Monthly Archives: October 2010
It took me forever to get around to this movie, but after Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, can you really blame me? Before I get into Terminator Salvation, I’ll give you some context on how I feel about the Terminator franchise.
The Terminator is regarded as a classic sci-fi movie, but the more I think about it, the more I tend to drop it into a slasher/horror movie category… Arnold Schwarzenegger just chases people around the whole movie and kills them… yeah, he pretty much kills everybody accept Sarah Connor. Terminator 2: Judgment Day is, in my mind, the best possible version of The Terminator (minus Lina Hamilton half naked), but otherwise, it’s pretty much the same movie (but flipped on it’s head), but with more character development, better lighting, effects and overall production value. Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines… this movie just didn’t hold my attention. The improvements they made from T1 to T2 justified another movie, but T3 is the exact same movie as T2, just crappier with improved effects. When I heard they were making yet another Terminator movie, I wasn’t exactly turning cartwheels… that is, until I heard Christian Bale was in it in the starring role of John Connor. Bale has been my boy since Equilibrium (2002 – I know he’d been making movies since he was 14, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen any of the movies he made before 2002), so suddenly, things were looking up.
Ever since I saw T2 as a kid and I got a glimpse of the war between men and machines, Salvation was the movie I wanted to see – this is probably why I was so unhappy with T3… or because the movie sucks. Much to my surprise, I really enjoyed Salvation, although apparently no one else did. Roger Ebert said, “After scrutinizing the film, I offer you my summary of the story: Guy dies, finds himself resurrected, meets others, fights. That lasts for almost two hours.” Not only is that almost the exact same review he gave for T3, but that’s also the most simplistic summary ever… in fact, it barely passes for a summary, because he’s leaving a ton of shiz out. Here is an actual summary:
Salvation has a lot more to offer than the other Terminator movies; it’s not just people chasing each other, there are interesting characters there. Unlike T2 and T3, you don’t wait the entire movie to see the Terminators fight each other. There are characters that actually evolve in this movie… I don’t understand why everyone hated it so much. I’ve read that people were disappointed it wasn’t rated R like the other movies, but that seems like a stupid reason to dislike a movie – to get the movie down from an R to a PG-13, they removed a guy getting stabbed with a screwdriver and a topless woman. That’s it. It’s not like they yanked the core out of the movie or something. And the movie rewards your patience: you get this scene at the end. NICE.
If you’re a casual Terminator fan (I’ve never watched the TV show or anything like that), I think you’ll enjoy Salvation. If you read the expanded universe fiction, I’m sure there is plenty in here to piss you off. But people seem to hate this movie, and I’m not sure why. It doesn’t have the previous movie’s silliness, and it has plenty of action; it’s gritty, the pace moves well and the story rounds out nicely. People act like the first two were Shakespeare… I just don’t get it. I don’t know what people wanted, but I liked this movie… I might be the only one.
Much to the chagrin of my waste line, I like beer, and I like trying new beer even more. Seasonal beers really do it for me, and October is one of my favorite months. Sure, Oktoberfest is all well and good, but for my money, it’s all about the Pumpkin Beers. When it comes to a pumpkin beer, I don’t want some tiny little hint of pumpkin (I’m looking at you, Blue Moon), I want to be annihilated by pumpkin and, preferably by alcohol content. Here’s a list of five pumpkin beers I’ve tried, ranked from least to greatest.
5. Harvest Moon – Blue Moon
Like Smuttynose, I can barely taste the pumpkin, but unlike Smuttynose, the alcohol content is pretty mediocre.
4. Pumpkin Ale – Smuttynose
I can vaguely tell I’m drinking a pumpkin beer when I’m drinking Smuttynose, but i can certainly tell I’m drinking a beverage with alcohol in it. This stuff gets it done, one way or another.
3. Post Road Pumpkin Ale –
Good flavor and readily available (at least in my area), so it’s a nice option.
2. Jack’s Pumpkin Spice Ale –
I would say Jack’s has a bit more pumpkin flavor than Post Road, and while the privately owned liquor stores don’t seem to carry it, the grocery stores that carry booze seem to have it in abundance.
1. Imperial Pumpking Ale – Southern Tier
Imperial Pumpking Ale is my favorite, by far. It’s got a rich, sweet pumpkin flavor with a 8.8% abv, its got plenty of alcohol. I’m having a hard time finding it this year, but I highly recommend it. Long live the king.
