Archive for the Media Farce Category

Journalistic Malpractice

Posted in censorship, Cryptojournalism, Media Farce with tags on January 28, 2013 by The Cryptojournalist

Fukushima.

And I could stop writing now, because the negligence and utter lack of coverage concerning this continuing news story is criminal.  But I won’t, because we’ve got an awesome example of media farce from The Washington Post’s website over the weekend.

Chico Harlan wrote a charming little piece, On Japan’s school lunch menu: A healthy meal, made from scratch.  For the normal news consumer, it’s a blistering piece against the type of school lunches American children must endure.  But from jump street, it’s a bare faced lie.  Here is his opening salvo:

In Japan, school lunches mean a regular meal, not one that harms your health.  The food is grown locally and almost never frozen.

Yikes!  If awards were given out for journalistic malpractice, Mr. Harlan would be in early contention for the 2013 award.  Of course, he means to slam the proliferation of GMO foods in the American diet.  Regrettably, he does not seem to grasp exactly what’s going on in the Pacific.  JUST LAST WEEK, The Independent in Britain reported on murasoi fish with (brace yourself) over 2,540 times the legal limit (whatever that means) of radiation for seafood.  This is not a report from 2011, no, this is from the middle of January, 2013.  Right now.  Today.  As in, this is a continuing global problem that nobody seems to recognize or care about.

Chin up, folks.  At least Japanese children are eating well in schools!  That’s fresh, local food they’re eating, not processed food (ew!) like American school children are subjected to in schools nationwide.  Disregard the fact that last year, Michael Collins at Enviroreporter.com reported a doubling of radiation levels in nori seaweed wraps (that would be a doubling from his previous test), so popular with the sushi crowd.  Disregard France24 reporting 40% of children in Japan tested have shown thyroid abnormalities, because the school children get fresh, local food!  Rejoice!

Since the conventional press has gone collectively silent on the matter, it has been sites such as Enviroreporter and Enenews.com that have picked up the slack.  And since most of the news reading public does not frequent these sites nearly enough, a continuing environmental disaster is cast off to the dust bin of history.  Tourists to Japan are proving wiser than the news media, as they’re staying away.  In large numbers.  This is wise.  I wouldn’t eat a sushi wrap off Scarlett Johansson’s fine, bare ass.  That’s just me, though.

The major problem here is most folks (not just Americans, but everyone on Planet Earth) are just ignorant to the fact that Fukushima is a continuing environmental disaster.  People like Chico Harlan, in glossing over and obscuring the on the ground facts, do nothing to curb this trend.  I have to admit, it would take a lot of guts for a reporter at MSNBC or The New York Times or Fox News or The Washington Post to expose this nasty fact.  Courage unseen in the news anymore.

For a person to learn these kind of hard facts, they need to seek them out actively.  This is one of the grand flaws with internet news: when a case of journalistic malpractice does arise, unless you know what you’re seeking out, you will never know.  On the bright side, 50 years from now Godzilla will be a documentary and this guy will be an Olympic weight lifting champion.

Your 2062 Olympic Gold Medal Powerlifter: Toxie!

Your 2056 Olympic Gold Medal Powerlifter: Toxie!

Until then, we’re going to have to endure the journalistic malpractice we’re seeing more and more with every day.  And most people won’t even know they’re being lied to, because the lie of omission is the toughest to recognize.

Because Lambasting the Tea Party Debate is What You Expect From a Cryptojournalist

Posted in Cryptojournalism, Media Farce, politics with tags , , , , , on September 13, 2011 by The Cryptojournalist

If you missed CNN’s Tea Party Express Republican Debate last night, good for you.  Hopefully you watched Tom Brady eviscerate the Dolphins and Wes Welker cause Miami fans to drink heavily.

That’s why I’m here.  Why be informed when you can read cryptojournalism?  Seriously though, there were a couple of gems to be plucked from this snooze fest, so let’s put our ankles in it!

Just like every news bureau, I’m going to start with hunky Rick Perry.  What a dope.  And I mean that in the kindest way possible.  What I gleamed from last night was the man prefers a loose interpretation of the US Constitution and is a high priced call girl.

First, his man whorish ways.  He revealed a little more than I expected in a tit for tat with Michele Bachmann over his mandating HPV vaccines for Texas high school girls.  From the transcript:

BACHMANN:  What I’m saying is that it’s wrong for a drug company, because the governor’s former chief of staff was the chief lobbyist for this drug company.  The drug company gave thousands of dollars in political donations to the governor, and this is just flat-out wrong.

The question is, is it about life, or was it about millions of dollars and potentially billions for a drug company?

BLITZER:  All right.  I’ll let Senator Santorum hold off for a second.

You’ve got to response to that.

PERRY:  Yes, sir.  The company was Merck, and it was a $5,000 contribution that I had received from them.  I raise about $30 million.

And if you’re saying that I can be bought for $5,000, I’m offended.

Hilarious.  If you’re trying to buy off Rick Perry, you better bring six figures, capiche?  Here’s where I throw in the obligatory make it rain image.

Lil Wayne & Fat Joe could do business with Perry, no doubt

Ahhhh, much better.  Now that I’ve gotten that out of my system, did you see what Rick Perry did in that back and forth?  It wasn’t disavowing corruption.  No, he’s ‘offended’ by a paltry sum like $5,000.  Interesting, Rick, very interesting.

Then there’s his, shall I say feeble understanding of the Constitution.  Specifically, Article IV, Section 4.  First, here’s a Perryism, something that can only exist in his mind and the minds of other vulnerable adults.  [<—Did you see that?  You should boo, folks]  Back to the debate transcript:

…the federal government has to step up and do what their constitutional duty is, and that is to secure the border with Mexico .

Uh, but Rick.  That’s not what the Constitution says at all.  Bear in mind this is an argument between Rick Santorum and Perry over immigration.  Not the drug war, where the cartel has too free a reign.  Here’s what it says regarding borders:

The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government, and shall protect each of them against Invasion; and on Application of the Legislature, or of the Executive (when the Legislature cannot be convened), against domestic Violence.

NOW….If you believe the various illegals crossing the border comprise an invasion force, you’re probably a fan favorite at a Tea Party Debate.  Thank you folks, I’ll be here all week.

Were he posing a rhetorical argument for tight borders due to drug violence, that may be more persuasive.  Pandering to bigotry and misconstruing foreign workers crossing the border illegally as some sort of invasion is wild.  Rick Perry might just be a cryptojournalist, the way he twisted Article. IV.  Impressive stuff, really.

But what’s REAL funny is how it contradicts his posture as a small government Republican.  Except when he’s not.

And now, for a short programming interlude.  During commercial breaks on the webcast, CNN ran hysterical Twits from Twitter and online questions.  So without further ado, here’s your winner for Most Ironic Internet Question from CNN’s 2011 Tea Party Express Republican Debate:

By abolishing the Tea Party

Moving on to one of those Tea Partiers known for creating a bipartisan environment to help move the country forward….Michele Bachmann!

For a bright woman (she’s a tax lawyer!), she sure doesn’t get it.  Whatever it is.  And in this case, it’s surprisingly the American way.  I know, right?  Let’s dip into the debate one more time (emphasis added):

…I think that the American way is not to give taxpayer subsidized benefits to people who have broken our laws or who are here in the United States illegally.  That is not the American way.

*cough* Goldman Sachs *cough*

I guess that means every financial device of the last decade is totally above board.  My fucking ass.  I found at least one outcast voice in the wild from 2008 willing to label a bailout as a subsidy.  Thank you, Gary North.  In reality, the American way is to give taxpayer subsidized benefits (in this case, money from the Federal Reserve discount window) to people who have broken our laws.

Whoops, I forgot.  Nobody’s been prosecuted from any of the fiscal fiascoes of the last few years.  Scratch that last paragraph, K?  As a nation, the United States most definitely does not aid and assist lawbreakers.  Never, ever.  Never.

Alright, and we’re back with more insane internet questions from the webcast.  Here’s the winner for Most Contradictory Internet Question from CNN’s 2011 Tea Party Express Republican Debate, brought to you by Carl’s Jr:

The only way to force another country to do something is by force

I didn’t have to throw in the ExxonMobil logo, but did.  It’s like a “Fuck You” to sensible voters nationwide.  The question itself is hilarious, almost unhinged.  The most practical way to force a country to build its own military is to attack.  Which isn’t going to bring troops home.  Moving right along…..

Sorry, Mitt Romney.  You were too damn boring to even garner mention.  But while his name is lingering in cyberspace right there, like a stale fart, let me state this as clearly and bigoted as possible.  America will never vote for a Mormon Businessman who founded a private equity firm *cough* Bain Capital *cough* as President of the United States.  People equate Mormons to Scientologists, and Scientology is literally the worst organization on Earth.  Just putting it out there.

Then there’s Ron Paul.  When Yahoo! is reporting how you elicit cheers for inadvertently endorsing letting uninsured people die in the name of freedom, things aren’t going great.  Poor Ron Paul.  Here’s the video of the incident, see how he’s baited into this weird death angle.

On the bright side, at least he’s not Jon Huntsman.  Sad sack Jon Huntsman couldn’t even get his zinger right.  Even worse, it’s being reported in America’s newspaper, USA Today.  Yikes.  From the article:

Huntsman mocked the plan Romney put forth in his book, No Apology. “I don’t know if that was written by Kurt Cobain or not,” said the former Utah governor, in what’s been interpreted as an allusion to the Nirvana song All Apologies.

When the legitimate news has to interpret an allusion, normally a valuable asset in the toolbox of the cryptojournalist, you’re fubared.  Nice try tho, buddy.

Before we begin wrapping this up, we’ve got one more internet question award to hand out.  This is our winner of the Education Question Which Most Illuminates Our Need For Education from CNN’s 2011 Tea Party Express Republican Debate:

Me fail English? That's unpossible!

Whoever the editor is that found an education question missing ‘an’ indefinite article, kudos.  That made my day.

My last thought on the debate: Herman Cain is a pretty funny dude.  Which brings about a major problem.  Now that Bernie Mac is gone, who’s going to play Mr. Cain in the 2013 HBO movie about the 2011-12 Republican nomination (tentatively called Dumpster Fire)?

"Herman Cain"

Spread your wings and flyyyyyyyyyy!!!!!!!

I mean, I’ve got Adam Scott (with some silver highlights) as Jon Huntsman, which fits perfectly.

"Jon Huntsman"

Do I have Nirvana on my iPod? I don't even know myself

Rick Perry is too easy to cast.  Just get that guy who plays Texas Governors, what’s his face?

"Rick Perry"

Up your ass, Liberals

Look, it’s not my fault Josh Brolin looks like he was minted to be Governor of Texas.  These things just happen sometimes.

Slick Rick Santorum?  None other than famed comedian Harland Williams a.k.a. Kenny from Half Baked.

"Rick Santorum"

Here

Since this is an HBO joint, I’d imagine they’ve still got the Crypt Keeper lying around in some warehouse.  Perfect casting for Ron Paul.

"Ron Paul"

HAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Tales from the Congress

Now I’ve hit an impasse with Ms. Bachmann.  If I really want to feed into the Old White Guy sexual fetishizing  of Michele Bachmann, you cast Kim Cattrall.  If you simply want to be mean, go with Mary-Louise Parker.  Bachmann would pitch a fit if the lady from Weeds portrayed her in anything.

Although if we were trying to capture that, how to put it….hmmmm……crazy eye look Michele’s got locked down, apparently Ramona Singer (whoever that is) has it on lockdown.  Supposedly she’s a Real Housewife, and by the looks of it, from Crazy Town.

Seriously, if you type ‘crazy eyes’ and search Google images, it’s Bachmann and Singer and nobody else of note.  They’re the Queen and Princess of the Kingdom of Insane Optics.

The myriad faces of Ramona Singer. All crazy

If you have not figured it out by now, the movie is being cast as a comedy.

"Michele Bachmann"

Or is she "Michele Bachmann"?

It took a lot for me to not post her eating a corn dog

I’ve still got some casting to do, but that’s shaping up to be an all star comedy cast.  HBO, I hope you’re pilfering my idea right now.

So that’s a wrap.  If you missed the debate, good for you.  Dumpster fire is too kind a phrase to describe the whole scene.  I hope this provides some color and accent (not necessarily news and information) for you about the most recent debate.  Till then…..

Rebranding “Retard”

Posted in censorship, Cryptojournalism, Media Farce, popular culture with tags , , , on September 8, 2011 by The Cryptojournalist

This is a topic that has me feeling ambivalent at best.  In the next few paragraphs, I’ll be mounting a halfhearted effort defending the word retard.

Hence the feelings of ambivalence.

But did you know that it’s been scrubbed from the law, government and medical lexicons?  Neither did I.  It’s been replaced by phrases such as “intellectual disability” and my personal favorite, “vulnerable adult.”

Let me state this clearly: I’m not vouching for the word retard.  Christopher Fairman, for The Washington Post, articulates part of the point I’m getting at very well in an article titled The case against banning the word ‘retard’:

..restricting speech of any kind comes with a potential price — needlessly institutionalized taboos, government censorship or abridged freedom of expression — that we should be wary of paying.

Sing it, brother.  I am also against anything quietly being censored out of the language (which is happening in slow motion), especially when it is replaced with a blanket term which can do more harm than good.

Which is exactly how I feel about the phrase vulnerable adult.  I stumbled onto the phrase in this article, from CBS Minneapolis.  FYI,  the young woman from the article has been found.  (P.S. It’s the second story of this kind in Cambridge, Minnesota.  What the shit is going on in Cambridge, boys?)  My problem is the wide net cast with phrases such as vulnerable adult and intellectual disability.  Put it this way: I know plenty of people, not retarded in the 1970s-80s use of the phrase, that I would easily identify as vulnerable adults.  Here’s a mean, unscrupulous downhill word game to prove my point.

Is a female graduate student roofied at the bar a vulnerable adult?

Is a soldier suffering post traumatic stress a vulnerable adult?

Is a compulsive gambler a vulnerable adult?

Is a Scientologist a vulnerable adult?

Is a student loan applicant a vulnerable adult?

You see my point.  Suicide candidates, prescription pill poppers, Charlie Sheen’s goddesses, chronic masturbators and marks in a Three-card Monte game could all (however obliquely) qualify as vulnerable adults.

How many vulnerable adults do you see? Depends which clinician you ask....

And *poof* just like that, the rebranding of the word retard to mentally challenged developmentally disabled handicapped handicapable vulnerable adult is undone by one stupid blogger.  How long will it really take for vulnerable adult to morph into a pejorative term?

Even worse, what if (and this is a big what if, bigger than What if Captain America had been elected president?) people without physical or mental handicaps begin to be identified as vulnerable adults?

Betcha Steve Rogers is a Republican

Florida, Minnesota and Mississippi all explicitly contain the word ’emotional,’ inferring a person with stunted emotional maturity is a vulnerable adult (The United Kingdom, North Dakota and Washington State do not), in their legislation defining the term.  Do we really need to go there?  How many people would NOT be vulnerable adults in that instance?

It doesn’t take more than a hack screenwriter to write a horredy (or comror) [a comedy/horror, for those who don’t know] envisioning a dystopic future where government technocrats decide who is and is not a vulnerable adult.

The same logic holds with intellectual disability, but to a lesser degree.  Taken from the CDC’s website explaining intellectual disability, I’ve taken the liberty of highlighting some parts:

characterized both by a significantly below-average score on a test of mental ability or intelligence and by limitations in the ability to function in areas of daily life, such as communication, self-care, and getting along in social situations and school activities.

Many mentally and physically disabled adults would be covered by this definition.  But as someone who deals in misinterpretation and conjuring things that are not there, well, that getting along in social situations and school activities sounds like a couple of roommates from college.

And that’s my point.  How much does an idea like intellectual disability or vulnerable adult need to be nudged before whole swaths of people who are maladjusted or socially awkward or simply disgruntled are deemed vulnerable adults?  Trying to alleviate the stigma of the word retard has the unintended consequence of creating a phrase that can describe anyone with any kind of unresolved mental, emotional or psychological issue.    Is a crack whore not vulnerable adult?

Hey now, the word whore is disparaging to sex workers.  I need some outcry on this!

Plus, there’s the flip side to the rebranding coin.  As retard is replaced in the intellectual lexicon, we’re seeing a very strange criminalization of the word.  From all places, New Jersey.

Northern New Jersey.  OK, Franklin Lakes, New Jersey.  We’re derailing right into an episode of The Real Housewives of New Jersey.

Yup, same show that made the phrase “prostitution whore” famous.

In case you forgot.  And, c’mon, that whole scene is hysterical.

Contrast that to this clip, which you need to watch on Bravo’s website for those zany housewives.  It’s Melissa and Joe Gorga, discussing the turmoils surrounding some text messages.  Notice specifically at 3:53 into the video, Joe says, “Calling me a re*beep*.”

Go and watch it, the whole scene at their house starts around the 3 minute mark.  It’s really amazing when you think on this for half a second.

A cable television show rated TV-14, airing at 10 p.m. bleeps out the word retard.  We’re not talking about iCarly dropping R-bombs, no.  This is a show that obviously caters to adults, which revels in whoredom.  Don’t believe that, Google Danielle Staub Raw.

Those are some staub wounds to which nobody should be subjected.  Zing.  And who am I kidding, I’d shag her, if only to plug Rhyme and Reasonable on TMZ or Perez Hilton.  I’m no vulnerable adult, more an exploitative jerk.

