Tag Archives: NBC

When Can We Talk About Gun Control?

This year, more than any other I can recall, really feels like the year of the gun in America. So many people have died and been injured in high profile mass shootings, with things kicking up heavily in July. Tuscaloosa saw a mass shooting, and then there was about one every week for another month. Even The Onion tried to run a satirical article about how everyone was rejoicing that it had been a week since the nation’s last mass shooting, and mere hours after they posted it, there was a shooting in New York City. Their response? An update to say “Never Mind.”

Just recently, the gun issue was brought back up with a high profile murder-suicide of an NFL player’s girlfriend, committed by Kansas City Chiefs player Jovan Belcher. It picked up even more steam when NBC sports broadcaster Bob Costas read from a pro-gun control column about Belcher. And tonight, it’s likely to get another boost of conversation, thanks to¬†a shooting in an Oregon mall, with two dead.

But every time these tragedies occur, we’re told that it’s rude and inconsiderate to talk about gun control. Fox News, for example, just went nuts on Costas. Of course, it’s perfectly alright to stump for lessening gun control soon after a tragedy, like they did on Fox News after the tragedy in Norway.

After all, people that support the Second Amendment to the nearly fanatical point never want to talk about gun control. Because they’re convinced that gun control equals a ban on all guns and the destruction of the Second Amendment. They have painted the opposition as so extreme, they think they know how every conversation will go. And since they don’t want to hear it, they try to play the “cheap” card, the “tragedy” card and keep the conversation muted. A free speech issue, might I add, and people that are fond of the First Amendment are more than happy to have conversations about regulation and why it may or may not be bad, generally speaking. As President Josiah Bartlet from “The West Wing” said on Twitter today, “If we cannot talk about gun control legislation in the aftermath of a tragedy, we will never be able to talk about gun control legislation. Maybe that’s the point.”

In pretty much every single argument I’ve gotten into about why we should try to limit guns or try to regulate them more in some way or another, a few topics always seem to be brought up: Knife deaths, “You can’t stop them all” and self-defense.

See, if I mention just how many gun deaths there are in America compared to somewhere like the United Kingdom where there are far stricter gun laws, they point out how many stabbings there are. If I talk about regulating guns or bullets to attempt to limit the number of homicides, the rebuttal of “Someone willing to kill’s going to find a way. You can kill with [fill in with a far more innocuous weapon here, like piano wire].” And inevitably the idea that we need guns to defend against criminals that have guns gets mentioned.

Well, here’s just a few little nuggets to ponder, not that any proponents of gun rights will listen, because they’ve spent so long trying to get people to stop talking, why bother listening at all? First, yeah, there are a higher number of stabbings in the U.K. than in the U.S. What’s your point, exactly? I’m pretty sure that the percentage doesn’t even come close to the percentage of gun-related homicides in the U.S., so if we could see the percentage drop and become all knife-related, then fine. Second, exactly how many knife-related mass killings are there? How many people can walk into a mall or a church or a school with a knife and slay multiple people before they’re stopped? Third, there was a very recent story about a 7-year-old boy being shot by his father outside of a gun store, accidentally. Exactly how many accidental knife deaths are there every year?

Will gun control eliminate gun violence? Certainly not. Not even close. Would it maybe, just maybe see the number of deaths per year drop, even slightly? It might. So, no, we’re not able to stop it all. People will find ways to kill. But isn’t seeing one less murder enough of a reason to try?

Isn’t the possibility of at least one less gun-related murder, one less death per year enough of a reason to talk about solutions?

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Sing, Sang, Sung – “Little Lion Man” By Mumford And Sons

Okay. I originally intended to write about the whole “Is it a tax?” thing with that health care thing that I’m way late to the game on… but I got to go to trivia for the first night in, like, forever. So I went to do that. And now my time is more limited, so I’m not as able to write a cohesive intelligent post about the issue like I want to.

See, unlike many on this subject, I want to collect my thoughts and think about things before I say them. It’s a strange, novel concept, I know. Especially for many politicians and pundits.

Anyway. Once again, I have a little ditty that my Pandora radio has led me to. I do believe this is the only song by Mumford and Sons that I’ve heard… So I can’t exactly say that the band has a Southern, bluegrass-esque feel to it… but this song certainly does, what with the presence of an upright bass being plucked and a banjo being strummed.

It’s a fun song. It’s not one I even really listen to the lyrics all that much. It’s one of those songs I let wash over me with the sounds, because it frankly sounds great.

…I really don’t have much else to say… Um, on the subject of music, I’ll be auditioning for NBC’s “The Voice” on Saturday. I’ll let you know how that went when it becomes a past tense event.

Anyway. Listen to the song.

