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The Public Blogging of Pomosexuality, Homotextuality, Homophobiaphilia, and Drear Theory (aka Career Theory) [aka Gay4Pay]. We also read the Corner and OpJournal so the right buttock will be punished as well.
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I've never been able to watch a Danny Kaye movie for more than 20 minutes or so. I think it's the frantic comedian thing, I never find overwound comics funny. Robin Williams is the most famous example of a deeply unfunnny speedracer comic. But I think Dennis Leary is even deadlier. Jim Carrey pulls it off because he's capable of more than one speed, and his volume control works in both directions--it's got an 11 on it, but it's also got a 1.
You want funny, check out the clip they keep showing of General Wesley Clark bent over a New Hampshire restaurant patron. He informs her, as she shakes her head in agreement, then in a circle and then back and forth in a subliminal omigod, that the situation in Iraq is a mess (I can't find his exact quote in any online news story yet , it's something like "the wheels have come off the truck" or "the lug nuts have come off the wheels" or "this wheels on fire"), and that we're spending billions there we should be spending here. Easily the most intense random voter ambush I've ever seen.
Wes is frantic too, but it's all inside. He instinctively gets what the greatest performers understand. If you want to move the audience to tears, don't blubber yourself. You have to be seen choking back the tears, suppressing the emotion. If you want big laughs, don't always wear your arse on your sleeve. Let the hysteria reside within. The outwardly calm but inwardly panicked man gets the most truly felt laughs.
Let me expand further on the Jeff Jarvis point mentioned below, that newspapers should sometimes re-print clearly identified press releases. It not only serves the purpose of disseminating raw information, it can also save news organizations from putting their imprimatur on bogus stories promulgated by dishonest press releases. It doesn't serve the truth, or your own credibility, when you flesh out the skeletal remains of a rotting press release with some backgrounder phone calls that generate enough quotes to make the story your own. Some stories you just don't want to own.
Oh, say for example, Microsoft's micro-commitment to the truth in light-speed spinning the news it was shutting down MSN's costly chat portals as an act of corporate child saving. Most of the stories followed the same template. Repeat Microsoft's phony-ass premise, but then stumble on the truth with a couple calls, which truth doesn't seem to really penetrate the reporter's head, and finally circle back to a closing recapitulation of the b.s.
Here's how USA Today followed the mambo steps painted on the floor:
[The Busted Bed-spring Premise]
Child advocates Wednesday applauded a decision by Microsoft's MSN online service to crack down on its free chat rooms, calling unmonitored chat sites among the most hazardous places for kids on the Net. "There is no question but that chat rooms generally tend to be very dangerous places for children," says Ernie Allen, president of the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children.
Responding to complaints about child predators, pornographers and spammers who prey on children, MSN said Tuesday that on Oct. 14, it will shut down chat in its online services in 28 countries in Europe, Latin America and Asia, and will allow only paying members to chat in the USA, Canada and Japan.
[The Accidental Truth]
...But it also should help push MSN, which has lost hundreds of millions of dollars, closer to profitability. Microsoft recently divulged that MSN lost $48 million in the quarter ended June 30, compared with $195 million in the previous year. Shedding support for free foreign chat rooms should further trim MSN's loss.
"Maintaining any kind of online service is expensive," says Rob Helm, tech analyst at research firm Directions on Microsoft. "Putting chat on paid status in the U.S, and turning it off elsewhere is a step toward making MSN profitable."
[Return to Oz]
Gurry said cost savings were "not a factor" in the move. "This really is all about looking at delivering the safest online experience for folks using our services." Gurry said chat on MSN has been declining in popularity, but she declined to provide specific numbers.
Funny how the word "folks" so often signals a bullshit landslide in progress.
Cost had nothing to do with it, simply "not a factor". But they're going to launch a re-formatted version of this pernicious abomination in the profitable markets, they only killed it for good in the rest of the world. I guess that child predation must be completely out of control in all those un-profitable markets, there's no hope of ever getting the 'philes under control in Europe, Latin America, and Asia (west of Japan). But some meagre ID rules will slay the wily beasts in the USA, Canada and Japan. Never underestimate Mastercard's magical powers, the Amex hex be upon you.
USA Today should just have printed a press release signed by Ms. Gurry. She gets paid to carry Microsoft's dirty water. Why would USA Today and (everyone else) volunteer to drink and swim in it? I could maybe understand that urge to submerge if the name on the masthead read USA Toady.
I just went toblogganing, sledding from one previously unvisited blog to another. Something I try not to do too much because it's a terrible time shredder. And humility inducer. Humility induction is inimical to blogging, it is much easier to keep blogging if you only read a select few of blogs regularly. The more widely you wander, the more awesome yet futile it all seems. There are too many interesting people writing, and some of them seem even to have appropriated a few of your own singular quirks and somehow hijacked your one in a trillion, alone-among-men P.O.V.
"Can't anything be mine, and mine alone?", you plead. The internet answers with a bored, "No."
I'm thinking about all this in part because my favorite Irish blogger God O' Machine (of the Derry shantytown O'Machines) posted some thoughts on blogging (and, by the way, mentions a few criminally neglected, barbarically ignored, and monstrously under-appreciated blogs). God O'M. estimated that maybe two thousand of the several million total blogs are worth reading, though no one can probably be familiar with more than 200 blogs. I think it's worse than that. I think probably 200,000 blogs are necessary reading but you max out at about 50.
(I also recently answered a blogging survey. Mine was from an anthropology grad-student in Florida, and maybe someday I'll copy my replies here, since writing my answers made me think about blogging more systematically than I had before. The day I do post those replies you'll know I'm really taking the day off.)
Before I tell you about the three blogs I just spent an hour reading for the first time, here's the idea of the day from a previously captured, tagged and released blogger. Jeff Jarvis writes:
I fear that sometimes we lose sight of the fact that even more than being in the news business, we are in the information business. Oh, that's not all we do. We in journalism are also watchdogs (but so are citizens) and experts (but many are more expert than we are) and commentators (though everybody has an opinion). But first and foremost, if we do not impart information, we are useless. And so we cut off sources of information at our peril. So we shouldn't be scared of weblogs or forums or even press releases so long as we label them carefully and make sure the audience is never confused about their source. It's information. Information wants to be free (of minders). And often, information is free (which is good news in this age when the news business is under financial pressure). Information is what it's all about.
This was in defense of a newspaper publishing a raw press release. Anybody who knows the first (and last) thing about the press knows that much of what is presented as news, first presents itself to the producers of news as a press release. It would be refreshing if more inherently interesting press releases were simply reprinted in their original form. Why go through the phony ritual of distancing--assigning a reporter to rewrite the press release, repackaging the information with some newly "reported" quotes, and maybe a ferreted out opposing voice or too. The lazy ferrets.
I might actually read a newspaper if one of them made a point of publishing information and stopped chasing news phantoms. I love ephemera, scandal and sensation, I enjoy a seven days wonder as much as anybody, but I don't think most journalists are even good at picking those, or covering them when they find a good one. I just want to hear about interesting people, events, ideas, places, things--new, old, middle-aged. Information, in a word.
This fat guy's re-branding of the Dixie Chicks as the Vichy Chicks showed up on a blogdex teaser. It was such a good and nasty joke I followed the link. He's hardware to software transformer, and an all-hat-rancher who also runs a campground on the Brazos in Texas. He's staking out the tractor-intellectual turf.
This Poland born, American-made guy, with a-cat-walking-on-the-keyboard name, went from art to tech and seeks to return to art. His case study of an instance of the web's essential true-identity problem first caught my eye. Then his reasonably priced paintings did.
The madcappella sounds of the Kirby Stone Four just came skipping out my TV, one of those Direct TV upper-reaches-music-only channels. Sounds like the pop music always playing on transistor radios in French and Italian movies of the early 60's. Except in English (unless they're singing Volare).
Never heard of the KSF before, so I looked them up. Their first album , released in 1958, was called:
MAN, I FLIPPED WHEN I HEARD THE KIRBY STONE FOUR.
Dude, tell me about it! Dying to hear them swing The Pussy Foot . Bet they tear up I'm Forever Blowing Bubbles, too.
7th grade joke:
Did you like to blow bubbles when you were a kid?
Yeah, sure. Why?
Well, I saw Bubbles yesterday and he told me you did. But I didn't believe him.
Another hard-to-say-how-it-plays artifact from Arnold Schwarzenegger's posing years. Leafing through a Robert Mapplethorpe collection I noticed an Arnold shot from 1976. Arnold's picture is tame enough when you consider he spent most of that decade appearing on public stages wearing only baby oil and a speedo.*
The very next image as you turn the page, though, is one of Mapplethorpe's most celebrated eye-poppers. The title tells it all Mark Stevens (Mr. 10 1/2). It's also sometimes referred to as the Butcher Block Photo.
I'll take 5 pounds of that. And keep your thumb off the scale. Not that you'd need to put your thumb on the scale.
*It occurs to me that I spent much of the early part of that same decade appearing on starting blocks at public pools wearing only a speedo and NO baby oil. So I was nakeder even than Arnold. Once again, Arnold and I seem to circling each from opposite ends of the universe, our fates intertwined in the most eerily negligible way.
Update:I didn't follow yesterday's Sullivan link to a Matt Drudge story, so I didn't know that the Mapplethorpe/Schwarzenegger photo session was already in the news. I have my doubts the naked pics exist or, if they do, that they'd be anything more than just artful nudes. Drudge's implication that they might be is based on a fallacy. Mapplethorpe's didn't make his name taking pictures of extreme acts, he just took beautiful pictures, some of which featured extreme people or shocking (to some) contrasts (say, Man in a Polyester Suit). He took S&M pictures that were closer to Drudge's description of men engaging in homosexual acts, but even his pictures of gay couples are usually posed tableaux not hardcore action shots. And most of his nudes are just great bodies, well lit, cleanly shot and perfectly printed.
Drudge's piece is even dumber and more dishonest on second reading. And it's a short piece. Dig this prepositional special effect:
The shocking nudes of Republican Schwarzenegger have been kept under lock at the Estate of Robert Mapplethorpe in New York, the DRUDGE REPORT has learned.
AT the Estate (with estate capitalized no less). So they're in the cue for the furnace with rosebud in the basement of a crumbling, mist-shrouded Xanadu? Yeah, I'm sure Mapplethorpe's estate has made certain his photographic legacy is locked up somewhere, valuable objects generally are, so any legal estate would be bound to do it.
Drudge is such a lame fuck. And that's coming from someone who used to be pretty amused by his schtick.
I love to be tantalized. But I like to be finished off, too. It's called closure.
The AP jerked open the garage door to my heart (there was no need for force, it's never locked), then left it open and sped away without even a rearview glance back:
Cross-Dressing Heir's Trial Opening
GALVESTON, Texas - Following a six-week flight from authorities and nearly two years in jail, a cross-dressing New York real estate heir is going before a jury to face charges that he killed and dismembered a neighbor.
...Durst, who lived in Galveston as a mute woman, was arrested after parts of Black's body washed ashore.
...Galveston authorities didn't discover Durst's true identity until he jumped bail in Texas. They also learned he was wanted for questioning in the unsolved disappearance of his former wife, Kathleen, 21 years ago in New York and the unsolved Christmas Eve 2000 shooting death of a friend in Los Angeles, who was set to be questioned about his missing wife.
Durst is the son of New York skyscraper tycoon Seymour Durst.
