Sunday, December 31, 2006

As they said in the '70s, "It ain't over till it's over"... Wrapping up the Rocky countdown a bit late

Perhaps many of you have already paid the price of admission and watched Rocky Balboa. For those who haven't, I will continue with the Rocky countdown. I know that this final bout is a bit late, but I was out of town and unable post the final clip. Please forgive me. And for those of you who were waiting to watch the movie until The Rhetorical Situation properly set the stage and ushered you into the theater on opening day: you can purchase a ticket tonight, as the coundown is now complete.

This final clip is from Rocky V, which most people consider the worst movie in the Rocky franchise. But I urge everyone to give it another chance. It's not a bad flick and really it sets the stage for the final installment. What's more, it delivers one of the most chilling moments of any Rocky sequal: the scene in the bar when Rocky challenges Tommy Gunn. "You knocked him down; why don't you try knocking me down." It's just plain awesome! Almost as awesome as Tommy's mullet. And I have a clip of it here:

Now that the countdown is officially complete, I guess I will leave you with a trailer to the newest installment, which I saw ealier this week (the day after I returned home, of course). And as I predicted several weeks ago, it is the best Rocky film since the original. I can't say enough good things about it. It's definitely the best movie of the year. And for those of you wondering...

[spoiler ahead]

... it does end as I predicted at the start of this countdown. That's right, I called it again!!!

Thursday, December 28, 2006

College Football's Monopoly

As I gear up to wacth this year rounds of college bowls, I will begin the bowl season with my penance. Over at Counterpunch, Ralph Nader addresses the monopoly known as the BCS.

I do wonder at whether or not that at some point in my life I will have to choose between being an academic and enjoying college football. I'll try to give it one more year before I make a decision.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

The Science of Free Will

While this seems to be a late-nite coffee-house conversation, an article in The Economist discloses that our brains, and other environmental factors, limit volition. For example:
IN THE late 1990s a previously blameless American began collecting child pornography and propositioning children. On the day before he was due to be sentenced to prison for his crimes, he had his brain scanned. He had a tumour. When it had been removed, his paedophilic tendencies went away. When it started growing back, they returned. When the regrowth was removed, they vanished again.

The article continues to dicuss how addictive chemicals (sugary foods, nicotine) alter our brains and "evolved instincts." If true or discernable, the consequences of this would greatly impact criminal law, economics, and rhetoric-- all of which imply free will to act.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

We Can Feel It In Our Fingers, We Can Feel It In Our Toes; The Greatest Pop Song Ever Recorded Is Here; Featuring Triple H and Shawn Michaels

Readers, we've come a long way. And here we are. Now. In order to better understand the allusion Harrogate is about to make, check out the following clip, which remains in line with the Englishness of our Love Actually Countdown to The Greatest Pop Song Ever Recorded.

Checked out the clip??????? Hmmmm???

Good. Then here we go.


are you ready?

No, Readers!!! Harrogate said

ARE YOU READY??????!!!!!!!!!

Then, for the half dozen or so in attendance, and the millions who would be zealously following this blog if they only knew about it...

(And to Bill Nighy--depicted here--

whose performance as Davey Jones in Pirates of the Carribean II demonstrated once again that you can count on him to absolutely bring it; and who without question stole the talent laden film, Love Actually, with one of the sleeziest, most hilarious, most over the top performances Harrogate can recall; and whose performance here, in The Greatest Pop Song Ever Recorded is guaranteed to offend and amuse people all at the same time; and also to you, the devoted Readers, who Harrogate wishes a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, and will count this entire sequence of posts a success if only one of you has been inspired to include a revisiting, this Holiday Season, of Love Actually, a really wonderful movie by any and all accounts)

Llllettttt's Get Ready for


Billy Mack - Christmas Is All Around

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Detroit...Kansas City...Ooowww!

The Rocky Balboa countdown continues in slightly different fashion today. Instead of posting a clip from one of the Rocky sequels, I've decided to post a video of Mr. James Brown performing "Living in America," one of the most memorable moments of Rocky IV.

What is left to say? Except Wooowwww!!!

Just 2 more days left to go. Huh!

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Love Actually Countdown Closes in On #1; Wherein Harrogate Poses a Simple Query of Readers

Well, Readers, we have now arrived at the penultimate moment in our Love Actually Countdown to The Greatest Pop Song Ever Recorded. Featured here is Olivia Olson's cover of (and, Harrogate would argue, improvement upon) the Mariah Carey hit, "All I Want for Christmas Is You." There is really no way to extricate Olson's performance of this song from the Rhetorical Situation in which she's performing it; several of the movie's principals are gathered together to celebrate Christmas with the community's children, and the director does a great job of panning across them while still keeping the proper amount of focus on Olson and, of course, the drummer who's painfully, head-over-heels in love with her.
all i want for christmas is you

Last week Harrogate and Southpaw were on their way to see a top 15 college basketball team dismantle their opposition, when Southpaw asked Harrogate what was his favorite Christmas Song? This is a terribly difficult question, there are so many great ones. So now, in dual honoring of Mariah Carey and Olivia Olson (what better dedication could'st there ever be?), Harrogate passes the buck forward to you, his devoted Readers.

As you enjoy this clip, consider what Christmas Song you have found yourself listening to most often over the last couple of weeks. Harrogate has long been an unabashed devotee of John Lennon's "Happy XMAS (War is Over)"; and no matter who's performing it there's something inarguably transcendent about "Noel"-- but for his current favorite he'd have to turn to "Santa Claus is Comin to Town," one of the sexiest and hardest rockin' of the seasonal ditties. And Springsteen's version of it captures it perfectly.

In a couple of days, Readers, you'll be brought face to face, on this very blog no less, with the Greatest Pop Song Ever Recorded. Until then, let's talk Christmas Songs.

A clip posted in honor of my newborn daughter...

who was introduced to Van Halen yesterday and loves 'em. Listening to their '78 debut LP, she especially seemed to enjoy Ice Cream Man. But then again, who wouldn't?! The guitar solo on this song is one of Eddie's best, yet it's never mentioned in any top-100-guitar-solos list.

Here is a live clip of Van Halen performing the song at the US Festival in 1983. Enjoy! All at our house will.

"To all my love slaves out there..."

Today's Countdown to Rocky Balboa features a clip from the third installment in the Rocky sixology. As always, there were many clips from which to choose. Here are the one's considered for today's post: the opening montage revealing that Rocky has acheived celebrity status (or, in the words of his long-time trainer/manager, Mickey, "become civilized"); Clubber Lang challenging Rocky at the unveiling of the infamous Rocky statue at the Philidelphia Museum of Art; Rocky learning that his title defense bouts have been selected to ensure victory; the scene where Mickey passes; Apollo's motivational speech to Rocky, where he tells the champ that he's lost the Eye of the Tiger; Paulie's emotional meltdown; Rocky's admission to Adrian that he's afraid "for the first time in his life"; the training montage; the final bout where Rocky defeats Clubber; and, of course, the charity match between Thunderlips and the Ultimate Meatball.

I chose the charity match for today's countdown--and only because brother Harrogate is a big wrestling fan, as you may have gathered from his Monday Night Raw reviews (temporarily put on hold until he finishes a paper). In this scene, Rocky fights Thunderlips, aka The Ultimate Male, a professional wrestler played by none other than Hulk Hogan. While I always prefer seeing Hulk play a good guy, he does make a good heel.

So without further ado, and in honor of Harrogate, here is today's countdown clip: the charity match between Thunderlips and Rocky that raised $75K for a youth club.

Just 3 days left.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Who "owns" Santa?

As Christmas approaches, Santa is everywhere. This is something to be expected -- there's the mall claus, the parade claus, the holiday party claus, movie claus, tv special claus, etc. All have varying degrees of "realistic" (if a fictional character can be realistic) appearances. Yet, as a recent BBC article attests, who IS the "official" Santa and who LOOKS like Santa can be an issue.

Disney officials recently scolded a man with a natural beard and red shirt for confusing children at the park. Rather than disappoint numerous children who thought he was Santa, the man played along and in doing so made officials mad.
But Disney officials descended, telling him to stop the impersonation or get out
of the park. They said they wanted to preserve the magic of Santa.
Santa at Disney parks is apparently a Disney character and not the Santa of kids' imaginations and popular culture. Which leads me to ask, who is Santa? Who owns Santa? Is Santa soon going to be a copyrighted and trademarked image? Of course, given the commercialization of Christmas, perhaps he already is.

