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Cash Prize

I have mixed feelings about the news that enough donations have been made to clear all of the music and images from the embattled civil rights documentary Eyes on the Prize. Kudos to the Ford Foundation and Richard Gilder for caring, but for every prize-winning, connected documentarian out there, a thousand others are trying to do important (if obscure) work.

When you consider the bigger picture, Ford's funding of Eyes is actually part of the problem. Rather than challenging a copyright system that shackles documentarians, Ford and the other Eyes backers opted to feed it. With the funding securred, Eyes can now be used to show that the system works.

As with Mad Hot Ballroom, the number of clearances that the documentarians must obtain is insane. It is a shame that anyone is enforcing the terms of the original limited-time licenses. It is a pity that the ransom will apparently be paid. Eyes is the exception, not the rule; it was able to raise money because it has proven itself historically. Under the current system, the majority of films won't be given the same chance.

Posted by Charles Star on 08/31/2005 | Permalink | Comments (4)

Just for Pubic Hair

PenishaircolorApparently Just For Men has decided that the new aggressive marketing for shaving one's nads is a sign that a new niche has opened up. How else to explain this ad, which - judging by the placement of the rifle scope - suggests that the guy should start coloring his pubes.

When my time comes, I am going to let myself go gray because it will make my penis look distinguished.

(Thanks, Jeanne!)

Posted by Charles Star on 08/31/2005 | Permalink | Comments (2)

Vote, Brooklyn

Tuesday, September 13 is Primary Day in New York and the Brooklyn DA race is among the more interesting.

Incumbent Charles "Joe" Hynes looks vulnerable and is facing his first real challengers since winning the job in 1999. John Sampson is a current State Senator. Mark G. Peters is one of Attorney General Eliot Spitzer's former lieutenants. Arnold Kriss, a former Brooklyn ADA, is taking on his former boss.

In addition to the high profile (for a DA contest in the boroughs) candidates, there is intrigue: Paul Wooten dropped out of the race under curious circumstances and the FBI is investigating the signatures obtained by many of the Democratic candidates.

We don't endorse candidates here, but Stay Free!'s contribution to voter education is my interview with Mark Peters from Issue 24. Read the interview, judge for yourself and remember to vote on September 13. Or die.

Posted by Charles Star on 08/30/2005 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Stay Free! subscribers party in NYC

We're going to be having our quasi-annual Stay Free! subscribers party on the weekend after next. If you're a (paid) subscriber to the magazine, you should have received the details by now. If not, email me at cm at and I'll send them along.

Of course, it's never too late to become a subscriber and, yes, that is a bribe.

Posted by carrie on 08/30/2005 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wal-mart: Helpless victim of dastardly monopoly

Poor Wal-Mart. The company with an internal economy larger than all of Ireland is moaning that it isn't big enough to compete with a UK grocer. In fact, Wal-Mart has called for an antitrust investigation of U.K. chain Tesco, arguing that it has too large a share of the U.K. grocery market.

What's the matter, Wal-Mart? Afraid of a little competition? Maybe Wal-Mart should use its profits to form a standing army to invade stores that dare to sell anything on Wal-Mart's shelves.

(Thanks, Iain)

And while we are on the subject of Wal-Mart, the company is jumping into the hard liquor market. To goose sales, they plan on putting the liquor next to the guns. The liquor move appears at odds with Wal-Mart's puritan reputation; alcohol is not permitted at any company sponsored events. When asked about this seeming contradiction, a Wal-Mart spokesman did not say, "We don't let people shoot each other at the company picnic either."

Posted by Charles Star on 08/29/2005 | Permalink | Comments (2)

Great Moments in Journalism, #30,405

From this morning's NY Post:

If you were in Manhattan yesterday, you might have thought an enemy force had taken over the island and severed the East Side from the West. The invaders were not Al Qaeda, but the Pakistani Parade and Festival... (bugmenot)

What the fuck? How is this any different from the St. Patrick's Day parade? The NY Post: 25 cents gets you last nights boxscores and subliterate writing. The racism is yours free.

Posted by Charles Star on 08/29/2005 | Permalink | Comments (2)

American Science, RIP

While standing in line at the post office, I saw this new series of stamps devoted to American scientists...which is kind of ironic considering how our sciences are now under attack from all corners: from evangelicals to pharmaceutical marketing, educational declines, and funding cuts. It's like singing "Happy Birthday" to a man as he's being taken away on a gurney.

I don't know much about the individual scientists, other than the fact that they are dead, and that their tiny, stick-on tombstones can now service your mailings for 37 cents. But Jason, Charles, and I thought a parody was in order.

And with that we bring you an updated version of American Scientists. (We know God isn't precisely "American," but try telling that to the evangelicals...)

