Posts Tagged ‘media’

By John Ruberry

After a long day at work earlier this month I clicked on the “Surprise Me” feature on Netflix. What popped up was Mike Myers’ new vehicle, The Pentaverate.

“Well,” I said to myself, “this might be pretty good.” 

In fact, The Pentaverate doesn’t even measure up to “pretty bad.” The six episode limited series is one of the worst shows I’ve suffered through. Oh, somehow I managed to view a couple episodes of The Secret Diary of Desmond Pfeiffer. I know about awful.

Warning: There are numerous spoilers and some rather disgusting things that I will mention in my review of this Netflix series.

The origin of The Pentaverate dates back to a throwaway line from Myers’ second film, So I Married an Axe Murderer, where the father of Myers’ lead character, also played by Myers, claims that a secret society, the Pentaverate, a five-man cabal, which at one time included Colonel Sanders as a member, rules the world. In this series narrator Jeremy Irons tells us, the original members of the Pentaverate discovered in 1347, contrary to the belief of the Catholic Church, it was fleas that spread the bubonic plague. 

As the first episode begins, the newest member of the group of five, Dr. Hobart Clark (Keegan-Michael Key), a scientist, is accepted into the Pentaverate after he is kidnapped. Apparently, he is the first non-white fellow of the all-male group, replacing a member who mysteriously died. The other members are played by Myers. Lord Lordington, an elderly Englishman, Bruce Baldwin, an Australian media mogul, who of course is based on Rupert Murdoch, Shep Gordon, a manager of various rock acts, a real person who is the subject of a documentary directed by Myers, and Mishu Ivanov, a Russian oligarch and Vladimir Putin crony.

Warning! Not-safe-for-work language in the trailer.

But Myers isn’t done with his roles. The lead character of The Pentaverate is Ken Scarborough, a television reporter who wears plaid sportscoats; he is a quirky throwback from the 1970s who does man-on-the-street interviews of other oddballs, while overshadowing them. Scarborough works for, wait for it, Toronto-based CACA news. Yep, caca. 

The other four Pentaverate members manufacture a story that Dr. Clark, who was invited into the secret society because they believe he can reverse climate change, is dead. Clark’s phony passing occurs while attempting to mimic an internet video fad–kissing your own anus. Clark’s room at Pentaverate headquarters is guarded by a sasquatch, who immediately defecates outside the scientist’s door. 

In addition to a Shrek cameo, Myers plays two other characters, internet personality Rex Smith, a stand-in for Alex Jones, and Anthony Lansdowne, a conspiracy theorist from New Hampshire. 

Besides being an assault on good taste, The Pentaverate is an attack on right-wingers, with the implied message that all conservatives are conspiracy whackos like Lansdowne. He is a believer, or has been a believer, in QAnon, Pizzagate, and the Illuminati. His last words as he falls to his death is, “But what about her emails?” 

Lansdowne, in his bumper-sticker laden van, which not surprisingly has a malfunctioning portable toilet, drives Scarborough and his pre-woke Doctor Who-like young female companion, Reilly Clayton (Lydia West) to New York City, which looks nothing like today’s NYC, but more like your standard Doctor Who “future metropolis.” Scarborough, recently fired by CACA, is convinced by Clayton and Lansdowne to infiltrate Pentaverate headquarters, and he does so after a painful penis tug initiation. 

Clark, following an intimate evening with the Pentaverate’s executive assistant Patty Davis (Debi Mazar) in the Moon Room studio–did the Pentaverate fake the moon landings?–suddenly dies, this time for real. He is promptly replaced by casino billionaire Skip Cho (Ken Jeong). Oh, I have never thought Jeong was funny. Jeong recently showed his true political colors after childishly storming off the set of The Masked Singer after Rudy Giuliani was revealed as a contestant.

Myers seemingly hasn’t emotionally moved on from being an 11-year-old. Flatulence jokes are among the things that ruined his cinema take on Dr. Seuss’ Cat in the Hat, a children’s film, by the way. Scatological so-called humor also undermined another Myers movie bomb, The Love Guru

Outside of Myers’ fading fame, why did Netflix greenlight this debacle? Could it be that woke Netflix executives fell in love with The Pentaverate’s snide attacks on conservatives, who they probably believe are personified by Smith and Lansdowne? I have liberal friends. Really, I do. And many of them insist that I take marching orders from Alex Jones.

Here’s a tip for Netflix and Myers: the first rule of comedy is that comedies need to be funny.

Netflix lost 200,000 subscribers in the first quarter of 2022. Its stock value plummeted 35-percent last month. Yes, when you go woke you go broke. And I can’t think of a single Netflix dramatic series that is aimed at conservatives. Longmire was the closest show I can think of, but production of it ended in 2017, and Longmire was originally an A&E offering. And as I wrote in last week’s review of Ozark, that otherwise quite enjoyable show contorted itself to find ways to attack Republicans.

