Two Shiny Pennies Before Bed: Damian Penny made two points recently that made me chuckle. First:
Anyone ever notice that there are no IndyMedia sites for Cuba, North Korea, Iraq, Iran, Palestine, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Libya or China? Second:
It's been a while since I told you about the horrifying chaos in Afghanistan, created when the Yanks removed the stable Taliban government. But here's another sign of how bad things have gotten: 1.2 million children have returned to school, to be taught by female teachers and to read from new textbooks written by Afghan-American scholars. The new books even contain - wait for it - pictures of people, which were banned by the old government. I’m too tired to make the links work. Go check him out, not least of which for Bush’s anti-trade B.S. with Canada.
3/23/2002 10:44:21 PM
Here’s a Good Blog I Hadn’t Seen Before: It’s by Susanna Cornett, and the stuff I looked at dealt with media bias, college basketball, and I guess some gun stuff (gun stuff always makes my eyes glaze over). Which reminds me – all this boring talk about the vast right-wing blog conspiracy? I think some of it stems from the fact that weirdos like Glenn Reynolds, say, are obsessed with the Second Amendment and gun stuff, while people to the left of him generally think that guns are bad, and so therefore conclude that when people like me don’t say a goddamned word about guns, ever, that maybe I’m just another right-wing gun nut. As opposed to a guy whose eyes glaze over when people talk about guns. That’s my big idea of the night, anyways.
3/23/2002 10:16:47 PM
A Punk Rocker Learns About Laundry: This Dr. Frank post is a must-read for anyone who has experienced the joy and discovery of domesticating with your true love, after years of living like an eccentric slob.
For example, I have a kitchen with a table in it. For the last eight years or so, this table has functioned as a storage shelf. Like the floor, only elevated. It turns out, if you clear all the stuff off of the table, you can actually eat meals on it, just like normal people. You have to get some plates and forks, that sort of thing; you also have to get some food, which we have done -- if you look in the refrigerator, it almost looks as though someone actually lives here. (This is still enough of a novelty that I find myself looking in the fridge just for the hell of it, with the same sense of wonder I imagine people must have experienced when they saw color television for the first time.) I still remember the day when I finally learned how to put the cap back on the toothpaste after brushing my teeth. You’d think I had graduated from Finishing School, how proud I was.
3/23/2002 08:59:44 PM
Brief Hiatus, Non-Divided Loyalties: Have been watching my sister get married, helping my wife cope with the radio-reporting brutalities of Oscar weekend (made worse than ever by "Amelie"), and trying desperately to beat a Monday deadline. So it'll continue to be thin pickins here for 48 hours. Just wanted to make a brief comment on a topic currently being twiddled about: There's nothing wrong or threatening about dual citizenship, notwithstanding Mickey Kaus’ strange rumblings about Aztlan Rising. It affects few people, and a fair chunk of those are people like me, or my non-existent children, and we all know how much I (and they) despise irredentism. I would actually try to prove my point, but I’m too busy. So just trust me!
3/23/2002 08:45:04 PM
Gillespie Slaps the Ethicist: Funny column from the Reason editor about being called “vituperative” and “right wing” by The Nation’s Randy Cohen.
3/22/2002 03:00:24 PM
Havrilesky in Salon: It’s about the Oscars, and it includes the phrase “Nanny nanny boo boo.”
3/22/2002 11:04:48 AM
Are Robertson and Falwell ‘Influential Republican power-brokers’?: Because it they’re not, I wonder who Eric Alterman is referring to in this passage of his hatchet-job on Andrew Sullivan:
Influential Republican power-brokers blame America's sexual tolerance for the attacks of 9/11. Maybe I missed something.
I understand that Sullivan is a controversial writer who occasionally prefers the bludgeon to persuasion, but it remains curious to me how people just get fixated on the guy. I suppose someone could argue that people like me get fixated on, I dunno, Michael Moore, or David Shaw, but I hope I generally don’t glaze over with rage, or write about the sex lives of columnists I disagree with. It also continues to be humorous to watch people spend their time being annoyed by “blogging.”
3/22/2002 10:50:51 AM
Dissidence (and George Orwell) in Cuba: The Boston Globe’s Jeff Jacoby just finished off a good three-part series about conditions in Cuba. In this second installment, he talks to a series of dissident heroes and describes their courageous struggles to do normal things like borrow Vaclav Havel books from their friends. You can be for or against the embargo (I’m against, Jacoby’s for), but these people deserve recognition and all the help they can get. It’s a bloody shame Amazon doesn’t ship books to Cuba; anyone know of a Canadian outfit or someone else?
3/21/2002 05:49:02 PM
Talking About LA Examiner on the Radio: That’s what I’m doing tomorrow night in Southern California at 7:00 p.m. on KPFK 90.7 FM, for Barbara Osborn’s “Deadline L.A.” program. Actually, my voice is being recorded at 9:30 a.m., which is why I won’t make any sense. Speaking of doings at our local Pacifica station, the LA Weekly’s Ella Taylor just wrote a long story trying figure out the whole Civil War over there and what it means for The Left; word is that the advisory board (which is in a pitched battle against Marc Cooper and his allies … it’s confusing) has already rifled off a rebuttal, but I haven’t found it yet. When I do, it’ll all be up on … LA Examiner!
3/21/2002 03:31:58 PM
Speaking of Online Publishers vs. the Gatekeepers…: … as discussed here and here. I wrote an OJR story about this tension in June 1998. Imagine, while looking back at the quotes below, that this was a typical gatekeeper response to perhaps the most exciting journalism development in our lifetime – removal of the barriers to entry.
"Other media that do not share newspaper standards are recasting the definitions of news. But we do not have to be pulled along. … The newest news dispenser, the runaway Internet, makes a journalist out of anybody who has a modem. It values speed and sensationalism above accuracy. New media will not accept our standards. We are foolish to treat them as if they have." Italics mine. I shudder to think that these people imagine themselves spiritual heirs to A.J. Liebling.
— Sandra Mims Rowe, publisher of the Portland Oregonian, former president of the American Society for Newspaper Editors
"If newspapers want to draw large numbers of visitors to their sites so they can charge advertisers accordingly, they have to compete with other sites that often have much lower -- or no -- journalistic standards. … Speed is the name of the Internet game, and as journalists in every medium have long known, speed is often the enemy of accuracy."
— David Shaw, Pulitzer Prize-winning media critic for the L.A. Times
"We were confident about journalism when we controlled who published. … But now that anybody with a Web site and fifty bucks can be a communicator, we don't know how to distinguish ourselves from our new, pseudo competitors. Instead, all too often we sadly try to imitate them."
— Tom Rosenstiel, director of the Pew Charitable Trusts' Project for Excellence in Journalism, vice chair of the Committee of Concerned Journalists.
3/21/2002 11:53:11 AM
Lileks Deforests Moore: Wow.
3/21/2002 10:28:42 AM
Say YES: Layne’s going to start hawking his laugh-out-loud yet oddly moving New Media thriller Dot.Con through his website, as soon as people give him an idea of how many they want. I’d like to recommend it, since I’ve never really said anything about the thing. It’s a very cruel and accurate depiction of the Silicon Valley & San Francisco, and it also (surprise!) does an uncomfortably good job of describing the literal hunger pains and steak-dreams of a smart-ass yet romantic professional journalist. Its best bits might be the straight-out media satire, where we read stories from certain well-known publications written in the exact same style, whether bumbling or faux-sophisticated. Plus, there’s lots of violence, sex and cheap jokes, and a minor character with the last name “Welch.”
3/20/2002 08:21:52 PM
MichaelMooreWatch.org: Maybe that’s what Gary Farber should rename his site, instead of arpagandalf or whatever.
3/20/2002 06:41:24 PM
Sweet Masthead: The New York Sun’s logo is pretty turn-of-the-century, what with the choo-choo trains, sailing vessels, iron bridges, justice-lady gals in old-timey skirts, and the benign sun spreading enlightenment from the horizon … but you can’t beat “It Shines for All” for a motto nowadays (if the L.A. Times had such a thing, it would be “It Shines for the Top 20% Demographic”). I like a newspaper that acknowledges the best of the industry’s Golden Era. Can’t wait to see a non-fictionalized West Coast counterpart. Via Media Minded.
3/20/2002 02:21:40 PM
Delirium Break: Our household seems to have come down with some kind of sudden Lileks Flu, so if I post anything for the next 24 hours it is likely to be feverish and unsound. Bad timing, this.
