Tuesday, October 27

A la poursuite du blaireau anglais

Pardon the French title; it's the only way I could manage the necessary word play on Blair's name. Blaireau: i) badger ii) fool.

Enough for the title.

Have you ever felt like making a citizens' arrest of Tony Blair for his unpunished crime of aggression against the people of Iraq, of whom anywhere between 100,000 and 1,000,000 were murdered -- yes, that's the correct word here -- as a direct result of Blair's and Bush's commands? (Let's forget Bush for the time being. There's simply too much material when it comes to this homegrown criminal.)

Maybe you have felt it more than once. Maybe you simply dreamed of seeing others making the arrest and sighed in deep nocturnal relief. Well, if so, consider that Guardian journalist George Monbiot has neatly spelled out not only the case against Blair but also a somewhat plausible means for having him arrested. The only problem with the scheme is that it involves first putting Blair back into a position of great authority: the presidency of the European Union. Such a risk would in no way be worth taking if it were Bush we were talking about. Few Americans wake up these days without feeling profound relief that that murderous buffoon no longer disturbs the public peace at home or abroad. Oblivion does him and the rest of us little justice; but at least it gives us a workable peace of mind.

Tuesday, October 20

Embarrassing Face of the Nation

The public TV station I receive shows a series of news reports from around the world with a doubled voice-over (so that you hear both the original and the Japanese interpretation), each 15 or 30 minutes in length. Consistently, the ABC broadcast comes off looking, in comparison, like Teen Magazine presented by a bunch of serious looking men and pin-up girls. It is truly the most embarrassing awareness of being an American that I ever experience. This last week was so bad, I felt ashamed to leave my apartment for a few hours after the program came to an end. There was the boy-in-the-balloon hoax, pursued as if it were a matter of national security, then a drawn-out investigation into John McCain's daughter having shared a picture revealing her cleavage on some social networking site. This was preceded and followed by other nations reporting on climate change, terrorist attacks, international summits and the like: the sort of stuff traditionally associated with the word "news." The American programming included a few other pieces of fluff that were so insubstantial that I cannot even recall what they were about. And of course there was the chitchat to top it all off and make everyone feel good.

No wonder why Jon Stewart is so funny. His writers have an embarrassment of material. And corporate news in the US is now a parody of itself to the point where I'd be pressed to distinguish much of it from the Onion's intended parody.