May 04, 2006

Somehow Less Implausible Than 'South Park Conservatives'

How stoked are you that AirArabia, the JetBlue of Sharjah, UAE--best known to real estate brokers as "Dubai Adjacent"--used the South Park Character Generator for the little characters on their website? Each time you reload the site, you get a new one, so collect'em all! [via gridskipper, who went to Dubai, and all he didn't get was this lousy t-shirt]...
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Posted by greg at 08:25 AM

November 08, 2005

First, I'm trying to imagine what kind of fundraiser one would find both David O. Russell and George W. Bush. But allowing for that possibility, I have to say I was surprised to hear this anecdote:[Three Kings] director Russell ran into candidate George W. Bush at a Hollywood fundraiser in the summer of 1999 and told him that he was making a movie critical of his father's Gulf War legacy. "Then I guess I'm going to have to go finish...
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Posted by greg at 09:05 PM

September 03, 2005

As If You Didn't Have Enough Reasons To Evacuate New Orleans

"Not an hour goes by that we do not spend a lot of time thinking about the people who are actively suffering." - Michael Chertoff, DHS Secretary, in the aptly names White House Rose Garden. [As NYT: White House Anxiety Grows, Bush Tries to Quell Political Crisis] "We're making progress." -GWB, a million times on The Daily Show [, anyone have the video?] "I think about Iraq every day. Every. Single. Day." - GWB, a US-EU press conference. [transcript,]...
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Posted by greg at 06:26 PM

March 08, 2005

Ed Halter has a interesting take on how two Iraq documentaries may rehabilitate the image of the much-criticized embedding process as a means for creating accurate historical documents of the war. [Of course, that that's not at all how it worked out with the TV news embeds is also just fine with the Pentagon.] Gunner Palace's making-of experience is better known now, although Tucker has been rather specific in saying he and his crew were not officially embedded with the...
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Posted by greg at 09:28 PM

November 04, 2004

For those keeping score at home, "a year later" is this year:The U.S. troops said there was little they could do to prevent looting of the ammunition site, 30 miles south of Baghdad. "We were running from one side of the compound to the other side, trying to kick people out," said one senior noncommissioned officer who was at the site in late April 2003. "On our last day there, there were at least 100 vehicles waiting at the site...
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Posted by greg at 02:01 PM | TrackBack

October 01, 2004

Hey, You See How Well It Worked In Iraq...

Talking about his daughters last night, George W. Bush said he's "trying to put a leash on'em." U Miami Transcript of Bush/Kerry debate [PRNewswire]...
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Posted by greg at 09:05 AM | TrackBack

September 28, 2004

Kwikpoint specializes in visual language guides, laminated pictograph cards to help bridge language barriers in hospitals, foreign countries, in daily deaf life--and for law enforcement and the military. An Army captain with his boots on the ground calls their fold-out Iraq Visual Language Survival Guide "a hot commodity." It includes point-and-don't-shoot instructions for locating snipers, identifying the nationality of foreign terrorists, and, as pictured here, conducting a hairpiece-to-shoelaces strip search. BoingBoing links to a couple of partial scans, but you...
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Posted by greg at 07:10 AM | TrackBack

September 13, 2004

Tony Scott's first report from Toronto really gives you a feel for the festival's sprawl and cinematic frenzy, where you feel like you're missing movies more than watching them. Meanwhile, he only mentions one film, and he mentions the hell out of it: Gunner Palace, Mike Tucker and Petra Epperlein's documentary about US soldiers' lives in Baghad. Here's a taste:Gunner Palace is so startling because it suggests - it shows - just how complicated the reality of this war has...
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Posted by greg at 06:18 AM | TrackBack

August 17, 2004

Philadelphia Enquirer photographer David Swanson and reporter Joe Galloway have created a powerful report on the Marines of Echo Company, which has lost more soldiers in the Iraq War than any other unit so far. Swanson accompanied the Marines, part of the 2nd Battalion, 4th Company, on many of their battles in the western Iraqi city of Ramadi. The report is based on his journal, and interviews with the "families, friends, teachers, girlfriends, and ministers" of the fallen Marines. Echo...
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Posted by greg at 12:06 PM | TrackBack

June 27, 2004

If you are going to call yourself a Christian -- and I don't -- then you have to ask yourself a fundamental question, and that is: Whom would Jesus torture? Whom would Jesus drag around on a dog's leash? How can Christians tolerate it? It is unconscionable. - Ronald P. Reagan, in an interview with The New York Times...
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Posted by greg at 06:01 PM | TrackBack

