RECRIMINATIONS, ACCUSATIONS, AND RESIGNATIONS: After a week and a half of controversy, charges, and countercharges, the October 28, 2003, issue of The Justice finally came out today, October 31. Apropos that it would finally come out on Halloween, as it's been awhile since Brandeis has seen such horrors.
[Once again, if you don't care about any of this, click here to read about "Curb Your Enthusiasm," Halloween in Hoboken, and Manny Ramirez's contract, among other subjects.]
The issue, perhaps the most controversial in the paper's 54-year history, contains three news articles, two staff editorials, two resignation letters, and 23 letters to the editor- all in response to a single paragraph of a single column by a single writer. This week's issue will go down as the eternal chronicle of what may be the biggest on-campus brouhaha at Brandeis University since the end of the Vietnam War.
One by one, here are my takes on each news and opinion article; I'll blog about the letters sometime over the weekend:
-The front page features a nearly 3,500 word chronology of the events; the two authors (who are not members of the Editorial Board) almost certainly studied the New York Times' similar Jayson Blair mea culpa, and do an admirable job telling the story in a lively and evenhanded way.
Interestingly, the article refers to "a long history of racist comments in [Passner's] columns," specifically mentioning a column from September in which the writer used several Holocaust references in order to belittle baseball commissioner Bud Selig. The question must then be raised (again, a la Jayson Blair): why were all the warning signs ignored, and why was Passner allowed to continue writing for the Justice, much less hand in his columns minutes before the paper went to press?
-The front-page BBSO letter - subject of Monday night's dusk-to-dawn dispute- calls for "reconciliation," while also containing a threat to "turn this university upside down" if they don't get what they want. What does that mean? While every single Justice editorial unequivocally condemned the Passner comments, is the BBSO prepared to apologize for threats of physical violence against Stephen Heyman (and other editors) had he not resigned?
There's no question that just as last spring's Iraq protestors acted out of a long-held desire to re-enact Brandeis' anti-Vietnam demonstrations, the BBSO members are positioning themselves as the heirs to the "Malcolm X University" students who took over Ford Hall for several days in 1969; indeed, the student center that housed both the Thursday forum and the Justice's office are in the building that was built on the former site of Ford Hall.
I believe that both last year's antiwar protestors and this year's BBSO were largely encouraged and pushed in that direction by a certain element of activist faculty members who practice political correctness as a fundamentalist religion, and for years have intruded in campus politics accordingly. For these people, it is now and forever 1969; they're merely using the scandal to advance an agenda that's been in place since before Daniel Passner was born.
-The next front-page story deals with the near-riot that occurred last Monday, after Justice/BBSO negotiations had broken down over the paper's refusal to accede to all of the demands, and the BBSO thus sought- with the 100% backing of the university administration- to do nothing less than infringe on the paper's First Amendment rights to freedom of speech and of the press. Most chilling quote:
"[Dean] Jean Eddy coerced us into not printing. She said that it's the best for the Brandeis community," Associate Editor Igor Pedan '05 said. "She wanted to appease BBSO so that Brandeis' image in supporting diversity doesn't falter. She said that they were the injured party so we should succumb to them."
We, however, have not been treated as journalists, but rather as muses for social justice. In addition to our anger at ourselves and at the issue at hand - not a journalistic error, but racism - we have absorbed and internalized the anger of our peers, and we have been forced to concede to demands far beyond our call of duty. Insofar as the demands have contorted our journalistic standards and duties, we have let the student body step on our necks to reach new heights of social action...Sacrificing the editor-in-chief is a punitive measure, devoid of reason and potency. By sabotaging the Justice as a vital dissemination of student opinion, it is a gratuitous, ineffective and detrimental gesture.To turn the Passner affair into a microcosm of American race relations is nothing short of absurd, for the simple reason that the appearance of Passner's column in the paper was a mistake. Racism is more than a mistake- it is a sickness, a virus, and it is evil. A bunch of college students trying to put together a newspaper are not sick, are not evil, and are certainly not the heirs to Jim Crow. -The 23 letters to the editor the Justice received (I predicted 25) in regards to the Passner matter have been posted online as a PDF; I've only skimmed them thus far, but I saw one great point made that I'll address right now, from a letter by student Paul Kandel:
Had the article said, "the only thing Joseph Lieberman has a Ph.D in starts with a K and rhymes with 'hike,'" I would have been furious. I may have been mad enough to make generalized comments about the responsible parties, even if I knew nothing about them. I may have even been angry enough to walk out of a forum designed to heal and show that I would not listen. But I would've been wrong.Exactly. I couldn't have said that better myself. -The Justice's first major mistake in the post-Passner era? A truly dreadful feature headline: "Bulimia Festers in the Student Body" -Passner's blog is no longer online; I guess taking it off is the closest thing he's given to a comment since this all started. -And finally, if there's one overarching theme that I've seen in the letters, blog entries, and elsewhere, it was a sense of horror and gloom that came from 10 days of a campus virtually at war, when it appeared possible that Brandeis might devolve at any moment into full-fledged racial violence. So what did Brandeis president Jehuda Reinharz tell the Daily News Tribune on Thursday, when asked about the situation? He was "pleased" at how the "community" has responded!
The discussions in the past few days that have occurred across campus have heightened awareness of the many issues involved and moved our community to a better understanding of the divisiveness and pain the expressions in The Justice caused.So after doing his part to fan the flames by sending out a campus-wide e-mail the day after the column appeared which falsely implied that the Justice editors had fully endorsed Passner's sentiments (without first interviewing them), Jehuda now thinks the whole affair, which brought the campus to the brink of a riot, was in the end a good thing! To think I once had respect for Reinharz- what a spineless, duplicitous bastard. -Thanks again to everyone who's been reading my thoughts on this all week, I appreciate the nice comments. And I'll be back up at my alma mater for a visit next month, for the first time in way too long.
A CONFESSION: I've been debating whether or not to share this, but what the hell: Passner's column was not, believe or not, the first time a Tigger/[n-word] pun has appeared on the pages of the Justice. The previous time, yours truly was responsible- albeit in a very different context, and with very different (which is to say, no) consequences.
When I was Arts Editor in 2000, "The Tigger Movie" was released, and we ran a review of it in the Arts section, accompanied by a photo of the "cheerful scamp." Being in the habit at the time of amusing myself by running funny photo captions that referenced music and movies, and seeking to pay tribute to the seminal '80s rap group N.W.A., I gave the photo the caption "Tiggers With Attitudes." Shortly before, I believe, I had seen the VH1 "Behind the Music" special on the group, on which the show's ubiquitous, ofay narrator used the word "niggaz" several times.
It ran, not a single person noticed or even said a word, there were no calls for my resignation, and I didn't think of it again until two days ago. There, I feel better now having that off my chest…
HAPPY HALLOWEEN: And as Larry David says, just because it's Halloween it "doesn't give people the right to use the holiday for their own selfish needs, and to go around to people's homes and bilk them out of candy."
Halloween in Hoboken is quite a sight- children in costume trolling for candy on the same streets where the NJGuidos and black-clad sorority chicks normally troll for... other things. Of course, the twain did indeed meet earlier this evening, as the hottie barmaids stood in front of the Black Bear and handed out candy to the little Batmans and fairy princesses.
Best costume? An eight-year-old white kid dressed as Ricky Williams, complete with fake dreadlocks and a Williams jersey.
MILLER TIME: Dennis Miller, it was announced today, will host a new political talk show on CNBC. I endorse the idea, because the despite the comic's tack to the right he does know comedy and politics the way few others do. As long as he promises not to run for the Senate...
SOMEBODY'S GETTING MARRIED…: The Jennifer Aniston and Brad Pitt of blogging couples, "Asparagirl" Brooke Schreier and "Captain" Scott Ganz, will walk down the aisle this weekend in Manhattan, in what is undoubtedly the biggest wedding in the history of the Blogosphere. And rumor has it they'll be a starting a new blog together, upon returning from their honeymoon. A hearty "mazel tov" to both!
ALL THE FOOTBALL, NONE OF THE ANTI-SEMITISM: It's the Homage to TMQ contest, at FootballOutsiders.com! And Easterbrook himself even makes a cameo or two.
And this guy has transcribed and archived all of the TMQ columns from the last year that ESPN deleted. No cheerleader pictures, though :(.
SITCOM CHARACTER QUOTE OF THE DAY: "If you took all the porn off the internet, there'd only be one website left in the world: BringBackThePorn.com" –John C. McGinley, "Scrubs," last night. Great actor, great quote, great show.
ALCS FALLOUT, CONT'D: Don Zimmer will reportedly take over as bench coach for the Tampa Bay Devil Rays who, like his previous employer, are an AL East team that is run from Tampa, Florida. Meanwhile, Grady Little interviewed today for the manager's job with the Baltimore Orioles. Just what Grady needs- 9 games a year at Fenway!
Meanwhile, Manny Ramirez has cleared waivers and his rights have reverted to the Boston Red Sox. But don't believe the hype that Ramirez and his contract are "untradeable"- he's a $100 million player who's still good. Last year the Rockies were able to trade, to the Braves, the contract of a $100 million player (Mike Hampton) who wasn't still good, and even got a third team (the Marlins) to facilitate the deal. Considering what happened with the Marlins this year, don't be so sure another team won't step up and see their own self-interest in helping to spin Manny out of Boston…
SPORTS GUY QUOTE OF THE DAY: The Simmons Plan for the NBA: "When I'm commissioner of the league, my first act of business- right after A.) forcing every team to have cheerleaders; B.) instituting the "mega-assist" stat for passes that lead directly to dunks or layups; C.) making the coaches wear uniforms on the bench; and D.) buying David Stern's 1984 mustache off eBay and sticking it on my upper lip -- will be merging Miami, Atlanta, Toronto, New Jersey and the Clippers, then relocating them to Vegas. Think about it: Every problem in the NBA would be solved: overexpansion, talent dilution, dwindling fan bases, ghastly uniforms, and most importantly, the lack of a team in Vegas."
THREE DAYS LATE, BUT...: The Justice is finally online. More to come...
IN THE GLOBE: The Boston Globe covers the Justice thing again, adding little new stuff besides a quote from Brandeis flack Dennis Nealon, who stated that the paper was delayed because the editors "decided to take their time and look at this, to give students enough time to have input, and not rush an issue out while things are evolving." Which would have been nice, except that it's not what happened. Wonderful- the administration has now resorted to bald-faced lying.
Current Brandeis senior Dahlia has more. And here's a blog by "SuzieMoozie," a Brandeis student coming at things from a more anti-Justice angle.
NEW YORK POST HEADLINE OF THE DAY:- From Wednesday: "Baby and Geezer in 'Hooker' Sting."
DOING THE WAIVE: The Boston Red Sox did something interesting today- they placed their best offensive player, Manny Ramirez, on irrevocable waivers. This does not mean Ramirez is a free agent, but rather that every team in the rest of the league will have a chance to claim him from the Red Sox, without compensation to Boston.
Notice I didn't say "for free." That's because Ramirez, baseball's second highest-paid player, is still owed $100 million over the next five years, and any team that claimed him would be on the hook for that amount. If this were football the Sox could just cut him and take a hit of a couple mil, but in baseball all contracts are guaranteed, meaning that in order to move Ramirez, the Sox will have to move his contract too.
There are a few strange dynamics at work here- Manny obviously wants to play for the Yankees, so the Red Sox have essentially dared George Steinbrenner to take a shot (he's already said no). Therefore, Ramirez will likely pass through waivers, and then the Bosox will spend the rest of the offseason trying to trade him.
My theory? The Sox are trying to unload the second highest-paid player because they really covet the highest paid player. Yes, they want A-Rod, and are willing to give up Nomar Garciaparra to get him. Jimmy Fallon won't like it, but perhaps the rest of RSN will. But whether the Rangers are ready to give up on Alex Rodriguez three years into his ten-year, $252 million contract is another matter entirely.
And in other baseball news, the players' union is once again making noises about bringing a collusion case against Selig and the owners. Uh oh- I knew labor peace couldn't last long.
"THE DAMAGE IS MORE EXTENSIVE THAN FIRST REPORTED": Campus Press Notes has a comprehensive chronology up of the Passner affair that quotes a source on the paper, and tells us a lot that we didn't know already. Like that threats were made to physically stop the production of the paper. And The Justice is now essentially crippled, as just about everyone who knew how to put the paper together has now resigned. Yikes.
SOCIAL JUSTICE: I guess today was the day the Passner story really broke through in the Blogosphere, with Romenesko and others taking notice; could a certain professor be far behind? Anyway, thanks and welcome to everyone who's found this site through Google searches on the subject or however other means; traffic's been insanely high the last few days so I guess quite a few people are searching around for news on what's going on up at Brandeis...
(And if you don't care at all about this and you'd rather read about other stuff, feel free to click down to the next post, or through to the next blog as it were. Last week it was baseball, this week it's this; I can already tell you next week I'll be blogging every day about the Strokes.)
I thought I'd take this opportunity to clarify a few things I've said previously, in response to a couple of the e-mails I've gotten on the subject in the last two days. I want to preface by saying that like anyone else, I come into the situation with my own opinions and personal prejudices, and I don't pretend to speak for anyone other than myself.
