In An Attempt To Ban Overzealous Trump Supporters, John Cusack Accidentally Blocks 2 Journalists On Twitter. I’m One Of Them.

Being blocked by a celebrity on Twitter is something of a surreal experience.  Out of the thousands of mentions and messages they receive daily, somehow you’ve managed to break through and be acknowledged.  But then, just as quickly, rejected.

Sometimes, there’s a response before you get blocked.  Sometimes, nothing at all.

Usually, when I get blocked by a famous person, there’s a good reason for it:  I’ve pissed them off.

As I noted in this space four years ago, Obama apologist Sophia Bush wasn’t terribly thrilled with my harsh criticisms of her.  After lamely engaging with me twice, she ignored me for a couple of months.  Then, fed up with more criticism, I was blocked.

After arguing with Rosie O’Donnell about an article Radley Balko wrote in The Washington Post, she blocked me, too.

Porn star Eden Alexander, who I was friendly with for years on Twitter, didn’t realize I’m anti-Hillary Clinton (my roughly 800 followers know this wasn’t exactly a state secret) until I pointed out to her the former Secretary of State’s questionable human rights record.  After noting her awful history of espousing policies that disproportionately hurt already suffering people of colour, according to Alexander, an Asian-American, I was exercising my “white privilege”.  Then, she blocked me.  We haven’t spoken since.

I didn’t even realize Bill Cosby was aware of me until out of curiosity I checked his account to see if he was publicly addressing the numerous women who’ve accused him of sexual assault.  Barely active on the social network, I was shocked to see he had blocked me.  I didn’t realize he knew I had been tweeting article after article about his predatory behaviour.  When I was younger, I was a huge fan of his.  But way too slowly over time, as an adult, I’ve eventually grown appalled by his actions.  Honestly, I’m pretty proud of that block.

The same thing happened with Jerry “The King” Lawler.  He was accused by his girlfriend of physical abuse and I tweeted some articles about the incident.  (The matter was eventually dropped altogether.)  That was enough to get me blocked.  John “Bradshaw” Layfield apparently doesn’t like people who support Mauro Ranallo, the former Smackdown Live play-by-play announcer he once worked with and allegedly bullied.  (Ranallo has since resurfaced on NXT.)  I was one of many who suddenly found themselves unable to read his tweets, even though I have never engaged with him on Twitter.

How weird to be blocked by two former colour commentators on Raw.

Harry Potter author JK Rowling doesn’t like those who support BDS for a free Palestine so she blocked me.  I still don’t know why Wil Wheaton won’t allow me to see his tweets any more.  I was actually following him for a while.

Certain journalists aren’t too fond of me, either.

I don’t remember what I did to annoy Tom Hawthorn years ago.  But he blocked me.

Cancer survivor and Boing Boing journo Xeni Jardin, who I otherwise had positive exchanges with, didn’t appreciate my listing of Obama’s worst policies, so, she rescinded my follow and shut the blinds on her tweets.

The Huffington Post’s Lauren Duca had some mysterious issue with me which led to me being blocked by her.  But, much to my surprise, I’m now unblocked.

I’m pretty sure the reason Alexa O’Brien temporarily blocked me was because I’m an Edward Snowden supporter.  Her animus towards him is baffling considering her strong, unquestioning backing of the recently released Chelsea Manning.  (I’ve been a Manning champion, as well.)  We had nothing but pleasant conversations, too.  Strange.

Arthur Chu and Media Matters For America’s Oliver Willis, who I called a “transphobic moron” for his anti-Manning views, don’t want anything to do with me, either.  (The feeling is mutual.)  I blocked Warren Kinsella, the controversial Liberal strategist, before he curiously blocked me.  Used to be friendly with him, too.  Not anymore.

Disappointingly, I can now add John Cusack to this growing list.

Recently, the actor (whose best movie remains The Grifters) and political activist (he was a Bernie Sanders supporter during the 2016 election) decided to mass block a number of overzealous Donald Trump “trolls”, as he frequently describes them, who have been swarming his timeline for months.  (Before that, he had been responding critically to some here and there.)  Unfortunately, this decision has led to some Trump critics getting blocked, as well.  Cusack seemed to anticipate this in a couple of subsequent tweets:

“Block lists have weeded out many of the [Trump] troll bots – but I’m sure some [were] blocked who aren’t trolls so sorry!”

“If you know any non maga [Trump’s campaign slogan, ‘Make America Great Again’] trolls who want to be unblocked let me know – ”

Shadowproof managing editor Kevin Gosztola was puzzled by his blocking, as I was by mine.  Considering the fact that I have been nothing but supportive of Cusack (we’ve had few exchanges but they’ve all been friendly), I’m more than a little miffed by his sudden rejection of my follow.  How did I, and Gosztola for that matter, end up on a Trump troll block list when neither of us have exactly been gung-ho for this misogynistic, racist, serial abuser?

Anyway, the longer I’m blocked by Cusack without explanation, the more irritated and offended I feel by his mistake.  I asked Gosztola on Twitter if Cusack unblocked him yet.  He didn’t respond.

What’s really ironic about all of this?  Like Xeni Jardin, Cusack’s on the board of the Freedom Of The Press Foundation.

Dennis Earl
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Thursday, July 6, 2017
2:52 a.m.

Published in: on July 6, 2017 at 2:52 am  Leave a Comment  

How The Real Suey Park Is Just As Ignorant As The Fake Stephen Colbert

It’s so easy to be ignorant.  All you have to do is act without reason or compassion.

Last week, Suey Park did just that.

The 23-year-old Korean-American activist ordered her more than 20000 Twitter followers to make her hashtag – #CancelColbert – a trending topic by including it in their own tweets.  As a result, the campaign attracted massive online media attention.  (Salon.com posted no less than seven articles about it on their site alone.)

Now why did Park want to cancel The Colbert Report?  Because of this joke posted on the show’s official Twitter account.  (Both were eventually deleted.)

She found it offensive, arguing that fighting racism with more racism is still racism.  (The joke was taken from a segment mocking Washington Redskins’ owner Dan Snyder and his insultingly named charity, The Washington Redskins Original Americans Foundation.  Native American groups have been trying unsuccessfully to convince him to change the name of the team.  His response has been to half-heartedly pander to them in the most insensitive manner imaginable.)

First of all, who made her the spokesman of what is and isn’t acceptable satire?  Second of all, if only her simple logic were so persuasive.

Throughout the last several decades, numerous comedians and actors have used the language of racists in order to discredit and make fun of their dangerously false ideologies.  It’s always a risky technique.  If your pointed barbs don’t get laughs, the audience can easily turn on you.  But when done effectively, they’re laughing and thinking simultaneously.  Comedic satire is always at its best when it clicks on multiple levels.  It’s not meant to be taken literally, obviously.  Ms. Park knows that despite struggling mightily to be successfully satirical herself.  (Choosing “Angry Asian Woman” as your Twitter name and then proceeding to be just that in interview after interview is clearly missing the point.)

Consider All In The Family.  Its lead character was Archie Bunker who regularly insulted his Polish-American son-in-law Michael by calling him a “dumb Polack” even though he was a thoughtful Liberal.  Archie made numerous remarks about various ethnicities that were often offensive (his reference to Latinos and African-Americans as “spics and spades” in the pilot, for instance).  But because the character was inarticulate and clueless (he frequently misused words and employed distorted reasoning without any self-awareness), and his terminal grumpiness (he was rarely kind to his long-suffering wife Edith), he was a hilarious self-parody, an artificial, uninformed object of deserved derision.  Not unlike Toronto Mayor Rob Ford.

Also consider stand-ups like Lenny Bruce, George Carlin, Richard Pryor, Sarah Silverman, Dave Chappelle, Patton Oswalt and Chris Rock who’ve often used racially charged language to make broader points in their own comedic social commentaries.  Or how about Nigger Hatin’ Hat, a recurring song parody heard on The Howard Stern Show which knocks former rival Don Imus’ awful treatment of black people?  Or Throw The Jew Down The Well, the song Jewish-British performance artist Sasha Baron Cohen convinced unsuspecting white Americans in a bar to sing along with as Borat on his old Da Ali G Show?

Stephen Colbert is part of this rich anti-racist comic tradition.  The Stephen Colbert on The Colbert Report, as Ms. Park also knows, is the satirical version, a know-nothing conservative pundit specifically designed to emulate the closed-minded, anti-science paranoia of Fox News Channel types like Bill O’Reilly and Sean Hannity and longtime radio personalities like Rush Limbaugh.  He’s a carefully designed buffoon meant to savagely eviscerate all of their one-dimensional perspectives while being blissfully unaware that he’s even doing so in the first place.

