Sunday, September 27, 2009
-- Bob Somerby, "ACCUSATION IN BULK! We liberals make sweeping claims about race. Then, we pretend that we didn't" (The Daily Howler).
First, thanks to all those who worked on this edition:The Third Estate Sunday Review's Jim, Dona, Ty, Jess, and Ava,
Rebecca of Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude,
Betty of Thomas Friedman Is a Great Man,
C.I. of The Common Ills and The Third Estate Sunday Review,
Kat of Kat's Korner (of The Common Ills),
Cedric of Cedric's Big Mix,
Mike of Mikey Likes It!,
Elaine of Like Maria Said Paz),
Trina of Trina's Kitchen,
Ruth of Ruth's Report,
Wally of The Daily Jot,
Marcia of SICKOFITRDLZ,
Stan of Oh Boy It Never Ends
and Ann of Ann's Mega Dub.
And Dallas. We thank them all. We also thank Betty's kids and Isaiah for illustrations we used.
Now let's talk about the edition.
Truest statement of the week -- Bob Somerby was truest. We almost had a second one but C.I. nixed it. (It was something C.I. wrote.) That's two weeks in a row for Somerby.
Editorial: F**k that s**t -- We really thought we'd seen it all, seen the worst of it. Then we were sent the press release on Ocotber 5th and wondered do they think the Iraq War ended and US troops pulled out? Is that it?
TV: Cougar Town Roars -- Ava and C.I. doing it as only they can and were I (Jim) a TV critic who uses sexism and lies about shows with women to try to get them cancelled, I'd be scared to death right now because Ava and C.I. have really had it with those liars. This week was nice. In the future, the oink-oink sexist pigs better be ready for slaughter.
Roundtable -- Our e-mail roundtable. Trina participated in this and in the roundtable, by the way. We thank her for both.
Mr. Snackwell's Worst Dressed for the Week -- Last week's fashion feature was something we were pleased with. Then Ava and C.I. read it Monday and called from the road to ask, "No one noticed her bra? No one noticed that she's wearing an art studio drop cloth as a skirt?" That kind of hinted that we might have a follow up. And then? The White House pulled a little stunt on Friday. That sealed it. This will not be a weekly feature, but it will be a regular one.
TV: Racist and unfunny, today's SNL -- Ava and C.I. offer two TV pieces this week. This one they weren't keen on writing because they were tired but agreed to because they'd promised Betty they'd address it. It was almost their only article. You ended up with two because with the attacks on Cougar Town from 'critics' and the right-wing, they had to cover that. They do their own links in their articles (in all other pieces, Dallas hunts down the links) and they said they weren't in the mood to try and remember when they said this or said that. They suggest those who are doubters utilize Google and search key words. Ava and C.I. have covered the way Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton are treated by SNL repeatedly. They've also documented the soft and fuzzy 'humor' aimed at Barack. My favorite part of the article revolves around Tina Fey's Emmy loss and I just wish they'd added, "Suck on it!"
Halloween (Jess) -- Jess kicks things off this week with this article. The plan is for Ty, Dona and me to write a Halloween piece in the lead up to the holiday. We'll each grab a week and do our solo piece about a Halloween or Halloween experience that stands out. Jess did a great job kicking things off.
Let him live it as a blonde -- Oh, Barry O, how you disappoint. This article explains why we will take on Michelle's 'fashion' regularly. Don't ever try to say that the photos we pay to have developed, the photos we pay the photographer to take of the president we pay the salary of and provide a home for, don't ever say those photos don't belong to We The People.
Jim's World -- I wrote this. Like Rebecca, I lost a grandparent over the summer. As a result, a lot of the things he used to say are coming back to me. I didn't want to offer a heavy piece on mourning or loss. Hopefully this is lighthearted enough to honor him because he had a great sense of humor and couldn't stand anyone taking anything too seriously. American Dad, season premiere tonight, don't forget.
Idiot of the Week -- Betty brought this to the table. Rachel Maddow thinks reporting takes on her place on her show? Idiot.
Highlights -- Mike, Elaine, Betty, Kat, Rebecca, Marcia, Ruth, Stan, Ann, Cedric and Wally wrote this and selected the highlights. We thank them for this.
And that's what we ended up with. See you next week.
-- Jim, Dona, Ty, Jess, Ava and C.I.
Uh, kiddies, there's a war still going on in Iraq.
We're pretty disgusted with all the liars and whores pretending the illegal war in Iraq is over. Now they want to 'lead' you in protests against the Afghanistan War.
The same people who don't have the guts or drive to end in the Iraq War, want you to follow them to DC.
F**k that s**t.
Shame on anyone refusing to admit that the Iraq War isn't over.
And shame on anyone okay with the 'promise' that the Iraq War ends as 2012 starts.
It's a damn lie. Politicians promise everything. They rarely mean a word. Which is why Barack's promise of withdrawing troops 10 months after being sworn in has not and will not come to pass.
When the same 'leaders' wanting you to follow them yet again pretended to give a damn about the Iraq War, they're slogan was Out of Iraq Now! But these days, they're fine with two years or more.
And yet they expect you to waste your time on supporting their do-nothing actions?
Repeating, f**k that s**t.
Ehren Watada, the first officer to publicly refuse to deploy to Iraq, is supposed to be discharged (finally) from the US military on October 2nd.
Last Sunday 1 person was reported killed in Iraq and 6 injured. Monday and Tuesday, we're supposed to believe that no one was killed in Iraq. Reality, the press just had other things to do.
Wednesday, the numbers were 7 dead and six injured. Thursday saw two people reported wounded. Friday was 16 dead and 7 wounded. Saturday saw 7 reported deaths. In all, 31 reported deaths and 21 people reported injured.
Sunday the US military announced: "JOINT BASE BALAD, Iraq -- One U.S. service member was killed and 12 others were injured when a UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter went down inside of Joint Base Balad at approximately 8 p.m. Saturday. The name of the deceased is being withheld pending notification of next of kin and release by the Department of Defense.The names of service members are announced through the U.S. Department of Defense official website at http://www.defenselink.mil/releases/ The announcements are made on the Web site no earlier than 24 hours after notification of the service member's primary next of kin.The cause of the incident is unknown and is under investigation. More information will be released as soon as it becomes available." Monday the US Defense Department issued a release announcing "the death of an airman who was supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom. Senior Airman Matthew R. Courtois, 22, of Lucas, Texas, died Sep 20 as a result of a non-hostile incident on Abdullah Al Mubarak Airbase, Kuwait. He was assigned to the 366th Security Forces Squadron, Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho. The circumstances surrounding the incident are under investigation."
