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Archives for January, 2006

January 31, 2006

The nominee for best surprise

Daniel Radosh

Wondering what movies we decided on last weekend?

Well, first of all, Gina finally got me to Brokeback. I have to admit it was better than I expected. Not a masterpiece. Not groundbreaking. But as Jake said, good old-fashioned filmmaking. Heath Ledger deserves his nomination, no doubt, though I got a little sick of the whole stoic, silent shtick. Yes, it was right for the character, but it kind of alienated me. I guess I'm not straight enough to appreciate gay cowboys.

As for my pick, well, after the tepid recommendations from you all, we decided to just hang out with friends instead. As it happened, we ended up watching a movie from their Netflix pile, and whadda ya know: it got a couple of surprising and well-deserved Oscar nods. The movie is Hustle & Flow and it totally kicks ass. And while it's great that Terrence Howard was nominated for Best Actor, the real thrill is that one billion viewers are going to get to hear the nominated song: It's Hard Out Here for a Pimp.

Oh yeah, our friend has industry connections and lent us a screener of Walk the Line, which we watched the next night. Great performances, boring movie. And while Joaquin and Reese are credible singers (she better overall; he more true to the original), I kept wanting to hear Johnny and June. Singing It's Hard Out For a Pimp.

Worst nomination: Kiera Knightley, who practically ruined an otherwise charming adaptation of Pride and Prejudice with her incessant giggling. Elizabeth Bennet has to have some gravitas, dammit, or the story doesn't make any sense.

January 29, 2006

The New Yorker Cartoon Anti-Caption Contest #37

Daniel Radosh

Submit the worst possible caption for this week's New Yorker cartoon. Click here for last week's results. Click here for an introduction and "rules" to this contest. Click here for amplification of those rules. Click here for contest index.


Starter craptions:

"Well, we know more about you than Samuel Alito."

"Blah, blah, blah, Samuel Alito."

Update: Results after the jump

Continue reading "The New Yorker Cartoon Anti-Caption Contest #37" »

January 27, 2006

The other fake writer and the fake literary critics

Daniel Radosh

Remember our old pals at the Underground Literary Alliance? The whiney losers (is that un-snobbish enough for you?) who dragooned me into a stupid non-debate over some author I'd never heard of last year. Well, they weighed in James Frey and J.T. Leroy, and guess what? Unlike all the sophisticated literary elites, they were too REAL to have been taken in by that crap.

Of course, we in the ULA always knew there was something fishy about these two... the evident means of Frey didn’t square with our experiences with desperation, poverty, addiction and ending up on the wrong side of the law... Rather it seemed to collaborate with the clueless upper-class reader’s erotic fantasies... When a couple of well-fed musicians start claiming to be an exploited child prostitute with gender issues, but have none of the class anger and resentment that would go along with that, we in the ULA recognize that all is not right. Somebody is putting us on... When the son of an executive, a liberal arts school student, a fraternity brother, a khaki-wearing rich kid claims to have been a ruthless criminal and opponent of authority, we figure that, at best, he’s a poseur... The saddest lesson to take away from this story is that the panjandrums of publishing are so out of touch with the lower classes, so distant from the culture of the losers of our economic system, they would never know how to read a real down-and-outer, let alone trust them to tell their story. And so they’re easy prey for these frauds, these people who do a class version of blackface.

The amazing thing? This essay was published one year ago — well before Leroy and Frey were exposed! Ha ha, no of course it wasn't. It was published last week. Oh, sure, they knew the truth from the start, but it was too obvious to even mention back then, or maybe they didn't want to embarrass anybody, because they're so considerate that way.

But why bring this up? Because for all its bluster, the ULA itself was recently snared by a worse literary con artist, and it's now apparently trying to erase the evidence.

