snap culture: July 2004

  1. ben, 7/27/2004 49 comments
  2. William, 7/27/2004 3 comments
  3. William, 7/27/2004 1 comments
  4. ben, 7/26/2004 0 comments
  5. William, 7/22/2004 0 comments
  6. William, 7/22/2004 0 comments
  7. ben, 7/22/2004 0 comments
  8. William, 7/22/2004 0 comments
  9. William, 7/21/2004 1 comments
  10. William, 7/20/2004 0 comments
  11. ben, 7/19/2004 0 comments
  12. Ian, 7/16/2004 0 comments
  13. William, 7/16/2004 0 comments
  14. William, 7/16/2004 0 comments
  15. William, 7/15/2004 1 comments
  16. William, 7/15/2004 0 comments
  17. William, 7/14/2004 0 comments
  18. William, 7/14/2004 0 comments
  19. William, 7/14/2004 1 comments
  20. ben, 7/13/2004 2 comments
  21. Ian, 7/13/2004 2 comments
  22. Ian, 7/12/2004 0 comments
  23. ben, 7/09/2004 0 comments
  24. William, 7/08/2004 0 comments
  25. ben, 7/07/2004 0 comments
  26. ben, 7/07/2004 0 comments
  27. ben, 7/07/2004 0 comments
  28. William, 7/06/2004 0 comments
  29. William, 7/05/2004 0 comments
  30. William, 7/02/2004 0 comments
  31. William, 7/02/2004 0 comments
  32. William, 7/01/2004 0 comments

7/27/2004 Add a comment

Bobby Fischer is currently being detained in Japan for the US government due to his decision in 1992 to play a rematch against Spassky in then-sanctioned Yugoslavia. What a nutcase. Salon has the details. [watch the ad for the day-pass, it's worth the read.]

(Link from Zap) ben

Comments

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7/27/2004 Add a comment

Mark Leibovich has a very good profile of Barack Obama, the Illinois Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate. What's best is the lede (journo-speak for "beginning of the story"), which mentions my hometown. William

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7/27/2004 Add a comment

Howie Kurtz reports from Boston on the unconventional media covering the convention. It's a tired story, but he gets good quotes from Jon Stewart and Ana Marie Cox (aka Wonkette). William

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7/26/2004 Add a comment

Is this headline from the Onion or CNN:

Saddam 'gardens, eats muffins'.

Quote:
"Saddam Hussein spends his time writing poems, tending a garden, and eating American muffins and cookies."

Yeah, you guessed wrong. He sounds like he has the interests of a thirteen-year-old girl. I bet his poems are all about horses. ben

Comments

7/22/2004 Add a comment

McSweeney's has a good list of possible follow-up songs for one-hit wonders. (link via NewYorkish) William

Comments

7/22/2004 Add a comment

Oh gag. A group of mostly southern belles in DC has formed a club for aspiring trophy wives. Does it surprise that at least 80% of the Madison Club is Republican? A member of the male-equivalent Capital Club says, "We're starting a breeding program. We're going to maintain the blue-blood line." Doesn't it bother anyone these days that a blonde graduate of Alabama or Ole Miss thinks she can still arrive in Washington, twirl her hair, flash some cleavage, and think she can run the town or at least land a congressman? (link via Wonkette) William

Comments

7/22/2004 Add a comment

The mass-forwarded spoof of "This Land is Your Land" has been deemed an "Internet Phenomenon"by the Boston Globe, so now you know it's official.

The guys behind this are making the rounds on TV in the next few days as well, so keep an eye out for them.



ben

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7/22/2004 Add a comment


Who are those women who kiss the stage winners of the Tour de France? French models hired by Tour sponsors as "hostesses." Even though it is forbidden for them to cavort with the riders outside of the podium area, a few riders have plucked the forbidden fruit in the past, causing one to lose her job (they are now engaged and she's expecting). The sad thing? The hostesses became corporate about 15 years ago. Before that, they were just local women from whatever village hosted the stage's finish line.


William

Comments

7/21/2004 Add a comment

Surprised I haven't seen this before. The official rules to calling shotgun. From Monkeyfilter, via Newyorkish.
William

Comments

  1. Blogger ben: divide up shotgun fairly on long trips? what kind of crap is that? the best time to have shotgun is long trips. if you can't keep it until the next rest stop, what's the point? 7/21/2004  

7/20/2004 Add a comment

The Christian comedy scene is starting to take off around DC. The big question: can a comedian be Christian comedian if he cleans up his act for a Christian audience and then goes on to do raunchy material the next night?
William

Comments

7/19/2004 Add a comment

Does it make sense to compare the Shaq & Kobe fallout to the up-and-down relationship of DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince?
 
Will Smith thinks so.

Me, I'm not so sure.

ben

Comments

7/16/2004 Add a comment

The following is copied directly from the Partners Healthcare, Inc. weekly "Perks" email highlighting 'discounted' tickets, cell phone plans, raffles, and the like: 
  
  
This week's featured tickets/performances currently on sale: (1)  New!  UniverSoul Circus  - has created a world all its own - a circus tradition like no other. BWH/MGH/PHS employees can purchase box seat tickets for the performance on Sunday, August 8, 2004 at 1:00 p.m. for $15.00 each.  (No discount available, but this price does not include the regular service or handling charges - typically found at Ticketmaster). It’s a magical world of electrifying performances, singing and dancing, aerialists, elephants, acrobats and chimpanzees. Join Casual Cal, the world’s first African American Ringmaster, under the UniverSoul big top at Brockton Fairgrounds.  UniverSoul Circus provides a one-of-a-kind showplace for performers from around the world. UniverSoul is a blend of circus artistry and urban showmanship never before witnessed under the big top.   The music, the rhythm and energy are a part of our unique formula. Tickets may be purchased at the BWH Perks Office Tower 2D-94 during regular ticket selling times.  Limit 6 tickets per employee with hospital ID badge.  Tickets will be sold on a first come basis!  For more information, visit website:  <http://www.universoulcircus.com/index.html
  
 
Clearly, it's "The Black Circus."  Why can't they say this?  This synopsis rivals the 'urban' music radio category and a pro athletes being praised for 'athleticism' for its euphamistic take on race--on one hand trying hard to capitalize on the associations brought up by phrases like 'urban showmanship' but at the same time trying to be PC by not being explicit about them. 




Ian

Comments

7/16/2004 Add a comment

Sorry ESPN, but "clutchest" is not a word.
William

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7/16/2004 Add a comment

Several good things today. Slate asks, "Is Math a Sport?" I say no. And I have authority, too, as the former math club president at Springfield High School and a frequent competitor in the state competition. But I was more of a leader than a mathlete, and never won any medals.

From New Yorkish, this fabulous online parody of "This Land is Your Land," and a Little Rock pimp gets his day in court. Love the outfit.
William

Comments

7/15/2004 Add a comment

Slate has a quiz to help you figure out whether you are a red stater or a blue stater. I was in the middle, but I attribute that to my worldly knowledge of both liberal and conservative culture thanks to my interest in politics and culture and my midwest roots. Oh, and I love, love, love the scantron. I hadn't seen a scantron sheet in years. William

Comments

  1. Blogger ben: Yep, I'm also in the middle. Knowing the "red" pop culture stuff (Dr. Laura, Jim Cazazazoo, Earnhardt), Midwest geography (the UP, Door County, Quad Cities), and guessing right on a couple of others (Rush's show length, Toby Keith) put me dead in the middle as well.

    I didn't know Avenue Q, didn't know the eighth commandment, and didn't know who wrote the book of revelations. So sue me.
    7/15/2004  

7/15/2004 Add a comment

Hooray! Fox's Arrested Development, the greatest scripted show on television, got several Emmy nominations! William

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7/14/2004 Add a comment

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7/14/2004 Add a comment

In his weekly chat, Gene Weingarten gives a very good analysis of Fahrenheit 911, and it's one that I largely agree with.

This movie, despite its marketing claims, is not a "documentary." A documentary strives for some sort of balance, and this strives for no balance whatsoever. And it is only when you jettison that misleading label that you can appreciate it for what it is.

Michael Moore is an immature jerk, and the movie reflects that. He is also a wild-eyed partisan, an unapologetic polemicist, and a willing distorter of facts, and the movie reflects all that. He is also a funny guy, and the movie reflects that. Watching it is like watching a very articulate, screamingly funny street lunatic rail from a soapbox in front of the White House. You don't believe everything he says, but you ain't going nowhere until he is finished, and sometimes you walk away thinking you picked up something of value.

...

However, what is left when you trashcan all the silliness is a movie that is extremely entertaining -- heart-wrenching in parts, and really funny in parts. It's a major emotional whipsaw, and it works...

William

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7/14/2004 Add a comment

Boy, Fox News, you are so Fair and Balanced (tm), as these memos clearly show! (Link from Wonkette) William

Comments

  1. Blogger Sam: Mentioned in Robert Greenwald's upcoming documentary "Outfoxed". Sixty Minutes and WGBH Frontline(!) have so far refused to license their own footage for Greenwald's use, for fear of appearing too political. All that "liberal bias" rhetoric pays off, I guess.

    The Atlantic described Misperceptions, the Media, and the Iraq War:

    After discovering that Saddam Hussein was both actively supporting Al Qaeda and deploying WMDs, the United States, with the full support of the international community, invaded Iraq in March, 2003. This largely inaccurate statement was not torn from a premature draft of the official Bush history of the Iraq War. Rather, it was what roughly 60 percent of Americans believed—-in sum or in part-—in the aftermath of the war. According to a study conducted by researchers at the University of Maryland, during and immediately following the Iraq War more than half of Americans believed that Saddam was a major supporter of al-Qaeda. Roughly a third believed that Iraq had deployable or deployed WMD and that most of the world supported the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq.

    The first and the third statements are known to be false; the second is widely accepted to be. So how did so many people get so much wrong? Part of the answer, obviously, is politics: Bush backers, according to the study, were much more likely to believe at least one of the three points than Bush bashers. But the media--and in particular one well-known "fair and balanced" news outlet—-seem to have played a part in promoting false beliefs. Whereas only 23 percent of those who relied on NPR or PBS for information about public affairs believed one or more of the propositions, 55 percent of those who relied on CNN did—-and 80 percent of those who relied on Fox News did. One might speculate that Bush supporters are more likely to watch (and believe) Rupert Murdoch's news outlets than either Ted Turner's or public broadcasting's. But viewers' preconceived political notions are clearly not the whole story: the Maryland researchers found that whereas 78 percent of Bush supporters who watched Fox were misinformed, only 50 percent of Bush supporters who got their news from PBS and NPR were.
    7/15/2004  

7/13/2004 Add a comment

Fun fact that will only interest me:

The creator of NBC's "For Love or Money":

J.D. Roth, best known as the host of "Fun House", the game show from the late 80s.

Catch phrases that I can remember:

"Let's go into the FUN HOUSE!"

"Tiny, tell them what they've won!"

Glad to see J.D. has gone on to bigger and better things. But as for his sidekick Tiny, he's made the move, well, to behind the camera. Not as a director or anything, but to a clapper loader. What the heck is a clapper loader?

From IMDB: The person who operates the clapboard at the beginning of a shot, also responsible for loading film stock into film magazines. The action of slapping the clapper was invented as a way of synchronizing the visual and audio components of a shot. Recent innovations in audio-visual synchronization have made this unnecessary, but it still occurs extensively.

(my emphasis added). That's right, Tiny is now serving as an unnecessary assistant to TV movies. It's a sad day for all of us who remember him so fondly. Why isn't he coming up with crazy reality-t.v. premises? ben

Comments

  1. Blogger ben: I saw this on the t.v. at the gym, if anyone was wondering. It was on the t.v. next to the home run derby. Sammy choked. He whiffed on two pitches, proving that even in batting practice he has no discipline at the plate. 7/13/2004  
  2. Blogger William: This matters to me, too! (And I noticed this way back at the beginning of FLOM 1, by the way. I'm not ashamed to admit it.)

    Don't forget that the clapper-loader also loads the film canisters, hence the "loader" part.
    7/13/2004  

7/13/2004 Add a comment

Debbie Clemens, wife of Roger, has a website--I got to it through a Slate article so it's not that great a find. However, I suggest taking a stroll through her site and learning about the four F's, Family, Fitness, Fashion, and Fun! Who among us hasn't wondered what snack bars are preferred by a real pro athlete's wife. And check the 'baseballs and butterflies' online store. Crappy stuff made valuable by...a Roger Clemens autograph! A perfect metaphor for the insulated life a professional athlete's wife. That's what's so ridiculous about the whole 'I did it, so can you!' fitness advice. Considering that she works on about one project a year, her mantra of 'balance' and 'goals' is insulting to the majority of women in this country who work *and* have families. Most people whose lives are so disconnected from everyday realities have the self-awareness not to self-indulge by offering 'advice' on the web. And don't get me started on the music or butterfly cursor. Up next, retirement planning tips from the Hilton sisters. Ian

Comments

  1. Blogger William: Nope, it's Debbie's added rhinestone flair that makes the hat worthwhile! And only $75! 7/13/2004  
  2. Blogger meghan: Here is another website of an MLB player's wife, Anna Benson of Chris Benson fame. www.annabenson.net

    I wonder what Chris Benson thinks of his wife's website. I feel kinda dirty just posting a comment about it.
    7/14/2004  

7/12/2004 Add a comment



The singer Amanda Latona was the subject of an Aug 2002 NYT Sunday Magazine story (do a find word for 'latona' on this page--sorry, this is the only free copy of the original article I could find). Well, nearly 2 years later things haven't been going that well for her. Not only did she break up with her boyfriend Backstreeter AJ McClean, but J-Records dropped her and she's still waiting to put out (no pun intended) her debut album. This is not really that interesting in itself--what fascinates me is the devotion of her fans that's still going strong 2 years later. What in particular about this manufactured 2nd-place-in-a-bikini-contest (sounds like a Community Chest card) singer reached these girls in such a meaningful way? Check the 'video' footage under the 'media' tab, a cheesy 'bikini' contest from last november 2003 that reminds one more of a hooters interview than the sugar and spice of teen pop. Also, read the 17 globe spanning comments to Amanda's bold all-caps email on the same webpage--what is going on here? It suggests the existence of some massive pop 'underground' that rivals the 'real' underground. In some ways, these girls are even more 'indie' than the pitchfork boys, I mean pitchfork only reviews albums that one can actually purchase--Amanda is so indie she's never released an album!
For more examples of Amanda fandom, do a google search--you're grow-up I'm sure you can handle it without me hand-holding your way to links. Go Amanda. Yay! Ian

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7/09/2004 Add a comment

How should I put this?

Inadvertently destroyed, my white ass!

That works.

Also, does anyone else think it's fishy that the day after Kerry chooses Edwards to many gushing positive headlines that Tom Ridge issues a warning of a possible attack on America the very next day to steal the headlines back? He offered no details whatsoever and didn't raise the threat level. Any time there's a need to bump a front page story, give Tom Ridge a call and he'll take care of it, scaring us all back into our bomb shelters after a couple of days of handshaking, hugging, photo-opping optimism. ben

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7/08/2004 Add a comment

If you can sit through a commercial for the Salon day pass, then I suggest this article that highlights the 10 worst/best news anchor flubs, with clips! William

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7/07/2004 Add a comment

Can anyone find the point of this horrendous column by the New York Times' George Vecsey on the Tour de France? As far as I can tell, the next-to-last sentence is supposed to be the point: "It's a goofy spectacle, this Tour de France." But the rest of the column has basically nothing to do with the Tour or anything else. Vecsey mentions that he saw Sheryl Crow there at the start, and the king of Belgium at the finish line, but there's nothing even close to substance in between. Some allusions to the history of the region, some nonsense about people waving to the cars that drive by, and complaints of how the European press smokes, and you call that a sports column?

My question is, why does Vecsey try to make cycling seem so foreign? It's an American who's the current champion, and riding a bike is a fairly universal experience, so why does Vecsey go out of his way to describe the Tour as a "goofy spectacle" and to keep mentioning "Old Europe" as though it's a quaint ride at EuroDisney?

And my next question is, how long until the U.S. hosts a hugely popular bike race like the Tour? Are there any American races that have a fan following at all? I can't think of any off the top of my head. ben

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7/07/2004 Add a comment

Lots of people are asking Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, "How could you let the All-Star and fan favorite Steve Nash go"? Cuban responds on his blog, Blog Maverick ben

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7/07/2004 Add a comment

Great quote today from the AP as Lance Armstrong takes the yellow jersey in the Tour de France:

"Armstrong...smiled broadly as he crossed the line, riding a special aerodynamic bike and wearing an aerodynamic helmet and suit."

What did you think he was riding, your little sister's pink Schwinn with a basket on the front and ribbons on the handles? Baseball card in the spokes?

Is this some kind of new "special bike" that's "aerodynamic"?

Come on AP reporter, we know that professional cyclists wear form-fitting jersey, bike shorts, sleek helmets, and they don't ride freaking mountain bikes. This description of a "special aerodynamic" bike does not add to the setting or the significance, nor does it provide a visual of the bike or outfit. Simply atrocious stuff from the AP who should know better. ben

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7/06/2004 Add a comment

The WashPost catches up with the "Hoop Dreams" kids. One, William Gates, is a pastor, while the other, Arthur Agee, is trying to make his living with a "Hoop Dreams"-inspired clothing line. One of the more interesting points: the two have sired eight children between them. Gates has four with his wife, and Agee has four with four different women. William

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7/05/2004 Add a comment

Hollywood producers are adding more international actors to their films in an effort to combat domestic box office bombs. They hope foreign stars will help worldwide profits, like Ken Watanbe (right) did for "The Last Samurai" in Japan, where it made more money than it did in the U.S. Film producers are also suggesting that there is a trend away from traditional shoot-em-up American action heroes in the post 9/11 world.

Also from the Times: A visit to the Museum of Television and Radio, one of my favorites in NYC.

William

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7/02/2004 Add a comment

Slate's Jack Shafer asks a question I've been wondering: How did newspapers review Clinton's 957-page book so quickly? Answer: They didn't read it all the way through or very thoroughly. William

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7/02/2004 Add a comment

Dan Froomkin, in his WP White House chat, asks readers to submit questions they want to ask President Bush. He gets some Michael Moore-esque suggestions. William

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7/01/2004 Add a comment

Probably not true, but a tale of one computer programmer who outsourced his job to India. Link from NewYorkish. William

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