Thursday, March 31, 2011
"Michele Bachmann, I don't know if she is here, I want to welcome her -- she's not, she's probably, you know, she's campaigning in Iowa and organizing in that important caucus state because she's running for president... That's really all I have for that joke."
-- Rep. Anthony Weiner of New York pretty much killing at last night's Congressional Correspondents' Dinner in Washington, DC
The late Bill Cosford, who spent 21 years as the irascible film critic for the Miami Herald, used to say that he'd never give more than two-and-a-half stars to any horror movie that featured a cat jumping out and scaring somebody. The point, of course, was that clichés in film -- especially in horror films -- aren't just dull, they're infuriating at this point.
Over the past couple of years I've come to feel the same way about creepy kid movies, particularly ones that only reach a PG-13 rating, that Cosford did about jumping cat flicks: I just had no desire to ever see one again.
But I have to admit that the trailers for Insidious haven't just piqued my interest -- they actually make the film look downright frightening.
Maybe that's why I'm glad to see that most of the the reviews so far have been pretty damn strong.
Anybody else interested in seeing this thing or is it just me?
Entertainment Weekly: Insidious: A-/3.30.11
Last weekend I attended an event here in Florida hosted by Crimestoppers of Broward County. We're talking an entire room full of law enforcement officials and supporters. In Broward Freaking County. On a massive ranch.
I bring this up only because while I was there, I was asked to sign a petition essentially telling new Florida governor and possible alien overlord Rick Scott to keep his big, spindly hands off funding for Crimestoppers and the police departments and organizations it works with. In fact, at one point, a speaker at the event implored the folks in the crowd to raise their voices so that they could be heard "all the way to Tallahassee."
My point is this: When you've lost a bunch of pick-up-driving South Florida cops who hold their annual gala at a place normally reserved for rodeos, you've lost everyone.
Yeah, guys like Scott Walker and John Kasich may be getting most of the press these days, but make no mistake -- when it comes to outright criminal behavior, Rick Scott makes them look like amateurs. He has from the very beginning.
The Huffington Post: Floridians Are Maybe Starting To Understand Their Governor Is A Grifter/3.30.11
(By the way, feel free to print out the picture above and use it to ensure that your children never misbehave again.)
(Adding: Alright, the Batboy comparison is goddamned brilliant. I'm jealous of those who noticed it when it completely escaped me.)
"'To understand this enigma, we must discard the naïve notion that free-market prices reflect what consumers are willing to pay,' Nobel laureate Joseph Stiglitz said. 'Otherwise, how else are we to rationalize the phenomenon of a human being willingly spending 84 bucks on 18 green apple wedges and a Mylar balloon?' ... 'It's mind-boggling... I honestly have never even heard the name Edible Arrangements mentioned in conversation before. Seriously, has anyone?'"
-- From the Onion article, "Continued Existence Of Edible Arrangements Disproves Central Tenets Of Capitalism"
Back in the middle part of the last decade, during the pitch black years of the Bush era, the GOP became infamous in certain circles for its ruthlessness when it came to pushing through legislation. The default Republican posture, given that their party controlled essentially every arm of the U.S. government, seemed to be an unimaginably audacious middle finger to anyone and everyone who dared to challenge them. This kind of thinking was best exemplified by the now-legendary brush-off that Hutt-like Wisconsin congressman Jim Sensenbrenner gave to the Democrats when they attempted to hold a hearing on the legality of the Patriot Act in 2005. Upon realizing that his political adversaries weren't going to shut the hell up and just cede the decision-making to the people ostensibly in charge, Sensenbrenner got up, took his gavel and left the room, turning the lights off on the way out the door. As Jon Stewart perfectly put it, "He literally took his gavel and went home. We're officially being governed by children."
It's because of how often we've witnessed this kind of power-for-power's-sake ethos over the last several years that it should surprise no one that the Wisconsin Republicans are now thumbing their nose at a court order aimed at stopping the implementation of their controversial union busting law in that state. First Scott Walker pulls an end run on parliamentary procedure, one which proved beyond a doubt that his desire to end collective bargaining for Wisconsin public employees had nothing at all to do with bringing his state's budget even; then the Republicans ignore a judge's order barring them from putting their ill-gotten law into place; now, after a second court ruling is issued, they're once again behaving as if the law doesn't apply to them because, well -- and stop me if you've heard this one before -- they make the laws, dammit.
But once again, as Jon Stewart said pretty well the other night, if the "law" they just passed is being held up by the courts, and they enact it anyway -- because that's how desperately they want to see their union-free Utopia come to fruition -- isn't that ironically against the law?
The Wisconsin Journal: State Will Continue Implementing Collective Bargaining Law Despite Second Judge's Order/3.30.11
I posted this once before but over time it's become one of my favorite "covers" -- I qualify that because this is basically Brand New doing a completely different version of their own song with the help of Kevin Devine. If you haven't heard the original, look it up on YouTube or iTunes because it's a spectacular track, from one of the best unsung records of the last several years -- The Devil and God are Raging Inside Me.
Here's Jesus Christ.
Wednesday, March 30, 2011
A pretty big housekeeping issue: I figured at some point I might have to address a situation like this, but I had hoped it wouldn't become the kind of problem it's turning out to be. As you of course know, just a few weeks ago I announced with a minor amount of fanfare that DXM would be joining the Banter Media Network and ads would begin appearing on this site for the first time since it went live five years ago. I knew going into it that an unavoidable by-product of putting ads on the site was that right wing banners and boxes would begin showing up every once in a while. The reason for this is simple: the right buys more internet ads than the left does and on politically themed websites they inevitably tend to cycle through and show up twice as often as more neutral -- and less irritating -- ads do. We're working on fixing that little issue, so thanks for staying on top of it and letting me know when it happens.
But as of today a much more pernicious and intrusive brand of internet gremlin has begun popping up around here: the auto-play sound ad. I've already received several e-mailed complaints about it this morning, some from high-profile, web-savvy people whose opinions I value greatly. If you haven't yet had the pleasure of your reading being interrupted by some freaking jerk loudly proclaiming that you need to buy this or that, consider yourself lucky. Considering that I've always gone out of my way to make the experience of scanning through the various columns, bits and music video clips here as low-impact as possible, to say that I'm irritated would be an understatement. I'm sure you are, too.
