Tuesday, November 29, 2005


The boy browsed our DVD collection.

"Hey Dad, did you like The Monkees when you were my age?"

A sudden warmth filled my chest.

"Oh yeah. That was one of my favorite shows. Still is."

"I think I'll watch a few of them, if it's okay."

"Go ahead. Enjoy it, son."

He pulled out both box sets, each containing a full Monkees season (crammed with extras and commentary tracks), and decided on a few shows from the 1st, the action more cartoonish and less self-conscious than the 2nd. Personally, I prefer the 2nd season more, as the Monkees began to comment on and dismantle their pre-fab image (plus, the music's wilder and stranger). But the boy will get to that in his own good time. Or maybe not. In any case, I don't wanna push my old enthusiasms on him.

The Monkees will always hold a special place in my heart. My childhood was, among many things, very constricted and extremely conservative. Early on I sought some kind of creative outlet, but was blind to what that actually was. I felt the desire yet had no clue, and none of the adults around me encouraged this, assuming that they even noticed. I was inspired by something I couldn't name or begin to describe. My hunger grew, and I gnawed on whatever cultural scraps I could find.

Then I began watching The Monkees, and entered a world that made immediate sense. Catchy tunes, frenetic slapstick, bright colors and long hair. Indeed, I think it was the long hair that first grabbed me. Younger readers cannot appreciate what that meant Back Then. In 1966-67, you didn't see men with long hair on national TV, certainly not on a Top Ten show that appealed to kids. Despite all the revisionist pop culture takes on the Sixties, long hair didn't become mainstream until the early-70s. Before that, if you grew your hair long, esp in the Midwest, you were a commie freak or worse (I recall some teen hippies being heckled and chased by older crew-cut rubes at a local shopping center). And this is what I found so attractive about The Monkees -- their hair seemed to get longer by the week, and the adults I knew were utterly repulsed by it.

Hey hey, that made me happy.

Long hair was only part of it. I plugged into the anarchic spirit of the show, the jumping around, running maniacally, acting ridiculously and yelling nonsensically. All the costumes, personas and strange voices, popping in and out in random nonlinear fashion. And everything held together by the music, much of which was first-rate pop rock. I mean, when you have people like Neil Diamond, Carole King & Gerry Goffin, Tommy Boyce & Bobby Hart, and Harry Nilsson writing your songs, something's gonna stick, and many Monkee tunes are still played today and their albums continue to sell globally. (Van Dyke Parks auditioned for the show and was rejected, only to collaborate with Brian Wilson on "Smile" less than a year later. Imagine what he would have brought to The Monkees.) Not bad for a band that lasted roughly three years after being constructed by two offbeat Hollywood producers.

Over the years, friends of mine have slammed my love for The Monkees, telling me how plastic and phony they were, how they represented corporate greed and co-optation of the slickest cynical kind. And so they did. The whole Monkees concept was an attempt to cash-in on Beatlemania, but in strictly market terms, it was a fringe idea. Bert Schneider and Bob Rafelson shot the pilot on a shoestring in 1965 and barely sold it to NBC, which was confused about the whole thing, since no show like it then-existed on air. And this is what made The Monkees an instant hit -- it stood clearly out in a field of timid programming, and was helped enormously by, yes, the music, but also by the bold visual style Schneider and Rafelson employed: the Marx Brothers meet the French New Wave. I'm amazed it won an Emmy for best Comedy Series, though it was wholly deserved. It's rare to see the Old Guard recognize something new and brash right out of the gate.

The Monkees also anticipated, if not created, the pre-fab band industry, another of their many cultural crimes, according to my friends. Again, this is true, but I can think of no other pre-fab band that so consciously and joyfully destroyed their own image. From the middle of the 2nd season on, The Monkees called attention to the hollowness of their "reality," getting rid of the laughtrack while mocking the entire format that leaned heavily on fake laughs. Allusions to the Vietnam war and the counterculture that opposed it emerged (though in the 1st season, when the boys are playing with dominoes, one of them knocks down an entire line, calling it "Indochina"). Their final episode satirized the narcotic effect of TV, ending with an evil video wizard (played by a bizarre Rip Taylor) and his henchmen thwarted by clouds of (thinly disguised) pot smoke as they lay in the grass, smiling and laughing.

