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Some comments on tonight's American Idol, which I just got through watching:


  • Good-hearted Simon: well, he's down with the dharma, but... uhh...

  • Flashdance Kristin and her camera-trasking friend: denial springs eternal

  • Peyton ("Over The Rainbow"): Why do people feel compelled to mangle old standbys?

  • Speaking of which: Aladdin is spinning! (And that Donald Duck rendition of "A Whole New World" is my trick! :-D)

  • Lauren Enswiler (minister's daughter): weeeeelll, nice... but nyeh, Yowie's better. :o)

  • Terrance Gains (the happy-happy big-grinning soldier who just got back from Iraq): now, see, Martha should have come in like this! Earnest and eager, but no pretense. Two of three (Simon surprised him!)

  • Fantasia: lively! She rocks.

  • Heather (blonde Kim Caldwell clone who sang "Black Velvet"): good song, but Simon's right - "affected".


Next up: Guy divas from Houston. Yoikes. As ldymlissa remarked: "Haven't they watched the show before? Don't they know what to expect?" They are like the trasked recruits from Special Forces tryouts, crying about not knowing what they were in for...

Hey, that wasn't so bad.
And both Clay Aiken and Ryan Seacrest are from there!
Woot! (I was born there but only lived there to the age of 2. I've been back just once, in 1996.)

Edit, 21:30 CST: anglachel1 was right, sometimes it's better to read a transcript than to watch the live version of the President's State of the Union address. "The killers will fail!" Such high rhetoric. Nukular, nukular, nukular.


Sex and drugs and rock and roll: What's new?

I remember watching two or three of Clinton's SOTU addresses, and there were enough pong3 chang3 (cheerleading) rising/standing ovations, but honestly, the accompanying cheers seemed just a little more sycophantic tonight. All I can say is, it is good that the worst of the fighting in Iraq is over, but the war anglachel1 called "venial" isn't over. May the day come soon, for all that we do not expect it to. (If I may, I'd like to take this opportunity to thank mirabehn and mostlyacat for their efforts and good wishes on behalf of servicepeople and noncombatants alike.)

God has created in every human heart the desire to live in freedom. And even when that desire is crushed by tyranny for decades, it will continue to rise again. Now, why does that get less of a testosterone-charged cheer than the killers will fail, I ask you? Ah, well. One hopes there is more than one speechwriter to credit.

I am slightly annozzled that the economic report in the SOTU was nearly relegated to this economy is strong, and growing stronger. Tufte and stat_geeks might have a few things to say about the string of demographics President Bush then rattled off. Can someone tell me more about Bush's initiatives to counteract the marriage penalty and estate taxes? I hear these lauded by fiscal conservatives, but I am not yet clear on the rationale.

I suppose I should be impressed that Bush pronounced "biotechnology" correctly, but still, the remarks on continuing education and IT struck me as unusually cliche. Disclaimer: I have read but little on the "No Child Left Behind" (policy, initiative, and programs) and the new "Jobs for the 21st Century" initiative.

International trade: That was... quick.
Social Security and IRAs for yuppies: Was it just me, or was that something of a non-sequitur?
Opposition to amnesty for illegal immigrants: Hrm, boy, he made that sound good, but I'm going to have to say no. Heavy on the conservativism and light on the compassion here, as I see it.
Cutting the deficit: I'd like to read statistics on what SOTU addresses in recent history have not mentioned this.
Prison reforms: Lukewarm, IMHO.

The rest of the SOTU address went back and revisited rhetoric on the momentum of freedom, etc.
For all that Bush turned a surely well-meaning letter from a little girl (Ashley Pearson) into a propaganda piece, I think it is important for us Americans to thank our servicepeople. Yes, they are just doing their jobs, but more is asked of them in the daily run of their jobs.

As the commentators remarked, this address was unadorned by earth-shattering initiatives or particularly memorable rhetoric.

This time, I remembered to watch the rebuttal by the opposition leaders - House Minority Leader, Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D) and the Senate Minority Leader, Sen. Tom Daschle (D). I'll write more about these later. What did you think of these?

