Archive for Popular Culture

Gaga Over Israel

When you’ve got Gaga, you’ve got the world:

Pop star Lady Gaga says the world’s image of Israel is inaccurate, calling the country “a beautiful place.”

“Oh it was fantastic!” said Lady Gaga in an interview published Friday by The Independent, talking about her September 13 performance in Tel Aviv. “Tel Aviv was magnificent. The world view of Israel is just not reality. It’s in a beautiful place, the people are in good spirits.”

“I had a very emotional show with those fans. It was wonderful,” she said.

Who needs the United Nations, any of them? And Roger Waters can eat Israel’s shorts.

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Happy

I’ll show you happy:

An Iranian court has sentenced six young Iranians to prison plus 91 lashes for producing a viral video of Pharrell William’s hit single “Happy”.

The video drew ire from the country’s Islamic authorities for portraying women and men dancing together to western music. The women also appeared without their hijabs (Muslim headscarves), which are mandatory in the Islamic Republic of Iran.

The court found them guilty of “participation in the making of a vulgar clip” and “illegitimate relations between members of the group,” according to the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran.

But the mullahs are not without mercy:

Five of the accused were given six-month prison sentences on top of the lashes, while the video’s producer – Sassan Soleimani – was apparently given a year.

The sentences will however be suspended for three years, meaning that they will not be carried out if those convicted refrain from similar “offenses” during that period. After three years the sentences will then be voided.

And they’ll have an A-bomb within the year. That make you happy?

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Don’t Mention the War Deserter!

Self-censorship is the worst censorship:

While the U.S. Army weighs whether to bring charges against Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, who was freed earlier this year after spending nearly five years as a Taliban captive in Afghanistan, six of his former platoon mates are shopping proposals for a book and movie that would render their own harsh verdicts.

A draft of their book proposal, a copy of which was obtained by Yahoo News, depicts Bergdahl as a “premeditated” deserter who “put all of our lives in danger” — and possibly aided the Taliban — when he disappeared from his observation post in eastern Afghanistan in the early morning hours of June 30, 2009.

“I’m not sure we can publish this book without the Right using it to their ends,” Sarah Durand, a senior editor at Atria Books, a division of Simon & Schuster, wrote in an email to one of the soldiers’ agents.

“[T]he Conservatives are all over Bergdahl and using it against Obama,” Durand wrote, “and my concern is that this book will have to become a kind of ‘Swift Boat Veterans for Truth'” — a reference to the group behind a controversial book that raised questions about John Kerry’s Vietnam War record in the midst of his 2004 presidential campaign.

Yeah, but the Swift Boaters were telling the truth.

“There was no way we were going to sit down and be quiet while Obama was calling him a war hero,” said Evan Buetow, Bergdahl’s former team leader, in an interview with Yahoo News. “We’re just trying to tell the truth. It’s not my fault this would make Obama look bad.”

“We didn’t politicize this,” added Cody Full, Bergdahl’s former roommate. “They brought his parents out at a White House Rose Garden ceremony and presented him as a hero. … Why wouldn’t you just have a quiet press release? Why do you have to have a big parade? You don’t do that for the parents who have kids who have died in Afghanistan.”

This is a smoking gun, but the arsenal of left-wing bias in the news, academia, and across the culture is much greater than this. The so-called low information crowd includes New York Times readers, NPR listeners, and the like. In fact, they are the low information crowd.

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Et Tu, Gaga?

First Mick and the boys, and now Lady Gaga? It’s enough to lead a BDS-er to hang himself—and don’t let us stop you!


Is that meat dress kosher?

Get ready to party, because Lady Gaga is bringing “artRAVE: The ARTPOP Ball” to Tel Aviv.

The international tour following her album “ARTPOP,” featuring hits like “Applause,” “Do What You Want” and “G.U.Y.,” will reach Park Hayarkon on September 13, producers Udi Appelboim, Ronen Miley, Bookmark Entertainment and Live Nation Global Touring announced Sunday.

The provocative pop star’s latest tour already sold 775,000 tickets in 35 cities around the world and includes set changes and complex choreography and several costumes – including a polka-dot octopus suit and giant gold wings, but not a dress made of raw meat.

Lady Gaga was clearly not intimidated by the unimpressive efforts by the BDS movement to stop her from performing in Israel. A petition started by BDS Amsterdam garnered only a measly 1,098 signatures.

She’s not to my taste (unless she can cover Shubert’s Fischerweise), but I’m a fan now.

