Rebel Comics Rock, Seinfeld, Allen, Miller, and Brooks Speak Out

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Chris Rock has recently been attacked by the left because he tweeted some words of praise for his comedic colleague Jerry Seinfeld.

In his tweet, the comedian and filmmaker included a link to an article from The Federalist, titled “Seinfeld’s ‘Comedians In Cars’ Is A Welcome Respite From The Insufferable Wokeness Of Comedy.”

“Wokeness,” or the abbreviated “woke,” is the term that is being used by the so-called resistance movement to describe an individual or group’s commitment to oppose President Donald Trump.

Author of the article Ellie Bufkin argues that the value in Seinfeld’s show is that its emphasis on being funny, as opposed to actively engaging in leftist political messaging, “has created a wonderful escape from the political insanity of our day…”

As pointed out in the article, Seinfeld had been chastised by the Vulture website and others for not inserting “woke” politics into his show. Bufkin and Rock were essentially commending Seinfeld for not joining the ranks of the numerous late-night Trump bashers who in today’s cultural climate are delivering patently predictable comedy to their audiences night after night.

Further infuriating the left, Rock concluded his tweet with the following words: “Thank God for Jerry.”

Meanwhile comedic actor Tim Allen told Entertainment Weekly that the current politically correct restrictions imposed on public expression are posing an actual danger for comedians.

“It’s a very icy time. I’ve been a comedian for 38 years and I’ve never seen it, like Lenny Bruce said at the Purple Onion, ‘we’ve gone backwards,’” said Allen, whose series “Last Man Standing” is set for a return to television in September on FOX.

“There are things you can’t say. There are things you shouldn’t say. Who makes up these rules? And as a stand-up comic, it’s a dangerous position to be in because I like pushing buttons. It’s unfortunate,” Allen added.

Humor is an important relief valve for individuals as well as the whole of society, and in a cathartic manner allows people to observe new and differing perspectives on potentially polarizing topics. It is therefore critically important to examine the left’s penchant for weaponizing identity politics and the degree to which the strategy has resulted in the serious side effect of silencing laughter itself.

Human response to comedy is uniquely spontaneous. Comedian, actor, and best-selling author Dennis Miller wrote, “Laughter is one of the great beacons in life because we don’t defract it by gunning it through our intellectual prism. What makes us laugh is a mystery — an involuntary response.”

Today’s late-night comedians are often comfortable operating joke free, no longer seeking laughs but instead pursuing applause via material that panders to their like-minded niche audiences. In the same interview in which Rock told New York Magazine that he gave up performing at colleges due to hyper-political correctness on campuses, he talked about the manner in which technology and social media spur comedians to censor their own material.

Stand-up practitioners have a particularly pressing need to try out their material before exposing it to a larger audience.

“It is scary, because the thing about comedians is that you’re the only ones who practice in front of a crowd. Prince doesn’t run a demo on the radio. But in stand-up, the demo gets out. There are a few guys good enough to write a perfect act and get onstage, but everybody else workshops it and workshops it, and it can get real messy. It can get downright offensive,” Rock said.

The prevalence of smart phones, which have the capacity to record and share, has altered the way reactions to stand-up presentations are communicated.

“Before everyone had a recording device and was wired…, you’d say something that went too far, and you’d go, ‘Oh, I went too far,’ and you would just brush it off. But if you think you don’t have room to make mistakes, it’s going to lead to safer, gooier stand-up. You can’t think the thoughts you want to think if you think you’re being watched,” Rock added.

In comedy clubs back in the day, when members of an audience were offended, they simply got up and left the club. Today if someone does not like a joke, the outrage over the offending material can easily be spread in geometric fashion to an enormous number of people via social media.

Social media at the present time is extremely unfriendly to any attempts at being funny that do not fit within the strict parameters of the politically correct crowd, who are on an endless hunt for PC violators. With the advent of Twitter mobs, some of which are artificially enhanced, humor is routinely being re-labeled as hate speech.

In a recent interview with the U.K. Telegraph, legendary filmmaker Mel Brooks warned the world that society’s “stupidly politically correct” sensibilities will lead to the “death of comedy.” Brooks explained that political correctness is “not good for comedy,” since “comedy has to walk a thin line, take risks.”

Surprisingly, Brooks believes that his iconic western parody “Blazing Saddles” could not co-exist with the current climate because it has a racial theme within the plotline.

Once upon a time rational people discussed whether or not humorous content had crossed into the territory of being too offensive.

Today, however, with digital monitoring, persecution via social media, and the constant addition of favored groups that can never be the subject of comedic material, humor is in danger of becoming extinct.

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‘Roseanne’ without Roseanne Barr?

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After Disney and ABC gave Roseanne Barr the severest of penalties for her ill-fated tweet by canceling her television show “Roseanne,” sources indicate that the ABC brass are now looking into the idea of continuing the sitcom in some fashion without Barr.

TMZ first reported the following: “The powers that be at ABC are exploring the possibility of re-branding the show and focusing on the character Darlene instead of Roseanne.”

A pitch meeting is set to take place between the producers of “Roseanne” and Disney ABC executives on June 4 to explore a revival of the “Roseanne” reboot with a new name minus the show’s namesake.

The key individuals that have been pursuing the continuation of the sitcom include co-star and executive producer Sara Gilbert, showrunner and executive producer Bruce Helford, and executive producer Tom Werner.

Gilbert was the driving force behind the initial “Roseanne” reboot. Helford was the co-creator and executive producer of “The Drew Carey Show” as well as the executive producer and writer for the original “Roseanne” during season five of the series. Werner co-founded the Carsey-Werner Company and was executive producer of the original “Roseanne,” along with “The Cosby Show,” “A Different World,” “3rd Rock from the Sun,” and “That 70s Show.”

Even if ABC greenlights a revival of a reboot, financial and legal obstacles may end up thwarting its plans. Carsey-Werner owns the lion’s share of the rights to “Roseanne.” However, Barr was the co-creator and executive producer of the show and has contractual financial interests in the series.

ABC is aware of the fact that a competing network faced a similar problem when it removed the lead actor from a top sitcom. Charlie Sheen was fired from “Two and a Half Men” in 2011, and Ashton Kutcher became the star of the show. Sheen also possessed contractual financial interests in the show and filed a $100 million lawsuit to pursue those interests, which concluded with a settlement of $25 million.

Barr has indicated via her Twitter account that she is thinking about fighting back against the cancellation of her reboot. Depending on the provisions in her contract, she may be able to legally challenge the attempt to create a spinoff that has the same characters and similar plotlines.

Disney ABC attorneys could even find themselves working overtime to negotiate a buyout of Roseanne’s rights in order to move forward with a project without her.

Another significant challenge involves the cast. Key members may not wish to be associated with the show or may have conflicting projects. Actors need to know that a project is real so that they can reserve time on their calendars.

It would be crucial for the producer to secure co-stars John Goodman and Laurie Metcalf for the new project. Goodman is a sought after character actor, and Metcalf just snagged an Oscar nomination for “Lady Bird” and is additionally doing well on Broadway. The aforementioned Gilbert has her continuing spot on CBS’s “The Talk” to protect.

The writing staff would have to be contracted as well. Ironically, on the very same day that ABC cancelled “Roseanne,” the writers had gathered at the studio lot to begin work on the upcoming season.

Despite the cancellation, ABC and Carsey-Werner reportedly have a contractual obligation to pay key cast members and writers for the upcoming season on a 10-episode guarantee, which provides an incentive to revive the series reboot.

There are other shows that have continued on following the departure of their lead actors. Current streaming programs “House of Cards” and “Transparent” have both made the transition following the removal of their respective stars Kevin Spacey and Jeffrey Tambor.

An example often cited by industry experts is one from the 1980s. A successful sitcom, “Valerie,” starred Valerie Harper as a career mother, who along with a somewhat invisible airline pilot husband is raising her three sons. After Harper had a dispute with the show’s producers, she was written out of the series. Sandy Duncan joined the cast as the boys’ aunt, who moved in and became their de facto parent. The series was renamed “Valerie’s Family: The Hogans,” which was later shortened to “The Hogan Family.”

However, the unprecedented success of the “Roseanne” reboot differs from the run-of-the-mill television project. Barr had built a sizable reservoir of conventional fandom during her syndication run of 25 years. What gave the reboot such exceptional impetus was the bond that she shares with millions of people, many of whom voted for President Trump, who were chiefly responsible for the phenomenal ratings of the show and who managed to transform a television debut into a cultural event.

A “Roseanne” series without Roseanne may initially draw the curious. But without the show’s comedic and cultural core cast member, it would likely end up as a shadow of its former self.

Disney Stunned as ‘Solo’ Stumbles at the Box Office

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The “Star Wars” franchise has been a sure winner for Disney, well worth the $4 billion the studio paid for Lucasfilm in 2012.

When a “Star Wars” movie is released, it is nothing short of a spectacular event accompanied by an interstellar performance at the box office, but not this time.

Box-office proceeds of the latest “Star Wars” installment, “Solo: A Star Wars Story,” has hit Disney executives hard, with a lower than expected three-day opening of $84.7 million and a projected four-day opening of $103 million; all this while the movie carried a production budget of over $250 million.

The “Solo” results were 46 percent lower than the previous “Star Wars” release, “Rogue One,” causing

Lucasfilm and Disney to reexamine the management of the “Star Wars” asset.

The overseas performance thus far for “Solo” has been an abysmal $65 million, including a tepid take of $10.1 million in box-office receipts in China. Since foreign box office can be up to 70 percent of a studio release’s overall gross revenue, “Solo” will likely bring in a far lower proportion of overseas money, so Disney has to be concerned that the film will not come close to the more than $1 billion in global gross that “Rogue One” delivered.

“Solo” tells the story of the younger days of iconic character Hans Solo, from the original “Star Wars” movie. The lead character was so deeply defined into the cultural memory by Harrison Ford that it posed an extremely difficult casting job.

Alden Ehrenreich has some very big shoes to fill, and it is safe to say that no actor could recreate the roguish character that the world came to love in the original “Star Wars” trilogy.

Movie experts cite a number of reasons for the latest “Star Wars” film’s lack of box-office energy, including politically correct plotlines, weak directing, poor casting, and “Star Wars” weariness.

As to the fatigue factor, it does not help that “Solo” was released a mere five months after another “Star Wars” movie, “The Last Jedi.”

Disney seems to have learned its lesson on the timing of releases and will probably avoid premiering “Star Wars” sequels, reboots, or spin-offs more than once per year.

The Mouse House is run by some of the most effective business people in the entertainment world. Last year the studio changed the release date of the upcoming “Star Wars” installment, “Episode IX,” from Memorial Day to December of 2019.

When it comes to the “Star Wars” series, year-end releases have been very good for the studio. “Force Awakens,” “Rogue One,” and “The Last Jedi” were all released during the Christmas season. Each movie brought in revenue in the $1 billion range and ended up being the top box-office performers during the year in which the movie release took place.

Disney execs also wisely brought back J.J. Abrams, who directed 2015’s “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” to co-write and direct the upcoming “Star Wars: Episode IX.”

Ron Howard had been tapped by the studio at the production’s halfway point to direct “Solo” after Christopher Miller and Phil Lord left the project.

As an enterprise, Disney has so many other film irons in the fire that it will easily weather the “Solo” disappointment. The company’s Marvel franchise offering, “Avengers: Infinity War,” has at the time of this writing accumulated a box-office bonanza of $622 million domestically and $1.9 billion worldwide.

The family friendly “Incredibles 2” will be released June 15, 2018, and is projected to open in the $130 million range.

Most importantly for “Star Wars” fans, the next scheduled release of a “Star Wars” movie is not until December of 2019.

Like the proverbial football coach at the half, Disney will have the time to determine what went wrong with “Solo” and make the necessary adjustments to its strategic thinking regarding its revered “Star Wars” franchise.

How to Get Real News in a World of Fake News

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There was a time when three dominant television networks had the power to control the news and information narrative. Societal sources of information, though, have been constantly shifting over the past several decades due in great part to changes in technology.

The widespread reliance on digital information today has allowed ta trio of technology companies to be in a position to increasingly influence cultural and political conversations in a host of ways.

When it comes to establishing the news narrative, the big three consist of Google, Facebook, and Twitter. It is the tech giant Google, however, that has managed to morph into a monolithic kingdom of web search.

Google has become a digital pathway to information for almost the entire world, having secured approximately 70 percent of the global search market share. The usage of the search site for exploring the net is almost double the amount of its nearest competitor, Bing.

Additionally, as the owner of the principal video sharing site YouTube, Google is second only to Facebook as a social media platform.

Using its extraordinary algorithms and artificial intelligence, search giant Google unfortunately displays blatant and explicit biases against conservative viewpoints, all the while favoring left-leaning positions.

This partiality is underscored by discrimination lawsuits filed by former Google employees James Damore and David Gudeman against their prior employer. Damore alleges that he was fired for writing a memo criticizing Google’s diversity policies, while Gudeman claims he was blacklisted and let go for holding conservative beliefs, particularly for his support of now President Donald Trump.

The lawsuits describe a systemic ultra-liberal atmosphere at the tech giant. What is of major concern for the unknowing public is the fact that the radically left-leaning Google culture has manifested itself in distorted and biased search results.

In 2017 researchers from Northeastern University and the American Institute for Behavioral Research and Technology presented a paper that demonstrated a pervasive bias favoring Hillary Clinton existed in Google search results regarding the 2016 election.

Later in the year a research report written by Leo Goldstein of the group Defeat Climate Alarmism used data from Alexa.com to determine that Google searches were biased in favor of liberal domains and against conservative domains.

Using a current news story that broke over this past weekend concerning the Democratic memo, which was released to counter the Republican FISA abuse memo, a search on Google was conducted by this article’s author using the term “democrat memo.”

The results of the search were as follows: Two articles that appeared on the first line as “Top Stories” were one-sided pro-Democrat pieces from the The New York Times and Vox.

It was not until halfway down the third page of the Google search listings that a single article with a divergent point of view appeared. The article titled “What The Democrats Left Out Of Their Memo” was from the Daily Caller website.

The Google search exhibited the results, despite the fact that a plain reading of the Democratic memo indicated significant facts set forth in the Republican memo were left unanswered.

Particularly disturbing was the lack of any mention in the Democratic memo of the DNC and Clinton campaign funding of the infamous Steele dossier, or any mention or explanation of why that information was not provided to the FISA Court.

Assuming that Google’s bias is extensive and is unlikely to be addressed, conservatives cannot sit idly by and continue to use the search site.

In the business world, there are antitrust laws that exist to protect consumers from monopolies, which artificially raise prices and stifle innovation. Perhaps people who are seeking objectivity should consider using an alternative approach when conducting Internet searches.

Considering the fact that Google and most other search engines track and mine personal information without an individual’s knowledge or consent, it becomes even more important to adopt an alternative approach.

This brings us to some Google alternatives that may surprise the reader. DuckDuckGo.com not only provides unbiased news and information, it also maintains personal privacy by not engaging in tracking, data mining, or retention of search history. It is as comprehensive as Google and allows customization of its interface. It enables searches to be free from adult content via a safe setting similar to Google.

Ixquick’s Start Page claims to be the world’s most private search site. The site does not participate in data mining or tracking and additionally offers users the ability to visit sites via proxy, thus rendering searchers the protection of invisibility to the sites that appear in the search results.

Yippy is a search engine that also protects privacy with the added benefit of delivering child-friendly results. Yippy pulls search results from other search engines and groups topics together, organizing the results in clusters. Although the site filters out topics to which children ought not be exposed, including gambling, pornography, and other inappropriate material, adept teenagers may still find a way to obtain unsuitable results.

Conservatives may enjoy the experience of a search engine that gives results of a right-leaning nature. 4conservatives.com will do just that. The search engine delivers content from a conservative perspective and uses reputable sources.

By using more objective search alternatives, we can move toward a world with less fake news and more real news.

#HashtagWars

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The new reality, in which billions of people are able to interact and converse via social media about anything and everything, has undergone an evolution that has enabled order to emerge out of chaos.

A hashtag is an essential linguistic element in the new media discussion, which is being used to relay a message and establish a meme surrounding an issue, opinion, and even a desired action.

The use of hashtags on Twitter began with the placement of a number symbol (#) in front of a key word or phrase for the purposes of gathering together posts from different users into a single category. Posts with matching hashtags are jointly aggregated and then viewed simultaneously by a large number of people.

The idea of using media to focus public attention on a singular topic is in no way new. However, the scope of this particular digital phenomenon is. So, too, are the capacity and speed at which a hashtag can potentially influence public opinion. A carefully honed one oftentimes has the power to move individuals en masse from one side of a debate to another.

In 2008 then-Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama held a digital advantage over GOP rival presidential candidate John McCain, due to Obama’s deeper involvement with Facebook, Twitter, and other social media online platforms. Social media missives and hashtags became commonplace means through which campaign messages were propelled through cyberspace.

In the 2012 presidential election, GOP standard bearer Mitt Romney stepped on to social media territory when he purchased a hashtag as part of his campaign efforts. Through his acquisition, #RomneyRyan2012 became a trending topic. Romney’s campaign was reportedly the first to buy Twitter advertising in the form of a hashtag.

In the 2016 election cycle, then-GOP candidate Donald J. Trump was making a run for the presidency, and his campaign bought the following trending hashtag: #GetYourTrumpGear. The nexus between social media and politics was further established and so was a new virtual rubric.

Fast forward to the present. President Trump is the first occupant of the Oval Office to truly understand and fully embrace the digital universe in which we all find ourselves immersed. And many people who are acclimated to the digital climate, yes, even captivated by the virtual experience, are loving it.

It comes, then, as no surprise that his enemies do not share the same sentiment, and they continue to try to discourage the president from fully participating in social media activity. The digital debate continues to escalate as does the virtual war.

Most notably, a recent four-page memorandum that has been circulating in Congress, which reportedly reveals alleged United States government surveillance abuses, has been depicted in the following manner by legislators who have had the opportunity to preview its contents: “shocking,” “troubling,” and “alarming.”

The memo reportedly details the Intelligence Committee’s oversight work for the FBI and Justice Department, including FISA surveillance. Sources close to the committee indicate that it references text messages between FBI agent Peter Strzok and FBI lawyer Lisa Page, which appear to verify that the dubious Trump dossier was used to justify and obtain FISA warrants.

A recent vote by the committee to release the memorandum to lawmakers broke down along party lines, with Democrats voting against making the memo available to all members of Congress. If the committee votes to do so and there are no objections from the White House within five days, the memo can additionally be released to the public.

The hashtag #ReleaseTheMemo, which calls for the memorandum to be revealed to the public, has gone viral. WikiLeaks has added an additional dimension to the hashtag initiative by offering a reward of up to $1 million to anyone who can send them a copy.

Meanwhile the government shutdown is resulting in a tug-of-war for the very minds of social media users. This is occurring via a hashtag battle of the epic kind. At issue is who is to blame for the failure in the Senate to pass a continuing resolution to keep the government up and running.

Both sides have lined up their hashtags, with Democrats brandishing the #TrumpShutdown in their tweets and Republicans wielding #SchumerShutdown in their social media posts.

Both hashtags are trending high, but #SchumerShutdown has the edge as the most memorable and effective. Its double alliteration makes the phrase roll off the tongue, and it has the distinct ring of truth.

Because it deals with an individual who has also earned the brand of “Cryin’ Chuck,” imagery tends to float to the forefront in the minds of listeners, viewers, and/or participants in the Internet fight.

Democrats have traditionally controlled the narrative, when it comes to government shutdowns. One of the problems that they presently have is that although the objective may be to lay responsibility for the partial government shutdown on President Trump’s shoulders, they and their mainstream media allies have already used up an inordinate amount of digital capital trying to pin the blame on the elephant instead of the donkey.

The Democrats have another serious impediment to winning the narrative wars this time around. It is none other than the president himself, the duly elected outsider who has the power to bypass traditional news outlets with his social media savvy.

Press Secretary Sarah Sanders employed the #ShumerShutdown language when she tweeted an official statement from the White House. And President Trump used his Twitter account to point out who was responsible for causing the government shutdown. His tweeted response read: “Democrats are far more concerned with Illegal Immigrants than they are with our great Military or Safety at our dangerous Southern Border,” followed by the hashtag #WeNeedMoreRepublicansIn18.

In another tweet, the president celebrated the one-year anniversary of his presidency by posting the idea that in creating the shutdown “the Democrats wanted to give me a nice present.” He followed the tweet with the hashtag #DemocratShutdown.

In a digital punctuation mark, President Trump tweeted out one of the primary themes of his presidency, which has never failed to stir the hearts of his supporters.

“#America First!”