George Clooney gets it right. Via Deadline Hollywood:
The most powerful people in Hollywood were so fearful to place themselves in the cross hairs of hackers that they all refused to sign a simple petition of support that Clooney and his agent, CAA’s Bryan Lourd, circulated to the top people in film, TV, records and other areas. Not a single person would sign. Here, Clooney discusses the petition and how it is just part of many frightening ramifications that we are all just coming to grips with.
DEADLINE: I’ve been chasing the story of the petition you were circulating for a week now. Where is it, and how were these terrorists able to isolate Sony from the herd and make them so vulnerable?
CLOONEY: Here’s the brilliant thing they did. You embarrass them first, so that no one gets on your side. After the Obama joke, no one was going to get on the side of Amy, and so suddenly, everyone ran for the hills. Look, I can’t make an excuse for that joke, it is what it is, a terrible mistake. Having said that, it was used as a weapon of fear, not only for everyone to disassociate themselves from Amy but also to feel the fear themselves. They know what they themselves have written in their emails, and they’re afraid.
Be sure to read the whole interview; this exchange is priceless:
DEADLINE: What kind of constraints will this put on storytellers that want to shine a critical light on a place like Russia, for instance, with something like a movie about the polonium poisoning of Alexander Litvinenko, the KGB officer who left and became an outspoken critic of Vladimir Putin?
CLOONEY: What’s going to happen is, you’re going to have trouble finding distribution. In general, when you’re doing films like that, the ones that are critical, those aren’t going to be studio films anyway. Most of the movies that got us in trouble, we started out by raising the money independently. But to distribute, you’ve got to go to a studio, because they’re the ones that distribute movies. The truth is, you’re going to have a much harder time finding distribution now. And that’s a chilling effect. We should be in the position right now of going on offense with this. I just talked to Amy an hour ago. She wants to put that movie out. What do I do? My partner Grant Heslov and I had the conversation with her this morning. Bryan and I had the conversation with her last night. Stick it online. Do whatever you can to get this movie out. Not because everybody has to see the movie, but because I’m not going to be told we can’t see the movie. That’s the most important part. We cannot be told we can’t see something by Kim Jong-un, of all f*cking people.
Larry Elder at Real Clear Politics breathes essential statistical insight into the ongoing fight over whether or not white cops have a predilection for shooting black men:
In 2012, according to the CDC, 140 blacks were killed by police. That same year 386 whites were killed by police. Over the 13-year period from 1999 to 2011, the CDC reports that 2,151 whites were killed by cops — and 1,130 blacks were killed by cops.
Police shootings, nationwide, are down dramatically from what they were 20 or 30 years ago. The CDC reported that in 1968, shootings by law enforcement — called “legal intervention” by the CDC — was the cause of death for 8.6 out of every million blacks. For whites the rate was was .9 deaths per million.
By 2011, law enforcement shootings caused 2.74 deaths for every million blacks, and 1.28 deaths for every million whites. While the death-by-cop rate for whites has held pretty steady over these last 45 years, hovering just above or below the one-in-a-million level, the rate for blacks has fallen. In 1981, black deaths by cop stood at four in a million, but since 2000 has remained just above or below two in a million.
So what’s driving this notion that there is now an “epidemic” of white cops shooting blacks when in the last several decades the numbers of blacks killed by cops are down nearly 75 percent?
As Elder points out, there was no mention of race or racial motivation in the cases of Tamir Rice, Eric Garner, or Michael Brown. When questioned about the Trayvon Martin/George Zimmerman verdict, “several jurors later said that during jury deliberations ‘race never came up.’” Elder asserts
This white-cop-out-to-get-black-civilian narrative advances the interest of many. The media loves what Tom Wolfe called the “Great White Defendant” — a bad white guy everybody can agree to dislike. For the Democrats, it furthers their assertion that race remains a major problem in America, that Republicans/tea partiers/black conservatives are out to get them, and you must vote for us. For “activists” like the Revs. Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson, and local wannabes, it gives them continued relevance.
In reality, the facts provide a startling lack of evidence in support of the theory of racial motivation. At the same time, they do provide solid evidence that both the media and so-called community activists like the Revs. Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson need to promulgate the myth of ghetto culture in order to maintain power over an audience and presumed authority over an entire segment of the American population.
Right on the heels of Sony’s announcement that the studio would be scrapping the Christmas Day release of “The Interview,” the film’s controversial climax has surfaced.
The scene features North Korea’s leader, Kim Jung-un (Randall Park), meeting a fiery end as a missile hits his helicopter. As the tyrant perishes from the explosion, the scene is dramatically slowed down to the sounds of Katy Perry’s “Firework.”
As for the fates of Seth Rogen and James Franco, well, that’s still T.B.D. — at least until “The Interview” hits V.O.D.
Well, that certainly could have cheesed off the sawed-off runt ruler of the Hermit Kingdom. Meanwhile, via Drudge, Roger Friedman has another theory:
One thing that Kim Jong Un may or may not have objected to in “The Interview”: after a night of debauchery, he’s seen shirtless in bed with James Franco’s also-shirtless Dave Skylark character and a bevy of beauties. In the screenwriter Dan Sterling’s 2012 original version, this is how the scene read:
INT. PRIVATE LOUNGE – DAY
Dave and Kim are in a bed naked, with the four women.
They’re all playing MORTAL KOMBAT
Right so you’re thinking, either lucky Kim, or he should be so lucky. It’s hard to say if North Korea’s fearless leader would feel the same way. Certainly, the original screenplay made it seem like quite a night had occurred. By this time, Franco’s Dave and President Kim have cried together, shared their love of puppies, and Katy Perry.
Don’t worry — it gets worse. Read on, if you dare. Who greenlighted this mess?
Meanwhile, if you thought you could have a laugh at the Norks’s expense with Team America, think again:
Forget those plans by Alamo Drafthouse Cinema and other theaters to run Team America: World Police in place of The Interview. The Austin-based chain says that Paramount has now decided not to offer South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone’s 2004 satire that focuses on Kim Jong-il, the late father of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. Alamo says that the cancellation at its Dallas theater is “due to circumstances beyond our control” and says it will offer refunds to those who have already bought tickets. Cleveland’s Capitol Theater also tweeted that Team America “has been canceled by Paramount Pictures.”
What Kimmy doesn’t want you to see.
We might as well all pack up and go home, because at the moment the bad-guys are winning. The repercussions of Sony’s hacking are now starting to be felt around the movie industry, as New Regency has announced that work on Steve Carell’s potential new film set in North Korea had now been stopped.
At the time of its cancellation, the project was being developed for Gore Verbinski to direct with Steve Carell was going to play the lead. Steve Conrad, who has previously written The Weather Man, The Pursuit Of Happyness and The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, had scribed what’s been described as a paranoid thriller. In fact, production had already been pencilled in for March. But the recent hacking of Sony and the consequent threats to any screening of The Interview has led New Regency to decide that there wasn’t any point in making the movie. According to Deadline, insiders from the studio explained to the website, “it just makes no sense to move forward.” This all apparently began internally, with the folks at Fox saying that they wouldn’t be distributing the film. Thus, the plug was pulled.
