MEDIA MASH: Nader Taunts Leftie Mag; No Radiohead Logos; Sexy Socialists

Nader Taunts the Nation, Trashes the Times, Books Madison Square Garden

In campaign stop after campaign stop, Ralph Nader is pulling no punches as he skewers the hypocrisy of the two party duopoly. He's also blasting the corporate media, since his campaign doesn't get anywhere near the coverage or respect it deserves. Given the enthusiatic crowds that have greeted Nader -- over ten thousand paying viewers in Boston, Seattle, Portland and Minneapolis -- the corporate media appears to be ignoring something significant.

Nader is most contemptuous of the New York Times. "Their coverage of my campaign is so bad," he says, "it's hard to find the superlatives." For example, while Nader was in New York his campaign schedule wasn't even listed in the paper. Meanwhile, Gore and Bush were in D.C., not even campaigning, yet their locations were listed.

"Overall, we're simply considered an occasional feature story," Nader laments. "Since we just polled 7 percent (in the Zogby poll), I'd be happy to get 7 percent of the coverage. But their coverage is not even close. For the New York Times, it's all the news fit to exclude."

But Nader isn't just going after the mainstream media. He has expressed special contempt for the Nation magazine after two consecutive pro-Gore cover stories: first a hand-wringer about the possibilities of a Bush Supreme Court, and then a snoozer about the differences between Bush and Gore.

By taking the "lesser of two evils" line, the Nation might as well be waving a red cape in front of the rampaging Nader. When speaking at Columbia University and at Hunter College in New York City on October 6 and 7, Nader wondered aloud if the Nation was a magazine of "frightened liberals or real progressives."

The Nation may not have to choose, however. Nation editor Katrina vanden Huevel cited the Molly Ivins rule -- in anywhere from 30-40 states, progressive can vote for Ralph without any fear of being a spoiler, because the state is leaning so heavily to either Gore or Bush. In the closer states, says Ivins, watch the polls and make your decision closer to elelction day.

Meanwhile, the Nader campaign is going all out with a big event at Madison Square Garden on Friday, October 13. Ani DeFranco, Pearl Jam's Eddie Vedder, Michael Moore, Phil Donahue, Susan Sarandon and Tim Robbins will all be there, stumping for Ralph. If you're in New York, go check it out: it'll cost you $20.

No Logos for Radiohead

The highly successful Brit rock group Radiohead, who's hit album "OK Computer" was a favorite of critics and consumers alike, is going non-commerical with their new album, "Kid A." And when they say non-commercial, they mean it.

On their upcoming tour, the band will try to play under a large tent with absolutely no logos. They are refusing sponsors for their tour and they are giving very few interviews. Not only do they want to distance themselves from name-brand products, they apparently don't want to be perceived as a brand themselves.

At least one of the band members got some inspiration for this from reading Naomi Klein's very smart book "No Logo." Guitar player Ed Harris told Klein that the book moved him to attend a protest against globalization in London, his first in ten years.

Klein explained to the Masher that the band is being stymied in organizing a no-logo US tour because most of the big venues have corporate names. Radiohead is apparently wanting to bring some Glastonberry-style music events to the U.S. According to Klein, Glastonberry is a huge concert event every June in the English countryside, when a Marxist English farmer hands over his land and groups like Oxfam and Greenpeace are also centerpeices. Sounds like a suitable antidote to the hyper-commercial U.S. concert scene.

Sex and the Socialists

The Masher spends time sniffing around literature tables at conventions and gatherings, looking for political and media trends and checking out what the sectarian line is on various issues (for example, the Trots and everybody else seems to be supporting Nader for President).

It's rare that these cultural excavations bear much fruit. But last weekend at an "Independent Politics in a Global World" conference in New York City, the Masher discovered a well-designed, thoughtful and hip newsletter called the Activist: Culture/Politics/Action (published by Young Democratic Socialists, www.dsausa.org/youth).

The Masher used to know the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) back in the old days of Michael Harrington, when most European heads of state were still part of the Socialist International. Those days may be gone, but if the Activist newsletter is any indication, a vibrant group of young lefties is out there carrying the DSA torch. However, there seems to be one difference: these young guns are much cooler than their predecessors.

The Activist has a heavy dose of cultural commentary, music, movie and web reviews and even prints columns by the often repugnant Camille Paglia, an icon of post-modern intellectual hype (though the mellowing Masher feels better about Paglia these days because of her passionate support of Ralph Nader).

The Activist recently featured Paglia as its "Guest Reviewer" to offer her opinion on some pop music starlets. Here's Paglia in top form:

On Britney Spears: "The Apollonian Spears is a projection of multifaceted hyper-heterocentricity and exaggerated femininity. By embodying the virgin/whore dichotomy that is so deeply imbedded in our collective sexual psychology, she has become a cyper of capitalism's commodification of pubsescent sexual neurosis."

On N-Sync: "I just love the way these young men re-invent teenage masculinity to reflect a simultaneously homoerotic yet heterocentric universe."

On Toni Braxton: "Braxton is self defining her own black meta-sexuality. She gains power by playing into our sexual archetypes and then softening that image by reflecting a continuously more complex and human character."

On Eminem: "An inspiring exploration of male psychosis that is heartwarming in its brutal sincerity and impressive in its graphic devices. It's so good to get these dark recesses of masculity and mysoginy out and really be able to swim through them waist deep."

On Lil' Kim: "She's my bitch, what what. Act like you know, jigga."

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