Actor John Travolta found himself on the wrong end of what his publicists are now describing as “an honest misunderstanding.” The Oscar-nominated actor was shopping at Amoeba Records in Hollywood and, according to several non-Scientologist shoppers, was asking for help in finding the soundtrack to the animated Disney film Frozen. Travolta had reportedly once again butchered the name of Idina Menzel while referring to the Oscar-winning song “Let It Go” when the actor was suddenly approached by Inigo Montoya, the notorious fencer and sometime henchmen. According to an employee of Amoeba, the swashbuckler held his rapier to Travolta’s massive chin and said, “My name is Inigo Montoya. The beautiful and talented singer of Wicked and Frozen is named Idina Menzel. You keep killing her name in public. Prepare to die. ” When Travolta proclaimed the error was the result of his dyslexia, Montoya simply switched his rapier from his left hand to his right and repeated his earlier statement. Eventually, the two men were separated by Amoeba security; with Montoya being released into the custody of The Man in Black and Travolta heading straight to his church for a good Thetan cleanse.
“reported” by Eric Frost-Barnes
I figured since nearly everybody else has jumped into this pool of controversy (or pond, given the setting), and you cannot swing a dead duck without hitting a Facebook diatribe, angry tweet, or know-it-all talking head babbling over reality-TV star Phil Robertson’s recent controversial interview in GQ magazine, I may as well wade in a bit, too.
I am a proud American and a proud liberal, and I firmly believe in our Constitution and all that comes within it. So, while I personally disagree with the recent racially-charged and homophobic comments made by “Duck Dynasty” star Phil Robertson, I equally agree with the notion that as an American citizen Robertson has a fundamental right to make those comments out loud – however controversial, judgmental, and myopic they may be.
We all, as Americans, retain the right to our freedom of speech, and that obviously includes Phil Robertson. But despite the claims of so many people on The Right, the decision by A & E executives to briefly remove Robertson from “Duck Dynasty” was not about taking away his right to free speech, nor was it about unfairly silencing him. All the proof you need is the fact that Phil Robertson made his comments to the GQ reporter in the first place, and has since been able to speak out about those comments and defend them. Robertson’s opinions about the sin of homosexuality and, how back in the pre-Civil-Rights-era South, African-Americans appeared to be very happy under old Jim Crow laws have not landed him in jail, nor has he been fined heavily for them. He was allowed to make his statements, as is his right.
A & E’s decision to suspend Phil Robertson from “Duck Dynasty” was little more than a reflection of our Capitalist system. A & E does not want to lose advertisers, as that would cost the network money. When any company has an employee who publicly says things which may embarrass that company – or hurt their bottom line – they have a right to reprimand that employee in an appropriate manner. It’s funny to me that Republicans – the very same ones who claim anyone against the Free-Market is a Marxist or socialist – are decrying A & E’s decision as anti-American and a blatant violation of Robertson’s right to free speech. That is simply laughable. Robertson said some pretty ugly, hurtful things about various Americans, and his bosses – in this case the suits who run A & E – decided to distance themselves from his controversial comments; not unlike MSNBC did after their “employee” Martin Bashir made incendiary comments about former Alaskan Governor Sarah Palin. MSNBC placed Bashir on leave, and he later resigned. But you know what did not happen during that ugly incident? Throngs of conservatives did not defend Bashir’s right to free speech. Rather, they called for his firing.
“Those with that platform, with a microphone, a camera in their face, they have to have some more responsibility taken.” This is what Sarah Palin said about the Martin Bashir incident, yet when it comes to reality-star Phil Robertson (a religious conservative) saying vile things about African-Americans and the LGBT community, both she and her eldest daughter, Bristol, came out publicly and claimed Robertson’s own rights were being threatened – instead of holding him up to a higher responsibility.
But this is how it goes with those on the conservative side. Back in the early and mid-2000s, conservatives labeled Americans who spoke out against the Iraq war as un-American, un-patriotic, and claimed those who were exercising their 1st Amendment rights were, in fact, “giving aid and comfort to the enemy.” This last little fun quote was courtesy of Michael Burgess, a Republican Representative from Texas. Interesting how some of our democratically-elected leaders – whose primary job is to protect and uphold the laws of our land – will suddenly react more like a dictator whenever they hear something they don’t agree with.
