Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Oscar Note

Sweet Jeebus, Cate Blanchett looked like a goddess at the Academy Awards.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Video of Mitt Romney and a Mormon H8er

In the short video clip linked in the title, presidential hopeful Mitt Romney is attacked by some complete cretin who calls him out--in the exact voice of the Dean of Students where I teach, by the way, though I can assure you he is not, in fact, this guy, just an eerie sound-a-like--for, of all things not knowing Jesus Christ Our Lord and Savior well enough because he's Mormon.

You wouldn't think things could take a turn for the creepier from there, but Romney himself grabs the wheel and careens into Creepy Canyon with his answer, that he believes the country needs people of all faiths (okay) but the most crucial thing is that it must "be lead by a person of faith."

So, the President must be religious, says Romney. Doesn't matter what flavor of religion, as long as he (and I would say "he or she" but you know he wouldn't so fuck it) claims some higher power bollocks.

There are so many things wrong with that assertion, and Judge Judy comes on in like 15 minutes so I'm not dedicating any more time to it than that, but I'll toss out my immediate visceral response of: I guess atheistic Americans need not apply? So much for that pesky "no religious test" clause, and the Treaty of Tripoli is right out, clearly.

Think of the assumptions here, the ignorant, baseless assumptions:

1) He asserts that anyone who ascribes to any religion--even one in fundamental conflict with his own--must by default be a better person and a better leader than a non-religious person, no matter other factors.

2) He claims that our political system not only supports the application of a president's personal religion in office but demands such. I find this idea terrifying, I truly do. Just terrifying.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Him fired she.

This week on The Apprentice:

You know, Donald fucking Trump is not someone I expect to be unfamiliar with first person pronouns, so why is it that he can't use them correctly? Why, in the midst of loathing him for many, many other reasons, must I be tormented further by his saying "You'll join Don and I..."?

Hey, dumbass? Would you say "You'll join *I* for dinner"? No, right? Because it's ME. Me, me, MEEEEEEEEEE.

When I think that I spend my days educating our future for peanuts and that stupid bastard made more money by appearing for ten minutes on television and mangling the English language than I'll make in my whole makes me want to get myself a Guy Fawkes mask.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

This is what it's all about, fellow citizens

Oh, yes. Behold The Apostrophe Protection Society.

Friday, February 16, 2007

My 15 fake minutes!

So I participated in a survey for Entertainment Weekly last year. One aspect of our compensation was a keepsake page of yourself responding to the EW Pop Culture Personality Test just like the famous people do. I had forgotten all about it until I received mine in the mail yesterday. It's actually pretty amusing if you read EW; otherwise it probably doesn't mean much to you. It tickled me anyway. (I removed my last name to

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Atheists and gay ballers

Not being a big NBA follower I had never heard of John Amaechi, but I saw him interviewed by some complete tool on CNN last night, and he should be the ambassador for the NBA and professional sports in general, not because of his dating habits but because he is one of the most articulate, sharp, intelligent-sounding human beings I've ever heard on tv, period. I could not have been more impressed by him, seriously. Wow.

Check him out HERE.

The interview I saw was on Paula Zhan's show, which I only watched because Richard Dawkins was on (for like 2 minutes), and I have to say that I was stunned by the utter tabloid shittiness of the show in general. Her first question to Dawkins: "Why are you an atheist?" He answered, of course, "Why are you an atheist with regard to Thor and Zeus and the Flying Spaghetti Monster?" I mean, the segment was supposed to be about discrimination against atheistic Americans, and she leads with this question that in and of itself suggests there's something incomprehensible and bizarre about being an atheist? The only reason they had him on (which they admitted, by the way) was that they got all kinds of flak after they ran a piece a week or so ago that discussed atheism in America and included...not one atheist on the panel. Nice journalism there. So this week they actually had one atheist family on, a woman from the Atheist Moms group that I belong to, actually, and they did a fine job, but it was pretty obvious that CNN was phoning it in and didn't much care. The panel "discussion" afterward was shameful.

The tool who talked to Amaechi was named John Roberts, I think--never seen him before--and he just looked like a bumbling fool. He actually asked the guy if he was ever attracted to a teammate. That's what he wants to know, in his two minute interview. Come on, admit that gays really do think of nothing but humping every male in their field of vision. Legitimize my prejudices, please. Incredible. is getting more traffic than it can handle these days, but if you can get on they have the video of the show posted there. I don't know if it's the whole thing or only his segment but they also have the transcript linked, in case anyone cares about any of this.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Happy Darwin Day!

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Elie Wiesel Attacked

People are just fucking crazy.

