Open Mic with Bear Frazer: The Emergence of VH1

Freedom of expression is what makes America so beautiful. This country thrives on entertainment. People eat up drama like nachos and cheese. There is one pop culture channel which is devoted to feed couch potatoes’ appetites with quality programming. VH1 has always stood in the shadow of MTV, but now, it’s one of the most watched networks on television.

The three hour programming block coined Celebreality has been dynamite for VH1. The Sunday Night lineup features three reality shows. The Surreal Life 4 pits six celebrities living under one roof where anything can happen and if you saw the first episode, an intoxicated Verne “Mini-Me” Troyer squealed in his bed and later, urinated on a wall in the nude. Strange Love features Flavor Flav and Brigitte Nielsen attempting to rekindle an old flame and Celebrity Fit Club exposes eight obese celebrities divided on two teams and challenged to lose weight. Those three shows received the highest ratings in the channel’s history.

The addition of a programming schedule has had a positive effect for the record breaking statistics. “Sunday Night is the 1st Time we had destination scheduling,” said Brett Henne, VH1 Director of Corporate Communications. “So if it’s Sunday Night, you know Celebreality is on.”

Solid marketing strategies have also elevated the company to a new level. “When we have big programming events like I Love The 90’s, we’ll (VH1) do a pre-marathon where episodes air all week and we do all our marketing towards that,” Henne said. I Love The 90’s, a series compiled of unforgettable pop culture events in the 1990’s, became the highest rated week ever in VH1 history.

VH1 also likes to keep viewers updated on current events. In The Fabulous Life of Britney Spears, people are informed of the happenings of Spears in chronological order, from achievements to her most embarrassing moments and Hollywood outsiders share their opinions on the show. The Fabulous Life of … series also exposes celebrities and their lavish lifestyles. There are also specials such as Michael Jackson’s Secret Childhood, where VH1 takes a closer look into the life of Jackson.

In addition, there are other several cutting-edge shows which made 2004 VH1’s most watched year ever. Blender teamed up with the network to bring Awesomely Bad Countdowns, where journalists and industry personalities try to figure out the logic behind the songs and videos. Behind The Music, one of their longest running features, is still drawing in big numbers with new editions of artists trying to make comebacks. And, by showing movies like Austin Powers, Showgirls and 8 Mile, it isn’t hard to grasp why the primetime rating went up 50% over two years.

Now that things have been shook up, VH1 is no longer the relaxed alternative to MTV. This channel is no longer about light rock, Lilith Fair and Pop-Up Video. It’s about pop-culture and entertainment; what America is really about. Avid fans can expect more specials to pop-up as well as more music. Also, keep an eye out for “Kept,” a show featuring Jerry Hall to makes its’ way into the Celebreality lineup this spring. So sit back, relax and make some nachos and cheese, because VH1 is spicing things up.

Enjoy The Silence 9

The cost of being alive.

For those of you who don’t already know, I’m a 22 year old professional, finding my way in the working world in England. From the second I completed my exams at High School I was into my first job instantly, no way would my proud mother allow her youngest to wallow after completing 5 gruelling years of High School education, nope I was off to fend for myself.

Before I get to my point, please allow me to give you a little background information on my life. I grew up with primarily one parent. My mother and father separated when I was very young, and my father sadly passed away when I was 10 years old. My mother did a great job raising 3 kids (me being the youngest) and put her life on hold to give us everything we needed and wanted. I always wanted to take the pressure off my mother and provide for myself when I left school so going to work was never a problem, infact it has taught me the value of money, something that I think alot of my friends who still leech money from their parents may never understand, so I’ve learnt important lessons early in life. However I have also learnt just how hard it is to live these days.

Back to the present, I’ve now been working for 6 years full time but I have little to show for it. I “rent” a home, I have no car and cannot drive, I do not have the disposable income to live an active social life and have therefore drifted away from many of the friends I hold dear to me. In England you are taxed for pretty much everything apart from the air you breathe, and it’s becoming intolerable. So in this financial blight I now find myself immersed in, I took it upon myself to find a better paid job. I left my job as Web Operations Co-ordinator at Odeon Cinemas to work for a locally based Computer Hardware retailer, one of the biggest in the UK. They offered me good money and the prospects looked good so I jumped at the chance, but sadly things don’t always work out as you intend them to. The company I began to work for were extremely ill managed and highly unprofessional and terrible under-belly of racial and sexiest hatred was apparent and I simply couldn’t work in that atmosphere and resigned after 3 weeks.

That now leaves me out of work, with shit loads of bills to pay and no one to support me. Fortunately I am reasonably experienced enough to find another job but for the moment I am in the abyss! My point is that it seems we are born to provide the fatcats of our governments with more money. Despite the fact that I’ve worked my ass off for 6 years I have fuck all to show for it, and now I have to break into my savings to survive my hopefully temporary unemployment. The cost of living just went up folks, if you want to live these days you have to pay for it. They say it’s for law enforcement (that you never fucking see), health services (that you’ll never fucking use) but really it’s to line the pockets of those that govern our lives and to fund their wars across the globe.

I want to live, but I’m not sure I can afford to anymore.

I'm JUST Sayin…

#4 – Pick Yer Poison.

I’m not-quite-watching Monday Night Raw, while perusing the internet comic sites for information on coming attractions, when I fall across this statement, by brilliant and damn-well-experienced-enough-to-make-pronouncements comic creator Steven Grant:

Everyone has ideas.

Followed by this corollary:

Ideas, in and of themselves, mean nothing.

It’s telling that I immediately connected those statements to the television show I’m watching, to the books I’m previewing, and to my life in general. I have m’self a bit of a quandary, you see. I’m at a point in my Back In The Day Cafe where I realize that there IS an end coming. And if I intend to be anything more than Gary Coleman, coasting for decades on “Whatchutalkin’bout, Willis?”, I need to have ANOTHER idea. More honestly, I need to have another GOOD idea.

The same goes for my Monday night wrestling. I can’t remember the last time I sat and *ENJOYED* a two-hour block of Monday night. Scratch that, actually, I can. I was the week after last year’s Royal Rumble (the match where EVERYBODY and their dog goes head to head, and the winner gets to fight the standing champion, for the uninformed), and Chris Benoit jumped from one wrestling show to the other, so he could challenge Triple H. That would have been the time when I felt that GOOD things were going to happen…

Two weeks later, my wife and I were both laid-off, my entire household income disappeared, and we found out that her maternity leave wasn’t going to be paid.

Shows how good MY instincts are.

Wrestling needs a good idea. King Cobra needs a good idea. Y’know who ELSE needs a good idea? The comic book field in general. Marvel Comics has essentially ignored the last 20 years of continuity to create the “Ultimate” comic book line, which, as much as I like some of it, is a transparent attempt to make their characters “Hollywood-ready,” and turn them into movies. DC Comics has returned Hal Jordan to his role as Green Lantern, after unceremoniously dumping him a decade ago for a “new blood” named Kyle who was quite obviously the writer’s wish-fulfillment alter ego.

“This milk is sour. I’ll try again TOMORROW!”

If the idea doesn’t work now, there’s a damn good chance that it’ll still suck tomorrow.

Hal Jordan is back! Everything you know is wrong!

Spider-Man has ORGANIC web-shooters! Everything you know is wrong!

THIS challenger might beat Triple H!! Everything you know is wrong!

