Stay Free! | March 21

Carrie McLaren carrie at
Fri Mar 21 11:01:00 EST 2003

Man, this war stuff is so depressing. All I seem to read about in the 
business press is how much advertising will be lost. Many 
corporations plan to keep commercials off the air for the first few 
days of bombing... after which they will trickle back in as 
circumstance warrant. What I can never figure out is -- If it's 
tasteless to run commercials the first week of bombing why isn't it 
tasteless them the second or third week?

Everyone expects the networks to return to business as usual soon. No 
one wants to be tacky but, hey, the show must go on. So ABC will 
broadcast the Academy Awards as planned but the celebrities will be 
sure to "dress down." Even that small concession has some fans riled. 
An editorial on the front of reads:

<< It is shameful to deny us (the fans) that only opportunity into 
the dream factory just because some celebrities feel unease about the 
situation in Iraq - there is always strife going on somewhere in the 
Globe and this one is not more important than the others. It is 
cowardly to deny people enjoyment of that brief moment of fantasy -- 
which is what the Oscars are about. >>>

I hear echoes of this sentiment from students complaining about 
cancelled school trips, from sports fans worried about the fate of 
ball games. If it were up to me, I'd cancel it all: the commercials, 
the Oscars, the ball games, school outings, the spring break trips -- 
even if there's no apparent reason to. Traffic in Manhattan is said 
to be a nightmare now. Good! I say barricade the streets, forbid 
right turns on red, bring traffic to a standstill!

These petty annoyances are all some of us have to keep from 
forgetting what our government is doing in Iraq. We need to feel 
uncomfortable. Every hour, every day.



I recently had the pleasure of sitting in on a "contagious media" 
course taught by Jonah Peretti, co-creator of the very fine As part of a class project, some of his 
students presented this site, which some of you may appreciate:

If you're looking for photos of scantily clad women loosing control 
of their bowels, you're in luck! Lots of vomiting, too. This parody 
probably won't be up for long, so if the link stops working, chalk up 
another victory for the trademark police. (the bastards!)



On Thursday, April 10, New York University shall present the 6th 
Annual Schmio Awards, wherein critics, comics, and carping eggheads 
(including yours truly) will present awards for the worst in 
commercialized culture: in-your-face war-marketing, promotional 
carpet-bombing, take-no-prisoners corporate propaganda,
and plain old-fashioned jingoism.

Presenters & performers include:

    (MC) Mark Crispin Miller
    Carrie McLaren of Stay Free! magazine
    Gulf War Vet Charles Sheehan-Miles
    Chelsea and Jonah Peretti of
    La Lutta New Media Collective
    Radical Cheerleaders from the Children's Media Project
    Robin Andersen

    and more!

Sakland Auditorium, 7:30 pm
421 First Avenue (at East 24th Street)
Tickets are $5 for students, $10 general admission. Arrive early 
because it always sells out. For more info: Schmios2003 at


In light of the protests going on tomorrow, here are some of my picks:


* How did our oil get under their water?
* Have another pretzel, asshole
* A village in Texas has lost its idiot
* Re-elect Carter [ one of my favorites 'cos it was mine!]
* Another Feitelberg against the War [ my friend Amy Feitelberg ]

happy weekend,

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