Steven White

Steven White is a former TAP Online intern. He blogs at stevenwhite.typepad.com.

Recent Articles

TO BE FAIR....

TO BE FAIR. In response to Sam 's comment about how Edwards "didn't even show up" at the Planned Parenthood event yesterday, it's worth remembering that both Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton kind of... work down the street. Edwards, alternately, no longer works in DC and was traveling through poor rural regions discussing poverty, which is also a somewhat important issue not entirely unrelated to women's reproductive health. --Steven White

ON THE SUBJECT OF RELIGIOUS FUNDAMENTALISM.

ON THE SUBJECT OF RELIGIOUS FUNDAMENTALISM. Jesus is coming to Wal-Mart, at least in the form of a 12-inch talking doll. CNN reports that Wal-Mart will soon be testing a set of "biblical action figures" in some of their stores "aimed at Christian parents who prefer their children play with Samson, David, or Noah rather than with a comic book character or Bratz doll." The toys will show up in 425 locations, mostly in the South and Midwest. Toymaker One2believe's Chief Executive David Socha said his company's products are part of the "battle for the toybox" against unspecified popular children's toys which Socha labeled "remakes... of Satan and evil things." Being raised in east Tennessee, where a "stunning musical based on the life of Christ told in epic proportions" is just down the road from Dollywood, I think people are probably going to buy this. --Steven White

LESLIE WAYNE'S EDWARDS...

LESLIE WAYNE'S EDWARDS PROBLEM. An article in today's New York Times offers a critical assessment of John Edwards ' new poverty tour, as well as his relatively low standing in the polls among low income voters. The author of the piece, of course, is Leslie Wayne , who has a history of writing major NYT pieces criticizing Edwards under the guise of objectivity. Her June 22nd hit job on Edwards' Center for Promise and Opportunity was about as shabby as campaign journalism gets. In the NYT 's Caucus blog, she considered it important to single out Edwards and remind readers that even though he "is now criticizing the low tax rate that hedge fund managers pay," he is also "the only Democratic presidential candidate to have worked for a hedge fund." Remarkably, she was even able to relate the third Pirates of the Caribbean movie to Edwards' financial resources by putting in an obscure hedge-funds-related story that had something to do with sunken treasure. To make a comparison , Rudy...

MISSING THE POINT...

MISSING THE POINT SLIGHTLY In response to Ezra 's assessment that Transformers is "a movie about GIANT ROBOTS some of whom want to DESTROY THE EARTH," not "a commentary on the righteousness of Operation Iraqi Freedom," I just want to say that wasn't my point exactly. I really don't care about Transformers . Rather, I care about how Hollywood cooperates with the Pentagon on many other movies as well , and the obvious creative control issues inherent in this. As a comment on my original post noted, the military's sole interest in dealing with filmmakers is to make the military look good. In Transformers , this isn't a huge deal, because it is indeed, as Ezra aptly noted, a movie about giant robots. But the military more commonly gets involved with movies about real issues: war, terrorism, etc. In these cases, the relationship between the Pentagon and Hollywood has obvious implications for the political assumptions in the movies (increased glorification of the U.S. military, for example...

MICHAEL BAY AND THE PENTAGON.

MICHAEL BAY AND THE PENTAGON. Scott Brown at Wired describes Transformers director Michael Bay 's relationship with the Pentagon: Thanks to the success of Pearl Harbor , Bay has built up so much goodwill with the Pentagon that he can call up and order F-16s the way the rest of us order hot wings. What's more, this movie's theme -- "No sacrifice, no victory" -- certainly must resonate with the military mindset right about now. An excellent way to keep costs down is to get aircraft, tanks, technical advice, locations (Edwards Air Force Base, White Sands Missle Range), and already-costumed troop extras on the cheap. "When Hollywood comes to us for assistance, we see it as an opportunity to inform the public about the US military," says Phil Strub , the Pentagon's Hollywood liaison. "If they want our help, they have to show us the script and listen to our suggestions for increasing the military realism." Bay puts it a little more bluntly: "I think they look at it as a recruitment thing."...

Pages