Wednesday, October 31, 2012
With a lineup including the New Yorker’s Ian Frazier, the Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel, and the notorious Mike Daisey, choosing a Humanities Festival schedule is a daunting task. The good news? You really can’t go wrong.
Tuesday, October 30, 2012
Monday, October 29, 2012
Man Who Died Saturday Night In Embarcadero Station Identified As Paul Addis: News: SFAppeal:
Addis was perhaps best known as the man accused of prematurely setting fire to the Burning Man sculpture in 2007, as an act of protest against the event.
According to a Bay Guardian article from 2010, Addis spent two years in a Nevada prison for the Burning Man incident, during which time he developed a one-man show entitled Dystopian Veneer, which he brought to San Francisco in April of that year.
Several of Addis' friends reached out to the Appeal in hopes that we would update our earlier story on the events surrounding his death with his name.
Saturday, October 27, 2012
Nor could there have been much harmony for those at The Times who deal with advertising revenue, a difficult enough proposition as a discouraging third-quarter earnings report made clear on Thursday.
The episode is an extreme example of an enduring newspaper-world fact: journalism and business interests don’t always go hand in hand.
The Times did exactly what one would hope and expect: It published a great story without undue regard for the short-term business consequences.
And, given The Times’s financial challenges and its major effort to become a true global news organization, that took guts.
Friday, October 26, 2012
If you're feeling frisky this weekend—or need something to get you in the mood—head over to Galapagos Art Space for 'No Holds Barred' Bawdy Storytelling on Friday night. Think of it as "The Moth for Pervs": storytellers have 10 minutes to titillate you with an honest sexploit from their past with "no scripts, no nets and no filters." This go-around's storytellers include monologist Mike Daisey, sex educator Ducky Doolittle, Late Night With Jimmy Fallon comedian Seth Herzog, and three others. If that's not enough to get your motor running, Vixen Creations and Aneros will both be giving away free sex toys. Tickets for this sexxxy event run $15 and doors open at 7 p.m.
10) Remember Carl Tanzler, that crazy German doctor who kidnapped the dead body of his unrequited love object and covered it in papier mache and lived with it for years and years until they took it away from him? I don't know why I'm bringing that up, but in general, yes, I think developing a hobby is a great way to get somebody to notice you.
Thursday, October 25, 2012
Probably the most curious entry on the schedule, which P.S. 122 announced on Thursday, is “Hot Box” by the director and video artist Brian Rogers, who was inspired by aspects of the films “Apocalypse Now” and “Fitzcarraldo,” most notably, the way actors in those films are said to have prepared themselves for their roles by undertaking ordeals of various kinds. Here, Mr. Rogers and his collaborator Madeline Best will spend several hours before curtain time drinking heavily and executing strenuous tasks, including exercise, so that by the time the audience arrives, they are drunk and exhausted. A version of the piece played the Chocolate Factory this year.
Wednesday, October 24, 2012
Have you ever thought, “You know…I think we could do it. I mean, how much could it cost, right?”
Have you ever wondered why show business is like no other business we know?
MY BIG BREAK
Created and Performed by Mike Daisey
Directed by Jean-Michele Gregory
This November 19th, Mike Daisey brings Joe’s Pub an unlikely New York story with MY BIG BREAK.
A decade ago Daisey came to New York with the simple dream of putting on a show. This is the often ridiculous story of that undertaking: a road studded with devilish producers, total compromises, hideous failures, bounced checks, occasional triumphs, and an enduring association with professional practitioners of penis origami.
Against this tale Daisey delves into the dark business of show business: from the producer of REBECCA who has been arrested for creating backers out of thin air, to the many dramas that swirled around SPIDER-MAN, and beyond.
With humor and an open heart, Daisey will illuminate how no business in the world has ever been quite like show business…and maybe that’s a wonderful thing.
BUY TICKETS HERE!
"A monologuist who always threatens to burst out of his chosen form—funny, literate and provocative." -CHICAGO TRIBUNE
“The master storyteller—one of the finest solo performers of his generation.” -THE NEW YORK TIMES
"Sharp-witted, passionately delivered talk about matters both small and huge, at once utterly individual and achingly universal." -BOSTON GLOBE
"The only showman in America who matters." -METROMIX
Tuesday, October 23, 2012
"Marilyn Monroe could turn it on and off," Z told me. "You can't."