And no, I'm not at Brandeis right now. But then I wasn't in Iraq either, and that didn't stop me from blogging about it:
-First of all, I want to make clear that I have not and do not in any way seek to minimize the hatefulness of what Passner wrote, and am in no way urging the African-Americans at Brandeis to "get over it" or "not make such a big deal." Clearly, they have more than a legitimate grievance, and as someone who is not black I don't feel as though it's my place to tell them how they should or should not react to blatantly racist material appearing in the student newspaper.
-At the same time, I certainly feel as though certain people who don't deserve it are being tarred with the racism brush- and even the justifiable anger of Brandeis' black community doesn't make such a tarring fair.
I guess as a former staffer for the paper, I feel a natural identification with the Justice editors, who made a horrible mistake but are now collectively being accused of doing much worse. There are likely people on the current Justice Editorial Board who have wanted to pursue journalism careers for their entire lives, and now may have to abandon that dream because their names will forever be associated with a racially charged scandal- even though most of them had nothing personally to do with the mistake.
Three years out of Brandeis, I right now have a semi-successful professional career as a journalist. Had I not gained experience from having been a writer and editor on the Justice I probably wouldn't have that career, and I can't help but think that if when I was on the board one of the other editors had let a column like Passner's slip into the paper, my name would've been dragged into it, and as a result I may have had to find myself a new career before I even finished college.
Yes, the Justice editors made a horrible, horrible mistake. But nobody likes being the subject of the vitriol of an entire campus, or being subjected to non-negotiable demands, or being told by university higher-ups that their recent editor-in-chief election is nullified because they can't publish until that editor quits... just something to keep in mind.
-So the entire brain trust of a newspaper has been brought down by their failure to prevent the journalistic malpractice of a single lunatic writer. But something tells me Dan Passner won't get a book deal like Jayson Blair did.
-It's been said that Brandeis is a powderkeg where racial tension is bound to flare up at least once every few years. That may be because it's a campus where roughly half the student body has five background factors in common (say it with me: white/Jewish/suburban/upper-middle-class/liberal), and has very little experience sharing time or space with anyone who doesn't fit most or all of those criteria. I'm not about to blame the tension on affirmative action (which I support) or diversity (which I also support, though the implementation could use some work.) What I do have a problem with is with the rise of a certain form of doctrinaire, political correctness-based identity politics (practically invented by Brandeis' own Herbert Marcuse, and today mostly advanced by white professors and some white students) that, coupled with ever-present '60s nostalgia, has galvanized the Brandeis left before, during, and since my time there. Indeed, if the student body has it hard-wired into their heads from the start that every institution under the sun is intrinsically racist, is it any wonder that the raving of a singular nut like Passner gets mistaken for a widespread racist conspiracy?
-When I was on the Justice the paper was primarily accused of two sins: incompetance, and excessive toadying to the adminstration. Both were preferable to racism, of course; the former charge is likely to come back stronger than ever, but with some administration members now no longer even talking to the Justice, we may finally have seen the last of the latter.
-Another story: my senior year I went with a few of my co-editors to a college journalism conference in New York. We got to meet Martin Sheen; it was lots of fun. But I remember in particular that several of the other people that we met at the conference were there representing Midwestern bible colleges, which legislated such draconian, "Footloose"/John Ashcroft-like rules as "no dancing allowed." And when these intrepid young journalists would try to get gutsy and run pro-dancing editorials in their paper, the administrators would of course step in and quash publication. "Lucky us," we all thought, "our administrators would never do that!"
Should've known- last weekend the Brandeis administration, proving once again that the ubiquitous Brandeis buzzword "social justice" can be stretched to justify just about anything, unilaterally declared that The Justice- the Independent Student Newspaper of Brandeis University- could not publish until their newly elected editor-in-chief resigned, and until the paper agreed to push publication back three days. Why would they do such a thing? Fear of bad publicity, of course, if not of a potential race riot. Whether it's stuff like this, the bowing towards the false PC idol, or the gravy train of athletics, college presidents and other adminstrators have proven to be some of the most loathsome, good-for-nothing people in America.
-At any rate, it is my hope that order and peace can be restored up in Waltham, and the sooner the better. I end with one more question: This entire brouhaha began as a result of Passner's racist attack on Cubs manager Dusty Baker. Does Baker himself have any idea that this is going on?
TREMENDOUS UPSIDE POTENTIAL, VOL. 1: Part I of Sports Guy's gargantuan three-part NBA preview appeared on ESPN.com today, with more to follow. I'm with him until he picks the T-Wolves 7th in the West. 7th? Anyway, tune in tomorrow for Part 2, featuring the West contenders, and a whole summer's worth of Doug Christie jokes!
BIG TIME, NOW: Romenesko has picked up the Passner story, so by the end of the day the nation's entire media elite will know about it. Jim links to the latest account by the Newton Daily News Tribune. News from the story- five staffers have now resigned, the column went unedited because Passner submitted it late Monday night (at least 36 hours after deadline), and the sports editor never even read it; deposed editor-in-chief Stephen Heyman is also interviewed, and calls Passner's quote "an abortion of journalistic ethics."
Also, according to the Campus Press Notes blog, a call to the Justice office yields a message that says "The administration won't let us print unless the editor-in-chief resigns." Proving once again that some of the most gutless, spineless, morally bankrupt people in America are senior university administrators.
QUOTE OF THE DAY: "Maureen Dowd -- that catty, third-rate, wannabe sorority queen. She's such an empty vessel. One pleasure of reading the New York Times online is that I never have to see anything written by Maureen Dowd! I ignore her hypertext like spam for penis extenders." -Camille Paglia, Salon.com. Read the whole interview, there's some great stuff about the Democrats, Rush Limbaugh, and that "parasite" Terry McAuliffe.
PASSNER'S BLOG: It's sparse, but he does have one. Check out the first comment to the first post- it's priceless, especially in light of what we know now.
BASEBALL BASEBALL BASEBALL: Thomas Boswell in the Washington Post makes a convincing case that 2003 was the best baseball postseason in history. All that, and the Yankees lost too!
NO JUSTICE, NO PEACE: The Boston Globe is on the story, and reports that the editor in chief- who likely wrote for the paper for years and just took over as EIC this week- has resigned as well. In addition, due to demands from the BBSO to put a statement in the paper, the publication of the new issue has been delayed until Friday. Some are also calling for the paper to be shut down, which is the usual campus anti-First Amendment hooey; as someone who wrote for that paper for four years, was a columnist for three, and an editor for one, I'll certainly have something to say about that.
I'm not planning to blog much more about this, because it appears to be (or at least, should be) a dead issue. But one observation- I really think these protestors need to put things in perspective: two weeks ago a Brandeis student, Mary Jagoda, was tragically killed in a kayaking accident off of Cape Cod. Isn't the death of one of their classmates something that's much more worthy of these peoples' attention and anger than something someone wrote in a silly newspaper column?
(Speaking of Mary, her family has requested that donations in her memory be made to the Cantor Fitzgerald Relief Fund, as her older brother Jake was a Cantor employee who perished in the 9/11 attacks. Contact the fund at this e-mail address for more information on how to contribute.)
NBA '03: THREE PREDICTIONS:
1. The Spurs will repeat as champions
2. The Timberwolves will finally get out of the first round, and
3. Kobe Bryant will not play for the Lakers this year.
DON'T SEE 'CRUEL': My review of "Intolerable Cruelty," the worst film the Coen Brothers have ever made, is online at IOFilm.com.
JUSTICE SCANDAL UPDATE: There've been lots of developments in the Daniel Passner controversy up at my alma mater Brandeis; here's a brief roundup. For those coming to this newly, here's my original post, here's the account from a local paper in Framingham, and here's JawsBlog, who gets all the e-mails first, and is if you ask me the blogosphere's primary authority on the matter.
-Passner has resigned from the Justice, as has the paper's sports editor; the editor-in-chief Stephen Heyman, who had the wonderful luck of the major scandal erupting in this first issue at the helm, will likely escape unscathed. Passner has also stepped down from his position in the Student Union Senate.
-According to the Framingham MetroWest Daily News' version of events, the offending remark "was highlighted in red by a copy editor in training but never fixed," and the paper will now adopt a new system that ensures three editors read every bit of copy.
Funny- I was a Justice editor just three years ago, and our system at the time assured that every word of copy was read by the editor-in-chief, section editor, section editor's assistants, and usually one or two associate (former section) editors. Mistakes got by, of course, but never any racial slurs. For something as egregious as what Passner wrote to pass by without anyone even noting it aloud is perplexing, to say the least. Then again it's been alleged, in comments below and elsewhere, that the editors don't much like Passner and purposely hung him out to dry by including the quote, but I of course have no way of knowing the veracity of that.
-The Justice Editorial Board flubbed the ball big time, of course, but I think this battle is similar to the ones we used to have when the arts section would forget to review plays- the Justice editors (and writers) are not professional journalists, and therefore don't believe that they have to conduct themselves in that regard. They should of course strive for professionalism in their work, but that doesn’t mean they do.
-I received an e-mail this afternoon from the student, Passner's friend, to whom the quote was attributed. He says that he was "grossly misquoted," his quotes were taken out of context, and that he was "as surprised as anyone to see my name associated with such an abhorrent statement." Assuming that's true, I think he's got a pretty good libel case against his (presumably now-former) friend.
-I was sort of hoping that this incident could serve as a chance for the Brandeis campus to have a productive dialogue about race relations, and in some way encourage the school's different ethnic groups to get along. After all, I'd imagine there aren't many white students who agree with/approve of use of the n-word.
If only… ever since Tuesday the Brandeis left has been in its usual hysterical mode, once again proving that at Brandeis, '60s fantasies trump all else. At a forum hosted by the Justice editors in which the student body was essentially given free reign to slam them at will, the Black Student Organization (BBSO) staged a walkout at the beginning (not the middle, or end), the beginning of the forum. Then, the head of the Intercultural Center (ICC), the school's identity-politics umbrella organization, announced that he and his organization will no longer supply quotes to The Justice; university administrator Rick Sawyer, who from dealing with in the past I assumed was a sane, level-headed guy, has taken a similar pledge.
This makes little sense- since the publication of Passner's column, the paper has apologized, accepted the resignations of both Passner and the sports editor, hosted the forum, and agreed to run a front-page apology. In other words, it sounds to me like they've done everything right, and that they truly want to build bridges with the school's minority organizations (at least one editor was brought to tears during the forum). But the ICC -angry that the apology will only "begin" on the front page and continue elsewhere- has decided to ignore those overtures for no reason other than to be self-righteous; and besides, who ever heard of a source boycotting a newspaper for political reasons? Doesn't this hurt the ICC more than it helps?
- There's an interesting lesson here, that's just as true of Fox News Channel hosts as it is of campus activists: there's nothing more fun than outrage, or the pretense of outrage. Brandeis' activists have had the same reaction to Dan Passner calling Dusty Baker the n-word that Bill O'Reilly had to that death row inmate who wanted the government to pay for his sex change- outrage, but at the same time a perverse sense of both opportunity and superiority at the chance to take on such an off-the-charts, almost stereotypical enemy- as well as use it to push a pre-existing agenda. Some activists will attempt to portray the Passner incident as "a dark day in Brandeis history"- bullshit. To them, it's Christmas in October.
-The Justice's next issue comes out tomorrow- I'd put the over/under on Passner-related letters at around 25.
-And lastly, one line from the Student Union Senate's letter to the community just about made me fall off my chair:
In addition to supporting concerned students, the Student Union will continue to support both the Union Senate Diversity Committee and the "Creating Awareness: One Thought at a Time" diversity initiative launched earlier this month.
One thought at a time? One thought at a time? Anyone else get a bit of an Orwellian chill when a university's student government specifically endorses the concept of thought police?
BABES OF THE BLOGOSPHERE: Outside the Beltway has posted a listing of the Blogosphere's leading megababes. I'm not about to share my own personal rankings, but I will say that more often than not, I've been pleasantly surprised by the attractiveness of female bloggers I've had the priviledge of meeting.
(Found via one such babe, Sheila O'Malley).
"I SCREWED UP SO BAD EVEN THE FOOTBALL GODS WERE MAD AT ME": Gregg Easterbrook has posted a message to his fans at FootballOutsiders.com; that site is also running a "Homage to TMQ contest." Easterbook says that he's in negotiations to bring back the TMQ column elsewhere- and will participate in the contest too.
Stephen I. Weiss has an excellent synopsis of the whole Easterbrook flap over at Jewsweek- I'm with him until the part where he calls Meryl Yourish a "screaming hysteric."
"HEATHERS" COMES TO NYU?: There have been three suicides in the first two months of the school year at New York University, all caused by jumps from campus buildings (two of them from the same balcony), and all under mysterious circumstances. Where have we heard that before? I can just see some hippie professor nattering on about how "suicide is a choice!"
Then again, what do you expect from a school that houses the Kevorkian Center?
TALK ABOUT "THE PASSION": One question about this Jesus-gets-struck-by-lightning story that I haven't seen brought up at all: much was made of Mel Gibson screening his "Passion" movie about two months ago for a group of critics/sycophants, including right-wing Jews Dennis Prager and Michael Medved. That was supposed to be a "rough cut"; but now, months later, actor Jim Caviezel was struck by lightning while on the set. That's right- on the set. What does that mean? It means Gibson is still filming. If a nearly-finished version earned the supposed seal of approval of "the Jews," and that was supposed to put the controversy to bed, then what is Gibson doing filming more footage- and presumably still making changes- all these months later?