The board is set. The pieces are moving...

--
Banazîr

Comments

( 48 comments — Leave a comment )
vretallin
Jan. 21st, 2004 03:42 am (UTC)
Ugh....alright American Idols...why in the world would anyone put themselves in the position to allow someone like Simon degrade them. I mean come on, how can the people allowing the poor performers go on. Choosing the worst and the best just for the ratings? ::blinks:: ok sure. :)
banazir
Jan. 21st, 2004 09:56 am (UTC)
American Idol: why bother?
Ugh....alright American Idols...why in the world would anyone put themselves in the position to allow someone like Simon degrade them.
Well, our friend Joi the Koi opined that AI is a terrible way to start a career. (Especially losing or getting panned at it - and that means 110 of 120 people!) She added that when she watches AI, it makes her wonder at how much ego there is in the USA - namely, how we "spend way too much thyme `developing self confidence". There is some pop psych literature now, she reports, on how certain flavors of ego-building can be unhealthy... just setting people up for disillusionment when they realize they aren't the "bee's knees".

If there is one place that, to me, embodies the spirit of Merkian self-trust... New York.
-Simon

It imakes goond TV, though. Pathetic and sad. Reality checks and blatant denial, playing dumb and putting on a brave face, and especially the letting fly with pique - these are all things we tend to have a prurient interest in (and sometimes a sincere curiosity about).

I think it can be entertaining, too. Personally, I "don't bother", but if I did I'd take my lumps and go home laughing all the way!

I mean come on, how can the people allowing the poor performers go on.
They are portraying the extremes of confidence and self-delusion. How this precisely "reality" remains to be seen, but it's more real than Bachelorettes in Kalaalit Nunaat, Big Bother, and Boat Camp, anyhow.

Choosing the worst and the best just for the ratings? ::blinks:: ok sure. </end rant> :)
See above - it is pandering, to some extent.


--
Banazir
(Deleted comment)
Elf-Confidence - banazir - Jan. 21st, 2004 09:28 pm (UTC) - Expand
celandineb
Jan. 21st, 2004 05:00 am (UTC)
The board is set. The pieces are moving...

And Bush probably thinks he's Aragorn, if he's even aware of the films at all. Gack.

Cel,
who as usual is being resolutely ignorant and diving into fic instead - mental protection device, y'know
anglachel1
Jan. 21st, 2004 06:44 am (UTC)
Ah...
Wise you are, Dr. Bitch.

Though I *still* say you cannot be a citizen of Gondor, only a subject.

Toodles - Ang
banazir
Jan. 21st, 2004 06:46 am (UTC)
Re: Ah...
Wise you are, Dr. Bitch.
Though I *still* say you cannot be a citizen of Gondor, only a subject.

I concur, but I must have missed the context re: Gondor.
Could you please clarify?

--
Banazir
celandineb
Jan. 21st, 2004 05:32 pm (UTC)
How about "inhabitant"?

Cel, happy to be subject to Aragorn anyway... *cough*
(In)habitants - banazir - Jan. 21st, 2004 06:12 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - celandineb - Jan. 21st, 2004 06:38 pm (UTC) - Expand
Middle-earth fanfic - banazir - Jan. 21st, 2004 06:41 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - celandineb - Jan. 21st, 2004 06:51 pm (UTC) - Expand
Fanfic advice - banazir - Jan. 21st, 2004 06:52 pm (UTC) - Expand
Awww... - celandineb - Jan. 21st, 2004 06:55 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Awww... - banazir - Jan. 21st, 2004 06:57 pm (UTC) - Expand
banazir
Jan. 21st, 2004 08:08 am (UTC)
Not if I saw it by the highway
The board is set. The pieces are moving...
And Bush probably thinks he's Aragorn, if he's even aware of the films at all. Gack.
He's probably seen the pic of him wearing the One Ring.
Actually, I would be surprised if he hasn't seen any of the films. OTOH, it's interesting that you said "if he's even aware of the films" (as opposed to "the books").

who as usual is being resolutely ignorant and diving into fic instead - mental protection device, y'know
Well, yes. OTOH, sui_degeneris has said, some like this way of listening to the state of the union address... it's less irritating. She's actually said she'll never watch another SOTU address as long as I'm are around to give commentary, because it's easier to take this way. :-P

--
Banazir
celandineb
Jan. 21st, 2004 05:35 pm (UTC)
OTOH, it's interesting that you said "if he's even aware of the films" (as opposed to "the books").

