Show Them Your Scars, John. They Turn Brian On.

Thanks to Digby and Crooks and Liars who pointed this out:

Brian Williams, MSNBC, Wednesday March 5th:

You know what I thought was unsaid —they took their position Chris, we’re seeing the replay — they end up in this spot and the sun is coming is just from the side and there in the shadow is John McCain’s buckled, concave shoulder. It’s a part of his body the suit doesn’t fill out because of his war injuries. Again you wouldn’t spot it unless you knew to look for it. He doesn’t give the same full chested profile as the president standing next to him. Talk about a warrior.

Who needs romance novels? We have a natural writer in Brian Williams. The sun. The battle wounds. The full chest of George W. Bush. Oh my. Where's the codpiece?

The Wire: It Ain't No Morality Play *Spoilers at all links*

Omar Little ('Omar'). Shotgun wielding, gay, 34-year old, robber of drug dealers. Local folk hero.

Felicia 'Snoop' Pearson. Cold blooded, spitting, cursing, fearless killer. Stephen King called her, "perhaps the most terrifying female villain to ever appear in a television series."

This is far premature for me to be writing about The Wire, since I haven't watched a second of Season 5, but I couldn't resist. For those who are following, the ongoing discussion at is very good, even when it stretches its arguments (I still don't understand how the show is Neo-marxist).

According to fans, the last three episodes of The Wire (episodes 7, 8 and 9) have been absolutely amazing and devastating. Even a David Simon fan like myself, who is far behind on the series, couldn't avoid following the excitement that suddenly saved the fifth and final season. And happily, David Simon isn't out to stage a morality play ending. He is letting events play-out in the seedy world he created. David Plotz in Slate sums it up simply:

The lesson of The Wire has to be that the game never stops and that it always gets worse.

It's a very simple theme for what many believe is the greatest television series ever. It was truly a highbrow show about low-life, hardcore street crime. It was a fascinating mix, and a success story that a crime drama can still be compelling television without being pulpy (think The Sopranos). I just hope it wasn't critically acclaimed simply because it had more fully-developed Black characters than any TV show before it. White guilt should not the be cause for The Wire's success. It was far-superior writing and character development that made the show the very best, like Homicide before it.

Looking Into The Minds Of The Militant Hollywood Haters

Photo by Flickr user Vlastula, used here under a Creative Commons license

These examples are very interesting. And they are perhaps a little scary, since they remind me of gun-toting militia/patriot movement members from 15 years ago. In fact, the Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler is a site founded by white supremacists, who were deemed a little too extreme for the the right-wing, mildly-racist blog, Little Green Footballs. At least some of them realize that if they watch a single primetime TV show or one of several cable TV channels, they are indirectly supporting either a Hollywood studio or the parent company of a Hollywood studio. So for the commenter who said he onlly watches television for NASCAR races and Fox News, that's two types of Fox programming. Fox television is owned by News Corporation, which owns 20th Century Fox. And Tim Graham, who thinks that no one in Hollywood likes 24, apparently didn't pause to remember which company produces the show.

Can't Get Journey Out of My Head...

...Thanks to the series finale of The Sopranos. But then I found this. I'm very late in coming to like The Family Guy. I had no idea that the fictional setting is in Rhode Island. This is freakin' great! And yeah, that's Adam West. But his joke is lost on me. And I'm usually pretty smaaat.

My buddy, Archtype, informed me that Steve Smith, Journey's drummer since 1979, shares his hometown of Brockton with me. maybe I knew that in 1983, but I certainly forgot.

Oh, I can't resist now. Here is Journey performing Don't Stop Believin' live in 1981. Not only is it one of the most loved rock anthems ever, it could be the most purchased song never to peak at # 1 on the Billboard charts (it peaked at # 9, but has sold millions of copies year after year since). And it keeps coming back. South Park. Laguna Beach. The 2005 White Sox. And now the Sopranos finale. It's a standard.

Rachael Sklar: We'll Always Have Paris

I agree with just about everything Rachael Sklar says, until her final sentence. Paris news does exclude most everything else - if a typical news consumer only watches nightly cable news.

