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Archives for May, 2006

May 31, 2006

The Scouting Magazine Cartoon Anti-Caption Contest #2

Daniel Radosh

Just like the New Yorker thing, but with cartoons from Scouting, the official Boy Scout magazine. Click here for the results of contest #1.

See cartoon here

May 31, 2006

First they came for the Internets

Daniel Radosh

I got a call this morning from some telecom lobbying group urging me to support legislation to "protect the Internet from government interference."

Nice try, I replied, but I support Net Neutrality. I explained that as a small-time blogger, I don't want an Internets that stacks the deck in favor of big corporations. So then he asked for the name of my blog, and said he'd check it out after work and post a personal comment about this. Do ya think he's coming here to say that he's just a college kid making minimum wage to work the phone bank and that really he agrees with me? 'Cause if not, he is way to dedicated to his cause. I mean, if everybody waited till after their work day to go posting online, the whole blogosphere would shut down. And this is work related! Don't be afraid to get paid, my friend. Either way, I wrote this post just for you to have somewhere to comment, so don't let me down.

But drop the government interference angle. What else is the history of the Internet if not government interference?

May 30, 2006

Gawker really is the devil

Daniel Radosh

deviljess.jpg Note to Jessica:

Next time you let some publicist attach your photo to a lame press release for an even lamer reality show on some alleged cable channel that nobody has ever heard of, at least have them do red-eye reduction first.

May 30, 2006

Hack Week

Daniel Radosh


"The city they [sailors on Fleet Week shore leave] are visiting is... nothing like the one experienced by the untold thousands of sailors in untold thousands of ships who have come before them over the decades. Once it was strip clubs and bars and tattoo parlors and girls. And while there still may be some of that, sailors who sauntered around Midtown on Memorial Day gave some surprising answers when asked how they experience New York City in the two or three short days they are here. They mentioned frozen cappuccinos, and Off Broadway, and the Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art, and architecture — specifically, terra cotta facades." —The New York Times, May 30, 2006

"The petty officers were going to disappoint those who think the nation's sailors are a hard-drinking, loutish bunch. In a cab downtown, their discussion focused on their husbands (both Navy men), the latest 'Star Wars' movie, Crate and Barrel versus Pottery Barn and that stalwart of conversation — shoes." —The New York Times, May 28, 2005

"It was barely past noon yesterday and already the three seamen were in a room full of scantily clad, statuesque women... Mr. Zima and two of his shipmates were eyeing a woman who goes by the name Andromeda. Full-figured, but coolly professional. They found her at one of New York City's finest topless joints -- the Carroll and Milton Petrie European Sculpture Court at the Metropolitan Museum of Art... Mr. Zima and his buddies had already done Wall Street, Chinatown, the Guggenheim Museum ("Everything was upside down," one of them said) and had come to the Metropolitan mostly to check out the medieval armor. There were others at the museum besides Mr. Zima and his friends. Larry Brantley, 38, a chief electrician on the aircraft carrier America, was wandering among the Impressionists... These guys are sailors. Aren't they supposed to be out drinking and ripping up the town?" —The New York Times, May 27, 1995

"There were also new-age sailors, the fighting men and women who said they avoid not only strong drink but also high-cholesterol foods. For instance, Vernon L. Black of Pittsburgh, a third-class petty officer on the Kennedy, said he spent much of Thursday browsing through the New York City Public Library." —The New York Times, May 29, 1993

"Two officers from the carrier decided to skip the bars and burlesque of Times Square and headed straight for the epicenter of Manhattan sophistication, grabbing ringside seats on the outdoor terrace of Le Relais on Madison Avenue at 63d Street." —The New York Times, June 10, 1991

May 29, 2006

Maybe I shouldn't be proud of this

Daniel Radosh

Remote_GirlBTN.jpgA few weeks ago, I started seeing ads for this new Adam Sandler movie Click. The tagline is "What if you had a universal remote... that controlled your universe?"