Turning it on and off was something I thought about when I was lying naked in a warehouse in the Bronx, surrounded by hard-boiled eggs. The man photographing me adamantly denied having an egg fetish. After the shoot was over, he'd offer them to me to bring home and eat. I was broke enough to say yes.
I was 20. I'd been working as a naked model for two years. Back in the early aughts, there was a flourishing semi-legit business for girls like me, based off Craigslist and OneModelPlace. Girls too short, fat or plain to be legit models, unwilling to give the "fuck you" to convention it takes to be in legit porn, would pose for amateur photographers. We called them GWCs, or Guys with Cameras. They paid 100 bucks an hour.
We showed up in their hotel rooms. We posed on their beds. We told each other who was a good guy and who was a sociopath, knowing full well that if a GWC raped us, the police would do nil. A girl I knew was working as a bondage model. The photographer threatened to kill her. She wept. He let her go. When she went to the police, they shrugged her off. The photographer later murdered a model.
Monday, October 22, 2012
If you understand how the American news cycle works, you know what is coming next: the (new) backlash against Greg Smith. The inevitable backlash will recast him from heroic whistleblower to self-serving hypocrite. So before that backlash is fully formed, allow us to offer a defense of Greg Smith, and others like him, who assert their moral outrage over bad situations that are ostensibly "well known" even before they raise their voices in protest.
The backlash, of course, is already well under way. The NYT's Andrew Ross Sorkin said he thought Smith "might have conned" the media into paying attention to him, because his book "doesn't say anything particularly revelatory." Nathan Vardi at Forbes dismisses Smith's complaints, saying that clients distrusting their own banks is "precisely what should be happening in financial markets." The NY Daily News complains that Smith's book "failed to make his readers care" about the issues he raises. As Bloomberg View put it in its original snide dismissal of Smith's op-ed, "If you want to dedicate your life to serving humanity, do not go to work for Goldman Sachs."
What bothers most Wall Street-savvy critics about Greg Smith is this: he got a lot of attention for complaining about a situation that all of these Wall Street-savvy people already know exists.
The late Steve Jobs, for instance, was a man of ideas. He was widely considered a visionary and a prophet of technology, and Jobs took great pains to encourage that way of thinking. After his death, however, Mike Daisey, the acclaimed playwright and monologuist, revealed something about Jobs that should have been plain to see - Jobs' prophecies came at the expense of poor Chinese sweatshop workers who make iPads and other Apple products for middle-class Americans to buy at affordable prices. The Great Man theory of history is more like intellectual cover (or what Marx called the illusions of the ruling class), for the exploitation of labour.
It's hard to imagine a better illustration of Marx's theory of the ruling class than Citizens United, the 2010 case brought before the US Supreme Court in which the majority decided that political action committees (or PACs) cannot be subject to campaign finance laws. PACs do not formally represent candidates and instead, express their own political views. So the money they spend is more like free speech. Therefore, political money is speech protected by the US Constitution's First Amendment.
In theory, this is an egalitarian ruling. Any citizen can spend any amount of money to promote or attack any issue they want. But we don't live in an egalitarian society. As Gore Vidal has said, America is a very good place to live if you have money and property. Not so much if you don't.
Sunday, October 21, 2012
New York City’s billionaire mayor Michael Bloomberg last year shocked the world when he ignored a court order and moved to crush the nascent Occupy Wall Street movement. He famously deployed the New York Police Department to jettison protesters from Zuccotti Park, whose owners paid his girlfriend $109,954 in 2009.
Bloomberg is apparently not done with attacking the 99 percent. He has launched a new Super PAC to boost candidates who share his plutocratic vision for America. In an interview with the New York Times, Bloomberg threw his support to embattled incumbent Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA) while absurdly invoking the Soviet Union to blast his bold progressive challenger Elizabeth Warren:
In the Senate, Scott Brown, who single-handedly stopped the right-to-carry bill. You can question whether he’s too conservative. You can question, in my mind, whether she’s God’s gift to regulation, close the banks and get rid of corporate profits, and we’d all bring socialism back, or the U.S.S.R.
