Lying Media Bastards

October 28, 2005

The Future of Futurism in San Diego Tonight

My radio collective, RadioActive San Diego is involved with a trippy, hi-tech, interactive, artsy, performance piece happening at UCSD tonight called SPECFLIC 1.0- Speculative Distributed Cinema:

Set in 2030, SPECFLIC’s story is not just told, but experienced.
Based on cutting edge science and engineering research, SPECFLIC 1.0 performs the social costs and benefits of accelerated progress.

What type of future do you envision? Come be part of the public launch of this ongoing performative media project!

Bring wireless devices (laptops & cell phones). In honor of Halloween, dress for 2030.

The whole things sounds really bizarre and complicated, all kindsa tele- and cyber- and meta-. And one of my DJ pals went to the rehearsal last night and was “blown away” by the event, so I know I’m going to go check it out. Click the link above for info on the hows and wheres, and if you don’t live local, you can check out radioactive’s live stream of it (where I guess we’ll be taking part in the fiction, broadcasting as though we were in the year 2030) here, or see SPECFLIC’s video feed and webcam (although none of those will be active/relevant till the performance tonight).

Posted by Jake on October 28, 2005 10:36 am

LMB Radio 10-27-05 (AKA \”The Devil’s Disco\”*)

LMB Radio 10-27-05

This show is my yearly Halloween outing, featuring all the dark, scary, noisy stuff I figure you don’t want to hear on a regular basis. Download, play loud, frighten your Dave Matthews Band-lovin’ friends.

Music includes Bauhaus, Skinny Puppy, “The Weird Sisters” (Jarvis Cocker & some Radiohead guys), The Cramps, Akira Yamaoka (”Silent Hill” soundtracks), The Cranes, Coil (including the unused soundtrack they wrote for the movie Hellraiser), Rasputina, Amboss, Christian Death, Venetian Snares, Ethyl Meatplow, Probot, Ministry, the Genitorturers, Nekromantix, Sisters of Mercy, Nine Inch Nails (their creepy Se7en stuff), White Zombie, Front 242 (their hard, glitchy stuff, not their usual techno-dance), My Life with the Thrill Kill Kult, and more.


* I almost called the show “The Devil’s Diablo”, a name which almost made me shoot milk out of my nose when I thought of it.

Posted by Jake on October 28, 2005 12:01 am

October 27, 2005

Devil’s Disco

Today’s LMB will be the Halloween show. No news, no political commentary, no jokes, just lots of the creepy goth, industrial, horror and noise I barely hold back from playing the rest of the year. Not necessarily right for listening to in your cubicle at work on October 27, but pretty fine for downloading and playing loudly out windows of your house the night of October 31.

But, to catch it live, go to radioactiveradio.org 1-3pm PST October 27.

Posted by Jake on October 27, 2005 12:01 am

October 25, 2005

Yarr

Rock on, Captain Bly.

I’ve often thought about this fella’s method of pirate radio without getting caught: battery power and pre-recorded material. “Just set it and forget it”, he says. You can put on 14 hours of radio and not be there if the FCC should happen to come hunting (although I’m not sure if that time limitation is due to the amount of pre-recorded material or the life of the battery).

But where could one possibly buy a transmitter? I guess we’ll never know.

Posted by Jake on October 25, 2005 7:08 pm

October 21, 2005

Your Arms and Legs Have Been Purchased at a Reasonable Price

One-Fifth of Human Genes Have Been Patented, Study Reveals

Good to know.

Posted by Jake on October 21, 2005 8:43 am

October 20, 2005

LMB Radio 10-20-05

LMB Radio 10-20-05

Featuring poignant/snarky commentary on:

- “emo”
- Burma: bad place
- News Corp and MySpace
- Mother Nature out for blood
- Better living through chemical prose
- embarrasing Schwarzenegger in November
- more incompetent Bush appointees
- HearUsNow.org vs digital TV

Musically we’ve got Against Me, A Tribe Called Quest, Chuck Berry, DJ Keoki, Deftones, The Coup, Cobra Killer and Kapajkos, old live acoustic Bowie, acoustic Bjork, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, Smoosh, Refused, Bill Cosby Talks to Kids About Hard Drugs, Bright Eyes, Queens of the Stone Age, and more.

