May 29, 2015

Bring on: “The Senator Al Franken and Bill O’Reilly show!”?

Filed under: Commentary — Tags: , , , — Bob Patterson @ 1:33 pm

tight crop Che waits for ride notched neg
































The summer of 2015 is notable for the game of musical chairs being played by the late night talks show hosts and since the lowest common denominator standards of excellence have precipitated an avalanche of pabulum flavored entertainment, perhaps it is time to beg Huge Hefner to bankroll a return to intelligent, thought-provoking, and civilized debate to counteract the tsunami of crap that is comprised of an infinite number of cloned talk shows that deliver results that remind some critics of an unattended kindergarten class on speed.

The first objection would be that appealing to a limited number of intellectuals might not attract the proper audience numbers to sanction the effort. Bullshit! If America is ready to endorse the idea that quality no longer trumps quantity, then why not let the screaming matches interrupted by crepitating and belching get some high-brow competition just for the S&G (Snide and Galling?) factor?

If cable TV networks can subsidize fictional TV series, why can’t they get their own talk shows? If “Mad Men” can exist without a home on the big networks, why can’t a talk show do the same? Wouldn’t most cable channels be willing to discuss the possibilities with Mr. Hefner?

Episodes of Edward R. Murrow’s “Person to Person,” such as the interview with Marlon Brando which started with a racist joke, are still drawing fresh viewers on youtube. Intrinsic quality can refute the short shelf life or grown stale argument.

Where the hell, in the talk show jungle, does a person go to see and evaluate new talent attempting to make a dent in the pop culture? [An internet acquaintance from Australia introduced us to the term/concept “Cultural Imperialism.”]

The trend to use talk show appearances to promote items such as a new album, book, or film has reduced the content to the level of a huckster’s sales pitch. The content of these sales pitches can accurately be called “promobabble.”

According to some experts the Tonight Show in the Jack Paar era fostered quality story telling. The need to go to a commercial break causes the (new word alert?) bumperstickerization of all topics. (For an example of a non-traditional talk show guest readers are encouraged to watch the film “American Splendor.”)

If, for example, some of Hugh Hefner’s picks for future stardom are given the chance to exhibit their inherent charm, then perhaps fame and fortune will arrive at their doorstep earlier than expected.

If some of Hugh Hefner’s long time friends are on a new season of “Playboy after Dark,” it would be interesting to see and hear them get the chance to tell some stories and anecdotes that last longer than can be successfully told in a three minute segment.

So what, if a review of “King Matt the First,” by Janusz Korczak (translated from the Polish by Richard Lourie) sounds a bit too arcane and esoteric? What parent doesn’t want to learn of he existence of a marvelous children’s book from 1920 that still appeals to adults? Even better if it raises unique topics such as “must children submit to kisses from adults approved by the parents (such as aunts and uncles) or should kids have the right to pick and choose who kisses them?”

Thanks to the internet, some laggards had the opportunity to watch the final episode of “Mad Men” during the week following its broadcast. This should refute any allegations that a talk show has to be seen live to work.

Yes the concept of having an episode where someone asks George Lucas if the C. L. Moore stories about Northwest Smith had any influence on him and his Star Wars films is a very esoteric topic, but, like seeing Brando tell a racist joke, it might have some appeal to film school student fifty years (or more?) in the future.

Don’t many folks who are not in the industry love to hear show biz rumors and gossip? Is it true that the next installment of the “Saw” movie series will be a musical comedy?

The modern day installments of pundits making a critical appraisal of the week’s events in Washington D. C. is supposed to be a chance to (metaphorically speaking) listen in on a WWII bull session featuring Morrow’s Boys, but the reality is that it is actually a melee of authors with competing egos who want to deliver either a scathing example of wit in action or a brilliant “Eureka!” sound byte that lays bare the crux of the debate.

Are the talking heads in the USA going to ask: “What gives America the right to arrest the officials in charge of Soccer and the World Cup competition?” Does Lichtenstein have a right to arrest George W. Bush for war crimes?

Will the talk shows discuss the idea that the Broward Savings & Loan scandal should be just as important as the finances of the Clinton Foundation will be during the Presidential Election?

Is it mere coincidence that in an era when it is being asserted that a conscious effort to “dumb down” the USA is being conducted, wit is disappearing? A clever and caustic comment has to be understood to produce a laugh as a response.

If news for voters in the USA is being carefully monitored, that might explain why the Sunday morning gabfests don’t draw attention to the fact the internet is buzzing with two related rumors. One is that a neutron bomb was dropped on Iran recently or that one was sold or given to Saudi Arabia to use in Yemen.

If Americans were being given quality talk show debates, the question “Will Baghdad fall?” would present advocates of both a “yes” and “no” answer. Have you heard anyone giving the hypothetical point of view that it will fall?

Did the USA ever figure out who mailed the anthrax shortly after the attack on the World Trade Center?

Do talk shows ask about the lingering questions about who profited from selling airline stocks short at the time the World Trade attack occurred?

Speaking of the broadcasting concept of a “hard break,” the World’s Laziest Journalist tries to maintain a self-imposed three e-takes limit for the column and that means that we can only scratch the surface of this topic and then recommend that readers who want more should make the effort to obtain and (at least) skim through a copy of the book “Entertaining Ourselves to Death,” by Neil Postman.

The World’s Laziest Journalist does see the pragmatic benefit of the trend towards using social media to get publicity which translates into bigger audience numbers. For example, if we casually mention that San Francisco Bay Area political activist Mike Zint iis expanding his reach by managing the Listen up Mayors page on Facebook and if he (coincidence alert?) shares the links to our column, then the number of hits will quadruple. What’s not to like about that?

Do the viewers of Bill O know what obstreperous and impudent mean let alone require those qualities from an interesting and entertaining talk show?

[Note from the Photo editor: Since talk shows seem to have skipped interviews with Occupy Activists, we thought an old file photo of one of those anonymous political advocates who were MIA from the (biased?) late night talk shows might be an appropriate illustration for this week’s column. How can a talk show claim to have a balanced approach if all members of the one debating team are snubbed?]

Closing quote? Did Andy Warhol say “In the future, everyone will be a world famous talk show host for 15 minutes?” Or did he say: “In the future everyone will be the host for a world famous 15 minute talk show?”?

Now the disk jockey will play “Talk to me,” by Sunny & the Sunliners,Doris Day’s “Pillow Talk,” and the song “talk talk” by a group called “Talk Talk.” We have to go watch (thanks to DVD’s) some TV episodes from 1968. Have a “Dahhh Da Dohnt Dahhh – ‘This is the city . . .’” type week.


June 22, 2011

No Fear & Loathing in Minneapolis: Cheap patriotism vs. Deep patriotism

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , — Jane Stillwater @ 4:56 pm

I was supposed to go to the Netroots Nation convention in Minneapolis last week, an annual event designed to appeal to progressive bloggers, progressive activists and progressive wannabes. However, 24 hours before I was scheduled to leave for Minnesota, I started to get cold feet. Why even bother? Trying to speak up for freedom, justice and democracy in America just seems to be an exercise in futility these days. Obviously the corporatists and their Fright-wing minions have grabbed hold of all us progressives by the short hairs and aren’t letting go — so why even bother to fight back? I started to reach for the phone, to cancel my reservations.

But then I didn’t.

It’s time to man up and not let those bastards get me down!

So the next day I bravely put on my “We sail until Palestine is Free” T-shirt, ignored all the suspicious looks from passengers who appeared to think I was about to blow up the plane in the middle of some grade-B movie by Adam Sandler, flew off to Denver, spent the night attempting to sleep in the DEN airport and finally flew on to Minneapolis to the tune of “This land is your land…” playing in my head.

This land was made for you and me.

And that’s pretty much what they tried to tell us at the Netroots Nation convention.

America doesn’t belong to the corporatists and their brain-washed Fright-wing minions. This land STILL belongs to you and me. And there are still a lot of us who still believe this — that America is still ours.

And I learned that we all have to stand up and fight for our country. And I also learned that I’m not in this battle alone.

Over 2,500 progressives attended the NN convention. It was inspiring! I really am not alone. And not only that, but I learned that the people of Minneapolis are really NICE. Got immigrant problems? No problem here. The people of this great city embraced their immigrants, educated them, made them productive citizens and put them to work to make Minneapolis stronger — not becoming just one more bastion of Fear and Loathing and hate like in Arizona right now (and Warsaw in 1944). America is bigger than that.

At the convention, Van Jones gave a speech about “Cheap patriots vs. Deep patriots”. Here’s a video of that speech: This speech is like the Gettysburg Address of modern progressivism — short and moving. I left the auditorium completely inspired. Screw the fright-wing media and the corporate Big Boys who tell us that progressives are un-American fools. I’m gonna go back out there into the blogosphere trenches and fight for my country!

“Don’t you tell us that progressives don’t love our country,” said Jones. “We stand up for folks and we help people and we hold them and help and love them — the people that you mistreat and run over and laugh at. And we see the effects of your cynicism and your disrespect and your hate-mongering. And it’s not just immoral, it’s un-American to abuse the airwaves and the ears of our children with your lies and your filth. We’re sick of it. You’re not America. We’re a better country than that. Quit abusing our country!”

Jones talked about how Tea Party members have rallied around the idea of “Rugged Individualism,” and how badly that plan is working out for them — because Tea Party members are demanding rugged individualism alright, but only for the soon-to-be-extinct American middle class, not for the oligarchs. Is the Tea Party rallying around the idea of demanding “Rugged Individualism” for wealthy corporatists too? Hell no. Corporatists get to be Socialists!

“Progressives need to rally around the American Dream. Not the one that says that somehow we may someday all become millionaires, but the one that says if we work hard we will succeed.” And that our government is there to help us succeed, not just to give more trillions of dollars to Wall Street and the War machine — while taking away our infrastructure and Social Security and educational system and jobs in order to pay for the Tea Party’s naive belief that their corporatist heroes need government perks but they don’t. Or words to that effect.

Go, Van!

Now I’m all inspired to go back home and kick even more Corporatist arse. This is MY America. Not theirs. I’m a Deep Patriot. Corporatists and their Tea Party minions are just cheap patriots. So there!

PS: While in Minneapolis, I also discovered that I was actually staying next to the University of Minnesota chapter-house of my old sorority, Kappa Kappa Gamma. Wow! Here’s my big chance to use my secret handshake and reminisce over the old glory days back in 1961 when I was Kappa’s only token hippie. So I knocked on the chapter-house door, but no one answered. Guess you can’t go home again. Sigh.

PPS: Minneapolis has some wonderful public transportation. I took their light-rail train out to the Mall of America and got there in less than 20 minutes. LOVED the MOA, that tribute to America’s sacred worship of materialism. Loved the rides. Loved the shops. Even loved Hooters! But. America is so much more than just the trinkets you can buy in shops and stores.

America’s true glory lies in the kind smiles on Minneapolis residents’ faces — and their willingness to help strangers. No Fear & Loathing here.

PPPS: And if you still aren’t completely pissed off at the Republican corporatists and their Tea Party dupes who have set out to systematically destroy America’s middle class, then just click here and listen to another Netroots Nation keynote speech by MN Senator Al Franken — then you definitely will be pissed off!


To see photos of Van Jones at NN and of me at Hooters, click here:


April 30, 2009

The Tattlesnake – Rep. Hoot, Sen. Smalley and the Fox Swine Crew Edition

The Harder They Fall…

What a Hoot: As Keith Olbermann reported Wednesday night, perpetually-insane Minnesota comediatrix Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Daft) brought the funny the other day when she took to the House floor to condemn Franklin D. Roosevelt and the Dems for the ‘Hoot-Smalley Act’ of the Great Depression era. While you can never be sure when dealing with a dingbat like Bachmann, who apparently stole her blank eyeballs from a crazy doll in “Bride of Chucky“, she probably meant the ‘Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act‘ that was sponsored by two Republicans, and signed into law by Republican President Herbert Hoover in 1930. In reality, FDR campaigned against the act in 1932, and a Dem majority in Congress effectively repealed Smoot-Hawley in 1934 with the Reciprocal Trade Agreements Act, but in Michele’s loopy-dumb, wish-I-had-a-brain, far-right universe facts are a liberal, commie plot invented by the Devil to trip up those patriotically lying in the name of Jesus. If you’re a sane Republican (okay, that would be confined to ex-McCain manager Steve Schmidt and Sen. Olympia Snowe) you know that Bachmann’s Sixth District is already in the ‘D’ column in 2010 (she nearly lost to an unknown children’s book character named Elwyn Tinklenberg in ’08), and that you must find a legal means to (a) shut this woman up before she further damages what’s left of your party and (b) prevent her from running for president or vice president in 2012. (The vision of a ‘Palin-Bachmann 2012′ ticket privately induces dyspeptic nightmares of an LBJ/Goldwater electoral slaughter among GOP bigwigs.) Of course, it may be too late – the GOP brand is so tainted that if you jettisoned all of the dotty Dittoheads, nattering neocons, tone-deaf teabaggers, putrid Palinites, raging racists, Savage Nation neo-Nazis, fatuous Freepers, flaming fully-automatic gun nuts and kinky religious kooks, you could assemble what’s left of the party in a Washington hotel ballroom with space to spare for a trained elephant act. (For more on this, read the last two items in this article.)

He’s Good Enough, He’s Smart Enough and Doggone It, the People Liked Him! Speaking of Minnesota, the drab electoral Death March of Numb Norm Coleman, the Republican Sore Loser, received a little spark of life thanks to the wily minds in Al Franken’s


October 22, 2008

The Tattlesnake – Lipstick on a Pygmalion Edition

Plus a Ray of Light on McCain’s Silly Phillie Charge and Other Diversions

“If your actions speak louder than words, you’re not yelling loud enough.”
– Stephen Colbert, October 20, 2008.

What’s up with God’s Own Hockey Mom, that plain small-town Wasilla girl we’ve all grown to know and love, dropping $150,000 bucks of RNC cash on clothes and jewelry from such snooty elitist shops as Saks Fifth Avenue and Neiman-Marcus? Say it ain’t so, Joe – has Alaska’s neo-secessionist pitbull become a pampered poodle, corrupted by her trip to the lower 48? (Perhaps it was associating with all those liberal socialists on Saturday Night Live is what did it, the same way as Obama meeting Bill Ayers turned him into a 1960s domestic terrorist by osmosis.) Jeepers, next we’ll find out she doesn’t know what the Vice President’s job is, according to the Constitution.

Speaking of Mrs. Bent Mooseburger, why isn’t the following a bigger story among the Big Media bobbleheadery? McCain’s Bullwinkle-Killer spent Alaska taxpayer money to drag the whole fam damily along with her to various events, paying out $21,000 for daughters Piper, Willow and Bristol to travel and hotel in luxury at the public’s expense. Worse, she lied when she claimed that the kid’s were invited to these events and, worst of all, altered the expense accounts after the fact. Alaska law is clear: Gov. Palin’s expense account is to be used only for official state business, period. This used to be the kind of Enormous No-No that got state executives and those playing executives on TV fired, yet the BM has hardly peeped about it. C’mon, Beemers, step up to the plate here.

Speaking of stepping up to the plate (in the head), Cap’n McCrash is indulging in yet another head-scratcher by using Obama’s innocuous political hat-tip to both World Series contenders, The Philadelphia Phillies and the Tampa Bay Rays, as some kind of example of BHO’s horrible hypocrisy. This is interesting since the Ol’ Straight-Talker himself, appearing on Pittsburgh TV station KDKA last July, recited his usual anecdote about telling his North Vietnamese captors way-back-when that some of the officers in his squadron were the starting offensive line of the Green Bay Packers, but for purposes of political pandering, changed the Packers to the defensive line of the Pittsburgh Steelers, even though the story was in his friggin’ book!

“When I was first interrogated and really had to give some information because of the pressures, physical pressures on me, I named the starting lineup, defensive line of the Pittsburgh Steelers as my squadron mates.”
– John McCain on KDKA-TV, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, July 2008.

“Pressed for more useful information, I gave the names of the Green Bay Packers offensive line, and said they were members of my squadron.”
– John McCain, from his book, “Faith of My Fathers” (1999).

“Imagine if Al Gore or John Kerry had changed the facts of a story they told forever in order to appeal to whatever swing state they were speaking in? … Also, the famous Steelers defensive line that McCain was trying to refer to (Mean Joe, L.C. etc.) didn’t become famous until after McCain was out of Vietnam.”
– Chuck Todd and Domenico Montanaro, MSNBC First Read, July 11, 2008.

Keep digging, Johnny!


June 9, 2008

Travis Smiley For U. S. Senate

Filed under: Toon — Tags: , , — Volt @ 5:20 pm

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