micah holmquist's irregular thoughts and links

Welcome to the musings and notes of a Cadillac, Michigan based writer named Micah Holmquist, who is bothered by his own sarcasm.

Please send him email at micahth@chartermi.net.

Holmquist's full archives are listed here.

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Sites Holmquist trys, and often fails, to go no more than a couple of days without visiting (some of which Holmquist regularly swipes links from without attribution)

Aljazeera.Net English
AlterNet (War on Iraq)
Alternative Press Review
Always Low Prices -- Always
Another Irani online
antiwar.com (blog)
Asia Times Online
Axis of Logic
Baghdad Burning (riverbend)
BBC News
blogdex.net ("track this weblog")
The Christian Science Monitor (Daily Update)
Common Dreams
Daily Rotten
Democracy Now
The Drudge Report
Eat the Press (Harry Shearer, The Huffington Post)
Empire Notes (Rahul Mahajan)
frontpagemag.com (HorowitzWatch)
Guardian Unlimited
The Independent
Information Clearing House
Informed Comment (Juan Cole)
Iranians for Peace

Iraq Dispatches (Dahr Jamail)
Iraqi Democrats Against Occupation
Iraq Occupation and Resistance Report (Psychoanalysts for Peace and Justice)
Mr. Show and Other Comedy
The Narco News Bulletin (blog)
The New York Times
Occupation Watch
Political Theory Daily Review
Press Action
Project Syndicate
Raed in the Middle (Raed Jarrar)
The Simpsons Archive
Simpsons Collector Sector
Technorati ("search for mth.blogspot.com")
United States Central Command
U.S. Embassy Baghdad, Iraq
War Report (Project on Defense Alternatives)
The Washington Post
Wildfire (Jo Wilding)
wood s lot
www.mnftiu.cc (David Rees)

Blogs that for one reason or another Holmquist would like to read on at least something of a regular basis (always in development)

Thivai Abhor
As'ad AbuKhalil
Ken Adrian
Christopher Allbritton
Douglas Anders
Mark W. Anderson
Aziz Ansari
Atomic Archive
James Benjamin
Elton Beard
Charlie Bertsch
alister black
Blame India Watch
Blog Left: Critical Interventions Warblog / war blog
Igor Boog
Martin Butler
Chris Campbell
James M. Capozzola
Avedon Carol
Elaine Cassel
cats blog
Jeff Chang
Margaret Cho
Citizens Of Upright Moral Character
Louis CK
Les Dabney
Natalie Davis
Scoobie Davis
The Day Job
Jodi Dean
Dominic Duval
Steve Earle
Daniel Ellsberg
Tom Engelhardt
Lisa English
Barbara Flaska
Brian Flemming
Joe Foster
Yoshie Furuhashi
Al Giordano
Rob Goodspeed
Grand Puba
Guardian Unlimited Weblog
Pete Guither
The Hairy Eyeball
Ray Hanania
Mark Hand
Hector Rottweiller Jr's Web Log Jim Henley Arvin Hill Hit & Run (Reason) Hugo Clark Humphrey Indri The Iraqi Agora Dru Oja Jay Jeff Lynne d Johnson Dallas Jones Julia Kane Blues Benjamin Kepple Ken Layne Phil Leggiere Brian Linse Adam Magazine Majority Report Radio Marc Maron Josh Marshall Jeralyn Merritt J.R. Mooneyham Michael Scott Moore Bob Morris Bob Mould Mr. Show and Tell Muslims For Nader/Camejo David Neiwert NewPages Weblog Aimee Nezhukumatathil Sean O'Brien Patton Oswalt The Panda's Thumb Randy Paul Rodger A. Payne Ian Penman politx Neal Pollack Greg Proops Pro-War.com Pure Polemics Seyed Razavi Rayne Simon Reynolds richardpryor.com Clay Richards Mike Rogers Yuval Rubinstein
Steven Rubio
Saragon Noah Shachtman Court Schuett The Simpsons Archive Amardeep Singh Sam Smith Soundbitten Jack Sparks Ian Spiers Morgan Spurlock Stand Down: The Left-Right Blog Opposing an Invasion of Iraq Aaron Stark Morgaine Swann Tapped (The American Prospect) tex Matthew Tobey Annie Tomlin Tom Tomorrow The University Without Condition Jesse Walker Warblogger Watch Diane Warth The Watchful Babbler The Weblog we have brains Matt Welch
Alex Whalen
Jon Wiener
Lizz Winstead
James Wolcott
Wooster Collective
Mickey Z

Sunday, August 24, 2003
The difficultly in evaluating "serious" humorists

Less than two weeks ago Fox News sued Al Franken for using their trademarked term “fair and balanced” in the title of his then soon to be published book Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them: A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right.

A federal judge found the case to be without merit on Friday because Franken's use of the term was deemed to be a parody.

Last Monday, in a New York Daily News column, Fox News Channel personality Bill O'Reilly defended the suit saying that Franken was not a satirist because he is a "political activist" and "[a]ttempting to smear and destroy the reputations of those with whom you politically disagree is not satire."

Although O'Reilly doesn't explicitly make the point, he does hint at how Franken is part of a group of humorists and political commentators -a group that includes Ann Coulter, Bill Maher, Michael Moore and Ted Rall- who blur the line between those two vocations and in the process make it difficult to evaluate what they say.

It is worth stressing that comedians have long commented on politics just as political commentators have long used humor, but the line has usually been clear as evidenced by how comedians like Dick Gregory and more recently Janeane Garofalo have changed their tone when they have wanted to be taken seriously as a political commentator. Comedians and humorists are generally given greater latitude with facts and information that "serious" commentators because they are engaging in an artistic endeavor and to do otherwise is to miss the point. A good example of this is David Cross' 2002 two-disc comedy set Shut Up, You Fucking Baby (Sub Pop). Cross isn't always "fair" to the members of the Bush Administration as he ridicules them but it hardly matters since the point is the presentation of an attitude that is anti-Bush. In contrast, if a political columnist, or U.S. President George W. Bush himself, were to take such liberties with the facts, they should be criticized because what they should be conveying is a literal message.

Franken's Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them: A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right, however, blurs this line with a mix of "serious" political commentary and satire. Mostly a clear dichotomy exists that the average reader would pick up but the book, when viewed as a whole, does not fall solely into either category and thus it becomes difficult to evaluate the work in a literal fashion and yet to fail to do that at all is to let Franken off too easily. Ultimately criticism that works on a dual level is needed to effectively review the book as well as most of the work from humorist/political commentator hybrids. (Which isn't to say that the book deserves to be reviewed. My reading of it in the comfy confines of a bookstore in Grand Rapids, Michigan lead me to believe that the book was neither particularly funny nor a particularly damning indictment of the those that Franken takes on.)