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Archives for May, 2009

May 28, 2009

Dead like me?

Daniel Radosh


If you've been reading this site lately, you've probably noticed that there's been nothing to read lately. Longtime suffers of Radosh.net will recall similar dry spells, but this week I not only didn't judge the last anti-caption contest, I didn't even post the new cartoon. I mean, what the fuck?

Here's the thing. First of all, I've been pretty busy with real work for a few months. I'm juggling several things, including one big story that's a lot of fun, but kind of an ass-kicker. Every time I'm tempted to spend half an hour blogging, this annoying little voice in my head asks, "Is that the best use of your time right now?"

But there's more, honestly. I usually enjoy blogging. That's why I do it. But lately it has come, sometimes, to feel like a chore. Who does chores that they don't have to? No one, that's who. Part of the problem, I think, is that Facebook makes it too easy to share links and toss out random thoughts, which is about all I'd have time to do on the blog right now anyway. On a blog, two barely thought-out sentences about some big story in the news seems lazy. In a status update, it's clever.

I know where this is leading, though I've been trying to resist it: Twitter. The problem is, I don't want to trade blogging for tweeting. Even if I could persuade myself that I could say anything meaningful in 140 characters, I doubt I can be persuaded that other people can. I like reading blogs, but following tweets? Not so much. My Facebook friends who stream their Twitter feeds into their status updates have pretty much all been hidden. So starting a Twitter account and then not following anybody would just be stupid. I wouldn't be part of "the conversation." And I'd get no followers.

And if I did somehow get into the Twitter spirit, well, that would be a monster time-suck. The pressure to keep the tweets coming is far more relentless than the pressure to blog. I can get away with one or two blog posts every couple of days (though not, I know, every couple of weeks). Twitter needs to be fed by the minute.

One compromise I'm considering is adding a microblog to this site, maybe even via Twitter. But of course setting up such a thing takes a fair amount of time, and then I'm back at square one. I've also had great success with guest bloggers in the past, and I'm willing to consider lining up a semi-permanent squad if you think that would be fun. At the very least, I'll make sure to have guest judges for the contest, since people seem to still enjoy it. Frankly I started it with the expectation that the New Yorker would quit in shame after a few month, but that doesn't seem to be happening, so I guess I'm stuck.

Anyway, sorry for the handwringing. The bottom line is, this site is not yet dead, just seriously pining for the fields fjords (Duh. My 15-year-old self would be so mortified for me right now). Feel free to talk amongst yourself until the ambulance arrives.

May 21, 2009

Laughing my a**e off

Daniel Radosh

Does media self-censorship sound more sophisticated with a British accent? A reader alerts me to this humorous decorum from Metro.co.uk.

Apprentice loser Ben: I was a k**b: "Fired Apprentice loser Ben Clarke... conceded he was a 'bit of a k**b' after making a string of enemies on the show following nine weeks."

In a related matter, here are some web sites 14-year-old British boys find absolutely hilarious:

Knob Gallery

Nice Knobs!


Top Knobs USA


Bob's Knobs

House of Knobs

Blue Knob

Knobs N Knockers

May 21, 2009

Don't worry, American Idol is still gay

Daniel Radosh

The AP indulges in some fancy footwork -- I guess you could call it self-censorship -- in its efforts to explain why Adam Lambert maybe didn't win last night's little talent competition.

There was also the Danny Gokey factor. Gokey made it to the top three before he fell out of the contest, leaving his supporters up for grabs. "After the third one leaves, you wonder where do the votes go from that third contestant," Paula Abdul said backstage after Tuesday's singing showdown.

Allen seemed the likely candidate for those viewers' affections, for on- and offstage reasons. Allen and Gokey, 29, of Milwaukee, were downright conservative when compared to Lambert's elaborate staging and wardrobe choices. Allen is a married college student — his wife was often on hand to root for him — and has worked as a church worship leader. Gokey, a recent widower, is a church music director.

Lambert, 27, of Los Angeles, brought measured rock flashiness — daring, not freaky — with songs including "Whole Lotta Love," the first-ever Led Zeppelin tune on "Idol." He's largely kept his personal life under wraps, saying "I know who I am" when asked about it.

Earlier this week, Allen said he hoped the outcome wouldn't be decided by "having the Christian vote."

"I hope it has to do with your talent and the performance that you give and the package that you have. It's not about religion and all that kind of stuff," he said.

