Monthly Archives: October 2004

who knew? bush is really a horror movie character. or two.

[T]those of us who argued that there was really no difference between Bush and Gore look pretty stupid now. None of that reflects especially well on Al Gore, by the way; it simply wasn’t evident at that early date that the then-Texas governor was the real-world version of Greg Stillson, the born-again, world-destroying future president in Stephen King’s “The Dead Zone.”

and later:

Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes: Kerry is a lot better than Bush on the environment, abortion, civil liberties and judicial appointments. Again, it’s a comparison between that good-looking real estate guy who only gouged you a little and Chucky, the devil doll from the “Child’s Play” movies.

— Andrew O’Hehir, “Civic Avowal”,, 2004-10-28


new homo species

skeletons of homo floresiensis have been discovered — they were about 3 feet tall, which has marvelously led to them being described as “a hobbit-like species.”

naturally i think: how will the creationists reconcile the new species? a monkey? just a tribe of short people? false evidence planted by god to confuse us?

and then i think of the many myths of the little people around the world. we do live in such a marvelous world. i really hope that we don’t completely fuck it up, and that it stays marvelous for our great-great-great-descendants.

high stakes

me & some friends, on sunday, celebrating with joss whedon & hoping to get bush out

whump (the organizer) has pictures. so does the high stakes 2004 website.

i had promised to bring one of our anti-war posters from last year [“Buffy, help! there’s a vampire in the White House!”] but since everything i own is in boxes or storage, it didn’t really work out. but the village voice is helping me out. [thanks to americablog for linking to the cover.]

real americans

A lot of excellent commentary & analysis of the nationalistic rhetoric assigning some people the status of “real Americans” and others, apparently, unreal, false, or not so good. (Very little of the analysis looks at Natives, I note.)

  • Michelle Goldberg, 10/27, warroom takes on the National Review Online
  • National Review Online piece that justifies the electoral college’s one voter, more than one vote preference for small, rural, conservative states…
  • showing the amount of dollars sent to the federal government in taxes and the amount drawn back in federal benefits, on a state-by-state basis, demonstrating that the Reddest states are also the welfare states. [Tax Foundation 2004-09-23]
  • Fabulous post on a friend’s list describing the Southern fetish for secessionism as angry teenagers, mooching off their parents…
  • Timothy Noah: Lay Off Massachusetts: George W. Bush doesn’t get to choose which United States he’s president of. [10/14]
  • Traitorous southern states get to describe themselves as the most patriotic? a great blog posting I read but, darn it, forgot to bookmark/link/save.

media-driven governance

regarding the stolen cache of explosives, wonkette reports that rove is upset that it’s even being discussed:

Rove: “Kerry, by so rapidly embracing the story, is going to end up being tarnished by it. What would he do as president? Get up every morning and say, ‘I’m going to govern based on what I find in the newspapers?'”

wonkette, 10/27

Or maybe — and it’s just a thought — maybe Kerry would respond to issues before they reached the papers! You know, in sort of a, a proactive way. Maybe, if something goes wrong, a president should acknowledge the problem and tell the American people what was being done to fix it. Maybe we wouldn’t have to rely on The New Yorker [Abu Ghraib] and The New York Times [missing weapons] to tell us what happened a year ago.

Gack. These guys make me crazy.

a history of the bush website one website’s story

  • 1999-may-21, the bush campaign thinks “[t]here ought to be limits to freedom” (at least for website satirists [but see which bravely soldiers on]
  • in 2004, the bush website looks like it was designed of, by & for microsoft products
  • in 2004, the bush website put up the popular but short-lived bush-cheney sign generator [“the sloganator”], which was rapidly appropriated by the administration’s critics, even though the administration’s web team had cleverly thought to ban some potentially troublesome words (like “dumb, stupid, fascism, evil, lying, scum”. The campaign took down the sloganator but luckily a number of galleries & archives of signs were created and an offsite sloganator live on. So popular was the hacking of the sloganator that the anti-Kerry folks used the idea to develop a Kerry Sloganator.
  • in 2004, the bush website uses colin powell to demonstrate its “compassion”
  • 2004-10-26: the register and netcraft report that the bush campaign website has blocked international access. (The 51st state is apparently permitted access, although plans for conquest have not yet been publicized/finalized.) 10-28: the bbc reports that it was a DDOS that caused the security response.

the x-files

“The X-Files” is the embodiment of a failed mythology show. Ambitiously, across a decade, creator Chris Carter threw thousands of provocative morsels at viewers hungry to understand his unique mind trip. But ultimately, he failed to assemble the pieces into a satisfying, sensible whole. He squandered his audience’s good faith. It was as though he’d extended the mythology beyond any possibility of cohesion in order to keep making money on it. Every sweeps period, it seemed, and with the theatrical release of the movie, “X-Files” ads were promising resolutions that never came. The series mythology began to feel relentlessly circular, like hearing a long game of “Dungeons & Dragons” on a tape loop.

— Matthew Gilbert, Boston Globe, 2004-10-27, “Getting ‘Lost’: Show pursues TV’s most elusive genre — mythology. Or maybe that’s not it at all.” (emphasis added)

Almost but not quite. “The X-Files” was at its best posing questions, not answering them. The core value of “The X-Files” core value was its mystery, its window into the unknown, and the potentially unknowable. Solving the mysteries made them boring.

Unfortunately, the longer a story or mythology goes on, the more one feels the need to stitch it into a comprehensible whole. The show was popular & making money, so folks kept it going. And since it continued, Carter and the show’s fans wanted a cohesive universe. But of course, every “answer”, every piece that actually slotted into another piece of the puzzle, sketched a little more clearly the outlines of the universe.

The problem with “The X-Files” wasn’t that its universe was incomprehensible — the problem was that it was too comprehensible. After 10 years, we know that the core mystery of “The X-Files” was a big government plot to hide aliens and alien-related power grabs. Once the structure was laid out, everything had to fit into it, and the mysteries and inconsistencies — the x-files — had to resolve to that structure. “The X-Files” would have, should have, stayed incomprehensible, full of mysteries and hints and no answers. In the terms of the Gilbert article, “The X-Files” should have stayed in the realm of mythology.

the internet is for copiers

Induce Act post-mortem:

Markham Erickson, general counsel for NetCoalition, said the talks really broke down over a fundamental fear that almost any service or software could be construed as a suspect P2P network. He pointed out that even internet browsers allow people to copy files.

“The entire internet is one big copying machine,” he said.

Wired News: Toe-to-Toe Over Peer-to-Peer

Glad they figured that one out before passing the legislation.

disappeared information

oh, really, steve jobs?

“We think photos are the next big thing. Everyone has the content” because of the rapid proliferation of digital cameras among consumers “and there are no copyright issues,” Apple Chief Executive Steve Jobs said at a news conference. “We think music plus photos is the next big thing.”

— NYT, Apple Rolls Out New iPod Photo Capabilities, by Reuters, 6:42 pm ET, 2004-10-26

Oh really, Steve Jobs? No copyright issues with photos? Yeah — we’ll see.