Archive for the ‘fawning’ Category

American Media, Journalists Stampede to Love Obama; Healthy?

November 18, 2008

Perhaps it was the announcement that NBC News is coming out with a DVD titled “Yes We Can: The Barack Obama Story.” Or that ABC and USA Today are rushing out a book on the election. Or that HBO has snapped up a documentary on Obama’s campaign.

Perhaps it was the Newsweek commemorative issue — “Obama’s American Dream” — filled with so many iconic images and such stirring prose that it could have been campaign literature. Or the Time cover depicting Obama as FDR, complete with jaunty cigarette holder.

By Howard Kurtz
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, November 17, 2008; C01

Are the media capable of merchandizing the moment, packaging a president-elect for profit? Yes, they are.

What’s troubling here goes beyond the clanging of cash registers. Media outlets have always tried to make a few bucks off the next big thing. The endless campaign is over, and there’s nothing wrong with the country pulling together, however briefly, behind its new leader. But we seem to have crossed a cultural line into mythmaking.

“The Obamas’ New Life!” blares People’s cover, with a shot of the family. “New home, new friends, new puppy!” Us Weekly goes with a Barack quote: “I Think I’m a Pretty Cool Dad.” The Chicago Tribune trumpets that Michelle “is poised to be the new Oprah and the next Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis — combined!” for the fashion world.

Whew! Are journalists fostering the notion that Obama is invincible, the leader of what the New York Times dubbed “Generation O”?

Each writer, each publication, seems to reach for more eye-popping superlatives. “OBAMAISM — It’s a Kind of Religion,” says New York magazine. “Those of us too young to have known JFK’s Camelot are going to have our own giddy Camelot II to enrapture and entertain us,” Kurt Andersen writes. The New York Post has already christened it “BAM-A-LOT.”

“Here we are,” writes Salon’s Rebecca Traister, “oohing and aahing over what they’ll be wearing, and what they’ll be eating, what kind of dog they’ll be getting, what bedrooms they’ll be living in, and what schools they’ll be attending. It feels better than good to sniff and snurfle through the Obamas’ tastes and habits. . . . Who knew we had in us the capacity to fall for this kind of idealized Americana again?”

Read the rest:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/w
p-dyn/content/article/2008/11/16
/AR2008111602374_pf.html

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Early Odds in Vegas: Don’t Bet on Juice Futures

September 18, 2007

“Canned Juice.” “O.J. In Tight Squeeze Again.” “Getting Away With Murder (But Not Theft).” “Fresh Squeezed Juice.” “What Happens in Vegas, Stays in Vegas (Until Now).”

The saga (or “trials”) of Orenthal James Simpson is a headline writer’s delight.  But before we take too much fun away from his mayhem, consider this:

–Former L.A. Policemen say that Nicole Brown Simpson was brutalized, nearly decapitated and killed by “someone on a rage.” O.J. was accused of the murder, went to trial and was acquitted.

–Mr. Ronald Goldman, a waiter who may have been an innocent bystander, was also killed by the same killer, according to now retired L.A. Policemen.

–The audio tape of O. J. and his posse entering a hotel room and what ensued is damning on several levels.  Lawyers can suck “The Juice” out of Orenthal for many things he said; but one sentence stands out.  “Don’t let nobody out of this room. . . . Think you can steal my [expletive] and sell it?”  The first part indicates unlawful imprisonment or detention.  The second part indicates that O. J. thought he had ownership over the memorabilia.  If anyone owned O. J.’s memorabilia it was the family of Mr. Ronald Goldman, who won a civil suit against Mr. Simpson.  That court order required Mr. Simpson to pay $33.5 million in compensatory damages to the Goldman family, to Ron Goldman’s biological mother, and to the family of his ex-wife Nicole.  No payments were ever made.  The rules of the court required Mr. Simpson to liquidate assets to meet the obligations of the court.  If he thought he still “owned” memorabilia, he was violating the law.

–If a gun was used in the hotel room crimes, that further complicates Mr. Simpson’s woes.

–Finally, Tax Evasion still looms.  O. J. has probably been conducting a huge business in real or illicit memorabilia for years.  If evidence proves this to be true, when the court cases clear O.J. will still be hounded by the most feared arm of the Federal Bureaucracy: The Internal Revenue Service or I.R.S.  The most famous criminal in American history, Al Capone, a thug like O. J. who also got away with murder, also scammed the I.R.S. on his income taxes because the income was almost totally illegally obtained.  In Capone’s case, his posse had so intimidated witnesses to everything, including murder, that none would admit to seeing a thing.  What brought down Capone?  The I.R.S.

So this entire affair is an American tragedy.  Two people are dead, the American legal system suffered a severe blow to its credibility when O. J. was found innocent in the murder trial, and a one-time sports hero has been exposed for what he truly is: a thug, a tax evader, a man willing to threaten and use violence to achieve his ends, and a man with no regard for others: even his one-time wife.

O. J. has always hurdled past obstacles, just as he did in a famous rent-a-car commercial.

International readers have asked me, “How is O.J. really famous?”

O. J. is “famous” as a football star (both college and professional), as a movie star, as an advertiser’s dream in the rental car industry, as a man tried and NOT convicted of murder, and now as a protector of sports memorabilia.

But those last two honors, acquitted of murder and charged with unlawful entry and whatever else, do not make you famous.  They make you infamous.

The question is, can you toast juice?  A Nevada court will answer that.
*****

The essay above seemed just a little “too cute,” upon further reflection, so I am adding the statement below as a post script.

John E. Carey

There is also a horrifying reality to all of this. Mr. Simpson has been, by many accounts, a man out of control, for many years. Nicole Brown Simpson had called police before her fatal assault to complain about his brutality. Police even photographer her with severe bruising to her face and arms. Simpson was never charged with assault.

Mr. Simpson’s charm, which thousands of people have attested to, and his sporting achievements, which are the stuff of legend (and the National Football League’s “Hall of Fame”) made him the perfect guest for fawning sports memorabilia aficionados and the thugs that participate in a $2 Billion a year business. Many police officials and memorabilia experts say the vast majority of the high priced items available for sale are fakes.

This brings us to the NFL itself. We, the paying public, have fallen in love with a game that has brutality at its core. We have made the players, the owners, the coaches and tons of others millionaires. Many of the highly paid members of this fraternity are multi-millionaires.

I’ve been asking clients and friends what they thought about the NFL since the Michael Vick case erupted into the headlines. You know what? There is a growing group of men rejecting the NFL as loosely controlled mayhem.

One intellectual said to me, “The players of the NFL are the modern gladiators. Maybe they are even our society’s version of legal barbarians. Or maybe they are akin to the Roman Empire’s paid warriors or mercenaries.”

To him, accused dog killer Vick was no surprise and no anomaly. “O. J. Simpson has been a rage-filled man for years.  Society just didn’t let him get away with it. We rewarded him at every turn. We adored him.”

Vick, many other NFL “Bad Boys” like “Pacman” Jones and O. J. are a sad reflection of American society and culture.

This essay has also appeared on several other websites with the author’s permission.  This web site is from Australia (O.J. interest reached into the outback):
http://www.onlineopinion.com.au/view.asp?article=
6398

Related:
Infamous return: O. J. Again in the News

(After this essay was completed, Mr. Simpson was charged with seven felonies.  This is no joking matter.)