Re: On Balance

1

Talk of the the Nation

Noted for posterity's sake since it'll probably be corrected as soon as Stanley notices.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 10-30-10 11:45 AM
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1: I don't know what you're on about, old bean.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 10-30-10 11:46 AM
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They're both entertainment, right? Which is to say, they're two iterations of the same phenomenon in television journalism*: toward an opinion-drive model. That Stewart is funny and Fox jingoistic might, in the long run, matter less than we think.

* And please don't bring that "Jon Stewart is just a comedian" mess up in here. In an earlier era, when there was no Fox, that might have played. Now, though, not so much. Again, it's all entertainment.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 10-30-10 11:50 AM
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I suppose I'm partly trolling, sure, but not entirely.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 10-30-10 11:51 AM
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That said, I've given this very little thought, so I won't be surprised to find out that I'm wrong.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 10-30-10 11:53 AM
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They might be converging -- I mean, they are converging -- but they're converging from different directions and they fail to be up-front about that convergence in different, and seemingly meaningful, ways.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-30-10 11:54 AM
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I mean, Fox still claims to be serious news, and Jon Stewart still claims (actually I'm not totally sure he does, anymore) to be just doing comedy. Insofar as Stewart is capturing the whole story there, it still seems a lot less pernicious.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-30-10 11:55 AM
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"is not capturing the whole story"


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-30-10 11:55 AM
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That's probably fair, and I don't really know if Stewart is still maintaining his whole "you can't blame me because I'm just a funnyman" act. And certainly I believe that Fox is evil and disgusting and Stewart is not. But I don't really think that it matters that Fox claims to be news. The people inclined to believe that line are credulous fools or reactionary thugs and would believe some other nonsense were Sean Hannity to disappear tomorrow in a puff of fire and brimstone.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 10-30-10 12:04 PM
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Apparently NPR banned its reporters from attending the Stewart/Colbert rallies this weekend.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10-30-10 12:05 PM
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Their claim matters only insofar as other media treat it as true.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 10-30-10 12:06 PM
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The people inclined to believe that line are credulous fools or reactionary thugs

Well, maybe. Or they don't watch any other news because they believe it's all biased, so they don't even really know they're being lied to.

would believe some other nonsense were Sean Hannity to disappear tomorrow in a puff of fire and brimstone

Well, sure. But the ineluctability of dickweeds doesn't mean we need to cut them a "just funnin'" break.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-30-10 12:07 PM
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To the OP, similarly, students who make 100 on a math test have some (nontrivial) things in common with students who fail a math test. For example, often neither or them studied very hard.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10-30-10 12:07 PM
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It's funny. You're all on about content, and my initial distasteful reaction was all about comparing a 24/7 network with two specific programs that are generating new material for a combined 44 minutes a day, Monday through Thursday, for part of the year.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 10-30-10 12:08 PM
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10: Juan Williams dodged a bullet there.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-30-10 12:09 PM
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The whole article linked in 10 is good and worth reading. I was going to make a post out of it, but this thread is right here and I'm lazy.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10-30-10 12:10 PM
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I already made the obvious joke.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-30-10 12:15 PM
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14: Yes, and a network that has almost every Republican 2012 presidential hopeful on its payroll, to boot.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 10-30-10 12:15 PM
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I'm not sure I'm following the argument in 12. I mean, I don't think either Fox or Stewart should get a pass for whatever. Also, both are now treated as news by their viewers. Though Moby's right: only Fox gets treated like news by the other networks, and that distinction matters, but maybe not all that much. Because both are having an impact on televised journalism: pushing it further along the road to all-entertainment, opinion-driven model. And by the way, I'm not sure that's a bad thing. Objectivity in reporting was always bullshit.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 10-30-10 12:17 PM
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Objectivity in reporting was always bullshit.

That's just your opinion.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-30-10 12:18 PM
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But anyhow, I more-or-less see the point in 19.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-30-10 12:19 PM
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Comity!


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 10-30-10 12:20 PM
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19: Apparently, I have opinions that I can express without trying to.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-30-10 12:21 PM
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Eggplant's pseud is racist. So, until he changes it, I'm ascribing all of his contributions to Moby.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 10-30-10 12:23 PM
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I turned on the TV a few minutes ago to what's going on. Now Stewart is saying that Tea Partiers aren't racists and Juan Williams and Rick Sanchez aren't bigots. What the hell?


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 10-30-10 12:27 PM
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Eggplant's pseud is racist. So, until he changes it, I'm ascribing all of his contributions to Moby.
Wait, what now? I have contributions?


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 10-30-10 12:33 PM
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Jesus ari, your mother is pushing televised journalism further along the road to all-entertainment, opinion-driven model. Sure Stewart filled a void that existed because the national political media were too busy thinking up euphemisms for torture to do something simple like show the readily available evidence that Dick Cheney was lying about his prior statements on Mohammed Atta in Prague.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 10-30-10 12:35 PM
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Hey, uh, speaking of media news: Randy Quaid did and said WHAT?!


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 10-30-10 12:37 PM
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27: How dare you say that about my mother, JP? Oh, I know, this is what happens when someone like me attacks* a liberal sacred cow like Jon Stewart! Honestly, I thought unfogged was a safe space, but it turns out that I'm more comfortable in the Fox newsroom.

* Note: I am not attacking Stewart.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 10-30-10 12:40 PM
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Also, probably better that I should own up to the fact that I haven't watched Stewart on television in years. I occasionally see a clip on TPM, but that's it. I mean, for all I know he now employs lad magazine models as correspondents or something silly like that.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 10-30-10 12:43 PM
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I can't decide if I'm being unfair to Stewart, since I've thought this rally was bullshit from the beginning, and watching the last half-hour of it didn't change my mind. What's the point? Just to make apathetic centrists feel good about themselves? The weird self-flagellation about how progressives are just as bad as the Tea Party is just incomprehensible to me. Am I overlooking some useful strategy behind the whole thing?


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 10-30-10 12:44 PM
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Am I overlooking some useful strategy behind the whole thing?

It's entertainment, essear. Jon Stewart's goal is to sell cable subscriptions and/or ad space for Comedy Central. Even though he occasionally performs a public service (see JP's outrageous allegations about my mom for more on this) along the way, that's really not the point.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 10-30-10 12:47 PM
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But it didn't even seem to be entertaining, and the legions of people announcing on Facebook that they were going definitely seemed to think they were making a political statement of some sort.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 10-30-10 12:51 PM
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28,29: I think I understand your argument, but the emergence of Jon Stewart as a "relevant" news and political "commentator" has little to do with Stewart's own agency and much more to with a much deeper and more worrisome societal and media malaise. Sure FoxNews and Stewart are two symptoms of that--but of a pretty different character.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 10-30-10 12:52 PM
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34: The two sentences here seem largely unrelated to me, right? On the former, I think you're mostly wrong. I think Stewart quite consciously inserted himself into a gap in the media landscape and then, whether intentionally or not I don't really know, expanded that gap over time. So, sure, there are structural issues at play here, but agency really does seem to matter. How would we test that? Well, The Daily Show predates Stewart. But it became a big deal after he arrived. And it's not like making fun of the news and political figures was a new game in town.

As for the second sentence, I mostly agree. But I do think, as I've said above, that they have points in common.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 10-30-10 1:02 PM
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Anyway, I have to go to the office. I had planned to take a long bike ride, but it's raining. Cursed rain! Falling from the sky and moistening my leisure time! So work it is.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 10-30-10 1:03 PM
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Stating your opinions and calling it comedy seems a lot less pernicious than stating your opinions, insinuating a bunch of falsehoods, and then calling it fact.

Also, Stewart is still pretty funny. He may no longer be just a comedian, but he is still a comedian. There isn't even a scrap of truth to Fox's claim that it is "fair and balanced."


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 10-30-10 1:15 PM
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28: I saw that. I considered that maybe appearances aren't deceiving. Then I ate some cashews.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-30-10 1:18 PM
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Probably just karma paying back Canada for sending Howie Mandel here.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-30-10 1:20 PM
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Regardless of the exact role Stewart plays in the public discourse these days, I've been finding his shtick increasingly unfunny as comedy. Too much Jerry Lewis slapstick-type stuff, which is fine in and of itself, but becomes increasingly weird as he begins to spend more time speaking seriously as a pseudo-political figure or whatever. The contrast is pretty jarring, especially when he switches back and forth between both modes over the course of a single show. Colbert's consistent satire, on the other hand, has held up much better over time than I expected when his show started.

I rarely watch either of them these days, so my impressions may not be totally relevant, of course.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 10-30-10 1:41 PM
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I think I watched the Daily Show more in the Craig Kilborne days than I do now. But then again, that was before I had kids.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 10-30-10 1:52 PM
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35: And it's not like making fun of the news and political figures was a new game in town.

Which I think speaks to my point. There have always been people well known for that type of comedy, but only the existence of the void that is the late 20th/early 21st century America political coverage and analysis allowed his perceived role to expand like it has.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 10-30-10 2:22 PM
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42: Your mother says otherwise.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 10-30-10 2:24 PM
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43: How can I compete. I should have known better than to take on a tenured university professor.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 10-30-10 2:28 PM
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Don't other countries have equal embarrassing new shows? I remember hearing that Russia had some news show where the presenters gradually strip during the program. And this show had enough credibility to get an interview with Putin.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 10-30-10 3:03 PM
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"equally embarrassing news shows"


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 10-30-10 3:04 PM
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45: Don't give Glenn Beck any ideas, rob.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 10-30-10 3:07 PM
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I agree with #40. Stewart seems to be effectively parodied by the "Really? Really?!" segment of Weekend Update, these days.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 10-30-10 3:08 PM
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44: I know, right? From start to finish, this thread has been a tour de force* of analytical sophistication. Next time I'm up for a job, I think I'll submit my work here instead of the standard writing sample.

* This is French, plebian.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 10-30-10 4:10 PM
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C'est Français, prolétaire.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 10-30-10 4:21 PM
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Next time I'm up for a job, I think I'll submit my work here instead of the standard writing sample.

Like, when you're "up for a professorship" at a place?


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 10-30-10 4:26 PM
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50: I didn't want to be pretentious and risk a populist backlash. But whatever, man, your fate is your own.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 10-30-10 4:32 PM
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41 is a truly surprising thing.

I don't think you can say it's unfair to compare Colbert to Fox News, seeing as he makes no sense at all unless you compare him to Fox News.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 10-30-10 5:02 PM
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31: What's the point? Just to make apathetic centrists feel good about themselves? The weird self-flagellation about how progressives are just as bad as the Tea Party is just incomprehensible to me. Am I overlooking some useful strategy behind the whole thing?

Well, a couple of points in favor of the rally: those who attended don't appear to be apathetic, since getting yourself there turns out to have been quite an enterprise (what with the crowds).

Whatever Stewart/Colbert's initial point may have been, I'd suggest that the event inspired solidarity in support of the notion that angry, one-sided, ignorant diatribes (a la everyone from Glenn Beck to the allegedly respectable Newt Gingrich) are rejected in favor of reasoned, informed dialogue. Sounds like weak tea, I realize, but I compare the throngs of people for whom that message apparently resonated enough that they hoofed it into to D.C. to show themselves, with the seemingly vast numbers who honestly don't seem to give a shit any more and have tuned politics out completely, and I like very much to see the boatloads of people turning out to say, in effect: we haven't tuned out here. We're watching the carryings-on (birthers, tenthers, anti-Muslim screeds, fact-challenged rants) and are not just shrugging about your antics. You do not win.

As someone remarked somewhere online today, Stewart didn't have to actively seek to get out the vote today; people were doing it for him.

For Stewart's false equivalence (to my mind) between progressives and far-right conservatives, yeah, agreed. He's been doing that for a while now, and it's annoying, yeah. I don't think we, or rally attendees, have to accept his entire message, though, so I'm fine with strongly disagreeing with him there while finding the rally overall a positive thing.

There's been an air of despondency going into the mid-terms, as though those who've been shouting loudest to date are of necessity ascendant; a turn-out of that many bodies is a fantastic shot in the arm to indicate that it ain't necessarily so.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 10-30-10 5:25 PM
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I'll, uh, take this opportunity to render a brief rant against disengaged voters.

I happened to ask a friend today whether he'd reviewed some of the ballot questions for the election. There is, for example, a question asking whether we should convene a constitutional convention to amend the state constitution. What's that about, I wondered?

Friend: I dunno; maybe it's about having slots [slot machines, legalized gambling in the state for revenue purposes].

Me: No, that's a County-specific question, nothing to do with the state constitution. I'm not sure why someone wants to amend the constitution, but it's obviously pretty relevant to our answer here; could be to add some Defense of Marriage provision, or could be the reverse, to allow for legalized marriage between same-sex couples.

Friend: I dunno. I guess we'll find out Tuesday!

Me: [pause] We'll find out what we were supposed to be voting on when we walk in to vote and blindly pull the lever willy-nilly?

Friend: Yeah!

Me: [pause, pause] Uh, no. I want to find out before I actually vote.

We parted company then, and here's the thing: I was rather, in fact quite, pissed off. Do I have a problem? I mean, I don't even want to discuss politics with this idiot otherwise-friend any more.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 10-30-10 6:02 PM
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55: Knowing the answer yourself might have made your friend more engaged.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-30-10 6:05 PM
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"It is vital that you care about this thing that I haven't cared about enough to spend five minutes googling."


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-30-10 6:06 PM
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Now I'm probably going to get a cold again.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-30-10 6:09 PM
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I think the implication was that parsimon was going to do her homework before going to vote, whereas her friend wasn't, Moby. Maybe there's some sort of offering you could make to the God of Charitable Readings of Blog Comments to prevent your cold.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 10-30-10 6:13 PM
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59: Maybe there's some sort of offering you could make to the God of Charitable Readings of Blog Comments to prevent your cold.

Like killing a small furry mammal or something. Win, win.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 10-30-10 6:16 PM
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I just checked and we only have the kiddie formula for Tylenol.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-30-10 6:16 PM
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56, 57: Well, obviously I should already have known by now what it was about, but I don't, being more attuned to national than to state politics, since this is a pretty seriously blue state, and I assure you that I will know what it's about by Tuesday. You seem to have dramatically missed the point.

Moving on: I suspect that my friend is not intending to vote at all, and humors me in discussing it at all. What he meant by "I guess we'll find out on Tuesday!" was actually that "we" would find out on Wednesday once the results are in. That kind of opting out incenses me. It's apparently incumbent upon me (again) to browbeat him not just into voting at all, but knowing what he's supposed to be voting for. This bugs me.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 10-30-10 6:28 PM
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"That's not what your mother said last night, Trebek"


Posted by: F | Link to this comment | 10-30-10 6:31 PM
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You seem to have dramatically missed the point.

Just like me.


Posted by: William Tell's Son | Link to this comment | 10-30-10 6:32 PM
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I spent five minutes and found out that the Washinton Post thinks it is a good idea in theory, but not so much in practice.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-30-10 6:43 PM
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65 to?


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 10-30-10 6:54 PM
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65 to your ballot thing on a convention. Unless I don't know what state you live in.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-30-10 6:58 PM
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67: Just checking. I must say that I'm not sure why a constitutional convention would be discussed in terms of anything other than practice, since people don't usually call for them unless they have idears.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 10-30-10 7:04 PM
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Apparently, you live in a state with an aggressive tendency to shove everything into the constitution and you now have the longest constitution of all and the only one to contain the phrase "off street parking."


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-30-10 7:12 PM
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It's probably something you need time to consider.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-30-10 7:13 PM
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I hadn't intended to do this tonight, but rather tomorrow.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 10-30-10 7:20 PM
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70: What's slightly funny about this is that when I mentioned it to my housemate (who doesn't know why it's on the ballot either) a few days ago, he said, "Oh, probably just say no," and I had to laugh and admit that that was my inclination, absent further information, as well.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 10-30-10 7:33 PM
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Television news just hasn't been the same since they got rid of J. Fred Muggs.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 10-30-10 7:54 PM
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69: you now have the longest constitution of all

Somebody mentioned it yesterday or the day before, but it's Alabama that has the longest Constitution, at 230 thousand words.

This is a weird thread man. Stewart has a bunch of people out to the Mall to listen to hippie music, and to satirize/rant about how cable TV news is evil and designed to generate panic and it's like the worst thing ever.

He's just talking about the same stuff he was talking about when he went on Crossfire back whenever and told them they were hurting the country.

max
['It's not like he's wrong.']


Posted by: max | Link to this comment | 10-30-10 8:20 PM
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Somebody mentioned it yesterday or the day before, but it's Alabama that has the longest Constitution, at 230 thousand words.

I skimmed a bit. It is a 47,000 word constitution, so very long regardless.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-30-10 8:26 PM
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74: But he isn't saying exactly the same thing as he was on Crossfire; he's doing this bullshit "pox on both your houses" thing where he pretends there's a raving left-lunatic faction that's just as present in the national discourse as the raving right-lunatic faction.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 10-30-10 8:27 PM
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Does Bob have a tv show I don't know about?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-30-10 8:29 PM
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76. I wouldn't mind someone challenging him on it. I don't think it's so central to his message that he has nothing to say without it, but -- he was interviewed by, I think, Terry Gross a few weeks ago on NPR and said a few things along those lines. Terry was more or less giggly and star-struck. I wouldn't mind someone challenging him on the matter.

Is Olbermann hurting the country? I actually know several who can't stand watching Olbermann; but it's not because he's stupid and insane. Just too intense.

Maybe Stewart is talking about a raving left-lunatic fringe comprised of Jane Hamsher and whoever she hangs out with.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 10-30-10 8:39 PM
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Stewart wants to claim civility for liberals like himself. That's okay with me.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 10-30-10 8:59 PM
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We wouldn't be liberals if we didn't spend more time picking apart the strategies of our friends than combating our enemies, would we?


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 10-30-10 10:53 PM
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Parsi, it's the same as our con-con ballot measure: it's automatic every 20 years. Md. Const. art. xvi, sec. 2. There's no 'idea behind it' in 2010. I voted no on ours. Not sure if I'd vote no in Maryland. Probably.

The people who went to the thing knew perfectly well who the nuts are.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 10-31-10 12:03 AM
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I was going to say that, darnit, how are we going to implement my lotteries-instead-of-elections idea if you folks vote no on constitutional conventions, but, upon reflection, this is the sort of thing that requires some degree of local knowledge. So I'll shut up.

Well, almost: the thing about using reasoned, good-faith dialogue to address complicated issues that touch on both moral/political values and poorly-understood causal processes is that it's exhausting and, for many people, genuinely unpleasant. Disagreement is unpleasant, confronting those who believe otherwise than you is unpleasant, having to address the limits of one's own knowledge is unpleasant, uncertainty itself is often quite unpleasant. People who like discussion groups about social theory or political philosophy, people like us, are not normal.

So if you want engagement, you can tap into the sports-fan, us-against-them aspect--dial up the crazy, IOW--or ... well, what? It's just not reasonable to demand that everyone expend a large amount of time educating themselves, given their negligible power to genuinely affect events through their vote. The problem is structural.

And wow, that Alabama thing is pretty crazy. Even India is only ~120k words.


Posted by: x. trapnel | Link to this comment | 10-31-10 12:29 AM
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It's apparently incumbent upon me (again) to browbeat him not just into voting at all, but knowing what he's supposed to be voting for.

I appreciate where youv are coming from, but it occurs to me that your friend's resistance to talking politics with you might just be because he'd rather not be browbeaten.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 10-31-10 3:38 AM
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My problem with the rally was the timing. It should have been held the previous weekend so campaign types could wander the place signing up volunteers for this weekend.

Also, got personal visits from Rendell, Casey, Pat Murphy and Christy Brinkley. Brinkley and Rendell seemed to be on some sort of campaign office pep talk bus tour. Casey came across as very pleasant, Murphy as slick, Rendell as an old school urban machine politician who can deliver a hell of a red meat speech. Easily the best of any rally the troops ones I've heard which I tend to react to with a 'why the fuck are we wasting time on this shit when we could be knocking doors'; extremely aggressive in defense of HCR and, quite surprisingly the Mosque of Death, describing it first as a 'tough issue' and then explaining, over and over again, that those who oppose it are unamerican. That plus other, more briefly mentioned liberal topics moved into the culmination of the speech, that, quoting from memory started off 'I'm not into partisanship, it s wrong to say that Republicans are bad let alone evil, blah, blah, blah... I just think that the Republicans care only about power and money, they couldn't care less about this country, they hate its fundamental values... mention of a diverse US parade at the opening of the Atlanta Olympics with all colours, religions etc, while the Repubs are all about giving all the power to just one type of people. This in a relatively conservative but swing area (Upper Bucks County) with a roughly 95% white crowd.'


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 10-31-10 5:43 AM
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he'd rather not be browbeaten

That's an important political preference for a lot of people. John Stewart understands those people.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 10-31-10 5:53 AM
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And I've heard he's very gracious about people who misspell his name.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 10-31-10 5:54 AM
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There's a famous attorney here who argued for a parliamentary system at our 1972 con-con, and thereafter to anyone who would listen. He's run for office a bunch of times too -- under every party label there is, including as a Republican against Baucus in 2008. (Before the advent of Palinism Reps knew they were crazy but hadn't settled on which kind yet.)

He plays the gadfly role within the state bar too, sponsoring resolutions calling for the end of common law marriage, making divorce harder to get, and god knows what else.

That's it, then, X. Law school after all. Better chances to evolve into the monomaniac old crank you know you want to be.

Oh, I see that he's had more , success (ie getting on the ballot) than I'd known about.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 10-31-10 7:47 AM
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Better chances to evolve into the monomaniac old crank you know you want to be.

I don't think I need law school for that. Or rather, I think the years I spent hanging out in the building and attending jurisprudence seminars & colloquia will be plenty; actually getting a J.D. might make me employable, which seems counterproductive.


Posted by: x. trapnel | Link to this comment | 10-31-10 10:03 AM
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One need not become employable by getting a JD.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 10-31-10 10:13 AM
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83: it occurs to me that your friend's resistance to talking politics with you might just be because he'd rather not be browbeaten

It's clear that "We'll find out on Tuesday!" was intended to be a conversation-stopper, and indeed it was.

Otherwise, nope. We talk politics constantly and in depth, but almost invariably on a broad national and international level. It's just that he ultimately feels that the political system is corrupt, that voting is an exercise in futility, and ... not exactly that there's no difference between Republicans and Democrats, but ... well, put it this way. The majority of domestic policy differences between them don't affect him and his family personally: he's comfortably white upper middle class, so if food stamps are cut or education policy goes to the dogs, he's unaffected. He condemns both parties as a more-or-less unified Corporate Party; differences on social welfare spending or environmental policy concern him in theory. In practice, he doesn't usually vote. I did, yes, insist on discussing that in 2008, but "browbeat" was hyperbole on my part: Obama and McCain had motivated him.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 10-31-10 10:36 AM
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85: That's an important political preference for a lot of people. John Stewart understands those people.

I think you're conflating a couple of things, alas. I don't think Jon Stewart believes that attempting to convince people that voting is important counts as browbeating.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 10-31-10 11:00 AM
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he's comfortably white upper middle class, so if food stamps are cut or education policy goes to the dogs, he's unaffected

One wishes such people could experience their society-less utopia sometime.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 10-31-10 11:13 AM
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I don't think Jon Stewart believes that attempting to convince people that voting is important counts as browbeating.

I wonder. There was a glaring lack of exhortations to vote in his rally.

I wasn't really talking about your business, though.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 10-31-10 11:35 AM
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92: I'm not actually describing a libertarian in my friend's case, however. He and his wife are solidly liberal in principle, but are really chiefly concerned with their own welfare.

We had an exchange not long ago in which my friend recounted the horrible, awful, unbelievable $37 parking ticket they'd received while at the symphony, in an area which used to have free parking after 6 p.m., but no more, so I should be warned! I said something like, "Yeah, well, the city's financially challenged, so they have to raise funds somehow. Better that $37 parking ticket, or just the parking meter fees, than shutting down a soup kitchen, I guess."

This didn't go over well, got a lot of grumbling before an admission that yeah, well, whatever.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 10-31-10 11:45 AM
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>

I can never remember the exact difference between glibertarian and schmibertarian. Notut of either category, though.ne ohing in this sentence gets o


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 10-31-10 11:51 AM
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My.

I'm having a very annoying thing with my laptop where in the middle of a sentence, or a word, it moves from where it should be to wherever the cursor is. Making gibberish out of old and new sentences.

Does it in every application. I may have to shoot it. (Or get one of those zombie swords.)


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 10-31-10 11:54 AM
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On Friday I was talking to a couple of young mostly apolitical but vaguely Democrat women at work who complained their their one vote wasn't going to change very much. Somehow, however, they were moved to register (I helped them with that) by the argument that if I got them to vote and vote my way, I had effectively TRIPLED the power of my vote. That this worked remains a tremendous surprise.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 10-31-10 11:57 AM
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Elections as pyramid scheme!


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 10-31-10 12:19 PM
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Elections as pyramid scheme!

Of course this isn't news. Didn't Witt say recently that she feels it's incumbent upon her to be on top of the issues at stake in her state's election, because she brings a number of her friends and associates along with her, essentially motivating them to vote and suggesting to them how to vote? There are enough people who feel they have more important things to think about than politics that there's a distinct and necessary role for this.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 10-31-10 12:47 PM
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Kobe.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 10-31-10 12:49 PM
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Apparently some of ogged's friends were at the rally.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 10-31-10 12:58 PM
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75: I skimmed a bit. It is a 47,000 word constitution, so very long regardless.

Wikipedia (and several other sources) have it at 357,157 words, counted with Word. My original source was wrong.

74: he's doing this bullshit "pox on both your houses" thing where he pretends there's a raving left-lunatic faction that's just as present in the national discourse as the raving right-lunatic faction.

Yeah, but he was talking about cable TV news, not politicians per se. I took the whole thing as a takeoff on the fear perpetuated by cable TV news. (Especially given that that was the theme of the skits.) Fox might be the worst but they're all bad. Watching that stuff seems to drive people insane. It's a goddamn disease.

Maybe it would've been better if he'd called it the 'Rally against Trolling'.

84: Also, got personal visits from Rendell, Casey, Pat Murphy and Christy Brinkley.

It's not like 2008 here. There's only one race on the ballot (in the House) and the incumbent R has got that locked up. Forrest Whittaker will not be calling me this time. I'ma gonna be voting anyways, just to add to the national vote total.

max
['Excuse me, I'm going to go throw up now.']


Posted by: max | Link to this comment | 10-31-10 1:25 PM
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I was called unamerican on the way back during a vicious argument over Atlantic Yards when, as part of a subargument over increased traffic I said that in a place like Park Slope car ownership is a luxury good for almost all people and that to the extent that increased density reduces per capita car use I view that as a feature and not a bug.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 10-31-10 1:27 PM
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charley, is it a Dell? My partner's is doing it and I was briefly able to put on some patch that fixed it but it's gone back to doing it again and I haven't tried. Try googling, though, because it got me what I needed on that front. And trying to type that way is maddening.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 10-31-10 1:45 PM
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I've had that problem and I just turn off the touch pad under most circumstances.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 10-31-10 1:50 PM
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I suspect the real purpose of the Stewart/Colbert rally was to see whether they could outdraw Glenn Beck. Mission accomplished.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 10-31-10 3:04 PM
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I didn't think there was a chance the rally could be as big as the Glenn Beck rally. Not that taking a bunch of liberals and telling them "Extreme leftist rhetoric and extreme rightist rhetoric are what's wrong with this country!" is an effective counter to Glenn Beck, if we're thinking zero-sum. Notut of either category, though.ne ohing in this sentence gets o


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 10-31-10 4:39 PM
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They've gotten to Cryptic ned!


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 10-31-10 4:41 PM
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but really, my cows


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 10-31-10 4:41 PM
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Anyone know how the viewership numbers of Stewart compare to those of Glenn Beck? I suppose it's just a matter of looking up Nielsen ratings.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10-31-10 4:53 PM
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Stewart: 1.45 to 1.6 million viewers nightly
Glenn Beck: 2.1 million in April.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10-31-10 5:01 PM
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Speaking of balance: brace yourselves. Slate has finally produced an article which is destructively contrarian about EVERY POLITICAL ISSUE AT ONCE, the very concept of politics, and our society as a whole. By Anne Applebaum.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 10-31-10 5:10 PM
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My parents, who both live within 10 miles of the house they grew up in, are now semi-seriously talking about leaving the country if Republicans win in 2012. My parents. I find this hard to comprehend. This makes me think that I'm not panicking enough about politics.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 10-31-10 5:19 PM
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Did they hand out candy? Because if they didn't, they've already given up on the U.S.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-31-10 5:26 PM
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There are no children in their neighborhood. They're entirely surrounded by old people.

The children in my neighborhood are not knocking on my door.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 10-31-10 5:27 PM
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Test


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-31-10 5:42 PM
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115.1: "Trick or Treat, smell my feet. Medicare gives me pills to eat."


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-31-10 5:42 PM
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Test

That's the other thread.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 10-31-10 5:44 PM
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Sorry. Sugar rush. I have to eat all of the Kit Kats because they might have been poisoned.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-31-10 5:53 PM
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113: Did they say why, specifically?

In 2012. It's true the Republicans want to go to war with Iran. To jump-start the economy, apparently.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 10-31-10 6:01 PM
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113: They could move to Vermont, which has people talking about secession.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 10-31-10 6:03 PM
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Tonight, I got yelled at by some kid who I had called a Jawa. He insisted he was a Bantha. I just checked Wikipedia and Banthas are huge elephant-like things. This guy was wearing a hooded robe and had light-up eyes. Plus he was four feet tall. He was in the Jawa closet.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-31-10 6:11 PM
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Utini!


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 10-31-10 6:13 PM
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I love to say "utini". UTINI!


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 10-31-10 6:16 PM
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Jawas are secretly tiny cat-people. That's why they have to wear the cowls, because if people saw they were cat-people, they would pick them up and cuddle them too much.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 10-31-10 6:16 PM
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Kids these days. Just don't know their own culture. Wouldn't know a krayt dragon from a womprat.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 10-31-10 6:18 PM
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rfts, 124 is reassuring. After posting 123 I had a moment of "wait... was that too dorky for Unfogged?"


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 10-31-10 6:23 PM
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I had several nice surges of trick-or-treaters, although I think I once again overbought on candy. One of the best costumes was a Wii remote, made out of an elaborately stenciled white cardboard box.

For some reason, there were also a lot of cowgirls this year. And a Zeus. I said, "Wow, a god!" and got a big smile.

A little while ago my neighbor launched a series of firecrackers. I almost jumped out of my skin when I heard that the high, whining sound start up. Geesh. Who expects fireworks on Halloween?



Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 10-31-10 6:25 PM
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107: I didn't think there was a chance the rally could be as big as the Glenn Beck rally.

Pretty clear that the organizers were surprised as well, based on various reports including my son's. He still enjoyed it and said it was unlike any other big crowd he had experienced--in a good way. If nothing else it has prompted the biggest, "Hey you kids, get off my mall!" in history. How much more embarrassing could the media be? None. None more embarrassing.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 10-31-10 7:36 PM
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120 113: Did they say why, specifically?

Not in so many words, but I think roughly it's that they're appalled that Rand Paul is getting elected (by a big margin, it looks like), which already makes them feel like the people around them have gone collectively mad; if we get something like a Palin presidency in 2012, it will just extend that feeling to the entire country.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 10-31-10 7:40 PM
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And zero trick-or-treaters for the 2nd or 3rd year in a row. A group walked up my *driveway* (shared with house behind me), and did not come to the door. I was in the process of replacing the screen with the storm door at the time, but did not think I looked that bad or scary or intimidating or whatever.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 10-31-10 7:42 PM
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How much more embarrassing could the media be? None. None more embarrassing.

Truer words... If it weren't deadly serious, it would be laugh-out-loud funny. Again, though, the key is to withdraw from that part of the public sphere. There's nothing to be learned there anyway, so why not focus one's energies where there might be edification. I hear Sponge Bob is a great show.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 10-31-10 8:13 PM
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Did you have a pumpkin or something out? Sometimes a porch light isn't very distinctive and if I saw a guy doing house work, I'd probably have passed also. When I'm doing escort duty, I'm much more afraid of asking somebody with no treats than missing another treat for an over-carbed preschooler.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-31-10 8:15 PM
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And yes, Halloween is on life support. Went out with the kids tonight only to discover that we were just one of two groups walking the streets. No wonder only about a quarter of the houses had lights on. Fortunately, we had a big bag of eggs. And when the eggs ran out, we turned to rocks.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 10-31-10 8:15 PM
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133 to 131.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-31-10 8:15 PM
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escort duty

It's okay to admit that you're a call girl, Moby. This is a safe space.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 10-31-10 8:16 PM
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Ari, nobody trick or treats on Oct. 31 anymore. Around here your school district tells you what day you trick or treat (it was either Thursday, Friday or Saturday), and if you don't have kids you find out from the local TV channels' websites. It runs from 6 to 8 pm.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 10-31-10 8:20 PM
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For the second year in a row, I had to go out mid-Halloween to get more candy. We may have had 200 kids. Pretty cool.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 10-31-10 8:21 PM
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133: No, and the few people who do come to our more ruralish end of the street just go to houses of people they know. At the beginning I was out raking leaves which may have likewise been offputting.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 10-31-10 8:22 PM
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I actually tried to skip one house that was clearly passing out treats. They had a ton of decorations and even a sign, but nobody went up but us. Getting the treat involved passing a junked car (in the driveway since 2003) and knocking on a door underneath a semi-collapsed porch roof that hasn't been fixed since snow-pocalypse.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-31-10 8:30 PM
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At my parents' house (in LA, about 10 minutes from where I live) we had given out 1000 pieces of candy to about 1000 trick or treaters by 8:15, at which point we had to shut the house down. Streets jammed with huge groups of children. Sign of the times: several groups of adult trick or treaters obviously just looking for some free food.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 10-31-10 9:23 PM
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128: Rfts blew a little kid's mind by revealing that yes, despite her senescent state, she knew what Scream was.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 10-31-10 9:25 PM
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Sign of the times: several groups of adult trick or treaters obviously just looking for some free food.

Wow, that's an awful image on several levels.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 10-31-10 9:25 PM
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Not wanting to run the world's least nutritious soup kitchen off your porch is an understandable preference.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-31-10 9:45 PM
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I disappointed several children with my lack of candy and then went to a rock concert instead of continuing to feel bad about it.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 10-31-10 10:05 PM
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I am weirded out to find that an ex-gf is now Facebook friends with the Wink/levoss twins.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 10-31-10 10:09 PM
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Oh, and I posted my costume-esque photo from last night to the Flickr group. Tonight I had on a flannel and the same Members Only jacket as last night and claimed to be a hipster lumberjack. "I cut down trees, but you've never heard of them."


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 10-31-10 10:13 PM
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141: Angelino Heights?


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 10-31-10 11:25 PM
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124: I did not know what that meant. So I found this and it is awesome.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 10-31-10 11:27 PM
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essear: My aunt and uncle aren't threatening to move out of the country, but they are equally as apocalyptic. Older people are the hardest hit by the Fox News/Tea Party epidemic. My uncle says that literally everyone he knows now listens to Glenn Beck and thinks Obama is a socialist. (The whole experience has pushed them further left -- they now describe themselves as "progressives", something I've never heard them say before.)


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 11- 1-10 1:08 AM
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I disappointed several children with my lack of candy

You should feel bad about that.

I work swing shift and don't have the seniority to have weekends off but I had a good time handing out glow sticks to loads of cheery little Mexican kids running around. They often address us as "police" which always cracks me up. "Hi police, do you have any more glow sticks? Thanks police!"


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 11- 1-10 2:14 AM
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Hallowe'en report: as well as Saturday night's RIM-toting zombie, we had several large groups of trick or treaters, who between them managed to consume an entire home-made chocolate cake in about 45 minutes. It was like a run on the bank. We got down to the last two squares of chocolate before the pressure eased.

Lots of groups in the streets, usually with a parent hovering about 10 feet behind in overwatch. In the impossibly chi-chi street a block or so away, essentially every house had a little file of kids outside with a painfully UMC parent reviewing them before setting out to eat the workers out of house and home.


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 11- 1-10 3:16 AM
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Actually, regarding the cake, I suspect they put the word out. "CAKE! CAKE! CAKE! AT NUMBER 58!"


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 11- 1-10 3:18 AM
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In our fairly chi-chi street, not one kid all night. Possibly because we were sitting at the back of the house; possibly because it was raining like you'd expect to see Noah's ark sailing past the window.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 11- 1-10 3:41 AM
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154: Didn't realize that Halloween was important in the UK.

Nobody comes to my building which is a 1950's apartment building with a small entrance. The houses and the condo developments with individual entrances are a much more attractive target for the kids.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 11- 1-10 5:17 AM
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Wait, the UK still lets children eat unwrapped, homemade Halloween treats? As far as I can tell, that ended in the US sometime during the panic over razor blades in apples. If it isn't hermetically sealed, you can't have it!

Pity, because I got some nice homemade treats as a child, and would love to hand them out myself if the parents on this street would allow their kids to eat them.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 11- 1-10 8:46 AM
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Didn't realize that Halloween was important in the UK.

It isn't. Guy Fawkes' Night is the big deal. But that never stopped anybody putting their hand out for a freebie.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 11- 1-10 8:51 AM
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As far as I can tell, that ended in the US sometime during the panic over razor blades in apples.

Which, AFAIRecall, literally never actually happened.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 1-10 8:58 AM
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And the whole 'trick or treat' issue can reliably annoy people. It reliably annoys me, and I'm not especially fuddy duddy about importing US culture.

The standard UK seasonal child-begging used to be the 'penny for the guy'.

http://www.icons.org.uk/theicons/collection/bonfire-night/features/a-penny-for-the-guy-in-progress


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 11- 1-10 9:01 AM
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I was never clear on how you could slip razor blades into apples without leaving a trace more easily than you could slip a razor blade into a mini-Snickers.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11- 1-10 9:05 AM
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160: It's just become perfectly clear to me that the razor blade in the apple story wasn't just some random urban legend. It was a plot by the candy companies! It's obvious!

Now I just need to find some proof.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 11- 1-10 9:10 AM
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159. Agreed. I'm not particularly happy about giving sugar to strangers' children, or about the children being encouraged to knock on strangers' doors to demand it. I suppose it's what you're used to.

In fact, I believe the "trick or treat" tradition originated in Britain and then died out. I suspect it would have been a whole different ball game in the 17th century.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 11- 1-10 9:10 AM
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159: When I reported to my mom that I had failed to acquire candy, she suggested I give the kiddos pennies and nickels, which she insisted was totally a thing people do. I have never heard of this thing. (I also had the exact same reaction as 156; so many childhood homemade Halloween treats gone to the trash and almost undoubtedly for naught.)


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 11- 1-10 9:13 AM
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162: "gruel or plague rats"?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11- 1-10 9:13 AM
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163: I certainly remember bags of pennies from when I was a little kid in the 70s -- but we all thought they sucked as bad as the toothbrushes and the apples.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 11- 1-10 9:15 AM
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I was thinking more like, "Hey, mister, are you going to give us an quart of ale or are we going to burn your ricks?" Offers you can't refuse.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 11- 1-10 9:15 AM
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It's just become perfectly clear to me that the razor blade in the apple story wasn't just some random urban legend. It was a plot by the candy companies! It's obvious!

No, seriously, I wouldn't be surprised on any level.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11- 1-10 9:17 AM
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In other Halloween news, I can confirm that the world remains an unjust place, as the totally hilarious and absurd giant pencil costume lost last night's costume contest, taking a distant second to the Freddie Mercury costume, which was just a shirtless dude with a fake mustache and a fur coat.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 11- 1-10 9:21 AM
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I actually think it hit with the Tylenol poisonings in 1982 -- tamperproof seals on everything were a reaction to that as well. I'd heard of 'razor blades in apples' before that, but that was when 'It'd be negligent to let your children eat anything from a stranger that wasn't commercially packaged' really became a norm.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 1-10 9:22 AM
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Unconsciously, I thought tamper-proof seals were so that you knew you were getting the full product, and some shmuck hadn't sampled some of your Tylenol in the grocery store. Or taken a pull off of your jug of orange juice.

