Outworn welcomes of 2003
As a creature of media, I experienced deep hurting at the coverage and hyping of many 2003 phenoms. Here’s a few.

Ironic praise for “The Daily Show” or “The Onion”: Please, everyone – stop saying that these fake organizations are “the only REAL news.” They’re not. They’re satire. For fuck’s sake. Ernie Pyle was a real journalist. Michael Kelly was a real journalist. Smoove B. Love Man is not. The Nation, of all the crazy sources, got it right when they interpreted Jon Stewart’s (very, very funny) show as political activism.

Making fun of Dennis Kucinich: So he’s short, single, and has bad hair. He also is a presidential candidate with a platform. When did the Fourth Estate start taking orders from ten year-olds? Reporters and webmasters took a throwaway line in a debate (“If you’re out there, call me”) and made us believe that Dennis Kucinich was running for president to get dates. Yeah, he won’t win the primaries, but he’s speaking for at least 2 million voters who want us to hand over national soveriegnty to the UN, abolish the death penalty and Pentagon, and subsidize graduate school tuition with our tax dollars. Cover it!

California recall jokes: For Christ’s sake, anyone who’s observed more than one political campaign should know that wacky people run for office all the time. Lyndon LaRouche and his cult mount presidential campaigns every four years. Dozens of oddballs will be on state Republican primary ballots, picking up 100 or so votes against George Bush. And yet every working cartoonist and every human cartoon (Keith Olbermann, I’m looking at you) acted like this was a disgusting mockery of democracy. And then they put on their serious faces and joked about Dennis Kucinich’s hair.

Explosions and shiny things: I’m not alone on this one. At multiplexes across the fruited plain, people saw what movie studios were offering and said: “Um, I think I’ll see Finding Nemo instead.” So we had Gods and Generals (which made back 15% of its cost), Timeline (18%), Biker Boyz (48%), Bulletproof Monk (30%), Hollywood Homicide (29%), Cradle 2 the Grave (70%), Out of Time (55%), Tears of the Sun (39%), The Rundown (43%), The Haunted Mansion (51%), Tomb Raider 2 (50%), The Cat in the Hat (65%), Charlie’s Angels 2 (63%), The Hulk (77%), and the worst movie of the year, Bad Boys II (82%).

The Hilton sisters: Obviously.

Fox (the network, not the news channel): If you want a good, hard cry, rent the fourth disc of Joss Whedon’s Firefly and listen to the way Fox treated the producer of one of the most acclaimed TV shows of the last three decades – a show that inspired national security documents, academic papers, political tracts, and millions of teenage girls. So what did Fox do? They rejected the finished, two-hour pilot and gave Whedon two days to write a “typical episode” of the series. Then they used the non-pilot as the series premiere. Then they ran other episodes out of sequence (the equivilent of watching The Return of the King before Fellowship, followed by The Two Towers). Then they pre-empted it for The Brady Bunch Movie. Then they cancelled it, with three filmed episodes unaired.

This is the the network that, in 2003, ran Skin, The Next Joe Millionaire, American Juniors, and Temptation Island.

The skinny Renee Zellweger: Can we just agree that she looks much, much sexier when she gains weight for the Bridget Jones movies? It goes straight to her curves.

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