How Dallas Won the Cold War

dallas_feature_long_imageRemember the prime-time soap opera from the 1980s about a wealthy Texas family in the oil business? “Dallas” has been off the air for 20 years but it’s still considered one of the most successful television shows in history. Studio 360 listener Laura Detre nominated “Dallas” on our American Icons website, and we liked her idea so much, we sent Julia Barton to Southfork Ranch (and beyond) to understand how Dallas changed the way the world sees America.

“We wanted to believe that people live in skyscrapers and have beautiful cars and everything is shiny and glamorous.” — director Jaak Kilmi, on watching “Dallas” in Soviet Estonia

Full deal here.

Superman Classic: Fan Love

This is great. Guy did old school animation set to the music from the 1940s Kirk Allyn-era Superman serials, and got John Newton (1980s TV Superboy) to do the voice work.

It’s a minute of action followed by a minute plus of cool background stuff.

But I Don’t Want to Be A Pirate ‘Patriotic’

(Headline hint: Seinfeld, puffy shirt)

This is Why I Love Christopher Hitchens

Fat Boy Avoids Ridicule By Wearing T-Shirt While Swimming

Thank you, The Onion.

Robin Hood: Not a Socialist, You Know

I never understood why anyone thought Robin Hood was some kind of socialist. He robbed from the tax collectors and gave the money back to the people who earned it. But Cathy Young goes even further, saying the Ridley Scott libertarian Robin Hood is the closest thing to the original legend we’ve seen.

The Ridley Scott film Robin Hood has drawn some critics’ political ire. In The Village Voice, Karina Longworth laments that “instead of robbing from the rich to give to the poor, this Robin Hood preaches about ‘liberty’ and the rights of the individual” and battles against “government greed.” New York Times critic A.O. Scott strikes a similar note, mocking the movie as a “medieval tea party” and declaring: “You may have heard that Robin Hood stole from the rich and gave to the poor, but that was just liberal media propaganda. This Robin is…a manly libertarian rebel striking out against high taxes and a big government scheme to trample the ancient liberties of property owners and provincial nobles.”

Whatever you may think of Scott’s newest incarnation of the Robin Hood legend, it is more than a little troubling to see alleged liberals speaking of liberty and individual rights in a tone of sarcastic dismissal. This is especially ironic since the Robin Hood of myth and folklore probably has much more in common with the “libertarian rebel” played by Russell Crowe than the medieval socialist of the “rob from the rich, give to the poor” cliché. At heart, the noble-outlaw legend that has captured the human imagination for centuries is about freedom, not redistribution, a fact that is reflected in many previous screen versions of the Robin Hood story.

The earliest Robin Hood ballads, which date back to the 13th or 14th century, contain no mention of robbing the rich to give to the poor. The one person Robin assists financially is a knight who is about to lose his lands to the machinations of greedy and unscrupulous monks at an abbey. (Corrupt clerics using the political power of the Church are among Robin Hood’s frequent targets in the ballads.) The Sheriff of Nottingham is Robin’s chief opponent; at the time, it was the sheriffs’ role as tax collectors in particular that made them objects of popular loathing. Robin Hood is also frequently shown helping men who face barbaric punishments for hunting in the royal forests, a pursuit that was permitted to English nobles but strictly forbidden to the lower classes. In other words, he opposes privilege bestowed by political power rather than earned wealth.

Read the rest here.

Net Find O The Day

The Female Privilege Checklist (courtesy mepersoner)

1) Due to anti-discrimination laws, if I compete against a man for a job, all other things equal, I’ll get the job because it’ll look good on paper.

2) I can use sex appeal to get practically anything I want from any male at any time.

3) If somebody says something derogatory towards my partner, I will not be expected to fight that person.

4) If I hit a man and he hits me back – he’ll get the jail time.

5) I can sexually harass men as much as I want, and if they complain they’re gay.

6) If I ever rape a man, he won’t say anything for fear of being labeled a pussy. If he does say something, he’ll probably just be laughed at.

7) If I ever beat up a man, he won’t say anything for fear of being labeled a pussy. If he does say something, he’ll probably just be laughed at.

8 ) If he doesn’t orgasm when we have sex, it’s his fault.

9) If I don’t orgasm when we have sex, it’s his fault.

10) I’m in charge in the relationship regardless of what any book says.

11) If I have kids and split from the father, I’ll get the kids.

12) …and he’ll have to pay me.

13) If I pursue a career I’m commended as being an empowered female.

14) Anytime I do well in business, the media will look at me as some messiah because I’m a woman. Everyone will be impressed.

15) My parents were more loving to me and harder on my brothers.

16) As a child I was taught necessary skills to survive in the world on my own, such as better communication skills and the ability to make food.

17) If I cry everyone huddles around and hugs me, telling me to feel better.

18) If I get angry or sad, I can blame it on it being “that time of the month.” Everyone will understand.

19) Worst case scenario I need to lose some weight and use makeup to be attractive, unlike guys who are either attractive or they aren’t.

20) If I like to spend money, it’s expected.

21) If I have sex with a lot of people, I maybe labeled a slut, but that just means more people will try to have sex with me.

22) There is a wide variety of different styles and types of clothing available to me. Same goes for jewelery and perfumes.

23) I’m taught the skills necessary to make it on my own, but that it’s okay to rely on others – unlike a males who generally aren’t taught to even cook and that they must compete over every last little thing. If they lose, they’re lesser men.

24) If a crime is committed against me, the punishment will always be worse than it would be for committing it against a man.

25) Regardless of how much or how little I do around the house, I can nag my boyfriend/husband for not doing enough and he’ll put up with it.

26) If I get pregnant, regardless of what the father wants, I can choose to abort the child or not abort the child.

27) If I make more money than my husband, people will think more of me and less of him.

28) If I look down I can expect everyone, even complete strangers, to care and tell me to cheer up or smile. They’ll do little extra things to try and make me feel better.

29) If I don’t want to have sex early on, people don’t wonder if I’m gay.

30) I have the privilege of being fully aware of these advantages, and I use them in excess.

Define Pathetic

Here it is.

The great love of my life marries today and I am not the groom. I had my chance, a few years ago, but did not realize until too late how fleeting my moment with her was meant to be. Whether it was my fault or hers, and, let’s face it, it was probably mine, I will wonder always about the life I might have had with the most loving and loveable woman I have ever known. Sometimes, I finally now understand, love, even crazy love, is not enough. Sometimes, as the romance novelists know, timing is everything.

But today is not a day for remorse. It is not a day for lost causes. Today is a day for celebration. The woman I once promised to keep happy is happy. She tells me she is marrying a wonderful man, with a good heart, whom she believes I would have liked had we met in different circumstances. She lives where she wants to live. She has selected her life’s path. All that is left for me to do is to wish her well and to hope that she has made the right choice; that she continues to find in him what she did not find in me. And I am sure he considers himself today the luckiest man on the face of the Earth.

The present I humbly send her today is this column; this public note, this irrevocable display of affection and support and gratitude; this worldly absolution from any guilt or sadness she felt between the time she said no to me and the time she said yes to him. No one ought to have to carry that with them into a marriage. I showered her with as much love as I could muster when we were together. I still love her and always will. So I am only too happy to offer my toast to her now, one more time, before she takes her vows.

Full column here.

Seriously, this is the most cringe inducing thing I’ve read since the last Tom Friedman column. What a wimp.

About That Gaza Flotilla Raid

Awesome: A Card That John Wiley Price Would Love

As my friend Tim Rogers once said: not every black person is brilliant.


Blast from the past