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by Bill Gibron

2 Feb 2010

It was supposed to be the move that made the 2010 Oscars more “meaningful”. By opening up the Best Picture nominations to ten, more films, and by indirect correlation, more filmmakers, casts, and crewmembers, were supposed to be vying for the Academy’s top prize. It was diversity in its purest, aesthetic form. So why was the announcement this morning of the 82nd Annual AMPAS choices so…expected. Where were the proposed “shockers”? Oh sure, would anyone have guessed that a sci-fi South African social commentary or the animated adventures of a curmudgeonly old man, a chubby adventure scout, and a floating house be vying for the year’s top trophy. Sure, the aliens of Na’Vi and an bunch of bomb squad daredevils were a lock, but at least a couple of the Best Picture picks were interesting, to say the least. But “stunners”? Not really.

As for the rest of the major categories, they couldn’t be more predictable. You’ve got to give Hollywood and the various guilds and critical community credit. They have micromanaged the awards season process to remove all legitimate suspense and surprise out of it. For those still interested - or working on their office pool - here’s how we see the upcoming 7 March commencements:

by Rob Horning

2 Feb 2010

Suburbia (not this one, alas) seems to be in the news, prompted by Joel “New Geography” Kotkin’s essay claiming that the Obama administration (aka “the president’s cadres”) is inveighing a “war against suburbia.” This is so ridiculous it almost needs no comment. Atrios sums it up well: “This is completely idiotic for mostly obvious reasons, including the hundreds of billions devoted to propping up single family home prices.” (I think Kotkin needs to watch Over the Edge is he wants to see what a war on suburbia really looks like.)

Mike Konczal puts some specific numbers behind some of the other obviousness, the idea that money for Obama’s high-speed-rail initiatives threatens pro-suburban transportation policy.

From the ProPublica Stimulus Spending List:
  Highway infrastructure investment $26,725,000,000
  Highway infrastructure funds distributed by states $60,000,000
  Highway infrastructure funds for the Indian Reservation Roads program $550,000,000
  Highway infrastructure funds for surface transportation technology training $20,000,000
  Highway infrastructure to fund oversight and management of projects $40,000,000
  Additional capital investments in surface transportation including highways, bridges, and road repairs $1,298,500,000
  Administrative costs for additional capital investments in surface transportation $200,000,000

  High speed rail capital assistance $8,000,000,000
Check that out: Over $28 billion dollars allocated to highway spending, with over $26 billion allocated to “Highway infrastructure investment.” That’s over three times the amount spent on the $8 billion for “high speed rail capital assistance.”


by Crispin Kott

2 Feb 2010

I know I should feel a deep sense of shame, but I don’t. I haven’t watched MTV in years. None of their self-celebratory awards shows tempted me even a little, and the rest of their “reality” programming made me wonder what I’d ever seen in the network in the first place.

But then came Jersey Shore. I figured anything that got so many people so upset had to be worth checking out. Within the first 15 minutes of the first episode, I was hooked.

See, I’d spent some of my formative years on the Jersey Shore, visiting my grandparents’ weekend home when I was a kid, and spending a week there for two straight summers with high school friends. Maybe we were too wrapped up in being skate punks looking for girls at the time, but the stuff that went on at the Jersey Shore on MTV didn’t seem at all familiar to me. I’d like to pretend it was this societal disparity that caused me to continue tuning in, but the truth is much less savory.

by Meghan Lewit

2 Feb 2010

“Oh, Ping.”

It’s a shame that won’t have an opportunity to become the catchphrase of the season, because Ping Wu and her draping, dithering, bum-exposing wackiness was auf’d on this week’s episode. No one on the show ever actually uttered the words “oh, Ping,” but affectionate eye rolling was implied in every scene of Ping ponging around the workroom in search of her shoes/sketchbook/money/sanity, or being browbeaten by her challenge partner Jesse and the judges.

Poor Ping. She was one of Project Runway’s more adorable loose canons.

by C.E. McAuley

2 Feb 2010

With the publication of its penultimate issue as part of the World Against Superman crossover series, it’s the perfect time to reflect a bit on the most politically relevant new series to unexpectedly come out of the DCU in some time—Superman: World of New Krypton. . .and to call on DC Comics to continue the series as a stand-alone comic beyond its initial 12 issue run. To not do so would certainly be a Missed Direction for the DCU.

//Mixed media

'Fire Emblem Heroes' Is a Bad Crossover

// Moving Pixels

"Fire Emblem Heroes desperately and shamelessly wants to monetize our love for these characters, yet it has no idea why we came to love them in the first place.

READ the article