Any time a liberal actor or left-leaning public figure speaks his or her mind about any subject that isn’t directly connected to their profession; those on the right will condemn or dismiss the individual, as though they’ve lost their rights as an American. If I had a dollar for every time I’ve heard a conservative mouth-piece criticize George Clooney or Oprah Winfrey for their vocalized opinions on a myriad of subjects ranging from African aid to typhoon Haiyan, I’d be able to start my own television network. Yet, in the past two weeks we’ve seen the right galvanize support around Phil Robertson, as though freedom itself were at stake here. Guess what, kids? It’s not.
Again, Phil Robertson said what he said, and whether you agree with him or not, he must be allowed to say such things without fear of being penalized by the government. But that does not extend to our private employers, nor to everyone else who ends up hearing what was said in the first place. I have as much right to vocally denounce what Phil Robertson said. If we are to be for the freedom of expression, then it must be totally acceptable to our ears, regardless of who says what. Otherwise, we’re not honoring our rights, but rather only our tastes and what we each find to be personally acceptable.
There has to be a meeting in the middle, and that is something that those on the right seem unwilling to admit, at least out loud for the rest of us to hear.
Dear Tea Party,
We get it, Tea Party; you don’t like having a black President. In light of the recent government shutdown, it’s become painfully clear that the very idea of having someone in the White House whose tan is deeper than John Boehner’s is wildly offensive and unsettling to you folks. And while it is your fundamental right to be on the wrong side of history, you self-proclaimed patriots have spent more than five years disrespecting both the office of the President of the United States, as well as that fun little part of our Declaration of Independence which states “all Men are created equal”.
You Tea Partiers repeatedly talk about battling the tyranny of President Obama and the unconstitutional power he wields like “a vicious African warlord” – very classy – and yet it was the previous President (George W. Bush, for those who’d effectively erased his name from their memory banks) and his administration who set up wiretapping without consent from the FISA courts, sat idly by while “Wall Street got drunk,” and sent well over 4,000 Americans to their untimely deaths in Iraq based on evidence about WMDs that a decade later remains about as “real” and “legit” as President Obama’s Kenyan birthplace.
Recently, one of the darlings of your T.P. movement – Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Canada) – had his father give a speech on his behalf. And one aspect of Pastor Rafael Cruz’s speech was how he would like to, “send him back to Kenya.” In case you were wondering, the “him” is President Obama. In case you were also wondering, yes, what “Pastor” Cruz said was racist.
Now again – this time with feeling – you T.P. peeps have the right to dislike any politician, and you also have a right to vocalize that disdain, including and about President Barack Obama. But if you’re truly about facts, integrity, and love of country, then you need to stop with all the transparent lies and hypocrisies. Let’s look at the facts of the relationship between the Tea Party and President Obama and see just how from the very beginning this anger and disrespect was never about Obama’s policies, but rather about his appearance, a.k.a. His Blackness.
According to your own official website (teaparty.org) – on the “About Us” page – you TPers have been around for at least a decade, with the website up and running since early September, 2004. On this same page you also list your 15 Non-negotiable Core Beliefs; guiding principles that you believe make you better Americans and staunch supporters of both freedom and our beloved Constitution. Here are six of those Non-negotiable Core Principles listed in order as they appear on your site: #2. Pro-domestic employment is indispensable. #4. Special interests must be eliminated. #6. Government must be downsized. #7. The national budget must be balanced. #8. Deficit spending must end. #9. Bailout and stimulus plans are illegal.
If the Tea Party movement really feels these principles are that important, and if you guys have been around for at least the past ten years, then why didn’t you rear your enraged heads during the Bush Administration? Why did you only begin to make yourselves known across America in early 2009, less than one month after Barack Obama swore an oath to this nation as its 44th President?