The common denominator? An idea that has been tried before. The problem is NOT “jaded audiences,” as WWE might have you believe. It’s not “market fragmentation,” as Marvel seems to think. It’s not the “New Paradigm” that DC is desperately trying to capture…

It’s the ideas, stupid. It’s the ideas that have been done before. If you want to SHOCK me, put the belt on Batista. Then let Batista fight Randy Orton. Let him fight Chris Benoit, let him fight Edge. Keep Triple H away. Keep Shawn Michaels away. Sidetrack The Usual Suspects into their own issues, and show me an idea that isn’t just a new twist on an unworkable concept. Oh, and take all these “bodybuilder” muscular types who can barely bend their bulbous arms, and GIVE THEM A WRESTLING LESSON. There are WORLDS of moves out there beyond clothesline-powerslam-arbitrary finishing maneuver.

Take the Spider-Man that people read every month, and GIVE HIM SOMETHING NEW. Drop the “Mary Jane is pregnant/missing/kidnapped,” drop the “Aunt May has Cancer/Heart Disease/Rickets/The Heartbreak of Psoriasis,” drop the “Jonah Jameson hates Spider-Man” and show me some actual character development. This a 30 year old man who still lives with his de facto Mommy, even though he’s got a really attractive wife, who still works where he did when he was Sixteen, who wears the same clothes he wore as a high school kid. That’s not just lazy writing… It’s creepy.

Take Green Lantern, and stop the madness! Everything I knew CAN’T continue to be wrong, because for the last 15 years, *I HAVEN’T KNOWN A DAMNABLE THING!!!!* You HAVE to stop destroying the status quo, because YOU HAVEN’T GOT ONE ANYMORE!!! There comes a point where you have to admit that something has gone horribly awry, and have a NEW idea. Don’t just transpose one that’s worked before (F’r example, “Kyle Rayner, a 20ish tough guy loner has super powers…”) and don’t think that simply going back to a PREVIOUS iteration of the same themes is going to make a difference (i.e. “Hal Jordan is fearless and honest, and has super powers…”). Yes, the second is a better idea, subjectively, and one with longer legs in terms of story hooks, but really… Haven’t we seen them both ad nauseam?

Show me another Invincible. Idea: Mark Grayson, an interesting and human kid, has this life, and it’s perfectly recognizable to all of us, while being completely fantastic. Oh, and he has superpowers.

Show me another John Cena. Idea: A character whose gimmick grows organically out of the wrestler’s own interests, who can make the crowd like him AND hate him, who can actually move, who can talk, and who (when the Focus Groups leave him the hell alone) is pretty interesting.

Show me another JSA. Idea: 50 years of continuity, and an ENORMOUS cast, used in exciting, entertaining stories, rotated in and out so nobody gets overexposed, nobody gets stale & boring, nobody becomes another Wolverine, appearing 560 times per month in stories that will all be undone in a year or two when we decide that “EVERYTHING YOU KNOW IS WRONG!!! And this time, WE MEAN IT!”

In short, there are NO truly original ideas. Just give me a spin on one that belongs to YOU. I don’t expect you to NOT have influences, I don’t expect you to NOT reference that which has come before, I don’t expect you to NEVER stumble in your creative efforts… All I REALLY ask is that you TRY to give me something that ONLY you can do in the order you do it, and beware the problem of going back to the same well OVER AND OVER AND OVER.

Tune in Next week for “Journey to The Valley of The Sons of The Bad Motha Fucka Wallet Volume 2: All We Got Left Is Don Knotts and The Guy Who Played Devon on Knight Rider.”

Who Do We Blame?

February 16, 2005 will go down as one of the darkest days in NHL history. During a 1:00 P.M. press conference, Commissioner Gary Bettman officially cancelled the 2004-2005 NHL season. Bettman blamed it on the Player’s Union. The Player’s Union Chief Bob Goodenow blamed it on Bettman and the owners. Both sides knew what was coming, but there was no way to stop it.

The National Hockey League was in major economic trouble. The collective bargaining agreement would soon expire and the league and player’s union needed to draft a new one. The problem was neither parties could agree on anything.

The League pointed out to the players union that only 11 of the 30 NHL teams made a profit in the 2002-2003 season. The players were steadfast against a salary cap, and they felt they were being unjustly pressured into accepting such a limit. Goodenow was strong for the players and refused the salary caps.

