Phrase Focus

Filed under:Abortion,Language Barrier,Need a Good Editor? — posted by Anwyn on May 15, 2008 @ 10:20 pm

Dear Columnists, Especially on the Right:

It is not “a woman’s right to choose.” It is more properly called “a woman’s right to choose abortion.” Without abortion she still has a choice: Keep her child or give the child up for adoption, both perfectly viable if heart-rending alternatives.

I read the phrase, which is, after all, only what everybody calls it nowadays–the common cant on abortion–in a Pat Buchanan column about something else entirely and it made me realize the more we accept the phraseology of the opposition, the more we legitimize their semantic sleight-of-hand. Now you see the abortion; now you don’t, because it’s become a “right to choose.” No, it is the right to choose the abortion itself, nothing more or less.

“Recount” Getting a Few Democrats Up in Arms

Filed under:Good Grief,Television — posted by Anwyn @ 9:04 am

Recount being an HBO film written by Danny Strong of Buffy Evil Nerd Mastermind fame. So why is Warren Christopher upset at his portrayal in the film? Ah–because he is shown as not aggressive enough to get Gore the win.

“I was stunned by the excerpt,” he said in an interview. “Much of what the author has written about me is pure fiction. It contained events that never occurred, words I never spoke and decisions attributed to me that I never made.”

The film portrays Mr. Christopher as blocking attempts by other Gore advisers to rally protesters and to take the fight over disputed ballots to court. He is depicted as backing away from confrontation during a meeting with Mr. Baker, seeking compromise and negotiation as the Republicans prepare for war.

And what does it make you, exactly, when you seek compromise and negotiation while your opponents “prepare for war”?

“I think a lot of the strategizing in the script that I saw was somebody’s hindsight rather than what we had to deal with in the immediate aftermath of the election,” Mr. Daley said. He added: “The perception that Warren Christopher was some wuss who got hoodwinked by Jim Baker is absolute fantasy in the mind of somebody who is trying to make themselves out to be bigger than they were.”

Writing on, Jeffrey Wells calls it “a thoroughly engaging, first-rate political drama.” But, he added, “I can’t see how this film won’t be seen as having done serious damage to the reputation” of Mr. Christopher, whom Mr. Wells says is portrayed “as one of the great all-time wimps.

Oh. It makes you a “wuss” and a “wimp.” I believe that right there is something known as “irony.”

Oh, ho, ho, irony! Oh, no, no, we don’t get that here. See, uh, people ski topless here while smoking dope, so irony’s not really a, a high priority. We haven’t had any irony here since about, uh, ’83, when I was the only practitioner of it. And I stopped because I was tired of being stared at.

As for the Nerd Mastermind himself, I’ll leave you with his idea of Warren Christopher’s characterization:

Mr. Strong disputes that characterization. “It was our goal to show him as a noble statesman who held a deep concern at how the rest of the world would be negatively affected if the United States was not able to handle a disputed election in a nonviolent manner,” he said.

Come on, now, Danny/Jonathan. Even your erstwhile HuffPo reviewer is not buying that.

And Gib marvels in fascination at the spectacle of a former Secretary of State taking on … Jonathan from Buffy.

Via Whedonesque.

Eah, Doesn’t Even Look Much Like Him

Filed under:Good Grief,Not Cool,Wacky Oregon — posted by Anwyn on May 13, 2008 @ 10:27 am

Obama as Messiah Rising from the Oregon Waters.

Alas, however, that is recognizably Portland, OR, behind him.

H/t Ace o’ Spades.

Some People Have No Sense of Humor

Filed under:Good Grief,Movies — posted by Anwyn @ 9:38 am

Real Archaeologists (TM) on Indiana Jones:

Indiana Jones managed to retrieve the trinket he was after in the opening moments of “Raiders of the Lost Ark.” He pretty much wrecked everything else in the ancient South American temple where the little gold idol had rested for millennia.

Though he preaches research and good science in the classroom, the world’s most famous archaeologist often is an acquisitive tomb raider in the field with a scorched-earth policy about what he leaves behind. While actual archaeologists like the guy and his movies, they wouldn’t necessarily want to work alongside him on a dig.

Indy’s bull-in-a-china-shop approach to archaeology will be on display again May 22 with “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull,” in which he’s sure to rain destruction down on more historic sites and priceless artifacts.

Silly me, I thought it was the giant boulder booby-trap, the Nazis, the heart-yanking, child-enslaving Kali cult, and the built-in earthquake in the Grail cave that did the damage.

