Saturday, January 04, 2014

2013 in Review -- A Prayer to the Janitor of Lunacy,* Part 6 (and last!): In the words of Dan Quayle, "What a waste it is to lose one's mind"


Exploiting tragedy for a buck; plus Miss America's not American?, "Quote of the Year" winner


Miss America, Missouri-born Nina Davuluri -- zowie!

by Noah


What is it about the corporate mind? How do the idiots who make decisions in our corporations continually get it so wrong, so tasteless and obnoxious? Is it a mediocrity-rising- to-the-corner-office thing? Does the seduction of the perks that come with position make one oblivious? Is that why the Detroit car companies of the early 1970s decided to keep building gas-guzzling cars the size of aircraft carriers even when it was clear that it wasn't what the public wanted? Is it, like with politicians, something that happens when you put on a suit and tie and only talk to people like yourself everyday? Does that tie cut off blood circulation to the brain?

Case in point: AT&T's ├╝ber-tacky advertising use of the horrific events of Sept. 11, 2001. What did these goons do? What were they thinking? Are they even capable of normal thought processes?

AT&T decided to use the 9/11 tragedy to sell their phones! Classy! AT&T used social media (Twitter, Instagram and even their Facebook page) to show a photo of a hand using a smart phone to take a picture of the twin lights that rise where the towers once stood and illuminate New York City's skyline on every 9/11 anniversary. It's a tasteless moment of "Let us remember, and hey, have you thought about buying one of our spiffy new phones? Bring tragedy into sharper relief! More pixels!"

What will AT&T assault us with next? Pictures of their phones taking pictures of plane crashes? Pictures of subway suicide jumpers? Hey, I know! Starvation victims in Africa! Shooting victims in schools! "It's Almost Like Being There!"

The possibilities for AT&T to use tragic events to attempt to sell phones are endless in this sad world. How about one with that terrified naked nine-year-old Vietnamese girl running toward the camera after being napalmed? That would be advertising genius, no? Smart phone; dumb-ass execs.

The whole thing reminded me of how the entire Republican Party assaulted New York City for their 2004 convention, practically chanting "9/11, 9/11, 9/11" over and over, exploiting 9/11 to scare as many voters into reelecting Dubya as possible. That time it worked.

After the massive insta-backlash from the public, AT&T issued this perfunctory statement:

"We apologize to anyone who felt our post was in poor taste. The image was solely meant to pay respect to those affected by the 9/11 tragedy."

Well, weren't we all affected by the tragedy? Don't we all respect those who died? Are there those who weren't affected? Note to AT&T execs: Pease tie that tie quite a bit tighter. Maybe you can then go operate some factory machinery. I'll have my phone ready.


Well, if you are a Republican, apparently when she's the newly crowned Miss America, Nina Davuluri, who not only has an Indian surname but is dark-skinned. That, in the Republican mind, is enough to disqualify one from being an American, even if, like Nina, you were born in Missouri and your parents moved here over 30 years ago. Jeez, I hope she never decides to run for president. It'll be Birth Certificate-palooza all over again.

It seems that Republicans preferred that the runner-up contestant, blonde and blue-eyed Theresa Vail, from neighboring Kansas and an Army sergeant, win. I'm sure she was qualified, just as Nina was. So what's the big deal? Frankly, I'm surprised that anyone even pays attention to this yearly glorification of corporately sponsored bulimia, anorexia, and pointless baton-twirling.

Proving that right-wing lunacy doesn't just come from Republican politicians, here's a sample of the reaction from the reactionaries who obviously vote Republican. As usual we can start with the kooks at Fox "News." Here's Fox's Todd Starnes:

"The liberal Miss America judges won't say this, but Miss Kansas lost because she actually represented American values."

After that, the rest of Republikook World felt free to crawl out of their abandoned missile silos, doomsday castles, and mansions long enough to tweet:

Hmmm. Indian Arab. Born in Missouri. Indians are Arabs? Who knew? Damn that diversity! Next they'll allow women! Real women, not the Miss McConnell or J. Edgar Hoover-in-a-black-dress kind.

Other comments from the Repug twittersphere:

"If you're Miss America, you should have to be American."

"So Miss America is a terrorist!"

"9/11 was 4 days ago and she gets Miss America?"

The last of these likened the newly crowned Miss America's photo to a photo of a Middle Eastern man wielding a firearm.

Confusing and conflating the names of two entirely different countries also entered into the twitsphere when one woman, displaying a Palinesque knowledge of the globe, wrote:

"I'm not a racist. She is representing America doing an Indonesian dance. If it was a Miss Universe pageant it would have been cool."

India, Indonesia. What's the dif, eh?

BuzzFeed offers a whole catalog of tweets from Repug World, including a mini-photo essay of what one Republican mind considers a proper Miss America.

Ironically, Miss Davuluri is a recent graduate of the University of Michigan who got her degree in brain behavior and cognitive science.

Real Americans want a real American Miss America
(You'd like to think Theresa would be embarrassed)


1. American neo-Nazi (U.S. National Socialist Movement) leader Jeff Schoep:

"We have to start somewhere. So if we start in small towns and spread out from there, it's sort of a test ground in that sense, where if we're able to get off the ground here, then we're able to get off the ground in other places."

Commander Schoep, as he is known to his fellow Nazis, was talking about his group's plan to buy up cheap property in North Dakota and build whites-only communities not only there but throughout America, starting in the small town of Leith, ND, which happens to be in one of the whitest counties in all of the United States. Can't you just see Sean Hannity or Pat Buchanan running for mayor of Leith?

If the Nazi group's plan is successful, can we expect such small towns to become popular campaign stops for teabaggers and other Republican types in the near future> $en. Lindsay Graham has already bemoaned the fact that his party is running out of angry old white men, as they all die off, although I suppose maybe he's just concerned about who he'll hang out with once McCain is gone.

Perhaps old Repugs can just go retire to these model Nazi communities, where they can feel comfortable being among their own kind. They can wave their Confederate freak flags high and stop fussing about "brown people" and "strange food."

Whites-only retirement communities, maybe even funded by the Koch Brothers! They can even go around firing off six-shooters at one another to their hearts' content, hastening the inevitable. Sorry, Eric Cantor,you can't come. I know, I know, you want to belong. You've tried. But it just isn't permitted. It's not just the golf courses anymore.

2. Phyllis Schlafly -- conservative activist, lawyer, anti-feminist, and staunch opponent of the Equal Rights Amendment

"The Statue of Liberty memorializes the unique liberty we enjoy in America. It has nothing whatever to do with immigration."

Dear Phyllis: First of all, you "memorialize" something when it's gone, just as you memorialize people when they're gone. As for the Statue of Liberty having nothing to do with immigration, I guess that "Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses . . " translates, in Republicanese, to "Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses, and we will grind them into the ground." Yeeesh, tell that to all those people in all those boats approaching Ellis Island in all those films we've seen all our lives. Go directly to hell, Phyllis. You outlived your "sell by" date decades ago. They're expecting you. You won't even have to fill out any forms. You're in the "elite entry" category.

3. Former (finally!) N.Y. Mayor Michael "Extra Term" Bloomberg

"If I were a woman, I think I would wear high heels."

Well, all righty then, Tootsie. Shoes make the man! I guess you've given it a bit of thought there. So, OK, whatever floats your boat, zeppelin, or -- Still, former Mayor Rudy Giuliani has you beat. Can we interest you in some nice kinky boots? Let the whispers begin!

Comedian Andy Borowitz offers this more serious perspective on the "Man of the .1%":
December 31, 2013

NEW YORK (The Borowitz Report) -- As the curtain comes down on the Michael Bloomberg era, the three-term mayor of New York received fulsome praise last night from his most appreciative constituency: the people who can still afford to live there.

Harland Dorrinson, principal owner of the hedge fund Garrote Capital, hosted a black-tie dinner in the vault of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York to pay tribute to a mayor who, in Mr. Dorrinson's words, "put living in New York out of the reach of everyone except the deserving few."

"To a lot of people, Mike Bloomberg will be remembered for reducing smoking and improving people's diets," said Mr. Dorrinson. "But that shouldn't overshadow his greatest accomplishment, creating unaffordable housing throughout New York."

"When Mike took office, this city was teeming with regular working people," Mr. Dorrinson said, shuddering at the memory. "Today, it's a magnificent tapestry of investment bankers, real-estate developers, and Russian oligarchs."

The hedge-fund owner is such a fan of Mr. Bloomberg's, in fact, that he has only one bone to pick with him: that he left office too soon "to finish the job."

"There are still a few pockets in the city where, regrettably, the middle class seems to be hanging on," he said. "The rent is too damn low."

As for Mr. Bloomberg's critics, Mr. Dorrinson was philosophical: "I know there are some people who think Mike was terrible for New York, that he took a city rich with diversity and ruined it. But fortunately, they all live somewhere else now."


When it came to the nominees this year, I deliberately made an attempt to avoid the usual list of miscreants such as Bachmann, Newtie, Palin, Bortz, Cavuto, Savage, et al. At the very least, I wanted to introduce some of the lesser-known personalities that Republicans proudly point to. Known and unknown, all were worthy.

Not a day goes by when some Republican somewhere in our country doesn't unfurl their lunacy freak flag and let it fly with a verbal barrage of hypocrisy, bigotry, homophobia, stories about their ancestors (and ours) riding to work on dinosaurs, phony Obama scandals, and of course the always-imminent return of their white, white, white Jesus -- a Jesus who would never pal around with the likes of them.

I selected many quotes, including ones that were embedded in the stories I included in the "Janitor of Lunacy" posts. Bill-O's gay paranoia quote from Part 5, Judge Edith James's blatant racism in Part 4, Coultergeist's shutdown quote in Part 3, and so many others reflected the core thoughts and qualifications for being a Republican.

But in choosing this year's winner, I found one quote that summed up the essence of being a Republican: a sociopathic willful disregard for other human beings. From Part 5, it's Fox's John Stossel!

"Think about the Depression. That was before there was any welfare state at all. How many people starved? No one."


Part 1: Take a bow, Repugs! (*including Nico's "Janitor of Lunacy") [Monday]

Part 2: Remember when Reagan cut funds for insane asylums? (Storms, guns, bombs, free stuff, and the secret gay life of Obma: Some top Republican lies of 2013) [Tuesday]

Part 3: No Cruz control (Rafael "Ted" Cruz in his own words) [Wednesday]

Part 4: A great anniversary approaches! (plus more "Quote of the Year" nominees) [Thursday]

Part 5: Everyone's a critic, including me -- Some people really try my patience (Bill-O, Howie Kurtz, E. W. Jackson, et al.) [Friday]

Part 6 (and last): In the words of Dan Quayle, "What a waste it is to lose one's mind" (Exploiting tragedy for a buck; Miss America's not American?; "Quote of the Year" winner) [Saturday]

And don't forget Noah's recent --
"Need a last-minute Christmas gift suggestion?" [12/22]
"50 Years Ago Today: The Beatles" [12/26]
"A Tale of Two Popes -- the one in the Vatican and the one in North Carolina" [12/27]

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