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Archives for August, 2008

August 31, 2008

The skeleton had a boner!

Vance Lehmkuhl

I want to correct my earlier post - apparently McCain's VP pick was a different Palin.

How different? Well, in a way that seems pretty significant to John McCain himself, if this selection of clips from Jed is any indicator. Fave moments are :29 when you can see his lips quivering and almost hear him thinking "oh, mama!", :20 when he snaps out of his reverie as though suddenly remembering where he is, and the constant fiddling with... hmmmmm.... his wedding ring.

August 30, 2008

The Skeleton Wore Bones!

TG Gibbon

I hate comic books. Sure Spiegelman and Herge are great and I haven't read Moore but I'm sure he's great, too, and blah blah blah. Aside from Tintin the only comic books I really read were from that one as yet unredeemed genre; war comics. The British ones can be fairly sophisticated but the American ones (Our Fighting Forces featuring the Losers I'm looking at you) are wholly without merit, wallowing in puerile violence and foolishly simplistic "manly" ethics. Attempts to salvage the lost pleasures of youth in kickball or skateboards are one thing but if Hipsters ever try to co-opt Sgt. Rock then they'll get what they deserve.

But I do LOVE comic book covers! The horror comics of the seventies, Eerie and Creepy are particular favorites but I can get lost for hours browsing any number of titles and publishers and eras. Old Captain Marvel covers are kind of astonishing kitsch artifacts on their own. Girls' Love Stories offers a grim glimpse of female life from the 40s to the 70s, all revolving around one simple theme, "You are not good enough!"

Repetition, in fact, is the prevailing mode of many titles, which I'm sure comes as no surprise, it makes sense given the low costs and high outputs involved. One especially charming example struck me the other day as I was looking over the covers of Dark Mysteries, a minor title beginning publication in 1951.

This is the fourth cover:


Continue reading "The Skeleton Wore Bones!" »

August 29, 2008


Vance Lehmkuhl

Say what you will about McCain's surprise pick for VP, but at least you know he'll be invaluable when it comes to the debates.

August 29, 2008

An historic night for both Democrats and Time Warner stock

Kevin Guilfoile


August 28, 2008

Gawker is Right

David F

See here.

August 27, 2008

Protest Babes Worship Sun...and UFOs!

David F

Last Saturday was National Go Topless Protest Day! I mention this in case you don't keep abreast of such matters. Gothamist, which doesn't always stay on top of toplessness itself, covered the Central Park demonstration with photographs that are NSFW even though they are just as revealing as that SFW steroid shot in the preceding post. The world can be unjust that way.

Gothamist identified the founder of GoTopless.org as Raël, but it took a while for commenters to realize that the founder was that Raël—you know, the leader of Raëlism. Not to be confused with Realism, Raëlism is a sexy little "UFO religion" that has also gotten attention by associating with Hugh Hefner and Playboy and claiming to have created a human clone. Remember that?

If you're not afraid of brainwashing, check out this trailer for National GoTopless Day (slightly NSFW)...

...and check out the Venice Beach demonstration (NSFW).

August 27, 2008

I Wanna Rock and Roll All Night, And Praise Jesus Everyday

Matt Marcotte

For those who think that the concept of Guitar Hero is awesome, but that listening to those bands damns you to hell, or just want to rock out to some wholesome Christian rock, we have Guitar Praise, the PC game (and included guitar peripheral) that lets you rock out on fake guitar to dc talk, Caedmon's Call, and Petra (among others). Sure to be a hit at your local church this fall.

Hat tip: Kotaku

August 27, 2008

Seen On Wired.com


Don't f*&k with this L#&o dude.

August 26, 2008

No Shirt, No Shoes, No Table

Vance Lehmkuhl

powpowpow.jpgI think somebody should mark this, the official jump-the-shark moment for McCain's "POW Defense." Guy goes on Leno, knowing he'll be ribbed about the "houses" gaffe, and this is the strategy:

McCain noted that the "house is nice," a reference to the White House.

"You've got enough of those," Leno cracked. "You need a white one, too." Later, he asked McCain: "For $1 million, how many houses do you have?"

At that, McCain got serious, saying he had been imprisoned for five-and-a-half years during the Vietnam war, and that "I didn't have a house. I didn't have a kitchen table. I didn't have a table."

That's it. POW. Splash. From here on, he can continue to use it, but he'll be part of a running gag, joining everybody else in coming up with new one-liners on the theme...

August 25, 2008

Oh really?


According to Maureen Dowd, the biggest problem with John McCain's favorite song of all time being Abba's "Dancing Queen" is that he gets the dates wrong.

Is that really the biggest problem here? Oh really? You be the judge!

August 25, 2008

Spanq? Quirigram?? Interroflip??? Curioso????

David F

What should we call the upside-down question mark that precedes questions in Spanish? That's the question posed by a name-that-punctuation contest at Emdashes. It wraps up midnight tonight (PT), so there's still time to enter, no questions asked.

August 25, 2008

The New Yorker Cartoon Anti-Caption Contest #158


Submit the worst possible caption for this New Yorker cartoon. Click here for details. Click here for last week's results.


