With a deadpan, Beck insists that he is not political: "I could give a flying crap about the political process." Making money, on the other hand, is to be taken very seriously, and controversy is its own coinage. "We're an entertainment company," Beck says. He has managed to monetize virtually everything that comes out of his mouth.
One no longer has to be called a Communist, one only has to be compared to the latest neocon hobbyhorse. If you're a professor and you disagree with them, you're "the new Ward Churchill." If you're a minister, you might be dubbed "the new Jeremiah Wright" or "the new Al Sharpton." And so on. But compare some flamebot like Bill O'Reilly or Glenn Beck to McCarthy and you'll either get squawks of outrage or an out-of-right-field screed asking what was so bad about McCarthy in the first place?
GINGRICH: Look, I think there is a gay and secular fascism in this country that wants to impose its will on the rest of us, is prepared to use violence, to use harassment. I think it is prepared to use the government if it can get control of it. I think that it is a very dangerous threat to anybody who believes in traditional religion. And I think if you believe in historic Christianity, you have to confront the fact. And, frank -- for that matter, if you believe in the historic version of Islam or the historic version of Judaism, you have to confront the reality that these secular extremists are determined to impose on you acceptance of a series of values that are antithetical, they're the opposite, of what you're taught in Sunday school.
... I think when the left -- when the radicals lost the vote in California, they are determined to impose their will on this country no matter what the popular opinion, no matter what the law of the land. You've watched them, for example, in Massachusetts, basically drive the Catholic Church out of running adoption services, drive Catholic hospitals out of offering any services, because they impose secular rules that are fundamentally sinful from the standpoint, you know.
What the fuck planet is he talking about?
First of all he uses the classic right-wing tactic of accusing the other side of what you're already doing; in this case it's "fascism," and to that all I can say is, it takes one to know one.
Secondly, what the fuck is he doing, talking about what "traditional religion" is, what is or is not taught in Sunday School, what is sinful? He's a freaking politician. He hasn't had a day of religious training in his life, not since he left the Sunday School he must be referring to. (Unlike O'Reilly, who at least went to a Jesuit secondary school.) He is talking completely out of his ass.
Gingrich is determined to use the next three and a half years to position himself for a presidential run. He thinks enough time has passed since his infamous ethical problems lost him his House seat and he became a laughingstock for shutting down the government in 1995. And he's putting himself out front and center now, while Republicans are flailing, to see whether any of their wounded, run-over dogs will wag their tails.
One look at his scary-clown face should be enough to dissuade anybody from ever voting for him again, but if not, his record should be enough to convince people how toxic he is.
Courtesy MediaBistro, here is some of the worst, most entertaining writing I've seen. It's in a blog post by a former TV producer, who writes about his tortured relationships with Fox News fuhrer Roger Ailes, a blond assistant, his agent, his wife, and other characters. Despite the quality of the writing, it has all the ingredients for a Bonfire-of-the-Vanities style novel and/or memoir.
Some choice phrases:
My wife Gina was emailing strange men in foreign countries on the computer, a habit she seemed unwilling to break. I was fantasizing about the 23 year old blond, who that day walked into the elevator facing me, threw her shoulders back, projecting toward me her extraordinary breasts, stared at me, and backed up against the opposite wall, putting a sexual no-man's-land between us. ... She was blond and productive. Regardless, on the last day of production, the blond knocked on my door and asked if we could talk. ... I had lived at 1060 Park Avenue for 30 years. My adult life had played out on that stage. I loved it. I walked out along Park and wept. Everything was intolerable. But that which could not be changed had to be accepted. And I had to have the courage to change that which I could change. I moved to my mother's.
In my bio page I've long had a section on "the Mark Pritchards I'm not," highlighting some of the other colorful people around the globe with my same name -- a Welsh footballer, an Australian cult leader, a British trance/ambient musician (he's probably the most famous), and so on.
There's also a fellow who was elected to the British Parliament a few years ago. This last worthy has never done anything significant, but today he's in the news because he's decided to carry water for far-right conservatives and yap about the "war on Christmas."
It's Bad Bahavior Tuesday™! -- Fuck a Duck Edition
A 26-year-old Denver man was under arrest on charges of felony animal cruelty after he allegedly walked into the lobby of a Minneapolis hotel, "cornered" one of the ducks that live in the lobby, and ripped its head off. When arrested, he is said to have protested: "What's the big deal? It's just a fucking duck!"
You can't go wrong with the headline LOVESICK TEEN DEATH LEAP. An 18-year-old NYU freshman and heir to a dot-com fortune freaked out after discovering a text message to another lad on the cellphone of his ex-girlfriend, who was visiting him. By leaping to his death from the dorm roof, the kid was simply following an NYU tradition, raising the question just how short a time you actually have to be enrolled at the school before you feel like committing suicide -- he had only been there a month. Or perhaps the school is unwittingly selecting students who are already suicidal when they enroll. Weird! (By the way -- style points subtracted for a suicide note that quoted Kurt Cobain, who killed himself when the kid was like 2 years old. Talk about lame.)
Nothing's simple in the modern world of overlapping media ownership, politics, personae and publicity. From a Washington Post article:
Former senator John Edwards, who has been throwing punches at Rupert Murdoch and his Fox News Channel, demanded yesterday that the other Democratic presidential candidates return contributions from Murdoch's media conglomerate. "John Edwards will never ask Rupert Murdoch for money -- he won't accept his money," said a statement e-mailed to supporters.
Not so fast, Murdoch's people say. His publishing unit, HarperCollins, paid Edwards a $500,000 advance -- and $300,000 in expenses -- for his 2006 book Home: The Blueprints of Our Lives. "We assume the senator is going to give back the money from his advance," News Corp. spokesman Brian Lewis said.
Edwards spokesman Eric Schultz said his boss donated the book payments to charity and that the expense money went to staffers and vendors.
Courtesy MediaBistro. What appeals to me about this little rock fight is how Edwards, as the underdog in the Presidential race, has once again put himself in a no-lose situation. The more he slams Fox News and its owner, megalo-titan Rupert Murdoch, the more Fox News attacks him, resulting in free publicity. Edwards can then send out more mail to his supporters depicting himself as a victim of right-wing attacks, resulting in more donations.
I was thinking yesterday of that old ploy by abortion clinic defenders of organizing pro-choice people to pledge donations to Planned Parenthood for each anti-abortion protester who showed up at a clinic, thereby de-motivating the protesters. It would be nice if there were some kind of similar process for, say, Ann Coulter: Every time she opens her mouth, more money is donated to the Democratic National Committee or, even more fitting, Code Pink, whose Medea Benjamin is simply the far-left photographic negative of Coulter.