After the complete debacle that was your Benghazi coverage, you’d think you’d know better than to run what amounts to a 30 minute hagiographic commercial for the NSA on your “flagship” newsmagazine.
Remember when 60 Minutes was journalism? Yeah, that was cool.
Some months ago, we called your attention to this excellent bit.
The Tumba Ping Pong folks are back with another one, which appears (to the observant) to be a bit of a sly comment about this guy’s deconstruction of the first video.
…this Clooney piece in Esquire is a goddamn delight. A bit:
Being Clooney, he does not only write to Brad Pitt, however. He also writes as Brad Pitt. A few years ago, he even had some stationery made up with Brad Pitt’s letterhead. Then he found a book about acting and accents and sent it to Meryl Streep, with an accompanying note. It said, “Dear Meryl, this book really helped me with my accent for Troy. I hope it helps you too.” He signed it “Brad Pitt.” Then he sent another letter to Don Cheadle on “Pitt’s” stationery. As long as Cheadle has been acting, he has dreamt of playing Miles Davis. So the letter informed Cheadle that Pitt’s production company had acquired the rights to Davis’s life story. The letter said that Pitt wanted him to star in it.
As Charlie Parker.
Her remembrance of Lou Reed in the current Rolling Stone is tender, beautiful, and heartbreaking.
As it turned out, Lou and I didn’t live far from each other in New York, and after the festival Lou suggested getting together. I think he liked it when I said, “Yes! Absolutely! I’m on tour, but when I get back – let’s see, about four months from now – let’s definitely get together.” This went on for a while, and finally he asked if I wanted to go to the Audio Engineering Society Convention. I said I was going anyway and would meet him in Microphones. The AES Convention is the greatest and biggest place to geek out on new equipment, and we spent a happy afternoon looking at amps and cables and shop-talking electronics. I had no idea this was meant to be a date, but when we went for coffee after that, he said, “Would you like to see a movie?” Sure. “And then after that, dinner?” OK. “And then we can take a walk?” “Um . . .” From then on we were never really apart.
Lou and I played music together, became best friends and then soul mates, traveled, listened to and criticized each other’s work, studied things together (butterfly hunting, meditation, kayaking). We made up ridiculous jokes; stopped smoking 20 times; fought; learned to hold our breath underwater; went to Africa; sang opera in elevators; made friends with unlikely people; followed each other on tour when we could; got a sweet piano-playing dog; shared a house that was separate from our own places; protected and loved each other.
Like many couples, we each constructed ways to be – strategies, and sometimes compromises, that would enable us to be part of a pair. Sometimes we lost a bit more than we were able to give, or gave up way too much, or felt abandoned. Sometimes we got really angry. But even when I was mad, I was never bored. We learned to forgive each other. And somehow, for 21 years, we tangled our minds and hearts together.
Phil Phillips and Gary Greenwald were key parts of the “toys are satanic devices for corrupting your children” hysteria in the 1980s. IO9 has a 7 minute supercut of them becoming more and more unhinged about Yoda, GI Joe, the Smurfs, He-Man, and (obviously) Dungeons & Dragons.
It’s bananapants and delightful.
According to Bloomberg, Netflix will soon have more paid subscribers than HBO, if it does not already.
It’d be really awesome if this drove HBO to allow a la carte subscriptions.
Apparently, Frank Sinatra’s widow is upset that Mia Farrow suggested it was possible that Ol’ Blue Eyes fathered her son Ronan.
Generally speaking, it’s kind of skeevy to suggest that the father of record (Woody) is not someone’s father, and that a man married to someone else at the time IS, at least without some sort of obvious evidence.
Let’s go to the tape:
Yup. TOTALLY Woody’s kid, and not Frank’s. I’m SURE of it.
Go read the whole thing.
Jimmy Fallon and the Roots did that “wide shot, kid’s instruments” thing again. This time around, it’s the theme from Sesame Street, with the Muppets participating.
And I get that Fox opposes a Syria peace plan because its modus operandi is to foment dissent in the form of a relentless and irrational contrarianism to Barack Obama and all things Democratic to advance its ultimate objective of creating a deliberately misinformed body politic whose fear, anger, mistrust and discontent is the manna upon which it sustains its parasitic succubus-like existence.
Form here, about 8 minutes in.
This is sort of brilliant. Examples are included, but the captions are awesome.
- “If the images have a dark background and everyone has tortured expressions on their faces, it’s Titian.”
- “If the paintings have tons of little people in them but otherwise seem normal, it’s Bruegel.”
- “If the paintings have lots of little people in them but also have a ton of crazy bullshit, it’s Bosch.”
- “If everyone looks like hobos illuminated only by a dim streetlamp, it’s Rembrandt. “
TPM has excerpts; don’t miss the “Remembering John Oliver” bit.
His 20th anniversary appearance on Letterman is, no word of it a lie, 19 minutes of beauty.
The Onion turns 25 today, which is sort of amazing.
The first Heathen link there? Amazingly, from January of 2001, it was to this horribly prescient story: “Bush: ‘Our Long National Nightmare of Peace and Prosperity Is Finally Over’.”
“My fellow Americans,” Bush said, “at long last, we have reached the end of the dark period in American history that will come to be known as the Clinton Era, eight long years characterized by unprecedented economic expansion, a sharp decrease in crime, and sustained peace overseas. The time has come to put all of that behind us.”
Bush swore to do “everything in [his] power” to undo the damage wrought by Clinton’s two terms in office, including selling off the national parks to developers, going into massive debt to develop expensive and impractical weapons technologies, and passing sweeping budget cuts that drive the mentally ill out of hospitals and onto the street.
During the 40-minute speech, Bush also promised to bring an end to the severe war drought that plagued the nation under Clinton, assuring citizens that the U.S. will engage in at least one Gulf War-level armed conflict in the next four years.
On the economic side, Bush vowed to bring back economic stagnation by implementing substantial tax cuts, which would lead to a recession, which would necessitate a tax hike, which would lead to a drop in consumer spending, which would lead to layoffs, which would deepen the recession even further.
Again, from January of 2001. Almost not funny, huh?
Japanese pranking technology is clearly decades ahead of ours.
For some reason I resisted checking out Colbert’s Daft Punk bit, but I finally succumbed. Holy crap is it delightful. The cameos are just totally off the chain.
The booth killed me, btw.
The best site on the then-young Internet of the late 1990s was, undeniably, Suck.com. Full of snark and verve and piss and vinegar, the single column of text on that proto-blog pulled no punches. So enamored was I of their wit that, frequently, I’d copy bits into a text file to save for posterity.
Here is one such bit, now almost old enough to drive, from a file that came up in an unrelated search on my laptop today:
When children have no access to narrative except through the unfettered imaginations of account executives and copywriters, they become even more attuned than their elders to the machinations of the culture around them. We’ve set the stage for a generation that will never ever feel betrayed by sell-out because the sale is all they know. The good news? A 2010 Rage Against the Machine comeback tour is unlikely.
Suck, 11 August 1997, which is (astonishingly) still online
Sadly, well, it turns out they were wrong:
The Rage Against the Machine Reunion Tour was a concert tour by Rage Against the Machine from 2007 to 2011. It was the first tour for the band since they broke up in 2000.
Here’s how you know who Fox is, and what’s wrong with the “normal” media:
The Daily Show also interviewed Aslan about his book, and the discussion was deep, wide-ranging, and substantive. The Daily Show. On Comedy Central, which is not, as you probably know, a news station.
Stay with it; Aslan gets the “extended web interview” treatment to allow for a deeper conversation about the history of Christianity, about the historical Jesus, about his place in his time, etc. It’s fascinating.
Go and watch, and for God’s sake stay through the patch.
Stephen Colbert eulogizes his mother, who died last week at 92.
It may sound greedy to want more days with a person who lived so long, but the fact that my mother was 92 does not diminish — it only magnifies! — the enormity of the room whose door has now quietly shut.
If your eyes are dry, I’m not sure I wanna know you.
Colbert, like us here at Heathen, has long been a fan and supporter of that “Kickstarter of philanthropy,” Donors Choose. DC is our “go-to” gift of choice for the severalness of folks in our lives who quite honestly don’t need another gee-gaw to commemorate another trip around the sun. It might be nice, gentle Heathen, to drop a little money in their bucket in honor of the late Mrs Colbert, seeing as how she clearly did a damned fine job with her boy Stephen.
Despite his public insistence to the contrary, it seems pretty clear that this exchange between local anchor Jim Ryan and geriatric reporter Dick Oliver at NYC station WNYW had something to do with it.
