Happy Monday everybody! Welcome to another stunning, flawless, amazing, watching 24 hour cable news better than your favorite edition of the Majak Mixtape, the velvet rope area for pop culture moments. Today, we're taking on the media coverage of the Arizona shooting tragedy that has left several people dead and, at the time of this post at least, Rep. Gabrielle Giffords slowly making some recovery. But before we get to all of the heavy stuff, let us keep light and airy with some celebrity gossip because that stuff is inherently
So let us do what we do best and
Up first, Victoria Beckham is willingly going to weigh more than negative five pounds for a few months as she just announced that she and David Beckham are expecting another child according to Sky News and David Beckham's own official Facebook page. The ultra fashionable duo already have three sons named Brooklyn, Romeo and Cruz. We're not quite sure why David and Posh decided that having all of their sons with names mysteriously like "I Love New York" contestants was the wisest idea, but we love both of them so we'll give this a pass since it's still better than some of the baby names we've heard of like G.Paltrow and Chris Martin naming their kid Apple or the still infamous Pilot Inspektor as named by "My Name is Earl" star Jason Lee and his wife. We love that we've officially come to a point with celebrity baby names that to be edgy, stars will have to name their children things like Frank and Sue.
In other couples news, Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes might be boycotting attending the Oscars this year because of Anne Hathaway? In a story that will surely already be discredited before we even finish writing this, British tabloid The Daily Mail, otherwise known as "The Daily Fail," is reporting that TomKat are allegedly mad for Hathaway's dead-on impression of Ms. Holmes from her recent hosting stint on SNL and are planning on not attending since Hathaway is sharing hosting duties with James Franco. According to the hilariously skewed reporting that makes up The Daily Mail, Katie was hurt by the impression since she and Anne were friends; Katie had, according to the story, had even gone as far as taking Anne to a Tina Turner concert to help get over the fact of Anne's ex-boyfriend Raffaello Follieri getting his Ponzi scheme on because nothing heals the hurt and sorrow of your boyfriend being a big ole defrauding d-bag like a rousing encore of "Proud Mary."
And now it's time for another stunning, flawless, amazing update of our favorite Ginger Spiced piece of H.A.M. That's right everybody, time for another installment of:
According to those handy dandy folks at TMZ, Lindsay Lohan has moved in a friend she made from Betty Ford Clinic into her house as she wants to surround herself with sober people. Slap a wig on the girl and call her Dina because Lohan is footing the bill for the girl to stay at her place as they both try to make good life decisions.
One of which would probably not be striking up her friendship with DJ Samantha Ronson again. Also, according to TMZ, the on again/off again/who cares again couple are neighbors, much to Ronson's apparently initial dismay, and have decided to make nice with one another. The two allegedly went out for dinner in West Hollywood.
Ugh, Lohan. We're not blaming Samantha Ronson for Lohan's past troubles since Lohan, judging by the stellar examples of her parents Dina and Michael, was damaged goods long before she ever got to Ronson. I mean, Lohan once thought it was wise to date both Aaron Carter AND Fez from "That 70s Show" so she has always exhibited questionable life choice skills. But anybody who ever picked up a gossip mag, perused through a tabloid blog, or ever had the misfortune of reading Lohan's or Ronson's Twitter accounts will know that these two are toxic together.
But good for you Lohan for finding a sober buddy who could also help your career. Two birds, one stoner and such.
Next up, we take on media coverage of the Arizona shooting tragedy in today's mixtape.
It is a truly cray cray time in the world of American politics with the recent shooting of Arizona Democrat Rep. Gabrielle Giffords as a large piece of an overwhelming jigsaw puzzle that makes up the political landscape of late. The alleged shooter, Jared Lee Loughner, is thought to have done the shooting not necessarily based on political motives but potentially because of lingering mental illness problems according to a Reuters report. But also in the report, Arizona sheriff Clarence Dupnik said he believed that to write-off the shooting as just an act of an unbalanced person was sort of side-stepping the greater context of the world we're living in:
"When the rhetoric about hatred, about mistrust of government, about paranoia of how government operates, and to try to inflame the public on a daily basis, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, has impact on people especially who are unbalanced personalities."
With traditional modes of delivering the news like the newspapers slowly making the way of the dodo bird and cable news now in hyper competition with each other over an ever fracturing audience, it's no surprise that things have gone to extremes in order to capture an A.D.D.-addled audience. You have Fox News in one corner, being the network du jour of the Republican Party. You have to admit that gazillionaire Rupert Murdoch was a cagey genius when he introduced Fox News into the cable marketplace. Offering itself up as a more conservative-alternative to CNN, Fox News quickly found itself snatching Wolf Blitzer's wig in the ratings as people found themselves gravitating to personalities like Bill O'Reilly:
In 1996, NBC decided to launch MSNBC, the bronze medal of news networks in terms of ratings for the longest time. In order to save itself, MSNBC shrewdly repositioned itself as a more left-leaning network than Fox News as it populated its airwaves with people like silver-haired Keith Olbermann:
Both networks, in their own special ways, deliver a little political razzle dazzle to its audience who tunes in superficially to get the news but to a larger degree, in our opinion, to get their view point of the world validated by a news network doing its best to satisfy and build its target audience for the most amount of ad revenue possible. So razzle dazzle them they must.
We're also living in a time, more than ever, that is sort of knee-deep in a cult of personality.
The message is not nearly as important as the charisma of the person delivering it. Their sheer ability to capture the fascination of people is what has made political stars of people of late. And unlike the political stars of yore who came across as bigger than life, the ones that are making waves now, especially within the Tea Party movement as well as certain parts of the Independent/Progressive moment, have fashioned themselves as incredibly down home, earnest, folksy types. Being pretty much unqualified to hold political office has now, due to the justified anger of how both parties have screwed up things in such intricately awesome fashion, became an asset instead of a deficit.
And where better to bolster your political stock than any number of the cable news networks who seemingly will put ANYBODY on to fill program time. Granted, that doesn't just go for the cable news. Regular news stations do questionable stories all the time, like the Fox affiliate who had the genius idea of trying to find another Ted Williams, the homeless who became all sorts of famous because his radio friendly voice.
So some masterful producer at a news station had the bright idea to go around their town, talking to homeless people in order to find a new Ted Williams story.
Anyway, as soon as the shooting happened in Arizona, the news organizations rushed to figure out how much blame Sarah Palin deserved for it because of this wonderful graphic she posted months and months ago and has now since deleted from her Facebook because that erases it from the public consciousness and the Internet, right? Maybe. Nope.
From the moment Sarah Palin posted and started using the phrase "Don't Retreat, Reload," the cable news networks had a field day over the phrase, either defending it as just standard war analogy bandied about during political campaigns or something that would incite violence, already happening during those notoriously contentious town hall meetings about health care reform.
Now some people have placed a lot of blame on Palin for the shooting due to Gifford being one of the metaphorical "targets" on the map while people like "Reliable Sources" Howard Kurtz have come out to defend Palin, which he has a point in one respect. Palin's map didn't cause anybody to do it, we're pretty sure of that. But we do think it's a little silly to say that there has always been this sort of language in politics and ignore how things have shifted. It's like saying that there has always been bullying so the recent rash of gay teenagers suicide is not something we should pay attention. Quite the contrary, the fact that something has always been around is now producing a different, more intense response of sorts is exactly why we need to examine it.
But Howard Kurtz is notorious for his ability to play devil's advocate on anything and seemingly unable to hold opinion on anything that isn't the opposite of whoever is talking. He also recently made this hilariously awful assertion when writing a profile of African-American newswoman Carole Simpson:
Two years later, a drunken NBC producer—the likely culprit for her earlier problems—told her at the Republican convention: “You think because you’re black and you’re a woman you can get anything you want. And you slut, you don’t deserve it.” Searing words that would affect anyone’s outlook on life, and yet, Simpson has to admit that she has also benefited from affirmative action.
And as to be expected, the news networks have done what they always do in the face of some big national event. No, we don't mean thoughtfully cover it. We're talking about branding the story. You know exactly what we're talking about. Every time a tragedy hits, news stations across the world quickly race to find the appropriate alliteration-filled title and matching font of serious journalism to throw up on the screen in order to give the story an identity as well as those somber montages of people dealing with some terrible event as some piece of sombre orchestral music is played over it, usually used as a bumper between segments. MSNBC has declared the Giffords shooting the "Tragedy in Tucson." We're just glad that the cable news networks have learned not to completely cross the line when it comes to branding story like CNN did during the Virgina Tech shooting when it infamously had a "MASSACRE AT VIRGINIA TECH" logo that twirled in the bottom corner of the screen while ABC wrote "BLACKSBURG, VIRGINIA" against the classy image of a gun's cross hairs. So far, we at the Mixtape haven't seen any of that cropping up with this news story because hopefully the news stations have learned not to be so
We just hope that the one silver lining of this whole debacle is that everybody, from politicians to reporters to the general public, take a moment to re-evaluate the discord in the discourse. We don't think that people should suddenly all be in agreement on things. We just think that we need to return to the simple rules of debate everybody was taught in high school. Two people can disagree on an issue, and it doesn't make the other side evil. If civility could slowly creep back into the world, it'd be a far more fabulous place. We just want everybody to just play it cool.
And with that, we end another edition of the Majak Mixtape. As always we wish you love, peace and downloads. BRING ON THE ELVIS COSTELLO.