talking about the common ills

mike just called. he and nina are already in line for the movie they're going to see but he asked me if i'd do something for him? surely.

he meant to note a favorite entry from the common ills tonight and forgot. he's trying to remember to do that and the reason for that is the first year anniversary of the common ills is coming up and he knows c.i. won't make anything out of it.

79,651 views of c.i.'s profile. pretty impressive. but i actually just pulled it up because they used to tell you how many posts you'd done (and they used to give a sample, a few lines, of about 4 posts and also tell your weekly average number of posts). i'm not sure when they stopped providing all that information. my plan was to note how many posts c.i. had done. i'm sure it's over a thousand by now.

and i should note that the posts includes members like ruth, isaiah, kat, gina, dallas, billie, shirley ... members make the common ills, c.i. always says that and it's true.

i log on and i get to write about whatever i want to. that's never the case for c.i. after elaine told me last thanksgiving that c.i. was the 1 doing the site she kept telling me to visit, i went there right away. that's what friends are for, as dionne, stevie, gladys and elton sang.

but before i started my site, i was pestering elaine to start 1. and i would talk to c.i. about it and how could we get elaine to do 1. i wasn't thinking about doing 1 then. but 1 thing that came up was the issue of water privatization and c.i.'s very big on that issue and how we need to pay attention to it. c.i. was hoping to write about that topic. it still hasn't happened. it will soon be a year and it still hasn't happened.

that's because members (and i'm one) will write in and say 'c.i., no 1's talking about ___ and this is really important to me because ___' and that becomes the thrust of the entry.

c.i. planned a site and it's not anything like what it was planned. it was going to be common sense based and that's remained. but otherwise, what the common ills is nothing like what was planned. in the original days, you could post comments. but back then, you had to be a member of blogger to post comments at the site. c.i. figured out how to allow anonymous posts and switched that but by that point, the community gathering had already decided no to comments.
that was at least partly because idiots kept dropping by. 2 in particular who were 'centrist' dems and would say idiotic things like 'there's nothing more beautiful than a blue dog democrat' or some sort of nonsense.

1 thing c.i. believed firmly in was that it would be a work safe environment because a friend of c.i.'s got a verbal warning at their job for visiting a site - what site? the washington post. it was when the post quoted cheney using the f word.

keesha was 1 of the 1s saying 'lose the comments' the most loudly. c.i. was trying to figure out how to do that (you change it to 'do not allow comments') but new to blogger's program and to blogging. (back then, it was a blog.) then some 1 posted a comment that had nothing to do with the topic but was advertising a porn site with all these graphic terms and c.i. shut down the comments because something like that could get some 1 in trouble at work.

members weren't interested in going through a ton of comments. they wanted to read a voice.

that was the other change. gina was especially fond of saying 'oh it's oprah time!' in the early days because c.i. would say something like 'i disagree with _-- in the times' and that was it. c.i. had let it rip a few times by this point and members knew it could be funny or to the point or both and that's what they wanted.

that is so not c.i. c.i. wants time to reflect. if you ask c.i. a question, expect the answer to be a question. that's a given. a lot of times those questions are too narrow down what you are asking because it may be a broad category and c.i. may be attempting to zone in on what you're really wanting.

but 'snap' analysis really isn't c.i.'s thing. but that's what the community wanted and c.i. listens to the community.

members see c.i. as the voice of the community and that's a huge burden. i wouldn't want that burden. i can write something here and if i piss you off i'm not overly concerned if it's something i really believe in. if c.i. upsets even 1 member, there's a back and forth of attempting to find a common ground and figure out how to address something better the next time it arises.

it's a huge responsibility and c.i. never whines about. i wasn't even aware of it for the longest time. it's something that would come up in discussions at the third estate sunday review. if a member had an issue that they'd e-mailed c.i. about, c.i. would say 'okay, you can do this but i can't be a part of it because ___ has an issue and . . .'

i prefer saying it the way i say it, hopefully they'll get over it. but c.i.'s got to be the voice speaking for every members.

it's not all negative. members (and i'm 1) love c.i. and the closeness they feel (which is shared by c.i. towards them) is incredible bond. and members have c.i.'s back.

but along with that and other positives come a lot of negatives because that's how i see them.

so a year's around the corner and what has c.i. done?

i think the most amazing thing c.i. has done is be a strong voice against the war. after the election, you saw a lot of groups and people drop the war issue. you saw moveon.org ... move on.
c.i. didn't. the common ills has spoken out strongly against the war and strongly insisted that the troops need to come home because this american led occupation only inflames the tensions. c.i. raised the stakes for others who might want to be mild.

