Friday, October 29, 2004

Jon Stewart Used To Be Funny

Jon Stewart used to be funny, but like many other celebrities who take a step into politics has fallen to the wayside. The key to staying funny in politics is ironically to try and stay out of it. The reason that shows like South Park and Family Guy are able to take pot shots at politics is because you never see Stan or Kyle with Kerry '04 T-shirt. Nor does Peter Griffin share a beer with George Bush.

Instead, what makes the shows clever is what they don't tell you. The key is to be funny without imposing your opinion on your audience. Stewart has crossed the line. A now clear ally to John Kerry, I can't watch his show without thinking "This guy is being facetious, he pretends to dislike both candidates, but has an obvious agenda in getting Kerry elected."

Take South Park's recent episode "Douche and Turd." The school holds an election to choose the new mascot, either a douche or a giant turd sandwich. The parody is obvious, (Stone and Parker are not known for their subtlety), but they never tell us if they want the turd or douche elected. They stay above the fray, instead using the episode to point out the stupidity of Sean Combs and his "Vote or Die" campaign. (If you're interested I've been writing about that subject for a while on my other site.) Even though they aren't as high brow as Stewart pretends to be, they never stoop to his level by taking sides.

That's a shame, because the Daily Show has a history of non-partisan hilarity. I wish Stewart would have kept his mouth shut.

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

I Really Don't Respect Kerry

Things that I really dislike about Democrats and Republicans are their tendencies to pander. Their mood changes with the wind. A lot can be said about Bush's presidency, but even the casual citizen knows where Bush stands. He is straightforward guy. Sometimes a little too straightforward (i.e. the internets? are you kidding me?) However, while I take issue with some of his foreign policy (but not ignoring the French, secularism sucks), at least I know why I am pissed off.

Kerry on the other hand really doesn't know where to stand. I don't really know how he got the Democratic nomination. He is boring to listen to, he's ugly, and he doesn't really have any record to admire in the Senate. If I were the Democrats I would be kicking myself for not pushing Howard Dean. Who does Kerry appeal to? Billionaires? His running mate didn't do him any favors either. A trial lawyer... A trial lawyer... Who does he appeal to? EVERYONE HATES LAWYERS.

Anyway, the catalyst for all this was a video someone sent me. You can view it HERE. If you think that Kerry's flip-flopping is a casual term thrown around- watch this video. Get to know the candidate you are entrusting stand firm on terrorism.

If you're Democrat you really can't be proud of Kerry.

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

An Attack on The Two Parties and Defense of the Libertarian Platform

In a two party system, only true, staunch, ardent supporters of a candidate truly win. Chances are, average Americans will be electing the lesser of two evils. The delusion is that no parties exist other than the Republicans or Democrats; and this is the way the two parties would like you to believe the world works. Every four years the two parties will put forward one candidate- end of story. However, most Americans are lazy and lack the motivation to go out and search among the many "Third parties." And even those who do in my experience, are intellectual sellouts (as is more often the case with those attracted to Nader and sellout with Kerry).

It is convenient then, for these sellouts, in order to justify their own moral misgivings to label groups like the Green party, or in my own case, Libertarians as fringe extremists. The reality however, is that "Third parties" lack the corporate sponsorship (some would say corporate ownership) to purchase the airtime to get out their own messages. Furthermore, these sellouts think it is perhaps simpler to launch personal attacks not only on their opponents, but those who refuse to fall into their own 2 party line as "ignorant," because of the slim chance of a third party candidate actually winning. The reality is those who vote for who they truly believe in are MORE patriotic than the sellouts who do not. An election is not about who gets the most press- it is about electing the man most suitable to run this country.

The libertarian party stands alone as the party who can get this country out of the hands of the government and back into the hands of the people. No other party has a plan to do this.

No politician will ever address the issue that the War on Drugs has failed, nor the fact that the government is the single greatest polluter in America, and you will probably never see them mention the fact that in the 1950's when the U.S. had the greatest standard of living in the world the income tax on American families was at 2%. 2%. By contrast, in the 1990s, the Federal income tax takes 25% of income for the same family of four. Taxes at all levels -- federal, state, and local; hidden and visible -- take about 50% of a family's income. We must work from January to June just to pay taxes.

What is even worse, Republicans and to a greater extent, Democrats, have created an environment where a mother must work in order to prevent the family from going bankrupt. She now has no choice in the raising of her children- she must continue to work. EVEN WORSE, when she does work, her contribution becomes irrelevant to the family because the government steals her contribution. (In other words, one spouse works all year just to pay taxes).

Ask yourself: Does the government deserve to take away half of your paycheck? Do they know better how to spend the money you toil for?

This is the main thrust of the libertarian party. The focus moves away from "What the government should be doing" to "What the government should NOT be doing." Libertarians are ardently against censorship, support the right to bear arms, generally believe in the legalization of drugs, opposes foreign aid (or foreign welfare, as we assert), establishing a tax credit for charitable donations, ending public school failure and ending the welfare state that the U.S. has become.

Real problems deserve real answers- not partisan politics.

Friday, October 01, 2004

A Nod To Peter Jackson

Spending about 2 and a half hours with the Visual FX supervisor of Lord of the Rings was truly an eye opening experience to the amount of work that went into the greatest trilogy ever put to film. Peter Jackson, perhaps best known for his "The Frighteners" with Michael J. Fox before LOTR has truly accomplished something magical. With the Extended Edition of Return of the King coming this fall, it is perhaps time to recognize the magnificient achievement Lord of the Rings represents.

Shooting 3 films over the course of a year is a logistical nightmare, Jackson accomplished this task by assembling a professional, exceptional crew (the entire number of people estimated who contributed to LOTR now hovers over somewhere in the 25,000). At the top of this massive pyramid was Jackson, faced with the daunting task of satisfying a major studio, film audiences and already established LOTR fans each of whom had their own idea of what Middle Earth looked like. Jackson accomplished this by writing a screenplay that took essentials from Tolkien, respected his work, and visualized his world by first looking to the text- not to the suits at New Line.

The cinematography is spectacular, the casting was brilliant (including the superb, groundbreaking work on Gollum), and even more surprising was the work of Howard Shore. Shore's score is magnificent because not only does it enhance the film, but works on its own as a beautiful composition. A tour featuring selected orchestrations from the film consistently soldout as it traversed across the United States.

Jackson deserves every acclaim he has received for his work on Lord of the Rings- his direction never drifted away from the story at hand, and he was never deceived into thinking (as perhaps George Lucas has) that the effects drive the story. His passion for completing the epic has led for his unprecedented 20 million dollar paycheck for King Kong, a perhaps even daring choice than Lord of the Rings- but knowing Jackson something spectacular is on the way.