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December 10 2009

Agnosticism is often thought of as scientific because it appears open to new ideas. It implies that there is a possibility that evidence might exist that would prove that deities are real; we just haven’t found that information yet and we may never find it. Well, atheists aren’t that different. They haven’t seen evidence for deities and therefore they do not believe in them. But every true atheist is philosophically scientific, and new evidence will lead to new conclusions. So, if ample (and credible) evidence was uncovered that proved that deities do exist, then all true atheists would become theists. That’s no different than people claiming agnosticism.

There is, of course, that old argument that the difference is over belief and knowledge. Well, if you believe there are no gods, that makes you an atheist. If you believe the answer can’t be discerned, that makes you an agnostic. Though one claim refers to belief, the other claim refers to a belief about knowledge. And if you truly believe that there is even a possibility that deities might exist, then you are not an atheist. One cannot claim “I know X” and “I can’t know X” at the same time without being logically inconsistent.

Having personally gone through theism and agnosticism, I fully understand why people would want to call themselves agnostic atheists. It has a (slightly) better connotation to it than atheism, it sounds more open-minded, and it appears to be more scientific. But the truth is that claiming agnosticism gives credence to the idea of theism, and that is the polar opposite of what a true atheist believes.

October 30 2009

We are all born atheist. Once I hit my teenage years I became as devout of a Christian as I could possibly be. I went to church, prayed, and all the usual stuff. When I was in 10th grade I met a guy that had no qualms saying things like, “If there’s a Hell — and I highly doubt it — I’m going there.” I remember saying it once, laughing, and then realizing how liberating it was. I realized that all that religion was just me attempting to find myself as a young boy.

After that point I considered myself agnostic, and I remained this way for several years. Though deep down I didn’t believe in the existence of gods, I had this unshakable feeling that something was there, watching my every move and listening to my every thought. No matter what evidence I heard/saw/read, I didn’t see proof of God’s existence. But I also didn’t see proof of God’s non-existence, so it was easy to claim agnosticism. Though I was essentially atheist, my inability to shake that feeling left me referring to myself using an inadequate term.

And then I discovered Carl Sagan.

A friend gave me a copy of Cosmos and I consumed the whole thing in just a few days. Before I’d even finished the first chapter, my whole life had begun to change. It pried my third eye wide open and allowed me to begin my intellectual awakening. Before the year was over, I’d read over 30 books about science, biology, evolution, skepticism, physics, and astronomy, including almost every book written by Sagan. The whole process of rediscovering the beauty of nature and the purity of science didn’t just change my beliefs, it reshaped the way my mind worked. I can honestly say it made me into a smarter, more critical, more humble, and more compassionate person.

Right in the middle of all this, I read Sagan’s Pulitzer Prize-winning book The Dragons of Eden about the evolution of the human brain. Sagan never once told people they should be atheists. What he did was reveal the world to you in a way that made you realize where the whole deity thing comes from. We have always been a part of hierarchies, and we have always had alpha males. I don’t remember the exact line but I do remember the point he made: being part of a hierarchy and submitting to alpha males is an integral part of our biological heritage. It explained why people all over the world and in every culture believed in higher powers, why we elect supreme leaders (almost always male) even in nations that call themselves democracies, and why we literally worship sports like football and soccer.

When I realized that the feeling for God and other higher powers is a naturally occurring aspect of our biology, my whole world changed. I suddenly found that proof that agnostics were always claiming didn’t exist. I suddenly felt that assurance that I’d never felt when calling myself atheist. And, most importantly, I no longer resented religious people for believing in higher powers. Though I don’t wear my atheism on my sleeve (because of the stigma attached to it), I finally have complete confidence in my beliefs. No uncertainties, no doubts, and (most importantly) a sensible explanation for the existence of all spirituality.

I’m not an atheist because I have yet to see evidence that God exists; I’m an atheist because I understand the biological explanation for it.

