Great: Watching TV Made My Head Explode TWICE, And It’s Not Even 10 AM Yet…

Head explosion #1: On HDL, Robin Meade happily (she says everything happily) told us that there were peaceful demonstrations in Kenosha, Wisconsin yesterday…although some buildings were set on fire in the evening, and police tear-gassed “demonstrators.”


  • I don’t know who thought up the “mostly peaceful” demonstration deceit, but any protest or demonstration that results in attacks on police, looting, rock-throwing or arson is a riot. Calling a demonstration that involves law-breaking and violence “mostly peaceful” is like calling Jack the Ripper “mostly law-abiding.”

It’s spin instead of reporting.

  • Oh! It was those horrible police who were violent!  The implication that tear gas is per se proof of police brutality is an old Alinskyesque trope going back to campus riots in the Sixties, and is, to be blunt, garbage. Tear gas  is a riot control tool, and “mostly peaceful demonstrators” without permits who do not obey police orders to disperse should be gassed, ideally before they start setting fires.

Head Explosion #2: The news channels all made me nauseous, from Fox News’s sycophantic “Fox and Friends” praising the GOP convention like it was the Met’s “Ring Cycle,” to CNN, which has made the policy decision to approach its “coverage” of the virtual gathering as if it were a Klan rally, expressing shock and horror that the President referred to the virulent virus China released into the world as the Chinese virus. So I decided to escape to  the Hallmark Channel, cable’s equivilent of a frontal lobotomy, where they were running the 1987 Perry Mason TV movie, “The Case Of The  Scandalous Scoundrel.” The movies were far inferior to the classic TV noir series, and not just because by the Eighties Raymond Burr was so fat he could barely walk.

In this one, Perry’s client was a TV reporter, played by the forgettable Susan Wilder.At one point we see her giving a live report, speaking about a VIP’s confidante. She pronounced the word “con-FYDE-dent,” like it rhymed with “trident.” She really did.


  • No, the writers were not intending to suggest that Wilder’s character was an illiterate idiot. Wilder was an illiterate idiot.

I say “was” because she’s still active; maybe she’s read a few books by now. I hope so. Jesus.

  • That gaffe making it to the screen means that the director, editor, producer, gaffer, best boy and everyone on the set was unfamiliar with the word confidante,. It means that either programmers on CBS  didn’t preview the movie before broadcasting it, didn’t know the word themselves, or said, “Oh, hell, nobody will notice. Our viewers are mostly idiots anyway.”

You wonder why I have so little respect for the political and social views of the Hollywood community? This sort of thing—and it isn’t all that rare—is one of the reasons.

Now excuse me while I glue my skull back together.

32 thoughts on “Great: Watching TV Made My Head Explode TWICE, And It’s Not Even 10 AM Yet…

  1. I never thought I’d use my aviation interests in what would essentially be a campaign speech. Maximo Alvarez talked about the sounds of freedom last night. As someone whose family fled tyranny twice he would know better than most. On the airshow circuit we often refer to the roar of a military jet, like the F-35, as the “sound of freedom.” I’d also say the sound of the Merlin engine, as used in the P-51 Mustang, which made it possible to bring the war home to tyranny, and the Supermarine Spitfire, which stopped the last light of freedom in Europe from going out, have equally as much claim to being the sound of freedom.

    Freedom might sound like a lot of other things too. It might sound like a church bell ringing, or the reading of the Torah. It might sound like the wail of the first responders’ sirens to protect life and property. It might sound like the doors opening on a new business – your own business. It might sound like the crack of a bat, or a crowd cheering on their favorite performer.

    Want to know what freedom DOESN’T sound like, though? It definitely doesn’t sound like someone groaning that he can’t breathe while a vicious abuser of authority presses his face into the cement. However, it also doesn’t sound like glass shattering as angry people take out their anger on someone else’s window. It doesn’t sound like the roar of flames consuming someone’s life’s work because someone decided setting a fire was the way to make his point. It definitely doesn’t sound like the sickening thud of someone kicking someone else who isn’t resisting in the head and never letting him see it coming, because he thinks he isn’t thinking right. It doesn’t sound like a statue toppling at the hands of some do-it-yourself wrecking crew, who decide that if they don’t like something, they will destroy it. And it absolutely doesn’t sound like false promises of free everything and no policing. Freedom isn’t a license for chaos, anarchy, and destruction. If you mix the two up, you are the problem.

