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Reading Digest – 14 November 2012   Leave a comment

“Scary, no?  And this guy’s head of the Spaceology Department at the Correspondence College of Tampa!” – Bart Simpson

CNNlogo I have no response to this:

Anal Probes

Actual dialogue from the video:

“even this aviation expert is mystified”

“we first learned about these strange sightings when this metro-area man, who does not want to be identified, brought us his home video”

“but if you slow it down, frame by frame, it’s there”

“we wanted to verify that the video we saw was legit”

And there’s even the bog standard government denial, complete with scary font:

Government Coverup! 

FNLogo FOX generally, and the nationalists specifically, have been pretty subdued since they stood down from Bias Alert last week.  This is more like it:

Not Misleading At All

That’s White House spokesdork Jay Carney in the photo, but the cryptic quote is from a reporter asking about the increasingly spectacular end of David Petraeus.  Not that the combination of the two could be in any way misunderstood.  (Hey, at least they aren’t chasing aliens over Denver.)

DailyCallerLogo Without commenting on the linked story, I just think it’s funny that this rather, uh, aspirational map is the one Tucker & Friends went with:

Romney Wins Wisconsin and Pennsylvania!

You can almost hear the sighs of regret.

NPRlogo Derp-a-durr!:

How No One EverSteals a Car From the accompanying article:

At some carwashes, Kinkade dropped off the car with a copy of Maxim magazine inside it — the magazine contains plenty of suggestive pictures of semi-clad women. Underneath a seat, Kinkade also left crushed beer cans.

The idea, he said in an interview, was to suggest the driver of the car was somehow "deviant." Kinkade said he and his colleagues wanted to explore the possibility that when people’s behavior marks them as being somehow out of the mainstream, they are more likely to become victims of crime.

It will surprise you not a whit to learn that the idiot conducting this “Study” works at a private Jebus college. 

ABC Logo I’m so glad I started checking ABC News.  It’s almost a tabloid:

Potential Suitors to Increase Our Pageviews

Yup, it’s a pageview whoring slideshow of other famous people.  Nothing more, nothing less, and if you look closely, you can see the heavily tortured almost-corpse of journalism begging for death in the corner. 

Posted November 14, 2012 by Charlie Sweatpants in Reading Digest, The Simpsons

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Reading Digest – 13 November 2012   Leave a comment

“A hundred thousand for a picture of Britney peeing on a ladybug!  Imagine what a photo of her crapping on a squirrel is worth!” – Kyle Broflovski

CNNlogo Atlanta is flush with the truly pointless this morning:

Bieber Latenight A celebrity break up plus Jay Leno and David Letterman doing their jobs, and that’s before we get to:

Ooh Catfight And:

Julie After Dentist

Here’s what I don’t get.  The video of the kid being stoned after getting her wisdom teeth removed is labeled “Distraction”, but the one about the celebrity relationships and the two about comedy programs doing comedy aren’t.  Very odd editorial standards they have there. 

DailyCallerLogo Carlson’s House of Wingnut Welfare continues its mission to bring light spank material in a proper, conservative manner:

NBA Cheerleaders (Probably Obama Voters)

Coming tomorrow, which hospitals have the sexiest nurses and a revealing look at bras: which work better, front clasp or the other kind?

DailyBeastLogo Balancing the sex versus the more important security and political connotations of something like the still expanding Petraeus story is a tricky job for even the most reserved and intelligent of news outlets.  This is not how you do that:

Paula!

We’re already reducing a person who isn’t accused of anything except unapproved sex as “Paula” and referring to her interactions with another woman, about whom the news knows even less, as a “cat fight”.  Not that we should expect sobriety and intelligence from Newsweek Jr.:

Secret Affair Tips for Discerning Sparkly Vampires

ABC Logo Mickey’s News Club is also working the celebrity beat this morning:

Weight Loos, Famous People, Click Bait!

There’s nothing quite as click worthy as extreme weight loss plus fame, but that doesn’t make it informative, and last I checked the word “News” was still part of the title down there. 

