Archive for the ‘media’ Category

h1

Nation Of The Apes

February 20, 2009

I sit here in front of my laptop while sucking down a tall glass of Folgers Black Silk, and wonder what the next topic of discussion should be….hmmmm…

First, as a point of reference, I ask that readers watch the following commercial:

Remember that one?  It wasn’t particularly controversial, right?  I mean, the use of chimps in the ad was clearly used as a parody of human behavior.  Specifically, the team working for careerbuilder.com knew that the audience would relate to the frustration of dealing with boneheadedness in the workplace, and the creative use of primates conveyed the message fairly well.  In fact, there were a few of these commercials, which would be an indication that the people at Cramer-Kressalt Co. (the ad team) thought this idea was a winner, I suppose.  (They did claim the top spot in “The Funniest Commercials of 2005.”, although PETA, predictably, wasn’t thrilled about them).

Now, enter the now-infamous NY Post cartoon that was published the other day:

click to enlarge

click to enlarge

Aaaaand…..KABOOM!  Controversy erupts, blog wars rage,  protesters march in New York, and the airwaves are filled with hours of commentary.

But who was offended?  PETA?  The family of the unfortunate woman mauled by the pet chimp (the story that inspired the cartoon)?  

Nope. 

People apparently saw racism in the cartoon.  You know, stimulus bill ->black president-> ape -> shot dead by police.  Or something. 

Personally, I think that the cartoon missed the mark (as so many deadline-constrained political cartoonists do), and wasn’t funny in the least. But I don’t think it was racist. I think its just a stupid cartoon.  Or as I wrote over at Sadly No!:

Had the primate had a “Obama” tag on his chest, well, then yea, I’d definitely see that as racist. But there wasn’t. The toon was to be interpreted as referring to a stimulus bill that could be seen as written by an out-of-control ape (like the careerbuilder.com ads). In fact, given the way it was written, the lack of label and the apparent ignorance to the hypersensitivity of certain corners of the audience, I’d say that it could have only been penned by someone who was explicitly not racist.

This actually puts me in agreement with many of the blog entries that I’ve seen on the right side of the fence, which is a rather unusual place for me.  OK.  I just call it as I see it. 

The NY Post, for their part, sticks to their guns today (sorta):

Wednesday’s Page Six cartoon – caricaturing Monday’s police shooting of a chimpanzee in Connecticut – has created considerable controversy.

It shows two police officers standing over the chimp’s body: “They’ll have to find someone else to write the next stimulus bill,” one officer says.

It was meant to mock an ineptly written federal stimulus bill.

Period.

But it has been taken as something else – as a depiction of President Obama, as a thinly veiled expression of racism.

This most certainly was not its intent; to those who were offended by the image, we apologize.

However, there are some in the media and in public life who have had differences with The Post in the past – and they see the incident as an opportunity for payback.

To them, no apology is due.

Sometimes a cartoon is just a cartoon – even as the opportunists seek to make it something else.

Exactly.

WordPress.com Political Blogger Alliance

Update: Several of my fellow WPPBA bloggers have taken on this topic as well:

h1

Enough Of “Joe The Plumber” Already!

October 28, 2008

Ok, I realize that the media was going to glom onto this guy when he came up a bazillion times in the debate, but enough is enough.  It has gotten to the point where “Joe” is not only on the campaign trail with McCain/Palin, but the media is reporting his statements as if he’s a candidate himself.  Just check this out:

‘Joe the Plumber’ Backs Claim That Obama Would Bring ‘Death to Israel’

That’s an actual headline.  On Fox

So, naturally, Shep Smith had to call him up and give the “could you explain that?” interview.

Or how about this:

Joe the Plumber says Obama would make US socialist

That’s an AP headline.

Or this:

Records searches anger Joe the Plumber

The Columbus Dispatch.

Is it just me, or does this “Joe the Plumber” blitz give you the feeling that we’re living in a children’s book?  Are we all six year-olds?  

Apparently, McCain thinks so, as he’s adopted and embraced the Toys ‘R’ Us-esque marketing gimmick and plastered him all over his campaign website as well:

Go here, and you’ll see videos of Brad the Welder, Jeff the Truck Driver, Tara the Teacher, Josie the Transcriptionist, Jeff the Realtor, etc.