No question, that's a great high concept. At least, I thought it was thirteen years ago when I pitched it to MTV. Yep, back in 1993, my Spy colleague Brian Jacobsmeyer and I came up with three sitcom ideas for MTV, including this one:

CHANNEL SURFERS Situation: A gang of high-school-age kids discover a magical remote control that works on the real world. With it they can make life change channels, pause, rewind, fast forward, etc. Naturally, their attempts to use the remote to solve problems almost always backfire. When the remote is used to change channels, they wind up briefly on other stations, in shows and commercials that are parodies of real shows past and present. Comedy: Self-aware. Over-the-top. Moves at the speed suggested by the title. The show is virtually a spoof of every other magical/comedy/adventure show from I Dream of Jeanie to The Greatest American Hero, although it is also funny on its own terms. Features a great deal of Zucker-Abrahams-Zucker type jokes, but also supports a strong comic premise each episode. Starring: A typical group of kids, not always good friends, but bound by their possession of the Universal Remote. Also: A typical assortment of teachers, parents, love interests and troublemakers, as well as the occasional mad scientist or government agent out to steal the remote.

The exec we pitched it to loved it, and she asked us to come back the next week to present it to her boss. But while Brian and I were fleshing it out, we panicked. How many episodes can we sustain this one gimmick, we thought? So we did something incredibly dumb: we chucked out the high concept and wrote a new pitch for a show based on the one element of the first version that we thought was actually pretty clever, the channel changing. Our revised version would take a single storyline for each episode and show how it would play out as a sitcom *click* as a cop show *click* as a talk show *click* and so on. It would be all parody and dizzyingly fast-paced, which was what the kids liked back then.

Needless to say, the exec was dismayed when we showed up in front of her boss with something other than what he'd been led to expect. "Why did you change it?" she asked. "Well," we explained, "we just realized, you know, how many times can they fast forward through a boring class, or rewind a date?"

"How many times can they try to get off the island?" she replied.

Brian and I convinced ourselves that it was for the best. We wanted to do something better than a Gen-X Gilligan's Island. Sure, if they'd said, "Let's go back to the first version," we would have done it, but the magic spell was broken. Still, we had an in with the network, and later Brian and I would go on to almost get hired for a talk show they were developing. This time the producers flipped for us (the words "I can't promise anything, but clean out your desks" were spoken), but we didn't click with the host — some guy named Jon something. After that, Brian realized I was dead weight and went solo. He landed at Politically Incorrect and is still writing for Bill Maher, as far as I know.

But I have a blog.

May 29, 2006

National Review editors are silly cunt sausages

Daniel Radosh

Hey, I didn't say it, John Lydon did. Recently, NR published a list of the 50 greatest conservative rock songs of all time (hey, didn't music club do that ages ago?) and a quick read through it shows that at least — at least — half of them aren't conservative at all — the Sex Pistols's Bodies being the example that Lydon was presciently objecting to when he said (so very colorfully) that he is pro-choice and that people who think his lyrics are anti-abortion aren't thinking hard enough. Pete Townshend less eloquently blasts NR's top choice.

As others have noted, there are a few general flaws with the list, including the facts that the NR editors think any song that is anti-Stalinist is conservative and that they clearly don't understand irony.

But there are also several instances where they just seem to be hoping that nobody knows what the chosen song actually says.This satirical list of 50 more "conservative" rock songs makes the point pretty well, and this analysis tackles the question of what is meant by conservative, but for sheer missing the effing point:

My City Was Gone is about Wal Mart-ization, not "central planning."

I Fought the Law is about, um, fighting the law, not obeying it.

This one's more open to interpretation, I guess, but I've always heard Stay Together for the Kids as a lament about parents who think fighting all the time in a miserable marriage is preferable to getting a divorce.

Keep Your Hands to yourself doesn't "affirm old-time sexual mores," it whines about them.

If the last verse of Godzilla means anything, it means the same thing as the movie: no good can come from nuclear weapons.

Why Don't You Get a Job "capture[s] a motive force behind welfare reform"?! Whaaaa? Tell me what these lyrics have to do with welfare: "My friend's got a girlfriend and he hates that bitch... She sits on her ass/He works his hands to the bone/ To give her money every payday/ But she wants more dinero just to stay at home/Well my friend/ You gotta say... Why don't you get a job?" Shouldn't conservatives be encouraging men to be breadwinners?

Frankly, the most conservative thing about NR's list is that there are no almost no blacks allowed. What did they ever do for rock and roll anyway?

May 28, 2006

The New Yorker Cartoon Anti-Caption Contest #53

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.


