Sunday, July 17, 2011

Straight to Video

Doop de doop, let's check in on Rupert Murdoch's American agitprop tabloid arm, and see how Precious' Triumph of the Shrill hagiography is doing:

"The Undefeated," a glowing look at failed vice-presidential candidate and former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin has already sold out a show in Grapevine, Texas (population 46,000), according to the distributor Cinedigm.

Grapevine isn't exactly a teeming metropolis but the film is set to roll out across Tea Party country in 10 AMC theaters.

In addition to Grapevine, the documentary by conservative filmmaker Stephen K. Bannon will expand to Indianapolis, Ind.; Independence, Mo.; Kennesaw, Ga.; Houston, Texas; Orlando, Fla.; Oklahoma City, Okla.; Highlands Ranch, Colo.; Phoenix, Ariz.; and Orange, Calif.

Packed house, folks -- though oddly, no actual number provided. Funny, that. Usually phat numbers is the first thing a PR flack sets on, like flies on shit.

Unless, of course, "theater 8 at AMC Barrett Commons 24" has roughly the capacity of an airport Sbarro's. Naw, that couldn't be the case. There were millions, kajillions even. It's Palin Nation, people, you just live in it. Suck on that, faggy librul!

Oh, the hilarity, she ensues, in this blurb from the Houston screening, further down the page.

"The Undefeated", the new documentary that showcases Sarah Palin's rise in Alaska politics, has arrived in Houston.

The movie is only open in a handful of theaters across the country, including the AMC Gulf Pointe 30 off the South Sam Houston Parkway East.

The lines were for Harry Potter, but the costumes on Friday night are for Sarah Palin and the movie about her.

Faithful fans arrived early. Donna Galloway drove all the way from Beaumont for the debut.

"Undefeated is about having losses but coming back for victories," said Galloway.

[squinting eyes, pinching nose in pained expression]

Kee-rist. Let's take these in reverse order:
  • This word "undefeated" -- I don't think it means what you assholes think it means. She was defeated, along with her addled, dyspeptic running mate, not in small part because every time she opened her piehole, a team of political Superfund environmental hygiene experts had to hit the scene to quickly shovel shit. But regardless, they lost. Badly. Perhaps y'all heard, it was in the papers and everything. I'm pretty sure it was even on Faux News, to the benefit of their ratings since.
  • Gawrsh, all the way from Beaumont to Houston, Aunt Bea? Quite the feckin' pilgrimage to Mecca there. I mean, considering they're only showing this train-wreck in ten theaters in the entire country, I'm gonna go out on a limb and suggest that many of the faithful would have to travel at least 100 miles if they're going to see this thing. Maybe there's tailgate parties out in the parking lots of the theaters, where these old bastards competition-guzzle cans of Ensure and char some round steak until it's really well-done, then sneak some Metamucil into the theater, thus thwarting The Man once again.
  • Finally: costumes? Seriously? It's bad enough when Star Wars/Harry Potter nerds pull this crap, but at least they have an excuse -- most of them are in seventh grade. Then again, at least intellectually, so are these bozos. You get to a point where you stop asking "what's wrong with these people", and decide it's simpler to just ask if anything at all is right with them. Driving two hours, or going in costume, to a two-hour informercial for a person who, despite being in her late forties, having a college degree and a family and some measure of political success, still cannot reliably complete a sentence that wasn't previously rehearsed to maximize borscht-belt timing for reckless calumniations.

And of course in the end it turns out to be somewhat selective bunkum, as most things Palin are in the end: in the conservatard enclave of Orange, CA the only person to attend the midnight premiere screening was the reviewer.

(A increasingly frequent defensive meme, which you'll see down in the comments in the Atlantic piece, is that at least Saint Sarah never said there were 57 states. Perhaps not, but the difference is, even people who hate him know that Obama simply misspoke. They know, whether they'll admit it or not, that Obama does not actually think there are 57 states. It is not generally that obvious with Palin, as she managed to irretrievably botch even the bowdlerized Paul Revere legend that most 'murkins learn by fourth grade, during her Magical History bus tour, which sought to highlight important places and events in American history by spending more time with Donald Trump than at Gettysburg.)

At this point, Palin-watching as a spectator sport is merely an extended exercise in schadenfreude, waiting for the next inevitable failure, both on her part and on the part of all the PMS (Palin Messiah Syndrome) followers. They are going to be disappointed, on many levels -- their hoped-for Passion of the Kee-rist turnout is never going to materialize, and their wampeter, content to earn pelf spinning ever more burbling foma, will not run, not in any genuine earnest anyway, perhaps only enough to give them another richly-deserved fleecing.

But what she serves as most of all is a barometer of this country's limbic urgency to follow failure with more failure, ridiculous stupidity with even more ridiculous and inarticulate stupidity. It is a doubling-down of id, the man who loses his car on a spin at the roulette wheel, then proposes to get it back by betting his house, then proposes to get it all back by stealing the deed to his neighbor's house and betting that.

I'm sure the next inevitable reality show to emanate from this cultural sphincter will be worth its weight in comedic gold.

The Unexamined Life

Marcus Bachmann takes on clients of all ages.

Apparently there are rumors ahoof that Marcus Bachmann might be gay. Folks have taken to parsing audio and video of him, at it tends to ping the gaydar of most sentient beings who possess full (or even partial) visual and aural faculties. This is understandable, and more importantly, hilarious.

Set aside for the moment that, with Michele and her family benefiting from federal farm subsidies, and Marcus taking gubmint dollars to practice his "pray away the gay" quackery, they're hypocrites. The next time she yaps about making gubmint smaller and less intrusive, I heartily suggest that the feds take them up on that entreaty. That's the real crime with these people -- they can't even live consistently under their own fundamental precepts. But again, set that aside for now. This here is about Teh Ghey.

Friends 'n' neighbors, I have a much simpler method for ascertaining whether an individual might or might not be gay. (Again, not that I could possibly care less, of course, except insofar as the individual in question has aligned themselves with virulent -- and psychologically harmful to people who are still trying to sort themselves out -- activist nonsense.)

Anyone who spends their entire adult life on a literal divine mission to intrude and obsess over people's sex lives, and "cure" them of their "disease"? Yeah, that's someone who's projecting like your local Cineplex. Regular, well-adjusted people -- gay or straight -- simply do not have that kind of time to waste, nor that sort of niggling inclination to spend decades on that sort of thing. You can do anything you want to do in life, what is your motivation for choosing that?

No matter. Bachmann is simply the MSM's obsession du jour, now that Evita Palin's cargo cult is on its last legs (more on that in a few). Bachmann is photogenic and quick, and unlike Palin, not completely afraid to go on non-Fox media outlets. However, like Palin, she cannot stand up to even mild scrutiny, and will be considered by all but the most intractable of mossbacks to be a dithering husk by October.

I'm sticking with Huntsman to get the eventual Gooper nod, providing he can keep his powder dry and raise enough cashola when the time is right. The only other non-crazy contestant on that side of the ledger is Romney, who is a heretic to conservatives, and a job-killing bastard to everyone else.

In the meantime, I do hope Marcus Bachmann gets the help he so clearly needs, because even if he's 100% Chuck-Norris-banging-Miss-America straight, his vocation is as meddlesome, troublesome, and empirically problematic as, say, astrology or phrenology. I don't think that unhappy gay people are unhappy because they're gay, I would assume they're unhappy because ankle-biting god-botherers like Bachmann keep fucking with them because they're gay.

For people who proclaim their commitment to a philosophy of leaving everyone the hell alone to live their lives as they choose, they sure seem to not get it on this particular issue.

American Nightmare

I would think that everyone who would enjoy Breaking Bad has already been watching it, but just in case....Go. Now. Get on your Netflix queue and put the first three seasons on. This, not Mad Men (and that's not to take anything away from the latter's mannered, lugubrious deconstructions of post-Ike, Bernaysian Amurka) is AMC's true flagship series. The writing is spectacular, the ensemble cast flawless, the production of the show finding dark humor (not unlike The Sopranos) in whatever corners it may lurk.

Of all things, in terms of the narrative unfolding as a cascading series of disastrous, unforeseen consequences of pivotal decisions, BB actually makes me think of A Simple Plan, which, as dismal as its subject and execution is, holds up rather well and I think is very underrated.

And there's a very real subtext, that as what remains of the middle class becomes increasingly squeezed, as the dream goes sideways for all but a very lucky few, options become less constrained, more volatile for a lot of people, who have been given nowhere else to turn. When even the golden opportunity of a lifetime of wage slavery and debt peonage starts drying up, where do you go?

Also, too, just in time to push the BB premiere.

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Social Distortion

With a mere sixteen months(!) before the next election, the tedious strategy circus on both "sides" will start picking up speed. The wingnuts on the right will start making goofier and looser assertions, secure in the knowledge that their crowd has no use for "facts" or "logic", much less intellectual honesty. Hell, Newt Gingrich is their idea of an intellectual, so clearly they have gone around a turn that even Hofstadter would have had trouble imagining. Their strategy will consist of continuing to obstruct any and all moves Obama might attempt toward righting an increasingly moribund economy -- one which is as likely as not to worsen than improve.

But that is the sort of guff we've been long accustomed to from that crowd. The real shenanigans will take place across the aisle, as "liberals" and "moderates" alike will outdo each other in informing why we should -- no, must -- grant Obama another term with which to play Lucy with their political football. Particularly galling about this strategy, such as it is, is that it invariably revolves around the prospect of losing on social issues which, sorry to say, are secondary at this point.

Polls consistently show a majority of the public being pro-choice, pro-gay marriage, etc. It is understandable that people would be distressed, concerned at the notion of losing (or being rendered unable to gain) fundamental rights because of the leverage of a small but politically motivated minority. It absolutely sucks rhino dong that terminally regressive, knuckle-dragging troglodytes can hamstring the political and social progress of a post-modern technocracy, just for the sheer glee of doing so (that, and the proprietary reading of a carefully selected, multiply translated Bronze Age transcripts of Levantine tribesmen).

But I submit that a darker corner lurks, deserves our additional attention. I submit that terminal fuckwits such as this guy, boundlessly greedy bastards and their awful dogsbodies, are the bigger threat. Day after day, year after year, these fuckers keep their boot across your neck, not because they create more actual value or wealth, or work hundreds of times harder than their minions, but because they can. Because it's a game, and they make the rules.

More importantly, they buy the refs ahead of time, and ensure their own success (not to mention the failure of everyone else not in the game). And the booga-booga currency to keep restive libs from realizing that the guy thye voted for is almost indistinguishable in economic terms from the last guy is the deathless specter of Roe v. Wade. Never mind that many states already have managed to circumvent or eviscerate RvW anyway, and where's yer fuckin' Supreme Court been for all of that?

This idea that we maintain or achieve success, fairness, justice, anything resembling economic parity or sanity, by remaining vigilant on one intellectually corrupt institution (a SCOTUS which has rendered its share of dismal decisions in the first place, from Kelo to Citizens United, and has done fuck-all in the arena of social justice anyway) and attempting to engage with righteous change an irredeemable instituion (a corporate-owned political party with center- and far-right wings, both of which have many, if not most, of the very same corporate sponsors) is perhaps the very definition of insanity. It's Stockholm Syndrome at its worst, the garbled cry of "go ahead and screw me out of every vestige of economic mobility, and trap me in the cage of debt and stratification, but fergodsake don't take my right to get an abortion away!".

By using this strategy against outliers on both "sides" (and make no mistake, Dubya was every bit as savvy about floating the phantom prospects of repealing Roe or amending the Constitution), they've managed to distract people with actual common ground -- the burgeoning underclass of economically disenfranchised.

I hate to sound like a revanchist Clintonista, but there is really only one issue worth voting on anymore. It really is the economy, stupid, specifically the widening gap of wealth and income disparity, a mathematical by-product of productivity gains accruing to owners only, rather than among the actual pool of producers. Nothing else matters, nothing else counts, if for no other reason than that an economically healthy society doesn't have those social issues to contend with in the first place.