Road Trip

October 13, 2010 1 comment

They’ll be no word count update for today or yesterday because, well, no words were written as The Bride and I road-tripped out to Lexington, Ky. for an overnighter to see Citizen Cope in concert at the beautifully named Buster’s Billiards and Backroom. If you haven’t seen Citizen Cope or haven’t even heard of him, shame on you. One of the finest purveyors of neo-acoustic-folk-whatever you’ll hear, Cope blew through an hour and 45 minutes of performance, stopping mostly to change guitars, keeping stage patter to a minimum and ripping through what would constitute his greatest hits provided he actually had a hit song.

What Citizen Cope does have is one hell of a repertoire of music, a lot of it you’ve seen in movies or heard on commercials (“Bullet and a Target” probably the most ubiquitous of his tunes). It was a great show outside of some college kids hitting their party limit a little early in the evening, well before the show even started. There’s a sharp decline in concert etiquette, agreed The Bride and I, and as we each wore the spilled beer of drunken sorority girls, we thought back to those glory days where Greeks didn’t want to go see stoner rock. Ah, memories …

We also reveled in the glory of Joseph A. Beth’s, a Lexington bookstore where you can spend money faster than Takashi Miike in “Hostel.” We scored various and sundry goodies, including Paul Malmont’s “The Chinatown Death Cloud Peril,” an ode to the pulpy fiction of olden days (one of my favorite genres — I’m looking more forward to this book than I can admit), and a goodly number of magazines that aren’t always easy to find when you’re on the last outpost on Mars.

And, of course, we got to see the insane number of Rand Paul bumper stickers and forced ourselves to ponder just how stupid people have to be to think this asshat presents a realistic option in Washington.

October 11, 2010

October 11, 2010 Leave a comment

Here’s my daily update on the progress on “Christchurch Bells,” my novel about a writer dying of a brain tumor, his ex-wife’s ghost, a dead cheerleader, the destruction of a town’s movie theater, and a raven singing “Babe” by Styx.

PROJECT: Christchurch Bells

DEADLINE: January 15, 2011

PRESENT WORD COUNT: 3,511

GOAL: 100,000

I missed updating for a few days, so I’m just updating for the past few days of writing. I’m running about 1,500 words behind schedule, which doesn’t thrill me, but I think I’ll be able to catch up as I go into November and hit NaNoWriMo and try to pick up my word count and hit 50,000 by the end of the month. I’m finding I need to shift some of my viewpoint in it and go with a slightly more omnipresent narrator, rather than focusing on just my main character for the most of the story, with it shifting to another character’s first-person narration for the rest of the story. We’ll see how this goes.

Bits & Pieces:

