Posts Tagged ‘satire


Why Wealthy, Politically Active CEO’s Piss Me Off (A lot)

I’ve done some serious thinking lately and concluded that my life sucks. Not in a “I was born with elephantitis on my face” type of way, or even in a “half my family died in a tsunami and the other half became mutant freaks in a nuclear meltdown” kind of way, either. No, my life sucks in a uniquely American way, a suckiness that, in reality, doesn’t suck that badly at all. But I’ve been following the presidential election, and it always seems to reaffirm how much my life sucks. Allow me to explain:

Today I read that wealthy industrialist brothers David and Charles Koch sent letters to each of their 45,000 employees urging them to vote for Mitt Romney, because if Obama is reelected, “many of our more than 50,000 employees and contractors may suffer the consequences.” And in a similar yet even more blunt letter to his employees, real estate tycoon David Siegel stated that four more years of Obama and his proposed taxes would leave him “no choice but to reduce the size of this company,” prompting him to retire to “the Carribbean sitting on the beach, under a palm tree.”

“…and then I’ll slither up the walls of my lair, to a nest where an army of reptilian CEO-men are incubating in their shells, waiting to be unleashed upon humanity!”

Now I’m not going to argue taxes because I don’t know shit about them. For all I know, these guys are probably right. I simply have a beef with how they went about making their point. Moaning to their employees and taking them hostage by sending passive-aggressive memos about how they should vote for the candidates their CEO’s conveniently donated millions of dollars to. Why should I feel bad for these guys because they might have to make tough economic decisions regarding taxes and other government policies?

Let’s use me as an example. Absorb the following information with every hole in your face: I made $11,100 last year. That’s it. I am, by every definition of the word, living in poverty. If you look at the numbers, my life sucks! It sucks fantastically! I pay $380 each month for rent. Do the math! I won’t because if I see the actual numbers, I might kill myself.

Or I may pitch my life as a reality show to TLC. That seems to work, too.

But in reality, my life isn’t all that bad. I have a decent apartment, I can afford food, I have nice clothing and access to internet porn – things are fine. Money is tight and taxes don’t help, but I don’t threaten to lay off all my employees as a result. If anything, I should have the right to complain when taxes ruin my future budgetary plans, not those guys.

Griping about taxes is understandable, but holding your employees accountable for it because of their political views is not. What a petty way of collecting a few thousand extra votes, by offering your employees a rather ominous ultimatum? Maybe these CEO’s should try to look at life the way their employees do. To me, the incessant bitching of the Koch brothers and Siegel makes the outright corruption of guys like Boss Tweed look noble.


Why Hollywood will turn the Batman shootings into a night at the movies

Murder suspect James Holmes was charged with 24 counts of murder on Monday for his alleged role in the Aurora, Co. massacre.   Though the charges are satisfying to many, several debates still surround this case.  Whether prosecutors should pursue the death penalty is to be decided, and a deeply entrenched debate regarding gun control has dominated the media since the shooting occurred on July 20.

While America searches for answers, an even more difficult question has recently crossed my mind: how many years will have to pass before Hollywood turns the Aurora massacre into a major motion picture?

Somewhere, Quentin Tarantino lets out a sigh and mutters to himself “Did that.”

That question (and the above picture) may seem insensitive, and that’s because they both certainly are.  But one must step back and look at Hollywood’s long track record of capitalizing from real-life tragedies before jumping at my throat for making these observations.

The early days of cinema were practically fueled by movies depicting events based on real tragedy and suffering.  The Birth of a Nation, arguably Hollywood’s first and most important blockbuster, was essentially a film that depicted newly-freed slaves as unstoppable rapists, while America’s only white knights came in the form of the Ku Klux Klan (Pun).  Was it wrong for Hollywood to portray a violent, bigoted group like the KKK as heroes in a time that real-life African American citizens were being assaulted and murdered by said group?  Probably.  Regardless, the 1915 film earned $10 million upon its release, which is like a gazillion dollars in today’s money, and totally reshaped the way storytelling was done in film.

From there, basically every movie released for the next 30 years showcased American wars or the Wild West.  Massacres, racism, slavery and genocide were box office gold.  Western films made light of Native American genocide, and battles from the American Civil War, WWI and WWII provided endless motion picture fodder, despite the millions who actually died those horrible deaths.

Another brave soldier sacrifices his life for a John Wayne film.

Don’t get me wrong; I love a good war movie.  There are many tasteful war movies that depict the fighting solemnly and hold reverence for those who died.  But just as Hollywood got good at that, disaster films hit the scene in the 70’s, a genre often guilty of exploiting actual disasters.  From there it was a complete cinematic smash and grab.  Film producers latched onto any subject so long as it had audience drawing potential, despite the risk of offending real-life victims.

