Archive for the 'love' Category

Dunham’s Obama Ad

Friday, October 26th, 2012

Reminding me why I’m really looking forward to season 2 of Girls, Lena Dunham made this ad for Barack Obama:

Also, Mary Elizabeth Williams has fun commentary on conservatives’ response: Conservatives flip out over Lena Dunham Obama ad.

Lana Wachowski’s HRC Speech

Friday, October 26th, 2012

If you missed it, you really must watch the speech Lana Wachowski gave in accepting the Human Rights Campaign’s Visibility Award:

I realize this was linked to by Xeni at Boing Boing already, which would normally be a disqualifying factor for me posting here these days, but:

1. I posted it before she did, at least at my tumblr, and

2. It’s too awesome not to post.

Garner and Molina in ‘Serena’

Thursday, May 24th, 2012

My online existence seems to be increasingly YouTube-centric. There’s the Lizzie Bennet Diaries, Guys Who Watch Girls, and the newest from Pomplamoose, Let’s Go for a Ride, including a brief (but awesome-sounding) tease of the new “electronicky” sound they’ve been working on.

But the most-compelling thing I’ve seen on YouTube lately is a one-off short film featuring Jennifer Garner and Alfred Molina called “Serena”:

Capt. Matthew Phelps on the End of Not Asking, Not Telling

Saturday, December 3rd, 2011

Sometimes I feel compelled to post because I’ve noticed a particular lie being told, and it bugs the crap out of me until I’ve shared it with the half-dozen of you who read this. But this item isn’t about a lie that’s being told. It’s about a lie that has stopped being told.

Matthew Phelps is a logistics captain in the U.S. Marine Corps. Until September 20, 2011, he was also (of necessity) a closeted gay man. His account of what it was like to live that lie, and how DADT’s repeal has changed that, made me teary-eyed: On Marines, equality, and my date to the Marine Corps Birthday Ball.

Congratulations, Capt. Phelps!

‘We Bought a Zoo’ Trailer vs. Trailer

Sunday, November 6th, 2011

Below are the first two trailers (domestic and international) for director Cameron Crowe’s upcoming movie, “We Bought a Zoo.” Based (loosely) on the memoir by Benjamin Mee, the film casts Matt Damon as a recent widower who quits his job and takes his two children to live in a run-down country house with an attached run-down zoo. Heart-warming life lessons ensue.

So far so good. Cameron Crowe has made some very good movies that I really like, so I was tentatively on-board for this one. When I found out that Crowe played music from Jónsi’s recent album Go on the set to help set the mood, and then successfully recruited Jónsi to score the movie (with help from Go collaborator Nico Mulhy), I was all the way on board. It’s in theaters December 23, and I’m looking forward to it.

Which brings me to the trailers. The domestic (U.S.) trailer came out a couple of months ago. It features Sigur Rós’ “Hoppípolla” in the second half, which is pretty much automatic tear-induction for me. Here it is:

All well and good. Note that the movie also stars Scarlett Johansson as Kelly, zookeeper and would-be love interest for Damon. Or maybe not; the trailer is somewhat coy on that point. We get some dewy-eyed looks at Damon by Johansson, and a somewhat ambiguous final sequence in which Damon seems to be inviting Johansson to join him (“You coming?”) with her responding with the kind of smile that is her unquestioned on-screen superpower, any doubts about her acting range notwithstanding. But in the one sequence in the trailer that deals with Damon’s and Johansson’s relationship directly, we get a fairly straightforward dousing of hopes for a romance:

Damon: I think you’re… incredibly pretty. Please don’t take offense if I don’t hit on you.

Johansson: I’d be offended if you did.

Damon: Thank you… I think.

To the extent there’s romance, it looks from the trailer as if we’re more likely to get it from Damon’s son, played by Colin Ford, and their new neighbor, played by Elle Fanning. All of which is fine.

Which brings me to the newly released international trailer. Check it out:

It starts off virtually identical. But in the second half things are different. First, “Hoppípolla” is gone, replaced by what I’m hopefully assuming is some of the new Jónsi music from the soundtrack (yay!). More significantly, there’s more Johansson, including a significant new emphasis on her as an object of romantic interest. Thomas Hayden Church (as Damon’s character’s brother) tells Damon to “Dump the animals. Keep Kelly. That’s true joy.” A building inspector leers at Johansson as he suggestively extends his tape measure (to Damon: “You’re eight inches short”).

