James Comey testimony as entertainment

Watergate took a LONG time to unravel, over two years from the break-in to the resignation.

I guess I’m not zeitgeisty enough – no, I don’t think it’s a word – because the anticipation over former FBI director James Comey’s testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee on June 8 made me oddly uncomfortable.

As an old poli sci major who sat in front the TV set for HOURS taking in all the nuance of the various committees investigating Richard Nixon’s Watergate scandal back in the 1970s, I suppose I should be happy that the American public is interested in a civics lesson.

But it was more like theater, specifically a movie theater, where comedian/late night host Stephen Colbert is seen eating from a bag of popcorn. As the Boston Globe put it, “Comey’s testimony puts Washington in party mode.” As some conservative website noted, “The hearing was treated like a major sporting event by D.C. locals, who lined up to gain entrance to local establishments for standing-room only viewing parties.”

And it wasn’t limited to the District of Columbia. “Festivities” seemed to be particularly popular on the West Coast, with folks at bars in time for the 7 a.m. Pacific Daylight Time event.

At the end of the day, almost no one was convinced of anything they hadn’t been thinking before except that Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) seemed befuddled. Those who dislike the regime think that impeachment is just around the corner. Those on the other side believe they’re, in the words of Lou Dobbs, “No crime, No evidence.” Comey was just a “disgruntled employee.” I saw that specific description a lot.

At the end of the day, it’s what Bob Woodward, Washington Post editor, and one of the reporters who helped bring down Nixon said on CBS News This Morning: “We know 5, maybe 10 percent of what we will know” when the various investigations are over.

No, there was no smoking gun, yet. Nor was the regime “vindicated”; saw THAT word a lot, especially on the Twitter feed #MAGA, where I actually read:
“He is bringing back respect and class to this country
#proudAmerican #TRUMPPENCE2020 #MAGA #BUILDTHEWALL #YESTRAVELBAN #DTS#JOBSJOBSJOBS #OBAMASFORPRISON2017 #CLINTONSFORPRISON2017 #STOPTHELEAKS#STOPFAKENEWS #CNNVERYFAKENEWS #MSNBCFAKENEWS #CBSFAKENEWS #ABCFAKENEWS#NYTIMESFAKENEWS #WASHINGTONPOSTFAKENEWS #LATIMESFAKENEWS #USATODAYFAKENEWS#GOOGLEFAKENEWS #YAHOOFAKENEWS”

Regardless of the results of the investigations, his secret isn’t that he lies. It’s that he crowds out the truth. “The question isn’t whether you’re winning the argument — it’s whether you’re dominating and driving the coverage of the argument.”

I will acknowledge that clearing the room of other people, then being asked by a person in a superior position if you would consider taking a particular action reeks to high heaven, to my mind.

Watergate took a LONG time to unravel, over two years from the break-in to the resignation. This Russia influence/election rigging thing is going to take awhile too. It won’t be solved with a few hours of testimony, but people want more rapid gratification when it simply not how these things work. Or, as some folks interviewed on NBC News this week acknowledged, “It’s too complicated.”

I think, like those in the slow cooking movement, we ought to take our time and let the facts simmer, with the evidence determining the results of the investigation. Because no one still supporting the regime will convince those who don’t of a damn thing, and pretty much vice versa.

October rambling #1: Thoughts and Prayers App

Ronald McDonald Is Laying Low

trumpish-indianExplaining Progressive Christianity (Otherwise Known as “Christianity”)

He was tortured by the U.S. and held without charge. Suleiman Abdullah Salim is still haunted by the prison he calls “The Darkness”

Misogyny defied: Michelle Obama’s New Hampshire speech (start at 25:00) and Dear Men from Amy Biancolli

Time to Own the Legacies of Others

Five myths about Russia

John Oliver: Police Accountability

Racist Social Media Users Have A New Code To Avoid Censorship

Yes, Preschool Teachers Really Do Treat Black And White Children Totally Differently

Confessions of a former neo-Confederate – Who believes slavery wasn’t really that bad? I did

