Mixed Media

The Dark Knight Turns Out to Be a Dick Cheney Fantasy

| Wed Jul. 23, 2008 3:15 PM EDT

mojo-photo-darkknightcheney.jpgI know I just remarked on the proliferation of ridiculous Batman tie-in blog posts, attempting to grab some page views from a populace obsessed with this record-breaking film. But I promise this isn't a cynical grab for your clicks; I'm just pissed off and want to get it off my chest.

I finally got myself into an Imax screening of The Dark Knight yesterday, and sure, it was enjoyable. The extra-large shots of city skylines were impressive, the effects were well done, and Heath Ledger's performance was riveting, if only for the creepy back-of-your-mind sense that embroiling oneself so deeply in such disturbing emotions could easily lead one to dangerous self-medicating. But as the film reached its climactic denouement, I found myself getting more and more perturbed at its underlying message, which seemed straight from the office of the Vice President.

Afterwards, a quick search showed that otherwise-erudite reviews didn't reflect my concerns, with most critics won over by the film's expansion of the superhero genre into deeper, darker territory. But what, exactly, was the message emerging from the darkness? Finally, I Googled "dark knight dick cheney," and I found an article that expressed my feelings exactly: "Batman's Dark Knight Reflects Cheney Policy." You go, Washington Independent:

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Vanity Fair Parodies New Yorker Cover, Includes Actual Comedy

| Wed Jul. 23, 2008 2:08 PM EDT

mojo-photo-vfmccainsm.jpgSure, you could look at this as a little faw-faw fancy-pants insider jab-taking over at the Conde Nast building. And you'd be right. But Vanity Fair has managed to one-up the New Yorker's now-infamous Obama cover with an image that's actually funny, and come to think of it, they kind of stole my idea (although I admit it was pretty obvious). The cover shows the McCains also celebrating their arrival in the White House with a fist bump, although John's head is decorated not with a turban, but with bandages, and he leans precariously on a walker. Cindy clutches pill bottles in one hand (snap!) and a portrait of a doofy-looking W hangs on the wall, while the constitution burns in the fireplace. It's funny cause it's true! See the full-sized image after the jump.

New Snickers Ad Encourages Drive-By Shootings of Unmanly Men

| Tue Jul. 22, 2008 2:41 PM EDT

mojo-photo-snickersad.jpgVia Towleroad comes a new spot for Snickers which appears to endorse violence against the effeminate, or at least against speed-walkers. In the spot, a yellow-shorts-sporting butt-shaking speed-walker is attacked by former A-Team star Mr. T (?!) with a Snickers-shooting machine Gatling gun, for being "a disgrace to the man race." Ga-wha? The ad was created by AMV BBDO, a subsidiary of the retro-futuristically named Omnicom, which turns out to be the company also responsible for a Dodge spot and another Snickers ad that inspired claims of homophobia. Ad Age critic Bob Garfield has written an open letter to Omnicom calling the spots "simply sick."

I've been a vocal proponent of everybody chilling out over fictional portrayals of LGBT people and the gender non-conformist, but this is appalling, and also completely unfunny: making fun of racewalkers is so, like, 1993. Watch the offending ad after the jump. What do you think, Riffers, does it make you feel like "getting some nuts" and having a Snickers?

Yearning for Better Coverage of Polygamists

| Tue Jul. 22, 2008 2:30 PM EDT

yfz200.jpgToday the New York Times teased a Sunday magazine feature on the young women of the the Yearning for Zion Ranch—the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints' (FLDS) Texas compund that was raided in April.

Times photographer Stephanie Sinclair, the teaser says, "was given rare and intimate access to some of the young women who have found themselves at the center of the often-bilious battle between the state of Texas and the F.L.D.S." The result is an eye-catching essay of 16 photographs.

Contrast is really what makes these photos work so well artistically. The juxtaposition of the pastel prairie-style dresses against a run-of-the-mill suburban ranch house lends an appealingly surreal quality, reminiscent of the uncanniness of Diane Arbus' work and the magic realism of Gregory Crewdson's. But what are those strange-looking ladies really like?

Diverse List of Mercury Prize Nominees Revealed

| Tue Jul. 22, 2008 2:02 PM EDT

mojo-photo-mercuryprizelogo.jpgHey, at least it's slightly more diverse than usual. You've got the pop-R&B of Estelle, the vintage rock of Robert Plant, the abstract dubstep of Burial and the modern jazz of Portico Quartet; throw in a little Radiohead, and that sounds to me like the list of the annual Mercury Prize nominees, an award given out to the best British or Irish album of the last 12 months. One of the judges called this a "remarkably rich year for British music," and while he may say that to all the years, it does seem like a pretty good list. Indeed, a spokesman for bookie William Hill (who puts odds on the nominees each year) said this year's odds are the "closest ever": Radiohead are first at 4/1 odds, The Last Shadow Puppets are next at 5/1, with Robert Plant and Alison Krauss, Elbow and Burial tied at 6/1. Of course, just like the Emmys, some great work must get inexplicably overlooked: both Portishead and M.I.A. are conspicuously absent, although Portishead won for Dummy in 1995. The full list of nominees, William Hill's odds, and a video each, after the jump.

Meeting in the Ladies' Room

| Mon Jul. 21, 2008 10:16 PM EDT

Man, I wish I'd thought to write this piece. Kudos to the Wall Street Journal for taking the ladies' loo seriously.

I have long been amazed at the camaraderie of the average women's bathroom, even in anonymous settings like restaurants and malls. A wedding or party? Forget about it. There's a reason we all pack up and go to pee together, gents: We're having fun and laughing at y'all.

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Ten Silliest Digg.com Headlines About The Dark Knight

| Mon Jul. 21, 2008 5:13 PM EDT

DiggDigg.com, the web site that allows users to vote on links and stories, is a good place to see what people are talking about (and interested in reading about). Right now, it's all Batman: The Dark Knight, which opened over the weekend to record-breaking crowds. Apparently it's pretty good (this reporter finally managed to buy tickets to an Imax showing tomorrow), enough so that Batman-related stories seem to be taking up a majority of Digg's space, and amidst the box office figures are some pretty ridiculous headlines. I know you're desperate for some Dark Knight-inspired click-throughs, bloggers, but jeez. Here are ten of the more, shall we say, esoteric headlines currently getting votes on Digg:

America Still Working Through That Wardrobe Malfunction Trauma For Some Reason

| Mon Jul. 21, 2008 1:54 PM EDT

mojo-photo-malfunction.jpgYes, doctor, we know that it was way back in 2004 when a couple middling pop stars engaged in a flirtatious dance routine during a Super Bowl halftime show that ended in the brief revelation of a boob, but the event apparently still haunts our nightmares. By that I mean, of course, that it's "working its way through the court system," but there was a decision today that may mean an end to our cruel suffering is in sight: a federal appeals court today threw out the original $550,000 FCC fine against CBS for the "wardrobe malfunction." That's right, the 3rd U.S. Court of Appeals is pro-bazoom, or at least fleeting bazoom, citing the "nine-sixteenths of one second glimpse" of the breast in question in their decision. But it felt like an eternity!!! Mostly they just pointed out that the FCC had never fined fleeting indecency before:

New (Leaked) Music: Primal Scream - Beautiful Future

| Fri Jul. 18, 2008 6:53 PM EDT

mojo-photo-primalscream.jpgPrimal Scream confuse the hell out of me. Are they fuzzed-out Jesus & Mary Chain imitators, acid house innovators, boring old Rolling Stones worshippers, electro-punk agitators, or is it all just a big joke? Answer: yes. The question, really, is whether you like their breakthrough successes enough to forgive their sloppy, derivative missteps; in the interest of full disclosure, this reviewer totally does. Critical consensus hails both the funky Screamadelica and the aggressive XTRMNTR as era-defining masterpieces, but I'll even pull out 1997's Vanishing Point now and then, a half-baked tribute to a totally-baked film, filled with churning electro-grunge and eye-rolling stage whispers of "Soul on ice! Soul on ice!" It's fantastic. Like the Clash, even Primal Scream's mistakes are compelling; on Beautiful Future, they often retreat to retro-Stones pablum and skeezy lyrics, and it's still pretty great.

OK Politician's Anti-Gay Comic Book May Work Against Him

| Fri Jul. 18, 2008 5:00 PM EDT

mojo-photo-rinehartexcerpt.jpgVia Queerty comes the story of Oklahoma County Commissioner Brent Rinehart, who decided to utilize the innovative format of the comic book as a reelection campaign tool. The comic attempts to illustrate Rinehart's accomplishments including "veterans appreciation month" and "keeping the cross at the fairgrounds." But the pages getting the most attention focus on the commissioner's work against the agenda of "pedaphiles [sic], polygamists, and homosexuals." These pages are, for lack of a better word, awesome: it turns out not only do gays want to lure young boys out of the forest, we also do it while wearing togas. Click the "continues" button to enjoy the two pages in question or get the whole pdf file (it's worth it) at NewsOK.com here.