Oprah’s Big Give mocks Idol Gives Back

14 04 2008

NewsAnyone who watches American Idol regularly – I watch it irregularly, but in this case, that’s enough – knows that the Australian Michael Johns was voted off this week, to the shock and disappointment of many viewers. Even those who didn’t like him can’t act unsurprised. Simon Cowell had placed him in the likely top three with the only other two that hadn’t yet been in the bottom three: the Davids Cook and Archuleta.

People can talk conspiracy all they want, but clearly someone dropped the ball with this one. No indicator exists that predicted for him to go home. His songs, including the rendition of “Dream On” that subsequently sent him home were (and still are) selling well on iTunes.

More than likely, he just suffered from second-place-ism. In a season where there are three singers that lean toward rock (Michael, David Cook, and Carly), people couldn’t decide which to support. As a result, David Cook received nearly all of the votes for his renditions of songs like Billie Jean and Eleanor Rigby. Though Michael Johns probably places second or third on millions of people’s lists, second and third doesn’t keep them on the show. People have cried out for a correction of this flaw since the very first season when Tamyra Gray was booted before Nikki McKibbin.

In other news, Oprah’s Big Give did not get rid of a contestant this week. They had already slimmed down to three contestants, but apparently decided to let all three participate in the finale. (This was met with cries of “I love this show!” as if she had had no idea). The find their given reason a bit sketchy. The judges said simply, “We couldn’t decide who to send home.” Right…

Clearly, they are mocking Idol, whose host Ryan Seacrest all but said, “Michael Johns, you are going home. Just kidding, no one is going home. Haha, gotcha, you really are going home.” The show that had every reason in the world to keep someone around didn’t. The show that had absolutely no reason to keep someone around did. What is wrong with the people who run these shows?





300 ways to to cause controversy

28 03 2008

PlugsI finally got around to watching the movie 300 in all its glory. No, it wasn’t one of my favorite movies. Yes, it was one of the most visually spectacular films I have ever seen. Overall, though, it was an enjoyable journey into a fantasy world of crazed and battle-hungry men.

300

I emphasize that it was a fantasy world because it seems that way too many people took the movie completely seriously. The movie is based on a graphic novel, the same medium that portrays people as a superheros and all kinds of wondrous and villainous monsters for them to face. It just so happens that the ancient Persians were portrayed as the antagonists in the graphic novel by Frank Miller.

While there is significant historical backing for the occurrence of the Battle of Thermopylae, upon which 300 is based, there is very little conclusive evidence surrounding the various causes and effects of the battle. We have just as much reason to believe that the Spartans were, in fact, the antagonists, and the Persians were the protagonists, hence the controversy.

However, I believe that the politicians far and wide who have publicly denounced the film are only insulting themselves. They are using fiction to fuel political controversy, something that should be avoided at all costs. While Frank Miller certainly wasn’t honoring the memory of the Persians when he drew his novel, his goal was only to create a stark contrast, to make his fictional Spartans 100% for honor and glory. The goal was not to be historically accurate, since that is impossible anyway. Isn’t it a bit below these political figures to also be the national fantasy media reviewer? Shouldn’t they be spending their time trying to improve living conditions or creating beneficial laws?

Many people have touched on this topic before, but it’s worth reiterating. People often choose to be offended just for the sake of being angry. No one in the ex-Persian regions of the Middle-East can swear, “My fifty-times-great grandfather, assuming he lived in the the Persian Empire, was nothing like the Persians portrayed in that movie,” but they will anyway. It might be true, it might almost definitely be true, but we still won’t ever know. So how about we just forget about being offended and see the movie for its amazing visuals and for the Spartans who fought for glory and honor, no matter how stupid or evil they might have really been.





Downside of Obama strategy

8 03 2008

ArticlesThis article in The Washington Post analyzes the implications of losses in some of the most important states come the November elections.  The subtitle of the article states that these losses are “spurring general-election fears.”  I don’t believe this is the downside of Obama’s strategy though.  I think the downside is that the strategy attracts writers like the author of this article who casts doubt into the minds of millions by declaring to them, “You are afraid.”

People rant and rail against the press all the time for shaping the minds of voters.  They’re like modern brain washers, only no one seems to realize the gravity of the impact they’re making on the general public.  People get almost all their knowledge of the events outside their homes from the news.  Likewise, their own reality is shaped accordingly; they have no reason to believe most of that which is stated confidently to them might not be true.

To be fair, they’ve been casting unnecessary doubt on Hillary’s campaign for months now.  Both candidates have been in a near-tie since the beginning, and yet writers keep “unintentionally” insisting that people should or should not vote for someone based on possible outcomes of strategy.  These journalists are pulling conclusions from their behinds, publishing to the masses, and resultantly causing the conclusions to be just one step closer to coming true.

And why complain about strategy anyway?  We will see whether or not strategies is working or not based on which candidates are doing better than the others.  If assuming certain strategies will work better in the future is only going to affect the way the strategy is working now, I’d say the whole process is better just left alone.  Let the people just vote for once.





Barack Obama the true winner of Texas?