Seriously, I can’t believe they got anybody to go on record for this article:

“It is rather adventurous in a way, because for the most part, you’re going to some exotic country and delving into their past. But it’s not an adventure with a whip and chasing bad guys and looking for treasure,” said Bryant Wood, an archaeologist with Associates for Biblical Research.

It’s … it’s … not?

I may cry.

H/t J.

You’re Gonna Buy This Stuff Anyway: Use My Widget!

Filed under:Blogging,Cool — posted by Anwyn on May 12, 2008 @ 7:48 pm

I’ve allied myself with the Amazon Empire and put up a widget with my recommendations (updated frequently with good stuff!) and a search box. When you buy Amazon goods through my site, I’ll get a percentage that will help pay for my webhosting, etc. I may look into getting a new theme that will have the widgets on one side and the Recent Comments back up high on the other side, but for now the Amazon widget will stay on top. Go forth! Buy goodies! Thanks.


Filed under:Blogging,Cool,Television — posted by Anwyn @ 12:43 pm

I cannot speak of it.

Oh Noooooooes

Filed under:Movies,Not Cool — posted by Anwyn on May 8, 2008 @ 1:21 pm

AICN–AICNis panning Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull.

The Great Conflict looms: See it, and potentially have to pretend it doesn’t exist, like the last three Star Wars films, just so I can say I’ve seen it? Don’t see it, and keep my Indy memories intact?

Oh, Spielberg, what the hell were you thinking? Whose fault is this? Given the comments about the CGI, I’ll go out on a limb: Lucas’s. Given the comments about the lines that don’t work and the bad acting, though, I guess it’s going to have to be: both. I have a sneaking suspicion, too, that the reason it took so long to come up with a good script, despite going through a raft of good screenwriters, is that Lucas and Spielberg are no longer comfortable with any villains, even the obviously evil ones they used to use, unless those villains include the U.S. or its henchmen. That’s what I thought when I watched the first trailer, anyway, but I could be way off base.

We’ll see. Come on, Kyle Smith, tell me soon whether I can expect to have a few more of my youthful memories corrupted–at least you’re getting paid to risk it firsthand.


Filed under:Sad — posted by Anwyn on May 7, 2008 @ 2:43 pm

Man dies shielding his daughter from a car that jumped the sidewalk because its asshole driver was high. RIP, Joseph Richardson.

Good Show, Mario

Filed under:Cool,Television — posted by Anwyn on May 6, 2008 @ 10:49 pm

Surprise of the night, besides Hillary practically losing Indiana, was Mario’s exit from Dancing with the Stars while Marissa Jaret Winokur, game but still a somewhat awkward dancer, remained. Her sunfire smile and exuberant enthusiasm will carry her through to another week while Mario’s saggy jive, singularly bad amid a very creditable collection of smooth, energetic dances, carried him off.

But a bigger surprise than his exit was the manner thereof: Referring back to a comment of head judge Len Goodman that his youth and niche position him as an excellent role model for young people, Mario declared, “The real brave ones are our young men and women fighting for our country overseas.” Wow. Class, grace, and bravery, considering the Hollywood stage. Good for you, Mario.

Confidential to Mario’s partner, Karina Smirnoff: Stop rolling your eyes. If you want to quit the show, do it. Don’t stay in it and exhibit a snotty attitude. Shame on you. You’re supposed to be a professional.

Horses Too Young to Run for the Roses

Filed under:Sad,Sports — posted by Anwyn on May 5, 2008 @ 5:07 pm

I was out doing errands while they ran the Kentucky Derby. Little Bean and Daddyman were watching at home. The Bean once went several months racing us everywhere, calling himself Seattle Slew, me Affirmed, his father Secretariat. The two of them are interested in the horses and their names and what races they win. I was horrified when I called home and was told that the horse of The Bean’s choice, Eight Belles, had had “an accident” on the track and broken both ankles after coming in second. Me, anxiously: “What did they do for her?” Daddyman, conscious of The Bean’s listening ears close by: “Well, they pulled the horsey ambulance around to the track and … took care of it … right there.” The Bean knew nothing of what “took care of it” meant, even when the TV announcers used the word “euthanized.” Fortunately he didn’t think to ask about that long-tailed word’s meaning.

And I spent the rest of the day thinking there must be something wrong with horse racing, even if I personally don’t know exactly what it is, and that maybe people shouldn’t race horses like this.

Turns out it’s true, people shouldn’t race horses like this:

Eight Belles was three-years old and 17 hands high. The average amateur, like me, wouldn’t even start jumping her until she was five because her bones haven’t finished developing. Am I smarter than the megabuck owners and trainers? I’d have to say “yes.” Just look at the outcome.

I got Lucy, my fat Thoroughbred who flunked out of racehorse training when she was two, on the New Year’s weekend when she turned three. I treated her like a baby. She was a baby and didn’t finish growing until she was past five. I didn’t start jumping her until she was five. This is considered common sense.

I don’t have much sympathy for animal rights groups, but I do have a lot of sympathy for animals and concern over their treatment at human hands. I’m relieved to find that it’s not racing as a practice that is abusive, still a bit on the fence about whether racing as a practice is abusive, but relieved to find that what seems to cause these shocking deaths is not racing, but the racing of horses before their time. The destruction of these beautiful animals is terrible. Read Anne’s whole piece if you were shocked by the fate of Derby runner-up Eight Belles, and remember that human skull bones don’t fully fuse until we’re over twenty years old. Over twenty! Allowing the horses’ bones to set hard before they’re put through these paces is the least race owners, trainers, and jockeys can do.

Fun SiteMeter Fact

Filed under:Blogging — posted by Anwyn on May 3, 2008 @ 8:55 pm

A disproportionate number of Oregon hits on my blog are referred by a search-engine query for marijuana.

I could really stand to move out of this state.

Orson Scott Card: Rowling’s “Greedy, Evil-Witch Behavior”

Filed under:Authors,Cool — posted by Anwyn on May 2, 2008 @ 5:12 pm

Sweet. Big-time author echos my points about Rowling and pulls no punches doing it: 1) That Steven Vander Ark isn’t violating her copyright, no, that is for authors like Rowling herself to do in lifting plots and language from other authors; that nobody will refrain from buying Rowling’s Potter encyclopedia even if they already own Vander Ark’s, and 2) That her claim that Dumbledore’s gay would have had a lot more authenticity put into the actual books, except that, gee, she just wouldn’t have made as much gosh-darn money if she’d said it there. Oh and also, she’s only doing this because she craves literary respectability that was denied her by all the Potter sneerers out there:

Rowling has nowhere to go and nothing to do now that the Harry Potter series is over. After all her literary borrowing, she shot her wad and she’s flailing about trying to come up with something to do that means anything.

Moreover, she is desperate for literary respectability. Even though she made more money than the queen or Oprah Winfrey in some years, she had to see her books pushed off the bestseller lists and consigned to a special “children’s book” list. Litterateurs sneer at her work as a kind of subliterature, not really worth discussing.

It makes her insane. The money wasn’t enough. She wants to be treated with respect.

At the same time, she’s also surrounded by people whose primary function is to suck up to her. No doubt some of them were saying to her, “It’s wrong for these other people to be exploiting what you created to make money for themselves.”

She let herself be talked into being outraged over a perfectly normal publishing activity, one that she had actually made use of herself during its web incarnation.

Now she is suing somebody who has devoted years to promoting her work and making no money from his efforts, which actually helped her make some of her bazillions of dollars.

Wow. Read the whole thing, because wow. I think I finally need to go pick up a copy of Ender’s Game right now.

H/t Petitedov, who found it in Ace’s headlines.

Disney/Pixar Getting a Little Too Cute for Their Boots

Filed under:Mothering,Movies,Need a Good Editor?,Not Cool — posted by Anwyn on May 1, 2008 @ 6:59 pm

So I’m watching Cars with The Bean, who now will occasionally deign to take a break from four or five episodes of How It’s Made per day to watch a movie, and we have the captions on, as is our custom since he likes to read them and I’ve got a long-standing caption habit dating back to his birth when I wanted the house very quiet. At the end of the first race when McQueen goes to make his appearance in the Rust-Eze tent, a comment from a random car in the crowd flashes up in caption: “That race was a pisser!”

What the hell? It’s one thing for that kind of line to be mumbled in a crowd scene so muddled as to be inaudible. Ha, ha, an adult comment in a kids’ film. Yes, we get it, you’re clever. But to put it in the captions? Do they just expect no kids to ever see those? In some houses “piss” still is a less than polite word, folks. What’s next–will I need to preview the captions on Aladdin to make sure that when the monkey, Abu, is leaping from stone to stone over the lava, he doesn’t really, in fully readable print rather than unintelligible monkey-squeak, say “Oh shit!” as it sort of sounds like he might be doing? (About 1:06 on that vid.)

Come on, people, get your act together. If you don’t want to make movies for kids, don’t. Don’t stick adult or even semi-adult language into kids’ movies, or if you do put in an inaudible nugget now and then, keep it out of the captions.

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image: detail of installation by Bronwyn Lace