Posted November 13, 2012 by Charlie Sweatpants in Reading Digest, South Park

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Commercial Break: E-Trade Has Cooler Graphics Than Ever!   Leave a comment

Broadcast: 11 November 2012
Program: Face the Nation
Channel: CBS
Conglomerate: National Amusements/Viacom/CBS Corporation

Advertiser: E-Trade
Owned By: E-Trade
Pitch: The new E-Trade isn’t as shitty as the old one, we promise.

As the poster company for on-line stock speculation, E-Trade has always been at the forefront of turning “investing” into nothing more than an elaborate on-line gaming experience that happens to involve real money.  As the years have gone by and the promise of instant wealth trading stocks in your pajamas has been repeatedly exposed as a fantasy, their marketing has become increasingly vague over just what they’re offering.  These days they hardly mention money or the stock market, instead highlighting all the features that make trading easy for you (yes, you!), the small investor who can can detect trends and opportunities better than those coked out dollar jockeys in the canyons of Manhattan.   

You can see that vagueness in those screechingly awful talking baby commercials, where the whole pitch is that anyone, even infants, can invest with their tools.  (And since you’re smarter than a baby, how hard could it be?)  You can also see it in more generic commercials like this one, which doesn’t so much as discuss what you might actually be doing, but rather makes stocks look like a cool video game that you can play from anywhere.  It’s a short ad, just 15-seconds, and this is the entirety of the narration:

E-trade technology can help make you a better investor.  Our E-trade 360 investing dashboard shows you where your money is live.  E-trade Pro is so useable you’ll actually use it.  And our apps are the ultimate in mobile investing.  Become a better investor, at E-trade.

Note that there’s nothing there about actual investing, what their tools do, or even a single number about commissions, trades, whatever.  Anything that smacks of complexity or risk has been eliminated.  All they’re offering is something that’s bigger, cooler, and more powerful than the previous version.  But the narration is the minority partner here, the real heavy lifting is done by the graphics:

E-Box 360

Cool laptop, bro.

That would be the “E-trade 360 investing dashboard” which presumably does not play Halo 4 and stream Netflix, but might.  But wait, there’s more:

E-Trade Pro Comes In Five Different Colors

Awesome, I’ll look just like those guys on TV with all the monitors!

This is “E-trade Pro” the thing that’s “so usable you’ll actually use it”, which is good because the small, negligibly legible print says that you must make at least 30 trades every “calendar quarter” to keep using it.  In other words, this is E-trade 360’s version of in-game purchasable content.  Don’t want to spend two hours looking for the Wizard Key?  Just make at least ten trades a month.  Finally, we get to the new handheld version:
 For the Gambler on the Go

Yeah, but does it play Tetris?

This is the best part, because if there’s one thing that’s the opposite of careful, well researched investment, it’s the need to buy and sell stocks while you’re in line at Starbucks, sitting on the can, or frustrated by the new expansion pack for Angry Birds.  Like casinos that put the slot machines near the entrance because they’re the easiest game to play, all E-trade is pushing here is convenience.  They want you to know that the barrier to entry for flinging money around is lower than it’s ever been, that you (yes, you!) can do it just like the big boys, as though the only thing holding you back was better graphics and a slicker user interface. 

Posted November 12, 2012 by Charlie Sweatpants in Commercial Break

Reading Digest – 12 November 2012   Leave a comment

“You too, huh?  Hey, I know a good yogurt place.” – Jimmy Carter
“Get away from me, loser.” – Bush the Elder

WSJlogo1 Ha!:

Aww, Sad Fugees

The big story with the picture of the sad brokers is the lead, because that nasty government might be raising taxes and scaring away the Confidence Fairy.  The actual story, the one that doesn’t fit the Murdoch line of all taxes are bad all the time, is that stock futures have risen.  This is why you never let Rupert Murdoch buy your once respectable newspaper.