Here are some films from the past 20 years that turned harrowing real-life events into box office bucks:

Films based on actual serial killers are popular (Zodiac, B.T.K., The Black Dahlia, Monster, From Hell, Dahmer, Ted Bundy, etc.), and so are ones depicting tragic national events (Pearl Harbor, Black Hawk Down, Philadelphia, Titanic, Munich, Bloody Sunday, Chernobyl Diaries, etc.)  Thirty Minutes or Less received criticism for its apparent similarity to a failed bank robbery that occurred in Erie, Pa. in 2003, and a film depicting the Oklahoma City Bombing is currently in production.  Hell, Hollywood portrays tragic events that haven’t even happened yet (Day After Tomorrow, any of the shitty 2012 doomsday movies, etc.)

Then there was the holy grail of Hollywood middle fingers in the face of victims and their families: United 93 and World Trade Center.  Though I was still young when these movies came out, I was mature enough to know that no film could ever match the horror many Americans experienced while watching the events live on TV.  Did we really need a dramatized rendition of an event that happened only five years prior?  Were those earth shaking moments not vivid enough in our minds that we needed two films to remind us of the senseless tragedy?

The mustache of a thousand Nic Cages couldn’t fill the void left in America’s heart.

I recently read an article about how internet memes have gone too far by poking fun at the Aurora shootings.  Success Kid, Condescending Wonka and Y U NO are only a few memes that approached the massacre with a calloused and irreverent jab.  A community of bloggers who mimic James Holmes’ traits, known as “Holmies,” is also making headlines.  But this is to be expected on the internet, which is basically run by childish assholes (such as the author of this blog).  So while sweaty bloggers and Reddit frequenters are being condemned for poking fun at tragedy too soon, Hollywood only has to wait a few years before it is acceptable to exploit death and destruction.

So who’s the guiltier party: the insensitive Lulz crew that joked about a massacre too soon, or Hollywood producers who will inevitably profit from the massacre by turning it into a riveting metadrama examining violence, entertainment and Hollywood’s worship of the almighty dollar?  If the latter seems oddly specific, that’s because I am currently working on a script called “Fire in a Theater,” a film loosely based on the Aurora massacre.  Anyone interested in a spec script is urged to contact me via telegraph.


Romney fate “etched” in stone?

Last week’s coverage of the Republican primaries introduced a new term into the American political lexicon: “Etch A Sketch.”

For those unfamiliar with fun, an Etch A Sketch is a drawing toy with an erasable screen.  And for those unfamiliar with current politics, an Etch A Sketch is also Mitt Romney.

That’s right.  Romney adviser Eric Fehrnstrom referred to his presidential campaign as an “Etch A Sketch” because of the plan to wipe away his conservative appeal after the primaries only to go after moderates during the general election.

“Everything changes,” said Fehrnstrom of the November elections.  “It’s kinda like an Etch A Sketch.  You can shake it up and start all over again.”

This metaphor is important for two reasons.  First, it was obviously an unfavorable way to describe a candidate whom was already accused of not standing by his principles.  But second, and most importantly, it marks another household item that could possibly sway an entire presidential election.

You like waffles, right?  Well that innocent, grid-like breakfast favorite single-handedly sank John Kerry’s 2004 presidential bid.  Kerry’s indecisiveness on issues like the Iraq War lead him to be branded as a “waffler” and opened him to relentless internet ridicule.

Porous breakfast treats hold syrup, not truth.

Then there’s the fashion faux pas every politician must avoid during an election: flip-flops.  Like waffling, many unsure politicians have been accused of flip-flopping by altering their opinions.  It was first used as a smear in an 1890 edition of the NY Times, and was also used extensively again in 2004 by opponents of Kerry.

The poor guy couldn't eat breakfast on a hot July morning without imploding from irony.

If history has taught us anything, it’s that waffles, flip-flops, and a little bullying is all it takes to derail a presidential bid.  So watch out Romney, an Etch A Sketch might end up erasing you.

Also, Santorum can throw really, really hard.



Local stalker announces retirement

Larry O’Neil admits the stalker game is changing.

“It’s not as easy as it was ten, fifteen years ago,” says O’Neil, 53, of Clarion.  “I used to be able to follow a person for weeks, but it’s getting harder for me to obsess over someone for that long.”

Larry belongs to a generation of stalkers and creeps that is beginning to fade.  In an age where technology is constantly changing the way people interact, traditional “bush and binocular” stalking has fallen to the wayside.  Stalkers now use social media like Twitter and Facebook to keep an eye on their victims all while never leaving the home.

Many older stalkers, however, believe the internet has taken the heart out of the profession.

