Hooray for Captain Spaulding

Friday, February 17, 2006

After seeing the DVD for The Kid Stays in the Picture documentary* on sale for $4.99 at Big Lots!, I asked Robert Evans if he had any thoughts on the matter. This is what he said:
Does it hurt? Of course. It feels like a thousand tiny Spartans are stabbing my heart with a thousand tiny spears. Each! Each of the Spartans are holding a thousand tiny spears and stabbing my heart with them. How is that possible? I don't know. That's just how it feels. Write your own goddamn metaphors if you don't like it.

But you know, it's times like these that seperate the men from the boys and I'm not talking about a court order, buddy. The Chinese use the same word for crisis and opportunity. And that sort of know-how is why the Chinks are kicking America's ass in the manufacture of cheap tschotkes. When life hands you lemons, you have to grab life by the lapels, squeeze its throats, and say "Screw you and your crappy lemons! Lemons cost 70-cents each. I'll buy my own goddamn lemons!"

*I guess it's silly to give the Amazon link when I just told you you can get it for $5 elsewhere.

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A Slate report on a study of the long-run impact of TV on test scores. The reason for the study is that most of your TV-impact studies don't take income into effect; no-or-little-TV-kiddies tend to be from high-income families. So the study uses the early days of TV to compare test results from 1965 based on how much TV was actually available to the kids. The idea is that since TV was available in Denver in 1948 and in Seattle in 1952, high school kids of 1965 from Denver would potentially have more exposure to TV than the Seattle kids. Or to avoid effects of different cities, you compare 6th-graders of 1965 in Denver (who grew up with TV their entire lives) with high-schoolers of 1965 (who didn't). The result: no discernable effect (other than a slight bump for ESL kids with potential access to TV).

Speaking of Slate and kids and TV, here's a Slate review of The Electric Company DVD set. In discussing whether a show like that could/would be made today, the author indicates that today's "Hollywood stars" wouldn't be willing to make the commitment of eight-hour-days of work. This ignores the fact that only two famous-at-the-time actors in The Electric Company were Bill Cosby and Rita Moreno (and, I guess, Spider-man). Morgan Freeman was in the Sidney-Poitier-is-the-only-black-actor-getting-dramatic-work phase of his career.

And on the subject of Electric Company, under the category of not understanding the target audience of the DVDs (nostalgic thirty-somethings), Marvel, as an apparent price for allowing the use of Spidey in the DVDs, had an ad insert for their toy line for the toddler set.

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Tuesday, February 14, 2006

A Hit-and-Run commentator notes the likely path of the Cheney-shot-a-guy story:
  1. Administration official does something stupid and incompetent, but, in the big picture, minor and not likely to upset Administration supporters.
  2. Rather than admit any mistake, Administration jumps into CYA mode as soon as story leaks.
  3. Liberal press and bloggers, seeing Administration in CYA mode, go into attack mode and blow up minor affair into "big deal."
  4. Conversative press and bloggers accuse liberal press and bloggers of overreacting and acting like irresponsible "Bush haters".
  5. General public loses interest, liberal press/blogger reputation for hysteria further cemented in mainstream mind.

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Batman vs. Al Qaeda!
The reason for this work, [Frank] Miller said, was "an explosion from my gut reaction of what's happening now." He can't stand entertainers who lack the moxie of their '40s counterparts who stood up to Hitler. Holy Terror is "a reminder to people who seem to have forgotten who we're up against."

It's been a long time since heroes were used in comics as pure propaganda. As Miller reminded, "Superman punched out Hitler. So did Captain America. That's one of the things they're there for."

The downside is that Frank Miller's Batman work of the last five years has been terrible. The upside is that he actually sounds sincere (other than the title).

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Friday, February 10, 2006

An article on the Vanity Fair Hollywood issue contains this puzzling passage:
Hollywood plastic surgeon Garth Fisher of "Extreme Makeover" stands on a golf course next to a giant breast, evoking the oft-parodied chase scene in Woody Allen's "Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex."
Oft-parodied? The number of parodies of that scene I can think of, including this picture of Doctor Fisher, is exactly one.

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Thursday, February 09, 2006

Truth and Beauty Bombs makes Garfield funnier/more interesting by removing Garfield's dialogue/thought balloons/whatever so it's Jon talking to his cat who doesn't answer back. (via Howling Curmudgeons).

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Wednesday, February 08, 2006

The Danish editor who published the caricatures of Mohammed is now coordinating with the Iranian paper to publish the Holocaust cartoons (Story here). Fair, as the kids say, enough.

And For Better or For Worse's Lynn Johnston sides with the rioters. Can I get a "For Worse"?

(Both via Tom Spurgeon.)

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Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Cui bono from the Muhammed cartoon meshagos? Well, Daniel Dennett has a new book out...
UPDATE: Speaking of cui bono, an article about the guy who's cornered the Gaza market on Danish flags.
UPDATE 2: Buy Legos! For Freedom! Not to be confused with Mega Bloks who are relatively indifferent to the whole freedom question.

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A leading Iranian newspaper is holding a Holocaust cartoon contest. Story here. 'Cause you gotta make it about the Jews.

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Friday, February 03, 2006

Reason has the Mohammed cartoons on Hit & Run as well as three crude fakes that were included by Danish imams in a dossier on how offensive the cartoons were. In other news on the cartoons, the State Department forgets whose side they're supposed to be on.

Buy Legos! For Freedom!

UPDATE: From the LA Times:
"We must defend freedom of expression," French Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy said. "And if I had to choose, I prefer the excess of caricature over the excess of censure."
The French government is now behaving with more backbone on this than ours.

UPDATE 2: Volokh notes that the statements of the State Department were more pro-freedom-of-expression than the wire reports made them out to be. Click on the "Show the rest" part to see a reporter do a moral equivalence between the cartoons and the broadcast of a Protocols of the Elders of Zion miniseries on government-controlled television.

UPDATE 3: Tim Cavanuagh notes there were three statements made by the State Department, two of which are "siding with the rioters".

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From Mark Evanier's TV Tickets site is a ticket to Amanda's, the 1983 Bea Arthur attempt to do an American Fawlty Towers. Bea Arthur's character was a combination of Basil and Sybil Fawlty, there was a foreign waiter, a wacky Southern guy and judging from the episode guide a throughline where Amanda falls in love and gets married to her late husband's brother.

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Wednesday, February 01, 2006