April 9, 2004

On Condi

I didn't really address Condoleeza Rice's testimony before the 9/11 Commission on Thursday for two reasons: first, it was covered much better than I could have done by Kos, Atrios, Billmon, et al. while I was just getting the gist of it on the radio at the office.

Second, and much more important, in light of this week it doesn't really matter. The debate over Rice's and the Bush administration's actions/inactions sort of take a back seat to the fact that, as of this post being written, 46 Americans have been killed in combat this week in Iraq, along with the numerous civilians and non-combat personnel killed and the alleged handful of kidnapped foreigners who will, horrifically, likely be dead by the end of the weekend.

As many others have noted, the anger on this side isn't even as much for the pro-war pundits who support the military action, as many can make a case for their beliefs. The anger is more towards those of the pro-war affiliation who refuse to acknowledge the simple truth of this week: things are going terribly in Iraq right now. Note "right now:" perhaps I'll be proven wrong, and next week we'll capture bin Laden, capture Sadr, be embraced by the Iraqi people, and suffer not another human loss for the remainder of the conflict.

Regardless of however much you'd like to hold onto a fleeting fantasy such as that, it's insulting to the 46+ who have died this week to pretend there's a fundamental reason for their deaths, and that said reason is in no way an acceptable one. To hide behind this with the typical "well what's your answer to this" should only be met, aside from saddened scorn, a simple fascination as to them wanting answers from the anti-war side only now.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 9:17 PM

One more from MF

Big Fat Whale is one of the funniest set of comics I've read in a long time. This guy is good. I mean, dangerous-to-my-ego good. Go give this guy some love.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 8:39 PM

Truly, a holy moment.

We celebrate this Easter weekend with a pair of links, both via Metafilter.

First, a farm in Alaska that injects non-toxic colored dye into chicken eggs to produce multi-colored chicks. Jesus, as you all know, died on this day for Man's ability to scientifically manipulate the aesthitic of God's creatures. (Insert Green Eggs & Ham jokes here)

Second, a church group diverts from the normal portrayal of the Passion by whipping the Easter Bunny.

I'm starting to think Mel Gibson is the sane one in this bunch.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 8:08 PM

Go boom

Probably a light if not non-existent period of posting for a while, perhaps even the remainder of the weekend. My computer is going kerplooey which is forcing me to spend this absolutely goregous day inside the house fixing it. Technology sucks.

Update: Theoretically fixed, for now. Apparently, the main reason one's computer suddenly starts to spontaneously flicker off and restart itself every fifteen minutes is that there's dust in it. Again, technology sucks.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 2:06 PM

April 8, 2004

And we have reached a new low

Scanning through channels, I came across the first five minutes of that Fox show The Swan. For those of you not in the know, this is a show in which a group of women deemed "unattractive" in most cases through the dangerous act of being overweight, not wearing makeup, and having small breasts, are offered the clear alternative to group support, positive reenforcement, and maybe even some general therapy: Fox will pay for them to all get plastic surgery and at the end of the show have a contest to see which surgery job was made the prettiest.

Avid readers here will be aware of my passion for hyperbole, but there's none in this statement: this could quite possibly be the most disgusting thing that has even been aired on American television.

You know what'd be a great Fox show? We'll call it Who wants to inflate my cock. You get a bunch of guys who think they could use a bigger wang. Then you give each one a seperate room, and a surgeon to cut open their members and inject or restructure or whatever it is one has to do when they think their dick needs remodelling. Who knows, maybe it involves gelatin or packing peanuts. I don't know, I've never felt like my penis needed a new annex so I've never researched this, and I don't plan to now.

Then, you tell them that at the end of the show the guy who allows himself to get the biggest cock enhancement out of the group will win a prize. I don't know, maybe he can nail the self-conscious and emotionally manipulated winner of The Swan or something.

Then we, the audience, get to watch all these guys refuse to tell the surgeon to stop enlarging their schlongs. So then the guys get gigantic- I don't mean porn star huge, I mean like comically oversized, as if they now have a sausage-shaped pinata the size of a basset hound hanging from their crotch. And then we don't get to vote at all because they're all fucking losers. We just laugh and point and stare at their hideous malformed dongs.

But of course, that wouldn't be humane. Okay, fine. Humiliating and demoralizing women unfit to the media's perception of decency it is, then. God Bless America.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 9:22 PM

April 7, 2004

Go read now.

Chris sums up the week in Iraq quite nicely.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 11:08 PM

I'm a dork

Janeane Garofalo keeps mentioning her aggravation over the terms "partial-birth abortion" and "death tax" on The Majority Report, so I figured why the hell not, e-mail Air America and send her a link to the strip I did about that over a year ago.

