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View Poll Results: Is Lincoln “Award Bait”?
Lincoln IS “Award Bait” in EVERY WORST SENSE of the term: paint-by-numbers button-pushing Awe Porn. 21 30.43%
Lincoln IS “Award Bait” but it also HAPPENS TO BE an EXCELLENT and, therefore, Award Worthy film. 32 46.38%
Lincoln is NOT “Award Bait” is it Award Worthy because it is a truly excellent film. 16 23.19%
They expect to win Awards with this? Lincoln is teh suxx0r! 0 0%
Voters: 69. You may not vote on this poll

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  #1  
Old 12-08-2012, 12:49 PM
bienville bienville is offline
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Do you consider Lincoln to be "Award Bait"?

I saw Lincoln and I liked it. I thoroughly liked it, every aspect, start to finish.
I have not, however, been raving about it. I felt no great sense of excitement or fulfillment as I walked out of the theater. Why? Because the film was nothing more than exactly what I expected it to be when I walked into the theater.

Spielberg has at times throughout his career shown great artistic inspiration, but he has always displayed great craftsmanship- so I knew it would be a very well crafted movie. I'd have expected a great screenplay even before hearing of Tony Kushner's involvement simply because with Spielberg as producer and with a huge budget and with a subject such as our most popular President ever . . . of course they're going to have a great writer deliver a great screenplay. Daniel Day-Lewis as Lincoln? Daniel Day-Lewis as Abraham Fucking Lincoln? I nominated him for a Best Actor Oscar the moment I heard about the casting.

So, really, given the elements involved, this was a no risk venture.
A Lincoln movie in the hands of a different creative team? Yes, of course it would be an extremely ambitious project that could easily fail. In the hands of this particular creative team, however, it was a no risk venture.

So, a Could-Make-a-Great-Film-in-their-Sleep creative team chooses as a subject the most popular President in U.S. History. This is a movie that people will decide is their favorite movie of the year before they have even viewed it.


So, does that make it "Award Bait"?

They reason I'd be hesitant to call it Award Bait is that I actually liked it and thought it was an excellent film. Generally, Award Bait is crafted in a way to awe the wider movie-going public into feeling they've just watched some amazing artistic achievment (even if they'll have forgotten about it in a year's time), but I, my cynical self, am usually quick to gag and heave at the shameless emotional button-pushing and the paint-by-numbers craftsmanship.

In short "bienville hates it" is usually an significant defining quality of "Award Bait".

With Lincoln, however, "bienville hates it" is pretty much the only defining quality of Award Bait that is missing.

I am inclined then to believe that Lincoln is Award Bait that just happens to be very good.
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  #2  
Old 12-08-2012, 01:02 PM
Hampshire Hampshire is offline
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Haven't seen it yet but it does conjure a sort of 'safe bet'/'low risk' image. I would probably liked to see them pull off something like Washington with the same creative team. A little more risk involved and if pulled off would be more impressive IMHO.
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  #3  
Old 12-08-2012, 01:13 PM
Raskolnikov Raskolnikov is offline
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you said it yourself, a Lincoln movie in the hands of a different team could've easily failed, having said that.......

this is the very type of movie the Academy just loves.
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  #4  
Old 12-08-2012, 01:17 PM
babygoat666 babygoat666 is offline
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What is the quintessential example of "award bait"?
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  #5  
Old 12-08-2012, 01:22 PM
bienville bienville is offline
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Originally Posted by babygoat666 View Post
What is the quintessential example of "award bait"?
Any examples offered will surely raise disagreement and thus would probably derail this Thread. Gimme a minute and I'll start a new Thread.
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  #6  
Old 12-08-2012, 01:30 PM
babygoat666 babygoat666 is offline
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Really? I'd say if there's not even one that can be widely agreed upon, the term is totally meaningless. I thought that the Curious Case of Benjamin Button totaly sucked, but it won 3 oscars. Does that make it award bait, or just a movie a bunch of other people ostensibly liked that I didn't?
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  #7  
Old 12-08-2012, 01:55 PM
bienville bienville is offline
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Originally Posted by babygoat666 View Post
Really? I'd say if there's not even one that can be widely agreed upon, the term is totally meaningless.
Could be. Started another Thread. We'll see if there's any consensus.
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  #8  
Old 12-08-2012, 01:55 PM
DMark DMark is offline
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I have not seen Lincoln yet, but to be fair, this is Oscar season - when all of the "better" films are released (meaning high profile actors and scripts that appeal to more adults than kids).

