February 10, 2007
Like most people, I have a handful of guilty pleasures, but avid readers are aware I'm secure enough to discuss one of them openly: my unabashed love for the tween-girl-geared Disney cartoon Kim Possible. Whatever, guys- and how many Buffy season DVDs are on your shelf right now? I thought so. Now siddown.
After being "uncancelled" by Disney and getting an order for a record fourth season, something that has almost never happened in the company's history, based entirely on being that damned good, the Disney Channel finally started airing the new episodes this weekend and I'm simply flabbergasted that the show is still near-perfect. I think the reason I find myself writing about this show so often is I simply can't believe they've managed to make a cartoon meant for a kid's network that's this high-quality and have kept improving on it every single year.
Putting aside the general matter of the superior quality of the show, in almost all aspects from the writing to the character design to the animation itself to the utmost respect it has for the audience's intelligence, what I admire so much about it is how brave the producers are with it. The biggest example of this bravery lies in the show having an actual years-long continuity. You don't expect a kid's cartoon to run like a saga, where there's an actual timeline and the characters aren't "reset." Usually the network bigwigs want something that can be recycled for years that avoids any major plotline alterations. In Kim Possible, the main characters started as high school freshmen in the first season; now they're seniors and are dating each other. Think about the cartoons you watched as a kid and take a moment to acknowledge the balls required to do that. I mean, I remember when I used to be younger than Bart Simpson. The show refuses to be a mere marketing tie-in and actually makes a story and characters the audience grows with.
TV critics often reflect upon Sesame Street and how it's grown along with the intelligence of children; the critical learning skills from the latest season are far more advanced than the first season because the show, in part, has helped make children smarter in general. You don't usually get that effect out of a commercially-driven kid's show, but it's there. Kim Possible is so damn creative and smart that it will make your kids smarter and more creative by watching it. And because of that, the audience forces the show to improve upon itself.
I really don't know why or how the writers and artists for the show are so good at what they do, but I wish they could be in charge of all the programming for the Disney Channel. As I've said so many times already, to all the parents in the audience tonight, grab the TV Guide and find out when you can watch this show with your kids. And then don't be surprised when you find yourself watching it even when they're not around.
Update: Title corrected. Yes, I am aware that I misspelled "infallible" as well as the incredible irony of doing so.
Maybe she really is a feminist
Ann Althouse actually does a very good job emphasizing gender equality by proving how she effortlessly can be just as stupid as some of the top-name male right-wing bloggers.
You go, girl!
February 9, 2007
How to piss off Wolf Blitzer
That was awesome. God I love Jack Cafferty.
Non-existent terrorists win
Boston pants-wetters force the head of Cartoon Network to take the bullet over the Lite-Brite freakout.
This is utter bullshit. Jim Samples was with Cartoon Network for over 12 years, including when Cartoon Network opened their own in-house studio in 2000 which pretty much single-handedly saved traditional animation for American television. Samples is the reason Genndy Tartakovsky and Craig McCraken are famous. He was in charge of everything from the blockbuster breakout of the Powerpuff Girls to the formation of Adult Swim. Almost everything that made me want to work in cartoons from high school to today is because of projects he had a hand in.
I'm disgusted and ashamed, both with Cartoon Network and with the asshats running Boston for causing this.
Update: A cynical thought I've seen a few people saying on comments sections around the internet, and worth repeating here: this was a random freakout in which there was no threat to anyone at all and a minimal cost to security resources, and two weeks later the head of Cartoon Network has resigned. In contrast, it has been over five years since the attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon, in which over 3,000 people were murdered and cost billions in city and national resources, and the only person who lost their job over it was Bill Maher.
Far out in the reaches of space, a small single-celled life form on Jupiter failed to see this coming
Wow, after Michelle Malkin and her HotAir winged monkeys spent 48 hours braying over how Amanda Marcotte was "anti-Catholic" it turns out oh for god's sakes why even bother. You know damned well how this post ends.
Here's the anti-Catholic stuff they said. Yes. It took about a day to find this. Seriously, did you think this wasn't going to happen? Was it even remotely conceivable that this wasn't going to be what happened next?
God I love the Silly Season.
Update: Oh, this is precious. I mean, absoultely nothing will happen to him, but man is this hysterical.
February 8, 2007
In which I spit vast amounts of soda across my computer monitor
The front page of the most popular website on earth, 10:18 PM.
Either they're comparing her to Princess Di or Yahoo's already concluded she died for the same reason Marilyn Monroe did. Not sure which one is creepier.
Right-wing bullies lose today
February 7, 2007
One more friendly reminder
These are the people that are perfectly okay to be involved with the Bush White House.
(More from Steve Benen)
Pandas all the way down
I've avoided saying anything about the Amanda Marcotte/John Edwards thing because I honestly think it's a story that makes the right happier with every post the left writes about. And I'm hoping this will be the only post I feel like I have to write about it. But I'll echo much of what Ezra says here.
Look: I thought the Edwards' campaign made a surprising choice when it picked up Amanda. She throws elbows, to say the least. And her focuses, and opinions, are not always popular in contemporary American political life. It seemed an act of bravery and conviction, though I wasn't sure what, exactly, the upside was. But the Edwards campaign chose her. They hired her. She left her blog for the position. And now they've got to defend their choice. To back down would either prove that their hiring process was incompetent and they didn't vet someone with an extensive public record, or that they'll collapse beneath even moderate pressure from rightwing professionals. Neither is a good look for the new campaign.
I'd add that I'm far less pessimistic about all this than Ezra is: I don't think Amanda is a choice to be "defended;" it's a choice to be celebrated. They hired (along with Shakespeare's Sister) two of the most vocal and prolific voices in the online feminist progressive movement, and I would assume their insights into that field, as well as online outreach in general, is why they hired them. This is Josh Marshall's "bitch-slap theory" at its apex: instead of spending the week celebrating the bravery of hiring two strong-opinioned female bloggers to be a major part of their online campaign, Team Edwards allowed itself to be slapped around by folks like Michelle Malkin, who is at best, a weak, pathetic coward as to any matters of legitimate political debate. The better questions were never asked that should have been: Why are anti-feminist pundits like Malkin desperate to dig up dirt on Edwards' blogger? If they think Amanda is a "disaster" for the campaign, why are they so fervently trying to get her fired? Why is a campaign staffer for Rudy Giuliani, a thrice-married adulterer who annuled his first marriage after discovering she was his cousin, accepted within seventeen miles of a conversation about what a feminist blogger should say? Why do we care if a racist lair like Malkin, who would never vote for Edwards anyway, doesn't like how Edwards is running his campaign?
I'll be blunt about this: Edwards will lose my vote, both in a primary and a general election, if he throws Amanda to the wolves. I have a very strong feeling, given the responses from Atrios, Greenwald, and a handful of kos' partners (though yes, I would like to see a direct statement from kos about all this, given both his prominence and direct relation to controversies like this- I am hopeful he'll be on Amanda's side as well) that this is a shared sentiment from a vast majority of left-wing bloggers. Why would we believe Edwards would stand up to any other right-wing assault over the next four years if he cowered to one in the infancy of his campaign? Why would we believe he'd give a damn about the netroots? Hell, this isn't even a metaphor situation: Edwards' camp ditching Amanda would literally be choosing the voice of the right-wing noise machine over the voice of the left-leaning people who were actually, you know, thinking about voting for him.
Update: Berube for the win:
Caving into the right wing, or to religious conservatives (of any regional or ethnic background), always works. For example, look at Bill Clinton. In 1993, he nominated Lani Guinier to the post of assistant attorney general for the civil rights division of the Justice department. Guinier is one of our most distinguished legal theorists of democracy and voting rights, and was an outstanding choice for the job; but right-wing hacks at the Wall Street Journal and The New Republic misrepresented her work completely, construing her as an advocate of precisely the kind of "quota" schemes she decried. Clinton responded by throwing Guinier to the wolves, withdrawing her nomination even before she had a chance to explain herself to the Senate Judiciary Committee.
And happily for everyone concerned except Guinier, the right-wing wolves were sated by the feast and never bothered Bill Clinton again for the remainder of his eight years in office.
