Archive for November, 2008

All Joss Whedon All the Time
November 24, 2008

So the stated purpose of this blog is to be primarily an outlet for political commentary with a dash of pop culture crit. But given that yesterday’s Dollhouse post is not only the top post of both today and yesterday, but also already the third most popular post of all time, I think there’s a compelling case to be made that I should just give this whole enterprise over to indulging all of my embarrassingly geeky fanboy tendencies.

So, apropos of nothing, here’s Ze Frank talking at TED.

Next post: More yelling about politics.

Fractions
November 24, 2008

The New York Times says that half of Hannity and Colmes is leaving, but that’s not strictly accurate. It’s only Alan Colmes who’s departing the show. I’d count him at around 7%.

I think this means we can look forward to a much more intellectually honest version of Sean Hannity’s Flying Circus, in which positively sublime romps across the surface of Planet Wingnut aren’t cloaked in the trappings of bipartisan debate.

Today’s Pushback Post
November 24, 2008

In which, in a stunning reversal of the normal formula, I get mad about stuff.

Dollhouse
November 23, 2008

Given Joss Whedon’s general bad luck, and the fact that FOX crapped all over Firefly (which, at the risk of invoking the ire of Star Trek and Battlestar Galactica partisans, I’m going to call the best television space opera ever), I’m inclined to say that Dollhouse will make a fantastic ten or twelve episodes before the network unceremoniously cans it in favor of a new reality show called Are You Smarter Than America’s Next Top Biggest Loser.

I mean, it could last for maybe a whole season, but I’m not getting my hopes up. If what Steve Benen says is true (what is it about lefty political blogs and Whedon fanboydom?), then FOX is already getting ready to cancel it and then make a killing on DVD sales when it becomes a cult classic.

But the house that Rupert Murdoch built, shitty as it is, doesn’t share all the blame here. I think Whedon, as usual, has come up with a brilliant premise, but I’m not sure if it’s a premise that could sustain itself for 5-7 years. I mean, how long can he keep wiping his protagonist’s memory over and over again before forward momentum necessitates her becoming conscious? And after that happens, what does the new focus of the show become? I feel like for a television show to last, the source of tension needs to be a little bit more open-ended.

Either way though, it’s great to see Whedon on television again, if only for a couple months.

Bullshit, Indeed
November 23, 2008

I tend not to get too worked up over the more center-right appointments that Obama makes; I think it’s smart for him to surround himself with people he has reasonable disagreements with instead of Condi Rice-style sycophants (it’s almost like he’s a assembling a team of … what was the name of that book again?).

Still, Dylan is absolutely right that what’s going on in the future State Department is fucking stupid. I’m all for ideological diversity in the cabinet, but at the same time I don’t see the percentage in rewarding people for being horribly, horribly wrong about the worst foreign policy fuckup in American history. Hillary Clinton’s breathtaking genius for international politics isn’t exactly worth these kinds of concessions.

Besides, as Dylan points out, there are plenty of people who actually know their shit who have been waiting patiently in line. Samantha Power deserves a really nice corner office in a place of prominence, regardless of how awkward it might get when she and Clinton bump into each other in the corridors of power.

Morning Rage Shot
November 23, 2008

Well … close enough to morning for a Sunday. Rage is more efficient than coffee.

Anyway, here ya go:

Witness the face of total unrepentance. Brokaw must have needed to use an inhaler after wading through that dense fog of noxious smug. He’s not repentant, because he knows he doesn’t have to be.
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I am manlier than James Wolcott.
November 22, 2008

Wolcott:

I also take a quantum of solace in the findings of Gender Analyzer, which purports to linguistically decode the sexual identity of a blogger, piercing the veil of a clever pseudonym or well-crafted persona. “Markos Moulitsas and James Wolcott will be relieved to learn that they’re as masculine as masculine gets.” Damn solid we’re as masculine as masculine gets. We didn’t need no Gender Analyzer to render that righteous verdict, bucky. Markos and I are like Yul Brynner and Steve McQueen in The Magnificent Seven, barely breaking a bead of sweat as we ignore Horst Bucholz’s horrid overacting. It’s only some of my “critics” in the right blogosphere who are unable to discern the high-tensile steel resolve and cat-like reflexes concealed by my gentle circumference and tender facade, mistaking the fine Risko illustration (in which I resemble a cross between an Aubrey Beardsley absinthe drinker and Percy Dovetonsils) for what I like to call the “real me.”

Ahem.
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Cash and Dylan
November 22, 2008

YES.

That is all.

Long Live the King
November 22, 2008

Stephen King gets a lot of shit–a lot of it deserved–but it’s always a little refreshing to read a defense of his work instead of another Harold Bloom-esque screed about the opiate of the plebes.

Personally, I have sort of a complicated relationship with his work. I’m pretty sure the uncut version of The Stand was my first foray out of Animorphs land and into the world of “grown up books” at age 10. I spend most of middle school obsessed and devouring everything from the King standards (Salem’s Lot, books one through four) to the minor works (The Regulators, regrettably). And then, somewhere along the way, we had a falling out, and I started talking shit about Stephen’s books behind his back.

But here’s the thing: Even if I never open another Stephen King book again, I still owe a huge debt to the guy. Say what you want about his myriad flaws, but when he’s at his prime, the dude can still tell a damn good story. He has one of the gifts that seems most undervalued among many modern literary critics: he can spin an engrossing story and keep you up reading much later than seems reasonable. King may or may not be an artist, but he sure as hell is a storyteller, and a great one at that.

Things That Have Liberal Biases
November 21, 2008

It must be hard to be Bill O’Reilly. Not only do “the media” and “facts” both seem to be liberally biased, but now there are even more nebulous concepts out there that are siding with the evil socialist agenda!

That’s right, kids: The Internet is liberal.

So are telephones. And words. Especially the word “liberal.”

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