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Steven Colbert's appearance at the White House Correspondents' Dinner last night was courageous, and great. Using heavy irony in the form of his "Fox News blowhard" persona, he told off Bush to his face, for Iraq, for Katrina, and for spying on U.S. citizens. From Editor & Publisher:
Colbert, who spoke in the guise of his talk show character, who ostensibly supports the president strongly, urged the Bush to ignore his low approval ratings, saying they were based on reality, “and reality has a well-known liberal bias.”The audience was NOT into it--reactions ranged from nervous titters to chilly silence. Bush was visibly displeased. The major news outlets are already spinning that Colbert went "too far"--wrong, he said everything we wished we could say.
He attacked those in the press who claim that the shake-up at the White House was merely re-arranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. “This administration is soaring, not sinking,” he said. “If anything, they are re-arranging the deck chairs on the Hindenburg.”
Colbert told Bush he could end the problem of protests by retired generals by refusing to let them retire. He compared Bush to Rocky Balboa in the “Rocky” movies, always getting punched in the face—“and Apollo Creed is everything else in the world.”
Turning to the war, he declared, "I believe that the government that governs best is a government that governs least, and by these standards we have set up a fabulous government in Iraq."
Colbert also made biting cracks about missing WMDs, “photo ops” on aircraft carriers and at hurricane disasters, melting glaciers and Vice President Cheney shooting people in the face. He advised the crowd, "if anybody needs anything at their tables, speak slowly and clearly on into your table numbers and somebody from the N.S.A. will be right over with a cocktail. "
Observing that Bush sticks to his principles, he said, "When the president decides something on Monday, he still believes it on Wednesday - no matter what happened Tuesday."
Also lampooning the press, Colbert complained that he was “surrounded by the liberal media who are destroying this country, except for Fox News. Fox believes in presenting both sides of the story — the president’s side and the vice president’s side." He also reflected on the alleged good old days, when the media was still swallowing the WMD story.
Addressing the reporters, he said, "Let's review the rules. Here's how it works. The president makes decisions, he’s the decider. The press secretary announces those decisions, and you people of the press type those decisions down. Make, announce, type. Put them through a spell check and go home. Get to know your family again. Make love to your wife. Write that novel you got kicking around in your head. You know, the one about the intrepid Washington reporter with the courage to stand up to the administration. You know--fiction."
Update: so-called public affairs channel CSPAN claimed "copyright" and YouTube pulled the Colbert video. I removed the link I had here to YouTube. You can find the speech elsewhere. I'll get a link up eventually.
YouTube: Buddy Rich vs Jerry Lewis drum battle. [dead]
Ruckzuck The Organization. [dead]
Van Der Graaf Generator performing "Whatever Would Robert Have Said?" from The Least We Can Do Is Wave to Each Other, 1970. The serious prog nerd preferred this group to its better known labelmate (Genesis). [dead]
Tony Williams Lifetime 1971. Almost illegible, but since Lifetime's Ego is some of my favorite music, and this is that band, I watched this like they watch Mars data at the JPL. [dead]
John McLaughlin plays "Cherokee" with the Tonight Show band in the '60s. Bit of a contrast to the last thing of his I posted. Didn't realize he was a guitar god for 2 generations. [dead]
Rhizome.org Net Art News on The GIF Show*:
The GIF Show, an exhibition opening May 3rd, at San Francisco’s Rx Gallery, takes the pulse of what some net surfers call ‘GIF Luv,’ a recent frenzy of file-sharing and creative muscle-flexing associated with GIFs (Graphic Interchange Format files). Curated by Marisa Olson in a West Coast Rhizome collaboration with Rx, the show presents GIFs and GIF-based videos, prints, readymades, and sculptures by a range of artists, including Cory Arcangel, Peter Baldes, Michael Bell-Smith, Jimpunk, Olia Lialina, Abe Linkoln, Guthrie Lonergan, Lovid, Tom Moody, Paper Rad, Paul Slocum, and Matt Smear (aka 893/umeancompetitor). GIFs have a rich cultural life on the internet and each bears specific stylistic markers. From Myspace graphics to advertising images to porn banners, and beyond, GIFs overcome resolution and bandwidth challenges in their pervasive population of the net. Animated GIFs, in particular, have evolved from a largely cinematic, cell-based form of art practice, and have more recently been incorporated in music videos and employed as stimulating narrative devices on blogs. From the flashy to the minimal, the sonic to the silent, the artists in The GIF Show demonstrate the diversity of forms to be found in GIFs, and many of them comment on the broader social life of these image files. The opening is sure to be just as lively, with music by Eats Tapes and visuals by Nate Boyce. Spread the luv! - Rhizome.orgAnd on the subject of GIFs, here's another plug for my solo show opening this Friday:
Tom Moody, Room Sized Animated GIFs*Update, 2011: The Rhizome link has been changed to http://rhizome.org/editorial/2006/apr/29/gifs-galore-and-more/
166 North 12th Street
May 5 - June 25, 2006
Opening: Friday, May 5, 7:00PM - 9:00PM
Music Performance/Lecture: May 19th, 8PM
Note: gallery closed June 8-11
Animated GIFs, the tiny, blinking, often annoying image files that draw your eye to particular parts of a Web page, have been around since the Net's early days. There is a sizeable do-it-yourself culture built up around them, which now includes a second generation of Web and gallery based art using them ironically and/or proactively.
For the past several years, Moody has been drawing GIFs in a simple paint program and posting them on his blog. The gallery will project two of these pulsing, but defiantly lo-fi animations huge on opposing walls of the space. Others will be displayed on monitors scattered on the floor.
The gallery will also feature a lecture/performance by Moody where he will present some of his music. These catchy compositions, made with a combination of old computers such as the Macintosh SE as well as more current soft synths and samplers, have a punchy concision similar to his GIFs. The styles range from videogame Electro to a string quartet piece written for a softsampler. --from ArtCal
"Ninja Elements" [22 MB Quicktime .mov]
Audio only: [3.1 MB .mp3]
This is my AMV. The idea was to remove all the people (except for the long shot at the end) and have the abstract, amorphous bits be the characters. The title refers to the "four elements" (with smoke subbing for fire) but also "Premiere Elements," "Photoshop Elements," etc, where supposedly all the non-essential stuff is removed. (Although no Adobe products were used.) The .mov file is just a thumbnail--it has a bit more pixelation than I'd like but I really don't want to post a bigger file, or an .avi. I plan to show the full-blown video at my music lecture event thing on May 19 (as opposed to my show proper, opening May 5, which will only feature silent GIF videos). The song is my own tune, looking back again to the rave era.
That United Flight 93 movie is upon us and getting hyped. This is the preReview (which means I haven't seen it): "Don't Go!"
Some people believe that plane was shot out of the sky by a (belated) US missile.
The extreme fringe thinks the passengers were flown to the Cleveland airport and shot.
Flight 93 passenger Todd Beamer's wife says his words on the plane "Let's Roll" are what he always said to the kids when he was ready to drive them to soccer practice or whatever.
"Let's Roll" became a patriotic song in the "Let's Get Some Payback--Any Muslim Country Will Do" phase of our nation's history.
Then the cockpit recordings came out and--whoops, looks like Mrs. Beamer was wrong and "rolling" possibly referred to a bunch of passengers rolling a dinner cart down the aisle in a last-ditch assault on the hijackers.
It's great if there was heroism--we'd all like to believe people rose to the occasion in this doomed scenario and that we'd do the same if we were there. Certainly the hijacking was villainy. But the cockpit utterances are spotty at best--a lot of the movie's narrative is speculation.
Are you ready for a work of semi-fiction that passes itself as fact when the bigger questions of 9/11 haven't been answered?
Questions like, were our leaders, or elements within the government, complicit in this thing on any level? Criminally negligent? We may never know, because the commissions were whitewashes and no one in the government got fired.
Is it right that the US has 700 military bases around the world, 17 years after the end of the Cold War? That we continue to prop up bad regimes long after the Cold War excuse has gone away?
Is it understandable that some might hate us for that, however heinous their methods of reprisal?
Are Americans responsible for the actions of their government?
The movie is voyeurism and jingoism without acknowledgement that there's a bigger story and that the film is fiction. The truth is we still don't know what happened that day.