The following is a media analysis of a show broadcast on television. This show was made popular because of Peer 2 Peer communications on the internet. To many people have stated that the internet has lead to the fall of real journalism. I feel the exact opposite is true, I feel that the internet has given birth to a whole new type of journalism. One could call it "Abstract Journalism". The problem with real 'journalism' today is that it is killing itself. 80% of all media is in the hands of five companies. Viacom, Disney, Time Warner, Comcast, and that German one that no one really cares about. By owning all of this media, before long you end up binding yourself with self interest and are no longer able to report on the news, only what serves you and you subsidies. Companies hold to much interest (money) in the way political chips fall to ruffle any feathers. So it is left up to the little guys to call it how we see it, but the problem with that is you still cant ruffle any feathers or risk pissing off the network and then you find yourself with a cancelled show.
So what can be done? You report the truth in an obscure, abstract way so that only the people that are paying attention get the story that you want to tell, while everyone else just sees a cartoon.
Please Watch This Clip Before Reading
(Its not perfect, start at time code 1:44 and stop at tc 4:35)
A Date with the Health Inspector [1.5]
Tom DuBois is arrested for fitting the description of the "Xbox Killer". Huey and Riley enlist the help of Ed Wuncler III and his friend Gin Rummy to find the real killer so Tom won't have to face his ultimate fear: being sent to prison and anally raped.
Charlie Murphy, Terry Crews and Samuel L. Jackson guest star.
The first decade of the new millennium has been lined with negatives. War, corruption, dept, and death. However once we stopped and realized that we were wrong on the wars in the middle-east, creativity burst out in every direction. Movies, books, TV shows all started to cast their own version of the recent events. The Boondocks, a cartoon strip gone animated did not hesitate to use their voice as well. In this episode of their first season the show lampooned the Bush Administration, the wars in the middle east and the reasons we occupy those nations.
Out of this episode I want to draw focus to just one short section that is the heart beat of the message. Four characters are on their way to find the X-box killer (a man who killed another over a game of Madden 2006) to prove that their friend, Tom DuBois was not the killer. The following conversation sets the stage. (Trust me there is a point) (And dont read the dialog you just watched it)
Riley: So y'all was in Iraq together?
Gin Rummy: Yeah we was in Iraq.
Riley: What did you do?
Gin Rummy: We was looking for weapons of mass destruction.
Riley: ....Did you ever find them?
Gin Rummy: You know goddamn well we ain't find 'em. What are you some kinda POLITICAL HUMORIST?! You GARRY TRUDEAU up in dis bitch?!?!
Ed III: I was lookin' for bitches but they had that carpet shit all over them and I couldn't see what they look like. All that was really exposed was the eyes and that wasn't enough for me, cause you know shit I'm lookin' at the eyes, the eyes be pretty and I take the carpet off and then I got a tragedy.
Gin Rummy: But nah we ain't find 'em. but I always say the absence of evidence is not the evidence of absence.
Gin Rummy: Simply because you don't have evidence that something does exist does not mean that you have evidence that something doesn't exist.
Gin Rummy: What country you from?
Gin Rummy: "What" ain't no country I ever heard of. They speak english in "What"?
Gin Rummy: ENGLISH, MUTHAFUCKER!! DO YOU SPEAK IT!?
Gin Rummy: So you understand the words I'm sayin' to you.
Gin Rummy: Well what I'm sayin' is that there are known knowns and that there are known unknowns but there's also unknown unknowns. Things we don't know that we don't know.
Gin Rummy: SAY WHAT AGAIN! SAY WHAT AGAIN! I DARE YOU! I DOUBLE DARE YOU MUTHAFUCKER! SAY WHAT ONE MORE TIME!
The above conversation is not only about the main story but has a side meaning as well. Gin Rummy and Riley have a verbatim conversation from the film Pulp Fiction. Samuel L. Jackson reprises his own famous conversation from the beginning of the movie when Riley repeatedly says, "What?" in response to Rummy's questions. In Pulp Fiction, nearly the exact same conversation takes place when Jules (Jackson's character) asks a man to describe his boss, another reference is when Rummy comments how he would like a tasty beverage like in the beginning of Pulp Fiction.
This episode is a code meant to be thought about and mulled over. The character Gin Rummy is based off of Donald Rumsfeld, the former secutary of defense. Ed Wunsler III is based off of George Bush, our former president and main cause of the last ten years in this country. The x-box killer symbolizes Osama bin Laden, with the killing representing September 11, 2001. On they way to catch the x-box killer the Gin and Ed make a sudden detour when they are just down the road. They make a sudden detour and head to a small shop down he road to get a tasty beverage.
The following scene ensues.
(Rummy and Ed III watches Officer Frank closely as he and Ed III approach the counter.)
Rummy: (Speaks to Ed III.) Watch my back I got yo front.
(Gin Rummy and Ed III place the cartons on the counter.)
Clerk: Hey Ed, Rummy my close friends and allies it is good to see you.
Ed III: (Hands Riley two cartons.) Go put dis in tha truck.
Riley: (Approaches the door.)
Clerk: Hey slow your roll chief. You guy have to pay for that first.
Riley: (Stops at the door at the clerk's words.)
Ed III: Damn! Chill out Aladdin Hussein. You know I'm good for it.
Clerk: Hey guys you know the rules. No exceptions, cash only.
(Gin Rummy and Ed III looks back at Officer Frank.)
Officer Frank: (Look at the others at the counter and and gives a friendly smile.)
Ed III: Look, he got a weapon! (Pulls out his hand gun and points it at the clerk.)
Officer Frank: (Quickly drops the magazine and point his gun at Rummy and Ed III.)
Rummy: Whoa, wait a minute now, (Points his M-16 at the clerk.) Put the gun down.
Clerk: Gun? What gun? I'm not holding gun. Guys it's me. Ed, your father help me build this store.
Rummy: (Looks at Officer Frank holding his gun at him and Ed III. Then he looks back at the clerk.) I DON'T KNOW YOU MUTHAFUCKER! NOW, PUT DOWN THE WEAPON, PUT IT DOWN!!
Clerk: There is no weapon, look!
Rummy: DROP THE WEAPON!!
Officer Frank: (Trembling nervously.) I, I don't see a weapon!
Huey: (Points at Rummy and Ed III.) There is no weapon, they're robbing the store!
Clerk: (Pleading) I am not holding a weapon! (Closes his eyes and looks away.) I AM NOT HOLDING A WEAPON!
Rummy: OFFICER, THIS MUTHAFUCKER GOT A GUN POINTED AT YOU!! YOU WANNA DIE!?
Officer Frank: WHAT?!
Officer Frank: I-I DON'T WANNA DIE!
Huey: He does not have a gun!
Rummy: HE DOES HAVE A GUN, TRUST ME!! THE ABSENCE OF EVIDENCE IS NOT THE EVIDENCE OF ABSENCE!!
Officer Frank: I-I DON'T SEE A GUN!
Ed III: Man fuck this shit! (Point his gun at Officer Frank.) Whose side you on? Mine, or this muthafucker who's obviously of terrorist descent?
Officer Frank: (Ponders for a moment.) Wait, I think I can see the gun now!
Rummy: (Climbs up on the counter.) GOOD, NOW ALL SEE THE WEAPON!! NOW YOU HAND OVER THAT WEAPON ON THE COUNT OF THREE, OR I SWEAR TO ALL MIGHTY "GOD", I'LL BLOW YOUR FUCKIN' HEAD OFF!! ONE!!
Clerk: I CAN'T GIVE YOU A WEAPON I'M NOT HOLDING!! YOU'RE THINKING OF THE KOREAN SHOP, NORTH OF HERE!
Officer Frank: Is he... still holding it!?
Rummy: TIMES UP!!
The diversion to the gas station represents the Iraq war, with the gas station owner representing Sadaam Hussein. During the hold up, Ed and Rummy (Bush and Rumsfeld) keep telling the gas station owner (Sudaam Hussein) to drop a non-existent gun. They repeatedly tell the police officer that the owner has a gun until they convince him. This situation is a reference to the United States invasion of Iraq, the gun referring to weapons of mass destruction and the police officer representing the American people and the United Nations. The gas Station owner (Sadaam Hussein) at one point says to the men robbing him, "Ed, your father helped me build this store" referring to George Bush Sr.'s support of Sadaam during the 1980s. Huey repeatedly says that the trip to the gas station isn't on the way to the house of the Xbox Killer, who represents Osama bin Laden, further presenting the point to the War on Terror. Gin Rummy's surprise when the other gas station workers return fire is a reference to the surprise and unplanned for response to an insurgency in Iraq.
Lastly in this episode Huey states that the robbery had nothing to do with the original plan, to which Rummy responds that "you cannot criticize a robbery during the actual robbery, you have to wait til the robbery is over." This is a reference to the war in Iraq taking precedence over the war in Afghanistan, and related protests. Other cultural references were made in this episode however they don’t apply to the main story ideas. One must really know their pop-culture to catch them all.
It is important that shows like the Boondocks are able to create their signs and messages freely. The exchange of ideas among the American people is at the heart of our democracy, our freedom and our country. It will be a dark day if messages and signs like these are cast into the shadow’s never to be seen again. For those who cant make the connections themselves, are doomed to let their leaders repeat these mistakes again.
This is a perfect image of Abstract Journalism, which hides the true message inside of a cartoon. This is probably my favorite episode of anything I have seen in a long time because it makes you think, reports important news all while flying under the radar. Sadly it to was quickly cancelled, despite amazing ratings and fellowship. Damn the Bush Administration.