Two more deaths of US service members. Bringing the total number of US service members killed in the illegal war since it started to 4346.
The Iraq War is not over.
And we will not be participating in any protest that refuses to acknowledge that. Nor will we trust any 'leader' stepping forward with a "Come on, gang, let's end that Afghanistan War!"
End the Afghanistan War?
Under the 'leadership' of the people who lost interest in ending the Iraq War long ago? Lost interest in the ongoing Iraq War long ago?
Not bloodly likely. F**k that s**t.
ABC's under pressure to cancel it. Already. It's the same pressure that led to the cancellation of Emily's Reasons Why Not. You may not remember that show. We'd planned to review the Heather Graham sitcom that debuted in January 2006 but it was cancelled upon airing. There were many laughable reasons given for the cancellation but the reality was right-wing groups launched a campaign to kill the show before it aired and ABC suits were overwhelmed by (and scared of) the protests that came in.
ABC was afraid of offending anyone? Please. Taste has never been a concern at the network which launched T & A TV in the seventies. Running scared, however, has always been ABC's natural fall back position.
So when the complaints came in this week, the fact that Cougar Town's debut was watched by over 11 million viewers mattered less and less to the network. They were scared and convinced that no one would watch again. They were convinced no one would watch again because the e-mail campaign to kill the show (participants were advised to e-mail the network after the show began airing Wednesday night and to use the words "I will never watch this show again") made it appear that a good chunk of the 11 million were so offended they were boycotting.
E-mails and phone calls like that killed Emily's Reasons Why Not and were enough to make ABC really nervous last week; however, they paid attention to Hulu. On Hulu the show's proved highly popular. Not just popular, mind you, but highly popular. And that was enough to give Cougar Town another week.
Some of the people who insist to ABC that they'll never watch again are people who never watched in the first place. And there is an audience for Cougar Town.
That should be reason to rejoice but as we listened to execs at ABC play hopeful but nervous before Wednesday night and then play nervous Nells on Thursday and then be thrilled by Hulu (Friday morning, Cougar Town had become the most watched show of the week), we kept coming back to why the hell did Courtney Cox's show have to go through this?
Wasn't it enough that the show was funny? Wasn't it enough that it delivered an audience?
Why is it that a woman's forced to meet all the markers of success and then be faced with additional hoops to jumped through?
"Women can be some of the worst bitches." That statement was made by a feminist friend when we were griping to her on Saturday about some of the Water Cooler chat and noting how the worst reviews for this show were coming from women.
"Women can be some of the worst bitches," she replied as we looked over The Wall St. Journal's pan by Nancy deWolf Smith. "Never forget that if we could get our act together, we wouldn't need to persuade men to 'give us' equality, we'd simply claim it and have the numbers to do so."
Nance felt the need to match the single-mother Courtney Cox plays against the married mom Patricia Heaton plays and to find Courtney lacking. Why the two shows would be compared to begin with is beyond us but what Nance did wasn't offer a judgment on a show, it was offer a judgment on life and, as usual, Nance was so f**king dumb she didn't know what she was talking about including apparently confusing Cher with Elizabeth Taylor. (Taylor's dated no 'boy toy.' She married a younger man but that's generally not seen as "cougar" behavior.) When not demonstrating she was confused, Nance outright lied:
In an earlier era, the next step for a woman thus scorned was to take her revenge by amassing power, money and independence in the workforce. But this is the 21st century, where pole dancing passes for a statement of female liberation. So it should come as no surprise that Jules will search for self-esteem in frequent sex and the proof that she is still "hot."
Nancy deWolf Smith can't help lying, see she spent the bulk of her 'career' working for propaganda outlets such as Voice Of America -- the 'radio' network which cannot legally broadcast in the United States. So Nance is used to lying and used to getting away with it. So she lobs a critique at Courtney Cox's character, Jules Cobb, for wanting to appear "hot" instead of "amassing power, money and independence in the workforce." Damn liars like Nancy should be jeered whenever they appear in public and, if her outlet had any standards, they'd fire her.
See, Jules is a successful business woman and the first clue for Nance should have been the scene less than ten minutes into the first episode when her ex-husband Bobby (Brian Van Holt) showed up asking for an advance on his monthly alimony check. She's paying alimony, living in a dream home, driving a pricey car and money is not a problem. Why is that? She's a successful realtor. While Nancy deWolf Smith has never personally tasted success, she should know what it looks like but, apparently, having her mouth repeatedly around the balls of government lies has left her with an obstructed view.
We have no idea whose balls Troy Patterson was tonguing while pretending to watch the debut of Cougar Town; however, Slate might want to determine if their 'critic' needs glasses or is just lazy? In his pan of the show, Patterson writes, "Divorced from (and paying alimony to) a chowderhead who lives across the street, convinced that her shortage of suitors verifies her unlovability, psychotically gauche in social situations, she embodies every familiar trope of an unmarried woman approaching menopause." Unlike Nance, Troy-boy grasps that Courtney pays alimony; however, he seems confused as to whom she pays it too.
Bobby, her ex-husband, does not live across the street from her. Troy-boy has confused the character of Bobby (and the actor Brian Van Holt) with Grayson (and the actor Josh Hopkins). Where does Bobby live? The audience hasn't seen his home yet. Grayson, however, the audience sees basically every time Courtney's leaving her home or returning and he's usually with a much, much younger woman. In one memorable exchange, she will yell at him and his young, young date (practically an embryo by comparison to Grayson), "And a hoodie? Really? If you want her to think you're that young why don't you just wear those PJs with the feet on them!"
When the new year starts, we will have been reviewing TV for five years. In the past, we usually were kind to the idiots who make up the Water Cooler Set. They are the fools and gas bags who champion bad TV (such as the Aaron Sorkin disaster) and we generally refer to them collectively or toss out a few telling details. But we've largely avoided naming them. That's changing right now. We will name every liar, and call him or her out, when they go after a show because it stars a woman. There are critics at your daily papers who have made a career out of destroying women's careers. For example, a daily boasts a man whose ripped apart any woman not playing a stay at home wife (who does nothing but set up her husband's punch lines) for forty years now and he's gotten away with it. No mas.
Those days are over. You want to play sexist, well get ready because from now on we're calling you out by name. From now on we're highlighting your lies. These aren't mistakes, these are outright lies. And you've used them repeatedly to destroy projects women starred in. So consider yourselves to be on notice, we will nail your asses to the ground.
Courtney Cox is starring in the funniest new sitcom on TV and she's doing an amazing job. Instead of reviewing what she's appearing in, a number of people are making 'mistakes' in their efforts to take her down. Those aren't mistakes, they're deliberate. They are deliberate in intention or they are deliberate in carelessness. It makes no differences, they are deliberate and that's because writers know if they trash a woman, they're 'only' trashing a woman. They lie repeatedly and they get away with it when a sports writer doing the same to an athlete would be forced to issue a correction.
What has the anti-women forces in such a tizzy?
All together now, "Break me off a piece of that Kit Kat bar."
David Clayton Rogers played Matt in the debut episode. He's the guy Jules meets in a club that wacky friend Laurie (Busy Phillips) drags her to. Jules is uptight beyond belief and, to calm her down, Laurie suggests Jules critiques her appearance since that always seems to bring her focus leading Jules to tell her she looks like a crack whore with fake nails on one hand and none on the other. Laurie explains she only had four fake nails and that's the hand she smokes with. Moments later, Matt and Jules collide. There are sparks but the sparks make her nervous and she leaves the club alone and rushes home. Honk-honk. It's Laurie outside dropping off something Jules left at the club: Matt.
With her son Travis (Dan Byrd) at her husband's for the weekend and with encouragement from her next door neighbor Elle (Christa Miller of The Drew Carey Show and Scrubs) who spies Matt shirtless through the window, Jules and Matt get busy. And then they move it out to the patio in the backyard, to the lawn chairs. She explains she's going to do something that she normally doesn't do, something she didn't do that often for her husband. Just as she's going down on Matt, Travis and Bobby arrive with Bobby protesting that Jules told him she hated doing that.
It's awkward and it's funny. And the humor is sexual. It's no more sexual than you can find on Two And A Half Men or, for that matter, from Jack Tripper on Three's Company. But when it's coming from Courtney Cox (or any woman), it's time to start the e-mail campaigns to pull the show off the air, it's time for 'critics' to lie about a show in order to take it down.
This is the funniest new show the networks have. It may end up being the funniest show of the year. There's nothing like it currently on TV. Some wrongly try to lump it in with Jenna Elfman's new show. The two are completely different characters and the shows are completely different shows. (We plan to review Accidentally On Purpose next week. We do recommend you check it out on Mondays on CBS and it is a funny show.) And Jules is completely different from Monica Geller. That's the friend we all associate Courtney with and the majority of us would probably welcome the return of Monica. It would certainly be a safe move for her to return as Monica. She could be a radio chef in Seattle with a zany younger brother.
Instead, she's decided to play Jules and it's not just the names that are different. Courtney Cox is a talented and successful comedic actress and there are many ways to bring back Monica with variations. Instead, she's playing a completely different character and she's fleshed it out in a way that even we didn't expect (and we know Courtney and we're big fans of her but we have really been shocked watching the episodes of Cougar Town to see what she's done with Jules). Jules has her own series of tics and Courtney's making them work. It's amazing.
And the entire cast is amazing. Dan Byrd hits all the right notes as Jules' son. Brian Van Holt manages to make the lazy Bobby not only funny but actually appealing. There's a moment where Travis is embarrassed because Bobby is mowing his school's lawn and mowing it shirtless and stopping to offer a few bits of advice to Travis before resuming his air drum solo and mowing. Bobby is so oblivious and Van Holt walks the fine line so that you enjoy the cluelessness and find it endearing. Josh Hopkins has less to do thus far as Grayson but has handled everything well. Ian Gomez does a fine job as Andy that's made better by Christa Miller's dry reactions to him. In the midst of everything that is going on in the debut episode (and a lot's going on), time's made for a scene at the office where Miller's Elle stops in to explain to Jules she feels like she's losing their friendship and being replaced by Laurie. Every beat in that scene is perfect and it touches on elements of comedy and drama with the three actresses seamlessly handling each transition. The only thing to compare it to is the beauty shop scene in Steel Magnolias.
And when we were mentioning that on Saturday to our friend we quoted earlier, she said, "You see!" We didn't at first. Then she pointed out you have Academy Award winners Julia Roberts, Sally Field, Olympia Dukakis and Shirley MacLaine in that scene as well as the amazing Daryl Hannah and Dolly Parton. But we don't get Movieline or American Film drooling over the talent there. The same outlets that cream their panties or BVDs every time Al Pacino and Robert De Niro team up, ignore it when strong acting results from actresses teaming up.
There's a long, long history of sexism in media criticism and between that and the right-wing campaign to kill the show, it's amazing that Cougar Town will air this Wednesday. But it's that good, it's so good that it's managed to thus far overcome both obstacles. In a decade that's mistaken whimsy for laugh-out-loud funny, Cougar Town reminds you of a time when TV could actually do funny and Courtney Cox is already the one to beat for Best Actress as next year's Emmys. She's that amazing.
Ty: First up, community member Megan notes how much she enjoyed Dona's two recent solo articles ["Pet Peeve (Dona)" and "Raed Jarrar tries to 'correct' Ava and C.I. (Dona)"] and she wonders why more solo pieces aren't done?
Dona: We believe in group writing and always have. Before we turned over the TV commentaries to Ava and C.I., those were group projects. In that case, it clearly did not work because all the e-mails were about Ava or C.I.'s contributions or their contributions together. So it made sense for them to write together. Ty does "Ty's Corner" from time to time and Jim does a column every now and then as well. Which he plans to do this week but we'll see. In addition, Jess is supposed to start a piece this week that will carry through the next weeks. Halloween is coming up and we thought instead of piling on Ava and C.I. as we usually do, we might each grab a week -- we is Jim, Ty, Jess and myself -- where we wrote about a Halloween in our lives. Jess is supposed to be first up this edition.
Jess: Although, honestly, the feature's mainly because Jim needed an excuse earlier tonight on a snack run to buy a ton of Halloween candy. He swears the wrappers -- empty apparently the way he's scarfing down that candy -- will make a good illustration for the piece.
Jim: The trick, as any candy expert knows, to not harming the wrapper for a scan is to open from the back, tearing along the seam.
Ty: This is one for C.I. Reader Lowell notes last week's "Roundtable" and wonders if C.I.'s "ignoring Cindy [Sheehan] because of what Dahr [Jamail] said on her [radio] show?"
C.I.: No, sorry. I didn't care for what Dahr said after the break and am honestly surprised no one complained about one section of his remarks --
Ty: Someone did.
C.I.: Okay, then I'll leave that alone. But, and this question is about what I do at The Common Ills, we're utilizing a huge number of sources and that's because people call me. Sometimes it's a friend wanting to highlight something they or their outlet did, sometimes it's a friend wanting to highlight something they saw or heard. In the case of Cindy, it's one friend. He burns Sunday's radio program each week and brings it over Sunday evening. I ask him, "Is there anything on Iraq here?" If there is, I'll make a point to listen to it during the week and see if we can use it in a snapshot. Now last Sunday was the Emmys. So I wasn't home Sunday evening, I was at the awards. I didn't get a copy of the disc before I left on Monday. I never heard it so I couldn't highlight it. If people are unclear, during the day if Kat, Wally, Ava and I aren't speaking, we're at a Congressional hearing. I'm not sitting around surfing the net, I don't have time. I depend upon calls from friends passing things on and e-mails from community members asking for things to be highlighted.
Ty: Okay, Lowell had a second part. He notes Jess made very clear he doesn't care for Dahr Jamail and Lowell wants to know if that means "Dahr won't be mentioned at Third?"
C.I.: Dallas usually inserts the links for these pieces --
Jim: Thank you, Dallas.
C.I.: And I'm sure that Dallas will be told not to insert a link to Dahr Jamail's website. And that's fine. Jess isn't keen on him and that's Jess' opinion and it's fine. At Third, if Dahr has something to say about Iraq that's worth highlighting, we'll do so. He's not banned or anything. And just to catch up for those who missed it either in the snapshot two weeks ago or in last week's roundtable, Dahr was stating that beggar ass Panhandle Media covered Winter Soldier and, no, they really didn't.
Ty: Okay --
Ava: Wait. I'm jumping in. They didn't. As C.I. noted in that snapshot, we begged for coverage -- the two of us -- we got promises and people didn't keep their promises. They lied repeatedly. And when confronted after the fact, they had a dozen excuses. Now I'm primarily referring to beggar media but in terms of real media, WBAI's refusal to broadcast Winter Soldier on Saturday went a long way towards it not getting network coverage. It was being discussed, it was being pitched and the man deciding said it sounded 'like it might be interesting, flip on WBAI, let's listen a bit and then we'll decide.' They turn on WBAI and it's not broadcasting Winter Soldier. At which point, the argument that this was news and it was important and "we'll look so badly if we don't cover it," all flew out the window because the man -- a centrist -- was able to say that there was no need for the network to cover it if WBAI wasn't even covering it. We were speaking to the woman who pitched that, C.I. and I. We'd begged her and begged her and she ended up caught up in the story of Winter Soldier and we no longer had to beg her. But she was in tears when she called us. We thought at first someone had died. But that's how much she cared about the story after being walked through it and getting some video of it. And we appreciate that she fought so hard for it and that it mattered so much to her. But we will never forget that the decision to kill the piece was because WBAI -- the so-called 'people's radio' -- was broadcasting two-year-old repeates of dead Al Lewis and shows of golden oldy records.
C.I.: And to clarify, the network in question was a broadcast network and it would have made their Saturday evening newscast had the idea not been killed.
Ava: We don't forget that. WBAI is in NYC. It needs to take that a little bit more seriously. It needs to stop being so embarrassing -- and new management is getting it there -- and grasp that when Real Media's trying to find out what the left is talking about, they will tune in for story ideas. Too often, they find none.
Ty: Okay. Still on the topic of the roundtable last week, reader Mercy e-mails to say she found it offensive that in the interview with Cindy Sheehan, Darh Jamail took it upon himself to speak for Ehren Watada.
Jim: We need back story before the issue's addressed. I'm tossing to Mike for back story.
Mike: Okay, but if anyone still needs an overview after I'm done, they can see C.I.'s "Ehren Watada scheduled to be discharged October 2nd" from yesterday. Ehren Watada is the first officer to refuse to deploy to Iraq. To publicly refuse. That was in June of 2006. Following that he had an Article 32 hearing and a court-martial that the judge called a mistrial on because the prosecution was losing. The mistrial call coming when it did meant that Ehren couldn't be tried for the same charges again. In the latest update, latest news, the military is finally supposed to be discharging him.
Wally: And for months before going public, Ehren had offered other things he could do to his superious who did not want him to go public. Among those was his offer to deploy instead to Afghanistan.
Ty: Which brings us back to the issue of Mercy's e-mail. Ehren has publicly and repeatedly stated he would deploy to Afghanistan. Mercy writes, "It was really offensive to hear Jamail say that he hadn't spoken to Ehren about it but he would be pretty sure that Ehren had changed his mind about the Afghanistan War." Anyone?
Jess: Well he hasn't spoken to Ehren. If you haven't spoken to him, then don't speak for him. Mercy's correct. If Ehren changes his mind about the Afghanistan War, that's for him to go public with. What if he hasn't changed his mind?
Rebecca: I agree with Jess. I think it was a stupid remark by Dahr Jamail for a number of reasons. First of all, if you haven't spoken to someone and don't know what they're thinking, don't go on the radio and tell people what you think the person is thinking. Dahr's interviewed Ehren a few times so when Dahr gives a pronouncement, it's given added weight. And that didn't deserve any weight. Second of all, it was stupid because the latest news about Ehren wasn't out yet. The latest news being the military says it plans to discharge him. When someone had prepared a public defense, you have no business chipping away at it in their name and that's what Dahr technically did. Third, Ehren's taken enough crap if, as Jess, he hasn't changed his mind, that's his business. All of us participating in this roundtable have long been against the Afghanistan War. However, we've never said a rude word about Ehren's position on it nor intend to. It took a ton of bravery for Ehren to take the public stand against the Iraq War and we appreciate that and applaud him for it.
