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Showing posts from June, 2011

Never having abandoned the heartland

No doubt "Battle for Brooklyn" will be of most interest to New Yorkers, and particularly to people who live or work in the city's most populous borough. But the film's basic situation -- local residents and community activists vs. the development schemes of major politicians and big business -- is an archetypal element of urban life, one that can be found in almost any city, large or small, from Maine to California. What distinguished kazillionaire developer Bruce Ratner's plan to remake the center of "America's fourth-largest city" (to borrow the boosterish phrase of Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz) was primarily its size and audacity, along with the fact that the ensuing battle turned very ugly and inevitably attracted the attention of the national media, much of which is headquartered a few miles away across the East River.
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But I would never have denied that the dilapidated Long Island Railroad yard along Atlantic Avenue that Rat…

Debate on circumcision

The Academy Award-winning actor and father of two sons came under fire last week for a rambling series of tweets that kicked off with a declaration that "Circumcision is barbaric and stupid. Who are you to correct nature? Is it real that GOD requires a donation of foreskin? Babies are perfect."Predictably, he was deluged with rebuttals from followers, and Crowe, never one to back down from a fight, seemed happy to take them all on. When a user responded that circumcision is "more hygienic and nobody remembers it," he lobbed back, "Hygienic? Why don't you sew up your ass then?" Regarding circumcision's place in the Jewish tradition, Crowe told his followers that "... The Mayans had ceremonial acts too." And with a direct nod to a famous pal he added, "I love my Jewish friends, I love the apples and the honey and the funny little hats but stop cutting yr babies @eliroth" -- a comment that prompted actor/director Eli Roth to jokin…

BARELY still good to be gay

But last week, he drew gasps instead of laughs during a gig in Nashville. As audience member Kevin Rogers wrote in an explanatory "Why I no longer 'like' Tracy Morgan" post, Morgan peppered his set with anti-gay remarks, including the assertion that "all this gay shit was crazy and that women are a gift from God and that 'Born This Way' is bullshit, gay is a choice, and the reason he knows this is exactly because 'God don't make no mistakes' (referring to God not making someone gay cause that would be a mistake)." He also reportedly said that his son "better talk to me like a man and not in a gay voice or I’ll pull out a knife and stab that little nigger to death." Rogers says that "As far as I could see 10 to 15 people walked out. I had to fight myself to stay seated, but I knew if I got up ... he won."[. . .]If there's any good to come out of Morgan's completely boneheaded behavior, it's that he was call…