I realize I'm coming to this story late. Apparently it's been a tabloid cliffhanger for weeks, in NYC especially. Still the AP might show some concern for the stragglers. A septuagenarian Manhattan skyscraper heir, who does an off-season Helen Keller act in Galveston Texas, and is tied to decades-spanning bi-coastal mysteries, a New York City vanishing and a yuletide homicide in Los Angeles, is someone I need to know more about.
This NY Daily News story filters the facts through the wide gauge colander of their reporter's strangely unevocative recollections of Mr. Durst. But even Julie Baumgold can't help but tell us some interesting details:
...The defense concedes that the killing took place but calls it self-defense.
"Self-defense, slash, accident," defense lawyer Dick DeGuerin said the other day in the lobby of the Tremont House hotel.
...Right after Durst went to his sister's son's wedding in Houston, he returned to Galveston and checked into the expensive San Luis Resort under his own name on Sept. 23, 2001. He already had an apartment on K St. as the mute, wig-wearing Dorothy Ciner, but he stayed for eight days, until Oct. 1, at the San Luis.
Major family money offers alternatives that ordinary life does not. During this time, Morris Black was killed.
...In this tormented quest, he revisited places he had been as though he were storing memories for a time when he could no longer move, a time when he might be in jail..
...He may have visited his Scarsdale home, where his mother fell to her death when he was 7. He went to Danbury, Conn., where his first wife, Kathie, who disappeared in 1982 after fighting with him, had gone to nursing school.
...And finally, as he visited around Lehigh University, where he went to college, he was caught stealing the now-infamous Band-Aids and chicken sandwich.
Wheeeew, and now we have the childe Durst losing his mother to Scarsdale gravity. I don't know why the lifted Band-Aids and chicken sandwich warrant infame, though. Nothing odd about that combination to me. How many times have I left the grocery store carrying only cat food and soap?
Of course I paid for the stuff, and my daddy didn't own skyscrapers, which robs the detritus of my existence of a certain resonance, a certain golden glow.
General Wesley Clark is one of the more obviously nutty human beings who ever lived inside my TV set. Everybody sees this, right? Tell me we're all in on the joke together. I keep looking for the universal wink. I'm probably embarrassing myself and maybe even screwing things up by saying this out loud. It's just that I missed the meeting, I didn't get the memo, I wasn't on the bcc list. My mexican radio is broke.
I remember when John Glenn went back into space a few years back and we were all supposed to put on monkey suits and knock the Statue of Liberty over on Daytona Beach just in time for his return to the Planet of the Japes. I did get that email.
So where was my tip-off that we're setting-up Wes. That we're gonna keep pumping up his balloonish amour propre until it finally pops and he goes skittering across the stage, start-stop-zig-zagging like a spotted cat with the civilization madness.
Maybe I deleted it during the Sobig tsunami. Please resend. I need to know if there's something I should be doing. I still have the monkey suit, if that's part of this one, too.
Happy Birthday Pavel Tchelitchew, you crazy dead white Russian homosexual fantastical figurative painter, you. Pavel would have been 105 today. Or maybe 111, depending on who you believe. Pavel, or some lying scrap of paper from the czarist archives.
I have twice, many years apart, tried to read Parker Tyler's massive appreciation of Pavel and been defeated only a few pages in each time. I tried the second time thinking I just mustn't have been in the mood on my first attempt. And maybe it is a question if mood, but god save me from ever being in that mood. I can't even describe why Parker Tyler's writing drives me up the wall since his writing slides off my brain as soon as I read it. The claw marks on the wall are the only evidence I have that I tried to read it again, I remember not a word. Probably, years from now, when the scratches are spackled over, and the already faint-as-fairy-lights-50-fathoms-deep memory of my objections to Tyler's prose sinks all the way to the bottom, I'll pick the book up again. If I live long enough I might just pick it up 3 or 4 more times.
Please, future selves, I know we hardly know one another, but please don't let me down, keep putting it down. Unfinished. Just page through it for the great, gaudy, maximalist pictures. Again.