Thursday, January 22, 2015

The Death of True Journalism

According to the newest trending update on Facebook, actor Johnny Depp "finds it 'sickening' for movie stars to use fame to get into the music industry". Such a bold statement has the power to piss off such stars as Russell Crowe and Jared Leto, Jamie Fox, Miley Cyrus and many other actors-turned musicians or vice versa. 

But Facebook's trending alert - or whatever it's called - was just a paraphrase, and a rather misleading one at that. Here's what Depp really said:

“That whole idea for me is a sickening thing, it’s always just made me sick. I’ve been very lucky to play on friends’ records and it’s still going. Music is still part of my life. But you won’t be hearing The Johnny Depp Band. That won’t ever exist. The luxury now is, anybody with a certain amount of of success, if you have a musical being, you can go out and start a band and capitalize on your work in other areas. But I hate the idea, 'Come see me play the guitar because you've seen me in 12 movies.' It shouldn't be [that way]. You want the people who are listening to the music to only be interested in the music."

So, no, Depp doesn't find actors who want to be musicians sickening. He simply finds the idea of him exploiting his celebrity status to try and launch a music career sickening. I don't want to put words in his mouth, but I think he means he doesn't want his music to be a novelty-act, kind of like, 'Hey, come see Jack Sparrow play guitar'. If a person is going to be successful as a musician, it should be because of the music, not because he has 12 popular movies under his belt. That's what he would find sickening and ridiculous.

But this isn't what the media and news blogs would have you believe. To use one example, the Rolling Stone blog headline said "Johnny Depp: actors who start bands 'make me sick'". Billboard's blog was even worse, reading, "Johnny Depp: Actors making music is 'sickening'". These reckless blogs are basically trying to make it look like Depp's offending and insulting and being snobby towards anybody who wants to be both an actor and a musician. I'm pretty sure this isn't where he was coming from.

The media absolutely loves to fish for anything and everything that could become a celebrity 'slip-up', anything and everything that could be twisted around into controversy, maybe offend certain actor/musicians out there, whatever could become a trending topic on Facebook and Twitter and hopefully elicit hostile responses from both ordinary people and celebrities. Maybe Jared Leto will 'slam' Depp for his 'snobby' comments - something like that is what the media's looking for because it will trigger a new round of blogs that will get even more hits and more revenue.

So what's really sickening? 

Not actors turned musicians. What's really sickening is the fact that the media recklessly twists words around and reassembles statements that a person has made. What's also sickening is the presentation of half-truth as truth. What's further sickening is the media's complete abandonment of accurate journalism and how even the most 'trustworthy' news outfits have degraded themselves to the color of yellow and this filthy yellow journalism has somehow managed to take on the guise of and fool everybody into thinking it's true journalism.

But maybe what's most sickening is that half-truths and outright lies have become an army and this army has raped and pillaged the village of truth (sorry, maybe I'm trying to be a little too poetic here, but you get the idea). Ad revenue, which is maximized by maximizing blog hits, has become a journalist's god while truth has essentially become the devil. I want to say that truth has consequently become an endangered species, but that may be too generous of a statement. Truth may very well be extinct in this media-saturated culture of unreality!

The reason why this is such a big problem is because celebrities are going to be so tired of having their words twisted - not to mention being completely misquoted - that they're just going to stop talking to the media altogether. I wouldn't blame Depp if he never wanted to open his mouth again because it's like he can never do no right. The media is just going to betray him, twist things around and put words in his mouth that are going to elicit some sort of controversial or hostile reaction that will essentially get more blog clicks and accumulate more ad revenue.

Celebrities NEED to talk. We look up to them. They are people we emulate and follow. They need to speak their mind, because if they do, so do we. But celebrities aren't going to talk if whatever they say is just going to be manipulated into a package of half-truths that is only meant to serve the media's interests and their need for blog hits. Or even if celebrities don't shut up completely, they're still going to play it safe and keep it so PC that they might as well not be saying anything at all.

The bottom line here is that - if celebrities keep quiet - so don't we. If celebrities keep it PC, so don't we. The voice box of free expression must not be silenced. Once it is, we all die.

"IF YOU DON'T LIKE IT, LEAVE!": The American Sniper Controversy

Both director Michael Moore and actor Seth Rogen have been publicly slammed and criticized for their recent comments regarding the new Clint Eastwood movie American Sniper. In a recent Tweet, Moore called snipers "cowards" and also later Tweeted "when we invade and kill 100,000 based on lies, we are not heroes". Moore, of course, was referring to the war in Iraq and how we invaded Iraq based on the lie that Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction.

Rogen's remarks - also made within the limited characters of a Tweet - were less incendiary but still elicited a harsh reaction from the general public. Rogen's Tweet compared American Sniper to a scene in Quentin Tarantino's Inglorious Basterds. In the scene, there is a movie playing in a theater that features a German sniper "heroically" killing 200 Allied soldiers. People did not appreciate Rogen's insinuation that Chris Kyle, the soldier American Sniper was based on, was no more heroic than a Nazi sniper.

In reaction to Rogen's Tweet, country music singer and military veteran Craig Morgan publicly 'slammed' Rogen, saying...

"You are fortunate to enjoy the privilege and freedom of working in and living in the United States, and saying whatever you want (regardless of how ignorant the statement) thanks to people like Chris Kyle who serve in the United States military. Your statement is inaccurate and insensitive to Chris and his family. I'm sick and tired of people like you running your mouth when you have no idea what it takes for this country to maintain our freedoms. If you and anyone like you don't like it, leave."

"If you don't like it here, leave."

The above statement has always sent an ominous shiver down my spine, but it seems to be the common response to anybody expressing any kind of criticism or dissent regarding the United States of America (I've even seen a bumper sticker with this slogan). Coming from a veteran who's preaching about his love of liberty, "If you don't like it, leave" is paradoxically one of the most fascist statements that one could ever make. This kind of a statement is not born out of a lover of freedom, but an enemy of freedom.

Instead of slamming Rogen, people like Craig Morgan should be praising Rogen for utilizing the very freedom that Morgan fought for during his time serving in the military. In fact, Morgan should love the fact that Rogen is saying something that he so vehemently disagrees with. Even if he sees the comments as dumb and ignorant, at least they are products of a mind practicing unfiltered free speech and it was for this kind of free expression that he fought as a member of the United States military. How can a person preach about fighting for liberty and at the same time turn around and shout at somebody practicing that liberty, "If you don't like it, leave!"? It's completely hypocritical.

But this type of hypocrisy is standard in our culture today.

Movies like American Sniper that celebrate "liberty" are merely propaganda disguised as art. Their main agenda is to condition Americans into loving the military and loving war and creating an environment where anybody who opposes war/military is publicly persecuted by people like Morgan for being 'enemies of freedom' who are so 'ignorant' and 'dumb' and 'unappreciative of their free country'. 

Figures like Moore and Rogen are essentially made examples of in order to create a culture of fear, fear to go against the grain and question anything war-related or military-related. Chris Kyle may or may not have been an American hero - that is all up for debate because some people say he was and other people say he wasn't. But his name and his story as featured in American Sniper (however embellished or outright fabricated it may be) are essentially being manipulated in a way so that anybody questioning the propaganda or drawing attention to it is somehow also offending and insulting true American heroism. In other words, those who question wars, express dissent, speak their mind, blow the whistle on pro-war propaganda...they are twisted into being perceived as assholes who hate true American heroes. 

And nobody wants to be THAT asshole.

Just because you're critical of war or you blow the whistle on bogus propaganda "American Hero" stories like what may (emphasis on 'may' because I don't know nor do many other people) be portrayed in American Sniper, it doesn't mean you're disrespecting the military or true American heroes. It simply means you're a person who questions things and seeks for truth. Once we manage to shut up all the truth-seekers out there - shouting at them, "if you don't like it here, leave!" - then truth eventually goes completely extinct and our culture fully transforms into a world of lies and unreality.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

The Bill Cosby Rape Allegations

Bill Cosby - America's favorite TV dad - has been accused by over a dozen women (many of which are prominent) of drugging and raping them. Most of the alleged rapes took place decades ago. America has been shocked by the news.

This story has lost its fizzle over the past few weeks, but just a day or two ago, Keshia Knight Pulliam - the actress who played Rudy on The Cosby Show - came onto the Wendy Williams Show and spoke in defense of her TV dad, saying "there are two sides to the story." The way Cosby has been depicted in the media is "not the man she knows."

And, just yesterday, Phylicia Rashad - the actress who played Mrs. Huxtable on The Cosby Show - made her first public comments regarding the Cosby allegations. Rashad has always seen Cosby as a "kind genius" and she believes the allegations are all a part of an orchestrated attack to destroy Cosby's legacy. Who orchestrated it? She does not know...


It's extremely possible, I suppose, that Bill Cosby did, indeed, rape over a dozen women. The very fact that so many different women (over a dozen!) have come forward seems to negate the possibility of the allegations being false. Could they all have been paid off as part of an orchestrated attack? That scenario definitely seems far-fetched. 