My point is, a show for adults, airing after safe harbor hours, is practicing needless censorship.  Of course, this is something not even the crudest Pop Culturist or TV blogger has noticed.  And while that must please everyone pushing to abolish the R-word, that does not equal progress.

First, I’d like to hearken back to Fairman’s article from the Post.  Here’s a quote I’ve plucked off the end of a paragraph.  You’ll see why in a moment:

….stigmatizing the word has elicited new problems, including an overeagerness to detect insult where none is intended and the use of excessively harsh punishment against those who use the word wrongly.

This is in reference to an observation made by Randall Kennedy in his book, “Nigger.”  I’m allowed to type that, because it’s the book’s title.  But I can say no more than it is a book about the N-word.  Well, that’s where people want to shelve the R-word.  Next to nigger.

From the R-word website, um, yeah.  This is serious.  And, uh, I should probably be sorry for making light of this, but, you can’t censor everything:

The R-word is the word ‘retard(ed)’. Why does it hurt? The R-word hurts because it is exclusive. It’s offensive. It’s derogatory. The R-word is hate speech. See why supporters think the R-Word is hurtful when used in jokes or as part of everyday speech.

I did not even bold that.  That’s straight from the website.  The R-word is hate speech.  I think the words slut and cunt have some gripe with you there, retard.

And not to be too prickish, but if we’re abolishing things that hurt because of exclusivity, how will all those American Express Black cardholders flaunt?

I am not supporting use of the word retard.  I AM against banning the word retard.  It’s also surprising the front line for this battle is cable television and news headlines.  Cable television shows airing after safe harbor hours have as much latitude as possible, which makes the censorship on the Jersey Housewives (TV-14, so bitch and whore are kosher to say, but retard….not so much) startling.  It’s not a daytime show, like The View or something.  I’ll have to throw palms up on this one.

I dunno, coach

As for the phrase vulnerable adult, well, that is regrettably too funny to give up.  Palms up.  If the term made sense, that’s great.  But I’m still unsure if a vulnerable adult is the man with down syndrome or the man going to the strip club ATM for the fourth time.

The rebranding is over and done.  Mr. Obama signed Rosa’s Law in 2010 (hell, North Dakota began use of the term vulnerable adult in 1989.  North Dakota, progressive on mental retardation rights!), it’s just time for popular culture and people to get wise that retard has been replaced by R-word.

Which has probably been deemed incendiary by the time I finish this sentence.  Like the cleaning of a house……

Simpsons did it

“This Woman Is Dead Inside” – An American Gumbo

Posted in conspiracy theory, Media Farce, popular culture with tags , , , , , , , , , on July 21, 2011 by The Cryptojournalist

[Spoiler alert]

I’m going to be darting all over the place today.  If you’re prone to vertigo, take a pill now.

Everything sort of revolves around the premise of blind devotion, some of the many horse blinders you’re likely to see if you look hard enough.  There’s a catch to mental blinders.  Sometimes you look ridiculous and simply become a cold spot on the grid.

Huh?  Cold spot on the grid?

It’s a general way I use to view the world.  Energy being finite, there are hot and cold spots on the grid.  The grid being a cheap metaphor for people.  If overall karma is neutral, some people will be at the far reaches.  So I sort of adapted that as a way to look at people.  Someone that’s always complaining about their problems and the unfairness of the world, forcing other people to expend mental energy on their woes, I’d consider a cold spot on the grid.  The clinical term is a Debbie Downer.

Brrrrrrrrr

Blinders are good for race horses.  For people left to stew over perceived injustice?  Ooooooooooh, not so great.

Which brings us to the Republic where everything is bigger, Texas.

Would you?

The story this week that’s left me in stitches is the Texas cheerleader Title IX discrimination case, which made it to the U.S. Court of Appeals, 5th Circuit?  Through the appeals process.  Four words from the Dallas Observer blog jump out and sum this case up nicely: petty, meddling and deeply entertaining.  True story.

Samantha Sanches (poor girl) is the cheerleader who put this turd in punch bowl.  But her mother, Liz Laningham, took that turd.  She’s clearly the star of the final appeal.  Take the time to read, as it’s a great piece of high order satire.

Crib notes: Ma’ Dukes seems to complain about anything.  Squeaky wheel, as they say.  It’s all baseless.  When she doesn’t get her way, the family appeals.  To the 5th Circuit?!??   To sum THAT up, total waste of court time and federal money.

Laningham and Sanches twisted high school petty teasing into sexual harassment.  It is not.  The insult to jurisprudence by this case is comically mad.  The court sums it up nicely, saying, “the sort of unpleasant conflict that takes place every day in high schools, and it is not the proper stuff of a federal harassment claim.”

That it got so far shorts out my brain.

Didn't get your way? Ain't your fault!

Emotional trauma from not making the cheer squad is probably not an uncommon occurrence.  Working your way through federal court over it, that is an uncommon occurrence.  I could go on to disparage the poor grammar and spelling of the plaintiff’s paperwork, but that’s piling on.  Check it for yourself, though.  I’ll guarantee at least one laugh to anyone who reads the ruling.

This whole tale is a case of piling on.  I’m easily stunned when this chews up federal cash, when the EPA won’t declare the whitebark pine tree endangered.  Actually, the conclusion was,  “the agency said that it found a listing was “warranted but precluded,” meaning the pine deserved federal protection but the government could not afford it.”  Right.  How much does listing a tree as endangered cost exactly?  Wild guess, $5 million? Proclaiming something is endangered costs loot.

Only in America.

She's a patriot

Counter-intuitive as this may sound, but small town squabbles should not rise to the level of my amusement.  Cryptojournalist rule #7.

The kicker?  If this does anything, it will probably hurt the anti-bullying movement that’s apparently a thing.  Cheerleader Moms’ hyperbolic abuse of every conceivable semantic loophole to gain her comeuppance from the school (for naught!) diverts attention to real problems while diminishing real bullying.  Crying wolf has that effect.

Which leads us to CM Punk.  Trying to stay in the vein of blind devotion, I bring you the messianic leader of the Straight Edge Society.  Think messianic leader is overblown?  Here’s one of his past vignettes.

He’s in the news thanks to breaking the fourth wall during a promo gone awry on Monday Night Raw.  Or an angle.  Whatever that is.  Much like cheerleading, pro wrestling is an eminently (North) American pleasure.  (With a tip of the cap to the countless Canadians who’ve left their mark.)  For those who haven’t seen the CM Punk shoot from Raw…

You’ll notice Punk has his mic cut towards the end after referring to the WWE’s anti-bullying campaign.

Nice segue, but it’s not the point.

The (newly minted and newly unemployed) champ landed an interview with GQ after this episode, where he talks about himself and the wrestling business.  Ego and chutzpah are two things he does not lack.  The interview has a bit of ‘inside baseball’ on the wrestling realm, but it’s an interesting read for anyone.  As Punk even points out, aside wrestler deaths, when does this subculture garner any media attention?  True story.

He says something towards the end, which I find illuminating.

“I think everyone’s dream is to do nothing.”

As a do-nothing, it’s not all berries and cake.  It’s nice, even easy, but not redeeming at the end of the day.  If you bear with me, though, I believe it harmonizes with Ms. Laningham’s unreasonable demands.

Both ring of the same credo: belief that all ‘my’ demands be met.  I doubt that is what CM Punk meant when he said that, but the claim everyone wants to do nothing is me-centeric, to say the least.  Punk’s interview has captivated minds similar to how Latrell Sprewell did on the Golden State Warriors.  But in a good way.

Hasn't everyone felt like choking their coach at least once in their life?

Saying “Fuck Off” to the boss is 3rd on the list of American Dreams, after a white picket fence and banging a reality show contestant.  Punk captured that spirit.  I believe that is a very me-centered viewpoint.  I’ll indulge myself so much to call it a Neo-Randian perspective.  For you West Coast book nerds.

Pro wrestling, err, the re-branded sports entertainment, is still a cultural influence.  Also, a fine stage for blind devotion.

Here is probably the most overlooked comic gem of the last decade.  Harvard educated wrestler Chris Nowinski is having a debate with juice monkey Scott Steiner a.k.a. Big Poppa Pump also dubbed Big Bad Booty Daddy.  This is the sort of archival comedy I adore.  Props to WrestleCrap for bringing this to my attention. Archival comedy everyone needs to see.

“The Great Debate” is over Operation Iraqi Freedom.  Right.  Aside from comparing this to Lincoln/Douglas and Nixon/Kennedy (daft in its own right), the fans are prompted to Booooooo the heel (villain, for those out of the biz), who (obviously) argues the anti-war view.  Because people boo heels.  Priceless.  Both agree on freedom of speech, which is nice.

“Terrorism, they started it.  Terrorism started it, not us.  Terrorism drew first blood on 9/11 and you can bet your sweet ass we’re gonna get even, and we’re gonna finish it.”