Ty: Reader Gerard e-mails to ask for more music features.
Jess: We'll be doing a Carly Simon roundtable at the end of next month. Other than that, we don't know. We'll play it by ear.
Ty: Also on music, Anna e-mails to say she enjoyed Kat's "Kat's Korner: Get Under The Covers" which reviewed Under The Covers Vol. 2, from Matthew Sweet and Susanna Hoffs. Anna likes the album but can't figure out the line "Just give me . . ." "Give me what?" writes Anna.
Kat: "And if you give me weeds, whites and wine." "Whites" is cocaine. The song is "Willin'" recorded in the seventies by Little Feat.
Ty: Okay, now health care and I'm jumping to it because we might run out of time and I want to be sure to get Trina in here. ObamaBigBusinessCare is what Ava, C.I. and Trina have dubbed Obama's 'plan.' Reader George wants to know if we -- and Trina specifically -- are saying we'd prefer nothing happen on health care?
Trina: Yeah. If the alternative is the plans being proposed in Congress, I would prefer nothing be done. It's going to be a lot harder to take on the insurance companies when they've got everyone's business and that's what a mandatory measure would do. Mandating that everyone purchase health insurance means the inusurance companies get a ton of new customers and, watch and see, if that happens we will never have single-payer because they will not let go of those customers.
Ruth: I agree with Trina. There is nothing in it for the American people. There is plenty in the plans for Big Business. I do not believe we do something, anything, just to say we did something. I believe we do something that helps. Barack Obama has said that we cannot have single-payer because it is too dramatic of a step. However, there is nothing in his proposals that lays down steps that could lead to single-payer. As Trina pointed out, everything about the plans being discussed guarantee that single-payer is shut out for good.
Cedric: Ruth and Trina are correct. It is better to have nothing than to add even more barriers to single-payer. It's really amazing that we were so offended under Bush that we could not negotiate pharmacy prices but with Barack offering the same crap people won't even call out Barry O. Barack has blown the chance not only for single-payer but also for something as modest as health care reform. At this point, the best thing would be for the whole thing to be scrapped. Barack blew it. Allowing the proposals to go forward and become law would mean we the American people blew it.
Jim: Okay we need to hear from Elaine, Stan, Marcia, Betty and Ann before time runs out.
Ty: Okay, hold on, Joel e-mailed about Betty's "Bob Somerby, New Adventures of Old Christine." He wondered if The New Adventures of Old Christine is Betty's favorite show and also about Barb and whether she'll be on the show this year even with her own talk show on Fox entertainment -- Wanda Sykes having her own talk show, she plays Barb. Betty?
Betty: Yes, The New Adventures of Old Christine is my favorite show. I love to laugh and that show makes me laugh consistently. As for Barb, the plan is for Wanda Sykes to be on the show all this year. She's going to juggle both jobs.
C.I.: Currently, at CBS' TV.com, The New Adventures of Old Christine can be streamed and that includes the hilarious season debut that Betty's talking about. A friend at CBS angry about Ava and my "TV: The Fall Season" two weeks ago told me that Friday. Didn't mean to interrupt but I promised we'd work that in somewhere this week. Betty?
Betty: That's great so let me tell everyone that can stream to go there and stream the episode. It was wonderful, you will laugh so hard. It really is the best episode of the series so far and that's saying so much because this show has had so many hilarious episodes. In this one, Matthew gets stoned and Christine has to do favors to get back into the US. It's very funny.
Dona: How about we toss out to those who haven't spoken yet that they can talk about the fall TV season? Any favorites or problems.
Stan: I'll go. Flashfoward sucks. I thought it was going to be good but it is so disappointing. I'm a New Adventures of Old Christine fan and I'll agree with Betty that it was a great episode. I especially enjoyed when Richard wakes up the next morning after sleeping on New Christine's porch and is urinating in the watering can when New Christine comes up. That was a nice bit of physical comedy.
Marcia: And Richard and Barb are engaged. Who saw that coming? Last season, New Christine walked out on her own wedding and now Barb and Richard are engaged so Barb can stay in the country. Wanda and Old Christine are a great comic pair and my favoite part was at the start when Christine went in to how the man she was kissing was engaged. When she's talking about how she had a bad time at the wedding too. Talking to Wanda who's been put in immigration jail. I love how Christine always thinks it's about her. The other show I really like is the one Ava and C.I. are reviewing this week, Cougar Town, on ABC, starring Courtney Cox. I think it and The New Adventures of Old Christine are the two funniest shows on network TV.
Ann: I'm a big fan of Cher and Michelle Pfeiffer and Jack Nicholson and I've seen The Witches of Eastwick multipe times. I wasn't sure if I was going to like the new TV show with a new cast or not and checked with Ava and C.I. with my concerns. They said they thought I'd enjoy it and I really did. It airs on ABC as well and the first episode held my attention. And then some. I really think the three women have a strong chemistry that can carry the show. Oh, the show's named Eastwick. Sorry.
Elaine: Medium was good. It's airing on Fridays now. I'll try to catch Cougar Town because Ava and C.I. praise it through the roof. I'm already Tivo-ing New Adventures of Old Christine.
Jim: Okay, we're going to stop there because Dona's called time. Our e-mail address, again, is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Reading over "The never-ending fashion disaster" from last week, I also grasped that the gang at Third Estate Sunday Review needed me as well. For example, how can you comment on this outfit . . .
without noting both (a) the highly visible bra and the (b) the skirt that looks like a drop-cloth in a painter's studio?
Answer, darlings, you can't.
Last week, Lady nO continued her string of fashion disasters such as the one pictured below.
Often the only difference between a socialite and a run-of-the-mill drag queen comes down to grace. Slouched shoulders and all, Lady nO breezes through a party determined to salute the brava work of Wesley Snipes in To Wong Foo, Thanks For Everything, Julie Newmar. Note that the straps on her dress appear to resemble bra straps, note that the strand of pearls is far too long for that outfit. Note that she yet again appears unable to commit to a single color (a thread that runs through all her many fashion disasters). But most of all, note what the other women wear. No one else rushed to sport skin. Forever dressed for the party she missed, as opposed to the one she actually attended, that is Michelle Obama.
This photo features 22 women and yet Lady nO manages to stand out.