The plug might also impact a number of other Gore Verbinski films set to be released by the same studio, despite the fact that they have nothing to do whatsoever with North Korea.
Studios are now going to think twice about creating any movie that could lead to them being targeted. Now big, serious questions need to be asked. Why was Sony able to be hacked so easily? Where does cinema go from here? At the moment it feels like the movie industry is about to cave in on itself. Who would have thought that it would be all be because of a Seth Rogen movie?
In related news, the Kim Jong-un death scene (shown above) has been leaked:
Defamer first previewed the clip on Monday, but removed it shortly thereafter. They also explored the leaked emails between Rogen and Sony execs, in which the co-director and actor became exasperated with the studio’s repeated demands for a less graphic death scene.
And so this is the final product. The death scene that was apparently seen by the State Department and has effectively led to the movie being shelved altogether for fear of terrorism.
If Hollywood had any sense of history, they’d be asking WWCCD: What Would Charlie Chaplin Do? For those of you too young to get the joke, try this question: What would Hitler have done if he had the Internet? At least one Texas theater chain is fighting back against one of the most blatant violations of freedom of speech this side of the Pacific.
*Updated*: Another upload of video via Daily Caller.
Jon Stewart reacted to Geraldo Rivera’s criticism of Cleveland Cavaliers star LeBron James, who wore a a t-shirt emblazoned with “I Can’t Breathe” to a recent game. Stewart said on Wednesday, “This should be a perfectly acceptable way to express one’s feelings about political issues.”
“Last time I checked, t-shirts don’t block traffic. They don’t prevent you from shopping at Macy’s,” Stewart said.
Geraldo Rivera said he wondered if LeBron should instead wear a shirt that said, “Be a better father to your son. Raise your children.”
Stewart said that LeBron (the father of three) actually lives that message. But added, “If he wants advice on shirts, I’m sure he’ll ask someone who wears one.”
Pre-Christmas pro-tip: Don’t forget to talk to your kids — and parents — about responsible social media usage.
Sony Pictures officially decided not to release The Interview on Dec. 25 as planned, citing the major theater chains that refused to show the movie after hackers made 9/11-style threats against screenings.
“We respect and understand our partners’ decision and, of course, completely share their paramount interest in the safety of employees and theater-goers,” the Sony statement said.
“Sony Pictures has been the victim of an unprecedented criminal assault against our employees, our customers, and our business. Those who attacked us stole our intellectual property, private emails, and sensitive and proprietary material, and sought to destroy our spirit and our morale — all apparently to thwart the release of a movie they did not like. We are deeply saddened at this brazen effort to suppress the distribution of a movie, and in the process do damage to our company, our employees, and the American public. We stand by our filmmakers and their right to free expression and are extremely disappointed by this outcome.”
The Associated Press reported moments ago that federal investigators have connected the hacking to North Korea.
At the State Department earlier today, Jen Psaki said department officials did meet with studio executives during production, as revealed in leaked emails, but disputed reports that they OK’d the picture. “We’re not in the business of signing off on content of movies or things along those lines,” she said.
“I can confirm for you that [Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Daniel] Russel did have a conversation with Sony executives, as he does routinely with a wide range of private groups and individuals, to discuss foreign policy in Asia,” Psaki said. “[Special Envoy for North Korean Human Rights Issues] Bob King, contrary to reports, did not view the movie and did not have any contact directly with Sony.”
“As we have — as we’ve noted before, entertainers are free to make movies of their choosing, and we are not involved in that,” she added.
Psaki said she wouldn’t compare the comedy about the assassination of Kim Jong-un to the Mohammed film initially blamed for the Benghazi attack, a movie heavily criticized by the State Department.
“I would not put them in the same category, which I’m sure does not surprise you,” Psaki said. “We don’t have — it’s a fiction movie. It’s not a documentary about our relationship with the United — with North Korea. It’s not something we backed, supported or necessarily have an opinion on from here.”
After violent reactions to Innocence of Muslims in 2012, then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said “the United States deplores any intentional effort to denigrate the religious beliefs of others.”
“We firmly reject the actions by those who abuse the universal right of free speech to hurt the religious beliefs of other,” the U.S. Embassy in Cairo said back then.
While being asked questions about unilateral changes in Cuba policy today, White House press secretary Josh Earnest if they would relax sanctions on North Korea under the same theory.
“That if you open it up, that you put more pressure on them, maybe they’ll change their behavior?” a reporter asked.
“No. OK,” Earnest bluntly responded, drawing laughter.
Saw @Sethrogen at JFK. Both of us have never seen or heard of anything like this. Hollywood has done Neville Chamberlain proud today.
— Rob Lowe (@RobLowe) December 17, 2014
.@RobLowe it wasn’t the hackers who won, it was the terrorists and almost certainly the North Korean dictatorship, this was an act of war
— Newt Gingrich (@newtgingrich) December 17, 2014
City of Atlanta demands all remaining prints of gone with the wind be destroyed
— Albert Brooks (@AlbertBrooks) December 17, 2014
. @JuddApatow I agree wholeheartedly. An un-American act of cowardice that validates terrorist actions and sets a terrifying precedent.
— Jimmy Kimmel (@jimmykimmel) December 17, 2014
If they had cyber threats in 1940, I guess nobody would have ever seen “The Great Dictator.” pic.twitter.com/jpmDtpTtez
— Richard Roeper (@richardroeper) December 17, 2014
— Mitt Romney (@MittRomney) December 18, 2014
With theater chains defecting en masse, Sony Pictures Entertainment has pulled the planned Christmas Day release of “The Interview.” In announcing the decision to cancel the holiday debut, Sony hit back at the hackers who threatened movie theaters and moviegoers and who have terrorized the studio and its employees for weeks.
“Those who attacked us stole our intellectual property, private emails and sensitive and proprietary material, and sought to destroy our spirit and our morale – all apparently to thwart the release of a movie they did not like,” the statement reads. “We are deeply saddened at this brazen effort to suppress the distribution of a movie, and in the process do damage to our company, our employees, and the American public,” it continues. “We stand by our filmmakers and their right to free expression and are extremely disappointed by this outcome.”
That’s telling ‘em! Sony is ”saddened,” the way you might be at the death of a puppy. And they’re “standing by” the filmmakers, although there is that little matter of canceling the movie’s Christmas opening.
Meanwhile, in other totally unsurprising news, CNN is reporting that, how about that, North Korea really is behind the cyber attack (which as Newt Gingrich notes, the U.S. just came out on the short end of):
The U.S. government is set to name North Korea as the source of the damaging cyberattack against Sony Pictures Entertainment, according to CNN Justice reporter Evan Perez. Anchor Wolf Blitzer announced the news break during a broadcast of The Situation Room. A news chyron on the cable channel read: “Sources: North Korean Leaders Ordered Attack On Sony.”
Following theater chains decision not to screen the film, Sony canceled the release of the North Korea themed assassination comedy on Wednesday.
Not that the U.S. is going to do anything about it, of course. About all that’s left to do now is await the inevitable regime change in Culver City,
Looks like the Korean hackers have won:
The country’s top five theater circuits have decided not to play Sony’s The Interview, a knowledgeable source tells The Hollywood Reporter.
Regal Entertainment, AMC Entertainment, Cinemark, Carmike Cinemas and Cineplex Entertainment have all decided against showing the film. Carmike Cinemas confirmed its decision to drop the film on Tuesday. The other chains did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Sony also had no immediate comment.
Hackers raised the threat level directed at the movie on Dec. 16, but Sony refused to back down from its plans to release the film on Dec. 25. Instead, in discussions with exhibitors, it told the exhibitors it was up to them whether or not they played the movie and that Sony would support whatever decision they made.
What next? Will Team America: World Police have to go back for a recut?
UPDATE: One Texas theater has decided to substitute Team America for the now-vanished Interview. Good for them.
The dog in the night-time: somebody is making explicit threats against the United States of America over a silly movie but, unless I’ve missed it (other than the routine, obligatory FBI investigation) nobody in Washington seems to care. From Variety:
The Sony hackers have threatened a 9/11-like attack on movie theaters that screen Seth Rogen and James Franco’s North Korean comedy “The Interview,” substantially escalating the stakes surrounding the release of the movie.
“The world will be full of fear,” the message reads. “Remember the 11th of September 2001. We recommend you to keep yourself distant from the places at that time. (If your house is nearby, you’d better leave.) Whatever comes in the coming days is called by the greed of Sony Pictures Entertainment.”
One would like to think that the aces in Foggy Bottom would be all over this, sending quiet signals to North Korea that a “9/11″-style attack would be met with the strongest possible (i.e. incinerating) response, but Secretary Kerry is probably too busy trying to bring the Israelis to heel to worry about such things.
There have been suspicions that the attack may have been launched by North Korea in retaliation for “The Interview’s” depiction of an assassination attempt on Kim Jong-un. The country has denied involvement but praised the attacks.
The note also threatens people who attend the premiere of “The Interview.” A New York premiere of the film is scheduled to take place Thursday at Sunshine Cinema and has already been scaled down, according to a report in the New York Post. A special screening of the film took place in Los Angeles last week without incident.
Memo to Washington: we in Hollywood will be very, very upset if the Norks nuke the Hollywood Sign.
UPDATE: According to the Daily Beast, Washington green-lighted the film’s ending:
The Daily Beast has unearthed several emails that reveal at least two U.S. government officials screened a rough cut of the Kim Jong-Un assassination comedy The Interview in late June and gave the film—including a final scene that sees the dictator’s head explode—their blessing.
The claim that the State Department played an active role in the decision to include the film’s gruesome death scene is likely to cause fury in Pyongyang. Emails between the Sony Entertainment CEO and a security consultant even appear to suggest the U.S. government may support the notion that The Interview would be useful propaganda against the North Korean regime.
Cows were running free in Pocatello, Idaho, Tuesday, following in the hooves of a feisty heifer that escaped from a meat packing plant Friday. The pursuit of that cow made national headlines; five cows have now broken out of the plant in the past four days.
Two cows remain at large, part of a cohort of at least four animals that made a run for it Sunday. Their escape came two days after a 1,000-pound cow broke out by reportedly jumping a 6-foot fence.
As always, I blame Obamacare and progressives in academia for our runaway cow epidemic.
Also, admit it, you thought I was going to trick you and this was going to be a story about Lena Dunham, didn’t you?
Apparently Kim Jong-un isn’t into Seth Rogen’s brand of humor.
We will clearly show it to you at the very time and places “The Interview” be shown, including the premiere, how bitter fate those who seek fun in terror should be doomed to.
Soon all the world will see what an awful movie Sony Pictures Entertainment has made.
The world will be full of fear.
Remember the 11th of September 2001.
We recommend you to keep yourself distant from the places at that time.
(If your house is nearby, you’d better leave.)
Whatever comes in the coming days is called by the greed of Sony Pictures Entertainment.
All the world will denounce the SONY.
It has been widely suspected that North Korea is involved in the recent hacker attack on Sony performed by the “Guardians of Peace.” This email seems to confirm that suspicion:
The threat was included alongside the release of another set of emails, this time said to be those of Sony Entertainment CEO Michael Lynton. Because the hackers post this information anonymously and are contacting reporters through reusable email addresses, it is possible that a separate party is behind this threat. However, that seems unlikely. The communications have been consistent, and it should be clear soon whether the leaked emails are genuine, confirming the authenticity of this note.
While Seth Rogen reportedly doesn’t regret making the film about two American TV boobs sent on a secret mission to assassinate the North Korean dictator, he and his co-star James Franco have cancelled all upcoming press appearances to promote the film. Meanwhile, the New York City police are busy ramping up for the now scaled-back screening.
The Interview is due out in theaters across the country on Christmas day.
Alpha males tend to thrive in cutthroat offices—and restaurants that douse their food in hot sauce.
A study by researchers from the University of Grenoble found that men who preferred spicier foods also tended to have higher testosterone levels than men with milder tastes. In the study, published in the journal Physiology & Behavior, 114 men from age 18 to 44 were polled on whether or not they liked spicy foods, and were later served a dish of mashed potatoes which they were allowed to season with however much hot sauce and salt they wanted.
The researchers found that men with higher testosterone levels tended to use more hot sauce and indicated a greater preference for it. There was no relationship between testosterone and the amount of salt used. High testosterone levels in men have long been linked to dominant and competitive traits.
The conundrum is that many deliciously spicy foods also leave one with breath that doesn’t go over well on a date.
Which is why I am a huge consumer of Altoids.
Think the Elf on the Shelf is a cute little holiday tradition to keep your young one on their toes? Think again.
Laura Pinto, a digital technology professor at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology recently published a paper concluding that Santa’s little spy “sets up children for dangerous, uncritical acceptance of power structures.”
When children enter the play world of The Elf on the Shelf, they accept a series of practices and rules associated with the larger story. This, of course, is not unique to The Elf on the Shelf. Many children’s games, including board games and video games, require children to participate while following a prescribed set of rules. The difference, however, is that in other games, the child role-plays a character, or the child imagines herself within a play-world of the game, but the role play does not enter the child’s real world as part of the game. As well, in most games, the time of play is delineated (while the game goes on), and the play to which the rules apply typically does not overlap with the child’s real world.
“You’re teaching (kids) a bigger lesson, which is that it’s OK for other people to spy on you and you’re not entitled to privacy,” she tells the Toronto Star.She calls the elf “an external form of non-familial surveillance,” and says it’s potentially conditioning children to accept the state acting that way, too.
“If you grow up thinking it’s cool for the elves to watch me and report back to Santa, well, then it’s cool for the NSA to watch me and report back to the government,” according to Pinto.