I did misidentify two songs on the show: “Heavy” by Cobra Killer is actually “Heavy Rotation” by Cobra Killer and Kapajkos, and “Clean” by Beastellabeast is actually called “Clean on the Dirty”. My apologies.

Posted by Jake on October 20, 2005 10:18 pm

October 19, 2005

Fund Drive

For some time now, I’ve been meaning to have an “LMB fund drive” week. Not to raise money for me, I’m doing okay. But to spend a week pointing out other media projects doing good work and suggesting that maybe you should drop them a little cash so they can keep on keeping on.

This week would have been a perfect time to hold this “fund drive”, as my local NPR station is holding their own fund drive this week. It would have been fun to say “don’t donate to KPBS, donate to xx instead!” But I haven’t done my homework, so I can’t do such a thing.

So I’ll give you the miniscule version:

You could donate to RadioActive SanDiego, the internet radio station I work with. Although it’s a webcast, we get rebroadcast over the airwaves in a number of cities, including San Diego. Which means that we’re probably the only local radio source for feminism, labor issues, queer issues, zapatistismo, and Indonesian punk rock. If’n you wanna give us money, click here.

But it’s probably more important to donate to The NewStandard. They’re a quality news site that does investigative journalism daily, generally from a radical point of view. And since they actually pay their reporters, they need help keeping afloat. So you’d actually be helping a radical publication, but helping support independent journalists as well. To donate money to them, click here.

Or, of course, you could donate to victims of the Pakistan earthquake or the Central American floods or the Hurricane Katrina survivors or support a strike fund for hospital workers on the picket lines in SF.

Posted by Jake on October 19, 2005 9:40 am

October 18, 2005

On Drugs

This is one of the craziest PR ploys I’ve ever heard of.

While the American pharmaceutical industry makes 40 trillion metric dollars per year, that’s not enough. Some Americans who don’t like the whole price-goudging thing will import their prescriptions from Canadian companies to save money. This Canadian underground railroad might take in as much as $1 billion a year. And Big Pharma can’t have that.

So earlier this year, the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) paid hired a novelist to write a thriller about Croatian terrorists using these Canadian pharmacy websites to slaughter millions of Americans.

No, really. It was to be called “The Spivak Conspiracy”, and was being co-written by ghostwriter Julie Chrystyn and Kenin Spivak. The PhRMA made one payment to publisher Phoenix Books for the manuscript, but was unhappy with the direction of the first draft. Says Spivak:

“They said they wanted it somewhat dumbed down for women, with a lot more fluff in it, and more about the wife of the head Croatian terrorist, who is a former Miss Mexico. They also wanted to change the motivating factor of the terrorists to greed, because they didn’t want it to be politics. They wanted lots of people to die.”

(Women are the largest consumers of these Candian drugs, and the PhRMA feels that women are stupid and want to read about terrorists’ wives more than they want to read about terrorists)

Happily, when the PhRMA pulled out of the project and tried to bribe the book’s authors into keeping quiet about it, the authors went public and we all learned this crazy-ass tale. The book is to be published next year, under the modified name “The Karasik Conspiracy”.

But we’ve got one more nutty angle on this one.

Remember Jayson Blair, the NY Times reporter who was fired for printing fake stories? Apparently after his days at the NYT, he became a book editor, at… Phoenix Books. And was assigned to assist with… “The Karasik Conspiracy.” Says Chrystyn:

“I thought I’d give Jayson a break. He’d phone bright and early. He seemed conscientious. I was impressed. Besides, this was fiction, which is something for which he clearly has a talent.

“Then one midnight the guy called. I felt something was off. He said he wanted to review my contract, to ’save’ me. I said I have lawyers and agents; I’m in good hands, thanks. He persisted, and I dodged. He said, ‘From now on, you have to run everything by me. You have to look out. I’ll protect you.’ He trashed people I was involved with, trashed whoever had been good to him and was giving him a chance. He became an angry young man.