That's funny, the gays also think it has to do with the package that you have. Anyway, from now on when someone is half-closeted, I'm going to call it the Danny Gokey factor.

This contorted effort to come close to explaining something without actually doing so has as much in common with journalism as American Idol performances have with music. It doesn't even seem necessary. One could avoid "outing" Lambert by reporting not that he's gay but that people voted against him because they think he is. And if the AP really believes that enough people watching the family-friendly American Idol are aware that Lambert is or might be gay for it to influence the outcome of the voting, then surely reporting that in an article about the show would not be revealing something that people don't already know. Indeed, the allusive explanation of the "Danny Gokey factor" only makes sense if people know what it means. It's unnecessarily coy for those who get it and unacceptably non-explanatory for those who don't.

I should say that I don't in the least care who won. I don't watch the show myself and have never heard either of these gentleman sing until today when I watched a bunch of clips out of curiosity. I get that the appeal of the program is the game show aspect and not necessarily the performances, but holy crap the performances suck. Yes, several previous Idolers have gone on to make great pop music, but I'd rather file my ears off than watch the show itself. Any program that actually rewards someone for doing this to a Bob Dylan isn't going to get me on board. (Take that, Fox!)

May 18, 2009

The New Yorker Cartoon Anti-Caption Contest #194

Daniel Radosh

Submit the worst possible caption for this New Yorker cartoon.

Last week's results. •Rules and tips.


May 16, 2009

Stewardess, can I move to a different seat?

Daniel Radosh

When we look back for the definitive moment when conservatives lost the gay marriage debate, this may well be it.

Republicans can reach a broader base by recasting gay marriage as an issue that could dent pocketbooks as small businesses spend more on health care and other benefits, GOP Chairman Michael Steele said Saturday.

Steele said that was just an example of how the party can retool its message to appeal to young voters and minorities without sacrificing core conservative principles. Steele said he used the argument weeks ago while chatting on a flight with a college student who described herself as fiscally conservative but socially liberal on issues like gay marriage.

"Now all of a sudden I've got someone who wasn't a spouse before, that I had no responsibility for, who is now getting claimed as a spouse that I now have financial responsibility for," Steele told Republicans at the state convention in traditionally conservative Georgia. "So how do I pay for that? Who pays for that? You just cost me money."

Student: "Good point. Why should we be giving benefits to spouses at all?"

Steele: "Well, um, supporting families benefits society, which benefits businesses, and it helps businesses attract the best employees."

Student: "Unless they're gay."

Steele: "But if no businesses give benefits to gay people, they'll have nowhere else to go."

Student: "So your message is that marriage equality IS a matter of fair and equitable treatment, but we're opposed to that?"

Steele: "Right. Because it costs you money."

Student: "But technically it's not gay marriage that costs me money, it's any marriages. Can we ban other people from getting married? I'd save a fortune if Republicans couldn't get hitched."

Steele: "Yes, by my own logic all marriage should be banned to save money for small businesses, but it's too hard to outlaw marriages that are already legal. Let's just focus on preventing any new ones."

Student: "OK, so married employees cost me money, straight people can continue to get married and gays can't. I'm convinced. From now on, I'm only hiring the gays."

Steele: "Um, did I mention that it's an abomination in the eyes of the Lord?"

Student: "No, but I thought you might get around to that eventually."

May 11, 2009

The New Yorker Cartoon Anti-Caption Contest #193

Daniel Radosh

Submit the worst possible caption for this New Yorker cartoon.

Last week's results. •Rules and tips.


Thanks to this week's guest judge, Harry Effron

First place
"I have to go to the bathroom." —Rob

Second place
"Oh honey, go change that tie... and while you're at it, take off that human-marionette thing... I'll take mine off too." —Sam Saper

Third place
"Okay, but this time wear a condom. I don't want to spend all night picking splinters out again."—Steve_O

Honorable mentions
"Marionette? You hardly even know Annette! For Christ sakes, you should at least bang her first. Trust me on this, I'm a prostitute." —t.a.m.s.y.

"Just look at us- what do we have to live for? Let's just throw these up into the ceiling fan and be done with it."—LV

May 7, 2009

It's raining Maine

Daniel Radosh

A state legalizes gay marriage and it doesn't even make the front page of the paper? That's what I call progress. Can't wait till the Times starts squeezing them into National Briefing. Or Metropolitan Diary. (Wait, that's already the gay section of the paper).