October 23 2009

In case you haven’t heard, 26-year-old Desiree Jennings (who was training to be an NFL cheerleader) was allegedly diagnosed with a rare neurological disorder called Dystonia. Her case is so rare that even

target=”_blank”>specialists have been heard saying they’ve never encountered it. However, because it happened to her ten days after getting a flu vaccine, the political misinformation machine is already exploiting her situation.

And here’s the proof.

I’ve used a web service called Splicd to highlight these five seconds of the original two minute piece from Inside Edition. In this clip, you will see/hear a glitch in the video. This glitch causes the narrator to say, “Doctors say what happened to Desire should [glitch] discourage people from getting a flu shot.”

Now listen to this longer clip so you can hear the glitch in context. It’s obvious that the doctors say that even though this happened to the young woman, people should not be discouraged from getting the flu shot. But considering how that clip is edited, it’s not exactly clear what they mean unless you happen to catch it.

Some people may argue that this glitch is just the nature of internet video clips, and I’d have to admit there is that possibility. But if you watch the

target=”_blank”>entire video, there is only one moment in the whole two-minute segment where there are any problems with the video. And it just happened to be the one moment when they give the only piece of information that the public could use.

So, aside from the fact that the piece was clearly a call to emotion and had presented zero evidence that the flu vaccine caused her problem, the video was obviously edited to distort the truth about the flu vaccine. What’s the problem with some obscure video having an almost unnoticeable edit? Well, besides the fact that “almost unnoticeable” edits are a staple of subliminal marketing, the video is far from obscure. The specific clip I’ve referenced in this article has had over 165,000 views since it was posted a week ago, and now there are duplicates of the video including the propagandized edit all over YouTube.

target=”_blank”>Here’s one.

target=”_blank”>Here’s another.

target=”_blank”>And another.

target=”_blank”>And another.

target=”_blank”>And this one with VaccinationEducation.com plastered over it. It has been viewed over a million times and there’s no telling how many times people will view it without knowing the truth.

What does this mean? It means that someone took the original Inside Edition article, chopped out the word “not”, and provided physical copies for people to upload. There are dozens (hundreds?) of people actively spreading an obvious propaganda virus that was edited by an anonymous person and injected into the veins of the internet. Please share this information with everyone. Fight the propaganda!

May 28 2009

There has been a lot of “debate” over what to do with all of the human beings and monsters locked away in Guantanamo Bay. There are apparently only two sides to this discussion: free them all and send them letters of apology or kill them all and let God sort them out. I’m obviously oversimplifying things, but you wouldn’t know it if you watched the 24-hour news channels. Like so many public discussions, the truth is often obscured by the rhetoric.

Gitmo TortureFor every terror suspect we convict fairly, there are hundreds we detain unfairly. For every innocent person we keep incarcerated, we create dozens of potential enemies. And for every person (regardless of innocence or guilt) we treat unfairly or inhumanely, we create untold numbers of people who no longer see America as the shining beacon of freedom we so desperately claim to be. What other reasons do terrorists need to demonize us if we actively and regularly give them reasons? How can we dispute their claim that we are the Great Evil when our actions are so greatly evil?

Aside from keeping the worst of the worst locked safely away, the only thing that can change the anti-American sentiment that has been broiling over the past decade is a fresh and decent approach to our fellow citizens of the world. I do not include terrorists in this group, however. A terrorist loses their worldwide citizenship once they conspire to commit crimes against their fellow humans. But how, exactly, is that different than when we commit crimes against our fellow humans? An innocent person locked away in a dank cell is a crime of the highest order, and every person in the society that supports it shares the blame for it.

It used to be that the ends justified the means. Airplanes were used to murder 3,000 Americans? Let’s tighten airport security to the point where even children and the elderly are searched and detained. The Viet Cong are hiding among women and children in the jungle? Let’s firebomb the whole place to ensure we kill enough of the enemy. Japan attacks a military installation in the United States? Let’s put all people of Japanese descent into concentration camps. The South wants to secede from the union? Let’s go to war with them and kill hundreds of thousands of our fellow Americans. The native Americans won’t move out of the land we want? Let’s force them off or just slaughter them outright.

