TV SoundOff: Sunday Talking Heads
Good morning and happy Easter and happy Passover and welcome to your Sunday morning liveblog of the images that flicker and bob inside your teevee box on Sunday morning. My name is Jason. Lent is over! You may now stop giving up whatever it was you were giving up before -- that's a good thing if it was "avoiding Larry Summers' teevee appearances, because apparently he is EVERYWHERE today, bringing his hot, weather-beaten, sexual energy to multiple shows. It's a bad thing if what you gave up for Lent was "heroin," or "being a complete dick," or "doing what the massive cloud of unholy, blood curdling rage that lives behind my eyes tells me to do." But hey, maybe what you gave up for Lent was "participating in a church-wide misprision of felony related to sexual predators in my employ." Lent: It's a Mixed Bag!
Much like this liveblog, I imagine. As always you are free to send emails or write comments or follow me on Twitter after the day is done for whatever stray droppings can be collected. Today will be a special day, too. One that some of you will enjoy, but many others will probably hate, terribly. Oh, well!
Oh, hey. Speaking only for myself, everyone should read this Cord Jefferson piece comparing the incendiary rhetoric of Glenn Beck with the radio transmissions that the Hutus used in Rwanda to slowly stoke a bunch of ordinary people into becoming a mob of brutal and highly efficient murderers:
These days, a great many Americans know FNC heavyweight Glenn Beck's nightly rhetoric to be silly, frequently factually incorrect, and, most of all, melodramatic. In fact, recently, even other Fox staffers have started turning on the blubbering simp. Still, few people seem to be discussing how, given the right circumstances, a person like Beck can go from laughable clown to dangerous threat almost overnight
I've often thought Beck's fearmongering was a bit troubling, but I didn't realize just how troubling until this weekend, when I compared it to some RTLM transcripts.
FOX NEWS SUNDAY
Today, we have Jon Kyl and Arlen Specter and some hack who's writing the new "Contract With America" for the GOP, plus a panel, so, yeah, pretty mind-numbing stuff today, as everyone goes to church the one time a year they go to church.
So, hey, the unemployment numbers. They are a "mixed picket," Wallace says, which I don't understand. Kyl says that Congress will have to extend unemployment, but not do any stimulus. He hates the stimulus, and apparently he hates the census takers, even though, aren't temporary public sector jobs perfect for this crisis? Gets people through, doesn't add permanent workforce to the government? Also, he really wants the stock market to go up, because that's somehow the most important thing of all? Like I said, it's Easter, this is the B-Team.
Specter speaks as if sucking on marbles, and today he is talking about how the recession would have been worse if it hadn't been for the stimulus, and then it's a wide and sudden veer to the steel industry and China and Iranian nukes. "We have a real problem with the Chinese, they are very shrewd and they out manuver us," in the fields of job taking and currency manipulation. Specter is totally fired up about the Chinese, today!
Kyl won't rule out the prospect of "bipartisanship" for the rest of the year, and suggests that a lot of the hot talk about not playing ball anymore was hot talk, borne out of the "frustration" of losing the health care debate. But he thinks it's possible to get GOP votes for things. He says he's worried that financial reform won't be one of those things.
Specter isn't so sure, pointing out that only Senator Bob Corker seems interested in financial reform. Kyl, he says, is "painting a rosier picture" than the reality. Specter, nevertheless, hates him some partisan gridlock. Maybe everyone should try switching parties, for a month. Kind of like a Freaky Friday, where Republicans become Democrats. One side would learn how hard it is to do live the other one's life, and the other side would become a coked-out drunk stumbling around Hollywood, watching their career slowly die.
Kyl still thinks bipartisan regulatory reform is possible. Probably it would help if you eliminated the "regulation" and the "reform." If it's a cake, with icing that reads, "Maybe don't screw us in the short pants, again, Wall Street," I think that will get passed.
Now they are talking about replacing Justice Stevens. Specter says that he supports a nominee with a broader background. Specter will not be telling Fox News his nominee suggestions -- that is an exclusive he is reserving for springing on the President during the opening day of baseball, probably at some terrible Nationals game. Wallace says that he is unhappy to lose the exclusive, but won't drag it out of him by force.
