Monday, June 28, 2010

Glenn Beck and the Conservative punditocracy weigh in on the World Cup

World Cup fever is sweeping the globe. As Tom Mendelsohn writes for the 'The Independent' (UK), conservative pundits aren't necessarily on board.
The World Cup vs the American Right
There’s a World Cup on, you’ll have noticed. Depending on your tolerance for empty platitudes, it’s either a joyous carnival of global fellow-feeling, or an excuse to have a month’s sit-down football binge.

Unless, of course, you’re a conservative American media pundit, in which case the whole farrago is a giant four-week excuse to flare your nostrils, beat your chest and proudly trumpet your increasingly deranged xenophobia amidst a rare backdrop of useful context.

The American Right, you see, hates soccer. None of them, however, are quite sure why; they just know that it threatens them in some unknown way, and then try to construct arguments to fit their prejudices...
Below is a partial transcript of Beck's rant against Obama's policies which he likened to the World Cup

VIDEO: Glenn Beck on the World Cup and President Obama's policies

GLENN BECK: Barack Obama’s policies are the World Cup. Their policies, his policies are the World Cup of political thought. It doesn’t matter how you sell it to us. It doesn’t matter how many celebrities you get. It doesn’t matter how many bars open early. It doesn’t matter how many beer commercials they run. We don’t want the World Cup. We don’t like the World Cup. We don’t like soccer. We want nothing to do with it.

You can package it any way -- you can spend all kinds of money. You can force it on our television sets. We will not enjoy the World Cup.

The rest of the world likes Barack Obama’s policies. We do not, and I’m cool with that. If you want Barack Obama’s policies or the World Cup in your country have at it. I don’t hate you. I don’t understand you, but I don’t hate you... I believe that everything you need to know about Barack Obama’s policies can be explained by the World Cup… Congratulations to Barack Obama and his polices that will have as much success as the World Cup in America. Go try those polices someplace else. They’ll be wildly successful.
One surefire way of converting a skeptic is to sweep them with the national euphoria of victory. America's dramatic last minute win over Algeria, catapulted America into the Top 16 and the top of their pool whilst converting a fairweather Stephen Colbert.

VIDEO: Colbert Report - US Defeats Algeria
US Defeats Algeria
The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c

Colbert Report Full EpisodesPolitical HumorFox News

STEPHEN COLBERT: Now Nation. I don't know why. But I suddenly realised that I'm a long time fan of Soccer
Watch a video compilation of "Pre-convert" Stephen Colbert railing against Soccer, The World Cup and what he believes it represents - Stephen Colbert: World Cup

Sunday, June 27, 2010

EpixHD presents Janeane Garofalo's new stand-up special 'If you Will'

Actor, comedian and liberal activist Janeane Garofalo will be gracing us with her comedy stylings via subscription site Epix HD. The online movie channel is hosting Janeane's stand-up special taped May 8, 2010 at the Moore Theatre in Seattle, WA.

You can find plenty of Janeane Garofalo content and interviews as well as watch the entire special via the Garofalo page on EpixHD - Janeane Garofalo: If You Will

Watch Janeane on the Huffington Post responding to reader submitted questions - VIDEO: Janeane Garofalo On Obama vs. McChrystal, Glenn Beck's Douchiness & Justin Bieber's Hair

Read an AV Club interview of Janeane Garofalo here
Onion AV Club interview - Janeane Garofalo
AVC: You gave an interview several years back, deep in the heart of the Bush administration, where you said that the reason that you didn’t do stand-up as much then was that you didn’t find anything funny anymore. So can we assume that you’re ready to laugh again?

JG: Yeah, there was so much stuff that broke my heart during the Bush years that I honestly could not do stand-up without going down one of those tangents and getting very strident. But also I was working at Air America five nights a week, so it was very difficult to do stand-up, because I wasn’t leaving Air America until 11 p.m. So there was that. Now, granted, there are still as many heartbreaking things going on. There are so many things in the Obama administration to be sick over that certainly didn’t change. And also our media, if it’s possible, seems to be getting even worse. The alleged news media. And then there are the teabag racists adding insult to injury. But I don’t have that same heartbreak anymore, because it’s not fresh heartbreak anymore. It’s like I’m used to it. I’m sure we all are just used to it.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Linda McMahon named in WWE lawsuit

hat tip via Matt Lewis' Facebook for this piece of wrestling news
McMahon named in WWE lawsuit
Republican Senate candidate Linda McMahon, the former Worldwide Wrestling Entertainment CEO, is facing a lawsuit over her former company's alleged promotional use of a wrestler who died more than a decade ago.