Results after the jump:

Continue reading "The New Yorker Cartoon Anti-Caption Contest #158" »

August 25, 2008

Spread 'Em

Kevin Guilfoile

hurst.jpgOn the night of Sunday August 3, actor Morgan Freeman and his passenger Demaris Meyer were involved in a serious car accident when Meyer’s 1997 Nissan Maxima rolled over in Tallahatchie County, Missisippi. Firefighters responded and Clay McFerrin, the editor of the Charleston Sun Sentinel was one of the first reporters on the scene.

Rescuers told McFerrin that the “Jaws of Life” were needed to extract Freeman and his companion from the automobile. McFerrin consulted the journalist’s bible, the AP Stylebook, which informed him that Jaws of Life is a trademark name and should be capitalized. Newspapers and television anchors around the country subsequently proclaimed that Morgan Freeman had to be “rescued from the car by the Jaws of Life.”

Except he wasn’t.

Continue reading "Spread 'Em" »

August 24, 2008

A-Rod and Jeter. we've all suspected. But the entire team?

Jesse Lansner

More media self-censorship that's both totally ridiculous and completely unnecssary, this time from the New York Times' review of "Z Rock." Unless the writer was trying to fill some minimum word-count, is there any point to including the second sentence here?

So one thing to note about “Z Rock” is that it’s bringing a premium-cable level of nudity and profanity to a basic-cable series. (Of course, many of the unedited movies on IFC’s schedule are much rougher.) This is a show in which a character sets the mood for an episode not by saying, "The Yankees lost again last night," but by saying, more or less, "The Yankees engaged in a sex act illegal in many states until 2003 last night."

[Citation added for those of you who aren't Supreme Court groupies. Without watching the show, there's no way of determining whether the actual quote is "The Yankees sucked dick last night" or "The Yankees got fucked in the ass last night," though either one would adequately describe some of their recent games.]

August 24, 2008

Today in "The Family Circus"

Daniel Radosh

Guest Bloggers: David F / Deborah


August 23, 2008

Democrat Haikus


The Denver Post hosts a contest called Haikus of the Week. Each week has a new contest theme, and this week’s theme is, of course, Democrats.

“The haiku form is a 5-syllable line, followed by a 7-syllable line, followed by a 5-syllable line” (see Denver Post instructions). If you wish, post your best/worst Democrat-themed haiku here at Radosh.net. Here’s mine:

Democrats convene
In Denver, Colorado.
Talk amongst yourselves.


August 23, 2008

What's the Opposite of Irony!

TG Gibbon


That a free nation's newspapers can't print an adorable picture of a protest against screaming fascist aggression* because it contains a dirty word or that the appropriation of authoritarian aesthetics for absurdist/anarchist purposes has been re-appropriated to fight screaming fascist aggression?

The answer is B. Jello Biafra begins bombing in five minutes.

*True fact, the Reds are Fascists now, mark it in your files. See also: China, People's Ironic Republic of.

August 23, 2008

Introducing Joe....


A clean and articulate guy - but with a slight Indian accent...

August 23, 2008

Obama-Biden: A Lookalike Ticket?

David F

Here's the "out-of-the-gate" artwork.


August 23, 2008

Obama's wait problem?

Vance Lehmkuhl

Bidenbutton.jpgNow that "the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy" has picked Joe Biden as his running mate, the question remains: Why did he wait till late last night - this morning, really - to announce?

Traditionally politicians announce things late on Friday that they don't want to get too much attention (because it's a dead spot for MSM cycles). Assuming Obama had made his pick by Thursday, announcing it that night would have been a night-and-day difference in how much it was ballyhooed.

So why pick this dead spot for this high-profile announcement? The answer, obviously, is that in announcing on August 23rd, Obama is signalling to Robert Anton Wilson devotees that he's planning a Discordian administration.

August 22, 2008

Ain't no beauty queens in this locality

Jesse Lansner

There's not enough detail about the new PS3 game Fat Princess to determine if it will be any good, but it certainly looks like fun. The game is basically capture the flag in medieval setting, but the flag in this case is a cute cartoon princess. Or, at least, she starts as a cute cartoon princess. But to make it harder for your enemies to free her, you can stuff her with cake so she gets really fat and hard to move.

Shockingly, this has produced a bit of a backlash, even though no one's been able to play the game yet (not that such ignorance has stopped anyone from protesting before). The reactions range from serious criticism ("You don’t need to be a brilliant feminist scholar to realize that this kind of story, with a male hero rescuing a helpless girl, is not only a cliche but a sexist cliche that long predates the invention of Pong.") to slightly odd suggestions as to how to make the game less offensive ("So how about layering, Karamari-style, a bunch of random shit on top of the chest, like shrubbery, rocks, bison, etc, that would also weight it down. That could be cute, and silly, and not reinforce nasty stereotypes about women and the obese.") to the just plain angry ("It's not often I have the opportunity to congratulate a cutting-edge tech company on such splendiferous retrofuck jackholery.").

