Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Subtitle of the Day

From Time Magazine:

Rousing the Zealots
Neo-Nazis, white supremacists and militiamen are revivified by the furor over illegal immigration

I hope no one has to ask me where the joke is.

Progress, Regress

So over the memorial day weekend I was troubled by my lack of things to do. Monday was completely open. Then Sunday night we came home and my computer was off, the smell of ozone in the air. Woo hoo!

I took a little trip out to the Apple Store, after removing the boot drive from the 8-year-old G4, and picked up a tasty iMac Intel Dual Core with 1.5 gigs of memory. Sweet. In theory. But you know the thing about the Intel Macs? They're going to be real fast when all the software you use is updated for them. At the moment, some of the stuff is slower or doesn't work at all. Fortunately for me I installed my Adobe Creative Suite without the one component which trashes the whole lot of them, but they're still going to be slow for a while, until Adobe decides whether to update or simply take their ball and go home. Anything by Apple, much faster. Logic LE is a joy to behold.

More importantly though, the iMac has somehow managed to toy with our router. I noticed it kept dropping our DSL connection last night so before I left this morning I turned off the beast and now my wife can't stay connected. I've taken a considerable amount of grief for that. I should be able to clear this one up when I get home, but I'm not placing any bets.

I will say that streaming HiDef video looks great, for as long as it streams anyway. Another plus is I'm going to be cannibalizing the old machine for cards and memory and whatever else I can unload - in case the power supply took any of this stuff down with it, I am offering money-back guarantees. That oughtta take the edge off my first major credit purchase in 4 years. And I like knowing I can take the iMac into the living room and work there, or watch Dr Who episodes on the TV. I just wish it was all set up NOW. Goldblum promised there would be no step three! Damn you Goldblum!

Friday, May 26, 2006

Candypants: Where Have All the Archies Gone?

Last night, on a whim, I got in the car and drove across town to see Candypants. There is a small but vital bubblegum rock movement in this town and Candypants makes better bubblegum than anyone. They understand that kind of music. It's the perfect blend of just enough of the right kinds of noise, and no more than that. A sweet spot, if you will.

Check out four of their songs on Myspace. I'd do it myself but my work firewall has a Candypants filter.

I also harbor a not-exactly-secret crush on lead singer Lisa Jennio. She has a killer rack, red hair and devastating comic timing. The patter is often the best part of their shows. And she has this precocious little-girl quality. The first time I ever saw the band (they were on a bill with the Sugarplastic) I had no idea who they were, but I noticed this girl in the manga schoolgirl clothes with the horn-rimmed specs wandering around the club. Gradually they got on stage to set up and Lisa put her flute case on the floor (yeah, that's right - guitar, bass, drums, keyboard and flute) then needed to pick it up. She turned around, bent at the waist to retrieve it, and went on with the setup, oblivious. I thought - she must know what she's doing there, but she doesn't act like it - brilliant!

Most of their songs are about sex, with veiled or unveiled references to promiscuity, inter-generational romance ("One day/you can watch your toddlers at play/the way/your grandfather watched you") rough oral pleasure, teen sexual angst, sloppy seconds; basically filthy songs delivered in the most perky, innocent way. It kills me that these guys only have one album out. It kills me that they aren't famous. On the other hand, it's great for me because I don't like crowds.

Lisa et al... If you're reading, get some Valley gigs! Echo Park is a long way to drive on a weeknight. Or just play at the house. We'll cook for you and put you all up for the night.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

I'm Surprisingly Lowbrow

I just ran the xml feed of this blog through these guys. I think I'm so intellectual and all, but according to the numbers this is pitched at a 6th grade reading level. I'm at the same level as popular novels. POPULAR NOVELS! Not Pynchon or DeLillo, but Dan Brown or Jackie Collins. On the plus side, I'm rated a 73.41 in reading ease, which is around a C grade, so I must be doing something right. It's probably all the complex sentences; I use a good many of them, and they could just as easily be broken up - just as you would have expected me to do by now.