"What are we waitin' fer...?" The Rocky Countdown Continues with a Double Montage from the First Sequal, 1979's Rocky II

As I stated on the first leg of this countdown, I love a good montage. And those which appear in the Rocky movies are among the best and most motivating of any training montages ever put on film. In this clip from ROCKY II, we get two for the price of one.

The two montages here appear within seconds of each other. They are only split by a short scene of Rocky putting his newborn son--aka Kid--to sleep in his crib. I guess Sly couldn't figure out how to bridge the two "montage songs" musically so he had no other choice than to break them up with short clip that further reveals our hero's gentle side.

Let it be known that while I enjoy both of these montages, I think the time span in which they occur in the film is sure to push any audience into motivational overload. Hence Sly's attempt to bring us down with a clip of what I like to call "soft Rock." But, alas!, it doesn't work. It takes a whole lot more than a few seconds and a baby to bring me down from the first montage, one that leaves me--from almost the very beginning--ready to conquer the world. The bell: dong...dong.... And then Mickey: "What are we waitin' fer?" The silhouette of Rocko against the morning sky doing one-armed push-ups. The music....

All I can say is it gets the blood flowing.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Rocky Countdown Continues (Also Sans Cowbell)...

With less than a week remaining until the theatrical release of Rocky Balboa, countdown efforts must be doubled. Keep an eye out for daily updates.

Today's countdown celebrates one of cinema's most memorable first kisses. Rocky brings Adrian back to his apartment to show her Cuff and Link, his two turtles. In a somewhat creepy move, he immediately locks the door behind them. I understand that he isn't living in the nicest of Philly neighborhoods, but his move here is sure to make any young woman a bit uncomfortable. Nonetheless, Adrian sticks around and gets a kiss. As a bonus, she even gets to see a picture of the Italian Stallion's parents--both of them!

This clip is my tribute to Adrian. And while I don't want to give away any Rocky VI movie spoilers, I am inclined to say that I will miss her come Friday.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

When education is left to politicians

The Government of Japan decided that it will teach children "Patriotism." According to CNN, the new:

Education measure, the first change to Japan's main education law since 1947, calls on schools to "to cultivate an attitude that respects tradition and culture, that loves the nation and home country."

The new education law will allow children to acquire a good understanding of their heritage and become intelligent and dignified Japanese," ruling party lawmaker Hiroo Nakashima said during the upper house debate.
Critics, however, attacked the move as harkening back to Japan's war-era education system, in which children were instructed to support the country's imperialist military and sacrifice themselves for the emperor and nation.

Opponents on Friday voiced fears that the changes could lead to schools grading students on their patriotic fervor -- possibly as a prelude to making Japan an aggressive nation once again.

"The government is putting the future of Japanese children at risk and turning Japan into a country that wages war abroad," said Ikuko Ishii, a Communist Party lawmaker.

The call for more patriotism in the schools coincides with a push by some local governments to crack down on teachers and students who refuse to stand for the national flag or sing an anthem to the emperor at school ceremonies.

Let's teach patriotism at the expense of freedom of speech and freedom of association, since neither of those qualify as patriotism. In fact, maybe they should bring back the loyalty oath. Another good idea.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Feeling It In Our Wrists And Ankles: The Love Actually Countdown Continues, (Sadly) Sans Cowbell; More on the Rhetoric of Soundtracks

Harrogate is delighted to bring you Lynden David Hall's rendition of one of The Beatles most wonderful songs, "All You Need is Love," as we get just a bit closer to The Greatest Pop Song Ever Recorded. Despite the absence of cowbell, Hall with this cover joins a long and proud line of artists who have masterfully covered a Beatles classic.

One of Harrogate's fondest cinematic memories, in fact, comes from Michael, starring John Travolta: The Scene where Travolta, Andie McDowell, and William Hurt are driving down the road singing "All You Need is Love." A truly great moment in what was, Harrogate must say, a pretty bad film overall.

Other great Beatles covers? Harrogate thinks Ben Harper's rapturous "Strawberry Fields" may be the best of the bunch. He also saw the Grateful Dead in Chapel Hill close out their set with "Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds," and that was pretty awesome.

Phish covers the entire White Album , and if ye haven't heard it, ye need to.

Fiona Apple's version of "Across the Universe" is one of the most sublime things you'll ever hear period. Ditto Elliot Smith's haunting "Because". Interestingly, both of these two songs, as well as the supreme Harper cover, come from Soundtracks to very good movies. Harper~I Am Sam; Apple~Pleasantville; and Smith~American Beauty.

Perhaps there is something to getting a good Beatles cover in there if you want a rockin' soundtrack!

Anyway, Readers, Harrogate leaves ye wondering, what is your favorite Beatles song? (Harrogate's is "Hey Jude")

And what is your favorite Beatles cover?

Until next time, enjoy the Hall ditty, and the accompanying Montage of scenes from Love Actually:
love actually - music video

And remember, The Greatest Pop Song Ever Recorded is less than a week and a half away!

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

A Countdown Projection

I have it on good authority that Harrogate's next countdown video to the Greatest Pop Song Ever Recorded will have more cowbell.

Once again, you heard it here first.

All I want for Christmas Is....

The Left Behind video game where I can learn the true meaning of Christmas and Christianity. The goal of the game is to save the world from the anti-Christ by killing, er I mean converting-- I hate it when I make that mistake--, non-believers. According to the games description, you get to, "Wage a war of apocalyptic proportions in Left Behind: Eternal Forces, a real time strategy game based upon the best selling book series created by Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins. Conduct physical and spiritual warefare, recover ancient scriptures and command your forces through intense battles."

For more info go here and here.

This game reminds me of religious groups that stand against violence in media, except on The Passion.

My favorite quotes from the second article:

"The Rev. Tim Simpson, a Jacksonville, Fla., Presbyterian minister and president of the Christian Alliance for Progress, added: 'So, under the Christmas tree this year for little Johnny is this allegedly Christian video game teaching Johnny to hate and kill?'"

"Players can choose to join the Antichrist's team, but of course they can never win on Carpathia's side. The enemy team includes fictional rock stars and folks with Muslim-sounding names, while the righteous include gospel singers, missionaries, healers and medics. Every character comes with a life story."

"When asked about the Arab and Muslim-sounding names, Frichner said the game does not endorse prejudice. But "Muslims are not believers in Jesus Christ" -- and thus can't be on Christ's side in the game."

Maybe we can get a group together, play the game, and sing Christmas Carols: "Joy to the World, the end is Nigh. Let evangelicals and fundamentalists sing!!"

Maybe I will go and play DOOM now.

Books for Congress--

Based on some comments at the end of my last post, what five books would you want your representative to read?

Monday, December 11, 2006

A Surprise on the top ten conservative book list

I am perplexed. One of these things is not like the other. The Top Ten LIst of Conservative books from 2006 (from Human Events, which one of my conservative professors described as being to the right of Ghengis Khan)> Here is the list (my comments follow):

10. Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters by Dr. Meg Meeker - The list starts out well-- Dads, be there for you daughters. Though I guess the target audience knows this and won't read it.

9. 365 Manners Kids Should Know by Sheryl Eberly: Train you kids early; supplies are running out.

8. The Truth About Muhammad by Robert Spencer (The authoritative text on Islam by someone who doesn't believe in Islam. I wonder if there were a book, say The Truth about Jesus, as written by a Jew or Buddhist or Atheist or (fill in believer whatever faith here) would sell well. Also, while it is hard to believe, but from the description, it seems the author claims everyone who is Islamic is violent.)

7. Conservative Comebacks to Liberal Lies by Gregg Jackson: 241 facts or arguments or values or something to reply to liberals who lie to you. Why would you want to discuss anything with someone who lies do you? Shouldn't you possess enough sense to avoid a covnersation or argument with someone who lies? And, of course, all liberals must lie by definition-- except libertarians, who are kinda like liberals except they place a higher value on the economy, which is good, as long as you neglect the libertarian view n religion, aboriton, privacy rights, and all other social problems.

Here is the description of the book from Human Events. It must be great for parties: "It happens to all of us: we’re debating some liberal friend or colleague when he makes an unsupported claim we’re just positive is false – but we don’t have the hard facts to prove it. Or we’re confronted with slick arguments for, say, legalizing “gay marriage,” but aren’t quite ready with the strongest counter-arguments. Now there’s help. In "Conservative Comebacks to Liberal Lies," Boston talk-radio host Gregg Jackson provides tightly argued, fully documented responses to no fewer than 241 of the most common claims made by the Left on all the most important political, social, and cultural issues of our day.

There is nothing like a book that possess the entire truth in 241 common arguments. Plato would definately favor this book- all you need to do is memorize facts and you can win arguments.

6. America Alone: The End of the World as We Know It by Mark Steyn (It is the US versus THEM book because the rest of the world is either drinking wine, eating cheese, or just too apathetic. Sure to make you the life of the party.)

5. The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades) by Robert Spencer (Notice the dualism: you are either PC. a propagandist, and support the "mortal enemy" or you are a patriotic and Christian. No black and white in there.)

4. The Heritage Guide to the Constitution by Edwin Meese, ed.(A Conservative clause by clause reading of the Constitution. Who needs the Founding Fathers? The Heritage Foundation and Edwin Meese, former Attonery General for Reagan, will tell you what they thought so you don't have to look it up. FYI- did you know the second amendment is brought to you by the NRA?)

3. The Trivium by Sister Miriam Joseph Rauh..... huh? This isn't a polemic

2. Godless: The Church of Liberalism by Ann Coulter (If you purchase number three you'll be able to identify the fallacies in Godless).

1. The Life and Religion of Mohammed by J.L. Menezes (written by someone that converts individuals to Christianity. I think this will be an apt description of Islam, don't you?)

The book that is out of place is of course, The Trivium, which is a good book that is sitting on my desk. You could use it for a high school, maybe freshman rhetoric book. Here is the description:

"The Trivium" is a rigorous and utterly delightful presentation of the three areas that form the basis for all learning: logic, grammar, and rhetoric. Sister Miriam Joseph Rauh, a professor of English at St. Mary's College for thirty years, helps you see the unity and harmony of these three areas as she gives you solid and easily-grasped explanations of even their most abstruse elements: not just general grammar, but also propositions, syllogisms, enthymemes, fallacies, poetics, figurative language, and metrical discourse! Attractively laid out to maximize clarity, this book is also packed with lively examples, exercises, and illustrations drawn from the works of Shakespeare, Milton, Plato, and others. The examples are so rich that they're a literary education in themselves.

The Trivium is interesting choice since, first, it was not published in 2006 and, two, while the other books on the list imply that dialogue with your "enemy"-- and all of the books imply an enemy-- is either bad or impossible, this book needs a neutral to positive relationship between speaker and audience.

In fairness the site, there is a top ten list that is a good idea: Top Ten Books Every Republican Congressman Should Read. There is a good deal of intellectual honesty in these books (well, except numbers 9, 8, and most of the honorable mentions).

Any thoughts? What is missing?

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Rocky VI Countdown and Prediction

Given the popularity of Harrogate's countdown to the greatest pop song ever recorded, I have decided to offer a countdown of my own. Today I am announcing a Countdown to the most anticipated film of the year (and, for some, the decade):

Rocky Balboa

Yes, I understand that the sixth installment of the Rocky series will be viewed by many as a joke, as Rocky never seems to go away. Many thought that three Rocky's were too many. I mean, who can forget that scene in Airplane II: The Sequal, depicted left, where Sonny Bono purchases a bomb from an airport gift shop, a poster promoting Rocky XXXVIII over his right shoulder. While I find this scene hilarious, I do not find another Rocky movie a joking matter. I'm glad Stallone has written another sequal, and I'm willing to make a bold prediction about this movie here today, one that will likely earn me another Peabody nomination: Rocky Balboa (aka Rocky VI) will be the best Rocky movie since the original.

Scheduled for release on December 22th, the new sequal arrives exactly thirty years after the original film debuted in 1976. But will the Rocky sixology come full circle in this final installment? I think it will. That is to say, just like the original Rocky, I anticipate that our hero Rocky, "Philadelphia's favorite son," will lose his final bout in a 2-1 split decision. That's right, devoted readers, you get two predictions for the price of one with this blog post.

Now on to the countdown. Here, from the original Rocky is one of the greatest training montages ever put on film:

Friday, December 08, 2006

MLA and Tenure

Inside Higher Ed published an article on the prospects of MLA and a change ot the tenure process. Being "outside" of English, it amazes me how the discipline of English is vastly different than Speech Comm, especially in regards to the number of graduate students and the potential to get jobs after graduate school.

I am curious as to how others on this site think about the potential for change. How do you see your discipline, especially in light of finding a job when you are through with school?

A Rare Anecdotal Revelation from That Renowned Abstract Thinker, Harrogate

Harrogate is in the midst of trying to finish a piece of writing and it's hard.

He is therefore having to lay down certain laws for himself. One of which is that there will be no future entires from Harrogate on The Rhetorical Situation until he has completed this task.

The one exception to this will of course be the Love Actually countdown to The Greatest Pop Song Ever Recorded, which is very near completion and which he will continue on Monday December 11th. The countdown is excepted because it is Seasonally Based and therefore must be brought to completion despite attenuating circumstances.

For Harrogate's sanity, he hopes to be back on here in full capacity sooner rather than later, because this will mean he has finished his current task.

Until then, faithful readers, Adieu.


For some reason, I am in a poetic mood. Here is one of my favorites. I enjoy it because it is haunting and tragic.

"Philosophy" by Dorothy Parker

"If I should labor through daylight and dark,
Consecrate, valorous, serious, true,
Then on the world I may blazon my mark;
And what if I don't, and what if I do?"

Thursday, December 07, 2006

I apologize....

I apologize to my brethren... I did not remember. The end of the semester push to finish grading papers left my head unaware....

For my repentance, I shall quote a peom of William Blake, titled, "On F----- & S-----"

"I found them blind I thaught them how to see
And Now they know neither themselves nor me
Tis Excellent to turn a thorn to a pin
A fool to a bolt a knave to a glass of gin."

End of the Semester...

As I sit here and try to finish out the end of yet another semester, I am left wondering: If I were not in academia, where would I be and what would I do?

As of right now, I have two answers:

(1) Book store owner. There is a little book store on the port side of Galveston that seems to be, for me at least, that book store that has almost all of the books that I care for.

(2) Photographer/ Photojournalist:

What would you want your non-academic career to be?

The End of YouTube as we know it (I Feel FIne)

For me at least, for now...

I reached the conclusion that using youtube as a proxy for a real arguemnt or discussion seems disingenuous.

However, I leave you with the Facts of Life. Think of it as the Pete's Couch of an earlier generation or, "I don't know that group. Are they punk rock?" which seems grammatically incorrect. Maybe too much of the...

I love the ignorance and the righteous indignation.

The Roof, the Roof, the Roof is Almighty!

Boy, I tell you: Roof Almighty hit that one out of the park. In fact, I will go on record saying that his first blog post may be the very best ever written and posted here on the Rhetorical Situation.

I kept waiting for it come, and I knew it would be good. But I was not fully prepared--nor, in retrospect, could I have been prepared--for the Almighty's post to blow me away as it did. All I can say is

"Bravo, Almighty. B-r-a-v-o!"

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Gay Rethugs, Metaphysical Masochism, and the Supreme Beauty of Tax Cuts

Extra extra read all about it. Mary Cheney is pregnant. Depicted above with Heather Poe, her partner of 15 years, at the Rethuglican National Convention in 2004. Hmmmm. Must be strange to work for a Party that consistently exploits anti-gay bigotry while at the same time planning to welcome a new grandchild into the world, eh Dick? Maybe ye should buy the child a teddy bear that says "Adam and Eve Not Mary and Heather"?

Remember, Dick, you are what you pander to and shill for, no matter how much you love your own family.
And then Mary and Heather: Harrogate's bemused condolences follow ye everywhere. It must suck to be crazy enough to show up at Conventions where near-everyone in the room wishes to criminalize your life. But then, smooth family time is more important than silly principles like self-preservation and civil rights.

And then, Tax Cuts are more important than anything.

YCT Nativity Scene, or, how to create the biggest Straw Argument

Another example of how the Young Conservatives of Texas live up to their name, especially the "Young" part. At the University of Texas, the group created a "Nativity Scene" with Gary and Joseph, no Baby (because of the ACLU's stance on abortion), Nancy Pelosi as an angel, a suicide bomber, and the "three wise men" (Stalin, Marx, and another communist). You can watch a video here from CNN.

While it is remotely humorous, it reminds me of other YCT "arguments:" Holding a cookie sale to show the disparity in racce-based admissions and marrying a person to a bike to protest same-sex marriages. The tactics in these two examples and in the Nativity are the same: (1) Lets create the biggest straw argument possible that does not reflect the opposition's position (the ACLU Demands that all humans read Marx and the ACLU mnust have supported Stalin-- it is in their creed); (2) Let's not have a reasoned debate about these topics (that is the problem with displays, you cannot argue with them); (3) Let's exclude all ideas that may counter our position (e.g. they don't have cookies for legacy admissions or for athletes); (4) Let's demean all people as possible even though they seem to be "religious" (nothing shows compassion more than an analogy between a bike and human).