Once again, though, please understand that Ben from the Banter Media Network, whom I continue to put a whole lot of faith in, is not only working to remove those ads but is really busting his ass behind the scenes to procure a whole series of better ones -- promotion much more relevant to the readers of DXM.
Anyway, just wanted to let you all know that I feel your pain -- and I can't thank you enough for continuing to read. You guys rule.
By the way, if you can figure out how to make a game of the worst ads you've seen so far, let me know -- I'm totally up for something like that.
Tuesday, March 29, 2011
This remained on the New York Times web site until late this afternoon when someone realized the error.
As Andy Borowitz said on Twitter, if the Times continued making mistakes like this, it might actually be worth paying for.
I get that by even bringing this up it'll seem like I'm blowing gaping holes in the very argument I'm making, but part of what new media mosquitoes like me are for is to call the established press out for the promotion and legitimization of the patently ridiculous. That's why I want to ask the obvious question: Why the hell is anyone in the mainstream media giving even a second of airtime or a millimeter of copy-space to Donald Trump's entirely bullshit flirtation with running for the White House?
Last night on CNN's Piers Morgan show, Trump was allowed to filibuster undisturbed for several minutes on the subject of Barack Obama's supposed failings in dealing with Libya. Put up against him was New York Congressman Anthony Weiner, who, while disputing his arguments at every turn, inexplicably treated Trump with respect and deferred to him as if his opinion actually mattered and wasn't coming from a pompous, buffoonish reality TV star whose only goal is wanton self-promotion. Given Weiner's reputation for throwing caution and decorum to the wind and simply speaking his mind, I had high hopes that he'd be the one to have the balls to finally say something like, "Excuse me, Piers, but what the fuck is he doing here? I'm a United States congressman and you bring me on to debate a subject of national and international importance with this walking punchline? You are smart enough to know that every obnoxious word that comes out of his Zoolander-Blue-Steel-looking puss is aimed at getting you to pay attention to him, which of course you're always happy to do, right? I'm insulted that you imply that a U.S. lawmaker who's dedicated his life to public service is on essentially the same level as an almost universally loathed turd who's best known for paying a supermodel to fuck him and for going bankrupt three times. Now I'm done here. Give me a call if you want me to discuss this with somebody I should give a crap about."
By the way, Trump's decision to kiss-up to the birther crowd was absurd from the beginning, though not the least bit surprising. Also not surprising: that this happened.
Bottom line: Stop paying attention to this clown.
"I am convinced that if we do not decisively win the struggle over the nature of America, by the time they're my age they will be in a secular atheist country, potentially one dominated by radical Islamists and with no understanding of what it once meant to be an American."
-- Newt Gingrich speaking at Rev. John "Hitler Helped the Jews" Hagee's Cornerstone Mega-church in San Antonio
So, in case you slept through the course on audaciously ass-backward Republican anti-logic in college, let's see if we can clear this up: America will soon be secular atheist country. Dominated by radical members of the Muslim religion.
If it weren't for the fact that Gingrich doesn't stand a chance in hell of being elected to any office higher than maybe assistant comptroller of Purdy, Missouri, his complete lack of anything even approaching shame would be a real problem. The issue here, though, is that this brand of nonsensical, xenophobic fear-mongering is exactly what a good portion of the Republican party -- specifically the insurrectionists of the Tea Party -- wants to hear. And it'll be shocking if they don't figure out a way to elevate the candidates who pander to their sheer pants-peeing terror while ruining the chances of anyone who tries to lean toward measured and reasonable conservatism.
More from this past weekend's Ultra music festival in Miami. From one of Saturday night's headliners -- the great Deadmau5 -- here's Ghosts n' Stuff.
Note, by the way, how much fist-pumping has caught on as a dancefloor thing.
Monday, March 28, 2011
Meet Herman Cain, the former CEO of Godfather's Pizza and current Tea Party darling running for the Republican presidential nomination.
Just watch this, and if your head doesn't fucking explode go back and watch it again -- only this time whenever he mentions Muslims, substitute the word "blacks" in your mind.
Seriously, where do they get these assholes?
"I wonder if the Republicans realize their field for 2012 is made up of cantina aliens from Star Wars."
-- Bob Cesca, responding to Michele Bachmann's now all-but-certain entry into the race for the GOP presidential nomination
I'm pretty busy today so it's gonna be light around here, but given how downtown Miami was the center of the electronic music universe over the weekend -- that's because the Ultra music festival was in town -- I figured I'd share just a little of what it looked and sounded like.
Here's a damn nice hi-def flip-cam clip of Underworld doing Born Slippy on Saturday night.
Sunday, March 27, 2011
Saturday, March 26, 2011
Friday, March 25, 2011
Living proof that it can't stay dark forever, not even for the nighttime-stalking goth kids, this is a very different sound for these guys -- but they're still hitting the 80s vibe oh-so-well.
Here's the new single from She Wants Revenge.
This is Must Be the One.
Thursday, March 24, 2011
Well, that was fun while it lasted.
It's one thing for the mainstream media to wrap both hands around Andrew Breitbart and clutch his doughy white ass while they fellate him, only to suddenly have second thoughts when the act inevitably makes them feel all icky. That's what the mass media are there for: to be hopelessly out of touch with reality. When ABC News embraced Breitbart a while back, infamously announcing that he would be part of the network's mid-term election coverage, then had second thoughts upon being reminded that Breitbart had time and time again proven himself to be an unscrupulous tool, it almost didn't seem like that much of a shock. But while the traditional press may have looked at a guy like Breitbart and only seen his SEO status and Q Score -- and therefore his potential to help it reach that elusive red meat crowd -- you'd think that those within the new media sphere who are intimately familiar with the guy's modus operandi would've known to stay the hell away from him.
Case in point: The Huffington Post.