Justice, Sweet and Rare

I live in California, a state known for oranges, show business, and paying about 5 times what we should for our electricity, because of a very bad contract we negotiated under pressure. We pay too much for electricity and were suckered into trashing our effective but unpopular governor in favor of an Austrian body-builder and "actor" who is now even more unpopular but also ineffective. For a state as phallicly shaped as this, we certainly seem to be on the receiving end.

Ken Lay and Jeffery Skilling, the former heads on Enron and probably co-authors of our country's current energy policy, have been convicted of crimes so basic and obvious that even a jury system was able to recognize them. As of this morning they are facing years in prison, convicted of 6 out of 6 counts (Lay) and 19 out of 28 counts (Skilling). Sentencing will be handed down in September, giving us all three months of air conditioning bills to consider what has been done to us. This is also three months in which either man can flee the country to live on one of their myriad islands or foreign holdings. Assuming they don't only exist on paper.

I don't wish them well.

As much fun as it would be to see them sodomized in prison, this was a business crime, based on money alone. The just thing would be a redistribution of wealth - perhaps their personal fortunes could be stripped from them and paid out to the employees whose 401Ks were drained away while they slept. Or paid into California's coffers, because our current financial problems are a direct result of Enron's shakedown. As long as they are made penniless and someone else benefits, I'm satisfied.

What should make you really angry at these guys is their incompetence. The Oil Companies are doing the exact same shortage/price gouge game, have been doing it for years, but their stockholders are benefiting and reaping the rewards. How difficult can it be to turn a real profit from a monopoly? Idiots!

Well, no matter what happens they'll be pardoned in two years anyway, so it's a moot point.

Monday, May 22, 2006

My Quip For The Weekend

So we were at a party Saturday night, and I got into a conversation with our old friend Selga. She was telling a story about how she hitchhiked up the coast back in her college days, staying overnight at the homes of total strangers. She said she would never do a thing like that now. "When you're younger," she offered, "you take crazy risks because you just don't know you can be hurt."

"Yes," I replied. "Knowledge is Weakness."

Friday, May 19, 2006

Why I Love BOINGO, The Final Oingo Boingo Album

"I like my stupid life, just the way it is."

"I've never been lost like this, but I wouldn't be happy anywhere else"

"Let's drink a toast to those clever bombs and the men who built them."

"My only love is the love of oblivion, in a dark room"

"A million years of evolution, we get Danny Quayle"

"Yellow matter custard, dripping from a dead dog's eye" (okay, that one is a cover)

"All those damn kids drive me crazy every day"

"Nothing ventured, nothing gained: evolution's cruelest joke."

Add to this the exquisite production values, Elfman's emotional range and the way he can go from Mickey Dolenz to Alice Cooper in the same sentence. And most importantly, it's the SINCERE Oingo Boingo album, honest and twisted. 1993. Check it out. Buy two copies.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

R U A Racist? Take This Simple Test!

With the suspiciously heated debate going on about illegal immigrants, among vast numbers of people who aren't racists, perhaps it is time to consider that you may, in fact, be one yourself. I believe 98% of racism comes from people who are certain they aren't. That number is statistically likely to include me, so know I don't take this problem lightly.

So how do you know if you're racist? Let's try this. First of all, dictionary.com defines racist as follows:

adj 1: based on racial intolerance; "racist remarks" 2: discriminatory especially on the basis of race or religion [syn:
antiblack, anti-Semitic, anti-Semite(a)] n : a person with a prejudiced belief that one race is superior to others [syn: racialist]

Okay, we can all agree on this. Let's move on.

Do you endorse this statement: "Regardless of the color of their skin, their culture, or their beliefs, people are people. And all people are created equal." Remember, you can disagree with their beliefs or dislike elements of their culture. You just have to think that these are humans you disagree with.

