Posts tagged ‘SNL’

We Love Drone Strikes

Kevin Drum points to a poll showing that 2/3 of Americans, and a majority of liberal Democrats, support drone strikes, even if the targets are Americans.  Like me, he finds these numbers disturbing, though in a later post he hypothesizes that people may mean they like drones in comparison to using and risking live troops, rather than simply supporting willy nilly drone strikes per se.

It is odd that the children of the sixties -- who grew up protesting push button war and American pilots who bombed Cambodians with impunity and were home for dinner -- now seem to be OK with drone attacks, even on Americans.  (I am reminded of the Al Franken skit on SNL where he editorializes that now that he has assets to protect and is older, he has changed his mind and supports the draft).  While I am happy with the idea of technologies that keep American soldiers safer, I am not happy with something that makes it easier for the President to, without accountability and often in secret, use force against, well, whatever target catches his whim.

Consider drones from the receiving end.  For a Pakistani, American drones resemble nothing so much as alien invaders from a Niven/Pournelle novel dropping meteors on cities.  The Americans might as well be Zeus on Mt Olympus hurling thunderbolts at them for all that they can fight back or retaliate.   It's a lot of responsibility to play God -- and there has been no one in either party over the last several decades I would trust to do it.

Breakthrough

It appears that the unprecedented embargo on mocking the President is finally coming to an end after 10 long months.  Comedians may finally have decided it is OK to make fun of this President like they have all the others.  To this end, this is pretty funny from SNL.

The Older I Get...

It used to be said that it was the young who distrusted police and authority, while as people aged they became more conservative and comfortable with authority and the police, ostensibly because they had more wealth and position to protect.  Al Franken had a sketch on SNL where he explicitly poked fun at this, saying something like "when I was young, I opposed the draft, but now that I am over draft age, I support the draft to protect me, Al Franken... etc. etc."

Oddly enough, I have had exactly the opposite progression.  In high school I was a police-loving, authority trusting, border-closing little conservative, cheering on Clint Eastwood and Charles Bronson in 1970's movies where loan heroes fight against the degradation of police departments by civil libertarian pinko bleeding hearts.

The older I get, and the more experience I gain, the less I trust any authority and in particular the less I trust police officers who are given the power to use force and the authority to cover up its misuse.  Yet another good example.  So Dirty Harry and Death Wish have been replaced in my favorites list by the Wire.

NFL Playoffs, Baby

The NFL playoffs are absolutely my favorites sporting event of the year.  So of course I have to get on an airplane Sunday afternoon to get to a Monday morning meeting.  To get in the spirit, here is one of my favorite NFL spoofs, Peyton Mannings United Way commercial on SNL:

Dan Rather Replacement

Apparently, CBS is still mulling over candidates to replace Dan Rather.  Apparently, they have reduced the candidates of a "short list" of the people who might improve ratings over those garnered by Rather.  Unfortunately, this criteria has limited the list to ... just about everybody.  While this and other articles bandy about candidates, I still think my list was pretty good:

Improve ratings approach #1:  Finally get rid of the pretense that anchors are journalists rather than pretty talking heads.  Hire Nicolette Sheridan, or maybe Terri Hatcher.  Or, if you feel CBS News deserves more gravitas, in the Murrow tradition, how about Meryl Streep?

Improve ratings approach #2:  Go with comedy.  Bring in David Letterman from the Late Show to anchor the evening news.  "Tonight, we start with the growing UN oil for food scandal.  Uma - Anann.  Anann - Uma."  Or, if you want to segment the market differently, how about Tim Allen and the CBS News for Guys.  Or, if CBS wants to keep hitting the older demographic - what about Chevy Chase - certainly he already has anchor experience from SNL.

Improving Credibility Choice:  No one in the MSM really has much credibility left after the last election, but there is one man who would bring instant credibility to CBS News -- Bob Costas.  CBS should hire him away from NBC, like they did with Letterman.  Make him the evening news anchor.  Heck, if Bryant Gumbell can make the transition to the news division, certainly Costas can.

