John Furie Zacharias
having a bad day in a strange place
Thunderstorms Anywhere

Thunderstorms in the Imajica

 The different ways I don't like you 
 in a list that may never become organized
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Tuesday, March 02, 2004
P isn't for Politix

P is for Propaganda
You have probably heard me rant on occasion about the media.  I'm not talking about the popular complaint that media is too liberal.  The neo-cons have Fox News now, and in my humble opinion, it balances out the scales of the liberal versus conservative bias with a thud like a flying cow patty hitting the windshield of a speeding SUV.  The problem is the same as it's always been with american media -- no matter what the popular slant or shade of politics it's whoring around with this year -- manufacturing consent.

What is manufacturing consent?

Back when Kel was going to the University of Michigan (UofM) studying linguistics, she was introduced to some of the works of reknown Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) linguistics professor, Noam Chomsky.  Reading some of his work is probably why I can be so annoyingly cynical.  Besides being a scholar of the technical aspects of linguistic theory, Chomsky is also the pre-eminent scholar on the planet for the philosophy of language. 

Chomsky has written and lectured widely on linguistics, philosophy, intellectual history, contemporary issues, international affairs and U.S. foreign policy.  A quick glance at the titles of some of his works on the MIT bio page will give you a small idea about what he writes and there is a very nice ZNet online Chomsky archive available now.

Noam Chomsky wrote a book entitled Manufacturing Consent. It's even available as a documentary on DVD.  If you have a few spare minutes, read "What Makes Mainstream Media Mainstream" and you'll get a glimpse of the instutition of our media striving to win over the hearts and minds of Iraqis ... I mean, Americans.  Same re-run, different audience.  Chomsky starts:

"Part of the reason why I write about the media is because I am interested in the whole intellectual culture, and the part of it that is easiest to study is the media. It comes out every day. You can do a systematic investigation. You can compare yesterday's version to today's version. There is a lot of evidence about what's played up and what isn't and the way things are structured."

While I was considering blogging something about Chomsky after I saw him talk about various issues and receive an award from the United Nations Correspondents Association on C-Span, Plastic popped this article up Monday, " We Report, You Decide — Based Only On What We Report, Of Course".
"While stumping for the Democratic Party nomination in Ohio, Senator John Kerry criticized the Bush administration's plan to increase jobs and went on for about three minutes citing various statistics in support that his plan was superior. The CBS News producer covering the event was disappointed that there was no convenient soundbite to make the evening news and asked Senator Kerry to try again."

The reason I like Plastic is obviously reading some of the comments from the other users about the given news topic.  Timnet, who interned at a news station, wrote "this is how the game works" and is very informative.

I've avoided using the P-word until now.  Propaganda.  There, I said it.  When you watch your evening news be mindful of the psychological fast food you're stuffing into brain.

Monday, March 01, 2004
New HFD Link Lists - RTMFD

I wanted to put my reference links on the left side panel but I didn't want it to become too long or too big.  What a pain in the butt to have that load every time, right?  So, I think I came up with the best solution that I'll be applying to some of the other "favorites" or link lists soon.
Hopefully, it'll make the page load a little faster.  The first one I did today was RTMFD list.  If you notice a new graphic button link like the one below, you'll know I got around to adding another link list.  If you find a broken link in the list, use the comments function in that blog entry and I'll know to fix it. 

Just click on the RTMFD link below (or always on the left side panel) and it'll take you to this growing link list.  Also, clicking on a link list tag on the left will not open an additional new window in your browser.  So, if after following that link or any [>permalink<] into the archives you then wish to return to the current blog, I made the top Thunderstorm in the Imajica banner grafix into a link back to the current blog. 

You'll know the left tag is a link when your cursor changes and the tag glows in happy-happy mouse-over joy.  Pretty
HFD, eh?


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Sunday, February 29, 2004
Oscar Night

Can I be your meat puppet?
Well, tonight was the big Oscar night in Hollywood.  Since it's also leap-day, you can dress up your left hand like Kermit the Frog the next time you masturbate.  It must have felt like a long night of unfulfilling masturbation for the Academy Award nominees not associated with Lord of the Rings.  Poor Bastards.

Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King won for Best Picture.  It also won in ten other categories for Art Direction, Costume Design, Directing, Film Editting, Makeup, Music Score, Music Song, Sound Mixing, Visual Effects and Writing (Adapted Screenplay).  Only Ben Hur and Titanic have also won eleven Oscars.

But, the Acadamy Awards ceremony didn't suck for these people:

Sean Penn - Best Actor / Mystic River
Sean Penn portrays Jimmy Markum, a man with a criminal past who clashes with two of his childhood friends over the murder of his daughter.

