Archive for the ‘ television ’ Category

Unintentional Hilarity

I’ve often wondered about those Grandmothers you see in the stands at NBA games, dancing and singing along to the blaring sounds of the Village People classic YMCA. Do those sweet old ladies really understand what the song’s lyrics are all about? And if they did, would they really be singing along?

The NBA’s Milwaukee Busks have a dance team, composed of attractive young women, known as Energee.

Not to be outdone, a group of older local resident have started performing at Bucks games. Their “team name”?  I’m not making this up:

Most Milwaukee Bucks fans are familiar with the “Energee” dance team, which performs several times during every game, but what about the “Seniorgee” dance team?

Cheat Sheets

Sarah Palin has been on the national stage for a year and a half now, and she seems no closer to bringing her Aw-shucks political diva act to a close. In fact, she seems more energized than ever.

Like a lot of people, I was hoping that she’d take the drubbing McCain-Palin got in ’08 to heart, and go back to Alaska where the damage she could do to our nation would be decidedly limited. Obviously, we don’t always get what we want. But as the Rolling Stones tell us – sometimes you get what you need.

When Palin got the nod from John McCain in 2008 she was clearly unqualified to be a heartbeat away from the Presidency. She had virtually no significant political experience (not that Obama had a hugely long resume in that regard either..) – but most troubling, she very clearly lacked the intellectual chops to take on almost any national office.

Holding an office like Governor would have given Palin, at a minimum, two years to “hit the books” on issues of national and international importance. To finally craft, and master, a worldview that she could present to potential voters in the run up to the 2012 elections. She could use the time to choose and build a team of experts to manage her campaign strategy and message.  Americans are not particularly demanding of their Presidential candidates intellects. Adlai Stevenson, probably for all time, gave “the smart guy” a whiff of political nerdiness. But with that said, Palin’s performance during the campaign was so head-slappingly awful that one had to be either delusional or truly moronic to think that she’d make a good President.

Palin didn’t do that. She reminds me a lot of the worst sort of clients management consultants deal with: those who are so bad, they just don’t realize how badly they need help. So instead of keeping quiet, she has kept herself in the news: A badly reviewed ghostwritten book. A puzzling “quitting” of the Governors office. A self-defeating public fight with the father of her grandchild. A gig on Fox News. And a paid speech at the Tea Party convention.

This endless barrage of quests for attention ought to tell us something about Sarah Palin: She’s desperate for attention. Most probably because, at heart, she lacks self-confidence. She knows, in her heart, that she isn’t as smart as Obama. She ought to know she isn’t as smart as McCain, Romney, Pawlenty, or just about any other national politician.

The Tea Party speech probably won’t be the final nail in Palin’s political coffin. But, factually dubious talking points aside, the biggest tip-off to her eventual doom has to be the handwritten crib notes on her palm. They tell me that whoever is making decisions for Sarah Palin, Inc. doesn’t have a clue. If Palin had referred to index cards for her notes – that would have looked, if not necessarily “Presidential.”

Instead, she came across looking like exactly what she is: the failing student who hasn’t done her homework.

Eating their own dogfood. Believing their own bullshit..

Jon Stewart appeared on the Bill O’Reilly show last night.

O’Reilly is, of all the Fox news opinionators, probably the least offensive. Which isn’t saying much. But the thing that is most interesting about this interview is the fact that O’Reilly obviously believes that Fox News really is “fair and balanced.”

I would struggle to believe that any objective analysis of Fox News would support this conclusion. But it is quite instructive to me: the people at Fox literally believe their own bullshit.

And that is part of the entire narrative when it comes to the right-wing noise machine. They literally believe the lies they been telling themselves (and the rest of the fools that listen to them) for so long. It goes a long way to explain the complete breakdown in journalistic standards with these organizations. They literally would believe anything negative about President Obama, any Democratic politician, or any “liberal” or “progressive” organization. Which is why the right-wing blogosphere jumped all over the O’Keefe/ACORN story. And why they are so slow to recognize the criminality of O’Keefe’s attempt to infiltrate Lousiana Sen. Landrieu’s office.

The first criteria for any journalistic organization or reporter is objectivity. Just the facts, ma’am.

Its quite illuminating to see that the originator of the “no-spin zone” – is actually the biggest “spinner” of them all. Fair and balanced is unfair and slanted. War is Peace, Freedom is Slavery, and truth is Lies. Can these really be far behind?

Sixty Minutes: Fading to black

A week after 60 Minutes re-ran its tribute to founder Don Hewitt (reminding us of what a great, groundbreaking program it used to be) last night’s show was a severe disappointment.

You used to be able to rely on 60 Minutes to keep their celebrity puff-pieces to a minimum. No more than one per episode, and generally far less than that. An in-depth look at an actor or artist with a lifetime of work behind them, tucked into a dozen or so hard-hitting stories about Government or Corporate corruption or other malfeasance.

But not these days. We had profiles of Beyonce and snowboard champion Shaun White. and, almost and afterthought, a somewhat puff piece on the Green Berets efforts to train Afghan special forces. How does this all disappoint? Let me count the ways:

1) doing a segment on singer Beyonce right before the CBS hosted Grammy Show meets my definition of the highest standards of journalistic integrity. Maybe, just maybe, the entire segment was a promo for upcoming  CBS programming.

2) And CBS chief Foreign Correspondent Lara Logan’s piece on the Green Berets in Afghanistan fell dangerously close to becoming the sort of “war porn” that is an enabler of institutionalized cultural militarism.

While personally likeable, I question Logan’s effectiveness as a reporter. Did she ask a single “tough question” of anyone involved in this segment? No. Instead she simpered and smiled at the soldiers, tossing them softball questions designed to show what good-hearted, thoughtful professionals they really were.

The operations shown in the segment were, not to put too fine a point on it, a series of military disasters.   In two of the operations the only casualties seemed to be “friendly fire” – and in the next, we see a Green Beret opening fire on a speeding truck and critically wounding two (innocent) Afghan teenagers.  In response to the first “friendly fire” incident the Green Berets resort to yelling and swearing at the bewildered Afghan conscripts.

One of the Green Berets interviewed by Logan indicated that prior to enlisting, his job had been “parking cars.” The young man in question obviously was not stupid – anyone with the drive and intelligence necessary to become a Green Beret is a seriously above-average individual. And yet “parking cars” was the best civilian occupation available to such a young man in 21st century America?

Lastly, the training, and in fact the entire mission of the Green Berets in Afghanistan seems fatally misguided to me. Afghans have successfully defeated every foreign invader of their country for the last thousand years or so. And we think that turning them into ersatz Americans is going to work? America’s soliders are superbly trained, led, and equipped. But Afghan soliders are going to have a totally different cultural viewpoint. And they are going to operate in a military structure that is going to be radically less well-equipped than the Green Berets who are training them.

Big Love

Tonight’s episode of the HBO drama Big Love was frankly disappointing. This entire season has annoyed me more than anything. The series seems to have fallen into the same trap as most soap opera, with too many oddball plotlines.

A big problem this season has been the death (murder, actually) of UEB “Prophet” Roman Grant – played by Harry Dean Stanton. His successor son Albie, is too much of a lightweight to pose a serious counterweight to Bill Henrickson. Further complicating things, Albie’s (gay) love interest bears a more than passing resemblence to the Federal Prosecutor, with whom Nicki shared an unrequited crush in the previous season. Making things even worse- Bill and Barb’s youngest daughter (Teency) has been replaced by an entirely new actress.