It must be fun to be a YCT member: You can be compassionate and support a President that allows for toture. That is the Conservative Way. Oh wait, is that a straw argument? Well then, here are other suggestions:

The Young Conservatives of Texas: Because reality and empiricism do not need to be a part of our arguments.

The Young Conservatives of Texas: For over twenty years, we make facists look like sissies.

The Young Conservatives of Texas: We Demand Equal Time for Our Views.... (But we do not want to hear your views).

The Best part about this is if you play by their rules, you can say anything you like. Other suggestions?

Belated Monday Night Raw Review from 12/4/06: On the Rhetoric of Security Guards

Monday's Raw was all about pure storyline, building rivalries. There really were no actual matches that remotely settled, or--on the immediate surface anyway--even accomplished, anything. That being said, Harrogate gives this past Raw an 'A' precisely because storyline is exactly what has been so sparse on that show. In other words,'twas not the current happenings that mattered, but rather what those same happenings did to shape future happenings.

The two builds featured were the rivalry beteen DX and Edge/Orton, and then of course the mounting tension between John Cena and Umaga. In neither case did the fans get instant gratification: the Tag Team rivalry was diluted by the 8 Man Challenge in which they participated, giving the hatred between the teams yet another week to percolate before we get the real deal. This is a good thing. Medicine Hat, Canada wasn't built in a day, after all. Neither can believable, engrossing narrative be thrown together slap-dash. Patience, as Guns N Roses once famously opined, is what we all need a little more of.

Next Monday there is supposedly going to be a match between Edge and Triple H: look for this to get interrupted rather early, so that everything remains in the air and the hatred between these people mounts.

The patience principle is even better reflected, however, by the excellent way WWE's writers have been handling the Umaga/Cena feud. Once again, they had a confrontation where nothing was on the line and nothing settled; matter of fact, now they've got a stipulation whereby Cena and Umaga cannot touch one another for the rest of the year. All of this was set up with a Rhetorical Move that Harrogate has come to refer to as the Security Guard Buffer. Watch this video to see how the Security Guards lend a sense of narrative seriousness to the feud. Watching the two wrestlers try to get to one another through the multitudes of Security makes us believe Their Coming Match For the Heavyweight Championship Is Terribly Important, So Important In Fact That We Can't Have Them Tangling At The Present Time.

Harrogate loves the Security Guard angle. Probably the most effective use of this schtick ever was by WCW in 1998 during The Great And Unimpeachable Bill Goldberg's epiphanic Championship Run. After winning the title, Goldberg (depicted below) would heroically Walk That Aisle, surrounded by Security Guards. The message being: I'm Too Important To Be Captured. You'll Get Your Chance In The Ring (Where I'm Going To Beat The Everloving Hell Out Of You), But Not Before.

Ah, Goldberg!!!!!!! To paraphrase Richard III, what can Harrogate say about ye that he has not already inferred tenfold????? Harrogate's memories of ye occupy the tippity top of his late 90's Cinematic Nostalgia. Many is the time that he reflects upon your defeat of the Terrible Hollywood Hulk Hogan: Not on Pay-Per-View but, true to your populist credo, on TNT before a breathless nation. Thanks, Goldberg. Thanks for the memories.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Feeling It In Our Palms and Soles: Love Actually Countdown Goes Homestretch; Also, Harrogate Vociferously Complains About 'Lying' Soundtracks

The Love Actually Countdown To The Greatest Pop Song Ever Recorded continues here, with Bay City Rollers' sublime homage, "Bye Bye Baby".

But oh, the Love Actually soundtrack does not "actually" contain "Bye Bye Baby," even though every fan of the movie can immediately tell you the exact moment this song appears in the movie. The funeral scene is simultaneously one of the Saddest and most Joyful that this blogger can recall from his movie watching experience: more, it is really a Rhetorical Centerpiece of the movie, really setting up the wonderful relationship between the Stepfather and the love-sick Boy.

Why in God's name would the soundtrack people leave such a thing off of their final product? It pisses Harrogate off, it really does.

Harrogate has always thought it crass for Soundtracks to be incomplete. Despite its indisputable greatness, for example, the Forrest Gump soundtrack omits several songs, including "Freebird." This is annoying because the classic heartpounding "Freebird" guitar solo totally makes that scene where Jenny is standing in heels on the ledge of a high rise, all drugged up, thinking about jumping. So why leave the song out? Did they, while drinking tea in an English Bistro, stick their pinkies out from the cup and say "oh, there are just so many great songs, nobody will miss it"? or, "We could afford the rights to every song except this one"? What exactly contributes to an important song getting left off of a soundtrack?

About three months ago Harrogate and Mrs. Harrogate enjoyed a VHI "Movies That Rock" presentation of The Wedding Singer (and that movie really does rock, by the by). As soon as the movie was over, Harrogate excitedly delved into his and Mrs. Harrogate's expansive music collection, as he was just absolutely positive that he would find The Wedding Singer among their gems. And lo, there it was! There was only one thing left to do: Find "Love Stinks" featuring the incomparable Adam Sandler, and then crank that shit on the upside.

But wait! "Love Stinks" is not on the Wedding Singer soundtrack. Following which stunning apprehension, the only option for poor Harrogate was to have a stiff glass of Scotch on the rocks and listen to some of the other great songs on that CD. Sigh. You can't win em all.

These are a few of Harrogate's Soundtrack Disappointment stories. There are others. What are some of yours?

Bay City Rollers Bye Bye Baby

Monday, December 04, 2006

Sports and Aesthetics

My wife mocks me for this on an almost weekly basis, but here goes. From “The Internets”:

At times, I judge a sports team by their uniforms. I cannot be a fan of a team that wears horrifically ugly uniforms. I cannot concentrate on the team or game when the uniforms make my eyes bleed.

Here are some of the worst offenders. From the NFL:

The New Orleans Saints- you may be “America’s Team” but your choice of black on black means you should lose every game in which you wear that choice. The same applies to Baltimore and Jacksonville.

Miami, Seattle, Baltimore, and countless others: white on white? Is that a deliberate choice? Miami, even the orange jersey is a better choice than white on white. But that is not saying much. The same applies to the University of Texas: White on White with White helmets. I think the color sends a message, but I cannot figure out what it is.

The Denver Broncos: you blue with just an orange gives me nightmares. Go back to the Orange Crush. Orange Jerseys; white pants; blue helmets.

N.Y. Giants- the red is radioactive, or at least on my TV.

San Francisco- When you wear the gold pants and play, like you did yesterday, it looks as if you all urinate in them. Nothing seems more professional than a team that pisses their pants. Individually and collectively. No wonder why you don't win.

Cincy- I hate almost all of your uniforms. Your oragne Halloweend duds and your black on black. You're cursed because of your unform choices. At least in the late 1980s and early 1990s you were respectable.

From the NHL:
The Nashville Predators- mustard as a third jersey? And people wonder why hockey should not be played in the South, and by South I mean 150 miles south of the Canadian boarder.

San Jose: Teal is never a good choice but your third Black on Black, well, see above.

Carolina and Pheonix- Red, and red alone, does not work. But, see the 150 rule. Even the purple Kings were better or the yellow and purple for that matter.

Baseball and the NBA-
I don't watch you. I am sure you all have bad uniforms, but I wouldn't know.

For a top ten list of the all-time worst, see Fox Sports.. I disagree with the Canucks choice; however, I cannot disagree with the rest.

Other suggestions?

Stop the Press

Why does a man who dresses like a Bat get all of my press?

From the depths and shadows of nowhere Texas, I would like to announce the entrance of "The Roof Almighty" to The Rhetorical Situation.

Another voice to generate utter nonsense is always welcome here.

Response to Mommy PhD II: Wherein Harrogate's Fun Signs Continue to Spark Controversy; Defense of, Yet Distance from Rick Warren and Barak Obama

Recently Mommy PhD invited Harrogate to give his seventeen dollars and thirty-one cents on this NPR Story about Rev. Joel Hunter, who according to the article declined leadership of the Christian Coalition because the organization "wouldn't let him expand its agenda beyond opposing abortion and gay marriage."

It is yet another case of these people earning in spades the kind of stereotypes to which Harrogate deftly alludes in the above Church Generator Sign. To say the least, Harrogate is deeply disappointed by Hunter's decision. Once again, it would seem, a prominent Christian voice of reason has allowed itself to be drowned out for all intents and porpoises.

