Monday, November 29, 2010

Tea Bagging America until the Money Shot

Judging by his expression, we'd guess Teabaggee.
When did the porn industry become media trendsetters? Entering Borders on Friday afternoon, the cover of Dana Milbank's Tears of a Clown greeted shoppers on the new release shelf. Glenn Beck's scowling mug graced the cover, but it was the subtitle: Glenn Beck and the Tea Bagging of America that really caught the eye. It wasn't the first time we'd seen "tea bagging" or "tea baggers" used as an insulting play on the Tea Party but it was the first time we'd seen it displayed proudly in a bookstore.

The whole tea bag thing all began as an unfortunate sign carried at a Tea Party rally, and quickly morphed into a derogatory Internet punchline. For obvious reasons, we expected it to stay there since the traditional use of "tea bagging" is slang for a sex act wherein a man dips his testicles in and out of a partner's mouth à la steeping a cup of tea. As charming as it sounds, it wasn't something we expected to see make the news. Yet MSNBC and CNN have been making "tea bagging" jokes since at least the beginning of the year. Anderson Cooper said with obvious expertise that, "It's hard to talk when you're tea bagging." Thanks for the tip, Anderson. And Rachel Maddow enhanced her standing as a serious journalist while pondering Ana Marie Cox's question, "Who wouldn't want to tea bag John McCain?" Unsatisfied, Maddow later cemented her claim as heir to Walter Cronkite when she said, "Even Governor Mark Sanford of South Carolina is getting in on the hot tea-bagging action." Kids... smutty double entendres on the news are funny because they're trained journalists. If you do it, you're just being childish.

However, Tea Bag does not a trend make. For that we need to return to CNN and Wolf Blitzer:

The reason Cafferty cracked up is that a "money shot" is porn industry slang for the conclusion of a pornographic interlude when the male performer ejaculates onto his partner. Nine to five jobs may not be the most glamorous professions, but at least someone doesn't come on your head to let you know it's quitting time. As Stephen Ziplow writes, "the money shot, is the most important element in the movie and that everything else (if necessary) should be sacrificed at its expense." The term has made a somewhat shady migration to the mainstream to refer to any big moment or major payoff. Still, the original connotation tends to overwhelm the senses, so to speak, and makes for unintentional comedy. Take the CNN commenter who yelled out, "there's the money shot" as a freed Chilean miner was reunited with his wife. That's a little awkward. Sure he was down in that cave for sixty-eight days, but where's the staying power? Don't they have baseball in Chile?

Perhaps the media is trying to find a way to connect with its deteriorating viewership. A lot more people appear to be watching porn than the news (28,258 Internet users are viewing pornography per second) so maybe it's a smart move. Perhaps porn is the new lingua franca - a secret, unacknowledged language for our modern, fragmented world. If that is the case, bravo media for innovating but have the courage of your convictions... don't stop at two. There have got to be loads more inappropriate pornographic terms begging to be adapted for family newspapers. As always, Die In a Fire is happy to help get you started:
  • DP - verb. Two people acting in concert to screw a third. Usage: Michelle O'Donnell teamed up with Chris Coons to DP Mike Castle and the GOP in Delaware.
  • Snowball - verb. To regift, to pass on to a second party. Usage: Tom Delay was convicted this week of illegally snowballing almost $200,000 in cash to Texas GOP candidates.
  • Reach Around - noun. An inadequate gift or compensation. Usage: The State of New York gave the wrongly convicted man a reach around of five million dollars to compensate him for the twenty years he lost in jail.
  • Dirty Sanchez - verb. To rub something in a persons face in a taunting manner. Usage: O.J. Simpson dirty sanchezed Nicole Brown's family while announcing he would not rest until her killer was brought to justice.
Oh, and porn industry, you shouldn't feel cheated. You deserve equal time. So why don't you take the vastly overused mainstream expression "jump the shark" and make it something incredibly dirty and degrading. Mazel Tov!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Vote Palin: This isn't the Reality TV Envisioned in the Constitution

Democracy Gives Me WINGS!!!
Last time we checked, the U.S. sponsored four different types of elections: state, county, city or district. That's it. Reality TV? Not a category. So no, voting for Bristol Palin on Dancing with the Stars doesn't qualify as participating in the democratic process, you incredible nincompoops. We're looking at you, Ken Flaa, 54, of Mullica Hill, N.J. who said in an AP article this week, "I first voted for Bristol because of Sarah [...] I have been a fan of Sarah Palin since 2008. I feel her, her family and the Tea Party are most aligned with my thinking about government."

