Saturday, October 31, 2009

Listening Post: Halloweenie Edition

A tradition on this day every year: the flat-out most frightening video ever made.

Directed by Chris Cunningham, here's Aphex Twin's Come To Daddy.

Where the Juvenile Things Are

Favorite conversation from last night's "Howl" Fundraiser Costume Ball, at the Sky Lobby in the Bank of America Tower, Downtown Miami:

Me: Okay, I'll give you ten bucks if during the evening you can slip the word "jism" randomly into conversation with strangers ten times.

Votar: You mean, like, "That's a beautiful costume -- really gorgeous. And I love the way it brings out the jism in your eyes"?

Me: Yup.

Votar: I'll take that action.

Saturday Morning Cartoons: Halloweenie Edition

Happy Halloween, kids. From 1954, it's Bewitched Bunny.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Listening Post

Since it's the day before Halloween, here's a sufficiently creepy little video from Jersey post-hardcore gods The Dillinger Escape Plan.

This is Unretrofied.

And as a bonus, a mind-blowing live clip of TDEP joining Nine Inch Nails on-stage for Wish. It's a video that features Trent Reznor feeling unusually talkative and taking that opportunity to insult Coldplay.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Headline of the Week

Because it sounds like it's written exactly the way he'd say it.

The Boston Herald: Pedro Martinez Has Been Outstanding for Long Time/10.29.09

"Yes, I has been outstanding for long time."

Who's your daddy, Pedro?

Quote of the Week

"You know what's worse than being sick and not having health insurance? Having to sit through the Lieberman filibuster that kept it from you."

-- Jon Stewart

Listneing Post

One of the coolest guys in the world at his black-hearted best. This song is the soundtrack to some nightmarish crime of passion.

Here's Nick Cave's Loverman.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

We're #1!*

Today's apparently "inside baseball" day around here when it comes to television.

I've been lucky enough to work for some very highly rated TV news operations during my career; on the other hand, I've also done time pushing bottom-of-the-barrel product -- both in overall quality and, often consequently, ratings. Strangely, there are times when the latter is more enjoyable than the former -- at least from a "personal entertainment" perspective. I say this because there's nothing more amusing than watching the management team of a failing network or station engage in a little creative accounting when it comes to ratings. Invariably at the end of each sweeps period -- or when, say, an industry story breaks announcing that there's been some sort of upheaval in the number of viewers watching the various outlets -- the powers that be can always be counted on to trot out an in-house statistician to cleverly spin those numbers in favor of the television operation that pays his or her salary.

The result usually sounds something like this:

"Well, yes, our competition is stomping us like we were a hippie at Altamont, seven days a week, 24 hours a day across the board. But if you look at the all-important, advertiser-coveted demographic of mixed-race 42-43-year-old women whose names begin with the letter "M" -- who live in the vicinity of a used Kia dealership and who claim to have once slept with the bassist in a mid-level rock band back in the 80s -- then, hey, we're #1 from 10:19am to 10:23am, Tuesday through Thursday. Great job, everybody!"

If you've ever wondered how just about every local station and national network can somehow claim to be "The Most Watched," there you have it. Just slap a little asterisk next to that assertion, qualifying it, and you're good to go.

Work in a newsroom long enough and you get used to this kind of nonsense; it's done all the time. But what usually isn't done -- what's so brazen that only the ballsiest news departments, or the most detached from reality, would try to pull it off -- is what CNN's doing right now.

In case you haven't heard, CNN's had a very, very bad October. The network, for the first time, has fallen to fourth place among the cable news outlets in prime time. Now if you're thinking to yourself, "Wait, aren't there only three cable news networks?" you're missing the salient point here -- the one that makes this so epochal in the cable universe: CNN's now behind even its sister network, HLN. (Credit for HLN's success can no doubt be pinned on the decision to abbreviate the oh-so-wordy "Headline News.") In the beloved 25-54 demo, CNN's prime time lineup is dwarfed in the numbers not only by Fox and MSNBC, but also by HLN; in fact, in an insulting pimp slap of epic proportions, Anderson Cooper's 10pm show, AC360, which owned its time slot a year ago, is now getting its ass kicked not only by Greta Van Susteren on Fox, but by replays of the 8pm editions of Nancy Grace and Keith Olbermann.

CNN's answer to this gargantuan slight? Well, instead of narrowing the focus of the ratings pool until the picture looks more favorable, it's now choosing to conveniently broaden the pool. A CNN spokesperson says, "As we have said for years, we measure our audience across all CNN Worldwide platforms and throughout the day, not just prime time." In other words, CNN's counting all of its programming on all of its entities -- national and international -- all day long. (Who the hell knows, maybe they're even lumping in HLN, as it's all just one big, happy CNN family, right?)

In other words, since, like every other network out there, it's been guilty in the past of selective sampling to make its claims of dominance, CNN is trying to have it both ways. The network bombastically promoted its prime time hegemony when it had it, and now hides behind, literally, a numbers game when it doesn't.

In CNN's defense -- and in my opinion this is a point truly worth defending -- the network does traffic in far less obnoxious partisan bloviation in prime time than its rivals. (Or, in the case of Nancy Grace, at least slightly less obscene, self-serving coverage of whatever pretty white girl happens to be missing at the moment.) When there's actually, you know, news to report -- CNN's ratings consistently climb. But this fact doesn't make it acceptable, or honest, for CNN to adhere to one set of standards for ratings when it suits the needs of the network's promotions department, then move the goalpost when things get a little dicey.

In the end, though, the way the network's spinning lousy numbers to the outside world doesn't matter much anyway. What really matters is what's going on inside CNN in the wake of this news.

And I can promise you, the network's doing anything but believing its own bullshit right about now.

*Totally not true.

I Dare You To Poke Her

Is this once again the work of the merry pranksters at 4chan? Wouldn't surprise me -- but it's darn amusing either way.

(h/t Oliver Willis)

Mary Halloween

The funniest thing you'll see all day.

The Onion: How To Find a Masculine Halloween Costume for Your Effeminate Son/10.27.09

Don't ever say we don't provide a service around here.

Sound and Fury

Grab a baseball bat and crank up Disturbed's Prayer.

Meet the new face of American outrage: relatively intelligent, surprisingly informed and (therefore) extremely pissed off.

God how I'd love to see this motherfucker put in a room with Jim Cramer.

Quote of the Week (Honorable Mention)

"2.5 million Americans watch Fox News, which means that 297.5 million Americans don't."

-- Commenter "Underoath" at the Huffington Post, responding to the story about Shepard Smith apologizing on-air for what he called Fox News's lack of balance in covering the New Jersey governor's race

I post this comment because it brings up a point I've always wanted to mention here: Fox News's perceived power within the news media -- it's supposed absolute domination of both the medium and the message -- is really nothing more than a product of the media loving to talk about themselves. Yes, Fox has a firm grip on the cable audience -- particularly one relentlessly loyal facet of the audience, which clings to its every word and indulges its every whim -- and that makes for much hand-wringing among its competitors and detractors. But let's be honest: In the great scheme of things, how many people really watch cable news regularly? Sure, O'Reilly or Beck can pull in a couple of million viewers -- on a really good day -- but even now, with its authority waning, network news still nets up to 25-million viewers a night (with even the lowest-rated show pulling around 6-million people). And keep in mind that we're talking about national numbers -- as in a couple of million Fox viewers out of around 300-million people in the entire United States.

To put things in perspective, during the heyday of network dominance, a local news 11pm show in New York City could occasionally come close to that kind of number.

Yes, Fox News is powerful among the select demographic that watches it. Big picture, though? It's nowhere near the inescapable cultural force that it and the media echo chamber it inhabits would have you believe.

Listening Post

The latest single from Silversun Pickups -- Substitution.

And, as a little bonus, a surprisingly cool and very high quality amateur video for a song I posted last month -- not only the best song on the new Silversun record but one of the best songs anywhere right now: The Royal We.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Mal Adjusted

For those who missed it or, heaven forbid, weren't aware it was happening in the first place -- ABC's Castle got a visit from a very special guest last night (sort of).

TV Overmind: Firefly's Mal Reynolds Returns/10.27.09

Between that and the release of Battlestar Galactica: The Plan today, I'm so getting my geek on right now.

Tuesday Is Recycling Day: "Thanks for Nothing, Droopy" Edition

Well, here's the least surprising news to come along in forever: Worthless, obstinate, self-obsessed turd Joe Lieberman is threatening to help torpedo the public option.

The Huffington Post: Lieberman Willing To Sink Health Care Bill with Public Option/10.27.09

And with that, let's bring back what I wrote about him last January -- when he came in at #7 on the list of the Ten Most Ridiculous, Shameful or Generally Unfortunate People and Events of 2008.

"7. Joe Lieberman

Title: Independent (as in, He Doesn't Have a Friend in the World) Senator from Connecticut, Political Opportunist, Embarrassing Jewish Stereotype, Guy You Never Want to Take Handicapping Advice From, Mr. Excitement

Big Pharm Recommended Treatment: Dexedrine, Pharmaceutical Cocaine

The Facts:
It takes a special kind of personality to go from being one party's candidate for vice president to being the go-to political hitman for the opposing party in the span of just eight years -- and that personality is, apparently, no personality at all. 2008 was the year that Joe Lieberman finally proved just how shamelessly and entirely he was willing to screw over those who'd spent a good portion of their careers supporting him. Like a desperate high school girl who flits from one clique to another sharing gossip in an effort to be liked, he'd spent years playing both sides of the fence and every conceivable angle hoping to stay one step ahead of political irrelevancy. But it wasn't until the last few months of last year's presidential race that the true evanescence of Lieberman's loyalty -- and therefore the general worthlessness of his friendship -- became clear to pretty much everyone. Old Droopy didn't just turn his back on the Democrats; he took center stage at the Republican National Convention. He didn't just support John McCain; he insinuated that Barack Obama might be a Marxist and, what's more, questioned his overall ability to lead (a somewhat laughable implication, considering the source). In the end, though, Lieberman's gambit didn't pay off -- so now, in wholly expected fashion, his one-time campaign battle cry, 'Joementum,' has taken on an entirely new meaning: 'Joe meant... um...'"

I'd really hoped Lieberman would slink back into his hole and stay there after being sufficiently throttled by history last November, but obviously no such luck.

What's worse, his arguments against the public option are entirely full of shit.

Just like him.


There's nothing I enjoy more than Scientology having its lunatic, money-grubbing ass handed to it.

Which means that I'm having a pretty good day.

BBC: Scientologists Convicted of Fraud/10.27.09

National Post: Oscar-winning Director Paul Haggis Renounces Scientology/10.27.09

The Huffington Post: Scientology Spokesman Storms Out of Nightline Interview/10.24.09


DXM: Mormonism vs. Scientology: Be Wary, Be Wary the 10th of February/12.1.08

Tuesday Is Recycling Day

At this rate, ESPN's going to run out of people soon.

Hot on the heels of the decision to continue on without the services of both Steve Phillips and the psychotic little troll he inexplicably chose to put his penis in, production assistant Brooke Hundley, ESPN managers have announced that they're suspending Bob Griese for a really stupid crack made on-air over the weekend. In case you haven't heard because you have, you know, a life, the former star Miami Dolphins QB was calling a college game last Saturday when, during a promo for the network's upcoming NASCAR coverage, he joked that driver Juan Pablo Montoya wouldn't be racing because he was "out having a taco."

For the record, Montoya isn't Mexican -- he's Colombian. Which means it would've made more sense to say that he'd be out because he was "getting busted for trafficking coke and killing a federal judge and his family with a MAC-10."

By that last comment, you can probably tell where I come down on this whole thing: Really, when did we become an entire nation of hyper-sensitive, well, pussies?

Within minutes of the offhand on-air gaffe, Griese apologized -- twice. As expected, these apologies sounded sincere but couldn't be, simply by virtue of the fact that they were almost certainly the product of a stern talking-to off-camera by ESPN executive producers. The question, though, is, did Griese need to apologize at all? Was what he said really all that earth-shatteringly awful? He's a sportscaster doing locker room-style banter and it was obvious he didn't mean anything hurtful by his silly little crack. But after getting Griese to essentially grovel on national television, the suits at ESPN have decided that he still hasn't been taught enough of a lesson (which of course is merely a smokescreen; the reality is that they have to prove to a handful of potential angry protesters and a few jittery sponsors that the network takes "racist" comments seriously) and so they chose to bench him.

In a terrific bit of meta-broadcasting, radio hosts Opie and Anthony picked apart this supposed scandal yesterday on their show -- and used the opportunity to expose contrition-as-theater for what it is 99% of the time. They did it by replaying their own very serious-sounding public apology for a comedy bit that got them suspended for a month back in 2007 -- a rant by an on-air regular that targeted Condoleezza Rice, Laura Bush and the Queen of England, among others. What was fascinating about their dissection of the uproar over the Griese comment and their own brush with America's perpetually-aggrieved usual suspects was the level of refreshing honesty on display: O & A admitted flat-out that they were forced to apologize under the threat of losing their jobs; they came right out and said that they weren't, in fact, sorry and didn't mean one fucking word of what they were told to say on-air -- what was written for them by someone else.

This morning, I'm resurrecting the piece I wrote in the wake of Opie and Anthony's infamous "Homeless Charlie" bit -- but more than that, I'm pulling excerpts from several columns focusing on what's been a regular overarching subject around these parts: Our rush to be offended, our over-sensitivity to anything that flusters our delicate sensibilities, and the reaction that some among us have come to not just expect but demand in the wake of being offended.

