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John Eskow

Entries by John Eskow

Occupy Reality TV: We Need a Cops-Type Show for Corporate Criminals

(5) Comments | Posted October 20, 2011 | 9:52 AM

There's a raw tabloid poetry to the opening of Cops, the long-running Fox TV reality show: handheld shots of criminals sprinting down alleyways, brawling with policemen, and squirming from taser-shocks, all counterpointed to the thumping reggae-groove of Inner Circle's anthemic "Bad Boys." It's a genius hook, and it's hard to...

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Wolf Blitzer, Master of Life and Death

(7) Comments | Posted February 27, 2011 | 6:00 PM

Friday afternoon, I'm ducking work for an hour and taking a rare trip over to CNN, a station I avoid for a multitude of reasons, including what they do to the English language -- they always seem to be "efforting" to bring us more on a story because they think...

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Christina Aguilera and the Hideous Cult of Oversouling

(1589) Comments | Posted February 8, 2011 | 10:48 AM

To me, the horrific part of Christina Aguilera's rendition of the National Anthem -- and "rendition" is an apt term for it, because she kidnapped the song and shipped it out to be tortured -- was not her mangling of the words, but her mangling of the tune itself: to...

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Commie Sharia Law IS Coming to America. So What Exactly is the Problem?

(2) Comments | Posted February 4, 2011 | 12:31 PM

In recent days, such keen-eyed observers as Glenn Beck, Sharon Angle, and your morbidly obese Uncle Bob have declared that a sinister conspiracy of Communists and Islamic fundamentalists has subverted the Obama administration and the judicial system, and that we are about to witness the coming of Sharia law to...

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The Most Insanely Cruel -- and Zeitgeist-Savvy -- Quiz-Show of All Time

(5) Comments | Posted December 29, 2010 | 5:23 PM

In a way, you have already seen it.

It's called The Million Dollar Money Drop, and it takes the studio-game-show-as-Roman-spectacle to a fresh extreme: though it features the same old tired stagecraft of twenty other shows -- those same endless, milk-the-fake-tension pauses between question and answer, the same...

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Scott Spencer's Man in the Woods: An American Tragedy for the 21st Century

(0) Comments | Posted September 13, 2010 | 9:56 AM

Thirty years ago, Scott Spencer's Endless Love pulled off that rarest of parlays in modern-day fiction: a "literary" novel that crossed over and became a pop success -- a best-seller that spawned a terrible Brooke Shields movie and a saccharine Diana Ross/Lionel Richie theme-song. Since then, he has written...

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$100 Million US Aid to Haiti: $3.3 Billion Quarterly Profit for JP Morgan

(53) Comments | Posted January 16, 2010 | 11:40 AM

It was extremely strange to hear President Obama specify $100 million as America's pledge to the suffering people of Haiti. My first thought was: $100 million is roughly one-quarter of the budget for Avatar. So were we really pledging about forty-five minutes' worth of a 3D sci-fi movie to aid...

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What's the Role of Fiction In a World Gone Completely Berserk?

(20) Comments | Posted October 17, 2009 | 12:31 PM

Let's take a measured step back and check out the off-the-charts Insanity Quotient in just one recent episode of the nightly news.

  • A morbidly obese white entertainer with a palpable terror of black men seeks partial ownership of thirty-five virile, ultra-powerful black men who loathe him.
  • Amid epic battles over...
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The Planting of Dan Melnick and the Death of Hollywood Cool

(1) Comments | Posted October 15, 2009 | 3:58 PM

I woke up this morning enchanted by the first rain in Los Angeles in more than three months, and lay awake for a while to savor the sound of it.

Then I went to the computer and found out my old friend, the truly larger-than-life producer Danny Melnick, had died...

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From Stand-Up Comic to Stand-Up Guy: The Long, Strange Trip of Al Franken

(16) Comments | Posted October 7, 2009 | 1:47 PM

I called Senator Al Franken last night to discuss a matter of crucial national importance: his beloved Minnesota Twins had just defeated the Detroit Tigers in an epic one-game playoff. Senator Franken (D-Minn)'s position was clear, eloquent, and unequivocal: second-baseman Nick Punto's game-saving throw to home plate to nip...

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Michael Jackson: The Short Version

(0) Comments | Posted June 26, 2009 | 12:00 PM

Seeking beauty, he disfigured himself.

Seeking omnipotence he became weak.

Seeking riches he went broke.

"The pure products of America go crazy." -- William Carlos Williams.

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The Suicidal Soldiers of Fort Campbell: In Memoriam, Post-Memorial Day

(20) Comments | Posted May 28, 2009 | 3:54 PM

Now that the television rituals are over -- the theatrically somber voices of the network anchormen; the poetically-framed, stock-footage shots of Arlington Cemetary, and the cracked-bugle versions of "Taps;" maybe a cutesy interview with the Oldest Surviving Veteran of some forgotten battle -- the American media, having done its faux-patriotic...

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The Best Actor and Best Movie of 2008 Weren't Even Nominated

(9) Comments | Posted February 25, 2009 | 4:12 PM

Though Mickey Rourke's work in The Wrestler was nearly as deep and rich as vintage Brando, and Sean Penn was extraordinary in Milk, the most amazing "performance" of 2008 was that of Benicio del Toro as Che -- which, for my dough, was also the movie of the year.


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Ladies and Gentlemen, the (Unscripted) Comedy Stylings of Mister John McCain

(0) Comments | Posted October 20, 2008 | 11:30 AM

So, OK, John McCain did a credible job of reading some nifty one-liners ghost-written for him on Thursday night. But for true aficionados of his Komedy Kapers, there's nothing like watching the Senator's satirical genius set loose in a smoky back-room Republican club -- "McCain being McCain," as they say,...

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The Secret Face of Sarah Palin

(10) Comments | Posted October 9, 2008 | 5:11 PM

Question: What's the difference between a demagogue like Joe McCarthy and one particular Hockey Mom?

Answer: Lipstick.

Senator Joe (Tailgunner Joe) McCarthy was, in many ways, a pioneer of modern Republicanism--i.e. a hateful, small-minded gay-bashing legislator who was also a closet homosexual. But, sadly...

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Seventeen Tired White People In a Room: John McCain Gives the Single Worst Speech In the History of American Politics

(43) Comments | Posted June 4, 2008 | 3:47 PM

First of all, John, you weren't in New Orleans.

You were in Kenner, Louisiana. I have spent a fair amount of time in both Kenner and New Orleans, and believe me, the people who live there are acutely aware of the difference. (And, should they forget, they can always check...

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A Million People Murdered For a Lie, and To Tom Brokaw It's Just Business As Usual

(53) Comments | Posted May 29, 2008 | 2:39 PM

In a medium full of revolting displays of hypocrisy and self-importance, Tom Brokaw gave a performance last night that was so hypocritical and so self-important that I wanted to make like Elvis watching Robert Goulet and shoot out the screen with a .38. Fortunately, I was unarmed, and the TV...

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Dear Hillary: How Can We Miss You If You Won't Go Away?

(42) Comments | Posted May 23, 2008 | 4:06 PM

The Fat Lady has not only sung; she has showered, changed from her sequined gown into jeans, air-kissed the conductor, and already gone back to the hotel, where she's lying in a bathtub, drinking wine and daydreaming about her next gig. Back at the opera-house, one lone janitor is sweeping...

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How Dead Language -- and the Language of Death -- Spelled Doom For Hillary Clinton's Campaign

(36) Comments | Posted May 21, 2008 | 9:54 PM

"Words matter," as Hillary Clinton so often reminded us; and like all campaigns, hers lived and died by the spoken word. Of the millions of dollars she poured into her own campaign, much of it no doubt went into paying speechwriters.

She has grounds to sue them for incompetence, and...

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Hologram Man: The Sad, Weird Twilight of George Bush

(18) Comments | Posted May 20, 2008 | 10:32 AM

I've been thinking a lot about George Bush lately. About those strange tics and contortions he makes with his face, like a Neanderthal Man playing Grand Theft Auto. About the fact that you and I still pay his salary. And about what, exactly, his real job is. He's not "president"...

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