Iron Sky is a partially crowd-funded indie (technically, isn’t anything produced by a corporation ‘crowd-funded’?) that recently released a trailer in advance of its premiere at the Berlin Film Festival.
Instapaper is the best, you guys. If you don’t have it, get it. If you have it, use it more. Here’s the pieces that have made my commute more interesting:
- The Hunt for Hemingway - For the first time, scholars are allowed access to Hemingway’s Cuban farm, his one real home, and examine his papers. [Vanity Fair]
- Letter From California: Jumpers - The Golden Gate Bridge is the world’s top destination for suicides, and authorities refuse to do anything substantive to stop people from taking the plunge. [New Yorker]
- Just Kids - The story of the early years of David Foster Wallace, Jonathan Franzen, and other young writers of their generation, and how a few lonely authors became a scene. [New York Magazine]
- Mysterious Circumstances - The world’s leading expert of Sherlock Holmes found dead in a locked room. An heiresses priceless possessions sold at private auction. Arthur Conan Doyle’s last great mystery? [Originally published in the New Yorker]
- Bringing It All Back Home - A profile of Nolan Ryan on his return to Texas. [Grantland]
- Fantasy Island - Pearlasia Gamboa, cons, invented religions, and a tiny island nation that’s underwater at high tide. [SF Weekly]
- The Bloody Crossroads - How a Maoist insurgency in the heart of the Subcontinent turned India into a war zone, and how one village got caught in the middle. [Caravan]
Out of Print celebrates the world’s great stories through fashion. Our products feature iconic and often out of print book covers. Some are classics, some are just curious enough to make great t-shirts, but all are striking works of art.
We work closely with artists, authors and publishers to license the content that ends up in our collections. Each product is treated to feel soft and worn like a well-read book.
In addition to spreading the joy of reading through our tees and accessories, we acknowledge that many parts of the world don’t have access to books at all. We are working to change that. For each product sold, one book is donated to a community in need through our partner Books For Africa.
These shirts look amazing. Here’re some I’d love. You know, if you’re looking to get me something. Or maybe someone in your life who’s into books. You know, whatever.
Fascinating tear-down of the Jon Stewart mythos in Esquire.
Now he’s a real New Yorker, which means he doesn’t take any bullshit and at the same time bullshit doesn’t bother him, depending on the circumstance. But when Congress started jacking those 9/11 first responders around, stalling on the bill that promised them benefits: That bothered him. So he found his opportunity and took his shot, started telling preposterous old biddies like Mitch McConnell to just pass the fucking thing. And they passed it, last December. And you know what he got in return, from all the grateful firemen in New York? A birthday party for one of his kids in the firehouse in his neighborhood in New York, with a birthday cake in the shape of a fire truck. And you know what else he got? A story in The New York Times that compared him to Edward R. Murrow…
See? It never takes long, when you play the Jon Stewart Game. But hey, it’s not his fault. He saw the Edward R. Murrow thing in the Times, was smart enough to say “What the…?” He made sure to remind us that he’s a comedian, for crying out loud. He makes funny faces and fart jokes. But here’s the thing: When he protests that he’s a comedian, he’s not escaping from the collective fantasy. He’s feeding it. The collective fantasy, you see, is not just about Jon Stewart, it’s about America, especially liberal America, and its need for redeemers to rise out of its ranks. Jon Stewart’s just a comedian the way gunslingers in old westerns are really peaceable sodbusters who hate all that bloodshed and all that killin’ but finally have to strap on them six-guns and march on into town. Heck, he’d go back to telling jokes if he could, but he can’t, not with hired guns like Tucker Carlson and Jim Cramer around…
That’s the part of modern liberal ideals I just can’t grasp, the sort of populist authoritarianism, the inherent exceptionalism of equals. Jon is a man of the people, truth to power, but also better than you, smarter and sharper and funnier and your instinctive reaction to sharing the same space with him should be awe and wonder at your good fortune. That’s somehow appropriate among equals? This point is made more explicitly later on:
[Stewart] made fun of Rick Sanchez, the erstwhile CNN anchor, so relentlessly that Sanchez, he just couldn’t take it no more. He called Stewart “a bigot” in an interview, and when the interviewer reminded him that Stewart is Jewish, said, “Very powerless people. He’s such a minority…” He got fired the next day. But here’s the thing: Sanchez, in an e-mail, says that Stewart called him and said, “Sanchez, I made fun of you because you’re the one I liked.” And then in his speech at the Rally to Restore Sanity in Washington, Stewart made sure to say that Sanchez was a victim not of himself or of, well, Jon Stewart, but of the media’s insatiable need for conflict. So in his e-mail Sanchez wrote this: “I think Jon Stewart is misunderstood by a lot of people, and I say that as someone who misunderstood him myself. There aren’t two Jon Stewarts. There isn’t a ‘real’ Jon Stewart and another hiding behind comedy… It’s all the same person. It’s all Jon Stewart. And it’s all real…If anything, Jon is consistent. He’s an equal-opportunity omedian and satirist who has a simple, unified message and focus: He is opposed to extremes. He’s opposed to the extremes that exist in our political system, culture, and discourse. He’s opposed to extreme positions, statements, and policies. He’s opposed to extreme politicians and pundits…”
With all due respect: Rick Sanchez was destroyed by Jon Stewart. He just got his comeback gigdoing color commentary for the football team at Florida International University. He lost his job and his career. He doesn’t have to say that he’s the dick and express his gratitude to Stewart for reeducating him. He’d even be forgiven for being pissed off. But he’s bigger than that, because Stewart’s bigger than that — because Jon Stewart is a good man trying to be better…no, a good man trying to be better by making us all better.