The irony being that I lived about six blocks away from her for four years when I was at NYU. So if I ever get a response from anyone beyond an intern I'll crap a brick.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 10:21 PM

Bush loves the black peoples

I guess "compassion" is Team Bush for "associating ourselves with minorities for a momentary photo-op."

(via Atrios, on Air America tonight with Space Ghost. Really.)

Posted by August J. Pollak at 8:42 PM

Clarifications

Thanks to everyone writing in about the Nirvana post; basically a 50/50 split between agreeing with me and thinking I'm nuts. I'd print a few e-mails and address points, but I decided not to. I read every e-mail sent to me and consider the points, but I've learned in the two years I've been blogging that it's just never worth it because you always end up in arguments over sidetracked events that this site isn't even focused on. To avoid three weeks of Nirvana-related crossfire, I'm just dropping the issue now.

I actually have a story that coincidentally addresses this problem I have with stuff like this. I got an e-mail from Danny Hellman today. As in, Ted Rall v. Danny Hellman. If you don't know anything about this, then you have to believe me when I say you'll save five minutes not reading the rest of this post.

Hellman wrote taking issue with a post I made a few months ago in regards to the whole anti-Rall thing with the right wing of the Blogosphere. Unlike an earlier post I wrote over a year ago which the bastards at Pyra removed forever when they deleted half my January 2003 archive, this one's still up for you to read.

Basically, the stuff I said that isn't accurate is the personal stuff about Hellman. When Danny wrote me today to bring it up, it actually called to my attention that I incorrectly remembered meeting him and thinking he was an asshole. I've never met Hellman. Who I met was representatives of Legal Action Comics, as well as reading Hellman's LAC-related compatriots on the Comics Journal message board, who were acting like complete assholes.

The point of my November post was that the people being assholes to Rall because of the Hellman lawsuit are being co-opted by the pro-war right grasping for any excuse to get it hit in on Rall.

Anyway, after expaining myself to Hellman, I offered to make a correction, and he responded:

I hope you will make a correction.

You and I have never met, yet in your post, you claim that we did meet, and
that I behaved like some boorish asshole.

I never offered anyone money to disrupt Rall's speaking engagements, and
yet you say I did.

You call the Rall's Balls prank a "fraud," technically, the email prank is
not fraud, and by referring to it as such, you're essentially calling me a
criminal. I know you're expressing your opinions here, to which you are of
course entitled, but I wish you would try to be more precise with your use
of language.

I'm disappointed that you adopt Rall's laughable position that the infamous
"vomit bounty" was some kind of death threat, (in the five years of this
lawsuit, I haven't met anyone besides Rall who thinks that vomit can be
used as a deadly weapon, and I look forward to hearing Rall try to peddle
that line of bullshit with a straight face in front of a jury).

Also, I wish you wouldn't hold me responsible for the opinions and/or
actions of a bunch of bloggers, who I don't know. If you have a problem
with bloggers and their lemming-like behavior, take that up with them.

So, a few points:

1. I'm glad that Hellman himself points out that he's not the poster child for the anti-Rall warblog right. Though I'm sure this concept will confuse Jim Treacher, you can decide the merits of a lawsuit irregardless of whether or not you agree withone of the litigants' politics.

2. As for fraud, I guess in the legal sense it's bad to accuse Hellman of criminal activity. I maintain my position the stunt was a shitty, stupid, damaging thing to do, but the actual decision of fraud rests solely in the hands of the courts.

3. I screwed up and overreacted, falsely claiming I've met Hellman and depicted him as a boorish asshole. I've never met Hellman, and the only reasons I should consider him a boorish asshole are because of the stupid pranks he pulled on Rall and the numerous opportunities he squandered to alleviate the entire situation (admittedly, those opportunities applied to Rall too.)

I'm sorry if that came out as a snark hit on Hellman, but the whole point of this post was honesty. I think the whole Hellman/Rall issue is stupid and silly. But saying I know Hellman as an excuse to say I dislike him is both incorrect and flies against the fact that actually knowing Ted Rall is why I like him. I've never met Hellman, and me sole exchange with him were our two e-mails today which were quite civil. I would recommend, in this light, that he continues to disassociate himself with the right-wingers who are exploiting him.

The other point of this post, as mentioned before, is that reflecting on the Right's gloating about a Ted Rall incident isn't worth it anymore. Michele, et al. Can gloat about Rall all they want; he hardly cares so I don't really see how I should. All this does is make me say something that changes no one's minds, and isn't worth it bring up again. Besides, Ted can clearly defend himself more than a little-known weblogger can.