There's been a hell of a lot of indignation of late aimed at HuffPo for its decision to allow Andrew Breitbart a platform on the left from which to spew his anti-left invective. The argument is that letting Breitbart into one of Progressive America's most powerful media strongholds (I always imagine him being like the Terminator casually wandering into the rebel hideout, sending the dogs into a frenzy then pulling his phased plasma rifle and opening fire on the hapless humans) isn't simply a case of magnanimously allowing for a dissenting opinion or for honest dialogue between two highly polarized political camps; it's a case of giving one of the right's most shamelessly avowed con men -- a guy whose reputation for trafficking in lies and perpetuating hoaxes is irrefutably documented -- credibility as something other than the pompous bullshit artist and schoolyard bully he is. I wish I could argue with this, because I really do think we should try to move past the ridiculous left-vs.-right ethos, but given his track record there should be no abiding Andrew Breitbart -- not by anyone seeking to have a legitimate adversarial debate based on facts.
So, no, Breitbart never should've been welcomed as an above-the-fold Huffington Post contributor (regardless of the fact that he had a hand in creating the publication). That said, the decision by HuffPo to now rescind that above-the-fold status -- to basically allow him to post at the site, just without the raised profile -- is almost too absurd to even comprehend. Just yesterday HuffPo said it stood behind its decision to give Breitbart the kind of spotlight that other, lesser-known contributors would kill for -- but today it's announcing an institutional change of heart. Why? Supposedly because this morning Andrew Breitbart unleashed a vicious "ad hominem" attack on Van Jones in the Daily Caller; in other words, Andrew Breitbart did exactly what Andrew Breitbart does. Once again, it's not like the people at HuffPo couldn't have predicted that Breitbart would at some point say something that would offend their sensibilities; he's made an entire career out of doing that. To claim that he hadn't stepped over the line until this very morning is laughably stupid -- or entirely disingenuous, which is more likely. The fact is that HuffPo was besieged by a hellacious backlash in the wake of its decision to put Breitbart on the front page and, well, it caved.
Why would the Huffington Post even bother to put Breitbart on the front page -- where he could thumb his nose at those whose belief system he's sought to destroy -- knowing that there would be a revolt, then yank him when the inevitable revolt happened?
Because now all they've done is given Andrew Breitbart exactly what he wanted: the ability to shout to everyone throughout his own online empire that those arrogant liberals try to quash the opinions of anyone who disagrees with them.
By the way, Van Jones is a good friend of Arianna's -- and what have we learned is the one rule of writing for the Huffington Post? You don't insult Arianna's friends. Can you imagine if that's really what this is all about: a pissing match between two very rich new media titans? How fucking shameful and tragic would that be -- and how far removed is that kind of nonsense from the lives of rest of us, the little people who take sides between these two?
This is worth five minutes of your time today: Gerard Way of My Chemical Romance joining Duran Duran on stage last night in L.A. as part of a concert directed by David Lynch.
This is Planet Earth.
"The First Amendment was written by the Founders to protect the free exercise of Christianity. They were making no effort to give special protections to Islam... Islam has no fundamental First Amendment claims, for the simple reason that it was not written to protect the religion of Islam. Islam is entitled only to the religious liberty we extend to it out of courtesy. While there certainly ought to be a presumption of religious liberty for non-Christian religious traditions in America, the Founders were not writing a suicide pact when they wrote the First Amendment."
-- American Family Association "Director of Issues Analysis" and conservative talk radio host Bryan Fischer
Look, on any given day you could troll the fringes of either end of the political spectrum and find a half-dozen or so lunatic proclamations that don't deserve to be taken seriously. What makes this particular nut-job stand out, though, is something I've mentioned before quite a few times, the thing that separates the left from the right and renders the "both sides do it" meme inauthentic: He's embraced by some of the biggest mainstream names within the conservative movement. Fischer may be a ranting, xenophobic self-parody, but his radio show is a regular command performance stop on the campaign trail for guys like Mike Huckabee and the seemingly sane Tim Pawlenty. And that's what makes the kind of dogshit he spews so dangerous.
(via Talking Points Memo)
"Why is there a Bureau of Indian Affairs? There is no Bureau of Puerto Rican Affairs or Black Affairs or Irish Affairs. And no group in America has been more helped by the government than the American Indians, because we have the treaties, we stole their land. But 200 years later, no group does worse."
-- 70s porn star look champion and humorless Ayn Rand cunnilingus aficionado John Stossel this morning on Fox and Friends
Wow. Just -- asshole.
Wednesday, March 23, 2011
I realize that by now blatant, shameless hypocrisy from the right should fail to even raise an eyebrow. Still, occasionally one of the usual suspects makes a statement that's so comically indefensible and almost unimaginably audacious -- when compared to what he said, oh say, two weeks ago -- that it's worth highlighting.
Here's Newt Gingrich on March 7th.
And here's Newt Gingrich, or perhaps an alien clone of him, just 16 days later -- this morning.
I swear -- you don't even have to try with these assholes. Although ThinkProgress, which pointed out this minor "discrepancy," notes that actually Gingrich's position is 100% consistent: Obama is wrong.
Much to the delight of anyone who loves to laugh hysterically at somebody else's utter frustration, David Thorne continues to use his scathing wit to unleash a whole truckload of misanthropy all over anyone who happens to irritate him. In his latest push for his book The Internet Is a Playground, Thorne challenges people to buy it over Justin Beiber's book -- and even puts an iPad2 on the line as a little incentive.
Also, as a service to you the consumer, he posted a few "excerpts" from Beiber's book to help you decide which to spend your money on.
"Usher rang me and was like 'Hey bro what you doing?' and I was like 'nothing bro, what you doing?' and he was like 'cutting some tracks, do you want to come over bro?' so my mum dropped me off at his house and we took ecstacy and watched the movie 'White Chicks.'"
"At 9am each day, I have a fresh puppy delivered to my hotel room and I kick it."
"I have a conjoined twin on my stomach. Identical to me in every way, except for only being eight inches tall, his name is Carl. Sometimes, I cover Carl with a hanky. Everyone needs a little time to themselves. Like when I am having a bath or watching women's tennis."
"I don't know what I would be doing if I wasn't a famous singer. I would probably be a male model. I have experience. When I was younger, I often stayed with my uncle Trevor and he would give me twenty dollars to run through the sprinkler while he took photos for his website."
"I once stabbed a prostitute to death."
David Thorne @ 27b/6
If you needed any more proof that the world would be an infinitely better place if someone plugged the Fukushima Dai'ichi reactor with Nancy Grace's fat, repugnant ass, just watch this: Nancy using her substantial experience as a shitty lawyer and a shamelessly ambitious cable TV blowhard and fear-monger to debate the potential danger of radiation from Japan making it to the west coast of the U.S.
