Online Satire and Opinion Magazine
Who's On First for the Next Generation!
[Former independent candidate Adam Felber, flanked by his family and supporters, steps up to the podium in the bright autumn sunlight. Cheers and applause are heard.]
My fellow Americans, the people of this nation have spoken, and spoken with a clear voice. So I am here to offer my concession.
[Boos, groans, rending of garments]
I concede that I overestimated the intelligence of the American people. Though they disagreed with the President on almost every issue, they saw fit to vote for him. I never saw that coming. That's really special. And I mean "special" in the sense that we use it to describe those kids who ride the short school bus and find ways to injure themselves while eating pudding with rubber spoons.
I concede I misjudged the power of hate. So let me take a moment to congratulate the President's strategists: Putting the gay marriage amendments on the ballot in swing states like Ohio... that was just genius. Genius. It got people - a certain kind of people - to the polls. The unprecedented number of folks who showed up and cited "moral values" as their biggest issue. Those people changed history. The folks who consider same-sex marriage more important than war or terror or the economy... Who'd have thought the election would belong to them? Well, Karl Rove did. Gotta’ give it up to him for that.
Now, now. Credit where it's due.
I WATCHED MY MTV
I concede that I put too much faith in America's youth. With 8 out of 10 of you opposing the President, with your friends and classmates dying daily in a war you disapprove of, with your future being mortgaged to pay for rich old peoples' tax breaks, you somehow managed to sit this out and watch the Cartoon Network, letting aging homophobic hillbillies carry the day. You voted in the exact anemic percentage you did in 2000. You suck. Seriously, y'do.
Thank you. Thank you very much.
REDS v. BLUES
There are some who would say I sound bitter. That now is the time for healing, to bring the nation together. Let me tell you a little story. Last night, I watched the returns come in with some friends here in Los Angeles. As the night progressed, people began to talk half-seriously about secession, a red state / blue state split.
The reasoning was this: We in Blue states produce the vast majority of the wealth in this country and pay the most taxes. You in the Red states receive the majority of the money from those taxes while complaining about 'em. We in the Blue states produce the entertainment you greedily consume each day, while you in the Red states show open disdain for us and our values. We in the Blue states are the only ones attacked at home by terrorists abroad, yet you in the Red states are gung ho to fight a war in our name. Blue state civilians are the actual victims and targets of terror, while Red state civilians tucked away in the suburbs are the one yelling "Yeah!? Bring it on!"
DON’T KNOW MUCH ABOUT HISTORY
More than 40% of Bush voters still believe Saddam Hussein had something to do with 9/11. I'm impressed by that. Truly I am. Your sons and daughters who might die in this war know it's not true. People in the urban centers where al Qaeda plans to attack know it's not true. Those of you at minimal if any risk cling to these simpleton lies. You do because you can and because the truth would require the hard work or actually studying reality. As part of my concession speech let me say that I really envy the Red luxury of popping a Pabst instead.
But you can do that because you know better: America doesn't need allies, doesn't need to share the burden, doesn't need to unite the world, and doesn’t need to provide for its future. Hell no. Not when it's got a human shield of pointy-headed, atheistic, non-confrontational breadwinners willing to pay the bills. Because we're "morally inferior," you are free to insult our values while we are supposed to respect yours. The big joke here is that for 20 years, we've done just that. It's not a "ha-ha" funny joke, I realize, but it's a joke all the same.
Being an independent candidate gives me one luxury - as well as conceding the election today - I am also announcing my candidacy for President in 2008.
[Wild applause, screams, chants of "Fel-ber! Fel-ber!]
And I make this pledge to you today: THIS time, no pandering. I will run with all the open contempt for my opponents that our President demonstrated towards the cradle of liberty, the Ivy League intellectuals, the "media elite," and the "white-wine sippers." I will not pretend that the simple Red folk know as much as the people who serve and study this nation and the world. They don't.
So that's why I'm asking for your vote in 2008. I'm talking to you, you ignorant, slack-jawed yokel, you bible-thumping, inbred drone, you redneck, racist, chest thumping, perennially duped grade-school grad. Vote for me, because I know better, and I truly believe that I can help your smug, sorry ass.
Vote Felber in '08! Thank you, and may God, if he does in fact exist, bless each and every one of you.
[Tumultuous cheers, applause, and foot stomping. PULL BACK to reveal the rest of the stage, the row of cameras, hundreds of unoccupied chairs, and the empty field beyond.]
Adam Felber - November 3, 2004
We can't live in the United States anymore. So we were all going to move to countries like Canada. Then we thought - wait - why should WE move? Why let Red-State Red-Necks keep us from our Brooklyn and Golden Gate Bridges or introduce “creationism” to our discussions on gay marriage?
The rest of the world says it despises America. That’s wrong. They despise YOUR America. And so do we. Like those Texans who try to skip paying taxes every few years by invoking that Lone Star thing then end up as human target practice for Federal Marshals, we had an idea. Secede. Everybody wins. Reds hate anyone different from themselves and we find Reds embarrassing relatives.
The result - our new break-away nation-state, AMERICO COASTOPIA: Washington, Oregon, the northern two thirds of California, New England, the mid-Atlantics down to Virginia, along with Michigan, Minnesota, and Illinois – they all have great lakes. (Note to Iowa: Let us know if you change your mind)
In other words, you keep your malltopias of radio music, volcano movies, and chain res
taurants. We’ll take the beaches, the books, and the multi-gender strip bars. On that last note, by the way, we’re also taking New Orleans. A city you never deserved nor one that ever wanted you in the first place.
As for New York, most of downtown Manhattan will be designated as a Deep Blue Colony reserved for indie movies (“films” you’ll never see nor understand), think tanks that think, restaurants without food photo menus, and best of all - gay people. Lots and lots and lots of gay people. Many of them married! Southern Manhattan’s new name - The Heartland … Home to real Americo Coastopians. Reds can visit with a passport (fat chance), back-up photo ID, and an updated record of their fingerprints. We’ll grant midtown visas to Red tourists who want to gawk at the bright lights and sample the Olive Garden. To answer a Red FAQ: Will visas require loyalty oaths? No, that’s your game.
A related note on AC politics. Beyond requisites like universal health care, homosexuals permitted in schools and in Oklahoma bathrooms in pairs, we believe in a Grande Canyon between church and state. No Christian mullahs running our White House. Plus 100% of our cars will be hybrid by 2006.
Now you may be wondering – Hey, who gets the banks? You do. That’s right. We’re sending Wall Street and it’s ilk to Texas. Most Wall Streeters come from radical Red regions like the Upper East Side and Queens anyway. They’ll like you and it’ll be your big chance to actually make the big money that you fantasize you pay in taxes.
And yes there is another reason. Americo Coastopians are sick of standing in as your human shields. Interesting isn’t it, that out in your suburbs or up on your fruited plains you fret more about terror than we do at Ground Zero? Notice to all you cul de sac Rambos – let us know if you ever want to stand in for us for a change.
Basically, if you’re true blue, we’re for you. We’re inviting anyone who ever created anything beautiful. And inviting funny people too. And fishermen. You Reds should have treated them better when you had them!
If you went to bed November 3rd feeling the way you did September 11th, join us. Bring us your fed-up, your sickened, your huddled True-Blues yearning to breath free. In Americo Coastopia, lattés are hot, cigars are Cuban, and flags are optional. More important, the light is on.
Diana Winthrop Gray, Washington DC.
Why JFK Lives
Dallas, Nov. 22 – Few of us remember where we were when President Kennedy died. If we were anywhere at all, it was a baby crib. So why do we remember John Kennedy as anyone more than a bygone face? In part because JFK’s immortality is branded by a four-decade cavalcade of hagiography and debunkery in books, Zapruder replays, and conspiracy theories. Also, the assassination so traumatized the political fabric of the United States that those who do remember where they were when Kennedy died never managed to digest the psychological damage.
For the rest of us, President Kennedy lives on because he seems as if he could and in a way that Dwight Eisenhower or Lyndon Johnson do not. President’s of greater accomplishment than Kennedy were men of their times and we view them as such. It’s a stretch to imagine Franklin Roosevelt with his cigarette holder or Harry Truman in his pork-pie hat legislating 2003 Medicare reform. But it’s easy to imagine JFK with his sunglasses and haircut climbing off a boat in Hyannis Port to greet Vladimir Putin.
Combing through the words and images of the Kennedy presidency you can see JFK as a man for our time as much as he was a man for his own. Dust off his suits and give him 21st century spin-doctors and PR flacks that really do poll for policy then script-out voter pandering speeches and John Kennedy could fit right into the current political roster. Other than the black and white photos or faded color films, it is the people around him that mark Kennedy in time. Deliver him instead on cleaned up digital video, Photoshopped amid current faces, and we might search for Kennedy’s name on the 2004 presidential ballot.
If John Kennedy could run could he win? It’s an impossible question making it just the sort that might sell a pricey new hardcover on the subject. Why? Because we still care. Why? Because among all the dead U.S. president’s, it’s easy to see why someone today might want to be like JFK in a way no sane man would want to imitate, say, Richard Nixon.
A surviving mantra of the JFK mythology is that his assassination permanently preserved him in the amber of youth. But he died at 46. At that age most guys look more like James Gandolfini. If they died, their passing would be listed as something akin to the Saran Wrap of middle age. JFK was different. Despite his age, medical afflictions, and the grinding pressures of his office Kennedy arrived at Delay Plaza as a young man able to bend time and perhaps travel through it. Four decades later we can imagine him showing up on Nightline to comment on the Iraq war. That’s why people who can't remember where they were when he died, can imagine him today.
The Gospel According to Dr. Laura
"Operation Iraqi Freedom?"
A great chance for the United States to prove the doubters wrong.
March 18 - The United States is now engaged in a fight on two fronts: A battle to beat Saddam, and a war to win back its credibility. It will win the battle. Can it win the war?
"The Iraqi people are deserving and capable of human
liberty." That's how U.S. President George Bush concluded his March
17th speech on the eve of attacking Iraq, promising that after Saddam
is gone, "The United States with other countries will work to advance
liberty and peace in that region." Liberty rings so loud in the president's
justification for invading Iraq, that the administration is naming the
attack "Operation Iraqi Freedom."
The Christian Science Monitor reports that of 18 regime changes driven by the United States in the 20th Century, only 5 resulted in governments that could be called democratic. Numbers like those are debatable but the pattern is not - from Colonel Castillo Armas to General Pervez Musharraf the guiding rule of U.S. diplomacy is as consistent as it is simple: do business with us and we'll do business with you.
Supporters of U.S. dictator-diplomacy explain past alliances with despots as the unfortunate Cold-War cost of keeping Communists at bay. What's changed? These days Washington cuts new deals with old despots to keep Islamic terrorists at bay. Central Asia is a logical locus to do just that. So last April U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld sat down to see what he could do for Saparmurat Niyazov, the dictator ruling Turkmenistan.
The U.S. is providing military and economic aide to Islam Karminov, the overseer of Uzbekistan who despite his name is bent on violently suppressing the country's Muslim population. Uzbekistan, and the Caspian's oil rich dictatorship of Azerbaijan under Heydar Aliyev are among the countries agreeing to support the Iraq invasion.
The Bush administration has boosted U.S. support for Kazakh dictator Nursultan Nazarbayev, helping him tighten his hold on a nation where firebombs greet editorial dissent and where his family already controls economic lynchpins from the national television network to Almaty's biggest hotel.
Malaysian dictator for decades Mahathir Mohamad opposes the U.S. war against Iraq despite the Bush administration's best efforts to pursued him. To help check Islamic militants in South East Asia, Bush put aside objections to Malaysian dictator Mahathir Mohamad, calling him "a force for regional stability." After his White House meeting with the president last year, Mahathir told reporters that Bush "did not raise anything about democracy or human rights in Malaysia," adding that now "The U.S. government understands the way we deal with our problems in Malaysia."
While repression within Mid-East allied regimes like Saudi Arabia and Kuwait never troubled the United States, President Bush says he now wants to free the people of Iraq. And neo-conservatives at the Pentagon like Secretary Rumsfeld and Deputy Secretary Wolfowitz are among those arguing this will be different. They promise that a post-war U.S. organized democratic government in Iraq will serve as a springboard for region wide political renewal.
The post-war plan? The Pentagon's Office of Reconstruction and Humanitarian Assistance is currently developing the mechanics of using Iraqi oil revenues to help pay for transforming Iraq's dictatorship into democratic government. According to that blueprint, about two years under U.S. military government led by Central Command General Tommy Franks will give way to a new era in Iraqi democracy. On track to become de facto governor of 23 million Iraqis after the war is 64-year old retired U.S. Army General Jay Garner. Before becoming a corporate executive with high-tech maker L3, Garner organized food and shelter for displaced Kurds in 1991, arguing that the U.S. military should be a "merciful instrument in shaping future humanitarian operations."