“Little Lion Man” – Mumford and Sons

Weep for yourself, my man,
You’ll never be what is in your heart
Weep Little Lion Man,
You’re not as brave as you were at the start
Rate yourself and rake yourself,
Take all the courage you have left
Wasted on fixing all the problems
That you made in your own head

But it was not your fault but mine
And it was your heart on the line
I really fucked it up this time
Didn’t I, my dear?
Didn’t I, my…

Tremble for yourself, my man,
You know that you have seen this all before
Tremble Little Lion Man,
You’ll never settle any of your scores
Your grace is wasted in your face,
Your boldness stands alone among the wreck
Now learn from your mother or else spend your days Biting your own neck

But it was not your fault but mine
And it was your heart on the line
I really fucked it up this time
Didn’t I, my dear? (x2)

Didn’t I, my dear?

Ahhhhh……

But it was not your fault but mine
And it was your heart on the line
I really fucked it up this time
Didn’t I, my dear? (x2)

Didn’t I, my dear?

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Sing, Sang, Sung – “Somebody That I Used To Know” By Gotye Ft. Kimbra

If you listen to any of the big, current hits, it seems extremely near impossible that you haven’t heard this song. Becoming an international hit and have the distinguishing characteristic of not being sung by some high-pitched fad artist or an inexplicably bad YouTube sensation, “Somebody That I Used To Know” has rapidly become extremely popular amongst… well, everyone it seems.

I was introduced to the song via my little sister, who sent me a link to an a capella version of the song, sung by the band Pentatonix, winners of Season 3 of NBC’s “The Sing-Off.” Which, quick aside, with “The Sing-Off” and “The Voice,” NBC is really nailing it with these vocal competitions.

Anyway, the Pentatonix version is pretty freaking amazing. There’s definitely a reason they won. Amazing beatboxing, a fantastic bass and some pretty freakin’ great lead vocals in the three original members of the group combines to create a really excellent a capella group.

Not too terribly long after, a friend posted another cover of the song to Facebook. This time, it was a cover by Walk off the Earth. Note that this song was also my introduction to both of these bands. Anyway, the Walk off the Earth version has a very distinctive style to it… the five members of the group (four guys and a girl, just like Pentatonix) are all playing the same instrument.

And by that, I mean they’re all sharing one guitar. Five people. One guitar. At this point, Vizzini would shout out “Inconceivable” and most would tend to agree. But it’s true. And it’s phenomenal and spectacular.

Then, for those of you that like your pop TV and the like, “Glee” of course did a cover of it, which I discovered today in an article saying that the artist Gotye isn’t too happy with it. To me… well, if you’ve ever listened to a Glee’d song, you tend to expect tuned vocals and a sort of off sound to it, but it’s not a terrible version. Besides, it has Matt Bomer from “White Collar” singing, and I really like that guy. He’s awesome.

Anyway, after hearing all three of these covers first, I finally listened to the actual original. And, son, I was not disappoint.

The video, song aside, is actually pretty freaking great in and of itself. It’s definitely not your standard music video and is very… well, either surreal or avant garde, I’m never 100 percent sure on those… Symbolic for sure, though. And it has neat colors and effects, which I like. But beyond that, the acting from both of the singers, especially Gotye, and the interaction between them is spectacular. It really makes the words of the song have an even more powerful effect.

The instrumentation is strange, yet somehow perfect… Not quite happy and upbeat, not quite depressed and upset… much like the song, where the singer(s) seem confused about their emotions, passionate though they are. They’re upset, and they can say why, but not in a satisfactory way. It all boils down to memories and blame of the other person for their actions. …something I know too well these days.

Further, Gotye has a voice that has a hint of something strange and unique on top of what is actually a pretty standard higher tone male singing voice. It’s a great voice that I don’t think I’ll mind hearing again.

Basically, it’s a fabulous song, and the covers I’ve linked to aren’t so bad either. (The first two are amazomenal. Phenominazing? Actually I like phenominazing better. We’ll go with that.) Give it a look see.

“Somebody That I Used To Know” – Gotye featuring Kimbra

[Gotye:]
Now and then I think of when we were together,
Like when you said you felt so happy you could die.
Told myself that you were right for me,
But felt so lonely in your company.
But that was love and it’s an ache I still remember.

You can get addicted to a certain kind of sadness,
Like resignation to the end, always the end.
So when we found that we could not make sense,
Well, you said that we would still be friends.
But I’ll admit that I was glad it was over.

But you didn’t have to cut me off,
Make out like it never happened and that we were nothing.
And I don’t even need your love,
But you treat me like a stranger and I feel so rough.
No, you didn’t have to stoop so low,
Have your friends collect your records and then change your number.
I guess that I don’t need that though.
Now you’re just somebody that I used to know.

Now you’re just somebody that I used to know.

Now you’re just somebody that I used to know.

[Kimbra:]
Now and then I think of all the times you screwed me over,
Part of me believing it was always something that I’d done.
But I don’t wanna live that way,
Reading into every word you say.
You said that you could let it go,
And I wouldn’t catch you hung up on somebody that you used to know.

[Gotye:]
But you didn’t have to cut me off,
Make out like it never happened and that we were nothing.
And I don’t even need your love,
But you treat me like a stranger and I feel so rough.
No, you didn’t have to stoop so low,
Have your friends collect your records and then change your number.
I guess that I don’t need that though.
Now you’re just somebody that I used to know.

Somebody
(I used to know)
Somebody
(Now you’re just somebody that I used to know)
Somebody
(I used to know)
Somebody
(Now you’re just somebody that I used to know)

(I used to know)
(That I used to know)
(I used to know)
Somebody

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The Risks Of Media Justice

The case of the killing of Trayvon Martin has seen its first day in court, essentially, as George Zimmerman made his first appearance today. This case will easily be one of the most followed, popular cases of the year, as the media (taking a couple of weeks to get started) took on the case in pretty much every single facet over the past month.

This is certainly not the only case that has had such explosive media interest and treatment. The Amanda Knox and Joran van der Sloot cases garnered quite a bit of public interest when they swung around, but the media hounding and partisanship didn’t seem to be as massively present in those cases as it is in the Martin case.

No, this case reminds me of two other cases that seemed to cause much more fervor and emotion: The Casey Anthony case and the Jerry Sandusky case, particularly when dealing with former Penn State football head coach Joe Paterno.

I’ve written on the Paterno case before, but I kind of want to talk about it from a different angle. Recently, the story of JoePa, the former Penn State president and others involved in the Sandusky case was written on by ESPN in a long, but extremely thorough and actually somewhat troubling, article. It’s one of the better pieces of journalism I’ve read, and well worth a read.

See, with Paterno, as with Zimmerman, the media reaction was almost instantaneous ad the fervor began. Condemnation was swift and unforgiving. Paterno was culpable, a disgusting example, a man forever to be tarnished by his inaction. People were pointing at Paterno and assigning him duties he did not necessarily have, and then hanging him for not completing those duties.

Now, Paterno admitted, as do I, that he perhaps should have done more than he did. Hindsight does give better vision. And thanks to the actions lacking in several others in the case, added to Paterno’s perceived weight at Penn State, he took the brunt of the public ire.

But as the article from ESPN shows, we are now seeing that perhaps some of that ire and disdain should have been directed at other people. We see that others were perhaps mining out personal gains from all the tragedies.

And perhaps, the media and those following it were far too quick to hang a man for moral crimes. This is one danger found in the media rush to involve itself in trials: They reach the verdict before all the information is in. This is something that clearly happened in the Martin case, as the discussions the media should have been having, discussions on “Stand Your Ground” laws, gun control, police procedure, the slow justice system, were all set aside as the media went after solving the case. Eventually, the case became politicized, as Barack Obama’s comments were jumped on by some of his political rivals as encouraging racist thoughts. Then it became a left vs. right issue, one it never should have been. Unfortunately, the media went with it, straying far and away from the topics the nation should have been hearing about.

These quick, from the gut, overly-emotional rushes tend to just lead to people getting too involved and upset, or people doing or saying things that they should know better than to say, and then later apologizing for them. Unless, of course, you’re Rush Limbaugh.

In the Casey Anthony trial, something similar happened. Nancy Grace of HLN grabbed onto this case and made it a national sensation. In her typical style, she beat it into everyone’s heads that Anthony was guilty, guilty, guilty. In a strange twist, one might be able to blame Grace for Anthony getting off, since her sensationalizing and popularizing of the case could very well be what brought the good defense lawyers on Anthony’s side.

But another problem that people might not consider caused by the media uproar and attention is the prejudgment. I’m not really talking about the quick judgment in this case, in which we condemn before we know for sure and cry out for action before justice, like with Paterno. Rather, I’m talking about people keeping up with the case deciding how the case should end up. They let the case go through the court systems, but they go in with a verdict in mind.

That’s problematic for our justice system, which will often call upon an impartial jury. Jurors that already have their minds made up are usually discarded, deemed not able to reach a verdict the way they should. If a case becomes too popularized, the details revealed too soon, the court’s options are limited in choice, making the juror pool smaller. It certainly doesn’t help in the prosecution of a criminal, and it makes jurors less likely to listen to the evidence as presented.

