Monthly Archives: October 2002

DIVEST THIS!: Readers of this

DIVEST THIS!: Readers of this blog know that I don’t tend to be too supportive of campus activism- I have enough bad memories of those self-righteous doofuses from my high school and college. But at least this cockamamie “divest from Israel” movement never gained much ground during my college years. It sounds to me like nothing but nostalgia for the Reagan-era “divest from South Africa” movement, which was itself of course nostalgia for the ’60s. The equivilance between Israel and South Africa is offensive enough (funny, I don’t remember Nelson Mandela supporting suicide bombers), but even worse, as Thomas Friedman and others have written, is that compared to all of the awful regimes in the world (indeed, in that part of the world) it is Israel and Israel alone that is singled out. And whether that’s anti-Semitism or just plain idiocy is open to debate, but either way it’s wrong.
So here’s a better idea- since the European Union and its member states have shown so much compassion for the PLO and their cause, it’s time to divest from the EU!

HAPPY HALLOWEEN: And remember what

HAPPY HALLOWEEN: And remember what Larry David said- just because it’s Halloween, it doesn’t give you the right to go to people’s houses and bilk them out of candy.
AND SPEAKING OF ‘CURB YOUR ENTHUSIASM…’: Watching the Wellstone funeral/rally reminded me of the ‘Curb’ episode two weeks ago when Larry’s mother dies, and Larry subsequently uses the “my mother died” card to get everything he wants from everyone he knows, up to and including sex with his wife. Starting with that rally and continuing until election day, the Democrats (in Minnesota and elsewhere) are apparently playing the “Wellstone died” card in a similar way. It may even turn out to be the “otherwise the terrorists win” of 2002.
AND ANOTHER ANALOGY ABOUT ANOTHER LARRY DAVID SHOW…: Just as Cosmo Kramer got to “do nothing, fall ass-backwards into money, and have sex without dating,” Walter Mondale since 1984 has gotten to “do nothing, make lots of money, and become a Senator without running.”


THE ‘CLUB’ IS CLOSED: It was announced today that the new FOX lawyer show “girls club” has been canceled after only two episodes. The story of three young, attractive, female lawyers and their adventures after joining a conservative, white-shoe San Francisco firm, the show marks a rare failure for writer-producer David E. Kelley, whose success (“Ally McBeal,” “The Practice,” “Picket Fences”) has always outpaced his talent, if you ask me. The thing I’ll remember most about this show from the one time I watched it? It’s likely the first network television drama in history to feature an autoerotic asphyxiation subplot in its first episode. Hell, even “Six Feet Under” waited until Season 2 to broach that topic.


HONOR THY MEMORY; VOTE FOR THY DEMOCRAT: I caught the tail end of the memorial service last night for Senator Wellstone and I must say I have mixed feelings- several of those present spoke very eloquently about an honorable and respectable man, yet I couldn’t help find it a little embarrassing that the whole “memorial service” eventually devolved into nothing more than a run-of-the-mill political rally. It was one thing to extoll the virtues of the deceased, and to even admire his political views- but another entirely to somehow turn the election into a referendum on whether or not Wellstone deserves to be mourned. The absolute low point was when Rick Kahn, a former student of Wellstone’s, demanded that Minnesota’s Republican Congressional delegation, led by Jim Ramsted, “put partisan differences aside” and help win the election for Wellstone’s replacement, and for the Democrats nationwide as well. It should be our lesson by now that every time someone suggests that we “put partisan differences aside,” what they really mean is “put them aside and line up behind me.” Would everyone in the room at last night’s funeral/rally have suddenly turned Republican if Jesse Helms or Strom Thurmond had died? Slate’s Will Saletan has a top-shelf piece on this topic.
And what do you know- I’m right now watching a new episode of “The West Wing,” featuring a subplot about the continuing campaign of a deceased member of Congress. Ha, I take back everything I ever said about the show being irrelevant…
In the meantime (I should’ve known) that lunatic Ted Rall suggests that, you guessed it, Wellstone was murdered by a sinister, Bush-led government conspiracy.


LOSING OUR GRIPPE: Sad news to report today of the passing at age 90 of Peter Grippe, a noted professor of Fine Arts for several decades at Brandeis, and also perhaps the most unfortunately named professor in the history of academia. Also in this week’s Justice, one of my favorite headlines ever: “Jewish Influence, From Ellis Island to Ron Jeremy,” not to mention a response to last week’s anti-fun letter.


