Newsmania
(not the news, but an incredible simulation)

OK, so Martha Stewart is getting out (or rather has gotten out by the time you read this) of the slam, and it’s the lead story of Newsweek.

Martha Stewart on the cover of Newsweek

 

Only, that’s not really Martha on the cover.

According to Newsweek itself, that’s really Martha’s head Photoshopped onto the body of a (slimmer, younger) Model.

 

 

The Real Martha

 

According to Newsweek, this is okay, because “everyone understands or knows “ that’s not really in the photo, but it is merely a “photo rendition” or some such nonsense.

 

 

 

 

 

(Yea, like that wasn’t really Oswald in the photo holding the rifle, with the shadows going the wrong way, it was simply a “representation of what someone wanted you to think”)

 

Why has this gotten me all Ramboed up? Simple, when Comedy Central’s The Daily Show has Ed Helms reporting “live” from Mars, or Rob Cordery, reporting “live” from Baghdad I know that they are pulling my chain, because the show’s host Jon Stewart freely admits that he is a fake newsman on a fake news show, and yes, I get the joke. However when Newsweek fakes a photo for effect, it (a legitimate newsmagazine, reporting actual news) has crossed the line. How can I now trust it to accurately represent the news, when I know that it faked a photo for effect?

Perhaps the next time Newsweek will simply pose actors in a situation, and take a photo to “show us how Lacy Peterson’s husband probably strangled her”. Isn’t that what the tabloids do? Doctor up photos for the purpose of sensationalism? (I’m reminded of the story about how Denzil Washington was walking out of a restaurant and happened to run into Diana Ross as he was exiting. A Paparazzi snapped a picture of them leaving together, and Ross told him to quickly call his wife and explain what happened. Washington asked why, and Ross told him that their picture was going to appear in a tabloid with a story about how they were having an affair. He didn’t believe her at first but sure enough, the following week, there it was. With nothing to back up the story, and nothing to go on but a candidly snapped photo of a chance meeting, the scandal sheet built an entire story about how the two were seeing each other.)

So yeah, I’m just a little bit miffed.

But to get back to Martha. So she spent what? seven, eight? months in a minimum security prison for securities fraud and lying to the Grand Jury, and now she is out. Her net worth has like tripled, her show has been re-syndicated all around the country and is now in more markets than it was when she went in, and she has to spend the next year confined in her $40 million mansion. All because she is a lying, cheating, selfish thief. While she was in jail, she continued to conduct business, meet with advisors, and generall have the run of the place. Yeah, that’s what prison is all about.

Somebody ought to pimp-slap that bitch around for the next several months so she gets a real feel of what the justice system is all about, eh? And of course the real crime is that some poor shulb out in Texas who got busted for a quarter oz. of weed back in ’74 is still doing hard time. I seriously tell you there oughta be a law!

The Perfessor

My Oscar Rant (Part the First)

Well, the Oscars are over except for the bragging rights, As a fellow who has been reviewing movies for the past 15 years or so (check out some of my more recent reviews here) I have to tell you that I love watching the Oscar telecast, and this year was no different. While many reviewers like to make Oscar predictions, and to rank movies, that’s not what I’m all about as a reviewer. I mean, how can you compare the gut-wrenching drama of Saving Private Ryan with the flat-out silliness of Airplane (perhaps the funniest non-Marx Brothers film ever made). While some of you might look at Toy Story and see an entertaining kiddie animated flick, I saw a top-flight buddy film on the order of Lethal Weapon (except, ya know, funnier)

So, given all this, what did I think of this year’s Telecast? Great! At the risk of being both redundant and trite, Chris Rock Rocks! His opening monologue was perhaps the funniest Oscar opening monologue I have ever heard (and I’ve been watching this show for as long as I can remember). So when he started trashing not only specific movies (Pootie Tang—in which Rock himself stared) but specific stars (Jude Law) as well I was hysterical. I mean, you just never do that kind of thing at the Oscars (I was reminded of Bobcat Goldthwaith’s bit at the first MTV Awards, all the presenters were doing “safe” comedy bits, and Bobcat comes out and trashes The Monkeys who were in the middle of their third (fourth?) revival — He did a bit where he said “hey, did anybody see The Monkeys? Man don’t they look old!” Then he grabbed a stool that was onstage and using it as a walker began to sing “Here we come, walking down the street.. Man, I wish my mother invented Whiteout (Former Monkey, Mike Nesbith’s mom had something to do with the invention of White Out and he was now so wealthy that he was passing on joining the new tour, which the other members needed to pay the bills).

Anyway, since I don’t pick winners, I’m never really disappointed with who wins (except for last year when Bill Murray was robbed of his best Actor award for Lost in Translation). Still, having said all of that, I was extremely pleased that Spider-Man 2 won for Special Effects, and (unlike our man, Walt) quite pleased that The Incredibles won for best-animated film. Yea you could make the argument that The Incredibles was derivative, but any crank can claim that anything (film, book, TV show, etc.) is derivative of something else (I know one such individual who insists that every film made since The Wizard of Oz is somehow derivative of that classic. I don’t know how, but that’s his claim, but all you have to do is ask him, and he’ll tell you).

Sure, sure it borrowed heavily from Marvel’s The Fantastic Four, and from DC’s Superman and Batman mythos, as well as from virtually every other superhero comic ever written. Who cares? I know that I certainly don’t. By tapping into this uniquely American, enormously rich, and entirely (and unfortunately mostly overlooked) vein, Director, Brad Bird cobbled together a thoroughly enjoyable story forming an entertainingly rich tapestry. Plus, given that these two films (The Incredibles and Spider-Man 2) came away with Oscars proves (to me at least) that comicbooks aren’t just disposable kiddie fare. That they are indeed legitimate entertainment and that I’ve been right about this all along (I’ve been reading comics since the early ‘60s, and have never been embarrassed that I — even at my advanced age — am still reading them.

