Sunday, March 26, 2006

Tom Tomorrow will be in town the day after tomorrow...

Fans of Tom Tomorrow will be happy to know that he will in the Bay Area this next week. He will be hawking his latest publication as seen right over there, and persosnally at the folowing locations:

March 29, Wednesday,7 PM, San Francisco
Booksmith, 1644 Haight St.

March 30, Thursday, 12:30 PM, San Francsco
Stacey's Bookstore, 581 Market St.

March 30, Thursday, 7:30 PM, Berkeley
Cody's, 2454 Telegraph Ave.

He is also a noted blogger, one I read regularly ,which makes me wonder if he would like to become a Barbarian?

Maybe he could qualify as a reader? Or as an honorary member by following the rule of, "How can you become a Barbarian? Just show up at one of our gatherings."

Hell, we're not picky...

[cross-posted at my blog]

Update: Here's my post on the book signing. I had it signed to Scaramouche. His publicist thought that was a 'cool' name. She actually said, "That's a reallly cool name." Is it a requirement that publicsts be so perky?

Virtue Terrorists vs. the Fascist Mega-Pep Rally

San Francisco was invaded this weekend. From yesterday's Chronicle:
More than 25,000 evangelical Christian youth landed Friday in San Francisco for a two-day rally at AT&T Park against "the virtue terrorism" of popular culture, and they were greeted by an official city condemnation and a clutch of protesters who said their event amounted to a "fascist mega-pep rally."
The organizer of the thing, Ron Luce, is something of a stealth wingnut. He soft-pedals the politics (his website doesn't even mention homosexuality, for example) in a calculated attempt to appeal to suburban audiences. It seems to have worked pretty well with Janine De Fao, who wrote a second, more softball story that ran today:
The teens were greeted Friday at a kick-off rally at City Hall by an official city condemnation and protesters who called them anti-gay, anti-choice and intolerant. Assemblyman Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, suggested they "get out of San Francisco."

While youth did travel from throughout the Western United States for the two-day event, which cost $55, Leno may have been surprised how many live in the Bay Area, and even in the city itself.

No protesters were on hand Saturday, and the vibe was not one of condemnation, but of celebrating the fact that it can be cool to be Christian.
The rest of the story is about nice teens rocking out to good Christian music, with a whole slew of positive quotes from the kids. Gee, isn't that nice?

Make no mistake, though: Luce is cut from the same cloth as Ayatollah Dobson and his ilk. Luce was a featured speaker, for example, at last year's "Confronting the Judicial War on Faith" conference, and will be at the upcoming Christian right whine-a-thon (both sponsored by VisionAmerica, one of the most active groups in the fundamentalist-political complex).

And however innocuous the presentation, there was no mistaking the real agenda here:
A Battle Cry invitation to teenagers made plain the symbolism of gathering in San Francisco for a pre-event rally at "the very City Hall steps where several months ago, gay marriages were celebrated for all the world to see."
And then, of course, there's the ubiquitous military imagery:
"Battle Cry for a Generation" is led by a 44-year-old Concord native [he actually lives in Garden Valley, Texas], Ron Luce....Luce wants to unleash a "blitz" of youth pastors into the communities.

"This is more than a spiritual war," Luce said. "It's a culture war."

Military metaphors abound in Luce's descriptions of the struggle. He tells young people of how "an enemy has launched a brutal attack on them." At a pre-Battle Cry rally Friday afternoon on the steps of City Hall, Luce told his mostly teenage audience that "terrorists of a different kind" -- advertisers -- were targeting them and that they were "caught in the middle of the battle."

"Are you ready to go to battle for your generation?" he asked, and the young people roared "yes!" and some waved triangular red flags flown from long, medieval-looking poles.
I'm no expert on war, but as I understand it you kind of have to have an enemy. I'm guessing that's us.

People like Luce are arguably a lot more dangerous than their more obviously wingnutty brethren. A lot of anxious parents (and teens) who wouldn't fall for the explicit bigotry of Dobson could easily get sucked in by Luce's approach to the problems attendant on a morally complicated society. He certainly fooled the Chronicle reporter (I'd be willing to bet they ran the softball piece after getting wingnut complaints about Saturday's more critical article). His ends are the same as Dobson's, though...and we cannot allow ourselves to forget it.

[Cross-posted at If I Ran the Zoo]

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Barbarian Havoc

Had a most enjoyable evening with Kvatch, Generik, Scaramouche, Mags, Dr. Laniac, Shystee, The Token Reader, and a token reader (who, appropriately enough, is named Reed).

Sadly, not only did we fail to sack Rockridge...we even failed to sack the neighboring table, which was stolen by Republicans:At least I think they were Republicans. They must have been. Note the red demonic eyes on the one guy.

Still...good times. Thanks to Richard and Erik for organizing it, and see y'all next time.

Update: Subbed in the better group pic (the one I meant to post in the first place); the old one is still up at my blog.

Super Update
by Scaramouche: For more details check out this post BARBARians (almost) Sack Rockridge by Shystee who, as far as I know, is not sufferring from un puzzo sotto il naso.

