Friday, March 30, 2012

The Lying Game (Complete)


The Full Text of Yesterday's Piece at the Daily Banter

I’m always amazed at just how stupid and gullible the rarefied within our culture think the rest of us are. I’m talking specifically about those we’ve inexplicably elevated to the rank of “celebrity” -- although the definition could easily be broadened to include a good portion of the so-called 1%.

I know there are more important and personally detrimental examples of somebody standing far more than an arm’s reach away from the masses and lying to their collective face, expecting nobody to notice, but believe it or not I haven’t seen one as egregious in quite a while as the case of, well, Madonna-gate. Yeah, I know it’s kind of trifling in the big picture, but bear with me.

Over the weekend, Madonna made a “surprise appearance” at the Ultra Music Festival in Miami. For the uninitiated, Ultra is America’s largest showcase of electronic dance music, a three-day party featuring some of the best DJs and electronic acts in the world. And always eager for any opportunity to wrap her Crypt Keeping hands firmly around the brass ring of cultural relevance, Madonna was there -- because nothing excites a crowd of late teens and 20-somethings like the sight of a perimenopausal woman in fishnets pandering to its tastes. To wit, during her introduction of Swedish DJ Aviici just before his close-out set on Saturday night, Madonna shouted to the audience, “How many people in this crowd have seen Molly?” Again for the unfamiliar, “Molly” is street slang for MDMA, or ecstasy. Translation: Madonna asked how many people were on drugs.

Granted the audience reaction was, shall we say, positive. But not everyone appreciated Madonna’s hackneyed attempt to appeal to the lowest common denominator among the dance music fan base through a staggeringly obvious applause line -- among them, one of electronic’s biggest stars. Not long after the appearance, Deadmau5 — AKA Canadian DJ Joel Zimmerman -- took to Facebook to write: “That’s your big contribution to EDM? Thats your big message to ultra attendies? hipsterspeak for looking for drugs? fuck off you fucking IDIOT.” He followed it up with, “very classy there madonna. ‘HUR DUR HAS ANYONE SEEN MOLLY???’ such a great message for the young music lovers at ultra. quite the f’n philanthropist. but hey, at least yer HIP AND TRENDY! fucking cant smack my head hard enough right now,” as well as a few choice tweets aimed in Madonna’s direction. Mau5′s main contention throughout his social media fusillade was that the electronic dance scene had seen enough casualties from drugs and, while there’s no denying that they remain a major part of the lifestyle for many, it was irresponsible for Madonna to indirectly promote the use of them -- particularly not in a somewhat pathetic attempt to endear herself to “the kids” at a time when she’s also promoting an album.

But here’s where things get interesting. Rather than simply taking her online beating like a very grown woman and ignoring Deadmau5′s insults, Madonna, attuned to any attempt to generate publicity for herself, responded via Twitter -- posting a quarter-century-old picture of herself in mouse ears with a thought bubble over her head that read, “From one mouse to another, I don’t support drug use and never have. I was referring to the song called ‘Have You Seen Molly’ written by my friend Cedric Gervais who I almost worked with on my album.”

See? She wasn’t asking people if they were doing ecstasy. She was referring to a friend’s as-yet-unreleased song.

Well, that settles that then.

Except that it doesn’t -- because of course Madonna is lying her ass off. What’s more, she’s doing it with the expectation either that everyone will believe her or that no one will bother questioning it because we’ve all become so to used to being lied to from on-high like we we’re fucking idiots anyway. To recap, Madonna, whose new album -- the one she was presumably going to be working with Cedric Gervais on -- is called MDNA, again an obvious reference to MDMA, but she wasn’t talking about drugs and doesn’t support drug use. Actually, on that last point she’s probably right -- I don’t think Madonna supports the use of ecstasy so much as has no problem exploiting the youth culture’s fascination with it in an attempt to sell records; doing ecstasy would probably kill a 53-year-old. Throw into the mix -- if you’ll pardon the DJ metaphor — the fact that Cedric Gervais is stepping up to defend his friend Madge by claiming that, indeed, his song Have You Seen Molly? isn’t about drugs but is about a girl named Molly who “makes me want to dance” and you’ve got an almost astonishing amount of bullshit coming from one general direction -- and a more-than-insulting expectation that no one will bother to call it out.

Earlier this week, Lindsay Lohan once again claimed she was an unfairly put-upon, angelic homebody and was merely escaping paparazzi when she hit a guy with her car -- even though surveillance cameras showed no paparazzi anywhere near where the collision happened. Years ago, Bill Clinton looked America in the face and said, “I did not have sexual relations with that woman.” Mitt Romney does it in TV ads. Jon Kyl famously did it when talking about Planned Parenthood. In the immortal words of TV’s Dr. House -- everybody lies.

And we simply take it. Because we’ve apparently been trained to. Because these people think we’re too stupid to notice or too lazy to care.

Although I suppose an argument can be made that we made someone like Madonna a star. We gave her the authority to bullshit us. Maybe when you’re capable of that, you get what you deserve.

The Bubble Genius Bob & Chez Show 3.29.12


NRA Hoodies and Gun-Toting Runway Models; White Supremacist Hacks Trayvon’s Email; Republican Bullying; The New Zimmerman Video; The Italian Supreme Court Justices are Morons; Conservatives Don’t Trust Science; Sarah Palin and the Shifting Party Platforms; Hot Dogs Don’t Contain Actual Dogs; and much more. Brought to you by Bubble Genius.

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Listening Post



If Nicki Minaj is big, this girl should be massive right now. And apparently if you're running in the right circles -- which I rarely am -- she already is.

Here's Azealia Banks's ode to, among other things, cunnilingus and generally being bad-ass. Yeah, it sounds obnoxious, but this damn song will be stuck in your head all day.

This is 212.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

The Lying Game


As promised yesterday, my latest piece for the Daily Banter is now up. The subject: the amusing online attack on Madonna by Deadmau5, and Madonna's entirely predictable response to it.

Here's the opening salvo:

"I’m always amazed at just how stupid and gullible the rarefied within our culture think the rest of us are. I’m talking specifically about those we’ve inexplicably elevated to the rank of 'celebrity' -- although the definition could easily be broadened to include a good portion of the so-called 1%.

I know there are more important and personally detrimental examples of somebody standing far more than an arm’s reach away from the masses and lying to their collective face, expecting nobody to notice, but believe it or not I haven’t seen one as egregious in quite a while as the case of, well, Madonna-gate. Yeah, I know it’s kind of trifling in the big picture, but bear with me..."


Read the Rest at the Daily Banter

Listening Post



Yeah, I know -- they're really just your average post-grunge rock band out of the pit that is Jacksonville, Florida. And yet there's something I really like about Shinedown.

I especially like that instead of jumping on the Up With People, "You're a Somebody, Loser" bandwagon that so many artists over the past year or so have staked a claim to in response to the problem of kids being bullied to death, these guys basically promote the idea of just beating the crap out of your tormentor.

Here's Bully.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Treesome


Tomorrow at the Banter mothership I'm going to get into the online feud (now settled) between Deadmau5 and Madonna. The fusillade of Facebook and Twitter taunts from Mau5's side started over the weekend, after Madonna made a surprise appearance at the Ultra Music Festival in Miami and proceeded to ask the crowd, essentially, whether a good portion of it was on drugs. Mau5 took offense, saying that the drug scene needs to be downplayed for the good of electronic dance music. Hilarity ensued.

