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August 31, 2004

Mark Romanek's Music Videos

Mark Romanek directs music videos. His website is a great example of the web providing supplementary and explanatory material to more traditional forms of media. His music videos are all online in quicktime and you can read original treatments and see on set photographs. Romanek directed the video for Jay-Z's 99 Problems this year and the video for Johnny Cash covering NIN's Hurt in 2003.

These are both great videos, and they complement each other perfectly. They are both by quintessentially American artists who work in quintessentially American forms, but their music could not be more different. Both videos offer recapitulations of the artists path and the choices they have made. The video for Hurt suggests that Cash wouldn't change a thing, while the video for 99 Problems suggests how easily things could have ended differently for Jay-Z. And they both illustrate what music videos can do best: provide an alternate narration for a song, expose meanings you hadn't considered before, evoke new resonances.

August 30, 2004

jerry corsi and the swiftboat veterans

Margaret Cho talking about Jerry Corsi:

Jerry Corsi is one of the astonishingly idiotic authors of the book "Unfit for Command." The book attempts to smear John Kerry's military record in Vietnam, claiming that he betrayed his fellow soldiers by alleging atrocities committed by U.S. troops and earned his medals by indiscriminately killing a Viet Cong teenager. Corsi is a frequent poster on freerepublic.com, a right wing online insane asylum.

Last week, he made a public apology for posting that, "Islam is a peaceful religion - just as long as the women are beaten, the boys buggered and the infidels are killed." He said that his words were taken out of context and he was sorry if he had offended anyone. What kind of context would they be taken out of in which these statements would not be offensive? At a Ku Klux Klan rally? An outdoor Neo-Nazi music festival? The GOP convention? These types of statements make him unfit for comment, on anything really, let alone politics.

I guess it's safe to assume Corsi had no problems whatsoever with the human rights abuses at Abu Ghraib. Who knows if he even considers the abused to be human? Probably not.

Salon's Joe Conason had a short piece the other day on how the so-called Swiftboat Veterans for Truth are connected to Bush family cronies. Of course, we all know by now that none of the veterans in the group actually served under Kerry's command, right? And that many of the veterans who did serve with them are now touring in support of his candidacy? And that there are many other veterans who support him?

But did you know that slimeball columnist Robert Novak, one of the biggest defenders of Corsi and John O'Neill's book, didn't think it was relevant to his defense of the book to mention that his son Alex is the director of marketing for its publisher? If that isn't a relevant disclosure of bias, I don't know what is, and his editors and producers should be ashamed of themselves for first, not catching and second, not punishing such clearly unethical behavior.

adios, david segal

Segal is a fine writer with a distinct voice, but his coverage of the music beat was prickly at best, snarky at worst. Rather than inviting readers into the music world, he kept his distance and covered it from afar.

Asked to suggest a good example of his work, Segal sent a first-person story about his live appearance on stage playing guitar with his favorite group, Guided by Voices, in Philadelphia. It was about Segal, not the music.

The Washingtonian's Harry Jaffe on the Washington Post's Big Apple envy and its crummy-ass music coverage. Pop music critic David Segal leaves the beat soon for New York and I can only hope the Post hires someone who takes music more seriously, a la the excellent writers and critics at the New York Times. Segal covers pop music as if it were little more than a fashionable freak show -- which it may be at times, but it deserves far better than his snide, above-it-all jibing. Good riddance, moron.

August 28, 2004

RNC links

hello, typepad: RNC roundup

August 27, 2004

we love george lakoff

From Linguistics professor George Lakoff dissects the "war on terror" and other conservative catchphrases by Bonnie Azab Powell:

Why do conservatives like to use the phrase "liberal elite" as an epithet?

Conservatives have branded liberals, and the liberals let them get away with it: the "liberal elite," the "latte liberals," the "limousine liberals." The funny thing is that conservatives are the elite. The whole idea of conservative doctrine is that some people are better than others, that some people deserve more. To conservatives, if you're poor it's because you deserve it, you're not disciplined enough to get ahead. Conservative doctrine requires that there be an elite: the people who thrive in the free market have more money, and they should. Progressives say, "No, that's not fair. Maybe some should have more money, but no one should live in poverty. Everybody who works deserves to have a reasonable standard of living for their work." These are ideas that are progressive or liberal ideas, and progressives aren't getting them out there enough.

What progressives are promoting is not elite at all. Progressives ought to be talking about the conservative elite. They shouldn't be complaining about "tax cuts for the rich," they should be complaining about "tax cuts for the conservative elite," because that's who's getting them.

Damn straight.

August 26, 2004

intelligence iPods on intelligence

The iPod "knows somehow when I am reaching the end of my reserves, when my motivation is flagging," Mr. Greist insisted. "It hits me up with 'In Da Club,' and then all of a sudden I am in da club."

You're not alone if you believe your iPod has its own musical taste and inflicts it upon you, as if by an occult hand, through the Shuffle function. I'm convinced mine is fond of Modest Mouse, the Magnetic Fields, the Rolling Stones and Prefuse 73.

UPDATE: I just noticed this quote:

This logical explanation doesn't always jibe with users' experiences. Dan Cedarholm, a Web designer in Salem, Mass., insists that his iPod has a predilection for the indie punk band Fugazi. Even though he only has two of the band's albums stored on his "vintage" 5-gigabyte device, the band seems to dominate his iPod to a degree wildly disproportionate to the amount of space it occupies on his player's memory, he said.

Compare with this.

The Girls In Their Summer Hot Pants

The RNC is coming to town, and area sex workers are ready to accommodate the demand:

The on-again-off-again prostitute with streaked pixieish hair looks less like a hooker than a bartender at Galapagos—which made her ideal for one politically charged client last year. He’d asked her to show up at his apartment wearing a black hoodie with patches and no perfume or deodorant. "I said, ‘Do you want me to dress like a protester?,’ and he said, ‘Yeah.’ He tied me down, spanked me, and wanted to yell at me a lot. He said, ‘You bad girl! You smashed the Starbucks!’ He was a very conservative Wall Street banker, and he basically wanted to fuck the movement."

Sex Industry Poised to Profit When RNC Comes to NYC

August 25, 2004

bodhi

In a study conducted October 24, 2002, I endeavored to determine the relative popularity in America of the homonymic dog names Bodhi and Bodie -- and that of the deriviative or similar names I found during the course of the study, Bodhisattva, Bodee and Bodi.

Fifth Annual Media That Matters Film Festival Call for Entries

The Fourth Annual Media That Matters Film Festival : News : Fifth Annual Media That Matters Film Festival Call for Entries
Have you made a short film that inspires debate and action? Submit your work to the fifth annual Media That Matters Film Festival and reach an audience of millions. MediaRights will bring your social-issue short or new media piece to activists and teachers around the country through online streaming, national broadcasts, community screenings and DVD distribution. And you might even win a $1,000!
Seems like we just finished the fourth one.

August 24, 2004

Corn Syrup is Evil

Yahoo! News - Sugary Soft Drinks Raise Risk of Diabetes -Study
U.S. rates of diabetes have soared alongside soft drink consumption, and scientists said on Tuesday the spikes in blood sugar and insulin levels triggered by the sugary drinks may be at least partly to blame.

he has great feelings in his bones that we will elect a new president in November

George Takei spent four years of his childhood in internment camps.

Tribute was paid to those who passed in all 10 internment camps with candles lit by representatives from each of the camps. I was honored to represent Camp Rohwer in Arkansas, where my family and I were held before being brought to Camp Tule Lake. As we paid our respects to those who passed in these camps during World War II, my thoughts were also with those Arab Americans today who are being detained without the due process to which we are all entitled.

the smog blog

U.S. Air Quality: The Smog Blog

USAQ is a daily diary of air quality in the U.S. using information from NASA satellites, ground-based lidar, EPA monitoring networks, and other monitors. Interpretation and analysis is provided by the staff of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County Atmospheric Lidar Group.

That's fucking awesome.

August 23, 2004

the church of stop shopping

During the past seven years, Talen has made himself a thorn in the paws of Walt Disney, Nike, Home Depot, Barnes & Noble and any other chain he says he views as casually destroying the essence of neighborhoods. Just one day before the Reseda Boulevard Starbucks intervention, he led 40 disciples to a Los Angeles Wal-Mart for a bit of protest theater known as a Whirl. The participants enter separately, discreetly, as if they don't know one another; each grabs an empty shopping cart and simply circulates through the acres of aisles without stopping, falling in line behind other empty carts as he or she encounters them until a silent conga line of nonshoppers forms, snaking through the store in a hypnotic display of commercial disobedience. It gets under the skin of the store managers in a spectacular way.

New York Times Magazine: Reverend Billy's Unholy War.

August 21, 2004

nytimes journalists for truth, for once

New York Times: Swift Boat Veterans for Truth Connections and Contradictions infographic.

August 19, 2004

Come to New York!

If anyone is still trying to figure out what to do to protest the Republican National Convention, I offer Counter Convention, RNC Not Welcome, United for Peace and Justice, A31.org, and Still We Rise.

Every protest event that's known should be covered in those sites.

originally posted by zagg

Where are the chee-tohs?

NPR : Dungeons and Dragons Turns 30

Anyone who thinks that Dungeons and Dragons has been consigned to the scrapheap of 1980s relics, right next to Pac-Man and leg warmers, would be surprised by what happens every Thursday night in Peter Girvan’s apartment in the Bronx.

