We covered our utter disappointment with Fox News’ The 1/2 Hour News Hour two weeks ago in this space. The debut episode featured two fake reporters delivering fake news at a rapid pace with humor or, really, personality. We we heartbroken, but vowed to watch the second episode, scheduled to air March 4th at 10PM, in hopes of improvement.
Improve it did, but not by much. The jokes were just as stale, but at least they were making jokes about genuine news. At least, we think so. We were distracted. More on that in a moment.
The program ended with an overly-long extended joke about “What do all these terrorists have in common?” The joke’s format is basically
Host: “Well, here are the names of some guys arrested for terrorism: [list 5 Muslim names here].”
Co-host: “If only we can find a connection between those terrorists and these five who were responsible for some other act of terrorism: [give 5 more Muslim names].”
Host: “Well, do they all like soup?”
Co-Host: “No, no, [Muslim Name #1] is allergic to Mulligatawny.”
Host: “Shucks. Well, thank God the experts are working on this.”
This went on for a few minutes, during which time Mr. Thursday wished he had a beer and regretted ever turning on this program. On the upside, when this segment ended, so did the show, and our clock read only 10:23PM.
What Fox News doesn’t seem to understand is the very thing that has made them popular. FNC’s programming is almost strictly attitude: Ann Coulter, Rush Limbaugh, Bill O’Reilly and Sean Hannity are not charming men and women of dazzling with and intellect. They aren’t evenparticularly astute political commentators. They spew attitude, vociferously, and while they do not gain many followers with this technique, they’re able to make their already considerable base rabid with enthusiasm for the so-called conservative cause. It’s an impressive M.O. and the Curious Mechanism has long appreciated what it’s been able to accomplish.
However, snarling attitude does not make for good humor. Not funny, uh-uh. Perhaps the enthusiastic viewers of FNC love the program (for the record, we’re just occasional appreciator’s of the unique nature of their product), but we do not.
Now, in good news, the History Channel is having “Barbarian’s Week“, which means several days of Vikings, Visigoths, Lombards, Saxons, and generally a lot of people dying of plague and axe-wounds. The whole shebang started last night with the two hour feature “The Dark Ages”, which gave a decent overview of the grim and bloody nature of the 600 year period.
Among the many highlights was a description of the “Bloody Eagle”, a method of torture favored by Vikings. Wikipedia offers its description (with a great deal of extra information) here:
It was performed by cutting the ribs of the victim by the spine, breaking the ribs so they resembled blood-stained wings, and pulling the lungs out. Salt was sprinkled in the wounds. Victims of the blood-eagle ritual, as mentioned in skaldic poetry and the Norse sagas, are believed to have included King Ælla (Ella) of Northumbria, Halfdan son of King Haraldr Hárfagri of Norway, King Edmund, King Maelgualai of Munster, and possibly Archbishop Ælfheah.
If you have a stomach for the gruesome, we highly recommend watching plenty of the History Channel this week. Hey, it’s better than American Idol, at least. Right?