25 May 2008

The Idea of Progress is Moving!


You may or may not have noticed, but the Idea of Progress has a new look and a new home. The website has remained the same (although some of you might have old links-- if it's not May 25th or so and this is the most recent post, please visit theideaofprogress.com).

I have begun hosting my own interwebs, which means I get as many email addresses as I want, the ability to host videos (and not have them taken down by the Church of Scientology), and an inflated sense of self-importance.

I'm still learning Wordpress - expect the look of this thing to change over the next few weeks as I make the necessary adjustments. tIoP is not a super tech savvy fellow, so this may be rough going for a while.

What has the Idea of Progress learned since the blog began on Christmas Eve of 2006?

-McGone is the devil. That much should be obvious.

-People love bunnies.

-It just might be possible to talk about wine and not come off like a dick. Just maybe.

-The Forevertron is one weird sculpture.


And so farwell, Blogger. You have treated me well, and I've left you for a younger, more attractive platform. Think of me well.

22 May 2008

07 May 2008

tIoP has been Blog-Blocked

It is not as if the Idea of Progress has been posting with any of the frequency of the past, but a recent event has disrupted even this, the fragile regularity of tIoP's posts.

The Idea of Progress was framed.

Google was lead to believe that tIoP was a spam blog.



Google claims that this was the result of a false positive from their little helper robots, who apparently scour the blogosphere in search of crime, sort of like the Transformers, but without the whole transforming or crappy Michael Bay remakes.

tIoP could not access my account, tIoP could not post a lovely entry about common courtesy in movie theaters that he had been composing in his head all day.



The Idea of Progress doesn't buy that it was a random problem. tIoP knows that someone is trying to put an end to the blog that has not won the Nobel Peace Prize nor the Pulitzer (but did win Sexiest Man Alive), but has nonetheless changed the face of humanity as we now know it.

There is someone out there with his fingerprints all over this. And tIoP is unafraid to air out his suspicions-- this madman must be stopped for all that is good and pure in this world, for this soon to be named villain is a threat to our way of life and our very existence. We must draw a line in the sand!

We must rally against...McGone.

Yes, I've said it. I hold the International House of Blogcakes responsible for this. It has McGone's fingerprints all over it.

And I will have my vengeance.

02 May 2008

Master Criminal


The Idea of Progress likes money as much as the next internationally recognized blogging superstar. Money allows people of tIoP's rarified status to enjoy the finer things in life, such as private jets, champagne and the occasional dip in a swimming pool full of Jello. We all have different approaches to aquiring this type of wealth.

Some are born with it, some earn it though savvy trading of stocks. Some invest in hedge funds, others write novels or pop songs. But one man had a more innovative approach, and the Idea of Progress must salute him for his creativity and audacity.

Charlie Ray Fuller, a 21 year old Texas resident, apparently wanted to start a record company. So he did what any enterprising young mogul would do. He forged a check from his girlfriend's mother's bank account and attempted to pass it off at a Ft. Worth bank. But here's where he made a small mistake that got him caught-- He made out the check for $360 billion dollars.

$360,000,000,000.

That's more than the entire bank was worth.

But the Idea of Progress salutes his gumption, and his dreams of a better tomorrow.

23 April 2008

Things That Are Wrong

Okay, I promised no more political posts, but I couldn't resist.

I don't even know what to say, other than when I read the description of this, I figured it featured actors impersonating Clinton, Obama and McCain.

Nope.

May I present Wrestling style trash-talking from our candidate. Pardon me while I walk away, hanging my head in shame.

22 April 2008

An Attempt to Get Back on Track

The Idea of Progress will be posting regularly once again. As a first effort towards this goal, may I present to you the biggest bunny ever.



You should read about this, it's pretty rad.

20 April 2008

Okay, Seriously, Where has the Idea of Progress Been?

Working on another blog. For those of you that skip by all of the political posts here at the Idea of Progress, take comfort in that they will no longer appear here. From now on this will be all pictures of bunnies and Bono hatred and creepy Craigslist Missed Connections.



I've begun a new site called The Elitist, which will hopefully be an online magazine focusing on politics and culture. Right now it looks more like a blog, but we're working on it now to change its format.

The Elitist is also looking for contributors. If you have any interest in contributing either editorials or features, please email me about it.