“When I tell people that I used to work for Jon, the thing they ask, all the time, is ‘Oh, is he nice?’” says Stacey Grenrock Woods, a former Daily Show correspondent who is now Esquire’s venerable sex columnist. “Now, I would never think of Jon Stewart as ‘nice.’ He’s a comedian, and comedians aren’t always particularly nice people. But these people look so hopeful, and it’s obviously really important to them. So I always say, ‘Yes, he’s very nice.’ And they always say, ‘Oh, thank God. I don’t know what I’d do if he wasn’t.’ “
I don’t get it. Libertarian stories are about family, friends, hard work, and luck, things anyone can have with a little gumption and the right attitude. Now that “everyone” isn’t literally true, but it’s more true than the idea that everyone is equal except for the privileged graceful few, like Jon. That’s the root of the weird incoherence at the center of Jon Stewart’s cult of personality, and why his fans can’t articulate his raison d’etre.
And then there’s Louis CK. A steller profile from May began with the sentence “I’m crouched in a dining room in Washington Heights, watching a man get ready to masturbate.” This isn’t full of sweeping hyperbole.
On the desk I see a pile of note cards. At my request, he picks up the top one. “People are selfish,” he reads, explaining, “This is some stuff I’ve been working at onstage.” On the next he’s written, “I used to live with Hitler.” He glances up. “That’s something I probably can’t do. It was funny when I said it out loud.” Another: “Stocking is nigger brown.” He explains it comes from a stage bit about an elderly aunt who called Brazil nuts “nigger toes”—“and these are people that we love, and they say ‘nigger brown’ and ‘nigger toes,’ and what are you gonna do?” He reads a few more: “Gray’s Papaya” (“they’re very cinematic, and I want to shoot in one”), “I love you” (“That’s for my daughter”), “Anal Sex,” “Planetarium,” “Mom’s Rape,” “Flabby Action Dad,” “Upstate Limo Driver,” “Thomas Jefferson,” and “Scaled” (“I stole many scales from my junior-high school and sold them for pot”).
Finally, Louis picks up a longer card, with sentences printed in black marker. “Human kindness has no reward,” he reads. “You should give to others in every way you see. You should expect absolutely nothing from anyone. It should be your goal to love every human you encounter. All human suffering that you’re aware of and continues without your effort to stop it becomes your crime. Humans are always evolving. If you do one thing that if done by every human would destroy the world, that makes you Hitler.’”
“There’s Hitler again!” he says, then slaps the card down. “I don’t live by any of those. But I believe them all very strongly.”
That’s the key. Louis is a broken man striving to make sense of his jagged edges and in the process creating something transcendent. Jon Stewart aspires to transcendence and is making something petty and fragile, and deeply untrue.
When Bill O’Reilly takes a break from saying inarticulate things, he likes to mix it up and make bad decisions. It’s mostly sad, but there’s serious schadenfreude involved with someone who’s so gleefully and malevolently moralizing in his public persona. I don’t pay much attention to Bill, so when the story broke yesterday I was poking around, catching up. And, you guys. WOAH. I. Found. The greatest thing ever. Bill O’Reilly wrote a novel. And I. It. I think. WOAH.
Those Who Trespass: A Novel of Television and Murder … focuses on the revenge a television journalist exacts on network staff after disputes very similar to O’Reilly’s real tensions with CBS (such as one involving Falklands War footage). The revenge takes the form of a series of graphically described murders.
The antagonist is a tall, “no-nonsense” television journalist named Shannon Michaels, described as the product of two Celtic parents, who is pushed out by Global News Network, and systematically murders the people who ruined his career.
Meanwhile, the protagonist, a “straight-talking” Irish-American New York City homicide detective named Tommy O’Malley, is charged with solving the murders that Michaels has committed, while competing with Michaels for the heart of Ashley Van Buren, a blond, sexy aristocrat turned crime columnist. Some reviewers have said that Michaels and O’Malley are “thinly veiled versions” of O’Reilly. [ed. note: YA THINK?]