Where is the rabid Left of yesteryear? They once knew how to organize a boycott. Maybe it helps to have a target of a boycott—apartheid South Africa, the Jim Crow South—worthy of a boycott. Diverse, democratic, multicultural Israel, just doesn’t fit the bill.

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Suck It, BDS-ers!

Let’s spend the night together:

Some 50,000 Israelis made their way to Hayarkon Park in Tel Aviv Wednesday night to watch legendary British rock group The Rolling Stones play their first-ever gig in Israel. The band is set to begin at 18:15 GMT.

Very heavy traffic was reported in Tel Aviv ahead of the show.

Guitarist Ronnie Wood, drummer Charlie Watts and keyboardist Chuck Leavell traveled to Jerusalem Tuesday to visit its Old City; Jagger and guitarist Keith Richards did not join them. Jagger tweeted from Caesarea, and he and other band members were also spotted in a cafe north of their Tel Aviv hotel base.

Untitled

At the Amphitheatre at Caesaria today. Looking forward to tomorrow, our first show in Israel!

[T]his summer is witnessing a roll-call of artists coming to Israel. Justin Timberlake played here last week, and Foreigner, Tom Jones, Cyndi Lauper and Deep Purple played recently. Rihanna played last fall. Upcoming shows include the Backstreet Boys, the Pixies, Neil Young, and Lana Del Rey, America and Passenger.

The playlist changes from show to show, according to Merav Lahav, part of the Shuki Weiss publicity team. “The Tel Aviv playlist won’t be released before the show.”

In Zurich on June 1, the band played 17 songs (“Start Me Up,” “You Got Me Rocking,” “It’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll (But I Like It),” “Tumbling Dice,” “Worried About You,” “Doom and Gloom,” “Let’s Spend the Night Together,” “Out of Control,” “Honky Tonk Women,” You Got the Silver,” “Can’t Be Seen, Midnight Rambler,” “Miss You,” “Gimme Shelter,” “Jumpin’ Jack Flash,” “Sympathy for the Devil” and “Brown Sugar”) and two encores including (“I can’t get no) Satisfaction”.

I hope they dedicate “Sympathy for the Devil” to Roger Waters.

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Move Over, Francis

What does it say—about me or the world—that I am more impressed by Justin Timberlake’s spiritual moment than I am by the Pope’s?

“The Holy Land… What an experience. I will never forget this day,” wrote Timberlake when he posted the picture, which included the hashtag #israel.

The photo notched over 240,000 likes, but not all of his followers were in sync with the message, the Daily News reported.

“Israel is defiantly not holy land. they kill palestians [sic] every single day for nothing!,” wrote one commenter.

“Correction : you are in Palestine not israel #disapointed,” wrote another follower.

A round of pro-Israel defenders followed the haters, with one writing: “All that the people in israel [sic] want its live in peace .not war. I can tell u that israel people dont [sic] bomb buses . And not kill little children.”

First, you can see why Aggie and I engage in the most antisocial of social media, anonymous blogging. Every time I look at Twitter, I feel the collective IQ of humanity spiraling down the toilet bowl.

Way to go, Justin. Living well is the best revenge.

But then, by appearances, you already know that:

And of course the lovely Mrs. Timberlake:

I love you, Pope Francis, but chicks clearly dig men who love the “holy land” unreservedly, not those who stage photo ops with vile, anti-Israeli propaganda. #israel.

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Not So Teeny Boppers

Uh-oh. Now they’ve gone and pi**ed off Roger Waters:

The Backstreet Boys, the world’s most successful boy band, will perform in Israel in a one-off concert this summer. Barring any last-minute surprises, the vocal harmony group is expected to perform at the Raanana Amphitheater on July 29.

The band will visit Israel as part of the “In a World Like This” concert tour, named for its latest album, which was released in 2013.

The Backstreet Boys was founded in 1993 and consists of Nick Carter, AJ McLean, Howie Dorough, Brian Littrell and Kevin Richardson. The band boasts sales of more than 130 million albums.

What kind of loser act are you if no one protests your gig in Israel? The Stones have Roger Waters, Alicia Keys has Alice Walker: “It would grieve me to know you are putting yourself in danger (soul danger) by performing in an apartheid country that is being boycotted by many global conscious artists.” Btw, why has no R&B band formed and called itself Soul Danger? Do I have to think of everything?

If the Backstreet Boys were smart, they’d hire Emma Thompson or some other miszionist to plug their act. Feigned outrage or real, just spell their names right.

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Pink Floyd, Brown Shirt

I see Roger Waters has ripped the Rolling Stones for agreeing to play in Israel. Who cares, I know, But isn’t that Alice Walker’s job? Or does she only rip the American megastars who agree to perform for Jewish audiences? Or is it a black-white thing? Alice calls out Alicia Keys, Roger gets pasty Mick Jagger.

