Posts from May 10, 2004

And the winner is…

And the winner is…

: NY Times public editor Dan Okrent takes the paper to task for covering the Tony awards because they benefit a small club of theater owners.

Fine, Dan, but name an award that is not similarly tainted by a closed loop of self-interest: certainly the ludicrous Golden Globes (which you and the Times arts editor acknowledge) but also the Oscars and Grammies and Emmies and…

For that matter, Dan, I dare ya to put the same analysis to the Pulitzers. They benefit a closed loop of big print publishers (rather than awarding just the people who own big theaters they award people who own presses, ignoring the people who can now publish without presses). And I say — not without many who’d disagree with me — they can even pervert journalism, motivating editors to editor for each other — that is, for the prize jury — over editing for readers.

Bloggers at the feast

Bloggers at the feast

: The Globe covers the credentialing of bloggers to the Democratic Convention — at length.

Of course, the sad truth is that no one should be covering the conventions since nothing happens there. They are newsless.

Iraq is like [fill in the blank]

Iraq is like [fill in the blank]

: Yesterday, I took you to a site that said Iraq is not like the U.S. in Vietnam is instead like the French in Algeria.

Today’s silly war comparison:

The world premiere of the Hollywood big-budget epit “Troy” in Berlin Sunday saw German-born director Wolfgang Petersen draw parallels between the Trojan war and the US-led war in Iraq….

Petersen, director of the World War II German submarine classic “Das Boot” (The Boot) and the action-thriller “Air Force One”, said he has been taken aback by the way the conservative rightwing has taken over the White House with a militaristic agenda.

The invasion of Iraq occurred just as shooting for the film got underway in Malta.

“I couldn’t believe it,” 60-year-old Petersen told Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa. “I thought, it’s as if nothing has changed in 3,000 years. People are still using deceit to engage in wars of vengeance.”

While stressing that he “did not make this film with the intention of making an anti-American statement”, Petersen said the parallels between the Trojan war and the Iraq war became more apparent daily during the filming.

“Just as King Agamemnon waged what was essentially a war of conquest on the ruse of trying to rescue the beautiful Helen from the hands of the Trojans, President George W. Bush concealed his true motives for the invasion of Iraq.”

Jeesh. Anything for a plug.

The Daily Stern: The __ word

The Daily Stern: The __ word

: I went to a local school play this weekend and late into act I, one of the actors — apparently unaware that his mike was open — said during a moment of surprise onstage, “oh, my _______ God.”

It was as if a ghost flew over the audience as principals and parents alike uttered an almost inaudible gasp, a blow-to-the-crotch grunt.

OK, so the kid did something he certainly should not have done. But you know what? The world didn’t fall apart. Grandmas did not swoon. Little brothers and sisters did not go racing into the street __ word.

It’s just a word. And I noted the irony of the FCC’s efforts to stomp it out: Here the word was uttered by a child. Now you might say that’s just why the FCC is trying ot protect him from it. But he didn’t learn that word from broadcast or any publication hoping to get on the shelf at Walmart; he got it surely from another kid. And it’s no big _______ deal.

We have gone insane thinking that one word and corrupt the nation and that the government should protect us from it, fining and even relinquishing the licenses of broadcasters who dare let it be uttered. How _______ absurd. How offensive to our constitutional souls that is.

This is like the bizarro version of Orwell’s 1984, when government does not create the words we must utter but instead creates a secret list of the words we must not utter: Newnewspeak.

: And today The NY Times reports on some of the many absurd, offensive incidents of broadcasters censoring themselves because they don’t know what the government may or may not fine:

+ Masterpiece Theater for the first time desalinizes salty British language.

+ An Indianapolis station bleeped “urinate,” “damn,” and “orgy” out of Rush Limbaugh’s show!

+ Stations have stopped airing Elton John’s “The Bitch is Back” and the Rolling Stones’ “Bitch.”

+ PBS considered excising a scene in the Antiques Road Show that showed a picture of a nude Marilyn Monroe.

+ Last week, WABC bleeped “parachute” because the host mispronounced the “u” sound with an “i” sound.

What’s just as absurd is that the Times goes out of its way not to define any of these words or even use the first letter. We can’t even say __ word anymore.

Just whom are we protecting from what — and at what price?

: MEET THE NANNIES: The LA Times does a long profile of the Parents Television Council, the self-appointed nanny council started by the frightening Brent Bozell.

“They are, in a large way, setting the agenda at the FCC,” says Robert Corn-Revere, a Washington, D.C., lawyer who is working to undo the council’s victory regarding the Bono decision. Corn-Revere represents a coalition of broadcasters and free-speech activists

Those sexy Iranians

Those sexy Iranians

: Nicholas Kristof wrote about those sexy Iranians, who will be the downfall of the mullahs, and today Hoder’s new photoblog gives us a sense of what he’s talking about: Iranian fashion.

Rummy, stay!

Rummy, stay!

: William Safire says it this morning: Rumsfeld should not go:

Donald Rumsfeld has been designated by Democratic politicians as the scapegoat for the scandal at Abu Ghraib prison. But any resignation would only whet their appetite to cut and run. The highly effective defense secretary owes it to the nation’s war on terror to soldier on….

The United States shows the world its values by investigating and prosecuting wrongdoers high and low. It is not in our political value system to scapegoat a good man for the depraved acts of others. Nor does it make strategic sense to remove a war leader in the vain hope of appeasing critics of the war.

This secretary of defense, who has the strong support of the president, is both effective and symbolic. If he were to quit under political fire, pressure would mount for America to quit under insurgent fire. Hang in there, Rummy! You have a duty to serve in our “long, hard slog.”

Yup.