“He was in North Carolina, I was in Arizona, and he wanted me to meet him in Texas. I said I wasn’t ready. He said then he’d fly to me the next day. I said I’m on a 45-day deadline, this is a waste of time; I’d e-mail him and we’d meet later on. By now my head was spinning. He wanted to be my ghostwriter. I thought he was kidding. Then he said, ‘Lie. Tell everyone you met with me.’ ”

So who’s crazier? The PhRMA for their attempts to scare up profits through Tom Clancy-esque prose? Or the seemingly unglued, conspiracy-happy Jayson Blair?

[via Stay Free! Daily]

Posted by Jake on October 18, 2005 8:06 pm

One Nation, Under Fraud

The Iraqi constitution is going to pass. It just is.

a) many Iraqis think that approving a constitution gets the Americans one step closer to going home.
b) a failure to approve this constitution will be so bad for the Bush administration back home that I will be utterly shocked if they haven’t made plans to rig it.

Seriously, the war is increasingly unpopular, Bush’s approval ratings are spiraling down the drain, top Republicans are getting indicted right and left, and the White House is going to just wait and see how the election turns out?

Here are our possible outcomes:

- US is worried about election results, has Iraqi operatives rig the vote. Constitution passes.
- US is worried about election, has American operatives rig the vote. Constitution passes.
- US is worried, has Iraqi operatives rig the vote, but is confounded when Iraqi rivals also try to rig the vote. Outcome uncertain.
- US rigs election, but gets caught. Constitutional stalemate, beheadings for everyone, possible civil war.
- US research shows that constitution will pass easily, and there is no need for action. Constitution passes. Sunnis are pissed off. Civil war.

Posted by Jake on October 18, 2005 7:46 pm

Foxtrot

Watched the documentary Outfoxed the other day. It was better than I thought it would be. I’d been led to believe that it would be mostly a narrated montage of Fox News footage proving that the network was politically conservative. Instead, it was a comination of footage and commentary from media critics and former Fox News staff about the methods and tactics employed by the network to support Republicans and their conservative agenda.

It had its problems, of course. Out of the film’s like 30 interview subjects, I think 3 of them were from Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting (FAIR). And while they’re a good media watchdog group, seeing these same guys again and again (especially since I personally know some of them), seemed to bias the film somewhat.

Second, not very many women or people of color were interviewed. Surely young and middle-aged white men aren’t the only ones with opinions about Fox News.

Third, the ending was fucking terrible. It inspired me to take action, because the suggestions of these vanguards of the “media reform movement” aren’t going to accomplish a fucking thing. “We need to get the Fairness Doctrine back and pressure the FCC and complain to your local news outlets that you don’t like what they’re showing and blah blah blah.”

We should spend our time fighting for laws that will make corporate media slightly nicer? That they’ll ignore and fight like hell to overturn anyway? We should fight for the legal right to broadcast on airwaves that are already ours?

When media is little more than a way to grab advertising dollars, I don’t think any sort of “reform” is going to save us. I think the only hope is to try to starve corporate media to death while doing our best to support the kinds of media that we do like.

Posted by Jake on October 18, 2005 7:37 pm

October 17, 2005

Slice and Dice

Although you don’t see it as often as you’d expect, I remember seeing ads for movies some years back (can’t remember which ones, of course) which highlighted different aspects of the film in order to woo specific audiences. The ads on Lifetime made the movie look like a romance, the ads on ESPN made it look like a tough-guy action flick, the ads on the Sci-Fi channel emphasized the special effects, the Comedy Central ads played all the jokes, you get the idea. It’s all about the power of selection and context in editting. Our brains are quite good and filling in the gaps by connecting the dots we’re given, and exploiting that tendency allows advertisers to collaborate with us on drawings that never existed.

To highlight how completely an edit job can change meaning, check these out. They’re a series of movie trailers re-cut by the media team P.S. 260. You may have seen their version of “The Shining” online already, making the haunted/psycho tale look like a heart-warming tale of a boy and his new dad, but you can also see their horror-fied “Titanic”, their “West Side Story meets Outbreak”, and the horror of “Cabin Fever” transformed into a weepy story of friendship and discovery.

Honestly, this is just your standard “look at these funny links I found” post, but as Captain Media Critic, there was an undercurrent of profundity to these videos as well.