I can't help but wonder about all the really great, selfless things Nancy's college fiancé would be doing right now had he been the one in that relationship to live past 1979.
"This is the first time I've been attacked. (Robertson is) in the same hotel as me. A man could come down and say, 'what’s up?' But instead he's saying I’m lazy, that I’m a liar and that I’m as bad as Gaddafi... Is that heroic what he's doing? He puts on his blue blazer and gets on the government bus, and then pats himself on the back and calls that news? Bullshit."
-- Fox News International Correspondent Steve Harrigan upping the ante in an ongoing on-air feud with CNN's Nic Robertson
You can read for yourself what this whole childish pissing contest is about over at HuffPo or Mediaite. Suffice it to say it's just mind-boggling that these are two grown men covering a military action in a foreign country and they seem to have both the time and the lack of dignity required for these kinds of sideshow antics.
For the record, I may not be a fan of Fox News overall, but from what I've seen and from what friends who've worked with him have told me, Harrigan is actually one of the good ones. He's a solid journalist with a good head on his shoulders. In other words, I can't see him willfully shirking his responsibility or generally being lazy while on assignment -- and regardless, I think Robertson's decision to challenge Harrigan on the air is inexplicably dumb. I swear, every time I think cable news couldn't get any more unnecessarily embarrassing this kind of crap happens.
Tuesday, March 22, 2011
"President Obama moved forward without Congress approving. (That) would appear on its face to be an impeachable offense."
-- Dennis Kucinich
Thankfully, as usual, Kucinich's comments will be met with a chorus of crickets.
Related: DXM: Dennis Weary/3.11.10
Despite my love for My Chemical Romance, when I first heard this song I wasn't a huge fan; I felt like the guys should've paid out royalties to the Black Eyed Peas and Powerman 5000 for most of the riffs from it. But as time has gone on it's really grown on me. I'm still not sure it's a great My Chemical Romance song -- but it's a pretty damn good song.
Here's the brand new video for Planetary (Go!).
Monday, March 21, 2011
Jesus, you thought what the alien race in Battle: LA did to us was bad. At least those guys didn't have a hand in forcing I Can't Drive 55 on the world.
CBS News: Sammy Hagar Says Aliens Abducted Him/3.21.11
This is actually almost a decade old, but with the U.S. Military's 101st Retired General Pundit Brigade once again parachuting into cable stations across the country it's worth taking another look at.
The New Yorker: "Retired General George Washington" by Andy Borowitz/4.14.03
Sunday, March 20, 2011
With the untimely passing of Knut, the world's most famous polar bear, we here at Deus Ex Malcontent hope you'll join us in paying tribute to someone whose life may have been short but whose legacy of joy will remain.
Here now, a classic from the DXM archives.
"Fight Cub" (Originally Posted, 4.10.07)
By now you're probably familiar with "Knut," the adorable polar bear cub whose story has captured the attention and the imagination of the world. Born in captivity at Germany's Zoologischer Garten Berlin last December, little Knut was rejected by his mother and is now being raised by zoo-handlers. He's the first polar bear to be born within the confines of the Berlin Zoo in more than thirty years.
On March 23rd, he was presented to the public for the first time and immediately became the center of a whirlwind of non-stop media coverage. The tiny cub's popularity is unprecedented, drawing crowds to the zoo so large that they've been blamed for the death of a panda which lived in a pen adjacent to Knut's. Millions of fans worldwide have showered the polar bear with gifts, and even letters containing substantial donations to the zoo.
Despite initial outrage by some animal-rights activists who heartlessly claimed that Knut would be better off dead than facing a life of captivity, zoo-handlers continue to insist that the bear will be well provided for throughout his life, and Germany's Environmental Minister has even gone so far as to officially "adopt" the little guy; he will now be the mascot for a conference on endangered species which is scheduled to be held in Bonn in 2008.
This month, Knut appears on the cover of Vanity Fair magazine's 2007 "Green Issue," standing beside Leonardo DiCaprio; the picture was taken by legendary photographer Annie Leibovitz.
One of the most popular songs on German radio at the moment is an ode to Knut written and sung by a nine-year-old girl who goes by the name "Kitty"; it's called Knut, der Kleine Eisbar -- or, "Knut, the Little Polar Bear."
It's precious beyond words. Take a listen.
For those who don't speak German -- here's the translation:
Knut, the little polar bear!
Rise from the ashes of your mother's whorish scorn!
Take your place in the arms of the Fatherland!
The great new Reich at last is born!
Little bear you will grow strong!
Solid and staunch you will stand!
Cleansing the path with the blood of foes!
Clearing the way for the new man!
Strong, proud Aryan bear!
Heil, mein liber herr!
Knut, above all -- fighting bear!
Ranks of Brown Battalions brave and true!
Deutschland now is filled with hope!
Our swastikas, they rise with you!
The mongrel bear already felled!
Your courageous crowds at stead!
Flags fly over the barricades!
Those opposing will be dead!
Strong, proud Aryan bear!
Heil, mein liber herr!
(Repeat first verse and chorus)
Friday, March 18, 2011
I decided to go to the University of Miami for all the wrong reasons.
I wanted to be a DJ at WVUM.
That was pretty much the long and the short of it.
Growing up in Miami, VUM, "The Voice," was a hidden gem at the ass-end of the dial -- a station that always sounded like it was being run by a hamster on a wheel but which consistently cranked out excellent music, brought to you by DJs who were either on the cutting edge of cool or who may have been in the nodding-off stages of their bong high. Either way, it was exciting stuff for a kid in high school, and I wanted to be a part of it. So when I got to UM, the first thing I did was throw my hat into the ring of DJ wanna-bes.
I got a regular show. Then I got a specialty show, where the rules were slightly relaxed. Then I became WVUM's most mischievous and occasionally insufferable problem child. And it was good.
As the years went by, WVUM got a power increase, a bigger studio, and started actually giving a shit about what their DJs sounded like on-air -- and this is the result: the station was just awarded the coveted MTV Woodie (whatever the hell that is) for Best College Radio Station in America.
