May 16, 2005 - May 9, 2005
Wednesday, May 26, 2004
Madonna colorless? This from Orla Healy of the New York Post
Just over a decade ago, when the sassy
provocateur created a firestorm by displaying her blond ambition in a
pointy cone bra, it would have been insane to suggest she would mellow
to the point of wearing buttoned-up army fatigues onstage.
But, you see, that was before Madonna discovered -- like Barbra
Streisand, Sharon Stone, Julia Roberts, Susan Sarandon, Jessica Lange,
and Whoopi Goldberg -- that she was really this political scientist who
needs to educate her public about wars and bushes and such. That's why
her new "Re-Invention Tour" isn't so much a concert as a choreographed
seminar on global affairs:
Instead of a sexy, flashy, fun-filled
show, concertgoers Monday night got an endless dose of political and
She sat in an electric chair and dances
and sang against a backdrop of war images, President Bush and Saddam
Hussein. The sound of detonating bombs punctuated the song "American
Onstage, dancers dressed like soldiers
did push-ups and calisthenics as helicopters swept in and infernos
blazed on the video screens behind them.
And then she sang John Lennon's
"Imagine," accompanied by a video of sick and injured children from
around the world.
There was religion, too — plenty of it.
Madonna's passion for fashion has clearly been usurped by her fetish
for Kabbalah, as evidencd by the flashes of untranslated Hebrew text
displayed in the background of her performance, which hits Madison
Square Garden on June 16.
In a review in yesterday's Los Angeles
Times, critic Robert Hillburn begged Madonna to "bring back the sex. Or
at least something with flesh and blood, please."
We don't like to indulge in the game of 'I told you so' too often,
but we saw this coming a long way back. Madonna has run out of things
anybody care anymore? Haven't we seen everything this diva
has to show? And she hasn't just shown it—she's squeezed
it, spread it, inflated it with silicon, masturbated with it on stage,
given it away free to every straight Hispanic male in Newyork
City, and then sung about it in some mediocre but over-produced video
that every kid over the age of twelve has seen a hundred times. So now
she has a baby and she's in love with
motherhood. Who gives a flying
Shuteye Nation 2000
How does the old saying go? Politics is
the last refuge of a whore? Something like that anyway.
. Here's something
than Madonna in fatigues.
. One thing we forgot
to mention in our entry about Teddy Kennedy was his incredibly close
friendship with the other senator from Massachusetts. So we're
mentioning it now.
Tuesday, May 25, 2004
The Wages of Liberalism
Serving your country party takes a toll
hard to know how to respond to Ted Kennedy. The temptation is to laugh
bitterly until the bad taste in your mouth makes you feel a little sick
at your stomach. On the other hand, there's clearly still something
dangerous about a man who evokes such fawning
from the objective minions of the media. And since --
hard as it is to believe -- he is
a United States Senator, his penchant for blubbering treason
while American troops are in the field is concerning. Yet any attempt
to analyze his public pronouncements results in dizziness of the kind
you experience when your foot tries to land on a step that isn't there.
It's impossible to come to grips with a rationale, a philosophy, or a
standard of basic decency that just doesn't exist. Teddy says what he
says. Who can know what he means by it? Why bother? The moralist who
seeks to shame a billygoat is only making a fool of himself. Gigantic
as he has become, there isn't much to
Ted Kennedy. Appetites. Bluster. Vindictiveness. A few million
acquiescent sheep in his home state. And the eternal blind eye of the
mainstream media. Fulminating is pointless, which means that
laughter is probably the best of a poor lot of responses. Herewith our
entry from Shuteye Nation 2000, where all the names have been changed
in order to fool no one.
. U.S. Senator from Machusetts
and, formerly, the stupidest member of Ameria's most famous political
family. Like everybody else in the
family, he thought he was supposed to be Presdent of the United State,
but he postponed doing it for awhile because he didn't want to get shot
while he was still young enough to drink and have sex
with anything in a skirt. By the time he decided to go ahead and be
the rules had changed and it wasn't enough to just be a
also had to get the mass media's
permission to run by convincing them you had a vision or something.
Teddy had was double vision, which didn't qualify at the time, and so
went back to drinking and screwing until he weighed four hundred pounds
and girls started getting killed having sex with him... unless that was
earlier in his career. Anyway, somebody made him stop drinking and
and he turned over a new leaf by getting married and losing five
Eventually he got so dignified that he didn't have a lot to say about
sex scandal and the perjury
and the rest of it. But it's probably safe to assume he was more
of the Presdent's private life
than some of his senate colleagues.