“I used to get up early and plan out my day,” says O’Neil.  “Following, say, a cute young couple took time.  I had to dress for the weather, pack snacks – you know, be prepared for whatever could happen out in the field.”

Now, stalkers can keep an observant eye on their obsessions all from the comfort of their computer chairs.  Internet savvy stalkers can uncover a gold mine of information from personal emails, Facebook accounts and online billing sites – easily getting a firsthand look into the minds of the very people they are stalking.

“When I wanted to know what someone was thinking, I had to go in depth – you know, dig through trash cans, lurk outside window sills.  It was a long, painstaking process.  Now I spend five minutes on Facebook and can learn everything I ever wanted to know,” said O’Neil.

O'Neil demonstrates his craft.

Despite the changes, O’Neil still looks back at his years of old fashioned stalking with pride.

“The Grove City Outlets were a great place to follow someone,” he said.  “Lots of shrubbery, almost no security, lots of good places to camp out.  I watched a young lady buy Christmas gifts there one year – Santa Claus ain’t the only one who knows if you’ve been bad or good!”

Though O’Neil uses the internet, he maintains he will not take up cyber stalking.

“My best years of stalking have passed,” he said.  “I’ve been arrested so many times the police chief knows me by name.  You don’t make those kinds of friends stalking on the internet.”

O’Neil is currently looking for new ways to fill his time.  He is studying to become an elementary math teacher – his teaching certificate is pending.


DQ supports KONY campaign

I’m so glad to finally see an American company show some support for the KONY campaign.  Way to go, Dairy Queen!



Political speech gets snobby

Since I’m running out of irrelevant observations to make about the presidential race, I’m going to use this week’s blog to focus on the the ridiculous things recently said by others in the political arena.

Santorum said Obama’s a “snob” and that JFK makes him vomit; Romney said we “deserve” Canada’s thick, gooey oil; Rush Limbaugh, still heated over Obama’s baby hatred, called a college woman a “slut;” and Ron Paul said that clowns talk to him in his sleep each night before primary elections (that last quote may not be 100% accurate).

Now I’ve had the luxury of living virtually my entire life outside of the public spotlight, so I can’t honestly comment on what it’s like to live under constant media scrutiny.  It’s true that everyone gets riled up and says things they regret, but the need for our opinion leaders to watch what they say is more important than ever.

Paul Krugman’s NY Time’s article “Climate of Hate” describes how violent rhetoric and political hate speech was partially responsible for last year’s Arizona shooting that left  a bullet in Representative Gabrielle Giffords’ head.  Krugman says its irresponsible speech by our opinion leaders that has ignited a rash of politically motivated threats and violence.  All this coming from the same guy who, in a 2009 opinion piece, called for progressives to hang Senator Joe Lieberman.

Krugman describing how to snap the neck of a political opponent.

Maybe we should all be more careful to avoid saying insensitive or threatening things.  But that’s just my opinion, and I doubt anyone will heed it unless I take the Limbaugh route.  So, uh, all you dirty sluts better comment on my blog!!!


In response to NPR’s online privacy article

I feel like everything I just read is a bunch of nonsense (then again, I’m barely literate).  At its current stage, the “Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights” is only voluntary.  I doubt any internet company would “voluntarily” join a pact that could more than likely put a dent in their revenue.  Online companies won’t start handling user information responsibly until legislation is passed enforcing them to.

The urge to post some Rockwell was too strong!

I recently saw a segment on the Colbert Report about how closely Target monitors customer information.  Colbert explained that Target uses data analysis to review what women buy from their stores and then predict, many times correctly, that those women are pregnant.    Target then chooses online ads appropriate for expecting women, displaying things such as strollers, vitamin supplements, baby clothes, etc.  Many people are understandably shocked by Target’s insane scrutiny of its customers’ information, but I ask why???

How many times have you aimlessly browsed Walmart or Amazon only to get pissed off because you can’t decide what to buy?  With the way technology is evolving, those days are over – stores like Target will review your personal info and make those decisions for you.  And there are some instances where this kind of scrutiny would come in handy.  Take the pregnant woman story as an example.  If my significant other was pregnant, I’d have no damn clue what to buy her – it’s not like they give you instructions for these types of things!  That’s why Target’s customized ad spots would be there to guide me down the right purchasing path.

"Hmmm. Yellow stuff or green stuff?.... Fuck."

I think the liberal use of customer information could really become a good thing for both corporations and consumers.  I honestly lay awake at night hoping for the day when I can bump my head and, minutes later, my trustly friends from Walgreens will have Tylenol delivered straight to my door.  That would be the sweet life.

So I say let them monitor my online activity!  I’ll gladly surrender some personal privacy in exchange for less hassle in my everyday life.  And I commend any company brave enough to follow my online activity – that has got to be a disturbing job.

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