Tim Robbins - Best Supporting Actor / Mystic River
As the emotionally fragile Dave Boyle, Tim Robbins portrays a man whose adult life has been haunted by the sexual abuse he suffered as a child.

Renée Zellweger - Best Supporting Actress / Cold Mountain
Renée Zellweger plays Ruby Thewes, a spirited country girl who teaches a sheltered Southern belle how to survive during the Civil War.

Charlize Theron - Best Actress / Monster
Charlize Theron plays serial killer Aileen Wuornos, a prostitute who embarks on a murder spree along the Florida highways.

Now, to win this Oscar, Charlize went from this:


And became this for her role:


I don't know about you, but I like the happy Charlize Theron better.  Click on the links to check out video clips of the actors in their roles.  You can also see video of all the various winners or read what they said in their acceptance speech.  Welp, that's it.  It's a rap.  Oscar's in the can.

more ear candy

[Headphones] :: Boys and Girls (lo-fi stream) - RX

Saturday, February 28, 2004
Eternal Egypt

I bet this cat wasn't gay like Retardo

It was reported in
U.S.A. Today that the Egyptian government and IBM teamed up to create what I found to be a very cool web site called Eternal Egypt.

"Eternal Egypt marries technology and culture," said Minister of Communications Ahmed Nazif. "We have long realized the importance of information technology in preserving such a great heritage. Egypt owes it to the world to make sure it is preserved."
The project is the culmination of three years of work and a grant of $2.5 million from IBM. It also includes a hand-held, digital guide to the Egyptian Museum, and Internet tours of the pyramids and Luxor Temple that are accessible via cell phones or personal digital assistants, or PDAs.
The centerpiece of the Eternal Egypt project is the Web site. Dubbed "a museum without walls," it is packed with information in English, Arabic and French covering more than 5,000 years and four eras: the Pharaonic, Greco-Roman, Coptic and Islamic.

I think I just spent an era at Eternal Egypt and I've just scratched the surface of the site.  They have a number of ways to check out the virtual museum, which is actually many museums and actual historic sites.  I used their hfd timeline to follow my train of inquiry but you can simply take a guided tour or look up specific topics.  Anyone interested in Ancient Egypt should give this site a look-see.

[> permalink <]

Friday, February 27, 2004
Passion of the Controversy

Braveheart goes to the Holy Land

I almost hestitate to comment on The Passion of the Christ knowing how passionate people get about their religion and politics.  But, then again, it's everywhere and everyone's talking about it anyway.  See my quote from Don Imus on the left side panel for how I feel about everyone and everything.

I have seen this film talked about in every telecommunications medium from television's Trinity Broadcast Network (TBN) and cable news magazine shows to radio and the internet.  I'm just waiting to get a friggin' text message on my cell phone about it next.

People describe the movie and its subsequent controversy in such diverse ways.  No matter what, the way people have been acting is as entertaining as Braveheart goes to the Holy Land.

Obviously, religious groups want to see the movie.  Christians want to see it as a testimony to their faith, Jews want to see it to find out if they should duck and cover, and Muslims want to see it out of sheer fascination with the christian fundamentalist counterpart of their own 'radical fundamentalist islamist'.  Mel Gibson took some heat for this movie in the beginning from Anti Defamation League (ADL) director Abraham Foxman calling him an anti-semite.  You'd think Mel Gibson was Osama bin Laden or something, but Foxman did have a point.

Controversy continued Wednesday when the Lovingway Pentacostal Church in Denver put up a marquee sign outside the church saying, "Jews killed the Lord Jesus." The Anti-Defamation League issued a statement of outrage after asking the pastor to remove the sign. He refused.... [The Rev. Maurice] Gordon said he was partly motivated by Gibson's movie, but added he would not be seeing the film itself because he neither attends movies nor watches television.

Some people will think it followed the Gospels.  Some will think it doesn't completely.  I just saw a special about it on the History channel's History vs Hollywood show.  TBN had the Making of the Passion airing seemingly continuously recently.  Some think it is way too violent, of course.

Personally, I feel no one should be surprised about some gore in a Mel Gibson movie.  Remember the end of Braveheart with poor Mel getting disemboweled in public for five or ten minutes?  Besides, it's a movie about the last 12 hours of the life of Jesus Christ as the story is told in the Bible.  It's going to get a little messy with scourging and crucufixion.

From what little film clips I've seen of the Passion of the Christ, it looks interesting.  You know how I like my subtitles and I hear these actors are speaking Aramic and Latin, no less. So until I see the film, I'm not going to bash it much.  I know I'll have plenty of material dealing with people wearing the jewelry and acting foolish.  I prefer to wear a 9mm


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