After all, nothing says loving tribute to those that lost their lives in that tragic accident like JamesCameron collecting another ten bucks off my mom and her friends on movie night.
Oh wait, there is a way to make the tribute even better:
HE’S CONVERTING THE MOVIE TO 3D.
So if you liked Titanic before, surely you will love 3D Leonardo DiCaprio. When reached for comment, Mr. DiCaprio said, “This is exactly what my career needs right now.”
In an effort to one up Mr. Cameron, I’d like to announce that I’ll be debuting Lusitania for Christmas of 2011. The special effects will combine CG elements and plastic models filmed in my bath tub – in the third act, my golden retriever bites the Lusitania in half. And of course, the movie will be in 3D. And it’s going to be a musical, featuring music by Bono and The Edge.
I readily admit: I’ve never actually sat down and watched Titanic from beginning to end. I saw the trailer and thought, “That looks shizzy,” and didn’t see it in theaters. Remember when it was on cable all the time for a while there? I tried, but I had to turn that bad boy off. I stand by the decision. Remember the scene when that one character remarked, “Psh, Picasso, he’ll never go anywhere.” Yeah, I turned it off right there. However, I did turn it back on in time to watch the boat sink, and I’ve seen a few scenes here and there over the years, so I think I got the jist: the movie blows. But then, check out James Cameron’s resume: does anyone seriously enjoy these movies on any level? As for me, I’m patiently waiting for the sequel to Piranha Part Two: The Spawning.
Anyway, I did see the Futurama parody of Titanic – that’s probably good enough.
I thought the idea of a Titanic movie was in bad taste before, when I was a teenager. Re-releasing it just affirms my deeply spiritual belief that James Cameron is the devil and he shouldn’t set this hell hound upon us again. Besides, he owes me one: I sat through all of Avatar and I didn’t interrupt that flaming pile of shiz once to complained about how bad the movie sucked (besides being crappy, it’s also the most predictable movie of all time), how heavy the 3D glasses were, how sick I was of the fact that everything on Pandora glows after the first walk through the jungle, that the element they wanted to mine was called unobtanium and that it equally unnecessary for Cameron to scale the aliens that much bigger than the humans as it was to show the main guy get into his avatar control coffin every single damn time he was going to control his avatar. He has to get in the damn coffin thingy – I get it!
Back to Titanic: making money off tragedy is evil, but not illegal, so I don’t begrudge him much for this – if it wasn’t Cameron, it’d be somebody else. But to do it twice with the same movie is downright… I don’t know what to call it. I guess it makes you Hitler. There, I said it – its just basic math:
let p be profiting off tragedy, so p * 2 = you’re Hitler
I was mad about how shitty Avatar was, but re-releasing Titanic is going to far, and I’m super angry about it, and it’s an anger I can never let go… never let go.
Sorry it’s been a while in between posts, but I was on vacation for a while – yeah, VACATION! And it was awesome, mind you – TOTALLY AWESOME! I’m working on a monster post about my trip to Disney World that will probably be available next week. If you need some prose in the style of the J-Dogg (yeah, I seriously refer to myself as the J-Dogg; well, not seriously) to tide you over until then, head over to BomberBanter.com, where I rip the Yankees for playing like unmitigated ASS against the Texas Rangers. Read the rest of this entry
Have you ever had an experience where you see a trailer for a movie and formed an assumption about said film and then when you actually saw it, it’s nothing like you expected? That’s exactly what happened to me when I saw The Golden Compass.
The trailer I kept seeing for The Golden Compass is perhaps once of the worst cut trailers I’ve ever seen. Being a fan of film editing (I edited the scenes in Pulp Fiction into chronological order for fun), this is something I look closely at. The very concept of editing a movie into just a few seconds is daunting and I understand it’s not the same thing of taking hours of footage and assembling it into a film. There has to be a ton of voices for a trailer editor to listen to: the director, the producers, other studio execs and marketing people who all want things accomplished with this commercial for their movie. But when it comes to the The Golden Compass, they blew it. Badly.
So you watch the trailer and think, “OK, this movie is about a little girl who has a golden compass and hangs out with polar bears. And Nicole Kidman wants the golden compass for some nefarious purpose… probably. There sure seem to be a lot of polar bears in this movie! Guess I’ll have to see it to figure out what all these damn polar bears in clothes have to do with that golden compass/little girl/ Nicole Kidman problem.”
That’s barely what this movie about.