But the best reaction has to be from the comments section of a post on Big Fat Blog:

[W]e've got people out there who have designed video games where you score points for raping and impregnating women and 10 year-old girls, and aliens who score points for ripping clothes off women ... It's only logical that moving from sexual assault to force-feeding a captured woman would be the next step.

To suggest that a game where you force-feed a very cartoonish-looking princess is more offensive than a (probably hypothetical) game where you get points for raping children — or even something like Grand Theft Auto, where you get points for assaulting and killing fairly realistic-looking people — is ludicrous.

Since this isn't my blog, I don't want to start a debate about whether it's okay to make fun of fat people. (It is.) But if you're so pro-fat that you think criticizing obesity is worse than promoting rape, then society clearly hasn't done enough to make you feel bad about yourself.

August 22, 2008

Art Historians of the Future: The Artwork is Complex Shit

David F

The artist Paul McCarthy—subject of an exhibition at the Whitney Museum of American Art through October 12—recently created a giant inflatable pile of shit kept on the grass at Switzerland's Zentrum Paul Klee. Earlier this month, this giant inflatable pile of shit escaped from the museum, knocked down a power line, and damaged a window before authorities were able to subdue it.

I first got wind of this remarkable tale thanks to Ryan Tate/Gawker and this August 11 item, "Flying piece of art causes museum chaos in Switzerland," brought to us courtesy of Agence France-Presse (AFP)/Google:

A giant inflatable dog turd by American artist Paul McCarthy blew away from an exhibition in the garden of a Swiss museum, bringing down a power line and breaking a greenhouse window before it landed again, the museum said Monday.

The art work, titled "Complex S(expletive..)", is the size of a house. The wind carried it 200 metres (yards) from the Paul Klee Centre in Berne before it fell back to Earth in the grounds of a children's home, said museum director Juri Steiner.

The inflatable turd broke the window at the children's home when it blew away on the night of July 31, Steiner said. The art work has a safety system which normally makes it deflate when there is a storm, but this did not work when it blew away.

Steiner said McCarthy had not yet been contacted and the museum was not sure if the piece would be put back on display.

Please note that while AFP/Google is apparently comfortable with the word four-letter word "turd," it appears to be so very uncomfortable with the title of this "piece of art" that it substituted the title Complex S(expletive..) for the actual title, Complex Shit. The editing remains so botched that it's arguably difficult to figure that out without going outside the text.

Now I'm curious as to whether McCarthy will try something similar with an inflatable phallus floating toward a giant donut wheeling down a roadway. AFP/Google can try to protect the world by dubbing it Flying F(expletive..) at a Rolling Donut but the rest of us will know better. At least that's what I'd like to think.

August 21, 2008

Asshole of the day


Shortly after Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt's spetacular, mind-blowing wins in the 100 and 200 meters, IOC president Jacques Rogge criticized Bolt for his 'lack of respect" on winning.

Way to be a freakin' killjoy Rogge! As far as I could see, Bolt was just really, really happy to not only win the two races, but to also break the world record and become the *FASTEST MAN THAT EVER LIVED*. You think you could run down that track looking like a buff bolt of lighting? Oh wait that's right, you'd look like a big bag of crap - ASSHOLE.

(since NBC is blocking the Olympic video of Bolt, the video below is a previous record breaking race in July)

August 21, 2008

Tiki Barber's Excellent Olympics Coverage - Read His Lips at :29

August 20, 2008

At least I'm thinking of words and roots of words and sometimes in Latin.

Jesse Lansner

crossword.jpg As a dedicated puzzle geek who won't even answer the phone at work until I've finished the New York Times crossword, I suppose I should at least pretend to be offended by Ron Rosenbaum's diatribe against crosswords and sudoku in Slate. But the only thing that actually bothers me in Rosenbaum's view on how I should be spending my time:

"What always gets to me is the self-congratulatory assumption on the part of puzzle people that their addiction to the useless habit somehow proves they are smarter or more literate than the rest of us. Need I suggest that those who spend time doing crossword puzzles (or sudoku) — uselessly filling empty boxes (a metaphor for some emptiness in their lives?) — could be doing something else that involves words and letters? It's called reading." [Emphasis, sadly, in the original.]

Is that really my only option? Can't I listen to music, go to a play, or just watch TV? No, it must be "the full-blooded life that one can find in reading," which presumably excludes blogs — and Slate. Thanks, Ron, but I already spend enough time reading, both serious and frivolous. I'll keep wasting my time on puzzles, you keep wasting yours on essays like this. And when I need to fill that emptiness in my life, I'll do it the traditional way — with alcohol and porn.

August 20, 2008

Save the date (or not)


Every girl deserves a happy ending , just like Cinderella, no matter what small mistakes they may have made in the past. On October 11, 2008 in Falls Church Virginia, our favorite ex- justice department official, Monica, is set for her own fairy tale wedding.

She seems to be coming up short in the wedding present department, however. Her various wedding registries are surprisingly bare for someone with such a high profile - and with only 52 days to go until the wedding!

What's the problem? Is it the pending lawsuit? The illegal harrasment and discrimination against justice department employees based on rumor?

