Friday, December 16, 2005

WE'VE COME A LONG WAY FROM RICHARD PRYOR'S DAY AND I'M NOT SURE IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION

I just walked away from the television set, where I had seen the two most influential, maybe even powerful (these are frequently two markedly different concepts) personalities in the high-media trade today, and that would be Jon Stewart and Howard Stern. I'm not sure (1) what to make of that, or (2) if there is anything there of which to make. I do know that a stupefyingly high percentage of people in America, the last time pollsters asked the question, said that they get the brunt of their political news and commentary from "The Daily Show," Stewart being the host and defining persona thereof. Something like 20 percent of the 18-32 demo, enough to curl your hair.

And as for Stern, he is, to my vague but pretty confident knowledge, second only to Limbaugh in national radio market penetration and total ear numbers. But the reality is that, while Limbaugh has dittoheads, and other radio celebs have their followings, only Howard truly has fanatic devotees, acolytes, disciples, not to mention certifiable outpatients, in his loyalist army. These people do things, purely because they feel it might please His Howardship, that you would not do except to free your daughter from kidnappers. This is, quite simply, why Sirius is paying Howard fifty million fucking dollars to leave the bounds of earth for satellite radio, and not paying Rush a plug nickel. Nobody streaks a funeral for Rush.

Speaking of Howard Stern, I'm having trouble deciding what the future holds for smut, not that I consider the two subjects synonymous. I leave that to the cultural anthropologists, and Dr. Laura (long ago known to L.A. hotcha DJ Bill Ballance as "Nurse Laura", but I digress). I realize that "schizophrenia" has nothing to do with dual personalities or pathological ambivalence, but it does seem that America is downright schizo in its attitude toward sex, having created a"sex" industry--porn, prostitution, enhancements, paraphernalia, etc.--which is matched for pure profitability only by its "virtue" industry--televanagelists, brimstone Christian flagwavers, cultural purity lobbies, etc.

Meanwhile, to get back to the point--and I actually had one--I would ask the pragmatists in the GOP (and I saw them just the other day, sharing a cab) how they can watch tamely while their party's censorship clique, hydrophobic with its grip on power (legislative, executive, judicial, hat trick!), attempts to outlaw commercialized sex, thus eliminating from the national capitalist revenue stream something north of 2 billion dollars per annum, thereby causing some noticeable nosebleeds in America's corner offices. We're all swimming in the same Great Financial Ocean, and a drain in one area is a drain in all. Are you really willing to bet your political career on a fundamentalist political pipe dream?

Outlaw the entire "illicit" or "offensive" sex trade in the USA? Yeah, that would work. Better you should just outlaw some marginal industry, like, say, supermarkets. Believe me, Wall Street is considerably more energized these days by the likes of Victoria's Secret than by Albertson's.

By the way, let me wish the entire world, and especially those who are offended by the phrase, the very most HAPPY HOLIDAYS. I've been scrawling this exact phrase on Christmas (or as we say in the satanic set, Xmas) cards for years, as shorthand for Merry Christmas (holiday #1) and Happy New Year (holiday #2), and that was before we'd tried to come to terms with the various spellings of Cccchanucchha, or ever even heard of Ramadan, Kwanzaa, and Festivus. For me, it's just this simple: Both sides of this issue have a point, but neither of them are even remotely worth inflicting on the multitudes who are just trying to brighten up yet another goddam cold and grey winter with some shlock, mythology and deficit spending. To them, this lyric:

Hark, the herald angels say,
Just shut up and go away.

1 Comments:

Blogger ....J.Michael Robertson said...

Finally, a safe place where I can share with like-minded folk my high-end sure-fire investment-back-guaranteed idea of a Christmas video called the Little Stripper Girl:

And then I stripped for him
a rumpatumtum
Shaking my bum.

Though perhaps if I am going to use the term "bum" we should call it Ye Olde Little Stripper Girl....

I think I'm in a kind of Howard Stern place here, but there's no place like Stern for the holidays.

Ho, Saturnalia.

December 17, 2005 at 10:30 AM  

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