The Gunther Concept

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Wednesday, June 30, 2004

Crossballs Update More on the conservative hand-wringing and whining over “Crossballs’. Not only is there a column up at the GOP website complaining about the show, but one of the expert guests is threatening legal action. James March, who is a lobbyist for the ‘Citizen’s Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms’, has whined about his treatment in this posting. Apparently ranting wasn’t enough for March, who in a letter dated May 28th, had his lawyer threaten Viacom that he would “exercise his legal remedies to the fullest extent of the law” unless they agreed not to broadcast the episode he was featured in. Here’s some commentary on a thread where the entire sorry episode is regurgitated:

“I thought the Debate Show (MTV Tv Production - I was interviewed and selected as a knowledgeable member of the gun community) would be an opportunity for me to support our side in protecting the Second Amendment. But, instead I was a set up for a comedy routine. I spent most of the day preparing. They stood me in the audience as if I were an audience member and asked me "what do you find interesting about shooting?". I answered that it is a zenish experience, timing the release of the trigger with the aiming of the firearm, that its fun and isnt an olympic sport for nothing. One of the panelists was an a**wipe commedian [ed: original spelling] and proceeded to show how i proved guns were just an extension of guys penis's. He had a penis pump that he brought out and asked one of the panelists if he'd agree to give up his guns in exchange for the penis pump. He reduced our gun rights to a penis pump. Basically i was the set up for HIS joke. I spent all f***king day prepping for this opportunity to debate about gun control and they reduced it to a joke. I walked off the set and demanded a car to take me home. that, or have the balls to put me back on. they didn't - i left... f**kers all. hollywood can suck my barrel! [ed: hmm, intended or unintended irony?].... they consider themselves so liberal, so passionate, yet they are a bunch of money hungry, dishonest sh**s! Pass along that the "Debate Show" is a bunch of liberal sh**ts setting up honest gun owners for their own comedic purposes. Dont be shy, they weren't. They tried to humiliate a member of our community. F'her the little lying biatch
And this is from Jim March himself:
Funny you should mention threats. The single biggest idiot was this...well, obviously professional actor, who supposedly had a psychology degree and was involved in "treating" people with "gun afflictions" by dealing with their underlying "sexuality issues". Ya. I knew things had gone WAY south once I realized this bizarre gadget he'd just handed me was something I'd vaguely heard of but never seen. A penis pump. Swear to God. Anyways. This same moron was also a "hunting advocate". 'Cept he didn't like guns. So he advocated "manly hunting". With rocks. Cut to video of three morons in camo wandering through the woods annoying various furred/feathered critters with thrown rocks. Ok, so by the end of this bizarre crap as the closing credits are rolling, he pulls out a fairly big rock and holds it in a throwing position, growling and snarling at me, and making pathetic throwing motions. I came *this* close to pulling a knife on his dumbass. Had my hand all the way in my pocket. Paused there, thought better of it.
WTF??!! No, I can’t imagine why anyone would think you’re a nutcase who deserved to be publicly ridiculed. March continued…
Another thing: the particular anti-gunner they "pitted me against" (camo hat boy) wasn't entirely acting. They've told me several times now that he does in fact hold strongly anti-gun positions. Which I well believe; he put a LOT of hardcore bitterness into his approach. Susan Marie Weber in contrast describes a more "playful, silly" tone on her episode, and the actor "pitted against her" didn't "go for the throat". My guy on the other hand... The sumbich literally had me in fear for my life once that dang rock came out.
Another participant in the thread chimes in with this helpful bit of advice…
You may have already covered this with your lawyer, but it strikes me that your biggest leverage in this whole mess is the guy with the rock. If he was an "employee" of the show (or otherwise "in on" the deception), it seems to me you have a really strong course of action against them due to the fact that an "employee" of theirs put you in fear of bodily harm. If the "rock guy" is NOT an "employee" of Viacom etc., it would seem you still have a good point to stick in them legally due to their negligence in creating an unsafe work environment and / or their participation in the conspiracy to create the tauma they caused you to suffer by their actions. Have you considered filing a police report against the "rock guy"? I seem to have heard that in many states it's a crime for one person to threaten the life of another person, and since you were feeling threatened enough to be prepared to defend yourself with a knife, what happened would certainly seem to qualify (and you have video tape as evidence!). The farther the police take this, the more likely ViaCom is to either hand you big gobs of cash, or at least never air your episode and maybe cancel the series.
And then there’s this…
Don't know if this matters, but was that rock real? When I was a kid I bought a fake rock, a tad bigger than a softball, but made of very soft, easily 'squish-able' foam. It looked like it came straight out of a granite quarry. Could not have weighed more than an ounce or two. The reason I ask is this; if it was real, you maybe could use that against the 'producers' for actually putting your life in danger. If it was fake, then the whole show was OBVIOUSLY misleading, and they then would not have a leg to stand on. Either way, you could use it to your (great) advantage.
You have to admit, that’s great legal reasoning. If the rock was real, Viacom is screwed because you’re safety was threatened. If it was fake, they’re screwed because it means the entire show was a fraud. Brilliant!! Actually, now I really want to see that episode.

posted by gunther at 4:32 PM Link

Crossballs Some conservative pundits are apparently upset at having been ambushed during participation in what they thought was a ‘Crossfire’ type talk show, only to learn that they’d been duped into appearing on a Comedy Central parody/prank show. The new show is titled ‘Crossballs’ and will begin airing shortly. The premise of the show is to invite one or two actual pundits or talking heads on the show, ostensibly to discuss a topic in their general area of expertise. However, the remaining guests on the show are actors who merely portray actual pundits/talking heads, and who do so in the most offensive, sophomoric, irreverent and humorous way possible. On paper it sounds like a better idea than it probably will turn out to be. Using over-the-top improvisational humor to skewer the pompous fakes who parade around TV spouting off about the topic du jour sounds like it could be highly entertaining. But I suspect the show will have limited shelf-life (at least one reviewer agrees). For one thing, the secret is apparently out. Recruiting serious guests to serve as victims will be increasingly hard once the show starts to air. It will probably become all but impossible to recruit anyone except the real fringe players, and embarrassing them on national TV wouldn’t really be entertaining; it would be kind of like making fun of retarded puppies. The second reason why this show seems destined to be a short-lived phenomenon is that judging from the few reports I’ve seen, the “experts” recruited to appear on the show are non-entities who even regular viewers of CSPAN wouldn’t be able to recognize. How is the Comedy Central audience supposed to be able to appreciate the humiliation of a gun-rights activist when they have no clue who the guy is to begin with? And if the point of the show is to watch the hi-jinks of the “fake” guests, why bother having real guests to begin with? Why not make the entire show a parody of talking head type confrontation shows? In the ads I’ve seen I recognized at least one of the actors involved on ‘Crossballs’ as being a member of the ‘Upright Citizens Brigade’, Matt Besser. When UCB appeared in Houston last year one of his bits involved playing for the audience a series of prank phone calls he’d made. It’s a long story, but apparently his actual phone number in NYC was only one digit removed from the support line number for an internet provider company. So, he’d get phone calls from perfect strangers at random times during the day and night, asking for help on getting their internet connection to work. After a while he got tired of explaining the mixup, and began to pretend that he was actually working at the help desk, providing useless but hilarious assistance to unsuspecting callers. Remembering his skill at improvising these bits with the increasingly confused customers makes me think that ‘Crossballs’ may be worth watching while it lasts. But don’t expect it to be around for long.

posted by gunther at 2:53 PM Link

Monday, June 28, 2004

Is Bush A Moron: Iraq Handover Today’s edition of IBAM is from a brief press conference held by Bush and Tony Blair during the NATO summit. The topic: the rushed handover of Iraq. Grade Level = 6.8 Reading Ease = 70.8 Grammar Measure = .113 (9 errors, 80 sentences)

He's a guy that stood up to Saddam Hussein.[“…who stood up to …”] And every conversation I've had with him has been one the recognizes human liberty, human rights.[???] He's the person that orders suiciders to kill women and children And we just -- and as Prime Minister Allawi has said publicly many times, he will not cower in the face of such brutal murder.[mangled] Look, they can't whip our militaries. They can't whip our militaries. [“military” or “military forces”] Afghanistan, which was a terrorist haven -- this is where the terrorists plotted and trained to come and kill, not only in America, but elsewhere -- is now heading toward elections. [mangled] And my position is, is the best way to defend yourself is to find the few, the few -- and I believe that's what he's saying, that we're going to find those few before they continue to bomb whoever happens to be in their way.[Just read it…] The more reconstruction there is, the more people willing to help with the education of children, the more people willing to help rebuild hospitals, the more people willing to be -- to help to rebuild this destroyed infrastructure, infrastructure destroyed by the Taliban or by Saddam Hussein, the better off the world will be. [mangled] And the -- actually, we've been contemplating this move for a while.[mangled]

posted by gunther at 4:51 PM Link

Friday, June 25, 2004

Is Bush A Moron: “Bomb Ireland” Edition Bush was interviewed by an Irish reporter prior to his visit to that country on the way to the NATO summit. It didn’t go exceedingly smoothly, because the reporter, unschooled in the protocol that American journalists have learned to follow, actually interrupted Bush a number of times when it became clear that he was not interested in really answering the questions posed. So expect the bombing of Ireland to start any day now… Here are the results: Grade Level = 5.8 Reading Ease = 74.1 Grammar Errors = .122 (15 errors, 123 sentences)

And if they think that a few soldiers represents the entirety of America, they don't really understand America then. [subject-verb agreement; “…then they don’t really understand America.”] Tony Blair has been a strong advocate for not only battling terrorists, but [also] promoting freedom, for which I am grateful. [but also] But, nevertheless, there's no doubt in my mind [that] President Chirac would like to see a free and democratic and whole Iraq emerge. But what they should be angry about is the fact that there was a brutal dictator there that had destroyed lives.[“…who had destroyed lives”] But we have found a capacity for him to make a weapon.[what?] And no one can argue that the world is better off with Saddam -- if Saddam Hussein were in power.[mangled] But the God I know is not one that -- the God I know is one that promotes peace and freedom.[mangled] Because one of the great admonitions in the Good Book is, don't try to take a speck out of your eye if I've got a log in my own. [what? Should be: “Or how can you say to your brother, "Let me take the speck out of your eye," while the log is in your own eye?] I wouldn't have made the decisions [that] I did if I didn't think the world would be better. One of our greatest allies of -- in the world is your neighbor, Great Britain. {mangled] We just had a difference of opinion about when you say something, do you mean it. And same in Afghanistan. [not a sentence] And America -- I'm the first President to ever have called for a Palestinian state.[mangled] That's, to me, sounds like a reasonable, balanced approach.[“That, to me, sounds like…”]

posted by gunther at 4:47 PM Link

Thursday, June 17, 2004

Is Bush A Moron: Jun 17, 2004 From comments made today after a cabinet meeting: Grade Level = 8.0 Reading Ease = 63.9% Grammar Errors = .225 (9 errors, 40 sentences) The errors were:

We discussed primarily the economy.[split infinitive] And I was pleased with the report I got. [“…the report that I received”] There's more to do to make sure [that] this growth is sustained throughout the decade. Primarily it requires a proper understanding of the role of government to the economy. [?? “…the role of government to the economy”?] …and to make sure [that] workers are trained for the jobs of the 21st century. We fully understand [that] terrorists will try to shake our will, The reason I keep insisting that there was a relationship between Iraq and Saddam and al Qaeda, [is] because there was a relationship between Iraq and al Qaeda. There's numerous contacts between the two.[number agreement]

posted by gunther at 1:38 PM Link

Friday, June 11, 2004

Is Bush A Moron: G8 Edition From Bush’s closing press conference at the conclusion of the G8 summit: Grade Level = 5.9 Reading Ease = 73.3% Grammar = .093 (26 errors, 281 sentences) The list of his errors follows:

There's excellent law enforcement operations -- joint operations.[“There are excellent…”] There's an enemy which lurks out there that is willing to kill on a moment's notice.[which/ vs that] The latest prosthesis were put on their hand -- were put on their arms.[protheses; hands] And in his lap was several weapons.[“…were several weapons…”] And therefore, it's a -- it's a easy place to start conversations.[mangled sentence; “an easy place…”] But democracy in the heart of the Middle East is going to be a -- an important change for that region, that troubled region. [a vs an] See, I believe [that] free societies best meet the aspirations of the people living in those societies. And now there's -- we will make sure he honors his commitment. [mangled] Okay, I'll give your question more answer.[WTF??] Because, you know -- and they're anxious that we honor what we say because they want to be free, they want to be free people. [mangled] No, I wasn't -- I was just kind of -- I'm trying to get to where your question is leading. It's -- that's -- that's the duty of a government, is to train and equip and provide police and army to protect their people from people who are willing to kill innocent life. I haven't talked to the Vice President about this matter, and I suggest -- recently -- and I suggest you talk to the U.S. Attorney about that. There's excellence -- there's excellent intelligence-sharing, And those were the instructions out of -- from me to the government. What she's referring to is a -- members of a Delta team came to see me in the Oval Office and brought with me -- these were the people that found Saddam Hussein, the dictator of Iraq, hiding in a hole. Saddam Hussein -- if you -- we had seven people come to my office. Seven people came to my -- they had their hands cut off because the Iraqi currency had devalued. And I am -- I am -- it -- I'm grateful for their bravery Is any local press here, at all, by the way? It -- look, this is -- we made the right choice to come down here for this summit. Look, there is -- we're united by values. And so, therefore, it's -- this is a -- it facilitates good and healthy conversation. I've got a -- I've got the -- I will be paying tribute to President Reagan here in about an hour and a half or so,…
Bush included a definition of “sovereignty” for those who are interested:
We'll respond to their requests when sovereignty is fully transferred. That's the definition of full sovereignty. You see, when a government is fully sovereign, they then make requests on behalf of their people.

posted by gunther at 2:05 PM Link

Monday, June 07, 2004

Someone’s Brain Must Have Been Outsourced On Lou Dobbs this evening, he was showing some examples of viewer mail on a topic that has attracted a great deal of his attention lately, outsourcing of jobs to low-wage countries like India. One of the letter sticks in my mind, and was from a Cathy Loring of Falls Church, Virginia. Thisd is taken verbatim from the transcript:

"I've heard numerous people on your show stipulate that the outsourcing of jobs will not affect our economy in a negative way and will actually allow for more jobs in the United States. However, in the mean time, who is paying into our social security system? People better wake up and smell the pitfalls before their cupboard is bare."
I’m sure that sets some type of record for the greatest number of metaphors ever to be mixed within the same sentence.

posted by gunther at 9:04 PM Link