And I'll be back here for your entertainment purposes soon. Please enjoy this Google ad I found in my absence:

15 April 2008

Official Character Actor Update


Official Character Actor of the Idea of Progress Zooey Deschanel has released an album with singer M. Ward under the name She & Him. Read all about it in the New York Times.

Things That Are Wrong


When I was in high school, I occasionally worked on the school paper. I was never a staff member, more of a volunteer that occasionally wrote poor movie reviews. The adviser to the paper was Linda Kane, who was also the journalism teacher.

I won't invent stories about how my work on the paper changed my life, but it did teach me some very valuable things about writing, about composition, brevity and most importantly, editing.

Under Kane's supervision, the paper, the Central Times, gained national exposure from the New York Times for its investigative journalism, which resulted in censorship by then-principal Tom Paulson, a bill passed by lawmakers in Illinois, and a veto by Governor Jim Thompson. It was the recipient of nine National Scholastic Press Association Pacemaker awards in 19 years, given annually to 20-25 of the best student papers in the country.

The Central Times recently published a series of stories about marijuana use, three pieces, which the subject was treated frankly and featured the use of swear words in direct quotation. From the Chicago Tribune:


Kane said she got e-mails from administrators expressing their disappointment with the stories shortly after the package was published. Naperville Central Principal Jim Caudill and Student Activities Director Lynne Nolan visited the newspaper staff March 3, when Caudill said the newspaper's policy on the use of profanity should be changed, Kane said.

She and Central Times' editors refused, saying they had adapted the policy, which allows profanity in a direct quote if the words "are imperative to the content or meaning of that quote," from the Student Press Law Center, an advocacy group for student press rights.

But an interview with the Daily Herald got Kane into deeper trouble. She contended in a March 7 article that Caudill and other administrators "don't know squat" about 1st Amendment law. Then, she said Caudill "is all about PR and doesn't want any bumps in the road."


Kane was asked to resign. She refused.

She was fired.

I find this troubling for many reasons. How can we expect students to read the big boy newspaper when we deny them the ability to participate in its dialogue? It is a hopelessly misguided notion to deny the student paper to write about topics that actually matter to its readers. Students smoke pot at Naperville Central. I know this for a fact. The student body is well aware of this fact.

If the appearance of an article of this nature is deemed inappropriate for students, does that mean that the New York Times or the Chicago Tribune is also inappropriate?

I added the Tribune article to Digg. Please visit and Digg it (for the non-initiates, this means to vote for the article to raise it's ranking and exposure). I also added it to Reddit, if you've got a minute.

We shouldn't reward our most talented educators with termination.

07 April 2008

Everyone Hates Bush



I never thought that Arnold would be anything remotely like a good politician, but he constantly proves me wrong. Plus, it looks like he hates Bush as much as the rest of us, so he can't be all bad.


From meignorant.com.

06 April 2008

Things That Sound Made Up


When I first read about this in Time, I had to scroll up and look at the date to make sure it wasn't an April Fool's joke. It just doesn't sound real. But it is.

There are apparently anti-emo riots going on in Mexico.

Yeah. Emo.

Rockabilly kids and metalheads and cholos have been ganging up to beat the crap out of sissy eyeliner wearing emo kids. Like, hundreds of people chasing down four or five sensitive teenagers. And beating them up. And recording it on their cell phone cameras.

Don't believe me? Here's another article about it from Wired. I don't know whether to be concerned that kids are getting beaten up just for their taste in music...but...

I mean...

They're emo kids.

Best of Craigslist


so you have your own massage parlor now - w4m
Reply to: pers-626610817@craigslist.org
Date: 2008-04-01, 2:02PM CDT







i'm even more intrigued.
you have ambition to match your stunning looks.
i would love a formal invitation, beyond the "birthday gift" flyer
i'll bring the wine if you provide the stimulation.


it's NOT ok to contact this poster with services or other commercial interests

PostingID: 626610817


Original post.

Charlton Heston is Dead


I guess we can get that gun back from him now.

04 April 2008

Things the Idea of Progress Irrationally Hates


No.1: Opening packages from the bottom

There are tops and bottoms of things. Things on top are placed there to remain on top, while things on the bottom conversely are expected to sustain that position. While there may be certain exciting and R-rated exceptions to this rule, one instance to which it applies is the opening of bags of chips.