The media has pretty much completely messed up on how they handled the Martin case. Some in the media have behaved worse than others. Hopefully, justice can still be reached. But I’ve already seen the effects it’s had on average people. I’ve even seen people turn on Martin’s mother for suggesting this was an accident. People have already closed off their minds. (For the record, I think she’s right. It probably was an accident, to an extent. I don’t think Zimmerman hunted Martin down and murdered him maliciously. I think Zimmerman made a series of severely bad decisions that culminated in a confrontation wherein he shot Martin, possibly during a struggle, but I have doubts he did it with the full knowledge that Martin was unarmed and not a threat. But that is still a crime, even if it was completely accidental. And he should still be brought to justice for it.)

It’s unfortunate. And it’s something the media needs to fix itself on. Before any more damage is had in any other cases.

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My First Super Bowl Sunday: A Recap

Okay. So as I mentioned yesterday, I’ve never been to a Super Bowl party, never watched a Super Bowl game all the way through… none of it.

That has all changed.

I rooted for the Giants because, first, they were the underdogs, but second and more importantly, most all of my friends watching the game were very anti-Patriots. …also anti-Titans when I shouted that out as a joke. Oh, well.

We weren’t a bunch of football obsessed people, so there was a lot of just simple hanging out and chatting. There was food, there was fun, I met some cool new people (who, depending on how hard hitting those bottles were on their system, may or may not remember me)… it was in general a good time. I even committed my first slight party foul and tipped a drink.

Woo.

The game wasn’t immensely exciting, though the Giants had a couple of extremely memorable plays. Particularly the game saving catch. The half time show was alright, I suppose… I particularly enjoyed Cee-Lo Green’s appearance and the wacky way the show ended… But, as we all know, the real reason to watch was the commercials.

Most of which were disappointing.

I mean, come on. If you’re going to pay that much money to get a commercial on during the Super Bowl, make it good. And make it new! What is up with showing commercials we saw a month ago? Or leaking the commercials early? Yes, I’m looking at you Ferris Bueller commercial. Even if you were nostalgically fun (not for me, since I’ve yet to see that movie (please don’t kill me)), I saw you a couple of weeks ago. I didn’t need a repeat.

There were some great movie trailers that I’m excited for, too…

But I’m going to break down my best and worst moments of the Super Bowl (all but one of which are commercials):

Best moments:

5. “The Catch” – Okay. I’m not really a big football fan. To be honest. But I like well played sports. I like risky maneuvers that pay off. I like skill. Ergo, I really liked this crazy Giants play that shouldn’t have worked.

4. “Doritos: The Bribe” – Wow. This one was one that was actually kind of dark, but still pretty funny. And it was much more satisfactory to me than the other Doritos commercial.

3. “The Voice – Vocal Kombat” – I really love this show. It is SO much better than American Idol. There’s no berating. There’s actual teaching, coaching from singers, singers that don’t swap out every week. There’s constructive criticism, there’s banter, and there genuinely seems to be a real caring nature from each of the coaches imparted onto each of the singers. It’s great. And this premiere? It’s hilariously over-the-top, off-the-wall ridiculous. I love every second of it. Especially the Cee-Lo parts. That guy is simply entertaining.

2. “M&Ms – That Kind Of Party” – This thing is terrible. And hilarious. Terriblious? Hilarible? Anyway, quite good.

1. “Audi – Vampire Party” – This appeals to everyone that disdains Twilight… and everyone with a sense of humor. This is well done and set a great tone of humor. One that wasn’t met well, but it was still great. My favorite, by far. (Well, not super far. The others I listed are awesome.)

Honorable Mention. “NBC lineup – Brotherhood Of Man” – I put this as an honorable mention because I didn’t see it until after the Super Bowl. But that allows me to link you to the longer version! Borrowing from “How To Succeed in Business Without Really Trying,” this showcases some of the best shows on television, even if NBC doesn’t realize it.

Best Trailer. “The Avengers” – I will again link the long version. Because it’s great. I’m really hoping this movie is as good as it could be.

There were others I could’ve included in this list, like the fat dog, that were fun, but I have to stop at some point, right?

Worst moments:

3. “Debbie Spenditnow” – This wasn’t one I got to see in my area… but I definitely saw it later. The only reason it’s number three is because it wasn’t in my area. But it’s definitely stupidly racist enough to get on the list.

2. “GoDaddy.com – Body Paint” – I have never liked GoDaddy commercials. They were alright when no one knew who they were. Now they’re just annoying and stupid. Please make them go away.

1. All the bad beer commercials – Seriously. What happened to the Budweiser frogs or “Whazzup?!” Those were fun beer commercials. The rescue dog commercial was cute, and had a nice message at the end… but there were sooo many beer commercials. And they were, by and large, no good at all. And Bud Light Platinum? Well, I’ll let my friend John Davis talk to you about that.

And that about sums it up. More good than bad, that’s for sure. Maybe tomorrow I’ll be back to talking about real issues.

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