      • Thanks. A much longer campaign speech is coming. Today the mayor of Newark spoke out about the guy shot in Kenosha, before IA has done boo, but he is absolutely MIA wrt to the riots. Ideological blindness.

    • Typical and nearly pure sentimental rhetoric on Steve’s part. Though there are elements of truth in it, there are also elements of lie. These have to be very carefully gone through and each issue needs to be appropiately seen, understood and given a proper label.

      I do not think the ‘sound of jets’ meant ‘freedom’, at least not precisely, when the sovereign country of Panama was invaded by the administration of George Bush senior. And yet to conform to the narrative — the hyper-patriotic narrative — it must be made to conform. So, a military invasion of a soverign country is made into, is interpreted as, ‘bringing freedom’. And a similar thing can be said for quite a number of America’s adventures, certainly including Iraq.

      Perhaps those ‘freedom jets’ and their ‘freedom roar’ needs to be heard in continetal America? To round up America’s internal enemies. If those roaring freedom jets actually represent and herald ‘freedom’ it should apply that they can do such work domestically. I’m just noticing how this can be played.

      What is the point of saying this? What is the point of saying this in the context of Hyper-Patriots who can surely sting when they wish to? Who look for an enemy to unleash their anger and frustration as the *cause* of all these dicomforts. It is part of my larger point that has to do with political and social mystification. We are, I propose, being given a show. The show is part of trickery and manipulation. We have to see through the show. Yet we can’t! Because it is all mediated and mediation of view. The inability to see, with clarity, what is actually going on and to focus on surfaces: the surface view, the apparent. In that sense The Spectacle.

      This is not to say that some of the narrative elements are not real and concerning. For example (and especially) the lawless riots and masses of people who respond to social and political manipulation and, in spectacle, rise up in angry and destructive rebellion. But the larger understanding of what had been done in America and to America as the country was molded and modified in the Postwar — this is not seen, not considered, not understood. The powerful players who have the capacity to mold these conflictive cultural processes must be paid attention to.

      I do not think it is that admirable, necessarily, to merely respond sentimentally to the events that are presented to us. If we do so we are *captured* by the trickery and therhetoric. If we do sense, or if we do clearly believe, that it is possible to be manipulated, and certainly we see that whole classes are being manipulated, then it seems that a more circumspect attitude, one more suspicious of falling in with polarized views offered to us for consumption, and that we need to replace patriotic gullibility with something more incisive and clear-headed.

      • I wrote: I do not think the ‘sound of jets’ meant ‘freedom’, at least not precisely, when the sovereign country of Panama was invaded by the administration of George Bush senior. And yet to conform to the narrative — the hyper-patriotic narrative — it must be made to conform. So, a military invasion of a soverign country is made into, is interpreted as, ‘bringing freedom’. And a similar thing can be said for quite a number of America’s adventures, certainly including Iraq.

        To clarify: When Power moves, and when Power takes action, it always does so for a group of different reasons. It is never absolutely clear, and it is never without its own *interest*. But propaganda-narratives — and patriotic narratives are interwoven with propaganda-narratives — are always slanted toward the defense of power’s objectives.

        In our present, right now, there are startling battles going on that cannot be fully seen nor understood. Because they have to do with profound power-machinations. These must be — how could they be anything else? — world-level battles between different power-centers. But when we are shown *spectacle* as we are always shown *spectacle*, are we seeing the full picture? That is what I personally doubt.

        The reasons why Panama was invaded did not have to do with reestablishing constitutional freedom. It had to do with securing a vital interest. The same is true as in regard to Iraq. It is safe to say — it seems true — that all the recent adventures have not much to do with *freedom* as we normally think of it, but securing interests and advancing interests. And these are not the same things!

        Yet this is not to say that it might not have been *best* or at least *better* that Panama was invaded and the political operatives there neutralized (as was the case). But that is not really securing freedom or encouraging freedom — sovereignty — it is controlling and directing a foreign state according to state interests. And state interests are not necessarily the interests of average citizens, though they might be at times, and the interest of the US state is not necessarily the interest of the US citizen.

        What I want to know if What powers are working to determine the present events going on in the US. Whose interests are being served? I do not think that is an open story. I do not think that is a story that is ever fully told. There are always more or less secret and invisible machinations.

  2. I got sone aerosol spray glue for crafting recently, it might help you with cleanup. FYI, the black and white Mason are on Me syndicated network twice a day. I think they show well compared to most newer courtroom shows, even with cultural drift.

    • I find that the spray glue works better if you just spray it into a paper bag and huff it before watching such mindless fare as “Headline News”. It prevents the head explosions by addling your brain to the level of the audience at which cable TV news is aimed. Testors-brand model airplane glue or any of a wide variety of common household solvents also works well in this application. I find that Fox News is best enjoyed with a nice combination of xylene and toluene, but MSNBC goes down better with the smooth, piney aroma of turpentine.

    • “Me” is a great channel for catching b&w Twilight Zone episodes, too. A favorite: the lighting and blocking in the episode about the beautiful woman (to us), in the dystopia where she received plastic surgery so that she would not be so differently-ugly (to her fellow dystopians).

        • The episode was “Eye of the Beholder” but was originally called “A Private World of Darkness” (you can even see the original title at the end of some versions of the episode) and the beautiful woman underneath was played by Donna Douglas, also known as Elly May Clampett from “The Beverly Hillbillies”!

          I love “The Twilight Zone”!

          • A.M. is correct. (I had to look it up all over again, I confess, to recall the title of the episode.) But I did already know about Donna Douglas.

            Valkygrrl: To follow up: In my failing memory, I probably twisted the plot and the setting a bit when I commented earlier. But still, honestly, the setting definitely (no sarcasm intended here) seemed to me like a dystopia – that is, specifically, in the way that a society under authoritarian government typically makes itself: utopia for a few, dystopia for everyone else. The government implied in that episode sure seemed authoritarian; maybe I failed to see that it wasn’t, and still fail to see it today.

            I apologize for my lack of clarity that my sarcasm created. I use sarcasm often, and often must apologize for using it; you know it’s especially bad, when I manage to confuse even myself when I use it! Yet still, using it remains one of my most poorly controlled impulses.

            In any case, that episode was one that awes me for its use of light and shadow, every time I see it.

            • I don’t know how old you are but…

              How is their conformity enforcing society different from America in 1959? All The Twilight Zone did was make explicit what was already implicit. Is Casablanca a dystopian story? There are Nazis running around, officials taking bribes/demanding sexual favors for services, authorities executing people without trial, small business being cancelled over political messages (play la marseillaise, play it.)

  3. I’m kind of low brow nowadays. My guilty pleasure is watching “Pawn Stars” where you actually learn something from Rick the store owner. Chum Lee I could do without though although his low balling customers who have something to sell is interesting at times.

  4. Ah, but you see, protesters commit violence because they are peaceful. After all, the enforcement of laws is inherently based on violence or threats of violence, so abolishing law enforcement is the pursuit of peace, and those who seek to accomplish the elimination of the police force by any means necessary must be peaceful, regardless of what those means are. The police can’t use this same reasoning to claim to be peaceful on the basis of keeping the peace through violence, because intellectual dishonesty is only a good thing when poor, oppressed people practice it.

    Also, to be fair, reading books doesn’t normally teach you how to pronounce words. You’d either have to know to look up the pronunciation in a dictionary or on the internet, or hang out in circles that actually use the word. One exception is how I learned to pronounce “epitome” from Calvin and Hobbes because it was spelled phonetically to rhyme in a song. Whoever came up with ending English words with “e” to make long vowel sounds never encountered Greek words.

  5. 1. How many more nights of mostly peaceful demonstrations does Portland need before someone (a mayor? a governor?) declares martial law and a curfew?

    • Apparently, no amount is too many. Mayor Ted Wheeler is really on the rioters’ side. He pushed the Feds to withdraw on promise of getting the State of Oregon to come in and keep order. Then the district attorney said he wouldn’t prosecute, so the state police withdrew. He’s quite frankly out of options, and that’s how I think he wants it to be. He doesn’t want his police to deal with the problem, and he doesn’t want others to deal with it for him.

      It should have been obvious when he refused to lift a finger to stop the 2018 siege of the local ICE facility, forcing the Feds to pull together a team of officers who could have been otherwise utilized to reclaim their own property. He has openly said he considers the Federal government to be in the wrong here, especially with regard to immigration. Governor Kate Brown did very little, and sensibly withdrew when she realized she’d be putting her officers in danger for no return. It should be noted that he just went through a divorce this year, and, although that’s got to be weighing on him, it’s no excuse to let the City fall to crap around him.

      At this point, I say the hell with it. Withdraw all Federal personnel to Salem, the state capital, and let the city be completely destroyed. If Ted Wheeler wants to rule a city of ashes where there is no rule but the rule of the mob, then let him do it. You can’t help those who don’t think they need the help or don’t want the help. If the ordinary people there are smart, they’ll pick up and move away. If the employers there are smart, they’ll pick up and leave. Don’t complain to the rest of us when the place is nothing but pitted asphalt and crumbling brick, though. Don’t complain to us when the coffers are empty because there are no more rateables to tax. Don’t complain to us when there are no more emergency services because they all either retired or transferred to where they wouldn’t be attacked every night. Nobody wants to live in a war zone. People put up with a crumbling NYC for a while because you still had Soho’s restaurants, Broadway’s theaters, and a lot of unique attractions. Portland has no such attractions. It’s known for street food, parks, roses, a few museums that are not that unique, and liberal politics. No one is going to brave a war zone for a few flowers and a kebab. Hell, even Belfast and Derry at the height of the Troubles didn’t have riots for 90 damn nights in a row. Congratulations, Ted, you’ve out-troubled the Troubles. I don’t even know what the next step is after this. It can’t be Civil War 2.0, since there aren’t enough Federal personnel there to really fire upon. It can’t be The Warriors, because this is way beyond street gangs. I think the place is pretty close to Escape From New York territory, and I say let it go.

  6. Jack wrote:

    Head explosion #1: On HDL, Robin Meade happily (she says everything happily) told us that there were peaceful demonstrations in Kenosha, Wisconsin yesterday…although some buildings were set on fire in the evening, and police tear-gassed “demonstrators.”

    You know, I have to wonder what the American people as a whole think of this weird media gaslighting of the big-city riots which have suddenly spread to a comparatively small city. Kenosha is a bedroom community of Chicago and Milwaukee of some 100,000 people, and has suddenly been struck by riots the size of those in major metropolitan areas.

    You would think these facts would be important to the news, but they treat Kenosha like it is a Chicago or Milwaukee suburb. It isn’t. Violence like this there is a shock to the system, and in no way is the local police force up to the task of controlling hundreds of rioters bent on destruction. The videos I have seen show a small city being burned to the ground, with incredible violence doing far more damage than in a bigger city who has the means and manpower to handle it better.

    That’s what the story should be. The fact that it isn’t tells me what I already knew — the media is worse than worthless, it is in fact an “enemy” of most Americans, deceiving the gullible and making the heads of the worldly explode with their sycophancy.

    How many are gullible enough to believe this … crap spewed by the media? How low will this crazy effort eventually go?

  7. #1: I don’t know how long the media has been minimizing violence from those they’re sympathetic with while exaggerating violence from those they oppose, probably much longer than I’ve been alive.

    However, we can fairly accurately mark the point where this jumped the shark from merely “shading the truth” to “Elephant? What elephant?”. It happened on the night of May 28th, when MSNBC reporter Ali Velshi stood in front of a building consumed by flames, and told viewers “I want to be clear on how I characterize this. This is mostly a protest. It is not, generally speaking, unruly”

  8. The Mason movies increasingly became filled with people who did little to nothing later in their careers and weren’t all that famous at the time either. The same thing happened with the Columbo movies. One week you’re watching Ian McShane, the next week some guy who only has five IMDB entries to this day.

    But I loved Raymond Burr’s performances anyway. He had a real rapport with Barbara Hale; you could tell there was a lot of love there.

  9. I don’t know who thought up the “mostly peaceful” demonstration deceit, but any protest or demonstration that results in attacks on police, looting, rock-throwing or arson is a riot. Calling a demonstration that involves law-breaking and violence “mostly peaceful” is like calling Jack the Ripper “mostly law-abiding.”

    They want to deny riots, and for a very bad reason.

    “We have a president who is determined to sow chaos and division. To make matters worse instead of better,” Biden began. “We all remember the appalling scenes in front of the White House, when peaceful protestors were gassed to make way for a Trump photo op. Now Homeland Security agents — without a clearly defined mandate or authority — are ranging far from federal property, stripped of badges and insignia and identifying markings, to detain people.”

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