We’ve joked for years that the NSA was reading your mail, but it turns out they really are — and your providers are helping them.
PRISM is complete bullshit, and must stop.
The Times today, in reaction, echoes something I said after Bush’s power grabs: no Executive ever gave up power. Bush did lasting damage that subsequent presidents won’t undo:
“The administration has now lost all credibility,” the Times’ editors write. “Mr. Obama is proving the truism that the executive will use any power it is given and very likely abuse it. That is one reason we have long argued that the Patriot Act, enacted in the heat of fear after the 9/11 attacks by members of Congress who mostly had not even read it, was reckless in its assignment of unnecessary and overbroad surveillance powers.”
More from The Verge; providers allowing the NSA unfettered and direct back-end access without proper warrants (the only court oversight is, of course, a secret court) include Microsoft, Facebook, Apple, Google, and Skype. AOL, too, which is kind of adorable. Dropbox is said to be joining the program soon.
These companies, when asked for comment today, are denying their participation — but one would do well to recall that even Senators could not discuss the program before due to legal prohibitions. It’s entirely possible that the PR flacks speaking for Microsoft, Apple, etc., either don’t know, or are legally enjoined for speaking truthfully. (It’s certainly well-known that PR folks can live without souls, so this is hardly surprising.)
Ever want to watch Wikipedia being edited in real time?
The Vulture has a supercut of what is apparently every impression he did during his tenure on SNL.
This is really completely amazing.
WSJ board member Dorothy Rabinowitz shakes her cane about the new bicycling menace in New York.
Saturday was the acknowledged swan song for SNL favorite Bill Hader, who got a great send-off via his Stefon character wedding (“This wedding had everything — German Smurfs, human fire hydrants, Furkles, Black George Washington, puppets in disguise, HoboCops, Jewpids, infamous gay running back Blowjay Simpson, Gizblow the coked-up Gremlin, a screaming geisha, Hannukah cartoon character Menorah the Explorer, DJ Baby Bok Choy, Ben Affleck…“) but what got less press was that Jason Sudeikis and Fred Armisen are also almost certainly leaving.
The final sketch on Saturday was a return of Armisen’s “Ian Rubbish” punk character, together with his ersatz band — most of which were also making their exits. Sudeikis played drums and Hader played bass; only second guitarist Taran Killam is expected back for the 39th season.
The tune, a lovely happy little number (all punk trappings aside) grew in charm as special guests joined the band on stage — first Armisen’s Portlandia partner and Sleater-Kinney vet Carrie Brownstein, then the Sex Pistols’ Steve Jones, then Dinosaur Jr’s J. Mascis and KIM FUCKING GORDON, and finally Aimee Mann and Michael Penn.
It was lovely. Watch here if you have a couple minutes, and note the inscription on Armisen’s guitar strap — which to my mind kind of settles the question of Armisen’s intentions.
Young came to my attention first several years ago when he was instrumental in the derailing of a friend of mine’s career over false allegations that my friend stole work from another author. Brad had written an award-winning book, and was set to begin a tenure-track career at Mississippi State when this whole thing hit. Despite clear evidence he intended no wrongdoing and no small amount of support from the actual literary community, his book was pulped and his job offer rescinded. Watching this happen to a very talented friend was really, really awful. (The book was eventually republished — which tells you all you need to know about the plagiarism allegations — and you should read it, because it’s fantastic.)
Young was off my radar for a few years, until this spring. Remember that scandal about female writers having their articles on Wikipedia moved out of the “American Novelists” category and into the “American Women Novelists” category? The writer Amanda Filipacchi wrote about it for the New York Times, which shed a great deal of light on the normally fairly obscure process of Wikipedia editing. She had her article at Wikipedia vandalized and trivialized for her trouble — largely by a pseudonymous editor named “Qworty”.
It turns out Qworty had a host of “revenge edits” to his credit, frequently sliming writers he, for some reason, didn’t care for — including literary giant Barry Hannah, a mentor of Vice’s. When taken in toto, it became clear that the “list of writers Qworty hates” was overwhelming similar to the list of writers Robert Clark Young is known for hating. Imagine that.