To wit: The Special Lady Friend of the Idea of Progress (we'll henceforth refer to her as the SLFotIoP to keep things properly confusing) opened a bag of tortilla chips. Now, the bags of these chips, like many others, are printed in such a manner as to suggest a proper place for opening them. That place? The top.

However, much to my dismay, this particular bag of chips (El Rancheros, by far the best chips you'll find outside of a good Mexican restaurant) was not opened at the top. It was opened at the bottom. Why was this a problem? asked the SLFotIoP? The only answer that tIoP could muster was that if I tried to read the label on the bag, all of the chips would fall out on the floor.

The SLFotIoP asked if I needed to read the label, since I have been purchasing the same brand of tortilla chips for at least six years. She also asked if it really, seriously bugged me.

And tIoP wept, and admitted it did.

03 April 2008

Everyone Hates Bush



From Spiegel Online.

Anyone? Anyone?

So far, no one seemed to have watched my Hillary in the House video. Perhaps it's too clean cut. How about something a little less, to titillate the kiddies?

These are outtakes, kinda sorta, from the eCousinality commercial I shot. I wouldn't say it's NSFW, but you might want to turn the volume down a little lower.

31 March 2008

Hillary In the House



After I read this article, I couldn't resist making this.

28 March 2008

Where is tIoP?


The answer? Around. He'll be back. He's just hiding from y'all.

Sometimes a Momentous Event Yields a Silly Headline



They fed them dumplings?

14 March 2008

Stolen Quote of the Day


"Just so we don't have to go through this whole resignation thing again," one ballsy reporter asked, "have you ever patronized a prostitute?" Paterson thought for a minute. "Only the lobbyists," he said.


-Soon to be New York Governor David Paterson

Stolen from Salon.

13 March 2008

12 March 2008

A Good Idea


I think Spitzer and Larry Craig should form a bi-partisan crime fighting superteam. Since Elliot has quit his job and all.

And I'm guessing Larry won't be reelected.



At least none of these sex scandals involved People's Sexiest Man Alive.

11 March 2008

Quote of the Day









"[Ben Stein, in the new pro-Creationist documentary Expelled] uses "straw man" tactics to attack, mainly The Origin of the Species, as Darwin wrote it in 1859. That's like a music critic reviewing "the latest" by only referring to Edison's wax cylinders."


-- Orlando Sentinel film critic Roger Moore, who while not being James Bond, did manage to sneak into a private screening he had been uninvited to, in his review of the film.

10 March 2008

Don't Let the Door Hit You on the Way Out!

MSNBC has cancelled Tucker Carlson's show, Tucker.

It's about time. Tucker is everything I hate in TV punditry-- ill informed, smarmy and mule-headed. He's not as bad as Sean Hannity (or even worse, Joe Scarborough) but as Monica says, he's a poo tissue. I can deal with a Reaganite (barely), but not when they're masquerading as a populist.

It was a matter of great satisfaction to see him get torn a new one by Jon Stewart on an infamous episode of Crossfire, Carlson's previous show.



Tucker, I hope you go back to whatever rock you crawled out from under.

Ciao!

Best of Craigslist


To the Neo-Nazi that hit on me on Monday - w4m
Reply to: pers-598591295@craigslist.org
Date: 2008-03-07, 12:02PM CST





You told me to google "14 words" and when I got to work, I did.

You are sick. If I had known who you were at the time, I would have punched you in the face.

Never. EVER. Talk to me again.


Location: Blue Line
it's NOT ok to contact this poster with services or other commercial interests

PostingID: 598591295

---
Original post

05 March 2008

Uwe Boll vs. Steven Spielberg


I would call this David vs. Goliath, but really, it's more like one of the tripods from War of the Worlds vs...uh... Uwe Boll. In case you don't know who this Boll fellow is, he is a German director of what I might hesitantly call 'movies.' Most of his films are adaptations of video games. One was described on MSNBC as

"It’s asking for a lot to top a film where Sir Ben Kingsley (Academy Award for best actor in “Gandhi,” 1982) is the bad guy who wants to remove the Eyeball of Power that Kristanna Loken, a lady-vampire with no need for human blood, has somehow managed to absorb directly into her lady-vampire skull. And that’s just one part of the milkshake of insanity that is this movie’s plot. "


It's actually been rumored that Herr Boll's entire career has been nothing but a tax scam, some complicated scheme where he purposely makes terrible films and then somehow profits off of their loss, ie the Producers. He has actually challenged critics of his movie to a boxing match (and won!)

When Googling him before I wrote this, I actually found not only one site dedicated to the awfulness of the oeuvre of Uwe Boll, but a litney of them, including an online petition to prevent him from ever making movies again.

Anyway.

There's a little movie coming out on May 22, an installment in a film series about an archeologist named Henry Jones, Jr. ("Indiana was the dog's name!"). Uwe Boll ain't afraid of little Stevie Spielberg. To wit: a press release from Mr. Boll:

On the Indiana Jones weekend - May 23 - we will go out and destroy Indiana Jones in the Box Office! We all know that Harrison Ford is older as my grandpa and his time is up - would Michael Moore say! ... Spielberg gets sloppy. We saw that with War of the Worlds (why the fuck the older brother survived?) and also in parts of Jaws, E.T., Munich etc.! My performance in Postal as 'Nazi Theme Park Owner' outperforms easily Ben Kingsley in Schindler's List!


As a fan of the underdog, I would typically cheer on such a moronic idea. Except for the fact that I agree that Uwe Boll is about the worst director in the 111 years of cinema (maybe a close second to Michael Bay), and that I have been waiting for the new Indiana Jones movie for oh, 18 years.

Incidently, the petition has 18,068 signatures. 18,069, now that I have signed it.

Dear Mike,


First of all, I'm still here. I know I haven't posted in a while-- I've had some sort of mysterious ailment that seems to have subsided. Probably the flu. Who knows?

How are you? So, you finally decided to drop out of the presidential race, huh? That doesn't surprise me. What does is that you hadn't dropped out a while ago, back when it was determined that it was impossible for you to earn the nomination. But, as you said, you believe in miracles. I guess you just didn't get one. Maybe it's like saving up for later, when you'll really need it, like when you're running for president of the galaxy or something.

I have to admit, for a bible-thumping ultra-conservative right wing Republican, you seem like a pretty nice guy. It's not often that you come across people like that, especially when they're running for president, but you never really acted like a jerk, ever. You give bible-thumping ultra-conservative right wing Republicans a good name, which is a very difficult task to accomplish. So I commend you on that.

But the public's dismissal of you has a silver lining, for me at least. I actually figured you for the Republican nominee a couple of months ago. But the fact that John McCain is more popular goes to show how sick the American people are of Bush-era politics. Instead of the politically and religously conservative candidate, they go for the wild card, so to speak, someone who doesn't believe in the impending apocolypse, and who probably believes in evolution, and...uh... gravity and all of that. That's a positive sign.

It was nice knowing you, and I'm glad you pardoned Keith Richards after all of these years. Take care.


Your Pal,

The Idea of Progress

26 February 2008

Hilary Clinton is Tracy Flick




The Idea of Progress has been sick the last few days and apologizes for the lack of posts. Please enjoy this video from Slate in the meantime.

20 February 2008

The Blogosphere Interviews The Idea of Progress, pt. 1

Some people are considered worthy of an interview. Perhaps it is due to their talent. It could be due to their intelligence, or good looks.

These people are great and all, but there is one man who has risen above all of this.

The Idea of Progress. For he is not interviewed by a person. He is interviewed by the entire blogosphere.



Laaw-yur (Adventures in Self-Loathing): "You can have any ten people - living, dead, mythical, and/or fictional - in your "posse". Who are they and why did you chose them? Feel free to assign them gratuitous superpowers and make your own Justice League."

tIoP: What an excellent question. I would choose the Idea of Progress, of course, cloned ten times. There is no problem that eleven of us could not surmount. I would assign them talents, but that supposes that the Idea of Progress lacks talent in any area.

--

Bert Bananas: "If you could only watch one of these two shows which would it be why: Simpsons or Family Guy?"

tIoP: The Idea of Progress prefers the Simpsons, of course. Without character development and a consistent storyline, we are left with the equivalent of pratfalls and fart jokes, which are all well and good, but in small doses.

It must be said that I prefer to spend my time reading Rabelais to either. Now THAT's comedy.

--



"Dear Idea of Progress,

Can you settle a bar bet for me? For the past 1,000 years, my buddies and I have been arguing about the omnipotence paradox - you know, the ol' "Can God create a rock so large that It cannot lift it?" Finally, I told my philosopher buddy J.L. Cowan to put his money where his mouth is, and I bet him a plate of P.T. McDeliousness's red-hot "spicy, not pricey" chicken wings that God totally can't do this. Who's the winner?

Sincerely,

Pistols at Dawn
(Save Your Generation)"


tIoP: A philosophical question, I see! Here's the answer to your question: There is no God. Santa Claus, however, does have that ability. He can also shoot lasers out of his rectum (very few people are aware of this). So you're both wrong. That makes you bad people.

--

Cowboy the Cat (The Hidden Agenda of Cowboy the Cat): If "The Idea of Progress were an actor, what actor would The Idea of Progress be? What roles would The Idea of Progress take to improve the standing of said actor? Finally, what roles has said actor taken that The Idea of Progress feels may have been ill-advised, and why?"

tIoP: Few people know that the Idea of Progress has starred in all six Police Academy movies, under the pseudonym of "Michael Winslow." Yes, it was tIoP that made all of those wacky sound effects-- and hilarity ensued. The perfect character created, and the perfect role filled, tIoP decided to retire, since I had other things to do. Like drink beer and nap.

--

Monica (The Ramblings of a Crazy...): "tIoP, we're dying to know...Even though these are all your signature pieces, which item can't you live without: your Crimson Crush lipliner, your Hello Kitty knee
socks, or your Apple Bottom jeans?

(you don't actually have to publish this.)"


tIoP: Oh, Monica, Monica, Monica. I remember my days as the synth player for Hawkwind, where all of these items were in full display. But I've decided to dress more conservatively these days, what with my invitation to rule Cuba, and my impending invitation to serve as Vice President to Barack Obama. (I still wear the kneesocks, however)

--

"Hello bad boy the idea of process, My question is 2 parts: Have you ever received a prostate massage? If so, would you like another one? If not, would you like one?

I guess that's 3 parts. I'm not good with numbers.

Love,
Tabbie. Like Cabbie, with a T.


Sent from my iPhone"

tIoP: You have an iPhone? I had no idea you were so rich and powerful and technologically savvy. I'll tell you what: You may administer the massage, but only if I may live blog it from your iPhone.

--

If you have a question for the Idea of Progress, please email it to me, and it may be answered in a timely fashion.

19 February 2008

Fun Facts



According to Technorati, The Idea of Progress is the 238,665 most popular blog out there.

If you Google "The Idea of Progress," this blog is currently the 11th hit.

Since its inception, the Idea of Progress has received 9,085 visitors. Five of them were searching for '"happy idea" chicken.'

Best of Craigslist


Mark from the Spice Girls - w4m

Reply to: pers-578874215@craigslist.org
Date: 2008-02-18, 10:44PM CST




You walked with us from the train to the United Arena for the Spice Girls concert. You are from Kentucky originally, we parted ways at the shirt booth.



it's NOT ok to contact this poster with services or other commercial interests

PostingID: 578874215

Original Post

A short, timely play in one act


A darkened restaurant. The tables are lit by lights that hang directly overhead, casting their light downward, leaving vast pools of darkness between the islands of light.

At one such table are two men. One is older, grizzled, and wearing a military uniform. The other is far younger, much more handsome, who speaks and moves with great authority.

The younger man produces a cigar. The older man lights it for him deferentially.


YOUNGER MAN: Thank you, Raul. Now, what is it you've asked me here to discuss?

OLDER MAN (RAUL): I appreciate the great Idea of Progress gracing me with his presence. (the younger man, tIoP, waves off the compliment). I have a problem, Señor, and you are the only one I know who is brave enough to solve it for me.

TIOP: What is it Raul? I don't have all day. McGone is holed up in the International House of Blogcakes, and I've heard he's taken Grant Miller and Laaw-yur hostage. I need to pop over there and fix their problems, too, so I don't have all night.

RAUL: I'll get right to the point, then, Señor. My older brother--

TIOP: Uh, Fidel, right?

RAUL: -Yes, Fidel-- My older brother Fidel has decided to retire as Comandante en Jefe, and he wants me to take his place.

TIOP(puffs cigar) So what's the problem, then?

RAUL: I am afraid, Señor. I do not believe that I will be able to lead my people. They need a true hero, a great man, not a man who has only succeeded through nepotism. In short, I would like for you to rule Cuba.

