Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Jena 6 Teen tries to off himself

They say you can't choose your family. Nor, apparently, can we choose our rallying points. Otherwise who'd really give a damn about Rodney King...or this kid? Read here. First he shoplifts, then he tries to shoot himself? Ah well, not everyone can be Schwerner, Cheney & Goodman, or Rosa Parks...

Monday, December 29, 2008

The Original Johnson

Not what you think from the title. If you are looking for a belated Christmas present for the thoughtful, creative person in your life--send them to Comicsmix for this graphic series interpreting the first superstar athlete of modern times: boxer Jack Johnson (whom James Earl Jones immortalized in "The Great White Hope"). 2008 is the centennial of Johnson rise to national prominence--in an era of unprecedented, virulent racial violence (and similarly immortalized in Doctrow's "Ragtime").
The Original Johnson is eyepopping and intelligent. None of the rote "fantasization" crap involving classic realfolk, as so decreed by publishers seeking gimmicks. This is visceral, exciting and enlighting stuff. Seldom does the New York Times laud a four color comic or graphic novel. They have. Check it out before the holidays end and the real world starts again January 5...

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Chicago Tribune: Black Women Shrinking?

OK, what is it? Diet/obesity? Poverty? Taller sisters not as fertile? Between the lines there--taller people often, not always, have better nutrition as well as genes on their side, are better off economically, and the studies show that wealthier black females have closed or exceeded height gaps with white females...and "wealthier" people tend to put off having kids.

Read it here and comment.

Friday, December 26, 2008

THE Infamous Christmas Post FINALLY

OK. Nothing amusing, nasty or even mildly Mencken-esque (he's spinning in his grave over what the barking spiders and oozing starfish on Wall Street have done to newspapers and book publishing). Nope it's this, from Charles Dickens. Something to think about for the next 11 months, and perhaps reflect upon as we look at 2008. Some say Great Expectations or Martin Chuzzlewit are Dickens' best work. For Literature professors, perhaps. Unh- unh, not for the real world. I say it's A Christmas Carol. Look at this pivotal passage. It will apply to so many things. And it's nimble: applies to each of us, and, in turn— each of can project it as a dodge or denial. Hope you had a Merry Christmas. Best for the New Year.Nat…

The Ghost calls, "Look here." From the folds of its robe, Spirit reveals two children; wretched, abject, frightful, hideous, miserable. They knelt down at its feet, and clung upon the outside of its garment. They were a boy and a girl. Yellow, meagre, ragged, scowling, wolfish; but prostrate, too, in their humility. Where angels might have sat enthroned, devils lurked, and glared out menacing.

Scrooge recoils in horror. “Spirit…who are these children?”

"They are Man's," says the Ghost, looking down upon them. “This boy is Ignorance. This girl is Want. Beware them both, but most of all beware this boy, for on his brow I see that written which is Doom, unless the writing be erased. Deny it." The Spirit, stretching out its hand towards the city, cries, "Slander those who tell it ye. Admit it for your factious purposes, and make it worse. And abide the end."

"Have they no refuge or resource?" cries Scrooge. "Are there no prisons?" the Spirit mocks in Scrooge's own words. "Are there no workhouses?"

Monday, December 22, 2008


Here is the reason that most gay men (not a clue what lesbians will say, but there's always Hillary and Janet Nap. to stoke their fires) will forgive the President-elect for inviting that Christian mullah Rick Warren to bless us all at the Inauguration. If you're straight (like Nat, as Mrs. Nat can attest), and you're digging Barack's swag, don't blush. The youngfolk call it "bromance."

12 More hours to 2008's infamous Christmas post....

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Forget "The Spirit", Christmas Post Roaring in soon...

I know it's de rigeur to suck up to the fanboy and geek population--as seen at San Diego Comic Con back in July when we promo'd The Darker Mask. But come on. The word for this Sunday before Christmas is Saturation. Fitting. But not fitting from Frank Miller. We have "Sin City Lite" in this iteration of The Spirit. Sorry. Look the only reason I don't just shrug this crap away is yes, because of Miller, and Will Eisner. Eisner, being pioneer, icon, immortal. Those aren't hackneyed descriptions when it comes to Eisner. Period. Feels icky he's being exploited. Yeah, exploited. Oh well, such is the entertainment biz we have wraught.


