No. 11 -- September 8, 1995

Compare and contrast part I:

So there I was, channel-flipping Wednesday night. All of the local channels were full of Mark Fuhrman taking the Fifth Amendment rather than expound on his earlier lies from the witness stand.

Meanwhile, on CNN, Senator Bye-Bye Bob Packwood was expressing his confusion to Hugh Downs, of all people, on Larry King Live. "All I did was kiss them," he said, "it wasn't like I mauled them or anything."

And there, on ESPN, was Cal Ripken, Jr., playing his 2,131st consecutive baseball game.

Compare and contrast.

Christian Thought of The Week: after finding out in a New England Journal of Medicine study that two prescription drugs already on the market can be used to administer an abortion at home -- thus totally negating anti-Choice's main weapons of fear and intimidation -- Operation Rescue founder Randall Terry faxed this lovely, Jesus-like sentiment to the Journal's home office: "When abortion is made illegal again, you will be hunted down and tried for genocide.

Dumb: Changing the name of Candlestick Park to 3Com Park because a 3Com, a Santa-Clara based company, tossed a million smackers at the City of San Francisco. Dusty Baker said it best: "What if they go out of business?" Here's hoping they do. Here's hoping even more that all of the papers, commentators and sports fans keep referring to it as The 'Stick. I know I will.

Dumber: The new, politically correct version of the Bible, which sanitizes all of the racist & sexist language right from it. "Our Father/Mother whom art in heaven?" Gimme a break.

Who is it gonna appeal to? Those of us who appreciate the Bible as literature or a collection of whomping good tales aren't gonna like them screwing with a classic. Even allowing for the fact that there have been different versions down through the ages, this smacks too much like colorizing old movies. It sure ain't the director's cut.

And those who do believe that The Holy Bible is the sacred Word of God don't believe in Political Correctness in any form anyways. They like the racism and sexism: after all, its been there forever. Like one believer said: "If the King James Bible is good enough for Jesus, its good enough for me." Yeah.

Dumbest: As far as I'm concerned, the Walt Disney Corporation is up there with Blockbuster and McDonalds as companies I Love To Hate. Hell is filled with the people who market for these corporations. In fact, the only thing I hate more are these professional Christian boycott groups, like something called the American Life League, who last week attacked Disney for subliminal sexual messages in movies like "The Lion King," "Aladdin" and "The Little Mermaid."

The best thing is that this American Life League is kinda right. But since they place the blame squarely on Disney, the corporation, I'm actually forced to defend it. Because I can't hold Disney responsible for what a few of their animators do, even if I hate their marketing department.

Rogue animators have been putting in secret messages in Disney cartoons forever. At 24 frames per second, and a lot of tedious, repetitive work, artist-types are going to do shit like that. Its part of the fun. One frame of Jessica Rabbit's cartoon cooze ain't gonna corrupt anybody. Its totally, completely harmless.

Except to the professional perversion groups like this American Life League. Falling for the Disney marketing hype I saw the "Little Mermaid," but never in a million years would I have spotted the minister at a wedding ceremony showing signs of "obvious sexual arousal" like the American Life League. Obviously, they watch movies with a different set of eyes than me. When I watch movies, I look out for things like plots or themes or characterization -- not whether or not I can see if the minister in one scene has a big ole boner.

(Of course, they're so busy looking for subliminal messages in "The Little Mermaid" that there was nary a mention of the huge penis right on the cover of the box. It's smack dab in the crystal city in the background. Of course, maybe they figure that everybody already knew that. It was quite the cause celebre a few years ago.)

And here's something that has never made sense to me. These people's message is that "perversion" is bad for us, and yet, they're always on the lookout for erotica and looking at it to warn the rest of us. In fact, by their own definitions of perversion, they see far more of it then the rest of us. So aren't they -- by their own twisted logic -- the most perverted people around?? And if so, isn't that a bit selfish, that they get to have all the fun and shut the rest of us out??

Sterling Morrison died last week. At rhythm guitar and bass, he was the most uncelebrated member of the all-time greatest American rock 'n' roll band, The Velvet Underground. What does it say about the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame that The Velvets aren't in it?

No, I still haven't got Windows '95 working. My mojo is doing ok, however.

Compare and contrast Part II:

Michael Jackson -- whose HIStory album I saw the other day at the Tower Outlet store for $19.99 -- opened the 1995 MTV Music Awards with a tres lame quarter-hour of lip-synching and decade-old dance moves. There was a feeling of deja vu, right down to the obligatory appearance of Slash, who might have actually been playing his licks live. (In fact, the whole show had a feeling of deja vu, with the majority of performers being 80's groups or 70's retro.)

It was weird: you could see the crowd responding to Michael, but you couldn't hear them. Instead, all you heard was his vocal and backing tracks, and -- even worse -- his lip-synching technique sucked. Like he didn't even care. As if just seeing him was enough. Which, sigh, it probably was.

Two thoughts I wrote down at the time:

  1. At least they got him over with early.
  2. If MTV stopped sucking up to him, he could hardly accuse them of racism, since he's just another white guy now.

Had Michael even a shred of humour left in that dessicated mutant body of his, he would have walked out there, and asked the crowd "Heard any good jokes lately?" Pulling a Pee-Wee like that would have defused even his most vocal critics. But I guess that's not the type of pee-wee he likes to pull now, is it?

Meanwhile, R.E.M. walked out there and played a totally cool new song, "Wake Up Bomb," that may or may not ever be on a record. They played it cos they just wrote it, and they liked it.

Compare and contrast.

This space is available for advertising. I am so ready to sell out to corporate America for some decent money. Hey 3Com, if you toss even a hundred grand my way, I'll change the name of this column to Wait a 3Com Second!

Love,

     Jim

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This rant written on 08 September, 1995.
I was listening to John Coltrane -- The Impulse! Years