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After August, I can die happy
Slacker on DVD!

Richard Linklater’s Slacker presents a day in the life of a subculture of marginal, eccentric, and overeducated citizens in and around the University of Texas at Austin. Shooting the film on 16mm for a mere $23,000, writer/producer/director Linklater and his close-knit crew of friends eschewed a traditional plot, choosing instead to employ long takes and fluid transitions to create a tapestry of over a hundred characters, each as unique as the last, culminating in an episodic portrait of a distinct vernacular culture and a tribute to bohemian cerebration. Slacker is a prescient look at an emerging generation of aggressive nonparticipants, and one of the keynote films of the American independent film movement of the 1990s.

If you don’t know what I’m talking about, rent the VHS version of Slacker ASAP.

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Self-promotion
I’ve held off on hyping the columns I wrote for NU’s daily newspaper, mostly for reasons of tact. It seemed gauche. But since they published my final column, here are links to the stuff I wrote in Spring quarter.

– my introduction
– on Chicago’s RedEye newspaper (see also: an editorial apology for my existence)
– on why rich college kids drink like poor college kids
– on the joy of ignoring student government
– on Alexandra Robbins’ book “Pledged” and NU
– on a push to expand ethnic studies
– on selling out to Hollywood
– (in place of my column on mental health – not on the website – another editoial riposte toward me)
– on why college students shouldn’t feel guilty about sitting out of elections
– on how the real world kicks college’s ass

Many thanks to Jesse Abrams-Morley and Jaime Griesgraber for a fun and enlighting quarter in the newsroom.

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Consummatum est!
Great big candy-stuffed congratulations to the staff of the Northwestern Chronicle, my alma mater. They’ve completed their first quarter of publication with such highlights as
– catching the students who were seizing copies of the paper and throwing them out
– publishing on schedule despite my asbsolute and total lack of financial management
– making NUComment, The Passenger, The Protest, and The Daily all look like warmed-over rat shit. Although The Daily had its moments.

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An oldie but goodie
I finally met the talented Jeremy Lott last night, and had the dust shaken off my memory of one of the more amusing blogwars of recent times. A brief guide:

1.)Read this.
2.)Now this.
3.)Ready? Now this.
4.)OK. Now this.
5.)*deep breath* Now this.
6.)This.
7.)Now this.
8.)Ha ha! Now this.
9.)Also, this.
10.)And: Scene!

As my boss would say … Thoughts as I sit at home with my blinds drawn:
– Blogwars are funny, yet usually pointless. What did anyone learn from the public ego-bruising of Rich Lowry? Did the imminent nuking of Mecca fade from the list of possibilities? Nah, never existed. And we could have guessed that there were dumb people out there who want to nuke things.
– Rich Lowry bruises easily, but not as easily as Jonah “Matthew Yglesias made a short comment disparaging one of my web columns, thus I must respond with 500 words” Goldberg.
– Seriously, nuclear weapons should never be used, in any circumstances, ever. Except one.

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Rare society blogging
For the third consecutive night I drove into DC, and for the third consecutive night I survived. Keep in mind, driving into the city from work is actually quite direct, and only – in theory – a 10-minute detour from my route home. But since I finished work early, I crashed right into the Thursday rush hour and spent 65 minutes getting across 8 miles of Virginia into the city.

Oh, yeah – then I parked. It took a solid 15 minutes of stopping, starting, and circling before I could slide into a space on the side of M St. The process was so stressful that I forgot where I actually had parked, which became slightly humiliating when I offered a ride to a journalist I really respected, then couldn’t find the car.

But that gets ahead of my point. I was in town, again, to take advantage of the America’s Future Foundation‘s monthly happy hour. It provided my first real chance to interact with journalists I’ve read from afar with various degrees of awe. I will refrain from using their names in the chance David Brock is reading this to extrapolate a new conspiracy.

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Wishful thinking
The Nation’s Praful Bidwai had certain ideas about how India’s new government might fulfill its mandate.

The broad trend is unmistakable: The people have voted against pro-corporate, pro-rich neoliberal policies that impoverish the majority … Naidu was ignominiously defeated by the Congress and Communist parties and a regional group in Parliament and state elections–a punishment for his unabashedly pro-investor policies and callousness toward his people … Economic distress–and anger at collapsing services and privatization of public assets–is impelling a search for radical alternatives. Unfortunately, the Communist left (modern social democrats in practice) has refused to join the new government, largely out of timidity and fear that it won’t be able to change the direction of the Congress-led economic policy.

All right. So what do we know about new PM Manmohan Singh?

Mr Singh slashed red tape, simplified the tax system and removed stifling controls and regulations to try create an environment conducive to business.
The economy revived, industry picked up, inflation was checked, and growth rates remained consistently high in the 1990s.
The economy, under Mr Singh’s stewardship, grew at a steady 7% per annum.
In recent years, he has lamented that the economy was not growing “fast enough” under the Hindu-nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party-led government, which lost the recent elections … In his role as a technocrat, Mr Singh headed India’s central bank, advised the government on managing the economy and was a governor with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the Asian Development Bank (ADB).

I’m unsure what planet The Nation is publishing from these days.

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Oliver Willis vs. context
The newly-disenfranchised blogger has some typically shallow comments on a column by enviro-skeptic Patrick Michaels. I never really take OW seriously, but this post hit home because … well, I work at USA Today, and I edited that column.

Luckily, commentor Dave Fitz said all that need be said.

The movie is based on claims made by Art Bell, which are utterly without support from anyone.

Period.

There simply is no support. It’s like quoting from Timecube.

With that firmly in mind, i don’t really give a damn if Patrick Michaels’ resume says ‘left-hand man of Lord Lucifer’.

My dog has more credibility than Art Bell.

This is true.