DailyBeastLogo This morning Newsweek Jr. is deeply concerned about aristocrats who fell short of power:

Mitt and Some Lady I supposed it’s nice to see Mittens reduced to speculative tabloid copy, but this is still pretty low, even by the waiting room floor standards of Newsweek Jr.

DailyCallerLogo More penile insecurity from Tucker & Friends:

Mmm, Dark Dong

If you’re wondering whether or not there’s a picture of a woman in a bikini in the article, please don’t.  Of course there is.

PoliticoLogo Swampgas Daily still thinks it’s the 1990s:

Newt's Essay on How He Spent His Summer Vacation

Little Newtie’s essay is entirely comprised of one sentence paragraphs.

Like this.

No, I don’t know why.

He probably doesn’t either.

And in addition to him, we’ve also got:

Politico Self Portrait

Is it possible for a crappy “newspaper” to take a self portrait?  Because that’s what this would be if there was any shred of honesty down at Villager HQ.

ABC Logo Hey Mickey, get fucked:

Durr, Twilight Is Popular Still

And as if that wasn’t newsless enough, right next to it we’ve got:

Cavalcade of Celebrity Mourners

This particular piece of celebrity chasing is notably worse than usual because they put it up on account of what used to be called Armistice Day (note the fashionably mournful hat), but it’s actually just 93 (!) pictures of that British princess doing stuff.  We won a war to not care about that, and you’re retreating on Veterans Day?  Fuck you, ABC.

Posted November 12, 2012 by Charlie Sweatpants in Reading Digest, The Simpsons

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Bond 24: Action! Nostalgia! Sequels!   Leave a comment

“Our last film tonight is the new, politically correct version of James Bond, ‘On His or Her Majesty’s Secret Service’.” – Jay Sherman
“Well, darling, thanks to my efforts, Blofeld’s army will now admit homosexuals, the blind, and midgets.” – James Bond

Top Line: Skyfall is exactly what we’ve come to expect from a Daniel Craig James Bond movie.  It’s executed much better than Quantum of Solace, and has a better bad guy than Casino Royale, but it isn’t much different than those two in terms of what happens or whether or not you’re likely to be entertained by it. 

Who (probably) should see this movie: James Bond fans (obviously), and anyone looking for something other than kids fare and overly serious Oscar bait here at the end of the year. 

Who (probably) should not see this movie: People who don’t like Bond movies, and/or anyone who wasn’t all that thrilled with Casino Royale (2006).

Box Score:

Runtime: 2h:23m – It certainly could’ve been a bit shorter in places, but it never drags.

Actual Start Time: Showtime + 20(!) Minutes

Friday Evening Demographics: Packed house. 

MPAA: Rated PG-13 for intense violent sequences throughout, some sexuality, language and smoking

Seems about right, though it is funny that we now actually point out when someone lights up a cigarette in a movie.  (Don’t worry, it’s not Bond.)

Should Be Rated: PG-12

Three Stars:

  1. Javier Bardem – Mincing, Blonde Psycho-Spy: 
    No surprises here.  Bond villains always get to have the most fun, and Bardem is great every time he’s on the screen.
  2. Daniel Craig – James Bond:
    His ultra-tough, ultra-muscled Bond is back for a third go.
  3. Judi Dench – M:
    Her ultra-controlled, no nonsense M is also just what you’d expect.
Need to See In Theater (Baseline: 2):

  • +1 (Definitely some action sequences that look very good on a big screen.)
  • +1 (James Bond is usually more fun with an audience, and that’s true of this one as well.)
  • -1 (It’s a Bond movie, it’s going to be on television and in home video releases from now until the Sun explodes, so it’s not like you’ll never get another chance.) 

Final Score: 4

Need to See Eventually (Baseline: 5):

  • +1 (James Bond!)
  • -1 (James Bond.)

Final Score: 5

Bechdel (Baseline: 5):

  • +1 (for Judi Dench being in much more of the movie than she is in most of her Bond appearances.)
  • -1 (for Naomie Harris not doing much of anything after the opening scene.)
  • -1 (for Bérénice Marlohe not having much to do, period.)