I knew about the Tylenol poisonings, but I just never thought directly about the subject before.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11- 1-10 9:25 AM
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There were mercury spiked oranges, in the late 70s/early 80s. Which, oddly, I remember from the news at the time, even though I was a little kid. Presumably there was something about the horror of poisoned fruit that resonated.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 11- 1-10 9:27 AM
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168: You'd think Brian Williams would have something better to do so close to the election.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11- 1-10 9:29 AM
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171: Was that on Knifecrime Island, or in a civilized country?


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 11- 1-10 9:30 AM
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re: 173

Across much of Europe; they were Israeli oranges, spiked by a Palestinian group.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 11- 1-10 9:31 AM
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Presumably there was something about the horror of poisoned fruit that resonated.

It's got to be our inner Snow Whites.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11- 1-10 9:32 AM
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Well, you know, rotten tree and all that.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 11- 1-10 9:36 AM
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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E7wElVWGrM0

Mandala thing last year. I think it's on for today. High quality procrastination, I think.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 11- 1-10 9:38 AM
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So don't accept apples when trick-or-treating unless you know they're locally grown?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11- 1-10 9:38 AM
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Or actually, thinking about US history, maybe it's best not to eat any fruit at all.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11- 1-10 9:39 AM
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Or meat (obviously) or vegetables. Unless they're sustainably grown, local, and from a country without blood on its hands.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11- 1-10 9:39 AM
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I'm going to give away kittens next year. No one expects razor blades in their new kitten.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11- 1-10 9:40 AM
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The crops are all in and the peaches are rotting,
The oranges are piled in their creosote dumps


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 11- 1-10 9:41 AM
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181. They've got five on each foot.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 11- 1-10 9:41 AM
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178: I wouldn't be so sure. My recent apple-picking adventure taught me that the locally grown Fuji apples suck ass, and that the orchard people go in and pick all the good, saleable apples prior to opening things up to the hoi polloi.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 11- 1-10 9:41 AM
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184: well, right, because that land was stolen from indigenous people.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11- 1-10 9:43 AM
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I'm going to give away Ruben Blades CDs next year.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 11- 1-10 9:43 AM
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Now that I know the Queen in "Snow White" was an Israeli framed by Palestinian saboteurs, I feel disgust toward the dwarves for their giving aid and comfort to Rachel Snow Corrie White.


Posted by: Opinionated Grandpa | Link to this comment | 11- 1-10 9:45 AM
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Having a high quality scale between your office and the bathroom is kind of an invitation to do some science. Today: 1.4 kilograms.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11- 1-10 10:02 AM
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189

And the whole 'trick or treat' issue can reliably annoy people. It reliably annoys me, and I'm not especially fuddy duddy about importing US culture.
The standard UK seasonal child-begging used to be the 'penny for the guy'.

Really, ttaM? Kids didn't go guising in Falkirk? They did in Heroinopolis. The unspoken rule was that you had to perform (sing a song or something); just turning up in costume and asking for sweets was Not On.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 11- 1-10 10:03 AM
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re: 189

Yeah, actually, I suppose there was that come to think of it. Don't know why that slipped my mind. I remember the explicit association with a more Americanized conception of Halloween arriving with my sister and her friends [a couple of years younger], but yeah, guising. Shit. I'm getting senile.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 11- 1-10 10:06 AM
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188: It's probably a bad idea to bring your stash to work, let along openly using company property to weigh it.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 11- 1-10 10:14 AM
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er, along s/b alone


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 11- 1-10 10:15 AM
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191: assumes facts not in evidence.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11- 1-10 10:16 AM
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Yeah, a long, openly using company will likely take a cut for themselves.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 11- 1-10 10:16 AM
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I mean, if you didn't work in a cocaine distribution warehouse, why would you have a high quality scale?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11- 1-10 10:16 AM
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For teh science.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11- 1-10 10:18 AM
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Even a low-quality scale can help to assess the gravity of a situation.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 11- 1-10 10:22 AM
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Sure, and we may as well say pi = 3 while we're at it.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11- 1-10 10:24 AM
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"The Man Who Killed Halloween".

This is the case I remember, in part because I was in Houston not long afterward.

The 8-year-old Deer Park [suburb of Houston --JPS] boy died Oct. 31, 1974, after eating trick-or-treat candy laced with cyanide. Within days, his father, Ronald Clark O'Bryan, stood accused of staging the crime as part of a life insurance scheme.
Father convicted and executed in 1984.

The part that really cranked up the fear,
O'Bryan apparently was willing to go further, passing the poisoned Pixy Stix to at least four other children, including his 5-year-old daughter, Elizabeth. Miraculously, officers were able to retrieve the remaining tampered candy before any other children ingested it.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 11- 1-10 10:31 AM
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Anyway, Kobe.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 11- 1-10 10:33 AM
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198: 22/7 you ignoramus.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 11- 1-10 10:35 AM
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Pixy Stix would always go uneaten in my bag.

I feel like without that incident, there would have been some other hysteria trigger, though.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 11- 1-10 10:35 AM
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Particularly because it wasn't a random loony poisoning stranger kids with trick-or-treat candy, but a perfectly conventional intra-family murder.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 1-10 10:39 AM
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If any of you gets a Charleston Chew, I'm happy to eat it for you. I mean, to test for poison, is all.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 11- 1-10 10:43 AM
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202, 203: And no razor blade! Where did the razor blade come from?

Objectively, cyanide is scarier, but the fear of biting into a razor blade is probably more visceral.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 11- 1-10 10:49 AM
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148: Windsor Square.

On alternative Halloween practices, some of the kids (OK, the rich white kids) trick or treating last night refused to accept candy but instead carried a jar asking for donations to UNICEF. On the one hand, that's admirable. On the other hand, kid, just take the goddamn free Hershey bar like an ordinary American and don't make me fumble through my pockets for change.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 11- 1-10 10:52 AM
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206: Ahem. My non-rich little white kids trick-or-treated for UNICEF last night, as they have every Halloween. "Trick or treat for UNICEF!", they would say, and the obnoxious little friend they were out with would chime in loudly, "AND CANDY!"


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 11- 1-10 10:56 AM
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202, 203: Before I rant let me first say that yes I agree, the incident simply played into an existing trend of safety concerns and something else would have served.

But holy fuck shit is this wrong, but a perfectly conventional intra-family murder. You know, the kind where as part of the conventional intra-family murder where you give poisoned candy to three children from outside our family who stop by your house. The kind which got massive coverage at the time. So of course no need to worry about the random loony, just the homicidal guy down the block who might kill your children in an attempt to get at his own.

And to be clear this is certainly a different thing than what people fear, I am simply recalling it that it was a big deal at the time, and one which reinforced the growing narrative of poisoned Halloween candy (which already existed and clearly gave the guy the idea in the first place). Something that I will humbly submit is relevant to the motherfucking discussion in this motherfucking thread.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 11- 1-10 10:57 AM
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Late trick or treating report: took my son and his friends around the neighborhood (U.S. suburb, mixed homes and small apartments) last night. Way too much candy. Two homes offered home baked cookies in baggies. One elderrly woman gave out unwrapped apples late in the evening. The kids, sick of candy, started biting into the apples before they were off of the porch. So far no razor blades detected.


Posted by: unimaginative | Link to this comment | 11- 1-10 10:58 AM
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Where did the razor blade come from?

Wikipedia has 'em going all the way back to the Bronze Age, but, honestly, anyone can write stuff there, so we may never know.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 11- 1-10 11:00 AM
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We didn't see anybody with a UNICEF box. I did see a grown adult with a baby and a treat bag. She said she was collecting treats for the baby, which I assume was her fiction to get treats for herself. If not, I'm an accessory before the fact to giving a peanut butter cup to a six-month old baby.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11- 1-10 11:02 AM
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Speaking of Wikipedia, the article on poisoned candy is pretty good.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 11- 1-10 11:04 AM
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208: "Perfectly conventional" was hyperbolic (hypobolic? Under, rather than over, excited), but you know what I mean -- it was a father murdering his own kid, and putting other kids at risk to hide the crime, rather than someone actually just tossing poisoned candy out to random trick-or-treaters because it was an opportunity to poison children indiscriminately.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 1-10 11:04 AM
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,i>Wikipedia has 'em going all the way back to the Bronze Age, but, honestly, anyone can write stuff there, so we may never know.

Well, if people were trying to shave with flint flakes, I don't want to have to think about it.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 11- 1-10 11:05 AM
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I thought you were the one who was willing to not only think about, but actually try, shaving with pumice.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 1-10 11:06 AM
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It's revelatory of the great media bias in this country that Linda McMahon continues to get a free pass for her sordid role in putting Razor Ramon on a stage in front of actual children.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 11- 1-10 11:09 AM
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215. You can't cut yourself with pumice.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 11- 1-10 11:13 AM
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Also, for the benefit of parents with little ones: the Candy Witch is a great ruse. Child leaves most candy as an offering, wakes to find gifts from the Candy Witch. We've been doing it since they started trick-or-treating, and it was amazing how easy it was last night to convince them to give up nearly all of a huge Halloween haul. One small victory over the candy-industrial complex.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 11- 1-10 11:14 AM
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218: And then you eat all the candy!? How devious!


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 11- 1-10 11:16 AM
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207 -- Oh, I agree that collecting for UNICEF is probably the right thing to do, and I'm likely to do the same in a few years, once we can get beyond 5-6 houses worth of candy. Candy is pretty bad for kids and an orgy of candy is worse and it's better to collect money for charity etc. I will admit that charity instead of candy slightly offended my generally holiday-traditionalist views, as well as (where I was) pretty strongly highlighting class differences. As I noted above, there was an incredibly wide range of trick or treaters ranging from very wealthy kids to extremely poor adults obviously trying to outsource their dessert budget for a few months. No one with darker skin or from a poorer area held out the UNICEF can, for obvious reasons (i.e., if trick or treating actually looked more like institutionalized begging, it couldn't survive).


Posted by: robert halford | Link to this comment | 11- 1-10 11:18 AM
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217: Not if you aren't going to try.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11- 1-10 11:19 AM
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Don't you realize the Candy Witch will only use her haul to further fortify her house and entrap more children? Appeasement never works, Jesus.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 11- 1-10 11:19 AM
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And 218 is pure genius.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 11- 1-10 11:21 AM
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No Unicef cans here at all. But "the heart of it all" is a very confused place -- trick or treating was on Thursday night. I do remember the refrain from when I was a kid, went, "Trick or Treat and Unicef!"


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 11- 1-10 11:26 AM
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219: I give it to my wife to leave in the teacher's lounge at her school. It's win-win-win, except maybe for her colleagues who eat the crap.

220: True, it's a little complicated. They hold up the UNICEF boxes along with their candy bags, and the typical response is, "Oh (as in, I wasn't prepared for that, and it's kind of inconvenient, but I suppose I should look for some change), hang on a minute." But we're training the neighbors to have change handy on Halloween.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 11- 1-10 11:28 AM
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You can't cut yourself with pumice.

Au contraire.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 11- 1-10 11:30 AM
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218 is pure genius.

Agreed. My parents used to do a sort of buyback with a per-piece-of-candy rate. Less magical, but we were cool with the (minor) influx of cash.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 11- 1-10 12:12 PM
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||

My phone just tried to auto-correct my text message to "wamhat". I'm not sure what a wamhat is, but I think I would wear one.

|>


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 11- 1-10 12:23 PM
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My phone always tries to auto-complete "see" to "see...mexican". I kind of love it, but I fear it will go extinct since that's rarely what I actually wanted to say.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11- 1-10 12:42 PM
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My nieces and nephew were the only UNICEF collectors who came to my door last night. When I was a kid, we always carried UNICEF boxes and just assumed we'd get both candy and change. I'm sure some people only gave us one or the other, but I don't remember it being a big deal. We managed to get plenty of each.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 11- 1-10 12:43 PM
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I wonder if the UNICEF kids ever encounter some of the out-of-the-UN nutballs. Because that might be awkward.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 11- 1-10 12:47 PM
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I think UNICEF was generally more well known then (the mid- to late 70's), even if people weren't expecting to be asked for donations on Halloween.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 11- 1-10 12:48 PM
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231: That house is probably sandwiched between one that gives out anti-Halloween tracts and one that gives out toothbrushes.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 11- 1-10 12:50 PM
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232: Better known and non-controversial I think. At some point I believe there was a backlash againt UNICEF, partly due to people confusing it with UNESCO.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 11- 1-10 12:54 PM
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When I dumped my last card but one, I said "UNESCO." This started a huge debate about whether or not I had to take two extra cards.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11- 1-10 12:59 PM
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Seems like you've got a built-in escape.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 11- 1-10 1:03 PM
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Last night's take: $15.82, so according to the UNICEF boxes, drinking water for 264 kids or school supplies for 7. Take that, candy-industrial complex.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 11- 1-10 1:03 PM
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Last night's take: $15.82, so according to the UNICEF boxes, drinking water for 264 kids or school supplies for 7 Twizzlers, hooray!


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 11- 1-10 1:11 PM
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