U Bum

ubumAccording to one survey, Americans spend an average of about 24.4 hours per week watching live television. That number would be significantly reduced if Trump was left out of the survey group. As the so-called leader of the free world and the most powerful man on earth, Trump would rather fritter away eight hours a day in front of the boob-tube than tackle the most basic of the nation’s problems.

Everyone knows Mr. Orange is a yuge fan of Fox & Friends where the hosts speak in tongues to the president and feed him his talking points for the day. We also are led to believe he despises CNN – and yet he apparently rations some of his copious view time to that “failing” cable channel. Yesterday, after watching CNN’s Tonight with Don Lemon where the lemony host interviewed NBA rock star LeBron James, Trump melted down and posted this snarky and ill-advised tweet.


Once a Twitter fan of LeBron when “King James” trod the floorboards for the Cleveland Cavaliers in politically important Ohio, Trump now feels he has permission to shit on the newest member of the LA Lakers. After all, the Lakers are a team situated in a town in a state that would sooner vote for Karl Marx than Trump (aka. Blimpo Marx).

No doubt Trump was angered when James called him out as “U bum” for disinviting Steph Curry and by extension his championship Golden State Warriors from visiting the White House for a traditional photo-op almost as consequential as when a turkey receives a presidential pardon before Thanksgiving. I’m sure James hit a nerve because he had the temerity to expose a cheap common Trump ploy: when faced with certain rejection, take an action beforehand that makes it appear you were first to reject.


Trump’s tweet about Lemon and James comports with his oft-deployed theme of attacking people based on their poor intelligence – something Trump could have no realistic insight into. It’s just a cheap shot that can’t be proven or disproven – and as such should never leave the confines of the grade school play yard. To him, all his enemies are “low IQ.” And until he releases his own IQ test results he should stop smearing others.

But since he brought it up, Don Lemon – admittedly not the sharpest tool in the box- is not the “dumbest man on television.” That honor goes to a either Brian Kilmeade or Steve Douchy – both of Fox & Friends.

Listen to Kilmeade’s conclusion that America has a problem because white people keep having sex with other “species” – by which he means non-white humans. He was forced to retract later.

Nevertheless, it seems incontrovertible that Douchy is stupider that Kilmeade – you can tell just by looking at his vacant face. Here’s a nice Douchy slam down from John McCain.

Oops. That wasn’t Steve Douchy, it was his equally moronic son Peter who no doubt got his Fox News gig strictly on merit. I guess the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.

Let’s try again. Here’s a clip of Steve making such a moronic claim about climate change that even Fox toad Geraldo Rivera (another candidate for dumbest man on television) was forced to disagree, calling out his colleague in retardation.

When you think about it, if you combined the IQs of both Kilmeade and Douchy, together these nitwits would be the dumbest man on television.

The Love of Look

This song has nothing to do with this article

It’s human nature to pollute conversation with annoying verbal tics. The introduction of “ums” and “y’knows” belies the speaker’s synaptic delays as he or she formulates the connection from one idea to the next. Other verbal tics serve to soften the introduction of a response to a question (consider how many times Ronald Reagan began an answer with a head shake and a “Well…”) while some are used by people to progress the conversation – the most annoying being “So…”

We at Major Terata are sick of people sticking the word “so” into sentences that don’t require or deserve it.

“So, I was thinking we should see that new Abba movie.” “Sounds good. So, should we try for this Friday?” “Sure. So, do you think your sister would like to come along?” “Not likely. She has a wicked case of crabs.” “So, I can recommend a good doctor.” “She’d appreciate that. So, you’ll text me his name?”

A particularly annoying verbal tic has sprung up among TV pundits who appear with regularity on such hit shows as “The Rachel Maddow Show,” “Morning Joe,” “All in with Chris Hayes,” “AC:360,” “The Sean Hannity Show,” and virtually every other venue that features a half-dozen talking heads sucking the oxygen away from one another. And that tic is “Look.”

