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Saturday, June 19, 2004

HUMOR CRISIS 

I'm not sure why it's taken me so long make this discovery, but the puniest section in the local mega-bookstore is one that by all accounts should be the largest. Take a look next time you are browsing in your local bookseller; the amount of shelf space devoted to 'Humor' isn't large enough to raise a herd of dust mites. Yet, we have more raw material for manufacturing laughter than ever; and unlike oil, we won't be running out of absurdity and stupidity anytime in the near future.

This week alone featured Dan Rather comparing Bill Clinton's memoirs to that of U.S Grant, a report from the 9/11 Commission concluding Saddam and Osama didn't work together on the attack (no matter how often Dick Cheney keeps repeating it to himself), the Lakers getting the crap beat out of them in the NBA Finals, Ray Bradbury telling Michael Moore to knock it off with the use of "Fahrenheit 9/11" as the title of his new movie, Madonna signalling she wants to be known as Esther and Ronald Reagan remaining dead. We live in a world fueled by surrealism and populated by people with cheese cloth for brains. 'Humor' should easily take up two floors on its own.

Instead, it occupies the smallest amount of shelf space in the store, and even then, half of what's for sale is about as funny as a month's worth of Garfield cartoons. The fact that 1/3 of the titles are Garfield books may have something to do with this. The other third of worthless fireplace kindling is either inoffensive blather penned by a sit-com star who is an absolute laugh riot because his network promos tell us so; or a topical piece that subjects one lonely idea to parody and beats it into insomnia curing boredom by the end of the first chapter.

So, why it this the case? How is it that America is more inclined to peruse three aisles of cooking books, or five aisles of self improvement suggestions, or twenty-shelves of how to get the abs, thighs and glutes of a twenty-two year old? (Hint, date a twenty-two year old) Is there a glut of laughs on the market I don't know about? Are we drowning in laughter and I'm stuck in my stateroom? Chances are that with more and better humor books we wouldn't need to seek advice in hardcover titles and we might be more inclined to date people our own age.


Americans probably have more sex on a daily basis than they do chuckles. And just try making yourself laugh - it's a hell of a lot harder than giving yourself an orgasm. Maybe the sex we do have is so hilarious, there's no reason to look for amusement outside the bedroom.

Maybe humor via writing is dead in an age where masturbating into a pie is high comedy at the movies, and sit-coms recycle washed up personalitites who happen to share a surname with a more talented sibling. Perhaps, there is too much effort in reading for laughter, especially when the laugh track can conveniently cue you in on what's funny.

I do know that there isn't much humor in most bookstores, and that might be a clue as to why we take ourselves so seriously.


Sunday, June 13, 2004

VARIOUS & SUNDAY 

If you want to hear something soulful, check out Ray Charles' sublime 'Eleanor Rigby'. Something tells me that I'll be hearing more Ray Charles and a helluva lot less Ronald Reagan the rest of my life -- and none too soon. Although everytime I smell a homeless person on the streets, I will think of St Ron's evisceration of mental healthcare in the US.



If you are more interested in the never ending self promotion of a total fraud, check out Michael Moore's latest hypocrisy. Moore takes the Scott Ritter position on his knowledge of Abu Ghraib. Ritter is the former weapon's inspector who decided not to go public with his first hand knowledge of an Iraqi prison for children because he was more interested in "waging peace"( See 8th question/answer).

Moore says he had video of abuses at Abu Ghraib '...months before the story broke on '60 Minutes,' and I really struggled with what to do with it,'' Moore said in a telephone interview with The Chronicle. "I wanted to come out with it sooner, but I thought I'd be accused of just putting this out for publicity for my movie. That prevented me from making maybe the right decision.'

Since when has generating publicity for his capitalist enterprises ever been a problem, under any circumstance? He just made a big stink over his largesse in sending the family of Nick Berg footage of their late relative. He didn't have to send out a press release on that, but he did. Moore's wrestling match with his conscience lasted about three second on both issues, or long enough to determine the cost benefit ratio was in in his favor.

It's obvious Moore hoped to drop a big publicity bomb right before the movie hit theatres. Whoops, someone beat him to it and far ahead of the premiere. Being the grand spinmeister of all things loopy & lefty, Moore has to explain his negligence to the faithful and surprisingly enough, it had nothing to do with St. Michael and everthing to do with his enemies. What a sleaze.

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