3/24/2006 05:51:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|The migration to my new site is taking longer than I thought. See you Monday.|W|P|114324073104553145|W|P|Testing|W|P|3/23/2006 03:56:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|So maybe seeing my entire buddy list on AIM is beyond my technical acumen. That hasn't stopped me from embarking on a bold re-launch of davidweigel.com - the site I launched five years ago and haven't updated in three. I actually purchased the server space and installed the software to do what I want, but whether I failed to cross a "T" or it's simply propogating the changes, it's not ready yet. But whatever. By the end of the month I'll be redirecting DW-i readers to my brand new site.|W|P|114314763745502929|W|P|More fun with technology|W|P|3/23/2006 01:46:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|I hereby declare this the lede of the day.
Chris Matthews blows hard.|W|P|114313964568359714|W|P|Eat Todd Gitlin's shorts, man!|W|P|3/23/2006 01:32:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|I don't think anyone's ever answered one of my tech questions before, but here's hoping. I just downloaded the new version of AIM, "AIM Triton." It looks cool. However, it doesn't display my buddies. For example, I have a buddy group called "DC" that has 31 members. Right now, I'm told 16 of them are online. But my IM window is only displaying three of them. I can't see any options or features that let me expand the visible list. "Edit Group" only allows me to change the group's name.
Anyone know how to fix this?|W|P|114313899631105361|W|P|PLEASE HELP ME|W|P|3/23/2006 04:47:00 PM|W|P|John Tabin|W|P|Quick fix: Ditch AIM and get Trillian.3/23/2006 07:59:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|Trillian seems like a great program, with the minor glitch of not fucking connecting to the internet when I press "connect."3/23/2006 08:51:00 PM|W|P|John Tabin|W|P|It works fine for me. Have you checked to see if there's a gremlin on the wing of your computer?3/22/2006 10:09:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|Watching a CNN report on the Democratic candidate to take Henry Hyde's seat in Congress, and Candy Crowley describes the suburban Chicago district as "once solidly Republican, now evolving."
"Oh yeah, we used to be Republican. Then we developed opposable thumbs!"
UPDATE: For some reason I can't respond in comments, so:
No, I think you're pretty much right. Most analysts will say the Chicago burbs were ripe to turn Democratic as the national GOP got more and more socially conservative. But what took about a decade in the California suburbs, exurbs and edge cities, for example, took two years in Illinois - 2000-2002, the years of the Ryan meltdown and backlash. And like in California, the rural areas of Illinois have been getting more Republican, despite the party's problems ... but it doesn't matter, because more people live in the Chicago burbs.
Here's a map of the 2000-2004 trend of Bush votes, for example. Pink means the Democratic vote grew by 1-10%, red means it grew by 11-20%. Pale blue and royal blue mean the same thing, but for Republicans. Notice where the biggest growth was for Democrats. Yep - Du Page and De Kalb. Bush actually improved from 2 million votes (42.5%) to 2.35 million votes (44.5%), but those votes were coming from megachurch types in southern Illinois. The whole GOP lost ground in Chicagoland. I think Democrats are optimistic that trend will continue, as the national GOP isn't getting any less nutty or unpopular.|W|P|114308358649714029|W|P|Unleashing my inner Bozell|W|P|3/22/2006 11:54:00 PM|W|P|Pat "Souljacker" King|W|P|HA!
Also, as somebody who lives here, at least in the Wheaton neck of the woods, I would say it's a stretch to call it evolving. Politically, nearly everybody here is a fan of smaller government, and (obviously in Wheaton) social conservativism is absolutely enormous. Why do we look like we're "evolving?" First, Illinois is just coming off a huge GOP backlash in general, post-George Ryan. Compounding the problem was the rash of other prominent candidates named Ryan, which didn't do much to distance the party from the ol' man. This is changing with the advent of Blagojevich (who seems to want to be President too much to do anything specific or useful while Governor) and the realization that, hey, sleaze is bipartisan!
I think the kicker was '04. The Senate race here was a joke, even before Alan Keyes joined up... Another Ryan candidate saw his bid fall apart in the wake of a sex scandal, nobody treated the state as battleground, and even when Keyes came in preaching to the far right, it wasn't enough to draw out the conservative vote. Obama won the county overwhelmingly (as he did... everywhere, I think) and I suspect Cegalis' strong showing against Hyde was largely a result of a disaffected GOP vote that didn't get to the polls.
Of course, I could be entirely wrong. You real journalists know MUCH more about this than I do... Facts, for example.3/22/2006 10:06:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|Jeepers. Just get Boehner to pass a new Sedition Act and stop your whining.|W|P|114308337484510175|W|P|Thoughts upon enjoying my wireless service in front of Fox News' coverage of "Bush vs. the media"|W|P|3/21/2006 05:42:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|Oh. My. God. This. Rules.