Well, I suppose he must be able to read, given his wife's occupation, but somehow I have serious doubts about whether he actually exercises that particular skill. I also doubt whether he'd be the sort to think fantasy worthwhile!

I'd rather read someone else's commentary on the SOTU addresses than have to endure them, myself, so I have to agree with sui_degeneris.

Cel
GWB and reading - banazir - Jan. 21st, 2004 06:09 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - celandineb - Jan. 21st, 2004 06:37 pm (UTC) - Expand
Late-night talk shows - banazir - Jan. 21st, 2004 06:44 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - marm - Jan. 24th, 2004 04:14 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - celandineb - Jan. 25th, 2004 03:02 am (UTC) - Expand
It's a valid point - banazir - Jan. 25th, 2004 06:32 am (UTC) - Expand
(Deleted comment)
Re: GWB and reading - banazir - Jan. 21st, 2004 09:30 pm (UTC) - Expand
malakhai
Jan. 21st, 2004 05:20 am (UTC)
Can somebody cut the One Ring off of W's finger, puh-lease!!!!
banazir
Jan. 21st, 2004 06:15 am (UTC)
Frodo has failed
Surely you've seen this?

--
Banazir
malakhai
Jan. 21st, 2004 06:24 am (UTC)
Re: Frodo has failed
Yes, but dammit - it's still funny!!

I just realized that Saddam is a hobbit. He even lived in a hole. ICKY ICKY ICKY! NO NO NO!!
Re: Frodo has failed - banazir - Jan. 21st, 2004 06:36 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: Frodo has failed - malakhai - Jan. 21st, 2004 06:58 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: Frodo has failed - banazir - Jan. 21st, 2004 07:38 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: Frodo has failed - malakhai - Jan. 21st, 2004 02:14 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Frodo has failed - banazir - Jan. 22nd, 2004 04:01 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Frodo has failed - malakhai - Jan. 23rd, 2004 04:12 am (UTC) - Expand
USENET newsgroups - banazir - Jan. 23rd, 2004 04:18 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: USENET newsgroups - malakhai - Jan. 23rd, 2004 04:23 am (UTC) - Expand
Children of Dune - banazir - Jan. 23rd, 2004 05:43 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: Children of Dune - malakhai - Jan. 23rd, 2004 06:09 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: Children of Dune - banazir - Jan. 23rd, 2004 06:25 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: Children of Dune - malakhai - Jan. 23rd, 2004 02:08 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Children of Dune - banazir - Jan. 26th, 2004 06:15 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Children of Dune - malakhai - Jan. 26th, 2004 08:11 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Children of Dune - banazir - Jan. 26th, 2004 08:28 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Children of Dune - malakhai - Jan. 26th, 2004 08:32 pm (UTC) - Expand
AbFab - banazir - Jan. 26th, 2004 08:34 pm (UTC) - Expand
anglachel1
Jan. 21st, 2004 06:43 am (UTC)
Oh...dear
This was a highly dishonest speech.

The avoidance of anything of substance (such as details on the budget, or on domestic policy, or on the real conduct of war in Iraq, or on the environment, or on [insert significant concern]), and the crude pandering to the right-wing base while trying to wrap himself in the American troops was stomach-turning.

Thinking over the various "faith-based" trappings he strewed about the speech - overt and implied - I wonder where the separation of church and state has gone. I do not want churchs deciding how to treat people convicted of civil crimes any more than I want a civil administration deciding which groups will count as "religious" organizations, handing out money and power to those who fit the bill.