and kids were looking for a strong voice. i think it was february 2003 when c.i. began speaking to student groups and that was as a favor to a friend who's schedule changed and c.i. was asked to fill in for 6 weeks. it was still going on during the election. and after the election, the day after, when we were all depressed, c.i. got up and gave the most inspirational speech that had us all jazzed. but because c.i. had spent about 20 months speaking to students all over there was no need for a focus group or a poll.

so when the common ills took off with college students immediately, it wasn't a surprise.

and while c.i. cares about the feelings of members, c.i.'s not about to stay silent. we saw that when c.i. took on the myth of simon rosenberg is a shoe in for dnc chair and a hero and all the other crap that was all over the net.

it is hard to be an independent voice while also factoring in the issues of a huge community, but c.i. manages to swing it.

and day in, day out, the common ills has been there. c.i. might have to dictate entries over the phone to a few trusted friends and lord knows when there's time for sleep, but day in and day out, the common ills has been there.

the community has grown and grown. and even at the beginning it wasn't just college students. you've had eli, ruth and you've had other adults of various ages.

and it's the site that has spawned other sites. i was the first spin off. then came the third estate sunday review (jim, dona, ty, jess and ava), then a winding road by folding star who gave up on the hassles of blogging in july for a variety of reasons, then betty with thomas friedman is a great man, then kat decided to start kat's korner in addition to her cd reviews at the common ills, then mike started mikey likes it, then cedric started cedric's big mix, then elaine started like maria said paz, then seth started seth in the city and then wally started the daily jot. the common ills spawned 10 sites, 9 that are still going.

it also spawned the uk computer gurus biweekly newsletter and the gina and krista round-robin which publishes every friday as well as doing special editions when needed.

my favorite entry? that's always a hard thing to pin down but i think i'll go with 'should this marriage be saved?' and i'm sure that as soon as this posts, i'll kick myself and say, 'rebecca! you should have picked ___!'

that's it for tonight. i've spent a lot of time on this entry. i'll try to grab time to do a sex post soon. in fact, i know what i want. let's do 1 on sex and music. what i need from you is to know what your favorite make out song is. so weigh in if you've got 1.


hanging out with a friend

starting late because t called me this afternoon to say she never sees me lately and so i went into the city to visit.

i'm not 1 of those women who dumps her friends because she's going out with some guy. but my saturdays are usually focused on the third estate sunday review and last week, we (my ex, mike, mike's mother, elaine and i) went to nyc for the world can't wait rally there. so i've been busy and am fortunate to have friends who will say, 'i don't see you anymore.'

t and i hung out her place listening to music, fooling around on the internet and just having fun.

1 think i found out is that my site is worthless.

there's this thing you can go to and put in your web address and it will tell you the value of your site. it's a technorati thing and despite doing tags and putting their code on this page - you can see it on the right - and using their manual ping, they have never registered any of the tags i do.
it's the same way with elaine and cedric too, by the way.

so i don't take it seriously especially with the big kick up in e-mails lately.

but i thought i'd share that because we were laughing about it.

How Much Is My Blog Worth?
Your blog,
sexandpoliticsandscreedsandattitude.blogspot.com/, is worth $0.00

in fact let me do all the community sites.

How Much Is My Blog Worth?
Your blog,
cedricsbigmix.blogspot.com/, is worth $0.00

How Much Is My Blog Worth?
Your blog,
likemariasaidpaz.blogspot.com/, is worth $0.00

How Much Is My Blog Worth?
Your blog,
thirdestatesundayreview.blogspot.com/, is worth $0.00

How Much Is My Blog Worth?
Your blog,
thedailyjot.blogspot.com/, is worth $0.00

How Much Is My Blog Worth?
Your blog,
sethinthecity.blogspot.com/, is worth $2,258.16

How Much Is My Blog Worth?
Your blog,
katskornerofthecommonills.blogspot.com/, is worth $2,822.70

How Much Is My Blog Worth?
Your blog,
wwwmikeylikesit.blogspot.com/, is worth $5,080.86
Here's a button you can put on your blog: (
the HTML is below)

How Much Is My Blog Worth?
Your blog,
thomasfriedmanisagreatman.blogspot.com/, is worth $8,468.10

How Much Is My Blog Worth?
Your blog,
thecommonills.blogspot.com/, is worth $20,887.98

so those are the stats.

i'm glad the common ills came out so well but c.i. would be the 1st to laugh at that nonsense.

i'll toss out ron because i think he reached a milestone recently of 100,000 visitors.