Putting aside the fact that you somehow see Sarah Palin's husband and children as aligning with your thinking about government, what the fuck are you talking about? And why is a fifty-four year old man watching Dancing with the Stars in the first place? Was it a hard choice between that and Gossip Girl, or did you DVR Gossip Girl so you could watch Bristol live while your cocoa was still hot? You do understand that a vote for a teenage girl is not a vote for Sarah Palin? You do understand that, right?

And, and this is a very important and, you do understand that Sarah Palin isn't running for anything? Really critical you lock this down: Sarah Palin quit her elected post to do reality TV on TLC and wander the media spouting stupid shit. What stupid shit? Well, like for instance regarding the recent tension along the Korean border she said, "This speaks to a bigger picture here that certainly scares me in terms of our national security policy. But obviously we’ve gotta stand with our North Korean allies.” We'll let that sink in. Reminds us of the time FDR goofed, "Yesterday, December 7, 1941 - a date which will live in infamy - the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of Australia!" (Whispers off) "What?" (Whispers off) "Oh, erm, my B, ... attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan!" Happens to the best of us.

But Ken Flaa isn't alone in his politization of Bristol Palin. Nay, he's part of an angry block of good, honest American Dancing with the Stars viewers who are sick of the corruption and laissez faire attitude on the show. Like Ken, they see voting for Bristol Palin as the first step to the reform so desperately needed on reality TV. Not like those namby-pamby East Coast Dancing with the Stars fans who are all about sequins and foreign dance styles. For god sake, we're in the middle of a recession and Dancing with the Stars budget is through the roof. Once elected, Bristol Palin will have an adult conversation with the entrenched powers at DWTS about cutting back on sets, on costumes, on guest stars until the budget is balanced. And then she'll keep working until Dancing with the Stars until it is once again the reality show that the founding fathers laid out in the Bill of Rights. You betcha.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Thanks to Byran Fischer We're all Gonna Die in a Fire

What's the broad doin' on my medal?
For twenty-four terrifying hours, fire departments across the country were rocked by the mass resignation of firefighters. Firehouses, dangerously understaffed, were unable to respond to alarms and  fires raged out of control. The cause of the walkout was Byran Fischer, "Director of Issue Analysis" at the American Family Association. Usually, Fischer gets his scripture in a twist over stuff like Ten Commandment monuments and which department stores are dishonoring Christmas, but last week his issue du jour was how America had "feminized the Medal of Honor."

At first, we assumed that meant Congress had begun accessorizing its highest military honor with a sassy blouse, a micro-mini from Forever 21 and oversized Dior sunglasses. We agreed that while fabulous that hardly seemed appropriate for the somber tone usually associated with that type of thing. However, we're assured that Fischer's actual grievance is with the type of valor displayed by recipients. Specifically Staff Sgt. Salvatore Giunta who "went into the open to pull one comrade to safety and then fought to free a dying pal who was being dragged away by Taliban fighters."

All well and good, according to Fischer but a bit femmy for the CMOH. Couldn't Giunta have killed a few more guys in the process? You know, liven things up a bit? Fischer just wants soldiers to do more killing and less valiantly saving each others lives, which is frankly a little gay. Thusly (getting into the whole Biblical thang) Fischer argued compellingly in his blog that saving lives is feminine while "killing people and breaking things so our families can sleep safely at night" is a virile, manly pursuit. Hence the walkout by firefighters who were sickened to discover that they were not heroic studs after all but actually girly lifesaving tarts.