Especially, there’s a brief sequence of Damon and Johansson gazing soulfully at each other (Johansson: “It’s a lot to take on, all of us.” Damon: “You read me pretty well”), followed by one of those slow-zoom-as-the-actors-lean-closer preludes to an obviously telegraphed if not actually consummated (yet) screen kiss.

Linda (my own romantic interest) tells me that Johansson is a really big celebrity in Europe, more so than in the U.S., so I guess it makes sense that they would play up her role in selling the movie to a European audience. And maybe it’s the case that the less-puritanically-uptight Europeans are going to be more forgiving of an implied romance between actors who are 41 and 26, respectively, than would be the case for at least some American consumers of a wholesome family drama.

I realize that trailers are mini-movies in their own right, and have a job to do in terms of selling the movie to an audience in a limited time and with limited context. I recognize that the relationship between the trailer and the actual film it is advertising can be quite tenuous (witness the trailer for another movie that caught my interest recently, The Big Year, the trailer for which manages to present two minutes from the movie while almost entirely concealing what it is the movie is actually about). But I find myself feeling that one of the two “We Bought a Zoo” trailers (at least) must be lying.

Either this is a movie that delivers an onscreen romance between Damon’s and Johansson’s characters, or it isn’t. Judging from the first (U.S.) trailer, it isn’t. Judging from the second (international) trailer, with its gun-in-the-first-act boy-we-really-want-to-kiss-each-other shot, it is. And realistically, the movie can’t be both.

There’s a hint as to which it actually is in the article that appeared in today’s L.A. Times, Cameron Crowe wrangles emotions and ostriches:

Most movies would follow Benjamin’s romantic reawakening — let his late wife (Stephanie Szostak) fade from memory and let him try to tame Kelly. But Crowe said he wasn’t interested in following that path, a choice dramatized in the film’s unusual final scene.

“People make this big case, ‘You gotta move on, you gotta move on.’ And I say, ‘Really? Who says you have to move on?’” Crowe said. “Benjamin is a guy who is still in love with his wife, and he is not going to get shaken from that. That’s the greater challenge: to pay tribute to the person who’s not around anymore.”

The international trailer notwithstanding, it sounds like that’s the movie we actually get, with Damon playing a responsible boss to Johansson’s character, and not necessarily anything more. Which is fine with me. As long as I get my Jónsi music.

Contrition…

Wednesday, June 8th, 2011

Posted without comment (courtesy of Janus/Onan/Conner):

And on a thematically-related note, from Josh Marshall’s Funniest thing I’ve heard all day:

Chris Hayes tweets that Spitzer, Vitter et al. should record “It Gets Better” vid for Anthony Weiner.

Dueholm on Savage

Tuesday, March 15th, 2011

I’ve become a big fan of Dan Savage’s Savage Lovecast. It (along with the Skeptics’ Guide to the Universe) has become my main sanity-retention device for the ultra-commute. So I really liked this article, which is both a very good explanation of what Dan Savage does, and an insightful critique of the Savage worldview, from the perspective of Lutheran pastor Benjamin J. Dueholm: Rules of Misbehavior.

If Savage’s ethical guidelines — disclosure, autonomy, mutual exchange, and minimum standards of performance — seem familiar or intuitive, it’s probably because they also govern expectations in the markets for goods and services. No false advertising, no lemons, nothing omitted from the fine print: in the deregulated marketplace of modern intimacy, Dan Savage has become a kind of Better Business Bureau, laying out the rules by which individuals, as rationally optimizing firms, negotiate their wildly diverse transactions.

Also, I have to say: Who knew that Lutheran pastors were so cool as to offer insightful, no-holds-barred commentary on America’s favorite foul-mouthed sex-advice columnist?

Ryan Woodward + Kori Wakamatsu + 4 Dancers + The Weepies

Saturday, December 11th, 2010

As a certified Weepies-holic, I really enjoyed this:

This making-of video was interesting, too:

Thought of You – Behind the Scenes Preview – ROUGH CUT from Cambell Christensen on Vimeo.