BIG GAY RUDY’S BIG GAY SENATE DEBATE: In a recent debate between South Carolina Senate candidates Alex Sanders (Democrat) and Lindsay Graham (Republican), Sanders took Graham to task for running ads that featured an endorsement by America’s Mayor, Rudy Giuliani. Here’s Sanders: “[Giuiliani] is an ultra-liberal- His wife kicked him out and he moved in with two gay men and a Shih Tzu… Is that South Carolina values? I don’t think so.”
Let’s try find all the things we can that are wrong about that statement:
– Considering the Democrats are by far the more pro-gay of the two parties, isn’t Sanders a hypocrite for assigning Graham guilt by association?
– The statement was likely an indirect allusion to long-simmering (but always denied) rumors that Graham is himself gay, though Sanders obviously didn’t have the guts to say so directly. So therefore Alex Sanders is gay-baiting two different people (Rudy Giuliani and Lindsay Graham) who are not in fact gay. He doesn’t even bother accusing Lindsay Graham of “having a girl’s name.”
– So Rudy Guiliani is an “ultra-liberal” all of a sudden? That’s an interesting theory… I’m sure all the people Rudy threw off welfare and the propriators of those porn shops he closed (not to mention NYC’s entire African-American population) wholeheartedly agree. New York is a city with quite a large population of “ultra-liberals,” but rather than recognize Rudy as one of their own, most of them despise him with the fire of a thousand suns.
– If you must insinuate that Rudy is gay/gay friendly, why not refer to all those times he dressed in drag for the Inner Circle Revue and “Saturday Night Live”?
– Since Graham is running for Strom Thurmond’s seat, couldn’t he have scored political points by pointing out that Rudy was the guy in office for the Diallo, Louima, and Dorismond incidents?
– Did Sanders forget that Rudy is by far America’s most popular political figure and is almost universally seen as a hero post-9/11, isn’t it stupid to rip him in such a conservative state? I’d think Rudy’s 9/11 heroism would perfectly exemplify “South Carolina values.” And I guess only in South Carolina can a Democrat score political points by attempting to run to the right of a conservative icon like Rudy.
– And finally, as Andrew and Mickey have pointed out, why is it okay for Democrats to gay-bait their opponents with impunity (i.e. the now-famous Mike Taylor ad)? When Republicans do it, they’re labeled hatemongers.


THERE’S NO SUCH THING AS BAD (FREE?) PUBLICITY: In scanning newspapers for the energy-industry news service that I as of last week work for, I came across a a particularly cockamamie story from the LA Times, a paper that on the PC scale makes the New York Times look like a bastion of reactionary conservatism. Anyway, as we all know, the Anaheim Angels just won the World Series, and as those of us who watched Games 1, 2, 6, and 7 know, the Angels play their home games in a stadium called Edison International Field, which was called Anaheim Stadium until they sold their naming rights to the energy giant Edison in 1997.
Apparently, a Nader-like consumer advocate named Doug Heller is upset that, in the aftermath of last year’s energy crisis, one of the involved utilities (Edison) has the gall to have their name on the stadium of the World Champions- especially during a World Series that was watched by tens of millions of people worldwide. And the LA Times of course goes along with this nonsense, going so far as to refer, in headline, to televised references to Edison International as “free publicity-” seemingly forgetting that they’re NOT free because, as the article says, the corporation paid “between $30 and $50 million” for the rights. Regardless of Edison’s role in the energy crisis, they paid for the naming rights fair and square, and I don’t think any of the fans in Southern California who are celebrating the first-ever Angels championship give a shit about the name of the stadium, with the exception of Doug Heller. Why can’t he just stick to bitching about the officiating the way Nader does?
Hell, the article even quotes a sports marketing expert who estimates a value, on top of that deal, of $1 million in the event of a World Series run- so that’s $1 million against the original $30-50 million- where’s the story here again? And that’s not even to mention that when 95% of Americans hear the name “Edison,” they don’t think first of the electrical utility that’s active in New York, California, and elsewhere. They think first of Thomas Alva- THE GUY WHO INVENTED THE LIGHTBULB.


SHOW SHOW SHOW, WHERE’D YOU GO?: As weeks of commercials trumpeted, last night at 5 PM EST was supposed to be the debut of “Around the Horn,” a new talk show on ESPN to be hosted by veteran (albeit 28-year-old) fight analyst Max Kellerman. But contrary to Monday’s TV listings, as well as weeks of commercials, the show did not air last night, and a re-run of Sunday’s “NFL Primetime” ran in its place- and the post-“Primetime” “SportsCenter” preview bumper even ran at the wrong time, saying “SportsCenter is Next” when in fact “Pardon the Interruption” was next. And, during “Primetime,” the ubiquitous ad with Kellerman ran once again, this time touting the debut as next Monday, November 4.
The question is, why the sudden switcheroo? Why was there no announcement, and why does no major newspaper have a story about it this morning? Sounds mighty fishy to me; though I’ll be working on finding the answer throughout the day. But in the meantime, it sounds like somebody made like an idiot rookie third baseman (Drew Henson?) and dropped the ball on “Around the Horn.”


MY THOUGHTS EXACTLY: “It’s sad to lose a good man. Good for America for raising him; good for Minnesota for raising him to the Senate; good for Wellstone for being motivated by belief and the desire to make our country better.” -Peggy Noonan, of all people, on the deceased senior senator from Minnesota. Just as good are the long-awaited thoughts on the tragedy from James Lileks.