Please, give Monica a break! After all, she testified very clearly (before a congressional committee, no less) that although she broke some "rules", she didn't really "mean to". Really.

Come on people! Every girl deserves her one perfect day...the roomba vacuuming robot at least? Anyone?

August 20, 2008

Oh, somewhere in this favored land

Kevin Shay

...there is a flattering hairstyle for Tim Daggett.

August 19, 2008

American Bi

John Tabin

Hot chicks are kissing each other everywhere you turn, and naturally The Sun is there. That gratuitous photo-compilation, part of the time-honored journalistic tradition of simultaneously fretting about pop cultural depravity and reveling in it, is hooked to the popularity of Katy Perry's "I Kissed a Girl."

What's interesting about Perry's overplayed bisexual anthem is how unabashedly skanky it is. Jill Sobule scored a hit back in the 90s with a song also called "I Kissed a Girl," which also features a protagonist with a boyfriend expanding her sexual horizons.

I think Sobule's song is superior, but that's a subjective judgment (hey, some people like their pop songs over-produced and screamy). But it's also a lot different in tone: It's about close friends spending an evening in, discussing their unsatisfying relationships, and then crossing a physical boundary. Perry's song is about a couple of drunken sluts anonymously hooking up at a bar. Hasn't David Brooks phoned in a column about this yet?

August 19, 2008

Speaking of Copyeditors...

Pat Broderick

...I for one celebrate their continued absence if this is the result:

His top contenders are said to include Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. Less traditional choices mentioned include former Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge, an abortion-rights supporter, and Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman, the Democratic vice presidential prick in 2000 who now is an independent.

(via Atrios)

August 19, 2008

Administrative Note

Kevin Shay

Dear Radosh.net readers and guest bloggers,

This site's RSS feed now indicates, for entries by anyone other than DLR, the name of the author. We had the technology.

Also, is anyone reading the New York Times's Olympics coverage? It appears to be copyedited by: nobody. It's a treasure trove of Media Moments. Case in point:

...and the vocal fans let loose a chorus of chants and screams as the Lenny Kravitz song “American Women” played over the loudspeaker.

Somewhere, [insert name of good writer who used to write for the NYT] is turning over in his [insert burial destination preferred by same].

August 18, 2008

I Blame Myself



Just Like Sarah Miller I , too blame myself for the whole John Edwards/Rielle Hunter love child scandal. I also have an extremely tenuous, flimsy and almost unbelievable connection to Rielle Hunter - my brother's best friend's cousin once saw her in a bar in New York. Get It * a bar in New York* , as in * she met Edwards in a bar in New York* - could that be any spookier?

And just like Sarah Miller , I, too am desperate for material during these dog days of summer and I will milk this connection and blog endlessly about the scandal while speculating wildly on Rielle Hunter's crazy-assness.

Bonus crazy-ass Rielle video below (dancing Rielle courtesy of 23/6.com)

August 18, 2008

2008 in Teenpop So Far (Because What This Site Needs Is More Pictures of Attractive Young Women)


Girlicious - Stupid Shit.jpg

Wooooo yeah! Hello. Normal blog is here. While some of you people are thinking about the Democratic National Convention, I will continue to think about pop music marketed largely to pre-teens. It’s not just because there are fewer old people (in front of the curtain anyway)—there’s a lot of good music out there, and despite a scattershot year in the world of teenpop, teen-pop, tween-pop, and teenipop, I’ve still been able to scrap enough tracks together to make a decent muxtape, which you can listen to here. Though to be honest I've been stretching the generic category more than ever this year. Ah well...copious commentary after the jump.

[EDIT 8/19: About 24 hrs after posting this, of course, Muxtape has gone down due to RIAA action. You can download the mix in full from my website here.]

Continue reading "2008 in Teenpop So Far (Because What This Site Needs Is More Pictures of Attractive Young Women)" »

August 18, 2008

The New Yorker Cartoon Anti-Caption Contest #157

Harry Effron

Submit the worst possible caption for this New Yorker cartoon. Click here for details. Click here to see last week's results.

Results after the jump:

Continue reading "The New Yorker Cartoon Anti-Caption Contest #157" »

August 17, 2008

A porn star is a person in your neighborhood

Kevin Guilfoile

Jenny McCarthy, who became famous by posing naked for pictures so that men could masturbate to them, made a guest appearance on Sesame Street Friday and the event hardly raised an eyebrow. Of course it's been years since McCarthy posed nude for anything and she is now an author of bestselling parenting books and an advocate for children with autism. Nevertheless, she wasn't asked on Sesame Street because she is an author. She was asked on Sesame Street because she is famous, and the reason she is famous is porn.

PBS should probably be commended for not simply blackballing McCarthy because of decisions she made in the past, especially decisions toddlers would have no way of knowing and couldn't care less about.

Except that wasn't their stated policy two years ago when they fired Melanie Martinez.

