Thursday, July 31, 2008

In Pretense of Inurement

Beware the spew of Chlamydosaurus kingii, aka The Frilled Dragon

As a self-described word-wonk, I'm always up for the bite of nice, chewy neologisms, but when it comes to using them in writing, I regard them the same way I do a platter of chocolate-chip cookies: indulge in more than one or two and you're risking that sick-to-the-stomach feeling. When doled out or consumed in ill-considered bulk, that which is fresh and tasty becomes cloying, then stomach-turning. Witty turns to clever-assed, the kissing-cousin of shtick.

And so it is with the neologism-choked "writing" of Michelle Malkin.

Apparently, the rising star of Barack Obama--and more specifically, the appearance of his family's smiling faces in the racks of our grocery store checkout lines--is giving Malkin a bad case of agita:
People brings you the scoop on what really matters in this critical presidential campaign: Michelle hula-hoops with her daughters. They’re just like you and me! The kids have slumber parties. They’re just like you and me! Barack does laundry, but he doesn’t fold it. They’re just like you and me! The kids get small allowances. They’re just like you and me! The Obamas wear normal clothes while doing normal things.

Er, we are talking about People magazine, right? Last time I checked (yeah, I'll cop to it, it was the Oscars fashion double issue with photographs of all the gowns and jewelry), People wasn't exactly the go-to source for candidates' economic or national security policy outlines. It's a gossip lifestyle magazine--a fluffy-light marshmallow of a publication, the cover photos of which have brightened many an otherwise-gloomy morning for this accidental grocery shopper (see Owen, Clive; Pitt, Brad; Clooney, George).

Lifestyle as in, pictures of celebrities (actors, musicians, politicians) living their lives just like you and me. Photos of picnics, snapshots of little ones in strollers, informal family-gathering portraits with everyone in the frame smiling and trying to affect a thrilled-to-be-here mood despite the fact that Uncle Remus is lying face-down in the marigolds--again--having consumed three pitchers of rum punch all by his lonesome and then thrown up on the trampoline.

In other words, just like you and me. Only richer and possessed of newer, pricier outfits and top-shelf legal representation.

For Malkin, though, the tableaux vivants on display at her local supermarket this weekend reveal something false. Something false about Obama, that poseur, that presumptuous, that...that...actual husband, actual father, actual attorney-and-law-professor-turned-successful-politician. But really, everyone, how dare he try to be JUST LIKE YOU AND ME when you just know he darned well isn't? I mean, I mean...oh, what do I mean? I need some new words to describe what I'm feeling. Let's see...
Chicago corruptocrats
JustLikeYou&Me Michelle

Which one to deploy today, though? Which will be most likely to irritate the Defeatocrats? Decisions, decisions. Ah, fudge, I'll just use them all--they make the piece so much punchier and more attention-getting.

Kind of like pom-poms and pleated minskirts, only you don't have to wax first.

(H/T Sadly, No!)

Also at Cogitamus.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

McCain Finds (the Right) God: Forget the Baptism Pond--Where Do We Land Cindy's Plane?

Alternet brings us the brilliant Matt Taibbi riffing on John McCain, who's now in the spotlight finding his--or, at least, someone's--religion:

But here's how fucked that seemingly unstoppable coalition is this time around, now that the ticket is headed by an aging Goldwaterite named John McCain: The candidate has only recently come around to the idea that the Republican nominee in the age of Bush and the evangelical ayatollahs has to go to church regularly. When asked recently if he is an evangelical Christian, McCain answered, "I attend church." When asked how often, he said, "Not as often as I should."

So in recent weeks, to prove his piety, McCain has taken to dragging himself out of bed on Sunday mornings to attend services at North Phoenix Baptist, not-so-subtly announcing his devotions to his traveling press. ("Yeah, they started telling us he was going to church about a month ago," one McCain-beat reporter chuckled to me on the Straight Talk Express. "Like, Oh, by the way, he's going to church again. At this address, if you want to check. . . .") Originally baptized an Episcopalian, McCain claims that he's been attending this Southern Baptist church for some 15 years, despite the fact that his 2007 congressional biography lists his faith as Episcopalian. But in a touching display of his apparent unwillingness to do absolutely anything to get elected, McCain still hasn't been baptized in his new church -- he's not born-again, in other words. Dude is holding out for some reason. Like he's afraid to lie to God. A politician, afraid to lie!

The marriage of fundamentalist Christianity and the conservative movement has been a powerful force in world affairs. It has been the best smoke screen the archpriests of supply-side economics could possibly have had, giving Wall Street a populist in with the very people victimized the most by their union-busting, deregulatory policies. It turned out, for decades, that Bible-thumping Americans didn't mind having their jobs shipped to China, so long as someone was worrying about the air supply to Terri Schiavo's brain lump. As political cons go, this was the ultimate gift that kept on giving.

