Wednesday, August 16, 2017

SICK OF "WINNING" YET?

Don't worry. America has only just begun "winning" in the Trumpian sense of that word.

If you haven't seen it yet, and in the interest of accurate witness, here's that Vice Media video that's been making the rounds. Watch the whole thing, from beginning to end.


Watching the torchlit, moonlight march from Friday, I couldn't help but think of Doug Stanhope, the stand-up comic and latter-day Bill Hicks, whose suggested remedy for such events involves balloons filled with gasoline. One hopes one lives to see the day.

The real breakout star of the above video, however, is GG Allin look-and-cock-alike (not to mention convicted crack dealer and all around shame of Keene NH) Christopher Cantwell, he who appears to prowl like a gym-toned panther when surrounded by hundreds of like-minded enablers, but turns into a blubbering sissy-bitch when he hears tell that the authorities are looking to have a word...


And then came Trump.

You know what gang? After days of arguing on Twitter and Facebook with people who should fucking know better, but whose brains have apparently been booby-trapped beyond redemption, I don't feel like revisiting the bogus POTUS's absolute blazing failure right here and now. Suffice it to say that, thanks to this event, and Trump's reaction to it, we're destined to endure a lot more of its like in the coming months.

I hope to be proven wrong.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

THE SECRET TO UNDERSTANDING THE ALT RIGHT

Our old pal Brian Siano, over on the Facebook, wrote the following:
Let's also understand that a lot of the alt-right movement is, in fact, sublimated sexual masochism. They desire being a victim. They tell themselves these stories of white oppression because they need that foreplay. They get all shuddery-hard over the prospect of being humiliated by women, especially black or Jewish women, but they'll get off on having liberals shouting things at them. The prospect of being torn to pieces by a Black Lives Matter mob sends them into transports of ecstasy. 
And some, like Richard Spencer, can't come without being punched, in public, with cameras to preserve the moment for his later, private viewing. It's an open secret that he gives private talks at alt-right gatherings, relating in pornographic detail every punch, impact, arm twist and handcuff squeeze. 
Mike Pence craves the discipline when he's with women. Donald Trump is proud of his sex life... but the pee tape is the thing he hasn't bragged about. The Gamergate trolls don't play those games to win. They love being shot, vicariously. That's why they seek out female gamers-- their humiliation enhances the sweet, sweet pain. It all fits. 
They may love Hitler, but in their secret hearts, they want to die as Mussolini did-- ripped to shreds while strung up with piano wire. 
It's time we made this tawdry little secret a well-known fact.
Indeed! Let's hop to, people!

Monday, August 14, 2017

QUOTE OF THE DAY

"Nazis are a lot like cats, if they like you it is probably because you are feeding them." 
- John Oliver

Sunday, July 30, 2017

SUGGESTED READING LIST ~ JULY 30, 2017


For as long as it's been around, yer old pal Jerky has been a devoted fan of The Baffler, a sporadically published, digest-sized clearing house for some of the highest quality cultural, political, and business analysis to ever grace the magazine racks. I love everything about it; the aesthetic, the politics, the fact that it doesn't have a fixed publishing schedule, so they only produce an issue when they have enough good material to fill one. Through thick and thin, in my life and theirs, the folks behind The Baffler have never let me down. And that's why I'm always happy when one of their contributors knocks one out of the park, like Sam Kriss does with his most recent 'Horrordome' offering, "Shrinking the President". True to The Baffler's contrarian form, Kriss offers us his mass analysis of those who would publicly analyze Trump. After the obligatory call to "stop stigmatizing the mentally ill you guys", Kriss gets down to business... and boy, does he get dirty with it, as one particularly pungent passage illustrates:
Baby Trump never learned when to shit and when not to, and it’s far too late for him now. Watch, in particular, the way he talks about the size of the crowds whenever he talks. They’ll say it wasn’t very big. But it is, it’s enormous, it’s huge. He isn’t talking about his dick; he’s talking about his turds: with the grinning pride of a child who’s just deposited one on the Persian rug—look what I made—and the woundedness of a child who’s learned far too late that other people aren’t as proud as he is. Trump talks through his anus and people come out, millions of them, chanting and cheering in fecal happiness, as proud of him as he is of them. Trump is the king of the turd-people. He is a pre-Oedipal god.
Come for the first rate academic analysis... and stay for the "Baby Trump Shits Himself" jokes! In any case, it's a short read that makes many worthy, salient points. The prurient joy you'll get from the insulting take-downs is simply the icing on an otherwise substantial cake. Enjoy!

***

If the American political blogosphere ever institutes a Hall of Fame, Talking Points Memo author Josh Marshall is guaranteed to be an inaugural, first round inductee.  And I sincerely hope that my saying so means Josh won't be too pissed that I've stolen his info-graphic charting the cruel and petty details surrounding Trump's firing of his White House Chief of Staff, RNC P.R. B.S.


I also hope that urging you to surf on over to TPM so you can read more of Josh's forensic breakdown of this cruel and petty firing -- and suggesting that you bookmark his excellent blog for future reference -- will help to further assuage his righteous indignation at my blatant sticky-fingerism.
***
If you're still looking for a reason as to why you're perfectly justified in summarily dismissing anyone -- be they post-truth alt-right shitlord, or alt-left Moonbat useful idiot -- who reflexively shrieks "THERE'S NO EVIDENCE!" whenever the subject of Putin and other Russian gangsters being at least partly responsible for the Trump Presidency comes up... look no further than this incredible, constantly updated, interactive dossier put together by The Washington Post. Entitled "Here's What We Know So Far About Team Trump's Ties to Russian Interests", it's a knock-out bit of old-school journalism; the kind of thing that makes you long for the days when going into the newspaper business was seen as not just a viable career option, but a noble calling.


See all those faces? If you hover your cursor over one of them, that individual or organization's connections light up, and you can explore them all, one by one, or en masse, in excruciating detail. There are so many poorly covered, potentially explosive stories included in this dossier -- so many connections just waiting to be identified and absorbed by the American electorate -- that it almost feels like the journalistic version of a ticking time bomb. Trust me, if you start rooting around in there, you'll see what I mean pretty quickly. So my sincere congratulations to Bonnie Berkowitz, Denise Lu and Julie Vitkovskaya on their indispensable work. Ya done good!

***

This recent Buzzfeed article -- which is sure to elicit snotty condescension and knowing snorts of derision from the usual know-it-all suspects, despite the fact that it is both entertaining and informative -- begins thusly:
To use the internet in 2017, you need to have some level of familiarity with the tropes and signposts of the type of trolling that comes from the alt-right movement and various flavors. But most normal humans, rightfully, run the fuck away as soon as they see a Pepe. This guide is for you (presumably, a normal human). 
Some of these terms are not totally specific to the alt-right, but come from the soupy mix of 4chan, Reddit, men’s rights activists, Gamergaters, pickup artists, and white supremacist and Nazi sites that eventually gave birth to the alt-right. Imagine all these things as different bubbles in a Venn diagram with the alt-right in the middle. 
This guide aims to help explain some of those weird images and words you may have seen popping up in comments sections or on social media.
The first entry is already somewhat infamous, and pretty well known:
(((Echo))) Parentheses
When used around someone's name, a means of indicating that they are Jewish. The "echoes" are a reference to some old gobbledygook about Jews "echoing through history," but the parentheses are a handy tool on Twitter for anti-Semites to signal to one another when someone they dislike is Jewish. Once the tactic was exposed, some Jews and non-Jews started adding them to their own Twitter usernames as a way to subvert the practice and make it less powerful.
The rest of the glossary is fairly comprehensive, and includes a few entries that were new to me -- such as the entry on the Bogandoff Brothers -- which I found somewhat surprising. Of course, that's just because I had yet to be "Bogpilled". Anyway, if figuring out what shit like that means is at all important to you, then you might want to clip and save this glossary. Otherwise, your mileage may vary. 

Saturday, July 29, 2017

THE FAR RIGHT WAR ON FACTS


If your social media presence is in any way political, you've probably noticed one or more of your "conservative" friends linking to stories trying to push the notion that Snopes.com is nothing more than a hopelessly biased source of left-wing propaganda, and that anyone using their work to debunk lies or correct errors can therefore by justly ignored.

It's bullshit of course. Numerous good faith investigations conducted by a variety of groups using a wide range of metrics have found that Snopes.com is, by every measure, the LEAST biased source of information on the Internet.

But that doesn't stop the site's growing list of detractors, who persist in their attacks in the hopes that pure repetition will succeed where anorexic reasoning, non-existent evidence, and easily debunked lies are bound to fail. Which brings up the question of where all this Snopes hate (and there is an awful lot of it lately) is coming from.

The always entertaining smart-asses at RationalWiki describe the situation thusly:
Anyone who insists that their personal myth is fact, whether that be moonhoaxers, 9/11 truthers, or bigfooters, will insist that Snopes is wrong because everyone but themselves is biased against the "truth". FactCheck.org, a nonprofit website dedicated to, umm, checking facts, reported that Snopes was completely unbiased. This of course proves that FactCheck is also part of the conspiracy.
While the above is a pretty good general explanation of what Snopes is facing these days, it ignores the fact that the louder (and far more effective) attacks aren't coming from "moonhoaxers", Flat Earthers, or other assorted loonies; they're coming from the Far Right. And there's a very big, very important difference between these two cohorts. Because the loonies, while wrong, are at least sincere.

The Far Right's attacks, on the other hand, are purely tactical. They have nothing to do with disagreements over facts. Rather, these attacks are part of a strategy to undo the damage that unbiased fact-checkers are constantly causing to their organized (and often expensive) propaganda campaigns.

Right-wing attacks on fact-checkers like Snopes are a kind of gaslighting, or inoculation against information that comes from "outside" ideologically pre-approved sources. It's a form of applied, learned helplessness, a tactic used by cults large and small to keep their brainwashed subjects in line. For right-wing and conservative propagandists, an ideal paradigm would not include "unbiased" fact-checkers, as they so disingenuously claim, but rather no fact-checkers at all.

Let's look at a recent attack on Snopes by the alt right's (formerly) favorite self-loathing homosexual, Milo Yiannopoulos, entitled Snopes Caught Releasing Fake "Fact-Check" in Defense of Democrats.

The story, which originated with a handful of reactionary Twitter Trolls before Tucker Carlson's Daily Caller and Glenn Beck's The Blaze picked up on it, involves claims that Democrats refused to take part in a standing ovation for the widow of the Navy SEAL who died during Trump's bungled Yemen raid earlier this year. However, while the secondary targets of Milo's article were those Democrats, his main target, for all of the reasons listed above, was Snopes, which he says "pushed misleading facts to cover for Democrats."

Milo's article is short, so I urge you all to read it. Then I urge you to spend a little time in the comments section, beneath the article. Really root around down there... acquaint yourself with your enemy's distinctive aroma. It may come in handy some day.

After you've finished doing that, and have subsequently showered off the residual Garmonbozia, go ahead and read the Snopes article that so many Redcap Trumpnik cultists pretended to find so... problematic.  Go ahead and read the whole thing. I'll wait right here.

Finished? Okay, so here are a few questions I'd like you to ask yourself.

Firstly, do you think Milo's description of what the Snopes entry in question was trying to achieve--including his depiction of the claims made in the articles that the Snopes team was specifically addressing--was fair and accurate?

Second, who do you think comes off better in this face-off? Far Right propagandists Milo, Beck, Carlson and their assorted hangers on, who were trying to push an obvious lie and got caught doing so? Or the team at Snopes, who used perfectly transparent methods to catch said lie, then take it apart and expose it, and those who were pushing it, for all the world to see?

Finally, do you now feel that you are beginning to better understand why the rogue Deep State faction that I call the New Fascist International* is trying to delegitimize Snopes and other such truth-telling entities?

Consider, as a whole, Trump's three recent rallies: the Youngstown 2020 campaign rally where he accused previous administrations of being in cahoots with MS13, his disturbing appearance at the Boy Scouts of America Jamboree, which he treated like a Trump Youth rally, and today's speech in front of an audience of Long Island law enforcement personnel, during which he encouraged police brutality.

To me, these precedent-shattering displays indicate that Trump is reacting to his legislative failures by doubling down on the only area where he's achieved any measurable success: the radicalization of vast segments of the population using a level of racist, divide-and-conquer demagoguery that we haven't experienced in most Americans' lifetimes.

And now we've got to contend with semi-official state propagandists enthusiastically engaging in North Korea style tone policing, monitoring and measuring people's reactions with a fucking stopwatch in order to shame them if they show insufficient levels of enthusiasm during Dear Leader's speeches? No. Fuck that noise.

Folks, we're not in Kansas anymore. And this isn't Oz, either. We're standing at the Gates of Hell, and The Donald is using one of those tiny, vulgarian fingers of his to repeatedly ring the bell. It only remains to be seen if he'll still be around by the time those Gates swing wide open.


*keep watching this space.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

LOOK AT THIS MONSTER


Look at this monster. 

Do it. Gaze directly into his piggy little eyes as his uncontrollable propensity for psychological projection forces him to reveal his deepest, darkest, most twisted and sadistic interracial murder fantasies during a rally before thousands in Youngstown, Ohio... a rally, by the way, which is part of the "Trump 2020" campaign. In the year 2017, less than seven months deep into the world historic disaster of his ill-gotten, purloined, and almost certain to be abortive tenure as President of the United States of America. 

I know that some of you can't stomach to see his face or hear his voice anymore, but you really need to watch this demented performance.

First things first... have you ever seen someone who was high on cocaine, or another, similar stimulant? Do you recognize the mannerisms? The clenched jaw? The pinned eyes? The plugged sinuses altering his vocal register, forcing him to pull back his upper lip and squinch his brow into an idiot mid-face snarl? The arrogant posturing? The bombastic, pompous grandiloquence?

Take it from one who knows: Trump is totally fucking wired in this video, just as he was during the debates with Hillary Clinton.


Remember how, after one debate, when numerous people noticed his non-stop sniffing, Trump hilariously tried to say that it was Hillary who was high on something? And he got so overconfident while weaving his web of bullshit that he suggested they both take drug tests before the next debate, and then made a face that let everyone know that he knew he'd pushed things too far? Little Snortin' Donny the Cocaine Commander in Chief ain't none too bright.

Of course, for all the potential complications and troubles that can arise when someone in power abuses hard drugs, there are far worse things for the President to be than merely addicted to stimulants, and/or stupid. For instance, he could be evil.

Friends, I suggest to you that Donald Trump may be the most profoundly evil man ever to slither his way into the White House. Here is a man with the darkest, most murderous kind of hate curled up like a serpent around the shattered remnants of the heart that I suppose we must assume he was born with. This hatred, fear, and spite are what propel and fuel him. He thrives on expressing it, and causing those same dark energies to manifest in his increasingly dangerous Trumpnik Redcap cult.

Can you imagine any other politician or public figure of our era standing on a stage and describing with such gruesome relish the torture and murder of a teenage girl, even going so far as to act out the "slice and dice" motions of knife carving into flesh? And this business about how "they" use knives instead guns because "they" want their victims to "go through excruciating pain before they die"... can Trump really be unaware of how this disgusting performance leaves the darkness inside him utterly exposed for all to see?

And just so long as we're on the topic... exactly who does Trump think has been "protecting" teen-murdering maniacs "for so long", and how, exactly, does he think they've been doing it? Does he think the police were in the tank for MS-13 before he got into office? Can he really be unaware of the myriad, eminently valid reasons why a city might decide to declare itself a Sanctuary City?

Perhaps he doesn't care. It's certainly obvious that he's savoring his moment as Racist Scare-Monger-in-Chief.

Yes, inevitable naysayer, for more reasons than I have the time or energy to list here, Trump and his rhetoric are both clearly racist.

Notice how he takes an extended pause between the words "beautiful" and "girl"? If you think that pause wasn't left there on purpose, so that those in the know could fill in the unspoken "White" for themselves, then you haven't come close to realizing the gravity of this wide awake nightmare we're all going through together.

It's enough to make an atheist drop to his knees and pray.

God, help us all.

TRUMP TREASON TIMELINE NOW CLEAR


Monday, July 24, 2017

ALT RIGHT "JOKE" A CIRCULAR FIRING SQUAD

The spirit of Julius Streicher is alive and well in today's race obsessed alt-right.

One example of psychological projection and self-pwnage by the Right that I’ve recently come across is the plethora of racist trolls making “We wuz KANGS!” jokes every time they see an ad for Marvel’s Black Panther movie. It’s nothing short of hilarious that they should mock imaginary Black people for doing something that they, themselves, do on a daily basis.

