Shaken and Stirred
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It was just a barbaric yawp.
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so, howard dean loved that movie? So, yeagh?

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Several things of interest today, despite the fact that I'm really too tired to bother tonight and would rather go to bed and read. Directly. We just watched an hour or so of the Dems debate, but I don't really have anything to say about it at the moment.

However, I do find myself wondering if any of the contenders could define what a Birkin bag is. (Transition here.) It seems Martha Stewart surely can, as she brought two bags to her first day of court, one of them a Birkin. For the uninitiated (to Sex and the City) there is a waiting list to get on the waiting list for these bags and they range in price from $6,000 to $85,000. Robin Givhan, the WP's fashion writer, thinks she might have done better leaving the B. at home:

Yesterday, her second day in court, the Birkin was not on display in front of the cameras. But Stewart had the bag with her and reportedly said that she plans to use it frequently throughout the trial. Eleven years ago, the Birkin was just an expensive, classic bag. For Stewart, it may have been a talisman of her hard work, dedication and perseverance. Now, she may see the bag simply as practical. But over time, the Birkin has become a cultural emblem of elitism, privilege and celebrity. It is the bag that money alone cannot buy. And it is a reminder to everyone else that those who are famous always seem to have the advantage.

I could care less about what happens to the Demon Martha's soul, but did find this little window into her personality and privelege the tiniest bit fascinating. The question is, will it continue to be proudly at her side, after this piece?

The NYTimes has a piece with advisors counseling Dean to calm down and play nice; thankfully, he seems to be taking their advice but with a grain of salt, based on his muted but resolved performance in the debate tonight. And, for once, Tom Shales is right, in his assessment of the State of the Union. I say this only because he's critical, as I did not tune in for I do not currently have a president. Ahem. At any rate, the smirking and ham-grinning is visible in every photo I've seen from it.

Poynter has a preview of the new direction the New York Times Book Review may be taking very, very soon, which sent several chills down my spine. Not that I think the NYTBR ain't broke, just that this doesn't seem like a good way to "fix" it. (Basically, more nonfiction reviews, more potboiler/bestseller reviews, reviews of big names in lit fic but fewer/shorter pieces on newer or first-time novelists, etc.) Telling quote:

"Of course, some fiction needs to be done," Keller says. "We'll do the new Updike, the new Roth, the new Jonathan Franzen or Zadie Smith. But there are not a lot of them, it seems to me." He gets no argument from Erlanger. "To be honest, there's so much s---," the new leader of the daily arts section observes. "Most of the things we praise aren't very good."

Problem is, it doesn't sound like the new goal is to review things that actually are good.

Oh, and one last pol thing, though I swear I'm not going to become obsessed with the horse race, or at least not talk about it all the time: Slate on Michael Moore and Wesley Clark, focusing in on the irony that Clark was the one doing the commanding during the bombing of Kosovo on the same day as the Columbine shootings which are, of course, drawn as great parallels in BOWLING FOR COLUMBINE. Wes Clark got a question during the debate about whether he felt it was ethical to stand by and listen to Michael Moore call Bush a "deserter," when the facts don't bear out that specific term. Clark hemmed and hawed around it, and said that (gasp), Michael Moore can say whatever he wants. No kidding? The thing that worries me about Clark is how often he seemed to freely admit not knowing about something and not professing any desire to look into it. But it's early yet.

And I swear I'm done talking politics.

Night. And have a pleasant Friday.

earworm: "Rode Hard and Put Away Wet," Marshall Chapman

rec: HICKSVILLE, Dylan Horrocks

namecheck: Pen "Crossword King" Waggener

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