8 Reasons To Hate George Tenet

George Tenet is a disgrace.  The former CIA bigwig went on 60 Minutes to plug his new book, At The Center Of The Storm.  Not only did he embarrass himself and the intelligence community in this gripping interview, he embarrassed his country with his ridiculous comments.  How did he manage this incredible feat?  Let us count the ways.
 
1. Imagine a situation where one of your trusted officers is outed in the media by nefarious elements within the federal government.  Their cover is blown and their career is left in ruins.  What would you do if you were the head of the CIA at that moment?  Would you speak out on behalf of your victimized comrade or would you stay silent on the matter?
 
George Tenet chose the latter option.  When 60 Minutes correspondent Scott Pelley asked him about the infamous Robert Novak column that exposed the true identity of Valerie Plame-Wilson, Tenet replied, “She’s one of my officers. That’s wrong. Big time wrong, you don’t get to do that.  And the chilling effect that you have inside my work force is, ‘Whoa, now officers names are being thrown out the door. Hold it. Not right’…Just because there’s a Washington bloodletting game going on here and just because her husband’s out there saying what he’s saying. The country’s intelligence officers are not fair game. Period. That’s all you need to know.”
 
That marked the very first time Tenet ever expressed any outrage over the matter.  What’s that old line about being a day late and a dollar short?  The former head of the CIA was four years late.  In 2003, he was in a powerful position running an important government institution.  One of his officers was victimized by a treacherous act.  And he did nothing.  His words are empty and infuriating.
 
2. Without question, Tenet’s legacy will be the infamous remark reported by Bob Woodward in his bestselling book, Plan Of Attack.  With regards to Iraq possessing weapons of mass destruction, Tenet told President Bush during a briefing, “It’s a slam dunk case!”
 
Instead of owning up to his mistake, Tenet complains that his words were misused and leaked by a confidential source who, he claims, betrayed him.  From his perspective, he was trying to persuade an unconvinced President that selling the public on the idea of Iraq possessing WMDs was “a slam dunk” and not the defining moment that inspired the government to sign on to the Iraq invasion.  What’s most galling about this is that no one cares whether his words were the ultimate deciding factor or not.  What matters is that he was part of the team, one of the shady salesmen, that got us into Iraq and now we’re stuck there.  He still hasn’t taken any responsibilty for placing America’s military in one of the most dangerous and unstable countries of the world without adequate training and equipment.  He is a grotesque liar and shameless apologist.
 
3. Like a lot of incompetent Bush officials, Tenet was given an award for his “services”.  In his case, it was the Medal Of Freedom, the top civilian citation in America.  How can he claim to have a conscience about what he’s done to America and its standing in the world, and still accept that medal?  Oh, that’s right.  The award had nothing to do with his Iraq fuck-ups.  He earned it by fucking up Afghanistan.
 
He can claim, as he did on 60 Minutes, that he was “conflicted” about whether to accept the honour or not.  The larger point is that he’s unworthy of it.  Just ask Phil Giraldi, Ray McGovern, Larry Johnson, Jim Marcinkowski, Vince Cannistraro and David MacMichael, six former CIA officers who wrote a letter to him stating he should give it back.
 
When asked by Scott Pelley whether accepting the award was the reason he remains uncritical of President Bush, he swatted the accusation away with bullshit.  Award or no award, his continuing silence on the matter acidicly eats away at what remains of his credibility and integrity.
 
4. His repeated mantra – “We don’t torture people!” – might be the biggest lie he’s ever told in his life, and he’s put forth many whoppers in public.  No matter how many times he evokes 9/11, this dangerous, hypocritical policy has shown America’s enemies that we can’t claim the moral high ground any longer.  The Geneva Conventions are dead in the hearts and minds of the federal government.  We are no better than the people we’re fighting.
 
When Pelley asked him point blank, “…why were enhanced interrogation techniques necessary?”
 
Tenet’s reply?  “‘Cause these are people that will never, ever, ever tell you a thing. These are people who know who’s responsible for the next terrorist attack. These are hardened people that would kill you and me 30 seconds after they got out of wherever they were being held and wouldn’t blink an eyelash.”
 
But Tenet misses the most important point.  We’re talking about suicide bombers, people who use themselves as denotators, their own bodies as weapons of mass destruction.  If someone is willing to sacrifice their own life in this manner, what makes you think that torturing them will be effective?  If you’ve already signed off on the idea that you’re going to die a horrible, instantaneous death by blowing yourself up around soldiers and civilians, wouldn’t torture seem tame by comparison?  Furthermore, as Maher Arar will tell you, you’ll say anything to your captors when put in a hellish situation like that.  So, no matter how you slice it, it’s an ineffective, immoral, barbaric strategy for winning a war.
 
5. Former Secretary Of State Colin Powell would make the single biggest error of his life when he presented “evidence” of Iraq’s weaponry during the now infamous 2003 United Nations presentation.  He asked Tenet to sit behind him during the speech.
 
During the interview with Pelley, Tenet was confronted with his own shoddy 2002 National Intelligence Estimate that made all kinds of ridiculous claims about Iraq that ultimately came out of Powell’s mouth, most notably the supposedly huge stockpile of chemical and biological weapons that then-dictator Saddam Hussein allegedly had in his possession.  Tenet says the data the CIA gathered was enough to make a “[h]igh confidence judgment” but that it wouldn’t pass the mustard in a criminal court.  As he plainly stated, “Remember, when you write an estimate, when you estimate, you’re writing what you don’t know. You might win a civil case.”
 
Meanwhile, as 60 Minutes helpfully reminded us, during his UN presentation, Powell stated, “Our conservative estimate is that Iraq today has a stockpile of between 100 and 500 tons of chemical weapons agent…These are not assertions, what we’re giving you are facts and conclusions based on solid intelligence.”  The government sure sounded definitive about its case against Iraq which the master bullshitter George Tenet couldn’t even admit to.  Pelley, to his eternal credit, criticized Tenet for making up the information.  The former CIA head can deny it ’til the cows come home, to borrow a phrase he used during the interview, but Pelley nailed him.
 
6. And what about those 16 words in the 2003 State Of The Union address?  You know, the line about Hussein obtaining “large quantities of uranium” from Niger in order to create nuclear weapons?  Didn’t Tenet notice that error when he read the speech?
 
“I didn’t read the speech. I was involved in a bunch of other things.”
 
So, what did he do instead?  He delegated the speech to underlings, instructing them to come back to him if there were any problems.  There must not have been any problems because the speech bypassed Tenet and went right to the President.  Way to make your country proud of you, George.  No wonder you won the Medal Of Freedom.
 
7. It was believed that Osama Bin Laden was hiding somewhere in Tora Bora during the invasion of Afghanistan in the fall of 2001.  Many have criticized the unsuccessful effort to capture him there despite having him cornered.
 
Like a lot of officials in this Administration, Tenet makes pathetic excuses.  They didn’t have enough boots on the ground, he tells us.  Well, why didn’t anyone think to beef up the army in that area?  Have you guys heard of war planning?  (Oh, that’s right.  You haven’t.)  Yes, they did catch Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the 9/11 “mastermind” in Pakistan but why not Bin Laden?  Is he really that smart that he can elude capture all the time?  All signs, depressingly, point to yes.
 
8. The 9/11 Commission was critical of the CIA’s bureaucratic red tape with regards to two of the hijackers who were able to carry out their murderous plot despite being well-known to the intelligence community.  As Pelley pointed out, there were in America a year and a half before carrying out the attacks.
 
Tenet’s response was to imitate the old Condoleezza Rice line about how unfair and unjust it is to have one’s integrity “impugn[ed]” by people who write reports that don’t get “underneath the feeling of my people.”  Tenet’s chronic tendency to react to these justifiable charges of incompetence with thin-skinned defensiveness speaks volumes.  You get the feeling he’ll never understand what it means to be truly responsible for screwing up incredibly important jobs in the government.  He sees the writing on the wall – the ignominious end of The Bush Adminstration – and he’s jumping off this sinking ship before they take him down with them.  The problem is history will remember him staying on the boat when it mattered.
 
Dennis Earl
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Monday, April 30, 2007
2:53 p.m.
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Published in: on April 30, 2007 at 2:54 pm  Leave a Comment  

Michael Harris Is Still Clueless About Howard Stern

When Howard Stern started broadcasting on the Canadian airwaves in 1997, one of his biggest critics was Toronto Sun columnist Michael Harris, who could pass for Donald Trump’s grey-haired twin.  In a piece entitled “Say goodnight, Howard” which was published on November 18, 1997, he claimed that “The King Of All Media’s” initial invasion of The Great White North was to be a short one.  He opened the piece thusly:
 
“Howard Stern is Dead Man Talking. 
 
Remember where you heard it first.”
 
At the time, Stern had been doing his New York-based morning drive broadcast in two Canadian markets for two and a half months.  (He was heard on CHOM-FM in Montreal and CILQ-FM in Toronto.)  Almost immediately, there was a firestorm of controversy.  People got upset when he referred to Quebecers as “peckerheads” while talking about the endlessly annoying Sovereignty issue.  During his first Canadian broadcast, which occurred on September 2nd (the day after Labour Day), while draped in the Canadian flag he told the French in that province to “bend over” for him like they did for Hitler in WW2, a funny line despite the fact that France actually fought nobly against the Germans as Sun Media columnist Eric Margolis has noted.
 
Nonetheless, there was a small, phony movement to get Stern kicked off the air.  Complaints were sent to the useless Canadian Broadcast Standards Council and a number of media professionals started throwing him under the bus hoping to be rid of him forever, most likely because they couldn’t compete with him.  Citing evidence “from folks in the know”, Harris claimed that the American comedian would cease broadcasting in Canada “in as little as two weeks”.
 
His information turned out to be dead wrong.  Stern’s stint in Montreal would last a year and the Toronto station stuck with him for 5 years.  While he was popular on this side of the border (while never number one in Toronto, he was always in the Top 10), politics remains the only reason he was fired.  For those who enjoyed his program on CILQ, it didn’t matter when he was replaced by the pale imitator John Derringer.  Stern’s show could still be heard on the Buffalo FM station, WBUF, right up until his final day on terrestrial radio on December 16, 2005.  In fact, Canadian listeners switched to that channel well before his dismissal because they couldn’t take that 7-minute delay that CILQ used for every broadcast, a CBSC requirement.
 
10 years later, Harris is still not a fan.  In his Ottawa Sun column today (Stern lasted longer in Toronto than he did at The Sun), he tries to compare one undated, out-of-context remark (that’s actually quite funny) with out-of-context rap lyrics and Don Imus’ libellous and now infamous remark about the Rutgers womens basketball team.
 
One wonders how much of The Howard Stern Show he’s actually listened to.  He’s under the mistaken impression that sex is the only topic of discussion (everything you could think of is dissected on that show) and that Howard has a problem with women.  Considering the fact that Howard has been in two longterm relationships (his marriage to first wife Allison lasted over 20 years and he’s been involved with current squeeze, Beth Ostrosky, for 7), has three healthy, well-adjusted daughters, is very close to his mother, Ray, and has been loyal to sidekick/news reader Robin Quivers for over 20 years (he bought her an expensive car as a thank you, not too long ago), Harris’ twin accusations of mysogyny and sexism ring extremely hollow.  When have any of these ladies gone out of their way to bash him?  On the twelfth of never, actually.  Even his ex-girlfriends, like the lovely Angie Everhart, have nothing but nice things to say about the guy.  Furthermore, he went out of his way to defend Mia Farrow (who appeared at the end of Private Parts) while lashing out at Woody Allen for his role in destroying their relationship.
 
Contrary to Harris’ false claims, Stern’s favourite target isn’t women.  They’re one of his many, lifelong ruminations.  He’s far too horny and insatiable sexually to be hateful of the opposite sex.  He’s also extraordinarily curious and a shameless flirt, two qualities that make him a great interviewer.  No, Stern’s preferred targets of mockery have always been those who are too cool for the room, guys like Michael Harris who give one the impression that they’ve never laughed at anything in their entire lives.  If a conversation they hear on the radio is not serious and extremely important, they get their panties in a bunch.  Everybody else simply wants to be entertained on their way to work in the morning.  Stern and his loyal, talented crew have always provided that with their clever and funny program. 
 
Roger Ebert said it best in the April 16, 2004 edition of The Chicago Sun-Times: 
 
“Like millions of Americans, I listen to Howard Stern on the radio in the mornings.  I think he is smart, quick and funny.  Sometimes he is ‘offensive,’ but to be quite frank, I am not ‘offended,’ because what he says falls within the realm of words and subjects that, as an adult, I have long been familiar with even without the tutelage of Stern.”
 
And remember, that’s a Pulitzer Prize-winning critic (married to a black woman) saying that.
 