It’s unlikely that Bloomberg is truly fearful that Warren will unleash Communism on America. Rather, Bloomberg has been one of Wall Street’s biggest defenders. In 2011, he famously claimed that it wasn’t “the banks that created the mortgage crisis.” The banks, of course, are all against Warren, and half of Brown’s top twenty donors come from the financial industry.
The real tragedy of this election is that this is not something that President Obama can do. (Mr. Romney and his party have grown so impervious to reality that it is no longer possible to expect even self-preservation from them, much less honor.)
Mr. Obama came into office at a time of rare political opportunity, leading a mass movement of devoted followers. He chose to ignore the moment, and defuse the movement, preferring to impose a sort of perestroika on the way we live now, a restructuring of a system that is rotten to the core.
He let that moment, and his following, and his greater dreams, and his congressional majorities all slip away, so that now he really has nothing to say, save for vaguely noble declarations about the need to help the middle class and balance the budget, and small-bore, Clintonian prescriptions for increasing the number of community colleges and cutting Pell grant fees. It’s all perfectly fine, and it’s an infinitely more humane and realistic approach to government than the ridiculous fantasies of his opponent. But it’s not a vision, and it will not suffice.
It’s pretty clear that Wall Street has no interest in beginning a meaningful dialogue with the Occupy movement, yet the neighborhood isn’t quite willing to accept the protesters as a regular fixture. I watched one angry white collar man stomp out bright red balloons outside a building with an amazing ire, as if they were newly discovered mice scurrying around the floor of a ritzy apartment. I listened to another man, putting in four orders and wrestling with an allotment of hastily collected twenty dollar bills, complain to a delicatessen worker about how nobody else in the office wanted to leave the office and get breakfast. I saw a scavenger pick up bottles and cans for extra cash. There were still blue-collar workers on the clock and they moved dollies through the thick streets with a great patience. There were more people in the streets, but it was business as usual.
It’s true, my entire experience of the film was one of astonishment. First, that it existed at ALL. Then that the director, Timur Bekmambetov (he of the vile action flick Wanted and the grandly amusing Russian vampire epic Night Watch) seemed to be playing it utterly straight. Finally, I was left in slack-jawed amazement at the sheer pleasure I was taking from scene to scene. I knew as I was watching that it was not a good film, but I was equally sure that it was a delightful and frequently amazing one. Never again will there be a motion picture that features our 16th president chopping up hordes of kung fu vampires with his black sidekick atop a speeding locomotive.
This brings up what is perhaps a more pertinent question than the one in the title: If bad art becomes enjoyable, is it still bad art? This is complicated. The gays, as usual, got here before anyone else did. Camp was initially defined as “ostentatious, exaggerated, affected, theatrical; effeminate or homosexual; pertaining to, characteristic of, homosexuals. So as a noun, ‘camp’ behaviour, mannerisms, et cetera. (cf. quot. 1909); a man exhibiting such behaviour.” (Thanks, OED) It eventually grew into something broader, a notion of art so over the top that its quality was secondary to its fascination. When gay men seized on unintentionally terrible old cinema (its shoddy glamour, its torrid melodrama, its outdated sense of shock), the modern notion of camp was born. Mystery Science Theatre 3000 made a legendary broadcasting career out of teasing the silly, perverse, sometimes homoerotic subtext from self-serious cinema (it also marked a watershed moment in “dude” camp, a moment where the jokes took on a heteronormative panic in intimations of queerness).
Dave Kehr, one of our canniest print critics, observed that “Camp cannot be made, only found,” and of course he’s right. The great works of modern camp genius are not attempts at comically bad filmmaking, but born of genuine commitment to an artistic vision. Russ Meyer, for instance, may have had a sense of humor, but his keynote works are imbued with as much auteurist passion as anything by Kubrick or Welles. John Waters may seem a frivolous or primitive filmmaker to some, but you know a Waters film when you watch one. It is impossible to say whether their movies are, strictly, GOOD, but they’re never boring. Does awkward camera work, hamfisted editing, jarring sound design, ridiculous dialogue, and stiff, often incompetent acting make a movie bad? Objectively, sure. But when those elements combine harmoniously into a sublime viewing experience, what’s the takeaway? I’ve seen much more professionally assembled films than, say, Supervixens, but few as continuously captivating. How can something this demonstrably NOT GOOD be GREAT?