"So what's the buzz? No, I mean from your wings vibrating 300 times per second, I know there's no buzz in the styles section."

"So, is Tom Friedman full of shit again?"*

*Also works with: Maureen Dowd or David Brooks

Results after the jump

Continue reading "The New Yorker Cartoon Anti-Caption Contest #53" »

May 24, 2006

Now that's what I call two Americas!

Daniel Radosh


Damsels of democracy week continues. From the 2004 Democratic Convention. [Hat tip: Martin]

May 23, 2006

That's a blog with only a thin strip of text down the middle

Daniel Radosh

A Brazilian blog has this to say about my damsels of democracy posts [translation by Babel Fish]:

Politics in the vein The blogosfera walks magic with a young woman (beautiful, for signal) that it walks celebrating Montenegrin independence. Everything very good: but it is not as well as if it was, here between us, Lebanese.

Fortunately, I don't need a translator to understand the first comment: "Quantos anos você tem? 12?"


May 23, 2006


Daniel Radosh

Radosh.net sexy activist correspondent TG Gibbon (that is, the correspondent who covers sexy activists, though he may also be a sexy activist himself for all I know) notes that the rally-babe photo trend goes back at least as far as 1952.


The Getty Images caption reads, "Pretty, buxom woman wearing fitted top that bears slogan: GLADLY FOR ADLAI, as man admires her during presidential campaign rally for Adlai Stevenson."

It would work just as well without that first comma.

May 22, 2006

That's why they call it Montenegrow!

Daniel Radosh

Remember the Lebababe and the Syrian skank? Well meet Miss Montenegro, the face (and belly and BalkanBoobies) of this week's independence movement.




These protest babes photos courtesty of TG Gibbon, who has so far spotted her on BBC.com, Yahoo and just waiting to be snapped up at Getty Images.

In other Montenegran chick news, I'm sorry to report that all those Coronas have apparently taken their toll on Hermione.

May 22, 2006

Somebody's been sleeping in my bed

Daniel Radosh

nf-goldilocks.jpgAs an anti-fan of dramatic, totally unverifiable numbers in news stories (e.g., $20B, $10B, $1B, $134,121), I was delighted by this Legal Times article [hat tip: Vance] on Alberto Gonzales's recent claim that "at any given time, 50,000 predators are on the Internet prowling for children.”

But where did that figure come from? Spokespersons for the FBI, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, and the Crimes Against Children Research Center at the University of New Hampshire say it’s not based on any research they’re aware of. The AG’s press secretary has the answer, though: "That number is actually pulled from [NBC newsmagazine] Dateline and other media outlets."

LT the points out that Dateline sources the figure only as a "number that was widely used in law enforcement circles." And now that the attorney general himself has used it, that's even more true!

But the best part of this takedown are the terms of art employed by Ken Lanning, a former FBI agent who advised Dateline, or at least tried to. Lanning calls the stat possibly, "a WAG — wild-assed guess," and "a Goldilocks number": not too small and not too large.

PS: There's one final Update today at the end of the original kiddie porn industry post.

May 21, 2006

The New Yorker Cartoon Anti-Caption Contest #52

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.


"Eek! There's a rowboat on my belly!"

Results after the jump

Continue reading "The New Yorker Cartoon Anti-Caption Contest #52" »

May 19, 2006

Madonna? Whore? Complex!

Daniel Radosh

Everybody and their pre-mother is blogging about today's Washington Post article with the trollriffic headline, Forever Pregnant. Short version: all women should take pre-natal vitamins and otherwise treat themselves as if they might be pregnant.

My insta-reaction was the same as yours: Holy Handmaid's Tale, Batman! I'm still leaning in that direction, but one thing gives me pause. In the past, I've been merciless in my condemnation of pro-abstinence groups that would ban the new HPV vaccine because it has to be given to girls before they start having sex. And I'm not entirely sure how my reaction to today's news differs from theirs to the vaccine.

The absties' argument is that giving pre-sexually active girls a vaccine for an STD (or, for that matter, information about birth control) treats them like sluts-in-waiting. It says to them: "Your role in society is to have sex, preferably lots of it, and society's obligation to you is get out of your way and minimize the potential for harm."