Continue reading "The other fake writer and the fake literary critics" »

January 26, 2006

James Freyed

Daniel Radosh

Unless Gawker is punking everyone, James Frey is right now getting the smackdown of his life at the hands of his former champion, Oprah Winfrey. Cool by me, but isn't Oprah being a little disingenous? She initially defended Frey not because she thought he was telling the truth, but because she agreed with him that truth doesn't matter, as long as the lies feel true. Apparently she apologizes to her audience at the top of the show, but I hope she makes it clear that she's retracting that statement.

Because my guess is that that's what this is all about. That Oprah, who is used to dealing with individual struggles, honestly believed the "underlying message" argument — and has only recently had some sense smacked into her by Elie Wiesel. The question is: Is Oprah's conversion honestly won, or is it just a PR move to short-circuit the possibility of becoming the woman whose endorsement cast doubt on the Holocaust?

January 26, 2006

Web spoor

Daniel Radosh

Like shooting mallards in a barrel... New shows for The CW... Prediction: Joel Stein is out of a job in three weeks. As an anti-war wuss with family in the military, it's easy enough for me to see where he goes wrong, but he does raise some interesting ideas that are almost never said in public, so more power to him... The new Democratic strategy: root for the GOP to pick the worst possible leaders, so we look half decent in comparison. But won't real outside-the-beltway Americans actually suffer more under the worst possible leaders? Hey, that kind of empathy doesn't win elections the way cynical backroom maneuvering does... Jake alerts me to a wingnut movement to speculate on Iraqi dinar. I have no idea what it means, but I have a feeling that money would be better spent on another pair of rose-colored glasses.

January 26, 2006

Which makes Jay fucking Roach the guy who brings some class to this project

Daniel Radosh

They say that All The President's Men ruined a generation of journalists, spawning a class of pseudo-swashbuckling gadabouts more interested in portraying themselves as macho crusaders for truth than actually doing the hard work that getting at the truth requires.

On an unrelated note, have you heard that Peter Landesman is writing the screenplay for a film about Mark "Deep Throat" Felt? I know! Who was their first choice? Someone should really have a word with Felt's agent.

Landesman said the core comes in the G-man's motivations and the weight of keeping that secret. He doesn't buy the widespread speculation that Felt was seeking revenge for being snubbed by Nixon. "I don't believe that was the biggest factor," he said. "Mark's motivation, who he was and why he did what he did will surprise and move people."

"Because," he added, "I'm just gonna make that shit up."

[More — much more — on Landesman]

January 24, 2006

A look back at Plan A

Daniel Radosh

Glenn Greenwald has what is probably the single most important contribution by a blogger to the debate over domestic wiretapping. [Via Majikthise]

This week, as you know, Gen. Michael Hayden said the administration was forced to end-run FISA because the probable cause standard was too onerous. Forget whether you think that permits them to just ignore the law. Using actual reporting (or at least Nexising), Greenwald digs up the fact that in 2002, the justice department specifically told Congress not to change the requirement for FISA warrants from probable cause to reasonable suspicion because such a change would be 1) unnecessary, thanks to the glorious Patriot Act, and 2) possibly unconstitutional.

Read Greenwald's entire post. There's a lot of detail there, and some interesting side issues (like the fact that Congress's rejection of this bill casts doubt on administration claims that it gave tacit permission for the same activities in its general GWoT endorsement). The question left opened is why the administration was advising Congress not to help it do legally and openly what it was already doing covertly. My theory is simple: the DOJ was lying about point 1: It did in fact want the more lenient standard (though whether this was objectively necessary is doubtful). But it was also genuinely concerned about point 2: If it got the new law it wanted only to have that law overturned, it would then have to stop its new snooping campaign. So the administration decided that the best course of action would be to do whatever it wanted to do and not get caught.

And they would have gotten away with it if it hadn't been for those damn kids.

For mainstream media coverage of this development, click here


January 24, 2006

It's all wrong, all wrong

Daniel Radosh


The high school movie is one of my favorite genres, and one I've given a lot of thought to — largely because I think not enough people have (someday I'll write a long article, or even a book, on this rich subject). One thing that fascinates me is the hot young girls purity of the form, how the genre has standard conventions and characters that can be played in so many different ways. The best high school films (Rushmore, Election, Fast Times, Heathers, Dazed and Confused) manage to perform a kind of alchemy with those conventions, using them to trandscend themselves and create a genuine American artwork.

The other night I rented last year's underappreciated high school film Pretty Persuasion. It's flawed, to be sure, but utterly fascinating and absolutely essential if you're a fan of the genre. What almost none of the critics got is that the entire film is about the last 15 or 20 minutes. Indeed, lots of critics even complained about the ending. They hated the shift in tone from dark comedy to simply dark. But without that shift, you don't get the point, which is to turn the film against itself, to expose genre conventions to scrutiny they were never built to withstand, and force you to question them and confront what they're really saying.

I'm convinced that this is a movie about high school movies, the way Unforgiven is a Western about Westerns. Not that revisionism is unknown in this genre, but Pretty Persuasion's particular approach is shockingly effective. Unfortunately there's no director's commentary to confirm my opinion (how spoiled DVDs have made us!), but maybe if enough people rent it, we'll get a special edition someday.

January 24, 2006

The Girl Band U Want

Daniel Radosh

devogirl.jpg Knowing that I am always on the lookout for the next Huckapoo [Isn't Huckapoo the next Huckapoo? -ed], Cinetrix alerts me to the awesomeness that is Devo 2.0. That's right, it's a group of, I'd say, 12-14 year old kids performing Devo songs. Or at least, that's what it appears to be.

In fact, it's Devo themselves. The band (partnered with Disney) has reunited and re-recorded its favorite songs (plus two new ones), only this time with a tween girl singer. I have no idea if that girl is actually Nicole, who stars in the band's videos, or if she's just there for the cameras the way the kids pawing at the instruments behind her are. Either way, I'm smitten. Sadly, DEV2.0 (catchy, huh?) is not, as my post title implies, an all-girl band. It's two girls and three guys who just look like girls.

Say what you want about the musical results, there's no denying that the concept is totally punk rock. It wouldn't have been so hot if they'd made Nicole a typical cool chick, but watch the videos and you'll see she totally embraces the spastic Devo aesthetic. The devolution starts now!

January 24, 2006

Beyond death with dignity

Daniel Radosh

Now that the Supreme Court has upheld the right of states to allow medically-assisted suicide for terminally ill patients, it's worth pointing out that for the right-to-die side, this shouldn't be the end of the conversation.

Assisted suicide pits two profound and entirely defensible philosophical positions against one another: that one human being should never kill another one in any circumstances (well, except war or capital punishment, but never mind), and that individuals should have control over their own destinies. Like most people who hold the second belief, I also endorse the sentiment that is at the heart of the first one: that human life is uniquely precious. Which is why I think that when we talk about the right of the terminally ill to choose suicide it's important to make clear that this choice should be free of even the most subtle coercion, and that all other possible choices should be available.

The problem is that under our current healthcare system, these conditions are rarely, if ever, met. Most dying people can not afford the treatments or quality of care that they would genuinely wish for. There is a big difference between saying "I would rather die than live for six more months in this condition under even the best possible circumstances" and "I would rather die than live for six more months in this crappy, understaffed hospital, while my family depletes their savings to keep me here, especially since I can't afford treatment that might prolong my life and the doctors refuse to manage my pain properly."

If we're going to take the extreme step of allowing people the right to doctor-assisted suicide, it's our moral duty to change the system so that as few people as possible ever want to exercise that right. The choices that too many terminally ill patients have right now are really no choices at all.

January 23, 2006

Anti-Caption Contest news

Daniel Radosh

The New Yorker isn't publishing this week, so there's no caption contest, anti- or otherwise. For the winner of last week's contest, click here.

To ease your withdrawal symptoms, why not order tickets now for the February 7th Rejection Show, where I will be joining New Yorker cartoonist Matt Diffee for a presentation of rejected submissions to the actual contest and some highlights from the anti-contest. What most people don't know is that the cartoons used in the New Yorker contest are all originally submitted with captions for publication inside the magazine proper. My hope is that Matt will be willing to share some of these rejections too. Can they really be worse than what readers come up with?

Also on the Rejection Show bill that night: Peter Hyman and Michael Showalter.

January 20, 2006

So how will we download free porn?

Daniel Radosh

Things we will not have in Heaven:
- spouses
- free will
- the Internet

Things we will have in Heaven:
- pets
- the eternal sunshine of the spotless mind

January 20, 2006

Because, after all, you were right about the fuchsia

Daniel Radosh

So we have a rare kid-free weekend coming up and we're going to catch up on a couple of movies, seeing as we haven't been to any since, probably, Harry Potter. Gina is insisting that one of the movies be Brokeback Mountain. The other one is my choice. The problem is there are too many I want to see, so I'm soliciting your advice, my trusted readers. Keep in mind that since we get to everything on DVD eventually, I give preference to movies that really benefit from the Big Screen Experience (even if that also becomes the People in the Seats Next To You Talking on Their Phones the Whole Time Experience). Here's the list of films I want to see, in rough order. Which of them do you recommend?

King Kong, Munich, Walk the Line, Capote, The New World, Syriana, Match Point

Update: In case there was any confusion, movie night is this Thursday, so keep that contradictory advice coming.

January 20, 2006

Thank you for choking

Daniel Radosh

February 24, 2005: Preparing for a radio interview, I vow not to say "thank you" in response to the host saying "thank you."

February 27, 2005: The host is prepared for me, and fucks with my mind.

November 7, 2005: Preparing for a string of radio interviews to promote his book, Doug Gordon vows not to say "thank you" in response to "thank you."

January 18, 2006: Doug goes one for six, with four freebies.

January 19, 2006

Actually that's three things, but I suppose that's beside the point now

Daniel Radosh

"Osama's prolonged absence, and the increasing prominence of his evil twin, Zawahiri, can only reasonably mean one thing: Osama is either dead, sick or incapacitated — all unsuitable states for propaganda productions." —Peter Brookes, New York Post, Jan. 11

January 19, 2006

Well that takes some of the pressure off

Daniel Radosh

According to Lulu Titlescorer, Rapture Ready! has a 64.8% chance of being a New York Times bestseller.

It's a good thing I ditched my earlier working title. America on Ten Commandments a Day has only a 34.8% chance.

Wait, is Rapture an abstract noun or a concrete one?

[Via Gawker]

January 17, 2006

The new style

Daniel Radosh

Hope you like it. Still tweaking, so please let me know if you see anything wrong, either technologically or aesthetically. Big thanks to Kevin Shay who did all the installation, assisted with the design, and even wrote a new plug-in to handle comment spam.

Update: Is that better, all you insecure in your sexuality motherfuckers concerned readers?

January 17, 2006

It's either that or because God is mad at America

Daniel Radosh

If you notice any technical glitches here it's because my chief of technology and I are finally implimenting that redesign I started talking about a few weeks ago. Fortitude!

January 16, 2006

The New Yorker Cartoon Anti-Caption Contest #36

Daniel Radosh

Submit the worst possible caption for this week's New Yorker cartoon. Click here for last week's results. Click here for an introduction and "rules" to this contest. Click here for amplification of those rules. Click here for contest index.


Can you do worse than these?

"I'm beginning to think abortion should be a sacrament."

"It's not what you think. I swallowed a pig whole."

Results after the jump

Continue reading "The New Yorker Cartoon Anti-Caption Contest #36" »

January 13, 2006

Huckapoo really is about me and you after all

Daniel Radosh


By now, I expect to learn disturbing things on my periodic (read: constant) searches for new Huckapoo information. This time I learned three: 1) There is a game called Must Be Pop which involves pretending to be celebrities on LiveJournal. Not entirely sure why this is supposed to be fun. 2) Every member of Huckapoo is accounted for ("Twiggy" has the most active page but none are particularly worth reading; you can find all of them here if you're really interested). 3) this has been going on for years and I had no idea. Wasn't there something like this in Cast of Shadows, only with serial killers?

January 13, 2006

Good news for people who like geek news

Daniel Radosh


The reborn Doctor Who is coming to the Sci-Fi channel in March. Can Torchwood be far behind?

January 13, 2006

Sirius trouble

Daniel Radosh

Sirius satellite radio attracted more than 2 million subscribers with its acquisition of Howard Stern, but now that the hardcore fans have all signed up, it's going to have trouble reaching folks like me, who want to be able to listen to Howard from time to time, but don't want to pony up $100 for the gear, plus $13 a month, especially as I'm still not convinced that the rest of the lineup is going to trump my CD collection for those rare times when I can actually sit and listen to music.

The problem is not that I'm willing to go without Howard rather than spend money, it's that I don't have to. Fire up your favorite file sharing program, enter "Howard Stern" and "Sirius" and you'll find that every episode is available for free download to your computer and iPod (including the secret pre-launch test show). In a way it's better than listening live for 45 minutes in the car; over the week, I've been slowly getting through the whole four hours of the first show, one chunk at a time. (It's great, if you're wondering. Howard has a better attitude but is otherwise unchanged. There are virtually no commercials. And Artie is twice as funny now that he can work blue.)

Clearly Sirius is going to have to find a way to offer just Howard's broadcasts for sale (via Audible?) or else people are just going to get them for free and not sign up for the service anyway. I would happily pay a buck or two for a legal download, and so would most folks, if iTunes success is any way to judge. There's already an arrangement to rebroadcast excerpts on pay-per-view, but that's different, since I prefer the radio experience to the TV one (which, if it's anything like the E! show, will focus more on the T&A than on the other, more interesting aspects of the show).

And now I'm looking forward to the Bob Dylan show on XM, though I do hope the files of that on Gnutella have higher sound quality.

January 13, 2006

Whaddaya think of that?

Daniel Radosh

The Boston Globe's Alex Beam has a column about columns he'll never get around to writing. One of his uncovered subjects is sudoku. Well, he doesn't have to write it, because I just did. In the new issue of The Week, I have a briefing about the craze, its history and meaning. (I'm no fool: I had Francis look it over for me before turning it in). It was interesting to write (and, I hope, to read) but it certainly didn't turn me into a fan of the puzzles. I started to do one just because I figured I should, and I got about halfway before getting bored and giving up.


Of course, I have my own list of articles I'll never write (I think every writer does). Currently at the top is a piece that would have been titled The Erotic Pleasures of Laurie Berkner. If I need to tell you who Laurie Berkner is, you probably don't care in the least. If you already know, you probably know exactly what I'm talking about (come to think of it, this may explain why the two magazines I pitched this to didn't bite). Basically, it's about how every father of young children has a secret crush on LB, one of today's biggest (and best, it should probably be admitted) toddler music stars. I already had a great quote from one friend about her appeal: "It's pretty obvious. She's got a huge rack and she takes care of your kids." Personally, I liked her better pre-makeover (is that botox or just too much makeup?) and I don't think the BerknerBoobies are the only attraction. To me, it's all about that mischeivous shifting of the eyes right as she wakes up from the break in We Are the Dinosaurs. And the tight shirts.

You know, I swear the article was going to be more funny than creepy if I ever actually wrote it. I was probably even going to throw in something about how it wasn't even a disappointment that the wimpy-looking dude in her band is actually her husband, because it looks like I could take him. (Actually a bit of a stretch, since he and I are probably equally wimpy. Indeed, we both went to Oberlin, which says all you need to know. I didn't know him, but we have mutual friends. Hi, Arthur.) Finally I would have settled the popular Ginger/Mary-Ann debate about LB vs. Dan Zanes's accordian player by pointing out that once you see accordian chick without the funky hair (in, say, the Jump Up vid), you realize she's a one-trick pony. (I would have refrained from making squeeze box jokes.)

I still think it could be a fun story, but after those two rejections I didn't have the drive to pursue it. I also began to lose interest somewhere around the 352nd viewing of the dorky song about boots and as the hippie-dippy persona on display in I'm Not Perfect began to detract too from the sex kitten on a trampoline boasting about her stamina in My Energy.

Now aren't you glad this isn't a daddy blog?

January 12, 2006

But are there any?

Daniel Radosh

Opening line of the week: "I remember when 'blogger' was just slang meaning African-American lumberjack."

From Sam Sugar, who is apparently angling to be the Nick Denton of sex (with your help?)

January 11, 2006

Even Dubiouser Achievements 2006

Daniel Radosh

The February Esquire is just out, featuring the annual Dubious Achievement Awards, to which I once again contributed extensively. This year a lot of my gags got in. I'm particularly happy with my jokes about Golden Palace, Scooter Libby, TheAristocrats, and the NHL. (Jokes I most wish I'd written: the ones about Kal-El Cage and the White House ethics course.)

But as always some of my funniest headlines didn't make the cut. Or, more precisely, headlines I thought were funny actually were not. Since I hate to let anything go to waste, here, after the jump, are the least bad of my rejected Dubious Achievement Award submissions.

Continue reading "Even Dubiouser Achievements 2006" »

January 11, 2006

I hear Alito's more of a git-r-done man

Daniel Radosh

Another story from December I wasn't around to blog about at the time: the New York Times article on the comic stylings of Supreme Court justices. This one part in particular.

On the other hand, in a January argument in a statute-of-limitations case, Justice Anthony M. Kennedy made an amusing observation about the absurdity of modern life.

"Recently I lost my luggage," Justice Kennedy said. "I had to go to the lost and found at the airline, and the lady said has my plane landed yet."

There you have it: a Supreme Court justice who thinks he's Bill Engvall and an (elitist!) New York Times writer who apparently doesn't recognize a Bill Engvall joke when he hears it. No wonder America is in such bad shape.

January 11, 2006

The AFA's shortsighted strategy

Daniel Radosh

The fundamentalist attack on The Book of Daniel appears to be succeeding, with advertisers and affiliates dropping like flies. But this could be a Pyrrhic victory, a throwback to the boycott evangelicalism of the 1980s. In Shaking the World for Jesus, an analysis of Christian pop culture that is much better than its title, Heather Hendershot notes that as long as Christians defined themselves as "nonconsumers with a vengence" -- people eager to turn of the TV and stop buying the advertised products -- networks and advertisers would certainly try hard not to alienate them, but would also make no effort to cater to them. It was only after evangelicals began to identify themselves as people who would buy all the same crap as everyone else -- as long as it was tailored to them -- that they really gained cultural power. In fact, I would guess -- though I have no evidence for this -- that somewhere in the development process of the Book of Daniel, someone got the idea that this could be another opportunity to tap the Christian market, seeing as how it's a show about a sympathetic priest who has a serious personal relationship with Jesus Christ. The part this hypothetical executive didn't get, as I pointed out earlier, is that fundamentalists don't want just any pro-Christian media, they want pro-fundamentalist media.

In that previous post, I mentioned my college buddy who is now an Epsicopal priest in Westchester — just like Aidan Quinn! "John" live-blogged the first episode with entertaining results (while flipping back and forth to Remember the Titans). Highlights after the jump.

Continue reading "The AFA's shortsighted strategy" »

January 11, 2006

Intelligence is our middle name

Daniel Radosh

Here's a Christmas present you probably missed if you weren't surfing the web on December 25: A three-part package in The Chicago Tribune on the comedy of errors that was the CIA kidnapping (sorry, "rendering") of cleric Abu Omar from Italy in 2003.

