Friday, January 14, 2011

Favorite Muppet Fanart Ever

80s Revisited: Three Men and a Little Lady

Three Men and a Little Lady (1990)
Directed by Emile Ardolino; screenplay by Charlie Peters; produced by Robert W. Cort & Ted Field

This sequel showed up only three years after Three Men and a Baby was a massive hit. But it always felt to me like it had been a much longer period of time. I don't know if it's because I had aged from 11 to 14 in that time period, or because the baby is now suddenly 6 or so years older, or really if it's just because the focus of the movie seems so different. The original got by on the charm of the leads and premise; this sequel really only exists so Touchstone can take another dip in the money pool.

Once the kid is no longer an infant with all of its attendant care needs, there's really no more comedy novelty in the premise. Even the screenplay seems to know this; it takes nearly all of the focus off the three leads--none of whom seem as popular or cool in 1990 as they did in 1987--and instead puts it all on Nancy Travis, the little lady's mother, and her return to England to marry a theater director who stepped off of the cliche delivery truck. Oh, he's cold, he hates kids, he's going to put little Mary in boarding school, blah blah blah. There are no surprises in store here for anyone.

Actually, what's sad is that we have the director of Dirty Dancing and Chances Are decidedly itching to make a British comedy. He can't wait to get past all of the heady feelings and the completely tension-free will-they-or-won't-they? dance around of Nancy Travis and Tom Selleck (his horrifying wedge cut is the source of more drama) so that he can get the characters to England and engage in the wacky, witty British comedy he so clearly wants to make and completely fails at.

(In fact, because of this film, Nuns on the Run, and King Ralph coming out within a year of each other, I spent too much of my early teenage years convinced that British comedy was awful. Thanks for nothing, terrible filmmakers.)

It's not surprising that I'd completely forgotten about nearly anything that happens in this movie. I've seen it a few times--once in the theater, and a few times on whichever one of Ted Turner's networks was running it seemingly every weekend for seven years or so, because for some reason (it's Tom Selleck) my Mom loves this movie. And yet, the thing is so formless and inconsequential it's just like eating air. It's not even the sugar-coated air of the pleasant first movie. It's just empty.

I did like Fiona Shaw, but I always like Fiona Shaw, even when she's given nothing to do but be a cartoon and sniff after Selleck.

Pointless.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Nuttin'...

Film Week

A review of the films I've seen this past week.

WALT & EL GRUPO (2008)
Wonderful documentary about Walt Disney's Goodwill Tour to South America, taken at a time when his studio was on strike and the US government was trying to combat the growing Nazi influence in Brazil, Argentina and Chile. Disney's visit causes such a stir, and it's interesting to hear about the reaction and what Walt was like while visiting from people who were there and have never forgotten it. There are letters and photos and films; it's a wealth of information about the trip. One of the interesting details about the documentary is some of the reaction to the film that emerged from the trip, Saludos Amigos. It's not one of the studio's best, and except for the "Aquarela do Brasil" sequence, it's not a particularly vibrant or memorable film. I know this is the consensus among Disney historians, but it was interesting to see people from Chile and Argentina who felt that the film shortchanged their nations. Some of the most beautiful sketches and paintings we see from the trip by people like Frank Thomas or Lee and Mary Blair completely outshine what Saludos Amigos attempts (partially because people who didn't go on the trip were put in charge of the movie). Essential Disney history. **** stars.

THE BOYS: THE SHERMAN BROTHERS' STORY (2009)
The lives of Richard and Robert Sherman, Disney house songwriters in the 1960s (along with a lot of other great songs and musicals over the years). It doesn't gloss over the fact that the two brothers--who are really great talents that wrote a lot of songs we're all growing up on these past couple of generations--really don't get along and, by the time this documentary was made, were more or less estranged. Their sons made the film in the hopes of getting them back together. It's a great look at Disney history, family history, and how these two men blended their emotional outlooks perfectly in song, but not as well in real life. ***1/2 stars.

WAKING SLEEPING BEAUTY (2010)
Great documentary about Disney animation between 1984 and 1994, directed and narrated by veteran Disney producer Don Hahn. This is a period of time when the company was in upheaval, Michael Eisner and Frank Wells came aboard, Jeffrey Katzenberg was put in charge of the animation department (which was unceremoniously moved to Glendale), and the Disney Renaissance occurred. It's also a period of time which is only just being documented more definitively (the book DisneyWar did a great job of it), but this is a warts-and-all insider's look that is incredibly valuable as animation history (and quite entertaining). **** stars.

CLASH OF THE TITANS (2010)
There's a moment in this movie when the Greek warriors, arming themselves for a journey to the Stygian witches, pull out Bubo, the mechanical owl from the original, far superior Clash of the Titans. "What's this?" Perseus asks. "Leave it" one of the warriors commands. And that's pretty much this entire pointless remake in a nutshell: fuck the charm and wonder of the original, we're cool. This is yet another dull actioner from the school of filmmaking that says it's better to be cool and faux-serious than to be fun and enjoyable. It does its best to get in and rework almost everything from the original movie (some of it dismissive, like the example above or the appearance of a herd of winged horses that are immediately shown as inferior to the big, black charger that appears with wings, because, you know, this movie is way too cool for such a pussy pegasus as a white one). As a result, nothing is original (except for the Djinn, which is probably why they feel more interesting than every other creature), and everything is predictable. Some of the special effects are decent, and I enjoyed Gemma Arterton as Io, but who cares? It's just there and then it's gone. There's some fun to be had at the expense of the awful costumes, the near-total lack of characterization, the limited acting skills of Sam Worthington as Perseus (he's basically a bag of meat put there to do cool stuff emotionlessly), and Ralph Fiennes playing Hades as if he's recovering from a massive stroke. But really, who cares? In another month, I'll have forgotten it entirely, whereas the charm of the original is something I've never forgotten. I guess it helped that the original was entertaining, and in the post-Matrix cinescape we're actually supposed to take these silly quests seriously. * star.

THE FOURTH KIND (2009)
This movie tries too damn hard to make you believe it's based on a true story. In fact, it tries so hard to sell its marketing gimmick that the film itself is secondhand and, frankly, unwatchable. No stars.

A SINGLE MAN (2009)
If it weren't for that ending... Fashion designer Tom Ford has a great sense of aesthetic, but not a great grasp of story. Here we have Colin Firth in one of his best performances (which is really saying something) as a gay man in the early 1960s who has lost the love of his life (Matthew Goode in flashbacks). Tragically, it's not enough that the man he loved and shared his life with was taken away in a car wreck, but the family didn't even think to inform him until days later and explicitly forbids his presence at the funeral. There are two dogs lost in the crash--one dead, the other missing and never to be found. His whole life has fallen out from under him. We join Firth's character on the last day of his life; he goes to work, he spends time with people, and all the while he is planning to kill himself (this is revealed very early), quietly putting his affairs in order. The film is beautiful to look at; it's so well shot and designed, and I love the color scheme Ford uses, which is to paint Firth in depressed grays and then to turn up the brightness when he's really engaged, really experiencing things that make his outlook, quite literally, brighter. It's an engrossing film... so engrossing that the pointlessly ironic ending comes off as a cruel gut punch to the viewer. It's not a film I can dismiss--I loved the journey--but it is marred by an ending that just doesn't work in any way except to hurt the audience, and I'm disappointed by that. ***1/2 stars.

BLACK SWAN (2010)
I can say a lot of dismissive things about this movie, to be honest. It's trash masquerading as high art. It's over the top. It's faux-Argento. It's The Wrestler, but with ballerinas. The symbolism at play is so obvious that it feels like there was a fire sale at a store for high school creative writing students. And it's all true. But none of it negates that I was completely caught up in this movie from beginning to end. It's at times delicate--no, brittle--and at times gut-wrenching. Natalie Portman--who is, let's be honest here, a very hit or miss actress--is the best she's ever been as a sensitive, skittish, frail ballerina with real talent and an overbearing mother. She wants the role of the Swan Queen in her company's new production of Swan Lake. She can dance the White Swan perfectly, but her director (Vincent Cassell, excellent) thinks she's too controlled and inhibited to dance the Black Swan. She falls into a rivalry--some of it real, some of it imagined, much of it delusional--with another dancer, played by Mila Kunis, who is imprecise but passionate and seductive. All of this is surprisingly tense, in large part because of Natalie Portman's very physical performance. She is frail, and she's thinner than I've ever seen her. It makes her seem more vulnerable and nervous. She never stops moving; even just breathing seems like it winds her. She's putting everything into her performance, as is her character--she creates a portrait of a woman whose entire soul, entire existence is on the line for this one production, and it pays off in the end. It's an audacious movie, riveting in every way, and very powerful. I called it cliched and trashy, and it is, but the emotional reactions it creates are genuine. **** stars.

NIGHT OF THE DEMONS (2009)
Decent remake of movie I've more or less completely forgotten (maybe an 80s Revisited is in order). Shannon Elizabeth, Diora Baird, Monica Keena and some other chick run around, lez it up, party hard, and get menaced by demons. Not much to it, but it is a lot of fun. Lots of gore, some nudity, and a funny cameo by Linnea Quigley make it a decent flick on a Saturday night. Also, what is Edward Furlong's deal? Lots of booze or lots of meals? *** stars.

THE FOUNTAIN (2006)
It's not that I mind filmmakers asking the same questions over and over about the nature of reality, it's that I'm too often bored by their answers. Unwatchable. No stars.

GIALLO (2009)
Dario Argento's worst film. In fact, it's the only film of his I've ever not liked. I'm not sure what it is that doesn't work, but it feels more like a self-conscious attempt to emulate Dario Argento than an actual Argento movie. ** stars.

SOMEWHERE (2010)
Beautiful. I really loved it. Sofia Coppola is still dealing in disaffection, but in a very artistic way. The film's about Johnny Marco, a movie star (played by Stephen Dorff). He's at the height of his fame, but he's also hiding from the world. Not in a self-conscious way; he's just detached from experience, in a cocoon of his own making, not a part of the world or even of his own life. He just sort of exists, working, occasionally taking care of a daughter (played wonderfully by Elle Fanning) from a previous marriage, not really connected to anything or anyone. What's so brilliant about Coppola's direction is that she manages to refrain from commenting on Johnny or on his life. She invites us to simply observe Johnny as he watches strippers dance for him, or falls asleep during foreplay, or eat breakfast with his daughter, or sit by the pool with her while saying nothing. We just see a picture of his life for what it is, until he realizes, through spending more time with his daughter than usual, that he's completely empty. In fact, he's so empty that he's not even sure what it is that's missing in his life, he just knows he's going around in circles and that it's worn him out. It's an excellent film, and as usual, Sofia Coppola isn't afraid to raise these complex emotional issues without giving them a neat little label and a falsely fulfilling ending. She's made four pictures now, each of them excellent, and each of them ending on the right note, not of closure, but of that moment when understanding and, possibly, change is within our grasp. Beautiful. Also, more Elle Fanning in movies like this, please. She's a much more natural actress than her sister (it's all in her expressive eyes). **** stars.

YOU AGAIN (2010)
The problem is, it's a screwball comedy, but the filmmakers want to make you feel, so it doesn't really work. Kristen Bell stars as a former high school object of bullying, now a successful businesswoman, who goes home for her brother's wedding only to discover that he's marrying her former bully (Odette Yustman). (By the way, I found it completely beyond the realm of believability that those two--the cheerleading captain and the star basketball player in a small, Northern California town--never met each other until a few months ago. Please.) To further complicate matters, she won't even acknowledge the past, and the entire family loves her. Predictability ensues, along with the addition of Sigourney Weaver (one of the few here who seems to understand the tone) as Yustman's aunt, who just happens to be the former rival of Bell's mother (Jamie Lee Curtis). Betty White is thrown in just to get this thing past max capacity. Seriously, could've been great screwball stuff, but they really want you to care and cry and have realizations and understandings, and it just... who cares? Good cast thoroughly wasted. Also, the whole thing would've ended in minutes if the people in the movie listened a little better. ** stars.

WELCOME TO THE RILEYS (2010)
This movie surprised me. James Gandolfini stars as Douglas Riley, an Indianapolis businessman whose marriage is hanging by a thread. He and his wife Lois (Melissa Leo) have lost their teenage daughter in a car accident. Douglas has been having an affair for four years; Lois accepts it, having become afraid to leave the house. While on a conference in New Orleans, Douglas meets Allison (Kristen Stewart), a teenage runaway working as a stripper. Through a series of complications, he finds himself at her house. He doesn't want to have sex with her. Instead, he inserts himself into her life, trying to care for her and teach her to take care of herself as if she were a surrogate daughter. At first, she seems to welcome the help. Allison becomes worried when she thinks he's angry with her. They grow closer, and when Lois arrives, confronting her fear of the outside world in order to find her husband, Allison grows close with her, too. For a brief moment, they almost create a new family. But even as we're reminded of EM Forster's advice--"Only connect!"--we are also reminded of the adage that you cannot save someone, you can only love them. And the movie ends in a way I found realistic and surprisingly touching. It's a film of very quiet beauty and deep understanding, surprisingly observational of human nature even as its plot sounds contrived. All of the leads are very good, but I think Kristen Stewart outdoes everything she's ever done before (even her performance in The Runaways, which I'm a huge fan of). Frankly, when I'm not asked to buy her as a romantic lead, I think Kristen Stewart is a very good actress. I don't know why she can't connect in that manner, but I have a really good theory... **** stars.

YOU WILL MEET A TALL DARK STRANGER (2010)
This now stands in my personal cinema history as the only Woody Allen movie I've not been able to finish watching. I'm a forgiving fan, yes, but there's only so much you can forgive, and this movie is just awful. No stars. Worse than Celebrity.

Bad Hair Day

Please, PLEASE, Shut the Fuck Up

Sharron Angle, Glenn Beck, Sarah Palin... just shut it. You protest too much, too loud, and too self-righteously for anyone to believe you actually give a damn about anyone who was harmed or killed in Tucson this weekend. Stop talking. You're just hurting yourselves with every word... oh, wait, never mind: talk all you want, idiots, and take the Republican Party down with you.

Look, nobody realistically blames these people directly for what happened. They didn't whisper in the guy's ear and tell him what to do. Jared Loughner is a paranoid schizophrenic with delusions of grandeur, a persecution complex, and a hatred of the government that is completely incoherent. He's not a right wing or a left wing nut.

The bigger concern is, as I said before, this culture where violence is encouraged as political activism by a lot of people on the right. It's been this way for decades, but in the last 10 years, it's become prevalent. We've all seen it, for years now, and many of us have said that we're scared of where it might lead. What I see, as a student of history, is the same militant, hate-filled rhetoric that was prevalent in the fight for civil rights 50 years ago, only this time it seems even less impassioned and more nakedly cynical. This is about political gain, money and power, and nothing else.

And the worst offender is still Sarah Palin. I look at her and say the same thing about her that I said about George W. Bush: "There's a person who wants to be President just to prove that they can be."

The thing that's pissed me off the most about the attempted assassination in Tucson has been the way Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin and Sharron Angle have tried to play themselves as the victims in this situation.

Glenn Beck said to Sarah Palin: "Sarah, as you know, peace is always the answer. I know you are feeling the same heat, if not much more on this. I want you to know you have my support. But please look into protection for your family. An attempt on you could bring the republic down."

The man who deals in armageddon decrying violence. Sure. That's almost as believable as the idea that Sarah Palin is such a linchpin of American society that an attempt on her life would unhinge the nation. (Not that I'm advocating violence here, either, but if Sarah Palin were killed today, I think we'd all be able to move on with our lives.)

Sarah Palin responded with, among other words, "I hate war." Uh-huh. Pull the other one, it plays Water Music.

You can't really expect these people to be able to reflect on themselves, can you? Yes, I do believe that the Palins and Becks infecting American discourse know exactly what they're doing, because they know such manipulation is the key to the money and power they want. I also think they're too empty inside to actually believe in what they're saying. And that's precisely what makes them so dangerous.

The simple fact is, victimization and rage work for Republicans. They worked in the last election, and they don't want to waste those tools. They will shout down anyone who calls for a more civil tone to the national debate because their cartoonish anger works so well for them. They need people to see that the conservative white man is oppressed, shackled, and butt hurt by such evils as fiscal responsibility, sexual and racial equality, religious freedom, and, I don't know, having a wimpy black president who compromises constantly. Running everything isn't enough, and they'll cry at the drop of a hat to fool scared people with no capacity for thought that anyone who makes a few million dollars a year and may see a tax increase on the price of fuel for their private jets is in exactly the same predicament as colonials being taxed on tea.

Jesus, did you see Palin's video statement today? It came across like a campaign ad. It is a campaign ad.

It's disgusting. Sharron Angle is disgusting. Glenn Beck is disgusting. Sarah Palin especially is disgusting, with her theatrical head shakes and her talk of "blood libel" (while defending herself against the shooting of a Jewish woman, very classy) and her self-involved hypocrisy. Victimhood? Fuck you, Sarah Palin. Get off your cross.

Words have consequences. You don't get to put out a list of targets and then wash your hands of responsibility when one of the people on it gets shot. Look, I don't doubt that Sarah Palin never meant for anyone to take her literally and start killing people. But she has done more than her fair share to fan the flames of political violence. "Don't retreat--reload." What does she think that means at a time when we already had people throwing bricks and vandalizing offices and bringing guns to Teatard rallies?

Really, just shut the fuck up, Sarah Palin. Shut. The. Fuck. Up. There is a 9 year-old girl being buried today. People lost their lives. Others in the hospital. Those are the real victims here. You're just an idiot who doesn't know when to quit talking.

Laura Gemser Time

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Random Thoughts

:: Ginnifer Goodwin says she weighs within 10 pounds of what she weighed when she was 9. That sounds to me like something only an insane person would want to achieve.

:: So, the wingnuts are out in force saying there's no connection between what someone in the media says and what someone else does. Jeez, then why did we have to spend half of the nineties hearing about how rap music makes people kill cops and the LA Riots were caused by Murphy Brown? Oh, right, because everything stupid or wrong or bad is okay if you're a Republican.

:: Pennsylvania Rep. Robert Brady, a Democrat from Philadelphia, told CNN that he also plans to take legislative action. He will introduce a bill that would make it a crime for anyone to use language or symbols that could be seen as threatening or violent against a federal official, including a member of Congress. (See? Democrats can say really stupid things, too. Great solution: scale back that pesky First Amendment even further.)

:: I saw an interview this week with Jeffrey Katzenberg, out defending 3-D yet again as the thing that's going to save movie theaters, pretending to ignore that 3-D hasn't done anything to renew interest among moviegoers and that it really hasn't boosted the box office that much. Last year saw a 15-year low in theater attendance. Let's face it, theater-going is pretty much dead. I prefer to avoid the hassle of the theater and watch these things at home, on my big flatscreen and with my stereo hooked up, and without the crowds and the commercials that I apparently pay to watch and, if it's disappointing, hey, I've got unlimited rentals from Netflix, anyway. Besides, it's just cheaper: in 2010, theaters raised their prices (largest year-over-year increase since 2001), in part because theater chains now have to install new 3-D systems... and then a 3-D ticket costs extra besides. Compare that to the Great Depression when theaters lowered their ticket prices... Thanks, I'll stay home, save some money, and save myself the headache of having to look at two images at once in order to create one blurry one for two hours.

Still, it's always funny to see Katzenberg get defensive about it. I think he knows he's bet on the wrong horse, and that it's a horse that will probably end up wiping out the theater business. Well done.

:: The Obama administration, following a lengthy internal debate, has unexpectedly come down on the side of pharmaceutical companies that are accused of overcharging public hospitals and clinics that care for large numbers of poor people.

The administration has told the Supreme Court that the hospitals and clinics cannot sue drug companies to enforce their right to deep discounts on drugs or to obtain reimbursement from companies that overcharge.
(Obama's Department of Justice sides once again with the corporations? Shocking.)

Jennifer Time

If...

via Cal:

If I were a month, I’d be October
If I were a day of the week, I’d be Thursday
If I were a time of day, I'd be early early morning
If I were a planet, I’d be Saturn
If I were a sea animal, I’d be a walrus
If I were a direction, I’d be west
If I were a piece of furniture, I'd be a sofa
If I were a liquid, I’d be Coca-Cola
If I were a gemstone, I’d be emerald
If I were a tree, I’d be a fir
If I were a tool, I’d be a sledgehammer
If I were a flower, I’d be a tulip
If I were a kind of weather, I would be a soft, gentle rain
If I were a musical instrument, I’d be a piano
If I were a color, I’d be charcoal
If I were an emotion, I’d be yearning
If I were a fruit, I’d be a strawberry
If I were a sound, I’d be a growl
If I were an element, I’d be bolognium
If I were a car, I’d be a GTO
If I were a food, I’d be a pizza
If I were a place, I’d be bigger on the inside
If I were a material, I’d be corduroy
If I were a taste, I’d be grape
If I were a scent, I’d be a sea breeze
If I were an object, I’d be Joan Jett's guitar
If I were a body part, I'd be Zac Efron's cock
If I were a facial expression, I’d be an understanding smile
If I were a song, I’d be Rock 'n' Roll Suicide
If I were a pair of shoes, I would be sneakers

A Fine Line Between Superhero Fetish and Bestiality

Stephen Ho, the stuntman inside Donatello in the second and third TMNT movies, talks about trying to seduce his wife while wearing the Donatello head.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Glenn Beck Takes Civil Rights Back, MAD-Style

From the new issue of MAD; writer Jeff Kruse cuts through the bullshit of Glenn Beck's speech on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. Who says MAD doesn't do good political satire? (They do it better than SNL, anyway.)

"I am happy to join with you today in what will be proclaimed by Fox News as the greatest demonstration for freedom in the history of our nation.

A few years ago, this great American got a talk show. This momentous decree came as a great beacon of hope to millions of white people who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice, in the form of having others disagree with them.

But years later, the conservative white man is still not free. His life is sadly crippled by the monopoly of the left wing media. The Conservative Caucasian is still languishing in the corners of American society and finds himself in exile in his own land--even though he still runs practically every high-ranking institution.

I want to live in a nation where Americans can protest government intrusion in everyday life, while at the same time collecting social security and Medicare--yet never once be called hypocrites.

I say to you today, my fans, even though we face difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in MY version of the American dream.

I have a dream that a white television entertainer is the most natural choice to be the keeper of Dr. King's flame--more so than the first African-American President of the United States.

I have a dream that protest groups put together by multi-millionaires, for the benefit of huge insurance companies, will somehow be seen as 'grassroots.'

I have a dream today that angry people can gather at town halls and scream their opponents down, all the while complaining that their voices are never heard.

I have a dream that little black boys and girls and little white boys and girls can come together in harmony, and will swallow whatever jingoistic line I screech without question, because they look upon me as 'America's History Teacher'--even though most times I'm completely rewriting actual history. I have a dream!

I have a dream that, one day, the president will be judged solely by the color of his skin and not the content of his character.

I have a dream that I can hold the people I disagree with to an impossibly high standard--yet dismiss my own critics simply by saying 'I'm not perfect.' Where I can scream any hateful, uninformed, ignorant insanity I want, and then distance myself from it simply by saying 'I'm just an entertainer.'

This is my hope. With this faith we will be able to transform the discord of our nation into one where everyone basically agrees with me.

And if America is to be a great nation, this must come true. So let the paranoia ring from the radio stations of New York to the TV stations of California! Let paranoia ring from the curvaceous women of Fox News to the Tea Party in Ohio! Let paranoia ring from every militia compound in Montana and every oil executive's boardroom in Texas! From every mountainside, let paranoia ring!

And when this happens, we will speed up that day when all of my particular God's children will finally shout 'Free of facts, free of facts, thank God Almighty, we are free of facts!'"

The Secret of Life in Three Easy Steps

Kristen Bell Mondays


Sunday, January 09, 2011

Song of the Week: "Telstar"

Happy Birthday, Mom.

Yes, Sarah Palin, This IS Your Fault

As you know, Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords was shot in the head at a supermarket yesterday; the assassin killed six people before being apprehended.

Why did it happen? I'm pretty sure this has something to do with it:

Sarah Palin's infamous, dangerous, unhinged list of Democratic "targets." Because of this kind of irresponsible, dangerous incitement to violence. And because human filth like Sarah Palin claim this is harmless political rhetoric.

This morning, Palin aide Rebecca Mansour said in an interview that the cross-hairs were never meant to evoke violence: "We have nothing whatsoever to do with this. We never ever, ever intended it to be gun sights. It was simply cross-hairs like you'd see on maps... a surveyor's symbol. There is nothing irresponsible about our graphic."

And you know, if there was ever a person I'd be willing to believe was too stupid to just use triangles or circles or squares or freaking gold stars instead of a bullseye, it would be Sarah Palin. But how do you explain the militant rhetoric that went with it?

On her Facebook page, as the graphic was released, Palin wrote: "We'll aim for these races and many others. This is just the first salvo in a fight to elect people across the nation who will bring common sense to Washington. Please go to sarahpac.com and join me in the fight." Remember this classic from her Twitter page? "Don't Retreat, Instead--RELOAD."

(Palin, by the way, has been deleting her more violence-inciting tweets over at--suggested name--the Quitter Twitter. She's also deleted the site with what Sarah Palin--no shit--called her "bullseye list.")

Rebecca Mansour went on to say that attempts to blame Palin for creating an atmosphere of politicized domestic terrorism (I'm paraphrasing, but let's be honest) are "obscene" and "appalling" and, as the hilarious cherry on top of the cake of stupid, added that attempts to politicize the shooting were "repulsive."

What I don't understand is how Sarah Palin has made it this far in the world of politics by surrounding herself with people who are just as dumb as she is: when someone brazenly attempts to assassinate a political figure over a political disagreement, it's already politicized, dumbfuck.

Really, no one's shocked that the extreme right wing is going to respond like this, are they? Sarah Palin essentially tells her ridiculous followers which politicians to assassinate, and someone tries to do it... whoa, that's not our fault! This guy must be insane!

In fact, Rebecca Mansour went the extra batshit mile and tried to paint the would-be assassin as not just a paranoid schizophrenic... but a liberal!

"I don't understand how anybody could be held responsible for somebody who is completely mentally unstable like this. Where I come from the person that is actually shooting is the one that's culpable. It seems that the people that knew him said that he was left-wing and very liberal -- but that is not to say that I am blaming the left."

You know what I find "obscene," "appalling," and "repulsive," Ms. Mansour? You. You and your pathetic, predictable attempts to backpedal your grinning idiot mistress from the blame she's earned.

(And to quote someone--I forget who, I apologize--on Face the Nation this morning, it's funny how these shooters we always hear are unbalanced are smart enough to know when to stop cooperating with authorities. The shooter ain't talkin', but I'm guessing he's a big fan of Palin, Beck, and the rest of them.)

This isn't the first right wing domestic terrorist to explode in violence since the 2008 election (remember the DHS report about homegrown terrorists that you all laughed off?), and this isn't the first time Rep. Giffords has been the target of violence. In 2009, someone showed up when she was speaking and dropped a gun. When she voted in favor of the health care bill, her office was vandalized. I don't know what the fuck is happening in Arizona, but something isn't right there politically.

How about Jesse Kelly, Giffords' 2010 Congressional opponent, who held a gun rally on 12 June to "Get on target for victory" to "remove" Giffords? An event where you could pay to shoot off a fully automatic M16? Please explain to me what that has to do with politics, and how that's responsible in any way? What definition are we using here for "harmless political rhetoric"?

Michael Moore on Twitter last night: "If a Detroit Muslim put a map on the web w/crosshairs on 20 pols, then 1 of them got shot, where would he b sitting right now? Just asking."

Good question. Would that also be considered just political rhetoric? Surveyor's symbols?

The current political climate in America is getting more and more dangerous. It was a long time ago that ideals were abandoned in favor of corporate payouts and party power structure... now there are people out there, either in politics, desperately wishing they were in politics, or paid lapdogs who go on TV and comment about politics, who are manipulating suggestive people into bringing guns to the table when it looks like they might lose.

And here's the result: Christina Greene, a 9 year-old child, born on 11 September 2001, and now dead as a result of post-9/11 paranoia. One of six people murdered by what, until yesterday, Sarah Palin and people like her seemed to be encouraging as a particularly proactive form of political activism. Among the other victims of Palin's harmless political rhetoric were a pastor, a director of community outreach, and a federal district court judge.

This is the world people like Christina Greene are growing up in. A world where someone only interested in politics for the fame and the prizes and the power can put a list of targets online, and then have the temerity to back away from responsibility when someone actually tries to assassinate someone whose name is on it. A world where, when a political assassination attempt occurs and people die, a spokeswoman will be soulless enough to go on the radio and try to deflect blame for the consequences of militant rhetoric. A world where political rallies have become gun rallies.

I'm sorry that Christina Greene was born, lived, and tragically died in a world like that one. In a world where political disagreements have become something to kill over. It makes me sick.

If Rebecca Mansour wants to be appalled by something, she should be appalled by that.

But she won't be. In order for that to happen, she'd have to have a soul. And she clearly doesn't. And neither does Sarah Palin.

Sunday Hottie 310

ABBY ELLIOTT