PWNEDback Mountain

Tbogg links to a typically giggle-inducing Jason Apuzzo blog post, which inevitably digresses into discussions of “Star Wars” and “Cinderella Man.” And “Cinderella Man” revisionism is pretty easy to come by. Here’s Myrna Blyth complaining about its Academy dissage.

“Cinderella Man” didn’t make much money, and I suppose it’s considered a flop. But none of the other movies nominated for the Oscar have made much money, and everyone in Hollywood seems to be congratulating the producers and directors for making them.

Let’s do this quickly.

“Brokeback Mountain”
Cost: $14 million
Gross: $75.6 million

“Cinderella Man”
Cost: $88 million
Gross: $61.7 million

The “gay cowboy movie” starring the guy from “A Knight’s Tale” and the guy from “Jarhead” has been seen and embraced by more Americans than the boxing movie starring two Oscar winners (Crowe and Zellweger). This “Hollywood is thumbing its big Jewey nose at middle America” guff has got to stop.

Weekender

At the end of a grueling week I visited Delaware to suit up for CJ Stunkard‘s bachelor party. This is the third bachelor party I’ve been to, and the third one sans strippers. Not for us. For us, there was New York Comic Con.

I’m a desperately lazy man, so I’m going to repost my description of Comic Con from a recent IM dialogue.

DaveWeigel81: OK… well, people start lining up at 2 am for tickets to signings and stuff, which start getting handed out at 8:30. My friends and I got in line at 8, we get through the line at 10:30. Not bad so far.
DaveWeigel81: The main convention hall has artists, dealers and exhibitors all in there, in 5 lines of booths. By noon, there is still a line to get in. Then the fire marshall arrives and says they need to kick out 500 people or will be shut down for violating the code.
DaveWeigel81: So they kick out like 500 people, all of whom paid their $25. And they cordon off all other enterences to the hall.
DaveWeigel81: At 1 pm, Kevin Smith speaks in the event hall (I saw him), he finishes at 3, and starts walking to the main hall to sit at his table in the artists’ alley. But organizers realize this won’t work so they send him to another room without telling anyone.
DaveWeigel81: So a mob scene forms at the View Askew booth, and eventually the VA guys hand out 100 tickets for people to enter the room KS is in and get signatures.
DaveWeigel81: He HAD been booked for unlimited signatures from 3-6. But oh well.
DaveWeigel81: That was the worst of it.
DaveWeigel81: Luckily I was outside meeting a friend from 11-1, and didn’t enter the main hall til 4, when it was emptying out.

All that said, it was actually a pretty enjoyable experience. Once I got into the hall I met the incredible Evan Dorkin, who signed one of his sketches for me, and Alex Robinson, who signed a copy of “Box Office Poison.” Kevin Smith is as funny in person as I’d ever heard. I’m not much of a comics geek anymore, but with some poking around I found artists and comics that I had loved for years (oh, and the hardcover collection of Jaime Hernandez’s “Love and Rockets” stories for 50% off).

I didn’t take too many pictures – it was just too damn hectic. But, here’s a picture of Dean entering the main hall.

And here’s one of all of us outside the Javits Center.

The shipping news

If I was a wingnutty congressman, I do believe I’d introduce a bill that would privatize the Secret Service and open the Presidential bodyguard business up to foreign bidders. But I’m not a wingnutty congressman.

That’s all for now. Oy. Not a great week.

Saddam, then and now

2004 version:

We couldn’t take the word of a madman.

2006 version:

Strike that. We can totally take the word of a madman.

I figure some slope-browed bloggers and radio hosts are getting hot and bothered about these 1990s Saddam quotes. They would be advised to listen to notorious anti-war activist Stephen Hayes:

A hypothetical: If the tapes are in fact authentic, imagine that they include audio of Saddam Hussein talking about Iraqi weapons of mass destruction. Does this mean that Iraq actually had these weapons Saddam thought he had? Not necessarily. One of the leading theories about Iraqi WMD holds that Iraqi scientists misled Saddam about his WMD capability. These scientists, according to this theory, lied to their superiors for fear of reprisals if their lack of progress on WMD development was discovered. That Saddam believed he had these proscribed weapons is not proof that he did.

Why does Stephen Hayes hate freedom/America?

Book #5


Other Americas
by Norman Spinrad, 1988

A few months back I read Spinrad’s infamous Hitler novel, “The Iron Dream” (that is, a sci-fi novel “written” by an alternate universe’s Adolf Hitler), enjoyed it greatly, and decided to seek out the rest of his stuff. This collection of four short stories was the first thing I finished, and I must say I’m not impressed. The stories …

– “Street Meat” is a 38-pager about a future New York where the rich have walled themselves off and the armies of the homeless own the streets and kill rats for food. A very 80s concept ruined by a mangy dialect Spinrad gives the homeless characters – sort of a cross between Nadsat and jive. Example: “I’m the plushie tushie, primed for prole place plunder. Slumming for sleazo sex, son, see the scene?” You see? It doesn’t work.

– “The Lost Continent,” 48 pages, is the best story here. In the late 22nd century, the United States is a dessicated husk of a country, brought low a century earlier by war and pollution, and Africa is the center of the World. Narration swings between an American tour guide and one of his African clients as they get a tour of the historic New York tri-state area. The scenes inn which they explore the subways where thousands of New Yorkers took their generators and vending machines at the end of the last crisis are harrowing. In a few generations, deprived of sunlight, breathing recirculated air and eating rotten food, the subway people have devolved into short, retarded subhumans. Definitely one of the most 70s stories you’ll ever read.

– “World War Last,” 73 pages, is a super-broad satire wherein the two aging empires of America and the USSR are brought low by an Arab Sheik with nukes. Sort of funny, but “Dr. Strangelove” did it better.

– “La Vie Continue,” 92 pages, is definitely the craziest thing here. A future version of Norman Spinrad makes his living in France, having been exiled by the fascistic American government years before. He cuts a deal with the KGB to fund an underground newspaper, then another deal to adapt one of his novels into an American movie with a Russian rock idol as the star. It’s all quite insane.

I’m still enamored with Spinrad’s prose style – sort of a pulpy, Hollywood version of Philip K. Dick crossed with Elmore Leonard – but I hope his other efforts have stronger plots.