“Take the risk of thinking for yourself, much more happiness, truth, beauty, and wisdom will come to you that way.” (Christopher Hitchens)
Ahem, amen. As America pretends to care about the Oscars, to hang on every word, to watch each alleged and putative star traipse and perambulate down and up the red carpet, as we feign an uncontrolled interest in the organically irrelevant, the news that must be addressed is again overlooked. Yet, I admit, it always fascinates me as to what makes a film classic in our own mind. What were the films that changed your life? That represented a seminal moment in motion picture excellence. And as neurology and psychiatry become more adept at singling out the particular brain areas that are affected during moments of entertainment, one day soon producers and directors will be able to target particular brain center activity for a particular reaction irrespective of what it means to and for the script and momentum of the story. Very soon, biofeedback and neurolinguistic metrics will be a part of the filmmakers toolkit to ensure audience approbation and the film’s success. The plot and art be damned!
Get thee to a notary! I also take time to pay tribute to a friend of my wife’s and mine who recently passed away, Lesley Gore, who enjoyed at the ripe old age of 16 international musical stardom the likes of which there is no comparison today. She reminds me of a time when the notion of international was more a kin to universal. With greater platforms and vertical delivery today more people are able to spread the message faster and with a greater range than eever before. But relative to the success of yore, today’s stars do not enjoy the same relative audience and relative penetration that they did then. Relative penetration. (Your pun here.)
Antepenultimate. I also speak to the notion that there is anything today that remotely could be considered shocking. That which shocks and shakes our collective conscious has been so diluted by virtue of the persistent and continuous exposure to virtually and literally everything that nothing is capable of horrid. Other than the neck tattoo.
Valedictory. In any event, I commend to you the attached disquisition on that which I find to be of critical importance at least for today. Perhaps.
U.K. scientists have examined a tiny metal sphere, and are positing that it might be a microorganism deliberately sent by extraterrestrials to create life on Earth through the mechanism of directed panspermia. And if so, think what this does to tropes, theories and hypotheses advanced by religion.
If it’s not the criminal but the gun, then it’s not the zealot but the belief in God. I’ve always enjoyed the way various proponents of ideologies will use arguments in ways that best suit their immediate purpose. For example, Obama has suggested that ISIS is not a Muslim or Islamic or religious problem but that it represents a group of people who have hijacked religion as a means and method of disseminating terror. Now, when I have suggested that gun violence is not the problem of the gun but of the criminal I was summarily dismissed by the anti-Second Amendment zealot who opined that it was indeed the gun that caused the problem and not the criminal. In fact, were you to ban guns, you’d eliminate murder and crime. So, were religion to vanish or be banned would terrorism of this ilk disappear as well? The answer, of course is that that’s a specious argument, but if it works for guns, it’ll work for ISIS. Deal?
So, let me have a got at it. So using the theory, I propose the following. It is the religion and not the proponent of the religion that is the problem. The problem with ISIS, I now submit, using the aforementioned twisted logic, is that religion and God promote such sickening and murderous behavior. No, religion, no terrorism. Deal? How can this component be overlooked? In our scaredy-cat mentality we tiptoe over the inconvenient, the uncomfortable, the incredibly sensitive. How is it that the notion of gods existence has become the third rail. Kryptonite. There are more closeted atheists the most could ever imagine. There are those who camouflage themselves as the pathetically feckless agnostic. Or the irreligious. Or the apatheist. After all, the alcoholic has a problem with alcohol. Maybe the religious extremist has a problem with God.
What?! How’d this slip by? I know you missed this. Of course you did. If you’re the usual American caught up in the quotidian media diversion and claptrap. What with all the cold coverage and SNL40 and Bruce Jenner blather, it’s easy to let this one slip by, right? Keep in mind that the primary goal and objective of the mainstream media are to keep you in a perpetual state of cognitive and intellectual anesthesia.
Are you sitting down, Earthing? There are those who believe that life was first brought to Earth from far across the universe and not, therefore, by way of the usual Creationist or religious mechanism. In fact, this week there were headlines aplenty about how British scientists had discovered evidence that extraterrestrials and EBEs may have in effect seeded life on this planet. Some of the most esteemed minds in science have been promoting this theory for a long time inckuding the mechanism of direct panspermia.
