Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Go Cougars: NFL Week Three Punditry Roundup

NBC's Sunday Night Football pregame show, Football Night in America, is a study in contrasts. On one side, you have the recaps and wit of Dan Patrick and Keith Olbermann, whose "little big show" nicely recalls their work on "The Big Show," which made ESPN must-see TV. You also have the football knowledge of former coach Tony Dungy, who deftly breaks down complex schemes in a digestible and entertaining way. Rounding them out is retired safety Rodney Harrison, who's the least essential of this group but who has entertainingly little restraint on his willingness to bust on current players.

Meanwhile, on the other side, you have doughy pundit Peter King, who stands way off to one end of the studio, alone, and seems to be reporting from the Transporter Room. King has a lot of inside knowledge of football because he knows a lot of famous people in football and can call them on his cell phone. It's pretty easy to learn this, because Peter King is constitutionally incapable of relating any item of news without saying, "Right after the game, I called [Player's Name] and caught him on his cell phone, because I have his cell phone number, because I am Peter King." The news would be remarkable if he didn't relate it verbatim the next day in his Monday Morning QB column, which is instantly more tolerable because you can read it twice as fast as he can speak and do so without having to hear him, but which also seems to have bloated in size as a compensatory gesture for King's magically no longer looking like a man-sized wad of sourdough starter.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Tuesdays with Marty: 9/29/09

Note: Tuesdays with Marty is a recurring segment on Et tu, Mr. Destructo? highlighting the opinions of our publisher, Marty Peretz. Mr. Peretz wishes to make it absolutely clear that he is neither responsible nor liable for any content in this site, including but not limited to words, ideas, images, and things implied by said means of communication, in addition to other forms of communication not involving the above methods, whether established or theoretical in nature.

President Obama's Essential Unseriousness About Fighting Terrorism

I don't know whether the public sincerely buys into the hollow, hateful delusion of the United Nations, and I certainly don't care. The UN is billed as a sort of clearinghouse for world opportunities and a chance to make the world a better, safer place. And, on some level, it is. Simply put, last week President Obama knew precisely where and when a few smart bombs or cruise missiles could have instantly and irreversibly improved world stability, and he did nothing. Indeed, he did far less than nothing, as instead of acting, he chose to talk. You know, like Neville Chamberlain.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Dan Brown Finds Dead Census Worker

Note: we, the good people of Et tu, Mr. Destructo?, don't just offer editorial pieces and book, television and movie reviews. On occasion, we take pleasure in dispatching one of our many guest reporters for in-depth coverage from the field. Today, for the latest on the census worker found dead in rural Kentucky with the word "Fed" scrawled on him, we turn to bestselling author Dan Brown, our stringer in Louisville.

This Could Be the First of a Wave of Crossword-Loving Boy Scouts

Well-liked census taker Bill Sparkman staggered through the verdant greenery of Kentucky's outdoor wilderness. He, a substitute teacher and Boy Scout leader, lunged for the nearest tree he could see, a Green Ash Fraxinus pennsylvanica. Grabbing the barked trunk, the fifty-one-year-old man flung the Appalachian deciduous into his hands until bark tore from the tree and Sparkman collapsed backward in a heap beneath the canopy.

A voice spoke, chillingly close. Who is that voice? Sparkman wondered. From fifteen feet away, it said, "Do not move, Fed."

Friday, September 25, 2009

Not One Cent More

My health insurance ended today. It's been a great day, a fabulous day that promises to segue into an evening of joyless overindulgence of liquor — the only non-aspirin-based painkiller I can afford from here on out. I knew this was coming for a long time; I even knew the date. But foreknowledge only changed the terms of the anxiety and anger, moving them from sudden intense outrage to sullen, sustained brooding.

Imagine, then, my pleasure in opening the mailbox today to find another letter from the Democratic National Committee asking for more money. They're not getting any more money from me. I don't have it. I have to save it. God forbid I get a miniscule cut on my eyebrow again, like I did a few years back when I didn't have insurance and only had to spend $3,200 to sew it up.

They're getting this from me instead:

I removed all personal info. Feel free to print out a copy and send it to them yourself (click to enlarge; it's already sized for envelopes), especially if like me you're going to be paranoiacally duckwalking across rainy sidewalks because — easy now — if you so much as slip and fall, that's a $30,000 bill right there. Do it especially because, honestly, what else can you do?

Perky Jerky: Invigorating Beef Jerky

Perky Jerky is the world's first all-natural performance enhancing meat snack. Put simply, we've combined the most tender and flavorful beef jerky, with an extra dose of energy (caffeine, from the Guarana we add) to provide a jerky experience you won't find anywhere else.

Whether you love it because it's the best tasting jerky around, or because it provides a nice little pick-me-up (similar to coffee or energy drinks), you're not alone. You'll find addicts in both camps.
How many times has this happened to you?