*Originally, the 'schwartzen,' was silent, but it's gotten consistently
louder over the years, until by now it's practically deafening.
Teddy still likes to go swimming,
though. What a rack!
And we didn't mention Mary Jo Kopechne once. Oops.
Monday, May 24, 2004
From left to right, writers E. L.
Doctorow, Kurt Vonnegut, and Rene Girard
. Why are
so-called serious writers such idiots? Or am I getting ahead of myself
here? Are you unaware that Ernest Hemingway and Norman Mailer are two
of the stupidest men who ever lived? Has nobody told you that John
Updike is a moron, Gore Vidal an imbecile, John Le Carré a box
of rocks, Susan Sontag a drab with the IQ of a fencepost? Then allow me
to elaborate. Facility with words is not intelligence. It's a knack.
You wouldn't automatically assume that a superb carpenter is also a
brilliant botanist. Or would you? Perhaps you've been taken in by the
photographs on the back cover. Writers work on their eyebrows as much
as they do on their syntax. They would dearly love you to believe that
getting you to turn pages is the same sort of accomplishment as
understanding the source of the universe. It isn't, though. There may
have been a time when writers had to be philosophers as well as
wordsmiths. But modernism changed all that. It was Hemingway -- dumber
even than Picasso -- who rewrote the rules to prevent
actual thinking from intruding on the process of writing literature.
How dumb are writers? They almost all jeer at Hemingway these days, but
they all still obey his rules: don't ever write about the meaning of
life; write about the chipped teacup on the kitchen table instead. In
fact, even the philosophers have adopted Hemingway's rules. They don't
talk about meaning anymore; they talk about politics and sociology
instead. (This is our excuse for directing you to this outstandingly
with Rene Girard
an exercise in mental masturbation so ridiculous that it just had to be
And so to our pedestrian topic for the day, the latest outbreak of
'wisdom' in the ranks of mediocre American scribblers. E. L. Doctorow
is a great writer. Ask him. Look at those eyebrows. He tried to share
with the graduating seniors at Hofstra the other day. They booed him.
Good for them. In the hierarchy of literature he's an ant
. He should know
when to shut up. Which is what reminded us of Kurt Vonnegut, the hack
who never met a platitude too dead obvious to turn into a novel
. He recently
wrote an op-ed piece so mind-numbingly dopey that when it started
circulating on the Internet, the folks at Snopes.com felt obliged to
discover whether or not it had actually been written by the author of
Slaughterhouse Five. It had
How should one go about protecting one's self from such drivel? Just
think of them as Demi Moore with a Thesaurus and self-important
eyebrows. That might help.
The Day After Tomorrow
New York is going to turn into an ice
. Just as
we promised, we're going to really dig into this movie the day after
Sunday, May 23, 2004
It's Tim Russert Month!
got a telegram from the Russert Media Empire (RME) by special courier
last night. It informed us that today was our turn to promote Tim
Russert and his new book. We should have been
expecting it because he's been everywhere else for the past few
weeks. He was on the Tonight Show. He was on the O'Reilly Factor.
He was on Late Night with David Letterman. He was on Hannity and
Colmes. He's featured on the Drudge Report every damn day --
interviewing Rumsfeld, lecturing
Colin Powell's aide, arranging to receive a highly publicized subpoena
in the Valerie
Plame investigation. He was on Larry King, The View, the Today Show,
Dateline, and Hardball, or if he wasn't we would be shocked to hear it.
He was even on Jeopardy, where he won a grand total -- after Final
Jeopardy, of course -- of $0 for not knowing how many senators there
were in 1958. (We tried to help by shouting the right answer at the
screen but Tim didn't hear us, and neither did Christie Whitman or
Tavis Smiley.) He's probably coming to a mall or country fair in your
neighborhood any day. So now that he's exhausted every other
venue, we have to do our part.
If we'd a little more advance notice we could have been better
prepared. As it is, we haven't read the book and don't own a copy. It's
called Big Russ & Me
it's about him and his father. Or so we've heard. A few hundred times.
But our disconcerting habit of dropping off to sleep when Tim starts
talking has deprived us of the details. Fortunately, though, the
Internet is brimming with Russert entries (76,000+), so we found a
review in the New Yorker. After two of three longish opening paragraphs
about himself and his
reviewer Nicholas Lemann finally brought up the subject of Russert and
his book. He said:
Russ & Me is not so much a self-examination, or even a
dad-examination—very little in it could be honestly described as
interesting—as it is a highly effective extension of the Russert brand.