I think Rall and Hellman are both talented artists, and I think that six years later that they're still in a legal battle is just dumb. Other than that, the only thing I plan to say about them on this site is whether or not I like their cartoons. I'll leave the stalker-worthy obsessions with him to the warbloggers.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 8:35 PM

April 6, 2004

Yet another damn store update

We now have mugs, which cleverly feature both the kitty and the beaver, so if you like both, you get both, and if you only like one, you can turn it so one side faces away from you.

By the way, to the people ordering stuff, feel free to write me and let me know how the products turn out. I'm not in the department of handling complaints about bad merchandise and/or refunds, but I certainly don't want to sell anything if it's crappy. And, of course, suggestions for new merchandise are always welcome, though I'd appreciate honestly in the desire to buy it. For all the excitement about Ghost of Hitler T-shirts, I'm not seeing much action on them. Shame on you all for not obeying my consumer hypnosis. Prepare for beatings!

Also, hats are $2 off this week. So GO NUTS!

Posted by August J. Pollak at 10:56 PM

Go say hi

Amanda Marcotte is a new recruit to the [insert trendy but annoying word to describe the collective world of weblogging here]. Go give Mouse Words a look see.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 10:20 PM

"Say! Do you waaaant to see a moooovie?"

Schedules have come in for both events involving the screening of my NYU Senior film, Hanuman Dance.

If you live in the New York Area, you can see Hanuman Dance at the NYU First Run Film Festival, where it will have two showings on Friday, April 23. The main screening room will run Hanuman Dance during its block of films scheduled to screen at 9:00 PM. If you're more for the cartoons and not just me, you can also see the film at 7:30 PM during a screening of all of NYU's undergraduate animation projects. Most of these guys I worked with during my four years, and they're all fantastic.

Even cooler will be the event at Lincon Center on April 30 and May 1st, where Hanuman Dance will air with a live orchestra performing the score (created just for the film by fellow NYU student Jihwan Kim. Fun fact: not many know this, but Jihwan is the greatest musician alive.)

Information is in the various links, and if more stuff comes up I'll post it here. I'll update the Animation page sometime this week with the schedules too.

On a final note: this isn't a "meet me" thing, since I'm still figuring out if/when I'll be attending any/all of these screenings myself. I've heard rumors as to this Lincoln Center place packing a few seats, so if your desire issto make some kind of somewhat-disturbing pilgrimage to New York to meet that guy who occasionally draws cartoons, you might want to wait until June when I've got my table at the MoCCA festival.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 10:09 PM

April 5, 2004

Sad, really.

So tell me, do you earn frequent flyer miles when you spam and troll comments sections at this pace?

I've never heard of this Michael Freidman guy, but I've somehow noticed him in every comments section on every weblog on the planet. Apparently he wants to earn a seat at the right hand of the Glenn by playing Matt Drudge to Kos' Bill Clinton. I guess that works when you don't have anything else to go for yourself.

I wrote Kos yesterday with the point I made the other day: what the Freepers are doing is really kind of beneficial, by determining which Democratic candidates are real Democrats- anyone who decides it's more important to listen to Right-Wing Republicans instead of spreading their message to Moderate and Left-Wing Democrats doesn't deserve any donations in the first place.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 7:14 PM

Long Live and/or RIP Rock

Ten years ago today, Kurt Cobain killed himself. I'm not a music expert, or a blogger who has spent much time on music, so it's hard for me to make the posts other have. The other reason why will be explained at the same time: because I have a different view of this.

There's a lot that's happened in the last decade in regards to glorifying Cobain, and Nirvana, and his music. Most of it is, even from myself, a non-Nirvana fan, deserved and inarguable. Nevertheless: I'm sure I'm going to get flamed beyond belief for this, but it's just the way I feel.

I fucking hate Nirvana.

I mourn for Cobain and his family. It's terrible that he's dead. He was a musical and creative genius. The world is poorer without him in it. His suicide was a debatable mixture of pain and cowardice, but no defamation in this essay is implied on Kurt Cobain, the person.

That said, Nirvana ruined my world. I worshipped as a child the stuff that Nirvana and it's culture replaced. Nirvana and the subsequent grunge movement came in and killed the 80's rock culture. Not even hindered, I mean flat out destroyed it. With the exception of KISS which is essentially a self-parody of itself, all those groups just became ridiculous to the public eye.

