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Archives for September, 2005

September 30, 2005

Did someone say Sassy Pixie?

Daniel Radosh

genImage.aspx.jpg

Above: the new Disney Mix Stick, an MP3 player for 6 to 8 year olds. The gimmick, in addition to the choice of cover designs, is that kids can buy memory cards pre-loaded Disney-approved songs. And which of today's top artists have earned a place in this coveted line-up? Do the names Lohan, Simpson and Duff mean anything to you? Well, what about Huckapoo? That's right, boyee, the Huckapoochies are in the mizzix! Also: Technotronic, Chaka Khan and Kool & the Gang. Because great music never goes out of style.

September 30, 2005

(Tonight we're gonna) crash the party

Daniel Radosh

When Gawker unveiled its new invite-only comment feature recently, the reaction was... well, judging from the actual comments since, let's say "low-key." Although some people unaccountably begged to be let past the velvet rope, most realized that the system's elitism would hurt, rather than help, the cause of exciting conversation. The fact that some of the people who did get invites seemed to be the blogosphere's biggest losers only made matters worse.

But as the old saying goes, snarky backtalk wants to be free, so meet Gawker Talker, "a real-time forum for discussing the latest Gawker posts, flown in regularly via RSS" by blog genius (and, tellingly, non-invitee) Jim Hanas. Gawker Talker is open to all and unmoderated, almost as if it was some kind of blog.

September 28, 2005

It's not like blogging is easy, you know

Daniel Radosh

It's time for my periodic promotion of friends who are more accomplished than me.

Two new books out this week. First, Myla Goldberg's Wickett's Remedy, her follow-up to the lovely Bee Season (don't ask her about the movie), is a cerebral but haunting novel of a life in the 1918 flu pandemic. Very different from Bee Season, as you'll no doubt be hearing, but who wants to read the same book twice, anyway?

I haven't yet read Josh Shenk's Lincoln's Melancholy, but he's been working on it for almost as long as I've known him, and I suspect it's going to be a monster.

So, plague and depression. That's your tip for the day. You're welcome.

September 27, 2005

Geekgasm

Daniel Radosh

Neil Gaiman meets Joss Whedon via Time.com.

TIME: So you guys both have movies coming out on September 30th.

NG: It will be National Geek Day...

TIME: Are you nervous? You've got 11 days before it opens.

JW: Something like that. I don't count. I'm not aware of the opening day. I'm not going to be hiding in the bathtub.

TIME: What do you do?

JW: I stockpile canned goods and hide in the basement.

NG: Lucky bastard. I'm going to be signing books out in public.

JW: That gives you great legitimacy. You can say, 'well, I write books. I'm above all this.'

TIME: You could write a book, Joss.

JW: Yes, but not in the next eleven days. I could write a blog.

Plus, why we should be glad there's never been a Books of Magic movie, who's still in the X-Men and much, much more.

September 27, 2005

ID blogging

Daniel Radosh

The MSM is doing a piss-poor job of covering Scopes II. No doubt some weekly magazine will soon weigh in with more depth, but in the meantime, Panda's Thumb is blogging it, and today links to an anti-ID ACLU blog and a pro-ID one from the Discovery Institute, which it goes on to soundly demolish.

That last link also contains information that sheds some light on the question, debated previously on radosh.net, of what the whole "maybe aliens did it" argument means. Blogger Ed Brayton argues that although IDers say ID doesn't depend on a supernatural creator, they don't really mean it, so therefore the Times is actually correct not to overrule such claims, even though it doesn't know that's what it's doing.

September 26, 2005

Obligatory Dylan post

Daniel Radosh

I've been meaning to write about the new Dylan documentary for a while, but I got busy, and now Slate's David Greenberg has beaten me to my insight, which is this:

"Dylan, for all his efforts to keep living his life and making new music, remains trapped by our '60s fetish, with even serious, well-intentioned directors like Martin Scorsese complicit. In one scene in No Direction Home, a young folkie, peeved that Dylan has gone electric, sniffs: 'I like his earlier records Ö but this I just can't stick.' The audience is meant to feel superior to this shortsighted purist, knowing as we do that Dylan was then creating his greatest work. But although the film can offer ironic distance on this stooge, it betrays no awareness that at some level it shares the same blinkered vision."

