Mike Kueber's Blog

October 29, 2014

The I-Man and casual banter

Filed under: Culture,Media — Mike Kueber @ 9:51 pm
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I have previously blogged about Don Imus’s tendency to engage in casual banter with his guests and then not remembering the contents of the casual banter several weeks later when he re-interviews the same guests. I titled the post, Really Listening.

Well, the same thing happened this morning with an interview of Judge Andrew Napolitano. The I-Man started the interview by asking Napolitano is he was married, and Napolitano responded that Imus had asked the same question the last time the judge was on. Imus explained that he wouldn’t remember that information if the interview had been yesterday. In fact, before today’s interview, Imus said he had to ask his sidekick Bernie who the judge was.

The judge was taken aback by this unfamiliarity and complained that he had known Imus for more than 20 years. But Don pressed on:

  • Don – Have you ever been married?
  • Judge – No.
  • Don – Are you gay?
  • Judge – No comment.
  • Don – (after a long pause) Getting back to when you were fat….

Imus is one of the original shock jocks, so this exchange seemed natural. (His attitude – blunt and nonjudgmental – reminds me of Hank Moody in TV show Californication.) But the exchange is ironic because, although Imus is very open about supporting gay marriage, his old-fashioned, politically-incorrect mindset obviously is that most men who have never married are gay. Now that gay marriage has been legalized in so many states, it won’t be long before unmarried people will not be automatically suspected of being closet homosexuals.

Regarding Judge Napolitano, I googled a question about him and homosexuality, and there was nothing except a single bulletin-board posting noting that he is “widely known to be gay.”

February 10, 2014

Saturday Night at the Movies #100 – 20 Feet from Stardom and The Long Hot Summer

Filed under: Movie reviews — Mike Kueber @ 1:23 am
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Don Imus has been promoting 20 Feet of Stardom (2013) for several weeks, so I decided to give it a try.  The movie is a behind-the-scenes documentary on the role that background singers play in making good music – either live or recorded.

The movie focuses on a small group of black singers who became popular in the 60s for providing more than scripted singing.  The music industry in the 60s asked singers like Darlene Love, Judith Hill, Merry Clayton, Lisa Fischer, and Tata Vega, whose background was in gospel music, to play a more creative and collaborative role in working with big singers.  Inevitably, though, their role stroked their ego, and they desired more recognition, usually via a career as a solo artist.  But none succeeded, and now they seem to spend a lot of time rationalizing why their singular talent did not result in a solo career.

The critics love the movie (99%), and even the audience likes it a lot (85%).  Me, not so much.  I give it only two and a half stars out of three because it attempts to idolize some singers who don’t deserve to be idols.

The Long Hot Summer is a 1958 classic based on William Faulkner’s novel The Hamlet, plus two of his short stories.  It stars Paul Newman alongside a superb supporting cast (Orson Welles, Joanne Woodward, Anthony Franciosa, and Lee Remick).  The characters are immensely interesting, and Woodward is especially fascinating as Welles’s daughter and Newman’s love interest.  The Rotten Tomato critics give it 88% while the audience gives it 84%.  I agree and give it three and a half stars out of four.

January 19, 2014

Is Dee Dee McCarron a racist or the victim of a double standard?

Filed under: Culture,Media — Mike Kueber @ 2:20 pm
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Earlier this week on Imus in the Morning, host Don Imus asked his in-house sport panel whether AJ McCarron’s mother was a racist for snarkily tweeting that Jameis Winston’s post-game comments seemed to be in some language other than English – “Am I listening to English?”  (She quickly deleted the tweet.)    Most of the panelists agreed that the comments, while not very generous, were probably due more to jealousy (sic – envy) than racism, but Imus and one panelist inferred racism.

As I scanned the internet on this issue, I was pleasantly surprised to see that most people, even journalists, have taken the position that McCarron’s comment might have been harsh or thoughtless, but it was not evidence of racism.   I am, however, disappointed in Imus’s judgment.  He is usually a thinking man with excellent common sense and good judgment.  In this instance, he even compared Winston’s inability to communicate to that of a NASCAR driver with a heavy southern accent, which Imus proceeded to imitate.  The obvious point is that no one considers it racist to make fun of the way NASCAR drivers talk.

I suspect that, ever since Imus was fired a few years back for joking about the rough and unattractive the Rutgers girl basketball players (mostly black), Imus no longer trusts his good judgment and common sense when dealing with matters of race and instead errs on the side of political correctness.

November 5, 2012

An open letter to Don Imus and Bernard McGuirk

Filed under: People,Politics — Mike Kueber @ 2:52 pm
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Guys, you normally have a good sense of perspective, but today you were dead wrong in defending Chris Christie against the charge of untoward conduct in his support of Barack Obama’s candidacy.  And Saturday Night Live captured the conduct dead on:

  • Also I would like to give a sincere thanks to President Obama for how he handled the situation. On Election Day, I’m votin’ for Mitt Romney.  But if I had to pick one guy to have my back in a crisis, it would be Barack Obama. He’s been amazing! You know, some guy, such a leader, a true inspiration. Again, I’ll be a good soldier, I’ll vote for Romney, but I’m gonna haaate it! Do you hear me, I will HATE it!