TIOP (yawns) Raul, what makes you think I have time for such diversions? Have you considered that I might be busy getting drunk?

RAUL: But Señor, you must! My people will suffer under less of a man!

TIOP: (standing Listen, buddy. I've got plans, see? I don't have the time to run your little banana republic. I've got big things in the works. I still need to finish reading the new issue of the New Yorker. I want to go out for dinner with some friends. I've got naps to take. No thank you.


RAUL: (grabs the hem of tIoP's immaculately tailored Saville Row suit) Please don't make me do this on my own! What could I offer you to entice you?

TIOP: (thinks)I'd like my blog to be ranked first on Google when you search for it.

RAUL: But Señor, I cannot! El Google is impossible to convince!

TIOP: Um...how about one of those new Tesla Motorcars?

RAUL: All of our cars are from before the embargo. I cannot offer you anything manufactured after the early 1960s.

TIOP: Well...are the girls in Cuba pretty?

RAUL: The most beautiful in the world!

TIOP: (considers this, but shakes his head) Listen, I'm not your guy. I've just got too much on my plate at the moment. But I know just the fellow to take care of you guys. A strong leader, with a dynamic voice and a guest appearance in Back to the Future.

RAUL: (in awe) You don't mean--

TIOP: Yes, yes I do.

RAUL: (shakes tIoP's hand) Señor, the people of Cuba will never be able to thank you enough.

TIOP: It's cool, baby. ¡Viva Los News Revolución!

RAUL: ¡Viva Los News Revolución!

End Scene

17 February 2008

Not Even Children Trust Dubya



This was taken on MLK Day, no less.

From The Daily Dish.

14 February 2008

More Dialogue


Here is Matt from England's response to my response to his question about Obama/ Clinton:




Dear [The Idea of Progress],
Thank you for taking time out to put together your well-argued reply, which I found particularly touching in its compassionate views on foreign affairs. It’s coming up to the fifth anniversary of the million-strong London anti-war march that I attended in February 2003, and I’m sure many of the people I marched with would be impressed by your outlook on the conflict and America’s role on the world stage.

From my perspective, American politics in Primaries Season looks like a Lollapalooza for suits, where unpopular acts get kicked off the bill as the tour goes on. I’m fascinated by the often grandly surreal lurches American politics takes. I remember when Bush Jr was going for his second term and I saw footage from the New York Republican Convention in which delegates were lampooning Kerry’s alleged policy switches by waving around huge Styrofoam flip-flops, echoing the main buzz-phrase of the time. And I sat there thinking, Christ – there’s about 20,000 people in that enormodome waving around at least 40,000 giant flip-flops… that would *never* happen over here! It was like a Monty Python sketch re-imagined by Leni Riefenstahl.

Your explanation for your support of Obama is very persuasive – I can tell that you admire him a great deal. There probably aren’t all that many policy differences between he and Mrs C, but I think that as a political operator, he has far more going for him in terms of freshness and dynamism. He photographs well, has a lot of energy, and most importantly, he comes with no baggage. Mrs C may be able to trade off the past, but Obama can beat that by trading off the future. And to have a potential pattern of four-year administrations from 1989 reading 'Bush-Clinton-Clinton-Bush-Bush-Clinton’ would be ruinous to the whole ‘Hey, *anyone* can do this’ appeal of the Presidency.

While I’m puzzled by some of the excesses of US election campaigns (apart from taking Springsteen on the road with you – I mean, any rational person would want to do that…), something that really grabs me about them is the public’s willingness to be inspired; to find someone to believe in and back them to the hilt. We in the UK have such an in-built sense of irreverence that apathy is just a breath away. Blair’s victory in ’97 may have looked like a rock-star reception to overseas observers, but it was sealed by the lowest turn-out since the Second World War. Amid all the changes and the soporific media honeymoon, people were just waiting for him to mess up.
In the most ironic possible way, he didn’t disappoint.

I hope your guy keeps his momentum, and his cool, especially with such a long way to go. I also hope that his zeal for change proves to be more than just a buzz-word. Living under Blair for a decade, you get to be a little suspicious of that kind of talk.

All the best,

Matt

PS – feel free to add this to your blog if you think it would be helpful.