Become the acknowledged liberal counterpoint to Fox:  Hire Bill Clinton as anchor.  Nothing would generate more buzz than that hire, and he is at loose ends anyway (and think about all those wonderful business trips away from home...)  If Bill is not available, try James Carville.  I might even have to watch that.

Let the public decide:  Forget making a decision, and just create a new reality show like ESPN's Dream Job to choose the next anchor.  Each week the 12 finalists can be given a new task.  In week one, they have to pick up incriminating evidence about the President at a rodeo.  In week 2, they have to forge a believable set of documents from the early 70's, and survive criticism from about 10,000 bloggers.  They can kick one off the island each week based on the viewers votes.

CBS, and in fact all the network news programs, have a problem which caused me to rename them from the Tiffany network to "the Buick network":  Their median age news viewer was born while Hitler still ruled Germany.  As I wrote in that article,

It turns out that the network news programs have exactly the same problem, though none of them profess to be worried, despite the fact that the networks are losing share to competitors at a much faster clip than are US auto makers.  Journalism.org reports that the median age of an ABC News viewer is about 59, of an NBC News viewer is 60 and of a CBS News viewer is over 61.  Everyone who is younger has switched to cable, switched to the Internet, or switched off altogether.

More here.

Help Choose Dan Rather's Replacement!

Dan Rather will be leaving his anchor position at CBS Evening News.  I haven't really gloated about this online, despite my dislike for what CBS News has become, mainly because I don't see any evidence that CBS is really going to fix anything.  I mean, one clue that they are not really serious about change is that Dan Rather will be refocusing his time on 60 Minutes, the very forum that caused many of his most recent troubles in the first place.

Anyway, who should replace Dan?  My gut feel is that they will choose some stiff who has put in his time for decades at CBS, but I don't think that will do much to improve ratings.  What would?  How about these suggestions:

Improve ratings approach #1:  Finally get rid of the pretense that anchors are journalists rather than pretty talking heads.  Hire Nicollette Sheridan, or maybe Terri Hatcher.  Or, if you feel CBS News deserves more gravitas, in the Murrow tradition, how about Meryl Streep?

Improve ratings approach #2:  Go with comedy.  Bring in David Letterman from the Late Show to anchor the evening news.  "Tonight, we start with the growing UN oil for food scandal.  Uma - Anann.  Anann - Uma."  Or, if you want to segment the market differently, how about Tim Allen and the CBS News for Guys.  Or, if CBS wants to keep hitting the older demographic - what about Chevy Chase - certainly he already has anchor experience from SNL.

Improving Credibility Choice:  No one in the MSM really has much credibility left after the last election, but there is one man who would bring instant credibility to CBS News -- Bob Costas.  CBS should hire him away from NBC, like they did with Letterman.  Make him the evening news anchor.  Heck, if Bryant Gumbell can make the transition to the news division, certainly Costas can.

Become the acknowledged liberal counterpoint to Fox:  Hire Bill Clinton as anchor.  Nothing would generate more buzz than that hire, and he is at loose ends anyway (and think about all those wonderful business trips away from home...)  If Bill is not available, try James Carville.  I might even have to watch that.

Let the public decide:  Forget making a decision, and just create a new reality show like ESPN's Dream Job to choose the next anchor.  Each week the 12 finalists can be given a new task.  In week one, they have to pick up incriminating evidence about the President at a rodeo.  In week 2, they have to forge a believable set of documents from the early 70's, and survive criticism from about 10,000 bloggers.  They can kick one off the island each week based on the viewers votes.

Leave your own ideas in the comments section!

UPDATE #1

I want to expand on the idea in the comment below.  I think it would be a great idea to just run "best of" news broadcasts when Dan is out, like they did during Carson's frequent nights off late in his tenure.  The interesting part would be to see if anyone noticed.

UPDATE #2

Welcome Carnival of the Vanities.  If your missed our Carnival of the Capitalists posts on reverse auctions and why Priceline really succeeded, see here.  Or just browse around our most recent posts hereAnd, don't forget to vote in the 2004 Weblog Awards!

UPDATE #3

For a more serious handicapping of replacements, check out Rathergate.com and at RatherBiased.