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Taken as read

Here's a chilling line from a story about film critic Charlie Finch's assertion that nudity from star Kate Winslet in the new Stephen Daldry film, The Reader, trivialises the Holocaust ...

Within hours, Finch's attack was repeated by other critics, most of whom had not seen the film.

Now I haven't seen the film, and I don't know if Finch's opinions are justified or not, but what "critic" worth their salt would endorse the opinion of somebody else as fact before they had the chance to assess it for themselves?

Rick's still rolling

1980s pop star Rick Astley has been nominated for his first ever MTV Europe Award and it's all down to mischief-making on the internet. In a jape known as "Rickrolling", webmasters have been tricking visitors to their sites into following links to a video of Astley's hit Never Gonna Give You Up. It's now become something of a cult thing, and Astley will now join the likes of Britney Spears, U2, Christina Aguilera, Green Day and Tokio Hotel in the "best act ever" category at the gong show, which will be held at the Liverpool Echo Arena in England on November 6.
PS: Yes, the show will be held in Liverpool, and yet the Beatles aren't contenders for "best act ever". Some acts must just be too old for the MTV generation.

Unloved Daughters

How bad is the final season of McLeod's Daughters? The Australian soapie about women on the land has been a hit in 30 countries around the world - it even screens in China - but the people who commissioned it in the first place, the Channel 9 programmers, seem eager for it to go away. The first nine episodes of the final series, which won't even air in Australia until the December silly season, are already available online (here). It's a very strange thing, presumably designed to keep the show's dwindling number of fans happy.

Kutcher club

Child groom Ashton Kutcher may not be making hit movies but he is apparently the "brains" behind a website called Blah Girls, which among other things offers up a new cartoon episode each week. There's a sample on the right. My verdict? Extremely derivative (think Powerpuff Girls blended with South Park), but at least topical with its Kanye West reference.

'Old' man blues

This is from

Obviously, according to the patronising kiddies who apparently run the Sydney Morning Herald's website, Paul Weller should be rugged up in his dressing gown drinking cocoa instead of playing his formidable musical catalogue to Australian audiences. Whatever would they make of Paul McCartney or Mick Jagger, let along the many great 70- and 80-something stars who still grace the world's stages?

Online arias

Bayreuth Opera's production of Wagner's Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg has been streamed online. Is this the future of opera? UK Telegraph writer Rupert Christiansen approves of the innovation, but notes:

But streamings and screenings must not be used as an excuse for the BBC to renege on its responsibility to broadcast opera on terrestrial as well as digital channels - nor can they ever be a substitute for the crackling excitement of attending a real live performance.

Life in the old Hef yet

Most of my video content is watched by what I like to call an exclusive audience. However, one of my clips has been a breakout success - my footage from LA last year of Playboy founder Hugh Hefner talking about the sleeping arrangements at the Playboy mansion. Haven't seen it yet? Well 26,839 people (and counting) have. Here it is.

Bragg on rights

I'm a big fan of Billy Bragg - not just because I like his music, but because he's a very intelligent and perceptive man. In this Guardian article, he weighs in very sensibly on the news that ISPs in the UK have agreed with record companies to send warning letters to people they suspect of illegally downloading music. It is, he says, not the answer. The real answer lies in making sure that the people who create the music get paid for it. But where does that leave the record companies?

Freddie on top

An Internet poll in the UK has named Freddie Mercury and Queen's Bohemian Rhapdody as the No. 1 pop song of all time. The rest of the top 10, in order, are: Y.M.C.A. by the Village People; Bryan Adams's (Everything I Do) I Do It for You; Angels (Robbie Williams); Red, Red Wine (UB40); Imagine( John Lennon); Sweet Child O Mine (Guns N Roses); Billie Jean (Michael Jackson); Dancing Queen (Abba) and Can't Get You out of My Head (Kylie Minogue). What, no Beatles and Bryan Adams better than John Lennon? It's a joke.

ABC left-wing bias?

Here's some separate snapshots, all taken from different parts of the same front page of ABC News website when I called it up a couple of hours ago:

It's either a love affair with Kevin Rudd or deja vu all over again.

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