Of course, there exists a tiny handful of amateur Afrocentrists who sometimes take their conclusions to ridiculous extremes. But their numbers are dwarfed by the rabble of White Supremacists who take the exact same sort of inexplicably visceral pride in events and accomplishments that have literally nothing to do with them.

Are they not bursting with pride at their “White Heritage”? Do they not revel in ticking off the accomplishments of the “White Civilization”? Do they not boast of the enduring legacy of “White, Western Culture” at every opportunity?

Adding an extra layer of irony to all this is the fact that a significant subset of the alt-right self-identify as "Nordic Pagan", and "Odinist"... meaning they're the ones who give serious credence to comic book fairy tale bullshit.

I shouldn’t have to say this, but there’s nothing wrong with taking pleasure, or even pride, in your origins or your heritage. But imagine being so bereft of personal achievements, and so ignorant of your familial or community history, that in order to find something in which to take pride, you have to reach all the way back to your genes. It’s pathetic.

So scrub away the racist Ebonics from the alt-right’s little “joke” here, and you’ll find—as is so often the case with those who allow themselves to be ruled by their darkness—that what they really hate is an element of themselves that they subconsciously recognize within the Other.

They are screaming into a mirror, shaking a fist at their own shadow.

BOXING: THE DECLINE AND FALL a Guest Editorial by A.C. DOYLE

Between 1999 and 2006, it was my frequent honor to be able to exclusively share with you, dear friend and reader, the writings of one A.C. Doyle; one of the brightest minds, sharpest wits, and finest wordsmiths that I have ever had the pleasure of getting to know. Today, more than a decade after a severely diminished Daily Dirt pulled itself, bloody and broken, to whatever disgusting cold water hovel it is where old websites go to die and be forgotten, I'm relieved to say that I can still call Ace a friend. Which is great news for you... because I recently asked Ace if there was anything he felt like writing about for my little hobby blog, here, and he replied by sending me this beautiful, George Plympton-esque ode to, and elegy for, the sweet science of organized pugilistic arts... and so much more. As you are about to discover. Enjoy! - YOPJ


My salsa partner in Queretaro, Mexico -- a very elegant middle-aged woman -- described last year’s Mayweather/Pacquiao bout as a “slapfight outside a gaybar at 2AM”. I replied that this was an insult to both gaybars and slapfights. Two men making 40 million apiece performed Kabuki for 36 minutes, and went home richer than they’d ever imagined. 

Good for them.

Bad for boxing.

At least in the United States.

In Mexico she and I watched it in a bar. Free. In the Philippines it was free of course, and probably in much of the rest of the Pacific Rim. Boxing -- particularly if it includes a regional star, such as Canelo or Chavez in Mexico, Pacquiao in the Philippines, a belt-holder in Panama or Thailand or Korea -- is a source of national pride, and you would no more charge to see a prizefight than you would charge to see your heroes in the Olympics or the FIFA World Cup.

That peculiar vanity, charging an enormous sum to watch a sporting event on TV, is nearly unique to the U.S.

And nearly unique to boxing.

We don’t charge PPV fees to watch the Super Bowl or World Series or NBA Finals or March Madness or Olympics. Why is it only with professional boxing, and only in the U.S., that we decide to severely restrict viewership and fan base, by way of making one pay $119 to watch a slapfight outside a gaybar? (Again, with apologies to both slapfights and gaybars).

If your first guess is some combination of corruption, Mafia influence, Vegas, bookies, poor ghetto black boys whose agents are robbing them blind, well, yes. All of that.

And the advent of closed circuit TV in the 1970s. I am now of an age where I am within a year or two of needing to scroll THREE screens down to enter my birth year for airlines tickets, e.g. But I still have some brown hair, and can remember the “Friday Night Fights” of the 1960s, and my pleasure in eating some cheese pizza (we Catholics couldn’t eat meat on Fridays back then, which was just pizza fine by me) with me Da and me sisters’ beaus and watching the fights. Unless Boston College was playing Holy Cross. It was what men and boys did on a Friday night.

Even after closed circuit and Don King arrived in the 1970s, the most prestigious fights aired the ensuing Saturday, on ABC’s Wide World Of Sports. Yes, we knew already who had won The Rumble In The Jungle or The Thrilla in Manila or Hagler-Hearns or Hagler-Duran or Hagler-Leonard or Leonard-Hearns or Leonard-Duran or Hearns-Duran. Or Holmes-Cooney or Norton-Foreman or Frazier-Foreman or Ali-Norton or Spinks-Holmes or Ali-Spinks. If you’re over 40, you recognize every one of those names. Household terms. I’ll circle back to this.

Actually, no, I’ll address it right now. Until the mid-1980s there were eight champions. Fly, Feather, Bantam, Light, Welter, Middle, Light Heavy, and Heavy. And there was only one sanctioning body, the WBA, since 1921, the (reasonably corrupt) organization that determined who had to fight whom, and by which date. Everybody, and I mean EVERYBODY, knew the Heavyweight Champion Of The World. From Armstrong to Dempsey to Louis to Marciano to Patterson to Ali to Frazier to Foreman to Ali to Spinks to Ali to Holmes to Tyson to Holyfield (with or without his lower earlobe), these were among the most famous celebrities on Earth.

Name the current four. I bet the best you can do is “probably those two gigantic blond Russian brothers have a couple of belts between them”.

Middles were often considered the best “pound for pound”, and a great many were household names as well: Sugar Ray Robinson, Rocky Graziano, Jake LaMotta, Carmen Basilio, Ezzard Charles, Tony Zale, Emile Griffith, Carlos Monzon, Roberto Duran, Marvelous Marvin Hagler, Tommy Hearns, Sugar Ray Leonard, Roy Jones Jr. Name the current middleweight champion. Can you? Did Mayweather move up from Super Light Middle Duplex Welter? Is Canelo a Light Middle, Super Welter, or Secret Double Probation Middle?

And while the lower weight classes were often ignored by the mainstream media, largely due to being dominated by Latinos and Asians, fans of the Sweet Science will remember Alexis Arguello, Wilfredo Benitez, Jimmy Wilde, Pancho Villa, Azumah Nelson, Willie Pep, Henry Armstrong -- um, shit, I can’t think of a single bantamweight except the Dutch Dynamo Kid Williams -- Julio Cesar Chavez, Pernell Whitaker, Kid Gavilan. If some of these names are obscure to readers under the age of 40, that just proves the central theme of this disquisition.

Name the most recent American Olympic boxing champs. Can’t, can you?

Whereas we all knew Cassius Clay and Joe Frazier and the Spinks brothers. I remember the 1984 Olympics, in which black athletes started having less conventional first names. Pernell Whitaker, Tyrell Biggs, Meldrick Taylor all won golds, as did five other Americans, including Mark Breland, the best of the lot, and Evander Holyfield took a bronze. Pernell, Tyrell, Meldrick, and Evander -- everybody was talking about those crazy boxing names!

The Olympics are the only sporting event that women watch more than men, and as Marketing MBAs have come to run our television networks, boxing has been exiled to the ass-end of the cable dial during the Olympics, relegating the main feeds to Gymnastics, Gymnastics, and Gymnastics, with a sprinkle of Synchronized Swimming and Aquatic Ballet and Diving. I’m not sure we’d even be aware of a Flo-Jo or Jackie Joiner-Kersey these days. Heaven forfend, some Nielsen viewer might turn the channel to General Hospital or a re-run of Friends if they had to suffer through high hurdles or boxing.

And I understand the aversion to bloodsports. In Mexico, you see many women, but hardly any kids, at bullfights, and only perhaps five women out of 150 people betting at cockfights. It’s worth noting that the bulls and gamecocks have no choice in the matter, while Pacquiao could have retired with enough scratch to support his great grandchildren in luxury after the Mayweather slapfight, but instead fought Horn last week. I boxed as a kid, and enjoyed it, until the black boys hit puberty. Before then, you could outpoint bigger boys, because they were typically slower. But all of a sudden, on the cusp of 7th grade, some black boys got bigger, stronger, AND faster! That was it for me. Seeya later alligator.

But don’t ever believe that the vast majority of serious boxers don’t enjoy what they’re doing. Nor would they give it up if not for the paycheck. If that were true, why would Boxing Clubs even exist? And why would it be called The Sweet Science. It’s a sport, a discipline, a very tricky thing to master. It requires thousands of hours of training under the auspices of exquisitely talented teachers to be any good at all.

Two weeks ago walking down from the funicular ride atop Bergen Harbor, I spied a young man practicing.


I walked up to him and said, in English, “you’ve got fine form and footwork, are you thinking of going pro?”

He replied, in a thick Russian accent, “no, I’m not good enough….but the other men at the boxing club groan when they draw me as their next opponent.”

“I bet they do, son, I bet they do.”

“Did you ever box?”

“Yes, for a few years, until the black boys hit puberty.”

“Ah”, he laughed, “we don’t have blacks in Russia or Norway. Lucky for me.”

I was with two other middle-aged men. I pointed to one and said “he grew up with me in Brockton.”

“Brockton, oh my God, that is so coooool! Did you box also?”

My friend chuckled “no, are you kidding, that shit is SCARY!”

“You said Broctkon, yes? Not Boston. Brockton?”

“Yes Brockton.”

“That is so cool, I’ve never met anyone from Brockton!” My friend and eye rolled our eyes at each other. It was the first time we’d ever heard our shit-hole city described as “cool”.

“Did you know Rocky?”

“Hey”, my friend cried, “do we look THAT old?”

“My aunt dated him”, I replied.

“Wait, your aunt was Rocky’s girlfriend??? Oh my Gawd, that’s amazing!”

“She said he was a great cook and a perfect gentleman. She dated him when his name was still Rocco Marchegiano, and was with him in New York when he changed it to Rocky Marciano before the Louis fight. He told her Rocco Marchegiano was too Italian, he needed a name like Joe DiMaggio, Italian but American.”

“Wow. Did you know Marvelous Marvin?”

“Oh sure, he cut my best friend’s lawn! He was on our block every week or two. We were both classmates of his half-brother, Robbie Sims. Toughest kid at Brockton High School. Which was a tough motherfucking school. That’s why our fathers sent us both off to wimpy prep schools, so we’d survive adolescence!”

“I don’t think I know this Robbie Sims.”

“Yeah, he never made it higher than 4th or 5th in the WBA rankings, not sure he ever had a title fight. Fists of thunder, but not much of a chin.”

“Ah, the chin. That’s what made Ali and Robinson – and your Brockton men, Marciano and Hagler -- the greatest ever. Impossible to knock them out, the hardest chins ever made.”

“Yep. But I’ve watched the Leonard fight ten times, easily, and Leonard won. Nobody from Brockton would admit it at the time, but Leonard won.”

The Russian teenager atop the Norwegian fjord talking to the middle-aged men from Boston and Queretaro let out a great guffaw. “Yes he did….if the fight had been to the death, Hagler would have killed him, but Hagler fought the first three rounds southpaw, trying to confuse him, and Sugar Ray just went for points. The ten-point-must system had just been initiated, and boom, after three rounds he was up 30-27. He just needed to win three of the next nine for a draw.”

“Yup. And the Hagler-fan mythology that Sugar Ray climbed on his bicycle from Round 4 onwards simply isn’t so. He went toe-to-toe in several rounds, the 7th and 8th being epic. The kid hit Hagler hard and got hit by Hagler hard, he didn’t hide until the 11th and 12th.”

“What a classic”, the Russian teen crowed, “one of my favorites, and so much to learn from both of them. Hagler never fought again. Moved to Italy and made bad movies.”

“Yeah, I passed him once in Marco Polo airport in Venice, saluted him, mentioned him mowing lawns on Boylston St., and he gave me a hug. He looked great, and clearly retired before any brain damage, he was sharp. Whereas Sugar Ray is an idiot these days.”

“Yes, sad”, the Russian shook his head. “You need to know when to quit.”

Indeed.

It is incorrect to buy into the latterday handwringing about “intentionally causing brain damage”. That’s no more true than saying it about linebackers and defensive backs, whose jobs consist of running into other humans at high velocity and knocking them to the ground. And it conflates intent with result. If you get to the top echelons of professional boxing and continue against top-flight opponents for too long, especially in the heavier weight classes, you run the Troy Aikman risk of concussive brain damage, to be sure. And you know it.

Smoking ain’t good for you either.

And every single under-employed racist asshole who voted for Trump in the belief that his life would improve is a bigger retard than Louis, Ali, Frazier, and Leonard combined. So let’s dispense with the self-righteousness of Ivy League squash players wrinkling their weak chins at blacks and Latinos and Asians who know how to fight. If you’re a Navy Seal or a Green Beret or a Special Forces or MI-6, you learn how to fight. Get. The. Fuck. Over. It.

The modern $150K per year MBA mommies who’ve banned drawstrings on sweatshirts and anyone under the age of 21 riding in the front seat of a car are blameworthy on many fronts, but they did not kill boxing in America.

So, where did professional boxing go wrong, and why are the silly Mixed Martial Arts more popular now in the U.S.? Well, first off, the proliferation of sanctioning bodies. By the mid-1980s it became clear to promoters that a “championship” bout was more profitable. Thus was begotten the WBF and the WBC and the IBF and the Boxing-R-Us organizations, who conspired to strip legitimate champions of their particular belts if they didn’t fight the IBF #2 by February, while the WBC was demanding a champ fight a different #2 by March. Meaning some champ or another was always being stripped of one belt or another, allowing for a “championship bout” between shittier fighters next month.

For the exact same reason -- videlicet, “championship bout” -- weight classes proliferated. If you take eight champions in eight weight classes, multiply by four sanctioning bodies, then add six or eight new weights, for every four or five pounds, BINGO!, now you have 60 champions and 60 times every six months to advertise a championship bout.

About which nobody cares. Downside Number 1. If I hear that Hector Gonzalez is fighting Manuel Hernandez for the Super Light Welter 143-146 pound North American Boxing Federationy Thingamabob Belt next week, for only $79.99 on Comcast Pay-Per-View? Fuck, I’ll choose that re-run of Friends six days a week, and twice on Sunday.

The proliferation of weight classes and sanctioning bodies was the first death blow for professional boxing. There were no longer champs, household names, Sugar Ray Robinson, Ali, Foreman, Rocky. Just 48 or 64 so-and-so's, nobody to root for, no heroes, and for all of the new Coward Class of Champs, way too easy to duck serious challengers. Pacquiao and Mayweather might have actually fought, exchanged blows, in 2009 or 2010, in their prime, man alive, what a fight! Two old men in 2016? For $129.99? Only idiots paid for it, and received what they deserved, as the boxing world whined “Oh dear oh my, we didn’t make as much profit as we’d hoped for the much-hyped ‘Fight Of The Millenium’!”

It’s sad. Mayweather, the greatest fighter of this millennium, will probably be best remembered as being a “chicken”. His promoters made up a thousand excuses never to fight Pacquiao or Cotto in their prime. So the welter and middle haven’t had a great fight in twenty years. Compare this to Leon Spinks, whom Richard Pryor lavished praise on for immediately granting a re-match to Ali. “Motherfucker’s got heart, Brother Leon”, I recall Pryor saying. In the 1950s through the 1980s, you saw a GREAT fight eight or ten times per year. Now it’s about once per decade.

Death Knell Number Two? Racism. Yeah, the exact same reason Donald Trump is President. Boxers are typically black and Latino. Whereas MMA douchebags are usually lily-white (until lately). And you know it’s not a real sport when most of the champions are 48-year-old ex-Marines. Who refuse to fight slick black teenage boxers from Philly, or any Muay Thai experts. Cuz….um….they might lose to a Negro or Asian. Gen Y and Millennial American boys have enjoyed an atavistic regression these past 16 years to 1950s-style racism. They say “nigger” at cocktail parties in Boston or New York, without social repercussions. While their conservative parents would never have done so. The last thing they want to see is a black or Latino winning a fight against a Master Race Aryan. Hence their fetish for bogus MMA fights, where one white guy dry-humps another white guy in a homo-erotic embrace for three minutes until the judge cums in his tighty-whiteys.

Death Knell Numero Tres? The Vegasificiation of Title Fights. Twenty-seven of Rocky Marciano’s fights were in Providence, RI, the closest city with a large auditorium to our home city of Brockton. He fought in Philly, he fought in Chicago, he fought in Boston, he fought in San Francisco, he fought in New York, he fought in Maine, he fought in D.C. One place he never fought was Caesar’s Palace.


That’s my father, Connie, on the left, watching Rocky fight Joe Louis at Madison Square Garden. I used to see Tyson fight, every six weeks or so, at The Felt Forum, when we all knew, by the time he was 19, that he’d be the next great heavyweight champ. Six bucks for tickets in the peanut gallery, nine bucks the good seats, twelve bucks ringside. We’d order ringside, so you could get drenched in the blood and spittle of his opponents.

Ali fought in Pittsburgh PA, Lewiston ME, DC, Houston, Kentucky, Puerto Rico, Zaire, The Philippines, L.A., New York, Toronto, Wembley in London, Miami, Tokyo, Switzerland, Dublin, Jakarta, Jamaica, Nassau, Munich, Mexico, Kuala Lumpur.

But fighters don’t fight around the country and around the world anymore. They only fight in Trumpistan resorts. You will never see a title fight in your state capital again. Never. You can probably find some boxing club where 12-year-olds wearing beach balls on their fists bop each other around for three 40-second rounds, and some ruddy-faced Irish mother is selling 60 cent beers from a cooler in the back. But you’ll never see a prizefight in The Boston Garden or Providence Civic Center or Philly Spectrum or LA Forum or Soldiers’ Field again.

Our national treasure, Michael Buffer (who coined the now National Landmark Certified phrase, “Let’s Get Ready To Rumble!”), perceived this trend nearly 35 years ago, and struck a shrewd deal with a brash young Atlantic City and Vegas heir to a real estate fortune named Trump, that if he deigned to call a few fights on Trump property, he’d be required to introduce all championship fights on all Trump properties in perpetuity.

And that’s why we all know Michael Buffer, who looks great at age 72. I saw him introduce the Canelo-Chavez fight last month, totally in Spanish, and that way he rolls his Rs really works well. We know him and his catch-phrase because nearly all championship bouts are now held in Las Vegas. Last one I saw anywhere else was Tyson v. Tubbs, to christen “The Big Egg”, or Tokyo Dome, in 1988. The evening performance was Mick Jagger with Tina Turner. They rocked pretty damn well. Quite a day at The Big Egg.

But no father will ever take a son into town to catch a title fight anymore. No local newspapers will hype the big showdown at the local basketball/hockey arena. Two casinos in Las Vegas will be the only place to find $2500 tickets, and the rest of the world can pay $119 on PPV to see people they’ve never heard of fight for a weight class they’ve never heard of in a title fight sanctioned by an organization they’ve never heard of. The Continental Slapfighting Conference’s Super Ultra Mini Maxi Medium Middle Welter Light Heavy Fly belt. Featuring the best 146-148 pound fighters of the past eight minutes.

You’d think, with 65 champions, they could send a few out into the hinterlands, have an occasional prizefight in Mexico City or Boston or New York or Paris or Berlin. Sadly, no. It’s an international treaty obligation that all lucrative fights take place in Vegas.

And of course, foreshadowed above, Death Knell Numero Cuatro is the real misericorde. PPV, with every cable television provider, charging five times the market price to watch a shitty fight in Vegas. In the 1970s, nobody had access to closed-circuit TV. I actually remember going to The Felt Forum at Madison Square Garden and paying twenty bucks to watch Hagler-Leonard in 1985. Back then bars and concert halls had access to closed-circuit, and you’d pay ten or twenty bucks to see a fight. I paid to get into bars for Tyson-Douglas (a bigger upset than Joe Willie’s Jets over Unitas’s Colts), Tyson-Spinks (over more quickly than the national anthem, THAT was a bad investment), the infamous parachute delay in Holyfield-Bowe II, Holyfield-Lewis I, etc.

But then they changed the PPV rules for bars paying that ridiculous $119 and making it up in cover charges of 5 or 10 bucks, and instead made them pay thousands. Last time I saw a fight in an American bar was Pacquiao-Cotto I, in November of 2009, at an immense Atlanta sports bar, that could afford the thousands of dollars, because they had 500 clients on board.

This was the death of American boxing. You can see Wonder Woman or any number of other movies still in the theaters for $9.99 or $12.99 on Comcast or Xfinity. If you could see a prize fight for ten dollars, or on ABC’s Wide World Of Sports a week later, for free, then you might be a boxing fan, as might your boy. But you can’t. Because corruption and Marketing MBAs have decided that $119.99 is the going rate for a prizefight, and fuck the next generation of fans, we need our Trump profit NOW!!!!

So, to conclude, the modern American teenage boy has never played poker, nor chess, nor backgammon, and is a helpless mess during an electrical outage during a hurricane, because cards and board games are not part of his social vocabulary.

But he probably knows who Tom Brady and Stephon Curry and LeBron James are.

But can he name a single boxer? No.

Once he leaves the nest at age 47, will he ever order up a $119.99 PPV that his Mommy isn’t paying for to see Whatshisname Chang have a slapfight with Whodafuckis Ramirez? No.

We make him pay a week’s salary in Trumpistan to see a prizefight, while he can watch 50-year-old bald ‘roid-rage Navy Seals frottage each other to lily-white orgasm for free. Or put on earbuds and shoot fake brown people with their posse of online friends in Kill 'Em All v.3.8.1 after a tour of gunning down real brown people in the Middle East.

While Berkeley bloggers whine about how we should ban “bloodsports”.

Bloodsports are alive and well, and more popular than ever. Every teenage boy in America plays them, in ever increasing verisimilitude, with his Google Virtual Reality Goggles. Shoot the commie, shoot the nigger, shoot the cop, rape the boobalicious lady, it’s all good, why go outside and toss a football around when you can assassinate dozens of people on your TV every afternoon?

But they haven’t a clue if a flush beats a straight, nor how to respond to a Ruy Lopez chess opening, nor will they ever recognize a single middleweight champ. In the latter instance, because someone decided that boxing ended in 1995, and for only $119 we can discourage three generations of Americans from ever watching it again.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

OF RETRACTIONS, SETH RICH, AND HANNITY'S TOTAL LACK OF HUMANITY


In late June, Think Progress published an exploration of journalistic ethics by Laurel Raymond entitled "A Tale of Two Networks: How FOX News and CNN Handled Two Recent Retractions". It begins:
In recent months, both CNN and Fox have retracted stories on their websites regarding particularly high-profile topics on the left and right, respectively. Both sites issued similar excuses: A breakdown in normal editorial standards that led to something being published that shouldn’t have been. 
Yet in most other ways, the two cases are a study in opposites. 
CNN, on one hand, retracted its story within a day and issued an apology. The network immediately carried out an internal investigation. Three employees resigned. Those that remained were told that any future stories on the topic would need to be vetted by two top executives before publishing. 
Fox, on the other hand, took a week to retract the story, though it was debunked by other news outlets within hours. Little news of an investigation within the network emerged. No on-air apology was issued, despite a week of speculative coverage on the cable network. No employees resigned. And one of the network’s stars — Sean Hannity — continues to promote the conspiracy theory to this day.
Taking the above into consideration, reason would seem to dictate that it should be FOX News management, on air personalities and behind the scene employees who are being constantly ridiculed for promoting "Fake News" and worrying for their safety as they're being stalked and harassed by unhinged (ahem) "journalistic ethics advocates".*

But no. FOX News never faces any repercussions for their constant journalistic fuck-ups and lies. Just like Trump has yet to face any repercussions over his repeated, and repeatedly proven, lies. Because just as somewhere deep down in his psyche, Trump has to know that he has no business being in the White House, on some level, FOX News viewers have to know that what they're watching isn't journalism in any real sense.

As Seth Meyers recently quipped: "Trump not lying would be news. Another Trump lie is just ho-hum." The same can be said of FOX News.

Which brings us to Sean Hannity, and his ongoing attempts to push a disgusting and typically groundless Far Right conspiracy theory surrounding the murder of DNC staffer Seth Rich.

It should be obvious by now for anyone who hasn't been totally absorbed into the conservative movementarian Borg that Hannity couldn't give two tugs on a dead dog's cock about anything other than collecting metaphorical scrapings from the bottom of the allegorical barrel in order to fashion them into the cable news equivalent of shiny, klinky baubles that he can then shake at his house-bound, utterly brainwashed audience in an attempt to distract them from Trump and the GOP's non-stop cavalcade of incompetence and treason. 

But if you stop and think about it for a moment... it's worse than that.

I need you, my friends, to really try and come to grips with the implications of what Hannity is doing when he pushes the theories that a) Seth Rich was the source of the Podesta emails that WikiLeaks (most likely in league with both the Trump campaign and the Kremlin) made public before the 2016 election, and that b) he was then subsequently murdered--either by Podesta, or Donna Brazille, or the Clintons themselves, depending on who you ask--in an act of petty revenge over having done so. 

Never mind the fact that there is zero evidence for these theories. 

Never mind the fact that--despite all the hysterical, over-the-top reactions, mostly the product of intentional misinterpretations--said email dump was one of those Nothing Burgers political commentators keep referring to these days, featuring nothing more scandalous than a few embarrassing instances of petty inter-office politicking. 

Never mind the fact that Julian Assange's decision to play disgusting games with Rich's family--insinuating that he has information that could lead to the identification of Rich's killers while simultaneously offering a 20,000$ reward to anyone with information that could lead to the identification of Rich's killers--doesn't even make any goddamn sense.

Never mind all that. Because as disgusting as the above-listed shenanigans can get--and with devoted Trumpnik Roger Stone now saying that Rich's parents should be charged with obstruction over their requests that partisan hack "investigations" cease and desist, they've gotten pretty fucking disgusting--perhaps the most important takeaway from all this is what it says about the New Fascist International Deep State faction.

First of all, this dark thrashing in the murkiest of mucks tells us that they're desperate. 

Second, it signals that there are literally no limits to the depths that they're willing to sink to in order to "win".

Demonize and attempt to delegitimize the free press? Check.

Weaponize the NRA just as they kick-start the dormant culture war? Check.

Fire FBI director Comey in the midst of an investigation into Trump's Russia ties? Check.

Fire Mueller for getting too close to the truth? Check back in a week and we'll see.

It has long been obvious that a certain segment of the American population, after decades of having poison dripped into their ears while they slept, are so far gone that they now willingly choose hatred and fear over hope, or the chance at a shared future; that they would willingly submit to the ultimate solitude of oblivion rather than partake of the relatively minor efforts required to build, and maintain, community.

I don't know about you, but I feel something in the air. A dark, negative energy; a shadow gaining weight.

I fear that we may be, all of us, standing at the brink of a world historic catastrophe. The Republicans, assorted alt-right race haters and terrorists, and other longstanding conservative movementarians... all of them would rather there be a second Civil War than be forced to loosen their grip on the reins of power even one iota. 

God help us all... I'm starting to think they may get their wish.

*Journalistic ethics? Shades of Gamer Gate!

MEANWHILE, IN CANADA...


Some dude named Theo wants you to Look at This Picture...

QUID PRO QUO EXPLAINED