students were told to wear Yankees gear while Texas went with camouflage -- but you gotta start somewhere.

November 16, 2004

Defining dove down

Daniel Radosh

I can't count how many times today I've seen Colin Powell referred to as a "dove."

Before selling his soul to the Bush administration, Powell's claim to fame was his philosophy that "force, when used, should be overwhelming and disproportionate to the force used by the enemy; there must be strong support for the campaign by the general public; and there must be a clear exit strategy from the conflict in which the military is engaged."

Fucking hippie.

November 16, 2004

Who van What Now?

Daniel Radosh

Andrew Sullivan thinks he's found another damning indictment of the left's moral blindness.

One sentence from Roger Ebert. And a good piece on NPR. That's my summary so far of liberal outrage about the murder of Theo van Gogh. Do you think if a member of the religious right had killed a Hollywood director they would have managed to say something?

Sure, and if he'd dismembered Britney Spears and hung her body parts from the Empire State Building "they" wouldn't be talking about anything else. The difference is fame, not ideology.

I was going to say that a more fair comparison would be if a member of the religious right killed a a different obscure Dutch director. But wait, Van Gogh WAS killed by a member of the religious right -- just not the religion Sullivan was thinking of.

Continue reading "Who van What Now?" »

November 15, 2004

Yeah, yeah, yeah. Where's the pr0n already?

Daniel Radosh


It's not about the dirty pictures. The funny thing about sex is that it's such a huge part of our popular culture, but it rarely gets written about/blogged/discussed the way movies or music do because people either 1) don't want to acknowledge it at all or 2) can't talk about it without quickly getting too horny to make sense and/or be funny. This is a shame.

When I redesigned this site a while back, I gave it the tagline "Pop. Politics. Sex. So on." and added to my blogroll a handful of sex blogs. I suspect a lot of people never click on them, thinking they're just pornography (or, conversely, click on them thinking they're just pornography and ending up disappointed).

The funny thing is that some of these blogs are now linking back to me -- which is fine and appropriate enough. But because these blogs link to a lot of purely porn blogs too, somehow the people who run the porn blogs have gotten the impression that they should also be linking to me and I to them* (the latest is the cam girls site from which I've snagged the blurry image above.) While I'm thrilled to have the traffic, I can't imagine how pissed off people are when they come here and find all this crap about cereal, George Bush and Huckapoo.

So what is my criteria for blogrolling sex blogs?

Continue reading "Yeah, yeah, yeah. Where's the pr0n already?" »

November 14, 2004

For the love of god, don't tell them about ramen

Daniel Radosh


Even someone as inured as I am to bullshit trend stories has to gasp upon seeing one of the most mindblowingly stupid ones ever appearing on the front page of The New York Times.

I'm referring of course, to the article whose headline begins with two words that should always set off your alarm bells, These Days, the College Bowl Is Filled With Milk and Cereal. The premise is that College "students these days are consuming breakfast cereal as if their grade-point averages depended on it - for breakfast, yes, but also for lunch, dinner and in between."

The evidence: None. Zero. Zip. I mean, yes, everyone KNOWS college kids eat a lot of cold cereal, but can we demonstrate this somehow? (Update: Or, as a number of folks have pointed out, that it's anything new). No. The word "anecdotal" appears twice, but the only solid figures refer to cereal consumption by younger kids -- 6-17. That is, the ones who you'd expect to be eating a quick breakfast before heading to school. Basically, the entire story is pegged to a person who has opened two cereal restaurants in college towns, and fleshed out with quotes from students telling the reporter, "Um, yeah, of course we eat cereal. What are you, a moron?" (I'm paraphrasing).

But of course, cereal would hardly deserve front page treatment if it didn't Mean Something. You guessed it: "Perhaps it serves as a sweet escape - an ice cream substitute - for young people who are feeling anxious about a post-9/11 world, with periodic terror alerts and the rumblings of a faraway war."

If I were writing my meta-trendspotting essay today, there would be a whole section on trends being pegged ("perhaps") to the post-9/11 world.

Speaking of faraway wars, doesn't the Times have anything better to do?

See also: this, this, and this from Jack Shafer.

November 14, 2004

Hardened, scratch-resistant, AND easy to wipe clean

Daniel Radosh

"In the necessarily hardened world view of the officer, Col. Michael D. Formica, the battle was as compelling as some rare natural phenomenon." -- The New York Times

November 13, 2004

You Can Call Me Allah

Daniel Radosh


Since the second most important thing a blogger can do is promote his friends (the first being promoting himself, of course (and the third being promoting Huckapoo)), I've been waiting for the right moment to let everyone know that my good pal and upstairs neighbor Francis Heaney is finally publishing a bound volume of his masterful Holy Tango of Poetry, which answers the age-old question, What if poets wrote poems whose titles were anagrams of their names?

Some of you will remember the Holy Tango from Modern Humorist. Apparently someone is still paying for the MH domain name, so you can whet your appetite for the book here.

It's still a few months away from stores, but I bring it up now because Francis has just posted the first installment of what will be a Web tie-in to the book, the Holy Tango of Songs. Go download the MP3 of Up on Islam by Paul Simon.

Now I know what all that musical racket upstairs has been while I was trying to listen to Margalit and Milo screaming.

November 11, 2004

It's official: Radosh.net no longer most Huckapoo-obsessed site on web

Daniel Radosh

lisaoct8 (9).jpg

You know how it is when you discover an awesome underground band and then they go and sell out and all of a sudden everyone is a fan, and you're like, Well they suck now, but I was into them before anyone? Well, that's exactly what's happening with Huckapoo, which now has at least two fulltime fan sites.

The vibe at Harmony is well captured by this comment in the guestbook: "How do you know so much about them already? I actually know Brittany and I think it is kind of creepy that you know all of that about her." Friend, you have no idea what creepy is.

The attraction at Huckapoo Online (a missed opportunity to coin "Huckapoonline," if ever there was one) is the Playground, where fans can vote for their favorite band members, songs, outfits, and voices. Strangely, there are no votes for that last category, but the favorite member seems to be PJ, and the favorite song is Hug Me and Kiss Me, which is just insane since everyone knows Supernatural is the hottest song ever recorded.

There's also a Yahoo group but I haven't joined. What do you think I am, a freak?

Meanwhile, an unaffiliated fan files this report from the Oct. 8 Huckaconcert at Town Hall. (From which we get the photo above, wherein Joey, PJ, and Angel do their impersonation of the subservient chicken.) Who goes to a Huckapoo concert you ask? According to Lisa, "we were surrounded by "Huckafamily" lmbo. Next to us was Groovy Tuesday's parents, in front of us was PJ Bardot's brother, and behind us was Angel Spark's mom and sister!"

I hope Mr. and Mrs. Tuesday enjoyed the show.

November 10, 2004

Now that's a symbiotic relationship

Daniel Radosh

Every blogger triumphalist knows that blogs make the mainstream media work harder, right? But an enterprising New York Times writer has figured out that blogs can reward the lazy too:

Juan Cole, a Middle East historian at the University of Michigan, wrote on his Web log that Mr. Abdul Hameed's move "raises the question of whether a mass Sunni Arab boycott of the elections is in the offing, thus fatally weakening the legitimacy of any new government."

It used to be that lazy reporters would call the experts whom they knew would express the opinions they needed. Now they can just check their blogs. I'm pretty sure this is the first time I've seen this phenomenon -- a quote taken from a blog in a story not about blogging and used for the same function as any other quote might be.

I should note that I'm not really accusing Times reporter Edward Wong of being lazy. He is, after all, churning out several stories a day from Baghdad, while I can barely haul my ass out of bed to write this post. But it's only a matter of time before a lesser writer with less of an excuse starts resorting to this quote-farming tactic, and soon enough, I suspect it will be rampant. Ooh, quote me next!

November 9, 2004

I don't think that word means what you think it means

Daniel Radosh

From the The Cincinnati Post's Arafat death-watch.

When advised at his post-election press conference of the possible death of Yasser Arafat, President Bush commendably and generously said, "My first reaction is, God bless his soul."

There was an implicit pause. "And my second reaction is that we will continue to work for a free Palestinian state that's at peace with Israel."

An implicit pause? How does one imply a pause?

November 8, 2004

Pretty much sums up the problem with Democrats

Daniel Radosh

We talk and talk about shooting the president, but we always end up just shooting ourselves.

November 3, 2004

Not moping, just busy

Daniel Radosh

I won't be blogging much for a few days, but not for the reason you probably suspect. Though it is true that I have rarely seen the residents of this increasingly small enclave of America looking quite so grim.

November 2, 2004

Fox shocker

Daniel Radosh

Kevin Guilfoile points out that Fox News may just be spinning its reporting to favor George W. Bush. I know it seems unlikely, but take the following two headlines. The first accompanied an Oct. 30th poll showing Bush with a two point lead over Kerry, the second topped a Nov. 1 poll showing Kerry with a two point lead over Bush. Can you spot the difference?

Bush Up By Two Points Over Kerry

Voters Split

November 1, 2004

Meanwhile, I've been blogging. That's gotta count for something

Daniel Radosh

My friend Rob estimates he has made about 100 advertisements for the Kerry campaign, all of which have been on the air in Ohio in the last hour alone. His final effort is an extended, inspirational, uplifting, etc. etc. No black hoodies, but maybe it will put a spring in your step on the way to the polls.

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