Here's the fun, behind-the-scenes look --
Yesterday, I posted the wondrous "Most Epic Safety Video Ever Made," that Air New Zealand made that parodied the Lord of the Rings. Today, I thought it would be nice to show how The Most Epic Safety Video Ever Made... was actually made.
Here's the fun, behind-the-scenes look --
The Trump administration is desperately trying to not get tarred with the sick video of a digitized Trump massacring reporters and his opponents in a church, It's done by a third party, they cry. It's not us, they cry. There are unfortunately a few problems for them here --
The video was shown at an "American Priority" event organized by a pro-Trump group. It was held at his Mar-a-Lago property. His son Don Jr. was there. His former press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders was there. And Trump himself has just to comment a single word condemning it.
There are so many perspectives from which one can attack the video and slam the Republican, conservative and "evangelical" hypocrisy to it all -- but I'm going to put all that aside (which is a whole lot to put aside) because one comment alone transcends everything about it.
Tim Murtaugh, the director of communications for Trump’s 2020 election campaign, said the “video was not produced by the campaign, and we do not condone violence.”
Here's the biggest problem.
Trump does condone violence. Of course, Trump condones violence. He's condoned it since he began running for president, and it hasn't stopped. He told his earliest rallies that if anyone was arresting for beating up protesters there, he's pay their bail. He's told more recent rallies that it's a shame protesters aren't getting beaten up like they used to, because that would stop things. He's told a police organization that when they arrest people they shouldn't be shy about being rough putting them in police cars. He's retweeted graphics of him beating up a reporter named "CNN." He recently lamented that it was a shame we didn't hang spies like we used to. There's a lawsuit going on right now in which Trump's security guards roughed up protesters at Trump Tower. When Turkey's brutal leader Erdogan visited Washington, D.C., his security guards beat up protesters, and there was no outraged criticism from Trump. When Heather Heyer was killed in Charlottesville during a rally of neo-Nazis and white supremacists, Trump explained that there very fine people on both sides. On and on and on and on and on and on....
Trump separated immigrant children from their parents, as families tried to migrate into the United States. That's an emotional violence from which some may never recover.
Trump made a detail with Turkey's brutal Erdogan, withdrew U.S. troops protecting the Kurds in Syria, and it's unleashed the Turkish army that's in the midst of massacring those in their path. And Trump went to play golf and wished Turkey, Syria, and Russia well.
It's being going on long before he ran for president. When the Central Park 5 were being tried in 1989, Trump took out a full-page ad in 1989 calling for them all to be executed. They were all later found not-guilty.
"We do not condone violence," weeps Trump spokesman Tim Murtaugh. Promoting violence is Trump's lifeblood. It's one of the core tenants of fascism. Of course the campaign promotes violence. It's what they do. Building up people's fear and hatred and anger until the bullies and devoted acolytes explode into violence. And Trump defends and condones it all. And it's what brought us this sick massacre video.
And the Republican Party enables it all, is silent about it all, and is complicit in it all. So, they condone violence, too.
And they are every one a part of this sick massacre video -- shown at the properly-named pro-Trump "American Priority" event -- which (let us not forget) oh-so-appropriately for today's faux-evangelical GOP takes place in a church and is tied to them all like a mighty iron anchor that they all drag around with them every day. Because they brought it about. "We wear the chains we forged in life," Charles Dickens wrote, as Jacob Marley tried to warn Ebeneezer Scrooge.
All that's missing from Trump and the Republican Party's ongoing condoning of violence is one, big, group cry of "Bah, humbug."
That, and Trump explaining that many of the people who made the video are very fine people...
A while back, I posted a video that I titled, "The most epic safety video ever made." But that wasn't my name that I gave to the little film, it was what Air New Zealand called their own video. And the thing is -- it is. It turns out, though, that Air New Zealand has a history of making outlandish, funny and extremely wonderful safety videos. I've tracked a bunch of them down and will post them here in the coming days.
But first, as a reminder, or for new people to these pages, before we get to the others, I thought it best to repeat that original video. So, here is it is and the article I posted about...
"The Most Epic Safety Video Ever Made."
* * *
And no, that is not hyperbole.
In fact, the video itself begins by saying on-screen, "The most epic safety video ever made." And it's being low-key and polite. To be fair, "Epic," in this case, is sort of a tongue-in-cheek reference, as you will see. But it's nonetheless epic in the generally accepted sense, as well. This is far and away like no in-flight safety video you've seen, or likely will ever seen. It's so far away that everything else is in third place. Just leave second place empty. And, honest, that's not an exaggeration.
