Friday, December 25, 2009

Jimmy Carter: Apology Without Book Removal

I try to keep my blog out of politics and to focus on entertainment, but when a famous politician uses his or her name to write provocative books, those books can have an impact on our culture.

A few years ago, Jimmy Carter wrote a book called Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid. The book was very offensive to Jews who believe that Jimmy Carter was comparing the Israeli/Palestinian conflict to the Apartheid that occurred in South Africa.

As Jimmy Carter’s grandson is preparing to run for a state senate seat in Georgia, Jimmy is now apologizing for offending Jews.

I am happy that Jimmy Carter is apologizing, but there are two problems that I see with his apology.

First, the timing could not be worse. The fact that his grandson is running for the state senate in a district with many vocal Jews makes this apology look like it may have been done for his grandson’s benefit, not out of random sincerity. Had he given this apology last year, Jimmy Carter would not appear to have another motive. So I have to question the timing of his apology and the motive for choosing this period of time to make it. While I question the timing of his apology, I will give him the benefit of the doubt on this one issue for one reason. His book was released the year that his son, Jack Carter, was running for the U.S. Senate in Nevada. The son lost that election and his father’s book probably did not help him with the Jewish vote. The fact that Jimmy Carter did not hold off the publication of that book until after the election means that he had no fear of his book harming his son in the U.S. Senate race. But I also have to consider that there is a possibility that Jimmy Carter did not realize how big the backlash against his book would be in 2006 and is apologizing now because he sees the damaging effect that the book had on both him and possibly his family’s reputation.

Second, Jimmy Carter’s book is still being sold. If he is apologetic for what he did, then he should have his book recalled. The sin is the book. How can he be sorry if he is still willing to sell the book? Or at least he could have the book pulled from the shelves and re-released it with a new title.

I want to overlook the fact that Jimmy Carter’s grandson is running for the state senate at the time of this apology. At the same time, I must say that Jimmy Carter is not doing enough to show that he is sorry because he is still profiting from sales of this book today. I do not know how many copies of his book are being sold today, but he is still profiting off of what he claims to be sorry for.

Jimmy Carter needs to clarify that if he wants to show that he is sorry, he must remove the book from the shelves and online stores immediately. Otherwise, how can anyone believe that he is really sorry? It would be like if Senator Al Franken apologized to Rush Limbaugh for offending him, yet still sold the book “Rush Limbaugh Is A Big Fat Idiot” at stores and online. Would we believe that Senator Franken was sorry? Of course not (But we also know that he would never change his views on Rush Limbaugh in the first place). But this example illustrates that Jimmy Carter must remove his book from circulation or else his apology has no meaning.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Grammy Awards: No Losers for Album of the Year

This article is dedicated to Vijith Assar, who has a greater appreciation for music than anyone who I have ever met. He writes about music and his website is

In the last two decades, the top award at the Grammys, Album of the Year, has been given to older artists who may or may not have truly deserved the award. Rock & Roll started in the 1950s and had some amazing artists in the 1960s and 1970s, but many of those artists lost awards to other talented artists of the time. It seems like in recent years, the Grammy Awards have tried to right many past wrongs by giving Album of the Year to make up for the mistakes of the past.

In the 1990s, the older artists who won Album of the Year did so against really weak competition, so the feeling of them robbing younger artists was not felt the way it was in the 2000s. Quincy Jones beat MC Hammer for the year 1990. Eric Clapton truly deserved the award in 1992 for the album that included the song Tears From Heaven (a beautiful song about the loss of his son). Tony Bennett won for the year 1994 against extremely week competition (probably the worst year for the Grammy Awards). Santana won for the extremely successful album Supernatural for the year 1999. The only major robbing of the decade was Bob Dylan's Time Out Of Mind winning for 1997 over Radiohead’s masterpiece OK Computer. Can anyone name a song by Bob Dylan from that album, or even from the 1990s?

What really started with the honoring of Bob Dylan for 1997 turned into a decade of truly undeserving artists winning in the 2000s. Unlike in the 1990s, these artists faced strong competition by younger artists who may have to wait decades to rob a future artist for Album of the Year. For 2000, Steely Dan won the award over Eminem’s second album. This was Eminem’s year and the best album that he had ever made. For 2004, Ray Charles won, but many people feel that he won for two reasons. First, he died in 2004, adding to the desire to honor him. Second, Jamie Foxx had just starred in the excellent film Ray, about Ray Charles’ life. For 2007, Herbie Hancock won over strong competition from Kanye West and Amy Winehouse. Does anyone remember a song from the Herbie Hancock album? This win for Herbie Hancock was a tragedy of older Grammy voters choosing to honor the older artist over the deserving ones. Many people felt that after losing Album of the Year in 2004 and 2005, Kanye West would finally receive the award for 2007. Maybe he’ll get his award in 30 years. It was the night of Herbie Hancock and the best album of 2007 that no one purchased.

When I saw the nominees for 2008 and noticed that Robert Plant and Alison Krauss were nominated for an album together, I knew that Grammy was being Grammy again and set to honor another undeserving piece of junk over deserving artists. I was right. Coldplay’s most successful album and the new album by Radiohead must be ignored so we can honor Robert Plant, who never got proper acknowledgement for his work with Led Zeppelin. I have an idea. How about instead of honoring his recent album, they just give the 2008 Album of the Year to the album Led Zeppelin IV and give Record of the Year and Song of the Year to Stairway To Heaven? If we are going to honor him, we should just be honest about it. He deserved Album of the Year for Led Zeppelin IV, not for the current album.

When I saw the nominees for Album of the Year for 2009, there were no older, undeserving artists. Beyonce, Taylor Swift, Lady GaGa, Black Eyed Peas, and Dave Matthews Band were all nominated for attention grabbing albums. Maybe the Grammys will give it to Dave Matthews because he is the oldest of the nominees, but he’s not in irrelevant territory. Maybe Beyonce or Taylor Swift will battle it out. Maybe Black Eyed Peas will win for their feel-good album that makes you want to dance. Or some voters may feel that Lady GaGa should be honored for being the pop singer who can sing and actually write her own songs. We will see, but the most important thing about this award is that these are the artists who truly made an impact in 2009. When future generations look at the Album of the Year award for the year 2009, they will find an album that was actually listened to by society in that year. The award will actually honor one of the best albums of the year and not be used as a lifetime achievement award.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Brian Bonsall Arrested Part 2

For those of you who don’t remember who he is, Brian Bonsall played the little boy on the show Family Ties back in the 1980s. Now I could have used this article to talk about how the mother on the show, Meredith Baxter, had recently admitted that she is a lesbian, but I feel that this “Family Ties” situation is more important.
This is not the first time I wrote about Brian Bonsall. On March 31, 2007, I wrote an article about him being arrested for assaulting his girlfriend. The article is available for you to read here:

Brian Bonsall Arrested (March 31, 2007)

Now he is arrested for hitting a friend with part of a broken stool during a fight in which Brian was drunk. This is a pattern. In both articles, I have written about Brian Bonsall getting arrested for committing violent acts on others. I really do not like what I am seeing.

In the first article, I posted a picture of Brian as a young child when he was on Family Ties. I wanted people to remember who he is. Now I am posting a picture of his old photo next to his arrest photo. I want people to see who he is now. I wanted to focus on the huge tattoo on his neck. I am not judging people for having tattoos, but usually people are smart enough not to get them in areas that are difficult to cover up during a job interview. He cannot wear a turtle neck like the one he wore as a child to ever job interview.

I believe at this point, Brian Bonsall is probably a hopeless cause. Maybe he should turn to rehab to quit drinking if his use of alcohol makes him a violent person. I do not know if he is dating the same girlfriend from 2007 or if he is dating anyone at all. But I would advise any woman to just stay away from him. His violent actions have continued and I fear that this story will lead to a very sad ending.

Brian Bonsall is the type of former child actor who I can only predict the worst for. If he beats someone to death, I will not be surprised. If anyone is close to him and reading this, please understand that I am not against Brian Bonsall. I believe that he desperately needs an intervention before he hurts someone else or possibly himself. I hope that this is the last article that I write about him, but I feel that this story will sadly continue…

Friday, December 04, 2009

Trojan Condoms Should Sponsor Tiger Woods

Does a human being deserve privacy if he earns $100 Million a year promoting products? Do people on reality shows deserve privacy when their personal lives take a turn for the negative side? How much can a person say “Look at me! Look at me!” before that person deserves the right to say, “I would like some privacy”?

Tiger Woods at only age 33 has been able to earn more money than Michael Jordan in endorsements. Unlike most famous athletes, Tiger Woods may have a career that lasts 25 or more years because golf is a sport in which athletes may be able to be competitive even in their late 40s. It may be possible that we may see Tiger Woods golf career last even 30 years, while the average great football or basketball player has a career of 10-15 years. He is on track to become the first billionaire athlete.

Recently, there was a lot of speculation that Tiger Woods’ car crash was due to him trying to drive away from his wife, who was violently confronting him over possible affairs. After a phone message was leaked to the press of Tiger Woods trying to cover up his involvement with one woman, he has admitted that he has made some mistakes without clearly saying, “I cheated on my wife.” Instead, he said, “I have let my family down and I regret those transgressions with all of my heart. I have not been true to my values and the behavior my family deserves. I am not without faults and I am far short of perfect. I am dealing with my behavior and personal failings behind closed doors with my family. Those feelings should be shared by us alone.”

Hold on, buddy! What gives Tiger Woods the right to say that he deserves privacy when he’s been one of the least private athletes on the planet? I do not think that every athlete deserves to have his private life made public, but not every athlete has endorsements that dwarf his or her sports income. There are many athletes who are one of the top in their sports yet still do not receive any income from endorsements. Let’s say there is a defensive lineman who plays well in the NFL, but does not receive a single endorsement. If he gets caught cheating on his wife, he still did not put himself out in the public the way that Tiger Woods has. Sure the defensive lineman plays a sport that can bring a lot of attention, but he is not doing things to bring more attention to himself off the football field. So the lineman can be just like some other person with a private life, who happened to have an affair.

Tiger Woods could have been just the top golfer in the world, but he used his fame to earn way more money off the golf course than he ever would earn playing golf. People see Tiger’s face on commercials endorsing products that have nothing to do with golf, like Gillette razors. By choosing to draw more attention to himself, he has lost the right to privacy. He is too famous and his actions prior to getting caught cheating are too self-promoting for Tiger Woods to expect any privacy.
The sponsors of Tiger Woods are sticking by him for now. If it turns out that he’s a sex maniac who has cheated with many women, some of those sponsors may walk away. He will never have to worry about money, but you cannot buy a good reputation. That is why I think that he should just try to laugh this off by taking a sponsorship with Trojan condoms.

One more note. Tiger Woods looks like the offspring of Yoda having sex with a frog. His wife is a Swedish model named Elin Nordegren. Part of me was thinking, “He cheated on her? She is way more attractive than him.” But I think that Tiger Woods has a super-sized ego and is completely full of himself. I no longer consider myself to be a fan of his and I don’t care what happens to him in the future. There are better people in the world than Tiger Woods and they deserve better than he does. Tiger Woods is a schmuck.
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