Monday, September 14, 2009

RIP Patrick Swayze, Tea Partier Mark Williams' Craziness Causes Unintential Hilarity, Annie Le Murdered, And Bonus Kanye West On Leno

Hi everybody. Well, the 360 kids have made it back stateside safe and sound and for that I am thankful. Now only if we could get the same quality coverage in studio that we got out in the field. Eh, a blogger can dream. Though not a huge Jay Leno fan, I have to admit, I was a little curious about his debut tonight, so I did some flipping. You have been warned.

We kick things off with the God-awful annoying "breaking news" graphic telling us that Patrick Swayze has succumbed to pancreatic cancer, which of course is very sad. Way, way too young. In an Anderson Cooper piece we're given Swayze's career highlights: "Dirty Dancing," "Ghost," "Red Dawn," "The Outsiders," "Point Break," "To Wong Foo Thanks for Everything, Julie Newmar." He had a good career. "Ghost" and "Point Break" are two of my favorites.

Barbara Walters then calls in to talk about the interview she did with Swayze after his diagnosis. This all kinda feels excessive to me. It's always strange to see how celeb deaths rate when it comes to news coverage. A bigger news day he might have just been a headline. Anyway, we learn that Swayze was a Texas cowboy who loved his horses, which leads Anderson to share an amusing colloquialism he first heard from Reagan: "there's something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man." Interesting.

Next up, Erica Hill tells us what people have been saying about Swayze online, but I totally turned to Leno and watched a musical car wash number. Sorry. Then we're joined by Dr. Anton Bilchik for the medical angle. Because we always have to have the medical angle. It's pancreatic cancer. What is there to say? It's deadly and the symptoms are subtle. Kinda a bitch.

Transitioning now to tea party coverage. But before you get your "woo hoo" on, it ain't that kind of party. Candy Crowley gives us the low down in a piece. On September 12, angry citizens took to the DC streets and opened a can of crazy on America. Oh my was it ever crazy. The gist of their message? Government bad! Oh, and Obama is a Nazi. But are they racist? Um, hello! Yes. Not all, but yes, some of them are clearly having a bit of an issue with the country being led by a black man. Once again, no mention of Glenn Beck (who basically orchestrated this thing) by CNN. I wonder if that's a policy or something.

Now it's time for the fun part. For discussion, we're joined by David Gergen, James Carville, and tea party organizer Mark Williams. I'm a little torn about again seeing Mark on my television screen. After all, he's essentially just a dude who hates the president. Why should we listen to him? Not to mention the fact that it appears CNN is breaking their own policy to have him on. But then again, he comes off so poorly that it's almost like CNN is giving him the rope to hang himself. So yes, stick him on TV and let him represent the opposition. Please.

Anderson begins by noting that the protests may have been bigger than liberals would have guessed. Um, really? Because I heard they were at most about 70,000 people, which is a pretty small percentage of the population and not even as large as anti-war protests. And we all remember how those protests totally stopped the Iraq war. Oh, wait.

Anyway, Anderson goes on to wonder if maybe this is really about people being mad their presidential candidate didn't win. Mark brushes that off and says the protesters are "working stiffs" who are being called "Nazis" by their government. Um, come again? WTF is he talking about? Who in the government is calling people Nazis? Perhaps he is confusing that with the last government calling the opposition "morally or intellectually confused." THAT actually happened.

OR maybe he's confusing the government with himself, because Anderson is all, um, actually you're the one that called Obama a Nazi. Mark flat out denies the charge, which leads Anderson to note that it's on his website. Ha! The Internets never lie, Mark! But it turns out his site doesn't call Barack Obama a Nazi. It calls "Mubarak Hussein Obama" a Nazi. You see how that's different? Do you?! Also, Mark wants us to know that Obama is "taking the seeds of socialism planted by George W. and fertilizing them and watering them until they go into full bloom" Zoh my God the president is gardening! The horror!

