Category Archives: pop culture

At Least We Didn’t Start A War This Time

So, it’s starting to look like North Korea was not responsible for the Sony hack after all. Hilarious:

The FBI was briefed Monday by a security firm who believe the signs point to former Sony employees as responsible for the hacking. The briefing was first reported by Politico and later confirmed by CBS News MondayNight.

Researchers with Norse, a cybersecurity firm say their information points to both hackers working with a piracy group and a laid-off, disgruntled worker.

That’s the same version that Norse gave CBS News’ Ben Tracy in a story reported Dec. 23.

Oh, you silly fools. Yes, this story speaks to the difficulty of navigating the brave new world of cybersecurity. But the knee-jerk response by millions of Americans and our sensationalistic news media speaks to something far worse.

That millions of Americans would flock to a sophomoric movie as a sign of “patriotism” shows how shallow American civic sentiment is today. I’m also appalled at how easily a media firestorm can spread through every corner of this country, devoid of any rational thought. Have we not learned any lessons from the past 15 years? Look how quickly it was simply taken on faith that North Korea was responsible for the hacking of Sony Pictures because hey, that’s what they said on the TeeVee! An irresponsible news media picked up the narrative, tweaked the American amygdala, and manipulated the emotions of millions of people — driving them to see a film most of them in all likelihood would have had no interest in seeing. But they did it because, “America, fuck yeah!” Well, at least we didn’t start a war this time.

Let’s turn this one over to Albert Brooks:

AlbertBrooks

Ha! This is without a doubt the most brain-dead population in human history, and the most completely useless news media in the free world.

Here in Tennessee, movie marquees blared “Freedom prevails” and people showed up to screenings waving American flags and expressing their dislike of the North Korean dictator:

It was Linda Ranz’s idea to see “The Interview” at the Belcourt Theatre. It was husband David Ranz’s idea to bring the outfit.

Decked out in American flag colors while wearing a blue Santa hat with an American flag and a photo of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s face pinned to it, David said Thursday he was fulfilling his patriotic duty. About this time last year, the couple were on vacation standing outside the North Korean border.

The experience opened their eyes to how great America’s freedoms are, they said. And like many of the hundreds there for the sold-out 1:30 p.m. showing, they arrived to make a statement that art will prevail.

“They think they can change how we live our lives, but we can’t let that happen,” said David Ranz, 62, a Murfreesboro resident. “I have grandchildren now, and we have to set an example for them to hold on to the things that are so special to us.”

If the best way you can set an example is to see a movie filled with foul language and sophomoric frat boy jokes, then you, Mr. Ranz, are an idiot. I despair for this country and our world.

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Filed under politics and film, pop culture

Happy To Let The Terrorists Win This One

God, all of this hand-wringing about “censorship” since Sony Pictures announced it was pulling the release of “The Interview!” Smart people, people I respect, are all decrying the decision, but this is one time where I’m gonna say: y’all asked for it. Who thought a comedy showing the U.S. government assassinating an actual, real head of state in an extremely grotesque and graphic fashion was a good idea? It was poor taste all the way around. Maybe a little self-censorship next time, guys?

This wasn’t satire a la Trey Parker and Matt Stone of “Team America World Police.” It was an ill-conceived and un-funny idea from the get-go. Someone should have stepped in long before now; the fact that they didn’t shows how few grown-ups there are in “young Hollywood.”

I’m no fan of the North Korean regime by any means, but I don’t think murder is funny (hey maybe it’s just me!) and I sure don’t think assassinating leaders of foreign countries is funny (sorry, not even Kim Jong Un). When the United States’ international reputation is getting hammered for the CIA’s use of torture, trying to get yuks out of the North Korean leader’s exploding head is in really poor taste. It would be different if they had used a fictitious leader of a fictitious country, but no. They had to push the envelope. Well, sometimes when you push the envelope, the envelope pushes back. Lesson learned.

There’s a lot of nuance to this story that’s being overlooked: the fears of theater chain owners who didn’t want to scare moviegoers away from the multiplex, for one thing, or the fact that Sony’s Japanese owners are far more impacted by North Korea than is America. But the hubris of Hollywood players claiming the moral high ground and crying “censorship” over a puerile buddy comedy filled with butt jokes that was already getting bad reviews is pretty silly. This ain’t “Citizen Kane,” and I’m not sure it’s the best place to be planting your free speech flag.

Movie studios pull the plug on projects all the damn time. I don’t recall anyone crying “censorship” the last time a movie went straight to video, do you?

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Filed under movies, politics and film, pop culture

Murica Murica Murica

Do you love Murica? Do you love it as much as right-wing propagandist/author/filmmaker/criminal/adulterer D’Nesh D’Souza does? Probably not! D’Nesh D’Souza has named so many of his little propaganda tomes “America” that he has confused the Great Gazoogle, and now if you are an America-lover like D’Nesh D’Souza and want to see his latest Murica-loving flick, named “America” (of course! Not to be confused with his last flick,
“Obama’s America,” though!), you had better not use the Google and maybe should try Fandango because Google’s algorithms say “that’s too much America, D’Nesh D’Souza!” What do you expect from a person whose first and last names begin with D-apostrophe? Really, people!

