One line of thinking on Sarah Palin's departure holds that she is abandoning the governor's office to pursue the presidency or, less ambitiously, a U.S. Senate seat. If that is what Palin's camp is thinking, they're nuts. Another line suggests that she's abandoning politics to pursue a more ordinary life. Reihan Salam argues at Forbes.com that "Palin's collapse represents the end of a certain kind of politics. If the culture war really is ending, culture warriors like Palin will fade from the scene."
I'm not sure the culture war is ending; I'd say, rather, the battle space is shifting and the battle lines are altering. But in general, I think Salam is on to something.
Update: Daniel Larison offers an excellent summation of the entire Palin phenomenon, with which I concur for the most part. I like this in particular:
Palin was never as threatening to the left nor as wonderful for the right as both sides imagined. Her resignation will prove to be a good thing for her, her family and Alaska. Her tenure as governor has been so lackluster that it might be fair to say that Palin never demonstrated her worthiness for the office so much as in her departing from it.
Never has a major political candidate been so poorly served by her own supporters. To quote that Russian proverb again, “The yes-man is your enemy, but your friend will argue with you.” Palin was surrounded and cheered on by almost nothing but yes-men, because once anyone tried to offer any kind of criticism that person seemed to become persona non grata in her circle and in the wider conservative world pretty quickly. That is why a reasonable column offering advice and encouragement to Palin could be met by so much insane fury from so many of her supporters. It will be very difficult to explain to later generations what it was that the Palinites saw in her that made them so fervent and enthusiastic. The Palin enthusiasm of 2008 will not end up making much sense a few years from now. At least the excitement about a Jack Kemp presidential campaign after 1996 was based in a record with some accomplishments in it.
If Sarah Palin wants to be president, she has a funny way of going about it.
Palin's announcement Friday that she would not seek re-election in Alaska and would, rather, step down from the Alaska governor's office on July 26, did not sound like the words of a self-assured stateswoman. "I have given my reasons candidly and truthfully," she said. "I do not want to disappoint anyone with my decision; all I can ask is that you trust me with this decision."
Sorry, not nearly candid, truthful, or good enough coming from a politician with less than one term as governor of a small (however important) state on her resumé. Not if she has the White House in her sights.
Ken Thomas at No Left Turns tries to find some good sense in Palin's move:
Derided by the conventional wisdom (just see the front pages of any paper) as "bizarre," Governor Palin’s decision to resign is yet another sign of her determination to make herself the most credible challenger to Obama in 2012. Modifying Machiavelli’s advice, she will likely encircle Washington as a prelude to occupying it; one can imagine her rallying the red portions in both red and blue states. As much as I admire her character and cleverness, I hope it will be accompanied by a deeper prudence--the wisdom of serpents accompanying the innocence of doves.
I disagree. Most Americans, unacquainted with the wisdom of Machiavelli, won't see Palin's move as anything other than impulsive and "bizarre." Although Alaska's governor insisted that she explained her reasons why, I'm not sure that her explanation was adequate to the moment. She sounds crazy to me -- and not in the "just-crazy-enough-to-work" sense of crazy.
I was favorable to Palin's candidacy in the fall, but not overly enthusiastic about it. I was happy to defend her against some of the dumber charges of her critics. But also I thought National Review anointed her prematurely, and I doubt that today's announcement ends the media circus surrounding Palin and her family. Not if, in fact, she really does plan to run for president and not, as some rumors suggest, get out of politics altogether.
For what it's worth, I liked Philip Klein's take over at the American Spectator:
(T)o all but her most loyal supporters, today's bizarre press conference made her look brittle -- like a person who couldn't take the heat and was buckling in the face of attacks. Today's move is perfectly understandable if she wants to give up politics and protect her family from the blistering assaults of the media and her political oppenents. Maybe this news -- odd within the political realm -- actually makes her a pretty normal person by real world standards. But normal people do not get elected president.
Klein's colleague, Quin Hillyer, is much less charitable:
Sarah Palin's resignation is an appalling dereliction of duty and a highly cynical move to set herself up for a presidental run for which she is manifestly unqualified.
I have written the same thing about other politicians who resigned their offices mid-term without any scandal or family crisis necessitating it: It is an absolute dereliction of duty to quit mid-term. When you run for office, you are making a promise to your constituents to serve out your term (unless you get elected to higher office or have one of the aforementioned compelling reasons not to do so). To do otherwise is, in effect, to break your word. It is a sign of a lack of integrity.
I think there is a kernel or two of truth in Hillyer's analysis as well, although I wonder if Americans' memories are long enough to hold Palin's abrupt departure against her. But the old knock against Palin still holds: She's inexperienced, unpolished and, as today's announcement suggests, lacks sound judgment. It doesn't matter that the current president managed to win the Oval Office with a thin record of achievement -- if anything, as we're seeing Obama stumble through his initial months, the onus of experience should be even greater on future presidential aspirants.
Steve Hayward at the Corner ponders Palin's move and mentions a historical parallel. "Some folks have mentioned Nixon, rehabilitating himself in the 1960s, and skipping the 1964 election." The difference between Richard Nixon and Sarah Palin is the depth and breadth of experience possessed by the former. Nixon was a congressman, a senator, and a two-term vice-president when he lost the presidency in a close fight with John Kennedy in 1960 and then appeared to self-immolate in the 1962 California governor's race.
It was after his crushing defeat at the hands of Pat Brown that Nixon delivered one of his more famous and openly bitter public utterances: "I leave you gentlemen now and you will write it. You will interpret it. That's your right. But as I leave you I want you to know — just think how much you're going to be missing. You won't have Nixon to kick around any more, because, gentlemen, this is my last press conference and it will be one in which I have welcomed the opportunity to test wits with you."
Nixon proved himself wrong. Palin's statement today was nothing like Nixon's, and maybe she'll engineer a Nixonesque comeback, going from the depths of defeat to the pinnacle of power in a matter of years even after everyone has written her off. Sarah Palin asks us to "trust" her, which is a request people should rarely indulge in a politician. For good and for ill, Sarah "the Barracuda" doesn't seem all that Nixonian.
Sarah Palin's abrupt departure from Alaska's governor's office may not bode well for her political future.
I'm sure we monkeys will have lots to say about Obama's "historic" speech to "the Muslim World" in the coming days. I hope to. The speech (full text) was typical Obama, meaning it was the empty "hope and change" message slightly tweaked for a different audience. Build up straw men, knock 'em down, and pat yourself on the back for being such a reasonable, smart, sage man. Yawn.
I was most annoyed, however, at Obama's shameful passage about women in the Islamic world.
The sixth issue — the sixth issue that I want to address is women's rights.
I know, and you can tell from this audience, that there is a healthy debate about this issue. I reject the view of some in the West that a woman who chooses to cover her hair is somehow less equal. But I do believe that a woman who is denied an education is denied equality.
Who the hell in "the West" thinks a woman who covers her head in observance of her faith is "somehow less equal?" Seriously. This is just moronic, and probably the worst straw man Obama has ever propped up. But it's easier, I suppose, to blame "the West" for phantom offenses than to upbraid Islamist countries that routinely subjugate women, force them to wear not a mere scarf but a head-to-toe burka, and stone them to death for (often trumped up) charges of adultery.
No. Let's simply create a wholly new myth about how "the West" discriminates against Islamic women. Like there aren't enough destructive myths floating about the "Muslim Street."
And it is no coincidence that countries where women are well-educated are far more likely to be prosperous.
Now let me be clear, issues of women's equality are by no means simply an issue for Islam. In Turkey, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Indonesia, we've seen Muslim-majority countries elect a woman to lead.
Meanwhile, the struggle for women's equality continues in many aspects of American life and in countries around the world. I am convinced that our daughters can contribute just as much to society as our sons.
Awesome. Obama doubles down on his lie about "the West" with his utterly irresistible urge to point the finger of shame at his own country. To equate — and that's what he's doing, make no mistake — the idea that women are not fully equal in America (a bald lie) with even the gentle and merely implied criticism that women have a bit of trouble getting a proper education in many Muslim countries is a malicious slander.