Since Mark claims to have been against Dubya's socialist seeding as well, Anderson asks if he protested back during that administration. Mark assures us he did. I call BS. This would be the perfect time for 360 to be all, "oh really?" and then whip out a clip of him praising 43, Daily Show-style. Now, of course you can't prove a negative. But one wonders why this wasn't all researched beforehand. That wasn't a question asked for the viewer's benefit. It's clear that Anderson does not know the answer.

The floor finally gets thrown to James, who acknowledges that a lot of people turned out, but is disgusted by their behavior. Specifically the signs that read, "Bury Obamacare with Kennedy." Classy, no? Mark tries to argue that only three people had those signs, but James notes it was confirmed by CNN that they numbered in the thousands. Then Mark tells James he needs to get out and see America. Because obviously the true Americans agree with Mark. See how that works?

Anderson then turns to our favorite voice of reason. Bring us home to sanity-land, David! "I think that, Anderson, we're going off the rails here in some of these demonstrations," he tells us. Looks like it's been one too many Nazis for our Gerg. He even wonders if the country's partisanship is becoming ungovernable. Mark finds this outrageous, noting that in the 60's we had cities in flames. And the Gerg is like, um, yeah, everyone sane condemned that. Yet here's Mark standing up for the crazies. Even James is like, hey, if you want to align yourself and the Republican party with people who scream "you lie!" at the president, then get on with your bad self.

Next Anderson gives us a little Maureen Dowd, noting that he's sure Mark reads her column "religiously." Dowd thinks the protests have an undercurrent of racism. Yeah, they do. But Mark of course dismisses this, pointing out that he's seen "exactly three" of those "witchdoctor signs" during his travels. Three again. What a coinky-dink. Like celebrity deaths, I guess offensive Obama signs always come in threes. Anyway, Mark thinks those fringe people are "no more part of mainstream America than are the hippies who wear nipple clips and feather boas in San Francisco's streets during so-called peace demonstrations." Um, nipple clips and feather boas are racist?

Anderson throws Mark a bone and says that he understands his argument here, but notes that on his website he calls Obama "an Indonesian Muslim turned welfare thug and a racist in chief." And this is where your blogger loses it. You can't even be mad at this point; it's just too freakin insane. Just sit back and laugh at the WTFery, people. For the record, Mark is full on embracing the crazy, which reduces poor Anderson to having to ask if he really thinks Obama is an Indonesian Muslim. (And I love the little eyebrow cock--even Mr. Opinionless Sleeves can't deal with this BS.) I'm practically falling out of my chair at this point. The fact that Carville is currently laughing his ass off as well isn't helping.

But the Gerg apparently still thinks this guy is worth getting angry about. "You think he's a racist in chief? Racist in chief? Is that what you called him? That's unbelievable," he says. Aw, it's gonna be okay, Gerg. The crazy cannot be reasoned with. Anyway, Mark continues to cling to his whole "working class American" meme because, obviously, Obama supporters don't work and aren't really American.

Anderson tries to wrestle us back into reality by bringing up a quote from conservative David Frum. Even he thinks things have gotten out of hand. Well, this is what happens when you let the Sarah Palins of the world define your party. I think it's about time to wrap this all up. There's some more back and forth and Mark tells James, without irony, that it's hard to take him seriously when he's acting "irrational." Yes, we wouldn't want anyone to start acting irrational.

Mark also goes off about the "corporate takeover of D.C." Which is why he wants to protect insurance companies? Uh huh. Bottom line, Obama is the change that millions of us voted for. It's not our fault Mark isn't part of that group. You can see the second half of this whole exchange here. Also, apparently Mark was not happy about his appearance, which he relays in a blog post here, calling his segment, "perhaps the most outrageous thing to come out of CNN’s AC360." Well he's sorta right.

Interestingly, this post has been edited. If you do a Google blog search, you will see that he originally portrayed his segment as a "three against one," even saying that Anderson ganged up on him. The new version just focuses on David and James. Afraid of the wrath of Cooper? Too bad the Internets never forget.

