Wednesday, March 16, 2005

The "scare quotes" blog

“News” you can use.
Government agencies, both national and state, increasingly make self-serving video press releases that are clones of newscast segments, with hired actors and agency employees pretending to be “reporters.” Television stations, short on cash, reporters, ideas for stories, and integrity, have aired these “reports” all over the country, without even bothering to inform viewers.

“Scare quotes”
They’re “fun,” aren’t they?

Marmite in the news!
The “scary” and strangely beloved British foodstuff, Marmite, was the subject of a recent advertisement in England, in which a giant brown blob was shown rolling on a street, terrifying some, and delighting others. The ad, according to Reuters, ended with Marmite’s slogan, “You either love it or hate it.”

The ad has been pulled after complaints from parents that their toddlers had been “terrified by the adverts, with four refusing to watch television after seeing them and two suffering nightmares.”

The Reuters article goes on to describe Marmite as a “dark brown savoury spread.”

Wolfie!
Neo-con poster boy Paul Wolfowitz is President Bush’s choice to run the World Bank. He was one of the guys urging us to invade Iraq while the Twin Towers were still smoking.

He told the Philadelphia Inquirer in 2002, "It is entirely possible that in Iraq, you have the most pro-American population that can be found anywhere in the Arab world."

As further defense of the Iraq War, he was quoted in VANITY FAIR in 2003: "For bureaucratic reasons we settled on one issue, weapons of mass destruction, because it was the one reason everyone could agree on.”

The World Bank’s mission, by the way, “is to fight poverty and improve the living standards of people in the developing world. It is a development Bank which provides loans, policy advice, technical assistance and knowledge sharing services to low and middle income countries to reduce poverty.”

Hey Third World! Become a democracy! Get a loan! Or we’ll bomb your rubble to rubble.

Free Beatallica!
Beatallica, for reasons unknown, combines Beatles pop with Metallica heavy metal. It has been ordered by Sony, which owns the Beatles songs, to cease and desist. Beatallica’s songs include "Leper Madonna" and "Got to Get You Trapped Under Ice."

Despite Beatallica’s potential for file sharing abuse, one of the band’s supporters is Lars Ulrich of Metallica.

"All Americans need to watch what they say, watch what they do."
Former White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer has a brand new booklike object out there: TAKING HEAT: THE PRESIDENT, THE PRESS, AND MY YEARS IN THE WHITE HOUSE. Look for it six months from now at a Goodwill store near you.

Fun
Reed and Sandra, friends of ours, got married semi-secretly last November, and had a wider reception last night. Reed is an improv actor and very funny writer, so the two of them encouraged performance at the event, which was held at the York Hotel's Plush Room, a venue generally reserved for high end cabaret performers. My partner Joshua, the wife, and I chose to perform "Mal Hombre," a song by 30's Tex-Mex songstress Lydia Mendoza (actually, it was totally my wife's idea). It is a song about a very bad former boyfriend. It was screamingly inappropriate, and went over quite well. Saw people I hadn't seen in years, people who had moved away, people who had gotten out of show business (excuse me, "show business"), and people who just don't leave the house much any more. Erm. Kind of like us.

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