Fortunately, the crisis was averted suddenly when the firemen realized that many of them actually liked women, had been raised by women and more than a few were currently raising children with women. And when they thought about it there were quite a few things about women that they quite liked and admired. So if saving lives was feminine then so were they thank you very much Byran Fischer. They further agreed that Byran Fischer was a dick and that if his house catches on fire then he can put on a dress and put it out himself.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Roy Sekoff: A Face Made for the Internet

 Yoohoo, Christopher Nolan...

Seriously, who let this walking Batman villain on television? We're sure the Joker needs a day job too, but cable television pundit? Sorry but this guy creeps us out. Trying hard to imagine any scenario where his grinning melon wouldn't make the hairs on our necks go all upward facing dog. If your car broke down, and this guy got out of the tow truck, you're honestly saying you wouldn't let a little go? Or if this guy was your barista at Starbucks, and he handed you a seasonal Gingerbread Latte while smiling that smile would you drink it? Or would you give it to the homeless guy out front? That's what we thought.

Look, he's just a freaky looking motherfucker, and should stay off TV. It's that simple. Yeah, he's a very accomplished fellow and founded Huffington Post, but based on that photo we're more interested in what he's been huffing lately. Can chardonnay be inhaled? It's those eyes... those crazy, crazy eyes that follow you everywhere. What could MSNBC possibly want to interview him about? Shorting fava bean futures? His new line of Halloween masks? The art of stepping out of the shadows slowly?

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Roger Ailes: Nazi Hunter

NPR Nazis, I hate these guys.
Apparently, Simon Wiesenthal and the Jewish Document Center had it wrong. For years, the prevailing theory was that Nazis either adopted new identities in the chaotic aftermath of WWII or else fled to safe havens in South America where they adopted creepy English accents and tortured American method actors. That's where Nazi Hunters devoted their energy as they spent the latter half of the twentieth century trailing these fugitives and building cases against them. But both the hunters and the hunted have gotten older, and most of assumed (falsely) that sixty years after the war that any Nazis that evaded detection must be at death's door.

Thankfully, Roger Ailes, Fox News Chairman is on the case. Don't let the jowls and double chin fool you, Roger is a Nazi Hunter of the first order. Among Nazis, he's refered to only in hushed tones as Der Türkei. Stories of his exploits are used to scare small Nazi children in their beds. In an exclusive interview with Howard Kurtz, Ailes revealed that he has uncovered a sinister enclave of Nazis living and working right here in America. Unwilling to merely survive undetected, these Nazis have, in a bold display of hubris, revealed their "Nazi Attitude," and formed a powerful cabal within National Public Radio. Undoubtedly their sinister plot is to spread the tenets of National Socialism while keeping an eye out for the Ark of the Covenant.

Many questions remain: How did so many Nazis get into the U.S. undetected? How did so many of them get jobs in radio? How does NPR figure into their plot to resume Hitler's diabolical final solution? No doubt, Ailes will be forthcoming with details in the coming days. But in the meantime, even a cursory review of NPR's programs makes one wonder how only Ailes saw through NPR:
  • All Things Considered, Mein Fuhrer
  • The Diane Von Rehm Show
  • Aufzugskabine Talk
  • Talk of the Aryan Nation
  • On Point, Ya Schnell!!!!
We's just so clear now. Thank you, Roger Ailes. We don't know how you developed your acute Naz-dar; perhaps through years of intimate study? Well, it doesn't really matter because we'll all sleep a little sounder knowing that you're vigilantly hunting down the remnants of the most evil political movement in the history of mankind. After all, if they've gained control of public radio what other media outlets could they have their hooks into? Which indeed...