Since the show’s inception in 2005, the fake Colbert has dove headfirst into race.  (The Ching Chong Ding Dong schtick that got him in trouble with Ms. Park and company was one of the first gags he did.  It was resurrected in 2011 when Limbaugh foolishly attempted a fake Chinese accent during his radio show while describing the then-Chinese leader Hu Jintao.)  It’s one of many complex subjects he and his writing staff have been fearlessly mining for material four days a week for almost a decade to much acclaim and popularity.

So when Ms. Park and her followers decided to take him on for one anti-racist joke they didn’t care for (out of probably many more they could’ve chosen from), it was a clear mismatch right from the start.  When Colbert dedicated an entire show to the controversy, he effectively killed off any momentum the misguided campaign had left at that point by cleverly and humourously mixing his real thoughts on Park herself (he wisely told her jerkiest critics to stop harassing and threatening her on Twitter and to let her speak her mind) with the fake Colbert’s obliviousness on his own undetected bigotry (“white American male is neutral”).

He also slyly noted that Michelle Malkin, the frequent Fox News contributor who once wrote a book defending the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War 2 (she is Filipino, by the way), has enthusiastically supported #CancelColbert, a rather uncomfortable fact Park’s supporters haven’t seemed too eager to mention.  Park herself has been silent on the subject.

Shortly after Colbert’s rebuttal, Park was interviewed by Salon.com.  Despite what the increasingly out-of-touch Bob Somerby over at The Daily Howler would love to believe, the young activist has no one to blame but herself for her pitiful performance.  That said, even he couldn’t deny the “rambling” nature of her often contradictory, nonsensical comments.

Late last year when Park’s #NotYourAsianSidekick Twitter campaign started to catch fire she told one interviewer how surprised she was that it ever became popular at all.  I suspect she is even more surprised by all the attention #CancelColbert received this year.  As a result, because she now claims she didn’t actually want the show to be cancelled (she says she’s a fan but it doesn’t sound like she’s a regular viewer), when the media asked her what the point of it all was, she hasn’t done a very good job of fully explaining her true motives.

If she didn’t want The Colbert Report yanked off the air, what did she want exactly?  Beyond her basic I-don’t-like-it-when-white-liberals-use-racist-language-to-knock-racism talking point, she won’t say.  In fact, at least two interviewers have been scolded for even trying to get more answers out of her, most notably Huffington Post Live’s Jeff Zepps.  (She told him it was a “loaded question” when he asked her why she singled out Colbert.)

In the Salon interview, she told Prachi Gupta that she was more interested in the “reaction and conversation” she “was trying to create” rather than having her (and us, for that matter) fully “understand my context” which doesn’t make any sense.  When someone launches a public campaign to cancel a TV show it’s clear they’re more interested in censorship than actual dialogue.  The fact that she couldn’t even be bothered to watch Colbert’s full-show response is very telling, as well.

Indeed, when it comes to this business of having a conversation, Ms. Park would prefer it to be completely one-sided.  Anyone who disagrees with her is part of the problem whether it’s those unnamed, evil “white liberals” she frequently rails against or fellow Asian Americans who either thought the joke was funny (in and/or out of context) or were also offended but disagreed with her cancellation campaign.  To her, the latter are those unacceptable “good Asians” who act more like “sidekicks” to us dreaded Caucasians rather than independent thinkers like her.  So, by that rather rigid logic, the only acceptable Asian-Americans to her are those who are always in line with stunts like this?  She’d make a hell of a dictator.

There’s a troubling, fascistic narcissism heavily sautéed with growing defensiveness to her public statements and actions that make you wonder how she attracts so many willing supporters who, for now, are standing by her rampant foolishness.  It’s clear that the sheer volume of attention the #CancelColbert campaign received overwhelmed her so much she has thus far been unable to articulate to a satisfying degree why it really matters and where we go from here.  (Or maybe she just doesn’t care.)

Nor is she interested in persuasion.  Her blatant hostility to white liberals in general (yet curiously, not white conservatives) and her startling inability to accept that not all Asian-Americans think exactly like her is so unbelievably hypocritical, not to mention deeply insulting, one wonders why she doesn’t immediately recognize this bogus double standard.  Is she as clueless about her own prejudices as the fake Stephen Colbert is about his own?  The evidence isn’t comforting.

On her Twitter account, she recently acknowledged the anniversary of the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr., one of the greatest civil rights leaders in American history.  While King’s primary goal was to be a big, strong voice for Black Americans and to help improve & secure their rights and freedoms in a country that has a long history of denying them & their humanity, he didn’t do so at the expense of White America who he viewed as allies, not enemies.  The Civil Rights Act Of 1964, one of the most important pieces of domestic legislation ever passed, would not have happened without the support of hundreds of Caucasian Representatives and Senators, both Republican and Democrat.

But when Park was asked by Salon, “What is the best way to work with white people, to get them on our side?”, regarding her own causes, she responded, “I don’t want them on our side.”

Martin Luther King gave his life to bring the races together.  The divisive Suey Park would rather piss on that proud legacy.

Dennis Earl
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Saturday, April 5, 2014
3:13 a.m.

Published in: on April 5, 2014 at 3:13 am  Comments (1)  

What Sucked In 2013

1. Nelson Mandela died.

2. Roger Ebert died.

3. Lou Reed died.

4. Monday Night Raw became completely unwatchable.

5. Chelsea Manning was sentenced to military prison for 35 years because she exposed American war crimes.

6. CM Punk lost the WWE Championship to The Rock at The Royal Rumble in a match that did not live up to expectations.  Not even close.  Punk should still be the champion.

7. Evil Dead.  Not an improvement over Sam Raimi’s overrated original.

8. The Bella Twins returned to the WWE.

9. The Miz’ babyface run.  He gave you no reason to root for him.

10. Director of National Intelligence James Clapper hasn’t been prosecuted for lying to Congress.

11. Toronto Mayor Rob Ford didn’t resign his office and hasn’t been arrested for any of his publicly disclosed legally dubious transgressions.

12. Dolph Ziggler’s unfortunate concussion which led to an abbreviated World Heavyweight Championship reign.  His unpersuasive face turn is even worse.  Like The Miz, he hasn’t changed anything about his character.

13. The media’s blatant misrepresentation of Pope Francis.  He’s no liberal reformer.

14. Howard Stern’s misguided support for the NYPD’s discredited, discriminatory Stop and Frisk program, which is now thankfully on the decline.  Maybe if he was Black or Hispanic he would understand the outrage.

15. George Zimmerman was acquitted of killing Trayvon Martin.  A botched, overzealous prosecution got in the way of real justice.  We may never know the whole story.

16. My nasty migraine that lasted for weeks back in the late Spring.  (Thanks to my doctor for suggesting Aleve.  That shit works.)

17. U2’s next studio album didn’t get released.  (It’s out in March.)

18. Austin Aires wasn’t fired from TNA for being a sexist dick to ring announcer Christy Hemme on Impact Wrestling.

19. Paul Walker died.

20. Jeffrey Toobin’s dopey comments about Edward Snowden and Glenn Greenwald’s husband, David Miranda.  Why has he been taking the government’s side on the mass surveillance issue?  Is he really this ignorant about the importance of whistleblowers and respecting privacy?

21. The new WWE Championship belt.  It did the impossible.  It made me nostalgic for the Spinner strap.

22. Evan Bourne still hasn’t returned to the WWE.

23. The firing of Jim Ross.  Is it his fault Ric Flair can’t be muzzled?

24. Renee Young on Vintage.  She’s even more annoying than Matt Striker.  I can’t watch it anymore.

25. Gitmo remains open despite a mass hunger strike involving most of the unconvicted detainees that caused a firestorm of controversy for much of the year.  (It’s still active today but with fewer participants and no more military updates.  The truth makes America look bad, you see.)

26. The unlawful force feeding of many of those same detainees.  Obama loves torturing innocent people just as much as Bush and Cheney ever did.