Of course the pieces in question represent the times I talked seriously about this topic. It doesn't include all the tasteless mockery I myself have gleefully heaped in every direction.

"The Clean Air Act" (Originally Posted, 5.14.07)

One of the most unintentionally hysterical movie lines in history comes courtesy of that classic Tom Cruise vehicle Top Gun. Not only does the film stand as irrefutable proof that Cruise is not, in fact, gayer than Carson Kressley blowing himself, it also gave us this little gem of Hollywood screenwriting brilliance:

As Tom Cruise's character prepares to fly his hard, phallic F-14 within spitting distance of the skyward-jutting, phallic control tower, he's warned by his radar-man "Goose" -- played by Anthony Edwards -- that his actions are unauthorized and therefore a bad idea.

"Uh, you can't do that, Maverick," says Goose.

Right -- because if you do, they'll, uh well, change your name to something that doesn't suggest an impetuous willingness to ignore orders.

This is what I think of whenever I hear the following words come out of a news anchor's mouth or see them splashed across a front page: "Shock Jock (fill-in name) is in big trouble today for (fill-in something offensive said or done on-air)."

Obviously, this particular brand of disengenuous outrage has received plenty of attention lately thanks to the whole Don Imus fiasco; in fact, Imus himself is now fighting for the money remaining in his canceled CBS contract by asserting that his bosses indeed knew exactly what they were in for when they put him on the air in the first place.

They don't call them Shock Jocks because they have issues with static electricity.

Which brings us to Opie and Anthony.

When I made the decision to leave New York City about four years ago (this is my second tour-of-duty in Gotham) one of the features of life here that I knew I'd miss the most was the Opie & Anthony show. At that time, it was on WNEW FM and was a staple of my weekday afternoon. It was rude, offensive, juvenile -- and the funniest goddamned thing on the air. When O & A were finally banished by a torch wielding mob for staging an on-air stunt in which a couple had sex in St. Patrick's Cathedral -- which was hilarious by the way -- I figured they'd remain radioactive for at least a good five years.

Then they turned up on XM Satellite Radio, and I rejoiced; the gloves were off.

Since then, Opie & Anthony have actually managed to steer clear of any real controversy. Their show remains funny, and at times surprisingly insightful. They've even managed to get a watered-down version of it simulcasted on terrestrial radio.

But it was only a matter of time.

Now, once again, the usual suspects are screaming for the heads of O & A.

The offense this time: why, nothing less than suborning the rape of our own beloved Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice (cue the gasps).

Basically, during their show last Thursday, a guy known as Homeless Charlie went on a minute-long rant about how he'd "love to fuck that bitch," (that would be Condi), how he also wanted to do the same to Laura Bush, and how the Queen of England shouldn't have been allowed into the U.S. because she has a horse-face and was on the losing side of the Revolutionary War to begin with.

It was admittedly only funny for its audacity in skewering such sacred authority figures; I'm always a fan of that. Needless to say, though, you could've counted the seconds before the mushroom cloud of bullshit outrage appeared on the horizon. By Thursday afternoon, the line of perpetually aggrieved stretched around the block, ready to once again grab a collective torch and demand mob justice. Al Sharpton -- who, it should be noted, was also one of the targets of Homeless Charlie's venom -- decried the remarks as ugly and hurtful, but stopped short of again demanding the outright censorship of a nationally-broadcasted radio show; the cynical might point out that in this case, while Opie & Anthony are white -- traditionally, Sharpton's favorite punching bags -- Charlie himself is black, and therefore in possession of a genetic get-out-of-jail-free card as far as Big Al is concerned.

Those who truly do spout arguably dangerous and occasionally outright false invective over the airwaves were also happy to assume the laughable position of moral authority and join in the pile-on. Vaudevillian buffoons like Glenn Beck and Neal Boortz did somersaults of logic in an attempt to have it both ways, blaming the rise of such "garbage" on the time-honored boogeyman of leftist moral-relativism while at the same time wrapping their own on-air race-baiting and fear-mongering in the comfortable cloak of the American flag -- the argument against such nonsense, all but bulletproof: Opie & Anthony do comedy, Beck and Boortz don't, at least not intentionally.

For anyone who wondered quietly if the unnecessary firing of Don Imus and the surreal pandemonium which led to it would eventually create a dangerous chilling effect across our airwaves, wonder no more; your worst fears have been realized. Those who successfully silenced a powerful voice in broadcasting -- dumb, but powerful -- have been emboldened by their victory. Now, like a kid with a new toy, the ones for whom even the slightest offense is unacceptable -- regardless of the context -- have declared themselves rulers of America's on-air sandbox.

What you find funny isn't important; if it offends someone, it simply cannot stand, for the good of everyone.

Even if you've chosen to pay for the privilege of hearing adult language and, occasionally, juvenile comedy -- as those subjected to the offending Opie & Anthony bit had -- it doesn't matter.

If someone, anyone, is offended by it, it has to go.

Within the past couple of days, CBS Radio -- in keeping with its proud tradition of willfully allowing its spine to go flaccid at even the slightest hint of pressure -- announced its decision to cancel The Dog House, with JV and Elvis. The reason: the show's hosts staged a prank phone call to a Chinese restaurant which infuriated the Asian-American community.

Jeanette Wang of the Organization of Chinese-Americans is already calling it a "victory... for all." I have a feeling that most of JV and Elvis's listeners don't feel that way.

Whether or not they, or Opie & Anthony, can genuinely be called "mavericks," I'm not quite sure. But I know that the world would be a very boring, and in this case very frightening place, if everyone followed the rules.

From "Insolent Jest" (Originally Published, 10.30.08)

By now, regular readers of this site have probably figured out that I'm not very easy to offend. Sure, ignorance and stupidity piss me off to no end, but generally the kind of thing that will cause one group of people or another to demand blood, or at the very least an immediate public apology, will barely get a reaction out of me (and if it does, that reaction will usually be to laugh my ass off not only at the offending behavior itself but at those overly sensitive enough to take it so goddamned seriously). Don't get me wrong: Despite what you read here, I don't wander through my day wondering whose buttons I can push next. I may say some pretty obnoxious things from time to time, but rarely is any of it offered with malice or the intention of riling someone up just for the fun of it. That said, I'm a very firm believer that almost anything can be a legitimate target for a little ribbing -- myself included. What makes mocking or satirizing ostensibly untouchable cultural institutions like God, the church, political figures, and even, yes, Oprah so much fun is that they are held as sacrosanct by so many -- and that makes them, in a word, oppressive. There's a visceral thrill to be had going against the grain once in a while and defying the tyranny of political correctness. But more than that, it's necessary. Unassailable ideals and social mores are dangerous, and while holding something above criticism or ridicule, no matter the context or intent, may seem like the ultimate form of respect -- in fact, it's nothing more than the product of fear or idolatry. Just ask the editors of a Danish newspaper that dared to publish comic images of the Prophet Muhammed a couple of years back.

Which brings us to Denis Leary.

...Whether or not Denis Leary hates homosexuals I can't say for sure. I do know, however, that simply using the word "fag" doesn't automatically make someone a homophobe any more than simply using the word "nigger," irrespective of context, automatically makes someone a racist. I get that it's sometimes tough to tell a person's intent simply by his or her language -- and that the knee-jerk inclination might be to make broadstroke declarations banning anything that anyone may find offensive -- but that's when it's best to consider the source. Denis Leary, once again, is a comedian. He's made an entire career out of being an asshole; he even recorded a song in the early 90s proclaiming as much. Only a moron -- or, more likely, someone looking for something to be pissed about -- would pick up a book written by Leary and expect not to have his or her magnanimity challenged. Leary's stuff isn't designed to be everyone's cup of tea, but neither is it supposed to change the world. If you really think a book called Why We Suck should be filed under the self-help section at the bookstore, you need to have your head examined. It's meant to be funny. It's a fucking joke.

From "Occupational Hazard" (Originally Published, 1.10.08)

In case you haven't heard, The Golf Channel (Motto: "You're Fucking Kidding, Right? THE GOLF CHANNEL?") announced last night that it's suspending its lead anchor, Kelly Tilghman, for two weeks. The punishment comes in the wake of an offhand comment Tilghman made on the air last Friday night while casually bantering with analyst Nick Faldo. The two were talking about how Tiger Woods must seem unbeatable to young players on the circuit; Faldo joked that nothing could stop Tiger short of up-and-coming golfers physically "ganging up on him," at which point Tilghman chuckled "lynch him in the back alley."

I have no doubt that the second Kelly Tilghman said this, she regretted it and wished she could get a Mulligan -- mostly because she in no way meant it to sound the way she realized it could be taken (and of course has been taken by at least one demagogic jackass whom I'll get to in a minute).

The management of The Golf Channel, in justifying its reprimand called Tilghman's words "hurtful and grossly inappropriate."

Except that, once again -- she didn't fucking mean anything by it. It was a thoroughly innocuous comment made sinister only by the intractably cursed connotation we've bestowed upon a single word. Not that a person's true intentions are ever allowed to be taken into account in cases like these, but how insane is it that Kelly Tilghman is now having to apologize up and down -- she's forced to publicly prostrate herself at the feet of the aggrieved few who should have no say whatsoever in this matter anyway -- all because she accidentally blurted out some supposed linguistic pariah?

Turns out Tilghman is good friends with Tiger Woods and has been for some time. She apologized to him -- and guess how he responded?

The way you'd expect someone with Tiger's grace, class and good goddamned sense to respond.

His spokesperson said this:

"Tiger has a great deal of respect for Kelly. Regardless of the choice of words used we know unequivocally that there was no ill-intent in her comments. This story is a non-issue in our eyes."

Needless to say, the fact that the only person who has a right to feel insulted by any of this doesn't feel at all insulted isn't stopping at least one other guy from voicing his substantial and ridiculous ire.

Care to guess who I'm talking about?

I won't even bother spelling it out for you. I'm just going to dispense with the decorum once and for all and issue a heartfelt plea:

Please, please, please -- would Al Sharpton just crawl into a bathtub somewhere and drag in a toaster-oven?

From "Jock Bitch: The Ongoing Saga of Don Imus" (Originally Published, 4.13.07)

I didn't find Imus's comment particularly offensive or incendiary -- though I admit to not being the target of it. I also didn't find it to be the least bit funny -- but I'm betting that some people did. Who determines that they don't have the right to find it funny -- or that I don't have the right to be indifferent to it? Who decides what's acceptable and what's unacceptable language -- which jokes are funny and which ones are without social merit?

At the moment, it would seem like the people who have cast themselves as deserving of the job are the same ones who never made amends for their own past transgressions (Hymie Town? Tawana Brawley?), who derive their power and authority from the very divisiveness they claim to decry, and who can rarely be counted on to express so much as an indignant thought when a group other than their own comes under attack by the intolerant.

This last fact should provide all the evidence needed to prove that the overall motivation of people like Sharpton and Jackson isn't justice or morality, but rather the subornation of an adherence to their own personal agenda.

If by some chance you'd like more more proof, consider this: no matter your opinion of Imus, it's an absolute fact that he spends a substantial portion of his time, both on-air and off, raising money to help children with cancer, through an initiative founded and maintained by his wife and himself. He has also, in the past, raised funds for U.S. troops overseas as well as raising awareness of the inadequacy of the V.A. hospital system. The point is that there are not only people out there who find Imus entertaining -- there are people who legitimately benefit from his presence on the air. These people have neither been consulted nor even considered by the torch-wielding mob now stationed at the gates of Imus's hilltop home -- that's because, to this particular mob, the good that Imus does for these people simply isn't as valid as the good to be achieved by removing him for making a completely insignificant comment. If you'll forgive such blatantly instigative language, they're essentially saying that the needs of kids with cancer aren't as important as the hurt feelings of a bunch of female basketball players -- that Don Imus, in fact, does more harm than good.

That's not simply unjust -- it's immoral.

From "The Nth Degree" (Originally Published, 11.21.06)

Allow me to begin by simply coming right to the point:


You obviously wouldn't be able to tell from where you are, but after typing that word I put my laptop aside, got up from the couch and walked to the refrigerator to pour myself a glass of iced-tea before returning to my computer a minute or so later. What's important about this isn't what happened during the short interval -- it's what didn't happen. The world didn't explode. Lives weren't lost. Hordes of people didn't pour out onto 125th street, or the corner of Florence and Normandie, or MLK boulevards all across the land to engage in weeping and gnashing of teeth at the assured knowledge that they would immediately be returned to a life of indentured servitude. The universe, as far as I know, didn't collapse in on itself, sucking reality -- or at the very least, a substantial portion of the population -- into a giant black hole of nothingness.

The reason of course is simple: Despite whatever heft, whatever power to destroy or dehumanize, that we've unwisely granted a single word -- any word -- in the end it is still just a word, and nothing more.

Except that in the most advanced and preeminent culture to ever exist upon this Earth, in the early days of the 21st century, it isn't just a word. On the contrary, the word "nigger" holds an unparalleled level of ascendancy in our society. There's no better testament to the truth of this statement than the fact that otherwise educated, intelligent people -- the type who normally would rather step on a live land mine than be taken for an idiot -- will gladly allow themselves to be reduced to spouting the vernacular of a four-year-old to avoid speaking it.