I had always assumed 60 minutes was the standard for burning a 60 minute CD. Turns out it's like 8 minutes.|W|P|114298107046350806|W|P|Laptop update|W|P|3/20/2006 03:56:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|A few days ago I mentioned that I had some important news on the way. Here it is.
Starting April 3, I will begin work as an assistant editor at Reason magazine.
The list of journalists who get to work for their favorite magazines - especially so early in their careers - is, I'm guessing, not long. I'm extremely excited, and grateful, to make it on that list.|W|P|114289209842830252|W|P|Big news update|W|P|3/21/2006 11:23:00 AM|W|P|Tim|W|P|Congratulations, sir. We who still battle in the office-bitch trenches salute you.3/22/2006 12:38:00 AM|W|P|John Tabin|W|P|I congratulated you privately a few days ago, but what the hey: Congrats!3/19/2006 06:11:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|First 2006 release I've seen and it's a great one - unless Hollywood has a sudden genius injection, I imagine it'll make my top 10 in December. It does make a few un-Alan Moore concessions to manichean ethics, but for a $50 million film aiming to be an international hit, I'll let that slide. One example: In the comic version of "V," fascists took over the UK in the chaos brought about by a US/NATO-USSR/Warsaw pact nuclear exchange. (Labour had won the 1983 election and pulled out of NATO, so the country was spared.) In the film version, fascists start ascending in the generally turbulent first decades of the 21st century, and they consolidate power by ... oh, I'm on the way to a spoiler alert. Suffice to say, the change of setting in the movie version makes it much clearer that V's terrorism is a force for good. In the comic, since we knew the rest of the world was in tatters, it was anyone's guess what the results of a democratic overthrow of the government would bring about in the long run.
Plus, there's the free post-movie amusement of cultural conservatives whipping themselves up into a frenzy about "V"'s crimethink. Imagine a gang of rhesus monkeys trying to do calculus. No - dumber.|W|P|114281066891317875|W|P|V for Vendetta|W|P|3/18/2006 06:20:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|You see this?
I own this now. 1 gig of ram. 100 gigs of hard drive space. Intel Centrino duo mobile technology. ATI Radeon Xpress 1400 Graphics.
I, for one, welcome our new laptop overlords.|W|P|114272417813753355|W|P|Start your drooling|W|P|3/18/2006 11:38:00 PM|W|P|That's the big news alluded to on Wednesday?3/19/2006 11:02:00 AM|W|P|Dave|W|P|Haha. No. That's coming later.
But thank you for shitting on my laptop. Jerk.3/20/2006 12:22:00 PM|W|P|Tim|W|P|YOU. LUCKY. MOTHERFUCKER.3/17/2006 04:44:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|
#7 - Planet Simpson
by Chris Turner
Extremely overlong history/analysis of the TV show.
#8 - The Outside Story
by Richard Brookhiser
Hilarious, Hunter Thompson-on- ... well, not drugs. Tea? Hunter Thompson-on-tea blow-by-blow of the 1984 presidential race, told from the perspective of a media hack watching the debates and campaign rallies.|W|P|114263221124916936|W|P|More books|W|P|3/17/2006 04:41:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|
MSM: Look, you stupid bastard. Bush has got no arms left.
HEWITT: Yes he does!
HEWITT: It's just a flesh wound!
(No transcript yet, but Hugh teases it here.)|W|P|114263181741710929|W|P|Shorter Hugh Hewitt on "Your World With Cavuto"|W|P|3/17/2006 04:30:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|Warren Bell:
A deep-pocketed conservative needs to step up and do the same thing with films that might appeal to mainstream American audiences. Sounds easy enough. But are there any deep pockets conservatives anymore?I can't believe NR could have whored "The Chronicles of Narnia" as much as it did without hearing of Philip Anschutz.|W|P|114263113286780231|W|P|Didn't they get the press pack?|W|P|3/16/2006 04:21:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|
So Katherine Harris, down 20 points in the polls and submerged in scandal, refused to exit Florida's Senate race. Republicans generally slapped their foreheads and moved this seat into the "D" column. But here was the very first comment at Daily Kos.
How many Diebold machines can 10 million buy?
by WinSmithThere is a point when the conspiracy theory about Republicans stealing elections by hacking voting machines becomes impossible. Well, actually, that point was reached a while ago, but this should really do it. Let's go over the possibilities that needed to be fulfilled for Harris's campaign to be part of a grand GOP conspiracy.
1) The GOP can steal elections by hacking Diebold machines.
2) They have covered their tracks utterly, stealing only a handful of elections, purposely losing a few (like the Virginia governor's race) in states with electronic voting machines to complete the illusion.
3) No one has been able to uncover this in two years.
4) No election-hacker has ever confessed his thievery, willingly or unwillingly - like being overheard in a bathroom stall.
5) None of the Republican hackers were part of the 10-20% of Republicans who've soured on Bush since the 2004 election, if you go by polls.
