I know it's something that can generally be said over and over again, but this could easily be one of the best bits Jon Stewart and the Daily Show writers have ever put together. Stewart's dazzling takedown of Fox News's RNC-recommended talking points for dealing with the improving national outlook -- an unfortunate state of affairs for a network that wants desperately to see President Obama sent packing in November and will stop at nothing to facilitate that end -- is a sight to behold.
Seriously, nobody exposes the comical hypocrisy and general shenanigans of the right more incisively than Stewart. He does it so well that I think he's been instrumental in helping to drive the national conversation and actually turn a lot of independents against the current Republican mindset.
(If for God-knows-what reason the Hulu video doesn't show up for you, you can watch the clip here.)
Wednesday, February 29, 2012
"He's like a character in a Bruce Willis movie. He just knows how to stay alive. He's running through the jungle, fighting back, shooting from the hip, takes a lot of hits, stays angry the entire time, and he is giving a voice to a lot of people out there whose lives have been completely upended."
-- Tom Brokaw on Rick Santorum, during MSNBC's coverage of the Republican primaries last night
Where to even being. It's this kind of nonsense that frustrates the hell out of anyone looking for intelligent, responsible political reportage and analysis on cable news. No, Tom, Santorum isn't like a character in a movie, nor is he a horse in a race; he's very real and his rhetoric and proposed policies have the potential to impact the entire country. And the people he's largely giving a voice to -- the ones whose lives have been "upended," mostly by the frightening march of progress -- are those who believe that we need to return to the 19th century when it comes to our politics and pervading beliefs on subjects like religion and women's rights. He says the separation of church and state makes him sick, that a college education is for snobs and those willing to be indoctrinated by liberal thinking, and that Satan, the father of lies, is behind this country's troubles. But instead of parsing the policies and views of a man running for President of the United States and the way they could affect each and every one of us, Brokaw can only sit back and marvel at Santorum's supposedly ferocious tenacity.
This is why no one with a mildly functional brain gives a shit about anything the TV news networks have to say about politics anymore.
Yeah, Tom -- Santorum is like a character in a Bruce Willis movie. He's Brad Pitt's delusional mental patient Jeffrey Goines from 12 Monkeys. And if you don't have the balls to at least notice that because you're too busy clinging to some horseshit illusion of objectivity, then no one should be listening to you.
"I think that at this point the Republican presidential race legitimately qualifies as a prank."
-- Andy Borowitz, last night in Beverly Hills
I don't need to tell you how undeniably brilliant Borowitz is, and last night I was fortunate enough to see him and the equally brilliant Patton Oswalt in a pretty intimate sit-down at the Saban Theater, as part of the L.A. Writer's Bloc program. Basically it was nothing more than a conversation between these two comic minds, which the audience was allowed to be a part of.
So, yeah -- two of the funniest people in America just shooting the shit and riffing off of each other. I haven't laughed that hard in a very long time.
It seems like journeyman musician and producer Alain Johannes has played with just about everybody these days: Queens of the Stone Age, Spinnerette, Jason Faulkner, the Arctic Monkeys, Chris Cornell, Mark Lanegan, the list goes on and on. And long before that, he was the frontman of Eleven, along with his significant other and long-time collaborator, the late Natasha Shneider. But even before that he was in a project called What Is This? -- with future Chili Peppers Flea, Hillel Slovak and Jack Irons -- that recorded a one-off record back in the 80s.
That album had one single that charted -- one of the better alt covers of a soul classic.
Here's What Is This? doing the Spinners' I'll Be Around.
Tuesday, February 28, 2012
"The CW has announced who will play the young Carrie Bradshaw in the prequel TV series to Sex and the City, which takes place in high school. It's Annasophia Robb. No word on whether the series will cover the horrible industrial accident that turns Robb into the Carrie Bradshaw we know from the original show."
-- Ralph Garman from The Kevin and Bean Show on KROQ
The band-on-the-road video has been a staple in rock and roll almost since the dawn of the music video era, but there's still something kind of magical about it when it's done right. With that in mind, one of my favorite things about the Foo Fighters documentary, Back and Forth, is the glimpse you get of the band-members' relationships with their families, particularly Grohl's love for his daughters.
You see a little of that here.
This is the new video for These Days.
Monday, February 27, 2012
I want to post one more excerpt from Jonathan Chait's impressive piece in New York Magazine on the "GOPacalypse" -- what 2012 means to the Republican party in its current incarnation and why the right is casting the coming election in such stark, portentous terms.
I'm not sure it's ever been laid out more clearly just what's at stake this coming November.
"The Republicans have gained the House and stand poised to win control of the Senate. If they can claw out a presidential win and hold on to Congress, they will have a glorious two-year window to restore the America they knew and loved, to lock in transformational change, or at least to wrench the status quo so far rightward that it will take Democrats a generation to wrench it back. The cost of any foregone legislative compromises on health care or the deficit would be trivial compared to the enormous gains available to a party in control of all three federal branches.
On the other hand, if they lose their bid to unseat Obama, they will have mortgaged their future for nothing at all. And over the last several months, it has appeared increasingly likely that the party’s great all-or-nothing bet may land, ultimately, on nothing. In which case, the Republicans will have turned an unfavorable outlook into a truly bleak one in a fit of panic. The deepest effect of Obama’s election upon the Republicans’ psyche has been to make them truly fear, for the first time since before Ronald Reagan, that the future is against them."
So that's it. That's why your vote is so important. Why you can't sit this one out just because the current president hasn't given you everything you wanted. I talk a lot about the acceptance of political reality and get a lot of push-back for doing so, but a fact is a fact; you can try to avoid it all you want, but the bottom line is always what things really come down to. And the bottom line in this case is that if you don't have Barack Obama in office, flawed though he may be at times, you will have Mitt Romney, or Rick Santorum, or Newt Gingrich. Complain all you want, but those are your only choices for who will run the country next -- for who will, as Chait explains, likely set the tone for years to come.
Barack Obama will be President of the United States in January of 2013 -- or one of the current Republican candidates will, and he will be someone who's already professed or at least pandered to the panicked notion that we need to save America by restoring the proud traditions of a past that's no longer a viable option for us nor should it be.
That is your choice. And it's no choice at all.
"President Obama once said he wants everybody in America to go to college. What a snob."
"Not all folks are gifted the same way. Some people have incredible gifts with their hands. There are good, decent men and women who work hard every day and put their skills to the test that aren’t taught by some liberal college professor... That’s why he wants you to go to college. He wants to remake you in his image. I want to create jobs so people can remake their children into their image, not his."
"I understand why Barack Obama wants to send every kid to college, because of their indoctrination mills, absolutely. The indoctrination that is going on at the university level is a harm to our country."
"We have some real problems at our college campuses with political correctness, with an ideology that is forced upon people who, you know, who may not agree with the politically correct left doctrine. And one of the things that I’ve spoken out on and will continue to speak out is to make sure that conservative and more mainstream, common-sense conservative and principles that have made this country great are reflected in our college courses and with college professors. And at many, many, and I would argue most institutions in this country, that simply isn’t the case."
"62% of kids who go into college with a faith commitment leave without it."
