Category Archives: Arts and Entertainment

Netroots Nation, the liberal media and who’s making the money buddy?

Markos Moulitsas

The Netroots Nation convention (referenced below) was so named by readers of Markos Moulitsas‘ blog, Daily Kos, probably the most influential liberal site in the blogsphere. It’s routinely demonized by the right who have dubbed it – and by extension Markos – The Great Orange Satan (the logo color is orange). Kos has gone from a a lone blogger  – immigrant, veteran, lawyer, author, father, political activist -whose very first sentence in his first blog post (in ’04 I think) was “I am a liberal”, to a community of tens of thousands of activists,  hundred and hundreds of writers and advertising rates that would make The New York Times blush.

I’ve written often – here, and here, and here – about the utter failure of the liberal punditocracy and elected Democrats to make the point that liberal media dominates because it’s what people want and support with their dollars.

A blog is media. Daily Kos is a blog. Daily Kos is liberal and Daily Kos is making money. Lots of money.

It’s more successful than its conservative rivals (except perhaps  The Druge Report which even after a decade plus is still only a primitive blog acting as a news aggregator with a point of view). In any free market the major players are the ones that rake in the bucks because people value the product and pay for it. The media may be liberal, but what’s almost never mentioned is that it’s also   what America reads and watches. And pays for.

Let’s look at movies and compare the box office success of  the  anti-liberal movie Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged with Sicko, Michael Moore’s liberal documentary. Both of these were in limited release.

Atlas Shrugged:  Here’s a report from the Hollywood Reporter:

The man who says he spent $10 million of his own money to bring Atlas Shrugged: Part 1 to the big screen vowed Wednesday to go through with his plans to make the next two installments, even though critics hate the movie and business at movie theaters has fallen off a cliff.

[Producer] Aglialoro said he had to scale down his ambition for the film to be in 1,000 theaters this weekend, so it will likely be closer to 400. During its opening weekend, the movie took in $5,640 per screen but then only $1,890 in its second. Through Wednesday, the film had grossed $3.3 million since opening April 15.

That paper also covered Sicko when it was released in ’07. here

Lionsgate far outpaced the competition this summer, but its biggest hit was the Weinstein Co. co-release “Sicko.” Michael Moore’s harsh and humorous health-care expose took in $24.1 million. Currently neck and neck with “An Inconvenient Truth,” it will pass that film to become the third-highest-grossing nonmusical documentary of all time this weekend, though its purse doesn’t begin to compare with the top-ranking docu, Moore’s “Fahrenheit 9/11” ($119.2 million.)

Liberal media has more reach. Because people pay for it. From an earlier post, I’ll republish this, because it can’t be posted often enough.

FROM Whatever Works in FEBRUARY of 2010 :

That most frequent target of conservative media, The New York Times, reported a circulation (March 2009) of 1,039,031 copies on weekdays and 1,451,233 copies on Sundays. And the venerable Wall Street Journal has equivalent if not higher weekday numbers. But since the Times is perceived to be ‘liberal’ throughout and the Journal is perceived to be conservative only in its editorial pages, they’re not politically opposite. The Journal is a hybrid. So a comparison would not be useful.)

The Washington Post – A publicly traded company
Daily audience 1,599,900

The Washington Times – A privately held company owned by the Rev. Sun Young Moon
Daily audience 83,511

The Weekly Standard – a privately held company
Can’t find circulation numbers, even at their own website, so to keep it fair(ish)
National Review – a privately held company
Weekly circulation 183,000

Time Magazine – A publicly traded company
Weekly circulation 3,400,000

I draw the reader’s attention to which of these publications thrive in the free market and which are rich men’s hobbies.

Muslims and atheists and the father of our country

A few years ago I read Ron Chernow’s biography of Alexander Hamilton. It was a thrilling read, a page turner, genuinely exciting – I credited the author with that; now I know it was because Hamilton was exciting. Because I am now reading Chernow’s biography of, ahem, George Washington.

The young George Washington

Chernow’s account confirms what we’ve always known about George – he was no Alexander Hamilton. Washington was a singularly un-exciting person, as methodical in his days as a well wound clock. I’ve only gotten to 1860 1760 but I will stay with it – in the hope that things pick up around 1776.

Boring yes, but very principled – I doubt he’d make it in today’s political and media climate. I just came across this passage which would doom him were he to reappear amongst us for another shot at the top job.

 ” . . . the exemplary nature of Washington’s religious tolerance. He shuddered at the notion of exploiting religion for partisan purposes or showing favoritism for any religious denomination. . . . When he needed to hire a carpenter and a bricklayer for Mount Vernon, he stated that ‘if they are good workmen, they may be Mohamatens, Jews or Christians . . . even atheists.

Let’s hear it for the blonds

On MSNBC right now, a pretty white female anchor with really long wavy blond hair is talking to another pretty white lady with long straight blond hair about another white lady with regular blond hair who is missing.

A white blond girl is missing! She’s pretty so we must put it on the teevee.

What I did today

While this laptop was sleeping . . . I got to spend a day visiting the  Fine Arts Museum in St. Petersburg, truly a jewel of a museum. Walked the galleries with a dear old friend whom I hadn’t seen in far too long and we shared a long lunch outdoors ‘under the oaks’. A very nice day indeed. I got to see this painting which so entranced me, I stood in front of it for ages, managed a photo, and then forgot to look at who the artist was. I shall have to return.

Hope you had a good day!

William Shatner sorta sings. Again

I thought Shatner’s career as a recording artist was one off, but now, thanks to Bill at Under the Lobsterscope, I hear he’s got a new album coming out. Details are here. For those of you who haven’t previously enjoyed the song/poetry  stylings of the great man . . .

(He’s done this in a number of venues. I think I posted one last year, but my category skills are so awful, I can’t find it.)

100 ways to leave your movie

Greg Mitchell at The Nation took the trouble to visit Rotten Tomatoes and see what critics around the planet are saying about Atlas Shrugged, the movie, Part the First which opened today.

A dud. A flop. A disaster. A bore. A waste of time. Not even fun.

Mitchell points out that: 

Somehow, Atlas Shrugged, Part I (yes! more to look forward to!), which opens Friday, has at this writing achieved the rare feat [a 0% rating) . . .  not a single critic to date, from major and minor outlet, high or lowest of low of lowbrow, likes it one bit. 

(Betcha the most famous namesake of them all, Sen. Paul, likes it a lot.)

The ‘my-country-right-or-wrong’ folk will be offended

Well, who knew? I didn’t, but I suppose anyone under 50 did. Dennis Leary  sings. Herewith a tour de force, I’m An Asshole. (move right along to 2:11 for the good stuff)

He’ll always be sitting right there

A theatre friend died Saturday. He was much too young and we loved him too much to have him leave us so soon.

Steve often appeared on stage with kids in the youth theatre productions – there were always adult parts; he was an audience favorite and was cast frequently. He was the first to make new kids feel welcome; he quickly put them at ease and showed them the ropes. They adored him.

He was a snarky and sarcastic fellow which of course was his charm. Steve often sat outside the stage door smoking (yes, smoking), wearing a baseball hat bearing a show logo – from which perch he could greet arrivals with ‘glad to see you decided to join us’.

Sunday night I was still feeling a bit sad when I took Logan and his mom to dinner. We talked a bit about Steve, but Logan was excited about the movie Billy Elliot which he’d just seen (he now wants to be a dancer). Later on at his house he performed his version of a number from that show and he dedicated it to Steve.

You deserve a laugh today

Another anthem to BBC – two in two days! This one comes from BBC Two and is giggle inducing. Plus there’s a bonus: Stephen Fry. (It would be lovely to have these channels.)

Does anyone do this stuff better than BBC?

PBS is damn good. National Geographic is pretty terrific. But this! Here’s a trailer for the BBC One program (I almost typed ‘programme’ – heh), The Human Planet. It’s 3 minutes and it’s stunning – try to watch it in full screen.  (h/t cousin Lizzie)

Beirut Roxx


“Whilst the idea of a flash mob isn’t a new thing, a Dabke / Hip-Hop flash mob in Beirut Rafic Hariri International Airport (Beirut Duty Free) at a time when the region is in flux is certainly a first.