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Bill Clinton Wants to Give You a Hangover

Call Me, Judd Apatow... Ringy Dingy.
So you're Bill Clinton (we'll give you a second to get into character). Are you feeling randy and neglected? Okay, here's the state of the union: you've been out of office for over a decade. There's just not a lot going on. You saved those girls from North Korea, and that was pretty boss. It's only a matter of time until the Democrats ask you to save the party from that lame Obama, but in the meantime what's a dude to do? The Fam is no help. Hillary is off doing her hoitytoity Secretary of State thing. And natch, Chelsea is a newlywed with no time for her old man. No one asks about your boxers or briefs anymore. Arsenio Hall got canceled, and stupid Conan O'Brien won't let you play sax on his new show even though it would be super sweet. Even Monica's people won't return your people's calls. It's been simply ages since you've gotten jiggy with it.

What's needed is a game changer. Something no ex-president has ever done. Something to put you back on the map, and reestablish your bad boy cred. But what? Its got to be cool but incredibly un-presidential. Maybe try acting? Actors have become presidents, but no president has ever become an actor. It's just not what ex-presidents do. But no president ever misused a cigar before you either. You're Bill Fucking Clinton, and if you want to be in a movie then you'll be in a G.D. movie. And forget classy. None of that prestige picture crap those Weinstein boys produce. What you're thinking about is The Hangover 2. You loved the first movie. Four drunken degenerates lost in Las Vegas with a hooker, her baby and Mike Tyson. Totally been there. Classic Bill. Fuck if the 90s didn't rule all. Plus it's filming in Thailand. What could go wrong? You know they got themselves an island called Phuket? Nothing says dignity of the Office of the President like a cameo in a raunchy sex comedy.

And now, in honor of this historic moment, a very silly list of presidential sequels:

John F. Kennedy in...         In The Line of Fire 2: This Time It's Personal         
Calvin Coolidge...              Born on the Forth of July 2                 
Abraham Lincoln in...        Tyler Perry's Gettysburg Address
Thomas Jefferson in...       Jungle Fever 2: Hot Monticello Nights
Richard Nixon in...            The Jerk 2
Lyndon B. Johnson in...    Platoon 2: Westmoreland's Revenge
Dwight Eisenhower in...   Caddyshack 3: The 19th Hole 
Barack Obama in...           Guess Who's Coming to the State Dinner
Ulysses S. Grant in...         Saw 7: Grant's Tomb
Theodore Roosevelt in...   The Fast and the Furious: Rough Riders
George H. W. Bush in...    Bedtime for Bonzo 2
George W. Bush in...         Dr. Strangelove 2: or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and 
                                           Love Manufacturing Evidence as a Pretext for War

Can anyone add to slash improve on this list?

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Call of Duty: N-Word Ops

Birth of an Online Nation
We don't know if Microsoft offers groupons to neo-nazis or if violent video games just attract backwards ass clowns, but yesterday was undoubtedly the beginning of their online mardi gras. Albeit a mardi gras with really, really offensive papier mâché floats. Why? Because yesterday marked the release of Call of Duty: Black Ops - a Fat Tuesday of sorts for the virulent, racist doucebags that fritter away their lives playing games on XBox Live.

Perhaps calling it "Black Ops" was Infinity Ward's subtle nod to their racist fan base, because that fan base responded by buying north of five million copies of their new shooter on Tuesday (at sixty bucks a pop so you do the math). By midnight rednecks everywhere were gleefully killing each other and speculating which players sound like Mexicans (bad), which players sound like niggers (worse), and which players sound like faggots (worst). If you do log on be prepared for the following standard question: "Are you a faggot? You sound like a faggot." There's a pretty rigidly established ziggurat of hatred on Xbox Live, and they care enough to degrade you accurately. It's not a new phenomenon; it's been going on for years: new violent shooter comes out, and Xbox Live headsets once again ring with racist and homophobic slurs.

Fortunately, companies like Infinity Ward and Xbox Live hide behind the following legalese: Online Interactions Not Rated by the ESRB. Which basically translates as: we don't care if the hillbilly's from Deliverance playing online are racist fucks, they have broadband connections and pay the subscription fee. So consider yourself warned ye of faint heart. Theoretically, Xbox Live offers a system for reporting abusive behavior but since they never follow up and there's any diminution in the quantity of racist chatter it feels useless to file complaints. So either you quit playing, or feel like you need a chemical shower for being silently complicit in a cyber Klan rally.

