NY Times theatre critic/playwright George Hunka's "A Sermon on Corporations, Neighborhoods and Loss" celebrates a left-wing performance artist for exposing the evils of large corporations. Hunka, of course, is writing this for the New York Times, part of a modest little enterprise known as the New York Times Co., which had revenues of a mere $3.4 billion in 2005.
"Reverend Billy -- the alter ego of the performance artist Bill Talen, bleach-blond pompadoured and an impressive presence at 6-foot-3 in his pale brown leisure suit -- struts, preaches and sings his way across the Spiegeltent stage at the South Street Seaport, bringing his anticorporatist, environmentalist message to the converted via a sermon and several songs, accompanied by the Church of Stop Shopping gospel choir and a seven-piece band."
What does Maureen Dowd want? Her column of today is the latest evidence of a woman torn between the imperatives of modern feminism and a not-so-secret longing for more traditional domestic arrangements.
The topic of Ring-a-Ding-Bling [subscription required] is marriages in which the husband plays a decided second fiddle to the wife. You might think that Dowd-the-feminist would celebrate marriages in which women play the leading role. But, with one notable exception, she expresses little but scorn for husbands whose wives have the upper hand.
Mo's Exhibit A is the Britney Spears/Kevin Federline couple. Dowd begins by professing that "to make fun of Mr. Spears [would be] too easy — shooting tuna fish in a can, as they say." By referring to Federline as "Mr. Spears" Mo has of course mocked him already. Then, utterly ignoring her own precept, she proceeds to ruthlessly ridicule him, describing his recent attempt at rap music as "even more deliciously atrocious than anticipated," also letting us know that "the hip-hop community reacted with amused disdain."
Those poor 1940s kids were driven to smoke by the cartoon cat and mouse duo of "Tom and Jerry." This is a problem they want to prevent in Britain by cutting out scenes of feline tobacco use. Reports AFP:
Smoking scenes in "Tom and Jerry" cartoons are now banned in Britain, following a viewer's complaint to the government agency that polices the airwaves.
In one episode of the classic US cartoon series, Tom is seen smoking a roll-up cigarette in a bid to impress a female cat. In another, Tom's opponent in a tennis match was seen smoking a large cigar.
"We the undersigned are pained and devastated by the civilian casualties in Israel and Lebanon caused by terrorist actions initiated by terrorist organisations such as Hezbollah and Hamas," the ad reads.
Some of the signatories:
Nicole Kidman, Michael Douglas, Dennis Hopper, Sylvester Stallone, Bruce Willis, Danny De Vito, Don Johnson, James Woods, Kelly Preston, Patricia Heaton and William Hurt.
The list also included famous directors and producers. This takes a lot of courage, not so much because of danger from terrorists...but from their colleagues.
Update (8/17/06 8:42PM): You can read the ad with the full list of names here. Thanks to Shawn99
The opening lyrics to the signature song in the musical Grease are apt to describe the media's summer fling with global warming alarmist Al Gore.
A new study by Rachel Waters and Dan Gainor of the MRC's Business & Media Institute (BMI) documents the love affair.
Even with the extensive media coverage – more
than one network story per day on average – Gore’s film spent only one week in the top ten. The film only made
it to the number nine position.
By comparison “X-Men III – The Last Stand” had only had 25
appearances on the networks in the same three-month period. The third
installment in the X-Men series raked in more than $233 million in the U.S.
Gore’s documentary has brought in less than $22 million. That means X-Men
pulled in 10 times the money with one-third the TV appearances.
When talking with someone who isn't especially political or is
left-of-center about the topic of media bias, I will occasionally
hear the argument that the media's political orientation doesn't really matter
because most people are skeptical of what they hear on TV and
elsewhere. In the modern age of low voter turnout, anti-advertising
advertising, and the permanent campaign, people are smart enough not to
take in any media message without several large grains of salt.
Non-intelligent people don't make this argument in my experience. Only smart people do.
not everyone is smart. Many people continue to be very impressionable
as adults, especially to mass media like television and movies, as
demonstrated in this post from the Dummie Funnies, a blog run by NewsBusters user pjcomix which monitors the loonybin known as Democratic Underground.