A Foolproof Plan: Batteries Feel Included #309

Friday, May 22nd, 2009

I don’t know what Batteries Feel Included is, really, but I thought this was funny: Easy Solutions #1.

So, you’re in love with one of your friends, but she has a boyfriend and probably wouldn’t have sex with you anyway.

What you will need: 1 x knife, 1 x ring, access to a sunbed, the ability to grow a beard.

Yahoo Answers: I’m concerned that my son has a secret girlfriend

Tuesday, January 27th, 2009

Via Hiro, via Yahoo Answers: I’m concerned that my son has a secret girlfriend?

My 17 year old son has been very secretive with me lately, recently he has started to refuse to go to church with the family and tonight when I was going through his room I found a magazine with naked men in it. He obviously has a girlfriend that he is hiding from me that brought that magazine into my home and I am afraid they are having intercourse and I am greatly concerned that he is going to get her pregnant.

What should I do about this?

Linda’s response when I read this to her (after she stopped laughing): “Don’t worry, ma’am. Your son won’t be getting his secret girlfriend pregnant.”

Stewart vs. Huckabee on Gay Marriage

Thursday, December 11th, 2008

What Jon said:

The Morning After by Zina Saunders

Monday, November 10th, 2008
lol

lol

Svefn-g-englar

Wednesday, October 29th, 2008

Continuing the musical theme, and the theme of trying to keep my mind off the fact that in six days I’m going to experience either the most uplifting moment in my political lifetime or the most profoundly depressing one, the following Sigur Rós video is dedicated to Adam, who I’m guessing could also use a reminder that there are more important things in the world than a silly presidential election. (And to Sven, because I apparently am unable to type “Svefn-g-englar” without a great deal of effort to avoid typing his name.)

I heard Nic Harcourt play this song this morning on KCRW during my drive in to work, and couldn’t get it out of my head. Now I’ve googled up the video, and I can’t get that out of my head either.

Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund’s ‘We’re Listening’ Video

Friday, March 7th, 2008

Just submitted via the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund’s contact page:

I really liked your youtube video featuring the audio of the Oklahoma state legislator making the homophobic comments. (Well, I was appalled by it. But I like that you’re helping to publicize it.)

I’m trying to figure out why you would fail to identify the person making the remarks. It seems to me that if posting the audio is justified, then identifying the person speaking is also justified. I mean, she’s a politician, and should be held accountable for her remarks. If identifying the person speaking is not justified, then posting the audio isn’t justified, either. I mean, it’s trivially easy for someone who is active in Oklahoma state politics to identify her based on the recording, so you’re not actually protecting her identity in any meaningful way, right?

The best I can come up with for a rationale is this: Something about the recording itself might have been illegal, or unethical. The video indicates that she was recorded without her knowledge. Maybe that’s actually a violation of Oklahoma law? Or maybe the editing of the audio omits remarks by others questioning her that would cast the people making the recording in a less-than-flattering light?

If that’s the case, then I can see a rationale for leaving her unidentified in the video. By not identifying her, you avoid the side issue that would be raised if she were to challenge the authenticity, completeness, or legality of the recording. In the meantime, you still get the benefit of shocking people with what she said (which probably translates into fundraising, or at least awareness-raising, for your organization). If she’s not identified, then she would have to “out” herself (so to speak) to raise an objection to the recording, which she might be unwilling to do.

But here’s the thing: If that’s the explanation, it strikes me as a shady ethical approach for your organization to take. I come back to the same position I felt when I first heard the audio: It’s shocking, and it makes me want her identity to be known so she’ll pay whatever price her constituents think is appropriate. Not identifying her may make some sort of tactical sense in terms of the rough-and-tumble of politics, but for me, it doesn’t pass the smell test. I’d be more inclined to support your organization if I believed that you were being scrupulously ethical in your actions.

She sounds like a homophobe, and a hate-monger. But she’s also a human being. She deserves to be exposed for having made those comments. But she also deserves an opportunity to give her side of the story, to the extent she wants to give one.

If you’re concealing her identity in order to prevent your audience from knowing the full story behind the recording, I’m not sure that’s ethically cool. It’s a pretty minor ethical lapse compared to denigrating and discriminating against a whole class of people based on their sexual orientation, granted. But it’s still uncool.

