Kathy Griffin goes full Jihadi John with Trump beheading ‘art,’ apologizes after CNN gig put at risk

Kathy Griffin CNN Trump

It takes quite a bit of insanity to make your friendly neighborhood blogger swing into explicitly political material these days, but when Hollywood comedians go full “Jihadi John” it seems a though it’s time for the blog posts of old to return.

Jihad John

For those who somehow managed to avoid the news, Anderson Cooper’s regular New Year’s Eve broadcast buddy, Kathy Griffin, released images from a photo shoot today that she promised would “make noise.” TMZ was given exclusive access to the “art” project, which included Ms. Griffin holding up a fake version of President Donald Trump’s decapitated head.

This, dear reader, is “the resistance” that Hollywood directors like Joss Whedon are calling for because Mr. Trump will allegedly trick the nation into massacring gay people. The entertainment community now finds itself weirdly peddling the idea that Mr. Trump should have his head chopped off to … stop him from chopping off heads.

Get it? If you do, then please explain it to me in the comments section below.

Joss Whedon Trump tweet

Ms. Griffin apologized when the ensuing outrage spread like wildfire across social media, but that begs the question: Did she mean it, or was she trying to save her annual payday with CNN? When someone looks up repeatedly while apologizing, it comes across as, “Okay, okay. I’ll say I’m sorry. Can we just get this over with and move on? Yeesh.”

Consider what the comedian said just hours earlier to photographer Tyler Shields: “We’re going to go to prison — federal prison. Call your dad, apologize.”

She knew people would be angry and disgusted, but she did it anyway. She just didn’t realize that there are still enough people with common decency across the political spectrum that she would become professionally toxic to many of her peers. 

Kathy Griffin Apologize

Mr. Trump is a lot of things, but he most certainly does not deserve to have his fellow Americans sending the message that he should be executed ISIS-style. Nobody deserves such a fate, but for some disgusting reason the Hollywood community has decided to try and equate him with “Nazis” and Hitler and any other group that serves to transform him into a monster.

The reason is simple: Once you dehumanize a man and turn him into a demon, then it is easy to rationalize any action(s) used to destroy said demon. The entertainment industry has decided that a rhetorical and “artistic” scorched earth strategy is acceptable for “resisting” the president, even if it further tears the nation apart.

My guess is that Ms. Griffin, like many comedians, has a whole slew of psychological and emotional issues. People should be mindful of that as they respond to her “art.” Regardless, she should be held responsible for her a behavior. It is up to good people to take a stand against Hollywood’s most ghoulish political hacks, because the industry’s aggregated efforts have a huge effect on shaping young minds.

If you want to know what the future of America looks like without the right actions of morally upstanding individuals today, then look no further than the social media feeds of men like Joss Whedon and women like Kathy Griffin. Absent a miracle, I firmly believe that our nation is bound for many dark days ahead.

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NBC’s ‘Timeless’: Time-travel drama is standard fare, adds nothing new to genre

Because my daughter is such a fan of “The Voice,” I almost accidentally began watching the new NBC time-travel series “Timeless” since it immediately follows the “American Idol” knock-off.

Scientist Rufus Carlin has invented the world’s first time machine, but unfortunately for us all, unscrupulous former NSA agent Garcia Flynn and some henchmen steal it. Flynn’s goal is to alter history by preventing the United States from becoming a (super)power.

But unfortunately for Flynn, he forgot to take into account Carlin’s prototype time device (see below) which, although it looks much clunkier than the stolen model, works perfectly well. And even worse for Flynn — it can be used to track the stolen, newer machine’s movements through the timestream..

The first adventure takes place at the Hindenburg disaster — which still does occur, just not how we remember it thanks to our protagonists. After Carlin confirms that this point in time indeed is where Flynn has journeyed, he is joined by historian Lucy Preston and Delta Force member Wyatt Logan in an attempt to capture the renegades and the stolen timeship. Flynn’s plan in this case was to destroy the famous dirigible on its way back to Europe — as it was carrying numerous prominent Americans to the coronation of King George and Queen Elizabeth.

Carlin and co. believe that since the Hindenburg still burst into flames and fell into ruins (just not the way it was supposed to) that they prevented any serious alteration of the timeline. But this is not the case: Preston discovers, once back in the present, that her mother is no longer on chronically ill, and worse, her sister no longer exists.

The best of the four episodes to air thus far was the second, where the team tracks Flynn back to the date of Abraham Lincoln’s assassination. And it’s really here that the show really misses the opportunity to be radically different.

Scientist Carlin, who’s black, asks historian Preston why the team simply can’t save Lincoln from John Wilkes Booth’s bullet … in an attempt to make the future (much) better for African-Americans. It’s a rather compelling argument, but Preston adamantly refuses on the premise that they have no idea what the overall effects of such a drastic altering of events would entail.

Logically, it’s hard not to disagree with that. But wouldn’t saving our 16th president be a lot more interesting than Preston trying to figure out what happened to her sister? Or Logan trying to resurrect his dead wife? Why not examine how black Americans would have fared under a continuing Lincoln administration (and policies)?

Carlin (played by Malcolm Barrett) does a great job conveying the emotional angst over this issue — I was hoping his argument would prevail, or, at least he’d act unilaterally. Let’s face it — the stakes aren’t (weren’t) exactly small.

The problem is that “Timeless” operates under the premise of a “closed loop” time geometry — the actions of changing events in the past will affect that same timeline’s future. If saving Lincoln created an alternate timeline — the other theory dealing with the consequences of altering past events — Carlin and co. might have been more inclined to act.

By not taking big risks like saving Lincoln, sadly, “Timeless” ends up being yet another formulaic, offers-no-surprises assembly line drama.

For yours truly, it has become exceedingly difficult over the last decade or so to find a new network/cable TV offering worth sticking with. “The Walking Dead,” the most recent show I regularly watched, lasted only three and a half seasons for me, and that was stretching it. It essentially became the same thing week after week after week.

Of the three other fairly recent faves of mine — “Nip/Tuck,” “Battlestar Galactica,” and “Fringe” — only the last remained true enough to its origins to stick with until the end.

“Nip/Tuck” took its adult theme warning to the limit each and every week and was so outrageously different in its  first two seasons as to be must-viewing. I liken its fall to that of “Friends” — the character entanglements became so convoluted and silly that the show became an eye-roller and yawn-inducer.

“Battlestar” started out similarly; however, as I chronicled at the time at The Colossus of Rhodey, the political lecturing started seeping in. The posturing initially didn’t make much sense (the few remaining humans refuse to take advantage of a means to wipe out their killers), and later became outrageous as the writers appeared to possess no sense of moral certitude (not to mention, they seemed to wing it, plot-wise, the last season-season and a half).

Hillary Clinton pairing up with all-female ‘Ghostbusters’ cast … because pandering

Ghostbusters 2016

Imagine a scenario in 2012 where Mitt Romney decided to appear on Jimmy Kimmel with the cast of The Expendables 2. Jimmy then tweeted, “The entire cast of The Expendables is here next week and now @MittRomney is coming, too! Get your Man Cards ready.”

You would probably lose a ton of respect for Mr. Romney for a.) blatantly pandering to a certain demographic of men, and b.) doing so when nothing about him says “cigar chomping, beer-chugging dude.”

Now consider the following tweet from Ellen DeGeneres on Tuesday:

“The entire cast of Ghostbusters is here next week and now @HillaryClinton is coming, too! Get your Woman Cards ready.”

Sad, isn’t it? It screams, “Vote for Hillary because she’s a woman. Seriously. I mean it.”

Ellen DeGeneres Hillary Clinton Ghostbusters

The weird thing about Mrs. Clinton’s May 25 appearance with Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Kate McKinnon and Leslie Jones is that no one has apparently warned her: Ghostbusters is literally the most reviled movie trailer in YouTube’s history.

The Hollywood Reporter covered the infamous milestone April 30:

Not only does it have the most dislikes for a trailer on the social platform, but it also makes the top 25 most disliked videos overall.

Things are not boding well for director Paul Feig’s upcoming Ghostbusters based on the film’s first official trailer on YouTube.

Released March 3, the trailer, viewed 29.2 million times and counting, is the most disliked movie trailer in YouTube history, according to “MyTop100Videos” channel’s “Most Disliked Videos” list that was last updated April 16.

Mrs. Clinton, a pale political imitation of her husband, will link herself with a cast that will likely be a pale imitation of the original Ghostbusters. It’s the kind of pandering that only a desperate candidate would resort to because someone who was confident would want the stage all to herself.

If Hillary Clinton were confident that she represented the majority of women, then there would be no need for “Get your Woman Card ready” tweets by Ellen DeGeneres.

If Hillary Clinton were running a smooth campaign, then the cast of Ghostbusters would appear the next day and talk about her for most of the interview.

If Hillary Clinton had decent political instincts, then she would not appear with any cast that would allow critics a segue into discussions about “ghosts” that haunt the former secretary of state at night.

Again, I would be highly insulted if a male candidate showed up on a talk show with a bunch of “manly men” as guests because … “bros before hoes in the voting booth, bro!” I can only hope that millions of intelligent women feel the same way about the Clinton campaign’s shameless efforts with female voters.

Feminism, ‘The View’-style: Michelle Collins, Joy Behar mock Fiorina’s face

Carly Fiorina CNBC debate

The great thing about modern “feminists” with a microphone is that they regularly discredit their own brand of feminism. Take the women of “The View,” for instance. They spent Thursday cackling with each other over the face of Republican presidential candidate Carly Fiorina.

Collins: She looked demented! Her mouth did not downturn one time.  **audience claps and laughs**

Behar: I wish it was a Halloween mask. I’d love that.

Let us flashback to Sept. 10, when they got up on a moral pedestal to lecture Donald Trump for doing the same thing.

Behar: “You talked about Carly Fiorina in Rolling Stone magazine, and you said, “Look at that face. Would anyone vote for that? Can you imagine that, the face of our next president? Are you making fun of her looks, Donald? Because I know you don’t like it…”

Trump: “Not at all, no. I’m talking about the persona, Joy. …”

Behar: “Then why don’t you talk about her brains instead of her face?” **audience claps**

It is interesting how that works: When the (liberal) women of “The View” lecture a man on disparaging a woman’s physical appearance, they are applauded. When the (liberal) women of “The View” say mean and disgusting things about a woman’s physical appearance, they are applauded.

Telling.

Here’s a pop quiz: Do you know who treats women the worst in America?

Answer: Other women.

It is highly ironic watching Joy Behar — caked with 10 pounds of makeup to look her best — say Carly Fiorina’s face looks like a Halloween mask. If you put a mole on Joy’s nose and a broom between her legs, would she look like a witch? You decide.

Joy Behar

Here we have Michelle Collins — after professional makeup artists got her ready for television. What would she look like without makeup? Use your imagination.

Michelle Collins

Finally, we have Whoopi Goldberg of “rape-rape” infamy.

Whoopi Goldberg

These “feminists” do not care about treating women right as much as they care about getting congratulated for whatever they say and do.

When they tear down another woman — they want to cheered. When they chastise a man for tearing down another woman — they wanted to be cheered. They have zero moral authority, and should be relentlessly called out on their hypocrisy every time it rears its ugly head.

Jessica Jones: Marvel, Netflix attempt to walk ‘dark’ tightrope

Jessica Jones

Somewhere out in space and time there is an alternate dimension where Marvel’s “Jessica Jones” somehow wound up on network television in the 90s, and instead of Krysten Ritter in the lead role fans got Janeane Garofalo. That is one major obstacle dodged, but there is still a challenge — walking the tightrope between “dark” and “dark for the sake of being dark.”

I was first introduced to Jessica Jones in 2001 when I picked up Brian Michael Bendis’ “Alias.” The book was part of Marvel’s “Max” line (i.e., not for children). It was incredibly well-written for a long stretch. I always thought it would make for good television. However, the one major problem any producer of a “Jessica Jones” show will have is, “How dark should it be?”

Jessica Jones fire

There is a fine line between exploring evil that can lurk inside the human heart, and simply wallowing in filth just to get a reaction out of others.

Bendis, at his best, seems to be a skilled tightrope walker. Examples of failure in this regard may include Garth Ennis’ “The Boys” and the Mark Millar-Steve McNiven collaboration “Nemesis.”

Jessica Jones Police Department

Marvel and Netflix did a fabulous job with Daredevil, but it isn’t hard to imagine mindless producers saying, “Daredevil was dark and it was popular. Maybe we should go really dark with Jessica Jones!” 

If Marvel and its creative partners avoided this trap, then it is likely “Jessica Jones” will be a show worth watching. At least for now, everyone can stand up and cheer for a.) the inclusion Mike Colter as Luke Cage, and b.) the absence of Janeane Garofalo from the finished product.

Stephen Colbert to Uber’s Travis Kalanick: Can you teach me basic economics?

Colbert Travis Kalanick

The Late Show with Stephen Colbert may not be the place where one can find Conan O’Brien-quality humor. It may not be the place where one can find Jimmy Kimmel-quality interviews. It is, however, the best late-night location for viewers who want to find a man who doesn’t understand basic economics.

Uber CEO Travis Kalanick was invited onto The Late Show on Friday for a generally hostile interview. Under the guise of, “Hey, I’m just asking questions!” Colbert treated his “guest” like he does everyone who he’d like to take down a notch. He failed because it’s not a good idea to take on a successful businessman before grasping basic economics.

Colbert: Explain surge pricing to me. Ok, if I’m someplace in say, Australia, and there’s a threat of a terrorist attack, why do prices triple? Is that how we should be treating each other?

Travis Kalanick: Absolutely not.

Colbert: But that happened.

Travis Kalanick: What happens is, when demand outstrips supply, the price comes up in a particular neighborhood or across the city. If it’s in a neighborhood and we see many more people need a car than there are cars available price goes up in that area. The drivers are told. They then go to that place so that more people can get a ride out. Sometimes, something happens in a city. We don’t know what it is. And if it’s an emergency, we basically turn it off because I just think community expectations are — an emergency, major weather events, things like that — we turn it off.

Let us turn to a scenario used by economists like Thomas Sowell. Say there is a hurricane and no power. The demand for flashlights will skyrocket. If the “greedy” store does not raise prices, then rich people (perhaps like Stephen I-brag-about-my-Tesla-car-during-interviews Colbert) are likely to buy many flashlights. Each member of a seven-person family may get a flashlight. If those prices are raised, then it is much more likely that, say, seven different families each buy one flashlight. The flashlights will be allocated much more efficiently. A guy like me, who already has a flashlight, won’t purchase an extra one “just because” I’m there buying water and canned tuna.

On another level, think of what Colbert is saying about how Uber drivers should respond during a terrorist attack (on the anniversary of 9/11, no less). Imagine there is a terrorist attack and you are an Uber driver. In Colbert’s mind (i.e., the mind of a man whose job is to tell jokes in an air-conditioned studio), you would be a jerk for charging more to drive into a life-threatening environment. Guys like Colbert can stand on a moral pedestal precisely because they don’t have to drive cars for money.

The interview continued on (no softball questions for you, Mr. Kalanick), and before long the subject once again turned to insinuating the wealthy businessman is really just looking for ways to exploit his employees until they are no longer necessary.

Colbert: Here’s another thing. I know you talk about how good this is for drivers, but you said you want like self-driving uber cars. That’s not for the driver. That’s just — we’re employing robots at that point. How is that helping … drivers at that point?

Travis Kalanick: Google is doing the driverless thing. Tesla is doing the driverless thing. Apple is doing the driverless thing. This is going to be the world. And so the question for a tech company is, “Do you want to be part of the future, or do you want to resist the future?” And we feel that, in many ways, we want to not be like the taxi industry before us. That’s how we think about it.

Colbert is the type of guy who probably lamented the invention of the internet because the music industry changed and it forced all those Tower Records employees to get a different job and possibly learn a new skill set. Today, however, he probably loves listening to Spotify on demand.

The good thing about The Late Show is that viewers get to see the “real” Stephen Colbert. The downside (for him) is that he can no longer hide his economic ignorance behind false personas.

‘Dukes of Hazzard’ pulled by TV Land in ‘Twilight Zone’ fashion

Dukes of HazzardThere were those who thought the political correctness police would be satiated after getting Amazon to stop selling Confederate flag merchandise and Apple to pull Civil War video games. They were wrong. Very wrong. Sure, Warner Bros. stopped selling things like “The Dukes of Hazzard” model cars and lunchboxes, but even that wasn’t enough. In pure Twilight Zone fashion, TV Land has decided to stop airing episodes of “The Dukes of Hazzard.”

The New York Post reported Wednesday:

The latest victim of the growing controversy over the Confederate flag is the 1980s TV series “The Dukes of Hazzard.”

A TV Land spokesperson confirmed Tuesday that the network has pulled reruns of the series from its schedule, which had been airing twice a day.

The network declined to comment on why the episodes were removed, but the South-set show has come under fire recently for its use of the Confederate flag, which is emblazoned on the roof of the Duke Boys’ signature 1969 orange Dodge Charger.

Not only did the network cave into political correctness, but then it added insult to injury by going with the cowardly “no comment” route. Maybe Turner Classic Movies can ban now the movie “American History X” because Edward Norton’s character was initially a neo-Nazi…

As I mentioned when Apple began pulling Civil War games that feature the Confederate flag, all of this started because a lone racist killed nine Americans in a South Carolina church. The reaction to America’s totalitarian mob of lemmings, however, has been quite interesting. Peruse any number of left-leaning political websites and you will see an acknowledgement that what is happening is absurd, but a complete refusal to pin any culpability on the preferred ideology of Social Justice Weenies (I refuse to call them “warriors”).

Take Mediaite’s comments section, for instance. When faced with the poison fruit of the SJW’s ideology, the reaction is to blame “maybe one or two” individuals or to essentially say, “Don’t blame me!”

Dukes of Hazzard ban reactionThis is just like the time that Chris Rock said he no longer liked to perform on college campuses because the political correctness is a sign of how “conservative” kids have become. The liberal kids listening to liberal musicians while reading liberal books assigned to them by liberal professors are “conservative.”

Chris Rock’s total immersion into Orwellian doublethink is, on some strange level, worthy of admiration. Likewise, the ability to advocate for a warped ideology on a daily basis and then absolve oneself of any culpability when it bears bad fruit is fascinating. It would be like yours truly talking about how awesome Mike Huckabee was for years on end, and then when people started to buy into the “let’s just ignore Supreme Court rulings we don’t like” mentality, suddenly saying, “Where did this madness come from? Don’t blame me.”

The “Dukes of Hazzard” story may seem silly, but anyone who is concerned about the future of the country should be able to rattle off a handful of similar incidents at a moment’s notice. American culture has influential men and women who are simultaneously erasing U.S. history they don’t like while ascribing their own totalitarian behavior to the very people trying to stand up for individual liberty.

If you do not define yourself, then powerful people (like politically correct network executives with deep pockets) will do it for you. The U.S. is being culturally bled out by the “death by a 10,000 paper cuts” method, and while its consciousness begins to wane its murderers are looking for ways to frame the innocent.

Watch more TV to create an abbreviated version of yourself; read more to realize your full potential

I was recently having dinner with a friend, and the conversation drifted into the amount of time I allotted to television, movies, and YouTube videos each week. It is my firm belief that if a man wants to become an abbreviated version of his true self, then he will watch a lot of television. If he wants to realize his full potential, then he will slide the scale in favor of reading.

A 2011 report conducted by Nielsen found:

The average American watched 34 hours 39 minutes of TV per week in Q4 2010, a year-over-year increase of two minutes. The heaviest users of traditional TV are adults 65+ (47 hours 33 minutes per week), followed by adults 50-64 (43 hours per week). Trailing all other age groups, teens age 12-17 watch the least amount of TV (23 hours 41 minutes per week). …

143.9 million Americans viewed video online in January 2011, spending an average of 4 hours 39 minutes viewing video on PCs/laptops.

When it comes to statistics on books, organizations like Pew typically set the bar pretty low these days, asking people if they read at least one book — just one — per year. And even then, listening to audio books is lumped in with statistics on reading books. They are in fact not the same thing. Each decision affects the mind in different ways.

Pew reported in 2014:

As of January 2014, some 76% of American adults ages 18 and older said that they read at least one book in the past year. Almost seven in ten adults (69%) read a book in print in the past 12 months, while 28% read an e-book, and 14% listened to an audiobook.

Think of the best television programming out there. Say you watched Discovery or History most of the time. Even if you filled your mind with the highest quality products television has to offer, then you would still be getting a truncated version of the actual subject that the station is covering.

Now think about the television that you do watch. Think about what reality television, cable news, and typical daytime television beams into your brain. All of that affects you on a subconscious level, and the vast majority of it is more akin to sugary snacks and fatty foods than fruit and vegetables.

At least once a month someone says to me in person, in email, or via one of my social media pages that the movie ‘Idiocracy’ seems to have been prophetic. Why is that? The reason is because we’ve been trained to look into glowing screens geared towards providing us with intellectual opiates instead of boot camp calisthenics.

Generally speaking, there is nothing wrong with watching movies, playing video games and and enjoying a good TV show, but like all other things it should be done in moderation. As a guy who reviews movies on a regular basis, it would be strange to tell people to cast off television completely. However, it seems as though fair-minded individuals can see how watching an average of 34 hours of television per week — in addition to however many hours are spent playing video games and watching silly videos on cellphones or laptops — is a recipe for brain atrophy.

Think of it this way: Would the average American be better served by reading Herman Melville’s Moby Dick, or by watching “In The Heart of the Sea,” directed by Ron Howard? My guess is that Mr. Howard has made a terrific movie, but will it engage the mind like Melville?

“They were one man, not thirty. For as the one ship that held them all; though it was put together of all contrasting things — oak, and maple, and pine wood; iron, and pitch, and hemp — yet all these ran into each other in the one concrete hull, which shot its way, both balanced and directed by the long central keel; even so, all the individualities of the crew, this man’s valor, that man’s fear; guilt and guiltlessness, all varieties were wedded into oneness, and were all directed to that fatal goal which Ahab their one lord and keel did point to.”

I challenge you for one year to cut the amount of television viewing you currently engage in by half, and then to fill that time by reading books like Moby Dick. Then, after one year, look back at who you were and who you’ve become and let me know how your perceptions on media consumption have changed. My guess is that you will be a completely different person, with no intention of going back to your old habits.

And yes, I will be reviewing In The Heart of The Sea shortly after it comes out March 13, 2015. Between now and then I also plan on writing a review for Moby Dick.