The feminist argument against the new CDC guidelines is that it treats women like wombs with legs. It says to them: "Your role in society is to make babies, preferably lots of them, and society's obligation to you is to get out of your way and minimize the potential for harm."

My response to the absties is that: not everyone agrees with what you think the normative behavior for girls should be; you're exaggerating the message that's being sent; and even if we do want girls to be abstinent, not all of them will, and we should not sacrifice their health because we're afraid of sending a "mixed message."

So when it comes to the CDC report, why should you and I be so protective of the feminist message — that women are more than just baby-makers — that we're willing to risk the health of the babies who are going to be born from unexpected pregnancies whether we like it or not. Yes, there's a quantitative difference between the outcomes (cancer vs. low birth-weight) but philosophically speaking, isn't the outraged reaction of both parties to the science-based health-care approach they disapprove of morally fundamentally the same? This isn't a rhetorical question. I'm willing to believe that my analogy is wrong if you want to talk me out of it.

And anyway, Ezra and Amanda point out that the Washington Post article is misleading and that the CDC guidelines are, if anything, socially progressive. Amanda thinks this means the Post twisted it to push its own anti-feminist agenda, but to me, everything about the Post article from the headline on is contemptuous of the report, which means that if there is spin, it's to portray the Bush-era CDC as sexist and anti-science, hence the blogfrenzy. WaPo was actually stirring up outrage to push a liberal agenda! Or, more likely, it was simply following a storyline already in progress.

May 18, 2006

Radar is back — as the Thursday Styles section!

Daniel Radosh

black.jpg "This all-black toilet paper from Spain is brand new, real, and mercilessly chic...Suddenly the question becomes not who would want luxury toilet paper but why don’t we already have it here? We’re Americans, damn it! No one tells us we’re not good enough to be manipulated by upscale design or writhing nude models!" —Royal Flush, Radar, Sep/Oct 2005

"If black is the new black, again, should its influence extend to toilet paper? Can toilet paper make it as an object of design, a touchstone of chic? More important, should it?" —This Season's Must-Have: The Little Black Roll, The New York Times, May 18, 2006

And while we're at it, Spy was doing this 15 years ago.

May 18, 2006

The Scouting Magazine Cartoon Anti-Caption Contest #1

Daniel Radosh

Frequent New Yorker anti-captioner Walt alerts me to another cartoon contest rich with possibilities for subversively bad jokes. It seems that Scouting Magazine, the official journal of the Boy Scouts of America, is now giving readers "an opportunity to partner with long-time contributing illustrator Bill Basso in creating a captioned cartoon to be published in the March-April 2007 issue of the magazine—and win up to $400 in BSA Supply Group gift certificates in the process." Oh, and it says here that "Entries can be submitted in two ways." I thought the Boy Scouts banned those people! [That's the kind of easy joke I'd like you to avoid]

The Scouting contest is open to BSA members only. But the anti-caption contest is open to everyone. Even girls. Winner and contest #2 (of 4) will be posted roughly one week from today.

See the cartoon.

Results after the jump

Continue reading "The Scouting Magazine Cartoon Anti-Caption Contest #1" »

May 18, 2006

Tuesday's Washington Post would be a lot more interesting without that damn colon

Daniel Radosh


May 15, 2006

No, I mean it. Stop me.

Daniel Radosh

"Stop me if you've heard this one before." —Submitted by Matt as the worst possible caption for New Yorker Cartoon Caption Contest #49 (rabbi, priest and minister walk into a bar), April 30.

"Stop me if you've heard this one before." —Selected by New Yorker editors as a finalist for best possible caption for Cartoon Caption Contest #49, May 15.

[Click here for an index to the New Yorker Cartoon Anti-Caption Contest.]

May 15, 2006

The New Yorker Cartoon Anti-Caption Contest #51

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.


Results after the jump

Continue reading "The New Yorker Cartoon Anti-Caption Contest #51" »

May 12, 2006

Where shall I find a new adversary so close to my own level?

Daniel Radosh

Articles infringing on my Christian pop culture territory appear in newspapers and magazines every day. Nine times out of a ten I don't sweat it, since they're usually boring, ill-informed or both.