The book is written with Bill Novak, the celebrity ghostwriter, who is
credited as “full partner.” The brand wouldn’t be so successful if it
weren’t genuinely appealing, and Russert in these pages is
characteristically forthright, unpretentious, respectful, and
values-laden. And Big Russ himself functions less as a vivid character
in a book than as an enhancer of his son’s mystique. Big Russ, it turns
out, is a name conferred by Tim Russert on his father, not something
that his friends called him. The senior Russert’s real name is—Tim
Russert. At least nominally, he’s an invention of his son. Big Russ
fades out somewhat as the book goes on, but every appearance, while
presented as being illustrative of his good qualities (no filial
ambivalence here!), literarily performs the function of making Tim look
good, by reassuring us that he’s permanently connected to a father lode
One gets the feeling Lemann would have been happier if Russert had
written a book called Nick & His
Dad, but that doesn't seem reasonable to us, much like the rest
of the tripe in the New Yorker
these days. Our advice -- strongly supported, we might add, by the
endorsements we received from the RME -- would be to disregard Mr.
Lemann's somewhat arch analysis and buy the damn book. Tim's going to
be on every talk show, game show, and news magazine until you do.
We'd like to offer some new information about Tim himself, just to
prove what great researchers we are. We hunted around quite a bit and
discovered that Tim was born on May 7, so this really is his month.
Journalists seem to admire him, but not all of the audience does. Some
of his critics know that he's a shill for the Republicans. We found
this out from a college senior named Andy
who wants to be a recording company executive. His site is worth
reading because rarely in our experience has any writer said the same
thing so many times in virtually the same language. Some of Tim's
critics know that he's a shill for the Democrats. We learned this at a
site called BoycottLiberalism.com,
which sounds like an interesting idea. It also sounds like it's not
What else? Tim has his own page at the
International Movie Database site. He has played himself in a TV show
on at least one occasion. At another site called MediaWhoresOnline.com,
Tim has the honor of being listed as the Number One media whore. Not
bad for a kid from Buffalo who went to Canisius High School, eh?
We know we haven't done nearly enough by this superstar luminary of
journalism. The truth is, we just never really paid much attention to
him before. Way back in our Year 2000 edition of Shuteye Nation, we put down
everything we knew at the time.
Tim Russet. Leading TV
journalist and host of Meat
for the Press. Is he the potato Dan Quail
couldn't spell? No? Oh. That's all we had to say about him for now.
Obviously we were wrong about the potato thing, which we're sorry
about. But it doesn't leave us much more to say. We'll try to do better
next time around.
A Tale of Two Bikes
Bush's mountain bike (top or left) and
Kerry's Cape Cod cruiser (bottom or right)
President Bush suffered some "cuts
" after a fall from his mountain bike Saturday.
According to the Associated Press:
Bush was on the 16th mile of a 17-mile
ride when he fell, Duffy said. He was riding with a military aide,
members of the Secret Service and his personal physician, Dr. Richard
"He had minor abrasions and scratches on his chin, upper lip, nose,
right hand and both knees," Duffy said. "Dr. Tubb, who was with him,
cleaned his scratches, said he was fine. The Secret Service offered to
drive him back to the house. He declined and finished his ride."
Bush was wearing his bike helmet and a mouth guard when the mishap
occurred. Duffy said he didn't know exactly how the accident happened.
"It's been raining a lot and the topsoil is loose," the spokesman said.
"You know this president. He likes to go all out. Suffice it to say he
wasn't whistling show tunes."
Unaccountably, Bush failed to curse at the Secret Service agents who
witnessed his tumble. Further, he failed to claim that he never falls.
The White House spokesman, Trent Duffy, wouldn't confirm that these
mental lapses were being studied by the president's physicians, though
a Kerry campaign aide questioned the administration's reticence on this
point, noting that the Secret Service has not announced an
investigation of the offending bike.
"If it's not the fault of Secret Service agents or the bike," said the
aide, "then the accident can only be due to the president's own
deficiencies. These should be looked into by qualified specialists for
the good of the nation."
Following a bicycle mishap suffered by Kerry some weeks ago, the
senator's custom-built Cape Cod cruiser was investigated, determined to
be culpable, and "put down humanely," according to the Kerry campaign's
with his cruiser in happier days (left) and upon learning of its demise
Meanwhile, Drudge is reporting that when told of Bush's accident, Kerry
told [sic] reporters in front of cameras, 'Did the training wheels fall
off?'... Reporters are debating whether to treat it is as on or off the
Palme D'Or for Michael Moore
Moore tried his best to take
a bow at the Cannes Film Festival
Basking in the
of winning a gold medal for "outstanding vitriol by an ugly
Moore headed for home today to begin a nationwide boasting campaign on
behalf of his new movie.
In one sense he dodged a bullet. Fahrenòut
narrowly edged out the second place winner, Fallacie 3/11
, a documentary by
French filmmaker Phillipe de Grenouille proving that the recent terror
attack in Spain was not provoked by Franco-European appeasement and
corruption. The work drew ovations almost as long as Moore's,
particularly in sequences featuring the animated disembowelling of
George W. Bush and some of the longest anti-American screeds by
French politicians ever put on film.
In another sense, Moore didn't quite dodge a bullet. Racing for his
connecting flight to New York at Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris,
Moore lumbered through the pride and joy of modern French architecture
known as Terminal 2E. The ensuing disaster has been covered in detail
elsewhere, but it can be reported that Moore suffered no more than a
few "cuts and bruises."
Terminal 2E moments after Moore
hurried through it
Saturday, May 22, 2004
The Day After Tomorrow
Tornadoes are going to
destroy Los Angeles
going to discuss this movie the day after tomorrow.
Friday, May 21, 2004
Speaks Out! (click here)
What's gotten into the Speaker Guy all of a sudden? For years we get
hardly a peep from him as Daschle and Kennedy and McDermott and
Schirmer and Rangel scorch the President and Republicans in general for
everything under the sun. Then, within the space of just a few days, he
takes on both McCain and Pelosi.
First, he lit into the Senior Panderer from Arizona:
Asked Wednesday about McCain's
Hastert, who was rejected for military service because of a bad
shoulder, first joked: "Who? Where's he from? A Republican?"
Then, more seriously, he said: "If you
want to see sacrifice, John McCain ought to visit our young men and
women at Walter Reed and Bethesda (two Washington area military
hospitals). There's the sacrifice in this country. We're trying to make
sure that they have the ability to fight this war, that they have the
wherewithal to be able to do it. And at the same time, we have to react
to keep this country strong not only militarily but economically. We
want to be able to have the flexibility to do it. That's my reply to
And here's what he had to say about Pelosi's
on the President:
House Speaker Dennis
Hastert, R-Ill., said
Pelosi "has the right to disagree with President Bush.''
"But her comments
president's competence cross the line,
'' Hastert said. "Was it incompetence that put Saddam Hussein in jail?
Was it incompetence that disbanded the Taliban? Was it incompetence
that spurred the fastest economic growth rate in 20 years? Was it
incompetence that created the highest home ownership rate in history?''
We doubt that he'll choose to go another
round with McCain, but this is quite a lot of progress, considering
what we said about him in Shuteye Nation back in 2000:
The Speaker Guy. The
second most powerful man in the United States of Ameria, which means
we must be talking about, uh, uh...
Is it Humbert? Hissifit? Uh, sorry, can't think of it just now. If you
find out, please let us know.
So we finally know his name, but we
still can't figure out what's behind this unprecedented bravery. Is it
Wheaties? Steroids? Or is it just that all the screaming and shrieking
from the anti-Bush crowd interrupted his four-year nap? We'll let you
know if we find out anything, but we're pretty confident that any show
of guts by Republicans in Congress must be an aberration, not a trend.
THE ISLAMIC CHALLENGE
Over at Target Blank, David Scribner has published a neat little essay
in response to a challenge from Osama Bin Laden. His line of argument
is worth reading in toto, but his conclusion should whet the appetite:
I am left with a feeling in my gut
that, in order to defeat militant
Islam, it is only necessary to read the Koran. A lot. Out loud.
Having tried this particular exercise, I tend to agree.
Thursday, May 20, 2004
TWISTING IN THE WIND
You're trailing in the polls
your approval rating's at an all-time low
, the mass media
are after your head
opponent is wooing members of your own party to be his running
, conservatives are sitting on their hands
there's another nasty book
out about you, and there's a new scandal photo
out of Iraq every single day. What can you do but... dance
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