Jon Stewart Calls Tucker Carlson A Dick, And Snow Falls In Edmonton

Posted in Film, Miscellaneous, Political Hooey, Television on October 17th 2004 by Randy Reichardt

Edmonton, Saturday afternoon, 16 October 2004, view from my driveway

:: It started snowing on Friday night in Edmonton, and continued throughout Saturday. When it snows this early, not even one month into autumn, the only word that comes to mind for me is: offensive. It’s too early!! All we can do is hope that it melts before it gets too cold for that to happen.

:: Jon Stewart, currently the co-author of the #1 best selling non-fiction book in the USA, was on Crossfire last week, and was brutal in his assault on the show itself. Rather than appear on the show in his role as a comedian, as Tucker Carlson apparently expected, he tore into both Carlson and co-host Paul Begala for the show’s lack of journalism ethics. The video of the segment is available on iFilm – if you are running Norton Internet Security 2003, you’ll need to disable it in order to get the film to play.

Read “Jon Stewart Bitchslaps CNN’s ‘Crossfire’ Show“, on the MTV web site. Stewart leveled into Crossfire, accusing the co-hosts of being “partisan hacks”. But Stewart saved the best for last, when Carlson said to him: “I do think you’re more fun on your show“, to which Stewart replied, “You know what’s interesting, though: you’re as big a dick on your show as you are on any show.” From the MTV article:

“What you do is not honest. What you do is partisan hackery,” Stewart said. “You have a responsibility to the public discourse, and you fail miserably.

“I watch your show every day, and it kills me. It’s so painful to watch,” Stewart added as it became apparent that the comedian was not joking. He went on to hammer the network, and the media in general, for its coverage of the presidential debates. Stewart said it was a disservice to viewers to immediately seek reaction from campaign insiders and presidential cheerleaders following the debates, noting that the debates’ famed “Spin Alley” should be called “Deception Lane.”

“The thing is, we need your help,” Stewart said. “Right now, you’re helping the politicians and the corporations and we’re left out there to mow our lawns.”

While the audience seemed to be behind Stewart, Begala and Carlson were both taken aback. The hosts tried to feed Stewart set-up lines hoping to draw him into a more light-hearted shtick, but Stewart stayed on point and hammered away at the show, the hosts, and the state of political journalism. Carlson grew increasingly frustrated, at first noting that the segment wasn’t “funny,” and later verbally sparring with the comedian.

“You’re not very much fun,” Carlson said. “Do you like lecture people like this, or do you come over to their house and sit and lecture them; they’re not doing the right thing, that they’re missing their opportunities, evading their responsibilities?”

“If I think they are,” Stewart retorted.

The conversation reached its most heated moment when Carlson said to Stewart, “I do think you’re more fun on your show,” to which Stewart replied, “You’re as big a dick on your show as you are on any show.”

The transcript of the show is available, as is Carlson’s reaction.

God bless Jon Stewart and The Daily Show. It is simultaneously funny and sad that at least 21% of people under 30 in the USA consider The Daily Show and SNL as sources for presidential campaign news.

:: I’ve been volunteering at the EIFF since Wednesday, working in the “Industry Centre”, and picking up a few delegates at the airport. I’ve seen two pictures so far, P.S. and Primer.

How Would You Pronounce It?

Posted in Bad Baby Names, Film on October 14th 2004 by Randy Reichardt

:: From NewsScan Daily:

A father in China’s Zhengzhou province has been denied permission to name his son “@” because it cannot be translated into Mandarin, as the law requires. The father had argued that the symbol is in common use on keyboards and should be acceptable. The attempt reflects parents’ global penchant for saddling their progeny with silly monikers — earlier this year a couple in Holland, Michigan insisted on naming their son Jon Blake Cusack Version 2.0. As The Register noted at the time, “Jon and his wife will certainly be spending many a sleepless night debugging little Jon Blake Cusack Version 2.0 and — in about 16 years’ time — having a pretty hard time explaining to their unfortunate offspring whose bright idea this was in the first place.” (The Register 12 Oct 2004)

:: Primer will indeed play in Edmonton in 2004. Tomorrow, in fact, at the Edmonton International Film Festival. I plan to see it. I also hope and/or would like to see Bad Education, Bright Young Things, Dear Frankie, The Five Obstructions, Intimate Strangers, P.S., and Seven Times Lucky, to name a few (more.)

Primer

Posted in Film on October 11th 2004 by Randy Reichardt

:: Scanning the Leisure section of yesterday’s NYTimes, I noticed an ad for a movie called Primer, written, starring, and directed by Shane Carruth. I visited the film’s web site, discovering that it includes a review from the NYTimes, written by AO Scott. The film sounds compelling and interesting, and quite the mind bender – Scott describes the movie as “technically speaking, science fiction, but of an unusually rigorous and unassuming kind.” Two amateur inventors create a machine in their garage, “a device that reduces the apparent mass of any object placed inside it by blocking gravitational pull”, with far-reaching consequences. Scott compares the brain-teasing flow of the film to other movies like Pi and Memento. One reviewer has seen the film five times, with Scott advising that “part of the attraction is the tantalizing belief that if you see it enough, you will finally figure it all out.” But he counters with the following:

I’m not sure of that. Having seen it twice from start to finish and gone back over the videotape in search of clues to its meaning, I wouldn’t say that it entirely makes sense. At a certain point, Mr. Carruth’s fondness for complexity and indirection crosses the line between ambiguity and opacity, but I hasten to add that my bafflement is colored by admiration. Mr. Carruth has the skill, the guile and the seriousness to turn a creaky philosophical gimmick into a dense and troubling moral puzzle.”

Ambiguity: “doubtfulness or uncertainty of meaning or intention” (1 of 2 definitions listed); opacity: “obscurity of meaning” (1 of 7 definitions listed). I’m not sure that helps me. 🙂

Also intriguing: the film was shot on 16mm and cost $7,000US to make. Unfortunately for us in Edmonton, I doubt we’ll see a print of the movie before 2005 at the earliest. Until then, watch the trailer here.

Winnipeg Weekend

Posted in On The Road on October 10th 2004 by Randy Reichardt

:: My Winnipeg visit is nearly over. On Friday night, as mentioned earlier, Claire and Tony hosted a group of 15 friends at their home, having cooked an Indo-Dutch dinner, on which we feasted for the evening. The food was incredibly delicious, the company engaging. On Saturday, I attended my cousin Barbara’s wedding ceremony in the afternoon, and reception in the evening. There were enough guests invited to warrant the use of a curling rink for the dinner and dance that evening. I was able to spend some quality time visiting with my cousin from Atlanta, Adam. I also took time to bolt over to Oakbank, and visit some of the WPC homeys, who were enjoying a post U Manitoba Bisons football game bonfire and pizza party.

This morning, my parents, my friend Susan Robinson, and I went for dim sum. Following that was another visit with Steve, Tony and Mike, and Steve’s family, including daughter Kaitlyn, aka KickButt Kate (her soccer name). After that, I drove back to St Vital, to a community club where my cousin and her husband were opening their wedding gifts. After visiting with everyone there, and eating yet more food, I returned to my parents’ place, where I’ve packed, and now plan to veg out for the evening, before waking again tomorrow morning at 0430 hrs, to catch a plane that leaves at 6:25 am for Edmonton.

Center for the Digital Future Identifies the 10 Major Trends Emerging in the Internet’s First Decade of Public Use

Posted in Internet on October 8th 2004 by Randy Reichardt

:: The USC Annenberg School Center for the Digital Future has completed a study of the impact of online technology (note – 105p pdf document), specifically how the Internet affects America. I don’t know of an equivalent study underway in Canada. From the press release, among the findings from Year Four of the Digital Future
Project:

-Internet access has risen to its highest level ever. About three-quarters of Americans now go online.
– The number of hours spent online continues to increase, rising to an average of 12.5 hours per week – the highest level in the study thus far.
– Although the Internet has become the most important source of current information for users, the initially high level of credibility of information on the Internet began to drop in the third year of the study, and declined even further in Year Four.
– The number of users who believe that only about half of the information on the Internet is accurate and reliable is growing and has now passed 40 percent of users for the first time.
– The study showed that most users trust information on the websites they visit regularly, and on pages created by established media and the government.
– Information pages posted by individuals have the lowest credibility: only 9.5 percent of users say information on those sites is reliable and accurate.
– Television viewing continues to decline among Internet users, raising the question: “What will happen as a nation that once spent an extremely large portion of time in a passive activity (watching television) transfers increasingly large portions of that time to an interactive activity (the Internet)?”

Here are the top ten trends identified by the Center:

  1. In America, The Digital Divide Is Closing, But Is Not Yet Closed As New Divides Emerge
  2. The Media Habits Of The Nation Have Changed, And Continue To Change
  3. The Credibility Of The Internet Is Dropping
  4. We Have Just Begun to See the Changes to Come in Buying Online
  5. The “Geek-Nerd” Perception Of The Internet Is Dead
  6. Privacy And Security: Concerns Remain, But The High Levels Are Changing
  7. The Internet Has Become The Number One Source For Information For Internet Users
  8. The Benefits – and Drawbacks – Of The Internet For Children Are Still Coming Into Focus
  9. E-mail: “E-Nuff” Already?
  10. Broadband Will Change Everything – Again

Sleep, Data….Sleep

Posted in Books, Film, Music, Pop Culture on October 8th 2004 by Randy Reichardt

:: I’m in Winnipeg. My cousin Barbara’s wedding is tomorrow (Oct 9th, not the 7th). Tonight is a dinner at Tony and Claire‘s house, a veritable feast of Dutch-Indonesian culinary delights, including Nasi Goreng and rijstaffel. Claire notes here that she is cooking for 17 (or 18), and the ensemble tonight includes a number of her friend as well. The edible hedgehog is a durian, resembling some kind of mutated pineapple thingee.

I’ve been sleeping and/or napping a lot here. Probably my body trying to catch up on days weeks months years of lost sleep. I took my folks to see Fahrenheit 9/11 last night. Michael Moore has two new books out, one being The Official Fahrenheit 9/11 Reader, the other being a collection of letters sent to him from soldiers, entitled Will They Ever Trust Us Again?. The latter has received mostly positive reviews on the Amazon site, but the most telling has to be the one written by Andrew Balthazor, an Iraqi war vet, whose writing appears in the book.

:: Speaking of Amazon, I ordered four items today: this, this, this and this. Speaking of this, there is a good interview with and write-up on Paul Westerberg on the CNN site. And another 70s band is reuniting. When the hell is Wang Chung getting back together, dammit!

There seems to be a pop culture explosion of late, of stuff that I’d like to have. I need another nap.

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