This has to be one of the funniest, most telling, FoxNews clips I’ve seen since Karl Rove’s election night freakout last year.
Reza Aslan is a scholar with a number of popular books on religion to his credit. His latest is a book about Jesus’ life and times titled Zealot. Zealot has created quite a hubbub amongst the books-about-Jesus-audience, who are upset, to say the least, about some of Aslan’s premises and conclusions. Amazon Reviews is burning up with some old-time religion hate. That’s predictable.
Down through the ages lots and lots of religion scholars and enthusiasts have weighed in on the sparse facts of Jesus’ life and come to varying conclusions. Those writers have come in every shape, color and religious background. It’s an interesting topic to some. Admittedly, I haven’t read the book, I’ve only listened to interviews, but none of what I’ve heard of Aslan’s ideas sound like revolutionary departures from what’s always been kicking around on the subject.
I’m also old enough to remember the fuss that surrounded the debut of Jesus Christ, Superstar on Broadway. For a short while, it was an apocalyptic event (which certainly didn’t hurt ticket sales) and eventually the show, deemed blasphemous by some, was permitted to make millions of dollars in performances and license fees forever and ever, amen. Because, as we all know, from the Dominionists, Jesus is a free market fan.
The thing that is astonishing about this Fox incident is that it takes over nine minutes of airtime for this veteran FoxNews correspondent to wrap her mind around the idea that a Muslim has written a book about Jesus. She projects, without overtly saying it—“how dare you?” That’s really the whole [only] point of the long-ish segment.
James Gandolfini, the actor who created gangster Tony Soprano, died today. James and Tony were practically joined at the hip. Nobody could have brought the complex character of Tony Soprano to the screen as well as incredible actor James Gandolfini did. I was totally addicted to The Sopranos while it was on. Not that I related to any of the characters - it was more like watching an ant farm (except they were all scorpions) to see what would happen next. But something about Tony made it all more than that. Gandolfini projected a humanity into his character that was hard to ignore. And this despite the frequent times he was called on to either murder someone individually or assign it out to someone else.I’m not a psychologist so I don’t know exactly what quality in James Gandolfini that I reacted to that made me care about his character despite the obvious faults. But whatever it was makes me so sorry that he is gone. Guess if they’re really going to make a Soprano’s movie now it will have to be from the perspective that Tony did die in that diner. Bummer. RIP to a really great and hugely talented guy and sincere condolences to his family and friends who must be devastated now by this news.
Every now and again, it’s fun to watch somebody over at Rupert N’ Roger’s Wacked Manufactory bumping up against an uncomfortably solid reality that doesn’t melt away under the soothing fog of Reagan worship and a fat paycheck,,,particularly when it’s Megyn Kelly realizing that she’s surrounded by a couple of real Family Units, especially the living Toby Jug on the right, whose pinkly smug visage visibly irks her into melvining him with Science:
**UPDATE: Below the fold, now with even more Woolly Mammoths!
Eat our tusks, Russians.~~we’re trying to figure out how to UNclone ‘em.
Rest assured that while there’s an unemployed photogenic psychotic willing to preen in front of bright lights and pocket Wingnut Welfare, FOX will be assiduous in helping malevolent loons fail their way to the top, if by “top” we mean the bottom of a barrel similar to the one West likes to torture Iraqi policemen in.
Yes, indeedy. Floyd The Barber, Gomer Pyle, Deputy Dimwit And Baalok the drunken alien nemesis in a futuristic chaise-longue. Ron Howard’s slightly older brother Clint returns after nearly sixty years to reprise his tiny tippling tyrant in the Star Trek episode, “The Corbomite Maneuver.”
Priceless, endless, thoroughly no-strings-attached thanks to Betty Cracker for the much-needed ST inspiration. I hadn’t thought much about America’s first dusty Western in outer space in a very long time, but now I can’t escape the feeling that I’m vibrating on a Barcalounger filled with Tribbles!
At first, I thought this article at Salon was an April Fool’s joke:
But I guess it’s for real. Of course, every cultural product is fair game for critique—even TV shows about the zombie apocalypse—and the author makes some interesting points. On the other hand, it’s a TV show about the fucking zombie apocalypse!
Some of the comments below the article were fascinating:
mikill330399: How do people live based on seeing nothing but classes of people? I dont live that way and therefore this column offends me. I have white/black/asian/indian friends and I dont see or treat them any different. I dont even notice their ethnicity. To me it is racist to classify everyone and see them as different. Needing to be portrayed a certain way means you dont see them as equal. Im surprised the author is not fighting for the Zombies as an opressed class.
Carlos H: If you “don’t even notice their ethnicity,” how do you know you have “white/black/asian/indian friends”? Maybe, they are just all white or all black. Please. The 1970’s called, it wants its “know-nothing” rhetoric about race back.
CitizenRob: It is possible to not notice a person’s race. Oprah and Colin Powell are two people who I didn’t realize were African American until they themselves, or somebody else mentioned. It wasn’t that I didn’t SEE their ethnicity, it was that somehow their personalities never gave me a chance to actually notice their ethnicity until they themselves brought my attention to it, (or in the case of Colin Powell a newscaster mentioned it during a story.) My only wish would be that it were possible to always approach all people this way. (See the person they are before their race/ethnicity.)
I’ve heard people say this before (that they don’t notice race or ethnicity), and honestly, I’ve always found the claim difficult to believe. I suspect humans are hardwired to categorize the people they see on a number of axes, including gender, age and race—despite the fact that the categories are fluid and/or meaningless to some extent. Isn’t the important thing what you do with that information?
So says the NYT Media Decoder blog. Ed Schultz will get a weekend slot, presumably between prison documentaries. Huzzah, I say. I agree with Schultz on most things but find his schtick irritating. Hayes is thoughtful and informative.
Now if MSNBC would only shit-can Reverend Al and replace him with Joy Reid! And dropkick Tweety in favor of someone who can get through a paragraph without mentioning his stint in the Peace Corps, obsession with JFK or the Camelot of Comity that existed when Tip O’Neill and Ronald Reagan broke bread. Then, the network would actually have a watchable lineup instead of just the fabulous Rachel and the Not-Rachels.
Secretary of State Clinton tangled with the preening Republican arseholes in the Senate this morning and is right now confronting the unhinged yahoos in the House. I thought she was terrific this morning, from what I saw.
However, I think Steve M at No More Mr. Nice Blog has it right when he notes that, while we lefties perceived Madam Secretary deftly catching her interrogators’ self-serving slings and arrows and hurling them squarely back at her inquisitors’ junk, the right isn’t watching the same show. In response to Senator Johnson’s obsession with Ambassador Rice’s Sunday morning talk show talking points, Secretary Clinton said:
“With all due respect, the fact is we had four dead Americans,” she said. “Was it because of a protest, or was it because of guys out for a walk one night who decided they’d go kill some Americans? What difference, at this point, does it make? It our job to figure out what happened and do everything we can to prevent it from ever happening again, senator. Now, honestly, I will do my best to answer your questions about this. The fact is that people were trying, in real time, to get to the best information.”
Steve observes that the wingnuts have already pounced on the quote: “What difference does it make?” and notes:
They have what they want: a soundbite they can rip from context and use as a cudgel to beat the administration and Secretary Clinton with. I’m not sure if they really expect their efforts to color mainstream coverage of this story, but it’s clear that that’s what they’re hoping. They have a new “you didn’t build that,” a new “spread the wealth around,” and they’re going to wring everything they can out of it.
He’s right, I’m sure. But I’m betting they’ll meet with similar levels of success with their latest chew-toy. Which is to say, zero outside the wingnut echo chamber. Please proceed, Governor.
First, he was a crooner in his brothers’ choral group. Then, he was Daniel Boone’s frontier BFF when he lost the audition for Mr. Spock to Leonard Nimoy. Finally, he ended up playing Johnny Carson’s late night talk-show mohel in a historical demonstration of puberty rituals. It doesn’t matter how much worse the Brazilian wax version of this is. You’re better off getting yanked than bladed.
Some Villager vignettes for your consideration. First up, Dana Milbank on Joe Lieberman’s sparsely attended farewell speech in the senate:
Joe Lieberman’s Sad Send-Off
It Was a Lonely Farewell for Joe Lieberman.
...A few more senators arrived during the 20-minute speech, but even by the end Lieberman was very much alone — which is how it has been for much of his 24-year tenure. He tried to push back against the mindless partisanship that developed in the chamber, and he paid dearly for it…
What a steaming load of horseshit. Lieberman was a highly partisan actor on behalf of the insurance-financial-military complex, which filled his coffers sufficiently to retain office long after the people of Connecticut were sick of the mewling, sanctimonious prick. Given the damage he inflicted with his war-mongering and petty spite, Lieberman deserved a much grander send-off, such as ejection from the chamber via catapult to a new home in a toxic waste dump.
Instead, he got away with his many perfidies, lionized by ignorant prats like Milbank for his non-existent integrity and bipartisanship, and he’ll no doubt land on K Street, where he’ll rake in millions of dollars. We’re supposed to feel sorry for Lieberman? Boo-fucking-hoo.
Next up: hair harrumphing and fat shaming:
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With the exception of every minute of every single episode of Dancin’ Dave Gregory’s “Press the Meat,” this clip illustrates the vacuity of our fucked up political press corps about as well as anything you’ll ever see. George Stephanopoulis and Barbara Walters are discussing her recent interviews with Hillary Clinton and Chris Christie.
Wow, there’s a lot to discuss! You’ve got the Secretary of State in a tumultuous geopolitical time, what with much of the Middle East going to hell, etc., but the teaser for the segment is all about Hillary Clinton’s hair.
Walters apologetically notes that a man wouldn’t be questioned about his coif, but nonetheless, the public demands an answer, so Walters must ask. Clinton responds with the mocking tone the question deserves, but Jaysus, this is stupid. Clinton should have shaved her head on the segment and made a real statement, like Joan of Arc.
Next up, Chris Christie, possible GOP contender in 2016, governor of a hurricane-ravaged state, frequent pugnacious asshole and notorious Obama-thanker. Was the teaser to that segment about how a GOP primary candidate who is famous for his temper might navigate between the batshit crazies and plutocrats who control his party to offer a credible alternative to the Democrats? How about a bit on Hurricane Sandy recovery efforts and the looming threat of climate change to coastal areas?
Nope—it’s about fat Christie’s fat-fat ass and fat-fat-fat gut. Could voters see past his big fat blubber and consider electing such a fatty-fat motherfucker?
Again, Walters poses the question delicately, after making a joke about the “elephant in the room” in the intro. Jaysus. I half expected Christie to respond that if a woman with a speech impediment could become a top broadcast journalist, surely a fat man could aspire to the highest office in the land.
I suppose our political press corps could get even dumber, but it’s hard to imagine how unless they add Jim Hoft to the ranks. Which wouldn’t surprise me.
Our hens raided the container garden during their free-range jaunt yesterday:
I never participate in the garden threads because my husband does every bit of the gardening around here. I couldn’t even grow a Chia pet or keep an air fern alive.
Anne Laurie’s early morning open thread featured the image of commenter Hitchhiker’s lovely cat in front of a Christmas tree. But instead of going, “Awwwww,” I went, “Sweet mother of fuck! It’s almost Christmas, and I haven’t done a damn thing!”
My fake tree and all the decorations are still in the shed. I haven’t ordered the Christmas dinner prime rib yet. We haven’t even quite wrapped up our kitchen renovations (although it’s mostly done – we lack cabinet toe-kicks and the backsplash only at this point), and our dining room still sports a bare concrete slab as we haven’t gotten around to laying the tile. Oh, and I haven’t bought the first present yet.
Why? Well, the home renovations have become a convenient excuse for being slobs. Why bother dusting or sweeping when there’s 70s-era glue on the walls where we ripped out the old laminate backsplash and bare concrete underfoot? We’ve actually enjoyed the respite.
