April 5, 2008 - March 29, 2008
Thursday, April 03, 2008
MORE STAR TREK
All right. I'm hooked. I admit it. The Battlestar Galactica
on, and I'm powerless against it. Why?
Certainly, no sci-fi premise ever had more going against it. The
original series from which this one was conceived was nothing but a TV
rip-off of Star Wars
featuring bad actors (Lorne Greene, for God's
sake) and that blond dude
who later made a fortune on the A-Team
They had some fuzzy
relationship with Earth, which meant that fighter pilots wore pharaonic
helmets and high-fived each other as if they were about to time-jump
into Tom Cruise's Top Gun
So I gave the whole thing a miss when it resurfaced on the Sci-Fi
Channel. I ignored all the glowing reviews. I never watched because I
knew better. But I was wrong. Now I'm admitting it. Battlestar Galactica
is one of the
best shows on TV. A lot of you already know that, which makes my
confession that much more humiliating. For those who don't already know
it, here's the pitch.
Edward James Olmos
Let me repeat that. Edward James Olmos
. He could
you believe that a colony of snails had to be saved because they were
reinventing Michelangelo in slime and were just indispensable
. He's the best
actor. (We're already on record about the worst
He was good in Miami Vice
. He's great in Battlestar
. The years have made
somehow beautifully ugly. He makes the difficult decisions of command
in a life-and-death situation riveting. When he's on screen, forget
every other competing show on television. This is where you want to be.
As pure sci-fi, Battlestar
sucks Make no mistake about that. Except for their ability to "jump" at
faster than light speed, the Battlestar crew has no interesting
technology whatever. They have wristwatches, four-in-hand ties, jackets
with wide lapels, contemporary military ranks, 20th century
slang, cassette tapes, a quaint
awe of stealth aircraft, and a becoming fondness for what looks an
awful lot like WWII-era .45 caliber sidearms. They're also polytheists,
clinging to the Olympian gods so fiercely that they expostulate, "Oh my
Gods" when surprised. Their enemies the cylons -- read 'terminators' --
are monotheists. Possibly Catholic. That'll turn your head right
around in a hurry.
And there's one other really
thing. They're suitably foul-mouthed but they think the word "fuck" is
pronounced "frak." This may seem like a small quibble, but wait till
wade through an episode full of "frak me," "frak you,""Are you frakking
her?", and "Who you looking at, motherfrakker?" It gets old in a hurry.
Not to mention the feminist slant. The ace of aces is Starbuck, a woman
of about 5' 5" who can beat up any other guy on the show. This also
gets old. Very.
Still. Edward James Olmos. He's trying to keep a rag-tag army of
survivors alive against formidable odds. He believes in duty, courage,
loyalty, and honor. He has very hard decisions to make, something like
those a Commander-in-Chief might have to make. Really hard. Sometimes
he can even make you cry.
When the final season starts on Friday at 10 pm, we'll be there.
. This is the
place to be.
Wednesday, April 02, 2008
Just how nuts are we?
It's one of those dull public
service announcements that flash by without attracting much conscious
response. I wouldn't have paid any attention at all if they hadn't made
such a repetitive fuss about the height issue. The announcement closes
on a website called BoosterSeat.gov
which spells out the three-part child protection scheme being peddled
by the NHTSA. The feds are particularly anxious that we understand our
responsibility doesn't end with infant seats and toddler seats. Now it
also includes child booster seats, promoted with this touching
video sales pitch
Does it seem kind of harmless and sweet? Does it? Unfortunately, it
embodies a truly gross misrepresentation. The 4 ft 9 in height limit
takes in a lot more territory than little girls who have just learned
how to spell. Here's a height
from one of the evil pharmaceutical companies that has a
vested interest in alerting you to the possibility that your kid isn't
tall enough for his age. (In other words, for the statistically
illiterate among you, it might be overstating
average heights by age.) This one deals exclusively with boys.
