Art Pottery, Politics and Food
Thursday, June 15, 2006
Hey, There! Hi, There! Ho, There!

White House Mouseketeers Tony Snow, Dana Perino, Dan "Combat" Bartlett, a mysterious fat bisexual and Nicole Wallace at yesterday's stage-managed Rose Garden photo op.

What A Difference A Day Makes!

Modified and Unmodified Images: AP,
Wednesday, June 14, 2006
Traveling with the God Emperor

Tony Snow discovers Iraq's humidity cakes TV make-up while big, tough Bush enforcer Dan Bartlett discovers he has to make a wee-wee

Here's something that may help, boys:

I must not fear.
Fear is the mind-killer.
Fear is the little death that brings total obliteration.
I will face my fear.
I will permit it to pass over me and through me.
And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path.
Where the fear has gone there will be nothing.
Only I will remain.

--Bene Gesserit Litany Against Fear, from Dune by Frank Herbert and including Dune Messiah, Children of Dune and God Emperor of Dune

Photo: AP
Tuesday, June 13, 2006
No one would get an argument from me if yesterday’s Con & Po post were, at some point, described as a trivial one.
It was.
But, it is a companion to today’s rumination.

Arlie Latham's 1889 baseball card and a still from Paris Hilton's "banned"2005 commercial for the Carl's Jr. hamburger chain

America and her yellow press have long gazed into the dirty mirror of celebrity.
At first, the byproduct of this narcissistic lingering was soundless, innocent fun with a curiosity factor and wildly unsophisticated pre-corporate Western twist that almost demanded worldwide mimicry.
After all, what breathing hominid could resist watching bashful farm boys and shapely young girls transformed, magnified into…
What, exactly?
The late nineteenth century had no vocabulary for these overnight transmogrifications of athlete and performer onto an arena once exclusively occupied by gods and the ruling class.
The heroic fame once reserved for valiant soldiers, learned individuals, athletes and royals was, in the fulsome feature reporting that was selling newspapers, grafted onto an infinite supply of callow, if renowned, unskilled youth.
This fame, unlike its lingering aftereffects, and as even a proto-hominid could have observed is fairly fleeting but highly profitable for 3rd parties.
The occasionally famous were assumed to be automatically heroic which, in turn, guaranteed that both their unnatural elevations and natural downfalls would generate reams of eminently salable feature material.
Need promised to never dent demand and one didn’t need an accounting degree to detect the lucrative possibilities.
The 19th century’s yellow press transformed and magnified into a present day digital media hydra possessed with a multi-pronged, unrestrained hunger for the comely and famous and the economic clout of a nearly tangible commodity.
Today’s global corporate class, in part, funds its modern existence on the unblemished backs of these overly imaged and hopefully self-extinguishing bonfires of vanity and the increasingly uneducated mass audience that new media seems conversely intent upon educating as well as fragmenting.
Elitist need has outpaced mass demand.
Battles will be fought and populations will sway as a digital Hannibal approaches the status Po, however, it remains unclear just who it is that occupies Rome.
One could make a case that recent historical events have fueled the rightist retrenchment of the ruling class.
One could also make a case that these events were brought into being by colluding members of that ruling class to achieve economic generational security before the dark maw of uncertainty that many perceive drawing nigh.
It is a certainty that something is bound to fall before Act 3 of the old human drama begins.
Contrary to the usual historic progression, I’m betting the new fallen will be the masses of mesmerized ruled in a neo feudal and space faring new world order.
I’m frightened to have to say that pop Sci-Fi’s worst imaginings will become reality if free people just kick back with an iPod loaded with Paris Hilton.

NOTE--The near total planetary penetration of American pop culture can be seen in this June 7th item from the Jakarta Post in Indonesia.

Monday, June 12, 2006
Con & Po Hit the Do!

Long ago, in a Bushian time relative sense, on January 7, 2006, an allegedly mated pair of endangered Reagan-era media celebrities was blessed with a weekly half hour of national weekend exposure before a tiny percentage of what once formed their national television audiences.

The program and hosts, perhaps exhausted from the grueling Manhattan social scene, tried for all the fresh insouciant exuberance of Reuven Frank’s 1974 premiere of Weekend with Lloyd Dobbins.
Coincidentally entitled Weekend with Maury & Connie, the program stole freely from the now deceased Frank’s 32 year-old program and failed to even generate a rudimentary web page until three weeks after the first broadcast.
These archetypic TV concept and style thefts, including Leroy Anderson’s hit 1950 melody (scroll to midi file) The Typewriter, created an illusion of newness that soured, for an average viewer, only if one had the misfortune of actually watching the too rehearsed doings on Con & Po’s Feng Shui-hungry MSNBC set.
Not wanting to be overly critical or cruel, I have to say the program’s only highpoints came with Connie’s initial expressions of near extinct liberal sentiment.
In these innocent days unspoiled by mistress allegations, Connie’s, I’m sure, unscripted and surprisingly smart Program #1 remarks offered the perfect antidote to Maury’s pig-ignorant proto-fascism and promised the exciting possibility of a second regular liberal cable news voice.
Of course, exciting possibilities, like TV originality, are the rarest of rarities.
With Program #2 , Connie's remarks appeared to have been edited.
In Program #3 Connie was definitely and heavily edited and by Program #4 she was reduced to near total ad-libbed silence.
It seems likely that Maury, ever efficient in courting office staff, successfully engineered a weekly cubicle coup against Connie’s more engaging on-air personality and, thus, sealed this program’s fate.
With their cancellation, as when they married more than 22 years ago, some are again wondering what the hell Connie ever saw in Shirley’s spoiled son.
Media observers are wondering what the idea-bankrupt MSNBC can do now that alleged programming wunderkind Rick Kaplan has decided to spend more time with his family.
Trapped by karma in the new media tar pit, the slow sucking death of the old media beast is perfectly encapsulated within the lifetime arc of Weekend with Maury & Connie.
Take heart, Connie!
Though crushed by Maury’s roving Eye of Sauron, Connie remains a heroic if daunted TV hobbit.
Sadly for the success-starved MSNBC, a newly Bush-indifferent America would have loved what a jealous Maury left on the cutting room floor.
Unlike her two and three-faced partner, TV warhorse Connie’s best revenge lies in a brutally frank self-appraisal and the possibility of an unedited solo comeback should future idea-bankrupt executives charge her with another timeslot.
Come on Connie and show the spunk that endeared you to so many of Nixon’s Secret Service detail.
Get busy and get even!

Photo: MSNBC

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