But while I of course take Deadmau5's side in the battle, for reasons beyond any attempt to moralize, there's kind of no denying that actually, yes, a lot of people at Ultra were on drugs.

The piece will be available to read tomorrow morning, but for now -- there's this. A girl stripping and making out with a palm tree. One which, if what happens at 1:40 is any indication, is one half of a tumultuous love-hate relationship.

Quote of the Day


"My first advice is to listen to reason when they formulate their positions. Reason never harmed a presidential candidate. My other advice is to check their watches from time to time: it is 2012, not the mid-1970s."

-- Russian President Dmitry Medvedev responding to Mitt Romney's claim that Russia is the United States' "number one geopolitical foe"

While it's true that Russia shouldn't be regarded as our BFF, Mitt's characterization of a country that's nominally an ally is stupid, needlessly alarmist, and nothing more than another attempt to take a shot at President Obama -- at all costs.

As for Medvedev saying that "reason never harmed a presidential candidate," he obviously hasn't been paying attention to this country's Republican party lately.

The Age of Outrage (Complete)


The Full Text of Yesterday's Piece at the Daily Banter

All it took was one retweet for the wrath of God to rain down on me.

Last Friday morning I did what a lot of hacky self-proclaimed online pundits were doing in the wake of Geraldo Rivera’s galactically stupid claim that the choice to wear a hoodie is what got Trayvon Martin killed: I penned a quickie column on it for my blog. Like a lot of other ostensible progressives, however, I apparently had the bad form to not heap what I would soon learn was the universally agreed upon level of scornful indignation in Geraldo’s direction. On the contrary, while I said that Geraldo’s idiotic no-hoodie plea to American parents of brown kids was just that, idiotic, I argued that he did manage to touch on a larger issue that deserved at least some consideration. That issue is the role that someone’s wardrobe or style choices play in how that person is perceived by a large portion of the public. My point was that while I’m pretty sure Geraldo was wrong about Trayvon Martin’s hoodie having anything to do with George Zimmerman’s decision to confront and ultimately kill him, it’s common sense to note that what a person chooses to wear or adorn him or herself with influences how he or she is viewed. It may be unfair that people create preconceptions based on personal style, but that doesn’t matter one bit because that’s the way it is — and what this means is that while someone is free to wear whatever the hell he or she wants, that person has to understand that there may be unintended consequences to choosing to dress or look a certain way.

Now obviously I wasn’t saying that a kid in a hoodie deserves to be shot at for looking a little like the people Geraldo sees in stick-up surveillance videos all the time. Nor was I saying that a woman in a short skirt and high heels at a bar is asking to be sexually assaulted. I was simply arguing that while in a perfect world no one would jump to conclusions based on the way we choose to present ourselves — the key word is choice, as I’m not talking about physical characteristics that one is born with and which can’t be changed and therefore shouldn’t be judged at all on -- we don’t live in a perfect world. Shouting about how a black or brown guy in a hoodie, low-slung pants and a ball cap should be able to walk the streets and not worry that people will look at him like he’s a thug and a threat is a ridiculous conceit because if you argue almost anything from the point of what should be, the whole argument becomes moot. I should be able to fly -- but that’s not going to provide much consolation when I hit the sidewalk at 200 miles-an-hour. Until someone comes along and changes the reality of the situation and allows me to soar over the city, I’m gonna fall. Until someone changes perception — and I’m all for that — that perception will likely remain, and it borders on irresponsible not to be cognizant of it. Wanna buck convention? Have at it. Just understand that convention exists.

So, yeah, I dared to enter the Hysterical Indignation Vortex in the wake of the tragic and very likely criminal shooting of Trayvon Martin without expressing enough indignation to make the liberal masses happy. I know this because about ten seconds after my piece got tweeted out — admittedly by me, so I know that I get what I deserve — it was retweeted again and again and suddenly every friend-of-a-friend-of-a-friend or nobody-in-particular with a Twitter account and a somewhat justifiable sense of outrage at the death of Trayvon was pounding on my digital door, ready to publicly flog me for my impertinence while basically misunderstanding every goddamned thing I’d said. Some of those raking me over the coals, in fact, admitted that they found my entire premise so “repellant” that they didn’t even bother to read the piece all the way through -- not surprising given both our 140-character attention spans and blinded-by-passion discourse these days, but still a lousy way to come out on top in a debate.

And it was all of this that got me thinking about Bill Maher. Namely, that he’s right.

Last week, Maher penned an op-ed in the New York Times taking aim at how we as a culture have elevated controversy -- the creation of it, often by the media, and instantaneous public response to it -- to almost slapstick-comical levels. It feels like we now live to be pissed off and offended -- at something, at everything, at anything —- and to voice that outrage in whichever direction the perceived slight is coming from until the cause of our collective torment is beaten into submission. We don’t just disagree anymore — we want to make the thing we disagree with go away. The fury comes from both sides of the political aisle and from every stripe within our society. Maher’s assertion is that we need to learn how to get the hell over things and get on with our lives -- to not immediately demand an apology every time we feel that someone has publicly offended us and to not be so quick to be offended in the first place. To those accused of saying or doing something that draws a coordinated public tantrum, his advice is simple: stop apologizing.

It pretty much goes without saying that, in a wonderfully ironic meta twist befitting the current fucked-up state of our culture, Maher’s column was debated at length in the media and throughout the social networking universe in the days after it was published. In other words, it drew controversy.

In the end, though, Maher’s right. Yes, there are a few notable exceptions to the Law of Unintended Controversy. There are times when someone can violate the standards of so many people so egregiously that a proportional public backlash is understandable. The problem is that it’s threatening to get to the point where it’s impossible to discern what is and isn’t a truly heinous and unacceptable affront because the machinery of indignation seems to wind up to the same deafening level for every perceived insult. As Jon Stewart once said brilliantly, “If we amplify everything, we hear nothing.” If we react -- or some large swath of us reacts -- with the same fervor each time we feel like we’ve been offended, the truly offensive crap gets lost in the echo chamber.

And who decides what’s truly offensive, anyway? I get that the democratization of the media means, in theory, that only the people who are pissed off at a given slight will react and make their voices heard, but have you listened to what it’s like out there lately? After a while it all gets Cuisinarted into one dull roar -- and it’s exhausting.

I’m certainly not whining about the fact that a lot of those who seem to be perpetually aggrieved unleashed their fury on me on Twitter. I put myself out there so I’m, ironically, given the nature of the subject I was writing about, asking for it. I’m also certainly not decrying social media like some antediluvian royal dismissing change from on-high. Far from it.

The point is simply that, as Bill Maher writes, if we constantly attempt to crucify those who offend our sensibilities, what we’ll inevitably be left with is a truly PC-beholden culture where no one ever says or does anything interesting. Where no one pushes boundaries. Where no one challenges us. In other words, a place where none of us, I would hope, wants to live.

We have to be able to debate and discuss without trying to decimate those who oppose us -- or those who we immediately assume oppose us.

Listening Post



Another brilliant as hell video from Gorillaz, only this time they're joined by James Murphy and Andre 3000. I swear, if this isn't the inspiration for one of the houses this year at Universal's Halloween Horror Nights, I'll be sorely disappointed.

