Archive - Apr 2011

April 26th


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Memo to The Discovery Channel, Ticketmaster, and Bill Donahue: YOU ARE DUMB.

Time to go all Voltron with the column concepts. Let's take my recent attempts to make Tuesday a relatively politics-free zone, with Spastic Topic Monkey Friday's mix of short items not worthy of a column all to themselves. I guess that makes it SPASTIC TOPIC RELATIVELY APOLITICAL TUESDAY!

The Discovery Channel, by which I don't mean the actual channel, but the huge multichannel cable empire, has unveiled a new channel called "Velocity". It's for rich, middle-aged white dudes. I wish I were making this up.

It's replacing Discovery HD Theater, which makes a lot more sense than you'd think. See, five or six years ago, Discovery HD Theater was one of like four cable channels offered in HD. So rich people with big-ass flat-panel HDTVs used that channel to show off really boring high-def footage of waterfalls and sunsets to impress their friends.*

But now you can watch fucking QVC in 1080p, and you can't even buy SDTVs anymore. So the bloom is off the rose. We're all used to HDTV. If rich white people want to show off now, they need a channel showing fast cars, big houses, and expensive gadgets, so they can run it on a constant loop while telling their visitors they have one of those on order.

So hey, if you were watching SpikeTV eight years ago and have finally turned that MBA into a lucrative job fucking people over for money, Discovery wants a piece of your demo! They put it differently than I do, of course. They say you're "pressed for time, they’re achievers, they work hard and play hard", which tells me one thing. Discovery executives are clearly angling for a new show called Mythreinforcers.

And speaking of fucking people over for money, Ticketmaster!

Blackwater may have them beat out for sheer scope, but in the field of raw, naked capitalistic greed making everyone miserable while making assholes rich, there is no greater pioneer than Ticketmaster. You know one sentence that has never been uttered sincerely in the history of the human species? "Oh, thank God I'm able to get these concert tickets through Ticketmaster." It's a modern virtual monopoly. I'm pretty sure banks looked to Ticketmaster for tips on how to rake in money through ridiculous fees.

And now they've introduced something called "dynamic pricing". In other words, the price for your ticket isn't a flat rate, it goes up the higher the demand is for the seat. Ticketmaster claims the change will help fight against scalpers, and this is true. It will help Ticketmaster fight against scalpers for revenue and market share. Part of me would like to think that this would be a step too far, and everyone would just stop buying concert tickets through Ticketmaster, but I know better, because there are children, and there are parents, and there are concerts starring the idols of those children, and parents rich enough to just pay whatever the price is to shut the kids up so they can go back and watch Velocity in peace.

So apparently Lady Gaga was supposed to or did release a video for a song called "Judas", a video containing a mix of religious iconography and pop sexuality, on Easter. Oh, and she's still not ripping off Madonna, either. Anyway, she did it to basically tweak the nipples of the Catholic League's Bill Donahue, and just like in his bedroom back home, Bill Donahue can't have his nipples tweaked by a pan-sexual corseted individual without emitting a long, incoherent moan. Which in this case he did on Fox News, America's #1 porn channel for wannabe martyrs.

"You can’t even show a depiction of Muhammad on TV, in the newspapers, and whatnot. And I’m not out there to say let’s have equality by dumping on the Muslims. I’m simply saying why does it take fear as a motivational ethic on the part of some people to respect Muslim rights? Do they want Catholics to pick up a machete in order for them to get their rights?"

First of all, not portraying Mohammed and not making fun of Catholics has nothing to do with "rights". Second, Catholics don't actually have a superstitious stricture against pictures of their prophets. For fuck's sake, you people will flock to a picture of the Virgin Mary if you think dried hobo pee in an underpass has formed itself into her image. It's the exact opposite of how Muslims feel about pictures of Mohammed. I don't think we need to pander to either one, but you don't get to pretend they're equal.

Also, I would pay good money to see Bill Donahue and a bunch of his ancient Catholic brethren chasing Lady Gaga down the street with machetes. First because it would be hilarious, and second because she'd outrun them even in her ridiculous heels, which would be even more hilarious. DO IT. I'm sure you can find a place that sells machetes if you Google hard enough.

*Full disclosure. I was not rich and didn't have a big flat-panel HDTV, but I did use this channel to show off the refurbished 30" tube HDTV I'd gotten a really good deal on. The waterfalls were pretty.