Needless to say, NBC didn't give The Monkees a 3rd season.

And then there's the 1968 Monkee film "Head", directed by Rafelson, co-written by Rafelson, Jack Nicholson and The Monkees. This is where the whole pre-fab premise blew sky high as Nesmith, Jones, Dolenz and Tork tore themselves and the culture that bred them to shreds before drowning together in a water tank on the back of a moving truck. "Head" is a full-frontal act of conceptual suicide (a view shared here), and given the state of mind its creators were in when they wrote and filmed it, "Head" is perhaps best viewed while in that same state of mind.

But all this analysis is beside the point (and believe me, I can write much much more about this subject). For me, the initial sensation I got when watching The Monkees was one of freedom, and it sparked the first thoughts I had about performing and writing comedy. It was a temporary escape from the blandness that surrounded me. So I suppose that's why I'll always be fond of the show and the music. As for my son, he digs The Monkees on his own sweet terms, and this connection is the nicest of all.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005


Yes, I know -- I haven't posted in nearly a week, and there's a really good reason why: I've been too insanely angry to think clearly, much less write anything worth reading. Plus, I'm approaching the first anniversary of this thing, and I'm thinking about how and when to take Son to the next level, assuming there is one.

But I do have plenty to write about, and will git back to the grind quite soon. And thanks to those who, after reading the previous two posts, asked me if I'm feeling okay. When I wrote those posts, no, I wasn't okay, far from it. But I'm a little less pissed now, and able to peer into the madness without wigging fully out. How all you daily bloggers do this without going crazy mystifies me. But then, under all the bluster, I'm the quiet, sensitive type.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

White Lies

So you wanna drop some serious chem action on some ungrateful Arab ass. You think to yourself, "Sheeeeet, man. Nobody gives a country fuck about those raghead sons of bitches. Plus it'll be funny to see them screaming in that goat-gargling language of theirs as that dark skin melts and they run in circles crying to Allah. And I can snap some pix of them squirming and get free Web porn in exchange. Sweet."

So you decide to do it, picking a civilian town like, say, Falluja, Iraq, as your target. And since insurgents operate there, your cover is pretty complete. After all, you're merely defending yourself, right? Classic case if there ever was one. But what to use? You got your Mark-77 bombs, each containing 110 gallons of jet fuel mix, the Son of Napalm as it were. That really gets 'em yelling. But you're more in a white phosphorus mood -- that shit burns like hell, especially in large amounts. And it smells like garlic, which adds to the joke, considering who you're planning to hit.

"God, I love this job!"



"Hoo boy, those hajis are on fire today! Look at 'em run! Stupid bastards -- that'll only make the burning worse! Not like that's a bad thing . . ."

Days pass. Falluja's now a ghost town. Dead bodies everywhere. Refugees far in the distance. Walk thru and shoot some of the wounded in the head. Why not? Ol' Sam's payin' for it. Beats jerkin' off.

So you've had your fun and move on. But nearly a year later, the commie-jihadist media starts to discover what you did. Survivors talk. Show their extensive burns. Pictures of the charred dead surface.

So what do you do? Lie!

"White phosphorus was used very sparingly in Falluja, for illumination purposes, mainly."

More evidence emerges. Time for Excuse B:

"Okay, some of the information I gave out is incorrect. White phosphorous shells, which produce smoke, were used in Falluja, not for illumination but for screening purposes, i.e. obscuring troop movements, and as a potent psychological weapon against the insurgents in trench lines and spider holes."

Fuck -- now the fuller picture comes into focus, where civilians, among them children, were hit as well.

"Look, you have to remember that insurgents come in all shapes and sizes. This is guerrilla war. That little girl who looks so cute one minute is firing live rounds into your gut the next. Ever see an old man with one leg and a glass eye throw a grenade? I have, numerous times. It's tragic, but we're fighting for freedom here."

Finally, your cover's completely blown, and the reality that you turned a civilian city into a free-fire zone where everyone was a target is now known worldwide.

"Okay! Okay! So we iced some civvies! Christ! What the fuck do you think this is anyway?!"

Exhausted, you need some Me Time. Put on the headphones and crank up some classic Billy Idol:

"It's a nice day for a white funeral,
A nice day to killllll againnnnn!"

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Patriotize This

Many online and talk radio liberals are offended that their patriotism has been questioned by Bush in a frantic effort to kick start whatever war frenzy remains in the US. How dare he! Is Bush seriously suggesting that nearly 60 percent of the American public, who have turned somewhat against him, are traitors? Shame!

Know what I say? Fuck patriotism.

What are we supposed to venerate -- corporate control of the economy and political process? Privatizing larger sections of public life? Assaults on civil liberties? A governing class that enriches itself while the rest of us scramble? An insane foreign policy that ensures hatred and violence for perhaps decades to come? A gang of criminals who lie us into war, commit torture, use chemical weapons, and try to abolish habeas corpus for "terror" suspects? We're supposed to kneel before this set-up, bow our heads and thank God for our sweet blessings?

Fuck that.

Okay, cynical Son. It's clear that you hate your country. Have you no allegiance to it at all?

Depends on what you're talking about. I'm as American as it gets. Born and raised in the Midwest, surrounded by Republicans and fed the same steady nationalist diet as everyone else. Was in the Cub Scouts. The Army. Played baseball and basketball. Went to church. Can riff for hours about American comedy from any period. Enjoy cookouts and cold beer. And so on. Indeed, I'm semi-proof that in America, if you hustle effectively enough, you can rise above your humble roots (high school grad, C-average) and rub shoulders with the Smart Rich Celeb Crowd.

Of course, it was in that rarefied atmosphere where I saw the bullshit that fuels the Machine. New York lit parlors. Hollywood offices. DC political gatherings (the legislative minutiae chewed over in Georgetown pubs at night gives off a vibrating insect hum). In short, I've seen and experienced much of this country, at various levels. I couldn't pass as a non-American no matter how hard I tried, and yet I feel no genuine connection to what presently passes for America.

Should I be sad? Maybe. After all, there's much in American culture I do enjoy. I have a certain fondness for what's left of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. But patriotic? Under these conditions? Not on your life.

Why liberals cling to patriotism sincerely stumps me. Do they honestly believe in such authoritarian concepts? Or are they trying to win over average folks by waving Old Glory as a political tactic? Either way it's a self-defeating proposition, simply because the wingnutty trogs do the patriot dance better and with more crazed feeling than liberals can ever hope to match. So why try?

Why not explain to those on the political fence, or better still, to those who grip the flag like a security blanket, what "patriotism" means in the present context. It's not about flea markets, Little League games, canned food drives and fireworks ripping through the summer night sky. It's about obedience to the state, keeping your mouth shut except to praise Dear Leader, fighting endless wars without any real debate, and generally allowing those with vast economic and political power to call the shots and profit from a fixed arrangement.

That's modern American "patriotism," as defined by W. on down. That's what we humble consumers are expected to happily swallow. And if we fail in our duty, then we are traitors and deserve the worst possible fate.

So call me a treasonous scumbag. Pray that my town is hit by Al-Qaeda, or whoever's the official enemy this week. Fantasize about me being tortured in Gitmo. I welcome it, because the America you offer and wish to see triumphant is a madhouse run by corrupt murderous egomaniacs who feed off misery and chaos, flashing false smiles from heavily-armed bunkers. If supporting that makes one "patriotic," then I'm as anti as I can be. And while I hate defining my position in negative terms, I've little choice at this rancid moment, and this makes me angrier still.

I don't know if those who are turning against this dirty war share my distaste for the status quo; I suspect that most are simply sick of being lied to while the dead and mangled are hushed-hushed back into the States, with many more on the way and no end in sight and billions of tax dollars keeping it all going. But the dark beauty of this horrid arrangement is that it forces people to make choices they'd rather not think about -- the political becomes personal at an accelerated rate, which is probably our only chance to get out of this mess.

In their efforts to further alienate, demonize and divide Americans, Bush and his followers might be performing a public service after all. The louder these reactionaries scream, the more Americans they wake up. Whether or not this has any lasting or positive effect remains to be seen, but we longtime, weary observers should take what we can get. Consider it the patriotism of the despised.

Monday, November 14, 2005


My friend Rick, a Gulf War combat vet, recently saw "Jarhead", Sam Mendes's film based on Anthony Swofford's book about Desert Shield/Storm. Like Swofford, Rick was there, a young Marine thrown into a situation that was officially described as a "stand" against aggression, but as we now know, was the opening chapter in a larger imperial scenario.

When you talk to Rick, you see just how much that experience shaped him. He wrestles with it still, and given that some of his old comrades served in the current Iraq campaign, part of him remains there. Rick's a deeply sensitive man who takes ideas seriously. When I read the below, I was reminded of the intensity and honesty that Rick brings to a discussion. With his permission, I pass on his thoughts about "Jarhead."

"It has taken me a week to get my mind around this movie. For people interested in a movie that takes one side or another on the current war in Iraq, they will be disappointed. For those who are looking for a monumental movie, such lofty expectations will not be met. As for me, a veteran of that brief but violent war, it hits home.

"It seems that Swofford and I went in the Corps about the same time -- later he went to Cali while I was stationed in Hawaii. From these two bases, however, our units joined in our deployment to Saudi Arabia. And from there many of our experiences were similar, as well as our observations. Observations of those around us as well as circumstances beyond our control. The main character opts for silence until he is confronted with the moment that we all face, where it erupts.

"After the movie, I stood on the sidewalk with my Dad, my girlfriend, and Robert, my best-friend since I was 15. Robert and I came of age during that time in our own respective ways. We led different lives then, both wondering if we had made the right decision, one cheering for the other. I think we both needed to see 'Jarhead' to see if Swofford’s account might bring some insight into that period. As we talked about the film, Robert noticed that in certain scenes, 'Jarhead' borrowed from other war movies, from the burning of the buckets filled with human waste to the mental breakdown scene. 'True' I thought, and there’s a reason for that: those kind of things happened then, and they happen still. I have no trouble imagining a future movie about the current chapter in warfare containing similar scenes. Because where there is war, there are constant images and déjà vu moments. This is because war is insane and robs its participants of everything from dignity to social norms. It asks much of those who are involved. For some it is a total cost of life, and for their families they are left with the inevitable, inescapable question, 'Was it worth it?'

"The simple and obvious answer for the 'greatest generation' of World War II has not been so simple to duplicate since, and it is why the debate over the current war can become so heated. Perhaps it is also why 'Jarhead' falls short in my eyes. It's not the movie or the story itself that I have problems with. If it had come out in 2000, I do not feel my review would be this harsh. It is the context of the world we live in now that lessens it. We never left the Gulf after that War in 1991. And we have upped the ante since. We tried to depict another Hitler in order to do so. It was a lie at worst and a mistake at best.

"I spoke with someone today who asked what I thought of the movie. When I said I admired its tale of one human’s perspective that was apolitical, she said, 'Oh, that’s good, so they didn’t have an agenda they were pushing? Good.' I thought, 'Is it?' I know why Swofford wrote the story he did. I would have done the same thing. But the story has come too late, and the world needs more from us. More from veterans who support and oppose the war today. And a well reasoned explanation for those beliefs. People who think Swofford is neutral in the current prologue are mistaken. I know what that absence of support means. He is separating the warrior from the war. He is saying that what happens to us all is irreversible and is forever. He is saying that the decision should be harder to accept, and that we should not be so eager to change people so irreparably.

"Separating the warrior from his or her experience is difficult to do. One must work at it. It has taken me years to do this and when I finally was able to do so, I came to realize that the cost this time around was too great, in my opinion. Some soldiers never do this, and to those I simply say, 'I love you brothers, and I understand your anger with me for opposing this war. I can only offer you this thought: I would rather you be home and angry with my views than over there for one more day.'

"'Jarhead' is worth seeing, but I doubt it will mean all these things to most who see it. I am too close to this subject to offer an objective opinion. See it for yourselves and judge it accordingly. But for veterans who fought in an unnecessary war, the truth is complex and painful to live with. Another cost that never lessens."

Thursday, November 10, 2005

We Are T.O.

Praise Zeus for the American sports machine. Without it, millions of frustrated fans would have to deal with the bone-crushing reality of our present state, and that, I fear, would send more than a few face-painted loons into varied states of madness, depression, and sociopathic rage. Thankfully, there are enough athletic distractions to keep fans semi-pacified and well away from any serious self-reflection, save for one last check in the mirror to make sure their team's colors are adequately displayed.

As many of you know, I love sports but can't stand most fans. The tribal idiocy and general mindlessness found in stands and at tailgaters are a direct assault on my central nervous system, and this past week has been especially grating, what with all the self-righteous wailing about Terrell Owens' selfish and clueless behavior. If you're not aware of the current Owens saga, consider yourself clean and be happy about the fact. In short, the Philadelphia Eagles have essentially fired Owens for his ongoing disruptive comments to the media and divisive attitude in the locker room and on the sidelines. Given that T.O. is perhaps the most gifted and talented wide receiver in the NFL, his dismissal from the Eagles is big news in sportsland, since a player of his caliber makes any offense instantly better. For the Eagles to fire Owens at this point in the season means that he must have been far worse than is being reported. Talent like his isn't seen every day.

Now, it's true that Owens is full of himself, and he likes to preen and pose and loudly call attention to his marquee persona. T.O.'s not only theatrical, he's the entire theater -- seats, stage, curtain, the lot. He'll never be confused for Jim Brown. Until recently, most fans and many sportswriters and sports radio hosts didn't care all that much. Indeed, a good number of them were amused by Owens' antics (I recall a Peter Richmond piece in GQ that defended the T.O. Show for injecting life into the NFL). And of course Eagles fans loved the guy, when he was helping their team reach the Super Bowl, that is. Sports fans will tolerate all manner of gaudy behavior so long as the wins pile up. But T.O. apparently took his act too far; and with the Eagles playing .500 ball, his former fans are no longer amused. In fact, they're out to destroy him.

I haven't seen so much venom being spat at a sports superstar since the O.J. Simpson trial, which is really something when you consider that Owens isn't charged with double homicide -- he's being punished for putting himself ahead of his team and undermining his coach, Andy Reid, and his QB, Donovan McNabb. As his agent and aggressive mouthpiece Drew Rosenhaus reminded the media this week, T.O. has never been arrested for beating women, doing drugs, driving recklessly or being a social menace of any kind. Indeed, his neighbors say that off-field, Owens is quiet and polite. So, what we're talking about here is a mega-celeb jock who overplayed his hand once too often and is now paying the professional price. So why all the nastiness and hatred thrown his way? T.O.'s being hit in the wallet and barred from playing for the Eagles -- what more do fans want?

Considering how many of Owens' present detractors are white men, it's tempting to see race as an issue: the millionaire uppity Negro is finally getting his. I've watched enough games in the presence of drunken white boys to know that racial animosity exists, even if a black athlete is helping their team to win. There's something about rich black jocks that pisses off average white Joes, and it isn't simply the money. I've never heard white boys go off on rich white jocks in the same way. And if a rich black jock behaves as T.O. has of late, well, you don't have to be a sociologist to understand where much of the resentment comes from.

But again, as I said, Owens had a lot of white fans who loved his act, and in many cases, either imitated him or went far beyond what he could ever get away with. And this is where fan hypocrisy really shows, for if you've ever attended a football game, pro or college, you are surrounded by thousands of people who openly grunt, scream, chant, dance, strut, pump their fists and trash talk the competition which, in some cases, results in physical violence. So when I hear angry fans phone in to sports radio shows and dump all their bile on Owens, I wonder how many of them engage in much worse public behavior. And for Eagles fans to excessively complain about T.O. is truly rich, given that they are perhaps the craziest and most violent of all fans in the NFL (at one point it got so bad in Philly that a mini-court was set up in the basement of the Eagles' stadium where drunken, abusive fans were taken and tried by a judge). But then, rationality has little to do with the American sports experience. It's an area of modern life where people, mostly white men, feel free to act in a loutish, anti-social way. A lot of this stems from the base human desire for tribal identity, but in our corporatized state, such desire is crammed into a market niche where it is catered to and encouraged. Those people you see yelling into TV cameras on the weekends are acting exactly as they are told. It's as slavish a display one can currently find.

While it's sad to see Terrell Owens squander his immense talent appealing to this demographic, it's even worse seeing those who make up this demographic acting as if they are somehow superior to Owens. It's a conceit devoid of substance and any semblance of self-awareness, which makes those who market sports very rich and very happy.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005


Allow me a moment between freakouts and rants (and the odd warm fuzzy post) to recommend a new blog designed and written by my old friend K, Bitch/Lab: "The bitchier, raunchier, leftier Wonkette." K's a longtime LBO fixture, and it's nice to see her scream-of-consciousness prose stylings, peppered with sociological observations, political ruminations, and in-yore-face colloquial assaults, find a stylish Web home. And don't let the Wonkette ref fool you -- K's much smarter, funnier and grittier than Ana Marie Cox, and she covers more political/cultural ground, stiletto heel pressed hard on the pedal.

So check out K, if you have the stamina.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Special TV Offer!

There are various reasons why I watch so little cable chat -- my precious and always teetering sanity chief among them -- but the main one is that I can take only so much historial amnesia and deliberate lying about the US imperial past. And given the tight control of who is allowed to argue policy onscreen, amnesia and lying are pretty much all you get. Occasionally a dissident critic will appear here and there, usually for target practice, and should he or she utter something not heard on a daily basis and understood to be "true", said critic will be shouted down, cut off, called a "conspiracy theorist" and otherwise muffled and discredited. I've seen this happen to others and I've personally experienced it. It's a pretty consistent thing.

Last Fri night, during the round table discussion segment of "Real Time with Bill Maher", guest Joe Scarborough, the guy who has his own country on MSNBC, engaged in a serious round of historical lying that went completely unchallenged. The topic was the CIA's "black sites" recently exposed by the Washington Post, and Scarborough, in an attempt to play down these squalid revelations, brought up El Salvador in the 1980s. I thought this was an odd choice, since so much is known or should be known about that horrible period. What did Scarborough hope to achieve here? Well, he clearly knew or heavily suspected that he could spread the crap he did and not be called on it. Helping to police accepted political boundaries every night has sharpened his chat show instincts.

Scarborough maintained that back in the early 80s, there was a perception by some that the Reagan admin was backing and training Salvadoran death squads, that there was much hullabaloo about killing nuns and priests when, in fact, Reagan was engaged in a process that would ultimately bring down the Berlin Wall and destroy the Soviet Union. Remember how lefties said that "El Salvador is Spanish for Vietnam"? Scarborough mocked. Well, how wrong they were! In other words, all the "concern" over executions and mass murder in El Salvador was overhyped and missed the larger geopolitical picture. Scarborough insisted that this is what's going on now with the CIA's alleged hidden torture centers.

The other panelists, former Irish President Mary Robinson and filmmaker John Waters, said nothing to this madness. Neither did Bill Maher, save for a quip about how "we" weren't running torture centers in El Salvador, to which Scarborough quickly agreed.

"What the FUCK?!!" I yelled at my TV. "The bastard totally got away with that shit!"

He did indeed. So I rewound the tape in my head, took John Waters' seat and engaged Scarborough directly.

"Hold on. First of all, if you'll recall, one of the first things the Reagan White House did was to release a 'White Paper' on El Salvador in an attempt to ready the American people for direct US military intervention there. It was a test to see how much support existed for this across the country. And what happened? Sit-ins and demonstrations spontaneously took place around the nation, and opinion polls showed that Americans overwhelmingly opposed a US invasion of El Salvador. Reagan's 'White Paper' was shoved back in his face and this set the stage for years of clandestine -- and not so clandestine -- support for the Salvadoran junta.

"In other words, most Americans saw El Salvador as a potential Vietnam, and responded negatively at the prospect.

"Bill, if you'll indulge me for a few minutes more . . ."

"Well, I . ."

"Thanks. Joe, you suggested that torture and mass murder in El Salvador was exaggerated. Bullshit. Not only was the popular church under attack, but so too union members, teachers, students, peasants, and the opposition press, which was violently wiped out for a time. The Salvadoran state, with our help, committed numerous war crimes against its own people, something we're supposedly moved by when Saddam butchered the Kurds but are strangely silent on when this happened in our hemisphere, under our eyes, on our dime. And I won't even go into the ahistorical connection between a massacre like El Mozote in El Salvador in 1981, and the dismantling of the Berlin Wall in 1989. That's so fucking ignorant that it's not worth discussing."

Not with Joe Scarborough, anyway. But if you, dear reader, know little or nothing about El Mozote, read Mark Danner's report on it and weep knowing that your tax dollars financed what is considered the largest mass murder in Latin American history.

How much of the above argument would make it on air without interruption is anybody's guess. Once I get going I tend to take it to the wall. But people like me aren't going to be invited to (easily) disprove the likes of Scarborough -- not any time soon, that is. Still, a couple of weeks ago I had a pleasant chat with "Real Time" executive producer/writer Scott Carter, to whom I submitted my twisted jokes for Bill Maher all those years ago. Scott is aware of this blog, and I trust he visits from time to time. So, Scott, if you're reading this, consider saving a seat for me at Bill's table. I'm not John Waters, but I won't stay mute while another guest openly lies about life and death issues.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Tits = Psychos?

In an effort to justify to skeptical libs why they're joining Pajamas Media, a collective blog media enterprise filled with truly vile characters, The Nation's Marc Cooper and David Corn have turned to tits.

As Coop put it to a critic at his blog:

"But I really dont see why you should be concerned about my integrity or that of others. Take a look at the spanking ads in the back of The Nation, or the hooker ads in back of LA Weekly and the tobacco and alcohol ads in the front...take a look at the past editions of Playboy where my interviews with Napoleon Duarte, Oliver Stone and others shared space with the titties of Miss November."

Followed by Corn's response to James Wolcott:

"I look forward to a new Internet enterprise that seeks to promote varying views, even if the idea came from conservatives. And if James Wolcott, whose work I admire and respect, can bring himself to be associated with a magazine (which I admire and respect) that makes mucho bucks by placing Paris Hilton's jugs in front of our mugs, perhaps I can see if being associated with rightwingers will benefit this blog, my work, and my readers."

Now, I'm more a leg, ass and thigh guy, but even I wouldn't disparage a woman's breasts by comparing them to anti-Arab racists like Charles Johnson of Little Green Footballs, or pro-war ignoramuses like Roger L. Simon, or Iran/contra criminals like Michael Ledeen (who touts himself as a "terrorism expert," which is a pretty accurate self-description, though not in the way Ledeen thinks). There's a major difference between having your words printed in a skin mag or a mag that features scantily-clad celebs, and participating in an online venture dominated by rightwing subhumans of the foulest sort.

Coop, when not going the tit route, also strikes an "independent" pose, saying that unlike his critics, he can stand to be exposed to horrid opinions and hopes that his own output might sway the minds of those who post Rachel-Corrie-was-a-pro-Arab-whore-who-deserved-to-die comments at ChazJo's disgusting site.

Well, he's free to try. But given that Coop often shouts at those who criticize him at his blog, I wonder what he'll do when the LGFers come trolling.

Coop and Corn can play with whoever they want. But tits have nothing to do with it. Judging from the Pajamas line-up, I'd say that dicks are a more accurate description.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005


Took the boy trick-or-treating last night, and as always, I had a great time with him. My son is one of the most agreeable, positive, joyful people I know -- he hasn't a trace of cynicism in him. Down the darkened, leaf-cluttered sidewalks he ran, long black & red cape fluttering behind him, big slanted smile under the white make up.

"Dad, I don't think there's a better day than Halloween."

"Really? Better than Christmas?"

A pause to think. "Well, maybe .5 better than Christmas."

Then he was off to the next decorated door, always thanking the person handing him candy and wishing them Happy Halloween.

Times like these fill me with happiness, but also some dread, for I know that my son's attitude can't last. Or can it? Given the horrors of our times, I don't see how a kid like him can maintain such a positive outlook as he grows and matures; but then I'm prone to dark moods and a saddened resignation, so I'm not the final word on the topic, thank God. I often chide myself for giving in to despair far too easily, and I don't want to saddle the boy with all the bullshit in my head. Yet, when I tap into his upbeat vibe, I momentarily recapture those exuberant moments from my younger days when time meant nothing, and I'm reminded that not everything's a drag, that happiness is not an illusion but a choice, an opportunity. People have found and continue to find happiness in even the most depressing circumstances. They couldn't go on without it. So what's my sorry excuse?

I know my son suspects that there are bad things Out There, but for now it doesn't faze him or slow him down a bit. His optimism remains contagious. He moves to the music in his head, and judging from the look on his face and the bounce in his step, it must be one beautiful arrangement.