Monday, June 27, 2011

Republicans and Gay Marriage

As I'm sure you've heard, New York just joined the ranks of Connecticut, Iowa, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Vermont, and Washington D.C., to become the sixth state to legalize gay marriage.   The State owes the passage of this bill in significant part to four Republican senators who broke party ranks to extend marriage rights to gays.  And they did it with some real home-grown flair.  After having first voted "no" to gay marriage in 2009, 64 year-old Republican Senator Roy McDonald explained of his change of heart in this memorable, sincere, and totally badass way:
Roy McDonald knows the "F" word.
"You get to the point where you evolve in your life where everything isn't black and white, good and bad, and you try to do the right thing. You might not like that. You might be very cynical about that. Well, fuck it, I don't care what you think. I'm trying to do the right thing. I'm tired of Republican-Democrat politics. They can take the job and shove it. I come from a blue-collar background. I'm trying to do the right thing, and that's where I'm going with this."
But now these four senators are facing severe backlash from the Republican party, so much so that their vote for gay marriage might have cost all of them their jobs in the next election.  And while it's unfortunate that it has to be considered "brave" for a Republican to vote this way, this bravery shouldn't be overlooked by those of us for whom supporting gay marriage has always been an easy and obvious choice. 

The question I pose now is: why do Republicans insist on fighting gay marriage in the face of its inevitability?  In twenty years (and possibly sooner than that) preventing gay marriage is going to be as archaic and universally despicable as preventing civil rights for women and Blacks once was.  Is it just that Republicans lack the foresight (and hindsight) to analogize these issues?  Is it misunderstanding and homophobia?  Is it an utterly misplaced reliance on scripture (watch the liberating badass-ery below)? Is it just plain stubbornness?

Remember when Trent Lott, the long-time Republican Senate Majority leader, resigned his leadership position in the wake of his Strom Thurmond comments?  Allow me to refresh your memory: at Senator Strom Thurmond's 100th birthday party, Lott said,
"I want to say this about my state. When Strom Thurmond ran for president, we voted for him. We're proud of him. And if the rest of the country had followed our lead, we wouldn't have had all these problems over all these years, either." 
The problem, of course, was that Thurmond was a segregationist whose Senatorial legacy included the longest filibuster of all time (over 24 hours) against the Civil Rights Act.  Regardless of whether the comment was the result of some latent bigotry or merely a poorly chosen attempt to compliment to a senile old coot (think your racist granddad), everyone was pissed. In the wake of the criticism that followed, Lott was forced to resign his position.  But what's interesting is that the charge to formally oust him was lead by conservative groups, most memorably William F. Buckley's The National Review.  It seemed unfathomable for Republicans to allow someone who would even casually, accidentally imply an endorsement of segregation to be a party leader.  Republicans, have you no memory?

So, I want to congratulate the four brave Republicans who all essentially (and at least one literally) said, "Fuck it, let's do what's right."  And of course there are other Republicans like New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg (dismissively called a RINO by his party -- "Republican In Name Only") who aggressively lobbied in support of gay marriage behind the scenes.  But to the social conservative hold-outs, I say: learn your lesson from Trent Lott.  Hang up the hairshirt of fighting gay marriage, if for no other reason than so you don't embarrass and disappoint your kids when they ask you how you voted when it was your state's turn.

As a final note, when asked if he feared for his job in the wake of his "yes" vote this weekend, Senator James Alesi said, "I also have to believe that if I'm supporting a significant percentage of my constituency that want this, that I will gain their support even though I'm losing the other."  So, I'm appealing to you New Yorkers with even an inkling of Libertarian-leanings: don't forget these guys come election day.

(For more of my ranting on this subject, check out this post, and this one.)

Update: Scott in the comments reminded me of the Log Cabin Republicans, a grassroots resource for small-government Republicans who support gay rights.  Visit their site here: Log Cabin Republicans.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Flicky Friday (ft. Bob Dylan)

This video is one of the reasons I started a blog. Seriously. I kept emailing this video to people. Then I started emailing other videos to people.  Then I started emailing videos with lots of unsolicited editorial commentary to people.  Finally people said, I don't know who you are, stop sending me that one "Family Guy" scene about The Godfather ('s my first post!) and that Whitest Kids U Know sketch and that Bob Dylan movie.  So the biggest mystery here is, how did it take me a year and a half to get Dylan on the blog?  I'd answer, but I'd rather you just watch it so I don't have to track down all of your email addresses.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Happy Birthday Bruce!