[Cross-posted at If I Ran the Zoo]

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

All You Zombies

BARBARians who do not receive the cable channel Showtime (is there anyone, anywhere, who does receive the cable channel Showtime?) and who therefore, despite our relentless promotion, missed "Homecoming," the Joe Dante episode of Masters of Horror, will no doubt burst with glee upon learning that the well-received pinko-zombie epic is to be shown at 5:30 PM this coming Sunday, March 12, as part of the Tiburon International Film Festival. The director and the writer will appear after the screening to answer questions from the audience, if the questions are polite and flattering. Rude, impertinent questioners should expect to be followed home by a trio of surly, knuckle-dragging goons from Fox Security (on temporary loan to TIFF through the kind agency of Mr. Wm. O'Reilly, Esq.).

Monday, March 06, 2006

Barbarian Drinkfest: Be There the Ides of March

It's time for another Bay Area Regional Bloggers and Readers night out. Let's meet up on Wednesday, the 15th of March, at Ben & Nick's Bar & Grill , at 6 PM until Bart closes.

I know it's a school night but we want to start before all the amateurs come out for St. Paddy's day.

Which makes me think of this interesting essay I found at Waiter Rant about What Your Drink Says About You, here a select few of his observations:

Cosmopolitan – Prissy, over ordered and passé. Favored by Manolo Blahnik wearing Candace Bushnell devotees who spend all their money on shoes but live in rathole apartments. Rapidly becoming an old lady drink.

Sidecar – The last time you got laid was 1932.

Chardonnay – You know what you like. Boring. Predictable. The Missionary Position of White Wine.

Pinot Grigio – You’re pretentious or don’t know what you like. You follow the herd. The Circle Jerk of White Wine

Chocolate Martini – You’re immature or have a sweet tooth. Good for masking the taste of Roofies.

Vodka on the Rocks – You want to get drunk as fast as possible.

Gin neat – Only for mad dogs and Englishmen.

Campari and Soda – You’re a gourmand. A good aperitif. A bitter drink for bitter people.

Manhattan – Old fogey drink. Stuffy. Where did I put the bitters?

Sweet Vermouth on the Rocks – You’re so old that if you’re not already in the grave you soon will be.

Pinot Noir – You’ve seen Sideways. Nuff said.

Galliano –You’re a waterbed, lava lamp, reel to reel, gold chain wearing, wall to wall shag carpet loving, swinging 70’s disco fool.

Gimlets – You’re old fashioned and like to drink. Usually the libation of classy cerebral babes"

Rob Roy – You’re an alcoholic.

Margarita – You’re fun, good in bed, and naughty with a sense of style. If you don’t have it with salt you’re a wimp.

Shirley Temple – What? Are you five years old? On the wagon? Get the fuck outta here.

Bloody Mary – You need an excuse to start drinking before lunch.

Mint Julep – You’re a hospitable Southern guy/gal. Good stuff. Rarely ordered.

Tequila – You’re not afraid of spending a little time in jail.

Champagne – You’re reserved, classy, or a stripper.

Vodka Red Bull - Party person, young, possible cokehead.

Southern Comfort –Where’d you put the Lynyrd Skynyrd eight tracks? I know I saw ‘em around here somewhere.

Mojito – You’re not afraid to try new things, have low frustration tolerance and are prone to wild rages.

Rum and Coke – You’ve been arrested for assault once or twice.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Voting is Open!

Wampum: The 2005 Koufax Awards: Most Deserving of Wider Recognition

I'm not going to beg and plead that you vote for me since there are other Bay Area Bloggers here, but please do vote for one your own! Since the Bay Area Bloggers is where it's at!!

ChronWatch Watch

[First post here (and thanks to Scaramouche for giving me the keys); apologies in advance if I break anything.]

Having kvetched about the Chronicle1 on more than one occasion, I feel I really ought to acknowledge some of the other critics of the Chronicle. Hence, today's fish/barrel/gun exercise is devoted to a plucky little operation called ChronWatch.

ChronWatch is retired Kaiser executive Jim Sparkman's one-man crusade against Liberal Bias in the Chronicle. It's a cross between the MRC and, combining media 'criticism' (or, as Rich Bond calls it, 'working the refs') with a whole slew of World O'Crap-worthy columnists. This is the sort of site where if you took a drink every time you read 'Bush derangement syndrome'2 you'd be on your ass inside of 15 minutes.

Here's a current example of Sparkman's incisive analysis:
The S.F. Chronicle is so into Bush-bashing that what little journalistic standards it ever had were abandoned long ago. On Friday, Marc Sandalow again rates front-page placement of his op-ed articles, quaintly labeled “Analysis.” In the article, Marc joins in the knee-jerk liberal campaign to blame Bush for Hurricane Katrina. The editorial writers join in the chorus as well, and the editorial page has a Washington Post cartoon on the same subject.
Here's the headline for the offending Sandalow piece: KATRINA VIDEO: What you see depends on your view of Bush -- in charge or incompetent?