Dialogue

Yesterday I posted the cartoon that caused an assassination plot in Denmark. The cartoon has created an uproar in the Muslim world. There have been people upset that it was printed, and people angered at how it portrayed Muslims. I received a comment on my post from a blogger named Sadiq, who writes "... I seriously think that they made a wrong point by portraying Prophet Muhammad instead of a terrorist. It's like portraying Jesus for Medieval atrocities committed by the Church in Europe. Does that sound a good point?"

I wanted to respond to Sadiq, and I did so on his thoughtful post about the controversy, but I wanted to reprint my comments in full here:

You make some excellent points here. You asked on my page if it would be appropriate if the cartoonists had portrayed Jesus "for Medieval atrocities committed by the Church in Europe."

In short, I believe it would.

We can hardly blame Jesus for the thousands of years of oppression, cruelty and violence that has been committed in his name. Likewise, it would be unfair and facile to blame the prophet Mohammad for similar reasons. He is not to blame. The vast, vast majority of Muslims are not to blame, just as most Christians and Jews are not to blame for the acts committed in the name of their religion.

But the cartoonists were not discussing how Mohammad and his followers are blood-thirsty anti-Christ figures. The point they were trying to make (I believe) is that people will take the words of these holy men and pervert them to their needs-- their need to dominate, their need to oppress, and the danger of such needs.

Likewise, it would be entirely appropriate to call out the Catholics and Protestants in Northern Ireland who have been bombing each other for years with images of Jesus. It's appropriate to call attention to the Catholic church's past and present sins. Because discussion is healthy. Dialogue is healthy.

When we stop talking about such things to each other is when we start shooting each other, because we no longer understand what other people are saying.

13 February 2008

It's Not Over, McGone



Beware the Ides of Hob!

Some People Don't Get the Idea

Three men were arrested in a plot to kill the artist of a Danish cartoon that portrayed Mohammad. The point of the cartoon is that radical fundamentalism can be a dangerous thing. Clearly these men didn't appreciate the irony.

When the cartoon was first printed, it caused an international uproar. American newspapers, out of either fear or perceived respect for Muslims, wouldn't reprint the cartoon, but only describe it.

Well, here it is:

















If the cartoon itself didn't make the point, the actions of these men did.

Why We Hug Trees


Because if we aren't nice to them, they will eat us.


This photo, and more like it, can be found at elitefeet.com.

Mr. Obama Goes to Washington


I've been interested to note your evident support for Obama, and I was hoping you'd do me the honor of explaining to me why you're backing him and what makes him preferable to Mrs C. I could read up on this in my usual press outlets, but would rather hear it from someone at grassroots level than a stuffy columnist, really.

Reply in as much detail as you feel necessary!

All the best,

Matt



I received this message today from a friend of mine who lives in England. It must be curious to observe from a distance this wacky race we call the presidential primaries. It may or may not come to a surprise to everyone out there that I am an Obama supporter. I've never explained my position on this however, nor have I expressed any sentiment towards Clinton. This presents me with an excellent opportunity to do so.

So why Barack Obama? Why not Clinton? It's certainly not their stances on political issues. We are fortunate in this race to have two candidates who champion many of the causes that we speak for in our daily lives. People need access to health care. We need to stop allowing companies the ability to pollute. We need to repeal the tax breaks that Bush put into place that only benefit his wealthy contributors. We need to stop this heartbreaking, costly and destructive war.

Most importantly, we need to change the perception of the world that America is a swaggering, self-centered, destructive lout that imposes its will where it pleases, and will destroy all in its path for profit. That's not America. That's a rather accurate description of this administration and this president.

If Obama and Clinton share similar ideas, why do I prefer Obama? There are a few reasons there. First, to paraphrase David Dinkins, I'm not against Clinton, I'm for Obama. If Clinton garners the Democratic nomination, I will happily vote for her. It's not that I don't feel that she is qualified, or that she would make a fine president.

I just think Barack Obama will be a better one.



Politics as usual. That's what bothers me about Clinton. Hillary, and even more importantly Bill Clinton are masters of politics. They are able to use the machine to achieve their mostly noble goals. Bill was an excellent president, one of the best of the 20th century, an achievement even more notable for the fact that he managed to accomplish so much while being dogged at every step by a hostile Republican party, lead by Newt Gingrich, one of the more reprehensible figures to grace our national stage in some time (a man that was demonizing Clinton for cheating on his wife while he himself had a mistress--the difference being Clinton didn't dump his wife while she recovered from cancer therapy in a hospital).