Howard Stern has also railed against authority figures who try to control peoples’ lives.  Think religious figures, extreme right-wing Republicans and members of the FCC.  And he’s decried Don Imus’ racism long before Media Matters For America and others paid close attention to it.  (How many times have they goofed on Sal The Stockbroker’s bigotted remarks?  I’ve lost count.)  For Harris to compare him to Archie Bunker, as he did in 1997, is foolish and just plain stupid.  I’ve yet to see concrete evidence that the guy’s a bigot.
 
The disappointing thing about all of this is that Harris has been one of the few Sun Media columnists willing to criticize The Bush Administration in America and The Harper Administation in Canada for their wrongheaded and dangerous foreign policies on a consistent basis.  How can he be so right about that and yet, so clueless about Howard Stern?  It boggles the mind.
 
Harris should remember that Howard Stern is a comedian, a damn good one, too, and his program is loaded with insight, candor and laughs.  (I read the daily write-ups on MarksFriggin and the official Stern site which are both funny and interesting.)  Without the restrictive nannying of the FCC hounding him any longer, it’s no wonder Stern’s thriving on Sirius Satellite Radio.
 
As for Harris, his job is most likely in jeopardy.  Why?  He’s employed by Quebecor.
 
Dennis Earl
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Friday, April 27, 2007
4:36 p.m.
Published in: on April 27, 2007 at 4:37 pm  Comments (1)  

Dealing With Annoying Technical Glitches Plus The New Fading To Black Link List

It’s been a frustrating week.  Ever since the latest Windows Live update on April 20th, it’s not been business as usual for this website.  You may be well aware of what I’m talking about.
 
For some yet-to-be-determined reason, The Writings Of Dennis Earl has been freezing and crashing an awful lot.  I’m no computer genius but it wouldn’t be a total shock to me if it had something to do with all these new features and gadgets that have just been released.  But that’s just a guess.
 
Essentially, here’s what’s been happening in the last five days.  The home page starts loading normally and then, at some point, it freezes.  You can’t scroll down and you can’t click on any of the links.  In order for me to sign in here, with the sole purpose of doing some work, I have to click to the "Sign In" page very quickly before the inevitable happens.  Surprisingly, once I do sign in, everything is fine, although scrolling down can result in occasional freezing.  But this has been occurring for quite some time, long before the current difficulties.
 
Also, when I’ve clicked the "Customize" button in "Edit Mode", the damn thing freezes and I can’t access or even investigate these latest additions to Windows Live.  This is a major annoyance because I’ve been wanting to make some changes to this website.  That can’t happen until this matter is resolved.
 
Also annoying is the lagging.  As I type this, the letters I’m pressing start appearing a little slower than normal.  The lagging is even worse when adding items to lists.
 
Speaking of lists, you may have noticed a new one directly underneath The Writings Of Dennis Earl 3, the third list of blog entries.  As noted earlier in this space, I’ve been invited to submit items to the Fading To Black Blog, a website devoted to covering the worldwide decline of the newspaper business.  So far, you’ll find 25 stories I’ve posted in that growing list of links.  It’s been a lot of fun writing for another person’s website.  You’re never quite sure how an opportunity like that is going to turn out but I’m happy to report that it’s been a positive experience thus far.  Check out that site everyday.  There’s usually something new and interesting to read.
 
In the meantime, I hope to get back to writing new material for The Writings Of Dennis Earl, which just passed the 9100 hit mark.  Despite the recurring technical glitches, it is possible to continue adding new pieces to my blog and the latest blog links to my third list of entries.  So, I’m very pleased about that.
 
The Windows Live Technical Support Team has already offered possible solutions to my dilemma but alas, none of them have ultimately worked.  I’ll be checking in with them again shortly to let them know specifically what’s wrong.  Here’s hoping this annoying problem will be resolved promptly and thoroughly.
 
I thank you for your patience and understanding during this frustrating period.
 
Dennis Earl
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Wednesday, April 25, 2007
8:13 p.m.
Published in: on April 25, 2007 at 8:18 pm  Leave a Comment  

Sun TV Union’s Modest Progress Suffers Major Setbacks

There’s good news and bad news to report in the ongoing Sun TV/Canadian Media Guild story.  As previously reported by this website, the CMG has been trying to successfully negotiate a collective bargaining agreement with the management of struggling Toronto station, Sun TV.  This endless dance has been happening for over a year now and the matter remains unresolved.
 
First, the good news.  Last week, the official CMG website reported that both sides had “reached agreement on a few minor provisions for the first collective agreement[,]” after sitting down to talk on April 5th and 12th.  What these “minor provisions” are exactly was not specified.  Still, it’s modest progress.
 
Now, the bad news.  One of the union’s representatives, Thomas Birkovich, has resigned.  The TV veteran noted in his official letter of resignation that “it’s time for a significant change.”.  A Day Oner at the formerly named Toronto 1, the former branch president who has been dealing with Sun TV from the beginning of these epic, ongoing negotiations (and worked in Master Control) has obviously reached his breaking point.  I greatly sympathize with the constant frustrations he has been experiencing trying to deal with this exasperating company.  He realizes life is too short to continuously bang your head against a solid, brick wall.
 
At the same time, it’s not known who will replace him at the bargaining table.  Also uncertain is whether or not a different negotiator will make a whit of difference to the process.  Regardless, it is a major setback for the union.
 
If that weren’t bad enough, today’s meeting between the two sides has been cancelled due to an illness.  Philip Andrades, Sun TV’s Human Resources Manager, is unwell.  (There goes the union’s momentum.)  The next scheduled negotiating session is set for April 26.
 
(Curiously, in its April 12th update, the CMG had already noted that the 26th would be the day of the next session.  It was an unintentional error (they obviously meant the 19th) and not the first one this website has noticed.  Originally, the March 29th update was erroneously labelled “May 29th”.  The March 14th and 15th postings are identical, with the exception of some bolded text in the latter.)
 
Finally, the union notes in its latest update that “[t]he application for decertification will run its course as set out under the Canada Labour Code.”  That’s something that Birkovich mentioned in his letter of resignation.  (He says, “there will be a vote this spring about CMG’s future at SunTV.”) Who applied for it?  Sun TV or one of their disgruntled employees?  If decertification happens, that means the CMG won’t be the “exclusive” representatives of the workforce any longer.  Who else, then, is willing to go to bat for these long suffering workers?  If not the CMG, then who?  Furthermore, will a deal be reached in time before this even becomes a reality?
 
The union notes that a more detailed update is forthcoming after the next negotiating session.  For the sake of its workforce, it better be spectacular.
 
Dennis Earl
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Thursday, April 19, 2007
5:00 p.m.
Published in: on April 19, 2007 at 5:04 pm  Leave a Comment  

Imus Wasn’t “Lynched”, Conservatives Running Scared

Be very suspicious of political commentators who flippantly use the words “lynched” or “lynching” to describe what happened to Don Imus recently.  Pat Buchanan, Frank Rich (paragraph three), Michael Smerconish, Rachel Marsden and Michael Coren are all guilty of this.  All of them are ignorant of the brutal history of those terms.
 
The concept of real “lynching” began with William Lynch, an 18th Century judge from Virginia.  Essentially, he came up with the idea of punishing “guilty persons” without trial.  Rather than have lawyers argue the facts of a case, Lynch would decree a “defendant” guilty without requiring any evidence at all and sentence the unfortunate soul to death which would be administered by an angry mob.  This “unwritten law” soon became known as “Lynch law”.  It’s purely an American phenomenon with roots in the Old West.  Later, lynching became a popular way for racist white males to eviscerate the Native and Black populations.  The Ku Klux Klan re-popularized it during their peak in the 20th Century.  Thankfully, this ghastly violent punishment is no longer as popular as it once was.  (Check out the underappreciated John Singleton film, Rosewood, to see the ugly nature of it firsthand.)
 
Compare the unjustifiable and unlawful acts of violence against minorities in America’s controversial history with the fierce criticism of Don Imus’ racist remarks and you realize that the comparison is false and offensive.  Real lynching is murder by a self-appointed committee of sadists.  It is not a movement of genuine and peaceful, verbal outrage.  Note the difference.
 
Don Imus wasn’t strung up on a tree branch by an angry, bloodthirsty mob hoping to kill him for his racist garbage.  He was fired by his employers (MSNBC and CBS Radio) because the ongoing, negative publicity was inspiring advertisers to take their business elsewhere, as Kevin Nance of The Chicago Sun-Times astutely observed.  Isn’t that how “the free market” is supposed to function properly?
 
One wonders why those five, above-mentioned columnists would criticize Imus’ firing.  All are well aware of his racist history.  Some of them, Buchanan and Rich, have been frequent guests on his now-defunct, low-rated program.  Why would they turn this into a ridiculous “First Amendment” issue?
 
This is what Michael Smerconish wrote in The Philadelphia Inquirer on Sunday:
 
“Individuals who hide behind the anonymity afforded by the Internet are seeking to squelch the First Amendment right of people whose identities are readily known and who, unlike their cowardly critics, put their names and credibility on the line each and every day on matters of public concern. Left unconfronted, it is a dangerous practice in the making.”
 
In a word, that’s bullshit.  No one at the liberal watchdog website, Media Matters For America, posts anything anonymously.  My name is attached to every piece I’ve written on this site.  For all their well-noted hypocracies, Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson have publicly voiced their disapproval of Imus’ slanderous remarks.  They’re not cowering anonymously.  A quick check of the excellent Huffington Post site shows a large number of contributors who’ve signed their names to their strong criticisms of Imus.
 
Furthermore, this wasn’t a First Amendment issue, it was a libel issue.  Don Imus slandered the Rutgers University female basketball team.  He made remarks that were not true.  He’s done this countless times over his career without much consequence.  His lifelong racism finally caught up to him.  I won’t miss him.  Most others won’t, either.
 
As for Smerconish’s assertion that people like him “put their names and credibility on the line each and every day on matters of public concern”, that doesn’t mean you get a free pass from justifiable criticism.  It also doesn’t mean you have the right to slander people without paying a price for it.  The airwaves are owned by the public.  When you maliciously and continuously attack anyone without providing credible evidence, you don’t belong in the public eye.  Period.  Responsible pundits, journalists and broadcasters don’t libel other people. 
 
Perhaps that is the real reason why most of these columnists were so eager to defend Don Imus.  They now worry the same fate awaits them.  The world would be a better place if that happened.  It would definitely be less angry and dishonest.
 
On her Fox News program, Red Eye, Rachel Marsden claimed that Pakistanis have poor hygiene.  Michael Smerconish believes Muslims who pray publicly are committing “a form of terrorism”.  Pat Buchanan is paranoid about immigrants becoming the new majority in America.  Michael Coren equates animal rights activists with Nazis.  When they protest Don Imus’ justifiable dismissal, they’re clearly defending themselves more than him, or rather, through him.
 
As for Frank Rich, the sole liberal on the list, one wonders why he would appear on Imus’ show again and again never raising a fuss about the constant, awful rhetoric coming out of the 67-year-old’s elderly yap.  Does he not have a conscience?  Does he not care that he has long associated with a well-documented racist?  Is he that desperate to sell his writing?
 
Were it not for Howard Stern (a longtime Imus critic) and Media Matters, one would have zero faith in our public discourse.  In fact, thanks to the latter’s recent coverage of the Imus debacle, other conservative broadcasters have been viciously lashing out, clearly worried that they’ll soon be imitating his walk of shame, as they should.  If they made honest, persuasive arguments throughout their careers, they wouldn’t have to concern themselves with watchdog groups in the first place.
 
Rush Limbaugh and Michael Savage, two of the worst offenders, are so paranoid about what’s happened that, absurdly, they believe Hillary Clinton has something to do with Imus’ removal.  Expect others to weigh in very soon with similiar sentiments.
 
In the end, let’s hope the end of Don Imus’ overrated, hate-filled career in broadcasting inspires many of us to pay more attention to the disgusting racism, libel and slander that continues to corrupt our public airwaves and demand something positive be done about it.  That’s not lynching, that’s democracy in action.
 
Dennis Earl
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Tuesday, April 17, 2007
8:25 p.m.
Published in: on April 17, 2007 at 8:27 pm  Leave a Comment  

Good Riddance To The Truly Unapologetically Racist Don Imus

Don Imus should’ve been fired years ago.  Ever since Howard Stern kicked his ass in the New York radio market in the 1980s, there’s been no reason for him to stay in broadcasting.  Yet, somehow, despite very low ratings, countless unfunny, asinine remarks, unapologetic imitation (he’s stolen Stern’s career moves and material for years) and a bizarre, unconvincing transformation from morning “comedian” to political interviewer, he managed to persevere.  That all came to an end sometime last week.
 
As we all know by now, during a live April 4th broadcast of Imus In The Morning, there was a discussion about the Rutgers University women’s basketball team.  During the MSNBC Television simulcast, footage of the players in action was shown while Imus and his crew made dopey, offensive remarks.  IITM executive producer Bernard McGuirk called the ladies “hard-core ‘hos” which inspired the 67-year-old host to say, “That’s some nappy-headed ‘hos there.”  He laughed as he spoke.
 
Later that same day, Media Matters For America, the liberal watchdog group devoted to shining a daily spotlight on conservative hate speech and misinformation, did a report on the incident.  Reaction was swift and mostly negative.
 
Two days later, Imus made his first “apology” on the air.  But the day before that initial response to the immediate outrage, Imus wasn’t so sorry.  During his April 5th broadcast, the day after his infamous remarks, he told his listeners, “I don’t understand what the problem is, really.  People gotta relax, really.  Calm down.”  (These quotes are taken from a Salon.com article called “He’s sorry now”.  As an aside, the article also showcases more awful comments about black people – namely, a couple of American Idol contestants – during the same broadcast that have been overlooked.  As you’ll discover, he’s too meanspirited to be funny.)
 
Does that sound like evidence of contrition?
 
Inevitably, Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson, two of the biggest hypocrites when it comes to racism and making unfounded accusations, just had to get involved in this mess.  Much like Michael Richards late last year, for some unknown reason, Imus had to do Sharpton’s show and face the music.  (Click here to read most of what aired on the April 9th broadcast.)
 
The most telling exchange happened shortly after Imus sat down.  Sharpton asked him a point blank question:
 
“Mr. Imus, do you think it’s funny to call people nappy-headed ho’s?”
 
Imus’ response?  “No, I don’t.”
 
A huge lie – as I noted earlier, he can clearly be heard laughing while making the remark – which Sharpton called him on.
 
“So you thought it was funny Wednesday morning?”
 
And, much like Michael Richards, Imus responded by rambling and stumbling over his words.  He sounded more and more guilty the more he spoke.  His chronic incoherency and deceitful manner makes one wonder how he survived in the world of radio for many decades.  One also wonders why he thought appearing on this show was a good idea.
 
At one point, Sharpton took a phone call and Imus stupidly got into an argument with the caller.  He noted that he couldn’t win with “you people”, another comment that Sharpton called him on.  (Imus lamely said he was referring to the caller and Sharpton but come on, everybody knows he meant black people in general.)
 
It was a public relations disaster.  That same day, Imus was softly suspended for two weeks.  Big whoop, said many.
 
As the chorus of critics grew stronger every day, Imus’ advertisers started bailing.  As a result, MSNBC cancelled the TV simulcast on April 11th and CBS Radio cancelled the show outright the following day.
 
It was long overdue.
 
The irony of all of this is is the fact that Imus made far worse comments over his entire career both on and off the air.  Howard Stern and Robin Quivers have long condemned him for incidents that happened two decades ago behind the scenes at WNBC in New York.  On two different occasions he called two different black women “niggers”.  (Quivers was one of them.)  Management were informed of what was going on.  Their indifference to the matter and the lack of disciplinary action spoke volumes.  (Check out some of Stern’s choice barbs about Imus as selected by Radar.)
 
But what was worse were all the people who actually defended the guy.  People like Bill Maher, for instance, who called into a particular broadcast after the incident and said the following:
 
“I’m going to say what I feel and what I feel is you made a really bad, dumb joke. And it was insulting. No one would want to take credit for that joke. It was wrong.

But after you say you’re sorry a few times, I think then it’s on other people if they can’t accept an apology. I think there’s so much in this country about making people go away. It’s a mistake, you apologize, and you shouldn’t lose your livelihood.

It’s like nobody in this country can have one moment of discomfort. If you’re made to feel uncomfortable, the person who caused it has to go away. It’s ridiculous.

Yeah, it was a bad joke, it was really creepy. But after that, people should move on.

I talked to some of my black friends about this and, you know, they’re not tripping over this. It’s all this fake outrage in this country.”

 
What a blithering idiot.  Contrary to what Maher lamely offered on Imus In The Morning, this is not the first time Imus has gotten in trouble for saying something racist.  (Click here and here and here and here to see what I mean.)  Furthermore, the guy isn’t actually sorry.  Look how long it took him to “apologize” (2 days).  Also, on April 10th, while talking about his hopes for meeting with the Rutgers basketball team (he apologized to them in a meeting that reportedly lasted three hours and, remarkably, they accepted his apology), he noted, “…at some point, I stop playing.  So I don’t deserve to be fired. And I am not going to be fired without consequences. So, I should be punished and I’m being punished and not insignificantly, by the way. I’m not whining, because I don’t feel as bad as those kids feel, and I’ve said that several times. But, I’m not going to play forever.”
 
Does that sound like someone who is truly sorry about what he did or does it sound like a desperate broadcaster pleading for his job?  I’ll go with the latter.  Thankfully, his racist rhetoric finally caught up to him and he will no longer pollute the public airwaves with his tiresome bullshit.
 
Maher, normally a sensible and funny commentator, blew it big time with his remarks.  No wonder Howard Stern ripped him a new one on his Sirius Satellite broadcast.  (Maher used to be a frequent guest on Stern’s old terrestrial show, but then stopped showing up.  He also started badmouthing Stern, for some reason.  He did it again during his phone call to Imus.  Unlike Imus, Stern isn’t racist and frequently condemns those who are through serious comment and social satire.  Just ask Sal The Stockbroker who crosses the line time and time again.  Stern, to his eternal credit, never lets him off the hook, or anybody else, for that matter.)
 
But Maher isn’t the only one defending Imus.  Besides the remarkably dimwitted Rachel Marsden who actually lashes out at the Rutgers team, if you can believe it, there were numerous politicians and political pundits still willing to go on Imus’ show before it was actually taken off the airwaves.  (Radar has the list here.)  There were even those who were, get this, “undecided”.  How long has it been since they used their brains?  (Maureen Dowd, you should be ashamed for even going on that show in the first place.)
 
So, don’t cry a tear for the bigot Don Imus.  Yes, rappers use the word “ho” all the time.  Yes, Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson have spouted anti-Semitic remarks in the past.  Those aren’t good enough reasons to defend the guy.  In fact, as Media Matters For America has pointed out, Imus is far from the only offender in this regard.  You’ve got Bill O’Reilly who has referred to Mexicans as “wetbacks”, Ann Coulter who calls Muslims “towelheads”, Neal Boortz who called a controversial politician “a ghetto slut” because he didn’t like her haircut and on and on and on.
 
