Thursday, March 27, 2008

NerdsGoneWild presents: A conversation with Marc Maron

Marc Maron, Interview, nerds gone wild
PunditFight presents 'A conversation with Marc Maron'
Australians will be in for a treat this coming April as APF Pundit Marc Maron will be visiting our shores. Maron will be performing several dates at the Sydney Comedy Store.

Meanwhile as we await his arrival, I had the pleasure of interviewing Marc. He touched on various subjects from politics to Reality TV. Marc also spoke candidly about his previous and only experience in Australia, where he was sent home after bombing disastrously performing in Melbourne 1992.

You can listen and download a sample of the interview here. Marc talks about punditry and where he fits in it. He comments on some of his counterparts and peers from Bill O’Reilly to Al Franken. He also talks about Barack Obama and the idea of the ‘symbolic president’.

Listen to the Marc Maron interview here

Maron on Comics and Punditry
MARC MARON: If art is suppose to be nothing more than disguised self help or some example of leadership in terms of making people feel better about themselves then I don’t know. I don’t have a real problem with Dane Cook, I do have problems with people who are just blindly confident without any real bearing and that’s really the only gift that they give.
Pundits it seems, there's a lot of time to waste on television and there are a lot of people with monied interests who like people to waste that time for them so they can sell other things and it just seems that all it does is give relatively uninspired loudmouths the podium to blather on and on about bullshit that has no bearing on anything and only serves to confuse real issues and distract people from making up their own fucking minds hard enough for them to do anything.
Maron on being viewed as a Pundit
MARC MARON: No, I’m not a pundit. I was put in a position to educate myself and become more partisan than I probably would be publicly otherwise, more educated than I would be and I’m grateful for that. But on either side of the political spectrum whether its right or left you have bullshit and you’re going to become a distributor of whatever’s side bullshit you tend to align yourself with. So my issue has always been to figure out what my gut instincts were on what’s happening. Where’s the hypocrisy? And what would best serve me and other people.

So the one element of being a pundit I didn’t like, was sort of being in the position to be partisan and righteous in ways I may not have thought through completely or in ways I didn’t find were completely authentic just because I had such resentment towards the other side.
I will be posting more snippets in the future. You will find the complete transcript on the upcoming issue of NerdsGoneWild Magazine (Issue #2). Found in Australia and internationally, check the site for shop listings or you may also buy here. Expect to find the full Audio in due time on the NerdsGoneWild website.

Marc will be performing at the Comedy Store in Sydney, beginning Tuesday April 15 and ending Saturday April 26. For full details go to the Official Comedy Store Website

- Go to Marc Marons's official website
- Read a more comprehensive Maron interview transcript here

Maron VS Seder VS Ana Marie Cox

In the most recent episode of Seder VS Maron, liberal commentators Sam Seder and Marc Maron touched on the unseriousness of certain pundits. This is a subject they have spoken about before and is a particular pet peeve for Sam. Sam has been very open about his disdain towards pundits like Maureen Dowd and Ana Marie Cox who have a tendency to trivialise politics by elevating charisma and superficial presentation over the serious implications of policy. I often get introspective during these times as the nature of this blog may be seen as trivialising politics.

In this latest episode Sam lets rip on Ana Marie Cox, (founding editor of DC Gossip site, Wonkette). It is particularly awkward, as Marc Maron has worked professionally and is personally friendly with Ana Marie. Sam was set off when Marc mentioned that he had dinner with Ana Marie and her husband, and that she expressed a fondness for John McCain. There was a back and forth discussion on charisma, and the role it plays in politics. Their was a sober acknowledgment that ultimately people will vote based on superficial presentation. Sam concedes as much but his main quarrel is towards the pundit class who he feels should be elevating discourse higher than the trivial.

