Monday, July 14, 2008

Victory Lap

So, the candidate this blog tacitly approved of became the presumptive Democrat nominee.

And the reason why, I think, has more to do with one factor than any other.

No, not race (or...actually...a seeming lack thereof), or sunny optimism. Not sweeping oratorical skills, either. And, no, not even liberal politics in the middle of a Democratic revival.

I think Obama's ascension has the most to do with his age.

Now, I'm not discounting all the other things, because those clearly helped immeasurably...but the real challenge is explaining how "lack of experience" didn't knock him out of contention in Round One. But consider -- what's the one thing that could simultaneously explain away "lack of experience" and (in the right light) be an asset?

By way of explanation, I've been a little generation focused these last few weeks thanks to this book (thanks KK!). Granted, the author is making a case for Generation X relevancy, while hating on the Boomers (like my Ma and Pa -- for being lasped hippies who've sold everyone out for a coupla dollars more while shameless peddling thier sixties mantras like they still mean something) and the Millennials (like myself {and, if you're reading this, probably you} -- who the author claims are too wrapped up in the superconnected, monoculture, narcissistic consumerist world our Boomer parents left us to care a lick about anything bigger than ourselves). Needless to say, he namechecks Obama as an uber X-er.

Now, I'm not going to necessarily go down the whole road with him, because I (for one) haven't written off everyone born between the mid-seventies and mid-nineties as ineffectual quite yet. But I do whole heartedly agree that Boomers have lost almost all moral authority. Consider most of our government has been ruled by these Boomers for at least a decade and a half. And all of them are feeling either slightly guilty or slightly ashamed. Consider our last two presidents -- Bill essentially ran his campaign as a modern hippie, yet once in office was the most pro-business, centrist democrat ever. Dubya ran as a straight-laced conservative who would bring true morals back to White House, yet back in the day was a hard partying boozer with an inferiority complex (whose psychodrama continues to play out on the world stage). Neither was quite the straight shooter they pretended to be. Both of thier narratives, in fact, contained huge shifts in points of view. Bill was the college radical made straight. Dubya was the partyboy made straight. Neither actually believed anything then...and probably still not now.

Compare, please, to Barack Obama.

Read his race speech. (In essence, that's pretty much all I need to say on the subject).

If you were like me, prior to that, you didn't even believe politics could be played like that in the United States. You're ear for political discourse had become so atrophied you didn't believe there could even exist (in the words of Mr. Stewart) a candidate who speaks to the American people "like they're grown ups." Barack, in that speech, was balls out. What he believes isn't pretty and gussied up -- the way an individual in the middle of generationwide realligning of values has to be. He's open, saying here I am and here is the way it is. If you're going to argue against me, you're going to have to argue on substance, not on keywords and catchphrases.

Obama knows that the thing that trumps experience is judgement...and to any generation born post-1960, judgement rings true when presented with honesty. Intellectual honesty. Boomers don't know how to do that. They don't because their entire generation is built on a huge lie -- the lie of peace and love and all that bullshit -- which clearly no longer exists. Boomers are the reason we have Celestial Seasonings and carbon credits and Whole Foods (and from the other side, things that sound 60's friendly, like Compassionate Conservatism and No Child Left Behind and the notion of "evildoers"). The sold out concepts of hippie idealism, repackaged for 2008.

Fortunately for us, that shit don't cut the mustard no more.

Now, there's alot of them out there . . . but they don't have a pony in this race. They (ha ha!) have been put into the position of voting for their parents or their offspring. I don't, unfortunately, have much faith in them. But they've been in control of politics in this country for 16 years. It's not a force to take lightly. On the flipside, there's clearly enough in us to win this election. The truth is, as time goes on, we've got alot more at stake. Let's make it happen.

(PS -- Yes, I made some broad generational generalizations. Of course I don't believe that about every member of said generation. Sorry if you're offended, Mom. {I know you're not a hippy.})

(PPS -- I don't think my Mom reads this.)

(PPPS -- I hope not.)

Barack on a bumper car image from The Big Picture which you should check out if you enjoy bright shiny things.

Without Further Comment #19 ("OK, Done!" edition)

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Couple of Thoughts

1) On an American Airlines flight a couple of weeks ago, I heard the stupidest thing ever:
At this time, you must discontinue the use of all electronic devices. You may continue to use your cellular phones.