HOW WE KNOW THE STUPID TRUCKER HAT FAD IS OVER: On "Punk'd" last night, Ashton Kutcher didn’t wear one. He wore like four different hats in different segments, but alas there was a no mesh to be found. Take that, hipster jag-offs.
And speaking of MTV shows that revolve around people being humiliated- what ever happened to "Dude, This Sucks"? Some of you may recall a flap from the spring of 2001, when two girls sued MTV after they were "sprayed with human feces" by a duo of men called "the Shower Rangers" during a taping of a new show called "Dude, This Sucks." The show never aired; after the two girls hired lawyer/ cable news fixture/ big-haired monstrosity Gloria Allred, she likely found some way to put the kibosh on the show.
Can we get Gloria to do the same to "The Abrams Report"? If not, maybe the Shower Rangers can…
LATEST SIGN THAT THE AMERICAN FILM CULTURE IS IN TROUBLE: "Scary Movie 3 Smashes Records."
MARLINS IN SIX: Congratulations to the 2003 World Champion Florida Marlins, who defeated the Yankees in six games Saturday night to win the second world championship in the franchise's 11-year history (and in just their second winning season.) I watched the final game of the postseason the way I did the first- in the bleachers. Not the real ones, but fake ones set up to approximate the Stadium in Rockefeller Center, where the game played on a giant screen, and after the loss I had to hear the lamentations of Yankee fans who have now gone three whole years without a world championship. Honestly, my heart just bleeds for them.
It's been said that Florida manager Jack McKeon may now retire; If the Marlins insist on continuing to employ a septuagenarian skipper, I hear Don Zimmer might be looking for a job.
Normally in this situation I would call up people I know to congratulate them on their team winnng, as I would if the champion had been the Red Sox, Cubs, or even the Yankees. But the thing is, I don't know a single Florida Marlins fan; until I hear otherwise (and until they draw more than a 50% crowd to a regular season game), I'll just assume such creatures are mythical.
EVERY DAY I SEARCH THE BOOKS: Amazon.com this week announced a new feature of their website that will be taking up a whole lot of my time- Search Inside the Book is a search of every word of every book ever written- or, at least, in Amazon's database. Like Google and Lexis-Nexus put together, only better. Can't hardly wait.
SCREENWRITER QUOTE OF THE DAY: From a New Yorker article by Tad Friend about credit disputes between big-name and not-so-big-name screenwriters:
Paul Rudnick, who wrote uncredited dialogue for "The First Wives Club," among other films, was once asked to make a script more "cunty." He declined.
WALTHAM'S GREGG EASTERBROOK: An Easterbrook-like brainfart by a sports columnist in the latest issue of the campus newspaper has caused yet another PC to-do at my alma mater Brandeis- but this time, for once in my life, I'm on the side of the PC zealots.
At the end of a not particularly strong column arguing that Chicago Cubs manager Dusty Baker cost his team the NLCS with his boneheaded moves (does that mean Bartman is off the hook?), Justice sports columnist Dan Passner had this to say about Baker:
As I often like to do, I will end with a quote. This one comes from noted campus civil rights activist [student's name]. I cannot endorse it, but I find it fitting. In response to the praise being heaped on the skills of Dusty Baker, [student] responded, "The only thing Baker has a Ph.D. in is something that starts with an N and rhymes with Tigger, the cheerful scamp who stole all of our hearts in the Winnie the Pooh series."
Let's quickly go through all the things that are wrong with that statement, and the column itself:
1. I'm all for being "edgy" and "controversial," and when I was a Justice editor I often bemoaned the paper's "first hurt no one's feelings" ethos. But on campus or not, in print or not, using (or in this case, eluding to) the "n-word" to refer to a black person is absolutely beyond the pale- you don't do it, period. Shame on Passner for writing it, shame on his friend for saying it, and shame on the Justice for running it.
2. Not only that, but the "joke" doesn't even make any sense. He has a "Ph. D. in [the n-word]?" What the hell does that mean? Is it some sort of new spin on Stuart Scott's "Ph. D: playa hatin' degree" line?
3. I don't know what the Justice was thinking here- did they not know the shitstorm this would cause? The current editors probably think it's "censorship" to edit out a controversial statement by one of their writers, apparently never having heard of "editorial judgment." If they bow to the inevitable pressure and fire Passner from his column gig, I won't object for a second.
4. If the author "doesn’t endorse" calling a man by the ugliest racial slur in the English language, how can he "find it fitting"? And why did he bother to include it in his column?
5. On top of all that, Passner's whole column is wrong- Baker is in fact one of the best managers in baseball, a man who took the Giants to the World Series in 2002, stepped down, and then managed the perennially underachieving Cubs to their best season in decades. The column is also chock-full of errors and other offensive and pretty questionable statements- Baker and Kenny Lofton "go together like Amos and Andy?" "Dusty seems as smart as Jessica Simpson, and his breasts seem to sag more?" Does he want to make fun of Dusty's kid while he's at it?
Passner also acts as though the acquisitions by the Cubs of Lofton, Randall Simon and Aramis Ramirez were failures, when in fact those three players helped the Cubs win a tight pennant race, as well as upset Atlanta in the first round. Passner seems to hate Baker to the degree that he has to make stuff up to support his opinions; indeed, he's just as wrong about Baker as Limbaugh was about McNabb.
The reaction from Brandeis' left, of course, has been so loud as to nearly be audible in Hoboken. A all-school "town meeting" was held Thursday night with the entire Justice Editorial Board; the requisite candlelight vigil can't be far behind.
According to an e-mail obtained by JawsBlog, one campus activist is somehow under the impression that Dusty Baker holds a doctorate from an Ivy League university (having made his major league debut at age 19, played 19 years in the majors, and managed for 11 more, it's hard to tell when he would've had time to earn such a degree.) The e-mail also brings up and attacks as racist an incident during this year's orientation week, when a hypnotist who was performing on campus asked a student under hypnosis to "speak Chinese," after which said student said "ching chang chong." Yes, you heard that right- under hypnosis.
This comes two years after "The Mens' Room Incident" in November of 2001, when a couple of guys on a campus radio show made some ill-advised ethnic jokes about Asians, and it caused more anger among many 'deis students than did certain other world events that were occurring at that particular period in history. With the Passner Affair now in full swing, we're obviously going to hear that Brandeis is "institutionally" racist, which is about as true as the post-TMQ accusation that The New Republic is anti-Semitic.
If anything, the PC lunacy that has enveloped my alma mater and other colleges for the past few years has had the effect of the Boy Who Cried Wolf- if everything under the sun is called racist, it takes away a lot of the sting on the rare occasion that something truly, blatently, racist- like Passner's attack on Dusty Baker- really does occur. My fellow Brandeisians would be wise to keep this in mind.
(Josh Wiznitzer has been on this story like glue; check out his blog for more.)
HEADLINE OF THE YEAR NOMINEE: "Actor Playing Jesus Struck by Lightning." Listen up, Mel Gibson: God's trying to tell you something. Of course, I'm looking forward to seeing Mel find a way to blame this one on the Jews; after all, we control the weather now too.
AND IN BETTER BRANDEIS NEWS…: Kanan Makiya, a professor of Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies at Brandeis who was a leading Iraqi dissident for more than 20 years, recently returned from several months in Iraq and spoke at Brandeis about how his country is faring following the fall of Saddam; I really wish I could've been there. Now that's just about the best reason I've ever heard for a professor taking a leave of absence- because he was returning to his country after it was liberated.
"STRAIGHT GIRLS DRESSED UP IN SLUT OUTFITS, PRETENDING TO BE LESBIANS:" Now they're mad at Beyonce, because she said she "never would've done something like" the lesbian kiss shared by Madonna, Britney, and Christina at the VMAs. Not wanting to make out with Kelly and Michelle or whoever else on national TV somehow makes The Bootylicious One a homophobe? Please. Sheila O'Malley takes this down much better than I ever could.
I'm sure most or all of Beyonce's makeup people and backup dancers are gay. And besides, she dates Jay-Z, about whom Nas famously said "H-to-the-IzzO, M-to-the-IzzO." So if that's true, Beyonce's not gay, but her boyfriend is.
RILEY BAILS: Deciding two days before the season that "the time is right," Pat Riley has stepped down as coach of the Miami Heat, where he'll be replaced by Stan Van Gundy, brother of the man who replaced Riley (albeit indirectly) with the Knicks. The winner of four championships with the Lakers in the '80s will stay on as GM and team president.
Riley apparently looked at his lineup featuring "prize" free agent forward Lamar Odom and decided it was time to call it a career; his resignation hopefully brings us closer to the inevitable biopic starring Michael Douglas as Riley.
GRADY MAY BAIL: Embattled Red Sox manager Grady Little said Thursday that he's "not sure" if he wants to return to the Red Sox next season; expect he and the team to part ways on Monday. It's sort of sad really; Little is by all accounts a good man who knows what he's doing and took the team the furthest it had gotten in nearly two decades. But some people clearly aren't cut out for the viciousness of the fans and media along the Boston/New York/Philly corridor, and Little appears to be one of those people. Therefore, I nominate him to be the first-ever manager of the Washington Expos.
1900-2003: Severing one of the final remaining links to the political leadership of pre-Communist China, Madame Chiang Kai-shek died today at the age of 105. Are there any famous centurians left in America?
IT'S THE END OF THE WORLD AS WE KNOW IT?: A solar flare is expected to strike Earth later today, as the already thin line between real life and Michael Bay's filmography grows fuzzier by the day.
Clearly, what we all need right now is an internationally renowned aerospace and astronomy expert to help explain this all for us. Say, what's Gregg Easterbrook up to this week?
STEPHEN SILVER'S BLOG SALUTES RON SILVER:
-Because he's played both Alan Dershowitz and Robert Shapiro in different movies, but never Johnnie Cochran.
-Because of his politics: an unabashed liberal, he nonetheless defends America at every turn, including the time at a conference in Switzerland that he shouted at an EU bureaucrat that "America is not an imperialist country, and you know it!"
-Because like Long Dong, he may someday figure in the fate of a US Supreme Court nominee.
-Because he starred in the movie "Enemies: A Love Story," which was co-written by uber-blogger Roger L. Simon.
-Because his father's name was Irving Silver; my father's name is Alan Irving Silver.
-Because he's "Confessions of a Dangerous Mind" come to life: Before turning to acting, he considered doing intelligence work.
-Because HIS FATHER IS THE DISTRICT ATTORNEY
-Because he's a much better actor than Bob Balaban, Oliver Platt or Ron Rifkin.
-Because he's the subject of this, the definitive Ron Silver fansite on the web.
-Because I'm not related to him, but damn I wish I was.
BIRD IS THE WORD: Some of you may remember a flap last July in which Sue Bird, the young player for the WNBA's Seattle Storm, made a wager with local radio personality Mitch Levy which stipulated that if her assist-to-turnover ratio for the season were above 2-1, the WNBA-bashing Levy would buy season tickets to the Storm's games. But if the ratio went below that number, Levy would be allowed to spank Bird on the air, while she proclaimed "harder, daddy, harder!"
Under pressure from the league and its fans, Bird canceled the bet before the season began, but I'm happy to report that Bird would've won it with flying colors, finishing with an assist-to-turnover ratio of 2.01, good for 6th in the league (this was, alas, my first-ever time searching the WNBA's statistics page). In fact, now that Levy is no longer on the hook for purchasing season tickets, I suppose everyone wins, aside from horny WNBA fans of both genders who were looking forward to hearing Bird get spanked live on the air.
Bird, who is NOT Larry Bird's illegitimate daughter (though he does have one), is also probably the second most attractive American female athlete, after Marion Jones. Yet for some reason I've been getting pornographic Google searches for the past year looking for her much-less-comely former UConn teammate Diana Taurasi. Why is that?
THE "I HATE 'TOINE CLUB" IS CLOSED: Severing one of the final links to the Celtics-practice-at-Brandeis Era (1994-1999), the team on Monday traded Antoine Walker to the Dallas Mavericks in a five-player deal that nets the Celtics Raef LaFrentz. The trade gives Boston something they never had even in the Bird/McHale era (a slow, white center), and ensures that my boy Mark Cuban will have so many scorers and so little defense that the Mavs will be playing a lot of 150-130 games this year.
But more importantly, it ends Walker's often combative period in Boston, where he made multiple All-Star teams but also often struggled, especially under his former Kentucky coach Rick "Negativity Sucks" Pitino. Some friends of mine were so mad at Walker back in the day that they put up a sign-up sheet in their apartment for the "I Hate 'Toine Club."
ELLIOTT SMITH: 1969-2003: Singer-songwriter Elliott Smith, best known for contributing several songs to the "Good Will Hunting" soundtrack, died today at the age of 34, in an apparent suicide.
Most earily of all? In the 2001 movie "The Royal Tenenbaums," Smith's song "Needle in the Hay" plays while Luke Wilson's character slits his wrists.
WORLD SERIES UPDATE: The Yankees won Game 3 to take a 2-1 series lead. I dozed off in the 8th inning, to give myself a 2-1 series deficit in my quixotic quest to stay awake through at least four of the seven games.
Read Gleeman though- he's been kickass lately, especially in ripping Fox's piss-poor coverage.
IN MEMORIUM: In honor of the Yahrtzeit, October 25 is Wellstone World Music Day.
