Saturday, August 16, 2008

Saturday Fun Time

E! Online has a "Which Celebrity MILF are You?" quiz. Obviously, I'm Gwen ;) Who are you?

Happy 50th, Madge!

Follow the linky-link to see what Entertainment Weekly considers her 27 best videos.

Verily, in the Grand Old Year of 1985 she Reprised that old adage:

A kiss on the hand may be quite continental
But Diamonds are a Girl's Best Friend

Our Retirement Fund, Ground Floor

If someone knows how to add this as a permanent button, 'twould be worth the trouble.

My blog is worth $5,080.86.
How much is your blog worth?

Friday, August 15, 2008

Bigfoot; or, No, Not That Georgia. That Georgia.

One more link to (must. make. it. through. post.) CNN. Because the new Bigfoot Discourse seems to be capturing a slice of the public imaginary, including, admittedly, on the most inexcusably banal level imaginable, Harrogate's.

A policeman and a former corrections officer say that on Friday they will unveil evidence of what they claim is their biggest find ever: the body of Bigfoot.

Headline of the Day: "Cinderella, others arrested in Disneyland labor protest"

Some of Harrogate's Readers are going to be shocked at the following effusion, but: WAY TO GO AP! That there's a priceless photograph. (O how Harrogate wishes there was a photograph circulating of WALL-E in handcuffs, too!).

Also, it's always good when labor protests make it into Mainstream News, so Harrogate reluctantly offers a Tip of the Hat to CNN (now he needs a shower)

Linky link

The arrest of the 32 protesters, many of whom wore costumes representing famous Disney characters, came at the end of an hour-long march to Disneyland's gates from one of three Disney-owned hotels at the center of a labor dispute.

Those who were arrested sat in a circle on a busy intersection outside the park holding hands until they were placed in plastic handcuffs and led to two police vans while hundreds of hotel workers cheered and chanted.

And then:

Bewildered tourists in Disney T-shirts and caps, some pushing strollers, filed past the commotion and gawked at the costumed picketers getting hauled away. The protest shut down a major thoroughfare outside Disneyland and California Adventure for nearly an hour.

"It's changing my opinion of Disneyland," said tourist Amanda Kosato, who was visiting from north of Melbourne, Australia. "Taking away entitlements stinks."

The dispute involves about 2,300 maids, bell hops, cooks and dishwashers at three Disney-owned hotels: the Paradise Pier, the Grand Californian and the Disneyland Hotel.

UPDATE: Harrogate must extend his Tip of the Hat to Fox News also. One supposes that the sheer spectacle of the thing makes it an irresistable cover, even though the issue at stake is pretty anathematic to such coverage. How the Fox Pundits treat it is unsurprisingly smug and dismissive. Still, the video is there for viewers to see. Better than no coverage at all.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

He still loves Ambre

Admittedly I have never (and don't plan to ever) watched "Rock of Love," but when I found this article on, I had to post a link to it for ardent "Rock of Love" fans P-duck and Oxymoron. Apparently Brett Michaels, in spite of the fact that he is embarking on Season 3 (really, is a 3rd season necessary? Isn't that sort of like a 10th season of "The Bachelor"?), is still in love with Ambre from Season 2. I especially like Big John Studd's comments that the winner of Season 3 will just have to accept Ambre's presence in Brett's life. Any one want to bet that Season 3's finale includes a threesome with Brett, Ambre, and Season 3's winner?

A Cindy McCain Wrist Scandal Follow up

I thought about including this image in my original post about Mrs. McCain's delicate hand, but I felt it was too cruel. Some prodding from Harrogate (surprise!) led me to reconsider. But really, how old are the McCains? Apparently, John is lifting his speeches from Wikipedia and Cindy is too fragile to touch--so how are these two viable candidates for President and First Lady? Actually, maybe they're perfect representatives...

A Mildly Interesting Question, Answered

Why Are Georgia and Georgia Both Named Georgia?

Which still leaves unanswered, of course, a Rhetorically similar question that has emerged in the current wake of Colbert's bashing of several towns named "Canton" throughout the United States.

So, Slate: Why are Canton and Canton and Canton and Canton and Canton, et. al, all named Canton?

A Novel Idea to Make Harrogate Proud....

Maybe because its ratings suck or maybe because it is serious about politics, but regardless of why, CBS news has decided that it will cover the issues pertaining to the Presidential Election. According to Marc Ambinder, CBS news will run 35 separate segments, each 6 - 8 minutes in length, discussing one issue on its evening news program starting after the convention.

MSNBC has done this, somewhat, on "Super Tuesday," which happens to be every Tuesday. Each Tuesday, MSNBC picks a theme such as "economy," "Culture Wars," etc. Unfortunately, when they do this, the just have the same familiar people and the same familiar (shallow) arguments. Maybe this will be better. Maybe. Maybe Not.

The Tropic Thunder Controversy

Is the movie guilty of hate speech?

Everyone thought the lightning rod in Tropic Thunder would be Robert Downey Jr.'s comic turn in blackface. Instead, the American Association of People With Disabilities, the National Down Syndrome Congress, the Arc, Best Buddies, and a few other groups are up in arms over the film's perceived disrespect toward the mentally retarded. The coalition has put together an 11-page action kit (excerpts below and on the following five pages) urging supporters to "actively picket" movie theaters "with signs of protest urging patrons not to attend" in a nationwide "Rally for Respect," Aug. 13 through 17.

In the comedy, Ben Stiller (who also directed and co-authored the script) plays a movie action star named Tugg Speedman who (taking a leaf from Tom Hanks, Dustin Hoffman, Sir John Mills, and Cliff Robertson) tries to win an Oscar by playing a mentally disabled character in a movie called Simple Jack. This gives rise in Tropic Thunder to various jokes, including a review that declares Speedman's "one of the most retarded performances in cinema history" (Page 6).

This is obviously a sensitive issue on multiple levels. The very term "hate speech" is as infuritating to some, on free speech grounds, as is the word "retarded" to others.

But it is worth remembering that none except perhaps a few fringe elements have called for the movie to be shut down. What they want is social refuation in the form of a consumer boycott.

And, what of intent? Harrogate heard the interviewer on NPR ask the Chair of the Special Olympics committee if it mattered to him that the objects of mockery in Tropic Thunder are not those whom the movie actors denigrate, but the movie actors themselves. He said no, this does not matter. The sheer bandying about of the word "retard" some twenty times over the course of the movie is hurtful, regardless of context, he argued.

But regardless of what we think about the issue, perhaps we can at least all come together in giving thanks that neither Elisabeth Hasselbeck nor Whoopi Goldberg have (yet) emerged as representative interlocutors on the subject.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

And Now a Moment of Therapeutic Cleansing


Billy Joel's "Prelude/Angry Young Man"

There's a place in the world for the angry young man
With his working class ties and his radical plans
He refuses to bend, he refuses to crawl,
And He's always at home with his back to the wall.
And he's proud of his scars and the battles he's lost,
And he struggles and bleeds as he hangs on his cross-
And he likes to be known as the angry young man.

Give a moment or two to the angry young man,
With his foot in his mouth and his heart in his hand.
He's been stabbed in the back, he's been misunderstood,
It's a comfort to know his intentions are good.
And he sits in a room with a lock on the door,
With his maps and his medals laid out on the floor-
And he likes to be known as the angry young man.

I believe I've passed the age
Of consciousness and righteous rage
I found that just surviving was a noble fight.
I once believed in causes too,
I had my pointless point of view,
And life went on no matter who was wrong or right. OHHHHHHHH

And there's always a place for the angry young man,
With his fist in the air and his head in the sand.
And he's never been able to learn from mistakes,
So he can't understand why his heart always breaks.
And his honor is pure and his courage as well,
And he's fair and he's true and he's boring as hell-
And he'll go to the grave as an angry old man.

There's always a place for the angry young man
With his working class ties and his radical plans
He refuses to bend, he refuses to crawl,
And He's always at home with his back to the wall.
And he's proud of his scars and the battles he's lost,
And he struggles and bleeds as he hangs on his cross-
And he likes to be known as the angry young man.


So, Cindy McCain took a trip to the hospital after an overzealous supporter sprained her hand when he shook it.

I really don't know what else I can add to this...

Colin Powell Versus William Kristol, With a Dash of Obama

Rhetorical Pyrotechnics, Colin Powell Style

ABC News' Teddy Davis and David Chalian Report: Gen. Colin Powell told ABC News on Wednesday that he will not be going to the Democratic National Convention, disputing a suggestion made earlier in the day on the Fox News Channel by Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol.

"I do not have time to waste on Bill Kristol's musings,” Powell told ABC News. “I am not going to the convention. I have made this clear."

No time for Kristol's musings!!!! O, the humanity!!! What gravitas! How statesmanly!!!! Too bad he had so much time to waste on Kristol and the other neocons leading into the Iraq Stoopidity, when it actually counted for something.