Friday, December 19, 2008

RIP, W. Mark Felt aka Deep Throat

He broke open Watergate for Woodward & Bernstein and changed history. Snitches make the world go 'round. Seriously. Depends on the motivation. You're a hero. Linda Tripp is scum. Bravo Mark. Read here.

Why Brothers gravitate to PWT and Vapid sluts...

OK you can ask Reggie Bush, or dudes who liked "Black Snake Moan" or the brotha you saw hugging up some Britany Spears-sans-the-dough on the bus last week or the mall. It's no accident you see a kind of bamma-ghettofab black man hooking up with a chick like this so pre-dominantly in the military, or in the Dirrty-Dirty, rather than the civilized Northeast or a white collar workplace. Yeah I said it! 'Cause I'm an elitist jerk. (GRIN). Under normal, non-country conditions you see regular, garden-variety, sweet and innocent interracial romance between two sophisticated people. Closer to Seal and Heidi. Doesn't make you cringe, in other words...

Check this out from Nat's pals at Bossip here or click on video below (though I'm sure some of you horny negroes have seen it on youtube a billion times)...

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Former Porn Star just wanted to keep teaching kiddies

Vineland, New Jersey (near the Pine Barrens, home of the Jersey Devil) parents were outraged that a former porn star is working at their elementary school. Louisa Tuck (aka Crystal Gunns ) worked as a playground and cafeteria aide and is studying to be a teacher's aide. She quit the biz five years ago. Some parents, as well as the local board of education president, wanted Tuck fired despite counsel's opinion that they have no legal grounds to terminate her. “We have no real legal stance or legal right to do anything for two reasons — one, it’s not illegal, and two, it’s not on school time,” Superintendent Charles Ottinger said. Officials continued to "look into the situation and determine their options, keeping the best interest of the children in mind." Ha!
Well, Gunns resigned in "good standing" over the weekend. Given the miserable state of public finance, she and her tits would have been furloughed anyway (and one of her old employers, Scores, has cut back due to Wall Street's collapse).
Porn is a billion dollar industry...hell billions if you count what's coming out of Eastern Europe and bound for the Middle East (so much for pure Islam). Who's to say some of her biggest fans aren't on the Board? Thoughts?

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Another Victory for the Forces of Stupid

From "The Grey Lady" (the NYTimes, which is groaning under "bad times" as well), news of layoffs at Macmillian, the publisher which owns Holt and of course our friends at St. Martins and Tor/Forge.
Macmillian's owned, in turn, by a German combine, Holtzbrinck. Yep, Random House is owned by foreigners as well. Nice to see folks tasked with keeping American brains trained, creative, imagining controlled by Germans. Between that and cheap Chinese garbage folk are buying at Wal mart, I'd say it's "evening" in America. "Mourning" in America? How about that play on words? Nevermind their business model is warped--books aren't Beyonce CDs. Nevermind the real reason for this crap has more to do with, by analogy, Sam Zell loading the Tribune Company with debt from his leveraging spree, or the perfidy and non-regulation of the financial sector than with "young people not reading." The result is the same. Shrink. Dummi-fy. It's a self-fulfilling prophesy.
All of a sudden, that movie Idiocracy doesn't seem so amusing. Just like Office Space is hitting a bit too close to home now.

On Rightwing TV...and having a good time

Here's Nat on Tigerhawk, one of the most popular blogs in the huge paddock of Pajamas Media, and conceived by my fellow Princeton Tiger. See the full set of interviews here. I was shocked to find as many positive sentiments in the comments and feedback as were registered. Yes there was the usual wingnut crap, but if there wasn't, it wouldn't be fun. Many thanks to Tigerhawk for inviting me into his studio/kitchen.

Part I of interview:

Monday, December 15, 2008

Media Round-up Part II: Gwen Ifill's not qualified for THIS?

