Credit where it's due, people: the Post's cover this morning (click to enlarge) is simply a work of tabloid art. Sure, it's easy to sell papers when there's big news. But on a slow day, can you pull off a cover that combines revulsion, a perverse obsession with strange diseases, and a mythical monster? That's the news business at its finest. It's a heartwarming narrative: freaky baby born with freaky condition, doctors stumped, he begs for salvation, and it's finally delivered! Something we can all get behind. The Post is actually far more subtle than its tabloid ancestors:
Belgian sex-related advertising is an absolute phenomenon. The horny little country already gave us ass-vertising and disturbing prophylactic Photoshops and the best sex-ed commercial ever. And now the weird Europeans are back with an ad campaign (for condoms) starring that underrated icon: the penis. All of it. Dressed up as various celebrities. After the jump, a somewhat nightmarish (and NSFW) version of Arnold Schwarzenegger—I don't encourage you to look:
We've already seen that Wasilla, Alaska, Sarah Palin's hometown, is a mix of wild animals and Jesus freaks. But did you know it has a Taco Bell and a Senor Taco! Diversity. Hollywood liberal columnist Steve Lopez of the LA Times went for a visit to Wasilla, and found one guy who heard Palin say she would "see Jesus" in her lifetime!
R&B singer R. Kelly has been acquitted of everything. Specifically, the 14 counts of child pornography that he's been on trial for in Chicago for the last month, stemming from a video allegedly showing him having sex with a 13-year-old girl. The jury repeatedly viewed the video during their deliberations, and have now let him walk. Everybody else in the world thought he was guilty. The entire case may have hinged on a single mole:
Freaky deaky swinger singer R. Kelly is about to go on trial in his hometown of Chicago for the crime of child pornography. But first, they have to find a jury. And that seems to be more difficult that you would think, because, judging strictly by media coverage, Chicago is full of weasels, crazy people, and child porn supporters. After the jump, the five best reasons [from a longer list at the Chicago Tribune] that people have given to get out of serving on the jury in this case of the century:
Lately I've been watching Web Drifter, an online show that takes the Daily Show's practice of interviewing yokels and crackpots with a straight face, and applies it to the weirdest people on the Internet. Host Martin Sargent visits people like the infamous Peter Pan cosplayer, Hollow Earth believers, and a wizard. There's little of the cloying deadpan voice-over that weakened some Daily Show segments; the show just relies on the subjects' relentless weirdness. By not wrapping up the show in flashy gimmicks, Web Drifter deeply satisfies my need for a freak show. Below, Sargent interviews a man who plans to sail to the North Pole into the Hollow Earth.
Yesterday I was having lunch with a pal who was schooling me on the real business of the web—did you know some people are really making a killing on the internet? I did know that, but only like, as a concept—and we wondered: Who reads Drudge? Who keeps it such a monster traffic site? So! Variety columnist Brian Lowry writes about what happens when you get a link on Drudge (everyone writes in to say they hope you get cancer you liberal for fellating Tim Robbins). That column—which isn't handled very well, he's way too snippy and classist, but hey—gets linked on Drudge! The comments from Drudge readers include: "You're fat"; "And remember when you are celebrating the Holidays JESUS is the reason for the season"; "Your a supposed journalist....take the heat for the dung you write and shut it!"; "You sure are fat"; "Why do jews always and I mean ALWAYS call people they disagree with anti-semitic? Its getting old already ok sons of abraham"; "I hope you get HIV and die from AIDS at one of your Hollywood butt plugging homo orgies"; "Most of us have jobs and families, instead of life 'partners,' granola, and burkenstocks."
There's a middle-aged woman that I always see at the Printing House Gym. She spends somewhere between 4 and 5 hours on the Stairmaster every day. Her shirt is way too small for her body and sometimes her entire chest becomes unrestrained. She sings to herself loudly and does Fosse-like jazz hands. It's frightening! But, as the Times notes, gyms are now just nut huts for the fitness-conscious rich.
There's long been a dearth of good movies set in (and especially filmed in) poor Boston (a.k.a. "Philly On the Charles"). Except The Departed and Mystic River but both of those were by dudes from real places (New York and California, specifically). So Slate's Patrick Radden Keefe is kinda excited about this new movie from Ben "Almost From Boston" Affleck, We Own the Gone Baby Gangster Clayton. Marky Mark and Russell Crowe are in it probably? But it was filmed in the real-life Boston with real-life Bostonians! Except the Bostonians were a little too "real life" and they make Boston look bad.
This week's TCA press tour events have already provided us with so many memorable moments, from ABC's Steve McPherson's enthusiasm for bumping off Michelle Rodriguez to NBC's Kevin Reilly's mental coping strategies for dealing with his Idol problem to Aaron Sorkin's disdain for the opinions of the unemployed, that to add still more to the already lengthy highlight reel feels greedy. But a panel earlier today for The CW's The Pussycat Dolls Present: The Search For the Next Doll, the fledgling network's attempt to empower a new generation of feminists to nurture their inner, "Don't Cha"-inspired freaks on national television, easily cracks our crowded TCA best-of list, as frustrated executive producer McG (you know him better as the visionary behind the Charlie's Angels films) eagerly debated the assembled critics on the up-with-skanks virtues of his forthcoming series. Reports the Critical Eye blog: