Friday, September 30, 2016

Marsha Blackburn Tries Out New Supervillain Catchphrase

Posted By on Fri, Sep 30, 2016 at 11:11 AM

"It is not in a warming trend!"
  • "It is not in a warming trend!"
Recent comments by U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) have been taken out of context by a mainstream media that refuses to acknowledge that Blackburn — long dismissed as an intellectual lightweight — is an evil genius hellbent on destroying the solar system with her new, improved weather gun.

"Is climate change manmade?" Blackburn asked rhetorically in a short phone interview. "No! For I am WOMAN!!! BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!" And then she hung up.

For years Blackburn's anti-science positions have functioned as cover for her own abominable experiments and an opportunity to divert funds away from potential evil rivals and NASA.
Blackburn has been criticized for recent comments to Huffington Post. Although "I think the Earth is in a cooling trend," was spoken in response to questions about Donald Trump's debate performance, it was essentially the Tennessee Legislator trying out the line she plans to shout when she finally zaps President Obama with her blizzard ray.

Comic book nerds agree it's bad science and worse policy but, as a catchphrase, it's kitschy and kind of delicious. 

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Scent of a Woman President

Donald Trump Sniffs His Way to Irrelevance

Posted By on Tue, Sep 27, 2016 at 9:35 PM

Kinda seemed real.
  • Kinda seemed real.
A moment of silence for Donald Trump. The “blue collar billionaire,” brought a knife to a shootout, and we all know how that sort of thing turns out, according to the NRA. It was a small knife too, and not very sharp, and yet somehow the poor fellow cut himself with it repeatedly.

The first debate was a self-inflicted bloodbath for the TV-freakshow turned presidential contender, and you can bet good money we’ll see all the best auto-carnage in commercials through November. The Don bragged about not paying taxes. In an aside that calls to mind a classic SNL skit about caveman politics (and a notorious tax cheat), he said not paying a fair share, “makes me smart.” Ogre-like, he equated good “business” with inflicting human misery, in regard to the housing crisis. He may have even violated Federal law by revealing classified information about a shadowy, bedridden hacker with a terrible eating disorder. 

The man lied a lot, but of course he did. It's what he does. That’s beside the point, which is, he lied about deeply silly things only a genuine moron loser would lie about because none of it’s complicated and Google’s a thing. Now, if you sincerely love Donald J. Trump none of this matters because read what I just typed: “You sincerely love Donald J. Trump.” Unfortunately for you (and Donald J.), the decideds don't matter so much anymore.

This home stretch is all about the Undies, who can’t make up their mind, Indies not fully committed, and an enormous group of white men and women (but mostly dudes), who know Trump’s terrible, and are embarrassed by him, but have invested so much of their political identity in a hodgepodge of “Hillary Clinton is evil” narratives, even vindictive attempts to damn the bitch with faint praise stick in their throats.
I’m not enough of a crank (yet) to say all this tight race polling we’re seeing right now is wrong. But I’m just crank enough to believe this year’s contest between two purportedly unpopular candidates creates unique weather conditions — a kind of Bermuda triangle where perfectly good instruments malfunction. I’m calling it the Shame Vortex, and it’s why I think there’s a real chance for Clinton to outperform her numbers everywhere.

“Crooked Hillary,” isn't just Trump's mantra, it's a cottage industry. It’s been a cottage industry for the better part of three decades. She’s a murderer, and real estate sleaze with fat thighs, two tiny breasts, and a pair of left wings. How can a bro tell his best bros, or even a disembodied robot voice on the phone he’s, “with Her,” when he called out all his Libtard cousins last Thanksgiving, and the previous Thanksgiving, and maybe the Thanksgiving before that, and everybody at the office Christmas party LOVED the Hillary-themed nutcracker he brought for the Dirty Santa game. And man, you know...

Right between the thighs. (Somebody thought this was a good idea).
  • Right between the thighs. (Somebody thought this was a good idea).
The social internet’s full of all kinds of “Trump’s awful, but I just can’t vote for Her” threads, but with cover provided by high profile Republicans coming out for the Democratic candidate, purity will be tested in the booth. Private life, as we all know, and as the Clintons have demonstrated repeatedly, sometimes awkwardly and not as honestly as they might, is a complicated place. But in a debate that turned more on style than substance, a different, expectation-defying Clinton emerged. And this Clinton, in addition to being competent and thorough, was unusually relatable as she countered rude interruption, shouting, fabrications, and crazy accusations with calm, candor, confidence and something that looked like joy.