On March 5th, 2011, passengers experienced something a little different. A flash mob performed a mix of Dabke and hip-hop to entertain and delight passengers and airport staff alike.”

Dabke is the most popular Arab folk dance in Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine and Syria.

Enter the apocalypse?

I just took a quick look at a few favorite sites – two of them, TWO of them feature Hieronymus Bosch paintings. Ugly, demented, demonic Hieronymus Bosch.

Does disaster put us in mind of this stuff? Here’s one:

I’m guessing Way #1 is just sit like that

Cosmo’s April cover promises 50 Ways to Seduce A Man. Someone still publishes Cosmo?

Olivia Wilde Covers 'Cosmopolitan' April 2011

Monday morning Cyndi


Over at Jezebel, Margaret Hartmann writes “On Friday, in a clever attempt to sooth angry travelers stranded at the Buenos Aires Airport, Cyndi Lauper grabbed a microphone and led a sing-along of “Girls Just Want To Have Fun.” Clearly dispatching stars to perform our favorite ’80s songs after flight cancellations should become standard practice.”

And they talk about ‘creeping socialism’

Looks like the creeping  let’s-just-kill-the-damn-liberals and other people-we-don’t-like movement is gaining more steam.  (h/t The Fifth Column)

South Dakota Moves to Legalize Killing Abortion Providers

Of course, good moral citizens have been gunning down abortion providers for some time. Now some fine congress critters in South Dakota would just like to make it nice and legal.

It is not crazy to expect this sort of thing will spread. Were anyone to propose such a thing 30 years ago, there would have been a collective gasp of shock and horror across the country. Today, it will barely cause a ripple. Cultures change and we are changing.

Eliminationism – in language and actions – has become more visible over the last few years. Much more on the subject can be found here in the first installment of an astonishing bit of work – a ten-part series by David Neiwert on eliminationist tendencies and language throughout history with emphasis on today.

Definition from the Wikipedia link above: Eliminationism is the belief that one’s political opponents are a cancer on the body politic that must be excised — either by separation from the public at large, through censorship or by outright extermination — in order to protect the purity of the nation.

Monday morning delight

 More at Buzzfeed: Impossible Celebrity Couples

Demi Moore and Paul Newman; Elvis and Angelina Jolie

I heart Puxatawany Phil!

Groundhog Day is one of my favorite movies – Bill Murray at his best. And now I love the little rodent himself  because he says an early spring is coming!

Yeah Puxatawny Phil! I heart you. (Hang in Kate, it’s almost over.)

The young and the bestest

It’s 8:30pm and I’m actually watching the Golden Globes. There seems to be a trend developing – young unknowns (well, unknown to me) usurping front runners. If this keeps up, Social Network and its leading actor may leave The King’s Speech and its lead actor still sitting in their seats.

UPDATE: A sad note – Laura Linney just won a Golden Globe. The announcer said only that Linney wasn’t able to be there to accept her award. (In fact, her father died yesterday – the great American playwright Romulus Linney. )

I’m still avoiding the hard stuff, so here: It’s a Daily Show reunion!

Skip the chit-chat and go straight to 1:35 into the video. This is from something called “Night of Too Many Stars”, a fundraiser for something that was held sometime somewhere. But who cares really when there’s an opportunity to see Stephen Colbert and Steve Carrell go all song-and-dance-men.

Poor CNN

Tonight is Larry King’s last show and I think 25 years deserves respect, so I turned on CNN preparing to watch this last show in real time. I’ve seen relatively few over the years, but whenever I did, I appreciated how he stepped back and never made the show about himself.

And that is how I came to see some of the new 8pm show, Parker/Spitzer. These are two smart knowledgable people – and the show sucks. I don’t know if CNN has noticed but Parker communicates from every pore that she is bored and finds the guests just not worthy of her attention – almost Cokie Roberts level bored.

(At least it seemed so during the ten minutes I saw. On the other hand I’ve often enjoyed her columns, but the woman lacks an on-air personality.)

None of this matters of course. But what the heck, Christmas is coming no matter how hard Harry Reid tries to stop it and nobody is paying any attention. So I can say whatever I want.

We were all Fair Game

Convicted criminal Scooter Libby with his boss, Dick Cheney

Saw Fair Game yesterday, the current movie about the outing of  the CIA’s Valerie Plame by the Bush White House, done to punish her husband, Ambassador Joe Wilson for speaking truth to power –  it was a classic drama in real time and a worthy movie subject.

But. It would have been a much better movie without Sean Penn and it would have been a much more honest movie had it not borrowed so freely from All The President’s Men. Penn was a problem – I thought – because his personal involvement with left-wing causes spilled over into the Wilson character.

It’s always good to be reminded of some of the more sordid moments in our history. Especially given – as we’ve since learned – how deeply Plame was involved in counter-terrorism at the time that the White House ‘outed’ her. How petty the retribution against Wilson was – had they understood any history, they would have known that the best way to minimize damage from  Wilson’s revelations would have been to ignore them. But they let their lesser natures rule and did far more damage to their cause than Wilson’s op-ed ever could have. Silly and petty people.

And the thing they were protecting wasn’t information; they were protecting their own lies.

And so we’re still in Iraq. And of course we’re still in Afghanistan where today is the 70th day of the tenth year of that war.

Bad news all around

Brian tell me that Aretha Franklin is dying. Much suckitude this week.

The Thanksgiving Classic

Sarah Palin: just the glitter, not the guts please

Chris Kelly today in Huff Post notices Sarah Palin’s Favorite Communist Movie.

. . . she says Mr. Smith Goes to Washington is one of her “favorite movies,” that it’s “about timeless truths of America handed down to us from our forefathers and foremothers,” that it’s “wonderful” and “not pro-government, certainly, but definitely pro-American,” she must know it was written by a communist, right?

His name was Sidney Buchman. In 1951 he appeared before HUAC and admitted to being a member of the Communist Party, but refused to name anyone else. In 1952, he was subpoenaed again, but refused to honor the subpoena — much like Todd Palin did when called to testify about Troopergate.

Unlike Todd Palin, Buchman was found in contempt of Congress by a vote of 314-0. He was fined $150 and sentenced to a year in Federal penitentiary (suspended). A two-time Academy Award winner, it would be a decade before his name appeared on another American movie.

Somebody needs a new headline writer

The Huff Post apparently has an entire SNL page.  I just went there for the first time. As nice as it is to have a convenient one-stop to catch the best skits I don’t stay up to see on Saturday night, the page is embarassing.

Here are the headlines at 11pm Sunday:

Kate Middleton Bullied By Queen Elizabeth II In Hilarious ‘SNL’ Sketch

Scarlett Johansson’s Hilarious ‘SNL’ Promo With Jason Sudeikis

The Women Of ‘SNL’ Perfectly Spoof ‘Real Housewives’ Reunions

Jane Lynch Makes Hilarious ‘SNL’ Promos With Fred Armisen

‘SNL’ Newcomer Vanessa Bayer Does Hilarious Miley Cyrus Impression

SNL Does Perfect Spoof of Jimmy McMillan


This is how Michael Caine speaks

as interpreted by The Trip on BBC 2. (I seem to be unable to think or write so I toss out this little amusement.)

Friday oldie – live from Vegas

The early days of big names in Vegas – Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr, Frank Sinatra and catch that guy on the right! Heeere’s Johnny.

Try to imagine  four top entertainers ‘working a room’ like that today. (Instead of a stadium.)

Only The Onion

This made me laugh out loud.  Reminded me of an old Bob and Ray radio routine – “and now it’s time for our special guest, The Man Who Looks Like Ralph Bellamy! Welcome Mr. Shockley!”

Maybe one more

My father was all about music – his music. He loved it and taught it to all of his children and even his grandkids knew the names of the big bands. This is the last I’ll post, and it’s gorgeous:

A whimsey for y’all*

Andrew Sullivan must have an intern trolling you tube and vimeo 24/7 to find fresh and original stuff. This one is also just delightful. Hold on for 20 or so seconds.

More from these two here.