Sunday, August 23, 2009

Blubber, Blatter, Blister and Bumble

I have been so busy at work for the last 2 months that I have been completely unable to put one rational, coherent thought together. So here are four irrational, incoherent thoughts. Please to be reading and enjoying.

Whale Wars: Rise of the Hypocrites

One nice thing about summer is that regular TV is chock full of crap. Just how many tired reruns and Octomom specials does it take to fill the three month telivisual void known as Summer? Answer: Apparently a lot. The good thing about all the garbage on TV is that it gives you a chance to venture out and try something new. No, not reading or spending time with the family. By new I mean a new show that any other time of the year would not crack your Tivo Top 100. This summer, that show has been Whale Wars on Animal Planet.

Whale Wars is basically a reality show in the same vein as Deadliest Catch or Ice Road Truckers. Only in the case of Whale Wars, rather then follow around a bunch of slack-jawed hillbillies as they attempt to complete a difficult job in the Frozen North, we follow around a bunch of hygienically challenged Green Peace hippies as they attempt to disrupt legal whaling in the Frozen South. The one thing all these shows have in common is they make me glad my TV does not have smell-o-vision. If the primetime Emmies handed out awards for "Worst B.O. in a Reality TV Series" we would already have our nominees.

The unclean heroes of Whale Wars, known as Sea Shepherds, spend weeks at sea each year following around Japanese whalers in an attempt to disrupt their operations.

For the record I am not pro-whaling. My need to see wet blubber is satiated every time I take a shower. I look at whales much the same way I look at spiders, scorpions and clowns: stay out of my house and I will not actively seek to destroy you.

That being said, I always find myself rooting for the Japanese Whalers; not exactly the intended consequence of the show. The sanctimonious hypocrisy displayed by the anti-whaling, anti-showering beatnik Sea Shepherds has turned them into the real villains. While they claim to be anti-violence, the methods they use against the Japanese are nothing short of dangerous and blatantly hostile.

When the Whalers use non-lethal sonar weapons, the Sea Shepherds start firing flares at them. When the Whalers tow a long rope behind them to keep the Sea Shepherds from getting too close, the Sea Shepherds respond by circling the whalers with their smaller boats and dragging a line under their hull to disable their prop. When the Sea Shepherds get frustrated by the powerful water cannons aboard the Japanese whalers, they respond by trying to throw bottles of Butyric Acid onto their decks. How dare you try to keep us peace-loving whale huggers away from your ships using non lethal methods. Eat acid you violent jerks!

The only thing more inhumane then killing whales is putting the lives of actual humans at risk, even through supposed non-violent methods. That is what the Sea Shepherds do every day they are out at sea. When you value the life of a bloated sea cow (i.e. whale) more than you do an actual human being, you have lost all perspective and deserve no sympathy. The Sea Shepherds are far more William Ayers than they are Mahatma Ghandi.

Art Imitating Life

Last night, my wife and I sat down to watch The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. At one point during the movie, the very pregnant Daisy (played by Cate Blanchett) interrupts Benjamin to say she has "to go pee." At that very moment, my very pregnant wife had just stood up to visit the restroom for that very purpose. Hillarity ensued.

Secretary of Hate

In case you missed it, our nation's top diplomat and chief tact-ician, Hillary Clinton, recently snapped at a Nigerian student for having the audacity to ask her about her husband, Bill. Hillary's carefully worded response to an innocent question, was to remind this student that Hillary is the Secretary of State, not Bill and, in her most derisive tone, she would not be channeling her husband. Oh snap!

I think we can all agree that being Secretary of State is the perfect job for Hillary Clinton. Now, she doesn't even have to worry about being in the same country as her husband. Who says theirs is a marriage of political convenience?

Blaming the Republicant's

Now that health care reform has stalled faster than a '72 Pinto in the middle of a Hurricane, President Obama is falling back on the old, reliable Democratic crutch: blame the vast right-wing conspiracy.

In a radio interview this week, President Obama took the focus off his own failure of leadership to state ""I think early on, a decision was made by the Republican leadership that said, 'Look, let's not give him a victory, maybe we can have a replay of 1993, '94, when Clinton came in, he failed on health care and then we won in the mid-term elections and we got the majority. And I think there are some folks who are taking a page out that playbook."

There is only one problem. Republicans have absolutely no ability to stop health care. None. Ninguno. Nada. Zip. Zilch. Zero. Maybe Obama missed that part of civics class where they discussed filibuster-proof majorities, because he clearly does not realize that he has one. With 60 members of the senate in his pocket, President Obama could pass any bill he wants. Want to make Shark Week a national holiday? Go for it. Want to provide tax subsidies to one-eyed, scurvy-ridden pirates? Its all yours. Want to create a nationalized health care system that drives up the national debt without so much as reading the bill? Done and done.

Obama Care has thus far failed for one reason and one reason only. Obama's inability to convince the members of his own party of its merits. And how could he convince them? Nobody actually knows what Obama Care is. How does the public option work? Who qualifies? How much will it cost? Does it have sliding scale monthly premiums? Will it require co pays and deductibles? The most basic question of any insurance program have been either ignored or unanswered. All this despite countless news releases, town hall meetings and a primetime news conference. If you still fail to persuade people to your point of view despite your own personal likability and a lapdog media, maybe the problem isn't the opposition. Maybe the problem is the message itself.


Loni said...

I've missed your blog Joel--I'm glad to see you're writing again because it must mean work is lightening up. Yay!

I loved the story of Robyn and the movie--I can totally relate.

I completely agree about Obamacare. The whole blaming the conservatives for the plan's own failings is down right ludicrous. It does give me hope though that either it won't pass (although I do believe some sort of reform needs to happen, but definitely not Obama's plan) or that if it does pass, they will have complete responsibility for it with their super majority and will have shot themselves in the foot.

Christa Jeanne said...

You are 110% right about Obamacare, Joel! I was talking with a very liberal friend this weekend who totally favors universal healthcare - and yet even he was critical about how nobody really knows what it is! There is no plan, so how can we actually embrace or reject it? Instead of channeling his energy into defining the details, he's trying to write off all opponents as right-wing nutjobs. What a joke!

The Clifts said...

I have a funny story for you Joel. When my sister and I were trying to plan how she was going to drop that pillow off for Robyn a few months ago, my other sister overheard and asked, "Is that Joel "The Average Joel"? and I told her it was. She was so jealous that my other sister was going to get to meet you. I guess my youngest sister could be your fan-club president. :)

Sara said...

What?! The thrill is gone for Obama? May I just take a moment to say, hahahahahahahaha!

Fabulous post, as always!

Neal and Shannon said...

One of the funniest things I've read this year: "For the record I am not pro-whaling. My need to see wet blubber is satiated every time I take a shower. I look at whales much the same way I look at spiders, scorpions and clowns: stay out of my house and I will not actively seek to destroy you." Do try not to make me laugh so hard at work. It's so unprofessional :). Fantastic post, my brother.