the way we live in our culture and don’t see it…

March 2nd, 2017

I ponder why I’ve never thought one way or the other about above ground pools.

On her first show after the election, Samantha Bee, the comedic equivalent of a Facebook “share if you agree” post, said, “America has done the diplomatic equivalent of installing an above-ground pool. Even in the best case scenario and it doesn’t seep into the foundation, our neighbors will never look at us in the same way again.”
Who has above-ground pools? Poor people of all races. Rural people with yards. The joke is simply “Poor people who try to act rich are tacky. People who don’t have the money to get a proper pool are an embarrassment, and they should be more concerned with the judgment of neighbors than their own happiness.”

Sure.  The show  Sometimes I get tossed a reference point that I just don’t know.  Apparently above ground pools are really something, to be slotted in the basic premise of a pre-scripted commentary metaphor — fill in the blank outrage reference.

And so it is the question.  Indicative of something.  Like, I can go one round better on the “above ground pool” line and throw you the old mud ditch out that away on a hot summers’ day.  So it is… From what grounds on classist elitism does Samantha Bee find this line?
The Meritocracy in action — can’t find someone of a diverse background different from her’s in the writers’ staff to snub that line.

But alas.  Today we see a snicker that Trump ate steak out at his Trump restaurant well done and with ketchup.  I realize that when we’re talking about Trump eating steak well done and with ketchup we’re not talking about steak, but an attitude — so tasteless, so smothering of taste and so just like his proposed budget and immigration policies and presidential demeanor — but I’m stuck feeling like people who have been outraged when I order a salad without dressing.

The cultural puzzlements acure.  In what is otherwise a “points well taken” editorial by Gloria Steinem, I become stuck on the just what is the definition of (derogatory term it be) “chick flick” / “chick lit”.  I trend toward placing it in the same escapist line as the dismissive “dude wants to see a bunch of car crashes” comment she has upon hearing the phrase in an airplane.  As we move through her definition of the new term of “prick flick” and various sexist tropes, I’m stuck right about here…

All the movies that portray female human beings as the only animals on earth that seek out and enjoy their own subordination and pain. From such whitewashed versions of prostitution as “Pretty Woman” (literally whitewashed, since poverty and racism mean that white women are much less likely to be prostituted) to …

Or.  Ask me to name some “chick flicks”, and — after quickly summising whether this is a set-up and wind-up, just about first movie I would name … Pretty Woman.  (A movie like, oh, The Color Purple — surely land on the problem Steinem is discussing — I wouldn’t mention.)  Surely doesn’t fit feminist garb, and lands in a retelling of fairy tale tropes.  Can a movie be both a “chick flick” and this category of “prick flick” — and if there’s a competition for a label shouldn’t the title be bestowed on which gender watches the movie more?

In other news.  Say.  What about the Oscars gaffe?

Like the recent presidential election, these Oscars were the worst ever. How could the staff give the presenters the wrong card? They had one task to do and they gave the presenters the wrong card for the most important announcement of the night!
After last year’s Oscars, and all the complaining by Will Smith, these felt like the “Affirmative Action Oscars.” Everyone will have their opinion on who is best but when you mix political causes to get the results you want then art is the true victim.
— Peter Klingchov

Think of the Awards shows and making judgements as generally a craps’ shoot of indifference whether a thing deserves it over another thing, and can think of some clunkers in the past that won the Big One that I think are clunkers — more so than Moonlight looks like.  Which draws me to the smirking thought that this letter writer will be viewing any win by a minority group as undeserving affirmative action.

And then the conspiracy theory.

I wouldn’t be surprised if this whole thing was staged so they would elevate media attention for this year’s Oscars.

I did not watch the Academy Awards, and I’m sure a number of people did not either, but now it’s everywhere. You can’t open a newspaper, website or change the TV channels without seeing the “oohs” and “ahhs” from the Oscar flub.

Along the lines of

I find it interesting that Ron Wyden thinks he knows things the FBI has long since cleared Trump on, namely the president’s supposed “Russian connection,” which is patently ridiculous [“Tinker Tailor Senator Spy,” WW, Feb. 22, 2017].
Where’s the proof, Senator? Imagine that, you have none.

Bubbles abound, over to our own sources and ignore those that don’t conform, and we’re in a narrative spittle rut of pre-programmed automatic reply “Imagine that, you have none” — none, unless you’re paying attention.

remembering alan colmes

February 28th, 2017

Alan Colmes passed away last weekend. He presided over a strange corner of politics — the token liberal on Fox News, the “Fill in the Blank” that Roger Ailes had drawn up for the line-up to figure a “Hannity and Blank” Show.

As oft derided by the electoral left, he did have a rather engaging radio station (which was placed on at midnight on the late liberal radio station KPOJ, which shows how derided he was, really) — he liked to parlay into strange corridors of the political spectrum.  (Alas, he resided in Fox News land and so also had a habit of pulling in the Fox News land guests of the moment). I was curious to see if there was any mention in coverage or out in the Internets for what was the strangest of interviews.

Neal Horsley.

Who, telling of his decadent past that he’s escaped and grown in God away from… offered that he did anything that moved…

“Barnyard Animals?”

When you grow up on a farm in Georgia, your first girlfriend is a mule.”

And so Alan Colmes is then playing the straight man in a bizarre comedy act, as his guest digs further in.

Neal Horsley asked to be invited back to… extricate himself from it all… so this one went on for three separate hours.

Anything out there on this moment in Alan Colmes’s career?  Maybe decorum and giving dignity to the dearly departed forgoes such a memorial mention, so we are left with this random comment floating out there.

And maybe we shouldn’t slide Alan Colmes’s legacy down to just that, but it is one thing that set him apart.

a partial defense, or maybe not

February 23rd, 2017

Bill Maher does some victory lap in bringing on Milo Yiannopoulos, though he’s largely denounced for mainstreaming him by having him on his program.  (I note the cartoon in an alt weekly which has Bill Maher slapping Milo’s hand and saying “You Go Bro!” — interesting as the example clearest for Maher is his good friend and mentor for Milo — Ann Coulter, and here it is the theme of mocking the “defender of free speech” line — though it is clear that the man would be a defender of his free speech)  The theory lies in the “sunlight exposing the man” realm — attention brought attention to things secreted away from him in the past?

“So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed” — we’re in the realm of what momentarily tripped up Trevor Noah upon being given his Daily Show job– go scour around and find an offensive sounding twitter post.  This at least is public comments, — it is an obvious dark joke (pedophiliac priest), swimming in what may or may not be ruminations  —

I admit.  I haven’t taken a good look at “it”.  All I’m saying right now is that I don’t immediately blanch at what I’ve heard and can imagine a context where this particularly I’d skip away.

The problem is if I half want to give a “Partial Defense”, a begrudging “you’re playing a game here” theme of mine I’ve tossed to the likes of Sarah Palin and others — here I’m struck by the idea that the man should have been drummed out of acceptable public discourse by every other damned thing he’s said and done, and the “If It’s Shocking, It Sells, and If it Sells, it’s Winning!” line.  (Validated, I suppose, by the man in the White House.)

And yet still.  If he appears at Berkley.  Don’t punch him.

what about paul?

February 22nd, 2017

I like the libertarian magazine Reason’s claim right about here.  “Of course, Libertarians are leading the fight against Trump“.

To be sure, this is a look over at a British publication and a slight lack of nuance on American politics —

And to be sure, the “Great Libertarian” or libertarian-ish, politico in the Senate is not covered in the Reason blog post…

But… So says Rand Paul, Republican Senator of Kentucky on Michael Flynn.

“I just don’t think it’s useful to be doing investigation after investigation, particularly of your own party. We’ll never even get started with doing the things we need to do, like repealing Obamacare, if we’re spending our whole time having Republicans investigate Republicans. I think it makes no sense.”

I suppose the murky underside of Russian intelligence is of no concern for Paul.  Oh well.  At least he’s holding forth against John Bolton, even if he just gave a partisan game of his away.

plastered about

February 21st, 2017

Saw the piece of sticker slogan.

“Pizza Gate is Real”.

Is this a medium for fake news?

Is this sincere or ironic?

If the former, does it do more harm to the cause than good?  If latter, does it do more good to the cause than harm?

infotainment complex

February 18th, 2017

I remember early in the Obama Administration, sitting through conservative punditry that took it as a given that the whole Obama Administration is failing, that the news media failed to “vet” him and now we have — a complete nincompoop and disaster.  It was something where the very act of proposing policies and making some attacks on some of his political opponents — see the self-sainted US Chamber of Commerce — was proof of this.

It’s maybe a reflex, and I strain to remain historically grounded.

Assume the worst.  How did he hold a solid approval rating, with a faint “everyone but Republicans” honey-moon.  Trump?  Not so much.  Why?  Well… part of has to do with… oh… acting presidential.  Sooner or later, every administration barks at “the media” in frustration.  Trump declares it the enemy of the people.

The People, beloved by Bane in the Batman movie.

And to be sure, the Trump Administration is successfully moving forward with … action.  At the What The Republicans are thinking on Trump point.  Beyond that, we’re in a realm of a continued cycle since the Harding Administration.  So much an issue, that it’s a libertarian argument against government watchdog agencies — sooner and later, we’ll just have the Foxes guarding the henhouse and — BLAMO!  Teapot Dome!

But you know… accountability is an issue.  November 6, 2018, eh?  A slight problem.  Here are the Senate seats up.  McConnell sits as Senate Majority Leader for this entire Trump / Pence term.  I suppose we’re back to a “50 state strategy”, down to the local state level… with the Democrats trying to figure out how to move beyond the city enclaves again.