What Was I Thinking?
Monthly Archives: May 2008
Too much revelry with my fellow Cartoonists With Attitude – Barry Deutsch, Matt Bors, Mikhaela B. Reid, and Masheka Wood, and Shannon Wheeler – last night has caused a delay in production for today’s strip. We ate, drank and drew rude cartoons. Hopefully Matt will scan and post the drawing he did of me giving birth to my son. It’s wonderful.
I will post it later tonight, so check back tomorrow. My apologies for being such an irresponsible party hound.
Over at Salon, Glenn Greenwald tears Charles Gibson a new one for the news anchor’s disingenuous assurance that the American mainstream media asked all the “tough” questions of the BushAdmin’s case for war with Iraq prior to the invasion. Gibson, “mindlessly establishment-defending” Brian Williams and Katie Couric appeared on The Today Show and responded to criticism of the media by former White House press secretary Scott “Sweaty Brow” McClellan in his new memoir. Couric was alone among her colleagues who agreed with McClellan that journalists had been “deferential, complicit enablers” — prompting the boys to pooh-pooh her with all the smugness they could muster.
And apparently attempt to look down her blouse:
Still from MSNBC video.
Man, that is creepy.
I never thought I’d be on the same side of an issue with both Katie Couric and Scott McClellan, but, um — give ‘em hell?
Several more prominent blogs have linked to this already — including Matt Bors, whose blog tipped me to it — but I want to share this with some of my colleagues in the information professions (i.e., librarians.) Graphic designer Erica Smith has created Paper Cuts, a graphical blog that uses Google Maps to track layoffs in the newspaper industry.
As with a regular Google Map, when a user clicks on a site marker (those upside down tear dop shaped icons), an information balloon pops up, this time with a link to a specific newspaper company and news about their financial status. For example, clicking the site marker for Portland, OR, I found this out:
|Pamplin Media Group|
|Positions cut: Unknown|
|Announced: May 2, 2008|
|The twice-a-week paper will cut back to once-a-week, eliminating an unknown number of jobs.|
Because Smith relies upon newspaper accounts to track the damage (kinda like Iraq Body Count), there are a lot of unknowns about staff numbers. And as Matt points out, the graph so far has not tracked information from the alternative press, which has been contradicting wildly over the past decade. Nonetheless, Erica has done a great thing here, demonstrating how to use available information tools in an easily accessible and readable format. Info literacy at its best! Students in writing, marketing, journalism and business classes might find this useful in their research, too.
In an open letter to directors Steven Spielberg and George Lucas, pediatrican Rahul K. Parikh implores them to take the lead in severing movie tie-ins with the fast food industry for the sake of reducing childhood obesity. Dr. Parikh makes a reasonable (and standard) argument that fast food advertising has more influence than parents in determining children’s food choices, thereby contributing to a rise in obesity rates among youth and putting them at risk of heart disease, diabetes, and shortened life spans. Movie tie-ins contribute to this problem by glamorizing greasy burgers loaded with cheese and bacon (mmmmm, bacon) through associations with popular characters like Shrek and, in a ridiculous example cited by Dr. Parikh, Indiana Jones via “the Indy Whopper, a mammoth, juicy burger with pepper jack cheese and jalapeño sauce (to give it “adventure,” the CMO pointed out).”
I am pretty skeptical regarding the Fear of Fatness taking over our political discourse, but Parikh’s argument wins with me. How can you argue that fast food has any nutritional benefits? Its ubiquity — particularly in the neighborhoods of poor and lower middle class families — makes fast food a reliable source of food that is awful for you (not to mention a means of employment that is soul-destroying, IMHO.)
Here is where Dr. Parikh goes wrong. Here he suggests to Spielberg and Lucas ways to counter the fast food propaganda:
If not [severing movie tie-ins], then perhaps a little truth in advertising, or in cinema, is in order. You should show us how your characters would look if they ate the food that you helped peddle. In that vein, you got Jabba the Hutt right. But Princess Leia in her skimpy steel bikini with cellulite? Indiana Jones having to hit the brakes during a car chase and find a glass of water so he can take his Lipitor? Now that I think about it, wouldn’t Viagra have been the best tie-in for the new movie?
He intends to inject a “little humor” into his plea, but the good doctor does so at the expense of the fat people he wants to help. Jabba the Hutt — really? Fat-shaming — and please note the sexism underlying the Princess Leia reference — should not be a part of his practice.
One in eight teachers said they taught creationism as a “valid scientific alternative to Darwinian explanations for the origin of species,” reports a team led by Michael B. Berkman, a professor of political science at Pennsylvania State University at University Park. The survey results,PLoS Biology on Monday, also reveal that one in six biology teachers believe that “God created human beings pretty much in their present form at one time within the last 10,000 years or so.”