Michaels’ first victim is a news correspondent who stole his story in Argentina, and got him into trouble with the network. He then stalks the woman who forced his resignation from the network and throws her off a balcony. After that he murders a television research consultant who had advised the local station to dismiss him by burying him in beach sand up to his neck and letting him slowly drown. Finally, during a break in the Radio and Television News Directors Association convention, he slits the throat of the station manager. After this, he is pursued by O’Malley and Van Buren, where he attempts to lose them by crossing a runway in front of a speeding jet. Although he makes it, his car’s right back tire is cut by the jet’s wing, causing the car to spin, flip over, and be subsequently melted by the exhaust from the jet, which explodes. Michaels dies in extreme agony, as his contacts (used to hide his identity) burn into his eyes and a chunk of the car crushes his head in.
My thoughts, as coherently as I can make them:
1) YES. Yesyesyesyesyes. GUYS. Bill O’Reilly cathartic murder-revenge novel!
2) In which he is ALSO the good guy!
3) Tommy O’Malley? AND Ashley Van Buren? ARISTOCRAT-TURNED-CRIME-REPORTER? There has to be one scene where they meet in a diner for coffee and pie and other poor-people-foods, and he’s all blue collar and honorable and she’s all aristocratic and uncomfortable and totes like “my collar isn’t blue but my blood is” and he makes her smile and it’s the first genuine feeling she’s had in forever cause like, authenticity and you know.
4) How has Micheal Bay not made this movie yet? Seriously, that death scene (complete with 8th grade SYMBOLISM) is straight Bay-bay all the way.
5) Shakespeare, you hack. How come you couldn’t rewrite Merchant of Venice as an elaborate revenge fantasy. Literature is the best, you guys.
6) Wait, the jet’s wing clips the car’s tire, and then they both explode? Is this a flying car? Why would the flying car need a wheel to fly?
7) Am I debating the mechanics of a Bill O’Reilly revenge murder fantasy? What is wrong with me?
The UN’s Millennium Development Goals are development targets that aim to reduce poverty worldwide. Fair enough, everyone would like to see that result. The UN plan calls for massive cash transfers to poor countries, so poverty can be eliminated in a “sustainable” fashion. Don’t understand what that means? Give a man a fish, you feed him for a day…
Without too much fanfare, the United Nations admits in its newest report on the progress of the so-called Millennium Development Goals that wealth creation and not wealth redistribution is the main driver behind reduced levels of extreme poverty around the world.
Of course, the UN, being an organization that spends most of its time chastising rich countries for not transferring enough money to the developing world — the total last year came to $128.7 billion, the highest ever — is not quite so explicit with its admission.
Canadian with traditional War Paint
I did not realize Canadians could be so sarcastic. It’s a little unnerving, like being attacked by a rabbit.
But therein lies Ban’s dilemma: a key part of the UN’s solution at the time was to call for massive increases in overseas development aid — whereas the history of the world economy since 2000 has shown that poverty has disappeared the fastest in countries where business has expanded the most.
Hence, only later in the 72 pages of The Millennium Development Goals Report 2011 do we see that fact acknowledged with figures showing incredible reductions in poverty in Asia, where growth has skyrocketed, and dismal reductions in sub-Saharan Africa, where economies have only recently begun to pick up.
“The fastest growth and sharpest reductions in poverty continue to be found in Eastern Asia, particularly in China, where the poverty rate is expected to fall to under five per cent by 2015,”.
A commenter once railed at the idea that a rising tide raises all boats. Similarly, the UN report says that while last year marked the highest level of real aid (read, cash transfers) to the developing world ever, giving still fell far short of the MDG targets. The UN certainly has some chutzpah, staring at results and trying to rationalize them away must be exhausting. Steven Edwards gets it; aid doesn’t work.
Today Reason’s Matt Welch and Nick Gillespie released their new book, The Declaration of Independents, about how the libertarian “unpolitics” makes sense. They appeared on Fox Business’ Freedom Watch, and Judge Andrew Napolitano kicked off the interview by claiming America doesn’t have a two-party system at all. If you don’t buy that, check out Glenn [...]
Pastor Ben Dueholm has a fascinating, and frustrating, review/critique/homage in Washington Monthly, discussing the career and ethics of Dan Savage’s weekly sex/relationship advice column Savage Love. Savage Love is … well, it’s a lot of things. It’s part advice, part cultural/sexual criticism, part diatribe. The questions Dan fields are often so far from “normal” that [...]
Does TV make you dumb? Does it make you think? I don’t watch much television. A few shows regularly, Justified, Archer, Modern Family, South Park, and a few things here or there as I catch up on email or clean my bedroom or something. But I know an embarrassingly wide variety of stuff about tv. The sheer amount [...]
Chuck Klosterman is the author of numerous books and essays on pop culture. In his bestselling Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs; A Low Culture Manifesto, he had an interlude piece titled “23 Questions I Ask Everybody I Meet In Order To Decide If I Can Really Love Them”. I’ll be answering those questions in a series [...]