Posts from January 15, 2005

Blogola: One more note

Blogola: One more note

: As I read all the sniping and snarking and bitchslapping among the ex-Deaniac bloggers at each others’ throats, I’m mindful of one thing: If things had gone their way, these people would be running the country now. Yow.

: I keep reading more comments on the various ex-Deaniacs’ blogs and I’ll add this: No wonder they lost Iowa. No wonder Dean screamed.

A lot of fussing and fuming. This is politics, folks. If you can’t stand the heat….

: UPDATE: Zephyr Teachout posts an FAQ on all this, politely. And Glenn Reynolds points to Bigwig’s post on politeness. That is striking about all this: the shrill tone of many. There’s irony in that: You’d think that Kos and MyDD would or could be playing the victims — not of Zephyr’s post now but of what she alleges about the Dean campaign’s motives in paying them. Instead, they and others go on the attack and get downright nasty about it with their former allies. And there seems to be little awareness that this is in public, that people are watching how they — we, as a culture — behave when faced with tough questions, an awareness that everything they say could be quoted tomorrow in the Wall Street Journal or the Washington Post. This is, after all, the transparent medium, isn’t it? Right now, I happen to be watching Das Experiment, the German movie about a scientific experiment simulating a prison. Imagine that this whole blog thing is just one big psychological experiment and the guys in the white coats are watching to see what we lab rats do in this maze of media and politics and life. To paraphrase Ed Koch: How are we doin’?

: I also imagine Republican strategists reading through this grand kerfluffle and laughing their little heads off as they say it’s going to be easy to beat the liberals again because they’re so damned busy beating themselves.

Some folks are going to wake up tomorrow with a mean snark hangover.

: There are, sadly, a few examples of uncivilized responses in the comments to this post. I’ll leave a few of them here, monuments to man’s inhumanity to man. But I won’t tolerate more.

Take back the news

Take back the news

: Unmediated points to Take Back The News, a project that aims to do just that. See, similarly, the Guerilla News Network.

Dissecting Rathergate

Dissecting Rathergate

: Ernie Millier, who has done a great job dissecting the CBS Rathergate panel’s report, says: “The panel has done CBS no favors.” (My agreement here.)

Blogola followup

Blogola followup

: Ed Cone gets the facts straight on the Dean campaign bloggers flapette. More from Ed here.

[Give credit to the coining of blogola to an Ann Althouse reader.]

Take that, Michael Powell!

Take that, Michael Powell!

: The Smoking Gun puts up some of the 500+ complaints Michael Powell received following the Desperate Housewives promo on Monday Night Football — complaints aimed not against the promo but against Powell himself for this critique: “I think it’s very disappointing. I wonder if Walt Disney would be proud.”

Note that that is about 170 times more letters than were penned in complaint against Married by America, yielding the biggest fine in FCC history. By this scale, then, Michael Powell should resign immediately and take the rest of the National Board of Prigs and Prudes with him.

Some of my favorite moments in nanny-bashing from the Powell complaints:

Ok. You boys have waaaay too much time on your hands. The spot was funny. The show, “Desperate Housewives,” is funny.

Anyone who says different is obviously very repressed. It’s the 21st Century. We should be over this sort of crap.

Straight people! oy! You’ll get rankled over anything!

And this:

Does the Radical Right “Born-again” “Christian” crowd have pictures of you in a compromising position with Satan???!!! Quit giving time and attention to the clearly insane, and do the job for which you were appointed (because of your dad.) Sinclair sure seems to fly under your radar; but Janet Jackson’s breast and Desperate Housewives require endless attention. Makes me wonder who’s REALLY in charge over there.

And this:

I strongly disagree with your reviews of Monday night Football. You act like Americans are sheltered children. Take a deep breath and relax. We dont need you as our mommy. Mommy.

And this:

You must have nothing at all to do at work if you spend even 1 second of your time addressing the MNF Desperate Housewives promo. You are off your rocker and should follow in the footsteps of your kiss-ass father and RESIGN… You speak for only a select few of your fellow insane jesus freaks that are unfortunately in this country. GO AWAY!!!!! JOIN THE TALIBAN IF THATS HOW YOU WANT TO ACT!!!!!
I redacted a few of the exclams in that one. Don’t want to go over my quota. More:
It is a shame how people are getting so worked up over this Monday Night Football intro. First off, its opening for a game where men try to bash each others brains out. I played football for 11 years and know about the game. I don’t let my 4 year old watch to [sic] much anyway. So maybe more parents should look at themselves first before blaming ABC, NFL, or T.O. The intro was funny as hell, oh wait you might fine me, funny as HECK!!!

My favorite:

A woman’s bare back! My god what has the world come to? Imagine the long lasting effects the sight of a woman’s bare back will have on the psyche of America’s children. I for one am appalled. As I am sure you agree, a woman should never reveal more than an ankle. TO suggest otherwise is simply vile and goes against the Puritan beliefs that founded this great country…

These left wing liberal corrupters need to face facts: children are stupid. Every single child in this country is two [sic] shades above retarded. That is why we need to protect them. We cannot expect our “special” young ones to understand that Nicolette Sheridan and Terrell Owens aren’t going to bang like bunnies when the commercial changes. We can’t expect them to understand that playing football will not equate to sexual favors from loose blonde women. They are stupid, stupid little creatures and we must protect them.

I would like to thank you Mr. Powell. Your unrelenting tunnel vision and suffocating moral beliefs are just what American [sic] and its dumbass kids need in these trying times. Thank you Sir!

(I understand that you see the world in black and white Mr. Powell, but just to clarify the above letter is an example of Satire. You see by pretending to agree with you I am actually whole-heartedly disagreeing with you. I realize that this requires more mental aerobics than you are accustomed to, but please try to get your head around it.)

: I also just got an official reply to my FOIA request for the complaints against the Olympics. As I reported here, the FCC cut us off at the pass and posted the complaints on the web. The official letter from FCC attorney Judy Lancaster of the ominous sounding Enforcement Bureau says:

Please be advised that copies of such complaints are routinely available to the public. You may access them on the FCC’s website at http://www.fcc.gov/eb/broadcast/Plead.html.

Sorry to tell you, Ms. Lancaster, but that’s a bald-faced lie. The only complaints you put up there are the ones the folks like me ask for: You put up the complaints against Married by America and now Monday Night Football and that’s it. So I sent this email back to Ms. Lancaster:

Ms. Lancaster:

Thanks for your reply.

But you are wrong when you say that “copies of such complaints are routinely available to the public. You may access them on the FCC’s website…” Please go to that page and you will find the only public complaints posted there are those against Married by America and the NBC Olympics coverage (both of which I asked for via FOIA requests).

However, I think it is a marvelous policy to put up all complaints so the public can judge the basis upon which the FCC launches investigations and applies notices of apparent liability.

So I now formally ask the FCC — under the Freedom of Information Act — to follow what you tell me is Commission policy and post all indecency and obscenity complaints received against any and all shows.

And I’ll bet if they do it, we’ll see many complaints like the ones quoted above from people who are more fed up with the FCC and Nanny Powell than they are with our pop culture and free speech.

: More posts on all this here.

Oh, well

Oh, well

: MIT’s Media Lab Europe is closing.

Out of this world

Out of this world

: Photos from the probe of Titan here.

This is news?

This is news?

: The Today show this morning reported on a career day in a California School in which a salesman gave out a list of careers that included, among scores of others, “stripper” and when an 8th grade boy asked about it — playing his part perfectly — the salesman made the mistake of telling them how much strippers make and how much more they make when surgically enhanced.

So it was a very stupid thing to do but the salesman knows it and the principal knows it and I trust that these 14 kids in this class are smart enough not to change their lives based on this two-minute discussion (“Mommy, can I get new boobs for Christmas?”).

But is this national news? Is this news at all? Is this a story that affects our lives? Is this a story that reveals some larger trend in society of which we should be aware? Is this a story that reveals a scandal and saves innocent victims?

Or is this pathetic pandering for ratings?

I vote the latter. It’s all terribly predictable: Local papers write about this; bookers see the story and know it will warm the heart of TV “news” producers, and on the air it goes. They know it’s not a real story, but if they try to treat it as a scandal, they hope it’ll get them water-cooler juice.

Meanwhile, this slub salesman is now branded as a child-corrupter and this school is slimed as Stripper U.

In the “news” segment of this “news” show, they also bravely reported about firemen freeing a kittie’s paws frozen to a fence.

Film at 11.

: Martha Feingold — citizen reporting from the scene! — adds this in the comments:

My kids go to that school, although they’re in the 7th grade, so didn’t go to career day. Leslie’s right, it’s a lot of nothing. We have a local daily paper that feeds on stories like this, my guess is one of the parents called them and they took it from there..and placed it above the fold. And the local and national media took the bait. Thank God I don’t work in TV news anymore. Note one of the 2 complaints came from a parent who said the guy inspired them to go after a career based on what they love to do..so now he wants to be a fisherman. I guess that’s not good enough for Palo Alto.