Maron and Seder being pragmatic about charisma in politics
MARON: It all comes around even to the Clintonian criticism of Barack Obama's charisma...whatever's anyone's history is in the legislature most Americans are only going to respond to a gut level of what they sense about a person. That's just the way it is buddy. It's not the way people vote in this country. So I can understand your aggravation...
SAM: You know what? That part doesn't bother me as the Ana Marie Cox thing. I accept that there are people who are going to vote based on charisma and things that aren't terribly important. I accept that... to me what is inexcusable, for someone to perceive themselves with any type of integrity to have that same opinion when they're actually responsible for disseminating information to people who actually want more than that.
Maron and Seder take politics seriously
SAM: You can't do it with Ana Marie Cox, because her agenda is apolitical. This political writer for Time Magazine, her agenda is completely apolitical. For her, it's like "I'm just hoping for a good game, I just want to watch a good game." That's fine if you're talking about football and baseball but there there is actually something, there are implications to politics as a game...
MARON: There's a lot at stake. The stakes are higher.
SAM: Yes significantly higher, the notion that she perceives herself as a political journalist and society perceives her that way but yet she views all this as meaningless. And I know she does...I sat on a panel with her... 2, 3 years ago which is why I have developed this attitude towards her. I heard her say "politics is stupid"...
Listen to the excerpted audio of Sam and Marc talking about Ana Marie Cox

Listen to the full Maron VS Seder episode, courtesy of Jmach1JP
Go to Time's Ana Marie Cox bio
Go to previous Sam Seder rants on Maureen Dowd and Ana Marie Cox
Listen to Sam talking about his experience with Ana Marie Cox

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Babyface Barack Obama: Why even Fox News likes Obama

In wrestling, a 'face' or 'babyface' is a character who is popular with the fans. A face will usually have heroic qualities and is traditionally pitted against villains or unlikeable opponents. Audiences will determine if a wrestler is a face. They will be drawn in by a wrestler's charisma and persona, rewarding them by buying their merchandise and cheering for them. A 'face' can also be manufactured. This can be achieved by being contrasted with an unlikeable figure, favorable presentation or coverage i.e gushing commentators, spectacular pyrotechnics or a convincing winning streak. Ultimately it is the audience that will decide. Most are astute enough to see when they are being forced into liking someone and may resent the 'pushed' figure.

Barack Obama is the 'babyface' of American Politics. He is contrasted against a polarising candidate in Hillary Clinton and has famously been coddled by the press. Barack's kid glove treatment has been ripe for satire, as evidenced by the popularity of Saturday Night Live's many caricatures of the media with Obama.

Most negative campaigning against Obama will be overlooked through the sheer loyalty of his supporters. The qualities that made him an effective 'face' in the first place; his post-partisan approach to politics and his natural charisma as a speaker have also garnered him respect in spite of his detractors.

This was on display most recently on Fox and Friends, when Brian Kilmeade stormed off set protesting the continuous bashing of Obama by his cohosts. In recent years there has been a rise of opinion media and partisanship in American politics. Blogs, radio and TV shows are solely dedicated to promoting one political view whilst denigrating the other. Programs are no longer required or expected to show restraint or balance. Editorially, programs can omit any news positive to their ideological opponents and will elevate harmful news instead.

It has been a testament to Obama's appeal that traditionally hostile corners like Fox News and Conservative Talk Radio have given an inch to Obama. Whilst they may not be glowing endorsements or full conversions, there is no denying Obama as a baby face.

Fox News: Brian Kilmeade leaves set over Obama coverage

Chris Wallace takes Fox & Friends to task over Obama

Listen to Austin Bay, filling in for Hugh Hewitt. He defends Barack against a British official who claims people are only voting for him because of white guilt

Listen to Hugh Hewitt's conservative audience calling in to defend Obama's use of profanity in the audiobook for his memoir 'Dreams from My Father'.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Huck still Rules - Thank you Mike Huckabee

I know a lot of people come to this site by way of the APF's many Mike Huckabee wallpapers. So as a final gift to all the Huckabee supporters, one last wallpaper.