Of course, when you stand out for being the worst dressed woman present, the better alternative might have been attempting to blend in.
Mistakenly believing that she's in on the joke, Michelle provides some laughter of her own. You will note of the above disaster that she yet again could not decide which color to wear. You may also notice the belt which appeared as part of a previous fashion disaster. It not only looks tacky, it packs pounds to her already ample frame. Most of all you should notice that her hands are held as if to say, "Mommy needs to tinkle!" No one taught her grace so it's little surprise that they didn't bother to tell her that a lady never appears to cup her groin in public.
I had assumed I would be spending my time in the after life sipping appletinis and relaxing. But the emergence of Lady nO on the public stage demands that I return to offer the objective fashion judgments that no one else has the guts to make.
Until next time . . .
Has there ever been a worse SNL?
Here's the way it goes for bad SNLs. You watch the first skit. They open with the strongest thing they have. In the first half hour, they usually have a filmed skit (often a commercial parody) that has some humor in it. Then you wait for Weekend Update and then you turn the TV off.
Last night, they kicked off with Fred as Muammar Gaddafi, delivering a speech that CSpan aired. Does it sound funny? That's because it wasn't. The long portrayed tyrant (portrayed as a tyrant by the US media) was reduced to a fuzzy-wuzzy carping about missing Liam Neeson's Taken and more. It played like a Tim Conway skit Carol Burnett would have cut from her own show. Instead, the embarrassment opened the season for the series -- a static shot of a talking head. It was not a good portent.
Megan Fox hosted. They weren't too sure what to do with her. A sure sign that she has talent. In one early skit, she and Kirsten Wiig played flight attendants and both got in a few laughs. But why was it that the skit never took off? Maybe because to be really funny, people would need to be screaming and yelling and running as flight attendants Megan and Kirsten explained the plane might need to 'land' on the water and other things. You never bought the skit for a moment because even when they were saying the plane would likely tear in half, none of the 'passengers' seemed especially alarmed.
Between that and the opening it was a long, long stretch. Weekend Update? So awful that a former SNL cast member confessed he fell asleep during it when we called to get his take on it. At one point, we stopped listening to the words (why bother, there's no care taken in attempting to craft a joke) and instead just noted how Seth has one rhythm. Ignore the words, listen to any Seth 'joke' and grasp how he's all one-aged-trick pony. Then notice that Kenan Thompson is trapped in the same rhythm. You'll quickly grasp why Weekend Update has become so laugh free and they have to work the "APPLAUSE" sign overtime.
We were applauding. Last Sunday. At the Emmys. Applauding like crazy when Toni Collette won Best Actress in a Comedy Series for Showtime's United States of Tara. We were so happy for the highly deserving Collette and so thrilled that Tina Fey had lost.
Remember that used up sour-puss? We told you last year that her little stunt didn't go over well. That you don't confess you hate a character you're playing. That when you do that, the ha-has become less and less as people grasp that you're impersonating someone solely to ridicule them. It was beneath the profession and it was certainly beneath an award winner. It's among the many reasons that Tina Fey lost.
And we knew she would.
And we knew every member of the press was saying she'd win which made her loss all the more wonderful. Now, as Isaiah pointed out Sunday night, all she has left is that lousy TV show. She better get down on her knees and pray that Sarah Palin runs for president in 2012 (and that Jami Gertz has no interest in developing a Palin routine) because, otherwise, America's done with Tina Fey.
America's close to being done with Saturday Night Live as well and we grasped why when it did it's prime time hand-jive on Thursday.
As we sat there watching Darrell Hammond do 'jokes' as Bill Clinton wanting to 'nail' Megan Fox and how he forgot about Hillary, we had to wonder what decade we were in?
The material wasn't fresh and it wasn't funny.
But it made two things painfully clear.
First, SNL never gave a damn about protecting Bill Clinton. With Bill, they trashed him every chance they got and did so claiming it was about humor and nothing personal. Yet today they claim they can't make fun of Barack. Which is how Thursday opened with a skit about Barack appearing on every TV show on broadcast or basic cable (with the exception of Fox News) and never had time to do a joke about Barack's ego.
As we've repeatedly pointed out, during the race for the Democratic Party's presidential nomination, Hillary was drug through the gutter in the name of 'humor' on Saturday Night Live while they never did insulting jokes about Barack. Hillary was conniving and evil while Barack was like Linus holding a blanket.
All this time later, they still want to play it that way.
And pretend that they play fair.
But there was no John Edwards skit, was there?
Last Sunday, The New York Times was all over the story that John Edwards promised his mistress that he would marry her as soon as Elizabeth Edwards died of cancer and that he'd get Dave Matthews Band to perform at the wedding. One would assume that would lead to a skit Thursday night.
John Edwards ran for president. Yet over a decade later, SNL still has its nose in Bill Clinton's boxers. But John Edwards?
On Saturday, Seth appeared to mumble his way through what would have been the first nod to John Edwards' trashy ways.
As a friend said Friday, whatever happened in the 90s, Bill and Hillary have made the decision to stay together and these 'jokes' about their marriage are getting pretty old.
Especially when Barack is treated like Ghandi by SNL.
SNL likes to pretend those who criticize Corporatist War Hawk Barack are racists. But it's Seth Meyers as writer that repeatedly demonstrates racism. It was Seth Meyers, for example, who blamed the housing crisis on low-income people. When other people push that argument, they're called out for ignorance and/or racism -- however, we're the only ones who called out Seth.
His racism appeared in full force Thursday night.
David Paterson is the governor of New York City. He's the first African-American governor. And he can be lampooned and has been before. We've even defended Fred at one point when he was being slammed for the portrayal. But it was watching the one on Thursday, the one that had Seth's racism all over it, that should have had America howling.
There are many things you can poke fun (gentle or mean-spirited) about David Paterson. But one thing we're not aware of is a sex scandal. We're not aware of that.
And when 'David Paterson' is given lines about blow jobs in New Jersey, we have to wonder why that is?
(We also have to wonder about a writer who thinks it's 'brave' or 'new' for New Yorkers to make fun of New Jersey. We'd refer to the writers to American Dad's "Irregarding Steve" which aired back in 2006.)
So why is 'Paterson' -- as conceived by SNL -- making all those sex jokes?
Because he's Black?
Is that it? Seth sees Black and immediately goes to sex?
