'Aquaman' Makes A Splash Online

The cast of HBO's "Entourage" in a promotional shot for their third season premiere. (June 11, 2006)
With millions of sites floating through the blogosphere, who really has time to peek at even a fraction of them? Blogophile reads them for you and presents a weekly roundup of the buzz on must-read blogs. Blogophile appears new each Wednesday, and is written by CBSNews.com's Melissa P. McNamara.

Is art imitating art? Bloggers hope so, cheering reports that the fictional flick "Aquaman" on HBO's "Entourage" could become a real movie. Plus, Bill Moyers for president? When a columnist proposed the idea, the liberal blogosphere had nothing but praise. And, did a photographer go too far to get toddlers to cry?

Art Imitates Art

Perhaps Hollywood insiders really do watch HBO's "Entourage." The Los Angeles Times reports that move "Aquaman," the fake flim featured on the popular comedy series may actually hit the silver screen. And, the talent agent at the center of discussions about "Aquaman" is reportedly Ari Emanuel. Emanuel is the real-life inspiration for "Entourage" talent agent Ari Gold (Jeremy Pivin).

"It's obviously very flattering," Doug Ellin, the creator of "Entourage" who came up with the "Aquaman" plot, told the Los Angeles Times. "We sort of made an 'Aquaman' movie a believable possibility."

Not that HBO invented "Aquaman" in the first place, of course. Aquaman, the superhero, debuted in a 1941 comic, but he is certainly enjoying renewed popularity.

Earlier this week, a previously unseen pilot for an "Aquaman" television series debuted on iTunes, and the show immediately became the Web site's most-downloaded video. And when Aquaman made a cameo on the television show "Smallville" last season, it was the season's highest-rated episode.

As Defamer explains, "some studio executives started getting crazy ideas about how the public obviously has an appetite for a character who spends his time chatting with trout."

The line between reality and fiction is a difficult one to draw with "Entourage" in general, a show that very accurately portrays Hollywood…or so I hear. And perhaps "Entourage" is capitalizing on its insider following. Variety recently published a fake ad celebrating "Aquaman's" box-office domination (the movie set a fictional record on Entourage), placed by HBO to promote the series. And more than a few people were confused.

"If you thought the whole 'Aquaman' situation couldn't get any more meta than it already has, think again," a blogger at FamousIpod.com writes.

Many bloggers aren't surprised the idea of a real Aquaman movie is on Hollywood's mind. "The success of 'Aquaman' on iTunes would have everyone talking about breathing life into the written off character," Major Spoilers predicted.

Bryce Zabel agrees. "It should come as no surprise that Hollywood has 'Aquaman' on its mind. He's tough, wears a hot pair of board shorts and he even makes "swimming with the fishes" look good. Plus, he's a king," Zabel blogs at For What It's Worth. "Art imitating life. It's so freaking Hollywood insider ball, but that's the way it can be around here. Like high school with money, it's been called."

But some bloggers are undecided if this is a smart idea. "Is this the coolest thing ever or the lamest thing ever? I feel like this is a major example of Hollywood just trying to ride the coattails of something with buzz," Dan at Floating Away writes.

Bill Moyers For President?

Columnist Molly Ivins recently proposed that journalist Bill Moyers run for president in 2008. She encouraged him to make a symbolic run, with the purpose of shaking up the Democratic party and the country. And, it's music to liberal bloggers' ears.

Some bloggers are positively enthralled with the idea. "This is so brilliant, it positively shines with its own light ... without exaggerating a whit, I would drop everything to go to work to get this man elected ..." Prof. Marcus writes at And, Yes, I DO Take It Personally.

"Progressive? Yup. Public policy experience in the White House? Yup. Great communicator? Yup. Willing to speak truth to power? Yup," Jclifford at Irregular Times writes. "Bill Moyers for President sure sounds like a good idea to me. So, let's run with this puppy and make it reality."

And to that end, Café Press already has "Moyers for 2008" bumper stickers, pins and signs ready.

"I tell you what, I'd vote for the man in a second over Ms. Clinton, John Edwards, Kerry, Mark Warner, and the rest of the tweedle-dums. Feingold could be his VP," B12 Partners blogs.