Posted by Jake on October 17, 2005 6:58 pm

Popular as Syphilis

According to a poll last week, George W. Bush’s approval rating among African-Americans now stands at 2%. That’s pretty astounding. I don’t think that number could drop any lower unless Bush starts burning crosses on the White House lawn.

Well, to be fair, that poll had a 3.4% margin of error, which means that maybe his popular rating could be as high as 5.4%. Or, that 0% of Black America approves of him, and, I dunno, 1.4% of the black population has risen from the grave to disapprove of him. Or something.

But, there is some good news here for Bush. A 2% approval rating among African-Americans here in the US means that in Bizarro World, 98% of African-Americans approve of his presidency.

But… in Bizarro world, approve means disapprove.

But disapproval is a good thing there!

But to them, good is bad.

And up is down, and right is wrong, and poop tastes delicious.

Strange place, that Bizarro World.

But this poll also tells us that Bush’s approval rating among all racial groups stands at 39%, and only 28% of Americans think that the country is headed in the right direction.

After reading all this, I began to wonder at what point the press will start referring to Bush as “an unpopular president”. I mean, during the corpsegrinder of Vietnam and the humiliation of Watergate, Nixon’s approval got down to about 31%. Does “8 points above Nixon” count as “unpopular”? One would think so.

But then I realized the answer to my own question. The press will begin to refer to Bush as “unpopular” as soon as they feel certain that his numbers are not going to come back up. They know how powerful Bush has been, and they know how ruthless his administration can be to those it considers “enemies.” If a news outlet called Bush “unpopular”, only to see him rise from the ashes, like a really stupid phoenix, then (to continue my bird and fire motif) their goose would be cooked.

So that’s why Bush isn’t referred to as “unpopular”. Fear. And reasonable fear, really. The Bush Boys play for keeps, bringing guns to every knife fight.

We all have this image in our heads of the mythical white knight journalists who protect us from evil, but apart from a few shining moments (which are so special that they are the subject of star-studded movies), this seems to be a bogus. No one’s gonna protect us but us.

Posted by Jake on October 17, 2005 6:33 pm

October 13, 2005

M-I-C

A real Mickey Mouse comic strip from 1930. Clearly the young Walt Disney would have listened to Joy Division. Hi-larious.

[via The Onion AV Club]

[Update]

The comic is part of a week-long series following this “Mickey is suicidal” storyline. Check October 18-24.

[/Update]

Posted by Jake on October 13, 2005 11:26 pm

Dead Air

Sorry folks, no LMB radio show today. Be back next week. And a Halloween show should probably come in here someplace.

Posted by Jake on October 13, 2005 11:56 am

October 11, 2005

Booky

Apparently there’s this blog… thing going around, like a game of tag or a chain letter. Yes, more like a chain letter. Once you get it, you’re supposed to answer a number of questions on your blog about books you like, and then pass it along to the next person. Jonathan Schwarz tagged me with this like 25 metric years ago, and I’m just now getting around to answering it. I’m not usually a fan of these sort of “you’ve got to do it cuz you’re supposed to” things, but I’ll answer em so as not to be a jerk to Jonathan (or to make it look as though I haven’t really been a jerk for the past 5 months). However I will break the chain and not send it to anyone else. I may not like being a jerk to people I like, but I’ve got no problem with being a jerk en masse.

Total number of books owned

I dunno, more than a hundred. I used to have around two hundred, but I gave a lot of them away via Craigslist to make my last move easier. Greedy hippies.

Last book bought

Noting that the question doesn’t say “last book stolen”, I think the answer is Diet for a Dead Planet: How the Food Industry Is Killing Us by Christopher D. Cook, which you Need to Read. It explains what American policy is about food, and how it’s so fucked up that bankrupts everybody (not just Americans) except big agribusiness. It also convinced me that a topic as mind-numbingly dull as agricultural subsidies is one of the most globally important issues around.