Today is Bruce Campbell's birthday!  I wanted to give a shout-out to him on the blog because without him this blog would have a different (almost assuredly less awesome) title, and it would've been much more difficult to find a picture of a man with a chainsaw hand for the homepage.

Watch Bruce Campbell's Old Spice Commercial
In honor of Bruce (Mr. Campbell if you're nasty), try Netflixing Bubba Ho-Tep, my second favorite Bruce movie.  I described it at the bottom of this post, and included a trailer that will make you want to leave work and rent it immediately.  You can also watch "Burn Notice," or start following him on Twitter, like I recently did. But don't be fooled by the pseudonymed "Bruce Campbell"s out there - his Twitter name is @GroovyBruce.

(If you don't know who Bruce Campbell is, here's a hint. Here's another.  Love you, Groovy Bruce.

Monday, June 20, 2011

No Respect At All: What Chris Wallace and Jon Stewart Got Wrong

I want to talk about Chris Wallace's interview with Jon Stewart on "Fox News Sunday" this week. I watched it with a slowly shaking head, saddened and disappointed by what I'd hoped would be a rousing and thought-provoking interview, and not merely another forum for partisan mud-slinging and Fox-bashing and general entertainer-disrespecting. I'd really thought: Chris Wallace is no Bill O'Reilly, he's no Glenn Beck (Stewart even pointed out as much), so this interview will be an honest discussion between two ideologically opposed pundits about the biases of their respective television forums.  It wasn't.

Watch Part I here:

In the interview, the usually loveable, goofy, self-effacing Stewart comes across like kind of a dick -- he's hostile and openly unhappy to be there.  But he's also a well-spoken, well-informed, and well-justified dick, who makes a case for his role in the media and his show's political underpinnings much better than Wallace does. Wallace, whom I've always thought was a rather genial, likable guy himself, comes across as humorless and out-of-touch; a stern, unyielding grandparent bent on disciplining an unruly whippersnapper. This is no more clearly evidenced than in his choice of arbitrary, ineffectual Comedy Central clips intended to illustrate bias and disreputability, but which succeeded in demonstrating, if anything, how completely Wallace/Fox misunderstand the purview of "The Daily Show."

What Wallace -- and, I think Fox generally -- doesn't get, is that Stewart occupies a uniquely powerful role in the media, especially among the demographic least touched by Fox News.  "The Daily Show" is the primary news source for millions of people -- nay, millions of voters.  So I can't help but think it was unwise to bring Stewart on the show only to throw him on the Tea Party pyre, with Wallace desperately lighting matches underneath him in a growing windstorm of counter-arguments.

How much better would it have been if the interview had been conducted by someone conservative and intelligent like Wallace, but someone who actually grasped what "The Daily Show" was all about, who processed Stewart's role as an entertainer-and-comedian-cum-newsman, who understood Stewart's brand of satire and was willing to admit the ripeness of the modern political climate to be parodied?  What if the host had been someone who didn't take himself quite so seriously, and who, with genuine respect and curiosity and openness, had asked Stewart urgent and deeply interesting questions about his role in the changing media environment? Who would have pressed Stewart on some tough questions about his influence and culpability? Who would've listened to Stewart's answers?  Wouldn't that have at least accomplished something for the Right?

Watch Part II here:

The most interesting part in the interview, I thought, was the all-too-brief discussion where, after Stewart asserted he was a comedian first and a pundit second (shortly before he told Wallace that "what I do is harder than what you do," which may be true but was kind of a dick thing to say), they discussed whether Stewart avoided being held accountable for his media criticism by being a comedian.

No Respect At All!
Did you get that? Does Jon Stewart avoid accountability by hiding behind the shield of comedy?  HOW INTERESTING A QUESTION IS THAT?  And a related (but of course unasked) question, does Stewart's shield benefit society by allowing him to deliver more transparent social commentary, or does it grant his particular bias an unfair social immunity?  Tangentially: how is Stewart's admitted personal bias reflected in the segments on the show (not just his interviews)?  Does "The Daily Show" have a rubric by which they choose news stories to parody?  Is there any quota system that balances satire dolled out to the left and right?  Is it Stewart's assertion that a comedy show is allowed to be biased while a reputable news source isn't, or is his argument merely that "The Daily Show" is open about its bias, and Fox News should be, too?  These questions would've sparked such a totally interesting, stimulating, entertaining discussion!

I don't agree with everything Stewart says, but I do think he makes cogent points worthy of a more respectful debate, especially about the way the Right has risen up to fill the new arena of 24-hour news more adeptly than the Left, and how that changes the political playing-field.  If you want to watch the interview and share your thoughts, I'd love to hear them. But please, watch the entire interview, not some of the three-minute yelling clips circulating on Youtube.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Flicky Friday (ft. Nicolas Cage)

Credit for this week's Flicky Friday goes to my friend Preston, who not only showed me this clip, but proved that it deserves to be seen on the biggest T.V. screen you can find. There are a lot of montages out there, but this one is a must-watch.  My throat hurts just watching it.  Without further ado, I give you: "Nicholas Cage Losing His Shit."

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

See You Next Tuesday (Too Easy)

See You Next Tuesday is the Boomstick's regular column. On Tuesdays, I bring you the week's most laughable scumbags, idiots, and jerks for your reading and reviling pleasure.   If you don't get the name, visit your nearest middle school playground and ask the first kid you see.  You can read previous editions here.

Today's See You Next Tuesday is:

  Everyone Remotely Famous For Making It Too Easy To Make Fun of You.

Look, I view social mockery as an art form.  I pride myself on my ability to comb the news for obscure and ridiculous idiots, to cleverly indict them for their stupidity, hypocrisy, and self-contradiction, and then to make a bunch of cheap jokes at their expense because I have a blog and they don’t.  But lately, I've had no need to plumb the depths of society for a truly despicable subject matter, no need to go digging through dirt for the perfect degenerate so that I might hold him up before my readers and jab and poke at him like a despicable piƱata.

Lately the bastards have just been throwing themselves at me. Call me old fashioned, but such blatant douchiness destroys my urge to throw them on the See You Next Tuesday pyre.  Instead, I shrink back with shame at the thought of joining the lamestream media (© Sarah Palin, 2011) in their bland, effortless criticisms.  And it's really saying something that I'm feeling this way between seasons of "Jersey Shore."

So, just who is to blame for my reluctance to even blog about these exploits? Whose scandals, trysts and total embarrassing idiocy is heart-breakingly too easy to make fun of? Try Arnold Schwartzenegger's love childthat woman who gave her 8-year-old Botox, Newt Gingrich’s entire campaign staff abandoning himthe people who believed The Onion news story about Prince William and Kate’s divorce, Ramona Singer, that woman who lied about giving her 8-year-old Botox, every Kardashian, Coco Austin’s butt implants, Pakistan bumbling every national security bone we throw them, Tracy Morgan's homophobic ranting, and, sweet Jesus Christ on a cracker, the crown glory, the definition of "too easy," the if-this-were-an-SNL-sketch-it'd-be-hokey-unoriginal-filler story: Congressman Anthony Weiner’s accidental twit-pic-ing of his wiener to ugly women while his successful, attractive wife was busy negotiating international diplomacy over the top of her giant pregnant belly and then lying about it and calling reporters "jackasses" and saying his computer was hacked and DID I MENTION HIS EFFING LAST NAME IS WEINER?!?!?!?! LIKE AS IN A PENIS??!!?!

I just can’t take this, guys. I just can’t take a story that’s already written for me.  There’s no effort required to make Anthony Weiner look stupid and hilarious and totally disgusting and contemptable.  Adding "See You Next Tuesday" in front of his headlines wouldn't make the scandal any more juvenile or unsophisticated than it already is.  So, out of utter disappointment and redundancy, (and also out of traveling, my "other" job as a lawyer, and a "Real Housewives of New York" marathon, but mostly out of disappointment), I have refrained these last few weeks from even writing a See You Next Tuesday. 

Today, I pose a challenge to you all out there who are famous or reality-famous or semi-famous or Twitter-famous or politics-famous: behave a little better.  Don't make yourself such easy targets. Show the tiniest shred of grace, decorum, pants-wearing; avoid abusing social networking sites, stop cheating on your hot, ambitious wives and lying about it like little turdfaces, and for chrissake, stop taking handheld cellphone mirror photos altogether, all the time, no exceptions, ever.  I know that all seems hard, and I know you're thinking "but what else is there to do?" So, I put together a list of suggestions for other activities.

Alison's Boomstick's Special Segment: Things To Do That Aren't Tweeting Your Wiener or Injecting Chemicals Into Your Child's Face Or Lying About Doing Those Things:

  • Rent the first season of "Mad Men;"
  • Plan your Halloween costume. Really get into it this year. For added challenge: plan a non-slutty Halloween costume. Or even a Mad Men-themed costume!;
  • Read a book. Kindles count, as long as you don't try to use them to photograph your penis.
  • Write an essay on whether Robert Downy Jr. should be properly considered to be part of the Brat Pack;
  • Make fun of someone who drives a Honda Element;
  • Sports;
  • Have sex with your actual wife;
  • Go to a street fair; 
  • Buy some Ed Hardy tee shirts; burn them; 
  • Fix the economy;
  • Call CBS and personally thank them for cancelling "Two and a Half Men;" 
  • Try to write an episode of a television show worse than "Two and a Half Men" (this one is worth extra points for being incredibly challenging);
  • Pick one obscure blogger and devote your life to making her famous. (Email me for suggestions!)
 This list is just a starter! I bet there are literally dozens of other things to do that don't involve your cell phone and your penis and scaring your children for life!  Feel free to suggest more alternatives to being a douche in the comments, and I'll See You Next Tuesday!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Twatting Up a Storm

This screen shot epitomizes the entire reason I joined Twitter:

Did you get that, guys? I joined Twitter.  Follow me @AlisonBoomstick:

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Behind the Scenes

On June 11th of last year, I posted my favorite selections from a brilliant Empire magazine photo shoot where actors reprised their most memorable roles for some stylized photos.  So, on June 11th one year later, I thought I'd continue this theme and share some really fabulous behind the scenes photos from some of my favorite films.  This selection of films, taken in their totality, is a scarily accurate representation of my entire taste in movies.  (And I wrote comments and stuff so this post is not a total cop-out.)

Dustin Hoffman demonstrating how not to talk to a Nazi (Sir Laurence Olivier) in Marathon Man, 1976.

Jack Nicholson, probably about to murder Stanley Kubrick in The Shining, 1980
"Mein director! I can walk!" Peter Sellers and a much younger Kubrick in Dr. Strangelove, 1964
The world's whitest dude meets the world's blackest dude.  Philip Seymour Hoffman, Spike Lee, and Edward Norton in The 25th Hour, 2002.
Francis Ford Coppola, probably reading aloud the entire novel of Heart of Darkness to Marlon Brando, Apocalypse Now, 1979.
Robert Zemeckis, looking like the villain from Better Off Dead, chills with Michael J. Fox, Back to the Future, 1985.

The deleted scene from Raiders of the Lost Ark where Indiana Jones meets his lost twin brother (middle back).

They finally convinced Mel the megaphone was anachronistic, Braveheart, 1995.

Old school paparazzi were way less effective with their giant cameras, Casablanca, 1942.
John Hughes ignores Cameron, too, Ferris Bueller's Day Off, 1986.
John Hughes proving he'll talk to anyone but Cameron, with Ally Sheedy and Emilio Estevez, The Breakfast Club, 1985.

Quentin Tarantino dropped the "n-bomb" one too many times, Kill Bill Vol. 1, 2003.
I know I'm doubling up on Indy photos, but I love this photo so much because of Spielberg's E.T. hat.
A photo that makes you think Michael Hayden Church is totally his character in real life, Sideways, 2004.
"Ann, I think there's someone else in the room." Dustin Hoffman, Anne Bancroft, and Mike Nichols in The Graduate, 1967. (For more of these fabulous photos, see Vanity Fair's slideshow.)

Paul Thomas Anderson and Daniel Day Lewis, proving that three names aren't just for political assassins, There Will Be Blood, 2007.
Just the most badass shot ever: James Caan getting shot up in The Godfather, 1972.
The hottest photo of all time: Paul Newman and Robert Redford play ping pong in tiny shorts on the set of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, 1969. Stay tuned for more on Newman/Redford on the blog in the coming weeks.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Flicky Friday (ft. John Cusack)

For this week's Flicky Friday, we're staying in the 80s for a quality horror spoof.  It's like the inverse of The Shining family dramedy trailer: