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Tag: HBO

The Trials of Ted Haggard

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Over the last several months I have found myself trying to write, but sometimes I don’t feel that I can fully express what I’m trying to write about, and at other times I find myself discouraged by our scalding discourse. I go through different phases of curiosity, and they are often fueled by logic games and divergent philosophies. Over the last several months I’ve felt myself having a greater desire to hear people’s stories. For the life of me I can’t get passed this recent feeling of sorrow for people who believe in the sincerest of ideals, but they know that they cannot live up to those ideals. There has been one person who I have had trouble getting out of my mind as I think about falling short of great expectations, and that man has been Ted Haggard. I haven’t found that I agree with Mr. Haggard on plenty, but for multiple reasons I just can’t get his “fall from grace” in his community out my mind. I know i haven’t shared much lately, but I felt that this was worth worth sharing.

 

“Why We Did It” – Oh Boy… Whether You Find It To Be Accurate Or Not It Will Probably Upset You…

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You can click on this picture to watch their interview if you would like

Recently Rachel Maddow went on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, and now that I have your attention here is some more information…

I considering myself a moderate, which more than anything means that new information can affect what I think. A while back Rachel Maddow produced a TV Documentary called “Hubris” which addressed the ‘so called” false pretenses that allowed our nation to go to war with Iraq – meaning that what was said about why we were going in was not in fact true. That documentary was posted on iTunes via the Rachel Maddow Show’s Podcast, and since she always asks people to post her show, and videos of it online I decided to post that entire documentary on my YouTube channel. It has since gotten about 100,000 views, and has filled my email with some incredibly angry YouTube comments from all kinds of people… I mean, angry stuff…

*By the way, I don’t just watch liberal stuff… I really can’t help but watch anything and everything I can get my hands/eyes on. I watch/listen to: The O’Reilly Factor, Meet the Press, Fox News Sunday, Real Time with Bill Maher, and others when I can. I like things other than politics, this is just part of my rhetorical diet to know what’s out there.

Anyway: I want to note that I am not a “Truther” (I don’t think that the United State Government was behind 9-11, so let’s just get that out of the way…), I do however think that this war was a war of choice, and that it was mismanaged, which I think is rather well voiced by documentaries like “No End In Sight” (posted at the bottom of this).

Hubris” addresses the issue of WMD’s (weapons of mass destruction), and this new documentary goes into some of the reasons why the makers of the film believe our government wanted to go. I don’t can’t speak to it’s legitimacy, and I don’t think that Mrs. Maddow is unbiased. I do however really appreciate that she presents sources, and gives room for actual debate, rather than just pure ad hominem. If you’d like to give some feedback that would be great – but the reason why I decided to post this second video (Why We Did It) was to keep the videos tied together, and because it might help us hold a conversation about reasons why we might not want to be so quick to go to war again anytime soon without more checks and balances (i.e.: Iran, Syria, Ukraine). And if you’d like to check in on the conflict going on in Ukraine feel free to click anywhere on this sentence.

Part 2
“Why We Did It”

Part 1
“Hubris”

“No End In Sight”

What Is Real News? What Would You Do If You Saw It? #NSFW

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Living in a nation that sits in the crosshairs of entertainment news sometimes it can get tiring just being bickering over and over. Of course everyone should be allowed to experience their greatest struggles with consideration that they are their greatest struggles – but upon finding out that there are struggles much worse than your own can truly change your approach to your own.

Do you considered yourself someone who loves people all around the world? Do you try to know the struggles of other people, regardless of where they live? Are you saying yes, but also telling yourself that you just aren’t exposed to a lot about the world? Do you get tired of our infighting even bigotry in our political system? Well, assuming this that you are watching this from the United States (as over 90% of my readers reside) these news pieces will probably seem like something that could never happen to you, and for that you should be very thankful…

Warning: this is Not Safe For Work (NSFW), it is very violent, and profane at times, but Very real.

If you’d like to see the post show interview with the reporters don’t worry, it’s right here.

“Killing Them Softly” – Bill Maher on how we kill people

I thought that this was worth a share. A lot of times more controversial, and carnal issues get the black and white treatment, but they are actually the issues that most need a nuanced approach. If we are going to kill people as a society how should we kill them?

-Grady

Killing Them Softly

January 30, 2014 

By Bill Maher

Hey, remember the Bill of Rights? Sock hops? Hot rods? Flat tops? A warm hand job and a frosty malted at Pop’s? Those were the days. Remember when we used to debate whether the death penalty was “cruel and unusual punishment” – back before drones and torture? Well, there’s still one problem with the death penalty: We do it in public – unlike torture, natch – and it gives people the creeps when it goes wrong or takes a long time, like recently, when a guy who’d raped and stabbed a pregnant newlywed was executed in Ohio, and he took longer to die than Ariel Sharon.

America tends to execute people by lethal injection. We’ve killed about 1,300 people since 1970; 1,200 of those by needle. But drug companies don’t like making lethal drugs. It looks bad for the brand. So Missouri state Representative Rick Brattin has a solution: He introduced a bill to add “firing squad” as an option in his state. Right now, Utah is the only state that uses firing squads, but they’ve only shot three people since 1977, which is more than I can say for Aaron Hernandez.

Why is shooting creepier than injection? It’s not like we’re one of those countries that doesn’t like bang-bang. Is it because we have an affection boarding on worship for the idea of solving problems with drugs?

Why Dennis Rodman Went to North Korea – VICE on HBO: Episode 10 “The Hermit Kingdom”

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This is one of the wilder experiements in journalism I would imagine that there has really ever been… I mean, North Korea being as cartoonishly backwards as it is being mixed with Dennis Rodman and the Harlem Globetrotters for a friendly game of pick up basketball just sounds like something from the show South Park.

I’m very glad that Vice has been putting their HBO episodes on YouTube, as they are all very informative and important, and news like that should be shared with as many people as possible. If you follow this blog you are already aware that I love Vice, and I recommend that you love it too 🙂

Enjoy the video, considering it’s free it is probably the best bang for your buck you’re going to get anytime soon for news or entertainment.

(Video Description on YouTube):
Chances are, the first time you heard of our HBO show was when news outlets around the world reported that we took Bad-as-I-Wanna-Be NBA Hall-of-Famer Dennis Rodman to North Korea, along with members of the legendary Harlem Globetrotters, to take on the Hermit Kingdom’s national team in a friendly, if entirely absurd, experiment in basketball diplomacy. As you probably know, the enigmatic young ruler of the country, Kim Jong Un, showed up to the game, making us the first American news organization to meet him. It was pretty much the most thrilling thing that could have happened, and when pictures were beamed back to Brooklyn that day, the poured-concrete floors of our offices rippled in cracks and dents as our jaws collectively hit the floor.

Already seen this episode, have you? But have you seen the season one outtakes? Watch them on VICE here: http://www.vice.com/vice-on-hbo-outtakes

More from Shane Smith: http://www.vice.com/author/shane-smith
Follow Shane on Twitter: https://twitter.com/shanesmith30

Subscribe to VICE here! http://bit.ly/Subscribe-to-VICE
Check out our full video catalog: http://bit.ly/VICE-Videos
Videos, daily editorial and more: http://vice.com
Like VICE on Facebook: http://fb.com/vice
Follow VICE on Twitter: http://twitter.com/vice
Read our tumblr: http://vicemag.tumblr.com

This Is What Winning Looks Like (Full Length) – VICE

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This film was made by Ben Anderson and produced by VICE. It is described as “A destructing new documentary about the ineptitude, drug abuse, sexual misconduct, and corruption of the Afghan security.”

I found this to be very fascinating, but it would be very interested to know if there are counter perspectives.

The World is Sinking: Preventative Measures – VICE

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As someone who tends to believe that human behavior does affect our climate this video is very interesting to me.

“Brainwashed by Westboro Baptist Church” – VICE

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There are multiple reasons why Westboro Baptist Church is disturbs me, but most of all because of the way that Children are bullied. I would actually love to sit down with these guys and see what all they think about the world, because I’ve had some ideas before that might be considered a little crazy. I used to find myself in hour long conversations with the people who came to our campus in college to tell everyone that they were going to hell. Usually the conversations would be pretty fun, and would end on a good note where I would tell them that I thought there were better and more articulate ways to get their point across.

Well anyway, I think that this video is fascinating. I still do not understand how they feel warranted to speak so hatefully, but they do seem to really mean it, so as long as they are being honest I want to hear what they have to say – which is how I ended up getting Mormon missionaries stopping by my house every week in the summer of 2010.

 

If We Weren’t Laughing We’d Be Crying – The Night I Met Bill Maher

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That’s me on the right, and Bill Maher on the left. He shook my hand, and I thanked him for being the King of Nuance, to which he laughed.

Last night (April 14th, 2013), I got to shake hands with one of the people who has been on my bucket list to meet for a long time, Bill Maher. I ended up getting to sit on the second row in the middle of the stage, and it felt like he was looking at me several times. As a kid I was scared of Bill, and I thought that he was the absolute epitome of all that was wrong in the world, I’d never heard anyone talk or act as he did on national television, several times a week. Skipping a few steps in my story, I decided in my early adult life that there really was no such thing as a bad question, so started listening to videos and clips of people who I adamantly disagreed with, so that I could figure out how others could possibly believe things so different from what I believed. This list of people who I’ve listened to due to my disagreements on politics, religion, philosophy, and the weather has grown and changed several times, but Bill remains a part of that list. The funny thing is that I’ve found myself agreeing with much of his sentiment, but not always the snark. I have truly grown to appreciate his honesty, even when it hurts. I could talk about Bill Maher for a long time because of what it has meant to me to listen to his standup routines and panels and challenge myself to never stop asking questions, and to not get my feelings hurt so easily when someone disagrees with me or even calls me a name. Bill is guilty of the name calling, and he could tone that down – but I will also say that if he hadn’t called me names I wouldn’t have been challenged enough to ask the tough questions that I’ve needed to ask myself on several occasions.

I’ve decided in this post to include a couple more pictures and a few of his standup routines, but mostly I want to include the first episode of his new show (of which he is the head producer), that follows his show on Friday nights now. It’s called VICE, and it is Very challenging to watch… I must warn you it is very graphic, and you should not watch it at work, unless if you work at home, or actually want to get any work done for the rest of today. As I understand it they decided to start this show because of the disappointing lack of journalism in the Middle East being broadcasted in the United States, and as HBO and Bill are both tips of the spear for progression this show is incredibly well done.

So, thank you Bill for your candor and sincerity. If we weren’t laughing about some of the absurdity in the world we would be crying. However, if you watch this premiere of VICE it is likely that you’ll cry regardless.

I don’t agree with Bill on everything, especially his approach to faith (although I appreciate him forcing people to ask questions that they might not otherwise), and If you would like to know about my faith feel free to click on this recent post “And Then the Conference Uninvited Me To Speak”.

I’m sorry if your feelings are hurt by me saying anything warm about Bill Maher, but he has challenged me, and for that I’m grateful. When I shook his hand last night I thanked him for being the king of nuance, to which he laughed. Playing the “devil’s advocate” (poor term in my opinion) / asking questions even when it is unpopular or personally challenging is something that I intend to do for the rest of my life, so if I stop friends, family and strangers please remind me to start again.

-Grady

VICE Series Premiere

Thanks for reading, please feel free to give me some feedback.

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Here are just a couple of his standup routines, and I would like to remind you that posting this does not mean I approve of everything that he says, in particular about religion. But I do appreciate him making space for me to ask questions, which has been very liberating in my spiritual journey believe it or not…:

I’m Swiss (2005):

Crazy Stupid Politics (2012):

Pope Benedict XVI Resignation – Mea Maxima Culpa (HBO) – and Eckart Tolle on Children

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With the recent resignation of Pope Benedict XVI being announced, and hearing that it has been about 600 years since a Pope resigned (for political reasons), and 719 years since they did so willingly, this is obviously big news… Needless to say I thought it would be worthwhile to spend my night catching up on what seems to be happening. I have heard many people talk about this Pope being one of the more controversial Popes in some time due to his connections with the nondisclosure policy of the church about molesting of children around the world, but not being Catholic I haven’t really taken it upon myself to learn as much as I might otherwise. One of my dear friends informed me that he had just finished the new documentary on HBO about the Catholic Church, and that it was pretty heavy… I decided that I couldn’t hear that and not find out what he was talking about.

So a few minutes ago I just finished watching the documentary Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God (HBO Documentary), and it compelled me to look up an old quote from the book A New Earth, by Eckart Tolle. I have heard people say many times in my life that it’s funny to look at children and think about them just being little people, or little adults. I prefer however to do the opposite and consider the vastness of human incapabilities and consider all people to be on a spectrum of adolescence.

On a spiritual level I don’t see all things as Eckart Tolle does, but I do have profound respect for him as a thinker, and a person of transparency. As I was watching Mea Maxima Culpa I couldn’t help but think about how people seem to do very toxic things when they aren’t in environments that encourage or require transparency. And while transparency alone isn’t the cure to people doing bad things, we could still do terrible things, however the cleansing value of ridding one’s self of stagnation in the mind due to secrets and pain is much stronger than we might realize.

The following is a quote from the book “A New Earth” by Tolle, and I put this quote in my phone a long time ago for moving me to consider my respect for my brothers and sisters of all ages:

“In the human deminsion you are unquestionably superior to your child. You are bigger, stronger, know more, can do more. if the dimension is all you know, you will feel superior to your child, if only unconciously. And you will make your child feel inferior, if only unconsciously. There’s no equality between you and your child because there is only form in your relationship, and in form you are of course not equal. You may love your child, but your love will be human only, and that is to say; conditional, possessive, intermittent. Only beyond form, in being, are you equal. And only when you find the formless dimension in yourself can there be true love in that relationship. The presence that you are, the timeless I am, recognizes it’s self in another. And the other, the child in this case, feels loved, that is to say ‘recognized.’. To love is to recognize yourself in another.” – Eckart Tolle (41:50 into the audio book “A New Earth”)

I find this to be a very profound statement, and I recommend considering it’s meaning if you plan to watch the movie Mea Maxima Culpa. Anything in life that is worth fighting for is worth the pain that comes from those fights. If you are a devout Catholic, or Christian in general I think that watching this will maybe hurt your feelings some, but it will also re-instill the true tenants of what it means to be a part of a church. I recommend watching this no matter what you believe, but if it hurts your feelings I think you should examine what is causing you pain about this, and face it. The film is somewhat critical of then Cardinal Ratzinger (currently Pope Benedict XVI). Also, do remember that this is a trailer, and there is much more to the film.

I know that there are some websites where you can watch this film for free (possibly here), but just look online, it’s worth the search in my opinion. Also, if you watch the movie and want to watch something similar I know that Deliver Us from Evil (2006) tells a similar story, and I don’t encourage this begrudgingly, I simply think that we need to have open conversations about things this pervasive and heinous. If you are catholic and offended please let me know, I’d be very open to hearing more.

I did find this resignation and the release of this film coinciding so closely to be very odd, and the conspiracy theorist in my wants to know more, but I am adamant about not jumping to conclusions, as easy as it may be to do so. Please let me know if you have anything more to offer on all of this.

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