Blogs > In The Mix

Reporter Shaun Byron and Video Editor Andrew DuPont sound-off on whatever is on their minds, from politics to pop-culture, from movies to the main stream media. Local, national, world-wide? If it's in the media mix, these two are sure to have an opinion on it.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Americans are stupid... least, that's what Bill Maher had to say on CNN two days ago. An oh how the outrage poured in. Even before the interview was over, Wolf Blitzer was asking Maher is he wanted to further clarify such a blanket statement after telling him viewers were already sending in angry e-mails. It was clear Maher was not going to back down from his original statement, but "clarified" by saying (I'm paraphrasing) some Americans are very bright, but most are not.

See for yourself:

I think people's knee-jerk reactions to Maher's words are very telling. I wasn't offended by him, were you?

Maher is a comedian, and one who has made a career out of making brash statements about people and politics. This is par for the course for him, I don't see why people were shocked to hear this sort of comment from him.

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Sunday, July 26, 2009

Intolerance in a small Florida town

For my final In the Mix blog, I'm going to be examining an outrageous example of guilt by association.
In Fort Myers Beach, Fla., former Town Manager Scott Janke was fired last week after city officials discovered his wife - Anabela Mota a.k.a. Jazella Moore - was an adult film star.
I think as little of porn stars as a typical American, but I think even less of these city officials.
Disapprove of a person's wife's choices all you want, but the city's decisions were not the ways to act on that disapproval.
Here are a couple reasons why not:
First, because city council fired Janke without cause, they will now have to pay him six months worth of severance pay and benefits. That will amount to about $50,000, a huge amount of money for a town of roughly 6,500 residents, especially during this economic downturn.
Second - and most importantly - I find cowardice disgusting, and all these officials are cowards. They are cowards for punishing a man for the actions of his wife. Though most will probably find her actions objectionable, they were completely legal (as far as I know) and okay with Janke.
If the officials could not have convinced Mota to end her adult entertainment career without attacking Janke, they should have been adults and moved on.
Despite the unfortunate turn of events for this couple, I take some consolation in the fact that these officials have been exposed for the intolerant idiots that they are.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Hamas making films in addition to war

Hamas, Palestine's most prominent Islamic political organization/military force, has recently produced its first feature film and I couldn't care less.
"Emad Akel" is an action movie about the titular commander of the Hamas military wing who was killed in 1993. He was Israel's #1 most wanted man after his suspected killings of 11 Israeli soldiers, an Israeli civilian and four Palestinian informers. An incendiary subject, to be sure.
So why don't I - a patriotic American - feel threatened by this development?
Mainly because I've seen Hamas-produced material before and it's all been crap.
There are numerous clips from Hamas-produced TV shows on YouTube. The most vivid example of one that comes to mind features a Palestinian Mickey Mouse lookalike being murdered by a greedy Israeli.
Sounds terribly offensive, and it would have been if I could talk it seriously, but the production values - from acting to screenplay to you-name-it - were so damn pathetic.
Hamas has already won the hearts and minds of many average Palestinians with its propaganda. If the quality of "Emad Akel" and other "Hamaswood" is on par with its past TV productions, I don't think we'll have to worry about the organization getting any new recognition from Palestinian intelligentsia or foreign film industries.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Glenn Beck and Civil Political Discussion

It's disturbing that this passes for political discussion in our current political climate. Things get interesting about 2:30 minutes in.

Why does anybody take this guy seriously?

Well, at least we can have some fun with it.
Beck's flip-out is too perfect to not be used as a ringtone.


