Wednesday, September 19, 2007

I Don't Know? I Never Thought About It?

How can anyone say they "don't know" if the Earth is flat on television? If you're stupid enough to believe that, keep that shit to yourself. Grounds for permanent dismissal from television right there. Our young people have a hard enough time learning in the American educational system without subjecting them to Sherri Shepherd's idiocy.

Monday, September 17, 2007

"The most important thing is that I am a Christian"

That's John McCain today, unable to decide if he is an Episcopalian or a Baptist. But at least he's not one a dem mud peoples whut don' even believe in our Lord Jeebus.

Seriously, religion in modern America is getting so fucked up and tribal, it's making Biblical Rome feel like a bastion of rationality and tolerance.

The comment came after a weekend during which McCain corrected an Associated Press reporter who asked him how his Episcopalian faith plays a role in his campaign and his life. While it's well-known that McCain and his family for years have attended the North Phoenix Baptist Church in his home state of Arizona, the senator had consistently referred to himself in media reports as Episcopalian.

"It plays a role in my life. By the way, I'm not Episcopalian. I'm Baptist," McCain said Saturday. "Do I advertise my faith? Do I talk about it all the time? No."

Wait, now I'm confused. So, it's extremely important that everyone know he's a Christian, but it's not important for him to talk about his faith all the time? Seems contradictory. That statement doesn't hold together unless...he just thinks being a Christian ought to be a pre-requisite to be President. Like, "Okay, I'm qualified to be President...because I'm in the secret Jesus club. But I don't like to be painted with that brush..."

Which is kind of totally un-Constitutional.

In a June interview with McClatchy Newspapers, the senator said his wife and two of their children have been baptized in the Arizona Baptist church, but he had not. "I didn't find it necessary to do so for my spiritual needs," he said.

So he's just a faker. Someone who really believes in a religion, any religion, actually takes it's core principle and namesake seriously. It's, like, the crucial component of your personal instructions on how to live from God, not a checklist of suggestions from the D.W.P.

- Okay, not coveting my neighbor's ass, gotta remember that one.

- Good, good, turning the other cheek, I'll go with it...

- Wait, I have to get water spilled over my head? In public? Nah, fuck that one.

You don't get to pick which rites and covenants you fancy and which don't work for your spiritual needs at this time. But you certainly don't get to ignore the single most important symbolic act of your entire faith, you fucking douchebag. How can you be an unbaptized Baptist? That's just declaring openly that you're full of shit.

"Well, yes, I am a lifetime member of the KKK, but I love black people. I just like the hats. And it's good for networking. If you need some moonshine, I've got a great moonshine guy."

Is This Thing On?

NewsBusted, the hi-larious stand-up conservo-comedy podcast, actually made me physically cringe. Now, I know rhetorically, the notion of "cringe-inducing" material is thrown around a lot, but I'm telling you, I shuddered in fear at the mathematically-impossible depths to which this doofus in an ill-fitting suit sinks attempting to squeeze a laugh out of hardcore right-wing nutballery.

Conan O'Brien's mongoloid, malnourished cousin, Mark Ellis, doesn't get a single line off that's not excruciatingly hacktastic. It would have been less painful to just give him an anaesthesia-free root canal on YouTube than encourage him to do his best five minutes on clueless libruls. He clearly learned all he knows about comedy by watching, and then rewatching, all six weeks' worth of Chevy Chase Shows. But how are you going to recreate that phenomenon? Like lightning in a bottle, that Chevy Chase charisma...

Half of Ellis' statements don't even come off as jokes. More like "desperate cries for help." When he blatantly calls Sean Penn a traitor...that's I think when the clips shifts from irritating to pathetic.

And is that canned laughter? It looked like he had a studio audience in the beginning, but the laughs themselves sound really tinny and fake. Plus, there's no way actual humans were laughing at jokes about Michael Moore enjoying ice cream and Barack Obama liking Starbucks. You could give Robin Quivers 8 massive bong rips and she still wouldn't laugh at a joke about Michael Moore's weight problem. It's played...Sooooooo plaaaaaaaayed...

A while back, I discussed Jay Leno's preferred joke-writing technique, which is extremely simple:

(1) Pick a popular news story
(2) Pick a famous person who is not directly or obviously connected with the popular news story
(3) Connect the two

Ellis won't even put in this amount of effort. He's simplified the Leno style into an even more basic, and even less funny (which I wasn't even sure was possible) 2-step formula:

(1) Pick a stupid librul
(2) Insult them

Here's some free advice for anyone attempting to write sharp political humor. If you're writing a joke about how Bill Clinton loves pussy and it's no longer 1997, you suck ass. Thank me later.

[Hat Tip, Mr. Willis]

Suck it, Jesus!

So, I started another blog over at WordPress along with a friend (though she's yet to post anything over there.) Socialite Dog Party will deal mostly with celebrity gossip that I'm too embarrassed to discuss over here on my main blog. With all the news dives I'm doing at work, I end up hearing about almost all the big juicy gossipy stories anyway. Or at least, all the "accidental" vagina shots, which now compose 85% of all celebrity gossip, according to statistics I have just invented.