Had I actually written about this before Greenberg got around to it, I was going to compare "our" smug superiority to those who supposedly booed Dylan at Newport (a myth that the new film apparently encourages despite its having been debunked) to our refusal to even deal -- more than 25 years later -- with the people (i.e., "us," if you're a boomer, which I'm not) who really did boo him at his "born again" concerts. Why is it cool when Dylan challenged people's expectations of him by going electric, but not when he went religious? By making a film that stops in 1966, Scorsese can't even begin to answer that question, or countless others that arise out of Bob's critically neglected middle and late careers.

Related:
Eclectic and insanely great Dylan links.

An iMix of 244 songs mentioned in Chronicles Volume One.

September 26, 2005

But does she double-dog dare me?

Daniel Radosh

-------- Original Message --------
Subject: Gawker Comments Invite
Date: Fri, 23 Sep 2005 08:39:41 -0400
From: jessica
To: radosh@gmail.com

You're invited to sign up for Gawker Comments. It's as easy as clicking on the personal invitation URL below.... If you receive multiple copies of this email, feel free to share by forwarding the extra emails to your friends.

--- Reply Message ---
From: radosh@gmail.com
To: jessica

Thanks for sending a spare. What do you think I can get for it on ebay?

--- Reply Message --
From: jessica
To: radosh@gmail.com

I dare you, slut.

I'd be eager to find out, but I imagine Denton would ban you immediately. Not that you care, particularly. Oh, the flaming wrath of he with the big head!

September 20, 2005

Intelligent Design refuted again

Daniel Radosh

huckatoon.jpg

Last week, rumors swirled throughout the greater Long Island area that the world's greatest pop band was disbanding! One piece of evidence: the group's wildly popular web site had suddenly disappeared. My own inquries, with some assistance from the Baker Street Irregulars led me to believe that the rumors were exaggerated, though I'm not prepared to say there was nothing to them at all. In particular, insiders told me that the web site had come down because it was "silly" and would soon be replaced with something more sophisticated.

The original Huckapoo site was one of the first things that drew me to the band (See numbers 5 through 9 inclusive). So I was worried that with an upscale redesign, the charm would be lost. That it would go from so-bad-it's-great to good-enough-that-it-sucks.

I needn't have worried. The sum effect of the change is that instead of looking like something that was designed in 1999, Huckapoo.com now looks like it was designed in 1997. By chimps. Admittedly the new sparkly logo is very nice, and the girls themselves look all grow'd up in their new toon form, but that's hard to notice what with all the bizzy bizzy blinking text and floaty hearts. New content? Nah. Other than the immensely dorky Huckapoo World "video," we get the same pictures and the same songs (not even the new versions). Couldn't they at least have recorded new welcome messages to replace the "hi, my name is..." ones? (I was hoping for, I dunno, "I want to melt butter on you.") There are new links for "bios," but they don't do anything. Would somebody get around to inventing backstories for these young ladies already?

Oh, there is now a "stop music" button, but why would you want to do that?

September 20, 2005

It's Eggers' world, we're just bidding on the right to live in it

Daniel Radosh

Via Gawker: In a new stunt charity drive, various authors are auctioning off naming rights to characters in their new novels. Dave Eggers clarifies, "The winner will be featured in a strange illustrated story Iím working on called The Journey of the Fishes Overland. The winner, or someone of her/his choosing, will be encountered by the traveling fish in question, as they travel over land... That name/s have to be tasteful and undisruptive to the narrative. I reserve the right to refuse using a name I find offensive."

NAMES DAVE EGGERS FINDS OFFENSIVE
Jewy Fagboy
Nigger McNiggerstein
Chief Wahoo
I.P. Freely
Paul Maliszewski
Karl Wenclas
P.J. Bardot
Sean Hannity
Neal Pollack
Voldemort
Dave "Stupidhead" Eggers

September 19, 2005

Liberal media strikes again

Daniel Radosh

From the New York Times' big state of abortion article: "While public conversation about abortion is dominated by advocates with all-or-nothing positions - treating the fetus as a complete person, with full rights, or as a nonentity, with none - most patients at the clinic, like most Americans, found themselves on rockier ground, weighing religious, ethical, practical, sentimental and financial imperatives that were often in conflict."