June 17, 2004

from an AP report, Coalition's sealed compound includes a brisk bar scene:The plushest tavern is the CIA's rattan furnished watering hole, known as the ''OGA bar." OGA stands for ''Other Government Agency," the CIA's low-key moniker. The OGA bar has a dance floor with a revolving mirrored disco ball and a game room. It is open to outsiders by invitation only. Disgruntled CPA employees who haven't wangled invites complain that the CIA favors women guests....
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Posted by greg at 10:08 AM | TrackBack

May 28, 2004

Apparently, Paul Wolfowitz and I have something in common: our neighborhood Thai restaurant. We're in DC for the weekend, eating at Sala Thai, and he walks in alone, with a newspaper under his arm. Makes a beeline for the bar, where he orders, reads his paper--in far more peace than he's brought on the world--gets his takeout, and leaves. Related: Al Gore calls for wholesale resignations of the dangerous architects of disgraceful Iraq and terrorism fiascos, including our neighbor,...
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Posted by greg at 11:04 PM | TrackBack

May 23, 2004

Reading this story in the Guardian " Iraqis lose right to sue troops over war crimes," reminded me of this New York Times story from 2002, "On World Court, U.S. Focus Shifts to Shielding Officials. The Bush administration's opposition to the International Criminal Court, it was revealed, had less to do with protecting troops on the ground, and more to do with maintaining the immunity of key political and military leaders. Christopher Hitchens' damning Harper's articles had come out, and...
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Posted by greg at 01:29 PM | TrackBack

May 07, 2004

Pentagon Fabulous

Everyone gets a nickname, whether friend or evildoin' foe. But Bush has one word that signals his support of someone. Can you guess what it is? (Hint: "really good" is two words.) No, my torture-tortured friends, the word is FABULOUS. Related: "fabulous First Lady" via lowculture]...
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Posted by greg at 08:44 AM | TrackBack

April 13, 2004

[via kottke] Soldiers in Iraq: fighting to protect our--and their--right to share music and buy bootlegged DVD's. Also noted: Troops greet each other with, "Who's your Baghdaddy?" No mention made of Hajji. Ancient "Stairway to Heaven" still inexplicably popular. Line the reporter, Thom Shanker, is most pleased to see make the editor's cut: "Let it be recorded: Soldiers assigned to civilization's cradle will rock." Related: Psyops playlists for Saddam, Noriega, Branch Davidians...
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Posted by greg at 10:47 AM

March 15, 2004

Five British citizens were transferred from Guantanamo--where they were held for around two years without charge or judicial review for being "the hardest of the hard core," in Donald Rumsfeld's words--to the custody of the British government--who promptly released them without charge. They tell their stories at length in the UK Observer:After about a week the prisoners were allowed to speak to detainees in adjacent cells, and a few weeks later still were given copies of the Koran, a prayer...
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Posted by greg allen at 09:38 AM

December 15, 2003

What fortuitous timing. Last week's announcement of an Iraq-based, Iraqi-run tribunal to prosecute crimes against humanity, including "trying Saddam Hussein in absentia," if necessary, was a convenient pre-emptive strike against too much international meddling. Nice to have those death penalty-friendly ducks in a row just in case, you know, your trail is heating up thanks to intensive intelligence operations and dollar bill serial number-tracking. Also, it sure is convenient that a former Secretary of State is just leaving on a...
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Posted by greg allen at 11:23 PM | Comments (0)

December 08, 2003

New at Lucian K Truscott IV writes a sobering, scathing op-ed in the NY Times which points out the distance and gaps in experience and POV between troops actually deployed in Iraqi towns and the political appointee/apparatchiks at their "hardship posts" in the Green Zone, the Occupation HQ in Saddam's former palace complexes....
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Posted by greg allen at 06:55 PM | Comments (0)

November 04, 2003

Hajji doin?

An update on Hajji, the Arabic term for "pilgrim" which has become the GWII term for "enemy": it looks like it's not just for GWII anymore. I found a Jan. 2002 usage in a short piece by Lisette Garcia, who writes, Tampons, alarm clocks and Kodak film were easy enough for me to negotiate at the local Hajji shop. But giving a regulation haircut was simply too foreign a concept in the middle of the desert.Garcia's talking about the original...
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Posted by greg allen at 10:19 PM | Comments (1)

November 02, 2003

From Jay Price's article in the Raleigh NandO: US Coalition US troops in Iraq have come up with this war's equivalent of "kraut," "slope," or "gook." They call everyone--everyone else, that is-- "hajji." It's pronounced the way one soldier scrawled it on his footlocker, "Hodgie Killer." The ever-present, locally run on-base souvenir shops are called hajji shops; when there are several businesses together, they call it Hajji Town. Iraqis out the window of a Humvee, hajji. Kuwaitis and foreign contractors,...
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Posted by greg allen at 08:47 AM | Comments (0)

October 11, 2003

about making films, really.

