• Game Girls

    Shakes here... Lance Mannion is a sexist. At least, he thinks he is , or suspects that he might be, because he doesn't like that, in one of his son’s video games, Batman beats up a girl. Batman does not hit girls , he says, but of course what he really means is that Batman didn’t used to hit girls. Because, in fact, he does hit girls nowadays. And that’s the problem, as Mannion sees it. …I don’t think that showing the villainess being as kick-ass tough as the hero teaches boys and girls that women can be forceful and independent and that they have the strength to take care of themselves. I think it just teaches kids that it’s ok to hit girls. He’s right. On both counts. Kick-ass femme fatales are undoubtedly less a teaching tool than a reflection of game makers trying to expand their market beyond teenage boys, and, perhaps (less cynically) also the result of increasing numbers of women game designers, who, like the rest of us, want to have the chance to play the bad guy once in...
  • Spending More Time With the Family

    Digby thinks the furor NARAL created with their ad was planned, that the pull was all part of the strategy. I'm not so sure. Particularly now that they've fired their ad director, a move that speaks of a campaign gone wrong, not right. Maybe NARAL can still spin this into a victory and use it for the long-term purposes Digby's identifying, a phoenix from the ad's ashes. But today, for now, it looks like they're doing some wailing and gnashing of teeth over at headquarters. (Via The Corner )
  • Weekends

    I'm going to be switching up how weekends work around here. Instead of having one or two guest posters at a time, I'm giving a bunch of my favorite weekenders all-access passes, so they'll be around whenever the Sabbath finds them with some time to spare and something to say. Since there'll ultimately be six or seven guesters participating, it should keep up a healthy content flow. It'll also allow things to be a bit more salon-like and discussion-based on weekends; you guys get enough of my pontificating during the week. For now, the four confirmed are Nick Beaudrot , Daniel Munz , Shakespeare's Sister , and Neil Sinhababu , and they'll be around this weekend. By next Friday, I should have the full lineup ironed out. Enjoy.
  • Beware of Nutrition Labels

    Was just looking at my Planters Honey Roasted Peanuts label and thinking, "Wow, 150 calories for 39 pieces, that's pretty damn good." "Huh. Why 'pieces' and not 'nuts'?" "They're half nuts aren't they? That's what they mean by pieces. Fucking Planters." Aside from the decidedly unshocking news that I don't think about very interesting things, let this be a warning to you: labels lie, and if they seem too good to be true, they probably are.
  • The Mystery of the Missing Spokesperson

    I think I should say a bit more about the Gary Hart piece I plugged yesterday. What's interesting here isn't his skewering of the Bush administration or his lionization of Cindy Sheehan, but his diagnosis of what's wrong with the antiwar movement today: where will the expanding majority of Americans look for a representative, a spokesperson, a voice for their anger, frustration, and distrust at being misled? The circumstances suggest it should be a Senate or House Democratic leader, a recognized authority on foreign policy constantly seen on the Sunday talk shows, certainly one of the many “leaders” lining up to seek the Democratic Party’s nomination for president in 2008. Strangely, no one in any of those categories comes to mind. Their voices are silent. He's right. And it's strange. For some reason, no William Fulbright has emerged, no George McGovern or Eugene McCarthy or RFK has stepped forward to focus the call for withdrawal. We've got this big rally, and most of America has...
  • I Don't Get Letters

    Rumor has it that my e-mail address on the right doesn't work. Well it does now.
  • It Won't Happen Outside Here

    CNtodd, in a post hoping for the rise of a new labor party to challenge the Democrats, writes : Unless labor unions drop their support of the Democratic Party, workers will continue to lose the rights they fought for so long ago. The Democrats need a wake-up call in 2008. Sorta like the wake-up call Nader gave them (and the country) in 2000, right? And do you think things would be quite so bad for workers if, say, that wake-up call hadn't happened and Gore had won? If Kerry had won? I don't. In any case, new parties really aren't the way to go. Lipset and Marks wrote a great book called It Didn't Happen Here , explaining why socialism never grabbed hold in the States. They argue, basically, that the essential impenetrability of the two-party system killed its chances; there was no electoral space in which it could breathe. Convincing stuff, and worth a read if you're interested in that sort of thing. A good example of why these initiatives fail can be seen on the right. Howard Jarvis...
  • One Scandal, Two Scandal, Red Scandal, Blue Scandal

    You know what was fun? Last month's scandal where Arnold's second job as magazine publisher nicely intersected with his first job as pretend-governor when he signed off on a bill protecting their advertisers. But you know what's going to be even more fun? This month's scandal . Cause this time, there's hush money: Days after Arnold Schwarzenegger jumped into the race for governor and girded for questions about his past, a tabloid publisher wooing him for a business deal promised to pay a woman $20,000 to sign a confidentiality agreement about an alleged affair with the candidate. American Media Inc., which publishes the National Enquirer, signed a friend of the woman to a similar contract about the alleged relationship for $1,000. American Media's contract with Gigi Goyette of Malibu is dated Aug. 8, 2003, two days after Schwarzenegger announced his candidacy on a late-night talk show. Under the agreement, Goyette must disclose to no one but American Media any information about her "...
  • Soapbox Strategies

    Looks like NARAL's pulling their ad . Fair 'nuff. I think, after Leahy rebuked them, that we can safely judge that one a flop. But the discussion it created was interesting, and raises some issues we should be thinking about. The ad, for those who don't know, linked Roberts to violent antiabortion protesters because he defended them in a nonviolent context. It was hardball, to be sure, but nothing batters haven't seen before. The shock, awe, and surprise came mostly because the Roberts nomination washed such a warm glow of comity and calm over all involved, and so NARAL's frontal assault caught both the left and the right unawares. For my part, I figured it par for the course. The one danger was that Roberts, who almost certainly will be confirmed, would take it personally. Much of what we've seen seems to show him a fair-minded jurist willing to seriously consider opposing arguments. But if NARAL really enrages him, it's possible he'd take it out on their cause during later trials,...
  • I Hart Him

    I first entered politics in 2003, to work on Gary Hart's (quickly aborted) run for President. This is why .