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Friday, April 23, 2004

WIMPS, HEROES, THUGS 

SHOW SOME SPINE

Just when you want to believe that a vote for John Kerry is more than just a vote against George II, his cluelessness on the economy and the botching of the Iraqi occupation, you get this kind of spineless Clintonian dribble running down the chin of the Democratic challenger.

If Kerry had said yes, I have an SUV I actually use for my mountain retreat, that would have made perfect sense. But no, he has to stroke the ridicuous sensitivity of a minority of voters and ends up looking like a disengenous wimp.

ALL SPINE
The next time you hear or read the term 'hero' fatuously applied to a professional athlete making millions and living a life that could only be lived in a free society, please email or call that publication, station, etc. to remind them that they are disgracing the memory of this man and many others.


SPINELESS

Wonder why none of the radical Islamic clerics calling for suicide attacks ever volunteer to set a shining example for their followers? Muqtada al-Sadr, the Iraqi version of the Abomniable Snowmonster is threatening to have other people blow themselves up in order to retain a political stronghold for himself.

I think I know the problem with this chronically angry Shiite. Take a look at this picture of al-Sadr and compare it to the above link featuring the character from the Christmas classic , "Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer". You will notice that our Iraqi holy man is dentally challenged in much the same way as the Snowmonster. If you remember, once the Snowmonster was provided some first class dental care from Hermey, the elf turned DDS, he immediately mended his angry ways. I suggest we get al-Sadr a good dentist, stat. And if it doesn't work out that his problem is tooth related, we can take comfort in knowing that a homing device was planted in a new filling.




Wednesday, April 21, 2004

DON'T GET HUNG UP ON A NON-ISSUE 

For a stale and predictable take on race relations in the US, read SF Gate columnist Emil Guillermo’s series of articles on William Hung, the UC Berkeley engineering student who has parlayed his thorough lack of musical talent to successfully launch an anti-career. (As goes racism, who came up with the subtitle for the 2nd article, "Hung as Buckwheat"?) Guillermo believes that the “singer’s” popularity is the result of an insidious racism that finds comfort in the buck-toothed, accented Chinese stereotype of pre-enlightened America. I think Mr. Hung is smarter than Mr. Guillermo gives him credit for and has the check stubs to prove it. (Or has Guillermo’s actually bought into the paternalistic notion Asians aren't smart enough to understand the cultural landscape?)

Guillermo is protective of his credentials as a member in good standing of the San Francisco thought police (motto: ‘I’m Smart, You’re Not, Case Closed’) and in typically sanctimonious fashion upbraids those who disagree with his assessment that Hung’s popularity is actually racism disguised as adoration. “When I linked race with the rise of Hung, I hit a nerve, one that reveals how people are so unaware of racism that when it roots itself in something seemingly innocuous, it moves through the culture like some stealth bacteria.” (Wow, there are strains of bacteria that can be detected by radar?) Apparently, Emil has not been let in on the little joke here - or maybe he spends all of his time detecting stealth racism and doesn’t know a joke when he sees one.

Hung is that occasional pop phenom who springs out of nowhere and just as quickly returns. He is one part pet rock and one part Tiny-Tim, who has no singing or performing talent yet, made a conscious decision to display his shortcomings on the country’s favorite stage for schadenfreude, FOX-TV’s ‘American Idol’. “Idol” sells itself as a talent show where new singers and performers compete for the hearts and minds of a panel of judges and ultimately, the American public. But its producers know that to succeed with an audience these shows must be exercises in sadism as well as masochism, and wisely incorporated that old standby of American entertainment, the human train wreck, into the proceedings. Occasionally, a truly awful contestant (see Wm. Hung) is brought forward and thrown to a nasty group of judges who ‘entertain’ by ridiculing and humiliating the performer; when the bloodlust is sated, the show moves on to any other number of mutton dressed as lamb.

This Berkeley engineer managed to do what others could not or would not; be so bad that the void of obscurity wouldn’t have him, at least not yet, and spit him back onto center stage. His non-performance resonated with people who saw a guy laughing at himself and letting others in on the fun – I think it’s called self deprecation and it is been scientifically proven to be missing from the genetic make-up of the politically correct.

Hung’s post-‘Idol’popularity is not so much racism as it is deconstruction. First, he knows he is abysmal and is proud of the fact; so proud that he is willing to face national television audiences with countless examples of his ineptitude. The public gets the joke, and applauds his entrepreneurial spirit - Emil Guillermo does not. To Guillermo’s point, of course there are people who laugh at Hung because they see a ‘Chinaman’ rendering a 21st Century Charlie Chan impression. These dolts also believe in alien anal probes, male enhancement pills, Dionne Warwick and the Psychic Network, wrestling is on the up and up and Dick Cheney was made CEO of Halliburton because he was a great business manager. So what? Like the poor, they will be with us always.

Second, Hung has brilliantly reminded us what 99% of pop culture and especially music is all about and it ain’t about talent. Pop culture is an industry. Success and popularity are manufactured by MBAs using psychographic profiles of what appeals to the 15 to 25 crowd, talent scouts find fame starved individual(s) around which a ‘brand’ can be created, and massive PR machines saturate the media with stories about their product. Hung is the ultimate manufactured star/celebrity—no talent, no sex appeal, no trust fund parents. No problem, Hung is cashing sizable checks.

Guillermo wants to believe that racism, ignorance and intolerance lurk behind all we do and are as a society because it conveniently provides an explanation for the world’s ills and a target for some righteous indignation- that is his prerogative. And there is no real argument that this three headed monster lives among us daily and should be attacked when appropriate. But moral indignation is a precious and limited commodity. Use it too often and you are seen as opportunistic. Use it improperly and you damage its credibility.

William Hung doesn’t need your help, he’s doing just ‘She Bang”, thank you.

UN = MO MONEY, MO MONEY, MO MONEY 

The United Nations: bastion of multilateralism, diplomacy, good works, fair play and all that's right in the world.

Oh, I almost forgot: ground zero for corrupt, exploitive, disingenuous, underhanded manipulation of world events for profit.

Memo to leftist loons: it's human behavior, dummies!! Not ideology.

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