Kanye West And Serena Williams TOTALLY RUINED The American Civil Discourse.

Screen shot 2009-09-15 at 11.37.06 PMYou’d believe that if you’re the kind of person who thinks that daily periodical USA Today is printed by way of spraying truth dust on bible parchment. Judging by the fact that it’s the #1 selling newspaper, the odds are high that the average American might just agree with my sarcastic and misleading headline.

While they also threw Joe Wilson, R-SC on the page too, to make it seem like they’re not trying to paint black people as the reason for the peril of civility, I’d say that Joe Wilson should have been there, because he did something that actually matters. All Kanye West did was hurt a 19-year-old megastar’s feelings, and all Serena Williams did was threaten a referee with death by tiny yellow fuzzy sphere. Joe Wilson continued the hack tradition of misleading the public to believe bullshit about the healthcare debate that is simply and easily disproven.

In the House Bill, (Sec. 246) titled “NO FEDERAL PAYMENT FOR UNDOCUMENTED ALIENS,” states: “Nothing in this subtitle shall allow Federal payments for affordability credits on behalf of individuals who are not lawfully present in the United States.”

A rapper and an athlete were rude, but their acts, albeit in the public sphere, are far from the DESTROYING THE NATIONAL FABRIC level of sin that the mainstream media (i.e. old white people in dead tree media, like David Brooks, who had to mention Kanye and Michael Jordan in the same sentence as Joe Wilson in his NYT op-ed today) are making these moments out to be. Also, their professions are in the Entertainment industry, which I think it’s safe to say Politicians should not be classified as, no matter how unproductive they tend to be.

Is there anyone that should be blamed for demolishing the national conversation that we’ve been led to believe this nation used to have and hold so near and dear to itself?

Well, I’d say all of us are to blame, at least those of us who don’t speak out when douchebaggery goes unchecked. We let our tempers undo our thinking for us, and it leads to a nation where the phrase “Fox News Channel” isn’t always followed by laughter.

A nation where one of my favorite funnymen, Jon Stewart, during his return from a three-week vacation last night, still thinks it’s great to make Black People Yell During Movies jokes (Jon, remember: you’re the host of a quasi respectable news show, you’re not Greg Giraldo scraping the barrel of obvious at the Comedy Central Roast of Flavor Flav).

A nation where science is on the verge of being outlawed below the Mason-Dixon line because Jesus isn’t in The Periodic Table Of Elements.

A nation where doctors at Planned Parenthood fear for their safety on a daily routine, simply because they practice legal medicine.

Simply put: we’ve got a tendency to walk around as a nation of haters.

Yes, Kanye is a douchebag, and the Williams sisters really get into the game of tennis to the verge of orgasm-sounding guttural noises on the court, but for both of these examples, they’re far from the only ones in their field who are guilty. Tim Commerford, of the sort of defunct Rage Against the Machine, was so offended that MTV, bastion of great music programming, gave an award to Limp Bizkit and not his band, that he stormed the stage, and scaled the set and had to be talked down from his temper tantrum, which lasted FAR longer than Kanye’s did. And in terms of Tennis, I only have two words for you: John McEnroe. But because USA TODAY needs to sell copies, they forget that everybody’s been shitting on each other for far longer than this almost over decade, and the especially vitriolic last summer.

And the public loves this stuff. Almost everyone on Twitter for the last two days has just turned into Kanye Joke Spam Bots, myself included. But there’s a simple line between joke and hate: anger. Where else is anger less stomachable and obvious than when the N word comes into play.  Reggie Osse, twitter user Combat_Jack, spent a good part of tonight highlighting the guano-insane racism directed in Kanye’s direction on twitter.

It’s the responsibility of the adults in the room, who used to be the media, to step in and try to curb the anger and racism and educate people, back to sensibility, even if they’re kicking and screaming. But no, Glenn Beck, who I mentioned earlier, is at the center of this all, making himself filthy rich, not that CNN Headline News didn’t bring him there already, off of his 9/12 Movement, which is another phrase that the lunatic fringe The Birthers/Truthers/Lyndon LaRouchers/Tenthers/Deathers/etc. will be veiled in other than their real name: The Racists.

The rest of the non-Fox MSM, for the most part, gave a lot of coverage to the Glenn Beckers as they marched on Washington this weekend. Lately, in discussion with friends and family, I’ve shared my disapproval for the way Obama’s handling the health care reform. I think he’s been ineffective and too defensive. The same can be said 100 times over for the majority of the Democratic Party. What I do approve of, though, is the constant turning of the cheek that Obama’s given to the nutters in the street. I don’t know how I could have not, if I were in his shoes, spent my weekend throwing water balloons filled with piss at these groups, or at least had Rahm Emanuel do it for me. At least in this capacity, we finally have a President who displays the maturity we all should strive to achieve.

But yes, every moral high ground has an exception, and mine is Glenn Beck, who I will argue is one of the five biggest assholes on television.



We said goodbye to McNulty & Co this year, more on that deeper in this end of year piece.
We said goodbye to McNulty & Co this year, here's an image from one of their sets.

Before I decided to come back to the keyboard to clean this shitstorm of mental cobweb-ery out, I brought out a nice bottle of wine … and this clip. Bissinger vs. Leitch. Watch to get yourself in the mood to rip the old dead world apart.


Throw on that Johnson&Jonson record to bring me back down, and here we are:

There’s a vibe going around right now, this whole big FUCK 08 thing. Sure we lost our economy down a drain more gutter than Amy Winehouse’s breath, but this was a brilliant year if you can look past that, which you might have to, in order to sleep at night. I got to meet people who create stuff I love, and they were all awesome. Hendrik Hertzberg, Matt Taibbi, Gbenga Akinnagbe, Elizabeth Moss, Common, Nas (who gave daps to everyone on the line, including yours truly), Jeremy Piven (briefly, as he had to get back into his SUV to his Nordic looking model girlfriend who must have been treating him for the Mercury Poisoning), and I think I’ve seen Jack McBrayer (30 Rock’s Kenneth The Page) enough on the subways for him to think I’m stalking him.

Oh yeah, and The Giants Won The Superbowl, Crushing Tom Brady & Bill Bellicheat, Ending Their Perfect Season.

Start off where the year jumped off at, the #1 Movie of 2008, pronounced by yours truly Mr. With A Passion:

2008’s Top Ten Movies

1. 4 Months, 3 Weeks, 2 Days is a movie you probably didn’t see and that’s because it had zero push behind it. The release felt confined to the pitiful location of The IFC Center, which still feels somewhat irrelevant for it’s nabe. 4 Months is the Romanian mindfuck about the odds against anyone in late 80’s Romania who wanted abortion, specifically two college students. The film is as well shot as anything made all year and on a shoestring budget, Cristian Mungiu, the film’s writer and director has produced a time vault level item for a year where the GOP restoked the fires of the pro life culture war army thanks to the fact that Wasillans are as dumb as pissed on dirt. 

2. The Dark Knight transcended both the crime and superhero genres, thanks to a stellar cast, most of whom have not received the kudos they deserve, yet that’s still appropriate given the shadow that Heath Ledger’s death, a colossal kick in the jaw to millions, still casts over the first superhero film to possibly reasonably merit, nay demand, an Academy Award (but, fuck, Paul Haggis has a fucking Oscar, so how valuable are they really?). A.O. Scott might have only done this to get someone to carve a smile into his face (I know a pint size powerhouse who will wreak havoc upon voters if this whole Tom Cruise for Supporting Actor in The Five Minutes of Tropic Thunder He Was In Where He Played The All Too Easy Role Of A Fat White Guy Dancing To Rap, and Scott, she’ll find you, too). Eckhart’s Harvey “Two Face” Dent is another villain portrayal that unquestionably made it’s case to be the definition of a decades old character. The older class comes out of this movie even better, as Gary Oldman, Morgan Freeman, and Michael Cane all bring their A Game to the franchise, providing a real base for the film, one where characters sometimes get left in the trail to fight scenes, gadgets, and the zigs and zags of a finely tapered plot (not that TDK doesn’t have those three in spades, which it does).

3. Waltz With Bashir snuck in under the wire, on 12/26/08 in limited release. Think Waking Life‘s aesthetic yet less douchey in every regard including characters, the perspective of Full Metal Jacket, but the damn thing is a documentary about The First Lebanon War. The 26 dogs will haunt you as they haunted me, as this is one movie you cannot miss in theaters. It’s probably still over at Cinema Village or something, but you must go out and find it. The power of the images produced deserves more than your tv set, this is not for Netflix, this is why we go to the cinema, to be fucked with by way of our minds expanded.

4. Let The Right One In, is the proof that the Swedes work on levels we can’t even touch. From all the sources I’ve got, it seems that while Twilight is a capable half decent movie, it’s based on a book series of the same quality of Goosebumps. Let The Right One In, on the other hand, is based on a novel, which was adapted for the screen by the actual author of the novel. The result is a brutal depiction of elementary school bullying, and one of the finale fights felt like some sci fi fantasy take on Columbine, and where the blood gets the most perverse laugh out of the audience you will find all year.