You've got a big presentation to make after lunch, but you're totally wiped out from the morning. Eating a good lunch might give you the energy you need, but it might also make you logy. Worse, you are allergic to coffee, tea, soda, Red Bull and other energy drinks, and you can't swallow caffeine tablets. You are Adrian Monk locked and loaded, ready to succumb to every histamine reaction known to man. Except to beef and salt.

The answer might be Perky Jerky.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Fucked-Up Video Wednesday: Now on Thursday

MICHAEL SCHWARTZ, SEN. COBURN’S CHIEF OF STAFF: It’s been a few years, but not that many, since I was closely associated with pre- adolescent boys, boys who are like 10 to 12 years of age...
If that doesn't make you want to watch this video, I don't know what will. Is it a day old? Yes. Is it awesome? Absolutely.

If you don't want to go through the whole thing, here's Schwartz's thesis: straight porn makes you gay, because it turns your sexual desires inward, making you focus on yourself?—which means a person like you?—which means, like, a man or something? (Assuming you're a dude already?)

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Tuesdays with Marty: 9/22/09

Note: Tuesdays with Marty is a recurring segment on Et tu, Mr. Destructo? highlighting the opinions of our publisher, Marty Peretz. Mr. Peretz wishes to make it absolutely clear that he is neither responsible nor liable for any content in this site, including but not limited to words, ideas, images, and things implied by said means of communication, in addition to other forms of communication not involving the above methods, whether established or theoretical in nature.

Hating: Louder than the Wall of Sound

I would have liked to begin this column and this partnership on a more pleasant subject. Quite to the contrary, however, there is a pressing injustice on my mind which I simply cannot, will not shake. You see, the greatest burden of knowledge and experience is continual, even chronic disappointment. Walter Benjamin once astutely defined boredom as "the dream bird that hatches the egg of experience." I am experienced.

Monday, September 21, 2009

'No, I don’t want the retarded baby—I want the other one.'

Vanity Fair just published a mini-memoir from Sarah Palin's former son-in-law-to-be, Levi Johnston. It's cobbled together from interviews and written in a streamlined narrative style, obviously with help from Vanity Fair staffers ghosting paragraphs from a bunch of wandering recordings Levi made. Considering much of it is critical of Sarah Palin, the presentation might seem a little slickly unfair. But this was pretty much the case with her campaign speeches and is liable to be the case with her forthcoming autobiography, so it only seems just that what's good for the goose is also good for the gander.

The whole thing is brutally funny in that way things can be funny when they reveal pretty much what you imagined was true all along. For instance:
Coincidentally, there had been a big rumor going around Wasilla that Bristol was pregnant even before she actually was, and Sarah had recently denied it was true. When we told Sarah the news, the first thing that came out of her mouth was “I just told everyone on TV that you weren’t pregnant. So how are you pregnant now?”
You suspected it all along, but now you know: Sarah Palin does not understand how people get pregnant. Hell, you can string this theme through other parts of the interview: "She always wanted things and she wanted other people to get them for her. If she wanted a movie, Bristol and I would go to the video store; if she wanted food, we’d get her something to eat, like a Crunchwrap Supreme from Taco Bell." This could very well be what happens when an infertile mind is told to guard her over-fertile uterus by "wrapping that shit up."

It's only four pages, and they're all gold, even if some of them turn out to be untrue. Also, lest you think I'm being uncharitable to Ms. Palin with this, page four has this gem:
After Tripp was born, Sarah would pay more attention to our son than she would to her own baby, Trig. Sarah has a weird sense of humor. When she came home from work, Bristol and I would be holding Trig and Tripp. Sarah would call Trig—who was born with Down syndrome—“my little Down’s baby.” But I couldn’t believe it when she would come over to us and sometimes say, playing around, “No, I don’t want the retarded baby—I want the other one."
Edit: hat tip to friend and reader Devri for reminding me that Palin has previously had zero tolerance for jokes about special-needs children, such as President Obama's "special olympics" gaffe on The Tonight Show:
"I was shocked to learn of the comment made by President Obama about Special Olympics," Palin said in a statement. "This was a degrading remark about our world's most precious and unique people, coming from the most powerful position in the world."
I don't know; maybe these jokes become totally appropriate again once you quit your job.

A Brief Welcome to Our Blog from Publisher Marty Peretz


My suspicions concerning the internet are old news at this point, "Er zol vaksen vi a tsibeleh, mit dem kop in drerd," in the Yiddish — "the hat-wearing man is worn by his hat in equal measure." However, my experience has shown me that internet media is not going anywhere, for better or for worse, like Israel, yes, but also like Araby. Of course, in life, we take the good with the bad. One man’s Shia LaBeouf is another man’s Shia LaBeouf. And so, here I am, like Shia LaBeouf.

9/12 Postscript: FOX News Has a Pep Rally

From the Completely Unsurprising Files:

FOX News spent a large portion of this past week disingenuously castigating other networks for "not covering" the 9/12 protests. This despite ample evidence that pretty much all outlets either broadcast or printed a thrice-told story about a group of people that comprised no more than 0.057% of the total votes in the 2008 election whining about how they represent the real will of America. Perhaps what FOX meant was that other networks didn't cover the 9/12 protests with anything like the enthusiasm FOX exhibits. For instance, at the April 15 protests, FOX set up stages and gave away $500,000 in free advertising, to say nothing of fawning coverage of this new "movement" in the days preceding and following the protest.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Marty Peretz Just Bought Us

This is surprising. Marty Peretz just bought us, and I had no idea we were even for sale, or even who Marty Peretz was. By us, I mean both the writers and the site, Et tu, Mr. Destructo? Mr. Peretz will be writing his own column for us, as a term of his investment. I don’t know the subject, but Mr. Peretz has given me to understand it is tentatively titled "Tuesdays with Marty." I'm a little confused about this myself, so let me break it down for you. Hopefully, laying out a full explanation will help me get a better handle on this business as well.

Marty Peretz was the owner of The New Republic from 1974-2007, and since then has remained the editor-in-chief (although I'm told that's more of an emeritus position these days), despite divesting his ownership stake in that year. Recently, Mr. Peretz apparently decided to expand his journalistic horizons from airy, highbrow op-ed on to humor-and-commentary virtual publications channeled through the voices of historical and popular media personalities. His representatives insist this is a natural progression. Having borne witness to the changes and challenges confronting old journalism and wanting to prove his success story was no fluke, he's encouraged new journalistic organs to expand and thrive. Evidently, we are now one of them.

Glenn Beck Compares Calling People 'Racist' to Taliban's Use of Suicide Bombers

I can't believe he didn't say "homicide bombers." Can we afford to go off-message like this? These people are not suicides; they're not depressed from Seasonal Affective Disorder, maundering through another lonely Christmas. They're murderers. Their purpose is to kill people.

Here's his video, with which I obviously disagree...

but if you want to skip to the relevant part about how those who would use the term racist to demonize their opposition are morally equivalent to Taliban suicide bombers, click here to get right to it.

All I can say is that I fervently hope Mr. Beck does not go off-message like this in the future.

Or the past.

You know, whenever.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Welcome, Massive Influx of New People

The bar graph of pageload activity on this blog for the last five days looks like four faint linoleum bubbles in a row standing next to a sequoia large enough to drive a car through. It's the inverse of Spud Webb in an NBA all-star lineup. It's a simile Dennis Miller would find himself incapable of making because he'd run out of hyphens.

I'm simultaneously very pleased while also grudgingly aware that that big traffic spike kinda reflects on all the preceding days of total obscurity in such a way as to make me look like a bit of a schmuck for all that solitary labor. It's things like this that remind me of a suggestion a friend made that I read one of those Dummies books on internet marketing, and it certainly seems like maybe he had a good point there. But any time I spent reading one of those Dummies books would only cut into my time doing anything other than reading them, so you can see the bind I'm in.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

White America's Inconvenience Tantrum, Part IV: The 9/12 Project—Building a Bridge to Nowhere with Fractions of Sense

Forgive my not watching Glenn Beck on Saturday, when he and his Freep-mustachioed army crossed the Potomac, entered the city, cast the congressmen out of the Temple of America and ratified the new Bible of Rights with blood taken from the incorruptible corpse of Ayn Rand, all to finally defeat 9/11. His 9/12 Project came off exactly as expected. By that, I mean nothing happened, but it was really loud, obnoxious and ignorant in the service of nothing.

I can barely handle the man in the best circumstances, and I wasn't going to try while hungover. I needn't have bothered anyway. Beck repeats himself ad nauseam, and there's really no reason to devote new effort to record his mass-distributed hysteria. The purpose of Beck's 9/12 Project is to bring America back to the way we all felt on the day after 9/11, but Beck is mistaken about almost every detail.

At the time, the United States reeled from violent dislocation, banded together to save even the least of our own from the direst straits and in the process cast off political labels for a temporary unity of purpose. Beck's crusade, however, demonizes taxes as slavery, lawful representation as criminal usurpation, Democrats as complicit with terrorists, the president as alternately Stalin or Hitler and pretty much everything he doesn't approve of as apocalyptically dire.

Because I've written about the teaparties of April 15, Beck's live broadcast on the same day and the July 4 teaparties, it's a waste of my time and yours to go into their particular ills with the same level of detail again. What you need to know about what happened on 9/12 are the following three things:

Monday, September 14, 2009

This Country's Gone to the Dogs

The upside of having funny e-buddies is that you're never really at a loss for a way to kill time. You can look out the window, notice something, bring it up and then wind up riffing off each other for half an hour, mutually brainstorming, eventually wandering all over the place. If some day I really wind up hurting for new content, I could probably publish something new, every day, for a month just from the weird creative exchanges with one friend.

The downside to these exchanges, obviously, is that they're chatlogs, and chatlogs are sort of stupid and uninteresting for people who didn't participate. Sometimes, though, when they're good, all that's good about them goes to waste. You can't realistically repurpose the humor for a long piece, and you can't really make the chatlog itself something artful. Eventually you just have to have the gall, like I do, to say fuck it.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

This Is What Birthers Believe

I kinda wish there was a little more going on with this, because I feel like they dropped the ball on a couple of potential gags. The most obvious one to go for is the fact that they're plotting this in the early 1960s, designing a conspiracy for a black man to take over the United States at right around the same time whites were trying to flush them out of streets with fire hoses and the National Guard had to personally escort them to college. Granted, some birthers think this plot was only cooked up decades later, but enough believe in its creation from the very beginning to merit pointing it out. Nothing makes the farce of this Obama conspiracy plainer than the fact it was supposedly hatched at a point when it would seem most likely to fail.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

'The Crying of Lot 49'

WANDA: Oh, right! To call you stupid would be an insult to stupid people! I've known sheep that could outwit you. I've worn dresses with higher IQs. But you think you're an intellectual, don't you, ape?
OTTO: Apes don't read philosophy.
WANDA: Yes they do, Otto. They just don't understand it. Now let me correct you on a couple of things, okay? Aristotle was not Belgian. The central message of Buddhism is not, "Every man for himself." And the London Underground is not a political movement. Those are all mistakes, Otto. I looked them up.
I'd read every Thomas Pynchon novel either in large part or in whole by 17 — that tender age when you no longer look at the genre shelves in bookstores but aren't yet able to comprehend the full meaning of challenging literature. Intimidating words and concepts you mistakenly think you can understand via context roll past underneath your eyes. Agonies of age, work, parenthood and despair seem logical but are unresonant. You buy and read some books because you think you should, even though you suspect they won't be that satisfying. The important name on the cover tells you that you've arrived just as you hope it tells people of the opposite sex that your real-life penis is as impressive as your Book Penis.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Ted Kennedy's Dead; Long Live Reagan

"When Cicero died Marc Antony nailed his hands to the door of the Senate chamber because they had written laws restricting the military powers. We're about the see the Right try the same thing again."
— A friend, on the death of Ted Kennedy, on Facebook of all things
I had no intention of writing up anything like an obituary for the Tedmeister, but I was tempted to say something after he died, probably something verging dangerously on sincerity with an escape joke tagged on the end. Instead, what I wound up doing was passively reading message boards and Facebook statuses, getting lost in how strangely angry people were at him. Instead of just being sad that a legislator who I supported had died, I wound up with something like outrage fatigue.

I'm nothing like a Kennedy idolator. Granted, I tend to think more positively of RFK than his record deserves (as is generally the case with lives cut short). At the nadir of the Bush administration's already basement-level rhetoric — when "Let's Roll" and "Bring It On" were national mission statements — I would occasionally listen to JFK's inaugural when really drunk and get a little misty. Even then, it was more for the rhetoric and the ideas the speech represented than the frequently uneven and shabby Kennedy administration.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Why Universal Health Care Is Unambiguously Necessary for America

Note: no contributors to Et tu, Mr. Destructo? had any hand in writing this. This quick breakdown of the positive argument for Universal Healthcare came from a poster named Gul Banana, from's message boards. Probably thousands of people used this post as an excellent reference for months, until it disappeared behind SA's wall of paid archives. Thankfully, a current member who also provided the lion's share of sources for the post about Free Republic's racist comments about Malia Obama, was able to dig up the original VB code and its critical links and allow us to reprint it here as handy reference for anyone who needs it. Again, all credit goes to Gul Banana and fellow board members who diligently tracked down the salient references.

There have been a lot of debates and discussions recently, both on this forum and in other venues, about the state of healthcare. Looking at the rising costs of health insurance, and at the growing numbers of the uninsured, many are calling for government intervention, and the institution of a system where care is guaranteed to all — usually described as "universal" healthcare. It's a fascinating topic — the issues involved include humanitarian, financial and ideological ones. Unfortunately, debate on the subject is characterised by a startling phenomenon: one side is right, and the other is completely wrong.

Given the importance of medicine, I feel that it would be useful to clarify this issue. I will explain clearly, and with evidence, why it is that universal healthcare of any sort would be better than the current system in every significant way. If you find yourself disagreeing with this assertion, I ask that you read on before replying, as all conceivable objections will be addressed and resolved.