The Week in Review
MONDAY, JUNE 27 The week kicks off with a flurry of activity at the Supreme Court, where today the nation's funkiest justices issued rulings on a pair of hotly contested cases. First up: MGM Studios v. Grokster, wherein the Supremes debated the legality of file-sharing software. Seeking to curtail what they deemed a "staggering" amount of online piracy—and dismissing arguments that holding manufacturers responsible for customers' crimes might stifle technological progress—the Court ruled unanimously that internet file-sharing services such as Grokster, X-Factor, and numberless others can be prosecuted if their software's primary purpose is to enable illegal file-swapping. Today's ruling sends MGM v. Grokster back to (lower) court, and, as the Associated Press points out, arms the entertainment industry with a legal alternative to individually prosecuting each and every citizen who's ever swapped a file.
••While they were at it, the Supremes also issued a ruling on the public display of the 10 Commandments, voting 5–4 to allow displays deemed "historical and educational" (such as the six-foot granite monument inscribed with thou-shalt-nots on the grounds of the Texas Capitol) while forbidding displays designed to hype monotheistic religion (such as the framed commandments hung in a pair of Kentucky courthouses).
TUESDAY, JUNE 28 Nothing happened today, unless you count the presidential address, during which President Bush relentlessly connected the war in Iraq with 9/11, simultaneously insulting the 9/11 Commission (which reported finding no evidence of a collaborative relationship between Iraq and al Qaeda) and the American people, whom Dubya crassly assumes are unable to distinguish different shades of beige in matters of national security. Meanwhile, as America stared at a retarded monkey, Canada legalized gay marriage, with the Canadian House of Commons voting 158–133 to approve legislation guaranteeing marriage rights to same-sex couples. "But the passage of Bill C-38, once again, came with a political price tag for the government," reported CBC News, dutifully citing the cabinet member who responded to the bill's passage by resigning in disgust and the Conservative leader who vowed revenge when next his party leads the government. But so what? Canada passed it anyway, distinguishing our nerdy neighbor to the north as the third country in the world (after the Netherlands and Belgium, with Spain joining as fourth on Thursday) to officially recognize same-sex marriage, and confirming Canada's mastery of the defense maneuver deployed by dorks against bullies for centuries: quiet superiority, maintained through national acts of rational humanism, and culminating in one great day of rubbing our faces in it. Congratulations, Canada!
••Meanwhile in Afghanistan, home to folks who may actually have something to do with 9/11, a MH-47 Chinook helicopter was shot down by insurgents, killing 16 U.S. soldiers. "It is worth it," said President Bush of the more than 1,700 U.S. casualties in Iraq, which he probably means to apply to casualties in Afghanistan too.
WEDNESDAY, JUNE 29 In far lighter news: Today the Associated Press gave the world the story of Gary Moody, the 45-year-old man arrested in Albany, NH after a teenage girl found him staring up at her through the seat in her outhouse. "We had to decontaminate him," said Capt. Jon Hebert of the world's smelliest peeping tom, whom police pulled from a waste tank under a log cabin on Monday, before arresting him on charges of criminal trespass.
••Meanwhile in Seattle, the city's most reliable source of human pathos—Seattle Metro—bestowed this sighting upon Hot Tipper Jason, who was riding a popular local route when he witnessed "what can only be described as the culmination of every fucked-up thing I've ever seen on a Metro bus: Two guy transvestites, one dressed like a housewife, the other with splotches of mascara and rouge on his face, were smoking what appeared to be crack in the back of the bus. The housewife guy was freaking out, spilling Q-tips and frantically reaching into his panties for handfuls of crumpled one-dollar bills, which he then stuffed into his bra. All the while the other guy was smoking from a broken glass pipe and advising his friend not to worry so much. All in all, it was the greatest display of humanity that Metro has ever given me."
THURSDAY, JUNE 30 Obsessive-compulsive readers will recall Last Days' rant of May 17, when we decried any culture that could imagine, produce, and support Chaotic, the UPN series consisting of video footage shot by soiled pop princess Britney Spears and her skanky fuckbud-cum-husband Kevin Federline. Following the premiere of Chaotic—which made clear that reality television will sink as low as the American public is willing to follow it—we took comfort in the thought that it couldn't sink much lower than this. Tonight that thought was blasted from our brain with the force of a grade-A crack hit by Being Bobby Brown, Bravo's new series chronicling the day-to-day shenanigans of the former New Edition member and once-legitimate solo artist now best known as the jailbird hubby of Whitney Houston. Like Chaotic, Being Bobby Brown captures a celebrity couple in deeply idiosyncratic and thoroughly unflattering love, with all the psychotic baby talk and extended foreplay rituals you're right to fear. Unlike Chaotic, BBB is filmed and edited by someone other than the subjects, which means Whitney and Bobby are revealed in a far less flattering light than Britney and what's-his-name (if such a thing's possible). A majority of Being Bobby Brown's drama comes in the form of Whitney, who stands by her man on the legs of a newborn calf and routinely appears to be fighting her way out from under a drugstore. (Hopeful sign: Between the series's filming and broadcast, Houston did some time in rehab.) But from this steaming pile of humiliation emerges one victor: Debra Wilson, the actress/comedienne who highlighted her years on Mad TV with a celebrated Whitney impersonation, complete with spooky ticks and an emotional hair trigger. At the time, Wilson's Whitney played like a perfectly calibrated caricature; tonight Debra Wilson was proven to be some sort of clairvoyant documentarian genius, as footage of the actual Whitney revealed Wilson's work to be a spot-on, if somewhat understated, portrait. Academy of Television Arts and Sciences: Please award Debra Wilson a retroactive Emmy. Everyone else: Please stay away from Being Bobby Brown, which really shouldn't be encouraged.
FRIDAY, JULY 1 Speaking of upsetting twists in American culture: Today brought the abrupt resignation of Justice Sandra Day O'Connor from the U.S. Supreme Court, a surprise move that tied knots in the stomachs of forward-thinking Americans of all stripes, and one that threatens to engender so much political horror that Last Days is incapable of reflecting upon it at present.
SATURDAY, JULY 2 Speaking of monumental events ignored by Last Days: Today brought Live 8, the international music extravaganza organized by Sir Bob Geldof, devoted to raising awareness of Africa's horrendous poverty in advance of next week's world-power-wrangling G8 summit.
SUNDAY, JULY 3 Nothing happened today.
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