Monday, May 30, 2005

Gender at the Indy 500

If there was ever any doubt that feminism is totally and completely dead, that illusion had to have been dispelled by this weekend’s coverage of the Indianapolis 500. Ok. Danica Patrick is a woman. I get it. And she’s good looking. But the hype that the press heaped up around her was all about her being a pretty young girl playing with “the boys.” It can all be summed up by a typically redneck statement, something like: “boy, thet purdy little girl sure drives fast.”

Most amusing, and offensive, was the sports columnist Jim Armstrong, of the Denver Post, whose piece was called “Racing Phenom Shows Her Talent Equals Her Looks.” Armstrong accurately chronicled all the Danica hype, but did so in a completely patronizing and sexist manner: “Not a minute or a mile went by during the Indianapolis 500 when ABC's in-car camera wasn't on the talented and lovely Ms. Patrick…. Patrick, after finishing fourth at the Old Brickyard, is the new face of Indy car racing. Good thing. She's as easy on the eyes as a Christmas bonus. Not only that, she has a name most of us can pronounce, no small feat in open-wheel racing.” He then shows his stars and stripes prejudice by listing several supposedly “unpronounceable” names of current open wheel drivers: “Did you catch some of the other names in the Indy field? Matsuura, Junqueira, Giaffone, Castroneves. I'm sure they're all good guys and top-notch drivers, but how many Americans know who they are? Most are bigger names in Brazil than they are in the good ol' USA.”—echoing A.J. Foyts rants xenophobic rants from the late sixties about “Foreigners” in American racing. The picture accompanying the article even had the lovely miss Patrick kissing her fiancé before the race, not only reminding us that she’s an attractive young girl but sexualizing her to boot.

Scrape through all the ugly American sexist redneck caterwhalling and Armstrong’s column is actually really good, and makes some really good points. Ratings for the Indy 500 have plummeted since I was kid back in the seventies, and Patrick can only be good for Indy Car racing. He cites some hard numbers that are pretty revealing: a 16.4 rating in 1974 compared to a 4.1 rating last year. A 75% drop in rating should sound the death knell for any T.V. programming. He calls Indy Racing a “niche sport.” But he misses the point entirely. Every sport (even all mighty football, I’m sorry to say) is a niche sport in a postmodern world. Armstrong himself sums it up nicely:

These days, we've got Arenaball and beach volleyball and poker. We've got NASCAR, MLB, the NFL, the PGA, the NCAA, the LPGA and every other A. We've got bass fishing, walleye fishing and salt-water fishing. And if that isn't slimy enough for you, there's always boxing.

Man! He left out his hated soccer, which like golf has its own cable channel, all those X-sports (which mostly seem to be about standing on a moving plank of wood), Ultimate Fighting, kickboxing, any type of motorsport you can imagine, rugby, lacrosse, bull riding, and endless hours of poker. The other day I actually saw professional collegiate wrestling on FSN (now *there’s* an interesting concept). Yet another master narrative that postmodernism has broken down is sport. We are no longer a nation of baseball watchers. Like everything else, sports today is all about niche marketing—which cable and the internet facilitate.

Which might be a bad thing for the Indy 500, and even for the big boys in basketball, baseball and football (hockey is already irrelevant, and probably never deserved to be called a “major sport” anyway). More and more people are turning to more and more varied sports both to watch and to play, and there’s nothing wrong with that—no matter how loudly and inanely rednecks like Armstrong rant about soccer. If he has taken the time last week to watch Liverpool come back from 3 down in the second half to AC Milan, only to win the Champion’s cup on penalty kicks, 3-2, he would have seen more excitement and more passion then anything else until, well, until Danica Patrick pulled out in front to lead at Indy, which was the best thing I saw last week—until Jimmy Johnson passed Bobby Labonte in the last turn of the Coca-Cola 600 to win by a nose last night. That was the most passionate thing I saw all weekend, well, except sitting between a crowd of drunken Yankee fans and a crowd of drunken Red Sox Fans at Yankee Stadium on Saturday as the Yanks were being crushed 17 to 1. That was pretty intense.

But no, I take it back: the NASCAR race was the best of all.

Good sports weekend, got to say, but it just proves my point: no sport rules the roost anymore. There is no longer any such thing as an “American” sport (just look at the rosters of the Phoenix Suns, San Antonio Spurs, Dallas Mavericks and Huston Rockets if you don’t believe me. Sports is global and niche in a postmodern world. And 4.1 ain’t so bad if everybody being reached is willing to buy what the sponsors are pushing. That is, after all, the whole point in modern sport. Wait till some boxer actually gets “” actually tattooed onto his back instead of just drawn there to see what I mean, or when a basketball player gets a Nike “swoosh” tattoo. It’s all about reaching your target audience nowadays-not the biggest possible audience, but just those who might buy the newest bass boat, or be more inclined to go to Pizza Hut because Michael Waltrip pitches for them. So if there is a niche of people into fast cars who were watching Indy and not Charlotte (and obviously I watched them both), then Advertisers knew right where to find them on Sunday afternoon.

Anyway, back to the race. I don’t know if Danica Patrick considers herself to be a feminist or not, but she is one in the same way that Amelia Erhardt was, and marginalizing her by confining her to sexist stereotypes, even joking about how she breaks them, diminishes her role, and Armstrong’s story is just plain offensive. Unfortunately, no real progress will be made until Danica’s gender is not the story, but we’ve a long way to go before we get there.

Armstrong’s column can be found here:

For a great article on corporate tattoos, check out this webpage:

Sunday, May 29, 2005

Spinning the phony war

I’ve been reading the news this morning, and I have a very real question about our war on terrorism: who, exactly, is the enemy? We keep hearing that this is “a different kind of war.” General Richard Meyers, the chairman of the joint chiefs, said it yesterday to justify our treatment of detainees at Guantanamo Bay. But exactly what kind of war is it? Just who are we fighting, exactly? This is a very important question for a number of reasons. We have justified ignoring the Geneva convention, imprisoning men indefinitely, men who have never committed a crime, because of the unusual nature of this war (which, in the history of the world, isn’t really all that unusual). The question “who are we fighting is important because of the spin our administration keeps putting on this war. We are permitted by law and custom to detain enemy combatants captured on the field until the end of the war. But when is the end of the war? The war in Afghanistan, where most of these people were captured, is long since over. When do they get released? When the “war on terrorism” is over? That is an impossibility. Terrorism has been around since at least the first century AD. That position would mean that we intend to hold these people for life—without trial, without conviction. Can a state of war exist between a nation and a tactic? Between a nation and an activity? Do we just get to hold these guys forever? An Amnesty International report called Gitmo a modern Gulag last week. Meyers was infuriated, and called this report “irresponsible.” Amazing how we love to hold Amnesty International up as a shining beacon of human rights when they criticize our enemies, but they are irresponsible when they turn their attention to our own activities. Is it a Gulag? Or are we, as the Pentagon and the Administration insist, treating them “as humanely as possible?” Certainly we are losing the public relations battle, which is why the Joint Chiefs Chairman has to get up at a press conference and defend our actions. In the Muslim world people are protesting, even killing each other, over our reported mishandling of the Quran (which, although we’ve denied the toilet flushing, we have admitted to). All over the world we are seen as arrogant bullies, criminals, fascists. So we say things like “if we let these people go they’d slit our throats,” and pretend that this justifies keeping them locked up. But in what other situation are we allowed, morally or legally, to lock people up because of something they *might* do? The only thing I can think of is when we have people committed for dangerous mental illness, but that is not what we are alleging here.

Most Americans don’t seem to care. An AOL poll on the subject (hardly scientific, I know) showed that more then 60% of respondents approved of how Gitmo detainees (we can’t actually call them “prisoners”) are being treated. But around the world nobody seems to buy our arguments. We have for years claimed some kind of moral authority over people because of our democratic institutions, but throughout the world we are now seen as the world’s biggest hypocrites. And this isn’t just bad press. It is also because our values are seen as *immoral* throughout much of the world--r at least, the values of this administration and of this president. In addition to this, we have blithely ignored international law, abandoned treaties, and proclaimed our sovereignty inviolate while glibly violating the sovereignty of other nations (most notably Iraq). As a result we have lost whatever moral authority we had to be “leaders of the free world,” and all we have had to fall back upon is out military might. That makes us bullies, plain and simple.