D’Souza’s camp is pretty sure this is all one big conspiracy from Liebrul-Obama-lovin’ Hollyweird, though:

“This is merely a reiteration of what we heard nearly a week ago, and yet the problem has persisted and potential moviegoers are still confused,” D’Souza told THR. “The American people need to know if Google is going to be a trustworthy source of news and information that doesn’t tilt in one political direction or another.”

Simultaneously to the Google controversy, Costco has been under fire for issuing an edict that all of its stores stop selling D’Souza’s latest book, America: Imagine a World Without Her, which is the source material for the movie.

Costco reportedly says its decision is based on lackluster sales, not politics, though critics point out that the book is poised to appear July 13 on the New York Times best sellers list. On Tuesday, the book was No. 3 at Amazon.com. Costco did not respond to a request for comment.

Poor little D’Nesh! He’s sooooooo oppressssssed, you guys! D’Nesh D’Souza is not having a good year, and it’s all Obama’s fault!

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Filed under conservatives, politics and film, pop culture

Occupy Madison Avenue

Hey America, did you know there’s a culture war going on? Not the religious vs secular one we’ve always had, but a fun new one, the rich vs poor one? The takers vs makers one? The Occupy Wall Street vs Americans For Prosperity one? The “Me Generation” vs “Us Generation” one?

As an observer of the culture I find this new one far more interesting, relevant and, quite frankly, a far bigger deal than that other one. I know it’s a lot more fun for your Gannett fishwrap to write about Koran-burning pastors and fights over Muslim cemeteries in Rutherford County, and indeed these are important issues, I don’t mean to downplay them. But in terms of having a broad, lasting impact on American society, I think these religious wars over birth control and whether we are a Christian nation are really just sidebars.

This other culture war is the one which really defines us. It’s a battle of two beloved archetypes, pitting the “rugged individualist” against the “community organizer.” It’s a battle for the soul of America and American values. Do we value stuff? Or do we value each other? Are we all on our own? Or are we all in this together?

We’re not really having that national conversation right now, but it doesn’t mean the battle isn’t raging. Mitt Romney’s infamous “47 percent” comment and Elizabeth Warren’s “you didn’t build that” speech brought it to the forefront, but post-election we’re just sort of dancing around the topic instead of having a direct debate.

And I have to say, if you want to know what’s happening in a culture, look at its advertising. Have you noticed that all of a sudden we’re seeing mixed-race and same-sex families in TV ads now? I think this is great. When Madison Avenue recognizes that the “average American family” is now multi-racial and multi-oriented, it tells me the bigots have lost and the all-inclusives have won (I know that’s not a word, I just made it up, but I like it).

So now we have a new culture war raging, and I find it absolutely fascinating to see it played out in … wait for it … car commercials.

If you watched the winter Olympic games, you repeatedly saw Cadillac’s ad featuring Mr. 1%er, a self-satisfied douchebag bragging on American exceptionalism and showing off all his cool stuff. This truly useless idiot seems to think we’re going to go back to the moon despite the fact that we keep cutting NASA’s budget so we can afford tax cuts for wealthy assholes like him. What a buffoon. I suppose he’s Cadillac’s target market. If you missed it, here it is:

This ad irritated a lot of us liberals, and no doubt it was designed to do just that. And now Ford has answered that ad with its own, featuring an actual community do-gooder named Pasho Murray, founder of Detroit Dirt, which takes food waste and turns it into compost for urban gardens.

You can see Ford’s “parody” ad here:

I just find this so fascinating. I suppose someone else will come out with an ad telling us to ride bicycles or use public transit. Wait for it, in 5… 4… 3….

Something big is happening in American culture right now. I wonder, maybe we need to be a little more intentional about the conversation? Instead of letting advertising agencies have the conversation for us? Just a thought.

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Filed under advertising, culture wars, pop culture

Isn’t She Special

Y’all probably don’t watch The Real Housewives Of New York City, which I admit is an occasional guilty pleasure of mine (don’t judge! Dorito’s for the brain, cripes, even I need to unwind every now and then). But there was this time about three or four seasons ago when cast member Kelly Bensimon had some kind of nervous breakdown on a trip to the Virgin Islands. It was one of those deals where everything erupted into what you thought was going to be a typical Real Housewives catfight, with Kelly yelling at the other housewives and they’re arguing back at her. But the conversation was odd, there were words but they weren’t forming coherent ideas that related to what anyone else was saying, and all at once you see the other women realize that Kelly was clearly experiencing some kind of mental breakdown. She started shouting “Al Sharpton! Al Sharpton!” apropos of absolutely nothing and cramming hard candies into her mouth.