He's a proven and confirmed liar. When ye think bloody hands, think Powell. Don't believe the hype about his "behind-the-scenes opposition" to Rummy anbd Cheney. He gave the UN speech didn't he? And, his lies helped get over a million killed, didn't they? And yet if he endorses Obama, he'll be able to 'disappear' that truth in the hearts and minds of millions.

A Word on Fox News' Exclusion From the Debate

Lots of bloggers are no doubt pleased with the fact that Fox News got 'snubbed' by the Commission that selected Presidential Debate Moderators.

There was a time, not at all so long ago, when Harrogate would have been pleased too. But that was before he finally gave in and recognized the Writing on The Wall: far from exceptional, Fox has been and remains little more than a scapegoat for the broader Rhetorical Situation in which it participates. Verily, singling out Fox makes about as much sense as singling out Green M&Ms with the warrrant that they somehow taste differently than other M&Ms.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

The Hagel Talk Still Won't Go Away

Well, given the proximity of the convention, Obama's text message announcement of his Veep pick ought to be coming in any day. Speaking of: Have any Board Members signed up to get the text message as soon as he sends it?

Whatever the case may be, until that hallowed moment descends upon us like golden raindrops from above, the Hagel talk follows Tim Gunn's advice, and carries on.

This has been going on for a while. And Hagel as the Dems' VP nominee would be Theater of the Absurd Indeed, sort of an ecstatic mix of Brecht and Mamet and then whoever it was that wrote Legally Blonde 2, all rolled into one.

Harrogate's prediction: No Way in Hell Obama will do it. But even that seems less a product of ideological conviction than because of the sheer hubris it would take.

Dog Bites Man; or, Most U.S. Corporations Do Not Pay Any Income Tax

Hmmmm. Linking to ABC, Harrogate wonders if he isn't taking ye to one of the two-thirds of the corporations that got Representation without taxation.

The only surprise is, the story came out at all.

The Slender "Two Americas" Narrative: Now Completely 'Disappeared,' with Edwards' Political Judgment and Personal Cred, Into Rielle Hunter's Vagina

Papa Bear O'Reilly makes the move Harrogate has been expecting him to make since the Rielle Hunter story finally broke out of the tabloids and into the MSM.

It was out of respect for Elizabeth Edwards that O'Reilly, and other "responsible" guardians of the National Framejob known as Our Fourth Estate, had refused to run this story way back then. But no matter, quoth Papa Bear:
What we did do was expose Edwards as a dishonest politician, a man who tried to exploit American military people to prop up his preposterous theory that the United States economy punishes the poor.

Here he's telling the truth. Harrogate is not being sarcastic. Here Papa Bear is telling the Truth that throughout the Spring he attacked Edwards' "prepostorous theory."

Only much deeper into the Memo does O'Reilly actually Lie. It always makes Harrogate a Sad Panda to see Papa Bear lie, when he already has so much to Crow about, what with "Robin Hood" being dead and all. But here is the Lie:

There's no question the liberal media loved the message Edwards was putting out there that America is a place that caters to the rich and hammers the poor. That's why the committed left press ignored the National Enquirer investigation that proved to be true.

Really. It really really really doesn't get any worse than this. Even he ought to be ashamed of himself; knowing full well that there was no point during the Primary where Edwards or his arguments receieved more than a sound-blip, unless it was some Talking Head (like O'Reilly) trying to smash those arguments to smithereens.

What's that? The media is "politically correct" and therefore, Edwards was doomed as a white man running against "history"? Ovaries and pigmentation being more important than questions of social and economic justice? No, these ravings might sound good on a reflexive level, but the real reason they buried Edwards' message from the get-go is that no industry, including the Oil Industry, stands as much to lose by the ascendance of Progressive Politics, than the Media.

Anywho. Thank God nobody has to listen to Edwards anymore. That nobody is really left to take up the mantle of even tangentially challenging the further consolidation of wealth, unless you count Nader (heh). For example, Disney-ABC-ESPN-Anaheim Angels-Etc-Etc-Etc., was tiring of the compulsion to run a sound bite every few months.

Why I Love Gwen Stefani (and why I hate her just a little bit)

I'm a great fan of Gwen Stefani's music (both solo and with No Doubt), and I love her style. As a kind of response to P-Duck's most recent post, I thought I'd add another reason: she actually gains a normal amount of weight when she's pregnant! Unlike some celebs, who try to gain as little weight as possible (dubbed pregorexia by the media), Gwen lets her belly and her baby grow!

