aTypical Joe: a gay New Yorker living in the rural South
Thursday, February 16, 2006
Keep webcams from kids
Justin Berry was 13 when he hooked up his Web cam. New York Times reporter Kurt Eichenwald told the story of how this boy looking for friends became an online porn star in Through His Webcam, a Boy Joins a Sordid Online World. If you haven’t read it, you should.
They were on Oprah yesterday. Eichenwald ended the show with this important message:
Mr. EICHENWALD: There is absolutely no reason for a child to have a Web cam. Every Web cam in every child’s room in America should be thrown out today.
WINFREY: You--you agree?
Mr. BERRY: I totally agree. I can’t think of one use besides sexual that a kid needs a Web cam for.
Mr. EICHENWALD: You know, actually, in preparation for this show, Justin and I went to a store to see about purchasing one. And he was just playing a game, and he said to the salesperson, `Well, what do people use Web cams for?’ And he said, `Well, Web cam chatting, porn’ in the store.
WINFREY: Really? In the store.
Mr. EICHENWALD: But he was a teenager, so he knew… And what’s interesting is, in the course of the reporting, I went on a lot of teen bulletin boards, teen chat rooms, to see what they’re saying about Web cams. They know what they are. They’re not saying, `I want to talk to someone in England,’ they say, `I want to get on a Web cam, and when I do, will you get on, too, and we can both strip naked?’ That’s what they’re about.
Eichenwald was visibly moved as he said these words. He is informed by his experience reporting this story. He knows what he’s talking about.
If I were a Simpson…
Simpsomaker Via: Siva. The long-delayed Daily Show segment was on last night. My review: terrific! I wish I could see Dimitri do his standup. Siva, if you’re an old person, I’m a geezer. BTW, I’m coming around slowly on libraries.
Avenue Q coming to Atlanta?
The puppets are folding.
After five lackluster months on the Las Vegas Strip, and nearly two years after rejecting a national tour, the producers of “Avenue Q,” the 2004 Tony Award winner for best musical, said they would close the Vegas version of the ribald, puppet-happy musical in late May. The show, which is playing to only about 65 percent of capacity in a 1,200-seat theater at the Wynn Las Vegas, will be replaced by “Monty Python’s Spamalot,” which won last year’s Tony for best musical.
It’s still booming in NY and now may come to your town:
The closing brings to an end a saga that began at the 2004 Tony Awards when “Avenue Q” shocked Broadway by winning best musical over the favored “Wicked.” Days later, the producers surprised Broadway again - and angered many on the road - when they announced that they would forgo a national tour in favor of an exclusive run in Las Vegas.
Yesterday, however, the producers of “Q” were already pursuing options in other major American cities - Mr. Wynn dropped the exclusivity deal as part of ending the Vegas run - and had gone so far as to send a series of Valentine’s Day cards to presenters suggesting that they “have a deeply satisfying moment of schadenfreude” and then consider booking the show.
The fabulous Fox is even bigger than the Vegas theater (which was half again as big as the 796 seat Golden where the show’s playing in NY) but if it comes I’ll go.
The path to same-sex marriage: VT, MA, NJ?
Same-sex marriage advocates took their fight to New Jersey’s Supreme Court on Wednesday, arguing that gay and lesbian couples should have the same legal marriage rights as heterosexual couples.
The case could make New Jersey the second state where gay marriage is legal. The issue leaped to the spotlight during the 2004 presidential election after Massachusetts legalized it in response to a ruling by its state Supreme Court.
The case in New Jersey will be closely watched in six other states where similar cases are pending. [...]
A February poll by the Zogby organization, commissioned by the pro-gay marriage group Garden State Equality, found 56 percent of respondents favored allowing same-sex couples to get married, against 39 percent who were opposed. The same poll found 67 percent against a constitutional ban on gay marriage.
RELATED: New Hampshire constitutional amendment rejected.
The new kinder gentler Boot Camp
Steve Gillard quotes the (subscription only) Wall Street Journal on how recruiting woes have forced changes:
For most of its existence, boot camp was a place where drill sergeants would weed out the weak and turn psychologically soft civilians into hardened soldiers. But the Army, fighting through one of its biggest recruiting droughts, now is shifting tactics. Boot camp—that iconic American experience—may never be the same.
Once-feared drill sergeants have been ordered to yell less and mentor more. “Before, our drill sergeants’ attitude was ‘you better meet my standard or else.’ Now it’s ‘I am going to do all I can to assist you in meeting the Army standard,’ “ says Command Sgt. Maj. William McDaniel, the senior enlisted soldier here.
New privates are getting more sleep and personal time. Even the way soldiers eat has changed. Drill sergeants long ordered overweight soldiers to stay away from soda and desserts. Today, soldiers at Fort Leonard Wood fill out a survey about their boot-camp experience that asks, among other questions, if they liked the food, whether they were “allowed to eat everything on the menu, including dessert,” and whether there was enough for seconds. [...]
The dining hall still is far from relaxing. But drill sergeants no longer shout at recruits. They aren’t allowed to order overweight privates to skip dessert. At first, some drill sergeants refused to embrace the new directive. “There was a lot of balking on the dessert rule,” says Capt. Meng, who oversees 11 drill sergeants. “I have had to say, ‘Don’t even mention it.’ “
The Army also has cut the amount of running troops do in boot camp by more than 60% in the past three years. “A lot of these kids have never done P.E. or sports. We were injuring too many by running too much,” says Col. Greg Jolissaint, an Army physician with the command that sets baseline standards for boot camp.
Winter Passing: Will it make it here?
Will Ferrell was in this movie, and if it weren’t pretty good on its own terms he’d be worth the price of admission by himself. Corbit has a special-ed haircut and some poorly applied eye shadow, and he tends to say “right on” a lot, whether it’s appropriate in context or not. But he’s a sympathetic figure, not an object of derision, and he reminds you that Ferrell treats all his overly sincere and hypercommitted characters with compassion, even in the most trivial comic vehicle. (Not that comedy isn’t important and stuff.) Plus he performs a version of the Eagles’ “I Can’t Tell You Why” that nearly tops his cover of “Dust in the Wind” from ”Old School.”
So “Winter Passing,” a promising directing debut from New York playwright Adam Rapp, is getting a low-rent release from a small distributor because—well, why, exactly? Because it’s conventionally structured, and you mostly know what’s going to happen? No, that’s not it. It must be because people in Hollywood are idiots who can’t tell their asses from a hole in the ground. I don’t know for a fact that no major studio wanted a movie that sounded, in a vague and general way, too much like ”The Squid and the Whale.” But that’s plausible, and if so it’s approximately the dumbest thing ever. Deschanel is great, with her feral eyes and Joey Ramone shag haircut, and Ferrell is fantastic. This one’s worth the effort to find.
I saw The Squid and the Whale in New York. Its New York sensibility was so thick that I don’t imagine it succeeding here.