But if the score is tied, or if it’s a one-run game, a run scored in the eighth will make a huge difference.
That’s where we find ourselves right now in the presidential race. This election is close and is likely to end up that way. There’s about a 50-50 chance that the election will end up within 2.5 percentage points, according to the forecast, against only a 15 percent chance that either candidate will win by five points or more.
For this reason, the percentage estimates in the forecast are likely to be volatile from here on out.
Mike Daisey made more than a few headlines for his last show at the Public, The Agony and The Ecstasy of Steve Jobs, after he was accused of fabricating details. Now Daisey returns to Joe’s Pub with a new monologue American Utopias, in which explores the distinctly American vision of utopia. Daisy will present a new monologue every month through March 2013. Truth or fiction, these shows are sure to be entertaining.
Saturday, October 20, 2012
My therapist diagnosed me with mixed anxiety-depressive disorder. Honestly, I am not even sure what this means other than that it feels like there is this giant, black balloon that is always sort of hovering around. Sometimes the balloon gets huge and it covers the whole sky, disconnecting me from the things that matter most. Lately, it was my husband. It was like I couldn’t see him as a separate person anymore. Like he was a part of me. And it was hard to feel tender toward either of us. Internally things felt sharp, like my mind was gripped by tiny teeth.
Jumping in the ocean naked with a lot of strangers wouldn’t fix anything, but it seemed like it might make me feel better momentarily. Like a baptism. But with nudity.
Friday, October 19, 2012
In a lengthy piece on Wired, Weins claimed that the granting of EPEAT Gold status for the 15-inch Retina MacBook Pro -- with its uncommon screws and glued in components -- meant that the standard was essentially compromised, with the green technology movement at something of an inflection point as a result. In its response, EPEAT notes that its standard does not specifically address things such as glued-in components, as the standard was developed 2005, "before slates and ultralight products were anywhere near as significant as they are now."
Here's the thing to know about Sam Zeiger—the curly-haired, fifty-something hippie who owns the last sensory deprivation tank in New York: he's not going to murder you. At least he didn't murder me. Unless he did, and blogging forever is just one brand of newfangled, bespoke afterlife torments you can qualify for now (versus pushing a rock up a hill or getting your liver pecked out by birds).
Still, even if it's sort of embarrassing to cop to having made an appointment for an hour of isolation, you should still tell someone where you're going and where dude lives. The fear of getting murdered can be a distraction and when you're floating naked in some man's house, distractions are dead weight.
Thursday, October 18, 2012
That Daisey has already effected change at Apple, at monitoring agencies, and in the public mind — and that he has revealed truths in part by manipulating them — poses fascinating questions about the rights and responsibilities of storytellers and reporters. It also issues a fundamental challenge to any of us who use digital technology. Daisey's goal is nothing less than total individual and cultural transformation: he wants us to "re-write our own code" around our beautiful, sleek devices, to see their moral dimension. In a world enamored of Apple's design, he urges us to understand that "the way in which a thing is made is part of the design itself."
Mike Daisey (Monday) Joe’s Pub welcomes Mr. Daisey, a storytelling luminary who will share new work each month through the spring. On this night he opens the series with “American Utopias,” a monologue spanning Disney World and Burning Man alike. At 9:30 p.m., Joe’s Pub, at the Public Theater, 425 Lafayette Street, at Astor Place, East Village, (212) 967-7555, joespub.com; sold out. (Angelo)
Since the uprising in Syria began over a year and a half ago, up to 28,000 Syrians have disappeared. Human rights groups say the civilians, particularly activists, have been abducted by Assad’s forces, and are feared dead or imprisoned facing torture. The Guardian reported:
A harrowing film released on Thursday by the global campaign network Avaaz shows disturbing footage of forced disappearances. In one incident, three soldiers grab two women dressed in black abayas walking down a street. They hit them and drag them away. In another, soldiers abduct a Syrian man, yanking him by the hair past a tank.