Final Score: 4

IMDb Sez:

Director:

  • Sam Mendes:
    Well respected director of middlebrow critic pleasers like American Beauty (1999), Jarhead (2005), and Revolutionary Road (2008).

Writers:

  • Neal Purvis:
    Wrote the previous two Daniel Craig Bond movies.
  • Robert Wade:
    Pretty much the same as Purvis.
  • John Logan:
    Has been involved with plenty of big budget Hollywood screenplays over the years, ranging from very good (Rango (2011), The Aviator (2004)) to the not so good (Gladiator (2000), Star Trek: Nemesis (2002)).

Rotten Tomatoes Sez:

All Critics: 93% Top Critics: 91% Audience: 91%

Notes:

  • Skyfall is a good James Bond movie, but I’m surprised at the rapturous Rotten Tomatoes numbers.  It suffers from way too many typical Bond problems (incompetent henchmen, a bad guy who prattles on instead of getting shit done, goofily dumb computer jargon/hacking) to be a truly excellent move on its own. 
  • The opening chase scene in Turkey is just wonderful.  It’s exactly what you want from a Bond movie: a cool location, lots of neat stunts, and over the top action. 
  • As Bond and the bad guy are riding motorcycles on the roof in Istanbul, there are two close shots of Craig that are hilariously, obviously shot in front of a fake background.  I’m honestly not sure if they left it looking that fake deliberately as a nod to the countless times that Sean Connery, Roger Moore, et al did the same thing. 
  • Okay, Sony, we get it.  You make cool electronics. 
  • Speaking of the many instances of product placement, they do feel more out of place in these grittier Craig movies.  Near the beginning of the film Bond is holed up in some tropical paradise drinking himself into a pleasant stupor after being accidentally shot by one of his own.  Despite his state as a physical and emotional wreck, he remembers to keep the label of his beer bottle facing the camera. 
  • Oddly enough, and somewhat disappointingly, the final showdown is probably the weakest part of the movie.  For a film that likes its twists and machinations, there’s something inherently unsatisfying about a bunch of nameless henchmen getting blow’d up and shot in a pretty anodyne action sequence.  There’s nothing terrible about it, but the rest of the movie’s big moments show a bit more creativity. 
  • The numerous nods and winks to Bond traditions and predecessors is a constant and amusing undercurrent.  So, for example, we get Bond wearing a tuxedo in a casino, but when he goes for the drink with the beautiful woman we don’t see him order his martini shaken not stirred, we see the bartender shake it and then simply have him thank her. 
  • Many of the above are subtle, the Aston Martin DB5 is not.  It’s just pure fan service, so much so that it actually got a smattering of applause. 
  • For all its talk about Bond getting old and broken down, Skyfall makes very sure to leave the table set for the further adventures of Daniel Craig as James Bond. 

Bottom Line: The James Bond franchise has survived, as Skyfall happily reminds you at its ending credits, for half a century now.  It has managed to stay relevant and popular through all that time by changing with the culture.  The days when Sean Connery can smoke like a chimney and more or less force himself on any woman on screen are long gone.  So too are the campy 1970s versions, the 1980s late Cold War ones, and the bombastic Pierce Brosnan movies that felt the generic Hollywood need to make each sequel bigger and louder until the audience went numb with the sheer absurdity of it all.

Since 2006’s Casino Royale we’ve had Daniel Craig’s tougher and harsher version, where Bond still comes out on top, but not without getting bloodied, bruised and emotionally tormented first.  Skyfall is a very good addition to this current version of Britain’s super spy.  Bond performs heroic stunts and impossible feats, all in the name of patriotism and beating the bad guy, but he isn’t a hopeless smartass who seems above it all. 

