- - Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Intolerable

“An undercover video of a departing National Public Radio fundraising executive shows him nodding in agreement as men posing as representatives of a Muslim Brotherhood front group rip Jewish control of the media. Eventually, the President of the NPR Foundation and VP for development, Ron Schiller chimes in, saying that Zionist influence doesn’t exist at NPR, but ‘it’s there in those who own newspapers obviously.’

“It’s pretty disheartening how socially acceptable anti-Semitism has become among intellectuals as long as it’s cloaked as criticism of Israel. This is something that Jewish conservatives have warned about for a long time, but our warnings are dismissed as an effort to silence legitimate criticism. Imagine if some white Southerners saying they were representatives of the KKK started complaining about black influence — would NPR execs even meet with them, let alone nod and smile and say, ‘Well, the black influence is more prevalent elsewhere’?”

Philip Klein, writing on “Departing NPR Exec Laments Jewish Control of Newspapers,” on March 8 at American Spectator

Indecipherable

“I recently rewatched ‘Krusty Gets Kancelled’ from Season 4 of “The Simpsons” with my 13-year-old daughter and 7-year-old son. Krusty the Klown was on “Springfield Squares,” a game show hosted by moonlighting Springfield newsman Kent Brockman and featuring special guest Rainer Wolfcastle, the action film icon. …

“Wolfcastle was ‘The Simpsons’ stand-in for Arnold Schwarzenegger, a wildly popular movie star circa 1992-93. … Brockman’s moonlighting … acknowledged a long tradition of newscasters working as game show hosts … ‘Springfield Squares’ is a sendup of 1970s game shows. … The rest of the episode contained references to the 1929 film ‘The Great Gabbo,’ Eastern European animation, Joey Bishop, ‘Howdy Doody,’ Ed Sullivan’s censoring the lyrics of the Doors’ ‘Light My Fire,’ the 1968 ‘Elvis’ TV special, the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ penchant for nudity, and Bette Midler serenading Johnny Carson during his final week on ‘The Tonight Show.’

“Do all or even most of these gags connect with a viewer under 25 who isn’t a 20th century pop culture junkie? I doubt it. Granted, some of the jokes were inside even for 1992-93 — ‘The Great Gabbo’ and the Eastern bloc cartoon ‘Worker and Parasite,’ for instance. But most weren’t. … Circa 2011 that’s no longer the case. ‘Krusty Gets Kancelled’ is one of the greatest of all ‘Simpsons’ episodes, but if it were a poem, it would need to have nearly as many footnotes as ‘The Waste Land’ — and the further away from its original air date we get, the truer that’s going to be.”

Matt Zoller Seitz, writing on “Will future generations understand ‘The Simpsons’?” on March 8 at Salon

Indefensible

“Until last week — and I’m not proud of this — I have to admit that I found the sideshow of Charlie Sheen’s decadent, addled madness sort of funny. The lurid stories in the celebrity tabloids and the crackpot statements he’d make to the press were amusing to someone on the sidelines like me. But I know they were infuriating — and worse, financially disquieting — to those people (some of whom are my close friends) who have big-time upside stakes in the continuation of the series. …

“And, okay, I’ll admit it: part of me — and, again, I’m not proud of this; I’m just being honest — admired in an admittedly creepy and indefensible way Sheen’s sheer reckless nose-thumbing at the world, his total lack of remorse or decorum or participation in the rehab-apology-recovery-Oprah Winfrey-weepy-guesting celebrity melodrama that Hollywood loves so much. Charlie Sheen refused to play the part of the fallen star. He just kept on partying. He became the Keith Richards of television.”

Rob Long, writing on “Charlie Sheen, The Last Word,” on March 8 at Ricochet

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