Here are the second and third graphs in Sandalow's article:
Critics see a president ignoring warning signs, displaying no inquisitiveness and expressing unfounded confidence in his administration's capabilities, with disastrous consequences.

Supporters see an engaged chief executive taking control of a situation and being unfairly blamed for circumstances beyond his control.
In other words, it's pretty standard on-the-other-hand reporting. What Sparkman objects to, apparently, is that criticism of Bush is reported at all--even where it is 'balanced' against positive opinion.

But the article is actually worse than that. Three graphs from the end, Sandalow notes that "Bush supporters remained largely quiet about the videotape..." Right. Just one question: if the supporters are keeping quiet, who says they see "an engaged chief executive" in the video? Or did Sandalow just, y'know, make that up in order to provide 'balance'? If even the diehard Bushistas won't go on the record defending him in this case, is it really the reporter's job to do it for them?

And this, a story in which the reporter appears to have invented a defense of Bush to make his story seem 'balanced', is what Sparkman considers 'Bush-bashing'. We are entering the gravitational field of Planet Wingnut, folks. Put on your seatbelts and prepare for landing.

Now, after Sparkman's introductory paragraph, you're probably expecting a graph or two in which he elaborates on, and provides evidence for, his perception of bias in the Sandalow story. That's what you would expect...but you would be wrong. That first paragraph is the entirety of his criticism on that point. Really. I read the damn thing over and over wondering if I had missed something, and I hadn't: he just doesn't even bother to argue the point. This is a guy whose worldview is so self-evident to him that he simply doesn't see the need to explain or support it.

Instead, we get some Class-A frothing:
Thus, the S.F. Chronicle exhibits the serious sickness that has spread across the liberal ranks. The symptoms are that you must bash-Bush every moment of the day in every way you can. These infected liberals have nothing positive to offer. Instead, they only bash, blame, and obstruct....The Chron editorial writers also show the same delusional tendencies. They never stop bashing long enough to consider how ridiculous it is for them to tell the President of the United States what he is doing wrong when they can’t manage their own declining newspaper.
Oooh, snap! Take that, all you non-President critics of the President!

But that's just half the fun; there's also the columnists. Here are a few recent column titles to give you the flavor of the thing: Yale University: Taliban Yes, US Military No; Europe or Eurabia 2050?; and The Marquis de Sade: The Left’s Man of Diverse ‘Sexual Orientations’ (in which Simone de Beauvoir is described as a 'sex-obsessed Lesbian').

To give you a sense of the astonishing incoherence of these people, here's an excerpt from a column by Vincent Gioia called Iraq is a Mess--Good:
In Iraq, unlike the United States, the ''bomb throwers,'' figuratively speaking, are not the politicians. Those attempting to abolish freedom are the ones doing the damage; the politicians are the ones trying to preserve what freedom they can. Although they labor under an unfortunate evil incarnate philosophy in the guise of a ''religion,'' nonetheless an attempt is being made to construct a form of a free society. If they can overcome the obstacle of Islam, they will succeed notwithstanding the murdering thugs trying to halt there efforts.
So you see, the people of Iraq are noble and determined, hungering for freedom...except for all that believing in, y'know, evil incarnate.

But wait! There's also a history lesson:
Interestingly, the attempt by Iraqis to preserve freedom is far more difficult than that faced by the founders of our country. Early Americans did indeed have a more difficult time than the Iraqis to get to the starting point; after all Iraqis had the help of the United States to get to the starting line. No one helped the Americans topple King George in the ''new world''; they had to do it by grit and determination. But, once begun, the march to freedom was easier here because ''everyone was on the same page''; our country’s founders all had essentially the same goals and they all shared a thirst for a free society.
Yup, that's right: nobody helped us out (except the French), all we had was grit and determination (and an opponent with a 5,000-mile supply line), and everybody was on the same page (except on trivial little issues like slavery).

The rest are similarly ridiculous. I could almost feel bad for making fun of people this pathetic--really, it's sort of like yelling 'you suck!' at athletes in the Special Olympics--if it weren't for the seething hatred (of Muslims, of gays, of feminists, of liberals--you name it) in every column. Sparkman pulls these columns from all over the place, which is something of a relief; if I thought all of these people were from the Bay Area I would really be depressed.

Pathetic as they are, though, they really are worth our notice because they generate a ton of e-mails to the Chronicle. Is Jim Sparkman personally responsible when Carolyn Lochhead distorts the facts to achieve faux 'balance'? Probably not. Is the flood of e-mails she'll get if she writes anything critical of Bush somewhere in the back of her mind when she writes an article? I would imagine so. That's the power of the right's below-the-radar media campaign, which we've only recently begun to counter effectively (but we've still got a long way to go).

1Full disclosure: my brother writes for the Chronicle.
2In fact, I don't know why they don't abbreviate it as BDS. They could save a lot of column inches if every critique of the news media just consisted of the line "BDS in the MSM". Then lots of wingnuts could write 'ditto!' and 'great post!' in the forum.

[Cross-posted at If I Ran the Zoo]