As for Cosby, the comedian has remained more or less silent regarding the allegations, which also seems to indicate guilt on his part, though he may have just been advised by lawyers to remain silent. So, yes, it's hard to believe that this may just be an "orchestrated" smear campaign against Cosby. Guilt seems likely. 

But despite the fact that Cosby definitely appears to be guilty, it's important to remember that Cosby has not yet been convicted in a court of law, and I suppose he never will be because of the statute of limitations (the alleged rapes took place too long ago for him to ever be charged). Nevertheless, America - with the near-blatant persuasion of the media - has seemed to deliver the verdict all on its own: GUILTY. 

It is indeed troubling to see that a lynch-mob-like mentality has played the role of judge and essentially convicted Cosby without him having been proven guilty in an actual court of law. We see this "court of public opinion" (Keshia Knight Pulliam's words) more and more these days and it's gradually setting a new un-American precedent in our American society that has always viewed a man as being innocent until proven guilty in the court of law.

America has always prided itself to be a place where a man can always "get his day in court" before being considered guilty of a crime he allegedly committed. But today it seems like a man (or woman) is presumed guilty once the media has decided that they want the person to be guilty. It's almost like the media has hijacked the American judicial system - they are the court and they are the judge and they deliver whatever verdict will get them more viewers and readers.

Now, it's bad enough when the media recklessly ruins a man's legacy by making him look guilty, but it's even worse when there are actual tangible punishments that result from the media's verdicts. Feeling the pressure from the media, television networks like NBC and other production companies like Netflix have consequently punished Cosby, killing the projects they were developing with the comedian. The University of Massachusetts has also decided to cut ties with Cosby, asking him to step down from his position as honorary co-chairman of a fundraising campaign. Granted, he's an old guy, but I'm sure he will continue to lose opportunities as more time goes by, which isn't really fair. 

Ruining a legacy is one thing, but when there are tangible punishments for allegations that have never even been proven to be true in a court of law, a very bad precedent has been set for America as a whole. Basically, more and more people will continue to be tried and punished in the court of 'media opinion' and whatever happens in a regular court will gradually become irrelevant. 

While it's true that - in the case of Cosby - he's basically unable to be tried in actual court because of the statute of limitations, his punishments still help fuel this 'guilty until proven innocent' precedent that has recently been working itself deeper and deeper into the American mentality. Over time, this new precedent will completely undermine everything America has always stood for: a place where a man is innocent until he is proven guilty in a fair trial by an unbiased jury.


One thing I find very interesting - if not outright suspicious - about the Bill Cosby allegations is the timing of it all. Most of the allegations came out shortly before the Michael Brown/Eric Garner riots.

There have been hushed whispers for years regarding Bill Cosby and his alleged rapes, but the rumors have always been silenced and swept under the carpet...that is, until now. Ex-supermodel Janice Dickinson, one of Cosby's alleged victims, supposedly tried to write about her rape in a memoir she published years ago - however, lawyers supposedly jumped in and made her omit the Bill Cosby chapter before final publication. Her allegations were swept under the rug...that is, until now. 

What I'm getting at is that I don't think the timing of these overly-hyped rape allegations is at all coincidental. Timing is always important when it comes to unveiling BIG NEWS events. 

Let's put the Cosby allegations aside for a moment and take a look at the timing involved with the Michael Brown riots in Ferguson. Why do you think the grand jury waited until 9:30 at night to announce that Officer Darren Wilson - the cop responsible for killing Brown - would NOT be indicted for the killing? Because 'somebody' out there wanted to maximize the potential for rioting. If they didn't want rioting, they would've wisely waited until the morning to make the announcement since riots rarely take place in broad daylight.

But who was the 'somebody' behind this perfect timing for the riots? 

Perhaps Ferguson was a contrived media event. Maybe the media wanted to capture all the rioting on tape, exploit it to the fullest and transform it into a spectator sport for their audiences. But maybe pointing the finger at the media isn't pointing it far enough. Maybe it was actually our government that wanted the rioting and they were basically puppeteering the media to serve its agenda. 

Why would the government want the rioting? 

Maybe to just simply perpetuate the racial polarization in America. Maybe they knew the rioting/looting (which was arguable instigated by the media) would make the blacks - already angry at whites - look like fools so that whites would look at them with loathing and say "what fools!" and the racial divide would consequently get wider and wider. 

But why would the government want a wider racial divide? 