I’m not familiar with Northern Lights (or the title it was released under here in America, The Golden Compass), the novel the film is based on, by which I mean I didn’t know it existed until I saw the trailer for the movie. So all I had to go on was the trailer, and that trailer did not entice me to see this movie. (I saw it anyway, but that’s besides the point – I also saw City of Ember, and like the trailer, that movie was kinda crappy.) Against all odds, I watched it. Why not, after all? I like animals, and polar bears kinda look like big white dogs to me, and dogs are, as the kids say, ‘da bomb.’ What could possible go wrong?
Nothing much. It’s a pretty good movie… only it doesn’t have much to do with polar bears and some weird animal war like I thought. I guess I was expecting some weird Narnia knockoff, but what I got was more crazy shiz than I can shake a dæmon at. (That’s pronounced demon, by the way.) Yeah, dæmon. The movie starts with a voice over that explains what a dæmon is; wikipeida does as good a job with one sentence:
Got that? Oh, and they talk, too. And they’re independently sentient, meaning they have a mind of their own and don’t have any sort of telepathic connection to their human. Oh and the childrens’ dæmons are shape shifters, but once you reach adult hood, they pick a constant shape. Because… yeah, not sure why.
After the voice over, I figured we’d be surrounded by snow, but nope. Looks like England – well to me, at least. So these kids hang out with their dæmons and the Magisterium is kidnapping kids to try and separate them from their dæmons because Lord Asriel has learned that particles called “Dust,” which originates in a parallel universe and enters a person’s body via their dæmon, and the Magisterium believes the Dust will influence them and they want to inoculate themselves from said influence by separating themselves from their dæmons…
And there are a bunch of other plot threads moving through the movie, like the polar bears, the witches, who are Lyra Belacqua‘s parents, what will the bad guys do if they get their hands on the alethiometer (technical name for the Golden Compass) and… oh yeah, the fate of the kidnapped kids and all this other crazy stuff!
I feel like I’ve barely scratched the surface. If you like fantasy, you’ll enjoy this movie. The characters are interesting and complex, and the story movies along well. The effects aren’t perfect, but the acting is. The bad news is the movie ends abruptly, leaving the door open for a sequel (two sequels, actually) that it sounds like New Line Cinema has no intention of bringing to the big screen.
So if The Golden Compass sounds interesting to you, I guess you’re better off reading the books. I plan to – after all, the movie was good.
New York Times Magazine has a dissertation (the online version is 10 “pages” long) out on Glen Beck. If that sounds daunting, don’t worry – I’ll hook you up. Let’s quote:
“I think what the country is going through right now is, in a way, what I went through with my alcoholism,” he told me. “You can either live or die. You have a choice.”
Am I the only person on earth who didn’t know Glen Beck was a recovering alcoholic? That makes it even more interesting to me when people refer to him as the new Rush Limbaugh, as Mr. Limbaugh is in recovery for abusing… I forget what, pills, maybe? And ‘live or die,’ huh? I guess Glen Beck saw the end of Karate Kid Part 2.
It was a Wednesday afternoon in the middle of September, and Beck had just returned from a week’s vacation in the Grand Tetons followed by a quick hop to Anchorage, where he and Sarah Palin appeared at an event on Sept. 11.
[Brakes screeching] or [record scratches to a halt]. Mr. Beck has offices in Manhattan, so he went to Alaska for a September 11th event with Sarah Palin? As someone who’s lived in the greater New York City area for over 25 years, I’d like to take a moment in this space to refer Mr. Beck to the finger in between my Index and Ring fingers. Going to a September 11 service in Alaska makes about as much sense as going to a Pearl Harbor Day service on the moon; it makes even less sense when you’re office is IN NEW YORK CITY. Who would do that? A guy that has described himself as a rodeo clown, that’s who. But that’s what I would expect from a guy who said that President Obama has a “deep-seated hatred for white people or the white culture.” Surely Mr. Beck knows that the president went to Harvard. Does it get any whiter than that? Of course, he immediatly added the caveat “I’m not saying that he doesn’t like white people.” Right. I’m not saying I don’t like Mr. Beck. What I am saying is that I think Mr. Beck’s radio and television programs are the worst kind of trash and I have no respect for anything the man says or does because what he says is almost always ridiculous (see aforementioned quotes) or disingenuous (see every quote attributed to Mr. Beck EVER).
Beck’s staff and loyalists love to compare Beck with Oprah Winfrey.
There’s ballsy, and then there’s BALLSY. You know who’s truly comparable with Ms. Winfrey? Nobody. It’d be like comparing Hanley Ramirez to Babe Ruth – more than a bit premature. I know Beck was on CNN doing his thing (I’d love to hear his explanation from how he went from the guy on CNN who insisted our health care system was broken and needed serious reform to the guy on FOX who said everything is fine) before he was on FOX, but he doesn’t have the track record that Oprah has, and Oprah is a black woman who controls a vast empire (and soon, a TV network) in a country that is sexist and racist. (For examples of sexism in America, check out how much women make compared to men for the same job; for examples of racism in America, check out Mr. Beck’s comments on reparations and… well, essentially half of what he says all the time.) In fact, I hope Oprah buys Mr. Beck for her network; I’m sure he’d morph right back into the CNN version of himself right before our eyes.
That’s where the Winfrey comparison falls apart. You could never imagine her joking about poisoning the speaker of the house or talking about choking the life out of a filmmaker or fantasizing about beating a congressman “to death with a shovel” (as Beck did for Nancy Pelosi, Michael Moore and Charles Rangel, respectively). Beck is divisive.
Wow. Is Mark Leibovich awesome, or what? But, as I try to remind folks whenever Mr. Beck comes up, he’s a talk show host – he’s not a reporter. If first job is to get ratings, and an easy way to get ratings is to say crazy shiz, and he’s a master at that. Obviously, he’s speaking in an irresponsible fashion over a national forum, but then, so is Howard Stern. If Mr. Stern suddenly starts talking about politics full time, I doubt he would be taken seriously, even if he conducted himself in a serious manner. Mr. Beck does not conduct himself in a serious manner, and yet he is taken seriously. I don’t get that. (Yes, if talk about beating a member of congress to death with a shovel, that can be construed as not conducting yourself in a serious manner.)
Again, people take him seriously. Check it:
“He has a spiritual connection to us; you can hear his heart speaking,” Susan Trevethan, a psychiatric nurse from Milford, Conn., told me at the “Restoring Honor” rally. “I believe he has been divinely guided to be here in this place,” she said. “He is doing the research. He is teaching us.”
Obviously, you can hear one’s heart speaking when they talk about beating a member of congress to death with a shovel. Obviously. Ms. Trevethan probably follows Mr. Beck’s shows closely, so how could she confuse someone who speaks with the heart with someone who jokes about committing murder with a garden tool? Let me look at her quote again… Oh, here we go: “divinely guided” – there’s your problem. Folks, I appreciate your spiritualism, but do me a favor – find divine guidance from someone who isn’t a talk show host. I can almost guarantee your life will be better for it – or, at least be that much more rooted in reality.
“One of the phrases I use is: You need to be who you were born to be, not the people we have allowed ourselves to become. Don’t let life and the world shape us. That’s not who we are.”
When I started this post, I thought of Mr. Beck as someone I understood: a charlatan, a disingenuous hack who’d gladly, if not intentionally, lead the world to hell in a hand-basket if it fed his massive ego. But this quote… I don’t understand this. “You need to be who you were born to be” sounds a lot like something Elrond says to Aragorn in Return of the King (in the movie, not the book – that’s for you, nerds!), and it didn’t make sense then, and it doesn’t make sense now. Aragorn was already who he needed to be – he’d been fighting to save Middle Earth for two and half movies up to this point! Life and world shape us; it’s unavoidable. His concept seems to be that life and world can only effect us negatively, and I don’t agree with this. I would argue that its how we react to the events in our lives and the world that define us. For instance, I see Mr. Beck do that fake crying thing he does so well on his TV show, and I choose to characterize him as a tremendous tool in my own mind and in this space for all to see. I watched Mr. Beck on television, a negative experience (in my mind) and then use this space to tell people he’s either a faker or an unstable man in need of help, but in any case, not to be taken seriously – a positive reaction.
As the article winds on, we learn more about Beck and his life. His mother and the man she was dating died when he was a teenager – the official report declared it a boating accident, but Beck said it was a suicide.
I asked Beck how he knew that his mother’s death was a suicide. The man who drowned with her was that same abusive boyfriend, he said. Either the two of them jumped overboard at the same time, or Mary fell in and the Navy man jumped in to save her — and that was unlikely. Why? Beck said he been out on a boat with the boyfriend before, and the man preached to him never to jump in and save somebody who is drowning. It only endangers the would-be rescuer. Throw in a life preserver instead. Plus, the Navy man’s clothes were found neatly folded, along with his wallet and watch.
Apparently, I missed the season of CSI Miami that starred Mr. Beck.
He embarked on a period of “searching” and self-education. The process was largely haphazard. He tells of walking into a bookstore and loading up on books by a hodgepodge that included Alan Dershowitz, Pope John Paul II, Carl Sagan, Nietzsche, Billy Graham and Adolf Hitler. “The library of a serial killer,” he called it. He even enrolled at Yale, with a written recommendation from an alum who was a listener at the time, Senator Joe Lieberman. He took one class, early Christology, but says he “spent more time trying to find a parking space” than in class and quickly dropped out.
Beck met Tania in 1998. She walked into the New Haven radio station where he was working to pick up a Sony Walkman she won in a contest. They began dating. He wanted to marry, and she agreed, but only on the condition that they find a religion together. They shopped around, attended services and eventually settled on Mormonism — inspired in part by Beck’s best friend and radio sidekick, Pat Gray, who himself is Mormon.
You can’t make this stuff up! “The library of a serial killer” is putting it mildly, and, if you’re not writing a mandatory paper for college and you’re reading a book written by Hitler (My Struggle, I presume – FYI, I’ve never read this book), I’m immediately suspicious of you without any other knowledge of you or your life. At least now I understand why he thinks the president has a “deep-seated hatred for white people or the white culture.” (Yeah, I’m not going to be able to let that go.)
On Beck’s first talk radio show:
“I found it to be a very ‘Seinfeld’-like radio program,” says Kraig Kitchin, the former president of Premiere Radio Networks, who signed Beck to a national-syndication deal. “There was one main plot streaming through the program and two or three subplots.”
Gotcha – when you say ‘Seinfeld’-like, you mean fiction based on reality. That sounds like Mr. Beck to me! Beck made the transition from radio to CNN via Joel Cheatwood, who was then the executive director of program development for CNN and Headline News and had previously pioneered the “if it bleeds, it leads” local-news formats, which I hate and I often refer to as one of the worst things to ever happen to television. And the guy who came up with this genius idea and brought Mr. Beck to TV has the last name, “Cheatwood.” Again, you can’t make this stuff up.
His best-known episode at Headline News was a November 2006 interview with Keith Ellison, a Democrat from Minnesota, who had just become the first Muslim elected to the House. “I have to tell you, I have been nervous about this interview with you,” Beck told Ellison to break the ice. “Because what I feel like saying is, ‘Sir, prove to me that you are not working with our enemies.’ And I know you’re not. I’m not accusing you of being an enemy, but that’s the way I feel, and I think a lot of Americans will feel that way.” Groups complained, Beck expressed regret for “a poorly worded question” and Jon Stewart played the clip on “The Daily Show.” “Finally,” Stewart said, “a guy who says what people who aren’t thinking are thinking.”
Leave it to Mr. Stewart to bottle the end: Mr. Beck just doesn’t think before he speaks. He has feelings, struggles to verbalize them, then does before he thinks about it. I used to say things that got me into trouble, and my mom would caution me to think before I spoke – I think I was eight or nine years old. If only I’d had a TV show back then, it would have been huge!
Beck fashions himself a kind of self-teaching populist for the Internet age. His characteristic chalkboard lends his show an air of retro-professorial authority, despite the fact that Beck did not attend college and says that before Sept. 11, 2001, “I didn’t know my butt from my elbow.” He recommends books. He recently started “Glenn Beck University,” a special collection of “classes” on GlennBeck.com to go with Beck’s daily tutorials. Pat Gray said Beck was “America’s history professor.”
I actually prefer that my professors have attended college; I agree that reading a book is a fantastic way to learn things, but is no substitute for the learning experience. And the idea that people learn things from Mr. Beck is pretty frightening.
“He is a modern-day prophet doing God’s work,” a man named Lee Hein told me. He resides in Hawaii, where he wakes at 3 a.m. to hear a live stream of Beck’s radio show on the Internet. Hein, a plumbing contractor, recently purchased three copies of Beck’s novel “The Overton Window,” five copies of his book “Glenn Beck’s Common Sense” and three copies of “Arguing With Idiots.” He likes to give the books out to educate his friends.
