Colbert Final Sing-along

I finally got around to watching the final episode of The Colbert Report.  There is probably no show I have watched more often since the show began.  While my brother and I lived together it was almost a tradition to watch it through the web as we ate dinner.  During often dark political times, it was always a breath of fresh air that kept you laughing as insanity seemed around every corner.  It often did what the American media so often does not:  It exposed the truth.  It did this while being extremely funny.  On of my favorite quotes is Oscar Wilde’s, “If you want to tell people the truth, make them laugh, otherwise they’ll kill you.”  That was Colbert’s trick in a nutshell.

I found myself getting surprisingly emotional at the above final sing-along on the the final show.  Again, Colbert was something that I enjoyed along with my brother.  I just took him to the airport today to fly back to Pennsylvania.

I’m sure that Colbert’s new show will be a success.  He is one of the most brilliant comedians around.  I hope there is at least some political element to what he does next.  There are so very few people in this country inhabiting the mainstream that can enlighten while they entertain.  It was a good run…

John Lydon Exposes Fake Media Behavior

rudest-john-lydon-590x350

John Lydon Interview

On the road last week I finished the second book I have read by John Lydon (Johnny Rotten).  This book was called Anger is an Energy: My Life Uncensored.  A couple weeks ago I read his first book Rotten: No Irish, No Blacks, No Dogs.  The first book dealt explicitly with his younger years and especially his time in the Sex Pistols.  His newer book dealt with his entire life story.  Out of the two books I felt that Rotten, the one on the Sex Pistols, was essential reading if you are interested in the topic of popular music, where the newer one was more for the completist or fan.  I read the second one because I am a huge Public Image Ltd. fan, which was Lydon’s second band after the Sex Pistols.

Those books are the reason I have been posting a large amount of John Lydon stuff in recent weeks.  As well as reading those books I have been checking out interviews and videos on YouTube.  Lydon is admittedly very shy.  The Johnny Rotten persona was a way of dealing with that shyness.  He was able to go into the media world and speak truth to power while being able to protect himself with a persona.  Somehow, while utilizing this persona, he was able to be more authentic and real than just about anyone he was paired with.  If you watch him on film as much as I have the last few days, you start to notice some interesting things with the way he deals with the media.

If you were to only catch one clip of him you might just come away feeling he is egotistical or rude.  However, if you watch a multitude of clips you start to realize that he is getting at the truth through his behavior.  He exposes the fake politeness that not only is prevalent in the media, but also keeps the media from doing their job.  He says the things that many people are thinking, but are afraid to actually say.  When you watch a lot of these interview shows there are unwritten rules as to how people should behave.  The hosts and the guests kiss each others’ asses for lack of a better term.  The host gets people to come on their show and the guest gets to promote whatever product they are there for.  It’s such a normal thing that we don’t even question it.  However, in real life, people rarely act this way, like best friends, if they don’t know each other.  The reason why this can be bad is that, as a viewer, it can make it hard to know what you are being sold.  If it is entertainment this might be OK, but if it is politics, this can actually be dangerous.  Lydon goes on various forms of television and through his disruptive behavior exposes the facade that the viewer is being sold.  An example would be when he went on American Bandstand and refused to mime the words.  Another example is when he was supposed to go on the Rosanne Show and he refused make an agreement with her producer that he wouldn’t be rude.  Unfortunately for the producer, he had already made a legal agreement that he could film backstage with his own crew.  He captured her asking him not to be rude and how he was thrown off of the show once he wouldn’t make a verbal agreement to behave a certain way.

I’ve realized in reading his books and watching footage of him, just how many barriers he has broken down. We are lucky that there is someone as fearless as him out there.   He was harassed by the police forces of England, Ireland, and The United States for the political and personal stances that he made.  He was thrown in Mountjoy prison in Ireland and he was often harassed in airports traveling between England and our country.  His fearlessness came at a price.

Anyway, if you are looking for some entertainment it is worth seeking out John Lydon footage on YouTube.  there are plenty of pieces of film worth watching.  If you are at all interested in pop music, his first book is really worth checking out.  If you are interested in him, but don’t have the time to devote to reading a whole book on him, the above interview with The Quietus is an excellent overview.  For those of you that only know him through his work in the Sex Pistols, his other work is really worth investigating.

Good Morning America: Happy Horseshit

Last day of the road as we are heading back to Austin. Good Morning America is playing in the hotel.  My god this stuff is depressing.  A bunch of a shallow people talking about meaningless nonsense.  Or, even worse, a bunch of intelligent people acting like shallow people pretending to care about meaningless nonsense.  The low point today was when Carson Daily came on and they debated whether a Joan Rivers Saturday Night Live skit was too soon.  If you are sitting around your house worrying about a Saturday Night Live skit, then the brain is dead, but the body still lives. 