^^^Actual quote^^^

A nation getting even with an idea.  Simple, right?

Some naysayers out there are probably skeptical of pro wrestling’s cultural influence.  May I present (drumroll……….)

Extreme Couponing

Paul E. Dangerously should get intellectual property rights for the word extreme by now.

Without me, you'd simply be couponing

Royalties, at least.

Another ingredient in the American Gumbo, extreme couponing is the new trend.  Or is it a fad?  I can never tell.  Irregardless, it’s…..interesting.  Or I wouldn’t be talking about the extreme nature of coupons.  Like the blind devotion we see from cheerleader mom and wrestling fans booing sensible foreign policy (not their fault,really), extreme couponing demands blind devotion.  To shopping.  Or consuming.  Or eating crap food.  Guess I’m trying to say there’s plenty of blind devotion involved.

It also provides a rare glimpse into some Real Grade-A American Madness.  Take this 21st Century Norman Rockwell below.

I think you can just bathe in them

Thankfully Mr. Rockwell has passed on.  But 600 lbs. of obesity marveling over dozens of bags of potato chips is a quintessentially American image.  Don’t confuse this as mean spirited.  It’s not.  The above image is sad.  This well meaning couple’s life revolves around food shopping and hording snack foods.  Is that a way to live?

Rhetorically speaking, only if your dream is to do nothing.  Clearly I’m not a shopaholic.  I do not shop till I drop.

But buying 3 dozen Maalox because you have a $5 off coupon still means you’re buying three dozen bottles of Maalox.  Which probably makes sense if all you eat is processed food you buy with coupons.

Trudging through some of the YouTube channels of extreme couponers, there is some definite comedy.  Take this clip below.

Whoops, that’s Coupon: The Movie.  I guess 1996 was the first time coupons were marketed as entertainment.  Ahh, Mr. Show with Bob and David.  If you’ve never seen it, for shame!

“Honey, guess what?”

“What?”

“I got ya some socks!”

Deadpan at its finest.  And 15 years before its’ time.  Cutting coupons as entertainment.  “Genius,” the marketer squawks.

There really are funny clips on YouTube.  I should qualify my use of the word ‘funny.’

Hobo With A Shotgun, as I have mentioned, is comic platinum.  Not gold.  Platinum.

Bridesmaids, on the other hand, I found dull.  I’ve been actively seeking out female perspective on how exactly that film was a comedy.  I didn’t get it.  The catty, backstabbing antics of Annie and the bridal party lieutenant were just unappealing.  I found it hard to find a character worth rooting for.

And Maya Rudolph pooping in the street in a wedding gown does not pass muster.  Ain’t funny.  A clip from a Maury Povich paternity test was the closest I got to a laugh.  So please, if you’re a woman that can explain the comic elements in that movie, please leave a comment and explain.  I’m totally stumped on this one, since the movie appears to be funny to people.

Hell, I got more laughs from The Hidden Faith of The Founding Fathers.

A three-hour docutorical (that would be a rhetorical documentary, to be taken with 2-4 salt grains) production from a Christian film ministry.  Yup.  A Christian film ministry.  It’s about how the Founding Fathers were [spoiler alert] NOT Christians.  More laughs than Bridesmaids, easy.  Bridesmaids didn’t have any gems like, “The Bible doesn’t promote freedom of thought.”

[Lingering in the air like a hot fart]

The Bible doesn’t promote freedom of thought

[Still lingering]

That’s a quote from the mouth of Christian J. Pinto.  A cryptojournalist’s dream, I sez.  If you want to see for yourself, it’s at the very end of the video, the 2:56:53 point to be precise.  Unreal.  The Bible doesn’t promote freedom of thought.  Priceless.  Thank you, Mr. Pinto, for generating more laughs for a cryptojournalist than a summer comedy blockbuster.

He also employs cherry-picking tactics, with Barack Obama calling himself a Christian.  He contrasts this technique with how David Barton (a Christian minister) apparently misleads Christians into believing the Founding Fathers were Christians. At 2:09:55 of the video, Christian Pinto drops this chuckle bomb:

How would it be if somebody like David Barton came to your church and they put up a picture of Barack Obama, and they showed this quote from Obama and they said, “Wow, this is proof that Obama is a Christian.  And he’s really.  No, he’s not a closet Muslim.  Um no, he’s a Christian.”

Yeah.

That’s right.

You’re not hallucinating.

He played the “Barack Obama closet Muslim” card.  Gangster.  Super gully.  And MUCH funnier than the airplane scene from Bridesmaids.  Not as humorous as touting the Bible doesn’t promote freedom of thought, but good laughs nonetheless.

Pinto inadvertently makes the strongest argument FOR the Illuminati I’ve ever heard.  The video, if you’ve got the patience to sit through, is a train wreck.  Total shit show.  Cynical I may be, but this is very funny.  In a twisted way.  Blind devotion?  Stuffed to the gills.

Phew.  Hell of a qualifier.

I laugh at strange stuff.

Which brings us back to the YouTube exploits of extreme couponers.

A slow building laugh, but the progressive inadvertent comedy of watching this episode of “Coffee with Collin” builds through the clip.  Using a “hot” coupon in the travel section, “So beautiful,” is one thing.  The comic progression of watching her start the clip with a Starbucks coffee, purchasing Wet Ones at WalMart then buying Taco Bell for lunch is too much.

And the comments section.  Well, one dude sums up his opinion like this, “This woman is dead inside.”  And I might agree.  If not dead inside, perhaps gassy and irregular?

You know what?  People watch.  And like the videos.  So I guess there has to be something to the extreme coupon fad.

I’ve decided it’s a fad.  Trends are indicative of future momentum.  Fads fade with time.  Real people aren’t going to dedicate 10-30 hours per week to their shopping alone.  That’s a very shallow life in my opinion.  There is a real payoff for parents if they’re getting diapers for a nickle apiece.  Smart as hell, since babies poop.

Then there’s this.  These twins, dubbed the Double Saving Divas, are unmarried and childless, giving advice to mothers on buying diapers and wipes.  I would give advice to my buddies with kids on parenting, but what the fuck do I know?  Single childless women have more disposable income and free time compared to mothers.

Am I off target here?  Granted, they give good tips.  But, I feel like I’m missing.  Also, a pair of twins (as noted on their Extreme Coupon episode on TLC, in their early 30’s) who dub themselves divas and stockpile diapers?  I bet they’re beating suitors away with a stick.  Only if they got that stick on sale, though.

Sarcasm aside, there appears to be a disconnect here.  How many mothers have the time and loose cash to do this?  Some, but I wager not many.  A lady with no kids giving advice (at the end of the video) on buying size 3 diapers, because your baby tends to grow out of smaller sizes much faster.

Experience counts for nothing, I guess.  And I am not trying to be a typical man, a chauvinist, woman bashing or not P.R. but the way these two operate is very intimidating.  A nutless, beaten down brave man would he be who walks into a diva’s home to the sight of a wall of diapers.  Just my 2 cents, but that sort of crazed, blind devotion (in this instance, to their theoretical babies) is off-putting.

Good luck with that, though.

The cheerleading, wrestling and extreme couponing subcultures, while aesthetically different, are all ingredients in American Gumbo.  It would appear so is blind devotion.  Mental blinders, thinking (more aptly stewing) without perspective, begets nutty stage mothers dragging a school district through the federal court system.  Or bowing in fealty to shopping and consumption that’s never satisfied.  When ‘my’ demands trump everything, and everyone wants to do nothing, let that simmer over medium low heat for 3-4 hours.  Stir occasionally and sprinkle with Neo-Randian perspective for a delicious American Gumbo.

Nuanced Plot Devices

Posted in Cryptojournalism, Media Farce with tags , , , , , on July 8, 2011 by The Cryptojournalist

I’d like to start with this headline yesterday from The Peninsula Daily News, out of the great state of Washington.

“Keep distance, don’t urinate: Olympic National Park revises plan in wake of goat-goring death”

Seems rather benign: goats like salt, urine is salty, therefore hikers in Olympic Park shouldn’t make salt licks.  National park enthusiasts should feel confident that park officials have revised their mountain goat action plan.

I’m not even sly enough to make that one up.  Mountain goat action plan.  Sounds like a song title out of thrashcore, or synthetic electro dub step or bloodcore or some other contrived style of music.

The kicker?  Somehow the Associated Press picks this story up.  Since the week-to-week management of a national park is really important news.  Here’s the AP’s headline.

“Olympic Park visitors urged not to pee near trails”

Somewhere, there’s an editor quite content with the crispness of that headline.  It really lays the meat and guts of that hard hitting story right out there for the reader.  Elsewhere, the premise of an informed public silently dies.  But, hey, good to know.

If I find myself hiking the Pacific Northwest this season, I’ll make sure to do my best to aid and assist in whichever way possible with the mountain goat action plan.

The next time someone wonders aloud, “What’s wrong with the news?”, you have your answer.  The Associated Press is using the nuanced plot device of pee to drive traffic.  On a wholly unnecessary story.  I would not call this news, I’d call it bullshit.  I should know, I’ve been dabbling in bullshit for a while now.  “Guys, don’t just turn around and piss,” being pawned off as news is bullshit of a relatively high magnitude.

Metaphors: Sam, y'see, has a smart daughter. Who draws

Speaking of magnitudes of bullshit, there’s the debate over the debt ceiling.  Scratch that.  There is the bi-partisan support shown for the defense budget.  The Pentagon stays fed, and our operations abroad continue unquestioned and unabated.  Which is great, except, well, um.  Oh, how do I say this, it’s just so tough.  Yeah, over there, in Washington D.C., uhhh, politicians are haggling over a $14,300,000,000,000 bill that’s moving in the wrong direction.  But in a vote of 336-87 the defense budget passes.  In fact, it’s the only growth sector in the federal government.  And 80% of the elected officials made sure of that

Citizens?  Eat a dick.  Explosive toys, that’s what gains support from both Republicans and Democrats.  Hence, why politics is a generally lost cause.

I’d be remiss to not pull the dads of this generation aside for a minute.  Fellas, look, I know it’s bad out there.  Unemployment, inflation, Danielle Staub is returning to television.  Bad times.  Although, maybe I’m speculating wildly, but putting Heidi Montag, Danielle Staub and Ashley Dupre together with Three 6 Mafia on set would work out great if they were casting a rap video.  Opening a chic restaurant?

I was hoping they'd serve crunk juice. Sizzurp at the very least

Either way, VH1’s Famous Food will help usher someone from that cast that much closer to the porn life.

Danielle, do that butterfly again girlie!

Joking aside, something is going sideways.  Guys, I don’t know what’s wrong, but please, for the love of God, don’t rampage and kill your kids.  To what end?

If you didn’t read about Rodrick Dantzler’s wild ride through Grand Rapids, well, it’s not fun.  He killed his own daughter, two ex-girlfriends and four of their family members.  He shot two others, held a house of strangers hostage, then shot himself in the face.  No justice.

That’s insane.  Beyond my feeble comprehension insane.  Fathers of America, is the future so bleak you’d rather murder your own children?

This is where I should post some wry video, or have some snappy photo.

Well, instead we’ve got the news of Everett Conant III.  He decided to kill his three sons, his brother and shoot his wife.

I’m literally stumped.  There’s no cynical jokes to make, nothing to make light of from these two grizzly acts happening in completely different places at the same time.  This is the world today.  People so far gone they’re killing their own progeny.  For a cynical person, that’s tough to grasp.  An indictment of life by these twisted men.  Hence why I post this Friday evening, so nobody will have to read about these tragic messes.

While I’d like to leave on that upbeat note, the three intrepid readers able to make it through that dour mess deserve better.

Here’s a little zinger.  Caterpillar completed an acquisition of Bucyrus, a maker of mining equipment, for $8.8 billion.  Hard economic times indeed.  This little quip in the body of the article caught my eye.  Bear in mind Caterpillar is based in Illinois, Bucyrus in Wisconsin:

Caterpillar Inc. said it completed the deal Friday after getting regulatory approval from China. The U.S. Justice Department already approved it.

Forbes reports the same.  But they (nor anyone else) report why two American companies need Chinese approval.  Oh, so the zinger?

Free market democracy

You have been zung

The “Arab Spring” Deception

Posted in Cryptojournalism, Media Farce, politics with tags , on July 5, 2011 by The Cryptojournalist

Seasons go and seasons come.  It only took half a decade for the Arab Spring to return, after the South American Summer, Asian Autumn and African Winter.

Under-reported fact of the day: the phrase “Arab Spring” was not coined for the rash of protests we’ve seen since Mohamed Bouazizi torched himself in protest, igniting this recent round of social revolution.  I did not know that until I took a hard look at the premise.  Yes, Jefferson Morley from The Washington Post used the term waaaaaaaay back in Two thousand ought five.  A simpler time in American History, before Lady Gaga debuted The Fame.

Times. They are 'a changin'

In the wake of mass protests from Tunisia to Yemen to Bahrain and back to Egypt, the quip “Arab Spring” was dusted off.  Only in this instance, it overlooks half the story.  The Northern Mediterranean.

In fact, the phrasing itself does more to obscure the facts on the ground and divide than it does to embody a “a sense of pride in shaking off decades of cowed passivity under dictatorships that ruled with no deference to popular wishes.”  Thanks, The Nation, for this week’s Most Rhetorically Rhetorical Award.

The Guardian has a wonderful interactive map covering all the events in the Arab world which could be lumped into this incarnation of the reported “Arab Spring”, which everyone should take some time to peruse.  Check it out, it is very thorough.  Informative, to boot.  But from there we need to take a step back.

What exactly is the Arab Spring supposed to be?  It is not about regime change (Tunisia and Egypt being the only nations to experience a toppled dictator is not a majority).  Some are reported to be pro-democracy protests.  Others simply want a vague change in government.  Whatever that is.   That last article is in reference to the first wave of protests in Yemen.  Which came almost a week after protests in Albania culminated in the shooting death of three people.

Watching the video, you’d think they lost the Stanley Cup or something.

I joke, Vancouver.  Y’alls are Canucks, I figure you can take a joke.  Those Albanian protesters weren’t nearly as amped.

What does Albania have to do with the so-called Arab Spring?  Quite a bit.  Time for a bit of cryptojournalist mathematics.

Of the Arab Spring nations, six are Persian Gulf residents: Iran, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Bahrain, Kuwait and United Arab Emirates.  Which brings us to the Mediterranean Sea….where we find eight Arab Spring nations.

The Great Sea, now a bath tub of turmoil

Twenty-one countries have a border on the Mediterranean Sea.  Yes, that includes Monaco.  No, it does not include Gibraltar.  Fifteen of the Mediterranean nations have experienced protests since Tunisia set the trend.  Out of 21, even by my estimation that’s almost 75%.  You didn’t know?

Greece and Spain have been mentioned previously.  Libya is morphing into a slow motion lap dance from hell, undies and pasties on.  Torturous.  The New York Times even has a page dedicated to the ongoing struggle.  Dedication

Egypt and Tunisia are moving forward.  Syria has captivated the Western imagination (It’s getting bloody!).  Israel is almost a red herring, since they’re in perpetual upheaval.  Lebanon caught the news’ eye, for a blink.  What about the rest?

Algeria has almost flown under the radar.  Beginning in February, they’re ongoing….and beginning to veer towards untenable.  Al-Jazeera recently published an opinion musing whether Morocco would be the next regime to institute democratic reform.  Spoiler alert: doesn’t look like the proposed reforms were enough to mollify the people.

2nd Spoiler alert: If people are protesting, the Mediterranean Fall has already arrived.  I’m a bit surprised Al-Jazeera does not recognize that popular protests are the primary component of this contrived Arab Spring.  It’s already here.  But it is not quite an Arab Spring.

Not when Bosnians are protesting.  Over all sorts of issues.  From immigration to the handing over of accused war criminals by the President of Bosnia, people are raising their voice and taking it to the streets.  HOW is this separate and different than the protests taking place around the Southern Mediterranean?

It’s not.  Protests in Tunisia began over terrible economic conditions.  Spaniards began protesting over economic concerns.  Guess what?  France joined them!  Hell, there are even protests in Italy (although they are more along environmental lines), in case you thought The Boot was free from strife.  Then again, the MUOS protests in Sicily were also in the same vein.

Icing on the cake?  Protests in Turkey from March concerning press freedom.  As the gateway from Europe to the Mid East, it is only fitting to find Turkish protesters in the street.

Albania, Greece, Spain, Libya, Egypt, Tunisia, Syria, Israel, Lebanon, Algeria, Morocco, Bosnia, France, Italy and Turkey.  Fifteen Mediterranean countries that have experienced protests mainly over economic concerns and for better government.  In case you’re wondering, the Mediterranean countries free from protests (so far) are Croatia, Slovenia, Montenegro, Cyprus, Malta and Monaco.  Monaco in the house, bitches!

To be fair, Malta has seen protests.  Darrin Zammit Lupi is a photographer who chronicled Libyans protesting in Malta from this past February. Does that count?  In the spirit of ambivalence, let’s call it a tie.  That makes it five protest free countries, fifteen protesting and one tie.  Also, this may be broadcasting doom and gloom, but a report  from Financial Mirror elaborates on some of the problems Cypress has encountered recently in the bond market.  Which may turn out to be trouble down the line.

I’m not going to say the “Arab Spring” is a “fraud”.  Ben Stein did that, and he sounds like something approaching an ignorant Zionist harpy.  The notion is not false because you dislike the peoples’ choice for representation.

