Saturday, May 22, 2010

Talking entry

As bad and offensive as that sad performance by Bush was, it was painful to witness another example of extremely bad taste at this year's dinner when President Obama made these comedic remarks: "Jonas Brothers are here, they're out there somewhere. Sasha and Malia are huge fans, but boys, don't get any ideas. Two words for you: predator drones. You will never see it coming. You think I'm joking?"
That one sentence, "you will never see it coming," says it all. We know full well that he wasn't joking, since we have witnessed how he has taken the use of drones in Afghanistan and Pakistan to new heights, easily surpassing the performance of G.W. Bush. Drones are being launched by the Air Force and the C.I.A. like never before. Drones have become the U.S. military's weapon of choice, the shining stars of its infinite arsenal; so effective in hovering over targeted areas, ready to launch their deadly missiles at insurgents. But, if innocent civilians get it the way, well, that's a shame, but that's the price of war; it's called collateral damage, and it has now claimed over 400 innocent victims since the use of drones began in that region.
This kind of comedy is something that would be expected to come from someone like Mr. Bush, but from Barack Obama?? Suffice it to say I'm shocked, stunned, disappointed, and disillusioned by Mr. Obama's comedy. It's not likely that many Afghans or Pakistani citizens who live in constant fear of another drone attack were laughing, because they were too busy trying to stay out of the sights of hellfire missiles.

The above is from Michael Payne's "Did you hear the one about the Jonas Brothers and the drones? It was absolutely hilarious!" (OpEd News). Yesterday we noted another OpEd News article, William T. Hathaway's "RADICAL PEACE: People Refusing War," author of the new book entitled Radical Peace Refusing War, list price $14.96 and on sale at Amazon right now for $11.96.

Will it be discussed at Third? No. I haven't read it yet. (I hope to read it this week but there are other things ahead of it in line.) We'll note the book in snapshots as appropriate. A good review is never enough for Little Media. You must not be critical, you must not question, you must not point out factual errors. Hathaway might not care but we have had enough of that s**t at Third. We are asked by authors to review their books, we do so and it's not good enough, we were critical of this, we were critical of that.

So in other words, they did not want a review, they wanted hype, they wanted promotion. I don't do hype. If, for example, I don't like a touchy friend's film, I focus on an element I can say something nice about, two or three sentences and then the friend either self-deceives or nods along realizing the game. I'm not going to do that online. And I'm not in the mood for a book discussion, for example, which makes a point to repeatedly recommend a book, say it's more than worth reading, and a whiny little author wants to pout that we were critical. Don't read your own press if you that's thin-skinned. I don't read mine, I don't recommend that anyone read their own. But if you do, if you seek it out, you better grasp that whomever is offering a critique is working from some angle other than "fan club president."

Hathaway might not care but I'm honestly sick of hearing all the whining which is why we don't deal with books by small publishers at Third anymore.

Sunday's Iraq piece at Third was "Iraq gay project has Movieline huffing homophobia" (Ava and I also noted Iraq in "TV: They get paid for this?"). A few e-mails wondered if the Movieline piece was 'worthy'? Uh, yeah. First off, it deal with homophobia, second off it deal with Iraq. And it's a new angle. So, yes, it was worthy. Yes, it was a new way to put some focus on Iraq.

Why, here, will there be no snapshot on Memorial Day? I would be the one to write it or dictate it and I don't know that there won't be. If the news of the day demands one, there will be. Otherwise, there won't be. Why? Because everyone needs a day off but if I do a snapshot, everyone's already said they'll post that day. (Here we will have at least two entries on that day.) The snapshots started in 2006 at a time when members were already concerned by the media's moving away from Iraq. That's always been the way it works. If it's a holiday, whether or not a snapshot is done is determined by that day's events. For example, 2008 was a wonderful Thanksgiving and a number of us were about to be going out when I returned a few messages and one was from a friend at a wire service stating that the Parliament had just pushed through the SOFA. That meant halting everything and doing a snapshot. Other holidays? There's no major news of the day. So whether or not Memorial Day has a snapshot will be based on what's going on in the news that day.

Some news gets covered and some doesn't. That's in part because there's not room for everything and in part because some of it's worthless. The World Cup 'plot,' for example was worthless. That wasn't news, we werent' going to waste our time with it. If we do cover a 'confession' in Iraq, we do note the torture involved in getting those confessions. I think of all the outlets, CNN was the worst on the World Cup 'plot' because they knew (a) that confessions were tortured but liked the story too much to stress that and (b) they knew the US army was (off the record) officially skeptical of the so-called 'plot'. But they ran with it as though it were gospel.

The biggest question Beth (our ombudsperson) wanted me to address from new members is why Third's focus isn't Iraq?

Third is an online magazine which publishes once a week. It's focus has always included Iraq; however, Iraq is not the sole focus. When it started, Jim, Dona, Ty, Jess and Ava were all in college. Many things are still the same as when they started. They try to cover a wide range of topics and do. Iraq is one part of their landscape. If you look through their archives, you'll see that. They've been publishing since January 2005. Each week includes TV, each week includes Iraq, they have regular features and one-offs. Each summer they do a fiction issue. I am a part of Third, I am not Third. I am one of six voices in Third.

After Third, the biggest question is about Wednesday's "Iraq snapshot" but not about the VA benefits. The big question is did a member of the Senate really use the s-word (s**t) in the hearing? Yes, Senator Richard Burr used the word when stating, "Let me tell you, OMB doesn't give a s**t about homelessness." That was an open hearing. If the press didn't report it, take it up with them. Go to the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee's website and you should be able to stream the hearing. I have no idea why various aspects of the hearing were not considered news and would advise you to contact your news outlet of choice and ask them why.

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