5 03 2008

NewsIt seems I may have been a little quick to corner the Democrats for supposed Satanic activity. As the results of the Ohio and Texas primaries rolled, a collective “Wha?” could be heard across the country. Someone’s sneaky little plans are finally working out for them and an abnormally large amount of people seem completely oblivious.

Clinton

In a twist only made possible due to the present bizarre circumstances, many Republicans have started fighting dirty in an attempt to hijack the Presidential elections. Reports across both Ohio and Texas indicate that unreasonably large numbers of Democratic primary votes were pouring in from high-density Republican areas. This finally exposed a hole in the two-party system that should have been destroyed years ago; because the primaries aren’t party exclusive, supporters of John McCain can actually choose to vote in the Democratic primaries for Hillary Clinton. But why would they do this?

Because John McCain had already all but clinched the Republican nomination, a vote for him seemed a wasted vote. However, recent polls have suggested Barack Obama would win the Presidency over John McCain, but Hillary Clinton would not. Therefore, basic logic says to vote for Hillary in the Democratic primary so that she can earn the Democratic nomination and ultimately lose to John McCain.

In my previous post, I stated a Democrat would win the Presidency unless something significant and unforeseen occurred. Who would have thought that it would have happened mere hours later? It seems that some Republican supporters are demons after all, leaving speculation as to whether there is a God-loving candidate left. Mike Huckabee? Oh wait… darn, he’s out…

I swear that if the Democratic party doesn’t see through this and allows Hillary Clinton to go on (even though it’s near impossible anyway) and lose the John McCain, they deserve the loss.





The downfall of social networking

24 02 2008

FeaturesWhen I first joined Facebook, it was being hailed as the “anti-MySpace,” a social networking site without all the controversy, gaudiness, and induced obsession. At the time, the site had only just been opened to people other than college students, and the administrators were wary of keeping people in their respective realms. The site was meant to connect people within individual schools and businesses easily and securely. Then something happened.

People migrated en masse to Facebook from other websites. These same people cried that, while Facebook was sleeker and easier to use, it was too simple and boring. They wanted more interaction, more of a reason to spend hours on a site that wasn’t created with the purpose of entertaining. As a result, applications and widgets were added. Voila, Facebook became MySpace 2.0.

facebook

How did Facebook go so quickly from being the greatest new site on the web, the anti-MySpace, to a MySpace equivalent? The greatest irony of all lies in the article itself, which boasts of millions of dollars being invested in the many new features of the site. The features in question, though, are the destroyers of the sleek and secure design Facebook once had. Suddenly hundreds of outside businesses have access to millions of people via Facebook. Every application on the site asks to access your profile information before you can use it. That in itself should be a hint that everything is not quite as it seems. Advertisements now appear literally everywhere.

Even worse, Facebook is now getting the negative vibe previously only associated with MySpace. Millions of users in the U.K. have fled the site after a rash of criminal trials used Facebook profile items as courtroom evidence. People had accepted that MySpace was open to the public, but Facebook was supposed to be the more private of the two, only for the your own eyes and the eyes of those you allowed access to your profile. Instead, it turns out Facebook is just another risky, potentially life-changing network.

Big news right now is the Moroccan Fouad Mourtada facing three years in prison for creating a profile of the younger brother of the Moroccan king. Creating profiles of stars and celebrities is already a common practice around the world. As a result, prominent Moroccan bloggers are showing solidarity by posting the following text on the blogs:

Today, Tuesday, February 19, is the fourteenth day of Fouad Mourtada’s imprisonment. He committed the error, but not the crime, of creating a Facebook account in the name of Prince Moulay Rachid. This account contained no insults against the Prince nor was it the instrument of any swindling attempts. His name was immediately given wide publicity by the authorities, in breach of the presumption of innocence he’s supposed to enjoy, and he alleges having been beaten and mishandled during his arrest. He initially had trouble finding a lawyer willing to defend him. The trial, due to begin on February 15, has been postponed to February 22, while his habeas corpus application has been rejected.

(…)

For this reason, this blog will be on strike on Tuesday, 19 February as a gesture of solidarity with Fouad Mourtada and the other prisoners of opinion currently jailed in Morocco.





Writer’s block finally ending

3 02 2008

NewsIt seems that the national writer’s block may finally be lifting. The Writer’s Guild of America and their employers have both finally realized how difficult it is to make money when neither are working. Negotiations are considerable progress according to a variety of sources and the writers we so rely on should finally get back to work by the end of this week.

Strike

In another area of society, almost all pundits have declared President George W. Bush a lame duck. His State of the Union address sounded so familiar, citizens may have thought it was simply a rerun, just like every nearly other show on TV. Network TV, Washington D.C.: both seemed to be stuck on repeat as the country experienced an unusual shortage of new ideas. After centuries of being at the forefront of change and progress, people were getting nervous. A supposed economic recession hinted that the U.S. might be stalling.

Ending the writer’s strike is the first step toward a new hopeful future. The second step is the impending change of president. While I am neither supporting nor opposing George W. Bush’s many controversial decisions as President, the possibility that someone else may get their shot at fixing the state of the union certainly is tempting for anyone. While the writers may be happy that they get a couple hundred more dollars per year than before, the rest of us are just happy more Americans are thinking again.