Posts Tagged ‘804’

“The Paparazzi Clapped”

May 12th, 2009 No comments

My best efforts to retain a level of smug detachment from the whole Miss California/Carrie Prejean issue have been swamped by the Donald.

As  you probably know by now, Mr. Hair Sculpture co-owns the Miss Universe Organization. So the decision whether to allow Prejean to retain her shimmering tiara was left to him. Here’s what he had to say at the press conference:

There’s a lot to marvel at here. Note the logo, with Trump’s name repeated endlessly under that of the pageant corporation. Given his relentless self-promotion — not to mention his unsteady financial position these days — did we really expect him to strip her (of her crown)? After all, as he kept reminding us, “this is the 21st century.”1 Keep this in the news, with more and racier photos emerging every day, and the pageant (“a monster” hit, as he says in the video) stays in the public eye. Cashier her, and some nameless replacement steps in, relegating the pageant to the obscurity it richly deserves.

Consider this revealing statement, given by Trump in response to questions from the avuncular Larry King, on what he thought about the all-out-war on “Celebrity Apprentice” between Annie “Poker Face” Duke and Joan “Impossible Face” Rivers: “Well, I liked it very much…. Especially…when the ratings came in, because it was a ratings bonanza last night for NBC.”

If you have interest in the integrity of your enterprise, don’t let Bud Selig or Donald Trump run it. You’ll end up with steroids, or subsidized breast enhancements and the paparazzi will clap, to  Trump’s approval, demanding more redeemable fodder. (They’d clap themselves bloody for a case of steroids and breast enhancements.)

Note that the Donald defended Prejean’s right to her opinion on marriage equality (so do I), but didn’t mention whether her current advocacy for the evil National Organization for Marriage violates her contract. It does seem an unusually controversial ‘platform’ for a pageant winner. Most choose The Scourge of...[fill-in-the-blank], ensuring wide support but little real traction or interest. (Have you ever met one of these young women? Me neither.) Unless it clearly violates some contractual provision, though, I  say: Let her keep the silly crown. Did you listen to her answer to the question?  If we can’t deal with Miss California’s stream-of-babble against marriage equality, the movement is in big trouble.

Just don’t let her carry a concealed weapon in a national park.

  1. Where idiocy and vapidity rule, apparently.

“Things That Need No Parody”

April 21st, 2009 1 comment

South Park once parodied Stevie Nicks by representing her as a sheep. Given her bleating voice, this was a gimme. Better, though, was the great David Letterman’s take on Nicks: For several nights back in her heyday, he simply ran excerpts of her videos. His point, of course, is that she didn’t need to be parodied. The performance spoke for its very own self.

Sometimes a parody is just the gilding of a lily. Here’s another example:

Does this really need a parody? Oh, there might be biting and hilarious takes on it (I’ve not yet seen any, but I’m sure they’re in utero as I write this), just as “The Gathering Storm,” the National Organization for Marriage’s (“NOM”) wince-worthy video, has spawned a side-splitting cottage industry of take-offs and mash-ups. The best of these may be Stephen Colbert’s “Giant Gay Storm”:

But “The Gathering Storm” needs no parody, really, any more than does Miss California’s incoherent response to the marriage equality issue. These national beauty pageants have barreled headlong into irrelevance, drummed out of Atlantic City and mostly now of interest as reminders of a time when the ideal for women was the swimsuit model.1 The women who remain interested in these degrading promenades are too often the clueless stereotypes seen above, or the infamous Miss South Carolina from a couple of years ago.

Also in an out-of-touch bubble is NOM, a recent and desperate creation that serves as political and philosophical home to the shrinking circle of de facto bigots. It’s not surprising that such an organization would have thought that “The Gathering Storm” was a keeper; they’re deaf to the derisive howls of laughter from all quarters — before we even get to the parodies.

With a nod to one of the great game shows of any era, the $25,000  Pyramid, we can give the contestant these clues and get them to guess the category:

Clues: “Stevie Nicks videos; Miss America contestants answering questions; The World Wrestling Federation; NOM’s ‘The Gathering Storm'”

Answer: “Things that Need No Parody”

Fun, no? Now, you try:

Clues: “mirror ball;  skin-tight shirts that do not breathe; ambient cocaine; Steve Rubell”


  1. Yes, I know that the SI Swimsuit issue still sells. But buying a magazine is one thing; staging an elaborate competition is quite another.
Categories: Gay Rights, humor, Marriage Equality Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatheads

April 14th, 2009 No comments

The silly season may be upon us.

The serious arguments against marriage equality are falling fast, leaving only nonsense and fear behind. Even many  conservatives who formerly opposed equality have come around (sometimes only by recognizing that, whatever the perils of allowing same-sex marriages, they pale as threats to the institution next to divorce and the declining percentage of kids born to married couples). And the overwhelmingly supportive views of younger people are filtering up to the generations above, working through surprisingly permeable soil. It turns out that older people can and do change their views as they’re educated by the next generation, by courts, and by the lives of those around them. New York Senator Charles Schumer is a recent convert, and the Governor of Maine, John Baldacci, has gone from “no” to “hmmm…. let me think about this some more.”

So, expect increasingly desperate, and probably inadvertently humorous, tactics to forestall the march towards equality. Let’s talk about two examples. This petition was being circulated at a Town Hall meeting yesterday in Iowa. (Thanks to  Iowan Kyle Payne, who was at the meeting, for posting this and for letting me know what’s going on there.) It’s just one page, and it “argues” that, just as Abraham Lincoln defied the Supreme Court’s Dred Scott decision in issuing the Emancipation Proclamation, so too could Iowa’s Governor, Chet Culver, ignore his own supreme court and simply executively order overturning Varnum v. Brien (the decision by the unanimous Iowa Supreme Court ruling in favor of marriage equality). I suppose they believe the state’s citizens need to be “emancipated” from judicial tyranny.

In looking over the petition, it initially seemed that it was the work not of runaway citizen zealots, but of duly elected legislators: Rep. Jason Schultz and Sen. James Seymour. But Rep. Schultz e-mailed me to assure me that neither he nor anyone in his office had anything to do with it.1 This assurance was heartening, but also serves as a reminder of the perils of direct democracy on an issue this highly charged; because whoever wrote this petition didn’t bother doing any actual research, unless you include the reference to Wikipedia. 2

In fact, Lincoln had campaigned on a promise to abide by the Court’s decision in Dred Scott, much though he disagreed with it. (Norm Coleman, are you reading this?) For that reason, as well as because of his belief that he could not rely on his inherent war powers to emancipate slaves, the Emancipation Proclamation was limited to those slaves in the states in rebellion, and did not even apply to the border states: Only the insurrection gave him the power to do so, as an incident of his power as Commander in Chief. Is this really the Civil War (in caps)? It would be laughable were it not disturbing, countenancing, as it does, the deracination of the separation of powers.

Along these lines of “disturbing yet somehow funny” is the newly issued video by Maggie Gallagher’s National Organization for Marriage, which is by now viral — both in its original form and in the inevitable and sometimes revealing mash-ups and parodies. (Here are a couple of keepers.) Instead of the original, which you can find here, the following audition tape really says it all:

Note that these actors are saying exactly the same things that are uttered in the final, wrenchingly risible, version. But this audition tape, through its repetition of the awkward statements in the actual video, points to its own absurdity.

Take this example: “I am a California doctor forced to choose between my faith and my job.”

Huh? What, exactly, are these actor/not-real-doctors talking about? Honestly, I have no idea. Are they saying that they don’t want to treat gays who are legally married? But refusal to treat on that basis would run afoul of the state’s antidiscrimination law, whether there’s marriage equality or not. So what else could they be talking about? Nothing that you can identify, and that’s the point. Plant the fear, and don’t diminish it by being specific (doing so might — not incidentally — also make your statements inaccurate).

“There is a storm gathering. The clouds are dark and the winds are strong. And I am afraid.”

To paraphrase my kids’ current favorite book: It’s cloudy, all right — cloudy with a chance of meatheads.

  1. I haven’t yet heard from Sen. Seymour, but I have to believe that if Schultz didn’t draft it, neither did Seymour.
  2. Luckily for me, my colleague Bob Hayman is a rich repository of knowledge on this subject. My thanks to him for his insights and contribution.