Anyway, WordPress blogs have that little "tagline" under the title. The default says "Another WordPress Blog", and I changed it to read "Suck it, Jesus," a play on Kathy Griffin's censored Emmy speech from earlier this week. See, because both of the site's bloggers are Jews and because a celebrity just said that, it's a perfect description of our blog! Unfortunately, WordPress seems to have no sense of humor, and keeps reverting to the generic tagline.

I've tried a non-blasphemous one, so if it's a mechanical/caching error, we'll find out soon enough. But if WordPress is trying to actually prevent me from titling my blog in some kind of anti-Christ fashion...well, that would be a big strike against them, blog platform-wise. (The second strike of the day, actually. I also discovered this morning that they don't have the capacity to embed MySpace TV videos. Which is just really silly...)

Spaced Invaders


[Tip of my hat to the guys (and now, gals!) at Sadly, No! for the link]

Quarantine: Day Four

DeathCold 2007 just keeps on rolling here in my apartment. In addition to my myriad other ailments and complaints, I've actually developed a sore neck from sleeping so much lo these past 96 hours. Heading out to the doctor at 3, so hopefully he'll have some helpful advice that doesn't include the old "drink plenty of fluids" line. I've imbibed a ton of fluids, usually orange juice, during every cold I've ever had in my entire life, and I'm not convinced it has ever done me any good at all. Not once have I chugged a liter of Tropicana and bounded out of bed eagerly greeting a new, no-longer-infected day. Usually, the citric acid burns the back of my throat, I get pulp mixed in my post-nasal drip for the rest of the day and that's about it.

I'm even running out of non-online reading material. I finished Bret Easton Ellis' "Lunar Park" yesterday and may have to swing by the bookstore on the way home from the doctor for my next selection. Four hours of essentially solitary confinement has made me fairly desperate for entertainment. I actually watched about 2 hours of the Emmy Awards last night before I couldn't take any more, so you know it's getting ugly around here.

A few questions about the Emmys last night for anyone else who watched:

- Has Robert Duvall lost his marbles? I'm not trying to be mean. The guy's a brilliant actor; I'm a fan, even though he makes approximately 22 bad films for every good one. But he made two really weird, rambling speeches last night that almost made me question his sanity. In the first speech, he went on and on about Westerns being the great American genre right before waxing nostalgic about filming his most recent Western, the three Emmy-winning Broken Trail, in Alberta, Canada. The second "speech" made even less sense, and wasn't really even for him, but was intended for the film's producers. Just strange.

- The little mini-films introducing the writing staffs for the nominated variety/comedy shows was the highlight of the entire broadcast. That seems kind of sub-optimal for the Emmy Award producers, seeing as it's, comparatively, kind of a minor award.

- I get that Frankie Valli is from Jersey, and The Sopranos are from Jersey, and Valli's even made a few appearances on the show, but what the hell was up with that "tribute" featuring the guys from "Jersey Boys"? I mean, a montage of "Goodfellas" with the Four Seasons in the background, okay, that I get. (He even gets name-checked in that film. "Who the hell do you think you are? Frankie Valli or some kind of big shot?") But Sopranos is set in the present day and the music is largely contemporary. They should have booked Journey.

- I'm no fan of the Fox network, but in the interest of fairness, can we agree that they probably censored Sally Field for saying the word "goddamn" and not because she was talking about Iraq? Sally Field always irritates me at award shows (and, more generally, in life). She's won a ton of these things at this point, it should be totally old hat to her, but she still has to do that lame, over-excited, spazzy, "Oh I didn't expect this!" act every single time. Compare her faux-jittery, discombobulated style to the composed grace and impeccable wit of Helen Mirren's speech. It's just embarrassing.

But watch the video for yourself...They let her rant (meaninglessly) about Iraq for a few moments, even getting in that hacky old line about "if moms ran the world, there'd be no war, blah blah blah..." They only cut her off when she started swearing.

It's a separate matter whether or not you should be allowed to blaspheme on television. I think you should. You're allowed to say racial and sexist slurs on television ("30 Rock" laced one hilarious episode this past season with epithets ranging from "queerburger" to "faggotron"), so why not "suck it, Jesus" or "goddamn"? But still, those are the rules and it seems to me, in this case, they were applied as fairly as possible. With so much to be genuinely outraged about these days, including AT&T's genuine censoring of Pearl Jam's anti-war sentiments, this is a distraction.

- What was up with that Tony Bennett/Christina Aguilera thing? They sang for about 4 minutes, the dancers in front of them were distracting and not particularly impressive, and he looked like he barely knew what was going on. Plus, she's very pregnant. What's she doing climbing on top of a piano?

- The thing about Lewis Black's whole persona and style of comedy is that the jokes themselves have to be really funny. If he's working with sub-par material, as he was last night, the whole yelling-ranting-psycho schtick just gets kind of desperate and irritating.

- Was it me or did Ryan Seacrest actually do an okay job? Not that I laughed at any of his jokes, but hiring Sanjaya Malakar's foil to host a big awards show seemed like a basic error in judgment to me. But he kind of pulled it off, kind of. Only improvement would have been to have Randy and Simon at the foot of the stage critiquing his performance mid-broadcast.

- "Hell's Kitchen" wasn't even nominated for Best Reality Competition Show. WTF?

- Was happy to see "30 Rock" win. It really is the best comedy on television right now.

This concludes the Pathetic Sick Bastard's Frustrated Guide to Watching the Emmys Because He's Too Nasally Congested to Sleep.