27. Cory Monteith died.

28. Along with the aforementioned Evil Dead remake, all the other awful movies I screened this year:  Zero Dark Thirty, Grown-ups, Beastly, House At The End Of The Street, Friday After Next, 50 First Dates, Texas Chainsaw, Beetlejuice, Diary Of A Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules, Diary Of A Wimpy Kid: Dog Days, The Three Stooges remake, Cheech & Chong’s Up In Smoke, No Time For Sargeants, Meet Monica Velour, The Gate, The Purge, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning, Hold Your Breath, The Apparition, Spice World, Paranormal Activity 4, A Haunted House, Nanny McPhee and all 7 Saw movies.

29. Kim Kardashian and Kanye West hooked up and are now procreating.  Please make it stop.

30. The American federal government shutdown.  Way to piss off America, Republicans.

31. Dennis Rodman’s bizarre friendship with ruthless North Korean dictator, Kim Jong-Un, a man who just had his uncle executed.

32. Curtis Axel.  Even the great Paul Heyman couldn’t get him over.

33. The Boston Marathon bombing.  Watching the footage of the bombs going off is still deeply unsettling.

34. The death of Paul Bearer.  Rest.  In.  Peace.

35. Tiger Woods started dating Lindsay Vonn.  She must have a bad memory.

36. James Gandolfini died.

37. The Egyptian military coup.  America truly doesn’t want Muslims to control their own destinies.  The Muslim Brotherhood are far from perfect but they were democratically elected.  How are they exactly “terrorists”?

38. The flood in Calgary.

39. The massive fire on the boardwalk on the Jersey Shore.  More heartbreak for citizens and business owners after the treachery of Superstorm Sandy last year.

40. Ted Cruz’ incredibly stupid filibuster against the Affordable Care Act.  A total waste of time and extremely self-serving.

41. An important element of the 1964 Civil Rights Act was struck down by the American Supreme Court.  It needs to be restored, pronto.

42. Despite winning the WWE Championship twice, Daniel Bryan never got a chance to have a lengthy title run.  Maybe in 2014.

43. The Bangladesh tragedy.  A jolting reminder of the importance of unions and the heartless indifference of greedy corporations.

44. The North American ice storm.  Shades of 1998 on a thankfully much smaller scale.

45. The tragic train explosion in Lac Megantic, Quebec.  Completely preventable.

46. Rolling Stone/Buzzfeed reporter and author Michael Hastings died.

47. Detroit filed for bankruptcy.

48. All the insane fuss over George, the Royal Baby.  Nobody cares.

49. The unfair prosecution of Justin Carter.  Drop it already.  He’s been punished enough.

50. The excessive coverage of the Jodi Arias murder trial.

51. Glenn Greenwald left The Guardian.

52. Russian President Vladimir Putin’s ruthless crackdown on LGBT citizens in his own country.

53. The mysterious murder of American teen Kendrick Johnson.  Will it ever be solved?

54. Alberto Del Rio’s half-year run as a babyface.  It was botched from the start and never recovered.

55. Alec Baldwin still can’t keep his temper in check.

56. President Obama’s drones are still killing innocent civilians.  Where is the accountability?

57. The nine hour detention of David Miranda, Greenwald’s husband, by British airport authorities.  If they thought this would stop the former lawyer from continuing to report on the NSA’s bullshit, they completely miscalculated.

58. Omar Khadr and John Kiriakou are still in prison for doing absolutely nothing wrong.  Barrett Brown and Jeremy Hammond are also being punished but for committing honourable acts of civil disobedience.  Free and pardon them all.

59. The DVD player in my TV only loads discs when it wants to and rarely on the first attempt.  (I know.  Woe is me.)  Got to figure out how to upgrade to Blu-Ray.

60. All the thousands of Americans murdered and wounded by guns since Newtown.  When will the madness end?

61. The typhoon in the Philippines.

62. Rhianna reunited with Chris Brown.  Thankfully, it was short-lived.

63. Howard Stern’s cluelessness on Edward Snowden.  When you find yourself agreeing with Scott DePace, dog beater and inventor of the Video Caddy, there’s something wrong with you.

64. Jean Stapleton died.  We’ll miss you, dingbat.

65. The Canadian penny was discontinued.  A major pain in the ass for retailers.

66. The phony controversy over Rolling Stone putting one of the alleged Boston Marathon bombers on its cover.  That same picture was used on the front of The New York Times earlier, so where was the anger then?

67. Storage Wars: Canada.  One spin-off too many.

68. John Cena and Randy Orton continue to get world title pushes.  Why?

69. Sophia Bush’s absolute refusal to criticize President Obama.  What will it take for her to wake up to reality and stop being such a big baby about my harsh comments?

70. I bought a new VCR/DVD combo player that was incompatible with my barely existing TV/DVD combo player.  Thankfully, it was returned for a full refund.  Still, what a huge disappointment.

71. Lara Logan wasn’t fired from 60 Minutes for her erroneous Benghazi report.

72. The return of Anthony Weiner’s penis.  Why is a married guy seeking other opinions?

73. Megyn Kelly of Fox News claiming she was just joking when she said Santa and Jesus are white.  No, you weren’t.

74. Duck Dynasty’s Phil Robertson’s awful comments about blacks and gays, and his support for marrying underage teenage girls.  Maybe it’s time for him to go back on drugs.

75. Aaron Swartz killed himself.  Shame on you, Department of Justice, for pushing him into an awful decision.

76. Time Magazine and The Advocate naming Pope Francis Person Of The Year.  Edward Snowden and Chelsea Manning, respectively, were more deserving.

77. Careless Teens.  See what you did, Jackass?

78. The Mali mall massacre.

79. The crackdown on Turkish protestors.

80. Nia Moore on The Real World: Portland.  What a fucking psycho.

81. President Obama remains in office despite imprisoning whistleblowers, investigating journalists, force-feeding mostly innocent hunger striking Gitmo detainees, and ordering the murders of Muslims without proof of wrongdoing via drones.  Where is the outrage?

82. The awesome Reeva Steenkamp, so much more than just a beautiful woman, was tragically murdered by her boyfriend, the once inspiring Paralympian Oscar Pistorius.  Will he get away with it?

83. The Huffington Post’s Bob Cesca.  Why is he more critical of Glenn Greenwald than Barton Gellman when they’ve reported on the exact same things?  And why is he downplaying the significance of Edward Snowden’s revelations?

84. Crossfire returned.  Was it really missed these past nine years?

85. Rand Paul’s plagiarism scandal.  Absolutely no excuse for it.

86. Alex Rodriquez was able to keep playing for the New York Yankees despite being caught using performance enhancing drugs.  Again.

87. The relentless criticism levelled against Seth McFarlane regarding his performance as Oscar host.  Feminists, I love you.  You’ve done so much good for the world, even today, but you’re wrong about this one.  He wasn’t sexist.  He was funny and clever.  (When he said you wouldn’t let things go, you proved him right.)

88. The Edmonton Oilers.  I can’t even watch their televised regular season games anymore.  Too depressing.

89. The Hamilton Tiger-Cats lost to The Saskatchewan Rough Riders in The Grey Cup.

90. Sophia Bush complained that I criticized her charity work.  Wrong.  I criticized her chronic inability to hold her “hero” President Obama to the same standard on human rights abuses as convenient villain of the moment, Joseph Kony of the Congo.  Her paraphrasing of my words is grossly inaccurate and deeply insulting.

91. CNN’s Chris Cuomo’s embarrassing prime-time interview with Amanda Knox.  Why is he so obsessed with her sex life?

92. Knox and ex-boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito are being retried in Italy in the Meredith Kercher murder case despite already being cleared and the real culprit already serving his sentence.

93. The ongoing sequester in America.  Far more damaging than the three-week shutdown.

94. Nigella Lawson’s awful year.  Choked out by her soon-to-be-ex-husband in public, accused of being a cokehead in a lawsuit.

95. The Rock vs. John Cena at WrestleMania 29.  I thought it would be better than their WrestleMania 28 encounter.  I was wrong.

96. Manti Te’o got catfished and covered it up.  Many can relate but few will admit it.

97. The media overhype over the nonexistent “Knockout Game”.  Stop scaring people.  That’s the NSA’s job.

98. The shooting death of Sammy Yatim by police while he was having an episode on a TTC streetcar.  What happened to peaceful negotiations leading to surrender?

99. The murder of Tim Bosma.  And for what?  His pick-up truck?  Despicable.

Dennis Earl
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Sunday, December 29, 2013
6:18 p.m.

Justin Carter, Another Victim Of US Prosecutorial Overreach

It was a stupid thing to post, made clearly in jest and in the heat of the moment.  And now it may cost him his life.

