aTypical Joe: a gay New Yorker living in the rural South
Tuesday, August 29, 2006
Fake snakes for a worthy cause
The silicone snakes featured in SAMUEL L JACKSON’s new movie SNAKES ON A PLANE will be auctioned off to benefit an animal rights organisation. American Humane monitors animal safety on film sets and is known for its “no animals were harmed” disclaimer that appears in many movie credits. The snakes will be auctioned off at auction.newline.com and bids can be placed for the next two weeks, ending 12 September (06).
The current bid is $199.
As it happens there’s another animal welfare group I support that I would urge you to support too. HEART (Humane Education Advocates Reaching Teachers) works “to inspire and empower educators to implement Humane Education into school curricula and programs.”
Their website, teachhumane.org, is a rich source of good information.
Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld said Tuesday that critics of the war in Iraq and the campaign against terror groups “seem not to have learned history’s lessons,” and he alluded to those in the 1930’s who advocated appeasing Nazi Germany.
Speaking of fascism, this sounds like a brownshirt tactic to me:
NEW YORK, NY August 29, 2006 -An Iraqi architect says he was not allowed to board a Jet Blue flight at JFK because of the Arabic inscription on his t-shirt.
REPORTER: Raed Jarrar was wearing a T-shirt that read We Will Not Be Silent in Arabic and English, when he was approached by security officers. The officers said the Arabic script was upsetting other passengers, and told Jarrar to either turn the shirt inside out or wear something else. Jarrar protested but finally wore a T-shirt provided by a Jet Blue employee.
JARRAR: I grew up and spent all my life living under authoritarian regimes. and i know that these things happen. But I’m shocked that they happened to me here, in the U.S. Especially that I moved from Iraq because of the war that was waged in Iraq under titles like democracy and freedom.
It was a JetBlue plane. I’m guess those who love Jet Blue would not be happy to see this kind of behavior coming from the airline, which says it’s investigating “but that it does take into account the concerns of its passengers.”
Snake’s subversive stereotyping
This film is not about plot. But if you care about such things and don’t want to know what happens come back and read this after you’ve seen it.
I went to see Snakes on a Plane this past weekend. Bubble gum for the brain. But tasty. I left the theater smiling. Thinking back, I completely appreciate the way it toyed with gay stereotyping.
The male flight attendant - “Tyler” - appears gay in every way. He makes eyes at the kick-boxer. When a passenger is bit in the behind by a snake, he giddily offers to suck out the venom. Then there’s this production still. What do you think that’s about? [Oops! That’s not Tyler. It’s a married guy on his honeymoon. Another subversion?]
When Tyler makes reference to his girlfriend we all wink, nod and roll our eyes. But after (spoiler alert!) the plane lands safely we see him joyously kissing and hugging his hot girlfriend.
So much for stereotyping!
People are talking about the MyDD House forecast - “Dems take 15-25 seats” - but I was as interested in the Governors forecast. To wit, “it appears extremely likely that the Democrats will capture a majority.”
What about Georgia?
13. Georgia (Democrat: Mark Taylor). The approval rating of Republican Governor Sonny Perdue is fairly strong, but Democratic Lt. Gov. Mark Taylor appears to have at least some shot at victory (though how good of a shot remains to be seen).
Latest polling: Insider Advantage, Perdue 49 - Taylor 32, August 23; Strategic Vision (R), Perdue 54 - Taylor 41, August 23.
That’s better than I thought.
They can’t help themselves
I just finished listening to Diane Sawyer arguing with Barry Sheck that the media was reasonably following where the story led.
What is amazing to me is the media circus that has followed this “case” for almost two weeks now without really a shred of proof that anything had truly developed in the 10-year-old mystery. And we’re not just talking about an informational mention on page six or seven of the local newspaper, or a 90-second story buried in the second half of a one-hour newscast.
We’re talking about hour upon hour of coverage, with some cable news networks devoting the entire hour of a 60-minute newscast to a developing story that could very well have turned out to be a lot of noise about nothing. We’re talking about alleged journalists and editors whose judgment made them decide that John Mark Karr’s plane ride from Thailand to the United States, where he sat, who he talked to, what he ate and even what procedure was used to allow him to use the bathroom was their very top story.
All of this without the most basic elements of proof that freshman journalism students taking Reporting 100 are taught to look for.
Stephen J. Dubner spotted this welcome perspective in a letter to Sports Illustrated:
As a scientist and a sports fan, I believe the current doping scandals compromise science as much as sports. The tests are performed by entities motivated by and funded to achieve the goal of detecting cheaters; their objectivity is suspect. Also, it is a scientific fact that there will be positive tests even when there are no cheaters. From my perspective, the puzzle is not the occasional prositive test, but why there aren’t a great many more. The system is broken, and I fear it is not always due to cheating athletes.”
The author, Brandon Gaut of Irvine, Calif., has a website is here.
A Catholic embrace of Intelligent Design?
The Pope is reportedly considering it:
Philosophers, scientists and other intellectuals close to Pope Benedict will gather at his summer palace outside Rome this week for intensive discussions that could herald a fundamental shift in the Vatican’s view of evolution.
There have been growing signs the Pope is considering aligning his church more closely with the theory of “intelligent design” taught in some US states. Advocates of the theory argue that some features of the universe and nature are so complex that they must have been designed by a higher intelligence. Critics say it is a disguise for creationism.
Like driving a satellite
A photo ode to Google Earth at Slate:
One of those contested places is Iraq. It was recently photographed in high resolution and now functions as a diary, a memorial, and a place to make political statements. American soldiers mark where they were ambushed, where one of their friends was killed, or where they manned a checkpoint. A self-described former member of the Iraqi army annotated the boot camp where he trained to fight for Saddam, showing the escape route he used to sneak out at night.