6) While Republicans knew that they could rig the 2006 Florida election, they nonetheless made a phony fuss about Harris's electability.
7) These conspiratorial Republicans did not realize they could run a more palatable Republican in the primary, and then steal the primary election for Republican X over Harris. Instead, they decided to make a damaging public effort to oust her.
8) While she was struggling, neither Harris or her staff told skeptical donors or consultants not to worry, because she could steal the election if needed.
9) The hundreds of thousands, or millions, of conservatives who read and write online, were brought in on the conspiracy to pretend Harris was really in trouble. They commented and blogged about the need for a new candidate knowing that this would merely provide cover for the eventual Harris thievery.
10) Harris decided to spend her personal fortune on a race that she could steal without spending any money at all.
Oh, and then there's the idea that our modern Republican party - that of Majority Leader Bill Frist and the awesome George W. Bush crisis-management team - is so wiley and devious that it can pull off, time and again, the greatest electoral fraud in history.|W|P|114254516660465604|W|P|Occam's rouge applier|W|P|3/15/2006 10:58:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|Some big news might be coming soon.|W|P|114248155488289225|W|P|Busy|W|P|3/14/2006 10:26:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|New review at Popmatters of a new album by video game music cover band The Advantage.|W|P|114239342602316337|W|P|Advantage: Rock|W|P|3/15/2006 01:07:00 AM|W|P|Pat "Souljacker" King|W|P|I think my brother caught their live show, I remember him digging it most righteously. As for myself, all I can say is, your first paragraph took me back to my freshman year, when Mike DePilla and I went insane trying to track down the Starlight Zone theme from Sonic. It's still glorious.3/15/2006 02:21:00 AM|W|P|Dave|W|P|How did you finally get it? The Starlight Zone theme, I mean.3/15/2006 10:32:00 AM|W|P|Pat "Souljacker" King|W|P|Somebody apparently had captured it as an MP3 and uploaded it to a Napster-like program (though being as it was freshman year, it might actually have still been Napster). Really all we had to do was repeatedly search for it over a 3-month period of time.3/13/2006 04:39:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|I've said it a million times: I neither expect or desire for this blog to become popular. That either gives me 1)more right or 2)less right to heap scorn on other blogs. I haven't decided.
Either way, here's some scorn!
1) Every year, the blog Wampum hosts the "Koufax Awards" for liberal weblogs. It's not very hard to code web polls, even if you want to code them to restrict multiple voting or demand voters register before they vote. Why, then, does this preeminent blog award offer the stupidest voting system ever? Look at the link I just sent you. There's a blog post with a list of a hundred (seemingly) blogs. If you want to vote, you either post your vote as a comment or email the Wampum blogger. That's insane. When I copied and pasted this page with all of the votes into MS Word just now, it was 76 pages long.
2) Speaking of long ... we have a new winner in the Amanda Marcotte Run-On Sentence Iditarod. This is all one sentence.
You know, I thought the whole Warren plotline on “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” where the character who designed the sexbot, lost his girlfriend, decided to get the girlfriend back by casting an enslavement spell on her, accidentally killed the ex while attempting to rape her, and then ended the season by wounding the straight woman whose power threatened him and killing the lesbian with the gentlest soul imaginable was a tad over the top as a metaphor for a certain mentality that leads all too many men to call themselves “libertarians” and concoct ever stranger arguments for how “freedom” means the opportunity to put the boot to bitches.It is 108 words long.|W|P|114228666814210879|W|P|Liberal blogs delenda est|W|P|3/13/2006 11:53:00 PM|W|P|Ellen|W|P|Not only is that sentence abominably long, but if you've actually seen the show, it makes no goddamn sense whatsoever.3/14/2006 09:38:00 AM|W|P|Dave|W|P|Okay, now I'm worried, because once I broke out the decoder ring I thought I had figured out what Marcotte is talking about. Everything she describes Warren as doing did happen. Marcotte argues, in her ... way, that Warren's actions were a metaphor for the mentality of John Tierney-style libertarians. I think that's wrong, but it's a theory.
There was a metaphor behind the Warren storyline, but I thought it was the more simple extension of the "what would antisocial nerds do if they got powers?" theme. Is it possible the feminists in the Buffy writer stable were making points about misogyny, too? Yes, I think that point is inherent when you're talking about nerds like Warren and the rest of the "Trio." And the writers certainly played up that aspect of it. Wasn't it two magical balls that gave Warren (or whoever held them) superpowers?
All that said, I think the metaphor was a lot more fun and complex than the insano-feminism Marcotte seemed to find in it.3/12/2006 11:28:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|
Empire Statesman: The Rise and Redemption of Al Smith
by Robert A. Slayton, 2001
I've always had a soft spot for legendary New York governor Al Smith, mostly inspired by anecdotes I heard in stories about someone else where Smith made a cameo. Like the story of Smith threatening to run against corrupt NYC Mayor Jimmy Walker if the Tammany machine didn't back FDR for governor. Walker (or someone) asked Smith what ticket he'd run on, and Smith said "I could run on a Chinese laundry ticket and beat your crew!"