Some bloggers aren't so sure it's a winning idea, a point Ivins makes as well, but are energized by the notion of Moyers running nonetheless. "Can Moyers win? No, but he can show the Democrats what political courage looks like," Soul at Uncomfortably Numb writes.

Others agree with Soul. "... The former theologian and presidential advisor to Lyndon Johnson presents some of the most humane logic and heartflet wit in the otherwise ethical void covering U.S. policy," Michael at Karakia Coast writes. "Not a hope of success really, but ideas are the first step in the creative process, and certainly some creativity is needed there!"

Conservative bloggers, however, see it as a short-sighted prospect, and not a surprising choice for Democrats. "All those millions the taxpayers have lavished on the Public Broadcasting System over the years haven't gone for naught. They've achieved at least one significant thing: given Bill Moyers a base from which to launch a presidential campaign," Mark Finklestein at Newsbusters writes. "At least in the mind of Molly Ivins."

While bloggers may not consider a Moyers draft movement a practical reality, many bloggers latched on to Ivins' point that the journalist could inject morality into public discourse. As she wrote in her column: "Bill Moyers has been grappling with how to fit moral issues to political issues ever since he left Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and went to work for Lyndon Johnson in the teeth of the Vietnam War."

Liberal bloggers are on board with that. "For sure, we could stand some improvement in the quality of the moral discourse," Chuck Gutenson writes at Imitatio Christi.

Of course, there is a significant problem with the draft Bill Moyers movement. Moyers himself has no interest in running, judging by the "movement's" site, which says it has been asked to shut down.


When photographer Jill Greenberg, a mostly commercial artist, debuted her exhibit "End Times" at the Kopeikin Gallery in Los Angeles, she never anticipated the intense reaction it would generate in the blogosphere.

Conservative bloggers are utterly outraged at Greenberg's photographs, which feature about 27 2- and 3-year-olds crying. Her daughter is among the group of crying toddlers. Greenberg used an easy trick to provoke tears in the children: she took away their lollipop. Her work is designed to show how children would feel if they knew the state of the world they're set to inherit, she says.

But while many artists make political statements with their work, this one touched a nerve because the political statement used children. Many bloggers questioned Greenberg's methods. And when Michele Malkin blogged about the work, labeling the work "unbelievably sick," she ignited a storm of vocal, mostly conservative bloggers angry with the project.

In fact, the Kopeikin Gallery received so many angry e-mails it considered hiring extra security. And when American Photo magazine dubbed "End Times" the most controversial photo exhibition of the year in its July-August issue, the article received a greater response than any other article printed in the last five years, David Schonauer, editor in chief, told the Los Angeles Times. In fact, an online forum on its website dedicated to discussing Greenberg was shut down because of abusive posts.

Greenberg stands by her work. "I have a loving family, I come from a normal family, I've never done anything awful in my life," Greenberg told The Los Angeles Times. "Pictures of crying children are upsetting, powerful. There is something instinctual that makes you want to protect them...But people are taking the pictures literally, as if they are evidence of awful things happening to these kids."

But her explanation isn't likely to quell the outrage online. "Jill Greenberg is a sick woman who should be arrested and charged with child abuse," Thomas Hawke wrote in one of the harshest reactions online. "We should all be outraged by this horrible woman who has sought to somehow justify her actions under some kind of artistic immunity. This is not art, this is child abuse. It is the purposeful action of creating anger in a beautiful child for the sadistic purpose of making a name for herself as a pop artist."

"I don't know if I would call making children cry sick, but it is certainly pretty tasteless," Shadowscope writes.

Some bloggers question whether it was an effective medium for Greenberg's message. "I'm unsure about the effect of the exhibit, as a part of the eternal 'What does art really do for the world' debate," Sofie writes at All Things Come To A Beginning. "Do you need to take away candy from some kids in an LA studio to drive home the message? Or does it only increase the mediatization of environmental issues?"

But Greenberg does have a minority of defenders online. "If people want to blame child abuse on someone, they should spend more time researching the real abusers of the world," Dianne blogs. "Those who exploit children for work or sell them as prostitutes or send bombs to blow up playgrounds and schools should be the focus if you're talking about abuse, certainly not 2 minutes of sadness due to a lolly being taken away! GET REAL people!"

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By Melissa McNamara