Like I said, who cares.

But why don’t Alice and Roger and Stephen (Hawking) and the other haters who would shun the Jewish people ever say a word about this?

Authorities in Hamas-run Gaza on Thursday executed two Palestinian Arabs for allegedly collaborating with Israel, the territory’s interior ministry said in a statement.

“Two collaborators with the Israeli occupation, condemned to death for having given information leading to the martyrdom of two citizens, have been executed,” a spokesman told AFP.

He said one of the men, aged 40 and identified by the initials ZR, was shot and the other, AK, aged 30, was hanged in a different location.

The last execution in Gaza, in October, was of a man found guilty of murder.

Under Palestinian law, collaboration with Israel, murder and drug trafficking are all punishable by death. All execution orders must be approved by the Palestinian leader before they can be carried out – but Hamas no longer recognizes the legitimacy of Palestinian Authority (PA) Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, whose four-year term ended in 2009.

Isn’t that the Arabs all over? The so-called Palestinians have an illegitimate government to represent an illegitimate people. (Show me the treaties declaring a state called Palestine—one not meant for the Jewish people—or show me some DNA that proves the existence of such a people. I’ve got plenty of treaties proving the existence of the Jewish state, some going back almost a hundred years—some thousands! I don’t believe the Jewish people are in question, by either the haters or the defenders.)

This is the best the liberal panty-waists can do:

Last June, Amnesty International appealed to people to mail Hamas in protest at the hanging of two alleged collaborators and to appeal against other pending executions.

The London-based rights organization called on people to “write immediately in Arabic or your own language condemning the executions… as applications of the ultimate form of cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment.”

And this is the worst:

“Abbas’s actions brought Hamas to power in Gaza and now it will rise to power in Judea and Samaria,” Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman warned Tuesday, stressing that “no matter when elections are, Hamas will win and take control of the Palestinian Authority.”

As Liberman later alluded, the European Union (EU) has dismissed those concerns based on its conviction that PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, not Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh, would remain in charge of a unity government.

“The EU expects any new government to uphold the principle of non-violence, to remain committed to achieving a two-state solution and to a negotiated peaceful settlement … including Israel’s legitimate right to exist,” EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton insisted last month.

“The fact that President Abbas will remain fully in charge of the negotiation process and have a mandate to negotiate in the name of all Palestinians provides further assurance that the peace negotiations can and must proceed.”

Who the hell is she to say so? Abbas is one lamb kebab away from an infarction, and the last election won by any self-identified Palestinian was won by Hamass. “No matter when elections are, Hamas will win and take control of the Palestinian Authority.” No [bleep]! Politics ain’t beanbag, Cathy honey. Hamass will make Abbas an offer he couldn’t refuse.

The (so-called) Palestinian (so-called) Authority has been without an elected leader for five years! The EU might just as well insist that Obama negotiate with Boris Yeltsin.

You Euro-weenies (and Ameri-weenies) don’t like Israel—message received, loud and clear. So, just leave her alone. Pick on someone else for a change, I don’t know, Togo. Oh wait, they’re black. How about Estonia? No, that’s Putin’s next target. Well, you got 140-something other countries to slander, it can’t be that hard.

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If Only High School Were Like This

Maybe it is, in Indiana:

An Indiana school’s “lip dub” video has gone viral.

The toe-tapping film showcases thousands of Avon High School students and staff who lip sync to a “danthology” of 68 pop songs, including hits from Justin Timberlake, Lorde and Taylor Swift. And they did it all in the name of charity.

“Avon High School Lip Dub 2014” was produced to drum up excitement for the school’s dance marathon event this weekend, hoping to raise money for James Whitcomb Riley Hospital for Children.

Aren’t they adorable? Were we all that beautiful when we were that young?

You can donate to the James Whitcomb Riley Hospital for Children here if you are so moved.

PS: This was my first lip dub experience, and still the greatest, for my money:

I almost moved to Grand Rapids the day I saw this.

Almost.

PPS: They’re nicer in the midwest. With exceptions.

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Ben Hecht

I first saw this at Caroline Glick’s site, but she quotes only part of it.

It’s awesome.

