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Archives: July 2005

Jon Stewart: Yes, he is glad to see us

cuddle my shuttle.jpgTonight’s Daily Show might as well have been filmed on the old set: banter with pretty movie-star guest, lighthearted news stories, hilarious sight gags, double entendres, and a minimum of agenda-pushing political talk. Where’s the couch when you need it?

Jon Stewart begins with noting that some people were displeased with his kid-glove handling of Senator Rick Santorum the previous night. Well, yeah Jon; if you want us to give you credit for taking the small-fish Bernie Goldbergs to task, then you’re gonna have to ante up with some cojones when you’ve got the big fish on the hot seat. You can’t make fun of Lance Armstrong’s uno cojone when you keep yours so firmly tucked away. I’m just sayin’.

Either way, I still love you for the opening segment: CNN American Morning’s Miles O’Brien and guest Scott “Doc” Horowitz fondle giant shuttle models which stand at attention on their laps. “I’m not saying Miles O’Brien isn’t enormous…ly talentd, well-endowed with scientific knowledge, rock-hard reporter’s credentials,” said Jon, “But COME ON! That just looked like bragging to me.”

Jon went on to pity Horowitz for his dinky little rocket, especially next to Miles’ great big towering one, erect, glorious and unashamed.
Horowitz, forced to overcompensate with “a lot of technical jargon, that is not impressing anyone quite frankly” raised an important issue for Stewart: “As a Jewish person I hate to see Horowitz reduced Jon Stewart 002.jpgJon Stewart 004.jpg to a humiliating stereotype. Especially when O’Brien put the nail in the coffin with this move” – (cut to O’Brien flicking the puny tip of Horowitz’s puny rocket) – “look at that, he just DISMISSES IT! HE JUST DISMISSES IT LIKE IT’S NOTHING! ‘Get it out of here.’” Poor Jon. Don’t worry, we still think you’re huge….ly funny, even if you did wimp out on Santorum.

Jon admits that it’s a bit cheap to show the videotape out of context. What else are we gonna think? With sound, he says, it’s very informative:

MILES: I’m sure if you had the oppoortunity you’d take a ride on one of those.
HOROWITZ: Couple million pounds of thrust to get you going…
MILES: That’s saying something.
HOROWITZ: (smiling dreamily) That’s a big one. You can be telling folks about getting strapped into this vehicle!
MILES: That’d be all right.

Jon giggles into his hand, looking very pleased with himself. He should be, he just made me fall in love with Miles’ O’Brien.

Diane Lane loves dogs, NASCAR goes girly and yet another reason to love Canada after the jump.

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Headlines Less Flattering Than They First Appear: “Is Eric Alterman the New Carl Bernstein?”

eric-alterman.jpgWhen I was still doing party reporting, I used to go to a lot of movie premieres. If movie premieres have permanent seating charts, they’re always the same: Row X = Hollywood celebrity, Hollywood celebrity, Hollywood celebrity, Hollywood celebrity, Hollywood celebrity, Hollywood celebrity, Hollywood celebrity, Eric Alterman, Hollywood celebrity, Hollywood celebrity, Hollywood celebrity, Hollywood celebrity. In fact, the last few times I’ve seen Alterman out socially it’s either been at a celebrity-infested function or an event hosted by Tina Brown. (But I suppose that’s redundant.)

All of which begs the question: are the celebrities required to have master’s degrees in American History to interact with Alterman? Or are the intellectual requirements inversely proporational to the status of the celebrity in question? (For instance: Could Madonna get away with only having written a ninth grade book report on Democracy in America while Andy Dick needs to have written a 763-page dissertation on Marxist sublimations in 19th Century West Virginian Shaker eschatology?)

Related: The inexplicable NNDB classifies Alterman’s “Level of Fame” as “Somewhat.”

You’re Not Good Enough to Fetch Eric Alterman’s Dry Cleaning [Gawker]

Media Miscellany: 07.27.2005

Jolie + Anderson: A match made in Fishbowl heaven Page Six reports that former anonablogger Jolie in NYC (aka Nadine Haobsh) has signed with William Morris and will be on Anderson Cooper‘s show next week. Tell him we love him, Jolie! Atoosa Rubenstein, way to snatch a job offer back from a gal who ain’t going places. [NYP]

BusinessWeek is makin’ you an offer you can’t refuse: BusinessWeek Online has launched a new “Innovation and Design” section to focus on, well, innovations and design, with a marketing and advertising blog called “Brand New Day,” an interactive “Game Room” (where today they talk about an upcoming “Godfather” video game – incidentally this is worth its own post daydreaming about how cool it would be to play Sonny driving around the hit at the tollbooth – everything would be different! – sneaking in to that producer’s bedroom with a giant horse’s head, or coordinating the massive hit at the end where Moe Greene gets it in the eye. Hillary would no doubt be up in arms about the hidden sex scene where Michael deflowers Appollonia on their wedding night. And really, who doesn’t want to bitchslap Carlo?). Other sections include “Car Buff,” “Architecture” and “Brand Equity,” plus design columnists and JD Power rankings so that when you try to get out they can keep pulling you back in. [BusinessWeek Innovation]