Sunday, July 12, 2009

I reckon this should be interesting, I reckon

Until recently, it seemed that science fiction was the only genre in which legendary actor John Wayne had not tried his gun-hand. However, a couple news organizations have recently reported that his unseen final sci-fi western movie - "Thunder Riders of the Golden West" - will hit the DVD shelves soon.
"Thunder Riders," about truck drivers on a treasure hunt in an atomic bomb test site, features footage of Wayne shot before his final performance in 1976's "The Shootist."
I'm not against raising artists from the dead. Laurence Olivier's posthumous performance in "Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow" helped transport me to the time period in which that movie took place. The remixing of The Notorious B.I.G.'s music led to an exhilarating collaboration with Eminem in the song "Dead Wrong" several years after the rapper's death.
"Thunder Riders" could fulfill my desire to see one of cinema's most charismatic personalities dispensing frontier justice a la sci-fi. Maybe we'll get to see The Duke repel cattle rustlers with a phaser blaster or hold off wild Comanches attacking a flying saucer-wagon train.
Probably not, though.
But "Thunder Riders" should prove to be an interesting look into a part of Wayne's repertoire that so far only a handful of people have seen.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Commercial Teardown: Coca-Cola

I hate bad commercials. I'm sure a lot of people do. With all the different ways we're bombarded with advertising nowadays, it's easy to ignore a lot of it as it gets blurred together in background noise. But occasionally one will stand out to me, not because it makes me want to buy whatever product it's selling, but because for one reason or another its absurdity didn't stop it from being published. When I hear/see one of these ads, I can't help but think "How can something like this get made without a single person saying 'hey this seems like a bad idea' in a focus group or meeting?"

The latest one I've heard is a radio ad for Coca-Cola. The ad features a man typing a letter which he is reading aloud as he goes. Right from the first line, the commercial made me groan. "Dear inventor of Coca-Cola... are you like a taste guru or something?"

He goes on to list reasons he loves Coke and stuff it goes well with... all the while flattering the nameless inventor with questions about how brilliant he is.

So we're supposed to believe this guy is actually planning to send this letter or e-mail to someone because he genuinely wants to know if the inventor of coca-cola is some kind of taste guru, but he isn't smart enough to use the computer he is typing on to do a quick Google search. You'd think if someone is taking the time to write fan mail fawning over someone, they'd bother to learn their name.

Along the way he probably would have learned that John Pemberton, the inventor of Coca-Cola, died 121 years ago, so he probably doesn't have an e-mail address. He didn't design Coca-Cola to go well with burgers and ice cream either, he made an alcoholic drink for medicinal purposes the previous year (1886) and then prohibition forced him to change the formula. Rather than market Coca-Cola as something that goes great with all kinds of food, the drink was sold as a cure for morphine addiction, something Pemberton himself was supposedly struggling with.

The ad seems harmless enough, and really it is, but it's annoying to see Coca-Cola create an ad where a nameless person puts a ridiculously flattering spin on Coke's origins while at the same time ignoring details like the inventor's name. Believe me I'm not going to lose sleep over these types of ads, but everyone has their pet peeves and I enjoy venting about mine.


Sunday, July 5, 2009

Air New Zealand receives new paint job

"Shock and awe" is a term often used while discussing military tactics, but it may now apply to new methods used by Air New Zealand.
The national carrier has created advertisements and safety videos for its airplanes featuring pilots and cabin crew dressed only in body paint. The actors' most cherished body parts are not shown thanks to carefully chosen camera angles.
Apparently this has been going on for a while, but much of the Western world - myself included - has only recently gotten wind of it.
There are a couple things about this that concern me.
First, although these may make good advertisements, the naked flight stewards may be too distracting for the passengers to pay attention to the safety videos, thereby making them pointless.
Secondly, what about the children? Yes, I know a little nudity can be found in an occasional PG-rated movie, but that's five seconds in a 90-minute film. All these videos are probably 30 seconds long, with about 75% of the footage being risqué. Sure, parents can always cover their children's eyes, but what about those who've never heard of these new videos and don't know what to expect. Young Lamar or Susie may learn about the facts of life a little earlier than their parents intended.
In conclusion, here's a terrible - yet fitting - pun I found on
"What happened when a ship carrying red paint collided with a ship carrying blue paint?
Both crews were marooned."