Here's DoYaThing.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The Bob & Chez Show After Party 3.27.12


Join the After Party Here

This week: We debate the Geraldo hoodie remark about Trayvon Martin and Chez’s posts about clothing and judgment; We also debate Bill Maher’s article about the so-called outrage police; And we talk about Kevin Smith’s advice about “Taking The Shot”; and much more.

The Age of Outrage


So in case you hadn't noticed, the push-back on my little piece last Friday that used "Hoodie-gate" as a jumping off point for a larger discussion on style and perception was swift and merciless. On the After Party that'll be posted a little later this afternoon, Bob and I spent almost the entire show going at each other -- it really did get mildly contentious for a while there -- over my opinions and the reaction to my piece. We also disagreed on whether we as a country had become too sensitive, too eager to be offended and to voice reaction to that offense, and too unwilling to simply let things that piss us off go without demanding immediate redress.

Basically, my views on these subjects can be seen right now in a piece posted over at the Daily Banter. I'm going to begin doing more work for the mothership of this site, and today's column is the first of many to come.

Here's the opening salvo from the piece. Feel free to comment either here or at the Banter.

"All it took was one retweet for the wrath of God to rain down on me.

Last Friday morning I did what a lot of hacky self-proclaimed online pundits were doing in the wake of Geraldo Rivera’s galactically stupid claim that the choice to wear a hoodie is what got Trayvon Martin killed: I penned a quickie column on it for my blog. Like a lot of other ostensible progressives, however, I apparently had the bad form to not heap what I would soon learn was the universally agreed upon level of scornful indignation in Geraldo’s direction. On the contrary, while I said that Geraldo’s idiotic no-hoodie plea to American parents of brown kids was just that, idiotic, I argued that he did manage to touch on a larger issue that deserved at least some consideration..."


Read the Rest at the Daily Banter

The Bubble Genius Bob & Chez Show 3.26.12


The Anwar Al-Awlaki Killing and Bob Debates Greenwald on Twitter Again; Ron Paul’s Mercenary Army; The Contradictions of War and Politics; Healthcare Reform in the Supreme Court; The Individual Mandate Defined; Alexandra Pelosi’s New York Welfare Video; False Equivalences; Right Wing Hypocrisy; and much more. Brought to you by Bubble Genius.

An all new After Party show will premiere later today.

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Listening Post



They look kind of like Foster the People and sound like a cross between the Heavy and Graffiti6. So of course they're getting a metric ton of alt radio airplay.

Here's Electric Guest doing This Head I Hold.

Monday, March 26, 2012

French Twist


Why don't we have criminal charges with names like this here in the states?

"Former International Monetary Fund chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn was charged in France on Monday with 'aggravated pimping' for his alleged participation in a prostitution ring, prosecutors said."

Sacrebleu! Bernard-Henri Lévy pens another impassioned defense of DSK -- because, as one of the Most Interesting Men in the World, he's immune to the moral and legal constraints imposed by lesser people -- in 3... 2... 1...

Listening Post



Even if you didn't get to the Ultra Music Festival this weekend (which I didn't) you still could've heard it simulcasted live on Sirius XM's Area channel (which I did).

This guy closed out Saturday night with one hell of a set.

Here's Aviici. It's Levels.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Response Time


Just like last week, Cesca, Ben Cohen and I are again answering your questions over at the Daily Banter.

It's the latest installment of the Mail Bag.

Head on over.

Quote of the Day


"But I am urging the parents of black and Latino youngsters particularly to not let their children go out wearing hoodies. I think the hoodie is as much responsible for Trayvon Martin’s death as George Zimmerman was."

-- Geraldo Rivera on Fox News

I don't need to tell you that this is, in classic Geraldo fashion, a shockingly dumb thing to say. It's cut-rate reductionism expressed in the most clumsy and artless way possible, and the Huffington Post, also as it's wont to do, is already tearing Geraldo apart for it through various headlines that feign outrage in the name of page hits.

But here's the thing: While putting the blame for the death of Trayvon Martin as much on his hoodie as on the bullet fired by George Zimmerman may be ridiculous at face value, the larger point that Geraldo is making is more sound than you might think. He's just making that point very, very badly.

It goes something like this: Like it or not, a book actually is judged by its cover. There's a calculated reason that the cover of a book looks the way it does -- it's designed to immediately impart a very specific sense of recognition in the potential reader and to be a fair advertisement for the book's contents. There are certain things about your personal "cover" that can't be changed: Your race, your age, your facial features (in theory anyway). Your physical characteristics generally are what they are and therefore it's thoroughly unfair and flat-out wrong for someone to judge you based solely on them.

But the way you choose to dress or otherwise adorn yourself is exactly that -- a choice. Your choice. And while in a perfect world no one would draw immediate conclusions about you based on your personal style, news flash: We don't live in a perfect world, and ignoring or defiantly thumbing your nose at the fact that there may be certain unintended consequences to the image you choose to project is both irresponsible and thick-headed.

Is it unfair that a lot of very dumb people immediately look at a kid in a hoodie, a ball cap and low-slung pants and think "thug?" Yes.

Is it unfair that a douchebag in a bar looks at a girl in a tiny skirt, a midriff-bearing top, minus a bra, with a pierced belly-button and a tramp stamp and thinks "she wants sex?" Yes.

But again -- life isn't fair.

I have tattoos. About 20 of them, at last count. At no point while I was inking the hell out of my body did I accept anything less than full responsibility for the image that I knew I might be projecting to the world. I understood what I was signing on for when I got the things and accepted the potential consequences.

Now before anyone shouts that I'm blaming the victims*, let me go ahead and shoot the hostage: I am -- to an extent. No, unlike Geraldo I don't think that wearing a hoodie is what got Trayvon Martin killed -- not by any stretch of the imagination. A lot of people wear hoodies besides the ones who, as Geraldo puts it, are seen on surveillance tapes sticking up 7-11s. But again, his larger point about "stylizing yourself as a gangster" and how it might very well lead people to "perceive you as a menace" makes a lot of sense. As he says, the "cover" that we present to the public is in fact what people will judge you on, at least at first.

And that first impression that George Zimmerman had of Trayvon Martin -- whether caused by the color of the kid's skin or some other factor -- wound up being his last. Because the conclusion that Zimmerman wrongly jumped to got Trayvon killed.

Adding: Alexandra Petri of the Washington Post feels quite a bit differently about this subject but articulates her points really well (and makes a pretty amusing argument for the idea that, by his logic, everyone Geraldo meets should automatically assume he's an aging 70s porn star). It's very much worth taking a look at what she has to say.

*Just wanted to say that I added an "s" to the end of "victim" because people are already assuming that when I said victim, I specifically meant that I was blaming Trayvon Martin. I wasn't and I'm not. I'm talking about in general -- that each of us bears some responsibility for how we choose to present ourselves to the general public.

Catastrophic System Failure


No podcasts today, kids. Bob and I had so many disastrous technical difficulties involving our internet connection yesterday that we finally had no choice but to call the whole thing off. We're hoping to locate the cause of the problem, beat it into submission with a hammer or something, then record either both shows or at the very least the After Party next Monday.

Sorry, but these things are sometimes way beyond our control.

Listening Post



Kindness is the name of the one-man project put together by Adam Bainbridge. He's a bit of an oddity and a whole lot of mystery, but this is one incredibly infectious little song.

Here's Cyan.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Censor-y Overload


I'll make this quick because, as you can probably tell by the lack of output here over the past couple of days, I'm still pretty busy at the moment.

Bravo to CNN.

No, really.

Earlier today, investigative correspondent Drew Griffin -- who's an old friend of mine, going back to our time together at KCBS here in Los Angeles in the 90s -- was having a conversation on-air about a horrific hate crimes case in Mississippi when he said the word "nigger," unbleeped. The case involves a guilty plea entered by three young white men who purposely beat up then ran down a black man in June of last year. Drew was talking about the sickening facts of the case and quoted one of the killers, 19-year-old Deryl Dedmon, as having thrown out a racial slur while admitting to the crime not long after the attack.

Drew's exact words: "Deryl Dedmond backs up and gets a good aim and just plows him over on the way out. To be absolutely factual, at the end of this, Deryl Dedmond is laughing with his friends and actually called on his cell phone and, pardon my language but there's no other way to say this, and said, 'I just ran over that f'ing nigger'"

While it's unfortunate that he even felt that he had to edit out the word "fucking," thereby also diminishing the awful heft of what came out of Dedmon's mouth on that night, it's good that he was willing to at least not cop out and "protect" the audience from a little bit of much-needed shock when it came to the epithet that was used. It should go without saying that Drew was reporting a story and had every right to deliver that story without resorting to childish -- yet inexplicably widely tolerated and even expected -- euphemisms.

Years ago, in response to the reporting on Michael Richards's now infamous rant, I said this about our PC-beholden culture's unwillingness to utter the word "nigger" in any context:

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

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

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


So as much as this shouldn't be a big deal -- that a person reporting a news story on a guy who uttered a vicious racial slur actually says that slur and doesn't sugar-coat reality -- it is actually a very big deal.

By the way, this follows a debate over the Zimmerman 911 tape on Anderson Cooper 360 last night in which CNN actually did allow the word "fucking" -- said by Zimmerman -- to be aired uncut with the knowledge that bleeping it would prevent viewers from making up their own minds about what he said immediately after that word.

That's two for CNN.

Listening Post



After the Pistols there was PiL -- and it was good.

Here's Bad Life.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

How To Dismantle an Atomic Bombshell


And here it is, kids -- your daily helping of unbelievably delicious schadenfreude, served up on a silver platter. If you don't know who Jason Mattera is, all I really need to tell you is that he's a disciple of Andrew Breitbart -- a young padawan to Breitbart's jedi master in the dark art of shitty, ultimately self-embarrassing journalism.

To wit, this:

"As part of the promotional rollout for his new book, Hollywood Hypocrites, Jason Mattera yesterday unveiled an ambush interview he conducted with U2 lead singer Bono. Or at least, that's who Mattera thought he had ambushed.

The video was posted at conservative websites like Breitbart.com and Glenn Beck's The Blaze, but was later marked 'private' on YouTube and pulled from Breitbart.com. Why? As explained by The Blaze,'There is widespread discussion on Twitter that the person Mattera interviewed in the videos may have been a Bono impersonator.'

Whoops.

During an appearance on Sean Hannity's radio program yesterday, which includes a brief snippet of the Mattera interview with 'Bono,' Hannity and Mattera touted 'bad boy reporter' Mattera's impressive ambush interview skills. Asked by Hannity how he managed to get an interview with 'Bono,' Mattera replied that it was 'basic shoeleather journalism.' (Hannity promised to run the video on last night's edition of his Fox News program, but said on Twitter this morning that Mattera's appearance was preempted by election coverage and that they would run the video tonight instead.)

Mattera and Hannity complained about how 'Bono' refused to answer Mattera's inquiries about controversy over U2's taxes. As Mattera put it, 'He just filibusters forever without any actual explanation.'"


So, yeah. Moron interviewed a Bono impersonator.

Wanna know how I'm sure of this? Because the interview took place on February 8th at the Village Studio party honoring Jimmy Iovine, here in Los Angeles. And I was there. So were Dre, Lana Del Rey, Skylar Grey and a couple of other well-known artists and musicians. So was a Bono impersonator. Know who wasn't there -- who never set foot as far as I can tell in the very entrance tent where Mattera did his interview, which by the way someone like Bono never would've had to walk through to get inside anyway? Fucking Bono. The place would've gone ape shit if Bono had really been there.

Good job, dumb-ass. And Breitbart's legacy of fail remains intact.

"Listening Post"


I just wanted to take a quick second to throw this item up because I think it's important. There's a lot of conjecture going on right now -- and it's spreading with the usual viral speed through the social media world -- about whether George Zimmerman uttered a racial slur in the moments before he shot and killed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin.

Basically, a radio show host, Joe Madison, is claiming that Zimmerman can be heard huffing the words "fucking coons" as he's on the phone with the 911 dispatcher in Sanford, Florida; it happens while he's chasing down Martin, just before the dispatcher warns him to back off. The problem is that Zimmerman, as far as I can tell, doesn't say that at all. He says, "Fucking punks." It's pretty obvious, even to the untrained ear.

I bring this up because George Zimmerman very likely deserves to be prosecuted for killing Martin and he seems to have profiled the kid as dangerous or generally suspicious just because he happened to be black. That and the fact that Zimmerman was armed with a handgun while Martin was carrying nothing more than a bag of Skittles and an iced tea is reason enough to charge him with a crime, if not a few. You don't need to let your imagination run wild and start a psychotic torch-and-pitchfork frenzy by desperately seeking out details -- or creating details -- that confirm your suspicions about Zimmerman, in this case that he's a racist. You've already got the very clear-cut facts about the case: that he targeted, stalked and shot a black kid in a hoodie because he automatically assumed he was a threat.

The outrage over this thing is righteous and well-deserved. Let's not allow it to go off the rails into the realm of the sensational. It does a disservice to the memory of Trayvon Martin and to the fact that there may be, as ghoulish as this will sound, a truly teachable moment to come from his tragic death.

Quote of the Day


"Religious Zealot To Take Down Jets in New York City"

-- Fark headline for story of Tim Tebow being traded to the New York Jets

Man, Tebow in New York City. This is gonna be good.

Say your prayers, Christ-child. Not even God will be able to save you.

Kumming for Kony


Forget the idea of a post-racial America; it's long since been proven that the election of Barack Obama did anything but usher in a new age of national tolerance. A post-satire America -- well, that's a different story. I've said it before but it bears repeating: Our culture may now be past the point where parody is necessary because so much of the ostensibly serious stuff that we see, hear and read on a daily basis feels like parody. Intensified by a political climate that pushes the bounds of sanity and delivered at lightning speed by the internet, our society has become one big meta-joke.

Case in point, what may very well be the most perfectly fucking crazy thing I've ever seen posted on the internet. Something so jaw-droppingly weird and stupid that it truly does defy description. It's beyond satire, beyond meta, something even the geniuses at the Onion couldn't have imagined in their most caffeine-induced late-night brainstorming session. Sure, it's been brilliantly adopted as a label by The Daily Show, but this thing is so thoroughly what-the-fuck on so many different levels that it truly is Zen -- and it may even qualify as honest-to-God art in what it no-doubt-inadvertently says about where we are as a culture at this point in our history.

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you porn star and former Charlie Sheen "goddess" Bree Olson's "Naked for Kony 2012."



