Sep 19, 2007

Creepy LA

I've spent the last week posting to a new LA-focused Halloween blog called Creepy. David Markland at Metroblogging LA is captain of the ship, which set sail this past Monday.

We'll be covering all manner of Halloween hi-jinks in the Los Angeles area: events, movie screenings, must-have items for the season, yard haunts, interviews with notable Angelenos about their traditions, habits and fetishes as they pertain to the matter at hand... and more. We're adding to the site throughout the day, so check it often to see what we've found.

I'll be posting under the name, "It Came from New York." Boo.

Sep 12, 2007

Effete Campaign Chronicals 2

I can't improve on Chris Matthews on Hardball yesterday:

It’s unimaginable that Petraeus came before the Senate and spoke. Imagine what this is going to sound like on Armed Services Radio tonight and television when they watch the commander say they don’t know whether they’re making America safer or not.

And he’s asking them to go into battle every day. It’s maddeningly stupid. And this president seems to be hiding behind a guy he gave the orders to and then is expecting him to defend the policy, and he admits it’s beyond his pay level to defend the policy.

We're Going Mars!

The recent joint study by UCLA and NYU suggesting that liberals are more adaptable thinkers than conservatives only illustrates what is apparent.

To explain, a test was performed on subjects who identified themselves as either liberal or conservative. They were then given a test wherein they were instructed to tap on a keyboard when an M appeared on a computer screen but to refrain from tapping when a W appeared. Test subjects were also monitored during the test by an electroencephalograph which showed liberals had higher levels of brain activity than conservatives. Not a big surprise.

Conservatives mistakenly tapped more often than liberals when the W appeared, leading researches to a conclusion that "provided an elegant demonstration that individual differences on a conservative-liberal dimension are strongly related to brain activity." It also leaves one to ponder if, in 2003, conservatives thought the president was pushing the US into going to Mars, rather than going to war.

Sep 8, 2007

"I read the news today, oh boy..."

Schwarzenegger thinks the whole time he's been governor he's really only been playing one in a movie .

Pope visits Holocaust memorial in Austria, heads straight to gift shop. Oh, and then he mentions that Europe without Christianity would be, like, a total drag.

Morrissey starts Christmas at the Palladium run early this year.

New LA Times column to explain on a regular basis why Angelenos are gluttons for punishment. No mention of low standards and cold, dark hearts.

Marriage is for Fags! GLAAD communications director "carefully" outs himself as straight; family shamed.

Surprise! Lucinda Williams is neurotic, refuses to leave El Rey Theater until she plays every song from every album in exact order. (Not a telethon.)

Right before a massage and a nap, Fred Thompson says he hates gay marriage and is "100 percent" against abortion, now that he's not being paid to lobby in favor of it.

Phil Spector stubbornly refuses to change wigs for deliberations.

2,200-year-old Roman play sexed up and musicalized, opens at Getty Villa. No word on Broadway transfer yet.

50 Cent to star in hip-hop remake of This Is Spinal Tap.

Sep 6, 2007

Sep 4, 2007

I Feel Fine

It’s too little too late. The October issue of Vanity Fair has an article by Evgenia Peretz about Al Gore being skewered, ridiculed, mocked and dismissed by the supposedly left-wing media during the 2000 presidential campaign. It dissects the coverage and also examines how some of the pundits and reporters are now “coming to terms” with their actions. Well, boo-hoo. Their disregard for objective reporting was an insult to their readers who had entrusted them with providing relevant information about a serious matter, electing a president. Redolent of the same sloth and hubris they illuminated in other politicians, it was sophomoric pack-mentality behavior from those who should have known better. (And it’s still happening.)

The article quotes Time magazine's Margaret Carlson saying, during an Imus interview, “…It's fun to disprove Al Gore. As sport, and as our enterprise, Gore coming up with another whopper is greatly entertaining to us.” That's right up there with former FEMA director Michael Brown wondering in an email to a colleague during the Katrina aftermath about which tie to match with which shirt. Maggie, you're doing a heck of a job.