Melanie Martinez was the host of the Good Night Show, a joint production of PBS and Sesame Workshop that appears on the PBS Sprout channel. She was fired in 2006 when the network discovered that, years before she was hired by PBS, Martinez had appeared in two :30 parodies of abstinence PSA's. In one, she promotes the virtues of anal sex. In the other she decides to put off sex with boys when her mother gives her a vibrator. She is fully clothed and the dialogue includes no profanity (unless you consider the phrase "anal sex" profane).

At the time PBS president (now PBS CEO) Paula Kerger backed the decision claiming that Martinez was not "representative of PBS and Sesame and kids entertainment."


It is a strange world in which Melanie Martinez lives, one where she is publicly fired and shamed for appearing in two obscure low budget films with a total sixty seconds of running time, and then has to watch while one of the superstars of soft-core pornography, a person who has appeared in studio features with far more offensive material (and viewed by many more millions of people) than anything ever done by Martinez, is welcomed on PBS's flagship kids show with a fanfare of press releases and publicity stills.

It's so absurd, in fact that it raises the question once again that perhaps Martinez was fired not because of the sexual content of those videos, but rather the political content. Her public humiliation might have been collateral damage caused by PBS and Sprout executives trying to curry favor with conservative lawmakers who keep pulling the purse strings at public television tighter and tighter.

Perhaps the a-word that did in Melanie Martinez really wasn't "anal," but "anti-abstinence."

August 17, 2008

He's Got His Sight Set On You, And He's Ready To Aim

Matt Marcotte

First, thanks to Daniel for handing over the keys to we inmates, and an obligatory plug for where I regularly blog.

Moving to more substantive matters, John McCain's been having problems with getting cease and desist letters from various musical artists, who demand he stop using their music, including John Mellencamp, Orleans, and ABBA. The article does note that Billy Ray Cyrus apparently was among the hipper musical artists to back Bush in 2004, but has apparently been silent this time. I'm just wondering where Miley stands on this critical issue, and whether Hannah Montana has a different stance. In fact, I think I've just written an episode of Hannah Montana! Miley objects to the use of Hannah's music in a commercial, but can't speak her mind because it would reveal her secret identity! Hilarity ensues, followed by a rousing performance from Hannah Montana. Please remit checks to me directly.

August 17, 2008


Harry Effron

The question on CNN.com's "Quick Vote" poll today is: "Do you believe creatures like Bigfoot exist?" I, of course, answered no, but then was linked to an article proving me and 58 percent of other Quick Voters wrong.


I guess we'll all have to hold our breaths until they reveal more details.

For reals?

August 17, 2008

Today in "The Family Circus"

Daniel Radosh

Guest Bloggers: David F / Deborah


August 16, 2008

Due to a minor translation error, some editions of the press guide mistakenly describe the scoreboard animations as having been "eight years in the making."

Kevin Guilfoile


August 16, 2008

Lyttle Lytton Contest


Adam Cadre’s 2009 Lyttle Lytton Contest is already underway! This is a shorter version of the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest, which challenges entrants to write the worst possible introductory sentence to a novel. The Lyttle Lytton contest offers the same challenge, but the sentence must be 30 words or less (see rules). Here are some examples of past winners:

“Because they had not repented, the angel stabbed the unrepentant couple thirteen times, with its sword.” - Graham Swanson, 2008 winner

“It clawed its way out of Katie, bit through the cord and started clearing.” – Gunther Schmidl, 2007 winner

“Crime,” declared the police captain, “is everywhere, crime, crime!” – Carl Muckenhoupt, 2007 runner-up

The real contest deadline is April 15, 2009 at noon. But if you wish, post your worst introductory sentence here at Radosh.net. I’ll post a few to get us started:

“BRRRRRRRRRRRIIIIIIIIING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” rang the alarm clock, awakening me from my Gamma Hydroxy Butyrate-induced slumber.

Amber choked back her grief as her mother’s coffin was lowered into the ground, and she wished, momentarily, that she had not killed her mother.

Thanks, and good luck!

August 15, 2008

Meet the Radosh.net All Stars

Daniel Radosh

I'm leaving tomorrow for two weeks and will only be able to post intermittently. But this blog is going to be more exciting than ever, as I turn the reins over to the Radosh.net All Stars, a dream team of some of our top commenters. It's not so much the inmates running the asylum as different inmates running the asylum. (By the way, I'm aware that a lot of very deserving commenters were left off the team. Blame my haphazard selection process, not any actual judgment. If you want to nominate yourself -- or someone else -- for a future run, just let me know in the comments.)

Since I don't actually know most of these people and have no idea what they look like, I will introduce them using the first picture that comes up under their names on Google Images. Please welcome...

al in la images-1.jpeg Dave dave.jpeg David F images.jpeg dean @ t.a.m.s.y. deantamsy.jpeg Deborah deborah.jpeg Ernest ernest.jpeg Francis francis.jpeg Frank frank.jpeg Harry harry.jpeg J.D. jd.jpeg Jesse jesse.jpeg Jim Treacher treacher.jpeg John Tabin tabin.jpeg Kevin Guilfoile guilfoile.jpeg Kevin Shay shayk.jpeg Matt matt.jpeg mypalmike mypalmike.jpeg Pat Broderick pat.jpegsimsburybear simsburybear.jpeg TG Gibbon tggibbon.jpeg Vance vance.jpeg Walt walt.jpeg

August 14, 2008

Retarded like a fox

Daniel Radosh

Slate's Dana Stevens holds a Q&A on the Tropic Thunder controversy. The very first reader gets that the targets of Stiller's satire are "overweening, ambitious actors who take roles as physically and mentally challenged characters because they're proven Oscar-bait" (pretty hacky) and "moviemakers who exploit disabilities for sentimentality while pretending to promote awareness about them" (somewhat sharper). Which raises the question: "Do the protesters not understand that they are not Stiller's target? Do they understand the satire, but worry that moviegoers will not? ... Or are the protesters simply reacting emotionally to the words used regardless of the context?"

