Panache Era Echoes
Like the profound idiot I sometimes am (or is it more than that?), I began my day by watching CNN, which I almost never do. And what type of corporate bias hits me first? Why, a slam of the Palestinians, naturally. The blow-dried dimbulb anchor whose name I didn't catch narrated over footage of Fatah and Hamas shooting at each other, with civilians caught in the crossfire. The dimbulb spoke in the typical "Aren't those Arabs animals?" tone, then shifted to mock concern for The Children. "Look at those kids!" he tsk-tsked, as Palestinian youths ran for cover down a narrow street.
Isn't that touching? Really plucks the heartstrings. Of course, when the IDF or IAF are slaughtering Palestinian civilians, children among them, you don't hear similar concerns from CNN anchors. That's because when the Israelis kill children, it's in self-defense. They have no choice. A grim business all around, but democracy in a sea of hatred demands certain sacrifices -- mostly from other people, preferably those locked into an open-air prison surrounded by land mines, tanks, artillery, with fighter jets and armed helicopters flying overhead.
Yes, it's pretty fucking awful to see Israel's subject population violently turn on one another. But then, that's what they're encouraged to do, whether it's the early version of Hamas receiving Israeli support to attack a moderating PLO, or the present-day Fatah receiving Israeli support to attack and undermine Hamas. The important thing is to keep the rats in the cage at each other's throats (or, to quote Israeli Gen. Rafael Eitan, "drugged roaches in a bottle"), and not allow them to focus on the cage owner, who is driven only by the purest motives, unlike the vermin being kept behind bars.
That was me hitting Mr. Dimbulb Anchor in the face with a Christmas stocking filled with fresh dog shit. Happy holidays, jerk off. From me to you.
Okay. I said yesterday that I'm keeping Le Son on the positive tip, for this holiday week, anyway; so from this point on, I shall do my best to be "upbeat."
The above photo was taken by a local photographer, Matt Callow, whose work the wife and I encountered at a recent art fair. We loved this shot so much that we bought it as an early Christmas gift for each other, and it now hangs, pic pressed on worn wood, in our living room. Matt's a nice guy, transplanted from England, and possesses a dream-like view of common objects. Check out more of his work here, and maybe toss him some green in exchange for his labors.
My good friends Jon Schwarz and Mike Gerber have a new collection of pieces about to be published, "Our Kampf." It contains, I'm told, all manner of mirth, taken from Jon and Mike's voluminous humor files, some of which I've read and genuinely enjoyed (their mock crossword puzzle for The New Yorker is extremely funny). I haven't read their Weekend Update jokes, so I'm curious to see what Tina Fey and Jimmy Fallon used and what they failed to find appropriate for their fake newscast. Fallon is lucky to have a showbiz career at all, though in these days when pretty much anyone can be a celeb, he stands out more than he would in a less "democratic" time. Fey is utterly overrated, but more talented than Fallon, which again doesn't mean all that much. How Jon and Mike tapped their comedy muse to write for these two confounds me, but then, Jon and Mike are workhorses, and it was "SNL" after all. Hell, I was ready to write for Brad Hall back in '83, so who the fuck am I to knock them? Anyway, "Our Kampf" is bound to be good, and now that I've plugged it, I'll expect my free copy in the mail anytime now.
When speaking of comedy workhorses, the mind instantly conjures up Danny Bonaduce. Wait a sec -- you mean it doesn't? Oh right, my bad. I meant to say One Of The Longest 15-Minute Human Trainwrecks Ever Captured On American Television. I sometimes confuse the two. In any event, the ex-Danny Partridge was recently accosted at an LA sidewalk cafe by a guy named John Conner, who runs a 9/11 conspiracy site. ("Terminator" fans know that this is what Conner's supposed to do before he leads the human race against the machine dictatorship.) Why, of all people, Conner wants Bonaduce's take on 9/11 is a mystery, but it is funny, in a human trainwreck way, I mean.
A source of mine, who worked closely with Bonaduce, tells me that his pro-war, pro-Bush remarks are surprising, given that he apparently voiced the complete opposite not all that long ago. Then again, my source added, Bonaduce is totally crazy, so who knows what personality took charge that day. That's one of the advantages of being a human trainwreck -- you get to be different people at any given moment. No wonder this guy is still on TV.
When it comes to intentional comedy, there are many talents who have fallen between the cracks. One in particular is Elon Gold, who worked on Dana Carvey's brief ABC show, and here does his great Howard Stern impression to Carvey's dreadful Bill Clinton (sort of a cross between Carvey's Ross Perot and Carvey's Garry Shandling). I'm usually not all that wild about celebrity impressions, as they routinely undermine the writing, but Gold's Stern is fabulous.
And here's Gold as himself, interviewing himself playing Jeff Goldblum. Again, an excellent, precise rendering. And funny as well. This clip was taken from Gold's Bravo pilot, "The Latest Show", in which he performs as both host and all of his "celebrity" guests. It wasn't picked up, alas. Too much Gold for Bravo's taste, I'm guessing.
Since I criticized Carvey above, let me post this clip from his ABC show that I find hilarious. It's lowbrow, but so is some of the best comedy. And note Stephen Colbert's inspired Ray Bolger, and Steve Carrell as Jack Haley. What's great about this sketch is how the care and attention to detail serves as the set-up for an extended stupid joke. If only Noel Coward had gone this route.