Thursday, June 14, 2007

Stop Whining Already

I confess, I'm one of the only people I know who did not watch The Sopranos - ever. Hey, I only have expanded basic, thus no HBO, so I have an excuse. It's become obvious that not having this channel has caused me to miss out on some of the most talked about television shows of recent years, but I've somehow managed to survive on a steady diet of fodder like Survivor, 24, et al.

The recent finale of The Sopranos generated such a response - most of it negative from the hardcore fans -that I had to comment. From what I gather, the show ended abruptly, with no explanation or closure as to the fates of the main character, Tony Soprano. Oh, the furor! Creator David Chase fled the country, knowing full well the reaction this finish would cause.

Not having watched the show, and never having been invested in these characters, it's hard for me to tell the fans to stop moaning and accept the ending. Part of me wonders if we have become so spoon fed with regard to our entertainment that we will refuse to accept any ending to anything, movie or TV show, that doesn't fully close every loophole and resolve every plotline. Why is this? I think having an open ended, somehwat ambiguous finale is interesting. Plus, the door is left open for any future project, though Chase was quick to quell that speculation.

You want crappy series finales? What about M*A*S*H? That was a bloated, 90 minute exercise which closed things out, yes, but could have easily been handled in 45 minutes. The show had become so preachy and self-important anyway, and it was time to go, but damn, that final episode was a bear to get through.

Seinfeld was another very disappointing finale - ironic for a show which seemed to shun the usual excesses which befell other shows. The best way to end it was to not celebrate nor acknowledge the end in any way - just a simple business as usual episode. That would have been more in line with the spirit of the show, but they chose to spin a wandering, ultimately unfunny ending to what had been one of the most original shows of its time.

No matter what, it's over. Move on.

Election 2008 Heats Up 17 Months Early

A while back, this blog called for the need to form a new political party. One which would actually represent the people, and harken back to a time when politicians were beholden not to corporate donors, lobbyists or the extreme fringe positions held by their party.

I think we found one.

Ron Paul, technically is a Republican. Watching him during the debates, however, shows either 1.) how far the party has strayed from stances it once held or 2.) that he's more of a third party candidate, which is a kiss of death in this day and age.

Check the online polls after the next debate - Paul has consistently come out ahead every time thus far. The mainstream media hates him - hell, Sean Hannity tried his best to tear him apart during a live interview following a recent debate. Why? Simple - Paul is absolutely, 100% against the Iraq war (like 70% of American voters). This doesn't fit with the right wing Bush loving pundits who never seem to be able to admit that maybe, just maybe, this adminsitraion has royally screwed this up. Paul's non-interventionist foreign policy is heresey amongst this batch of Neocons, who seek nothing less than control of the entire middle east and, more specifically, the flow of oil from same.

Will he win? It's unlikely. He'll get marginalized, despite his growing popularity, and will be lucky to have an impact similar to what Ross Perot was able to pull off in 1992. Paul does have one advantage Perot did not - the internet. The grassroots support generated by the blogsphere can have an impact, but whether or not it will be enough to actually propel him toward the nomination is unknown. The eventual winner, if not Paul, would be wise to co-opt some of his ideas, thereby gaining some much needed middle of the road support.

Who then, will be the final candiates for the big prize come next summer? Most likely, two people who are technically not even running yet - Republican Fred Thompson and Democrat Al Gore.

That's my call, and I'm sticking to it. Think Rudy Guiliani will ultimately get the support of the Christian Right, what with his three divorces, and liberal stance on abortion and gay rights? Think again. Besides, his entire campaign is pure fear - 9/11 this, 9/11 that, and I think Americans are tired of being scared into voting for candidates like this. John McCain is dropping like a rock, and will likely be fully done before the end of 2007. Mitt Romney? C'mon, he's a Mormon! Remember, there are over 50 million Catholics in this country, and only once has one managed to be elected President. We all know what happened to him, so if you think the Southern Baptists are going to put their support behind this guy, you're nuts. Religion aside, Romney seems to be the least genuine, almost willing to paint himslef as anything which would result in more votes ("I'm a hunter", "Lets double the size of Gitmo!"). In his favor, though, is the fact that he is still married to his first wife - something none of the other GOP candidates mentioned here can say. He's toast once Thompson joins the fray, however. Thompson paints himself as a Reagan type conservative, which will go over big with the party faithful after eight years of Bush.

Over on the Democratic side, it's already narrowing down to a two person race between Hilary Clinton and Barack Obama. Clinton (or Rodham, or whatever she's choosing to go by today) is the front runner, but in every hypothetical matchup with any Repub, she loses. This is a big problem for the Dems, obviously. Obama has support, but many feel he is too inexperienced for the job. Whether that is true or not depends on your world view - Kennedy was also though to be too green for the job, but seemed to do okay. Al Gore is riding high right now, what with his new book and recent movie. He has to put the most fear into the Republican machine - he's been through the whole election mess, and came out unscathed (the best they could do was poke fun at his "I invented the internet" quotes). He received more votes in 2000, but lost, so many have the opinion that he "deserves" the office. Should he decide to join, and there is no reason he needs to rush in any time before the fall, he would immediately vault to the top of the pack. Should he decide to join forces with Obama, he could be unstoppable.

My dream woild be some combination of Paul/Gore, but that will never happen. It should be a very interesting year nontheless.