This is courtesy of Aunt Jemima's Revenge. Old news, but smilin', clean David Shuster, he of pimpin' Chelsea fame, becomes host of the newest iteration of TV journalism shift into Ringling Bros. As you know, David Gregory's now the mayor of Meet The Press. Empty chair vacated by one toon means opportunity for an increasingly stupid set of network masters to pander to an increasingly stupid public and fill the seat with...you guessed it...another toon. 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue is MSNBC's "hard hitting, analytical news program" covering the White House. Of course there are folks like bloffer Paul Levinson who think it's peachy. Really? Here are your choices. The cliche of network news, the Dancing With the Stars/reality TV sensibilities of CNN/Headline News and MSNBC, and the wingnut drool of Fox. NPR and PBS you ask? Recall, NPR is cancelling shows and laying-off real journalists. Nobody watches Jim Lehrer except during Presidential debates (but Sesame Street's still on). But hey, there's always John Stewart. Oh and that's Shuster with his young wife--"rising star Julianna Goldman" from Bloomberg Television. Wifey, if you know, was outraged with NBC's suspension of Shuster for his Chelsea comment (reportedly Tim Russert was among those cross with Shuster) and was using her influence with the Tribe to get hubby a gig at Bloomberg. But hey, all's forgotten and forgiven, and he's now front and center on this "news program."

One nugget from MSNBC (yes I'm a hypocrite): the CEO mega-salary protections of the bailout, well, in a last gasp of W/Cheney, we see executive paychecks are sacrosanct. Regular folks' jobs aren't.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Ravens, Redskins...

Both lost. I'm proud of one team. Disgusted with the other. Can you guess which? Details here at ESPN.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Auto Bailout & Christmas Cheer: Billions for crooks, not one cent for workers

That's a big bad corporate lawyer named Drierer, arrested in Toronto yesterday. He's could be any one of my Princeton or law school acquaintenances. He's accomplished much. Made billions, eh? Erected a mini white shoe law firm. Such a posterboy for Big Law,Big Capitalism...oh and did I say he was arrested? But union autoworkers, now they are the true villians. Read on...

...as I'm off to a string of Christmas parties...er...sorry HOLIDAY parties (as corporate America/marketing clowns have ordained) from K Street to NJ for the weekend, so I'll be scarce on the blog. Check me out as a regular contributor in http://www.blackpower.com/. I was wondering what "Joe the Plumber" would say about his beloved GOPs torpedoing of the auto bailout in order to screw the working man? The LA Times (in a last gasp of pre-Zell journalism) reported so. He's now already on record saying to fellow douche Glenn Beck that he felt disgusted after “being on the campaign trail and seeing some of the things that take place.”
So the Republicans love folk like my boy Drierer and Bernie Madoff . Scions of laissez-faire . Ummm...the GOP became socialists and have dispensed over $300 B from the TARP, no questions asked, to folk just a cut or two above Drierer and Bernie. Yet they go back to wingnut-sim and try to dismantle the UAW? Newsflash...even the workers hate the UAW. Umm...they hate it b/c they thought they were in bed with company executives. What's Joe the Plumber's take? Likely still anti-Obama? If so, I guess gaybashing, guns and the flag really ARE are more important than self-preservation and common sense. Imagine that. Perhaps the GOP is onto something. Or, Barack's about to pick up this one last stubborn demo?
New track. In a bizarre twist, it seems Fox personnel are acting more responsible on this Blagojevich thing regarding the President-elect, even Val, Rahm et al than the supposedly pro-Obama MSNBC and CNN. Thoughts?

Enjoy your weekends and Merry CHRISTMAS.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Media Round-up, Part I

If you haven't already read this blurb about layoffs at National Public Radio, then check it out here. Nice to read in conjuction with news of other layoffs in book publishing and newspapers.
I had a whole mess of analysis and supported opinion on the cancellation of News & Notes. Objective and hopefully thoughtful comments on it's evolution from Tavis Smiley's spot to Farai Chideya's, ratings, cost centers, promo, NPR's endowment & contributions. But ya know, sometimes you gotta shout and stomp to clear the air. Here it comes...

...can we be frank about the disease, and not go 'round about symptoms? We're plain dummer, so why listen to NPR? We're a nation of Ricky Bobbies, Lil'Jons & Flo Ridas , Gossip Girls, Video Vixens, Sarah Palins, Real Housewives, Plaxico Burresses & Mike Vicks, Rush Limbaugh Dittoheads, texting teenagers, et al. So what's Farai's target demo amount to now--5 intelligent people? When folk get their news, "analysis" and investigative reporting from the likes of John Stewart/Stephen Colbert, Sean Hannity and Tom Joyner, is there any reason to have an NPR? For too long we've pandered and lowered the river. Perhaps the infrastructure we need to revive is between our ears!

Whew. I apologize for the rant. But it's time for us to wake the hell up and stop holding our tongues when we do see ignorance simmering. The outlets which keep us smart and care about the truth are dying and all we care about is not sounding "elitist." Lawd...

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Slavefish. The new superhero of color

I guess this would be great for The Darker Mask II. Jimmy Palmiotti, Mark Waid--can you white guys bring this life?

SLAVEFISH!!! I love the origin backstory, and his method of communicating with sea creatures. Watch out next time you sink your fat, Oxycontin-gourged spiderveined ass in the ocean, Rush. There lurks...SLAVEFISH. I just cannot stop laughing...

Gay folks & Black folks Part I

A queer...okay pretty much African American bull dyke... pal and former schoolmate of mine, embittered over the bobbled opportunity and loss in Cali's Prop. 8 told me: "Ellen Degeneres is our version of Sammy Davis Jr. So eager to fit in as an entertainer that she's become an irrelevancy to a larger movement and a response to a lack of civil rights, like Sammy in the 50s and 60s."

Unfair to Sammy, based on the research. Unfair to Ellen, too. But do you understand her point? My pal applauded Wanda Sykes. But she says other black gays need to step up, stop lying, and put a real, relateable face on things. She wasn't talking about "umasking" dudes on the DL. That stuff re: Tyler Perry, Shemar Moore et al is for another soap opera. Rather, what she's talking about is a wish that familiar names could humanize the yearnings of gays for the full civil blessings they pay for in the their taxes. They'd have the public megaphone of TV. They even, so goes the hope, would be eloquent spokespeople.

Or should they just STFU? Thoughts?

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Governor Blagojevich--Old School Chicago

Am I imagining things or did Blago get arrested the day after he was rightly demanding that Bank of America put up or shut after getting TARP bailout $$$ and then spending it bull and not loans--payback? Is it a means of embarrassing and taking the wind out of Barack's sails? Not so facile (despite what you think of Dick Cheney's evil empire, control of he FBI et al). Nope. This is all on Blago. He thinks he's back in the Serbian bad ole days. Look, if you're gonna be corrupt and power mad, do it artfully like the Republicans. Graft and meglomaina aren't rocket science. Some folks seem to make an art of being both evil and stupid. You see the result. Like Mike Vick and Plaxico tainting all black athletes, then this will be used to taint Obama, Dick Durbin, Daley, etc. But ya know, in essence, Barack & Crew are constructively responsible. You know these folk are dirty. You should take them aside and say you are f--ing this up for all of us, so we're gonna put you out of your misery...

Monday, December 08, 2008

Newspaper hari kiri...or opportunity to evolve?

Chicxulub for some is an opportunity for others. Dinosaurs die, but their cousins lived on and thrived. No, not mammals. Birds. FYI Chicxulub is the name of the asteroid that struck the Yucatan Peninsula 65 million years ago. Without it, we wouldn't be here, not reading, downloading Flo Rida ringtones. Here comes the crater...
The Tribune Company, saddled with the M & A debt splooged upon its august presses by Sam Zell, a "real estate mogul" (aren't "real estate moguls" usually they dullard husbands in all these "The Real Housewives of___" on Bravo?) has declared Chapter 11 protection. Zell owns the LA Times and hired a huckster named Lee Abrams as "Chief Imagination Officer" to dumb it and the Baltimore Sun down to preschooler/cage fighting fan level. H.L. Mencken's rolling in his grave. The last season of The Wire wasn't too far off, was it, Sam? Read here.
The Gray lady...the NYT...is borrowing against its building. Huh? Haven't they heard that the "too big to fail" thing is so, well, 90s? Who'll buy the building once the note's called? A big Nike Store...now that would be poetic justice. Read here.
Like the publishing industry, newspapers tried to be all things to all people...this in an age where "all people" are geting, well, dumber. Good music on the radio has gone to XM and other outlets. Of course bammas who can't afford an XM unit or an iPod still can listen to their favorite T-pain "music" on commercial radio, but that's the evolutionary exception, like the coelacanth or horseshoe crab. Most people still want news-sports-traffic-weather on "free" radio. Staying cheap and stupid, news hence becomes psycho talk radio, sports becomes ignorant fan-driven "sportstalk"...traffic and weather, that's immutable.
See the pattern? Leave stupid to the stupid people.
Newspaper (and books) can be the medium of smart people. There is a silent resevoir of smart cool people...hell even YOUNG people who want the depth, analysis, punchy investigative work. And yes there are people who want the tactile, stable experience of a paper, of a book. You can even send texts, job folks' schedules to tickle them into newspaper content. This isn't old-timer or Luddite stuff, folks. It's common sense. It's smart. It's evolution. Soar like birds.