From 1948:

In these dark centuries that have never ended—the Jews carried the dream of Israel in their hearts. The Hebrew Nation of David and the Kings had been hammered to bits—but the bits refused to die. Every Jewish poet, every rabbi, and every worker at his bench kept alive this dream. In Spain after a thousand years of torment—the Jews still sang of their Jerusalem and their Holy Land. Jehuda Halevy [sic], the Hebrew poet of Spain, wrote of a homeland no Jew had seen for a thousand years:

Jerusalem, oh City of Splendor, oh bright home of the Jews—our spirit flies to you from many lands. In the East—in the far land of the cedar and the lemon trees our hearts lie. And our souls dwell beside the sun gone down on Israel.

The sun is no longer down. A champion fights in Palestine. He will not surrender. But he calls on us. He needs us.

If he loses, he will lose because we did not put a gun in his hand.

He will lose because we—and not he—were too small for the hour of Jewish destiny.

He will lose because the Jews of the world dreamed away the days of battle.

But these are only words I speak—words to wake up Jews if there are any asleep. He will not lose. No cause that had behind it the sweet and powerful dream of freedom—has ever lost. This dream does not stand on the battlefields alone. It stands in us.

There are twenty-eight million Arabs. There are British wealth and British officers—and British military equipment. There are eight hundred thousand Jews—besieged and encircled by this Goliath tonight.

A David stands against Goliath. I ask you Jews—buy him a stone for his slingshot.

Some background: that was Hollywood screenwriter, Ben Hecht, at an LA fundraiser for Menachem Begin’s Irgun fighters. As the introduction to the piece explains, the event was hosted by notorious LA gangster, Mickey Cohen. It cleared $200,000 (probably).

What I love about it is the language. Pithy, punchy, straight out of Hollywood dialogue of the 30s and 40s. Alone or with Charles McArthur, credited or uncredited, he worked on some of the greatest films from Hollywood’s Golden Age.

[W]hat have we American Jews to gain by the triumph of the Jewish nation now battling in Palestine? We are a happy people in the U.S.A. But we are happy as Americans, not as Jews. Not entirely happy—as Jews. The slaughter of our kind in Europe has left a wound in our spirits that our victory as Americans in the war has not entirely healed. It is a Jewish wound kept always open by the fear of the future. And despite the honors and positions we have won in America, we are no different as Jews than our fathers and grandfathers in Europe. We are like them, as Jews—uncertain, despairing, disenchanted, and always singing ourselves to sleep with the happy news that we have friends in court.

The Jews have always had friends in court—but they have never won a verdict. They have been always a noise without power, a talent without roots, a homelover without a doorstep of their own. They have worn fine clothes—and remained a fine nobody. They have always been going somewhere—but they have come from nowhere. And a man who comes from nowhere is a lesser man than one who comes from a place. There is always mystery and suspicion about such a man.

The nationalized soul of every nation, however civilized, abhors instinctively the nationalistic vacuum out of which the Jew is perpetually emerging. Having no land of his own, the Jew is looked on as a man who would—if given the chance—usurp the land of his host.

This has been true even of our own melting pot—a pot in which every immigrant has fused away his antecedents—except the Jew. A man from Sweden, Ireland, Luxemburg, Hungary, Italy—as soon as he loses the accents of those places—can become an American without suspicion or hyphen attached to him. The Jew, with or without accent—can become only an American Jew.

This is part of our stake in Palestine. A Jewish nation will remove our mystery and give us origins and permit us to thrive in the world—on an equal footing with other nationals. We can paradoxically become American then—for we will not be carrying around in our souls the confusion of what we are—and spreading this confusion among our always easily confused neighbors.

And we will not seem like the remnant of some stubborn religious sect given to weird and alien religious practices. Without losing our religion we will lose our two-thousand-year-old dangerous identity as religious fanatics—an absurd identity, but an identity ready made for the devilish schemes of bigots and rabble rousers; an identity that has brought intolerance and disaster down on us. We will lose that identity, for the land of Israel will have a flag, an army, and a congress to prove we are like other people—and that we stem from a normal state and not be black magic out of a hole in the past.

Just look at the news from Kansas City to see how relevant that position is today.

But there is a stake beyond these stakes of convenience and aggrandizement that we Jews have in the battle for Palestine. Is that battle lost—we Jews, all of us, are lost for another seven generations. We will have made our bid for human national status—whether we helped or hid our heads in a bag—and if this bid fails we will become a gabby and empty people, a gabby and defeated people—more so than ever in our history.

We will become losers. And this name will track us down in every city and village of America—and fasten itself to us. Not losers of a war—every nation has had that tag on it, but losers of the right to exist as anything but what we have been—the dubious guest in the house. If our bid for a flag and a homeland fails, we will all of us stand guilty before the world of an unworthiness. And this unworthiness we will, for a change, have deserved—if it comes to us. It is our duty to see that it does not come to us. It is in our power to prevent its coming. We will win—if the long dreaming soul of the Jew is wakened.