Imus is 67 years old.  He’s old enough to know the difference between right and wrong.  So are his angry white male conservative contemporaries, all of whom are over 40.
 
He won’t be missed.
 
Dennis Earl
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Sunday, April 15, 2007
11:50 p.m.
Published in: on April 15, 2007 at 11:52 pm  Leave a Comment  

Wallace & Gromit: The Curse Of The Were-Rabbit

Wallace & Gromit: The Curse Of The Were-Rabbit is an exquisitely animated failure.  It is one of the best looking features I’ve seen in a while but it’s also an inconsistent disappointment.
 
Wallace is a bald, cheese-obsessed inventor who runs his own animal control business.  Gromit is his silent, remarkably reliable canine sidekick.  (He can drive a car, make breakfast and read the newspaper.  Take that, Benji!)  They spend much of their time tracking down pesky rabbits who frequently invade backyard gardens.  They’re so good at their job they generate much respect from the neighbourhood and even make the front page of the local paper.
 
The English locals are a little on edge because the 512th Annual Giant Vegetable Competition is just days away.  As long as those furry pests can be successfully contained by the locals, there shouldn’t be any difficulties.
 
Wallace develops a crush on his latest client, Lady Tottington (charmingly voiced by Helena Bonham-Carter), and the feeling is mutual.  It’s her family bloodline that’s been running the annual GVC (complete with carnival rides and fireworks) for centuries.  However, a whole wack of rabbits have invaded her castle grounds and she needs some assistance.  Before Wallace & Gromit can get there to solve the problem, a mustachioed, big-haired phony named Victor Quartermaine (voice of Ralph Fiennes) arrives first.  Tottington wants nothing to do with him.  Victor is only after her money.  He’s also a big game hunter and while she wants the rabbits removed from her property, she doesn’t want any harm to come to them.  Fortunately, our heroes arrive to resolve the matter and unintentionally expose Victor’s strangely convincing toupee.  Too bad it’s one of many gags that fall flat.
 
But Wallace is too ambitious for his own good.  His latest invention gets him into big-time trouble.  Without giving too much away (for those who still haven’t seen this film), a giant, mysterious monster is rampaging through the neighbourhood devouring these enormous vegetables.  The townspeople are not amused and want it out of their lives (and gardens) for good.  It’s up to our animal control guys to save the day and preserve the annual fair.
 
The spirit of claymation is kept very much alive with this film.  You feel the love and hard work in every frame.  Take a look at the scene where that cop is whistling late at night.  Or the underground car chase sequence.  Or the "dogfight" during the last act.  These are beautifully rendered moments.
 
So, why doesn’t it work as a whole?  Well, for starters, that villain is pretty lame.  Ralph Fiennes is a great actor but I just didn’t hate him in this role.  Victor Quartermaine is a useless character who takes up way too much screen time.  His canine sidekick doesn’t fare much better (but he does inspire one very big laugh during the "dogfight" sequence).
 
More importantly, the comic tone of the piece is uneven.  It never gets on a roll the way it should.  Don’t get me wrong.  There are a number of funny moments here, but they never add up to an unstoppable laugh riot.  It’s spotty at best.
 
The quiet romance between Wallace and Lady Tottington is cute and convincing, but it’s underdeveloped.  It doesn’t help that Quartermaine’s presence takes away from this much more enjoyable storyline.  He’s always getting in the way.
 
Finally, I just didn’t have that much affection for the characters overall.  Unlike the Toy Story and Shrek films, you never develop that special connection, that unshakeable bond that instantaneously happens when a captivated movie audience falls in love with charming characters.  You never hate the heroes in Wallace & Gromit.  They’re too nice to warrant our loathing.  You just never worry about them the way you do about Woody and his fellow toys, and Shrek and his beloved Princess Fiona.  Those feelings are absent here.
 
The movie is technically well made and contains some engaging action sequences.  A good plot twist pops up in the middle, and there are a number of good zingers and sight gags.  But Wallace & Gromit: The Curse Of The Were-Rabbit is missing that special connection with the characters and consistent laughs.  Without those important qualities, it’s merely eye candy without heart.  What a shame.
 
Dennis Earl
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Friday, April 13, 2007
10:37 p.m.
Published in: on April 13, 2007 at 10:46 pm  Leave a Comment  

A Straight Guy’s Take On Boston Phoenix’s Latest Unsexy Men List

Poor Artie Lange.  He’s ballooned to 300 pounds (he looks like Fat Elvis when he wears shades while clean shaven), he can’t beat his addictions to junk food and gambling, and now he’s considered the 70th least sexy celebrity this year.  Well, at least he wasn’t number one.
 
The Boston Phoenix has once again compiled its list of the 100 least sexy celebrity males (one of whom is actually a female).  It’s controversial, in poor taste, incredibly cruel and often, absolutely hilarious.  You end up feeling sorry for some of the names that made the list.  Emphasis on “some”.
 
Howard Stern’s sidekick got off pretty easy, all things considered.  (Too bad his last name was misspelled.)  Being compared to Bluto from National Lampoon’s Animal House, one of Artie’s favourite all-time films, isn’t the worst thing in the world to happen to him.  (Think heroin, losing Dana, being institutionalized.)
 
As for the rest, well, let’s just hope they have a sense of humour and thick skin.  Really thick skin.
 
As a straight guy who could care less about the sex appeal of dudes, famous or otherwise, it’s practically impossible to get upset with the choices here.  Most of them are right on the money.  (The number 45 selection, The Duke LaCrosse Team, however, is a low blow.  Haven’t those guys suffered enough over the last year?  I’m not so sure “rent[ing] a couple of cut-rate strippers” is evidence of “having no game whatsoever.”.  It’s not right to bash those guys after the hell they’ve been through.)
 
So, how in the hell do you come up with a list like this?  According to the fearless BP staff members who put it together, unattractive physical features weren’t the only criteria.  Exhibiting boorish behaviour and possessing an obnoxious personality were also strong selling points.
 
Here are some of the funniest lines from the article:
 
95. Patrick Stump (from Fall Out Boy):
 
“If that pudge-gutted, receding-hairlined, mutton-chopped marionette wants to get laid, we recommend a case of Slim-Fast, a couple of Motörhead records, and the retrieval of his balls from whatever jar [bandmate Pete] Wentz keeps them in.”
 
88. Erik Estrada
 
“Was Ponch.  Now Paunch.”
 
86. John Popper (lead singer of Blues Traveler)
 
“The kind of lard-ass who, on a good day, probably smells like month-old lunchmeat.”
 
85. John Basedow (fitness expert – “Fitness Made Simple”)
 
“It’s as if someone took Lou Ferigno’s [sic] pecks and stapled them to a Ken doll — a sight that never fails to send us groping for the remote in mid retch.”
 
84. Devendra Banhart (musician)
 
“Squeeze him and out comes a sound like Tiny Tim getting gang-raped by a syphilitic 1930s Kentucky jug band.”
 
76. Male Editorial Staff Of The Boston Phoenix (“Journalistic embarrassment”)
 
“Tattered. Poor. Smelly. Their manhood is measured in picas.”
 
66. Rush Limbaugh
 
“One-time pill-popping tub o’ lard.”
 
63. Chad Kroeger (lead singer of Nickelback and number 2 on this list in 2006)
 
“He looks like a lion crossbred with a chicken.”
 
54. Dr. Phil McGraw
 
“Two parts smug empathy, six parts self-satisfied gloat, this unsolicited life coach to the universe has all the charm of flatulence in a bathtub.”
 
48. Alan Colmes (from Fox’s Hannity & Colmes)
 
“[H]e made the list because he looks like Rocky Dennis, Cher’s son in Mask.”
 
26. Robert Novak
 
“Unattractive even for the liver-spotted set, this toad-like shill for the GOP jump-started the CIA-leak case by outing Valerie Plame as a Langley operative.”
 
22. Bruce Vilanch (comedy writer)
 
“He toured with Streisand, but looks like he’d be more at home on the road with Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem: he’s like Animal with specs, if Animal was the size of a parade float.”
 
12. Karl Lagerfeld (legendary fashion designer)
 
“Almost makes [Don] Imus seem sexy.”
 
10. Carl (a cartoon character from the show Aqua Teen Hunger Force)
 
“Wife-beater + upper-arm hair + bald pate + flip-flops + bad mustache = still sexier than Bob Dylan.”
 
In case you were wondering, Donald Trump was number one.
 
Dennis Earl
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Thursday, April 12, 2007
9:48 p.m.
Published in: on April 12, 2007 at 9:51 pm  Leave a Comment  

Recent Changes And A New Assignment

What a difference two months make.  Back in February, I noted in this space how the overall hit count for The Writings Of Dennis Earl was close to 6000.  Today, it’s over 8600 altogether.  If things continue to progress at this rate the site should reach the 10000 plateau before the end of the Spring season.   Slowly but surely, this website is gathering more readers and I couldn’t be happier about that.  From the beginning, the plan was to start from nothing and gradually build a readership, rather than try to be a huge hit out of the gate.  This "work in progress" philosophy has served me well.
 
Also, returning visitors may have spotted some noticeable changes in a number of the 220 pieces currently showcased here.  In the past, when I’ve wanted to link to a particular item, whether it’s one of my entries or something worth checking out on another website, I’ve simply provided the actual address.  As anyone who pays attention to URLs can tell you, these can be extraordinarily long and unwieldy.  They can also distract readers from properly digesting the material.  They can ruin the look of paragraphs in an instant.
 
The only reason this was done was because I had no idea how to embed links within the text.  I just couldn’t be bothered to figure it out.  It took a fellow blogger, who addressed this matter to me in an email, to finally convince me to learn how to do this properly.  It turns out that hiding links in specific words or phrases in an article is surprisingly easy.  I should’ve done it this way from the start.
 
Once I got the hang of embedding, I went through every piece making most of the necessary corrections.  (A few articles still need to be fixed.  I hope to have that done soon, if this website will cooperate.  Windows Live technology can be frustrating and time consuming.  Don’t ask.)  So, from now on, instead of seeing something like this –  "To see the entire article, click this link – http://dennisearl.spaces.live.com." – you’ll see this:  "To see the entire article, click here."  Or you’ll notice a particular word, title or phrase highlighted in orange which will take you to that specific link.  My thanks to Fading To Black for mentioning this to me.
 
Speaking of FTB, I’ve been graciously asked to post items on that website.  I’ve wholeheartedly accepted the invitation and commenced writing for that blog yesterday.  (Check out this, this, this and this.)  I’ll be following FTB’s formula rather closely as more items get posted in the days to come.  The Fading To Black site’s agenda is to cover the startling decline of the North American newspaper business.  God knows there’s no shortage of material on that front.  Hopefully, we’ll both figure out a way to break more news on there rather than just simply pointing out other journalists’ hard work, although it’s important to highlight that stuff, as well.  It’s an entertaining challenge to write for someone else’s website but I’m up for it.  We’ll shall see how things go.  So far, so good.  My personal thanks to FTB for giving me the opportunity to write for him.
 
That being said, I hope to keep covering developments in the ongoing Sun TV/Sun Media sagas on my site.   These pieces, particularly Bill Brioux Responds, remain the most accessed material on here.  They’ve definitely been a major factor in boosting my overall hit count.  However, The Toronto Sun Family Blog remains the best source of inside information regarding the horrible situation facing the Sun Media corporation.  Blogger John Cosway has been on a roll lately.  Thanks to being singled out last month in Antonia Zerbisias’ Toronto Star column, The TSF site has been getting more useful tips and entertaining feedback than ever before.  It’s an essential place to visit everyday.
 
One last thing.  I’m still unable to convince my readers to buy a good book from my Amazon list.  The item links are being clicked on like crazy but nothing is being ordered.  I hope this isn’t because there’s a problem with ordering.  If you’ve tried to order a book from my list but have been unable to do so because of unforseen technical problems or some other difficulty, please email me at dennischarlesearl@hotmail.com.  I want to know that everything is working properly.
 
That’s it for now.  As always, thanks for visiting The Writings Of Dennis Earl.  More postings are on the way.
 
Dennis Earl
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Wednesday, April 11, 2007
6:11 p.m.
Published in: on April 11, 2007 at 6:13 pm  Leave a Comment  

Under Siege

This morning on Sirius Satellite Radio, according to Mark Mercer of MarksFriggin.com, Howard Stern was talking about a straight-to-video Steven Seagal movie that he enjoyed watching over the holiday weekend.  (Unfortunately, either Stern or Mercer got the title wrong.  It’s called Flight Of Fury, not In Flight.) 
 
That got me thinking about Seagal and how far his film career has fallen.  Did you know that he hasn’t appeared on the big screen in 5 years?  (The critically pummelled Half Past Dead was his last movie to get a theatrical release.  That was in late 2002.)  It was only 6 years ago that his so-so offering, Exit Wounds, opened with a 30-million dollar weekend take.  True, Seagal is in his mid-50s now and not in the best of shape but if Sylvester Stallone can make a Rocky sequel that doesn’t get any Razzie nominations then anything is possible.  Besides, everybody loves a good comeback story.
 
It wasn’t always this way.  From 1988 to 1996, the former sensai (who once lived in Japan and got into the film business because he was former Hollywood Superagent Michael Ovitz’ martial arts teacher) appeared in a string of hit films like Above The Law, Hard To Kill, and Out For Justice.  For me, his greatest achievement remains his 1992 blockbuster, Under Siege, one of the great action pictures of the 1990s.  It is still the only 4-star movie he’s ever appeared in.  It was co-produced by Arnon Milchan (Ovitz’ former art dealer).
 
My old friend, Shane Willson, and I went to the Jackson Square Cinemas sometime in October 1992.  The original plan was to see this George Strait film, Pure Country.  (Shane had already seen Under Siege.)  But by the time we got there, our plans changed.  We decided to see Steven Seagal kick some serious ass instead.  (Shane must’ve really enjoyed the movie to wanna see it twice in the theatre.)  To this day, I still haven’t seen Pure Country.
 
At the time, I was failing miserably as Delta Secondary’s Student Council President.  The movies were my shelter from the endless stresses of student politics.  Seeing great pictures like Under Siege got me through one of the worst periods of my life.
 
This review has never been seen before.  It was originally part of my unpublished book of cinematic critiques, The Movie Critic:  Book One.  (It was review number 105.)  However, this is not the original version.  Like Batman Returns, The Silence Of The Lambs and Housesitter, it required extensive revisions.  Some lines were tweaked here and there, some were relocated and others were kept intact.  Plus, it was tightened up a bit in order to make it flow a little better.  In the end, it’s a far better assessment than the original.
 
By the way, there was a sequel to this movie in 1995.  But unfortunately for me, Under Siege 2: Dark Territory was a disappointment.  There’s some cool action in it but Eric Bogosian is no Tommy Lee Jones.  Nor is he Gary Busey.  It remains the only time Steven Seagal played the same character in two different films.  Remember, Under Siege is the one to see.  Howard Stern should re-screen it again sometime soon.  He’ll be immediately reminded of its greatness.
 
 
U N D E R   S I E G E
Adult Accompaniment
103 minutes, 1992
Starring:
Steven Seagal–Casey Ryback
Tommy Lee Jones–William Strannix
Gary Busey–Commander Krill
Erika Eleniak–Jordan Tate
Produced by Arnon Milchan, Steven Reuther and Steven Seagal
Screenplay by J.F. Lawton
Music by Gary Chang
Directed by Andrew Davis
 
Under Siege is an excellent action yarn that manages to make every second exciting.  It is more than just a Die Hard-style thriller.  In fact, it’s one of the best films of the year.
 
Steven Seagal stars as Casey Ryback, a former Navy Seal turned chef (one of many) on the U.S.S. Missouri (a real-life battleship that was called into service during the first Persian Gulf War).  The famous warship is on its way back to port since it has completed all of its missions successfully.
 
Casey is a likeable character who gets along nicely with all of his shipmates except Commander Krill (the magnificently evil Gary Busey in one of his best performances).  This guy hates him because he thinks he’s a show-off and doesn’t listen to his superior officers.
 
We learn that Casey and Krill have hated each other for a long time.  Their longtime feud is about to take a dramatic turn.
 
The pivotal scene in the movie is a surprise birthday party for the ship’s elderly admiral.  It’s Commander Krill’s idea but he has a hidden agenda.  He arranges the entire affair but notifies the admiral about his plans beforehand in order to avoid a possible courtmartial.  The admiral welcomes the celebration in his honour and agrees to wait in his chambers until Krill picks him up on his special day. 
 
A band led by a leather-clad Tommy Lee Jones and Playboy Magazine’s July 1989 Playmate, Jordan Tate (the beautiful Erika Eleniak who really was Miss July 1989 in real life), who’s hiding topless in a big birthday cake, provide the entertainment.  From the start of the proceedings, everything seems to go smoothly.  Then, out of nowhere, Jones kills the highest ranking officer at the party.  Chaos ensues with even more killings.  The unsuspecting naval officers of the U.S.S. Missouri have no idea what’s happening.  They’re soon rounded up by the bad guys and quarantined.  As for the birthday boy, it’s unlikely he ever expected to be offed by one of his own officers.  In drag, no less.
 
It turns out Jones isn’t a dinosaur rock singer.  He’s a real nasty piece of work named William Strannix, a notorious terrorist and Commander Krill’s co-conspirator.  Their diabolical scheme involves selling the Missouri’s extremely valuable nuclear missiles for a whopping billon dollars to people you don’t want to sell nuclear missiles to.  The only people standing in their way are Casey and Jordan.
 
Under Siege was directed by Andrew Davis who also worked with Steven Seagal on his debut project, Above The Law.  He manages to inspire outstanding performances from not only Seagal but also the movie’s terrific villains, Gary Busey and Tommy Lee Jones.  The biggest surprise of the film has to be Erika Eleniak who is, thankfully, not used primarily as eye candy (although she is quite fetching).  She’s a vital and exceptional heroine with terrific comic timing.  She helps elevate the work of Seagal who’s never been better.  They make a formidable team together.  You’re rooting for them every step of the way.
 
The movie contains stimulating scenes of intelligently written dialogue (screenwriter J.F. Lawton knows how to write a good quip and the actors reward his efforts by getting strong laughs here) as well as awesome sights of violence.  This is a truly satisfying Steven Seagal action flick that nicely restrains from the usually gory deaths we routinely see in his films.  The sounds of necks, arms and legs being broken in direct, exciting confrontations are brutally effective without being too bloody.
 
Considering the recent flock of dopey, uninspired and unconvincing action pictures, it’s a real pleasure to watch a film like this made by professionals who know exactly how to make a great movie.  There are plenty of invigorating action sequences and surprisingly well-timed comedic moments to hook even the casual moviegoer.
 
Here’s a Steven Seagal movie worth recommending.
 
Dennis Earl
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Monday, April 9, 2007
10:48 p.m.
Published in: on April 9, 2007 at 11:04 pm  Leave a Comment