6 million citizens blocked from voting because of felonies

The ‘Green Book’ Was a Travel Guide Just for Black Motorists, which I wrote about here, plus a PDF of the 1949 iteration

How Evan McMullin Could Win Utah And The Presidency – It’s unlikely, but far from impossible

Robin Williams’ Widow Writes A Devastating Account Of His Final Year

The Ross Perot myth

Thoughts and Prayers App

Elena Ferrante published her books anonymously, but recently, the NY Review of Books published a piece that exposed her true identity. As friend Dan notes: “None of it was relevant; I would go so far as to say it was unnecessary.” One of many critics of the unmasking

950th anniversary of the Battle of Hastings

Bill Warren, R.I.P.

NOT a parody: Ronald McDonald Is Laying Low Until the Clown Craze Is Over

Racer disqualified for using ChapStick?

Professor and student interaction

All Of America’s Science Nobel Prizes This Year Were Won By Immigrants

PBS’ American Experience: Tesla premieres October 18

THE FANTASTIC URSULA K. LE GUIN – The literary mainstream once relegated her work to the margins. Then she transformed the mainstream.

How to memorize scripts, part 1 and part 2

Learning YouTube tricks

Now I Know: Baby, Not Bored

Audrey Munson, the first supermodel

Tank top

Why I Stopped Wanting to Make Serious Art Films and Came to Believe Movies Should Be Fun

Extra Gum ad: The Story of Sarah & Juan

Would you pull a Coke can off the head of a skunk?

Arthur, about me asking about his blogging, or somesuch

Music

Sir Neville Marriner obit and music

Sviatoslav Richter plays Handel keyboard suite in G minor, no.9

1812 Overture

Coverville 1142: 20 fantastic Sting and Police covers

No Man’s Land -Glass Hammer

Sara Rose Wheeler: Soundtrack of my life

K-Chuck Radio: More forgotten 60’s pop music

It’s Too Late To Apologize – New Republic with lyrics

Coverville 1144: 20 Simon & Garfunkel and Paul Simon solo covers for Rhymin’ Simon’s 75th

Duke Ellington – East St. Louis Toodle-Oo

Let’s Have A Party Albany (1986)

Robert Morse sings “I Believe In You”

“Fan” Star Trek Original Series Clip to “Common People” by William Shatner

The World Map of Nobel Prize in Literature, including Bob Dylan

Reggie Harris music

February Rambling: niece Rebecca Jade in a movie

My niece, Rebecca Jade, appears as a singer (typecasting, that) in a film called 5 Hour Friends, starring Tom Sizemore,

autocorrectFrom Jeff Sharlet, who I knew long ago: Inside the Iron Closet: What It’s Like to Be Gay in Putin’s Russia. In 2010, Jeff wrote about the American roots of Uganda’s anti-gay persecutions. He notes: “Centrist media sources dismissed my reporting as alarmist; The Economist assured us it would never pass. [This week], Ugandan President Museveni is signing the bill into law.”

There was no Jesse Owens at Sochi.

Arthur’s letter to straight people: why coming out matters; read the linked articles therein, too. (Watch that Dallas sportscaster on Ellen.)

So Dangerous He Needs a Soo-da-nim. Racist homophobes who comment on Sharp Little Pencil’s blog.

With conversations about shipping potentially dangerous liquids through my area, here’s a recollection of a train wreck 40 years ago.

If you knew you were going blind, what would be the last thing you would want to see before everything went dark?

The mess of an answered prayer and talking about mental illness.

A Hero’s Welcome after World War II. On a lighter note, The Margarine Wars.

This school is not a pipe, or pipeline.

An alto’s-eye view of choral music.

Who the heck was Ed Sullivan. Plus, Meet the Beatles and what it replaced, and What the critics wrote about the Beatles in 1964, and Introducing the Beatles to America.

Evanier’s experiences with Sid Caesar. Evanier wrote a brace of followup stories here (which also talks about Howie Morris) and here. Also, Dick Cavett reviewed one of Caesar’s two autobiographies, plus an article about the ever-foldable Al Jaffee of MAD.