The in-flight video is for the safety explanation aboard Air New Zealand flights, and...well, let's just say as a reminder that New Zealand is where they filmed The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies. And we'll leave it at that, and let your imaginations take over..
There are twists and turns here, and a lot of tongue-in-cheek fun, and some surprises. And further, when is the last time you ever saw credits at the end of an in-flight safety video?
As a safety video, I'm going to guess that patrons aren't going to be paying the closest attention to what's being told them, which probably isn't ideal. On the other hand, a) most people by now have a pretty good idea of the safety procedures on an airplane, b) in some ways, people are going to watch this much closer than the regular in-flight safety videos they zone out of, and c) this is going to be see FAR more by people who are not on an airplane, so there's no risk of going down in the water.
Which brings up the other point.
Beyond being the Greatest (and Most Epic) In-Flight Safety Video Ever, this is also a brilliant promotional video for the next film in The Hobbit series. If I had the opportunity to bet all my cash money, it will go viral around the world, if it hasn't already. However much it cost, there will be no need to buy TV air-time (which is so expensive), and you wouldn't anyway, since it's 4-1/2 minutes long. Maybe they'll cut down a 30-second version, but it's really not necessary, and it won't do it justice.
This is so wonderful and so smart. Just a brilliant idea, and whoever came up with the idea deserves a major promotion and bonus, and hats off to all the people on both sides of the aisle who approved doing it.
So, here, then is the most epic in-flight safety video ever made. Really.
I've seen some Republican senators lately trying to argue that impeachment will split the country. However, when Bill Clinton was impeached, his approval went up to 72%, so it united the country!
The argument therefore doesn't hold. It's not impeachment that's divisive -- it's Trump. And today's Republican Party that enables him.
Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) says we shouldn't have an impeachment since the election is so close and we should leave it to the voters. Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) said the same thing. It appears to be on the latest GOP memo. It is also the same argument the Republicans used to block Merrick Garland from the Supreme Court. Been there, done that. We saw this movie, it wasn't good the first time. No thanks.
There is also the mantra from Trump, and Republican officials who got the same GOP memo, is this is an "unconstitutional" impeachment. This is probably the most bizarre argument at all given that impeachment is actually, literally in the Constitution. The only thing I can figure is that they believe if you saying something this inane enough, then the portion of their devout base that doesn't grasp the most basic tenets of the U.S. Constitution will believe it. And yes, I understand that "the portion of their devout base that doesn't grasp the most basic tenets of the U.S. Constitution " is not only an oxymoron but likely close to its entirety.
What is becoming clear from all this is that the only argument Republicans seem to be willing to try is process. Because I haven't heard the widespread argument that soliciting assistance from a foreign individual or government to impact a U.S. election is not only illegal, but simply wrong and dangerous to national security. A small handful of Republican have argued that the president didn't do that, but that argument doesn't carry very far -- only about as far as dropping a 20-pound weight on your foot -- since we have Trump saying he did that on videotape and in the summary memory released by the White House. So, the argument relies, again like above, on the cultish base not believe what they see and hear, just like Trump told them months ago.
The biggest problem when your only argument is process in hopes to convince your most zealous followers, and not substance, is that impeachment is not actually based on process (whether accurate or not) or what the acolytes believe (whether accurate or not), but rather the substance of the charges. Alternate facts don't work here.
Republicans crying all manner of different "process" yelps is the equivalence of the old lawyer doctrine -- when the law is against you, argue the fact. When the facts are against you, argue the law. And when neither the law or facts are on your side, pound the table and shout like hell.
If Republicans had the facts or the law on their side, they'd be arguing them. They're arguing chimeras, as loudly as they possible can. Hoping to drown out reality.
The trouble for them is that reality here is a train barreling down the tracks at them, and chimeras have no impact on stopping such things.
I've been posting episodes of Zach Galifianakis's web series, Between Two Ferns, and have mentioned the most-famous episode of the show when President Obama was a guest. I'd previously posted it was it was done at the time, but realized that that was five years ago, so I really should bring it back for an encore.
The reason that the President appeared was to promote the then-new Affordable Care Act, and the administration was trying to get young people to sign up. Galifianakis has had that there was no script with him and Mr. Obama, although they gave him a slightly more general idea of what would be discussed than he'd do with other guests. He also said that he did not tell the President his now most-infamous question in advance, though did run it by one of the Mr. Obama's aides, who basically gave him a "whatever, it's your career" kind of shrug.
(Hint, so as not to give away the question, it comes very early on and begins with -- "What is it like...?"
As I mentioned last week, I happily was able to track down four episodes (for now...) of the wonderful 1964 NBC series, The Rogues, which I've long felt had the greatest cast of any series in TV history. It starred two of Hollywood's great romantic leading men, Charles Boyer and David Niven, as well as Oscar-winner Gig Young, and featured one of the grande dames of the theater, Oscar-winner Gladys Cooper and Robert Coote (who played Col. Pickering in the original Broadway and London productions of My Fair Lady).
Following up on the episode I posted last week, I have another one today, "The Day They Gave Away Diamonds.". There's a bit of a treat with this one. As I noted previously, only on a very rare occasion would the full cast appear each week. Usually, only one of the three main leads would star, though every once in a while another of the Big Stars would make a short appearance. Gladys Cooper and Robert Coote however were the uniting figures and in every episode. Well, this is one of those occasions when all three of the stars show up. The main lead is Charles Boyer, though Gig Young has a substantial role to play, as well, and David Niven makes a brief appearance. The series is very much of its era, and is hardly a great, meticulous "con" show, but it makes up for that in acting and monumental charm.
For those who missed last week's episode, you can find it here. The Rogues was about a family of elegant con men whose standards were very high, and they would only trick the most wealthy and reprehensibly unscrupulous marks.
And again, ignore what the video shows as the length of the episode. It's 20 minutes shorter than that and runs around 51 minutes.
Today's guest contestant on the 'Not My Job' segment of the NPR game quiz show is former race car driver Danica Patrick, the first woman to win a NASCAR race. She and host Peter Sagal have an amusing conversation about her driving habits off the track, and then it morphs into the challenges of growing up in Chicago as a Bears fan and living now in Green Bay, Wisconsin, with her boyfriend Packer quarterback Aaron Rodgers.
On this week's Al Franken Podcast, he takes a u-turn. There is absolutely nothing political in it. His guest is Chris Rock. And rather than me write about it, I'll let Al --
"This week on the Al Franken Podcast, Chris Rock discusses key moments in his life, including the one where I saved his career. Which is really more about Chris realizing that HE had to CREATE his career. Rock talks about his early influences, including his grandfather, a philandering preacher who killed a guy and spent time in prison. During Chris’s Wonder Years – he spent a lot of time with Grandpa, who in addition to being a murderer, a womanizer, and a preacher, drove taxi around Brooklyn – often with young Chris in tow. See, Grandpa wrote his sermons while driving cab, and Chris got to see his process – he never wrote it down word for word – just outlined it.
"Chris talks about his NINE years being bussed, so instead of going to crappy black schools in Brooklyn he could ride an hour each way to crappy white schools, where he was often the only Black boy. In his nine years, how many times was Chris invited to a classmate’s house? Hint. If you guessed zero, you’d be wrong – but extremely close.
"During the podcast, Chris gets a call he has to take. From Super-Producer Scott Rudin. We only hear Chris’s side, but it’s good news on a movie for Rock to star in. It could be cinematic history. Judy Garland hearing she’s playing Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz, and saying things like 'Great!' 'Uh huh' and 'Okay.' It’s as exciting as audio can get. And most crucially, short.
"Fun! Funny! Educational! It’s got everything you’ve grown to expect from The Al Franken Podcast. Except a deep dive into a critical public policy issue. Unless you consider race a critical public policy issue. And if you consider hearing a few funny stories from Chris’s life, most of which have nothing to do with race, a deep dive.
"Give a listen to one our funniest and most thoughtful comedians. Won’t you?"
Let's head back Out and About for another interview with my fave Jiminy Glick. This time he sits down for a talk with Billy Crystal.
Robert J. Elisberg is a two-time recipient of the Lucille Ball Award for comedy screenwriting. He's written for film, TV, the stage, and two best-selling novels, is a regular columnist for the Writers Guild of America and was for the Huffington Post. Among his other writing, he has a long-time column on technology (which he sometimes understands), and co-wrote a book on world travel. As a lyricist, he is a member of ASCAP, and has contributed to numerous publications.
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