I added the red lines. Apparently, up to 25 percent of boys are still
under 4 ft 9 inches in height at the age of 13. They're roaring into
puberty and -- in past generations -- should be undergoing initiation
into what is now laughingly called manhood, but the Big Mother who has
devoured the soul of our government insists that we have a moral
obligation to keep them trussed up like capon roasters -- or 21st
babies -- whichever is more humiliating.
least capons aren't pampered princelings with private chauffeurs.
Do you feel any sense of ridiculousness yet? Well, here's a group of
boys aged 10 to 13 who, if you watch long enough, are correctly
described as "little men." What's interesting is that there's no
particular correlation between height and the manliness of their
Who in good conscience would consign one of these young men to a
booster seat on the way home from such a milestone?
And, no, I'm not drawing an extreme analogy. All of these kids are
older than the age at which Big Mother desires to begin teaching them
about sex, condoms, the acceptability of gay lifestyles, and the legal
recourses they have for concealing their sexually related medical wants
and needs from their parents. So, even as we browbeat their parents
into regarding them as permanent fragile infants, we are also teaching
"the kids" that they are free to indulge every momentary appetite and
they experience -- as long as they're willing to revert to helpless,
thumbsucking brats in the back seat of the family minivan.
Behold the new template for American manhood:
Why do Little League Champions seem somehow so much bigger than the
candy-ass fools who think it's really possible to protect the living
from chance, personal responsibility, unexpected consequences, and life
It's not true that InstaPunk tortured or killed me for what I said.
He's The Boss and regardless of what anyone says, he doesn't care
what anyone thinks about the posters at InstaPunk. He was just
trying to provide cover for me. But I don't need cover. I'm not sorry
about what I said. I'm only sorry that all the bud-buttons thought they
had the right to call me a racist for speaking the truth.
Now I know you're all wondering what a bud-button is. That's the
complicated question. And there's no definitive answer. It's mostly a
matter of the things no bud-button has ever done. For example,
bud-buttons aren't people who have ever seen a half-mile long line
of tomato trucks in August waiting for the Heinz, Hunts, Ritter, and
Campbell plants to accept the town-wide pungency of their cargo. They
don't know the way that smell slows you down to a stupor so that when
you turn down a side street and see that one little gingerbread house on the corner with
the clipped lawn and the white glider and the trained red roses you
just gasp and say to yourself, "This is why I'm so privileged to be
alive." It doesn't matter that you never get to meet the
white-haired black man who mows that patch with the mechanical mower,
or his his plump wife with the pitcher of iced tea on the porch,
although you nod at them as you round the corner, because the whole world
smells of tomatoes and they have chosen roses.
Bud-buttons never bridle when they see the stereotyped black chess
player in the movies. That's because they never met Duane, who had 1500
SATs and really did know how to play chess. But it never bought him any
peace. He was always alone. I felt keenly that he wanted me to play, but
I was insensitive, not to Duane but to chess, and it was only later
that I realized he neeeded that other language -- of castles and
knights and bishops -- to build the bridge I thought could be built with
mere common experience. I was wrong. Ever since, I hate the black chess
player in the movies. We're supposed to think he's competing. He's not.
He's looking for friends who aren't there.
I can't stand bud-buttons. They believe that fat black women are
supernally maternal, wise, and almost divine in their ability to guide
children, read character, and survive the vicissitudes of fortune. I
could run screaming down the streets of the upper east side and up the
sidewalks of Beacon Hill demanding an explanation, but no one would
come out on the stoop to explain to me what happened to Emma. Of
course, we didn't live in Manhattan or Boston. We lived in a place
where domestic servants aren't employees but part of the family. And
that's what did in Emma. She babysat three or four families in the
country, who expressed their gratitude with gifts and goods, which is
probably why a fat black woman friend of hers shot her, point blank, in the
stomach, with a shotgun. It was the first time I ever prayed for
another human life. When I heard. "Save Emma, God. Please save Emma."
And he did. When they wheeled Emma into the emergency room, one
of the surgeons recognized her, yanked her to the head of the line, and
performed the operation that saved her life himself. For no charge.
Yeah, he was a racist, too. We are all, have always been, will always
be racists. Where we live, we know that race is a principal determinant
of what your life experience will be. You bud-buttons want to fight about it?
Of course you do. But you're disadvantaged. Underprivileged. You met
your first black people in high school or college. Or was there a black
kid you bonded with so specially in middle school? Sure there was. But
they weren't in your lives from the very very beginning. You didn't
learn from them Crazy Eights, how to iron a shirt or a sheet, driving their car
in the driveway when you were you only nine, or how to cook your own
little meal when you were hungry. How could you? You were only
You could claim, I suppose, that I was surprised when the old black men
showed up to teach me about the heroin jazz. But that would make you a bud-button.
Which you just couldn't be, could you? Me, I'd been aching to ask them.
What is this music? Why is it so haunting?
The answer was more than haunting. They said, "The music is about life.
It's about pain, and loss, and just going on regardless." And I asked,
"Where's the joy? The ecstasy of Emma for all the kids she raised who
love her to death? The triumph of Duane for all the chess games he won?
The fulfillment of Miles Davis for the jazz he made that no one before
him ever foresaw?"
The wise old black men told me that such pleasures were only ephemera.
That their lot in life was misery, deep and inconsolable. I told them I
was a Celt, and they had only just begun to learn about pain.
Then we went out drinking together and had a fine old time.
But if you asked them, I'm sure they'd confirm that I'm nothing but a
nasty old racist. Blood is thicker than whiskey. By one whole hell of a
You can tell me that if you're not a bud-button. But what are you?
Bud-button. So sorry. Well, listen to this from my private stock...
Instaputz fans! Note that your father blog doesn't allow what we allow
here -- open comment. Also note that your father blog is a pussy on the
order of Maureen Dowd, who misquotes and [emends] as if it's her religion. Your
little pansy pop
same thing. But now that you're here, have fun, liberal
dick-things... Just a small note for you non-Celts: we're not at all
insecure about penis size. Not a factor. Find something else to torment
Sunday, March 30, 2008
Inspiring, ain't it?
All the young'uns I know have learned not to tell me that their
objection to things they don't know anything about is that they're
"boring." The word refers to a surfeit of knowledge, not an incurious
lack of knowledge or interest. Until kids prove they know something,
they have no right to declare they're bored. (Most parents are too
"bored" themselves to apply this kind of discipline.) So: When I
use the word "boring" I really
"Earth Hour" was boring. Boring in the way that hearing a Sarah
women's studies major condemn men is boring. In the way that hearing a
Vegan rail about the soul-sickness of those who like a Porterhouse
steak is boring. In the way that people who are in love with the whole
idea of death talk about "saving the planet" as if that were some kind
of humanistic goal is boring. In the way that hearing anyone reference
ever said by Al Gore as some kind of wisdom is boring.
Think about it. Your idea of progress is watching the lights go out on
civilization? It's never occurred to you that the beginning of the
self-absorbed obsession you have with yourselves occurred in the
torchlight of the aged twenty-somethings who finally had the
post-sunset leisure time to invent social criticism (i.e., art) in
the Lascaux caves 15,000 years ago?
But you've used your so-called rationalism to turn everything 180
degrees in the opposite direction. Your ancestors equated light with
life. You've tricked yourselves into equating light with death.
The next step for you is understanding that your idea of human guilt is
an irrational religious condemnation of life in general and of
conscious life in particular. I feel sure you can accomplish that small
remaining leap of logic. Just allow yourselves to imagine that each of
the evil, insignificant flies in the following footage has a history, a
family, a life, and an infinite set of emotional experiences probably
more varied than your own.
Then come back and tell us how virtuous it would be -- in the grand
scheme of things, you know -- to snuff it all out for the sake of a
planet you have anthropomorphized, based on no evidence whatever, as
We don't need any more "Earth Hours." What we need is for humans to
remember who their friends are. Which doesn't include a multi-trillion
ton chunk of iron and rock.
But never mind our objections. The ending you have planned for all of
us is so much more romantic that it has already been written by a woman
who was, if anything, even more spectacular than Gaia.
Her name was Ayn Rand
She was, like many of you, an atheist. But she
wasn't a self-hating, delusional moron. Like most of you.
Just something to think about. After the glory of Earth Hour
What a bunch of putzes.