San Francisco Chronicle

Nobel prizewinner, author attacked at S.F. hotel
Matthai Chakko Kuruvila, Chronicle Staff Writer

Friday, February 9, 2007

Elie Wiesel, the renowned Holocaust author and Nobel Peace Prize winner, was attacked and dragged out of a San Francisco hotel elevator last week, possibly by a Holocaust denier who claims to have stalked Wiesel for weeks, police said Friday.

Wiesel, 78, was at the Argent Hotel on Feb. 1 for an interfaith conference when he was confronted around 6:30 p.m. in an elevator by a man insisting that he wanted to interview the author, said police spokesman Sgt. Neville Gittens.

Wiesel said he would do the interview in the lobby of the Third Street hotel, but the man insisted on going to Wiesel's room. The man then stopped the elevator at the sixth floor, dragged Wiesel out and tried to force him into a room on that floor.

"That's when (Wiesel) started yelling," Gittens said. The man fled, and Wiesel went down to the lobby and called police.

Wiesel was not injured. He decided to leave the conference on "Facing Violence: Justice, Religion and Conflict Resolution," and police escorted him to the airport.

On Tuesday, a man identifying himself Eric Hunt and claiming to be the attacker posted an account of the incident on a virulently anti-Semitic and anti-Israel Web site. The account matches the description of the attack that police later released.

"After ensuring no women would be traumatized by what I had to do (I had been trailing Wiesel for weeks), I stopped the elevator at the sixth floor," Hunt wrote. "I said I wanted to interview him. He protested, grabbed at his chest as if he was having a heart attack. He then screamed HELP! HELP! at the top of his lungs.

"I told him, 'Why, you don't want people to know the truth?' " Hunt wrote. "After pulling him about fifteen feet out of the elevator ... I decided that it was time for me to go."

Gittens said that police were aware of the Web site and that they had a suspect in mind, but would not confirm that they were looking for the person who posted the account online.

"We're not commenting on statements made on the Web site," Gittens said.

The site has articles on a number of topics, some of which repeat centuries-old slurs against Jews. It is registered to Andrew Winkler of Sydney, who also writes on the site. Phone calls and an e-mail to Winkler were not returned Friday.

Wiesel did not return calls made to his offices in New York and at Boston University, where he is a professor in the religion and philosophy departments.

Wiesel, a native of Romania, was sent by the Nazis in 1944 to Auschwitz, where his mother and three sisters were killed. His father died on a forced march to Buchenwald, another concentration camp, three months before the camp was liberated in 1945.

Wiesel has written more than 40 books based on his Holocaust experiences. In 1978, President Jimmy Carter named him to lead the effort to build the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C. In 1986, Wiesel won the Nobel Peace Prize.

Hunt said in his posting that he had intended to corner Wiesel and force him to admit that the Holocaust never happened.

"I had planned to bring Wiesel to my hotel room, where he would truthfully answer my questions regarding the fact that his non-fiction Holocaust memoir, 'Night,' is almost entirely fictitious," Hunt wrote on the site.

E-mail Matthai Chakko Kuruvila at

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Mr. Deity gets better and better

Two awesome new Mr. Deity videos.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Oh, lord, it's hard to be humble

Remember that song? Heh.

Just a quick note to point out that I was staggeringly right this week about:

1) Heroes, specifically the crucial nature of Peter's empathy and his need to reconcile his admirable feelings of connection to others with his budding autonomy of self;

2) That goddamn Snickers commercial that aired during the Super Bowl. Check out the complete timeline of the gay bashing Snickers commercial, which has now been pulled, as the Snickers wankers have come to fear that it might, possibly, when viewed in certain light, give the impression of being homophobic.

No! You THINK? Jackasses.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

The Super Bowl commercials embody everything that sucks about our culture

A bold statement, perhaps, but one I'm willing to stand behind.

Last year I said this. This year I'm even surlier, and it's only the 3rd quarter.

Take, for example, the hideous GM commercial with the poor little factory machine that "lives" in fear of losing its job because of GM's incredibly high standards.

The whole ghastly narrative dramatizes the desperation and suicide of a laid off auto worker. Remember back in 2005 when GM laid off 30,000 workers? Good times, huh? So good that they're JOKING ABOUT IT now. My god, it's utterly unconscionable.

Not only do they make a joke out of layoffs, they add insult to injury by implying that if you get laid off it's your own damn fault. Their standards are such that no worker error will be tolerated; drop a rivet and you face the sack. And car buyers are encouraged to celebrate this, to side with the corporation against the workers and laugh at the spectacle of the suffering of the unemployed. I am aghast, truly.

Other commercials featured objectified, caricatured, fake women, as per the status quo. (I specifically recall a spot in this category.)

I also recoiled at the candy bar commercial that made fun not only of gays but of homophobia. Because it's really nothing but a harmless giggle, right, for men to fear gays? It's not like people ever get bullied or murdered or anything. It's cute!

Ugh. Depressing.

Added: Link to the GM commercial.

Friday, February 02, 2007

The Hero's Journey in Heroes

Heroes continues to captivate me.

This week’s episode deals with parent/child relationships and the child’s struggle for autonomy in some intriguing ways. My favorite take involves the heroic quest archetype as played out through the characters of Hiro and Peter.

All we know so far about Hiro’s relationship with his daddy is that his father is:

1) Sulu, which rules;
2) Powerful, the kind of powerful that employs stoic kidnapper henchmen;
3) Fiercely intimidating to Hiro, like, Freud would love this shit.

In the context of Hiro’s search for his phallic power, his Excalibur, if you will, it’s clear that Hiro’s masculine potency is at stake. (It’s also significant, of course, that he lost his power when he lost his love object.) Since the boy-to-man archetype demands the boy’s breaking away from the father-rule, I’m guessing that Hiro will have to defy his larger than life superfather to claim his own power/manhood, which should be symbolized by his acquiring the sword. We’ll see….

As much as I agree with Megatrouble that the chicks really need more agency in this narrative, I’ll give the show credit for highlighting the heroic journey of a man who is sensitive and kind and intellectual, as well as plenty vulnerable, as opposed to some caricatured shoot-em-up Diehard type who stomps around waving his dick. Hiro and Ando remind me of hobbits, in that way. They may not be actual women, but they evince enough traditionally feminine markers to challenge the stereotype of masculine heroism.

I have similar impressions of Peter. He’s a second son with an enormously overpowering older brother who, as Peter admits this week, plays the father to him, and “fixes everything” for him. And Peter works as a caregiver, a nurturer, as far away from being a cutthroat politician as he could possibly get, and we’ve seen him wistfully vulnerable to his love for Simone and his desire for approval from his family. He’s very mama’s-boyish, underscored by his cutie-pie appearance, while Nathan and his power suits and severe hairstyle are, again, utterly opposite.

It’s obvious, too, that Nathan views Peter’s determination to save the world as simply another childish scrape he needs to bail him out of before he shames the family. Up until now it seems that Peter has gone along with his infantilizing, for whatever reason, perhaps because it felt safe, but seeing himself as responsible for so many lives has changed Peter in some fundamental way. He can still only fly by borrowing power from Nathan, but since he has no ego to protect he doesn’t care; he’s willing to do whatever it takes to stop the explosion.

Notice the focus of Peter’s visions is always close-ups of people’s faces, frightened, endangered. Peter’s power relies on a kind of empathy, both in his ability to borrow their powers and his ability to care if they’re scared or hurt, really care, enough to die for Claire—a stranger—without hesitation.

So now Peter continues along the traditional hero’s path: He has left the influence of his family and father figure and placed himself in the hands of a wise mentor (Christopher Eccleston, whose glory shines brighter than the sun in my universe) in an effort to learn more about himself and his destiny and develop into his own man in control of his abilities.

Peter has his Merlin, his Obi-Wan. I can’t wait to see what he learns from him.

Since I have a few more minutes I may as well comment on the Niki Question. I would like to believe that the writers know what they’re doing in creating a woman who has the gift of super strength but suffers too much from guilt and self-effacement to use it unless she’s protecting someone else, namely her child. This works for me in part because I see her superpower as the strength, not the dual personality; my understanding is that the personality disorder is an actual mental illness resulting from childhood abuse and the trauma of her sister’s death. (Please understand that my knowledge of such things comes solely from having read Sybil.)

Feminist thinkers talk about how anger is a forbidden emotion for women, while it’s the only acceptable one for men (unless you include sexual lust), and how women are much more likely to deny angry feelings and suppress them. If Jessica is the repository of all of the impulses that Niki refuses to face in herself (rage, desire, etc.) then it makes sense that Niki would also deny her power, meaning Jessica gets that too. While men are allowed by the culture to punch walls and throw things in anger, women are supposed to maintain more decorous control over ourselves, and Niki is nothing if not mired in guilt and self-hatred. I can believe that a woman who had suffered as she has would be ashamed to exhibit strength.

Through the abusive father, the ultimate symbol of patriarchy, Niki/Jessica became a literal virgin/whore dichotomy. If they’re careful, the writers can do something important with that idea.

Again, we’ll see.

As for Claire, she seems about ready to embark on her own journey of selfhood, tossing out the childish stuffed animals and breaking away from her father’s authority, keeping her thoughts for herself instead of letting him rewrite them as he sees fit. I’m not sure how I feel about her needing help from (yet another) male to do it, but I’m willing to see how that plays out.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Are Ninja Turtles that cool?

Oh, my...

Number of online users in last 3 minutes