The purpose of “Look” is to serve as a rest stop between a pundit’s feeble response to a direct question and his or her attempt to regain footing by barreling headlong into a tangential and incoherent diatribe until either the host or another guest mercifully interrupts. For example:

HOST: What do you think about China’s manipulation of the renminbi?

PUNDIT: The renminbi must not be manipulated. Look. My reporting on China has led me to conclude that the armature sprocket is causing interference which in turn is causing the combustion line to interfere with the flow and the dynaflow—

HOST: –We’re gonna cut to some Breaking News now…

Yes, the interjection of “Look” has become pervasive on the pundit TV circuit – and it really should stop. Those who use it come off like know-nothings caught with their pants around their ankles, or arrogant know-everythings who feel they have to one-up the host with a pithy riposte before moving to the meat of the subject.

Here’s a transcript of a recent airing of “Hard Ball with Chris Matthews.” Matthews splooges out some incoherent word salad that has something to do with Russia. A former Republican congressman must respond.

MATTHEWS: David Jolly, I want to talk to you about your Republican Party. Is it still there? Is the big bad bear now the man you are afraid to poke? It used to be the Russians, it used to be our enemies, now it`s the leader of the Party who is so fearful or fear so much and say that that`s the number one goal of any elected official, do not mess or do not, as Bob Corker said, dare poke the bear.

JOLLY: That`s right, Chris. Look. The GOP that we knew is dead. It`s over. This is the Party of Donald Trump.

You’ll note that the interjection of “Look” is meant to separate Jolly-the-Paid-Guest’s required deference to the host (“That’s right, Chris.”) to his more thoughtful insights on whatever Matthews was trying to convey.

Here’s an example of how a guest uses “Look” to try to recover from sounding like a nitwit. Brian Williams of “The 11th Hour” speaks with former Senator Bob Kerrey about Trump’s meeting with Putin in Helsinki.

WILLIAMS: So what do you think it is, a friend of mine watched the press conference in over in Helsinki kind of a mild Trump supporter, comes away from it and says, he kind of, you could believe they`ve got something on him. What do you think its?

KERREY: Well, you certainly don`t want to believe Vladimir Putin, he says, oh, no we got millions of people. Look, Donald Trump has been talking about running for president since `87 or `88.

Yes, none of this makes any sense. Williams throws Kerrey some brain rot, and Kerrey, instead of demanding, “What the fuck?” goes into an equally incoherent response before trying to recover with the verbal tic “Look.” Clearly in this case it didn’t work.

If you waste enough time listening to programs featuring Stormy Daniels’s attorney Michael Avenatti, you’ll be treated to a lot of “Looks.” Which makes sense after all when you think about it, as foisting a “Look” onto someone comports with the Mafiosi code of communications.

Here is Lawrence O’Donnell chatting up Avenatti about nemesis Michael Cohen in which we get the double-Look.

O`DONNELL: And, Michael, there`s another side of this legal coin. One side of it is you need to hire me in order to get benefits. The other side of it is, which is kind of the old mafia version of it, you need to hire me to prevent this president from doing serious damage to you. I will get this president not to do damage to you.

AVENATTI: Well, there`s little doubt, Lawrence, I don`t know this for a fact, but, look, based on the way I know Michael Cohen and the way he`s conducted himself, there`s little doubt in my mind that probably both messages were delivered. And, look, let me also say this, I seriously doubt that at the end of this, there`s going to be any doubt as to whether Mr. Trump knew what was going on here.

Note that the first “Look” seems to be a dodge away from weakness (“I don’t know this for a fact”) which is followed by a stronger “Look” prefacing a bold statement about Trump’s ultimate culpability.

Why not play a parlor game while sitting in your La-Z-Boy or sprawled out atop your lumpy bed under your stinky sheets: Count the number of times a pundit utters “Look” and you might qualify to squeeze Don’s lemons.

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