Monday, June 29, 2009

Glenn Beck Literally Plays with Dolls

At what point does it start being scary for everyone that a headline like that is immediately believable? It's true, but there are probably still a few scattered millions who would look at it and think, "Naaah, that's gotta be some kind of joke." With each passing week, the few remaining Glenn Beck headlines that would cause me to feel doubt about their veracity get stricken from the list. I think all I've got left are:

Beck Eats Live Frog on TV to Illustrate Lesson About Federal Reserve

Beck Dresses in Waitress Garb Like Sookie Stackhouse,
Reads Founding Fathers' Minds for 1 Hour

Beck's Tear Ducts Secrete Raw Cookie Dough;
'Strains of Job Taking Their Toll House,' Say Doctors

and

Beck Behaves Like Normal Goddamn Human Being for 15 Minutes

The last one — it's the last one that's never coming off my list.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Guest Column: 'Transformers' Racist?

Note: we, the good people of Et tu, Mr. Destructo?, like to broaden our coverage of the national discourse by occasionally turning to voices and viewpoints not represented by our regular contributors. To discuss recent cinema, we turn to Netflix.com's most prolific user-reviewer, Sound.Wav. He divides his time between his two jobs as a tech writer and as a moderator at the website Television Without Pity.


'Transformers 2' Shows Us How Little We Transform Ourselves
by SOUND.WAV

I am not an avid filmgoer when it comes to showing up in the theaters. I abhor the expense—really, six dollars for popcorn? do I look like Cornelius Vanderbilt?—the discomfort from insufficiently capacious seats, the jeers from those who prefer I do not stand up during the screening to avail myself of the free refill on the most voluminous beverage option I've purchased.

Most of all, I abhor the attack on my senses from a movie that has no regard for one, let alone five of them. Yes, indeed, I can smell a stinker from the opening theme music; the want of taste makes my face contort, and remaining untouched by narrative leaves me as cold as returning home to my apartment.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Baseball Morons: A New Challenger Has Entered the Ring!

Any time you've got Tim McCarver and Joe Morgan calling games on a Saturday and Sunday, you have to be a potently stupid bastard to win the distinction of biggest baseball idiot of the weekend. But, hey, let it be said from here on out: anyone who underestimates Thom Brenneman has no one to blame but himself.

There was something unsettlingly familiar about hearing Brenneman on Saturday, calling the Rays-Mets game with McCarver. Maybe it's that Brenneman is now famously incompetent, netting his own post label at Awful Announcing. Maybe it was his legendarily terrible commentary during this year's BCS Championship Game, which I suspect I would have remembered more if a drunk hadn't obliterated my neighbor's brick mailbox with a Chevy Malibu during halftime. Or maybe it was just the soothing noise of Tim McCarver being stupid next to someone generic, undertalented and wedged into the booth with the full force of papa's influence. That explanation seems most fitting of all. Like Joe Buck, Thom Brenneman was born on third base and thinks he hit a triple: he got his start calling Cincinnati Reds games in the booth with his daddy.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

CNN International: Cavalcade of Porn and Snuff

by KIM JONG-IL

Yeah, so when you live overseas, you suffer through whatever cable system or dish you can. There's usually some package of Western channels, a paltry 10-12 compilation deals with generic names like SuperDrama or MoviePlus. It's wholly inadequate.

Yes, I have access to old, subtitled episodes of Chicago Hope and Buffy the Vampire Slayer, but how am I supposed to stay current with the snarky gossip on Gawker unless I have ample and free access to The Hills or Brooke Knows Best or the survival show that has that wife of the disgraced governor and those people from The Hills? See? I don't even have the basic knowledge to begin my approbation of modern entertainment that I watch only in the most ironical of terms. My stock of popular culture reference points grows ever staler, and soon I'll have no more breadth than the hackneyed 80s and 90s touchstones that comprise the whole imagination library of the Family Guy writers. That's right, I burned Family Guy; I'm not afraid. That show's still on, right?

Thursday, June 18, 2009

What's that smell? I think it's GOATSE and HOOBASTANK

You'd have to have absolutely zero presence on Web2.0 these days — or, as I like to call it, "living in your luddite hole" — to not know what's been going on in Iran. Simply put, either leading mullahs or president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad stuffed ballot boxes and manipulated the vote, resulting in his reelection, sweeping electoral fraudulence, and millions of Iranian citizens taking to the streets to champion reformist candidate Mir Hussein Moussavi.

