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Month: February 2004


Why are you not reading Broog’s film criticism? Do you not know what it is that you are missing?

The mighty cinematic edifice which is the human Jackson’s rendering of Tolkien’s classic novel grinds to its imperial conclusion in the third film, “Lord of the Rings: The Fat Jolly Hobbit Saves Middle Earth And Everyone Is Nice To His Whiny Friend”. The movie follows the exploits of Sam as he hauls his limp and apparently pointless companion across the dark desolation of Mordor, struggling against hunger, despair, orcs, giant spiders, Gollum, and what must surely be an overpowering desire to slap Frodo until he resembles a hubcap.

Now you have no excuse.


“Dave Sim is the only person out there who can tell us what it’s like to self-publish your own wholly idiosyncratic black-and-white comic book for 25 years straight while delivering massive polemics on esoteric issues, and from points of view that most people find indefensible. He’s a wholly unique individual. And while you could argue that EVERYONE is wholly unique, and I’d have to agree, that doesn’t mean they have wholly unique things to say. Dave does.”

My college friend and housemate Tasha works for The Onion A.V. Club. (She writes reviews, conducts interviews, and generally gets to live a life full of interesting people and things.) She spent a chunk of yesterday trying to convince Dave Sim to let her interview him, and then blogged about the phone conversation. It’s brilliant.

Rabid bedfellows

It’s still my opinion that The Passion of the Christ is going to bring the fanatics out of the woodwork. It looks as though it may also enable David Neiwert’s transmission process. Over on Ain’t It Cool News, Harry printed a defense of The Passion by Rabbi Daniel Lapin, who he describes as “a well known zealot type is known to do some pretty wild right wing things that I completely do not approve of.”

Well, yeah. Rabbi Lapin is of the camp that believes there’s a civil war in this country that may need to be settled by force:

“First of all, [there’s] the matter of the little battle that must be fought, just as it was in the 19th century.” There were, and are, “two incompatible moral visions for this country. We had to settle it then. We’re going to have to settle it now. I hope not with blood, not with guns, but we’re going to have to settle it nonetheless. The good news is that I think our side is finally ready to settle it. Roll up its sleeves, take off its jacket, and get a little bloody. Spill a little blood. We’ll settle it. And we’ll win. And then there’s no holding us back.”

OK, so what? Does this mean his opinions on the movie aren’t worth printing?

Not in and of itself, but Rabbi Lapin’s argument is that Jewish leaders have only hurt themselves by protesting the movie, and that they were motivated by hatred for Christianity. The sum total of his commentary about the movie itself is two paragraphs in which he claims that “The movie will one day be seen as a harbinger of America’s third great religious reawakening.”

It’s not a piece about the movie. He’s simply using the movie as an excuse to write about his perceptions of the Jewish establishment.

Harry Knowles is providing a platform for a right-wing fanatic who encourages — if necessary — spilling blood in order to advance the cause of a theocratic America. Said fanatic is using that platform to advance his cause, with only a half-nod to the putative topic of movies. He writes about the controversy surrounding The Passion, not the movie itself.

Harry let him in because Harry loved the movie — unsurprisingly, since it’s a brilliant piece of filmmaking — and he wants to give others a chance to defend it. And that’s exactly how Neiwert’s transmissions work. The fanatics find common ground and use it as a springboard.

Watch out, Boston

Most amusing quote so far in the Massachusetts legislature gay marriage debate:

”God destroyed a whole city over this issue. We’re trying to save our city, our state. They see the gays and lesbians out here voicing their opinions and they know it’s wrong and we want them to know that we stood up for what’s right.”

Beware, Boston! What happened to Sodom and Gomorrah could happen to you!

Going well

You know, things aren’t going that poorly. I was listening to Dennis and Callahan on WEEI this morning on my way into work; unsurprisingly, they did an hour or so on the gay marriage issues. Dennis was sympathetic, by which I mean he told Callahan that he was a closed-minded idiot for yelling at pro-gay marriage callers, and by which I mean that he said he thought the term “marriage” was important and would strengthen gay couples.

That’s not why I felt all uplifted, though. What I liked was hearing the middle-class Boston accent working class guys call in and say “Yeah, you know, it’s no skin off my back. Let ‘em be married if they wanna.” I liked the guy who called in and said “Look, I was raised by two guys who didn’t happen to be gay, and I came out just fine. What’s wrong with having two father figures in the house?” I liked the guy who called in and said “I’m a conservative Republican, but my son came out to me a couple of years ago and I think he’s right; he should be able to marry another guy if he wants to.”

Go ahead, Finneran. Get a constitutional amendment out in front of people. I don’t think they’ll ratify it.

You can't say

So as I’ve noted before, Curt Schilling is answering baseball questions over on the Sons of Sam Horn board. Good for him, I said and say. However, he doesn’t want anyone quoting what he writes there. That is what we in the business call a can of worms. It opened up wide this week.

David Pinto quoted Schilling’s SoSH thoughts over on his blog. The guy who runs SoSH, Eric, told Pinto to take them down in no uncertain terms. Pinto did. Others became upset at SoSH.

Eric then came back and did the right thing in comments:

I do apologize for questioning anyone’s ethics… in hindsight it was foolish to respond so quickly to a request without thinking it through and emailing Pinto beforehand.

In re-reading the “Real Baseball” thread, I see that Schilling didn’t use his typical ‘the following is off the record and intended for sosh readers only’ disclaimer… so yeah — I rushed to judgement and said something I now regret.

I think Eric is the guy who made the first mistake, though, and I’m not entirely sure he fixed it.It’s not so much a matter of being impolite to David Pinto in this case. Rather, he should have set Schilling’s expectations appropriately. Eric’s been around the Internet a while and he should know better than to assume everyone would respect Schilling’s wishes. He should have said, flat out, “You can post here but you can’t expect people to respect your request. Some will, some won’t. I can ask people who don’t to change their mind, but I can’t force anyone to do so.”

Given Eric’s comments — “I see that Schilling didn’t use his typical… disclaimer” — I’m not sure he wouldn’t make demands in a similar case, and he really doesn’t have the right to do that. Requests, sure. Demands… not so much. And it’s important that Schilling understand that.

Ah well. As Jay Jaffe concludes: “I hope that he [Schilling] continues to patronize SoSH, that the results remain in public view, and that some kind of balance between respecting his wishes and remaining true to the spirit of the medium can be struck.” Alternatively, as gwen says: “Seriously folks, anything you put on the web is like posting it to a telephone booth. If you don’t want the public to know, don’t put it there. Period.”

Returning to duty

Kevin Drum does a nice job of shedding light on the AWOL issue. He has a document which shows Bush reporting for duty, presumably in Alabama, on October 29th, 1972. That covers Bush’s comments on Meet The Press last Sunday. He also has a document which shows no Texas service after May of 1972, which also matches.

One begins to wonder why Bush hasn’t released his military records, considering this. Drum speculates that Bush was put on paper duty as a punishment; that would match with Bush’s refusal to take a physical. There’s going to be some mystery around this until and unless the records are released. Still, he’s clear on the AWOL/deserter issue and it would behoove us to acknowledge that lest we appear shrill and partisan.