Christie is currently trying to back away from his embarrassing conduct by saying that he merely said the president had done a good job.  Not exactly.  As show in this Daily Beast clip, Christie gushed that Obama “deserves great credit,” “has been all over this,” “deserves nothing but praise,” and “has done a great job for New Jersey.”  In fact, the effusive praise was so over the top that Christie needed to confirm to the media yesterday whether he was still planning to vote for Romney.  When before has a keynoter had to do that three days before an election? 

You guys claim that Hurricane Sandy and the bipartisan conduct of Christie and Obama were more important than mere politics.  How incredibly naïve!  Did you notice the following reporting from the Washington Post:

  • The two embraced and had words of praise for each other’s efforts to relieve the misery the superstorm brought to New Jersey residents — a rare display of bipartisanship during a bitter election campaign that has left the country deeply polarized.

I don’t know about you, but I never saw any media clips of Obama praising Christie (who actually has a much more important role than Obama in dealing with New Jersey’s Sandy-related problems).  No, the rare display of bipartisanship was used by the mainstream media to prop-up Obama’s floundering campaign and blunt Romney’s surging campaign. 

As savvy Haley Barbour said to CNN on Sunday, “The hurricane is what broke Romney’s momentum. I don’t think there’s any question about it.  Any day that the news media is not talking about jobs and the economy, taxes and spending, deficit and debt, Obamacare and energy, is a good day for Barack Obama.”   

You guys self-righteously declare that Christie’s kowtowing to Obama is more important than this year’s presidential election.  Forgive us for thinking otherwise.

April 12, 2012

George Zimmerman is finally arrested

Filed under: Law/justice — Mike Kueber @ 8:13 pm
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I have no objection to George Zimmerman finally being arrested in connection with the killing of Trayvon Martin.  America’s system of justice provides for people to be arrested when there is probable cause that the person committed the crime.  Because I don’t know the facts, I can’t say whether the arrest was justified or unjustified. 

According to an article in ezinearticles.com, probable cause in Florida means “that the facts and circumstances must indicate more likely than not that a crime was committed by the person who is being arrested.”  This standard is much less than “beyond reasonable doubt” required for a criminal conviction and appears similar to the standard required in non-criminal cases – i.e., a preponderance of the evidence.  Please recall that O.J. was found not guilty of murder under the criminal standard of “beyond reasonable doubt,” but was found liable for wrongful death under the civil standard of “a “preponderance of the evidence.” 

I also have no objection to the Zimmerman/Martin matter being reviewed by a special prosecutor after the local officials concluded there was no probable cause that Zimmerman committed a crime.  The U.S. constitution prohibits double jeopardy, but American courts do not consider jeopardy to attach during a preliminary investigation. 

I am concerned, however, despite the special prosecutor’s assertions to the contrary, that Zimmerman’s arrest was prompted by the outcry in the media.  And I suspect that some of this outcry was based on a misunderstanding of the law.  Because most of us don’t know the critical facts of the case, we are not in a position to know whether an arrest was appropriate. 

My favorite talk-show guy, Don Imus, has been howling for weeks that Zimmerman should be arrested and then there should be an investigation to determine if he is guilty.  That is wrong.  Zimmerman should not be arrested unless there was probable cause that he was guilty of a crime.  You don’t arrest and then investigate.  Instead you investigate and then arrest if you find probable cause that Zimmerman committed a crime.  And finally, after the arrest, you are required to prove beyond reasonable doubt to a jury that Zimmerman committed the crime.

Thus, we will not know until all the facts come out whether Zimmerman’s arrest was justified.  Until then, we need to give the prosecutor the benefit of a doubt, something that most of the media refused to give to the initial investigation by the police and local prosecutor.  Instead of asking for a special investigation, they asked for an arrest.  That is not the “presumed innocent” that is fundamental to the American way.

January 20, 2012

The last debate in South Carolina

Filed under: Issues,Media,People,Politics — Mike Kueber @ 2:50 pm
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I fell asleep midway through last night’s Republican debate.  When I woke up at 5 am to watch Imus in the Morning, I was shocked to see that Imus was so upset with Romney’s performance that he was shifting his support from Romney to Obama. 

According to Imus, Romney’s answer to a tax-release question was incredibly weak and mealy-mouthed; but even worse, it appeared almost unscripted when the question was absolutely predictable. 

An Imus staffer made an interesting analogy with President Obama’s birth-certificate issue – i.e., the reluctance to release the requested document continues to elevate the issue because people wonder if the politician is hiding something.  Obama never gave a convincing answer for his delay, yet the eventual release revealed no smoking gun.  Romney is a smart guy, but it is difficult to understand his strategy on this issue.   

In contrast to Romney’s weak performance, Gingrich did boffo from the get-go according to Imus.  When the first question of the evening was directed to Gingrich on the subject of infidelity and an open marriage, Newt did what he has consistently done throughout the debates – he attacks the media in general and the questioner (John King) in particular.  According to Newt, the question was almost the most despicable thing he could imagine.

For someone who easily accuses others of pious baloney, Gingrich is awfully quick to be critical of the behavior of others.  Although Imus initially was impressed with Gingrich’s strong answer, he eventually drifted toward the position that he was more offended by the weakness of John King’s response to Gingrich.  Imus said that he would have cut Gingrich off and said that the infidelity/open-marriage story was all over the news and that Gingrich didn’t have to respond if he didn’t want to, but don’t be lecturing him about what questions to ask.  The debate is with the other candidates, not the media.

The problem is that Republican primary voters probably like the media even less than they like President Obama.  Only Gingrich, however, seems to have decided to trash the media, and that could be a big advantage going forward.