I've been very quiet about my actual filmmaking activities of late, mostly because they've been pretty sparse. My efforts to re-edit Souvenir November 2001 have been stymied by Final Cut Pro for a while, and I'm coming to grips with the idea of re-building it from scratch. Well, from a late-stage EDL (Edit Directions List), actually, which is the cut-by-cut source code of the film. That'd mean dumping all 80Gb of my media, so it's an irrevocable decision, which I've...
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Posted by greg allen at 08:59 PM

October 05, 2003

Excellent NYT discussion with Steve Young, the screenwriter of NBC's Jessica Lynch TV movie, on how his script changed and took shape as the "definitive" version of Lynch's rescue shifted underneath him....
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Posted by greg allen at 11:46 PM | Comments (0)

August 18, 2003

[via the always-excellent Wooster Collective] A gang of 10-16 year-old Iraqi children painted up this disabled tank, a Russian-made T55. (Fortunately for the cause of world peace, that's a tank model, not a Terminator sequel title.) Neal Rubin's Detroit News article has more pictures and info....
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Posted by greg allen at 07:59 PM

August 15, 2003

If karma were an Islamic teaching, the blackout map would've included Washington, DC and the Pentagon. And there'd be a teeny, gerrymandered congressional district-style finger reaching down to Crawford, Texas. As it is, though, the blackout hit New York and war-opposing Canada. NPR's Anne Garrels sardonically shares thoughtful Iraqis' tips for surviving a blackout in a heat wave. Besides, as the occupation governor of Iraq, Paul Bremer explained rather presciently on Tuesday, "Freedom matters. I think it's important to ......
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Posted by greg allen at 06:05 PM

July 11, 2003

Matt Taibbi takes a look at the semantic evolution of the people attacking US troops in Iraq. They're variously called "loyalists," "remnants of ____," and, of course, "terrorists." But that's just the tip of the descriptive iceberg....
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Posted by greg allen at 10:46 PM | Comments (0)

Not the Heaps of BS they called apple pie when they wanted to go to war, and not the coverup for which Condoleeza Rice pushed George Tenet onto his sword. Go to Josh Marshall's Talking Points Memo unimpeachable reporting on that impeachable offense. I'm talking about HBS, where Bush got his MBA. If he learned anything there, he's apparently keepin' it to himself. On NPR's Fresh Air yesterday, Terry Gross had a fascinating conversation with Edmund Andrews, economics reporter for...
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Posted by greg allen at 10:15 PM | Comments (0)

June 10, 2003

First, the BBC uncovers the truth behind the too-good-to-be-factchecked Saving Private Lynch story, calling it "one of the most stunning pieces of news management ever conceived." Now, according to the Guardian, a BBC news program shows the Wholesale Looting of The Baghdad Museum story to be just as made up. Question for media: When it's a Ba'ath party official playing you, do you still call it "news management" or is it just lying? Bigger question for media: Now that...
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Posted by greg allen at 08:49 PM | Comments (0)

June 05, 2003

Billmon compiles and documents a list of US administration quotes on Iraqi WMD's. Additions continue in the comments (but I confess, I could only get through about 20% of them. It seems people ARE talking about something besides the Matrix...
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Posted by greg allen at 12:45 PM | Comments (0)

June 04, 2003

One man decides to up-and-go to Iraq and see it for himself. Check out his writings and photographs (via Kottke: i decided to go, probably, during the second week of the war, when my frustration with the western media had hit a boiling point. it was during the second week that al-jazeera was banned from the NYSE and told by the british to censor its imagery. meanwhile their ratings were skyrocketing and they laughed through a 10-fold increase in viewers...
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Posted by greg allen at 07:49 PM | Comments (0)

Jeff "Many Irons in the Fire" Jarvis posts an interesting proposal: weblog up Iraq in the name of free expression and democracy. An earlier post of Salam Pax's about discovering free internet access got him started thinking, you see, now he wants to create "a hundred Salam Paxes." I'm sure the New Yorker won't complain. Get a subscription to Salam Pax's favorite magazine here. Hint: it makes a great, humanitarian gift. Now some more folks are picking up on it,...
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Posted by greg allen at 03:20 PM | Comments (1)

June 02, 2003

Peter Maass redeems himself. It seems Salam brought some CD's to work, which, when combined with road songs from David O. Russell's Three Kings, makes one helluvan Amazon List: "the best music imaginable for driving around anarchic Baghdad"...
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Posted by greg allen at 11:22 PM | Comments (0)

Turns out the Times Magazine had Salam Pax on the payroll, translating pizza orders for their Man in Baghdad, Peter Maass, but they didn't know it. That copy of the New Yorker mentioned in Rory's Guardian piece? It's Maass's. Looks like that "virtual felled forest of [warblog] postings" landed on Peter's head. And Nick's been sitting on the story for ages, poor guy. Hmm. I wonder if Slate knows they have a column named Bloghdad?...
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Posted by greg allen at 09:28 PM | Comments (0)

May 30, 2003

Maybe it was the way Rory flaunted his expense account by overpaying for pizza. Maybe it was the promise of more back issues of the New Yorker, (Anthony Lane's X2 review gets a specific mention. Whose yer publicist, Tony? Day-amn!) Whatever, it worked. The Guardian's Rory McCarthy meets, profiles, and signs Salam Pax to write Baghdad Blog for the paper. It'll be what Britons call a "fortnightly" gig. [putting that in cross-Atlantic perspective: less than Tina Brown, Columnist but far...
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Posted by greg allen at 12:12 PM | Comments (0)

May 29, 2003"Only what I see or hear."

[via TMN] Tim Judah, the eyes and ears of The New York Review of Books in Baghdad.Amir, a man in his forties, seemed close to tears. "I have heard there is an underground prison here," he said. "Did you see it? Do you know anything about it?" Just behind us was the part of the prison that housed the gallows. He had not seen it yet, and I did not mention it....
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Posted by greg allen at 11:34 AM | Comments (0)

May 25, 2003

A newer, easier

"Winning the war's easy, it's winning the peace that's hard." Even in this season of sequels, the media seems uninterested in the Iraq followup story, even when it was so heavily foreshadowed in the first script. Eh. Nothing to see here, folks, keep moving. In a service to fans of the original GWII, though, and in hopes of keeping interest alive until the sequel, I have consolidated all the posts into one spot--what do you call it, a...
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Posted by greg allen at 07:01 PM | Comments (0)

May 21, 2003

The Book of Mormon meets The Week in Review

It's Wednesday. I clearly wasn't set on posting this, but then I read James Norton's The X2 Guide to US Foreign Policy and figured, what the heck. All that purely Revelations-based analysis of the latest End of The World was leaving me unsatisfied. Not listening too closely to the sermon Sunday morning, I cracked open the ole Book of Mormon for a diverting read. (Just letting the Bible fall open's far more unpredictable, what with those vast stretches of Old...
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Posted by greg allen at 11:57 AM | Comments (0)

May 20, 2003

In a NY Times editorial, President Jimmy Carter warned that "the aftermath of a military invasion [of Iraq] will destabilize the region and prompt terrorists to further jeopardize our security at home." But that was way back in March, ancient history. Just go ahead and ignore it...And anyway, he was so wrong, because it's the terrorists who are destabilizing the region. The military invasion's got its hands full destabilizing Iraq....
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Posted by greg allen at 02:33 PM | Comments (0)

May 12, 2003

On his ever-interesting Talking Points Memo, Josh Marshall has some good book recommendations for people trying to figure out what just happened--and what's still to come--war-wise. Of note: The Iraq War Reader: History, Documents, Opinions, compiled and edited by Micah Sifry and Christopher Cerf. (Click through and give Josh, not me, the Amazon fees for these.) Also, lest you were distracted by the man in the plane over there, grave things are still happening in Iraq. Josh excerpts a...
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Posted by greg allen at 02:11 PM | Comments (0)

May 08, 2003

Skoal. For the third time, Norway merits an entry in First, it was for an examination of non-violent resistance to the Nazi occupation. A few days later, it was for an underground WWII protest song. Now, keeping the Orwell thread alive, it's a Norwegian parliamentarian's nomination of Bush and Blair for the Nobel Peace Prize. Pity the deadline's passed for 2003 nominations. If they'd been eligible for this year, and won, they could've showed up Carter, who won last...
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Posted by greg allen at 10:59 PM | Comments (0)

April 30, 2003

[Boston Globe, via Travelers Diagram, et al] ''The President looks in the mirror and speaks His shirts are clean but his country reeks Unpaid bills Afghanistan hills.'' These pointedly political lyrics to ''Bombs Away,'' a song on The Police's 1980 album ''Zenyatta Mondatta,'' were penned by the New Wave band's drummer Stewart Copeland, who knew exactly what he was talking about. Born in 1952 and raised in the Middle East, Stewart is the son of Miles Copeland, a notorious American...
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Posted by greg allen at 03:26 PM | Comments (0)

April 26, 2003

A new kid in town is competing with Club Iguana at The Westin Rio Mar Beach's Club, "At Club Iguana kids get to have all the fun! Every day, we welcome Westin's young guests age 4 to 12 with activities planned especially for them." Sensing that Westin missed a lucrative opportunity, Brown & Root, the operators of the 16-and over Camp Delta on Guantanamo, Cuba (just a short military flight from Rio Mar, PR!), have created Camp Iguana,...
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Posted by greg allen at 10:04 AM | Comments (0)

April 24, 2003

It depends on how you count. If you group desks+chairs together with vases+cuneiform+manuscripts, we are now seeing the second wave of looting in Iraq. Still to come: US-imposed mass privatization of the Iraqi infrastructure/patrimony opening the Iraqi economy to foreign investment, but I digress. [And just sounded alarmingly like a lobster-puppet-wielding globalization protester for a minute, there. Just one of those fluctuations in The Matrix.] Anyway, the second wave: journalists and soldiers, or Our Troops, as they're known on TV....
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Posted by greg allen at 10:56 AM | Comments (0)

April 23, 2003

"Our armies," [British Lt General Stanley Maude] declared [on 9 March, 1916], "do not come into your cities and lands as conquerors, but as liberators." Within three years, 10,000 had died in a national Iraqi uprising against the British rulers, who gassed and bombed the insurgents. -- Seumas Milne in the Guardian Harper's published The Proclamation of Baghdad (circa 1916) in the May 2003 issue, but, remarkably, I can't find the complete text anywhere online. So I transcribed it and...
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Posted by greg allen at 11:36 PM | Comments (0)

April 22, 2003

Through "interviews with US intelligence officials and nuclear experts," MSNBC has created an info-packed, interactive map of Israel's WMD programs and locations, only according to Common Dreams, it's not actually reachable through the MSNBC site. [via robotwisdom]...
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Posted by greg allen at 04:53 PM

April 21, 2003

Danny O'Brien quotes Internet Archive founder Brewster Kahle: "What happens to libraries? they burn," a pretty nihilistic-sounding comment if it's taken to be a comment on Iraqi libraries burning. And Cory Doctorow points to a librarian's-eye critique of blithe, "oh, just reprint it all" dismissals of burning by people who "should know better." But so far, all I can actually find about this "quote" from Brewster Kahle, is this ancient (1996!) Slate article on the looming, Borges-ian threat of a...
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Posted by greg allen at 04:09 PM | Comments (0)

April 20, 2003

Sue Ellicott writes in the Washington Post about how the British Museum (known, before last week, for having "the greatest collection of Mesopotamian antiquities outside Iraq") mobilized during wartime. They quickly programmed lectures, gallery talks, and panels to meet the sudden surge in visitor interest in Assyrian and Mesopotamian art and culture. And speaking of the British Museum: In the NYT, John Tierney looks at the Looting Formerly Known As Capitalism, Thank You, specifically, Lord Elgin's "buying" the Parthenon frieze,...
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Posted by greg allen at 10:55 AM | Comments (0)

April 18, 2003

Arts Journal has an extensive round-up of coverage of the Iraqi National Museum and libraries looting/burning (Including LAT's Christopher Knight's view of Bush admin. views of art/culture, which coincides with my own.It doesn't include Pfaffenblog's extensive discussion of possible pre-war collector lobbying at the Pentagon.) [via MAN] Frankly, I've been surprised by the rather glib indignation of some peoples' reactions to this issue (and I don't mean Rumsfeld's; his dismissiveness is entirelyto be expected.) If you'd suggested--two years, a year,...
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Posted by greg allen at 03:11 PM

This is probably a fence-sitter between and A Guardian interview with Jack Shaheen, who's spent 20+ years studying Hollywood's depiction of Arabs. His massive survey, Reel Bad Arabs, came out in the US in 2001, but is just reaching the UK. In his analysis of over 900 films, he finds negative stereotyping to a degree that'd now be unthinkable for other groups (unless, of course, they're making mad bank off their own stereotypes, a la My Big Fat...
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Posted by greg allen at 01:03 PM

The NYTimes' man in Baghdad, John F. Burns, talks to Newshour about the shakedowns and threats from his Iraqi Information Ministry handlers in the last days of the regime. Apparently, they were not all as funny as al-Sahhaf. [4/19 update: In Sunday's Times, Burns hits for the fence with a looong article on the thuggish nature of Saddam's whole crew....
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Posted by greg allen at 09:47 AM | Comments (0)

April 14, 2003

The AP report on CNN details the contents of Saddam's "shagadelic" safehouse. On the day when I'm meeting a producer of Austin Powers for lunch, all my websites are converging. In a nod to Thomas Struth, AP's John Moore took this picture of US Army Lt Eric Hooper checking out the art in Saddam's shagpad. image: AP, via [Update: The Guardian's Jonathan Jones looks at what can be learned from "the hysterical aesthetic, the hyperpornography of power and...
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Posted by greg allen at 10:20 AM | Comments (0)