That's the pledge. Few believe it. The long history of allegience to
dictators willing to do U.S. bidding has ruined U.S. credibility. More
than anthrax or weapons of mass destruction this is where the country
has become most vulnrable. Most believe Washington will do what it has
usually done, find an ally, turn a blind eye, and call it freedom. But
no one can deny this is a great chance for the United States to prove
the doubters wrong. The watershed the Bush administration promises Iraq
is also a chance for the United States to break from its habit of dictator
diplomacy. It's a chance for the United States to match lofty claims with
honorable deeds and demonstrate respect for individual liberties abroad
the way it respects individual liberties at home. If it can't do that
Washington will win a battle without winning the war.
This debate over war with Iraq is all just more sleight of hand on the part of our nation's leaders. More smoke & mirrors to keep our minds off the real issues - political corruption, economic instability, and health care reform to name a few.
There's really only one political party, and only a few actual underlying agendas: Repay those who spent money to put us in power, (eg. special interests & multinationals) and gain reelection to continue that effort. If we (the people) benefit from our politicians it's purely incidental.
If we (the U.S. Government) really wanted Hussein out of power his assassination would have happened years ago.
"Give the people bread & circuses." I don't need to be
a conspiracy theorist to understand there are some very basic principles
employed in populace control within the U.S. It's pretty easy. I invite
you to broaden your perspectives beyond current events.
Although I am not entirely in agreement with the following, for the big picture check http://www.members.ozemail.com.au/~agourley/livelife1.htm
Who Dies Next?
So, how many people attended the (October 26 Washington) anti-war protest? 20,000? Oh boy! Sounds like a ground swell to me! I think most people think we should kill the bastard (Saddam Hussein). How many people does Saddam have to kill before you lose you sympathy for him?
Are the thousands Saddam has already killed - mostly in his own country - not enough? How about the tens of thousands of Iranians he killed in the 1980's? Still not enough? I guess you will only be happy when thousands and thousands of Americans die after Saddam decides to sell nuclear weapons to terrorists. But, alas, I forget, you are more concerned about Saddam's health than about his victims.
Ya' know, in the 1940's people thought we should ignore Hitler. There
were the same type of anti-war sentiments then you see today, arguing
Hitler was harmless. Liberalism can be so blind.
Paul Wellstone Remembered
I first met Paul Wellstone fifteen years ago when he used to camp out on a former student's couch (journalist Steve Emerson) when making trips to Washington to organize -- he was a professor then, and involved on the frontline with an astounding array of difficult causes -- all on behalf of those normally cut out of any ability to influence power.
He was a longhaired, backpack toting, fun and engaging radical, about as likely to be elected to come to Washington as a Ralph Nader disciple, which he once was. As a just returned Peace Corps volunteer, I loved the deep commitments and discussions, the phenomenal energy of this man, so unlike many I was meeting in official Washington. He was a one-man commitment charger.
Paul's energy and enthusiasm were infectious, and he was blessed with the boldness and audacity to believe that organized people of moral courage, armed with effective ideas, could achieve anything in this country. His very election --done with engaging humor and tenacity while being outspent seven to one -- was a beacon of hope to all who hope for a democracy of real people -- where the precursor to becoming a Senator is not being born a millionaire, but being a true servant. He was passionate about the aspirations of people without champions, and for them he himself was a champion.
My good friend Kai Bird, once a student where Paul taught at Carlton College, remembers Paul arming young mothers stuck on welfare with video cameras so they could document their struggle. More than just teach, Paul joined with students to protest the Vietnam War. Paul and Kai first got to know each other well in jail, for doing just that. Paul was a one-man conscience for all of Congress. My former boss, Democratic leader Tom Daschle calls him "the soul of the Senate."
Years ago, I rode with Paul in the Capitol subway as he traveled between votes and meetings, and to watch people and Senators react to this whirling dervish of passion and purpose -- all the energy of Shaquille O'Neal packed into a 5'5" body in K-Mart short sleeves. When Paul got in an elevator, Strom Thurmond and Jesse Helms just stood and gaped. One group of people who beamed was the guards and elevator operators, who Paul knew by name -- first name.
The last time I saw him was a typically Wellstone moment. He and Sheila had volunteered to help out at an event for the Maya Angelou Charter School, a high school in DC for young people who have been in serious trouble. Long after the event was over, Paul and Sheila remained in the parking lot, talking with young people one-to-one, inspiring them with his energy, his passion, his purpose -- pure Paul.
The words of Robert Frost, published in his last book -- IN THE CLEARING - capture what Paul Wellstone's life of deep service leads us to know and feel about his passion and commitment.
He is no fugitive-- escaped, escaping.
Let his memory inspire us to do more, to do it better, to make an enduring
difference. He did.
Salute To A Brave and Modest Nation
(The story below first appeared in Great Britains Sunday Telegraph)
- Until the deaths of four Canadian soldiers accidentally killed
in April by a U.S. warplane in Afghanistan, probably almost no one outside
their home country had been aware that Canadian troops were deployed in
the region. And as always, Canada will now bury its dead, just as the
rest of the world as always will forget its sacrifice, just as it always
forgets nearly everything Canada ever does.
That is the price Canada pays for sharing the North American
continent with the United States, and for being a selfless friend of Britain
in two global conflicts. For much of the 20th century, Canada was torn
in two different directions: It seemed to be a part of the old world,
yet had an address in the new one, and that divided identity ensured that
it never fully got the gratitude it deserved.
The world thanked Canada with the same sublime indifference
as it had the previous time. Canadian participation in the war was acknowledged
in film only if it was necessary to give an American actor a part in a
campaign in which the United States had clearly not participated -- a
touching scrupulousness which, of course, Hollywood has since abandoned,
as it has any notion of a separate Canadian identity.
Re-Printed From the Sunday Telegraph.
Ideals To Live By
Bin Ladens Pals Have Us Over a Barrel
We live in a country where there are there are guys willing to run up
the stairwell of a burning 110-story tower to save lives; where there
are guys willing to jump out of a helicopter into the middle of dangerous
enemy territory to pursue a dangerous foe. Youd think the rest of
us might at least be brave enough to make do with front-wheel drive.
Me Too 2001:
All-Negative, All the Time
Wednesday, November 14, 2001: "Good evening, and welcome to 'All Is Lost,' the nightly public affairs program produced by National Public Radio and the British Broadcasting Corp. Tonight we discuss what has been called America's war against terror. I am your host, Perfectly Modulated Voice of Reason.
"With me, in our Washington studio, are: Fabled Newsman Who Was There When Saigon Fell . . . Scientifically Trained Impartial Scholar . . . and Bureau Chief of Second-Rate Regional Monopoly Newspaper Who Is Desperate to Be Hired by the New York Times. From London, we are joined by our European affairs analyst, Loathes America and Prays for Its Swift Destruction.
"First, today's war news. Tens of thousands of Afghans in liberated Kabul greeted President George W. Bush with wild cheers and much waving of American flags. The mayor of Kabul, in a traditional gesture of welcome, presented President Bush with the head of Osama bin Laden on a pike. Accepting the gaily decorated head, Mr. Bush quipped: 'This shall not stand -- at least not without this handy pike!'
Meanwhile, across the Middle East, news of the so-called allied victory in Afghanistan appeared to be producing remarkable changes in the political dynamic. Radical Islamic fundamentalism, as Western critics perhaps unfairly call it, seemed under attack. . . .
"In Iran, tens of thousands of men lined up at barber shops for shaves and Western-style haircuts, with the majority favoring the 'mullet' look, which is popular, we are informed, with young men in some American regions where we have actually never been. . . . In Iraq, President Saddam Hussein remained for the fifth day under siege in his summer palace as hundreds of thousands of students gathered outside chanted, 'Hey hey, ho ho, the Great and Maximum Leader for Life has got to go.' . . .
"The governments of Saudi Arabia and Kuwait pledged today to develop armies sufficient to protect themselves without American assistance, pointing out that it was wrong to ask the United States to shoulder the burden of defending their wholly corrupt oligarchies. In Israel, newly appointed tourism minister Yasser Arafat announced a new policy of 'peace at any cost.' Saying 'I must have been meshugenah,' Arafat declared: 'Of course, Jerusalem must be the capital of the Jewish homeland, any fool can see that.'
"Gentleman, given all this, the question is obvious -- Is there any reason to even go on?"
Chorus: "No . . . no . . . utterly hopeless . . . doomed . . . repudiation of entire U.S. strategy. . . . A colossal failure . . . no hope."
Perfectly Modulated: "Scientifically Trained, why doomed?"
Scientifically Trained: "Well, it is important to put all this into context. In the Islamic world, things are never what they seem. As the great Hashemite warrior Abdullah the Less Than Brilliant expressed it, 'The victory of my enemy is my victory.' This is how this week's events will be seen in what I like to call the Arab street -- as a prelude and a catalyst to a great uprising against American interests, led by an entire new generation of martyrs inspired to jihad by U.S. belligerence."
Perfectly Modulated: "Fabled Newsman, what says the view from inside the Beltway?"
Fabled Newsman: "Been there. Best and brightest. Tet. Vietnamization. No light at the end of the tunnel."
Perfectly Modulated: "And would you go so far as to say . . . "
Fabled Newsman: "Yes. Absolutely: Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Waist deep in the Big Muddy. Quagmire."
Perfectly Modulated: "Desperate to be Hired by The Times, what's
Perfectly Modulated: "Now let's go to our European analyst, Loathes America, for the insight from over there. Loathes, what is the mood of Europe tonight?"
Loathes America: "Bleak, of course. And properly so. I mean, one does not wish to say that this debacle is what America deserves for its arrogance, its vulgarity, its bullying ways -- well, actually one does wish to say it, doesn't one rather? Really, one just hates America. Really, one always has, ever since one was just a little chap."
Perfectly Modulated: "Thank you, Loathes America. A valuable insight as always. Gentlemen, last thoughts?"
Scientifically Trained: "Things could hardly be worse."
Fabled Newsman: "Quag . . . "
Desperate: " . . . mire."
Perfectly Modulated: "And that wraps up another edition of 'All
Is Lost.' Good night, and pleasant dreams."
© 2001 The Washington Post Company Reprint
The Copy Boy Responds: Flawed as it is, NPR still provides a far better
news anlaysis than the simpleton spiel flowing from far better financed
Land of the Free? Home of the Brave?
Civilian soldiers who wanted to eat in comparative safety
could gather at restaurants adopting equivalent measures. Insurance companies
protecting their bottom lines might deny coverage to restaurants failing
to adopt new safety restrictions. We might excuse overly zealous restaurant
security guards who denied access to an Arab, or used physical force against
an Arab enraged by his denied access.
YOU TALKIN' TO ME MR. PRESIDENT?
bUSH INAGURAL ADDRESS - 1ST DRAFt
January 20, 2001 - My Fellow Armenians, as I stand here today, looking out over this magnificent viagra, I think we can agree that the past is over. That our country is ready for a fresh, bipolar approach. I want to bring America together. We are the hill shining on a city, and each of us can get to the top if we set our feet to it. Americans have made their decision. They don't need sympathy; they need absolutions. We need to move beyond the petty armadillos. Politics doesn't have to be the way it is today. We can make the pie higher. A high pie lets everyone put food on their family and their family on the table. That's my record: I side with the people.
A president has to think not only of himself and his family and hisbaseball team's families, but of all American families. I don't believe apresident should be choosing who are the right Americans and who are thewrong Americans. All of us are together, white or wrong, black or right. Or perversely. That's why my tax cut is as broad as we are. And it will give our expansion a timely second dose of wind.
I say there's a cost to inaction. I haven't done the acrobatics, but it's probably around a trillion dollars. That's a good round sum to offer to everyone, especially our seniors, who are the backache of our nation.
On that note, I would like to take a moment to mention my mother, Barbara Bush, who taught me to read and write when I was still knee-high to a lawnmower. We need our seniors to be free to pass on their life's work to those they love, and especially to pass on. Thanks, Mom and Dad.
We know that America is the best in the world. We are the great super-premium; we cannot afford to be unleaded. This is still a world of madmen and mental losses. And mental loss is easy to underestimate. We need a sharpened sword to light our way. To quote Ronald Reagan: I do not believe in a fate that will fall on us if we do nothing. I do believe in a fate that will fall on us if we do something. And it must never run our lives -I think.
The purpose of prosperity is to make sure the American dream touches every killing heart. Progress can be slow. You measure it in inches and feet, not by confusion.
My message is: I will get things done. I will inspire and untie. I will appeal to people's better angles. I will prove that politics can be bigger than you ever thought possible. We will trust the people we serve, and serve the people we trust. Together, we can do what needs to be done to preserve this great bastard ? of freedom.
Leaked by an anonymous GOP Screed contributor
or how the court
stopped the election
12 December, - They offer a new deadline of midnight, and leave less than two hours to meet it. They cite equal protection, while votes are counted differently in every county in this land -- different machines, different ballots, different technology -- all requiring unique counting and method of recount. By their logic - no vote counts.
The five, who speak of respecting states, individual, and laissez fare --shoved their will down the throats of thousands of voters -- and their votes will rule: the black robed five. They have decided for us, these unelected, these bizarre characters of Orwellian logic -- who shall hold the highest office of the land. Held up for special disparagement are the four Floridian justices who alone stood for counting all the uncounted. The Floridians stood for just process, the five stood for foreordained result.
The five stand the law on its head, and ask us to join them in admiring the view. The five. They robbed in the night. By writing unsigned - they tried to leave no fingerprints. They left from their underground garage rather than stay and explain. They killed the counting of votes by a deadline -- then said no more votes could be counted, the deadline had passed. Their logic is lawless.
They offer a new deadline of midnight, and leave less than two hours to meet it. They cite equal protection, while votes are counted differently in every county in this land -- different machines, different ballots, different technology -- all requiring unique counting and method of recount. By their logic - no vote counts.
The five, who speak of respecting states, individual, and laissez fare -- shoved their will down the throats of thousands of voters -- and their votes will rule: the black robed five. They have decided for us, these unelected, these bizarre characters of Orwellian logic -- who shall hold the highest office of the land. Held up for special disparagement are the four Floridian justices who alone stood for counting all the uncounted. The Floridians stood for just process, the five stood for foreordained result.
The five stand the law on its head, and ask us to join them in admiring the view.
Don Wilson is a Washington D.C. writer, public policy analyst, and screaming liberal to boot .
MeToo Greatest Hits 1999-2000:
Now, before anyone accuses me of abandoning my liberal tendencies, let me make one thing clear: I want 13%! That's right 13% mandatory gratuity for all rickshaw drivers around the world! A rickshaw in every driveway and 13% gratuity in every rickshaw driver's pocket! C'mon people - if you'll protest the world bank, thinking that they suck because they don't have an ATM, then can't you give some blood and sweat for the rickshaw driver?Now, before anyone accuses me of abandoning my liberal tendencies, let me make one thing clear: I want 13%! That's right 13% mandatory gratuity for all rickshaw drivers around the world! A rickshaw in every driveway and 13% gratuity in every rickshaw driver's pocket! C'mon people - if you'll protest the world bank, thinking that they suck because they don't have an ATM, then can't you give some blood and sweat for the rickshaw driver?on't have an ATM, then can't you give some blood and sweat for the rickshaw driver?
What confuses me about many protests is that many of the people protesting don't really know why. In the 1960s, college students protested because they did not want to go to war, today, college students protest because they don't want to go to work. I don't know that much about the World Bank or IMF (for god's sake I thought it was meant Mission Impossible until a few weeks ago), but I do know that I am no different from the thousands (excuse me, hundreds) of wanna-be hippies who flooded downtown DC with crazy puppets and home-made pepper spray. And lets not forget PETA. They unloaded a dump truck full of manure in front of the World Bank because - get this - the World Bank encourages third world countries to use animals for farming. Oh my, an Ox pulling a plow?
Lets just be glad these people are not EATING the horses! Remember, the developing world doesn't go home every night to tony suburbs to discuss radical disobedience in front of the big screen. Instead of driving to rallies in BWWs - their parents'in many cases - much of the world would be happy to drink some clean water. But if the World Bank gives them clean water, well that's just the Corporate-Capitalist greed taking advantage of these poor people. What might be better, Brita filters? Nope. That's plastic. Ok, how about straining it through a sheepskin sieve? Oh, sorry PETA.
And what the hell does convicted cop killer Mumia (I love that song by Phil Collins by the way) have to do with any of this? I don't know. And from my investigation, neither did the people with Free MUMIA stickers on their foreheads.
Some overheard conversational protest nuggets. (In respect for their real names, which I do not know, I'll simply use aliases and refer to these two participants as idiot number one and even bigger idiot. ):
Most amazing is that this exchange was in a mainly gay restaurant. Some gay men overhearing the conversation, taunted the protestors, basically embarrassing them into leaving. How liberal is too liberal? When Gay men question the validity of your liberal beliefs it's time to catch the red eye back to San Francisco, put on your dot.com T and get ready to pay taxes.
The protest had a sad ending. Police clubbing folks, people hurling rocks and bottles at police, me missing Donnie and Marie so I could see protest updates. But alas, when watching the footage where local news celebrity Jim Vance followed around a protestor named "Yoda," I have to wonder if anyone had any idea why they were there. When a protestor ran into a motorcycle traveling down a street, I had to wonder - didn't you see that motorcycle? Do you think this is Tienaman Jr?
Maybe I am becoming a bit more conservative, because this made me laugh. A lot. Then I paid my taxes, checking off the little box for donation to starving rickshaw drivers.
fOX NEWS or TOILET Tv
by alison schafer
"FECES ON BAR GLASSES!" "FECES IN YOUR WASHING MACHINE!"
Washington DC's Fox station warned viewers, "Feces Everywhere. Stay Tuned."
Arrested development or arresting expose? If you tuned in to the Washington Fox station during this sweeps series, you learned which local bars served beer in dirty glasses and how bleach gets rid of, er, unwanted elements in the wash. It was toilet TV, or maybe TV best left for the toilet.
Then came the big shocker - the poop stories didn't sell. Viewership dropped. Fox 5's news@ ten dropped 16 percent. Shock often triggers change. Fox news series during sweeps in Washington this winter featured stories on veterinarian credentials, self-defense, smart students who cut class to look cool. Ratings jumped, and station "news" brass took notice. Stay tuned.
From management down, current and former staffers fret over the Fox shadow. Alexander Kippen, who spent five years in the '90s covering politics for Fox, says the station suffers because it is "part of a wretched little network that fully believes its viewers are morons and programs news as if they are."
Fox Washington's current News Director, Katherine Green, goes less far, "You get lumped in with this idea of tabloidy sensational new," complaining about Fox shows like the "Guinness Book of World Records where somebody's sucking spaghetti through their nose."
Local Fox affiliates often walk a fine line: The folks who tune Into "COPS" might be bored by reports on City Council or congressional hearings. News is rarely as dramatic as the theater of "America's Most Wanted." So how do you hang on to the Fox network's younger, anything-goes viewers, when the news comes on at 10pm?
One Fox answer: Cast news anchors and reporters as cute and young as the cast of Party of Five. "There's a desire to go with younger reporters, find quirky, different stories that many of us don't even view as news," says David Burnett, a Fox anchor and reporter for 13 years.
Many old-timers lament the rise of the "news snacks," the veterans' name for the 20-somethings who now pepper Fox 5's news coverage. They're new to TV, new to news, and new to the Washington area. "I don't think Jim Vance, if he ever left Channel 4, would get hired there. He's a gray-hair," says Lee Thornton, a professor of journalism at theu Uiversity of Maryland. Thornton says the Washington Fox station, more than other local Washington stations, hire young faces. "People there who've earned their journalistic stripes get put on the weekends - it makes no sense to me."
Hillary Howard, 38, an anchor and reporter at Fox 5 for ten years before leaving last summer, says the influx of fledgling reporters hurts coverage. "The old institutional memory disappears, so that long-running stories aren't put in the proper context, place names are pronounced wrong, cities get put in the wrong states and some important stories don't get covered at all."
Dover Air Force Base gets put in Maryland, not Delaware, video of houses crashing into the sea during a storm is labeled Ocean City, instead of North Carolina. Some of it is relatively small stuff, but news is, after all, about getting it right. Now a New York internet entrepreneur and start-up on-line magazine editor, Alexander Kippen offers a blunter explanation. "God invented TV news so that kids who struggled for Cs in high school could still make big money."
Staffers complain that management doesn't much care what they say on the air, as long as they look good saying it. Nearly everybody has something snotty to say about one highly featured youngish reporter. "Which fake eyeglasses look best- that's his biggest dilemma week after week," snipes one veteran. "In recent months they've hired so many young people, they all seem to look the same, all seem to have an upbeat delivery," says Maryland's Thornton. "They seem to bethe ones most blatantly going for the MTV grads."
Drama, even fake drama, is what sells these days, and not just on Fox. Watch TV news and you'll see plenty of young reporters walking from nowhere to nowhere during stand-ups. Watch Fox and you'll see more "walk-shots" than on other stations. Reporters say Fox management puts a premium on action. "If you don't walk in your stand-up, you get called in," says one Fox reporter. "They don't care what the facts are, they just want movement."
Still, Washington's Fox station remains at the top of this heap, according to industry insiders: It is on at 10pm, which attracts harried, overworked professionals who want to catch the news and get to bed early. But even with it's time slot edge, Fox is not the city's "most watched" news station that it claims. "They've got ratings that are pretty good. But if they were on at 11, they'd be second or third, (in the ratings) never first," says Gomery. On an average night, Fox's 10 o'clock news pulls in about 223,000 viewers, WRC's 11pm newscast, by comparison, nets about 282,000.
While jumping your competition by an hour always helps, it's not the secret. Industry watchers believe the reason behind WRC's years-long local news dominance is its consistency. WRC management resists re-arranging its living room any time something goes wrong in the family. WRC has stuck with essentially the same anchors, reporters, and style for as long as most can remember. Gary Wordlaw, former New Director at ABC local station WJLA, says "every time another station changes its anchors, viewers drift to Channel 4 (WRC)."
Since it bought Washington's Channel 5 from Metromedia in the mid-'80s, Fox has tired numerous different styles and management philosophies, tried countless kinds of news - from smart, to not-so-smart, to downright tabloid in its attempt to catch up to the big boys. The station has long been the somewhat pathetic hanger-on, trying to catch up to the ratings power of local stations affiliated with NBC, CBS, and ABC.
The station has suffered through "a succession of just disastrous news directors" according to ex-employee Lori Butterfield, who's now a documentary producer at National Geographic. More specifically, the station has endured 10 news directors in the past fourteen years ? enough turnover to make major league sports management look stable. Like those memorable major league sports blunderers, some Fox news directors were stood out above run of the mill incompetence.
One routinely asked women to stand on chairs so he could admire their legs. He lasted a couple of months. Another pledged to purge liberals from the newsroom. He was quickly sacrificed, not for his policy (Fox news directors don't have policies, they follow edicts) but for letting his directive out of the bag.
On the job now for two years, news director Green also sticks by her news coverage, including the story on feces and bar glasses, in which 1 glass tested positive for trace excrement. "That would shock me, as viewer," she says. And Brad Dancer, who runs the station's marketing and research, says "We got a lot of viewer calls on the bar glasses. People were interested."
TV critics lament the sameness of local TV news - the same stories on every station, the same stories in every city. The bar glass story, or this February's "Perils of Pasta" report on people allergic to gluten, could run in any city. The dirty washing machine story, for example, came from a management meeting of Fox-owned affiliate stations. Another, a survival school story was an entertainment tie-in with America's Most Wanted.
"Stories are pedaled from station to station, so that a story that might have meaning in one place becomes meaningless in another - to the extent that the story becomes ridiculous," laments former anchor Hillary Howard.
One staffer speculates that last November's ratings drop came after a series of stories effectively promoted as "Hidden cameras! Confrontation! Investigations!" She continues, "when they put that word 'investigative' up on the screen, you just want to laugh out loud - what is that, the feces on the water glass? That's investigative?"
Even reporter Will Thomas, who did the poop story, admits the station promotion department went overboard and "did 'fecal matter in your face!'" The Fox station blames the Fox network for the poor showing, saying that weak network ratings are hurting local news.
No one can deny Fox is trying. Since last November's ratings drop, the Washington station has shifted away from the drama-for-drama's-sake style that appalled some staffers and apparently turned off many viewers. No more hidden cameras, menacing leads, and hype. Nowadays, the Fox station is back on more traditional territory, reporting on flood-damaged cars sold as new and how you can spot them, and stories on illegal trade in prescription pills.
"I've been here 3 years," says a reporter, Will Thomas, "and I've seen a drastic change. There was definitely a Fox style Here - it was very 'go out and grab ya'- but they've been toning it down the past year. Management does research and they realize the catchy over-the-top stuff is not necessarily appealing to the audience.
"The troubles at the Fox station are not so different from the problems facing local TV news everywhere. Instead of tuning in for a daily dose of news, weather and sports, audiences are increasingly slipping off to the Internet for information, to cable for entertainment.
Conflicting forces are as hard at work as at Fox as at any other commercial enterprise. "There is good work being done," says ex-anchor Hillary Howard, "but it's the exception, not the rule."
In TV as anywhere else, "good work" is difficult, time consuming, talent dependant, and often expensive. Then consider the easy reality of scary, titillating, slap-dash stories on crime, weather, or ? poop, and you won't need a crystal ball to divine the outcome.
(A former Hartford, Conn. local TV reporter, Alison Schafer is currently an associate professor of journalism at American University in Washington DC.)
REAL COST OF THE MICROSOFT verdict
The tech stock flameout was not just an odd coincidence. Economists Thomas Hazlett of the American Enterprise Institute and George Bittlingmayer of the University of California at Davis recently published a study in the Journal of Financial Economics reporting that whenever the government's antitrust suit scores a victory, an index of non-Microsoft computer stocks drops. When Microsoft wins a round, computer stocks rise. This makes no sense if you believe Microsoft is a pitiless monopolist engaged in systematic assaults on its competition. In that case, anything weakening Microsoft would benefit Microsoft enemies and friends alike. Suppliers and business partners would enjoy a stronger position in negotiating with Microsoft, and everybody would win except maybe people living on the Death Star.
But, when the industry as a whole rises and falls with Microsoft, you have to conclude that Bill Gates does not have the mark of the beast after all. You might also conclude that the government's punishment damages technological progress and consumer welfare. As Hazlett and Bittlingmayer put it, Those who invest their own resources are betting that markets will not be made more efficient, nor consumers be made better off, by a government success in U.S. vs. Microsoft."
There are plenty more reasons to fear the verdict. During Microsoft's reign of terror, computers have become faster, better and cheaper, more quickly than predictions from the most starry-eyed technophile. Gadgets that could have handled moon missions have become the province of preadolescent desktop games. Even the government's chief expert trial witness, MIT economist Franklin Fisher, admitted that Microsoft's behavior has not hurt consumers "up to this point." The damage is all supposed to happen sometime in the future. In other words, to date pure competition has rarely functioned better.
The Clinton administration decided otherwise, and the court agreed. Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson, in his findings issued Monday, said "Microsoft placed an oppressive thumb on the scale of competitive fortune, thereby effectively guaranteeing its continued dominance."
"Guaranteeing" is an imprudent word to apply to an industry perpetually evolving at warp speed, in directions not even Gates can predict or control. The government once thought IBM was so dominant in the computer industry that its success was guaranteed. Who's afraid of IBM today?
The trial made clear that Gates and Co. use tactics beyond the bounds of good sportsmanship, and may even have overstepped antitrust laws. But that's like discovering that offensive linemen sometimes get away with holding. Illicit tactics can also lead to widespread benefit. In a raucous, testosterone-laden marketplace, Capitalism is often ugly. The bigger question is whether Judge Jackson and the Justice Department have the tools to fix the imperfections of an unshackled market.
If the courts insist on dictating Microsoft's new terms of competition, Three things can happen, and - as the late Ohio State football coach Woody Hayes once said of throwing the football - two of them bad.
1) If the court's remedy is imperfect, it may achieve nothing: Approached by Microsoft for advice, Michael Cusumano of MIT's Sloan School of Management, advised "to settle and agree to almost any conduct remedies the government requested, because it wouldn't change that much in the industry."
2) The court's solution may do more harm than good, helping out a few of Microsoft's direct competitors, at the cost of crippling one of the most able companies in the world, and injuring all of us who've benefited from it.
3) The remedy, of course, may strike a perfect balance. We would strip Microsoft of its predatory excesses while continuing to benefit from its innovative zeal and relentless pursuit of technological improvement. A happy outcome is possible, of course. But I wouldn't bet the Nasdaq on it.
IN THE CLICHe
sECRETRY of State Andy Garcia, Attorney General Edward James Olmos, and Secretary of Defense Gloria Estevan, to name just three new cabinet members, are all on the case. ABC is considering a made-for-TV movie. Uniting everyone is a simple, solemn pledge: Do what's in "the best interest of the child." In this case, Elian Gonzalez, a.k.a. the boy in the cliche.
Excellent. I think we have the millennium's to go any farther. Stick to that "best interest" line and you're sure to be a winner. Who's going to argue? And for those adding that the kid's voice should be heard, let me tell you, I have a six year old. If I followed his"voice" it would tell me to spend all of my money on Pokemon cards. "Best interests of the child" joins an elite list of Grade "A"
OOCPs of the last 20 years:
"Whatever's necessary" As in, "In order to win the war on drugs, we need to do whatever's necessary." Suspending the Constitution and imposing Martial Law would be a good start. Haven't seen that yet. So I guess we're not really serious about that war on drugs.
"War on (anything)" As in, "the war on poverty - crime - child pornography" etc. The only true WAR we are fighting now occurs every Autumn Sunday when the Washington Redskins take the field and battle for my personal honor and glory.
"I take full responsibility" This one is particularly good when making an apology. Accidentally blow up a hospital or replace the wrong kidney? Just "take full responsibility." The beauty here is that just by saying it, you've put the issue to rest. The pedestrian assumption is that taking full responsibility involves some sort of punishment? Oh lighten up. I SAID it. I don't have to DO it.
"Poor judgement" This may be my favorite. Also a staple of apologies, this can cover an illicit affair or a mass murder. If only the U.S. government had used better "judgement" at Kent State in 1970.
Wait, then Neil Young would never have recorded "Four Dead In Ohio." I love that song. I guess you could say it was in my bestinterests that National Guards blew away four kids. It's not likeI knew them, and I got to hear a good song out of it.
Like any clich?, OOCPs save me the trouble and discomfort of thinking. I feel like the robot in that Star Trek episode whose brain fired when Harry Mudd told him he was lying. If you don't understand that reference, don't worry. "I take full responsibility."
2 cents from the Copy Boy:
My personal favorite ... "mistakes were made." I've already used it three times today in my weekend job as an air traffic controller.top
tHE BOOM TO COMe
New York you often overhear conversations about
business or the theater. In Washington people talk about public policy
I'm sitting in a movie theatre, waiting alone for 5:00pm showing of "The Talented Mr. Ripley" to begin on a Wednesday night. I am the only young person in the place. The rest of the folks are retired, mostly in their 70's. Two women sit down across from me:
Woman A: "You won't believe what Gloria paid for frozen ravioli. $1.79. What, does she think money grows on trees?"
Woman B: "And she says she doesn't want to mess with cooking. She should get off
of her tuchis!"
Two elderly couples take seats behind me. They start talking about one of the men's gallbladder problems and the medication he's taking. They keep gabbing through the trailers and into the start of the film. They are daring me to ask them to shut up. The commentary continues throughout the 2-hour plus film.
Don't get me wrong. This is not an elder-bashing screed. People who've lived a long time deserve respect. My stepfather is a World War II veteran and an excellent, if somewhat domineering, conversationalist. My in-laws are near retirement age, but seem far younger. They are wonderful people whom I not only love, but love spending time with. I'm not trying to indict an entire generation. I'm just talking about what I've seen and heard in public, in a place where seniors rule.
Is this the boom to come? The world as we'll know it when the gigantic baby boom hits retirement. Every time I visit a certain farm stand in Delray Beach I feel as if I've been catapulted into a future (my future) where younger people are a minority and the elderly are everywhere. "The Boys," as it's called, doesn't sell organic produce like most of the trendy places in Manhattan. You won't find $16 long-stemmed strawberries, but you will find fruits and vegetables that are fresh and affordable. The place is Mecca for elderly bargain shoppers. Every time I walk in there I need a good stiff drink.
The parking lot is always a mess, thronged with big cars that won't move, their drivers wanting a parking space that's five feet away from the entrance. These are not disabled people. They just don't want to walk very far. It usually takes ten minutes to park, a span of time during which you've done very little moving, and a lot of waiting around.
After negotiating the parking lot, you actually have to go into the store itself. This is when I brace myself, take a deep breath and try not to grit my teeth. You walk in the door and the place is packed. Every head is gray. Who else is out running errands during the middle of the day? Certainly not people with jobs.
The shoppers at "The Boys" have spent a lifetime learning that if you don't act aggressive, you get left in the dust. They will step in front of you at the bread counter, knowing that a young person probably won't say anything confrontational to a retiree. One shopper told my husband "You nearly took my toe off!" When he touched her shoe with his foot while reaching for a loaf of corn rye. If you hang around politely and wait for a senior to finish bagging her tomatoes, another one will elbow you out of the way when you're audacious enough to think it's your turn.
Once you get far enough into "The Boys" to reach a major food intersection, there's always a logjam. Eight people stand with carts, staring at each other; some stuck next
to the corn, trying to get over to the cucumbers, others wanting to push right through to the whitefish. Logic would say you should follow the four-way stop sign rule. Forget it. Everyone glares until someone just barges right through (usually me). Comments are made about rudeness. Once when I was stuck in such a standoff I spotted the sympathetic face of another non-senior. We exchanged glances and he said "You gotta have a lot of patience around here."
I've had similar senior experiences at the $2.00 movie theatre and a place called the Nail Depot. While I was waiting to pay for a manicure, an elderly patron cut me off. She insisted she should get a dollar discount even though she forgot to bring her coupon from the Sun Sentinel. The young cashier would not relent, saying "Sorry hon. Would you like to make another appointment for when you have the coupon?" I wanted to applaud her assertiveness.
I've seen my husband, Steve, stand up to pushy seniors, but it takes a lot to push his buttons. Recently when we were flying back from New York to West Palm Beach, he had gotten up to get something out of the overhead bin during the flight. After we
landed and the fasten seat belt light turned off, the 70-something woman in front of us stood up and said loudly: "We could have been killed! The young genius left the bin open."
The woman kept talking about him as if he weren't there, loudly maligning the "young" person who almost killed her. Steve politely explained that the latch was broken. She ignored him. Finally, he got her attention and chastised her, saying: "You have a very bad attitude." She looked shocked. Her husband gave Steve a grateful look as if to say, "Finally, someone is brave enough to talk back."
VIDEO STORE WITH JOn:
Compare and contrast - would Hollywood make "Boys Don't Cry" if the sex roles had been reversed - if the lead character was a young man pretending to be a woman and suffering the ultimate price for it? This question came to me recently. My initial response was, "Hollywood didn't make 'Boys Don't Cry,' Christine Vachon did."
Over the course of twenty films in the '90s, Vachon and her Killer Films company, have seriously pressed the envelope of American film, becoming in that time, one of the most important film producers in the world. So, you complain that Hollywood shows kids having a lot of sex but never seriously deals with the consequences of such activity? Vachon offers "Kids" to the world. Pedophilia and incest are taboo in Hollywood? Vachon gives us "Happiness." Didn't see many lesbians on screen a few years ago? Vachon made "Go Fish."
These are not all great movies. And they are not the first ones to deal with their various subjects. But they were all distributed and they were all SEEN. That's why Vachon is so important - because she takes on difficult subjects and not only gets them made, but puts them in front of the public. So my guess is that Vachon could have made "Boys Don't Cry" even if it featured a gender-challenged man. But could such a movie be embraced, promoted, and awarded with an Oscar? That's a more difficult question.
There are those who argue that River Phoenix was denied an Oscar nomination for "My Own Private Idaho" because he played a gay hustler. The last gay hustler to get a nomination was Jon Voight - and calling him a "gay hustler" in "Midnight Cowboy" is somewhat of a stretch given that he murdered his one homosexual client. I don't agree with the Phoenix slight, because I think that whole movie was an ambitious failure. But it's hard to imagine Hollywood going head over heels over an overtly gay male character.
You might argue that Hollywood has already recognized such a performance by giving Tom Hanks the Best Actor award for "Philadelphia." The fact that the movie is over-sanitized and lacking in all nuance doesn't completely diminish its importance. Hollywood did applaud a gay man. Of course, the award also came because the movie starred beautiful, likeable actors and arrived at a moment of public fascination with AIDS. (Translation - Big Box Office)
A better model might be Jaye Davison, nominated for his Role in "The Crying Game." Of course, that was not an American movie. There's little question that other countries have a more progressive view of homosexuality, at least in their popular culture. England has seen a number of sophisticated comedies about gay men in recent years, several of which ("Love and Death on Long Island" "Get Real" "Beautiful Thing") have gotten some attention in the US. And it's hard to imagine a television show like "Queer as Folk" coming on right after "Touched by an Angel." Canada produced perhaps the closest thing to a male version of "Boys Don't Cry" back in 1977 - the glorious "Outrageous."
It's not that the United States has yet to produce movies with transvestite characters. It's just that almost all of those movies have been safe. Either the transvestite was patently heterosexual, as in "Tootsie" or "Mrs. Doubtfire" (in which they were dressing up to actually preserve the traditionally defined family unit), or the film itself was simplified to the point of comedy, as in "To Wong Foo?"
About five years ago, I met Winnie Holzman, creator of the television show "My So-Called Life," among others. She said that her network handlers did not have a problem with the existence of a young gay man in the show. But they did have a problem with how REAL he was. Ricky Vasquez (played by Wilson Cruz) terrified the network because he was ffeminate in a realistic way - not in the swishy, comic caricatures common in most films that deal with homosexuality (see "To Wong Foo" above.) Holzman concluded that it was not homosexuality - but femininity - that frightened producers and directors. I think she may be right.
We're a masculine country. We love our guns. Our first film stars were the cowboys who settled life with violence. The feminine idea that we build community and settle matters with consensus and compromise seems much harder to sell, especially in a visual, visceral, physical medium like film. One of the first lessons of film school is "show it, don't tell it." It is easier to show physical confrontation. Certainly, there have been successful movies that have rejected physical confrontation - "Witness" is a great example.
After all this though, my guess is, that if Brandon Teena had been a young man masquerading as a woman, his story might have been told, but it would not be readily embraced or conventionally rewarded. In short, boys don't cry, but maybe they should. When we get ourselves a female president, maybe our movies will follow suit.
2 cents from the Copy Boy:
hollywood will award an Oscar to a movie where men engage in open corn field sex with other men the same year it makes an action prequel called: "hegel - the man, the dialectic, the car chase."
Next - Debate and Discuss:
In his new film "Black and White," New York yuppie and hipster poseur James Toback ridicules New York yuppies and hipster poseurs. Like disease-spreading Europeans arriving in the Americas, Toback depicts White New York yuppies spreading mayhem when they interfere in the city's Black ecosystem.
Is the movie message that Blacks and Whites are better off apart?
: Lizzy, Lousia, Holly
Outcome: She dumps your Fucking Ass, where you belong.
? 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004 ScreedMe.com