The particulars (the chases, the locations, the comic relief with Q) are all up to snuff, and Javier Bardem steals every scene he’s in.  As Bond villains go his ambitions are considerably smaller than world domination, but he brings a novel enthusiasm to the requisite callousness that lets him do terrible things.  He straddles the line between glee and insanity so well that you almost don’t notice him making classic Bond villain mistakes like not killing Bond and then simply asking his goons to make sure he’s dead. 

All in all, Skyfall is an entertaining and worthy addition to the franchise.  Since Bond movies are destined for a long shelf life, it’ll take a couple of decades before we can properly situate it among its peers, but I’ll be surprised if it’s considered a poor entry. 

Movies Deemed Commercially and Demographically Similar Enough to Merit Trailers Before Skyfall:

Promised Land – Matt Damon sells fracking to economically distressed farming communities, becomes conflicted.  He’d like to thank the Academy. 

Side Effects – Taught, sexy thriller from the makers of . . . Contagion?  Ugh. 

Jack Reacher – Oh good, another massively cliched Tom Cruise action vehicle.  That’s what the movie going public has been clamoring for.  (Is he a loose cannon cop who plays by his own rules, but, damn it, he gets results?  Yes.  Yes, he is.) 

The Hobbit – Well, at least it was a new trailer, even if it does it’s best to make sure that the general movie going public won’t realize that Gandalf and the rest of the characters they recognize are barely going to be in these movies.

Red Dawn – Surgeon General’s Warning: The massive stupid of this movie may be harmful to pregnant women, people with heart conditions, and anyone with a BAC below 0.08. 

Die Hard 5 – As if Die Hard 4 wasn’t awful enough.

Django Unchained – I know what I’m going to see on Christmas.  Woo-hoo! 

WARNING: The comments section is a spoiler friendly zone.  By reading this with your inner monologue, you have waved any right to bitch about spoilers in perpetuity throughout the universe.

Posted November 10, 2012 by Charlie Sweatpants in Box Score Cinema, The Critic

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Commercial Break: Crizal Lenses Are So Good You Don’t Need Glasses   Leave a comment

Broadcast: 6 November 2012
Program: Cyclops
Channel: SyFy
Conglomerates: Comcast & General Electric

Advertiser: Crizal
Owned By: Essilor
Pitch: Invincible lenses for your glasses mean that you don’t need glasses.

[Programming Note: Box Score Cinema for Bond 24 will be delayed until tomorrow morning.]

One of the fun parts of low budget programming, like a movie on SyFy about a giant CGI cyclops who has to battle his way out of a Roman gladiatorial arena, is equally low budget commercials.  It is in that spirit that we get this odd, poorly animated, one trick, first person viewer of a commercial for specialty eyeglass lenses.

We begin by looking out onto a rain soaked street as a hand (male and white, naturally) puts on a pair of glasses:

A Very Boring Dramatization

There’s an ammo pack hidden behind that pillar during multiplayer matches.

It’s all pretty much the same from here on out.  On the left we have the “ordinary lens” and on the right we have the miracle lens, and in the lower right we have the “Dramatization” disclaimer to let you know that the rest of this is, in fact, completely made up.  Not too surprisingly, the lens on the left is instantly covered in blurry rain drops while the lens on the right is spotless and perfect.  This pattern will repeat itself.  The narration:

Just look at the difference a Crizal lens can make on your sight.  Neither rain, nor snow, nor dust, nor dirt, nor smudge, nor scratches, nor glare of night, can keep your lenses from giving you the clearest vision possible.

As the narrator hits each obstacle (snow, dust, dirt, etc.) we switch to a new scene, each with its own distinct flavor of poorly done computer graphics.  First, snow, complete with a bratty kid hitting him square in the monocles with a snowball:

Nor Snow

Then comes dust and dirt, which is maybe the worst one since the commercial appears to think there is a sandstorm worthy of the Sahara occurring in this not-at-all-desertified downtown:

Nor Dust

Then comes smudges and scratches, represented here by this guy’s inability to protect his face from a beach ball thrown by a toddler:

Nor Scratches

And finally, “glare of night”, which sounds like a cool noir detective movie but is, in fact, our first person guy standing by a railing with an attractive woman who looks appropriately upper middle class:

Nor Glare of Night

Through each of these scenes we see ugly smudges on the left lens while the right remains perfectly clear.  What makes the whole thing even more low rent than it already is, however, is the way that the view through the right lens is identical to the view outside of them.

