Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Why So Serious? - Blogging By Numbers

Oops. I know I'm rather late. Not late as in honey we need to talk and go to the pharmacy - don't have the anatomy for that - but late in delivering a fresh blog. I strive to post a new blog twice a week, but I also strive to exercise, eat healthier, and lose 25 pounds before the wedding - which is approaching faster than Al Gore's enviro-apocalypse (sorry honey, poor choice of analogies).

Anyway, excuses are for late husbands and Robert Gibbs' press conferences, so let's get right to the heart of things - It's blogging by numbers time!

1 - It seems my associate editor, the lovely Miss Claire, has been gripped by a passion for cyber farming. It appears to be a wide-spread phenomenon amongst Facebook users, in the form of a game called "Farm Town", and something I believe is called "Farmville". Fans of these cyber crop-keeping games say it's addictive, like some kind of rural "World of Warcraft" with corn and sheep. I have a theory that this game has become so popular because deep down, people have a weird longing for a return to the time of Jeffersonian-style agrarianism. I have always been wary of Jefferson worship. Anyone that enamoured with the French should automatically be treated as suspect.

2 - Many readers, mostly those who remember when TSH was The Rant, a website, long before there were such things as blogs, Myspace, Twittering, and Facebook, have asked me to be a little more aggressive, to "take off the white gloves", as the fascists were fond of saying. Aside from the fact that fascism is the expertise of the left, and white gloves are the stuff of cartoon mice and decomposing pop stars, 1997 was a very different time than 2009. President Clinton's tenure in office was a daily train wreck, the first lady was already playing the role of Junior Senator from New York, and both of their volatile tempers made them easy targets to lampoon. Not very many alternatives to CNN and CBC existed back then, so I felt an obligation to cover stories that were being distorted or blatantly ignored by the media. The site became an instant hit, and was ranked among the top 5 conservative sites on the Internet by the end of 1999 - the fact that I was a Canadian made it all the more exotic, and we picked up an enormous American following.

In the late 90's, when people still thought Hootie and the Blowfish were cool, and god awful sitcoms like Home Improvement were on their way out, I inherited the nickname "Piranha Joe". Anyone who wrote into the site with a left-leaning opinion would be mocked, spit on, set on fire, and have their ashes pissed on. I don't want to be that guy anymore. We are still unapologetically conservative, hard hitting, and relentless. We stick to attacking policy and corruption in the Obama administration, and try and steer clear of personal insults. Don't try to push me too hard though - Piranha Joe is not gone, he's just on a leash, which still has it's fair share of slack.

3 - It seems I've upset a lot of apple carts as of late. I was puzzled as to why so many people were suddenly writing indignant emails that contained little substance and lots of nasty insults. Stranger still were the passive aggressive messages, comments, and innuendo sent to me via Facebook. My two-part gay marriage piece was a fairly benign and respectful exploration into the constitutional mess that such things can create, and I avoided making any jokes about black leather chaps and handle bar moustaches. Everyone seemed fine with it. Then came the Body of Lies piece, and it was like dropping a match into a dry powder keg. I have attacked the President before, and much more ferociously than in the previous post, so "why so serious"?

A few readers from both sides of the political spectrum ventured the following guess: I didn't call President Obama names like bam-bam or "the ObaMessiah"; I steered clear of the whole birth certificate nonsense; And I stuck to policy and facts, using the administration's own words against them and invoking obscure pieces of legislation. The left are masters at taking unwarranted cheap shots at us when we hold protests like the now famous Tea Parties, but when a Canadian conservative starts delving into things like the Waxman/Markey "Cap and Trade" bill, or the Five Days of Sunlight pledge, they don't have the stomach to come out of the shallow end of the pool, because they would have to do too much googling to get even a peripheral understanding of such things. Keep sending me petty insults - I'm loving it.

4 - There was much speculation as to why it took over a decade for Bernhard Schlink's inflammatory novel "The Reader" to be adapted into a screenplay. I have my own suspicions, and long time readers of this site can probably venture a fairly accurate guess. The Reader purports to be an insightful and intelligent look into the generational gap between Germans who participated - both actively and passively - in the atrocities of Nazi Germany, and the blameless generations that followed. I have no problems with subject matter that explores this moral and emotional combustion that has haunted Germany for over half a century. In the case of David Hare and Stephen Daldry's screen adaptation, it is mere window dressing for this morally bankrupt and disgusting movie. Here is what Messieurs Hare and Daldry expect us to swallow:

Hanna (Kate Winslet), a 32 year old trolley ticket attendant, seduces a 15 year old boy named Michael (David Kross), having him read to her each night during the course of their lengthy "affair" (we call it molestation outside of Hollywood). The first 45 minutes of the film is nothing short of soft porn with lots of full frontal nudity. Hanna leaves Michael's life after a promotion of sorts, only to re-appear later as a lady on trial, as Micheal - now a German law student - watches on as part of a class project. Hanna is actually Hanna Schmitz, an unrepentant SS guard who not only selected the weekly list of who was to die in the gas chambers of Auschwitz, but also allowed 30 Jewish women to burn alive in a church during an evacuation of the death camp in the midst of an air raid. A regular peach of a gal, this Hanna! But wait, here's the kicker - The movie expects us to sympathize with poor little Hanna because she's illiterate!! You see, that's why he read to her all those years ago! Aren't those liberal artsy types clever! The movie even has the gall to make her inquisitors seem insensitive for being so hard on Hanna. Hey, she may have been responsible for the deaths of hundreds of innocent Jews, but give her a break, the poor thing can't even read! A movie that asks us to stretch our sympathies to such a level might at least try to redeem itself at the end, but sadly it does not. When Hanna is asked by a grown Michael (Ray Fiennes) whether she feels any remorse for the atrocities she committed, she responds "...it doesn't matter what I feel, the dead are still dead." Indeed. Isn't that just the tops. This movie is offensive trash masquerading as deep intellectual fodder. Don't even bother renting this garbage.

5 - On a brighter note, Michael Mann's latest epic, Public Enemies, is a beautifully shot and wonderfully acted period piece that is pleasing to the eye, though lacking any sort of moral backdrop. Johnny Depp is pitch perfect as the roguish and charming John Dillinger, a man whose free wheeling days of bank robbing, immaculate suits, fast cars, and beautiful woman are quickly coming to an end. As Hoover's nascent "Federal Bureau" begins to erase the protections of state boundaries, Depp masterfully portrays all the nuances of a man trying to keep his bravado as the mob, his associates, and his safe houses begin to erode around him. Christian Bale is less impressive as South Carolina lawman Melvin Purvis, seemingly sleep-walking through the role and losing his accent a third of the way through the film. It's a fun evening at the movies, and worth seeing for the breathtaking cinematography and remarkable wardrobe and costume design alone.

6 - Have a good week, and enjoy a little "Be Good Tanyas" as you struggle through hump day.



1 comment:

Just Jenny said...

I love your writings Joe! Keep up the most excellent work!