April 12, 2003

Pillagers Strip Iraqi Museum of Its Treasure, John F. Burns in the NYT. Mosul descends into chaos as even museum is looted, Luke Harding in the Guardian. When I said yesterday that the US administration had no interest or care for art, this isn't what I meant. Honestly, this is as unconscionable as the destruction of the Bamiyan Buddha statues by the Taliban, which UNESCO's director general, Koichiro Matsuura called "a cold and calculated 'crime against culture'". Every other March,...
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Posted by greg allen at 01:58 PM | Comments (0)

April 11, 2003

In his Bloghdad column on Slate [love the name, Will!], William Saletan scores a direct hit on the "soft bigotry" of Bush's complimenting the Iraqi people as "gifted." "He doesn't mean exceptional. He means ethnic." For Bush, it turns out, "gifted" and "talented," are traits shared by many fine non-white races, God bless'em. It's funny how things change; when I was growing up in North Carolina, "gifted and talented" meant "white." To comply "with all deliberate speed" to the Supreme...
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Posted by greg allen at 11:14 AM | Comments (0)

Talk about motivated seller. The Wash. Post's Jonathan Finer went to an open house at Tariq Aziz' place in Baghdad, and like any good open house visitor, he judges the owner's taste in books, movies, and bathroom reading. It's gotta be heartening for Graydon Carter to learn that there were "dozens of Vanity Fair magazines" next to the DVD's ("It's not just for Oklahoman divorcees anymore!"). For your total Tariq Lifestlye shopping convenience, I've formatted the inventory --including a few...
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Posted by greg allen at 10:50 AM | Comments (0)

WNYC is my media default setting. I know several artists who live by WNYC; they have it playing in their studios all day. If they still do this, I don't know; but I find myself turning off wall-to-wall war discussion more frequently, whether out of distraction, exhaustion, or resignation. Oddly, that's just the opposite of what I did during/after September 11th. For days, weeks, WNYC was this incredible lifeline, an important source of solace, community; I almost never turned it...
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Posted by greg allen at 09:34 AM | Comments (0)

April 10, 2003

When Rush Limbaugh told his radio audience the Iraqi Info Min (turns out he's a Democrat, who knew?) had just claimed to have invaded the US and taken over Shea, then Yankee Stadium ("because it was snowing, and they knew the opener'd been cancelled and the stadium would be empty"), one listener called CBS to excoriate them for ignoring this vital piece of news, and another scolded Rush for foolishly leaking "a GO signal" to the Iraqi sleeper cells...
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Posted by greg allen at 10:56 AM

For those who aren't familiar with Phoenix (the US city I've most heard Baghdad compared to on NPR), the Webby-nominated has published the Baghdad City Size Comparison. With the ribbon-cutting for the American Express office still weeks away, and Halliburton's contract to build out the Iraqi ATM network caught up in the whole Cirrus vs. Carte-Bleu Smartchip debate, you may want to take some Iraqi dinars with you before you go. Wired reports on the popularity of Sadaam Dinars...
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Posted by greg allen at 09:20 AM | Comments (0)

April 09, 2003

For those who are put off by the Lord Bless This Defender of Freedom Figurine from The Bradford Group's Hamilton Collection, be of good cheer. When the Power that made and preserved us a (free, capitalist) nation, He surely knew someone--even the original Precious Moments, created by His servant, Samuel Butcher-- would still minister to the non-M-16-toting, teardrop-eyed, religious, children-in-military-uniforms figurine market. (And if the Good Lord had wanted the PM figurine to be $19.95, like the Hamilton figurine,...
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Posted by greg allen at 12:33 PM | Comments (0)

April 08, 2003

Or Shell-Shock and Awe, as the Voice's Joy Press calls it in an interesting article about the history of military psychiatry, and the evolution from WWI's "shell-shock" to Vietnam's PTSD. A lot of it is drawn from Ben Shephard's book, A War of Nerves: Soldiers and Psychiatrists in the Twentieth Century [which the Voice excerpts]....
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Posted by greg allen at 04:17 PM | Comments (0)

From Bloggy, where Barry, too, wrestles with the ratio of art and war posts: "Ballad of Revolt" was composed in 1942 by Harald Sæverud, a Norwegian musician fed up with the Nazi occupation. The song became an anthem for the peaceful resistance forces I mentioned earlier. You can listen to the piece in mp3. Discussion and links from Barbara Pollack's Village Voice essay about the history of protest art. Related: an earlier post about Gran Fury and AIDS protest...
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Posted by greg allen at 03:29 PM

