The Null Device
Art 1, Mattel 0. Mattel has failed to censor an artist who was making and selling sexual photographs of Barbie dolls, as he put it, to critique the materialistic and gender-oppressive values embodied by the aforementioned lumps of pink plastic. Mattel claimed that Tom Forsythe, the artist in question, was violating their trademarks, and wanted the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeal to hand over all his negatives for destruction; the court thought otherwise.
Prisons of the cross: A look at faith-based prisons in Bush's America. Proponents argue that indoctrinating convicts with religion makes them les likely to reoffend; then again, so would the Ludovico Technique as seen in A Clockwork Orange; maybe we should try that next? (Then there's the issue of whether giving religion to people prone to violence and aggression would produce aggressive zealots, or even self-styled instruments of divine vengeance. Maybe if they used Buddhism, rather than the God of the Iron Rod, the programme would make a bit more sense.)
How long do you suppose it is until agreements to attend church become binding parts of standard parole terms in the U.S., with ex-cons being jailed if they have a crisis of faith and stop going?
(Australians: Don't laugh. If this kind of thing washes, John Howard will make faith-based social programmes a key election plank to counteract his image of economic-rationalist meanness. He already lets the Salvation Army dictate drug policy, so jumping completely on the Dubya bandwagon would be a very trivial step.)
Ironic Christianity: Coming soon: the Cockney Bible; following in the footsteps of Klingon and Ebonics, a religious education teacher from East London has translated the Bible into Cockney rhyming slang. His translation -- endorsed by the Archbishop of Canterbury, no less -- has Jesus feeding 5,000 geezers with "five loaves of Uncle Ned and two Lillian Gish". Though one wonders what the aim is: whether this is an attempt to make Christianity more relevant to East Londoners (unlikely), or to sell more Bibles to the easily amused, and hopefully win a few converts along the way.
He turned down New Order, but now post-genre electronica superstar Moby has conditionally accepted a request to collaborate with Latin boy singer Ricky Martin -- as long as Martin confirms on national television that George W. Bush is the spawn of Satan.
Making domestic violence trendy: Campaigners against sexism and machismo in Brazil are up in arms about a song tiled Slap On The Cheek. The song, associated with the ultra-violent "funk" subculture of Brazil, is about the vocalist slapping his girlfriend during sex; "Come on, I'll let you have it, Mama", go the lyrics.
In an accompanying dance, men pretend to slap their partners, women sway right and left as if reeling from the fake blows.
Could this be the Brazilian answer to Hit Me Baby One More Time?
The authors conclude that separate systems in the brain process different types of jokes. But the pleasure associated with "getting" a joke involves shared circuitry, they say.
Life, liberty and the pursuit of bootywhang: According to scientists in Austria, if you're male and a woman smiles at and appears to flirt with you, it doesn't mean that she's interested. Women show nonverbal signals of interest, such as smiling and flicking hair, to men they're not sexually interested in, in order to get them to talk and reveal their personalities, and/or to get on their good side. And men, programmed by their genes to assume that women are sexually interested where in doubt, fall for it.
"SAVE OUR PROPERTY VALUES", or an account of the Million, er, 250 Yuppie March.