Wednesday, February 22, 2006

A Little of the Old In and Out

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forefront and center at the port battle. (image via senate.schumer.gov)

In: Senator Chuck Schumer. This is clearly, whether or not you agree with his politics or not, a Chuck Schumer moment. There is an old joke in Washington that the most dangerous place in the capitol was the space between the then up-and-coming Congressman Charles Schumer and a television camera. (Averted Gaze) That was, of course, before he defeated Senator Alphone D'Amato, one of the most formidable political players in New York history. As a result, Schumer commands respect.

But no one, except perhaps the irrational Right, can accuse Senator Schumer of politicking over the Dubai Ports imbroglio. He is doing his job and representing the will of his constituents in the State of New York, many of whom are survivors and family members of people killed on September 11th. It is in the interest of the State of New York that our ports remain thoroughly secure. The President, acutely conscious of the escalating Danish cartoon furor, is in engaged a diplomatic phase of the war: namely, hoping to quell internal dissent among our allies in the Middle East lest they descend -- in a neoconservative worst-case scenario -- into Muslim fundamentalist tyrannies.

And while we can intellectually understand the diplomatic niceties that the President extends to Dubai, a strategically significant ally in this Twilight War, those sentiments are greatly at odds with the wishes of New York State. State Republicans -- and national Republicans -- have joined Democrats to make this issue of Dubai World Ports the straw that broke the camels back re: Bush (can anyone say lame duck?). According to News10 Rochester:

"President Bush says the deal to allow six of the U.S.�s major ports to be run by an Arab company should go forward and he says he will veto any bill that would stop it. That deal is causing outrage; critics claim the Arab company is owned by a country that may have unresolved ties to terrorists. The ports are in six states: New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Florida, Louisiana and Pennsylvania Governor Pataki says he would cancel the lease agreement at the Port of New York. Senator Hillary Clinton says she too is going to fight the deal. On Tuesday, Senator Charles Schumer said in Rochester, he's going to use the law to stop it.'It defies the imagination to allow a company controlled by a country that has had a nexus with terrorism to control our five ports,' Senator Schumer said.

"Schumer came to Rochester to talk with the president's of local colleges and universities about math and science, but the real lesson was homeland security. Schumer says he's going to introduce legislation to delay the sale of England's P and O to Dubai Ports World of the U. A. E., United Arab Emirates 'And if that review does not come out with every guarantee, Congress will then have the right to undo the contract which I expect we will undo,' Schumer said."

Is this, we wonder, the beginning of the "protectionism" foreshadowed in the State of the Union address? Will the 2008 hopefuls begin to shout lustily from the hinterlands: "America First!" Is the President now fighting, domestically, the isolationist impulse? And does the hard-working Senior Senator from New York, Chuck Schumer, generally considered an internationalist, represent, unwittingly, this emerging political maelstorm?

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(image via edgeoffurge)

Out: Star Magazine. There are few words that can be used to accurately describe the revulsion we feel at that insignificant cultural artifact, Star Magazine. When the amoral writers at Star are not busy purloining this sites content, they are running photos -- endless photos -- judgemental of the weight of women (thier target audience, ironically). Helpful, no doubt, to the national crisis of eating disorders.

For the record, we love women of all shapes, colors and sizes. Nothing wrong with a little "arroz con pollo" on a lady. Unfortunately, we stumbled upon their latest issue. We shouldn't have read it, but, alas, we thought we would for old times' sake.

A cloud of malodorous sulfur was emitted from the pages as we opened the damned thing. Sinister music. Inside, we saw lurid photos of Janice Dickinson eating, Nicole Ritchieeating, articles on celebrity weight (very nearly all about women, with the roken --and only -- exception of Toby McGuire). The general theme of the magazine, without fail and without mercy, was the subject of women and their weight. (Exaggerated cough suggesting feigned detachment)

What the fuck is it about Star Magazine that is so damned sleazy? We had to take a brisk shower after we finished reading that little turd of a magazine. Are they not conscious of the goddamned message that this type of fuckery is sending out? We vow, from this day forward, never to read another issue of Star Magazine for as long as we live. We ask humbly that you do the same.

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(image via msnbcmedia)

In: Dick Wolf. Staci Kramer of the must-read site Paidcontent notes that NBC's experience with Lazy Sunday might have accelerated the Peacock network's digital strategy in the form of releasing risky midseason pilots on iTunes before television broadcast. (The Corsair pours himself a glass of 1999 Chateau Haut-Marbuzet) It couldn't hurt, as NBC is in last place and the digital realm is a new frontier. One wonders, in retrospect, what might have been if ABC had pursued this strategy on "Emily's Reasons Why Not (instead of the ubiquitous advertising)," or if CBS had tried it on "Love Monkey."

According to Paidcontent:

"This is a very interesting competitive move from NBC: its legal drama 'Conviction,' will launch first on iTunes, available for free download, before its televised broadcast. As part of a multiplatform launch, iTunes users can download the Dick Wolf-produced hourlong pilot in its entirety at no cost. The promotion will extend until the show's network debut March 3, after which each episode will become available to download for $1.99 the day after it airs.

"Variety: NBC is not the first net to allow potential viewers to watch a show online before its TV premiere. UPN's 'Everybody Hates Chris' bowed on Google, and the WB's 'Jack and Bobby' was first seen on AOL (but these were streaming only and not download)."

More here.

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(image via washingtonpost)

Out: NBC's Olympics Ratings. Although tomorrow -- Thursday -- is the do-or-die day for the Olympics, in which all 4 networks compete in a bloodthirsty, no-holds-barred primetime Indian Death Match with their strongest shows in tow, the Olympics have pretty much been a bust for NBC. And, what's worse, NBC is contractually obligated to the tune of $5.7 billion for a half a dozen more years. (Averted Gaze; a considerable pause)

NBC simply handled the whole event wrong. They ought to have promoted the compelling backstory of some of the Olympians on their news and news magazine shows. They ought to have highlighted the patriotism aspect: How does America stack up against the world? Hype that. They should have done a top-drawer documentary in conjunction with the Discovery Channel on the history of the Olympics to escalate excitement. They should have hired the award-winning yet extremely controversial commentator Bryant Gumbell (controversy, we cannot fail to note, never hurts a sports event).

The buildup of anticipation should have been overwhelming, like we remember as a child at Lake Placid; that never happened this time, however, and the low-frills "American Idol" ate their lunch. According to HollywoodReporter (link via drudgiepoo):

"Stung by lower-than-expected ratings on the broadcast network and a lackluster performance by the U.S. team in Turin, NBC went on the offensive this week as the two-week Winter Olympics skied into its final days. Ratings have skidded, no matter what yardstick you use.

"NBC's primetime ratings for the Turin Olympics have delivered an average 12.5 household rating through Friday night, the latest Nielsen Media Research data released. That's down 35 percent from the same point during 2002's Salt Lake City games and down 26 percent from the 1998 games in Nagano, Japan. NBC's primetime viewership has also dropped, with an average 20.6 million to date compared with 31.4 million for Salt Lake City and 25.5 million for Nagano.

"Even before Turin, NBC tried to manage expectations. Its viewership guarantees are lower, and NBC executives have said that it's unfair to compare the games in Turin, Italy, with the Salt Lake City Winter Olympics four years ago. And it's also faced, for the first time in recent memory, real competition from the other networks, particularly Fox's "American Idol."

mizrahi

(image via powerhousebooks)

In: Isaac Mizrahi. While we cannot say we are fans of the intellectually-rigorous Socratic method of Mizrahi's hands-on celebrity interrogations (Averted Gaze), he is not unlike a white-hot butter knife cutting through all the excess gauze of those vapid awards events. You do your thing, Isaac, you ... do your thing. (Exaggerated cough suggesting feigned detachment)

And, evidently, he is not changing his persona one whit come Oscar time. According to British Vogue:

"ISAAC MIZRAHI might have shocked a few people with his interview technique at the Golden Globes but he doesn't intend to tone it down for the Oscars. 'I'm going to meet people and I love doing that, and I'm not going to put a mask on to meet people now because of whatever interesting controversy was raised at the Golden Globes,' he told AP. No official complaints were made to the E! channel after Mizrahi groped Scarlett Johansson's breast, asked Eva Longoria about her pubic hair and looked down Teri Hatcher's dress, but the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation did raise an objection to Mizrahi's calling Charlize Theron's Oscar-winning Monster character a 'scary dyke with no teeth'. 'Isaac,' said E! president Ted Harbert, 'is the last person on earth who could be accused of even the slightest degree of homophobia.'"

(A considerable pause) Yeah, we'd agree on that.

1 comment:

rydel23 said...

I'm refering to this article of Steven Lee Myers about Belarus -- http://www.br23.net/en/2006/02/26/milinkevich-in-new-york-times/ -- it's incorrect to spell the adjective Belarusian with two SS's (Belarussian). There's no grammatical basis in English for doing this. Rus (Ruthenia) is not Russia. And Belarus means White Ruthenia. The adjective in English is spelled Belarusian, with one s. You can check Wikipedia or http://www.pravapis.org/ for more details.