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Posts Tagged ‘Satire’

In Memoriam

December 27, 2009 Leave a comment

OWBS is back (more on that later), but we begin our week with a retrospective of those important people animals we lost this year.

Endal
Beloved service dog to Gulf War veteran Allen Parton
World’s Most Distinguished Service Dog

Sybil
Pet of Chancellor of the Exchequer Alistair Darling
Briefly Chief Mouser to the Cabinet Office
Removal rumored to have fueled Gordon Brown’s decline in polls

India the Cat
First Cat During Bush Administration
Name said to have fueled poor Indio-American Relations
Working on anti-Ms. Beazley bio at time of death

Gidget the Taco Bell Dog
Most offensive mascot since Frito Bandito
Rumoured to have caused hundreds of unexplained homocides in late 90’s

And last but certainly not least

Socks the Cat
No simple summary will suffice

Requiescant in pace

A Cautionary Tale for Satirists

December 1, 2009 Leave a comment

Readers know that I am a big fan of satirical animated sitcoms. I shun use of the word cartoon because that implies that all animation is meant for children to laugh at simply at its face value. Many of the sitcoms I enjoy (South Park, The Simpsons, Family Guy, King of the Hill) score their jokes off irony, word play and twisted parody, I don’t advise that children be allowed to watch them at all. The Simpsons is one possible exception, but I was the sort of child who began catching the satirical overtones around age 9–not all kids are there at that age.

That’s why I found this news item most alarming. From the AP:

hree boys have been arrested for investigation of bullying red-haired students after a Facebook message promoted “Kick a Ginger Day” at a Southern California school.
Los Angeles County sheriff’s spokesman Steve Whitmore said Monday that two 12-year-olds were arrested for suspicion of misdemeanor battery, and a 13-year-old was booked for misdemeanor cyberbullying. They were released to their parents.

For the uninitated, the word “ginger” was popularized as a description for light-skinned, freckled red-headed kids by the South Park episode “”. In the episode Cartman delivers a very nasty presentation about the children during show and tell. To get back at him, his ostensible friends turn him into a ginger using hair dye and make-up. However, Cartman ends up leading a Ginger supremacist group that ultimately kidnap his friends. They reveal their charade to him, and he suddenly begins preaching racial tolerance. The episode stabs right at the heart of the stupidity of racism in all forms, be it by a majority or by a minority group that co-opts it to fight past discrimination.

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Thanksgiving with the Hills

November 26, 2009 Leave a comment

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! I know I have much to be thankful for on this, the most American (and therefore bipartisan) of holidays. I won’t bemoan my meager existence in the cosmos by going line by line over everything that I have to be extremely grateful for, but suffice it to say that this past year, from my maternal grandfather’s death last Thanksgiving to my sudden unemployment to my personal struggles on the campaign trail to finally my recent (and continuing) recovery over some of my personal demons has left me a changed person and very grateful to be able to rediscover at a young age just what I posess as individual that I must thank god every day for.

Today I wanted to take a moment to thank Adult Swim for their week-long retrospective of the King of the Hill’s past Thanksgiving shows. Many of you who know me personally know that I am a big fan of the show and of Adult Swim. I was quite happy when Adult Swim picked up the show, despite the fact that its straight ahead satire isn’t a perfect match for the more absurdist comedies the network features. For the uninitated, King of the Hill focuses on the daily life and travails of the Hill family in the fictitious town of Arlen, Texas. Though it is an animated sitcom, it has often been overlooked for its incisive satire (and loving embrace) of small town American life. The program is unique amongst other animated sitcoms (note how I avoid the use of the word cartoon) in that it generally follows the rules of physics and for not being overly reliant on slapstick comedy. However, it still takes great liberty in using its medium to its fullest potential to skewer both the troubling and joyous aspects of our society.

King of the Hill is brilliant in the way that it both embraces and pokes fun at the occasional ignorance of small town Americans of the world writ large while simultaneously skewering both high minded social engineers and profit driven corporations. At its core the show is more populist than conservative, though Hank Hill has many qualities that conservatives should embrace as their own: community spirit, a generous will, and a can-do-it attitude with a genuine love of hard work paying off for those willing to do it.

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Paul Harvey bids us……Good Day!

paulharvey

Paul Harvey, beloved radio commentator and a cultural staple for decades, died yesterday. The cause of death is not yet known. Mr. Harvey was best known for his Paul Harvey News and Comment, which ran for five decades on thousands of stations around the world, as well as his renowned “The Rest of the Story” features, where he would share fascinating back stories from historical and contemporary figures, though many of his stories have been debunked. He was a controversial figure in broadcasting, as he often used moments in his show to launch into advertisements for his sponsors. He also had his share of controversial opinions, often conservative in nature. He was well known (and often parodied) for his signature sayings and unique……cadence. He was the master of the dramatic pause. His unique blend of commentary and news was the forerunner of todays radio commentators, many of whom take cues from Mr. Harvey, whether they admit it or not. 

He left a large and loving family. Because Mr. Harvey loved his family so much, he was sure to leave them with the assurance that his affairs would be taken care of. He knew that, although life is a beautiful dance, it ultimately does stop, and so he knew that he must secure his family for the time when his dance was to end. As such, he was sure to get a policy from Planter’s Mutual Life and Home. He knew that Planter’s full array of various policies would be able to care for his specific needs as a public figure, newsman, and entertainer. You too can benefit from these policies. Just send one dollar and a Self-Adressed Envelope to P.O. Box 912, Des Moines, Iowa, and Planter’s will send you a kit showing you the many ways they can customize your policy for the time when your life ends. 

Sorry, but Mr. Harvey would have wanted it that way. 

This is Craig Orndorff…….Good Day!

Socks the Cat: 1989-2009

February 20, 2009 3 comments

Socks the Cat answering questions from the press on November 9th, 1994 following the Republican tidal wave in the midterm elections the day before. Socks had advised the DCCC on the use of animals in the Congressional campaigns

Socks the Cat, presidential pet and Democratic political consultant, died in Hollywood, Maryland at the age of 19. Socks had one of the longest tenures of presidential pets, but his term was not without controversy. Following Clinton’s re-election he was demoted to co-First Pet with Buddy the Dog, beginning a rift with the Clintons that Socks would carry to his grave. In 1998 was highly criticized for  scratching Tony Blair.

Socks began life in Little Rock Arkansas as the son of Fluffy and Roscoe on March 21st, 1989. He was the only surviving member of a litter of five, one of which was eaten by Fluffy and the others which met a variety of untimely fates, both canine and vehicular in nature. Roscoe was a poor provider and left the brood after he caught Fluffy with another tomcat. In 1990 Fluffy fell into an open sewer drain and was never seen again. At that point Socks was cast out into the streets of Little Rock, beginning a stretch of bad luck that would continue until Socks met the Clintons the following year. In his 2003 Memoir “My Tail,” Socks recounted that he suffered a serious battle with catnip addiction that continued well into his time in the White House.

While sleeping off a catnip binge in early 1991 on top of some bags of shredded paper in an alleyway behind Rose Law in Little Rock, the cat was spotted by firm’s security guards. However, they were unable to apprehend the frisky feline. The cat was later found by Chelsea Clinton at the home of her piano teacher. Chelsea took the cat home, beginning a personal and professional relationship with the Clintons that lasted until Socks was exiled from the family in 2001.

Socks is credited by some Clinton insiders as the inspiration behind the Clinton-Gore campaign’s core strategy  when in mid-1992 Socks pooped on Clinton’s draft paper on economic issues, leading adviser James Carville to exclaim “That’s ‘The Economy,’ stupid!” Following the 1992 campaign Socks followed the Clintons to the White House, but it was there that the relationship began to sour. After his call for a ban on semi-automatic waterers was misinterpreted by the White House policy team, Clinton began to lose popularity in many parts of the South when he signed the assault weapons ban in 1994. Following this incident Socks was sent to the DCCC to advise Congressional candidates on the use of animals in their campaigns. One of these candidates was Speaker Tom Foley, who lost his seat during the Republican tidal wave of 1994. After the campaign Socks returned to the White House and never consulted on another Democratic campaign, outside of his owner’s own re-election bid in 1996.

Some Clinton insiders credit Socks with the expulsion of consultant Dick Morris from the Clinton campaign when, unbeknownst to Morris, Socks hid under the bed during the consultant’s infamous liaison with a hooker. However, increasing tensions behind the scenes led to Sock’s demotion as chief White House pet in 1997, when the Clintons got Buddy the Dog. Socks took to intense week-long catnip binges around the streets of Washington, DC, at the end of which he would often be found in the lap of the Lincoln Memorial. In 1998 his behavior hit rock bottom when he scratched Prime Minister Tony Blair on December 13th, beginning a two-day stand off with the United Kingdom that was only halted with the launch of Operation Desert Fox against Iraq. Socks then spent a week at the Betty Ford Clinic, after which he never struggled with catnip addiction again.

In 2000 Socks asked to be assigned to Hillary Clinton’s Senate campaign but was rejected by the Clintons. This was the first signal of things to come, as in 2001 Socks would not follow the Clintons to New York, leading to a final split between the cat and the First couple. Socks began speaking out against the family and in his 2003 book shared many stories about Clinton’s liaison with Monica Lewinsky. In 2002 after Buddy the dog was suspiciously run over by a power company truck. Socks was investigated, but no charges were ever brought.

Following his time in the White House Socks began expressing increasingly conservative political views. In 2002 during the Little Rock Christmas parade he announced his support for the Invasion of Iraq. In 2004 during a rare public appearance with former White House Secretary Betty Currie Socks announced his intention to vote for George W. Bush in 2004, citing the President’s handling of the war on terror. In 2005 he briefly joined the campaign of Republican Jeanine Pirro in for U.S. Senate against Hillary Clinton but was fired when he ate a page of Pirro’s announcement speech, which led to an embarrassing gaffe where Pirro stumbled over her words for nearly a minute.

In 2008 Socks returned to Democratic politics but not to work for Clinton. Instead he endorsed Barack Obama, saying that as a black and white cat in America he was extremely pleased to see the beginning of racial reconciliation in America. Later in the year Socks was diagnosed with cancer and his public appearances became extremely rare. His final public appearance was to be a speech at the Democratic National Covention, but his speech was bumped when President Carter’s video went long, a final blow to America’s former first feline.

Socks had one final meeting with the Clintons in December of 2008 when it appeared that he would not recover for his cancer. He congratulated Hillary on her appointment as Secretary of State and made up with Bill, apologizing for any damage he caused during the White House years. Socks was euthanized this morning, attended by Mrs. Currie.

Socks the Cat’s funeral will be held at the National Cathedral Monday at 11 A.M. Vice-President Biden is expected to attend, as is Secretary of State Clinton. Socks has decided not to have full state honors; rather, his body will lie in state at ASPCA’s national headquarters

*In case you don’t have a funnybone, this is a work of satire. However, I always did think Socks was one good looking cat and my inspiration for getting my mother’s cat Maya when I was at UVA. Socks, you will be missed. 

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