Simply ineffable. Nonpareil. Joe Franklin’s late night television extravaganza, from 1950 to 1962 on WJZ and then until 1993 on WOR, cannot and will not ever be equaled on Mother Earth by anyone at anytime. To this day he’s in the “Guinness World Records” as the longest continuously running talk show in TV history. In fact more than a decade longer than Johnny Carson’s fabled tenure. He interviewed everyone of note in the world of entertainment with and in a style no one can or could match. Could you imagine a news director today hiring Joe? That would require an appreciation for kitsch that’s sadly nonexistent. But more importantly, he was a New York legend, a character, an icon. Sui generis and nonpareil. Conditions don’t exist any longer for there to be another Joe Franklin. Née Joseph Fortgang he lives on forever in our memory lane. YouTube cements his genius. His talent was in the seeming incongruity of the guest list. The variability and range. He really was as great as we say he was. It’s not auto-mourn, it’s not contrived lachrymal funereal schmaltz. He was truly that great. Truly. Thank you, sir.
Stop poo-pooing propaganda. Or Pshaw!. (I love archaic expressions of reaction.) It’s as American as the neck tattoo and viral video. We wallow and thrive in propaganda. News, history, popular culture — it’s all part of the propagandist meat grinder. Everything that we do, everything that we think and perceive is addressed and formed via the mechanics of “the conscious and intelligent manipulation of organized habits and opinions.” From our flag-waving obeisance to the conflation of political ideology with active popular memes, we are walking and talking propaganda automatons. Our history, worldview, name it. So embrace it. Listen herein. From Leni Riefenstahl and “Triumph of the Will” to Frank Capra and “Why We Fight” it’s all propaganda. From congregatio de propaganda fide or “congregation for propagation of the faith” and a committee of cardinals in 1622 by Pope Gregory XV, it’s a deliberate. Country music, John Wayne, talk radio, right versus left, positive and negative. History and news are pop culture. Stop fighting it. Embrace it. It’s quintessentially American. And watch especially how the country music retreads and wannabes are climbing over each other to weigh in and plant the flag on the Mount Suribachi of country memes. Like Toby Keith and Peter Jennings during the Iraq monstrosity.
I have seen these things with my very own eyes
And defended my battered soul
It must be too tough to die American propaganda, South African lies
Will not force me to take up arms, that’s my enemies’ pride
And I won’t fight by his rules that’s foolishness besides
His ignorance is gonna do him in and nobody’s gonna cry
Because his children they are growing up
With bigots and their silver cups they’re fed up
They might throw up on you
A veritable of disquisition. Discussed herein please note the following inter alia.
Bread and circuses originates from fromaremarkbythe first and second century CE Roman poet and satirist Decimus Iunius Iuvenalis (Juvenal) onthelimiteddesiresoftheRomanpopulace and it denotes something,asextravagantentertainment,offeredasanexpedientmeansofpacifyingdiscontentordivertingattentionfromasourceofgrievance. It’s a distraction of the masses away from that which matters and counts. It’s nonsense. #DeflateGate and Belichick mean nada. Niente. Nihil. And those who eschew the notion of conspiracy theories have no problem in conspiring away to analyze this insignificant moment of inconsequential nothing.
The Shelly Silver indictment and my road trip to Albany. The parlors of power and how the mighty have fallen as well as the rise of Preet Bharara, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York. Today’s Tom Dewey and neo-Giuliani.
Chemtrails and geoengineering versus contrails. Despite my eyewitness testimony, the detractors love to detract and distract.
Alan Dershowitz fights back in a most fascinating legal gambit. I also discuss the inherent evul of the Royals and monarchists.
SOTU reactions: Are you a bleeding heart liberal or wingnut conservative? Yep, that about describes it. Social media provided the real time Rorschach and ‘tween the snarky memes of #breadbags and #yeswetan and either the fawning paeans from the decidedly partisan Obama minions to the hardcore rejection of anything save a hardcore reaction to anything POTUS uttered even if, as I suspect, they were the exact quotes of Bush 43, it was a perfect example of what American political discourse is all about. Mets versus Yankees. No rhyme, reason or facts.
Too parochial for my tastes. Left-Right. Right-Wrong. The meme. The simplified reduction of the complex into two pockets. Simple. Base. Crony politics. The limited worldview and prism. Heel versus Baby Face. The horrid dreck and blather of the pathetically simplistic marginalizing of the complex. But it makes folks feel superior. It makes folks feel like their in the game because they’ve committed the message to a few words and familiar phrases.
And it’s now critical that you recall the words of Professor Carroll Quigley from his book, “Tragedy and Hope: A History of the World in Our Time.” Keep in mind the role the good professor had in Bill Clinton’s development and political ideology. And also note his considerable work anent secret societies and the like. He pulls back the curtain, reveals the Potemkin village and movie set and shows the world the fallacy of political freneticism. It’s all a work.
“The argument that the two parties should represent opposed ideals and policies, one, perhaps, of the Right and the other of the Left, is a foolish idea acceptable only to doctrinaire and academic thinkers,” Dr. Quigley wrote. “Instead, the two parties should be almost identical, so that the American people can ‘throw the rascals out’ at any election without leading to any profound or extensive shifts in policy.”
Today’s installment. This podcast explores the gradations, the differentials, the parsing of popular ideology. And how they define silly personality and culturally-based target labels that miss by a mile anything approximating reality. Any questions?
Any questions? You can’t get better than this. It’s perfect. So what’s wrong with propaganda? It’s as old as war. As old as thought. It’s etymology? “Originally this word derived from a new administrative body of the Catholic Church (congregation) created in 1622, called the Congregatio de Propaganda Fide (Congregation for Propagating the Faith), or informally simply Propaganda.” It’s not illegal and it’s in the eye of the beholder. Look at Pat Tillman and Jessica Lynch. Can you say Jerry Bruckheimer? The CIA and Hollywood have contracted for years as has the Pentagon. Holy, Frank Capra, Batman! Where’ve you been? I can still remember John Wayne and his now laughable “Green Berets.” And enter Michael Moore into the fray and it’s perfect. The perfect left-right paradigm.
Brilliant! American Sniper is perfect propaganda. Packaged and delivered as part of the age-old connection and information delivery system between Hollywood and the government. And with Clint Eastwood at the helm, the fellow who fetishized Dirty Harry and drove home the phallic sub-memes of the magnum and “Make my day,” I mean this is perfect. Throw into the mix Michael Moore decrying the horrors of sniping, by sniping oddly enough, and you have to marvel at the beauty of the setup. Frank Capra would be proud. This after the NFL drives home the connection between patriotism and the flag and flyovers and the American pastime and, well, you get the idea. No, be not mistaken, from the folks who gave you Pat Tillman and Jessica Lynch, meet Chris Kyle. And you thought Hollywood was liberal! Ha!
The conspiracy analysis. On December 8, 1999, a jury in Memphis, Tennessee, returned a verdict that found that civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was the victim of an assassination conspiracy and did not die at the hands of a lone gunman as history records and the media have repeated. Dr. King was the victim of conspiracy and James Earl Ray was a patsy. Which conspiracy loon said this? Try Coretta Scott King.
After four weeks of testimony and over 70 witnesses in a civil trial in Memphis, Tennessee, twelve jurors reached a unanimous verdict on December 8, 1999 after about an hour of deliberations that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated as a result of a conspiracy.
In a press statement held the following day in Atlanta, Mrs. Coretta Scott King welcomed the verdict, saying, “There is abundant evidence of a major high level conspiracy in the assassination of my husband, Martin Luther King, Jr. And the civil court’s unanimous verdict has validated our belief. I wholeheartedly applaud the verdict of the jury and I feel that justice has been well served in their deliberations. This verdict is not only a great victory for my family, but also a great victory for America. It is a great victory for truth itself. It is important to know that this was a SWIFT verdict, delivered after about an hour of jury deliberation. The jury was clearly convinced by the extensive evidence that was presented during the trial that, in addition to Mr. Jowers, the conspiracy of the Mafia, local, state and federal government agencies, were deeply involved in the assassination of my husband. The jury also affirmed overwhelming evidence that identified someone else, not James Earl Ray, as the shooter, and that Mr. Ray was set up to take the blame. I want to make it clear that my family has no interest in retribution. Instead, our sole concern has been that the full truth of the assassination has been revealed and adjudicated in a court of law… My husband once said, “The moral arc of the universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” To-day, almost 32 years after my husband and the father of my four children was assassinated, I feel that the jury’s verdict clearly affirms this principle. With this faith, we can begin the 21st century and the new millennium with a new spirit of hope and healing.”
Findings of fact. The overwhelming evidence of US government complicity found valid by the jury includes the following:
US 111th Military Intelligence Group were at Dr. King’s location during the assassination.
20th Special Forces Group had an 8-man sniper team at the assassination location on that day.
Usual Memphis Police special body guards were advised they “weren’t needed” on the day of the assassination.
Regular and constant police protection for Dr. King was removed from protecting Dr. King an hour before the assassination.
Military Intelligence set-up photographers on the roof of a fire station with clear view to Dr. King’s balcony.
Dr. King’s room was changed from a secure 1st-floor room to an exposed balcony room.
Memphis police ordered the scene where multiple witnesses reported as the source of shooting cut down of their bushes that would have hid a sniper.
Along with sanitizing a crime scene, police abandoned investigative procedure to interview witnesses who lived by the scene of the shooting.
The rifle Mr. Ray delivered was not matched to the bullet that killed Dr. King, and was not sighted to accurately shoot.
Whither the hero? As to Chris Kyle, “When the legend becomes fact, print the legend.” (The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance) Keep that in mind. And remember Pat Tillman and Jessica Lynch. And also remember Jesse Ventura’s verdict for defamation against Kyle. War is barbaric and necessarily involves the creation of those who kill on orders and on command. The “Manchurian Candidacy” en masse. They are human drones and artillery. They are to have such conditioning taken into consideration. But beware the apotheosis of the centurion at the hands of The Pentagon.
The days of magic. Pete Barbutti was a regular feature of the The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson and I loved him when I was a kid. He’s an incredible jazz pianist as well as a multi-instrumented master of the accordion (or “cordine” as he was wont to say) and trumpet. His sense of humor was twisted, off beat, skewed and I howled. In many ways he cemented my skewed view of the world. Thanks to YouTube I can watch him again. And again. He represents to me a time when variety shows ruled, when they were simply glorious. When talent ruled supreme, when unique personality and charm and wit were the reason for the return visit. When people were famous not just for being famous. When comics weren’t deliberately filthy. When coprolalic rants and F-bomb sorties weren’t a substitution for wit. In this podcast Pete Barbutti mentions a great line from Buddy Hackett, who said (and I paraphrase): If it’s funny it’s not dirty and if it’s dirty it’s not funny. Hear! Hear!
The Magic of Vegas. Pete Barbutti recounts the days of Howard Hughes and when the “boys” ran the Vegas. It’s not just a nostalgic reminiscence, it’s the detailing of history. Our history. American history. And Pete Barbutti was and is a critical character in the history and recordation of American variety.
Lionel returns to Coast to Coast AM. What can you possibly say about George Noory that hasn’t already been said? On January 12, 2015 CE, I graced the portals of his blockbuster show and for two hours discussed a panoply of subjects from the hyper-militarization of the police to the Hegelian Dialectic in action to UFOs to conspiracies to . . . name it. Here’s how George saw it.
In the latter half, TV and radio news decoder, legal analyst and renaissance lawyer, Lionel, talked about the increased militarization of the police, and various alternative media topics. He cited the mind control technique known as Problem Reaction Solution, in which a problem is created, a reaction is manufactured, and a solution is proposed, all by the same manipulators. The solution government has presented is hyper-militarized police, he suggested, but in exchange for what seems like more security, we have left the notion of the police as being friendly and there to assist in the dust. What are your views on police militarization?
Lionel also differentiated how he is a conspiracy analyst rather than a theorist, and spoke about his interview with Stanton Friedman, who has called the UFO cover-up a ‘cosmic Watergate.’
the quality or state of having many different forms, types, ideas, etc.
the state of having people who are different races or who have different cultures in a group or organization
perhaps the most overused term to inartfully and irrationally suggest that the world is considerate, sapient, fair and/or rational. [I added that.]
I got your diversity right here! According to the data collectors at Lee & Low Books who crafted the disturbing but hardly surprising infographic supra, it’s abundantly clear that the Oscars may just be the hoariest, whitest old boys club there is in these parts. But so what? It’s not the government or the military or a public school. We’re not talking juries or electors or School Boards. It’s Hollywood and diversity appears not to be its number one priority. Neither does the NBA, Junior League, Skull and Bones, the Medal of Honor Society, or Who’s Who in Paducah. Private organizations and ensembles and industries have no allegiance to anyone save its own members or shareholders. And while that may royally suck and make absolutely no sense, while you and I might find it reprehensible causing us to boycott and rant and rave, so what? Herein I describe the pitfalls of diversity as a goal in certain cases, and the rudiments of reality.
The perfect analogy and metaphor for multiple-issue, concomitant subject matter review and critical thinking. Plate spinning. Denmark’s Henrik Bothe, is a contemporary practitioner the style and spirit of Erich Brenn, known worldwide for his appearances on The Ed Sullivan Show, shows the art of balancing multiple plates/ideas simultaneously. Wikipedia incidentally notes that The Guinness World Record for spinning multiple plates is held by David Spathaky, assisted by Debbie Woolley, who spun 108 plates simultaneously in Bangkok, Thailand, on television in 1996. Amazing stuff.
By analogy, America needs a crash course in this method. Multiple ideas, thoughts, issues, facts, data, analyses, some that are consistent with others, some unique and stand-alone — balance all, address all. And the acknowledgement of one idea doesn’t negate or eliminate another as inconsistent merely because it’s different. In other words: You can condemn the cartoon and the murder of the cartoonist simultaneously. Because the ideas are different, dissimilar. They involve different elements, different points.
“The essence of the independent mind lies not in what it thinks, but in how it thinks.” Thus spake Christopher Hitchens. America must be more like Erich Brenn and learn to handle multiple ideas concomitantly especially if they are not necessarily similar. To wit:
Whither mirth? #CharlieHebdo was as funny as a Klan rally or root canal. And the term cartoon does not necessarily impart humor or pleasant witticisms. It’s a part of the French-language tradition of Bandes dessinées (“drawn strips”), some of which are, ahem, provocative to a degree rarely seen in mainstream English-speaking media, even in the most piquant of satirical outlets. History has shown us some of the vilest examples of racism and antisemitism by way of the scartoons. But no one deserves to die over any opinion or expression of thought. That’s the axiomatic, pedestrian retort that must always follow the obvious. It’s similar to when a criminal is shot by police, you must always say, “It’s a tragedy, every life is worth something.” Yes, thanks for the proviso and condition. But as to Charlie Hebdo, it ain’t the Onion or Daily Show or National Lampoon. Somehow the term cartoon has been conflated and coopted to suggest a euphemistic revision of what Charlie Hebdo is and has been. Before it was Charlie Hebdo, France’s most controversial magazine even by French standards was known as L’Hebdo Hara-Kiri. Hara-Kiri had one mission only: to be as “dumb and nasty” as possible (their words). Pay particular attention to that, all you cartoon fans. The motive and intent and direction and plan were to abrade and sting and piss off. Mission accomplished, mes amis. And why this is critical is to understand that our piquant and raucous humor, by our timid standards, knows no comparison to Charlie Hebdo. Remember, we’re the epicenter of political correctness. At least, selective PC. How many folks know that one cartoon portrayed France’s black Justice Minister Christiane Taubira as a monkey? Oh, that would play just great here. Right.
#SorryCharlie. It’s possible to disagree with its message and allow and permit and countenance its right to be offensive. Let me repeat: You can condemn the cartoon and the murder of the cartoonist simultaneously. In my perfect world, nothing should ever be prohibited from expression except for the obvious. But, no, I find Charlie Hebdo offensive, crass, crude, hateful and worse, not funny in the least. And that’s where Americans can relate. There’s almost a sense of mandatory acceptance of the message whole cloth with no room for reservation or disagreement. America thrives on being offended for everything and everywhere. If some celeb drops an F-bomb, Janet Jackson suffers a wardrobe malfunction and flashes an armored areola or mammilla that requires the visual acuity of a fighter pilot to even notice, if Michael Richards goes off on a racist rant, name it, we call for their heads. The same folks who march in solidarity today would be calling for the prosecution and incarceration of the foregoing subjects yesterday. So we have inconsistent allegiances and fealty, and I submit again, most of those who are publicly ardent in support of Charlie Hebdo would have cursed its subject matter had it been published here.
Beware the hate crime. There’s an irony here. The professional and prototypical American left loves the hate crime, which stands to date as the quintessentially and fundamentally unconstitutional embarrassment since the neck tattoo. The idea is that speech that is deemed hateful and criminal thereby as to the message, especially when accompanying an already crime already cognizable at law, should subject the actor and declaration of the errant message to a higher level of prosecution and charge. Yet, and pay close attention, many of these folks are now calling for acceptance and tolerance and understanding as to Charlie Hebdo’s racist and hateful content. Again, we’re all in agreement that murder over objection to a message is never justified or warranted.
This isn’t the first time for France. Recent history shows that events like this aren’t new. In what’s referred to as the Toulouse and Montauban shootings, Mohammed Merah on March 11, 2012, shot a French Muslim soldier in the head at close range after telling him, “You kill my brothers, so I am killing you.” The Washington Post captioned the story “Mohammed Merah, face of the new terrorism.” Then the 2013 La Défense attack was believed to have followed “a threat from the North African wing of al-Qaeda, related to the country’s military intervention in Mali.” At that time attempts by the media and government to extrapolate and conflate were not seen as they are today. Beware attempts to invoke the Hegelian dialectic to rouse action and retaliation against the amorphous face of “terrorism.” We’ve seen that movie before.
Hollande’s unprecedented pronouncement. This was a fascinating event in France’s current events that many international commentators are noting with particularity. It seems that French President Francois Hollande said on January 5, two days before the attacks, that Western sanctions against Russia should be lifted if progress were made in resolving the Ukraine crisis. The unprecedented two-hour interview with France Inter radio was aimed at championing a host of economic reforms with the goal of reversing Hollande’s record-low approval ratings. It also him a chance to state his views on a range of foreign policy issues especially as to Putin and Russian sanctions. “What he wants is to remain influential. What he wants is for Ukraine not to fall into the NATO camp,” Hollande said. This is by no means presented as causal, but it’s critical to note the political climate that surrounds any event and when it comes to world geopolitical issues in general, our media are known for their less-than-thorough coverage.
They are not Charlie. Not everyone sides with Charlie Hebdo while still denouncing the murders. This again refers to the ability to handle two issues or plates simultaneously. “Defending freedom of expression in the face of oppression is one thing; insisting on the right to be obnoxious and offensive just because you can is infantile,” wrote Al Jazeera English editor and executive producer Salah-Aldeen Khadr in a staff-wide e-mail. David Brooks of the New York Times wrote that anyone who thinks they could publish a Charlie Hebdo style “cartoon” on American campuses would be shuttered in a heartbeat. “Student and faculty groups would have accused them of hate speech . . . [t]he administration would have cut financing and shut them down.” The Chicago Tribune’s Clarence Page wrote, “But even as I defend the heroism of Charlie Hebdo, I would be remiss if I failed to condemn its racism — as well as its sexism, its anti-theism and other attacks against targets that were in much less privileged positions to defend themselves.” Catholic League President Bill Donohue in a statement entitled “MUSLIMS HAVE THE RIGHT TO BE ANGRY” wrote, “Muhammad isn’t sacred to me, either, but it would never occur to me to deliberately insult Muslims by trashing him.” He even goes so far in his unbridled audacity to quote James Madison from Federalist, no. 63, 422-29: “Liberty may be endangered by the abuses of liberty as well as the abuses of power.” For a marvelous interview with Mr. Donohue on this very subject, join me here for my give and take with my great friend.
#CanAMovementExistAnymoreWithoutAHashtag? After protestors were convoked to address the death of Eric Garner #ICantBreathe became the rallying cry. When attempts were made later to correct some possible misunderstandings as to the factual bases of Mr. Garner’s death, when they proved inconsistent with the meme and hashtag they were discarded. When facts of Mr. Garnet’s arrest and arrest record were posited they likewise were found to be discordant with the message and meme. When the cases of Tamir Rice and Akai Gurley were offered as substitutes for focus as better examples of police brutality and/or excess it was though by some that inasmuch as they didn’t enjoy the same hashtag or meme pithiness and imaging, protestors would stick to #ICantBreathe. We live in a hashtag and meme-centered communications world.When the world became aware of Ahmed Merabet, the first police officer at the scene of the Charlie Hebdo attack who was shot dead in cold blood and was Muslim, attempts were made to redirect a new meme of #IAmAhmed or #JeSuisAhmed. Memes that are cemented are hard to change. The message, the facts, the truth and the background will not counter the message that enjoys a social media momentum. This can be most problematic. And is.
The numbers don’t add up. And finally, when attempts are made to extrapolate the Paris horrors with the Muslim world or Islam, the sheer enormity of the Muslim world population destroys any attempt to paint the issue with a broad brush. Yes, the assassins were Muslim and espoused what we call radical Islamist Jihadist rhetoric, admittedly used incorrectly as I’m told by Islamic scholars. Yes, they cited blasphemy as the reason for the killings. When the certifiable and thankfully-late coot Fred Phelps cited the Bible and Christianity as bases for protesting military funerals and spouting hateful rhetoric, we were correctly swift to dismiss his thoughts as extreme and not representative. But when I attempt that same argument as to Islam, I’m reminded by many “scholars” that the gravamen of the Muslim message is Sharia, misogyny, intolerance, hate and violence. With a world population of 1.6B Muslims, if a mere 10% were of this murdering mindset, this raucous and rampaging ilk would by definition result in over 160M crazed, maniacal and homicidal lunatics wreaking havoc in the world. But we don’t see that, now do we? As I mentioned and explained on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, ‘neath the horror there’s some good news.