HOORAY FOR THE ADL: I don't often praise the Anti-Defamation League, a generally self-righteous outfit that pushed for the Marc Rich pardon, among other misdeeds. But their chairman Glen Tobias is right on today in slamming Paul Krugman for his ridiculous Tuesday column, which essentially excused the "Jews rule the world" comments from the Prime Minister of Malaysia because American policy "made him do it."
INTERNET TERROR: Several major blogs were knocked offline for several hours today, supposedly by Islamist cyberterrorists. Don't give me any of that "revolutionary" nonsense- computer hackers are evil, evil people, with no usefulness other than terrorizing, defrauding, and/or inconviencing innocent people. Especially when the hackers may have Al-Qaeda ties.
PARTIAL BIRTH OF A NATION: In commemoration of the passage in Congress of the bill banning partial-birth abortion (but not to endorse the bill itself!) I hereby give to you the greatest exchange in the history of Savage Love:
You've often come to the aid of many a sick, demented fetishist, which has inspired me, a 23-year-old overweight, brown-skinned dude who has never gotten laid, or for that matter even achieved the least intimacy with a lady, sexy or otherwise, to beg your help in locating some kindly lady who might be willing, so to speak, to ignore a poor psychologically castrated fellow's faults and instruct him in the ways of physical love. To be fair, I should say that I'm not a perfect retard, as I did attend a bullshit Ivy League institution, I'm actively pursuing plans to obtain a professional degree, I do have a decent sense of humor, which, unfortunately, is sorely unapparent in this message, and I do not like to eat my own shit. So please, Dan, if it is within your power as Hero of the Perverse to provide this craven bastard with an introduction to a gentle muse aged 19-35, please, please do. Interested ladies can write me at my e-mail address, email@example.com.
Porn Really Is a Poor Unholy Substitute
Did you flunk basic composition at that bullshit Ivy League school you attended, or are you on a mission to rehabilitate the run-on sentence? Christ, PRIAPUS (nice acronym, by the way, very Ivy League), there is a period on your keyboard for a reason. After good personal hygiene and a left-leaning voting record, nothing turns on the ladies like concision. If you speak the way you write, PRIAPUS, how can any woman who wants to fuck you possibly tell you if you never pause to take a breath?
I'm happy to print your e-mail address--there it is--but I wouldn't waste much time sitting at home by the computer if I were you. With a creepy e-mail address like "firstname.lastname@example.org," you're probably not going to get a lot of mail from my female readers. So why not bite the bullet and see a whore?
THE CONDI RUMOR: Richard Blow has an article on TomPaine.com this week (picked up by Page Six and other places) asking a provocative question that had previously only been discussed in whispers: is Condoleeza Rice a lesbian?
The occasion of the piece is, oddly enough, a comic strip. An installment last week of Aaron McGruder's radical but periodically funny "Boondocks" strip had the teenaged characters suggesting that someone find the unmarried Rice a boyfriend, so that the nation's first black and first female National Security Advisor would thus not be "so hell-bent on destroying the world."
More than one hundred newspapers, including the Washington Post, declined to run the strip, mostly citing what Blow calls "idea that a woman just needs to get schtupped to be happy." But from the Post's decision, and also citing "Washington scuttlebutt," Blow infers that perhaps there's something about Rice's sexuality that the Post knows but isn't sharing.
I have no idea if Rice actually is gay; it is of course nobody's business other than her own. Bloggers such as Andrew Sullivan and Asparagirl have raised the subject before but I've gotta think that if it there were any hard evidence of such a thing, Michelangelo Signorile or someone like him would've exposed it by now. Now that Blow, a former George magazine editor who wrote a controversial bio of JFK, Jr., has brought the subject into the forefront, perhaps now the Bush Administration will have to answer questions about it- and we know they're just dying to.
FEAR THE MULLET, AND ARTICLES ABOUT IT: The Star Tribune Variety section, showing once again that it's always late to the party on every fashion/cultural trend imaginable, this week ran a Pittsburgh Post-Gazette piece on the mullet fad- only about six years after said fad began. (The New York Times Styles and Arts & Leisure sections, by contrast, usually only miss things by 1-2 years).
Even worse, the piece is merely a vaguely re-worded version of the great MulletsGalore.com website, and (horrors) doesn't even mention Johnny Damon.
(Found via my sister's away message).
QUOTE OF THE DAY: "Bush told his senior aides Tuesday that he 'didn't want to see any stories' quoting unnamed administration officials in the media anymore, and that if he did, there would be consequences, said a senior administration official who asked that his name not be used." -The Philadephia Inquirer, via Howard Kurtz. The Onion wishes they could come up with humor of this caliber on any type of regular basis.
THE EASTERBROOK MEDIA BLACKOUT: While L'Affair Easterbrook is just about the only thing bloggers are talking about today, a Google News search for TMQ's name shows no news stories whatsoever about his firing (Instapundit noticed this too). There's also still no acknowledgement anywhere on ESPN.com that the column no longer exists; perhaps there will be tomorrow when his thousands of readers log on hoping for their TMQ fix.
In fact, the only hits on Google for any mention of Easterbrook's firing are for the transcripts of two chat sessions, both on the Washington Post website, in which readers brought the subject up- and, since both readers are from "Richmond, Va," I'm guessing they're the same person.
In a Media Backtalk chat, Howard Kurtz takes the mealy-mouthed approach, while in The Chat House, Tony Kornheiser has this to say:
I have no idea who Gregg Easterbrook is. I think there are far too many Web sites now including this Web site. I think you people who spend more than 1 hr a day looking at Web sites should be transformed into giant bugs and crows should fly over and eat you. Are you happy now?
Since Tony Kornheiser and Gregg Easterbrook have both been working journalists in Washington for the better part of 25 years, and (until yesterday) shared a common employer, I really hope Tony is kidding, or is at least shielding his real thoughts so as to not draw the ire of Mr. Eisner.
UPDATE: Doesn't Meryl Yourish live in Richmond, Va.?
UPDATE II: ESPN's Page 2 says the following: "To our readers: Tuesday Morning Quarterback will no longer be available on ESPN.com." No explanation, but it does show us the logo one more time:
YANKEES-MARLINS GAME 2 UPDATE: Last night I got home in the bottom of the 4th, watched a half inning, fell asleep on my couch, and then was woken up by a post-game interview with Andy Pettite. In case you haven't noticed, I really don't give a shit about this World Series.
Just four months 'til pitchers and catchers report...
MORE FROM OUR CHARMING ANTI-ZIONIST FRIENDS AT RUTGERS: This guy tried to film the rally, but was met with threats and intimidation. Big surprise, huh?
THE FOOTBALL GODS CHORTLED: So much for that Gregg Easterbrook scandal being "over"- TMQ has been fired from ESPN.com.
If you ask me, this sucks. Unlike Rush Limbaugh, Easterbrook has both apologized and backed off of what he said. Also unlike Limbaugh, Easterbrook has been fired for comments that weren't made in his ESPN column or anywhere else under the auspices of ESPN- he made them in his blog on the website of The New Republic- a publication which has not fired him from his position as senior editor. Even blogger Roger L. Simon (linked above), perhaps Easterbrook's harshest critic, disapproves of the firing.
And even more classlessly, ESPN has removed TMQ's entire column archive from ESPN.com's Page 2- while including no explanation or statement whatsoever. I remember the same network keeping Keith Olbermann's column archive online for at least two years after his acrimonious departure.
Of course, the biggest reason for the firing is likely that Gregg specifically insulted Michael Eisner, CEO of Disney,which owns ABC, which owns ESPN; the order probably didn't come from Eisner directly, but rather from a bit of preemptive ass-kissing but corporate middle-managers. So hopefully Easterbrook will take the column back to its previous home, Slate; he'd just better not make fun of Bill Gates too viciously.
In the meantime, I'm gonna miss the megababes. That, and the Flaming Thumbtacks.
(Via New York Sports Express)
WARNING: If you don't give a hoot about the Yankees or Red Sox or sports in general, click here to proceed directly to my non-baseball thoughts for the day.
"MARTINEZ PITCHED TO FIVE BATTERS IN THE EIGHTH": Rarely does that one line in the boxscore say so much. The Boston Red Sox, like the Chicago Cubs the night before, held a three-run lead with six outs to go before advancing to the World Series. And like the Cubs, and you, and I, the Sox will be watching said Series from their living rooms. To paraphrase Jim Mora, "they gave 'em the game away! They gave 'em the friggin' game!"
The Red Sox were leading 4-2 but Pedro Martinez looked shaky in the 7th, despite escaping with the lead. Sox manager Grady Little, surprisingly, brought Pedro back out to pitch the 8th. And… you know, if you care, you already know the story and I don't need to repeat it. As Jim Caple said, "this is a decision that will haunt Boston fans until even after the Big Dig is complete."
WHAT IT ALL MEANS: Make no mistake about it- the Aaron Boone homer in the 11th goes in the all-time pantheon of horrible Red Sox moments, and is unquestionably the most calamitous event to befall the franchise since that error by what's-his-name back in '86 (and like that game at Shea, the final score was New York 6, Boston 5.)
But, and not to trot out the "wait 'til next year" cliché, but this was merely Year One of Theo Epstein, Year One of Bill James, Year Two of the Henry/Werner/Lucchino ownership group, and Year Two of Grady Little (there may not be a Year 3.) When the new owners took over they declared war on the Yankees, and made it clear that they were building a team meant to knock off the Bronx Bombers as well as Reverse the Curse. They may not have succeeded this year, but losing in the 11th inning of Game 7 is more of an accomplishment than getting crushed in five games, like they did in the '99 ALCS against those same Yankees. In just about every measurable way, the franchise is moving in the right direction.
So my condolences to Isaac, Sheila, and Ben, and other blogging Sox fans; I certainly know how it feels to have my team eliminated by the Yankees this year. And (what the hell) congrats to blogging Yankee fans Paul, Michele, and whomever else.
SALT IN THE WOUND: That was a real nice touch, Fox, putting the picture of a winking Babe Ruth on the screen as the broadcast ended. Might as well have had a still photo of Clemens giving the finger to Boston. Or Byung-Yung Kim, for that matter.
The New York Post, meanwhile, has taken to calling the Sox ace "Punk Pedro," which joins "The Bloviator," "Hot-blooded Hotel Heiress," "Doyenne/Diva of Domesticity," "Techno Titan," and "Portly Prince of Porn" in the pantheon of classic Post nicknames. (Bonus points for anyone who can identify who each one refers to).
Speaking of the Post- in some editions, they actually published the "Yankees lost" editorial! This would be like the President accidentally making a "we lost the war" speech after they loaded the wrong one in the TelePromTer.
"IF THE RED SOX WERE A GIRL, YOU WOULD PROBABLY JUST BREAK UP WITH THEM:" Sports Guy (of course) in rare form, on one of the worst days of his life.
BUT, A SILVER LINING: It was announced yesterday that John Henry Williams has leukemia. So even if the Curse doesn’t exist, karma certainly does. Can we just freeze him right now?
THE NEXT EPISODE: So now that the two teams that have gone a combined 180 years without winning a championship have both been eliminated, we're left with a World Series between… the Yankees, who last won it all three years ago, and the Marlins, who were world champions six years ago but bring back just one (1) player from that 1997 team, Jeff Conine.
It's tempting to root for Florida as the small-market underdog, but keep two things in mind: during the season, and for the last few years, the Marlins have been as well known for their perpetually near-empty stadium as anything else. And there are likely more fans of the Yankees in the state of Florida than there are fans of the Marlins (I haven't seen raw numbers, but I'm waiting for Florida to roll around on Sports Illustrated's "Sports in America" survey for confirmation). Hell, the owner of the Yankees even lives in Florida- while the owner of the Marlins ("art dealer" Jeffrey Loria) lives in New York.
The Yankees will probably the win the Series and championship #27, but don’t count the Marlins out- they also looked considerably inferior to both the Giants and Cubs on paper, and we all know what happened there. There's only one given for this series: very very low TV ratings, undoing the good done work done by probably the best LCS round in baseball history. So at least Commissioner Dickhead will suffer at least a little this postseason.
At any rate, now that the Yanks and Marlins are playing, Don Zimmer can pick on someone his own age- namely, 72-year-old Florida skipper Jack McKeon.
AND NOW FOR SOME SOX-FAN LEVITY: It's Peter Gammons, on Friendster! "Peter" even wrote me a testimonial, comparing me to "Stephen" (actually Stephan) Jenkins of Third Eye Blind and saying we should "jam sometime" with Barry Zito.
SECOND GRADE DEMOCRATS: No, sorry, they're the College Democrats. But it can be hard to tell sometimes…
Ashley Bell, an LSU law student who is the national president of the College Democrats of America, recently penned a borderline-illiterate screed about the current Louisiana governors' race that, in addition to being full of miss-spellings, run-on sentences, and Communist-like capitalizations of "Party," also erroneously referred to Louisiana GOP gubernatorial candidate Bobby Jindal as "Arab-American," and spoke of "the Republicans token attempt to mend bridges long burnt with the Arab American community."
Problem is, Jindal is in fact an Indian-American. Made aware of this, Bell sent out an apology three days later, which read:
In a recent email describing the Republican Nominee in Louisiana Bobby Jindal, I used what local news has termed Arab American - But in Fact Indian American is the politically correct terminology.