5. A Girl Cut in Two, the latest Chabrol film is a great love triangle film, a phrase I don’t find myself saying that often, or ever, really. François Berléand is the kind of actor whose face you’ve known for decades, yet never connected to a name. Here, he plays a renowned author who’s latest fancy is weather girl Gabrielle, played pitch-perfect by Ludivine Sagnier. But their romance isn’t anything to write home about until the nefarious Paul Gardens, a bougie douche who could go toe to toe with the Chuck Bass’s of the world any day, who treats Gabrielle like she’s his birthright. This triangle does not end well, not that they ever do.

6. Wall•E, was possibly the most beloved animated movie since Toy Story, yet this time the adults were more in love with the story than the kids were. This has a lot to do with the film’s (more) mature (than usual) subject matter: We’ve Fucked The Planet Royally & Spend Most Of Our Time As Sedentary Snoozing Schmucks. It was good, but really didn’t grab me as much as the top 5 did.

7. Milk was a great movie. Everything worked, except for the unlikeable character Diego Luna played which felt too close to stereotype. I wonder, though, that if this movie came out at a different time, would it have had the same impact without the election and the passing of prop hate?

8. Frost/Nixon brought Ron Howard to an all too prescient topic and accomplished everything it had to while avoiding the SNL Skit vibe that Oliver Stone’s W. suffered from. Why Mickey Rourke had to make his comeback in the year Frank Langella made an amazingly deserving Oscar performance we won’t know.

9. Synecdoche, New York is for all intensive purposes (Thanks Tavit!) intents and purposes, Charlie Kaufman’s The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou. A film so enamored with itself that the cartoons on tv, which barely have any purpose, point, or use, are also made by the filmmaker. I think it’s good Kaufman got this out of his system so he can move on to make less frustratingly dense films. The last half hour is a bulldozer of mindfuckery that grated all nerves.

10. The Wrestler. I used to watch pro wrestling, and for anyone in a similar predicament, Arronofsky’s small film about the horrors that wrestling inflicts on the human body this is a tough film to watch. Hell, it’s a tough film for anyone to watch, but it wouldn’t have fallen to the 10-er if the Marisa Tomei character had more going for herself plot wise. But I guess that’s why they called it The Wrestler and not The Stripper Who Has An Oscar. Rourke’s performance was so brilliant that he’ll have his own soon enough.

Honorable Mentions: Che, for making 4.5 hours not seem that long; Transporter 3, the best pure action movie I’ve seen in a while; Vicky Cristina Barcelona for giving Woody Allen a reason to give us all a reason to ogle Scarlet and Penelope some more; and Rachel Getting Married, for having Tunde Adebimpe of TVOTR singing at a wedding.

The rest of this closing the books on a year below

Continue reading “• 2008: THAT JUST HAPPENED”

• Historical Religion, an oxymoron you’d only hear from a moron like Newt Gingrich

Anyone else follow the whole Bill-O v. Hertzberg affair I posted video of a while back? Well, now that I’m back to actually *gasp* blogging, I’d like to point out something that former speaker of the house Gingrich had to say in the original segment, and the itals are mine and not theirs:

GINGRICH: Look, I think there is a gay and secular fascism in this country that wants impose its will on the rest of us. It is prepared to use violence, to use harassment. I think it is prepared to use the government, if it can get control of it. I think that it is a very dangerous threat to anybody who believes in traditional religion. And I think if you believe in historic Christianity, you have to confront the fact, and frankly for that matter if you believe in the historic version of Islam or the historic version of Judaism, you have to confront the reality that the secular extremists are determined to impose on you acceptance of a series of values that are antithetical, they’re the opposite of what you’re taught in Sunday school.

quoting this from Hertzberg’s insanely detailed telling of his and David Remnick’s part in all this.

What I take offense to here is the thought that a religion’s stories can be taken as, or even referred to as, history. It’s religion. It’s a series of stories. It’s one peoples view of what has happened in the past, not a consensus of what actually happened, which is what you read in most history books. I’m not saying I believe all religion to be bullshit and facetious, I just think that putting the word historic next to the word Christianity, which is obviously Newt’s true intent, is a scarily ominous precipice. A precipice that Newt, once off air, probably belly-flops off of onto a magical bed, cushioning his fall with layer upon layer of bullshit, calming the bastard down when he worries that homosexuals may one day be granted the rights to marry.