because nothing goads a fascist troll like a documentary about oil narrated by ed asner

I wasn’t going to mention the fact that the documentary, “The Oil Factor: Behind the War on Terror” was going to be shown this Thursday evening at Ann Arbor’s Cavern Club (210 South First Street), but then I started to think about our house troll and how excited it would make him. So, I decided to run a plug… If you’re free on Thursday at 7:00, stop by and check it out. It’s free, and filmmaker Gerard Ungerman will be on hand to answer questions.

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the free press kills

As you all know, Newsweek was raked over the coals pretty badly by the administration last week after one of its people reported that US military personnel were, among other things, placing copies of the Koran in toilets in order to break Muslim prisoners. The administration suggested not only that Newsweek didn’t have sufficient evidence to back up the claim, and that they weren’t helping the war effort by printing such things, but that their recklessness had led to over one dozen people dying during the anti-American protests which had taken place in Afghanistan since. Since then, however, FBI documents have come to light which corroborate the Newsweek claim, Afghan President Karzai has come forward to say that there was no link between the Newsweek article and the deaths in his country, and, accordingly, the administration has tried to distance itself a bit from the attack on Newsweek.

Meanwhile, fortunately for us all, some good, god-fearing Americans (who weren’t too busy burning crosses) have picked up the ‘Korans belong in the toilet’ theme and kept it alive. (See video.) And, American Muslims have responded… Here’s a clip from an article appearing on the alt.muslim site:

These comments clearly represent a vitriolic hatred of Islam and Muslims. Such sentiments are widespread. The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) counted recorded 1,522 incidents of civil rights violations against Muslim in 2004. According to CAIR this is a 49 percent increase over 2003. CAIR also noted a 52 percent rise in bias crimes against Muslims in 2004.

While these statistics are startling, the situation for Muslims in the United States is far worse. For every Muslim who does make a report of discrimination or a bias crime there are many others who do not. This is because many more Muslims choose not to report incidents of discrimination, civil rights violations and bias crimes out of fear of reprisal and due to a sense of helplessness.

But, remember, it wasn’t this growing culture of hate against Muslims, the torture at Abu Ghraib, the fact that the world was lied to concerning the justification for the war with Iraq, or the repeated stories of US military personnel painting this as a Holy War between our two civilizations, that caused the recent riots in Afghanistan. It wasn’t even that our interrogators put copies of the Koran into toilets and tried to flush them. It was that Newsweek reported that it had happened. Newsweek was at fault. Newsweek got those people killed.

The free press kills
It’s not patriotic
It has to be curtailed
For the good of everyone

Posted in Media | 27 Comments

forum on media bias

Michigan Congressman John Conyers hosted an event in D.C. last week entitled the Forum on Media Bias and the Future of Freedom of the Press: From the Newsweek Controversy to the Downing Street Memo. As it didn’t get much coverage in the corporate press, I thought you might want to check out the video that’s now available on-line. I’m watching it right now, as I write, and it’s pretty good.

And here, as long as we’re talking about Conyers, is the Congressman’s letter to George Bush on the subject of the Downing Street Memo.

I know I’ve said it before, but I’m proud that Conyers is from Michigan.

Posted in Media | 2 Comments

art scene

People send me free magazines, and, occasionally, I look at them. Today, I was sitting here on the floor, sorting through some stuff, when I picked up a copy of a magazine called Rockpile, and flipped it open to a short article on a new, contemporary art-based reality TV series produced by a New York-based group called Aboriginal Entertainment. The show’s entitled Artstar. Here’s the article:

New York’s art world has no shortage of celebrity, and soon it may have the reality TV spectacle to go along with it. Artstar, a new reality TV show produced by Abby Terkuhle (Of Beavis and Butthead fame), art dealer James Fuentes and artist Christopher Sperandio is set to air on Voom HD TV.

In February an open call attracted over 300 artists with work in tow to spend a few minutes with a camera crew and a panel of judges including Art Forum editor David Rimanelli, Paper’s Carlo McCormick, artist Ryan McGinness and curator Deb Singer.

“There’s the kids who get it and the kids who don’t get it, and the other art world-the one we don’t care about,” says Rimanelli.

Contestants competing in the show hope being voted in by the art world elite will propel their careers. Only eight artists were chosen for the show, and we’ll watch them create work for a group exhibition at Deitch Projects, the Soho gallery which represents performance artists-rockers Ficsherspooner.

The real reality is that artists, need both talent, as well as tight production and marketing skills to reach this level of fame. That’s a lot of sweat – why not let a seasoned, former MTV producer help you out.

If you’re interested, I also found something in The New York Times… If I had more time I’d try to say something clever about the New York art scene. I might even have mentioned that night in the mid 80’s when I almost ran over Andy Warhol and the young man who carried his umbrella. Or, I might have mentioned my friend Tubbs, an artist who now lives in Brooklyn and sells his stuff on the street. I don’t know that I’ve mentioned it here before, but I was mad at Tubbs for a while because he told me that if I went and stood outside the MTV studios that he’d come down, painted red and dressed in a loincloth, and put some kind of voodoo hex on them. He never showed, and, to make matters worse, he then had the nerve afterward to suggest that he was there, and that I just hadn’t seen him. (Like I wouldn’t have noticed a naked, heavily-pierced, blood-red man leaping around and shouting gibberish.) Years later he confessed that he’d gotten cold feet and we renewed our friendship… I don’t get Voom TV, and I don’t know anyone that does.

Posted in Art and Culture | 1 Comment

found filth in ypsi: sure grip tighten-her cream

Clementine and I were out yesterday, walking through Frog Island Park, when I noticed a small, rectangular box about two feet off the trail, in a bare spot overlooking the Huron River. Being somewhat obsessive by nature, I couldn’t just walk by it without first seeing what it was, so I swung the stroller over to the side and poked at the box with the tip of my shoe. What I’d found, I quickly realized, wasn’t your run of the mill public park garbage. No, I’d found something special – the packaging for “Sure Grip” vagina-tightening cream. Fortunately, Clementine’s young enough that I didn’t have to explain what it was, why someone would buy it, or, worse yet, why her father wanted to bring it home.

I kicked the box into a plastic bag (which I carry for just such occasions), tucked it into the bottom of the stroller, and began walking toward home, praying all the while that we wouldn’t run into anyone that we knew, and that, in the process of chatting, the bag would pop out to reveal its contents.

It wasn’t until I got home that I had an opportunity to look over the packaging closely… I’d seen the slogan across the top, guaranteeing “that honeymoon fit,” when I got it into the bag, but I hadn’t seen the, “Tightens your vagina like it was your First Time,” line. Or, the fact that it had a $14.95 price tag.

I’ve been wrestling with the “who” and “why” of it ever since. “Could it have been,” I wonder, “one of the older ladies walking the track for exercise… maybe a recent, self-conscious divorc

Posted in Found Objects | 34 Comments

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