September 25, 2007

Who Opened Up the Crazy Can?

Events of the past two weeks have reminded me of the quote from Hunter S. Thompson: "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." And the pros turned out in force, in virtually every field. Here are some of the highlights:

1. It all started with the MTV Video Music Awards on September 9. Britney Spears opened the show with a dance number that garnered reviews reminscent of Dean Wormer of "Animal House" fame ("fat, drunk and stupid is no way to go through life"). Britney's performance also spawned an especially passionate response by the extremely androgynous and appropriately named Chris Crocker. Chris' performance in turned garnered numerous satirical imitations. Expect Crocker to receive personal appearance contracts from the same folks who signed William Hung to his record deal.

2. O.J. Simpson. Need I say more? On the night of Thursday, September 13, O.J. Simpson and his buddies stormed a Las Vegas hotel room and robbed some sports memorabilia dealers at gunpoint of numerous items which O.J. claims are his. One of the robbers taped himself committing the robbery (can you hear the weirdness meter breaking?), and the audio tape also demonstrated that the gang trapped the dealers in the hotel room, which, under the law, is kidnapping. Three days later, the police arrested O.J. and charged him with 6 felonies and other offenses that could land him in jail for life.

3. In the world of politics, September 19-20 registered especially high on the crazy scale. The Democrats, who were elected to the majority in Congress last November, suddenly forgot that they control the place. On Wednesday, they failed to pass an amendment by Scots Irish tough guy Senator Jim Webb of Virginia to give our troops as much time at home between military deployments as they spend in combat. The same day, the Democrats failed to get a majority for Connecticut Senator Chris Dodd's bill to restore Habeas Corpus, the right of detainees to challenge their detention in federal court. It's not often that both support for our troops and our Constitution get thrown in the garbage on the same day.

The next day was no better. On Thursday, the Democrats failed to muster enough votes to pass a bill from Senators Russ Feingold of Wisconsin and Harry Reid of Nevada, the Senate Majority Leader, to force troop withdrawals from Iraq by next June, by limiting funding of the Iraq War after that point to non-combat duties such as redeployment of our troops.

Then, in the final blow, the Democrats not only allowed a ludicrous resolution from Republican Senator John Cornyn condemning the General Petreus ad to come to the Senate floor for a vote (the Democrats get to control what does and does not get voted on), 23 Senate Democrats actually voted for the resolution. It was an obvious trap set by the Republicans, whereby President Bush let Petreus spout Bush's Iraq policy so that any criticism of the policy would be seen as criticism of our patriotic General. The Democrats fell into the trap completely. I challenge anyone to go to, read the ad, whose facts are sourced and footnoted, and then tell me which part of it is inaccurate. Then again, I didn't think Britney Spears' performance at the VMAs was as bad as everyone says either, so maybe I'm just a contrarian.

4. On Friday, Rudolph Giuliani spoke before the National Rifle Association. Giuliani had previously called the NRA members "extremists" and has hammered them for, among other things, opposing the Assault Weapons ban. So he had to be on his best behavior, right? Not quite. In the middle of his speech, Giuliani takes a call on his cell phone, and starts talking to his wife.

5. The two-week crazy festival was capped by the appearance of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad at Columbia University yesterday. In what was perhaps the strangest and rudest introduction in history, Columbia University President Lee Bollinger, who, after all, invited Ahmadinejad to speak in the first place, goes on a long tirade against the Iranian President, calling him "a petty and cruel dictator" to his face.

Ahmadinejad lobbed the craziness ball back in Bollinger's court when, in response to a question about the Iranian government's reported killing of homosexuals, he replied, "In Iran we don't have homosexuals like in your country ... I don't know who's told you that we have this." The auditorium erupted in laughter. Ahmadinejad went on to say that the Holocaust never happened, "Israel? What Israel?", and that Iran does not support terrorists but does give aid to the Tooth Fairy, the Easter Bunny and Santa Claus.

Hopefully, now that this two weeks of insanity has passed, we can get back to hooker-chasing Senators, celebrities dashing off to rehab, invading and occupying countries that didn't attack us, and other signs of normality in 2007 America.


At 11:15 AM, Blogger Aileen said...

Aren't you sneaky? Blending in some pop-culture-crack-candy with some political commentary...:)

Yeah, the Dems are really beginning to get on my nerves, I wish they'd put OJ away once and for all, the Iranian President does remind me a bit of Bush in a "did he just say that?" kind of way...Oh- and Britney's performance was every bit as bad as they say.

Bring on normality!

At 1:00 PM, Blogger Barbara said...

It's becoming increasingly hard to take a side in many of today's incidents because everyone involved is nuts. The Iranian President fiasco is on top, though. I was surprised when he was invited to speak at Columbia, but then it was as if they realized they needed to do some quick damage control, so the Columbia President made those ridiculous opening remarks.

I notice you didn't mention the Israelis somewhat secretly bombing the nuclear facility in Syria. That leaves me with a lot of question marks, too.

At 2:58 PM, Blogger media concepts said...

Aileen -- I didn't know it was sneaky, I just saw crazy in a lot of different places at the same time.

Barbara -- I agree that the Bollinger remarks were damage control after the big outcry at his invite, but crazy nonetheless.
As for the Syria attack, it was interesting that everyone is so quiet about it this time, but I don't see anything wacky about it. Israel is quiet b/c last time they hit Iraq's nuke plant in 1981, they bragged about it and caused a worldwide outcry (although most folks later admitted, at least to themselves, that it was a proper action that probably created more stability at least in the short term). And the U.S. is keeping quiet because, if it's true that N. Korea was involved in a Syria nuke project, that belies Bush's claim that he had negotiated successfully with N. Korea for them to stop their nuke efforts.

At 8:20 PM, Blogger Barbara said...

Maybe I'm naive, but I constantly finding myself questioning who has the right to play God in the nuclear weapons field. Sure, I agree I trust the Israelis not to misuse nuclear weapons and I used to trust the US (before we flew 6 bombs across the country recently), but I still wonder why we are the self-appointed policemen of the world. What gives us that right?

At 11:26 AM, Blogger media concepts said...

Damn, I forgot to mention the "don't tase me bro" protester at the John Kerry speech. Maybe we had two full moons or something.


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