"I was shocked to learn earlier this year that they have been using Owen’s name and likeness in videos, websites, television programs and print materials. Given this callous, insensitive and irresponsible behavior, one must question the moral character of Vince and Linda McMahon and the manner in which they conduct their business," Hart also said in the statement.
Matt Lewis is a political writer and podcaster who we've established is a wrestling and fight fan.

Find previous Linda McMahon posts here
- Former WWE CEO Linda McMahon wins GOP nod in Connecticut
- WWE's Linda McMahon on 'The View', leads GOP hopefuls for Connecticut Senate seat
- WWE's Linda McMahon prepares Connecticut Senate run

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Marc Maron's WTF podcast Ep 23: Wyatt Cenac talks pundits and professional wrestling

Sean Hannity VS Keith Olbermann
On November 9, 2009 Cable News rivals Keith Olbermann and Sean Hannity were in attendance at Yankee Stadium for Game 6 of the World Series. On March 15, 2010 Wyatt Cenac performed a sketch that used the analogy that American Punditry was like professional wrestling.

At the time of the sketch I speculated whether the analogy was simply drawn from the ether like it had been so many times. Or quite ambitiously, perhaps somehow this blog was in their orbit.

On November 19, 2009 Marc Maron hosted Comedian and Daily Show correspondent Wyatt Cenac on his WTF podcast. Among other things they spoke about punditry, pro-wrestling and the interactions between Sean Hannity and Keith Olbermann at that baseball game.
WTF with Marc Maron Podcast: Episode 23 - Wyatt Cenac (starts at 39min mark)
WYATT CENAC: ... It gets frustrating... You can watch Hannity or Countdown. Then you can watch Hannity or Olbermann talk about each other or each other's networks. Or talk about how horrible the other side is. Yet then they can take photos of each other at a Yankees game like its no big deal.

MARC MARON: Like you said before, it really is all professional wrestling. The sad thing is, people are really struggling for a lot of different reasons... and they don't really know what to do with those frustrations. So when you've got these ideologues or these pundits... who are driving media culture leading them in a direction. They just want some temporary relief or some satisfaction and they are so easily misguided in times that are desperate...

Because like you said these guys are going to Yankee games together... having steaks and beers, laughing at the different sides they're on but are in the same business. But a great many people in the country just want some resolution or truth. Something that will bring them together that isn't based in some kind of choosing sides.

WYATT CENAC: Maybe in some ways we need pro-wrestling to step up...
The discussion is quite incisive and expansive moving on to speculation that Keith Olbermann and Sean Hannity should take a page from the Iron Sheik and Hulk Hogan. The conversation degenerates into absurd imaginings of an Annual "Pundit Cage match to the death". Its worth noting that the act of preserving the illusion that wrestling is real is called 'kayfabe'.
MARC MARON: ...We've rendered down [hatred in America] to a problem with professional wrestling. But sadly there's always going to be the crazy caller type of person who still will not be able to deal with the fact that the Iron Sheik and Hulk Hogan will have lunch together
WYATT CENAC: And that's when we need to do a better job with our professional wrestlers. When the cameras are off they still can't interact...