One would think that a group of adults that are, “looking out for the best interest of the sport,” could have come up with some sort of solution; however, they didn’t reach one.

On September 15th, Commissioner Bettman announced the beginning of the lockout. Both sides continued to meet in hopes that they wouldn’t miss any of the season, scheduled to start on October 13th. The NHL season was supposed to start on October 13th, but it was a no go. With none of the games being played and no meaningful discussions taking place over the holiday season, Bettman had to take a stand. He announced that if no deal was reached by the 13th of February, he would cancel the season.

On September 15th, Commissioner Bettman announced the beginning of the lockout. Both sides continued to meet in hopes that they wouldn’t miss any of the season, scheduled to start on October 13th. The NHL season was supposed to start on October 13th, but it was a no go. With none of the games being played and no meaningful discussions taking place over the holiday season, Bettman had to take a stand. He announced that if no deal was reached by the 13th of February, he would cancel the season.

There was a sudden rush from both sides to reach an agreement. The Player’s Union agreed to accept a salary cap without the authorization of the players representatives. The owners offered a salary cap of $40 million at first and then, bumped it up to $42.5 million. The Player’s Union rejected the offer and counter proposed for $49 million. The League rejected it, and talks ended.

I firmly believe that both sides are to blame for the cancellation of hockey this season. The owners had the chance to save the season by raising the salary cap to $45 million. This might have met the players half way. They didn’t reach out enough to their players.

The players pull more of the blame for the way they handled this entire situation. The NHL ratings over the last season were probably more equivalent to the Arena Football League. They’ve been replaced by NASCAR in the “Big Four Sports” which includes the MLB, NFL, and NBA. The players were ridiculously greedy for a sport who’s TV ratings sometimes dip below the Weather Channel’s.

Some of the greats still active in the game are reaching the retirement age. Mark Messier (44), Mario Lemieux (39), Scott Stevens (39), Bret Hull (39), Dominik Hasek (40) and others may just hang up the skates after this and never play in the NHL again. I hope this is not the case and they all come back to play again next season.

Here are some things they could change about the NHL to make it more appealing to the fans when it returns:

1- Lower the price of tickets.
2- Remove zone defenses.
3- Make goalie gear more streamlined, allowing more scoring.
4- No tie games, have a shootout if it’s tied.

I feel the cancellation of the season could have been avoided if both sides would have acted more reasonably. Good luck to the NHL in getting the salary cap issue dealt with by the time the season is supposed to start next year. The commissioner says he does not want to play with replacement players, but the question remains: What will he do if it comes down to it?

I'm JUST Sayin'

#3: Who’d win?

Set ’em up, and knock ’em down, an’ set ’em up again. As George Carlin once said, “Life… is a series of dogs…”

Doesn’t mean a thing in this context, but what does, really? It’s #3 with a bullet, on the countdown of stuff that may or may not make sense, and this week, I’m going with a discussion I used to have many, many, MANY times, in different contexts, throughout my life.

I’m an old school comic book fan. By that I mean, I actually remember when the X-Men weren’t being published, and I *LIKED* The Disco Dazzler. In either case, in the comic book community, there are several old saws that erupt like pus-filled sores (Ewww.) every time two or more fans enter the room:

Is Doctor Doom scarred horribly, or is he deluded by a small scar to think he’s no longer perfect?

Were Storm and Jean Grey MORE than just roommates?

How exactly DOES Peter Parker stick to walls THROUGH his costume?

Is Dave Sim crazy, or just a perfectly normal man in an insane world?

Most of all, Who’d win, Superman or The Hulk? My answer is short and simple (as most of mine are): “Marvel and DC win.” Alternately, “Put five bucks on the guy with the heat vision…”

In any case, I often wonder what would happen if that sort of Comic Geek knowledge was applied to other venues, and thus do I give you:


Battle One: Girl Spies

Pre-teen battle machine head to head with the charismatic chameleon! Redhead to redhead, mistress of disguise to high-tech headbanger… There’s gonna be flying feet, kung fu chaos, but ABSOLUTELY NO pulling hair.

