Fandango’s Friday Flashback — April 3

Wouldn’t you like to expose your newer readers to some of you earlier posts that they might never have seen? Or remind your long term followers of posts that they might not remember? Each Friday I will publish a post I wrote on this exact date in a previous year.

How about you? Why don’t you reach back into your own archives and highlight a post that you wrote on this very date in a previous year? You can repost your Friday Flashback post on your blog and pingback to this post. Or you can just write a comment below with a link to the post you selected.

If you’ve been blogging for less than a year, go ahead and choose a post that you previously published on this day (the 3rd) of any month within the past year and link to that post in a comment.


This was originally posted on April 3, 2010 on my old blog.

Best Informed Viewers Get Their News From Comedy Central

I was struck by a headline I ran across that read, “Daily Show/Colbert Viewers Most Knowledgeable.” Also of note is that the headline went on to say, “Fox News Viewers Rank Lowest.” What a shocker that is!

I am a fan of both Jon Stewart’s The Daily Show and Stephen Colbert’s The Colbert Report, In a previous post on this blog, I commented that these two shows are the funniest, most relevant, and, at the same time, most irreverent shows on TV. I’m apparently not alone in my assessment.

It seems that the faux news Daily Show and the faux conservative pundit Stephen Colbert, appearing nightly (Monday through Thursday) on Comedy Central at 11:00 and 11:30 p.m ET, respectively, have the most well-informed, knowledgeable viewers of all forms of media, including network news shows, cable news channels, newspapers, and magazines.8BD936A9-32E8-40B4-BFEE-C1091EFF9A12These findings came from a survey conducted by the Pew Research Center to gauge public knowledge of current affairs and how people get their information about events in the news.

The Pew survey showed that there is no clear connection between news formats and what audiences know. The survey found that “Well-informed audiences come from cable (Daily Show/Colbert Report, O’Reilly Factor), the internet (especially major newspaper websites), broadcast TV (NewsHour with Jim Lehrer) and radio (NPR, Rush Limbaugh). The less informed audiences also frequent a mix of formats: broadcast television (network morning news shows, local news), cable (Fox News Channel), and the internet (online blogs where people discuss news events).”

Granted, this survey is three years old, but I don’t think things have changed all that much since April 2007. Oh wait, that’s probably not true. The Fox News channel’s audience has probably grown with the addition of such personalities as Glenn Beck and, most recently, Sarah Palin.

Isn’t that great? Now there are even more people who are ill-informed.

The War on Thanksgiving

Armed turkey From somewhere deep within the sick, bizarre mind of Donald Trump, he told his supporters at a rally in Florida that he wouldn’t let the “radical left” change Thanksgiving’s name. After taking credit for making it okay for Americans to say “Merry Christmas” once again, Trump said, “As we gather for Thanksgiving, you know, some people want to change the name Thanksgiving. They don’t want to use the term Thanksgiving.”

It’s not real clear who on the left Trump believes is trying to change the name of Thanksgiving, which is a secular American holiday. However, it is clear where he got this crazy notion.Fox News War on ThanksgivingApparently some of the “fair and balanced” on-air personalities at Fox News have claimed that progressives in America are trying to “cancel” Thanksgiving. This conclusion was seemingly based on a single article which noted the climate impact of the American holiday.

The article, which appeared in HuffPost, is an examination of the carbon footprint of various parts of the Thanksgiving traditional meal, plus the travel made by the 50 million Americans to visit family. This triggered a series of Fox News shows decrying it as the start of a new “War on Thanksgiving.”

So Trump, watching his favorite channel, ran with this bogus War on Thanksgiving nonsense and warned his adoring fans at a rally to beware of this insidious plot by the big, bad liberals to deprive America of Thanksgiving.

And of course, to give their beloved Trump cover, Fox News framed Trump’s baseless claim with the following headline: “Trump vows not to change the name of Thanksgiving despite cries from the ‘radical left.’”

I am sitting here in our clean house with the aromas of dinner cooking in the oven and on the stove as we await our guests to arrive. But it’s really hard to have a pleasant Thanksgiving when I read about bullshit like this.

Especially when it comes from the mouth of the president of my country.

Fandango’s Friday Flashback — October 11

Wouldn’t you like to expose your newer readers to some of you earlier posts that they might never have seen? Or remind your long term followers of posts that they might not remember?

Each Friday I will publish a post I wrote on this exact date in a previous year.

How about you? Why don’t you reach back into your own archives and highlight a post that you wrote on this very date in a previous year? You can repost your Friday Flashback post on your blog and pingback to this post. Or you can just write a comment below with a link to the post you selected.

If you’ve been blogging for less than a year, go ahead and choose a post that you previously published on this day (the 11th) of any month within the past year and link to that post in a comment.


This was originally posted on October 11, 2010 in my old blog. As you read this, bear in mind that this post was written nine years ago. Some things never change, do they?

Anything But Fair and Balanced

AF5F6907-8FE0-451F-8525-087EE879FBDFFor those cable news viewers who cannot see the obvious or who are in denial of the facts, the cat is apparently out of the bag. As an article in a recent issue of The Week magazine noted, Fox News is “out of the closet.”

The Fox News channel (or as many liberals, myself included, call it, “Faux News”) is run by longtime Republican political adviser and media consultant Roger Ailes. Fox News is part of Rupert Murdock’s media conglomerate, News Corporation, and there is no question that Murdock has a conservative agenda and has no qualms when it comes to leveraging his ever widening media clout to advance his political views.

Perhaps to achieve that end, Murdock’s News Corporation has made several large contributions to Republican lobbies and causes. He donated $1 million to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, a pro-business lobbying group that is aggressively working to defeat Democratic candidates in the upcoming mid-term elections. Separately, Murdock donated another million dollars to the Republican Governors Association.

Murdock, though his Fox News channel, seems to have crossed the line from conservative advocacy programming to overt political lobbying. Zachary Roth, writing in the Columbia Journalism Review, opined that Fox News has “dropped the pretense” of being a news outlet and has evolved to being a propaganda and fundraising arm of the Republican Party.

A whole new level of blatancy

Syndicated columnist Paul Krugman said that Fox News has gone from merely supporting Republican candidates to anointing them. He wrote, “Every major contender for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination who isn’t currently holding office and isn’t named Mitt Romney is now a paid contributor to Fox News.” While it’s not unheard of for media moguls to promote the careers and campaigns of politicians they believe will serve their interests, Krugman suggests that “directly cutting checks to political favorites takes it to a whole new level of blatancy.”

Fox News has, from its beginnings, promoted itself as the “fair and balanced” cable news network, pitting itself against what it claimed to be the liberally biased media establishment. Somehow, Fox News has vaulted to the top of the cable news food chain, leaving the original cable news network, CNN, and the clearly liberal foil to Fox News, MSNBC, pretty much eating the Fox News channel’s dust.

So is Fox News really what it has always claimed to be: fair and balanced? The real question is this: has Fox News ever been fair and balanced?

All you need to do is to look at Fox News’ lineup of “personalities,” including conservative pundits Bill O’Reilly, Glenn Beck, and Sean Hannity, along with “key” (and highly compensated) contributors that include Sarah Palin, Mike Huckabee, and Newt Gingrich, all of whom are 2012 Republican presidential hopefuls, to recognize that Fox News is anything but what it has claimed to be.

What a shocker!

Fandango’s Friday Flashback — July 5

Each Friday I will publish a post I wrote on this exact date in a previous year. I’ve had this blog for two years, so I have only 2017 and 2018 to draw from.

Wouldn’t you like to expose your newer followers to some of you earlier posts that they might never have seen? Or remind your long term followers of posts that they might not remember?

Why don’t you reach back into your own archives and highlight a post that you wrote on this very date in a previous year? You can repost your Friday flashback post on your blog and pingback to this post. Or you can just write a comment below with a link to the post you selected.

If you’ve been blogging for less than a year, go ahead and choose a post that you previously published on this day (the 28th) of any month within the past year and link to that post in a comment.

It would be great if everyone who reads this post would scroll down to the comments and check out the posts that others provide links to.


I originally published this post on July 5, 2011 in my previous, now defunct blog. Bear in mind that it was written eight years ago, so some of the specific references may be dated, but I still stand by the message.

Politically Correct Stand-up Comedy

D9B2D27B-E1F1-4242-A43D-ECB5528BF099You know what an oxymoron is, right? It’s a rhetorical device, a figure of speech, in which two seemingly contradictory words are used together for effect. Some examples include “jumbo shrimp,” “the silence is deafening,” “final draft,” “voluntary regulation,” and, of course, “military intelligence.”

I’d like to add another phrase to the oxymoron list: politically correct stand-up comedy.

Why should this be an oxymoron? Because stand-up comedy is, by definition, meant to be somewhat controversial, which implies that it is not intended to be politically correct.