UK scientists have just found some evidence supporting a theory so out of this world it makes others look unimaginative by comparison. A strange, tiny object may suggest that Earth was actually seeded by extra-terrestrials to create life.
It sounds nuts, but first let’s at least look at the findings. Astrobiologist Milton Wainwright and a team of researchers at the University of Buckingham recently discovered a microscopic metal sphere in the dust from the team’s atmospheric balloon. Specifically, the hair-length ball is made of titanium and vanadium with a viscous liquid, and most intriguingly, a biological core.
What on Earth would a ball filled with alien goo be doing, well, on Earth? According to the theory of “directed panspermia,” coined by Nobel Prize winner Francis Crick, such objects may have been used by life forms from outside our Solar System to bring creation to our planet. “One theory is it was sent to Earth by some unknown civilization in order to continue seeding the planet with life,” said Wainwright in an interview while referencing Crick’s work.
The implications are truly awesome, in the truest sense of the actual word. Fear not, my fellow searcher of truth, you and I will join forces along with our brothers and sisters in truth in surgically the targeting the relevant and critical. Let the masses focus on the de minimis. Bread and circuses, for everyone!
Think this was some accident? That recently departed White House adviser Podesta just decided all of a sudden to drop this bombshell? Come on, Sparky, wake up. Something’s about to break and you’re being softened up. Because you’ve been under the illusion that UFOs are the subject and province of the nutjob, the loon. Not even close, my friend. So, where’s the mainstream media? Why haven’t they broached the subject now or ever? Because they’re feckless, impuissant geldings. No guts, no glory. No hits, no runs, no errors. Wouldn’t you have liked to hear about this? What news director or program honcho said no to this story? But they would have had no problem with another Bri-Wi or Kanye or deflategate story. We are doomed. As you know, this is a favorite topic of mine as exhibited by my interview with the inimitable and ineffable Stanton Friedman as to UFOs and flying saucers. You heard me, flying saucers. You didn’t hear this? What’s the mater with you? And you call yourself a sentient human being. Now, I’ve never seen anything that I’d call a UFO but I’ve never seen an electron either.
Foo fighters, not the band. It certainly seems. Thus spake and writ TIME.
The earliest UFO sightings in recorded history can be found in 4th century Chinese texts claiming that a “moon boat” hovered above China every 12 years. Other enthusiasts cite the Book of Ezekiel, in which a curious vessel dropped from the sky and landed in Chaldea, in modern-day Kuwait. A wave of sightings occurred near Rome in 218 B.C. and again in Germany in 1561. During World War II, Allied pilots coined the term foo fighters for the bizarre orbs of light that some insisted flew alongside their planes during combat.
I’ve looked at clouds from both sides now. The CIA is most worried and concerned that a foreign power may soon be able to manipulate the global climate in ways that cannot be detected. Science fiction? Conspiracies? No, try the news. I’ll ask again: Where has the mainstream media been?
Introducing albedo. The Independent reports that “[c]onsultants working for the Central Intelligence Agency have asked Professor Alan Robock of Rutgers University in New Jersey whether it would be possible for another nation to meddle with the climate without being discovered, he said.” Geoengineering (or chemtrails as used by the uninitiated) has been the focus of two major studies by the Royal Society in Britain and the US National Academy of Sciences, which is funded in part by American intel. Both reports found that albedo (the Earth’s reflectivity) modification poses considerable risks as can be imagined but that geoengineering warrants more research. So, where’s the media coverage? <Crickets>
You mean to tell me . . . that no intel agency in the world has a bead on who the ISIS actors are? That none of its members have been ID’d by anyone anywhere at any time? That with our advanced methodologies in torture and interrogation, we can’t grab a few bad actors and take them out into the Indian Ocean with no theoretical jurisdiction and apply soldering irons and ball-peen hammers? I mean going medieval? Surely, you jest. I’m not buying it. And I’m not necessarily suggesting it, but our reluctance to go silent and deep as to these monsters makes no sense to me. After all, Saudi Arabia beheads those accused of sorcery — you know, as in Harry Potter — and we don’t say boo. But torturing the rank and file of ISIS that some informant will necessarily give up? Oh, that’s considered a no-no. Let me tell you the story of Columbo button Greg Scarpa, nicknamed “The Grim Reaper,” who persuaded (allegedly) a suspect who might have known something about the location of the bodies of missing civil rights workers in Mississippi in 1964 to come clean and fess up. Which he allegedly did posthaste after sucking the working end of a pistol and being threatened with slow and sloppy castration.