  • I’m all about “Terriers,” the “Rockford File”-esque detective series over on FX with Donal Logue and Michael Raymond-James and a series roster of talented writers, such as creator Ted Griffin (“Ocean’s 11”), Shawn Ryan (“The Shield”) and Tim Minear (“Buffy,” “Firefly”). It’s got a great shaggy-dog quality and a surprising amount of emotional heft in its characters, and it fits into that perfect FX niche, chronicling the struggle of the American male. I hope it gets to have a good, long run; after all, FX let “Nip/Tuck” keep plugging on long past its “fresh by” date and well beyond the point that creator Ryan Murphy seemed to care anymore, and while “Terriers” may lack some of the in-you-face appeal of that show, it matches other FX successes such as “The Shield,” “Rescue Me” and “Sons of Anarchy” in crafting characters you’d like to see more about.
  • On that same note, my friend The Ohioan and I have long bemoaned the dirth of good PI shows, which is why I’m grooving on “Terriers” and I’m cautiously optimistic about this proposed series over on TNT. I love the post-WWII time period and the feeling of going for a true Chandler vibe, though it’s too easy to go into unintentional parody by playing it too close to the inspiration. NBC tried something similiar back in 1987 with the unimaginatively-named “Private Eye,” created by “Miami Vice” creator Anthony Yerkovich and co-starring an insanely young Josh Brolin, and it died after only 7 episodes. What worries me about the potential new series is the TNT factor, since their shows tend to be amazingly hit (“Leverage,” “Men of a Certain Age”) and miss (“HawthoRNe,” “The Closer” — no, I’m not a fan). A lot of their shows have a very staid, inert sense about themselves, and once you begin producing a period show, that potential goes up exponentially as everyone becomes so concerned about the look and style of the show, they forget to make it interesting. I’m hoping the series gets a chance to breathe and have a sense of energy, rather than that stilted, airlessness of shows like “Dark Blue.”
  • Watching “Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?” over the weekend, I was just struck again by the amazing cinematography of Roger Deakins and pondered how much longer will the Academy manage to not honor him with an Oscar. It’s great he’s being recognized by the ASC, but come on and give the man what he deserves by now.
  • Showtime’s developing a poker series with the executive producers from “Weeds.” Does this mean they’ll finally cancel “Weeds”? Please. Is there anything remotely interesting about that show anymore? Anything? Renewed for a SEVENTH season? Really?
  • I’m not sure how compelling a movie about the 2008 financial crisis could be, but I’m willing to give HBO the benefit of the doubt. They’ve assembled a hell of a cast (William Hurt, Paul Giamatti, James Woods) and a good director (Curtis Hanson), so the potential definitely exists. Hanson directed the brilliant “L.A. Confidential,” an example of period mystery film that didn’t become overly focused on the period.

October. 7, 2010

October 8, 2010 1 comment

Here’s my daily update on the progress on “Christchurch Bells,” my novel about a writer dying of a brain tumor, his ex-wife’s ghost, a dead cheerleader, the destruction of a town’s movie theater, and a raven singing “Babe” by Styx.

PROJECT: Christchurch Bells

DEADLINE: January 15, 2011

PRESENT WORD COUNT: 7,063

GOAL: 100,000

Bits & Pieces:

  • I like the idea of Sandra Bullock for the lead in Alfonso Cuaron’s “Gravity.” After a year that’s balanced between winning an Oscar followed by the exposure of her personal life and scandal, this is precisely the sort of post-Oscar win project as actress like Bullock needs. Her Best Actress win in “The Blind Side” was for a movie many saw as relatively lightweight, so working with Cuaron, a director unafraid of challenge, is just the right move to show the win wasn’t a fluke or a mistake on the Academy’s part. Bullock’s likability both on screen and in general has never been in question (her good-natured acceptance of her Razzie for “All About Steve” the day before her Oscar win shows that), but she’s generally maintained a limited range with comedy and light drama. Efforts to step out of that have ranged from promising (she was praised for her role as Harper Lee in “Infamous,” the same role that earned Catherine Kenner a Best Supporting Actress nod a year prior in “Capote”) to abysmal (the less said about  “Premonition” or “In Love or War,” the better), but “The Blind Side” and occasionally interesting choices like “28 Days” or her small role in “Crash” hit at a greater range than she’s offered. Cuaron’s plans for “Gravity” are ambitious, to say the least, and Bullock is a far less likely or traditional choice for a sci-fi epic than earlier options such as Angelina Jolie or Natalie Portman, both who were in negotiations for the role, but in this blog’s opinion that makes her the far more interesting choice. Cuaron will push Bullock harder in this role than she’s ever been pushed, and with fingers crossed may show Bullock has far more actor-ly chops than we’ve suspected.
  • DC Comics’ decision to drop prices back to $3.99 from $2.99 is the smart move in a time where not only is everyone’s wallet a little lighter, but monthly comic book sales have been consistently on the decline. While this blog appreciates what DC was doing, reintroducing backup features, something that was long a staple of comic books, nearly four bucks is a lot when you consider some of us remember when the price went from 35 cents to 50 cents. So many comics fans now wait for the trade paperbacks, but nothing really beats that trip into the store on a Wednesday and picking up on the story where you left off last month.
  • The Bride and I are fans of urban fantasy and that’s been what we’ve been utilizing as nightly bedtime reading. We just started the third in Patricia Briggs‘ “Mercy Thompson” series, and anyone who’s read the Sookie Stackhouse novels would do well to check these out. Briggs’ Mercy, a walker who can change into a coyote, must navigate the politics of vampires and wolf packs much the same way as Sookie, but the emphasis here in on the organization of the werewolves and werewolves as the resident heartthrobs, while vampires are portrayed in a most rote and unromantic way. Ohm and there’s gremlins too. Well worth the read.

Writerly ambitions

October 7, 2010 7 comments

The L.A. Times piece on Aaron Sorkin comparing great TV to movies is an interestingly compelling bit on just how mainstream cinema has moved from good writing to mainlining spectacle. Sorkin, surely one of the great TV dramatists of the past 20 years, has been praised for his script for “The Social Network” in its mix of trademark Sorkin traits: compelling characters, smart dialogue, and compelling moral dilemmas. In short, really what you’d watch a good TV show for. These are characteristics that seem to be missing more and more from contemporary cinema, and Sorkin brings an interesting point about great screenwriters of the past:

“If Herman Mankiewicz, Billy Wilder, Preston Sturges and Budd Schulberg were alive today, they’d be writing on TV. As a writer, you love immediacy, of being able to weigh in on something that’s on everyone’s mind. And with rare exception, you only get to do that with TV. With a movie, even if everything goes perfectly, I can write a joke today and have to wait two years to hear the laughter.”

The article goes on to look at the current state of some acclaimed screenwriters, and their notable lack of produced credits lately. Frank Darabont, maybe the best classical American director to debut in the 1990s and a three-time Oscar nominee, hasn’t made a film since “The Mist” in 2007 and has only directed four films since the past 17 years (compare that to uberhack Michael Bay, who’s shooting his ninth feature since 1995). Darabont finally made the move to television, where he’s running the show for “The Walking Dead” over on AMC.

Its initally difficult to think that Sorkin is right until you go back and look at the filmmakers mentioned. Mankiewicz  wrote or co-wrote “Citizen Kane,” “Pride of the Yankees” and “Dinner at Eight.” Wilder fielded an amazing body of work, ranging from “Double Indemnity” to “Sunset Boulevard” and “The Apartment.” Sturges (“Sullivan’s Travels,” “Hail the Conquering Hero”) was the first writer who really directed his own scripts. Schulberg’s scripts for “On the Waterfront” and “A Face in the Crowd” are some of the most honest writing of that period.

Transpose that to modern times. Is there room in the 12-screen multiplex for complex narratives, complicated characters, real emotion, true pathos? Rarely, it seems. Those that attempt it seem to fall between the cracks if they can’t be attached to a certain genre. Consider Ben Affleck’s recent feature “The Town,” which has been raised for its sharp characterization, strong dialogue, and a realistic evocation of south Boston. Of course, it’s all wrapped around an easy-to-accept genre, the heist flick. If you stripped out that aspect and really made it into a Paddy Cheyevsky-esque “kitchen sink” drama, would it have opened at number one in its opening weekend? Doubtful.

Alan Ball won an Oscar for his “American Beauty” script and promptly went on to create “Six Feet Under” and adapt “True Blood” for HBO, both the great critical and public success. The L.A. Times article talks a bit about how Ball’s ascerbic view of American suburbia isn’t a natural match for Hollywood, but the bitter humor is perfect for cable television, where characters get hours and weeks to live out lives that would otherwise be condensed into two hours in a movie (I’d have been fascinated to see “American Beauty” play out over the course of several seasons, seeing how Ball and a crew of writers would have developed the lives and choices of Lester Burnam and his family and associations.)

