Friday, November 25, 2005

American Idiot

Question: What’s it gotta be like to be one of the Bush daughters, not being allowed to like the new Green Day album because it makes fun of daddy?

I’m looking across my room at a stack of DVD’s, particularly all of my Japanese animation, is about ready to fall over on to the spot where my laptop generally sits. A great pile of Robotech (the complete series), Evangelion, Appleseed, Ghost in the Shell (movies only, no TV show for me, thank you), and a couple of others, in a stack at least two feet tall and listing several degrees off-center.

I’ve probably got too many DVD’s. I’ve got DVD’s I haven’t even watched yet: The Life Aquatic, Sideways, Confidence, Gilmore Girls (seasons one and two; and I’m going to justify that by saying Lauren Graham is wicked hot), and probably half a dozen others. It took me two weeks to get around to watching Cursed, but I think that was pretty much because I was trying to think of all the ways it wouldn’t live up to my expectations, because I have this theory: If you think a movie’s going to suck bad enough, you’ll never be disappointed.

With regard to Cursed, I am reminded of a quote by Albert Einstein: “Not only is the universe stranger than we imagine, it is stranger than we can imagine.” That said, Cursed defies description. I can attempt to say that the movie is an abomination the likes of which are rarely seen from Hollywood. “Is it, in fact, unfair to criticize a formerly great artist for his latter day musical sins? Is it better to burn out than to fade away?” I honestly want to know how it is that this movie got the greenlight from Dimension, other than perhaps the explanation the the Weinsteins were on the way out and probably looking to sink Disney under a mighty mountain of crap. As much as I enjoyed the first two Scream films (the second more than the first, mind you), I simply don’t understand ... pretty much anything about how the film ended up the way it did.

Had to work this morning at 5:45, pushing carts until 8:00. God, that sucked. What the hell is wrong with you people, that you go out shopping on Black Friday at five in the morning or earlier? I actually watched grown men run screaming to the electronics section, like Vikings about to pillage an entire countryside. Apparently, while I wasn’t looking, there was a fistfight over an Xbox 360. I don’t know what the outcome of that one was, although I can tell you two things: Anyone who uses an Xbox 360 as a bludgeoning tool will win that contest, because that thing’s fucking heavy; and ... well, I had something else, but now I’ve lost it. It probably had something to do with the obscene rate of Xbox 360’s overheating, which will make for a very happy Hannukwanzaamas (trademark pending) for a lot of kids, since it’ll take Microsoft 10 days or so to get the machine fixed at a retail establishment, because it’s not like you’re going to be able to take it back to the store and say, “This is defective, I want a new one,” because the store’s not going to have one to give you.

Well. I’m going to read The Truth (with jokes) by Al Franken for a while, prior to going back to bed to work in ten hours. I’m not sure whether they’re going to make me cut my overtime tomorrow or not, but hopefully nobody noticed in all of the Hannukwanzaamas carnage. Tell your friends about this new multi-denominational holiday. It’s gonna be a thing, sort of like lemon-law dating.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Hitchin' A Ride

I've been listening to a lot of Green Day since I bought their new CD/DVD, Bullet in a Bible, package on Tuesday. I probably wouldn't have ever gone back to listening to Green Day (as I haven't for about the entirety of the ten years since Dookie) if not for the fact that American Idiot is such a brilliant album. If you're George Bush or a staunch supporter, then I'm sure you don't agree with me.

From Friday's Congressional Minutes:
11:31 P.M. -
Mr. Shuster asked unanimous consent to discharge from committee and consider.
Considered by unanimous consent.

H. Res. 571:
expressing the sense of the House of Representatives that the deployment of United States forces in Iraq be terminated immediately
Motion to reconsider laid on the table Agreed to without objection.
On agreeing to the resolution Failed by recorded vote: 3 - 403, 6 Present (Roll no. 608).
So, you'd think that it was a Democrat who brought up House Resolution 571, right? Seeing how they're the ones who are always talking about the war, and how the President really has to have an exit strategy for someone other than Harriet Miers (yes, she's going to be a joke in twenty years, just like Bork).

No, it was California Rep. Duncan Hunter, a Republican from the 52nd district, near San Diego. In other words, it was a fucking stunt. The Republicans concoct this plan, here, to get the Democrats to look like they're supporting the war by putting forth the most goddamn ridiculously worded resolution the possibly could. According to the Washington Post:
Armed Services Committee Chairman Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.) drafted a simpler resolution calling for an immediate withdrawal of troops, saying it was a fair interpretation of Murtha's intent. Members were heatedly debating a procedural rule concerning the Hunter resolution when Rep. Jean Schmidt (R-Ohio) was recognized at 5:20 p.m. Schmidt won a special election in August, defeating Iraq war veteran Paul Hackett, and is so new to Congress that some colleagues do not know her name.

She told colleagues that "a few minutes ago I received a call from Colonel Danny Bubp," an Ohio legislator and Marine Corps Reserve officer. "He asked me to send Congress a message: Stay the course. He also asked me to send Congressman Murtha a message: that cowards cut and run, Marines never do."
And then it got ugly. For the record, she retracted her statement from the Congressional Record after ... well, to call it a madhouse wouldn't just be a clever pun. Here's the play-by-play, also from the Washington Post:
Dozens of Democrats erupted at once, pointing angrily at Schmidt and shouting repeatedly, "Take her words down" -- the House term for retracting a statement. For a moment Schmidt tried to keep speaking, but the uproar continued and several GOP colleagues surrounded her as she sat down, looking slightly dazed. Presiding officer Mike Simpson (R-Idaho) gaveled in vain for order as Democrats continued shouting for Schmidt to take back her words. Rep. Martin T. Meehan (D-Mass.) yelled "You guys are pathetic!" from the far end of the Democratic section to the GOP side.

Just as matters seemed to calm a bit, Rep. Harold E. Ford Jr. (D-Tenn.) suddenly charged across the aisle to the GOP seats, jabbing his finger furiously at a small group of GOP members and shouting, "Say Murtha's name!" Rep. David R. Obey (D-Wis.), who had led the chants for striking Schmidt's comments, gently guided Ford by the arm back to the minority party's side.

At 5:31, when order was finally restored, Schmidt rose again and said softly, "My words were not directed at any member of the House." She asked that they "be withdrawn" from the record.
No shit, one of our guys charged the other side, like it was going to erupt into violence, like the 'Vince McMahon's X-SPAN' channel from a 2001 issue of The Onion, complete with bone-crunching political coverage. For those of you who don't pay as much attention as I do, congressman Murtha said earlier in the week that we should bring home the troops "at the earliest practicable date." And it's not like the guy's a pansy or anything, seeing how he got two purple hearts as a Marine in Korea and Vietnam.

I think we should be the last country to teach Iraq democracy. We're awful at it. If you read the congressional minutes, you'll see that the majority of the actions these guys go through from day to day are tantamount to political masturbation. Here, read what happened during the last day in the House of Representatives. It's crap; complete and utter fucking garbage. These guys spend time working on laws to help people like I spend time working on my screenplay.

There are things that they work on every year in Congress that I think should just be a given. They hammer out numbers and haggle over how much money goes to this or that, and they do it with everything. There are some things that shouldn't be argued or haggled, they should just give it an absurdly high number and then just recoup what's left at the end of the year and roll it forward for the next year. I think health care for veterans should be like that. I think veterans should get the same health-care plan that members of Congress get, or vice-versa. I think that if a congressman had to go through the bullshit that a veteran has to go through for health care, they'd probably pull out their checkbooks and kick another ten or twenty billion dollars into the program.

But then again, I'm a liberal. I'm a Democrat in the heart of Denny Hastert's district, which is to say that my opinion really doesn't matter around here. But, free speech is still in operation, at least until the new Supreme Court reinterprets "free" as meaning, "without charge," so I'm perfectly within my rights to say, Republicans: That stunt you pulled today was bullshit, and I think the people who concocted it, and the people who went along with it, and the people who profited politically from it should rot in fucking Hell, you goddamn cocksuckers.

Was that too blunt?

AIM: therbmcc71

Friday, November 04, 2005

The Kids Aren't Alright

Because I was asked for help with a persuasive essay on this very topic, I have decided to write this, despite the fact that my statements on such went pretty much completely ignored.

When our children turn on the television, it's bad enough that they have to sit through the complete and utter garbage that's shoveled up to us on a nightly basis by the networks, as though they feel the overwhelming need to fulfill a sacred prophecy made many years ago by Newton Minnow; that one day all of America will turn on their televisions and realize that it's turned into a vast wasteland of media-mung. However, that our children are less than entertained by the drek that is served up to them by producers isn't enough: Their poor eyes are assaulted by depraved (sexually or otherwise) advertisements for all manner of products, from videogames to prophylactics to fast-food.

But you know what? Fuck 'em. (<----- that is my thesis statement, by the way)

Businesses have to advertise to make their way in this world. It's a simple fact. Whether they're advertising in the yellow pages or during the latest episode of Lost, the fact remains that they have to compete with other companies in their fields, and they have to carve out their niche by differentiating themselves from other products. To not advertise is to put all of your future customers in the hands of a word-of-mouth campaign, praying that at least some people who bought your product are so enthused by it that they will say to their friends, "I can't believe you're still using Product B, because Product A is so much better." Therefore, companies have to advertise in the media.

That there are companies out there whose markets are less than family-friendly is a fact. The people who make KY Jelly very likely get complaints for advertising prior to the end of The Tonight Show, courtesy of tremendously moral and law-abiding Americans who are without sin and can cast stones until the end of time, and -might I add- have no problems with lubrication and therefore would never have need of KY Jelly, therefore believing such advertisement to be a collective waste of their time, thus necessitating part of their community effort to end the visual assault that KY Jelly has put upon their children, and the children of people they don't know, but are equally at risk of having their minds sullied by such grotesque advertisements.

However, there are people who watch television, quite possibly even shows on ABC's "TGIF" lineup, who may be in need of such products as KY Jelly. In fact, statistically speaking, considering the number of families that potentially watch those shows, it's damn near likely that a large enough percentage of the audience may need such services. And, to take that statistic further, some of them may not know what brand to buy. Therefore, the KY Jelly people have a perfect opportunity to pander to an audience that's in need of their products, much like Republicans advertising on the O'Reilly factor. It's an audience that just won't say no.

So, by this rationale, the advertisers are justified in hawking their wares in any media, provided there are people listening to, reading or watching that media who may be interested in the product. To say that the KY Jelly people can't advertise during an episode of Hope & Faith is as laughable as saying that Tampax can't advertise during an episode of WWE Smackdown, because it might freak out or offend some guys who aren't comfortable with the notion of a woman's monthly cycle.

The fact is, to get people's attention, you have to dazzle them, or in some fashion set yourself apart from the competition. So, if that means that your boner-drug has to be fronted by Mike Ditka throwing a football through a tire (in what is probably the least subtle analogy they could possibly have come up with), so be it, because the alternative is showing a guy taking the drug and then engaging in graphic hardcore sex.

Which brings me to the final party involved in all of this: The Network. A television network has the right to, barring political laws involving equal-time, tell an advertiser that the network will not accept the advertiser's money, and that the network will take less money to run an advertisement from a company with a less-controversial commercial. At the same time, the network can accept that controversial advertisement and attempt to weather the storm from Brent Bozell and his Focus On The Family army (who will now attempt to get my sponsors to stop advertising on my site, despite the fact that I don't have any).

In the end, it comes down to money and necessity. The television is a sacred temple in the family home, and parents feel that there are some hours that are sacrosanct and must not be invaded by advertisements for products that might cause their children to ask questions that the parents are not prepared to answer until such time as the children are out of college. However, the networks need money, so the advertisers fit that bill. The advertisers need consumers, so they're married to the media by that respect. The consumer needs the media for the purposes of entertainment. If any one of those parties doesn't like what another one is doing, that party is within rights to say no.

It's that simple, and so it all comes back down to my thesis statement: Fuck 'em.

Time elapsed: Thirty-three minutes.

AIM: therbmcc71