So what else is new? Is there, that anyone can remember, any topic that Friedman can’t blather about with the bewilderingly incoherent and blazingly ignorant certainty of the true moron? No, I can’t think of one either.
As if to prove it, today Tosspot Tommy threw in his cent-and-a-half about Nelson Mandela. Seems Mandela’s best virtue was his “moral authority”, which, according to Tommy, he got only when he went against his base.
Much of the answer can be deduced from one scene in one movie about Mandela that I’ve written about before: “Invictus.” Just to remind, it tells the story of Mandela’s one and only term as president of South Africa, when he enlists the country’s famed rugby team, the Springboks, on a mission to win the 1995 Rugby World Cup and, through that, to start the healing of that apartheid-torn land. Before the games, though, the sports committee in the post-apartheid, newly black-led South Africa tells Mandela that it wants to change the name and colors of the almost all-white Springboks to something more reflective of black African identity. But Mandela refuses. He tells his black sports officials that an essential part of making whites feel at home in a black-led South Africa was not uprooting all their cherished symbols. “That is selfish thinking,” Mandela, played by Morgan Freeman, says in the movie. “It does not serve the nation.” Then speaking of South Africa’s whites, Mandela adds, “We have to surprise them with restraint and generosity.”
There are so many big leadership lessons in this short scene. The first is that one way leaders generate moral authority is by being willing to challenge their own base at times — and not just the other side. It is easy to lead by telling your own base what it wants to hear. It is easy to lead when you’re giving things away. It is easy to lead when things are going well.
Are you listening, Obama? There are the lessons of Mandela: Don’t listen to your base and bend over backwards to accommodate your opponents. That’s the path to “moral authority”.
Uh-huh. Awright, enuff about Lil Tommy Friedman and his latest right-wing anti-Obama talking point. Let’s spend some time on something really important:
When is Sleepy Hollow going to let Crane buy a new suit?
Salon’s Jos Truitt complains that tv’s female characters are 2-dimensional. My response is, “Well, at least it’s 2 occasionally. It was only 1 for a few decades and it’s still mostly just 1.”
Look, Jos, it’s no good saying, “Men have it better on tv” because it’s an absurd claim. TV doesn’t treat anybody well. What, the automatons of Mad Men are deep, complex characters with layers of sophisticated feelings behind those moronic masks? Gimme a break.
Tee Vee is a cesspool run by corporate sales forces as a way to access consumers. You’re lucky the talent still has enough juice to demand better material and enough people remain unenamored of dreck like Duck Dynasty, Jersey Shore, and American Idol that money can still be made on half-assed attempts at “complexity” like Breaking Bad, Scandal, or Weeds.
Movies rarely take chances with risky material, tv virtually never. Every dangerous idea is safely watered down, every potentially offensive moment analyzed for its commercial value before it’s allowed to air. TeeVeeLand is a place where no truth is to be spoken unless it’s covered in enough sugar to gag a maggot, no character is to have more sides than an English professor can explain in one sentence, and every plot has to be simple enough that even George W can understand it without Cliff Notes.
To expect any more than that is an exercise in reality-denial.
In case you missed it. O’Reilly was actually prepared for Stephen’s schtick.
I don’t have eRobin’s panache but here’s a little something for the new year that seems appropriate.
The threats we face come from all different places and all different angles. The Pubs like to talk about them all the time. “Fear” is their favorite topic of conversation. This isn’t too surprising given that conservatives are often conservative precisely because of their fears–they want protection from everything.
- They’re afraid that someday the poor will rise up and invade their homes, throw them into the street, and then relax in their barca-loungers, change the settings on their wall-sized flat-screen tv’s, eat everything in the fridge and then criticize the drapes.
- They’re afraid, because Islamic terrorists exist at all, that bevies of them must be hiding under their beds waiting to spring out at them and slit their throats and rape their children and put low-grade gasoline in their SUV’s (a variation on a theme: for most of the 20th century they were afraid that Communists were hiding under their beds waiting to spring out at them and slit their throats and rape their children and put low-grade gasoline in their Cadillacs; it’s what you might call a “theme”).
- They’re afraid of change–any change.
- They’re afraid of anybody who doesn’t think the way they do or believe what they believe.
- They’re afraid of gays, immigrants, foreigners, anybody who betrays more skin color than your average tanned Hamptons’ beach bunny, and funny accents, especially the ones that sound vaguely French.
- They’re afraid of people who have more money than they do and terrified of people who have less.
- They’re afraid of dissent, disruption of the status quo, conjugal visits and chaos–none of which they can separate into its individual and unconnected piece.
- They’re afraid that liberals will take their guns way, tax them into the poorhouse, make them drive little Toyotas that run on barley and wheat germ and couldn’t slam down the highway at 100mph if a Ferrari got behind them and pushed
- They’re afraid that we’ll force their children to sing ‘Kumbaya’ every day and attend compulsory classes in prancing.
- They’re afraid of art that isn’t commercial, sex you don’t pay for, and anything that’s done for love instead of money.
- They’re probably afraid of the dark.
But what they fear more than anything else in the world and have since the dawn of time in almost every culture they’ve poisoned with their presence is the one thing they never have and never will be able to control (“control” is a Big Thing with conservatives; only when they have absolute control do they feel relatively safe).
Which brings us, in a roundabout way, to Jenna Jameson–
–porn star extraordinaire and mega-successful businesswoman in her chosen field: sex. How did we get here from there, you ask? Stay with me on this for a bit longer.
According to the Las Vegas Sun, Linda Ronstadt was thrown off the stage of the Aladdin Theater by Aladdin President Bill Timmons when she dared to dedicate a song to Michael Moore.
Timmins, who was among the almost 5,000 fans in the audience at the Aladdin Theatre for the Performing Arts, had Ronstadt escorted to her tour bus and her belongings from her hotel room sent to her. Timmins also sent word to Ronstadt that she was no longer welcome at the property for future performances, according Aladdin spokeswoman Tyri Squyres.
Near the close of her performance, Ronstadt dedicated the Eagles hit “Desperado” to Moore, producer of “Fahrenheit 9/11,” and the room erupted into equal parts boos and cheers.She said Moore “is someone who cares about this country deeply and is trying to help.”
Hundreds of angry fans streamed from the theater as Ronstadt sang. Some of them reportedly defaced posters of her in the lobby, writing comments and tossing drinks on her pictures.Timmins told Las Vegas Sun gossip columnist Timothy McDarrah: “We live in a city where people come from all over the world to be entertained. We hired Ms. Ronstadt as an entertainer, not as a political activist.
“Whether you are politically on the left or on the right is not the point. She went up in front of the stage and just let it out. This was not the correct forum for that.”
Gutsy call, Bill.
Timmons’ explanation is as rank as his action. Tell me that if Wayne Newton dedicated a song to George W, Timmons would throw him off the stage and banish him forever for being ‘political’. Bullshit. It’s all political. Timmons is a Bush supporter who hates Moore and Moore’s film so he exercised his power to enforce his political views and then, with standard right-wing hypocrisy, blamed Ronstadt for being political.
It’s the Dixie Chicks all over again, and it stinks.
(Thanks to Thrasher at BlogCritics)