During the Bush Administration, corporations shipped millions of jobs overseas to places like China and India, which goes against Number 2 on your non-negotiable list. Special interests ran rampant throughout all eight years of Bush and Cheney’s reign, hijacking both our political leaders and our banking and investing systems. Even now, your favorite son Senator Ted Cruz (R-Calgary) has his health plan through Goldman Sachs, which was the beneficiary of a massive bailout in September, 2008, courtesy of Bush and his then-Secretary of the Treasury Henry Paulson. These hard facts go against Numbers 4 and 9 on your list. The Bush Administration also increased the size of our government by a near-insane amount – can you say Department of Homeland Security – and added to our national debt by trillions (while simultaneously keeping the cost of the Iraq war off the budget books), which goes directly against Tea Party Core Principles, 6, 7, and 8. All of these facts are known to the American people. Now, the good news is most Americans are bright enough to know when they’re being fed a big pile of manure, yet here you guys are, feigning to the heavens how President Obama is to blame for all of the above issues, as though prior to January 20, 2009, our nation didn’t have a care in the world, other than fighting the “terrarists”. And let’s not forget the cost of human life the Bush Administration is responsible for when it demanded action in Iraq for non-existent WMDs, which led to more than 4,400 Americans dying and tens-of-thousands more of our soldiers coming home emotionally scarred, physically injured, or both – though apparently those last two figures pale in comparison to the murder of four Americans in Libya during President Obama’s watch (based on your unending Benghazi “outrage” for the cameras over at Fox *News Channel).
Major Tea party protests began within weeks of President Obama’s first term. In February, 2009, you guys held a protest decrying the TARP bailout bill and blamed Obama for its implementation, even though President Bush signed it into law the previous year. TPers also held a very public commemoration / protest on September 12th, 2009 in honor of the 9/11 attacks eight years earlier, many with signs questioning how a Muslim President (the guy from Kenya) could ever be elected in the wake of such horrific events. Nevermind that the Tea Party never held a single large-scale protest of the previous administration’s security failures or their failure to capture bin Laden. I guess you were too busy on September 11th and 12th, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, and 2008.
So what happened that made the TPers finally come out? Why stay quiet for several years, only to make yourselves known in the days following Barack Obama’s moving into the White House? And how could you be so upset with President Obama’s policies after less than three months in office? That simply isn’t enough time to know whether policies will be successes or failures, yet you folks immediately, and irrationally, deemed him with the latter, as though it were already written in stone.
Now maybe you’re still not convinced of your own racially-based stance against our current President; maybe you still need a bright white light shone on what has become so painfully obvious to the majority of Americans. Let’s remind you of what some of your other high-profile Tea Party leaders have said about the American President. Rep. Michelle Bachmann (R-Crazytown) has publically labeled Obama’s energy policy, “a tar baby,” as well as described the President himself as, “The Ghetto Gangsta”. Glenn Beck, when not crying or drawing on his chalkboard, has called President Obama, “a racist,” and “a guy who has a deep-seated hatred for white people or the white culture.” Beck uttered this poisonous dreck on Fox *News Channel. Funnily enough, Rupert Murdoch, the man who owns Fox *News, is also a major financial contributor to the Tea Party and has provided major players within the party countless opportunities to come on his network to take verbal swipes at President Obama. Now, I would like to believe all these connected dots are little more than coincidence, and that there isn’t an actual coordinated, racially-based effort to embarrass the current President day-in-and-day-out. But since, like millions of freethinking Americans, I’m not an idiot, I have no choice but to see you TPers for what you’ve repeatedly proven to be: politically aligned racists who would rather shut down the federal government during the first black President’s time in office than make any mature or rational effort to actually repair damaged and failing aspects of said government. For a movement that proclaims to love our Democratic process so much, you sure cannot respect the fact that Barack Obama was elected twice to office by the American people; both times in near-landslide victories. Wouldn’t you be taken more seriously if you instead put efforts into electing adults to Congress who then honored our Founding Fathers by working hard to change policy and create new laws for our land, rather than sharing e-mails that depict the White House lawn as a watermelon patch? Doesn’t it make more sense to figure out ways to serve the American people with dignity and honor, rather than behave with petulance and bitterly trash our freely-elected President with protest signs that read everything from “Obama-nomics: Monkey See, Monkey Spend,” to “Obama’s Plan = White Slavery”?
Years from now it is a given that history will remind us that President Obama was the nation’s first African-American President, and perhaps it will even claim that he was an average President who had some successes and some failures. We’ll have to wait and see. But based on your own words and actions, TPers, there is little doubt history will be far less kind to you and to the ugly truth that motivated you to spend far too much time and effort disrespecting the President and the office which he so legitimately represents.
Irritated and onto you,
In honor of Nelson Mandela’s life, we’re posting the lyrics to Peter Gabriel’s song “Biko.”
Port Elizabeth weather fine
It was business as usual
In police room 619
Oh Biko, Biko, because Biko
Oh Biko, Biko, because Biko
Yihla Moja, Yihla Moja
-The man is dead
When I try to sleep at night
I can only dream in red
The outside world is black and white
With only one colour dead
Oh Biko, Biko, because Biko
Oh Biko, Biko, because Biko
Yihla Moja, Yihla Moja
-The man is dead
You can blow out a candle
But you can’t blow out a fire
Once the flames begin to catch
The wind will blow it higher
Oh Biko, Biko, because Biko
Yihla Moja, Yihla Moja
-The man is dead
And the eyes of the world are
*Nelson Mandela’s lifelong crusade for racial equality not only reconciled a nation, but impacted our entire world for the better.
Nelson Mandela 1918 – 2013
Hope all my fellow snarksters are all well.
I want to let you in on a new site / show called Broadly Speaking. Created by two women who are very near and dear to me, Broadly Speaking is a brand new show that will be using comedy to shine bright lights on numerous issues that focus on women around the world. We all can make a difference through our words, efforts, money, and time, and I wanted to share fantastic project right when it’s taking off.
Go to Facebook and look up Broadly Speaking.
Or go straight to their indiegogo campaign to help get things up and running.
Either way is cool. Thanks very much in advance.
With snark-free gratitude,
Gun Control in America – 50 Years of Shooting Blanks
This November 22nd marks the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President John Kennedy. It’s been half a century since he was murdered by a man with a firearm. And since 1963, we’ve witnessed the fatal shootings of Medgar Evers, Martin Luther King, Jr., Robert Kennedy, Malcolm X, and John Lennon, as well as failed assassination attempts directed at Presidents Gerald Ford and Ronald Reagan, Alabama Governor George Wallace, and U.S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords.
- In that same fifty-year time span the American people have seen the horror of the University of Texas (1966) massacre that left 17 fellow citizens dead.
- We witnessed 21 Americans die at a McDonald’s in San Ysidro, California (1984), and another 14 innocent civilians die at a post office barely two years later (1986) in Edmond, Oklahoma.
- 23 more Americans died in a cafeteria shooting (1991) in Killeen, Texas.
- We watched as 13 students and teachers were killed in a mass shooting at Columbine High School (1999) in Littleton, Colorado.
- 32 students were shot to death at Virginia Tech (2007) in Blacksburg, Virginia.
- Our nation grieved for 12 more Americans killed while watching a midnight movie at a theatre (2012) in Aurora, Colorado, as well as the terrible mass murder of 26 faculty and young children at Sandy Hook Elementary School (2012) in Newtown, Connecticut.
That final grim statistic of twenty-six Americans killed at Sandy Hook coincidentally matches the number of Constitutional Amendments dismissed and left-for-dead by your more wild-eyed vocal opponents of any kind of common-sense gun laws; even as those same zealots rant and rave about the sanctity of our Constitution when it comes to the absolute protection of their favorite Amendment: the 2nd. It is also worth reminding the public that more than 8,300 Americans have died at the hands of gun violence since the Newtown massacre less than a year ago, including twelve people working at the Navy Yard in D.C. That’s eight-thousand, three-hundred Americans – nearly three times the number of American citizens who were killed on September 11th, 2001. If 8,300 Americans died of gun violence within our borders on a single day, reasonable common-sense laws would now be in place. Guess it’s all in the timing for our political “leadership.”
As stated above, most of the deadliest shootings in U.S. history have occurred since the assassination of President Kennedy in 1963. And yet, over the past fifty years the level of regulation of gun ownership in America has seemingly remained as lax as ever. Sure, there are laws on the books, but there are an equal amount of loopholes to get around those laws, and many of these regulations differ from state to state. And as rhetoric from gun-control opponents increases and becomes even less rational, that very loud minority seems to be standing their ground quite well – even as more and more Americans die or are injured due to gun-related violence. And again, the ability to purchase firearms remains as easy as ever, regardless of an individual’s background or mental state. Anyone over the age of eighteen, and with enough cash, can purchase a gun without so much as showing a single piece of identification. And that’s at many gun shows, within the light of day. Greater scrutiny – or regulation – is used when a citizen is applying for a driver’s license or a fishing permit.
Vocal opponents of common sense gun regulation, such as universal background checks, claim that regulation could lead to a path where Americans’ firearms will be taken away. First off, that is nonsense. We have approximately 11.5 million illegal immigrants living here at least part time and we cannot even decide on the most effective way to decrease those numbers. How in the wide world of sports is the U.S. government going to confiscate the more than 300-million firearms within our nation? Here’s a hint: they aren’t. But having would-be buyers go through mandatory background checks and day-long firearm certification courses (not to mention owning insurance policies for their firearms) before we add to that already insanely high number might just make it a little trickier for the next murderous thug to get his hands on an AR15 or Bushmaster XM-15. At the very least, these small hurdles might help people take gun ownership more seriously and the safety courses would increase owner’s knowledge of their firearms and how to manage those weapons with a healthier respect.
Opponents also claim that regulating firearms like the Bushmaster XM-15 or ZM LR-300 will lead to a slippery-slope where The Government can take any type of weapon from its citizens. It’s already illegal, due to governmental regulation, to own a rocket launcher or a tank, not to mention a mere silencer (in some states), yet Americans are not freaking out about their tank-driving rights being suppressed and crushed by those who hate freedom. Point is, reasonable regulation for some lethal weapons does not, nor ever has, equate to the unreasonable regulation of all lethal weapons.
Opponents of common sense gun control also use one of their favorite sayings when debating this combustible subject matter; they will claim that “guns don’t kill people,” but rather, “It is people who kill people.” And while it’s safe to say none of us has ever heard a nightly news story about an AK-47 walking down Main Street by itself randomly shooting folks, it is equally likely that the news has never reported on an individual going on a murderous rampage where the weapon of choice was an X-Box console or an Oliver Stone DVD. Because certain firearms can fire so many rounds in such a short time – through the use of ammunition magazines that carry dozens of rounds – it allows these madmen an easier, more effective way to carry out their crimes. Yes, an individual can commit unspeakable evil with a knife or other type of non-firearm, but the automatic weapon allows for a lethal efficiency that knives, hammers, Chinese stars, or plastic bags cannot.
Finally, opponents of sensible gun control laws argue that further regulation only punishes the law-abiding citizen, and that criminals will still be able to get their hands on firearms of all kinds. Not if certain types of automatic weapons were completely off the market – across the board. If gun manufacturers would simply put an end to making some of the weapons that are mentioned above, then no new ones would fall into the wrong hands. And the models out there could slowly be removed from the market (save for those registered in private collections). As for law-abiding citizens, well here’s a little inconvenient truth to remember: a lot of these mass-murderers were law-abiding citizens before they decided that life was too much for them. Not every mass shooting is done by some masked man clad in black and running through the streets cackling like The Joker. These terrible crimes, as well as thousands of hand-gun related shootings, occur when so-called law-abiding citizens snap over losing his or her job, or when folks believe their taxes are higher than what they think is fair, or when someone’s favorite football team suffers a shellacking on a Sunday afternoon.
If our nation can mature on this particular subject, then surely we as a society can begin to take real steps toward keeping more Americans safer when it comes to both the attaining and usage of firearms. Yet for many opponents, evolving on gun rights is as terrifying for them as the idea of a full, tyrannical governmental takeover (where the only thing between Freedom and Communism is a forty-round clip). And speaking of make-believe, how is it that a very outspoken minority – who at times vocalizes an unsettling amount of paranoia about The Government – is retaining control of the majority of power and “say-so” in D.C. when it comes to suppressing gun-control and the safety and peace-of-mind of the vast majority of Americans? Why do our elected politicians ignore the facts, the will of the people – the piles of bodies – in favor of the gun-manufacturing and NRA lobbies? Is K Street that much more valuable than our American children?
None of the facts stated above are new – but that’s the point. There are already enough facts to justify real action. Since JFK’s assassination, we’ve been through a half-century cycle of violence. There is already an abundance of American support for more basic common-sense laws when it comes to gun-control. And yet, still nothing is done by our so-called leaders and inevitably the press fades away from this subject until the next school massacre; when it once-again becomes fashionable to cover the loss of American lives due to the irrational needs of a powerful few. It seems the only thing being “well regulated” is the effort to protect citizens from the more extreme aspects of our gun culture.
Our Constitutional rights are extremely important. I’m not for sacrificing all of our freedoms in the name of governmental protectionism. But when decade upon decade continues to reveal our penchant for firearm-related violence, it is time to argue less and take stronger, more decisive steps toward protecting ourselves and each other. So far, the talk has been cruelly cheap. The 2nd Amendment is an important part of who we are as a nation, but it is no more important than the amendments that call for a freedom of the press or for a right to a fair and speedy trial. Far too many innocent Americans have died because an incredibly stubborn and vocal minority are unwilling to meet somewhere in the middle on gun control. Our Constitution was written by Franklin, Hamilton, and Madison – not by Beretta, Smith, and Wesson. Tragically, since that terrible day in November fifty years ago, it has become increasingly difficult to remember that.
Hello, Fellow Snarksters…
“Could Everyone Please Stop Pissing Us Off?!?” The Book.
It is filled with New Letters.
It is filled with Funny Drawings.
It is filled with Updated, Improved Older Posts.
And most importantly, it is filled with a deep sense of snark.
amazon.com for your Kindle or Kindle Fire – $2.99
lulu.com for your good old fashioned, back of the toilet, paperback – $11.99
And yes, this makes me a bit of a literary whore.
Love to all!
After 3 1/2 years of writing snarky observations about everything from global pandemics to Ann Coulter’s Adam’s apple, it is time to wish you all the very best and send you back into the world without me.
The good news and the bad news of this is there will continue to be things to release your “inner crank” over; from the seemingly unending hypocrisy of many GOP politicians to the the fact that dog-shit TV like Dancing with the Stars and Rules of Engagement still exist. And given this reality, it is imperative that you continue to speak out and rise against such potentially mind-numbing stoopidity.
But it’s also equally important that you go take a hike – literally. Or head to your closest beach for a nice moonlit swim. Maybe pool your resources and finally take that trip to Costa Rica or N.Y.C.. Just stay the hell outta Florida, for God’s sake (that place ain’t right!).
There will always be bad with the good (think of a film that has both Morgan Freeman and Tom Cruise), but it does seem vital to one’s own mental health and to maintaining a sense of self that we do not merely focus on what is pissing us off. We also need to enjoy the occasional warm-fuzzy that life offers up.
And that is exactly where I am headed; to a place where power animals and mantras have far more influence and power than the average talking head on Fox “News”.
Just remember when the crap begins to pile up around you and seep into your psyche, you, your belief in absolute truth, and your humor are the ultimate weapons against the dumb, the apathetic, and the hypocritical.
Now go forth and prosper (as Spock’s half-sister used to say). We’ve had our fun together. Time for us to take on new journeys and to look back on this time fondly as we move on to future adventures.
With love and snark,
Eric Frost-Barnes (JD Rourke)
Dear Papal Conclave,
Well done, Vatican! Give yourselves a collective pat-on-the-back and have an extra cup of Christ’s blood tonight!
We just wanted to congratulate you on pushing the Catholic Church well into the 21st Century with the election of Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio as the new Pope, aka Pope Francis I, aka Frankie da First.
Sure you could have gone with a younger man (and by younger, we mean anyone born after Abe Vigoda), and someone whose religious beliefs don’t reflect the mentality of the Middle Ages, but instead you bucked the PC trends and selected an unmarried man in fancy clothes and red shoes who still condemns homosexuality as the work of the devil.
We applaud this defiant act, conclave, and greatly respect your sticking to your traditional values in the face of open-mindedness, progressiveness, and Bravo TV.
Proud of ya,
Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Mississippi
P.S., Given that Pope Francis I is Latin American, this doesn’t mean you’re gonna start serving the Eucharist with Tapatio, does it?
Dear Justin Bieber,
Hey there, little man. You gotta stop with the endless tweet pics of you sans shirt. Seriously, Bieber, if we wanted to stare at half-naked boys this much we’d be a part of the Vatican conclave.
Just keep yourself clothed and instead focus on your music and how you’re gonna avoid becoming an unintended guest of some “bear” at the next NAMBLA conference.