How Much Is My Blog Worth?
Your blog,
whyareweback.blogspot.com/ , is worth $0.00

ron, we better pack it in, we're worthless. as soon as i'm done with my boxes, i'll loan them to you.

i'm joking. atrios also comes out as worth zero and a number of other sites t and i checked on.

obviously ron has visitors. it's a silly thing.

t found it while we were playing around online and we checked my site 1st and burst out laughing.

i think it has to do with whether technorati reads your tags or not and they don't read mine. but it has to have something else as well because betty posts no more than twice a week and mike posts five or six times a week. both of their tags are read by techonrati on their sites.

here's their 'in depth explanation:'

How Much Is My Blog Worth?
Inspired by
Tristan Louis's research into the value of each link to Weblogs Inc, I've created this little applet using Technorati's API which computes and displays your blog's worth using the same link to dollar ratio as the AOL-Weblogs Inc deal.

t and i went through a long list of sites and were about to give up because every 1 was coming up as zero when t said 'check the common ills' so we did and were happy that it was judged as worth something. (seriously, c.i. works like crazy - reading and answering e-mails and also posting which sometimes requires dictating them over the phone. c.i. hasn't missed a day and it's almost the first year anniversary of that site.)

but it's meaningless.

t had the new wallflowers cd (she's just moved in a new lover) and i didn't even know the wallflowers had a new cd out.

so we were just foolling around on the net and playing music and chatting. a totally frivilous evening is what c.i. would call it if it was c.i.'s evening.

but it's important to let off steam and to catch up with friends and t's 1 of my best friends.

sherry wondered how we met? when t and i met she was with a company i was doing pr for. she was very lively and after i was done with the press campaign, i kept in touch with her. e-mails and quick phone calls. then 1 day we bumped into each other at a bookstore and went out to grab something to eat. i was surprised she was so miserable at her job because she was always full of energy and just so positive. she said that was the company mask.

so we were talking and she mentioned that she'd thought about doing hair when she was 'younger.' i said she wasn't old now and she should go for it. apparently no 1 told her that because after a few minutes of 'no, i'm too old' she started thinking about it. i was her test case throughout beauty school and most of the time it worked out pretty well. when it didn't, i'd just pull it into a pony tail. by the time she got her lic. she was the most gifted stylist i've ever known and that's because she loves doing hair.

i told her about sherry's e-mail and we talked about that tonight.

she said at the company she had worked at, she was always having to figure out whose ass to kiss which day and trying to determine the line of how much input do they really want and how much don't they want. plus she didn't believe in the stuff they were making and didn't feel appreciated.

she likes being her own boss and she cleans up now because she's established and her tip money is so huge. she kept asking if i thought any 1 would find that interesting, i do, and said if i did write about it to put in that if there's any point to her story it's that if you're job's making you miserable and there's something you wish you were doing instead, take a chance and go for it.

i think t has many stories worth telling but i agree that's an important 1.

like a lot of e-mails that come into the site, she asked the question - am i getting back with my ex-husband.

i honestly don't know. we enjoy spending time together. we care about each other. but it's also true that the holidays are bearing down on us and whether that has anything to do with it or not, i don't know.

i'll say 'we're dating' and that's as far as i'll go. actually, i'll go further. we are having sex often.
t asked me why i wasn't talking about hotties lately and i said i'd been busy and trying to focus on some other stuff here. she said good because she was afraid from visiting here and from the few times we've talked on the phone lately that i might be becoming a prude since i hadn't talked about sex in some time. i told her i'd make friday's entry about sex or at least partly which seemed to satisfy her.

a part of me feels like i need to note something in the news tonight. but there's another part of me that says 'no, don't.'

because friends are important and i know i've mentioned t many times here as well as elaine and c.i. and other friends but i don't know that i've ever done an entry that could be seen as just about relaxing with a friend. that's important too.

we basically laughed, ate, drank, listened to music and caught up.

she put on carole king's writer which is a good cd but i told her 'geez, t, are you turning into a white woman!' we laughed at that because she was mainly playing her girlfriend's music. so she pulled out the bootsy collins and, for me, some otis.

the bully boy did come up. it's hard for him not as he destroys our world a little more with each passing day. iraq came up as well.

t's thoughts there are bring the troops home and let iraq get down to the business of self-rule.
she doesn't think that will happen since we're setting up permanent bases, but that was what she thought needed to happen. (and i agree.)

she's reading a cookbook by maya angelou. i had no idea maya had done a cookbook. (it's a little more than your average cookbook.) the food we ate was from the book and if it hadn't been so late when i left, i would've tried to pick up a copy at a bookstore.

and since we were eating food cooked according to maya's instructions, we listened to been found. i don't know how many people know about the cd. it's ashford & simpson with maya.

so that's what i've done this evening and tonight. we were just being silly. like grabbing hairbrushes and singing along with carole king on 'up on the roof.'

and i'm tossing this up quick because it'll be midnight in about 10 minutes and i don't want any 1 to write elaine griping that rebecca didn't blog on 'thursday.'



news from democracy now

here are 3 things from democracy now so don't say i don't do my part to get the word out.

"UN General Assembly Votes To End U.S. Embargo of Cuba"
And for the fourteenth consecutive year, the U.N. General Assembly has cast a near unanimous vote calling on the United States to end its four-decade old embargo against Cuba. The vote passed with a record 184 countries in favor. Only the United States, Israel, Palau and the Marshall Islands voted against. United States envoy to the U.N. Ronald Godard said: "If the people of Cuba are jobless, hungry, or lack medical care, as Castro admits, it's because of his economic mismanagement."

i don't know what to say on that 1. it bothers me and i can't believe that we've decided, for 40 years, to push through this embargo. the republicans, not the 1s in office, are supposed to be 'realists' - realism means that henry kissinger can justify human rights violations and possibly help aid them because we need to be 'realistic.' so here's some realism - fidel castro is an old man. a really old man. at some point, he will die. the 'realistic' thing to do, would be to begin to build bridges with cuba so that when a new leader is in place we can attempt to have a more civil relationship.

my own personal feelings are that we hate fidel because he survived the cold war and our assassination attempts as well as our character smears. we're often a proud to the point of blind nation. (sometimes we're much worse when we've got a bully boy at the wheel.)

to move this away from castro, there are people in cuba, there are people here. you'd think after 40 years we'd have a found a way to interact in a civil manner.

"CIA Official Discloses Agency’s Budget"
In other intelligence news, a CIA official appears to have disclosed the agency’s budget -- long a national secret. At an intelligence conference in San Antonio last week, Deputy Director of National Intelligence for Collection Mary Margaret Graham, said the annual intelligence budget was $44 billion.

eli's big on this item because we've never been told the budget. did it slip out? eli e-mailed about that. he wonders if it slipped out or if this is an attempt at disinformation - which the cia is so good at?

what are we getting for our money? that's the question i'd ask. i'd also, were i a senator, insist that the budget be publicly disclosed. if i couldn't get a figure, i'd block funding until i did.

"2nd Lawyer in Hussein Trial Assassinated"
For the second time in three weeks, a defense lawyer in the trial of former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein and other former regime officials has been assassinated. Adel Muhammad al-Zubaidi was killed instantly when gunmen shot his car in the Baghdad suburb of Adel. Another lawyer suffered serious injuries and was taken to a U.S. military hospital. Members of Hussein’s defense team renewed calls to move the trial out of Iraq. The Iraqi Bar Association said it would maintain a boycott of the trial it announced after Hussein lawyer Sadoun al-Janabi was killed October 20th, just 36 hours after he had appeared at opening proceedings.

iraq. what can you say? this is what we've done. we haven't brought freedom, liberation, stability or safety. aren't we proud?

yesterday elaine wrote a really strong thing about falluja so be sure to read that.

i also want to recommend kat's review of stevie wonder's a time to love.


the things humor can accomplish

if you watched democracy now today then you already know it's the one year anniversary of the slaughter of falluja.

remember when a reporter - or 'reporter' - like dexter filkins could spit out whatever the military whispered in his ear and not get called on his crap?

those days are over.

i was talking to betty today to tell her how much i loved her latest chapter at thomas friedman is a great man and she was pulling an ava & c.i. by saying, 'it is so awful.' it's not awful at all, it's funny and you should check it out. from 'From buffets to smokes:'

As I often do when Thomas Friedman's windbag still has a plentiful supply of air, I imagined a better life, one without him, one where people talked about real events and real people. Not made up visits to places and made up people who never existed. A place where no one passed off something as tired as "The World Is Flat" as pithy or worldly. Such a place has to exist, right?

i think betty makes a difference by using humor to make points. it's something that funny people can do. ava and c.i. do it every week with their tv reviews. here's 1 that's a favorite of sherry's and my apologies because it just hit me today that sherry asked me to post this 2 days before i took my vacation. i'm sorry, sherry, i had a lot on my mind and didn't even remember until today when i was flipping channels and saw some footage of a press conference. this tv review was ava and c.i. evaluating bully boy's big prime time press conference.