A couple of thoughts, right off the bat: First, never before has a video been created that in five short minutes tells you everything you need to know about Los Angeles. Second, please keep in mind as you watch the clip that normally when Bree addresses the internet it's with entreaties like this. On that note, in response to the response to the video (try and keep up) Bree tells the Huffington Post that she used her body as bait to draw her regular audience -- presumably, men who are really into ejaculating on a woman's face -- to the Kony cause and hopefully drum up even more publicity for the only nominally ethical Invisible Children organization. Incidentally, she also says she hopes to one day travel to Africa -- and will do so just as soon as she figures out how to get across the Panama Canal.

Listening Post



Give them credit, or maybe blame: Nobody's doing 80s retro new wave better than this band. And Sarah McIntosh is just all kinds of hot.

The Good Natured -- Video Voyeur.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Unboxed


The viral video and ARG campaign for Prometheus has already started and it promises to be a doozy. First of all, there's the fictional futuristic TED conference speech given by Peter Weyland -- played in the movie by Guy Pearce -- available to see and hear on the Weyland Corporation website. (Being that this is the second time I've mentioned Weyland today, you can tell I'm already severely geeking out over all this.) And some attendees at WonderCon this past weekend were given a business card that led them to this piece of video -- the "unboxing" of the David 8 android, narrated by Michael Fassbender, who plays David in the movie.

Note the white silicon pumped through the tube, presumably into David. Gave me chills.



For the record, Deus Ex Malcontent is gonna be your official home for all Prometheus-related hysteria for the next three months. Also, if anybody cracks the password to get into the "Project Prometheus" area of the Weyland website, let me know. Apparently nobody's done it yet.

And yes, I suck.

Rom-Com



This thing wins the internet for today.

Of all the candidates in the GOP clown car this election year, Romney is, maybe a little surprisingly, the one most ripe for continuous mockery. He doesn't just say insane things or make foot-in-mouth gaffes -- he is a genuine freaking weirdo. I can imagine him being the first generation of cybernetic android made by the Weyland or Tyrell corporations -- the one that only managed to convince, coincidentally, one percent of the public that it was a real person during market trials and which would eventually be scrapped in favor of newer generations of synthetics which featured enhanced human emotion chips.

Listening Post



What to make of a 15-year-old girl who's now famous for reinterpreting other people's stuff -- in other words, doing covers? I guess if you have the kind of soulful and hauntingly lovely voice Birdy does, you can get away with it.

Here's two from her. Above it's her cover of Phoenix's 1901 -- below, Bon Iver's Skinny Love.

Monday, March 19, 2012

"Someone Was Screaming, 'Help! Help! Help!'"


I'm going to be a bit busy today on various projects -- for what it's worth, tomorrow and the rest of the week are looking better by the minute -- but I wanted to do my part to circulate this item because it really does deserve to be seen and heard by as many people as possible. If you haven't yet had a chance to listen to the 911 audio that was recorded as 17-year-old Trayvon Martin was being shot and killed by a 28-year-old self-appointed neighborhood watchman in Sanford, Florida, you really should. I generally think 911 tapes to be prurient and somewhat irrelevant to a news story, but these are exactly the opposite: they're illuminating as hell.

The question of exactly what happened to Martin -- who had simply been a black kid walking back from a 7-11 after buying something to snack on -- on the night of February 26th will likely never fully be answered. With that in mind, I don't know whether George Zimmerman, the guy who shot him, is guilty of murder or really was simply engaging in self-defense. But there are facts that are worth considering, the most pertinent of which is that Zimmerman was armed with a 9mm handgun -- Martin had nothing more than a bag of Skittles and an iced tea. It was never anything approaching a fair fight. Also, Zimmerman apparently has a history of making "concerned" 911 calls in his capacity as a supposed neighborhood watch captain and neighbors have complained that he takes the defense of his community to creepily obsessive levels.

The bottom line here is that the details of this shooting deserve serious consideration and Zimmerman may very well have committed murder. To their credit, many media outlets are beginning to focus attention on the story of Trayvon Martin and that's at least partially owed to the good work of people like Trymaine Lee, Charles Blow, Don Lemon and Melissa Harris-Perry. Not so good, although completely unsurprising, is that Al Sharpton is already planning the obligatory rally at a Baptist church near where the shooting happened.

George Zimmerman -- a white "neighborhood watch captain" -- wasn't arrested. He hasn't been charged with a thing.

Trayvon Martin -- an unarmed black kid -- is dead.

Something is wrong.

The Huffington Post: 911 Audio Released in Trayvon Martin Shooting/3.18.12

Unbound



For those who haven't seen it yet, the first full-length trailer for Prometheus was released over the weekend.

June 8th can't come fast enough.

Listening Post



This is one of those songs that seems to get better each time I listen to it.

Hailing from Liverpool, here's the Wombats -- Jump Into the Fog.

Friday, March 16, 2012

No Choice


This is being circulated far and wide today and with very good reason. As Cesca rightly says, it's the most important -- certainly the most infuriating -- thing you'll read all day.

Published in the Texas Observer, it's the very personal story of the torment and heartbreak -- the heartbreak on top of heartbreak -- that a woman and her family were forced to endure at the hands of Texas's despicably draconian pre-abortion sonogram law.

This is what a growing number of Republican lawmakers are trying to do. This is their idea of smaller, less intrusive government: forcing their way into the space between a doctor and a woman, and into the most personal and often emotionally devastating decision a woman will ever make.

But remember, you can always just close your eyes.

The Texas Observer: "No Choice": One Woman's Ordeal with Texas' New Sonogram Law/3.15.12

Meet the Depressing



This is the video clip Bob and I talk about in this week's podcast.

Watch at your own risk.

As I said -- begged, really -- at the end of the show: Please, please secede, Mississippi. You will not be missed.

The Bob & Chez Show After Party 3.16.12


Join the After Party Here

This week: Ren and Stimpy; SNL Screws Up Their Rush Limbaugh Sketch; Celebrities Who Treated Us Like Crap; Bob Versus John Kricfalusi; Chez Bumps Into Jello Biafra, Charlie Sheen and Lewis Black; Guess Who Supports Joseph Kony?; Update to Our Viagra-Injection Story; The Reporter Who Walked into A Metal Pole; Human Centipede 3; and much more!

The Bubble Genius Bob & Chez Show 3.15.12


Dow Closes Above 13,000; Why the Stock Market is Good for Everyone; Pennsylvania Governor’s Misogyny; Crazy New Arizona Anti-Choice Law; Free States and Anti-Woman States; Hillary Clinton and Extremists; Sarah Palin and Game Change; Bill Maher’s Mississippi Interviews; and much more. Brought to you by Bubble Genius.

OFFICIAL BOB CORRECTION: Urge Overkill is still together. Blackie Onassis is, to the best of my knowledge, still alive.

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Response Time


Starting today, Bob Cesca, Banter Media mogul-in-the-making Ben Cohen and I will be answering questions posed by thoughtful readers each week. Whether we'll answer them well is a different story altogether.

It's Banter's mail bag.

This week: Do Sunday shows favor Republicans? Who's going to be the Republican VP nominee? And who's the dumbest GOP candidate in the presidential race?

Listening Post



Because I just found out that I'll be going to see these guys live next month, here's the new single from Miike Snow.

This is The Wave.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Hate Fucked


You know, the thought of sugar daddy sites and Ashley Madison approaching Rush Limbaugh to advertise on his increasingly ill-funded show was good.

This is better.

