I go to Amazon.ca, and what do I see?
In Red Rabbit, Tom Clancy returns to vintage cold war thrills and the beginnings of Jack Ryan's career. Ryan's first assignment as a young CIA analyst? Merely to squash a Soviet plot to assassinate Pope John Paul II.
To keep all 20 readers of misnomer occupied while I'm away from computers (yay!) for a week, here are a few weblogs that I have noticed or remembered in the last fifteen minutes...
The Bitter Shack of Resentment. No matter how cynical you become...
TalkLeft: The politics of crime looks like an interesting weblog.
This is funny if you know who Russell Smith is...
Do you know of a weblog/site that I should be reading regularly, and isn't on the list on the right column of this page? Post a link below, so that the rest of us can enjoy it too.
The NYTimes review of Blue Crush has an interesting thought, though maybe I've just missed it from other sources...
The movie is also the latest example of a subgenre that might be called feminexploitation. (Earlier examples include "Bring It On" and "Charlie's Angels.") The idea is to find heroines who are strong, tough, capable and resilient, but who also look fabulous in bathing suits and other revealing attire. The audience appeal is theoretically universal. You can ogle Anne Marie and her friends or you can aspire to be just like them, or even a little of both.
I'd say the camera and script of BC were a bit more respectful, though the marketing wasn't.
I'm off to Metsaulikool next week, for a week, so there shall be no updates.
First, it was the DeepLeap people inviting all the "A-list" bloggers to their party. Now the PR hordes are talking about how to pitch to weblogs. Synergistic leverage!
Open letter to America from a Canadian. "You would rather pay through the nose for your insecure comforts, wouldn't you America, and make others pay with their blood."
Somehow, EPN World Reporter (an online magazine for journalists and photographers) chose misnomer as one of their "top blogs". They describe my coverage thus: "For those looking for a good conspiritorial [sic] rant, keep checking on Dru Oja Jay . As if his watchdog-style blog, Misnomer, isn't enough to keep you on your toes, try keeping up with his movements around the web!"
Two places I don't mind visiting when I'm in Toronto (which I was today) are the Bau Xi Gallery, which has decent painting, and Pages Books and Magazines, which houses a high-quality selection of magazines, and books, with a focus on politics and cultural crit.
I'm reading John Metcalf's Kicking Against the Pricks, a series of biting essays about the state of Canadian literature ('Canlit', they say). His sensibilities remind me at times of Dean Allen's little rants, and his interest in/obsession with the appearance of text (something not lacking at Porcupine's Quill, where Metcalf is The Editor.)
Contrary to all appearances propagated by a misleading marketing strategy, Blue Crush is not a movie about attractive women in bikinis that happens to include surfing. In fact, I found it quite interesting in a lot of ways. At the very least, the surfing footage is visually compelling, and the plot has some surprising elements. And it is progressive in a lot of ways for a hollywood flick (women can be independent, competent, and human in all the ways they usually aren't in the movies.. who'dve thought?), though I had a few quibbles as usual (did they really need to use a goofy, fat black guy for most of the comic relief?). I may be temporarily deluded by my low expectations being exceeded, but I reckon these reviews almost universally miss what made the movie interesting.
I wonder what Bitch Magazine will say about Blue Crush.
XXX, on the other hand, managed to spend a lot of money and be utterly incompetent in all but the most rudimentary technical sense (but look for the super-secure NSA fortress door that wobbles on cheap hinges), in addition to offensive and dehumanizing. A Toronto alternative rag got it right: "Vin Diesel parades around like a fetus on steroids..."
Paul Krugman: Bush's Populist Image vs. Elitist Policy
The federal budget is now deep in deficit, and everyone except the administration thinks it will remain there — not because of runaway spending, but because most of last year's tax cut has yet to take effect. And as my colleague Frank Rich points out, to offset the revenue losses from his tax cut, Mr. Bush would have to veto a $5 billion spending proposal every working day for the next year. Mr. Bush can no longer pretend, as he did during the 2000 campaign, that there is enough money for everything. Now, to justify that tax cut, he must hack steadily away at programs that matter to ordinary people.
Still, don't tax cuts also matter to ordinary people? It depends. Last year's rebate went to a lot of families. But the items still in the pipeline are income tax cuts for upper brackets — especially the top bracket — and elimination of the estate tax. For a married couple, only income in excess of $297,000 falls in the top bracket, and only an estate larger than $2 million pays any inheritance tax. Firefighters and coal miners don't make that kind of money.
WhitePrivilege.com has a new design, and more frequent updates.