So if you feel at all optimistic about race relations, gender politics or gay rights then an hour online will set you straight. It's a good time. There's nothing like a twelve year old spewing racist insults in a thick Kentucky drawl while looming over your digital corpse to make you want to put your head in an oven.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Highway Safety and The Apocalypse

HOV - The Living.
So it's a beautiful shot - lone survivor entering the city of Atlanta on horseback. The charred remains of cars in the traffic jam from hell: the failed exodus from a zombie apocalypse. It just oozes tragic ennui. The director, Frank Darabont, must have wet himself composing this sequence since it became one of the teaser posters for the series. But it's the worst thing about the first episode and mars what is otherwise a meticulously researched show that owes its lineage to the Max Brooks' school of zombies. Why strive for realism, Frank, if you're going to throw it away on one cheap Independence Day style shot?

Here in Washington DC, we have a little thing we like to call rush hour. Perhaps you have it in your city too. It happens twice a day, and can last upwards of five hours both morning and night. It's a soul crushing experience where otherwise reasonable people - the type that religiously change the batteries in their smoke and carbon monoxide detectors - will accelerate wildly to eighty-eight miles an hour, change two lanes without a blinker and slam on the breaks just to gain three car lengths. And they'll do all this on a cellphone with their precious six month old in the backseat. It's a lawless, near anarchic time of day.

Yet Frank Darabont wants us to believe that should traffic backup during the zombie apocalypse, people would patiently wait their turn to merge while the five inbound lanes sit pristine and unused. That people who will drive in the emergency lane to get home for Dancing With The Stars wouldn't drive on the wrong side of the highway to avoid zombies eating their brains? Give us a fucking break.  Apparently Hollywood hasn't learned anything since Independence Day. Remember the scene where Jeff Goldblum sped from New York to DC while refuges stuck in traffic waited to be turned into crispy Pop Tarts. Is that how Hollywood thinks Americans go out? Stuck in traffic? Forget that shit. Sayonara suckers, see you in hell. We'd be doing eighty-eight on the wrong side of the highway without a moments hesitation. We're happy to take the points on our license, but you'll have to mail us the ticket 'cause we ain't stopping. And we wouldn't be alone. Sorry if that fucks up your shot, Frank Darabont, here's a number you can call to complain:

How's my Driving? 1-800-Die-In-a-Zombie-Apocalypse!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Sharron Angle Retires from the Tea Party

I'm Lost, How Do I Get to Main Street From Here?
 Well Sharron Angle lost, and in her concession speech she said the following:
"They may call us the Tea Party, but we know we're Main Street America."
"They" may call us the Tea Party? Who may? Sharon, the Tea Party dubbed itself the Tea Party. It's not a pejorative being slung at you by your enemies. It's the name the Tea Party chose so it's a little late to start acting like it's some insulting term that "they" hung around your neck. Or is it...

Tea Party activists take note. You just got thrown under the bus. Your candidates rode your anger as far as they could, but once they realize it got them attention but not actual votes they will jettison you faster than Stephen Slater deplanes. Brace yourselves for an epic rebranding. Here's how it will work:

First the candidates that lost are going to distance themselves from being identified as Tea Partiers. Perhaps suggesting, as Sharron Angle is, that "Tea Party" is a term invented by the "lame stream media" to tar them with. You may even hear them call themselves "Main Streeters" or something that connotes "middle." Then they'll try to straddle demographics. They'll try to appeal to the Republican base while trying to convince you that they are still your best option even as they become less radicalized. In turn, you will become more frustrated and alienated as you feel your candidates sell you out. Individually and collectively, you will become disillusioned about your disillusionment, lose steam and splinter into even more radicalized sub-groups (see: Democratic Party and their 10,000 ineffective special interests).