Slate's Timothy Noah rounds up some public relations experts to explain the increasingly reality-challenged statements of/give advice to Iraqi Information Minister Mohammed Saeed al-Sahhaf. Meanwhile, In the SF Chron, Ashraf Khalil comments on a live FoxNews interview with US troops in one of Sadaam's palaces, juxtaposed with a live rooftop statement from al-Sahhaf denying that there were any US soldiers in Baghdad. [Khalil bonus: the translator apparently struggles and ad-libs to accurately capture all the color of al-Sahhaf's statements.] As...
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Posted by greg allen at 02:48 PM | Comments (0)

Paul Ford (you know, Ftrain?) snares An Interview With The Dolphin (the US Navy's mine-hunting, AWOL-going dolphin, that is). If I knew Flash, I'd make Moroccan Minesweeper. TMN: There are 2000 mine-sweeping monkeys that have been promised to the Iraqis by Morocco. Takoma: See, that’s something people say, they go, ‘a monkey could do this job.’ I’m telling you something. You go to those minefields when they release those monkeys. You ever pour cherry Kool-Aid into a whale’s blowhole? TMN:...
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Posted by greg allen at 09:50 AM | Comments (0)

April 06, 2003

Meg Laughlin's Sabbathy report from Camp Bushmaster, Iraq, in the Miami Herald [via IP]: "Army chaplain offers baptisms, baths" In this dry desert world near Najaf, where the Army V Corps combat support system sprawls across miles of scabrous dust, there's an oasis of sorts: a 500-gallon pool of pristine, cool water. It belongs to Army chaplain Josh Llano of Houston, who sees the water shortage, which has kept thousands of filthy soldiers from bathing for weeks, as an opportunity....
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Posted by greg allen at 01:22 PM | Comments (0)

Don't quite know where to categorize this post...probably between "Hey, that was my idea," and "Maybe if you'd mentioned it or moved on it..." David Edelstein looks at David O. Russell's 1999 GW1 movie, Three Kings through 2003 GW2 eyes: Again and again, he uses color, sound and surreal interpolations to break through the viewer's movie-fed, CNN-filtered, rock-'n'-roll-fueled dissociation. With its jarring mixture of tones, "Three Kings" was not a box-office blockbuster. But it looks more and more like...
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Posted by greg allen at 12:47 PM | Comments (0)

April 05, 2003

The substitution of the term "incursion" for "invasion" has a controversial history, one that goes generally forgotten or ignored by most present-day users. In what became known as the Incursion Address, Richard Nixon infamously announced, "This is not an invasion of Cambodia." That's his story, and he instructed his staff to stick with it. Four days later, students at Kent State, protesting the "incursion" labelled their own actions an incursion, and four of them were shot by National Guard troops....
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Posted by greg allen at 01:47 PM | Comments (0)

Dean Falvy turns to Huig de Groot--aka Hugo Grotius, the Dutch inventor, essentially, of international law, who died in 1645--for a very useful, not-at-all-polemical discussion of legal and other implications of the US invasion of Iraq. The only point of view which is flattened is the one where our world has changed so utterly that "old" ways and ideas are useless on their face. [Cocktail party tip: it's pronounced GRO-shus, like bodacious, not GRO-tee-us, like grody. Now go impress...
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Posted by greg allen at 10:32 AM | Comments (0)

April 04, 2003

One of the most vividly written reports from anywhere in the war, John F. Burns' account of daily Baghdad life in the NYTimes:On the same street where the driver was pulled over this morning, a man who owns a boutique selling expensive perfumes to the Iraqi elite — a man dependent on the custom of people grown rich and powerful under the nearly 24-year-old rule of Mr. Hussein, and thus a man whose fortunes could be about to tank —...
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Posted by greg allen at 04:50 PM

The Peace Pledge Union Project has a good overview of Norway's highly successful use of nonviolent tactics to resist and stymie the Nazi occupation. Resistance began almost immediately after the occupation; actions were rapidly disseminated via 300+ underground newspaper/chain letters ("type 20 copies and give them to people you know") and through professional associations, unions, and social clubs. When Germany tried to usurp these institutions, they'd dissolve via mass resignations (and the occasional accidental archive fire), only to reconstitute as...
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Posted by greg allen at 02:17 PM | Comments (0)

April 03, 2003

On Gran Fury On The Art of Protest

For the second month in a row, Artforum is looking back at the 80's. Douglas Crimp talks with surviving members of Gran Fury, the art collective which grew out of ACTUP and the early days of the AIDS crisis. Other participants included: Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Todd Haynes, and Tim Rollins. [update: these guys were in Group Material, a different collective. My bad. Thanks, Andrea.] Gran Fury with The Pope and The Penis at the 1990 Venice Bienale, L to R:...
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Posted by greg allen at 11:42 PM