Throughout American history, we have justified our atrocities in the name of our ideals. But even when those ideals are righteous, it does not change the fact that we have committed atrocities. Deep down, every intelligent or thoughtful person knows this. That’s why we justify executing individuals who have committed murder. We know that we are killing someone to make the point that killing is wrong. And while most of us recognize how glaringly hypocritical it is, as a nation we continue to do it anyway. If there were no hypocrisy to our actions, it would need no justification.

Which leads me to former Vice President Dick Cheney.

Dick CheneyImmediately after President Obama’s speech that re-defined America’s stance on national security, not five minutes had passed before Cheney took his own stage in an attempt to give a rebuttal. His speech was a preemptive attack on his enemies, a tactic he is clearly comfortable with. In it’s own Karlrovian way, it displayed obvious hypocrisy wrapped in a package of carefully-worded propaganda. For example, after he mentioned 9/11 over a dozen times, he clearly stated that we should not focus on the past. Then he attempted to deflect criticism away from his administration and place the blame onto the current one, oblivious to the points Obama made just moments earlier about the numbers of political prisoners the Bush administration freed. He focused on inane and irrelevant details such as the term “abducted” and incorrectly characterized it as the Obama administration’s wording, all while using terms like “sadistic” to describe American interrogators who were acting under full authorization from the Bush administration. He continued to fuel the quasi-debate about how safe America would be if we allowed detainees to be held on American soil, completely ignoring the fact that we have held thousands of people in Federal maximum security prisons and no one has ever escaped from one. Perhaps worst of all, he took credit for the fact that we were not attacked while under his watch while failing to recognize that hundreds of attacks have occurred on American soldiers every year since we entered Iraq.

All of this got me thinking about why Cheney (who I do not believe cares about America as much as he would like us to think) is suddenly so vocal on this issue. He has been on a media blitz, employing his loyal servants, family members, and his own personal media outlet to repeat the same talking points as opposed to actual experts who understand the issue. Why, Dick? Well, his daughter accidentally let the truth slip: Cheney fears prosecution. And he should. One grand jury has already indicted him, and more people are calling for his indictment every day.

I am pleased with the new direction this nation appears to be heading concerning how we deal with terror suspects. If things go as planned, we will move these prisoners to our soil where they can be safely and legally monitored. President Obama’s speech in front of the Constitution was more of a poignant reminder of where we come from than an arrogant assumption about missions not-quite-accomplished. That speech is destined for the history books, but hopefully, it will be remembered as one of the great turning points in the American psyche. I hope it is the beginning of an era when we hold our leaders responsible for their actions, not excuse them because of their motives. Cheney is such a slippery weasel that I have no illusions about justice ever being served, but I would like to see us try at least. After all, when Bill Clinton shot someone in the face, it wasn’t with a shotgun, and we impeached him.

That is why I fully support the indictment and prosecution of former Vice President Dick Cheney.

March 4 2009

I was in a chat room recently with a group of people defending that pompous windbag Rush Limbaugh. One of them even claimed that he was “a great American.” I couldn’t stand by while this mind-numbing crap was going on, so I felt compelled to respond. The conversation (not surprisingly) devolved into a discussion about college degrees and expertise, and at one point one of the more enlightened people in the room pointed out that Rush doesn’t even have a college degree. Taking it as a slight against “uneducated” people, we had to defend our position against this perceived class warfare. The problem isn’t that he doesn’t have a college degree (I don’t even have one yet), but rather that he is an uneducated person who speaks with authority on subjects he clearly doesn’t fully grasp. Somehow during all of this, Oprah Winfrey, Dr. Phil, and Sylvia Brown were used as examples of non-experts pretending to be experts. The following was my response.

