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13 posts from July 2008

July 29, 2008

Recent Figure-outey

Because of a recent post I did on my entertainment blog about the Bechdel test, I've been thinking about it lately. And the only big moobie I've seen this summer that passes that test is ... drumroll please ... the Sex and the City moobie. And I haven't even seen that movie.

Makes you think don't it?


Did I mention that I'm in Panama?

I'm in Panama, on a family reunion. Currently on my third night in a schmancy beach resort on a schmancy beach, lying around getting relaxed and wearing aaaaaaalllll my sundresses. And a string bikini. (Note to "fat" people: I'm the fattest I've ever been and I've never rocked a string bikini before because I always wanted to wait until I looked like a concentration camp victim first. I'm over it.) Tomorrow back to Panama City for some power-touristing.

Nyah Nyah.

Reading Update: After reading the fifth Naomi Novik Temeraire book (Victory of Eagles, fab) I went back and re-read the whole series, just to make sure it was really as good as I thought it was. It is. I have a long post in the works about Novik, which may never see the light of day, but there it is.

Also, while on vacay, I'm reading the rest of Diane Duane's Young Wizards series, of which I've read A Wizard Alone so far. I'm reading Wizard's Holiday right now, which is perfect, because they're on a Beach Planet. I might have more to say about Duane as well, but not while on breaky-break.

No, I did not finish adding to Da Nobble. I was stressed out. So there. It Will Get Done. I Have Faith.

I'm posting more thoughtful shit about Panama the next couple of weeks over at atlas(t): the Galleon Trade Edition because ... well, go over and read.

July 22, 2008

More On the Obama Cartoon and Losing an Opportunity

I talked with a good friend tonight--a person of color who has been working in antiracism for years--about the Obama cartoon and things got heavy for a second. But I'm glad we talked about it because it made some things clear to me.

The first is that my friend said outright that discussions of race at this intensity don't belong to The New Yorker, being essentially a white publication with a privileged white audience.  The New Yorker is not equipped to deal with these issues. (Let's not argue for a moment whether or not Jews are white. I'm willing to concede that point in either direction but I think most people can agree that TNY serves a primarily white, progressive establishment audience.)

I wouldn't disagree with this opinion at all if  The New Yorker were doing a front-page satirical cartoon about the Duke rape scandal or Don Imus or any of the multitudes of racist incidents that spring up in the media for a week here and there. Those are clearly best handled by people who really understand what they mean, and that's really not The New Yorker.

The point I want to make and have made before and will probably make again is that Obama is now national news (has been for an incredibly long time). The way the media treats Obama, and the public understanding of race, have been part of an ongoing national discussion for well over a year because Obama is in contention for the office of president. If he wins, and he has a good chance of winning, those racial issues will be directly affecting everyone. Everyone. Everyone.

Set aside the fact that racial issues have always been affecting everyone in this country and beyond. If Obama wins, racial issues will be openly, directly, and acknowledgedly part of the national discourse for untold years to come. In fact, they already are. Even if Obama loses, it'll be months, even years, before this discussion is off the table, and by then the discussion will have mutated radically.

We've all been yelling for years to deaf ears that race is everyone's problem and everyone has to think about it and make an effort for racism to go away. And now, here we are. Everyone is thinking about it, everyone is making an effort. They're failing right and left, but it's here. And we're squawking because others are trespassing on our issue? Where's our leadership on this issue? Where's our intelligence? Where's our broad-mindedness? Where, in all of this, are we setting terms for debate? Where are we guiding the debates as they arise? Where are we showing the national mainstream that we really do know better, and are willing and able to bring them along with us?

I've said before that race bloggers and media pundits have failed to address the race issue raised by Obama's candidacy in a broader way. Race "experts," so to speak, haven't even managed to take all of the incidents of race-baiting surrounding Obama's campaign and formulate a broader picture to use to talk about race in the context of a presidential election. And because race pundits have failed to take the bull by the entire body, The New Yorker has gotten the jump on everyone.