I know I have been harping on the same stuff lately, but I can’t help it.  I remembered a very useful term that I used to use in college a lot: Happy Horseshit. 

This morning TV stuff is happy horseshit.  It is happy on the outside, but empty on the inside.  It can’t really even qualify as entertainment instead of news.  Entertainment allows you to escape and disconnect your mind.  It serves the altruistic purpose of letting you recharge your batteries.  This stuff gives you just enough real world info to make you worry or to make you think in a real shallow way, but not in anyway that is actually relatable and useful to your daily life.  Good Morning America: Happy Horseshit!

The Lowering of the Bar

I don’t have cable, but I see a lot of TV on the road.  It is fucking troubling how much senseless shit is pumped out over the airwaves.  There was a commercial for, I think it was the local Fox South Carolina News Morning Show, though constant travel makes things blurry, where one of the selling points of the ad was the morning news team dancing.  Is all it takes to be a newscaster to look presentable, be able to read a teleprompter, and have the ability to dance like the Caddyshack gopher on camera? 

Last night when we got in from the gig there was an infomercial for someone that had apparently designed a revolutionary pillow that makes you smarter.  We were all laughing in total disbelief. 

Now there are two shows on that are based upon the fact that the participants are naked.  These shows would be Naked and Afraid and Naked Dating. 

The bar is constantly being lowered.  Where will we be five years from now?  Sometimes swearing is the most appropriate response:  Holy fucking shitballs!   

Hopped Up About Ebola

This whole ebola thing in the media is a joke.  Basically it is just going to lead to some crackers being more afraid of foreigners than they already are.  There are two chances of dying from ebola: slim and none. 

Even if it did become widespread,  what are you gonna do about it?  It isn’t like you can beat it out of your house with a baseball bat.  The average person just has to count on the system working as usual.  You and me aren’t going to prevent the spread of ebola my friend. 

Unless there is some way to do good for the countries that are suffering from it, like a fundraising drive, the knowledge the media is giving us is wasted space on our intellectual hardrives.  It is muddying the water and preventing from focusing on more important and immediate problems. 

I once read that the more decisions you have to make, the slower your decision making abilities are down the line.  So next time something comes on TV about ebola, unless it is raising money to help countries that don’t have the proper health systems in place, turn the channel.  I don’t care if you turn it to 90210 reruns and turn your mind off for an hour.  It is better than getting hopped up about ebola. 

John Oliver On Drones

This is an absolutely excellent on The United States drone program.  While most news is entertainment posing as news, this is news posing as entertainment.  You will see a far more in depth discussion on our drone program than you will see on almost any cable news channel.  It just happens to be delivered by someone that can pepper the information he is delivering with some great jokes.  Our use of drones is one of the moral and ethical dilemmas of our time.  The fact that we are not having a greater discussion on this is troubling.  I have admitted to supporting Obama in the past.  This is one issue that he is terrible on and should be held accountable for.

No Irish, No Blacks, No Dogs and Human Perception

rotten_cover[1]-771334

I recently read John Lydon’s autobiography of his time in the Sex Pistols, Rotten: No Irish, No Blacks, No Dogs.  Lydon is of Irish stock and the title refers to a sign that used to be hung up on certain establishments in England.  The book was excellent as Lydon (Johnny Rotten) was always much smarter than his detractors claimed.  However, one of the most interesting things about the book wasn’t even the content, but the way that it was structured.

Lydon is smart enough to realize that events are subject to people’s perspective.  Rather then claim he has the definitive take on everything he has other people give their views on seminal events, including those that contradict him.

Earlier in the book he talks about how history can’t be completely trusted.  He knows the lies that were written about him in the press, so why should people believe everything that is written about a larger more controversial figure like Napoleon?

So while he tries to be as honest as he can about what he saw and how he perceived events, he again also includes a multitude of other opinions.  Many of these were written down specifically for the book.  However, even when it comes to the lawsuit that was between him and former manager Malcolm McLaren, he includes all of the opposing depositions, including McLaren’s.

This is not only brave of Lydon to do, as he allows himself to be presented in less than favorable light at times, but also shows that he understands how human perception can color events.  Getting to the absolute truth of an event can be impossible.  One might think that having conflicting perceptions would actually make finding the truth even harder.  But actually, if you are open to looking at things from different angles, you can actually get closer than you can just depending on one source.

This book actually came out in the 90’s.  I think the way it is presented is even more relevant now, especially with how unreliable our mainstream media is.  The only way that one can have some idea of what is going on is to try to read as much as possible and piece things together for themselves.