Friday, May 27, 2005

Feeding Frenzy

You want proof the republicans have gone crazy? Here it is: this week Congressman Spencer Bachus, republican of Alabama, called comedian Bill Maher a traitor for a throwaway joke he made in his monologue. Maher, the libertarian host of HBO’s “Real Time with Bill Maher,” commented on the army not reaching its recruiting goals so far this year by saying that, “More people joined the Michael Jackson Fan Club. We done picked all the low lying Jamie Englund fruit and now we need warm bodies.” This was, in Congressman Bachus’ eyes “tantamount to treason,” and he is lobbying to have Maher’s show cancelled. Fat chance. Maher’s earlier show on ABC, the aptly named “Politically Incorrect,” was famously cancelled after Maher said that you can’t call the 9/11 hijackers cowards because it takes a lot of courage to die for your beliefs. HBO gave him a platform where he could express his unpopular views, and I don’t see them taking it away over this. Maher has argued that he's "just a comedian" and so how can his comments hurt the troops? I don't buy this line of thinking. I do, however, buy this one: like the poet, it is the comedian's job to speak truth to power. The beautiful thing about comedy, satire, irony and other forms of humor is that it is able to revel truths to us that we are unable to see in other forums, Aristophanes knew this when he wrote Lysistrata, and it hasn't changed in 2500 years. We may not like the truth comedy reveals, it may not even be our truth, but it will be truth, none the less. This is why the fool and the poet were both protected in ancient socities. Think on that for a minute.

This morning, House majority leader Tom DeLay objected loudly to the use of his name in another throwaway joke, an offhand wisecrack by a detective on the NBC crime drama “Law and Order: Criminal Intent” (which, as I’ve argued elsewhere in these pages, is actually a very conservative show). In an episode about the murder of a federal judge, when asked how they could find some suspects, the detective suggests putting out an all points bulletin for “somebody in a Tom DeLay t-shirt.” DeLay, predictably, went nuts. He accused NBC “manipulating” his name and “trivializing” the important issue of judicial security. Dick Wolf, just as predictably, fired back at DeLay, saying the congressman was just trying to deflect attention from his own problems. Others said it was an example of "Hollywood Liberalism." (the conservatives are nothing if not consistent in their meaningless catch phrases and scapegoats).

Wolf (though I hate to give Dick Wolf any credit on anything) is in his way correct. Whether calculated or not, focusing on a few humorous negative comments on television allows the conservatives to make themselves look like sympathetic victims while not actually addressing the issues which gave rise to the comments in the first place. Maher’s point, as he published in a response to Bachus (and why he or Wolf thought these two nuts were worthy of response is beyond me) was that instead of sending the uneducated and the economically disadvantaged to fight the President’s (or as I would argue Halliburtan’s) war for them that the people who got us into this mess, and their children, should be sent over there to fight. There is nothing treasonous about that. It is a valid point that has been made over and over again since war stopped being a favorite pastime of the aristocrats (sometime after the Teddy Roosevelt administration, obviously). I suppose John Fogerty was treasonous when he wrote “Fortunate Son.” I’m sure Bachus thinks so. The West Wing did a great episode in which a democratic congressman from a predominately black district suggested that a draft was a good idea because the suffering of war falls disproportionately on people of color. Treason. I saw a panel discussion on politics in the media in which one of the participants, when asked how to get young people to care about politics, replied “there’s nothing wrong with your generation that a good old fashioned draft wouldn’t cure.” Big time treason. In John Singleton’s brilliant film “Boys from the Hood,” Lawrence Fishbourne’s character argues that there is nothing for a black man in a white man’s army because it’s just a way for the white man to get somebody else to fight his wars and kill off the black man at the same time. Treason, certainly. It is all, also, very valid political speech, and has an element of truth to it—even Maher’s monologue. Perhaps congressman Bachus should go look up “Treason” in the dictionary, and then go read the constitution. Hell, he can skip all the rest of that stuff: just read the amendments, the first one will do.

As for Tom DeLay, his attack on NBC is an obviously Orwellian ploy to avoid recent speculation that the anti-judicial flames he fanned in that little temper tantrum he threw after the judiciary refused to give him his way in the Terry Schiavo case has made the world a more dangerous place for judges. If DeLay were so interested in judicial security (and he should also be interested in judicial independence, but that is really too much to ask) then he would not be vilifying judges in the press. DeLay knows full well that his own words and actions are coming back to haunt him in this joke, and that no less an authority then federal judge Joan Humphry Lefkow, whose husband and mother were murdered by someone who was looking to kill her, has suggested that the anti-judicial comments of members of congress contribute to the dangers judges increasingly face. As she said in her testimony before congress this month, “In this age of mass communication, harsh rhetoric is truly dangerous. It seems to me that even though we cannot prove a cause and effect relationship between rhetorical attacks on judges and violent acts of vengeance by a particular litigant, fostering disrespect for judges can only encourage those that are on the edge, or the fringe, to exact revenge on a judge who ruled against them.” DeLay knows that this means him, but he also knows that he can’t attack a grieving widow and daughter whose suffering came about because she was serving the American people. TV, on the other hand, is an easy target, and one tailor made for distracting the public.

Nothing new here. It behoves the republicans to intimidate their critics and to silence debate. I suspect that getting Bill Maher off the air would rank right up their on their agenda with muzzling Michael Moore and pulling the plug on Al Franken. Maher is, very likely, the most effective critic of the administration around today. Although not as popular (nor as good) as "The Daily Show," "Real Time" seems to be taken more seriously as political commentary, as witnessed by Congressman Bachus' objection. If it was not political Bachus would have no objection to it. Furthermore, as I've argued in the past, the act of condemning or attempting to censor any type of speech politicizes that same speech. So let's look at that again, shall we: Bachus wants Bill Maher pulled off the air becuase of a political comment he made. Tom DeLay would like some sort of reparation from Dick Wolf becuase of a political comment he made. If this isn't censorship through intimidation by officials of the government then I'm not a liberal accademic. Oops: guess I'm next.

There have been innumerable cases of the now mythical “Emboldened Right” pressing their agenda on all fronts since the last election, including their now endless attacks on the freedoms of speech and of the press. Whether it is some knuckle-headed parent who doesn’t want little Johny to see Paris Hilton in a bathing suit or a White House press secretary who wants to turn Newsweek Magazine into a mouth-pice for the administration, the conservatives are going crazy. From Terry Schivo to filibusters to the United Nations, they are trying to steam roll America, and they believe that since they now control all branches of government they have every right (and I suspect a duty passed down unto them from God on High) to do so, to create God’s Country on Earth™, and woe unto those who oppose them, for they shall know fire and brimstone and the IRS should they try to stand against God’s army. Once again I say that comparisons to Germany in 1933 are not unwarranted. Read up on the famous “Degenerate Art” exhibit of 1937. These yahoos are no longer pigs at the troughs. They have evolved into sharks, perfect killing machines, and they smell blood in the water. Of course, once the feeding frenzy is over what they will have devoured is the constitution, but that doesn’t matter because they will have replaced it with the bible which is, to them, a document of much higher purpose and more perfect form.

Tell me I’m wrong. I dare you.

Check these pages out:

Congressman Spencer's press release at
Bill Maher's response at

CNN story on DeLay and "Law and Order" at

FOX News story on the same subject at,2933,157850,00.html

Judge Lefkow's testimony at,1,5379999.story?coll=chi-news-hed&ctrack=1&cset=true

Degenerate Art in "A Teacher's Guide tot he Holocaust" at

The US constitution at

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Hack the Planet

I just watched Hackers on WAM (which is now called “EWAM” and has apparently been bought by Encore. I don’t’ know when this happened, but I don’t like it. WAM was one of the most consistently cool networks on the dial, right up there with Trio, and I don’t want to see it ruined or, worse yet, go premium). It’s hard to believe that Hackers is only ten years old (released in 1995). For one thing the club kid attire that the heroes are all wearing seems very late eighties. For another I was sure I saw it in ’93 or ’94. Whatever, I love it. It is one of the hippest, slickest, coolest movies ever made—a true icon of the postmodern post-counter-culture. It should rank right up there with Neuromancer. It deep-sixes The Matrix no problem (not hard, really). Best of all, it is the first thing I ever saw Angelina Jolie in, and it is still the hottest thing this hottest of all actresses has done.

But it is also fascinating. Long before identity theft became a national paranoia, though long after hacking became a reality, this little film made heroes out of hackers in the same playful sort of way that Tom Wolfe romanticdized Ken Kesey and his hippie cohorts in The Electric Kool-Aide Acid Test. Like latter-day Merry Pranksters, five amazingly young and beautiful anarchists save the world form an evil, slightly older sell out from their own sub-culture. A classic tale. Plus, it’s a great New York watching movie (even if a lot of it was filmed in the modern Meca of ultra cool, London, England).

And Mathew Lillard is so much fun (a little too much like my creepy ex-roomate, but otherwise a blast to watch).

Hack the planet.

Saturday, May 21, 2005

Revenge of the Democrats

Saw Revenge of the Sith last night. It was great. My buddy, Crusader Dave, said it was no “Kingdom of Heaven,” but I liked it a lot. It was big and epic and romantic in all the right places. The dialogue was hokey and terrible, and I still wonder why Obi Wan doesn’t remember R2D2 in Episode 4, but that’s quibbling. I really did feel a chill (and a thrill) when they put the mask onto Darth Vader at the end (no spoiler there—we all knew that was happening).

This was a tough sell: after all, everybody knows what happens. In that way it was like a Greek Tragedy, which people come to see even though they already know the story because they want to see how the playwright will handle it. We know that Annican becomes Darth Vader, we know that the Jedi will all die, we know that Luke and Leia will be born and we know who will raise them. It’s how those dots are all connected that we wonder about and, for the most part, they are connected well.

Vader has always been the most interesting character in the movie. Luke, Leia and Han are the characters people were originally supposed to identify with, and for some odd reason Chewbaca has become the most popular character from the series (nterviews, cell phone commercials, he even won the MTV Movie Awards Lifetime Achievement award a few years back--my girlfriend says it’s because he’s the most noble character in all the films). But Vader is the character everybody talks about. Villains do get all the juicy lines. This movie definitely turns the story arc of the whole series into Darth Vader’s tale. He is, after all, the only character besides R2D2 and C3PO that’s in all six films. We were told once upon a time that in the planned nine film series, which won’t get made at this point, the droids are the only constant characters. But “Star Wars” is about Darth Vader, plain and simple, about his tragic fall and about his eventual redemption. Very Greek.

Revenge of the Sith was also great as a creation myth. A lot has been written about how Star Wars provided a kind of spiritual experience for a my generation, and it did. These are our myths. We know them by heart. They inspire us. They encapsulate our cultural attitudes towards life and the world. They are our religion, in a postmodern way. The box office receipts for this weekend prove our devotion to the faith. This is no accident. It has been well documented how Star Wars is based on the work of Joseph Campbell, the religious scholar who documented common threads in world religions in such works as The Hero with a Thousand Faces, and, like Campbell, the people in Star Wars end up, essentially, Buddhist. A lot has also been made of Star Wars' relationship to Japanese samurai films, especially The Hidden Fortress, from which much of the first three movies (including the speeder chase through the redwoods) is taken. But it is just as interesting to see the elements of Greek and Hindu mythology (much like you could see threads of Viking mythology and Catholicism in Lord of the Rings): the great warrior whose tragic flaw, in this case fear of loss, destroys him; he hero who grows up on a farm unaware of his parentage until he has to fulfill his destiny; the Freudian battle with the father figure; it’s all there.

Recently, the most ink has been devoted to how this movie is an allegory for the current political situation in the United States. After seeing the movie, I absolutely agree. George Lucas has filled this film with transparent anti-Bush imagery. He has draws several parallels between the emperor and the president, implying a sinister evil lurking in the halls of the Whitehouse. It’s always been part of the plot line that the emperor would use the war as an excuse to seize more executive power and undermine the senate (it happened in Rome after all), and the lines that have been pointed out as relating to Bush (Anican says in the final battle “If you’re not with me then you’re my enemy,” to which Obi Wan replies “Only the Sith think in absolutes.” Padme says as the emperor seizes control “So this is how liberty dies: to thunderous applause”). But to me the real keys were the use of that (Liberty) and two other words that did not appear in the first five films Lucas made: Democracy, and Congress. Before, Leia would say she was fighting to restore the Republic, and that phrase appears here too, but time and again characters in this movie say they are defending democracy, a political concept, slightly different from a republic, which really didn’t come up in the series before. And when the Emperor called “a special session of Congress” at which he suspended liberties, seized executive powers, and created his empire that sealed the deal, it was clear which congress Lucas was referring to. Never before had they referred to the Imperial Senate as “Congress.” Lucas was using this last film as a warning to America. It’s an allegory for the Bush Administrations’ attempts to concentrate more power in the executive branch, their use of a phony “war on terrorism” (as if there could be such a thing) to frighten the public into giving up their liberty, and the emasculation of the legislature. With power concentrated in the emperor and no checks and ballances they can, as Anican says, stop bickering and actually get thigns done. Anyone who questions the course the emperor is taking is automatically branded a traitor. Where have I heared all this before? Star Wars is the tragedy of George Bush Tyrannous. It must really gall those republican who remember how Star Wars became the central imagery employed by the Regan administration, with his missile defense system (resurrected once again by GW) and his reference to the Soviet Union as “The Evil Empire.” Suddenly the Evil empire is not the Soviets or the terrorists but, quite unambiguously, the Bush administration. Some people say that Star Wars, which brought adventure melodrama with clear good guys fighting clear bad guys back into vogue after years of anti-heroes, was part of the birth of the Regan Revolution, and in a way it was, in that it was a reflection of how the Goldwatter movement had taken hold culturally in America and banished the anxieties and ambiguities of the 60s; but now all that has been turned around. This film could signify the birth of the rebellion. Vader/Anican is the ultimate anti-hero. It might be a reflection of how the public at large (and Star Wars represents nothing if not the mood of the public at large) may see the Bush administration for what it truly is: an evil empire, an Orwellian grab for power, fed upon fear, greed and a lust for power, thinly disguised as patriotism.

