snap culture: April 2004

  1. Gretchen, 4/30/2004 0 comments
  2. Gretchen, 4/30/2004 0 comments
  3. Gretchen, 4/30/2004 0 comments
  4. Gretchen, 4/30/2004 0 comments
  5. Gretchen, 4/29/2004 0 comments
  6. Barbara Martinez, 4/29/2004 0 comments
  7. William, 4/28/2004 0 comments
  8. Barbara Martinez, 4/28/2004 0 comments
  9. Sam, 4/27/2004 0 comments
  10. Gretchen, 4/27/2004 0 comments
  11. Sam, 4/26/2004 0 comments
  12. Gretchen, 4/26/2004 0 comments
  13. Barbara Martinez, 4/26/2004 0 comments
  14. William, 4/26/2004 0 comments
  15. William, 4/26/2004 0 comments
  16. Barbara Martinez, 4/26/2004 0 comments
  17. Gretchen, 4/25/2004 0 comments
  18. Gretchen, 4/25/2004 0 comments
  19. Gretchen, 4/23/2004 0 comments
  20. Gretchen, 4/23/2004 0 comments
  21. Gretchen, 4/23/2004 0 comments
  22. ben, 4/23/2004 0 comments
  23. William, 4/23/2004 0 comments
  24. William, 4/21/2004 0 comments
  25. ben, 4/20/2004 0 comments
  26. William, 4/15/2004 0 comments
  27. William, 4/14/2004 0 comments
  28. William, 4/13/2004 0 comments
  29. ben, 4/10/2004 0 comments
  30. ben, 4/08/2004 0 comments
  31. William, 4/08/2004 0 comments
  32. ben, 4/06/2004 0 comments
  33. William, 4/06/2004 0 comments
  34. William, 4/06/2004 0 comments
  35. ben, 4/05/2004 0 comments
  36. William, 4/05/2004 0 comments
  37. William, 4/05/2004 0 comments
  38. ben, 4/04/2004 0 comments
  39. ben, 4/03/2004 0 comments

4/30/2004 Add a comment

Mort Zuckerman might pay for me to go to Harvard's Kennedy School!

Because really, what all of us law school grads need is another degree. Believe me. It's not the degree or the education that we need. It's the heart for public service. And you can't get that with a $10 million donation. Gretchen

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4/30/2004 Add a comment

Kate Winslet talks about how it feels to watch a teenager undergo major plastic surgery to look just like her (thanks, of course, to MTV's I Want A Famous Face). Gretchen

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4/30/2004 Add a comment

Kristin, at Eonline, tells us the ten things she learned from Friends over the years.

She forgot the one about how if you end up on a hit sitcom, you should clearly hold out for a $1,000,000 per episode salary and how if you ever leave aforementioned hit sitcom, you should be sure to go on every talk show in the country and cry for the cameras about how you will miss the "show" (read: the fat paycheck.) Gretchen

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4/30/2004 Add a comment

Slate dissects the Teen Girl Phenomenon. Best line? "Hilary Duff champions the wholesome girl-next-door image while still offering the underage sexuality that Britney Spears so memorably employed at the beginning of her career. (Sometimes it's tough to differentiate Duff from Spears, with their orangey tan, fake blond hair, too-trendy fringe, and football-player eyeliner.)" Finally, someone else notices! Gretchen

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4/29/2004 Add a comment

The Return of the Snakehead! I just came here to post the snakehead story and Babs beat me to it. Seriously, this is the BEST STORY the Washington Post has ever run. The snakehead is terrifying; it walks between ponds; and, according to Dave's article, it bites. I'm totally writing a screenplay on this. You heard it here first. Gretchen

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4/29/2004 Add a comment

Ack! The scary fish is back! And you can read all about it in this story by my good friend Dave Fahrenthold. It can grow to almost 4 feet long and you could meet it on your morning run or evening stroll because this fish walks. Now all that is scary, but the reason the scary fish, aka, snakehead, sends a shiver up my spine is because we Washingtonians were first introduced to them in a singularly scary year. There was anthrax, we invaded Afghanistan, there were snipers, and not too long after, SARS. If you happened to be in Loudoun county, there was also malaria and West Nile Virus. And in the middle of it all, a non-native fish that could climb out of a pond when it had eaten all the littler fish and walk to the next one to keep on feasting.

People are scary. But nature fiddled with by people is even scarier. Barbara Martinez

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4/28/2004 Add a comment

Oh my god. What a glamorous wedding! Thanks to NewYorkish, which cribbed from Uffish. We know where New York is. Where's Uff? William

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4/28/2004 Add a comment

Wow, the new look is something. Cowboys and Indians! Maybe this will scare those google folks into inviting me to join gmail... Barbara Martinez

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4/27/2004 Add a comment

A parents group opposed to their school district's "safe schools" program (intended to protect gay & lesbian students) distributed pamphlets containing a photo from the news article 1998 Homosexual-Recruitment Drive Nearing Goal. STOP member Marilyn Ashworth said:
"We knew it was a gay paper and we hold that even as a joke, the gay community is proud of their advancements into the safe schools program in the U.S. We don't think homosexuality in schools is a joke."

Asked whether she believed it was a real photo, Ashworth said the caption included the teacher's name, city, state and grade.
Sam

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4/27/2004 Add a comment

Harvard is changing its undergraduate curriculum. One of the highlights: students will no longer be able to graduate without knowing the difference between a gene and a chromosome. All I can say: I got out of there just in time. Gretchen

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4/26/2004 Add a comment

can you see the blog text ok over the background? Sam

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4/26/2004 Add a comment

JuJu at The Skinny Daily agrees with me about The Swan, and tells it much better than I can. Plus, she includes links for those of you inclined to protest these things. Gretchen

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4/26/2004 Add a comment

Okay, I've always looked askance at cruises, but I have to admit that these photos of the Queen Mary II's maiden arrival in NYC (which apparently is a huge deal?) are pretty impressive. Although the one from a window during a storm at sea makes me a little queasy just looking at it. Barbara Martinez

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4/26/2004 Add a comment

The NYT's great film critic Elvis Mitchell is reportedly leaving the paper as one of his colleagues, A.O. Scott, is being promoted above him. It's too bad, as Mitchell's pieces have been consistently intelligent, witty and critical. Talk is that he'll maybe get out of journalism, going either to Academia or to running a production company. William

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4/26/2004 Add a comment

What would a Neo-Con letter to Penthouse look like? From Wonkette. William

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4/26/2004 Add a comment

Yee-ikes... Well, here's a more uplifting article on the reproductive rights movement. Hank Steuver once again gives us great coverage of news with an eye for broader cultural significance. And funny slogans: "Leggo My Eggo!" Barbara Martinez

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4/25/2004 Add a comment

Most Appalling Comment of the Day: Bush Advisor says that abortion means the terrorists win
"I think that after September 11, the American people are valuing life more and we need policies to value the dignity and worth of every life," she said. "President Bush has worked to say, let's be reasonable, let's work to value life, let's reduce the number of abortions, let's increase adoptions. And I think those are the kinds of policies the American people can support, particularly at a time when we're facing an enemy and, really, the fundamental issue between us and the terror network we fight is that we value every life."

See the article for yourself here.
Gretchen

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4/25/2004 Add a comment

Tina Fey is everywhere! See her interviewed in the New York Times, featured in the Washington Post, and from back in November, profiled in The Believer. Mean Girls comes out on Friday and as someone who had no trouble believing the contention of the original source material (that teen girls are mean! nasty! and brutish!), I'm looking forward to seeing it. Plus, as my boyfriend keeps pointing out in amusement, one of the Mean Girls shares my name. Gretchen

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4/23/2004 Add a comment

Who is Britney Spears' true love? The New York Times proposes a candidate: Britney's Mom. As Alessandra Stanley describes the relationship between Spears Elder and Younger, "Theirs is the kind of true romance that only a show-biz mom could love."

I am SO watching this on Sunday night. Gretchen

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4/23/2004 Add a comment

In the hysteria surrounding the end of Friends, a sexual harrassment lawsuit filed by a terminated writer's assistant on the show gives some insight into the "creative process" that generated the hit TV show. Amaani Lyle, the former assistant, was hired effectively to transcribe the conversations the writers would have while developing scripts, with the goal of producing accurate records of decent jokes, hit lines, and story ideas. She was fired four months later, ostensibly for failing to type as quickly as her application had promised. She subsequently hit the writers with a sexual harrassment lawsuit. All of that seems fairly normal--but here's the kicker. The conduct that she describes--sexually coarse, vulgar and demeaning language, disparaging comments about the fertility of a female actor on the show, speculation on the sex lives of the actors, physical imitations of sexual activity, vulgar drawings on calendars and other public materials, and extensive recaps of personal sexual experiences--seems not to have been contested by the defendants. Of course, they argue that it was taken out of context and that it sounds worse than it really was, but they admit to the substance of many of the allegations. So what's their defense? They say that it was creatively necessary for developing a show about sexually active young adults. Quoted directly from the court opinion:

"Here, defendants argue the sexually explicit conversations among the writers were not gratuitous but had a compelling business purpose: to generate ideas for jokes, dialogue and story ideas for the show which routinely contains sexual innuendos and adult humor and situations. According to the defendants no alternative to these sexual brainstorming sessions exists. As a writers' assistant tasked with taking notes on these jokes, dialogue and story lines Lyle had to be present during the entire session, even when the writers were discussing their personal sexual exploits or fantasies, because, as Malins explained, 'you just never knew when something was going to pop up.'" (LYLE v. WARNER BROS. TV PRODUCTIONS, 2004 Cal. App. LEXIS 579)

The court pretty much slammed that one down by refusing to rule in the defendant's behalf, saying that these were issues for a jury to determine. And I've got to say--while it's easy to see how the defendants could argue that they were simply engaged in the creative process, the more vile parts of the opinion (which I have not quoted) lend some heft to Ms. Lyle's contention that she was subjected to a hostile work environment. My bet is that both parties will now settle under seal, but if this went to a jury trial, it could be a fascinating ride. Gretchen

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4/23/2004 Add a comment

I saw 10 minutes of The Swan last night. It made me cry. No, not because of the heart-warming transformations, but because of how utterly degrading and narrow the show was. To first tell these women that they are so ugly that they cannot be fixed without expensive and painful surgical procedures--and to then transform them into Stepford wives--and then, to pit them against each other in a competition to enter a beauty pageant--is abusive not only to these women but also to the viewers. Just think of all of the 10-year-old girls who start to believe that like last night's contestant, they should not "face the world" until they are surgically perfected. (Heck, just think of all the 25-year-old women who begin to seriously consider lipo or a nose job.) Women will never be equal while shows like The Swan commodify our appearances and perpetuate norms of impossible beauty. There's nothing wrong with wanting to look better--but there are a million things wrong with telling women that they can't possibly be beautiful as themselves, that they can't "face the world" with confidence and a smile without looking like a Barbie doll. Gretchen

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4/23/2004 Add a comment

"Please don't let your loved ones go to hell without trying to rescue them!" implores Growing Pains star Kirk Cameron on his religious site, The Way of the Master.

(link via metafilter) ben

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4/23/2004 Add a comment

A new sporting trend: Russian hockey players leaving the NHL to return and play in the Russian Super League. Granted, many are getting older and the Russian cost of living is lower, so it's an attractive deal. But what could be even more interesting is if the NHL has a lockout next season, a flood of players, including Jagr and Gonchar, could wind up playing in Russia.

Okay, that's more than enough hockey for awhile. William

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4/21/2004 Add a comment

Because of a few "actors" testing positive for HIV, California is considering mandatory condom use in porn videos. The porn industry is against it because they say it would hurt their bottom line and cause production to go underground.

I was astonished by this sentence on page 2 of the story: "That initiative gained new impetus last week after two performers tested positive for HIV, prompting a virtual shutdown of porn film production under a 60-day moratorium while the industry awaits results of tests on 47 other individuals who had sexual contact with the infected actors." William

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4/20/2004 Add a comment

The most overlooked and underappreciated page on the Onion? The Horoscopes. Particularly brilliant this week...as is the op-ed by James Brown's wife.

Okay, maybe Red Meat is more overlooked. ben

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4/15/2004 Add a comment

Combining Frogger and the Helicopter game, Fishy is the most addictive online game out there. The game is simple (aren't all the best ones that way?): eat smaller fish to get bigger, and avoid being eaten by a bigger fish. William

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4/14/2004 Add a comment

More proof of the fakeness of reality TV, this time in a quite thoughtful essay about one man's experience with "The Apprentice" juggernaut. In a task involving the renovation and renting of Brooklyn apartments, one of the apartments was above his own. Turns out the rental negotiations for that apartment were a sham, and that the winning results were possibly rigged.

If you are interested in more on this phenomenon, check out the upcoming reruns (April 28 and May 6) of this VH1 special, and be on the lookout for yours truly. William

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4/13/2004 Add a comment

We all saw this coming. I'm surprised it lasted that long. William

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4/10/2004 Add a comment

A couple of interesting blogs to check out:

Rance is supposedly a "legit" actor in Hollywood blogging with a pseudonym. A quick google of gossip finds this attributed to George Clooney, Owen Wilson, John Cusack or some second-tier actor. See if you can figure it out.

Blog Maverick is the official blog of Mark Cuban, the owner of the Dallas Mavericks. He's got a reality t.v. show coming out in the fall too where he gives someone a million bucks out of his own money. It's called "The Benefactor." Whatever. Also, he pays someone to keep amazing stats on officiating in the NBA, and posts some interesting chit-chat about owning a sports team. Who knew that three-second violations were down 25% in the last two weeks relative to the rest of the season? ben

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4/08/2004 Add a comment

More on Peeps from Slate: Why Eat Peeps at Easter? - How the marshmallow chicks found Jesus. I had no idea that Peeps were such a big deal in the journalistic world. ben

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4/08/2004 Add a comment

Like the folks at NewYorkish say, this is funny and creepy. Some guy likes to go around finding famous people to take pictures with his son. He's got quite an impressive roster, but it seems like he gets many of them by waiting around at book signings. William

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4/06/2004 Add a comment

I made this joke about two months ago, but it's great when The Boondocks perfectly aligns with my sense of humor. I mean come on, Jim Cazavezezeviel is from Eastern Washington state! He's no Jesus! ben

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4/06/2004 Add a comment

These are some fantastic ads. I don't know if they've been widely released on television, but they are worth a look here on the web. William

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4/06/2004 Add a comment

WashPost's David Segal on the travesty of copyright owners letting great songs be coopted by companies to sell things. In this instance, taking The Turtles' "Happy Together" and making it about Applebees' surf 'n turf.

This story of Segal's comes on the heels of another one he recently wrote on the anniversary of Kurt Cobain's death. William

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4/05/2004 Add a comment

The first infinite ERA of the season goes to Damaso Marte of the White Sox. See the boxscore and more commentary on my blog. ben

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4/05/2004 Add a comment

Slate also had a decent criticism of ESPN's "SportsCenter" recently, though it still is the premiere sports show on television and consistently stays at a fairly high quality. William

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4/05/2004 Add a comment

I have long espoused this, and now Slate is backing me up. The origin of the phrase "March Madness" is the Illinois High School Association's annual state basketball tournament. William

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4/04/2004 Add a comment

Everything you ever wanted to know about Peeps. The average American eats 2.3 of 'em each year...have you had yours yet? ben

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4/03/2004 Add a comment

Looks like Shaolin Soccer is finally going to make it on the big screen here in the U.S., minus a half hour of ass-kicking, or so.

In other big soccer news, today is Freddy Adu's DC United debut, broadcast nationally on ABC at 4 E.T. ben

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