"Guess who’s knocking on Rush Limbaugh’s door as his advertisers flee like rats from a sinking ship? It’s the people behind the infamous GodHatesFags website — the Westboro Baptist Church, the most notorious gay-bashing group in America — and they’re ready to step in to keep the embattled Limbaugh on the air.

'As a matter of fact, I can confirm that,' Westboro spokesman Steve Drain told Hatewatch today when asked if the church was seeking to advertise on 'The Rush Limbaugh Show.' 'We’re preparing our first ad at this very moment, and we’ll have a 30-second radio spot ready to go by Friday.'"


That'll do, pigs. That'll do.

Quote of the Day, Jr.


"The Republicans really are the party of white people, and especially older white people."

-- Pew Research Center Director Andrew Kohut on a new poll by the organization which shows, surprise, the GOP tanking dramatically among young, educated, non-white voters

And that non-white voting bloc is only going to increase and become more powerful as the years go on. In other words, as I've said many times, the Republican Party in its current form is being demographically pushed out of existence. And its leaders and mouthpieces are doing nothing but hastening their own extinction.

In other words, keep it up, guys. You're doing great. I'm behind you all the way.

Quote of the Day


"You just have to close your eyes."

-- Republican Pennsylvania governor Tom Corbett's advice to women on how to deal with the mandatory pre-abortion ultrasound being proposed in his state

You know, I'm all tapped out of clever today -- can we please just jam a baseball bat up this man's ass?

Just close you eyes, Tom. You won't even feel it.

Jesus Christ, he even sounds like a rapist.

Listening Post



The girlfriend introduced me -- musically, not personally -- to these guys. She's apparently friends with the band's frontman, and this is indeed a pretty terrific little song.

Here's Noah and the MegaFauna -- Liquid Modernity (You Can Never Go Home).

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Assistant Quote of the Day


"Obama lost ground with women. I can’t begin to tell you the dismay and the shock and probably panic that exists in the White House and in the salons of the elites of the Democratic Party over this. They didn’t even consider this a possibility. This never entered their mind. This was going to be the end –- not just of me, folks, the end of talk radio."

-- Rush Limbaugh, reveling in a poll that shows President Obama's numbers down slightly among women and inexplicably linking it to the furor over Limbaugh's attacks on Georgetown student Sandra Fluke

I'm seriously beginning to think Limbaugh is the highest-level, deepest-cover double-agent the Democrats have ever had. Either that or his brain is riddled with holes from the syphilis he picked up in the Dominican Republic a few years back.

Quote of the Day


"It makes me ill how callously people talk about ripping clients off."

-- Former Goldman Sachs Executive Director Greg Smith

I say former because Smith is quitting Goldman Sachs as of today -- and his letter of resignation is an op-ed piece in today's New York Times. It's scathing. It's illuminating. And while it likely won't change a thing when it comes to the firm's culture of relentless, insatiable greed, it's still a very big public kick in the nuts to Wall Street.

Make no mistake: This is a PR catastrophe for Goldman.

Adding: As you'd expect, Taibbi's take on Smith's exit -- which he calls "brave," "eloquent" and "devastating" -- is very good.

Listening Post



A couple of songs from one of the best albums of last year -- The Naked and Famous's Passive Me, Aggressive You -- both recorded live at the Lab.

Above it's Girls Like You. Below it's Frayed.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Picture of the Day


Who knows whether this is for real or entirely made up. Either way, it's a nice little commentary on the dangers of instantly making millions of people who know nothing more than what they read in a two line blog post or see in a two-minute YouTube video outraged experts on a complex issue. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the slacktivist herd-mentality.

Listening Post



Just all kinds of awesome.

Here's Electric Six's Gay Bar.

Gonna be another slow day around here, kids. I'll be spending the day sitting at my computer in the dark shadow of a very imposing deadline. Talk amongst yourselves.

Monday, March 12, 2012

For the Record


Kevin Drum over at Mother Jones spells it out, for those on the left still choosing to be pissy and obstinate:

"And yet, there's still.....the entire rest of his record. After all, Obama deserves to be judged by ordinary human standards, not by standards of perfection. A sidebar to Paul's piece lists Obama's top 50 accomplishments, and I think it was mistake to create a list so long. It ends up looking like the usual boring laundry list that any president can trumpet. Better to pare it down to ten really top accomplishments in order to highlight how many truly major accomplishments Obama has been responsible for. So I did. Except I couldn't get there. I cut it down to 13 and got stuck. Here they are, in the same order as the original WaMo list:

1. Passed Health Care Reform

2. Passed the Stimulus

3. Passed Wall Street Reform

4. Ended the War in Iraq

6. Eliminated Osama bin laden

7. Turned Around U.S. Auto Industry

9. Repealed “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”

12. Reversed Bush Torture Policies

14. Kicked Banks Out of Federal Student Loan Program

16. Boosted Fuel Efficiency Standards

18. Passed Mini Stimuli (July 22, 2010; December 17, 2010; December 23, 2011)

22. Created Conditions to Begin Closing Dirtiest Power Plants

27. Achieved New START Treaty

These are all big deals. Big fucking deals, to quote our vice president. Unless you're just bound and determined to sulk in your tent while insisting that healthcare was a sellout and the stimulus was too small and Dodd-Frank was feeble and the mini stimuli were more like micro stimuli, there's just no way around the fact that this is a historically colossal set of progressive accomplishments, especially in the face of a historically hostile political environment."


Now compare that list against anything you'd get from any of the current crop of sociopathic, war-on-women-waging, hyper-religious, red-meat pandering clowns running for president as a Republican. I'm not gonna let up on this, folks: You have to consider political reality because in the end that's the wall you come up against. You get this president or you get one of them. And if you've got even three brain cells in your head, the choice is immaculately clear.

Any other arguments are a waste.

Mother Jones: Barack Obama's Had a Pretty Damn Good Presidency/3.11.12

Listening Post



Yeah, I admit it -- I like Sheryl Crow. Particularly this song, which was first performed live at the "Tribute To Heroes" broadcast not long after 9/11.

From that show, here's Safe and Sound.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Quote of the Day/Sunday Sacrilege


"Well actually the Genesis 8:22 that I use in there is that 'as long as the earth remains there will be seed time and harvest, cold and heat, winter and summer, day and night,' my point is, God's still up there. The arrogance of people to think that we, human beings, would be able to change what He is doing in the climate is to me outrageous."

-- Sen. James Inhofe (R-Batshit) on talk radio yesterday pushing his new book "The Greatest Hoax: How the Global Warming Conspiracy Threatens Your Future"

Sure, it's well known that Inhofe manages to disprove both evolution and intelligent design at the same time, but it's important to remember that this fucking idiot is a United States Senator. A large group of people within this country -- or at least within Okahoma, which is only nominally part of the civilized world -- voted to send a man who regularly rattles off comically insane conspiracist nonsense based on the tenets of a 2,000-year-old fairy tale to the seat of governmental power as their representative.

Ignore science. Trust in ancient magic. And dumbshits like James Inhofe.

That's the message.

Again, for the cheap seats -- they've got nothing. Unfortunately, though, there are always going to be those who don't see it that way. The one hope we have is that they'll soon very likely be demographically extinct.

Friday, March 09, 2012

Project Office Mayhem


You know how this works. Quietly put the link below up on every available computer screen in your office, then crank all the speakers to full volume.