... with the amount of hatred and anger that they seem to have for each other... the way you guys [Sean and Keith] talk about each other I expected that you guys would have just picked up bats and started going at each other
MARC MARON: Own it! Stay in it. Stay in character. Maybe if we had Olbermann and Hannity dress up as professional wrestlers...
Read Keith Olbermann's original posting on his Sean Hannity encounter at the World Series below:
America's Biggest Small Town
And lastly, a reminder that baseball does erase boundaries. The guy [Sean Hannity] I'm taking a photo of, who's taking a photo of me [Keith Olbermann] - we get along perfectly at the ballpark - less so during our day jobs.
Wyatt Cenac expands and popularises the Wrestling analogy on a later episode of the 'Daily Show'
Jon Stewart, Wyatt Cenac and Mick Foley endorse the analogy that American Politics is like pro-wrestling

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Republican UFC Fighter Chael Sonnen withdraws from Oregon Senate Race

In an earlier post I wrote about rising MMA star Chael Sonnen. Influential RadioTalker, Mark Levin had endorsed Chael both as a fighter and champion for Conservatism, interviewing him on his run for office and recent victory at UFC 109.

In breaking news, Chael has unfortunately had to withdraw from his Senate bid after a legal issue surfaced which threatened to disrupt his campaign. This will not affect Sonnen's day job, he is still on track for the fight of his life as the #1 contender against popular Middleweight champion, Anderson Silva at UFC 117.
Chael Sonnen Announces Withdrawal From Oregon Senate Race
Chael Sonnen plans to withdraw from the Oregon senate race, according to statements made Tuesday and reported by FIGHT! Magazine.

Running unopposed last month, Sonnen won the Republican primaries in Oregon's House District 37, earning him a bid for an Oregon House of Representatives seat against Democratic nominee Will Rasmussen in the general elections this November.

According to Sonnen, the resignation was not due to his his preparations for a title shot against Anderson Silva at UFC 117 in August, nor was it because of recent controversy stemming from his "fake" Twitter account, but instead, a "legal issue."

"In the best interests of my district, I am resigning from my campaign for the Oregon House of Representatives," Sonnen said in a statement. "A 2006 legal issue has arisen that needs my immediate attention. I am not at liberty to disclose the details, but my name was involved in a real estate case that requires a ruling. If the ruling is adverse, I would be disqualified from running for office until 2011.
With this news it seems Chael's official campaign website has been deactivated, though this may only be temporary.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

"Rush Limbaugh's braggadocio patterned after Muhammad Ali": 'Army of One' author Zev Chafets discusses with Matt Lewis

A new Rush Limbaugh book has been released, 'Army of One' authored by Zev Chayets who you may recall managed the rare cover-story profile of Limbaugh for New York Times Magazine.
Rush Limbaugh: An Army of One (Hardcover)
... But there was much more to say, especially after Limbaugh became Public Enemy Number One of the Obama Administration. At first Limbaugh resisted the idea of a full-length portrait, but he eventually invited Chafets back to Florida and exchanged more than a hundred emails full of his personal history, thoughts, fears and ambitions. What has emerged is an uniquely personal look at the man who is not only the most popular voice on the radio, but the leader of the conservative movement and one of the most influential figures in the Republican Party...

Chafets paints a compelling portrait of Limbaugh as a master entertainer, a public intellectual, a political force, and a fascinating man.
Matt Lewis recently hosted Zev on his 'Matt Lewis Show' podcast to discuss the book. They spoke of Rush Limbaugh's braggadocio and how it was seemingly patterned after charismatic boxer and famed talker, Muhammad Ali.
Rush Limbaugh Biographer Zev Chafets on the Podcast
MATT LEWIS: How did you learn he was emulating Ali?

ZEV CHAFETS: I didn't say he was emulating Ali, I would say he was very influenced by him and particularly I'm talking about his style. The notion that you can take the curl of your personality and blow it up to gargantuan proportions and become braggadocious. Predict the round you opponent is gonna fall, have nicknames for the guys you're gonna fight and all the other things Rush does. And draw big crowds that way. Of course that only works if you can actually fight.

MATT LEWIS: I guess my question is, that comparison was that only your observation or did Rush tell you he looked to Ali
ZEV CHAFETS: When I said that to Rush, he looked at me and said that's very shrewd observation
MATT LEWIS: Haha, I love it.
- Listen to the Matt Lewis/ Zev Chafets discussion here

Matt Lewis' interest in the comparison is not surprising as he once used a wrestling analogy to describe the political episode of Arlen Specter's defection to the Democrats - TownHall's Matt Lewis: "Arlen Specter as Hulk Hogan"