The tenth time is when I find something like Matt Labash's saavy and hilarious What Would Jesus Rap? in the new Weekly Standard. Riding shotgun with evangelical rapcore band Junkyard Prophet, Labash captures everything that is so preposterous and compelling about Christian rock. This is the kind of thing I'm hoping to accomplish, if from a different perspective, so it kind of freaks me out when someone else does it first and, probably, better. The sucker punch was all the more sneaky because the abysmally hacky title left me expecting so much less.

It was a common phenomenon in the churches of my childhood after guest-speakers armed with Power-Point presentations would mount the pulpit at your local youth retreat. They'd ruin your good-times vibe by telling you how rock'n'roll was Satan's soundtrack. As evidence, they'd whip out their highlight reel, in which Yoko Ono's "Kiss, Kiss, Kiss" played backwards purportedly hissed "6-6-6." To the untrained ear, it sounded more like "cyst, cyst, cyst." It left us Christian kids disillusioned, confused, and wondering who in their right mind would listen to Yoko Ono forward, let alone backwards.

May 10, 2006

Things I have recently been asked to promote, which I am only too happy to do

Daniel Radosh

• Two new books by friends. Indefensible and Iraq: The Logic of Withdrawal. More when I've had a chance to read them, but get a taste of that intriguing first title at the author's blog.

• Disney characters go off the rez to explain the fair use doctrine.

• Help save a vital American industry: the building of KITT replicas.

May 9, 2006

Think of it as one of those clip shows they run halfway through a season of Survivor

Daniel Radosh

Eric Berlin jumps on an LJ meme. I'm adapting it here partly because a friend recently confessed that he never understands my blog posts (the words "so coded" were used), partly out of laziness, and largely out of curiosity about what I'll get. It's still cheesy, I know, but I left out all the truly goofy LJ angst.

Basically, this is your chance to ask anything you want about anything you've seen on this blog — or anything you think you missed. If you've refrained from asking about something in the past because you felt like you should have known, now's your chance. If you were confused about whether I meant something ironically or not, I'll try to clear it up for you. If you've been wondering about anything basic about your humble blogger — where I live, how old I am, what my favorite teen pop group is — you can ask that too. This one time only, I promise to answer in an honest and straightforward manner. Probably.

Or you can not ask anything, and I will be mortified by the sound of the crickets.

May 9, 2006

Meet the gay, Ugandan David Brooks

Daniel Radosh

0018-0411-1205-0252_SM.jpg"It occurred to me then, that for close to the three decades that I have graced the face of this earth, I have hardly witnessed, apart from in the movies, a couple having sex... People will always tell you that so and so are sleeping together, but seeing them in the act! Never. Unless you turned it into your mission like the snoopy well known Red Pepper.... Psychology experts reveal that generally, one in 10 males is more sexually oriented to the same sex. My contention is that each of us is in contact with at least a gay person on a daily basis. If you are in a taxi as you read this article, at least one of the 14 passengers, if it is not you, is gay!"

Susan Caskie, the international editor at The Week, forwards this baffling but strangely compelling column from Uganda's Daily Monitor. Remember: "heterosexual counterparts thrive on the fictitious imagination of the sensations that they cause to each other."

May 8, 2006

Plan A is theocracy

Daniel Radosh

Poor Anne M. Farrell of Decatur, Ga. On Saturday, she has a letter in The New York Times accusing Nick Kristof of setting up a "straw man" in his column about opposition to emergency contraception. "Those who oppose use of the emergency contraceptive Plan B do so primarily because they think that it causes abortion, not because it will lead to increased promiscuity," she writes.

Slightly undermining this argument, however, is the letter on the same day from Susan Beck of Milford, Conn., who writes, "I know how damaging early, uncommitted sex can be to a young woman's sense of self... It's the sex itself we must protect teenagers against."

But of course the real beat-down comes from Russel Shorto's amazing and alarming Times Magazine cover story on The War on Contraception, which more than proves its thesis statement, "It really is all about sex." The article is even more thorough and well-written than the Salon piece on the same subject a month ago, which I also characterized as "amazing and alarming." I can't even begin to highlight all the vital information in it. If you want to know where this country is headed, you must read it for yourself.