Dr. Phil talks about relationships and personal interactions, which I’m pretty sure is his area of expertise. So, I’m not sure he’s exactly pretending. Oprah doesn’t pretend to be an expert as much as allow experts to come onto her show and share their knowledge. So, I’m not sure what she’s pretending, either. And that psychic lady…well, you’re right about her pretending. Psychics are in the business of pretending to be experts. But, Rush’s area of expertise is what? Opinions? Well, if being full of opinions is all it takes to be an expert, we could each have our own show.

The problem here is that we (as a society) tend to confuse opinions and beliefs. Everyone has the right to their opinions and no one can have a wrong opinion, but anyone can have beliefs that are simply wrong. If (for example) you believe that red is better than blue, then it shouldn’t be a problem if I prefer blue over red. There’s no arguing taste, right? However, if you think that blue is a sign of wanting to destroy America, then that’s not an opinion…it’s a belief. And people can be dead wrong about their beliefs.

Rush is one of those people who blends opinions and beliefs together in order to further his political agenda. That’s fine. We all do that from time to time. The truly unfortunate thing is that he is heard by millions of people (few of whom think critically about what he’s saying and just nod in agreement), and it just further confuses the actual issues at hand. This conversation is a perfect example of that. Does anyone remember what we were even talking about in the first place? No. We just know that the other side is wrong, we are right, and blah blah blah…

But really, who is right? If it’s an opinion we’re discussing, everyone is right. If it’s a belief we’re discussing, everyone has the potential to be completely wrong.

One person’s opinion is that Rush Limbaugh is a great American. I can’t argue that. However, it is my belief that Rush is a hypocrite, a liar, an idiot, a rabble rouser, a tool, and an evil bastard. Those are all points we can argue.

March 4 2008

In the 1967 version of In the Heat of the Night, there is a scene where the white police chief Bill Gillespie (played by Rod Steiger) turns to the black detective Virgil Tibbs (played by Sidney Poitier) and says, “Well, you’re pretty sure of yourself, ain’t you, Virgil. Virgil, that’s a funny name for a nigger boy to come from Philadelphia! What do they call you up there?”

Virgil replies, “They call me Mister Tibbs!”

That moment isn’t significant simply because a black man is defending himself. A line like that is more important in a larger perspective because it was a sign that things were beginning to change. Tibbs didn’t attack Gillespie, he didn’t play the race card, and he didn’t play into any stereotypes. He just defended himself as any human being would.

I don’t think our current presidential race is really about the candidates. I honestly believe that no matter who gets elected, they’re still a puppet controlled by the hand of the government. Sometimes that hand is controlled by the people, sometimes by Congress, and sometimes by the natural forces of society. But the candidate is still a puppet. No matter what their stances are or their personal beliefs, they’re still the leader of ALL of America. They have to make decisions as a leader that they would never make as an individual, and that’s okay because that’s part of being a servant of the people. But they are not the supreme leader that rules this land (like a dictatorship), they are the representative of the people and their needs and desires.

This is important because bullshit “stances” (like where they fit on abortion, gay marriage, the war, etc.) are just that: bullshit. Who cares what the president’s personal beliefs are? If he says red is the best color, all the blue lovers out there would immediately dislike him. I know that’s an oversimplified way to look at it, but not by much. It is absolutely impossible for people to agree on any issue, much less important or controversial ones. The president is here to represent us all, not just my beliefs or your beliefs. As long as they attempt to bridge the gap between the millions of differing opinions, they’re doing their job. And (not to give the pro-war fans any fodder) who knows what information the president has access to that the people will never be given access to? This privileged position dictates that once the president is sworn in, they stop being an individual and start being the head of the entire political body…which is just fine by me. After all, this is still a democracy, right?

confused BushGetting to my point, the elections this year are important to me for a specific reason: it’s a barometer for the nation’s mental health. When Bush was elected in 2000, it really didn’t bother me much because the choices were so unclear. I was annoyed, sure, because it seemed like we elected a guy mostly based on the fact that his last name was the same as another (incredibly unsuccessful) president. I mean, really, people mostly voted for Bush because they didn’t like Gore, not because they actually liked or believed in Bush. Most people who voted against Gore did it because he was tied to Clinton, and there were a lot of Clinton-haters on that side of the fence. So our nation was petty? Big deal.