About that time the economy will improve, not because the government fixed it but because that's what economy's eventually do all on their lonesome. The economy improves, jobs reappear, and the whole impetus for the Tea Party goes away. At least until the next time there is a recession when Americans will rediscover that their government is broken. And they'll be super angry about it too... until it improves again. You think the government wasn't any less broken from 1994-2008? Sure it was, but we had a nice healthy .COM boom with which to finance our Suburbans. We only care when it interferes with the number of times a week we can eat at Applebees. It's just a cycle... rinse and repeat, rinse and repeat.

But in the meantime, would you mind not calling Sharon Angle a Tea Partier? She can't for the life of her imagine why anyone would call her that.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Vince Vaughn: The New Super-Sized Tom Hanks?

Before: On the Hunt.
After: Snoozing in a Tree Digesting a Billy Goat.

We're not the first ones to point it out, but just saw the trailer for Vince Vaughn's new flick The Dilemma, and shit is out of control. The movie looks godawful, but after Couples Retreat it's still a step up because the premise limits the scenes of Vaughn in a swimsuit. Other than that it's unclear why Vaughn would sign up for Ron Howard's follow up to last year's uber-awesome Angels and Demons. Maybe he's hoping to be the new Tom Hanks, and hitch his chuck wagon to Ron Howard who must be running out of Dan Brown novels to bore us with.

Afterall, Tom Hanks is the gold standard for getting work when you're overweight and balding. Take Saving Private Ryan: everyone but Tom Hanks looks appropriately gaunt and haggard like maybe there's a war on. Apparently Tom Hanks' character found the only Denny's in the European Theater and had been rocking the Grand Slam breakfast four times a day since Pearl Harbor. Vince Vaughn loves Saving Private Ryan. Guaranteed, he gets all misty-eyed watching Tom Hanks waddle up the beach at Normandy. Downright inspired, and Vince is probably thinking, "hey, I can waddle every bit as good as Tom Hanks who ain't getting any younger." Ron Howard is just the first, labored step.

Which brings us to the question, what the fuck happened to Vince Vaughn? Cause thinking back on him in Swingers, it's clear to see that he's accumulated some mileage on those tires. Vaughn is forty now; Charlie Sheen and Robert Downey Jr. are each five years older than him and have Mexican drug cartels named in their honor yet Vaughn still looks like warm ass by comparison. How is that possible? He's become a celebrity turducken except instead of a duck someone deboned Jon Favereau and jammed him up Vaughn's ass before the deep fat frying. He's just all swolled up... did he lose a bet and have to dry hump a hornet's nest?

Needlessly cruel? Perhaps, but we're not questioning his right to let himself go to hell. This is America, where we are free to eat, drink and wallow in our diminished quality of life. All we're questioning is why we have to watch it on screen. Shouldn't Vaughn be relegated to Lifetime movies by now with the occasional moving comeback appearance on Oprah thrown in every three years? Name one actress that would be allowed to gorge themselves until their jawline vanished like the polar ice cap and still land leading roles. Cause it sure ain't Kirstie Alley playing Vince's love interest, no, it's skinny Jennifer Connelly who is smaller than Michael Cera's range. She weighs less than the Lost Box Set - missionary position with Vaughn would be a death sentence. She would simply fossilize under the enormous, geothermal pressure.

We're not saying there's not a place for fat white guys in movies, there is, it just isn't on top of Jennifer Connelly. What is the deal with forcing us to watch women with gym memberships mate with the Dunkin' Donuts guy? We would have bought Connelly and Vaughn fifteen years ago, but now it just looks like a celluloid mercy fuck gone wrong. And Kevin James, also in The Proposal, somehow landed Winona Ryder as his love interest. Kevin James outweighs Jennifer Connelly and Winona Ryder combined. It strains credulity, and we're sick of the myth that charming and funny cancels out porcine and rotund.

Look, all we're saying is it ought to be a warning sign when you're cast in a movie with Kevin James and "the fat one" doesn't clear anything up. Will Smith didn't have that problem in Hitch, trust us. So either pull your shit together Vaughn, or else lobby for Kathy Bates as your love interest.