My admiration increased tenfold after reading this book. Smith was a moral, naive, hard-working politician who never finished high school but became one of the best New York assemblymen in history by sitting up at night and memorizing the law. He was a progressive who turned against the New Deal because he viewed it as too big and too sloppy (or because he turned against FDR - pick your favorite reason). He was a wet (anti-Prohibitionist) and Catholic who boldly signed anti-Prohibition laws and took pictures with Cardinals, knowing that his enemies would use it against him but not caring.
Slayton's book is the best history I've read of Smith's life and of the 1928 presidential campaign, probably the nastiest in American history and certainly the only one wherein the KKK organized voters in swing states. It's also a fine history of urban and Democratic politics in the early 20th century, as Al Smith played a starring role in creating that century's Democratic coalition. As a presidential candidate he famously lost chunks of the racist South, but he destroyed the Republicans' historical grip on urban voters and he registered millions of Catholics. For example, he was the first Democrat to win Massachusetts outright. (Woodrow Wilson won it in 1912 only because Taft and Roosevelt split the vote.) What was a solid "brahmin" Republican state voted narrowly for Smith on the strength of mammoth Boston Catholic turnout. And it's voted for Republicans only four times since - twice for Ike, twice for Reagan.
Definitely one of the strongest political biographies I've read. It's not in paperback, but used hardcover copies aren't hard to find.|W|P|114222653446169022|W|P|Book #6|W|P|3/11/2006 10:19:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|The Vermont Senate race is pretty much off everyone's radar. Republican-turned-Independent Jim Jeffords is retiring, and Independent Congressman Bernie Sanders is running to replace him. Since Vermont only has one congressional district, Sanders has been elected statewide eight times - the last time with 67% of the vote. And since the Democrats made a pact with Sanders not to run a third candidate (a nutty fringe guy is running but the party didn't endorse him), Sanders is expected to win walking away. The last poll had him leading the two potential Republican candidates by 45 frigging points.
However, one of those Republicans is the billionaire founder of IDX Systems, Rich Tarrant. Yes, he is a billionaire and his name is "Rich." While he doesn't wear a gold-plated dollar sign medallion, he's flaunting his wealth in a highly amusing fashion with the most ostentatious ad campaign I've ever seen. Basically, he is running a serial history of his life, of which thus far four parts have been aired, taking us up to ... 1969.
Obviously, the ads are cornier than 10,000 Lifetime Original Movies. I'm pretty sure this is a campaign first - a guy with enough money to waste thus far $2.1 million on TV ads about how he really, really kicked ass at basketball when he was a kid. It also leads to hilarity like this:
"For years, Congressman Sanders has railed against the rich and powerful buying access to our elected officials," Tarrant campaign manager Tim Lennon said in the statement. "Now it seems that Congressman Sanders is doing the very thing he claims to find repugnant."
Hortenstine noted that, according to new filing with the Federal Election Commission, Tarrant lent himself another $425,000 on Thursday[My emphasis]. Tarrant, the founder of a medical software company, has so far lent his campaign $2.1 million.Yes, I know the difference between "being rich" and "being owned by the rich." New Jersey's fuzzy Gov. Jon Corzine straddles that pretty well. But come the hell on.|W|P|114213445279744118|W|P|Money: Useful!|W|P|3/10/2006 02:31:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|Yes yes y'all. Sam Peckinpah's awesome, forgotten 1977 masterpiece "Cross of Iron" is finally coming out on DVD. For years, it wasn't even available on VHS in these United States. And I'm enjoying DVD Savant's ... um ... excited review.
When Steiner's men capture a group of female Russian soldiers, the film elects for exploitative details of isolated rape and mutilation rather than something more believable -- the fear and hatred between these two armies was such that the only credible outcome would seemingly be some kind of atrocity.Yeah, if there's anything Peckinpah movies are seriously lacking, it's atrocities. Jeez.
|W|P|114201930439277711|W|P|Wunderbar!|W|P|3/09/2006 12:22:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|Cousin Couples!
Insert "Mississippi Republican Party" jokes here.|W|P|114192501908601191|W|P|Site of the day/week/decade/whatever|W|P|3/09/2006 04:12:00 PM|W|P|John Tabin|W|P|Hmm, first cousin marriage is illegal in Mississippi but legal in New York and California. Who knew?3/10/2006 12:22:00 AM|W|P|Ellen|W|P|Someone needs to send this to Mitch Hurwitz in case the damn Showtime-picking-up-Arrested-Development deal ever goes through.
Although I suspect he may have already seen it.3/09/2006 01:26:00 AM|W|P|Dave|W|P|Mark Krikorian has never been to Delaware.