According to the report, some parent bloggers agree with Pinto’s conclusions. However, others think she’s gone overboard with a fun holiday tradition. Pinto also fails to criticize the Elf’s Jewish counterpart “Mensch on a Bench” for exhibiting the same surveillance state tendencies since the Mensch spends his nights watching the menorah, not the kiddies.
Is this another case of academia gone too far, or is there something to this notion of Big Brother Elf?
However, recent research shows that the broad contours of the environment described at UVA—where women report widespread sexual assault with no consequences for perpetrators—is not unique on America’s college campuses. As one expert told RS contributing editor Sabrina Rubin Erdely, “the depressing reality is that UVA’s situation is likely the norm.”
Except for the fact that we now know the “UVA situation” was a lie. And if you’re worth your weight as a scientist or statistician, your “norm” can’t be based on a lie. Therefore, neither can your “depressing reality” no matter how “broad contours” you stroke into the picture you are painting. (“Pretty little contours,” Bob Ross instructs.) And when it comes to the 1 in 5 undergraduate women are sexually abused stat, you’re talking some of the broadest strokes imaginable in both execution and interpretation. (“Pretty little lies,” Bob Ross chimes in.)
Mother Jones uses the art of the infographic to cite disturbing statistics regarding campus rape. For instance, 57% of sexually abused undergraduate women are “under the influence of alcohol and drugs.” No comment is made comparing that stat with the next one that reads “4% of college women are given drugs without their knowledge.” In other words, 53% of undergraduate women who are sexually assaulted have had that assault occur after knowingly imbibing in drugs and alcohol. Out of those women, 85% “have previously seen or spoken with their assailant.”
Yeah, it’s that creepy.
Radical Islamists (and probably fairly traditional mainstream ones, for that matter) are already offended at Beyonce’s attempt to sex-up Islamic headwear by pairing the face-veiling niqab with a bare midriff and peek-a-boo boobs. So much for vowing to Qaddafi’s son to respect sharia law.
Mark Tapson breaks down the well-timed offense, a re-release of a nearly year-old video, over at FrontPage:
The dirge drags on as Beyoncé pouts, scowls, and growls. Her mob smashes car windows with baseball bats, hurls Molotov cocktails, and burns cop cars while Beyoncé sings: “The laws of the world never stopped us once/’Cause together we got plenty super power.” Except for the music and the ultrachic posturing, it suggests the real-life “sensitive urban zones” of Paris, where immigrant “youth” go on nightly, car-immolating rampages and challenge the police in territorial skirmishes.
As the song draws mercifully to a close, the privileged Beyoncé – having peeled off the niqab and donned a camouflage jacket that costs probably $3000 – faces off with her defiant, multicultural mob of chiseled cheekbones against a line of cops in riot gear. She stands next to a man in a balaclava reminiscent of her niqab. The two of them clasp hands Thelma and Louise-style in anticipation of the confrontation to come. The message: rioting, property destruction, anarchy, and attacking cops are cool – and nothing influences youth more than the aura of cool.
…The video was actually first released last December, long before the August 2014 shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson. Why would Beyoncé believe that this is an appropriate time to put it back in the public eye?
Ratings. Tapson’s right, incitement, too. Because as the mainstream media has taught us so well in Ferguson, incitement garners ratings. And when you’re a brand you will absolutely pursue violence and death in the name of topping the charts. Will Beyonce brand this violent form of radical Islam-meets-black power the way she has so successfully branded feminism? Let’s hope so, only because Beyonce’s “feminism” has inspired so many celebs to leave the fold, and so many women to re-think exactly what a movement about freedom and equality should really look like.
Brian Williams celebrated his 10th anniversary as anchor of NBC Nightly News by joining Jimmy Fallon on the Tonight Show to “slow jam” the news.
You can watch the video if you want to see the sexuallythemed segment that includes a double entendre about the president masturbating — I’ll warn you that it’s pretty raunchy.
But let’s talk about the lines Brian Williams crossed as a “real” journalist, celebrating his big anniversary by defending the president’s executive action on amnesty and mocking Republicans for trying to stop him.
“President Obama has been firm in his position: ‘If you want me to stop taking executive action, you’ve gotta pass a bill,’” jammed Fallon.
Brian Williams shouted into the microphone: “My prez Obama don’t want none until you pass a bill, hon!”
“We’re going to need more compromise on Capitol Hill,” Williams said.
Fallon added, “The time has come! Together we’ll pass this bill!”
“The system is broken. The president’s spoken. There’s still no solution. Man, you must be jokin’. The American Dream ain’t just for the few,” Roots band member Black Thought rapped to end the segment.
Aside from the 8th grade locker room humor that will appeal to snickering teenagers, is there anything remotely funny or entertaining about this? Do people really tune into the Tonight Show for a sanctimonious lecture about immigration reform? Besides, I thought these entertainrants were Jon Stewart’s turf.
Sure makes you miss Jay Leno, doesn’t it?
A while back I read a lengthy report about how Vladimir Putin and the Russian government have managed to create a fusion of entertainment and news so seamless that most Russians cannot distinguish between the two. It’s been a very effective propaganda tool for the Russian government — unprecedented because of the way they’ve been able to harness both reality TV and the power of new media to promote approved government messages.
Though I won’t go as far as to say the government is behind messages like Fallon’s immigration reform entertainrant, it’s fair to say that Americans are becoming increasingly comfortable with the lines being blurred between entertainment and news, between truth and make-believe.
And it’s a very dangerous trajectory.
Watch the video on the next page:
So here’s the setting. It’s 1983. Filming on Return of the Jedi has wrapped up that year and the film, the final in the original Star Wars trilogy, is a huge hit. Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker is a global star.
There is already speculation that creator/director George Lucas is working on prequels and sequels to the trilogy that Jedi completed. The prequels waited a long while but debuted in 1999 with The Phantom Menace.
In the 1983 talk show clip below, Mark Hamill aka Luke Skywalker casually mentions a discussion that he had recently had with Lucas.
“He at one time said, ‘Would you consider playing an Obi-Wan type character handing Excalibur down to the next generation?’” Hamill says Lucas asked him.
“I said ‘When would that be?’ and at the time he said, ‘Oh, around 2011.’”
Lucas was only about four years off. Star Wars VII: The Force Awakens comes out a year from now. Hamill/Skywalker is in the film, but not in a starring role.
Disney announced the film just one year off from Lucas’ prediction, in October 2012.
Star Wars VII: The Force Awakens is destined to hit theaters in December 2015. It will be the first J.J. Abrams Star Wars launch, and the first full live-action SW movie made since Disney bought the franchise from creator George Lucas.
In case you missed it, over the weekend the official teaser trailer for Star Wars VII: The Force Awakens was released. And here it is.
It took less than 24 hours for that teaser to be turned out in Lego.
I have to admit, the Lego troopers look pretty good.
The movie’s international teaser also rolled out, and here it is. One of its key moments: The off-screen voice of Han Solo asks if there’s “room in this battle for an old war horse?”
Of course there is.