Stevens points out that the idea of judging anything "regardless of context" is pretty meaningless. But my hunch is that there's another explanation altogether. The protesters, who have put together a sophisticated talking points memo regarding the film and the use of "the R-word," are cynically taking advantage of the movie's buzz to gain a spotlight for their cause.

Special Olympics chairman Timothy Shriver all but said as much:

[The filmmakers'] response, he said, convinced him that the time had come for his group and others to strike a far more aggressive public posture on behalf of the disabled. “The movement needs to enter the public eye and not just be talking among ourselves,” he said.

I haven't seen the film, so I guess there's a chance that it's genuinely offensive, though I highly doubt it. The Farrelly brothers have created some of the least condescending mentally disabled characters ever seen on film, and have gotten more shit for it than all the Rain Men-I Am Sams-and Riding the Bus with My Sisters combined. Comedy is always an easier target for protests like this.

What the protesters clearly don't realize is that by overreaching, they're setting their own cause back. It took Christians decades to get beyond their reputation as "those uptight freaks who boycotted The Last Temptation of Christ and Disney World," if indeed they have.

Want to really make a statement? Make your own movie.

August 13, 2008

Even the Enquirer didn't see this coming

Daniel Radosh


[Yahoo News screen grab]

August 13, 2008

Ta ma — shut yo' mouth!

Daniel Radosh

Kevin Guilfoile pointed out what seemed to be a particularly confusing bit of self-censorship in yesterday's Chicago Tribune, from a guide to Chinese txt abbreviations.

"TMD: A swear word, short for Ta Ma De, which is the Chinese equivalent of something-something-mama."

As Kevin noted, it would be easy enough to assume that one of those somethings is "fuck," but what would the other be?

But a little Google work turned up a shock: Ta ma de actually can be translated as "something-something-mama," where the "somethings" are not placeholders for other words.

The Profane Chinese site offers the alternate translation, "his mother's," and explains,

Ta ma de is actually an exclamation, the sort of Chinese swear word that's used in exasperation, or frustration, or occasionally surprise. Although the phrase implies the existence of a third party (his mother's), there doesn't actually have to be a "he" involved - you could say ta ma de to your television set if you cable shuts out, or you could mutter "ta ma de" after just missing the bus.

In short, then, ta ma de, used as a Chinese swear, really means something more like "Shit!" or "Fuck!" or "Dammit!" to use some English usage examples. [Although] the component words do not, on their own, imply vulgarity, the phrase itself is considered a vulgar Chinese curse.

I believe what that writer means is that while the component words are not on their own vulgar, they do imply vulgarity. And that implication is what Trib writer Kevin Pang was trying to convey with his translation, as he explained to me in an e-mail (after gently suggesting that I was taking his light-hearted piece way to seriously). He acknowledged that a literal rendering would be more along the lines of something-mama-something, and that while it doesn't mean "fuck your mother," it at is that level of offensiveness.

Given that, Pang probably should have used a word other than "equivalent" in his definition, but what I found interesting is that newspaper readers are now so conditioned to writers and editors protecting them from vulgarity, that we now fill in the blanks on our own even when we shouldn't. Thus does the practice of self-censorship obscure journalistic facts even at a remove.

What, too serious again?

August 13, 2008

The bar was already lowered before the Enquirer stepped over it

Daniel Radosh

PH2008081102027.jpg There's a bit of misinformation out there about the John Edwards scandal that should be nipped in the bud. I've seen it a number of times now, most recently in David Carr's NYT column:

When The National Enquirer wrote that the former presidential candidate John Edwards had had an affair and had recently met with the woman and a child she recently bore, the mainstream media mostly passed on the story. But the public would not let go. Armed with different standards and megaphones of their own, nontraditional sources pushed on the story all over the Web until it broke...

Let's give credit where it's due. The Enquirer had the details, but the story was being pushed on the Web before the tabloid published anything. As you'll well recall, HuffPo's Sam Stein had the first scoop, which was picked up by (among others) Ted Frank and Mickey Kaus. DKos's Ben Bang pushed back immediately too, which only helped give the story life.

Wikipedia credits Page Six with the very first mention of the affair, in an August 07 blind item.

August 12, 2008

Who's that girl?

Daniel Radosh

cheron.jpg Cheron, the Brazilian lady pictured here, recently uploaded her photo to a web site called Top Heavy Amateurs [NSFW, duh]. But she blurred her face so no one will recognize her. Playboy's Chip Rowe questions the efficacy of this measure.