The turn towards culture-war politics, the gay-baiting, the weird zoom off into steroids-in-sports land, the manipulation of the young girl for the photo op, all gave me the creeps.

Perhaps the worst was the fawning adulation of so much of the press corps immediately afterwards, neocon talking heads set up to parrot the administration's line. It has become a very strange day when Pat Buchanan is the most reasonable and even-handed pundit. The official Democratic response was weak at best. Much better was the deplyment of Kennedy, Kerry & Clark. Oh, for a rebuttal by Robert Byrd!

Yes, I followed all of this without a TV - if you know where the good rolling blogs are, you can follow events in multiple, virtual time. The transcript is even more frightening.

Watch for jflima's post late tonight/early tomorrow. I'll have words later, but he's much more thorough than I.

Ang
banazir
Jan. 21st, 2004 07:28 am (UTC)
Re: Oh...dear
This was a highly dishonest speech.
Well, in this case, I have to agree.

I happened to be watching, though, and thought I would collect fodder (kindling?) with which to start some useful dialogue.

[avoidance of substance, right-wing pandering, wrapping self in troops]
Accurate on all points, Ang. As Sunzi (Sun Tzu) advocates, though, one must know one's adversary, so I hope you at least caught some sound and video bites from the broadcast. I learn as much about the "State of the Union" from the timbre of the cheers and at what related kindnesses or atrocities they occur, as from the language itself.

I do not want churchs deciding how to treat people convicted of civil crimes...
I don't think it has, or will, come to that.
If it could, you'd think Sister Helen Prejean (author of Dead Man Walking and a famous Catholic crusader against the death penalty) would have a little more clout. You may not agree with her, either, but I don't see Americans abrogating the constitutionally mandated separation of church and state that easily (or more than they already have, you might say).

The turn towards culture-war politics, the gay-baiting, the weird zoom off into steroids-in-sports land, the manipulation of the young girl for the photo op, all gave me the creeps.
Is that not par for the course from the Republican Right?
You might say that it (and analogous posturing on the part of some left-wingers) is part of politics-as-usual. I did look closely at the expressions of those in uniform after that totally explotative letter reading.

Perhaps the worst was the fawning adulation of so much of the press corps immediately afterwards, neocon talking heads set up to parrot the administration's line.
You mean FOX, Rupert Murdoch's propaganda mill?
As it happens, FOX executed its typical trick of feigning mainstream centrism and good horse sense (cf. O'Reilly) by tossing in some critical or deprecatory comments. At least they broadcast the full rebuttals.

It has become a very strange day when Pat Buchanan is the most reasonable and even-handed pundit.
How do you figure?

The official Democratic response was weak at best.
Well, to use an analogy from American Idol - there are fewer talented types from LA trying out as amateurs because more are already working.

Much better was the deplyment of Kennedy, Kerry & Clark.
Oh, for a rebuttal by Robert Byrd!

Just so, but you have to run your first string against their second, your second against their third, and your third against their first, no?

--
Banazir
zaimoni
Jan. 22nd, 2004 05:20 pm (UTC)
An ultimate separation of church and state: a church that refuses to apply for tax-exemption.
I do not want churchs deciding how to treat people convicted of civil crimes any more than I want a civil administration deciding which groups will count as "religious" organizations, ....
Hmm...actually, Malaysia has a workable version of "organized religion deciding how to treat people convicted of crimes". The catch: sharia law applies only to explicitly registered Muslims(sp?). That wouldn't work over in the U.S.A. or EU. [A couple of years back, Greece had a political flap over the EU requiring Greece to ditch religious affiliation from Greece's national ID cards.]

Separation of church and state is inimical to most religions. The main exception I'm aware of is textually-based Christianity, which is actively in favor. [A case can be made that early Shintoism is "neutral" in this regard. I'm not familiar enough with it to know if this is valid.]
( 48 comments — Leave a comment )

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