King Cobra’s Pick: Kim. For three reasons. One, Sydney is, to my mind, more cerebral, and Kim’s impulsiveness gives her the edge. Two, Kim wears pants when she’s “working”, giving her the edge in not falling off her sky-high heels in a micro-miniskirt. Three, Kim’s support team includes a naked mole rat. When in doubt, ALWAYS bet on the naked mole rat.

Battle Two: Science Fiction Icons

Ooh. The inevitable line drawing. The Trekkies versus the… what? Warsies? War-Mongers? Warriors? WAARRRriiiiioorrrRRS!!! Come out and PLAAAAYYYY!!! Mostly because I can, I’m going to make a ruling: This is going to be “Jedi” era Luke Skywalker versus Season Two Original Series Kirk. Two men in their mid-thirties, just on the edge of greatness. One the first harbinger of the (excuse the expression) Return of the Jedi, the other a man of action, in the flagship of his fleet, exploring Space: The Final Frontier.

King Cobra’s Pick: DRAW. This is NOT a copout. Truly, it would be an awesome spectacle, Skywalker’s physicality and mental powers versus Kirk’s strong will. It has been PROVEN that a human of sufficient willpower can shake or elude Jedi mind tricks, and Luke isn’t likely to go all Cuisinart on a man who quite obviously ISN’T evil (just a bit of a ham). With the resources of the Enterprise behind him, Kirk would obviously run about the landscape of the desert planet before getting his shirt ripped and improvising his own lightsabre out of the phaser crystals, some plant matter, and the spine of a jungle cat. Once Luke realizes that Kirk is just lost in time (obviously, since he’s from the 23rd Century, and Luke is from ‘long, long ago’), he’d help them rebuild the warp core and slingshot out of the system. NOT, however, before Spock and The Emperor have a battle on the psychic plane that destroys all memory of Jar Jar Binks and most of the prequels.

Battle Three: Cartoon Caretakers

Here’s a more obvious pick. Brock is really a latter day Race, with the sole exceptions being that Race is intelligent, capable, grown-up, and pretty damned cool. Oh, I guess I should mention that Race’s cartoon was actually entertaining.

King Cobra’s Pick: Two hits. Race hits Brock. Brock hits pavement. (As for Venture Brothers fans, remember my rule: One man’s trash is another man’s treasure. Corollary: When in doubt, I’m right.).

Battle Four: Goofy Guys Trapped In A World They Never Made.

Two genial losers, two red windbreakers, two ridiculous combatants. Neither is any good in a fight, but both are equally deluded about that.

King Cobra’s Pick: Eric, through the power of ganja. After Eric does his “Bruce Lee” moves and Fry threatens to open “a box of Whuppas O Roni, The REAL San Francisco Treat,” they end up breaking out Eric’s weed stash and watching “Happy Days” reruns together, as Bender and Hyde trade barbs in the background.

Final Battle: British Spy Masters.

The central symbol of MI5 versus the ultimate outsider. Imagine James waking up in The Village, his usefulness to crown and country finished. Imagine Six’s paranoia firing up when someone who is actually his equal, perhaps superior, in cleverness and resourcefulness appears out of the blue. Is it a trap? Could this be another endless recursive loop of prison?

King Cobra’s Pick: Number Six. But not at first. James outsmarts him, outfights him, perhaps even outgimmicks him, but NOBODY outmaneuvers the man in the cricket blazer. Six allows James to seemingly defeat him, then follow the same path Number Six himself followed, discovering the secrets of the Village, searching for answers. When Bond and Six next meet, then James agrees to join Number Six’s quest for Number One. And heaven help anyone who tries to deter them…

That doesn’t even touch on crossovers like Fox Mulder/J’Onn J’Onnz…

Or Gil Grissom and Velma Dinkley…

Or perhaps even Popinjay/Nightcrawler…

Pop! ~teleports Nightcrawler away~
BAMF! ~Nightcrawler teleports back~


In Roy We Trust Part 2

(Read part 1 here.)

“Tobacco Road” was set ablaze when Roy Williams was named North Carolina’s head coach on April 14th, 2003.

Just one week after leading the Kansas Jayhawks to the National Championship game, the former Tar Heel assistant returned to his alma mater to become the head honcho. Athletic Director, Dick Baddour finally got the man he wanted to coach his basketball program.

Every college basketball fan across the country knew the Tar Heels were approaching greatness with the sophomore class of the 2003-2004 squad. It was difficult for the young team to adapt to Williams’s coaching style of playing as a team. Carolina failed to win 20 games in 2003-2004 for the third straight season. Tar Heel fans knew the program was headed in the right direction.

In the spring of 2004, Coach Williams was heavily recruiting J. R. Smith and Marvin Williams. Both players were high school All-Americans and sought by many universities. Smith decided to take his skills to the NBA, and he was drafted with the eighteenth overall pick by the New Orleans Hornets. Marvin wanted to be a Tar Heel. He knew going into the season that he would not be a starter, but he would receive a significant amount of playing time. He would make the most out of his playing time this year.

To begin this season, point guard Raymond Felton was suspended by the NCAA for playing in a summer league tournament. The tournament had been sanctioned by the NCAA up until this past winter, and tournament organizers failed to inform everyone of the change.

UNC traveled to California to battle Santa Clara in the opening game of the season. The Broncos battled hard and the Felton-less Heels were upset. North Carolina then went on a 14-game winning streak, beating a talented Kentucky team and destroying a gutsy Maryland team by 35 points.

With what many sportswriters call “the most talented team in the country,” the Heels have five players averaging more than ten points per game. A very deep bench allows them to keep players fresh and allows the whole team to get involved in the game. Sean May is having another monstrous year and Rashad McCants is looking to pass the ball to his teammates before he shoots. Seniors Jawad Williams, Jackie Manuel and Melvin Scott are stepping up to be leaders on and off the court. Freshman superstar Marvin Williams, whom many believe would be a lottery pick if he entered the NBA draft after the year, is averaging double figures and is constantly making SportsCenter for either stepping out beyond the three point range and knocking one down or making a flashy dunk. Either way, Marvin deserves the Freshman of the Year award.

After a shocking loss to Duke last week, Carolina went up to UCONN and pulled out a tough victory over a good Husky team. Right now the Tar Heels are 24-3, and they are my pick to win this year’s NCAA Tournament.

Shut up and Listen: Repent, dear King, or go to Hell. *

Arkansas is a religious state. Okay, not the religious state like islamic countries… we’ve just got more than our fair share of pious folks walking around. And pious folks are raised believing that they are right, and everyone else is wrong.

As a youth growing up here, I was lucky enough to learn early on that chances are, I was wrong about everything. I was what they called a doubter. I doubted my religion, my goverment, my relationships, everything. I guess you could say it was a case of “paranoia, paranoia, everybody’s comin’ to get me” or something. Everything was a little hard to trust.

As a recovering Baptist, I tend to look at religion with a very speculative eye. I’m seeing a disturbing new trend: the posibility of strong religions beliefs leading some to take a political stance, and for those who take this stance to welcome socially counterproductive ideas as their own as a means to show contempt to the “godless”.

The liberal world-IE, the world where all people are considered equals, and no special priveledges are awarded to people based on class or race or gender, there is a strong move for equality. The ten commandments and prayer disappear from school and courtrooms, and it is seen as a blatant attack. So what? Sew buttons.