You probably agree with me so far. Here's where it gets tricky, with the illegal immigration talk. If your problem is that illegal immigrants are a drain on our national resources, this is a legitimate argument, though you are forgetting how much they pay to the states in Sales Tax. If you think they are taking American jobs, this too is legitimate; but your anger would be more effectively aimed at employers. There are fewer of them and laws already exist to penalize hiring unlawfully and pay below-minimum wages.

If you are John Gibson, encouraging white people to make more babies because by 2050 the estimates are that the nation will be a Hispanic majority... yep, you're a racist. Because, you know, so what? They're human beings, they're equals. They are us, we are them. It's like being worried that the population will be over 50% blonde, or Type O negative. It's a non-issue.

If you are afraid that a particular religious or ethnic (or political group) is plotting to "take over the world" then you are probably a racist. Conspiracy is hard to maintain - it's harder to keep secret. And the majority of any group of people is too selfish to participate in those kinds of plans.

If you are worried about mixed-race breeding, you're a racist AND stupid. Genetically speaking, mixed-race is superior. Let's look at it this way - at one end of the scale, Jennifer Garner. At the other, the British Royal Family. 'Nuff said.

Humans (all of us) are pattern-seeking creatures. We want to classify everything. It's almost impossible to stop. So we are prone to divide the human race into "us and them" despite the fact that they are us. The best quick-fix to this problem would be an alien invasion, but in lieu of this we can only practice vigilance against our worst instincts and hope that evolution will take care of the problem eventually.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

A Guy Walks Into A News Studio...

My recent experience on public access cable, as traumatic as it was, cannot compare to this. Guy Goma showed up at the BBC for a job interview with the I.T. department and was mistaken in the reception area for Guy Kewney, a technology pundit. At that point he was briskly escorted to a studio, lit and went live on the air for the News.

Assuming this was an unorthodox interview method, Goma went along with it. An anchor asked him, via satellite, questions about the recent Apple Records vs. Apple Computers dispute. Goma is a business school graduate and gamely answered three questions before he was thanked and the interview ended. He is said to have been disappointed that no one asked him about his specialty, "data cleansing."Kewney, on the other hand, is said to have watched the interview as it happened, his mouth hanging open in disbelief.

The misunderstanding hinged on two things - the producer who fetched Goma asked, "Are you Guy Kewney?" at the time they met, but Goma said yes. And even though the producer had a picture of Kewney which clearly did not look like the man he put on the air, he went ahead anyway. Kewney is white, thin, bald and bearded, Kewney is stocky, black and clean-shaven. I'm guessing Guy was too nervous to listen to the whole question and the producer was in too much of a hurry to double-check.

Goma says he'd happily do the whole thing again, but he'd insist on preparing himself first. The BBC says it will review its guest booking procedures. Probably not. There hasn't exactly been an epidemic of mistaken pundits on the air. Well, they're often mistaken; just not for each other.

This whole situation is a variation on the Actor's Nightmare, a common bad dream in which you find yourself making a speech or appearing in a play but you don't know what you're supposed to say. At least Guy Goma was wearing pants when it happened to him.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Da Vinci Code Part II - Uh Oh



I'm not fond of Ron Howard as a director and I thought the book was a ridiculous story, badly told. So why do I want to see the movie so much?

As curiously uninvolving a director as Opie is, I got to admit that he doesn't get in the way of his material. Think about CINDERELLA MAN, A BEAUTIFUL MIND, THE PAPER, GRAND THEFT AUTO, RANSOM, HOW THE GRINCH STOLE CHRISTMAS... What is the common aesthetic thread that holds these movies together?

That's right, there isn't one. Ron Howard has no trademarks.

So by definition he can't ruin the experience for you. As long as they competently translated the book to film, it will be the same ride that hooked readers everywhere and spawned a cottage industry. Many bookstores now have a Dan Brown section, prominently featuring the book, Brown's OTHER book, and every title the industry can cram the name Da Vinci into without stepping on copywrites.