And where is the country headed? Gina and I had a somewhat heated debate over this in response to this article, me calling on my area of expertise and she on hers. I gloomily predicted that given the strides already made on limiting abortion, promoting purity chastity abstinence and strangling access to birth control, we could easily return to a time when contraception is illegal, at least for teenagers, and probably for any unmarried couples. Gina, however, argued that regardless of whether women would want to give up their rights to not have ten children in their lifetime, men — including good Christian men — would never give up their right to non-procreative sex. (And it's true I've recently met plenty of conservative Christians who ardently believe that sex is more about pleasure than procreation — but in the context of marriage, of course.) So who's right?

Speaking of abstinence education, Saletan misses the funniest conservative response to the fact that kids who take virginity pledges are prone to lying (for instance, "52 percent of pledgers denied a year later that they'd pledged. Among pledgers who later admitted to having sex the year after the pledge, 73 percent denied they'd pledged."). In drafting their evaluations of V-pledges, folks like Robert Rector, who makes a cameo in Shorto's article, invent two categories called "strong pledgers" and "weak pledgers." Weak pledgers are defined as anyone who later denies that they took the pledge and are then artificially separated out from the data pool when presenting evidence of the pledges' effectiveness. The fact that these just happen to be the same people who failed to keep the pledge is mere coincidence.

May 8, 2006

They're draining his circulatory system and replacing it with all-new vodka

Daniel Radosh

Keith Richards undergoes surgery after fall

May 8, 2006

The New Yorker Cartoon Anti-Caption Contest #50

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.


"That's it. No more Thursday Styles section for you."

Results after the jump

Continue reading "The New Yorker Cartoon Anti-Caption Contest #50" »

May 5, 2006

What was I thinking, letting you post your own captions for free?

Daniel Radosh

Everyone here knows that your New Yorker cartoon anti-captions are always funnier than the real ones. Now The New Yorker is tacitly acknowledging this too — and they've found a way to make a buck or 50 off it. Frequent anti-caption finalist J alerts us to a new (I think) feature at The New Yorker web site called Caption It! Cartoons, which allows you to order prints of New Yorker contest cartoons with your rejected captions.

Well, not your rejection captions, seeing as how the fine print says, "we reserve the right not to print your caption or fulfill your order if we deem the language to be of a graphic or offensive nature." Oh, like we're the ones who put the skinny chick in bed with the snow globe!

By the way, the introduction to this feature begins, "We admit it, humor is very subjective." Sounds like the excuse of someone who never asked by his elementary school teacher to "say something funny".

May 4, 2006

Could George Lucas be a bigger dick?

Daniel Radosh

I've always suspected that, despite his protests, George Lucas would one day release the unaltered Star Wars trilogy on DVD, simply because he's a money-hungry cow. He's so greedy, I thought, that he'll wait till we've all caved in and bought the tarted up perversions, then get us to spend more money on the ones we wanted in the first place.

How foolish I was to underestimate the power of the Dark Side! Instead of merely releasing the original trilogy, he's packaging both versions together — which means if we already own the re-releases, we'll have to buy them a second time to get the ones we don't own. Oh, and he's making it a limited release to cut down on the possibility of saving a few bucks on a used copy.

I'm waiting for the next version, where Han Solo shoots George Lucas.

May 4, 2006

McClellan then explained that Bush was not even aware that Spanish is, like, a whole different language

Daniel Radosh

The White House is denying that Bush ever sang the Star-Spangled Banner in Spanish — because he's "not that good" with the language. But has he ever tacitly endorsed the singing of the national anthem in Spanish? By, say, hiring somebody to do so at his first inauguration?

From the Cox News Service report of January 18, 2001:

A racially diverse string of famous and once famous performers entertained Bush, soon-to-be First Lady Laura Bush, Vice President-elect Richard B. Cheney and his wife, Lynne, who watched on stage from a special viewing area. Pop star Jon Secada sang the national anthem in English and Spanish.

And speaking of traitors, there was also an early warning that a certain someone couldn't be trusted.

Seated in the audience, Retired Gen. Colin L. Powell, flush from his Senate confirmation as Secretary of State, sang along as Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis Jr., original members of the pop group The Fifth Dimension, performed " Let the Sun Shine In."

Fucking hippie.

Update: According to a commenter, Cox News got the wrong song. Damn you, Nexis.