Back in February, then-18-year-old Justin Carter was on Facebook with a pal having an argument with a stranger over an online video game.  After the stranger noted that he was a bit off, a darkly sarcastic Carter wrote the following in reply:

“I’m fucked in the head alright. I think I’ma shoot up a kindergarten. And watch the blood of the innocent rain down. And eat the beating heart of one of them.”

He ended the comment with “LOL jk”.

Unfortunately, the story doesn’t end there.  A Canadian woman somehow spotted this, did some online research and learned that Carter lives near a elementary school.  She alerted the authorities.  A search warrant was granted.

On Valentine’s Day, Carter was arrested at his workplace for making a “terroristic threat” and remains in custody to this day.  Bail bond was originally set at $250000, then bumped up to half a million dollars.  Although his family only has to pay 10% of that to have him released, they can’t even afford to pay the $50000 to take him back home.

But now the story has taken a more sinister turn.  According to this, the Texas teen, who celebrated his 19th birthday in jail, is on suicide watch as he depressingly fears he will be convicted and imprisoned for a decade, all because of a dumb Facebook comment.

It’s bad enough that the unidentified Canadian woman and the Texas authorities don’t understand that “lol” means “laughing out loud” and “jk” means “just kidding” (absurdly, they dispute these were even found in the original posting), extremely common Internet chat abbreviations.  It’s even worse that through their investigation they found absolutely no weapons or any evidence he was planning a legitimate massacre.

All they did find was a typical dopey teenager with a sick sense of humour.  Not exactly public enemy number one and not a good enough reason to put someone away.  Whether you like it or not, his posted comment is constitutionally protected free speech.

But with renewed interest in gun massacres post-Sandy Hook, once again common sense has been replaced by mass hysteria.  And according to this, Carter isn’t the only victim of that unfortunate hysteria.

For those who still think America believes in the First Amendment, this story will strongly challenge your convictions.  At the heart of it is an increasingly paranoid police state eager to lock up anyone even remotely considered subversive for ridiculously long periods of time.  Just ask Bradley Manning.  Or Aaron Swartz, for that matter.  (Oh, right.  He’s dead.)  And for what?  To make everyone in the country feel safer?  To possibly help the private prison industry make more money by housing more inmates?  Or maybe to exterminate free speech & dissent once and for all?

Regardless, after four and a half months behind bars, surely Carter has been thoroughly punished enough for something he never should’ve been arrested for in the first place.  But no, that’s not good enough for the authorities.  To add insult to injury, they offered him a Omar Khadr-style plea deal:  admit culpability and your sentence will only be eight years, rather than the maximum ten.  How awfully generous of them.  Carter has understandably rejected that disrespectful gesture.

Honestly, what has happened to the justice system in America?  We have a President who has ordered the murders of countless people without any evidence of wrongdoing, who doesn’t recognize previously exonerated but still incarcerated Gitmo detainees as “persons” and tortures them on a daily basis against their will, who harshly prosecutes honourable whistleblowers who expose the crimes of his administration and who thinks that spying on everyone in the entire world in the name of “national security” is perfectly reasonable.

We have an economic community that systematically screwed people out of their hard-earned money and their living spaces.  And we have a media culture that thoroughly kisses the asses of these powerful, institutional elites who are able to get away with any number of these crimes because these overpaid blow job “journalists” don’t believe it’s their job to hold them to account.

How many days in jail have Obama and Wall Street spent for committing their horrible acts?  A combined zero.

But not to worry, everyone.  The harmless dumb guy who made a tasteless joke is facing “justice”, a full decade’s worth.

Happy fourth of July, America!

Dennis Earl
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Thursday, July 4, 2013
10:29 p.m.

UPDATE:  A very kind human being paid Carter’s bail, so thankfully he won’t be beaten up and put in solitary confinement any longer.  Now if only the prosecution would drop this incredibly cruel case and let the kid be.

Dennis Earl
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Saturday, July 13, 2013
4:58 p.m.

Published in: on July 4, 2013 at 10:29 pm  Comments (2)  

Why Sophia Bush Blocked Me On Twitter

I shouldn’t be surprised.  In fact, I’m amazed it didn’t happen sooner.

For some time now I’ve been a major critic of actress Sophia Bush.  No, not because of her acting, but because of her inconsistent approach to political activism.

For all the good work she’s done defending the LGBT community, the cancer community, domestic animals, domestic violence victims, the poor and the environment, when it comes to the shoddy human rights record of her beloved President Obama, however, she’s not so outspoken.  “I don’t think the man is perfect,” is about as tough as she’s gotten.

It’s true.  She has been completely onboard with the controversial Kony 2012 campaign.  (I’ve yet to see any proof Joseph Kony is a bad man worth worrying about but if this Al Jazeera commentary is accurate, why hasn’t he been arrested and put on trial?)  And, three days ago, in regards to the recent uprising in Turkey, she tweeted, “human rights violations are the entire world’s business.  We are watching.  We will not be silent.”

But on the issues of Obama-ordered drones killing hundreds, possibly thousands of innocent Muslim and American civilians; the indefinite detention and torturing of hunger-striking, never-convicted-of-any-crime prisoners in Gitmo; the outrageous war on courageous whistleblowers including the tortured Private First Class Bradley Manning (whose joke of a trial finally began after his three years in military custody); the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia, Yemen and Libya; the war on the press and the growing tentacles of the ever-expanding surveillance state, all “human rights violations”, she is completely silent.  You see, she believes The President is “a unicorn” and “heroic” so he’s allowed to do whatever he wants, war crimes and all.  No wonder he had his picture taken with her.  She never holds him to account.

It’s clear now that some human rights matter more to her than others (a commonality among die-hard Obama supporters who railed against the Bush Administration for the exact same transgressions), a glaring discrepancy I’ve pointed out in several pieces in this space and in a number of tweets.  (Silly me.  I thought all human rights mattered.  My bad.)  Back in March, much to my utter amazement, she actually responded to me on Twitter.  Let’s just say she wasn’t too pleased with my critiques.  (Who would?  They were severe and unflinching.)  Ms. Bush was even less enthused after I wrote this as a rebuttal.  (“…grow up…” “…you sound like a petulant child…”)  She absurdly claimed I knocked her charity work when the truth is I’ve always praised it.  I don’t know if she read the second update.  She wouldn’t have liked it, anyway.  The thin-skinned actress prefers to have her ass thoroughly kissed.  That’s not what I do here.  I’m too honest for that.

Since then, I’ve continued to occasionally write and tweet about her, sometimes directly, sometimes indirectly, without garnering another response.  Not a huge shock by any means.  I mean, let’s be real here.  No one likes to be harshly criticized, especially when that criticism is valid and can’t be refuted.  But it’s not as though she’s afraid to be combative as this aptly demonstrates.  (Too bad she was wasting her time with creepy jerks who successfully wound her up just because they could.  Sad.)

But two and a half months after our brief exchange on Twitter, she’s now blocked me.  (I consider it an honour, quite frankly.)  Yesterday, when I clicked on one of her tweets to check out the responses, the dreaded “You are not authorized to look up related results for that Tweet.” message popped up.  Weirdly, I was able to see the responses, at least some of them, after clicking “Details”.  And then that message returned as if I didn’t understand it the first time.  Also, when I now check my Twitter home page for tweets that I directly sent to her (there weren’t many), I can see what I wrote but her tweets have now been replaced with “@SophiaBush’s account has been protected”.

Protected from what, exactly?  Reality?  Thankfully, when “Details” is clicked on any of these tweets, her comments are visible.

So what was the final straw for the One Tree Hill star?  This and this.  Although, I’m pretty sure this, this and this were major factors, as well.  Who knows if she returned to this space, too.  Her reaction would’ve been the same, I’m sure.

But, like I said, this isn’t a surprise to me.  When you write brutal poetry like You’re Not As Smart As You Think You Are, Hot Girl Bubble, Silence Isn’t Justice and I’m Your Conscience as well as an ironic piece entitled Sophia Bush, The Queen Of Consistency, you shouldn’t expect a bouquet of roses in appreciation.  You should expect either some kind of negative response or none at all.

I was fortunate.  I got a taste of the former in between the latter.  Honestly, considering the sheer volume of tweets she must receive everyday, both negative and positive and not just from her near 800000 followers, she took the time to write to me on Twitter on two separate occasions.  That’s significant.

It’s also disappointing that, thanks to my typically blunt manner (it’s in the genes), I’ve not been able to convince her that Obama is no hero but rather, the latest shady ruler of the crumbling American empire.  What is happening under his watch is a fucking disgrace and the more voices, particularly the famous ones, who speak out about his betrayal of the values of The Land Of The Free, the more likely things will actually start to improve.  (Kudos to folks like Russell Brand and John Cusack for doing their part in using their popular voices to raise awareness of these issues.)  Like the situation in Turkey, governments should fear the people and not vice versa, and like my poem says, silence isn’t justice.  Ms. Bush doesn’t agree.

Despite my stubborn hope that she will one day wake up and accept that all of this heavy stuff is actually going on thanks to Obama and is not simply “theoretical”, she is remaining equally stubborn with her resistance.  And now she will no longer entertain the nuisance that is me on Twitter.  I completely understand.  It’s not easy to deal with someone who points out your hypocrisies, your inconsistencies, your blatant disregard for legitimately holding your American government officials responsible for so much suffering at home and abroad.

It’s so much easier to look away and pretend it’s not happening.

Thankfully, Bradley Manning is not Sophia Bush.

Dennis Earl
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Wednesday, June 5, 2013
3:52 a.m.

UPDATE:  I don’t know exactly when and I don’t know the reason why but I’m no longer blocked.  After not checking her account for several weeks last year, out of curiosity I went back, opened up a tweet and was surprised that the “you are not authorized” message no longer appeared.  I thought it was a mistake.  Twitter has gone through some changes in the last little while and surely that was why it didn’t show up.

No.  It wasn’t a mistake.

Just to make sure, after a long break, I sent her this tweet on Friday.  (It went through without incident.  She has not responded to it.  Probably never will.)  Bush opposes the proposed Northern Keystone XL pipeline (as do I) but, to my knowledge, hadn’t mentioned the fact the Southern portion (which I also oppose) was already approved expeditiously by President Obama in March 2012 and is currently operational, much to the annoyance of opponents, activists and residents in the Southern United States.

However, she did retweet this alarming DeSmogBlog article this weekend.  (I retweeted it, as well.)  Reposted on Ecowatch.com, it exposes serious concerns with the Southern pipeline thanks to an outspoken whistleblower who is very worried about the possible environmental consequences to Texas land.  (One concerned, elderly citizen has been libelled an “eco-terrorist” by TransCanada, Keystone’s manufacturer, for bravely protesting the pipeline.)  Sadly, unlike the link I sent her, the DeSmogBlog report doesn’t mention Obama’s embarrassing advocacy for it.

Also, on her Twitter bio, “Activist” has switched places with “Storyteller” (for some reason, she prefers this over the more accurate “Actor”; she’s not a screenwriter and hasn’t directed since her One Tree Hill days).  Originally, Activist was first and Storyteller was second.  Now, she has reversed them.  I know to most this is not very interesting but considering all of my criticism over the last year (although I suspect it had absolutely nothing to do with the change), it’s curious.

Finally, since the original posting of this article, Bradley Manning made an official change. The persecuted whistleblower is now a transgendered woman who prefers to be called Chelsea Manning.  She remains wrongly incarcerated in military prison for exposing American war crimes going back to the George W. Bush Administration.  May she be pardoned and released very soon.

Dennis Earl
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Sunday, March 16, 2014
2:56 a.m.

UPDATE 2:  Now I’m wondering if I was ever unblocked at all.  More than 2 months later, I’m unable to retweet this comment.  When I tried, I got this message:  “Your account may not be allowed to perform this action.  Please refresh the page and try again.”  So, just for the hell of it, I did try again a few additional times, just to make sure.  Same result every time.  So, I’m guessing my supposedly “unblocked tweets” were never actually seen by her.  It’s just as well.  She’s too stubborn and foolish to embrace what I say anyway.

Dennis Earl
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Monday, May 26, 2014
3:45 a.m.

Published in: on June 5, 2013 at 3:52 am  Comments (4)  

Why I Finally Broke Down And Started Tweeting

Throughout my life I’ve found it incredibly easy to resist.  A suggestion to do something fun, an invitation to attend a social event, a constructive criticism to help improve shoddy work, an idea for a creative venture.  When someone makes any of these types of pitches to me in any number of situations, more times than not my natural instinct is to resist, to express disinterest, to get upset, to completely pass.  You could say I’m like Jim Carrey’s “No Man” in Yes Man.  Sad, I know.

Now, has saying no in general prevented me from making bad decisions I’d otherwise immediately regret?  Of course it has.  But hasn’t it also prevented me from enjoying new experiences in new environments with new people I might’ve liked and befriended resulting in new, fresh perspectives on various things?  Without a doubt. 

This is one of the reasons why I love the Internet.  For someone who is not naturally outgoing and forceful (for the most part) the freedom to explore the world without having to leave my home opened me up in ways not previously possible.  Now did I do stupid things I would’ve never tried out in the real world?  Yes (minus any significant consequences, it must be said).  But the information superhighway also afforded me creative and personal opportunities well out of my reach when I didn’t possess this wonderful piece of technology.

That being said, I can still be a stubborn ass.  For two years, I ignored two open invitations to join Facebook, one from an old college friend I had reconnected with after a lost decade on separate paths and a family member.  What changed my mind about joining the controversial social network?  A lousy online break-up.  It took a while to get over but I finally moved on, with thanks, in part, to Facebook.

The first time I learned about the now-defunct Writer’s Digest Community was in 2009 through one of WD’s regular email newsletters.  After bookmarking the address, what convinced me to eventually join that particular social network two years later?  I needed the hits.  My website had been on WordPress for six months and was in desperate need of a boost.  Thankfully, it got one.

Which brings me to Twitter.   For many, many years, I’ve resisted the lure of the tweet, the temptation to imitate Larry King 140 characters at a time.  (“I think Teri Garr’s a big talent.”  “Why is apple sauce so yummy?”) Put simply, I never got it.  Why would I waste my time sending out short, insignificant messages on there when I can send out long, insignificant ones right here?

After WDC disappeared this past December I wondered about other ways I could publicize my blog for free.  Sending out press releases that no one would read was instantly nixed.  So was joining LinkedIn.  (One of my college professors, who I’m still friendly with, invited me to sign up sometime last year.  But after some investigating I didn’t feel comfortable becoming part of a community that had been hacked.  And after reading a lot of bad reviews from users I wasn’t persuaded that it would help me advance my writing career.)

For quite some time I had been checking out the official Twitter accounts of Sophia Bush, Guardian columnist Glenn Greenwald, Howard Stern, former WWE Champion CM Punk and numerous others.  Sometimes I would laugh, sometimes I would get deeply annoyed and sometimes I would be moved by their postings. 

It must be said they have an astounding number of followers.  (The power of celebrity is more potent online than it is anywhere else.)  Despite being a mostly unknown blogger for eight years, I’ve never accumulated more than tens of followers directly through my site.  These famous folks are generating huge followings ranging as low as hundreds of thousands up to tens of millions of people.  If I joined them how could I possibly compete with those numbers?

That aside, over the weekend, I started to write down all the reasons I should stick with my “no policy” as well as the reasons why I should lighten up and give this thing a chance.  (I had eight for and seven against.)  In the end, despite my strong reservations, I had finally convinced myself that whatever I perceived to be imperfect about Twitter was worth tolerating if it meant exposing The Writings Of Dennis Earl to a whole new audience.

So, on January 28, I signed up.  (You can follow me @DennisCEarl.)  I have to admit that, so far, it’s not been a bad experience.  Tweeting is very easy to do.  You simply click a button, a small window pops up and you start typing.  A character counter in the bottom right hand corner of the screen keeps track of your limit.  When you’re done, you click again and voila, there’s your tweet for all to see. 

As expected, I don’t have many followers at the moment.  I had forgotten that Green Venture, a local non-profit environmental agency that I briefly wrote for in the fall of 2009, had actually invited me to join Twitter a year or so ago but I simply ignored the request.  Once I officially signed in to my Twitter homepage for the first time, they were my first follower (because their original invitation was not actually rejected).  Shortly thereafter, Monkeybiz.ca, another non-profit site that published numerous movie and music reviews of mine over the last few years, started following me as well.  And that’s where things stand at the moment.

Thus far, I’ve posted 16 tweets, most of which feature links to certain blog pieces I’ve written here.  (Expect a lot more of that soon.)  And I’ve slowly started finding accounts to follow (mostly celebrities).  I haven’t directly messaged anyone yet or started any silly Twitter wars but it’s early.  All I really hope for is to find some more readers through the service.

In the meantime, like I said, please follow me @DennisCEarl either through Twitter directly or by clicking the Follow button on here.  It can be seen right under my five most recent tweets underneath the search box on the upper right side of my homepage, right above “Categories”. 

As always, thanks for stopping by.  More entries and tweeting yet to come.

Dennis Earl
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Thursday, January 31, 2013
12:45 a.m.

Published in: on January 31, 2013 at 12:45 am  Comments (2)  

Bitter Old Man

Why do you waste so much of your time
Hammering away at all the unrepentant slime?
Isn’t it only because they screwed your friend?
Maybe your old obsession should come to an end

You once served a purpose so noble and just
Exposing so many frauds none of us should trust
But after a decade and a half of countering the crazy
Your howling has grown tired and you’ve started to get lazy

We’re all “rubes” with “lizard brains” in your indignant eyes
Never capable of separating the truth from the lies
You’re awfully proud of the arrogance you continue to display
Ditto these annoying catchphrases you repeat day after day

Fixating on minutiae while depraved crimes are committed
Obama is the President so these details are omitted
Instead of addressing oppression here and across the sea
Your target is the Rhodes Scholar on MSNBC

Do you seem like a nice person?  Most people are.
Too bad stand-up comedy hasn’t taken you very far
Now you’re stuck being a crank and a bitter old man
Because a former Vice President never ruled this land

There’s no guarantee he would’ve been better
Or followed the law right down to the letter
Yes, he was wronged and slandered beyond belief
But wouldn’t Muslims still be united in their grief?

You claim to abhor name calling from the other side
But when you do it yourself we’re supposed to let it slide
Pretending to be a group inspires a roll of the eye
“We the analysts” is just one fucking guy!

It’s easy to combat those who live to be tribal
They’re none too swift and are reckless with libel
But your conspiracy theories feel increasingly overheated
The liberal world has long since been defeated

For someone who prides himself on being comprehensive
When flaws are pointed out you become quite defensive
Maybe it wasn’t so smart to take that stand
Against a film you haven’t seen called Waiting For Superman

While innocent Muslims are still unlawfully detained
You’re bailing forty minutes into Django Unchained
Guess you got bored giving hell to all those pricks
Who knew your kryptonite would be three-hour flicks?

You lead us to believe we’re not smarter than you
And there’s no such thing as an alternate point of view
You love to slam the swells and overpaid plutocrats
While ignoring the cruel foreign policy of the ruling Democrats

You simply don’t care about those dying in the sun
Having a conscience?  Darlings!  It just isn’t done!
You think you’re more useful sitting on your butt
Ignoring criminal acts by keeping your big trap shut

Can we talk?  It’s true, you’re now becoming unbearable
When it comes to repetition, you’re simply incomparable
Are you really in denial like that Bush named Sophia?
If you ask us, we have no earthly idea

Dennis Earl
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Wednesday, January 9, 2013
2:54 a.m.

Published in: on January 9, 2013 at 2:54 am  Comments (1)  

What Didn’t Matter In 2012

1. Mitt Romney’s celebrity endorsers.

2. Daniel Bryan losing the World Heavyweight Championship in 18 seconds at WrestleMania 28.

3. Lance Armstrong’s doping denials.

4. Donald Trump.

5. America’s Got Talent.

6. Angus T. Jones’ apology for calling Two And A Half Men “filth” and urging viewers to stop watching it.

7. Scientology.

8. Karl Rove.

9. WWE’s Divas Division.

10. Booker T’s colour commentary.

11. The Golden Globes.

12. Facebook shares.

13. Rush Limbaugh’s insincere apology regarding his Sandra Fluke “slut” comment.  He still lost advertisers.

14. Joe Paterno’s statue.  No longer on display.  It’s too ashamed.

15. Lance Armstrong’s 7 Tour De France victories.

16. Sarah Tressler, the angry stripper.  Lighten up, eh?

17. John Cena’s Money In The Bank briefcase.

18. Partners.  The pilot was completely laughless.

19. Writer’s Digest Community.

20. Zellers.

21. The NHL in the second half of the year.

22. Tom Cruise.

23. Hornswoggle, the formerly Anonymous Raw GM.  Really?

24. Justin Bieber meeting Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

25. Tout.

26. Toronto Blue Jays.

27. Epico & Primo’s ‘face turn.  Blink and you missed it.

28. A.W., the one-time manager of The Prime Time Players.  Your Kobe material needs work.

29. (Lord) Tensai and his (now absent) worshipper, Sakamoto.  Once so dominant, now routinely jobbing.

30. Linda McMahon spending $100 million of her own money to campaign for a Connecticut Senate seat she ultimately didn’t win.

31. Anderson Live.

32. The 9 countries who voted against Palestine being recognized at the United Nations as a non-member observer.  Shame on you, Canada.

33. Piers Morgan.

34. Chris Brown’s return to the Grammys.

35. That’s My Boy.

36. The X Factor, The Voice and American Idol.

37. The Undertaker saying the wrong date for WrestleMania 28 during a Raw promo.  He accidentally said April 21st instead of the 1st.

38. Kristen Stewart’s fling with the director of Snow White & The Huntsman.  Who cares?

39. Twitter trends.

40. Jack Swagger.

41. Criticisms of Nate Silver.

42. The Situation’s “Let’s Make It Official” t-shirt to Paula on Jersey Shore.  The insecure dick was never that serious about her.  He dumped her in a week.

43. Zack Ryder’s U.S. title reign.

44. Ryder’s on-screen relationship with Eve.  He should’ve worn a cup.

45. Shannon Tweed’s desire to adopt.

46. Telephone screeners at the King Edward VII hospital in London, England.

47. President Obama’s reelection.  Nothing will change.  More laws will be broken and more innocent people will be murdered.  Not that American Liberals will give a shit.  I’m looking at you, Sophia Bush.

48. Jeremy Lin.  Ask the Rockets if they’re overpaying him.

49. Jermaine Jackson changing his name to Jermaine Jacksun.

50. Ex-Wives Of Rock. 

51. John Cena losing to The Rock at WrestleMania 28.

52. Chris Jericho’s month of overlong, mostly non-verbal pandering to WWE audiences upon his return.  Unnecessary and annoying.  His comeback should’ve been unexpected and dramatic.

53. Jimmy Kimmel hosting the Emmys.  Not funny.

54. Bob Lefsetz’ criticisms of Taylor Swift.

55. Warren Kinsella.  Will he ever admit he was wrong about Omar Khadr?  Will he ever consistently criticize Obama and Israel for ongoing, gross human rights abuses?  Don’t hold your breath.

56. Sun News Network.  This damn thing still on?

57. Lindsay Lohan’s portrayal of Elizabeth Taylor which got terrible reviews.

58. General Petraeus’ affair with Paula Broadwell.  His military screw-ups were far more egregious.

59. Bubba The Love Sponge.

60. TNA.  The poor man’s WCW.

61. Eric The Midget’s acting career.

62. Paris Hilton.

63. The Daily Howler’s defense of Susan Rice.  Despite his desperate, obsessive efforts, she will not be the next Secretary of State.  Good.

64. The birther movement.

65. The Tea Party protestors.  Time to merge with Occupy Wall Street, guys.

66. Kim Kardashian’s brain.  Does she ever use it?

67. Howard Stern re-signing with AGT.  He still won’t find a superstar to push.

68. Conservative pundits.  As always, completely useless.

69. President Obama being named Time’s Man Of The Year.  Murderer Of The Year would be more accurate.

70. Daryn Jones left MTV Live.

71. Sarah Palin.

72. Renee Paquette left Aftermath.

73. The Pope joined Twitter. 

74. Michelle Bachmann.

75. Jersey Shore spin-offs.

76. Texas Governor Rick Perry.

77. Rick Santorum.

78. December 21, 2012.

79. WWE celebrity social media ambassadors.  How quickly that stupid bit was dropped from their prime-time programming.

80. Most of Jersey Shore’s fifth season.

81. Windows 8.

82. Ted Dibiase Jr.

83. WWE Network.  All that hype and it’s still yet to launch.  They clearly jumped the gun on this.

84. Bad reviews for Charlie Sheen’s new show, Anger Management.  It’s officially critic-proof.

85. WWE’s film division.  Will they ever make a movie audiences and critics will both embrace?

86. All those goddamn American election debates.

87. Those 27 shitty films I subjected myself to this year. 

88. That jackass who threw an empty bottle onto the track before the Mens’ 100 Metre Final at the Summer Olympics.  Usain Bolt still won Gold in world record time.

89. Angelina Jolie’s silly leg pose at the Oscars.

90. My love life.  Still dead.

91. Zack Ryder.  Broski needs to turn it around in 2013.

92. Newt Gingrich.

93. Defending Pussy Riot.  They still went to prison.

94. Laws in India protecting women from physical and sexual violence.  With roughly 200,000 reported incidents every year (surely, there are many more not brought to the police’s attention) and little to no justice for victims, it’s no wonder so many are protesting in anger.  Time for a feminist revolution.

95. Adversarial journalism in the Washington beltway.  It doesn’t exist.

96. Erin Burnett.  What a joke.

97. Privacy.

Dennis Earl
Saturday, December 29, 2012
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
1:26 a.m.

What Mattered In 2012

1. Glenn Greenwald left Salon to start writing for The Guardian.

2. The Tragically Hip’s Now For Plan A CD.  Man Machine Poem is a killer standout.

3. CM Punk’s second WWE championship run, now the sixth longest in company history.

4. Prometheus.  Michael Fassbender does it again.

5. Egyptian protestors demanding nothing less than a real democracy.  If only American Liberals had as much anger, courage and energy to thwart Obama’s own awful agenda.

6. Big Wreck’s Albatross CD.

7. Beth Phoenix and Kharma left the WWE.  A huge vacuum for women’s wrestling that is yet to be filled.

8. Paul Heyman returned to the WWE to represent Brock Lesnar and later CM Punk.  An absolute promo master, even if he does look like an evil chipmunk.

9. Private Bradley Manning and his defense team. 

10. Tyler Hamilton and Daniel Coyle’s revealing expose on doping in cycling, The Secret Race.  Essential reading for understanding the Lance Armstrong era of the Tour De France.

11. Augusten Burrough’s This Is How.

12. The backlash against Rush Limbaugh’s dumb, cruel, dishonest comments about Sandra Fluke.  Long overdue.

13. The Canadian Women’s Olympic Soccer team winning Bronze.  It should’ve been a Gold.

14. The New York Times’ expose on President Obama’s Muslim “kill list”.  Where is the outrage?

15. Jerry Sandusky’s conviction.  Better late than never.

16. Jerry Seinfeld’s Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee.  Hilarious.  (“Fuck you Steven!”)

17. Those fast-acting CMTs who saved Jerry Lawler’s life during a live broadcast of Raw.  He should put them in his will.

18. Adele’s Rolling In The Deep helped a young girl come out of her coma when she was expected to die.  The power of music.

19. Hurricane Sandy and the considerable damage it left behind in three countries.  Time to rebuild.

20. Lance Armstrong finally getting caught using performance enhancing drugs after 20 years.

21. LiveStrong completely severing its ties with the disgraced Armstrong.

22. Dolph Ziggler won the Smackdown Money In The Bank briefcase.  Amy Schumer would be proud.

23. Damien Sandow.  Not an ignoramus.

24. Daniel Bryan’s funny promos.  (“Yes!”  “No!”  “Yes!”  “No!”)

25. The Elimination Chamber matches.

26. CM Punk vs. Chris Jericho at WrestleMania 28.  Best match on the card.  (“Hey Punk!  How’s your father?”)

27. The Syrian civil war.

28. The war in the Congo.

29. Heroic Pakistani human rights activist Mala Yousafzai survived an assassination attempt at age 15.

30. Israel’s heartless, needless aggression against Palestinians in Occupied Gaza.  It has to stop.

31. Sheamus won The Royal Rumble.  Good match, too.

32. Ryback.  Feed him more.

33. Michael Hastings’ Afghanistan reporting.

34. The Big Bang Theory.

35. Muse’s The 2nd Law CD.

36. AJ Lee, the kissing bandit of the WWE.  I want to be her next victim.

37. Counter-protesting the hatefully misguided Westboro Baptist “Church” at funerals.  They never show up when they feel the heat.

38. The bad officiating during the boxing competition at the Summer Olympics.  Ditto that Canada/US women’s soccer semi-final.

39. The backlash against the hapless NFL replacement refs which led to the return of the striking originals who were actually missed by irate fans, coaches and players.

40. Oscar Pistorius competing at the Summer Olympics and the warm reception he received by everybody.

41. The Jimmy Savile scandal.

42. George Zimmerman finally getting arrested for killing Trayvon Martin after mass protesting in America.

43. The WWE return of Brock Lesnar, especially that brilliant pre-taped “I’m an asskicker” promo.

44. Lex Hives by The Hives.  Worth the five-year wait.

45. Keane’s Strangeland CD.  More dreamy pop confections in less than an hour. 

46. Usain Bolt.  Can anyone catch him?

47. Soccer dynasty Spain won their second consecutive Euro title.

48. Chris Brown’s outspoken critics.  He can never shut them up.

49. The Killers’ Battle Born CD. 

50. Ric Flair’s return to the WWE.  Make him the General Manager of Raw.

51. Eve Torres’ heel turn.  Unexpectedly convincing.

52. Nate Silver.  Singlehandedly puts all other pundits to shame.

53. Green Day’s Uno CD.

54. Rhianna’s uncomfortable, annoying and defiant reunion with Chris Brown.  Her safety and sanity remain at risk.

55. Paula’s infamous ball cake to The Situation on the Jersey Shore finale.  Ronnie’s right.  She is the Prank War Champion.  Hilarious.  Her philandering ex got his just desserts.

56. Rush will be inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame next year.  About fucking time.

57. The growing popularity for the American gay marriage movement.  How long before every state in the union recognizes it?

58. Republican Todd Akin lost his bid for the U.S. Senate.

59. Super PACs (except American Crossroads).

60. Democrat Alan Grayson won back his Senate seat after losing it in 2010.

61. MTV’s It Gets Better 2 special.  Honest, fair, deeply moving and extraordinarily helpful.

62. Billy Crystal hosted the Oscars.  He’s still funny.

63. Kofi Kingston’s brutal Trouble In Paradise kick to The Miz’ head on Raw.  A move so devastasting the former WWE Champion became a babyface.

64. The Smashing Pumpkins’ Oceania CD.

65. Wrongly incarcerated Torontonian Omar Khadr was finally transferred from Guantanamo back to Canada where he belongs.  He should be free from prison, though.  Warren Kinsella (among many other fools) owes him an apology and restitution for needlessly harming his young reputation.

66. Secretary Of State Hillary Clinton was pelted with tomatoes by Egyptian protestors during an official visit to their country.  For someone who once considered ousted dictator Hosni Mubarak “a member of my family”, she got off easy.

67. Julian Assange’s legal limbo.  The man the Obama Administration fears the most and with good reason.

68. Anonymous.

69. Adrien Chen for exposing Michael Brutsch, AKA Violentacrez, on Gawker.

70. Wade Barrett’s shoulder injury.  It not only derailed his program with Randy Orton, it killed his momentum for much of the year.  Right now he’s stuck in the mid-card fighting for a title he’s already won.

71. Gene Simmons Family Jewels was cancelled.  Writing numerous pieces about it boosted this website’s fortunes considerably.

72. Felix Baumgartner’s skywalk.  Impressive, especially that perfect landing.

73. Daniel Bryan & Kane won the WWE tag team titles.  The division has finally been revived.

74. Brad Maddox and The Shield.  They’re the latest reasons CM Punk is still WWE Champion.

75. The “F” in old WWF footage is no longer silenced when spoken nor blurred when seen during Attitude Era retrospectives.  Finally.

76. America’s two-tier justice system and its out of control surveillence state.  It’s getting worse.

77. Mick Foley returned to the WWE.

78. The final build-up to The Rock vs. John Cena at WrestleMania 28.  Far better than the match which was good but not great.

79. The Undertaker defeated Triple H for the third time at WrestleMania, this time in an entertaining Hell In A Cell match.  The Streak, now 20-0, remains intact.  But for how long?

80. The Driver Rehabilitation Centre on Canada’s Worst Driver 8.

81. LeBron James won his first NBA Championship with the Miami Heat.

82. Wyatt Cenac left The Daily Show.

83. Great Britain’s Summer Olympians.  The home nation had a great run this year.

84. Michael Phelps won his 22nd medal at the Summer Olympics, an all-time individual record.

85. The billion hits Psy’s Gangham Style video received this year on YouTube.  No way he can follow it up, though.

86. Justin Bieber’s Twitter promotion of Carly Rae Jepsen.  As a result, Call Me Maybe became a big hit.

87. Andy Sandberg and Kristen Wiig left SNL.

88. Denise Wade from The Canadian Home Shopping Channel.  Sigh.

89. John Cusack’s strong Obama criticisms.  Pay attention, Sophia Bush.  You might learn something.

90. The growing international backlash against drones. 

91. The death of Adam Yauch.  Great rapper, greater defender of Tibet.

Dennis Earl
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Friday, December 28, 2012
4:42 p.m.

CORRECTION:  Number 58 originally read: “Republican Todd Akin lost his House Of Representatives seat.”  (He’s the dope who made this infamous comment during an interview.)  That’s not accurate.  He actually resigned his seat to become the Republican nominee for the Senate race in Missouri which he lost.  The corrected line notes the latter.  My apologies for the mistake.

Dennis Earl
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Monday, December 31, 2012
3:02 a.m.

Winners & Losers Of 2012 (Part Five)

Winner:  Barack Obama

He was easily re-elected to a second term as The American President.  Thanks to strong pressure from protestors, he stopped deporting millions from the Latino community while simultaneously offering them temporary citizenship and he made history by being the first President to publicly support gay marriage.

Loser:  Barack Obama

The hypocritical secrecy; the illegal drones; Guantanamo; the unprecedented war on whistleblowers including the heroic Bradley Manning; the refusal to end the drug war; the sickening resistence to various reforms including gun policy, drug policy and foreign policy; the on-going murder, imprisonment and torture of countless innocent Muslims; the harassment of honourable dissenters; the watered down health care law; the blind loyalty to the consistently beligerent Israel; the lack of support for Palestine and real democracy in the Arab world; the further solidification of endless war and the illegal surveillence state; the lack of prosecutions of Wall Street crooks; the overly cozy relationship with corporations; his full-on embrace of a two-tier justice system: one for the rich and one for everybody else, particularly Muslims and critics; the lack of prosecutions of American war crimes; the heartless sanctions against Iran; Libya; the unkept promises and so much more.

Winner:  Chris Brown’s Critics

It was supposed to be the night of his big return to the spotlight, the event that brought him back into the good graces of the public.  On February 13th, after performing two numbers at the 2012 Grammys and winning a gong for Best R&B Album, Chris Brown looked like he was on his way.

It was too good to be true.  Shortly after the ceremony, he posted this series of tweets on his official Twitter account:

“Strange how we pick and choose who to hate! Let me ask u this. Our society is full of rappers (which I listen to) who have sold drugs (poisoning).”

“But yet we glorify them and imitate everything they do. Then right before the worlds eyes a man shows how he can make a Big mistake and learn from it, but still has to deal with day to day hatred! You guys love to hate!!! But guess what???”

“HATE ALL U WANT BECUZ I GOT A GRAMMY Now! That’s the ultimate FUCK OFF!”

Brown (or an underling posing as him, if RadarOnline is to be believed) was responding to critics who didn’t approve of his appearance on the show.  Needless to say, this supremely childish (and not at all persuasive) outburst didn’t shut them up.  In fact, it made them even more outspoken.

Actor Seth Rogen, country star Miranda Lambert, Sheldon Cooper’s former nemesis Wil Wheaton and Howard Stern were among the most vocal who were not pleased with the music industry’s public reconciliation with the young man who nearly killed his ex-girlfriend, Rihanna, while driving in a car three years earlier.  (At the ceremony, more than a few audience members gave him a standing ovation.  Really?)  Proving that he actually hasn’t learned a damn thing, Brown engaged almost all of these conscientious objectors on Twitter which greatly tarnished his Grammys success.

When WWE Champion CM Punk half-jokingly suggested that he would love to battle the singer at WrestleMania, Brown foolishly responded, wrongly accusing him of being a steroid abuser. Not realizing that the real-life Phil Brooks is straight edge (like myself), Punk offered a brilliant two-minute video rebuttal that garnered him a lot of positive press and numerous media interviews.  Not surprisingly, Brown didn’t accept his offer to fight him for charity.  Despite briefly tweeting him back, the singer eventually announced he wouldn’t get into it with him again.

If only that were the end of his troubles.  As 2012 continued, Brown couldn’t leave well enough alone.  Not that long after the Grammys, he angrily stole a fan’s iPhone, called her a “bitch”, and later threw it out his car window.  He got into a club fight with Drake which turned into a brawl.  (The club lost its liquor licence as a result.)  He got a controversial neck tattoo.  He dressed up as a member of The Taliban for Halloween.  He violated his probation by testing positive for weed (which, you would think, would mellow him out just a little).  And even his own lawyer gave him hell in an L.A. courtroom.

Then, near the end of the year, he got into another pointless Twitter war with the very funny comedian, Jenny Johnson, who had been humourously tormenting him on the social networking site for many, many months.  His disturbingly juvenile responses to her proved once and for all that he is his own worst enemy.  Despite temporarily quitting Twitter for a short time, Brown ultimately returned.  But true to his pathetic character, all of his previous tweets (including the defensive ones that had already been removed from earlier in the year) were nowhere to be found.

Amazingly, despite all of that avoidable nonsense, Brown still managed to reconcile with Rihanna.  After secretly seeing each other for months, once Brown broke up with his girlfriend they started sharing overly cozy photos of themselves to the world online.  They even made new music together in the form of remixes.  But the welcome criticism kept coming.  Brown’s latest CD, Fortune, was not loved by most professional reviewers.  It’s also his biggest commercial flop to date selling just 300,000 copies.  (Before the assault on Rihanna, his first two albums collectively sold four million units.)  Were it not for two Top 10 singles (out of five released from Fortune) on Billboard, he would’ve been completely absent from radio this year.

With a mid-January 2013 court date looming (regarding a possible probation violation) and more music in the works, Brown would be well advised to do two things from here on out:  shut up and stay out of trouble.  His many critics, however, can keep right on talking.

Loser:  Facebook

Mark Zuckerberg’s social networking creation was once a personal sanctuary for me after a terrible online break-up, a welcome place to reconnect with long lost friends and a public game room worthy of time wasting. 

That was five years ago.  Today, I’m barely on it.  From the constant crashing while trying to sign in and out to the annoying freezing of the home page after you finally manage to get in there to the generally slow loading of pages, particularly games like Zynga Poker, to endlessly irritating requests for various things I’m not interested in and that stupid timeline, not to mention the complete lack of control and ownership over your private data, were it not for my friends (the ones who didn’t abandon me), I would’ve quit a long time ago.  I wonder if others feel the same way.

Meanwhile, the company continued to make headlines for all the wrong reasons.  In February, it reinstated a ban on harmless breastfeeding photos while in the summer it refused to remove groups dedicated to hating and humiliating females, particularly 12-year-olds.  Just wonderful.

In May, after much fanfare Facebook became a public company, offering itself up to potential stockholders at 38 bucks a share.  But instead of reaping the financial rewards from such a move, the stock tanked thanks to this and arguably, this.  In August when the company revealed that almost 100 million profiles were either fake, duplicates or spam (roughly a tenth of the overall billion total), the stock fell again.  At one point, the value dropped as much as 50% before gradually climbing back to almost $30 a share, still lower than its original asking price.  Regardless, Zuckerberg made billions.  It’s a good thing, too, because he may have to settle all these related lawsuits (here and here, as well).

That same month, Limited Run, a new music-oriented business site, claimed that 80% of the ad clicks it received through its Facebook ad were not made by human beings.  As a result, they deleted their page and switched to Twitter.  General Motors pulled its ads, too, but, curiously, not its own Facebook page.  Is this a bad sign?

Finally, despite asking for users to vote on the latest proposed changes near the end of the year, Facebook is doing whatever the hell it wants anyway, regardless of the results.  In fact, it’s doing away with the whole democracy thing altogether.  And it still owns much of what you post.

Now, after all this cheery news, like me, aren’t you glad you signed up in the first place?  (December 19 UPDATE:  Especially after this.)

Dennis Earl
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Tuesday, December 18, 2012
1:40 a.m.

Published in: on December 18, 2012 at 1:40 am  Leave a Comment