Posts from November 19, 2003

The Day After

The Day After
: Twenty years ago tomorrow, The Day After — a TV movie from the time when TV movies mattered — depicted a nuclear holocaust in America. I was a TV critic then and, as I recall, I liked it.

The movie was filmed in Lawrence, Kansas, and so the amazing remembers the time when TV destroyed the town.

Now this might sound trite but it is true: On September 11th, when I came out of my haven in Chase Plaza II after the first bits of sun broke through the black cloud of debris, I looked around at a world covered in the white dust we all came to know so well and the first image that came to mind was from The Day After. [via Terry Heaton at Lost Remote]

Jonestown, from one who was there

Jonestown, from one who was there
: Tim Reiterman, the reporter who made Jonestown an investigative story, looks back [via Matt Welch].

Paris the thought!

Paris the thought!
: An US writer appears on Howard Stern’s show this morning to report that Paris Hilton is so upset over her video-oh that she’s “bawling” and even “doesn’t feel like going to parties anymore.” No, not that!

: There’s a fun game started in the comments. One says the parents were nuts to put a city name before that last name and he wants to introduct himself as Des Moines Airport Hilton. Another suggests a change to Monaco Hilton.

I, however, think that given current behavior, the most appropriate new moniker might be Fresno Hilton.

Any other nominations?

Imposter to the throne

Imposter to the throne
: I’m all for freedom of the press and unfettered ability to investigate. But I do think the Mirror went too far giving a reporter a false identity to see whether he could infiltrate Buckingham Palace security to get near the Queen and the President: “He had a full view from a pitch by the state dining room through a net curtain. Had he been a terrorist hell bent on assassinating the royals or Mr Bush, nothing could have stopped him.” Well, I suspect that there were also metal detectors and other means of making sure he didn’t smuggling in a nuke.

It’s a cliched story. It’s a nonstory in many ways. And it gives the bad guys ideas.

The palace has said they have “not ruled out” prosecution of the reporter. And maybe that’s the right thing to do. One still needs to act responsibly, for we are all in this together.

Big fat lie

Big fat lie
: KFC is dropping its horrid ad claims that — in the Atkinds era — fat fried chicken is suddenly health food, the Guardian reports. That was the single most disgusting ad trick I’ve seen since the invention of spam. Clearly, in a nation besieged by obesity and heart disease, fat is not suddenly good for us. I don’t endorse nannyish efforts to regulate or legislate or sue food companies into responsibility for our eating habits. But KFC, it seems to me, opens up the entire industry for such action with such clearly fraudulent behavior.

The biggest Hollywood scandal ever?

The biggest Hollywood scandal ever?
: Correct if I’m wrong, but isn’t the Michael Jackson case the biggest scandal in the history of Hollywood?

Sure, OJ was tried for killing people. But Jackson’s a much bigger star and a much stranger star and doing anything to a child — if he did it — gets you a reservation in hell. This story is going to be berserk beyond anything we’ve ever seen.

The sheriff and prosecutor who announced the arrest warrant against Jackson just now on TV are making the big mistake of acting all jolly about it, cracking jokes about how Jackson’s isn’t their kind of music and how they’d advise against sleepovers at Neverland Ranch. Dumb. They’re acting as if this is their moment in the spotlight when, in fact, it’s a serious case. And it doesn’t help that it’s two doughy white guys arresting a once-black guy.

Howard Stern said this morning that no matter what happens in this case, the parents of the 12-year-old alleged victim should be hauled out to the public square of ridicule themselves. Knowing what we know and hearing what we’ve heard about Jackson — true or not — what responsible parents would ever send their child into his grasp? Stern essentially accused them of selling the kid to Jackson to get the chance at a case and a payday.

Jackson’s finances have been shaky. He has been weirder and weirder. We are about to watch the final phase of what will probably rank as the worst fall in memory.

My colleague wonders whether Michael Jackson will moonwalk on his perpwalk.

Substance v style

Substance v style
: Harry quotes Bush’s speech at length and then asks:

…what is exactly the problem with any of this?

What exactly is conservative, isolationist, racist about any of this? I know he has a really bad and unnerving habit of producing an inane looking grin after making a deadly serious comment but looking at the content rather than the delivery, what is the problem?

Democratic revolution? Opposing tyranny? Shake off decades of failed policy in the Middle East? No toleration of oppression? Freedom for all mankind?

Tell me please if I am going mad but didn’t the left used to come out with visions like that?

: He shows a sense of humor, too:

It was pointed out to me that the last noted American to visit London stayed in a glass box dangling over the Thames. (Laughter.) A few might have been happy to provide similar arrangements for me. (Laughter.)

My Memorial


My memorial

: The eight finalists for the September 11th memorial were announced this morning.

So now I’ll show you mine.

: The idea is quite simple: A memorial in video that tells the stories of the lives of the heroes and innocents of that day; a memorial that focuses on their lives, not their deaths; a memorial that breaks free of stone and steel and allows everyone to participate in the memory.

: On the two footprints of the towers, I envisioned pavilions — a pavillion of memory, where pilgrims could watch the video and remember, and a pavilion of peace, where the remains of the unknown would be interred and where anyone could find silence and refuge.

The plaza would include large video screens showing the stories constantly.

It would also include, importantly, a wall where people coming to the site could leave their own memories and tributes, for millions who have gone to the World Trade Center have felt that need.

Anyone could also record memories and tributes that would be included in the memorial. It is an interactive memorial.

All of this would also be visible on the Internet. The memorial is not limited to this place.

: I’ll give you the entire text below; it tells the story. On the board I presented, I took pictures, like that above, and tried — given my paltry design ability — to present the idea.


on the lives of the heroes and innocents of September 11, 2001

A living and interactive memorial in video

This memorial will use video to tell the stories of every person who died on September 11th. With family photos, home movies, and tributes from loved ones