And as the realization that something was seriously wrong with Kelly dawned on the other women you just saw them all back down and say, “okay, we’re not going to argue, there’s something wrong here, let’s get you some help.” I mean, it was truly amazing to see, how they all at once realized that they were not dealing with a mentally healthy person but someone having a clinical episode of some kind.

That’s kind of how I feel after reading this interview with Victoria Jackson (warning: there’s an annoying auto-start ad at the link so turn your volume off if you don’t want to be screamed at.) I just can’t piece out quotes and make fun of someone who clearly is just … not … all right up there.

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Filed under conservatives, pop culture, Saturday Night Live, Tennessee, Tennessee politics

Super Bowl Derp Alert v2.0

Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha……

JonesIllyuminati

I see a lot of Infowars bumper stickers plastered on road signs from coast to coast, in my own neighborhood and in my travels (here’s a sample from last summer). I have to wonder what kind of loon would spend their money and time on such an endeavor.

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Filed under conspiracies, conspiracy theory, Music & politics, pop culture

Super Bowl Derp Alert

[UPDATE]:

Atlanta anchorwoman Brenda Wood sets the haters straight:

Awesome.

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Tea Partiers are in an uproar over Coca Cola’s multicultural ad which features people singing “America The Beautiful” in different languages. You can watch the ad here:

Now there’s a #BoycotCoke hashtag. It takes some special kind of stupid to want to boycott Coca Cola for their ad celebrating American diversity. There are a lot of reasons to boycott Coke — here’s one, your health is another — but an ad featuring kids singing doesn’t exactly top my list.

P.S. Among the many ironies here is the fact that RWNJs got so upset about America The Beautiful being sung in foreign languages that they completely ignored the same-sex couple at 0:43. Bwaaaha.

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Filed under advertising, pop culture

RIP, Pete Seeger

Woops brain fart. Woody Guthrie wrote “This Land,” NOT Pete Seeger … ! Well, I got it right the first time.

Looks like I’ll have to do another photographic tribute.

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I did a photographic tribute to Pete Seeger Woody Guthrie a couple years ago. In honor of the passing of this great American, here it is again.

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Filed under music, music and politics, pop culture

Look What They’ve Done To My Song

Yeah, I’m old. I don’t care who knows it, either. I’m old and grumpy and when I see stuff like last night’s Grammy Awards it just makes me want to laugh at how ridiculous pop music is today. Offa my lawn, etc.

Daft Punk? WTF? Sorry, but this made me laugh:

daft-punk-grammy-2014

I saw the “robots” win two awards. They hugged each other and walked to the stage and stood there in their stupid helmets, not saying a word because they don’t speak but somehow won a musical award. I don’t get it. How fucking ridiculous. Is that supposed to be ironic or something? It’s crazy. We don’t even know who was inside those outfits. The Daft Punk guys could’ve been on a beach somewhere and sent understudies. [UPDATE: Ha! I was right!] We’d never know. Daft, indeed. Punk? Not so much. You kids today.

But honestly, the worst part of the show last night for me was supposed to be its best: the mass gay wedding presided over by Queen Latifah. Y’all know, I love the gays, I support gay marriage, but a mass wedding on an awards show televised on prime time? I mean, c’mon. Wow. That just trivialized the whole thing for me.

Our GLBT friends deserve to celebrate the many amazing victories — political and cultural — they’ve worked so hard for over the past few years. But a televised mass wedding on a music awards show sorta sends the opposite message of the fight for civil rights. You can’t frame your battle as having the same gravitas as the fight to overturn Jim Crow and then turn it into “razzle dazzle.” Fighting for rights is not showbiz. It was just tacky, tacky, tacky.

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Filed under music, pop culture

Horrible Idea Du Jour, v. Eleventybillion

A Florida “entrepreneur” has launched a “gun-themed” fashion line for women and kids because c’mon, it’s Florida and why the hell not?

Kushlin loves shooting guns — and loves looking good — and she got tired of leaving gun trade shows empty-handed. She wanted to be able to purchase something feminine to show off that she’s a shooter, but never saw anything to buy.

Susan Kushlin decided to take matters into her own hands.

She created Gun Girls Inc., a fashion line offering an array of apparel and accessories designed exclusively for women. Her assortment includes $35 gold-toned bullet belts, $20 dangling gun earrings, $76 pink concealed-carry handbags and $21 rhinestone-studded tank tops bearing her company’s logo (with tanks in kids sizes to match mom), a gun in a holster belt.

As if we didn’t glorify guns enough already in pop culture as it is! But yes, do tell me how Hollywood is responsible for gun violence, I’m all ears. And as long as our kids are shooting other kids, I think offering “gun-themed fashion” for said kids is extraordinarily tone-deaf.

Then again, it’s Florida. What do you expect. The idiot state.

BTW … anyone shocked to learn this lady lives in a place called The Plantation?

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Filed under Florida, gun control, gun violence, pop culture