Ok, time to watch Kanye West on Leno. Last night at the VMA's he stormed the stage and stole Taylor Swift's moment, confirming to the world he's a total ass. Now he's chatting with Jay. Awwwkward. I flip over just in time to see him take the chair. Leno has gotten softer in his new time slot. Instead of doing a Hugh Grant, "What the hell were you thinking?" he goes all Barbara Walters and almost makes Kanye cry by asking what his late mom would think about the situation. Now, normally I would totally be manipulated by this, but no! He's been acting like a total ass since BEFORE his mom died and now he's going to use that as an excuse? That's some stone cold douche-baggery there.

Back to CNN, we're in the middle of a Tom Foreman piece on that missing Yale co-ed, Annie Le. Except she's not missing anymore. She's dead. Very sad.

Erica Hill has the "360 Bulletin" and hey, guess who we're talking about again? Kanye. "I actually watched just the beginning of that, because the rest of it was pretty much unwatchable. I felt so bad for her," says Anderson. This kinda cracked me up because I did exactly the same thing. When did MTV become so unwatchable? I barely even knew who Taylor Swift was before last night. I only turned it on because people were talking about it on Twitter. Everything is infinitely better when there are people to bitch with online. How do you think I got through any of Bush's State of the Unions? Anyway, we also get played the requisite Obama/Kanye mashup. C'mon, like you didn't know that was coming.

The "shot" tonight is the classic SNL Chippendales skit with Patrick Swayze and Chris Farley. Two entertainers both taken too early.

The show was just okay. Hopefully they're still getting back into their studio groove. I guess we'll see.

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Anonymous Mike Rodrigues, Portland OR said...

I disagree with you about dismissing Mark Williams as just another crazy. You can never tell whether these radio personalities actually believe what they're propogating; but in this case, that's beside the point. Those 75,000 Washington demonstrators are Eric Hoffer's "true believers", America's ideological fundamentalists, and what they lack in numbers is made up for in the potential for extreme behavior. This movement has the potential to catalyze the real crazies - the dangerous kind. And Mark Williams appears to have the rhetorical skills to help bring that about. I think you're being a little cavalier in dissing him so easily. You might be blogging about him differently a year from now. Remember, Hitler was written off in the beginning.

12:12 PM  
Blogger eliza said...

@Mike: I agree with you to a point. I've been documenting my concern about this movement since Sarah Palin was inciting people during her rallies during the 2008 campaign. However, I'm not sure I'm with you on Williams' rhetorical skills. He's eclipsed by much bigger players like Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh.

It's not as though Williams is all alone in this. But I do think his CNN appearances do a great job at undercutting his cause. He's not exactly going to be bringing the sane over to his side.

Bottom line, I'm not dismissing the movement. There's definite potential for violence there and that should scare all of us. And in fairness, there are also some people with legitimate concerns who probably wish the movement wasn't so extreme.

But Mark Williams is not a credible person.

Also, can everyone please drop the Hitler comparisons? Mark Williams is not Hitler. Barack Obama is not Hitler. George W. Bush is not Hitler. You know who was Hitler? HITLER! He killed millions of people in an effort to exterminate a race. I think he deserves his own untouchable category.

5:29 PM  
Anonymous PRESLEY said...

Well, I for one was engaged with my TV last night. I yelled and tweeted my sentiments simultaneously, as you may have witnessed, or not, whatever.
Mark Williams is a posturing paranoia dealer who uses the predatory skills likened to a run of the mill street dealer.
After watching how some of the folks in this "protest" aka Hate-a-palooza, one, they don't know a whole lot, two, they were all white people, three, where was this contempt and fury against our previous POTUS, the one they denounce now.
I wish I could buy stock in Irony and Hypocrisy, between Glenn Beck and Palin, I would be a wealthy woman.
FAIL on the tea party whateverness. It was an excuse to gas up the RV, that gets like 5 miles to the gallon HA!, roadtrip to DC and use the craft kit to make signage. Yes I reek of indignation, and?
But now, they are all on camera and on a list somewhere.

XXO & ♥'s for now!
Love you mean it!

5:53 PM  

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