My favorite ad (meaning the one that jumped out as the most shameless piece of manipulative shit) that ran during the Commercial Bowl the other day was the one that tried to pass itself off as a “tribute” to our heroic heroes in uniform (whose sacrifice makes all of this endless whoring possible, no doubt) before revealing itself at the last moment as a sales pitch for Jeep. The ad itself consisted of a video collage of picturesque small towns, rosy-cheeked marines in their dress uniforms, and rippling flags, underscored by maudlin music and a voice-over spouting all the usual platitudes about the military. I love cynical appeals to the patriotism of the ignorant as a sales ploy. It makes me proud to be an American. Next time I think they should go whole hog, though. I want to see smoking Humvees, triple amputees, and body bags, with the message: Buy a Jeep. You don’t want these lives to have been ruined for nothing, do you?
Posted by Joe on February 5, 2013
I know “privatization” gets a bad rap, most of it well-earned, but this is the kind all forward-thinking people ought to be able to get behind. Seriously, what is even the argument for the need to maintain Pennsylvania’s monopoly on the sale of liquor? Because it’s a cash cow for the state? Because it allows for greater control over the consumption of alcohol? Get it done already, then. The idea that we need laws dictating which stores can sell what kind of beverages in what quantities is beneath stupid. For those worried about the clerks losing their union jobs, I’d be all for just handing the stores over to the people currently working in them. Now, somebody get to work on that licensing racket.
Posted by Joe on January 30, 2013
Does this mean French politicians are going to start calling the Big Mac zee Liberte Burgaire and pouring bottles of Coca-Cola down storm drains?
Posted by Joe on January 17, 2013
While channel surfing the other night, I caught a minute or two of an interview on Rock Center with a woman who, as a 19-year-old white house intern in the early 60s, became one of JFK’s sex toys for a while. The segment was prefaced with a warning from news mannequin Brian Williams to the effect that the story we’re about to hear may be shocking to some viewers (presumably those who still believe in the Camelot fairy tale). (By the way, how many hours did Brian Williams have to practice that earnest frown before it was ready for prime time?) I had next to no interest in hearing an older woman’s rueful recollections of being boned by the man whose most noteworthy accomplishment as president was fucking lots of women–well, that and getting his head blown off–so I kept going, returning a few minutes later, just as Chris Matthews and two other court historians appeared like the cleaning service hired by the local peep show joint to mop all the sticky shit off the floor. They reassured us that while this may have been a tawdry affair, JFK was a complicated man and it shouldn’t tarnish all of the good things he did as president (like make some vague gestures towards civil rights legislation and…some other stuff). In other words, we should continue to think about JFK the way we’ve always been told to think about JFK.
Posted by Joe on January 7, 2013
I stumbled upon this while link-hopping earlier. In a post entitled “The Intellectual Underpinnings of the Charter School Movement,” the blogger writes:
KIPP’s new bumper sticker slogan: Work Hard. Be Nice.
Translation: SHUT UP (work hard) AND DO WHAT YOU ARE TOLD (be nice).
My question is: How is this any different than the intellectual underpinnings of public schooling? I realize the quote above isn’t saying it is, but I’ve seen plenty of leftish types go on about Charter schools as if they’re self-evidently worse than public schools (usually it’s that they’re less accountable), and I don’t get it. It reminds me of the hand-wringing over “private” defense contractors. They’re both funded by taxes and they’re both ultimately accountable to the government, not parents (PTA show meetings notwithstanding) and definitely not the students (you’re joking, right?), and the model for both is basically authoritarian. Charter schools are just public schools by another name.
Posted by Joe on December 18, 2012
This interview does a pretty good a job of illustrating the fundamentally conservative nature of liberalism (as represented by the donkey party) in this country, while at the same time attempting to portray conservatives (as represented by the elephant party) as a bunch of out-of-touch rich guys. Excuse me, did I say “rich”? I meant “very rich.” No, scratch that: ”super rich.” Ah, fuck it, what I really mean is “very, very rich.”
Here, at least, is a mildly refreshing bit of honesty:
I’ve heard from people who worked in the White House that he doesn’t like rich people. I don’t actually think it’s true. I think he has a kind of Harvard Law School sense of kinship with these guys. He’s a member of the same technocratic elite. He could have taken that path. He has an admiration for those skills. But what he doesn’t have at all is a belief that the pure fact of having made a lot of money makes your views more valuable, or makes you more interesting or smarter than anyone else.