I get why they did that, you wouldn’t want most of your image to be blurry nothingness, but once you notice it, a cheap nonsensical commercial becomes even cheaper and more nonsensical.  Nevermind the crappy CGI, nevermind the hokey and fatuous locations, nevermind that this guy’s kids throw shit at his face with alarming regularity, the clarity they’re explicitly holding up – in a comparison they came up with themselves – is dwarfed by the overwhelming majority of screen real estate taken up by something that isn’t their product.  Of course, when you’re advertising on Cyclops on the SyFy channel you can probably assume that the audience isn’t paying details that much attention anyway, but still.

Posted November 9, 2012 by Charlie Sweatpants in Commercial Break

Reading Digest – 9 November 2012   Leave a comment

“Welcome to Decision ’96, it’s eighteen months till the election and tonight we’ll focus on the Vice-Presidential candidates.  Since this is so boring and pointless, we will periodically be inserting clips from Baywatch.” – Political Reporter
“Help, help!  An octopus stole my bikini top!” – Hot Blonde
“I’ll get it.  But first I better put on my octopus repellent.  Ooh, oh yeah, that’s good octopus repellent.” – Not David Hasselhoff

CNNlogo Most people greet presidential elections with relief.  To all but a tiny, gossip obsessed minority the campaigns and their attendant horseshit are aggravating and frustrating, and seeing the end of them is all to the good.  CNN, of course, is run by some of the dimmer lights of that tiny minority, and has this:

2016 Aztec Apocalypse

As profoundly embarrassing as this should be for them, they double down with the subhead:

Analysis: The 2012 election just ended, but the 2016 campaign for the White House is underway.

First of all, that isn’t “Analysis”, that’s product positioning.  Second, no the 2016 campaign is not underway.  Not even close.  The only thing that’s underway are wanna-be insiders one upping each other with pointless, uninformed speculation.  But that never ceases. 

PoliticoLogo See?  Never:

Hillary Is Already Looking to the General

Put down the crack pipe, Politico.  We’re all worried about you.

FNLogo FOX has been on Bias Alert every day since well before the election.  But as any competent naval commander will tell you, readiness goes down if you leave the men at general quarters too long, which appears to be what’s happened this morning:

Damned Entertainment Reporters

The “Reuters Journo” in question is, drum roll please, an entertainment reporter who just became a citizen and committed the heinous crime of voting for the first time on Tuesday.  Of course, none of that stopped the twitchy paranoiacs at the Bias Alert CIC quoting from the Reuters handbook to try and damn her:

Reuters journalists should be mindful of the impact their publicly expressed opinions can have on their work and on Reuters.

What they fail to mention is that her Twitter page, to which the FOX article contains a broken link, says this right at the top:

Surrey girl, Warwick Uni/USC alum. All views my own, RTs not endorsements. Also tweeting @ReutersShowbiz

It specifically notes that these aren’t the views of Reuters, and since she’s not a political reporter, it’s difficult to think how tweeting about her first vote as a U.S. citizen for Obama impacts her work. 

To review: A reporter who doesn’t cover politics used her personal Twitter account, which specifically says that it doesn’t reflect the views of Reuters, to talk about the first time she voted.  Might be time to stand down from Bias Alert before someone starts taking inventory on the strawberries. 

Posted November 9, 2012 by Charlie Sweatpants in Reading Digest, The Critic

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Reading Digest – 8 November 2012   Leave a comment

“What, do you think I want to be here?  I hate this place.  But it won’t let me leave.” – Wall-Mart Manager

CNNlogo It certainly didn’t take CNN long to revert back to normal.  Their lead story is the bullshit “Fiscal Cliff”, of which, unsurprisingly, they appear to have only the barest understanding:

Compromise or confrontation?: Fiscal cliff will need quick attention

The actual article contains no useful reporting whatsoever, it’s just a series of back and forth quotes from public statements

Republicans said higher rates would damage the economy, while Democrats said it was the only equitable way to tackle the debt.