Barack plays it Cool...

I'm a fan of Fred Armisen but not his characterization of the Prez (Lorne Michaels hates black people...he doesn't want another Eddie Murphy). However, this is funny. Indeed, might even be the most realistic portrayal of the 44th President yet. Wingnuts on Fox, radio, Pajamas Media take note. He's ...coooooooool....

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Zimbabwe analogy

Proudly, dictator Robert Mugabe's finance stooge reveals the brand new $200 Million bill. Check it out here. Now, over here Congressman William Jefferson is trying to win re-election. Hip Hop Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick is still grumbling how he didn't do nuthin wrong. Then there's Sharpe James...oh and Marion Barry's hanging in there. The jury's still out (figuratively...phew...don't trip!) on Madame Mayor Sheila Dixon in Baltimore. Of course African strongmen and African American crooks/demagogues didn't coin the phrase "L'etat est moi." That was Louis XIV of France. Sadly, the only way these clowns stay in power is by telling us the alternative is the evil white man (and yeah, they are evil--be they multinationals, colonial powers, Republicans, Palin, Limbaugh. Perfect dueling straw men, as they use us in return). A sick see saw, a sad game.
Thank God we are creating a new paradigm with folk like Derval Patrick, Adrian Fenty, Corey Booker...and the new President of the United States. Oh yeah there will always be fools who'll pine for Marion Barry or the return of Jesse, Sr. or remembrances of Mugabe the "Liberator." They'll die off eventually. But I worry about the youngsters (see my post on nihilism).

Friday, December 05, 2008


No OJ Simpson post for me tonight. (see my comment on Aunt Jemima's Revenge about a circle closing). Nor will I post on the perfidy of the book biz and how publishers acting like the music or TV or film industries was their death knell. Nothing on Barack, or Bush's Interior Department allowing concealed weapons in National Parks or the top of the Washington Monument (I think it was Reagan, paradoxically, who'd decided against that in the 80s). Or, speaking of the 80s, the GOP deciding to doom themselves to the same path as the Democrats back then by affirming bumpkinism just as the Dems embraced only trade unions and black folks. Palin-Huckabee '12? OK, maybe they dream of '64...
Nope, this is about Wall Street rebounding on the news of murderous job losses. Click here. Draw your conclusions, send me your thoughts. There's a difference between being hurt, and being injured. I think most Americans have crossed to over to injury...

New Free Comics

Just a pleasant distraction for Friday...

New on DC's Zuda (click) online comics (see my November 22 post on the groundbreaking historical-fantasy African American comic "Bayou" click here ): Tri-boro Tales by Chuck Collins and Keith Miller. New Yawkahs--be you nuyorican, negro, numbskull guinea or nose-hooked member of the Tribe--will like this. Not lil' kid appropriate (as with Bayou) but I'd say 16 and above is safe. Art and narrative are seemless; a nice story of life in the non-Sex and City, regular folk Big Apple. Urban geeks, really--Gabe, Suga, Sean & Phatdawg. You don't have to be a strap-hanger to enjoy it. And, like the groundbreaking Bayou, it's free!

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Wingnut attacks Eric Holder. And?

