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Archives for January, 2005

January 27, 2005

Web spoor

Daniel Radosh

You know I'm busy when I don't even have time for a proper link dump, but here's what I got to tie you over for now.

• When I was a younger man and traipsing around hipster-infested Brooklyn neighborhoods late into the evening on a school night seemed like a pefectly reasonable thing to do, one of my favorite monthly events was John Hodgman's Little Gray Book lectures (for which I created the PowerPoint Anthology of Literature). Now non-New Yorkers and other people who, perhaps because they are too old and pathetic, are unable to attend in person can experience LGB through the miracle of podcasting.

• Thoroughly enjoyable thumbsucking about one of my favorite film genres [via Panopticist]

• Also via Panopticist (somebody stop that madman), the pirated pilot for the US remake of The Office. Haven't had time to watch it yet, but the buzz is not. Very not.

• There are heroes on both sides? No, George, Darth Zarqawi is not a hero, he's a murderer and terrorist. Why do you hate the Republic?

• If you haven't been following this you're missing the funniest political crusade on the Interweb this week. Be sure to follow his links to TPM, and see also: this, this, that, and most of all the other.

January 27, 2005

What the fuck do you mean, 'spicy'?

Daniel Radosh


Welcome, 6 to 12-year-old Long Island girls! There's an amusing item in today's Newsday that's likely to bring some atypical visitors to this site:

Holy Huckapoo!

When Huckapoo, our own homegrown Spice Girls, appeared in this paper last week, a reader wrote in asking whether the band has a Web site. Yes, and guess what it is? That's right, www,huckapoo.com. There are fan sites as well, including www.huckapoo.mind-games.org.

The oddest one, though, is www.radosh.net, run by Daniel Radosh, author of a recent Huckapoo article for New York magazine. Warning to readers: Some of Radosh's comments are a tad, er, spicy. And a warning to Radosh: The girls' parents read your site.

As thrilling as this is, anyone coming here looking for a Huckapoo fan site is likely to be confused, since most of what I write involves serious issues such as Social Security, the use of torture in the war on terror, and the acting and singing talents of Miss Lindsay Lohan.

But it's true that I have also written a ton of stuff about Huckapoo. For some spicy highlights, click "More."

Continue reading "What the fuck do you mean, 'spicy'?" »

January 25, 2005

Heeeeere's grotesque racial stereotyping!

Daniel Radosh


Don't get me wrong, I like Johnny Carson as much as the next guy (or at least as much as the next guy who grew up with Letterman). But the bombardment of utterly uniform hagiographic tributes rankles the contrarian in me. Almost involuntarily, I start to search my memory for anything that might have bugged me about the guy.

That's how I recalled the clips you're about to watch. I first saw them years ago on the amazing public access cable program Media Shower, hosted by Jamie Greenberg. They show Carson indulging in some spectacularly poor judgment when it comes to racial matters. And comedy. The more dramatic second clip, in which Carson does blackface and ebonics, is actually the less disturbing. Yes, most people knew by then that such antics aren't funny, and yes, the joke is too lame to justify the caricature, but still, it was an attempt at satire that a person might be inclined to forgive.

The ad-libbed first clip, however, is something different. It starts cringe-worthy and then turns jaw-dropping (if you don't catch it at first, it's repeated).

Here are the clips (If that's slow, here's a backup), complete with Greenberg's astute commentary. They come to you courtesy of my friend Andrew Hearst. I contacted Andrew immediately when I thought of this, because he once wrote an article about Media Shower and I was hoping that he'd kept all his tapes. As it happened, Andrew had also been thinking about the clips, and my e-mail was enough to get him digitizing them. As it also happens, Andrew has just launched a blog, Panopticist, which promises to be a major new player in the pop-culture blogosphere. Here's his take on the clips.

Update: The clip has been MeFi'd, so be patient. Also, there's a plausible suggestion in the MeFi comments that Carson doesn't actually say the one particularly bad thing that Jamie, Andrew and I heard him say.

January 21, 2005

Are we famous yet?

Daniel Radosh


Newsday climbs on board the Huckapoo bandwagon. Highlights:

"The group is building buzz, thanks to a couple of songs on Disney music compilations and articles in national newspapers and magazines."

That's the best thing about buzz: it's easy to start, and almost completely self-fulfilling.

Continue reading "Are we famous yet?" »

January 21, 2005

Boxing day

Daniel Radosh

Since I'm just about the only person on record even remotely defending -- well, not quite defending, but challenging the people who are trashing -- Sarah Boxer's NYT article about Iraqi bloggers, and since the group beat-down has gotten utterly orgiastic (for starters see links here and, less vitriolically here) I figured I oughta explain myself.

Continue reading "Boxing day" »

January 19, 2005

Web spoor

Daniel Radosh


• Poor Libby Hoeller. People just can't let it go.

• Hypothesis: Not only is iTunes shuffle not random, it's biased in favor of four talented young lads from Liverpool. Marcel conducts the experiment.

• Imagine a respectable newspaper like Scotland's Daily Record falling for an urban legend. Interestingly, the punchline was funnier in the 1950s version.

• "No law, or set of laws, has made the government more intrusive and ridiculous than seat belt legislation... If I want to be the jerk that flirts with death and rides around with my seat belt off, I should be able to do that." --Derek Kieper, Daily Nebraskan, Sept. 17, 2004

"Derek Kieper, a 21-year-old senior at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, died early Tuesday morning when the Ford Explorer he was a passenger in travelled off an icy section of Interstate 80 and rolled several times in a ditch... Derek, who was thrown from the vehicle, was not wearing a seat belt... [survivors] Havermann and Uphoff were." --Lincoln Journal Star, Jan. 4, 2005

That's the problem with flirting: you never know when it's gonna lead to marriage. [Via Obscure Store]

• Noted: Dakota Fanning not, repeat not in rehab. So she's still on the junk, then?

• Sure, I'd love to put your ugly logo all over my blog in order to drive traffic to your site where readers will find information far less useful than if I'd created a link of my own or if they'd done a Google search. Technorati tags must be nipped in the bud.

January 19, 2005


Daniel Radosh

Here's an e-mail I got the other day: "As a check on whether I'm being unfair to Tom Bissell, I've posted examples of his alleged plagiarism on my blog...  I'm asking leading bloggers, editors, and other literary folk for comments (public) about what I've posted. I'd like them to tell me if I'm off base. Thank you in advance for your input. —Karl "King" Wenclas, Underground Literary Alliance."

You can imagine my reaction: Tom Bissell, a plagiarist‽ Who the fuck is Tom Bissell‽

Anyway, I looked over the evidence, and gave this response:

Is this plagiarism?

Short answer: No.

Longer answer:

Continue reading "Whowhatgate?" »

January 19, 2005

Actually, that sounds like a natural for Lars Von Trier

Daniel Radosh

IMDB user review for the very first entry in the site's database, the 1890 short Monkeyshines, No. 1, described as "One of W.K.L. Dickson's laboratory workers horses around for the camera."

Shamelessly derivative. No, not this movie - everything else that comes it. Virtually every single movie that has been released since the climax of the Monkeyshines trilogy shamelessly copies the basic plot device which propels this film, which is, of course, the technique of showing a person doing something on camera. A few films have broken this mold by showing, perhaps, animals or vegetables doing things on camera. But the vast majority refuse to plumb any original depths, and insist upon limiting their scope to people doing things on camera. It's just too bad that the money-hungry Hollywood establishment is unwilling to explore the artistic possibilities of showing, perhaps, 4 hours of a blank screen, punctuated only by occasional blips resulting from defects in the film stock.

January 18, 2005

Radosh.net: Come for the Lohanboobies, stay for the Social Security debates

Daniel Radosh

Chris Suellentrop picks at the threads of the administration's Social Security arguments in an attempt to separate the philosophical/ideological from the pragmatic/mathematical. I've been thinking similarly along these lines and wondering if the the best tactic would be not to challenge Bush's ideological premise, but to ask why, if it's so important to him -- "the philosophical argument of the age" -- he doesn't even come close to fully embracing it.

Continue reading "Radosh.net: Come for the Lohanboobies, stay for the Social Security debates" »

January 18, 2005

Scary new meme

Daniel Radosh

Newscasters and writers often introduce regular segments with the phrase, "In sports today..." or "On Wall Street today..." The effect is usually comforting, because no matter what else is going on in the news, there is always sports, stock market trading, or what have you. There's no need to tell people, for instance, "Various sporting teams competed today," or, "Stock trading broke out on Wall Street," because that's a given -- the news is simply the results.