The lesson is clear. If the Edwards campaign ditches Amanda and Melissa, the right will happily take it as evidence of Edwards' good-faith efforts to reach out to real Americans, and leave him in peace for the duration of the campaign.
February 6, 2007
WWTF in Washington
What kind of tree-hugger hippie bullshit is this?
Today, the area's pure classic rocker, 94.7 The Arrow, was killed off to make way for something called 94.7 The Globe, the first station in Washington since WHFS to adopt an alternative rock sound. The new station itself is explicitly making the comparison to the region's once-beloved alternative rocker, telling listeners in an on-air promotion that the new Globe will sound like "WHFS circa 1985."
In radio industry parlance, the new station is a blend of two formats--Triple A, or Adult Album Alternative (like the old WHFS), and Modern Adult Contemporary (like Mix 107.3)--with a smattering of the old 60s and 70s classic rock.
The Arrow went eco-alt-rock. I swear to god, this makes me want to burn a rainforest to the ground while gargling raw koala blood.
I used to live in New York, which has the famous Q104.3, and I can honestly say The Arrow was a better station. They had a better mix, more entertaining DJs, and a lot cooler quirks- for example, they used to do weekends where they would play nothing but cover songs. And now, it's gone. This won't be solved by finding another station or switching to satellite; I liked that exact radio station.
And what's the most obnoxious about all this is the idea that this kind of "green station" is anything but a marketing gimmick is nonsense. CBS altered the format because they were losing profit margin so they decided to find a new gimmick at the expense of the fans of The Arrow. It's the Frutopia of radio stations.
I lament the loss of generations-old technology, but that really does it for me for radio, as least as long as I live DC. I have no reason to even turn the thing on anymore. Good job, CBS.
February 5, 2007
"Is Barack Obama articulate?"
So, Joe Biden, huh? Shortest. Presidential. Campaign. Ever. I'll assume you've all heard Chris Rock's routine about black people "speaking so well" so I won't bother plagiarizing him here. I just find it funny that our party has its share of historical inarticulateness to a level that perhaps pointing out how well a person, regardless of race, speaks might actually be a relevant issue.
Edwards was the hardest one to reflect on in this strip. I really wanted to avoid the idea that I think his Southern accent is the issue, which it isn't. It's hard to get his speech mannerisms on paper when it's such an aural and visual display. It's like he's getting softly delivered electrical shocks randomly as he talks. Carville, however, is taken straight from real life. I honestly haven't understood a word that man's said in the last four years.
February 4, 2007
An open letter to Josh Marshall
No. Ralph Nader is not considering a "spoiler candidacy." He's considering running for president. The former is a fantasy that a bitter irrelevant old shadow of a former credible progressive crusader is being priviledged by the media to actually have a camera turned on him while he talks about it. The latter is what is actually happening on Planet Earth.
He recieved less than a half-million votes out of over a hundred million in 2004, a fifth of what he recieved in 2000. If he runs again, he will recieve even less. Ralph Nader is considering "spoiling the election" the way I am considering "marrying Scarlett Johansson."
Thank you for your time.
August J. Pollak
I'm pretty sure this'll be the closest I ever get to Michelle Malkin posting one of my cartoons on her website. For the 99% of the world with better things to do than read Malkin's babble, she's claiming Amanda Marcotte scrubbed Pandagon after getting hired by Edwards, as she proved by claiming she couldn't find a blog post that someone else found a few minutes later. She's a bright one, that Malkin.
By the way, Malkin is only the icing on the cake for the almost too-hilarious outrage the right wing loon-o-sphere is having over Amanda being a blogger for Edwards. I'm starting to think their fervent declaration of how great it will be for them to dig up all of of Amanda's old posts is exactly the point. They're obsessed with thinking anything more than a small sliver of the country cares about them and knows who they are will give a damn about a website employee for someone having said some naughty words.
Given John Kerry only lost the election by the smallest margin of votes in history, and that took an army of people like Malkin claiming he was a traitor who injured himself while eating Vietnamese babies or something like that, I think Edwards is going to be fine.