Last book read

I’m going to cheat here and mention all the books I’m reading at the moment (I generally have anywhere from 2 to, well, I guess 7, books going simultaneously).
Our Enemies in Blue: Police and Power in America by Kristian Williams. Looks to be a thorough, painful scouring of American police brutality.
The Silent Takeover: Global Capitalism and the Death of Democracy by Noreena Hertz. Sadly, the impact of corporate globalization was largely buried after 9/11, with far too many activists thinking that if we just stopped the war and got Bush out of office everything would be peachy keen.
Breaking Rank: A Top Cop’s Expose of the Dark Side of American Policing by Norm Stamper. A fairly striking set of proposed police reforms, when you consider that they’re from a former police chief. A lot of horrific first-person tales of regular police abuse and arrogance. I’m greatly disturbed by this book at the moment, though, after the author tells us that he used to beat and terrorize his wives, but he’s had therapy and is better now.
I’m a Stranger Here Myself: Notes on Returning to America After 20 Years Away by Bill Bryson. I was hoping this book would be some nice insight about American culture from a man who was both a native and an outsider. Instead you get a bunch of short, quaint/droll essays about middle class minutiae by a wanker. A sometimes witty wanker, but overall I can’t stand this book.
The Truth About the Drug Companies: How They Deceive Us and What to Do About It by Marcia Angell. This one got lost in the shuffle. Seems to me that it’s really a 50 page thesis on “how drug companies lie about their budgets” padded out, with some info about lobbying and marketing thrown in. Still, I oughtta at least read that core bit.
Harry Potter and the Something Something by JK Rowling. I usually have one of these books going at all times. They’re comfort food.

Five books that mean a lot to you

Illusions: The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah by Richard Bach. Sappy and new agey, but with some good absurdist humor. Not the sort of book I’d expect to like, but I think it came along at just the right time during my teen years. Full of proverbs about knowledge and learning and self from the eponymous characters “Messiah’s Handbook”. One I really took to heart:

Live to never be ashamed if anything you do or say is published around the world–
even if what is published is not true.

Mirrorshades: A Cyberpunk Anthology. Book of short stories that helped define the cyberpunk genre and fuck me up for life. Cyberpunk is essentially sci-fi that says “what if progress and technology don’t save the day? What if the future has just as many problems as it does today? Hell, what if they get worse?” Read it when I was thirteen, and it showed me that sometimes the hero doesn’t win. Actually, it showed me that sometimes the hero wasn’t much of a hero, loses, gives up, and becomes a forgotten, soulless junkie.

The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever by Stephen R. Donaldson. I’m cheating a bit, this is a series, not a book (well, two series if we want to stretch it). This one helped fuck me up for good too. Dark, dark fantasy, heavy on the themes of guilt, corruption, and self-loathing. Most fantasy novels are your standard tale of Man from Our World gets transported to Magical World, where he becomes hero and savior. Thomas Covenant, however, is a bitter, bitter man who lashes out at all of the fantasy folk who come to meet him. He helps angrily and reluctantly, believing that this whole land is a delusion brought on by his leprosy. And when the citizens magically cure his disease and he can actually feel things again, he goes crazy and rapes a woman. He spends the rest of the books knowing what a foul, broken person he is, hating himself for what he’s done, and feeling even worse as the Magic Land’s people revere and honor him. And that’s just the beginning. Read that one in my early teens, too.

Killing Hope: US Military and CIA Interventions Since World War II by William Blum. Since my history education was so poor, this book has served as a framework for me to understand world history and international relations. Indonesia? That’s the country where the US supported that dictator, Suharto in the 70s. Nicaragua? That’s where the US supported the terrorist contra army to overthrow the democratically-elected, mildly socialist government in the 80s.

Days of War, Nights of Love: Crimethink for Beginners by the CrimethInc. Collective. Basically a brilliant, passionate book-length zine of radical political philosophizing and anarchist propaganda. Makes the argument that living a life of rage and joy is not only necessary for personal satisfaction, but also for saving the world as we know it. Sorta Fight Club meets Chomsky meets a block party.

Posted by Jake on October 11, 2005 8:33 pm

Means of Production

I’ve been meaning to pose this question for a while now: who makes generic supermarket products?

This isn’t some Evening at the Improv, “what’s the deal with airline peanuts?” schtick, it’s just one more stab at understanding this crazy, labyrinthine, murderous American economy.