Temple U. law professor Jan Ting won a straw poll of the Delaware Republican state committee this week to run against Sen. Tom Carper (there's a perennial gadfly also seeking the nomination). Ting, who was assistant INS commissioner in Bush 41 (and is a Fellow at my Center), has an uphill battle before him, since Carper has $2 million in the bank and near-universal name recognition. But Carper also has a D- grade from Americans for Better Immigration, and if immigration becomes a hotter political issue (there are more illegal immigrants in Delaware than you'd think) Ting, the son of Chinese immigrants and a pro-enforcement hard-liner, could just pull it out.This is idiotic. Tom Carper is the single most popular politician in Delaware, and the most popular Delaware politician since, I don't know, J. Caleb Boggs. He was elected Treasurer in 1976 (at age 29) and 1980, then won our House seat (Delaware only has one statewide seat) in 1982. He was re-elected four times with no less than 59% of the vote - that was in 1984, when Mondale was losing 60-40 to Reagan at the top of the ballot. He was elected governor in 1992 and 1996, with 65% and 70%. In 2000, Carper challenged Delaware icon Sen. Bill Roth, the inventor of the Roth IRA. It was supposed to be a squeaker of a race. Carper blew him away by 12 points - running 1,000 votes ahead of Al Gore, mind you.
I get that Krikorian wants to promote his friend. I understand why he failed to mention that Ting protested the Vietnam War, and Carper served in Vietnam. "My buddy is going to lose an election by 40 points" isn't much of a blog post. But damn it, it's so rare that anyone blogs about Delaware. I demand that those blog posts not be stupid-running-to-lunatic.
Oh, since you don't know anything about Delaware, here's Carper.
|W|P|114188630721852467|W|P|NRO: Where wishful thinkers can hang out and do whatever!|W|P|3/08/2006 03:41:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|I have an interview with Robert Forster of the Go-Betweens up at Popmatters.|W|P|114185053797948978|W|P|Go-Betweener|W|P|3/07/2006 04:00:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|Because, frustrated with my ultra-slow PC and its inability to open iTunes while Firefox was running, I closed Firefox. And deleted an unfinished 400-word post about meeting Joe Trippi.
Dang.|W|P|114176531539807861|W|P|Why this blog will never succeed|W|P|3/08/2006 10:09:00 AM|W|P|John Tabin|W|P|Well, at least there's a picture of you talking to Trippi on Wonkette...3/06/2006 12:35:00 AM|W|P|Dave|W|P|As my less-politic version of John Tabin's Oscar blog title should make clear, I am no good at predicting things. The Oscars exist to remind me not to ever gamble actual money.
I suppose "Crash" wasn't that bad. Seeing some clips of it tonight, I remember that I enjoyed the first scenes, when the characters are first introduced and spit out their true feelings about other people and other races. It reminded me of the discussions in "Do The Right Thing" - which actually gets more racist as it goes on. But around the time Matt Dillon rescues Thandie Newton, "Crash" becomes one of those "Wow, today I learned a real lesson!" movies, and that turned me against it.
Random thoughts ...
- Jon Stewart, after a terrible start, really found his game. I had worried he would retreat to the collar-tugging "oy!" adlibbing he does on the Daily Show, but he actually found the ad-libbing groove he used to excel at as a stand-up. He had some really great lines. And most surprisingly, his political jokes 1)hit the mark and 2)didn't mention George W. Bush. (I'm thinking of him indicating the giant Oscar statue and saying "Do you think if we got together and pushed this down, democracy would break out in Hollywood?")
- Philip Seymour Hoffman is a class act.
- George Clooney is a pretty class act, too. Maybe the bar was set low from his Golden Globe speech, but his political shout-out was nicely framed as a salute to other stars' activism.
- Reese Witherspozzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz
- The victory of "It's Hard Out Here For A Pimp" was by far the most amusing and surprising moment of the night. The performance, however, was an abomination. Pimp-and-ho synchronized dancers? Four MCs sharing lines? It completely blew over what made the song powerful in "Hustle & Flow."
- Hooray for "Tsotsi," I guess, but it was mighty surreal to hear a handsome Afrikaner say "AMANDLA!"
- I didn't see "Paradise Now," but I had a fantasy about that movie's victory. The filmmakers would get onstage in front of a shocked audience, and say "We would like to dedicate this award to President George W. Bush, for bringing democracy to 50 million Muslims in Iraq and Afghanistan. Didn't expect THAT, did you?" But it was not to be.
UPDATE: OK, I'm not reading any more bloggers on this subject.
9:19 - From Altman's classy moment to what has to be the nadir of Oscar class: "It's Hard Out Here For A Pimp", introduced by Ludacris. They even had to mute a word or two. What a great family moment!
