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curb your enthusiasm

The Sex and the City finale was so touching, it didn't seem right to watch Curb Your Enthusiasm immediately after it, so I waited until tonight's rebroadcast to catch the latest episode. And then I saw the following post at Television Without Pity:

I read somewhere ... that Muggsy Bogues, ex-NBA star, will be guesting on either tonight's ep or an upcoming one.... Muggsy Bogues? One can only imagine how LD will make Bogues part of the action.
Well, I've seen it now, and I have to admit, when Muggsy made his appearance, I laughed as hard as I've laughed in a long time, and I'd already been laughing pretty hard because it was a funny episode. Then Muggsy showed up, and you knew right away what the punchline was gonna be. And I can't really explain it here, because like most of the stuff on CYE, you had to be there. But if you saw it, you know what I mean.

Robin was reading on the couch while I was watching ... she doesn't like the show, but you know how it is, even when you're not paying attention, stuff filters its way into your brain. And so, when Larry announced to a group of friends at a baby shower that the doll he'd given as a present was "a mulatto," Robin looked up and said "I can't believe he just said that."

And that, of course, is what's so funny about Curb Your Enthusiasm. Because Larry is ALWAYS gonna say that, and he's always gonna pay the price.

reagan's daughter speaks

"Wedded Bliss":

Whenever I hear about the furor over gay marriage, and whenever I step back and look at how tentative and wary we are about love (I’m including myself in that one) I wonder the same thing: What is it about love that frightens us so much? In the personal arena, the easy answer is, I suppose, loss. We wonder if we can survive the deep bruises to our hearts if our partner gets ill, or dies, or leaves. Solitude might be safer. Yet we see people surviving loss so we know it’s possible; the heart is a sturdy little muscle.

The harder question is: What is frightening about a same-sex couple standing forth in front of the world and making their commitment to one another public? Is the happiness of others really so threatening? Maybe the bravery is what’s threatening. I don’t know if I could stand up to society’s wrath in the name of love. I hope I could, but as a straight woman, I’ll never be tested on that one.

culture wars

brian kinney Brian Kinney, Culture Warrior

In 1992, in their second-ever issue, Bad Subjects became the first people to publish one of my "academic" pieces. (Before that, I'd had one short nostalgic essay and one computer program published.) In that piece, I wrote:

There most certainly is a cultural war going on. Has been for years.
The culture war did not begin when George Bush decided to take on gay Americans. Hopefully, though, Bush will be one of its most visible victims.

gag bush

Bush is so bad, he makes me link to conservative Republican websites (give it a second, so many folks seem to be linking to this that I'm getting error messages half the time):

"War Is Declared"

A couple of excerpts from Andrew Sullivan's comments:

The president launched a war today against the civil rights of gay citizens and their families. And just as importantly, he launched a war to defile the most sacred document in the land.... He is proposing to remove civil rights from one group of American citizens - and do so in the Constitution itself. The message could not be plainer: these citizens do not fully belong in America.... Those of us who supported this president in 2000, who have backed him whole-heartedly during the war, who have endured scorn from our peers as a result, who trusted that this president was indeed a uniter rather than a divider, now know the truth.... He wants us stigmatized in the very founding document of America. There can be no more profound attack on a minority in the United States - or on the promise of freedom that America represents. That very tactic is so shocking in its prejudice, so clear in its intent, so extreme in its implications that it leaves people of good will little lee-way. This president has now made the Republican party an emblem of exclusion and division and intolerance.... We have no alternative but to defend ourselves and our families from this attack. And we will.

yes, another nader post

Here are a couple of blog posts that do a good job of arguing the anti-Nader position. Michael Bérubé is a kind of hero of mine ... he's a model of the committed academic, he has often written eloquently on issues in academia that hit home for me, and, in the interest of full disclosure, he's always said nice things about me and he's behind the publication later this year of my essay on Bugs Bunny, Picasso and the Proms. Bérubé has a way of telling me what he thinks I should be doing without making me feel like an ass ... in 2000, he didn't convince me, but that's not his fault. When he writes about Al Gore, in a recent blog posting that inspired my own post here, "When he picked Lieberman as his running mate in August 2000 ... I turned to my wife and said, 'that's it, I'm voting for Eugene McCarthy'," well, let's just say I certainly identify with the displeasure Lieberman's presence on the ticket caused ... the main difference between Michael and I is that he eventually opted for NotBush (i.e. Gore) in 2000 while I didn't get it and voted for Nader.

Here is where Bérubé makes the case against my argument that I couldn't have known in 2000 what I know now:

the argument worth having in 2000 was not about Gore. It was about Bush, and what he and his far-right friends would do to the country. So when, over the past few years, I've read Green activists like Medea Benjamin saying (in an April 2003 Salon article), "I'm stunned by how extremist the Bush presidency has become on foreign policy. We never could have predicted this," I've tended to reply, "Actually, yes, you could have predicted this– by paying attention, for the love of God. By reading that 1998 PNAC memo and realizing that the project of keeping its authors from wielding state power was far more important than the 'project' of voting your conscience.
Bérubé later links to a post by Max Sawicky that is the epitome of chastising without abusing:
I do not buy the excuse of the Dems that Nader cost them the 2000 election. I like everyone I've met who has supported Nader in the past. I want no part of any personal vilification of any of them. I doubt Nader will have much impact in this election.

His campaign is a mistake and an unfortunate sink for progressive energies. We should be able to do much better. If you are willing to bear another four years of Bushism, you should want something substantial to show for it. What did you get from Nader after the 2000 election?

oscar run xii: les triplettes de belleville

What the hell was that?

I'll just plead ignorance and an overdose of cretin culture, but I didn't get Les Triplettes de Belleville. It had an interesting look and a couple of things made me smile appreciatively. Other than that, it was all I could do to stay awake. I complain all the time about movies that run too long; this one ran for 78 minutes and I was ready to leave the theater with 50 minutes to go. Rather than say it was a bad movie, I'll blame myself for being a bad moviegoer, but since I'm giving the ratings, I'll be generous and give it 5 on a scale of 10.

sex and the city finale

Yes, there'll be spoilers here, although perhaps I can avoid them.

There are plenty of people who can speak better on this issue than me. I was never the target audience for the show, I always liked it but never loved it, won't really miss it now that it's gone. None of which will prevent me from talking ...

That was an excellent episode, a fine way to go out. Seemed to satisfy most people ... I know someone out there is reading this and saying "I hated it," but I definitely felt like the Big/Aleksndr/single thing was solved in a way to make everyone happy. After a long time where I just got to hating everything Carrie did, this episode reminded me why it was a fun show and she was a fun character, she said the things I've been waiting to hear for pretty much this entire season, I'm sorry I was so mean to her. All of the other characters had good sendoffs as well. And Jesus, is Smith the best guy ever or what? I didn't think any moment would top the time he cut off his hair to support Samantha, but he came through again in this one, didn't he? And, as someone on Television Without Pity said, it was nice to see Samantha go out on top :-).

I know this show meant a lot to a lot of people ... among other things, it was the favorite show of a lot of the women in Mass Comm at Berkeley ... for me, it had its moments, I'm not sorry I saw every damn episode, and I hope the true fans of the show enjoyed the finale. Final grade: for the season, a B, for the series, maybe a B+, for the finale, an A+.