Mr. Hein sounds like a dedicated fan, huh? And 3 AM, huh? I’ll go out on a limb and say Mr. Hein is both a white person and retired. Just a guess. I love that he’s the sort of person that gives out books to people he knows with a sort of, “You’re stupid; read this,” attitude. Oh, and “The Overton Window.” Glenn Beck didn’t write that book, despite his name being on the cover in a font larger than the title – and he freely admits this. He had somebody ghost write a fictional novel – Kevin Balfe, Emily Bestler, and Jack Henderson. As far as I know, this has never been done before. Why would it be? It’s an insane idea. An autobiography – that I get. You want to tell your story, your way, but lack the ability to actually write the book… makes sense to me. But fiction is a totally different animal with a totally different purpose. Maybe Madonna will have Lady Gaga ghost write and sing her next album. That would make as much sense as having somebody ghost write your novel.
Awesome! I desperately want a ‘don’t tease the panther’ t-shirt. How are college guys not all over this?
President Obama is not a Muslim, Beck has said, correctly. But Beck can’t help wondering aloud on his show: “He needlessly throws his hat into the ring to defend the ground-zero mosque. He hosts Ramadan dinners, which a president can do. But then you just add all of this stuff up — his wife goes against the advice of the advisers, jets to Spain for vacation. What does she do there? She hits up the Alhambra palace mosque. Fine, it’s a tourist attraction. But is there anything more to this? Are they sending messages? I don’t know. I don’t know.”
Are the Obamas sending a message by attending church every week? I don’t know. I don’t know. Mr. Beck is raising questions. “I’m just raising questions,” as he likes to say. I guess the question he’s raising here is, “Are the Obamas secret Muslims?” Not that I know of, but thanks for asking – and they wouldn’t be secret Muslims if we all knew, now would they? And what fun would that be? The conspiracy theory is what keeps this nonsense going. If it helps, Dave Chappelle converted to Islam a while back.
Beck and his friends emphasize that he is driven by principles, not politics. He has been critical of Republicans as well as of Democrats, of George W. Bush as well as of Obama. He says that American citizens who are terrorist suspects should be read their Miranda rights, and he opposes a Constitutional amendment that would ban flag-burning. His friends object to any hint that Beck has merely fashioned his worldview according to a marketplace that rewards shock, chutzpah and discord. “If you know Glenn at all, you know he believes every word of what he says,” Chris Balfe says. “And he believes it down to the core of who he is.”
Fine, let’s say Mr. Beck is not a great entertainer of fools and believes all of the bile that comes out of his mouth. Isn’t it a bit contradictory to guarantee someone their right to protest via flag burning while practically chasing after the Obamas screaming, “You’re Muslims! Admit it!” Kinda seems like you’re not a big fan of freedom of religion, so I’m a bit confused why one freedom of expression is OK while another isn’t… except the Obamas seem to be expressing that they’re Christian by going to Church every week and by the President referencing the fact that he’s Christian on various occasions. Wait, what was my point? See, I can’t draw comparisons or conclusions from someone who is so inconsistent. Well, he consistently hates on Woodrow Wilson… We’ll get to that in a minute.
While Beck’s personal ventures and exposure have soared this year, his television ratings have declined sharply — perhaps another factor in the network’s impatience. His show now averages two million viewers, down from a high of 2.8 million in 2009, according to the Nielsen Ratings. And as of Sept. 21, 296 advertisers have asked that their commercials not be shown on Beck’s show (up from 26 in August 2009). Fox also has a difficult time selling ads on “The O’Reilly Factor” and “Fox and Friends” when Beck appears on those shows as a guest. Beck’s show is known in the TV sales world as “empty calories,” meaning he draws great ratings but is toxic for ad sales.
I guess you can only equate the President to Hitler so many times before advertisers get wary – and the “empty calories” projection says more about the makeup of Mr. Beck’s audience than it does about Mr. Beck himself. But who is Mr. Beck’s audience? There’s the faithful, the haters, and the “i want to see what he’ll say next,” crowds, I would guess. Apparently, these people don’t buy stuff… unless it has Mr. Beck’s name on it or features his direct endorsement.
Let’s take a closer look at that audience:
Sitting in the row behind me was a truck driver named Jerry Cole, who was from Fairbanks and wore an “I (heart) Woodrow Wilson” T-shirt with a slash through the heart. “He was the start of the Progressive Era,” Cole said of the long-dead president. “He believed that college intellectuals should decide how the world should be run.”
Right. Because if you’re educated, we certainly don’t want you in charge of anything. Let’s go with the guy who barely finished high school. That ought to work. Or maybe we can bring in a guy to be President who got all Cs, but went to a good college… oh, right. Never mind.