Nice going, "Mr. Nuance." No wonder his audience clapped so heartily. Obama stood before them and all-but excused the lack of freedom and physical danger independent-minded women experience in large swaths of the Islamic world. After all, Islamic countries have elected a handful of female politicians! Yea! Give yourselves a hand. And when I get back to the States, I'll work to correct the horrible inequities women still experience in the United States. Once we set that great example, because we haven't really done it yet, take your time catching up.
But since America's lefty feminist groups could give a flying fig for oppressed women in the Islamic world, why should Obama care very much? Oh, yeah. He's president. The leader of the free world. The holder of the torch of liberty.
Be thankful, Monkeys and Monkey friends, to live in a glorious, enlightened age of plenty and comfort.
The Speaker of the House says "every aspect of our lives must be subjected to an inventory" if we hope to save the planet from environmental catastrophe. Nuts to that.
The Speaker of the House says "every aspect of our lives must be subjected to an inventory" if we hope to save the planet from the scourge of climate change.
Here's Chris Good in the Atlantic:
Fact: Meghan McCain is the most visible political person in the country under 25 years of age right now. With appearances on Rachel Maddow, The View, and now Larry King Live, the 2008 presidential campaign (and her blogging during it) has given her a sizable podium. Some have criticized her for her centrist, socially liberal views--Laura Ingraham compared her to a plus-sized model--and earlier this month she gave a name to the brand of moderate Republicanism to which she ascribes: "progressive Republican."
Her "moderate" Republicanism is little different from that of her old man: haughty, sickeningly bipartisan and predictably liberal on serious questions. Good goes on to write, without offering a shred of evidence, that "McCain could foster a social liberalism among young conservatives--or a conservatism among young social liberals--and become that model 'new young Republican.'"
More likely, McCain could continue to offer a fleeting and superficial take on Republican politics. I'm betting on the latter.
As we've noted previously, the reaction to the passage of an amendment to California's constitution defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman was more revealing than the election campaign itself. Painter Maureen Mullarkey recounts her experience with the armies of Enlightenment and Tolerance following her support for Prop. 8:
Until now, donating to a cause did not open private citizens to a battery of invective and jackboot tactics. While celebrities sport their moral vanity with white ribbons, thousands of ordinary Americans who donated to Prop 8 are being targeted in a vile campaign of intimidation for having supported a measure that, in essence, ratified the crucial relation between marriage and childbearing. Some in California have lost their jobs over it; others worry about an unhinged stranger showing up at the door.
Who was it who predicted that if fascism ever came to the United States, it would come in the guise of liberal egalitarianism?
Who indeed. Read the whole thing. The e-mail excerpts are especially charming.
Conservatives are very good cultural critics. There are whole journals devoted to criticism from a conservative perspective. The New Criterion, the Claremont Review of Books, Arts and Letters Daily, and The American Spectator are all essential reading. And bloggers are a rich source of material as well, with the likes of Terry Teachout, James Bowman, and S.T. Karnick, dispensing their wisdom daily.
And then you have "critics" like the embarrassing Debbie Schlussel stinking up the blogosphere.
Here is how Schlussel begins her "review" of Watchmen:
If you take your kids to see "Watchmen," you're a moron.
If you see it yourself, you're also probably a moron and a vapid, indecent human being.
It goes downhill from there. Debbie is... well, she's a yeller. She makes Ann Coulter look like Clare Booth Luce. I'm not a fan of either lady. I only read Schlussel's "Watchmen" piece because Big Hollywood linked to it and because, obviously, I'm a glutton for punishment. Here's Schlussel's follow-up piece. It's even worse than the review. It's just a string of ad hominem attacks.
And talk about patronizing. Schlussel asserts, without much in the way of evidence, that the filmmakers are marketing "Watchmen" to kids. Well, no, not really.
(Update: The great John Nolte argues that the producers of "Watchmen" are, in fact, marketing to kids and he points to the fact that Toys R Us is selling $17 action figures. I don't want to pick a fight with Nolte, whose work I greatly admire, but I do quibble with him in the comments section of his Big Hollywood post.)
That said, Schlussel is half right. You would have to be a fool to take your children to see it. I'm well acquainted with the source material, but even if I'd never heard of Alan Moore's mid-'80s mini-series-cum-graphic novel, I'd know that "Watchmen" is no ordinary superhero flick. It's rated R, after all. Not that I let the Motion Picture Association of America tell me how to think, but it's a start. The film's director is Zack Snyder, master of the slo-mo decapitation. And the movie's advertising makes clear that the subject matter is not for children, costumes notwithstanding. Schlussel sort of performs a service, detailing many of the graphic scenes in the film as a way to shame people away. She undermines her... well, I hesitate to call it an "argument." Her overwrought screed? Anyway, she does herself no favors with the way she engages her readers.
I don't doubt that some stupid people will take their children to see the movie, not because they think it's remotely appropriate for their kids or because it's "just a movie" but because they don't give a damn. I saw young kids at "Kill Bill, Vol. 1" and "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre" (don't ask). Those families are hopeless. Doomed. And Debbie Schlussel is still a shrieking harridan passing herself as a legitimate commentator. And she's successful!
Not that there isn't ample intelligent criticism of Watchmen's graphic violence and stilted dialogue to be found. Contrast Schlussel's ham-fisted, hysterical and insulting way of doing criticism with that of Anthony Lane:
The problem is that Snyder, following Moore, is so insanely aroused by the look of vengeance, and by the stylized application of physical power, that the film ends up twice as fascistic as the forces it wishes to lampoon. The result is perfectly calibrated for its target group: nobody over twenty-five could take any joy from the savagery that is fleshed out onscreen, just as nobody under eighteen should be allowed to witness it.
Not bad. Lane, of course, is a hopelessly decadent left-wing liberal writer for the New Yorker, so I wouldn't blame you for dismissing him out of hand. (Hmm. Perhaps I've been reading too much Schlussel.) Lane certainly doesn't understand the "comic book" as a medium any more than Schlussel does. "Incoherent, overblown, and grimy with misogyny, 'Watchmen' marks the final demolition of the comic strip," Lane writes, "and it leaves you wondering: where did the comedy go?" Where did the comedy go? Oh, brother.
The Washington Post's Philip Kennicott didn't like the movie, either. But he actually knows the graphic novel, and argues that Moore's magnum opus doesn't hold up:
"Watchmen" was fun, but also incredibly pretentious -- a word that hardly applies anymore to high culture, but sure comes in handy when dealing with pop culture's more desperate efforts to be taken seriously. By treating the original text as a sacred document, the movie is laughably pretentious, too. Just as the film version of "Lord of the Rings" reminded everyone of something they had forgotten since reading the book in high school -- Tolkein was a turgid writer -- the "Watchmen" movie can't help but expose the glaring problem with the "Watchmen" graphic novel: The dialogue stinks.
Despite the intellectual name-dropping, the quotes from Nietzsche, Blake and Juvenal ("Who watches the watchmen?"), the level of Moore's writing rarely rises above B-movie fare. It is silly and dated, the faded gibberish of an old-fashioned noire stylist (the kind who now works for newspapers). And it is filled with clichés.
Joe Morgenstern, whose politics are foreign to me but who writes for the culturally conservative Wall Street Journal's Arts and Letters page, is equally dismissive:
Unless you're heavily invested -- as countless fans and fervent fanboys are -- in the novel's flawed superheroes, its jaundiced take on heroism and its alternate vision of American history, watching "Watchmen" is the spiritual equivalent of being whacked on the skull for 163 minutes. The reverence is inert, the violence noxious, the mythology murky, the tone grandiose, the texture glutinous. It's an alternate version of "The Incredibles" minus the delight.
I'd argue that "The Incredibles" was an alternate version of "Watchmen," with much delight and without the nudity. But no matter. Roger Ebert loved "Watchmen." And Hunter Baker heaps praise on the comic book at S.T. Karnick's American Culture blog. Make of that what you will.
Finally, contrast Schlussel's shrill prose with that of two Big Hollywood contributors and comic book insiders, Bill Willingham and James Hudnell. Schlussel is a joke. Willingham and Hudnell are the real deal.
Zaius and I will see "Watchmen" at 10:45 on Friday morning. Reviews will follow here and at the American Culture.
Van Helsing at Moonbattery alerts us to a gobsmackingly Moonbatty story from the other side of the pond. Shakespeare's Romeo & Juliet is being performed in an "alternative" way in one east London school. To coincide with Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgendered (LGBT) History Month, kids between the ages of 14 and 16 performed the play as, naturally, "Romeo & Julian."
No. I'm not kidding.
Why was this Shakespeare work — often the first exposure children have to his genius — re-imagined? Leytonstone School drama teacher Jo Letson explains that reworking the most famous play by the most famous son of Straford-upon-Avon was necessary to combat "homophobia and homophobic bullying."
Yes. A cast featuring men in tights and speaking all flowery just ... well, what, exactly? Does it make a typical child snicker? Certainly. Does it then follow then that this is a teaching moment against the horrors of "homophobia"? Apparently, to Liberals Gone Wild with political correctness. It's not as if modern society hasn't produced slews of gay-friendly plays for teaching moments — "Rent," for one. Why must Shakespeare be destroyed on the altar of political correctness?
Because the left is in the business of destroying traditional Western culture — upon which it will build its own, more "enlightened" age. It is not enough to merely teach tolerance. There must be intolerance for all that does not serve the agenda. Incorrect thought must be quashed at every front — to the point of rewriting history, and even Shakespeare.
To Jolly Old England's credit, not everyone in a position of power is as batty as Ms. Letson. Some members of Parliament are not pleased.
Calling for a debate on political correctness during questions on upcoming Commons business, Tory MP Philip Davies said: "This is mind-blowing."
"Anyone with an ounce of sense would want their children to be learning Romeo & Juliet rather than Romeo and Julian," Davies said.
The MP for Shipley in Yorkshire added: "Romeo and Juliet is one of the greatest works ever written. It is a play that every child should study.
"It is very worrying that this literary masterpiece is being used for such a politically-correct purpose," he said.
Quite right ... indeed. Cheerio, chaps. Stand firm against twits in your presence, such as Commons leader Harriet Harman — who offered a rebuke to the objectors:
"I seem to remember that in Shakespearean times, boys would play girls and girls would play boys and the whole point was trying [to] work out which was which," Harman said. [Zaius: If that's what you think the "whole point" of Romeo & Juliet is, my dear, get thee to a nunnery!]
"There is going to be a debate next Thursday about new equality legislation so we can ensure everybody in this country is treated with fairness, respect and not subject to prejudice and discrimination - and indeed cheap shots - from you."
Oh, dear. Legislation — to be debated next week(!) in Britain — outlawing anything that doesn't adhere to Harman's idea of "fairness" and "respect." Objecting on the basis of tradition and (gasp!) freedom of thought? That's the stuff of "cheap shots," and no one should have the freedom to commit such crimes.
The season isn't quite right, but this is a "very midsummer madness." As The Bard himself might say, "something's rotten in
Denmark England" these days.
From the comments at Ace's place: "If I were ever alone with her, I'd be afraid she'd unhinge her jaw and eat me whole like a boa constrictor. That said, I'd take my chances."
The New Scientist reports: "Porn in the USA: Conservatives are biggest consumers"
Wow...uh... really? What... er, what have you heard?
I think the bottom line of the study, at least according to the New Scientist, is this bit:
Eight of the top 10 pornography consuming states gave their electoral votes to John McCain in last year's presidential election – Florida and Hawaii were the exceptions. While six out of the lowest 10 favoured Barack Obama.
Over at the Corner, my friend John Miller has some questions, problems and concerns about the study:
It doesn't examine individuals, but rather averages across areas, which leads to a red state vs. blue state analysis that allows for startling headlines but in fact tells us very little. One of the findings is that Utah has more per-capita online porn subscriptions than other states. It's probably also true that Salt Lake City is one of the toughest places in America to pay for a lap dance or a peep show. So what do porn-prone Utahns do? They go online, and skew the very statistics now being trumpeted as newsworthy.
Miller points to an article by Arthur Brooks, who notes a statistic from the General Social Survey: "About 60 percent more Democrats than Republicans confess to having watched at least one pornographic movie in the past year."
Miller quips: "This finding never made the news. I wonder why."
Beats me, man. I'm no economist. For the record, though, I'm sure there are a lot of porn-consuming right-wingers out there. People have a way of saying and doing things in private that they would never say or do in public. It's a screwed up world. Civilization is a rickety enterprise. And nothing lasts forever.
Update: A Boing Boing commenter writes: "The study just shows that red staters are too dumb to know how to get their porn for free."
(Hat tip: Big Hollywood)
Gottfried, whose comedy is an acquired taste to be sure, really knows how to awkward up a room. (Or, I guess since this is a clip from the Hannity show, one could also say he raises the level of discourse.) "She's hot!" Gottfried says of Powers.
In another segment on steroids in baseball, Gottfried said that he wouldn't get near steroids because "if my penis were to get even a quarter inch smaller, it would be a vagina." Five more minutes, and I'm sure he would have started talking about the family who walked into a talent agent's office...
Estelle Bennett, one of the original Ronettes, died last week of undetermined causes. The New York Times has a fascinating story about Bennett, who enjoyed a few brief years of fame followed by decades of "illness and squalor that were little known to many of the group’s biggest fans."
Bennett was Ronnie Spector's sister. Apparently, she suffered from mental illness for years. Her's was the quintessential story of fame and celebrity in America, told time and again.
“Estelle had such an extraordinary life,” Nedra Talley Ross, one of the other original Ronettes, told the Times. “To have the fame, and all that she had at an early age, and for it all to come to an end abruptly. Not everybody can let that go and then go on with life.”
And yet she did, for years and years. Bennett's daughter and her cousin told the Times they helped clean up Estelle for the Ronettes’ induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2007. They worried that the ceremony would be too much for her to take, so another backup singers performed in Bennett’s place.
But before the concert Ms. Bennett gave a brief acceptance speech. "I would just like to say thank you very much for giving us this award,” she said. “I’m Estelle of the Ronettes. Thank you.”
Gee whiz. Kathleen Parker might have gone a little over the top with her criticism of Sarah Palin before the November election. But she really loses it in her defense of Michael Phelps in Wednesday's Washington Post. Don't they have editors there anymore? Here's an excerpt of what I'm talking about:
How f---ing dare anyone out there make fun of Michael after all he has been through!
He lost his aunt, he went through a divorce. He had two f---in kids.
His husband turned out to be a user, a cheater, and now he's going through a custody battle. All you people care about is….. readers and making money off of him.
HE’S A HUMAN! What you don’t realize is that Michael is making you all this money and all you do is write a bunch of crap about him.
LEAVE HIM ALONE! You are lucky he even swam for you BASTARDS! LEAVE MICHAEL ALONE!…..Please.
Actually, Parker makes some good points -- minus the vulgarity, which is really unbecoming for a serious columnist writing for a major U.S. newspaper. (That's right, I'm looking at you, Mathis.) Turns out, Sheriff Leon Lott of South Carolina's Richland County may be charging Phelps with a crime stemming from that now infamous photograph of the Olympic champ taking a bong hit. Parker believes -- sensibly -- that prosecuting Phelps is a waste of time and resources. And she's spot on when she writes, "we impose monstrous expectations on our heroes."
I agree. I made a ham-fisted and misunderstood attempt at snide commentary on the Phelps business the other night. Let's try it again.
Anyone as hyped as Michael Phelps (or Christian Bale... or Barack Obama, for that matter) is doomed. Nobody can survive the media scrutiny -- whether from the old media or new -- that comes with great fame in the 21st century. Laryssa Wirstiuk, who was disappointed with my initial sally the other day, put it pretty well: "Perceived heroes like Michael Phelps are caught being humans, and the epic fail is syndicated. Thanks to new media, we are the paparazzi and the editorial board."
I think that's about right. We tend to be hypocritical about these sorts of things, and we often not-so-secretly relish the sight of a hero laid low.
Whatever happens, my guess is Phelps will emerge better and stronger for it, a bit battered but his place in sports history secure. It's doubtful the drug laws will change, as Parker hopes. But the fame machine will keep grinding mercilessly along.
Robb suggested offline that I re-post my blog about Dennis Prager's marital advice to women. Since I've already posted one long blog here today, I'll avoid being obnoxious and instead obnoxiously drive your eyeballs to my website.
The only thing I'll add here, for the purposes of discussion, is that Prager's missive reads like a liberal parody of conservative attitudes (I should say, the attitudes of some conservatives) towards women. As Robb notes: It's not really a surprise that Prager has recently divorced. I hope there aren't any Townhall.com readers seriously taking Prager's advice, but it really breaks my heart (and I'm being serious here) that K-Lo seems to approve.
I have nothing to add to the great creative mind of ExUrb Jon. Just the link ... which will let you see the picture.
Here's a ghastly story from Crete by way of the Sun and the BBC that should strike fear into the most stouthearted and steel-livered imbiber. The Sun's headline practically says it all: "Monster cocktail blew up my face." (Click the links for pics.) According to the tabloid:
A TEENAGER’S head blew up like a balloon after she drank an exotic holiday cocktail containing a “secret ingredient”.
Corinne Coyle, 19, was rushed to hospital in Crete after taking just a few sips....
...Served in a bowl, it was said to contain Baileys, tequila, absinthe, ouzo, vodka, cider, gin and chilli powder — plus the unknown ingredient.
Good grief! I've said I'd drink almost anything, but the description sounds positively vile. The combination of Baileys and chili powder alone would be abominable. A few weeks ago, I tried an honest-to-goodness absinthe drip, another of the ingredients listed, for the first time. One drink was enough to make me wobbly. So I had another to help restore my balance. Worked like a charm. But mixed with tequila and vodka and Lord knows what else? I might have vanished into thin air.
And what was the secret ingredient? God knows what the bartender could possibly want to keep secret in such a concoction. Eel piss? Eye of newt? The tears of unfathomable sadness? Vanilla extract?
Coyle, whose face may never return to normal, "has vowed never to touch alcohol again," reports the BBC.
I was at the Bernadette Peters concert in Philly. Trying to comprehend how this sexy, vivacious woman is older than my mom. (And no, I'm really not going to go too far down that road.) And being entertained, frankly. The woman is an entertainer -- a real showman, to use a sexist phrase -- of a type they used to make a couple of generations ago. She's a national treasure.
Dear Miss Lopez:
Parents aren't going to buy Black Canary Barbie for their 5-year-old daughters. Well, maybe a couple of freaks in San Francisco or Portland might. But not normal people. (Yes, I know, you aren't the only one to deplore the doll. A British group called Christian Voice described the doll as "filth.")
No, no, no. Do you know who are going to buy Black Canary Barbie? 40+-year-old comic book geeks, that's who. And Barbie fanatics. But they're doomed anyway.
It's going to require a lot of gin to wash that thought out of your brain. Sleep well.
Cyd Charisse, RIP.
Like most people, I suppose, I remember her mainly from "Singin' in the Rain," where she made an appearance in the dream-sequency segment of the movie that had nothing to do with the rest of the movie except to show the world that Gene Kelly was more than a hoofer -- he was an artist, dammit!*
Still, she's memorable in that scene, isn't she?
*I love Gene Kelly. And I love "Singin' in the Rain." But that doesn't make that sequence -- or the similar one in "American in Paris" -- any less bizarrely self-indulgent.
Small world: The L.A. Times' source for its story about Alex Kozinski's web porn is related to an old friend. I don't know Cyrus Sanai, but his quarrel with Kozinski and the Ninth U.S. Circuit is obviously more complicated than press reports have reported thus far. Evidently, Sanai has been trying to drum up interest in the story for months. ("This isn't Jenna Jameson and Ron Jeremy stuff, the normal guy-meets-girl in a Laundromat porn," Sanai told the L.A. Weekly blog. "It's all deviant!" Reminds me of another essay I read a few years back: "Porn: Smut or Filth?" Can't find it online, either.)
Judge Kozinski's troubles may not just be limited to pictures of nude women painted as cows or transsexual slideshows. (This Australian website carries a headline that must even make Kozinski smile, if ruefully: "Cow porn fancier judge suspends trial.") The judge might have made the mistake of posting copyrighted MP3s. And Kozinski, of all people, should know better.
I won't pretend to guess how this story will play out, although I suspect Kozinski's tenure on the bench is secure. Clearly, though, it is a mistake to confuse intelligence -- and Kozinski is unquestionably brilliant -- with wisdom.
Beyonce, as my friends at Exurban League noticed, has a clothing line. As to be expected, it leans on the hip-hop tip. Which is fine. Unless you start a clothing line for children and keep that theme.
Ugh. I'm almost speechless. So take it away, ExUrb Jon:
I thought Jon Benet's parents were creepy. And that Bratz dolls were a sign of the Apocalypse. Now Ms. Bootylicious is dressing up six-year-olds in red pumps?
Repent! The end is near!
The pornification of our youth continues apace.
Cindy Crawford, considered one of the smarter supermodels in the stable, told ABC News this week that her experience as a mother has led to an "eco-awakening."
“I mean, we’ve all have seen the Al Gore movie and green is on ... it’s on top of the mind for everybody,” Crawford said. “But, it is overwhelming. I have a very full life as well, so it’s like ‘Oh, I can’t compost my own stuff.’”
No, she can't possibly compost her own stuff. It's messy and smelly -- the kind of stuff, like, ugly people do. But she'll try to do what she can.
“My kids go to a school in Malibu and it’s super-environmentally conscious,” Crawford said. “We do beach clean-ups, try to use less plastic as a school. And so, that kind of made me think, 'what can I do?' "
I presume Cindy didn't just yesterday start instructing her nanny to drop the kids off at school for Malibu-style "super-environmentally conscious" indoctrination. So maybe this awakening has something to do with a new endorsement deal ...
"I teamed up with PUR, which is a water filtration company. They do the things you can attach to your faucets, as well as those pitchers ..."
Um, yeah. We've heard of them. You know, with all the PUR TV commercials, the displays in the Piggly Wiggly and Wal-Mart and stuff. Those are called "stores" owned by what's called "retail companies." They do the things, like, where you pick something off the shelf, take it to the counter, pay for it, and take it home. Anyway, now for Cindy's big idea!
"... we came up with a reusable water bottle.”
Wow! Really?! You mean you can take those bottles of Fiji or Adirondack or Dasani, and when you drink it all down, you can put them back under the faucet and refill them? Never thought of that. Of course, I never thought of charging $19.99 for special "reusable" water bottles on a website, either. So maybe I'm the dummy.
Cindy laments that Americans use 50 billion bottles of water every year, "and only 50 percent are recycled. So that's like 38 billion that aren't recycled." Umm .... math is hard. So let's have my hilarious friend Jon at Exurban League do the figuring for us.
Let's see... 50 Billion x 50% = 25 Billion, subtract the loss factor, add in the safety margin, carry the missing supermodel brain cells... yep, 38 billion!
It's bad enough that environmental scolds like Ed Begley Jr. wag their fingers at ordinary Americans for not caring enough about the Earth to ditch the internal combustion engine and hitch a donkey to the SUV for the morning commute. But it is exponentially more annoying for Cindy Crawford to encourage us to be green -- at $19.99 a pop -- when she lives in the house below:
That's right. Four (count 'em) structures on her beachfront Malibu estate -- each larger than the one I live in. Tell you what, Cin. I'll keep recycling and reusing water bottles my way, and I'm sure I'll make up for your carbon footprint -- as long as I live until 2751. Good to know you're doing your part!
By the way, don't go over to RedBlueAmerica anymore. They suck.
Malkin notes the best protest sign of the new millenioum.
"My Immigrant Vagina is Angry!"
Yep, nothing like an angry immigrant vagina.