Tag Archives: “South Park”

False equivalence, even in ‘comedy,’ isn’t funny; it is dangerous

Bernie Sanders Reacts to Larry David's 'Saturday Night Live' Impersonation

Larry David admittedly does a pretty good Bernie Sanders impersonation, especially vocally, but I, for one, find corporately sponsored take-downs of Sanders to be chilling because there is a dark agenda of corporate self-preservation behind them. (By “self” I don’t mean to imply that corporations are people. They most certainly are not…)

It’s easy to laugh when a politician whom you despise is spoofed on “Saturday Night Live” or elsewhere. This was the case for me with parodies of Sarah Palin (Tina Fey won an Emmy for that portrayal) and yes, of Billary Clinton (both Amy Poehler and Kate McKinnon have done a pretty good job of portraying Her Highness).

It’s a little more difficult when the politician who’s being lampooned is your favorite, such as, in my case, Bernie Sanders.

Don’t get me wrong; Larry David overall did a great job as Bernie Sanders on last night’s “SNL.” He has Bernie’s voice down pat, and it’s OK, I suppose, for David or anyone else to portray Bernie as a bit of a crank, a curmudgeon (as David did). Long live free speech. (Did you detect my enthusiasm there?)

It’s that, of course, NBC is a mega-corporation, and so of course pro-corporate bias is going to seep even into a “comedy” show like “SNL.”

Larry David’s Bernie Sanders’ opening statement in “SNL’s” mock Democratic Party presidential debate of last night, for instance, includes: “We’re doomed! We need a revolution! Millions of people on the streets! And we’ve got to do something! And we’ve got to do it now!” He then pauses for a moment and then, waving his hand dismissively, declares: “Nah!”

David’s Bernie also declares, in his closing statement, that he’ll end up being Billary’s running mate, which is right in line with the corporate punditry’s “conventional wisdom” that Bernie can’t win. (He can, actually, but, of course, the corporatocrats and the corporate whores who love them will do what they can to ensure that Bernie doesn’t.)

Um, yeah, I don’t know. It’s important for us not to take everything too seriously, or at least to be able to laugh now and then, but the danger, it seems to me, of spoofing Bernie Sanders like this is that it’s meant to negate pretty much his entire message — which is awfully convenient, of course, not only for a corporation like NBC but for the entire elite establishment that benefits from the status quo, which hinges on corporations continuing to drain the life blood of working-class Americans and even destroying the planet itself in the process of profiteering obscenely.

It’s not really funny shit, and to laugh at it as though it were — Hey, if “SNL” is spoofing it, how serious can it be? — serves to enable us to continue to ignore it at our own collective peril.

Not that Bernie Sanders was the only one lampooned last night; the first words spoken by Kate McKinnon’s Billary Clinton in “SNL’s” mock Democratic debate are: “Oh, hello. Thank you for having me. I think you’re really going to like the Hillary Clinton that my team and I have created for this debate.” Ouch. (Because it’s so true.)

But while Billary Clinton indeed keeps rebranding herself like a human weather vane spinning around in a tornado (just very recently she went from being a proud “moderate” to being a “progressive”), Bernie Sanders isn’t a Chicken Little. The problems that he repeatedly talks about — such as climate change and insane income disparity — are severe and persistent, and it’s not difficult to foresee the future if we wave them all off like a joke, like Larry David’s Bernie Sanders does.

Another problem with spoofing presidential candidates and politicians in general is that there so often is the concern of the writers to give the appearance that everyone is being spoofed equally and that all sides of any political debate are presented as being equal. (This is meant to accomplish at least a few things, such as to avoid allegations of bias [probably especially by right-wing nut jobs] and to keep the money flowing [money might not keep on flowing if you have stepped on some toes].)

But that blatantly false equivalence so widely communicated within the corporately owned and controlled media, probably especially in the “news” media, inevitably infects our general discourse to the point that many if not most Americans cannot effectively and accurately analyze politics and politicians. They cannot discriminate between truth and bullshit and they often even (often enthusiastically) support politicians whose political practices harm them while only helping those who already are filthy rich.

The “tea-party” dipshits, whose darling right now apparently is billionaire Donald Trump, are experts at this, experts at being chickens supporting Colonel Sanders (who is not to be confused with Bernie Sanders).

How stupid is it to vote against your own best interests?

But millions of Americans do it every election, such as even with their blind support of Billary Clinton. (Well, Wall Street supports Billary, as it does Jeb! Bush, the Wall Street weasels’ top two beneficiaries, so their support of corporate whores like Clinton and Bush certainly makes selfish and greedy political sense for them, but the vast majority of us voters aren’t Wall Street weasels who will benefit directly from another Bush or Clinton presidency.)

Equal spoofing is bullshit because everything isn’t equal. To assert that it is is its own form of nihilism that, only in our own minds, lets us off of the hook of our duty, as the citizens and denizens of this nation, to ensure that our descendants, that all of the other species of life and the planet itself don’t continue to suffer degradation (or even extinction) in the future because of our selfishness, laziness and greediness in the present.

It’s not just “SNL”; take also 2004’s “Team America: World Police,” for instance. In that movie, which overall is pretty funny (with some truly hilarious scenes) and was a pretty good response to the hyper-jingoism that followed 9/11, the “South Park” creators make leftists from Hollywood (including Alec Baldwin [who played Jim Webb in “SNL’s” mock debate last night], Matt Damon, Sean Penn, Tim Robbins and Susan Sarandon) and, of course, left-wing filmmaker Michael Moore, into villains, apparently only or primarily for the purpose of not being accused of taking a political side, of being an equal-opportunity offender.*

But, again, not all political sides are equal. Sarah Palin, for instance, is not the equivalent of even Billary Clinton, and Billary Clinton, while she calls herself a “Democrat” and even “a progressive” (“a progressive who likes to get things done”!), is not the equivalent of Bernie Sanders.

In a nation whose denizens can barely analyze political matters and politicians as it is (if they haven’t already given up the effort entirely for sports, celebrity gossip, consumerism and/or other forms of entertainment and/or distraction) — and who consequently, again, thus routinely actually vote against their own best interests (when/if they vote at all) — this false-equivalence-as-comedy shit just isn’t very fucking funny.

*It’s perfectly OK to take down limousine liberals, who by definition don’t walk their own talk, but that doesn’t seem to have been the “South Park” creators’ main intent with “Team America.”


Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Assorted shit (gay pride month edition!)

Homophobes take another blow

File photo of judge Vaughn R. Walker speaking ...

Reuters photo

Former federal Judge Vaughn Walker (pictured above in April), who last year correctly ruled that to prohibit same-sex marriage is unconstitutional, came out after he retired from the federal bench in February. Homophobes  shamelessly had challenged the ability of Walker, who had been appointed by the first President George Bush, to be able to rule fairly on same-sex marriage, but today another federal judge, who also was appointed by the first President Bush, affirmed that Walker did not inappropriately rule on the case.

If I could say two words to the “Christo”fascists who still oppose legally recognized same-sex marriage in all 50 states, it might be something like this: “Surrender, Dorothy!”

Same-sex marriage in all 50 states is going to be a reality within the next decade, most likely. So for the supposedly freedom-lovin’ wingnuts to keep expending their time, money and energy trying to stop the inevitable — life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness, and justice for all — is a fucking waste. (If they were true Christians, they’d spend their time, money and energy helping people, as Jesus Christ instructed his followers to do, instead of trying to keep others down so that they can feel better about their miserable selves.)

Today the homophobes suffered a significant defeat when federal Judge James Ware rejected their “argument” that another federal judge, the now-retired Vaughn Walker, should have recused himself from ruling on Proposition Hate — the anti-same-sex-marriage proposition that passed narrowly in California in November 2008 — because he has been in a long-term same-sex relationship himself.

Walker — who, like Ware, was appointed by the first President George Bush — correctly ruled last year that Prop Hate violates the protections granted to all Californians by the U.S. Constitution.*

(When judges who were appointed by Repugnican presidents are ruling against the haters, the haters’ days are numbered, methinks.)

As The Associated Press notes, today’s ruling that Walker had no reason or obligation to recuse himself from ruling on the matter of same-sex marriage “does not settle the legal fight over Proposition 8. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals is considering whether Walker properly concluded that denying gays and lesbians the right to marry violates their rights to due process and equal protection.”

But the ruling does make it much more difficult for the homophobes to try to pick and choose the judges who hear their bullshit homophobic arguments.

To the “Christo”fascists and other assorted wingnuts, only conservative, heterosexual, “Christian” white male judges should be able to rule on anyfuckingthing. Indeed, in Ware’s ruling he noted that female and non-white judges historically have been accused of not being able to rule impartially in certain cases — a right-wing “argument” that the law rejects.

“The sole fact that a federal judge shares the same circumstances or personal characteristics with other members of the general public, and that the judge could be affected by the outcome of a proceeding in the same way that other members of the general public would be affected, is not a basis for either recusal or disqualification,” Ware wrote in his ruling.

Indeed, one easily could counter-argue that a heterosexually married (or perhaps even a heterosexual but single) judge should recuse him- or herself from ruling on same-sex marriage, but how far would that argument get?

Ironically, in their homophobic attacks on Walker, the pro-Prop Hate crowd only further proved that non-heterosexuals in the U.S. routinely face bigotry, hatred and discrimination — which is going to speed up, not slow down, the eventuality of same-sex marriage in all 50 states.

But this fact apparently escaped the homophobic abject fucktards, who are capable only of stupidity, fear and hatred, not of reason.

Black homophobes still suck ass

Tracy Morgan

Associated Press photo

“Comedian” Tracy Morgan, pictured in March, has apologized for having said some hateful things that you really can’t apologize for, not credibly, anyway.

Way back in 2005 I posted a piece titled “Black Homophobes Suck.”

Among other things in that piece (which I think you should read if you have the time), I wrote about how a so-called leader in the black community actually wrote in a letter to me that being gay or lesbian might be a choice or it might be a “birth defect” and closed the letter with, “Take care of yourself health wise,” an apparent reference to her apparent belief that all gay men must have HIV or must be just about to contract HIV, since all that being a gay man means is taking cock up the ass as often as possible.

Alas, little has changed since 2005.

In the news recently has been black “comedian” Tracy Morgan’s anti-gay rant during a recent stand-up performance that you can’t just apologize for.

According to an audience member, among many other things, such as suggesting the President Barack Obama has been as pro-gay as he has been only because he is pussy-whipped, Morgan stated that being gay or lesbian is a choice and that “if his son [were] gay he better come home and talk to him like a man … or he would pull out a knife and stab that little [nigger] to death.”

Morgan also reportedly made the unfunny, already-made (by comedian Carlos Mencia, long, long ago) “joke” that if gay men can take a dick, they can take a joke — ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!

The audience member further stated that

The sad thing is that none of this rant was a joke. [Morgan’s] entire demeanor changed during that portion of the night. He was truly filled with some hate towards us. As far as I could see, 10 to 15 people walked out. I had to fight myself to stay seated, but I knew if I got up … he won.

I understand where this man, the audience member, is coming from: When someone tells an anti-gay joke/“joke,” you can tell what kind of space it’s coming from, whether it’s truly a joke or whether it’s coming from a space of bigotry and hatred and meanness.

The routine of Carlos Mencia that I saw on television years ago that I just made reference to did not strike me as coming from a space of actual hatred of gays, so it did not repulse me. Similarly, some years ago, the creators of “South Park” created an episode in which a classroom gerbil named Lemmiwinks must save his own life after having been inserted into a gay man’s rectum, for fuck’s sake.

On the face of it, that’s pretty fucking homophobic and stereotypical (I am one gay man who knows of no other gay man who ever inserted a small mammal into his rectum), but the way in which the episode was done does not give me the impression that the creators of “South Park” actually are homophobic. Therefore, I was able to laugh at the episode, even if at least on the face of it it’s pretty fucking homophobic. (Anyone who truly believes that gerbils are a routine part of the gay man’s sexual repertoire probably is beyond help anyway, so I can’t even really knock the “South Park” creators for having put out a negative and damaging view of gay men, even if they aren’t homophobic themselves.)

Anyway, Tracy Morgan sounds like he’s as out of control as is his character on the NBC show “30 Rock,” and after his homophobic rant, I don’t think that I can watch that show anymore (I’ve watched several of the early episodes via the Internet, mainly because I love Tina Fey and a co-worker recommended the series to me).

I hope that NBC dumps Tracy Morgan. After all, any star of any major network show who made blatantly racist (or, say, anti-Semitic) remarks in seriousness should expect to get fired, so why not Morgan?

Also in the news, it recently was reported that U.S. Rep. Allen West, a black Repugnican whose district is in Florida, recently fired an intern for having sent an unauthorized pro-gay Tweet in response to Tracy Morgan’s homophobic rant. (I read the Tweet, and it seems to me that it could have been meant sarcastically, which actually would make it an anti-gay message, but whatever…)

The reportage of the firing of West’s intern notes that West has called same-sex marriage “an oxymoron.”

Gee, that’s nice. There was a time when pro-slavery white supremacists would have called the term “a free black man” an “oxymoron.” (Just as white supremacists might call being born black a “birth defect.”)

As long as your own freedoms and liberties and rights are secured, that’s all that fucking matters, right?

I wrote way back in 2005: “Black homophobes will attack injustice that affect them — racism — but fuck the rest of us minority groups. They don’t have a problem with oppression in general; they have a problem only with being oppressed themselves.”

Nothing has changed, has it?

Some have actually suggested that we non-heterosexuals visit with members of the black community to convince the homophobes within the black community that we are deserving of their approval or respect or the like.

I say: Fuck! That! Shit! We non-heterosexuals shouldn’t have to fucking grovel on our hands and knees for equal human and civil rights any more than blacks ever should have had to or should have to today.

We non-heterosexuals should boycott all black homophobes, just as we would boycott any other homophobe, regardless of his or her race. I, for one, won’t spend a penny on anything that has Tracy Morgan in it. (That won’t be hard to do, since Tina Fey, certainly not Morgan, is the creative genius behind “30 Rock,” and since Morgan isn’t, in my estimation, remarkably talented anyway.)

And I invite black homophobes to commit some introspection and to ask themselves why it’s so fucking important to them to be able to have one historically oppressed minority group that even they, also members of a historically oppressed minority group, can shit and piss upon — and whether or not this is moral.

Still not much to be proud of

It’s “gay pride” month, but the corporatization of the gay and lesbian “community” continues.

It’s interesting: While gay men and lesbians (and other non-heterosexuals and non-gender-conforming individuals) proclaim that they won’t take it from the heterosexists and the homophobes anymore, they’ll still gladly bend over for the corporations.

Memo to the gay and lesbian “community”: The corporations don’t love us.

In October 2009 I posted on my blog “An Open Letter to Joe Solmonese,” who is the president of the Human Rights Campaign, and I e-mailed a copy of the open letter to the HRC.

In the letter (which, I think, you should read, if you have a few minutes), among other things, I criticized the HRC for accepting corporate money from corporations that, while they might have pro-gay-and-lesbian-et.-al. policies (at least on paper), are harmful to human beings and to the planet.

In the fall 2009 issue of HRC’s membership magazine (titled Equality), I noted, I saw full-page ads for Chevron, Shell Oil, American Airlines and Citigroup — corporations that, respectively, are killing the planet with the continued production of fossil fuels, drastically underpay their employees (their pilots, in the case of American Airlines), and, as Wall Street weasels, are partially responsible for the Wall Street meltdown that has tanked our nation’s economy.

I seem to remember getting some e-mail reply from HRC — not from Joe, of course, but from some lackey — stating that HRC supports those corporations that at least pay lip service to being pro-gay-and-lesbian (my words, not hers), and that if I have a problem with this, then I can have my subscription to Equality canceled.

I didn’t ask to have my subscription canceled, thinking that it would just run itself out, but I’m still getting the magazine even though I stopped giving HRC money a long time ago, disgusted by its corporate ass-licking and its selling out of the gay and lesbian community to the fucking corporations.

Nothing has fucking changed, because in the current (spring 2011) issue of HRC’s Equality is a full-page ad for — wait for it — that paragon of corporate responsibility — keep waiting for it — drum roll, please! — British Petroleum!

Yes, my non-heterosexual and non-gender-conforming brethren and sistren, BP loves us!

(Along with the full-page ad for British Petroleum in the current issue of Equality are full-page ads for Morgan Stanley, Bank of America, Chase, Chevron and Deloitte, all banking fraudsters, planet destroyers and Wall Street weasels. And American Airlines has another full-page ad.)

Not just to pick on HRC.

Locally, Sacramento’s annual gay pride festival earlier this month for the first time ever got rained out, which, naturally, resulted in low attendance, and the organizers of the festival subsequently actually apparently unashamedly and unabashedly sent out a fundraising e-mail asking people to just fork over $40-something because the festival didn’t recoup its costs this year (and they calculated that the average person would have spent $40-something at the festival were it not for the rain).

Well, the festival was held two weeks earlier this year than it was last year, increasing the chances of rain, it seems to me, but that aside, the fundraising e-mail actually read: “Pride 2011 was always going to be different for many reasons. Our corporate sponsorship support was the highest ever, with over two dozen sponsors this year. We invested in more marketing and promotion to hit the far reaches of our area to bring as many LGBT people and our supporters to [Sacramento] on June 4th….”

The first thing that the e-mail lists is the “highest-ever” “corporate sponsorship.”

Why has the gay and lesbian “community” become so fucking dependent upon corporate sponsorship over the years?

Can we not do anything on our own without corporate handouts, for which there are always strings attached?

Is bigger always better? Do we have to do everything huge? Is a huge amount of money necessary for every endeavor? Can nothing be home-grown? (Ironically, it seems to me, if the organizers of the rained-out Sacramento gay pride festival hadn’t focused on making the event so huge, the rain-related losses wouldn’t have been as huge. The bigger things are, the harder they fall.)

Anyway, I replied to the shameless fundraising e-mail with this: “Maybe the Rain Goddess was pissed off over that record-level corporate sponsorship, the selling out of the LGBT community to profits-over-people corporations by the same people who claim to care about and to be helping the LGBT community. Just sayin.'”**

(Unsurprisingly, I haven’t received a response to my response, and no, I don’t claim that I always play along nicely with the other kiddies in the sandbox…)

This gay pride month, if it were up to me, the gay and lesbian “community” would ponder this question: How are we of the gay and lesbian (and bisexual and transgendered and…) “community” doing ourselves a favor by fighting for equal human and civil rights for all non-heterosexuals (and for all non-gender-conforming individuals) while further enslaving ourselves and others to our corporate overlords, who have only their profits, not our best interests, at heart?

But I’m not queen just yet

*In his ruling, Walker concluded:

Proposition 8 fails to advance any rational basis [emphasis mine] in singling out gay men and lesbians for denial of a marriage license. Indeed, the evidence shows Proposition 8 does nothing more than enshrine in the California Constitution the notion that opposite-sex couples are superior to same-sex couples. Because California has no interest in discriminating against gay men and lesbians, and because Proposition 8 prevents California from fulfilling its constitutional obligation to provide marriages on an equal basis, the court concludes that Proposition 8 is unconstitutional.

Indeed, that you just don’t like a whole class of people is not sufficient cause to deny this class of people equal human and civil rights as guaranteed to them by the U.S. Constitution.

**Not even to pick only on the gay and lesbian “community” in Sacramento — other festivals in Sacramento have been ruined by a corporate omnipresence, such as a recent festival for Asians and Pacific islanders here in Sacramento that I recently attended at which McDonald’s and Wells Fargo had prominent presences. (Indeed, McDonald’s provided the only place to sit down to eat — provided that you were eating McDonald’s, of course, because I don’t know about you, when I think of Asian and Pacific islander food, I immediately think of McDonald’s.)

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

(Revised:) Mike Huckabee wins the White House!

Repugnican Tea Party douchebag Mike Huckabee announced last night that he isn’t running for president in 2012, but since he’s busy helping to rewrite U.S. history in order to indoctrinate the youngins, hell, he can just write right now that he won the 2012 presidential election and that he was the nation’s Best! President! Ever!

Many others have covered Huckabee’s participation in the selling of really bad cartoons on “American history” for home-schooled kids (such as here and here, and Rachel Maddow has covered it too). The cartoons are so fucking bad that they appear to be parodies by the creators of “South Park,” but oh, they’re not parodies…

The episode that predictably deifies Ronald Reagan (which notes, among other things, that “he worked against Communism in Hollywood” [not that he was a McCarthyite]) has this nice little image:


Yes, that appears to me to be a knife-wielding, menacing mulatto. In the video he apparently commands the good little white kids (who have access to a time machine, but of course as long as we’re still anti-science we’ll never get to that point): “Give me your money!” Subtle!

(If I had written the little video, I might have had the good little white kids retort: “First show us your birth certificate!”)

The Orwellian right-wing attempt to rewrite U.S. history is nothing new. Glenn Beck has the online “Beck University,” and its home page proclaims, “LEARN REAL AMERICAN HISTORY.” (Also on the home page is a link to a nice little video of Glenn titled “Presidents You Should Hate,” because Glenn’s a good little Mormon boy and God wants him to hate and to tell you whom to hate [you have to subscribe to the website to get Glenn’s God-given insight, though…]).

One of “Beck U”’s “professors” — and all of his “professors” appear to be middle-aged to old white men, shockingly — is David Barton, a white wingnut who has thought himself qualified enough to write on rewrite black American history:

I’m thinking that maybe Anita Bryant should write a book on gay and lesbian American history. Perhaps Maggie Gallagher could take some time out of her crusade against marriage between any two consenting adults to be a co-author of the enlightening, setting-the-record-straight (wink wink) historical account.

The radical-right-wing attempt to rewrite U.S. history is chilling, but while I don’t want to underestimate the radical right’s harm to the nation and to the world, I can’t see a day when their “history” ever becomes mainstream. True, our mainstream U.S. history taught to public schoolchildren is whitewashed as it is, more or less teaches our children that the U.S. never can do any wrong (even the many, many episodes of the oppression of minorities are portrayed as just little potholes in the Road to Freedom, you see), but Huckabee’s and Beck’s brand of U.S. “history” is highly unlikely to make it very far outside of its apparent target audience of home-schooling parents.

One child who is home-schooled in wingnuttery is a tragic loss — not only will the successfully brainwashed child be unable to function in a world in which his or her backasswards beliefs are in the minority, but the world will have lost a fully functional human being — but the percentage of parents who would expose their children to stupid white male propaganda thankfully remains small. Most parents want their children to be well-adjusted, functional, productive adults.

Anyway, Huckabee, former Arkansas governor and a former Southern Baptist pastor, has indicated that God doesn’t want him to run for president, but I think that even Huckabee, as off of his rocker as he is, knows that his ilk is a dying breed and that he can’t win the White House. White people who hate non-whites, non-“Christians,” non-heterosexuals and non-Americans and who believe that women should be subservient to men are finding it increasingly difficult to succeed on a national political stage because their numbers are decreasing.

The Internet, too, while it contains a lot of garbage, also has made it increasingly difficult for stupid white men and their supporters to keep the masses ignorant by keeping information unavailable to them. The wingnuts no longer can stem the flow of information as easily as they have in the past.

The wingnuts can put all of the revisionist books and videos out there that they want. I wish them luck in “protecting” their offspring from being exposed to what the saner members of the much larger world believe. This is exactly what they want to do, of course, and thus, home-schooling.

This is, of course, the largest logical weakness of such oppressively closed systems: If the system is so accurate, so true, so right, then why must it shut out the rest of the world? Why must it be so encapsulated?

Anticipating this question from the home-schooled kiddies, apparently, one of Huckabee’s “history” cartoons has one of the kiddie characters declaring (at the triumphant end of a cartoon on World War II): “What we see in here [in their time-machine travels] isn’t always the same as what we read in books or see on TV. So what? We know the truth, and that’s good enough for us!”

Wow. That says so much more than I could continue to say right now.

But I will say good fucking riddance to Mike Huckabee, who never will be president of the United States of America* — except perhaps in his really bad propagandistic cartoons for the kiddies.

*The Associated Press notes:

Ed Rollins, who chaired Huckabee’s 2008 [presidential] campaign and had been talking with fundraisers about a 2012 Huckabee bid, said it would be difficult [for Huckabee] to find another opportunity like this.

“It was all there for him,” Rollins said.

About to leave a comment? Comments are a courtesy, not a right, and as such are subject to rejection or deletion. (You can always man up and post a blog piece of your own on your own blog; I’m not required to help you get your opinions out there.) General guidelines for leaving comments are here.


Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized