March 19, 2009

Jim Cramer Stands Outside Studio of "The Daily Show" for Two Weeks, Barefoot, in the Snow

Please, humor us for a few moments as we discuss last weeks biggest entertainment story: a story widely discussed both in anticipation and aftermath, which leaves little demand for the revelation of what our untrained eyes perceive. We refer, of course, to the come-to-Jesus-talk between Jon Stewart and wayward financial reporter Jim Cramer- present as a representative of his network-large ship of fools, CNBC. (Actually a raping, pillaging pirate ship, according to your source. From this apparently subtle distinction emerged the tension which made the interview so bizarre, but more on that later.) We expected more of a battle royale. Anticipation of the confrontation built for a week- complete with the back-and-forth televised jabs necessarry for all celebrity feuds- and nearly reached its boiling point as Cramer smashed Stewart in doughy effigy on the Martha Stewart show. Considering the personalities involved (Economists,-particularly the televised ones, specifically Cramer- strike us as arrogant, argumentative, dogmatic, and unwilling to admit fault or error. Stewart, while not making any claims to debating prowess, has gone toe-to-dialectal-toe with a variety of opponents.) it came as a surprise when Cramer made every possible effort to appease his accuser. Well, it turns out that the "Mad Money" host didn't have a leg on which to stand. Observe:

We originally thought that Cramer's willingness to apologize for a vast array of journalistic malfeasance- incompetence, negligence, and a mildly incestuous relationship with the business leaders on whom he reports- originated from a strategy to avoid confessing to the gravest crime of which Stewart accused him: near-criminal facilitation of the manipulations perpetrated by the financial blood-suckers on Wall Street- a form of PR plea-bargain. In any case- the two cable news personalities must never have struck any bargain, or Cramer will soon follow the last hack who displeased Stewart- Tucker Carlson- into exile in journalistic Siberia. His infraction of the apparently non-existent plea-bargain occured on the Today Show. Cramer described Stewart's accusations as "naive and misleading," and attributed his unwillingness to point out Stewart's myopia at a more appropriate moment (say, for example, during their half-hour conversation) to a trained reflex to "take the high road." Apparently, one follows this righteous path by telling people what they want to hear when it suits you and strut around as you recant the next week. Why bother doing interviews if the guests just jerk off the hosts and then act like it doesn't mean anything?

We're guessing that right before the mics turned on, John Stewart got into Cramer's head with something along the lines of: "Listen, you cocksucker, I lost a fortune on your bogus financial advice, so don't piss me off. I will not hesitate to stab you." Nothing else explains how contrite ass-kissing could revert back to hubris and arrogance once safely out of shiv-range. Unless, of course, Cramer is just a gigantic, soulless pussy.

March 9, 2009

Comedy What of Who?

We died a little inside upon our first viewing of commercials for "Comedy Central Presents the Friar's Club Roast of Larry the Fuck-wad." We find it unacceptable that someone should base a career on not only making people comfortable in their ignorance and crassness, but actually reveling in his own redneck-ness. At least Jeff Foxworthy was tongue-in-cheek about it. However: shortly after we finished wondering "who is Lisa Lampanelli and why must the Friar's Club constantly remind us that she is old, fat, and has sex with a lot of black men?" we had a revelation that mildly alleviated our dismay and dissapointment. Most of these roasts select as their subjects celebrities who were prominent at one point but reached their peak in the distant past. (Bob Saget and Bill Shatner would be the two most appropriate examples, but this principle applies to all the other participants. Jeff Foxworthy, Larry's mildly better half, was roasted long after everyone stopped parroting "you might be a redneck" jokes.) Since Larry has never approached superstardom, emerged from his own b-movie quagmire, or even transcended riding Foxworthy's coattails, we can only assume that this roast will shift the balance between honoring and ridiculing the roastee far in the direction of the latter. That's at least what we'll tell ourselves to get to sleep at night.

Phish Swim Upstream

With all the media coverage of the Britney Spears comeback tour and Michael Jackson's announcement that he will soon hit the road with some sort of massive traveling freak show, spring and its accompanying rejuvenation are in the air. The whole extravaganza might make you wonder if spring is an illusion and winter will never end, because Britney's act looks about as rejuvenated as a well-manicured corpse, and Michael Jackson just looks like a dead, gay mannequin. (And we all know Justin Timberlake already took that award, albeit alive.) Despair not, our friends. Springtime is real. You just have to look a little harder. Jamband legends Phish performed three reunion shows this weekend in Hampton, Va. These guys don't need to put on some elaborate three-ring-circus extravaganza to infuse the illusion of vitality into their performance. What a novel idea: musicians reviving their career by getting together and playing great fucking music. I would have advised hiring David Weintraub as an agent and whoring themselves out on reality television, or becoming the first jamband to give birth to octuplets. We've provided a clip of their opener, Fluffhead. In their infinite jammy generosity, the band has provided free recordings of the entire weekend. Which brings us to our original point: with the music industry pushed to the verge of insolvency by the internet, maybe some high-level cororpate flack should take a cue from bands like Phish, who can actually promote the free distribution of their material over the internet and still turn a profit by putting on a great show.

March 8, 2009

Octo-Douchetraub: The Next Hollywood Power Couple?

We have refrained from making any comments on this "Octomom" debacle. The reasons for this include an unwillingness to make light of the saddening circumstances forced upon fourteen innocent children by Suleman's madness and our anticipation of receiving little satisfaction from an activity much like shooting fish in a barrel. (Here is a perfect example of the distastefulness of this subject: we might have said "like stealing candy from a baby who has no ability to hold onto candy because his crazy mother implanted her uterus with six embryos and consequently is extremely premature, undernourished, and faces serious potential health problems-" but that would be just plain wrong and sad.) Regardless- we will circumvent the morass of Octomom's multi-faceted insanity, as that is plain for all to see. Instead, we would like to make a small suggestion, in light of the recent departure of a second publicist: she should just enroll in the David Weintraub talent agency. Considerations that probably deterred previous publicists- such as greed, sanity, decency, dignity, his clients' well-being, etc- clearly mean very little to him.

March 6, 2009

Sgt. Pepper's Lonely, Wii- Addicted Teenager

The Beatles earned a place in history as the voice of their generation: both voice and generation questioned commonly accepted values-including consumerism and materialism- and exalted creativity, originality, imagination, and individuality. To this day, their music remains emblematic of the dynamic, turbulent period of the 1960s. This, even after Michael Jackson's purchase of the rights to many of their songs, and the subsequent use of those songs to sell expensive electronic devices and- more broadly- maintain our societal mass-deception that consumption provides the key to a satisfying existence. The release of Beatles: Rock Band neatly absolves this tension between the values evoked by the fab four's opus and its contemporary exploitation by corporate America. For a small fee, modern technology can now bring the joy and pleasure of creativity without the hassle of learning an instrument or the risk of originality. We know that it would give John Lennon pleasure to see his life's work put to such great purpose. Next year, Wii will put out a game that simulates taking a principled stand against overwhelming opposition and established authority. It's pretty boring, (a lot of standing resolutely, etc.) but its value as an opiate of the masses is incalculable.

March 1, 2009

Jonas Brothers Molested by David Weintraub

While we cannot help but indulge in schadenfreude at the sight of bubble-gum pop boy-band The Jonas Brothers failing to edge out the third installment of the quirky "Madea" franchise, we detect some disturbing trends here. (On a side note: we hope you appreciate the hardship we must undergo to bring you the following keen insight, as we just did a Google search for the Jonas Brothers, which might officially make us gay.)
Clearly- and you hardly need us to tell you this- Hollywood is doomed. With last year's writers strike and a potential actors strike looming, (both concerning compensation for material intended for broadcast over the medium that is forcing the established powers in the entertainment industry to adapt or go extinct) nobody seems to ask what this compensation is for, other than a rapidly eroding monopoly on Americans' avenues of mental escape. We can hardly blame the Jonas Brothers for sucking. We can, however, ask of the entertainment industry: "what the fuck?" regarding their collective creation and maintenance of a media environment in which a trio of effeminate teenage boys playing shitty music end up carrying the banner for a weekend of entertainment . If somebody doesn't pick up the slack soon, movies, scripts, screenwriters, and what little creative talent remains in Hollywood will soon find itself replaced by legions of crazy, attention hungry reality-TV zombies and shows featuring families containing an unhealthily large number of children, wives, husbands, mistresses, DUIs, plastic surgery operations, pets, ghosts, washed-up rock-and-rollers, obsessions, compulsions, beauty pageant trophies, and whatever else our fickle, excess-obsessed collective attention happens to land upon. Once this happens, all the members of SAG will become washed-up former celebrities, so David Weintraub will enroll all of them in his talent agency and proceed to pimp them out for all sorts of demeaning work and act like a douche. Congratulations.