March 5, 2011 § 1 Comment

I would have preferred to publish this column this morning so that you’d have plenty of intellectual roughage to chomp on throughout the day but alas, I missed my self-imposed deadline. I need a cigar-smoking, bellicose editor breathing down my neck, ensuring some kind of punctuality on my part. No matter; I hereby provide you with some grist for your Friday night conversational mill.


We must stop this habit of doling out media coverage to people who not only aren’t deserving of it, but who’ve also indulged in monstrous and/or unacceptable behaviour in order to procure that same media coverage. This terrific New York Times article op-ed piece explores how Sheen’s denigration and abuse of women hasn’t seemed to prevent most so-called journalists from slurping up to him in presumably paid-for interviews. Maybe if we all ignored the guy and stopped rewarding bad behaviour, he and other idiots like him might try something else. Either way, it’d mean less intellectual pollution for all of us.


I’ll admit it- this show has always been a guilty pleasure, but since Steve Harvey took over as host it has gone to a new level. The questions have always been tremendously leading, ie. “name something that a couple does in their bedroom at night with the lights off that involves touching each other- 10 answers on the board!”; the difference is nowadays the contestants aren’t trying to be cute with their answers, happily covering drug use, sex and prostitution in their attempt to win the game. The priceless part of all this is Harvey’s responses: he possesses one of the great deadpan gazes in game show history.


I don’t know if the folks at the Apple Store are geniuses, but I do think the people who design these places come close. If you haven’t been to a Genius Bar yet, it’s worth spending the two grand on a mac just to be able to do so. Geeky-looking computer nerds patrol the space, Ipads in hand, ready to help. I had to go twice this week; on both occasions the experience was far too quick. I felt like one of those old hypochondriacal old ladies who have a crush on their doctor and show up every few days, telling the handsome young medic that they don’t feel well. Did they fix my computer? Doesn’t matter.


Anyone who’s visited or lived in New York has not experienced the city fully until they’ve taken a walk through and around Grand Central. Train travel is as relevant as ever and with flying becoming more and more painful and expensive by the day, high-speed rail covering distances

of 500 miles or less should be an easy alternative, if we ever decide to build it in this country. So it was with great sadness that I took a look at some pics of the old, magnificent Penn Station, which was demolished in the early 60s so that a soulless office building and the “world’s most mediocre…er, famous- arena”, Madison Square Garden, could be built, enriching corporations at the expense of the public. Let this be a lesson to all of us: before we decide to allow companies to have their way and destroy a great landmark, because it has ceased to be “useful”, we might want to examine what is and isn’t useful from a broader perspective, so that we might preserve structures which nourish our soul and add beauty to our day-to-day lives, not to mention moving us around efficiently at an affordable price.


He’s a politician, people. Yes, he’s a good man at heart, he has good intentions and if he had his way and could operate as a benevolent dictator, I think we’d have universal healthcare, strict environmental laws and abolition of corporate personhood…

But he isn’t. In addition, having watched We the People, the documentary about Obama’s rise to the presidency, I now have a new and more tolerant attitude toward the man and a greater understanding of why he has compromised so much in his short time as President: he wants to continue to win elections. The movie is very revealing in that sense, showing him not as a present day Dr.King, fearlessly crashing through societal and political resistance, but more of a hybrid of Bill Clinton in public and Dennis Kucinich at the dinner table with Michelle. What the movie illuminated for me is that his inner Kucinich will only ever be visible between the lines because guess what? The man wants to win. Understanding that, my expectations can be  a little lower and my appreciation of his small victories greater.

I wish I had a button for this. Can’t think of one and you’re all waiting for me to finish so you can venture out into this balmy Friday evening. Who am I to stop you.

Pictures, from top: The beautiful original Penn Station.

Obama the professional politician.



  • Michael Boehm says:

    Hi Mark. Love your passion.I must say that i’m suprised that a scribe as intelligent as yourself, still holds Mr “Change you can believe in” Obama, in any kind of esteem, let alone make excuses for him. Yes, he is a much better public speaker, more charismatic and a better salesman than boy George Bush could ever dream of. His policies, however, once you remove the rhetoric, are the policies of, and for, Wall st, and the financial Oligarchs that own and control, both sides of politics. The old game of playing off, of the left vs right political ideology and paradigm, is subtefuge, and a smokescreen, to confuse and obscure Joe and Mary public from realising or seeing where the real power and decision making in society comes from. In the United States, that would be primarily the private international financial shareholders of The Federal Reserve, shaping and effecting policies through The Council on Foreign Relations, Trilateral Commission and The Bilderberg Group.That’s why virtually identical policies, constantly get introduced around the world in western countries, at the same time, regardless of whether the governments in those countries are positioned at the so called “left” or “right” of the political spectrum.
    Thats also why over 99% of all U.S Senators and Congressman from both the Democrats and Republicans are members of The CFR and Trilateral Commission. These institutions, oopps… “think tanks” are the womb through which all government domestic and foreign policies are conceived and born. Obama and boy George Bush, like the presidents before them, right back to after JFK, are merely the mouthpieces, legislators, and salespeople for, policy designers and social engineers, behind the scenes. If this is news to you, try doing you tube searches with search terms such as “Hillary Clinton and the CFR” or “Dick Cheney and the CFR” or “Obama and the CFR” to see video footage of the above mentioned politicains, giving speeches in which they are quite candid in acknowledging just how influential this “Policy Making Organisation” is, and why the major media owners, who are also senior CFR members, are amazingly quiet, on this subject.
    “We are grateful to The Washington Post, The New York Times, Time Magazine and other great publications whose directors have attended our meetings and respected their promises of discretion for almost forty years. It would have been impossible for us to develop our plan for the world if we had been subject to the bright lights of publicity during those years. But, the work is now much more sophisticated and prepared to march towards a world government. The supranational sovereignty of an intellectual elite and world bankers is surely preferable to the national autodetermination practiced in past centuries.”
    David Rockefeller, founder of the Trilateral Commission, in an address to a meeting of The Trilateral Commission, in June, 1991.

    “There is no such thing, at this date of the world’s history, in America, as independent press. You know it and I know it.There is not one of you who dares to write your honest opinions, and if you did, you know beforehand that it would never appear in print. I am paid weekly for keeping my honest opinion out of the paper I am connected with. Others of you are paid similar salaries for similar things, and any of
    you who would be so foolish as to write honest opinions
    would be out on the streets looking for another job. If I allowed my honest opinions to appear in one issue of my paper, before twentyfour hours my occupation would be
    gone. The business of the journalists is to destroy the truth; to lie outright; to pervert; to vilify; to fawn at the feet of mammon, and to sell his country and his race for his daily bread. You know it and I know it and what folly is this toasting an independent press? We are the tools and vassals of rich men behind the scenes. We are the jumping jacks, they pull the strings and we dance. Our talents, our possibilities and our lives are all the property of other men.
    We are intellectual prostitutes.”
    John Swinton, the former Chief of Staff for the New York Times (“All the News That’s Fit to Print”) and one of America’s best loved newspaper journalists.

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