Now despite all the teaching about diversity that universities mandate these days, Mr. Bell is apparently unaware that "Arab" and "Indian" are not only not the same thing, but are also practically mutually exclusive. Not to mention that he thinks his error was not factual but rather politically incorrect- a greater sin in the PC college cosmos, of course. Is he so ignorant that he actually thinks that people from India are Arabs- or that those in the Arab world are Indian? Guess they all "look the same," huh?
This person is the national leader of the College Democrats? He's almost as embarrassing as Terry McAuliffe, the national leader of the real Democrats.
A LITTLE RESPECT: Josh Chavetz at OxBlog has a great post on how people tend to turn into idiots when they argue about politics. Yes, smart people on both sides are capable of having intelligent, reasoned opinions- which may be news to anyone whose idea of grasping the political zeitgeist is watching "Hannity & Colmes."
TMQ's SORRY: Gregg Easterbrook has apologized for the "controversial" remarks; the "scandal" seems to have not had any legs anyway (aside from in this typically hysterical LGF thread.) Which I suppose is good; I'd also like to forget it ever happened.
ESOTERIC WEBSITE OF THE DAY: One of my favorites: it's the Dead People Server! Ever wonder if a specific celebrity is dead or alive? This is the definitive place to look.
I JUST WANT YOUR EXTRA TIME, AND YOUR… CONVERSION: Prince, who is Formerly Known as an Artist, had an Anne Heche moment the other day, knocking on the door of a family in Eden Prairie, Minnesota, in order to spread the gospel of the Jehovah's Witnesses. The problem? The family was Jewish, and Prince happened to arrive on their doorstep on Yom Kippur.
The bright side? Those rumors of Prince leaving Minnesota seem to have been greatly exaggerated. Then again, do we even want him anymore?
CURSE REVERSAL WATCH:
ALCS Game 6: Red Sox 9, Yankees 6 (Series tied, 3-3)
NLCS Game 7: Marlins 9, Cubs 6 (FLA wins series, 4-3)
Magic Number for Red Sox-Cubs World Series: Forever 2
THERE IS NO JOY IN WRIGLEYVILLE: Honestly, I don't remember the last time I was as upset about the outcome of a sporting event that didn't involve a Minnesota team as I was at last night's loss by the Cubs against the Marlins. I mean, the stars were aligned- a 3-1 series lead, and then two home games started by Prior and Wood? And they blow that???
I'm not worried about the Cubs fans- they're used to it, and besides, this story will be off the Chicago radar by Halloween (whereas Boston fans are still crying about the Buckner incident 17 years later). What's horrible is that in this postseason the Cubs have truly become "America's team"- already possessing a fan base as large as any team in the country, the Cubs seemed to have about 90% of America rooting for them to win it all. (I hate to admit it, but the majority of the country really doesn’t care all that much about Yankees-Sox.) This is why Fox put the NLCS in prime time nearly every day that there was a conflict, and why the Fox Sports announcers rooted for the Cubs with the sort of partisan fervor that their cousins in the News division normally reserve for the Republicans.
Then there's the case of Mr. Steve Bartman of Chicago, the gentleman mentioned below who "cost the Cubs Game 6." First of all, no he didn't- the ball he interfered with was the second out, not the third, and he's not the one who gave up all those earned runs. Secondly, how can you not root for a guy named "Bartman"? Brings us back to that old "Simpsons" song "Do the Bartman"- and if Mancow Muller or one of the other Chicago shock jocks doesn’t put out a remix/parody in the next week, I'll be shocked.
But the guy I feel bad for this point is an old friend of mine who I ran into for the first time in about ten years the other week. He's a Chicago native and Cubs fan and his last name is- Bratman. Let's hope he doesn't get confused with Bartman by any angry Superfans.
UPDATE: Bartman has been offered asylum, both by a Pompano Beach resort and Gov. Jeb Bush. But does he have to defect to the Marlins?
HE'S SO LUCKY, HE'S A STAR: The New York Post on Wednesday referred to Marlins centerfielder Juan Pierre as "Lucky Pierre." As I'm guessing the author/headline writer is aware, but the editor probably isn't, "Lucky Pierre" has another, rather salacious meaning. Though as the centerfielder, I suppose Pierre technically is "the middle guy in the threesome" of Marlins outfielders.
ADDING INSULT TO INJURY: The Pioneer Press' story on the Game 7 loss by Sammy Sosa's Cubs is headlined "Marlins in a Corker."
BOSTON WINS GAME 6 IN NEW YORK: But in the ALCS, Boston kept the chances of at least one curse dying this year, winning Game 6 9-8 in order to force a dream Game 7 that will pit Clemens against Pedro once again tonight at Yankee Stadium. The game was such a huge deal in New York that when the Staten Island Ferry crashed and killed 11 people about an hour before the first pitch, most New Yorkers were too distracted by the series to notice.
But hey, Nomar's out of his slump, and the Sox bullpen is actually doing well for what seems like the first time all year- the Red Sox may just pull this thing out yet. Not to jinx them or anything…
WFAN PREDICTS THE FUTURE: The night of Game 1 of the ALCS, a WFAN host laid out a scenario in which the Red Sox would beat the Yankees, the Marlins would beat the Cubs, and then the Marlins would defeat Boston in the World Series. That way, it's the worst of all possible worlds: the Yankees once again fail to advance, the Red Sox again fail to break the curse, the Cubs again fail to make the Series, the network gets a low-rated matchup, and a team owned by the man who abandoned the Montreal Expos into oblivion gets a championship. Of all the predictions I've heard, that's one of the few that remains a possibility.
SAY IT AIN'T SO, TMQ!: A well-known political commentator who's semi-employed by ESPN has made some controversial comments that may be construed as offensive by a certain minority group. Rush Limbaugh? Nope, this time it's Tuesday Morning Quarterback Gregg Easterbrook, who is being accused of anti-Semitism for comments he's made on his New Republic blog.
In the midst of an evisceration of "Kill Bill" and Quentin Tarantino in general, TMQ has this to say:
Set aside what it says about Hollywood that today even Disney thinks what the public needs is ever-more-graphic depictions of killing the innocent as cool amusement. Disney's CEO, Michael Eisner, is Jewish; the chief of Miramax, Harvey Weinstein, is Jewish. Yes, there are plenty of Christian and other Hollywood executives who worship money above all else, promoting for profit the adulation of violence. Does that make it right for Jewish executives to worship money above all else, by promoting for profit the adulation of violence? Recent European history alone ought to cause Jewish executives to experience second thoughts about glorifying the killing of the helpless as a fun lifestyle choice.
Just like with Limbaugh, my judgment is "no" on the anti-Semitism count and "yes" on the charges of being both stupid and completely wrong. But unlike with Limbaugh, who I've never had that much respect for in the first place, Gregg Easterbrook is legitimately a genius, and one with pretty strong grasp on politics, sports, and pop culture, so I can't help but be disappointed that something like this would come from him.
First of all, and maybe it's 'cause he has kids, but Easterbrook seems to be on a "movie violence is always bad" kick, one with which I totally disagree- he could make all the same arguments about "The Godfather" or "The Sopranos" (minus the Holocaust stuff and substituting "Italian" for "Jewish") and would be just as wrong. Secondly, while TMQ doesn't share whether or not he's actually seen the new QT film, but if he did he completely misunderstood it: "Kill Bill" has nothing whatsoever to do with "killing the innocent"- it's a revenge tale, about a women getting back at the people who tried to kill her, put her in a coma, and ended her pregnancy. Cartoonish as the violence in the movie is, it's not "meaningless," and is in fact consistent with a dramatic tradition that goes back at least to Shakespeare.
As for the Jewish charge? Easterbrook here is playing with ancient stereotypes that go back nearly a century but are clearly no longer true- Hollywood hasn't been "run by the Jewish moguls" since multinational conglomerates bought all the studios in the mid-'80s. It's a mystery why he singles out Weinstein and/or Eisner; that every Jew in Hollywood is bound because of the Holocaust to never use violence in any of their movies, I can think of a lot of great movies and a lot of great careers that never would've happened. But then again, the sort of violence in Tarantino's movies is based on that of samurai, kung-fu, gangster, blaxploitation, and other genres- none of which have anything to do with the killing of innocents, and have even less to do with the Holocaust. And the "worship money above all else" part? That's just gratuitous.
Then again, I've heard most of these arguments made against Spielberg for as long as I can remember; is that what Gregg really means?
I sincerely hope that Easterbrook will see the error of his ways and go back to talking about things that he actually knows about, and I really hope ESPN doesn't buckle down from the pressure and fire him from his TMQ gig. But come on Gregg- you're better than this!
AND NOW FOR THE MOST RIDICULOUS O'REILLY QUOTE OF THE DAY: "There's no question the USA is moving toward a secular, quasi-socialistic society based on the western European model." -Bill O'Reilly, in last night's "talking points memo." If Mr. O had spent one minute studying the Bush Administration's economic policies in the last three years, he'd surely know that his statement hasn't been true since Lyndon Johnson was president, and it's probably less true today than at any time in the last 30 years. Seriously, how could anyone look at the last year or so of history and think "American society is becoming more like Europe"?
BUT WHERE WILL THEY FIND A VENUE BIG ENOUGH?: Tuesday is National Alan Colmes Meetup Day. Unlike Colmes, this isn't a joke.
UPDATE: Apparently, "Not enough Colmes Fans near New York City can make it, so this month's Meetup is cancelled." Too bad. Guess we'll instead have to make do with the Human Straw Man's new book, which includes such chapter titles as "Jesus Was a Liberal," "Bill Clinton: Our Greatest President," and (I swear) "OJ Was Innocent."
SEAN HANNITY, MANEATER: An Amazon review: "It's also curious how little mention there is here of Sean Hannity, Colmes conservative co-host, who so dominates their shared talk show that a Colmes book feels a bit like a John Oates solo album." Hannity & Colmes as Hall & Oates- how did i miss that all these years?
WHO WAS THAT (UN)MASKED MAN?:
We don't know his name yet, but we should by the end of the day- just like with Kobe's accuser, someone who knows him will leak it to the internet sometime this afternoon. Regardless, he's certain to live in Chicago infamy for the rest of his days. But then again, if he'd done the same in New York, he'd likely be dead already.
Oh yea, and the Sox/Cubs magic number is still 3. Possibly permanently.
THE ONION GETS IT WRONG AGAIN: "Who would have thought that a bad Austrian artist who's obsessed with the human physical ideal could assemble such a rabid political following?" -From their goofy "man on the street" feature, about Gov. Schwarzenegger. Because aside from the lack of support for mass murder, ethnic cleansing, concentration camps, book burning, religious oppression, and any sort of physical resemblance whatsoever, Arnold Schwarzenegger is just like Hitler!
(Via Jeremy, whose version of the joke was better anyway).
MERKIN-TILE EXCHANGE: Some of you may be familiar with the rather bizarre cultural artifact known as the "merkin." But apparently not everyone is- in research for a story I'm working on I came across a New York performance space with quite an interesting name: the Merkin Concert Hall. Not a lot of performance venues named after stuff that's defined in the Urban Dictionary; what's next, the Cleveland Steamer Theater?
THE RIGHT EMBRACES SODOMY, PART I: The Weekly Standard ran a cover story last week about the Democratic presidential candidates ganging up on frontrunner Howard Dean, giving it this cover:
Yes I know, it's supposed to be a wrestling match motif. But at first glance this illustration makes it look as though Joseph Lieberman is forcing himself upon Howard Dean, while Dick Gephardt holds him down and Wesley Clark watches. I don't know where Kerry is, but I guess he can be thankful he wasn't included.
An innocent mistake? Or a passive-aggressive commentary that the Standard considers Democratic presidential candidates to be on par with wrestlers, if not gay orgy participants? Adding insult to insult, "Howard Dean" looks more like Rush Limbaugh than the "Good" Doctor.
THE RIGHT EMBRACES SODOMY, PART II: The Wall Street Journal op-ed page on Tuesday ran an opinion piece by former Malaysian Deputy Prime Minister Amir Ibrahim on why "Islam Must Reform, Or Be Left Behind." It's not until the end that we discover Ibrahim is currently incarcerated in Malaysia- on sodomy charges. Now those charges are likely trumped up, but regardless- seems the WSJ has taken the lead from the Supreme Court and adopted a more inclusive attitude towards those who practice such things.
I NOW PRONOUNCE YOU FROG AND TIMBERLAKE: Supplying further evidence that Jim Henson's children were stupid enough to either let the Kermit the Frog character fall into the public domain or sell him off without anyone finding out, "Saturday Night Live" this week featured yet another really disturbing bit involving our favorite talking frog that- like Conan O'Brien's "Vomiting Kermit" bit- emanated from 30 Rockefeller Plaza.
Towards the end of yet another middling episode Saturday, SNL ran a sketch that purported to be a duet of "The Rainbow Connection" between Kermit himself and the evening's guest host, Justin Timberlake. It started out as a normal version of the song, that is until Justin stepped on the Frog's "toe," leading to a scuffle between the two in which Kermit's table was knocked over, revealing SNL cast member Will Forte holding the Kermit puppet- which was, I believe, the first time in the 30-odd-year history of the character that Kermit has been "outed" as a puppet.
Then, just when you thought it couldn't get any worse, Forte-in-Kermit's-voice calls the former 'NSyncer a "douchebag," then they make up and finish the song, with Forte-as-Kermit actually singing the line, "the lovers, the douchebags, and me." I was under the impression that Kermit was a children's character- I'm not sure what NBC paid for the rights to perform that sketch, but it better have been a lot.