I'll always have a very special place in my heart for WVUM, the place that launched my broadcasting career and whose all-student staff inexplicably laughed along with me while I and my tiny crew systematically tore the place apart from the inside out.
So congrats, WVUM -- and all hail the new kids.
Guess this means I don't have to return all the records I stole.
"You shouldn't have to do fucking Glee. The guy is so offended that we're not, like, begging to be on his fucking show. Fuck that guy for thinking anybody and everybody should want to do Glee. I watched ten minutes... it's not my thing."
-- Dave Grohl in the Hollywood Reporter
I cannot stress enough how much I love this quote and how I couldn't in a million years have said it better myself.
Ryan Murphy has developed some kind of bizarre God-complex now that his show is an inexplicable cultural phenomenon. He's a pissy little queen who's forged a bulletproof reputation for believing he can egomaniacally assert his authority whenever and wherever he sees fit -- proclaiming that any artist who doesn't genuflect before his painfully average creation and consider it some kind of wholly necessary command performance be ridiculed and banished from on high. As if every single band just cries out to hear its words and music turned into a gay anthem.
Fuck you, Murphy. Your show is trite crap.
At the very least, it's time you started accepting the sentiment that Foo Fighters drummer Taylor Hawkins expressed in his follow-up to Grohl's tirade: "Dude, maybe not everybody loves Glee."
By the way, you know how much of a dick Ryan Murphy is? He managed to piss off Dave Grohl -- who it's well known is one of the nicest guys in rock and roll.
Quote of the Day: Ryan Murphy vs. Kings of Leon/1.27.11
"The only result would be the loss of thousands of jobs in this industry, the closing or severe restriction of hundreds of local stations serving small-town and rural America which depend on federal funds for 30- to 100-percent of their annual budgets, including program acquisition, and the loss of vital information for millions of Americans."
-- Public Media Association President Patrick Butler on yesterday's vote by House Republicans to defund NPR
There's a pretty decent piece up on HuffPo right now that runs down some of the very obvious reasons the GOP hates NPR as much as it does. It's predictably smart and articulate, which means that it doesn't come right out and say the obvious: NPR doesn't simply contribute to our being a more informed and therefore stronger country and society; the irrational Republican war on it, which is undertaken mostly to appease the absolute lowest-common-denominator within the party's base, is part of an ongoing and systematic effort to make us dumber. It's another example of the Idiocratization of America -- the triumph, whether through intent or negligence, of willful ignorance over intellect and analysis. It's another example of the fucking rat-shit stupidest within our borders trying to mock and inevitably kill anything they don't understand, all while they wrap themselves in the flag of true, blind, unfathomably pig-headed patriotism.
Late yesterday afternoon, within minutes of the U.N. resolution calling for the imposition of a no-fly zone over Libya aimed at stopping Muammar Gaddafi from killing his own people by the truckload, the usual suspects on the left began their wailing and gnashing of teeth. It was a reaction you could've seen coming from six football fields away -- an almost giddy and irrepressible need to immediately proclaim that the neo-cons were at it again and the U.S. would soon be embroiled in a lengthy war with an Arabic country.
Well, this morning there's this:
CSM: Libya Declares Ceasefire as Leaders Move for Military Strikes/3.18.11
Yes, it took less than 24-hours under the specter of having seven or eight countries participate in turning his fighter jets into scrap for Gaddafi to back down, at least for the moment. Why? Because he's had the living crap bombed out of his country before and for all of his bluster he doesn't want to see it happen again. I'd like to believe that some of the world's smarter leaders -- particularly of the military variety -- knew this in advance and understood that there are some cases in which the mere threat of overwhelming and unequivocal military retaliation gets the job done. I hate to sound reactionary here, but despite our recent folly in the Middle East the ability to wield the proverbial big stick does still have the potential to do some good, particularly when a substantial portion of the rest of the world happens to agree with the use of it.
Of course I'm not naive enough to think that Gaddafi isn't playing the only hand he has at the moment and this whole miasma is far from over, but it's important to remember that he follows a very specific and predictable psychology -- that of the despot whose only goals are to remain in power and stay alive. He knows that the rebels trying to oust him -- and he will eventually be ousted -- will be a lot less effective without the might of the U.S. and Europe's military behind them. He also knows that with the help of the U.S. and Europe's military, he could very well be dead by the end of next week.
These guys have actually gone on to record some really great stuff, but they'll always be remembered for this one hit song -- and that's actually not such a bad thing.
Set the Way-Back Machine for 1996; it's Nada Surf's Popular.
Happy Friday, kids.
Thursday, March 17, 2011
Once again, I cannot even begin to describe how much darker a place the world will be without this man in it.
There's a really entertaining -- and by entertaining I mean kind of silly -- fight going on right now between Roger Ebert and the dingbats over at Breitbart's Big Hollywood site. Apparently, Big Hollywood has taken issue with Ebert's overwhelmingly negative review of Battle: Los Angeles, saying that his problem with the movie stems less from its not being all that good than it does from some sort of deeply ingrained, liberal elitist hatred of the U.S. military on the part of the reviewer.
Yeah, they're that crazy over at Big Hollywood.
The initial volley at Ebert was fired by BH's John Nolte, who has a history of being one of the dumbest fucking people currently paid to put his fingers to a computer keyboard, and it casts him as a snob for not loving every second of Battle: LA's nearly two hours of truly impressive explosions and really horrendous writing. Nolte writes: "The Left’s totalitarian streak does not end with politics. It extends to everything, including alien invasion flicks." Ebert responded by tweeting, "Aliens attack from outer space, Marines defend us. Seems OK to me."
But the interesting thing is the notion that the Big Hollywood crowd has claimed Battle: LA as its own, ostensibly because at face value the movie is all kinds of Call of Duty and "semper fi!" But if it weren't for the fact that looking beneath the surface of this kind of movie would be an exercise in ridiculousness, you could easily make the argument that Battle: LA is actually an allegory for our imperial adventures overseas -- you know, the ones where we go in with overwhelming force, crush the resistance and install our own people, all in the name of making sure we have access to that region's natural resource: oil. Once again, I really don't think the writers of Battle: LA thought that far, especially considering how awful the basics of the script are -- the dialogue in particular -- but it's kind of amusing to watch Nolte rally around what's actually a pretty average movie and use it as an excuse to play politics and once again attack one of his favorite targets: Ebert.
Does everything with these idiots have to come down to right versus left? Jesus, that kind of thinking has just got to get exhausting after a while.
By the way, Battle: LA isn't a bad movie at all; it's just a dumb movie, but if you go into it understanding that it's basically going to be a two-hour video game, you'll probably enjoy it.
"Well, she’s auto tuned to the point where she sounds like a gps, and her lyrics feel like they were free-styled by a suburban 12-year-old. Not only does she say that yesterday was Thursday, and tomorrow is Saturday, and Sunday comes afterwards (pause for a second and think about how many times you’ve heard 'afterwards' in a song, much less at the end of line), and that she says 'fun fun fun' like a malfunctioning robot, she even says that her friends are kickin in the front seat and kickin in the back seat, and then wonders where she should sit, and she does that twice. I’d rather hear gunshots from my childs bedroom than a new Rebecca Black song."
-- Brendon at What Would Tyler Durden Do? on the lightning-fast internet success of 13-year-old God-awful singer Rebecca Black
I meant to mention this yesterday but, like I said, I've been damn sick lately. The almost instantaneous transition of Rebecca Black from talentless nobody to internet joke to internet sensation to Next Big Thing among the tween set should be an object lesson for us all. It was merely a few days ago that Black's painfully terrible song and video were relegated to obscurity, but all it took was one person -- in this case comedian Michael J. Nelson -- to circulate it to the masses via Twitter for the thing to become massive. It doesn't matter one bit that Nelson chose to put it out there because he considered it the "worst video ever made" because it's already been proven over and over again that the taste of the average American tween girl is in her ass and she'd giddily worship at the base of a giant pile of elephant shit as long as you stuck a cute haircut on top of it.
Bottom line, for the sake of the rest of us and pop culture in general: think before you tweet.
Music from Dropkick Murphys is kind of a St. Patty's Day tradition around these parts, and as it turns out the band has just released a new album.
Grab a Guinness and hoist it to the first single from that record, the title track Going Out in Style.
Yup, the streets of New York City and Boston will be running green with vomit by about noon.
Wednesday, March 16, 2011
I worked with Robin Meade twice during my career in TV news. The first time back in the early 90s at WSVN in Miami, where she was just starting out and, frankly, it showed; the next time during my stint at CNN in Atlanta, where she'd already established herself as the almost impossibly attractive and likable host of HLN's morning show. During the latter period, she and I hung out on occasion -- one particularly noteworthy time being a married couple double-date to Dad's Garage Theater where we all drank and laughed our way through a phony WWE-style "wrestling match" -- and I always enjoyed being around her. Why should be obvious: She really is as sweet and bubbly in person as she is on camera; you'd have to be communist not to fall in love with her at least a little, seeing as how she's the ultimate all-American girl.
Well, her star continues to rise at CNN, which is great because her show, Morning Express, is both entertaining and informative without being the least bit obnoxious, and that's a tough thing to come by these days. So now, after already penning a book, Robin has decided to turn her talents toward, well, singing. Singing country songs, specifically. As you might have guessed, I'm not at all a fan of what passes for country music these days, but in the Nashville pop vein -- and with some heavyweight production help and songwriting by Jim Brickman -- Robin Meade will be releasing her first single next week.
Is it any good? Well, decide for yourself. A sample of Welcome Home is below.
Regardless of whether it's something I'd ever spend a lot of time listening to, I wish Robin all the best -- because her success really is a case of a nice girl finishing first.
"Staring failure in the face and calling it 'winning' -- that's the closest thing we have to an American religion. It's the native tradition, from Captain Ahab in Moby-Dick to Ron Burgundy in Anchorman. And if that's our religion, Charlie Sheen is our Vatican assassin warlock. Lots of us can look back on ruined lives, lost jobs, squandered fortunes. But to look back on it all and shrug, 'I'm tired of pretending I'm not a total bitchin' frickin' rock star from Mars'? That's up there with Ahab threatening to strike the sun if it insults him."
-- Rob Sheffield in Rolling Stone
Adding: Here's a related quote from Matt Taibbi's mailbag segment yesterday:
"He’s definitely a symbol of something, can’t really put my finger on what – he’s like what America’s soul looks like with its clothes off or something. They could easily update E Pluribus Unum by replacing it with Duh…Winning and it would fit modern America just right."
If this doesn't act as a perfect little snapshot of just how ass-backward the right's priorities are at the moment, I'm not sure anything will.
Behold, what constitutes an "emergency" for the House Republicans.
The Los Angeles Times: House GOP Emergency Session Today To Vote on Defunding of NPR/3.15.11
It's just staggering what these assholes are doing across America these days to advance their lunatic agenda. But hey, taking money away from NPR -- that's important stuff that creates jobs, right?
""I love your work. I especially like that weird baby you made with the enormous football shaped head. Oh, sorry, that was for my Sarah Palin roast."
-- Lisa Lampanelli to Seth MacFarlane at last night's Comedy Central roast of Donald Trump
I'm going to catch so much hell for even repeating that joke, but I can't deny that it had me in both hysterics and outright disbelief. Once again, as with Gilbert Gottfried's brand of comedy, roasts are supposed to be vicious and completely challenging to both good taste and the limits of your magnanimity; Trump's roast scored a barn-burner on both counts. Some real surprises: Snoop killed, as did Marlee Matlin (the Oscar-winner's right-off-the-bat joke about how her voice sounds like Whitney Cummings with a dick in her mouth may have been the best and most shocking overall line of the night), also newbie Anthony Jezelnik -- who Lampanelli said was only there because Daniel Tosh was busy being fisted in Key West -- scored big and did Greg Giraldo proud; his shot at Trump comparing him to Michael Douglas in Wall Street except for the fact that "no one will care if you get cancer" was just flat-out brilliant. And Seth MacFarlane was an exceptional roast-master.
Not a surprise: The Situation bombed. Like the Enola Gay. By the way, I'm beginning to think that that particular description of him, at least half of it, isn't too far off the mark. Anybody else picking up on that?
Incidentally, I'm unbelievably sick right now -- and not in the way I normally am -- so for me to have laughed that hard through my painfully congested head is saying something.