"Huck still Rules" Mike Huckabee wallpaper

Download 'Huck Still Rules' as 1024 x 768 wallpaper

Follow the links below to read my piece on how Huckabee rose to the top using techniques mirrored in wrestling:
Read 'The Rise and Rise of Mike Huckabee' Part 1 of 3
Read 'The Rise and Rise of Mike Huckabee' Part 2 of 3
Read 'The Rise and Rise of Mike Huckabee' Part 3 of 3

Monday, March 17, 2008

Hillary Clinton & Tina Fey VS Barack Obama & Tracy Morgan

There have been a lot of SNL mentions on PunditFight these last few weeks. It's managed to knock powerhouses The Colbert Report and The Daily show off their perches as the most regarded and relevant Political/Comedy shows on TV. Which isn't entirely a bad thing.

In a previous post I talked about how SNL alum Tina Fey came on the show to endorse Hillary Clinton with a comedic rant. In true wrestling fashion, Tracy Morgan appeared on SNL to rebut Tina with an endorsement of his own for Obama. For those who don't know, Tracy Morgan and Tina Fey both previously starred on SNL and now appear together on NBC's award-winning show '30 Rock'.

Tina Fey's closing argument for Hillary:
FEY: Know what? Bitches get stuff done.
(Tina Fey and Amy Poehler nod in unison)
Like back in grammar school,
they could have had priests teaching you but, no,
they had those tough old nuns who slept on cots
and who could hit ya and you Hated those bitches
But at the end of the school year
you sure knew the capital of Vermont!
So COME ON Texas and Ohio
Get on board, it’s not too late!…

Taking on Tina Fey, Tracy's Rebuttal for Obama
In conclusion...
Three weeks ago, my girl Tina Fey, she came on the show and she declared that bitch is the new black. And you know I love you Tina. You know you're my girl. But I have something to say...

Bitch may be the new black, but Black is the new President, Bitch!

Download from CrooksandLiars here

comments for Tracy's rebuttal here, from CrooksandLiars
Go to Tracy Morgan's official website
Go to Tina Fey's Bio page from '30' Rock - the show she writes, executive produces and stars in.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

The Reemergence of Saturday Night Live (and Hillary Clinton)

After rousing wins in Texas and Ohio, it wasn't just Hillary Clinton who emerged as victor. Conservative talk radio tried to take some credit for it. Rush Limbaugh and Laura Ingraham successfully mobilised their listeners to vote for Hillary in order to prolong the deadlocked Democratic Primary Race. This achievement was significant because Talk Radio's influence was diminished after they were unable to prevent the much despised John McCain from becoming the Republican Nominee.

However there was another diminished institution that reemerged into relevance after assisting Hillary to victory - Saturday Night Live. 'SNL' (as it is most commonly referred to) is an American Entertainment Icon. It has produced world renowned comedians from Eddie Murphy to Steve Martin and even APF pundit Al Franken. It was the place to turn to for laughs and topical insight.

But today SNL has struggled to remain relevant. It has been without a Marquee personality since the departures of Will Ferrell and Jimmy Fallon, the cast today is comprised of little known comedians. The show itself has been overlooked these last few years as political/comedy shows like The Colbert Report, Real Time with Bill Maher and The Daily Show have risen to prominence. In the last few weeks however things have turned around for SNL as they began to comment on the Presidential Primaries, in particular the Media's fawning treatment of Obama. In what is seen as a soft endorsement for Hillary, SNL has become a key player in politics. Overtly political shows like the Daily Show and The Colbert Report were never seen as hand maidens for any particular candidate, just in service of Comedy. SNL on the other hand was being charged with not merely going after laughs, but specifically targeting Obama.

Its all in the eye of the beholder of course. SNL denies actively promoting Hillary over Obama. In fact investigations by the New York Times and other media into the SNL "conspiracy" have found that the writers and players responsible are possibly more inclined to vote for Obama.

No matter what supporters of either side have to say, there is only one clear winner in this whole saga - Saturday Night Live.

Watch a discussion of Pro-Hillary SNL conspiracy from MSNBC's 'Live on Dan Abrams'

Read the comments for this video

Go to the official website of Saturday Night Live
View the Ultimate Roundup of SNL's Democratic Primary skits
Read the NY Times take on the issue, Pro-Clinton? ‘SNL’ Says You’re Joking
Read the LA Times' take on the issue, 'Saturday Night Live' takes pro-Hillary allegations seriously.
Read the summary from Huffington Post, SNL Boss Sees Pro-Hillary Bias As "Major Concern
Conservatives at HotAir comment on SNL alum Tina Fey's endorsement of Hiilary

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Queen Kong and Barack-zilla

The monster analogies continue, not surprising like I've said previously. Its a meme from talk radio thats bubbled up to the mainstream. What's new is the inclusion of Barack as a monster type also.

Read what liberals thought of the video, from 'Crooks and Liars'
Read the transcript of the segment from CNN

Note: When I first glanced the thumbnail of the clip and the fact it was affiliated with CNN, I immediately assumed it was a Glenn Beck segment. It's not.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

We predicted it - Obama aide quits after calling Hillary a monster

We are rarely ahead of the news here in the APF. But with our "Hillary Clinton - Monster Heel" article we managed to preempt the news of the day. Its not surprising really as it had been a meme that has been circulating around for weeks.
Obama Aide Resigns After Calling Clinton a 'Monster' in Interview With Scottish Paper
An adviser to Barack Obama who called Hillary Clinton a “monster” during an interview has resigned, apologizing for the remark amid pressure from the Clinton campaign.

Samantha Power, an unpaid foreign policy adviser to Obama and Pulitzer Prize-winning writer, made the offending comment during an interview with the Scottish newspaper The Scotsman.

Read the "Hillary Clinton - Monster Heel" Column here
Read what conservatives had to say on this issue. From HotAir.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Hillary Clinton - Monster Heel

In wrestling speak, a 'Heel' is simply a villain. Someone the audience love to hate. In the past I've talked about heels, with Ann Coulter and Bill Kristol being effective antagonists to the left. Hillary Clinton has always been a 'heel' for the Right and as the Democratic primaries have heated up she's become a 'heel' type character for segments of the left.

Hillary is a special type of Heel, a 'Monster Heel'. In wrestling, a Monster Heel is an unstoppable juggernaut who squashes opponents and is open to using dirty tactics. They will be portrayed as unfeeling brutes, often adopting characteristics from classic movie monsters. Their appeal is generated not by charisma but rather their sheer dominance.

VIDEO: Umaga in Squash Match with Scotty Goldman

The descriptor of 'Monster' functions as a noun and an adjective. The distinction between a standard heel is that a 'Monster Heel' does not purposely antagonise the audience or actively seek disapproval. They are driven only by instinct, single-minded by nature, remorseless but often misunderstood (think Frankenstein, King Kong etc...). Whilst heels like Ann Coulter and Bill Kristol take great pleasure in courting derision with inflammatory comments. Hillary generates hatred by simply being a Clinton. She is perceived by the Right and some on the Left as someone who hungers for power and will devour anything that gets in her way. She has been a polarising figure for so long that people have forgotten why she is so despised, she has simply becomes synonymous with it.

After Hillary's revival with Primary wins in Texas and Ohio, many conservative commentators spoke of Hillary's comeback using some curious analogies. In a single 30 minute segment of Hugh Hewitt's show, there were at least a half dozen different analogies to describe Hillary's comeback. Most were monster comparisons:
Hugh likening Hillary to the Mummy
"She's coming out of the crypt, Hillary is back!" and "I'm concerned that we have brought the mummy out of the tomb."

Hugh reading a listener's email, an interesting analogy for Hillary
"Hillary's comeback reminds me of the movie Fatal attraction, remember when you thought the crazy woman was dead in the bathtub."

Hugh likening Hillary to another movie monster
"If you have a chance to stake the vampire, you don't give it a glass of water and say see you tomorrow."

Hugh likening Hillary to a movie monster featured in a current Release (Prince Caspian, 2008)
"It's like the Ice Queen... I think she's getting out of the ice"

My favorite analogy, Hugh talks about Hillary's ability to deflect controversy
"She's immune from this stuff, it's like the old Barbarians of the East who would take a little bit of poison every day so they couldn't be poisoned. There's been so much, so much about Hillary and Bill that nobody listens to it anymore. It's just assumed that they're felons."

But don't think, Hillary is the only one being demonised. A caller on Hugh's show expresses fear for a greater threat.
But there's an even worse creature and that's Obama"
Listen and download the full Hugh Hewitt segment here

Hillary especially during this Democratic Primary has tried to dampen this 'Monster Heel' stereotype of her. She has tempered her infamous cackle, often lampooned by the right. She bared her feelings, showing moments of vulnerability when men taunted her by heckling "Iron my shirt" or becoming teary eyed after being moved by a woman during a campaign stop.

She is also pitted against Barack Obama, one of the biggest babyfaces in politics at the moment, possibly of all time. A Babyface is the opposite of a heel', a heroic figure and crowd favorite. This dichotomy makes for a good rivalry and interesting theatre. The contrast accentuates her perceived villainry and detracting qualities.

Her spirited fight with Barack has chipped away at her 'unstoppable' aura. In wrestling the Monster Heel persona usually occurs during the introduction stages of a new wrestler. They will often come in and go several matches undefeated creating their aura. As no wrestler can convincingly remain undefeated, inevitably the 'Monster Heel' will be beaten by a popular face. With these inescapable losses, eventually the monster heel will transition to a more mortal persona which creates a different appeal to the audience. Whilst this may be happening for Democrats, the Republicans have a vested interest in preserving the notion that Hillary is a Monster.

VIDEO: Glenn Beck analyses Hillary's Cackle

Read what Hannity supporters say of Hillary's cackle
Watch Hillary handle herself after being heckled with "Iron my Shirt' chants
Read what popular actress Natalie Portman says in defense of Hillary
Read other 'Heel' related posts
Read other 'Aura' related posts
Read about the 'Real' Hillary Clinton
Watch a Wrestling Monster Heel in action. No talking unfortunately, but then again Monster Heels are not known for their mic work.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Hillary Clinton the victor with help from Rush and Tina Fey

Its New Hampshire all over again. After all the momentum going against Hillary the last few weeks and the media all but counting her out. She has achieved the improbable by winning her sudden-death elimination primaries to remind people this is still going to be a loooong race and that the Clinton's never say die.

The media has been quick to credit Hillary's victory to Rush Limbaugh.

Considering Rush's inability to mobilise his listeners to NOT vote for McCain as the Republican nominee. I'm choosing Tina Fey's wicked promo for Hillary as my preferred anecdotal reasoning credited for her victory.

rush limbaugh hillary clinton democrats
Read why Rush wants Hillary to win
Read - Hillary tells Rush to be careful what he wishes for
Read - We Got What We Wanted: Chaos
Read - Drive-Bys Say Limbaugh Plan "Perverts" the Democratic Process

Watch and Download Tina Fey's promo in support of Hillary on SNL
Watch The MSNBC pundits comment on Tina Fey's promo on SNL

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Final Showdown: Hillary and Obama in Texas

I did say I was going to "retire" the Primary PPV posters. But this one was too good to pass up with all the media attention on it.
Ohio + Texas primary | March 4, 2008
(WWE Insurrextion)
Without further adieu, here is the Poster for the Texas/Ohio primary held on March 4.

It only features the democrats as Hillary and Obama are the only story going. McCain is presumed the Republican nominee as Huckabee is mathematically not able to catch up to McCain. For the Democrats, its still anyone's game even if Hillary does the improbable and wins both primaries. Will I need to make a poster for the Superdelegates and the democratic convention. Time will tell I guess.

Last Man Standing Match
Hillary Clinton VS Barack Obama
No holds barred, the candidate who cannot get up after a standing delegate count loses.

Read more about the Texas/Ohio primary at the PBS' "Vote 2008" minisite
Watch the action of the Democratic Texas Debate
See all the Primary PPV posters made so far