There are many that will go on and win the big prizes, but there are many films that get lost in the shuffle - low box office, mixed reviews - that are thought to be Oscar bait, but get beaten by the competition in short order.

Sometimes film producers really think they have a big time winner on their hands, only to find it getting shut out for even getting a nomination, let alone winning anything.

Then there is that vague, hard-to-define "Oscar buzz". These are often films that have some special connection to Oscar voters - perhaps a good/great performance by a beloved actor/director who has a large body of work but has never won anything? Or perhaps a good/great film that fits into the politically correct concept of the year?

In the past, people complained that the average age of Oscar voters was about 108 years old, but they have added lots of younger voters over the years and this is no longer as much of a complaint as it used to be. Still - Oscar voters are indeed more conservative and tend to stick with "safe" bets - with a few exceptions here and there.
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  #9  
Old 12-08-2012, 01:59 PM
The Second Stone The Second Stone is offline
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I thought it a very good movie. "Award Bait" sure, but it is no Forrest Gump, which was award bait that sucked in every possible way.
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  #10  
Old 12-08-2012, 02:36 PM
TriPolar TriPolar is offline
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I voted award bait, but I haven't seen it so maybe it's a good movie also. I was surprised to hear Sally Field was in it. But then again, people like her. They really, really like her.
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  #11  
Old 12-08-2012, 02:50 PM
steronz steronz is online now
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I'm not sure how to answer the poll. My main complaint with the film is that it should never have been called "Lincoln" in the first place. It should have been called "The 13th Amendment," and the

SPOILER:
cheesy bit at the end with the kid in the theater and the gratuitous shot of a bloody pillow


plus a few other extraneous bits could have been cut out entirely. If they did that, they'd be left with a very awesome 105 minute movie about a very specific subject, but it would not be a biography. It would also, IMO, not be award bait.

However, they added that crap in and then called the movie "Lincoln." Why? That makes me a bit suspicious.

(I don't know if that really needed to be in a spoiler box, but, meh).
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  #12  
Old 12-08-2012, 03:14 PM
RickJay RickJay is offline
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Originally Posted by The Second Stone View Post
I thought it a very good movie. "Award Bait" sure, but it is no Forrest Gump, which was award bait that sucked in every possible way.
I think Forrest Gump was a great movie. Having said that, it was not entirely classic Award Bait.

1. It was released as a summer box office draw, not a late-season Oscar-draw.

2. Though sort of a period peice, it really wasn't.

3. It wasn't about the Holocaust.

4. It was heavily comedic.
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  #13  
Old 12-08-2012, 03:59 PM
delphica delphica is offline
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I voted for the second option because it was the best fit for my reaction, which is that it's Award Bait, and a perfectly fine film as opposed to excellent. And maybe nomination worthy as opposed to award worthy, although when I say something is nomination worthy it includes the possibility of an award as well. I guess the distinction I'm making there is that IMHO, the slam dunk qualities of Lincoln are more related to its being Bait than to the actual quality of the film as well.

The only aspect that I feel is excellent is DDL's performance. I even went into it with high expectations, and his performance surpassed them. I imagine that every other actor who appeared in a potential award-winning role this year heard about DDL being cast as Lincoln in this film and said "oh for fuck's sake."

I agree with the points steronz raised. I could have done without the schlock. If they thought "The 13th Amendment" was too boring of a title, I was thinking they could have gone with "Thirteen." People like movies that have numbers as titles.
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  #14  
Old 12-08-2012, 04:58 PM
Alessan Alessan is online now
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Originally Posted by RickJay View Post
I think Forrest Gump was a great movie. Having said that, it was not entirely classic Award Bait.
I agree. In fact, I suspect that the people who made it thought they were making a Tom Hanks comedy, like Big. Remember, at the time Hanks was primarily thought of as a comedic actor; his Oscar for Philadelphia happened when Gump was already in the can.
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  #15  
Old 12-08-2012, 06:42 PM
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I saw Lincoln yesterday and am still in awe at the mastery of Daniel Day Lewis. His portrayal of Lincoln showed a sly, masterful politician who wasn't too good to bribe for favorable votes as well as show an awareness of social justice beyond the current morality of the times he lived in. DDL showed a vulnerable human who had problems but still fought for what he believed in and in what direction the U.S. needed to be shoved towards.
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  #16  
Old 12-11-2012, 03:11 AM
BigT BigT is offline
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I haven't seen it, but it's obviously award bait. It's a biography that came out at award bait time. And it's being advertized as award bait.
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  #17  
Old 12-11-2012, 09:44 AM
Jas09 Jas09 is offline
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And it's being advertized as award bait.
I think this is a good point. If the trailer or print advertisements heavily feature "Starring Academy Award Winners..." and "Directed by Academy Award Winner..." then it's clearly angling for awards itself.
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  #18  
Old 12-11-2012, 09:57 AM
silenus silenus is offline
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This is a movie the wife and I fought over. She wants to see it - I'd rather have needles stuck in my eyes. I don't like the actor, don't like the director, couldn't care less about the subject....total yawn from me. So we will find a theater that has something for me playing as well.