For the past two years, Girvan and four friends—all professionals in their 30s—have been getting together every Thursday to play D and D—sitting around a table with inch-high plastic figures, rolling odd dice and saying things in the odd, imagined voices of their characters.

August 17, 2004

the Spime of Tomorrow

BoingBoing: Bruce Sterling SIGGRAPH 2004 speech "When Blobjects Rule the Earth"

Our material culture is not sustainable. Its resources are not renewable. We cannot turn our entire planet's crust into obsolete objects. We need to locate valuable objects that are dead, and fold them back into the product stream. In order to do this, we need to know where they are, and what happened to them. We need to document the life cycles of objects. We need to know where to take them when they are defunct.

In practice, this is going to mean tagging and historicizing everything. Once we tag many things, we will find that there is no good place to stop tagging.

In the future, an object's life begins on a graphics screen. It is born digital. Its design specs accompany it throughout its life. It is inseparable from that original digital blueprint, which rules the material world. This object is going to tell you -- if you ask -- everything that an expert would tell you about it. Because it WANTS you to become an expert.

guerilla drive-ins again

Part of why we're doing this is to reclaim public space and give people a way to use the nighttime that's not mediated by commerce. In our town, the parks close at sundown, you have to buy something at coffee shops. We wanted to give people a way to interact with each other outdoors without having to spend any money."

The New York Times: Now Playing, a Digital Brigadoon.

aren't y'all cowboys from hollywood?

David Lowery tells Pitchfork that Camper Van Beethoven has a new album coming out in October. Lowery and guitarist Greg Lisher say the new album, titled New Roman Times, harks back to CVB's self-titled 1986 album. I can live with that.

August 12, 2004

it was a long bill

I had a conversation with Kerry. It was pretty disheartening. I asked how he felt about civil liberties. He said, "I’m for ’em!" That’s great, but how do you feel about Section 215 of the Patriot Act? He said, "What’s that?" I said, it basically says any privately generated database is available for public scrutiny with an administrative subpoena. He says, "It says that?" I say, "You voted for it!"

Reason: John Perry Barlow 2.0: The Thomas Jefferson of cyberspace reinvents his body -- and his politics.

August 9, 2004

Battle Affirmative Action

I have been challenged to my first debate at The Iron Blog:

If memory serves me right, while we have enjoyed such Battles as Battle Rumsfeld, Battle School Vouchers and Battle Death Penalty, the truly invigorating Battles have been those that push the boundaries of current debate. Battle Torture, Battle Gay Marriage, and our most recent Battles on Terrorism, Patriotism and Islam have really seen the sparks fly and the rhetoric clash. This is the heart of Iron Blog - discussion of the issues we normally do not discuss. I wish to keep this current trend going, and so I passed on interesting but unexciting Topics like File Sharing, Copyright and Unilateral Intervention. The Topic for the Battle is this:

Affirmative Action

Keeping race out of the institution, or institutionalizing race? Let's see what our Combatants have to say.

Somehow, I need to find time to write 4 essays on this topic while working two jobs and taking care of my kids. It should be a fun week for me! It's a cool site...check it out and cheer me on. Or bring me coffee. Lots and lots of coffee.

August 3, 2004

"I think they suspected the ethnic media doesn't matter."

From Ethnic press fights for access to RNC by Xiaoqing Rong:

Gaining access to the Republican National Convention has become a tortuous struggle for a slew of local ethnic publications, even though there are 15,000 media credentials available for domestic and international media.

While the ethnic press had little trouble accessing the Democratic Convention, at least 10 publications, including major Haitian, Bangladeshi, Polish and Muslim newspapers, all had their applications for press credentials turned down by the Republican National Committee. Only under pressure from the New York chapter of the Independent Press Association, an umbrella organization for local ethnic publications (where this reporter was once a fellow), did the Republicans eventually reconsider.

The IPA first realized there was a widespread problem last week. The organization’s election coverage coordinator, Karen Juanita Carrillo, had been calling IPA members to make sure they applied for credentials for both conventions on time and to help iron out any problems. But she began to hear complaints from members saying their publications had been denied access to the RNC. (...)

Carillo said it was only after she made phone calls and threatened to put out a press release that the RNC changed its tune. "I think they suspected the ethnic media doesn’t matter," said Carrillo. "Then they are a little shocked to find out that we do."

[ via infojunkies ]

August 1, 2004

2004 dnc convention speeches now available

Audible.com made the speeches from the 2004 Democratic National Convention available for download today, for those of you who either missed watching the convention or want to listen to the speeches again.

You can get the speeches for "free" on their site if you sign up for their service (which starts at $14.95 a month) or get it for free, period off of the iTunes store.