Sorry, but this is the gold standard. Period. But I digress. It was perfection. Exquisite. The greatest comedy ensemble in recent time. It rivaled Your Show of Shows. It was that great. But it wasn’t live and that’s a factor that weighs considerably in the calculus of entertainment history. SNL enjoys an historical significance that can’t and shan’t be discounted. To be sure.
Waxing desultory? And speaking of digressing, the SNL40 special seemed interminable at times. What with Chevy Chase’s frightening cognitive disconnect and barely audible rasp, Eddie Murphy’s strange “message” which bordered somewhere between indecipherable and de minimis and those incredible moments of two, count ‘em two Brian Williams references — and how could a show that skewered mercilessly the high and mighty, deliberately spare the Merlin of Mendacity — along with the rather morbid reprise of Chris Farley’s Matt Foley character, the evening was certainly interesting and a wonderful opportunity to engage in the behavior of live tweeting along with the world. And there were moments that seemed unrehearsed, but not in the good sense. Unrehearsed as in random and haphazard.
But herein, I explore a number of points to be made inter alia:
How SNL identified leaders as stupid and dense versus uninformed or quirky, thus reinforcing the meme that the professional left typically employs: that conservatives are dolts and liberals are enlightened
SNL in the pantheon of political commentary disguised as entertainment and variety
The persistent nonsense of the left-right paradigm
How new media platforms will destroy the notion of liberal versus conservative commentary
How Jon Stewart presaged the future of information and opinion gathering
The essential elements of success: entertaining and great broadcasting
Hoary and hackneyed tropes such as talk radio is only conservative
The ostensible difficulty of conservative messaging finding its funny bone
How the mainstream media looks upon the confluence of alternative delivery platforms with amusement and not as a serious and direct threat to their perceived cornered market
And how, despite the forgoing, so many still in charge fail to see the seismic change that’s happening as we speak
During the initial period of the Gulf War in January 1991, CBS news warrior Bob Simon was captured by Iraqi forces near the Saudi-Kuwaiti border. He and three other members of his crew spent 40 days in Iraqi prisons, which he wrote about in his book “Forty Days.” Simon then returned to Baghdad in January 1993 to cover the American bombing of Iraq. But here’s the takeaway. It really happened.
This was the real deal. CBS newsman extraordinaire Bob Simon and his crew endured 40 harrowing days in an Iraqi jail back in 1991. It actually happened. It was true. No embellishment, no exaggeration, no puffery. No bovine egesta. This is what Bri-Wi, the hipster moniker for the caricature formerly known as Brian Williams, only dreams he could be. Bob Simon is not the last, certainly, of a noble profession because here will always be those who are inspired to do great things and with the delivery platforms growing exponentially via citizen journalism and we’ll see more. And the ironies of ironies, Simon loses his life in a livery car on the Westside Highway in Manhattan in a freak accident. But whilst Bri-Lie embellishes stories for the pure sake of spinning mendacious yarns, this brave newsman endured and risked his life and was the suave sultan of the understatement. No need to gloat or expand. Which brings me to the other question. What motivates a man who has the best job in the world, who reads a prompter for fun and profit — and please, let’s be honest, that’s what he does! — and is asked just to not become an embarrassment? This I’ll never understand.
Brian Williams. We hardly knew ye.
Who’d a thunk? When Williams came up with the initial lie of having taken RPG fire whislt in Iraq, I thought it would blow over before you knew it. After all, one story. Big deal. Yeah. But it wasn’t one story but what now seems to be one thousand instances of unnecessary and unprompted and unimaginable distortions of what vaguely represents the truth. And you know it got really serious when the memes that sprung up — and were quite funny — actually presaged the new spate and slew of Williams whoppers. Meeting the Pope? At the Berlin Wall when it fell? Discovering the Higgs Boson? (OK, that was mine, but still.) The degree and arc of lies have caromed to such an extent no damage control is even possible. And yet, this is still the only person ever to be sanctioned for lying about Iraq.
The insanity of entropy. I’m irreligious admittedly and try to bite my tongue when saccharine comments about Gawd’s mercy pop up. But any suggestion that The Almighty planned and scheduled Simon’s demise is beyond any semblance of insanity. The tragedy of this man’s demise is inexplicable and incalculable. Period.
Nothing’s changed. Nothing. The anchor. The “news.” Staid, starched and stiff. Your dad’s news. Rehashed and invariably irrelevant by the time it hits your brain at 6:30 PM. Dank, dreary and devoid. Devoid of “new” as news guarantees. Jon Stewart is a revolutionary. Bri-Wi wasn’t and isn’t. And what was and is the subject of the revolution? Stewart mocked the pretentious nature of the news, and its haughtiness; he cut through the dreck. It in fact was the news, not fake news. Just like the editorial cartoon often speaks more to the issue than the editorial. Stewart did more to revitalize a natural interest in the topics than any of the hoary Ted Baxters ever did. And that’s just a fact. Much was made over the fact that many younger demos took their news from Stewart. And wouldn’t or shouldn’t they? Somewhere along the line the myth was created that you had to be of a certain stripe to deliver fact. That you needed a degree or, Gawd forbid, a license. As one great newsman said, “You only need a license to cut hair.” News is sexy, fascinating and fun. After all, new is information and data. And whether it’s biased, I’ll let others debate that one. Bias is in the eye of the beholder. Or something.
The irony of ironies. When all is said and done, the most critical point to take away from this is that Brian Williams is the only person to have been penalized for lying about the Iraq War. True and sad. Williams was sacked over years of bloviating and resentment. He just wasn’t liked by colleagues. Too cool for school. The man who couldn’t decide if he wanted to be Cronkite or a Kardashian. Sadly, you apparently can’t be both. But in any event, when you embellish war records, nobody and I mean, nobody can forgive that. the braggart and bigmouth is universally loathed. That’s really what this is about. It has nothing to do with news. It never did. And enough can’t be said that Bri-Wi embellished his own mythical derring-do. He never inflated or undersold troop casualties like Westmoreland did. His puffery was about himself. Plain and not so simple. So he takes a powder for six months. With no pay, mind you. All the while to allow the biggest return in the history of second acts and chances or the resounding din of crickets to a people who’ve forgotten who their Daddy once was.
First printed in 1985 in the San Francisco Examiner and later in 1988 in “Generation of Swine: Tales of Shame and Degradation in the ’80’s” by Hunter S. Thompson
Etymology, anyone? And let’s put this myth to bed, shall we? The word news can be traced back to late Middle English around the 14th century as a plural for the adjective “new” or “new thing.” And, incidentally, the word news has been claimed to be an acronym of the four cardinal directions (North, East, West, and South). Nonsense.
Perception. Versus truth. Versus reality. It’s perception. Perception as to what’s critical and valid. The Brian Williams fiasco has hit critical mass and, frankly, my interest level has vanished altogether. What still is amazing to me is how politicians’ lies mean absolutely nothing. In the scheme of things, that is. In this podcast is a pastiche of subject matter that I trust you can follow with no difficulty. Confuse it not for desultory, it’s varied and winding. Stream of (un)consciousness. A thought collective. And psychically troubling. That’s the point. You’re welcome.
So what! Big deal. He lied, fibbed, whatever. Fine. Big deal! Stars and Stripes reported “NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams admitted Wednesday he was not aboard a helicopter hit and forced down by RPG fire during the invasion of Iraq in 2003, a false claim that has been repeated by the network for years.” Hillary Clinton “misspoke” about being targeted by sniper fire in Bosnia. So what! Are you suggesting that this surprises you? Tell me you’re not seriously saying that. Look, BW handled this miserably. True, he should have never said this. Fine. But with all of the lies that we’re immersed in daily and continuously by the government, this little whopper is de minimis to say the least. So what. He’s not an elected official. Not POTUS. No one died over his lies and misrepresentation. It was malignant puffery, wild exaggeration, so what. It’s Thursday, by tomorrow night, it’ll be over. America has the attention span of a gnat.
His lies never killed anyone. He should have been more up front and not alleged “mistake.” This wasn’t an oops moment. No slip of the tongue. It was contrived and manufactured and repeated and so what! Brian Williams never lied about
the role of Iraq and Afghanistan in 9/11
there being no doubt that Saddam Hussein has WMDs
the safety of GMOs
yellowcake from Niger
“[n]obody in our government, at least, and I don’t think the prior government, could envision flying airplanes into buildings on such a massive scale.”
having “ha(d) no hard evidence connecting” 9/11 to bin Laden as the FBI admitted
Americans on hit lists
vaccination research and data
actual unemployment numbers
the subjugation of the US as world power to that of NATO enforcer
the smoking gun turning into a mushroom cloud
American military torturing “enemy combatants”
Saudi Arabia’s complicity in 9/11
9/11 first responders being told it was safe to enter the area that was a witches brew of deadly contamination
promising to stop using signing statements
the militarization of the police via 1033 programs
Pat Tillman and Jessica Lynch
those responsible for the assassination of JFK
the Gulf of Tonkin incident
Operations Gladio, Ajax, Mockingbird, COINTELPRO and Fast and Furious
NSA spying and mass surveillance
CIA drug trafficking
personally witnessing Iraqi soldiers invade Kuwaiti hospitals and taking newborns out of their incubators and throwing them onto the cold floor to freeze to death.
Your anger is misdirected. Stop the contrived Sturm und Drang, gnashing of teeth. No one died. It’s the presstitute media. Animate teleprompters. Be angry over the complicity of media as administration apparatchiks who bleat and howl and clap like barking seals over wars that kill brave American men and women. Leave Brian Williams alone.
This is MRT.Mitochondrial Replacement Therapy. And believe you me, the voices will rise in objection with nary a clue as to what this even envisages or implies. And that’s the theme of today’s discourse. It works like this: I don’t like you or the main proponent of an idea who’s been attached and tethered to an idea. Or I will refer to you as a Truther, Birther, Deather, Climate Change Denier and now a Vaxxer. Or anti-Vaxxer. Or I’ll dredge up Jenny McCarthy as an example of the lunacy of the idea. Funny, Bobby Kennedy Jr.’s a different story. Anyhoo. But that’s it; you’re a loon. Insane. And then you’ll meet the folks who opine loudly yet have no idea of what the science involves or the like. This goes back to the Scopes Trial in 1925, where people were up in arms over Darwinian Mechanics and evolution and natural selection despite knowing nothing of how it even works.
Be chary, Mary. You’re probably not a physician or immunologist or autism expert. But I am an expert in civil liberties and how they devolve. And, by the by, I addressed this very topic of MRT a year ago. See infra. Can you say prescient? Vatic? Pythonic? And relevant? Enjoy.
Oh, really? How much say do you have over your children’s health? If you fear that vaccines cause autism, if you believe that certain drugs affect our child negatively, right or wrong, what power do you have? That’s the issue. Not Chris Christie or Rand Paul. Those aren’t the issues. The issue, as I explain herein, is your child. The issue has been personalized beyond all reason. The message is the same. The refrain never changes. The issue is whether you as a parent, who may believe that a vaccine as tested is dangerous and should be avoided, do you have the right to say no? I’m not a physician or an immunologist and have studied not autism and the like, but I will tell you anecdotally that virtually every parent I meet or know seems to have a child on psychmeds or who suffers from ADD, ADDHD or autism. I’m not exaggerating, this isn’t hyperbole, it’s true. And that in no wise means that vaccines are the reason, but as a parent aren’t you and should you be able to decide? Without being called a lunatic, that is.