Dogs can ruin anything. You know how much I love the beasts, but you have to admit that a smart dog can be an occasional curse. A rug dog – one of those shaggy old things that just sits in the corner like a heap of shag – watches all and cares for naught. A smart dog is involved, and interrogates the situation constantly, looking for Food, Threats, or Play. Well. Wife and child come home from the Mall; child has a big bag from the toy store. Inside is a robot pony that walks and utters the standard equine vocalizations. I knew exactly what would happen: she’d turn it on, and the dog would go nuts.

“You have to put batteries in it first,” Gnat said. “It needs lectricy.” So I did. Turned it on. Sure enough: Jasper goes on FULL ALERT, sniffs the synthetic fur, barks at it, takes a few tentative mouthings of its mane and head. Gnat freaks out. I discipline Jasper: no! Jasper retreats, but cannot resist; he attacks the pony again. Shrieks. Discipline. Jasper, now furious, runs over to the box in which the pony arrived ; he bites it, raises it up and shakes it furiously, because he is just pissed. Gnat screams: not my box! So now I take the box. She’s crying. Jasper’s looking at me in full challenge mode – straight-on gaze, ears and tail up. I tell him to sit. He barks. Well, we can’t have this. I take the scruff of his neck in my fingers – top-dog lingo for knock it the hell off – and he folds. Down on his back, paws up, eyes averted. I get right down on the floor, glare at him and breathe heavily on his face.

It helps to speak Dog. They’re not furry children.

Ohhhkay! End of happy fun family bleat. Promiscuous use of offensive language comes next, so tune out if you don’t want to see naughty syllables. You’ve been warned.

So Howard Stern, the Great Voice of the People, got suspended for being a brave advocate of free speech. For telling truth to power! From a story whose link died a dog's death before I uploaded this installment:

“Clear Channel cited his interview on Tuesday with Rick Salomon, the man who was filmed having sex with hotel heiress and TV reality star Paris Hilton in a video widely distributed on Internet porn sites.

According to a transcript of the show released by San Antonio, Texas-based Clear Channel, Stern asked Salomon if he engaged in anal sex and referred to the size of his penis. Using a racist term, a caller to the show asked Solomon if he had ever had sex with any famous black women. “

The “racist term” was the N word, apparently. No surprise – I’ve probably mentioned this before, but I remember sitting in a hired car in New York, waiting to enter the tunnel. The driver had Stern on. He was talking to a caller who was born and raised in Nigeria – she spoke impeccable English with that lovely African flavor. She wasn’t pleased about something he said; he let her go on for a while, then cut in and asked her if she’d ever ate a monkey. She was stunned – how do you reply to something like that? He went on to note that a lot of people in Africa ate monkeys, and perhaps that’s where AIDS came from. And so on.

We lost him in the tunnel. I’ve never been so grateful to be confined in a tiled tube under a river.

I think it’s a shame he was reprimanded. I don’t think people understand what’s at stake here. We need to coarsen public discourse as much as possible as quickly as possible, because a free and open society depends on the right of Pink to flash her labia at the next Superbowl. I’m serious: if we don’t see a clitoris on the Jumbocam, this nation is OVER. (Breast, labia - what's the diff? Please don't tell me you're one of those bluenoses who thinks a boob's okay but explicit gyno topography is somehow unsuitable for prime-time. It's the HUMAN BODY, people; what's your hang up? ) I’m tired of people who think that it’s the role of large media chains to hit the panic button when a caller to Stern’s show calls him a f--ing k-ke, and bleeps Howard when when he says the caller a sh-head ch-nk. People! Come on! What is this country coming to when people can’t call other people sh-thead ch-nks on the public airwaves?

Look: this isn’t cable, which people choose to receive. This isn’t a satellite radio channel, purchased with full knowledge of its contents. We’re talking about the public airwaves here, and that means there cannot be any standards whatsoever. If you admit that there should be some standards, well, whose standards? Ned Flanders’ standards? Right, like we’re going to hand that over to some God-bothering Churchy LeFemme. (Do you realize that you could get fired today for a 6 minute on-air rant about wanting to engage in watersports with the Virgin Mary? I’m serious!) Do you want to give control to some Clear Channel exec who’s worried about losing the moms-in-cars demographic? Spare me. We live in a puritan age; anyone entrusted to sets the “standards” will be too cowardly to greenlight a show where snarky nihilists sit around and snigger about “n-ggers” and anal sex. So WHAT if you have a kid in the back seat? Don’t hit the scan button, moron.

Sometimes I wonder what country I’m living in.

You know what was the best part of the whole Janet Jackson thing? The ugliness of it all. The ugly outfits, the ugly choreography, the whole dank S&M feel. Ugly is edgy and edgy is cool and the words of the prophets are written on subway cars, maaaan. Imagine - some people insist the public sphere should aspire to a “higher” standard where men know more than seven words, and women don’t pop out a floppy tit in prime time to show us how dangerous they are. There are people who think we should aim up, not down.

F those people. F anyone who wants a standard. The future of civilized conversation depends on men brave enough to ask educated Nigerian immigrants if they ever ate a monkey, and whether men who appeared on Paris Hilton pron tapes slammed a partner up the butt.. God bless Stern. It’s good to know he’s speaking out on the issues that matter, and paying the price.

Bravery, thy name is Howard. And I expect that you will stop screening calls now. I mean, there's a guy in the Bronx who wants to make a point about the filthy sp-cs down the hall - who are you to say he's wrong?

Re: Gibson’s “Passion” – ran across this beauty of a story today.

Let’s set the stage:

Clay Steinman is a professor of media studies at Macalester College in St. Paul. He hadn't seen the movie yet, either, when I spoke with him Tuesday. But like most of us, he had already consumed plenty of pre-"Passion" hype.

"Journalists," said Steinman, "tend to treat most religious expressions as though they are legitimate.”

Imagine that.

Imagine that.

Here’s the full quote:

"Journalists," said Steinman, "tend to treat most religious expressions as though they are legitimate. Religion is almost never written about as if it is anything other than a historical fact." The risk to the impertinent interviewer is obvious, he says. "The country is very intolerant of people who say they are not believers." Never mind, in this case, that we're talking about a movie.

"Gibson could have made a different movie that would have made more money. Still, this is a business, and it's been talked about as if it is Mel Gibson's personal expression, only," he said. "I mean, it's not as if Gibson is saying he's going to turn the profits over to the Catholic Church to give to the poor."

Fair enough; we all remember how Clay and Brian hammered Michael Moore for not turning over his profits to Columbine victims. (I’ve no idea if they did such a thing, but I’m sure they insisted he did.) But it’s an interesting argument: when discussing religion and interviewing religious figures, journalists should challenge the believer’s faith and press for empirical proof. Lambert himself writes:

One brave and skeptical line of discussion would have been to ask Gibson, "How do you know any of this actually happened?" Journalists are supposed to be in the business of asking impertinent, uncomfortable questions. But I never heard or read anyone in any mainstream press organization wade into that one. Certainly not in the context of interviewing Gibson or in direct reference to "The Passion."

I have on hand a hundred dollar bill I keep for emergencies – why, I don’t know, but it gives a certain amount of comfort. I would hand it over immediately just to hear the exchange that would follow if Mr. Lambert asked Mel Gibson that impertinent, uncomfortable question.

Now let us imagine Mr. Lambert reviewing an “O’Reilly Report” episode where the host began his interview with a major Muslim cleric by saying “So you actually believe in the word of Mohammed? What proof do you have?” One suspects that such an episode would be used to prove the pro-Christ bias of Murdock’s Fox empire, eh?

I await more Lambert pieces in which he goes to Iran, interviews the opposition, and asks them why they believe this Mohammed stuff. "How do you know any of this actually happened?" I can even see the headline: “Are Muslim Beliefs Grounded in Unexamined Fantasy? Devout Unable to Provide Empirical Proof of the Existence of the Transcendental Divine to Satisfy Cathode-Ray Tube Entertainment evaluator.”

To sum up: Mel Gibson is DANGEROUS! Howard Stern is BRAVE. Jasper is ANNOYING. And I am TIRED. See you tomorrow.
New at
LINK of the WEEK
Amazon Honor SystemClick Here to PayLearn More