April 02, 2003

Once in a while, I'm standing here, doing something. And I think, "What in the world am I doing here?" It's a big surprise.-- A Confession (May 16, 2001, interview with the New York Times), from Hart Seely's piece on Slate, "The Poetry of D.H. Rumsfeld," ... Let me have no friends or companions But a wine-flask and a book, That I may avoid all association With the deceitful denizens of the world. If I lift my skirt above the...
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Posted by greg allen at 08:16 PM

Who else is embedded? Pentagon Public Affairs handlers. "Indeed, one of the CPIC's most vital roles is to discourage "rogue" journalists from venturing into dangerous areas by providing the information they might otherwise attempt to get on their own." (in PR Week) "Eleana Benador’s Agency Keeps the Right-Wing Lecture Economy Going", in today's NY Observer (picture with artfully draped scarf included). [From the older, wiser The Morning News]...
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Posted by greg allen at 09:20 AM | Comments (0)

March 31, 2003

In Washington Monthly, Joshua Micah Marshall (his stellar weblog: Talking Points Memo) has a sobering look at the neocon view of Baghdad-as-beta for "rolling the table," i.e., regime changing the entire Middle East. Slate's Kaus realizes that this explains Rumsfeld's hubris and micromanaging (cf. Sy Hersh) a small military footprint--so Baghdad's fall puts Teheran, Damascus, and Riyadh (!?!) on notice. One conclusion of Marshall's article: this neocon war strategy is self-fulfilling prophecy; the more they pursue it, the more "painfully...
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Posted by greg allen at 11:05 AM | Comments (0)

March 30, 2003

Jeff "Buzz" Jarvis suggests I give to the (eventually) liberated Salam Pax, who he notes is "the true Baghdad Blogger." I like it. To make it happen, I'll link up with an NGO and petition the ITU liaison at the UN's Interim Iraqi Administration Authority and... oh, what the hell, just get me Richard Perle on the horn....
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Posted by greg allen at 04:22 PM | Comments (0)

When Bush's Ambassador to Canada, Paul Cellucci, blamed Canada for not supporting the Administration's war policy, it set of waves of self-criticism and anguish across the whole country (granted, they probably do that a lot up there...). Aaron has a day-by-day, um, breakdown of the whole crisis on 601am. In today's Halifax Herald, the Nova Scotian writer Silver Donald Cameron sets the record straight. After turning the Administration's French taunts of "Remember WWI? WWII?" back on the US--which entered the...
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Posted by greg allen at 02:39 PM | Comments (0)

Gary Wills' NY Times Magazine article, "With God on His Side," a long look at presidents' pressing God into the service of politics. Keywords: "Missed you at bible study," (an unsubtle slam in the Bush White House) and "muscular Christianity." Wills closes with an excerpt of Mark Twain's "War Prayer," written to protest the US invasion of the Philippines....
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Posted by greg allen at 02:13 PM

March 29, 2003

So rather than reinvent the war-related weblog wheel, develop an RSS/XML aggregator that categorizes all the war-blog posts by politico-ideological slant, or simply redirect it to Slate, I've decided that will be an unpredictable feature where I point to some war-related post or another that lays siege to my attention. And the first strike: Jeff Jarvis's Buzz Machine, Saturday Edition. Why? Jarvis leads off with "Also click here to go to my war news weblog," yet he still...
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Posted by greg allen at 11:30 PM | Comments (0)

March 20, 2003

Call Your Representative? Fax Your MP? I Emailed Your MP

Utterly remarkable. Tuesday on NPR, I heard an excerpt of British MP Malcolm Bruce's comments in the marathon Iraq debate in the House of Commons. What I heard That leaves us with the United Kingdom divided, Europe divided, NATO divided and the UN divided. Many of us share a deep anxiety—and it grieves me to say so—that those divisions may be exactly the outcome that the Bush Administration wanted.wasn't as widely reported as his closing comment,...if the United States is...
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Posted by greg allen at 09:06 AM | Comments (0)

Welcome to the Bloghdad Cafe

Forget 1991, it feels like 1999 around here. That was the last time I made an impulse buy. of a URL. If anyone has a good idea for what to do with, let me know. The clock is ticking. Some things I'm not considering: starting a warblog. The world needs another warblog like the portal business needed (speaking of 1999...) giving it to Slate's William Saletan, although he gets a shoutout for going wide with the term. (an...
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Posted by greg allen at 08:15 AM