After all, stand-up comics are not politicians, heads-of-state, captains of industry and commerce, or religious leaders. They’re friggin’ comedians. They try to make their audiences laugh a lot — and squirm a little. One of the greatest stand-up comedians of all time, George Carlin, said, “I think it’s the duty of the comedian to find out where the line is drawn and cross it deliberately.”

I enjoy stand-up comedy but I’m concerned for its future in this country if every time a stand-up comic tells a joke that someone feels is not “politically correct,” the comedian feels compelled to make a public apology.

It seems that there is an expectation these days that making jokes about our differences is inappropriate. Even making caricature voices that evoke ethnicity seems to be considered out-of-bounds by some. Bernard Goldberg of Fox News recently accused Jon Stewart of being a racist because he used a “black voice” when doing a bit on GOP presidential hopeful Herman Cain.

I am a fan of Jon Stewart, and, to his credit, rather than apologizing, he shot back at Fox News by pointing out that he makes liberal (no political meaning assigned to that term as used herein) use of humorous, caricature, ethnic voices nearly every day in his Comedy Central program.

Note that Stewart’s show appears on Comedy Central, not on Fox News.

I find it interesting that the poster-network for conservative political views is critical of Jon Stewart for using “black voice,” when it’s the conservatives who claim that political correctness is part of the contemptuous liberal agenda and that it’s the liberals who have taken PC to an extreme.

At the same time, though, and in a certain twisted way, I find myself agreeing with the conservative perspective that political correctness is out-of-control. In the name of political correctness, America has lost its sense of humor.

Lighten up, America

And that’s a shame. I think it’s absurd to come down hard on comedians for making jokes that some might find offensive during a stand-up comedy routine. For those who are so thin-skinned that they are offended by jokes told by stand-up comics, perhaps they should find a different venue for entertainment than comedy clubs.

The reality is that, for as long as there has been comedy, there has been offensive comedy. Although not stand-up comics, humorists, philosophers, and writers Mark Twain and Will Rogers were often biting in their witty social and political commentaries. In the Fifties and Sixties, political and social satire worked its way into small folk music and comedy clubs, where comedians like Mort Sahl expanded both the language and boundaries of stand-up.

Carlin was inspired by Lenny Bruce, a stand-up comedian in the Fifties, who was one of the first to really push the stand-up envelope with his deliberately provocative routines. His obscenity-filled rants about our prejudices and skewed perspectives, which ultimately led to his arrest, set the stage for later controversial comedians like Richard Prior, Dick Gregory, Louis C.K., Chris Rock, Sarah Silverman, and, of course, Carlin, who was also arrested in 1972 for performing his “Seven Words You Can Never Say on Television” routine.

Make that six words, George. I regularly hear the word “shit” on TNT these days.

If you want to be offended, America, be offended by the economic mess Wall Street, the banks, and the anti-regulation Republicans have hoisted upon us. Take offense at the political process in Washington that has essentially and almost irreparably divided this country along extreme, dug-in, partisan positions and has America on the brink of financial default.

Don’t waste your time being offended by stand-up comics who might be a little off-color and insensitive in their efforts to get us to laugh at ourselves and our human condition.

Political correctness is running amok and America needs to regain its sense of humor. Stop being so damn thin-skinned. It’s stand-up comedy, for crissake. It’s supposed to make you a tad uncomfortable.

Can’t you take a joke anymore?

Another Clown Show

 

F1A2D0EE-B615-4D19-972B-97B1751FF7AB“He’s doing another rally somewhere tonight,” my wife complained. “It’s like he thinks he’s a rock star going on tour.”

“That’s exactly what he thinks,” I responded. “Just ask him. He’s not at all bashful when it comes to telling anyone who will listen how great he is, how he’s an ‘an extremely stable genius,’ and not merely a ‘stable genius.’ He’s a moron.”

“Yes, and then he starts reciting verbatim the things he heard Sean Hannity or Laura Ingraham on Fox News say,” my wife added, shaking her head.

“Right,” I said, “and as if following some sort of invisible prompt, the lemmings in the audience applaud whatever he says, no matter how incoherent, idiotic, inane, or uninformed it is.”

“I’ll turn on the TV, you go get the popcorn, and let’s watch him,” she said.

“Yeah, another one of his clown shows should be good for a few laughs,” I said.


Written for these daily prompts: The Daily Spur (tour), Your Daily Word Prompt (bashful), Fandango’s One-Word Challenge (verbatim), Ragtag Daily Prompt (prompt), and Word of the Day Challenge (applaud). Caricature by Niall O’Loughlin.