“I wrote Sarah Palin a letter last night about 2 in the morning,” Beck said on his radio show in September. “And I said: ‘Sarah, I don’t know if I’m doing more harm or more good. I don’t know anymore.’ ”
Really, Mr. Beck? You don’t have a notion one way or another if you’re doing harm or good with your… uhm… teachings? Let me help you out. You are doing harm, not to the left, but to the right. Whether you like it or not, you’ve become the face of the right, and we’ve all seen your face: the one that cries, the one that rants, the one that writes on chalk boards, all of them – and they’re all crazy. I know you’re hot right now, but it won’t last; nothing burns this hot for that long, and when it’s over, you’ll leave a George W Bush size hole that Rush Limbaugh will envy forever. And that’s… well, it’s something, I’ll give you that.
UPDATE 4/6/11: Fox news has announced it will cancel Glen Beck’s show due to low ratings and low ad revenue.
Before I get into “A Pledge to America,” a document not on par in writing skills with most junior high school history texts, I’ll take a brief moment to explain my political affiliations.
Uhm, I don’t really have any. I don’t belong to any particular party, and, at least on the local level, I have voted for Democrats, Republicans and Independents over the decade plus I’ve been of voter age. In terms of where I stand on issues, I’ll give you what I think is the best example of my duality: I believe abortion is wrong, but I don’t believe Roe v Wade should be appealed; I’ve made the choice (or rather, we’ve made the choice; kind of hard for a guy to make the choice on his own!), but I don’t want to make the choice for anyone else. So, like Chris Rock: ” I’ve got some shit I’m conservative about, I’ve got some shit I’m liberal about. Crime, I’m conservative. Prostitution, I’m liberal!” Word.
http://pledge.gop.gov/ I guess this is the foreward (the document itself also has a foreward), but don’t waste your time – it’s sort of a mission statement for why we wrote a mission statement. If you’re in a rush, you can take a gander at the Pledge Pocket Card, and presumably print it out and carry it around in your pocket so you can dispense talking points (that don’t really say anything) at will. You’ll sound like a genius when you say, “The Republicans are
going to reign in the red tape factory in Washington DC!” If somebody asks you specifically what red tape and how, just hand them the card and tell them you have to go to the bathroom. Once you get in your SUV and start the engine, you’re home free!
If you’re ready to do battle, here’s the full document; I know, Adobe’s PDF reader is telling you it’s 48 pages, but don’t get nervous, its really not that many pages of actual reading. Observe:
- Page 1 is the cover
- Page 2 is a picture of the Statue of Liberty. Seriously. It’s a good one, too!
- Page 3 is an interior cover, because obviously, page 1 is an exterior cover, and one cover page will simply not do. Not for a document of this magnitude.
- Page 6 simply says ‘Forward.’ The party that’s going to reign in the red tape factory in Washington used an entire page for one word. Very efficient. Putting ‘Forward’ on the top of page 7 (and thus making page 7 page 6) would be entirely too efficient and is a perfect metaphor for this entire document. I’ll refer to these as title pages from here on out.
- Page 10 is a picture of Mount Rushmore. I feel very inspired by this. It’s also thoughtful of them, because I’ve never seen a photograph of Mount Rushmore. If the Republicans didn’t put it in here, how else would I know what is looks like?
- Page 11 is a picture of the interior of a butcher shop. Taped to their counter is a picture of some grazing turkeys… I think. Look how the Republicans are supporting small businesses by including this photo in their pledge! Everybody likes meat, right? Well, not everybody.
- Page 12 includes 3 photos:
- top: somebody who I assume is a Republican Congressman at one of those town hall meetings
- bottom left: another guy who I assume is a Republican Congressman at one of those town hall meetings, but he’s gesturing to a pie chart (ooo fancy!)
- bottom right: some people at a factory or a warehouse that are too well dressed to work there. Maybe she’s a Congresswoman and she’s listening to a small business owner? The Republicans care!
- Page 13 is a table of contents. Obviously. Where else were you expecting the table of contents to be? On page two, after the cover? Or maybe they could have composited it on top of the Statue of Liberty photo… no, that would be disrespectful. But yes, table of contents is on page 13. That’s just brilliant.
- Page 14: you guessed it, more pictures!
- Top left: back of some guy’s head at a lectern
- top center: two guys in suits on horses
- top right: a guy being filmed as seen on a video camera’s instant preview screen
- center: people sitting and standing around a table, kind of invoctes The Last Supper (I like!)
- bottom: people waiting to eat and listening at an event called ‘speaking out’ while one guy talks.
- Page 15: another title page
- Page 17: 30% or so of this page is taken up by a graph that says the Stimulus Bill was ineffective at staving off unemployment. A graph? Really? Above the graph is the one sentence you would need to make this point without using a graph, but why not do both? Some people like to read information, other people like to see the information! Let’s cover our bases! Not everybody can read, after all.
- Page 19 is a photo of a guy on a horse swinging a lasso. Speaking of a lasso, I’d like to find the folks that approved this monstrosity and have Wonder Woman tie them up and make them tell the truth about why their pledge document sucks so hard.
- Page 20: more pictures; 8 in total. I’m not describing them all, I’m too pissed. I assume the people that worked on this also work for members of congress, so that means we pay them, too, right? Damn it!
- Page 21: another effing title page
- Page 25 is a graph illustrating what percentage we spend on federal assistance programs and states that these programs are crowding out private enterprises. I’m having a hard time telling the difference between the colors for Department of Homeland Security (really, you guys don’t like this one anymore? wasn’t this the Republican’s idea?) and the color for the Department of the Interior. And there aren’t any dollar amounts on here, not even estimates.
- Page 26: MORE. EFFING. PICTURES.
- Page 27: another effing title page
- Page 30 is half blank. Very efficient. This would have been a good spot for your useless pictures.
Page 31 is a chart illustrating the 160 governing bodies of the ‘new health care law.’ Enough with the charts, guys. I can’t make heads or tales of this, but I guess that’s the point. I’d like to hear why all of this is bad, but instead, you just gave me a big useless picture that might as well just say, “the new health care law is bad” on it. That opinion is fine, I just need to know why it’s bad. Telling us that there are 160 boards, bureaus and commissions is probably a good starting place for your argument, but since that’s the only piece you’re giving me, it doesn’t help much.
Page 33: another effing title page. Restore trust? I doubt you guys could auto-restore word docs on my computer after Windows crashes.
Page 36 is half blank. Very efficient. Again, this would have been a good spot for your useless pictures.
Page 37: MORE. EFFING. PICTURES.
Page 38: MORE. EFFING. PICTURES.
Page 39: another effing title page
Page 41 is 25% blank. Again, this would have been a good spot for your useless pictures.
Page 42: MORE. EFFING. PICTURES.
Page 43: another effing title page
Page 44: MORE. EFFING. PICTURES.
Page 46: MORE. EFFING. PICTURES.
Page 47: This page encourages you to speak out. This page is about 75% blank – you know, like the pledge itself.
Page 48: back cover
SO that’s… 31 pages with little or no content in a 48 page document. 11 pages alone for covers, titles and table of contents. 13 pages with nothing but pictures.
Take a closer look at the table of contents. The page itself is labeled as page 11, but it’s actually the 13th page. Yep, they expect you to print out this bastard son of an actual, coherent document and read it. Hence, all the page numbers in the table of contents are effed if you read it via adobe PDF viewer. According to the page numbering, there are only 45 pages, not 48. OK, so they’re not counting the two covers and… uhm, one other random page.
After all that, I know you must be highly motivated to read this piece of crap. I’m already exhausted and not willing to recap this flaming pile of nothing; as far as I can tell, the Republicans pledge to America is to cut taxes while reducing spending and reducing the national deficit. Exactly what they plan to reduce spending on and by how much – well, I wasn’t able to pick that up from the document, but probably health care; they were clear they didn’t like that. If there was a section on how you reduce debt while also reducing revenue (taxes), I must not have read that page, either. If anybody finds the answers to these questions, let me know. I’m also wondering who the cowboy is on page 19… I mean 17. Whatever. Maybe it’s W!
As for me, I’m going to vote for the Democrats this fall. What choice do I have? The Republicans are CRAZY. As of this writing, there is a huge picture of Sarah Palin on the GOP website. We all know she’s not currently holding an office, but I didn’t realize she was even a Republican anymore, or at least, not really. Isn’t she all about tea bagging these days? (The First Dude is a HUGE tea bagger.)
My reading comprehension skills tell me that the Republicans have a pledge, all right: lower taxes and everything the Democrats have done or will propose is wrong. That’s not a platform. It’s a quagmire.