Tag Archives: South Park

“Zero Dark Thirty” is fabulous, and shows torture doesn’t really work. An awesome “South Park” correction. And an incredible high school basketball shot


I saw “Zero Dark Thirty” on Sunday.

Never have I been in a quieter movie theater. Every single person watching it was pretty much silent throughout the 2 1/2 hour running time, and when it was over, most of us stood up slowly, still wrapped up in Katherine Bigelow’s extraordinary film.

You’ve probably heard a lot about this movie, and much of it from people who haven’t even seen it. So let me dispel a few myths you might have, before I urge to definitely see it:

— It’s not a documentary, and should not be viewed as one. Yes, it’s based on real events, and real scenes of interrogation and torture as the CIA spent eight years hunting for Osama bin Laden. But so many people have politicized it and searched for deeper meaning and a point of view. It’s a movie, people.
— Contrary to what you may have heard, it does not in any way endorse torture as the reason Osama was eventually found. Torture was shown to not work in this movie, clearly. This is NOT a pro-torture movie. Without giving too much away, I frankly cannot understand how so many reviewers seem to see “ZDT” as an endorsement of torture’s effectiveness.
— If you’re squeamish about seeing it because of the torture scenes, not to worry. They’re brief and contained to the first half-hour of the film, and while they’re disturbing, they are vital to the plot and the reality of what went on.
— The final 45 minutes, when the raid on bin Laden’s compound in Pakistan is shown, through the grainy color of green night-vision goggles, is as thrilling as any action scene you will watch. Just tremendous acting and directing.

I know a lot of people still don’t think America tortured possible terrorists, who think “waterboarding” and “enhanced interrogation” were necessary in the war on terror. I vehemently disagree with those people, and I defy them to watch “Zero Dark Thirty” and not be faced with the reality that the U.S. committed terrible war crimes, and that all that torture didn’t really accomplish much, except stain our reputation in the world.

See “Zero Dark Thirty.” It’s an important, gripping film that doesn’t shy away from scary truths about who we are.


**I’m not a big “South Park” fan; watched a few episodes the first season, thought it was mildly funny, and even though a ton of smart people I know swear by the show, it’s just never been for me.

I am, however as you know, a huge fan of entertaining newspaper corrections, and this one, from a David Carr story in the New York Times, absolutely cracked me up.
Here goes:

“An earlier version of this column misstated a plot point in “South Park.” While the character Kenny was once killed in every episode, that is no longer the case. The earlier version also misstated the circumstances of his repeated deaths. While he has met his fate in a variety of ways over the years, he was not routinely “ritually sacrificed.”

Well, glad we cleared THAT up.

**Finally, check this out: Bracken Barga, a 5-foot-8 guard from Monroe Central (Ind.) High School, did something pretty amazing the other night in a high school basketball game. It doesn’t look possible, but it’s real and has been verified by people at the game.

Way to go, kid. And can you teach me how you did that?

The evil of censorship. And a tribute to Rod Belding of “Saved by the Bell.”

As a writer, and as a liberal, I take censorship pretty seriously.

The fact that our freedom of speech and freedom of the press are sometimes compromised, and that forces act to restrict free expression, pisses me off.

This weekend I learned about censorship in two very different cases, but both

made me angry.

The first was this Lane Bryant ad being censored. Lane Bryant, a women’s clothing store for plus-size females, shot a commercial with one of their models in her bra and panties. No big deal, right? Half of the commercials on TV show women in that “outfit.”

But ABC refused to air it without edits, as did Fox. Apparently they thought it was too racy. I’m not buying it; I think they didn’t want a woman who didn’t weigh nine pounds wearing lingerie on TV. Crazy and wrong.

Here’s the ad, tell me is it any worse than the crap Abercrombie and Fitch, and Victoria’s Secret, put out?

**Then there’s the “South Park” Muhammad controversy. I’m not a big fan of “South Park,” though a few people in my life who have almost nothing in common all swear it’s the funniest thing on TV. One of South Park’s themes is to make fun of every sacred cow, be it religious, societal, or historical.

So apparently they’ve made fun of Muhammad a few times now, without too much controversy. But then they shot an episode that Comedy Central, and Muslim groups in the U.S., thought went too far. An Islamist group has basically threatened that Trey Parker and Matt Stone, the show’s creators, will be killed, and Comedy Central severely censored the episode in question.

Why is it that Muhammad is the one figure that absolutely cannot be satirized, even here in America? And Comedy Central, who knows what it has in “South Park,” decides now that certain mentions and commentary about Muhammad are off-limits.

Very disappointing for a network that hosts Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert. Andrew Sullivan, as usual, has a great take on this controversy here.

**OK, this cracked me up tremendously. Remember the “Saved by the Bell” episode with Mr. Belding’s brother, Rod? Of course you do.

Well, here’s a kick-ass tribute to a great TV character who was only in one episode.

“South Park” nails it again, and the funniest hockey celebration ever

A couple of thoughts, and a couple of great videos for a lazy Sunday in November, as I prepare to watch my New York Jets get pummeled by the Patriots:

First, let me state right upfront I’ve never been a big “South Park” guy. I know, I know, everyone says it’s the greatest thing ever, and I admit that the few times I’ve watched it I’ve laughed. But I just never got into the show, though I acknowledge how wickedly clever Matt Parker and Trey Stone are.

This, however, absolutely slayed me. It’s Cartman, singing a song about … well, just listen. Brilliant stuff.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

**I have absolutely no faith that the Jets will beat the Pats today. As I said in an email to my friend, excellent writer, Patriots fan and FOWWOS (Friend of Wide World of Stuff; yeah, that acronym needs some work) Ali Taber this week, I figure either New England will be so mad about everyone criticizing Coach Hoodie’s strategy at the end of the Colts game that they’ll come out and pulverize the Jets, or the Pats will still be a little dazed and my Gang Green will have a chance.

It would be just like the Jets to win today and then lose three in a row.

**This is totally random, but has anyone else noticed that tubs of cream cheese in the fridge don’t go bad nearly as fast as they used to? This is definitely a phenomenon worth exploring. I had some Philly cream cheese today that I think I bought in, like, September, and it was still good. I seem to remember cream cheese in the past always would go bad after like a week.

**Finally, 30 seconds of comic hilarity. A player in the Swedish hockey league, Henrik Andersen, got really excited after scoring his first goal of the season. So excited that, well … just watch.