However, when 2004 came around, the world was completely different. We’d gone through the greatest series of crises since the Vietnam War and begun an obviously controversial war that was perpetuated by pure fear. He was clearly incompetent, too stubborn to be a decent leader, and ruled over possibly the most corrupt administration ever. (I know what you’re thinking, and before you jump on me, let’s just wait until history reveals the truth.) More people apparently liked Bush than disliked him, even though the streets were filled with people protesting the war for months. I mean, if over half of the voting population elected him and his approval rating is so consistently low, it means that there was a huge portion of people in our nation that voted for the wrong person. It didn’t bother me that We the People chose the incompetent incumbent over the charmless challenger, it bothered me that we were making that choice based on the wrong things: fear and paranoia.

Stephen Colbert Presidential SealAnd so, these days it doesn’t bother me at all when people tell me that Obama has received contributions from special interest groups. You know why? All politicians do it. Yes, even Ron Paul. (His base is the very essence of special interest.) People complain about the apparent lack of substance in this election, but how does that distinguish this election from any other? Everyone talks about idealistic and abstract things while on the campaign trail. That’s how it works.

The truth is, I really don’t care about the individual candidates. Voting is about the voters and will of the people, not the individual candidates and speculation about what they might do once in office. I mean, if everyone would’ve known how huge of a mess the war was going to be, do you really think Bush would’ve been elected? What really matters in an election is what the voters think, not the candidates themselves. Voting is a barometer for our hopes, fears, wants, needs, dreams, and nightmares. And in 2004 we forgot our about our hopes, wants, and dreams and cowered to our fears, needs, and nightmares. After this several-year-long downhill slide, I almost lost faith in America, and I became a genuine advocate for Stephen Colbert for president. I figured that if the electoral system was a joke, why not elect a comedian?

Barack the VoteBut now that Obama is in the race and the people are starting to rally behind him, I’ve started to feel that hope in humanity I’ve been missing for so long. Of course, there are a lot of people who are voting for him simply because he’s black, a Democrat, not a Republican, from Illinois, good-looking, charismatic, or some other arbitrary reason. But many people are rallying behind the “Yes, we can!” mentality, and that’s what really matters to me. There will always be those jaded people who feel compelled to disparage hope and idealism. I pity these people. Anyone who mocks idealism is too jaded for their own good. What is the point of hope if not to inspire?

Clinton would be an excellent choice, but I fear the pseudo-support that comes from the meaningless legacy vote (just like Bush in 2000). McCain would also be a great choice because he’s honest and reliable, but even a sturdy train is dangerous when it’s riding on uneven tracks. But I have been watching Obama since I first saw him campaigning for the House of Representatives in 2000. I remember thinking, “That guy should run for president.” And when he gave the keynote address to the Democratic National Convention in 2004 I thought, “Obama is going to run for president.” Now, every time I listen to him speak, read about him, or see how my brothers and sisters of America react to him, all I can think is, “Barack is going to be president!” If voting is the barometer of the people, then it looks like the clouds of fear and paranoia might be starting to break. The candidates could all be four-armed axe-wielding Gorläg demons for all I care, as long it means that America is finally doing something about its problems rather than simply complaining about them, or worse, pretending that everything is just fine.

Are there things about Obama I don’t like? Oh, sure. Are there things he believes in that I don’t agree with? Absolutely. Will he be the best choice for president? Possibly. Will he only make decisions that I agree with? No way. But, will I encourage people to vote for him? With every tool I have at my disposal. Why? Because I have faith in humanity, and I would be a hypocrite if I didn’t vote for hope.

November 17 2007

I know how this is going to make me look to some people, but I just stop reading certain emails when I realize it’s their attempt to convince me thatThe Revised Presidential Seal voting for Stephen Colbert is a waste of my vote. Is it because I’m intellectually lazy or obstinate? No. I just know from their opening statements that they are working from a premise I do not hold: the elections for president of the United States are legitimate.

I voted for the winner of the past three presidential elections, and Bill Clinton was the only one who actually got into office. And even then, I didn’t know what I was voting for, really. I just knew I didn’t like that weasel whose last name was code for a wimp, and I wanted a saxophone player in the office over him. Yes, that’s how deeply I thought about politics the first time I voted. Sadly, since I’ve become aware of politics and my world, I’ve participated in two of the biggest frauds in American history. Popular vote? That don’t matter none! We done had arselves a elekshun! Two-thirds of the nation doesn’t approve of the incumbent, and yet he gets re-elected? That don’t matter none! We already had arselves a elekshun! An’ besides, them terrists maht git us!

But, I digress…

Until I see proof that our elections have been overhauled, I can’t feel any regret for wasting an already worthless vote. I mean, our elections should (at least superficially) reflect the desires of the people, right? People will go on and on about the same things I used to say. Things like, “this election is too important to throw away.” Well, I’ve got news for anyone who thinks this election is too important: every election is too important to throw away. This is supposed to be a democracy, right? To me, the fact that the elections are rigged is the main issue, not which puppets or parties might be better suited to “run” this nation.

Don’t get me wrong. I appreciate their concern, and in the past I would otherwise be on their side. But I’ve seen and read things that have convinced me that the presidential election is a farce. And, therefore, all assumptions based on the premise that they are legitimate is just plain illogical. So, trying to convince me of the merits of a pseudo-democracy and an archaic electoral system is a complete waste of my time and theirs. I definitely see their point, but it’s just not relevant to me anymore.

October 25 2007

It’s a simple question: What causes global warming?

Here’s a relatively simple answer: Global warming is caused by the greenhouse effect and the increase of anthropogenic (man-made) greenhouse gas concentrations.

And here’s a more complex answer: Look at Mars. It has lost most of its greenhouse gases, and now it’s oceans are gone and its surface is freezing. Now, look at Venus. It has a runaway greenhouse effect, and now it’s atmosphere is so dense that it rains diamonds and it is hot enough to melt metal. All three planets (ours included) formed in the same way at the same time, and their present atmospheres are the result of their pasts.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I don’t think we’ll end up like either of those planets. For one thing, Venus is closer to the sun, so it’s bound to have higher temperatures. But Venus is so hot because of the greenhouse effect, not just because it’s closer. As for Mars, it’s farther away and colder, but there is strong evidence that it had complete oceans that once covered its surface. Where did the oceans go? Do you think the atmosphere had anything to do with it? Both of these planets are strong warning signs (from the heavens, I might add) about what our planet’s atmosphere is capable of becoming.

And, something is happening. Take a peek at this: https://eric.metze.us/global-temperatures/

I understand taking statistics out of context can be a bad idea (because that graph only goes back a few decades rather than millions of years), but look at the years on the graph and then think about when the Industrial Revolution happened. Is it a coincidence or a correlation?

Or, lets say that we are NOT the cause of global warming. Then that frees us of the burden of having to correct it, right? Wrong. Even if we’re not the cause of it, it’s happening anyway. So, doesn’t it seem like a good idea to plan for the future? You know, get those millions (billions?) of people away from the coming tide changes, or strengthening our homes and buildings so they can survive the increasingly powerful storms, or learning how to deal with all the political unrest (like Darfur) caused by millions of migrating people who are in search of green fields, or, or, or…

The reason this whole discussion bothers me, and the reason I felt the need to talk about it, is because of the politically-motivated distractions caused by the leadership of the Democrats and the Republicans and the inexorably-corrupt media. So when someone wins an award that is supposed to raise global awareness for a cause everyone supports (i.e., a healthy environment to live in), it’s just terribly frustrating that we have to stagnate in a sea of emotion-driven, counter-productive, intentionally-divisive conversations.

October 15 2007

I recently got into another discussion about global warming, and the person I was talking to said they weren’t convinced that humans were the cause of it. Though it’s just foolish to think that the temperature isn’t rising, there is (admittedly) room for debate on how much our presence and actions are affecting the environment. So, I started compiling information into a chart.

If you have updated information or know where I can get this information, please let me know. I am planning on making the above chart much larger so that people can see the information and decide for themselves.

Feel free to bookmark this page and come back to it later (or reference it). I am going to update it as much as I can, and this will be the permanent home for it.

Things to notice:

  • World War 2 appears to have had a direct influence on the global temperature. This is very likely due to the amount of fuel that was consumed, the number of fires that burned throughout that period, and the massive increase in production from the world’s most industrialized nations.
  • Population growth seems to correlate, but does not seem to be the chief reason the temperature rises. This makes sense because it is the actions of humans that seems to be affecting the temperature, not just our mere presence.
  • Every major war seems to have some sort of effect on the global temperature, except for the Vietnam/American war, which seems to have held off the rising temperature until it was finally over. Notice that as soon as the war was over, the temperature starts to rise significantly and steadily.
  • During the gas crunch of the 1970’s, the US and other nations started recognizing the need to improve gas mileage, and yet the average crept up only slightly. If the number of vehicles does not reflect the improved gas mileage, then it stands to reason that this would increase the amount of greenhouse gases in the air.
Global Temperatures from 1880 to 2007
August 5 2007

All late night talk shows (aside from the Daily Show and the Colbert Report) are lame and practically worthless. They’re formulaic, unoriginal, and pander to the widest audience possible. Half of the population has a below-average IQ, so their content has pretty much the same level of complexity. At least the Daily Show and the Colbert Report are topical, intelligent, and genuinely funny almost every night (except for the interviews, which I rarely watch). When one of the other shows makes fun of politicians, it’s watered down because they have a much larger audience to consider.

And I suppose that’s really what I don’t like about the late night shows. They’re all so watered down that they’re uninteresting and almost completely lacking in entertainment value to me. For example, I used to love watching Carson Daly when he first got his late show. He and a guest would sit down and have a chat for half an hour. But, I accidentally tuned in the other day to find a completely different dressed in his skin. Now I absolutely cannot watch Carson Daly for more than ten seconds. He wants to be Johnny Carson so bad, the poor sap.

Why is that? Who knows. But, it’s probably because this is a different generation than Johnny Carson’s. There are different…um…standards that the newer audiences are used to. We like our jokes dirtier (i.e., more genuine) than our parent’s and grandparent’s generations (thank God). Seriously, it’s increasingly strange to think that “dirty” jokes are actually dirty. It’s just a generational thing, that’s all. And so the hosts feel the need to be on the cutting edge, as it were. The content of the jokes changes with each generation, but really, everyone wants to be Johnny Carson.

Also, our generation just LOVES bands. Wee hoo! Boy, do we love bands! Bands and music and American Idol and other mind-numbing stuff to keep us from worrying about reality. We love bands whether they’re good or not, and most of the bands on television these days are completely worthless shit. Every Creed and Nickelback wannabe band (including Creed and Nickelback) just plays into the lame ass standards set forth by producers, not listeners. I mean, a Christian band that has ZERO Christian relevance? What the hell!? But, I digress…

Johnny’s Tonight Show formula has influenced every late show that’s on television right now, as if there’s only one way to do it. EVERY SINGLE NIGHT, it goes something like this:

They introduce the host as though they are the center of the universe, the host comes out to a band and a cheering audience, the crowd cheers for a little while longer, then the host tells a bunch of “topical” jokes, then they mention the band leader, the cameras cut to the band leader who plays a short piece that people might recognize, then they cut back to the host who has magically teleported to their desk, then they have a humorous bit before they go to commercial, they come back from commercial and have another humorous bit, then they introduce their first guest, second guest, musical guest, who could’ve guessed, rinse, repeat. Feh.

I wonder when they’re going to break the mold and try something different…I mean, besides dirtier jokes and better music. If only Johnny was here to help.

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