Friday, April 04, 2008


This "Man Getting Pregnant" story has some serious legs. We've been covering Thomas Beatie closely on Mahalo for at least a week now.

Here's the thing...I think a lot of well-meaning people who aren't typically intolerant of or freaked-out-by the trans-gendered don't really know how to process that story. You want to be open-minded, but I think we all have our limits. For many, the notion of a person that appears to be male, and has taken hormones to make himself appear so, getting pregnant just crosses some invisible "playing God" line. Ladies get preggers. Men don't. That's the way it works.

I'm really not having this problem, but then again, I'm pretty much always going to be on the side of more liberty and less restriction. If a guy can somehow manage to get himself pregnant, and isn't doing anything to put the baby's life in jeopardy by doing so...go for it. Doesn't affect me.

I think the interesting question is, what if you are one of those people who finds this inappropriate? Does that make you a bad person? Intolerant? Bigoted? I'm not sure...It strikes me as a reasonable-enough reaction to these videos:

yet it's pretty much always wrong, to my mind, to judge other people's choices if they don't significantly impact you. Really fascinating case...

It's a Gas Gas Gas

Wanted to provide you all a link to this Mahalo Daily, in which we get a look at some footage from the Scorsese-directed Rolling Stones concert film Shine a Light:

So, the guy who initially inspired this Daily is the guy who did the audio interviews you here. (It kind of sounds like me on the recording, actually...I'm thinking most people who watch this video will just assume I'm doing the interviews, because I introduce the thing.) He's the guy who wrote the Production Notes on the film, which are basically an article about the movie, talking about how great it is, that the studio gives to journalists who are going to report on or review the film.

Apparently, studios do not think that entertainment reporters and film reviewers are bright. (In my estimation, they're not entirely wrong on this count.) They think that, if a reporter reads something someone else has written describing the film as "great," they will simply assume it is great and repeat the same message in their own piece. (NOTE: Political journalism works the same way, only the Production Notes are written by Karl Rove and the reporters are a lot more fucking stupid.)

All these Production Notes sound the same. I wish I still had some lying around from my old cub reporter days, but that was a decade ago and they are lost to the ages. It's always stuff like:

Mortal Kombat 2: Annihilation is an exhilarating roller coaster ride, an old-fashioned throwback adventure kung fu adrenaline rush loaded with wall-to-wall action and kinetic intensity. To realize his outsized, ambitious visions, maverick Hollywood wunderkind John R. Leonettif (I Know Who Killed Me, Joe Dirt, The Scorpion King, Spy Hard, Honey, Dead Silence, Death Sentence, Holy Fucking Christ I'm Not Making This Filmography Up) pushed his cast and crew to the edge and traveled to the very outer limits of the San Fernando Valley. Inspired by the billion-selling Mortal Kombat video game franchise, Mortal Kombat 2 will leave you breathless, dehydrated and literally post-orgasmic. Finish Him!

"It's hard sometimes, making a movie," says the enchanting, gorgeous, effervescent, dynamic James Remar, who stars as the Master of Lightning, Lord Rayden. "Especially when you're playing a character like Rayden, who's so rich with complexity and nuance."

Sandra Hess, the highly acclaimed Best and Sexiest Actress on the Planet, plays the mysterious Sonya Blade. "It required a lot of kicking," she says, "so I had to take some, um, kicking lessons, I guess."

So these people, paid by the studios, have to do interviews with the people who made the movie, so they can write these glowing write-ups. And those interviews are what you're hearing underneath the video above.

So thanks to Noe Gold for providing us with some cool clips of Mick and Keith, and to Paramount for the kickass footage. Anyone seeing this film this weekend?

Tuesday, April 01, 2008


How did Jason manage to land The Steve for an exclusive Mahalo interview? Not sure...but he did. Amazing stuff:

Actual Legitimately Dirty F-ing Hippies

I tend to sympathize with the hippie. Though I am not actually in the thrall of this sub-culture, I'm with hippies on the majority of socio-political issues, and their music kicks serious ass. However, reading this article about "dumpster diving," which we should all really think about doing because it's good for the environment, has seriously filled me with disgust and loathing. Who the hell would do something like this?

I've heard about dumpster diving, and read about dumpster diving, but in conversations and articles that seemed to identify it as the pursuit of anarchists and gutter punks --nothing that served as a guide for upwardly mobile middle-class squares. A few weeks ago, though, some hippie Dan went to high school with mentioned she was going to Trader Joe's to score for free the very same foodstuffs we paid good money for. It was just as good, just as edible and sanitarily packaged, and it didn't cost $100 a week if it just came out of the trash, she said. We felt like suckers.

