["Banal, ultimately inconsequential contretemps are the mark of a vigorous presidential election-the "silly season," as Barack Obama put it in a recent debate. And one of the silliest furors to emerge from the rancorous Democratic primary contest is the selection of Fred Armisen, who is of white and Asian heritage, to play Obama on "Saturday Night Live." It's especially silly because it is an issue that seems to have been totally created by the media-a charge leveled often, but this time it has merit. The tornado in a teacup was started by two pieces (one in the Chicago Tribune and one in the Guardian) that questioned the judgment of choosing Armisen to play Obama. Apart from raised eyebrows from those critics, there hasn't been much of a to-do about the issue. However, Armisen's Obama does provide us an opportunity to revisit the thorny subject of whether or not it's OK for actors to darken their skin in order to play minority characters. "]
["Coy time is over, Dear Reader. Yesterday, we told you that God of War II director Cory Barlog--who'd left Sony Computer Entertainment last November partway through the development of God of War III--had formed a creative partnership with writer-director-producer George Miller. Today, we can finally reveal what they'll be working on first: a "Mad Max" action-adventure game, inspired by the "Mad Max: Fury Road" movie that Miller had been preparing to shoot in 2003 before the war in Iraq forced him to put everything on hold. Specific details on the gameplay are still fuzzy, as Barlog and Miller are still early in the planning phase, but we can confirm that melee weapons, projectile weapons and vehicles will all be present, just as you would expect. We spoke with Miller by phone in January, who personally informed us that Mad Max would be his first serious videogame venture. Here are some excerpts from our hour-long conversation"]
["Hundreds of protesters swarmed Tibet's capital yesterday, clashing with police and setting fire to shops and cars in a spasm of violence worse than any there in nearly 20 years. Doctors reported dozens of injured streaming into hospitals, and there were reports of several deaths as Lhasa descended into what one witness called "a state of siege." China's Xinhua News Agency said seven people have been confirmed dead and that "most of the victims were business people," Reuters reported. Xinhua earlier said no foreigners had been hurt in the violence. By nightfall, armored personnel carriers had rolled into the center of the city. "The army is everywhere," said one hotel worker, who added that he was afraid to go outside."]
["Studio specialty divisions are adapting to the overcrowded, competitive market by making more commercial, accessible, bigger-budget movies, often with stars—thus competing for smaller slices of the box office pie with the other distribs in the same universe. Focus Features prexy James Schamus admits that he can't play in the arthouse playpen as much as he'd like. "Ninety percent of the movies I love I can't acquire," he says. "We're keeping things sane. Same head count." Schamus hopes electronic media's precision targeting may help Focus get back into that tricky niche: "As marketing gets more nuanced and we hone our messages to specific audiences, we may take back the specialized beach.""]
["Cocking his head toward Diego Pillco, who has admitted killing Ms. Shelly, he said, "You sentenced that little girl to a lifetime of anguish and sadness and questions and feelings of what could've been." "No sentence," he added, "would be enough for you." ... Speaking through a translator, Mr. Pillco responded to Mr. Ostroy by saying that he, too, had never imagined his life turning out this way. "I came with a purpose here, to work and help my family out," he said. "But my life has changed." He said that he accepted the justice of his punishment. "I left my house with the purpose of working, not to hurt anyone, and this is what I deserve," he said."]
Quote of the Day: Jonathan Swift
"As blushing will sometimes make a whore pass for a virtuous woman, so modesty may make a fool seem a man of sense."
Image of the Day (click to enlarge): Pikachu! Pikachu!
Clip of the Day: Weird Al Yankovic does Dylan in palindromes
_____________________________________________________ "Links for the Day": Each morning, the House editors post a series of weblinks that we think will spark discussion. Comments encouraged.