No matter the alternative's power to offend and instigate, is there anything -- anything -- more painfully ridiculous than a grown man or woman saying, "The N-word?" It's an absurd verbal tip-toe that not only proves that there is apparently no safe context in which the actual word can be uttered, but also that there exists an unspoken implication that those whom one would expect to be angered by the use of such a word are so stupid that they can't discern between the desire to dehumanize and subjugate and the need to openly discuss, and therefore should be protected from hearing the word altogether -- for the good of everyone. This latter possibility -- an indictment of an entire culture, whether out of condescension or outright fear -- is infinitely more offensive than the utterance of any one word.

From "On the Offensive" (Originally Published, 10.15.06)

By preaching the gospel of diversity -- by insisting that every person's every little hang-up be respected and that no one ever be made to feel the least bit uncomfortable -- we create a completely homogenous workplace which is actually devoid of any real diversity. True tolerance of the uniqueness of each culture and personality would allow for the occasional insensitive act or rude comment. That's not what we're after, though -- not these days. Instead, corporations are attempting to stave off ludicrous lawsuits by opportunistic employees and in doing so are catering to the culture of victimization which now holds us all hostage.

Listening Post

The latest single from St. Vincent, AKA the lovely and talented Annie Clark -- here's Marrow.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Learning Disorder

I never thought I'd see the day that I was defending Disney, but here goes:

The "Controversy™" over the company's "Baby Einstein" video series is just all kinds of dumb. For the uninitiated, the Walt Disney Company has now agreed to begin offering full refunds to pitchfork-wielding parents who claim that the videos didn't in fact spontaneously make their kids into little geniuses. Admittedly, and what should be to the surprise of no one, Disney did over-hype the intellect-enhancing capabilities of the videos -- which feature lots of moving shapes, hallucinatory colors, slightly creepy puppets and, in a clever meta-twist, the faces of aptly enthralled rugrats, all set to classical music. But really, how stupid and lazy do you have to be as a parent to think that all it takes is sitting junior down in front of a TV for a few hours to transform him or her into a surefire egghead? Like these things are some magic bullet that both babysits and educates your toddler so you can spend your day either trying to get work done or slipping in and out of a Valium coma, whatever your predisposition might be.

Disney is a multi-national corporate behemoth -- of course they lie to you. If you think differently, maybe it's you who could've benefitted from a series of quasi-educational videos as a kid. Only an idiot would believe that because a product is called "Baby Einstein" it'll actually turn your child into one.

For the record, Inara loves the Baby Einstein videos and I have no problem with her watching them in moderation; in fact, I often watch them with her. She loves the music and the colors; I love the acid flashbacks the images occasionally trigger.


DXM: Montana Uber Alles/11.20.07

Quote of the Week (Early Contender)

"The American Bankers Association has helped loosen the rules that protect us, allowing the unfettered greed that has brought us to the brink of a recession. And for those bankers who are members and support the ABA's war against the working and middle class, shame on you!"

-- One of hundreds of protesters who stormed the American Bankers Association meeting in Chicago

Remember how I've said on more than one occasion that in a different time and place the pissed off masses would be dragging these arrogant bastards kicking and screaming to the public square and joyously guillotining them?

Looks like the peasants have had just about enough.

The Huffington Post: "Showdown in Chicago" as Protesters Crash Bankers Convention/10.25.09

Listening Post

Oh, Jordan Catalano. Why do you continue to make me swoon so with your chiseled features, perfect, now-emo haircut and your soaring rock anthems?

I love you almost as much as Angela and that annoying gay kid she hangs out with do.

Someday, Jordan. Someday I will have you.

Here's the ridiculously good new single from 30 Seconds to Mars -- Kings and Queens.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Sunday Sacrilege 2: More Prophecy

Sunday Sacrilege

Let's face it, playing the part of Lucifer has got to be every actor's dream, as it's pretty much the juiciest role there is. And for my money, nobody takes that character and runs with it like Viggo Mortensen in The Prophecy (a movie that was infinitely better than it should've been).

He was only on-screen for about eight minutes, but that's all he needed to steal the movie.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

(Least Surprising) Quote of the Week

"Mayumi described that she and Richard Heene devised this hoax approximately two weeks earlier.... She and Richard had instructed their three children to lie to authorities as well as the media regarding this hoax."

-- From a signed affidavit in which Mayumi Heene, mother of 6-year-old Falcon Heene, admits that she and her attention-seeking, reality show veteran husband Richard engineered the entire Balloon Boy incident

Can we now banish these freaking people to an island where no one ever sees or hears from them again? For them, that would be a fate worse than death.

Saturday Morning Cartoons

To this day, a bad hangover leaves me proclaiming that "I'll never mix radish juice and carrot juice again." And that's probably the least quotable line from this classic clip.

Here's Bugs Bunny and Marvin the Martian in 1958's Hare-way to the Stars.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Reject the Cock

"Anybody who believes that the way to a man's heart is through his stomach flunked geography."

-- Robert Byrne

All kinds of wonderfully interesting things happened to me following the brain surgery I underwent back in 2006. Because I had a very large portion of my pituitary gland removed along with the even larger tumor I had to have cut out of my head, I was rendered one giant, hormonal trainwreck in the months and even year or so following the operation. Although it was nightmarish at times -- you try figuring out where that fucking fruity smell is coming from while you're sitting through your dozenth hot flash of the day -- I have to admit that one by-product of the surgery's aftermath was nothing short of eye-opening.

For a good amount of time, I completely lost my sex drive.

As in completely.

It didn't mean I couldn't have sex -- just that I had no overwhelming desire to.

While this might sound like some Boschian hellscape for most men out there, I gotta say -- it was actually anything but. In fact, it was kind of nice, for the first time since puberty, to be mercifully free from the tyrannical rule of my own penis. Think about it: If you're a guy, how many times has your dick gotten you into serious trouble? Think about the money you've spent in pursuit of getting laid. Think about the compromising positions you've put yourself in; the number of girlfriends who've thrown drinks at you in public after discovering that you couldn't resist the two bisexual strippers the previous evening; that time you woke up in a strange house with a girl scout sash tied tightly around your scrotum, boxes of Samoa cookies scattered everywhere and the police threatening to bust down the door.*

Or how about this one: Your inability to keep yourself safely out of the pants of a 22-year-old psychopath who's now destroying your marriage and your career at ESPN.

By now you've likely heard the story of ESPN analyst Steve Phillips and his three-week affair with a young production assistant named Brooke Hundley. You're probably also familiar with the fact that Hundley's behavior in the wake of that affair has been, shall we say, "erratic." She wrote a rambling letter to Phillips's wife in which she detailed her relationship with Phillips, talked at length about the couple's children (a violation which, in my humble opinion, constitutes an acceptable defense for murder), and described a birthmark on her lover's crotch -- you know, just to prove that she'd actually been spending a lot of time where she claimed to be. Phillips's wife, Marni, dialed 911 right after the letter was dropped at her home by Hundley, claiming that Hundley had been harassing her family for some time -- making threatening calls and shouting hysterically, "We both can't have him," and posing as a 16-year-old on Facebook to reach out to her teenage boys -- and that she'd just driven her car into the family's house. If Steve and Marni Phillips's kids had a pet rabbit, that fucker would be soup by now.

