Can a show be “too gay?”

Remember that show that ABC was supposed to show last year, about the families in Austin, Texas who had to choose between six other families for the right to live among them? And then ABC suddenly pulled the show ten days before its premiere because it was deemed “too controversial” because of the homophobic and racist comments that came out as a result of choosing between African-American, Hispanic, Korean, Wiccan and gay familes?

Turns out the gay couple with the African-American child won. And now the producers and some of the participants are calling ABC chickenshit for failing to show the whole thing, which turns out to be about tolerance and understanding in the end.

Unfortunately, it’s about tolerance and understanding of a family with two dads who love each other “in a weird kind of hot-tub love, with no chicks in the hot tub.”

Why did ABC pull it? Could it be because its owner, Disney, was courting two fundamentalist Christian groups to come out in droves to see “The Chronicles of Narnia” and they were afraid a show that featured a gay couple in a positive light may not be what he Southern Baptist Convention and Focus on the Family would consider family programming? ABC says that’s ludicrous. The two groups, which called off boycotts of Disney a week before they cancelled the series, called the show “a pretty stupid marketing move.”

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Because comedy is “someone else’s pain”

I know I shouldn’t laugh at this, but I just can’t help myself.

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Faster pipes, sponsored by Amazon

In the neverending battle to get faster Internet access to your house, the titans wielding the fiber are proposing an interesting alternative to higher fees for you and me.

Instead of that, why not charge information providers more if they want to pump their ads, bargains and data into your computer faster than the competition?

In other words, what if Amazon started paying Verizon et al a premium to deliver their IP addresses to you faster than eBay? Would that alter who you go to first for that bargain baby buggy, or would you still seek out the lowest price even if it took you a little longer to get there?

Bigger question: With the end of network neutrality, how does a new company hope to compete with the big boys who’s yachts are already in the water? If Yahoo! wants to start shoving broadband video-on-demand at you and they’ll pay AT&T more for the priviledge, do you care who you’re getting information from if it’s also taking bandwidth away from someone else?

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Eating underground

Another thing I had no idea was going on but suddenly now, knowing about it, it all makes perfect sense, particularly in this city of anti-establishment DIY everything: the underground restaurant.

All over the Bay Area, people are opening up their living rooms and inviting small groups in to serve them meals, sans the usual restaurant trappings like regular business hours, long menus, and health code violations. For $30, patrons at Ghetto Gourmet in Oakland get a 4-course prix fixe meal that may include an afterdinner dance with your host and chef, followed by a short trek to the local bar for drinks.

The bistro owners face possible fines and loss of their “business” if the local regulators find out what’s up, but for the most part these pop-up restaurants operate without a license and without a problem — the only problem is for the potential patron to figure out how to get an invitation.

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Kushner on “Munich” and the morality of terrorism

‘Contradiction in human affairs, such as the possibility that injustice can drive people to do horrible things, is routinely deplored and dismissed in these troubled times as just another example of the naivete of the morally weak (a.k.a. liberals and progressives). But there will always be pesky people who, when horrific crimes are committed, insist on asking, “Why did that happen?”

‘This is a great annoyance to the up-and-at-’em crowd, whose unshakable conviction is that the only sane and effective response to terrorism is savage violence commensurate with the original act. To justify this conviction they offer, as so many of the political critics of “Munich” have done, tautologies on the order of “evil deeds are done by evil people who do evil deeds because that’s what evil people do.” If that’s helpful to you as a tool for understanding terrorism, you won’t like “Munich.”‘

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Yeah I know, but the guy in front kills me

I also really admire the guy in back trying to get some work done and/or view some online porn while these guys perform. It’s all good.

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I haven’t been to the South by Southwest Conference for a couple of years, and I’m starting to think it’s time for a return.

Of course, I don’t actually want to attend the conference, which usually consists of a lot of talking heads trying to sound interesting in the face of subject matter that’s anything but — and I should know, because I’ve sat a panel or two and know what it’s like to have all those glassy-eyed audience members IMing each other as you try to convince them that design really is fun and interesting, which it is but only to other designers and mostly they all wonder how the fuck you ended up sitting on the panel instead of them.

The reasons to go to SXSW are not to learn anything new, since there is nothing new to learn unles you’re curious about huge healines and rounded corners and RSS and using your iPod to listen to people who sit around and type all day talk about sitting around and typing all day instead. No, the reasons to go are A) to get drunk as often as possible, hopefully at someone else’s expense and B) to hook up with someone new and interesting that you may never see again and see them naked because, hey, why not, you’re drunk.

So… should I go? Who is going? Keep in mind that I’m twice as old as the average SXSWer, I don’t like C&W music or bars, I am currently unattached so I can have as much sex as I want to with as many willing partners as are willing to partner, and I’m unemployed and mostly broke.

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The essense of blogging

I have to say that I love Choire’s latest web site design.

Minimalism has always been Google’s forte on the Web, but I think Mr. Sicha may be making a grab for that silver ring by paring his posts down to the barest of bare, sans headline, sans explanation, and in some cases sans words.

Kudos, Choire! Have a granola snack on me!

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Keeping up with the Hassans

What do you know about Dubai? Do you know where it is, or what’s going on there, or that it’s become the center of the big ticket item world by building such dreamlike constructions as the Burj Al Arab Hotel (every room includes a butler) and Ski Dubai, a 25-story indoor winter festival complete with black diamond ski runs and real snow falling from the ceiling?

Dubai is an oil-rich, real estate-rich, super-rich-rich finger of land in the middle east where they’re not just embracing the American Way of Excess, they’re ladeling gravy on top of it and shovelling it by the truckload all over the desert. This is Las Vegas on steroids. This is the New York skyline without the urine stench.

And opening in 2007 is the world’s newest tallest building, the Burj Dubai, at 160 stories big. If you think the middle east is just bombs, burkas and big beards… think again.

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Neighbor from hell

You think you’ve got problems?

Consider the neighbors of Don Bertone, who played police radio broadcasts, Spanish dance tunes and “shrill oscillating tones” at all hours of the day and night on external speakers in his yard, hooked up floodlights and six cameras to monitor his neighbors on four video screens, lined his fences with barbed wire, boarded up his windows with black-painted plywood and stacked milk crates and wooden pallets on one side of his roof.

Why did he do all this? He was being harrassed! The neighbors and police wouldn’t let him be, so in an ever-growing circle of irony, the more he felt harrassed, the more he harrassed back.

He’s in jail now. Seems that in addition to the above, Don also liked to collect firearms. And 3,000 rounds of ammunition.

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