The Republican party, and therefore 75 of all Christians, were bought out long ago by companies that have sub-par environmental policies. So now, if you love Jesus, you support deforestation and global warming. And despite the impending death of everything on our planet, there are darker intonations. I have my own private qualms with the Republican party, so I won’t go into that. But is the liberal “academic” movement… much maligned by the religious… leading them to embrace hatred?

Today in my course on the Rhetoric and Theory of Composition, we were given a passage written by a student who had a lot to say about Black History month. The following is quoted as best I can remember.

“Black history month… makes me sick. All black people do is cry and whine about crap. They whine about racism, they are the racists. White people have done as much to get blacks their rights as black people, why isn’t there a white history month?”

(…where did the rights go to begin with, Sherlock?)

“…we should have WET. How come black people get their own station? How come rap is a black thing? I guess that means everything white people do is a white thing.”

We were asked how we would respond to getting such a paper from a student. Silence filled the room for about two minutes, until a few people offered some meager suggestions, including myself (tell him to back up his argument rather than using inflammatory comments). However, the professor, an outspoken woman who never shies away from anything, let us know what she had done: Nothing. Absolutely nothing.

The sad thing was that I know who wrote this. I recognized one of the jokes he made early on. He’s an aquaintance of mine. A fastidious conservative. God is his co-pilot.

We live in a culture where people scream at each other. “Lies and the Lying Liars who Tell Them” and “How to talk like a Liberal if you Have To” (or something like that) are both books that sold like hotcakes. Both showcase a blatant contempt for the other side, a rejection of all they stand for. Are people really lining themselves up like this in this country? If I support environmental regulations, to I necessarily HAVE to support abortion as well? If I oppose gay marriage, must I also support Social Security Privatization? In a free country, should I have to slice away what I believe to fit with the one that is least likely to screw me over?

Two of the biggest movies of the past year were “The Passion of the Christ” and “Farenheight 9/11”. Both were polarizing, both featured bloody violence. “Passion” easily outgrossed “9/11”, as should be expected. But anyone who’s seen Passion (or anyone for that matter) it can attest to the fact that it’s a more than a little strange to watch a man be murdered over two hours. To paraphrase Marv, “I just know it’s pretty wierd to beat people.”

Some Christians harbor a contempt for other religions, based on one of the early commandments, and it comes out in their sermons. “If you’re a winner or a sinner, a nudist or a Buddhist,” was the refraim in the last sermon I went to, and every time it was spoken, a low, reptilian chuckle ran through the crowd. Equating a widely held belief that stresses deep thought with walking around in the nude? How respectful. Then again, when a religion doesn’t have enough respect for its base teachings (love thy neighbor, peace) to follow them, it can’t really be expected to coexist with anything else.

We really must seperate religious ideology from politics. We’ve seen, several times in our waking lives (and even in Sin City) that people who tout their faith are rarely as faithful as they’d have people believe, and rarely have the best intentions in the forefront of their minds.

But at the same time, Liberal all-inclusiveness and white male bashing have driven people to fall to the feet of malicious liars, and follow them to the ends of the earth, with contempt and outrage burning in their hearts. Liberals, no less militaristic, have met them across a national bloodpool, and we have a country almost evenly split in two, or from a red-blue point of view, a hemorage of outrage held in check by three tattered strips clingin to the outer edges.

Opinion is formed in the early stages of life. It is my concern that Christians who accept the George W. Bush mindset as the mindset of Jesus Christ will teach their children to reject other cultures and existentialism, and instead lead them to lives of piety and quiet labor. At the same time, I fear a world full of P.C. hippie police, forcing me to celebrate Kwanzaa.

Faith and Paranioa dictate everything we do. Both sides of this country are caught in a game of one-upsmanship. We are more evenly divided than we were in the age of the Civil War. So what can be done? How can academics learn to preach their message in a way that does not outrage the faithful? How can the faithful learn not to snap at the hand that tries to feed them new ways of thinking and insight?

I don’t know the answer, but I bet it’s most… most interesting.
* Name the quote.