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July 8, 2011

maria bustillos on prudishness

Actually true story: when I was a little kid, I was afraid of swearing.  Not displeased with swearing, but literally afraid of it, like other little boys were afraid of tall open windows, or nurses.  I would do just about anything to remove myself from situations in which people swore.  Keep in mind that this was the 70s, so it's not like I had cable TV to contend with, or this Internet.  But movies?  Dude, my little nine year-old ass would clip and save reviews in the morning paper, analyze potential plot lines, and calculate the previous cussing careers of the cast.  It got to the point where it took my folks a week to talk me into seeing "The Private Eyes", a Don Knotts/Tim Conway, because I was scared that that would be the film where Don Knotts decides to work blue.

I tell you this for two reasons.  First, we hardly spend enough time together!  So, for you, anecdotes!  Second, and most importantly, is that Maria Bustillos has a home-run piece up on The Awl about being what people think is a prude — it is through her piece that I learned that what I was experiencing back then in 1979 was the willies.

Posted by mrbrent at 10:03 AM

July 7, 2011

guy says whack-job thing

It is how we make the soup!  You are a reporter, or a blogger, more like, but you need a story that will bring you a million eyeballs so that someday you can be Andrew Ross Sorkin someday and sell books and put your face on lemonade and stuff like that.  How to do this?

Well, one popular way is to park yourself in front of a congressperson and wait for them to say something inflammatory.  Take for example this story about a congressperson who says that he will impeach the president if he bypasses the Congress using some 14th Amendment judo to raise the debt ceiling.

Wait, impeach?  That's an outrage!  To the Internet!

Yeah, well, one thing, though: there's not really any chance at all that some executive branch finagling could be construed as an impeachable offense.  Per the Constitution, impeachable offenses consist of "treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors".  And yeah sure the last time the GOP had the House they impeached a president over a little perjury trap, but perjury can at least plausibly be considered a "misdemeanor".  An executive order?  That is a long stretch, and it's one from a freshman representative from South Carolina, speaking at some Tea Party event.

So what would make a better story would be a follow-up.  Even only one: "What on earth are you talking about?" or something that means that but worded more respectfully.  But this piece does not have that.  It just has the alarming thing this Rep. said, splashed in the headline for maximum SEO effect.

It's not not a story, but as it is it's a thin story: Guy Says Kind Of Whack-Job Thing.  Dare I say, report it harder?

Posted by mrbrent at 11:29 AM

July 6, 2011

the casey anthony thing boggled my mind

I do hate to go on about this sordid terrible Casey Anthony mess, but I was visiting relatives and literally unable to escape the freakin' coverage on HLN, which was on every TV I was near and usually at deafening levels on account of the failing hearing of the true (American) fans of the coverage, with their unerring sense of Just Knowing! that she was guilty.

Even retreating to a different room, to maybe read a book or nap, was fruitless because of the thinness of the walls and relative close quarters.  So I am an inadvertent expert in HLN's truly offensive coverage, especially yesterday when the verdict came down.

For example, did you know that a great number of what might have been soccer moms in an earlier day somehow had nothing better to do than to stand in front of the courthouse in the Orlando sun yesterday?  Or that the fact that the defense retired to a restaurant to celebrate the outcome they sought was seen as some kind of news story, an event that raced past crass and crashed right into criminal, somehow?  Or that some HLN screaming head (it wasn't Nancy Grace; my fillings weren't buzzing) inveighed strongly, invoking flag and America and God, against the fact that the American legal system buys into the presumption of innocence, and the fact that defense lawyers bother to defend those that Facebook so clearly feels is guilty?

All of this is the by-product of the little vacation I was on.  Had I been at home over the weekend, and then at the desk yesterday, then none of this would be so indelible.  But I wasn't, and it was like a dark secret America unfolded before me and it was alarming.  I am not shy to invoke the "Americans are stupid" meme, at all, but I still hope in some unspoken way that I am wrong, or will be someday?

As long as there is a Nancy Grace and a venal network willing to give her the airwaves, I am not only not wrong but seriously understating the problem.

Posted by mrbrent at 9:40 AM

July 5, 2011

nancy grace is bad people

I am more than a little bit speechless after both of the residences I was in yesterday (neither mine) had the TV tuned to HLN for the entirety of the day.  That is the network of Nancy Grace, and dedicated coverage of the Casey Anthony trial.  The case went to deliberations, yes, on a federal holiday, and the coverage was literally wall-to-wall.  They broke for commercials (which were heavily represented by FreedomWorks spots, Paul Ryan turning on his blank reasonability) but they did not break for news.

I was relegated, being a respectful guest, but as I knew that the jury would get sent back to the hotel at 6p, then maybe it would all stop then.  It did not.  It continued, again literally wall-to-wall, until we finally went home at midnight.

HLN's newfound niche is nauseating.  Our country is bad people, and Nancy Grace is pitchfork-bearer prime.

Posted by mrbrent at 2:36 PM

July 4, 2011

happy fourth of july

Happy Proud to be American Day?

Hopefully all you Americans out there are proud, and being American, and all the rest of you that are not American, the other 95% of you, are spending the day wondering how the world could be so cruel as to cause so many many people to not be American.  Truly, if there is a God, He is capricious and cruel.  (And American, of course.)

Remember to over-consume and blow things up, Americans who are American!

Posted by mrbrent at 9:34 AM