As for the ridiculousness, it stems from the absurd lengths that Dan Brown goes to in making his novel read like a treatment. His characters are shallow because he can't illuminate their inner lives - how would you show that in a movie? He throws in car chases, he puts all the exposition in dialog, he even remarks that the lead character resembles Harrison Ford. (It's a shame that didn't work out. He probably would have asked for rewrites though.) The Da Vinci Code is that rarest of things, a novelization of screenplay that hadn't yet been written.

It reads so badly because it's in the context of a novel. It will probably be quite breezy on the big screen. And it's not about characters, this story - it's about puzzles. Encrypted messages, anagrams, where's Waldo (Waldo played by Mary Magdalene) -- I'm betting that watching the movie will be like a wide-screen Dolby surround soduku, 2 and a half hours of the best puzzles ever.

And if I'm wrong, at least I'll have the twisted pleasure of watching Hollywood screw up another sure thing.

A Reason For You To Switch To Satellite

So last December my friend Priscilla invited me to sing on her cable access show. She also manages some acts, and a few months previous we had gone to see one of them at a nice hotel in Thousand Oaks, and when someone requested New York New York (if you solicit requests, NYNY is inevitable - ask any pianist) the singer didn't know it, but I did so I volunteered. And everyone was shocked, though I think it was the dancing bear effect - it's not that the bear is a good dancer, it's that you can get it to wear a tutu in the first place. Anyway, I was pleasant enough to get an invite on the show.
So I left work early to get across town to the Adelphia studios in Silverlake. I had been rehearsing a couple of songs - one of them I wrote myself! - but I was really looking forward to the interview segment. After all, I'm not interested in a career as a singer, but I have two podcasts and three blogs and I hope to generate a little ad-based cash out of them some day.
Before long Andrea Miller showed up - she was the other guest on the show. Very pretty, extremely talented, and someone who ACTUALLY MAKES A LIVING SINGING! Seriously, she has a house gig at the Ritz-Carlton in Pasadena and everything. No day job! So Priscilla comes in and does a little pre-interview and that's when she reminded me that I said I didn't want to do an interview segment. When she asked me on the show I only had the one podcast. I turned over my self-made backing track and girded my loins. I would close the show with a couple of tunes.
Without any interview to prepare for, I spent my time in the green room trying to diagnose the rolling bar on the monitor feed from the control room. I used to run into this all the time but it's been ages since I edited video, and I knew better to touch other people's equipment, so I contented myself with making snarky comments about the book show interview with Erica Jong that was on the outside feed, and watching Albert (Priscilla's main squeeze and a terrific guitarist) switch the cables.
Andrea did a great interview, and sang a couple of perfect jazz tunes, and then I went on. I realized going in that my greatest misfortune was that I was following someone who had, you know, talent. How was I? Beats me. Probably odd is the best way to describe it. It would be like following Sting with Andy Dick. Afterward the keyboardist, Stephen Boyd, said he thought I was "interesting." I told him I liked his work in FANTASTIC VOYAGE. He, by the way, was also fabulous.
I've already booked the show for September, and I intend to sing a little (a little Sinatra, BTW) and talk a lot. I think it will be a better showcase. I'll post the clip of this first appearance as soon as I get a copy, but if you subscribe to Adelphia and want to watch the show, consider switching channels after that 2nd PSA. You'll thank me for this advice.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Second Life - Inevitably Better Than the First?

The BBC has rented an "island" in the online game Second Life, with an eye toward holding "concerts" there. The first "event" is "happening" this weekend, a live "concert" featuring Muse, Razorlight and Gnarls Barkley. Hold on a minute while I get more quotation marks.

So anyway, you allready know Second Life is a virtual world in which one places an "avatar" of oneself to "interact" with other "avatars". The world has its own currency "Lindon Dollars" which are exchangeable with real money in the "real" world. So if this concert thing takes off, conceivably bands could charge for "tickets". You can actually make a "living" in Second Life. You could be more successful in it than in the real world. If you're a band, this could be the venue where you first hit it big. Just as the Stray Cats were a hit first in England even though they are native to New Jersey, you could "sell" enough "records" in Second Life to be big there, even though you are native to "reality".

I'm not sure this is a bad thing.

Suppose you're bedridden, or simply unpleasant to look at. Why shouldn't there be a place for you to "be cool?" Or if you spend all your time dreaming, isn't it better that at least you're sharing a "dream" with a bunch of other people? Crazy idea? "You may say I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one." Oh wait, sorry - that was an actual quotation. John Lennon said that, not some "virtual" "John Lennon".

I'm not going to "attend" the concert because I don't have a "membership" to Second Life, but I wish them "well". You can also hear it in real life on BBC Radio 1, though it won't be the same as "being there". (Hey, you could even listen on the radio AND attend the concert! It might rip the space-time continuum though, so be careful.) If someone can get me a copy of the "review" in the Second Life "newspaper" I'd love to read it. I'm dying to see if it's worth going to one of these concerts or if it's just more "teledildonics."

Thursday, May 11, 2006

The Obvious Question

New revelations about the warrantless eavesdropping of phone calls (it's all of them, within the United States - the government has a record of every call you've made since September 11, apparently) will be dismissed by that core group (what are you guys, now, 30%?) as a necessary evil in a time of war.

So okay, we're at war here and we have to suspend some freedoms temporarily for safety. As a reasonable person, I can accept this. But here's the question - what do we mean by temporary?

That is, how do we know when we've won the war on terror? When can we expect our liberties back again?

Because if the answer is, "we win when there are no more terrorists," then this is not a temporary program. I'm inviting anybody who reads this to give me a sold definition of the end of the War On Terror. Or even the war in Iraq. I'd like to know - it will give me something to look forward to.

Why DVD Rules Over VHS

Writing about the upcoming Dirty Harry re-release extravaganza reminded me of the best thing to come out of the digital video revolution: letterboxing. Or more specifically, widescreen; or even more specifically, my friend Bill.

In the early eighties, Santa Cruz was used for location shots in SUDDEN IMPACT, the fourth Dirty Harry movie. It's a nice lookin' town. As I understand it, Eastwood wanted the Sondra Locke character to always be in the frame with bodies of water. Maybe it evoked her seething emotions, or her eternal feminine, or her moist freshness. Beats me. So a lot of locals were recruited for extras. I got to spend a night in the distance of a shot, populating a boardwalk. I didn't wind up in the movie at all, but I made out with another extra afterwards.

Bill, on the other hand, DID make it into the movie. There is a scene where Harry crashes a mobsters birthday party and Bill, who was college age but looked twice that, snagged a featured extra role as a guy handing a present to a Mafia chief. He was in the far right corner of the frame, and we all applauded at the screening.

But when it came out on video, Bill was gone. He was in the edge that was chopped off when movies are reformatted to fill the screen. You think we were angry? Talk to Martin Scorsese about pan-and-scan. For years I resented this, and I also resented a gag from BUCKAROO BANZAI, in which a shot is held for a reaction by Perfect Tommy which never made it to the TV cut, so you're looking at nothing for an extra few seconds. Blue Blaze Irregulars like myself are detail-oriented; we have to be in case Buckaroo is in trouble. Seconds count!

But letterboxing (or even better, really wide TVs) puts that stuff back in. The only reason TV was square in the first place was because it mimicked the shape of movies. Movies got wide to compete better with TV, and TV took years to catch up. Now that it is, movies will probably, finally, go to an all 3D format. But that's another story.

The important thing is at last I'll be able to enjoy the sight of Bill's nubile bald head.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Who Designed Your Dress?

Arianna Huffington gets around, and she publishes this account of meeting Condaleeza Rice at a party a couple of days ago. After running through a half dozen questions in her head she decides that the only unguarded answer she could expect would be the answer to, "who designed your dress?" Condi answers and they have a brief friendly chat about fashion.

The blog isn't as notable as the comments section, in which most people are screaming mad; either at Arianna for not attempting to kill Condi when she had the chance or for writing about this little moment instead of something important; or at Condi for destroying the world and for wearing an unflattering dress. The remarks are all coming from liberals so far. The angry left.

This disturbs me because the right has risen to its current position mostly by the careful use of anger, hate and devisive tactics. We're the left; we're hippies. Our strengths are feeling the other guys pain and engaging in dialogs. We throw our money at problems but we never, ever, bash them with sticks. It's worrisome to see us angry enough take action because we're not good with anger. We'll hurt ourselves and others.

See, I think it's great that A & C can talk fashion in the middle of the most polarized political climate ever. Condaleeza Rice is a person. George Bush is a person. Even Dick Cheney is one. If we demonize our enemies and refuse to understand them, we make bad strategic decisions. I don't have any problem with sharing the planet with the Bush family as long as they aren't in charge of any aspect of my life. Otherwise they all seem like interesting folks and I'd have them over for dinner.

Just kidding. Not Cheney obviously. I'd hate to watch a man succomb to angina pectoris right in front of me. It is just a matter of time after all.

The point is, hate the decision, not the Decider.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

A Degree of Separation

This story makes me seriously doubt the efficacy of Karma. In 1983 Charles Stopford III disappeared from his Florida home at the age of 21. He has just re-surfaced in England as Lord Christopher Edward Buckingham, the heir to the Buckingham aristocracy. Apparently he had forged papers to obtain a passport in the identity of the real Lord Buckingham, who had died at the age of 1. Click here to see the stationary that Stopford was using, and a much more detailed telling of the story.

Stopford was caught in Dover coming off a ferry, after a check of the passport revealed that it had been revoked in Calais. Authorities in England and the US are trying to figure out what to do with him.

So here is what is bothering me. Karma: He did a bad thing, and got caught. But he got away with the bad thing for over 20 years! Not just that, the best 20 years to be an aristocrat. He could do all kinds of stuff and people would just say, "oh well, you know, the children of the rich." So this suggests that there is no Karma. But Karma-philes would point out that perhaps he was being rewarded for good deeds done in a previous life and at this point, Karma and me part company. If you can't demonstrate which bad dead results in which punishment, well, you can claim anything is a reward or a punishment. And people will say, "oh well, you know, that's Karma."

While this story doesn't prove Karma one way or another, it definitely proves it's good to be young and titled. I suppose that like TITANIC, it also suggests you're better off avoiding boat rides. And it clearly proves that you're better off pretending to be a Lord than Sidney Portier's kid, because that ride only lasted a few years.

Opus Vs. Opie

Ron Howard, director of the DaVinci Code movie, is refusing the demand of Opus Dei that a disclaimer be put on the front of the film. The organization, to be fair, is depicted in the novel and movie as a ruthless conspirator in a multi-millenial cover-up. The disclaimer reportedly was to be a reminder that the movie is a work of fiction; "(it) could have been a way to show [Sony Pictures] wants to be fair and respectful in its treatment of Christians," said a US spokesman for Opus Dei.

Sounds reasonable but as Mr. Howard points out, spy thrillers don't open with disclaimers like that. The Odessa File didn't have to include a little note from Germany reminding you that they weren't harboring a Nazi sub-culture bent on reviving the Third Reich. Michael Jackson's Thiller video didn't have a disclaimer saying that depicting zombies doesn't endorse a belief in the occult... actually, that did happen, but it was Jacko's choice. One of a weird series of 'em.

What is Opus Dei anyway? If you're interested click on the link. The fact that you can is the best argument Ron Howard has in this little publicity grab. Another argument is that the movie is so outlandish and dopey that if you base your impression of Opus Dei on it, then you may be an idiot.

I'm guessing about the movie - the BOOK is outlandish and dopey, God knows.

My use of the term "God knows" is not meant to imply knowledge of the situation on the part of God, who must have better things to do.

This whole thing reminds me of an Elvis Costello song, "God's Comic," in which the narrator meets God in heaven:

"So there he was on a waterbed, drinking a cola (of mystery brand),
reading an airport novelette, listening to Andre Lloyd Webber's Requiem."
He said, before it had really begun, 'I prefer the one about my son.
I've been sitting here wading through all of this unbelievable junk
and wondering if I should have given the world to the monkeys'."

Opus Dei means "God's work." If anybody should know how silly this controversey is, it's them.

Monday, May 08, 2006

David Blaine Gives Me the Creeps

You know, that title almost makes the post itself unnecessary.

So the guy has been floating around inside a plexiglass sphere filled with water for the last week, simultaneously breaking the record for time spent underwater and most annoying New York sidewalk stunt. It's said to be turning ugly too - his hands are swelling up his skin feels like it's being constantly poked with pins and needles. Doctors had to apply lotion to his hands and give him special gloves, a treatment made more difficult because he couldn't come out of the fishbowl. He had to raise his hands out of the water, as if he was surrendering.

If you see his STREET MAGIC TV specials, you can see what Blaine does for a living. He freaks people out, and won't leave them alone. This isn't a magician, it's an attention-starved bully. It's a guy who wants you to look at him so much that he's willing to submerge himself for a week, half-naked, before performing a trick that Houdini perfected a century ago. 7 days of foreplay, 10 minutes of ordinary sex.

Also the trick has no narrative. Houdini told a little story - I'm trapped in a milk can, and I want to escape; hey I've escaped! Blaine is not trapped - you hope he'll just cut it off early on his own, because no one is forcing him to waterlog himself. Houdini: "There's not a chamber that can hold me!" Blaine: "I'm a slacker who lays (or floats) for as long as you'll let me!" I can't root for David Blaine. The best he'll get out of me is I hope he'll get a job - mechanic? PR man? Whatever. As long as I don't have to watch him any more.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Is this really a blog?

I'm joining chiefly so I can comment on other Blogger sites. If you want my real blog it's here.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

The News Media Are Run By Bears

This Stephen Colbert thing fascinates me. I have get all my news from left-wing blogs nowadays so I wasn't even aware that the story hadn't made it to The New York Times, or NBC, or anywhere else. And it's not that big a story.

Basically Colbert said things about the president that were insulting, while standing close enough to the president to poke him with a stick. It's a more sophisticated version of the Imus speech at the same press club dinner some 12 years ago. It would be worthy of a paragraph somewhere in the description of the event. But THAT PARAGRAPH WASN'T THERE. Even the MSM stories which had the name Colbert in the copy failed to quote a line, or even describe how he wasn't the rooms cup of tea. Nothing. It would be as if all the journalists had left before he spoke, which would be unlikely because it was a dinner for journalists.

There has been half a week for the blogesphere to cook up explanations for this omission, ranging from the paranoid (the Washington Press Corps is under the iron fist of McClellan!) to the snarky (he just wasn't funny enough to mention) to the most likely true (too many insults toward journalists.) I have to discount the first two - the news industry just isn't well-organized enough to conspire, and the story obviously was the affront to our Commander In Chief, not how entertaining the affront might have been.

Still, that last one rings a little hollow too. Journalists don't sit back and lick their wounds - they avenge themselves by writing scurrilous things. Maybe they felt stymied because they couldn't prove he wasn't funny without showing the clips - and they sensed that you might not agree how unfunny he was. So here's my fourth way. Here's why the MSM had to be screamed at to even bring the whole thing up.

The news media are loathe to admit that they went along with so many of this administrations ideas now that BushCo is so unpopular. It makes us distrust them. Untrustworthy news has no market value. (Fox News is untrustworthy commentary, but even it is declining). So they were hoping to avoid transmitting the message that we should stop accepting their transmissions.

Still that's a little convoluted too, so maybe Colbert is right - bears are the biggest unknown menace in this country. The bears control the banks and the media! Keep an eye on your local bank. If it seems a little less well-run during the winter months, you'll know I'm right.