Stephen Gaghan, an Oscar winner for “Traffic,” hasn’t had a feature produced since 2005, though he set a TV deal into place last year that, regretfully, has yet to bear any fruit. Meanwhile, his spiritual older twin brother David E. Kelley continues to create new series, including an upcoming “Wonder Woman” adaptation. Kelley began his career with the feature “From the Hip” and has only had three other films produced from his scripts, none of them worth a second look. Why? Because Kelley, like Sorkin, specializes in Big Issues, forcing his characters to deal with the weight of the world, and TV allows someone like Kelley to pound out a script about the moral dilemma of the week (gun control, public education, gays in the military, the war on terror) and have that script shot and on TV in a month’s time, whereas film takes YEARS, rendering the issue almost moot.

David E. Kelley
Stephen Gaghan

Think of those great James Spader monologues from “Boston Legal,” these beautifully eloquent pieces of writing, angry and funny and poetic, that would run for four or five minutes uninterrupted. (The clip quality isn’t much, but it’s a good example of Kelley and Spader at work.)

And then there’s the underappreciated genius of Sorkin’s “Sports Night,” which managed to use sports as a sounding board for anything that crossed Sorkin’s mind. I also love the back and forth between Josh Charles and Peter Krause towards the end, as well as the music playing over. (In a true and just world, “Sports Night” would have lasted at least three more seasons and Felicity Huffman would have won her Emmy for that show and not “Desperate Housewives,” but that’s another blog entirely.)

You’ll rarely find writing of this intelligence in most options you have at the local multiplex, sadly, where characters actually have opinions, on real issues, on things that matter, and are not just trying to save the President from the sleeper agent, or have to accept that yes, they’re in love with the rogueish Bad Boy (hi, Josh Duhamel). And I know that the argument is made on shows like this that the characters are nothing more than mouthpieces for the opinions of their creators, to which I say “So?” You want to have create a show that just sounds off on your opinions? Go write it yourself, then.

(Kelley and Sorkin also specialize in writing their shows themselves; both men hire writing staffs for their series, but its well known that those staffs basically serve as sounding boards for ideas for either men, and then Kelley or Sorkin goes off and writes the episode himself. Check out the credits on almost any series either man has produced, and you’ll see their names following that “Written By” credit moreso than anyone else.)

The lowest common denominator rule which seems to rule Hollywood production schedules (reboot of existing franchise/inane romantic comedy/overpriced tentpole franchise starter) has effectively dumbed down most movies to the point that I think great screenwriters will move more and more to televison, and most likely to cable, where the writer is going to be given greater creative leeway and a sense that their creation won’t be yanked after four episodes a la the four major networks.

It’s probably for this reason that most of the great TV dramatists stick to television. David Simon could never have created such a rich narrative with “The Wire” as a film than as a TV show. On film there would have been an action scene every 20 minutes, including a 15 minute guns-a-blazin’ finale, and wrap everything up in a smidge more than two hours; on TV he crafted 60 hours that felt more novelistic than anything, painting a real portrait of a city and a society that sticks with you long after you’ve finished it. Furthermore, Simon’s made no bones about his opinions on numerous issues, including the state of television itself; he is the auteur of his creations, not a director. That is his heart and soul he’s putting up there every week, and no one elses, and he is not willing to dumb it down for anyone. (There’s a reason he won that MacArthur “genius” grant.)

Therein lies the great difference between film and TV: it’s a writer’s medium.  The film “The Hurt Locker” is a Kathryn Bigelow film, despite the fact Mark Boal wrote the screenplay. But the series “Sons of Anarchy” is Kurt Sutter, plain and simple, and he isn’t shy about the fact, nor should he be. And certainly the director plays a huge role in the creation of any film or TV show; Sorkin himself admits David Fincher’s style on “The Social Network” helps power a movie that is mostly people sitting around talking. Television shows with distinct visual style like “House” or “CSI” have those because an interesting director came in for the pilot, but odds are that director will move on to another show almost immediately. Directors in television tend to be journeymen, moving from show to show, network to network, multiple times over the course of a season (though most shows have a director as an EP to help maintain a consistant visual style). But that show creator and writing staff is there, day in and day out, creating their series and waiting for the next director to arrive. It is the difference between the architect and the carpenter; you can’t build the house if you don’t know what you’re building first.

Hollywood’s approach, however, is to always focus on the carpenter and then bring in whatever architects it takes to make the carpenter happy, constantly redesigning the house as you move along, until oftentimes what you’ve built doesn’t much resemble what you started on. Since most big-budget Hollywood films employ multiple screenwriters over time, doing script doctoring or on-set rewrites, whatever vision the original screenwriter had is lost over time. And yes, there are those incredibly discouraging stories by showrunners of have to filter their work through corporate eyes (Mitchell Hurwitz deserves better) or even leave their shows before they’ve aired, but odds seem to run high that television oftens a greater chance for a writer to be able to effectively translate from script to screen.

Certainly networks and cable want shows to be successful, but success can be gauged in different ways. “Mad Men” and “Breaking Bad” barely break two million viewers a week, but AMC supports them because of critical plaudits and the buzz both shows bring to the channel. Two million tickets over a weekend may equal a $14-20 million opening, certainly respectable but nothing to shout from the rafters. But television can specialize. USA has its “blue sky” shows, AMC is trafficking in edgier dramas, FX chronicles the plight of the alpha male, Showtime focuses on risky comedies, and HBO … well, HBO anymore is just slinging shows at the wall and looking to see what sticks.

Sorkin sums it up well:

“If you polled all 300 million Americans on the least objectionable way to prepare beef, when you tallied up the results, the winner would be a McDonald’s hamburger. And that’s pretty much what you have to be when you’re making a movie that has to earn $200 million at the box office to be a success. But in TV, things are different now. If you’re a writer, TV isn’t the B team anymore. It’s filled the void with stories that have largely been abandoned by the movies.”

So let Americans have their Big Macs, but let us be grateful that some of us are looking for something more satisfying.

Return of the Mack

October 6, 2010 Leave a comment

This blog has laid dormant for a while, because, well, initially I had to heal from almost cutting my finger off. After debate on where to go with this thing and for the few who read it (love you, Bride!), I said “Oh hell, why not?” and decided to jump back in.

Because I’m  actually working on being a real writer (I’m getting published and everything … more on that as it gets closer), this will become more of a chronicle on my writing process, with updates on how it’s going, as well as random comments on whatever crap is getting on my nerves that day. Of course I will have the occasional rant on something, and my goal is to both establish some regular features and trick IMDB.com into putting me back in its news feed.

I’ll be updating on progress in “Christchurch Bells,” a novel I’ve been working on in various forms and incarnations for more than 15 years. The goal is 1,000 a day, with a Jan. 15, 2011 completion on the first draft. It’s the touching story of a writer dying of a brain tumor, his ex-wife’s ghost, a dead cheerleader, the destruction of a town’s movie theater, and a raven singing “Babe” by Styx.

All of this is with apologies to Cherie Priest, who I’m ripping off copiously, but that’s OK because she’s already published 10 novels and was nominated for a Hugo, whereas I’m just trying to finish the damn thing.

PROJECT: Christchurch Bells

DEADLINE: January 15, 2011

PRESENT WORD COUNT: 6,033

GOAL: 100,000

Bits & Pieces:

  • The biggest geek news is, of course, Zack Snyder directing the new “Superman” movie. I worry less about Snyder, who’s accused of being all style and no substance but who I think has effectively brought it in all of his movies (it would be impossible to truly translate “Watchmen” to film, but his version is the closest we could probably hope for), and more about the script by David Goyer, whose scripts tend to be erratic messes and typically need strong directors to guide them (Guillermo del Toro with “Blade II,” Christopher Nolan with both Batman films). With Nolan producing, it’s an easy bet that another writer will come in to smooth over Goyer’s script, and since Nolan’s brother Jonathan is already listed as a co-writer, so attention should be turned to getting Snyder to draw back on his visual style (enough CGI and slo-mo) and casting Superman himself (I think they could actually go with Snyder himself; dude’s got some guns).
  • The Bride and I caught part of “Minority Report” on cable the other night, and we both pondered why this movie wasn’t a bigger hit, or why it doesn’t have a cult following? Sure, it was popular enough, and it more than made back production and advertising costs, as well as selling a boatload of DVDs, but it’s such a rich and interesting movie it’s forgotten in the Spielberg shuffle. It’s got Tom Cruise at the height of his popularity, Steven Spielberg at his most visually daring, a smart Scott Frank script, exciting action, some truly oddball humor, and Colin Ferrell before we started looking at him like a drug-addled alcoholic douche bag. Maybe the film’s never caught on because Cruise’s Jon Anderton isn’t the most likable of characters (a drug-addicted father mourning the kidnapping and presumed death of his son), or because the humor is so off the wall, especially for a Spielberg joint (the scene where Anderton crashes into the yoga classes always cracks me up). The movie is considered part of Spielberg’s “running man” trilogy, alongside “A.I.” and “Catch Me If You Can,” and together the three represent an interesting point in Spielberg’s post-“Saving Private Ryan” career where I think he took what could be conceived as big risks (no special efforts to fall back on in “Catch Me If You Can”; surprising dark narratives in “A.I.” and “Minority Report”; the very character-driven comedy of “The Terminal,” which followed “Minority Report”). “War of the Worlds” might be seen as a mix of risk and the familiar, and for many it’s a mixed success, though I think there are moments of brilliance in it, such as the Tim Robbins basement sequence, and “Munich” put Spielberg back into “Ryan”-esque territory. Though I’m blase about his upcoming Tintin adaptation, I hope he decides again to do something risky. Eastwood is a great example of an older director who’s still willing to push out of his comfort zone (“Hereafter” looks like nothing else he’s ever done), and maybe Spielberg, who produced “Hereafter,” might be inspired.
  • Ronald Moore may be updating “The Wild, Wild West,” performing the same duties as he did on the reboot of “Battlestar Galactica.” I’m willing to go with Moore where ever he opts to go, and I think he could really spend the rest of his career updating old shows; may I recommend “Automan,” “Manimal” and “Holmes & Yoyo.”

Very little wild, hell of a lot less wonderful

August 17, 2010 4 comments

So I’ve been kicking around a documentary idea. I’d like to find an African-American family in the inner city, a couple of generations living close to one another, with a dubious reputation. It’d be best if a couple of them are crackheads, and the rest can just be alcoholics. Maybe the patriarch can have some marginal talent, like being a third-rate rapper, but because he’s basically bat-shit crazy he’s disproportionally famous within a tight little group.

And I’d like to make it a comedy. Really yuck it up when they get arrested, they get high, they throw yet another self-constructed monkey wrench into their lives, they get into whatever sort of mayhem or trouble they get into. Sure, it SEEMS like it would be tragic, and I’ll toss in a moment or two of poignancy, maybe even some regret, but ultimately it’s just going to be funny. Why? Because it’s not us. See, we can laugh at them because secretly we know we’re better than them. We have jobs and college degrees and they’re nothing but trash, so we can laugh at them.

Wait? I can’t make a movie like this? Why? Oh, it’d be racist?

So then will someone explain to me why in the HELL making something like “The Wild and Wonderful Whites of West Virginia” is OK? Why do we seem so insistant on continuing to make Jesco White and his ragged band of ne’er-do-wells new levels of family?

Because as The Bride has pointed out to me, it’s never about race; truly it’s about class. The Whites are no different, sadly, than any number of families of any race all across America. They are mired in institutionalized poverty, stuck at the end of dead-end existances where little light shines, and they opt to drown themselves in a stew of pharmaceuticals and try to ignore the hopelessness that both fate and individual choices has created for them.

Ebert said back in his review of “Far and Away” that the Irish are the last socially-acceptable minority to stereotype; we can officially add Appalachians to the list. Replace the Whites with an African-American family living in Bedford Stuy, but keep in all of the Whites’ actions. Show them to be addicts and users and abusers and partiers and then tell us we’re expected to laugh at all of this and picture the uproar that would roll across the nation. There’d be discussions on CNN and NPR about the roll of race in America. But because the Whites are poor white trash in southern West Virginia, it’s OK to laugh at their shenanigans and try to remember to get the DVD back to Redbox before you get charged an extra night’s rental.

Our culture continues its gradual decline to a gutteral existance every time we give the Whites and their ilk another 15 seconds of fame. Why aren’t we having discussions about ending the cyle of poverty in Appalachia? Why isn’t there any discussion about Appalachian culture, the legacy of coal mining, or even the hard-scrabble struggle for Appalachians to make livings in a state where all of the wealth (i.e. coal and natural gas) are owned by out-of-state companies? Because no one involved at any point in this misbegotten pile of excrement cares about anything other than giggles and guffaws.

Hell, why are we talking about our apparent need to make celebrities out of people who have neither the need to be famous nor the capacity to handle it? What differentiates the Whites from the fame whores from “Jersey Shore” and practically every show on E? Damn little, except the Whites aren’t playing for the camera. They’re not some custom-built reality show situation, a dozen pretty faces playing make believe for the cameras. They are a genuinely troubled family who will just keep on destroying their lives and hurting those around them long after we’ve stopped laughing at them.

Particularly galling is the fact that other West Virginians helped perpetrate this thing. As a culture Appalachians aren’t much on “outsiders” (i.e. anyone not from their holler), so the producers found film students willing to take a few pieces of silver and further condemn not just the Whites but the rest of West Virginia into the already-deep well of stereotypes. No, let’s not show anyone successful or intelligent from West Virginia; we’re just here for the bottom feeders. Laugh it up, Los Angeles!

I don’t know the Whites. I’ve never met any of them, and I don’t have a desire to meet them either. I don’t feel sorry for them, either; even if I did, I don’t think they’d care. Truth be told, I don’t think much about them at all in any way. They are individuals who have made their choices and are living the lives based from them. That’s great for them. None of that means we need to watch it for 90 minutes. We don’t have to glorify the Whites. We don’t have to pity them or villify them or ANYTHING them. We can let them keep on living the lives they chose and keeping Boone County law enforcement employed in perpetuity. We can be better than the society that says it’s OK to laugh at the misfortune of others regardless of race, class or creed. We can show that we don’t have to meet the lowered expectations of others. We can scream “WE ARE BETTER THAN THIS!” by not this or any other piece of crap more than happy to exploit the real-life suffering of others. Think anyone’s ever going to make a “funny” documentary about 9/11 widows? Haitian refugees? Eastern European ethnic cleansing? Not likely.

I’d like to think the people involved in this thing are ashamed of themselves but I doubt shame is anything they care much about. They should, though. They should.

“Our nation’s finest institution of high-ish education”

At first I thought it was a joke. Until I found out that it wasn’t.

Kinda wants to make you throw up in your mouth a little, doesn’t it?

I love Glenn Beck for the very reason that if he didn’t exist, Jon Stewart would have had to have created him TO make fun of him.

Meanwhile, Sarah Palin’s over on Fox News still scribbling notes on her hand because she’s afraid she’ll forget a number (oh, and by the way, she’s still lying: the Dems DID NOT enact a $3.8 trillion dollar tax increase. Do you suppose she said “trillion” because the note in her other hand told her to not say “gajillion”?). 

And you’ve got Sen. John Kyl, an Arizona Republican, saying we should repeal the 14th Amendment, which gives children of immigrants born in the United States, regardless of legal status, U.S. citizenship. Republicans are astonishing because they’re the only group that want to tack on amendments to the Constitution that actually TAKE AWAY freedoms from individuals.

Are we, as a nation, this scared and stupid? We’ll take a pseudo-education from a shmuck who never even attended college while ensuring that the “Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave” doesn’t let in anymore of those icky brown people?

I weep, boys and girls.