Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Where are the posts

Where are the posts?

A) Errands
B) Beth and I spoke via i.m. for one of her interviews that will go up shortly.
C) God bless Rebecca, but I'm not staying up until midnight for Coldplay's X&Y. (At midnight some stores, including Tower, can sell an album due out Tuesday's because after 11:59 Monday night, it is Tuesday.) I will, however, make a point to pick it up on the day it's out. (Translation, I was at Tower.)

Two things on the above.

Beth's pulling the interview together. That will mean editing as she sees fit. If either of us wants to go off record during we type "*"; other than that everything exchanged is open to being included. She plans to have that finished tonight and if it is, it'll go up here tonight. If it's not, it'll go up tomorrow.

Tower. I'm not endorsing Tower over another music store. There was an e-mail this weekend (from a member) asking about that because Kat and I will both mention Tower. If you have an independent music store in your area, please take your business there. If you don't, please consider Tower or another music store. If Wal-Mart is your only choice, by all means utilize but (my opinion) I firmly belive Wal-Mart is detrimental to music. (Again, we have members in rural areas -- Wal-Mart conquered those first and when they make their big promises, cities might want to check out how they've played out in those areas -- who only have Wal-Marts. One member shared with the community that if it's past nine, the only thing open in her area is Wal-Mart if she needs diapers or something else. By all means she should use what's she has in her area. Wal-Mart is, of course, now attempting to move into non-rural areas. If you live in an area where you have the choice, I hope you'd consider an alternative to Wal-Mart. But as stated before, doing so is my opinion and not a make-it-or-break-it position for the community.)

Now let's move on to the e-mails. Martha and Pru both found something via Evan at AlterNet's Peek and wanted to share it. Martha calls it "your laugh for the day" and we could all use more laughter. It's from (and by) DownLeft and it is entitled "You might be a corporate media news editor if..."

I've seen these done for Republicans and Democrats. Here's one for the corporate news media. Please post in the comments if you have any to add.
You might be a corporate media news editor if...
You think politicians receiving big campaign donations from defense contractors is a conflict of interest that corrupts the system, but you expect people to believe that your parent company making millions or billions of dollars in defense contracts doesn't have any influence on how you cover the news. Ditto for polluters and union-busting corporations that provide major advertising revenue.
You look down on blogers who won't disclose their real name but you never disclose the political leanings or campaign donations made by your editors and journalists.
When someone from one Party tells the truth about an issue you allow someone with an opposing view to make statements that are blatantly false without correcting or challenging them, and you think its good journalism because that provides "balance."
You think only pretty white girls are ever abducted or go missing.
You think Deep Throat was a hero but anything said by Richard Clark, Paul O'Neill or the Downing Street Memo is discredited because they hate Bush and have an agenda.

I agree with Martha and Pru that it's very funny. If it made you smile, click on the link before the excerpt to continue reading.

Maria e-mails to note "this great piece by Candy Perfume Boy." [That's the nickname Ava and I devised for Brian Montopoli.] It's entitled "Atlantic Runs Worst-Case Scenario, Patents Run Amok, Hersh Runs With Kissinger" and here's an excerpt:

Finally, we turn to Seymour Hersh, who writes in the New Yorker about covering Watergate while at the New York Times. A choice anecdote: Before Hersh went to print with a story that Henry Kissinger, then Richard Nixon's national security advisor, had been involved in wiretapping reporters, officials, and his own aides, he got a call from Alexander Haig, Kissinger's deputy:
"You're Jewish, aren't you, Seymour?" In all our previous conversations, I'd been "Sy." I said yes. "Let me ask you one question, then," Haig said. "Do you honestly believe that Henry Kissinger, a Jewish refugee from Germany who lost thirteen members of his family to the Nazis, could engage in such police-state tactics as wiretapping his own aides? If there is any doubt, you owe it to yourself, your beliefs, and your nation to give us one day to prove that your story is wrong."
The Times printed the story, and Kissinger survived politically, of course. (In fact, he survived it so well that he was nominated by the current administration to chair the 9/11 Commission, in spite of the wiretapping.) Ultimately, writes Hersh, "neither [Kissinger nor Nixon] understood why the White House could not do what it wanted, at home or in Vietnam. The reason it couldn't is, one hopes, just as valid today: they were operating in a democracy in which they were accountable to a Constitution and to a citizenry that held its leaders to a high standard of morality and integrity."
Hopefully, it's a lesson the pro-gay African-American Osama-capturing Christian commando president we elect in 2012 will take to heart.

Maria offers that Montopoli has really gotten stronger in his commentaries. I personally agree and Ava's noted funnier as well. Going by what is sent in here, CJR Daily appears to be on a quality streak of late and good for them.

And before moving on, let's note that Pru and Gareth of the UK live for Peek. Gareth feels like he gets "the pulse of America with a peak at peek." My apologies to Gareth because he'd asked to be quoted on that and was but the entry was one of those that ran together (two links at different points in the entry when composed suddenly decide to blend into one -- and knock out everything between them -- during the posting stage) and when the blend/merge occurred, Gareth's statement was lost (and I obviously was cursing and yelling at the computer and not focusing on what got lost when I tried to fix it). Thanks Gareth for e-mailing again on that and sorry for not catching it myself.

Lloyd e-mails to say that "lately I've been living at Media Matters." They may start charging you rent, Lloyd. He steers us to this "Strike two: Excerpt of new anti-Hillary book filled with factual errors, misleading claims, very little context:"

The July 2005 issue of Vanity Fair contains an excerpt from the forthcoming The Truth About Hillary: What She Knew, When She Knew It, and How Far She'll Go to Become President (Sentinel, June 2005), a book-length attack on Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY) written by Edward Klein with the stated intent of inflicting electoral damage on her. But a review of the error-ridden excerpt in Vanity Fair suggests the book may inflict more damage on its author, publisher, Vanity Fair, and other news organizations that take it seriously than on Clinton. The first verifiable claim reportedly from the book turned out to be false; a Mail on Sunday article showed that Klein is peddling gay-baiting sexual innuendo and gossip; now, the Vanity Fair excerpt reveals the book to be a sloppily researched, factually challenged hit piece that merely recycles long-debunked and dismissed criticism of Clinton.
Perhaps the most sensational allegation against Clinton in the Vanity Fair excerpt is Klein's claim that she "suddenly turned up a long-lost" Jewish relative in response to furor over her controversial embrace of Suha Arafat. Klein portrayed the incident as an example of Clinton's supposed opportunism and pandering:
When Hillary made the obligatory trip to Israel to win Jewish votes back home, she went to the Palestinian-controlled city of Ramallah. There she appeared onstage with Yasser Arafat's wife, Suha, who made the outrageous charge that Israel was poisoning Palestinian women and children with toxic gas. At the end of Mrs. Arafat's speech, Hillary marched to the podium and gave Suha Arafat a big hug and kiss. The photo of the two women kissing, which was played around the world, sowed serious doubts about Hillary in the minds of many Jewish voters.
When Hillary realized that she had gotten herself in a jam with Jewish voters, she suddenly turned up a long-lost Jewish step grandfather -- an announcement that was dismissed by many cynical New York voters as an example of her pandering.
But Klein, trying to portray Clinton as a political opportunist, got the facts completely wrong: News of Clinton's Jewish step-grandfather came long before the Suha Arafat incident, as even a cursory check of the facts would have quickly revealed.

Click link above the excerpt to continue reading. I wonder where the fact checkers Conde Naste is famous for were on that item. Lloyd asks if I'll buy the issue? Not for that article. If there's something else in it, I will. But I skipped the issue with the Super Model cover story as well. Lloyd asks if the excerpt is a sign that Vanity Fair's moving to the right in their politics. I don't think Graydon Carter would decide now is the time to appease the right. But it bears noting that being of the left does not require looking up to Hillary Clinton. (Nor does it require attacking her.)

I'll also note that Media Matters is doing longer entries these days which is why we're quoting them more often. (As far as I know, they aren't an open source publication so quoting them requires following fair use guidelines.)