{{{sigh}}}

I realize that most of the country doesn’t give a rat’s hinder what my opinion is.  OK, scratch that.  Most of the country doesn’t know who the heck I am.  But I certainly wouldn’t expect Fox or the AP to pick up the Chamber, anyway.  Chen the Salesman hasn’t gotten the attention of David the Campaign Strategist, I guess.

Hey, NO FAIR!!!

And with great hesitation to click “publish”, I dub this the one and only Official Chamber “Joe the Plumber” thread.

WordPress.com Political Blogger Alliance

h1

Official Chamber Biden-Palin Debate Thread

October 1, 2008

As a follow-up to the previous thread, I figured that I might as well start one for the much-anticipated and only VP debate.  I do this a day early so we can have room to make predictions, a little liveblogging (if anyone’s around), and reactions.

For now, I’m going to start with a few pre-debate thoughts…

First, it’d be irresponsible for the Chamber not to mention the notion that the various statements made by Palin these last few weeks has reduced the expectations of her to the lowest of levels (that’s what the media’s been implying, anyway).   To sum it up, Countdown put together a pretty good montage:

click to watch

click to watch

Could Palin “win” simply by showing up and not saying anything too embarrassing?  On the other hand, based on these interviews, is that even probable?

Second, to gain a little insight, we should highlight those who have debated Palin in the past, and those people are saying that she shouldn’t be underestimated

While policy wonks such as Biden might cringe, it seemed to me that Palin was simply vocalizing her strength without realizing it. During the campaign, Palin’s knowledge on public policy issues never matured – because it didn’t have to. Her ability to fill the debate halls with her presence and her gift of the glittering generality made it possible for her to rely on populism instead of policy.

Palin is a master of the nonanswer. She can turn a 60-second response to a query about her specific solutions to healthcare challenges into a folksy story about how she’s met people on the campaign trail who face healthcare challenges. All without uttering a word about her public-policy solutions to healthcare challenges.

Of course, most politicians rely on the ability to weild the “nonanswer” as a defense mechanism and to avoid being pinned down.  But tomorrow night’s debate will be a completely different set of circumstances.  This one will be on a national stage covering both domestic and international issues, and subjected to the spin and interpretation of the media and pundits across the country.   It remains to be seen she can pull this off outside of the familiar confines of her home turf.  After all, one would think that it’s a lot easier to do it when the issues exclusively deal with the state in which you’ve lived your whole life.  And given the fact that there’s been so much attention paid to the aforementioned cluelessness that she’s already displayed on the national and international issues, the “nonanswer” will now be something that people will be looking for and picking apart (if not outright mocking).

Finally, I’ll just add that Biden’s best approach is to exude confidence and competence and to be careful not to attack Palin in a condescending manner, as in doing so he risks coming across as a bully and turning people off.  In fact, the best advise would be to avoid attacking Palin at all.  The contrast between the two should be evident if he just plays it safe and answers the questions.

And with that, I open up the thread and start popping the popcorn…

WordPress.com Political Blogger Alliance

h1

Attention Thrill-Seekers!

September 25, 2008

I’m going to give a plug to a magnificent locale that happens to be just a few hundred yards from where I went to high school:  Blondie’s Sports Bar & Grill

Naturally, one might ask why in the heck I’d suggest an innocently named sports bar as a destination for the steel-nerved.  I mean, it looks like a pretty harmless place, right?  It’s got a nice-looking patio, cash bingo, and even karaoke on Saturdays.  Well, don’t be fooled, daredevils.  You’d better keep your head on a swivel and your running shoes tied tight if you plan on stepping foot in this joint (It probably wouldn’t be a bad idea to review Minnesota’s conceal and carry law, either).

For example, just the other day, some poor kid was gunned down in cold blood right there on that patio, and two more of his pals wound up in the hospital:

Family members say Jones was just dropping off a set of keys to his cousin at Blondie’s Sports Bar and Grill at 7495 Brooklyn Boulevard when shots rang out just after midnight Wednesday.
Jones was dead at the scene. The two others were taken to North Memorial with non-life-threatening injuries. One of the injured had a bullet wound, the other was a victim of a related assault.

But I know what you’re thinking.  Surely this was just a one-time fluke incident borne out of too many drinks and machismo.  

On the other hand, ask the guy who went there last year and had his nutsack ripped open by Thor, the establishment’s not-so-friendly barkeep:

Thor Gunderson

“It is not like he was drunk and disorderly. There was a dispute over the time it was going to take for his food. But he decided he didn’t want to pay for it and for that he ends up with these types of serious injuries,” said acting Brooklyn Park Police Chief Greg Roehl.

Investigators say the owner, Thor Gunderson, even tried to stop the man from calling 911 for help. When police got to the bar, they say they found the customer bleeding and on the ground, restrained by Gunderson and a bouncer.

“At the hospital they determined he had an injury which was to his scrotum and that one of his testicles was actually torn loose,” said Roehl.

Yea, um, can you say…check please?

Dig a little deeper, and you’ll find that there’s no shortage of “activity” at Blondie’s.  In fact, when you look at the history of the place over the last few years, one has to wonder why any reasonable person would ever go there:

City records show Blondie’s, at 7495 Brooklyn Blvd., had 221 calls for service in 2006, 215 in 2007 and 156 so far this year.

That’s nearly 600 visits from the police in under 3 years.  Or if you do the math, you’ve got better than a 50/50 chance that the cops will show up for some reason on any given night.   Here’s the breakdown (pdf) for 242 calls in 2007 (not sure of the reason for the discrepancy).  And keep in mind, Brooklyn Park is a suburb.


Casual dining with a sports flair…
…If you dare.

h1

Safe Prediction For Hannity’s Palin Interview

September 13, 2008

Well, the much-discussed interview Sarah Palin had with ABC’s Charles Gibson is over, and the word around the campfire is that she was treated unfairly.  Luckily for her, the next scheduled sit-down will be with my pal Sean Hannity.  Why luckily?  Well, let’s just say that I can sum up the interview with two images:

Exit thought:  I’m getting a kick out of all the pundits rushing in to defend Palin’s “Bush Doctrine” response during Gibson pt. 1.   In general, the spin is something along the lines of “even the experts can’t agree on what it is!” .  Well, that may be true.  But while we may debate on what the “Bush Doctrine” is, there should be universal agreement that “his worldview” it is …not.  It’s her initial response that the defenders conveniently leave out.

WordPress.com Political Blogger Alliance

Update: Jay over at Newshoggers offers up some potential questions that Hannity might “toss” at Palin.

Last Update:  Olbermann broke the Hannity interview down last night, and even used the word “softball”:

Reform!

h1

“Shrill”?

September 3, 2008

Uh Oh…

After the Palin acceptance speech this evening, Reid spokesman Jim Manley categorized her speech as “shrill and sarcastic political attacks“.

First, for the record:

shrill 

-adjective
1. high-pitched and piercing in sound quality: a shrill cry.
2. producing such a sound.
3. full of or characterized by such a sound: shrill music.
4. betraying some strong emotion or attitude in an exaggerated amount, as antagonism or defensiveness.
5. marked by great intensity; keen: the shrill, incandescent light of the exploding bomb.

Second, I would guess that Reid felt obligated to respond, since he was called out personally in the speech:

Harry Reid, the majority of the current do-nothing Senate … he not long ago summed up his feelings about our nominee. He said, quote, “I can’t stand John McCain.”

Ladies and gentlemen, perhaps no accolade we hear this week is better proof that we’ve chosen the right man.

Clearly, what the majority leader was driving at is that he can’t stand up to John McCain and that is only…

… that’s only one more reason to take the maverick out of the Senate, put him in the White House.

The consensus among the CNN pundits was sort of a “they better be careful with that”, implying that it can be spun as a sexist remark.   But having watched the speech live, I decided that Sarah Palin does sound a little like the Church Lady.  “Shrill” might not have been the word I would have chosen, but hey, judge for yourself:

WordPress.com Political Blogger Alliance

Exit question: Could the “shrill” charge come from a more ironic source than from someone named “Manley”?

h1

Satellite Images: Gustav vs. Katrina

August 31, 2008

Even though Gustav doesn’t appear to be quite as scary from space, the weather guys are predicting a similar strength and location to what happened 3 years ago (almost exactly 3 years, actually).  I tried to find two images for comparison that represented the same vantage point.

Katrina:


(source: NOAA)

Gustav:


(source: NOAA)

Maybe it isn’t the size that makes Katrina look worse, rather that tightly defined eye wall.  I hope everyone makes it out of there OK.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 34 other followers