The only real question is this: is the emperor supposed to be Bush, or is Bush Darth Vader and the Emperor Dick Cheney? Think on that.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

It's all Bullshit

Well, today it has all officially become bullshit. The world, I mean. Life. Life is all bullshit, and the only way to survive is to put on a big pair of boots and become a cowboy. You still have to deal with the bullshit, but at least you’ve got a horse and gun and a branding iron, and you get to let the bull know who’s in charge. Or maybe become a matador…..

United Airlines defaulted on its pensions yesterday. 134,000 people have now seen their retirements trashed. These are average people who put in a lifetime of service with the promise that they would be taken care of after they retired. They’ve just been kicked into the gutter—or at least into the federal government’s Pension Benefit Guarantee Corporation, which is about the same thing. US Air retirees, who’s pensions were defaulted recently, have seen their benefits cut by 50%. If there is a definition of a crime against workers, this is it.

Now at least people may finally vote Bush and his corporate pig cronies out of office. Oh, wait, we can't vote Bush out, can we? He got reelected, and we got a banksuptcy bill, an attack on Social Security, and a huge tax break for the rich--mana for his corporate friends. Well, it's too late to get rid of Bush but the rest of these corporate clowns masqurading as statesment have got to go.

Maybe Robert Kiyosaki is right. You know him, the snake oil salesman who wrote Rich Dad, Poor Dad and all those other get rich now books? He wrote that everybody needs to become an investor because pension plans will start to fail in the first decade of the 20th century. And, I hate to admit it, but he’s the reason I bought investment property before I was even through with grad school, and why I’m shopping around for coffee franchises while I look for a teaching job. With US air, Bethlehem Steel and now United, he appears to have been right, and it makes me sick. My dad was the so called “poor dad.” Like Kiyosaki, my dad was a teacher and minor politician his whole life. Dad is always telling me to get a good job with benefits and a pension plan (I’m 41 and I still don’t have a retirement plan). He always thought small business and investing was a bum deal, a pursuit of money as opposed to life, a selling of one’s soul for greed or a false sense of security. And, I must say, my dad is the happiest man I’ve eve known. He has lived the life he wanted to, lots of time off to scuba dive, sail, travel, bicycle, backpack, ski, fish, and all those other things he loves to do. He owns a house on the river with a good pension and few cares. I’ve known a lot of rich people, and not one of them is as happy, as healthy, as well adjusted as my dad. That’s why I’ve always believed in pension plans.

They are a thing of the past. The head of the flight attendant’s union, echoing Kiyosaki, said Monday that United’s action may signal the end of defined benefit retirement plans. Here I am, getting my Ph.D. in couple of weeks, and for what? If I luck into a low-paying university job—a thankless occupation, teaching, no matter what the so called “education president” says—there are only three things that make it worthwhile: time off, tenure, and a good pension plan. Well tenure is under attack from all sides, class loads are increasing, and now it looks like pensions may be a thing of the past. And they wonder why they can’t attract good teachers (just look at Arnold Schwarzenegger if you want a reason: he’s now going after my dad’s retirement).

One thing is certain: United’s board of directors, its senior executives, the government agency that refused to back its loans, and Judge Eugene R. Wedoff will all of them burn in hell like the worthless scum they are. When you steel from old people there is no torment to great for your sorry pig ass.

What has all this got to do with media studies? Nothing, really. I’m just mad.