Rachel Sklar
We'll Always Have Paris
The Huffington Post
Sun Jun 10, 3:08 PM ET

Paris Hilton is news. That is a fact, like evolution. What kind of news depends on the day: Attending a premiere in a low-cut dress? Celebrity news, for Star and Us Weekly. Premiering another season of "The Simple Life?" Entertainment Weekly and TVGuide. Having a nip slip? Okay, maybe that's no longer news. But otherwise, Paris Hilton makes news — and it's not just for existing, either, it's for constantly doing things. Stupid things, but things nonetheless. Like being engaged to someone with the same name. Like recording an album with a single that was actually pretty sticky (oh, come on, you toe-tapped to "Stars Are Blind" too). Like eating a hamburger lasciviously for Carl's Jr. She even makes news when she flops, like with her infamously terrible Vanity Fair cover. Dies theatrically in a horror flick? Launches a perfume? Loses her dog? News, news, news. And of course, she was something of a sex-tape pioneer (but nice try, Kim Kardashian). Plus, didn't she pee herself in public or something? So like it or not, what Paris Hilton does makes the news — or some subset of the news. Perhaps not for being smart, but still.

Originally, Hilton was famous for being famous — a creation of Page Six, which catalogued her table-dancing antics from her arrival on the social scene. And as she got more famous, the outrage at her fame grew: "What does she do?" So, as she "did" more things, that outrage remained and our collective incredulity grew, in step with her worlwide marketing muscle and the skyrocketing value of her brand (worth even more in Japan!).

By the time Paris Hilton was actually busted for something real — a DUI is not a small thing, it is an act of surpassing selfishness, a fitting offense for a spoiled heiress who has never had to answer for anything in her life — the ourtrage, and the schadenfreude, was off the charts. So when she was busted, it was news. Real news — breaking news on the cable nets and headline news in the papers (though more the New York Post than the New York Times). And when she was released after three days for a paltry house arrest (and concomitant house party), it was even bigger news — so when she was dragged kicking and screaming back to the slammer, it was the biggest news of all.

That last bit would have been news for any celebrity — news is man bites dog, anything out of the ordinary, which is why Anna Nicole Smith got so much damn attention. For Paris Hilton — a truly sui generis case in the world of celebrity — this was a sui generis situation, and a story, on many levels. Celeb comeuppance? Check. Twisting, turning, developing case of crime and justice in the thank-god-there-is-actually-news-to-fill-this-late-afternoon timeslot? Check. Meditation on the differential treament of celebrities in the legal system? Check. There is even a debate: Was Paris treated too lightly — or punished too severely? Check, check, check.

So, Paris is news. Maybe not round-the-clock-all-the-time-this-just-in-
she-took-another-breath news, but news nonetheless. News across the board, as news itself and as news about the news, i.e. "Did it need to be news?" and "How was it covered?" vis a vis the news decisions (and public statements thereon) of Katie Couric and Brian Williams. During the Anna Nicole whirlwind, I wondered if it wasn't news, the "why is Howard Kurtz putting it at the top of the hour?" Guess what led "Reliable Sources" today? Paris, Paris, Paris. Like it or not, it is news — just not to the exclusion of everything else.

In November or December of this year, this country will lose its 4,000th soldier in Iraq. Will that lead primetime cable TV newscasts every night the way Paris Hilton did last week? Of course not. This is a fifth really sad summer for the USA and Iraq. Ever since the Fallujah uprising in April 2004, it has been really shitty.

In other news.

This coming Sunday might be a beach day here in the New York area. It's not all bad news here in the Big Apple. It's time to hit the beach. Sandy Hook NJ, Long Beach, NY, and Fire Island, NY might all be on-tap for Father's Day.

Four Bombings in Baghdad's Shi'ite Neighborhoods Kill at Least 170

Including one bombing that killed at least 100. And the death toll is being revised upward. It's the deadliest day in the capitol in 2 months.

So while you are all tucked-away and all cozy tonight watching steel-eyed Anderson Cooper lament endlessly about Blacksburg, or if you are watching Nancy Grace analyze Cho Seung-Hui, or if you are voting for Sanjaya (I'll admit it, I am), or if you're watching the fetching Naveen Andrews play a token Iraqi character on that atrocious, pointlessly dark and quasi-Christian Disney TV show, try to remember it was just another bloody day in Baghdad. We broke that country, and we can't put it back together. Hope you're fucking happy.