Is the Obama ‘New Yorker’ cover tasteless?

The New Yorker’s latest cover, illustrated by The Politics of Fear artist Barry Blitt, has everyone pretty much flipping out today. Many, including both the Obama and McCain camps, say that the cover is just plain offensive and tasteless, but the New Yorker says it just “satirizes the use of scare tactics and misinformation in the presidential election to derail Barack Obama’s campaign.”

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July 21, 2008, issue of the New Yorker 

What do you think?

TOP picks: July 14 - 20

Monday | July 14

Karaoke Underground

You won’t find your typical karaoke hits at The Parish tonight – LCD Soundsystem, Belle and Sebastian, and Joan Jett are more the style at Karaoke Underground. You can see their songlist here.

8pm | FREE

The Parish
214 E 6th St bull; Austin, TX

Tuesday | July 15

Psycho Beach Party

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courtesy Alamo Drafthouse 

This is the second Hey Homo! event the Drafthouse has done, and this time the movie is Psycho Beach Party, starring Six Feet Under’s Lauren Ambrose. From the Drafthouse:

This film is a perfect mix of 1960s surfer movies and 1980s slasher flicks, so dress accordingly or be called out by MC Rebecca Havemeyer! Now we can’t bring you a beach, but expect an Air Surfing Competition, Hawaiian Leis, special drinks, performances and a zillion awesome queer folk!

10pm | $10 | Get tickets

Alamo Drafthouse at the Ritz
320 E 6th St • Austin, TX

What you probably don’t know about your credit card

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photo / Brett L. Creative Commons license graphic Painted credit card mural in San Francisco 

Last week, the Consumerist published an excellent list of ten things you might not know about your credit card – a veritable Bill of Rights for those who pack plastic. Excerpted below are four of the most important points addressed in their piece, plus some clarification and discussion from yours truly. (Bolded text is quoted from the Consumerist.)

Unsigned cards are not valid, and merchants can and will refuse them.

Think you’re protecting yourself by writing “Check ID” in the signature space on the back of the card? You’re clever, but you’re wrong: Credit cards must be signed.

A pretty tough interview with Master Pancake Theater

Bonnie and Clyde, Romeo and Juliet, Mork and Mindy, Ren and Stimpy – history has given us a fair share of powerful duos over the past few years. Some of them make us want to sing. Think Salt-n-Pepa. Some of them make us want to fight crime. Think Batman and Robin. Others make us want to eat. Again, think Salt-n-Pepa. What I’m getting at is that unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past eight years, or unless you just moved here from California, you have seen a Master Pancake Theater show at the Alamo Drafthouse. This also means that you have been exposed to a certain duo that masters the art of poking fun of cheesy movies. That Other Paper’s Michael Williams sat down with Master Pancake Theater’s John Erler and Joe Parsons to talk about many funny things, some of which will not be reproduced. Sorry.

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courtesy Master Pancake The cast of Master Pancake’s Independence Day show: David Jara, Joe Parsons, John Erler, and Mac Blake 

That Other Paper Master Pancake Theater. How did you come up with that name?

John Erler Oh man, that’s a tough one.

Joe Parsons Yeah, maybe we should come back to that.

TOP Okay, moving on. I polled some of our readers and asked them what questions they would like me to ask you. Here we go. What is your favorite color?

JP How old is this reader?

Andrew Gurland: comedy, realism, and moral ambiguity

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photo / © 2004 Dada Films Andrew Gurland (right) in Mail Order Wife 
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Andrew Gurland blends comedy, realism, and moral ambiguity reminiscent of film noir to create films that are funny, memorable, uncomfortable, and surprising. For Gurland, his films aren’t a direct expression of how he views people and their actions, but are often a fantasy that allow him to vicariously explore what he doesn’t have the opportunity to do in reality, such as commit acts of revenge and hang around pretty girls. In this Q-and-A, Gurland reveals some of his influences, what he strives for in his films, and hints at what’s to come.

That Other Paper In Fuck Gramaglia Up, the character you portray says, “I enjoy the human experience and seeing how people react in certain situations.” How does this quote relate to your own motivations for making films?

Andrew Gurland Well, I mean most of the film, performance-wise, is all improvised, so it’s not like I spent a great deal of time on that line. Even though I usually work with a script, I like to keep it pretty loose.

TOP What is your motivation for making films?

AG Well, it’s my job, firstly, and I guess I love the movies. I love all kinds of different movies, and I love being surprised. So, as a result, I’m always trying to surprise people.