Archive for July, 2006

Semper Fi: not even if you put a gun to my head

Wednesday, July 26th, 2006

Uncle Sam wants you and he’s using to find your able-bodied butt! Hoorah!

An Associated Press story that popped up in Wired News reports that the U.S. Marine Corp has finally figured out where the kids hang out these days, and apparently it ain’t at the local strip mall.

I wonder if this has anything to do with Rupert Murdoch and his latest multi-gazzilion dollar purchase of MySpace??? Oh man, where’s Fox Mulder when you need him?

Anyway, too bad fighting an actual war isn’t as cool as the Marine’s actual MySpace profile — oh, but wait, they knew that already, which probably explains why they added all of those nifty bells and whistles to their profile.

The Marine Corps MySpace profile — featuring streaming video of barking drill sergeants, fresh recruits enduring boot camp and Marines storming beaches — underscores the growing importance of the internet to advertisers as a medium for reaching America’s youth.

“That’s definitely the new wave,” said Gunnery Sgt. Brian Lancioni at a Hawaii recruiting event. “Everything’s technical with these kids, and the internet is a great way to show what the Marine Corps has to offer.”

Dude, I’m still not signing up.

OK, maybe I’ll think about it, but only if the Bush twins are fighting alongside me.

Lobster Banditos!

Wednesday, July 26th, 2006

These don’t really fit the definition of viral video, so I decided not to wait until Friday to post them.

Come to think of it, these don’t really fit with the mission of this publication as a whole, if you look at it from a certain perspective. And you know what, Larry? You can fire me if you want. But in my opinion, everyone has a story — and that includes The Swedish Chef.

And yes, if you’re wondering, that is a collection of clips of the Swedish Chef, from the Muppet Show.

(Via Slashfood.)

Milblogs to Mainstream Media: You Don’t Know How It Feels

Wednesday, July 26th, 2006

A story in the Wall Street Journal about military bloggers (”milbloggers”) who believe (as much as thousands of blogs can, as a whole, believe anything — but this is a trend story, so roll with it for a minute) that they are more qualified than the mainstream media to report and comment on the war being wages. Excerpt:

Matthew Burden, an Army veteran, started his blog, “Blackfive,” in December 2003 after he learned that an Army buddy, Maj. Mathew Schram, had been killed in an ambush near the Iraq-Syria border. Mr. Burden, 39, felt his friend received short shrift in media coverage and decided to blog about military stories he felt weren’t getting the attention they deserved.

“Does Abu Ghraib need to be told 40 times above the fold in the New York Times when half your readers couldn’t name the guy who won the Medal of Honor?” Mr. Burden says.

Read more on the blogs of war in SMITH’s Back Home from Iraq column, long interviews with former soldiers with lots on their mind.
Paul Riekhoff says, “I think there’s a need to make sure history is told from their perspective. I think there is an individualistic part of our society more than in past generations, but I think it’s also maybe deep-rooted in a sense that we know Vietnam was controversial, and even today there’s a lot of discrepancies and arguments about what Vietnam was, and I think soldiers, maybe subconsciously have a need to tell the stories they saw to make sure its taken into account.”
And find out why Jimmy Masey hates Harry Connick, Jr.

Furry Boys & Losts Girls: Comic-Con, 2006

Wednesday, July 26th, 2006

Here’s a report from SMITH’s comics editor Jeff Newelt, aka JahFurry, basically an excuse to run this shot of Shooting War artist Dan Goldman with a new friend.

SMITH represented, with blogger Douglas Rushkoff, signing at the Vertigo/DC booth for his new graphic novel Testament, a Ruskoffian twist on the Book of Genesis, and Shooting War’s Dan Goldman, who documented his triumphant return to the Con on his personal blog, and on his Flickr stream. For more from Jeff on this weekend of geek paradise, keep reading here. (more…)

Who Cares About the Constitution? MySpace Will Kill You!

Tuesday, July 25th, 2006

Sigh. From today’s New York Post:

A revised draft version of the city Department of Education discipline code calls for harsh punishments - including expulsion - for students who post “libelous or defamatory material or literature” on the Internet.

Kindergartners to fifth-graders who disparage their teachers, principals or fellow students on the Web could face a finger-wagging parent conference or be suspended for up to 90 days, according to the proposed discipline code.

For students in sixth grade through high school, derogatory online postings would warrant an automatic suspension and could necessitate expulsion under the new rules.

The regulation would apply to personal Web sites, online diary entries or comments on popular social-networking sites like and

Not that anyone at the DOE has anything better to do with their time or anything.

Oh, and by the way, as I noted in this article I wrote for Salon, this kind of thing is almost indisputably unconstitutional. A quote in that piece, from the director of the Student Press Law Center:

“In a public school, I believe the law’s pretty clear that the school does not have the authority to punish students for expression they engage in outside of school. There are really important fundamental reasons for that. At the very least, it’s a major usurpation of parental authority. Outside of school, parents have the authority to discipline their children … I think the problem is a lot of people simply presume that the Internet in effect becomes school expression, and I simply don’t believe it does. I think there are legally important distinctions, and very good policy reasons why the school shouldn’t have that authority.”

Other school districts, by the way, have already paid hundreds of thousands, if not millions, because of stupid policies like this.

Brilliant & Lowbrow

Monday, July 24th, 2006

I guess, in some senses, we’ve made it: New York Magazine calls SMITH’s webcomic Shooting War “brilliant & lowbrow” in its always clever Approval Matrix. While there’s a strong case to be made that our online graphic novel is actually “brilliant & highbrow” (thus landing in the ever-elusive top right hand corner with Chip Kidd and our personal hero, Kenny Shopsin), the Shooting War crew feels quite at home in the bottom right corner, kicking back with a beer and a burger at the Shake Shack (not pictured … but sooooo good) before heading home to catch a couple innings of the Mets and an episode of Weeds. Click on the image below to find us, or the link above.

Videoblogger Faces Prison

Saturday, July 22nd, 2006

Friend of SMITH and bold young videoblogger Josh Wolf could be thrown in the clink for refusing to turn his video of an anti-corporate globalization protest in which he captured an altercation between protestors and SFPD—and a police car was vandalized. Anthony blogs about it on the Shooting War blog here. Keep tabs on the case at Josh’s blog.. And if you care about free speech and have the means to do so, donate a few bucks. If you can’t drop a few dollars his way, then spread the word—the power of the Net means that it’s not so far fetched to think that the kindness of strangers will yield a dude in deep dystopian doo-doo the 10-15K he needs to cover legal costs. (Tip o’ the blog to Anthony for bringing this to our attention.)

Eat, Pray, Love, Listen

Friday, July 21st, 2006

Elizabeth GilbertIf you enjoyed the SMITH excerpts of Elizabeth Gilbert’s delightful and enlightening Eat, Pray, Love, but didn’t feel ready to lug one more hardcover out to the beach, take solace in the fact that you can listen to Elizabeth reading it to you herself on the recently released unabridged audiobook CD set. Which, by the way, just got a rave review in Entertainment Weekly’s roundup of author-read audiobooks.

If by some chance you haven’t read the excerpts, you can and should do so here.

Chad Vader, Day Shift Manager

Friday, July 21st, 2006

It’s Friday, time for another viral video.

But you know, I’ve been thinking lately — Chinese Backstreet Boys, Evolution of Dance, these are all funny, but what are we learning? Where’s the deeper moral message?

So I spent the past week scouring YouTube for a viral video I felt really said something, something with a message that spoke from the heart. And I think I found one. Its message? It can be very hard living in the shadow of a famous sibling.

Cat on a Hot Neighbor’s Roof

Thursday, July 20th, 2006

Janet Malcolm once famously suggested that all journalists are engaged in a less-than-savory enterprise. In fact, suggested may be far too weak a word to describe her lede: “Every journalist who is not too stupid or too full of himself to notice what is going on knows that what he does is morally indefensible.”

With somewhat less vitriol but with perhaps more undeniability, I’d argue that every New Yorker who is not too stupid or too full of himself to notice what is going on knows that part of the allure of the city is the opportunity it affords for … well, for casual voyeurism. (Which, in the SMITH world, should be construed in taking an optical interest in other people’s personal narratives.)

A case in point: North and a few floors down from our apartment is a line of brownstones, where a variety of rooftop activities provide social interaction of a sort. (more…)

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