In this week's edition of The Daily Banter Mail Bag, Ben, Bob, Chez and Jessica discuss Greenwald's book deal, the Tsarnaev cover of Rolling Stone and Big Bang Theory!
1. Did you guys hear the announcement about Greenwald's upcoming book about Snowden and the NSA scandal? He's promising new details! How (not at all) surprised are you by this shocking revelation?
Ben: I won't personally be reading it, although I'm not hating on Glenn for getting a book deal. Writers have to make a living, even if it's recycling the same shit they've been saying every day for the past God knows how many months/years. I still read Greewald's stuff occasionally - while massively flawed his work isn't without merit, and he writes about some important topics (Israel, aspects of the security state etc) . Granted I've hurled a lot of crap at him because I think he's a pompous ass, but I do think the NSA has too much power, I do think Snowden did something of value, and I do think the media should confront power, not defer to it. Within the relentlessly soulless hectoring, Greenwald's upcoming book will probably have some interesting information in it. Will there be shocking revelations? I doubt it, but it shouldn't be dismissed out of hand.
Bob: Maybe he'll give me an autographed copy! Seriously, his writing is so unreadable, and his reporting is so deceptive -- anyone who takes him at face value is being suckered by a scam artist.
Chez: Remember how I said not too long ago that Elisabeth Hasselbeck going to Fox was the least surprising thing ever? I stand corrected. Greenwald writing a juicy but tediously pompous and entirely self-serving hagiographic tell-all about Adventurous Edward Snowden is the least surprising thing ever. It was from the very beginning. And of course since we're talking about shocking revelations that have earth-shattering implications for our surveillance state and the U.S. government in general -- which Greenwald and Snowden of course can bring to its knees with a simple wave of their penises -- Greenwald is going to treat the story like he's a two-bit paparazzo. He's going to tease us. Because he's a hack.
Jessica: My guess is that these new details will be along the lines of, "I had a double shot of espresso in my latte (as Snowdon told me his master plan)." Or, the even more interesting: "I hadn't eaten for two hours and I knew my protein levels were low. I ducked out and had some chicken." I'm hoping there will be photos of the pair locked in an intense discussion, or just staring into each other's eyes knowing that one life is set to be forever on the run and the other just sees the dollar signs. If this book costs anything I ain't buying. But, if it's free I may use it one day when heating becomes too expensive and I need things to burn. My next read is obviously on Kate and William's new baby.
2. How do you feel about the Dzhokhar Tsarnaev "Rolling Stones" cover? He looks like a member of the Strokes.
Chez: Eh. I don't like that it fuels Tsarnaev's weird fangirl cult and there's no doubt that Rolling Stone didn't do it in the name of fearless journalism -- it did it because it'd get the reaction it's getting and would sell magazines. On the other hand, it does force us to look at a guy who became a terrorist monster and wonder, with one image, how exactly that happened. It certainly confounds expectations.
Bob: Put it this way, if you're planning on committing an act of brutal terrorism, be sure to have a beefcake selfie ready for Jan Wenner.
Jessica: Whatever happened to the Strokes?
Ben: I have to say, I don't really have much of an opinion on it. I can see why some people would have found it offensive, but apparently the piece (that I haven't read) doesn't try to glamorize what him the slightest. Rolling Stone made its name as a provocative counter culture magazine, and putting a rock star type photo of Tsarnaev on the front cover shouldn't come as much of a shock. Why did Rolling Stone do it? I'm guessing they figure long term, negative, controversial press adds to their mystique and brand. I will say this - I wouldn't have chosen the photo myself, but I wouldn't have voted to take it off either.
3. Can somebody please explain to me how "The Big Bang Theory" keeps getting nominated for best comedy at the Emmys?
Bob: I have no idea. It's a horribly unfunny show. I don't know what I'm missing, but it's unwatchable. I really can't emphasize how much I hate that show -- a hate that's only exacerbated by its incomprehensible popularity. If this is the general taste of the Academy, it's no wonder that the funniest network sitcom since Seinfeld, "New Girl," was entirely snubbed this year.
Chez: Your guess is as good as mine. Then again, "Girls" is also nominated and that show is as funny as a burn unit.
Ben: Don't know, don't watch it. Tried to sit through an episode a year ago and literally fell asleep on a friend's couch. Wasn't funny in the slightest.