August 11, 2008

It's Getting Harder And Harder To Defend Them

Actual headline on the Fox News Channel, about five minutes ago:

What Can You Do To Protect Yourself From Vampire Bats?

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Posted by Chris at 09:41 AM | Comments (3)
Category: Media Stupidity

July 27, 2007

Of Course, Slowing Down To 50MPH On The Autobahn Carries Its Own Risk

So I'm watching the Train Wreck de France, and one of their recurring commercials is for Bridgestone Tires' new 'run-flat' thingamajig. It shows some guy in a nice BMW screaming down the autobahn when he runs over a board with a four-inch nail in it. Blah blah blah, yada yada yada, and the guy's glad he's got new Bridgestone run-flats which allow him to (per the small print) "drive at 50mph or less for 50 miles or less."

How the commercial ended: The guy continues screaming down the autobahn. Cue the world's worst commercial music (think the Mormon Tabernacle Choir on LSD trying to sing, oh, I don't know, some really teeth-grating aria).

How the commercial should have ended: The guy continues screaming down the autobahn... until his overstressed run-flat tire fails spectacularly, sending him into a bridge abutment at 200kph.

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Posted by Chris at 09:32 AM | Comments (2)
Category: Media Stupidity

July 10, 2007

This Is Obviously Some Strange New Usage Of The Word 'Green' That I Wasn't Previously Aware Of

On the one hand, Newsday said:

Organizers said Live Earth was the largest musical event ever held, as well as the biggest green event of any kind. [emphasis added]

On the other hand, ABC said

Live Earth's goal was to raise awareness and fight global warming. But with millions of fans attending nine shows across the world and generating more than 1,000 tons of garbage, the green concert has received mixed reviews.

This morning, people are wondering if a concert aimed at raising global awareness actually caused more global damage. One estimate said 100,000 trees needed to be planted to offset the carbon emissions released during the 24-hour event.
and dose.ca added
In Britain, tabloid News of the World also pointed out the hypocrisy of some performers, including Madonna, who has nine houses, a fleet of cars and a private jet, which makes her carbon footprint an estimated 100 times larger than the average Briton's.

So let's keep those 'awareness' concerts coming. At the rate they're going, by Live Earth V, we can have seaside concerts from Las Vegas, Atlanta, and Paris!

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Posted by Chris at 08:26 AM | Comments (0)
Category: Media Stupidity

June 27, 2007

This Would Make Scott Petersen A Trendsetter

I saw this caption on Fox News, about 7:15 AM Eastern Time:

20% Of Pregnant Women Are Murdered

At least that's how it read from across the workout room. So I got off the elliptical machine and walked over to the TV. The caption still read

20% Of Pregnant Women Are Murdered
so I guess they'll be a reduced need for OB-GYNs in the future.

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Posted by Chris at 08:28 AM | Comments (2)
Category: Media Stupidity

June 05, 2007

Yes, I Know I'm On Hiatus. Naturally, I'm Posting Anyway

Miss USA's pratfall was clearly faster than gravity. It must have been perpetrated by a controlled demolition, possibly by explosives in her shoes.

I blame George Bush.

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Posted by Chris at 08:37 AM | Comments (0)
Category: Media Stupidity

May 07, 2007

Domestic Balance Sheet

So I read somewhere (can't remember, maybe I'll link it if I do) that a stay-at-home mom is 'worth' over $130K per year in the services she provides. Before I get into this, I want to point out that flower_goddess was a stay-at-home mom for most of our son's life, and I am damn A) glad that she wanted to do it, and B) grateful that we are in a position financially that we could afford for her to do it.

But these "economic impact of [thing/concept] is X dollars" stories bother me, and it's generally because I think they're mostly BS, in much the same way that the stories about American business losing godzillions of dollars of productivity due to water-cooler discussions and pool betting on the Super Bowl/NCAA Tournament/World Series/whatever are mostly BS.

Of course stay-at-home moms perform a lot of critical services around the home. That's their JOB. But if you want to start playing the economic value game, be careful - to be fair, you'll need to include the value of services provided by the father/husband:

  • lawn care
  • vehicle maintenance (yes, the first two items are a homage to Tim Allen)
  • exterminator
  • handyman
  • moving-heavy-stuff-around guy
  • garbageman
  • home security service

No, it's not going to total $130K. Given that under this paradigm, the man is the breadwinner, it had better not!

Posted by Chris at 08:03 AM | Comments (2)
Category: Media Stupidity

February 22, 2007

OK, I Give Up.

Apparently Britney's back in rehab. Again.

I'll be tracking her status on the sidebar for the immediate future.

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Posted by Chris at 08:50 PM | Comments (2)
Category: Media Stupidity

February 13, 2007

The Giveaway Was When Clinton, Clinton, And Carter All Won Spoken-Word Grammys

To the surprise of precisely no one, Hollywood saw another chance to stick it to President Bush and jumped on it; hence, the Dixie Chicks' five Grammys (Grammies?).

Noted.

But since one of those was for Best Country Something-or-other, somebody needs to tell the NARAS that the Dix have said that they aren't even a country band anymore!

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Posted by Chris at 01:48 PM | Comments (0)
Category: Media Stupidity

December 11, 2006

And Make Sure Madonna Stays There, Too

If Gwyneth Paltrow associates with British folks as smart as the ones I worked with, and compared them to the average Hollyweirdo she hung out with, then her conclusion is perfectly reasonable, if somewhat narrow-minded.

She's welcome to do her part to raise the collective American IQ by staying in London.

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Posted by Chris at 09:32 AM | Comments (0)
Category: Media Stupidity

September 07, 2006

I'm Alfred E. Newman, And I Approved This Message

Vanity Fair, mostly known as "Proof James Wolcott Has A Goat Picture Of The Vanity Fair Board Of Directors," has produced a fake Weekly Standard cover flap that proves mainly that they can match fonts. It sure doesn't look very funny:

OK, Fine, We Admit It: The Iraq War Was A Mistake
And George W. Bush Is So Stupid It Scares Even Us

Brit Hume
50 things Michael Moore was right about

. . .

Fred Barnes
on the joys of not wearing pants

Hoo, boy, somebody stop them! Seriously, guys, this kind of fold-over wasn't funny when I was a kid reading Mad.

Naturally, Boing Boing's Mark Frauenfelder squirms with delight over it:

The October Vanity Fair has an excellent, very SPY-like prank to anger and befuddle readers of the buffoonishly hawkish Weekly Standard. Just cut out the fake cover flap and glue it onto a newsstand copy of the Weekly Standard, then step back to observe the blood vessels burst on the foreheads of the neocons who see it.

[Checking myself for aneurysms... nothing. Lame attempts at humor don't have much impact on my blood pressure.]

Hell, I can do that for VF, just funnier (although I'll leave the font-matching to somebody else):

First Peek: Airbrushed Pregnant Ann Coulter Naked!

GEORGE W. BUSH: How Come This Mental Defective Keeps Outmaneuvering Us?

Human-Like Creatures Discovered In American Interior
Apparently These Things Live In The Vast Wasteland Between The Coasts
Almost Like Us Except For Primitive Supernatural Beliefs

JAMES WOLCOTT Sneers At Everything Outside Manhattan

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Posted by Chris at 08:56 PM | Comments (1)
Category: Media Stupidity

September 04, 2006

Your Station's Papers, Zey Are Not In Order. Now Ve Are Seizing Your Transmitter.

Wired's copy chief, Tony Long, should stick to proofreading. Why the guy gets a column, I'll never know, because his personal calendar seems to be stuck in August of 1968 - even when his writing is coherent, which his current column most definitely isn't.

In the same column where he decries what he sees as the corporate media oligarchy...

Corporate interference in news gathering is nothing new, but the nature of it has changed as the power of these corporations has increased. The Republican-controlled FCC may have hammered the final nail into the coffin of independent journalism in 2003 by making it legal for a single corporation to own, within a single media market, up to three TV stations, eight radio stations, the local paper and the cable system.
(side note - anyone remember who was FCC chairman at the time? Michael Powell. Bonus question - appointed by whom? Bill Clinton. Apparently Long proofreads his own work.)

...he proposes a 'solution' that is so mind-bogglingly idiotic that I wonder if somebody else hacked his account and published it under his name to make him look bad:

Here's something else for the wish list, something we've never seen, or will see, until hell freezes over: Remove the profit motive from professional journalism. Newspapers, TV news departments, news radio and news websites are the tangible defenders of our free society. Something so vital to the safeguarding of our collective well-being should not be encumbered by the vulgar need to turn a profit.

So who pays?

The government pays, how about that? All legitimate news organizations would be licensed and subsidized by Uncle Sam. And Sammy has to keep on paying, even when the press bites the hand that feeds it. Because that's the press' job, after all. [emphasis added]

This is so full of crap I don't even know where to begin. Let's just go with the three most obvious problems:

  • It would make the FCC third only to the White House and the Pentagon as the most powerful force in the Executive branch (with the monstrous growth in bureaucracy and budget that implies). Given what Long thinks of the FCC, it seems clear to me that he doesn't recognize this; otherwise, he certainly wouldn't favor expanding their role in government.
  • It won't even work - it contradicts one of the arguments he makes for its necessity:
    . . . news gathering is expensive and labor intensive. The economic model for traditional media is so prohibitive that only the pashas who own these vast conglomerates can afford the ante. These are the same pashas, incidentally, who hobnob and swill champagne with the power elite. They're buddies with the very people they should be putting under a microscope. [emphasis added]
    Replace "buddies with" above with "licensed by" and you've still got the same problem.
  • It would be a gross violation of the First Amendment, because the clear implication is that only licensed agencies would be able to 'do news.' Do you think commiemedia would ever get a license? Do you think that anybody who started looking dangerous (regardless of which party is in control) wouldn't suddenly start experiencing licensing issues? What would happen if they were to try to publish anyway?

Now that I think about it, maybe Long's personal calendar isn't stuck in 1968. His idea of a government-controlled media is the epitome of 1984.

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Posted by Chris at 12:30 PM | Comments (1)
Category: Media Stupidity

August 09, 2006

Say What You Think, Get Treated Accordingly

Remember when I posted about the Chixie Dicks' troubles now that they've decided they don't want redneck fans no more? Well, the hits just keep on comin'. Dixie Chicks Cancel 14 Shows On Tour:

Several concerts on the Dixie Chicks' "Accidents & Accusations" tour have been canceled after slow ticket sales, but the group says it has replaced them with other dates.

Kansas City, Houston, St. Louis, Memphis and Knoxville are among 14 cities no longer on the original schedule released in May, according to a revised itinerary posted Thursday on the Dixie Chick's Web site.
Houston. They're from Texas, and they can't get a gig in f'ing Houston? BWAHAHAHAHAHA!

But it's all good, though - they've replaced those shows. With Canadian ones. Of course, they'll need to play 30% more dates to cover the exchange rate.

Group spokeswoman Kathy Allmand said Monday that the total number of North American dates remains the same, with several Canadian cities added in place of the U.S. shows.

The trio released a statement last week attributing the changes to attempts to "accommodate demand" and said more dates might be added next year.

I am in awe of the epic spin job represented by the phrase 'accomodate demand.' What a way to express the sentiment "accomodate the lack of demand we brought upon ourselves by shitting on the fans who made us rich. And famous. But mostly rich":

I [Natalie Maines] like lots of country music, but as far as the industry and everything that happened... I couldn't want to be farther away from that. And it's easier when you're financially set, because you can be a little more ballsy, and just do what you want to do.

As for the Canadian tour dates, am I the only one thinking "Out: Houston. In: Moose Dick, Saskatchabertitoba Territory?"

[H/T Coach TC on KisP]

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Posted by Chris at 10:23 AM | Comments (2)
Category: Media Stupidity

August 07, 2006

Does That Mean If I Listen To 'Bobblehead' I'll Get A Hummer?

I'm not much of a fan of what Big Music is jamming down our throats nowadays (especially rap, which they insist on spelling without a leading 'c', and which I characterize as "boasting to a drumbeat," which line I cribbed from someone else I can't recall at the moment and for which Google shows one hit - my previous reference to it - which now marks a personal record for most 'which's in a parenthetical remark).

Anyway.

I guess the point I'm trying to make is that I'm about the last person I would expect to defend rap, but when the attack against it is even stupider than the music itself, I figure I gotta say something. It would appear that Modern Youth is powerless to resist sexual lyrics:

Teens whose iPods are full of music with raunchy, sexual lyrics start having sex sooner than those who prefer other songs, a study found.

Whether it's hip-hop, rap, pop or rock, much of popular music aimed at teens contains sexual overtones. Its influence on their behavior appears to depend on how the sex is portrayed, researchers found
OK, so it's kind of my ox being gored here with the rock and everything, but whatever.
Teens who said they listened to lots of music with degrading sexual messages were almost twice as likely to start having intercourse or other sexual activities within the following two years as were teens who listened to little or no sexually degrading music.

Among heavy listeners, 51 percent started having sex within two years, versus 29 percent of those who said they listened to little or no sexually degrading music.
That's 76% more likely; hardly what I would consider 'almost twice as likely.'

