Friday, May 30, 2008

Snark and the City, Scotty's True Confessions and Rachael's Fashion Faux Pas

A four-day week means, sadly, just as much work for us. But we toil for you, fair reader.


At LONG last, the primary season is ending... with a whimper. While the last voters prepare to weigh in (Puerto Rico, Montana, New Mexico and South Dakota, locales unaccustomed to the current flurry of candidate attention), the DNC's Rules and Bylaws Panel will meet Saturday to sort out the Michigan and Florida meshuggahs. Though the Obama campaign has urged followers not to protest the meeting, watch for grassroots stirring in both camps.

Pharma-giant Pfizer launched a PR blitz this week, with full-page ads in the majors, to defend the anti-smoking drug Chantix. It's been linked to neuropsychiatric side effects, but so what? The biggest push comes next Thursday, June 5, when Pfizer kicks off a series of roundtables with medical correspondents in America's top five media markets. Expect this story to explode as the press smells blood. Pfizer usually wins these fights, but it doesn't make the back-and-forth flackery fireworks any less spectacular.

The climate-change debate heats up (thanks, you're too kind) in Congress next week with the introduction of the Lieberman-Warner "Climate Security Act." The right wing is sinking big bucks into ad buys for the kill. It will be a rough-and-tumble week for enviros and their foes with the whole mediasphere watching. Monitor cable news for pundits' takes on the issue and check in regularly with Media Matters to see which Club for Growth flunkies twist the facts the hardest.

The ACLU membership conference will be in Washington next week, with heavyweight speakers like Arlen Specter and Arianna Huffington. Watch the progressive blogs for interesting dispatches from the event. It's been a while since the group has grabbed headlines and they're certainly due.

Sex and the City digs its four-inch stilettos into theaters today. As husbands and boyfriends nationwide dive for cover, the Queendom of Snark shall enjoy the hurrah. Can you guess which of the fab four we identify with most? The guys got to watch a grizzled Harrison Ford swing around the jungle last week, so Kim Cattrall is quid pro quo.

The Week That Was

As the media devours the confessions of former WH press secretary Scott McClellan, we wonder whether journos recognize his implicit indictment of their craft. Does investigative journalism now mean "wait for someone to confess"? As Helen Thomas put it to her lesser colleagues in the WH press corps recently, "Where is everybody"!?

Or, we add, "What are you doing? Are you outta your mind!?" CNN's Jessica Yellin admitted that while she was at ABC News, the network squashed a plethora of stories investigating the Administration from 2003-2007. Digs about liberal bloggers are starting to lose their edge, eh?

Emily Gould's New York Times Magazine cover story on compulsive confessionalism spawned a fresh flurry of handwringing about women blogging TMI about their personal lives. And in a sort of postmodern spirally-virally way, this has generated a huge amount of blogging and further confession and analyses. The topic is old (hello, Edith Wharton) but the Times chalks up some points for its ability to create a media storm.

Dunkin' Donuts stirred up some chatter with its ad showing Rachael Ray wearing a keffiyeh, about which, for the uninformed, the Internet will explain. Here at TR Central, we suspect someone at that shoot must have done a double-take, but Rachael, like, totally needed something to dress up that shirt. Long story short? Rach, get a new publicist! People are watching, be it for 30 minutes or 30 seconds, and one person's innocent accessory may be another person's loaded symbol.

Non-profits take note: The World Bank has pledged $1.2 billion in new loans to aid countries hit hardest by the spike in food prices. Will this spark more debate on the bank's methods vis-à-vis globalization? As the food crisis continues to afflict people everywhere, we'll be monitoring international reactions to the solutions put forward by world leaders.

The more militant wing of our research staff at TR Central has unearthed the latest weapon to fight global warming. Literally. In Germany, they're designing a "green bomb" that will be more environmentally sound but just as lethal. Imagine your recycling bin setting people on fire and you get the idea. With more green tech like this, we can solve global warming and crush our enemies at the same time! Killing people to save them - isn't that how the war in Iraq began?

Finally, saying goodbye to both Dick Martin and Harvey Korman reminds us of when we were a wee princess staying up late and laughing with the parents. For those of you too young to recognize those names, you have our permission to move along...


We predicted that the administration would try to dodge a war-funding debate with the Dems. And we were right. News from the Pentagon came this week that they'd like to transfer funds from other departments to pay for the war instead of relying on Congress for the money. This is probably the slickest game of Three Card Monte we've seen. Progressives need to take note - it could work.

Snark on, and have a great weekend.

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Bootheel girl said...

ok, Ms Queen of Snark. While I am always impressed with your acuity regarding all this political, you have made a grevious omission in your listing of people who passed this week. What about Sydney Pollack! I KNOW that you are of an age to have swooned over Redford in The Way We Were and Out of Africa. PLUS, those activist genes you're so proud of must have loved his performance in Michael Clayton. I think this faux pas should be reflected on next week's scorecard.

Victoria said...

Chantix -- I shuddered and laughed when it prompted a writer to share her Interzone-like experience with the drug. Things like talking for hours to a potted plant at a bar and coming home with a purse full of sandwiches that came from who knows where. I'm sorry, I can't remember her name or where it was published.

And then there's that pesky suicidal psychosis.

The systematic dismantling of the FDA is just beginning to show its true effects.

Queen of Snark said...

I must admit that my activist genes were confused by how much Sydney Pollack looked like Nader health rader Dr. Sid Wolfe. So every time I saw Pollack's photo this week I wondered if I needed to send Ralph, Joan et al a sympathy note...

Seriously speaking, Pollack was a genius. Another great is lost. Let's hope our new media transmogrification allows for equal talent.

queen of snark said...

Victoria -- love your comment. Maybe "Chantix" is a actually a rare latin verb construction for "singing to mysterious sandwiches." I was really proud of the TR team for digging up the Pfizer goods. I have been to many an FDA panel and they all seem so ... fixed ... somehow. Despite the public nature of the hearing the real decisions get made behind closed doors. (A little like the DNC meeting to decide FL and MI where it was all decided during a private 3-hour lunch?)

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