The cartoon in The New Yorker brings together all of the nasty hints and outright slander the right-wing has batted about in recent months about the Obamas: "Hussein," Obama's supposedly Islamic childhood, the "terrorist fist jab," Michelle Obama's comments about pride in her country, the sidling questions about her position in the African American anti-racist establishment, the Obamas' connection to the Reverend Wright, and the Reverend Wright's position on Palestine. The cartoon is a somewhat obvious and not clever venture into the territory of drawing (literally) a larger picture of what the media is doing to Obama's image.

The New Yorker
has always done this with broader national concerns. And what bothers me about The New Yorker taking point on this discussion is not that they're stepping out of their bounds (they're not) but that the field is wide open because progressive people of color have not stepped up.

So now that The New Yorker has laid it all out in a very obvious way, what are media pundits of color doing? They are attacking The New Yorker for having done so at all. Even if you disagree with me that they have a perfect right to do so and that this falls clearly within their editorial purview, can you say that what they are presenting is wrong? Is their satirical picture of the media representation of the Obamas wrong? Have they misrepresented the media representation of the Obamas in some way? Is it overdrawn? Is it not strong enough?

If it is not, in essence, wrong, who the fuck cares who says it or how they say it? Why are we not jumping off of this first venture into the bigger picture to seize control of the national dialogue about race and make it dance to our tune? We've been starving on crumbs of media attention for decades. Why is everyone refusing this banquet?

And more importantly, does anyone seriously think that The New Yorker and other national media are going to stop grappling with the implications of a black president just because people of color squawk unproductively? If we don't step up and start controlling the national dialogue about race, someone else will--someone white and privileged will--and we will have lost the best opportunity ever presented to leaders of communities of color to create a broad platform and educate the whole country in one, long campaign.

Jesus Christ, what have we been fighting for? It's here. It's really, finally, here. Are we not going to turn away from the temptation of small-mindedness and rise to the challenge?

July 19, 2008

Awesome ... Kay Ryan is Poet Laureate!

Kay Ryan was just named US Poet Laureate.

I was just talking about Kay Ryan with someone, I think my cousin ... not because of this but because he asked me who I liked. I've loved Ryan since I first encountered her poetry with the book Say Uncle, which I hosted a reading for at A Clean Well-Lighted Place for Books about eight years ago. She was very nice, and a good reader, with a quiet wit. I really liked her and I liked her poetry more.

So yay for us that we have such a terrific poet laureate! And congratulations to Kay Ryan!

I don't know how cool it is to post an entire poem by somebody else, but I'm sure someone will tell me if it makes them feel angry or decopyrighted. So here's what I feel is a fairly representative poem--not just of how her poems go, but of how she thinks of her work. This piece is also a good example of the free and precise way she plays with what should be a fairly simple and straightforward meter and rhyme scheme ... but in her hands, isn't.

Her work is smart, witty, fun, funny, intelligent, educated, knowledgeable, and not at all gratuitous. And you can't say all of this about way too many poets these days.

Death By Fruit

Only the crudest
of the vanitas set
ever thought
you had to get
a skull into the picture
whether you needed
its tallowy color
near the grapes
or not. Others,
stopping to consider
shapes and textures,
often discovered
that eggs or aubergines
went better, or leeks
or a plate of string beans.
A skull is so dominant.
It takes so much
bunched-up drapery,
such a ponderous
display of ornate cutlery,
just to make it
less prominent.
The greatest masters
preferred the
subtlest vanitas,
modestly trusting
to fruit baskets
to whisper
ashes to ashes,
relying on the
poignant exactness
of oranges to release
like a citrus mist
the always fresh fact
of how hard we resist
how briefly we're pleased.

The Bat Man Must Stand Alone

Just a quick note: Oscar started to tell me last night about how the current Dark Knight harks back to the blah di blah version of the comix and I cut him off rudely.

"The Dark Knight Must Stand Alone," I said.

Well, I didn't actually say that, because I haven't reached that level of geekiness yet, but I do want to point out here that the mess that is The Dark Knight has to stand on its own. If you like it because you've read five thousand Batman comix and this adds to your store, great. I'm glad you enjoyed it. I didn't. And the Dark Knight must stand on its own as a flick. And it doesn't IMO.

