Archive for August, 2010

Reviewing the 2010 Emmys

FlashForward ended its run with more Emmy nominations and wins than The Wire. That should pretty much destroy any semblance of credibility the Emmys ever had. But other than the Golden Globes (which didn’t do so great themselves this year), there really isn’t another awards show that is taken seriously for television, so we have to deal with Emmys and all of its mistakes.

And while this year certainly had its fair share of mistakes, it was generally better than expected: Continue reading

Monday Medley

What we read while Martin Luther King, Jr. was rolling over in his grave….

  • Whiskey may very well be the NPI liquor of choice, so we’re glad to see it in Japan.

Why I Hate the Little League World Series

I know we’ve reached a bit of a lull in the sports conversation when preseason NFL games are being broken down into minutiae and ESPN: The Magazine is ranking college football tunnel entrances in its latest issue. There’s a reason we all hate August.

But I didn’t know it had gotten this bad. This 70-hours-of-Little-League-Baseball-on-a-major-sports-network-over-the-course-of-10-days bad. This the-starting-lineups-are-brought-to-you-by-Camp-Rock-2-presented-by-Disney bad.

Can you conceptualize 70 hours of Little League Baseball? That’s seven hours a day! If you’re an American who watches an average amount of television every day, you cannot watch all the Little League World Series action ESPN is jamming down our throats. When it could be airing PTI and a Mariotti-less Around the Horn!

And yes, I can admit it: I hate the Little League World Series.

Continue reading

Un-Mosqued

Should there be a mosque anywhere near here?

In discussions of religious pluralism—like the one going on about the “Ground Zero mosque”—I always find myself in an odd position. I’m generally a fan of diversity and tolerance, but I absolutely hate religion. So even though I risk aligning myself with irrational, hate-mongering bigots like Newt Gingrich and Sarah Palin, I still essentially agree with them: I don’t think that there should be a mosque near Ground Zero.

Now, I should clarify that I also agree that this is a local issue, and that the government should not restrict the rights of Muslims to practice their religion. With that said, most of the plan’s opponents have acknowledged this, and maintained that even though the Cordoba House (or Park 51, or whatever it’s officially called now) can be built, that doesn’t mean it should. After all, the Nazis were allowed to march through Skokie, but that doesn’t mean they ought to have. By the same logic, just because the developer is allowed to build a mosque doesn’t mean that any clear-thinking individual ought to approve of the decision.

Similarly, the fact that the Cordoba House isn’t actually at Ground Zero is germane, but not decisive. It’s foolish to pretend that proximity doesn’t matter. The location, specifically how near it is to Ground Zero, was a key selling point for the group that bought the site—they wanted a site for moderate Muslims to “push back against the extremists.” If the mosque is close enough to make such a point, then it is close enough to draw criticisms of being insensitive.

Nevertheless, the main argument in favor of allowing the mosque is more principled. Put simply, it is that the moderates behind the plan for the mosque (or Islamic community center) should not be conflated with the extremists who perpetrated the attacks of September 11th. The moderates are not to blame for the actions of the terrorists. Continue reading

Going Shopping

Dear Retail Clerks,

I am fine. I am always fine when you ask. How are you? I never care how you are. I don’t need your help right now. Does anyone ever require your assistance this quickly? I know to ask if I do need your help. You’re not that difficult to find. I am aware of your sales. If they are not the reason I am here, I can see them advertised–often ostentatiously–throughout your store. Please don’t follow up with me. I can find everything okay. Your store is neither that large nor complexly laid out. If I require a fitting room, I will find it on my own, and then I will consult with your colleague who is relegated to that area. I do not want to sign up for your special membership card, even if it’s free and especially if it only takes a minute.

And yes, I want the receipt in the bag. Everyone does.

You too,

Tim

Monday Medley

What we read while boldly enriching our uranium…

  • Speaking of, another one of those “Man, I’m trying real hard to stay off Twitter in order to remain literate” stories, this time from NBA blogger Ryan Corazza. (We don’t mean to be sarcastic; we like these stories.)


Ranking Bob Dylan Songs, #54: Masters Of War

They don’t come much more finger-pointing-y than “Masters of War.” Just a little over a year after The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan was released, Bob Dylan would tell The New Yorker’s Nat Hentoff that his next album (Another Side of Bob Dylan) wouldn’t have any “finger-pointing songs”:

“Those records I’ve already made, I’ll stand behind them, but some of that was jumping into the scene to be heard and a lot of it was because I didn’t see that anybody else was doing that kind of thing. Now a lot of people are doing finger-pointing songs. You know—pointing to all the things that are wrong. Me, I don’t want to write for people anymore. You know, be a spokesman…. From now on, I want to write from inside me.”

And yet what makes “Masters of War” so effective as a protest song is that it is so intensely personal. If you look at protest songs of the last few years (and George W. Bush spawned practically a whole genre of them), they are full of vitriolic plays on words (“Texas führer,” “this Weapon of Mass Destruction that we call our President,” “you and Saddam should kick it like back in the day,” etc.) and clichés (“Fuck Bush,” “No blood for oil,” “Does he ever smell his own bullshit?”). Basically, they pick an easy target and toss schoolyard insults at it. In other words, they suck. Continue reading