Most charming among many Turkish symbols of hospitality: on the day I was to return to the U.S. my Turkish host made a point of refusing to let the bed be made. "A host should leave things the way the guest left them as a symbol of fondness for a houseguest," I was told.
New Yorkers have been busy editorializing on the Fox News billboards that have been put up in most of the subway stations. The vandalism and graffiti has been pretty heavy since the subway advertisements went up in late June. With the Republican National Convention starting this Monday it could look kind of bad; I wonder if we will see them all blacked over hastily. WWGD? (What would Giulliani do?). Bill O’Reilly, Brit Hume, Shep Smith, Sean Hannity, Alan Colmes, Greta van Susteren, welcome to New York! The most popular defacements are to portray O’Reilly as der Fuhrer (I saw 5 times), van Susteren as a sellout (3 times); and Smith as a latent homosexual (3 times). Curiously, the least-graffitied face is Sean Hannity even though he is ostensibly second in command of this bunch. Maybe he has sanctuary by his position in the shadow of the froggy-faced shot of Colmes, his “liberal” buddy. The billboards timing coincided almost exactly with the release of the anti-Fox documentery: Outfoxed; Rupert Murdoch’s War Against Journalism.
Ladies, looking for single nerd guys? Are you asking where are the single men in New York? You could do worse than inserting yourself in the movie audience at Anthology Film Archives. It’s almost always a room full of single 29 year old men. Any isolated couples or paired-up friends are conspicuous in this sea of dudes, like blueberries on a cheap blueberry muffin. And if a woman showed up, it would be like finding a cheap blueberry muffin with a diamond on top. As the lights go down for the film at AFA, everyone sort of glances around, confirming their suspicion that the entire place is full of single guys. The room feels like a Gun and Knife show but full of Stan Brakhage fans.
And so it was that I found myself at that theater four times in three days recently. I tried asking people to go with me but got five different versions of “No friggin way.” When I proposed AFA as the movie destination I could feel a sudden stillness on the other end of the phone as the person remembered they had a very urgent need to wash their hair that night, so urgent in fact that they might need to start washing it right then and there, while we were on the phone.
But are the movies any good? The two on Saturday (Newsreel) were admittedly pretty bad. But both of the ones on Monday (Buster Keaton & Blue Kite) were among the best movies I’ve ever seen in my life. The sparse audience even clapped after one.
And so I thought I had this cool name for like, punk rock Christians. I thought I had invented a wrod that I could get merchandising rights on or something and so I googled "Xtian" (you know, like Xmas). Bad news: it's already got 20,000 hits on Google. I thought it was such a good idea. Which, actually, it must be if there are so many hits on it. It's neat when you get glimpses of awareness that there are these entire cultures and social groups that are totally off the radar and which most of us know nothing about. . .
It's so exciting to see this formerly semantically slippery politician re-born into his post-politician life as a straight-shooter, wise man, telling it like it is kind of guy. And it is obvious that Clinton takes one particular ex-president as a role model on building a post-White House legacy. As Little Richard was a role model for Prince, Jimmy Carter is a role model for Bill Clinton. Sorry, that's a horrible analogy. Anyway, a very calm, no-hype Bill Clinton streaming interview is on The Daily Show.
"Mike Skinner’s first album, “Original Pirate Material,” was nominally attached to U.K. garage. His new album (A Grand Don't Come for Free) has nothing to do with garage—or rhyme, for that matter. In some respects, he’s moving away from music itself. . . Skinner is our messy, unreconstructed reality-show contestant. Skinner’s vocals often sound distorted, as if he had narrated the album on the phone, rhyming over whatever was on the telly behind him. . . Skinner is a marginal rapper and couldn’t hold his own with American leaders like Eminem and Jay-Z. If there are precedents for what he is doing now, they are to be found in the popular culture of British working-class mini-epics—Madness’s “Our House,” the Who’s “Quadrophenia.” Just a boy, an empty bank account, a worried mum at home, and all the lager he can drink."
From Mother Tongue, a New Yorker review of Dizzee Rascal and The Streets by Sasha Frere-Jones.