About Charlie Hebdo, Briefly

If an American magazine made similar ‘jokes’ about Jews or Christians or black people we’d be up in arms. However, in a free society we allow people to say stupid and hurtful things. I like it that way.

charlie-hebdo-s-est-deja-attire-les-foudresWhat a godawful tragedy in Paris. Horrible.

And to justify murder by saying you’re defending God? Seriously, isn’t God capable of dealing with this on her own?

Charlie Hedbo has been called a satire magazine. Maybe so. One man’s satire is another man’s hate speech. Some of their cartoons were definitely hateful, others patently racist.

If an American magazine made similar ‘jokes’ about Jews or Christians or black people we’d be up in arms. However, in a free society we allow people to say stupid and hurtful things. I like it that way.

Free speech has limits. You can’t yell “Fire” in a crowded movie theater. Most everything else is OK.

I wish Charlie Hebdo hadn’t tweaked the Muslim community as they did. Some of their satire was mean spirited. That was their choice. It is a right afforded to all in France, as it is in the US. It doesn’t come close to justifying what happened in Paris yesterday.

To radical Islamists, non-believers are infidels. Asking them to respect the beliefs of others is a non-starter. Reasoning isn’t an effective strategy. I don’t know what is.

Free speech isn’t needed to protect popular ideas. Free speech is there for the outliers. Even if I found some of Charlie Hebdo’s cartoons offensive (and I did), I still defend their right to publish them.

This is all so senseless. What has been accomplished? When will it end?

Je suis Charlie.

The Map Adjacent To These Words Is Absolutely, Positively False!

If you’re here because someone snookered you with this phoney map, please consider sharing my post of Facebook or Twitter to let your friends know too.

Meteorologists-Predict-Record-Shattering-Snowfalls-Coming-Soon-Bread-Milk-Prices-Expected-To-Soar-

Someone posted the map at the top of this entry to my Facebook page. It’s bull. There’s no truth to it.

It was published by Empire News. Click a little farther and you learn what Empire News is.

Empire News is a satirical and entertainment website. We only use invented names in all our stories, except in cases when public figures are being satirized. Any other use of real names is accidental and coincidental.

But that’s not how it’s presented. Each story is a series of lies, but without the irony or other elements normally associated with satire.

In the Onion, for instance, there’s a certain point in every story when you say, “I get it.” There’s no “I get it” moment at Empire News. There is no clever.

It’s awful because this is actionable information presented as if it was a fact. This is just sport lying. It’s quite legal, protected by our constitution, but it’s wrong.

There are ways to earn a living I’d never consider because they’re so distasteful. Empire News is an example.

Robin Williams

It was a shock it happened now. It wasn’t a shock it happened. Robin Williams adult life has been a public struggle.

Robin_WilliamsStef called this afternoon. Had I heard about Robin Williams? He killed himself.

It was a shock it happened now. It wasn’t a shock it happened. Robin Williams adult life has been a public struggle.

It seems awful his massive success couldn’t also bring happiness. Even more sadly, was the deranged quirkiness we watched just another symptom of his depression?

I remember when he came up on Mork and Mindy. Instant iconic star! The buzz moved quickly, especially considering the pre-Internet world.

Gary Marshall, maybe the most under appreciated comedic genius of our time, cast Williams as a lead. It was his first pro job! Here’s the story of how it happened. Somehow, it’s only been viewed around 400 times until now.

On Mickey Rooney

472px-Mickey_Rooney_stillMickey Rooney died this weekend. He was a big deal from my parents generation, one of the last few surviving Hollywood movie stars.

Rooney was a member of a very small club. He could do nearly anything in show business. He sang, he danced, he acted. He played the drums. He did Broadway. He toured. He was a frequent talk show guest in the 60s and 70s.

The more people got to know him, the less starstruck they were. Make no mistake, he was exceptionally talented. He was just more talented than popular. It happens.

Mickey Rooney was best known for the Andy Hardy movies. They made 16.

Andy lived in small town America where everything was tidy and everyone was white. His father was a wise, yet warm, judge.

The Andy Hardy movies were often on daytime TV when I was a kid. These were lighthearted morality plays where the good guy triumphs in the end–always. I watched, but it was no childhood I recognized.

Rooney also did a bunch of successful musicals with Judy Garland. Later in his career he transitioned to character roles.

People were surprised to see he was only 5′ 2″.

He was married eight times. After three or four shouldn’t you understand marriage isn’t for you?

I’m trying to think if anyone’s ever been in the public consciousness longer than Mickey Rooney? Maybe not. He was a star nearly 80 years. That’s an incredible accomplishment.

Even 93 years isn’t enough, is it?

David Letterman Is Retiring

David Letterman autographed photoSome presents are meant to be remembered. While we were dating, Helaine got me an autographed photo of David Letterman. This was at the beginning of the morning show era. He was my hero.

What a caring gift. Thank you again, baby.

David Letterman has done some of the funniest off-the-wall material seen on TV. Not recently.

Since the heart attack? Since his affair? Since the birth of Harry? At some point his TV spark went away.

Don’t get me wrong. I’d see him tomorrow. I’m still a huge fan. He is not doing his best work today.

letterman-ticketWith Leno gone and Jimmy Fallon very strong out of the gate, it’s time. He said so a few nights ago.

So, who? The NY Post says CBS likes Colbert.

Are they talking the character he currently plays or legit Stephen Colbert? Is either a good choice? With the real Stephen, you risk fans who might not like his actual persona as much as his alter ego and feel cheated.

I like Jon Stewart a lot. That choice would make me happy and I think he could be a force.

letterman-studioHoward Stern is a good choice too. He’s intellectually curious and a great interviewer. Does he play close to the line a little too often for CBS? Maybe.

Stern had major public battles with Les Moonves who runs the network and its attendant empire. It got very nasty.

Does money trump personal animosity? Here? In SoCal? In show biz? Survey says, yes!

CBS needs to hit a home run. Late night is fabulously profitable in an era of pinched bottom lines. They will suffer greatly without the revenue Letterman brought.

This will be interesting to watch. Dave said his run ends in 2015.

Disney Day

IMG_6343all of us

Trudi and Jeff, my sister and brother-in-law are visiting from Wisconsin. We’re trying to show them a good time. It seems to be working!

We went to Disneyland today. It’s a school holiday in many cities and the park was jammed.

We did a lot of walking in both the Magic Kingdom and Disney’s California Adventure. It’s as much fun to walk around and look at people as it is to ride rides… well, almost. Every shape, size, shade of person was represented.

We saw the Captain Eo Tribute. The color is washed out. The film techniques look dated. Time to ditch it.

Jeff and I discussed the amazing cleanliness of the parks. There was nothing on the pavement. The place is spotless.

We came home and had dinner out with the Irvine Foxes.

It good to get the family together. It doesn’t happen often enough.