All of this was said by Rick Santorum over a weekend which saw the Republican party's highest-profile lunatic zealot -- at least currently -- going off the rails in a way he never has before (and that's really saying something). Never mind the ongoing -- though possibly most blatant yet -- demonization of intellectualism. Never mind how irresponsible that kind of rhetoric is at a time when the rest of the world is, as the Washington Post points out, "churning out engineers and scientists at a faster and faster rate." Never mind that Santorum's statistics on faith and a college education were apparently pulled out of his ass, as was another reference he made this weekend to a speech on religion and politics, supposedly from JFK, that never actually happened. Also never mind the overall admission that once a person becomes intellectually enlightened, he or she generally abandons ridiculous religious superstition and ass-backward conservative politics -- that a keen and educated mind is naturally antithetical to a right-wing viewpoint.
No, what's important is what all of this kind of public saber-rattling adds up to and underscores. It expresses the sheer terror coming from the right these days that, as I've said quite a bit recently here and on the podcast, its current political model is dying. What we're witnessing are the ugly death spasms of the incarnation of conservatism that's existed for decades.
Lo and behold, Jonathan Chait spells it out almost exactly as Bob and I have -- albeit more eloquently -- in a new piece for New York Magazine:
"The Republican Party is in the grips of many fever dreams. But this is not one of them. To be sure, the apocalyptic ideological analysis—that 'freedom' is incompatible with Clinton-era tax rates and Massachusetts-style health care—is pure crazy. But the panicked strategic analysis, and the sense of urgency it gives rise to, is actually quite sound. The modern GOP—the party of Nixon, Reagan, and both Bushes—is staring down its own demographic extinction. Right-wing warnings of impending tyranny express, in hyperbolic form, well-grounded dread: that conservative America will soon come to be dominated, in a semi-permanent fashion, by an ascendant Democratic coalition hostile to its outlook and interests. And this impending doom has colored the party’s frantic, fearful response to the Obama presidency...
Today, cosmopolitan liberals may still feel like an embattled sect—they certainly describe their political fights in those terms—but time has transformed their rump minority into a collective majority. As conservative strategists will tell you, there are now more of 'them' than 'us.' What’s more, the disparity will continue to grow indefinitely. Obama actually lost the over-45-year-old vote in 2008, gaining his entire victory margin from younger voters—more racially diverse, better educated, less religious, and more socially and economically liberal. Portents of this future were surely rendered all the more vivid by the startling reality that the man presiding over the new majority just happened to be, himself, young, urban, hip, and black. When jubilant supporters of Obama gathered in Grant Park on Election Night in 2008, Republicans saw a glimpse of their own political mortality. And a galvanizing picture of just what their new rulers would look like."
Santorum's insane rants are exactly what they sound like: a desperate call to arms for a fading way of thinking. In one weekend, he summed up perfectly what the Republicans have been about for years -- and displayed in unequivocal terms why their time is up.
Their audience is simply disappearing.
A couple of quick thoughts on last night's Oscars:
1. Billy Crystal has fulfilled his destiny and finally become the full-on Borscht Belt hack he once parodied.
2. The Help was a God-awful piece of artificially sweetened revisionist hokum. That said, Octavia Spencer is a fine actor and she was as good as she could've been in the film, given the source material. But when she won the Oscar for Best-Supporting Actress and got a standing ovation before even opening her mouth, it looked like exactly what it was: white, liberal Hollywood heaping smug congratulation all over itself. It's not about whether the winner deserved the win, but only about the added honor of a standing ovation. Christopher Plummer got one for a lifetime excellent work. Octavia Spencer got one, seemingly, because she happens to be black.
3. About halfway through the show, I actually said something I didn't think anyone was capable of saying: "Brett Ratner would've done a better job."
4. When Christopher Guest and Company showed up, it provided at least a small spark of genuine humor. But on a night in which a group of movies were rewarded that almost no one saw -- and considering the state of the movie business in general these days -- I'm not sure Hollywood should've been making fun of its audience.
5. The only truly memorable moment of the evening happened before the show even started -- when Sacha Baron Cohen dumped an urn full of "Kim Jong Il's ashes" all over a very visibly pissed-off Ryan Seacrest.
6. There are only two reasons The Artist wasn't put in its proper category as a foreign film: No one spoke during it* and Harvey Weinstein said it wasn't. In the end, another love letter to movies won the day which again shows who Hollywood thinks is truly important and just how out-of-touch it is with everyone else.
7. I'm sorry, Oprah? Again?
*Updated: Given how many people have given me shit and accused me of not seeing the movie, yes, I know Valentin says two words.
I was never a huge fan of Midnight Oil. Their overt Aussie politicism kind of grated on me, but when they were on fire -- they were seriously on fire.
From 1984's Red Sails in the Sunset, here's Kosciusko -- performed live.
Friday, February 24, 2012
Well, kids, this is it -- the last official day of our big Winter Pledge Drive.
If you like the nonsense you regularly find here, there are three ways you can contribute to DXM. The first is the easiest: Just click the Paypal electronic tip link in the right-hand sidebar of this screen and donate away. You can also use the Paypal tip jar to pay-what-you-want for a digital copy of my book, Dead Star Twilight, for iPad or Kindle. Go here to begin your instant download. It's a full length book and it can be yours for whatever you feel like putting toward it. The last way you can give is by buying a physical copy of Dead Star Twilight from Amazon. The full price is $14.95. To purchase the paperback, just click here. (By the way, buying the book gives the least amount of money to the site since I only get a small cut; obviously I want to sell books but I know there are some people out there who would want to be made aware of that.)
More shout-outs: Derek Simon, Ally L. and "The Todd" thanks so much for the generosity. I'll sort of keep the drive going throughout the weekend, but chances are there won't be much posted. By all means, though, give if you can. Otherwise, thanks for reading, commenting and circulating.
Now here's Admiral General Shabazz Aladeen -- Sacha Baron Cohen -- responding to his recent alleged snubbing by the people running Sunday's Oscar ceremony. (Yes, it's basically just more of Cohen's brilliant/exhausting promotion, but there are a couple of lines in here that made me laugh out loud.)
"Unfortunately, most of the voters -- four and a half million watched this debate last night. That’s all. That’s all that watched it! I think this is one of the most uninformed electorates in the last hundred years."
-- Bill O'Reilly
That'll do, Bill. That'll do.
Romney really is incapable of straying off-script.
Either that or he's succumbed to an outdated belief that every audience he speaks to is hearing his routine for the first time -- as if every form of media hasn't been broadcasting every word that comes out of his mouth to the masses 24/7.
Or maybe he just thinks he's like a comedian or musician and figures that each new audience is expecting to see him perform his greatest hits and will leave disappointed if he doesn't.
Oh yeah, and his wife drives a couple of Cadillacs. He's just your average guy.
I was waiting to see how long it would take for someone on the left to publicly express concern over the new movie Act of Valor and the supposedly ominous precedent it may be setting when it comes to U.S. military cheerleading. I should've known it would be David Sirota to stop wringing his hands long enough to grab that flag with both of them and run it up the hill.
You'll remember that last May, Sirota penned an almost laugh-out-loud silly piece decrying the Pentagon's involvement in getting itself tied into the promotion of X-Men: First Class, ostensibly to America's impressionable youth. As if anyone other than a blithering idiot would believe that strapping on the gear of a United States soldier turns him into Magneto. Well, in today's Salon, Sirota returns to the subject of his well-documented night terrors over the "Military Entertainment Complex," the rise of which would seem to be demonstrated by any form of popular media at all that people enjoy and which doesn't flat out preach pacifism and demonize our military.
If you haven't seen the commercials for it, Act of Valor is a film which purports to star active duty Navy SEALs, certainly making it a first-of-its-kind endeavor and one that's undeniably intended to be two-hours of pro-troops propaganda. Controversy arises only if you think that glorifying a group of people who put their lives on the line in the defense of this country is something disturbingly sinister. I haven't seen the movie; it may be terrible from a filmmaking and storyline standpoint. I don't, however, think the overall "message" of a movie like this is necessarily a negative one. Obviously and not at all surprisingly, Sirota disagrees.
As with every time I bring up David Sirota, this is where I take a second to remind everyone that he wrote an entire book positing that our current political climate can be traced back to movies like Ghostbusters and Die Hard. Oliver Willis hits it pretty squarely on the head when he calls him "serially stupid."
Look, I hate to get all Colonel Nathan Jessup here, but we have an all-volunteer military in this country and somebody needs to step up and do the very difficult job that Sirota would never in a million years even be able to do, much less undertake voluntarily. I don't always back the people making the decisions to send our men and women into battle, but I almost always back the men and women themselves and I see nothing wrong with showing them some respect and with honoring their actions, by and large, by making them seem noble, heroic and larger-than-life in popular culture.
Likewise, while it's tough to fully trust an establishment entity like the Pentagon -- which admittedly has a history of treachery and malfeasance, as all military and political institutions do -- it's not beyond comprehension that it would want to make itself and its mission appear to the masses in the best light possible and to, yes, advertise. A certain segment -- though absolutely not all -- of Hollywood gets on board for the same reason that the entertainment industry has, for decades, glorified cops, firefighters and servicemen-and-women: because their jobs are dangerous and the life-and-death decisions and situations they can face every day are something completely alien to most people.
People go see Act of Valor or play Modern Warfare because it's exciting. Again, only an idiot doesn't understand what real warfare is like -- particularly given the number of media resources readily available today -- and rarely do movies, television and even video games completely gloss over the horrors of armed conflict. But Sirota, who's the modern standard-bearer of the self-appointed Liberal Protective Class, believes that we're all easy dupes for whatever supposed propaganda is aimed in our direction and therefore must be safeguarded from it at all costs.
I apparently don't know enough to be able to separate fact from fiction from hype when I see a movie like Act of Valor. Thank God for guys like David Sirota who can enlighten and coddle me from on high while comically shaking a fist at the bad people trying to have their way with me.
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This week: The Disgusting Show: Oscar Talk; Human Centipede 2; Atlas Shrugged Part 1; Sexting and Cameraphones; Shmeat Is Inescapable Future of Humanity; Chez Versus Vegetarians; Brainless Chickens; Disgusting Photos on Buzzfeed; Guy Fieri and Vanilla Ice; Rick Santorum’s Literal Man On Dog Tape; Bucketloads of WHAT; Kids Are Idiots; and more!
Mitt Romney Loves Lamp; The Tea Party Wagging the Republican Dog; Romney Briefly Made Sense on Spending; No Transvaginal Ultrasound Law in Virginia; The Muslim Rumors Are Back; Pat Buchanan is a Cry Baby; Racism and the GOP; Politifact is a Disaster; and much more. Brought to you by Bubble Genius.
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Feeling old school today.
Yeah, in a lot of circles Digital Underground will always be remembered as a one-hit-wonder, but there was so much more to them than The Humpty Dance. The entire Sex Packets record remains one of my favorites of era and genre and they went on to do quite a few spectacular songs in the wake of that album.
Like this one -- it's Doowutchalike.
Happy Friday, kids.
Thursday, February 23, 2012
Just a reminder that we're in the middle of our big Winter Pledge Drive around these parts.
If you like the nonsense you regularly find here, there are three ways you can contribute to DXM. The first is the easiest: Just click the Paypal electronic tip link in the right-hand sidebar of this screen and donate away. You can also use the Paypal tip jar to pay-what-you-want for a digital copy of my book, Dead Star Twilight, for iPad or Kindle. Go here to begin your instant download. It's a full length book and it can be yours for whatever you feel like putting toward it. The last way you can give is by buying a physical copy of Dead Star Twilight from Amazon. The full price is $14.95 but I promise you it's worth every penny.* To purchase the paperback, just click here. (By the way, buying the book gives the least amount of money to the site since I only get a small cut; obviously I want to sell books but I know there are some people out there who would want to be made aware of that.)
More shout-outs are in order tonight: Helen Stepp, C. Gwaltney and the lovely and cool-as-hell Rhonda, thanks so much for your generosity. The mini-drive ends tomorrow night so let's light up that wheelchair, folks. We can't do it without you.
Now here's a bunch of meerkats discussing Tom Cruise movies:
"The president's liberal friends in Hollywood targeting a younger demographic, using animated movies to sell their agenda... Hollywood is once again trying to indoctrinate our children... demonizing the 1% and espousing green energy policies."
-- Lou Dobbs on The Lorax
I pass this along with the knowledge that you didn't see him actually say this since Dobbs was forced to take his act to Fox Business a while back. (FYI: That's a cable TV network.)
I swear, Richard Pryor, Mel Brooks and the entire staff of the Onion brainstorming in a room together couldn't come up with shit like this -- the ominous conspiracy theories that the terrified right is always pulling out of its collective tight ass and trumpeting. They'd toss anything like it in the garbage for fear that it wouldn't be believable enough to make convincing satire.
It's gotta just suck to be insane enough to see threats to liberty in the shadows of every corner, even under your children's bed and in the cartoons they watch.
Interesting side note, though: I figured Dobbs would be really into the Lorax considering that they look so much alike -- fat, orange, loudmouthed and typically surly.
I don't normally get excited about network TV programming because a) it generally sucks, and b) I actually don't watch a lot of TV. But I have to admit that after reading TK's review over at Pajiba and watching the incredibly engrossing first seven minutes online, I'm really interested in NBC's new show Awake.
Please, NBC -- resist the inclination to fuck this up.
NBC: Awake: And So It Begins...
Shameless hypocrisy and an almost sociopathic unwillingness to base arguments on empirical evidence is nothing new for the modern GOP. But a piece in Slate right now by Eliot Spitzer highlights an interesting irony to the constant, panicked claims from the clown car of Republican presidential candidates that Barack Obama is taking us down the road to the "European-style socialism" he so admires.
See, there are two models currently on display for all to see which demonstrate two diametrically opposed ways of dealing with an economy gang-raped by Wall Street and its overseas ilk. In one, austerity is used to choke the people and their governmental systems to death, resulting in civil unrest and not a positive thing on the balance sheet to show for it; in the other, tempered bailouts and managed reconstruction is combined with a renewed emphasis on sensible regulation, resulting in a steadily increasing rebound and a drop in unemployment. The Republicans have lined up squarely, intransigently behind the former model; Obama, the latter.
Here's the thing, though: The place where that first response is being attempted, and where it's failing miserably, is Europe. The place where the second response is being used, to quite a bit of success, is Detroit.
So who's really being anti-American?
Slate: Why Romney Is Collapsing/2.21.12
So Kate Gosselin went on Dr. Drew's idiotic show and cried -- a lot.
USA Today: Kate Gosselin: "I Am So Lonely"/2.23.12
I have no other choice but to assume that, finally, after all this time, my darling Kate has come around and is reaching out to me across the airwaves -- ready to take me up on my offer from three years ago.
For those who don't remember of what offer I speak -- read on.
"And Now an Open Letter To Kate Gosselin" (Originally Published, 8.27.09)
You don't know me, but I felt like I just had to reach out to you after watching your appearance on Larry King Live a few nights ago. I know you've been through a lot over the past several months: the cruel tabloid headlines, the negative assumptions about you, the betrayal, the impending divorce, seeing your estranged husband cavorting with whores in Ed Hardy t-shirts, your kids' refusal to sit the hell down and shut up when Mommy tells them to, people making fun of your haircut -- I know it's all been eating you alive inside and turning your well-established sense of self upside down. It's hurt me for so long to watch you held up for public ridicule -- to see the once-vainglorious Kate Gosselin reduced to groveling for mercy in the face of those who would take joy in knocking you from the pedestal you so richly deserve to sit atop. But when you looked right into Larry King's lifeless eyes (an act of incredible bravery in itself) and told him, "I'm lonely," well, that was all I could take.
I know you're in pain, Kate.
I know you feel like no one understands.
But I need you to know something -- I do.
That's why, right here and now, I want to tell you that there's someone in this world who gets you completely, who loves you entirely -- and who wants to be with you forever.
A little about myself: I'm a 39-year-old underemployed writer and journalist with over ten years experience -- on and off -- dealing with women like yourself, Kate. Women others would call, well, let's just say "difficult." (Only the crassest and most Philistine would refer to your kind by that other word.) And let me be clear: When I say that I know how to "deal" with you, that's in no way meant to imply that I have an intact spine and would be willing to make an effective stand against you should I feel that you were trampling me underfoot and crushing my fragile ego. On the contrary, you can consider me already very well housebroken -- an easily malleable lump of human wet clay that will never so much as raise his voice to you when you publicly emasculate him for not picking out the right paint color for the living room or maybe rubbing your feet clockwise instead of counter-clockwise at the end of the day.
Life with me would be the Kate Show all the way. My balls are well accustomed to that particularly cold area at the back of the refrigerator anyway; why break with tradition?
Speaking of shows, I have a couple of children of my own. Just think of the possibilities: Kate and WHO? + 8 + 2. It would be like The Brady Bunch for Generation Meth.
I even think you're really hot. No joke. You're a total babe. I don't even think it's important that you, for once, stand up straight.
Katie, my sweet, you don't have to be lonely anymore. I ask only that you please think about my offer. I honestly believe that if you give it a little serious consideration, you'll come to the only possible conclusion -- that I'm the man for you. I have the skill, the will, and, most importantly, the complete lack of self-respect in the face of a spiteful woman -- and I'm totally ready to be the next Mr. Kate Gosselin.
Hey, I used to produce for Ashleigh Banfield.
I Love You,
Chez : )
(For entertainment purposes only. Not meant to either A) endear myself to Kate Gosselin, or B) cast aspersion on anyone who's been in my life over the past decade or so -- except maybe Banfield. I kid, Ash.)
"What’s the George Costanza line? ‘When they're applauding, you sit down’?"
-- Mitt Romney at last night's CNN Republican presidential debate
No, the line is actually from Jerry directed at George and it goes, "Showmanship, George. When you hit that high note you say goodnight and walk off." (It's the same episode in which Puddy utters the famous line, "You stole my Jesus fish!" and which also has Kramer and Mickey acting out diseases for med students and Jerry trying to figure out what his new girlfriend's "tractor story" is.)
The best response to Romney's failed stab at a completely untimely pop culture reference came from Vanity Fair, which said that "household appliance" Romney "took a new HUMAN CULTURE (ca. 1990 A.D.) cartridge out for a spin," but may have purchased some second-tier software.
I'll admit it: I turned on the umpteenth Republican debate on CNN last night. Sat down on the couch to watch it and everything. I managed to make it all of maybe two or three minutes before actually saying out loud to myself, "Why the hell am I watching this?" then shutting it off to go do something meaningful with my time. Word has it I missed an epic barn-burner of bald-faced lies, shameless pandering and frenzied fear-mongering when it comes to the end-of-America threat posed by our socialist Kenyan, secret Muslim Manchurian ursurper president, Barack Hussein Obama, but honestly I was expecting nothing less -- which is why I shut the thing off in the first place.
Thankfully, Bill Maher watched it all the way through and put together some choice thoughts on it for the Huffington Post.
Here are just a couple:
"Isn't a highlight of every debate when Mitt Romney takes umbrage at being accused of the best thing he ever did in his life -- Romneycare? Something he should be proud of? Last night he took out his dueling glove and declared that when he was governor, he made sure there was NO requirement from the church to provide morning after pills for rape victims. They will be punished with a baby, as Jesus would want. Mitt's attitude is always, 'How dare you accuse me of helping people or being compassionate! Why, I'll have you know I'm every bit as much of a cold hearted bastard as any of these other pricks up here with me!'
'But Mitt, we have a picture of you giving money to a homeless person.'
'I did NOT give a bum money! I was paying him to blow me!'"
And this one echoes what I've been saying here quite a bit over the past week:
"People get mad at me for using the phrase 'this stupid country', which I sometimes do -- but, I'm sorry -- Satan? In 2012? This elephant is not only in the room at the debates, but everywhere on TV today where people were talking about this and not breaking down in the middle and screaming, Wait a minute -- We're modern people, surely we don't give any credence to this comic book character that was created in the bronze age!! It's barely worthy of a children's story, and people take it to the Oval Office -- Bush did -- and it affects their thinking and our lives. Why is Santorum so against contraception? Because there's a line in Genesis about not spilling your seed. A random brainfart from some desert dweller 3,000 years ago, before people knew about germs or atoms or round planets, and it gets written down and passed down and in 2012 people like Rick Santorum are still too R-word to see that, and that's why some woman in Akron, Ohio might not get birth control."
Make no mistake: Anyone who utters the word Satan in the year 2012 in a serious context not only shouldn't be allowed anywhere near the White House, he or she should be confined to a padded room somewhere and given a steady diet of Lithium and a round-the-clock rotation of psychiatric professionals.
"As for the hype, if the Knicks had Ricky Rubio, the brilliant 20-year-old Spanish point guard for Minnesota, Spike Lee would be sitting at courtside in a bullfighter costume, and people would be writing dopey articles about the link between flamenco rhythms and basketball. It’s just New York being New York."
-- Gene Lyons, dissecting the true meaning of "Linsanity" in Salon
This pretty much nails it. While everyone else is losing their freaking minds trying to figure out why Jeremy Lin is the biggest phenomenon since Justin Bieber, the reality is that New York City's just happy to have a winning basketball team again and, in true NYC fashion, it's making sure the whole world knows it and gets on board.
If Lin had moved from the Warriors to the Rockets to the OKC Thunder, a lot less people would give a crap.
Wednesday, February 22, 2012
Just a reminder that yesterday kicked off our big Winter Pledge Drive around here -- it's the time when I kiss your ass for money and you hopefully give in to my boyish charms.
You know the drill: If you like what you find here at DXM and on The Bubble Genius Bob & Chez Show podcast and radio show, then please take a minute to contribute even a little to keep my internet adventure running smoothly.
There are now three ways you can misguidedly reward me for my misanthropy. The first is the easiest: Just click the Paypal electronic tip link in the right-hand sidebar of this screen and donate away. You can also use the Paypal tip jar to pay-what-you-want for a digital copy of my book, Dead Star Twilight, for iPad or Kindle. Go here to begin your instant download. Remember, it's a full length book -- 300-some-odd pages, although only a couple deal with sifting through one's own feces for heroin -- and it can be yours for whatever you feel like putting toward it. The last way you can give is by buying a physical copy of Dead Star Twilight from Amazon. The full price is $14.95 but I promise you it's worth every penny.* To purchase the paperback, just click here. (By the way, buying the book gives the least amount of money to the site since I only get a small cut; obviously I want to sell books but I know there are some people out there who would want to be made aware of that.)
As usual, I want to do a couple of shout-outs: Gordon Jennings, Brett Skean, Sophia Komor and Trish B, the generosity means a lot, so thanks very much. To everyone else out there, the drive ends on Friday and even if you can't do anything but read, comment and/or circulate links, know that it's always appreciated.
Now here's a sleeping harp seal.
The "Shit People Say..." meme managed to exhaust itself almost instantly. But credit where credit is due -- this clip from Funny or Die called "Shit People DON'T Say in L.A." and featuring David Spade, Alison Brie, Diora Baird, Kevin Farley and Tommy Lee is damn funny.
I'm not sure what's better, the Coachella ecstasy-and-getting-laid line or "Look no further, officer, the cocaine is mine."
"Having looked at the current proposal, I believe there is no need to direct by statute that further invasive ultrasound procedures be done. Mandating an invasive procedure in order to give informed consent is not a proper role for the state. No person should be directed to undergo an invasive procedure by the state, without their consent, as a precondition to another medical procedure."
-- Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell, backing slowly away from the hissing cobra that is the Virginia state legislature's proposal that would force a woman to undergo an invasive vaginal ultrasound if she wants an abortion
Remember that McDonnell was all gung-ho on the idea just a few days ago -- before the wrath of God descended on him from everywhere.
See? These idiots can be beaten back. All you have to do is punch hard enough.
Been a long time since I've done one of these, but you probably still remember the drill. Quietly put the following up on every computer screen in your office, then crank all the speakers to full volume.
Mischief points: 473
I Don't Believe You
I haven't really been into wrestling since the Rock bailed for Hollywood, but CM Punk's pretty bad-ass. Since he's avowed straight-edge he doesn't look like some 'roided-out gorilla and he can be genuinely menacing in an uncharacteristically quiet, simmering sort of way. All of which makes his video response to the entirely ill-advised Twitter battle that little bitch Chris Brown decided to get into with him the most awesome thing you'll see all day.
I can't think of anything more amusing than Chris Brown walking around with that new Grammy he's so proud of sticking out of his ass.
Somebody tweeted a link to this recent story yesterday afternoon along with the question, "Has the Catholic Church lost its mind?"
NBC 4 Washington: Girl Scout Troops Banned from Virginia Church/1.23.12
The answer to that is, of course, yes and no. Yes it's lost its mind, but no, not recently or anything -- because it never really had one to begin with, a fact which has been proven again and again over hundreds of years. We're lucky the church no longer has the imperial authority to wage actual blood-and-guts wars in the name of converting heretics to its way of "thinking," but it's still doing plenty of damage just by lobbing archaic edicts from the Vatican like psycho-bombs all across the globe. The Catholic power structure says birth control is verboten because the almighty creator of the universe says so and, surprise, hundreds of thousands -- possibly millions -- of unnecessary deaths and AIDS orphans in the Third World becomes a reality.
The only thing interesting about one Catholic church and school's audacious decision to target a bunch of Girl Scouts over the group's supposed link to Planned Parenthood -- and indeed the church's recent inserting of itself squarely into the ridiculous political fight over contraception -- is what it says about the entire organization's view of itself these days. Consider it a kind of subtle State of the Church address, and if you're listening closely you can hear exactly how the Catholic hierarchy, particularly in the United States, feels like its done its time and, in its own parlance, paid its penance after a metric ton of devastating press and lawsuit after lawsuit in the wake of the priest sex scandal -- and now it's ready to reassert itself as the moral authority that it is. That old Catholic swagger has returned in spades. The pride is back, baby.
The problem? The church may have conveniently forgiven itself -- what with being in the forgiveness business after all, especially when it comes to its own sins -- but most Americans haven't forgiven it, nor have they forgotten. Rick Santorum may be a beaver-shit crazy Catholic hardliner, one who hates birth control and who thinks Satan is making a play for the heart and soul of the United States, but he's part of a dwindling statistic: people who give a damn what the Catholic Church has to say about anything. Anything at all.
City and Colour's Little Hell was one of my favorite albums of last year -- and this is one of the best songs from it.
With a video I wouldn't quite have expected from a guy who's ostensibly a folk musician, here's Fragile Bird.
Tuesday, February 21, 2012
I know things have really been moving along at a regular pace here for only the past week-and-a-half or so, but since I do these things quarterly I just can't wait anymore: It's time for our big Winter Pledge Drive, where I spend a few days -- in this case a short week, which seems fair -- dropping my hat onto the digital sidewalk and doing a little dance that I hope will annoy you enough to want to give me a few bucks to make me leave you alone.
You know how this works: If you like what you find here at DXM and, more recently, on The Bubble Genius Bob & Chez Show podcast and radio show -- if you find my scathing bitterness, infrequent insight, even less frequent comic stylings, public feuds and musical picks entertaining -- and hey, this time around you got pretty pictures of my cross-country trip -- then by all means feel free to throw some money toward keeping these proceedings humming along.
There are now three ways you can put your hard-earned cash toward the DXM empire and its humble proprietor. The first is the easiest: Just click the Paypal electronic tip link in the right-hand sidebar of this screen and donate away. You can also use the Paypal tip jar to pay-what-you-want for a digital copy of my book, Dead Star Twilight, for iPad or Kindle. Go here to begin your instant download. Remember, it's a full length book -- 300-some-odd pages that you'll be blazing through -- and it can be yours for whatever you feel like putting toward it. The last way you can give is by buying a physical copy of Dead Star Twilight from Amazon. The full price is $14.95 but I promise you it's worth every penny.* To purchase the paperback, just click here. (By the way, buying the book gives the least amount of money to the site since I only get a small cut; obviously I want to sell books but I know there are some people out there who would want to be made aware of that.)
As always I want to thank everyone who continues to read this little experiment of mine. We're coming up on six years since this bizarre journey began and God only knows where it'll eventually end up. (My money's on it all being the detailed fantasy of an autistic kids.) Bottom line, though: This site wouldn't exist without you guys, so you have my ongoing humble appreciation.
More updates throughout the week.
*I can't, in fact, promise this.
"I want that" thing of the day: After Charlatans frontman Tim Burgess mentioned on Twitter that he wanted to come out with his own brand of cereal, adding the hashtag #totesamazeballs, Kellogg's stepped up and created -- you guessed it -- "Totes Amazeballs" cereal.
For the record, it's shaped like little ecstasy pills and tastes like room-temperature cream ale and a dirty ashtray.
The Drum: Kellogg's Develops Cereal for Charlatans Frontman Tim Burgess/2.21.12
Matt Osborne follows up his pretty terrific piece which took a look, from a military perspective, at the ongoing hemming and hawing from the left over drone strikes with a dissection of that Gary Kamiya column in Salon that I mentioned yesterday.
It's absolutely worth reading.
Osborne Ink: And the Dissonance Drones on Endlessly/2.21.12
"(President Obama) has said he's a Christian, so I just have to assume that he is. All I know is I'm a sinner, and God has forgiven me of my sins... you have to ask every person."
-- Franklin Graham, this morning on MSNBC's Morning Joe
A personal rule of thumb: If you've got the word "reverend" in front of your name chances are I'm gonna care less about your opinions on politics than I do about anything that comes out of the mouths of those people who won't shut up about Downton Abbey.
By the way, is Franklin Graham a self-righteous asshole? Well, he says he isn't, so I guess I'll have to take him at his word. You have to ask every person, though.
"You can't put a gun rack in a Volt."
-- Newt Gingrich, opining on Chevrolet's new Volt electric car in front of an audience in Georgia
I swear, these people couldn't be more of a punchline if they were actually wearing clown costumes. By all means, keep tossing out that red meat -- it's working brilliantly.
Monday, February 20, 2012
You know that whole discussion about whether abortion is acceptable to the conservative right in the case of rape? Well, Virginia (state motto: "Maybe 28 Square Miles of Relative Sanity") has figured out a really clever and creative way to amp up that debate: Try to get an abortion and they'll have someone actually rape you.
If you haven't seen this yet, get ready to head straight for the thesaurus to find every possible synonym for "unconscionable."
We talked about it on the podcast this week, but Dahlia Lithwick -- imagine that, a woman; who cares what they think, right? -- eviscerates the Virginia legislature for their sickening plan and rightly demands to know where the outrage is.
Slate: Virginia Ultrasound Law Is an Abomination/2.16.12
Rick Santorum spokesperson Alice Stewart attempts to clarify what her boss meant when he questioned President Obama's "theology" and said that it wasn't Bible-based.
Suffice it to say, she cleared it up nicely -- probably better than she wanted to.
Salon contributor Gary Kamiya is one of those writers I generally enjoy reading; he's thoughtful, intelligent and he articulates his points incisively. Today's column from him, however, made me roll my eyes more than a few times. It starts with the basic premise, and it's one that the emo-prog contingent has been scratching its collective head over for months now: Why oh why do so many liberals support the use of drone strikes to kill terrorist targets and even (clutches pearls) American citizens engaged in terrorism overseas? At Salon, the cognitive dissonance and unfocused outrage over this supposed paradox has typically been the domain of Glenn Greenwald, who delivers, as you'd expect, lengthy condescending lectures on it at regular intervals. To his credit, Kamiya at least approaches the subject with some measure of balance and a welcome lack of obnoxious piety, but it's still somewhat baffling that there are those on the left who are baffled that Americans by and large condone the use of armed drones in prosecuting the war against the terrorist threat.
I'd get deeply into it, but thankfully two people have already said everything that needs to be said on the subject. From the personal and political perspective there's this:
Oliver Willis: Why Do Liberals Support Drone Strikes?/2.8.12
And from a thorough and enlightening military perspective, this:
Osborne Ink: Drone Hysteria Is Stupid/1.30.12
By the way, Kamiya himself admits the reality of drone-waged warfare -- which he inexplicably calls "dirty," as opposed to what clean kind of warfare I'm not quite sure -- in a paragraph that inadvertently winds up being one of the funniest things I've read in an online publication in quite a while.
"The dirty war has been tactically effective. It has killed significant numbers of top Taliban and Al-Qaida leaders, including bin Laden himself, and forced other radical jihadists underground, disrupting their command and control and generally making their lives difficult.
Finally, dirty war has a proven historical track record. Agents of the American OSS and the British SOE, fighting behind enemy lines, carried out major acts of sabotage and subversion, tied up Axis troops and provided invaluable support to resistance groups. (I should know: I wrote a book about the SOE.) Dirty war tactics helped win World War II.
So why stop using such an effective instrument?
The answer is simple: Because it is not effective."
Sure, he goes on to make the claim that while drones are tactically effective, the ongoing use of them isn't strategically effective in the long term -- but it's amusing as hell to come across this particular double-take-worthy statement.
Three things worth checking out from one friend I consider very close and two others who are "friends" in the social networking sense:
Life Goes On
Mary Beth Williams is now a "cancer veteran" and is about to end the aggressive experimental treatment that saved her life. So why is she still so scared? If you've ever dealt with cancer in any way or in any form, you'll understand exactly why.
Salon: Now What? Life After Cancer Treatment/2.20.12
Curtis Robert Tyree doesn't like Glee. What's more, he resents the fact that he's constantly being told that he should like Glee just because he's gay. If, like me, you think that Glee is full of gay stereotypes rather than fully-formed gay characters, Curtis agrees with you and provides a little perspective.
C8R5T: The First Time Is Always Painful/2.18.12
The Good Fight
Jennifer Sulkin started something called Boobies for Freedom not long ago. Now she's expanding that enterprise into something slightly more ambitious (although admittedly less fun to watch).
Train of Thought: Destination Progress/2.8.12
Sunday, February 19, 2012
"I've repeatedly said I don't question the president's faith. I've repeatedly said that I believe the president's Christian -- he says he's Christian. But I am talking about his worldview, the way he addresses problems in this country, and they're different than most people view it in America."
-- Rick Santorum on CBS's Face the Nation this morning
That follows this little gem spouted off to, of course, a Tea Party rally in Ohio yesterday:
"It's not about you. It's not about your quality of life. It's not about your jobs. It's about some phony ideal, some phony theology. Oh, not a theology based on the Bible. A different theology."
Now take a look at the clock on your computer screen, or on your phone, or grab a calendar and remind yourself what the date is. What the year is. Force yourself to confront the fact that in the year 2012 a supposedly rational human being -- a man running for the highest office in the United States and not a fucking mental patient strapped to a bed in a padded room -- is taking his directives from a 2,000-year-old magic book and criticizing the man currently holding the highest office in the United States for supposedly not doing the same.
Sure, there are other countries where this much deference is given to superstitious nonsense by government and governmental leaders. You know what we generally call those countries? The Third World. Or the Middle East. Ironically, the areas Santorum and the rest of the right try to subtly and not-so-subtly paint Barack Obama as being from and beholden to.
Just four months ago I mentioned how this was coming -- yet again.
"Faith No More" (Originally Published 10.11.11)
I'll try to make this quick, since as I said I'm kind of pressed for time right now.
Chances are by now you're aware of the fallout from last week's Values Voters Summit, the annual event in which the hard-right Evangelical nutjob segment of the electorate gathers to throw King James Bibles at the feet of Republican leaders to see who will be the last one standing after beating his or her competition to death with one. This year, everybody seemed to be gunning for one guy: Mitt Romney. Poor Mitt got it hard from both ends, so to speak, as his place on the speaking roster happened -- through what I'm sure was complete coincidence -- to fall between Dallas megachurch demagogue Pastor Robert Jeffress and psychopathic talk radio host Bryan Fischer, both of whom have railed against Romney's Mormon faith as an insult to the one, true God.
Jeffress, who astonishingly is the cuddlier of the two, merely referred to Mormonism as a cult while lavishing praise on Rick Perry for supposedly being a trustworthy follower of Jesus Christ; Fischer took it three or four giant steps further, saying not only that a proven Christian and a proven Christian alone should be our next president, but that Sharia law is coming to take over our courts, homosexuals are a threat to the public health and the reason we haven't seen a successful attack on the contiguous 48 since 9/11 is that crowds sing "God Bless America" during the seventh inning stretch at major league baseball games. And no, I'm not making that last one up.
Romney, to his credit, tried to take the high road in his reaction to all the hyper-pious pummeling. Of course at something like the Values Voters Summit, the high road doesn't need to be very high; the Lincoln Tunnel towers over the discourse at this thing.
So is Mormonism a cult? Was it, for the most part, the brainchild of con-men and has it been perpetuated by the power-hungry and adhered to by the weak and desperate? Is it a lunatic belief system that should have no place influencing American politics? Yes on all counts. But here's the thing: That makes it no different than any other faith-based religion.
Fischer and Jeffress have always been despicably hateful fuckers whose opinions needed to be pushed so far to the fringes that they practically vanish into the ether. But at this point more than any other in our recent history, this country does not have the luxury to concern itself with with ridiculous contrivances like which ancient superstition a candidate aligns him or herself with -- whether he or she passes some religious purity test by properly genuflecting before the right god.
Over the next few months, as the campaign ramps up, you're going to start hearing a lot more proclamations of faith from those running for the highest office in the world. They'll talk about how their belief in Jesus or whatever-the-hell guides them, and what's more, they'll do it largely as a theatrical act of indulgence, as a means of cynically pandering to those they feel they need to pander to in order to get elected. Their command performance may not always be at the whim of blatant sociopaths like Jeffress and Fischer, but it will certainly be as a show of respect to the supposedly benign faith of which these men have become extremist purveyors and arbiters. And that faith, while something I disagree with wholeheartedly as a rational human being, should at the very least be a personal choice and a personal choice only -- it should be something that at all times is excluded from American politics.
At this fragile point in our nation's history, the fact that our presidential candidates will feel that they have the latitude, even for a moment, to gush metaphysical politics-as-usual platitudes is simply terrifying. Discussing something as abstract and ineffectual as faith at this moment is akin to extolling one's own favorite lottery numbers. Neither offers a concrete method of action. Faith will never defend this country's people from the ongoing threats to their livelihood. God won't save us from the mess we're currently in.
We need something more than wishful thinking, and we don't have the time to talk about anything less.
Adding: Matt Osborne digs up and expounds on a Santorum speech from four years ago in which God's Favorite Candidate® enlightens us to the real threat facing the United States of America during this tumultuous period in our history. You guessed it: Satan. Again, please keep in mind that someone who believes that a fallen angel, a creature now residing in hell and responsible for all the bad in the universe, is at war with a heavenly creator and is now seeking to control the destiny of our country -- this guy is considered completely sane. Not only sane, he's the current frontrunner for the Republican nomination for President of the United States. People who believe nonsense like this are usually put on Thorazine drips.
A two-fer today. Above, it's the cockblocking "Purity Bear," followed by at least one hilariously alarmist statistic regarding guys who dare to have sex before getting married. (Not shown: 20 minutes later, when Captain Blueballs there pulls up to the home of his other girlfriend, the one who eagerly rides him like he's Secretariat every chance she gets while openly mocking the Junior League prude he just dropped off.)
Below, it's William Tapley -- AKA "The Third Eagle of the Apocalypse" -- explaining in Aspergerian detail why the death of Whitney Houston was a message from God for Barack Obama.
Christians, man. Gotta love 'em.
(via Christian Nightmares)
Saturday, February 18, 2012
My favorite detail of this completely unsurprising story: There's a dating website called "gay.com."
Why oh why didn't I buy up that domain name about 20 years ago?
Talking Points Memo: Anti-Immigration Arizona Sheriff Rocked by Allegations of Immigrant Ex-Boyfriend/2.18.12
Forever ago -- or at least last May, which seems like forever ago after drinking three glasses of absinthe at the Viper Room last night -- I posted a really weird conversation I had via Facebook message with a stranger who asked me to do him a favor: He wanted me to go into a CNN friend of mine's photo album and tag pictures of Kiran Chetry to a fan page he'd supposedly set up for her. This odd request, of course, immediately led to a lot of subtle and not-so-subtle mockery on my part aimed in his direction.
Needless to say, I didn't do what he asked. What I did do, though, was contact my CNN friend and find out if she knew anything about this guy; she quickly informed me that he was a Kiran Chetry foot-fetishist who'd been bugging her for months for shots of the (now former) CNN anchor's admittedly impressive feet and toes.
Well, it took almost a year to hear back from the Kiran Foot Worshiper, but I think he may have finally made himself known again. This is the anonymous comment I just got on the original post:
"Kiran chetry is so hot. Kiran should wear nude thigh hi stockings to work and have tall blk. Boots on. Kiran tied me down to her bed really tight and gagged me with a bar of yellow dial soap then wrapped ductape over my mouth and around my head a few times. Kiran comes back ten hours later and walks in with thigh hi stockings and boots only she had a whip and she unties my ankles then flips me over and my wrists are tied up behind my back. I got whipped hard for twenty minutes. That made me dig my teeth into the soap. It tasted horrible. Then kiran puts me face up and rode me. Hard then kiran chetry lays me on the floor.face up and she slid a boot off. Kirans stocking foot looked so sexy in nude thigh hi stockings. She did bith then finally kiran took the soap out if my mouth that I had almost swallowed and sucked on for twelve hours. She let me rinse. Kiran said the punishment didnt even start yet. I sucked on her stockinged feet for a while then she made me take care of her as she rode me again. Then kiran leaves and comes back with a bottle of ajax antibacterial soap a bucket and a sponge. Kiran drops the soap in the bucket and grabs the sponge and pours alot if ajax on it then puts the nozzle in my mouth and squeezed it.for ten seconds then washed my mouth out with soap for a while. Kiran moved the sponge in and out with soap and water for a longtime. Then kiran chetry put the bar of dial soap in my mouth and.scrubbed jt in and out for an hour. Kiran yelled at me and made me lick and suck on the soap then kiran pushed it around with her sexy toes then covered my mouth with her sweaty toes and wrapped ductape over her foot and around my head five times. Kiran went to sleep and said hope you figure out a wAy to breathe. I had such a hardon smelling her sweaty and knowing its been ductaped there to block soap.from coming out. Aftet about twenty minutes latet I started to struggle to breathe then I started swallowing lots of soap then I swallowed a bar of soap and I panicked and got too wound up from smelling kiran chetrys feet and she noticed and started pleasuring herself and she started to drip on me then she pinched my nose with her two toes and pulled a pair of pantyhose over my face and her feet then I tried to yell for help but it was muffled by her feet then kiran said im gonna get you.more bar soap and then I shot my biggest load ever and she stood up and really shut off all air supply and told me to take one last sniff of her feet and I did then I passed out."
So, yeah. I guess from now on you can feel free to send your XXX Kiran Chetry foot fan fiction my way.
And if this comment was the first thing you read on this Saturday morning -- you're welcome.
Friday, February 17, 2012
Seen during my afternoon run through Runyon Canyon just a little while ago: a guy hiking up the canyon carrying a cane obviously used by the blind and wearing dark sunglasses -- with a baby strapped to his back in a backpack.
Reminds me of a conversation I had a few years back with a drunk girl at a bar, one who apparently worked with the blind:
Drunk Girl: Blind people can do anything anyone else can. Name one thing someone with sight can do that a blind person can't.
Drunk Girl: I'm serious.
Me: So am I. Okay -- drive.
Drunk Girl: A blind person can drive.
Me: What? Let me explain something to you -- the first time I get into an accident and the guy who gets out of the other car is carrying a cane and wearing sunglasses, I'm shooting up a fucking insurance agency.
"I love all kinds of music. Electronic or acoustic, it doesn't matter to me. The simple act of creating music is a beautiful gift that all human beings are blessed with. And the diversity of one musician's personality to the next is what makes music so exciting and... human." (On technological advances in the recording of music:) "That's exactly what I was referring to, the 'human element,' that thing that happens when a song speeds up slightly, or a vocal goes a little sharp. That thing that makes people sound like people. Somewhere along the line those things became 'bad' things, and with the great advances in digital recording technology over the years they became easily 'fixed.' The end result? In my humble opinion... a lot of music that sounds perfect, but lacks personality. The one thing that makes music so exciting in the first place. I try really fucking hard so that I don't have to rely on anything but my hands and my heart to play a song. I do the best that I possibly can within my limitations, and accept that it sounds like me. Because that's what I think is most important. It should be real, right? Everybody wants something real."
-- Dave Grohl, "clarifying" his Grammy acceptance speech from Sunday night, which was knee-jerked by a few pissy, hypersensitive electronic elitists as some kind of broadside against dance music, which it clearly wasn't
I trust that now that it's been spelled out in terms that even the Dennis Romeros of the world can understand, this ridiculous horseshit controversy can be put to rest.
Update: I honestly kind of saw this coming, but rather than making the wise decision to back off, Dennis Romero is actually doubling-down on his royal fuck-up. He posted another column in LA Weekly just a little while ago which takes full credit for Grohl's decision to "clarify" his statement, calls him a dinosaur, makes ridiculous veiled references to homophobia, and throws around the term "EDM" like it's the password to get past the velvet rope at a secret club. I'd link to it, but why? At this point Romero's just trolling, so I see no need to continue helping to give him the most attention he's gotten in his entire meaningless career. At this point, it's best to just laugh him off.
I don't have a lot of time today -- although you may have noticed that I woke up extraordinarily early this morning, by accident really -- but there's so much happening with the GOP's ongoing lemming-like race toward the edge of Contraception Cliff, that I wanted to maybe touch on a couple of points quickly if I could.
1. Greg Sargent over at the Washington Post has an interesting piece up right now laying out the Republican case for why a fight over birth control is one worth having and isn't, in fact, a political and cultural third rail that's going to electrocute them, en masse, during an election year. According to GOP strategist Whit Aryes, the issue isn't about contraception but -- wait for it -- personal freedom. He says the key is to frame the fight, at least optics-wise, as being less about birth control for women and more about the government attempting to trample on religious liberties. For those who've been paying attention, Darrell Issa has made this same basic assertion when it comes to the supposed goal of his little "Very Religious Men" dog and pony show that happened on the Hill yesterday.
The problem with this tack, of course, is that it still lays out almost flawlessly both Republican hypocrisy and the reality of the conservative mindset, at least insofar as where the American right's priorities lie when it comes to which freedoms should be protected and which can be safely sacrificed. The translation of the Aryes/Issa model goes something like this, and there's really no other way around it: Safeguarding the right of people to adhere to the tenets of an ancient superstition and not to offend their magical sky spirit trumps the right of real-world women to control of their own bodies and to easy access to something that grants them safe and healthy reproductive freedom. While the Republicans are trying to cast it as a threat to religion by governmental intrusion, it can just as easily be viewed the other way around. And while both religion and, ostensibly, personal freedom is protected by the Constitution, sorry but we've reached a point in the history of this planet where the needs of the sky spirit should never be allowed to supersede the needs or even wants of people who can, you know, be proven to actually exist.
2. Once again on the ways that this fight tips the GOP's hand when it comes to how staggeringly out-of-touch its thinking is, Matt Osborne put together a pretty good little post on what he calls the "Grandiose Old Patriarchy." The salient quote:
"(Right-wing rhetoric) always poses a zero-sum proposition: if women control their means of reproduction, men are supposedly 'diminished' from their hallowed throne at the family godhead. A perceived loss of privilege always drives resentment politics. In this case, men’s privileges under the antiquated values of the 19th Century are supposedly at risk — which is hilarious, because those values are largely extinct in our culture, even among self-described conservatives. The 'war against religion,' as Darrell Issa defines it anyway, was already fought and lost decades ago. Second point: this is another lost cause being resurrected."
Meanwhile, Irin Carmon over at Salon dissects what Rick Santorum bankroller, Bayer aspirin advocate and crazy old white guy Foster Friess's recent comments say -- loudly and unequivocally -- about the Republican worldview (read: its arrogant patriarchy):
"It’s worth looking at what he said right before (the Bayer comment): 'I get such a chuckle when these things come out. Here we have millions of our fellow Americans unemployed, we have jihadist camps being set up in Latin America, which Rick has been warning about, and people seem to be so preoccupied with sex that I think it says something about our culture. We maybe need a massive therapy session so we can concentrate on what the real issues are.' This is deeply ironic, and not just because Friess has chosen to back a candidate whose singular obsession with state regulation of sexual behavior has helped bring the more extreme stances of the anti-choice movement to the forefront. It bears repeating that Santorum said as recently as October, 'Many of the Christian faith have said, well, that’s OK, contraception is OK. It’s not OK. It’s a license to do things in a sexual realm that is counter to how things are supposed to be.'"
And how are things "supposed to be?" Exactly the way Jesus the Magic Savior dictates. Never forget that.
3. If you've managed to get through most of the blustery right-wing rhetoric on birth control and what's best for women -- and remember, we're not talking about a minority group here, we're talking about half the population -- without getting sick all over the living room floor, there's this bit of conservative pseudo-intellectual masturbation: a "think piece" in the Daily Caller that attempts to get to the bottom of that whole woman problem by asking the troll-baiting question "What Are Women For?" It's ponderous and condescending pretend existentialist horseshit from beginning to end. Feel free to give it a look -- it's so Onion-like that it's not even worth an excerpt.
4. Finally, a standing-o for Carolyn Maloney and Eleanor Holmes Norton for asking the pertinent question about Darrell Issa's -- as Cesca called it -- "He Man Woman-Haters Club" hearing, then basically telling Issa where he can shove the whole thing. Maloney asked, "What I want to know is, where are the women?" of the all-male, all religious leader/scholar panel, not long before she and Norton got up and walked out.
Suck it, Issa. You smug prick.