OK, I’ll give you that Catwoman was crap, that the Joel Schumacher Batman films were ghod-awful, and that Hulk, Daredevil, and Electra all could have played better (I have longer rants on these last three films that I will get to another time, be patient, I actually do this stuff for a living, so I have paying clients that I have to get to first, plus, I unlike some in this particular arena, I do have like a life and stuff, ya know). If you wer to ask me (and yeah, I know that you didn’t but you are still reading, aren’t you?) The problem with Catwoman was that it completely departed from the source material (that and it was badly done, woodenly acted, and horribly animated the “action” sequences).

As for the Schumacher Batman films, they were just badly done (to the actor’s credit, Val Kilmer was them most athletic of the three actors who portrayed the Darknight detective (and thus closer to the comicbook incarnation, making him my personal favorite) George Clooney looked the best in the Batman suit, and Michael Keaton was actually the best Bruce Wayne. (I’m going to wait until Christian Bale’s turn in Batman Begins hits the screen later this year to go through my entire rant on this series, leave it to say now that Shumacher’s Batman was more like what he remembered Batman in the comics to be than what it actually was.)

The biggest problem with comicbook translations that make to the big screen (and why they mostly blow) is that the writers of the comics take the material, the medium, and the characters very seriously, while the writers of the movies, and TV shows don’t, and treat the source material as disposable pabulum crap. Only what they always fail to realize is that if the thing is popular enough in its original incarnation (and popular enough to be picked up as a movie or TV show) that it obviously does work as originally conceived, so why dick around with it? But they do, and when it fails miserably, everyone goes “See, I told you that this stuff was crap.” And then they go on to write and produce more crap based on respected works.

The Perfesser

Gonzo has left the house!

I hate to advocate drugs, alcohol, violence, or insanity, to anyone, but they’ve always worked for me.”


—Hunter S. Thompson

While I’m sure that the entire (un)civilized world already knows this, self-styled Gonzo Journalist Hunter S. Thompson (Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas) has apparently shot himself in the head on Feb 21, 2005 at the ripe young age of 67. Personally I find myself a tad behind the curve on this one. I recall seeing an image of Thompson on TV the other night, as I was dozing in front of my set, and then thinking about looking him up on the Net when I got into work the next day.

I have to admit, that I was quite taken aback by the news. Truth to tell, I’m not entirely certain if I ever actually read anything that Hunter wrote, but I can’t seem to shake this deep-seated sense of loss over his untimely death (yea, even if it was at his own hand). He was arguably my generation’s drug-addled Jack Kerouac by way of Dr. Timothy Leary (whom I met once or thrice and after talking to him at length, found him to be the most lucid man I had ever met).

Yeah, sure, Hunter was a full-on Nutball and angry as all Hell, but I can’t help but to feel that we all as a generation, as a culture, and yes as a country are poorer for our loss of him as a free thinker in today’s society. Hunter’s influence can be felt throughout our everyday lives (hey, you think that blogging would be this country’s number one participatory/spectator sport if he hadn’t invented gonzo journalism a generation ago?). He the inspiration for the character Duke in Doonsbury,Duke (from the comic strip Doonesbury)and oh Hell, let’s point to Gonzo from the Muppets of all places, and say I’ve proven my point.Gonzo (the Muppets)

Hunter’s books (including Fear and Loathing in America: The Brutal Odyssey of an Outlaw Journalist, Fear and Loathing: On the Campaign Trail, Hey Rube: Blood Sport, the Bush Doctrine, and the Downward Spiral of Dumbness–Modern History from the Sports Desk) have helped shape not only a generation of minds, but of journalists as well. He was portrayed in film by both Bill Murray in Where the Buffalo Roam (1980) and by Johhny Depp in Fear and Lothing in Las Vegas (1998). And, on a purely personal level, when my wife was pregnant with our second child, had it been a boy, the baby would have been named Hunter.

I don’t know why Hunter would have shot himself (he loved guns, and apparently loved to get drunk, stoned, and high and shoot them off on his Colorado property. He wrote for Time, Rolling Stone, and numerous other publications. He was that wild man wizard that lives inside all of us yet most of us never allow to roam free.

So here is to Hunter S. Thompson, a true American original and quite possibly the only one of his kind. I personally can’t help but to observe that (as Bill Graham once said about the Grateful Dead) “He may not be the best at what he does, but he’s the only one that does what he does.” At any rate, how can you not simply love the guy that said…

“When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro.”
—Hunter S. Thompson

Tonight I’m-a gonna have myself a two-fingered shot of 25-year-old Uncle Jack as I toast the memory Hunter. Give ’em Hell Hunter, wherever you wind up!

The Perfessor

Here I am to Save the Day!

Ok, Ok, well maybe not Save the day, but I am here to try to entertain you. From past experiences, I know that my ramblings and rants will certainly entertain me, if you are entertained as well, all the better, but I won’t be offended if you aren’t. Seriously thou, while I am a professional writer in my other life. This will be my first experience with an on-line blog.
As stated, I’m a writer, editor (and graphic production artist — in the printing world I’m a Prepress Operator, in the corporate world I’d be called a Document Specialist — just a naming convention thing) but we can do more of that later. Right now I wanted to introduce myself, and let you know what kind of stuff you can expect to see from me. I’m kind of a pop-culture buff, I enjoy movies, (been reviewing them professionally for some 15+ years), TV, Comics (been a fan with pro experience for over 40 years (yeah I’m freekin’ old! and don’t you forget it!)
SO this here is just me saying hi, and I’ll get to my actual posts in just a bit, promise. Talk to you all soon.
The Perfessor