Network neutrality--that’s now the official policy of the Obama administration, announced last month by the new chairman of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), Julius Genachowski. It’s a development that could be more significant to the future of free speech than any milestone since the Supreme Court’s decision in New York Times v. Sullivan in 1964. The essence of net neutrality seems simple: Internet service providers should be required to treat all data equally and avoid blocking or delaying any sites or applications.
Pinch yourself, Washingtonians. Looks like Joe "the plumber" Wurzelbacher, in addition to his post-campaign career as a foreign correspondent, pundit, author, motivational speaker, aspiring singer, and all-around philosopher, also harbors dreams of comedic greatness. At the very least, he is the very first name listed in the press release I just received touting this year's "star-studded line-up" for the 16th Annual Funniest Celebrity in Washington contest. (Sept. 30, 7 p.m. at the DC Improv) I ask you: Is there nothing that this Renaissance Man cannot do?
Celebrity worship is tiresome if largely benign. Celebrity justice, by contrast, is corrosive on any number of levels. Sadly, the case of R&B singer/woman beater Chris Brown increasingly looks like a nasty example of the latter. Sure, Brown got a few years probation and six months community service.
Quiet Chaos -- IFC Films The Girl From Monaco -- Magnolia Pictures Nanni Moretti, treasured in Europe, is scarcely known in the United States. This schism usually happens with film people whose work is strapped culturally to one country, but Moretti's writing and directing and acting are not only celebrated in Italy, they have prospered elsewhere. Not here, however, though his strongest concern is human commonality. Sometimes, in a career that began in 1973, he has appeared in films directed by others. This is true of his latest, Quiet Chaos.
What do you do when your superhero franchise has no future? You reverse time’s arrow and plunder the past. After two strong, Bryan-Singer-directed outings, the original X-Men trilogy wheezed to a grim, dispirited conclusion in 2006 with the Brett-Ratner-helmed X-Men: The Last Stand--a lurching wreck of a movie that should have added $5 million to Singer’s subsequent asking price. So, having hit a wall going forward, the franchise has turned back.
Dusty!: Queen of the Postmods By Annie J. Randall (Oxford University Press, 219 pp., $24.95) We do our best to keep up, those of us tottering into the back of The New Republic's book once a fortnight. So I have my work and my life as well as those of my wife and children. I have revenues to raise and taxes to pay. On Super Bowl Sunday, I cared just about enough to watch the game, though I was more certain to watch Chelsea versus Liverpool, live, in the West Coast morning. I hope to read a couple of books a month. I worry, but I like to have time for doing nothing.
Politics magazine (the former Campaigns and Elections) has a fascinating, if insider-y, post mortem on the Clinton press shop, focusing especially on former Clinton spokesman Phil Singer. As someone who dealt with Singer on a periodic basis, I was pretty stunned to read the following: More than anyone else, Singer came to symbolize the underlying problem of Clinton’s ill-fated bid: a notion of inevitability, combined with hostility toward the media.
Over the holiday break, you may have seen the National Guard's newest recruiting tool--a three minute long music video featuring post-grunge alt rock band 3 Doors Down. "The longest and arguably most cinematically advanced ad in the movie theater genre" intersperses close-ups of lead singer Brad Arnold making love to the microphone with shots of soldiers reconstructing blasted landscapes, carrying injured children, and dodging bullets--then asks you to join the National Guard.