Stand by for some really great laughs on Sunday, November 5. Some Dummies, taking their cue from the movie, "V For Vendetta,"
are actually planning to gather in front of public buildings around the
country wearing dopey Guy Fawkes masks as you can see in this THREAD
titled, "Remember, remember the 5th of November....". Yeah, that's just
the ticket, DUmmies. Leading into the midterm elections, make complete
FOOLS of yourselves. This doesn't totally surprise me since the DUmmies
instantly took to this fantasy flick in which Britain is ruled by an
EVIL rightwing regime. The DUmmies have fantasized themselves in the
masked hero's role in opposing that regime (which they have transferred
to the EVIL Bush regime). So let us now watch the DUmmies once again
make laughingstocks of themselves in Bolshevik Red while the commentary
of your humble correspondent, looking for a V For Vendetta Halloween costume at the Dollar Store, is in the [brackets]:
The fifth anniversary of the September 11 hijacking attacks on America by al-Qaeda may present a challenge to our memory as a country. How much do we remember, and how much have we forgotten? No one truly expected that the national unity in grief and anger on that day would last forever. But that unity is bound together again in the new Oliver Stone-directed movie "World Trade Center."
This comes as something of a surprise with the name of Stone attached. But believe it. This movie brings 9/11 back to life all its horrific immediacy in the lives of New York Port Authority cops and their families. This film is not political. This film transports us back into that day when Democrats and Republicans sang "God Bless America" on the Capitol steps, when the whole nation felt the pain of that gaping, burning hole in the center of Manhattan, the disastrous gash in the Pentagon, and the heroic downing of jihadist hopes in a Pennsylvania field.
Despite lots of promotion from the entertainment media, the Dixie Chicks seem to have offended their fan base too much. The lefty group has been forced to cancel shows in 14 states, replacing them with Canadian ones, the AP reports:
concerts on the Dixie Chicks'"Accidents & Accusations" tour have
been canceled after slow ticket sales, but the group says it has
replaced them with other dates.
City, Houston, St. Louis, Memphis and Knoxville are among 14 cities no
longer on the original schedule released in May, according to a revised
itinerary posted Thursday on the Dixie Chick's Web site.
Madonna's recent glittery cross and crown of thorns during her concert tour is designed to stir outrage, but at this point in her career, it screams Desperate Housewife. But then there are always the young singers who are corrupted into imitating the routine. Probably the last one you'd expect to try Sacrilege 101 would be the girl named Charlotte Church, but obviously she's trying to live her (stage) name down. Catholic News Service reports:
The U.S. publishing company Ignatius Press has refused to sell any works by Welsh singer Charlotte Church after she called German-born Pope Benedict XVI a Nazi and mocked the Catholic Church...Church, dubbed the "Voice of an Angel" before she turned her talents to popular music, also dressed up as a nun and pretended to hallucinate while eating "communion" wafers imprinted with smiling faces signifying the drug Ecstasy.She smashed open a statue of the Virgin Mary to reveal a can of hard cider inside, said she worshipped "St. Fortified Wine," and stuck chewing gum on a statue of the childJesus.
For Laura Ingraham fans, it has been quite interesting to see her so much on Fox News lately, and watch the growth of one of America’s leading female conservatives. Conceivably, her recent success and notoriety have lead ABC to create a new television series casting “Ally McBeal” star Calista Flockhart as a conservative radio talk show host (as reported by NewsBuster Matthew Sheffield Tuesday).
With that in mind, Ingraham was on “The O’Reilly Factor” Tuesday, and she and Bill had some fun with this issue (hat tip to Ian at Expose the Left with video to follow). O’Reilly began, “Now, to change direction here, Calista Flockhart is teeing you off.”
There’s another sequel coming out today, and this one is the highly-anticipated follow-up to the 1994 cult classic “Clerks.” Apparently, the Motion Picture Association of America gave this unbelievably vulgar film an “R” rating instead of a stricter “NC-17,” and the movie’s writer/director/star is absolutely shocked (hat tip to Town Hall’s blog). As reported by MSNBC.com:
“Clerks II” director Kevin Smith was “shocked, literally, in shock” when his slacker sequel got an R rating. Smith had fought the tougher NC-17 rating on the first film, and was prepared for a battle on this one. “The ‘questionable’ content in ‘Clerks II’ goes beyond anything we've ever presented in a film before,” he noted. “Don't know what happened in the MPAA screening that morning, and don't need to know. All I do know is that they handed us an R, without asking for a single cut. And rather than obsess over it, I just quickly [and happily] accepted the rating and moved on.”
To give one an idea of just how vulgar this movie is supposed to be, film critic Joel Siegel actually walked out of a screening. According to the Hartford Courant, this is the first time in 30 years Siegel has done that:
It's getting harder to make a blockbuster these days, and as productions costs continue to rise, making movies is no longer financially rewarding. Superstar actors are now more talked about for their private lives than for their movies, and they face cuts in salaries as studios have to worry more about digital technology and foreign marketing.
One benefit of this, hopefully, will be that Hollywood will no longer be the purveyor of the conventional wisdom and the stars, who will not burn as brightly, will no longer have their every political opinion treated as gospel by Hollywood and national reporters.
As studios slash jobs and restructure to boost profits, Hollywood's creative and executive ranks are having a collective anxiety attack.
Walt Disney Co.'s move this week to lay off about 650 employees and revamp its Burbank studio to make fewer films only confirms what many in the entertainment industry have been stressing over for months: The movie business is shrinking.
Slapstick Politics has an excerpt from a recent Entertainment Weekly article on Al Gore's film, "An Inconvenient Truth." It turns out documentary films about global warming have a way of making people cool. This should be encouraging news for science club high schoolers around the country.
Minds are being changed, all right, and not just about global warming. Miraculously, over the past few months, An Inconvenient Truth has accomplished something many people once thought inconceivable: It's made Al Gore cool. The somber policy wonk who campaigned for president in 2000 with all those bland speeches about lockboxes is gone. He's now a hip and trendy (in a wonky sort of way) ecological activist. While promoting the movie this summer, Gore has been connecting with crowds more effortlessly and comfortably — even charismatically — than he ever did as a politician. He even found his sense of humor; turns out it's been hiding all this time inside daughter Kristin, a former comedy writer on Matt Groening's Futurama and the one responsible for Gore's gag
Another friend sent a giggle with the HBO press release on Spike Lee's forthcoming Katrina documentary. Is Spike Lee seeking a "wide range of opinions"? Bayou Buzz has details, including this piece of the press release:
Lee and his team selected nearly 100 people from diverse backgrounds, representing a wide range of opinions, to be featured in the film, including Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco, New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin, Dr. Michael Eric Dyson, Harry Belafonte, Wynton Marsalis, CNN´s Soledad O´Brien, Terence Blanchard, Rev. Al Sharpton, Wendell Pierce, Sean Penn, Kanye West, local media and other New Orleans residents.
It might be a pretty big event: It "will have a world premiere August 16 in New Orleans before a potential 10,000 people. The premiere in New Orleans will be one year after the Hurricane Katrina disaster. On Wednesday, Aug. 16, Acts I and II will be presented free of charge before a potential audience of 10,000 people at the New Orleans Arena."
The line between old-fashioned objective reporting and opinion writing is blurry enough on the big subjects like the war on terrorism and the economy, but in entertainment journalism, it’s becoming nearly impossible to differentiate between the two, especially since those who deliver this product don’t, and won’t.
Take it from me: This is a rough neighborhood to work in if you are lobbying for decency and family-friendly programming on television and regularly deal with the entertainment press. In the daytime, you’re working with reporters you assume are dedicated to telling the story in an objective and balanced manner. But when they go moonlighting on more opinionated Internet web logs, entertainment reporters often make it clear that the concept of upholding decency is a bad joke.
A colleague forwarded a press release from MTV titled "MTV News Presents: IraqUploaded To Air Friday, July 21st at 8PM (ET/PT)." The special will show how soldiers "document war" in Iraq and share it on the Web, but watch out for that "mujahideen" perspective:
In this half hour special report, MTV News’ Gideon Yago delves into this technological and social phenomenon [of soldier-made video] emerging from the front lines in Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF). Through short videos on user generated content websites, OIF troops provide an unvarnished and unrefined perspective of the violence of combat, the relationships of men in uniform and the reality of war. “MTV News Presents: Iraq Uploaded” will air on Friday, July 21st at 8PM (ET/PT).
Editors of the New York Times, along with their allies in journalism, are defending the publication of anti-terrorism programs by declaring their actions to be in the “public interest,” making them a watchdog against what they view as excessive government power and secrecy. But the tables need to be turned. What about excessive media power and secrecy?
There’s something bizarre about the Times rushing out to protest excessive secrecy in the Bush administration – and then touting the testimony of secret sources as its evidence.
You're the boss at the New York Times. The warden at the jail holding celebrity snoop Anthony Pellicano issued an order barring anyone other than family and lawyers from seeing him. Getting a scoop with Pellicano will certainly boost newstainment sales.
Do you: A. Respect the order and write stories without talking to Pellicano. B. Appeal to a judge to lift the order. C. Send in a "reporter" with a 20 year old law degree and California State Bar credential card who may or may not have filled out a form stating "Purpose of the visit: legal" which forces Pellicano out of his cell and into "outrage."
If you answered C, you could be New York Times management.
The media usually leaves Hollywood out of the class warfare it engenders, but NBC's Michael Okwu found a sore spot among union members angry at Hollywood hot shots like George Clooney: Top dollar celebrities pulling down millions to voice over commercial spots.
“Let’s put it this way, there are some people that are
making a million dollars an hour,” announcer Tom Kane griped. Okwu told viewers
Kane is paid “a lot less.”
“Just go make
your movies. Let us do our commercials and no one gets hurt,” Kane told Okwu.
But Kane is far
more successful than the average union dues-paying announcer and he himself has
starred in a few animated movies.
A look at Kane’s
professional Web site and his profile at the Internet Movie Database
(imdb.com), tell of a career voicing over television shows, video games, and
trailers to movies such as “Booty Call,” “Ice Age 2,” and “Jimmy Neutron.”
Fair warning for those that are sensitive to vulgarity, for this post will need to use some to properly quote the individual involved. Comedian Robin Williams was on the “Tonight Show” Thursday, and used the occasion to make fun of Rush Limbaugh’s recent Viagra incident. To be sensitive to those that might be offended, all obscene quotes will appear in the "Read More" section.
Now, to be fair, I am a huge Robin Williams fan, and believe him to be an equal opportunity offender. Even Rush, who has a fabulous sense of humor, likely would think this was funny (video link to follow).
With that in mind, host Jay Leno nicely set up Williams by asking for his opinion about the recent Viagra story concerning Limbaugh. Williams answered:
The 70-year-old comic book superhero Superman has always had the longtime slogan, "Truth, justice, and the American way." But in the latest movie reincarnation of the Man of Steel, the slogan is a little different: "Truth, justice and all that stuff."
The makers of the movie claim that "the world is different" than it was in the 40's and 50's, and that the film has to be applicable for movie watchers around the world.
While audiences in Dubuque might bristle at Superman's newfound global agenda, patrons in Dubai likely will find the DC Comics protagonist more palatable. And with the increasing importance of the overseas boxoffice -- as evidenced by summer tentpoles like "The Da Vinci Code" -- foreign sensibilities can no longer be ignored.
One of the writers of the screenplay, Dan Harris, says "the American way" doesn't mean the same thing anymore.
Should we look for Matt Lauer to close his next interview of Condi Rice by clasping her hands? Perhaps a verklempt Dick Cheney thanking Campbell Brown for "standing by me through every crisis"? Could be, judging by Al Roker's interview of Star Jones this morning.
OK. Star isn't Secretary of State. She's someone who got bounced as co-host of a televised coffee klatsch. Even so, some of the journalistic values on display were eye-brow raising. For openers, what does it say about Today's news values that the interview, stretching across two half-hours and three segments, was the longest this veteran Today watcher can remember?
And then there was the personal relationship between Al and Star. The flag first went up when Star thanked Al for having phoned her with information: "I actually remember a phone call when you saw something in the paper that I had not even seen that was pretty nasty."
A few hours after a televised display of saccharine warmth and affection between Barbara Walters and Star Jones Reynolds - who yesterday surprised her "View" colleagues by announcing she's leaving in mid-July - their relationship turned very chilly indeed.
Never mind Walters' previous public assurances that Jones Reynolds was welcome to stay on the show as long as she wanted. Yesterday, "The View's" alpha female - the show's co-owner and co-executive producer - told me that she lied "to protect Star" from the damaging news that ABC long ago decided not to renew her contract.
"The network made this decision based on a variety of reasons which I won't go into now. But we were never going to say this. We wanted to protect [S]tar. And so we told her that she could say whatever she wanted about why she was leaving and that we would back her up."
Well I'll be, The View is a news program after all. If she did this to protect someone she dislikes, just think what she's done to protect the people she likes.
As a veteran Couric watcher, I've recently come to follow [without actually watching] doings at The View, since Katie's replacement Meredith Vieira was for years a member of the show's cast. For those unfamiliar with it, The View is an all-female televised coffee klatsch and gabfest of which Barbara Walters is the creator, partial owner and a co-host.
The View has a distinct liberal tint to its patter. And as we know, one of the tenets of feminist theology is that women have a right to whatever body size they want, free of societal restraints.
How ironic - some might say hypocritical - that one reason for the recent firing of co-host Star Jones is that . . . she refused to stay fat! As you'll note from the before and after pics here, Star has undergone a dramatic physical transformation. According to this AP article:
The MRC Business & Media Institute's latest study is getting notice in the media.
The Washington Post's Frank Ahrens did a write-up below-the-fold in the business section today.
"Bad Company," the first of a three-part study series on media coverage of the American businessman is available here.
Here's a bit of what Ahrens wrote:
On the heels of last month's conviction of top Enron Corp.
executives comes this nugget from the Media Research Center, a
conservative television watchdog group that examines programming to
determine how certain groups are portrayed. In this study, the group
claims that Hollywood unfairly and overwhelmingly casts businessmen and
women as "criminal CEOs and murdering MBAs."
Mark Twain once said, "It could probably be shown by facts and figures that there is no distinctly native criminal class except Congress."
Today's Hollywood TV executives would beg to differ. To them there's no distinctly native criminal class except American businessmen.
The Media Research Center's Business & Media Institute is out with our latest study, the first of a three-part series looking at the media's bias against businessmen.
Almost 10 years ago, the Media Research Center’s
Business & Media Institute published “Businessmen Behaving Badly,”
which found that businessmen on TV committed more crimes than any
other demographic. In this new study, BMI looked at 129 episodes
from 12 top-rated dramas on the four networks: ABC, CBS, FOX and
NBC. These broadcasts were picked from two “sweeps” months in 2005 –
May and November – when networks try to attract the largest
audiences to maximize ad dollars.
In this look at primetime, BMI found:
Negative toward Business: Negative plots about business and
businessmen outnumbered positive ones by almost 4-to-1. Of the 39
episodes that included business-related plots or characters, 30
(77 percent) cast businessmen and commerce in a negative light.
According to Drudge, the checkbook journalism practiced by People Magazine extended to another Time Warner property; Anderson Cooper.
There's loud chatter among industry insiders that the $4 million deal PEOPLE Mag's editor Larry Hackett cut with Angelina Jolie & Brad Pitt for their baby pictures extended to CNN, also part of the TIME WARNER family. A rep for CNN denies any TIMEWARNER deal secured the interview. "Angelina Jolie's representative approached Anderson Cooper's senior executive producer David Doss because Angelina is an admirer of Anderson's work, especially his commitment to covering Africa and the plight of refugees."
There is one sure way of finding out. It is imperative that Time Warner immediately release the original contract with Angelina to determine if anything other than People Magazine is mentioned. If it were any other organization implicated in an unethical practice, wouldn't CNN demand the same of them?
Their actions over the weekend will speak directly to the ethics, transparency, and values of the news operation. (i.e. don't expect much more than more denials, obfuscating the facts, and refusing to expose the contract.)
TV critic Alessandra Stanley goes after host Jay Leno for not laying a glove on his Wednesday night guest Ann Coulter in Friday’s Arts review, “A Battle of Wits, And No Clear Win.”
It’s clear who the liberal Stanley is rooting for in this clash of TV talker vs. best-selling conservative titan, chastening both Leno and David Letterman for failing to verbally spank Coulter: “As his tut-tutting chat with the mean girl of the moment showed, Jay Leno is a terrible interviewer….Mr. Leno, who will be replaced by Conan O'Brien in 2009, can afford to slack off, but it is [rival TV talker David] Letterman who seems to be taking too many of his shows pass/fail. And it's a shame, because the host of CBS's ‘Late Show’ is the comedian intellectually and temperamentally most suited to taking on the conservative enfant terrible and giving her a much-deserved public swat.”
Writing at NewsMax, Steve Malzberg talks about how the liberal press holds Ann Coulter to a much higher standard than it does for left-wing humorists.
You have to admire the brazen
hypocrisy being exhibited by the liberal media when it comes to the
treatment that Ann Coulter has been receiving from them.
She has been so vilified that at least one liberal columnist has
reportedly suggested she'd be better off dead. He actually asked her,
"Would it kill you to do us all a favor and kill yourself?" But that
columnist, Simon Dumenco of Ad Age, gets away unscathed – as do the
rest of those who have directed vile, outrageous and shameful remarks
in the direction of Coulter and others on the right.