David Paterson, whom we're no fans of, has never conducted himself in public in any manner that could be considered less than gentlemanly. So why is it that he's been portrayed as a crass, sex maniac?
Seth wants to finger point at others and insist they're racist and that's why they oppose the bi-racial Barack Obama (whom Seth insists is "Black"). But time and again, it's the skits that Seth writes that repeatedly come off racist.
Barack, they won't even make a joke about his ego. But with David Paterson, they will portray this man as sleaze. Repeating, he's never conducted himself in public as anything less than a gentleman. But the way SNL portrays him is how they always portray Black men. They've repeatedly portrayed them as sex-obsessed, slobbering fools.
And they wonder why each year the show matters less and less. And why you have so much time to reflect on how much the show sucks and how, despite promises that they'd add more women to the cast, the fall season kicked off with Kirsten Wiig as the only female in the cast. (Just like last year.) They gave Michaela Watkins the axe which is especially appalling when you grasp all the non-funny men kept on in the cast and kept on as featured players. Watkins actually delivered last year every chance she got. These days, actually being funny appears the quickest way to the get the axe on the long-in-the-tooth series.
Unfunny was SNL Thursday and Saturday night. Funny was Tina Fey's what-just-happened expression when they called out Toni Collette's name. If Lorne were smart, instead of attempting to offer filler each Saturday, he'd do a loop of Tina's face as she realizes she's no longer belle of the ball and that it's over. All over.
One Halloween, when I was a little kid, I had a Transformer costume.
That memory stands out because I wanted to dress as a police officer or anyone else carrying a gun but my parents did not approve of toy guns. For a while, it appeared everything was off limits except Casper. Finally, we both agreed on a Transformer and, I think if my parents had seen the cartoon ever, we'd still be arguing in the aisle of the store.
But I got to be a Transformer and I was so excited because my parents are vegans. We were raised with no meat. We also didn't do sweets. The exceptions were one of our birthdays (when we could have cake and ice cream -- real ones, none of those soy-based substitutes) and on holidays involving candy such as Christmas, Easter and, best of all, Halloween.
At this point, I had enough Halloween's under my belt to grasp that this was the Candy Sweepstakes of the year. This was when you got candy, when everybody got candy, and you could eat and eat until the next day when your parents started thinning down your stash.
So I was going to go as a Transformer. Not my first choice, but a cool one still. And I was going to get candy. And both were a big deal.
My dad picked us up at school and I'd worn my costume to school that day. We were all excited about the trick or treating which would start as soon as it got dark. But on the ride home, something happened.
Into my mask, splashing the puke back on my face and dribbling it all over my costume.
When we got home, I was being told by my parents that they could wash the costume and clean the mask because I knew I wasn't going trick or treating. They didn't get that yet. It took a few seconds at the table when I again threw up for them to realize I hadn't just had some candy at school, I was actually sick.
With the flu.
A Halloween at home in bed is an awful day for any kid but what if you're a kid that only gets candy on three holidays a year? We didn't get it when we went to the store. We didn't get it anytime except for Christmas, Easter and Halloween. And I was sick to my stomach and pissed to the max.
So there I was stuck at home for Halloween and, let me tell you, I never hated Linus more than when I was sick and had to watch the Peanuts special and listen to him whine about the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown.
At some point I fell asleep and only woke up to puke. A few days after, when I was feeling better, I went into my toy box to pull out some cars and found instead all of this candy.
My sister had split half of her candy with me. Not because she was asked to (no one asked her to -- my parents still thought the candy had made me sick even though I had the flu). But just because she felt sorry for any kid who had to skip Halloween.
We fought constantly over the years but, repeatedly, when I was sick or troubled, she always came through for me.
That Halloween was the first time I realized that.
If he has only one life to live, let Barack Obama live it as a blonde.
Has there been a bigger disappointment this decade than Barry O?
We're hard pressed to think of one.
As he's continued the Patriot Act, continued illegal spying, continued the illegal war in Iraq, continued imprisoning at Guantanamo Bay and so much more, we honestly lose the OMG response to his actions.
Or we thought we had.
Then came last Friday.
Angered at some of the remarks about his wife who can't dress for s**t, Barack proposed to White House staff that a notice be added to White House photos barring them from being altered or used by anyone but "news outlets" -- which presumably would be determined by Barry O. We are talking about the petty Barack who wouldn't sit down with Fox News and apparently wouldn't allow them the use of a White House photo.
The White House was taken aback by the anger that greeted their move. It was intense and vocal and all the more surprising because most people were unaware of the new policy. For example, we doubt that most reading this right now knew of the policy.
Objections have led the White House to now (at least temporarily) drop the nonsense but, if you missed it, here's what you missed: "This official White House photograph is being made available only for publication by news organizations and/or for personal use printing by the subject(s) of the photograph. The photograph may not be manipulated in any way and may not be used in commercial or political materials, advertisements, emails, products, promotions that in any way suggests approval or endorsement of the President, the First Family, or the White House."
To which we say, F**K YOU.
We hope that's clear.
The tax payers pay for those photos, the tax payers pay for the White House. You ran for president with your wife at your side. You work for us for the next four years and don't you ever forget it.
You do not issue edicts and you do not have any control over public photos paid for by the American people.
It is offensive on so many levels that Barack and his minions at the White House would attempt to impose that policy. It's offensive especially when you grasp that if images weren't allowed to be 'manipulated,' his iconic poster used throughout the campaign never would have come to be.
It's the sort of crap one's learned to expect from The Associated Press but we'll be damned if we take it from the White House which works for us.
Screw that and screw Barack.
It's not the American people's fault that he's married to mannish woman who lacks grace, beauty and taste. Her defaults wouldn't be worth remarking on had she not attempted to present herself as a fashion plate and cover girl. Prior to that, we never commented on her looks or her awful taste in clothes.
For example, we never said a word about this during the run for president.
Nor about this.
Michelle has no taste in clothes or any grace. It became an issue when Michelle Obama thought the thing for a 45-year-old woman to do was to act like a twenty-year-old airhead and pose for the cover of Vogue and other magazines twisting her body in weird contortions to look years and years younger. A First Lady can be about many things and there's no reason she has to be about superficial things such as looks. Eleanor Roosevelt was neither a beauty nor a fashion plate. But that's the role Michelle has tried to cast herself in and, therefore, that's the role she'll be critiqued for.