I wish you would be more cool.

John Callender
jbc@lies.com

Update: Apparently the Oklahoma state legislator whose voice is heard in the recording is Sally Kern. GayPolitics.com, which appears to be operated by the same people as the Victory Fund, posted the following comment yesterday:

One of the primary questions people have had after hearing her hateful speech was why no one ever mentioned her name. If the audio was worthy of being publicized, why not single out the person responsible?

There are a couple reasons.

First, we don’t want to make her a hero in anti-gay circles. Running a name and a picture would merely serve as a feather in her cap.

Also, while this speech is remarkable in its statements, it’s not unique. For every bit of hateful rhetoric we hear, scores of other anti-gay statements go unchallenged.

It is not our intention to make this individual the target of animosity and hostility. It is, however, our intention to let her know that we heard what she said, we do not approve and that we support public officials who recognize people in the LGBT community as equal, ordinary citizens.

I appreciate their providing the explanation, and I don’t doubt that that was the intention behind not mentioning her name. At the same time, I think their logic was muddled. By publishing the clip, they guaranteed that she would be identified and would receive the responses (both pro and anti) that they say it was not their intention to promote. This is a fish-or-cut-bait kind of situation. They can’t have it both ways. If they didn’t want to publicize her actions, then the appropriate course of action was… not to publicize her actions. If they were willing to publicize her actions, then I don’t think they’re really carving out any sort of moral high ground by letting others take the predictable next step of tracking down and sharing her identity.

Beware Flirting Robots

Sunday, December 9th, 2007

I like all the politics folks have been posting, and have been thinking that since I’ve had a hard time finding time to play with Lies.com as much as it deserves lately, I should open things up to more article postings by more users. Maybe it’s time for Lies.com to morph into something more like a social bookmarking site, where users post and vote on high-profile falsehoods. I’ll have to think about that some more.

In the meantime, here’s the most Lies.com-ish thing I’ve seen lately: Warning sounded over ‘flirting robots’.

The artificial intelligence of CyberLover’s automated chats is good enough that victims have a tough time distinguishing the “bot” from a real potential suitor, PC Tools said. The software can work quickly too, establishing up to 10 relationships in 30 minutes, PC Tools said. It compiles a report on every person it meets complete with name, contact information, and photos.

“As a tool that can be used by hackers to conduct identity fraud, CyberLover demonstrates an unprecedented level of social engineering,” PC Tools senior malware analyst Sergei Shevchenko said in a statement.

And in a weird case of synchronicity, I noticed the following item languishing in the moderation queue of another weblog I frequent. I’m not sure if it’s a machine translation of Russian porn spam, or what Hiro described to me as “madlibs spam,” where a thesaurus program is used to fool shared blacklists.

Whatever it is, I think it’s fairly hilarious:

Kind time of days!

I am a fresh, chic seducer, with a wonderful bust and appetizing popkoy! I am a nice and mischievous miniature small child, will compliment with the real unforgettable sex! That it can be better the real meeting with a charming, young girl. I invite you to itself in a very class apartment, where nobody will us mix. Photos are my real 100%

Wild sex! For a hour with me, you will understand how to love and be sweet one!!! Innocence and hidden passion, external sensuality and internal fire – my society never does without flirtation and game. My sparkle is tenderness, caress, passion, blitheness and unconcern. You want me to see?

I HERE – TAKE ME!

buy buy!

Final entry in the automated-love department (also courtesy of Hiro):

Okay. That’s it for me and my amazing popkoy.

Larry Craig’s Exit Strategy

Friday, August 31st, 2007

I’ve been thinking through tomorrow’s announced press conference, at which it is widely reported that Sen. Larry Craig (R-ID) will announce his resignation from the Senate.

I hope that’s all he does. As I think through the various scenarios, though, I have this paranoid sense that, faced with the loss of everything he’s defined himself by, faced with the prospect of public recognition, of his own personal recognition, that he is not only a liar, but far worse, an abomination of the sort he was taught to despise from an early age, he might decide that his only way out is to kill himself.