Something with car crashes and boobs.
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  #19  
Old 12-11-2012, 10:29 AM
RealityChuck RealityChuck is offline
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"Award Bait" is an obnoxious term for any film that deals with serious matters in a serious way, created by people who wouldn't know a good movie if it came up and bit them in the ass.
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  #20  
Old 12-11-2012, 11:06 AM
astorian astorian is offline
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Lincoln is very likely to win some major Oscars (Daniel Day-Lewis is almost a lock for Best Actor, Spielberg stands a very good chance of winning another Best Director, and the movie could well win Best Picture)... but it certainly wasn't made for the express purpose of winning Oscars.

I strongly suspect that, when Spielberg made The Color Purple, he WAS trying to win an Oscar. I felt the same way about Spike Lee's Malcolm X. In both cases, directors who'd been bypassed before were consciously and deliberately making the KINDS of movies that they THOUGHT would appeal to Oscar voters, and that they hoped would get them the awards they'd been denied previously.

Last edited by astorian; 12-11-2012 at 11:08 AM..
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  #21  
Old 12-11-2012, 11:19 AM
The Other Waldo Pepper The Other Waldo Pepper is offline
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Originally Posted by astorian View Post
I strongly suspect that, when Spielberg made The Color Purple, he WAS trying to win an Oscar. I felt the same way about Spike Lee's Malcolm X.
See also Tom Cruise, in Born On The Fourth Of July -- the year the Oscar went to Daniel Day-Lewis for that other wheelchair biopic.
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  #22  
Old 12-11-2012, 11:29 AM
Oedipus Oedipus is offline
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I'm still wary on Oscar bait. I think that films that are truly great get the nod while every now and again a stereotypical holocaust/racism film comes along. I mean, for christsake, you can't make a more heart strings-tugging film about the holocaust than Life is Beautiful but that lost to Shakespeare in Love.

Similarly, The Artist won because, I feel, that it did something spectacular with film that hadn't been attempted in a long time. It really pushed the envelope and it just worked. Just glancing at the list, I don't think that The Departed, No Country for Old Men, Unforgiven, Lord of the Rings: Return of the King, or even Silence of the Lambs are baity at all.
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  #23  
Old 12-11-2012, 11:35 AM
Rollo Tomasi Rollo Tomasi is offline
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Originally Posted by RealityChuck View Post
"Award Bait" is an obnoxious term for any film that deals with serious matters in a serious way, created by people who wouldn't know a good movie if it came up and bit them in the ass.
This x 100.
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  #24  
Old 12-11-2012, 07:59 PM
Equipoise Equipoise is offline
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Originally Posted by Rollo Tomasi View Post
This x 100.
x 1000.
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  #25  
Old 12-12-2012, 01:20 AM
Waenara Waenara is offline
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Originally Posted by RealityChuck View Post
"Award Bait" is an obnoxious term for any film that deals with serious matters in a serious way, created by people who wouldn't know a good movie if it came up and bit them in the ass.
That's a pretty weak over-generalization. Other people have said in this thread, and I agree, that the "award bait"-ness of a film is on a different continuum than the film's quality/greatness. A movie could be not very good and be award bait, or a movie could be truly amazing and still be award bait. Or a movie could be crappy and not award bait, or fantastic and not award bait.

