Daily Woof

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Location: Brooklyn, New York, United States

Monday, January 09, 2006

A Senator And His Dog

Thanks to Michelle Malkin, I now know that Ted Kennedy's dog is named "Splash."

There's a scene at the end of Raging Bull where Jake La Motta, played by Robert DeNiro, unable to raise enough money to bribe his way out of jail for contributing to the delinquency of a minor, bangs his head against the cement wall of his cell multiple times. He then starts punching the wall with his bare fists, over and over until the pain finally overwhelms him. Crying out "OWWWWWW!" like a little kid, he collapses onto his bunk and starts sobbing. "I'm not an animal," he cries pathetically. "I'm not that bad." However, having spent two hours in his company observing him behaving like an animal and acting that bad, the viewer, however sympathetic, must disagree with him.

I can't help but think of this when I learn that Ted Kennedy has a dog named Splash. It's bizarrely inappropriate, akin to Bill Clinton naming his cat "Neil" or, to be fair, Laura Bush naming her dog "Crash." It's just wrong, and it's hard to understand why this man would ever do this.

Which brings me back to Jack La Motta. Psychologists will talk about acting out wherein people spend most of their lives reenacting the traumas of their childhood or youth throughout their adult lives by manipulating people and circumstances. This is why many people will experience the same types of bad relationships over and over and over, for example.

What does this have to do with Senator Kennedy? Well, another form of acting out involves people who feel guilt, either subconsciously or overtly, manipulating circumstances and people so as to bring about their own punishments. And this is the only reason I can think of why Ted Kennedy would name the dog Splash. Deep down, he must be yearning for someone to point out the obvious: that's it's grotesque for the only survivor of the Chappaquiddick incident to be naming a dog Splash, given the controversy over the Senator's behavior that night.

Senator? Get to a therapist, why don't you? It's unseemly to act this out in front of the whole world. "Splash?" Good lord! On the other hand, feel free to pass on the "Neil" suggestion to Bill Clinton the next time you run into him at Scores.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

TRIO Channel: How Did I Miss This?

On New Year's Eve, I discovered the cable network TRIO approximately four hours before it ceased to exist. I'm sorry for that now, because I really enjoyed the several hours of programming I watched. I'm not usually interested in show business perfidy, but either this stuff was more substantial than usual or I was in the right frame of mind to appreciate it.

I became vaguely aware of TRIO a few years ago, although Wikipedia suggests that it was in existence as many as six years ago, and was limited to the prospect that TRIO would be showing critically acclaimed but short-lived television series under the banner "Brilliant But Cancelled" and promised repeats of cult favorites that would otherwise likely never be heard from again, shows like Cop Rock, the failed TV series where everybody sang and danced, and my personal favorite failed series, Cupid, starring Jeremy Piven, who, pre-Entourage, always struck me as an utter creep, the sort of guy who'd think nothing of belitting you in front of your wife, as Cupid, the Roman god of erotic love, stranded powerless on earth in human form until he can unite 100 couples in love. At 22 episodes per year, this should have allowed Cupid a good five seasons without need for a reboot, but the audience never caught on. Plus, it was on ABC, which is notorious for cancelling shows with a ruthlessness not seen since Brad ditched Jennifer for Angelina.

Anyway, Brilliant But Cancelled also branched out into a documentary series examining the circumstances behind failed television shows, and that was interesting, although it's hard to tell whether something deserves the "brilliant" moniker if it never actually got made, as was the case in an episode highlighting television pilots that never actually made it to series in spite of their purported brilliance. To be fair, some of them did sound promising, including a series about a woman who takes in a child despite her obvious lack of fitness for the role of mother. I think it was intended to be a Gilmore girlsian dramedy type program in which the mom would overcome lots of obstacles and become a better person whilst our hearts warmed enough to incubate baby chicks. You know, just like everybody would. *Cough*

On a slight tangent, I must confess being tickled by the irregular capitalization in Gilmore girls. It almost looks like a mistake, and that would be kind of charming, but instead it's a conscious choice, and that elevates it to the much vaunted realm of eccentric, which is appropriate for a show of its ilk. I figure that mixed case is a choice that either charms you or drives you nuts, much like the show itself. Of course, there are bound to be people who haven't noticed or simply wouldn't care either way, but there's little point in angsting over those souless wretches. How could you not have a response?

Anyway, I've deviated from my topic, which is TRIO and how much I enjoyed their New Year's Eve programming. Following the Brilliant but Cancelled documentaries, they ran a series of documentaries about comedy. During a program about comedy and race, they showed a couple of clips from Amos and Andy, and it was painful. They showed a particular scene depicting the two buffoonish main characters, both black, trying to get their stalled makeshift taxicab running whilst a crowd of onlookers and a particularly hostile policeman gawked at them. What was both amazing and appalling was the high level of menace. Watching the crowd observe them like animals, I kept waiting for these two amiable seeming guys to get lynched, and this was the 1950s. Sometimes it's easy to forget about how bad things were for black people in America for so long after the Civil War, how deeply entrenched the bigotry was. I know, I know, I should be saying is rather than was, but I think that would be a pretty ignorant dismissal of the progress that has been made, even if there are still too many people belaboring under outdated prejudices.

Anyway, back to the scene in qusetion. The punchline, which caused my jaw to hit the floor, was that neither gentleman had bothered to turn the ignition key, and it took a disgusted, sneering white cop to do the deed for them. It was as condescending as a Moonbat on talk radio, and it's hard to believe that anyone could have approved of such blatant racism a mere fifty years ago.

After showing the Amos and Andy clips, the show went forward in time to explore the careers of guys like Richard Pryor, Dave Chappelle, and Redd Foxx. As far as Pryor and Chappelle, there were no surprises for me, but I was flabbergasted to see the clips of Foxx, nattily bearded with a turtleneck sweater and sounding like William F. Buckley, in what I presumed was some sort of Greenwich Village speakeasy. Where else would you find smoke and an exposed brick wall, right? I had no idea that Fred Sanford could sound snobbish, but he did! His material was puerile, but still: Fred Sanford in a turtleneck sounding erudite. How puerile? He told a joke "Why is 77 better than 69? Because you get 8 more." Get it? It's dirty, sure, but it's also the kind of gag a ten year old gets laughs with, even though he probably doesn't understand why. Although that might not be true anymore. When I was ten, sure, but nowadays? I imagine most ten year olds are getting more action than I am. So Foxx's act was immature and raunchy, even if his appearance suggested something out of Dick Cavett, and both were miles away from Sanford and Son. He must have been a much better actor than I ever knew, whichever approach was closer to the real him.

Anyway, that was TRIO. I'm sorry I never appreciated it when it was around, and I intend to take a closer look at the website in the weeks to come to see if it amounts to anything.