Friday, August 01, 2003

Christopher Hitchens speaks ill of the dead, and it bears repeating: “Bob Hope devoted a fantastically successful and well-remunerated lifetime to showing that a truly unfunny man can make it as a comic.”

5:33:45 PM    comment []   trackback []

Wilbur Ross: “I am a free trade proponent, but am unalterably opposed to what I call 'foul trade.' China, Mexico and every other country with whom we have bilateral or multi-lateral agreements must be held to them.”

5:27:36 PM    comment []   trackback []

Is “suck” a dirty word? The News & Record thinks so, and Garry Trudeau isn't too happy about the paper's way of dealing with it.


The N&R runs “Doonesbury” on the opinion page, and op-ed editor Allen Johnson made the call to substitute dashes for the word “suck” in this morning’s strip. “I edited it, the way I would for any syndicated contributor, to be consistent with our community standards. It’s a word we don’t print in the paper. That might sound prudish, but that’s the way it is now,” said Johnson on the phone today.


Trudeau is less than pleased with the redaction. “Our position is that editors have the right to remove any strip that they find objectionable for any reason, but we ask them not to alter the strip and represent it as a work by me,” he told me via email this afternoon. "Threats aren't our first response, but if we can't reach an agreement on how it will be handled in the future, withdrawing the feature would probably be our only option.”


Johnson said he doesn’t expect that to happen, because the issue of language seldom arises. “If it happened a lot, we would probably pull the strip ourselves,” he said. Essentially, he treats Doonesbury as an opinion column in graphic form. “There is a good question about whether we have different standards for words and pictures on our pages, and we’ll continue to look at that.”


I know Allen, who is a friend and the editor my own Sunday column, to be pretty fearless in tackling tough subjects, and I’ve never felt constrained from dealing with controversial topics as I see fit. Yet he’s straining at this gnat of a common vulgarity. “It’s a subjective judgement,” he said. “That’s what editors do.”


As a subscriber to the paper, I'd rather read "Doonesbury" with dashes than not read it at all -- but as a writer, I choose my words carefully and don't like to have them changed in ways that don't impove my copy. The only word I've had edited from an N&R column was taken out years ago by one of Allen's predecessors, who removed "peckerwood" for reasons known only to him.

3:19:15 PM    comment []   trackback []

The News & Record dealt with controversy today by censoring “Doonesbury”, rendering the word “sucking” as “- - - - ing.”

12:29:38 PM    comment []   trackback []

David Hoggard has filed to run as an at-large candidate for City Council. Good for him, and good for Greensboro.


David is a thoughtful guy, a real proponent of the Aycock district who has a vision that goes well beyond the baseball stadium issue. Hoggard’s presence in the race offers voters an alternative to his ally on the stadium issue, the flamethrower Bill Burckley, who is also running for an at-large seat.

12:20:33 PM    comment []   trackback []

You can now support by clicking on the “Donate” icon in the right-hand column of this page. Funds raised will go toward bandwidth and booze. And our first donor will receive an virtual tote bag or virtual coffee mug! Thanks.

11:24:26 AM    comment []   trackback []

Sean Gallagher says the GOP outsourced a telemarketing campaign to an Indian  company. Glenn Reynolds says outsourcing to foreign companies could be a campaign issue.

10:59:26 AM    comment []   trackback []

Jeff Jarvis reports blog activity from Biden and Daschle. This is happening fast -- right on schedule.


I think Doc’s right that politicians may not understand the democratic potential of weblogs, and JRobb’s right that money is just the tip of the iceberg in the political blogosphere. But politicians smell money like sharks smell blood, and so they’ll all be looking for a weblog angle soon.


What will be interesting is that weblogs are hard to fake. Stiff, staff-written blogs won't fly. Dave Winer has said all politicians will  have weblogs, and I’ve countered that some of them shouldn’t. The lure of money may prove us both right.

10:46:28 AM    comment []   trackback []

I'm not pollyannish about the power of comedy to cleanse the world, honest, but it makes sense to me that playful, comfortable jokes about Bob Hope and Bing Crosby screwing each other just might have chipped away at bigoted ideas in some 1940s heads.”


Monkeytime, a veteran “assigned to the Sex Battalions in the good ol' culture war,” takes on an army of Bob Hope-related issues.

8:26:48 AM    comment []   trackback []