Alice Jay, Avaaz’s campaign director, said: “Syrians are being plucked off the street by Syrian security forces and paramilitaries and being ‘disappeared’ into torture cells. Whether it is women buying groceries or farmers going for fuel, nobody is safe.”
With that shakeup, Newsweek moves online journalism one step away from its absurdly outdated — yet remarkably enduring — reputation as mere scrappy upstart. Yet it also simultaneously minimizes it. It’s not until the eighth paragraph of the announcement that Brown and Shetty get around to mentioning: “Regrettably we anticipate staff reductions and the streamlining of our editorial and business operations both here in the U.S. and internationally.” Journalism is changing, and not just in the format in which it’s presented. It’s also changing in the discouraging, ominous news that over at one its most venerable institutions, come January, fewer people are going to have a job doing it.
Back here, I castigated Walter Isaacson for writing an entire book about Steve Jobs without even mentioning the giant gulag of brutal Asian sweatshops that make Apple’s products.
That was in December 2011. What happened next?
A month later, performance artist Mike Daisey’s “embellished” account of Foxconn caused a huge wave of sweatshop stories in the reluctant corporate media.
At a stroke, a decade of carefully crafted multinational propaganda was swept away. Today, everybody knows about the sweatshops. In fact, it is so mainstream now that even Saturday Night Live did a bit on it.
Wednesday, October 17, 2012
It was a look at the real Willard Romney, the Bain cutthroat who could get rich ruining lives and not lose a moment's sleep. But those people are merely the anonymous Help. The guy he was speaking to on Tuesday night is a man of considerable international influence. Outside of street protestors, and that Iraqi guy who threw a shoe at George W. Bush, I have never seen a more lucid example of manifest public disrespect for a sitting president than the hair-curling contempt with which Romney invested those words. (I've certainly never seen one from another candidate.) He's lucky Barack Obama prizes cool over everything else. LBJ would have taken out his heart with a pair of salad tongs and Harry Truman would have bitten off his nose.
And Romney bitched endlessly — endlessly — about the rules, and why this uppity fellow on the other stool was allowed to speak before he was spoken to, and why he didn't get to speak at length on whatever he wanted to speak on because, after all, he is the CEO of the stage. Jesus Christ, I'd hate to play golf with the man.
Perhaps most tellingly, the influence of Mike Daisey’s monologue and the coverage of his radio scandal managed to provoke not only news coverage, but mainstream satire. This past weekend, Saturday Night Live even poked fun at the tech reviewers’ willful blindness to the conditions in factories–in a mind-blowing bit of “yellow face” racial stereotype, complete with glasses out of Mickey Rooney’s performance in Breakfast at Tiffany’s:
When an issue is well-known enough to be used in Saturday Night Live, people can no longer feign ignorance.
Tuesday, October 16, 2012
'SNL' skewers whiny tech geeks with 'traditional sarcastic dance' - latimes.com:
“Tech Talk” was something of a mix of Mike Daisey’s “The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs” and Louis C.K.’s beloved bit “Everything Is Amazing And Nobody is Happy.” In the sketch, geeks from various tech blogs convene on a talk show to complain about their least favorite parts of the iPhone 5, until it’s sprung on them that they must confront the underpaid, overworked and very unsympathetic Chinese laborers who make the phones. The embarrassed bloggers suddenly aren’t so smug as the workers encourage them to continue griping about Google Maps as they point out, “We don’t need maps because we sleep where we work,” and perform a “traditional sarcastic dance.” The most cutting line of the sketch was the takeaway, “Let’s see, what does America make? Does diabetes count as a product?”
The feeling that we are only scratching the surface leads one to wonder about the Mike Daisey controversy. You will find more truth in his fiction than you will find in many of the newspaper stories that are carefully researched and reported. One function of the current ideological apparatus is to use truth processes against truth itself.