For more control. As the old saying goes, before you can conquer, you must divide. A divided America is a powerless America. There is only power in the people when they unite. A powerless populace won't be able to rise up and initiate any radical change that will get in the way of whatever the government would rather be doing.

So, yes, timing is everything and I don't think it's any coincidence that the Bill Cosby allegations became BIG NEWS right around the same time of the racial rioting taking place all across America. Bill Cosby - America's favorite black man, loved by whites, blacks, everybody - has turned out to be a sexual monster?! What kind of psychological effect does that have on America? Well, when a model citizen in the black community turns out to be a sex monster, it makes the black community as a whole look...well, monstrous. The loathing amongst races consequently gets fueled and the racial divide widens to an even greater extent. 

So take Bill Cosby, throw in Ferguson and then the Eric Garner killing in New York...oh, and then add in a black man named Ismaaiyl Brinsley executing two police officers in Brooklyn...and, before you know it, the racial divide is bigger than it's been since the Jim Crow days.


The Bill Cosby allegations as a media event was unique from other racially-divisive events like Ferguson because it actually killed - not one - but TWO birds with one stone. Not only did the allegations ultimately assist in further dividing the races, but they also served to divide the sexes.

Along with all the current racial tension in America, there has undoubtedly been much tension amongst males and females of late. It was only a month or two ago that a feminist-fueled video went viral on YouTube. The video followed a young woman around with a hidden camera and documented all the cat-calls she received from NY men while she meandered her way through the streets of Manhattan. The video was seen as an eye-opening outrage even though it was edited in a way so that it seemed like every single man in the world was a misogynistic horn-dog.

Around the same time that the cat-calling video went viral, a Rolling Stone article came out about a college gang-rape that took place at a University of Virginia frat house. The victim was a girl named Jackie and she claimed to have been gang-raped by seven different college males. UVA apparently tried to sweep the allegations under the rug when Jackie first came forward about the rape, which made the whole story much more of an outrage. However, weeks after Rolling Stone published the story, more and more evidence started emerging that seemed to question the veracity of Jackie's story. It appeared that her gang-rape allegations may have been fabricated, or at least embellished. Rolling Stone consequently tried to distance itself from the story.

Even more recently, Kaley Cuoco - from the show "Big Bang Theory" - was publicly persecuted for supposedly making anti-feminist comments in a recent Redbook Magazine article. Cuoco simply said something about how she enjoyed coming home from a long day at work and "serving her husband" in the form of making dinner for him. She said the process of "serving him" helped relax her and wind her down. This whole idea of "serving the husband" was seen as offensive to America's feminists. Even though she insisted that many of her comments were taken out of context, Cuoco still made a public apology, insisting it was never her intention to offend any women out there.

Don't get me wrong: it's DEFINITELY true that women are not treated equally or very fairly in our society. And I don't want to make it look like I'm belittling the rape stories either. Rape definitely happens all the time and male misogyny is a very big problem in America - I witness it all the time, just in my everyday life. But all these stories about rapes and cat-calling and celebrity anti-feminists have all seemed to be unveiled in conjunction with the racially-divisive news stories and I do feel that pitting the sexes against each other is another way our government (via the media) is trying to divide the American people.

If you really think about it, if somebody really wanted to divide a population, the most effective way to do it would be a) through race, especially when it comes to blacks and whites, and then b) through gender. These are the easiest ways to divide because they are the most visually and physically-apparent and also because they establish a clear-cut, fifty-fifty polarization, meaning it essentially splits the human population into two equal halves. Blacks on one side, whites on the other. Males on one side, females on the other. 

Of course, an absolute fifty-fifty polarization of the human population based on race and gender will never happen, and the government knows this will never happen even though they would see this as ideal. However, as far as the government is concerned, the more division there is, the better. The wider the racial divide becomes and the wider the gender divide becomes, the easier it will be for the established government to remain in power, prevent unification of the masses and prevent any kind of revolt/revolution. As the government has clearly become more and more dysfunctional over the years, it's all the more important to keep people divided, basically so that they can't unite to the point of being able to do anything about it. 

Division is really the ultimate goal for any government that wants to solidify and perpetuate its power, especially a desperate government that knows how dysfunctional, inept and corrupt it has become. Big news events like the Cosby allegations that seem purposely built up to be BIG NEWS (if not outright orchestrated to be BIG NEWS) help assist with this division agenda. Not only do the Cosby allegations help divide the races, but they also help divide the genders - it is a perfect news event for maximizing polarization in the human population.