Thomas Frank: Talking bull
We are finally rid of the most egregious corporate swindles of the 1990s. Why aren't the intellectual snake-oil salesmen following the dotcons into oblivion? On the most elementary level, it's because the nation's newspapers, thinktanks, magazines and TV networks have a great deal to lose were we to turn on the New Economy theorists in the manner they deserve. If the intellectuals of the 90s boom are to sink like the stock analysts and CEOs into the depths of public scorn, those newspapers and thinktanks would bear the brunt, too. After all, any comprehensive list of those guilty for puffing the 90s bubble would read like a who's who of American media.
Is there really a $7 billion lawsuit against the Bush Administration for letting 9-11 happen?
Stanley Hilton, a San Francisco attorney and former aide to Senator Bob Dole, filed a $7 billion lawsuit in U.S. District Court on June 3rd. The class-action suit names ten defendants, among whom are George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Condoleezza Rice, Donald Rumsfeld and Norman Mineta.
Hilton's suit charges Bush and his administration with allowing the September 11th attacks to take place so as to reap political benefits from the catastrophe. Hilton alleges that Osama bin Laden is being used as a scapegoat by an administration that ignored pressing warnings of the attack and refused to round up suspected terrorists beforehand. Hilton alleges the ultimate motivation behind these acts was achieved when the Taliban were replaced by American military forces with a regime friendly to America and its oil interests in the region.
Hilton's plaintiffs in this case are the families of 14 victims of 9/11, numbering 400 people nationwide. These are the same families that rallied in Washington recently to advocate for an independent investigation into the attacks. The current 9/11 hearings are being conducted by Congress behind closed doors, a situation these families find unacceptable.
That doesn't seem like the kind of thing anyone would just make up, but a google search yields few mainstream media sources.
Just for kicks, I asked on Metafilter.
Molly Ivins: If you want to talk about class warfare ...
The 50 richest members of Congress. Experts say it's too early to speculate about whether you have to be either rich or dependent on campaign contributions to win an election.
Some great configuration tips for folks who use Moveable Type, which is really quite good.
--Wikipedia: The free encyclopedia.
--NuPedia: The free encyclopedia (also!)
--Alternatives to Corporate Globalization from the philly imc. There's a wiki version somewhere, but I think it's hiding in beta.
--Potlatch.net A wiki based weblog.
--Journal of Electronic Publishing, August 2002
Dmoz: open content licenses (list)
I interviewed Dr. Erin Steuter, a professor of Sociology at Mount Allison University, and the author of The Irvings Cover Themselves: Media Representations of the Irving Oil Refinery Strike, 1994-1996. I asked her about the effect of having every english daily paper in New Brunswick owned by the Irving Group, a multi-billion dollar corporate empire spanning oil, timber, paper, and restaraunts that employs approximately one eighth of the New Brunswick workforce.
In 1994, Dr Joycelyn Elders, then the Surgeon General, was fired for saying that masturbation should be taught.
In 1992, Dr. Frederick Goodwin, then the director of the Alchohol, Drug Abuse and Mental Health Administration expounded on his racist theory of violence:
If you look, for example, at male monkeys, especially in the wild, roughly half of them survive to adulthood. The other half die by violence. That is the natural way of it for males, to knock each other off and, in fact, there are some interesting evolutionary implications of that because the same hyper-aggressive monkeys who kill each other are also hypersexual, so they copulate more and therefore they reproduce more to offset the fact that half of them are dying. Now, one could say that if some of the loss of social structure in this society, and particularly within the high impact inner city areas, has removed some of the civilizing evolutionary things that we have built up and that maybe it isn’t just the careless use of the word when people call certain areas of certain cities jungles, that we may have gone back to what might be more natural, without all of the social controls that we have imposed upon ourselves as a civilization over thousands of years in our own evolution.He wasn't fired, and there wasn't even a whole lot of flack.
Robert Fisk is back in Afghanistan, paying attention to what's apparently no longer newsworthy.
Things might be different if the warlord battles ended in the north, if the Americans allowed the international peace-keeping forces to move out of Kabul and collect the weapons in the north and damp down the ethnic fires. More than half the frontier refugees could then go back to their homes. But Afghanistan is becoming more lawless by the week. Refugees remain the linguistic definition of much of this country. And the Yellow Desert, the latest UN prison for the 60,000 destitute of Chaman and Spin Boldak, will soon be on all our maps.
The Pentagon initially said that it found it "difficult to believe" that the village women had their hands tied. But given identical descriptions of the treatment of Afghan women after the US bombing of the Uruzgan wedding party, which followed the Hajibirgit raid, it seems that the Americans--or their Afghan allies--did just that. A US military spokesman claimed that American forces had found "items of intelligence value", weapons and a large amount of cash in the village. What the "items" were was never clarified. The guns were almost certainly for personal protection against robbers. The cash remains a sore point for the villagers. Abdul Satar said that he had 10,000 Pakistani rupees taken from him--about $200 (lbs130). Hakim says he lost his savings of 150,000 rupees--$3,000 (lbs1,900). "When they freed us, the Americans gave us 2,000 rupees each," Mohamedin says. "That's just $40 [lbs25]. We'd like the rest of our money."
The family think they will receive about lbs12,000 in compensation, not much in comparison to the lbs53,000 that a dead American mine-clearer's family might expect. But these are Afghan prices for Afghans dying in Afghanistan while trying to destroy America's weapons.
In sum: we've left at least 60,000 refugees in the middle of the desert, we've stripped civilians naked and taken their life savings, we've left the landscape strewn with unexploded shells that have the additional attribute of being brightly colored and attractive to children, we've dismantled countless villages because some northern alliance types (known for gruesome murder and gang-rape) told us there were Al-Quaeda folks there, and we are keeping people in cages and interrogating them with impunity. But it's all for the greater good and future prosperity of Afghanistan.
Neve Gordon sums up Sharon:
Despite harsh international criticism, Sharon remained unrepentant. The Israeli press has suggested that his triumphant cry has less to do with the operation's formal objective -- the extra-judicial execution of Hamas leader Salah Shahada -- than with the successful annihilation of a unilateral ceasefire agreement formally finalized by the different Palestinian military factions a day before the massacre.
Sharon will now most likely use the Hamas attack in order to justify Israel's further reoccupation of Palestinian territories. His overall objective, though, is not to wipe out the Palestinian Authority, as some commentators seem to suggest, but rather to forcibly change its role. Regardless of whether or not Yasser Arafat remains in charge, if Sharon gets his way, the "reformed" Palestinian Authority will no longer serve as the political representative of an independent state. Rather, it will operate as a civil administration of sorts, responsible for education, health, sewage and garbage collection.
The strategy is clear: confer on the Palestinians the costly role of managing civil life, but eliminate their political freedoms. South Africans called it Bantustans.
Yale's lecture series on Democracy, Security, and Justice has online video and transcripts.
Looking through old misnomer entries, I found this quote from a sci-fi round table in the January 2000 issue of Yahoo Internet Life. Kim Stanley Robinson said:
"...I suggest we nationalize [Bill Gates] and take all his money. Leave him with $5 million and tell him to sink or swim. Give $5 million to each of his employees and ex-employees. Give the rest to charities."Seems newly relevant, in light of the events...
Sweet! I figured out how to get Manila to present its content in the format that MoveableType can read, so now I've got all of the misnomer entries ever written in one place! The archives in the right column now extend back to November, 1999, when I first started "blogging" with any regularity.
Ariana Huffington on what Cheney has to account for. I'm guessing he can't, at least not without quitting.
If one big move wasn't enough, I'm planning on moving misnomer over to misnomer.dru.ca as soon as I get comfortable with moveable type, and get templates set up. Meanwhile, I'll be posting to both sites.
update: I finally got around to learning how to do css-only layout. I wish I had learned sooner. After the initial learning curve, everything is easier and makes more sense. The new misnomer is now 100% tables-free. Yay!
As of a few hours ago, Sylvia has a website! And there was much rejoicing.
NetFuture is an email newsletter about "Technology and Human Responsibility" which has been around since 1995.
This is a Magazine has one of the better uses of flash that I've seen (hint: no stupid little animations or buttons).
An assessment of Iraq’s capabilities says that the US is unlikely to knock out many, if any, of President Saddam Hussein’s mobile missile-launchers in a first wave of airstrikes. It raises the possibility of Baghdad hitting an Israeli city with a missile carrying biological agents, saying that Saddam is likely to use chemical and biological weapons.
Israel’s likely reaction would be nuclear ground bursts against every Iraqi city not already occupied by US-led coalition forces. Senators were told that, unlike the 1991 Gulf War, when Washington urged Israel not to retaliate against Iraqi missile strikes, Israeli leaders have decided that their credibility would be hurt if they failed to react this time.
Monkeyfist: Weekly Review... which I wrote this week.
Stetson Kennedy is a fine song of Woody Guthrie's.
I ain’t the world’s best writer, ain't the world’s best speller
But when I believe in something I’m the loudest yeller
If we fix it so you can’t make no money on war
Well we'll all forget what we were killing folks for
Common forum aims to "build an ideal technology for civil discussion and democratic discourse."
A whole lotta Linux PDAs.
Donald Rumsfeld met with Saddam Hussein in 1988.