August 20, 2005

Summer "vacation"

Things are probably going to be a little slow here for the next few weeks. No new comic this Monday or next, as I've taken it upon myself to move to a new apartment while I have some down time at work. I'll be moving next weekend, and this weekend is going to be devoted to, well, finding a moving company, and getting a few other errands done. After that I'm going to have to get some work done to prepare for SPX at the end of September.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 7:53 AM

August 19, 2005

Cafferty's Network moment

I used to watch Jack Cafferty when he anchored the local news on WPIX in New York. He seemed pretty decent back then, so I'm glad to see there's at the very least a light of sensibility in him still now that he's gone network.

I'd like to vouch for the fact that I never heard of this BTK monster until the nonstop coverage of him started. Regardless of your opinions on the death penalty, the guy's mental status, whatever, Cafferty's basic premise- that he's famous because TV agreed to make him famous- is absolutely correct. CNN is the only reason I have a clue who this guy is.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 10:53 PM

Well, yeah

Ted Rall reflects on IOKIYAR:

From the lede of Ann Coulter's column this week:

To expiate the pain of losing her firstborn son in the Iraq war, Cindy Sheehan decided to cheer herself up by engaging in Stalinist agitprop outside President Bush's Crawford ranch. It's the strangest method of grieving I've seen since Paul Wellstone's funeral. Someone needs to teach these liberals how to mourn. Call me old-fashioned, but a grief-stricken war mother shouldn't have her own full-time PR flack. After your third profile on "Entertainment Tonight," you're no longer a grieving mom; you're a C-list celebrity trolling for a book deal or a reality show.

Let's see. Ted Olsen, one of the three "terror widows" in my (in) famous comic from 2002, appeared on "Larry King" a week after his wife's death to promote Bush's war on terror(TM), aka neo-fascist agitprop. Mariane Pearl made repeated appearances on cable news stations to promote her two books. So did the "Let's Roll" (R) widow. (She also sold a book, and filed for a trademark on the term "Let's roll.") Of course, I was demonized by Coulter's right-wing fellow travelers for criticizing these people for the (strange) way they chose to mourn their losses. Psychotic self-hating African-American pol Alan Keyes called for me to be censored, jailed and shot to death, not necessarily in that order. My, how things have changed.

So how about it, Ann? Are you a hypocrite? If you're not, I expect you to take the terror hos who shilled for the GOP on stage at the 2004 Republican Convention to task every bit as much as you do Cindy Sheehan. (holding breath...)

This isn't exactly a new thing for our dear Ann. Let's not forget that amidst all the bile from the right about how "America-hating" liberals "want the enemy to win," the only mainstream media pundit who has ever actively called for terrorists to kill Americans is... Ann Coulter.

Of course, there was also the post-9/11 column in which she invoked the memory of the murdered Barbara Olsen to demand the famous invade/kill/convert strategem. So, Ted, I think the answer to your final graf is no, probably not.

That said, maybe that's the next question that should be publicly demanded of Coulter, Malkin, et al- do they think Marianne Pearl and Ted Olsen are "grief whores?"

Posted by August J. Pollak at 6:33 PM

August 17, 2005

God, you can't even harass people properly

Reader Max Blumenthal wrote in regarding my phone call this morning to inform me that Michelle Malkin's husband is named Jesse, not Albert.

I have the dumbest fucking stalker on the face of the earth.

Update: This is hilarious. "Albert Malkin" is apparently on the move, leaving comments similar to the one he threw at me over in The Editors' comments section. You should be over there reading Keyboard Kommando Komix anyway.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 7:55 PM

No shit, Spurlock

Well, another day, another "counter-Spurlock" film being hyped by the right. The Freeper crowd is ecstatic about the latest person to prove you can lose weight eating at McDonald's, in some kind of moral victory over Morgan Spurlock's film Supersize Me.

RALEIGH, N.C. - Inspired by the documentary "Super Size Me," Merab Morgan decided to give a fast-food-only diet a try. The construction worker and mother of two ate only at McDonald's for 90 days � and dropped 37 pounds in the process.

It was a vastly different outcome than what happened in the documentary to filmmaker Morgan Spurlock, who put on 30 pounds and saw his health deteriorate after 5,000 calories a day of nothing but McDonald's food.

Spurlock, who turned his surprise-hit movie into a TV show on the FX network, isn't talking about Morgan or the many other McDieters who have criticized his film and found success losing weight by eating healthy foods off the McDonald's menu, said his agent, David Magdael.