At the same time, though, Gwen also ended up looking like this after her first baby:

Granted, she probably worked out like a madwoman and was hungry a lot of the time (breastfeeding doesn't burn that many calories, ladies). I have "no doubt" that Gwen will be baring her famous abs at some point after the birth of baby #2 as well. Good for her. I will eat an extra slice of pizza on her behalf--and I won't run an extra 5 miles to burn it off!

P.S. Kingston is totally Supa-T's long lost twin! Gwen and I should be BFF :)

Beauty VS Baby

If you watch this article’s accompanying video about celebrity moms, the rhetoric is overwhelmingly congratulatory to the celebrity moms who lost weight fast (for some, within 2 weeks after giving birth) and got back to their pre-baby weight. In the video (not article), exercise and diet are encouraged for the benefit of the mother, but nothing is said about how excessive exercise/diet can in some situations prove harmful to developing fetuses, or, how too much exercise too fast can prove detrimental to a woman’s healing body. The uterus must contract, ab muscles must heal and reattach, etc. Moreover, the push to exercise and diet immediately after birth runs counter to the advice of most doctors.

In a rather uncomfortable moment in the interview, the fitness expert questions how the pregnant interviewer manages to look so fantastic and mentions how great she looked after her first child's birth. The interviewer clearly looks uncomfortable, perhaps aware that she too may be judged by celebrity standards.

I understand that it is celebrities’’ “jobs” to look good, but I find the pressure to look good as a new mom too much. Logically, I know their lives are very different from mine. Celebrity moms have an entourage of individuals who take care of the day-to-day things that often bog the rest of us down. I went to Target yesterday, only to have bought the wrong thing, and now I have to go back. Had I an entourage, I’d send some poor fool to do the task for me while I consumed a smoothie made by my nutritionist, check in with my daughter and the nanny, and then hit the gym for 2 hours with my personal trainer. Instead, duckling and I will trek out in the rain in search of BPA-free sippy cups. If I’m lucky, she’ll nap today allowing me to get some work done.

Furthermore, the visual rhetoric of contrasting the pregnant female body with a post-partum body implies that the pregnant body is far from the ideal. A sample magazine cover in the article announces “How I got my body back” and later includes a before/after picture of Heidi Klum. The before/after images suggest that Heidi Klum in a bikini is far more attractive than Heidi Klum pregnant (isn’t she always attractive?). These images are all over the tabloids and news, celebrating a new mom’s return to her “normal” body. Cameras scrutinize tummies both for baby-bumps (always on the lookout for the next pregnant star) and for any remaining flab after childbirth. When celebrity tummies are deemed “normal” and “fabulous” so soon after birth, it implies that the poochy belly I had while my abs were healing and my uterus was contracting to its normal size in the few weeks (okay, months) after childbirth was neither normal nor fantastic (admittedly, I have never had, nor will I ever have, Klum’s abs).

For many of us moms, our bodies will never be “normal” again. Instead, they bear the marks of pregnancy – stretch marks and sometimes a new element of squishiness. Perhaps we should learn to celebrate these changes as badges of honor rather than shameful reminders of the pregnant—read, “fat”—body. This website is trying to do just that:

"College Classes for Conservatives to Avoid"; or, Oxyomoron Had Better Hope His Prospective Students Don't Read Ashley Herzog

Not too long ago, word was that Oxymoron almost made it onto Horowitz's list of the 100 most dangerous college professors. Now, though, Oxymoron is surely being targeted.

Don’t register for English classes that revolve around the writings of some allegedly oppressed group, such as “Gay and Lesbian Literature” or “Women and Writing.” These classes typically have nothing to do with great, or even good, literature. I once signed up for a Women’s Writing class to fill a requirement. Did we study the classic works of history’s best female authors, such as the Bronte sisters and Jane Austen? Nah. Instead, the class mostly revolved around short pieces by untalented women who whined about America’s “sex/gender system.” The only assigned book was the biography of Assata Shakur, a female Black Panther who fled to Cuba after she was convicted of murdering a cop.

But to be fair, it's not just oxymoron, he's only the most obvious culprit. In truth all Board Members of The Rhetorical Situation had better look out. Even as we speak Harrogate himself is putting together a syllabus the sole purpose of which is to destroy Western Culture.

Monday, August 11, 2008

The Clinton Campaign

In the September issue of Atlantic Magazine, Joshua Green provides an incredibly in-depth report about the problems and divisions within the Clinton campaign leading to the fall. What may be even better than the article, "The Front Runner's Fall," Green scanned in volumes of the email he relied upon to write the article.

Rarely do we get a look at the author's non-artistic proofs to see how the author wrote the article. This could be a very interesting pedagogical tool for teaching argumentation.

Green's method:
To find out, I approached a number of current and former Clinton staffers and outside consultants and asked them to share memos, e-mails, meeting minutes, diaries—anything that would offer a contemporaneous account. The result demonstrates that paranoid dysfunction breeds the impulse to hoard. Everything from major strategic plans to bitchy staff e-mail feuds was handed over.

What would be useful about these non-artistic proofs is that this evidence does not concern after the fact justification to a large public in the way that an interview is a newspaper article would.

Instead, Green provides is with the emails from major players in the campaign as they attempt to persuade one another over the direction of the campaign. This could be a great resource to see how the arguments developed internally, especially in relation to what arguments and strategies were selected, as well as the consequences of those arguments.

Again, I cannot explain how amazing this resource is. Check it out. Click on the summaries to examine the actually documents.

After a quick read, here are a few thoughts:
1) Not running in 2004. I thought this would be her best bet since 2004 presented a weak field. It would have been close though, maybe too close for because of war. Yet, according to the article, polling numbers were there. One of the main problems of her campaign is she never could master kairos.

2) Target audience: women, lower & middle income, and play defense with men and upper class. A memo by Penn suggests to tap into the consciousness of sexism:
"1) Start with a base of women. a. For these women you represent a breaking of barriers. b. The winnowing out of the most competent and qualified in an unfair, male dominated world. c. The infusion of a woman and a mother’s sensibilities into a world of war and neglect
To counter this theme of division, Penn focuses on the Lower and Middle Class to show you care, you are one of them, and you support their goals. Additionally, Penn's strategy was to, "Contest the black vote at every opportunity. Keep him pinned down there," meaning make Obama defend this vote to cut in his base and... prevent him from expanding. Green notes that this is the coalition that worked for Clinton and this memo, "reinforces rather than confronts the Clintons’ biases."

3) The odd connection between Edwards and Clinton, especially in light of his recent allegations... Edwards says his vote on Iraq was wrong but Clinton does not. This is tragic for her. Edwards hurts her in Iowa, which hurts her nationally.

I do not believe in what ifs, especially about Iowa since the people there were not going to vote for her. He populist personae for Pennsylvania would not translate there because of demographics and ideology. Her best bet would have been to avoid Iowa as it proved too costly. But Edwards did hurt here there in perception...

One interesting point on the press and the Clinton campaign (and there are many) that concerns the pre-Iowa time frame: "The more the Clinton team became paralyzed by conflict, the more it was forced to rely on the press to write negative stories that would weaken Obama—to, in effect, perform the very function it was unable to do for itself." The failure of Clinton was the failure to drive the narrative. This explanation doesn't occur, well it doesn't occur here. Well, maybe because focusing on Obama's 3rd grade essay "I want to be President" is the reason. Poor judgment.

And the beginning of the end was Iowa. No matter how the media tried, the race was not competitive throughout the primary.

Update II:
This article has a terrible ending. Maybe it is because of space requirements but it is still terrible.

Insomnia and Celebrites...

Tonight may be possibly the last night that I will get a full night's sleep for the next year. But instead of sleeping, I have insomnia...

To honor that occasion, here is the new round of celebrity ads. The first is by John McCain and it is quite funny in that 1980s movie promo kind of way. I would not vote for a candidate to allow that ad, especially with the blatant lies in it, but it made me chuckle. It is no way to run a presidential candidate but I guess McCain is attempting to stop the youth vote turning out for Obama-- at least this is the only guess I have over the campaign's strategy because it is an incredible stupid strategy as tax increase line would not hit that audience. Or maybe it is trying to create a generation crisis in that the fans of the teenagers in love have parents and those parents will see how stupid their kids are acting and do the opposite. Instead of people voting on policy issues or even values, we get vote this way because your kids will vote another way.

The second ad is Obama's response, "Emcraced." While McCain's ad is the campy 1980s movie trailer, Obama's style is Oceans Twelve. The ad just attacks McCain's hypocrisy since McCain is the real celebrity in the campaign. Its strategy is to argue that with McCain it will be the same old crap. At least there are some nice photos with McCain and Bush.

While these ads are humorous, the level of discourse in the election hit a new brand new low. Sigh. Listen to Harrogate gently whimper.