Friday, August 18, 2006

Enemas Of The State

No list of the most dishonest, delusional and dangerously disingenuous demagogues would be complete without the following: Elliott Abrams, yet another Republican chickenhawk still wielding tremendous power over American policy in the Middle East; John Lund, a neofascist corporate propagandist in the mold of Doctor Goebbels; James Woolsey, ex-CIA madman now working tirelessly to promote U.S. military intervention as the solution to all world problems; Larry Kudlow, an uber-yuppie economist with the smug mien of an eternal preppie who, I am not making this up, recently credited the Reagan tax cuts for the robust state of our current economy. Read it here:

In a related matter, the other night I mentioned to my friend that I am boycotting Imus in the Morning for the foreseeable future because of his penchant to alternately swallow and espouse right-wing bullshit. Well, he did have John Kerry on the other day, he said, so with that in mind I turned Imus on this morning and what do I hear inside of two minutes but more tired, infuriating crap. When a caller from Connecticut suggested she was not gonna vote for Joe Lieberman in the fall, he started to berate her, saying Lieberman was great for the state, great for the country, and was one of the greatest men in the history of the nation. I kid you not. He then said that even though he disagreed with Lieberman on Iraq, he was still a supporter, and brought up Rick Santorum as an example of someone who he disagreed with occasionally but on the whole was more good than bad. Sorry, unacceptable at this stage of the game. Man, my instincts are honed. I mean, the man had Larry the Cable Guy on as a regular in-studio guest. I don't need that kind of aggravation first thing in the morning.

Great article on Wikipedia in recent New Yorker mag; read it online here:

Blogs that I dig: (always worth checking out) (great taste in music, likewise in politics) (occupation-based angst and anti-yuppie musings) (read Justin Raimondo, an unabashed paleo-conservative who takes on Bush, the Israel Lobby, the folly of Iraq, etc.) (Her book, Baghdad Burning, and this blog provide an insightful glimpse into living under the American occupation in Iraq)

Most depressing movie recently seen without any uplifting or redeeming qualities had to be 21 Grams with Sean Penn, Naomi Watts and Benecio Del Toro. The performances were uniformly outstanding, but this drag of a film really had no reason to exist except to bum the audience out. Unlike, say, The Killing Fields, an admittedly depressing movie but one based on a historical nightmare, here we get speficic personal nightmares like a car crash that wipes out a dad and his two daughters, a man dying of a terminal illness, and a jailbird trying to save his life with religion. The story is told in jumpcut fashion, taking liberties with the narrative structure for no apparent reason. The emotion you feel while viewing this is not catharsis but dread. I found the individual situations too specific, too non-universal to relate any greater meaning, save that all our lives, no matter how disparate, are somehow intertwined. Not every movie necessarily has to teach a lesson, of course, but art should impart something close to a moral, as Tolstoy believed, otherwise it becomes art for art's sake. This leaves out art forms like surrealism, dada, modern dance, glam rock, etch-a-sketch, sand painting, body art, art deco, Art Carney... Just one man's opinion.

The most absurd promotions I've heard in some time are the corporate tie-ins to baseball. On New York Yankees radio broadcasts, one company picks a random listener and promises $10,000 plus Internet & cable services for a year if there is a triple play in a certain inning of the game. In other words, Joe Blow from Kokomo wins tonite's contest if there is a triple play in the bottom of the third inning. Now, mind you, I would guess that there are, at most, like two triple plays a year total in ALL OF MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL. What do the odds become if you narrow it down to a speficic half-inning of a Yankees game? Very generous promotion, but not the most ridiculous one. That honor goes to the Grand Slam promotion on Yankees games, where another lucky listener can win a car if the fourth batter in a designated half-inning hits a grand slam. So if your name is picked, the first three batters have to get on base, then the fourth batter has to hit a home run. I doubt that each team hits more than 3 or 4 grand slams a year, so the odds approach the infinitesimal when you stipulate not only the specific half-inning, but also set the added qualifiers of specific batter and specific order. If any of those contests actually find a winner and give something away this year, I will join the Marines, vote Republican and immediately close down this popular blog. Does the nature of these so-called "giveaways" not say a lot about how corporations play people for suckers? If you want to advertise on a broadcast, buy the fucking airtime. Don't come up with convoluted contests designed solely to get your corporate entity some free commercial time. Disgraceful, and somehow even more commercially craven than buying the naming rights to a stadium, which in the past has brought us national treasures like Enron Field in Houston and Adelphia Stadium in Tennessee.

Hard to determine what his angle is, but pencil-necked confessor John Mark Karr is unlikely to have carried out the grisly JonBenet Ramsey murder. His sketchy background contains the requisite weirdness to fit the bill, but apparently little else seems to match him to the scene of the crime. Nevertheless, he now stands poised to join the long list of lamentable lowdown losers sporting three names -- Lee Harvey Oswald, Mark David Chapman, John Wilkes Booth -- who have butchered, bungled or blazed their way into American criminal infamy.

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