"TV Review: Make Room for Bully"
After two weeks of body wash operettas, it was like a spray of Axe on our skins to watch something where thirty-year-olds didn't pretend to be high schoolers. And we were so excited to discover that Tuesday night would feature a brave programming choice in a nation grown timid -- Make Room for Bully!

That's what we dubbed it because, honestly, we must have missed the opening credits. Our apologies to our loyal readers for that but, believe us, no one regrets that more than we do. We've tried to imagine the theme song that played over those opening credits:

He's screwed up Afghanistan
Turned Iraq into the killing land
Make Room for Bully
Make Room for Bully
Bully Boy is on his way.

We pictured that theme playing while he wonders around the oval office, shaking hands, flipping the bird and choking on pretzels. We especially liked the choking on the pretzel because it would be kind of like when Dick Van Dyke would trip during the opening credits of The Dick Van Dyke Show.
Tuesday was innovative television like we haven't seen since Julia Louis Dreyfuss tried to do her show in real time. Make Room for Bully appeared to run in real time as well. And no laugh track! It takes a brave spirit to put on a sitcom without the canned laughter. You're never sure if the folks watching at home will get it if you don't have laughs-a-plenty blasting through their speakers.
The star, fortunately, is a natural born comedian. We were confused early on but finally figured out it was Timothy Bottoms in the lead. (Again, we missed the opening credits.) He's gifted. He didn't break character once.
Our biggest laugh early on was when he said this line:

The troops here and across the world are fighting a global war on terror.

The troops here are fighting! We were rolling! Only someone parodying the Bully Boy could make such an idiotic comment with a straight face! What? We're under martial law?

It got better. He followed that with:

The war reached our shores on September the 11th, 2001.

See, there Timothy Bottoms and the writers were sending up the real Bully Boy's incessant attempts to make a connection between 9-11 and Iraq. That seemed a little unfair, maybe even a cheap shot, because, in real life, Bully Boy did admit there was no connection so even he wouldn't dare try to trick the people again. Would he?
Regardless, this was really strong, social commentary comedy. And we started wondering if Larry Gelbart had returned to television? Take, for example, this moment when Bottoms said, "After September the 11th, I made a commitment to the American people: This nation will not wait to be attacked again."
We can imagine the protests letters from the fright wing on that. I mean Bottoms (as Bully) is admitting that he did nothing before the attacks of 9-11. (Well, he "waited.") Bottoms (as Bully) is admitting that only after the attacks did he make a committment to national security. That was pointed commentary.
We're sure lines like that scared off the sponsors (the program aired commercial free).We're sorry that the emperor has no clothes but don't blame the comedy writers for sending up the obvious.
And to those watching tonight who are considering a military career, there is no higher calling than service in our armed forces.
No higher calling? A line like that only works because in real life the Bully Boy has made statements like that about teachers and mothers and assorted other groups before. It's completley meaningless and for the writers to put it in the part where Bottoms is talking about the lives lost (and saying he's seen "the pictures" -- not of coffins!) makes it especially biting and strong.
Bottoms is giving empty lip service (he captured that perfectly!) when reciting the lines on "sacrifice." The character he's playing is infamous not just for "Bring it on" but also for the "brave" sacrifice of giving up sweets when Operation Enduring Falsehood began. Judging by the size of the Bully's gut during the 2004 campaign, that's just one more promise he broke.
Here are the words of Osama bin Laden.That line may have crossed the line since in real life Bully Boy's gone from "Wanted Dead or Alive" to "Who cares?" But we think with brave writing, you give a little leeway to the ones willing to go out on limb since so many people just recycle the obvious. Here were writers trying to send up the Bully Boy and coming up with things that even he would never say.
Yes, we're focusing a great deal on the writing -- that's because there really wasn't much action. Bottoms basically stood at the podium for about an hour. The extras they got to play the crowd were perfection. If only the real Bully Boy's speech could be greeted with such silence, huh? Would that not say once and for all that the tide has turned, hit the lights and go home because Bully Boy is so out of here?
Bottoms deserves an Emmy. He not only had the mannerisms down (from the idiotic blank expression to that smug smile), he also demonstrated the core of the character: a man completely divorced from reality, willing to resort to any lie to fool the people.We do have some concerns about future episodes. The real-time thing has never really worked (even with the drama 24, you're talking about a specialized audience -- read "small"). It was a bravo performance from Bottoms. Okay, we saw it, we know he can do it. Now stick to rounding out the supporting cast.
Obviously Bully's the madcap one, so he needs a sidekick who's a little more serious and a lot more prissy. We think they should create a character named Cheney who goes around hiding maps of the Middle East and stroking his stuffed cat that he calls Boo-Boo Kitty WMD. We think Jonathan Winters would be perfection in the role.
Yeah, it's a steal from Laverne & Shirley but imagine the opening credits as they skip down Pennsylvania Avenue singing "Give us any treaty we'll break it . . ."And think of how humorous it would be if Bottoms had a big "B" on all his outfits. Especially if they dressed him up in military garb! The AWOL Bully in military garb would bring the house down. It would be "high-larious" to use a word none of the kids are saying but What I Like About You tries to convince us they are.
The biggest obstacle we can see is the lack of sex appeal. We're sure Bottoms tickled everyone's funny bone Tuesday night but with that squat figure and the hair that screams "I Remember Mama!" we're just not sure that people would tune in each Tuesday. There's got to be some eye candy and, frankly, what we saw on our screens Tuesday night was physically repugnant, if not repulsive.
So we started wondering who they could bring on to up the sex quotient?
Then we remembered that Nick Lachey. He truly has no career beyond serving as a display model for Jessica Simpson. So what about Lachey?
He's already guested on Hope & Faith this year as well as Charmed. We suggest that they bring him on. (Bring Him On! We even amuse ourselves!) Granted, with his fading teen-throb looks and stiff mannerism, there's not much he'd be believable as. Then we remembered how a certain hairball was all the rage in the nineties until he became All Too Human and now hosts a chat & chew. Maybe a character who had something to do with the press would work for Lachey?
We were just brain storming and trying to come up with the wildest premise, high concept comedy, when we thought, "What if he regularly attends press conferences and asks really stupid questions?" Okay, it could work (and wouldn't require Lachey to stretch as an "actor"), but what's the back story?
Here's the high concept part, he's not really a reporter! No, he's not. He's a male porn star. Maybe a male prostitute!Now we know that seems unbelievable and could never happen -- a male prostitute/porn star in a White House press conference! -- but comedy is about inflating reality. So suspend your disbelief and just picture Lachey in that role. We even have a name for the character: Jeff Guckert! "Guckert!" It's got yucks all over it (at least we hope those are yucks) -- just saying it makes you laugh.
So we've got the sidekick Cheney (Winters) and we've got the sex appeal factor with Guckert (Lachey). But we needed a strong first season storyline to make sure that the show gets picked up for the fall. What could the story arc be? We thought of a coming out episode for the Bully but Ellen's already 'been there, done that, shocked the Baptists.' So what's left? We finally had to put the storyline arc on hold and focus on something else. But that was okay because our brainstorming had underscored how Bottoms would be playing a character who repeatedly screws up. That means we need a catch phrase!
Fonzie had "Aaaay." Arnold had, "What you talking 'bout Willis?" Dee had "I'm telling!" What could be Bully's catch phrase?
We had trouble with this one. Maybe when ever things lagged, this was one idea, Bully could start nosing around the basement apartment he shares with Cheney and saying dopey things like, "Those weapons of mass destruction have to be around here somewhere." But then we thought, "Surely no one would be stupid enough to laugh at that." Not after all the lives lost, right? No one would, right? They'd be embarrassed to show their face if they laughed at that, right?
So what about, if every time the show lagged, Bottoms turned to the camera (a la Norman Fell) and asked, "What Downing Street Memo?" We think it would bring the house down, show after show.
Bottoms proved Tuesday night that he's perfectly captured the Bully Boy's essence (aggressive posturing and little activity in the brain). But we worry that if the show isn't fleshed out with other characters and other sets, it's a one trick pony. We hope that Gelbart, or whomever was behind the hilarity on Tuesday, we'll give serious consideration to bringing on a supporting cast. Maybe a someone who worships the boss and always almost calls him her "husband" while sporting a hair cut that appears to be a homage to Peanut's Lucy?
We finally did figure out the season one arc that would make the network pick up the show for this fall: impeachment!All season long, Bottoms would play the bumbling fool and all around him people would be revealed to be liars (and worse) as we worked up to the season ending cliffhanger where Bottoms gets told the House has just voted to impeach him. As the shot tightens, Bottoms turns to the camera and says "What Downing Street Memo?" Freeze frame, stamp on production credit and then a dissolve.
posted by Third Estate Sunday Review @
Sunday, July 03, 2005

c.i. always says 'don't knock the mock' and i agree. i think that humor can be used for a number of purposes and 1 of the things about humor like the humor above is it can expose the frauds and liars for what they are. we need more activism and we need more laughs - when the 2 are combined, it can be very powerful.


public access, web tv

a few e-mails came in about elaine's 'Still blogging' from friday. people were wondering if i laughed at the parts elaine thought i would? yes, i did.

here's a part of it:

I went to the one in NYC with Rebecca, Mike, Mike's mother and "Fly Boy" (as Mike has dubbed Rebecca's ex-husband). Not having Rebecca's large breasts (trust me, she'll laugh when she reads that), I wasn't able to just pull on a t-shirt, jeans and sneakers. I wore a medium hell and grew to regret that as the day wore on. My feet were killing me by the time I got back and, though excited by the day, I was also tired and figured the smartest thing would be to just get some sleep. (Rebecca would say, "How very non C.I. of you!")

i did laugh. we always joke about it. but i did not laugh about the way elaine presents herself as 'plain jane.' she's not. she's very beautiful. she's tall, long waisted, beautiful bone structure, gorgeous skin. she's like audrey heburn only taller. i didn't read her post until sunday but when i read it, i got on the phone and balled her out for acting like she was 'plain jane approximately.'

that's the only thing that bothered me. we joke all the time, elaine, c.i. and i. but i don't like her acting like she's nothing special because she's very beautiful.

something i caught up on this morning was a post c.i. did last night called 'Your responses to "Show The War, Tell The Truth".' danny schechter wrote a piece called 'MediaChannel Appeal: Join Us In A "Show The War, Tell The Truth" Campaign' and c.i.'s piece was summing up members feelings. here's one section of c.i.'s post:

75 members, with Brandon being the most vocal on this, felt that the weekly program should come with video. Brandon cited the success he has at work with Democracy Now! People will walk by his cubicle while he's watching it online and they'll stop to watch as well. Brandon also listens to audio programs and doesn't see a similar response even when that program is Democracy Now! which he'll listen to when he can't get the video stream to work.
Brandon feels visuals are important and 74 others agree with him. Most, like Brandon, cited Danny's work on 20/20.

and that reminded me of something i saw on c-span awhile back. it was from booknotes and from when amy goodman was the guest. the booknotes program was june 6, 2004 and was called 'The Exception to the Rulers: Exposing Oily Politicians, War Profiteers, and the Media That Love Them by Amy Goodman:'

LAMB: Is there any way to characterize how much it costs to do "Democracy Now" for a year?
GOODMAN: I don't know the exact budget. I'll just say it is a fraction of the corporate networks, to say the least, but it is a team of absolutely remarkable producers, who are just completely committed. It's both television and radio, we are the only ones doing that daily, and the first daily national public broadcast on radio and television at the same time. And it`s really opened up a new world going to television.
First of all, most people -- people get most of their news from television, so it is very important. Images really matter. And to be able to broadcast the images, for example, of war, and we talk about this in the book, to counter the sanitized media, is very, very important. People listen to radio, won't even know that the images are going by. But people who watch television see the film and photos of the independent journalists who are out there, videographers and photographers, and also corporate -- those who work for the networks who don't get some of this stuff on their stations. It's very important. I'm not for reality television, except when it comes to war. Then I am for showing exactly what's happening.
LAMB: When it comes to money, on this book, are you taking the money yourself?
GOODMAN: No, the royalties are for "Democracy Now," which is a nonprofit.
LAMB: Why don't you take it yourself?
GOODMAN; Because I want to shore up independent media. In fact, we're on a more than 70-city book and media tour, called "The Exception to the Rulers" tour. And we are going from independent radio station to independent radio station. We started in BAI, big fund-raiser for WBAI, headed on the 55th anniversary of Pacifica. KPSA, to a big celebration there, and made our way to Los Angeles. And each of these -- Los Angeles, 2,000 people came out. Minneapolis, KFAI, the big community radio station there. We did a big fund-raiser; 1, 500 people came out.
And I think it is about a tremendous hunger for independent voices. People hungry for, searching for not the views of a fringe minority, as I was saying. I mean, I have come to think about the corporate networks in this way. You have all of these pundits -- actually, it`s a very small group of them -- who know so little about so much. I'm beginning to think they sit in a room and they just change the logo throughout the day, CBS, NBC, ABC. Now, they are wringing their hands. How did we get it so wrong about weapons of mass destruction? Why not invite someone into the studios who got it right and who got it right more than a year ago when it mattered? Who was questioning the credibility of the so-called intelligence?
And I'm not talking about just people outside the system, outside the establishment. But people in the establishment. People in the intelligence agencies who were saying, no, we are being manipulated, the intelligence is being misrepresented. I'm talking about military families who are asking very serious questions, and now so many servicemen and women have been lost.

i emphasized the section that i felt backed up the point brandon was making.

i'd love to tell you that i weighed in via e-mail or even on the phone with c.i. but i didn't. but i really think the suggestions were accurate. danny schechter has the experience and talent to really do an amazing weekly online program.

i prefer watching democracy now. if i was going to miss it on television and was near a radio, i would turn on the radio but i try to arrange my day so that i don't miss it. i usually watch it twice honestly. once with my morning coffee and the new york times and then when i've woken up and gotten my blood pumping, i'll watch it again.

which reminds me that there was something i wanted to note from democracy now:

Public Access TV Stations Plan Protest Tonight
And public access TV stations across the country are planning on stopping programming tonight in protest of new Congressional legislation that could lead to the elimination of public access television. At 9 p.m. eastern-standard time, scores of stations are planning to air one minute of snow. Anthony Riddle of the Alliance for Community Media said "this snowstorm is to remind communities what could be lost if new cable legislation before Congress is not fixed to protect the wonderful community channels we have all come to know and love."

i get it on the local npr and i get it on satellite. but there are areas where people who watch do so via public access and if you're 1 one of those people, you need to be contacting your congress members. i think you should contact any way because public access is community tv and we need it.

you can go to http://www.congress.org/congressorg/home/ and enter your address and zip - it will give you contact info on your reps and you can let them know that public access tv matters to you.

public access matters and i think we also need more web programming. so hopefully danny schechter and media channel will think about producing a program. i think it would be a great calling card for their site that would bring in new traffic and help get the word out on realities in iraq.


the boy pretties with so little to offer

c.i. asked me if i'd seen any of seth's post last week? i read the 1 on wednesday but i hadn't read the 1 from friday. i think my readers might enjoy friday's especially so i will note it here, it's called 'e-mails:'

I have an e-mail from a reader wondering which of the TV reviews on Third Estate Sunday Review is my very favorite. That's a tough question, because each weekend those reviews are truly the highlight of my Sunday morning. I'm going to have to be honest and say that my favorite is whichever one I'm reading on any given Sunday morning, and last weekend's review of Freddie was no exception!I laughed so hard while reading it, and as with all of CI and Ava's reviews, I recognized so much truth amid the humor. This one especially rang true, because Freddie Prinze Jr was totally the sort of blandly sexy, safe crush I used to have a few years back! Of course, for me he was even then always overshadowed by others. I mean, you can't watch I Know What You Did Last Summer and come away with any other male image in mind besides Ryan Phillippe's locker room shower/towel scene!
Speaking of Ryan, my ultimate crush of days gone by, I recently saw the movie Crash. I have to tell you, I was seriously impressed with the film itself, and with most of the performances. It's one of those all too rare films that really makes you think, and not just for a few minutes after the film ends. I think it's one of the best films dealing with the realities of racism in this country that I've ever seen. So if you haven't seen it, you should really think about renting it.
With that said, Ryan Philippe looked oh so pretty as always, and I'd be lying if I said I wouldn't still gladly take him to bed for a meaningless fling. But as usual, his performance was all surface. It just stood out more in a film where he was working with some truly talented actors, and which called for some real depth on his part.
Maybe one of these days, Ryan will end up trying to salvage his career with a TV show. Maybe he could even go back to his roots, having once played a gay teen character on the soap One Life to Live. Ryan's performances, based so much on looking hot while he fails to emote, are a staple of daytime TV these days. Someone should do him a favor and slip him the casting director's number at Passions.

and speaking funny tv reviews, ava and c.i. review bones and there's a new edition of the third estate sunday review up so check that out.

illustration for the third estate sunday review done by isaiah. Posted by Picasa