The lead article reveals the CIA agents to be hilariously sloppy in their work. Whether this reflects incompetence, arrogance (justifiable arrogance, that is; after all, it's not like they'll ever actually be held responsible for anything), or the belief that the Italian government had their backs (hmmm) is for another time. For now, just enjoy the misadventure, described this way by the Trib: "So amateurish was the Milan rendition that the Italian lawyer for Robert Seldon Lady, whom prosecutors identify as the former CIA chief in Milan, says Lady's primary defense will be that he was too good a spy to have been involved with something so badly planned and carried out."

The list of mistakes made here is long, but it begins with the operatives' indiscriminate use of their cell phones, not only to communicate with one another but with colleagues in the U.S. Consulate in Milan, in northern Virginia where the CIA has its headquarters, and in some cases even with the folks back home...

A few of the operatives actually put their cell phone numbers on their hotel registration cards. When one operative purchased a cell phone from a store in Milan, she registered it in what police believe is her real name. At least three other operatives used their own names when registering at hotels and renting cars, investigators say.

One operative made sure when checking into hotels to hand over her frequent flyer number, so as to receive extra credit for her hotel stay. Her frequent flyer account, obtained by police, shows a record of her travel after leaving Milan, which may include subsequent renditions in Norway, Austria and Belgium.

Two operatives, who spent several days together at the Milan Hilton, paid their bills with Visa cards that differed only in the last two numbers. Those Visa cards, like the ones used by seven other operatives, are traceable to the same Delaware bank.

Continue reading "Intelligence is our middle name" »

January 9, 2006

The New Yorker Cartoon Anti-Caption Contest #35

Daniel Radosh

Submit the worst possible caption for this week's New Yorker cartoon. Click here for last week's results. Click here for an introduction and "rules" to this contest. Click here for amplification of those rules. Click here for contest index.


Sorry, almost forgot to give my own lame entries:

Dammit, Boris, if you're going to pick up strange women, at least have the decency not to bring them into our home.

Shut up, Martha, everybody knows your boa constrictor is a clip-on.

OK, I can take a hint. We'll go see Snakes on a Plane.

Results after the jump

Continue reading "The New Yorker Cartoon Anti-Caption Contest #35" »

January 6, 2006

Daniel in the lion's den

Daniel Radosh

Yes, technically I'm still not blogging until I've got the new design up and running. But I can't resist weighing in on the controversy over The Book of Daniel, the TV show that debuts tonight. If you haven't heard, the religious right, led by the so-called American Family Association, has condemned this show about a priest with a troubled (in that soap opera way) family. The key thing to note is that the AFA campaign gives the lie to the claim that the religous right just want to promote "faith" or "religious values." You see, The Book of Daniel has in fact been embraced by the Episcopal Church, which is the religion it portrays. What conservative evangelicals actually have a problem with in this case is not secular Hollywood pop culture, but progressive Episcopalianism. They're not defending religion, they're attacking a religion they don't like. If you doubt me, check the official Blog of Daniel, maintained by the Episcopal Diocese of Washington, where antagonists have to repeatedly be reminded that "Comments like 'Episcopalians stink,' and 'Burn in hell,' while admirably concise, are not going to make the cut."

I have no intention of actually watching the show, which looks idiotic (though I did love Jesus when he played two different crazy dudes on Deadwood), but I kind of hope people do so that they can see that there is a religious left out there -- or at the very least, a religion which embraces gay folks. Again, exposure to that truth will make it harder for groups like the AFA to pass off gay-bashing as "Christian values."

As for whether this show can do that, I'm counting on my pal the Salty Vicar to watch tonight and give his opinion.

January 4, 2006

My complications had complications

Daniel Radosh

Blogging, and the New Yorker Cartoon Anti-Caption Contest, will return on Monday. I hope.

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