The response from government forces has been swift and brutal. People are being beaten on the streets by the moral police, the secret police and the regular police. They're being beaten by people who aren't even police. Meanwhile, others are being kidnapped, driven out of buildings and harassed into silence. The only way we know this, the only way we know anything important anymore these days, is because of Twitter.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

"Hey, dad?" *sniff* "Wanna catch ... more market share for a billion-dollar beer conglomerate using images of you now that you're dead?"

This is a real Budweiser commercial. Barring any errors, this is a verbatim transcript. This is also a bit disgusting to me because Jack Buck once gave me — a perfect stranger — two free tickets to see the Giants host the A's at the resumed Game Three of the 1989 World Series. He could have sold those tickets or given them away to anyone, greased some wheels or paid-forward a favor. Instead, he did something unmaterialistic and incredibly sweetly generous so a little kid could see his favorite team play an unforgettable ballgame.

Also, for the purposes of understanding this post, please bear in mind two things:

1. Joe Buck is the son of legendary Cardinals announcer Jack Buck. This is why Joe Buck has a job — an open secret acknowledged almost universally on sports blogs and message boards and even alluded to by other, better announcers. His talents run the gamut from intolerable to tolerable. He's admitted in the past that baseball bores him, and this horrible attitude shines through. The delivery he uses for a double-play or a clutch hit is wooden and disinterested compared to the exhilarating vim with which he reads off mandatory ad copy or FOX announcements.

2. Jack Buck is dead.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

An American Nazi and the Rhetoric That Welcomed Him

Shortly after one p.m. yesterday, Twitter became useful. I got a beep on my phone and, thinking it was another observation about how good lunches are, was surprised to see a condensed txt-spelled Web2.0 notice: "Shots at Holocaust Museum." From there, I went to a couple of websites and message boards and began compulsively refreshing, joining in Google searches and sending in email tips.

I'd like to tell you a story about that — about how a handful of Google searches and grassroots reporting pointed up the tacit complicity of the soi-disant liberal media in the creation of and reporting on an American Nazi, and how their toleration, inattention or cowardice creates a national discourse that increasingly imports militant fringe rhetoric that demonizes millions of Americans.

___________________


TIMELINE

1:00 p.m.
An 88-year-old American WWII veteran who styles himself James von Brunn tries to enter the Washington, DC, Holocaust Memorial Museum. When he's seen with a suspicious bag, he withdraws a .22-caliber rifle, shoots and kills an African-American security guard named Stephen T. Johns. Shortly thereafter, other security guards shoot and wound von Brunn.


1:00 - 2:00 p.m.
FOX News begins its coverage with a crawl that suggests the event is an act of terrorism. On-air personalities speculate about whether the shooter is a radical muslim. Talk flows to liberal permissiveness and moral relativism.
Von Brunn's name and evidence of his whiteness are released. Shortly thereafter, FOX's crawl re-brands the event as a "shooting" and on-air personalities drop discussion of domestic terrorism.
Google searches turn up von Brunn's popularity (going back years) on Stormfront.org, the nation's largest white supremacy website.
Searches of the Internet Archive's Wayback Machine reveal hundreds of entries on a site called HolyWesternEmpire.org, to which von Brunn seemed to be the sole contributor.
Von Brunn's website includes this brief biography (emphases mine):
In 1981 von Brunn attempted to place the treasonous Federal Reserve Board of Governors under legal, non-violent, citizens arrest. He was tried in a Washington, D.C. Superior Court; convicted by a Negro jury, Jew/Negro attorneys, and sentenced to prison for eleven years by a Jew judge. A Jew/Negro/White Court of Appeals denied his appeal.
The denial probably stemmed from the fact that von Brunn's legal, non-violent citizen's arrest involved his attempting to hold the Fed board hostage with a hunting knife, a revolver and a sawed-off shotgun. Even during his incarceration, he refused to temper his story, sending this racist and deranged appeal for a pardon to then Naval Secretary Jim Webb.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Sarah Palin Doesn't Get Jokes

Normally I don't like going for fruit that hangs this low, but I love Sarah Palin. I've pre-ordered every porn film she's been in; I still say "MAAAAVRICK" pretty much whenever applicable, and when people offer me things, I officiously say, "Thanks, but no thanks," then take whatever it is anyway. So you can imagine how I felt when I saw this article in Politico.

It goes on way too long for the subject, so let me break it down for you. People who host late-night talk shows usually have to make topical jokes. They usually aren't funny, because they aim at the lowest common denominator and at offending as few as possible while still skewering topics and people the audience is already sick of hearing about. So usually they're terrible, and they get by only with the eyerolling "heeeeyyyyyy" comments, spastic mugging or sudden character ad-libs. The process of excusing the gags is better than the gags themselves, but there's no way to transcribe it. What you're left with are the arch groaners.

Like the following, below. Everyone gets that these are supposed to be bad and really mean nothing. Everyone, apparently, except for Sarah Palin. It'd be funnier if her completely not getting it weren't pretty much par for the course. As it is, it's kind of familiar and, well, folksy — once you get past the fact that millions of Americans wanted to give her and her running mate C. Montgomery Burns access to the nuclear codes.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

I Saw Barack Obama with the Devil

Note: unlike many of the other guest pieces on Et Tu, Mr. Destructo? today's editorial response comes from a mysterious Mr. Awesome, a current law student who is not a pundit. He is an actual, real person. We hope he will be sending in more of these in the future.

Frank J. Gaffney Jr. is the president of the Center for Security Policy, and he knows which way the wind blows. And right now, the wind blows east, to Mecca. (Provided you are in America. If you are not in America, please disregard the wind.) Gaffney has smelt a wind and knows it to be dealt by our President, Barack Hussein Obama. The wind is Islamic theocracy. And we stand before a fast approaching windfall, unknowing legatees, drawn down to Sharia rule.

Frank J. Gaffney Jr. can tell we are in really bad shape. Let's ride with him on the southbound night train, on down the line to the horrible truth.

Friday, June 5, 2009

The Drunken Bro-Face of 21st Century Zionism Calls out Obama

"Fuckhead."
"Faggot."
"White power, fuck the niggers."
"He deserves to get shot."
"We're not gonna take any Nazi bullshit."
"All I gotta say is I want pussy."


"Oh, he's a muslim for sure, and who knows if he was even born in the United States. We haven't seen his birth certificate yet. Bullshit! He's not from the US. He's, like, a terrorist.... I'm a political science major so, like—"
"So you know your shit."
"I know my shit."
"Do you know who Benjamin Netanyahu is?"
"No.... I don't know who he is. Who's Benjamin Yahoo?"

Thursday, June 4, 2009

MLB Tonight: Glenn Beck Deconstructed

"I'm terrible with sports."

One wonders why Glenn Beck bothered with the preposition and direct object at all. He uses the fact that Sonia Sotomayor once issued an injunction that ended the 1994 Major League Baseball strike as an excuse to try his hand at extended sports analogy, while analyzing anything that occurs to him. It's the same sort of word salad that ensues when you take the elderly out of hospice care for the day and they editorialize about every thing they see outside the car. Only in this case the person who shits himself and operates barely above a signals-recognition level has the second-highest rated cable opinion show.

I'm not even sure why he writes. The pieces are too short to make a point, let alone five. If they're an advertisement for his ad-libbing on TV, they're remarkably faithful to the content but misguided as brainbait. I suppose these things could just be the 30-second homily that ends his show, or he could legitimately be blogging these things intentionally. That seems hard to swallow, though, because of the the last two dramatically carriage-returned microparagraphs in his piece from May 27 (emphases mine):
In honor of President Obama's new Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor, who saved the world by ending the Major League Baseball strike of 1994, I'd like to end with a little baseball analogy.

(I'm terrible with sports, so bear with me.)

Our government needs to keep their eye on the ball when nominating Supreme Court justices. We shouldn't be looking for someone who shows "empathy." Making decisions based on empathy is a violation of the Supreme Court justice's oath and it would lead to some horrible legal decisions based on feeling, not law.

We need China to stand up to the screwballs in North Korea and Iran over nuclear weapons and we need them to buy our debt. In other words, China holds the key to our economic and military future, so why are we talking to them about global warming?

And finally, the gay marriage debate in California: Instead of focusing on this as a states' rights issue, we are making a huge error by looking to international courts to form opinions.

Right now, it's the bottom of the ninth and we are down to our last out and our last strike.

Will our government take strike three looking? Or, will they wake up and save the day with a heroic three pointer on a penalty shot?
It's just a fuckup of such majesty that I literally cannot deal with it. I don't have the brainpower to navigate these kinds of mixed metaphors. Reading this is like doing one of those children's mazes on a McDonald's placemat, only no matter where you turn your pen, someone punches you in the fucking face. Your brain slams against the inside of your skull trying to process it. You get concussed.

Because I can't deal with that, I thought I'd turn to two people who didn't have that kind of problem, two men who really know their way around both punditry and the sports metaphor. Please welcome our guest analysts, Hall of Fame second baseman for the Cincinnati Reds' "Big Red Machine" and host of ESPN's Sunday Night Baseball, Joe Morgan; and former catcher for the St. Louis Cardinals and host of FOX MLB Saturday and The Tim McCarver Show, Tim McCarver.

___________________

See that's the thing. Glenn Beck gets it. As a ballplayer, as a pundit, it's times like this in life that you've just got to dig in, hunker down in the trenches and step lively. The dustoff pitch might be coming, but when it does you've got to dust yourself off and be ready to do the little things, make the sacrifice and swing for those fences. Keep your eyes on the prize and the ball. The left eye doesn't see what the right eye is doing.


You know, he's a real hard-nosed and small-ball and rough-'n'-tumble scrappy player, Glenn Beck is. This is going to surprise you, but the person he reminds me most of is David Eckstein. Believe it. Really scrappy, small guy, tries hard, albino, cries a lot but they're tears that wet down the infield and keep the dust down. Glenn Beck is a cry-hard hitter, because he hits cries a ton and doesn't back down.


I know what you mean, Tim. I do. I believe in saying what you said. You look at Glenn Beck and his tears are something that don't show up in the statistics. There's no crying statistic in baseball and there shouldn't be, because you can literally tell a computer or a robot to cry and they have to because you programmed them to do it, which is actually what makes them explode, because they're electrical. But David Eckstein—and Glenn Beck, I mean—is a machine. Not a Big Red Machine, like I played on, but a crying machine. He really makes Team America better because he pulls them up by their heartstrings.


That is what I have meant for a long time, Joe. You can't look at the box score and talk about tearing up the way Glenn Beck does it, because the box score doesn't talk about crying, doesn't talk about how he's willing to look America in the eyes, in those calm eyes he has. The box score doesn't talk at all. They're just printed words. You have to get a person to say them out loud, and you can't hear a person from a basement. But when you hear them said, you have to read between the lines and examine the fine print. You know what's printed there, in the mind's eye?—heart.


I'm reminded of that movie about the women's baseball team. Remember that one? Starred Tom Hanks, who was in Big. In Big, he put a quarter into a machine and made a wish and became an adult and he learned something about being an adult and a child. I love that movie because he learned to work harder, to get from first to second—in life. You know who sometimes looks a little bit like Tom Hanks? My friend Dave Concepción.


Glenn Beck's got a babyface, but you know who else did? Don Drysdale. Don Drysdale used to say that he had a big babyface. That's what the other teams used to call him, Big Baby Drysdale. They say he sharted once into second base in the 1963 World Series but was called out on interference for being too adorable. Classic case of throwing out the baby with the baserunner before the barn door could come home to roost like a prodigal wolf in sheep's clothing.



Not afraid to get a l'il dirty. That's how you play the game right. Gritty. Shitty.




I'm sure the jukebox jackdaws and the statistics nabobs will tell you that sharting into the bases results in a 3% reduction in headfirst slides, but not when Charlie Hustle was playing. He didn't care if he had just stolen second and laid down a hershey highway coming into the bag. That's the kind of player he was. Hard-nosed and head first and that's what really inspires a team — that and crying.


I had the chance to play with him on the Big Red Machine with him and Davey Concepción, and I have to say, I think it made him faster. He launched like a bat out of hell into the wild second yonder like a rocket from the crypt, and you could tell when he felt the need for that speed he would sometimes show up at second base before the pitch was made to home, and the pitcher just didn't know what to do because you can't go home again.


Did I ever tell you about the time Whitey Herzog and I were in a Cadillac and thought we saw a portal opening up to the steaming feculent maw of Hell? We were so drunk — this was back when you could be drunk on the road as a ballplayer, not like now, when you have to do more training — I tried to drive into it because I thought I could destroy The Devil with Detroit steel. I couldn't, it was a roadside callbox, but that's especially true today. Right now the two devils are socialism and statistics, because they say the devil is in the details and in his bargains. Right now we're replacing our steel resolve with a weak hand that we've dealt ourselves into a corner. The only thing that can break us out is hustle.


Speaking of hustling, I think Beck makes a good point there about getting gay sex and sex before gay marriage. I think about gay marriage as like the infield fly rule, when you have a man on first or second and then another MAN comes up to bat, he either has to get a new base or he's called out. Unless he's really committed to that new base, and it's a woman base, and that's why they don't have that rule in softball.


Gay marriage is gay marriage, and straight marriage is straight marriage. I don't think anyone believes that gay marriage is the same as straight marriage. California isn't going to call straight gay or gay straight, and it's going to be fine. You're not going to see any lifestyle more taxing to live than an another.


That's where you're wrong. I think that—I think taxes are like the sacrifice fly. I think you've got to take yourself out of the game a little, but it lets the team win. But you can't get over the top of the ball. You've got to go deep. No one ever paid an estate tax taking a walk. Is there such a thing as On-Tax Percentage? No. You try walking in a tax. Rich people do all the little things. Go from first to third on a single. Steal. To be honest, most rich people remind me of my friend Dave Concepción.


When the Game of Life gets confusing like this, a lot of the times you'll see a player call for time in this situation, which is funny, because of course they can't stop time. Some have theorized there may be beings who can experience the whole timeline all at once, like seeing the ninth inning at the same time as the first and thinking they exist at the same time. That would be a VERY confusing way of looking at a ballgame, but I think if anyone could handle it, it'd be Bob Uecker. Speaking of Bob reminds me of a TV series called Out of This World, about a girl who could stop time. Amazing fact about that: the concept was revisited recently in the movie Clockstoppers. Which was directed by Johnathan Frakes.



Commander Riker.




Yes! Who I believe used radiation from the Duane Kuiper belt to accomplish that effect in the movie. Of course, it could harm the brain waves of the actors, making them erratic. That would be very similar to what happened to Joe Theismann, when he killed that guy.



Shhhh. I'm Billy Beane. I'm wearing Joe Morgan's skin like a suit. I get pulled over all the fucking time now.




Reminiscent of the movie Dragon Hannibal.




You can't tell me how much that movie made at the box office. It FELT real. To me. To Me as Him. The world he saw around him was imperfect. He saw the game — America's game — broken in two. Rogers Hornsby, greatest second baseman of all time, and he knew he was a racist, that that wasn't the way it is and that things didn't have to be the same, and he had to unite them, the Two Americas. He devoured the evil of The Other in Blake's vision. He became The Dragon. He had to father and give birth to himself. Self-Concepción. He became the Big Red Machine.


I disagree, Joe. There aren't Two Americas. You can split anything with numbers, but we're a whole. Three-hundred years ago a beautiful negress knelt at a crossroads outside New Orleans and wept to the night sky as she held a single rose close to her bosom, vowing to catch in it moonlight as it fell to earth like celestial nectar. Later she drank from it a tonic of her own tears and the night's gentle dew. Near her, in the brush, stood an Indian chief transfixed by her visage, who eventually girded himself to bring her another rose sweetened by the contents of a found honeycomb. The two later married and the child they bore was the first of generations of a tribe that eventually sired me, The St. Louis Cardinals.


Fuck math, fuck numbers, fuck everything. I want to drink blood. I want cum, piss, shit. I want to fill my pants with my piss and squib down a child's playground slide and fire out of it like a lubricated golf ball going *PUH* and launching out a whore's ass. Fuck truth, fuck a flag, stick your dick in a terrarium and fuck a whole microecology, fuck this gay Earth. I will EAT it. I will cut open a still-living bird and put my face inside it and try to snort out its fucking life essence. This is why I should represent YOU as Alameda County Supervisor of Elections.


Thanks to e-crony Rigamarock, who wrote about a third of the chat bits (the bad parts).

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Your One-Stop Torture Shop

By now, unless you live in a hole, you probably realize that the United States tortured people. Unless you have your head up your ass, you also realize that this is an ineffective, inhumane and inexcusable practice. And if you've ever uttered a sentence about it on the internet, you probably understand that arguing about it is usually a time-consuming chore.

For one thing, advocates for torture tend not to know a lot of facts about it — this usually explains why they advocate it — leaving you to do a lot of explaining. For another, they tend to hysterically shout out red herrings about fantastic terrors, false equivalencies ("We can either torture, or New York can get reduced to post-atomic ash"), question begging ("60% of the time, it works all the time") or just move the goalposts on you until you give up. Viz.: