Thursday, October 16, 2008

The Best Video You Will See Today

My brother Jonathan doing stand-up comedy at the Unurban Coffee Shop in Santa Monica. Face.


Ezra Klein theorizes that the Obama camp may have had the concept for this add sitting around for months, just waiting for McCain to say "I'm not George Bush!" in a debate. As impressed as I've largely been with the Obama campaign's strategic maneuvers these past few months, I'm still not sure about that. They could have just got lucky and thrown this together. Wouldn't be that hard. Still, this may be the most effective anti-McCain ad I've seen:

This ad succinctly makes the best case for voting Obama-Biden. Honestly, health care plans and tax plans are all well and good. Amazingly, if Democrats take control of 2 branches of the government - as it seems they might - some of them may actually come to fruition, at least in part. But all the American people have really needed to hear is, I think:

(1) You know John McCain. He's been the guy you've seen on TV for the past 8 years telling you everything is going awesome. Meanwhile, everything's fucked. You want to keep going?

(2) Barack Obama is not a shifty, unreliable, foreign, Muslim terrorist-sympathizing America-hater who subsists entirely on lattes and his own inflated sense of self importance. Republicans have been making that case for a while, and I think actually seeing Obama on TV day-in day-out kind of kills this message - he's almost stridently level. I think there's a reason the Obama camp has tagged McCain with the word "erratic." It's the exact opposite description of their guy.

I mean, say what you will about the "Gore is a lying dullard" thing...It IS possible to portray him that way. It's certainly not the whole truth about him; he's actually kind of witty, and he likes "Futurama." But it's one side of his persona (the "dullard" stuff...the "liar" part was manufactured) that kind of tended to come out when he was talking about things he takes very seriously. Obama's nothing like how McCain describes him, and it blunts the attacks.

Now that Americans have been convinced of these two things, the tide is starting to turn. I just hope it's enough to push him over the top.

One more, somewhat connected point I want to make, vis-a-vis Election 2008...

If you over 18 and you don't vote, or you vote for a 3rd Party Candidate, or you write in some other person's name, or you vote for McCain-Palin, you're a jerk. There, I said it.

I've made this argument before, but I think it bears repeating, because I constantly hear people talking about their personal politics in terms of ideological purity. "I don't like either candidate...No one speaks for my views..." Like, exist only to assure them that they are the most rational and fair-minded of Americans. I'm not a PARTISAN. I make well-reasoned decisions that aren't swayed by emotionality or wanting to belong to a team.

Bullshit. Presidential politics are not about your purity or your personal morality or even ideology. It's pure pragmatism. There are two options and you are morally bound to choose the one that will do the overall least amount of harm to your fellow Americans, and even the other peoples of the world. I don't usually think it's that hard to figure out which way to go, but bear in mind that thus far in my voting life, the Republicans have offered me George W. Bush twice and now John McCain. Um, well played.

Look, it's fine if you want to be politically active in any way you so choose. But when it comes to your November 2008 vote, it comes down to two options and that's it. Crazy McPalin Sr. or Barack Obama. One of these two men WILL BE PRESIDENT. Joe Biden or Sarah Palin WILL BE VICE-PRESIDENT. I know you may not like either of them. I'm not a huge fan. They both piss me off. But only one of them has shown even the remotes signs of being a decent president. I might be disappointed, sure. But I won't be disappointed by President McCain...I know exactly what to expect. And I won't have time to be disappointed by President Palin, because we'll all be vaporized within 20 minutes of her taking office. Don't ask me how...I'm sure she'll think of something.

Let me once again stress that this is not so much about Barack Obama being super-swell, or about you feeling good about doing your civic duty. This is about not letting a war-loving lunatic and an insane asshole who loves forcing rape victims to give birth to their attacker's kids become the President. Or has 8 years of Republican rule been going really well for you, Mr. Fuld?

Sunday, October 12, 2008

So, I've Been Lax About Blogging Again...

I guess, in some ways, I feel that my comic perspective is no longer needed when discussing the major events of the day. American life has surpassed my ability to parody it in this fashion. Better to focus my energies on making fun of YouTube, which is at this point a more dignified and grounded community than the American political scene.

However, that doesn't mean I can't tell you about music I've been listening to recently. So here we go:

The Walkmen, "Four Provinces"

I guess this song was called "Hey Leah" previously, but it's "Four Provinces" on the new Walkmen album, "You and I," which I am really enjoying presently. This video features the band playing the song acoustically while walking around San Francisco.

Kings of Leon, "Sex on Fire"

See, I know that writing and performing a song "Sex on Fire" that is entirely non-ironic is intensely cheesy. Here is a sample lyric:

Hot as a fever
Rattling bones
I can just taste it
Taste it

If it's not forever
If it's just tonight
Oh we're still the greatest
The greatest
The greatest

This sounds so much like Bob Seger, it's actually kind of disturbing, like a pantless Tom Cruise might slide into your bedroom and minute and strap you to an e-meter.

Cut Copy, "Lights and Music"

My friend Nathan urgently suggested I start listening to Cut Copy, and he's typically right about such things. (His past passionate recommendations have included Man Man and Spoon, a track record that can only be described as "strong to quite strong."

And sure enough, he's on target again. These guys are extremely '80s, which I understand is popular with the kids these days, but the act isn't a gimmick. These guys write fantastic songs.

Ben Folds, Way to Normal

Hey, you know what's unconscionably awful? The new Ben Folds album! I used to really like Ben Folds Five, but recently, I've come to find his entire act/persona rather unbearable. "Way to Normal" is also heavy on the creepy misogyny, which was always kind of a part of the band's repertoire, but it used to be less direct and unpleasant.

So here's the question: Was Ben Folds always this obnoxious, and I just used to like obnoxious music? (Believe me, there's other evidence for this theorem.) Or is his new music increasingly obnoxious, worse than it used to be? Comments welcome.

Land of Talk, "Some Are Lakes"

I'm pretty sure the lead singer from Land of Talk is in Broken Social Scene, but there's too many people in that band. I can't keep them all straight. Anyway, the song is good - very moody and strange. It took me a few listens to get into, but now I find myself returning to it a bunch.