The first link contains Salon’s rundown of the whole affair. The second is a drier but no less interesting discussion at a sort of ombudsman site about Wikipedia itself. Read both, and join me in the schadenfreude. Young has no job offer to rescind or recent book to pulp or awards to withdraw, so we’ll just have to content ourselves with the public shaming of a deeply creepy and vindictive jackass.
I’ll take it.
This is my new ringtone for certain people.
Behold, his amazing 911 call, via Agent Rob.
I say this as someone who, generally speaking and despite an enjoyment of Mad Men, agrees with Bill Hicks about advertising, but this new Audi spot featuring old Spock and new Spock is a thing of utter beauty that should be enjoyed forever.
Elements of the fringe GOP group are now boycotting Fox News for being too liberal.
James Franco challenged Stephen Colbert to a “Tolkien Showdown” the other day. It did not go well for Mr Franco:
Kottke’s headline nails this except from the Danish show whose title translates to “Stupid & Dangerous”: Stupidity Captured at 2500 Frames per Second. Make time. Don’t miss the camper.
Seriously, check this out. A money quote:
For readers interested in learning more about how not to be labeled as registered sex offenders, a good first step is not to rape unconscious women, no matter how good your grades are. Regardless of the strength of your GPA (weighted or unweighted), if you commit rape, there is a possibility you may someday be convicted of a sex crime. This is because of your decision to commit a sex crime instead of going for a walk, or reading a book by Cormac McCarthy. Your ability to perform calculus or play football is generally not taken into consideration in a court of law. Should you prefer to be known as “Good student and excellent football player Trent Mays” rather than “Convicted sex offender Trent Mays,” try stressing the studying and tackling and giving the sex crimes a miss altogether.
Hodgman stops there, but for my money the next graf is easily as strong:
It’s perfectly understandable, when reporting on a rape trial, to discuss the length and severity of the sentence; it is less understandable to discuss the end of two convicted rapists’ future athletic and academic careers as if it were somehow divorced from the laws of cause and effect. Their dreams and hopes were not crushed by an impersonal, inexorable legal system; Mays and Richmond raped a girl and have been sentenced accordingly. Had they not raped her, they would not be spending at least one year each in a juvenile detention facility. (Emph. added.)
Direct link to Gawker here.
He was on Colbert last night. Check it out.
Phil Noto’s faux period press photos of Marvel heroes are just fantastic.
Bad Lip Reads takes on the NFL, and it is lovely.
It’s fair to say that KDOC in LA had a little technical trouble the other night, but it’s also fair to say that this was by no means the extent of their problems — clearly stoned guests, rampant F-bombs, drunk talent wondering aloud if they’re live, cuts to black and dead air, Jaime Kennedy, etc. The link is to a clip, but the YouTube poster has promised the whole thing this weekend.
Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal on reality TV’s future is delightful.
(Title quote from President Bartlett, natch.)
In this background piece on the AR-15 over at TPM, I was shocked to read this sentence:
Advocates say semi-automatic rifles are also becoming more popular for home defense. A recent article in Guns & Ammo, titled “Long Guns, Short Yardage: Is .223 the Best Home Defense Caliber?,” said sales of AR-15 type rifles “skyrocketed” after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. The same article pointed to a 2010 National Shooting Sports Foundation survey which found that the second most popular reason for owning a “modern sporting rifle” — the polite term for semi-automatic rifles like the AR-15 types — was home defense.
Jesus FUCK what a terrible idea. The AR shoots a tiny bullet, sure, but it throws it downrange at absurd velocities — enough to puncture a helmet at 500 yards. If Tommy Tactical locks and loads his AR when the hypothetical crackhead busts down his door, yes, it’s very likely the intruder will end up in the morgue. Sure. I’ll grant that. But the other thing that’s CERTAIN to happen is that our wannabe Rambo’s bullets will pass right through the bad guy, right through sheetrock, and out of his house into the rest of the world. This is called overpenetration, and it’s a serious problem for anyone shooting in a populated area.
A much better choice would be some lumbering slow-moving round like a .45ACP pistol, or even a shotgun loaded with buckshot. Your home is not going to be invaded by barbarian hordes; keep that .223 in the safe and shoot it at the range, for crying out loud.
From this year-end rundown, my fave is from the Atlantic:
This post originally referred to Jennifer Grey as “Ferris Bueller’s sister.” As commenters have pointed out, her role alongside Swayze in Dirty Dancing is clearly the more relevant. We regret putting Baby in a corner.