Newswipe: S2E1

It seems I may be slacking a bit of late by not reloading these clips fast enough…

I’m sure I’ve said this before, but I wish we had a media critic here in Canada to demolish our own homegrown TV news offerings with a similarly wicked sense of cynical disgust and malicious contempt.

The Dark Heart of “Teabagging”

Al Jeezera English explores the troubling correlation between marginalized ideological extremists like “disenfranchised” neo-Nazi white supremacists and the angry populism of the “Tea Party” insurgency.

It’s hard not to think that a powerful undercurrent of racism and bigotry doesn’t help drive the furious outrage that characterizes the desire of these highly motivated activists to “take their country back”…

7 Obnoxious Words & Phrases

I’m not a purist by any means in this regard; most certainly when it comes to nitpicking over what constitutes “proper” spelling or correct grammar (despite having a reputation as a “Nazi” when it comes to such things), but the extent to which the language is now commonly being abused is distressing to say the least.

George Orwell brilliantly catalogued the various “swindles and perversions” of the English language with his usual astute precision 65 years ago in an utterly scathing essay on the subject that I believe should be required reading in every high school. Presuming that is, such skills are still extant in a world now largely characterized by cryptic text messages and circumscribed blurbs registering140 characters or less.

How to Report the News

Charlie Brooker surgically dissects the routine conventions of mainstream media news reportage.

Brooker’s savage show about the news media returns to BBC this month, about which he had this to say: “The return of Newswipe is both exciting and daunting, because it nearly killed me last time. Maybe this time it’ll finish the job. It’s hard to say precisely what we’ll be featuring, because I can’t predict the future, but hopefully we won’t be picking apart coverage of either an intercontinental nuclear war or a global ebola outbreak. Whatever happens, we’ll be staring at it with amusement and horror.”

Stephen Harper @ Davos

Ze Dear Leader appears on der Weltbühne in Davos, Switzerland (mit ein teleprompter!!!) after a lengtzy introductory monologue by Col. Klink.

Update: CTV news coverage of the event and the sharp criticism Canada’s environmental policies by other world leaders.

Weird or Different?

Derek Sivers, the founder and former president of the independent music outlet CD Baby, illustrates the expression “There’s a flip side to everything.”

It’s a valid point, but unfortunately one that’s inclined to engender false equivalences, or in the extreme, a perversion of the third law of motion.

Reconsidering Citizens United v. FEC

Allen Asch (aka “LiberalViewer”) presents a very cogent counter-argument to the widely held perception that the recent SCOTUS decision fundamentally corrupts democracy.

I’m still not entirely convinced that the SCOTUS decision isn’t a perniciously harmful one — only time will tell on that score, I guess. But what’s more troubling are the questions that it failed to address when it comes to the distinctions between political free speech the influence of money on the democratic process.

Update: Murray Hill Inc. — The Best Democracy Money Can Buy!

The Crux of the Matter

No, I’m not referring to that incredibly silly person, but rather, the failed Vice-Presidential candidate, pseudo author of her own biography and ex-half-term governor of Alaska who now finds herself embroiled in a dispute concerning her allegiance to the Tea Party movement.

Palin’s shabby financial dealings aside, what’s interesting here in terms of the Tea Party insurgency is how they will deal with so-called RINOS that may get elected in otherwise Democratic held constituencies with their endorsement…

For all the wild exuberance amongst the right-wing chattering class about Scott Brown’s victory in Massachusetts the other week, the fact of the matter is that he’s a fairly moderate Republican, if not a liberal one. So how will the GOP cope with people like Brown that run counter to the extreme party-line on inflammatory cultural issues such as abortion and civil unions for gays? Will the Republicans perhaps be faced with a similar dilemma as that which has bedeviled the Democrats over the past year in trying to appease the so-called “Blue Dogs” in their caucus that managed to take office in ostensibly “red” states in the last election cycle?

Why Are So Many Great Men Short?

Stephen Fry and the “QI” panel examine the aforementioned question.

Although this common assertion is largely spurious, it’s still somewhat interesting to learn that many of the so-called “great men” of historical note were so diminutive, relatively speaking. For example, I was quite surprised that Admiral Nelson was only 5’ 4” tall.

J.D. Salinger: Surprisingly Dead

It was kind of an astonishing shock to learn that the reclusive author was a fairly awesome 91 yrs old when he gently passed on the other day of heart failure. More than a little existentially ironic that…

“What I was really hanging around for, I was trying to feel some kind of a good-by. I mean I’ve left schools and places I didn’t even know I was leaving them. I hate that. I don’t care if it’s a sad good-by or a bad good-by, but when I leave a place I like to know I’m leaving it. If you don’t, you feel even worse.”

Salinger’s fictional protagonist imagined his death this way:

Boy, when you’re dead, they really fix you up. I hope to hell when I do die somebody has sense enough to just dump me in the river or something. Anything except sticking me in a goddam cemetery. People coming and putting a bunch of flowers on your stomach on Sunday, and all that crap. Who wants flowers when you’re dead? Nobody.

So will Salinger be unceremoniously dumped into a nearby river or something? Or will he be memorialized in “a goddam cemetatry” against his wishes?