Sorry, Oscar!

July 16, 2008

Obama Cartoon

I've been trying to stay away from political commentary for a while because it's been making me very unhappy, but it's hard to get away from. And I've been very discomfited by the lefty hysteria around the Obama terrorist cartoon on the cover of the New Yorker, but the long, hard fight of the last year or so has made me wary of speaking up. Do I really want to pick this battle?

Fortunately, Gary Kamiya picked it first.

To judge from the reaction of much of the left, you'd think that New Yorker editor David Remnick had morphed into some kind of hideous hybrid of Roger Ailes and Roland Barthes and was waging an insidious Semiotic War against Obama.

I don't know what lugubrious planet these people are on, but I definitely don't want any of them writing material for Jon Stewart.

Some thoughts:

  • This is how it goes: in anti-racist work, we're very, very, sadly, very used to the use of ill-considered "satire" as a safe way for idiots to play with stereotypes that they feel are otherwise prohibited. It's a complex gambit: you don't know what lies beyond the stereotype, and you have a fuzzy understanding of what politically correct language and notions are for. All you know is that the stereotype is not allowed. So with a vague idea that pushing the stereotype to an extreme is allowable under "satire," and that the people whom the stereotype addresses are somehow oppressed, you take it upon yourself to have a good, politically incorrect, time, trusting that--somehow--it'll all come out in the wash.

This is thoughtless, and very likely an expression of a subconscious racism you need to express--but can't really cop to--publicly.

Additionally, you know that extreme stereotypes are at least mildly shocking, so you'll get attention and probably a laugh and some popularity, by voicing them, even if the form you voice them in is ham-fisted and unfunny. Naturally, this is probably your strongest impetus: not the desire to address racist stereotypes, but rather the desire to get attention and be considered funny and popular.

Your excuse, that "this is not a racist joke, it's a joke about racism" is impossible to answer to everyone's satisfaction. And the world is full of people who feel as you do and will jump to decry the "censorship" if anyone takes issue with your joke.

Anti-racists are then left in the position of arguing either that not everything is acceptable, which is hard to argue about comedy, especially against people screaming about freedom of speech, or that the joke isn't funny, which is, of course, a matter of taste and perspective.

Critics of anti-racist activists will then, inevitably, talk about humorlessness and taking oneself too seriously, and sometimes a cigar is just a cigar, etc. We've all heard it a million times before.

There's a spectrum of perception, intention, and impetus in all of this. The swift-boaters, the pundidiots, and the sharp satirists all have political agendas, all have subconscious prejudices, and all have a desire for attention. How, and how much, each of these play a part in their public expressions is a matter of degree. There's no hard line between the racist excuse, "it's a satire," and the legitimate explanation, "it's a satire."

Likewise, there's no hard line between anti-racists armed with clear-sightedness pointing out the racism submerged beneath a "joke," and anti-racists drunk on conflict losing their perspective and--yes--their sense of humor. High on my first taste of group power, I've attacked things that didn't need attacking before. I know what it feels like and it does happen. Being expressly anti-racist, being an activist, does not magically protect you from your own complex of perception, intention, and impetus ... or your own bantam aggression.

  • What I'm seeing here is a group of people--anti-racist activists and writers--who have been largely ignored and marginalized before, suddenly put front and center in the media for months and months because they're the only ones with the language to address what's going on with race nationally.

Antiracist activists online--who are mostly people of color raised during the culture wars of the eighties--have learned to make their case one two-days'-wonder at a time, crying out briefly against stereotyped media depictions of people of color as they happen, and trusting that an accumulation of such incidents--and the strong reaction against them--will eventually turn some people's minds in the right direction. It's not one, major challenge, but the repeated calling out of small challenges that makes up the main tactic of online racial dialogue. And it's not been a bad strategy, given the circumstances under which it was developed.