I've always thought that this is an issue best pursued through the legislature. Not because courts don't have a role to play in protecting minorities from discrimination -- they certainly do -- but because expressions of majority will are more politically viable and more likely to settle matters for the long term. (C.f., by contrast, abortion rights).

That said, I believe that the early court rulings on gay marriage paved the way for the current trend in legislative action. Massachusetts could not have passed a marriage equality law in 2004, but it could now if it needed to. Once the courts ruled marriage inequality unconstitutional, people were forced to deal with it. And they found, essentially, that it was no big deal. That's what made it feasible for neighboring states to proceed on other fronts. New York is next and already looking, let's say, fashionably late to the party.

I understand that the rest of the country is still freaking the fuck out. According to this CSM article, "Forty-four states have enacted laws that define marriage as between a man and a woman, known often as Defense of Marriage Acts (DOMAs). Thirty others have amended their constitutions to define marriage in a similar way." Which makes 74 states that have already banned same-sex marriage. Forgive me if I suspect that things aren't as dire as that makes them sound. Not when we already have Marie Osmond.

More and more Prop 8 is looking like an anomaly rather than a major setback. The anti-marriage movement is dying out, figuratively and literally. You don't need a weatherman to know that a storm is coming.

May 4, 2009

America's priorities in a fucking nutshell

Daniel Radosh

The American obsession with profanity reaches its apex in this story out of Michigan about a police officer who hangs up on a 911 caller because she says the word fuck.

It happened a while ago, but Boing-Boing just discovered it, so that makes it new to the nets. This transcript of the ABC news story begins after 17-year-old Adrainne Ledesma calls 911 to report that her father is having a severe seizure.

She says she got no quick answer, so she hung-up and called again. Now you know those emergency calls are recorded, but did you know the recording starts even before the call is answered?

So you can hear her near-panic when again she can’t get an immediate answer, blurting out the f-word just as the call is picked up.

Ledesma: What the fuck.

Officer Robert McFarland: 911.

Ledesma: I need an ambulance at (address).

Sgt. McFarland: Well, okay, first of all you don’t need to swear over 9-1-1 and slow down.

Ledesma: Send me a fucking ambulance!

(Call is disconnected. Ledesma calls again.)

Sgt. McFarland: 911.

Ledesma: Are you going to give me an ambulance?

Sgt. McFarland: Are you going to swear again, you stupid ass?

Ledesma: Are we going to have an fucking problem?

Sgt. McFarland: No, you’re not going to get one!

Ledesma: Do you want to fucking lose your job?

(Call is disconnected. Ledesma calls again)

After yet a third futile call, Ledesma runs to the police office, understandably still cursing, where she is arrested for disorderly conduct and the non-existing crime of abusing 911. Eventually everything ends up OK. Dad is fine, the charges against the girl are dropped, and the cop -- who eventually sent an ambulance while lying to the dispatcher about why it took so long -- is suspended without pay for a couple of weeks.

But the real hero here is local news reporter Steve Wilson who indulges in absolutely none of the expected "of course this bratty teenager shouldn't have used foul language" nonsense that one might have expected. He reserves out outrage entirely for Sgt. McFarland. For once, I'm willing to forgive the fact that the curse words are bleeped out in the story itself.

May 4, 2009

The New Yorker Cartoon Anti-Caption Contest #192

Daniel Radosh

Submit the worst possible caption for this New Yorker cartoon.

Last week's results. •Rules and tips.


First place
"I'm sorry. I ran out of 'funny stories from the set' days ago, and yet, I remain trapped in this talk-show set/dungeon, as you stare at me with that creepy intensity, and I hope you'll understand that I'm beginning to wonder whether I'll ever see my family agai-- oh, we have to go to commercial? No, that's fine. I'll finish the story when we get back." — Tim C.

Second place
"Isn't Craigslist great!!?? I would never have found out about your terrific show!!! What channel is it on again? And why are there bars on the windows?" — Richard H

Third place
"I guess the joke's on me - I thought a show called "Stir Fry" would be about Asian cooking. Say, is it getting hot in here?" —therblig

Continue reading "The New Yorker Cartoon Anti-Caption Contest #192" »

May 2, 2009

Your answer may be partially informed by the fact that the question was posted to a video game site

Daniel Radosh


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