"Citizenship in a Republic"
Speech at the Sorbonne, Paris
April 23, 1910
Monday, October 15, 2012
Anyway, Lemann forcefully rejects the idea of some previous golden age of media, a His Girl Friday idyll when “things were better” for journalism, journalists, and consumers. “There was more carnage in the big city newspaper business between 1950 and 1975 than there has been between 1995 and today,” he says. It was a brutal time to be a newspaper man, when many big cities transitioned from highly competitive markets to single newspaper towns. “Everyone thinks that 20 years ago, some problem or another didn’t exist,” Lemann insists. But there was never a time when one could reliably earn a salary and pensions as, say, a long-form journalist or documentary filmmaker. Back in the good old days, newspapers routinely went bankrupt and media monopolies were common. “People tend to feel, whatever the pressing problem of the moment, that humans before me didn’t have to deal with it.”
And Lemann also bats away the complaint that the new media outlets that do exist are destructively partisan. It’s a consistent question—one he often fields, he says, from those who long for an authoritative voice, a 21st-century Walter Cronkite. “What they are really saying is—and they don’t think they are saying this—that a world of less press freedom, a sort of managed oligopoly, is paradise.” In other words, more is almost always better. And the nostalgics can take comfort that the opinion media complex isn’t a recent invention: “Journalism was opinion journalism from about 1700 to 1900.”
Q. In a recent round-table discussion with other playwrights, you said New York theater needed to push more boundaries. Can you elaborate?
A. When I lived in New York, I was at the theater seven nights a week, and 85 percent of the time I was bored. That should not be the case ever. Theater should always be immediate, in the moment and all-consuming. Playwrights like Miller and O’Neill were pushing the boundaries for their time. We should be pushing them for our time. Why be an artist otherwise?
Sunday, October 14, 2012
In A Permanent Save State is an interactive, artistic work by Benjamin Poynter. The short-lived iOS game — now removed from the App Store — featured a surrealist style, pairing soft colors with harsh lines and keeping a hand-drawn aesthetic throughout the experience. Poynter says the game imagines an afterlife for seven overworked employees who took their own life. The narrative found in the game was influenced by the real-life suicides that occurred in 2010 at Foxconn’s manufacturing plants, an undeniably large part of the reason the game was removed. Especially since Apple has been under fire lately for the riots and strikes at various Foxconn plants protesting poor work conditions.
Poynter described the game in more detail to The Verge via email:
“I related quite a bit to the situation of these young people and the stress that comes with not seeing the end of things. I guessed in my mind what they would have wanted to see in their eternal setting, as I had visions of it myself.”
However, following its established pattern of banning controversial applications from being downloaded in the App Store, Apple removed In A Permanent Save State after less than an hour. The exact reason it was removed, in other words which Apple guideline it violated, has not been determined. Sources familiar with the review process think it probably has to do with rules against “objectionable content” and material that “solely target a specific race, culture, a real government or corporation, or any other real entity.”
Saturday, October 13, 2012
As Obama attempts to regain his equilibrium in the lead-up to Tuesday’s debate, questions persist among his followers. What was he thinking? Why did angles of attack that seemed so obvious to others elude him that night? Can he figure it out and get his magic back before Election Day?
These questions are odd echoes of the laments about Bill Clinton after his sexual relationship with Monica Lewinsky was revealed. With fury, anxiety or depression, Clinton’s believers would ask: What was he thinking? How could he not see the dangers that were so obvious to everyone else? Can he find his way through this?
The parameters of their dilemmas are vastly different, but the answers are similar, centering on a common theme rooted in their histories. With Obama and Clinton both, strengths and weaknesses are inextricably linked. The same qualities that carried each man to the White House cannot be separated from traits that can give them varying degrees of trouble.
Clinton was a president with an irrepressible appetite for life who needed to be loved, had an aversion to being alone, was unmatched in his ability to take the temperature of a room, could operate on many levels at once, and had a remarkable capacity to survive. Time and again he planted the seeds of his own destruction and then found ways to recover. The notion that he wasted his potential by making trouble for himself is both true and beside the point. The productive Clinton might not have existed without the profligate one; they were part of the same package.