One person went so far as to make her own independent film about dieting at McDonald's. "Me and Mickey D" follows Soso Whaley, of Kensington, N.H., as she spends three 30-day periods on the diet. She dropped from 175 to 139 pounds, eating 2,000 calories-a-day at McDonald's.

"I had to think about what I was eating," Whaley said. "I couldn't just walk in there and say 'I'll take a cinnamon bun and a Diet Coke.' ... I know a lot of people are really turned off by the whole thought of monitoring what they are eating, but that's part of the problem."

Umm... sorry to interrupt the article here, but a slight interjection- duh.

Once the right decided that Spurlock was a "liberal" target, they then went ahead and created a strawman out of his movie by claiming that he merely was saying that McDonald's food is unhealthy. Now, it is, and I willingly eat it, as do a lot of people. But the goddamn point of Supersize me was to emphasize the exact same point these anti-Spurlock morons think they're "countering" him with- that you need to make healthy decisions.

Can you lose weight eating nothing but McDonalds? Of course you can. You can lose weight eating nothing but Cool-Whip as long as you don't exceed the daily calorie intake your body burns. One of the "rules" of Spurlock's experiment, however, was that he had to eat every item on the McDonald's menu as well as agree to have his order "supersized" (given the largest size drink and french fries) anytime McDonald's offered- something that sort of offsets the average calorie load of little miss "wow, I lose weight eating nothing but salads! So there!" Pointing out that (gasp!) only eating the salads is healthier wasn't really the point- it was the fact that McDonald's still sells meals that can exceed 2,500 calories. Spurlock wasn't denying that you can lose weight- he was highlighting that it's incredibly difficult because their products are loaded with fat and chemicals that are sold with a marketing gimmick devoted to making you eat as much as possible.

Finally, you turn to the McDonald's flacky highlighting all the "healthy choices" McDonald's has on its menu. Admittedly, they actually have been looking into that- the article even mentions their healthy eating plans from their website, their new salads, fruit selections, leaner chicken, and so forth. What McDonald's tends to leave out of this oral press release is that much of this, for some straaaaange reason, all happened after Supersize Me came out.

Spurlock's new show, 30 Days, continues the straw man stupidity from the right in their attempt to automatically hate it. His first episode, about living on the minimum wage, was met with hateful and uncaring responses from the right about how "it's possible to live on the minimum wage." Once again, no shit. That's not the point- the point of the show is to reflect that while tons of people live like this- be it on the minimum wage, binge drinking, being Muslim-American, it's difficult and the efforts people make to hide that conflict should be acknowledged.

Before Supersize Me and the lawsuits, McDonald's response to unhealthy eating wasn't making efforts to make healthier products- it was to try and hide the numbers. This is what every corporation or status quo, be it gun makers, tobacco companies, or, generally, rich white men, try to do on a daily basis. Each of these wannabe fillmakers, eager to cash in on Spurlock's success by acting willfully ignorant about his message, are arguing the equivalent of saying that cigarettes are perfectly safe because they haven't gotten cancer yet. Unfortunately, that's not the point.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 9:23 AM

August 16, 2005

Well, yes, he does know her, Michelle

Campus Progress wonder-blogger Todd Hill did what Michelle Malkin remains too chickenshit to do and actually went down to Crawford to spend the day with Cindy Sheehan. Amazingly, his reports on her condition and mentality differ somewhat from the aforementioned cowardly racist sociopath.

Update: this is 100% true: I just got off the phone with a lovely gentleman who said, and I quote: "I'm Albert Malkin, Michelle Malkin's husband, you cunt, you fuck," and then hung up.

Now, given that Michelle is a lunatic it's plausible that her husband is one as well, but unless Mr. Malkin is spending the day tracking down the office phone numbers of random people who insulted his wife I'm going to graciously offer Michelle the benefit of the doubt and assume it was a prank caller. You kooky kids!

Posted by August J. Pollak at 10:49 PM

That's so funny I forgot about genocide in Darfur

Scott Kurtz of PvP started selling parody "awareness bands" on his site the other day- maybe someone already crossed that line, but I guess if someone was going to do it and succeed it would be a popular gaming comic.

Anyhow, the bands say "support the Pwned", a reference to gamer lingo (Pwned means you just got your ass kicked in a game) and, apparently, this is cute. Scott has already responded to a letter saying it's tacky with, of course, the condescention and sarcastic obnoxiousness that Kurtz is about 1,500 more words from patenting.

I know some people who wear the yellow "Live Strong" bands. They all either went through or are close to someone who went through cancer. Not all of them lived. I wear a green band for SaveDarfur.org, one of the campaigns the Center for American Progress endorses. If Scott Kurtz wants to make fun of me for "not having a sense of humor," I really can't help him with our differences there. He's selling joke bands for profit; the money from the Save Darfur Coalition's green wristbands goes toward the victims of the most violent act of genocide since the Holocaust. I guess I don't get it or something.

I'm not really going to make any more hay out of this and I'm not saying people should all barrage Kurtz with scorn and complaints, because it's clear from Scott's response that he could care less, and making any stink about it is just going to be used as fodder for his personal enjoyment, so forget about it. I just think it's kind of sad that we're at the point now where "you don't have a sense of humor" can now be used as a lazy non-response even to cancer patients and genocide victims. Ultimately, Scott has the right to make fun of whatever cause and issue he wants- I just wish he wouldn't slap around an upset reader just because he doesn't give a shit about what they believe in. There's a difference between merely exploiting a trend and being a jackass while doing it.

That all said, I'm sort of amused at the idea that a couple of l33t kids will actually buy the fake bands, and then get asked what they're supporting by someone wearing a real one. I'm sure explaining to the girl who's raising awareness for the disease her father is recovering from will find the gamer's joke hilarious.

Update: A few readers have written in to point out that Kurtz is far from the first to make parody issue bands, there being profit attempts on the theme ranging from right-wing Christian groups to Larry the Cable Guy. So Kurtz didn't really break any boundaries.

Like I said, I'm a huge fan of PvP and I don't really cast scorn on Scott for doing whatever he wants to do to make a buck- believe me, there have been far more tasteless mockeries of various groups. I just found his snark at someone expressing distaste to be obnoxious. Considering the usual feedback to something stupid Kurtz says involves massive e-mail attacks from other gamers that usually involve derivatives of the words "cock," I would have thought he'd find a letter expressing a civil albeit disagreeing opinion refreshing.

Oh, and just to answer the suggestion made by ComixPedia, no, the original e-mail Kurtz responded to was not from me. I wrote my post after Kurtz responded to the e-mail he posted on his site. I did not reach out to Kurtz personally because, as noted in the original post, it's clear his mind is not going to change.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 10:34 PM

Quick, call psychic friend Michelle

Wisconsin anti-abortion group takes a leak on a dead soldier's coffin.

Staff Sgt. Chad Simon was laid to rest this week with full military honors, a hero who gave his life for us in Iraq.

Of course, the folks at Pro-Life Wisconsin couldn't resist taking a kick at his flag-draped coffin.

Three days after the Monona Marine's funeral, the Pro-Lifers put out a press release claiming that Simon was "murdered by those in charge of his medical care." Late Friday, under legal threat by the lawyers for the Don and Marilyn Anderson Hospicecare Center in Fitchburg, the Pro-Lifers backed off the murder charge.

Still, the Pro-Lifers warned that this could happen to you. Julie Grimstad of Pro-Life called Simon's health-care power of attorney document "signing your own suicide note. It may be legal, but it's most certainly immoral."

Then, if it's possible to get more appalling, the group goes on to tout Grimstad's seven "End of Life Decisions" brochures.

I eagerly await Michelle Malkin's next post condemning this.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 10:27 AM

August 15, 2005

Newest comic - "That's fit to print"

I, for one, am thrilled that Wolf Blitzer has been promoted at CNN to not having to sit behind a desk. The Blitzer should roam free, happy in its natural setting of plasma monitors and clinking lights with scary fonts for headlines to stories.

Go ahead, buy some crap.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 12:03 AM

August 14, 2005

End of an Era

John Canemaker is the head of the animation program at NYU. He was one of my former professors, and to this day probably no one alive knows more about animation than him.

He's got an article in the Wall St. Journal about the demise of Disney's 2-D animation studio, traditional animation in general, and the stupidity thereof. Go read.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 10:16 PM

The last refuge of cowards

I'll leave Amanda and The Editors to offer their response to John Cole's fantastic exercise in believing he's the only person on earth who matters.

After three years of the right-wing blogosphere pasting up 9/11 photos, specific stories from happy Iraqis, Todd "Let's Roll" Beamer, several country music albums, and shoving a pole up the corpse of Pat Tillman to parade him around like a Sicilian street festival, apparently the discovery of a person affected by the Iraq war who (gasp!) no longer supports it is where right-wingers draw the line on emotional attachment. I would reflect on the death of irony once again but if I did John Cole would just accuse me of not actually caring about it.

So we don't really care about Cindy Sheehan, unlike all those right-wing bloggers, who have always, and will always, care nothing but for the people of Afgh- sorry, Iraq. Alrighty, then.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 11:03 AM