But while there's no doubt that Brooke Hundley is one crazy little tart, it's Steve Phillips and his apparently still armed and fully operational penis that overwhelmingly contributed to the goddamned mess he's now in.

I've written before about not just men's but everyone's propensity to cheat on their spouses, and given the level of controversy that very personal piece spawned I see no need to revisit it in detail here. But it's still disconcerting as hell to think that no matter how old a guy gets -- Phillips is 46, David Letterman, who's own recent scandal, complete with sex tape, has put him in the spotlight, is 62 for God's sake -- his years of accrued wisdom and ostensible good sense will never apparently trump his hubris and sex drive. It would be nice to think that at some point in a man's life, even one who makes his living on television, judgment will finally override the desire for a cheap thrill that inevitably leads to a really undignified fall.

It would be nice to think it -- but it apparently just ain't so.

Years ago, my friends and I used to regularly warn each other of the dangers of "men made dumb by pussy." And for a little while, I got to stand outside myself and laugh at the absurdity of the endless pursuit of it -- and it was a revelation.

For the record, I eventually did get on the right kind of medication, my chemistry balanced out and my sex drive finally returned. I'm hoping, however, that the insight I gained during my time as a free, hormonally castrated man -- the time when sex seemed like nothing but a silly triviality -- stays with me and is powerful enough to counteract the biological drive that's been an albatross around the neck (to say nothing of the nether regions) of my kind since the beginning of time.

Although -- anybody know when Girl Scout cookie season starts again?

*I sometimes drink.


DXM: All Fall Down/8.10.08

DXM: Eliot Mess/3.12.08

Listening Post: Friday Bonus Edition

This is just pure inspired brilliance -- the funniest thing you'll see all day.

A mash-up of the ultra-hot "Drunkest Guy Ever Goes for More Beer" video and Jamiroquai's Virtual Insanity.

Happy Friday!

Quote of the Week (Now With 90% More Nausea!)

"My relationship with Orly is definitely a problem in my life. She's crazy. She's a bitch... But really and truly, Orly's better in bed than 99% of the much younger girls I've ever met: you name it, hotter, hornier, wetter, tighter, more of a nympho than I've ever met in fact. Her only limitation is on kinkiness: she won't even bite or let me bite her."

-- From what's reported to be a signed affidavit from Lucas Daniel Smith, Birther Queen Orly Taitz's "star witness" in her California civil suit against Barack Obama, who alleges that Taitz asked him to lie under oath about a supposed Obama Kenyan birth certificate; the above quote allegedly details a conversation Smith had with Taitz's fellow birther lawyer Charles Lincoln, who claims to have had a torrid affair with Taitz

This entire document is available to read and download at Scribd. The problem of course is that no one's sure if it's completely legit. On the one hand, according to the source who sent it to me, the legal language and format is flawless; on the other, it doesn't appear to have actually been filed in court.

The interesting thing, though: Sure it sounds freaking nuts, but would you really doubt any specific brand of batshit crazy from Orly Taitz and the Birthers anymore?

Either way, it's entertaining as hell.

(h/t Alert Reader Holly)

(Update: A few minutes ago I was contacted by "Lucas Smith" -- qualified because I can't confirm the actual identity, only that this person appears to be the same Lucas Smith referenced in the Daily Kos article. He claims that the document is in fact for real and that it was filed with the court clerk in Santa Ana, California two days ago, on the 21st. Whoever this person is, he has a legitimate history online and wants to be taken seriously.)

Picture of the Week

Project Office Mayhem

Your assignment, as usual: Quietly put the following link up on every computer in your office, then crank all the speakers to full volume.

Mischief points: 14


Doctoring the Retardis

Great little piece in today's Open Salon from Dr. Amy Tuteur. She's an OB-GYN and a former instructor at Harvard Med who, needless to say, is less than pleased with the recent trend of relentlessly dumb C-list actresses casting themselves as experts on women's health issues.

My favorite quote from it:

"Ricki Lake has actually given birth to two children. Jenny McCarthy has a child she believed was afflicted with autism. And, Suzanne Somers actually had cancer. If that’s not enough to make you a medical authority, I don’t know what is.

It’s hardly surprising that celebrity has gone to the heads of these women and made them think they are medical experts (look at Kate Gosselin if you want to see what celebrity can do), but what is the matter with the millions of people who appear to believe the drivel fabricated and spouted by these women? What has happened to us, America?"

And oh the number of people who don't simply put unyielding faith in women like "Chrissy from Three's Company" but vehemently defend them and the celebrity pseudoscience behind their inane beliefs. Just take a look at the comment section following Dr. Tuteur's column if you need proof.

Open Salon: When Did B Movie Starlets Become Medical Experts?/10.21.09

Back in May, I broached the subject of "Jenny McCarthy, M.D." It was a pretty scathing piece and drew quite a bit of good reaction here. A little behind-the-scenes info: It also stands as the only thing I've submitted to the Huffington Post that's been rejected by them. I'm obviously not biting the hand that publicizes me on this one, but a quick scan of HuffPo's all-important stable of celebrity bloggers, which includes McCarthy and boyfriend Jim Carrey, leaves little doubt as to why.

This morning, though, I'm resurrecting that piece here. And for the record, I still think Jenny McCarthy's a narcissistic kook who has no idea what the hell she's talking about.

"Autism Speaks (and Speaks, and Speaks)" (Originally Published, 5.6.09)

Good news for people who think that posing nude in Playboy and hosting a crappy MTV game show automatically comes with its own PhD in neuroscience: Jenny McCarthy will soon have a daily platform from which to berate the medical community for not taking her advice on treating autism.

Unless you're lucky enough to have mercifully been born deaf, you're probably well aware of Jenny's delightful one-dingbat crusade to find someone or something to blame for her 5-year-old son's autism. For the past couple of years, she's jumped in front of pretty much every television camera and microphone in the continental United States to stir up unnecessary controversy over certain childhood vaccinations by proclaiming her belief that there's a link between them and autism and shouting down anyone who has the gall to doubt her credentials (or, in the case of Denis Leary, to doubt the veracity of the abundance of recent autism diagnoses in this country in the first place). Because, really -- why trust those doctors and their medical degrees when you can listen to Jim Carrey's girlfriend?

There's little as obnoxious in the pop cultural sphere as the celebrity who declares him or herself the all-knowing, unrelenting voice of experience on a particular subject simply because it happened to have touched his or her life in some way. For every one Michael J. Fox, who's fought Parkinson's with staggering humility and a dignified focus that's truly benefited others, there are ten Jenny McCarthys -- who write books on how gross it is that white stuff sometimes comes out of your vagina during pregnancy.

