You've got to be taught to hate and fear...

››› ››› ERIC ALTERMAN

The New York Times story on CNN's investment in Glenn Beck, here, contains this quote from him: "[W]hat I feel like saying is, 'Sir, prove to me that you are not working with our enemies." But not this one: if "Muslims and Arabs" don't "act now" by "step[ping] to the plate" to condemn terrorism, they "will be looking through a razor wire fence at the West." Or this one: "Muslims who have sat on your frickin' hands the whole time" rather than "lining up to shoot the bad Muslims in the head" will face dire consequences.

The network's head calls this "passion and point of view." I call it not merely racism, but a particularly brutal and dangerous form of racism -- to say nothing of deeply stupid and ignorant. I mean, my God, it comes pretty close to Coulter/"Kill their children" territory. Beck, at least, is honest about himself: "I never thought I would be on CNN, Fox, MSNBC. I am not a journalist. I am a recovering alcoholic with A.D.D.," he said. "I am closer to an average schmoe." But what the hell can possibly be CNN's excuse? Beyond this quote, in which it specifically refuses to take responsibility for the murderous poison it spews into the air, CNN executive Kenneth Jautz says, "We did not set out to have anyone from any particular view fronting these shows." Then again, it broadcast the heavily promoted Beck show, "Exposed: The Extremist Agenda," which included clips of extremist Islamic rallies in Iraq, anti-American cartoons from Egypt and TV news reports from Iran with reactions from extremists like Bibi Netanyahu, but little context save further inflammation of its audience. Really, I find all of this unbelievable. CNN is simply saying, "We are exploiting racism and hatred with this guy, but don't hold us responsible because he says he's not a journalist." And remember, the right-wingers insist that CNN is liberal. And I know CNN Headline News is not CNN news, but I don't think most viewers who click on the station make that distinction, and anyway, how does that absolve those responsible?

Racism on the Right, II. The Weekly Standard, here. I guess they know their readers better than I do ...

Good for Josh Gerstein.

YouTube Ate My Life:

It's good to be Bruce (but what's up with the guy holding the lyrics? He knows the lyrics), here.

Have you heard the news? Also this.

Watch him work ...

Watch Bono work...

Alter-reviews by Sal and Tony, NYCD

The Beatles, Love -- For all you naysayers who are instantly suspicious of any new Beatles product, shut up! It's not like they're Elvis, with a new reissue of stuff you already have coming out every three months. The product the Beatles have put out in the CD era is generally excellent. And this is no exception. As Beatle diehards, we too did not like the idea of Cirque du Soleil putting their campy little mitts on sacred ground. But not buying this soundtrack because of that would be cutting off your nose to spite your face.

George Martin, along with Paul and Ringo, produced this reinvention of the Beatles' music by going back to the original session tapes and creating new, and in many cases brilliant, versions of the already familiar catalog. It's NOT a rehash of what you've already got in your collection. In a lot of cases, it's like hearing this music for the first time all over again. Twenty-six tracks, almost 80 minutes of music, reinvented and reimagined. If you need to be convinced that you need this album, go to our blog, and in the very space where we typed, "if you need to be convinced," you'll find a link to a sample of "Strawberry Fields Forever" that's gonna blow your mind. Available as a CD or a CD/DVD-Audio combo, with the DVD-A in 5.1 Surround.

By Eric:

David Crosby, Voyage (box set) -- A three-CD retrospective featuring songs by the Byrds, Crosby Stills Nash & Young, and CPR, as well his solo classics and an entire disc of unreleased alternates and demos. The unreleased stuff is educational and enjoyable, but not always both. Crosby is kind of a ridiculous figure, and so one is tempted to write off his music. I mean, who cares if he "almost cut his hair?" But he's a thoughtful, talented musician and he takes lots of chances -- not all of them chemically inspired. The box is also really nicely produced. It's your call but if you like the guy, and don't have most of it already, you'll be happy.

Alter-aside: A couple of thoughts about acting: Bill Nighy gives this terrifically understated performance opposite Cate Blanchett in Notes on a Scandal. And he gets a massive rave for his performance opposite Julianne Moore in David Hare's new play, The Vertical Hour, in The New Yorker this week (not online). I only remembered him from that wonderful role he had in Love Actually, but you know when you see the guy, he feels familiar, but you can't figure out why. I think that's the mark of a great actor.

The people who are considered to be the greatest actors in the world are often the most pyrotechnical. They are great performers and entertainers but they're not really good actors because they always play themselves, no matter what the role. I think it's fair to say this about DeNiro, Pacino, and Nicholson or Katherine Hepburn, but not, say, Newman or Redford or Spencer Tracy. Right now I think the world's greatest actor is Edward Norton, because he inhabits his role so thoroughly he loses himself in it, rather than playing himself. I was thinking about this the other night because I was seated at a dinner next to Peter Riegert, whom I've always admired for the same reason. Think about it: Animal House, Crossing Delancey, Local Hero, Chilly Scenes of Winter, and the movie he made, which hardly anyone saw but recently came out on DVD, King of the Corner. Find it here. These are all some of my favorite movies of the past quarter-century and the roles don't have a lot in common, and you may not even remember him in all of them, but that's because he such a great actor, you almost don't notice him. But let's tip our hat ... (And while we're on the topic, the worst thing in an actor is when you only notice him because of how annoying he is on film no matter what the role. I've always felt this way about this guy, Michael Nouri, who I also met not long ago. I'd like to report that he's less annoying in person ... but I can't.)

Correspondence Corner:

Name: Steve
Hometown:

Maybe we should think through our suggestions, Stupid? Say the U.S. rations gas. What would likely happen?

Gasoline for cars is not the only thing crude oil is used for. Virgin plastics come from crude oil, along with a host of other goods. A reduction of the amount of oil imported to the U.S. would have ramifications in a range of industries.

U.S. car companies have recovered some profits or reduced losses recently because gas prices have dropped and sales of large vehicles are back up. Rationing gas would hurt those consumers. And, since big ticket trucks and such have large profit margins for U.S. auto manufacturers, rationed gas would add to the problems in Detroit.

Finally, China is seeking as much oil as they can get. What makes Stupid think that the market will not shift to give China a larger portion of the world's oil production while crippling the U.S.'s economy in the future?

It would be nice if people thought out the potential impacts of these half-baked ideas.

Name: dan
Hometown: Greer, SC

I think Stupid was serious about gas rationing as a way of forestalling the clearly inevitable collapse of our entire effort in Iraq. Yes, by all means, let's unload on the underclass in America by limiting their access to fuel, for stupid things like jobs. Yes, if the average Joe is not willing to see his job go up in smoke, and suffer on an "equitable" basis with those who would perpetuate the errors already committed, then let him learn from his masters, like liberal hawks from fortunate circumstances ready to forsake fuel for their egregious error. Have we got this about right yet? Please, stop this madness.

Name: Stephen Carver
Hometown: Los Angeles, CA

In doing some research for a play I'm trying to write, I ran across a wonderful quote from Goethe that Margaret Thatcher used in her speech to the U.S. Air Force on its 50th anniversary. I think it sums up W's situation in Iraq just about perfectly:

"That which thy fathers bequeathed thee, earn it anew if thou wouldst possess it."

Great website for speeches by women, BTW, here.

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