It all had to end sometime, though, and that sometime might be now. Nervous, white, sexually inhibited Protestants with fourth-grade educations are becoming a smaller and smaller share of the country's population, and the Christian right is increasingly frustrated with the Republican Party's failure to transform America into a fundamentalist caliphate. (Forget about abortion: After eight years of Republican rule, Christians can't even put up the Ten Commandments in Alabama without someone bitching about it.) But the last straw just might come down to one Republican politician's personal idiosyncrasies. All the party needed was one more pious, Scripture-quoting, hair-spray-soaked whore to hold this thing together for another four years, and instead they got John McCain. And John McCain may break up three decades of GOP Jesus-flogging simply because he is too afraid to get his forehead wet. Wouldn't that be something?

(Emphasis mine, by the way--DNT)

Oh, it would be something all right. But given what I know about a) fundies and b) the GOP, I think it's safe to say we would be treated to at least three or four thousand rationalizations and spinjobs within seconds of McCain's concession speech in November. The fundies--and the Gathering Of Plutocrats who love them--will come up with something, anything, in order to bubble-wrap their respective worldviews and, more disturbingly, to preserve the shared trajectory of their work to create an authoritarian state.

Will they say McCain was a Manchurian candidate after all? Will they concoct some Brobdingnagian conspiracy theory involving Obama's ex-pastor and Teh Clenis? It would be irresponsible not to speculate! Please do so in comments. (And of course, read the whole, well-written thing.)

(H/T oddjob)

Also at Cogitamus.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Friday Frank: From 1968

This is a wonderful Very Vintage Frank music/film compilation. The piece has a witty, art-film quality thanks to its black-and-white footage, not to mention the unintentional special effects caused by the technological shortcomings of the era. Musicians featured herein:

FZ--guitar, piano, vocals
Don Preston--keyboards, electronics, vocals
Ian Underwood--alto sax, clarinet
Bunk Gardner--tenor sax, soprano sax
Motorhead Sherwood--tambourine, percussion, snorks
Roy Estrada--bass, vocals, gas mask
Jimmy Carl Black--drums
Arthur Dyer Tripp III--drums

Bon Weekend, everyone!

(H/T and thanks to bongolampo, who consistently uploads great Zappa videos.)

Also at Cogitamus.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Libertarian Troll Bingo

Sabotabby posted this terrific graphic* at Punkassblog last year, yes. But it would seem that no-one has given the rabid Randians a heads-up about their dire need for some fresh, as-yet-undebunked talking points (and especially, some talking points that don't immediately inspire howls of derisive laughter among thinking people).

Thus, Libertarian Troll Bingo can be as much fun as it ever was. I mean, take the comments on Ezra's latest health care post--it's uncanny! I'm on my way to WIN, I tell you.

*Unless you're blessed with a Super Best Friend's laserscope eyesight, I'd recommend clicking the image to enlarge it.

Also at Cogitamus.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Friday Frank: Muffin Man (live); 1977

With Adrian Belew, Patrick O'Hearn, Terry Bozzio, Ed Mann, Tommy Mars, and Peter Wolf.

And lotsa great guitar.

Stay cool, and have a very Bon Weekend, everyone!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Friday Saturday Frank: Oh No; Los Angeles, 1974

Terrific vintage footage of Frank with Napoleon Murphy Brock, George Duke, and Ruth Underwood.

Wow, but 1974 seems like several lifetimes ago. That year, I was in the ninth grade and we lived in Tegucicalpa, Honduras. The city's only rock station--Radio Mil--never broadcast any Zappa creations (I think I'd remember); mainly the dj's played the odd Rolling Stones hit and plenty of pop. When they weren't playing military marching music in honor of the latest coup, that is.

Bon Weekend A Bit Late, everyone.

(H/T bongolampo)

Also at Cogitamus.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Thank You, Thank You, Ah'll Be Here 'til January...

"Goodbye from the world's biggest polluter!"

Our president actually said this at the close of the G8 yesterday. And then pumped his fist in the air as other world leaders reportedly "looked on in shock":
One official who witnessed the extraordinary scene said afterwards: "Everyone was very surprised that he was making a joke about America's record on pollution."

Mr Bush also faced criticism at the summit after Silvio Berlusconi, the Italian Prime Minister, was described in the White House press pack given to journalists as one of the "most controversial leaders in the history of a country known for government corruption and vice".
Heaven help us.

(H/T TRex)

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Friday Saturday Frank: G-Spot Tornado; Berlin*, 1992

Darkblack recently sent me the link to this great Frank Zappa/Ensemble Modern performance; I'd posted it before--one day short of a year ago, in fact!--and felt it was due for a re-run. In addition to the energetic piece itself, this clip offers terrific (and to my weekend-warrior's aching limbs, kind of terrifying) high-octane interpretive dancing and several shots of one very bemused Zappa at the conductor's helm.

I'm going to be in and out of the 'Tubes for the next several weeks; please forgive my lightweight posting--not that I've ever been much of a heavyweight blogger at any point, but much longer until school resumes?! *Enormous Sigh*

Happy Fireworks Weekend, everyone.

*I'm not 100% certain, and the YouTube poster doesn't say, but I seem to remember this concert as being held in Berlin?

Also at Cogitamus.