Category Archives: TV

Martin Bashir Isn’t Even a Competent Leftist

Everybody on the right is talking about MSNBC Ranting Head Martin Bashir’s enraged Palin-bashing from the other day, but nobody seems to see the key point. ICYMI and don’t want to watch any Martin Bashir clips (smart choice!), here’s the teapot tempest: In a speech explaining the burden our enormous public debt places on future taxpayers, Sarah said that we in the here-and-now were, in a sense, imposing slavery on our children. Bashir went off on a self-righteous rant about how very awful it was (ignorant, too!) for her to trivialize true slavery by comparing it to a heavy tax burden. While righties focus on the nasty things he called for Sarah to be subjected to, and lefties focus on reassuring themselves that they’re so very much smarter than Caribou Barbie, nobody seems to be aware of the fact that this sort of “slavery” simile is practically a verbal tic among far leftists.

Let’s start with the First Lady of Socialism, Emma Goldman, who wrote: The only difference is that you [people who work for wages] are hired slaves instead of block slaves.

Too far in the past? OK, then, how about Noam Chomsky? What they call wage slavery … was not very different from chattel slavery.

Indeed, so great is the readiness of hard-core lefties to deploy the term “wage slavery” that Communpedia* posts this warning in big, bold font: Comrades: be careful with the use of this term because it can be dismissive of the actual experience of slaves. Sadly, polemics aren’t as easy as they used to be in these days of Dangerous Metaphors, not even the ritualistic bashing of greedy capitalists  exploiting their workers by offering them mere money in exchange for their sweaty-browed toil.

Now, the term “wage slavery” truly is dismissive of the actual experience of slaves, for the simple reason that voluntary labor contracts were precisely what slaves aspired to. It’s a hideous inversion of truth and a grotesque offense to the memory of the enslaved to assert an equivalence between the situation they sought to escape and the one they hoped to attain through emancipation. So if Martin Bashir were really as outraged by the use of stupid slavery analogies as he claims to be, he could find enough material from his fellow lefties to fill a week’s worth of air time with denunciations. I’ll be sure to tune in if he decides to do that.

But Sarah Palin deserves no such denunciation for comparing taxation without representation to slavery. Her point was that the people who’ll have to pay off the huge debt burden we keep incurring now are mostly not able to vote on this policy, either because they’re below the voting age or haven’t even been born yet. Palin’s simile forces us to see the common aspect of both actions, namely the taking of wealth from one group of people without their consent. This does not dismiss the evil of slavery; rather, it uses slavery’s universally recognized immorality to get us to recognize the moral aspect of massive public debt.

It turns out that Chomsky has used the “slavery” analogy in this sense, too:

Chomsky went on to add that some people in Germany, who want to have anything of value in Greece, are “imposing conditions of economic slavery and psychological pressure on the Greeks.”

Pretty clearly one of the rules of engagement the left insists on is, All slavery references belong to us. Equally clearly, Sarah Palin is once again using the lefties’ tactics against them, which reliably makes them howl in outrage. Funny stuff, really, when viewed in the proper light.

Of course, Martin Bashir’s rises to the bait so spectacularly that he reveals himself to be a standout idiot even among his fellow idiots on the left. But you probably knew that already, if in fact you’d ever heard of him before.

 

*I have no idea why there’s no “i” between “Commun” and “pedia”. Seriously comrades, is meter just too bourgeois a part of style for you?

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Filed under Freedom, People Who Lack Self-Awareness, Sarah Palin, TV

Al Sharpton, Entrepreneur

I saw that pic of Al Sharpton and his new squeeze today on Drudge. Gotta say, I’m impressed.

I mean, here’s a guy who looked like this when he was 29. He was a better candidate for the dead pool than the dating pool. By any measure, the man’s been hugely successful. But at what?

As far as I can tell, the man’s basic skill set consists of an uncanny ability to get out in front of a crowd, to whip up that crowd with remarkably poor rhetoric, and to avoid being held accountable for the subsequent, frequently substantial, damage resulting from his actions.

This can’t just be a run of incredibly good luck. No, Sharpton seems to have identified–or stumbled upon–a previously unmet demand in the marketplace: a demand for ignorance. The thoroughly depressing aftermath of the Zimmerman verdict demonstrates that that many of our fellow citizens seem positively eager to hold strong views fueled by massively mangled facts. This is as true when the subject is economic policy as it is when the topic is criminal justice. When the truth is readily available at low cost and people still prefer to be wrong, then it’s got to be concluded that they prefer to be wrong. In econojargon, they demand it. And Sharpton supplies it the way Nike provides shoes.

So, in the spirit of reconciliation, I salute Al Sharpton as a canny entrepreneur with apparently excellent taste in female companionship. What Bill Gates did for personal computing, Al has done for ignorance.

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Filed under Media, Politics, Social Justice, TV

Our Humorless Overlords

So it looks like the only pundit with any fucking clue at all is Mark Steyn, because apparently everybody else in the entire commentariat–not to mention Romney staffers–found Clint Eastwood’s RNC speech “weird.” Steyn understood that it was smart and effective, but even he doesn’t seem to completely grasp what Clint did.

So I guess I will have to inform the entire fucking world what happened: Eastwood performed a celebrity roast on Obama.

Ever heard of those? If you haven’t, they’re all over YouTube. And in every single one you’ll notice that the person being roasted sits in the exact spot where “Obama” was sitting on stage next to Clint at the convention.

Most of those old roasts are reasonably funny, but the apparent master of the genre was Jonathan Winters. Obviously Clint shares my opinion, ’cause that’s whose technique he was using to barbecue Barack.

I thought the “roast” motif was blindingly obvious. And apparently lots of my fellow ordinary people agree that Clint was hilarious. I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised to find out just how very clueless the Beltway insider crowd is, but still…dayum, they’re stupid.

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Filed under Barack Obama, Mitt Romney, Politics, TV

Heroes: In Memoriam

MSNBC nonentity Chris (Rhetorically-Proximate-to-an-Idiot) Hayes has demonstrated conclusively that it’s possible to receive a degree in philosophy at Brown without learning how to use a dictionary.

Hayes, hitherto unknown to those of us not strapped to a gurney in front of a TV stuck on MSNBC, has achieved notoriety by observing Memorial Day by burbling this on the 4th-tier network that employs him:

Um, and, ah, ah, why do I feel so comfortable [sic] about the word “hero”?  I feel comfortable, ah, uncomfortable, about the word because it seems to me that it is so rhetorically proximate to justifications for more war.

Aside from his obvious problems with concepts like gratitude, humility, and respect for his betters, Chris Hayes isn’t even familiar with the definition of the word that vexes him so.

HERO:
1 a: a mythological or legendary figure often of divine descent endowed with great strength or ability
b: an illustrious warrior
c: a man admired for his achievements and noble qualities
d: one who shows great courage

Attention Chris Hayes: Heroism has been closely linked to war forever, for the simple reason that war places the highest imaginable demands on courage.

The justification for war is up to the leaders of each government that declares it.

Heroism is a trait of the people who put their lives at risk in the service of their fellow citizens.

Heroism does not justify war. But it most certainly justifies our praise and enduring gratitude.

On this day, above all others, we honor those who gave their lives for us, their posterity.

UPDATE: Joe Posnanski is one media guy who understands.

UPDATE: Hayes has apologized.

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13 Hours to Kill

That’s what you’d better have if you’re thinking of watching the series The Killing, now streaming on Netflix. I just did, and am offering you fair warning: It’s utter dreck. In fact, it’s so bad that it’s actually kind of fun to discuss the impossibility of a fully coherent resolution of the story given the innumerable red herrings that have been dragged through the plot of this POS. For what follows, I offer a half-hearted SPOILER ALERT–half-hearted, because I’d never actually recommend that anyone reading this should watch if you haven’t already. So with that in mind, here goes….

 

Scarcely a week ago in casual conversation I offered up the idea that all fictional detectives are some combination of Sherlock Holmes and Mike Hammer: keen observer and deep thinker vs. dispenser of rough justice. One of my favorites, Harry Bosch, is pretty much right in the middle. But the ineffectual idiots conducting the investigation in The Killing inhabit another dimension entirely. They are neither logical nor systematic nor rough. They are, quite simply, terrible at their jobs.