Say, Lois, have you ever noticed how Cheron from Top Heavy Amateurs and Barb from marketing are never in the room at the same time?

August 10, 2008

Why not Bil Keane? I mean, the weekend's not over yet.

Daniel Radosh

August 9, 2008

Why not Bil Keane?

Daniel Radosh

And while we're on the subject...

August 8, 2008

And now, cried Max, let the wild rumpus start!

Daniel Radosh

Edwards admits to affair, denies fathering child

Ten to one the Obama camp pressured him to dump this now: right before the Olympics and with enough time to wrap it up before the convention. But will it work? The denial about the kid sure is gonna generate calls for DNA tests.

All I know is, I'll miss the traffic from having been one of the only sites that popped up under a Google search for John Edwards affair. Also, Mickey Kaus just had a spontaneous orgasm.

August 8, 2008

They'll also reach around your undercarriage

Daniel Radosh

Confounding self-censorship of the day, from the Chicago Daily Herald:

Some newer car washes are "touchless."

At others, a towel crew cleans the vehicle "by hand."

An Elgin car wash owner has landed in hot water over a message on her sidewalk marquee that said they do the best work in town for the latter category.

Rosie Martinez, front office manager at the Elgin Car Wash, 313 Dundee Ave., said the phrase is widely accepted lingo in the car wash industry.

"You can Google it. You'll see T-shirts, you'll see signs," Martinez said.

To make sense of this article, you have to read those hussies at UPI, who shamelessly use the disputed phrase in their headline. Or, as Martinez suggests, you can Google it, where you'll find that it's not so much "accepted lingo in the car wash industry" as "a hacky joke that dozens of car washes have used before."


[h/t: Kevin G]

August 7, 2008

Cross my heart

Daniel Radosh

1019-b.jpg When we last left off, the Colombian government had "categorically denied" that commandos had worn Red Cross symbols during the July 2 hostage rescue, which would be a violation of the Geneva Conventions.

Two days later, President Alvaro Uribe admitted there was a category the government hadn't considered: a nervous soldier "mistakenly and contrary to orders" donning the symbol at the last minute.

Today, the Red Cross announced that it has seen new footage showing the solider wearing the Red Cross symbol at the beginning of the mission, something the military was aware of when Uribe made his deceptive comments. "It seems to be a deliberate improper use of the emblem," says the Red Cross. Uribe blames the military for the "lie."

August 5, 2008

Meanwhile I can't give away the even more rare and vastly more awesome Huckapoo album

Daniel Radosh

The New York Times reports that the out of print first Jonas Brothers CD, It's About Time, is selling for $160-$200 on Amazon and eBay (prices have fluctuated a bit since last week; it's currently being offered for $250 on Amazon but eBay auctions seem to be topping out at $125). I mention this because I have a copy in like-new condition and I'm trying to figure out the best way to unload it. I picked it up from the free bin at work two years ago and listened to it once. With the exception of a couple of songs it's a pretty crap album, and even those exceptions are just OK, not exceptional.

So here's what I'm thinking. The Brothers are playing Madison Square Garden this weekend. I figure if I stand outside before the show, I can catch fans when they're in that Vegas-like state of suspended reality where concept such as frugality, comparison shopping and common sense don't exist. It shouldn't take more than 10 minutes to get $200, right?

What I'm not sure of is whether this is completely legal. I can't see why it wouldn't be, but I don't want some cop to confiscate my golden egg. The input of law-knowing types, or anyone with an even better idea for cashing in, or anyone who wants to offer me $200 for it right now, will be appreciated.

August 4, 2008

The New Yorker Cartoon Anti-Caption Contest #156

Daniel Radosh

Submit the worst possible caption for this New Yorker cartoon. Click here for details. Click here to see last week's results.


"Well, you know the old saying: 'You masturbate into it, you bought it.'" —Mr. Sad Head

"Granted it's a unique fetish: I dress like a woman trying to make senior partner." —al in la

"Just because I'm wearing women's shoes doesn't mean I'm gay. The fact that I love cock does, however." —Steve_O

Continue reading "The New Yorker Cartoon Anti-Caption Contest #156" »

August 3, 2008

Protest babes unclear on the concept

Daniel Radosh


"Stunning students launched a blunt protest against Ukraine's booming brothel business — by dressing as prostitutes and telling sex tourists to get lost."

Hat tip: Frank, who misses this series.

August 3, 2008

Does it scan?

Daniel Radosh

With the rash of old-geezer stories accompanying the McCain campaign, I've been seeing frequent references to the first President Bush's notorious encounter with a supermarket scanner. Here's today's Times: "Mr. McCain’s sense of wonder evoked the episode in the early 1990s when George H. W. Bush became overly impressed upon seeing a price scanner at a supermarket check-out counter."

Snopes flatly declares the Bush story false, and quick Googling finds that most other media outlets at the time agreed: Bush was being shown a new type of scanner, they said, and he was "curious and polite" rather than amazed. The Times "re-reported" the story and stood by it. There's now a truncated, silent video clip of the incident on YouTube, but it's inconclusive at best.