Cruisin’ for a press abusin’: Editor Jason Epstein, husband of incarcerated Plame-Gater Judith Miller, is called out by Lowdown for going on a celebrity-studded cruise to the Mediterranean. Dude, she may have said she wanted you to go but in reality she is sitting there in Virginia way pissed. With a whole bunch of people who can teach her a whole bunch of things. Payback’s gonna be a bitch. [NYDN]

Blogs bore Lowry

In Variety, Brian Lowry argues that the sudden-ish plethora of newspaper blogs- particularly the ones covering the TCA press tour- are ill-conceived and boring:

The difficulty with blogging from events like press tour or the network upfronts isn’t the level of blather about stars and parties. It’s that if blogs are supposed to provide a free-wheeling, unfiltered glimpse into journalists’ psyches, newspaper-sanctioned versions are hard-pressed to honestly convey the mind’s tendency to stray faced with the tedium of wall-to-wall press conferences.

The more pertinent problem, however, is whether anyone in charge has a clear sense for whom such excruciating detail is intended. Because so far, anyway, traditional media’s adventures in the blogosphere apparently give scant thought to how their newfangled toy benefits consumers, confusing extra volume with legitimate value.

And it’s true. I can’t really recommend that anyone wade through the various TCA blogs unless, like me, you get paid to blog about things like the TCA blogs. But I think it’s more a question of implementation than concept. Note to TCA newspaper bloggers: Less is more. Pretend you’re writing for the print edition and have a strict word limit. Shorter! Punchier! Thank you.

Finke to Kinsley: Good riddance

In her Deadline Hollywood column, Nikki Finke gives a send-off to Michael Kinsley, who announced yesterday that he would be stepping down as editor of the LAT editorial page. As usual, she is measured and diplomatic:

Good riddance, Mikey. Don’t let the door hit you in the ass on your way out to your new $6.2 mil Seattle mansion, purchased right before you took the LAT job.

I don’t know. Many of Finke’s complaints about Kinsley are legitimate, but can’t she come up with something fresher than “don’t let the door hit you in the ass on your way out?”

Finke also reports that the Current section sound effect was removed from “after readers complained en masse.” I was wondering about that…

Baquet: Vive La Difference!

In a long interview with the NY Observer, Dean Baquet discusses the state of the LAT. He says he intends to “[try] to get a firmer handle on what makes us different from the other three or four great American newspapers, or half a dozen, whatever the list is that we compete against.” Will be interesting to see what this means in practice– will the LAT be increasingly California-ized under Baquet? I hope so. The skeptics in town fear that Baquet is too recent an LA arrival and too steeped in NYT-ness from his time at the (other) Times to give the LAT a distinctive LA-ish stamp. But FishbowlLA says, give the man a chance, you nativists!

Baquet also weighs in on the LAT-NYT rivalry, penis jokes, and, of course, budget woes. Meanwhile, John Carroll vents a little to Newsweek:

Carroll told NEWSWEEK that “the ongoing debate over resources” with the Tribune Co. bosses was one of a variety of factors contributing to his decision to leave the paper. When asked if Chicago adequately appreciated the Times’s journalistic accomplishments during his tenure, he replied, “I want to be candid with you, but I’m going to have to duck on that one.”

Jann Wenner: Don’t stop believin’, hold on to that feelin’

wenner.jpgLooks like Jann Wenner may be gunning his engines, loading his gun, and stacking the deck with MTV for a new reality show. Keith Kelly reports that Wenner and MTV are in talks to collaborate on an “Apprentice”-style show pitting wannabe rock journalists against each other as they fan out cross-country to cover stories in the hopes of getting an article published and landing the top spot: an editor’s gig. Getting high with groupies and roadies will presumably be done on candidates’ own time.

I’m sure there are more than a few readers out there who will relish Kelly’s lede: “This may be the role that Jann Wenner has prepped for his entire life — firing editors and writers.” But right now, man, it’s all about the music, and the dream. And somewhere out there, in bedrooms filled with magazines, posters, and sweet bootlegs, there’s a bunch of wide-eyed young music journalists who are sure all that glitters is gold. For those about to rock, we salute you.


Los Angeles singles: seventh most singlicious!

lamap.jpgAccording to Forbes, our fair sprawlopolis is the seventh-best city in the country in which to be single. That’s down one notch from #6 last year, which makes sense because, personally, I would say I’m about 14% lonelier than I was in 2004.