Just to reiterate, they felt like suckers...for paying for food...merely because it didn't come out of a dumpster.

Picking up that first handful of free groceries is a bit like Christmas, exciting, enchanting. I hadn't known what I was going to get, so I hold the goods out in front of me for inspection. And here it is, my favorite kind of present: something I want and can actually use. I feel satisfied and, absurdly, a little proud.

I mean...she's picking through refuse for bags of banana chips, and then feeling a sense of entirely unearned self-satisfaction. Anyone could go score free banana chips in the garbage bags behind Trader Joes, lady. We don't cause we have a little thing I like to call dignity.

It wasn't an especially big throw-away day at the store, but I stand shin-deep amid the waste with a snake light wrapped around my neck, tearing open huge clear plastic garbage bags and examining their contents for salvageable eats. A sweet pepper, a dented tub of chocolate chip cookies, yes. A package of precooked sausages leaking juice out of a hole in the package, no. Half-pound hunks of somewhat moldy Monterey Jack cheese, sure.

At this point, I started to's April 1, this is satire. AlterNet's not really suggesting we all start eating moldy cheese out of supermarket dumpsters. If this is incredibly self-aware, cutting satire, AlterNet, I salute you...but I fear it is not, and that this is serious. Because it gets even worse.

(Also, a sweet pepper? A single sweet pepper? I hope that was in a bag...)

When Dan says, "Watch out for rats," I yell at him for freaking me out, but I am most certainly immersed in the habitat of disease-prone rodents. When I do jump out, it's right onto the ground, right onto my ass when my feet slide out from under me because the pavement is covered in ice. Like last time, we can't find a parking space in our complex when we get back to our apartment because we live in a busy downtown district and it's club-going time on a Friday night. We run the garbage groceries, which for some reason are coated in the smell of trash this time, a block to our building and then up four flights of fire escape to our door. My fingers are that obnoxious biting pain that just precedes numbness, since I buried them in several unidentified stinky wet stuffs, and the wind is cutting across them now as they grip the plastic bags. Everything needs to be washed -- the cellophane on the cheese, the box of waffles -- to get the reek off, and we crack open a box of baking soda and put it in the back of the fridge, hoping it'll help restore appetizingness to our food.

Please be satire, please be satire, please be satire...

Sunday, March 30, 2008


Nationals fans, I owe you all a beer.

Dungeon Master

This 100% factual article is amazing. It's like a Pasolini film come to life.

Max Mosley, one of the most powerful men in world sport, was under pressure to resign as boss of Formula One’s governing body last night after he was exposed enjoying a Nazi-style orgy with five prostitutes.

What constitutes a Nazi-style orgy, you may ask (if you haven't seen The Damned)?

Speaking in German and brandishing a leather whip, he beat the women after allowing himself to be subjected to a humiliating inspection for lice and an interrogation in chains.

How amazing is it that he actually spoke in German during the sex? I mean, that's fucking dedication to authenticity. Spielberg has made major Hollywood movies about the Holocaust where the actors are all speaking English.

Jewish groups condemned the behaviour of Mosley, 67, whose father, Sir Oswald, was the leader of the British Union of Fascists and a friend of Adolf Hitler.

His Dad was friends with Hitler? The head of Formula One Racing's father was a fascist and a friend of Adolf Hitler? Really? I mean, I guess that's okay...I'm just surprised I'd never heard about it before.

Also, why do Jewish groups care if he gets off on death camp sex? I mean, more than anyone else. (I'm not saying it's okay to beat prostitutes or anything). Do Jews have some sort of exclusive right to death camp-related sex play? I mean, yeah, it's sick, but it's not particularly offensive to Jews. Getting off by thinking about Dachau is just depraved; ethnicity doesn't enter into it. It's simply not a sexy place.

His antics stunned Jewish leaders and motorsport insiders. “This is sick and depraved,” Karen Pollock, chief executive of the Holocaust Educational Trust, said. “For anyone to be in such a position of influence and power beggars belief. I am absolutely appalled.”

How hilarious is the use of the word "antics" here? That's just awesomely inappropriate. The Tasmanian Devil engages in "antics." Elaborate Holocaust role play involving a quintet of prostitutes? I'm not sure that qualifies. "Shenanigans," perhaps. "Tomfoolery," sure. "Skullduggery," even. But not "antics."

This next reaction strikes me as spot-on:

Sir Stirling Moss, the former world champion racing driver whose father was Jewish, said: “I don’t see how he can continue. I hope he can, frankly, because I think he’s very good at what he does. I suppose what goes on behind closed doors is his business but when a thing comes out like this . . . it’s an absolute shocker.”

Exactly. It's not like this has anything to do with how well the guy does his job. But it's just so extreme. I thought albino porn was out there but...genocide porn. Wow.

I mean, in America, a politician has regular old sex one night with a single prostitute, and it becomes a national obsession for weeks. To make the papers across the pond, you literally have to hire out an entire brothel and a touring theater company, plus you have to arrange for a set and equipment. They're 20 years ahead of us. Embarrassing, really.

"Grizzly Man" and Homophobia

I wrote a review of Grizzly Man, the Werner Herzog documentary about a peculiar man named Timothy Treadwell, who lived amongst and was eventually devoured by bears. It remains a popular post to this day, because a lot of people continue to search Google for "Timothy Treadwell death audio," and I rank relatively well for the term. (Treadwell did, in fact, record his own demise, but the audio itself is not heard in Herzog's film, prompting some curiosity, I suppose.)

The visitors who find my blog post are most likely disappointed, as I don't have the recording available for download, but some of them leave comments anyway. These remarks are uniformly ugly, reveling in both homophobia and an unhealthy delight in the man's demise. A sampling:

TIM TREDWELL what a asshole anybody who would put his hand over a pile of bear shit, and go hmmm hmmm good it came out of her. what a asshole what would he do if i took a shit in the woods i bet he would put his nose up to my trud and go sniff sniff hmmm hmmmm good he was very sick

This is one of the most tame and respectful comments (that weren't left by people I know, discussing the film thoughtfully, that is). It's still highly crude and takes some amount of pleasure in the fact that Treadwell was apparently a somewhat disturbed individual. Please note that the author (who is most likely a male) concocts out of whole cloth an elaborate scenario in which Treadwell smells the author's feces approvingly. Which really couldn't be more transparent. This guy is himself having a sexual fantasy about Timothy Treadwell, and then fantasizing about punishing Treadwell for it! (Also, is that last "good" a typo or a Freudian slip? You decide!)

This next one's more typical:

Tredwell was a dumbshit.
Started out as dumbshit.
Played with bearshit.
Acted like a dumbshit.
Ended up bearshit.

Is that really "fitting"? Did he deserve to be eaten for being naive and kind of silly? I mean, who's this Anonymous person to judge? Hasn't he or she ever done anything stupid, just because he or she felt like it?

I don't understand this next one at all, but it still seems pretty mean-spirited and vicious:

Tim was a bit of a nutter but I'm all for his reasons, behind being a nutter. It was a bit over rehursed for my liking and it would of been interesting to hear the audio of his last moments, to see if the love was still there?

Yes, you're right, Timothy probably was not as pleased with bears during his final moments as he had been the rest of his life. So what?

I like how this person tries to play off his or her bloodlust, as if it's caused by some external individual and not themselves. He or she wants to hear Treadwell die because he otherwise came off as rehearsed, not because the commenter him/herself is just grim and wants to hear a recording of another person dying. There's nothing inherently wrong with morbid curiosity, but it's so lame to act on it without admitting it, even to yourself.

Tim treadwell was def. homosexual

If you say so. He did have a girlfriend, and claimed to be heterosexual, and no man has ever, to my knowledge, claimed to have had a romantic relationship with him. And now he's dead, so it hardly even seems to matter in any way. But okay, Anonymous Weirdo, you got it. Tim Treadwell, gay. Feel better now? Your universe is set right again?

tredwell was a homo, no doubt

This commentor seconds that emotion! You two should form a club!

I think the bear that killed tredwell attacked my wife.

I just put this one in here because it's strange. Is it a joke? How would you know it's the same bear? Is his wife okay?

I loved this movie, it was an interesting psychological study of how someone will choose a cause to avoid or to explore their own issues, such as their sexuality. Maybe it was easier to face the bears than to face the world's reaction to what you really are. I think that we all knew from the first frame that this was the story of a gay man. It made it more interesting because that is probably a lot of what pushed him to do the things he did, and it made it sadder that he would rather face the bears than to face the reality of a cruel world.

This is all just so weird to me. The entire movie is not about Treadwell's homosexuality, and there is nothing at all that would tip you off to it being about his homosexuality in the "first frame."

Yes, there is a long sequence (in the middle) in which Treadwell openly discusses his sexual orientation, and Herzog implies that Treadwell's conflicted sense of his own desires may have been a factor in his decision to live in the wilderness with bears. But to say you love the movie, and then to say that it's really just all about a gay guy who can't face being gay, is just strange. There's a lot going on in this movie besides the gay thing.

For some context, I mentioned the homosexuality sequence once, briefly in my original review of the film. Because it's not the most central thing going on at all. Here's what I said:

At various intervals in the film, we hear Timothy discuss his intense anger at those who don't respect the environment, his sadness over being unable to maintain a healthy romantic relationship, his problems with crime and drugs, and even his questioning of his own sexuality.

That's it. It's a fairly long review and this is the only time I made mention of Treadwell's sexuality (and I didn't even come to the conclusion that he was gay. Just confused.) Clearly, my commenters feel otherwise, that the possibility the film's protagonist may be gay overshadows all else in terms of significance, which I can't help but find disheartening, kind of like the people who feel that the two most salient things to say about Barack Obama are that his middle name is Hussein and his pastor sometimes gets kind of agitated.

So here's the most recent comment on the Grizzly Man review. I have to admit, I find this one pretty disturbing.

One of the better documentaries I've seen and psychologists should study this. I think ALOT of people miss the point that this guy is not an environmentalist at all...but a complete social maladjust that had no business out there at all "protecting" these bears. He obviously had no respect or understanding for bears or nature. Herzog makes it clear from the beginning that this movie is not about bears or conservationalism but about this guy's issues with himself and escape from reality (and probably his own homosexuality)...I found it a masterpiece of irony by Herzog and actually laughed my ass off most of the time. I'm most annoyed that the Discovery channel version didn't portray him as the self-obsorbed, self-destructive, loser that he was. Watching the full grizzly man I really felt like i was watching a 12 year old girl the whole time. Since I couldn't hear the audio of him being mauled to death my only solace is to know that the bear that killed him got killed (which Treadwell would hate) and that Treadwells remains were removed and not digested into the bear-shit that we all know he loved--which would have validated his own existence to himself.

It starts out well enough...The person liked the movie. They correctly surmised that it was more a character study than a film about environmentalism (not that this is terribly hard to surmise, and they did it by using the tortured near-Bushism "conservationalism," but where it's due.)

I even agree with his point that Herzog's making a film about an eccentric man with some amount of social and personal dysfunction.

But then it just gets creepy. There are scenes in Grizzly Man that I suppose are kind of funny, but you'd have to be kind of a strange, maladjusted person yourself to "laugh [your] ass off" at the home movies of a troubled man who died. Then the comparison of Treadwell to a "12 year old girl," which is just weird. I can't decide if it's homophobic or misogynist (probably because it's both.)

Then the fact that this person has to take "solace" that we don't hear audio of Treadwell dying. What pleasure could possibly have been gained from such an act? Again, I'm not totally dismissing morbid curiosity. It may have satisfied some primal, reptilian urge to hear what it sounds like to get mauled...but the shattering disappointment of being denied this ritual causes this person to seek solace? Weird...

And that last part is just sick, reveling in the death of not just a man but also an animal, and hoping that Treadwell, even in death, would be disappointed and punished for his supposed transgression (which really only hurt himself and only put him and his girlfriend, an apparently willing participant, at risk.)

So this all leaves me with a question...Is Grizzly Man itself a mean-spirited or misogynist film? Or is it just too complex for most viewers, who misunderstand Herzog's intent and instead replace it with their own superficial, unconsciously bigoted hang-ups?

(And I do think it's unconscious. I'm not sure any of these commenters would say they hate gay people. They may not realize that they secretly hope for these people to be punished and hurt, and take joy in their suffering.)

I'm going to go with the second one. Herzog certainly does judge Treadwell, but his critique isn't moralistic or rooted in intolerance. He just disagrees with Treadwell's perspective on some fundamental levels, and believes he may have been mentally unbalanced. The viewers themselves are bringing their prejudices to the film, I believe, turning a beautifully-rendered, nuanced portrait of an idiosyncratic man into a gleefully cruel condemnation of a dumb queer. What a shame.