Barring further developments, I'd say this is an appropriate anecdote to use when discussing voter perception of whether a candidate is out of touch, as long as it's properly qualified to note that it's bullshit heavily disputed. It should not be used when discussing whether candidates actually are out of touch.

August 3, 2008

His decision-making process is really helped by cranking up Avinu Malkeinu

Daniel Radosh


August 2, 2008

The anthrax story and the memory hole

Daniel Radosh

With every news outlet running timelines and recaps of the anthrax attacks, only Glenn Greenwald recalls how the media, the Bush administration and John McCain pushed a bogus story linking the attacks to Saddam Hussein. It would be very interesting now to hear the origins of that story, but I'm not holding my breath.

August 1, 2008

Let's talk about chicks, man

Daniel Radosh

Here's a new one for the self-censorship files. Yesterday's New York Times featured an entertaining, not-too-overreaching trend story about cauliflower ear as a badge of cool among ultimate fighters. This is the part that set my Spidey-sense tingling.

"It’s definitely part of the culture," said Dr. John H. Park, a physical therapist in Rockville, Md., who specializes in treating M.M.A. participants. "They say, 'Chicks dig that stuff because they know you’re a fighter.'"

A familiar chasm separates what women dig from what dudes imagine women dig. But for mixed martial arts, a combination of boxing, wrestling and jiu-jitsu that has found favor among young men, cauliflower ear has assumed a place alongside such evocative conditions as torn elbow ligaments in pitchers, knee tendinitis in marathon runners and torn anterior cruciate ligaments in female basketball players.

Clearly, the sentence following the quote is supposed to read, "A familiar chasm separates what chicks dig from what dudes imagine chicks dig." Changing it to "women" renders the sentence awkward if not pointless, especially when "dudes" is left in place. And indeed, reporter Michael Brick confirmed for me that he had initially written it that way. "But hey," he adds, "didn't somebody once say you should never call broads 'chicks'?"

So "chick" is one of those epithets that the Times will quote other people using, but will not use itself. That rule has applied at least since 1945, when the author of a profile of Shirley Temple wrote, "At 16, Miss Temple is a chic chick. (That's her language, not mine.)" (Incidentally, the next sentence is, "She is five feet two and she won't tell her weight, which is well distributed." Way to keep it classy.)

This makes "chick" less offensive than "nigga" or (as far as I can tell) "bitch," which can't be printed at all. But it's still touchy and not, in the Times' view, simply a female equivalent of "dude." Curiously, the paper has used the phrases "chick lit" and "chick flick" countless times, despite occasional grumblings.

On his blog this week, NYT Ombudsman Clark Hoyt publishes several letters chastising him for his mealy-mouthed defense of censorship in the "nuts" affair. You've heard most of the arguments from me before. Kim de Riel offers the most pithy rule of thumb: "If you can’t say what they said, don’t even say they said it. If it’s too important to ignore, it’s too important to censor." But Charles J. Smith makes a further point regarding the use of asterisks or dashes:

A basic principle of linguistics: if you have a word in mind and display some symbols to your audience so that the audience realizes what you meant to write, then you have communicated the word to them. Not actually printing the missing letters is a trick to give the illusion of civility, while allowing the “unprintable” language to be communicated just as clearly as if it were spelled out.

This fussy preservation of the appearance of civility amounts to hypocrisy.

Finally, here's a 1904 NYT headline, from the "more innocent times" department.


August 1, 2008

Campaigning's a bitch

Daniel Radosh

Robert George is on to something. McCain's "celebrity" ad isn't racist, it's sexist.

This political attack makes Obama come across as a male bimbo...not simply an "empty suit" celebrity, but an effete, effeminate airhead who has no business getting involved in the political world. Simply put, this isn't really a "man." As Jesse suggested, the ad is designed to cut off Obama's nuts.

From a tactical standpoint, it doesn't even matter if Robert's analysis is what the McCain camp had in mind. What matters is that it's a shrewd line for Obama to take. It doesn't open him to charges of playing the race card, and it signals to women with lingering skepticism from the primary battle that Obama is sensitive to these issues. Ideally, the Obama camp would ask Hillary Clinton to send a blast to her entire e-mail list condemning the sexist subtext of the ads. That would be a receptive audience, and Clinton's voice would guarantee media coverage, allowing the Obama campaign to get control of the narrative. Given how the media chastised itself for insensitivity to women when the primary finally wound down, pundits would be far less likely to aggressively challenge Clinton/Obama on this line of attack, whereas they will and are raising eyebrows about charges of racism, which, let's face it, are a little far-fetched in this particular instance.

Related: Jon Stewart notes that McCain accepted the maximum allowable donation from Paris Hilton's parents, and thanked them by taking "a nationally televised dump on their daughter."

Update: OMFG, the new ad is so batshit insane I thought it was a hoax until I saw it on the front page of Walnut's official web site. I mean, this kind of thing worked against John Kerry, but not Obama, right? He's prepared for this, isn't he?

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