Mixed Media

About That New Yorker Cover...

| Wed Jul. 16, 2008 5:21 PM EDT

If you were one of those who thought the Right couldn't possibly look at the New Yorker cover and see it as an accurate or even semi-accurate representation of the Obamas, I give you G. Gordon Liddy:

"I don't suppose you've, by any chance, have seen the cover of the latest issue of the New Yorker magazine, which is, you know, a huge thing. It's got Obama in his Muslim dress with a turban, and he's there with his wife. His wife has a "mad at the world" afro, circa 1968, she — she's got bandoliers and an assault weapon, and there in their fireplace is burning the American flag. The New Yorker finally got it right."

When the cover came out, I was largely dismissive of the controversy. America needs to get a sense of humor. But I'm changing my position. G. Gordon Liddy knows the cover is satirical, knows it is hyperbole, even knows it is intended to make fun of people like him. But that isn't going to stop him and those like him from using it as anti-Obama propaganda.

Do these people make a mockery of themselves? Of course. Do they vote? Absolutely.

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New Documentary: American Teen

| Wed Jul. 16, 2008 5:04 PM EDT

On the off chance that you haven't had your fill of this genre, in August you'll have the opportunity to see yet another set of jocks, popular girls, and band geeks prance around the screen in a new documentary called American Teen, directed by Nanette Burstein (The Kid Stays in the Picture).

Three MoJo staffers attended the San Francisco sneak preview on Monday. Read our discussion here.

Is Weeds Secretly Being Directed by Lars von Trier?

| Wed Jul. 16, 2008 4:49 PM EDT

mojo-photo-weeds-dancer.jpgDanish director Lars von Trier is nothing if not a rabble-rouser. His best-known films, Breaking the Waves, Dancer in the Dark and Dogville have inspired both critical praise and accusations of sadistic misogyny; in each, the female central character suffers brutally, as events seemingly conspire against her, agonizing twist after sickening injustice. After watching the latest episode of Showtime's Weeds, another half hour in which every possible thing goes wrong for our noble heroine, I wondered: is von Trier secretly manning the cameras?

Do GLAAD Network Ratings Matter?

| Tue Jul. 15, 2008 6:00 PM EDT

mojo-photo-gaynetworks.jpgThe Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation just released its annual "Network Responsibility Index," an exhaustive look at television programming that counts the percentage of a network's shows that feature LGBT people or characters. Once again, ABC was the queer juggernaut, so to speak, with gay-inclusive fare like Brothers & Sisters, Desperate Housewives and Ugly Betty adding up to a whopping 24 percent of the network's prime time. The CW made it to 21 percent on the strength (?) of America's Next Top Model, and below that, things take a turn for the pathetic. Queers show up on CBS 9 percent of the time, on 6 percent of NBC's shows, and just 4 percent of whatever Fox does. Cable did a little bit better, as an FX viewer runs the risk of spotting a homophile 45 percent of the time, with HBO and Showtime just behind. A&E, Spike, TBS, TNT, USA all received grades of "Failing." Bravo doesn't seem to have been ranked, I'm assuming because it would have completely thrown off the grading curve: I'm sorry all other netverks, you are AOUUT, auf Wiedersehen.

New Radiohead Video Made Without Cameras

| Mon Jul. 14, 2008 4:35 PM EDT

Unless you count super-geeky spinning laser detection systems as cameras. On the haunting "House of Cards" from last year's In Rainbows, Thom Yorke seemed to exhort a lover to let her old life dissolve and "get swept under" with him; exploring this theme of dissolution by pointing lasers at a suburban party and using computers to reconstruct the reflected data into a surreal, pointillist 3-D image of the scene may seem a bit on the elaborate side, but remember, this is Radiohead we're talking about. The end result is pretty interesting, although in the end it's the flickering image of Yorke himself that seems most compelling -- that shot of electrical towers collapsing is a little too reminiscent of the terrible Stephen King movie The Langoliers.

[Update: Aspiring video directors, take note. The band will partner with Google to allow fans to make "remixes" of the video footage; there is a specific YouTube page dedicated to the new versions as well as an iGoogle gadget that lets you stream the videos on your web site. Fun.]

Via the UK Guardian comes a "making-of" video that's actually slightly more interesting than the video iteslf. Watch that after the jump.

Hey Buffy Fans: Joss Whedon Back with Online Special

| Mon Jul. 14, 2008 3:55 PM EDT

mojo-photo-horrible.jpgIt turns out some people put their down time during the recent writers' strike to good use: Buffy the Vampire Slayer creator Joss Whedon got around the TV- or film-writing prohibition by penning a musical for the intertubes. Because that's what you do, right? The result is "Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog," a 75-minute superhero spoof starring Neil Patrick Harris (!) as a maniacal supervillain, or at least someone who wishes he was a maniacal supervillain. The miniseries was produced on the cheap, using affordable (and sometimes real) locations, and Whedon fans will be pleased to know it features some old Buffy, Angel, Serenity and Firefly cast and crew. You'll be able to watch it for free at the Dr. Horrible web site, but the schedule is a little tricky: Act One debuts tomorrow (Tuesday, 7/15), Act Two starts Thursday, July 17th, and Act Three will be posted Saturday, July 19th. The videos will stay up on the site for free viewing through Sunday, July 20th, at which time Whedon promises they will "vanish into the night like a phantom." Or, maybe they'll be available on DVD or something.

[Update: Well, it turns out "Dr. Horrible" is pretty terrible at javascript too, or something, since there have been a ton of problems since the first episode went live at midnight. International viewers can't seem to use the site's Hulu player, the promised iTunes download apparently doesn't work, and overwhelming traffic crashed the main website, drhorrible.com, this morning. As of 3:30pm Pacific time, the site is still down. Boy, remember when you'd turn on this box across from your couch and shows would just be there? Those were the days...]

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Holy Fist Bumps: New Yorker Obama Cover Features Turban, Afro, Flag Burning, bin Laden, Complete Lack of Concern for Humanity

| Sun Jul. 13, 2008 9:02 PM EDT

mojo-photo-nyerobama.jpgWeren't we just having a discussion here on the Riff about the thin line satire walks, between being the opposite of a thing and an endorsement of a thing? Well, brace yourselves, because the New Yorker has jumped right into the middle of that argument with a cover that made my jaw actually drop. The July 21st issue features a be-turbaned Barack and an afroed, gun-toting Michelle Obama, celebrating their arrival in the White House with a good old terrorist fist-bump. They've also apparently done a little redecorating, tacking up a portrait of Osama bin Laden and tossing an American flag into the fireplace for good measure. The illustration, called "The Politics of Fear," is described in a New Yorker press release as satirizing the "scare tactics and misinformation in the presidential election"; as the Huffington Post put it: "all that's missing is a token sprig of arugula."

After the jump: the full cover, the campaigns' responses, and when did the New Yorker become America's chaos-inducing art terrorist psycho?

New Music: Ratatat - LP3

| Fri Jul. 11, 2008 7:57 PM EDT

mojo-photo-ratatatlp3.jpgMaybe you've been watching TV lately and you've seen the Rhapsody commercial where there are a bunch of balloons floating around that magically make logos and stuff, and there's an intriguing instrumental track underneath it, funky like '70s soul, but quirky like '00s electro, and there's also a tiger roar in it, nonsensically? Well, that's "Wildcat" by New York duo Ratatat, and it's a pretty great little tune from their 2006 album Classics. (See completely ridiculous fan-made video below). That track hinted at a new path for American electronic music, experimental but organic, an intriguing answer to European austerity. On their just released new album, the unfortunately-titled LP3, they seem to be on hold, turning again to the same disco-rock beats for an album that's sometimes intriguing but often fades into the background.

Slang White People Like, Part 2: The Bro-ening

| Fri Jul. 11, 2008 7:40 PM EDT

mojo-photo-bro.jpgDebra seems to be taking a lot of guff from commenters over her piece on the possibly-ironic use of "holler" in an e-mail from a random publishing house, but I have to say I'm 100 percent behind her.

Seriously, who says "holler" unless they're singing along with Missy Elliott's "Get Ur Freak On?" Even then you'd better be pretty drunk.

Esquire GQ (like I can tell those magazines apart) recently tried to pin down the best terms guys can call other guys, and since the ironic use of out-of-date buddy terms is a topic I consider myself a bit of a connoisseur of, cap'n, I found their shakedown fascinating. It focuses on the current overuse of the term "bro" amongst, well, those doofy white guys with baseball caps and Linkin Park CDs who wish they were your bro but are not your bro.

Apparently first noted in a 1968 edition of Current Slang, the word has come a long way from its original expression of black unity, and now GQ calls "bro" the "most grating, embarrassing word a guy can use":

Internet Time Waster of the Day: Idee Multicolr

| Fri Jul. 11, 2008 6:16 PM EDT

mojo-photo-multicolr2.jpgVia the also-pretty-addictive Apartment Therapy, it's a crazy little internet widget that allows you to select a set of colors (up to ten) and then happily goes off and searches Flickr's "Interesting Photos" pool for pictures that prominently feature your selected hue or hues. First, pick orange, and watch the pumpkins, oranges, and fireworks line up. Then click on blue, and suddenly there are orange-brick buildings against blue skies, and spray-tanned babes in front of turquoise oceans. What's it good for? Well, I suppose you could click on your living room's color scheme and then print out a couple photographs for a do-it-yourself wall hanging, or something, but mostly it's just hypnotic, grid after grid of scenes whose hilariously diverse subjects are united by tint. Ooh, orange, black and pink gets you lots of nice sunsets. There goes my whole afternoon. Have your secretary hold your calls and click here.