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Wednesday, January 21, 2009

A few midday links.

* There's a new viral site for Watchmen with links to background ephemera created for the film. I'm getting excited for this one despite myself. Via Candleblog.

* Bookninja considers Elizabeth Alexander's inaugural poem, with links to other negative reviews at the Guardian, L.A. Times, the Times of London, and Seattle's Post-Intelligencer. I thought it was okay, if not quite up to its moment, and in any event there were parts of it I quite liked to hear said:

Sing the names of the dead who brought us here,
who laid the train tracks, raised the bridges,
picked the cotton and the lettuce, built
brick by brick the glittering edifices
they would then keep clean and work inside of.
I'm sure it reminded more than one Springsteenphile of his song "American Land."
The McNicholas, the Posalski's, the Smiths, Zerillis, too
The Blacks, the Irish, Italians, the Germans and the Jews
Come across the water a thousand miles from home
With nothin in their bellies but the fire down below

They died building the railroads worked to bones and skin
They died in the fields and factories names scattered in the wind
They died to get here a hundred years ago they're still dyin now
The hands that built the country were always trying to keep down
* It turns out Dirk Benedict is sort of totally crazy.
There was a time, I know I was there, when men were men, women were women and sometimes a cigar was just a good smoke. But 40 years of feminism have taken their toll. The war against masculinity has been won. Everything has turned into its opposite, so that what was once flirting and smoking is now sexual harassment and criminal. And everyone is more lonely and miserable as a result.
Uh..... huh.

* China censors parts Of Obama's speech. What's more, they did it in a weirdly self-conscious, self-aware way:
At one point, Obama said earlier generations "faced down communism and fascism not just with missiles and tanks, but with sturdy alliances and enduring convictions." He later addressed "those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent—know that you are on the wrong side of history."

The Chinese translation of the speech, credited to the Web site of the official China Daily newspaper, was missing the word "communism" in the first sentence. The paragraph with the sentence on dissent had been removed entirely.
A little too on the nose.

* And the first press release from the Obama administration has been released.
At 8:35 AM, the President arrived in the Oval Office and spent 10 minutes alone in the office. He read the note left to him by President Bush that was in an envelope marked “To: #44, From: #43”. At 8:45 AM, White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel came in to discuss the schedule of today’s events. The First Lady came into the Oval Office at 9:10 AM. We will release a picture shortly.
Oh, to get one's hands on that note.