3/20/2002 02:04:58 PM
Drudge is Ruining Journalism, Volume 1,427: Jack Mathews, writing in the New York Daily News, begins a column with:
It pains me to write the name Matt Drudge in a story being published in a legitimate news outlet. and ends with:
The Academy Awards have been dogged by reports of overaggressive campaigning for decades, but with Matt Drudge entering the fray, it has been reduced to what the dogs leave behind. You don’t mean dog poo, do ya, Jack? William Quick’s comment:
Unrestrained jealousy evidently ages a person terribly, mind and body: take a look at the pic topping this bile-filled anti-Drudge rant from Jack Mathews. Does he look a hundred years old, or what?
3/19/2002 05:28:04 PM
How’s the Chronicle Doing? Richard Bennett gives the lowdown from his perspective, including some surprising nice words for the bloated Hearst property, and some harsh ones for the Merc.
3/19/2002 05:08:26 PMRallyingPoint finally fessed up the other day to being L.A. rock guitarist/painter Greg McIlvaine, my longtime friend and occasional co-conspirator. I was a big fan of RallyingPoint for weeks before Greg let on it was him, which amused me to no end. In this post, Greg encourages you to check out and then buy his sweeping 1998 rock opera, The Ballad of Bobby McStone. I will second that, and third it. Despite some occasional backing vocals from me and some other rabble, this is a great-sounding and ambitious record that will stick in your head and stay there. Click here and listen to any of the tracks under “Hot Streaming Real Audio” for a taste. In other Greg news, he’s just started painting an exciting new series of portraits that I hope we soon all get to see at the Gregory John McIlvaine Museum (there’s one of Ken and I after a few drinks that’s destined … for something).
3/19/2002 04:20:45 PM
Tom Lantos on Hate, Mary Robinson, the Durban Conference, and Sept. 11: Why did Mary Robinson resign? A key reason, according to today’s New York Times, was American anger
reflected in an article, titled "Durban Debacle," by Rep. Tom Lantos, Democrat of California, in a recent issue of the foreign policy journal of the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. Lantos, a Budapest-born economist with a long and distinguished record of raising hell for human rights, wrote that “much of the responsibility for the debacle” in Durban was directly attributable to UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Mary Robinson. His conclusion:
The UN World Conference on Racism provided the world with a glimpse into the abyss of international hate, discrimination, and indeed, racism. The terrorist attacks on September 11 demonstrated the evil such hate can spawn. If we are to prevail in our war against terrorism, we must take to heart the lessons of Durban. I haven't read the whole thing yet, having little patience with PDF files....
3/19/2002 03:21:20 PM
Hello, Phoenix! I’m on the radio right now, kids, so check out 1310 on your AM dial.
3/19/2002 02:34:28 PM
Moore: ‘More Interested in Publicity Than Truth’: So says Peter Rowe of the San Diego Union-Tribune, who fact-checked Moore’s sensationalist account of a book-tour appearance there that was cut off 15 minutes past the agreed-on closing time. Rowe interviewed custodian George Waller of San Diego’s Marston Middle School, who pulled the plug on the event and set the populist off on an online frenzy.
"He didn't care that I had to work the next day," Waller said. "He didn't care that I had already put in a full day. I think he just wanted to sell books. He was all about the money." Rowe also interviewed the person Moore was describing when he wrote:
The custodian, at least, tried to fashion a compromise. "I told him we could set up tables outside. He says – this is exactly what he says – he says, 'Hey, I'm not going outside. There are people outside who want to kill me.'"
The brave lady who was the owner of the independent bookstore and who was there selling my book, leaned over and whispered to me, 'I am willing to go to jail for this if you want me to.' Turns out her name is Carole Carden, of Esmeralda Books & Coffee. Her reflections?
“Never meet your heroes.” Blogger Gary Farber, it should be noted, first called Moore’s account into question on March 13, then followed it up with some eyewitness quotations March 17 (Farber’s perma-links are a bit screwy, just scroll around to anything that says “Moore.”)
3/19/2002 11:14:57 AM
‘Best Little Weirdo Guys,’ Best Altman Misanthropy, etc.: Feel like laughing out loud at some goofy nonsense? Read Layne’s Oscar column on Fox.
3/19/2002 09:53:42 AM
A Better Link for Emmanuelle’s Blog Story: Can be found here. More actual links, less editing typos, etc.
3/19/2002 08:27:31 AM
Routing Dowd at her own Game: Maureen Dowd, the Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist for the New York Times, is famous for casting Washington politics through the lens of popular culture. You’ve seen the shtick -- Bill Clinton as Jerry Seinfeld, whatever. I’ve always thought that she was over-rated, due to newspaperoids being overly impressed with someone who has a writing “style,” but let’s cast aside my bias for the moment: Look around you, and you’ll see that Dowd is being beaten at her own game, every day, by people who employ pop metaphors for more than just amusement.
Take these three examples I just clicked on tonight: Juan Gato, on the U.S.-world, Ned Flanders-Homer Simpson parallels; Jay Zilber, on the bone-mauling scene in 2001 and U.S. support for Israel; and Ken Layne’s old song and dance about Ian Fleming and Osama bin Laden. (The first two via Glenn Reynolds.) Maybe it’s the difference in real estate, or my bad taste, but these posts seem to me more actually funny, more metaphorically relevant, and better-written than the average Mo Dowd column. I’m sure if you found the 20 best Dowd-style metaphor columns in the post-Sept. 11 blog world (even exempting offerings from semi-professional writers), the woman would be hard-pressed to keep up. Someone with more time on their hands ought to collect them all on a single blog. Mobetterers.blogspot.com, anyone?
3/18/2002 11:22:44 PM
A Little Fox Love for LA Examiner: Nice to see our little site that could get a bit of press. Look for some interesting developments in the coming weeks…
3/18/2002 03:37:39 PM
Begging, er, Striking While the Iron is Hot: Sheesh! Make your monthly bald plea for cash and the next thing you know, four nice people float you a total of $113. Awesome! Though it does reward certain, ah, behaviors… So I’ll just point out that for those of you uncomfortable with electronic payments, you can find the warblog mailing address on my humorously outdated resume page. Now, back to your regular program.
3/18/2002 03:16:27 PM
Thanks, Mike Rosen! For mentioning my Reason-Iraq story in his latest column. I was on Mike’s radio show in Denver and had a stimulating time. Speaking of which, if any of you live near Phoenix, tune in to KXAM 1310 at 3:10 Mountain time tomorrow for my conversation about this topic with John Dayl. Should be late enough in the day for me to speak in complete sentences, though you never can be sure.
3/18/2002 10:25:42 AM
Tony Pierce’s Advice to Bush: ‘Start Telling People That Your Favorite Band is Tsar: For the entire photo-essay, begin here. I agree with the Reverend that the “tsar cd was the most underrated album to come out this century,” and I encourage any of you who still like pop-rock-guitar music to go buy it. If you listen real close on the second track, you can even hear me yelping a bit of harmony, which is fun … for me, at least.
3/17/2002 06:27:46 PM
What He Said:
3/17/2002 05:59:11 PM
Another Source on the Church’s Pedophilia Problems: Speaking of Sullivan, if you have been following the Church’s ongoing scandals and don’t live in L.A., Times columnist Steve Lopez has been hammering away at it for several months now. He’s a solid columnist who does reporting, a rarity on Spring Street.
3/17/2002 04:47:03 PM
Blogonomics: So, Andrew Sullivan reports that he’s now totally broken even with his site (if I had 40 or so Gold, Silver and Bronze sponsors, I might be able to cover more than a few costs, but I couldn’t imagine matching the man’s Reynoldsian energy). Anyways, raise a glass to the world’s newest Shakespearean actor, and since he’s not shy about priming the pump, I won’t be either – here’s my Amazon bucket, and if you want to go nuts with the PayPal, send it to the e-mail address firstname.lastname@example.org. It probably works with other addresses too, but I’m kind of a moron when it comes to these things.
3/17/2002 04:41:13 PM
As Long as I’m Beating up on the Chronicle: That same March 14 op-ed page featuring the exchange discussed below features four columns (which has become the industry standard), two of them home-grown, including one flat-out terrific Debra Saunders column bashing the increasingly insane Gray Davis, and another feeble censorship column by Jill Rachel Jacobs that claims
Ted Turner, Bill Maher, Robert Redford, Susan Sontag, Alec Baldwin and Michael Moore, [have all] been admonished for merely expressing their thoughts and opinions. Opponents of Sorkin -- and others who have expressed concern about the administration's policies and decision-making -- apparently view free speech as conditional and believe that a different set of rules and standards should apply during wartime. The other two columns, by Robert Scheer and James Pinkerton, appeared in the L.A. Times a whole two days before. I wonder when newspapers will begin to understand how foolish they look printing days-old columns from syndicated writers who have already been carved up and dismissed elsewhere. Even more pressingly, I wonder when newspaper editors will realize they have some decent talent in their very own back yard.
3/17/2002 01:59:32 AM
Comments, questions, bad links? Send e-mail to Matt Welch