Ceci Connolly, a Washington Post reporter covering the Gore campaign, is portrayed as a vindictive, threatening nut job with an awareness of her inordinate power who makes good on her threats by writing articles explicitly slanted against him after she isn’t given a suitably juicy quote. Now, she denies anything of the sort but, curiously, she goes on to say she remembers the “mediocre quote.” She sounds like so many politicians who are loathe to admitting they might have made a mistake; it was everyone else who was in the wrong, shades of Larry Craig.

Maureen Dowd and Frank Rich, both of the New York Times, are also damningly quoted from pieces they wrote during the 2000 campaign, showing they bought into the distortions, this from two opinion scribes about whom you could say I am generally aligned with politically. It pains me to say that at times I find them to be tiresome writers who care more about overreaching effect than anything else.

Dowd is an op-ed version of a chick flick, by turns amusing and annoying. Rich is, well, rich. At times brilliant, the sweat in his prose is often visible as he labors to make his sometimes contorted points. (A recent pleasant surprise was catching the former NY Times’ chief theater critic on LA 36, a local public affairs channel in Los Angeles, in a conversation with playwright Tony Kushner at UCSD, entitled The Theater of Politics, The Politics of Theater. A return by Rich to writing about theater would be welcomed by many.)

Katharine Seelye, of the NY Times, on the other hand, and in hindsight, says she should have “left out... or debunked” the distortions written about Gore’s campaign. Also, MSNBC’s Chris Matthews and Newsweek’s Jonathan Alter are both capable of stepping back and seeing the anti-Gore bias for what it was: irresponsible journalism.

Thankfully, most if not all of the above mentioned names are regarded as old-style mainstream media now that the bloggers are running the show. In light of the Vanity Fair article, it could be argued the bad behavior of the political press during the 2000 campaign was instrumental to the Internet coming to the fore in political coverage in the years since. After enduring six and a half years of the man the MSM helped elect, it’s stone cold comfort but I’ll cuddle up to it.

Sep 2, 2007

You Say Public Sex Like It’s A Bad Thing

With the current sex panic blowing lusty hot breezes through the late summer heat wave you would think the atrocities of the Iraq War were not occurring on a daily basis or even at all. They seem to be regarded by cable news (always a sad and telling snapshot of the American psyche) as almost an irritant mucking up their coverage of the 10th Anniversary Jubilee Celebration of the Death of Princess Diana, the brutal dog torturing of Michael Vick and most especially the ongoing, as it turns out, sexcapades of Senator Larry Craig. Senator Craig, with the gentle prodding of the news media, has managed to reintroduce public sex back into the American mainstream, forcing them down on it, insisting they swallow or at the very least imagine having a little taste for themselves. George Michael, we hardly knew ye; let’s hear it for Idaho values.

On CNN, Larry King, bless his heart, talked about it with an expression on his face that looked like he had a mouthful of sour milk. Over at Fox News, Sean Hannity, on the other hand, displayed body language that seemed to suggest he was a bit aroused and kept shifting in his chair, as if a loop of stall sex possibilities was playing over and over in his mind, betraying his curiosity. Coupled with his condemning words on the subject it was the embodiment of being fair and balanced.

I say reintroduce because it’s a practice as old as humanity, and public sex (be it in a restroom or park or locker room or beach or car or anywhere for that matter) is, as an urbane English friend said to me recently, “a tradition.” I mumbled something about Joe Orton and he responded, “Exactly. We invented it, mate,” beaming with pride.

He and I, along with his lovely wife and two sons (ages 10 and 13,) had just finished watching an episode of Extras, the brilliant BBC/HBO series from Ricky Gervais, wherein, in a matter of half a minute one of the characters had given a brief yet thorough explanation of hetero-vs.-homo copulation with extremely helpful hand gestures. My friend turned to his sons and said, “Well, there you go, boys. Any questions?”

There was no shielding of the boys’ eyes and ears as this smart little scene played out. We all laughed as I realized this young generation in decades to come just may save us all from the cudgel of sex shame utilized by religious zealots; or if not, bring us a little closer to that goal so dreaded by our Puritan ancestors, and the sooner the better.