Kara e-mails to note that Monster-in-Law (starring Jane Fonda, Jennifer Lopez, Wanda Sykes and Michael Vartan) crossed the seventy million mark this weekend. (Folding Star e-mailed earlier to note when it crossed 68 million.)

Kara: I love that movie. I'm not a movie goer and really haven't been since 1996. But probably due to a combination of the push here by members and you and the DVD reviews of Fonda's comedies at The Third Estate Sunday Review, I started thinking I'd probably see it. Then Betty, Folding Star and Rebecca's response to the film cinched it but what made me see it the first time was the thing where you and Ava took on two idiot critics and I was hoping you could link to that and excerpt something from that.

Kara's speaking of "Film: Rebuttal to Davey and Lisel half-baked Monster-In-Law reviews."
I asked Ava if she could do a cutting or excerpt (we could post the rebuttal here in full, Ava, Jim, Dona, Ty and Jess give permission and we might do that on Saturday) and here's what she pulled together (Thank you, Ava):

"Feminist" Lisel dubs Fonda's character "a narcissistic bitch."

Take back the night, Lisel, with your abundance of sisterhood!

(Lisel also uses the "feminist" term "old cow" in her review. Someone send her a copy of Our Bodies, Ourselves. Or Women Coming of Age.)

Lisel's offended that the film's not a drama and that Fonda's not playing one of the First Lady of the Screen roles. Those First Lady of the Screen roles always delight middle-brow critics and almost always kill off the career faster than you can say Greer Garson.

But Lisel, who writes about film, is offended that Fonda's playing "a narcissistic bitch." More than that:

a narcissistic bitch who wages war on a younger woman before undergoing tit-for-tat humiliation in a punitive comedy that tramples on decades of feminist progress with a blithering giggle.

Help us out Lisel, we're not remembering you from any of the marches. Are you current with you
NOW membership dues?

Regardless, your concern for feminism comes way too late in your career to strike either of us as sincere. We also question your ability to understand the dramatic concept of conflict. People have to be at odds, Lisel, or we're watching one of those dreary, pointless, talking head films that you so love to praise.

Lisel's too busy passing herself off as the last defender of feminism to grasp the movie (or even enjoy it but she only laughs at independent films and then, judging by the pedistrian review of Flirting With Disaster, not too loudly or often.).

So help us out Lisel, where's the feminist critique in your work? We see the trashing of Julia Roberts for I Love Trouble (the mocking of her and letting Notle off with a pass comparatively).

We see you shine it on for Chris O'Donnel. (Tell us Lisel, do you still feel he's that talented.)

We've seen you focus on Michelle Pfieffer's looks excessively (is that it, you need beauty from women to appreciate them?). Or maybe it's that "arouseability" factor you refer to on Dangerous Liasons? Did Lopez not do enough for you? Did
Monster-In-Law not meet your "ha-ha funniest" meter? (That's your term, Lisel.) You seem keen on "normal size" (we won't touch that except to note that you think Jeff Bridges achieves it), was Monster-In-Law not "normal size" enough for you?

Do you still hold so much of that "deep affection for Chris O'Donnell's adorableness" that you "hope to heck Hollywood doesn't get to him . . ."? Are "normal size" and "adorableness" the way you evaluate a film? While praising his filmography, did you, feminist that you suddenly are, ever wonder if maybe the women in School Ties could have been more than objects and if maybe the story wasn't so universal?

[. . .]

You're just so offended that Fonda goes "facedown into a plate of tripe." We found the scene hilarious and, we'd add, Fonda got paid for it. We went facedown in the plate of tripe that are your reviews and we did it for free. Pay up, Lisel, pay up.

Now we'll move on to the other one who went gunning for the film, David. (Rebecca's
dubbed them David & Lisa.) David's convinced himself that Viola is an ethnicist, she's against Charlie due to her Hispanic bloodlines. We wondered (we includes Hispanic Ava) how the hell David pulled that one out of his ass? And if he could shove it back up there? If he can't, will he allow us to?

If David had bothered to check, he'd find out that the issue he and he alone sees isn't "played up" because the script wasn't written for Lopez. It was adapted to her once she was interested. That meant adding touches here and there. David doesn't grasp a great deal. He also complains that Wanda Sykes is African-American. Or rather that Sykes was cast in the role of Viola's assistant and he has a problem with Sykes being cast in the part and being African-American. We're not sure what Davey's suggesting here? That Skyes shouldn't have turned down the role or that she should have bleached her skin?

While Lisel's concerned that audiences might see a character with edges (see our
review of The Electric Horseman to realize how badly Lisel represents all that is wrong in film these days), Davey's upset that Fonda's apparently blowing her wad by not doing drama (see our review of Nine to Five). Why oh why won't Fonda make small independent films? That's what Davey wants to know. While Lisel fumes that Fonda should get herself over to a TV drama pronto (we're sure there's bound to be some new Law & Order or CSI version casting shortly).

What neither grasp, because they don't know enough to do their jobs, is that Susan Sarandon didn't just come along. In the late nineties, Sarandon received a great deal of praise for her lead performances as a woman over forty. We don't begrudge Sarandon for her lead performances (many of which are truly amazing). But we're not stupid enough to believe Sarandon changed Hollywood. The cut off age by the seventies was mid-thirties. (Goldie Hawn addresses this in her book, written with Wendy Holden, A Lotus Grows in the Mud.) Fonda was among the actresses challenging that notion. Fonda and Streisand were the ones regularly proving it wrong. Before there was Sarandon proving that a woman could still be box office in a lead over forty, there was Fonda and there was Streisand. Not with one role, but with many.

Fonda's now proving that a woman of 65 can be a lead in a movie. We imagine that Lisel and Davey will be praising Sarandon for this in a few years. (That's not a slight at Sarandon's age. We're not aware of her exact age, hence the use of a "few years.")

We're not going to suggest that the films
Monster-In-Law or Meet-the Fockers are great art. We are going to say that they're funny and, possibly due to the cast, they're funnier than what usually gets churned out by Hollywood (Raising Helen, anyone?). Davey wants Fonda to create her own in-house independent studio and play the drama roles that will satisfy his heart. Lisel can't get past the fact that Viola's not Mother Teresa brought to screen. Neither of them can review what's up on the screen because they're too busy focusing on what's not up on the screen.

Which strikes us as strange. We don't see Wanda Syke's hilarious performance (which does touch on the issue of Lopez's ethnicity as well as on race in one scene, guess Davey was off getting Junior Mints during that) as some sort of insult to African-Americans. We see it as hilarious and applaud Sykes. We're far more concerned that at this late date, Hollywood continues to churn out so many other films with all white casts. Maybe we're missing the racism? Or maybe we just realize that Wanda is playing the Eve Adren/Thelma Ritter role in this film -- and doing it funnier than it's been done before.

Davey and Lisel have platforms and it's really sad that they can't move beyond the capsule reviews that are so common these days. Davey works for The New Yorker and rarely fails to disappoint. He's not as bad as his partner-in-crime, Tony, who sees himself as "Libby Gelman Waxner." But where "Waxner" makes social commentary that goes to the film, Tony just wants to crack wise. (Reading Tony's collected writings, you quickly grasp how empty his reviews are.)That the magazine which gave Pauline Kael her berth and platform and helped influence film bothers to print Davey's half-baked concepts and Tony's spitballs lobbed from the back row of the classroom is truly disappointing. Lisel, at least, has a found an outlet for her writing that she deserves. As the years have passed, Entertainment Weekly has apparently decided more and more to leave "in depth" writing to In Style Magazine. Which accounts for the larger photos and smaller space for actual text. As a "writer" at a magazine that doesn't prize writing, we'd say Lisel has found the perfect platform.

Since this is going up here, let me do a disclosure (one that's been up here before, I believe), I knew Pauline Kael and think she set the bench for film criticism. (Which doesn't mean that I agreed with everyone of her reviews. But she enjoyed discussing film even if you disagreed with her.)

Apologies for the delay on this post. I thought I'd hit publish and went to e-mails. I only realized nothing was up when e-mails started coming in. (I'm always using multiple screens.)

The e-mail address for this site is common_ills@yahoo.com.