But what it means is that now we're seeing a bunch of people used to building up a mosaic slowly, one tiny tile at a time, suddenly thrust onto a scaffolding and told to paint the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, upside-down, before the plaster dries.

It's worse than that, even. During the Bush administration, the national dialogue on race, such as it is, has been off the agenda since 9/11. It's been nearly impossible to talk about race in a context where even centrists spend too much time arguing that anti-Islam isn't racist. And after seven years in a desert of attention, broken only by a Duke rape scandal, or a Jena Six, or Don fucking Imus, suddenly race activists have to come up with a universally understandable explanation of Obama's place in the universe, or render themselves permanently irrelevant.

So it's people used to fighting their way over to the mosaic each time they want to lay a single tile, suddenly heaved onto the scaffolding and handed a brush and paint they may never have learned how to use. Don't fuck up, now.

  • Since the Clinton/Obama fight really heated up, I've been confused and demoralized by how badly the discussion has been handled by anti-racist bloggers and pundits whom I've admired and looked to for years. Suddenly, alliance isn't enough. Because alliance is easy to sustain, lifelong, when the candidates you support are merely of your political spectrum, and not of your tribe. But when, for the first time in history, you see a candidate of your tribe up against a candidate of someone else's tribe, it's easy to forget the difficult exigencies of alliance in the face of your first experience of truly powerful tribalism. And this applies both to the "black" tribe and to the "women" or "feminist" tribe.

This is what the initial discussion over whether Obama was black enough was about: is he or isn't he of our tribe? And the answer was a resounding yes. The very people who could be counted on to slow the public down and (try to) make them reasonable about the complex identity of a Tiger Woods or a Halle Berry, suddenly had a personal stake in glossing over the complexity of Obama's identity. That's when we first started losing the clear-sighted, steadying voice of the antiracist phalanx.

This kind of politicized tribalism is something we've seen forever in third world countries, without understanding it. Because, let's face it, when wealthy whites have a lock on government, there's no opportunity for the millions of tribes in the United States to operate racially-based politics on a national level. Alliance between the one, powerful ethnic group, and all other ethnic groups, is necessary. And race-based political maneuvering has been grounded in the necessity of finding your political spectrum-mates, and not your tribal siblings.

Race activists have been accused for years of "Balkanizing" the United States, without justice or truth. Ironically this is the first we've seen of any true tribalism in politics. It's not going to take over. A two-party system of the type we have won't allow it, and besides, what we're seeing here is simply a role-reversal: white liberals, who are so used to politicians being of their tribe that they aren't even aware of it, are now having to make alliance themselves. Please note that Obama is clearly not subscribing to tribal membership. And it's easy enough for white men in a race against Clinton to subconsciously feel a masculine identification with Obama.

Tribalism is not going to take over, but the important question is: are the citizens with voice, who are nominally of Obama's "tribe," going to be able to pull their heads out of their ... sand ... in enough time to welcome Clinton supporters, centrists, swing-staters, and the racially doubtful? Or are they going to continue to add their demoralizing and often vicious clamor to Obama's incomprehensible about-faces on surveillance, reproductive rights, and Iraq ... until Obama's public image sinks and the election is lost? In short: can they learn how to make alliances from the other side?

  • What's also been happening is that liberal citizen journalists and major journalists, who have always been symbiotic and nominal allies before, now find themselves knocking heads. And this is very specifically because of where and when national attention falls.

You may not like the New Yorker, you may resent its elitism, but this is a magazine that publishes 10,000 word investigative pieces, the only major national publication that's had its head on straight about Iraq the whole time. This is the one and only magazine that is famous for its tradition of dry, often silly, but trenchant political and social cartooning. This magazine's beat is broader United States: national news, politics, society. The media perception of the Democratic presidential candidate falls squarely within the New Yorker's purview, and the New Yorker has always felt free to deal with such major topics through the use of satirical cartoons. The New Yorker is not doing anything new, shocking or different.

The difference is that race bloggers and commentators are turning their usual MO (see above) against the New Yorker's usual MO. This is not because the New Yorker is wrong, but because, for the first time in history, media perceptions of the Democratic presidential candidate and media perceptions about race are the same topic. Race pundits, used to only seeing stereotypes produced by political enemies, are suddenly seeing stereotypes reproduced satirically by allies because the allies are finally being forced to deal with them.

Some of these allies are proving unprepared for the task, certainly. But the race pundits are also falling short of this new challenge.

In closing: this discussion cannot continue as it has been going or we're going to lose this election. And by "we" I don't mean Obama supporters. I mean everybody, even McCain supporters who, even after 7.5 years of Bush rule don't realize that they're being screwed.

Obama's candidacy has laid out the novel position that a "black" president would unite the races and the parties. But they've failed so far to model this behavior, or to provide a working strategy for actual unity even within their own party.

But it's not the government's role to lead in the actual tasks of living morally and ethically. That's our job. Obama is extraordinary because he has not just said to us what we know we want to hear, but also said to us what we didn't know we wanted to hear. He's set a new national goal of genuine unity. But it's really up to us to figure out how that's going to work and to make it happen. And Obama's supporters so far have been more than usually divisive, contemptuous, humorless, and vicious towards those who would normally be their allies, myself included.

It's time to put down the tiles and start painting the ceiling folks. Here, I'll help.

July 07, 2008

Still Waiting

Unity sounds refreshing in a political culture battered and wearied by vicious partisanship. But bipartisanship means that sometimes the other side -- those people you've come to regard as the devil incarnate over the past 30 years -- will get what they want and you won't. Anyone who assumes that self-interest is what really motivates political groups isn't going to expect them to be moved by high-flown appeals to conscience and guilt; there will be wheeling, there will be dealing, and there will be half-measures. If he is elected, and if Obama asks his most idealistic champions to countenance some sacrifices, they will hardly be able to say that they weren't warned. Their disillusionment is most likely to come soon. Whether in the long run we'll regard him as a president who got things done or one who sold out will take a lot longer to decide.

That's all well and good--yes, yes, Obama's our whore--but to get people to the table so that they can compromise, you have to bid them come to the table.

Where's my invite?

These Kids Today

The aesthetic of choice these days is the aesthetic of exploratory excess. It sets before the reader a world featured as a swirl of competing energies and stimuli; it searches patterns, connections, instances of psychological complexity. The old gestural muteness won't play in these halls.

To some degree, of course, this is a necessary and healthy compensation—fiction suddenly feels enfranchised again. With a new tolerance for ramified expression come new subjects, new perspectives. The dense fabric of contemporary life—its changed ways of doing things, of interacting—is brought more clearly into view. The evolving cultures of science and technology become available, as do more of the vagaries of our destabilized modes of living. Carver's tamped-down narration, guiding us from streetlamp to barstool to sparsely furnished apartment, could never hope to take in the burgeoning culture of virtual simulation (Powers), the domains of science (Goldstein), the endlessly branching nuances of psychological self-awareness (Antrim, Foster Wallace, Eggers), or indeed, scarcely anything of the noun-deprived and process-worshipping way we now conduct our lives.

What is sacrificed, perhaps, is a certain emotional force. Thrilling and dark and expansive as so many of these new expressions are, they have a hard time generating a strong emotional charge. The language, mental and nuanced—like the prose structure itself—often serves a bemusedly ironic sensibility; life is more spectated than suffered. When tragedy does occur, it is more often than not given a black-comedic inflection—as in works by Wallace, Antrim, Eggers, and their ilk—not because the authors can't do powerful conflict and emotion, necessarily, but because the hyperconscious self-reflexiveness of their style is hard to turn off. The seductive cerebral-ironic style, which allows so much, doesn't seem to permit the shift to a full frontal seriousness.

---Sven Birkerts, "Carver's Last Stand" in the Atlantic Online

July 06, 2008

Book Throwin' Update

Thank Og somebody said it so that I don't have to.

After the seemingly universal lovefest for Valente's Orphan's Tales, and owing to the fact that I got In the Night Garden as a very sweet present from badgerbag, plus the fact that I never finished it because the tenth time I threw the book across the room it got badly injured and I had to take it to the book hospital and leave it there forever and never come back ... well, I didn't have the heart, and by that I mean the balls, to say how much I didn't like (i.e. hated) that book. (sorry, badge! Let's still have dinner and talk about it!)

It wasn't just the overheated, nonsensical "lyricism," which vito_excalibur mentions here. It's the fact that she keeps starting stories and never seems to finish them. Everyone's got a limit for nested stories and she surpassed mine with a vengeance. Because of the cheap language, I didn't care about the first characters in the first place. And layering character after situation, after story, after character on top of them just made me forget them only to be reminded of how much I didn't care about them when they came back.

I get what she was trying to do, but if your reader leaves the room before you do it, can it really be said to be done? (That was the sound of one hand clapped to a forehead.)

Plus, I love that vito_excalibur is quoting "A Reader's Manifesto". Everybody needs to read that whole fucking thing right now. When I read it a few years back, I couldn't believe that Myers had managed to attack every lit writer that I had serious isshooz with: McCarthy, Proulx, Delillo, Auster. Gotta love that.

Plus, this lolcats is hysterical:


In other news, I devoured J.M. Coetzee's Waiting for the Barbarians and take back everything I thought about how boring Coetzee must be if everyone is always on about how great he is. The deal with him is sheer density of storytelling. Barbarians is a short novel, but he covers a lot of ground simply because he doesn't waste words thinking or meditating out loud. When a character thinks something, Coetzee states that thought in a sentence or two and moves on. Yet, the whole novel gives a very slow, meditative mood. I haven't quite figured out how he does it, but it's a huge writing lesson for me for when I go back in and revise da nobble.

Speaking of which, I have three letters to catch up on today. Off to the races ...

July 03, 2008

A Truly Feminist Obama Campaign

Make a Point at Current.com

While I like the point that Rebecca Traister makes in this video---that a feminist campaign wouldn't look that different, only women would be addressed directly as adults---I don't think she goes far enough.

This isn't just any potentially feminist campaign. This is a potentially feminist campaign that needs to win over heartbroken and angry Hillary Clinton supporters who have not only, as is usual, not been dealt with as adults themselves, but have also gotten to watch their candidate of choice being dealt with like a recalcitrant child, or a monstrous creature, rather than an adult human being.

I want to address one particular issue which is essential to the Obama campaign: that of the emotional involvement Clinton's supporters felt and feel for her. The emotion with which Clinton's campaign was greeted by her female supporters should be instructive, and not--as it has been--an item of mockery and contempt. Instructive because when was the last time you saw women voters get that emotionally invested in a campaign, rather than just rationally involved? Women are not, as has been hinted over and over again this year, emotional voters. We have never seen such a public spectacle of respected women leaders getting upset (and often saying stupid things about race) around an election. Women public figures have always behaved with rationality around elections heretofore ... elections of white men.

And the fact that everyone feels so comfortable dismissing the emotion of Clinton supporters (because women always come back to the party fold even when their candidate loses) is a testament to how reliable, valuable, and non-emotional women voters are. So the rage seen in the aftermath of the Clinton campaign must be respected because this is the time when women Clinton supporters' emotions have genuinely been tapped, and the party really could lose supporters if they don't reach out.

And how is the Obama campaign to respect that emotion? Let me point out that the Obama campaign is hands down the most deliberately emotionally engaging campaign I've ever seen. The "Yes We Can" speech? Was there anything rational or wonky in that speech at all? And the sight of will.i.am and his Hollywood buddies getting literally ecstatic while singing along to Obama's words is far and away the most mockable, vulnerable, emotional political spectacle I've ever seen. And that includes Howard Dean's campaign-ending screech and Eminem's "Mosh."

From start to finish, Obama's campaign has been an appeal to emotions: hope, power to the powerless, triumph, unity, healing, peace, justice, renewal, passing of the torch. And he's proven to be a knockout at managing this process of appealing to emotions ... to people's better emotions, instead of the fear, anger, and selfishness that Republican campaigns always appeal to. In fact, this is why he beat Hillary. Because Hillary's advantage, which was also largely emotional (nostalgia for the nineties, attachment to the Clintons, desire for a woman president, etc.) was squandered in her campaign's attempt to sell her as serious, rational, and wonky.

So why isn't the Obama campaign drowning Clinton supporters in emotion the way they've been drowning men, young people, and people of color in hope, etc? Why doesn't Obama get his ass out there and give a rousing "Yes She Can" speech? Why do the particularities of over half the population as a group get short, or no, shrift with Obama? The longer his passion goes on being silent on women's issues, the more sexist, uncaring, and disrespectful of Clinton supporters he looks. And there will be a point at which he can't come back from this.

To be more specific: The "issues" page on Obama's website  doesn't have a "women" section. You have to go into the issues menu to find the page on women. And the page that deals with women's issues is the driest, wonkiest page on his whole website. It's thorough, sure, but completely uninspiring. We've been hearing progressive candidates mentioning all this stuff within our hearing, for our benefit, for decades now, and seen no movement on these issues. Spouting the standard issues is the prerequisite. What we really need is for the candidate who most benefited from the misogyny directed at Hillary to show passion about women's issues specifically, and to engage our passions.

And this is pretty fuckin' weak stuff. What, you couldn't spare more than two sentences, one of them run-on, to woo 18 million voters?

I'm still insulted, and the longer this crap goes on, the more insulted by Obama's campaign I'll be. If you can't be bothered to treat with me and 18 million others when it matters this much, why should I trust that you'll represent my interests when the campaign is over? I'm waiting.

I'm still fucking waiting.

My Entertainment Blog!

Hey all,

I know posting has been spotty 'round here lately. Partly because my outrage machine got broke when Obama won the nom. Now I'm keeping my mouth shut while I try to work up more than nominal (get it? nominal?) enthusiasm for his cause.

But it's also because I've been working hard to establish my new entertainment blog. It's called "EnterBrainment" and is my usual thinks-too-much maunderings, except this time, unrepentantly, about the trashiest trash trash.

I'm being paid, you see, to be a featured A & E blogger on a new blogging site called PNN, the personal news network. The innovation of this site is that you can lay out your blog to look like a newspaper, with different pages and sections. The result is halfway between a website and a newspaper, with columns and captioned photos, and headlines, and the works. You kind of have to see it to get it. The way the blogging software works is different from more "traditional" blogging software, and should appeal to people whose minds work in a more modular fashion. The software also rewards multitasking, unlike traditional blogging software, which pretty much restricts your blog posting to one track. Again, you have to see it to get what I mean.

What this all means for my blogging is that I'm getting an excuse to turn my formidable bitchiness on the lightest of pop subjects. It's pretty cool. It is, however, also taking time away from my other blogging.

So please go over and check out EnterBrainment (yes, I know, but I'm old enough to enjoy puns now) and slip me a link if you want. I'm still trying to decide if I'm going to have a blog roll or just a page of feeds. Feel free to make your entertainment blog known to me.


July 02, 2008

500th Post!

This is my 500th post on this, my first personal blog! Yay!

I have nothing more to say.

For now.

July 01, 2008


I'm going to Panama at the end of July and I still have a bunch of new stuff to write on da nobble before I can start the long, cantankerous process of cutting out the old stuff. So my pledge is to work my ass off on the new stuff and get all new text filled in before I go to Panama on July 25. That means writing every day.

I have 24 days, starting today, and 25 new letters to write (da nobble is epistolary, dig?) These letters are from the peripheral correspondents and aren't required to move the central story forward. They're also much shorter letters because these correspondents have to be brief for various reasons: one is illiterate and has others write for him, one is a child, and one is simply writing an introductory note to the other letters. So these are very brief letters, but they do need to be coordinated to the longer letters.

So, basically, I need to write at least one letter a day, every day, until I leave for Panama. So that's my pledge. At least one letter at day from here on out, and the whole thing done by the time I leave for Panama. Panama will be a vacation and I will let the whole thing rest then, for two weeks. Basta.

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