Sunday, August 03, 2014

TV: The Judges, The Juries

Rosie O'Donnell is set to return to The View (ABC).  She took the show to increased fame, record ratings and made it a daily talking point.  Her return will hopefully provide a return to those moments. Certainly, it will prevent the embarrassment of idiotic hosts walking off a live show.  Unlike Whoopi, Rosie knows all about how to be a host.

Rosie's smart enough to know a host doesn't have the luxury of storming off.  She's also strong enough to know how to get her own opinion across when she disagrees with someone.

So her return should be a great thing for The View and we're rooting for her.


That said, we're missing the old Rosie.

That's not to say she needs to return to that persona, it is to note that only Ellen DeGeneres seems capable of being nice on talk shows these days.

Take the stench out of Austin that is Rooster Teeth.

This podcast and YouTube offering mainly revolves around men sitting around talking.

Big moments?  Burnie Burns whining about how people park on surrounding streets.  In front of his Austin home?  No.  On side streets near his Austin home.

This qualifies as a 'problem' on Rooster Teeth where a bunch of transplants to Austin buy up big properties in trashy neighborhoods (yes, Burnie, you live in a trashy neighborhood) and fulfill every stereotype of the noveau riche.

In fairness, we should note that Gus Sorola tries to be welcoming to all listeners.  In factness, we should point out that Gavin Free doesn't know facts.  He's confused by world events -- even WWII -- and seems very proud of that.  Sometimes, Gavin gets corrected, sometimes he doesn't.

And that's true of everyone in a discussion on this 'show.'

As a podcast, it may be acceptable in all its low rent tacky cheapness.  As a video on YouTube?  It's an embarrassment and never more so than when one of the men starts shouting f-this and f-that.

They like to yell on the show.

They really like to yell.

And deal with non-topics, non-issues and waste time.

The only thing sadder than Rooster Teeth itself may be its audience.

But there is worse.  For example, there is The Skeptics Guide to the Universe which is a program of hate heaped on top of hate.  In fact, consider SGU to be seven-layer hate.

They hate religious people, they hate these people, they hate those people.

When they start ragging on the 'ignorant,' you quickly grasp that they fail to see how ignorant they themselves are.


We're far from infallible.

And we don't pretend otherwise.

What makes SGU such an embarrassment is they think they're scientific and factual.

They think things are fixed.

Things are never fixed.

Science, in 1953, told you, for example, that same-sex encounters were wrong, immoral, the product of stunted growth, a choice and something to be medically treated with castration, shock therapy and any other leading 'scientific' treatments.

We could also point out that, at one point, the use of leeches was considered scientific.

An SGU fan got into an argument with us recently.  The friend was ripping apart the film Lucy (we should note that she wanted the role in the film and was passed over) and insisting it wasn't science, that it was a myth that humans use only X % of their brains.  She knew because it was science.

Actually, she knows no such thing.

Brain science is not an established field.  Much remains to be mapped out.

It currently appears that most humans use all parts of their brains at some point over a 24 hour period.

But it can be argued that the point of Lucy in the film of the same name is that she's able to use all parts of her brain at the same time.  And current science does not indicate that humans do that.

Current science.

When we listen to SGU, we hear smug bastards who think they know it all because they know a little bit of science.

In addition to the examples we already offered, there is the fact that, for years, educated people believed the earth was flat.

Science offers many wonderful details and facts.

When it's used to spit on others, it's being misused.

When it's used to mock people who, for example, are in serious pain and glom onto a placebo that may provide relief (due to their own beliefs), 'science' is being misused.  It's no longer about informing or educating but instead about shaming and attacking.

Bob Somerby knows all about that.  His declared war on Maureen Dowd will apparently never end.

That has to do with Bob being a sexist.  It also has to do with his professional jealousy of Dowd (we wouldn't go there if he didn't popularize a similar attack on Dowd).

Hillary Clinton rakes in millions on speeches each year.  Now Chelsea Clinton does as well -- the same Chelsea who is famous for nothing but being the daughter of.

With Hillary and Chelsea, Bob's had a snit fit when Dowd or anyone else has brought up those huge fees.  And he -- and David Brock's group of idiots -- wants you to know that many times these payments go directly to the Clinton Foundation.

Bob's that stupid.

Many people are.

Who sits on the board of the foundation?

You do realize board members get paid.

Some have a large fixed salary, some may have a percentage, some may get a huge boost the following year if record monies are brought in.

Among those serving on the board?  Hillary, Chelsea and Bill.

When Bob obtains the details of the salaries for board members of The Clinton Foundation, then he can start 'correcting' Maureen Dowd.

Until then, he's lying -- intentionally or not -- when he starts insisting that these fees are donated and no one should criticize the Clintons.

The fees are not 'donated' in the sense that Americans understand donations.

Chelsea is not saying, "Give my $250,000 salary to the American Cancer Foundation," for example.

The money is going into her family's foundation.  She draws a salary from the foundation as a board member. Her mother draws a salary as a board member.  Her father draws a salary as a board member. Stop pretending this is about charitable works.

That's not donating, this is lining your own pockets.

You may disagree.

Guess what?

Differing opinions are not crimes.

That's a shocker to David Brock's Media Matters which spent last week slamming Fox News for deciding remarks Bill Clinton made on September 10, 2001 about Osama bin Landen counted as news.

It's really not a fact check, is it?

They can't say Fox News got the facts wrong.

So they simply insist that the topic itself is not news.

We don't have fact checks these days from the left.

If you missed it, we have attempts to shun and shame.

Maureen Dowd choosing to emphasize or question speaking fees is not bad journalism.

You may insist that it's a non-topic but that's only your opinion.

On the left, when we were out of power, we argued against a media that silenced us, a media that attempted to act as a gatekeeper.

But today so many of us have become part of that same system.

Not us.

We've always said the answer is more voices, not less.  We've always believed that the American voter was an adult who didn't needed to be shielded from reality, who could be presented with several different arguments and choose by her or himself which best spoke to them.

Imagine if, in 2009, the left had joined together to press for a wider media landscape?

Instead, we appointed ourselves gatekeepers and confused opinion with fact and possibility with certainty.

We also embraced a strain of sexism that allows us to ignore the fact that a week of Bob Somerby is a week of attacks on Maureen Dowd, Krystal Ball, Rachel Maddow, Alexandra Petri, etc.  We've criticized many of those women ourselves.  We've criticized some in very harsh terms.

Thing is, though, we've also criticized men in strong terms.

But with Bob Somerby, as we've long noted, men make mistakes and can redeem themselves while women are offered no shots at redemption and are ridiculed with 'critiques' like are they twits?

To be clear, our problem here is that there's one non-stop attack way for dealing with women and a more forgiving and softer treatment for men.

That's one problem we have with Somerby -- and with David Brock's Media Matters cult.

Another problem?

What do Maureen Dowd and Rosie O'Donnell have in common?

Both women spoke out against the Iraq War before it started.

Most of their critics can't make the same claim.

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