Even granting this fairly strong correlation, nothing in the study (at least, nothing in the story) really establishes causation. There doesn't appear to be any acknowlegement that the relationship may be reversed - that teenage horndogs tend to like songs with sexual lyrics.

The first 'expert' quoted is a teenaged editor for a 'teen sexual health web site,' and even she admits that she doesn't pay attention to the lyrics...

Natasha Ramsey, a 17-year-old from New Brunswick, N.J., said she and other teens sometimes listen to sexually explicit songs because they like the beat.

"I won't really realize that the person is talking about having sex or raping a girl," she said.
...before remembering to get back on message.
Even so, the message "is being beaten into the teens' heads," she said. "We don't even really realize how much."

. . .

"Teens will try to deny it, they'll say 'No, it's not the music,' but it IS the music. That has one of the biggest impacts on our lives," Ramsey said.

To be sure, the article makes room for a dissenting viewpoint...

However, Yvonne K. Fulbright, a New York-based sex researcher and author, said factors including peer pressure, self-esteem and home environment are probably more influential than the research suggests.

"It's a little dangerous to just pinpoint one thing. You have to look at everything that's going on in a young person's life," she said. "When somebody has a healthy sense of themselves, they don't take these lyrics too seriously."

. . .

"A healthy home atmosphere is one that allows a child to investigate what pop culture has to offer and at the same time say 'I know this is a fun song but you know that it's not right to treat women this way or this isn't a good person to have as a role model,"' she said.
...which of course must be immediately outweighed by the scaremongers:
David Walsh, a psychologist who heads the National Institute on Media and the Family, said the results make sense, and echo research on the influence of videos and other visual media.

The brain's impulse-control center undergoes "major construction" during the teen years at the same time that an interest in sex starts to blossom, he said.

Add sexually arousing lyrics and "it's not that surprising that a kid with a heavier diet of that ... would be at greater risk for sexual behavior," Walsh said.

Posted by Chris at 05:35 PM | Comments (3)
Category: Media Stupidity

July 10, 2006

Greg Baum Neeeds A New Edtior

Greg Baum wrote a column for The Age summarizing the World Cup (and international soccer in general) that perfectly sums up my feeling about the sport. F'rinstance:

Soccer is a game in which fine lines quickly, sometimes instantaneously, widen into gulfs. If Zidane's early penalty kick had bounced back, there might not have been a shootout. If David Trezeguet's had bounced in, they might be taking penalties still.

Players, knowing this, work to leverage the least opportunity, the chink that might suddenly become a chasm, which makes for the blatant cheating that is the game's most infamous feature. The most negligible contact, or even none at all, will cause a player to sprawl as if riddled by shotgun pellets, variously to win a penalty, a free kick or a pause in play.

As the tournament progressed, it even began to jar on players, who became increasingly loath to kick the ball out of play, as honour demanded. The nadir was the Portugal/Netherlands round-of-16 encounter, in which there can barely have been 15 minutes of play in the second half. (Notably, the player who interposes himself to block another's pile-driven shot rarely collapses, though the pain sometimes must be real and great. [emphasis added])
It's implicit in Baum's parenthetical reference, but I'll make it explicit: they don't collapse because they don't want to take themselves out of the play WHEN THERE'S NO CHANCE THEY'LL GET A CALL!

There is one thing that bothered me, and it isn't even Baum's fault, really. OK, it is, but it's clear that the only editing done on the column was the use of a spell-checker:

The point is that the way soccer is structured, the referee can have a profound, even decisive, influence just by doing his job (or not doing it: refer the Italian league scandal). Players and managers know this and try to exploit it. Having sewn the breeze, they are reaping the whirlwind, and it is ingenuous of any to be affronted by it. [emphasis added]
I'm pretty sure he meant sown and disingenuous.

Posted by Chris at 12:18 PM | Comments (0)
Category: Media Stupidity

May 25, 2006

Stuck In 1968 With Terminal BDS Is No Way To Go Through Life, Son

Somebody better up Tony Long's Thorazine dosage, as his BDS has gotten the better of him:

So why aren't the streets clogged with angry Americans demanding to know why their president lied and deceived them so he could attack a country that had absolutely nothing to do with his so-called war on terror?

. . .

Why aren't we marching to demand an end to the illegal surveillance of American citizens by their own government, again under the pretext of waging war on terror?

. . .

Why aren't irate Americans camping out in the lobby of every newspaper and TV station from coast to coast, demanding that the press reassert the right to perform its single most important function, that of government watchdog?

The short answers are "Because he didn't lie," "Because it's legal," and "Are you fucking kidding me? If President Bush walked on water tonight, tomorrow's New Duranty Times headline would scream 'BUSH CAN'T SWIM; WOMEN, MINORITIES HARDEST HIT!'"

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Posted by Chris at 11:53 AM | Comments (0)
Category: Media Stupidity

May 16, 2006

In The Future, Everyone Will Be On The BBC For 15 Minutes

On the same day that I read this article that talks about how BBC World Service is reaching an all-time record audience ("Audience figures for the BBC World Service have reached a record 163 million a week"), I read this Times article that tells me they're stretching their on-air talent pool a bit thin:

IT WAS not until midway through the live television interview that the BBC interviewer started to grow suspicious. The man whom she believed to be an expert on internet music downloads seemed to know precious little about his subject.

Not only that, but the stocky black man with the strong French accent bore little resemblance to the picture on the expert’s website, which showed a slim white man with blue eyes and blond hair.

The corporation’s News 24 channel apologised to its viewers yesterday and admitted that its interviewee was not Guy Kewney, the respected editor of Newswireless.net, but a local taxi driver.

The cabbie, who is better qualified to talk about traffic jams in Shepherds Bush, answered questions for several minutes on Apple Computer’s victory at the High Court against Apple Corps, the record label for the Beatles, The Times has learnt.
Maybe I can get BBC News 24 to interview me about Brazil. I've never been there and I don't speak Portuguese, so I'd be perfect!

[H/T Regret The Error]

Posted by Chris at 01:52 PM | Comments (0)
Category: Media Stupidity

March 23, 2006

Higher Taxes For Thee, But Not For Me

That the Chomskybot is against pretty much everything that makes America America should come as no surprise to anyone to the right of Marx, but I figured that as a True Believer he'd actually practice what he preaches.

Not so much:

. . . Chomsky, with a net worth north of US$2-million, decided to create one [a trust] for himself. A few years back he went to Boston's venerable white-shoe law firm, Palmer and Dodge, and, with the help of a tax attorney specializing in "income-tax planning," set up an irrevocable trust to protect his assets from Uncle Sam. He named his tax attorney (every socialist radical needs one!) and a daughter as trustees. To the Diane Chomsky Irrevocable Trust (named for another daughter) he has assigned the copyright of several of his books, including multiple international editions.

Chomsky favours massive income redistribution -- just not the redistribution of his income. No reason to let radical politics get in the way of sound estate planning.

But how does a 'champion' of the poor and downtrodden accumulate a net worth measured in megabucks? Apparently, the 'rubber tofu' speaking circuit pays pretty well:

Chomsky's business works something like this. He gives speeches on college campuses around the country at US$12,000 a pop, often dozens of times a year.

. . .

Chomsky's marketing efforts shortly after Sept. 11 give new meaning to the term "war profiteer." In the days after the tragedy, he raised his speaking fee from US$9,000 to US$12,000 because he was suddenly in greater demand.
And of course there are his books - and by 'books' I mean 'bloviations that somebody had to type up:'
But books are Chomsky's mainstay, and on the international market he has become a publishing phenomenon. The Chomsky brand means instant sales. As publicist Dana O'Hare of Pluto Press explains: "All we have to do is put Chomsky's name on a book and it sells out immediately!"

Putting his name on a book should not be confused with writing a book because his most recent volumes are mainly transcriptions of speeches, or interviews that he has conducted over the years, put between covers and sold to the general public. You might call it multi-level marketing for radicals. Chomsky has admitted as much: "If you look at the things I write -- articles for Z Magazine, or books for South End Press, or whatever -- they are mostly based on talks and meetings and that kind of thing. But I'm kind of a parasite. I mean, I'm living off the activism of others. I'm happy to do it."

. . .

Seven Stories Press, a small publisher, pulled together interviews conducted via e-mail that Chomsky gave in the three weeks following the attack on the Twin Towers and rushed the book to press. His controversial views were hot, particularly overseas. By early December 2001, the publisher had sold the foreign rights in 19 different languages. The book made the best-seller list in the United States, Canada, Germany, India, Italy, Japan and New Zealand. It is safe to assume that he netted hundreds of thousands of dollars from this book alone.

OK, so now he's got piles of cash laying around the house. How does he make it work for him in a socially responsible way? Surely he invested it in one of those 'green' funds that don't invest in companies that do icky things, right?

Not so much.

Chomsky, for all of his moral dudgeon against American corporations, finds that they make a pretty good investment. When he made investment decisions for his retirement plan at MIT, he chose not to go with a money market fund or even a government bond fund. Instead, he threw the money into blue chips and invested in the TIAA-CREF stock fund. A look at the stock fund portfolio quickly reveals that it invests in all sorts of businesses that Chomsky says he finds abhorrent: oil companies, military contractors, pharmaceuticals, you name it.

'Hypocrite' doesn't seem strong enough a word here. Perhaps a linguist could prescribe a better one. Now all we have to do is find a linguist who actually, you know, linguisticates...

[H/T Chess]

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Posted by Chris at 04:16 PM | Comments (1)
Category: Media Stupidity

March 07, 2006

OK, So The Example Wasn't A Trifecta. Sue Me.

I got an email today from a friend:

Subject: God's a dick

Christopher Reeve's wife died at age 44.
Kirby Pucket died at age 45.

I responded that he missed the third leg of a Cosmic Injustice Trifecta (e.g., "Stevie Ray Vaughan dies; Milli Vanilli wins a Grammy"), and filled in the blank for him:

Pimps complaining to a drumbeat won an Oscar.

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Posted by Chris at 02:19 PM | Comments (1)
Category: Media Stupidity

And I'm Sure George Will Deliver World Peace Any Day Now

This is one of the reasons I really like Anthony Hopkins:

"I can't get caught up in the self-importance. People bow to your every wish and you forget where you come from and what you're doing," he told the magazine.

"I recently worked with two actors who wouldn't come out of their trailers for some reason.

"Can you figure that out? It's insanity. Or they complain because their trailers aren't big enough.

"Bulls***. It's a job, like any other, so don't make a big deal. Be polite, treat the crew with respect and don't think you're different."

Somebody needs to print that out and jam it down George Clooney's piehole:

"And finally, I would say that you know we are a little bit out of touch every now and then here in Hollywood - every once in a while - and I think that's probably a good thing. We're the ones to talk about AIDS when it was just being whispered. And we talked about civil rights when it wasn't really popular. You know we bring up subjects. We're the ones, you know, this Academy gave Hattie McDaniel an Oscar in 1939 when blacks were still sitting in the backs of theaters.

"I'm proud to be part of this Academy, proud to be part of this community and proud to be 'out of touch' . . .."

ABC News' Miguel Marquez takes Clooney to the woodshed as well.

Update: A NY Daily News editorial continues the beating:

Since Prof. Clooney brought up the subject, we note for the record the drought between McDaniel's supporting Oscar for playing Mammy in "Gone With the Wind" and Halle Berry's Best Actress award in 2001. Berry's win, along with Denzel Washington's Best Actor award the same year and a Best Actor given to Sidney Poitier in 1963, constitute all the top acting awards - three - that the Academy gave blacks over three-quarters of a century. And that was a period when Tinseltown mass-produced a mind-boggling wave of minstrels, mammies and other demeaning black characters, year after year.

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Posted by Chris at 12:49 PM | Comments (1)
Category: Media Stupidity

February 24, 2006

It's Exactly The Same, Except We've Occupied Hanoi And Captured Ho Chi Minh

So I find out from Digg that MIT has made a huge collection of video lectures available online. Naturally, I start poking through them, and a lot of them look interesting, especially this one and this one and this one (especially since dude is the chief scientist for BP and he says “It’s really about reducing use if you want to save energy, not about efficiency.”).

And then I stumbled across one by Chomsky:

In this bitter commemoration of the end of the Vietnam War, the speakers dispel any comforting notion that Americans have absorbed lessons from that bloody time, much less sought the truth.

. . .

Chomsky scoffs at the view, circulated at least among Iraq-focused media, that the public has a Vietnam fixation. “There’s no concern, let alone obsession, about what actually happened in Vietnam,” says Chomsky.

Chomsky is actually correct that the public doesn't have a Vietnam fixation, but the media sure does. Look here and here and here and here (I especially like that one - it declared 'quagmire' on March 31, 2003!) and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and, well, you get the idea...

[Hat tip for the title goes to Art Fougner of Flushing, N.Y. via Brutally Honest]

Posted by Chris at 05:11 PM | Comments (0)
Category: Media Stupidity

The Bronze Medalist Must Have Just Hit The Wall And Burst Into Flames

My friend Brother Fnord has been goading me to snark on Olympic figure skating, and I told him that doing so would require me to expend enough effort to actually care about it, or at least pretend that I did (although I do admit watching the Italian ice dancing pair's final performance just to see if she'd rip his balls off in front of the whole world), but last night was the final straw. Fnord - you win. Here's your snark:

I've always maintained that figure skating is fixed worse than pro wrestling, and last night proves it. How the hell can you can fall TWICE in the final round and still end up with the silver medal?

And don't write in trying to explain it to me; I've already spent more time thinking about this than I really wanted to.

(And yes, I'm filing this under Media Stupidity rather than Sports since figure skating isn't a sport, and it's media stupidity to insist that it is.)

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Posted by Chris at 10:01 AM | Comments (1)
Category: Media Stupidity

February 02, 2006

That Ain't Food. That's What Food Eats.

According to a market research group, the top Super Bowl snack is now vegetables:

The news came from market researchers, the NPD Group, who said vegetables were eaten at nearly 30 percent of all dinners on Super Bowl Sunday for the last five years, beating out potatoes, sandwiches, salads, salty snacks, and even the venerable pizza and chicken wings.
I question their methodology. I reckon they surveyed the ten Communist families who eat dinner instead of watching the Super Bowl like they're supposed to, and they found that three of them actually eat their vegetables.

Alternative explanations:

  • Vegetables are merely a Dip Delivery System.
  • Not every SB party has all the Usual Suspects (chips/salty snacks, pizza, wings, etc), but they all have some tofu-for-brains who thinks bringing a veggie tray counts as a dish to pass.
  • They count salsa as a vegetable.

Posted by Chris at 12:20 PM | Comments (3)
Category: Media Stupidity

January 26, 2006

And If That Doesn't Work, Try Filing Off The Stains

Piling on Tuesday's stereotype-exploitation post, we have this:

The BBC issues an on-air apology for a segment on Smart Spenders in which the host recommended rubbing lemon rinds on one's teeth as an alternative to expensive whitening treatments. The British Dental Health Foundation had informed the network that lemons, in fact, are harmful to tooth enamel.

Of course acid is bad for your - wait a minute. There's a British Dental Health Foundation?

Posted by Chris at 02:47 PM | Comments (3)
Category: Media Stupidity

January 23, 2006

And Their New Ship Can Make The Kessel Run In 12 Parsecs

The legacy media knows nothing of the military, Exhibit 43,270,449:

Next month a new high-explosive munition will be fired in Singapore and then tested again by the U.S. Army, heralding what may be a sea change in weaponry: a gun that can fire 240,000 rounds per minute.

That's compared to 60 rounds per minute in a standard military machine gun.

One. Round. Per. Second. Wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong!

Posted by Chris at 08:57 AM | Comments (5)
Category: Media Stupidity

January 07, 2006

And Another Th-Ooh! Shiny!

Thursday's post was originally intended to be a sideline to the main point I wanted to make about Tony Long's latest column. I was headed that way when I was distracted by his CES reference (which caught my eye in no small part because my brother is there right now, lucky bastard).

Anyway. What I originally wanted to remark on was this:

Smile: Digital cameras will be all over the place at CES, too. A word about digital cameras: Feh.

With their proliferation, the world is awash in digital snapshots, and the art of photography dies a little more each day. These cameras are technological marvels, to be sure. But because they do virtually everything for you and require no effort beyond pointing and shooting, pointing and shooting is all that most people do.
I bet the photosnobs said exactly the same thing when the Kodak Brownie was invented. And the Leica. And the first SLR. And the Instamatic. And the disk camera. And the first autofocus 35mm camera. So what? What, exactly, is wrong with making it easier for the average person to capture their memories? How, exactly, is that a less noble pursuit than photography as art?
In a particularly bitchy moment, Truman Capote once described Jack Kerouac's stream-of-consciousness style: "That's not writing. That's typing." Digital cameras abet the photographic equivalent of stream of consciousness.
So Long wants to compare the average vacation snapshotter to Jack Kerouac? I'll take that compliment in a heartbeat, thank you very much (incidentally, the self-obsessed Capote rarely had a good word for anyone; acknowledging someone, even by insult, was a compliment in itself).
One thing, and one thing only, determines the photographic art, and that's the photographer behind the lens. Nothing else matters. Count on it: The digital age will produce no Alfred Stieglitz, no Margaret Bourke-White, no Ansel Adams unless the shooter possesses an artist's soul and has mastered the craft.
I'll agree with his words here - the talent is in the person, not the tool (and the link in the quote above is well worth visiting). But better tools will make 'mastering the craft' easier, which directly contradicts what I think is the undercurrent of his argument: because of digital cameras, taking pictures is now easier, therefore there will be no new Steiglitz, Bourke-White, or Adams (what, no Eisenstaedt?), and that's just B.S.
By all means, use your digital camera to take those family snaps. E-mail your images and amaze your easily amazed friends. Just don't call it "photography." Because it isn't.
My humble thanks to Tony for granting us plebes permission to keep taking pictures aside, this is more snobbish crap. I certainly agree that not every photograph is art, but to attempt to exclude snapshots from the category 'photography' is exactly the kind of "things used to be better" bitchery that Long somehow makes a living at. And that pisses me off.

Tags:

Posted by Chris at 01:27 PM | Comments (2)
Category: Media Stupidity

November 09, 2005

Definitely NOT White Trash Wednesday

[I'll have a WTW post later today.]

Jesus is black, Ronald Reagan is the devil, and the government is lying about 9/11!

This line from the opening moments of the first episode of Moonbats Boondocks tells me everything I need to know about the show.

Actually, there's also this: creator Aaron McGruder says

"The strip is not 'the revolution.' You wouldn't get to see the strip if very powerful white corporations didn't allow you to see the strip," McGruder told TV critics this summer in Los Angeles. "It's really, really just a really funny and inappropriate show."

Cartoon Network is paying $400 grand per episode for it. Yeah, Aaron. Tell me again how The Man is keeping you down.

Posted by Chris at 07:39 AM | Comments (0)
Category: Media Stupidity

September 21, 2005

It's Fixed Worse Than Pro Wrestling And Almost As Bad As Figure Skating

In the "And I Care About This Why?" category, ABC faces questions over the outcome of Dancing with the Stars

NEW YORK — Did Kelly Monaco (search) of the popular ABC soap "General Hospital" win the trophy on "Dancing with the Stars" (search) because it was also an ABC show?

There was an enormous fuss this summer when she won over hands-down favorite John O’Hurley (search), famous for playing catalogue king J. Peterman on NBC's "Seinfeld."

. . .

For the rematch, each pairing will perform Latin, ballroom and freestyle dances. Unlike the original 6-week series, though, they will be judged by only viewer votes, rather than a combination of votes and judge scoring.

Oh, sure. Because there's no possible way that can be manipulated.

(So you take five days off, and you come back with this?!? Geez, why'd you bother? At least come up with a White Trash Wednesday entry or something...)

Posted by Chris at 07:08 AM | Comments (0)
Category: Media Stupidity

September 16, 2005

Yep, The President Sure Hates Black People

Hey Kanye - these folks didn't get your memo!

ABC News producers probably didn't hear what they expected when they sent Dean Reynolds to the Houston Astrodome's parking lot to get reaction to President Bush's speech from black evacuees from New Orleans. Instead of denouncing Bush and blaming him for their plight, they praised Bush and blamed local officials. Reynolds asked Connie London: "Did you harbor any anger toward the President because of the slow federal response?" She rejected the premise: "No, none whatsoever, because I feel like our city and our state government should have been there before the federal government was called in.” She pointed out: “They had RTA buses, Greyhound buses, school buses, that was just sitting there going under water when they could have been evacuating people."

Not one of the six people interviewed on camera had a bad word for Bush -- despite Reynolds' best efforts.
[H/T doubleplusgood infotainment]

Posted by Chris at 12:21 PM | Comments (1)
Category: Media Stupidity

August 18, 2005

#50: Fail To Do Anything A Woman Says.

iVillage, in their never-ending quest to emasculate the male of the species, reprints an Esquire article from 2002: Things A Man Should Never Do After The Age of 30.

Maybe I'm just saying this because I'm currently in violation of at least half of them (and I'll be 41 next month), but what a fucking load of bullshit. Take a look at some of these:

1. Use the word party as a verb.
Every Friday night. Many Saturday nights. The occasional Sunday.
2. Shots.

3. Body shots.

4. Jell-O shots. Especially Jell-O shots.
Every Friday night. Many Saturday nights. The occasional Sunday.
11. Experiment with facial hair.
I went from full beard to goatee at age 38. Esquire and iVillage can go shave themselves where the sun don't shine.
14. Own beer-drinking paraphernalia.
Does a Kegerator count? Just kidding. I only wish I had a kegerator.
15. Own a skull bong.
Apparently other kinds of bongs are OK.
18. Use the word dude, except when referring to a ranch or a well-dressed Englishman.
Everyone in my neighborhood, regardless of age or gender, does this. Who died and made you Lingo Police?
19. Use the word dawg in a sentence when referring to a friend or, worse, yourself.
On the other hand, I draw the line here.
24. Drink malternative beverages.
I'll drink what I want, when I want, at whatever age I want. The fact that I don't like alcopops in general is immaterial to this.
25. Don a puka-bead necklace.
I knew these were stupid when I was 13, let alone 30.
29. Own a Lava lamp.
I just got one last month. It adds atmosphere to the garage.
33. Play fantasy sports.
The author has obviously never played any kind of fantasy sports game. It is not something you 'grow out' of.
38. Wear a jersey with the name of a professional athlete on the back.
But what else would I wear to my fantasy football draft?
47. Fall asleep in public.
I don't get this one. Why is it OK for younger men but not for post-30 men?
48. Call drugs by their street names (e.g., junk, smack, or whitebag).
There's a reason we have fifty different words for marijuana (hint: it's similar to why Eskimos allegedly have 26 different words for snow).
49. Pick a fistfight by thrusting out your neck, flexing, and screaming, "It's go time!"
What dumbass would do this, ever?

Posted by Chris at 12:22 PM | Comments (2)
Category: Media Stupidity

August 15, 2005

It Could Only Have Been Less Interesting If They'd Discussed It In Esperanto

Memo to Bob & Tom: spending five minutes discussing a letter you all read in the studio but can't read over the air is NOT good radio. It's like a giant joke the audience isn't in on.

That is all.

Posted by Chris at 11:38 AM | Comments (0)
Category: Media Stupidity

July 31, 2005

Code Yawn! Spinmeisters To The Newsroom Stat!

The LA Times does its best to perform CPR on the rapidly fading Valerie Palme story:

Some folks say that as we learn more, the scandal is getting smaller, not larger. Valerie Plame was a CIA functionary commuting openly to agency headquarters, not a spy working behind enemy lines. The law against revealing the identities of intelligence agents is complicated and probably wasn't broken in this case. And the story line gets muddier: Journalists may have revealed Plame's identity to White House honchos.

What's the Times' response to all these points - the first two pretty much not in doubt and the third being highly likely?

We don't buy it.

I wish it were that easy for me. If I got pulled over for speeding and told that I was 20 over, I could just say 'I don't buy it.' and that would be that. Boy, would that be handy.

Maybe I'm being a bit too glib, because they go on to say

However they came to learn about this juicy factoid, people in the Bush administration misused an intelligence secret to discredit a critic of its Iraq policy.
Wow, three strikes in one sentence. No misuse, no secret, and Wilson discredited himself quite adequately, thank you just the same.
And outing Plame, whether illegal or not, did harm to our national security. Plame may work in Langley, Va., but she worked with others who work in more dangerous locales.
If this were true (e.g., as a case officer), she might be considered covered by the law. Is that what the Times is claiming? I'd like to see evidence of it (and good luck with that, by the way).
You only need to imagine how Republicans would have treated such a leak in the Clinton administration to dismiss their protestations that it's all no big deal.
Hardly. The same legacy media mouthpieces that spent eight years sucking Bill Clinton's dick would have shouted them down in a heartbeat.

Posted by Chris at 04:15 PM | Comments (0)
Category: Media Stupidity

July 15, 2005

Wanta Fant-lip?

In a recent flypaper meeting, somebody brought up the fact that the local theaters are running more and more commercials before their movies start, mentioning the Wanta Fanta? commercials as among the most annoying. I made the mistake of saying the last time I saw one of those at the movies, it stuck in my head for two days.

Now whenever anybody walks past my office, I can hear them humming "Wanta Fanta? Don'tcha wanta, wanta Fanta?"

Sons'a'bitches.

Posted by Chris at 03:18 PM | Comments (0)
Category: Media Stupidity

July 01, 2005

Scientologist, Audit Thyself

So Tom Cruise, Scientologist, doesn't think Brooke Shields should have taken Paxil and seen a psychiatrist:

NBC 'TODAY SHOW' host Matt Lauer was lectured by star Tom Cruise on the dangers of psychiatry and antidepressant during a promotional interview for WAR OF THE WORLDS.

The exchange aired Friday morning.

LAUER: TOM CRUISE CREATED A FIRESTORM WHEN HE CRITICIZED BROOKE SHIELDS FOR REVEALING THAT SHE WENT INTO THERAPY AND TOOK ANTIDEPRESSANTS TO DEAL WITH HER POST PARTUM DEPRESSION. AS A SCIENTOLGIST, HE DOESN'T BELIEVE IN PSYCHIATRIC MEDICINE. I ASKED HIM ABOUT HIS COMMENTS.

