Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Elvis V. Bennett

I can’t even begin to explain how disgusted I was. I was so lured in, because the previous night PBS had shown a program on Tony Bennett’s recent album, An American Classic, that featured duets between him and some unlikelies, such as Sting, Elton John, Billy Joel and Michael Buble.

And then immediately afterward they had a show on “Rockabilly,” how Rock-n-Roll actually got started in the country music tradition which totally helped me justify my white trash roots. And all of that made me feel so good about PBS I almost wanted to donate.

Then, being duped, I tuned in again to PBS and I thought, until the fund raising pitch relieved me, that I was going to throw up. It was an Elvis concert. But not really an Elvis concert.

This “Elvis” concert (that took me a good fifteen minutes to figure out) was basically old Elvis footage, put up on some Jumbtron while his old band, now gray and crusty, sang back up, live and on stage. Let’s see now, Elvis died in 1977, and I remember it clearly because it was a hot August day and I was pumping gas at some quickie mart in Fresno, California for my 1968 Camaro (at 60 cents or so a gallon) when I heard the news. And here we are, thirty years later, pretending he is live and on stage with his back up singers and a live audience to boot, cheering every song. Good going PBS.

Shouldn't there be some kinda ethic about being a minor player in some dead guy’s fame? That “back up crew” should have been run out of town on a rail or at the very least, thrown into some 70’s VW Van and sent to back to Tupelo to pay penance. And PBS should be thoroughly caned for passing this travesty off as a fund raiser.

But it’s no more a fiction than the FCC Order on Local Cable Franchising.

In it, and this is my favorite part, they say that at&t and Verizon asserted that there were certain local communities that made “unreasonable”demands upon them.


Those demands included filming a Christmas parade. They are right, that’s wacky thing to specify in a franchise contract. Then there’s the money for “wild flower seeds.” That must have come from Oregon or Wisconsin, you know how nutty those people can be for “wild flower seeds.” Then there was something about traffic lights. But then again, as the FCC admitted in the Order, neither at&t nor Verizon ever really provided them with specific examples or ever named communities (especially after they initially did name some towns the first time around and those towns filed reply comments saying at&t and Verizon’s claims were stinking cow manure and the telcos said “oops…we misspoke, it wasn’t you, it was some other town we were talking about.)

But then again, seeing how the FCC never really did get PROOF (which they admit), it was alright since they HEARD the story and the story was enough to convince them (by 3 to 2) that there were unreasonable “demands” being placed on at&t and Verizon because of the horrific stories they had HEARD even though there was no PROOF.

“Boo hoo, boo hoo, FCC’s my baby. Boo hoo, boo hoo, don’t mean she’s crazy.”

Who was that? Elvis or Max Arnold? Maybe it was the FCC. She is your Baby Doll, after all.

Regardless, it is jive.

Jive for the elimination of the level playing field. Cable guys gotta sue.

Jive for the counting of PEG support against the 5%. Munis gotta sue.

Jive for the redlining a-okay, Munis gotta sue with some Equal Opportunity and ACLU types.

Jive for the 90 day shot clock, ain’t there gotta be some contract lawyers in this game?

Jive for the “you there, you getta be there, regardless, mafia approach,” gotta be some imminent domain and takings types up for this on, can anybody say “RICO?”.

It’s juicy, good, great drama and well worth watching and contributing to…not at all like that Elvis, let’s resurrect him from the dead and make money on touring with his talent and success before a live audience, now that we are old and decrepit, video that they showed on PBS (with tax payer funding) tonight.

I’ll take Elvis videos, straight from the crypt or Tony Bennett videos made sometime last year, live and real, over any FCC rulings that are void of actual fact and as deep and wide and long as the Mississippi.

BTW…who was that moron who wrote that order? He/She/It/They should be punished by having to watch that PBS fake Elvis concert fund raising video twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week for the next three years. If they don’t strangle themselves first.

Yah Baby!

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