Mixed Media

Jon Voight Goes Off the Rails in Israel

| Thu May 15, 2008 7:07 PM EDT

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I'll never watch Midnight Cowboy the same way again. It was clear something was up with Jon Voight last year when he went on Fox and, between queries about daughter Angelina, told an elated Bill O'Reilly that America's liberal professoriate was a dangerous fifth column. He slammed unnamed but "cunning professionals" for feeding "propaganda" to the "extremists" who criticize President Bush. And—remember this in exactly two sentences—he repeatedly condemned "religious fanaticism."

Now Voight has traveled to Israel to, as Haaretz reported yesterday, "express ... his opposition to exchanging land for peace with the Palestinians." Says Voight in an interview clip accompanying the story: "God gave this land to the Jewish people; they shouldn't be giving it away." He tearfully calls Israel "the sole reminder of the survival of the Jewish people."

Himself not Jewish, Voight also sent around a strange primary appeal earlier this year in which he declared, "Every Jew should be voting for Giuliani." Look, I'm all for philo-Semitism, but what's with this guy?

—Justin Elliott

Photo used under a Creative Commons license from jesilu_mac.

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Film Review: The Judge and the General

| Thu May 15, 2008 5:35 PM EDT

SFIFF_JudgeandtheGeneral.jpgNow retired Chilean judge Juan Guzman conducts a long, tedious investigation into the brutal killings and disappearances that took place during the country's Pinochet regime in The Judge and the General, an 84-minute documentary film that had its world premier recently at the San Francisco International Film Festival.

The film is Guzman's journey toward discovery; of the atrocities linked to Pinochet, and to his own self-awareness as a judge in search of truth who initially was skeptical about taking on the investigation. Guzman and his crew of lab technicians, police, and government officials travel to all corners of the country to study bones of those who were killed, interview their surviving family members, and review piles of documents.

One audience member at the San Francisco screening, during an open-mic Q&A, told Guzman he was a "fraud" and that he should be ashamed of himself for taking credit for taking down Pinochet. After the loud "Boos" and hisses (and one or two claps) died down, Guzman said, "You obviously don't know what you are talking about," and applause filled the room.

If Superman is a Democrat, Is Batman a Republican?

| Mon May 12, 2008 8:21 PM EDT

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DC Comics has just announced that it's sending its characters into the most terrifying parallel universe yet: the American political system. At a comic-con last week, the publisher's executive editor talked about its upcoming "DC Decisions" series, in which members of the DC universe will declare their partisan affiliations. "Everyone's talking politics; it's an elections year, and we're going to try to see how the characters of our universe react to that," he said, which I think means that his writers have completely run out of material. So now that superheroes are going to start meddling in domestic politics, which way will they swing politically? A few guesses at some of the exciting partisan plot twists to come, after the jump.

Bureau Brews: Hook & Ladder

| Fri May 9, 2008 6:50 PM EDT

Welcome to the first in an occasional series called "Bureau Brews" (Too nerdy? What about "Keg Stands?") in which reporters and editors in Mother Jones' DC Bureau will do what we do best... drink beer. Really, it's our birthright as journalists, and we take the responsibility quite seriously. (Read our hero Jack Schafer's classic treatise on the subject here.) So, every once in a while, probably on Fridays after we've filed our stories for the week, we'll break out the bottle opener and let you know what we think of various imported beers and their domestic craft cousins.

Our first victim is a local craft brewery called Hook & Ladder, based in Silver Spring, Maryland. (Disclaimer: I happen to know their PR guy. He's a mensch.) The brewery was founded by two brothers—one a volunteer firefighter, the other an entrepreneur—who, in 1999, decided to combine their talents to open a craft brewery. They originally based it in the Bay Area, but the dot-com bust scared off investors, and the fledgling business fell on hard times. Since then, they've relocated to suburban Washington, DC, where, in 2005, they renewed their quest to quit the rat race and make beer for a living, this time with great success. As of October 2006, Hook & Ladder had only one distributor and was available only in the DC area; today, it's got 73 distributors in 20 states, mostly along the East Coast, although for some reason it's also available in Stockton, California, or so we've been told.

One thing to note before we proceed to reviewing the merchandise is that Hook & Ladder, true to its firefighter founders' wishes, donates one penny from every pint sold to local burn centers. In the last two years, this has amounted to no less than $30,000. Could it be that drinking beer has finally become tax deductible? We'll have to look into that...

Comedy Bands: How Far Can they Go?

| Fri May 9, 2008 5:57 PM EDT

mojo-photo-fotc.jpgThe New York Times thought they were pretty funny: New Zealand's "fourth most popular folk-parody duo" Flight of the Conchords are taking their HBO show about being, well, wildly unsuccessful, on a wildly successful tour, and they just played in New York to an appreciative crowd. The TV show, while not exactly a breakout hit, ratings-wise, was pretty much the second-best thing on HBO last year, both for the hilarity of their song parodies ("Bowie's In Space," anyone?) and for the low-key quirkiness of their heavily-accented banter. So, it's a good show on TV, but isn't there something a bit awkward about parody songs plopping down into the real-life rock context of an actual concert hall?

After the jump: What happens when the highest-charting death metal band of all time is, um, a joke?

Group Demands Marriott Turn Off the Porn

| Fri May 9, 2008 4:02 PM EDT

mojo-photo-marriott.jpgFrom citizenlink.com:

Focus on the Family Action is calling on families to co-sign a letter urging Marriott hotels to stop offering in-room pornography. The letter, signed by 47 family groups, will be presented at a meeting May 14 between pro-family leaders and Marriott International officials. It's the first time a major hotel chain has agreed to meet to discuss the issue. Tom Minnery, senior vice president of government and public policy of Focus on the Family Action, said Marriott can't continue to present itself as a family-friendly hotel chain while peddling pornography. "Pornography is highly addictive and extremely destructive," he said. "In the 'secrecy' of a hotel room, pornography can be especially dangerous because it creates a sexualized climate that puts men, women and children at risk."

Focus on the Family Action then demanded Marriott remove all beds, comfy cushions and plush carpets from rooms, since those soft, inviting spaces just make addictive, dangerous fornication all the more likely. And don't get us started on those oh-so-sexy coffeemakers, heating things up! Hub-ba!

After the jump: I didn't mean to press "buy," really!

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Oliver Stone's W: Will It Be Better than "Lil' Bush"?

| Thu May 8, 2008 6:26 PM EDT

mojo-photo-ewbush.jpgEntertainment Weekly has a "first look" at Oliver Stone's W, the upcoming feature on our most awesomest president ever, starting Josh Brolin as the smirking W himself. Of course, by "First Look," EW is stretching things a bit, since, as they say, "shooting begins in less than two weeks." However, it sounds like Stone is trying to get the movie turned around in record time, with a release possibly coming "as early as October." EW's article is six long pages; so I've collected some highlights after the jump:

Grand Theft Auto IV Makes More Money Than Anything Ever

| Thu May 8, 2008 5:48 PM EDT

mojo-photo-grandtheft.jpgWell, almost. Billboard magazine reports that first-week sales for the latest installment in the "Grand Theft Auto" videogame series has outperformed even the most optimistic of predictions, making more than $500 million in sales the first week. Billboard says that's 6 million copies, but it's $60 on Amazon, and that works out to $360 million, but who knows how they count these things. Either way, it's a new first-week record for a game, smashing the previous high mark set by "Halo 3" of $300 million.

For comparison's sake, let's just take a look at some other cultural products and institutions and their associated monetary figures, after the jump:

Music: Million DJ March to Unite Annoying, Headphone-Wearing Dorks

| Wed May 7, 2008 9:47 PM EDT

mojo-photo-milliondj.gifThis can't be serious. Eminem associate DJ Green Lantern and mixtape empresario A. Shaw have just announced The Million DJ March, a series of activities and rallies in support of the good old disk jockey, to be held August 28-30 in Washington D.C. Wait a minute, I'm a DJ. Why do I need to rally? Well, in a press release, Shaw alleges that "DJs do not get fully recognized for the work they do… Label and major businesses who reap the rewards of default publicity need to pay attention and give more recognition and financial compensation to DJs for the promotion they provide, without which music sales would surely suffer." Well, okay, yes, we play music, people should be happy we do that. Hooray us. But why all this marching? The press release continues:

DJs… are often harassed and legally penalized for their promotional efforts even when those efforts have been solicited directly by the labels and artists themselves: an arrangement that is known about throughout the industry but kept "on the low."

Hmm, harassment and legal penalties. Are you talking about what happens when you sell thousands and thousands of unauthorized mixtape CDs out of the back of your car?

After the jump: hey, I pressed "play," that'll be $25,000.

Breaking News: Hipsters Live in Cheap, Crappy Buildings

| Wed May 7, 2008 3:47 PM EDT

Yes, NYT trend piece fans, it's time for yet another trenchant observation: Art kids live in squalor in Brooklyn. And since everyone knows bedbug bites are like the purple heart of hipsterdom, they're totally jazzed about their tenement, known as the McKibbin:

"The community is a microcosm of artists, musicians and D.J.'s," said Kevin Farrell, who is 29 and works in video production. "You don't have to leave this building, with the exception of food. I don't really speak to the locals."

By comparison, campaign kids, who whined in the Sunday Times about having to couch surf, look pretty square:

"It's so nice to have your own space," said Erin Suhr, 32, the director of press advance for the Clinton campaign. "To come in and not have to talk to anyone, because you know they're going to want to talk about politics."
Since mid-February, Ms. Suhr has been living in Washington, in the basement apartment of Dick and Joanne Howes. Ms. Suhr has her own entrance and said she rarely sees the couple. But on a recent Monday night, Ms. Suhr appeared at their back door and the trio fell into an easy banter.

Fraternizing with the locals? She'd never make it at the McKibbin.