Consider this: The crime under investigation is the death of a Seattle high-school girl who’s been drowned by being bound and trapped in the trunk of a car driven into a pond over 50 miles from the city. The very first question that you, I, or anybody else with an IQ above room temperature would ask  is: How did the killer get away from the crime scene? There are only two basic possibilities: He (or she) got a ride from somebody else or else the car in the pond was driven by the victim and the killer followed her to the crime scene. Care to guess which of these alternatives was investigated by the crack team of Linden and Holder? Neither. That’s right–viewers are expected to give a shit about the exploits of two cops who don’t seem to understand that–although they don’t know for sure whether the victim knew her killer beforehand–there has to be at least an accessory after the fact, if not an accomplice. Instead, our intrepid pair of dunces follows a trail laughably full of dead ends and red herrings under the assumption that the killer knew the victim well and acted alone.

I’d have to write a 10,000-word post to catalog every stupid and arbitrary plot twist and sloppy inference by the cops, but one in particular stands out to me and doesn’t seem to have been noted in other discussions of this inane show. We discover that a principal figure is a weirdo who goes by the name “Orpheus,” and who seems to get his kicks by reenacting near-drowning episodes with teen hookers. This makes him so obvious a suspect to the entire SPD that one of the investigators manufactures the essential bit of incriminating evidence via Photoshop. But nobody–I mean, not one single person in the entire police force–asks the following question: If Orpheus gets off on watching young girls struggle against drowning, why did he drown the murder victim by tying her up, locking her in the trunk of a sedan, and driving the sedan into a pond? Because, you see, he doesn’t actually get to see any part of her struggle against drowning that way. Why wouldn’t this perv actually, um, hold her underwater with his own hands? Cuz that way, y’know, he’d have had a car to drive home in.

But there’s more. You see, we find out in the final episode that the killer didn’t actually drive the victim to the pond where she drowned. Instead, she escaped from his car when he stopped for gas, and she ran into the wilderness behind the gas station. She inadvertently led her pursuer to the pond where she was drowned. Her pursuer, we learn, had just filled up his car’s gas tank. Why the fuck would he do that if his plan was to drive the car into a nearby pond? And yet, not one of these questions even occurs to our brilliant pair of investigators or to their boss–the chief of detectives in a major US city– even though either of them casts major doubt on the theory that “Orpheus” is the killer.

As far as I can recall (and I’ll admit that my attention would wander at times, so I may have missed this part), another thing the cops failed to do was try to lift any fingerprints from the car–even though techniques for obtaining prints from wet surfaces have been around for several years. Fingerprints would seem kind of useful in figuring out who drove the car, I’d imagine. But apparently Seattle’s finest are a few years behind the times, even though the police in a place as wet as that would seem to have a keen interest in wet-environment investigatory techniques.

In an interview with noted tv critic Alan Sepinwall, the creative genius behind this pathetic show notes with apparent pride that the investigation isn’t wrapped up tidily “in a bow”. She somehow believes that this makes her show realistic. But the true reality is that any cops who were as incompetent as Detectives Linden and Holder would have been busted down to traffic duty by now.

I mean, just look at these cretins.

These morons couldn't find sandcastles in Santa Monica.

Holder and Linden, deep in thought.

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Lilyhammer Time

I’m pretty excited about Nextflix’s first foray into original programming. Lilyhammer is a huge hit in Norway, racking up a 56 market share in its premiere.

If you haven’t seen it, it’s a classic fish-out-of-water show with a twist: Instead of watching the fish adapt to its new environment, we watch the environment adapt to the fish. What makes this show so much fun for me to watch is its conservative political subtext. Basically, the “fish” is a classic American man of independent thought and action–in the form of a wise guy. The alien environment is politically correct, welfare-nanny-state socialism on ice. Every episode drives the entering wedge of individual freedom a little deeper.

The best moment of the show so far (I’ve seen 5 episodes) is the one in which the wolf is almost literally at the door, and our American cousin is incredulous to learn from the local top cop that it’s illegal to shoot the predator. I don’t think it’s much of a spoiler to say that this epi will delight 2nd-Amendment aficionados.

If this is the future of tv–and I hope it is–things are looking up. It seems to be as big an improvement as I thought it would be to eliminate network executives from the decision-making loop. And thanks to streaming, any time is Lilyhammer time.

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Filed under Freedom, TV