But it was SUPPOSED to be that way. These weren't as much musicians- they were fucking rock stars, for god's sakes. They were loud and stupid and pointless and beautiful and fucking Seattle came in and ruined it because it was just oh-too-cool for that "fake" shit. Suddenly they get to mumble into a microphone and let everyone know "they're hurting inside" and their fake realness is more real because the 80's blatant fakeness was the only criteria to judge it against.

Nirvana didn't open up a new realm of music for me- at least not directly. It created a void where I really didn't listen to much music for years. I didn't follow trends of popular stuff and maybe around high school I started getting into all the classic stuff.

I still think about the late 80's/early 90's era and there's so much on a list higher in my preferences to associate with it than Nirvana. Guns N' Roses and the epic of November Rain. Van Halen using Right Now to make one of the most brilliant videos in history: ditto to the Beastie Boys and Sabotage. Meat Loaf and Anything for Love as if he wrote an entire song with a subconscious message of "baby, I love you, but just to make it perfectly clear, I'm going to say it with a deliciously unnecessary application of kettle drums." I'm older now, with a much better taste in music. But I still have no interest in Nirvana, and still play all those above songs when I feel the mood to do so.

That's what you do for good music, you listen to it. Nirvana was this new paradigm of the MTV generation challenging the concept of pop music's vacuousness. Britney sucks? Of course she does, she's on fucking MTV. She's a fucking video star. I was born the same year MTV was. This is our legacy. Children of Viacom: welcome to the MTV generation.

So yeah, a lot of it is admittedly that I've got horrible taste- what you should expect from someone who, essentially, is complaining that Poison didn't last long enough. (Though you gotta admit, C.C. Deville does more for promoting drug-free living by being alive and looking like a 75-year-old on celebrity Jeopardy than Cobain could ever do by killing himself.) And it's an amazing accusation to say that Nirvana, of all things, destroyed music, but in some sense, that's what it did for me.

My lack of interest in their sound aside, Nirvana was a talented band and deserved the praise and acclamation they garnered- but the side effects of Nirvana did so much more that I see as negative: the fact that Nirvana's cultural digestion caused no bands after them to make a genre-shifting impact the way they did is a BAD thing. Nirvana was the genesis of this generation's "I liked this band the first time when they were called" era. Christ, the joke five years ago was that Vedder would kill himself to keep the feud going.

We don't have rock stars anymore. We've got video stars, who care about public perception of their outlandishness rather than actually being outlandish. We don't have the abject ridiculousness that is hair metal anymore. We've got Kid Rock, who's nothing more than an example of what happens when white trash becomes a marketing scheme.

Nirvana was a talented band who's lead singer died way too young and way too unfortunately. But if video killed the radio star, Kurt Cobain killed the rock star, and I'll never forgive him for that.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 6:01 PM

Huh?

A kos diary makes an interesting observation about one of Air America's Clear Channel-owned affiliates.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 7:47 AM

April 4, 2004

Store expansion!

The store now has a few more items: the Nazi shirt-wearin' teddy bear now has a companion in bunny form.

And, what I'm hoping will bring much more excitement: Kuribo Lieberman T-shirts.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 11:37 PM

Let me touch his garment!

My favorite strips will continue to be the ones that just make fun of everybody.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 11:34 PM

Appeaser.

John Kerry's site delinked Kos because Republicans spammed over complaints about his comment on the mercenaries. Are you giving the money back he raised for you too, John? Didn't think so.

Fuck this. Kos was linked right above Democratic Underground, which is responsible for saying stupid shit that could get the Left in trouble on a thrice-daily basis. But Kerry turns on Kos- a military veteran who grew up in a war zone- because Kerry "respects the military" in a way Kos doesn't? Because right-wingers complained? What perverted difference in standards do we have in which the Republicans can associate themselves with Rush Limbaugh while Democrats have to amputate someone for saying a knee-jerk comment that he later retracted?

Jesus, Kerry's a pussy. I said two posts below that I have no respect or support for Democrats who listen to Republicans before they listen to Democrats to establish their viewpoints. If that applies to the Democratic candidate for President now, so be it.

Update: Kerry drops Kos? Atrios drops Kerry. He even notes the Limbaugh-and-others hypocrisy I addressed earlier. The world is a better place because Eschaton exists.

Second Update: Clearly John Kerry doesn't sit there and edit his own blog, and the references to Kerry here should be understood as to his blog and web team. But someone gave that order, and someone's obligated to accountability for it. Right now that someone is flying under the John Kerry banner until John Kerry says otherwise.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 11:22 AM