Monday, June 16, 2008

Tim Russert and the 27 Virgins

As I am sure you know by now, Tim Russert, host of Meet the Press, passed away suddenly last Friday afternoon. He was one of my favorite television journalists. A big guy with a down-to-earth approach and an easy-going sense of humor. He had a very grounded presence and just had a great way of making sense of things. He will be sorely missed as we go into this very important presidential election.


Good friend and founding member of Soiree Dada, Circus-Szalewski has officially and finally(!) moved to Los Angeles. I was fortunate enough to catch up with him at the Green Mill last night. The Dada boys have haunted that place and it was a fitting venue for his departure. It was also an opportunity for Circus and Julie to meet. As Julie put it, "For a guy named Circus, he's pretty normal. He might just be the most normal friend you have."


The assignment this week is to write about heaven. Your concept of heaven, a well accepted concept of heaven, or even just a situation where someone's dreams come true. It's a good opportunity for some social satire by taking a closer look at "wouldn't it be great dreams" and seeing that, on closer inspection, they may not be so great.

I'll give you an example by sharing an idea I am working on. I am fascinated by suicide bombers and that what seems to be one of their primary motivations - that they will be greeted in heaven by 27 virgins. For heaven, that sounds like a pretty naughty proposition. There must be a catch.

Let's explore a closer look with a list of ten...

1) They're all babies.
2) They're all virgins for a reason - all very grotesque.
3) Nope. It's 100% true and they are all on the same cycle.
4) It's true and they all really act like virgins. They want the time to be right. They want to make sure you really love them, etc.
5) It's true and shortly they are all pregnant and you have to raise 27 kids.
6) They are all exceptionally inexperienced and just not getting the hang of this sex thing.
7) They're all guys.
8) It's a mixed bag of all these because they had a tough time finding 27 virgins.
9) They are all in competition with the others and don't get along. They act like it's The Bachelor.
10) They don't like him. They all act like entitled sorority girls and make the suicide bomber feel belittled and out of place.

Lots of possibilities. I like the last one a lot. I also like the one where they really are virgins and act like it. There are others I like, but they are more like short one-joke blackouts, like "babies" or "all guys." If I want to write a full scene, I need something that will demand more character development.

So, pick your heaven. And then start poking holes in it. Have fun.


On Friday, I asked...

"Barack Obama has a new website addressing rumors about him called what?"

25% said ""
- That's fine, but he'll also need a .com for IAmNotAMarxist, IAmNotAnElitist, IAmNotRacist, IAmNotUnpatriotic and IAmNotTheAntichrist.

9% said ""
- I liked this one because it reminded me of the offensively titled childhood game of Smear the Queer. It was the only game where I was labeled a queer for catching a ball.

8% said ""
- If urls had subtext, this would be it.

58% got it right with ""

According to the International Herald Tribune, after trying for months to bat down a swirl of wild rumors in more conventional ways, the presidential campaign of Barack Obama started a Web site last Thursday intended to quash such reports. The site,, lists - and seeks to explode - these rumors.

This is probably a good idea. Most candidates will ignore the rumors and try not to dignify them with comments. That doesn't make them go away. The only thing it ignores is that people anxiously willing to buy into rumors are probably not likely to check their validity.

But all the rumor refuting in the world isn't going to make me vote for a guy the right wing tells me doesn't wear a flag pin, has Hussein for a middle name and flashes terrorist signs to his wife at rallies. McCain has shrewdly changed his campaign slogan to "I'm white."


Old Ned said...

Tim Russert truly was one of the "great ones" -- his enthusiasm, his preparation and fairness, and his heart will be greatly missed. Thanks for mentioning his passing in your blog.

Lori said...

Note to self: Do not read Joe's blog at work. The virgins had me laughing a bit too loudly.
"Hey look, Lori's surfing the web!"
"No I'm not. This software defect is just too darn funny."

Dianna said...

Just seeing the picture on the Today show yesterday morning of Tim Russert's son getting choked up on the "Meet the Press" set, and holding onto his dad's empty chair.
He told Matt Lauer that "the chair is mine now".

Slate has some great editorial cartoons, too.