Congress faces an end-of-the-year deadline before massive spending cuts kick in and tax breaks begin to expire, including the Bush-era tax cuts at the end of December. The fiscal cliff also includes so-called sequestration — automatic across-the-board spending cuts set to trigger at the beginning of 2013 if Capitol Hill fails to create a deficit-reduction plan.

So, both sides do it, and terrible things will happen if they don’t compromise.  Got it.  And the fact that these things can be just as easily fixed after the deadline as before?  Nothing.  Anything about how nothing irrevocable happens or even how “cliff” is a terrible and misleading metaphor?  Nada. 

Beyond misunderstanding that, they’re back to their usual collection of uninformative time wasters:

Celebrities, Wal-Mart, Fat People

CNN’s featured stories include Wal-Mart having a sale, a celebrity working on a new television show that may or may not ever get made, and what bachelor parties look like in the Czech Republic.  The mind reels at how any of this is news. 

FNLogo Meanwhile, in winger land:

Boo-Hoo Media

Media Research Center President L. Brent Bozell summed up the campaign news coverage by calling journalism “roadkill.” “The media lauded Obama no matter how horrendous his record, and they savaged Obama’s Republican contenders as ridiculous pretenders,” he wrote.

And who penned this litany of media horror?

Dan Gainor is the Boone Pickens Fellow and the Media Research Center’s Vice President for Business and Culture. He writes frequently about media for Fox News Opinion.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how wingnut welfare works.  Get billionaire sugar daddies (Boone Pickens Fellow) to sponsor your front group and give you a fancy title (Vice President for Business and Culture), then write an article that cites as one of its main pieces of evidence a quote from your boss (Media Research Center President).  The guys in charge get their asses kissed while the intended audience is bamboozled by stuff that looks official and well thought out but is actually as authoritative as the guy on the street corner screaming about people stealing his thoughts. 

DailyCallerLogo Speaking of wingnut welfare, the lead story at Tucker Carlson’s shop:

Pyramids of Porn

“Pyramids of Porn”?  What does that even mean? 

usatodaylogo Oh, for fuck’s sake:

Please Your Masters!

The whole thing is an ode to the Confidence Fairy (“make investors happy, boost confidence and get the markets and economy moving again”), but there’s plenty of banker boot licking as well:

3. Roll back onerous regulations. Stiff regulations imposed on banks, oil exploration companies and coal companies by Obama are crimping economic growth, corporate profitability and business opportunities in these industries, says George Schwartz, president of both Schwartz Investment Counsel and the Ave Marie Mutual Funds.

"He’s got to roll back the regulations if he wants to create jobs, boost the economy and help generate wealth," he says.

I’m pretty sure you’re supposed to say, “Please, sir, may I have another” after something like that. 

PoliticoLogo No.  Bad Swampgas Daily, bad:

2024 Primaries Are Only A Dozen Years Away

Commercial Break – Strange Holidays at Express   Leave a comment

Broadcast: 6 November 2012
Program: The Colbert Report
Channel: Comedy Central
Conglomerates: Viacom

Advertiser: Express
Owned By: Express
Pitch: Come to the worst holiday party ever.

Serious fashion has always had the whiff of scam around it, if for no other reason than no one ever seems able to offer a concrete reason just why those tiny pieces of clothing have to cost so much.  It’s always something nebulous and indefinable about trends or style or some such, and those are hallmarks of bullshit.  Case in point, this ad for the “holiday collection” from Express. 

As an indistinctly hip pop song plays in the background, we open on a gate at the end of a long road, clearly somewhere way out in the sticks:

Fantasy Driveway

Run Forrest, Run!

