Derelict Junction

Providing missile launch codes for foreign cryptographers everywhere.

Monday, November 15, 2004

Life is Worth Living!

Something happened a couple weeks ago that has once again restored my faith and hope in this world. What could that be? No doubt the world is currently in a horrible time of crisis; between worst-case scenario election results, the worsening direction of the country, the military pounding of an ancient city into rubble without a care for innocent civilians, while deranged madmen plot even worse events, and through a constant monotone of depression, what could possibly warm my cockles and fill me with the innocent giggles of a schoolboy? Seeing a newborn bird take flight? Witnessing a breathtaking sunset? Watching a butterfly land on a retarded boy's nose, making him feel special and alive (Stolen from Dave Attell, pick up his CD!)?


In a post-game interview, University of Pittsburgh quarterback, Tyler Palko said, on the air, "I'm just so proud of our fucking football team." -Gives me goosebumps even thinking of it. Whenever I hear the F-Bomb dropped on network television, I know it's going to be a good day. And it hasn't happened in a while. I missed Bono saying, "Fucking brilliant" at some award ceremony, but I wouldn't have seen it anyway, since I live on the West coast and they would have had time to edit it out. Bastards! That's one of the things I do miss about the East coast, actual live television. So sports is the only chance I have for experience this flub.

When it happens, all I can think of is the cultural shock-waves it sends out across the country. -The midwestern grandmothers falling out of their recliners with disgust. -The screaming parents, and their wide-eyed, laughing-themselves-silly children. I get great joy from something so innocuous that offends people to their very core. -A threat to their existence and their fragile way of life.

The last time I saw this event was after the Pittsburgh Steelers (whaddup, Pittsburgh? I love you all!) won the AFC Championship (thank you again, sports!). In the locker room when the trophy was presented to one of the defensive backs (possibly Chad Brown), he held it above his head and proclaimed, "We're all happy about this, but this team's not going to be satisfied until we win the fucking Super Bowl!!!" After which, Bob Costas said what was probably the funniest thing he's ever uttered, saying "Chad Brown [forgive me Chad if I'm getting this wrong] obviously unfamiliar with the concept of live television."

For all my glee, what happened after Palko's remarks just proves how serious a threat that word is to both the financial well-being of the network, and the viewers' sensibilities. Immediately after, announcer Tom Hammons apologizes profusely for the young man's language. An obvious plea to avoid the wrath (in the form of fines) of FCC Commissioner, Michael Powell, who's been very busy ever since that purely intentional Janet Jackson "Malfunction" at the Super Bowl. After their game wrap-up, Hammons came back again and apologized!

I love it and hope it happens again.

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

A Fucking Tragedy.

What's that? Don't feel bad enough? Take a ride on the consciousness-raising train-wreck that is Control Room, Jehane Noujaim's brilliant documentary about Al Jazeera television's Gulf War coverage. Talk about being caught in the middle. This film adeptly maps out the internal feud for objective journalism on both sides of the media coverage. Al Jazeera journalists struggle to cover a war many feel is directed at Muslims, while trying to not let their Islamic identity bleed through.

The film provides amazing realizations on both sides in an attempt to understand each other's perspective. At one point a US Media Commander realizes how uneffected he was by video of Iraqi casualties only after seeing footage of fallen American troops. He ultimately concedes all the tactics he criticizes Al Jazeera for, are no different from the common patriotic tactics of Fox News. In the Special Features section of the DVD (don't forget to watch), an Al Jazeera news producer deftly rants about how misguided the American presence in Iraq is, only to conclude the Arab world only has itself to blame for not overthrowing Saddam Hussein themselves.

Definitely the most interesting player in all this is Al Jazeera Executive producer, Samir Khader (pictured above). At one point he freely admits he'd immediately take a job with Fox News if he was given an offer, saying he'd gladly "exchange the Arab nightmare for the American dream." Khader, who seems like a cross between Peter Lorre and a used car salesman with a chain-smoking habit, is really the fulcrum of the film, and ultimately very sympathetic and likable. Constantly trying to keep his personal opinions at bay, he lectures about journalistic objectivity during an emotionally charged war, even chastizing another producer for booking a analyst with a clear agenda. He yells to his coworker, "That wasn't analysis. That was hallucination!"

So why did I call it a train-wreck? The most memorable line in the film is rendered even more tragic following last week's election. At one point, Al Jazeera journalist Hassan Ibrahim, who throughout the film displays a masterful understanding of the events around him, is asked, "Who can defeat the Americans? They are so strong." His answer: "The Americans will defeat the Americans. I have ultimate faith in the American Constitution."

Ouch! Sorry to let ya down, Hassan. Looks like even Al Jazeera was giving the American electorate too much credit.Posted by Hello

Thursday, November 04, 2004

Way to ruin everything.

The Red Sox, Halloween, traveling, seeing old friends, downing champagne. Boy, did that all that fun end abruptly. Thanks for nothing, Red State America! Get your "Gimme Red 'til I'm Dead!" T-Shirts at the inaguration.

What was the difference? In a word, Terrorism. It's hard to argue that 9/11 has not been the best thing to happen to the Bush Administration in the last 4 years. I have no doubt they would have found a way to invade Iraq without it, but this election came down to fear of Terrorism, no doubt. How else would you explain life-long Democrats like Ed Koch and the bulk of retired Northeasterers in Florida voting for Bush? Koch said on the Daily Show that he doesn't agree with Bush on a single domestic issue, yet the War on Terror trumped all those other issues.

While watching the election, late into the night, a cry came out from the street that was lifted right from my inner thoughts. It simply said, "Fuck Ohio!" over and over again. True enough. After all, that state lost 300,000 jobs during the Bush years, which usually would send one running for the challenger.

Still, I gotta put a lot of this back onto Florida again. Kerry was leading in the polls there 2 days before the election, but when it all came down to it, those geriatric douchebags went with the guy who's more likely to defend themselves from an attack that will never effect them. I guess it's true what they say in the Intensive Care Unit, "Everyday's a Gift." So if you're rapidly approaching a dirt nap in Tallahasee, you go with the guy who'll fend off the brown people so you can watch Matlock in peace.

And, yes, let's not forget the youth vote. Even your overrated icon Eminem urged you to get out there and ya still sat on your ass like there was a 24 hour Real World marathon going on. I have to agree with Andrew, and hope there is a draft, that'll get you out to the polls next time. I'm willing to bet the bulk of soldiers returning from Iraq voted. Also, don't forget next season's CNN Fall line up, including The War in Iran, which is only the popular lead-in to The War in Syria. Hell, you might make it onto Military Fear Factor after all. Consolation prizes include, Post-Tramatic Stress Syndrome, Flashbacks while teenagers laugh at you, and (the very popular) your arm, or leg. And if you manage to make it out of that, guess what? Trillions of dollars of deficits! There's no money left! There go the V-A benefits. Hope ya like camping, 'cuz you'll be doing it on the streets. -All because you were too busy waiting to tape that Good Charlotte video.

Again, thank you Red State America, you've assured the next generation of Bin Ladens will grow up to destroy some worthy State-side target, all of which are conveniently located in the Blue States. If I had ten minutes with a terrorist, I'd give him the entire NASCAR schedule. Posted by Hello