Download sheet of parody stamps (pdf)

Original View original stamps


Posted by carrie on 08/29/2005 | Permalink

Spoofing American Apparel

American apparel spoof ad parodySome friends of a friend have been pasting these posters around Los Angeles, home base of American Apparel.

From where I stand, the jury is still out on the American Apparel's various misdeeds. The owner, Dov Charney, is clearly an ass. But at the very least, you've got to credit the company for showing it's possible to make money selling sweatshop-free clothes -- and without relying on sales from the granola crowd.

(Thanks to Mark Hosler)

Posted by carrie on 08/28/2005 | Permalink | Comments (19)

Can We Still Be Friendsters?

Mark down August 28, 2005, as the day that officially jumped the shark. For that was the day a New York Times article proclaimed how of-the-moment the site was. (Though one could certainly make a case that the shark-jumping occurred when R.E.M. joined. Or when Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation bought the site. Take your pick.) My gripe is sour-grape based in part, I’ll admit. As I age, I only learn that life is designed to make me feel old. With one simple newspaper article, it seemed like my merry band of Friendsters were instantly obsolete. Quaint. Yesterday’s news. In short: Old. According to the article, MySpace’s average user spends 1 hour, 43 minutes per month on the site, compared with 34 minutes for and 25 minutes for Friendster. (With the Stay Free! blog running close behind, I’m sure.) I apologize for making you click on that.

Technology taunts me around every corner. I listen to music on the wrong medium. (Thankfully, I’m not listening to the shit bands being forced down young throats by MySpace. Corporate rock still sucks.) I don’t have a gmail account. I cling to outdated operating systems. I’m driving my father’s Oldsmobile and didn’t even get the employee discount.

But it suddenly came to me. One: I use too many parentheses. And two: I’m sticking with Friendster, and I don’t care who knows it. And why? Because random foreign women love me. They love me for me. It started on August 15, with a message in my Friendster in-box from Caris:

hi Jack~~!!
my name is Caris...
I'm 27 years old from the Philippines.
I worked as a teacher for about 3 years.

I taught asian students like koreans, japanese...
It's nice to see you on friendster :)
I hope you don't mind me asking,
can I be your friend?
I hope you would allow me by then..
anyways, have a good day

Later that day, it was Maria, she of the exclamation points and sensual line breaks:

My name is Maria.
I liked your structure and I have decided to
write to you.
I live in Russia, republic el Mari. To me of 29
I very much want to correspond with you, it is
possible our friendship will pass and to the
I shall wait for your letter. You can find me on
See you soon!

On August 18, Jessica joined my widening circle of admirers:

howdy stranger ;) my name is jessica but alot of my friends just call me "RED" cuz i love red so much. if you visit my homepage you'll see what i mean HahAHa. i found your profile here on friendster and by your profile you sound like an interesting guy to talk to. have any more pics?

me? i'm about 5'4", 95 lbs... light brown hair, blue eyes.. ample bust ;). i have some pics up at my cam site if you wanna check me out cutey. is my cam site.. look forward to talkin to ya soon hun

And then on the 20th (with a gmail account, no less):

Hello, I write you from agency where have found out
yours profile. I have decided to write to you. I the
lonely girl from Russia also hope after that letters
to you it to stop and become possible we can good
friends. My name Sidorkina Natalia. I Live in small
city in Russia. I work in shopping center as the
seller of footwear. At leisure I try to visit sports
halls or to walk on park. Sometimes I with
girlfriends visit club. I like to dance. I so love Pop
music. At present I live one in a separate
apartment. My mum lives in the other city. I was
not married and I have no children. More you can
learn about me having looked my structure or to
write to me the letter on mine email:

And finally, on the 21st:

Hello. My name is Tanya. I saw yours profile and
it has liked me.
I would like to get acquainted with you and to
find out you better.
I live in Russia in city Omsk. If you want to
find out me better
write to my E-mail:

Those Ukraine girls really knock me out; they leave the West behind. Caris, Maria, Jessica, Sidorkina, and Tanya don’t care that I’m a Luddite fuddy-duddy. They think I sound like an interesting guy. They want to get acquainted and see more pics. They like my structure.

So, sorry, MySpace, but the girls and I are staying over at Friendster, kicking it old-school. Da svidaniya, my friends.

Posted by Jack Silbert on 08/28/2005 | Permalink | Comments (26)

Unkosher Art

Pig_tattoo_1Look for the artists at a Beijing art farm to get a cease and desist letter after tattooing the Louis Vuitton logo on a pig. The artists in residence tattoo the anesthetized pigs and show the tattoos after the eventual natural deaths of the pigs. According to the artists, the pigs live longer because "their increased value protects them from being killed for food."

On the other hand, they can't be buried in a Jewish cemetery.

(Via Agenda Inc.)

Posted by Charles Star on 08/26/2005 | Permalink | Comments (0)