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9/20, 9PM





Friday, May 09, 2003
9:54 AM      

"Although it is not true that all conservatives are stupid people, it is true that all stupid people are conservative."


- J.S. Mill

[ link | e-me ]

9:51 AM      

This just in:

Nice piece on the erosion of America's credibility in the world, and the bizarre behavior of the press.

The Friedman camp's reasoning on "lies don't matter" is that Saddam Hussein was such a miserable bastard that taking him out was worthy in and of itself. As a human rights supporter all these years, I made that argument, too. I even made it when the Reagan administration was giving Saddam WMDs.

But that was not the case made by President Bush. He said Saddam Hussein was a clear and present danger who posed an imminent threat to the United States...

The reason Bush could not make the human rights case against Saddam Hussein (as Tony Blair did) is because we're still supplying other monsters with weaponry. ...

[ read on... ]

[ link | e-me ]

9:28 AM      

There's a good interview with Bill Maher over on

On the book "When you Ride Alone, you Ride with Bin Laden:"

The title and the poster on the cover is a direct lift from a WWII poster that said, “When you ride alone you ride with Hitler,” because they were trying to get people to carpool. That message is as relevant today. Oil is certainly as much of a weapon in this war, because the people who are attacking us are definitely funded by oil. Drugs do not fund them, as the administration would want you to believe.

...I don’t know if you saw the most recent Redmond/Hart report but Gary Hart and William Redmond put out the original terrorism report in March of 2001, six months before the attack. They said basically, “We’re going to get attacked. We have to get our shit together and we’ve got to do it now,” and of course no one paid attention. They put out another report [in December, 2002], which did not get the banner headlines it should have in the newspapers, but it was reported and what that report said was, “Now it’s after 9/11 and we’re still not doing anything. Nothing has changed.” It’s so maddening that people in America are not outraged. One of the posters says, “What has to happen?”

...the thing about this book is that there are a lot of things that the people who buy Ann Coulter’s book [“Slander: Liberal Lies about the American Right.”] would love. They would love that last essay which is titled “Not Just Different,” which says that the United States is not just different, it’s better. As much as I criticize this country, let’s not lose sight of the fact that representative democracy and freedom of religion and rule of the law and equality of the sexes and free speech, these things are better than beheadings and stonings and autocracy and no free speech and keeping women in those bee keeper suits and all the other stuff that we see around the world. It’s a very sort of cold-eyed defense of why America is the greatest country.

I wrote it because I get annoyed when I hear sentimental justifications for why we’re the greatest country. You don’t need to sentimentalize it or trivialize it. There are reasons why we’re the greatest country, but we have to live up to them. We have to live up to the free speech part. We have to live up to the part that says we’re so generous and we’re a charitable nation, when the truth is we’re not. I do think we’re the greatest country, but I also totally understand why people hate us.

On comedy as communication:

My favorite moment in any show is when I say things where I can feel the audience withdrawing, when I bring up the premise and then I say the joke and they laugh. And when they laugh they have to sort of examine the way they feel about it because it was involuntary; they didn’t think they were going to do it. Anybody can get up there and confirm prejudices. It’s a lot more satisfying to unsettle people’s prejudices and challenge them and say things that make them reexamine who they are and what they believe. A lot of people don’t want to hear this shit about “get rid of your SUV.” They love their SUV. But when you make the case and you make them laugh, you can turn them around.

Bill's also got his own site, with lots of reviews, articles and message boards.


I'm just shy of 2/3 of the way through Arnheim's "The Power of the Center." It's a chewy read, but I'm definitely getting a lot out of it. This is the kind of book that will yield even more on the second and third time through.

Sitting on the subway yesterday, I noticed a square poster for LavaLife, and began to apply some of what I'd read in the book --

The poster features a man and a woman sitting in two chairs, seemingly doing separate activities, but definitely interested in each other. The man's sideways posture suggests that he's interested, but not overt. Both of them are holding newspapers, and she's also holding a coffee cup, suggesting that they're still being a bit coy about approaching each other. They're making it look like they're doing something other than checking each other out. The poster illustrates the curiosity and attraction of the two without resorting to text.

The square shape imposes powerful constraints on composition. There are four very strong vectors that come into play, just by virtue of the shape: up/down (which also implies gravity), right/left, and the two diagonals starting in the upper left and the upper right respectively. The poster also suggests a dimension of depth by using scaling to suggest that the woman is sitting closer to the viewer than the man. Her direct gaze draws the viewer into the composition.

The center of the image is actually empty, which creates a kind of tension that emphasizes the two characters, and exerts a pull on them toward each other. Their heads are located on the two diagonal axes, and the vertical center axis is reinforced by the line of the back of the man's chair and the right edge of the headline text.The outlines of the chairs slightly overlap, alluding perhaps to the possibility of physical contact.

Their smiles curve toward each other, further enhancing the sense of attraction. The atmosphere is established by a trail of stars that seem to waft from her to him. There are also what appear to be faint beams of light washing over him toward her. These beams roughly follow the diagonal from the upper right, and return the eye back to her. The eye motion within the poster is largely circular and clockwise. While the poster is mostly about the interaction of the two, the setting illustrates a complete space -- I imagine it's a coffee shop or a similar setting. You can clearly make out the two chairs, the table she's sitting at, and the back of a person walking away from them.


Aah - Inspiration.

Denise just sent me a link to this blog. It's an instant visual kick in the pants. Skimming the first couple of entries, I'm interested. Might become one of my regulars.


Technology so correct...

I had to laugh when I spell-checked this entry. The dictionary flagged "shit" as being misspelled.

[ link | e-me ]

Wednesday, May 07, 2003
8:43 AM      

I finished the principle construction of my friend's jewelry website yesterday. I'm happy with how it's turning out. There are a few minor adjustments to make before it goes live - edits, adding a missing picture and so forth, but the major part of the work is done.


See it spin
"I am loath to think of an aircraft carrier being used as an advertising backdrop for a presidential political slogan, and yet that is what I saw."...

"I do not begrudge his salute to America's warriors aboard the carrier Lincoln, for they have performed bravely, ... but I do question the motives of a desk-bound president who assumes the garb of a warrior for the purposes of a speech."

- Senator Robert Byrd of West VA.

Ari Fleischer: "[Byrd's criticisms are] a disservice to the men and women of our military who deserved to be thanked in person... Senator Byrd is a patriot, but on this we disagree."


This was a good show. Thank goodness Bill Maher has not reformed since being bounced off ABC for being politically incorrect about acknowledging that being willing to fly an aircraft into a building is not exactly a cowardly act. You can call it a lot of things, but cowardly is not one of them.

Yes, he says he'd have said it differently, if he'd thought about it, but it was an off the cuff remark, just as Ari Fleischer's comment that "people need to start watching what they say" was. He was surprisingly generous toward Ari, saying that he'd give Ari a pass on that comment. Bill, on the other hand, was the first to get "Dixie-Chicked."

Speaking of which, two DJs in Colorado Springs were suspended for playing Dixie Chicks music in spite of the Station Manager's ban. Even though the station has received a couple of hundred calls and 75% favored playing the music, the manager had this to say:

"They made it very clear that they support wholeheartedly the president of the United States. They support wholeheartedly the troops, the military. But they also support the right of free speech..."

"I gave them an alternative: stop it now and they'll be on suspension, or they can continue playing them and when they come out of the studio they won't have a job."

"Most stations are starting to play them again... I just have a problem with the way this was done... we'd like to do it on our terms."

Is he really making an argument against the right of free speech? Is he ignoring the majority of his audience? It's clear that he likes to be in control of the agenda, and he uses money to do it.

[ link | e-me ]
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