Mischief points: 1,061

A Good Cry

Quote of the Day


"He is bringing us back... to days before the Civil War, when unfortunately too many Americans mistakenly believed that not all men were created equal. What Barack Obama seems to want to do is go back to before those days when we were in different classes based on income, based on color of skin... Look at his embracing of Derrick Bell, the radical college racist professor whom he... embraced literally and figuratively asking others to open their hearts and minds to the radical agenda of a racist like Derrick Bell who believed that white men oppress blacks and minorities. And Barack Obama, evidently at least at the time, believed what Derrick Bell believed."

-- Sarah Palin, last night on Hannity

And that, folks, says it all -- everything you need to know.

A cartoon character offering a worthless opinion on an utterly non-existent controversy.

Meet your Republican party, circa 2012.

They've got nothing. Literally, nothing.

The Bob and Chez Show After Party 3.8.12


Join the After Party Here

This week: Chez’s Palm Springs Weekend; Adults Only Getaways; Rush Limbaugh’s Dominican Stag Party; Erectile Dysfunction Medications; Porn Actors and Injecting Viagra; The Steven Weber Tweet of the Week; Paula Deen’s Racist Rant; The Hippo Farting Video; Pop Culture Things We Incorrectly Remember; and much more!

The Bubble Genius Bob & Chez Show 3.8.12


Rush Limbaugh Advertiser Boycott; Verbal Rape; PSAs on the Limbaugh Flagship Station; Maher Defends Limbaugh; Comedians and Commentators; The Fairness Doctrine; Good Rush Versus Bad Rush; The Heinous Arizona Abortion Law; Hug-Gate and Obama Was Against Racism in College; and much more. Brought to you by Bubble Genius.

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Listening Post



When I saw this guy live 20-something years ago, he tried to mount that insane mic-stand/pedestal of his and wound up falling face first into the wooden barricade around the front of the stage. He got up, bleeding heavily, asked, "Did you like that?" and went right on playing.

Cocaine is a hell of a drug.

Here's Julian Cope's Trampoline.

Thursday, March 08, 2012

Wreckquiem


I'm not even going to bother picking apart the latest "bombshell" the conservative media shriekers are unleashing against President Obama. Suffice it to say that the big story that Andrew Breitbart was working on just before his death -- the one that had been hyped as a potential game-changer in the 2012 presidential race and was trumpeted by some particularly unhinged paranoiacs as being so terrifying to the White House that Obama had Breitbart killed for it -- turned out to be, well, nothing. A videotape of Barack Obama saying something nice about and embracing -- figuratively and literally -- a Harvard professor who was taking a stand against institutional racism on campus two decades ago.

It's not that it's not hilarious. It's, again -- nothing. Nothing at all.

My first reaction when I heard about it, saw the videotape, and witnessed the insanely passionate outrage surrounding it coming from the usual suspects on the right was, to be honest, pity. It's almost sad that this is the best they can do when it comes to uncovering -- or even manufacturing -- a scandal against this president.

This is all they've got.

It's like I can picture Breitbart lying mortally wounded on the floor of the USS Reliant's bridge, hissing at his obsession, President Obama, "From hell's heart I stab at thee; for hate's sake I spit my last breath at thee!" But at least Khan had the Genesis device. It turns out Breitbart had nothing. And that gets to be his final epitaph.

Just for a laugh, though, watch Soledad O'Brien obliterate Breitbart flunky Joel Pollack over the big "scoop."



Adding: You know what? Maybe there is something worth saying about this "scandal." Breitbart's people's argument seems to be that this clip somehow proves that Obama wasn't "vetted," not because there was one piece of video that hadn't gotten what they feel is the proper amount of media attention but because that video, in their delusional minds, purports to show Obama engaging in racially divisive politics. Except that it doesn't show that at all. What it shows, what it proves, is that Barack Obama is black. That he's a black man who accepts that racism is very real and that those like him have generally come up on the losing end of it, and therefore it's incumbent upon him to speak out against it and support others who do. And guess fucking what? He's been vetted as black. We knew he was black years ago. And even if we didn't or if we'd somehow forgotten, trust me, you assholes in the conservative media have spent almost four solid years reminding us over and over again. Because as far as your audience is concerned, being black is what automatically disqualified Barack Obama from being president and what still does.

Assistant Quote of the Day


"He says that but at the end of the tape, the girl walks away and Hulk hits her in the back with a chair, then he flexes toward the camera and says Hulkamania just ran wild over her. So it sorta seems like he knew it was being filmed."

-- Brendon at What Would Tyler Durden Do? on Hulk Hogan's insistence that he was set up and didn't realize he was being taped having sex, and that's what accounts for an alleged sex tape of him now being shopped around

Quote of the Day


"Anonymous decided today to besiege your site in response to the doctrine, to the liturgies, to the absurd and anachronistic concepts that your for-profit organisation spreads around the world."

-- Anonymous, via its Italian outlet, addressing the Catholic Church and claiming responsibility for the hacking attack that took down the Vatican's website yesterday

Scientology and now the Catholic Church -- what does that tell you?

By the way, I can see the t-shirts already: "Anonymous > God"

Listening Post



Donnie Iris has the distinction of being one of the ugliest guys to ever become a mid-level rock star. Ugly or not, though -- and one look at him and it's really obvious he changed his name from something outrageously Italian -- he made some damn good power-pop back in the late 70s and early 80s.

This song is still one of my favorites.

It's Ah! Leah!

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Sex Sells


Sometimes this stuff just writes itself.

"'Advertising on Rush seems to be the logical move, he’s actually a sugar daddy,' Seeking Arrangements founder and CEO Brandon Wade told the Daily Beast, defining the term as an older, wealthier man involved with a much younger woman. 'One of the things we have found (is that) even though a lot of Republicans are not willing to say they embody the sugar-daddy lifestyle,' many in fact do, he said, claiming that 60 percent of the site’s male members say they are Republicans."

We're so far down the ironic meta-parody rabbit hole on this one I'm not sure which way is up.

The Daily Beast: Sugar Daddy and Adultery Websites Reach Out To Rush Limbaugh/3.6.12

Picture of the Day


(From Lian Amaris, via Daily Kos)

Quote of the Day


"President Obama and his allies in the press are trying to pull a fast one on you. You've heard all about the so-called 'contraception controversy,' well there's no such thing... his foot soldier, Sandra Fluke, a contraception activist, is at the center of the storm... President Obama, on the ropes with the economy and specifically with women voters, gets Mrs. Fluke to create a controversy, and the liberal media puppets play along as scripted."

-- Unrivaled jackass Eric Bolling discussing the contraception battle and Sandra Fluke's role in it last night on Fox News

You remember a couple of weeks ago when I said that I was giving serious thought to abandoning politics as a regular topic of conversation around here? This is why. What can you possibly say about something this delusional, divorced from reality and shamelessly batshit crazy? In an effort to spin this Republican-generated PR cataclysm into something its audience will be able to robotically harumph, Fox News is attempting to manufacture a conspiracy. No, Sandra Fluke isn't a concerned citizen with something to add to the very legitimate debate over contraception -- she's a sleeper agent activated by the White House during an election year in the hope of diverting attention away from President Obama's incompetence. There isn't even a national debate over contraception happening. In fact, there's no such thing as contraception -- or women for that matter. You are getting very sleepy.

It's like Bolling and his audience are living in some alternate universe where facts like an improving economy and President Obama's current popularity with women voters simply don't exist. This is Bellevue-quality paranoia. Is there any wonder -- any fucking wonder at all -- why Fox News viewers are the least informed in the country? They're peddled propagandist fantasy 24/7.