The Clintons, and make no mistake, they are as much of a team now as they were when Bill was President, know how to play that fiddle. And you know what? I'm sick of that particular tune.

Obama's campaign has been built on progress, on moving forward. Clinton's campaign has been built on "Look at all of the bad things I can say about my opponent." When Obama speaks, people listen. People believe, because he doesn't speak to tell people what they want to hear, he tells them what they need. They need hope. They need change. They need a leader that they don't need to apologize for, a leader whose faults they don't need to look past. A leader that inspires all, from young to old.

Obama's done it. His supporters are young and old, black and white, men and women. He makes people believe, and to look forward to the future for once. He doesn't traffic in fear. He traffics in change, and anyone who has ever heard him speak generally finds it hard to discount the power he has in his voice.

And on another note, the very presence of a man that was born of a white Protestant mother and a black Kenyan father, who was raised by his mother and Indonesian stepfather in Indonesia, a man who has admitted past drug use and doesn't lie about it, someone who attended a Muslim school as a child, will inevitably change the perception of America abroad. It's easy to consider the US a devilish nation controlled by rich WASPy white men, but what happens when that is subverted?

It's not a race thing. It's not a gender thing. It's just time for a change in the way things are. Obama can built friendships and coalitions, can facilitate new ideas and can lead this nation on the path of better living, both at home and abroad.

And that's why he had my vote in the primaries.

11 February 2008

Best of Craigslist


You banned me from your store but I can't ban you from my heart - w4m

Reply to: pers-566870644@craigslist.org
Date: 2008-02-08, 1:28AM CST


I was getting food from your dumpster and you made me put it all back and threatened to call the cops; never before have I seen a man look so sexy and powerful while advocating hate and wastefulness........


Location: Trader Joe's on Lincoln
it's NOT ok to contact this poster with services or other commercial interests

PostingID: 566870644

Original Post

08 February 2008

Have I Mentioned Huey Lewis Recently?


As you are all doubtlessly aware, we are in the midst of a New Year. The Chinese may consider it the year of the Rat, but is actually the Year of Huey Lewis and the News.

In order to allow others to fully appreciate this extremely important event, I have created a website. Please visit Lewis/News08.com to laugh, to cry, to learn. And maybe even to contribute (I'm looking for contributors).

I've been aided in my mission, this Revolution, by Monica, but I need your help as well.

Join the Revolution! In 2008, Huey Lewis IS the News!

They've got a Pepper Bar!

First, I'd like you to view what I feel is the greatest commercial ever filmed:



That has to be one of the strangest ads I've ever seen. Weird, ugly puppets, singing badly. With bad green screen effects. Who in their right mind would make this ad, and then try and sell sandwiches with it?

After seeing this commercial a few years ago, I talked about it constantly with people.

Sample conversation:

tIoP: Have you seen that Quizno's commercial? The one with the puppets?

Victim: Uh...I don't know. What happens?

tIoP: They sing off key about the subs! Like this! (proceeds to sing)

Victim: I don't think so.

tIoP: It's hilarious! (continues to sing) They've got a pepper bar!

Victim: Uh huh. I've got to be going now.



After three or four spots, they replaced these weird puppets with a not-nearly-as-funny talking perverted baby. I missed those weird puppets.

One day, when I was working at a fine dining restaurant in Chicago that shall not be named (okay, it was Bin 36), I got into conversation with a couple of guys sitting at the bar. Turns out that they were the chief advertising guys for Quizno's. Immediately I asked them about the puppets, and told them that they were my favorite commercials of all time.

"Oh, geez, those things."

Clearly there was a story here. Turns out that the 'Spongemonkeys' was some British internet video that made them laugh around the Quizno's office. They contacted the people who created the videos and asked them to make a commercial.

It didn't go over well.

First, the only things people remembered from the commercial was the puppets themselves. People also remembered the pepper bar. But not the sandwiches.

Second, people didn't think it was funny.

Third, the franchise owners HATED the commercials. One guy called them up and asked why they were advertising his sandwiches with dead rats.

The ads were pulled.

And television has never been the same again.

Postscript: Absolutely because of the commercials, I did try Quizno's for the first time. It was gross, and I've never gone back. Turns out the voice of the perverted baby was the guy who played Lust on "Herman's Head."

I have no idea where the Spongemonkeys went off to. But I miss them.