Harrison Ford was injured during the production of SW7. The “old war horse” broke his leg on the set, and filming had to be delayed while he recuperated.
That thing appears to be the Star Wars version of a greatsword.
The teasers and trailers for The Force Awakens look amazing. But I’m approaching the new SW films from the perspective of an adult who was burned by great teasers for The Phantom Menace. Even though it’s a new era, and Lucas isn’t directing, cautious pessimism is the way to go.
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part 1 opened in theaters around the world over the weekend and earned a hefty $275 million. In a year where domestic box office has been down overall, the film also earned more money in its opening weekend than any other film in 2014. The popularity of the Hunger Games series can’t be disputed, and has prompted a handful of similar franchises like the Divergent series and this year’s The Maze Runner and The Giver.
With plucky rebellion against dystopian tyrannies all the rage, an opportunity exists to draw some comparisons between these popular fictions and the real world. Indeed, the film has become a touchstone for protestors in Thailand. Fox News reports:
“The Mockingjay movie reflects what’s happening in our society. … When people have been suppressed for some time, they would want to resist and fight for their rights,” Nachacha Kongudom, 21, one of [three students detained at a screening], told AP. “Going to the cinema is the basic rights of the people. I’m here today to call for and to protect my rights.”
On Wednesday, five university students were arrested in northeastern Thailand after giving the three-fingered salute [from the film] during a speech by Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha, who led the coup [against the elected government] as army commander.
It’s easy to see parallels between the Hunger Games stories and reality when you live under a military dictatorship. Panem, the fictional nation where these tales are set, operates as a fascist state where the individual languishes under subjugation. Dissent is brutally put down, and the enslaved populace is forced to offer up their children in tribute to a capitol which pits them against each other in a vicious death match.
Life in the United States is far from that portrayed in Panem. However, when the root issues at stake in the Hunger Games saga are identified, it becomes clear that Americans have much worth rebelling against.
At the core of nearly every policy pursued by the current administration has been a profound subjugation of the individual to the will of the state. Young people stand particularly victimized, forced to sacrifice their present and future happiness to fund promises made to the sick or the old, promises which actually benefit those in power. How does the individual mandate in Obamacare differ fundamentally from the slave labor in Panem? Sure, instead of the lash, we have the IRS. But the effect proves the same, individuals forced to feed the state.
In these years between elections, the opportunity exists to define the stakes in such terms. Young people may be socially liberal, a fact not likely to change. But they retain a sense of individual liberty which fiction like The Hunger Games stokes into conviction. Let’s build on those themes to present a vision for the nation where the pursuit of happiness becomes sacrosanct again.
The House honored late Czech President Vaclav Havel on Wednesday with the unveiling of a bust in Statuary Hall — and ZZ Top.
The ceremony was timed to also mark the 25th anniversary of the Velvet Revolution.
Havel, a playwright, poet and foe of communism, was the first president of the newly liberated Czechoslovakia and then the Czech Republic after the fall of the Soviet Union.
“It is a poetic but also paradoxical honor for a man who, in his own words, lived ‘a paradoxical life.’ Here was a writer who exposed the communists using one weapon they could not match: the truth. For this, he received three stays in prison, countless interrogations, and constant surveillance,” House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said at the ceremony.
“But he kept on writing, hiding pages of his manuscripts throughout his home. Offered a chance to flee to the West, he’d refuse, saying, ‘I’m simply a Czech bumpkin through and through.’ Treated like a hero wherever he went, he’d beg off, saying, ‘I’m simply a playwright and it’s irrelevant whether I’m a dissident.’ When one of his friends joked that one day he’d lead a revolution and become president, he responded, ‘That would be the worst thing that could happen to me.’”
Boehner mused that one can “imagine what Havel would have said if told his bust would not only stand in the United States Capitol, but go right alongside the likes of Lincoln, Churchill, and Washington.”
He was also a fan of the blues, hence the performance from ZZ Top bandleader Billy Gibbons.
“Today we celebrate the struggle on the part of Havel and so many others in his time. In Poland, an electrician who climbed up on a crate in a shipyard, said to his fellow workers ‘you know me,’ and the Solidarity movement was born. And in East Germany, there was a priest who opened the doors of his 800-year old church every Monday for meetings that started out with no more than a dozen people and turned into the epicenter of a national protest,” Boehner said.
“It takes guts to do these things. Especially when you don’t know how long it will take or how it will end. These men and women proved that the thirst for liberty never dies and that, with drive and sacrifice, it can transform the fortunes of a whole continent.”
Obama speaks on immigration via Univision in 2012.
President Barack Obama will finally make public tomorrow night his plan to overhaul immigration. However, while his primetime speech will postpone part of Univision’s 15th annual Latin Grammys, it will not be covered by the Big 4.
…Although Obama’s speech will be seen on cable news siblings Fox News and MSNBC, Fox and NBC are not carrying it live on their broadcast networks; CNN will show it live. A CBS News division spokesperson says the network will also not be showing Obama’s approximately 15-minute address on Thursday night. (UPDATE, 2:34 PM: An ABC spokesman “ABC is not carrying the president’s address on the television network — it will be carried on all our ABC News digital platforms, including Apple TV, and radio.” Which means it is still Shondaland on ABC on Thursday.)
In the biz that’s called “target marketing.” In politics, it’s called playing to your demographic. In America, it’s called race-baiting.
Keep it classy, B.O.
Dave Chappelle’s black white supremacist Clayton Bigsby was a blind man, but according to the Daily Mail, the Rocky Mountain Knights have taken their blinders off. The Montana chapter of the infamous white supremacist group has decided to “rebrand” and “stand for a strong America instead of irrational hatred.” Founder John Abarr hopes Jews, blacks, Hispanics and gays will be pounding down the doors for membership.
What inspired the attitude change? He met with the NAACP, of course. According to the report, “…some black people have apparently already expressed an interest in joining”.
“‘White supremacy is the old Klan. This is the new Klan. The KKK is for a strong America,’ said Mr Abarr.”
Not according to Imperial Wizard Bradley Jenkins. “That man’s going against everything the bylaws of the constitution of the KKK say. He’s trying to hide behind the KKK to further his political career.” According to Think Progress, “This is the same Abarr who in 2011 ran for Congress ’to draw attention to the fact that white people are becoming a minority and losing our political power and way of life.’”
The one thing that won’t change is the wardrobe. Members, regardless of race or sexual orientation, “…will still have to wear the white robes, masks and conical hats and take part in rituals.” The organization’s main goal: to fight against the “new world order”.
While it is unclear whether or not women are welcome into the Rocky Mountain Knights, Abarr is already taking a cue from the anti-feminist playbook: “Last week, he tweeted, ‘#notallklansmen,’ a hashtag based on the meme ‘#NotAllMen,’ which became popular on Twitter earlier this year to symbolize ‘mansplaining’ rebukes to feminist arguments.”
According to the New York Daily News, Abarr’s 15 minutes of fame may boil down to all talk and no action.
According to Mark Pitcavage of the Anti-Defamation League, Abarr likely is the only member of the Rocky Mountain Knights.
The Ku Klux Klan has not officially existed since 1944, but anyone can create their own Klan group just by saying they created one, Pitcavage says. That’s exactly what Abarr did.
“He’s one guy, pretending to start a Klan group,” Pitcavage told the Daily News.
While the Klan is strongest in the South and Midwest, there are few people in the Western part of the U.S. with KKK views, Pitcavage says. Abarr’s only goal seems to be to draw attention to himself.
The only question is, which cable network will be pitching a reality show his way: TLC, looking to fill the vacancy created by Honey Boo Boo’s Mama June, or E!? I hear Kris Kardashian is dating again, and this guy is apparently very racially cool.
Since President Obama promised that there would be “no boots on the ground” to fight ISIS in Syria and Iraq, he has ordered two major increases in the number of boots on the ground in Iraq. American forces’ numbers jumped up to 3,000 so-called “advisers” shortly after the mid-term elections.
The Daily Show’s Jon Stewart has noticed. In a monologue Monday night, he ripped Obama from the anti-war left and called the president’s promises “bullsh*t.”
In the segment, Stewart plays clips of Obama promising not to put “boots on the ground” to fight ISIS, and juxtaposes them with announcements that more troops are being sent into Iraq to serve as “advisers” to the Iraqi military. Stewart then skewers that.
“Oh, I’m sorry, that was my mistake,” Stewart mocked. “I’m sorry. So it’s not 3,000 troops, it’s 3,000 advisers. Okay. Well, you know, that’s a lot of advisers. (laughter) I feel like after the first 2,000 give their input, it’s mostly going to be like ‘I just want to reiterate what Tony said.’”
At one point, Stewart jokes that at the rate Obama keeps increasing the number of U.S. “advisers” in Iraq, “By 2016, everyone on earth will be in Iraq fighting ISIS!”
Stewart’s angry comedic riff helps explain why Obama delayed announcing the troop increase until after the elections. Had it come before the elections, the Democrats’ base would have been infuriated, and the nationwide bloodbath that saw Republicans re-capture the Senate may have been even worse for the Obama Democrats.
On Feb. 21, New York will host the first film festival featuring only movies that have been shot by drones.
The New York City Drone Film Festival will showcase the “most famous viral drone videos alongside original content, offering the only opportunity to see the ‘best of the best’ in drone and unmanned aerial vehicle cinema on the big screen,” according to organizers, including “sensations” that have racked up some 28 million views on YouTube.
Festival prizes will be awarded for Most Beautiful Shot, Most Technically Difficult Shot, Most Epic Dronie and more.
“I’m tired of drones being synonymous with questionable legality and FAA regulation,” festival founder Randy Scott Slavin, a director and photographer, said in a statement. “The goal of the festival is to celebrate the art of aerial cinematography.”
Drone-rights attorney Paul Fraidenburgh will deliver a keynote address to the festival.
Entries must be submitted to the festival by Nov. 30.
Over the summer, the Association for Unmanned Vehicles Systems International lobbied the Department of Transportation to accelerate the use of drones in the film and television industry. The Federal Aviation Administration announced in May that certain “low-risk” commercial endeavors utilizing drones could be fast-tracked to approval.
“The seven production companies seeking exemptions have outlined at least an equivalent level of safety over the use of a manned aircraft and have adequately addressed the safety requirements in a number of federal aviation regulations,” AUVSI argued in its statement to the government. “In fact, the use of small UAS will likely lead to increased safety over manned aircraft and allow production companies to get new shots that have never before been possible.”
At the end of September, the FAA granted the request.
“The FAA’s announcement represents another important milestone in unlocking the commercial potential of UAS technology. The film and television industry has safely used UAS technology abroad for years in the productions of movies such as ‘Skyfall’ and ‘The Hunger Games.’ With this decision, Hollywood will now be able to capture the unique perspectives of UAS closer to home,” Michael Toscano, president and CEO of AUVSI, said at the time.
“Still, the FAA can and must do more. Several other companies and industries have requested exemptions to fly for various low-risk, commercial purposes such as precision agriculture and mining surveys. The FAA should grant these exemptions to not only help businesses harness the tremendous potential of UAS, but also help unlock the economic impact and job creation potential of the technology.”
News just surfaced on Jezebel of Robert Downey, Jr’s excellent response to a Cambridge student who asked, ”Scarlett Johansson has never had her own superhero movie. Would you call yourself a feminist?”
“You bastard,” Downey, a new father to a baby girl, replied. “Yeah, that’s all make believe, son.”
Responding with appropriate shock and awe, Jezebel provided further evidence that they’re forever stuck in the ’90s (a.k.a. the Bill “I’d give him oral sex for keeping abortion legal” Clinton years) by referring to the Iron Man star as an “Ally McBeal guest star.”
RDJ wasn’t the only celebrity whose anti-feminist statement hit the news this week.
“I am not a feminist,” she said. “If men were going through the things women are going through today, I would be fighting for them with just as much passion. I believe in equality.”
That’s Salma Hayek speaking to People magazine at Equality Now’s “Make Equality Reality” event in Beverly Hills. Why was Hayek there? To be “honored as a women’s rights advocate.” A co-founder of the group Chime for Change, ”a global campaign to convene, unite and strengthen the voices speaking out for girls and women around the world,” Hayek is far from anti-girl power. She simply defines equality differently than contemporary feminists like Gloria Steinem, who also attended the event.
In case you missed it, here’s country superstars Carrie Underwood and Brad Paisley’s routine from the Country Music Awards Wednesday night. The crowd ROARS when Underwood jokes about the Democrats losing the Senate.
Actress Lena Dunham has published a memoir in which the 28-year-old uses two charged words to describe a pattern of behavior that she demonstrated as a seven-year-old girl.
Those two words are “sexual predator.”
As her pal Barack Obama might say, let’s be clear. No one accused Lena Dunham of being a sexual predator. Dunham uses those words against herself, in her own book about herself, which she wrote.
In her newly published collection of personal essays, Not That Kind of Girl, Lena Dunham describes experimenting sexually with her younger sister Grace, whom she says she attempted to persuade to kiss her using “anything a sexual predator might do.” In one particularly unsettling passage, Dunham experimented with her six-year younger sister’s vagina. “This was within the spectrum of things I did,” she writes.
So it’s not the “right wing” accusing Dunham of anything that Dunham did not in fact admit doing.
The right wing news story that I molested my little sister isn’t just LOL- it’s really fucking upsetting and disgusting.
— Lena Dunham (@lenadunham) November 1, 2014
Now Dunham is outraged, and Jimmy Kimmel has leaped to her defense.
Dunham is pretty clearly exhibiting the exhibitionist, outrageous behavior that has made her famous. Kimmel probably just doesn’t have a clue. Like most of the people who have facilitated Dunham’s rise to fame, he hasn’t checked the story for himself. That’s what he has producers for.
Dunham has now called off hour book tour, probably the first time ever that a celebrity’s book tour has been canceled because people actually read and responded to that book and what its author chose of her own free will to put in it.