I mention this because the New York Times' Iraq round-up story today introduces a series of paragraphs with the phrase, "In violence today..." Somehow, it's not as comforting.

[Update: The story has been rewritten to accomodate breaking news and the "In violence today..." construction is now gone. Censorship! I expect the next version to read, "In freedom today..."]

January 17, 2005

Abstinence Achievement Awards

Daniel Radosh


Blog just ain't doing it for you? Open up your wallet: I've got two newsstand-only articles out this week.

• In the February Playboy you'll find an account of my looong weekend with a hotel full of professional virgins (or at any rate, virgin-enablers). See what I found when I infilitrated "Pure Country," the annual convention of abstinence-only educators in Nashville, Tennessee. You've read the Waxman report, now meet the folks who made it possible. Features a former Miss America, creepy toy fetuses, and the world's only pro-abstinence porno film. Careful readers will notice some crossover with my recent New Yorker piece on the professional Kinsey haters, who were also in attendance.

• In the February Esquire you'll find the annual Dubious Achievement Awards. My own contribution was more limited this year (find the Lohanboobies joke) but I got off a couple of good lines and there's even better stuff from funny guys like Matt Haber of Low Culture and Gawker. The issue also features several pictures of Miss Scarlett Johansson like the one above, near which there seems to be some sort of writing.

January 17, 2005

In my country, there is no problem

Daniel Radosh

The new State Dept. Report of Global Anti-Semitism confirms the findings of a previous investigation that Borat has it all wrong about Kazakhstan.

January 14, 2005

Web spoor

Daniel Radosh


• I never shoulda made that tsunami relief matching contribution pledge, 'cause I'm gonna have to fly to Indonesia and dig up some rubble with my bare hands for this: Drunken Stepfather has the Scarlett Jo-ta-tas video clip.

• In less-nude tsunami relief news, Featurewell is hosting a benefit reading in NYC next Sunday.

• Time to polish my rιsumι. Gawker has discovered a hott new magazine: "CO-ED is a PG-13 print version of Joe Francis' frightfully successful Girls Gone Wild video series despite the fact that—this is brilliant!—it's aimed at the wild girls as much as the guys who love to ogle them. [Its] alternatingly pervy and perky worldview splits the difference between Barely Legal and Legally Blonde."

In fact, few people remember now that Barely Legal has become a run-of-the-mill teen porn magazine that spawned 1,000 imitators, but when that publication launched, its winking conceit (now hardly even hinted at as far as I know; I let my subscription lapse) was that it was a magazine FOR teen girls. The copy played on the then-popular post-Sassy girl-power writing that was the rage, making a claim that the truly powerful chicks were the ones who, you know, liked to get naked and have sex. It was the first ironic porn magazine ever, and possibly the first genuinely funny one. Paul Lukas, who now writes Uni-Watch for ESPN.com, had a great analysis of early BL in his old Inconspicous Consumption column (though sadly the online archives don't go back that far).

• Jesse nails the "everyone thought Saddam had WMD" defense. It's all good, though I would've emphasized this part more: "Not only that, but he had additional information past the cited assessments of the Clinton/Bush I/Reagan governments, et. al. The UN and the IAEA were there, telling him it was increasingly looking like Iraq was either significantly less armed, or unarmed with WMD, even as we were gearing up for war."

• You'll have to put up with some brownnosing of Powerline and other right-wing blogs, but there's no denying that Iowahawk's Inspector Dan Rather mystery is deftly executed, pretty funny, and mostly right on.

January 14, 2005

Tomorrow's Taranto column today

Daniel Radosh

What Would We Do Without Abbas?

Abbas: Violence won't help peace

January 13, 2005

Harry's got nothing on my li'l princess

Daniel Radosh

It's a good thing my daughter Margalit isn't British royalty.


I think she's trying out for a slot in Prussian Blue. I've tried to tell her that they probably won't accept a Jewess, no matter how, um, Reform.

Continue reading "Harry's got nothing on my li'l princess" »

January 13, 2005

Understandably, he didn't imagine anyone would go so far as to subject themselves to Janet Maslin

Daniel Radosh

"Is there any contemporary American writer more agreeable than Malcolm Gladwell? Any writer, I mean, whose work is as reliably well received by so many different sorts of people... Search all you want: You won't find a reader who doesn't at least like Gladwell..." --Farhad Manjoo, Salon, Jan 13 (emphasis mine).

Janet Maslin, The New York Times, Jan. 6:

If the hypotheses of Blink are accurate, you may already have an opinion about whether Mr. Gladwell's second book interests you. Perhaps you also have a hunch about whether his thinking holds any surprises...Trust the sixth sense that tells you how many of Mr. Gladwell's observations are obvious in a flash. The world is full of evidence to support his first and least interesting supposition: that ''decisions made very quickly can be every bit as good as decisions made cautiously and deliberately.'' And ideas that he illustrates systematically are equally well expressed in commonplace ways... the book's heavy-handed, didactic moments will only tighten its grasp on conventional wisdom. The author (a staff writer for The New Yorker) can be simultaneously lively and serious, with particularly good instincts for finding quirky, varied examples to prove his points. But he delivers what is essentially a hybrid of marketing wisdom and self-help -- stronger on broad, catchy constructs than on innovative thinking.... However viable ''Blink'' may be, it is undercut by naggingly bad grammar... Small mistakes, but they add up to a negative impression. And Mr. Gladwell knows perfectly well what such impressions are worth.

I happen to agree with Manjoo more than Maslin about Gladwell's work, but perhaps his editor should have taken him up on that search request before letting him use it as his lede. It wasn't exactly an obscure find.

January 11, 2005

Random violence

Daniel Radosh

With the cool looking new iPod shuffle, Apple takes the next logical step after the success of the Mini: charge people even more for even less. Yes, $99 sounds like a good deal in absolute terms, but a quick calculation shows that if a 20GB iPod costs $299, the 512MB iPod shuffle should in fact cost only about $7.50.

Continue reading "Random violence" »

January 11, 2005

Web spoor

Daniel Radosh


• Alienation of affection, blah, blah, blah. Talk about burying the lede: How did Ellen DeGeneres land a hottie like Portia De Rossi? (And don't tell me girls look for someone with a great sense of humor. I'm not in high school anymore.)

• Lord knows I'm not a fan of mashups in general, but this is just about the best one I've ever heard. The song actually improves on the cleverness of the idea. 99 Luft Problems.

• Tom Delay to tsunami victims: Die heathens!

• I haven't yet found a collaborative filtering system that works well, but Netflix's is worse than most. Somehow they think I'll give Shrek 2 three and a half stars even though I only gave Shrek two stars. I've rated hundreds of movies trying to whip their recommendations into shape to no avail. But now Netflix has come up with something actually useful to do with user ratings. The new Friends List feature allows you to invite people whose taste you actually know and trust to share ratings with you -- you get to see what they liked and hated, and they get to see your picks. So you get recommendations that are actually useful without having to wait until you happen to see the person and ask them if they've seen anything good lately, and hope they remember. Plus, Netflix has some cool ways of presenting the information: when you browse films (or view your queue), it shows you if a friend has rated a movie you're looking at; if you go to your Friends Page, it offers such tidbits as movies your friends rated much higher than most users and movies your friends have watched recently. Dedicated users can even add brief comments to their ratings. Even though I already have the maximum 500 movies in my queue (which means even if I watched one a night, which I don't, I wouldn't finish for a year and a half) I want more, more, more. If you know me personally and we generally agree on movies (or if you just think you really have a good handle on me and that I'd share your taste) go ahead and invite me to be a Netflix Friend -- if I haven't already invited you.

January 7, 2005

Fair warning to the shmuck who sits next to you

Daniel Radosh


Next week, the proprietors of Overheard in New York are launching Overheard in the Office.

Related news. I just upgraded my cell phone, and, yes, this is my new ringtone.

January 7, 2005

Web spoor

Daniel Radosh


• How to make Oscar night more exciting. Best nude scenes of 2004. But shouldn't they limit it to movies people have at least heard of? [NSFW]

• Magnetic ribbons for the rest of us. Now your car can say, "More patriotic than you" — literally.

• A while ago I auditioned for a job that would have included editing videogame reviews, which got me thinking about why there's so little video game writing that captures the experience of gaming the way the pioneering rock 'n' roll writers captured the experience of rocking out. I'm not enough of a gamer to know what that writing would look like, but I know I haven't found it yet. Guess I wasn't the only one thinking about this. [Via Romenesko]

• Not exactly what I was thinking of, but great videogame journalism nonetheless: What today's snot-nosed punks think of the games we grew up on, part 1 and part 2. [Via Eric Berlin]. Hey, those old games aren't completely worthless. [Via b0g].

• Still waiting to cash in your gift card? Don't forget The Holy Tango of Literature from one of our favorite bloggers. Hmm, books by bloggers. It's a trend!

January 7, 2005

Employees may now commence getting down

Daniel Radosh


This festive e-mail just arrived from the HR department of a company I sometimes work for. As you can imagine, I'm trying to contain my joy.

"I am pleased to announce that around the middle of each month we will be holding a birthday celebration for all those whose birthdays fall in that month. There will be an invitation sent out and cakes will be provided. Please note that if you choose to purchase an individual cake, etc. for your colleagues the cost will be yours to incur."

January 6, 2005


Daniel Radosh


Is this what it takes to reclaim your girl next door image?

[Via Fleshbot]

January 5, 2005

It became necessary to destroy the Constitution in order to save it

Daniel Radosh

Everyone claims to care about human rights, but few people care as much as James Taranto, who is willing to do anything to protect them — even crumple them up and stomp all over them. Endorsing the torture of suspected terrorists, Taranto goes beyond the usual "the bastards deserve it argument" to say that opposition to torture "is dangerous not only to terrorism's prospective victims but also to the civil liberties the moralists claim to prize. If there is another attack, does anyone really think we will escape draconian restrictions on our liberties?"

So I guess people who oppose the death penalty should line up suspected criminals and shoot them before one of them commits a crime so horrible that the public demands the institution of the death penalty.

January 4, 2005

Meanwhile, I'll donate $1 for every blogger who posts that picture of Scarlett Johansson fondling her boob

Daniel Radosh

See, I'm not wasting time on my stupid blog — I'm saving lives! Anders Jacobsen is doing a tsunami relief matching contribution thing that only the most heartless prick could resist. I came sooo close.

If you haven't already done so, there's probably no hope for you, but consider giving to one of the following:

UNICEF (United Nations Children's Fund)
United Nations' World Food Programme
Medecins Sans Frontieres / Doctors without Borders (donate!)
CARE International
The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies
Disasters Emergency Comittee (DEC) - comprises a raft of aid agencies, including the below and others
British Red Cross
Save the Children UK
North America:
American Red Cross
Canadian Red Cross
Save The Children
Oxfam America
Anders Jacobsen: Webloggers: Give to tsunami victims and I'll give too!

Continue reading "Meanwhile, I'll donate $1 for every blogger who posts that picture of Scarlett Johansson fondling her boob" »

January 4, 2005

Remember when they used to be satisfied with shiny beads and a new religion?

Daniel Radosh

Confusing headline of the day: Unhappy Savage Offered Chauffeur

January 4, 2005

Do not let him loose on Squeeze Box

Daniel Radosh

Paul Farhi of The Washington Post has launched an investigation into the utterly fascinating and compelling origins (no punctuation mark necessary for astute readers) of the phrase Who's Your Daddy?

I doubt even the best possible version of such an article was necessary, but here's the sentence that stopped me. "While the phrase has its innocent overtones -- in the 1969 Zombies hit 'Time of the Season,' the singer investigates a potential love interest by inquiring, 'What's your name, who's your daddy?' -- its most direct and historic meaning has been sexual."

Just to make sure there's no confusion, Farhi later reiterates that the Zombies lyric refers to the girl's father and does not have the "spicy connotation" of "male lover."

What's your name? Who's your daddy? Is he rich like me? Has he taken any time To show you what you need?

My guess is Farhi didn't get it when he first heard the song as a kid, but if you're gonna cover the hard news, sometimes you gotta let go of that childhood innocence.

January 4, 2005

Of course that's like a week's salary for them

Daniel Radosh


January 3, 2005

Normally I hate puns in headlines

Daniel Radosh

But give it up for video game columnist Scott Fera at The Davis (CA) Enterprise who came up with Say Halo 2 My Little Friend.

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