Wednesday, April 21, 2010


Journalism 2.0
Recently the New York Times ran a profile of Mike Allen, from the journalism website Politico. Through Politico, Allen puts out a daily newsletter, Playbook, which is a three dotty kind of thing, discussing policy issues, Senator sightings, Hill staffers’ birthdays -- and more! I gather it’s a must-read in DC by pretty much everybody who’s anybody, or everybody who wants to seem to be an anybody by knowing what’s posted in Playbook. Mike Allen himself is kind of a mysterious figure, who is very messy, knows everybody, and never sleeps.

But here’s the thing. Allen asked in his April 10 Playbook, according to the New York Times:

… For brunch convo: Why isn’t Secretary Clinton on the media short lists for the Court?” By Monday, the convo had moved from the brunch table to “Morning Joe” (where the host, Joe Scarborough, advocated for her) and “Today” (where the Republican senator Orrin Hatch mentioned her, too). Later that day, Politico’s Ben Smith quoted a State Department spokesman who “threw some coolish water on the Clinton-for-Scotus buzz in an e-mail.” By then, the cable and blog chatter was fully blown. The White House issued a highly unusual statement that Secretary Clinton would not be nominated. Politico then sent out a “breaking news alert,” and Smith reported that the White House had “hurriedly punctured the trial balloon.” End of convo.”
Let’s break this down.

Allen wondered why Hillary Clinton isn’t being considered as a Supreme Court nominee. A question nobody else was asking. By Monday, all the chat shows and blogs were wondering why Hillary Clinton wasn’t being considered as a Supreme Court nominee, a question being asked by nobody else. Finally the White House declared that Hillary Clinton is definitely NOT a nominee, and Politico issued a “breaking news alert” that the White House had “hurriedly punctured the trial balloon,” a trial balloon, mind you, that Politico had launched. In other words, Politico pulled a balloon out of its own ass, which was the only source of the hot air that kept that balloon aloft for three days.

In other news
In other news, on April 19th, The Arizona House on Monday voted 31-22 for a provision that would require President Barack Obama to show his birth certificate in order to be on the state's ballot come re-election time. According to the Associated Press, “Mesa Republican Rep. Cecil Ash said he has no reason to doubt Obama's citizenship but supports the measure because it could help end doubt.” In related news the Hawaii Legislature is close to passing a law that would allow the state to ignore repeated requests for President Obama's birth certificate. What is Hawaii afraid of? Release the documents! I hope that Supreme Court Justice Hillary Clinton will step in to clear this--- oh, never mind.

Well reasoned, sir! Point taken! (Comment from some newsgroup…)
Magic wrote on 04/19/2010 09:09:30 AM:
I believe that Obama is a threat to our country and it is about time we excercise our freedom and protest everything he has done and is doing, he is not above the law! Number one he is trying to takeover with the Islamics here and is slapping our religions in the toilet! He has blatently stated this is not a Christian country but that it is Islamic, and that the Islams have enriched our country! Where? By killing thousands on 9/11 or what about before that when Clinton was in? Yemen, Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, Libya, Lebanon, etc! Saudi king is his massa, and yes we should get rid of him and all his little Obamunists right away before it is too late. For he has made deals with these foreigners! England is in great fear right now for they are being over thrown by the Islams and they are trying to ban Christianity! Yes read it look it up! Just like the Nazis did in WWII and don't forget the Turks, and the Arabs in General were our enemies then as well they signed with Hitler! DUH?

Wisconsin in the news!
Wisconsin state legislators have named the Lactococcus lactis bacterium, the official State Microbe. It helps make cheese.

Buh by Hitler!
It was an Internet trope for, oh I don’t know, months, let’s say, which is a lifetime, an infinity, in Web Time. I’m speaking of the viral videos, which took a scene of Hitler ranting in his bunker from the movie DOWNFALL, and putting in new subtitles. The idea is that Hitler is then seen ranting about iPhones, the iPad, real estate losses, the Kanye West controversy, Jay Leno and Conan O’Brien, Harry Potter, Virginia Tech beating Nebraska, Brett Favre, Obamacare, Obama winning the Peace Nobel, Nascar Rule Changes, Scott Brown’s election, and more. The first hundred or so were really really really really funny. So I’ve heard.