Kyl won't commit to not filibustering nominees, and hopes that Obama nominates someone who is ideological or has "preconceived notions" -- unless of course its a bunch of ideologies and preconceived notions that he shares.
Kyl is generically disappointed in the news about the RNC and Michael Steele, and their terrible spending habits.
And now, Kevin McCarthy, the GOP's "top recruiter" of House candidates, is here for the Fox News Sunday "Infomercial About Republicans."
How good a year is the GOP going to have this year? A good year? OR THE GOODEST YEAR? McCarthy says it's too early to tell what's going to happy. He says that there is a good chance available to retake the House, and so they will run a national campaign. Like the kind of national campaign that the DNC used to run until they got rid of Howard Dean, it sounds like.
What are the key issues? Jobs, McCarthy says, and then a bunch of vacuous ones like "liberty" and "pride" and probably having bald eagles land on your birthday cake to sing Lee Greenwood songs. His new "contract with America" is going to be written by Americans, on the internet and with phone apps. So look for the New Contract With America to include things like "hot teen pr0n" and "text 76578 to CONTRACTZ WITH AMERICA for your free download of a singing trout."
McCarthy is SO ANGRY ABOUT THE DEFICIT HE HELPED CAUSE! So there will be a new "direction" and a new "roadmap" and everyone will fly to the moon and start over, dranksippin' on moonwater, developing super powers, and getting their bounce on in a lower gravitational environment.
"I think we've been earning our way back," McCarthy says, "Look at the stimulus, everyone voted no." And then "everyone" went back to their home district and bragged about passing the stimulus.
"Hold our feet to the fire," McCarthy says, stopping short of saying that the New Contract With America will contain a clause that allows people to actually roast Jim Inhofe's feet, and roast them in a cranberry reduction.
The Tea Party, he says, is "organically grown frustration" and it's positive and helpful. But no, please don't run any special independent Tea Party candidates, please, please! Just keep infusing salsa with your frustration, and drawing Hitler mustaches on everything.
Stan Greenberg says the GOP has "peaked too early," and McCarthy disagrees, and thinks Stan Greenberg is bad and should feel bad. "This election is going to be more about America," thus ruling out the possibility that it will be about small European countries like Andorra and Lichtenstein.
McCarthy says the RNC needs to shape up, but Michael Steele has worked "very hard." Still, heads may have to roll, but let's remember that Michael Steele...he is just "in charge" of the organization. How is he supposed to do everything?
And now, Panel Time, with Hume, Kristol and Williams, with Nina Easton in for Mara Liasson.
So: jobs! Jobs are still terrible! Brit Hume says the president is right to say we are "beginning to turn the corner." He also says, "Happy Easter," to everyone, including Tiger Woods. Still, the jobs situation will be terrible, come election time. Easton says that we are still not adding enough jobs to the economy, and that unemployment will be high for a long time, so STOP RAISING TAXES until jobs come back, and then, and ONLY THEN, can you CONTINUE TO NOT RAISE TAXES, EVEN HARDER.
Bill Kristol says that Obama is "not talking about the right kind of legislation" that will help growth. He says that we will have a mild recovery and a lapse back and a "Japanese style recession," and I am totally relieved, because of the Unified Field Theorem of Bill Kristol Being Wrong About Everything. Juan Williams says that everyone is being really negative, and that it is really going to hurt his stock market investments, so please stop!
Williams talks about bringing back the manufacturing base, to which Hume replies that the White House doesn't know how the private sector works. The economy "needs to be unleashed." Williams thinks that's crazy! Kristol says, "BLAH WE NEED BUSH TAX CUTS." Williams points out that the administration has cut taxes. Hume says, "Yeah, but not in a way that's meaningful to people that matter."
Then, Williams and Hume yell at each other about who wants to snuggle with bankers and who doesn't.
Bill Kristol says that the only things that will stop Iran is the "success of the Green movement," which "Obama hasn't done enough to help" (THAT'S BECAUSE IT WOULD IMMEDIATELY DE-LEGITIMIZE THEM) and which he is "indifferent to" (YES, IT'S INDIFFERENCE THAT LED THE STATE DEPARTMENT TO ASK TWITTER TO NOT PERFORM MAINTENANCE AFTER THE ELECTION.) The other thing that Kristol thinks will stop Iran? MILITARY ACTION! This would ACTUALLY be very unhelpful to the Green movement in Iran. You know: BOMBING THEM? Not helpful? And it would also demonstrate "indifference," except we would probably, in fairness, add the word "depraved" to the word "indifference" and thus have the title of a new Weekly Standard column.
Williams suggests that there has actually been progress made, to bring "recalcitrant" parties like Russia and China into the coalition against Iran.
Bill Kristol says the most important thing that has ever happened is that some guy published an op-ed in Ha'aretz about how Israel was going to "have to" strike Iran, "this year." There's nothing Kristol respects more than pointless belligerence in newspaper op-eds!
Kristol is mad about how the Obama administration is not doing more to game out the use of force in Iran, ignoring the fact that maybe there isn't a whole lot of force left uncommitted to Iraq and Afghanistan? When the actual human beings who participate in masturbatory warmaking are just abstractions, I guess there is no limit to the number of people who can die.
Jobs! It's still pretty hard out there for a pimp, especially all you pimps who are discouraged about finding some new work. GOOD NEWS! LARRY SUMMERS IS HERE, so the good times can start to slowly roll!
Summers: "The process of job creation has started, we expect it will accelerate...we're in no position to rest." So we will have "infrastructure projects" and a renewed focus on small business. But the middle-class tax cuts and health care reform are important parts of the job creation framwork.
Jake Tapper asks if the famous bikini bottom bar graph will continue trend upwards. Summers hedges his bets -- "the numbers fluctuate" but he suspects they will "trend upwards." "What happens will depend on choices we make," specifically, I imagine, the choices of Republicans in Congress, goes his implication.
By September, unemployment will still be bad, but not as bad as it could be, trust him! Everyone could be dying in a metaphorical fire! But Obama reads some letters in the Oval Office every day, and no one has written, "HALP, ME AND MY FAMILEE ARE LITERALLY DYING IN A FIRE, FROM UNDEREMPLOYMENT."
Do sixty votes to pass regulatory reform exist? Summers thinks so, but there is another obscene amount of lobbying going on. Lobbyists, in multitudes, have attached themselves to Congresscritters like land-borne lampreys, endlessly sucking all there is to endlessly suck out of Congress. But nevertheless he's confident! "How can anyone take the position, after what happened?" Well, lots of people with lots of money and influence want to get up to the same shenanigans again, so, there's your answer.
Does the Dodd bill really affect "Too Big To Fail?" Summers says it really does. It "changes the expectation of bailouts" and is "direct attack" on the TBTF concept my making failure possible.
Tapper asks if Summers is leaving. He says those rumors are from "personality stories" and basically says no he's not going anywhere, he serves at the pleasure of the President, won't get into hyptheticals, blah blah.
Oh noes it's Alan Greenspan! He's not sure that there will be a strong rebound after the "extraordinary decline" that transpired. But we are "on the edge of a significant buildup."
Greenspan says the commercial real estate bubble has already popped, and that "severe secondary reactions" would have already occurred. Errr, I hope he's right!
Rose colored glasses, I guess? Momentum is in the economy and there will be no double-dip recession. He borrowed those specs from the CBO, though, who Greenspan believes rated health care reform too highly as a deficit reducer. "You have to ask, what if we are wrong," Greenspan says, apparently flaunting some new knowledge.
Does Greenspan support the Volcker rule? "I think the point that he is making...I would agree with." But, Greenspan says, that in practice, the Volcker rule would be very "hard to apply in a general way."
Jake asks Greenspan if the "flaw" he perceived in the markets is an "indictment of Ayn Rand," and naturally, Greenspan says no, "not at all." "It's not the principle of free markets, it's the strict application." coupled with the inability to properly see the inherent risk involved in certain financial devices, the sort that broght down Lehman Brothers.
Now they get into this Michael Burry op-ed in today's New York Times. Tapper quotes the final paragraph:
Mr. Greenspan should use his substantial intellect and unsurpassed knowledge of government to ascertain and explain exactly how he and other officials missed the boat. If the mistakes were properly outlined, that might both inform Congress's efforts to improve financial regulation and help keep future Fed chairmen from making the same errors again.
Greenspan insists that he is "interested in what Burry has to say." Greenspan places himself in the "group who got it wrong." Then it basically gets a little weird: Greenspan says that if everyone thought like Burry, Burry wouldn't have been able to make money selling subprime short. That's...true...but that's well beside the point of "informing Congress's efforts to improve financial regulation and help keep future Fed chairmen from making the same errors again."
Panel time with George Will and Matt Dowd and Robert Reich and Karen Finney. George Will is unhappy that the economy hasn't recovered. Dowd says that the good news is occluded by the fact that Americans "do not believe" that things are getting better. He also points out that the biggest recovery has been in the District of Columbia, which much of the country doesn't see "as a good thing," but I do: WOO, GO DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA!
Reich points out that a full-fledged recovery looks more like 2,000,000 jobs added to the economy in a year. I'd imagine that this century has never seen those numbers.
Dowd has said this a bunch of times: The good thing the Republicans have going for them is that they do not require a "pro-active" message to succeed. That's good in the short-term, but bad long term. Dowd's previously warned that the GOP is likely to take 2010 gains and badly overplay their hand. Tapper uses a good term, "winning by default." If we're being honest, "default" has been the strongest care the Democrats have held in 2006 and 2008. Now, they get to run on health care. It's a little like watching a bunch of people learn Braille!
Reich: still concerned about a jobless recovery. "We don't have the skills we need to keep up in a global economy." So, when jobs come back, they "may not be very good jobs." Big companies, Reich says, are "decoupling" their larger business strategies from the American economy.
Reich goes off on the Committee To Save The World. "Those three" -- Rubin, Summers, and Greenspan -- did all the deregulating and telling Brooksley Born that she could shove it. Apparently, Reich's "teeth were gnashing in the Green Room," listening to Summers and Greenspan.
George Will says that Michael Steele is in the wrong job, that the RNC chair is a job that is best done by someone striving for "anonymous perfection." Dowd says it's never good to be associated with lesbian bondage clubs unless you work at the club, but that what's more important is the RNC's hypocrisy -- the RNC's spending cuts against the fiscal values they pimp.
The chyron, during this segment, reads "RNC XXXPENSES." I don't think ABC understands that this looks a lot like "RNC XXXPENISES." I am going to use the term "RNC XXXPENISES" though, so I can benefit from all the search confusion.
Now they are talking about "American Crossroads," which has been established as the "shadow RNC," in that they will keep their strippers in the shadows.
Now, for whatever reason, they are asking Karen Finney and Matty Dowd about the troubles at the Vatican. Why doesn't the chyron read, "PAPAL XXXPENISES?"
TURNER CLASSIC MOVIES presents EASTER PARADE
And now, in the spirit of recent holidays, I think that I shall focus this week's contemporary politics through the prism of the Fred Astaire/Judy Garland classic, Easter Parade. This is because this liveblog is essentially a lawless, rogue state, and I am feeling oddly frisky and because I promised my wife I'd TiVo it for her, because she loves it, and that means my TiVo cannot get MEET THE PRESS today, too bad for America!
EASTER PARADE, which documents some weird bygone traditions like bursting into spontaeous songs and walking around in public wearing stupid looking hats, for Jesus. Fred Astaire opens the movie shopping for hats, and you watch a bunch of ladies stroll out from a back room wearing them, which indicates that customer service used to actually MEAN SOMETHING. My wife confesses that it always upsets her when he chooses the boring white hat over the obviously superior yellow one.
Then Fred Astaire walks into some other store and has the sort of uncomfortable encounter with a small boy that is landing the Vatican in such a mess this Easter. But no worries, little boy! He just wants to take your bunny away from you! So he stages another elaborate musical number, filled with LIES about how "drums take the melody." "NO THEY DON'T!" my wife says! STOP LYING TO THE CHILDREN, FRED ASTAIRE.
Seriously, where is this child's mother, to put a stop to this? Where is the shopkeeper to tell Fred Astaire to stop making a scene? Anyway, he totally STEALS THE BUNNY. This is why children always HATED Fred Astaire.
AHH BUT ALL THOSE PRESENTS ARE FOR NAUGHT! Because Anne Miller is getting all mad shirty about wanting to stop doing a show with Fred Astaire, and do her own thing. But Astaire complains "It only happens when I dance with you!" By which he means, only Ann Miller can help Astaire with his erectile dysfunction. But for Ann Miller, it "only happens" when Peter Lawford brings her a tiny dog, to go with her beige suit!
Anyway, "it must sound terribly selfish of" her -- because it is TOTALLY SELFISH -- but Ann Miller has signed a bunch of contracts to do a new show! But she's already signed contracts to keep dancing with Fred Astaire, and helping him with his boners? HA HA, only Fred Astaire signed those contracts, so BURN! Anyway, that's how Ann Miller came to run the Federal Reserve, BUT THAT'S ANOTHER MUSICAL.
So Astaire and Lawford runs out to a bar, to get they dranksippin' on and smoke cigarettes in privately owned businesses, just like they did back in Christopher Hitchens day! Astaire bets that he can take "any one of" the terrible dancing grisl in the terrible dancing show and replace Anne Murray. He goes ahead and uses the show as his own special slave market, and after about four seconds of consideration, selects Judy Garland, for some reason!
Luckily, Judy Garland, after tearing up Fred Astaire's business card, realizes that she should go his terrible show, because it pays more than the terrible show she is in now. This is the sort of pressure that could lead one to doing a lot of drugs! Instead, Garland sings about how she, just like the Hutaree militia, were from Michigan.
This is not that song:
Anyway, the next day, Astaire is like, "DAMN, I GOT MAD CRUNK LAST NIGHT AND I THINK I TOLD SOME TERRIBLE SINGER TO QUIT HER TERRIBLE SINGER JOB, GAH I AM A DRUNK LOSER." And, right on time, Judy Garland shows up and is like, "Wow, I quit my job for you! And my name is Hannah Brown." Astaire says, "We can fix that" because, what? Is "Hannah Brown" not WASPy enough? I don't know.
Anyway, Garland tells some sob story about not knowing her left from her right, and for some reason she's worn a rather restirictive A-line dress to a dance rehearsal?
Astaire tells her to look at him so that it looks like she's crazy hot for him. "CLOSER, CLOSER, MORE, MORE!" But no boner action.
Then they leave rehearsal, and it's an Easter Parade! They used to do this on New York's Fifth Avenue, and maybe they still do, I don't know? Total burn though, as they see Ann Miller in the Easter Parade, walking like a Botoxed robot. Garland says she looks beautiful except for the terrible hat that my wife hates but that is a total burn on Fred Astaire since that's the last thing he bought for her. "One year from today, you are going to put her nose out of joint," Astaire warns, telling Garland that revenge is a dish best served in the form of girl-on-girl violence.
Later, he tells her that she'll have to change her name to "Juanita" and become a lot hotter. So she does this thing where she walks in front of him and makes a weird face and everyone turns to look at her. Because Astaire is a shallow dickhead, he naturally assumes, "Oh, well, she is super attractive!" But really Garland just has her own thing going on that's very charming and maybe if Fred Astaire could accept her for who she is, and stop trying to turn her into Ann Miller, he might discover some qualities in her that he likes!
They do a show, and it's goes okay, but really, it's boring, and he should maybe do something more interesting? Like "bondage themed lesbian simulated sex in West Hollywood?"
FUN FACT! Easter Parade is generally considered to be the "prequel" of Cloverfield, and the Cloverfield monster was patterned on the graceful movements of Ann Miller!
Astaire ends up having dinner with Ann Miller, and it is awkward because he still wants her to be in his show, and she doesn't, and he is a jerk and she is awful, and THIS RELATIONSHIP JUST ISN'T HAPPENING, GUYS! Astaire leaves Miller at the restaurant by herself, which was once the worst thing you could do to a woman, because society did not accord them autonomy!
Oh, but now it is raining and people are looking at the rain as if they'd never seen rain before in their lives. "OH WOW IS THIS THE 'RAIN' I READ ABOUT IN THE NEWSPAPERS? SEEMS WET!" But Garland runs into Peter Lawford and they sort of have the "meet cute" and he buys a fruit stand umbrella to walk with her. He sings about how he is a "Fella With An Umbrella." Way back then, it was okay to sing about totally mundane things! After all, this was an age where rain caught everyone by surprise and freaked them out utterly. The song basically does not go anything like this:
Anyway, Fred Astaire had a sort of epiphany, but it wasn't, "OMG! I am a titanic, utter dick!" But it was sort of okay, because he realizes that Judy Garland just sort of has to be herself, and she's at least superior to David Gregory. They sing a song about how great pianos are, and then suddently get up and dance, with Astaire asking her, "Do you know this dance?" And Garland says, "Of course, like all people in American society, I know a number of standard dances that have been passed down through oral traditions." BUT DO WE GO TO FAR? WHEN PIANOS TRY TO BE GUITARS?
Imagine how awesome musicals would have been if the Moog synthesizer had come along fifty years sooner.
Anyway, they basically have this show about comedy dance numbers about musical instruments? There's the piano song, and one about a violin, and "I'm so Bored With My Harpischord," and "Dithering With My Zither," and "I'm Just a Strumpet, A Strumpet with a Trumpet." Also, a song about Alabama and trains. Suddenly the show isn't so terrible! But I worry that Astaire is still too hung up on Ann Miller! And that Peter Lawford's fondness for Judy Garland may cause some complications! And what if the Cloverfield monster ruins the Easter Parade???
Oh, snap! It turns out that Astaire didn't count on this little show about strategically placed musical instruments would be subsumed within Ann Miller's new show. And no one told Garland about how Astaire still carries a mad torch for Miller. COMPLICATIONS!
Anyway, Garland leaves and does the most non-committal hailing of a taxi in the history of New York City. Luckily Peter Lawford happens along, and he is driving a horrific, tacky car, and wearing a full length mink coat and he looks like an absolute git, and so it will be okay if in the end his relationship with Garland falters, because he is the John Crier of this movie. They agree to meet later.
Anyway, Astaire meets up with her and tells her that he didn't agree to be a part of the show. Garland is all, "Whuuhh?" But Astaire assures her that she is so much better, with her nine days of professional rehearsal and training than Ann Miller, a beloved and popular performer, that Miller and Mr. Ziegfield can go eat a bag of cheddar dongs." Then, they are like, "WOAH, I BET WE CAN PASS HEALTH CARE REFORM TOO."
But they don't because Peter Lawford shows up for his date with Judy Garland and it's MAD awkward. Because now no one is helping Astaire with his erectile dysfunction. "Boy, I don't know," Astaire says, "I'm just so sick of all these Easter Parades." HA THAT'S A JOKE, but remember all of this was put in motion because a guy got offended that a lady he bought a hat for didn't want to do a dancing show with him anymore?
That's when Dr. Christina Romer takes Astaire aside and tells him, "It's [the recession] also an unusual one, having been caused by a financial crisis, has created a lot of fear. That's a lot of, you know, we still have some trouble with debt and and credit availability. All of that makes it harder for us to grow. So, most of the forecasts are we'll grow about three percent real GDP and in 2010. That's not enough to get a lot of job growth. We'll get positive job growth. It'll be enough to probably bring the unemployment down a little bit. But you need faster than that to really make a dent."
Would you concede that it [the Stimulus Bill] didn't do as much as you thought it would have done to spark recovery?
DR. CHRISTINA ROMER: Absolutely not. I think it has done exactly what we said it would do and I think the
Well clearly it didn't do what you said it would do which is to keep unemployment at 8 percent.
DR. CHRISTINA ROMER: Well, we had said it would do would to save or create some three and a half million jobs. It's absolutely on track to do that. I also think it's a big part because the reason we've seen, as the President's said, we're beginning to turn the corner. I think experts across the ideological spectrum give the Recovery Act a lot of credit for the dramatic change in the trajectory that that we have seen.
They go back to the one obnoxious restaurant that was open in New York City back then. At that restaurant, there was only one salad available, an extraordinarily overcomplicated salad with about seventeen flavors too many, that could only be explained to diners through an elaborate pantomime performance that takes longer than Peter Brook's performance of the Mahābhārata, and which ultimately compels all but the most daft diners to not order it, because SHUT UP ABOUT YOUR DUMB SALAD.
Anyway, Peter Lawford likes Judy Garland, who likes Fred Astaire, who likes Ann Miller. We've all been there! All that really needs to happen is for a enterprising Ecstasy dealer to arrive in Manhattan right now and we can solve all over this, with the foursome exploring their bodies and inventing the Moog synthesizer. And also, Christina Romer would be there! But we'd be tripping such balls at that point that no one's mellow would get harshed. And then Astaire would dance down the street, talking to his reflection in windows, all of whom would tell him, "You don't need to see your doctor about this, no sir! Also, be careful that you don't get caught up in this whole World War One thing that's going to happen."
Fred Astaire is a self-loathing, emo, idiot, so he goes to see Ann Miller's show, which is pretty good, even though it is about going down South and getting way into voodoo? I don't think we truly have an appreciation for how little sense everything made back then. EXCEPT HERE'S JOE LIEBERMAN:
DAVID GREGORY: Do you worry that the U.S., and the west more generally, is drifting toward war with Iran in some fashion?
SENATOR JOSEPH LIEBERMAN: Well I appreciated the president's statement and to tell you the truth I worry more that we're not going to do enough to stop Iran from developing a nuclear weapon quickly enough. I believe we're at a turning point in history. Iran with nuclear weapons is going to mean this world will be a lot less safe then it is today. There are already threats to our safety every day. We've never - This is an extremist, expansionist power. There's never been another country like this with nuclear weapons, and we've got to impose tough sanctions quickly. I believe Congress will adopt a tough sanctions bill soon. I hope this month of April.
Secondly, they've gotta be tough because frankly it's the last chance that we're giving Iran and ourselves not to be left with a choice of either accepting them having a nuclear weapon or taking military action. In my opinion, we need to be prepared to take military action to stop the Iranian nuclear program if they refuse to stop themselves.
Why do we have to bomb the nice kids who are getting killed in the streets, trying to not have such an insane country?
Anyway, the next morning comes and Judy Garland is crazy worried that she hasn't heard from Fred Astaire, because he's so depressed and sad and self-loathing! BUT SHE SHOULD HAVE JUST WAITED TWO MINUTES, because Astaire is here, and he's just been talking to the Deus Ex Machina, who wants to put them in a show that's just as good as all other shows, forever, and the best part is that they will be pack from tryouts in time for the Easter Parade and the Epic Battle of Ladies Who Have Been Pitted Against Each Other Unknowingly By This Insecure Man Who Doesn't Really Understand That They Have Needs, Too!
Peter Lawford has to settle for Ann Miller, and Garland goes off to have a date with Astaire, but he just wants to rehearse and stuff, and Garland wants to be romanced! "YOU'RE NOTHING BUT A PAIR OF DANCING SHOES." Yeah, stick it to him! He deserves this. Luckily, he knows what color Garland's eyes are, because he checked the Wikipedia.
Garland relents, but ends up singing the Astaire-Miller bonerjuice ballad, "It Only Happens When I Dance With You," and Astaire snaps and rushes out of the room to serially-kill fifteen prostitutes in Battery Park. Just kidding! Actually, that's all Garland ever needed to do was sing the Magical Boner Ballad and now everything is fine! Is there going to be ANY CONFLICT AT ALL IN THIS MOVIE?
That's when Fred Astaire comes out on stage and sings the Black Eyed Peas "Let's Get It Started" and he changes the future! Seriously, it has this crazy slow-motion section of Fred Astaire dancing that was totally the AVATAR crap of its day, except it wasn't a huge scam to get moviegoers to pay crazy sums of money to see crapola in 3-D. I mean, seriously, a remake of CLASH OF THE TITANS? Release the Hacken!
Anyway, horrible person Ann Miller has some spy at the show who's there just to make her feel good about herself and how all the girls in the show are better dancers than Judy Garland. But see, the next number is "A Couple Of Swells," a song about how high U6 unemployment rates used to not be such a big deal because poor people were totally charming with their tatty clothes and toothless grins. Anyway, the whole song basically predicts the collapse of Lehman Brothers and calls for the strict adherence to the Glass-Steagall Act.
Anyway, so, no: Judy Garland is not as good a dancer as Ann Miller, but whatevs, she's JUDY EFFING GARLAND and she's chastely eyeball-screwing Fred Astaire! But for whatever dumbassed reason, in their moment of triumph, Fred Astaire is like: "HEY, LET'S GO SEE MY EX-GIRLFRIEND'S SHOW?"
They go, and they get a big ovation, because they were a hit, and Ann Miller's sycophant spy was a big ol' liar. So Miller sets to scheming about how she can be a crazy underminer.
But first, the John Barrowman of the 1910's come out and sings a song about these things called "magazines" which have "covers." The number uses dancers to pose as three dimensional magazine covers, and this is where Steve Jobs got the idea for the iPad, except the part where it would be named after a feminine hygiene product -- that was the idea of some marketer at Apple.
Anyway, Ann Miller's masterplan is to drag Fred Astaire on stage with her to dance to his Secret Boner Ballad, "It Only Happens When I Dance With You." Which he does, and Judy Garland gets all jealous, because she owns his junk now! So she bolts, because, seriously, Fred Astaire, WHAT A DICK MOVE.
Garland goes back to the terrible dive bar she used to do terrible shows at, and she sings to the bartender. The song does not go like this:
Anyway, Fred Astaire is waiting for Judy Garland when she gets back to her hotel room (why doesn't she have her own New York City apartment, by the way?) and she gets mad at him for dancing with Ann Miller and accusing him of still being in love with her, but he tells her through the door that he loves her, and they can surely build a relationship on his convoluted, Easter-themed revenge plan!
He says he'll stand there all night, but then the other Deus Ex Machina, in the form of a cop, makes him leave, but he does it VERY QUIETLY. For some reason, Astaire isn't smart enough to yell, "Judy Garland! A cop is making me leave, so when you open the door, I won't be standing here! Don't misconstrue this as a sign that I do not care about you and have reneged on my promise to stand here all night! This is all about the very stringent law and order that New York City is known for." He doesn't do this, because he is dumb.
The next day, she is despondent, but Peter Lawford come by and they re-enact the final scene from Pretty In Pink, where he says, "Hey, even though I love you for you, why don't you go make yourself pretty for the superficial dick you've been swanning over, and win back that toxic bag of insecurities?" Garland is like, "WHAT A GREAT IDEA," and it's off to the Easter Parade, where she will destroy Ann Miller, with throwing stars.
Garland gives Astaire a terrible hat, thus symbolically closing the terrible hat circle that the director -- Michael Haneke I think? -- started in the opening scenes. And then everyone loves her in the Easter Parade, and the movie ends, with everyone partnered with people who are bad for them, the men emasculated, the women worse off than they were before, until the Cloverfield monter comes, to eat New York City!
Okay, well, I enourage everyone to watch Anthony Quinn and Jack Palance in BARRABAS, which was the MEET THE PRESS of it's day. Have a happy Easter, and Passover! We'll leave you today with a "Beaster Parade" -- a celebration of mid-career Bob Mould music.
Thanks for letting me totally abuse my platform! It will probably happen again, sorry. Have a glorious week!