“As soon as he travels to 112 countries and negotiates a peace deal, a cease-fire, a release of dissidents, an opening of new opportunities in nations around the world, or even spends 11-hours testifying in front of a congressional committee, he can talk to me about stamina,” Clinton said of her famously orange opponent who was, by that point in the game, a wheezing, dry-mouthed blob of unprepared stress and flop sweat. Everybody saw it. Everybody heard the schlurpy sniffing. Nobody honest with his/herself thought he "did great." 

There are two more debates, obviously. A Texas-sized asteroid might hit Earth any day. All kinds of Trump redemption narratives (sure to be forthcoming) might actually pan out. Heck, the same "shame vortex" I mentioned above might front a silent Trump constituency poised to give him keys to the White House. But all that weird, loud inhalation sounded like a death rattle — a raspy, indignant echo of the Dean scream. It sounded like a lot of undecided voters deciding all at once, and a lot of Hillary haters grabbing hold of their own noses with both hands.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Former TN Legislator Jeremy Durham Kicked Out of UT Game for Hitting

Posted By on Mon, Sep 26, 2016 at 4:21 PM

Jeremy, in happier times.
  • Jeremy, in happier times.
Notorious sleeze Jeremy Durham (R-Loserville) can't stop getting kicked out of things. Once hailed as a rising star in the Tennessee Republican party, Durham's office was moved out of the State House in April, amid accusations of sexual harassment. He was defeated at the polls and finally expelled from the state's General Assembly by a vote of 70-2. Now the man Full Frontal host Samantha Bee called the worst person in Tennessee has been thrown out of the UT/Florida game for hitting a Gator fan in the face.

So far this is all dog bites man because, obviously, a jackass with impulse control issues is going to do stupid stuff. But what about the guy who's hanging out with the guy with impulse issues? Sen. Brian Kelsey, the pride of Germantown, was sitting with his pal Jeremy when the boisterous Florida fan got his glasses knocked off, but didn't witness anything unusual.
Brian Kelsey's selfie.
  • Brian Kelsey's selfie.
"I didn’t witness anything unusual," Kelsey was quoted as saying. "But it was obvious the officer had asked questions of a Florida fan behind us."

According to The Tennessean Kelsey sent a clarifying text: "If that behavior did occur, it's totally unacceptable and it's unbecoming of a Vol fan."


Friday, September 23, 2016

Mural Project Brings Hope to Affluent Neighborhood

Posted By on Fri, Sep 23, 2016 at 11:20 AM

Donna Justis - S. MANN
  • S. Mann
  • Donna Justis
Donna Justis wants to change the world, one colorful wall at a time.

“You know, I grew up in an affluent neighborhood,” the 34-year-old artist and media relations specialist says. “I still live in one. So I understand how scared people are out there, especially in the really nice parts of town.”

With funding from an Urban Embetterment grant Justis and six other artists will create a dozen cheerful murals with the same comforting message: “You Are Safe.”

“It’s not that there’s nothing to be afraid of,” Justis explains. “But statistically speaking people who live in nicer neighborhoods shoulder a disproportionate amount of fear, worry, and concern about things like crime, brutal mayhem, drug dealers they didn’t meet in college, and things like that. It's not right, and nobody's out there doing anything about it.”

With her large scale mural project the artist wants to remind people in nice homes, who’ve lost hope and become shut ins, glued to police scanners and American Family Radio, that they don’t have the 5-0 rolling down the street shining spotlights at all hours, and are far less likely to come to a bad, criminally violent end than pretty much anybody.

“Is anybody ever really safe?” Justis ponders. “Well, yes. Yes, they are. I mean, not 100% of course, because bad things happen. Scary things. Crazy things happen. But if you’re living anywhere near one of these murals the odds are so in your favor you should stop freaking out and live a little.”

Anna Lingus, president of the Association of Neighborhood Associations is outraged by Justis’ proposal. “None of this meets AOA standards,” she wrote in an e-mail to members. “I don’t know who these people think they  are coming in here with their awful colors and silly patronizing messages, but nobody wants this tacky mess and it’s not going to happen.”

Justis isn't deterred by criticism. "It's a shame," she says. "We have all these perfectly wealthy people and they're too afraid to even dream."

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Listen to Joe Birch Pronounce "Epitome."

Posted By on Thu, Sep 22, 2016 at 11:29 AM


Not to make light of the serious piece Joe Birch was introducing, but this video of the WMC anchor  phonetically pronouncing a word on the teleprompter is addictive. 

Gannett Columnist/UT Professor to NC Motorists: Run Down Protesters

Posted By on Thu, Sep 22, 2016 at 10:48 AM

Gannett columnist and University of Tennessee Law professor Glenn Reynolds (AKA Instapundit) tweeted a message to motorists inconvenienced by Black Lives Matter protesters in North Carolina: "Run them down."
That's correct, the esteemed professor, widely circulated opinion journalist, and foot soldier in the war on political correctness responded to protests about the low value placed on African-American lives by encouraging drivers to plow through crowds of humans in heavy, gas powered death machines. 

Twitter suspended Reynolds, who's been horrible since his right wing views drew enormous audiences in the early days of blogging. But in case you're wondering if this is just a misunderstanding — something said a bit too "pithily" as it were, here's what Reynolds told radio talker Hugh Hewitt.  

GR: Well, you know, I actually tried to figure it out. I woke up and just found out my account was suspended, and didn’t know why and couldn’t find an email from them. It’s apparently a tweet I put up last night. They had a thing about how protestors were stopping traffic and surrounding vehicles on the interstate, and I said, perhaps a little too pithily, but it is Twitter, run them down. And apparently, that’s why, I don’t actually know that’s why they did it. but I assume that’s why they did it, because that’s what everybody’s talking about. I’ve heard nothing from Twitter.

HH: Now let me do what I did with Donald Trump last week, ask you to expand. I think I know what you meant. If you are threatened, you can defend yourself. Is that what you meant, Glenn Reynolds?

GR: Yeah, I’ve blogged about that before where we’ve had other interstates blocked and people surrounded by mobs. I’ve always said I would just keep driving.

With Hewitt's help the Tweet's reframed as "stand your ground" and Reynolds is prepared to go all Mad Max if necessary. 

UT is currently investigating the tweet. Maybe Gannett, where, to nobody's surprise, Reynolds has been a cheerleader for Donald Trump, might also consider whether or not there's room in the national conversation for inciting mass homicide. 

Gannett owns USA Today and six newspapers in Tennessee including Memphis' Commercial Appeal. 

UPDATE: Dean of UT College of Law weighs in. 

UPDATE 2: Twitter's lifted its suspension and Prof's returned to the pool. 

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Everything Terrible About TV News in One Bullet Point

Posted By on Thu, Sep 15, 2016 at 12:45 PM

WREG is hiring an assistant news director to...

• Supervise
• Set the tone of the station's content
• Put the SHIZZLE into breaking news.

And no, although the bolding and scare caps are all mine, I'm not paraphrasing for humorous effect. As this screenshot from WREG's  job listing shows, "schizzle" is expected. A made up word. That they misspelled
Not meaning. Not context. Not even value. But "schizzle." In "Breaking News," which — unless there's a Better Call Saul prequel in the works I don't know about — isn't even a proper noun. 

Apart from racial coding and awkward stabs at millennial-speak, what can it even mean? Because, if we're working with the strict OED definition, putting "shit" into breaking news sounds unethical, at least. So I'm going to work under the hypothesis that "schizzle" is some 2016-ized version of an Elmer Wheeler classic: "Sell the Sizzle, not the steak." Which is also unethical, but with a longer, prouder tradition

"It's the tang in the cheese, the crunch in the cracker, the whiff in the coffee and the pucker in the pickle."

Wheeler wasn't a journalist, he was a salesman. In fact, he was, "America's greatest salesman," and a marketing pioneer whose techniques for influencing consumers remain ubiquitous. When you're in the fast food line and the first amplified words you hear are, "Would you like to try a hot pie today," or similar, you are (as this wonderful vintage slice from the New Yorker shows) under Wheeler's "subtle influence." 

Better still, watch this video where the salesman's salesman rolls out the idea of "selling the sizzle" and other principals designed to make sales, "foolproof and faster." It's the "sizzle that sells the steak, and not the cow," the maestro proclaims. "Hidden in everything you sell in life is a sizzle — the tang in the cheese, the crunch in the cracker, the whiff in the coffee and the pucker in the pickle."

Ahead of Twitter by 70-years, Wheeler had another mantra: "Don't write — telegraph!" Because, "Your first ten words are more important than your next 10,000."

Wheeler's right on both accounts, but unless WREG is hiring an assistant marketing director, the context is jacked. Journalists need help telling stories better, not selling them better. Nobody can survive on "schizzle" alone, and after a long steady diet of nothing but, I bet there's a lot of folks out there in consumer-land ready to prove Wheeler wrong and pounce at the mere mention of a thick, juicy schteak. 
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