My personal criteria for bait includes films that may include some of the following (not an exhaustive list):
  • Period dramas
  • Several previous award nominees/winners involved in the film
  • Released at the end of the year
  • Trying too hard to be emotional and serious but yet not truly being great because they play it safe to try to appeal to a broad audience
  • Having a main character that has to overcome incredible odds in some way (e.g. racism, oppression/bigotry, disabilities, sports underdogs, etc...)
  • Movies that have a "meta" level to them that references film-making/plays/acting and thus appeals to the Academy voters (e.g. Shakespeare in Love or Hugo or Tropic Thunder)
  • Advertising campaigns that seem like their primary focus is hyping it for awards, rather than just trying to interest you in seeing the movie

Taking a look at Best Picture Oscar nominees and winners, YMMV but IMHO a few movies that are not so great (but not actually bad) that are award bait include The Blind Side, Seabiscuit and Erin Brockovich. Movies that I thought were really great but still somewhat award bait-y in terms of one or more items on my list above include Hugo, Milk and Million Dollar Baby.

Last edited by Waenara; 12-12-2012 at 01:23 AM..
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  #26  
Old 12-12-2012, 01:30 AM
Waenara Waenara is offline
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Too late to edit my post above.

I meant for the second sentence to have a link: "Other people have said in this thread ..."


So I haven't actually seen Lincoln yet and thus can't be certain if I'd regard it as award bait. But based on my past experiences with other movies, I'd say I have the impression it might be bait, based on it's combination of period drama, subject matter, choice of actors and director, release date, and advertising.

Last edited by Waenara; 12-12-2012 at 01:32 AM..
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  #27  
Old 12-12-2012, 08:21 AM
Hampshire Hampshire is offline
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Originally Posted by Waenara View Post
My personal criteria for bait includes films that may include some of the following (not an exhaustive list):
  • Period dramas
  • Several previous award nominees/winners involved in the film
  • Released at the end of the year
  • Trying too hard to be emotional and serious but yet not truly being great because they play it safe to try to appeal to a broad audience
  • Having a main character that has to overcome incredible odds in some way (e.g. racism, oppression/bigotry, disabilities, sports underdogs, etc...)
  • Movies that have a "meta" level to them that references film-making/plays/acting and thus appeals to the Academy voters (e.g. Shakespeare in Love or Hugo or Tropic Thunder)
  • Advertising campaigns that seem like their primary focus is hyping it for awards, rather than just trying to interest you in seeing the movie
.
How about biographies? Insert big name star to play famous person so everyone says "OMG!! They actually became (Jim Morrison, Andy Kaufman, Ray Charles, Johnny Cash)!" Then watch the story of humble beginnings, rise to fame, succumbing to fame, the meltdown, and the the death or big comeback, the end.
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  #28  
Old 12-12-2012, 10:43 AM
astorian astorian is offline
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Originally Posted by Hampshire View Post
How about biographies? Insert big name star to play famous person so everyone says "OMG!! They actually became (Jim Morrison, Andy Kaufman, Ray Charles, Johnny Cash)!" Then watch the story of humble beginnings, rise to fame, succumbing to fame, the meltdown, and the the death or big comeback, the end.
Biographies are rarely award bait for directors or producers, but are OFTEN Oscar bait for actors and actresses. In recent memory, people have won Oscars for playing Truman Capote, Ray Charles, Katharine Hepburn, Bela Lugosi, Harvey Milk, Idi Amin, King George the 6th, Queen Elizabeth the 2nd, Margaret Thatcher, June Carter...

