Wednesday, 11 October 2006

The new gay scare

Nice to see NBC getting in on the act of insinuating gay men are all pedophiles:

Rep. Jim Kolbe (R-Ariz.) took two male pages with him on a three-day camping trip in 1996, former congressional pages and National Park Service officials tell NBC News. The pages, who were 17 at the time, went rafting and camping with Kolbe in the Grand Canyon over the July 4th holiday that year.

A spokeswoman for Rep. Kolbe confirms the overnight trip but says that the pages did not travel alone with Kolbe. The congressman’s sister was on the trip, along with office staffers and several Park Service employees, says Kolbe spokeswoman Korenna Cline. Gary Cummins, the deputy superintendent of Grand Canyon in 1996, tells NBC News that he also was on the trip with Congressman Kolbe. He confirms that two young men were on the trip with Kolbe, as part of a larger group. ...

Congressman Kolbe is the only openly gay Republican congressman. He has been active with the congressional page program for years, and was himself a page in 1958 for Sen. Barry Goldwater.

I didn’t realize the congressional page program was designated as the feeder program for the DC chapter of NAMBLA. Thanks for the memo, NBC.

I look forward to similar NBC exposés about every other instance in which a gay person went camping with a large group including at least one person under the age of 18.

Wednesday, 4 October 2006

Back to Mars

Will Baude, Hei Lun Chan, and Amber Taylor (in comments) react to the Veronica Mars season 3 premiere. Like Amber, the things that annoyed me the most about the episode were the incongruities of Hearst College: it’s allegedly a selective liberal arts school, but it seems to be crawling with enough students to be a UC campus and (more incongrously) it has TAs. I can buy a liberal arts college having a criminology professor, though, although the natural homes for such profs like sociology and political science would probably turn up their noses at hiring someone to teach such a shockingly applied topic. But the rest of the episode was engaging enough, in glorious 1080i high definition no less.

As for the rest of my TV watching the past couple of days, I also enjoyed the premiere of Friday Night Lights on NBC; anyone with a brain could see that the starting QB was going to be sidelined, but that’s OK: drama pretty much requires a series to have some adversity, rather than following the template of “best team in Texas goes out and kicks butt, just like everyone expected.” The accents and such didn’t bother me as much as it did Steven Taylor, perhaps in part because I’ve never spent much time in the area and in part because it’s not obvious that the TV show (unlike the book and the movie) is actually set in West Texas—if the town (presumably “Dillon”) were somewhere in the northeastern corner of the state, people would have a pretty thick Deep South accent. Virginia Heffernan even gives it a rave review for the blue-staters who read the NYT, so it can’t be that bad…

Sunday, 10 September 2006

Football weekend

I have to say I had a pretty good time in Columbia this weekend, despite Ole Miss’ general ineptitude leading to a 34–7 drubbing at the hands of Mizzou. I also enjoyed the opportunity to catch up with one of my professors from grad school days, Marvin Overby, and getting together with Frequent Commenter Alfie and the gang for a Midwestern tailgate and pub crawl.

In other football-related observations:

  • Line of the weekend: Brad Nessler, Paul Maguire, and Bob Griese are calling a game on ESPN (Oklahoma–Washington, I think). Maguire sets up Nessler to plug his doing play-by-play on the late MNF double-header game, and this exchange follows:
    Maguire: What about me and Bob? We’re not doing anything Monday night.
    Nessler: You’re not doing anything now.
  • Incidentally, that game was worth watching for Bonnie Bernstein alone.
  • NBC should have left the “players introduce themselves” video packages with the rotting corpse of ABC Sports where they found them.
  • Fox’s NFL graphics package looks a hell of a lot more professional this year than in years past. CBS… not so much.
  • The solid ABC bug on ESPN on ABC needs to go away. Now. Before plasma TV owners start calling in death threats to affiliates.
  • ESPN needs to give up on trying to hype its “talent” to get people to watch its shows. Telling me that I can hear Colin Cowherd spew his ignorance on ESPNU while I get queasy from the SkyCam (and Cowherd), or trying to dupe me into watching the Sunday night SportsCenter with Stoo-yah Scott by promising more of Chris Berman’s stale act, is not effective promotion of the brand unless I accidentally find another Disney network to watch instead.
  • People sitting in a studio don’t need to be using hand-held microphones. Either body-mike them or use a frickin’ boom mike.

Finally, any sports bar that has blown $5k on a widescreen flatscreen television should not be showing a stretched standard-definition broadcast of anything, much less a football game available in high definition. At the very least, switch off the damn stretch mode—am I the only person alive who thinks that exaggerating people’s width by ⅓ is a bad idea?