April 13, 2007

Numer one in the box office, G

An important reminder for any fellow enthusiasts of quality offbeat animated cinema: please make an effort to go out and see the Aqua Teen Hunger Force movie this weekend. While I understand it's an unfair metering system, box office numbers really do count and this thing needs a great opening weekend.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 11:53 AM

Where have you gone, John DiMaggio

Your random pointless thought of the day: does anyone find it slightly weird that the lead singer of the New York Dolls sounds exactly like the guy who does the voice of Bender on Futurama?

Ponder that one over the weekend.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 10:28 AM

(Mispelling of the word "girl goes here") gamers (or perhaps misspell "gamers" too)

Mighty Ponygirl reminds us that, yes, video game developers still don't understand women that much. There's a lot to be said and I'm not sure what excerpt could summarize it so just go read the whole thing.

Fun fact: did you know in the original Grand Theft Auto, you could choose to play as a female character? Think about that in the context of the last few editions. It's weird, isn't it?

MPG has an entire site devoted to feminist gaming, by the way. And that's sort of awesome, so check it out.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 9:41 AM

What I've learned this week

1. If you want to be an incredibly racist and offensive radio host, make sure you have really good ratings. It took CBS an entire week to "think about the impact" Imus's words have "on the children" and apparently "the children" meant "ratings and sponsors dropping out." These people all deserve to be fired too. None of them will because they have five times the audience Imus did.

2. If you are falsely accused of a major crime by an overzealous prosecutor, make sure you can afford lawyers. The prosecution of the Duke lacrosse players was, to be sure, a travesty that was a violation of the accuseds' rights and a setback, possibly in decades, for progress in protecting actual victims of sexual assault. The fact that the players were exonerated has much less to do with race and class than it does their ability to hire lawyers who were able to do so. I hope they think about how lucky they are to have had those resources. I also hope they think about how problematic is is to have your coach buy you alcohol and strippers for you to hurt racist insults at and e-mail death threats to, but let's leave that for another time.

3. If you want to ignore harassment online, make sure you are a successful, male blogger. I love kos and I'm thrilled at the impact he has on political dialogue, but I think the time has come to openly acknowledge he has a severe weakness in the field of women's issues. The entire mantra that pushing for anti-abortion Democrats is perfectly alright because all that matters is controlling Congress was simplistic enough, but this just borders complete gender ignorance. Women, and in that vein women bloggers, receive legitimate, horrifying death threats. A really nice online agreement isn't going to combat that at all, and pretending it will is just stupid.

4. If it turns out the child of the dead woman you were sleeping with was fathered by another person, make sure you stay active in the child's life. Seriously, guys. Kudos to Howard K. Stern for offering to be present as young Meal Ticket grows up under the clearly watchful eyes of that dude who kind of looks like Kato Kaelin and decided that he should see if he's the dad after learning the kid is now the rightful heir to eleventy-bajillion dollars. It'll be like "My Two Dads" only even more gut-wrenchingly depressing. But it's worth it, because after all, we don't want to kid to grow up messed up or anything.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 9:04 AM

April 12, 2007

Kurt is up in Heaven now

I'd like to think I can honor him by saying something about him he'd love to hear.

You and the police are entitled to know, since I am going to spend the night near you, that I am both a Humanist and a Luddite. I may hold a Black Mass in the parking garage of the Best Western Hotel, if I can find a neo-conservative baby to sacrifice.

Do you know what a Humanist is? I am honorary president of the American Humanist Association, having succeeded the late, great science fiction writer Isaac Asimov in that functionless capacity. We Humanists try to behave well without any expectation of rewards or punishments in an afterlife. We serve as best we can the only abstraction with which we have any real familiarity, which is our community.

We had a memorial services for Isaac a few years back, and at one point I said, ''Isaac is up in Heaven now.'' It was the funniest thing I could have said to a group of Humanists. I rolled them in the aisles. It was several minutes before order could be restored. And if I should ever die, God forbid, I hope you will say, ''Kurt is up in Heaven now.'' That's my favorite joke.

So it goes.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 10:58 AM

Oh, for crap's sake

It is the year 2007. Try to remember that.

They go to school now, too! Can you imagine that? Some of them even want to be doctors and lawyers!

Posted by August J. Pollak at 10:57 AM

April 11, 2007

Chuck Norris Action Jeans!

Yes. Oh my, yes.

I'll take a pair, please. And then you. Shall take a roundhouse kick.

To the face.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 10:45 AM

That's how good it is to be white

Huh. I had no idea prominent politicians and candidates for President appeared on stage with Chris Rock, who is also broadcast daily on a national news and radio network to millions of people. You learn something new every day.

This is another example of that type of punditry that bothers me (and I think most people) more than any other: the fabricated belief. Racial issues are among the most frequent uses of it. Any time the usual suspects hear a white person said something racist, they suddenly "discover" that black people have said the same word at a different time. Their argument is based entirely around the belief that this is the only relevant comparison. The context, nature, and audience of the quote are obviously irrelevant; what matters is white guy said the N-word and everyone's angry but black guy said the N-word and everyone laughed and that's obviously unfair.

No one actually believes this. If they do, as Oliver so eloquently put it, they're stupid.

And yet they say it because they simply need an argument. In some world that doesn't actually exist, if it was just conceded that Imus said something incredibly offensive and horrible and there's no excuse for it, they "lose." What they lose, no one knows.

As always, Oliver's stalkers offer a perfect example of this:

Black comedians make fun of the way white people talk, dance, behave, look, etc. People laugh uproariously. And it is funny.

Chris Rock did that whole bit where he said, "I love black people, but I hate ni**ers" and explained why. Remember? He talked about the guy who refused to get good grades in school. "Naw man. I'm keepin it real." Rock said, "Yeah....real dumb."

Now imagine had a white comedian done the same bit.

Ummm.... yeah. If a white person said all that he'd be lucky to get out of the theater in one piece. And it's not actually possible the commenter doesn't understand why. This is a fabricated belief. He doesn't actually believe there's no difference between a black person commenting about black people in a room full of black people and a white person doing the same thing. Even for Oliver's commenters, no one is actually that stupid.

Right-wingers need to believe liberals are wrong about everything, so when they can't find a reason, they need to invent one. Disturbing, isn't it?

By the way, here's a passage from the same Rock show:

Man, the white man thinks he's losing the country. You watch the news: ''We're losing everything. We're fucking losing. ''Affirmative action, and illegal aliens... and we're fucking losing the country.''

Losing? Shut the fuck up. White people ain't losing shit. lf y'all losing, who's winning? lt ain't us.

lt ain't us. Have you driven around this motherfucker? lt ain't us. Shit, there ain't a white man in this room that would change places with me. None of you would change places with me. And l'm rich! That's how good it is to be white.

Funny, no one seems to be excerpting that part.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 9:11 AM

April 10, 2007

President Bush almost blows himself up

Thankfully, our history books were spared explaining this one to schoolchildren of the future:

Lincoln: Assassinated.
Garfield: Assassinated.
Harrison: Sickness.
Roosevelt: Sickness.
Kennedy: Assassinated.
Bush: The way Ice-T killed Charles S. Dutton in Surviving the Game.

And yes, just so we're clear, I'm glad the leader of our nation didn't accidentally kill himself.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 3:05 PM

Actually, that is being evil

Dammit, Google.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 7:54 AM

April 9, 2007

"States' rights"

Latest comic - click here!

Now, don't get me wrong, I think the need for state-specific rights are clear. I understand states wanting to determine things different than the rest of the country: for example, states might want the driving age to be lower to accomodate families using farm equipment and delivery trucks, and states with higher percentages of hunters may want a different examination of their gun laws. And of course, states have differences on what the minimum wage is (although they all share the national unity right now of it being too damn low.)

But the most frequently-used references to "states' rights" seem to have, shall we say, and alterior motive, don't you agree? The Declaration of Independence flat-out says that all men (and in modern times we've accepted that means all people) are equal, and yet whenever there's some kind of equality people acquire, a lot of people suddenly feel the states should have the right to disagree with the founding document upon which the entire structure of American government is based upon.

So really, why should abortion be a "state's right" to determine? Either you think abortion should be illegal or you don't. Is there a particular reason you think it's a crime in Wyoming but but in New Jersey? That goes the same for the death penalty and gay marriage... exactly what does geography have to do with this stuff?

Ronald Reagan, of course, knew exactly what "states' rights" really meant during his famous speech supporting them that just, by sheer coincidence, mind you, happened to be delivered while in a small town of no discernible relevance other than three civil rights activists having been murdered there for opposing Jim Crow laws.

So please, as we enter the next election cycle, let's please drop the cutesy dog whistling about "states' rights." I'm pretty we held, argued, and settled the argument over a state's right to determine the rights of selective Americans a long time ago, and if you disagree, then your state's probably exercising its right to have a tacky flag.

While you can always buy some crap from the comfort of your own home, as you'll notice above you can also buy some crap from me, in person, at the Alternative Press Expo in San Francisco. I highly recommend you do this, even if it requires purchasing plane tickets.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 12:09 AM