CRUISE: i've never agreed with psychiatry, ever. Before I was a Scientologist I never agreed with psychiatry. and when i started studying the history of psychiatry, i understood more and more why i didn't believe in psychology.

//And as far as the Brooke Shields thing is, look. You gotta understand, I really care about Brooke Shields. I-- I think here's a-- a-- a wonderful and talented woman. And-- I wanna see her do well. And I know that-- psychiatry is-- is a pseudo science.

MATT LAUER: But-- but Tom, if she said that this particular thing helped her feel better, whether it was the antidepressant or going to a counselor or psychiatrist, isn't that enough? //

TOM CRUISE: Matt, you have to understand this. Here we are today where I talk out against drugs and psychiatric abuses of electric shocking people (PH), okay, against their will, of drugging children with them not knowing the effects of these drugs. Do you know what Aderol (PH) is? Do you know Ritalin? Do you know now that Ritalin is a street drug? Do you understand that?
etc., etc., you've already heard the story by now if you care about it at all.

So Cruise catches some flak for this, but it doesn't seem to bother him, as my transcript of this bit of audio that ran on Bob & Tom yesterday (about 13:00 into the second hour; I don't know where they got the audio from) illustrates:

Cruise: "There's really nothing to say, outside of I just don't pay attention to it. I do my work, I live my life, you know, it's never affected anything before, it doesn't matter. It's, what do I do? I make my movies, and I live my life, in the best way that I feel that I can, and, y'know, I can't control what people are going to say or do, they're going to say and do what they want, and, and the thing is it's not ever going to change how I live my life."

So let me get this straight. Tom, you don't care what other people say, and you're not going to change your life based on it. Isn't it more than a little arrogant to think that Brooke Shields will change how she lives her life based on what you say?

Celebrities - is there anybody who can't be helped by their advice?

Posted by Chris at 01:40 PM | Comments (1)
Category: Media Stupidity

May 20, 2005

I Think Tomorrow I'll Scoop Them On Frankenstein. Or Maybe Marsupials.

Dangerous Logic leads, CBS News follows. Back on April 10, the Taipei Times had a story on million-dollar mobile homes in Malibu. Two days ago, I did a WTW story on it. Later that night, the CBS Evening News also did.

First Rathergate, then Bob "Every-other-word-is-'uh'" Schieffer, now this. When they're getting scooped by some schmuck who uses Google to find a month-old newspaper article from Taiwan... wow. It doesn't get much lower than that.

Posted by Chris at 03:05 PM | Comments (4)
Category: Media Stupidity

May 13, 2005

It's All Gone To Hell Since March 2003, And It's All Our Fault

If I didn't know better, I'd swear that Andrew Gilligan still has a job at the BBC writing headlines. How else would you explain a headline like Iraqi living standards 'plummet', with the clear implication that it's all the US's fault, when compared to the actual text of the article?

In 2004, a year after the fall of Saddam Hussein, some 22,000 households were questioned about their lives.

The study paints a "rather tragic situation of the quality of life", said Iraqi planning minister Barham Saleh.

He blamed the former regime, but the insecurity which has followed its fall is also seen as playing a key role.
. . .
It is highly likely that most households now have a lower real income than almost 25 years ago, said the report, entitled the Iraqi Living Conditions Survey 2004. [emphasis added]

Well, let's see. 25 years before 2004? That would be 1979. What happened in Iraq then? Hm, let me think.

Ah, yes. Now I remember.

Posted by Chris at 01:00 PM | Comments (0)
Category: Media Stupidity

April 10, 2005

That's A Strange New Definition Of 'Unthinkable' That I Wasn't Previously Aware Of

London's The Independent reports on the Michael Jackson trial:

A little over two weeks ago, Michael Jackson looked as if he was sailing towards an acquittal in his trial on child-molestation charges. The family accusing him of sexually abusing their 13-year-old son was vague on the details, contradictory, unsupported by much in the way of corroborating evidence and happy to admit a history of lying, even under oath.

Now, however, things look considerably dicier for the 46-year-old star in the wake of a single ruling from the trial judge, which allowed the prosecution to present evidence of prior allegations of child molestation even though they do not pertain directly to the charges he is now facing.

The headline for the article? America faces the unthinkable as tide turns against Jackson.

'Unthinkable?'

What. The. Hell?

Jackson's a freak, has been for years, and everybody knows it. What, exactly, is 'unthinkable' about the possibility of him being a child molester? Creepy, yeah; disgusting, definitely. But unthinkable? Not likely.

Although I suppose it shouldn't be unexpected; after all, they're the rag that inflicted Robert Fisk on the world.

Posted by Chris at 12:28 AM | Comments (1)
Category: Media Stupidity

April 09, 2005

Next Thing You Know, They'll Be Telling Us That Bert And Ernie Aren't Gay

There are some things that just should not change. Michigan football should always have the winged helmets. Porn should always be no more than three mouse clicks away. And the Cookie Monster should always be a monster about, well, cookies.

Alas, it appears he has fallen victim to Them What Want To Suck All The Fun Out Of Everything:

My beloved blue, furry monster — who sang "C is for cookie, that's good enough for me" — is now advocating eating healthy. There's even a new song — "A Cookie Is a Sometimes Food," where Cookie Monster learns there are "anytime" foods and "sometimes" foods
My God, people, is nothing sacred?

Posted by Chris at 11:45 PM | Comments (2)
Category: Media Stupidity

April 03, 2005

Like Playing 'Rocky Mountain High' To Promote Tabasco Sauce...

Am I the only one who finds it odd that Kentucky Fried Chicken's new ad campaign is backed by the song 'Sweet Home Alabama?'

Posted by Chris at 10:00 PM | Comments (1)
Category: Media Stupidity

March 29, 2005

Next Week: Elvis Sighted At Moscow McDonalds!

Back in the days of the Soviet Union, Pravda (literally, 'Truth') was the daily newspaper of the Communist Party. Well, times change, and what once was translated as 'Truth' can now be translated as 'Weekly World News.' Here are some of the stories currently on their Science/Health front page:

Mortals and saints can remain physically immortal after death:

Medical experts state that imperishable remains of senior lama of East Siberian Buddhists, Dasha-Dorjo Itigelov who died in 1927 are similar to tissues of a living man

Russian scientists have confirmed the lama remains are imperishable. However, skeptical people hardly believe this.

Khambo lama Dasha-Dorjo Itigelov (1852-1927) died not far from the Russian city of Ulan-Ude, the place where the well-known Ivolginsk datsan (spiritual center for Russian Buddhists) was built in 1947. When dying, the lama bequeathed that his sarcophagus must be opened some time later to see in what condition the remains would be. The lama died meditating sitting in the lotus pose, the way typical of a yoga leader.

. . .

Buddhists say that only the most advanced yoga can fall into some particular condition before death and purify themselves so that his dead body could not decay. They also say that besides Itigelov's body, there are just three intact remains of Buddhist saints who are kept in China, India and Vietnam.
Pray forgive me for the sacrilige of wondering how someone has the ability to purify their body against decay, but not have the ability to prevent their death altogether.

Next, Bat-Boy's second cousin - Mysterious amphibious human-like creature spotted in the Caspian Sea:

For the last two years residents of coastal areas around the southern and southwestern Caspian Sea have been reporting of some amphibious creature resembling a human being. In March this year an eyewitness account from the crew of the Baku, an Azeri trawler, was published by Iranian newspaper Zindagi: "That creature was swimming parallel course near the boat for a long time," said Gafar Gasanof, a captain of the ship.

"At the beginning we thought it was a big fish, but then we spotted hair on the head of the monster and his fins looked pretty strange... the front part of his body was equipped with arms!" said the captain. Back in Azerbaijan, nobody took his story seriously. It sounded ridiculous to those who thought that the guy must have been drinking while on board.

On the contrary, shortly after the publication of his interview, the offices of the Iranian paper got flooded with numerous letters of the readers who claimed that the story was yet another piece of evidence proving the existence of the so-called "man of the sea." The readers pointed out that many fishermen had repeatedly seen the strange creature at sea and on shore after the seabed volcanoes in the area of Babolsera had come to life in February and offshore oil production operations had intensified in the Caspian.
And from the looks of things, he's quite the ladies' man - er, merman:
All the eyewitness accounts provide a similar description of the marine humanoid. His height is 165-168 cm, he has a strong build, a protruding ctenoid stomach, his feet are pinniped and he has four webbed fingers on either of his hands. His skin is of moonlight color. The hair on his head looks black and green. His arms and legs are shorter and heavier than those of a medium-built person. Apart from his fingernails, he has nails growing on the tip of his aquiline nose that look like a dolphin's beak. No information as to his ears. His eyes are large and orbicular. The mouth of the creature is fairly large, his upper jaw is prognathic and his lower lip flows smoothly into the neck, his chin is missing.

And I won't even get into Laser-Boy sees people's illnesses in mirror, 'Pharaoh's curse' punished two families that owned a once stolen amulet, or Russian man becomes healer after his own death!

Posted by Chris at 12:34 PM | Comments (1)
Category: Media Stupidity

January 28, 2005

Finally, An Endangered Species List I Can Get Worked Up About

I found the EFF's Endangered Gizmos List from Slashdot, and I'm happy to say I own one of the gizmos listed as 'extinct' on it. Just one. Really. Honest:

Species: ReplayTV 4000
Genus: Personal Video Recorder (PVR)
Closest Surviving Relatives: TiVo's "Tivo-to-go" is heavily encumbered by DRM and its 30-second skip is hidden. Build-your-own PVRs like MythTV let you skip commercials and export files to your heart's content.
What it is: A personal video recorder with user-friendly features.
What it allowed you to do: Skip over commercials and send recorded TV programs to another ReplayTV device.
Why it's extinct: Former Turner Broadcasting CEO Jamie Kellner called skipping commercials "theft" -- and evidently the major motion picture studios agree. They sued the manufacturers of ReplayTV out of existence, and the company that purchased it buckled under and removed the contested features.
And the reasons it's extinct are a large part of I like it so much - automatic commercial skip (with a correctness rate of ~80%) and no digital rights management. You can still get ReplayTVs on eBay, but be advised that if you're looking for automatic commercial skip (called Commercial Advance), you'll want a 4xxx series model, not a 5xxx series (5000 series models may have CA, I don't remember, but 55xx series models definitely do not).

I've combined my RTV with DVArchive (which lets me move shows to my PC) and my DVD burner to create an essentially unlimited library of whatever the hell I want from my TV.

No wonder Hollywood doesn't want me to have it.

A gizmo on the endangered list has also caught my attention - Total Recorder:

Species: Total Recorder
Genus: Virtual soundcards
Threat: Entertainment companies pressing for operating system-authentication of soundcard drivers.
What it is: A software program that appears to your computer to be a soundcard, but rather than sending an audio stream to your speakers, it saves it to a file on disk.
What it lets you do: Total Recorder allows you to record any audio that your computer can play.
Why it's endangered: Hollywood is pushing Microsoft and other operating system developers to make it so your computer will detect whether the soundcard software in use comes from a major manufacturer -- that is, whether it's been "tamed" and will do what Hollywood and the majors have agreed it may do.
Just the thing to allow me to mix radio highlights of games and add my own commentary, much like I do for TV. Never mind that this fits pretty clearly under the definition of Fair Use; Big Media doesn't want me to be able to do it.

Posted by Chris at 05:19 PM | Comments (0)
Category: Media Stupidity

January 06, 2005

On Second Thought, Maybe Lip-Synching Isn't So Bad

In his whirlwind tour of the BCS bowls (except the Fiesta Bowl, but then again, who cares?), LA Times sports columnist J.J. Adande has this to say about the Orange Bowl halftime show:

The Orange Bowl halftime show is one of the greatest threats to fankind, an overproduced, overly long tribute to shlock. It's a bunch of kids in brightly colored outfits running around the field, with unimpressive singers on stage. This time it was Kelly Clarkson and Ashlee Simpson. Simpson was booed at the start and finish of her act, and was complaining about the audio system to an underling as she left the stage. [emphasis added]
Given that Simpson's performance was actually live rather than lip-synched (q.v. the SNL debacle), I'm guessing she said something like "I can't believe you idiots actually turned my microphone on!"

Posted by Chris at 02:18 PM | Comments (0)
Category: Media Stupidity

January 05, 2005

They Didn't Get Red Storm Rising, Either. Go Figure.

People reviews Michael Crichton's latest, State of Fear:

But the hardware outshines the leaden plot, which involves an attempt by environmentalists trying to save the planet and is burdened by Crichton's disquisitions about global warming being a fraud. Padding for this 603-pager comes from graphs and pseudo-brainy dialogue ("I tested that hypothesis and found it heuristically valuable"). Scary? You bet.
--People, January 10, 2005, p. 48

Translation: "It expresses politically incorrect opinions and uses words we don't understand. We don't like it."

Posted by Chris at 07:01 PM | Comments (2)
Category: Media Stupidity

November 19, 2004

A Mouth Making Promises Its Ass Can't Keep

Hey, Howard Stern! Remember when you said you'd get John Kerry elected? How'd that work out, anyway?

Indeed, shockjock Howard Stern vowed to bring his audience to Kerry: according to Franklog.com, in nearly every state where Stern’s radio show is heard, Bush gained votes since the 2000 election.

As an aside, and just to clear things up, if you still think 'Rock The Vote' was a non-partisan effort, you're fooling yourself:

"We squandered record amounts of money," said Dan Adler, board member of Rock the Vote, the outreach effort that uses music stars to rally the youth vote. "Smart and good people, not just from Hollywood, jumped in with great ideas and great resources. People went into battleground states. We squandered a unity of purpose. We have nothing to show for it."

Back to Howard. Apparently he's out pimping for his new bosses:

Stern personally handed out a free Sirius boom box to the first 500 fans, while he had another 20,000 redeemable certificates for free radios. The equipment allows listeners, for $12.95 a month, to receive 120 channels of commercial-free music, sports, news, talk, entertainment and traffic.
Of course, if you get the free radio, you have to sign up for a year of service... which means you're committed until just before Howard's Great Satellite Gig starts up. And you wouldn't dump Sirius just as it started airing the King of All Media, woud you?

Posted by Chris at 03:34 PM | Comments (2)
Category: Media Stupidity

November 18, 2004

For A Sufficiently Broad Definition Of 'Man'

So Judy Law is People's Sexiest Man Alive? I always thought Law was Leanora DiCaprio's older sister.

I have got to start paying more attention to entertainment news.

Posted by Chris at 03:04 PM | Comments (4)
Category: Media Stupidity

November 17, 2004

Prioritize Your Delusions

About this whole Monday Night Football intro thing with Terrell Owens and Nicollete Sheridan, and the latter attempting to seduce the former into skipping the game 'for her' (and when she said 'for her,' it's pretty clear that she meant 'for the purposes of banging her'). I don't see what everybody's getting all worked up about, because, y'know, that was television. Now if that had been real life, I'd have been mad.

Because Owens is the #1 receiver on my fantasy football team.

Posted by Chris at 11:40 PM | Comments (1)
Category: Media Stupidity

October 20, 2004

Be Careful What You Wish For (Financial Division)

So Matt Damon would be willing to pay $1 million to guarantee JF'inK's election.

Well, don't worry, Matt. If he's elected, you'll get your chance. The IRS will make sure of it.

Posted by Chris at 07:53 PM | Comments (0)
Category: Media Stupidity

September 28, 2004

Wasn't She The Actress Who Slept With JFK And Carved A Swastika Into Her Forehead?

So played-out gimmick-rocker Marilyn Manson (immortalized forever in this Onion story) has a 'Best Of' album (incidentally, that's one of the fringes of being a two-hit wonder instead of a one-hit wonder - your 'Best Of' single at least has a B-side!), called, desparately enough, "Lest We Forget."

I think he's too late.

Posted by Chris at 03:43 PM | Comments (0)
Category: Media Stupidity

September 22, 2004

Unreasonable Expectations From Rathergate

The more optimistic elements of the right side of the blogosphere are saying "Rather's dead," "CBS is toast," and other similar predictions. After watching the latest CBS News non-apology, I have concluded this:

  • Rather isn't going to get fired. No way, no how. He'll probably coast through until the end of the year, then retire.
  • Heads will roll at CBS News, but it'll all be just peons. If I were a low-level staffer and I had anything to do with this story, even if it was just carrying the tape from the interview room to the control room, I'd be shitting pink Twinkies right now. The bloodletting may go as high as producer Mary Mapes, but I doubt it.
  • 90% of the viewing audience will have forgotten about this incident by the end of the year.
  • And this is the one that will really get the triumphalists' collective goat: CBS News will never, ever, EVER admit that either (A) the documents were not just 'unverifiable,' they were proven forgeries, and (B) the reason they rushed through to production is that they wanted them to be true.

Posted by Chris at 07:01 AM | Comments (1)
Category: Media Stupidity

September 13, 2004

CBS, Realizing It's In A Hole, Starts Digging Faster

Following is a transcript of part of a story on tonight's CBS Evening News about those pesky forgeriesdocuments:

RATHER: There's also been criticism of the new documents obtained by 60 Minutes and CBS News, but CBS used several techniques to make sure these papers should be taken seriously, talking to handwriting and document analysts and other experts who strongly insist that the documents could have been created in the '70s.

[Bill Glennon, 'Technical Consultant']: "Everthing that's in that docu-, those documents, that people are saying can't be done, as you said, 32 years ago is just totally false. Not true. Like I said, proportional spacing was available, sub-, superscripts was available was a custom feature, uh, proportional spacing between lines was available, you could order that any way you'd like."

Wow. And that was the take they kept. On camera much, Bill? But I nitpick.

CBS answers two questions and thinks they've dismissed everything. I don't think anybody doubts that there were machines in 1972 that could do proportional spacing and superscripts (never mind that none of the other TANG documents pertaining to 1LT Bush used proportional spacing and only one or two used superscripts), but there are so many other things wrong with the document that they'll have to do WAY better than that.

RATHER: Richard Katz, a software designer, found some other indications in the documents. He noted that the lowercase letter 'l' is used for the numeral '1' in those documents instead of the actual numeral '1.' That would be difficult to reproduce on a computer printer today.

[Richard Katz, 'Software Designer']: "If you were doing this a- a week ago, or a month ago, on a normal laserjet printer, it wouldn't work. You just couldn't, there just, the font wouldn't be available to you."
Wrong. In fact, both ones and ells were present in the document, which, if anything, makes it more likely that the alleged document was prepared in Word if you interpret Katz's nearly-incomprehensible remarks as meaning that many typewriters of the day didn't have a '1' key and used the 'l' instead. And recall this '1-challenged' machine would be the same uber-typewriter that could do proportional spacing, superscripts, and kerning.

RATHER: Katz also noted that the documents have both the so-called 'superscript' 'th' and a regular size 'th' that would be common on a typewriter, not a computer.

[Katz:] "There's one document from, uh, May of 1972, which contains a normal 'th' at the top. To produce that in Microsoft Word, you would have to go out of your way to type the letters and then turn the 'th' setting off or back over them and type them again."
Which, as you can see in the document, they actually did ("111th Fighter Interceptor Squadron").

And what the hell does he mean by saying superscript 'th' and regular size 'th' wouldn't be common on a computer?

RATHER: CBS News also relied on an analysis of the contents of the documents themselves to determine the contents' authenticity.
Then CBS needs to shit-can whoever did the content analysis, because the first thing I thought of when I saw the documents for the first time waaaaaaaay back on last Wednesday, even before "Hey, that looks like it was done in Word," was "No real light Colonel would write a memo that looked like that."

The new papers are in line with what is known about the President's service assignments and dates. For instance, the official record shows that Mr. Bush was suspended from flying on August 1, 1972. That date matches the one on a memo given to CBS News ordering Mr. Bush be suspended.
Translation: "This one fact (suspension date) lines up with something we know to be true, therefore the whole thing must be genuine."

Shortly after 60 Minutes broadcast the new documents last week, USA Today obtained another new document. In the memo dated February 2, 1972, COL Killian asked to be updated as soon as possible on flight certifications, specifically, Bush.

[graphic: "Update me as soon as possible on flight certifications. Specifically - ...Bush."]

That could be in line with what documents released by the White House last week showed - that in the spring of 1972, then-Lieutenant Bush stopped exclusively flying the F-102 and dropped back to piloting a training plane, part of an effort to maintain his flight certification.
What, exactly, does this have to do with anything?

CBS News asked the White House today to give direct answers to a number of questions:
o Did a friend of the Bush family use his influence with the then-Texas House Speaker to get George W. Bush into the [Air] National Guard?
o Did Lieutenant Bush refuse an order to take a required physical?
o Was he suspended for failing to perform up to standards?
o And did he complete his committment to the Guard?

In reply, a White House spokesman told CBS News today "As you know, we have repeatedly addressed these issues."

[Graphic: "As you know, we have repeatedly addressed these issues..."]

These direct questions have not been fully completely [sic] answered. The White House and the Bush/Cheney campaign always point out President Bush received an Honorable Discharge. What's in the 60 Minutes report, CBS News believes to be true, and believes the documents are authentic.

As the band played "Nearer My God To Thee." Or maybe "Autumn."

Posted by Chris at 07:30 PM | Comments (3)
Category: Media Stupidity

September 02, 2004

Well, Actually, That IS What He Said...

Here's an example of the 15% push Big Media is trying to give Kerry: on CBS News, go to "Video -> Top Stories", and look at "Peek At Bush Speech" (this link may work). John Roberts says this:

"And when Cheney charged Kerry would be soft on terrorists:

[Cheney:] 'He declared at the Democratic convention that he will forcefully defend America after we have been attacked.' [emphasis in original]

He seemed to ignore the fact Kerry also said this:

[Kerry:] 'I will never hesitate to use force when it is required; any attack will be met with a swift and a certain response.' [emphasis added]"
Roberts closed his piece by saying "I am not talking to you on television right now."

Not really. But he may as well have; that statement would have been no less true than Roberts' statement that Cheney ignored what Kerry said, and the implication that Cheney was being disingenuous. Kerry said exactly what Cheney said he did: a President Kerry would respond to an attack.

Posted by Chris at 06:41 PM | Comments (0)
Category: Media Stupidity

August 26, 2004

They Reached Back 35 Years To Beat On John Kerry; You Think They Won't Reach Back Six Months To Beat On You?

(Another quick post in what could be a very small window of opportunity)

So Margaret Cho is miffed that the Dems didn't want any part of her at their convention:

Yes, she's a raunchy comedian prone to jokes about S&M. And yes, she finds the Bush administration heinous, to say the least.

But no, Margaret Cho would not necessarily mix the two and possibly harm John Kerry's run for President, and she wishes the Human Rights Campaign had believed that before disinviting her to headline their Democratic National Convention event.

"It's a little frustrating," says Cho, who, it was feared, would incite scandal like Whoopi Goldberg did when she made lewd Bush jokes at a Radio City fund-raiser for Kerry.

"I need to know that we are going to have a new administration [What the hell does that mean? - ed], and I am 100% behind Kerry's agenda. The idea that I would not honor that mission is really sad. I don't hold anybody responsible, it's just unfortunate."
Cho, as usual, misses the point. What she might have said at any DNC event is completely irrelevant. She could have done the most innocuous bit ever, and all the Bush campaign would have had to do is remind everyone of things she's already said:
"Despite all of this stupid bullsh-- that the Republican National Committee, or whatever the f--- they call them, that they were saying that they're all angry about how two of these ads were comparing Bush to Hitler? I mean, out of thousands of submissions, they find two. They're like fu--ing looking for Hitler in a hawstack. You now? I mean, George Bush is not Hitler. He would be if he fu--ing applied himself." big, extended applause) "I mean he just isn't."
I'm sure that association would have fit in nicely with the DNC's 'kindler, gentler' subtext.

Posted by Chris at 11:24 AM | Comments (0)
Category: Media Stupidity

August 19, 2004

I'd Like You To Meet My Daughters, Thorazine and Haldol

Back in January, I launched on parents who name their children after high-end consumer products:

"For now, the mass marketing of certain upscale brands ensures an immediate link between a luxury product and a child named for it. Says baby name author Bruce Lansky: 'Here's the cool thing about names: At no cost to you, you can acquire the same designer and a part of that cachet.'"

No, you don't. You identify yourself as a sad loser wannabe who will in all probability never own a Lexus (353 girls were given that name in 2000, according to the Social Security Administration) car or an Armani (298 girls, 273 boys in 2000) suit.

According to McPaper, this particular brand of stupidity is getting worse:

But in the tradition of Tiffany and Mercedes, high-end brand names are coming on strong: Armani, Dior and Lexus.

“Parents are looking for more unique names,” says Linda Murray, editor of BabyCenter.com, a resource for new and expectant parents. “And they're being inspired by what's around them.”

Armani came in at 711 out of the top 1,000 boy's names for 2003, based on Social Security card applications filed for children. For girls, Lexus was at 888.
Interestingly, this article uses the same 'original' examples (Tiffany and Mercedes) as the article I quoted back in January (never mind that there's a chicken-and-egg issue with Mercedes, since the marque was named for an Austrian girl).

A closer look at the numbers, though, shows that McPaper has it exactly backwards. The SSA has a website where you can search for the number of babies given a particular name (for any year between 1990 and 2003), if that name is in the top 1000. Let's take 2000, the year given in the article my January post referenced, and 2003, the most recent year they have data for. Dior didn't crack the top 1000 in either year, meaning that fewer than 149 Diors were registered in 2000 and fewer than 158 were registered in 2003. Likewise, Lexus registrations (heh) dropped from 353 in 2000 to 270 in 2003, a decrease of almost 25%. Likewise, Armani (girl) registrations dropped from 298 to 253 (about 15%). Unfortunately, Armani (boy) registrations dropped only from 273 to 265.

What I want to know is why McPaper is reporting this as a growing trend despite evidence that it's a dying trend (faster, please).

Posted by Chris at 01:22 PM | Comments (4)
Category: Media Stupidity

August 18, 2004

Who Ever Thought Call Letters Could Be An Oxymoron?

If you follow the news at all, you've heard of the little incident at our local airport:

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (AP) — A liquid leaked from an unclaimed bag Wednesday inside the Fort Wayne International Airport, causing some workers to report feeling ill and prompting authorities to halt passenger service.

. . .

Six people — four airport workers and two emergency responders — were decontaminated after the liquid was first seen leaking from a bag left unclaimed about an hour after the flight arrived, airport officials said.

The six were treated at a hospital and released, Richardson said.

A field test on the substance was inconclusive, Richardson said, and a second sample was sent to a laboratory for further testing.
It's all over the news today, everywhere from the afore-referenced McPaper article to my favorite tv station website, Orlando's Local6.

Everywhere, that is, except Fort Wayne's own NBC affiliate, WISE. As of 1PM Central Time, their website had no mention AT ALL of the incident, ten hours after it happened! Hardly an encouraging sign, especially since both their primary competitors do...

And don't even get me started about their HDTV non-coverage of the Olympics...

Update: The airport reopened about 1:30 CT; the substance was deemed non-hazardous but has been identified only as 'an ingredient used in making perfume.' Still no mention of the incident on UnWISE-TV's website.

Posted by Chris at 12:10 PM | Comments (4)
Category: Local Stuff

August 15, 2004

Because We Didn't Do WHAT?!?

We were up in Michigan this weekend visiting family. I got stuck watching Larry King Live last night (don't ask), and they had an interview with Paul McCartney's wife, Lady Heather Mills McCartney, and her work stumping for banlandmines.uk, adoptamine.org, or something like that. Anyway, in one segment, she appeared with an Iraqi girl named Zeynab, whose life prior to the Imperialist Capitalist Running Pig-Dog Iraq Oil Run Sponsored By Halliburton was apparently all sweetness and light:

KING: What does Zeynab think about what's happened in her country?

ZEYNAB (through translator): I'm just to see my country that's explosion every day, and (UNINTELLIGIBLE), and the children also, they're losing their limbs by these accidents by these explosions, and there's insecurity in Iraq now, and I am asking why this is happening inside my country.

KING: Does she bear anger toward the British and the Americans? Does she have bad feelings?

ZEYNAB (through translator): Yes, and why they are just -- bombed us and killed my family? And they are not now taking responsibility, they are not now trying to help the children inside Iraq, and after what they did inside my country, from killing the civilians, so they have to take the responsibility and try to help those children. If they want, they can get out from our country.

KING: You learned about Iraq from her a lot, Heather?

MILLS MCCARTNEY: Really have. I asked, on the first meeting, you know, what did you think of Saddam Hussein before this war? Was he like -- was he bogeyman, or was he, you know, somebody that you didn't know too much about? And she said, yes, we knew about him, we knew that he wasn't a good man, but I had no fear of him. He was, you know, I was allowed to play in the street with my friends, they weren't harmed. She just wishes that we'd never gone in, as in the British and Americans. You know, it's very, very difficult, because we went in for good reasons, but you know, there's been three wars since Saddam came in, starting with the Iran-Iraq, and you know, you can never win because you instill bitterness into the children, and they grow up and they start another war, and another war. So wars don't ever solve anything. They just don't.
On the one hand, at least Mills-McCartney concedes that 'we went in for good reasons.' On the other hand, she contends that 'wars don't ever solve anything.'

The city fathers of Carthage would disagree. As would the Third Reich and Imperial Japan.

Notwithstanding that, it's clear that Zeynab was fortunate enough not to have her parents complain too loudly about Saddam (from a Time interview with Scott Ritter, certainly no supporter of OIF):

[Time] You've spoke about having seen the children's prisons in Iraq. Can you describe what you saw there?

[Ritter] The prison in question is at the General Security Services headquarters, which was inspected by my team in Jan. 1998. It appeared to be a prison for children — toddlers up to pre-adolescents — whose only crime was to be the offspring of those who have spoken out politically against the regime of Saddam Hussein. It was a horrific scene. Actually I'm not going to describe what I saw there because what I saw was so horrible that it can be used by those who would want to promote war with Iraq, and right now I'm waging peace.

Back to the Larry King Live interview. After a few minutes discussing how well Zeynab was doing, considering that she got a limb blown off by an evil cluster bomb, Mills-McCartney drops this clinker that was SO unbelievably stupid I had to look up the transcript because I couldn't believe she actually said it:

KING: That's amazing. What -- this is an extraordinary young lady. What do you owe it to, Heather? How do you explain Zeynab?

MILLS MCCARTNEY: I just think a lot to do with her own genetics and her own character. Because people say, oh, how do you overcome this, how do you do that, but you get people who go through terrible lives and end up messed up, or end up incredible, like Zeynab, and you know, she obviously had quite a difficult life before the war started, you know, very poor country, and we were pretty terrible in doing the Oil for Food programme, because we weren't really giving the right amount of money for the oil; otherwise Iraq would have been a very rich country and had an abundance of food. So I think we have a lot to -- to be responsible for in the years gone by. [emphasis added. Also, somebody should point out to the transcriber that although Mills-McCartney is British, CNN is not, and they should therefore spell 'program' properly!]
Jesus H. Three-Card-Monteing Christ. If you're a celebrity, and you want to spout off about a topic politically, you owe it to yourself to actually learn something about it, if for no other reason than to avoid getting pimp-slapped for your ignorance!

For instance, Saddam skimmed off the top of EVERY OfF contract:

COMPANIES from Australia, the US and other countries paid a secret commission to Saddam Hussein’s government to secure contracts under the United Nations’ oil-for-food programme, Iraqi and occupation officials said yesterday.

Iraq demanded a 10 per cent payment from suppliers who were told to put the money into Arab bank accounts set up by Saddam’s administration.
That added up to ten billion dollars in Saddam's pocket.

Next, everybody and their brother along the way got their kickback. For example, Charles Pasqua:

French Minister of the Interior (1993-1995) European Parliament member and Chairman of the Union of Europe of the Nations (UEN) group. (1999-present.)

Received 12 million barrels under the United Nations Oil for Food program.
Lots more juicy details about who got what can be found here.

Finally, Saddam used the food and medicine that did make it into the country as political weapons:

Fact: Sanctions have never prohibited or limited the import of medicine. In fact, the UN has urged the Iraqi regime to order more basic medicines, but Baghdad has refused. Saddam has been criticized by the UN for intentionally hoarding medicines in warehouses in government-controlled Iraq instead of distributing it to civilians.

. . .

Fact: The regime is slow to order and distribute goods and Saddam's lack of cooperation on monitoring makes it difficult to ensure goods are equitably distributed to the Iraqi people. Baghdad has rejected UN recommendations to increase protein-enriched goods for malnourished children and pregnant women. The Iraqi Government has also rejected assistance by all but a few Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) and other outside groups.

So it's clear that no matter how much food, or medicine, or money the West sent to Iraq during the OfF period, the conditions for the average Iraqi would have been exactly whatever Saddam Hussein wanted them to be.

Celebrities have the same rights to shoot their mouths off about whatever chowderheaded political opinions they have as anybody else does. What pisses me off is when they get play for their unrepentant ignorance simply because they're celebrities.

Posted by Chris at 07:54 PM | Comments (3)
Category: Media Stupidity

August 12, 2004

Oh, Sure, THIS'LL Convince Everybody

I don't know what to make of this...

Moby is still committed to convincing people he's straight.

Appearing at a storytelling event sponsored by The Moth, the rave rajah spun an interesting tale about a debauched night he'd spent in Times Square.

He'd started the evening in question, about six months ago, at a benefit hosted by Bette Midler. Having had a bit too much to drink, he decided to make his first trip to a gentleman's club. One of the dancers offered him a lap dance.

Instead, he gave her $400 just to talk. "She gave me a bag of cocaine," Moby told an audience Monday night at the China Club. "I'm 38, but I'd never done coke before. I didn't know you were supposed to share."

When he told the stripper he'd Hoovered her bag, she "got very aggressive." He tried to calm her down by buying a $400 bottle of Champagne.

Around 2 a.m., after soiling his "sleazy Versace suit" during an emergency trip to the bathroom, he figured it was time to go home. When the tiny techno-rocker couldn't get to sleep, he called an ex-girlfriend, who offered to come over. "We made love all night," he remembered.
...except to say I remain unconvinced. And more than a little grossed out.

Posted by Chris at 03:14 PM | Comments (5)
Category: Media Stupidity

August 02, 2004

In The Event Of An Emergency, Something Something Doors

It's interesting how different people can see the same facts and have completely different conclusions. Take this report of an incident involving a Ryanair 737 after landing at Stansted (London) Airport in February of 2002. The crew noted vibration in the right engine, and the control tower saw the engine on fire and dispatched the fire crew. That's where we pick up the story...

The GMC [ground controller] repeated the transmission:

"TOWER REPORTS FROM A [airport operations] VEHICLE THAT SAID THERE'S SMOKE COMING FROM YOUR NUMBER TWO ENGINE. CAN YOU CONFIRM THAT FOR ME. LOOKS LIKE THERE IS SOME SMOKE"

The time was 1718 hrs. The commander instructed the first officer to shut down the right engine, and the first officer advised the GMC that:

"WE'RE SHUTTING DOWN, WE HAVE VIBRATIONS"

The GMC asked the aircraft to repeat the response. The commander took over the radio from the first officer and instructed him to start the Auxiliary Power Unit. The commander then informed the GMC that:

"WE'RE SHUTTING DOWN THAT ENGINE. CAN YOU GET THE FIRE SERVICE OUT TO US TO CHECK IT OUT THEN"

At 1718:15 hrs, the GMC initiated an Aircraft Ground Incident using the Omni Crash Alarm, alerting Airfield Operations and the Airfield Rescue and Fire Fighting Service (RFFS) by telephone.

. . .

Fire One advised:

"A COMPLETE SHUTDOWN AND AN EVACUATION AT THIS TIME BECAUSE YOU DO HAVE SMOKE BILLOWING FROM NUMBER TWO ENGINE"

The commander replied:

"IN THAT CASE, WE WILL EVACUATE THE AIRCRAFT"

'Fire One' acknowledged. The time was 1720:55 hrs.

. . .

At approximately 1721:30 hrs, the commander ordered the passengers and crew to evacuate the aircraft. In accordance with Company Standard Operating Procedures, he left the decision as to which exits were to be used to the cabin crew. At that time 'Fire One' called the aircraft saying:

"[Operator] FROM FIRE ONE, CAN YOU MAKE SURE YOU EVACUATE PORT SIDE"

This was not acknowledged. The cabin crew opened the Type I exits at the front and rear of the cabin. The No 2 CCM [cabin crew member] found the forward right door (R1) difficult to open and sought the assistance of the SCCM after he had opened his door (L1). Likewise the No 3 CCM required help from a male positioning cabin crew member to open the rear right door (R2). Both the SCCM and the positioning crew member were each able to operate these doors unaided. Passengers opened the overwing exits. Four positioning cabin crew assisted the operating cabin crew during the evacuation. About 40 passengers evacuated onto the right side of the aircraft, including six onto the right wing. This placed them in the vicinity of the right engine and the area where the fire crews were directing their firefighting efforts. These six passengers were instructed by the fire crew to return inside the aircraft and seek an alternative exit. The passengers who evacuated on the left side used the doors. Members of the fire crew, cabin crew and airfield staff escorted the passengers away from the aircraft.

So there were a couple of little 'oopsies' in the evacuation. These were noted in the official report and a safety recommendation was given:

Safety Recommendation 2004-53

It is recommended that the Irish Aviation Authority and JAA review the requirements for cabin crew initial and refresher training in respect of the operation of all normal and emergency exits, to ensure that crew members become, and remain, familiar with the different operating procedures, and opening characteristics, in both normal and emergency modes of operation.

But to read the Evening Telegraph's version of the story, the cabin crew couldn't tell the emergency doors from the lavatory doors:

Cabin crew on a Ryanair jet had not been trained properly to open the emergency doors, it was revealed today.

A damning report on the training procedures of the budget airline found that staff were not fully prepared to cope with an emergency.

It comes after 115 passengers had to be evacuated from a Boeing 737 at Stansted airport with flames shooting from the rear of the aircraft's starboard engine in 2002. Passengers began to panic and there was "pushing and shoving". The Air Accidents Investigations Branch report said most of the crew were not properly drilled in opening exit doors and demanded a review of training.

Posted by Chris at 08:33 PM | Comments (0)
Category: Media Stupidity

July 25, 2004

Incompetent Judges Are Everywhere

I happened across Comedy Central's 100 Greatest Standups of all Time today. They had Ellen DeGeneres ranked at #16, two spots above Jonathan Winters.

Are you freaking kidding me? She's good, and I like her stuff, but there's no way Winters is anywhere below #10.

OK, now I see what's going on here. One of the panelists is Richard Lewis, who woulnd't know funny it it smacked him in the face with a frying pan (actually, that would be funny). I remember him circa 1993 (has he worked since then?) doing his pacing-back-and-forth schtick, with his hand on his forehead, then turning to the audience and saying, apropos of nothing, "I don't know... Dan Quayle!"

That was a joke? This guy, Comedy Central has judging the top 100 standups ever? Suuuuuuuure.

Posted by Chris at 04:26 PM | Comments (3)
Category: Media Stupidity

July 17, 2004

Yeah, Toss Him On The List Too

Elton John shows the same ignorance of the First Amendment as Whoopi does, although I can kinda excuse it because he's a Brit:

Elton attacks 'censorship' in US

Elton John has said stars are scared to speak out against war in Iraq because of "bullying tactics" used by the US government to hinder free speech.

"There's an atmosphere of fear in America right now that is deadly. Everyone is too career-conscious," he told New York magazine, Interview.

Sir Elton said performers could be "frightened by the current administration's bullying tactics",

The singer likened the current "fear factor" to McCarthyism in the 1950s.

"There was a moment about a year ago when you couldn't say a word about anything in this country for fear of your career being shot down by people saying you are un-American," he told the magazine.
OK, so maybe this story was news a year ago. Why is the BBC running it now? I was expecting him to connect this thought to the Whoopi incident, but he didn't. He went a different way:
"People like Bob Dylan, Nina Simone, The Beatles and Pete Seeger were constantly writing and talking about what was going on.

"That's not happening now. As of this spring, there have been virtually no anti-war concerts - or anti-war songs that catch on, for that matter," he said.

I have an entirely different take on this: Dylan et. al were unafraid to speak out because they knew their target audience thought the same way they did. I believe they were sincere in their cause, but don't forget that they made a lot of money out of it.

Contrast that with today, where very few anti-war songs have caught on. They haven't caught on because NOBODY CARES! (Or at least not enough people care to make it financially worthwhile, which nowadays is pretty much the same thing.) Perhaps more correctly: people may care, but not how the 'protest singers' want them to. Just ask the ChixieDicks.

Posted by Chris at 10:47 AM | Comments (2)
Category: Media Stupidity

July 16, 2004

What About Her Riiiiiiiiiights?!?

Once again, a Hollywoodista fails to understand the difference between truly being censored and merely being held accountable for what one says. Via Drudge in today's NY Daily News:

WASHINGTON - Whoopi Goldberg lashed out at Republicans again yesterday, branding them hypocrites for trying to "punish" her for joking about the President. Fired from her gig as SlimFast spokeswoman, the salty entertainer hit back at Republicans who threatened a SlimFast boycott over sexual puns she made about President Bush's name at a Democratic fund-raiser.

"America's heart and soul is freedom of expression without fear of reprisal," she said in a statement.
Wrong! America's heart and soul is freedom of expression without fear of GOVERNMENT reprisal. I don't recall hearing about any warrants for her arrest.
"The fact that I am no longer the spokesman for SlimFast makes me sad, but not as sad as someone trying to punish me for exercising my right as an American to speak my mind."
If I'm doing business with you, and you say something publicly that makes me think my continued association with you will cost me money, I'd be in breach of my fiduciary responsibilty if I DIDN'T stop doing business with you!

Naturally, this to-do has brought the professional racists out of the woodwork:

Diversity promoter Asa Khalif, who has made headlines for accusing celebrities of insensitivity, cried foul in the Goldberg firing. "I smell racism from beginning to end," said Khalif, head of Racial Unity USA in Pennsylvania. "SlimFast must realize that black women have every right to voice their views."
That's funny; I smell stupidity from beginning to end in what Khalif said. It's not like SlimFast is suing to gag Whoopi or is trying to have her arrested; they're just making a business decision based on what they think is best for them. Does Khalif really think that if SlimFast had hired, say, Susan Sarandon, and she had said what Whoopi said about the President, then SlimFast would have fired her too?

Of course he doesn't, and of course SlimFast would have fired her too. But there's a funny thing that happens when your entire deck is nothing but race cards - you only know one way to play the game.

Posted by Chris at 04:10 PM | Comments (2)
Category: Media Stupidity

July 07, 2004

Production By The Same Crew That Predicted Florida 2000 For Gore

At this moment (8:30 PM Central), I am watching the team time trial stage of the Tour de France - tape delayed, since the stage was actually raced this morning. During the break that just aired, OLN gave away the results of this stage in their commercial for tomorrow's coverage!

Because of this, and because I hate hate hate having tape-delayed coverage spoiled, I will go to some lengths to avoid watching commercials on OLN for the rest of the Tour. I wonder what their advertisers think of that?

Posted by Chris at 07:42 PM | Comments (4)
Category: Media Stupidity

June 03, 2004

Something Quagmire Something, And Oh Yeah Bush Screwed Up

A CBS Evening News story tonight discussed President Bush's trip to Rome, where he hopes to get European backing for a new UN resolution in support of the post-June-30 Iraqi transitional government. The story talked about some of the things the President is doing towards that end: a sound bite assuring that US troops would remain in Iraq with the approval of a sovereign Iraqi government, a mention of a 'charm offensive' including a Bush interview in a Paris magazine, that kind of thing. Then at the very end of the story, apropos of nothing and totally unsupported by anything said earlier, correspondent Bill Plante said:

Many Europeans are convinced that the war has only increased the threat of terrorism, so the President may discover that instead of being offered assistance, he may have to persuade countries which still have troops in Iraq not to go racing for the exit.
I don't know why biased shit like this still surprises me.

Posted by Chris at 08:50 PM | Comments (6)
Category: Media Stupidity

June 01, 2004

It's Good To See Al Franken Finally Getting Paid What He's Worth...

...that is to say, nothing:

The comedian Al Franken, the flagship host for Air America, has agreed to work without pay to help the fledgling liberal talk radio network over its acute financial difficulties.

. . .

At one stage in April it virtually ran out of money, and Franken's decision to forgo his salary and become "an involuntary investor" suggests that Air America's financial troubles are not over.
I don't think there's anything I need to add here.

Posted by Chris at 08:43 AM | Comments (4)
Category: Media Stupidity

May 24, 2004

Michael Moore Is A Lying Sack Of Shit

Exhibit 42 - At Cannes last week, he said this:

Tarantino [chairman of the Palme D'Or jury] said: "I made a statement early on that I didn't want politics to be involved. "All that mattered was the reels of film. I told Michael Moore last night we all agreed that Fahrenheit 9/11 was the best feature in competition." Moore's response, according to Tarantino, was "that means more to me than anything. If I wanted to make political statements, I would have run for office. I want to make movies".

At last year's Oscars, he said this:

We live in the time where we have fictitious election results that elects a fictitious president. We live in a time where we have a man sending us to war for fictitious reasons. Whether it's the fictition [sic] of duct tape or fictition [sic] of orange alerts we are against this war, Mr. Bush. Shame on you, Mr. Bush, shame on you.
If that's not a political statement, what is?

Posted by Chris at 12:24 PM | Comments (27)
Category: Media Stupidity

May 12, 2004

In Other News, Generalissimo Francisco Franco Is Still Dead

Seen on Drudge: L.A. Times and N.Y. Times investigating Vanity Fair editor Graydon Carter:

Both the Los Angeles Times and The New York Times are working on major stories about whether Vanity Fair editor Graydon Carter is using his close ties to Hollywood to benefit financially, the L.A. Weekly has learned.
With all due respect to Matt Drudge, I have to ask: this is news?
The Weekly has learned that last week, Cieply, while conducting one interview, claimed to have "six cases already" of Carter’s benefiting financially from his cozy relationship with Hollywood. Other sources say that one angle the LAT is pursuing is whether Carter benefits financially from who gets on the cover.
Of course he does! Again, why is this news to anybody?
The general consensus is that for some time, Vanity Fair’s coverage of Hollywood has changed dramatically, and not for the better. Sure, the celebrity cover stories have always been, and probably always will be, puff pieces. But at the start of Carter’s editorship, on June 30, 1992, and continuing until 2000, the magazine seemed intent on exhaustively reporting every twist and turn in the entertainment business.

. . .

But then came the February 2000 departure of deputy editor George Hodgman, who edited many of the toughest Hollywood articles. Kim Masters’ contract wasn’t renewed. Her apparent replacement, Ned Zeman, regularly writes entertainment-business articles with a decidedly positive spin to them and is now writing screenplays on the side. Today, the conventional wisdom is that VF won’t go after entertainment moguls, who often are Big Media moguls as well, as long as they keep their jobs.
And there's gambling going on at Rick's? I'm shocked, I tell you, shocked!

But the real question for the LAT and NYT to consider is whether the VF editor’s kinship with Hollywood is worse than, say, fellow Conde Nast personality and Vogue editor Anna Wintour’s hand-in-glove relationship with the fashion industry.
I thought of this, too, and it's not only because I recently read The Devil Wears Prada (hey, they tell aspiring writers to read outside of their genre, and I figure featherweight chick-lit is about as far away from my genre as I can get...). It's exactly the same thing, and why does anybody outside the Big Media funhouse give a rat's ass about any of it?

Apparently, I cared enough to give it 100 words and fifteen minutes of my time.

Posted by Chris at 08:56 AM | Comments (0)
Category: Media Stupidity

May 09, 2004

There's Just No Challenge Anymore

I understand why the term 'fisking' came into being - Al-Guardian 'reporter' Robert Fisk is so frequently fact-challenged that even I can catch him out. Take for example this 'revelation':

The pictures are appalling, the words devastating. As a wounded Iraqi crawls from beneath a burning truck, an American helicopter pilot tells his commander that one of three men has survived his night air attack. "Someone wounded,' the pilot cries. Then he received the reply: "Hit him, hit the truck and him.' As the helicopter's gun camera captures the scene on video, the pilot fires a 30mm gun at the wounded man, vaporising him in a second.

. . .

American and British personnel have been trying for weeks to persuade Western television stations to show the video of the attack. Despite the efforts of reports in Baghdad and New York, most television controllers preferred to hide the evidence from viewers. Only Canal Plus in France, ABC television in the United States and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation have so far had the courage to show the shocking footage.

. . .

Coming only days after the appalling photographs of Iraqis being tortured and humiliated by US troops at Abu Ghraib prison near Baghdad, the new pictures can only further inflame Arab opinion throughout the Middle East.
There's only one problem - ABC first aired this footage on January 9:
The footage Mr. MacDonald showed us isn't "new." It's old stuff the CBC dredged up to sex up the segment. On Wednesday, Peter Mansbridge admitted as much: "We want to clarify something from last night. Some viewers have pointed out that pictures in our item on the prisoner abuse, cockpit video of the shooting of some people on the ground, have been around for a while. Well, that is true. The pictures were used only because they've been getting new attention in the light of the abuses at the prison."

And I'm not just pointing this out because I have the ending They REALLY don't want you to see...

Posted by Chris at 07:00 PM | Comments (2)
Category: Media Stupidity

April 24, 2004

Reap What You Sow, Parts I And II

Another reason it's so much fun to snark on Omarosa is that her name is so mutilatable. I hadn't heard 'Omatrocious' before, but that's not the only reason I link to this TV Guide article:

BEGUN, THE MELTDOWN HAS : That whole N-bomb debacle is continuing to haunt Omarosa Manigault-Stallworth. The Apprentice diva walked off the set of ABC's Jimmy Kimmel Live last night after she allegedly spotted a lie-detector machine on the set. According to a Kimmel spokeswoman, the equipment was set up for a comedy bit with show regular Uncle Frank and was unrelated to Om's appearance. "The producers attempted to reassure [her] that they did not intend to ask her to take a lie-detector test," says the rep, "[but] she became upset and left." Kimmel kept the show going despite the sudden guest shortage, and even brought a producer onstage to explain what happened. "Apparently, her 15 minutes ended the second before I introduced her," Kimmel later cracked. "I felt like Jessica Simpson standing alone at the airport."
Today held a one-two schadenfreude punch, because TV Guide also reports this:
No doubt fearing a backlash from consumers, Herbal Essences has washed Omarosa right out of its hair. A spokeswoman for parent company Clairol confirms that the one-woman train wreck has been clipped from its upcoming "Streaking Party" commercial. Says the rep: "After reviewing the film... a decision has been made not to use the Omarosa take." The news likely hit Omatrocious like a ton of ceement.

Posted by Chris at 11:48 AM | Comments (2)
Category: Reality TV

April 12, 2004

Follow The Money, Broadcast Style

Followup to my annual rant against Indiana not observing DST: turns out that the reason the local broadcast stations stick with primetime starting at 8:00 PM (like Eastern Time) is so they can keep the 7-8 PM hour for local programming, which is far more lucrative than the 1-2 AM hour they'd have if they went with a 7:00 PM primetime start. So they're jacking us around for the money.

The only reason they can get away with doing that is because Indiana doesn't change time. So now I've got to add them to the Farm Bureau as Powerful Shadowy Forces that oppose progress in Indiana.

Pricks.

Posted by Chris at 09:35 PM | Comments (0)
Category: Local Stuff

April 08, 2004

And I Thought I Was The Only One Who Noticed

I was all ready to drop a big "WTF, O?" on Garry Trudeau for what I thought was a pretty offensive Doonesbury where he refers to NSA Rice as 'Brown Sugar.' Evidently, it wasn't as offensive as I thought, because I couldn't find any reference to the NAACP, or the CBC, or Jesse Jackson, or Al Sharpton, or any of the usual race-baiters, criticizing him for it. The only thing I saw was a press release from the Independent Women's Forum condemning the strip. At press time, the IWF link, interestingly, seems to be down, but a Google search makes it pretty clear that it is a right-of-center organization. What a surprise.

However, American Digest got there firster and betterer. Read the whole thing, but here's the money quote:

The full strip can be seen on Slate so you can see the deep and biting "humor" of the entire strip. After all, it's not everyday that a Pulitzer-Prize winning humorist can work miscegenation, illicit sex, slavery, infidelity, and the Old Plantation into a single panel of Bush-Hate. No wonder his signature graces this panel so proudly.

Perhaps the next time Mr. Trudeau decides to scrape the bottom of his soul for a strip, he should just turn in one which has a picture of George Bush in one panel, a picture of Ms. Rice in the other panel, and the lyrics of the above song ['Brown Sugar' by the Rolling Stones] in the two other panels. Just so everybody, at long last, gets it.

And as an additional bonus, his post also has the lyrics. Great - that's one less karaoke song I'll have to mumble through!

I'm just kidding. I'll still mumble through it.

I'm still kidding. I don't do karaoke [sigh of relief from both my readers].

Update: Trudeau's taking a little heat in his comments section (the link may only be good for a few days as comments from more recent strips pile up on it). Also, I'm the second-highest blog listed on Google for 'Garry Trudeau "brown sugar"', even though several other blogs have a smarter take on the issue. Some of them:

  • Catch Me If You Can: "Just another coded message from a liberal icon to black Americans: Wander off the plantation, and you'll get branded a "Steppin' Fetchit", a "house negro", a "skeeza", or worse. Real classy."
  • Gods of Commerce: "Now, the ruling guru of lefty fundamentalism, the man nearly all lefties turn to for their daily political catechism, has shown his true plantation racist colors."
  • the-crease.org: "Picture the outrage were a conservative cartoonist to label a leading black female woman in a Democratic administration "Brown Sugar." Oh, I guess we can't...Democratic administrations aren't famous for putting black females in positions of heavy responsibility like the National Security Council. "
  • Croooow Blog: "The talking points have been disseminated... time to attack Rice the way they attacked Tripp, Harris, et al.... now she's "Brown Sugar" . . .."
  • The World's Greatest Deliberative Body: "Top Ten Other Nicknames Garry Trudeau has for Dr. Condoleeza Rice. . .."

Posted by Chris at 11:49 AM | Comments (5)
Category: Media Stupidity

January 29, 2004

Blair 4, BBC 0

Not that we're gloating over it or anything. Margaret Wente in today's Toronto Globe and Mail:

Tony Blair's long public nightmare is over. The chairman of the BBC is toast, and Andrew Gilligan's career is dead. The BBC board of governors is huddled in emergency sessions to deal with Lord Hutton's finding that its editorial system is fundamentally flawed.
I wouldn't be so sure about Gilligan's career being dead, though, just because he's probably about to "resign" from the BBC:
Friends of the reporter today suggested he was on the verge of quitting the BBC following Lord Hutton's excoriating report, which concluded that his story on the government's Iraq dossier was "unfounded".

The BBC journalist is understood to have accepted that his career on the Today programme, which broadcast the fateful 6.07am report , is over.
I imagine Al-Quds Al-Arabi will offer him a job.

Naturally, al-Guardian is complaining about it, and predicts Bad Things for Blair:

The venerable WF Deedes says the PM will find it hard to escape the "weight of his past". Like Harold Macmillan, who survived the 1963 Denning report but soon suffered a bout of ill-health that led to his replacement, Mr Blair may leave Downing Street sooner rather than later.
I'm sure we haven't heard the end of this. At least, I hope not.

Update: Gilligan shipwrecked!

Posted by Chris at 02:31 PM | Comments (2)
Category: Media Stupidity

January 20, 2004

Can A Voice Be Considered A Deadly Weapon?

The only reason I watch the early rounds of American Idol is to see the utterly talentless people who think they'll be the next winner. I wish I could make every single one of them read this study:

"People tend to hold overly favorable views of their abilities in many social and intellectual domains. The authors suggest that this overestimation occurs, in part, because people who are unskilled in these domains suffer a dual burden: Not only do these people reach erroneous conclusions and make unfortunate choices, but their incompetence robs them of the metacognitive ability to realize it."

Of course, it wouldn't help. They'd just think "Those poor metacognitively-challenged fools."

Posted by Chris at 11:08 PM | Comments (1)
Category: Media Stupidity

November 05, 2003

Another Liberal Who Doesn't Get It

In opining about CBS's decision to shunt the hack job on President Reagan off to Showtime, Barbra Streisand demonstrates that she has no clue what censorship is:

"This is censorship, pure and simple. Well, maybe not all that pure. Censorship never is. Due to their experience with the restrictive English government, the framers of our constitution specifically included a ban on prior restraint in the First Amendment, which is an attempt to stop information from getting out there before the public has a chance to see it at all - exactly what is going on in this case."
It actually is pure and simple, but it's bottom-line business logic, not censorship. One more time for the clinically thick dimwits in Hollywood: UNLESS THE GOVERNMENT DOES IT, IT ISN'T CENSORSHIP! Babs actually recognizes this, after a fashion, but fails to connect it properly. Then she continues describing the color of the sky in her world:
"Of course, CBS as a company has the legal right to make decisions about what they do and do not air. However, these important decisions should be based on artistic integrity rather than an attempt to appease a small group of vocal dissidents."
Where do I begin on this one? Let's start with the 'don't appease the dissidents' line. I reserve the right to call 'bullshit' on Streisand the next time some broadcast company caves to a demand by ACT-UP, PETA, or some other extremist group with virtually no consistency, unless she stands up in defense of the company. Of course, she won't. Second, "these important decisions should be based on artistic integrity?" Has she ever actually watched television? I guarantee you that no broadcast network (except PBS, whose business model consists of welfare and begging) gives a rat's ass about 'artistic integrity' as long as the ratings are there and the advertisers keep writing the checks.

And that's where the bottom-line business logic comes in. CBS boss Les Moonves, a self-described liberal democrat, personally cancelled the plan for CBS to air the movie. Now ponder these two questions:

  • If Moonves had been pressured by the Government not to air the series, don't you think he'd say so? Bush Administration as scapegoat - what an opportunity! (In that case, it would be censorship.)
  • If he really thought the movie was unfair to Reagan, why air it anywhere? Why not spike it as a goodwill gesture to President Reagan and his family?
Answers: Censorship wasn't the issue, nor was there any real sense of fairness involved. Moonves semi-cancelled the movie because he thought CBS had a very real chance of losing money on it, either in the short term or the long term (or both).

Update: Steve_in_Corona pointed out that the left has already pressured stations not to air a show, and thus no more Dr. Laura. Sooooooo... Babs, I call BULLSHIT!

Posted by Chris at 01:44 PM | Comments (0)
Category: Media Stupidity

September 28, 2003

No Bias To See Here, Move Along...

I saw this story on Drudge about a panel of prominent journalists discussing the question "Is the free press a fair press?" Think about this question for a minute. What's the implication of phrasing it that way instead of simply "Does America have a fair press?" To me, the connection of 'fair' to 'free' leads to a false dichotomy - either we do indeed have a fair press, and everybody who says 'liberal bias' ought to just shut the hell up, or we don't have a fair press, and the fact that it's 'free' is at least part of the problem:

"While journalists are often accused of having a liberal bias, 'most media are owned by Republican conservatives, so there is a healthy balance and tension' within the news operation, [AP CEO Tom] Curley said."
What the hell does that mean? The conservative owners insist on the GOP party line, and the intrepid journalists fight The Man on principle? Give me a break.

Maybe I'm reading too much into that, but there is one thing in particular I need to point out. In discussion of Fox News' "Fair And Balanced" slogan, CNN anchor Judy Woodruff said:

"Woodruff added that the motto should be unnecessary for any news organization. 'Fox is concerned about its news reputation. At CNN, we don't need to use those terms,' she said."
That's right, Judy. All CNN does is suppress stories for the sake of maintaining access to power (also here and here). Jackasses.

Posted by Chris at 08:54 PM | Comments (0)
Category: Media Stupidity

September 04, 2003

In Other News: Eggs At Risk Of Becoming Chickens

CNN reports that a study done by Fight Crime: Invest In Kids (whose idea was that name? You need a snappy acronym nowadays, and 'FC:IIK' just doesn't cut it) shows that bullying

"spawns loneliness, depression and suicidal tendencies among its victims and foreshadows crime and violence by perpetrators."
60% of the bullies (and there's that labelling thing again - I thought labels were bad!) ended up convicted of at least one crime by age 24; 40% of them had three or more convictions by that age. But I think the real issue is a supply-and-demand problem:
"The report said for children in grades six through 10, nearly one in six, or 3.2 million, were victims of bullying each year and 3.7 million were bullies"
In order to get that one-to-one attention that real quality bullying requires, we need 500,000 more victims and we need them now! I know what you're thinking, but the Democratic National Convention is almost a year away and we can't afford to wait that long!

Posted by Chris at 05:30 PM | Comments (0)
Category: Media Stupidity

September 02, 2003

Talk About Your "Buyer's Remorse"

Apparently, according to this screed over at Information Clearing House, we own the UN:

"The UN has been drawn into being an arm of the US - a division of the state department"
Well, then Colin Powell has got some explaining to do, because how the hell did we let Syria on the Security Council, Libya chair the Human Rights Commission, and Iraq chair the disarmament conference?

It's bad enough that they think the US owns the UN, but the article specifies that the UN is the US' lapdog vis-a-vis Israel:

"The UN Security Council has been taken over and corrupted by the US and UK, particularly with regard to Iraq, Palestine and Israel."
How many UN Security Council resolutions (the binding ones, as opposed to the blowhard resolutions of the General Assembly, which (thank God) have no real power) have condemned Israel for one thing or another? 67 (numbers 1-19 don't count). How many condemn the splodeydopes? 3 (numbers 81, 82, and 85).

Posted by Chris at 09:04 PM | Comments (0)
Category: Media Stupidity

October 04, 2002

And 103 words later, the duck said...

Well, I've discovered another Illuminati plot (that makes four, for those of you scoring at home. The other three are [DELETED], [DELETED], and [DELETED WITH EXTREME PREJUDICE]). CNN, well-known as an Illuminati mouthpiece, purports to have found the world's funniest joke. A harmless little chuckle, right? Well, maybe, but what it obscures is the fact that the real "World's Funniest Joke" is lethal at close range and is thus being held in reserve for when the Illuminati make their Big Move.
However, note that this official Monty Python web page attempts to muddy the waters by claiming it's just a bunch of gibberish faux-German.

Did anybody else recognize last night's Survivor immunity challenge as a Tower Of Hanoi for N=6? This site did.

Posted by Chris at 11:30 AM | Comments (0)
Category: Media Stupidity

June 03, 2002

People are property

The answer to yesterday's (rhetorical) question, of course, is that the shows aren't designed to help beautiful people hook up; they're designed to put beautiful people on TV so that lots of people will look at them. The show isn't the product; the viewers are the product. Ask Dallas Smythe.

Posted by Chris at 10:19 PM | Comments (0)
Category: Media Stupidity

June 02, 2002

What we really need is 'Dweebs Meet Dogs'

Why are there TV shows designed for the express purpose of helping beautiful people hook up? They don't need any help. I see crap like Elimidate or Dismissed and I just want to go Elvis on my TV.

Posted by Chris at 10:29 PM | Comments (0)
Category: Media Stupidity

April 23, 2002

But Daddy, it's just a golf trophy! I swear!

What the hell was this golfer thinking? For that matter, what was the photographer thinking? Actually, I know what the photographer was thinking. Thanks much to badjocks.com for the tip.

Posted by Chris at 07:59 AM | Comments (0)
Category: Media Stupidity

January 30, 2002

Oxymoron Of The Month

I got an email from CBS Sportsline yesterday advertising what they call The Game Before The Game, an annual competition between two players (one from each Super Bowl team) on an NFL video game. Apparently this has become a big deal--in each of the past six years, the team winning TGBTG has gone on to win the Super Bowl. All well and good, until I got to the line (emphasis added)

"Wal-Mart is the exclusive venue to watch this VIP event. . .."


Still holding your breath awaiting the EuroDragon postmortem? Good.

Posted by Chris at 02:42 PM | Comments (0)
Category: Media Stupidity

May 12, 2001

And I Nominate All Versions Of N'Sync To Be On The First Flight Out

NASA chief Daniel Goldin says we'll send people to Mars within 20 years. Better make sure they bring tribute for the King, or who knows what horrors will befall them?

Posted by Chris at 03:35 PM | Comments (0)
Category: Media Stupidity

April 24, 2001

If This Is The "Pearl Harbor of the Culture War," Then I Wanna Fly A Zero!

My friend Paul rants:

[But for this article,] I might never have known that games like Atari Combat, Wizardry, and Dungeons and Dragons that I played as a kid had changed me into the mentally unbalanced serial killer that I am today.

Posted by Chris at 08:08 PM | Comments (0)
Category: Media Stupidity