And we'll continue to utilize public photos that our tax dollars paid for as we damn well see fit.
The response to Friday's attempted policy was outrage and very vocal so the White House has walked it back for now. Don't think they've walked it back forever.
It's past time that the American people stopped oohing and aahing over Barack Obama and started holding him accountable. This is a line in the sand because if it's attempted again and Barack gets away with it, so will every other president. The left that rallied its support to a White House parody site a few years back, it better get its collective lazy ass if the White House attempts an another edict about what can and cannot be done to photos in the public domain.
My grandfather, my father's father, used to say that all the time. And he had a host of examples. One of his favorites was TV. Whenever he'd visit my folks and I'd have the remote and be flipping from channel to channel, he'd tell me about how, back in the old days, you couldn't channel flip and you had to turn a knob to go to different channels and how the screen would roll when you flipped and how sometimes you watched a show you hated just because it was on the channel with the clearest signal and how . . .
I'd eventually lose interest because, yes, I didn't know what it was like.
I had no idea. I was just getting past the idea that little people lived inside the TV. I didn't have time to travel back to a period I never experienced, a time of rabbit ears and foil on the antennas and TV stations that all stopped broadcasting at midnight.
But one thing I've realized this decade is that even now, when I really can't grasp what he went through, I can grasp some pretty dramatic changes.
Back in 2003, when I would listen to an online stream, I was used to the stop and start of it. Today, if I'm streaming video, say American Dad, and the stream stops and starts, I'm having a fit. The photo is of one of my favorite where Roger flashes Hayley something he's painted on (what is left to the imagination).
We've moved from dial up connections -- which once seemed so amazing -- to DSL and wireless. And we expect what we want when we want it.
When I was in high school, a couple of friends used to use some service to download movies. It was illegal which was one of the reasons I never tried. But along with the fear of being caught was how long it took. They'd have to start the download around midnight and it would finish around eight in the morning. Can you imagine anyone waiting that long for a download today?
But they'd show up with a burned copy of The Matrix or whatever, from their external DVD drive (yes, external, DVD drives were not standard for computers back then), and think they'd just done the most amazing thing in the world. And we'd all agree. Wow. A movie. Downloaded to the computer. In only eight hours!!!
After Ava and C.I.'s "TV: Specials," I watched the Joni Mitchell BBC special online and so did a few of our readers some of whom e-mailed (email@example.com) to complain that they'd downloaded it to their computers and the music on the download was out of sync with the video. A few years back, we might have griped some but no one would consider that necessarily unacceptable. It's a sign of how much more is now available online that we expect even more. And the things that we're thinking of as progress from the first half of this decade? A whole new group of people have grown up expecting and seeing as normal. Soon, like my grandfather, we'll be the ones insisting, "You don't know what it's like."
And on things available online, Mike's been asking for this photo to be posted forever. C.I. fixed Mike sushi and other dishes while we were all together last month on vacation and Mike wanted to post this photo at his site. But Ty, Jess, Dona and I keep forgetting to download it.
Maddow's always been a joke and a self-promoter but she reached a new low of stupidity last week. In Kenneth P. Vogel's "Dick Armey's unlikely encore" (Politico) he noted a dust up between Dick Armey and Maddow:
But Maddow said Armey has "never brought any alleged factual inaccuracies to our attention. I stand by what we've reported."
"I stand by what we've reported"?
This year's Merv Griffin fancies herself a reporter? This host of a bad basic cable chat-fest thinks she's offering "reporting"?
Maddow is not a reporter. She's barely an entertainer.
"I Hate The War" -- Most requested highlight by readers of this site and Ty passes on that people cannot believe the widow of a US soldier killed in Iraq is being threatened with deportation.
Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts "The Grouch of Wrath" -- Isaiah's hilarious comic about Tina Fey's hilarious loss at last Sunday's Emmys.
"Kat's Korner: If you can get ahold of it, We Came to Sing! is amazing" -- Kat reviews the new album by Holly Near and emma's revolution.
"Alito" -- Isaiah dips into the vaults for this comic of Bully Boy and Alito.
"Iraq snapshot," "Crooks in the VA," "Iraq snapshot" and "House Veterans Affairs Committee" -- C.I. and Kat offer reporting on two Congressional hearings from last week.
"Bob Somerby, New Adventures of Old Christine" -- Betty examines the season debut of The New Adventures of Old Christine.
"Really, Michelle?" -- Ann takes on the 'fashionable' Michelle. We also do that in an article this week.
"Noodles 'N Franks in the Kitchen" -- an easy recipe from Trina.
"mackenzie" & "g20 and more" -- Rebecca on Mackenzie Phillips' revelations.
"Yea, Michelle Paige Paterson!," "Go Michelle Paige Paterson!," "The strong and classy First Lady Michelle" and "THIS JUST IN! A 1ST LADY MICHELLE YOU CAN BELIEVE IN!" -- Betty, Ann, Wally and Cedric weigh in on Michelle Paterson.
"Somebery, X-Men Origins" -- Stan offers a review of the latest X-Men movie.
"Matthew Rothschild with the day old news report" -- Cowards and fools, as Ruth points out, will always run behind the times.
"ACORN's latest stunt" & "Bertha Lewis, it was sexual trafficking" -- Marcia and Stan break it down for hypocrite Bertha Lewis.
"No to Paul Kirk" -- Mike was among the many saying "no" to a kiss-ass but Governor Who (a big-time kiss-ass) went right ahead.
"Haunting" -- We agree with Ruth on this one.
"The forgotten women of Afghanistan" -- while Elaine makes it clear that the sudden interest in Afhganistan women will not wash away the silence when it mattered earlier this year.
"DOMA and Net Neutrality" -- We think Ruth's post here should have come with a subtitle: "If you're not disappointed in the administration, you're not paying attention.
"Janis Ian soars, VA fumbles," "Sexist Cumberland Times denies Joni Mitchell her credit," "Bonnie Raitt on tour with Taj Mahal" -- Kat and Elaine offer some musical pieces.
"Ruth Bader Ginsburg, John Edwards" -- John Edwards: Pure Trash.
"Not all that as a critic" & "THIS JUST IN! HE SWINGS, HE MISSES!" -- John Bolton still can't find his niche.