Which is an inherently ludicrous idea on the face of it. Like the heckler who called out disdainfully at the end of his September 28 press conference, “what if you are gay? Come out of the closet.” It’s just not that big a deal, once one accepts the simple fact that his being attracted to other men is neither a disease nor a moral failing. It’s just how he is, like being left-handed.

I wouldn’t even be thinking about the possibility of a televised suicide, probably, if it weren’t for the example of Bud Dwyer. But there’s something about the zeal with which Craig has been asserting his non-gay-ness that makes me wonder how he will handle the announcement tomorrow. There’s something tense and fractured and brittle about him; he’s lived his whole life in this cage of his own construction, refusing to face the truth. How will he deal with reality? Will he be able to?

If I had to put money on it, I guess I think he’ll just continue the way he has. He’ll assert that he’s not gay, and did nothing wrong, other than the lapse of judgment that led him to plead guilty to the bathroom-incident misdemeanor. More in sorrow than in anger, for the good of the party and the people of Idaho, Nixon-like, he’ll step down. And then he’ll just continue in the closet.

But there’s that self-loathing, that mental illness, that underlies the choice to stay in the closet, and it just makes me nervous. And then there’s the Idaho factor, and his military service.

Sigh. Maybe this sense of dread I’m feeling is Stanley Kubrick’s (and Matthew Modine’s, and Vincent D’Onofrio’s) fault.

Update: So, I’m not the only one who’s anxious about this: blacktygrrrr, commenter Harold on this Rolling Stone item, and this copy-and-pasted version of the same comment in the Boise Weekly.

Later update: Whew. Resignation announced, still alive, still in the closet.

Larry Craig’s Police Interrogation Audio

Friday, August 31st, 2007

Larry Craig fails his accountability moment.

Embarrassing. Embarrassing. No wonder why we’re going down the tubes.

Larry Craig’s Denial

Wednesday, August 29th, 2007

In my mind, this is up there with Ted Haggard’s in-the-car interview on the eve of his confession. Anyway, here’s a portion of the chat session in which Adam and I agreed that we couldn’t decide which of our feelings toward Larry Craig was stronger: pity or loathing.

Me: hey, you know what?
Adam: what?
Me: I hear that senator larry craig of idaho… Is. Not. Gay.
Adam: HE LOVES HIS WIFE!
Adam: WHO IS A WOMAN!

And later:

Adam: the thing is, I think that’s the one thing he thinks he’s telling the truth about
Adam: that’s why he’s so emphatic about it

My favorite part is the off-camera question at the end:

Hey, what if you are gay? Come out of the closet.

Justinsomnia’s Cease-and-Desist Letter from Exodus International

Sunday, March 26th, 2006

Speaking of the lies.com domain dispute, I enjoyed reading about Justinsomnia’s recent dealings with Exodus International over his parody of the anti-gay group’s billboard: My first cease-and-desist letter. I especially liked the snarky use of scare quotes in the C-and-D:

You appear to believe that the stolen image is exempt from federal intellectual property laws as a “parody” due to “fair use.” Unfortunately, the intricacies of federal law cannot adequately be covered on “Wikipedia” due to the variety of facts addressed by courts in numerous cases.

Yeah, well, despite the efforts of “lawyers” who work on behalf of “organizations” that believe the US would be better off as a “theocracy,” we do in fact continue to live in a “country” that has a “Constitution” that guarantees certain “rights.” And now, thanks to the efforts of the ACLU, and a well-crafted response from lawyer Laurence F. Pulgram of Fenwick & West, Exodus International appears to have backed off.

From Pulgram’s conclusion:

Exodus may not find the parody humorous and may dislike people mocking its views. Nevertheless, Mr. Watt’s parody is precisely the free expression that the copyright laws protect. There is no colorable legal basis for any claim against Mr. Watt. Mr. Watt therefore expects that Exodus will abandon its attempts to censor a viewpoint with which it disagrees.

Heh. In your “face,” Exodus.

Napster’s Striptease Commercial

Friday, December 9th, 2005

I don’t want to like this, since it’s pretty much on a par with the scantily-clad-woman-on-the-mechanical-bull Carl’s Jr. ad. But it does have a certain… punch. Anyway, the not-really-very-safe-for-work (depending on where you work) Napster striptease commercial: Get the whole thing.