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Wednesday, March 3, 2004

Dirty Cows, Mad Bombs and the Culture Whores

by Clinton Fein

Last year, seeking to show the world that she’s still racy, Madonna locked tongues with Britney Spears. The uptight anchors at MSNBC, Fox and every gossip, celebrity-obsessed magazine, newspaper and tabloid went ballistic, breathlessly selling it as if they had caught Howard Dean getting a blowjob in a gay bathhouse -- by Wesley Clark. Let’s-pretend lesbian kisses are Holy Grail in National Enquirer land, rivaling Diana who they are still, despite their accident-causing death chases, exploiting on their covers (and on NBC). All before, of course, America lost her innocence during the Superbowl half time show when Justin Timberlake’s dirty dance routine exposed Janet Jackson’s breast on national television.

The ensuing hypocrisy was mind boggling, and particularly confusing for everyday Americans who, unlike their sons, daughters, brothers, sisters, moms and dads exploding in Iraq on a daily basis, are forced to deal with far harsher realities, like steroid use in sports or gay marriage – both of which the President saw fit to focus on in his State of the Union address in January, ignoring the more mundane problems, like mad cows and dirty bombs.

Following the Superbowl Sunday’s breach of hyper masculine, testosterone driven pseudo-sanctity, a cacophonous avalanche came crashing like first brother, Neil Bush’s adulterous marriage, following revelations he was sleeping with, not one but numerous, women who miraculously, appeared in his room whilst on business trips in Asia. Being a “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” fellow like his brother, he never asked how they got there and was never told who was paying them to fuck him.

MSNBC’s former congressman turned talk show twerp, Joe Scarborough, lamented that he didn’t know what to say to his young sons, although he later admitted to radio host, Don Imus, that the outrage was ratings driven and that the erectile dysfunction and horse farting ads were no less culturally depraved. He was so upset by Janet Jackson’s bare nipple that he spent an hour of his show reiterating his ire (in between repeated video clips of the revealing moment). Had he known a glimpse of a breast might have caught their innocent eyes he could have shown them, instead, pictures of the body of a young female staffer who turned up inexplicably dead on the floor of his office.

Worse than a cheap, white-bread, low-class hick though, was the vanilla vapid victim of the wardrobe malfunction himself (the euphemism employed to describe the half time moment that shocked and awed America a million times more intensely than any daisy cutter could a defenseless Iraqi battalion). “I was shocked and embarrassed,” Justin Timberlake said later. “I don’t need that kind of publicity.”

Violently ripping off a woman’s shirt is great role modeling, provided the nipples don’t show? If anyone needed to be reminded that Timberlake was once part of the boy band phenomenon, his wimpish behavior reveals exactly what kind of a boy-to-man this kid turned out to be.

Adding a five second delay to the Grammys broadcast, (as ABC did weeks later to the Academy Awards), CBS tightened the screws, allowing Timberlake and Jackson to appear only with the proviso that they publicly apologize for their antics. Ms. Jackson, who had already issued a standard Jackson scandal video apology, told CBS where they could shove their time delay.

Timberlake, groveling like a convent girl at a prison rodeo apologized with an excruciating Grammy acceptance speech. The most offensive thing about you, Mr. Timberlake, is that you position yourself as a male sex symbol, yet you have no balls.

Jumping into the fray to suggest a little relevance given Daddy’s precipitous fall from grace, Colin Powell’s son, Michael, the pious pawn that opted to allow news conglomerates to swallow up little media (does Colin Powell still own shares in Time Warner or will he be leaving fuzzy diplomacy of Foggy Bottom for the moral clarity of Clear Channel?) voted immediately to launch a full scale investigation into this “disgusting” incident. Witnessing the horrific spectacle of a nipple is far worse for children in the long run than, say, bombing a country on faulty intelligence and hyped up mobile weapons labs.

The NFL, gluttonous pigs that own national football in America cried foul, along with the Christian right who took time off from their busy pro-life schedules and death penalty opposition vigils (and promoting Mel Gibson’s biblical rendition of A Clockwork Passion of the Christ sans the irony or the intelligence of Stanley Kubrik) to denounce the black nipple, so egregiously more offensive than the blonde diva lip lock.

It is common knowledge that Superbowl Sunday, America’s most celebrated religious holiday happens to be the day where, it has been posited, more domestic violence is perpetrated against women than on any other day. So naturally, the alien sight of a bare nipple is sacrilegious when our Viagra-produced, formula-fed children should be formulating brand identity with erectile dysfunction drugs, Levitra and Maxil, for the spoils of our soils.

In Levitra’s spot, a testosterone-bloated, oh-so-tough-guy throws a football into a tire, and with a Howard Dean like scream says “You Gotta Love That!” Well, he may be alright Jack, but neither God nor Pfizer has yet made a drug strong enough for anyone to enjoy fucking him back.

Britney’s real contribution to the sanctity of marriage though, the institution that seems more threatened than unguarded ports and inadequate border security, was not her nod-nod-wink-wink affirmation of lesbian-lite titillation with Madonna, but rather her impromptu wedding in a tacky Las Vegas chapel. In what was reported as a “sober” moment, Britney and some high school dope she’s known since she was a kid decided to do something “wild” by swearing before God, presumably, to love, honor and cherish till death did them part. Within about fifty five hours, the marriage was annulled.

While President Bush ponders a constitutional amendment to ensure that, to preserve its sanctity, marriage remain always a heterosexual institution, (he may want to consider naming it the Jennifer Fitzgerald Amendment in honor of Daddy’s adultery, or the Orient Express Amendment in honor of brother Neil’s), it might be worth looking at just how out-of-control the mad cow epidemic has become.

His pace maker operated Vice President, Dick Cheney, flip-flopped from his view expressed in 2000 that the matter of same sex marriage should be left to the states, refusing to discuss how he reconciles this with his gay daughter, after being asked by MSNBC’s Lester Holt. From the family values crowd, Jeffrey Dahmer would make a better father. How many Halliburton price gouges does it take to buy Mary Cheney’s silence?

Stepping into the unchallengeable front-runner spotlight, John Kerry, the supposedly brave, Vietnam vet who should know better, insisted that given his opposition to gay marriage and his pro-war stance on Iraq, he is best suited to beat Bush. His ability to bash the Bush Administration on Iraq (and gays for political expediency) and still expect applause for his green-lighting of the unilateral, congress-be-damned- authority to bomb the fuck out of Iraq, which he is blaming, predictably, on Vice President Dick Cheney and the rest of the demented neocons in the Administration, is remarkable.

The Bushies, apparently, “misled” congress and the world into believing that WMDRPA’s (weapons of mass destruction-related program activities -- President Bush’s new torturous, Clintonesque, backtracking redefinition of what were once simply WMDs) were cause enough for John Kerry to give the President authority to wage war without international consensus from key allies or the United Nations support.

So Democrats should expect wonders from, and elect President, a man who signed the Patriot Act before reading it, and sat there like an idiot actually believing Dick Cheney, as jaws dropped in disbelief in the rest of the intelligent world and beyond, before giving the nod to create a new depleted uranium landfill called liberation in what was once the Cradle of Civilization. All the while, enjoying the overwhelming support of the “separate but equal” gays and lesbians scrambling like starved rats for his cursory nod to civil unions.

If New York is lacking revenue promised by the Bush Administration in the wake of September 11, perhaps Mayor Bloomberg can sell John Kerry the Brooklyn Bridge. And to the Democrats who believe this is an easy road to the Whitehouse.

Even the monotonic, monosyllabic moron who became the governor of California, Arnold Schwarzenegger, took time to pull his unwanted hands from the panties of unwilling women to weigh in on the sanctity of marriage. For Arnold Schwarzenegger and Maria Shriver, marriage is a sacred union between a man and women.

Jokeless cynicism aside, Dennis Miller, the former comedian and failed sports anchor, attempted not to resurrect his career by licking Britney Spears’ lips, but rather by kissing George W. Bush’s ass -- and dissing comedian Lenny Bruce. (He told the New York Times: “Once I hear a guy is a heroin addict, and they tell me he's a genius, I think, really?”) Anyone who’s vision of George W. Bush as genius is worth listening to however. To paraphrase Lloyd Bentsen’s 1998 reminder to Dan Quayle when he attempted to portray himself as John F. Kennedy, Mr. Miller, you’re no Lenny Bruce.

As the culture whores heat up, it’s worth recalling President Bush’s State of the Union address, which was short on substance, and big on bullshit, his insights reflecting not only the consequences of a Secret Service designed to protect the president from dissenting opinion, but setting the stage for the culture war that will define the 2004 election.

So, lest we forget:

To protect America, this President is not providing money to secure the porous ports that inspect a mere fraction of the containers that are shipped into the country. He’s not, in spite of protestations from mayors across the country, ensuring that revenues are disbursed to cities to pay first responders. This President has spent at least $900-million in the weapons search that has thus far yielded nothing, and a mere underestimated 87 billion dollars on a badly planned botch that Condolleezza thinks is worth it

The next time President Bush tells the disillusioned and disenfranchised people he’s just bombed to smithereens to “Bring It On,” tell him to first send daughters Jenna, Barbara or his nieces and nephews to the front lines to shield their wrath.

Next time the President appropriates nifty little slogans like “Let’s Roll” from grieving, trademark-grabbing widows, tell him to roll heads at the Pentagon and in the office of the Vice President, who, evidence underwhelming, continues to warn of the dangers of terrorism while his former company that received a non-competitive contract in Iraq is now returning six million dollars in price gouging at the tax payer’s expense. Or to roll some more flags over the ever increasing coffins that are returning home on a daily basis.

And just in case the President’s nod-nod-wink-wink disapproval of Ariel Sharon’s wall (or fence to those not inconvenienced, displaced or destroyed by it) doesn’t cause enough animosity toward Jews, God has bestowed upon us, and the President and First Lady have all but endorsed, Mel Gibson’s violent vision of Jesus Christ’s final moments, “The Passion of the Christ,” (that rivals James Kirkup’s steamy “The Love That Dared To Speak It’s Name”), to heat up any simmering resentment remaining from the Holocaust, which is to Gibson’s father, Hutton, what gay marriage is to Mary Cheney’s father. A political inconvenience.

Christian columnist, Maggie Gallagher, the non-Academy Award winning monster that someone cruelly allowed someone else to actually marry, supported President Bush’s $1.5 billion package to promote marriage, since such a sacred and fundamental institution can’t promote itself. Using the standard line used to try minimizing the presence of gays in society, she virtuously and viciously denounced a tiny minority for threatening the sanctity of so established an institution, failing to add why, then, so small a minority represents so huge a threat.

As the body bags pile up, and a swirling cocktail scum of Martha Stewart, Kobe Bryant, Scott Peterson, Paris Hilton, Phil Spector and Jayson Williams rise to the top of the media feeding trough, start saving your pennies for the inevitable decency clampdown with Michael Powell, George W. Bush and Karl Rove as head cheerleaders.

Already, Clear Channel’s CEO, John Hogan -- the same guy who allowed his 1500 plus radio stations to ban the Dixie Chicks for criticizing the President, and who would sooner see a civilization obliterated than hear the “nigger” word on Howard Stern (or see a “nigger” nipple at half time, but happily play Eminem’s Superman) announced a new zero-tolerance standard for indecency, just before testifying before the same congress that inspired and greenlighted the Kenneth Starr Report.

In America you can watch bombs drop, politicians lie, and corporations dictate and demonstrate the most flagrant hypocrisy imaginable, but you cannot allow a nipple on television or a same sex marriage in City Hall. But, cautions the President, “We should also conduct this difficult debate in a manner worthy of our country, without bitterness or anger.”

After the killing stops, when Iraqis eventually get their United States mandate to implement a Christianity-based constitution, these are just some of the issues they will have to worry about.

Clinton Fein can be reached at clinton@annoy.com

 
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