Over 70 million Americans voted for Donald Trump in 2020. That’s a lot of viewers, Netflix. We don’t live in vans with clogged toilets. We own televisions. 

Cloying use of easter eggs, that is, references to other works that do nothing to advance the story or add laughs–assuming of course there is even one laugh in The Pentaverate–is also another problem here. Winks to other Myers’ works, along with yet another tired replay of HAL from 2001: A Space Odyssey, as well as Game of Thrones, are simply annoying. Rob Lowe, a veteran of several Myers movies, makes an unnecessary appearance.

Myers’ acting, outside of his sympathetic portrayal of Scarborough, is subpar. In his review of The Cat in the Hat, Roger Ebert noticed that at times Myers sounded a bit like his Linda Richman “Coffee Talk” character from SNL. The use of convincing accents is supposed to be one of Myers’ strengths, but his Lansdowne character’s accent, rather than sounding like what you’ll hear from a rustic New Englander, varies from a Canadian to a New Yorker style of speech–that is, when Lansdowne isn’t coming across like Wayne Campbell from Wayne’s World.

Oh, when there is a crack within the five members of the Pentaverate, who do you think is behind it? Why of course! It’s the casino billionaire and the Murdoch stand-in. 

I hated The Pentaverate. Hated, hated, hated. If you have any sense of taste or decency, you will hate it too. 

You have been warned. 

Oh, if you think I am just a grumpy old man with a minority opinion on this actual sh*t show, as of May 15, the average critic score on Rotten Tomatoes is just 20 percent. Only once in the last week have I noticed The Pentaverate ranking as a top-ten most viewed program on Netflix. And based on the CGI and the A-List (to some people) cast, I imagine Netflix wasted a lot of money on this fiasco.

The Pentaverate is rated TV-MA for full frontal (possibly with use of prosthetics) nudity, animals engaged in sex, violence, suicide, adult situations, foul language, and scatological references. Well, at least no one smokes in it. 

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

By John Ruberry

The mainstream media has been a propaganda machine for leftists since the rise of Barack Obama. Prior to then, the media had reliably liberal, but at least attempted to appear unbiased. 

For instance, the mainstream media showed minimal interest in investigating Obama’s ties to former Weather Underground terrorists Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn, as well as the role of political fixer Antoin “Tony” Rezko early in Obama’s political career, as well as the Obamas’ purchase, with Rezko’s help, of their Chicago mansion. By that time Obama admitted he knew there was a cloud over Rezko, who later served time in prison for fraud and other charges. Obama in 2008 called his decision to work the Rezko on that purchase “bone-headed” in his murky explanation of that deal. A decision he made in 2008 was much more bone-headed, his naming of Joe Biden as is running mate. Had that not happened, Sleepy Joe would be enjoying a quiet, but rambling, retirement wandering the sands of Rehoboth Beach, Delaware.

Hey fact-checkers: Are you going to attack me on that last statement?

I was unaware of fact-checkers as a political force until the 2008 presidential campaign; oh sure, I knew about Snopes debunking juicy urban legends, but the fact-checkers, such as PolitiFact, which was founded in 2007, got to work attacking during that campaign such stories as the Obama-was-born-in-Kenya canard. The fact-checkers were less enthusiastic in 2008 about defending John McCain after the New York Times claimed the Republican senator had an affair with a lobbyist

Last week a friend-of-the-blog who lives in Alaska tipped me off to a Babylon Bee story, “Biden Sells Alaska Back To Russia So We Can Start Drilling For Oil There Again.”

That “report” was published last Monday, when America was still buying Russian oil; the following day, under pressure from the left and right, Biden announced America would no longer be purchasing Russian petroleum. 

Kind of a conservative and Christian alternative to the Onion, the Babylon Bee is a satire site. Not getting the joke was USA Today fact-checker Ana Faguy, who apparently discovered the story on the Being Libertarian Facebook page. She even sought a comment from the Being Libertarian FB group. Faguy labeled the Bee story “satire.” 

Duh!

Do USA Today fact-checkers investigate the Onion too?

Last year another USA Today reporter, Daniel Funke, fact-checked the internet memes, since proven true, that Biden looked at his watch several times during the ceremony when the remains of soldiers killed during a terrorist attack in Afghanistan were returned to American soil, calling it “mostly false.” After being confronted with facts, USA Today edited the story and it was upgraded, not to “true,” but to “missing context.” How brave.

It’s not just USA Today. Four years ago, another Babylon Bee piece, titled “CNN Purchases Industrial-Sized Washing Machine To Spin News Before Publication” was first labeled as “false” by Snopes. Like the Alaska-Russia fact-check, that Snopes article now deems the Bee story as “satire.”

Dan Bongino on his radio show and his podcast regularly tells his listeners that a reliable gauge that the left is getting desperate is how they protect sacred cows, such as the Biden White House, with fact-checks. One such story is the report from Russia that there are US-funded bio-labs in Ukraine.

“This story was real,” Bongino told Fox News’ Jesse Watters last week. “Yet the fact-checkers, who had no special access to information at all, came out and said: ‘No, no – no, no, no – that’s a bad story for the Biden administration – Obama may have been involved – so that’s a hoax and you’re banned from Facebook if you put it up. And you wonder why we are where we are right now with the information crisis in the country.”

Remember when Facebook, another priestly temple of truth [warning-satire!], used to routinely ban posts that claimed that the COVID-19 virus escaped from a lab in Wuhan, China? They don’t anymore.

Beneath ever fact-check entry at USA Today is this revealing note, “Our fact-check work is supported in part by a grant from Facebook.”

Here’s a story that the big-time fact-checkers, Snopes, PolitiFact, and USA Today are ignoring, Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” bill, the name of which is actually “Parental Rights in Education.” But leftists use the first name as they demonize the legislation.

Governor Ron DeSantis says he will sign the bill, which is aimed at primary school kids. Here’s a revealing passage from the legislation: “A school district may not encourage classroom discussion about sexual orientation or gender identity in primary grade levels or in a manner that is not age-appropriate or developmentally appropriate for students.” You know what I think? Let kids be kids, particularly in primary school.

However, this is true. The word “gay” is not mentioned in the so-called “Don’t Say Gay Bill.”

Most fact-checkers, like their brethren elsewhere in journalism, are propagandists.

Blogger in Alaska, still part of the USA, in 2020

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

By John Ruberry

Last Sunday a career criminal, Darrell Brooks Jr, allegedly drove his SUV into a parade in Waukesha, Wisconsin, killing six people and injuring dozens of others. He was out on $1,000 bail, an amount deemed “inappropriately low” the next day by the Milwaukee County district attorney, John T. Chisholm. Earlier this month Brooks allegedly ran over the mother of one his children in that same SUV. 

Chisholm is one of many woke prosecutors elected in major metropolitan areas who believe in “affordable” or even no bail for individuals accused of violent crimes. Others include Chesa Boudin in San Francisco, who faces a recall election next year, George Gascón in Los Angeles County, Larry Krasner in Philadelphia, and Kim Foxx in Cook County, Illinois, where Chicago is the county seat. Many of their campaigns accepted contribution from sources tied to radical leftist George Soros. 

Foxx, whose title is Cook County state’s attorney, made a national name for herself after dropping charges involving the hate crime hoax engineered by former Empire star Jussie Smollett. He was charged again after a special prosecutor was appointed after the uproar in response to Foxx dropped those charges. Smollett’s trial begins tomorrow.

But what is far worse than that is Foxx’s weak bail policy involving accused felons.

As I’ve mentioned before at Da Tech Guy, if you want to get the true story of how violent crime is devastating Chicago and its inner suburbs, you need to regularly visit CWB Chicago. Yeah, yeah, yeah, the Chicago Tribune–more on them in a bit–the Chicago Sun-Times, and the broadcast TV station websites document many violent crimes, particularly the murders. But CWB provides the indispensable back story. 

Since New Year’s Day CWB Chicago has been documenting individuals “accused of killing, trying to kill, or shooting someone in Chicago this year while awaiting trial for a felony.” With a little more than a month left in 2021 CWB Chicago has discovered 55 such people. Of those, 26 of them are accused of murder–and two others are charged with reckless homicide involving a vehicle. That brings us to a total of 28 fatalities. 

Here is a list of some of those deadly 26:

#8: “Highly active” gang member charged with killing rival over haircut — while on affordable bail (March 4, 2021)
#9: On bail for five burglaries, man set fire to home, killing girlfriend and 10-year-old girl, prosecutors say (March 12, 2021)
#16: Man chased down and killed victim while on electronic monitoring for gun case, prosecutors say (April 18, 2021)
#18: Man charged murder of 7-year-old at McDonald’s drive-thru has 2 pending felony cases, prosecutors say (April 25, 2021)
#19: Second man charged with killing 7-year-old at McDonald’s was on 4 felony bonds, including robbery and gun cases (May 1, 2021)
#27: Teen charged with killing 73-year-old carjacking victim was AWOL in felony stolen car case, prosecutors say (July 17, 2021)
#32: Teen with pending felony gun case shot man dead over shoulder bump, prosecutors say (July 28, 2021)
#35: Man murdered another in cold blood while on bond for gun case, prosecutors say (August 12, 2021)
#42: Man killed 1, injured 3 in expressway shooting while on bond for attempted murder, prosecutor say (September 11, 2021)
#48: Five-time felon killed his own cousin while on electronic monitoring for pending narcotics case, prosecutors say (November 3, 2021)
#55: Man killed 2, shot 3 more while awaiting trial for carjacking, prosecutors say (November 28, 2021)

The complete CWB Chicago list, as of November 28, is here.

What else is there to be found in that back story?

Last summer John Kass, then a Chicago Tribune columnist, wrote a column about the rise in crime in big cities that have woke prosecutors whose campaigns were funded by Soros. Kass was attacked and essentially demoted when co-workers of his, by way of their union, the Chicago Tribune Guild, claimed that the Soros column was anti-Semitic. Soros, a Holocaust survivor, is by most accounts a secular Jew. Kass never mentioned the religion or ethnicity of Soros in that column. So why was Kass attacked? Because he was on to something, the truth that is, about Soros and those catch-and-release prosecutors.

By the way when I first heard of Soros I figured he was a Greek-American As for Kass, who is a Greek-American, well he’s also a big fan of CWB Chicago. A few months ago he accepted a buyout from the new owners of the Trib. He has his own site that I regularly visit. A site, as he mentioned in one of his Chicago Way podcasts, where he is allowed to use the word “riot,” which he wasn’t able to do when he was with the Tribune.

Clearly Chicago and Cook County–I live in suburban Cook–has an ongoing Waukesha problem. So far my family and friends have not been affected by the increase in violent crime here. Although on Thanksgiving I had to explain to my daughter and her cousins what to do if they hear gunfire.

And as bad as Kim Foxx is–she doesn’t deserve all of the blame. Although a hardened leftist as well, Chicago’s mayor, Lori Lightfoot, has chilly relations with Foxx, a member of a rival political camp. But Lightfoot endorsed Foxx when she faced a tough Democratic primary last year. Lightfoot’s feckless police commissioner, David Brown, does Lightfoot’s bidding. The mayor pledged to reduce crime as a candidate–but crime has instead soared. Chicago already has endured more murders in 2021 than in any year since 1996.

Illinois’ governor, JB Pritzker, was seemingly talking tough last month when he said that Chicago is “nearly at a state of emergency in our need to address crime.” Then Pritzker got silent on the subject–presumably after he remembered that like Lightfoot and Foxx, he is a Democrat. Oops.

In 2023 Illinois becomes the first state to without cash bail. Pritzker signed that bill into law earlier this year. Judges will be able to jail those accused of serious crimes.

Oh, what about Cook County judges? Circuit court judges are elected here–and once on the bench they face a retention vote every six years. Typically nearly all judges are retained. It’s time that voters take a close look at the role that judges play in the catch-and-release atmosphere in Cook County.

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

By:  Pat Austin

SHREVEPORT – I have not read a single paragraph of anything uninterrupted in ten years. Perhaps I exaggerate, but not by much. I live with a “talker.”

I adore my spouse; we have a wonderful relationship. We are best friends. We travel, we go out with friends, we have a great deal in common. We have never had an argument.

But bless his heart, he is a talker.

Already, in the few seconds I’ve typed these few sentences, he has chirped up about tomorrow being Columbus Day and therefore no mail and offered commentary on the baseball game currently on television.

Sunday afternoons are quiet and lazy around here, usually. I like to get my stack of newspapers, lie about, and read them. Sunday afternoon I began with the New York Times (I know, I know…). I like the books section. I started there and tried to dive into a review of two new books about the Constitution and the American Revolution. No more than a paragraph into it, my focus had been interrupted so many times I finally gave up and turned the page.

I moved on to the Arts section and tried to read about three ballet dancers returning to the stage after the pandemic.  I had no better luck.

I tried several other articles before abandoning my paper altogether. I have the same issue when trying to read books. I work around it, I manage, because I know how blessed I am to have him and I love our life together. But geez, it’s hard to concentrate on anything.

Now perhaps he has actually done me a favor, right? I mean, The New York Times? Never in the history of ever has there been a more biased newspaper and so shameless about it. But I do enjoy a brief visit to the dark side now and then and sometimes it is terribly beneficial to read differing points of view.  I’m going to dive back into the Opinion section at some point; I really want to read Ezra Klein’s article about the peril of the Democrat agenda right now. It sounds promising. There is another article with the headline “Should You Care What Athletes Think?”  Nope. I don’t even have to read that one. Don’t care.

I truly miss the days of good, thick, news filled newspapers written by intrepid reporters scouting out sources and armed with little notebooks in their front pockets. The state of our media today is shameful and I wonder how, and when, we got to this point. I’ve been around a long time and read lots of papers, but I guess I just quit paying attention.

Pat Austin blogs at And So it Goes in Shreveport and at Medium; she is the author of Cane River Bohemia: Cammie Henry and her Circle at Melrose Plantation. Follow her on Instagram @patbecker25 and Twitter @paustin110.