Maybe it's the theme song for the entire movie industry for the last several years of declining box-office attendance. The pimps of Hollywood must think it's pretty hard out here for them, too.I don't think I thank my parents often enough for this. So: Thank you, Mom and Dad, for not raising me as a humorless cultural conservative.|W|P|114162441209790454|W|P|Take that, queers!|W|P|3/04/2006 04:19:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|I've added some recent articles and a new blog to the sidebar.|W|P|114150717631976399|W|P|Super Saturday Update Fun|W|P|3/03/2006 08:12:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|The newly Matt Welchified LA Times runs a clever feature that commissions five smart alecks (including Welch) to tear down the five Best Picture nominees. The most interesting is the "Brokeback Mountain" write-up by Alisa Valdes-Rodriguez.
The film is adapted from a short story by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Annie Proulx. In her story, one of the young "cowboy lovers" is Latino, and in their adaptation, screenwriters Larry McMurtry and Diana Ossana kept the character, Ennis Del Mar, Latino.
The Del Mar movie role went to Heath Ledger, an Anglo from Australia. The role of his wife, Alma, also a Latino in Proulx's story and in the screenplay, went to Michelle Williams. And the role of Latino rancher Joe Aguirre was given to Randy Quaid.This is a little perplexing. One reason I wasn't surprised that "Crash" got the SAG award for "acting ensemble" was that "Brokeback" has a pretty B-list cast. Michelle Williams had a brief burst of fame when she debuted on "Dawson's Creek" in 1998, then slipped into obscurity. Heath Ledger had a similar career path - a breakthrough performance in the 1999 teen comedy "10 Things I Hate About You," followed by some minor roles in promising movies that fizzled at the box office ("The Four Feathers"), followed by dreck. It would have been fairly easy to cast Hispanic actors with as much critical and commercial success - I'm thinking America Ferrera as Alma and Michael Peña as Ennis. (A little irony here - Ferrera worked with Ledger in "Lords of Dogtown" and Pena appeared in the film with the best chance of upsetting "Brokeback" on Oscar night, "Crash".)
So why did the producers "bleach" these roles? I have no insider knowledge at all, but I can guess. It's very hard to predict which casting choices will kick a script down the production line. (Kevin Smith wanted to cast Ben Affleck as the lead in "Mallrats," but he couldn't get a green light until he attached Jeremy London, a terrible and undisciplined actor who was getting good buzz from his role in the TV show "I'll Fly Away.") Ledger, despite his blotchy box office history ("Brokeback" is the second-most successful movie he's ever been in, behind the Mel Gibson vehicle "The Patriot"), has maintained the aura of an "It" actor somehow. He's attractive, he appears in the teen magazines with some regularity, and he has real acting chops. The producers or studio might have finally got excited about the project when he was attached, then decided there would be too much dissonance in casting him with a Latino wife.
And there's the other possible reason for the cast change. The brain trust behind "Brokeback"'s making and marketing realized that the movie was a hard sell. Even if they could get critics to take it seriously, they didn't want audiences to see it as politically correct primer on accepting gays for who they are. That may have become impossible if they threw race into the mix. Of course, that kind of calculation speaks to just how deliberate the "Brokeback" makers were in selling their "groundbreaking" story. Casting two white ranch hands and a white rancher evokes all the cliches of movie Westerns. Think of the iconic poster.
With two white actors, that's sneakily combining the imagery Westerns with the imagery of "Titanic." With a white actor and a Hispanic actor, it would look like a buddy caper movie.
But I'm still not 100% sure. Paging Steve Sailer?|W|P|114143603790436738|W|P|Montaña del Brokeback|W|P|3/03/2006 09:10:00 PM|W|P|Steve Sailer|W|P|Interesting.
Another issue is that the Latin American attitude toward male on male homosexuality is quite different from the North American attitude. As I wrote in "Why Lesbians Aren't Gay" back in 1994:
"For example, people raised in Latin countries might think it peculiar that Americans insist on labeling as "gay" both Truman Capote and that exemplar of murderous masculine charisma, Alexander the Great. Latins are inclined to care less than Americans about whom a man goes to bed with and more about what he does there. Although this dominant vs. submissive distinction has evaporated from America's polite discourse, it remains the main theme of our impolite discourse (as any male motorist can testify who has ever triggered the obscene wrath of an NYC cabbie)."
So, if the ultra-masculine Ennis Del Mar was a Latino who sodomized the less masculine Jack Twist up on the mountain because there were no women around to take his pleasure from, then, to many Latin Americans, Ennis wouldn't be "gay." He'd just be a macho man having his way with some pathetic maricon by making him play the despicable role of the woman.
As you can imagine, nobody in politically correct Hollywood would want to touch _that_ tar baby!3/03/2006 09:18:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|When I ask Steve Sailer for his take on Hollywood and sexuality, that is what I'm hoping to get. Thanks!3/03/2006 11:11:00 AM|W|P|Dave|W|P|Somebody buy my book or I kill this dog.
Explanation here.|W|P|114140248000554279|W|P|Shorter Kate Michelman|W|P|3/02/2006 11:59:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|Would I go to hell if I made a T-shirt that said "I Believe Joran Van Der Sloot"?
I mean, go faster?|W|P|114136201749671506|W|P|An idea|W|P|3/03/2006 03:20:00 AM|W|P|John Tabin|W|P|I'm proud to say I had no idea who that was until I Googled the name.3/03/2006 01:44:00 PM|W|P|
Hopefully that's the nature of your comment...or are you saying you actually do believe him?3/03/2006 04:09:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|I don't believe him, but the amount of media real estate devoted to that idiotic story calls out for some cynical mockery.3/01/2006 01:47:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|Tim Brayton, as expected, has posted an Oscar tipsheet that would put any of my efforts to shame. For starters, I could not care less about the following awards:
Best Visual Effects
Best Sound Editing
Best Documentary Short Subject
Best Live Action Short Film
Best Animated Short Film
"But Dave!" you say. "Editing IS filmmaking!"
"But you!" I say. "The Return of the King won the Best Editing award. Obviously, it's meaningless."
"Yeah, well," you say. "Shakespeare in Love won Best Picture! Does that mean Best Picture is a meaningless award?"
"I just shot you in the face," I say. And you, being mortally wounded, shut the fuck up.
And away we go. $=will win. *=should win.
Good Night, and Good Luck.
I thought for a while that the thoroughly hackish, mediocre and unbelievable racism primer Crash was probably going to win, even though it's a worse film than the unnominated Walk the Line. I have *this* (holds up two fingers an inch apart) much regard for the fact that's the only original story in the bunch - it is a little silly that so many Oscar nominees and winners are adaptations and biopics. However, an adaptation of a good book probably wouldn't feature Ludicrous eloquently decrying white prejucide before robbing Sandra Bullock. All that said, I realized that Crash has been on video for half a year now, and that Academy members have had more chances to watch the film than any other nominated movie. And they only gave it six nominations. So, I rejoin the Brokeback love train.
George Clooney, Good Night, and Good Luck.
Paul Haggis, Crash
*$Ang Lee, Brokeback Mountain
Bennett Miller, Capote
Steven Spielberg, Munich
He was cheated out of a nomination for Sense and Sensibility, he never had a chance for Crouching Tiger. For the first time, Ang Lee dominates a field of first-timers and a guy who doesn't need any more Oscars (and is nominated for a film the Academy barely liked).
$Philip Seymour Hoffman, Capote
*Terrence Howard, Hustle & Flow
Heath Ledger, Brokeback Mountain
Joaquin Phoenix, Walk the Line
David Strathairn, Good Night, and Good Luck.
I'm torn, because I really was enthralled by Hoffman's performance in Capote. However, the deciding factor for me is that Hoffman's film would have been pretty good even if a lesser actor took the role on. A Truman Capote impersonation isn't THAT hard. But Howard's movie would have been an unwatchable MTV Films washout without him up there owning the screen.
Judi Dench, Mrs. Henderson Presents
Felicity Huffman, Transamerica
Keira Knightley, Pride & Prejudice
Charlize Theron, North Country
$*Reese Witherspoon, Walk the Line
There's some talk that Huffman deserves this and will win in an Annette Bening-Hilary Swank style upset (The Boys Don't Cry upset. Million Dollar Baby v. Being Julia was never a real race). I don't think so. I think Academy voters are aware that they've turned the Actress prize into a Bizzaro wet T-shirt contest, where the thespie who most uglifies and deforms herself walks away with gold. Huffman was ok, but come on, Witherspoon learned to sing better than the woman she was portraying (June Carter).
Best Supporting Actor
$George Clooney, Syriana
*Matt Dillon, Crash
Paul Giamatti, Cinderella Man
Jake Gyllenhaal, Brokeback Mountain
William Hurt, A History of Violence
This is the first category with a frontrunner I didn't see. I'll go with the conventional wisdom that the popular, neocon-baiting Clooney will win, but Dillon was the only thing I liked in Crash. Even in the scenes where you were supposed to hate him, he got you to understand why his character was a racist.
Best Supporting Actress
$Amy Adams, Junebug
Catherine Keener, Capote
Frances McDormand, North Country
Rachel Weisz, The Constant Gardener
*Michelle Williams, Brokeback Mountain
I don't want to go off on a tangent, but when I saw these nominations I pondered why the Academy hates comedy so much. Catherine Keener is completely forgettable in Capote, and I don't think she had more than 10 minutes of screentime. But she's the absolute anchor of The 40 Year Old Virgin - sexy, sympathetic, incredibly funny. If Academy voters gave a shit about comedy that doesn't have a "Woody Allen presents" before the title, she'd win for that. That said, this category perplexes me - I'm not sure that any voters saw The Constant Gardener or care about Rachel Weisz. If Sony Pictures Classics has a good campaign going (I'm not sure), Amy Adams should pull one of this category's classic "holy shit who's that?"
upsets. I vote for Michelle Williams because it's one of the two movies I saw here and she does a great deal with a limited role.
Best Original Screenplay
$Crash, by Paul Haggis & Bobby Moresco
Good Night, and Good Luck. by George Clooney & Grant Heslov
Match Point, by Woody Allen
*The Squid and the Whale, by Noah Baumbach
Syriana, by Stephen Gaghan
I hated Crash. Next.
Best Adapted Screenplay
$*Brokeback Mountain, by Larry McMurtry & Diana Ossana
Capote, by Dan Futterman
The Constant Gardener, by Jeffrey Caine
A History of Violence, by Josh Olson
Munich, by Eric Roth and Tony Kushner
Especially if Brokeback does get shafted (LOL!!1!!) in the top category, this is a lock. Although I was very, very impressed by the structure and pacing of Capote.
Best Animated Feature
Howl's Moving Castle
*$Wallace & Gromit in The Curse of the Were-Rabbit
You already got your prize, Miyazaki.
Best Foreign Language Film
Don't Tell, Italy
$Joyeux Noël, France
Paradise Now, Palestine
Sophie Scholl - The Final Days, Germany
Tsotsi, South Africa
Like Tim, I've seen none of these. I'm amused at the last three choices between country that kills Jews (current), country that killed Jews (emeritus), and country that enslaved blacks (emeritus). How about the French one? OK.
Best Documentary Feature
Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room
March of the Penguins
None of these win, as Werner Herzog leads an elite strike team into the hall, takes the bullets of security guards without flinching, and seizes the award for Grizzly Man.
Batman Begins, Wally Pfister
$*Brokeback Mountain, Rodrigo Prieto
Good Night, and Good Luck., Robert Elswit
Memoirs of a Geisha, Dion Beebe
The New World,Emmanuel Lubezki
Whether Brokeback is steamrolling its way to the top, or it's only winning a few minor ones, it's got this.
Best Art Direction
Good Night, and Good Luck.
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
Memoirs of a Geisha
$*Pride & Prejudice
Best Costume Design
*Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
Memoirs of a Geisha
Mrs. Henderson Presents
Pride & Prejudice
$Walk the Line
Tim thinks Geisha is getting this, but I don't think Academy voters had any time for it. I would give it to Charlie, which had to distinguish itself from another adaptation of the novel that everyone has seen.
$*Brokeback Mountain, Gustavo Santolalla
The Constant Gardener, Alberto Iglesias
Memoirs of a Geisha, John Williams
Munich, John Williams
Pride & Prejudice, Dario Marianelli
Brokeback has the only theme - the first such theme since the Lord of the Rings theme in 2001 - that has become universally known.
From Crash: "Into the Deep"
From Hustle & Flow: "It's Hard Out Here for a Pimp"
*$From Transamerica: "Travelin' Thru"
A good song from a good movie which may not get any other award. Plus, the Emmylou Harris song from Brokeback didn't make the cut. All those voters are going here.|W|P|114123922603731947|W|P|Starring Sylvester Stallone as Angelo 'Snaps' Provolone|W|P|3/01/2006 01:42:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|Last year I took a cheap shot at Amanda Marcotte, the chief Pandagon blogger. I occasionally check that blog to see if my bile was unwarranted. A-nope!
What I find interesting about anti-choice thinking is that while they adamantly deny that what’s in a woman’s body is hers to control, there’s apparently no problem with the idea that separate, sentient human beings exist for male disposal so long as those beings have vaginas, and the only issue now is figuring out what woman is the property of which man.OK. Can anyone diagram that sentence for me?
In related news: Seriously, why does anyone read DC Media Girl?|W|P|114123881592817680|W|P|Creative writing|W|P|3/06/2006 09:02:00 AM|W|P|Rohit Markande|W|P|I dont know how that post is related to Creative Writing?? Anyways, I think I am not getting your joke again...like the "America hating liberals post":-) But is still went through a lot of chatter and protest about that law in Utah....here are my tow cents...I think it is a travesty that Uhah lawmakers are doing...I thought the US was the land of free choice! Instead of making laws about parental control, America would do well to strengthen the moral fabric...no idea how it can be done...but this is no way to do it...3/06/2006 04:42:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|Marki - My joke is ... well, it's not a joke. I found that sentence really, really hard to read.
"What I find interesting about anti-choice thinking is that while they"
- They who? I presume anti-choicers, but that's nonsensical grammar.
"that what's in a woman's body is hers to control, there's apparently no problem with the idea that separate, sentient human beings exist for male disposal so long as those beings have vaginas"
- This is needlessly tortured. She creates this jumble of "clever" phrases in order to create a rendundancy. Of course humans that aren't males have vaginas.
"and the only issue now is figuring out what woman is the property of which man."
- Not as confusing as the rest of the sentence, but still dumb as hell. |W|P|If I had ever actually seen a "Free Winona Ryder" shirt, I would have paid big bucks. |W|P|