As for the lack of Christmas spirit, it just doesn’t seem Christmas-y yet, partly because it’s been so warm. I’m a native Floridian, so warm Decembers aren’t a foreign or unwelcome concept to me. But it does seem unusual to get this far towards the solstice without once having to put on a pair of socks or rifle the closet for a jacket. There have been a few flannel-shirt-over-the-tee-shirt days, but I haven’t had to bust out the woolies. Nonetheless, there is work to be done.
Romneys Spread Loser Stink
Speaking of indolent people, Mitt and Ann Romney are continuing their loser tour. Noted fans of “sport,” the Romneys took in the Pacquiao-Marquez boxing match last night:
I don’t follow boxing, but I think Pacquiao was favored to beat Marquez. That was before Romney visited Pacquiao in his dressing room, exuding a giant cloud of loser dust:
“Hello Manny. I ran for president. I lost,” Romney told the fighter, according to Pacquiao publicist Fred Sternburg.
Then this happened:
“LAS VEGAS — Manny Pacquiao never saw it coming. He never saw the punch that snapped his head back Saturday and dropped him to the canvas and left him sprawled there momentarily, face down, while his wife sobbed uncontrollably and the packed crowd at MGM’s Grand Garden Arena rose to its feet in shock.
With that, a rivalry known for its lack of a definitive triumph suddenly had the most definitive ending of them all.”
I really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really hope Mitt and Ann Romney decide to pay the Notre Dame locker room a visit prior to the BCS title game.
Speaking of Losers
Remember the group One Million 51,700 [homophobic] Moms (OMM)? No? Me neither, but this spring, they failed spectacularly in a bid to get Ellen Degeneres fired as JC Penney spokesperson. After that effort flopped, OMM director Monica Cole announced that the breeder klatch was “moving on.”
But a JC Penney commercial featuring Ellen and several Christmas elves attracted their ire again last week.
It wasn’t that Ellen groped a female elf in the ad or anything. It’s just that everyone knows she’s a lesbian, and think of the chiiiiildren!
Because the commercial that occasioned the protest was so innocuous, onlookers found the OMM action confusing. (Pro tip: When you have to explain why you’re taking umbrage, you’re not successfully inciting it.) So OMM declared that the group is “moving on.” Again. Maybe someday they actually will.
“Obama, last night, especially when Libya came up, and he turned suddenly and he fixed his opponent with this basilisk stare and he began to talk to him very quietly but with seething anger underneath because he’d been accused of politicizing…[clip of that moment]….at that moment he became a hero, and he was also very presidential. I think America is now faced with a very clear choice. Do they want a president or a boss?”
~~Ed. note: “Voorzieniphen raedt” translates to “weasel.” If you’re happening to want one, the Romney campaign has a binderful.~~
Live coverage will begin around 8:30 ET. For those feeling a leetle skittish about Mittbot’s seeeming surge of late, let the Big Dawg explain the flawed math behind Romney’s great tax plan and soothe your nerves a little:
Still have questions? John Cole has found a valuable source of information regarding the specifics of Romney’s plan right here. Heh.
Drink if you must (and I’m not sure who mustn’t), grab some popcorn and a cushy seat and tune in later this evening for some Roastie comaraderie.
Erin Burnett is a thirty-something political economy rockstar who anchors her own New York-based prime-time news progran on CNN, Erin Burnett OutFront. Despite being thoroughly photogenic, Burnett didn’t rocket to fame and fortune on her looks alone. In a little under twenty years since graduating from college she has already hit some career highlights that others only dream about.
Right out of college, Burnett was hired by Goldman-Sachs as a financial analyst in its investment banking division, where she worked on mergers and acquisitions and corporate finance. While at Goldman-Sachs CNN offered Burnett a job as a writer and guest booker for Moneyline with Stuart Varney, Willow Bay and Lou Dobbs. Soon after that she was hired by Citigroup as a vice president of Citigroup/CitiMedia, anchoring Citigroup’s financial news network. By 2003 Burnett moved on to cable TV as anchor of Bloomberg on the Markets & In Focus for Bloomberg Television. From 2005 -2011, Burnett hosted Street Signs and co-anchored Squawk on the Street.
I know, I know . . . that’s a very nice “she built it” story, but, trust me, the story’s relevance will be made clear shortly.