Hecht was not always a Zionist, but he was always a writer. This speech was lost to posterity until only recently:

Tucked amid the Ben Hecht Papers at the Newberry Library in Chicago is an undated typescript of 21 pages, with a penciled heading: “Speech at dinner at Slapsy Maxie’s, L.A., financed by Mickey Cohen.” Hecht was, of course, a fabled writer for stage and screen, Mickey Cohen was the notorious Los Angeles gangland boss (recently portrayed by Sean Penn in the movie Gangster Squad), and the speech, which has never before been published, is one of the most riveting and remarkable Jewish fundraising speeches ever delivered. What gives?

What gives is that an LA (Jewish) mob boss held a fundraiser for the nascent state of Israel at a joint he (mostly) owned (fronted by the washed-up—Jewish—boxer of the name), at the behest of a (Jewish) Hollywood scribbler who penned some of the most iconic movies in history (and who often had to work anonymously to avoid British boycotts of his movies).

Is this a great country, or what? (Was. Was a great country.) I have more faith today in the Israel Hecht imagines than in the America I see.

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Globe Logic

I think I’ve just discovered the purest example of an oxymoron in nature. (You can do better in the lab, but the artificiality of “black white” or “here there” lessens the impact).

It’s a small example, to be sure, but no less impressive in its imbecilic impact:

It seems a bit unfair that David Letterman’s legacy is marked so indelibly by the fact that he lost out on “The Tonight Show.” Yes, when Johnny Carson retired in 1991, NBC gave the seat to Jay Leno, whose upbeat comedy was deemed a better fit for a broad national audience than Letterman’s deadpan, minor-key brand of humor. It was striking that Leno, who grew up in Andover, seemed to speak more to Middle America, while Letterman, an Indiana native, resonated with cheeky coastal elites. Sure enough, after Letterman — whose show “Late Night” followed Carson — decamped to CBS and started a rival show in Leno’s time slot, Leno generally came out on top in the ratings.

Leno beat out Letterman for the plum job, and then beat him in the ratings consistently, for decades.

So, who’s the winner?

Even so, it’s Letterman who will leave the more memorable legacy.

Why? Because of “Stupid Pet Tricks” and “Top Ten” lists.

Taste and preference are one thing—Ginger or Mary Ann, Coke or Pepsi. But to declare the clear runner-up as the winner simply because his “hip” style appeals to you is weird. That’s “cheeky coastal elite” logic for you. (Btw, how “hip” is a man who practices a style honed forty years ago? When’s the latest Elliot Gould flick coming out?)

And I seriously have to ask in what other departments they employ this method of analysis. Chris Christie may (or may not) have known about the malicious placement of traffic cones in New Jersey (oh, the humanity!), but Leland Yee is caught dead to rights running guns in California. Christie’s the lead story because… just because. Israel treats Syrian and other Arab sick and injured in its hospitals; it has returned more than 90% of land taken in ’67; it refrains from praying at its holiest site out of respect for Muslim sensitivities. The Arab occupiers of Judea, Samaria, and Gaza, meanwhile, mortar, murder, and kidnap Jews with genocidal abandon. But they are “equivalent” because… well, do you really have to ask why?

Letterman was funny, no doubt, and “ironic” was just the word. But I think something else influences the Globe’s choice of him over Leno (especially as Jay was a local boy).

PS: Mary Ann and San Pellegrino, if you even have to ask.

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Ain’t That a Shame, Bitches

A couple of days ago, I “joked” that Pat Boone covered some classic “gangsta rap” tunes in a desperate try for relevance.

Just call me Thirstradamus:

An arrest warrant has been issued for singer Pat Boone after the celebrated 1950s and ’60s icon failed to appear in court.

TMZ reported a Los Angeles judge issued the warrant after the 79-year-old Boone had been ordered to appear in court related to a condominium he had bought on a luxury cruise ship. The company that is building the ship lost a lawsuit that was brought on by some of the investors in the project.

The company lost the case and was ordered to pay $800,000 in attorneys’ fees. However, those fees haven’t been paid so the lawyers for the investors are suing people, including Boone, who bought a condo unit on the ship.

Because Boone didn’t show up for the scheduled appearance, the judge in the case ordered that he be arrested. Boone and his wife, Shirley, are reportedly on vacation in Hawaii.

Doubtless because of its lax marijuana laws.

Bought me a cabin to go on a cruise,
Stocked it with hos, stocked it with booze.
Made damn sure twas the finest of digs,
Packed me some heat to take care of the pigs.

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