Rather than welcoming the opportunity to use this high-profile position to reframe the mainstream discussion of what it means to be a Christian in America today, Hunter's move sends out the message that there's just no point in challenging the narrative that has been enschonced since the rise of Falwell and Robertson, and amplified recently by one of the most despicable human beings in politics today, "Dr." James Dobson. Thanks for the show of courage, Rev. Hunter. You're truly an agent of change.

Along these same lines, the controversy of Barak Obama's appearance before Rick Warren's Saddleback Congregation continues. Perhaps Harrogate's least favorite Bible-Thumping Panderer of them all, the malignant Kevin McCullough, recently added yet another piece of literary feces to this ongoing topic, spewing that if Evangelicals don't get in line and remember that all that matters is controlling women's bodies and hating gay people, then Barak Obama might become President in 2008, which would of course immediately plummet all Americans onto the fast-track to Hell:
GULLIBLE EVANGELICALS - The most reliable base of voters for the Republican Party since the days of President Reagan have been the social conservatives. Church-going born-again Christians who believe in God, the importance of His word, and the significance of living out their faith in an open and compassionate way every single day have been the backbone of the GOP. This past Friday Rick Warren, through the implied endorsement of allowing Obama to speak at one of the largest evangelical churches in America gave Obama the opportunity to split evangelicals who will be misled by Obama's words instead of opening their eyes to his actions. In my gentle admonition to Rick Warren over the past couple of weeks I reiterated time and again that it was this opportunity being extended to Obama that would be manipulated by both the press , and Obama himself to pose as a "person of faith." Warren's stubborn action of insisting upon having Obama speak at Saddleback Church in southern California has had that exact effect .

By slight contrast, Conservative Pundit Harry Jackson makes some interesting points about the vitriole with which his fellow Righties have been lampooning Warren for the last several weeks:
The so-called “controversy” over Pastor Rick Warren’s invitation for Senator Barack Obama to join Senator Brownback and others at a church sponsored summit on HIV/AIDS Conference concerns me. It seems to me that liberals are much more unified in their public views than conservatives these days. Once again our attempts at internal, conservative self-policing have become public news. Warren’s attempt to solve one of the world’s most troubling health problems should have been applauded by everyone.

Much better than McCullough, of course. And Harrogate agrees with Jackson totally that Warren has embarked on a noble thing, enlisting the power of his pulpit to make a difference in the AIDS crisis that continues to ravage many places across the Globe. Kudos, too, for Barak Obama in using his considerable voice and popularity to remind people that there is stuff in the New Testament about helping poor and oppresed peoples, about compassion, about humility. Some might argue there is even a little more of that kind of thing in the New Testament than there is excoriation of homosexuality or reproductive freedom.

One thing that bothers Harrogate very much about all of this, however, is the notion that whatever the Bible says, above and beyond all other modes of consideration, is what politicians ought to be implementing. Why is it that Barak Obama has to be our great big rising star now because he's found a way to push the Bible with liberal politics? It's just really fucking sad that there's now a de facto religious test for public officials in America. In truth Harrogate thinks Obama, though he does a lot of good and is certainly better than the crazy Rethuglicans, is highly, highly, highly overrated. 'Twould be sad for Democrats if Obama got the nomination in 08. What about somebody like Vilsak or Biden or Jennifer Granholm of Michigan or Bill Richardson of New Mexico? While Harrogate is sure all of these people are Christian he is pleased to report that they don't constantly remind us of that fact every time they get in front of a camera, and they don't defend their socially progressive ideas only by citing Jesus's own Progressive Rhetoric.

Despite Christianity's huge role in the life and history of this nation, no Founding Document ever said anything about cross-checking legislation, and even candidates for President, against the Bible. It sure would be nice if we could explain, and be effective doing it, the moral imperative of engaging things like AIDS and poverty without referencing the Bible at all.

Since, you know, we live in a Republic and not a Theocracy, it might even make sense if we could do such things.

But then, if Harrogate had a wish in one hand and a pile of James Dobson in the other, which would he have more of?

Sunday, December 03, 2006

A Question about wrestling

While watching a few NFL games today, I repeatedly saw an ad for the new WWE Wrestling video game. While watching the commercial, I started to think about how the game works.

When you play a wrestling video game, do you wrestle or write a script? Harrogate?

The End of the BCS as we know it (I feel fine)

"That's great it starts with an earthquake, the birds and snakes and the aeroplanes, Lenny Bruce is not afraid..." I mean...

Let the debate soon be over. Hopefully the BCS will end soon as well.

By this evening, the Commercial Bowl Series... I mean College Bowl series will be finalized by a computer, a few chimpminks, a wad of chewing gum (Big League Chew), the newly tragic friendship of Paris Hilton and Britney Spears, the alignment of Jupiter and Saturn, and a patridge in a pear tree. As a result, Notre Dame will go to a major bowl (enojy that Mr. P-Duck), schools will recieve millions of dollars in money that may go to research or to athletic departments, football players (as oppossed to students) will play another game and their semester, which began in July, will end in January (as a bonus, some of those students may even have attended and passed a class), and, by the way, there will be no idea who really is the National Champion under the College Bowl Series for the 8th straight year.

Who should play in the big game? Ohio State and Michigan or Ohio State and Florida? What about Ohio State and Boise State, two undefeated teams? Ohio State and Michigan most likely are the two best teams in the country-- but there is no way to know without engaging in academic abstract theory (Maybe post-colonialism will help us think this through). Yet, according to The Washington Post, Urban Meyer-- the Coach of Florida-- believes that a major injustice would occur if Michigan played Ohio State again:

"I think that'd be unfair to Ohio State, and I think it'd be unfair to the country. Just don't believe that's the right thing to do. You're going to tell Ohio State they have to go beat the same team twice, which is extremely difficult? If that does happen, all the [university] presidents need to get together immediately and put together a playoff system. I mean like now, January or whenever, to get that done."

The response from Michigan Coach, Lloyd Carr, in The Washington Post:

"I hope that the voters will not penalize our team because we didn't play the last two weeks. I don't want to get into a campaign. That's not what's best for the game. The BCS is set in order to put the two best teams together in the championship games. We all have our views."

Again, who should play? The team who played in extra games and may be #2 in the country because everyone above them loses or the team that went into Ohio State and lost by three because of the mistakes that they made? Is this a major injustice if Florida does not play Ohio State? Is it unfair to the country? Will millions of College students refuse to read in protest if Michigan plays Ohio State again? Will we threaten the legitimacy of the conferences if Michigan, which lost their conference wins the naitonal championship? Is there any reason why division one college football does not have a playoff system; division three uses a playoff format (and, as an extra FYI-- my undergrad school is in the final four for the first time ever.) These seem to be questions only academics could decide. I am happy Lloyd Carr and Urban Meyer could enlighten us.

Since the desire for academic life will not increase at the university level, we might as well fix the college bowl series problem. Academics do not really matter with the majority of college football players-- why not have an elaborate playoff system to appease the corporate world, which in turn, would finally tell us who is number one in the country. That is what matters. Is there any reason why division one college football does not have a playoff system; division three uses a playoff format (and, as an extra FYI-- my undergrad school is in the final four for the first time ever.)

University Presidents-- listen to Urban Meyer, the football coach. You need to sit down and rethink the college football championship this week. Because, clearly, the role of the university is to determine who is and who is not the national champion. By not doing this, you are perpetuating an injustice throughout division one football. If there is no letigimacy in the college football bowl series, there is no legitimacy for the University.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

I Appreciate Oxymoron...

Earlier in the day, I taveled to Oxymoron's house. While there, I met his beautiful daughter, listened to The Beatles' White Album (I mean the LP, not the CD) in thee "listening room", and received a bottle of Dogshhead 120 Minute Brew.

Oxymoron, I salute you!!!

Friday, December 01, 2006

Bye-Bye Lita; In Which Wikipedia is Copiously Referenced; Wherein Harrogate Proffers a Colbertian "Wag of the Finger"

After recently visiting the Wikipedia entry on Amy Dumas, aka Lita, and learning all about her bizarre background, how she became interested in and learned to join the ranks of Professional Wrestling, etc., Harrogate has come to feel guilty for not wishing the lady adieu as she moves on to pursue possibilities in Rock Music and Off-Broadway Theater.

Yes, this is the same Lita to whom Harrogate has often referred as a Walking Venereal Disease. But the harsh language, while applicable to the character Dumas masterfully portrayed towards the end of her run, ultimately stemmed from Harrogate's strict allegiance to John Cena. But then it was precisely Dumas's spectacular performance as a heel that made Cena's cutting and hilarious critiques possible in the first place.

