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Friday, March 05, 2004

GENTLEMEN, WE GOT HER!!!! 

From Monty Python and the Holy Grail

BEDEVER

Why do you think she is a witch?

SECOND VILLAGER
She turned me into a newt.

BEDEVERE
A newt?

SECOND VILLAGER
(After looking at himself for some time)
I got better.

ALL
Burn her anyway.

BEDEVERE
Quiet! Quiet! There are ways of telling whether she is a witch.


ALL
There are? Tell up. What are they, wise Sir Bedevere?

BEDEVERE
Tell me ... what do you do with witches?

ALL
Burn them.

BEDEVERE
And what do you burn, apart from witches?

FOURTH VILLAGER
... Wood?

BEDEVERE
So why do witches burn?

SECOND VILLAGER

... Because they're made of wood...?


I half expected Paul Bremer to make the announcement in a room full of Wal-Mart executives who would burst into tears and chant death to Martha.

This is a banner day in American justice, folks; proving once more that CEO's shouldn't get caught playing footsy with stock tips. Otherwise, the Justice Department will require a deposition and the captain of industry will do what he always does when questioned about his integrity - lie. In this case, she lied. (How the hell do you think they got to be CEO's in the first place?) If you are a well known, successful woman with a reputation for being tough, aggressive and a bit of a shrew and the Department of Justice needs a high profile win to cover up its lackadaisical prosecution of more important breeches of public trust, then you can bet that Mr. Ashcroft has a box of matches and can of gasoline at the ready.

What the doyenne of doilies made in dumping the ImClone stock was probably a year's worth of candles, potpourri and holiday stationary to her. Stewart was stupid to cover it up and she deserves her fate, but this whole episode is hardly worthy of the attention it has garnered. Ashcroft found the perfect target: Female, filthy rich, and someone whose fortune had been founded on celebrity. Smartly enough, he turned the klieg lights on Stewart and used the magnifying glass of media frenzy and public opinion to kindle the auto de fe.

But Martha Stewart didn't create a house of lies and accounting fabrications that cost thousands of people their retirement savings. (In fact she created a very successful enterprise that has with the exception of some concerns about sweatshop labor, has been free of controversy) She didn't publicly tout a stock for her investment firm's benefit while cynically writing emails declaring the investment to be fecal matter. She didn't donate a couple of million to the 92nd Street Y's pre-school program as a bribe for a favorable analyst call on a stock that meant millions to her company. Yet it's Martha Stewart who has a sentencing date for June.

Nothing was going to save her from being made an example by the Justice Department. Mr. Ashcroft wanted a high profile head to raise on a pike. He has Patriot Act II to defend while Bush's buddies from Enron remain unprosecuted; Cheney's Halliburton stiffs American soldiers in Iraqi commissaries and takes a wrist slap, Russian mobsters run around West LA throwing $100 bills around like Mardi Gras beads. When courage and conviction fail, get a good fall guy, better yet, a fall gal.

The Ashcroft Justice Department had to make an example of someone this election year and the easy choice was a celebrity FEMALE executive with a reputation as a shrew; in short, she had it coming. This is a Attorney General short on courage, long on self rightousness and adept at politicizing his department who routinely fails to promote the public safety while pretending to defend it from terror.

Unlike Bedever, we aren't getting better.











Sunday, February 29, 2004

COME ALL YOU FAITHFUL 

It's the highest of all holy days for America's unofficial religion - The First Church of Celebrity Worship.


The self absorbed, self obsessed priests of public relations have been performing their mysterious backscratching rituals day and night in preparation for this evening's High Mass of Mass Hokum.

The faithful have been dutifully soaking up any and all sermons delivered from the church's daily and weekly mouthpieces: People, US, Entertainment Weekly, Entertainment Tonight, CBS, ABC, NBC, CNN etc.

Millions of the willingly gullible will tune in in the belief they are witnesssing a celebration of the critical merit of filmaking. They will dream of being glamorous, rich, famous and worshipped by their peers; they will have the sins of their dull existence washed away for the moment and will view the winners as truly deserving; it was a vote of their peers, wasn't it?

The priests will glory in their ability to manipulate on such a wide scale. A few awards will be delivered that reflect true merit, but only enough to manufacture a sense of legitimacy. For the most part money has already decided who get's the trophies; it's the trophy that that will drive the faithful back to the house of worship at $9.00 a ticket. The trophy will cue the faithful as to what to watch and what to buy. (This year will be an excepton. Money and true movie greatness in The Lord of The Rings simplify a voter's ballot).




The priests have sold the indulgences, the ceremony will guarantee a financial paradise for their buyers.


And this is just the world of entertainment---we still have an election to be paid for.

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