So what we have here is an exercise in hairsplitting, in which a distinction is being made between two subsets of the “technocratic elite”: straight-up businessmen and those who come from essentially the same background but who choose, instead of merely making money, to pursue more selfless, civic-minded endeavors, such as running for the job where you get to have kill lists and a fleet of lethal remote control airplanes for your own personal amusement.
This notion that there’s some great antagonism between Obama and the big money people is yet another iteration of the classic fairy tale about how the Democrats are the party of the little guy and the Republicans the party of Wall Street. Except it seems to be losing traction. Even a hack like Ezra Klein doesn’t really seem to believe it, as demonstrated by all the effort to impress upon us that Romney’s backers were more wealthy than Obama’s. Who gives a shit? If Obama and the Democrats were really perceived as a threat to the bankers, they would have been out collecting ballot access signatures with the Constitution Party instead of cruising to a second term.
Posted by Joe on December 7, 2012
It would have been nice if all of Walmart’s employees had stayed home on Black Friday. But even assuming
Lumbergh Lundberg is low-balling his ass off, I’m sure the vast majority showed up for work, along with all of the hordes of shopper-drones who can’t resist spending a little less money on shit they don’t need.
Posted by Joe on November 26, 2012
One good thing about it being election day is that there won’t be any more robo-calls from Ann Romney or the super-PACs, or any more Obamanoid canvassers knocking on my door to make sure I know where my polling place is. I noticed that most of these were targeted specifically at me, and I can only assume that it’s because I’m a registered independent and therefore, in theory, my vote is up for grabs. So since my vote is apparently such a sought-after commodity, I’m thinking that maybe I should consider taking monetary offers. Not bribes, really. More like donations, or, even better, “contributions.” Of course both campaigns are welcome to contribute, so I can’t make any promises. All I’ll say is that your generosity, or lack thereof, may be taken into consideration when I’m inside the booth (if I bother to go, that is). Some come on by. I’ll be accepting checks or money orders right up until the polls close this evening. Remember, freedom isn’t free.
Posted by Joe on November 6, 2012
I didn’t waste my time watching the foreign policy “debate,” but I caught a recap on RT last night. They edited a bunch of clips together of Obromney and Rombama heartily agreeing with each other. In one segment Obama was smiling as Romney fell all over himself in an attempt to demonstrate his approval of one of the president’s war-mongering policies. I was waiting for Obama to say, “You know, Mitt, I kinda like you. You’re not nearly as much of a douche as my supporters say you are. I have an idea. Why don’t we quit all this pointless debating [big air quotes around that last word] and work together? I have a cabinet position that I’m sure you’d love…”
In a similar vein, here’s Raimondo on how the debate was more like a contest to see who loves Israel more. I used to think the idea that Israel has too much influence on Washington was just an obsession among Alex Jones listeners and other fringe types always on the lookout for threats to “our democracy” or “our sovereignty,” depending on whether they were coming from the “left” or “right,” but at this point you’d have to be deaf and blind not to notice that demonstrating fealty to Israel has become all but an official qualification for any serious white house aspirant.
Posted by Joe on October 24, 2012
At a family dinner the other night, the subject of the protests against austerity measures in Greece and elsewhere was brought up. The person who brought it up predicted that a worldwide depression was going to happen soon because “the Greeks are going to default on their debts and drag the rest of us down with them.” He went on to inform the captive audience at the dinner table that the reason for this unmanageable level of debt is that the Greeks (and other Europeans) want all kinds of free handouts from the government but are “too lazy” to work more than 30 hours a week. He then began to mock the mandated 30-hour work week in some countries:
Imaginary worker who just can’t get enough of toiling away for the boss-man: “But I want to work more.”
Boss-man: “Nope, sorry, you’re only allowed to work 30 hours.”
This little bit of fantasy theater was followed by a tedious paean to the glorious American work ethic, which is what has allowed us to stay “ahead” of all those latte-sipping Euro-bums all these years.
Somebody, perhaps sensing that they were being fed a pre-fab line of bullshit, said, “Is it because they’re lazy, or is it something else?”
“Oh, it’s because they’re lazy,” the instigator (and his wife) shot right back.
At this point I had to chime in: “Who wants to work 40 hours a week? I don’t. And who decided that we have to work 40 hours anyway? It wasn’t the workers.”
The conversation more or less fizzled out after that, but it occurred to me later (of course) that what I should have asked was: “It wouldn’t by any chance have anything to do with the banker-thieves crashing the financial system with their pyramid schemes, would it?” But then again, maybe it was better to not ruin the simplistic “narrative” that it’s us against the lazy Greeks, and that Wall St. isn’t giving us the shaft, too.
Posted by Joe on October 19, 2012