Alas, for those of us who just can’t get enough of the same joke over and over again, the distributor of the movie, Constantin Films has blocked all content past and further on copyright grounds. Appropriately some of the final “Hitler reacts’ videos included Hitler ranting about becoming an Internet meme, and Hitler ranting about being yanked from YouTube.

It’s hard to see how this relentless stream of parodies deal any lasting harm to the sales of DOWNFALL on DVD. Still, the distributor’s lawyers are being blamed for the takedown. I have read that both the director and the screenwriter/producer of the movie have confessed they are amused by the parodies. The director has declared, "Someone sends me the links every time there's a new one. I think I've seen about 145 of them! Of course, I have to put the sound down when I watch. Many times the lines are so funny, I laugh out loud, and I'm laughing about the scene that I staged myself! You couldn't get a better compliment as a director.”

Reading between the lines there, though, I think that perhaps it was the director himself who wanted these things off the Internet. He says he’s seen about 145 of them. That would be about 140 too much for me, and I had nothing to do with the movie, beyond seeing it, and liking it a lot. The original scene in question is a very creepy and profoundly unfunny picture of a crazed and dying madman still clinging to delusion. The director says, “I’m laughing about the scene that I staged myself!” Keep in mind that the director is German. Germans have a complicated and often distant relationship with humor. Slapping jokes on what he intended as a harrowing moment just may have caused him to finally snap, to call the distributor’s lawyers and say, “Stop, for God’s sake, make it stop.”

To which I can only say, fair use issues aside, it’s about damn time. Now we can get back to what we normally do. Which is to make videos of ourselves with Tiger Woods’ ghost father yelling at us, trying to figure out who the hell Justine Bieber is, and seeing what weird stuff we can make out of bacon.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

B log O' My Heart

“His pants were out of control.”

“You’re talking like my ex-girlfriend. She was a whore. You know what a whore does?”

At the video store!
I was looking for a copy of MADE IN USA, the 1966 Jean Luc Godard movie, because I’d read it was loosely based on THE JUGGER, one of the Parker novels by Richard Stark.

As often happens, the store had a video screen, playing a program. On the screen were Alec Baldwin and Isabella Rosellini, going through divorce terms. He was demanding ridiculous things, like the Arby’s franchises they owned near Telluride. She said something like, “You know I love my beef and cheddar!” I was thinking, “God, what is this?” Then the scene cut to a parody of THE VAGINA MONOLOGUES, in which a woman was saying, “My vagina is a lunchbox.” I thought, “What? Who does parodies of THE VAGINA MONOLOGUES any more?” I asked the highly tattooed young clerk at the counter what was thing they were showing. She told me, “It’s a television show? Called 30 ROCK?” Oh. I felt old. So old. And yet strangely grateful that I had not seen 30 ROCK before.

MADE IN USA, by the way, was irritating. It had little to do with THE JUGGER, was crammed with film references, snatches of poetry, snatches of philosophy, and oodles of zero commitment to the narrative. I mean if somebody murders your sweetheart, shouldn’t there be at least the pretence of emotional involvement in finding out who did it? If only to wink at it? It was no ALPHAVILLE, is all I’m saying. It’s a movie? Called ALPHAVILLE?

In other news…
The Catholic News Agency has released this report:
“Noted Italian exorcist Father Gabriele Amorth, commented this week that the recent defamatory reporting on Pope Benedict XVI, especially by the New York Times, was ‘prompted by the devil.’”

Speaking of religious figures…
Author and food activist Taj Patel, shortly after appearing on THE COLBERT REPORT to plug his book, THE VALUE OF NOTHING, suddenly became deluged with emails. According to the Guardian UK, “Patel's background and work coincidentally matched a series of prophecies made by an 87-year-old Scottish mystic called Benjamin Creme, the leader of a little-known religious group known as Share International. Because he matched the profile, hundreds of people around the world believed that Patel was the living embodiment of a figure they called Maitreya, the Christ or ‘the world teacher’.”

Patel has denied the charges. He told the Guardian: “My parents came to visit recently, and they brought clothes that said 'he's not the messiah, he's a very naughty boy'. To them, it's just amusing."