And of course, Dumas underwent many turns over the course of her illustrious career, and, indeed, was often at her most compelling as a face.

All of which is to say, Amy Dumas, Bye-Bye. You and Edge were undoubtedly the most interesting thing about this past summer's WWE Raw, and that's including the Great Triple H's turn to face and the subsequent, magnificent reunion with Shawn Michaels and reformation of DX. Cena's been on fire all this last half of the year, but Harrogate bets Cene himself would be the first to credit you and Edge for providing him with the necessary thespian launching pad from which to take his game to the next level.

Now, with all of this being said, Harrogate finds it necessary to extend a Colbertian "Wag of the Finger" to Vince McMahon and his writers for letting Dumas go out as a heel. After everything she has done for Women's Wrestling (the women are still mostly eye candy, but some of them actually perform the High Risk wrestling moves now, and much of that was pioneered by Dumas), and for your oft-questionable programming in general: you guys should have let Dumas undergo a Face Turn so that she could have received ovations on her way out.

WWE, get it together. (You know, Harrogate's available if you want to hire a writer who knows how to make this thing take off, but that's another story....)

Until next time, Readers, Ciao.
Arena Rock for the Soul

Having been too long since Journey joined me on the open road, I decided to take their essential collection with me as I picked up Mrs. Oxymoron's cousin at Love Field airport in Dallas last night. Pumping from the stock stereo system in my '99 Honda Civic at a whopping 20 Watts per channel, these rockers made my trip effortless.

One of the many highlights in the collection is Lights, the video of which I posted above. Note Neal Schon's solo here. It's a simply spectacular and highly underrated. I ask you, dear readers, is it possible to listen to this solo without pulling the air guitar from the closet to play along? I don't think it is. I know I certainly can't.

Some useless rock trivia: At what age and with what artist/band did Schon begin his professional rock career? (Try to answer without consulting the Google.)

Marquee Rhetoric

Recent marquee listings at local theater - in the order in which they appeared:

The Return
The Departed

A Good Year
Harsh Times

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Couch Potato - Live - Weird Al Yankovic

Obviously dated by several years but damn it's funny. Weird Al's the man.

UNC/Ohio State Lives Up To Hype; Harrogate Now Knows Players' Names; Lawson the Next Felton?

Well, Readers, if ye missed last night's heart-pounding barn-burner between #1 Ohio State and #6 UNC (ESPN/Coaches Poll), then ye missed last night's heart-pounding barn-burner between #1 Ohio State and #6 UNC (ESPN/Coaches Poll).

To recap: Dickie V was right to insist throughout the broadcast that both of these teams are "Awesome, Baby!" "Awesome" is a powerful enough Rhetorical Move, but when it is followed by the Interlocutive Referent, "Baby!": why, then, the Speaker had better have better than a pair of threes in his proverbial hand. In this case Vitale had a straight flush; he was simply reporting that to which he was bearing witness.

Ty Lawson, whose Jersey decorates the top of this very post, is indeed "Awesome, Baby!" Harrogate very much agrees with those who see in this player a lot of (Everybody Loves) Raymond Felton. Like Felton, Lawson--incredibly--speeds up when he has the ball in his hand. Also like Felton, Lawson is a Pass-First guy who is simultaneously capable of scoring 20 points, easily. Look for this guy to cause lots of problems in the ACC and nationwide before it's over.

Of Tyler Hansbrough, what can Harrogate say that everyone in the college basketball conversation isn't already saying, hasn't already said, won't say again? Just look at the box score, linked above. Then imagine a performance about Twice As Good as what those orgiastic numbers indicate. Then you get some idea of what the Terminator did to Ohio State last night.

And really, the accolades go on. Freshman shooting guard Ellington scored 19 on his 19th birthday. Sophomore Danny Green attacked the basket and made smart decisions whenever he was in the game. Freshman slab Dion Thompson showed that he is pretty much unstoppable down low, whenever Roy called his number. Ginyard once again layed down the smack on defense: Harrogate loves this player.
Freshman power forward Brandan (I can get higher above the rim than you) Wright had a silent first half only to explode in the second, making his presence felt on both ends of the hallowed floor (game was at Carolina, that's why the floor was hallowed). Wes "Walk-On" Miller hit a couple of NBA-depth threes.

And in Harrogate's estimation, the biggest performance of them all might have come from Bobby "Pip" Frazer, who went on a small rampage towards the end of the first half and with Carolina struggling: He hit two huge threes in a row, and got a hustle-based steal followed by a full-court assist to Hansbrough who came through with the Big Ole Monkey Dunk.

In summation, Harrogate has decided that those who worry Carolina has "too much depth" this year are officially on crack. With Roy at the helm, this squad might develop a kind of Hockey Model, attacking in discernible Shifts, coming in Wave upon Wave upon Wave on Run Run Run, constant man-to-man defense, constant pressure, never tired, never scared.

They may be a little young to win it all, but they're gonna put the hurt on some teams before this season is through.

A Graphic; Wherein the Moniker 'Little Green Fascists' Experiences Analysis, Harrogate-Style

Harrogate recently came across the above picture, courtesy of Little Green Fascists. Actually, the picture itself has been around since March of 2004, but LGFascists brought it back last Friday when Our Eternal Hero, George W. Bush, swaggered his bad self right into Vietnam. Really, as everyone who was following the news undoubtedly knows, the whole thing smacked of Rambo.

But anyways, for those of you wondering about the name Little Green Facsists, it is a kind of liberal satire of the far right blog Little Green Footballs, to which Harrogate, as he is somewhat decent, cannot bring himself to link. Those who want to go there will find it.

Sort of like Hell.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

More From The Love Actually Countdown: Feeling It In Our Elbows and Knees; Also Wherein Harrogate Joins in Stereotyping Cavemen

Pointer Sisters - Jump (For My Love)

As we make that final turn into December (or, as WWE likes to call it,December to Dismember), the stakes continue to shoot upwards on Harrogate's Love Actually countdown to The Greatest Pop Song Ever Recorded. Here are The Pointer Sisters doing their unforgettable classic "Jump(For My Love)." By the by, Harrogate just loves the use of parentheses in titles: it adds so much to the Rhetorical poignancy of the thing. And yes, it's the original video. Anything less would be uncivilized, like those cavemen in the commercials.

Now, for those who cherish the memory of where this song appears in Love Actually (truly one of Hugh Grant's finest cinematic moments), Harrogate is delighted to post the following You Tube Video for your watching and listening entertainment.

Love Actually Hugh Grant Dancing

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Raw Review 11/27: Among Other Philosophical Stances, WWE Weighs In On Richards-Gate

First of all, for those looking for a scholarly source, Wikipedia has an authoritative entry on WWE's Tag-Team Cryme Tyme, which many experts around the Beltway predict will be the next Tag Team Champions. Anyway, last night, these guys performed a response to Richards-Gate that Harrogate invites all to watch. Already the blogosphere is alive with commentary. Renowned wrestling scholar Todd Martin of Smashmouth Driving, for example, powerfully observes:

They did a lame satire of the Michael Richards incident, with Cryme Tyme laying him out. It wasn’t funny, and WWE has some nerve knocking racism by having their racist caricatures beat up the racist

Harrogate tends to agree with this analysis on a surface level, although he suspects Martin might be joining the zillions who cannot find a shred of humor in serious things. Caricature and satire are longstanding American traditions, in politics and entertainment interchangeably. Does anyone really think Vince McMahon is taking "Cryme Tyme" and saying "look, here's how black people are"? Of course not! Instead McMahon is tapping into something, an archetype, a stereotype, whatever you wanna call it, and exploiting it for cash. What could be more American than that?

Anyway, thoughts on the clip?

Other than this skit, the other Rhetorically Provocative thing that went down in Pittsburgh was the bloody beat-down Ric Flair received at the hands of Edge and Randy Orton. Ostensibly a "message to DX," this beat-down nicely illustrates something Harrogate has been talking about for a long time. Readers, as you watch this excruciating clip, pay less attention to the actual event than to the expressions of the fans watching it. Indeed, consider the mood of the scene. It is the sublime artificiality of the thing that keeps us coming back for more, it is an example of what Theater can do better than anything else, including Live Music. Obviously, if the beat-down were really happening, people would stop it and thus get a kind of release. So it is the fakeness of the thing that ultimately freezes them. They are left transfixed before a horror they can barely comprehend. Only to witness the spectacle, that is the choice, the only choice. There is no asking the spoon to bend here. Pro wrestling does this as well as any artistic expression. Period.


And for your viewing pleasure, Harrogate closes this post by presenting Readers with what it looked like when Umaga finally extended an official challenge to John Cena for the Championship. This scene Vince's writers handled well. The two stared each other down, talked some shit, but never came to blows. This rivalry continues to build, and Harrogate likes it. Indeed, Harrogate gobbles it up.

If handled properly this rivalry might take WWE Raw to a whole 'nother level. Ciao.

Monday, November 27, 2006

"Do You Know Who You Are?" II

Bonus Post: The title, "Do you know who you are?" are the last words of whom?

"Do You Know Who You Are?"

An article from American Sexualty Magazine discusses an
Ex-Gay Community

The focus of Ex-Gay Communities is to provide "hope for heaing" in the conversion process. These communities deny an orientation approach to homosexuality and do not want to extend out rights (same-sex marriages) since there is no identity that correlates with the right.

This is a very interesting article for its discussion of identity. Last week, I attended a conference and, during one of the panels, a philosopher asked an ethnographer about how the ethnographer can conduct a study on the identity of others since philosophers possess so much doubt on the identity of the self. In this article, there seem to be a lot of existential issues: development of an identiy from anxiety and lonliness; development of an identity based on personal comfort; development of an identity to remove problems in life (drugs, alcohol); and devlopment and reinforcement of an identity through a community.

At the end, the discusison of "relapses" seems very important, especially since it contradicts the establishment of a new identity. It seems that the power to believe in something may override the "pure identity." Some individuals may adopt a religion that states homosexuality is a moral wrong and not a human condition even though the person may possess a same-sex orientation. In that case, the "Will to Believe" trumps biological dispositions.

In the end, one question remains: how can we know?

Facts of Life Flashbacks; Wherein It is Postulated That Girls Experience Peer Pressure Too, and Blair and Jo Kick Ass; Pete's Couch Foreshadowed....

Natalie's Reputation at Stake

Bongs: There Ought to be a Law!

You take the good.
You take the bad.
You take 'em both.
And there you have.
The Facts of Life.
The Facts of Life.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Feeding the Conspiracy Beast

Just in case anyone has doubts on new, electronic voting-mahcines, you may want to read this. Who knows?

Friday, November 24, 2006


Here is Sunny Day Real Estate, an old Sub Pop band. This performance is from the Jon Stewart Show-- the old, pre- Daily Show Jon Stewart. The video quality is bad; the audio quality is good.

I saw this when it originally broadcast-- I was an undergrad at the time.

My Contribution to the Holiday Season

Enjoy. "Suzy Snowflake" by Soul Coughing.

What's in a Name II?

But it is not a Civil War.

Who gets to be the person or group to rename this war as a Civil War?

Saturday, November 25th: But it is still not a Civil War.. These are just random acts of sectarian violence that are separating individuals into military factions. See the difference.

What's in a Name?

Ruth Marcus
explores the Republican linguistic turn in the difference between "The Democrat Party" and "The Democratic Party" as used by President Bush in the last election. For example:
The derisive use of "Democrat" in this way was a Bush staple during the recent campaign. "There are people in the Democrat Party who think they can spend your money far better than you can," he would say in his stump speech, or, "Raising taxes is a Democrat idea of growing the economy," or, "However they put it, the Democrat approach in Iraq comes down to this: The terrorists win and America loses."

It seems that the use of the word is a way for Republicans to split the elites from the people:
The president isn't alone in his adjectival aversion to "Democratic" when it comes to the party. The provenance of the sneering label "Democrat Party" stretches back to the Harding administration. William Safire traced an early usage to Harold Stassen, who was managing Wendell Willkie's 1940 campaign against Franklin D. Roosevelt. A party run by political bosses, Stassen told Safire for a 1984 column, "should not be called a 'Democratic Party.' It should be called the 'Democrat party.' "
Democrat Party was used, pardon the phrase, liberally by Wisconsin Sen. Joseph McCarthy. According to the Columbia Guide to Standard American English, " Democrat as an adjective is still sometimes used by some twentieth-century Republicans as a campaign tool but was used with particular virulence" by McCarthy, "who sought by repeatedly calling it the Democrat party to deny it any possible benefit of the suggestion that it might also be democratic." The word also achieved a prominent run with Bob Dole's especially ugly reference to "Democrat wars" during the 1976 vice presidential debate.

Is this important? From the article:
" 'Democrat Party' is a slur, or intended to be -- a handy way to express contempt.... At a slightly higher level of sophistication, it's an attempt to deny the enemy the positive connotations of its chosen appellation."

Is there another derisive term for Republicans or is it just bad ethos to use this technique in the first place?

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Absurdity from the NHL

While watching the Vancouver & Nashville game, the broadcast showed a promo for the Vancouver Canucks. It read:

'We are all Canucks...are you?"

What part of "all" do the Canucks not understand?

What the Hell? In the Spirit of Piling On, Richards-Gate Revisited; Wherein The Liberal Albatross Is Revealed

Well, the after effects of Richards-Gate has now plunged us into yet another unseemly examination of Liberal America's Love Affair with Addressing Hurt Feelings With Lawsuits. A blight of human skin named Gloria Allred (depicted left), a famous "discrimination attorney," has now roped in Richards' victims as clients in her newest attempt to help Conservatives develop their caricature of American Liberals as Lawsuit Loving Pansies.

Here is the pathetic upshot of it all. People like the sycophantic Allred make real liberals' job much harder in this country. Under the guise of "combating discrimination" and "feminism", Allred is really just a manifestation of the "Ambulance Chaser" label that damages the reputations of good trial lawyers like John Edwards who legitimately battle the military/industrial complex in order to compensate victims of insurance fraud, on-the-job injuries, etc.

All of which strongly invigorates Harrogate's recent assertion that this was never about Michael Richards but about the public's need for Moral Preening and to prove its "political correctness" rather than striving for decency.

Don't apologize to us. We won't accept it. But we will take your goddamned money, thank you very much.

So now Richards' "victims" are going to seek money for this? Harrogate is sick and tired of having to acknowledge that American Liberals provide a comfy home for those who would shred free speech through the threat of violence: which is essentially what a Lawsuit of this type is. Richards did a terrible thing. Whatever people want to think of him is their business. But Harrogate will be damned if he's going to stand by and not speak out against this abrogation of the First Amendment just because it seems like the politically correct thing to do. If Michael Richards wants to stand in the middle of Times Square and hurl racial epithets all day long, he's entitled. And so are we entitled to yell back at him.

Let Harrogate be as clear as possible on this. He doesn't give a flying fuck how Doss and McBride "feel" about what happened at that club. There are people out there in this country today, this Thanksgiving, this day of Middle Class Gluttony, people with real problems experiencing real injustices that rich white "liberals" like Allred ignore every day in favor of sexier stories like this. Homeless people. Unemployed people. Sick people with no medical insurance. Etc. These are the people lawyers might want to turn their attention to. Allred's a fucking vulture. And she is welcome to sue Harrogate over this, if it has hurt her feelings, humiliated her, or some other such drivel.

If Doss and McBride have been scarred for life by this experience, Harrogate can only say that this is a testament to their weakness. And again, Allred's a fucking vulture. Any money that comes about as a result of this will be just another weapon for Rethuglicans to use against those of us who are actually concerned with social justice, rather than with simply performing such concern.

I wish this would end... but since it won't

Here is the apology from Michael Richards. Jerry Seinfield appeared on David Letterman and they connected with Michael Richards via satellite for an apology. It is incredibly awkward. I do not know why I looked for it this afternoon. Maybe it is because the Dolphins and Lions are playing. I don't know what I'll do when the Bucs and Lions play to avoid that game.

From what I heard, reaction to this clip was mixed. The audience laughed in the beginning of the clip until Jerry scolded the audience. Richard seemed very disturbed by his actions, though I hear people complained over the lack of his sincerity.

In terms of apologia (speeches of self-defense), he used the following strategies:

(1) Confession: he admits what he did and admits he feels terrible about it. There seems to be no question about this. He later admitted that his type of action is stream of consciousness and the words just flowed.

(2) Control (or lack thereof): Normally, when speakers defend themselves, they try to alter the settings to make them more favorable (Nixon delivers "Checkers" on a studio stage, in front of his desk, with his wife Pat sitting on a couch). Richards stated that this may not be the proper venue for his apologia-- it is a comedy show after all. It does seem odd that he delivered the apologia on the Letterman show when Jerry was the guest. I wonder what the connection is. A negative view is the seventh Season of Seinfeld was just released and this incident may interfere with sales. Syndication of Seinfeld may be another problem since some individuals may no longer be able to watch the show. Regardless, this seems to limit the success of his defense.