Leonard Maltin on meeting Shirley Temple.

There are several Harold Ramis films I haven’t seen yet, but the ones I DID view – Animal House, Ghostbusters, Analyze This – I really enjoyed. Groundhog Day was among the first movies I ever purchased on VHS. And his SCTV stuff was fine, too.

A reminder that this is why we are so touched by Philip Seymour Hoffman’s death, from Anthony Lane. As someone put it, “It’s not his celebrity but his art.”

An audio link to a 46-minute lecture by Charles Schulz.

My niece, Rebecca Jade appears as a singer (typecasting, that) in a film called 5 Hour Friends, starring Tom Sizemore, a 97 minute comedy/drama/romance. “A lifelong womanizer gets a taste of his own medicine.” It was made in 2013, but not widely released, if at all. It will be in theatrical release in San Diego March 28-April 4th. Here’s the trailer, in which Rebecca can briefly be both seen and heard singing.

After only an 18-month hiatus, Tosy and Cosh are back ranking every U2 song.

Why Tom Dooley was hanging his head. Plus hangman John Ellis.

That is NOT the way Dustbury remembers that song, and I don’t either. Plus the history of Unchained Melody.

Mark Evanier’s teacher from hell.

Lefty Brown’s Valentine’s Day post to Kelly. “The Married Gamers – Play Together. Stay Together.”

Maypo Cereal Commercial (1956) Yes, I DO remember it, so there.

The five-second rule, expanded. Very true.

One can count on SamuraiFrog for all things Muppet: Getting to the Big Game and Miss Piggy’s response, plus a meta ad for the upcoming movie and Rowlf getting ice cream and saying good night to Jimmy Fallon’s Late Night; I hear Fallon’s gotten another job. Fallon, BTW, went to school at the College of Saint Rose, about five blocks from my house.

Yet another version of Bohemian Rhapsody.

Frog still torturing himself with 50 Shades of Smartass: Chapter 13 and Chapter 14 and Chapter 15 and Chapter 16. When I typed the title, I accidentally wrote “50 Years…”; read into that what you will.

GOOGLE ALERTS (me)

And now for the AmeriNZ section: Arthur’s linkage, in which he calls my Everly Brothers post “diabolical.” Arthur’s Law restated, tied to my Facebook unfriending. The law is a ass.

YouTube and AIDS deniers.

To boycott or not to boycott; that is the question

The traditional idea that international sports events should be a place to create cooperation through competition is damaged by boycotts, as are the athletes that have trained for years for the opportunity to participate.

There is a movement to have the United States and other nations boycott the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia in 2014, and I’m a bit conflicted about it.

One group wants to boycott because of the country’s highly repressive new law banning any speech that equates the social status of same-sex relationships with heterosexual ones. I agree with the intent of the boycott in this case. But we’ve had Olympics in repressive regimes before; the dissidents in Beijing were just locked away for the Summer Olympics in 2008, and let’s not even talk about Tibet.

Another group wants to boycott because Russia has given sanctuary to Edward Snowden, the leaker of all that NSA classified information that showed the United States has all this “metadata” on its own citizens. I heard Senator Lindsay Graham (R-SC) float that one while Snowden was still living in the Moscow airport, which was reason enough for me to be inclined to oppose it.

I’m also reminded that there was a boycott by African nations at the Summer Olympic Games in Montreal in 1976, having to do with New Zealand competing athletically with South Africa, which had been banned from the Olympics since 1964 because of its apartheid policies.

Then the United States and some of its allies boycotted the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow because of the USSR invasion of Afghanistan; the irony still resonates. In response, many of the Soviet bloc nations stayed away from the 1984 Summer Games in Los Angeles.

On the fourth hand, I think we’re at here, the traditional idea that international sports events should be a place to create cooperation through competition is damaged by boycotts, as are the athletes that have trained for years for the opportunity to participate. All the Games were diminished, even if the boycott rationales were worthy.

Right now, I’m leaning against the boycott. Circumstances could change that. And perhaps I can be persuaded. Lessee, Arthur’s ambivalent, too…