Obama also comes with competing yet connected impulses. Growing up biracial, with a white mother and grandparents and an absent Kenyan father, during his childhood in Hawaii and Indonesia he mastered the challenging task of negotiating his way through different cultures, getting to where he wanted to go while avoiding traps. This made him at once polite and competitive, burning to win yet reluctant to confront. Clinton, by plowing past one obstacle after another, came to think of himself as unsinkable, if not invincible. Obama, weaving around life’s potential barriers smoothly and largely alone, came to regard himself as not only lucky but destined, a sensibility that could lead to overconfidence, if not hubris.
The further contradiction in Obama is that he chose politics as his profession while harboring ambivalence about it. He has played by the conventional rules yet at times betrays a disdain for the game, whether mocking the notion of sound bites or chastising the media for being slaves to a 24-hour news cycle while he thinks in the long term. Clinton could immerse himself in the moment and excel at transactional politics. Obama is more the participant-observer, self-consciously taking note of the surreal aspects of what he is doing. Clinton’s antennae were tuned to his surroundings; Obama’s are tuned to his interior being. Clinton, a brilliantly authentic phony, could assume any role the circumstances required. Obama yearns to play roles he admires. In the first debate, he was the constitutional law professor, listening, giving ground, offering complex caveats, soberly taking notes. None of that helped him.
Think about what that means. Mitt Romney is running for president – for president! – promising an across-the-board 20 percent tax cut without offering any details about how that's going to be paid for. Forget being battered by the press, he and his little sidekick Ryan should both be tossed off the playing field for even trying something like that. This race for the White House, this isn't some frat prank. This is serious. This is for grownups, for God's sake.
If you're going to offer an across-the-board 20 percent tax cut without explaining how it's getting paid for, hell, why stop there? Why not just offer everyone over 18 a 1965 Mustang? Why not promise every child a Zagnut and an Xbox, or compatible mates for every lonely single person?
Sometimes in journalism I think we take the objectivity thing too far. We think being fair means giving equal weight to both sides of every argument. But sometimes in the zeal to be objective, reporters get confused. You can't report the Obama tax plan and the Romney tax plan in the same way, because only one of them is really a plan, while the other is actually not a plan at all, but an electoral gambit.
Friday, October 12, 2012
★ Catch 53 (Saturday) This is what Andrew Dinwiddie, Jeff Larson and Caleb Hammons, the intrepid organizers of the Catch performance series, have to say about their 53rd edition: “Mike Daisey! Jillian Peña! Geoff Sobelle! Sam Stonefield! Rebecca Warner! Ben Williams!” And then, the telling detail: “Beer included.” Need I say more? At 8 p.m., the Invisible Dog (upstairs), 51 Bergen Street, Cobble Hill, Brooklyn, catchseries.org; $15. (Sulcas)
Thursday, October 11, 2012
While the visual of 22-year-old bloggers lashed to their laptops 14 hours a day is a hard one to shake, life at Gawker these days is very different from a few years ago. Then, writers toiled for a flat rate of $12 per post. Benefits were nonexistent and fancy perks were something to make fun of bigger, richer media companies for offering.
Now — where to start? Salary is competitive with other major publishing companies, and editorial teams that hit their traffic targets can earn bonuses worth up to 20% of monthly payroll. Everyone on staff is eligible for health insurance for themselves and their families. Since 2010, there’s been a 401k with 3% matching. The company pays 50% of membership fees to Equinox gyms. Once a week there’s breakfast and lunch ordered in; on the day I contacted Denton, it was gourmet wieners from Asia Dog. Everyone’s allowed to work from home one day a week. Yoga classes have been held on the roof deck of the company’s Soho offices.
Most recently, Denton flew 25 of his managers to Budapest for an off-site meeting. He also introduced a sabbatical policy: Employees who’ve been around for at least four years are eligible for a month or more of paid leave.
The solo show is truly alive and well – at least, in Edinburgh. Maybe it is just me but I don’t remember a previous festival which had such a variety of one-man/woman productions and almost of all of them I saw were quite remarkable. Many, too, were sold-out – the peerless Miriam Margolyes and her famous ‘Dickens’ Women’ was fully booked for the entire run and Mike Daisey’s monologue ‘The Agony and Ecstasy of Steve Jobs’ packed out the Gilded Balloon every afternoon, especially after the swathe of four and five star reviews.