I'd left the comment below on sibling blog ('cause we're all related, really) Jack and Jill Politics (click on the right sidebar Blog List). It was in response to a post today outlining wingnut columnist Richard Cohen's screed in the Washington Post expounding why the Senate Judiciary Committee should not confirm brotha Eric Holder as attorney general of the USA. Cohen asserts the coffin moment was Holder's honchoing the pardon of douchebag Mark Rich by equal douchebag Bill Clinton (also implying that Holder knows where other Clinton and my ex-boss Janet Reno figurative bodies are buried). Here's what Nat declared, fan boys and girls. It's safer over here as I only have the trickle of fanatical Kool Aid drinking Obamaholics (Field Negro's nomenclature) as the crew Rikryah, Christian Progressive Liberal & Co. entertains. What are your thoughts?
As a USDOJ mule back in the go-go 90s I can tell you yeah, the Rich thing, plus a whole lotta of other Clinton watercarrying, is troublesome for Holder, but no--when compared to Alberto and buffoonish John Ashcroft, it's a drop in the bucket. Holder's like the black dude in the
white political machine in the old flick "The Last Hurrah." Like a bag
man for Harlem. Would that make him a bad attorney general. Not really. Again,
not compared to the hacks and morons who've held that position.
My point is that we need a GREAT AG. A leader. Creative. Inspiring. Protecting the consumer again, ensuring the cleansing of markets without hiding behind "market ideology," protecting our kids and our wallets on the Net, fighting corrupt politicos and drug dealers alike. Putting oncentrations of power and money on blast (and you see what happened when we didn't, and there's still no accounting of the TARP meant to clean up the mess). Prosecuting pollutors, smugglers of contraband and of human beings. Locking up terrorists--including the home grown
McVeighs who seem to congregagte in Wissila, Alaska LOL. A Bobby Kennedy. A Nicholas Katzenbach. A Ramsey Clarke, a Charles Bonaparte who took his boss Teddy Roosevelt's lead and went after Standard Oil and the railroads. Eric Holder's a bureaucrat and insider. He'd be "okay." We can't afford just "okay." We need great. Imaginative. Bold.
There are dozens of black folks out there in firms, federal and state gov't, public service programs and in the judiciary now who could fill that role. But Barack wants to go for
safe and ok. Ok, then...
P.S.--the give away here--that Specter, Grassley et al are not bowing to the radio freakazoids
and folk like Cohen, the wingnut bloggers. Why? Because they know Holder will just be "okay."
Plain. Safe...

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

The Ghost of Tim Russert...spooking gray matter anew

Mi compradre-ette Professor Tracey at Aunt Jemima's Revenge (a whole lotta revenge out there with Nat's) was tripping over the elevation of neo-cremepuff correspondant/ Mary J Blige fan David Gregory to honcho "Meet the Press" over Gwen Ifill and Lord, many other veteran reporter who don't get suckered into yelling "whoopie" on "The Today Show." Check it out here. Part and parcel of Auntie's editorial was a subsequent post on Luke Russert, son of St. Tim. St. Tim--the man who helped destroy TV news in the last decade. No, it really wasn't Rupert Murdoch/Roger Ailes. It was Luke's daddy. David Gregory's current incarnation is just as much Tim Russert's progeny as Aunt Jemima's target Luke. Her thesis: Luke ranks up there with W as talentless, whiteboy affirmative action product.

That's Tim's baby boy on the left, training in TV investigative reporting at UVA--in a pool. Oh and above that's Luke lending is Buffalo Bills schtick to James Carville's expert sports show...um...James Carville's sports show? Yeah, no typo fanboys & girls. But this is the age of no boundaries. Of revenue streams. Of infotainment. Luke's part of a brand. Like Cherry or Diet Coke. Why mess this up with thinking? Brands obviate thinking. That's why sharp TV reporters like Hoda Kotb are playing second fiddle to Kathy Lee Gifford, or, as contraposition example, Linda Ellerbee opted for obscurity before bulima and tit jobs, or remaining silent to fools telling her she getting too old and fat (do they tell Lou Dobbs...or Russert?), or selling out to The View. Sorry Gwen Ifill. Being black was just the nail in the coffin, not the actual coffin. You think too much. Analyze. Explain. Give context. Iz you touched, sista? That ain't what makes the sponsors happy or drives the producers to spoon-feed pap and blazing headlines, or forces what passes for "anchors" these days to editorialize with inanities as if they're at Bingo night...

Thinking? That's what Luke's daddy found boring and passe when he, a hack in the corkscrew world of Albany smoke-filled rooms and political machines, took the chair once occupied by Lawrence Spivak, John Chancellor et al. Who the f- are they? Not important. That was back when TV journalism meant something. Nothing Twitter worthy...
And Tim gleefully turned the analytical style of these folk built into a circus of cliches, confrontation, posturing--all whilst he hob-nobbed as if an insider himself. Talkin' 'bout Luke's grandad constantly. Talkin' 'bout the Bills. Shilling for himself as celebrity, as brand, and in ethical gray regions--many of the politicos he "engaged" every Sunday morning. The ratings climbed. NBC's hagiography was a forgone conclusion. What's the cheapest means of increasing ratings? Well, rather than enlightening the dullards and bumpkins out there, Luke's daddy conspired to be one of them--dumbing things down for all of us. Luke and the NBC bigshots are scrimmaging with a winning game plan.

And we loved Tim, thus we love Luke, right? Especially when NBC/MSNBC, in the style of Citizen Kane, shoved him down our waiting throats during the 2008 campaign. Made him one of "us," like dad. Massaged and overexposed the brand. No matter. You see, NPR caught hell for criticizing Big Tim, as if they'd danced on his grave, and likewise (but for Aunt Jemima and her boy pal Nat and few others) the dismay over Luke's elevation has been sadly muted. Interestingly, while Tim was alive his presence seemed to unite rightwing harpies like Michelle Malkin and Ann Coulter (of all people) with lefty media critics in Slate.com and The American Prospect. Note when Tim moderated the first Democratic Primary debates before his death, this was the one observation that made sense to me, amidst all the congratz on Tim's acumen: "It substitutes the personal anecdote for the policy position, the sound-bite for the substantive answer. It distills the debate into a series of allegedly symbolic, supposedly meaningful moments that can be replayed. "

Another: "Russert knows that the way to the top is to pretend that for all the Georgetown cocktail parties you attend, for all the money you make, for all your heart flutters when the powerful treat you with deference, in truth you may be in Washington but you're not of it. No, deep down you're just a regular guy from the wrong side of the tracks, standing up to the effete swells of the ruling class."

Indeed, Bill Moyers (a thinker) asked Luke's dad if he relied too much on the word of Bush administration officials during our fraudulent march to the Iraq War. Russert, who's not a journalist, recall, answered, "Look, I'm a blue-collar guy from Buffalo. I know who my sources are. I work 'em very hard. It's the mid-level people that tell you the truth." Huh? WTF?

Well, hopefully Luke's got some training, ethics, standards, you query? Wait. He just got out of school. OK, in the spirit of making the news "relatable" to younger folks (like texting, bite-sized) he's branded as the spirit of inexperienced yet energetic youth. I must say even the 20 and 18-somethings (white ones!) I spoke to thought he was a bit dry, dull, smarmy at times, though. But they were tickled he was "one of them." Yes, NBC learned from dad.

Listen, Luke's eulogy of his father was heartfelt, was heartwrenching. But why was it at the National Cathedral? Why was every self-aggrandizing tool from Bill Clinton to W there to pay homage. Folks, you are a sucky reporter if bigshots and politicians come to your funeral to wail. They should come to your funeral to spit on your casket. Otherwise you haven't done your job. But that presupposes your job is to inform, explain, uplift, rather than posture. That's Ed Murrow 101.

Has Luke ever learned about Edward R Murrow and his famous 1957 speech presaging the rise of folk like his dad? Nah. He's thinking revenue streams and new ways to sell to "Millenials" like himself. Hell I'm shocked he wasn't given Meet the Press, quieting the shrieks of his father's ghost when boring ol' Tom Brokaw took over Meet The Press temporarily. NBC has its standards of expertise, we hope. The trouble is, do we?