Um, the first part of that sentence is certainly an accurate description of the public conversation as framed by the right-to-lifers, who want everyone to believe that the opposite of anti-abortion is pro-abortion. But what's that word that the other side actually uses all the time? Oh, right, choice. As in, you know, weighing religious, ethical, practical, sentimental and financial imperatives that are often in conflict.

Most Americans aren't on some "rockier ground" in the middle, they are firmly pro-choice. Indeed as this article makes clear, even many women who are anti-abortion are pro-choice when it comes time to vote with their wombs.

September 19, 2005

Don't worry, none of them appear nude

Daniel Radosh

I have a chart of "five winning political blogs" in the October Playboy. I'm always reluctant to write about blogs for print magazines (especially L7 ones whose readers barely even know what a blog is) because it just opens me up to abuse from the blogosphere. I decided to risk it in this case because 1) nobody reads Playboy, so who's even gonna notice, and 2) Playboy pays me, while the blogosphere does not.

Here's what the honorees are saying:
I don't put a lot of stock in awards.
I didn't quite know how to respond.
You'll have to suffer through a "Girls of the PAC 10" pictorial
*silence*
*appalled and embarrassed silence*

I can't defend the Girls of the Pac 10 pics, but the issue also has nude images of girls from video games, who are much more lifelike.

Update: Dammit, I knew I should have used a little "winky" face! Yglesias reads my "silence" remark above as a sign that I'm upset with him. Not in the least. I was just using him to set up a joke about Low Culture. Those are the bastards I'm upset with.

September 14, 2005

Talk your way out of this one, Peter

Daniel Radosh

Peter Landesman has stepped in it this time. Not content to feud with loser nobodies like me and Jack Shafer (neither of whom, you'll recall, have ever left our parents' basements), PL has now lashed out at investigative journalist Debbie Nathan, who was reporting from the Mexican border when Landesman was still writing Full House novelizations. The new issue of The Nation features an exchange (sub req) between Landesman and Nathan in which Nathan takes it on herself to fact-check a notorious section of Landesman's 2004 New York Times Magazine article and finds that some of his most sensational facts, well, aren't.

But first a little background for Nation readers who found this blog thanks to Nathan's plug. (Unfortunately -- on several levels -- Nathan had a brain fart and ID'd me as Ronald Radosh. That would be my father.) I first raised concerns about Landesman's reporting on sex slavery back in January, 2004. After he flipped out on me with frightening (but in retrospect humorous) venom, I perversely decided my most best course of action would be to continue poking at the story until it cried.

Most recently I blogged about an article Nathan wrote in The Nation which I felt "demolishes many assumptions of Landesman-style journalism." Nathan only mentioned PL in passing, and it should have been pretty clear that my amplification of her work was only my opinion, not hers, but PL wasn't satisfied with just replying to my post (missing the point even of that). Instead, he reworded his comment a little bit and sent it to the Nation as well, apparently confusing Nathan no end until she found this site and figured out what was going on.

One thing she evidently found was the comment thread where PL seethes that if I have doubts about his piece I should re-report it and see if it isn't rock solid ("try putting down your mouse and do some digging"). I didn't, thinking that sounded like way too much work (blogger, remember), but apparently it wasn't. Nathan snapped off a leg of Landesman's rickety table with one simple phone call. Details after the jump.

Continue reading "Talk your way out of this one, Peter" »

September 7, 2005

You're welcome, asshole

Daniel Radosh

So I'm driving home last weekend and I practically run off the road when I see this sign outside the Hudson River Rafting Company in North Creek, New York. I mean, what the fuck is the matter with people?

katrinasign.jpg

I guess if Michael Brown wants to argue that his response to Katrina wasn't quite as bad as humanly possible, he can always say, "At least I didn't try to find a silver lining for rafting enthusiasts."

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