A few months back, I switched from a Brand Name shaving gel for the cheaper, no-name (well, “Supermarket Name Here” brand) shaving gel. The generic brand did the job just fine, but I did find it to be less thick and less foamy than the other brand. So I compared the labels on the cans, and noticed that nowhere on the generic can did it say who made it. The Brand Name proudly says that it’s made by Edge, while the generic just announces that it’s “distributed by” Safeway Inc.

Now, I have a hard time believing that Safeway Inc. owns the factories for all its generic products: shaving gel, breakfast cereals, toilet paper, soda, etc. Which leaves two options:

1) There exist companies that solely produce generic products and slap a label on them for whatever grocery store wants to sell a generic brand.

2) Brand name companies create parallel, but inferior, versions of their popular products and put grocery store logos on them for the generics. This way they sell all of the Brand Name products they want to people willing to pay the price, and also to people looking for cheaper alternatives, in a quasi-monopoly fashion.

Anyone know the answer?

Posted by Jake on October 11, 2005 8:29 pm

Future Savings

I often point out to friends after meals at Chinese restaurants that the most fortune cookies don’t actually contain “fortunes.” They usually just give you compliments (”you are a wise and generous person”), proverbs (”good advice jars the ear”) or commands (”keep true to the dreams of your youth”).

But this is a new one on me. I mean, it was a cheap Chinese place in a mall, but still…

I see a Clinique gift-with-purchase in your future. Your fortune awaits you at the Robinsons-May counter.

Fucking depressing.

Posted by Jake on October 11, 2005 11:37 am

October 10, 2005

Mom, Apple Pie, and Pain Compliance

Last week, the US Senate voted 90-9 to define what sort of behaviors are and are not acceptable regarding US soldiers and their captives. This is of course, aimed at ending the reported abuse and torture that has gone on in places like Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay.

While all of the opponents were Republicans, a huge number did cross the aisle to vote in favor of it.

Which brings us to two bits of insanity. First, George W. Bush has never vetoed a bill*. Which means that he would use the first veto of his entire administration to support torture.

Secondly, this bill is actually an attached ammendment to a $440 billion defense spending bill needed for the Iraq war. Which would reportedly “leave America’s armed forces in Iraq and Afghanistan short of cash as early as the middle of next month”.

Apparently, Bush is so in thrall with the right to torture that he’d endanger his beloved Iraq war.

What the hell is wrong with this guy?


*which technically would make a third bit of insanity mentioned in this post.

Posted by Jake on October 10, 2005 8:50 am

October 9, 2005

Sci-Fi/Fantasy: It’s Not All Crap

I was hoping that by this weekend I could be urgently telling you to go out and see an amazing new fantasy movie in theaters, to support it so that it didn’t vanish into obscurity.

But as it turns out, this particular movie was crap. Or, as I’ve been telling people, “MirrorMask is the prettiest boring movie I’ve ever seen.”

If you watch the trailers or look at some stills, I think you’ll see why I was excited about it. It looks like a gothy Neverending Story or Labyrinth meets a Tool video. And visually, the movie was stunning. But the story was slow, the characters flat, the dialogue forced, and much of the soundtrack was bad light jazz, for some reason.

So I’d highly recommend watching the trailers, and any “The Making of MirrorMask” specials you might come across, but not bothering with the film itself.

The movie Serenity was much better, but as I was a big fan of the TV series it was based on, winning my approval didn’t take much. The strength of the series was the characters’ relationships, and the sly, crackling dialogue. Sadly, the film traded in a lot of that for tension and plot velocity, but the end product was still fine by me.

Interestingly, the plot of the film can almost be seen as an allegory for the series itself; towards the end of the film, the heroes’ main goal is to get a videotape transmitted out to the people, while evil minions try to prevent them. But as a hacker character in the film says, “you can’t stop the signal.” The series aired, Fox cancelled it, fans saw it and loved it and bought the DVDs, and there was so much outcry that Universal agreed to release it as a film. I’ll bet the die-hards ate that shit up.

On top of that, one of the film’s themes is “the government is super evil”, and the director says that one of his goals was to show the impact of politics on regular people. Always worthwhile messages.

And finally, I saw the season finale of the Battlestar Galactica TV show (the newish one, not the 1970s one), and it was seriously disturbing. The series’ premise, basically, is that humankind has been virtually wiped out in a single stroke by robots that they created, and the survivors now travel in big spaceships, on the run from their would-be destroyers. However these robots (”Cylons”) have “evolved” to the point that they pretty much are humans (all organic, no machine parts, almost indistinguishable from human beings). And while most of the Cylons seem hell-bent on the annihilation of the human species, some individual Cylons like humans and want to help them– or at least seem to… So as one of the few thousand left of the human species, how do you react? Are all Cylons enemies? Are they subhuman and undeserving of rights or respect? Are they machines, or are they people? Do you treat them as individuals and equals, depending on the situation? The show doesn’t give you any easy answers there.

On the finale episode (*spoilers*), a New Ship joins the fleet of refugee humans, and it’s discovered that they have a Cylon prisoner (as does main ship in the series, the Galactica). Galactica treats their prisoner with unease and ambivalence, but mosly like a dangerous maximum security convict, occasionally interrogating her for information.

However, we find that the new ship treats their Cylon prisoner differently. She’s been essentially tortured and gang-raped into catatonia. The crew of this ship have obviously decided that their Cylon is just a machine, so it’s okay. Or that because the Cylons killed everyone they loved, it’s okay. Or, the show hints, simply because they want to, and that makes it okay. And in one scene, as the cocky male soldiers from New Ship cackle about the times they had “giving it to” their Cylon prisoner, the show cuts to a shot of some female soldiers from Galactica within earshot. They look shocked, and then scared, realizing that if these “comrades-in-arms” could justify one kind of rape, that they could easily justify others…

It’s not too often that mainstream sci-fi is willing to take on the rights of war prisoners, or rape culture. And they do so with a gritty, modern realism that I hope makes people think about it once they turn the TV off.

And then they go and end the episdoe with a cliffhanger, not to be resolved till next season, in January. Bastards.

Posted by Jake on October 9, 2005 12:57 am

October 7, 2005

Citizen Kane II

This entry in the Internet Movie Database for an upcoming Samuel L. Jackson film has to be a hoax, doesn’t it? Doesn’t it??

[Update]

Dear God. It is real. I even found photos.

Although I can’t deny Jackson’s comments on the title: “You either want to see that, or you don’t.”

Posted by Jake on October 7, 2005 9:42 pm

LMB Radio 10-06-05

LMB Radio 10-06-05

Featuring fun diatribes on:

- Harriet Miers Supreme Court stealth/crony saga
- covert conservative lizard skin-eating
- racist Hurricane Katrina hoaxes
- US Senate 9% in favor of torture
- George Clooney’s mad as hell, and he’s not going to take it any more
- Viacom vs. your children’s soft, squishy brains
- the latest in the “Bill O’Reilly Is a Racist Fuck Chronicles”
- bullet-mania and constitutional shenanigans in Iraq

And musically we’ve got Marilyn Manson, Hollertronix, Radiohead, Ben Harper, MC Lyte, Dead Kennedys, Billy Bragg, the Eurythmics, the Damned, the Cure, Damian Marley, Johnny Cash, the Dead Milkmen, Elvis “Hopped Up on Goofballs” Presley, Gogol Bordello, Giant Drag, Kelis, and more.

To whoever sent me the package last week, I’m sorry, but I was unable to receive it thanks to post office bureaucracy (apparently we’re only allowed to receive mail sent to “Radio Active” not to “Jake, c/o Radio Active”). A new permutation of my mailing address is in the upper right corner of this page. Or, y’all can feel free to email me mp3s and music links at lmbradio+at+gmail.com. Grazi.

Posted by Jake on October 7, 2005 9:07 am

October 5, 2005

Frothy, Not Factual

While we all watched aghast at the devastation and chaos caused by Hurricane Katrina, we were told stories so horrific that it seemed impossible that they were true: riots, gang wars, murders, rapes, you name it. I actually even heard at one point that people were eating each other in the Superdome. Yes, I honestly I heard from semi-reliable sources that things were so bad for the Katrina refugees in Houston that they had begun eating human flesh.

I took in all these stories with horror, skepticism, and confusion. First, all the stories seemed too terrible to be true. Second, the media almost always gets things wrong in the heat of the moment. Third, many of them rang false. The entire city is flooded and empty, yet gangsters were stealing relief supplies to sell for profit? Someone barely escapes the city with their life, loses all their worldly possessions, doesn’t know if their loved ones are alive or dead, is trying to survive in an overcrowded stadium– and starts stabbing babies? It just didn’t make sense.

But fourth, I second-guessed myself. Maybe things really were that bad. Maybe there were a few utter psychos mixed in with the survivors. Maybe I was just being naive.

Of course, it turned out that most of the horror stories were bull shit. I later found nearly every story investigated and found to be untrue, or a monumental exaggeration.

Except for one. There was one story that I didn’t see refuted, one of the most baffling bits of gossip-masquerading-as-truth from the whole disaster.

People shooting at the relief helicopters.

That one made just about no sense. Why would you shoot at someone trying to help you? Even if you didn’t want help, would you wave the helicopter away so it could help someone who wanted their aid? Were there mentally ill people with rifles out in New Orleans (well, probably).

So now, I finally see what looks like the final word on that: no one shot at the helicopters.

From the look of it, one unidentified person told one National Guardsman at the Superdome that he’d heard gunfire. Not directed at anyone or anything in particular, they just said they’d heard shots. At that point, depending on who you talk to, relief flights to the area were suspended for several hours, or relief flights continued despite the potential danger.

Apart from that, there appear to be absolutely zero incidents of people shooting at the aid helicopters.

But of course by this point, the damage is done. Folks think that they’ve had their worst prejudices confirmed, about blacks and the poor. These stories tell them that their fears are true, that you just can’t trust “those people”, and that if you try to help them, you’ll be attacked. Therefore your bigotry and fear are “justified.” And those attitudes and emotions translate into actions, which have real impact on other people.

Makes me wonder if I’d rather live in a country with the fictional cannibals or the real racists.

Posted by Jake on October 5, 2005 11:24 pm

Box Office Anatomy

Interesting article here about what it means when you hear those weekend “box office” numbers. The highlights:

- box office numbers aren’t actual dollar tallies, they’re projections from market analysts Nielsen EDI
- about 55% of the ticket sales go to the individual movie theaters, the rest goes to the movie distribution company
- studios actually make more money from video rentals, video sales, and selling the movie to TV channels than they do in theaters. But they like to keep that quiet.

Posted by Jake on October 5, 2005 8:12 am

Chow Down for Charity

If you’re going to eat at a restaurant today, you might want to choose from this list. On today, October 5, those restaurants will be donating some portion of their profits to the Red Cross for Hurricane Katrian victims. It’s not going to save the world or anything, but if you were going to go out anyway, seems like a good way to go.

Posted by Jake on October 5, 2005 8:06 am

October 3, 2005

Cleverish

More fun news regarding the Tom DeLay indictment: DeLay claims that it’s all a conspiracy against him, coordinated by Texas prosecutor Ronnie Earle and the Democratic leaders in Congress. And it could be true, I dunno, but DeLay makes his case in a totally ridiculous way:

WOLF BLITZER: Well, that’s an explosive charge you make, that there was some sort of collusion or conspiracy between Ronnie Earle and Nancy Pelosi and other Democratic leaders in the Congress. What evidence, if any, do you have to back that up?

DeLAY: It’s very good evidence, that they announced this strategy publicly, they put it on their website and this strategy is in their fund-raising letters…

BLITZER: What evidence is there they consulted with Ronnie Earle, that they talked to him or they had any dealings with him whatsoever?

DeLAY: That evidence is coming…

BLITZER: When is the evidence going to be made available? You say it’s coming. When are you going to make that evidence available?

DeLAY: When it’s timely.

BLITZER: What does that mean?

DeLAY: When it’s timely.

I love that. “I have evidence.” “What is it?” “I won’t tell you.” “Can I see it?” “No. Later.” “When’s later?” “I’m not telling.” Don’t know about you, but I’m convinced.

Of course, this “don’t ask, don’t tell” is the strategy that got us into the Iraq war, so maybe DeLay’s smarter than I think.

Posted by Jake on October 3, 2005 8:56 am

Fatal error: Cannot redeclare class CM_client in /home/lyingmed/lyingmediabastards.com/xml.php on line 287