Tuesday, March 15, 2011
One of my favorite stories at the moment -- meaning it's one that just makes me shake my head at the absurdity of every facet of it -- involves the "anti-Asian rant" that a UCLA student shot and posted to YouTube. If you haven't seen it yet, it's an instant classic -- the kind of thing that was destined for viral transmission, followed by mass-media pick-up, followed by the inevitable contrived controversy and shouts of righteous indignation (and eventually ending with a Web Redemption segment on Tosh). Basically it goes like this: a girl named Alexandra Wallace was apparently so miffed at the fact that UCLA is overflowing with Asian students and their idiosyncrasies that she -- wait for it -- took to the internet to bitch about it. Her three-minute tirade is mildly offensive to say nothing of unbelievably dumb, but it's not like she's the Secretary of State and it's not like she set a Korean grocer on fire or something. She's a stupid kid whose shitty judgment should preclude her from graduating college long before her skewed belief system does.
But needless to say, there are already those out there demanding that she be expelled. Not because she's an idiot, but because she said something that offended them.
The great irony of this, of course, is that Alexandra Wallace is herself a walking fucking stereotype. In fact, she's got the ditzy, stacked Southern Cali blond thing down so flawlessly that I almost thought the video had to be some sort of parody. When I lived in L.A. I was generally more irritated by people like Alexandra than I was by the city's considerable Asian population. In fact, quite a few of my very close friends were Asian-American; I can't say I ever wanted to spend even a minute of my time with girls like Bryttnee from Brentwood here. But regardless of what I think of her statements about the student demographic which seems to be ruining her collegiate experience, she has a right to speak what little exists of her mind and not fear official reprisal. As Wallace reminds everyone ad nauseam in the clip, this is actually America -- and while, no, it doesn't mean that blonds have more claim to it than anyone else, it does mean that even a stupid opinion can be aired freely.
And what about that opinion? Well, it's just that -- an opinion. By its very nature that means that it's one person's view and you don't necessarily have to like it.
Apparently Alexandra has had issues with Asian students that she feels create a situation that's statistically significant enough for her to complain about those interactions and imply that they're part of a bigger picture. Not saying it's right -- although as I've said here before I'm of the mind that stereotypes exist for a reason; not everyone in a particular group will live up to a cookie-cutter image but apparently enough people have to create that stereotype in the first place -- but once again, it's her view and hers alone. Are there a lot of Asians at UCLA? Oh, hell yes. In fact, one of my best friends in the world, who's of Vietnamese descent, graduated from there and used to rattle off the familiar joke that UCLA stood for "University of Caucasians Lost Among Asians." (For those keeping score, USC was "University of Spoiled Children.") Do Asian students tend to have certain cultural quirks? Of course they do. Would these quirks irritate the hell out of you if you didn't grow up with them in your own household and now had to deal with them almost 24/7? Depends on who you are, but it's certainly possible.
So should Alexandra Wallace be punished in some way for bitching about her experiences with Asian students? No, actually. She's entitled to believe what she believes and to voice those beliefs.
Just like all the Asian and Asian-American kids who'll make response videos mercilessly mocking stupid, overly bubbly California bleach-blonds with big boobs will be entitled to that.
Besides, at the rate things are going, the Chinese students will eventually own Alexandra's ass anyway.
* * * * *
Update: Well, if you thought there might be any surprises in store with regard to this little controversy, you can sleep easy tonight knowing that it's following its story arc down to the letter so far. Needless to say, Alexandra Wallace has now issued an apology via the Daily Bruin for her thoughtless comments. It reads as follows:
"Clearly the original video posted by me was inappropriate. I cannot explain what possessed me to approach the subject as I did, and if I could undo it, I would. I'd like to offer my apology to the entire UCLA campus. For those who cannot find it within them to accept my apology, I understand."
So, that settles it, right?
Of course not.
She's apparently received several death threats and with the worldwide circulation of the apology by outlets across the internet there are already the obligatory indignant comments from journalists and the public demanding to know, "Is her apology enough?" "Why didn't she specifically say she's sorry to Asians both at UCLA and around the globe?" and "OMG, Why wasn't I included in her apology since I was so offended?!?!"
Look, the kid said she's sorry. Drop it. Of course there's an argument to be made that her apology isn't all that sincere because, well, it was demanded of her and continues to be. Forcing someone to say he or she is sorry kind of negates the power of the consequent apology, and yet people do it constantly these days, pretending that it will somehow salve their deeply offended sensibilities. And speaking of offended, guess what? Alexandra Wallace doesn't owe a pound of flesh -- or in this case ten minutes of contrite public self-flagellation -- to every fucking person who took offense to what she said in her idiotic little screed. It's ludicrous to allow everyone who claims to be aggrieved to dictate what her punishment should be and to whom it should be directed. She said something dumb and she now says she's sorry. Once again, you're not gonna get any more satisfaction than that so knock it the hell off and go back to your life. Which apparently consists largely of looking for things to be unnecessarily pissed off about.
As Oliver Willis beautifully put it, these things are a lot funnier once you stop pretending that Fox News is an actual news network.
Apparently while supposedly running down all the nuclear reactors in Japan, Neil Cavuto popped up the above map. One name stands out: Shibuyaeggman. Turns out there is no reactor called that and no specific city or town called that either. There is, however, an "Eggman" nightclub in the Shibuya section of Tokyo.
So a Japanese nuclear reactor is located right below the "@ Super Suits Store." And Jonny Hi-Fi played it back in '06.
Here now, the Beastie Boys doing Eggman. Because as you know, suckers they come a dime a dozen.
(via Media Matters)
Sure everybody's eating up the new Foo Fighters video for Rope, which is predictably terrific and highlights the triumphant return of Pat Smear to the band -- but this on-the-cheap clip which debuted kind of quietly last month is even more entertaining. It's for another track on the band's new album, Wasting Light, and features Lemmy as the limo driver and Dave Grohl finally fulfilling his doppelganger destiny and doing the best Andrew WK impression ever.
Above it's White Limo -- below, Rope.
Both, by the way, were shot on VHS. Save those old tapes.
Monday, March 14, 2011
I'll make this quick.
You're not gonna believe this but Gilbert Gottfried said something completely inappropriate.
I know, right?
Now I'm not talking about the time a few weeks after 9/11 when he said that he couldn't get a direct flight into New York City because all the planes were scheduled to connect at the Empire State Building. Or his infamously horrific telling of the legendary Aristocrats joke that followed it. Or that time during the roast of George Takei that he got up in front of a standing-room-only crowd and did 20 minutes of cracks about "faggots." No, I'm talking about just a couple of days ago when he rattled off a series of jokes about the Japanese earthquake and tsunami on Twitter that included, "I just split up with my girlfriend, but like the Japanese say, they'll be another one floating by any minute now," "I was talking to my Japanese real estate agent. I said 'is there a school in this area.' She said 'not now, but just wait.'", and "I fucked a girl in Japan. She screamed 'I feel the earth move and I'm getting wet.'"
What makes this last infraction against civil and polite society stand out is that it just got him fired from his job as the voice of the Aflac insurance duck. If you follow the logic, it goes something like this: Aflac hired one of the most gleefully loutish and obscene comics on earth -- a guy who's made a career out of defying good taste and who'll go to any length to offend and instigate -- then suddenly grew a conscience and cut him loose only when the people he was threatening to piss off happened to be valued customers (since Aflac does a lot of business in Japan). It almost goes without saying that while it's absolutely the company's decision who it wants to be associated with, it's interesting that Aflac apparently never concerned itself with whether Gottfried's material throughout the years might be offensive to its gay, black, Hispanic -- basically anybody he's ever mercilessly ribbed at one time or another -- clientele.
Aflac should've known what it was getting into when it decided to make Gilbert Gottfried the voice of its corporate mascot -- reacting with righteous indignation now is either disingenuous or ridiculously ignorant.
By the way, Gottfried's jokes -- while tasteless -- were fucking hilarious. And that's what a good comic is supposed to do: make us laugh, even through our pain.
Well here's something you never could've seen coming.
Media Matters: Serious Editing Questions Arise Following Taped Sting of NPR Employee/3.14.11
I swear to Christ, every time this little douche unleashes one of his "stings" into the establishment media bloodstream, just start the clock. It's guaranteed to be less than a few days before it's proven to be largely horseshit. This has become one of the most predictable news cycles around.
I'm not one of those people who jumps all over someone for making an imprudent comment, particularly not when that comment amounts to nothing more than a slip of the tongue. Thanks in part to our panoptic media culture, which includes the 24/7 cable news cycle, we've become far too eager to play the gotcha game anytime somebody says something mildly stupid, typically assigning more value to it than necessary. That said, there have been two examples over just the past few days of guys whose careers depend on America's ongoing and abusive love affair with Wall Street saying something unbelievably tone deaf. We're not talking about innocent indiscretions, but rather comments that would seem to hint at a deeply intransigent, and deeply flawed, view of the world.
Chances are by now you've seen or heard Larry Kudlow's startlingly insensitive response to the fact that the global markets didn't immediately reel in the wake of the devastating earthquake and tsunami in Japan. On CNBC, where Kudlow's a host, he expressed relief that the disaster's impact was merely on people rather than, you know, stocks. "The human toll here looks to be much worse than the economic toll, and we can be grateful for that." To his credit, he immediately attempted to clarify his position and pull the size-10 Edward Green out of his mouth, and he later went on to tweet that he didn't mean to imply that the potential economic fallout from this tragedy is more important than the deaths of thousands. An argument can be made that what we witnessed from Kudlow is a Freudian slip, and that because he tends to always side with the amorphous giant pool of cash that's floated around the globe like some kind of alien god -- while those who worship it sacrificed the rest of us in its holy name -- he's of course more likely to believe that numbers on an exchange board matter most. Guys like Kudlow, I have to assume, really do think that an economic disaster is the worst kind of catastrophe there is -- hence why they pulled the panic switch so quickly and insanely when it looked like their pursuit of their god's favor had fucked them, and us, into a corner and only an immediate rescue mission from the government could prevent a cataclysm. But at that moment, I do think that Kudlow simply misspoke -- at least insofar as what he was trying to say. Because Kudlow may be reptilian, but he isn't stupid: He knows he can't say that kind of thing on the air and not get hammered for it. He has to at least appear as if he gives a shit. As for his two co-hosts, though -- neither of whom seemed the least bit fazed by Kudlow's cruel retort -- their silence actually speaks volumes about the kind of group-think festering among the Wall Street set and its drooling sycophants in the business media.
Right about the time Kudlow was blowing it on national television, New York Fed President William Dudley was doing his part to drive home the point that the titans of global finance are completely out of touch with the other 99% of us. During a discussion in Queens, a working-class neighborhood if ever there was one, rightfully pissed-off average people pelted Dudley with questions about the ways in which the detestably prevalent practice of commodities speculation had driven up the prices of all sorts of things that actually have a real-world impact on people: food, gas, electricity, etc. Dudley's response was that there's a flip-side to this kind of inflation and that it needs to be looked at in a broader context -- that while some prices are rising, others are holding steady or even declining.
One example, according to Dudley: "Today you can buy an iPad 2 that costs the same as an iPad 1 that is twice as powerful."
The reply from one not-at-all-assuaged audience member: "I can't eat an iPad."
Dudley's comment, once again, really does provide a nice little window into the way these clowns think: everything flows, Randian-style, from the top down; luxuries are as important as necessities, if not more important than; keep the producers fat and happy and everybody benefits. The problem is that this model has been disproved again and again over the past several years. There's nothing the least bit wrong with working hard and earning a lot of money, with putting your earnings into the stock market, and with living well if you're raking it in. I'm not saying that anyone should have to apologize for that in the least. Unfortunately, the game has been rigged and for the first time in America's history it's almost as if a caste system has resulted; the top one-percent not only controls the wealth, it hoards and perpetuates it for itself while the rest of us are expected to shut up and suck it. The American dream can become a reality for anyone only if there's at least a minor amount of fair-play involved -- and that's simply a damn-near comical conceit these days.
Comments like these could just be harmless gaffes, but I'm not so sure. We've heard far too much of this kind of Antoinette-esque thinking lately to just brush it off.
There's been a lot of incredible video coming out of Japan in the wake of the devastating earthquake, tsunami and nuclear near-meltdown. But if you haven't seen this yet, you really have no appreciation for just how positively terrifying it must've been being in the direct path of that oncoming wall of water.