May 4, 2006

A narrative is agreed upon

Daniel Radosh

Richard Cohen speaks for the liberal media: "Colbert was not just a failure as a comedian but rude."

Also, Jude Law is one of our finest actors.

May 3, 2006

Same difference

Daniel Radosh

From a recent e-mail to Oberlin College alumni (classes of '90-'92):

First and foremost, a serious error was found in the "Tribute for Deceased Classmates" letter that was enclosed with the class letters. We have learned that our alumni database incorrectly listed Nnenna Ogwo '92 as deceased... Nnenna has a music career in New York, NY.

May 2, 2006

Colbert 08

Daniel Radosh

Like Noam Scheiber, I remember hearing Jon Stewart say that he hates it when his audience cheers rather than laughs, and I'm totally with him on that. And I believe Robert George when he insists that he really, genuinely, irrespective of politics, didn't find Colbert funny.

But I disagree.

I hate watching video online, so I've only read the transcript of Stephen Colbert's monologue, and I suppose its possible his timing was really off or something, but as written, most of these jokes really connect. Yes, there are a few clunkers (the photo ops line, the John McCain section), but overall, Colbert wasn't just mean, he was funny. And that's what made him dangerous.

To be fair, the Bush skit had some pretty funny moments too ("Some of my critics in the international community call me arrogant. I will not even honor that with a response. Screw 'em."), but as many folks have noted — meaning this, somehow, as a criticism of Colbert — Bush "played by the rules." Keep it light, don't address real issues, be even-handed and self-deprecating. Colbert looked at those rules and said "screw 'em."

Of course, if it hadn't been funny it would have been no more effective, and just as embarrassing, as when the old dude stood up and ranted at Bush at that town meeting. That guy didn't shake Bush. Colbert did.

Colbert's performance reminds me of the moment in V for Vendetta when the talk show host starts making Dear Leader vs. terrorist jokes. Criticism can be deflected, but once they laugh at you, it's all over. Of course, the powers that be don't crumble right away. The host gets disappeared; Colbert gets ignored. But either way, a point of no return has been reached.

Continue reading "Colbert 08" »

May 2, 2006

Code breakers

Daniel Radosh

Predictably, some in the European Catholic Church are calling on Christians to boycott The Da Vinci Code movie. As I've noted in the past, however, most American evangelicals have learned that boycotting (becoming anti-consumers) is a less effective means of impacting the culture than alternative consumption — which is why there's a little-noticed grassroots movement (if it works, which it won't, remember that you heard it here first) to get all US Christians to go on May 19 to the only studio movie opening opposite the DVC: Over the Hedge. The idea: shock Hollywood when a family-friendly cartoon triumphs over the big-budget, Christ-hating Da Vinci.

Um, yeah. It's a slightly more sophisticated approach (and the low-key grassroots element means that nobody outside the church will notice when it fizzles), as is the slew of books aimed at refuting the evidence of the DVC (expressing your ideas is always better than shutting out other people's), but, frankly, the most sophisticated thing Christians could do is to be more secure in their faith and not get into a panic about a stupid summer movie.

And, of course, some are doing just that. Last weekend, I met a woman who works at an evangelical theater in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. I happened to ask what kinds of books she reads, and she answered, "Right now, I'm reading The Da Vinci Code. I wanted to see what all the fuss is about." Noticing my surprise, she said, "It's fiction. I can read it as fiction. It's certainly not going to shake my belief in the Bible." Damn straight. I'm Jewish, but I'm more than capable of enjoying a book that distorts and misrepresents ancient Jewish history and theology. Like, say, The New Testament.

Besides. Over the fraking Hedge? Is that what we want to teach our children? That talking animals are superior to suburbanites?

May 1, 2006

Everyone knows your caption is a clip-on

Daniel Radosh

From the beginning I've said that the hardest part — the only hard part, really — about the New Yorker Cartoon Anti-Caption Contest, is coming up with an entry that's worse than the ones the real New Yorker contest judges think are good.

And so the moment I've been waiting for has finally arrived. As Blog About Town points out, one of the finalists in Caption Contest #47 (armed office chase) is virtually identical to a submission to the Anti-Caption Contest. Indeed, to the very first, most obvious submission: "When can you start?"

Remember, just because New Yorker readers are phoning it in, doesn't mean you can too.

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