Friday, December 30, 2005

Obligatory End-of-Year List 2005

For many years now I have mocked the need for media outlets to produce omnibus end-of-year lists of the best songs/books/moments/whatever of the year. These lists are generally a top 10 or 15, although some TV stations feel the need to do a top 100 moments, and radio stations feel the need to use their frequency as the defining value of their best of list which means, for example, this weekend I was alternating between KRBE’s top 104 songs of 2005 and The Buzz’s top 94 songs of 2005. There is never a clear accounting of why these songs/books/moments are selected for the “Best of” list. Are they the 104 most requested songs for the year? If so this seems to give a song released in January a better chance of getting on the list as it can be requested for close to 12 times longer than one released in December. Are they the 94 songs that the DJs like the most? Are they being weighed on some artistic level? This is never clear and is really the source of my dislike for these sorts of lists. There is never the, “and this is how we selected these whatevers for our list,” reveal.

This is not quite the case online, where most of the “Best of” lists I have read are just people throwing out what they thought the best of whatever was for the year. Many of them make it clear that this is based on their own personal tastes and feelings and therefore I am more likely to trust these lists. Now, having said that, and with no sense of irony whatsoever I would like to present my obligatory end-of-year list.

I have decided, in keeping with the spirit of humorous/righteous wrath which I try to infuse into this blog, to compile a list of the 9 newsmakers from the year 2005 whom are most deserving of a cock-punch (which is a punch in the genitalia, for the uninitiated.) Apparently The Onion did this as a top ten list some years ago, and Jared, the Subway guy, was listed as number 1. Now, I am not going to rank these people, but rather just offer this up as a list of people who I think deserve the slap to the nuts. Enjoy.

Tom Cruise.
Jumping on a couch? Freaking Oprah out? Hooking up with Katie Holmes? Knowing more about psychology than the average man? How could he not end up on this list? Seriously though, I, much like Pacey, have forgiven Tom for stealing Katie away from me, but really, no one likes a Scientologist except for other members of that faux-religious group of brownshirt nut jobs.

Tom Delay.
We will, for the moment, set aside the facts that he is currently under indictment for somewhat specious behavior, has been the center of a couple of ethics questions, and was the driving factor behind the 2003 congressional redistricting which is now going to reviewed by SCOTUS and get down to brass tacks. In 1988 he and his family chose to not initiate extraordinary measures to prolong the life (read: life support) of his father after a debilitating accident which eventually led to his father’s death. In 2005 he was one of the esteemed gentlemen leading the charge to have the federal government interfere in the Terri Schiavo affair, specifically passing laws to force additional judicial review of the attempt by Terri’s parents to prevent her husband from having her feeding tube removed. Good thing it was spring, so the smell of the newly blossomed crocuses covered up the stench of his hypocrisy.

Robert Woodward.
From presidential foe and respected journalist to presidential lap-dog and crap weasel; this was a slow transformation that continues to surprise me every time I am forced to consider it. Part of me wants to beg Bob Woodward to return to form. Unleash the pen that brought down the Nixon White House back in the 1970s. We need that now more than ever Bob! But I cannot really criticize him for his change in politics (as I am undergoing something similar in my own life) however I can criticize him for his behavior in the Valerie Plame investigation (you can read my rant about the situation here.) Now not only did he call the special prosecutor “a junkyard dog prosecutor,” but he did it while withholding information from the prosecutor in the hope to avoid being served with a subpoena. In this case I believe we should allow Judith Miller (who at least had the gumption to go to jail to protect her source) to deliver the punch.

Terrell Owens.
I have already said my piece on the particular funk on the NFL this season that is T.O. here, however to sum it up: T.O. is everything that is wrong with the modern athlete. Every single thing.

Dick Cheney.
I will make this one short and sweet. Dick deserves the slappin’ for controlling the G-Dub All Stars through the office intercom. It was funny in Real Genius, Dick, but this is real life. Oh yeah, and he wants to torture people in clear violation of longstanding treaty commitments. Way to go, Dick.

Warren Chisum & Todd Staples.
This dynamic duo are the two legislative lemurs responsible for authoring (Chisum) and sponsoring (Staples) HJR 6 in the Texas legislature. For those of you unfamiliar with HJR 6, it is the recent amendment to the Texas constitution which bans gay marriage. Yes, these two gentlemen are responsible for introducing the legislation that ensured my home state remains a less tolerant state than, oh, South Africa, for example.

Russell Crowe.
Now this was perhaps, the moist difficult name for me to put on this list. I happen to really like Russell Crowe and his acting (he was totally robbed of the Oscar for The Insider, in my humble opinion) however I was forced to include him. Not only did this guy steal my moves, but he took them from being an act of chivalry to the act of a whiney little celebutant in less time than it usually takes to place a collect phone call.

Pat Robertson.
I am not certain if I have stated it here on the Opiate before or not, however I want it to be clear that I do not trust fundamentalists of any stripe. This means that Pat Robertson’s faux pas are likely to stand out in my mind more and they will seem more important than perhaps they are. Having said that, I do not think I am out of line for calling for the cock-punching of a self-professed man of God and influential leader of a lot of Christians when he says:

There was a popular coup that overthrew him [Chavez]. And what did the United States State Department do about it? Virtually nothing. And as a result, within about 48 hours that coup was broken; Chavez was back in power, but we had a chance to move in. He has destroyed the Venezuelan economy, and he's going to make that a launching pad for communist infiltration and Muslim extremism all over the continent.

You know, I don't know about this doctrine of assassination, but if he thinks we're trying to assassinate him, I think that we really ought to go ahead and do it. It's a whole lot cheaper than starting a war. And I don't think any oil shipments will stop. But this man is a terrific danger and the United ... This is in our sphere of influence, so we can't let this happen. We have the Monroe Doctrine, we have other doctrines that we have announced. And without question, this is a dangerous enemy to our south, controlling a huge pool of oil, that could hurt us very badly. We have the ability to take him out, and I think the time has come that we exercise that ability. We don't need another $200 billion war to get rid of one, you know, strong-arm dictator. It's a whole lot easier to have some of the covert operatives do the job and then get it over with.

Now we will go ahead and skip the whole argument about the coup and whether it was actually a popular coup or a covert attempt by the U.S. to replace Hugo Chavez. I would rather concentrate on the fact that this self-professed man of God and the leader of probably hundreds of thousands Christians across the country called for the assassination of a person.

For those of you unclear on what an assassination is, defines it as, “to murder (a prominent person) by surprise attack, for political reasons.” Some of you may recall this little statement from the Bible where is says “Do not commit murder.” You may also remember that this innocuous sentence, or rather let us call it a moral guideline, is grouped with nine other guidelines that we all know as the Ten Commandments. Those pesky rules that many Christians consider the central tenets of the faith. Can you say awkward? Clearly Pat Robertson could because a few days later he says:

Wait a minute, I didn't say 'assassination.' I said our special forces should, quote, "take him out," and "take him out" can be a number of things including kidnapping. There are a number of ways to take out a dictator from power besides killing him. I was misinterpreted by the AP, but that happens all the time.

He then admitted he spoke out of frustration, but I think his first statement is closer to how he truly feels in his heart. After all, Pat Robertson was in business with the morally upright Charles Taylor for a couple of years, as well.

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