(3) Transcendence/ Bolserting: Richards connected this incident within the larger context of race relations and what comics tried to do for race relations (Transcendence), such as comic helping victims of Katrina. However, he lost coherence here and just tried to associate himself with other comics that have helped others (Bolstering- when you identify with things your audience with find favorable though it has little to do with the situation at hand.

The discussion here quickly changes course to what he said in relation to the audience and different audiences. He then pleads he is not a racist though he made comments that could have been considered racist. He seems to lose agency: "it's comes through... it fires out of me."

(4) Confession: Letterman asks if Richards thought by saying something so over the top that it would not be a problem. Richards stated he tried to do that, which seems to show Richards is trying to gain his agency back. Of course, his agency is connected to Letterman's control of the situation (via asking questions). He then discusses how he apologized and how he tried to reach the people he insulted. He was happy the people he insulted went to the press. When asked about what he can do, he has no clear answer of what he can do. Jerry then adds to the conversation and tried to defended Richards.

Overall, he seems sincere about his apology; we can infer this from his repeated confessions about the incident. However, he did not do a good job of picking his venue (he attempts at control were very bad) and he did a poor job of offering redemption (what he could do to fix the problem he created, not that any one person will be able to fix race relations).

Black Republicans, the Smell of Steak, and Forked Anal Tracks

I saw this episode of Dog Bites Man on Comedy Central a few months ago. I still laugh about it today.

I was telling my Father-in-Law about it this morning (he's in town for Thanksgiving). I found a clip of it on YouTube and thought I would also share it with the devoted readers of The Rhetorical Situation.

Enjoy! And Happy Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Feeling it In our Triceps and Calves: Love Actually Countdown Heats Up With a Little Maroon 5

Maroon 5 - Sunday Morning Music Video

The Countdown to the Greatest Pop Song Ever Recorded now begins to heat up on The Rhetorical Situation. Here Maroon 5 tears it up with "Sunday Morning."

Do readers remember what scene in Love Actually features this song?
Harrogate does.

Top Music Albums...

While refusing to do any serious scholarship this morning, I found an advertisement for Time's Top 100 Albums of All-Time. Personally, I always hate these lists because, typically, the criteria used to judge these lists falls to "impact of the album" to "personal choice of person X who needed to write this article as if were going to impact the life of anyone-- and I get the irony-- (For the Time list, I do not even know what the criteria is; they neglect to tell anyone and I am using this only as a conversation starting, which means my apathy took over and I refuse to look for the criteria. And I also get how my ethos is as low as it has ever been with these comments. The joy of the holiday season is overwhelming me.)

Also noteworthy about Time's list is that in the oughts, there is an Elvis album. This seems odd, especially if we judge the album by the impact.

In 2005, Spin released Spin's Top 100 from 1985 - 200.. Spin's criteria: "Because it pushes a unique vision from the margins to the mainstream (or the margins of the mainstream), reshaping both. Until someone new (a Wu-Tang Clan or White Stripes) emerges to redraw the margins all over again. These records tell us something different with every listen; even at their tiniest, they make private epiphanies feel like public events." Their top ten:

10. N.W.A - Straight Outta Compton
9. PJ Harvey - Rid Of Me
8. Prince - Sign O The Times
7. De La Soul - 3 Ft. High And Rising
6. Pixies - Surfer Rosa
5. The Smiths - The Queen Is Dead
4. Pavement - Slanted & Enchanted
3. Nirvana - Nevermind
2. Public Enemy - It Takes A Nation...
1. Radiohead - OK Computer

Reactions to the list? What is included that should not be? What is missing that should be? Why should we care about these lists?

My complaints on Spin's:
U2 - Achtung Baby- The Jushua Tree does not make this list but the decline of U2 is on the list.
Where is Ani DiFranco?
Should this be judged by songs? (Lisa Loeb's "Stay" is missing and this song bridged the gap between indie rock and mainstream alternative almost in the same way that The Singles Soundtrack did.

Why I cannot care about Richards

I'm sorry. I tried. I tried to think real hard about his comments. I tried to put myself in the shoes of others, especially the people in the audience that he insulted. I tried to examine the context of a situation (it was a comedy club-- should we expect civility there?). I tried to think about those who bothered Kramer in the first place while he was performing-- shouldn't they have some repsonsibility and shouldn't they not offend someone? I tried to think about this in terms of fairness-- Why should there be one standard for Kramer and on standard for the audience?

Instead of caring, I am going to post this video: "Dog Police." As you watch it and laugh at it, count the numberr of offensive images in this video. It's sexist. It's racist. There are a few hints of drugs.

Then, think about how we can possibly judge speech by its consequences without limiting almost all speech?

I am not sure if I should thankAndrew Sullivan for this one.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

"How are you gonna make it in this business if you can't take it?"

Richards would have done well to recall the lessons of this episode.

Richards-Gate Redux; Magnolia Theme Revealed; Who's Smoother Than John C. Reilly?

Tough part of the job

This is in Harrogate's view one of the truly great scenes in the history of film. In case there are still those out there wondering what Magnolia is about, here it is, handed to you on a silver platter. Hint: It aint about whether or not the frogs are realistic.

More importantly, the timing of this post will be evident to those who have been following The Rhetorical Situation for the last couple of days.

Reader. In the words of Eric Cartman, "I'm seriously":

What can you forgive?

We Can Feel It In Our Biceps And Thighs: Love Actually Countdown Continues

Kelly Clarkson - The Trouble With Love Is (Live On-Air)

The buildup to the Greatest Pop Song Ever Recorded Continues. Here, we are treated to one of the great Cultural Critics of all time, Ryan Seacrest, introducing Kelly Clarkson, whom all agree is the heir apparent of Janis Joplin.

Watch how the camera pans around to take the Rhetorical concept of Audience into true account. Enjoy this for the Rhetorical Situation it is, Readers. Enjoy.

Richards-Gate III: This Time It's Personal

Now that Harrogate has taken his stand as to separatung the Person (Richards) from the Art (Kramer), it has become necessary to conduct inquiries into how we are all reacting to the Person. In his initial post on this topic, Harrogate threw in with Shakespeare's Sister and, it seems, most everyone else, lambasting Richards as, in short: an asshole. Between then and now, however, Harrogate's views have broadened, he wishes to somewhat retract the harsh snap judgment. And now, to share why.

As commenters have made clear in earlier threads, it is true that Richards revealed an ugly cankerous thing in his soul, that he crossed a line, and that it would have been just as bad had it been done privately. It is also true that his rant reached significantly beyond political incorrectness and into the dark underbelly of racism. So now that's established. But the question we must all ask ourselves remains: whether we are prepared to allow such an incident to define this man for all time, and define him to such an extent that it actually seeps into the character he created years before he did this thing.

Can anyone honestly look Harrogate in the computer screen and say, without a shred of irony, that they have never said a racist thing or thought a racist thought? A sexist thing, a sexist thought? Shall one of Harrogate's readers now posit themselves as wholly innocent of ever harboring a homophobic thought? An anti-Semitic sentiment? And the list goes on, sadly. And Harrogate sticks his neck out and asserts that his Readers share with him a history of mistakes, some small, some grave, some perhaps even worse than what Richards did in that club.

Indeed, perhaps some of you have even said something terrible in public, and someone heard you and then never saw you again, so that forevermore you remained defined by that terrible moment. Nice thought, isn't it?

Humans in general seem to Harrogate a terribly unforgiving lot, especially when it comes to people they don't know very well. But consider this: maybe it's less important to play the gotcha-game of identifying an ugly thing in a person, than it is to see whether or not that person struggles to deal with, to somehow get beyond the ugly thing. And this applies to ourselves. You hear a lot, for example (especially from liberals like Harrogate), about taking care of the poor, about the madness of "war for oil," about this, about that, and about the other. But really, when you look around, you see everyone driving cars, using credit cards, and generally dominated up to their necks by their own little private lives. Everyone Harrogate knows, including Harrogate himself, is firmly in the grip of corporate gluttony, even though most of us fancy ourselves as seeing through "The Machine."

The point of all this being, ostensibly, Jesus's from long ago. To paraphrase: who are any of us to judge Richards based on this one incident even as we all of us are guilty of things just as bad if not worse? the hypocrisy of it all bothers Harrogate a lot. It really does.

But pshaw, enough of such things. Perhaps Richards the man can learn from what he has done, now that he has seen himself capable of such an ugly thing, perhaps from there he can heal. Must he, really, be pariahed as a racist from now until doomsday because of this incident? Each must search their own heart.

Richards has apologized. Who will stand and give him benefit of the doubt? It will be interesting to see what comes of this.