And then, after my head was a perpetual state of nearly exploding for 72 hours after hearing those two sentences in the same breath -- they said the exact same thing on the way back.

2) Mr. J. Cohen has begun blogging about the candidate this blog tacitly approves of over at Things Worth Reading. He wasn't lying in the title there kids.

3) And lastly, it feels great to be on the forefront of news. You may have read this on Gothamist -- rest assured, Staying West broke this anal leakage story wide open more than a year ago.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Hasn't He Suffered Enough?

This story is all too tragic...and all to familiar. A bright light diminished before it's time, in the prime of it's youth. Because of Heath Ledger's recent passing:

Production on Heath's most recent film, the Terri Gilliam-directed The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, has been shut down.

When will God stop punishing this man? I mean, for Chrissakes, the same untimely ends happen to his legimate film projects as happen to my ideas for screenplays while they are still rolling around inside my head. The man cannot catch a break.

Rest In Peace

...another Gilliam film taken from us before it's time.

(via Perez)

Thursday, January 03, 2008

A Special Thank You... Staying West's Iowa readers, who clearly took this to heart:

(Of course, the Iowa caucus is pure bunk. But ya gotta start somewhere.)

Friday, December 21, 2007

Made from the best design on earth

This has got to be the stupidest business decision I've seen in a while:
I can spot a Snapple in a deli fridge among all the other finely-designed, colorfully-labeled bottles: I can do a quick scan for that weird sun that shows up in the iced teas, or the checkered or otherwise patterned cap, or, of course, the angled logo — but, unfortunately, it looks like all those recognizable traits and quick identifiers (for me at least) will soon be gone. In their place, a very slick look will replace this idiosyncratic brand, blurring the distinction between it and all those other nondescript bottles. Sigh.

The old Snapple labels were what my good friend Mario would refer to as a "hot mess". The bottles were ridiculous looking -- every one of them. Snapple was the Ben and Jerry's of sugar water....but B+J's cartons still look exactly as folksy and handdrawn as they have for years. And that was part of what made you actually think you were drinking something resembling a fruit-stand fresh drink blend....and not something mixed in a vat off the Turnpike. The new labels look exactly like the latter image. This blandness is the deathknell of the identifiable brand.

I predict racks of Snapple will be greatly reduced, or altogether gone from bodega shelves, in 5 years. It's that bad a miscalculation.

(Brand New: Twenty Degrees of Separation)

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Recession Special

When you read stories like this.....(go on, read it, I'll wait) can't help but agree with my good friend Dr. Grey:

I mean, here's an issue that would mostly be ignored by the political establishment. And if it was addressed, the Republicans would offer huge tax breaks to some ConAgra backed supermarket to bulldoze a couple of blocks of fix-me-up townhouses and build a big box grocery version of the vomit inducing Atlantic Center. Democrats, on the other hand, faced with the same problem would spend gazillions of dollars on academic studies and then decide to open a "community center" with a big mural and cooking classes -- and bulletproof glass and no funding in a couple of years. Both would be seen as abject failures.

Now I realize Bloomie's a capitalist through and through. That could be a bad thing -- but on many issues he seems to be thinking about everybody's economic best interests. The poorer citizens can open businesses. The neighbors of poorer communities get produce without having to spend the precious commodity of time to procure it. The only folks who don't profit from this -- are supermarkets.

I mean -- think about it. Actually helping two distinct groups of constituents with one stone....without involving big business or big government. It's kind of amazing.

Free hot dogs on inauguration day would only be the beginning.

(pic from this guy's flickr stream)

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Without Further Comment #18 (Chance for Confusion edition)

(Greenpoint, Brooklyn)

Friday, December 07, 2007

No Subject

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Not Like This Post is Going to Help Any

Results of the Blog Readability Test:

    Records I Buy: High School Level
    Random Access Babble: High School Level

    Gothamist: Junior High Level

    Staying West: Elementary School Level

    Drunken Stepfather: Genius level

(Drunken Stepfather is totally NSFW, by the way)

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Stop the Insanity

Here in New York, we don't really feel like we have much sway in the election. The city and the state are so blue, what we do doesn't seem to matter. We're watching Florida and Ohio and Pennsylvania holding our breaths, hoping they do the right thing.

But there is something we can do to affect November 2008, and we need to start doing it now.

Can we, collectively, this time, at least make it easy for those all important swing states to do the right thing? Can we, all together now, agree to not nominate Hillary Rodham Clinton as the Democratic candidate?

If Clinton does become the candidate, the likelihood of another Kerry or Gore type narrow defeat seems all too real. That, by the way, would be the best case scenario. The likelihood of all out landslide by something like the Huckabee/Thompson ticket seems almost assured.

Plenty of people like Hillary. I actually think she'd make a fantastic president and would be a great "first woman Commander in Chief." And, I wish, like most things in life, you could just vote with your gut and be morally pure and actaully go into the voting booth and choose the person who you think would do the best job.

Unfortunately, this is primary politics and not Oscar balloting -- it's not a meritocracy.

The choice of candidate this time needs to be completely overshadowed by electability. It's either the Democrats come up with a candidate who can win the electoral college, or we're on the fast track for 12 straight years of Republican rule. Now, the cult of "electability" got the Dems into trouble before -- that's why we were stuck with Kerry as a candidate in 2004. However, I'd say the crop of '08 is a little stronger than '04, more polished and spitshined. This time, we're not going for "blandness" (as seemed to be Kerry's biggest advantage versus the presumed frontrunner, Howard Dean).

What this is all leading up are these numbers:

H. Clinton     Favorable Unfavorable

    Republicans    11%     84%
    Democrats      79%     13%

B. Obama
    Republicans    37%     35%
    Democrats      57%     18%

The democrat numbers are just in there for reference and balance. The thing to look at are the Republican numbers. Republicans are shaky right now -- their party as clearly lost it's way -- not all registered Republicans are going to vote down party lines. But, by looking at these numbers, you can tell they're sure as hell not going to vote for Hil, either. More than 4 out of 5 registered Republicans have made up their mind -- they have an unfavorable view of Clinton -- and will definitely not cross party lines to vote for her.

But, Barack -- one third don't like him (fair enough, one third of Americans still think Bush is doing a superlative job), one third like him and one third are ambivalent. Up to two thirds of Republicans are at least open to voting for Obama. I'd much prefer my chances with those numbers going into November '08.

Here's what it all comes down to: Hillary is simply too polarizing to play in the flyover states. Regardless of what you think about her, or what she would stand for, I think ending Republican control of the executive at this point in history trumps all other concerns. And I'm not saying Obama should be the candidate -- I'm just saying Hillary shoudn't be.

Most Americans are good people and want to do the right thing -- let's make it easy for them to do the right thing this time.

December Updata

So, for the past few weeks I've had two posts I've been working on, neither of which I can seem to finish. One is called "Fuck San Francisco", the other is called "Fuck the Writers" (those being the striking writers, if you couldn't guess). They're really gonna be great screeds, I promise. Unfortunately, finishing them....or even making them coherent has been difficult. So, I've decided that maybe I just shouldn't be "fucking" anybody for the time being (too Gawkerish, maybe?). Need to get back on a positive note. So instead let me tell you about something I genuinely like and won't be snarky about:




Fuck. Can't do it.

Monday, November 12, 2007

I'm Prescient

Seventeen entertainment blogs—among them Televisionary, Give Me My Remote and Glowy Box—will go dark Tuesday, replacing their sites with WGA solidarity statements.

"Some people thought we'd be against the writers because our favorite shows are going away, but we wanted to show that some things are more important than a few shows airing full season," says Glowy Box blogger Liz Pardue, who organized tomorrow's "blog strike." "There needs to be an education effort made and we're trying to do our part."

I hope that last three months of Staying West's "blog strike" taught you a valuable lesson about not under-appreciating your hardworking CSI: Miami writers! See, I knew these dark days of picketing television writers were coming, so I started my political action early. I know the silence of Staying West's witty commentary has hurt you almost as much as the silence of Leno's nightly monologue these last couple of days -- but how else are we going to teach those Hollywood titans a lesson? The only way they will listen is if we stop producing the only thing more dear to millions of Americans than nightly television: the thoughts of unemployed Brooklynites!

Sorry, but it had to be done.

(Strikers Gain Fan Support)


Staying West's cleansing time in the wilderness is over.

But don't worry, I've been like a friggin' squirrel hiding away my grumbles/bitches/moans in the hollowed out tree that is the rear of my cranium, waiting for a time much like....this.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Saturday the Ninth

Saturday, June 9
at 3:30pm
AMC Loews 34th St @8th ave

Five years of shooting, a year and a half of editing and now it's premiering -- be there, damnit!