Charlie Brooker’s 2011 Wipe

To end the year on a fittingly sardonic note, here’s Charlie Brooker’s brilliant take on the past twelve months as darkly viewed through the pop culture lens of a jaded media critic:

If nothing else, you can just skip about half way through the video to enjoy a short documentary gem by Adam Curtis about “how Rupert Murdoch took over the old newspapers of Fleet Street and used them to wage a cultural revolution against the snobbish elites that dominated Britain…”

This short film not only provides a succinctly plausible explanation of the “weird logic” behind the rise of Murdoch’s media empire, but suggests that the same populism once driving the success of its luridly intrusive tabloids has now digitally metastasized itself in the form of… Google.

Rex Murphy’s Year Ender

CBC’s professional curmudgeon offers up his patented barnacle encrusted summary of the year’s events:

Hypothetically, suppose you slept through the entire year of 2011 like a modern-day Rip Van Winkle and then suddenly awoke to watch that demoralizing re-cap… might you not have been quite glad to have missed the whole demoralizing affair resting in comatose slumber?

Fox News Kills Ron Paul

Not literally, of course… but as you can see from nipped and tucked Scientoligist Greta Van Susteren’s year-end look back at the race to become the Republican presidential nominee, there is not ONE single mention of Ron Paul in the entire 7½ minutes of video. Why, it’s as if Fox News made it appear that the garrulous old libertarian coot some predict may actually win next week’s semi-important Iowa caucuses wasn’t even running in the campaign at all!

While it’s a well-established fact to most liberals that Fox News is anything but “fair and balanced” as it cynically claims to be, unfortunately there are still many witless viewers out there who actually consider the network a purveyor of “news” rather than what it really is – a slick propaganda delivery vehicle for the GOP establishment – i.e., vested interests of corporate fascists and the wealthy elite.

Perhaps witnessing the hostile reaction of Fox News to the potentially disruptive candidacy of Ron Paul will disabuse them of the notion that it actually believes in the libertarian ethos, the anti-liberal rhetoric of which it so fiercely spouts whenever it usefully serves advance their purpose; which, in fact, isn’t to destroy government at all, but instead to hold it even more firmly captive and continue utilizing its various powers as a practical means of effectively siphoning off absurd amounts of wealth from the many to an increasingly select few.

Factoid: Just six members of Walmart’s Walton clan are worth as much as the bottom 30 percent of all Americans (90 million people).

Talking to Americans

RT takes to the streets of Manhattan in their own little “Jay Walking” segment to quiz “average” Americans about the world around them…

The results are predictably appalling, but before getting too smug, they likely wouldn’t be that much different if this informal survey of incurious knownothings was taken on the streets of Toronto or elsewhere in Canada.

Frank Luntz: Xmas C-SPAN

Brilliantly evil wordsmith, Republican pollster and Fred Flintstone look-alike Frank Luntz holds forth on C-SPAN’s Christmas program about the current state of politics in America. (It’s kind of sad… but Frank isn’t married and says “my family is all gone now” which may account for the fact that he’s appeared on C-SPAN every Christmas Day for the past 9 years!)

Not much that’s terribly new or interesting here, to be frank (heh), although his disparaging remarks about the toxic demeanour of Ron Paul’s core of fanatical supporters will doubtless raise the hateful ire of that disaffected group of kooks and deranged libertarian malcontents.

Faux Wingnut Outrage: Xmas Edition

Former half-term Alaska Governor, wannabe celebrity, and brain-addled Fox News “analyst” Sarah Palin thinks the Obama White House’s official greeting card is “odd” because it fails to adequately highlight traditions like “family, faith and freedom.”

Evidently, Palin speaks for many rabid right-wing Obama haters out there… at least insofar as being shamelessly petty, hypocritical, and completely fucking ignorant.

Feliz Navidad

Beware the seemingly harmless fantasies you create – for you may come to regret them later. That seems to be the message of this intriguing short film by Alberto González Vázquez concerning a debate between a father and son about the existence of Santa Claus.

Warning: It’s in Spanish and so the dialog goes at a rapid clip, thereby making it somewhat challenging at times to keep up with the subtitles, so give it another run-through if necessary… it’s worth the effort. And for best effect, hit the full-screen mode on the clip.

To all my readers and most especially the good folks that elect to comment here on occasion, let me take this opportunity to wish you a very Merry Christmas (or whatever holiday you celebrate at this time of the year).

Great American Debate (With a Poll!)

Hard to believe that’s not necessarily an oxymoronic construction, I know, despite the terminology having been debased by countless so-called “debates” as part of the contrived circus/televised horse-race that is the primary political process in the USA.

This past weekend, ABC News staged an ideological face-off, ostensibly about the proper role of government in people’s lives, between conservative columnist George Will and Republican congressman Paul Ryan on the one hand and liberal economist Robert Reich and retiring Democrat congressman Barney Frank on the other. The results were… at times, surprisingly interesting.

If you have the patience to sit through the whole thing (despite the multiple videos, it’s not actually that long), take a moment to cast a vote in the following poll as to who you think/feel “won” the debate:


Ex-Dear Leader Hysteria

I tweeted this earlier in the day, but the scenes just keep replaying though my head with annoying frequency for some disturbing reason. In one respect, it’s difficult not to simply scoff at the ridiculous demonstrations of hysterical “grief” over the death of the demented little totalitarian freak that was Kim Kim Jong-il. At the same time, however, it’s also a truly horrifying expression of the depraved effects a lifetime of being subjected to state propaganda and systemic intellectual repression can have on people.

And now the North Koreans have a “Great Successor” to carry on the mantle of this deeply bizarre, quasi-religious, communist regime. Interesting days ahead…

So Long, Hitch

Christopher Hitchens died yesterday. His voice will be missed tremendously, maybe even grudgingly by some of those with whom he disagreed so vehemently about many things, not least of which, of course, the non-greatness of God.

Just last week, Hitchens spoke at the Freethought Convention in Houston, TX, therefore making it his last public appearance. Perhaps realizing how imminently close at hand death was, the superbly eloquent introduction by Richard Dawkins prior to giving Hitchens the “Freethinker of the Year” award (a Nautiloid cephalopod from the Devonian era, funnily enough) also serves as a most fitting memoriam to a marvelously erudite writer, engaging raconteur, and brilliant polemicist.

Previews of his final interview with Richard Dawkins in the New Statesman can be found here and here. Fora TV has compiled a video tribute to Hitchens from its archives.