Saturday, November 11, 2006

"Dean Scream" comes to Canada

So Howard Dean is coming to Canada to be the keynote speaker at the Liberal Leadership Convention on November 29th. Interesting how Canadian political parties seem to be aligning themselves with the American parties. More and more the Liberals seem to have an affinity with the Democrats and the Conservatives cozying up to the Republicans. Last May Republican pollster and strategist Frank Luntz met with Conservative strategists in Ottawa. As for the NDP. I think they may be speaking to Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.

Something for a Saturday morning

Thursday, November 09, 2006

So what's next for Sasha Baron Cohen

His next film features a gay Austrian character called Bruno. This guy has a lot of nerve.

Have we gone to far to protect the vulnerable?

Some 79 garden gnomes snatched by a so-called gnome liberation group, were discovered Wednesday along the banks of a stream in the central Limousin region in France, police said. The gnomes were hidden in some underbrush with a banner that read, "gnome mistreated, gnome liberated", police said. A national garden gnome liberation operation was announced on the group's website in honor of the Nov. 1 French holiday, All Saint's Day.
Last month 86 gnomes were found in the yard of a Limoges high school. Others, stolen last summer, were discovered along the edge of a swimming pool on the outskirts of the city. "Because of the heat wave, they wanted to get some air," read a letter that appeared in gnome owners' mailboxes.

Russia say nyet to Borat

A Russian government agency, the Federal Agency for Culture and Cinematography, said it would refuse to grant permission for Sacha Baron Cohen's comedy "Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan'' to be shown in theatres in Russia, its distributor here said Thursday. Click here for details.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Enought on the election, let's get back to what really matters in America

...the divorce!

Forget about saving the Aggies, can he save Iraq?

Robert Gates, the President of A&M, who appears on the cover of this month's Texas Monthly has been selected as Rumsfeld's successor by President Bush.

Republicans Blame Election Losses On Democrats

Check out The Onion for their parody on the U.S. election results. It is simply amazing how the Republicans who had such a stranglehold on the government could blow it. What does Karl Rove has to say about that? Personally I think Bush will have to dump Rumsfield if he wants to salvage the remainder of his term and whats left of his reputation.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Will never be rich

Communications 101

Dirty political tricks

Vaughan’s bare-knuckle politics have taken a new twist online as a veteran councillor has hijacked his election rival’s name for a web address that bounces to his own campaign site. For more info click here.

For more nastiness in Vaughan click here.

A Markham mayoral candidate described as eccentric by acquaintances is scheduled to appear in court today after he was arrested and charged with making a death threat aimed at another candidate. For more info click here.

A Mississauga City Council candidate has been charged with impersonating a police officer and intimidation after a rival candidate alleged he tried to force her and other candidates out of the race. For more info click here.

Residents of west Oakville who vote for Jeff Gareau will also be casting a ballot for Jaafer Syed on Nov. 13. The candidate has two legal names but thinks it shouldn't be an issue for voters. For more info click here.

Former MP Carolyn Parrish, now running for Mississauga City Council, yesterday added to accusations of dirty political tricks in the city's ward races, describing a mysterious phone call in which she says she was asked to bribe a rival candidate to drop out. For more info click here.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Borat: social satire or guerrilla comedy?

This past weekend I went to see Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan. The film lived up to its hype. It was both fascinating and very funny. Baron Cohen was brilliant in his ability to use ordinary people to set up his gags. Though I imagine they learned of the shtick when he had to ask for their consent to put them in the film. He was able to keep up the charade by claiming to have been filming a documentary.

I've heard some concern expressed about how some people might misinterpret his extreme bigotry and sexism to reinforce their own bigoted views. That is a ridiculous suggestion. Anyone who goes to see the film will know that it is not real because of the hype around this film. And even then, you would figure out from the howling laughter in the theatre.

So is this just Baron Cohen exhibiting his typical guerrilla comedy techniques or a social satire of Americans. I think as a social satire it may have failed. What you actually see is ordinary Americans not accepting that foreigners could be so offensive and backwards. Rather, the Americans in the film merely tolerated this behaviour. Based on the reviews I read, I was convinced that what I was watching was Americans at their worst - arrogant and ignorant of other cultures. That's what non-Americans like to believe about Americans. And this view is partly reinforced by our view of the President. After seeing the film I have become more and more convinced that the opposite is true. In one scene with a driver instructor, Borat kisses the male instructor who responds by telling him, "I'm not use to that, but that's fine". Later in the film he is invited to dine at the home of some wealthy southerners. Typically, Borat is inappropriate and offensive but no one responds negatively. The others are polite and patient until his provocation forces them to politely ask him to leave. People in the film try to accept him for what he is and are not necessarily accepting his portrayal of foreigners as being so backwards. The looks on their faces says it all.

Nonetheless, Sasha Baron Cohen shows genius in his film. He so much reminds me of Andy Kaufman and Borat of Kaufman's alter ego, Tony Clifton. He was totally convincing as a awkward looking, bad suit-wearing foreigner. And I understand he never is out of character. His promotional appearances have always been as Borat. In one interview he distances himself from Baron Cohen and suggests the Kazakh government should sue the Jew. Just this morning he was on the Today Show and grabs Matt Lauer and says, "Matt, I want to celebrate tonight, do you know name of good prostitute?" I can't wait to see his next film.

Gee, I dunno

I love this T shirt