Philly Blunt

Freelance writer. Editor and web-video producer. Former Atlantic City Press and Philadelphia Weekly staff writer, City Paper managing editor/columnist and Dougherty for Senate campaign manager. Comments welcome here or emailed to brianhickey9 [at] hotmail. Now on: Facebook (Brian Hickey, in Philly) Twitter at Flickr at Be sure to check out Hickey on Divorce Court:

13 October 2008

Weekend Reading Roundup

I usually don't like pulling the Age Card unless it deals with Johnny Boy McCain, but a column in yesterday's Inquirer has forced me to do so. Namely, it surrounds TV-critic Jonathan Storm's assertion that the CW Network's lineup -- specifically Gossip Girl, 90210 and Privileged; all three of which get TiVo'ed 'round here without a tween or teen girl to blame -- is bad for the lil ladies of America.

On second though, I'm gonna start this week off with positivity in my heart, so I'm'a gonna put that Card away and say, merely, that I don't concur with Mr. Storm's angle. Those crazy kids have always been those crazy kids to the elderfolk, so let's let it go. Besides, Gossip Girl rulz.
(The weekend Inky's also featured noteworthy pieces on the rats overrunning Nantucket, labor's interests in the looming Presidential election, a prostitution-legalization push in San Fran and Russia's designs on Crimea, but I couldn't find them on a search on the site this a.m. Lo siento.)

As for the New York Times, a deep look is taken at Oliver Stone and his perfectly timed "W.," which hits theaters just in time for the Obama victory push ...

Imagine these fantastical sequences from “W.,” the Oliver Stone portrayal of President George W. Bush that opens on Friday: The president is not alone with his dogs when he chokes on a pretzel and tumbles from the sofa; Saddam Hussein is in the White House family quarters with him. Later Mr. Bush flies over Baghdad on a magic carpet as the bombs rain down. And finally Mr. Hussein returns for another cameo, this time to shout insults at the president and his father.
These depictions would hardly be a reach for a director who is fond of monkeying with history. In “JFK” Mr. Stone suggested that President John F. Kennedy was assassinated by a cabal of gay anti-Communists. In “Nixon” he made that president so epically loathsome that even his Irish setter turned on him.
But “W.” contains no airborne Bush; Mr. Stone cut the scene. And the pretzel incident has no Iraqi dictator, only the two first dogs, Barney and Spot.

Most interesting insight:
“Bush knows that Cheney is trying to play him,” Mr. Stone said. “He’s not stupid.”

AC/DC is ba ah ah ah ack. Which rules, if only because it reminds us that, oh five, six years ago it was NOT just fine for musicians to whore their music out to sell cars or granola. (Even if those who remind us of that are actually whoring themselves out to WalMart at the same time. Crazy times indeed.)

AC/DC’s commercial success flies in the face of conventional music industry wisdom. The band does not sell its music online and has never put out a greatest hits collection or allowed other musicians to sample its songs. At a time when most pop acts give fans the opportunity to have it their way by offering downloadable tracks and remixes, AC/DC gives listeners a different choice: its way or the highway.

And the Times' Frank Rich preaches to this choir again, with a solid piece about how McCain and Palin are to blame for basically whipping their lynch mob into a lynchin' frenzy.

(McCain/Palin rally; Oct. 12, 2008)

Until now. At McCain-Palin rallies, the raucous and insistent cries of “Treason!” and “Terrorist!” and “Kill him!” and “Off with his head!” as well as the uninhibited slinging of racial epithets, are actually something new in a campaign that has seen almost every conceivable twist. They are alarms. Doing nothing is not an option. ...

What makes them different, and what has pumped up the Weimar-like rage at McCain-Palin rallies, is the violent escalation in rhetoric, especially (though not exclusively) by Palin. Obama “launched his political career in the living room of a domestic terrorist.” He is “palling around with terrorists” (note the plural noun). Obama is “not a man who sees America the way you and I see America.” Wielding a wildly out-of-context Obama quote, Palin slurs him as an enemy of American troops.

By the time McCain asks the crowd “Who is the real Barack Obama?” it’s no surprise that someone cries out “Terrorist!” The rhetorical conflation of Obama with terrorism is complete. It is stoked further by the repeated invocation of Obama’s middle name by surrogates introducing McCain and Palin at these rallies. This sleight of hand at once synchronizes with the poisonous Obama-is-a-Muslim e-mail blasts and shifts the brand of terrorism from Ayers’s Vietnam-era variety to the radical Islamic threats of today. ...

This is a campaign where Palin can repeatedly declare that Alaska is “a microcosm of America” without anyone even wondering how that might be so for a state whose tiny black and Hispanic populations are each roughly one-third the national average. There are indeed so few people of color at McCain events that a black senior writer from The Tallahassee Democrat was mistakenly ejected by the Secret Service from a campaign rally in Panama City in August, even though he was standing with other reporters and showed his credentials. His only apparent infraction was to look glaringly out of place.

Also, over in Esquire, congrats to Michael Solomonov's Zahav and Jose Garces' Distrito for landing in the Best New Restaurants list, and to Chaka Fattah and Patrick Murphy for getting the nod in the mag's all-encompassing pre-election Endorsements package. (But woe is Bob Brady, for whom's race the magazine requested a write-in since Big Boy has a "hammerlock" on the "dysfunctional" Philadelphia "machine"


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