But again, is it even worth talking about anymore?

Listening Post



I was never hugely into these guys, but so far everything I've heard off their new album is fantastic.

So here you go -- it's the new single from Kaiser Chiefs.

This is On the Run.

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Quote of the Day


"The cop-out for Republicans is to dismiss Limbaugh as a showman, and not a consequential political messenger. 'I’m in a very different business,' Rick Santorum claimed last week. But the general public probably doesn’t see such a sharp distinction. Limbaugh’s show is almost entirely about politics, and the themes he stresses invariably echo and influence the themes that Republican politicians across the country emphasize. And Republicans themselves have spent the past two decades promoting the image of Limbaugh as their leader... Because they put Limbaugh on a pedestal all these years, Republicans have only encouraged Americans to regard his garbage not just as the rantings of a radio host, but as the message of the Republican Party."

-- Steve Kornacki in a Salon piece called "Rush Limbaugh and the Poisoning of the GOP Brand"

Yup, that just about sums it up.

Rush To Judgment


I admit it: There's a small part of me that's felt the need to defend Rush Limbaugh from continued attacks on him.

Now before anybody loses his or her shit, let me explain. I've spent a lot of time and copy space on this site defending people's right -- particularly the right of entertainers -- to say incendiary, offensive things without fear of having their livelihoods taken away. I can't stand Limbaugh and think the national discourse would be vastly improved by removing him from the airwaves and, in a perfect world, dumping his fat ass in a volcano somewhere; I also think that what he said about Sandra Fluke, not once but over and over again, crossed a line from which there's no going back. But there's simply no denying that whether you believe he's being sincere or not, he did apologize publicly for his actions. I realize that there have been those who came before him who screwed the pooch this thoroughly and were forced to pay for it with their jobs in the entertainment industry, but again, I've generally defended those people -- whichever side of the political aisle they happened to be on and almost irrespective of what they'd said to bring the wrath of God down on them.

So, yes, I felt like it would be intellectually dishonest and somewhat hypocritical to root for the utter destruction of Limbaugh's career -- a career that admittedly has seen him spew the most reprehensible rhetoric into the ether for years now -- based on his taking a shot that was absolutely beyond the pale but for which he's obviously feeling some heat now (certainly enough to make him take the uncharacteristic step of saying he's sorry).

As it turns out, though, along came David Frum to make me reconsider -- to spell out carefully why Limbaugh's case is indeed different from so many others and why it's fair to demand that he pay what in his field would be the ultimate price for his transgression.

Take a look and see if you agree.

CNN: Are We Being Fair To Rush Limbaugh?/3.5.12

Adding: Beginning today, Cesca will be contributing to the Daily Banter -- the mothership site for our little network of blogging doofuses -- and his first piece rightly examines how Limbaugh's "slut" comment wasn't even the worst thing he said about Sandra Fluke. It was one shot in a relentless fusillade of slander and vitriol. Take a look. I'll also be contributing to the Banter, as well as answering reader mail, and that'll hopefully begin next week.

Listening Post



I posted this song as an audio clip a while back, but given that there's now a video for it, that I love the song, and that the full album hits iTunes today, I figured I'd bring it back.

Here's the new single from the always awesome School of Seven Bells.

This is Lafaye.

Monday, March 05, 2012

Quote of the Day


"We can be poor in spirit, and I don’t even consider myself wealthy, which is an interesting thing."

-- Ann Romney, wife of obscenely wealthy Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney and driver of "a couple of Cadillacs"

You know, I was looking for an excuse to link to something running over at Cracked right now and damn if Ann "I'm Not Wealthy" Romney didn't just hand it to me on an appropriately silver platter. I don't normally troll Cracked looking for insightful political commentary, but a piece called "6 Things Rich People Need To Stop Saying" flawlessly dissects the tone-deafness so many of the indignant wealthy have displayed over the past couple of years of widespread economic despair. It also shreds their supposed rationale for regularly trotting out such horseshit arguments.

For the record, Ann Romney's quote falls under number one on the list.

Suicidal Tendencies


Congratulations, folks. You get to one day tell your grandkids that you were there when the Republican party completely lost its mind and ate itself alive from the inside out.

Raw Story: Wisconsin Republican's Bill Condemns Single Parents for "Child Abuse and Neglect"/3.5.12

This is almost too staggering to be believed. First women now single parents. These people are committing political hari-kiri.

Listening Post



Back from my weekend jaunt but it's gonna be a hell of a week as my project deadline looms large in the not-too-distant future. Look for sporadic posting with a slight chance of complete absence (but hopefully not).

Here's the Arctic Monkeys -- 505.

Friday, March 02, 2012

Listening Post: Out of Town Edition


I'm leaving town for the weekend. The girlfriend and I are headed to Palm Springs and Desert Hot Springs for some relaxation.

It's what Andrew Breitbart would've wanted.

See you on the other side, kids.

Here's Alice in Chains' ode to California -- Check My Brain.

Quote of the Day


"What was really personal for me was that he said to tell my parents that they should be proud. And that meant a lot because Rush Limbaugh questioned whether or not my family would be proud of me. So I just appreciated that very much."

-- Georgetown student Sandra Fluke on the call she received from President Obama after Rush Limbaugh called her a slut on his radio show and said that women like her should post videos of themselves having sex on the internet for all men to see

We had a pretty good debate about this on the podcast and radio show this week, the main question being, "What can you possibly do about someone like Limbaugh?" Someone with no sense of shame whatsoever, who can't be bargained with or reasoned with and who responds to criticism from his enemies with a sneer and an immediate juvenile upping of the ante. The fact that Limbaugh is so seemingly bulletproof is why I rarely mention him around here. It just doesn't feel like it's worth it.

But that said, there's no denying that he really crossed a line this time -- and for the first time I get the feeling that it's something he's going to actually regret. He called a regular American citizen a slut. He impugned her character just for having the nerve to speak up and say something Limbaugh and his wretched ilk don't like. And I've said it before but it bears repeating: He and the Republicans who are so utterly beholden to his authority -- who have no choice but to kiss his ring and his fat ass every time he bends over and presents for them -- aren't simply taking on some powerless minority in this inexplicable ongoing crusade against women. They're taking on half the fucking population. They're re-fighting a battle they already lost decades ago. It's political suicide. But for Limbaugh it barely matters because in his Oxy-addled mind it's little more than an ego trip -- a chance for the bully to once again see how much he can get away with.

And in that regard, I think he's in for a big surprise. Even if he personally doesn't suffer, the damage done to his precious GOP -- which he's been the unofficial spokesman for and supreme leader of for years now -- will likely be incalculable.

Yesterday on the show, I said that under no circumstances should a member of the United States Congress ever mention Limbaugh by name, much less indignantly, ineffectually press him for an apology. Obviously, that goes double for the President of the United States. It's good that Barack Obama didn't turn this farce into an even bigger and more tawdry public spectacle by addressing Limbaugh personally -- not only would it not do any good and would in fact play right into Limbaugh's hand, but the leader of the free world is far above personally engaging some pompous shock-jock cunt.

What Obama did was even better. He made one phone call which highlighted in no uncertain terms who the victim is in all of this. He reached out to the person who deserved to be reached out to -- and in doing so quietly but firmly kicked Limbaugh in the nuts.