Monday, April 14, 2014

My hometown, everybody

"Crime is about opportunity. If you create that opportunity, you create the opportunity of you becoming a victim." — Lafayette Corporal Paul Mouton (From an article so roundly criticized that it was taken down)

The above quote is in reference to a 21-year-old woman who was found dead Sunday in a ditch in Girard Park (a popular Lafayette park and a lifelong favorite of mine). In that context, it's pretty despicable.

Of course you should be careful when you're out and about. And when you're in and still, for that matter. Always know the risks of your surroundings, whatever they are, and try to avoid the most perilous situations. Don't be paranoid, but don't be blasé either. 

However, that's no excuse to blame the victim. In this particular case, we don't yet know what transpired. But even if we did, there's likely a genuine crime here, and the fault lies with the assailant. It always does. No one asks to be the victim of a homicide. No one tempts another into kidnapping or rape. People are responsible for their own actions; laying the blame on the victim is unproductive at best and sexist at worst.

Men are not helpless creatures led astray by their libidos, nor are women enablers of crime and lust by virtue of being women. That is the thinking of the world's most repressed societies (and the more conservative pockets of free societies). In reality, we're all human beings with brains, and we must take responsibility for the choices we make with those brains. And stop chiding victims for acts inflicted upon them.

Now that would be justice.

Sufferin’ from stakes and claims

By Earl “Clem” Bob
Proud American

Until this week, my favorite Bundy of all time was King Kong, followed by Al. I shouldn’t have to tell you why on that first one, and the second one won me over with his group NO MA’AM. I’m still tryin’ to get a local chapter started over here. (Not a fan of Ted, though. Talk about a Republican In Name Only.)

I like the name Bundy, ’cause it rhymes with Sunday, my favorite day of the week, and with “fundie,” my favorite people to be around on Sunday.

The good name of Bundy’s got an ever-bigger boost now thanks to the exploits of Cliven Bundy, a Nevada rancher who stood up to the jackbooted thugs of the federal government. And won! What a glorious day for freedom.

See, the government claims Bundy is on the hook for more than $1 million in federal grazing fees dating back 20 years. And he’s proudly refused to pay those fees, because he’s an American. Good for him!

He shouldn’t have to pay to use government land. The government is us, so it stands to reason that if we want something it’s got, we should just go out and get it! That’s the American way. Besides, he was usin’ that land to grow his cattle operation. Why must we punish success? Especially in an age where we glorify welfare recipients and politicians livin’ large off the government teat, always wantin’ somethin’ for nothin’!


(And don’t even get me started on the tortoises. What makes them think they can just live on such valuable land? Maybe they should taste good or start a business if they want us to care.)

Not that we’re sure it’s federal land anyway. Bundy claims his family owned the land first, well before regulators were even a thing. He has no proof of that beyond his ranch, but his word is good enough for me. Who needs fancy titles and deeds? Honoring sovereign land claims has been an American tradition since the Mayflower first docked here!

It’s time to take our country back. To make it a nation of laws, not of corruption and violence! So I’m glad to see real Americans disrupt the feds until they backed off due to safety concerns. Talk about law and order in the face of tyranny.

We the People will graze wherever we want. We ain’t cattle.

Earl "Clem" Bob ain't cattle.

Friday, April 11, 2014

The confines of Colbert (and why I'll miss them)

I'm sorry to do this again. But I'm seriously fixated on the Stephen Colbert move and no amount of distraction seems to be helping. It's affecting my overall mood in ways that it shouldn't. Maybe getting all my thoughts out about it will.

Supposedly, Colbert increasingly felt confined by his character and wants to branch out from it. I wonder when that fatigue kicked in (he hid it well, assuming it happened before this week). I understand professional burnout, but it's still sad from this fan's viewpoint. I can only be comforted so much by how "prestigious" the move is for his personal resume. His comfort is satire's huge loss. 

The consensus is that Colbert will now be able to show off his other talents. Which sounds fine in theory, because they are indeed plentiful (as we've seen on the Colbert Report and other TV appearances). But...

Last week on Saturday Night Live, Anna Kendrick hosted. It was a dynamite episode that had me laughing out loud a lot. Pharrell Williams' musical performances were solid as well. But the episode's opening monologue was the weakest link by far. In recent years, SNL has leaned heavily on musical numbers in the monologues. That's cool when the host is a singer or it's otherwise ridiculous in a funny way. But all too often, they resort to a "Hey! I'm hosting SNL!" song, which always seem written mainly to fill time. They don't bring the funny or make a point. I'm relieved when someone like Louis C.K. comes on and actually performs a funny, biting monologue (or just funny; the bite is a bonus).

Maybe that's just me. I gravitate toward bite much more than song-and-dance. I suspect Colbert's new show will be much more song-and-dance than bite. And while Colbert is a shockingly talented performer, it's still going to take a lot on his part to convince me that this move is an upgrade. (If he just wants to coast, he could admit that, as many fans seem to think he's entitled to rest on his laurels.)

Colbert owes me, one insignificant fan, nothing, and never has. But it still hurts. I got through less than two minutes of The Daily Show last night before I turned it off. I couldn't take the cheering or the images of Colbert (even glimpsing the departing David Letterman makes me sad). 

I typically mock people who get emotionally invested in TV shows. Even with the few shows I like, I rarely lament them when they're gone. I pride myself on having a real life. So I'm surprised that I feel this strongly about Colbert. But I do. I guess because I've long felt America needs that show, and more like it. They serve a purpose, and most of all I love them. And to see it go for one of my least-favorite reasons — mainstream fortune and glory — makes it doubly painful.

Like I've been saying, I think Colbert will be a fine host and the Late Show will thrive, as it did during Letterman's finest hours. But it will never be the same. Indeed, it's already different. 

Whether that's a better different remains to be seen.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

"The market has spoken," indeed

TMZ's Facebook question about the just-announced news that Stephen Colbert is taking over David Letterman's Late Show is this: 

That's the problem right there. Colbert shouldn't have to fill anyone's shoes. It's going to be sad to watch him try. I am disheartened by this move and saddened by the brilliant show that's being sacrificed in the name of fame and fortune.

I hope I'm wrong. I hope in two years, people point at and laugh at me for being so off-base in my predictions. I hope Colbert can bring a subversive bent to a mainstream network audience that continues what he started on the Colbert Report. That would be awesome. But right now, I'm not convinced. 

The Colbert Report was a show with a purpose. But like with most pieces of artistic integrity (and most things I love in general), money eventually shoves it out of existence. I hate money. 

But even more, I hate the waste of talent that this portends. Any one of hundreds of comedians could have succeeded Letterman, some of whom need to be on TV every night. No one will be the next Colbert, and Colbert will be judged harshly against Letterman. Just, bad move. Bad in all the right ways and good in all the wrong ways.

Well, thanks for the nine years, Stephen. It was fun while it lasted. I hope someone is able to take the torch you just spiked.