Monday, December 17, 2007

Mitt the media mogul? Uhh.. no

The scathingly hilarious 2006 film Idiocracy takes place roughly 500 years in the future, in a society frighteningly dumbed down by moronic entertainment, crass consumerism, ignorance, bad breeding and just plain stupidity.

This infamously buried film, directed by Mike Judge, is about a mediocre Army slacker named Joe Bauers (played by Luke Wilson) who, via an experiment gone horribly wrong, is accidentally put into a 500 year hibernation and wakes up in a mess of a future where he happens to be the smartest man in the world. Imagine a world where technology is dysfunctional, people get law degrees from Costco, the top TV show is about a guy who is repeatedly kicked and socked in the groin, Starbucks has devolved into a chain of massage parlors (don't ask what a 'Full Body Latte with extra foam' is) and people get their news analysis from a magazine called "Hot Naked Chicks and World Report." Ironically, the film seems highly reflective of modern times. It is especially so in some of the conversations that take place, particularly this one, where Joe, who is trying to figure out the solution to an enduring farmland drought, tries to tell people that watering crops with sodium-rich sport drinks is, surprise, a bad idea:

Joe: "For the last time, I'm pretty sure what's killing the crops is this Brawndo (sport drink) stuff."

Secretary of State: "But Brawndo's got what plants crave. It's got electrolytes."

Attorney General: "So wait a minute. What you're saying is that you want us to put water on the crops."

Joe: "Yes."

Attorney General: "Water. Like out the toilet?"

Joe: "Well, I mean, it doesn't have to be out of the toilet, but, yeah, that's the idea."

Secretary of State: "But Brawndo's got what plants crave."

Attorney General: "It's got electrolytes."

Joe: "Okay, look. The plants aren't growing, so I'm pretty sure that the Brawndo's not working. Now, I'm no botanist, but I do know that if you put water on plants, they grow."

Secretary of Energy: "Well, I've never seen no plants grow out of no toilet."

Secretary of State: "Hey, that's good. You sure you ain't the smartest guy in the world?"

Joe: "Okay, look. You wanna solve this problem. I wanna get my pardon. So why don't we just try it, okay, and not worry about what plants crave?"

Attorney General: "Brawndo's got what plants crave."

Secretary of Energy: "Yeah, it's got electrolytes."

Joe: "What are electrolytes? Do you even know?"

Secretary of State: "It's what they use to make Brawndo."

Joe: "Yeah, but why do they use them to make Brawndo?"

Secretary of Defense: "'Cause Brawndo's got electrolytes."

See what I mean?

That conversation resembles the attempts to squash hoary old urban legends, conspiracy theories and rumors that keep popping up over and over again, even after they've been disproved. We saw that with that 'ABC advertiser blacklist' thing a while back (which every once in a while makes a return appearance). And now, with the proposed buyout of media giant Clear Channel Communications by private venture capital firms Bain Capital and Thomas Lee Partners, that old 'Mitt Romney is sinking his tentacles into Clear Channel' meme has resurfaced for another go-round. For some reason, the blogosphere is going apeshit over this once again.

I said it a year ago, and I'll say it again. It ain't true.

Here's what I wrote last December:

Mitt Romney is buying Clear Channel in a fiendish plot for world domination

On November 17, after months of speculation, the Mays family, which controls Clear Channel Communications, announced the sale of the largest radio station operator in the country. The buyers consisted of two private equity firms, Thomas H. Lee Partners and Bain Capital. Many were skeptical of the sale, particularly since Bain Capital was founded by Republican politician Willard 'Mitt' Romney. Many thought that Clear Channel would become even more of a right-wing company, controlled by a guy yearning to be George W. Bush's replacement in the White House. Well, you can all take a deep breath, since Romney is no longer involved with Bain Capital, having cashed out of the firm in 2001. Therefore, Mitt Romney will have no say in the new Clear Channel Communications.

There is a positive in all of this, since the sale will negate a grandfather clause that enabled them to swallow up so many stations. As a result, Clear Channel is currently divesting of most stations outside of the top 100 markets where they own broadcast properties, and is also divesting of stations in larger markets to get to the maximum allowed. And in some cases, the company is taking a significant loss on a few properties, including Fargo, ND.

So you see, Mitt Romney is no more taking control of Clear Channel than the Thomas Lee mentioned is actually the drummer for Motley Crue. Ain't happenin' folks. Mitt's got his own mitts full at the moment with his mediocre presidential campaign puttering along.

Let me say it again. Mitt Romney is not buying Clear Channel. And plants crave neither electrolytes nor Gatorade.


FSL said...

Sounds like an interesting flick. I just added it to my Netflix queue.

Craig C Clarke said...

That conversation's what its like to be an atheist talking to the religious.

"But your big boom thing couldn't just happen on its own. Something had to start it."

OK, so what do you think then?

"God did it!"

But then what created God?

"Nothing created God, nothing had to create God - he's GOD! (Brawndos got what plants crave...)"

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