Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Two Kinds of People

The world is split into two distinct groups.

This realization came to me recently after my iPod—supposedly using a random song selection procedure—popped up two oddly similar tunes in a row for me.

The first, Lindsey Buckingham’s “Go Insane,” includes the line: “Two kinds of people in this world/Winners, losers.”

Immediately after, I heard a song entirely about the concept, Rush’s “Half the World,” with lyrics like:

Half the world hates what half the world does every day
Half the world waits while half gets on with it anyway
Half the world lives, half the world makes
Half the world gives while the other half takes

And it wouldn’t stop. Revelations blinded me as I opened my ears and eyes, confirming that there are indeed two kinds of people. With thanks to (for having pages to link to), here are some examples:Which kind of person are you?

What other divisions of people come to mind?

Friday, August 17, 2007

I Wish It Would Rain Down

Last night, in the middle of otherwise peaceful slumber, I awoke to pouring rain and thunder.

Not that such sounds are novel to me … it’s just that my life has lacked these things for several months. Here in the mid-Atlantic region, we are suffering from a severe drought.

So when this rare event occurred, I fell into a half-awake, half-asleep state and captured the essence of something that’s been troubling me for months. I finally was able to encapsulate the growing realization that’s been eating at me.

The Daily Show has lost its mojo.

This pains me more than most of you can imagine. My admiration, respect, and love for the half-hour parody news broadcast on Comedy Central has been a steady presence for years, since Craig Kilborn hosted. It’s difficult for me to admit that these feelings have faded.

These feelings have faded.

Perhaps it started when one of the show’s best correspondents/writers, Stephen Colbert, left two years ago to start his own show. Otherwise, I’m ignorant about the writing cadre of the show now compared to 2005, but the direction hasn’t been positive.

At least 90% of an episode now consists of two things.

First, Jon Stewart’s show now depends mostly on rather witless shots at Bush, Cheney, Rove, and a few other executive branch figures.

I’m a big fan of political satire, so clever jabs at our leaders give me no heartburn whatsoever. I think we need more intelligent swipes at all authority figures. But recently, trained monkeys could have crafted and delivered most of the show’s “jokes,” which rely on weak impersonations and stale exaggerations.

It doesn’t take a genius to make fun of this (or any) administration. Events and policies to mock are low-hanging fruit. It does take skilled comedic writing, however, to make that lampooning good. And The Daily Show is failing.

Second, Stewart has gone dirty—he now gets more bleeps per minute than Lindsay Lohan and Paris Hilton. Combined.

I like well-placed cursing. In fact, I love it. Authors like Chuck Klosterman use expletives naturally, and the aforementioned Colbert drops four-letter treats once in a while to great effect. Relying on profanity for laughs, on the other hand, is a downward spiral that one only enters once ideas dry up.

And it seems the mid-Atlantic drought has reached The Daily Show’s writers.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

There’s No Accounting for Taste

I’ve heard wise men say that one person’s art is another person’s garbage. I've heard some dumb-asses say it, too, but that's not important right now.

I don’t care much for the religious art of the Middle Ages, for example, but some folks go gaga over it. And those same people deny the inherent magnificence within the dogs-playing-poker painting.

But some things seem to be in bad taste no matter how you look at them.

For example, take Jihad: The Musical, playing this month at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. This off-the-wall musical includes songs like “I Wanna Be Like Osama” (which, if I recall correctly, was originally recorded by Debbie Gibson).

As you can imagine, protestors are doing what protestors do: protesting. They don’t appreciate the lighthearted approach to attacking Western targets and slaying of innocent civilians.

I fail to understand the attention critics throw at this play while the following travesties continue unobstructed:

The proliferation of reality TV.

An ‘08 presidential contest without a Stewart/Colbert ticket.

O.J. Simpson speaking publicly about his murdered wife.

Hilary Clinton showing cleavage on the campaign trail.

Bill Richardson showing cleavage on the campaign trail.