Dunham lobbed serious charges at her 7-year-old self — that she frequently and repeatedly molested her younger sister — that she is now trying to blame on others.
Which is what sociopaths do.
As for Kimmel’s claim that a 7-year-old cannot be accused of molesting younger children, of course they can. Especially if they confess, as Lena Dunham has. Is her brand one that Kimmel wishes to remain attached to? It’s his choice now.
It’s sickening that, at this point, commentary about Dunham’s confessions are largely limited to blogs on the right. Does the so-called mainstream press have nothing to say about any of this? The leftwing Huffington Post has jumped into the fray — on Dunham’s side. Tellingly, the HuffPo left out the part in which Dunham actually used the phrase “sexual predator” against herself.
It would be a service to the country and culture if the modestly talented and very immodest Lena Dunham would now fade away from fame and get help. But that’s not likely. The edgy actress reveals in her book that she loves being famous and she loves wealth and she loves shopping and buying things. The confessed child molesting leftwing actress is quite the materialist.
*To clarify, Dunham hasn’t canceled her entire book tour based on the allegations that she wrote about in her own book. She has canceled part of her book tour, because of the allegations that she engaged in sexually predatory behavior across about 10 years, that she wrote about in her own book.
Note: This class did not make it into the sales pitch video.
Apparently technology has created a “new morality” and it’s up to University of Pennsylvania creative writing students to shame the hell out of it next spring:
Next semester at the University of Pennsylvania, students will walk into a classroom, pull out their laptops, their smartphones, their tablets, and sit there, for three hours, doing what they no doubt do pretty often: Waste time on the internet.
The Ivy League school’s newest creative writing class is trying to remove the stigma from an activity that millions of people do on a daily basis, in an attempt to explore how our minds might work when we’re totally aimlessly clicking through reddit or Facebook or Buzzfeed or watching porn or doing whatever the hell people do in their free time.
“I’m very tired of reading articles in the New York Times every week that make us feel bad about spending so much time on the internet, about dividing our attention so many times,” Kenneth Goldsmith, a world-renowned poet and the course’s professor, told me. “I think it’s complete bullshit that the internet is making us dumber. I think the internet is making us smarter. There’s this new morality built around guilt and shame in the digital age.”
Parents, before sending your children to college please watch PCU. It’s a cute little flick from the mid-90′s in which a group of misfits essentially throw a massive party to overcome PC culture. It also contains a lot of great commentary on the waste of time that college has become, especially for liberal arts majors. For instance, one guy spends the entire movie stuck in front of a television doing research for his senior thesis. The “Caine-Hackman Theory” argues that, at any time during the day or night, you can find a movie with either Michael Caine or Gene Hackman running on the tube. I’m convinced he now has more academic validity than 21st century Ivy Leaguers. That’s right, this ain’t state school material. G-chat, Facebook, and Reddit are now the stuff of the future “dreamers of dreams”.
So, his students will explore what, exactly, wasting time even means. Is it a waste of time to tap out some forum posts or internet comments? Is it a waste of time to gchat with your friends? Is it a waste of time to click through YouTube videos? Can we consciously or even unconsciously channel the things we do on the internet to make a work of art or the next great American novel or an autobiography?
His students will be tasked with trying. For much of the class, they’ll be wasting time online, sure, but at some point, they’re going to have to take the raw material of all that time wasting—browser histories, text messages, screenshots, who knows what else—and turn it into a “compelling and emotional work of literature.”
You’ve been warned. The next time you’re browsing for a good read and pick up something by an author with an Ivy League education, you may just wind up reading snippets of a Reddit feed. Suddenly Lena Dunham having drugged out sex with a college Republican and putting pebbles in her year 1 year-old sister’s vagina is high art, indeed.
National Security Advisor Susan Rice and Attorney General Eric Holder had no problem coming up with actors to portray them in the movie version of the administration.
Rice and Holder were separately asked the question at Wednesday’s Washington Ideas Forum.
“Halle Berry,” Rice quickly answered, adding, “I should be so lucky.”
“There’s only person,” Holder replied. “Denzel.”
The last movie Holder saw? “I re-watched The Godfather. The greatest movie of all time.”
He also admitted he likes to “binge watch not-too-serious television.”
“Boardwalk Empire, I’m going to be working on that pretty soon,” Holder said of the HBO series that just ended its five-season run. “Homeland. These are the things that I just love to sit down, and, you know, just go for like hours.”
Asked which political series “gets Washington mostly right” — Homeland, Scandal, Veep, or House of Cards — Holder picked the Netflix series.
“Depending on the administration, I’d say House of Cards,” he said. “There was a pretty bad vice president in House of Cards, but I’ll leave it at that.”
“And I like Joe Biden, so I’m not talking about him,” Holder added.
“Aaron Lewis Screws Up National Anthem At World Series Game,” the Huffington Post headline read.
Mediaite said that Lewis “bollocksed up the National Anthem before Sunday evening’s World Series game. Lewis has DON’T TREAD ON ME tattooed on his neck, in case you were in the market for a handy political metaphor.”
Twitter was also abuzz with criticism of the lead singer of the rock group, Staind.
aaron Lewis pleaseeee for your own good take a seat.
— Grace Gronberg (@Gee_Race_Gee) October 26, 2014
Eric Burke, a reporter at Fox 4 in Kansas City tweeted:
— Eric Burke (@Fox4eb) October 26, 2014
MLB Yahoo! sports columnist Jeff Passan also brought up the prominent tattoo on Lewis’ neck.
For someone who has DON'T TREAD ON ME tattooed on his neck, Aaron Lewis might want to learn his national anthem before he tries it again.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) October 27, 2014
Deadspin was a little less tactful: “World Series National Anthem Botched By That A**hole From Staind, said their headline. ”This is Aaron Lewis of the shi**y noise band Staind, and don’t ask us why he’s singing in San Francisco tonight because Staind is from Massachusetts,” Deadspin complained. “Huey Lewis is still available, jerks, and he knows the words.”
— Rachael Starke (@rachaelstarke) October 27, 2014
Democrats are worried about the election. They are shunning the President and the First Lady as political poison. They are political poison because Obama’s policies and positions have unerringly failed.
Instead [Republicans are] relying on tired, sexist tropes to appeal to us. Women will only vote if voting is like dating, getting married, or breaking up. At least that’s what Republicans seem to think.
“Your first time shouldn’t be with just anybody. You want to do it with a great guy,” Dunham begins. It sounds like she’s talking about one thing, but it soon becomes clear she’s talking about another thing, a comedic technique as pathbreaking as we’ve come to expect from the 26-year-old writer and director of HBO‘s Girls.
“It should be with … someone who really cares about women. Who cares about whether you get health insurance, and specifically whether you get birth control. The consequences are huge. You want to do it with a guy who brought the troops out of Iraq… My first time voting was amazing. Before, I was a girl. Now I was a woman.”
Clearly, Democrats hope to motivate college-age first-time voters, but it’s hard not to wonder if they also just wanted to enjoy the predictable spectacle of the furious response from people whose fury can only fuel Obama’s support.
Serious content warning. Serious enough that the original video was pulled from YouTube.
There’s a great episode of Modern Family in which Cam and Mitchell have to explain to their four year old daughter Lily that she can’t use the f-word. Every time Lily drops the f-bomb, Cam starts compulsively laughing, making it very hard to convince the child that using the f-word is inappropriate. Horrified, Mitchell rebukes Cam throughout the episode until Lily drops a big, fat f-bomb while standing in front of a church full of people, dressed as a flower girl in a wedding party. At that point everyone laughs. Point being: Adults get a perverse kick out of watching innocent little kids use bad words.
It’s probably why Will Ferrell made a series of videos for Funny or Die featuring his creative partner Adam McKay’s toddler daughter repeating loads of foul, inappropriate language in adult-like scenarios. Commenting on his child’s foul-mouthed role, McKay remarked:
“Fortunately she is in this great stage now where she repeats anything you say to her and then forgets it right away, which is key,” says McKay, who has two daughters by his wife of 11 years, actress Shira Piven (Jeremy’s sister).
Adds McKay, “She has not said the B-word since we shot the thing.”
Rumor had it that the videos ceased production once the toddler was old enough to realize what she was saying and repeat it.
Adults find kids cursing to be funny. The younger the kid, the better. So, when FCKH8 decided to have a load of little girls dress up as princesses and drop the f-bomb all over the Internet, they basically decided to give adults everywhere (except those with some sense of moral fiber) a laugh.
And mock feminism at the same time.
I laugh at the War on Women mythology quite frequently. The idea that beauty is somehow associated with helplessness, that abortion translates to career equality, and the whole 77 cents-to-a-dollar thing all really tickle my funny bone. But I do take feminism seriously. And I wonder, if the folks at FCKH8 really took feminism seriously, would they have chosen to market it by employing one of the gags that makes adults laugh the most?
Apparently, FCKH8′s real goal is to say American Feminism, with it’s slavish attachment to the War on Women is a complete joke best understood by those with the intellect of a 5 year old. Which is a shame, both for FCKH8 and American feminism, because, for the women facing real issues of inequality and gender-based persecution, feminism is no laughing matter.
Chicks on the Right, women working to take back feminism from the pro-choice crowd, discovered yet another way for parents and students to flush the cost of three college credits down the drain. Last spring, it was Rutgers University’s “Feminist Perspectives: Politicizing Beyoncé.” This coming spring, it’s UT Austin’s “Beyonce Feminism, Rihanna Womanism.”
By comparison, this class has a very eye-catching title. Whether or not you are a Beyoncé Bey or part of the Rihanna Navy, it will cause you to do a double take while scrolling through electives. The one downside, students may not realize the type of academic inquiry or material that will be covered in the course.
Students in this class will learn that there is far more than catchy melodies to Beyoncé’s and Rihanna’s music. They will not be simply listening to Beyoncé and Rihanna for fun or even comparing the roles of Beyoncé and Rihanna in popular culture, rather, students will be studying how the lyrics, music videos, and actions of these women express various aspects of black feminism such as violence, economic opportunity, sexuality, standards of beauty, and creative self-expression. The instructor hopes for students to understand the role black feminism plays in popular culture as well as everyday life.
For any student interested in women’s and gender studies or how popular culture reflects social studies, this is a class that will make them fall crazy in love.
U2 and Apple engaged in a heinous conspiracy to give millions of people a free copy of a terrific music album. Alright, not everyone agrees with the “terrific” part. U2 remain popular enough to fill huge arenas, but not everyone likes them.
But the album was free, and a whole lot of people complained about the fact that Apple made owning it an opt-out rather than an opt-in.
In a fan Q&A video posted on Facebook, lead singer Bono was asked by a site user to never release an album in the way that the band and Apple released Songs of Innocence ever again. “It’s really rude,” the Facebook user wrote.
Bono replied, “Oops. I’m sorry about that. Had this beautiful idea. Might’ve got carried away with ourselves. Artists are prone to that kind of thing. Drop of megalomania. Touch of generosity. Dash of self-promotion. And, deep fear that these songs, that we poured our life into over the last few years, mightn’t be heard.”
U2, still among the biggest bands in the entire world, fears that their songs might not be heard? It’s quite human to feel that one is toiling in obscurity, so much so that even Bono can’t escape it.
Bono continued: “It’s a lot of noise out there. I guess we got a little noisy ourselves to get through it.”
As a large-scale social experiment, the release of Songs of Innocence might teach us quite a bit about human nature. Free gifts are not always received with gratitude, are they?
True story: My TV provider called me up yesterday out of the blue. The man on the line said that, as a way of thanking me for subscribing, they were turning on a bunch of premium channels for a few months, for free. I thanked him, set a note in my calendar for when the free period expires so I could cancel if I want, and then checked my listings. None of the free premium channels were there. And I was annoyed at my TV provider.
Putting all of the First World complaints about getting free music forced onto phones aside, Songs of Innocence is an awesome rock album that ought to have had no trouble cutting through the noise with lots of good noise of its own. If you like U2, which I happen to. It rates among U2′s best work, easily.
Need a laugh? Check out Russell Brand and Alec Baldwin’s sit down on Russia Today’s Keiser Report. Make sure there’s no food in your mouth before I tell you the episode’s title.
It’s called “Meeting of Megaminds”.
The pair make an excellent duo of on-air Putin spambots. Russell Brand, better known as the former Mr. Katy Perry, is attempting to carve out a niche for himself as a comedian-cum-conspiracy theorist who makes Carrot Top look appealing. Alec Baldwin has devolved from Hollywood megastar to angry old man in a way that makes you wish a combo of Nicolas Cage and Clint Eastwood would magically appear every time he opens his tired old mouth. He promised to immigrate if George W. Bush were elected in 2004, but I guess pre-production for 30 Rock got in the way (thanks, Tina Fey). Fitting right in with the acting crowd, Russia Today host Max Keiser plays the typical role of upper crust yuppie-turned-commie (wouldn’t Alger Hiss be proud). He was an NYU theater student before working in stand up comedy, radio, and as a broker on Wall Street before making it rich with his creation, the Hollywood Stock Exchange. Until 2012 he was a regular on Iran Press TV. Now, when he isn’t on Russia Today, he busies himself making documentaries for Al-Jazeera and writing for the Huffington Post.
Think he might just have a bit of a bias? Then you’re the biased one, obviously. Capitalist pig.
You have to slug through most of the stereotypical socialist hyperbole to get to any actual meat in the discussion. Still, the inflated theoretical dialogue (calling it “intellectual” would be an insult to those with actual, functioning brain cells) provides a great learning experience for young folk looking to understand what Soviet propaganda sounded like before the fall of the Berlin Wall. It’s nice to know this kind of pompous hot air still floats around in our atmosphere. Perhaps Al Gore should start tagging it as the real cause of global warming.