That immediately dissolves to some kind of castle or church:

Welcome My Pretties

Our Lady of the 3,000% Markup was originally constructed in 1685.

Which then cuts to . . . a city street hosting a fashion show(?):

Fashion City

Mommy, why is that man dressed like an idiot taking up the whole street?

The rest of the commercial is just more of the same:

Step Into the Light

With just a slight tweak this could be a suicide prevention ad.

Princess Buttercups

These Hunger Games sequels are getting weird.

After the models parade around in front of the normies for awhile, a female voice comes on and says the only dialogue of the entire thirty-second ad:

Holiday collection by Express.

I’m sure that the right press flack could somehow find the connection between the Forever Driveway, the giant castle/church, this city’s not at all holiday decorated people and buildings, and the underfed models doing their best not to let slip how absurd all this is, but I confess myself mystified.  I suppose there’s something to be said for a minimalist approach, just show off your clothes and let people want them.  But then why bother with the establishing shots of the fantasy kingdom? 

No, this is retail clothing working its deep bullshit by being weird for the sake of weird and hoping that no one calls it for the asinine nonsense that it is: a bunch of overpriced clothes with a label sewn on them.  The commercial is incoherent because being coherent might let people in on how dumb it is. 

Posted November 7, 2012 by Charlie Sweatpants in Commercial Break

Reading Digest – 7 November 2012   Leave a comment

“Hey, Krusty, great set.” – Bart Simpson
“Are you kidding?  I stunk up the joint.” – Krusty the Klown
“No, no, I was talking to Lisa back there, we both agreed: you killed.” – Bart Simpson
“Really?  Lisa, huh?” – Krusty the Klown
“Sure, there were a lot of laughs.  You probably couldn’t hear them, the acoustics were so bad.” – Bart Simpson
“Yeah, the acoustics, that’s what it was.” – Krusty the Klown

CNNlogo The most trusted name in lackluster election coverage provides this important window into the anonymous hivemind of Facebook users:

Facebook Follies

The big news?  People were talking about Obama and Romney last night.  Thanks, CNN.

FNLogo At FOX, the blame is already being apportioned, and they’ve found a reliable culprit:

Obama Media Bias Did It!

And how, pray tell, did the “Media” account for the huge electoral margin and (as of right now) roughly 2.5 million popular vote difference:?  Well:

1. The Media’s Biased Gaffe Patrol Hammered Romney: The media unfairly jumped on  inconsequential mistakes — or even invented controversies — from Romney and hyped them in to multi-day media “earthquakes.” Case in point: the GOP candidate’s trip to Europe and Israel in late July. A Media Research Center analysis of all 21 ABC, CBS and NBC evening news stories about Romney’s trip found that virtually all of them (18, or 86%) emphasized “diplomatic blunders,” “gaffes” or “missteps.”

Yeah, it was the networks’ fault for covering a diplomatic fiasco that the British press deemed “Romneyshambles”.  But that one’s actually coherent compared to the next two:

2. Pounding Romney With Partisan Fact Checking:

And:

3. Those Biased Debate Moderators:

There are plenty of self-serving examples listed and many more counter-examples omitted, but it’s telling that FOX is pointing the finger at facts and debate moderators, as though it was all part of a grand design.  Read the rest if you want a morning jolt of winger butthurt with your coffee.

ABC Logo You would think on a day when there is a gargantuan surplus of real news a major network wouldn’t need to dip into the well of self-serving celebrity attention whores to fill space.  You would be wrong:

Self Regard Will Take You Far

It’s actually the first story below the electoral scoreboard, as if it matters in the least.

WSJlogo1 The more restrained vassals of Murdoch’s kingdom are taking things slightly better.  Slightly:

Review & Outlook: Hope Over Experience

That’s their lead editorial, which posits that electing the president who’s been doing the job for four years over the guy who was once a one term governor counts as picking “hope” over “experience”.  Huh. 

Posted November 7, 2012 by Charlie Sweatpants in Reading Digest, The Simpsons

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