Hide your sheqels! It's Ben Stein!

Ben, while I’ve got your attention, saying The Muslim Brotherhood being closely connected to Adolf Hitler makes you look like a douche.  Don’t tell me.  Hitler is in an Argentinian villa sending marching orders into the heart of the Middle East.

Where'd you think al-Zawahiri gets his diabolical schemes?

A giant douche.

After "Win Ben Stein's Money" Mr. Stein had to fulfill an appearance clause with Comedy Central

No, the Arab Spring is not a fraud.  I’ll only go so far as to claim it is a rouse.  Sleight of hand, meant to divide.

Yes, there have been waves of protest across the Arab World.  In fact, the whole of the Southern Mediterranean has stood in protest.  So has most of the Northern Mediterranean.

And therein lies the rub.  News outlets cannot report these events as concurrent.  Then people might get the idea they’re all on the same side.  If Albanians, Syrians, Spaniards, Lebanese, Greeks and Egyptians all realized they were protesting against suspect politicians and economic problems (ie. the same thing), well that’s just too potent.

No, better the disproportionate mass of people worldwide not get wise they’re yelling in unison.  Way too potent.  We should be discussing how the Mediterranean Fall is reshaping the face of protest around the globe.  Instead we’re spoon fed garbage about an Arab Spring that does nothing to capture the story.

People everywhere are protesting.  It’s another media farce they’d package this story with a preconceived phrase, missing the vital point that this is unfolding everywhere.  Not simply the Arab World.  The Arab Spring is half the story.  The whole story is too flammable for general consumption.

“Sicilian Nights” – MUOS: The Sequel

Posted in Cryptojournalism, defense, Media Farce with tags , , , on June 19, 2011 by The Cryptojournalist

It’s been a few months, thought it’s time for an update on the Mobile User Objective System.  Or MUOS, as it’s known in the biz.  If this is your first time stumbling on the topic, I highly suggest you read this first.  You wouldn’t read the second Twilight book first, right?  That’s a hip, contemporary analogy, right?  RIGHT?!!???

Rather than bog you down with superfluous words and ideas, let’s jump right into this 3G wonder of communication architecture.  Really, since the last time we talked (spoiler alert) almost no news has developed on this $6.8 billion project.  Ain’t that a B?  The Government Accountability Office report from March has a shred of information.  Nothing new, really.  The project is delayed further.

Which in an odd bit of news, is the only thing that made it into the domestic information stream.  Granted, their information appears to conflict with the federal story.  Even so, it got a mention, which is better than every news outfit in America.  Spaceflight Now mentions MUOS in passing, noting the first satellite is now scheduled to launch February 2012.  Only problem is, the GAO touts an ‘on-orbit’ time for March 2012.

After each of the five satellites launches, it takes time for it to reach ‘on-orbit’ status.  It’s essentially a giant modem, and it takes three months to boot up.  So according to the GAO estimate, the satellite would launch in December of this year.  When Spaceflight Now talks about a February ’12 launch, that means the system would be up and running in May of 2012.  You’re beginning to see why this enormous project gets so little attention.

It’s a fucking mess.

Whether they get the first satellite in the air in December or next year, it is becoming a moot point.  Originally slated to begin operating in 2009, it has been perpetually postponed into the future.  Then 2010 was the year.  It really was.  General Dynamics, another megalith working on the program, even said so. Until it wasn’t.

Still, the Navy awards contracts.  January’s winner was Astrotech, who will provide payload processing services.  Whatever that is.  I’m a cryptojournalist, not a scientist!  Either was, there is not an apparent price tag on this contract, so good for Astrotech!  Open ended business deals with the Federal government have the potential to be very lucrative.

So is that it?  Astrotech has jumped aboard the MUOS program, and it’s been delayed again?

No.  Not quite.

The Sicilian population in Niscemi is still amped.  It’s pretty clear the local populace does not want this military installation.  At a February city council meeting, citizens were again voicing their concerns about the possible health effects of the potential satellite site.  The article is in Italian (of course), but here is a link to the English translation.  On the heels of that, a protest was planned for the middle of March.  (English link is here)

In a nutshell, Raffaele Lombardo, Sicily’s regional president, assured the populace that MUOS was safe.  Students were highly skeptical and planned a protest.

After that, MUOS has had a couple of references in the Italian press.  I would certainly suggest you read both articles.  Not off those links, silly.  They’re for Italian readers.  Here is the English language link for the article from Il Pane e le Rose.  Very interesting to see how our military allies perceive our tactics.  La Valle dei Templi’s article shares the same sentiment.  They’re not in love with the notion of being our Mediterranean fortress.

Which brings me to some of the problems confronting the MUOS program.  Going back to the Live Sicilia article (translated of course), the author points out the next MUOS satellite array ‘should’ be in Niscemi.  Meaning it is not yet set in stone.  Meaning, worst case scenario, the array is never built.

That would be a major problem.  Compare this to Australia, the other foreign locale for a MUOS array, where an agreement was reached in 2007 to host the program.  In all likelihood the Italians will be along for the ride, albeit after some ruckus and much outcry against the program.  EVEN THEN, there is a major, even at this point, a structural flaw, in the MUOS program.

Perhaps in 2004, with the program in its’ infancy, 3G was a good bet for future communication technology.  It’s 2011.  Basing ‘next-generation’ military systems on a commercial technology which has been rendered obsolete in the last year plus sounds like exactly what one should expect from the Federal government.

How would you feel if your significant other brought you home a (wait for it)………..drum roll………..BRAND NEW DVD PLAYER!!??!

The consumer equivalent of MUOS

Do you know how embarrassing it is to search for a photograph of a DVD player in this era?

Based on the recent promulgation of 4G technology, the Navy’s next-generation communication system is already obsolete.  And at least two years behind schedule.  While surpassing its’ initial budget costs.

Before I get ahead of myself, here are a few 4G vs. 3G videos to help you understand the difference.  Sort of like Blu Ray vs. DVD, much of it is a matter of magnitude, rather than simply speed.  4G processes more information faster.

Here and here are links for the more literate type.  Please note, the Computerworld and Denver Post articles are both from the end of 20100.  I’ve taken aims to present videos from this year, as the 4G network has expanded since it first debuted.  Make your own conclusion.  Better yet, look into it yourself.  Who knows what you might learn.

4G is the literal next generation of telecommunications.  How could the Navy not anticipate this?  Allow me to preposterously think aloud for a moment.  I’m entitled to that, being the only cryptojournalist in the world to pay attention to this strange program.  Do I believe the Navy was blindsided by the onset of 4G?  No, definitely not.  In fact, my women’s intuition leads me to believe they knew all along 4G would come up so quick.

But why?

Upgrayedd.  Upgrayedd?

With a 3G infrastructure in a 4G world, Navy’s going to need to upgrade.  That’s future revenue.  MUOS, if and when it’s actually completed, will work alright, but will soon be ripe for a 4G upgrade, which amounts to more money.

You see, a pimp's love is very different from that of a square

It all leads me to one question.  Why am I surprised there is a media blackout on this multi-billion dollar global defense program?  Gathering information on the MUOS program is not something that should fall to a cryptojournalist.  Make my words, after all is said and done, MUOS will prove to be nothing more than the world’s most expensive DVD player.  And nobody will notice.

Bob Ross and the Plight of DVR

Posted in Cryptojournalism, Media Farce with tags , , , on February 26, 2011 by The Cryptojournalist

I normally like Brian Moylan’s articles from Gawker.  He has a certain Jungian charm to his writing, especially his reviews of Jersey Shore.  Which I was so disappointed with his roasting, lambasting, complaining about the foibles of the digital video recorder, or DVR for short.

Listing the gripes for the DVR machine in 2011 is akin to complaining about VCR’s in 1997.  They’re already obsolete.  I wouldn’t be bringing this up were there not a cryptojournalist angle.  This article, and especially the reader comments, prove to be a great disservice to anyone reading the article.

The title of the article, rather than, “Dear Television Industry: You Must Learn To Cooperate With DVR’s, Or Else,” should be, “Let me assist you in making an uninformed decision.”

I should reveal something about myself.  I’m one of those high-and-mighty, slightly condescending types who has figured out how to live without cable television.  Put your tongues back in your mouth, slack jaws.

Even Hill Dawg is shocked folks in the 21st Century live without cable

Know what?  I’m not missing anything.  Well, that’s not totally true.  I’ve got a website for live sports.  Torrents allow me to find just about anything (I’ll get to the virtues of that in a moment).  Oh shit, I forgot.  I DON’T get cable news.  Which, in my book, acts as a net gain.

Which brings me back to Mr. Moylan’s article.  He’s a TV reviewer on the internet.  That is probably the only criteria I could rationalize for having a cable box.  Well, that and if you’re a UFC junkie and cannot do without your Pay-Per-Views.  If you have a measure of patience and an broadband feed (both of which are necessary for reading this blog), you’re playing a suckers game with the cable company.

The crux of the article, along with way too many of the insipid comments, revolve around the trick of networks cutting the last few moments of a show off because it runs ‘past’ the DVR time slot.  Which is, you know, cute and provincial in that way that you don’t know how to program a recording from 9:00-9:32.  I don’t watch 30 Rock.  Wink-and-a-nod consumerism and ‘letting the audience in on the joke’ is not the comedic template for me, I guess.  But if I did, I would not miss the final joke and lead out punchline.  Torrents are too good.

Really, the problem is Moylan vaguely glosses over the ‘or else’.  Call it being wary of biting the hand that feeds.  But paying for cable television is like paying for music….it’s just not necessary.

His final riposte, his warning shot across the bow of network television, falls flat.

It’s time to set things right, television networks, or we’re going to do something even worse than DVRing your precious entertainments. We’re going to start watching them on the internet, where you still haven’t figure out how to make money off of them. Take that!

Except within the limited spectrum of his readers, all that means is watching Jersey Shore on MTV.com and tuning into The Office on Hulu.com.  Both are bad breaks, since both immerse the viewer in advertising.  Um, Brian, why do you think people DVR these days?  To avoid advertising, of course.  It’s the reason Britney Spears is able to earn six figures via product placement.  Lady Gaga and Beyoncé showed her the way, but it’s nothing new.

The readers are called out for their almost complete lack of knowledge on torrents.  Of the 100+ brain dead comments, maybe three even point out the advantage of downloading through torrent engines.

It’s real easy.  Pick an engine.  A torrent engine.  Find a website that hosts torrents.  Then search.  It’s just like Napster or Limewire or some other dead peer-to-peer engine, only you search online instead of in the engine.  More than anything, it involves patience.  The time to download and the time for new shows to upload would rankle many.

Oh did I mention all the commercials are edited out by the time any television show hits the internet?  Now I understand Brian Moylan and Gawker not wanting to appear to support those evil web pirates.  For so many readers who would likely consider themselves smart, tech savvy and ahead of the curve, it illuminates a true ignorance on how the web works.

People love to gripe about the plight of content creators, how internet pirates are ruining the entertainment industry.  These people have never heard of the idea of the prime divider.  It’s a pretty strong notion, and easily analogized through the years.

In the Middle Ages, people were generally illiterate.  Except the clergy.  At that time, literacy was the prime divider.  There were people who could read, and people who could not.  Easy to see how advantage could be gained in such a situation.  The modern equivalent would be computers.

People with access to computers have a great advantage over those without.  Along with the computer has come the internet.  They’re so interconnected, like a shoe and its laces.  The internet proves to act as another prime divider.  There are people who are linked up and have bandwidth, and those who do not.

Like most prime dividers, it’s pay to play.  You can’t download torrents from the web if you aren’t paying for a high quality internet service.  The internet is an amusement park.  Once you pay to get in, whatever you enjoy doing at the park is up to you.  Not a legal based argument for piracy, but its just common sense.

If you’re paying for, say, 20MB per second if internet speed, what good is it to you if you’re not using all you pay for?

Articles like this piece lead people down a futile path.  Rather than pointing people away from the advertising they loathe, it leads them towards advertising on the web.  Most unsavory.

But there is one more reason this type of work from Gawker is a detriment to its readers.  His name is Bob Ross.

That’s right.  Bob Ross.  American legend, bringer of joy and happy little trees with The Joy of Painting.  One of my personal heroes.  How many other people do you know who’ve had domesticated squirrels?

Show me another man with a pet squirrel

During middle school and high school, I used to go home sick after 6th or 7th period frequently for one reason.  I was not sick.  The Joy of Painting aired at 2:30 on PBS, and I wanted to watch.  It’s not only that he’s the only man I’ve ever seen with anything even resembling a domesticated squirrel (although it seems to be a rare case, it is not a very popular practice).  His voice was pure velvet.  And the art?

Well, painting landscapes in a half hour is a faded hobby, a past trend of a different generation.  Last time I had a cable box, Bob’s show was one of the most elusive things to even find to DVR.  But he’s alive and well on torrents.  Like a giant library of all those great shows you faintly remember.

You’re getting old if you remember The Hair Bear Bunch

That, more than anything, is the beauty of discarding cable.  Instead of sampling from the prix fixe menu of cable channels, I’ve got a full buffet.  And the patience to wait a day for those oh so precious television shows that fuel American culture.  Writing an article bemoaning the problems of DVR boxes without indicating a great solution (and a readership blind to the folly of complaining over missed Community jokes, blech) is a road to nowhere.

Before I wrap this up, who even comes close to being a contemporary of Bob Ross?  I’m drawing a blank. We could use a few more people like Bob, painters or not.

One of his favorite quotes was, “We don’t make mistakes, we just have happy accidents.”  Maybe an article dedicated to lambasting DVR’s was a happy accident, but it sure seems like a mistake.

Spinning wheels without going anywhere….well, that’s what cryptojournalism is for!

A Cryptojournalism Rundown: Candy, Culture Coaching and Some More Tidbits

Posted in Cryptojournalism, Media Farce with tags , , , , , , on February 24, 2011 by The Cryptojournalist

I have a few things I’d like to talk about today.  But nothing overarching, just a few hits of cryptojournalism to give you your fix.

Remember the Deepwater Horizon blast?  Of course you don’t.  That was, like, two seasons ago.  Although it’s fallen out of the shallow, shallow news cycle, the event could be called ongoing.  A couple of recent articles highlight how crytpojournalism, especially when reading anything related to the action of the Federal Government, proves to be a pretty handy tool.  Just like me.

I’d like to talk about two articles in particular, to try and show you how people play games to fuck other people over.  We’ll begin with an article from The Louisiana Weekly, where the question at hand is, ‘Has the cleanup been as thorough as necessary?’

One passage especially sort of jumped out at me, but not for the reasons you’d imagine.  Let’s take a look and see what I mean.

The recent, federal report said that further beach cleanups, beyond established and already-achieved standards, would most likely threaten fish and wildlife. Cleanup guidelines exist to strike a scientifically supported balance between “enough” and “too much” cleanup, the report said. Continued cleaning could result in an increasingly, negative impact to habitats as more and more effort is directed to removing less oil. Research was based on collected samples and laboratory analysis, environmental models and a review of existing literature.

Two aspects of this clip are important, at least for this point being made: this comes from a federal report, and research was (at least partly based) on existing literature.

Contrast that facet of the previous story to this piece from ABC News.  Discussing the possibility of future lawsuits against the various parties involved in the April 20 tragedy, Circus Clown Attorney General Eric Holder drops a truth nugget on us.

“This is an ongoing process,” Holder said.

Do you see it?  The inherent contradiction pulled out of just two recent articles on the BP oil spill?  If the judicial process (and I would dare say the entire fiasco) is an ongoing process, how in the world can you base ANYTHING on existing literature?

But Drew, you may wonder, isn’t that taking things way out of context?  Is it?  With a dearth of real information coming out of the Gulf of Mexico, all we’ve got to trust is the good word of the Federal Government.

Before I get too far ahead of myself, have I mentioned the need I feel for someone to create a sarcasm font?  That last sentence above would really pop, really zing if it were done in sarcasm font.  Alas, no such font exists.  Moving right along.

If Mr. Holder’s assertion on the legal issues of the mess hold true in the real world, using existing literature is a joke.  Nothing on this scale has happened.  Ever. Considering the very recent news about dead baby dolphins washing ashore, it’s safe to say a lot of what we’re grappling with in the aftermath (going on 11 months) has no existing literature to back it up.

Weasley games like that, where some vague historical precedent is sought to ensure the quality of the cleanup when there is no precedent, is practically a love letter to cryptojournalists around the world.  I’m blushing.

*****

For some more lighthearted fare, let me take you on a trip.  It’s to the candy aisle of the supermarket.  Doing some grocery shopping, a bag of M&M’s Pretzels caught my eye.  And triggered memories of the filthiest commercial ever.

I wasn’t sure if my instincts were playing games with me.  So I typed “m&m’s pretzel rape allusion” into a search engine.  Lo and behold, I actually found two websites making the same claim I’m laying down right here (you can find them here and here).  Which got me wondering, “Ummm, what the fuck!?!?!!!”

 

Statutory Rape

How did that get in there?  Rape being one of the most traumatic events a person can undergo, looks like the Orange M&M has repressed his trip to the lab.  I know, I know.  Gross, but sort of funny.

It isn’t funny.  Forget about connotations about brand loyalty or other advertising buzz words.  I’m still trying to grasp why a candy company, whose target audience is normally, well trick-or-treaters, would allude to a pretzel raping an M&M.  It makes less than no sense, unless BBDO, the ad agency responsible for the spot, also plans on promoting M&M’s anal lube.

Me?  I think it’s a measure of inoculation.  Toward what end, I do not know.  But it’s too obvious for the subplot of rape to not be part of the marketing for M&M’s Pretzels.  On a quick parting note, if you want to understand why people hate advertising, advertisers and their ilk, read the comments section from the link above.  Anyone who’d characterize that commercial as funny (or anything in that vein) is what Stan Valchek would call a shitbird.

 

You would eat a raping candy, shitbird

Assuming half the commenters from the article have college degrees.  Do you know how much simply reading someone expressing their affinity for the humor in a commercial of a pretzel prepping to rape a piece of chocolate diminishes MY college education?  More than I’d like to admit.

*****

The Drudge Report linked to another example of true life journalism the other day (man, I really need that sarcasm font, stat), one which really helped me put things into perspective.

The wife of a megachurch pastor, Tammy Hotsenpiller, apparently has a lackey reporter from a CNN blog in her back pocket, for this piece of air to actually reach url’s across the globe.

Forget the droll premise, or the sunshiney idea of people eating together in peace and harmony.  You could completely bypass this negation of news, but there’s actually a fun phrase I’d like to hijack from Ms. Hotsenpiller.

She boasts of being a culture coach.  I’ll wait.  Catch your breath.  I know, I know.  A culture coach?  It turns out, I’ve been a culture coach for years.  I just thought I ws acting like a condescending prick.  Like, when my buddy was still wearing his New York Giants #17 Plaxico Burress this season, I said, “Dude, you need a Hakeem Nicks jersey.”

 

Only diehard Giant fans sport #17

Who knew I was acting as a culture coach, and not simply ribbing my friend for wearing the jersey of an all-time numb skull?  ‘Culture coach’ rates somewhere between ‘beggar with funny sign’ and Scientology PR representative on the relative scale of bullshit.  CNN is doing the job for cryptojournalists everywhere (which, well, is me) by presenting farce as information.  Thanks, CNN.

*****

Now onto something that at least has some meat to it: New York City’s upcoming outdoor smoking ban.  Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you, a thought crime!

If you’re unacquainted with the new ‘law’ well it’s a damn joke.  Police will not be seeking out people smoking illegally in parks or at beaches.  As the Yahoo! article points out, “Police will not enforce the ban.”  So who will?

As Evan Mantyk from The Epoch Times points out, this thought crime appears to be a snitches’ dream.  You can finally get back at that bitch Andrea from HR.  Follow her to the park and catch her red handed in the act……of smoking!

If you interpret the new law as some way towards improving public health and the environment, think again. It’s a divisive measure, meant to foster mistrust and suspicious eyes at least as much as it is to improve public health.

My father, when he was alive, lived the last years of his life in Manhattan.  As a lifelong fisherman and a smoker, he made a keen point to me when the smoking ban first went into effect.

“All these smokers, forced to go outside to smoke.  Where do they think the cigarette butts go?  Right down the gutter, into the sewers.”  He wasn’t a scientist.  No, he was a man who enjoyed taking the subway out to Sheepshead Bay for some peace and quiet as he fished.

The net effect of these sort of bans is to merely displace the ‘pollution’ of cigarettes.  Couple it with the “sic ’em” effect of pitting citizen against citizen, and the new smoking ban looks like nothing but a rhetorical trick.  Manhattan is an American city where you can get away with smoking a blunt while you’re walking down the street, but now people are being trained to look suspiciously at regular smokers, framing them as potential scofflaws of the law.

Does it make sense?  As much as a pretzel raping an M&M to synthesize a new candy line does.

Like most of these entries, I just hope you begin to look at the why behind things.  Why use rape as an advertising mechanism?  Why ban smoking outdoors?  Why would someone become a culture coach?

I don’t know.  But at least I know I don’t know.  As the 2nd of the 3 Wise Men told Baby Jesus, “Think, and ye shall receive.”

The 24-Hour News Cycle Has Finally Killed News

Posted in Media Farce with tags , , , on February 19, 2011 by The Cryptojournalist

As the world progresses technologically, we’re seeing the pace of life and especially information created accelerating.  You would think a constant news cycle would be a positive.  ‘Cause, you know, there’s always news happening somewhere.  Right?

Apparently not.  While protest rip across at least half a dozen Muslim countries, the biggest news THIS ENTIRE WEEK has been Serene Branson.  Poor Serene, her life has been anything but since her now infamous Southern Baptist style speaking-in-tongues episode from the Grammy telecast on Sunday.  And no, I’m not linking you to ANY edit of it.  Although they’re hilarious.  That’s not the point.

Sunday.  Today is Saturday, and I’m now compelled to take the matter to task.  Why?  Friday, The Early Show on CBS ‘scored’ an interview with the distressed reporter, a whole five days after the fact.  I’m looking squarely in the face of the premise of the ’24-hour news cycle’ as culprit for this travesty of public justice.

Why in the good name of Ozzie Canseco does this story stick around?  Easy.  It’s funny.  People naturally enjoy laughing at the mishaps and misfortunes, on a mild scale, of others.

The sports equivalent of the Serene Branson story

Of course, being thin on substance but full of anecdotes, this reminds me of a time in college.  Three buddies of mine from home came to visit the weekend in Boston.  Saturday afternoon, after lunch but before Round 2 of drinking, we were killing time.  My boy JP, the comic genius he is, had some Krazy Glue in his utility belt.

A few quarters glued on the walkway in front of my dorm later, we were in comic heaven.  No shit, a girl with headphones on stops mid-stride, right in front of the 25 cent piece, and exclaims, “Oooh, change!”

Reading it does the scene no justice.  The four of us lose our shit, and this girl notices us laughing, glares and calls us ‘jerks’ and huffs off.  No harm, no foul play, as they say in baseball and the homicide department.  Like Ms. Branson’s unfortunate episode, “Oooh, change!’ didn’t really hurt anyone.  Embarrassed feelings pass with time.  So does the, to sound as pretentious and wordy as possible, informational bedrock of thought provoking, meaningful dialogue.

At least that’s how the Serene Branson story is playing out.  The mighty Ivory Tower, the Fourth Estate, the gallant gatekeepers of information, are truly fucking the pooch casting this sort of drivel as news.  It’s also proof and evidence of how the 24-hour news cycle has brought about the demise of actual news reporting and journalism.  First it was, “What hapened?’  Then it was, “It wasn’t a stroke?  That.  Is.  HILARIOUS.”  Next was the media reaction.  Blech.  THEN it was, “It’s only migraines!”  Followed by, “Serene is troubled.  Poor, poor girl.”  Those are all essentially recaps of the daily infotainment drip on this story.

Does ANY of that quantify as news worthy?

The 24-hour news cycle is constantly playing catch-up.  They’re naturally in reaction mode.  Here is the tangible difference between perpetual reporting and, to sound as trite as possible, ‘doing journalism’: one is offensive, in the sports sense of the word, while one is defensive and reactive.    If a fictional news agency only follows what happens, how much do they fail to cover?

A lot, really.  Real news, the kind that J-school professors like to spout flowery prose about, takes time.  It’s following leads and hunches, not the hot trends on Twitter and what the competition is covering.  Unfortunately, there’s not much recourse.  After the axiom ‘mustard is a good diet food…..it’s got zero calories!’, the only other thing I really learned about in graduate school was about the AP Daybook.

I can’t link you up, and you aren’t allowed to see it, because it’s really the mechanism by which the Associated Press scores their news.  Cities around the nation have a list of daily events….unveilings, ribbon cuttings, Q&A sessions, celebrity appearances and political theater are all listed, by time, for reporters from said city.

It is literally the only worthwhile feature of the AP.  The one they keep to themselves.  If you’ve got access, it’s fantastic.  but be serious.  Of all seven of you reading this now, do any of you even know anyone who knows someone with the status to be tapped into the Daybook?

Rhetorical questions aside, why hasn’t the Associated Press taken steps to open up the Daybook to ordinary citizens?  In this era of diffused information and numerous platforms for conveying information, isn’t it in everyone’s best interest to at least have the choice to pursue real issues and topics, gate keepers be damned?  Shoddy handling of the airwaves, the punchline being the last week’s obsession with LITERALLY NOTHING!  A pretty woman spazzing out!  Best way I can figure to improve the quality of news is increase the availability of Daybooks across the nation to people who want to be engaged, rather then strictly keeping it to people who are paid to be engaged.  Y’see, I added italics for effect.

Effect.  That’s about all the 24-hour news cycle strives for.  News used to inform, instead of make you feel something.  Weird, huh?  That’s before slow death, via the 24-hour news cycle.  Who knew when I was watching O.J. and A.C. in that White Bronco (inconveniently butting into the Knicks/Rockets NBA Finals telecast) it was the first of a thousand little cuts, bleeding out a vital organ of information.

 

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