After the infamous Weezer video and Vomiting Kermit, we've now got the sorry hat trick complete, with Douchebag Kermit. They weren't allowed to do the Snoop Dogg duet, but somehow all three of those things are okay? I think maybe we've got some John Henry Williams types in the Henson family…
CURSE REVERSAL WATCH:
ALCS Game 4: Red Sox 3, Yankees 2 (Series tied, 2-2, Game 5 Tuesday 4:00 PM)
NLCS: Idle Monday (CHC leads series 3-2, Game 6 Tuesday 7:00 PM)
Magic Number for Red Sox-Cubs World Series: 3
Red Sox win Game 4 on home runs and the dominant knuckleball (?) of Tim Wakefield; you can always tell whether or not the Yankees or winning or losing by the sounds emanating from local bars, or from the mouths of headphone-clad treadmill runners at the gym.
Speaking of which, David Brooks rules. Applying his "comic sociology" formula to Yanks-Sox, he out-writes Krugman for the fifth Tuesday in a row; at least PK actually goes a whole column without mentioning Dubya for the first time probably since before the war. In Afghanistan, I mean.
Anyway, the result means that regardless of the outcome of Game 5, the series will definitely head back to New York for a Game 6 on Wednesday. And we all know how much the Boston fans love Game 6s in New York!
UPDATE: The Friendster member known as "Yankees Suck" has this to say:
The Sox are winning, Boston is happy, yet I have yet to makeout with anyone after any of the games. I'm Yankees Suck for Gods sake. Where is my love? (I think I am drunk on tonight's win.)
"THE BODY" LETS HIMSELF GO: I caught the second episode of Jesse Ventura's new MSNBC show last Saturday, and I take back anything I ever said about there being any possibility this show will ever be a hit- it won't. The once-sharp Ventura has devolved into a parody of himself (if, as an ex-wrestler, that were even possible), and is being paid $2 million this year for a show that's clearly being buried- it's on at 7:00 on Saturday night, and even though I watch at least an hour of MSNBC per day, I've never seen a single commercial for it.
Ventura, imitating Bill O'Reilly with the all the hostility but none of the wit, talks about boring issues with boring people, and on last week's show committed the double faux pas of wearing a shirt/jacket combo that featured exposed chest hair (yikes), not to mention that the shirt was a Chicago Cubs jersey. Not only was this a dis to the Twins on the week of their elimination, after Jesse already spent four years blocking their new stadium, but Ventura's show aired just as that day's Cubs playoff game was beginning, all but signaling Ventura's handful of remaining viewers to click over to the game.
The other strange thing about Ventura's show and recent commentaries elsewhere on the network has been his vehement opposition to the California recall, as well as to the candidacy of his old co-star Arnold Schwarzenegger. Now perhaps, as someone who's been a governor who most of the state hates, Arnold identified on some level with Gray Davis. But as a longtime good-government populist, wouldn't the recall be right up his alley? And more importantly, did he and longtime friend Ah-nuld have a falling out at some point that we don't know about? Maybe the Governator got too close to Jesse's wife or daughter or something…
So what's the over-under on Jesse lasting on the network? Are we talking Savage-on-MSNBC short, Limbaugh-on-ESPN short, or Chevy-Chase-on-Fox short?
HEADLINE OF THE YEAR NOMINEE: "BATTERED KERRY IS LEFT A BEATEN MAN" (New York Post, 10/13). It's in reference to Giants QB Kerry Collins, but don't be surprised if you see the same headline, in the same paper, the day after the New Hampshire primary.
TURNING JAPANESE: Here are my reviews of the two best American films of the year so far: "Kill Bill: Volume 1" (at IOFilm.com), and "Lost in Translation" (at Hot Movie Ticket). My friends and I are unanimous in declaring "Kill Bill" kickass, and the best defense I can think of against its' detractors is that while "Pulp Fiction" had 10 great dialogue scenes and one decapitation, "Kill Bill" reverses that ratio.
As for "Lost in Translation," it's the third movie in the past three years directed by a child of Frances Ford Coppola that's better than anything their father has done since the '70s. And a whole movie of Scarlett Johannson in her underwear ain't bad either. When I saw the latter film I ran into a couple of the 'Queer Eye' people, coming out of another movie, and they were of course mobbed by everyone in the theater. I'm telling you, those guys would get laid big time, if they weren't gay…
POLITICAL BASEBALL,CONT'D: More nonsense this week from hack politicians seeking to drain political capital out of the Yanks-Sox rivalry. We've already heard about John Kerry's attempts to smear Howard Dean as a "Yankee fan," when it's likely that neither has watched a single baseball game in the last decade (after all, we all remember Ted Kennedy congratulating "Mike McGwire" and "Sammy Sooser.") When Kerry met William Weld for a "make-up beer" after their 1996 Senate race, it looked as though Kerry hadn't consumed such a low-class alcoholic beverage at least since he was in college.
But now Kerry has proposed one of those stupid wagers in which politicians put a certain amount of their states' primary product on the line against that of an opposing state, and the loser must hand it over depending on the outcome of a championship-level sporting event. The proposed bet is over- you guessed it- chowder; under the proposed wager Kerry would give Dean a certain amount of New England chowder if the Yankees were to win the ALCS; Dean must fork over the New York version of the treat in the event of a Sox victory.
This is a tiresome enough trend even when both sides are cooperating- but now Kerry has offered such a bet in which one of the parties doesn't even admit to supporting the team that his opponent says he does. Dean's spokeswoman, my old Boston Magazine colleague Dorie Clark, came up with the great quip that ""Howard Dean is as much of a Yankees fan as John Kerry is Irish." Or was it Jewish?
If the Yankees lose, Dean should have to hand over a truckload of Ben & Jerry's to the Kerry campaign.
Closer to home, we've got the embarrassing Michael Bloomberg making the opposite mistake- instead of denying it, he has come forward about switching sides in this unswitchable rivalry. A Massachusetts native who refused to give up his Red Sox fandom even when he ran for mayor of New York with the backing of Yankees Superfan #99 Rudy Giuiliani, Bloomberg is all of a sudden a Yankee backer, photographed last week in a "1918" baseball cap and yesterday calling for Pedro Martinez to be "arrested" after his altercation with Don Zimmer in the Fenway infield.
But hey, if Bloomberg can change his mind on what baseball team he roots for, maybe we can get him to reverse field on that smoking ban…
THE FROZEN TUNDRA OF PARK SLOPE: Great column in New York Press last week by Green Bay native (but longtime Brooklynite) Jim Knipfel, on Midwest/New York differences. In Green Bay, as opposed to New York, Jim remembers: snow plows, lack of newsstands/hot dog vendors, and guys taking the whole week off of school for the deer-season opener (I remember people skipping days of school- and Homecoming dances- to hunt and fish, but never whole weeks).
He neglects to mention snowshoeing, paying for gas after pumping it, and early-morning window-scraping.
OOOOOH YEA. DIG IT?: Paul Katcher tells us all about the apocalyptic event known as the debut rap album by "The Macho Man," Randy Savage, "Be A Man." Honestly, I don't even have a joke...
TIME FOR BILL: It's Bill Cimino's one-year anniversary of running the Bloviating Inanities blog, so go congratulate him. Then stay and read all about beer, transsexuals, and canker sores!
CURSE REVERSAL WATCH:
ALCS Game 3: Yankees 4, Red Sox 3 (NYY leads series, 2-1)
NLCS Game 5: Marlins 4, Cubs 0 (CHC leads series, 3-2)
Magic Number for Red Sox-Cubs World Series: 4
LIKE CATS AND DOGS: Game 3 of the Boston-New York series was the most surreal baseball game in years, maybe decades. With Clemens pitching in Boston against Pedro we didn't get the Sox blowout like their 1999 Game 3 meeting, but rather a trading of beanballs and other physicality that led to a physical confrontation between Martinez and 72-year-old Yankee bench coach Don Zimmer, a battle in which Pedro was giving away about 100 pounds, as well as 40 years. Zimmer was all right- and no one was ejected from the game, but if the series goes to a Game 7 in Yankee Stadium, watch Pedro get booed as no man has ever been booed before. But look on the bright side, Sox fans: now that Martinez has assaulted the beloved old Yankee codger, that Boston nightmare of Pedro eventually wearing pinstripes has become just a little less likely.
As if that wasn't enough, there was another incident in the 9th inning, in which a man who first appeared to be a fan seemed to jump into the Yankees' bullpen, after which the entire said bullpen put the boots to him. But the man turned out to be a Fenway groundskeeper, who was supposed to be in the bullpen, and had made the mistake of rooting too loudly for the Sox. So Boston police reacted by arresting Karim Garcia and Jeff Nelson on assault charges- just a couple hours after Garcia had been beaned by Pedro!The police in Boston are allowed to arrest Yankees and keep them from playing? Why didn't they think of this 50 years ago?
Damn, I can't wait for Sports Guy's column about all this Monday...
UPDATE: The Game 5 loss represented the first time the Cubs have been shut out in a postseason game since? 1918. Against? The Red Sox. And the winning pitcher for Boston in that game? You guessed it, Babe Ruth.
IF YOU WILL IT, DUDE, IT IS NO DREAM: Ever since last night's Israel Inspires rally at Rutgers University, I've been continuously wishing that I'd made a sign with the subject of this post on it.
But aside from that, the rally was a tremendous success. The kickoff of a conference meant to counteract Charlotte Kates' all-but-canceled "Solidarity" event this weekend, the rally attracted a reported 5,000 attendees and such speakers as New Jersey Gov. Jim McGreevey, Senators Jon Corzine and Frank Lautenberg, Alabama Congressman Artur Davis, and several students and local politicians. While most of the speakers merely shared the same generic platitudes, Rep. Davis was particularly eloquent, expressing strong support for Israel while speaking of the contributions that Jews made to the 1960s civil rights movement.
Also on hand were about 100 counter-demonstrators, holding up signs with "Israel Inspires Racism" and the like. Even though the pro-Pali contingent was separated from a far-off back corner of the main rally by three fences and about 50 feet, several attendees of the Israel rally (primarily Orthodox Jewish teenage badasses) tried to mix it up with the demonstrators. When I arrived at the "battleground" I saw that the Ortho teens had turned their backs to the anti-Zionists; "what," I asked, "are we mooning them?"
Its' unknown whether or not Little Red Kaffiyah Hood herself showed up to the festivities, but Ms. Kates is likely knee-deep in planning for this weekend's conference, which as of now is taking place at an off-campus hotel and will feature a keynote address by (I'm not making this up) Lynne Stewart, the left-wing lawyer who was indicted last year for giving material aid to her client, 1993 World Trade Center bombing mastermind Sheik Omar "The Blind Sheik" Abdel-Rahman.
Our buddy Abe Greenhouse, the guy who threw a pie at Natan Sharansky, was quoted in the Newark Star Ledger's account as saying that he and others were "patrolling their own pro-Palestine crowd to weed out neo-Nazis or any anti-Semitic signs." I guess that's the difference between the two sides in this debate- Zionists don't have to worry about Nazis showing up to join their rallies.
MONEYBALLHOG: With the Oakland A's losing in the first round of baseball's playoffs for a Kevin Garnett-like fourth consecutive season, the obvious question has been raised of whether or not the team's general manager Billy Beane and his famous "Moneyball" philosophy have all this time been overrated.
Clearly Beane had to have gotten something right, as he has been right more often than not about player evaluation, his team has succeeded in dominating down the stretch in each of the past four seasons, and even the team he lost to in the first round this year, the Boston Red Sox, tried to hire Beane before the season and nevertheless has won this year with a largely Beane-inspired philosophy (by way of his spiritual godfather, Bill James).
But at the same time, the critics were proven right in many ways by Oakland's first-round collapse against Boston. Virtually every weakness of the team that was exposed in that series (lack of speed, lack of smart baserunning, poor relief pitching and next to no "clutch hitting") is a facet of the game that Beane has gone on record as believing is either overrated or, in the case of clutch hitting, nonexistent. Beane is still a baseball genius, in my opinion, and (as he said after the Game 5 loss), give him an unlimited payroll like Boston or the Yankees have, and a lot of those weaknesses may very well disappear.
But then again, there's one other tenet of "Moneyball" which Beane appears to have been ahead of the curve on. Isaac at WKIKYA points us towards a piece in the Cleveland Scene newspaper on "hogging"- a new trend in which men activity seek to hook up with overweight women before quickly dumping them- the idea being that such women are less sought after and thus "easier."
As anyone who's read "Moneyball" can tell you, a favorite tactic of Beane's is to seek out fat players (such as both Giambi brothers, and catcher Jeremy Brown), the idea being that such guys are less coveted by other teams and besides, according to Beane the sorts of skills normally possessed by in-shape ballplayers are all overrated anyway. The Red Sox learned from this, and beat the A's in part due to the heroics of Kevin Millar, David Ortiz, and other players who will never be confused with male models. And the Scene article even quotes longtime major leaguer Mark Grace as saying that hogging is popular among big league ballplayers.
So playoff loss notwithstanding, Billy Beane's got that going for him. When emaciated groupies throw themselves at him, does Beane remind them, "we're not selling jeans here"?
DOWN WITH THE MULLAHS: Congratulations are in order for Iranian human rights activist Shirin Ebadi, winner of the 2003 Nobel Peace Prize. Ebadi has for years been fighting for democracy and human rights in that country that has for decades been ruled by evil, fascistic Muslim clerics. A pro-democracy movement in Iran has made tremendous strides in recent years; hopefully Ebadi's prize will give that cause even more of the attention and legitimacy that it deserves.
KNIVES OUT AT THE POST: The New York Post marked the start of Radiohead's two-night Madison Square Garden stand yesterday with a story about how… everybody hates Radiohead. Say what?
True, Thom Yorke and Co.'s blend of esoteric modern rock is certainly not for everyone, especially not the "Kid A" and "Amnesiac" albums. But is there really that much of an organized backlash against them, the way there is against, say, the music of Britney Spears or Jennifer Lopez? Those two musical "talents" are written about in that same New York Post virtually every day. The Post even quotes Chuck Klosterman who- doesn't hate Radiohead. You figure it out…
WHERE THE STREETS HAVE NO NAME: "At least I learned where the Duane Reade drugstore got its name: there are two consecutive streets named, well, Duane and Reade. Duh" -Lileks, from Day 4 of his New York diary. I made the same discovery last year, on the first Length of Manhattan Walk; before that I'd just assumed it was named after some guy named Duane Reade.
Lileks also left a penny in a copy of one of his books at the Barnes & Noble in Rockefeller Centre; I feel like going this afternoon and trying to find it. Sort of like that stunt Michael Kinsley pulled, where he put a note with his phone number in several bookstore books, offering $5 to anyone who found it- in order to prove Kinsley's long-held point that people like buying books more than they like reading them. No one called, of course.
NEW YORK POST FRONT PAGE OF THE YEAR NOMINEE:
"Gay Porn Nazi Crook"- sounds like the Chris Cooper character in "American Beauty," if he'd been a priest instead of a military guy.
CURSE REVERSAL WATCH:
ALCS: Game 1: Red Sox 5, Yankees 2 (BOS leads series 1-0)
NLCS: Game 2: Cubs 12, Marlins 3 (series tied, 1-1)
Magic Number for Red Sox-Cubs World Series: 6
QUOTE OF THE DAY: "James Carville and Mary Matalin more or less play themselves, which is to say she plays a cautious, thoughtful political matron, while Carville plays sort of a cross between Beavis and Butthead, assuming that both Beavis and Butthead were money-obssessed political advisors with Southern accents." -The blogger known as Ernie the Attorney, reviewing "K Street."
SO MUCH FOR 'MINNESOTA NICE': The Star Tribune is well-known for pointing out the success of Minnesotans on the national stage; I guess the same goes for clandestine tigers.
In the second most-prominent tiger-mauling story of the week, a man was attacked over the weekend by a tiger that he had kept as a pet in his Harlem apartment- and according to the Strib, the tiger (named "Ming") was originally procured from an animal park in Southern Minnesota.
Antoine Yates, 31, had allegedly kept the tiger and several other animals in his apartment, a fact unknown to authorities until the tiger's urine began to seep into the apartment below. Yates was soon after attacked by his own tiger and, after fleeing to Philadelphia for medical treatment, was arrested for reckless endangerment and illegal possession of a wild animal.
According to the Strib story, the internet has given rise to a surprisingly large black market in exotic pets- though not on EBay, apparently.
RECALL UPDATE: With 96% of precincts reporting, we are ready to project Larry Flynt the winner of the California Recall Joke Candidate Race, with 14,778 votes, narrowly beating out favorite Gary Coleman, who had 12,263 to finish 8th overall. Yes, 12,263 people in the state of California got up, left the house, and drove to polling places with the intention of voting for Arnold from "Diff'rent Strokes" to represent them as governor. My favorite result of all is that Flynt, Coleman, and porn actress Mary Carey all finished ahead of Bill Simon, who was last year's GOP nominee for governor.
More disappointing was Gallagher, who finished 16th; I'm sure he's so angry this morning at his poor showing that he'll break some watermelons in frustration.
Finishing just behind Gary was a Mr. George Schwartzman with just over 10,000 votes, most of which can likely be attributed to people who intended to vote for a certain Kindergarten Cop who was just below him on the ballot. Other interestingly-named candidates who failed to catch on: Van Vo, Badi Badiozamani, a Mr. Edward "Ed" Kennedy, Jack Hickey, CT Weber (not the "Real World"er, right?), Richard Simmons, Dick Lane, Michael Jackson (a Republican), the mysterious "S. Issa," someone named Lorraine "Abner Zurd" Fontanes (?), Robert "Butch" Dole, and finally the independent candidate Todd Richard Lewis, who gets the "Mr. Irrelevant" award after finishing dead last with a mere 165 votes.
SALISBURY SUCKS, CONT'D: The New York Post's Phil Mushnick may be an I-hate-everything bloviator, but like a broken clock he's right twice a day. In Monday's column he was right about both Jeffrey Lurie's dumb anti-Limbaugh comments, and the continued ramblings of ESPN "expert NFL analyst" Sean Salisbury, who seems to take up about 20 minutes of each SportsCenter with his hostile, condescending bleatings, nearly all of which are backed up with his "I played the game, you didn't" sneer.
But what Salisbury never mentions is that he was an even worse quarterback than he is a commentator. Indeed, of the 11 men who took snaps at QB for the Vikings in the '90s, I'd rank Salisbury tied for last, with Heisman-winning bust Gino Toretta. Among those beating out Sean are a past-his-prime ex-Bear (Jim McMahon); a before-his-prime Jew (Jay Fiedler); both of last year's Super Bowl QBs (Rich Gannon, Brad Johnson), three black guys who are not overrated by the media (Warren Moon, Randall Cunningham, Daunte Culpepper); and one guy who is, believe it or not, an even bigger asshole than Salisbury (Jeff George).
GOVERNOR SCHWARZENEGGER: Arnold Schwarzengegger is the new governor of California, as voters chose to recall Gov. Gray Davis and install the Republican actor/bodybuilder/Kennedy-by-marriage in the governors' mansion. Schwarzenegger becomes the second "Predator" co-star to be elected governor of a U.S. state, and his victory paves the way for the election of Yao Ming as governor of Texas in 2036.
While Davis, Cruz Bustamante, and Tom McClintock have all conceded defeat, the race's other Hollywood mainstay, Gary Coleman, thus far has not.
NEWS ITEM: Arafat Suffers Slight Heart Attack. Death for Yasser, without martyrdom- if only.
A MINNESOTA BLOGGER IN NEW YORK: No, not me; Lileks is in Manhattan this week.
MORE ANNOYING THAN MAUREEN DOWD'S NICKNAMES: Even worse than all his "Minny"s, ESPN's Quickie author Dan Shanoff on Monday referred to the Wisconsin football team as "Wisco." Say what? For that Shanoff (a Northwestern alum) deserves to get mauled by Bucky Badger.
QUOTE OF THE DAY: "Alan Colmes is definitely my favorite liberal with whom to argue."- Newt Gingrich, from the jacket of Colmes' new book. I wonder if Colmes has any idea that that's not a compliment.
THE WILSON/PLAME AFFAIR: I haven't had much to say lately about the alleged CIA leak that may have come from the highest levels of the Bush Administration. I think it's because even after reading all about it for weeks, I still haven't the slighest idea of what exactly happened.
And I think that's the main issue here- we may never know what exactly happened because Robert Novak isn't going to give up his sources (although he did, interestingly enough, divulge that double agent Robert Hanssen had once been his source). Therefore, it's unlikely that any prosecution will ever succeed.
But even moreso, I don't believe, as some do, that this will be the scandal that eventually brings down the Bush Administration. While a recent poll found that 70% of respondents favor the appointment of a special prosecutor in the matter, that number is meaningless because who knows how many of those people are even following the case, let alone understanding it?
While I'm not someone who enjoys calling the American people dumb, I have long believed that most Americans who aren't political junkies will neither pay attention to nor get upset about any political scandal that doesn't involve murder and/or sex. Think about it- if ask ten people to tell you exactly what Watergate was all about, and then ask ten to name all the details of the Gary Condit/Chandra Levy case, and I promise you more will know more about Chandra. That's why even if President Bush leaked the identity of Valerie Plame himself, it won't result in his impeachment.
GAME OVER: The Minnesota Twins' 2003 season is over, after consecutive home losses to the New York Yankees. It was a good run, I'm proud of my Twinkies, and I'm glad I was able to attend their only win of the series. Since Game 4 hadn't yet ended when Yom Kippur was about to start, I was forced to choose between the Jewish religion and the Religion of Baseball; I chose the former, went to Kol Nidre, and heard the result later on (the Twins were down 6-1 when I left, however.)
News was better elsewhere in baseball, as the Chicago Cubs beat the evil, no-good Braves to win their first playoff series since 1908. Cubs fans once again filled a large portion of the Turner Field seats, an event that should cause the immediate contraction of the Atlanta Braves; at any rate, we don't have to hear that horrible "Tomahawk chant" again for the rest of the year.
And tonight, the Red Sox completed an improbable comeback by winning their third straight game to defeat the Oakland A's, who lost in the first round for a Timberwolves-like fourth straight year. The win sets up a Yankees-Red Sox ALCS, just like in 1999; this will be an exciting, exciting week in the Northeast Corridor.
In the eighth inning, Boston outfielder Johnny Damon and second baseman Damian Jackson had a head-on collision going for a fly ball, in which Damon suffered a concussion. Damon made like The Undertaker, raising his arm as he was loaded into the ambulance; the centerfielder had made a big deal previously about not participating in the team's recent ritual head-shaving. Indeed, Damon's decision to retain his shag-mullet hairdo, which Bill Simmons has compared to that of Phil Hartman's "Unfrozen Caveman Lawyer" character, may have saved his life.
Throughout the game Fox cut to a live feed of Sox fans watching the game at Jillian's on Lansdowne Street, in the shadow of Fenway Park. On the eve of the 2001 season, my friend Aaron and I sat at that same bar, debating the Sox' prospects for that season. I thought SI might be correct in their prediction of a Boston championship that year, but Aaron, correctly it turned out, believed that the signing of Carl Everett would be the Sox' undoing.
I'd sure love to be at the Cask & Flagon tonight...
TOTAL REQUEST LIVE: Saturday night I caught one of my favorite bands ever, R.E.M., for the first time, as they brought their tour to Madison Square Garden.
It was an all-around strong show, though I'm not sure any concert I go to will measure up to Bruce at Giants Stadium for quite a while. The band played all kinds of old stuff to go with three or four new songs, and a theme throughout the evening was "requests" that frontman Michael Stipe had taken from various friends. Stipe also did lots of dancing, and contributed a surprising acoustic cover of Interpol's "NYC."
I was also happy to see that "Find the River," for years my favorite song by the band, is appreciated by other people as well.
NO MORE GRAHAM: The Democratic presidential field is down to 9, as Florida Senator Bob Graham has dropped out, three months before the first primary. Graham's withdrawal brings up an old question- if Graham dropped out in October of 2003, did he "run for president in 2004?"
MUSIC CRITIC QUOTE OF THE WEEK: Snoop will be a surprise guest at your friend or loved one's special day . . . Note: We are especially looking for children who are going to have a bar mitzvah in the next two months. —from www.snoopdogg.com
"Fashizzle! Imagine Snoop on the bima, laid-back drawl and all, rapping an Aliyah. What better way to become a man than to hang with the Doggfather?" - Jaime Lowe, the Village Voice.
FILM CRITIC QUOTE OF THE WEEK: "And the hooker sent up to Bob's room, whose approach is melodramatic and archaic; she has obviously not studied the admirable Japanese achievements in porno." -Roger Ebert, from his review of "Lost in Translation." You know what that means- Roger Ebert is into bukkake! He's aware of it, anyway...
ROBBING PETER TO PAY PAUL: Here's Paul Krugman's 1,756th anti-Bush column in a row. I'm telling you, Dubya could walk on water, and then Krugman's column the next day would accuse him of "only walking on water for the rich."
BASEBALL, BASEBALL, BASEBALL: Yes, the Twins lost Game 2. I knew they would; I think sweeping the Yanks at the Stadium (or in the Series) was just a bit too much to ask. I'm just glad I went to the win and not the loss, and now we can look forward to two home games at the Metrodome- both day games in which the Twins will have the famous White Roof Advantage, which for some reason always seems to kick in in the playoffs. But still, so much for that whole "LaTroy Hawkins as the K-Rod of '03" hypothesis.
Then there's the Red Sox. Yes, on the 25th anniversary of the Bucky Dent game in 1978, the Red Sox somehow pulled off the rare feat of losing two playoff games in one day- dropping Game 1 in 12 innings in a game that ended at just before 3 in the morning on the East Coast, and then (just a few hours later) losing the afternoon Game 2. Now it's back to Fenway, where Pedro Martinez won't pitch again until Game 4 at the earliest. But then again, the A's haven't won a playoff series since the first Bush Administration, and are coming off three straight ALDS chokes, so you never know. At least they were smart enough to give Barry Zito a potential Game 5 start.
Oh yea, and Games 1 and 2 of the NLDS reminded of why I hate the Atlanta Braves: no other team in the majors would allow one-third of the stadium to be occupied by opposing fans, but the Atlanta fans' apathy is such that thousands of tickets were available to be scooped up by Cubs fans- even though it's a new-ish facility and the Braves just won their 13th consecutive division title. Then there's that endlessly annoying "Tomahawk Chop" theme song, which has for some reason even been sampled in a hit rap song. That's why I've watched the last two games on mute... I hope the Cubs win Games 3 and 4 by a combined score of 75-0.
But while we're on the subject: Can we please declare a moritorium on Red Sox-Cubs-World-Series-will-cause-the-apocalypse jokes? Yea, I've been guilty of this myself but really, enough is enough.
BY GEORGE!: It was announced last year that a sitcom was in the works based on the life of Washington Post columnist/radio personality/"PTI" host/dad Tony Kornheiser. But today came news that the original Short Stocky Slow-Witted Bald Man, Jason Alexander, has been cast in the Tony role.
This can work, although a similar idea based on Dave Barry's life, "Dave's World," did not. A few ideas: next year, when Tony takes his annual August hiatus, let Alexander co-host "PTI." Don't have the Tony character go to bed at 9 every night, like the real TK does. And it's an absolute must that the creators get Chi McBride to play the "wacky neighbor," Michael Wilbon. There's another reason to root for "Boston Public" to be canceled.
AND IN THE HOLLYWOOD GOSSIP DEPARTMENT: Halle Berry this week announced that she and her husband, R&B crooner Eric Benet, are separating. Somehow Berry's other ex-husband, David Justice, was able to sit in the broadcast booth for all 12 innings of the A's-Red Sox game Wednesday without mentioning it.
Berry is now being romantically linked to Limp Bizkit frontman Fred Durst, who earlier this year was said to have had a fling with Britney Spears. This brings about the odd phenomenon of Durst, whose record sales and respectability have declined at an inverse proportion to the quality of the women he dates. There hasn't been anything like this since Rebecca Romjin married John Stamos.
NEW TO THE BLOGROLL: The Mr. T-centric Hi, I'm Black!, as well as the Minnesota-sports-centric Seth Speaks. Off the blogroll? Neal Pollack. 'Cause like The Onion, a few months ago he just stopped being funny.
LIMBAUGH DAY 2: THE IDIOTS COME OUT: Gotta love these scandals 'cause of the dumbasses that come out of the woodwork just to opine. John Rocker, the former major league pitcher, appeared on a radio show to defend Rush Limbaugh (surprise, surprise). The question is how will Hannity and Co. spin it? I'm guessing we'll get the ol' "it's amazing to me that liberals can attack Rush Limbaugh, after they defended Bill Clinton for having sex in the oval office."
From the other side, we've got Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie delivering a sanctimonious rant in which he accuses ESPN of "institutional racism" for hiring Limbaugh and airing "Playmakers." This was contrary to the classy way in which McNabb has handled the firestorm.
Now I admit that "Playmakers" is awful, and ESPN has lately been doing a whole lot of pandering to the hip-hop audience, from Stuart Scott on down. But "institutional racism"? Come on Jeff, you've got to come up with more to back that up. It's the sort of thing I'm very much used to hearing come out of the mouths of Brandeis people- and guess where Lurie went for his masters.
INSTANT KARMA GOT HIM: Remember that incident last year when the couple had sex in St. Patrick's Cathedral, resulting in the firings of NYC shock-jocks Opie and Anthony? The male half of the couple just died, of a heart attack, just days before he was to appear in court for sentencing. And today longtime O.J. apologist Robert Kardashian bought the farm as well. Oh well, at the least the latter got an alien race named after him on "Star Trek."
QUOTE OF THE DAY: "One of the best aspects of the Schwarzenegger candidacy is therefore that he might actually get to be governor of California, having used drugs, taken steroids, had group sex, said all sorts of outrageous things, and lived a lively and not-always admirable private life… So I'd say: vote against the Los Angeles Times. That means: vote for Arnold." –Andrew Sullivan, on the controversy surrounding California's next governor.
B-2 BOB BLOWS UP: I haven't seen this reported anywhere, but on Tuesday's edition of "Hardball" on MSNBC, former Congressman Bob Dornan just about had a meltdown on the air. Host Chris Matthews and his panel were discussing the recall, and when the subject turned to abortion and his 1996 election loss to Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez, Dornan (who's been appearing almost daily on Matthews' recall coverage) just about exploded, and literally started screaming that he'd been wronged. From the transcript:
MATTHEWS: What good does it to elect a pro-life governor if they can’t do...? DORNAN: Around the margins, things like telling grandparents like me, we’re going to kill your grandkids and you have no say. We’re not even going to notify you. All of that creepy legislation that [state Republican chairman Duf Sunheim] fights so well that comes out of that radical left assembly and state senate, a governor around the edges. And I believe Arnold will do that some day. I’ve got the whole country praying for this guy, to turn him around. MATTHEWS: But as much as I love you, Bob, you couldn’t get re-elected in Congress with that kind of argument. Why do you think a governor could get elected? DORNAN: Wait a minute. I did get re-elected, and then I was replaced by a serial adulteress who is pro-abortion, pro-infanticide and lied her way into office. MATTHEWS: That’s the worse thing you can say. She was the people’s choice, Bob. They liked her more than you. DORNAN: Chris, look, I won that election! There were-Gingrich hid 2,400 votes and had the gall to tell me I lost by nine. I won that election, and the party’s had nothing but voter fraud since. Right, Duf? You and every operative in our party knows that Dornan won that ’96 election.
But Democrats who complain about Florida are "sore losers," right? Matthews, at least, apologized to the congresswoman at the end of the program, calling her "a fine woman," and saying that "I have got to disagree completely with the tone and tenor and the remarks made by my friend Bob Dornan. He shouldn’t have said what he said about her tonight."
Dornan clearly was using the Ralphie Cifaretto Method of anti-female defamation: "first of all, she was a hoo-ah."
HOORAY FOR BOOBIES: It's the Blogger Boobie-a-thon, for breast cancer. Best. Fundraiser. Ever.
YES!: It's about time, people- NBC News has finally given my favorite newsbabe, Campbell Brown, her own show. Campbell (see bio) is now co-hosting "Weekend Today" with Lester Holt. Arnold Schwarzenegger appeared on the show this past weekend but, to the best of anyone's knowledge, did not grab Campbell's ass.
TRADING BLAUCH: One more thought, as we head into Game 2 of Twins-Yanks: Where ever Chuck Knoblauch is right now, is he watching the series? And if so, who is he rooting for? I bet he'd love it if Cristian Guzman and Eric Milton figured prominently...
FEAR THE TWINS:
RUSH OUT: Rush Limbaugh has resigned from ESPN's Sunday NFL Countdown show, a day after a furor erupted over comments he made about Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb.
Maybe the comments weren't racist, but they sure were stupid. After McNabb's weak start this year, the question of whether he's been overrated is certainly now an open one. But please, leave race out of it- I'd say that aside from the QB's generally good on-field track record, the reasons for his prominence and his positive reputation are that he plays in a big East Coast market and (perhaps more importantly) McNabb is known as a class act- a good guy with no rap sheet who makes funny commercials with his mom. Unlike the Terrell Owens' and Bill Romanowskis of the world, McNabb is friendly to the press, doesn't bitch about his coach or teammates, and has never gotten into any sort of trouble with the law since he's been in the league. Rush Limbaugh for some reason looked at all this and came to the conclusion that "no, it's 'cause he's black." Stephen A. Smith has a great column about the situation; it's too bad PTI's off this week, 'cause I want to know what Wilbon has to say about it.
Rush knows the media as well as anyone, and unlike his buddy Trent Lott he got out right away, turning this "scandal" into a one-day story (another reason- Drudge-abetted drug rumors). The bumbling Democratic presidential candidates couldn't help themselves, of course, demanding Limbaugh's resignation- because who plays the fourth-banana on a football pregame show is a matter of great concern for the president of the United States. How much you want to bet neither Howard Dean nor Wesley Clark had ever heard of Donovan McNabb before Wednesday?
NOW IT'S TIME TO PASS THE TORCH: Ronnie James Dio, the aged rock star who replaced Ozzy Osbourne in Black Sabbath and hasn't had a hit since I was in pre-school, lost his thumb in a gardening accident recently, but in a Bobbitt-like feat of medical ingenuity, the digit was later successfully re-attached.
Tenacious D recorded a tribute to Dio, called "Dio" (not to be confused with their tribute to The Greatest Song in the World, "Tribute"), and when I saw them in Boston a couple years ago Jack Black introduced the song by stating that Dio "rocked so hard that Black Sabbath fired Ozzy, 'cause he didn't rock as hard as Ronnie James Dio." No, he didn't, and that's really really not what happened.
LOCKED UP!: According to ESPN.com, Kevin Garnett will sign a contract extension that will keep him in Minnesota for five more years. No word yet on numbers, but reports say it'll surpass his previous $126 million deal. What a week for Minnesota sports! But on the other hand…
MINNY WATCH: Google News has six pages of search results for headlines referring to Minnesota as "Minny"; none of them, of course, are from Minnesota-based publications.
RUSH GETS BLITZED: In the "knockout pool" of how soon new ESPN pregame commentator Rush Limbaugh would say something on the air to embarrass himself and his network, who had Week 4?
On Sunday's episode of "Sunday NFL Countdown," on which Limbaugh is one of six panelists, the conservative talking head went off on a rant that amounted to an accusation that Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb is overrated, and that the nation's sports media has overrated him because it "has been very desirous that a black quarterback do well. There is a little hope invested in McNabb, and he got a lot of credit for the performance of this team that he didn't deserve."
Limbaugh apparently forgot that he isn't broadcasting to his ditto-heads anymore, and some people who watch ESPN are actually, you know, sensitive to racism, if not African-Americans themselves. But even more than for its racial ignorance, the comment is appalling for its factual ignorance: unlike, say, Tiger Woods, McNabb is far from the NFL's only black superstar quarterback; others include Michael Vick, Steve McNair, and Daunte Culpepper, with Aaron Brooks and Quincy Carter just a notch below; Randall Cunningham and Rodney Peete both starred at QB for McNabb's team a decade ago.
Also, Rush doesn’t realize that the sports media doesn’t work the same way his beloved "liberal news media" does- it's hard to figure why either the league or the media would conspire to elevate the reputation of an undeserving player just because he was black- especially when that player was good enough to lead his team to the NFC championship game two years in a row. And he can't be talking about the Philly sports media; as anyone who followed their coverage of last year's Iverson arrest can tell you, coddling of black athletes is generally the furthest thing from their mind.
Then on Sunday, McNabb went out and made Limbaugh look like even more of a dumbass, beating the previously impressive Buffalo Bills in order to improve Philly's record to 1-2.
I didn't oppose Limbaugh's hiring at first; just because the man is a political demagogue doesn't mean he can't talk intelligently about football. But more stupid stuff like this, I'm going to have to reconsider my opinion.
LATEST EVIDENCE THAT EVERYONE ON THE INTERNET IS CRAZY: In a GoogleFight between my name and "Bush Hitler," the victor is "Bush Hitler," by the score of 335,000 to 210,000.
Then there's this, a website arguing that due to his excessive use of the word "fabulous," George W. Bush is in fact a homosexual. Does Maureen Dowd know about this?
MY BIG FAT GREEK DROPOUT: Putting to rest hopes of a restoration of the ancient Greek empire on the West Coast, Arianna Huffington has dropped out of the California recall race. Hope is still alive for the Austro-Hungarians, however…
MURDER WAS THE CASE: The rapper known as C-Murder has been convicted of- you guessed it- murder. The brother of rapper/failed NBA star Master P and member of P's No Limit entourage, C-Murder (real name Corey Miller) was convicted of shooting a 16-year-old boy outside a nightclub in Louisiana last year, and faces a life sentence.
How'd you like to be that guy's lawyer?
"My client is innocent!"
"But what's his name?"
"CROSSFIRE" IS LEAKING: Crazy stuff going on over at CNN's "Crossfire," where my sister is interning this semester. First host Robert Novak may very well have leaked the name of an undercover CIA agent in a column a few months ago, leading to a major scandal in which top White House officials have been implicated. Then his conservative colleague, Tucker Carlson, leaked the phone number of a Fox News bureau on the air, leading to a Fox "news story" a few days later that published Carlson's home phone number. Funny how Fox seems to always pick up pundits right before they release new books...
The Democratic side of "Crossfire" has emerged mostly unscathed from the past few weeks of controversy, and I've gotta say I'm really enjoying James Carville's new HBO show "K Street." While the reviews have been almost universally scathing, I like the show's mix of fiction and reality, and the presence of the sexy Mary McCormack (Howard's wife in "Private Parts") doesn't hurt either.
Paul Begala? Nah, he still sucks.
KENNEDY COMPOUND: One of my favorite journalists in America, Boston Phoenix media critic Dan Kennedy, was nice enough to link from his blog to something I wrote for New York Press. But I would never call Dennis Miller a "rightie tightass fuckwad," or suggest that anyone "go Columbine" on their co-workers.
Kennedy also points us towards a new "Campaign Journal" blog by Boston TV journalist John Carroll, with whom I took a journalism class my freshman year at Brandeis.
QUOTE OF THE DAY: "Why did Arianna [Huffington] decide to fall in line behind a politician [Gray Davis] who might have been the model for Warren Beatty's corrupt 'Bulworth'? (For that matter, why is Warren Beatty finagling behind the scenes for a politician who might have been the model for Warren Beatty's corrupt 'Bulworth'?) -Mickey Kaus, on the recall.