Performers have learned that such roles are a great pathway to Oscars.
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  #29  
Old 12-12-2012, 01:49 PM
MovieMogul MovieMogul is offline
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Originally Posted by astorian View Post
Biographies are rarely award bait for directors or producers,
Hmmm, tell that to the makers of LAWRENCE OF ARABIA, A MAN FOR ALL SEASONS, PATTON, THE FRENCH CONNECTION, CHARIOTS OF FIRE, REDS, GANDHI, AMADEUS, OUT OF AFRICA, THE LAST EMPEROR, SCHINDLER'S LIST, BRAVEHEART, A BEAUTIFUL MIND, THE PIANIST and THE KING'S SPEECH (all Picture and/or Director winners in the last 50 years)
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  #30  
Old 12-12-2012, 02:11 PM
Labrador Deceiver Labrador Deceiver is offline
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Originally Posted by RealityChuck View Post
"Award Bait" is an obnoxious term for any film that deals with serious matters in a serious way, created by people who wouldn't know a good movie if it came up and bit them in the ass.
Quite the opposite. It's a term coined by people who actually know good movies, and who aren't sucked in by shitty, overly-dramatic, big-budget films that aren't challenging in any way. Movies like Titanic and Crash come to mind.
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  #31  
Old 12-12-2012, 02:30 PM
astorian astorian is offline
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Originally Posted by MovieMogul View Post
Hmmm, tell that to the makers of LAWRENCE OF ARABIA, A MAN FOR ALL SEASONS, PATTON, THE FRENCH CONNECTION, CHARIOTS OF FIRE, REDS, GANDHI, AMADEUS, OUT OF AFRICA, THE LAST EMPEROR, SCHINDLER'S LIST, BRAVEHEART, A BEAUTIFUL MIND, THE PIANIST and THE KING'S SPEECH (all Picture and/or Director winners in the last 50 years)
Point taken... with one exception. "Amadeus" was fiction. Shaffer never intended it to be a biography.
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  #32  
Old 12-12-2012, 02:45 PM
MovieMogul MovieMogul is offline
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Point taken... with one exception. "Amadeus" was fiction. Shaffer never intended it to be a biography.
Strictly speaking, yes, but it still qualifies as Great Figures in History (even if its poetic license is only slightly less obvious than SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE or TITANIC)
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  #33  
Old 01-23-2013, 09:22 AM
BrokenBriton BrokenBriton is offline
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Bump - having just seen the film.

I don't particularly think the film is Oscar bait though it's pretty much got to the point where DD-L is bait on behalf of whatever film he is in. Once again, what a performance!

He's really not my cup of tea but I'm not sure Spielberg is that bothered. Apropos of not very much, thank fuck he managed to ease back ever such a little on the unearned sentimental gunk that drips from film he's ever made.

Fwiw the first Oscar bait that came to mind - somewhat randomly - was Cold Mountain. Pretty embarrassingly bait, imo.
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  #34  
Old 01-23-2013, 09:56 AM
JohnT JohnT is offline
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Originally Posted by babygoat666 View Post
What is the quintessential example of "award bait"?
The King's Speech:

British
Disability
Fighting to overcome said disability
... succeeds in a speech rallying the country against Hitler nonetheless!
Biographical
Cheeky commoners vs the establishment
Period piece
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  #35  
Old 01-23-2013, 10:13 AM
Saint Cad Saint Cad is offline
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I think that it is not awards bait but a well thought-out and well written film with a phenomenal cast.
Spielberg - Does anyone question his movie making ability? (11 Oscar nominations with 3 wins*)
Day-Lewis - May have the highest Oscar/starring role ratio after this year (4 Oscar nominations with 2 wins*)
Field - Definately shown that she can give her characters depth (2 Oscar nominations with 2 wins*)
Straithairn - Not necessarily known as a movie actor he still has an impressive resume. I'd consider him a top character actor (1 Oscar nomination with 0 wins*; 2 Golden Globe nominations with 0 wins; 2 primetime Emmy nominations with 1 win)
Jones - Again another strong character actor (3 Oscar nominations with 1 win*)
* Not counting Lincoln.

As has been mentioned before, the portrayals of the characters were spot on from firebrand Thaddeus Stevens to the ineffectual Schuyler Colfax. Mary Todd was played as areal person and not a characture and the relationship between her an Abe re: Willie's death was almost brutal in how real it was. The got the relationship between Lincoln and Seward and the (lack of) relationship between Lincoln and Stanton pitch-perfect.

In short a great movie with a great cast is not awards-bait. You would need to look at something like Shakespeare in Love for that.
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  #36  
Old 01-23-2013, 11:00 AM
BrokenBriton BrokenBriton is offline
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The King's Speech:
Adapted from the stage.
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  #37  
Old 01-23-2013, 11:08 AM
Rollo Tomasi Rollo Tomasi is offline
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Adapted from the stage.
It was originally written as a play, but it was never produced. The writer was encouraged by a producer to redevelop it as a movie script.
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  #38  
Old 01-23-2013, 11:16 AM
BrokenBriton BrokenBriton is offline
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Fair enough: 'Adapted from a script written for the stage.'
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  #39  
Old 01-23-2013, 11:47 AM
JohnT JohnT is offline
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Adapted from the stage.
As was Amadeus, another award bait movie. But a far, far better one.
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  #40  
Old 01-23-2013, 05:44 PM
andrewbub andrewbub is offline
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isn't every DDL movie award bait?
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