Home > Uncategorized > Don Imus, Kurt Vonnegut, Supporting the Troops, and The Bee Gees

Don Imus, Kurt Vonnegut, Supporting the Troops, and The Bee Gees

“…AND THE HORSE YOU RODE IN ON,” SAID CBS RADIO
I figure I might as well add my two cents on the Don Imus debacle since everyone and their cross-eyed Uncle already has.

Look, I realize most people think he should not have been fired. I can see the argument, especially since his comment (though stupid) was blown entirely out of proportion. He’s battled his demons throughout the years and come out the other side, which I commend him for. In some ways I respect the guy – he’s overcome his addictions and maintained a lucrative radio career for over two decades. He’s developed a devout following over that time period, which has given him a Radio God complex. I can’t judge him too much on that, though, since he’s put his time in and worked his ass off.

However, it’s hard for me to find sympathy for the man. There’s one important aspect of this whole issue that everyone is blatantly ignoring – Don Imus isn’t funny. I mean, not even for an old man. At my work, there are at least six old men in my building who I think are a lot funnier and have more personality than Don Imus. And that’s not even taking into account the program itself.

Actually, let’s look at the program. Youv’e got:
* Imus himself, a bitter old man who grumbles through four or five hours of his program and maintains a holier-than-thou attitude despite not doing anything to justify it. He also loses points for wearing a cowboy hat. Listen, unless you’re an wrangler or sing about fightin’, booze, and broads (which does disqualify nearly every contemporary country act), no grown man should wear a cowboy hat. Why the fuck is this still going on? It throws me into a rage every time I see someone sporting the gallon hat. If guys like that are allowed to live out fantasies developed in their childhood, how come people who walk around dressed as Star Trek characters at conventions get so much shit? Pretending to be John Wayne in “McLintock” is every bit as pathetic as pretending to be Patrick Stewart in “ST:TNG.” Actually, it’s a little worse, because while most Trekkies just do it for conventions, guys like Don Imus are doing it 24-7. It’s like full-time LARPing. Fuckin’ A…wait, what were we talking about again? Oh right, the “Imus in the Morning” program.
* Bernard McGuirk, the poster child for bitter middle-aged white folk. Ever talk to a guy who tries to be sarcastic and witty but instead sounds like your typical 40-year-old asshole at the bar? That’s McGuirk.
* Charles McCord, the newsreader with an extensive on-air role who really doesn’t have the personality to be anything other than the guy who reads the news. Then again, his on-air role outside of reading the news doesn’t seem to extend past making me want to clock him every time he refers to Imus as “I-Man” and saying stuff like “that’s a shame” after Imus is done with a fifteen minute rant about nothing.
* Chris Carlin, the guy who’s supposed to be an expert on sports but knows less about them than perhaps even I do and looks like Butterbean’s Lucha mini. For those curious, his ring name would be “Buttercito” and a feud with Super Porky would be fucking MONEY.
* Rob Bartlett, who does the worst impersonations in the history of radio. Think about the fact that it’s radio – home to a plethora of people who only think they can do impressions – and how much ground that covers. His only entertaining persona has been as Brian Wilson, while the rest – including but not limited to the worst Hulk Hogan impersonation ever – are about as amusing as a documentary about quilts. Particularly embarrassing is his character of the stereotypical Italian mafioso. I forget the character’s name, but it’s something like “Louie Meatballs” and hearing him do the character while the rest of the crew forces out old man cackles makes me embarrassed for anyone and everyone ever associated with the “Imus in the Morning” program.

So yeah, there’s a million reasons why I’m happy Don Imus was fired, even if I don’t agree with the actual reason for it. But Hell, he’s off the air, so some good has come from all this. Call me what you want, but I’m not ashamed to say that someone else’s misery has brought me great joy. Well…perhaps “misery” is too strong of a word, because unless he jumps to satellite, CBS still has to honor the rest of his contract (which gives him $10 million a year) and he’ll definitely get a spot on either Sirius or XM at some point. Actually, judging by the overwhelming reaction to his firing, more people will be interested in listening to Don Imus than ever before when he does make the jump, so…fuck. Ah well, at least the interest will wane as soon as “Louie Meatballs” or whatever talks about whacking guys while Don Imus makes some lame crack about sleeping with the fishes and Charlie goes “OH I-MAN.”

As far as how this impacts “race relations” in the United States – Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton took a remark that could have been construed as racist, then intentionally blew it out of proportion to get their faces and names on television and in the newspaper. WELCOME TO THE PAST TWENTY FUCKING YEARS.

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VONNEGUT’S DEAD – QUICK, EVERYONE WIPE OFF YOUR MONITORS
Speaking of something everyone and their cross-eyed Uncle has been posting about this week – I have a huge favor to ask of all of you reading this.

Please, for the love of God, stop pretending that Kurt Vonnegut was your personal hero and mentor.

The past few days have been a trying time for yours truly. I absolutely loved Vonnegut in High School, which if you think about it is the perfect audience for him (the bratty know-it-all). I still look back on those readings, both mandatory and recreational, with fondness. But Christ, he wasn’t this great philosopher or exceptionally brilliant man. As the internet has taught us, anyone can have beliefs and be an abrasive dick about it. The only undeserved literary hero worship more annoying is that for Charles Bukowski, although Vonnegut isn’t quite as bad (yet) since all the pining seems to be dying down as time passes.

He was at times a brilliant writer (Cat’s Cradle), but just like any writer not everything he wrote was gold (eg. the exceptionally shitty “Harrison Bergeron”). He was human and he had his faults, which is exactly how he should be remembered. Not as the great philosophical mind of the 20th Century, not as someone who put you on a specific path in life, and not as a God to people who treat atheism like a religion and an excuse to take your general unhappiness out on others – but as a human being, a man with faults and problems who was able to make something out of his life and have his voice heard to millions upon millions of readers. Not bad, huh?

Kurt Vonnegut was a good writer and at times a good man, and the world is worse off for his loss, but it’s even more worse off because of all the masturbatory blogs and MySpace bulletins posted about his death. So…just stop. Thank you.

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“SUPPORT THE TROOPS”
A post in a MySpace group I moderate got me to thinking about something that’s bugged me on and off for the past several years.

What does it mean when somebody says they “support the troops”?

It’s a question that doesn’t get asked too often, since it’s one of those issues where people have to take personal inventory and feel they have to tread lightly when they’re exploring it. Unfortunately, it’s a conversation that needs to occur more often, especially since the phrase is tossed around like candy by both sides of the debate on the Iraq war.

It’s gotten to the point where I don’t know if I do “support the troops,” just because I’m not always sure how much that phrase extends past cliche and ad nauseum usage. I know I don’t wish them harm, and I respect the Hell out of the decision they’ve made, and yes, like anyone with half a brain I know they’re following orders and that there are elected officials and non-military personnel that are dictating the course of events that ultimately land them in certain areas and situations.

But can I honestly say I “support” them when I’m not sure exactly what that’s supposed to mean? Is not supporting the war but also not harassing the shit out of army guys and calling them baby killers enough to warrant standing up and saying you “support the troops”? Is this phrase anything other than an empty gesture on our part?

Regardless, I’ve come to the conclusion that I’d really like to see that phrase used a lot less often. Not because I don’t think that there aren’t people out there who are genuinely active in their support for the men and women in the armed forces, but because the majority of the time I see it used it’s in instances where it’s totally unwarranted. It’s used when somebody wants to disparage a person who holds an opinion against the war in Iraq, and/or when an opponent of the war develops so much insecurity in his or her opinion that it makes them overly-defensive (“This war is an disgrace, it’s every bit the debacle Vietnam was and anyone with half a brain knew that as soon as we went in there – BUT I STILL SUPPORT THE TROOPS DON’T GET ME WRONG AND PLEASE DON’T FLAME ME”).

When discussing poor allocation of funds to ground troops, the situation at Walter Reed, or the injuries/casualties/etcetera suffered through the course of this conflict, I think the phrase “support the troops” can be used as a means to examine the issue as a whole. However, I don’t think it belongs anywhere in a debate over whether we should or should not have gone into (or remain in) Iraq, especially if it isn’t anything other than an insinuation that somebody else doesn’t or an attempt to defend a position that holds no relevance to the conversation.

Is there anyone left in this country that can express their opinion about politics and/or foreign policy without sounding like a hacky talking head on a second-rate cable news channel?

Here’s what I believe – I think that joining the military is an incredible life choice to make. I respect not only the decision, but the sacrifice made in all aspects of military life. I think that the men and women in the armed forces deserve the best treatment we can give them when they come home and/or fulfill their obligations. That being said, I’m not sure if thatt’s enough to make the yellow ribbon bumper sticker on my car anything other than an empty gesture.

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A FUCKING HORSE FELL!
I watched the second episode of “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 5 again earlier tonight. This episode had Gabe being a mouthy and insecure lunatic, Manny going on a murderous rampage over somebody writing “Suck it Team Pulver” on the wall of the game room, Noah eating a roast beef sandwich while being weighed in for his fight (where he was absolutely destroyed by Manny), and a dramatic scene where a horse fell in the driveway while the fighters freaked out and helped the horse back up. Man, what a show.

The Ultimate Fighter airs every Thursday at 10:00pm (EST) on Spike TV. This season focuses on the Lightweights,
who are perhaps the craziest fucking people on the planet. Watch it. Love it.

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VIDEO OF THE DAY
The Bee Gees perform “Nights on Broadway” (probably my favorite song in their catalog) on The Midnight Special.

I was up at a ridiculous hours a few nights ago and came across an Infomercial for the best of The Midnight Special. I nearly picked up the phone and ordered it, especially when they were showing clips of some of the performances included on the DVD. Then came the kicker – it was a series of DVDs, like eight of them. Jesus, do I really want to sit through six Grand Funk Railroads just to watch one Ray Charles? I think not.

More later…

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  1. April 15, 2007 at 8:11 am

    Rob Bartlett? The same one, I assume.

    “I thought you said Mr. Perfect was going to win…”

    • April 15, 2007 at 4:46 pm

      Indeed, it is the very same Rob Bartlett. And if you thought Vince McMahon’s forced laughter at his antics on RAW were bad, hoo boy.

  2. April 15, 2007 at 10:13 am

    I want YOU to be on the radio instead of Don Imus, okay? Please?

  3. April 15, 2007 at 6:11 pm

    I honestly cannot resist saying this:

    I support the troops. Because they pay me to, and I’ll get fired if I don’t. Paychecks are something I happen to like. =)

    I know, completely irrelevant to the point you were making, but I can’t keep my big mouth shut when I should.

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