Actually I take it back; there is one thing more obnoxious: someone who enables that person.

In this case, the one foisting Jenny's show on an innocent public -- the one whose personal largess pretty much guarantees that Jenny McCarthy will be the next big thing in daytime television -- is none other than the event horizon of all human experience: Oprah. No one absorbs, assimilates, then repackages under her own mantle the breadth of existence that Oprah does; if something hasn't happened to her -- it just hasn't happened. Who the hell knows, maybe Oprah assumes that being tangentially associated with someone whose child is autistic will qualify her as an expert on yet another subject currently capturing the public's imagination. She had to have some way to stick her greedy little fingers in the autism pie, seeing as how she won't be getting her own kid, autistic or otherwise, at any point short of chloroforming one at her school in South Africa and sneaking him or her through customs in a giant box marked "make-up."

The real problem is that celebrities of the Oprah and Jenny McCarthy stripe are so used to being deferred to on just about every issue by a sycophantic media that they really have come to arrogantly believe that they're qualified to offer an informed opinion on anything they've Googled once or twice or read an article on while sitting in First Class. When we're talking about, say, Oprah's favorite funnel cake recipe or Jenny's thoughts on the feel of silicone versus saline breast implants -- no harm, no foul. But when they begin playing doctor -- when Oprah hypes the latest trendy Hollywood colon cleanse or Jenny recommends that parents not inoculate their children or touts Scientology-esque "cures" for complex diseases -- that's when things get dangerous.

Nothing Jenny McCarthy has suggested about the link between vaccinations and autism has been proven -- far from it. But Jenny isn't letting that stop her campaign of ignorance. She has her convictions as a mother and her moral certitude as a celebrity.

And soon, she'll have a bigger audience than she's ever had before.


DXM: Return of the Attack of the Creeping Surrealism/9.20.06

The Sweetin Life

I so wanna party with this chick.

The Huffington Post: Jodie Sweetin's Memoir Details Meth, Ecstasy, Piles of Coke During Public "Sobriety" Tour/10.22.09

Listening Post

There are two kinds of people in the world: People who think that Robbie Williams is the coolest motherfucker in pop music and people who suck.

Here's his brand new single -- Bodies.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Hack Job

So Chuck Todd's going to shave off that ridiculous thing on his face.

After losing a bet on the outcome of the NLCS with ABC's Jake Tapper, NBC News's Howdy Doody-esque political guru says he'll make good and finally get rid of his goatee.

Uh-huh, that's what he thinks is going to happen. The goatee, which became its own sentient being years ago, probably has other plans.

Careful with that razor, Chucky.

The Huffington Post: Chuck Todd To Shave Goatee/10.22.09

In other news, good to know that this is how network political correspondents pass their time. Wondering why the news coverage you need to make informed decisions sucks so badly in this country? I give you the comedy team of Tapper and Todd.


Listening Post

Soulwax are essentially a couple of brothers from Belgium who've spent the past two decades or so making brilliant and sometimes bizarre electro-pop, occasionally under different names, often by mashing up other people's material.

Tracy Bonham had one hit back in the mid-90s -- the ultra-fierce Mother, Mother -- then kind of disappeared into obscurity (which isn't to say she's not still making very good music; she is).

Together on Soulwax's 1998 record Much Against Everyone's Advice, they recorded a brutally sardonic little ditty about love that remains one of my favorite songs of the 90s.

Here's My Cruel Joke.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Talking Points

So yours truly gets a mention in today's issue of the New York Observer.

Columnist Felix Gillette and I talked for little while a couple of nights ago about the changing face, literally, of the Fox Business Network. His piece is now up on the Observer's website.

By all means, have a look.

The New York Observer: In Recession, Money Honeys Get Company from Grumpy Old Dudes/10.20.09

"...God Never Spoke"

Quote of the Week (Honorable Mention)

"I want the songs to sound exactly like the originals."

-- Future winner of the Gus Van Sant Psycho Most Pointless Artistic Endeavor Award Phil Collins, talking about an upcoming album he's recording that will feature 30 covers of Motown classics

Immediately reminded me of this.

Protecting America from Whatever

It never ceases to amaze me just how absolutely fucking crazy it's gotten out there. You'd think that by now -- after Tea Baggers, Birthers, "death panels," Glenn Beck's warnings of the encroaching commie threat to our precious bodily fluids, etc. -- that I'd be used to whatever shameless absurdity the apoplectic right sees fit to conjure out of thin air these days. But, no, they just keep turning up the burner of weird-and-dangerous so far past the boiling point that all the water's evaporated and the pot itself is just about on fire.

The latest example: The Oath Keepers.

Not to be confused with Pop Christianity's gift to snarky assholes everywhere, the "Promise Keepers," the Oath Keepers are a group of military vets and ex-law enforcement officers who've banded together to once again rise up and defend the supposedly core values of our beloved country during this time of great crisis. These values, as set forth by our now officially invoked-to-death forefathers, are the standard-issue litany of paranoid white guy t-shirt slogans: an almost sexual obsession with guns, state sovereignty, fear and suspicion of the federal government, watering the tree of liberty with blood every so often -- the kind of overarching, largely irrational belief system adhered to by just about anyone who subscribes to Soldier of Fortune magazine. As for the crisis currently afflicting the country that was once America, do I really even need to bother spelling it out at this point? Is there anyone out there not keenly aware of the ever-growing stable of ridiculous boogeymen created and perpetuated by the pants-wetting right these days?

So just what oaths are the Oath Keepers taking an oath to keep?

Try these on for size -- from the group's website:

"1. We will NOT obey orders to disarm the American people.

2. We will NOT obey orders to conduct warrantless searches of the American people.

3. We will NOT obey orders to detain American citizens as 'unlawful enemy combatants' or to subject them to military tribunal.

4. We will NOT obey orders to impose martial law or a 'state of emergency' on a state.

5. We will NOT obey orders to invade and subjugate any state that asserts its sovereignty.

6. We will NOT obey any order to blockade American cities, thus turning them into giant concentration camps.

7. We will NOT obey any order to force American citizens into any form of detention camps under any pretext.

8. We will NOT obey orders to assist or support the use of any foreign troops on U.S. soil against the American people to 'keep the peace' or to 'maintain control.'

9. We will NOT obey any orders to confiscate the property of the American people, including food and other essential supplies.

10.We will NOT obey any orders which infringe on the right of the people to free speech, to peaceably assemble, and to petition their government for a redress of grievances."

All I can say is, thank God for the Oath Keepers -- otherwise we'd all be disarmed and in U.N.-controlled concentration camps right now.

Jesus freakin' Christ -- these clowns may as well be saying, "We will NOT aid the Majestic Consortium in its plan to deliver an extraterrestrial virus to the American population through Africanized bees, leading to the spontaneous colonization of the planet." That's how likely any of the paranoid whack-job conspiracy theories the Oath Keepers espouse is to ever actually come true. Once again, thank God these ex-law enforcement specialists are on the case to defend us from absolutely fucking nothing.

Now before you go thinking that I just trolled the fringes of the internet looking for a band of crazies this crazy, and that the Oath Keepers wouldn't cross the mind of anyone with an IQ larger than a fruit salad's, MSNBC's own Grandpa Caligula -- Pat Buchanan -- wrote an entire column for yesterday praising the group's efforts. Sure, Buchanan's a fucking racist reactionary (the subtle, not-at-all-inflammatory title of his Worldnet piece is "Traditional Americans are Losing Their Nation") but he's also, inexplicably, a member of the supposedly mainstream media -- or at the very least their invited guest. And so, with a couple of keystrokes from a skeletal hand, the Oath Keepers go from being extremist basement-dwellers to genuine players -- stepping up to a seat at the big kids' table with the likes of all the other conspiracist lunatics whose opinions have somehow been lent undue credence by a conflict-addicted media and a right wing that's completely lost its mind after losing the White House.

I've said it many times before but it bears repeating over and over again: Where will all of this end? Not when, since I'm not sure it will on its own -- where?

All this unfocused rage, completely immune to logic and reason, has to go somewhere -- and where it sometimes seems to be headed just scares the hell out of me.

Listening Post

This guy is one of my favorite current singer-songwriters. I caught him live on the Lower East Side a few months back and he quickly and easily cemented that status.

Here's Matthew Barber doing a simple, stripped-down version of Easily Bruised.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Happiness Is...

Time Out

In case anyone's wondering why I'm taking the day off.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Saturday Morning Cartoons

A cautionary tale as only a cartoon from 1951 can bring it to you.

Here's Early To Bet.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Quote(s) of the Week

"We did this for the show."

-- "Balloon Boy" Falcon Heene during last night's Larry King Live (which he appeared on with his reality TV veteran family just a few hours after the heavily covered balloon chase across Colorado ended) when asked why he didn't come out of the attic upon realizing everyone was looking for him

"If nothing else, we've had a fascinating hour and a half with no commercials, watching a beautiful day in Colorado."

-- Shepard Smith, giving the final assessment of Fox News's extended coverage of the Balloon Boy saga

Reign in Blood

What do you get when you mix The Fantastic Mr. Fox with the meme-tastic new film from Danish art house psycho-god Lars Von Trier?

Pure (black) magic.

(h/t Pajiba)

The Goldman Egg

Just lovely.

This isn't a case of the fox guarding the hen house -- it's like the fox building the fucking thing.

Bloomberg: 29-year-old Goldman Sachs Veteran Named as First Chief of SEC's Enforcement Division/10.16.09

Spill the Whine

For a group of people who generally express themselves with such muscular bombast, it's always amusing to watch the far-right mouthpieces pee their pants like two-year-olds.

First, Rush Limbaugh throws an honest-to-God temper tantrum over the NFL's decision to thwart his proposed purchase of a minority stake in the St. Louis Rams. (For the uninitiated, Limbaugh loves football the way he loves chocolate chip cookies, Oxycontin and Viagra.) His response to the failed bid? Call the entire National Football League racist and claim that it's infested with liberalism.

"They [Democrats] have to have a villain to advance everything, because they cannot sell their ideas. They had to demonize me with false, fake, made up quotes. To protect their precious little — National Football League as an outpost of racism and liberalism, which is what it is."

Yes. Because when I think anti-American weenie-liberal menace, I think football.

Cut to the pretend-half-baked clown prince of Fox News, Glenn Beck, who once again turned on the waterworks yesterday afternoon because -- well, really, who the hell cares why? You know that anything that comes out of Beck's mouth won't make a lick of sense but will draw huge numbers -- as it's intended to.

Just remember, folks. These people expect you to take them seriously.

Comment of the Week

"If a boy stows away in a backyard science experiment and then falls to a horrible death, reminding people of the immense responsibility and terrible anxiety of parenting, then you've got a news story.

If a backyard science experiment floats away and the kid hides in the attic, then you've got a time out."

-- ntx, reacting to the "balloon boy" story

Congratulations, ntx. You've just won a brand new Chrysler Cordoba and you can pick it up at Morty's office.

Hot Air

If you're a half-intelligent viewer and you want a flawless example of how cable news organizations on the whole haven't just let you down, they've honest-to-Christ abandoned you, look no further than yesterday's wall-to-wall coverage of that patently ridiculous "balloon boy" story.

Much to her credit, Arianna Huffington hammered the hell out of MSNBC's Ed Schultz last night for his role in blowing a really stupid, thoroughly contrived reality TV-esque item way out of proportion.

The Huffington Post: A Funny Thing Happened On My Way To Talk About Afghanistan/10.15.09

Listening Post

Happy Friday, folks.

I've really been feeling the late 70s to early 80s lately -- and here's one of the best songs from that era: Blondie's Dreaming.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

The Most Busted Name In News

PR-wise it's been a pretty shitty week for CNN, all things considered.

First Jon Stewart and The Daily Show mercilessly ridicules the network for its in-depth coverage of a Saturday Night Live sketch.

Now this: One of CNN's most ubiquitous political contributors -- GOP "strategist" and health care reform hitman Alex Castellanos -- has been outed as being in the pocket of the private health insurance industry he's regularly championing on-air. This is what's known as a conflict of interest, for those of you playing at home -- and it's a very big ethical no-no. What's an even bigger ethical no-no, though, is not bothering to disclose the conflict of interest to the audience when you know about it.

If CNN didn't know Castellanos was working for the insurance industry, then they're incompetent.

If they knew about it and said nothing, then they're completely disreputable.

Either way, it speaks volumes about CNN these days.

The New York Times: CNN To Disclose Contributor's Ties to Advocacy Group/10.15.09

Sacking Goldman

If you had told me a couple of months ago that Dylan Ratigan would wind up being the voice of both sanity and smart populist outrage in the midst of this worsening financial crisis, I'd have laughed out loud. But damn if he hasn't become just that lately.

From the Huffington Post:

"Allowing these outdated banks to take control of our government and change the rules so they are protected from the natural competition and reward systems that have created so many innovations in our country, you not only steal from the citizens on behalf of the least worthy but you also doom them by trapping the capital that would have been used to generate new innovation and, most tangibly in our current situation, jobs.

We don't want a government commandeered by those in our banking system who have failed and been passed over by technological advancements, innovation and flat out smarts.

The government's job is to restore the rules of investment, not indulge those who want to unfairly sustain their wealth and power at our nation's expense."

For the record, this little call to arms comes just as Goldman Sachs posts $3.1 billion in third-quarter profits on the backs of U.S. taxpayers and is setting aside a total of $5.3 billion for employee bonuses.

The Huffington Post: Turn Goldman Anger Into Government Action/10.14.09