Forbes uses a pretty suspicious set of metrics to determine these rankings. (Are we really supposed to believe that LA is only the eleventh-coolest city, behind, excuse me as I cough, Philadelphia?) An interviewee, a 27-year old ticket-taker at the Roxy named Michael Genadry, says that LA “is a hub for everything that is interesting or psychotic. No matter how strange your interests are, you can find someone who can share your desires.” (Genadry doesn’t have a Friendster page, so I have no idea what his ‘strange interests’ are, besides being interviewed for silly magazine articles.)

Media Miscellany: 07.26.2005

Achtung, HBO, achtung! This week in New York Magazine Kurt Andersen is all filled with Weltschmertz about the 29% drop in HBO’s audience over the past three years. Where oh where is the Sturm und Drang of The Sopranos? Larry David, schnell, schell and do some more episodes! Andersen, who must be &#252bergeschnappt (aka meshuggenah) if he thinks Fat Actress is any good, wants us all to say auf wiedersehen to any Schadenfreude we might feel for an HBO slump and instead give a big ol’ Wilkommen to Grosz&#252gigkeit in all its HBO-affirming spiritual magnanimity. After all, the &#252ber-hotties of Entourage are still totally wunderbar and Deadwood knows how to work a “der Fick” and “Schwanzlutscher” reference with the best of ‘em. So, bitte, cut HBO a little slacken, ja? For Kurt. We know he’d say danke schoen. [NY Mag]

Judith Regan, in the almost-flesh: Apparently bombshell publishing diva Judith Regan has gone all Oprah on the latest ReganBooks catalog, slapping her sultry image on the cover for all her fans to enjoy. On the interior fold-out, an NY Observer cartoon from back in April shows Regan presiding over one of her now-infamous planned salons, surrounded by headlines about her splashy move to LA, where she still hasn’t quite landed. Here’s a cool idea: Judith Regan Salon + Math Club. There’s a lowest common denominator joke in there somewhere. [NYT via FishbowlLA]

Lowdown keeps us Posted: Today’s “Lowdown” reports that staffers at the New York Post can’t use IM without special permission, and when they do their private messages are subject to management scrutiny. Wow – we’d forgotten all about that. Looks like things haven’t changed since we reported that back in April. Thanks for staying on the story, Lowdown! [NYDN]

Gaaak! Do I maybe actually kind of agree with…Ann Coulter?

ac.jpgI may be rocking back and forth in the fetal position right now, but it’s true: Ann Coulter has written a column that is not completely filled with hate and venom. It actually kind of…makes sense. Here, see for yourself:

After pretending to consider various women and minorities for the Supreme Court these past few weeks, President Bush decided to disappoint all the groups he had just ginned up and nominate a white male. So all we know about him for sure is that he can’t dance and he probably doesn’t know who Jay-Z is. Other than that, he is a blank slate. Tabula rasa. Big zippo. Nada. Oh, yeah … We also know he’s argued cases before the Supreme Court. Big deal; so has Larry Flynt’s attorney. But unfortunately, other than that that, we don’t know much about John Roberts.

Hello? It’s what we’ve all been saying (or at least reading and then saying): John Roberts has no paper trail, John Roberts is a candidate whose views are not easily discerned, John Roberts is an unknown quantity.

Yes, he was nominated by Bush for his first all-important legacy-making Supreme Court seat, so there’s a rebuttable presumption that Roberts is all sorts of conservative. But we don’t know. No one knows. And if Ann Coulter is admitting that, then it really must be true. Roberts really is a wild card.

And while Democrats are surely a teensy bit relieved that they’re not dealing with a fire-breathing Bork, that at least this guy has the potential to go the way of Souter/Kennedy/O’Connor (wifely memberships notwithstanding), there must surely too be a sense of confusion: why would Bush waste his nomination on a wild card when he’s got a majority in the Senate? To deflect attention from Rove, sure; but this is a brash White House, cognizant of its power. That one doesn’t entirely add up.

For her part, Coulter doesn’t understand any of it. Conservatives are supposed to be crowing from on high; with majorities in the Senate, House and state legislatures, and a second-term prez in the White House it’s their due, dammit! (Even Hendrik Hertzberg admits this in the New Yorker: confirming a Dubya Supreme Court Justice “is a pill [Democrats] have known since last November that they wold have to swallow”).

Yet Bush gives us squeaky-clean Roberts, unremarkable judge and explicitly-disclaimed client advocate. For Coulter, White House assurances of Roberts’ conservative fitness for duty are not enough; well she remembers Souter. A frustrated Coulter channels Lloyd Grove and likens court-watchers to Kremlinologists searching for clues to the Roberts enigma. Hell, it’s not like the Dems have any more insight (although the debates ove the word “member” should provide some fun comic relief).

Anyhow, the point is, Coulter is making way too much sense here, and it’s scaring us. Where oh where did our formerly loathesome bile-spewing Annie go? Ah! There we go:

It’s always good to remind voters that Democrats are the party of abortion, sodomy and atheism, and nothing presents an opportunity to do so like a Supreme Court nomination.

Phew. Thank God. In this uncertain world, some things we just need to be able to count on.