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Entries in dick cheney (94)

Tuesday
Mar172015

In Which We Jenga For Days In The Dark Recesses Of Our House Of Cards

Spoilers for the third season of the Netflix series House of Cards appear in the following essai.


Douglas Stamper's Romper Room

by DICK CHENEY

Doug Stamper (Michael Kelly) saw that movie where Jennifer Aniston complains a lot about being in pain and took it to heart. Lynne calls Doug Stamper 'Stampsies', and every time he does something that requires a questionable amount of moral integrity, such as squirt whiskey into his mouth with a syringe or pitch a crying fit in the oval office, she cries out, "Oh Stampsies, what will you do next?!"

This season of House of Cards oscillates from utterly boring to bald-head-to-the-wall fascinating in mere seconds, which makes it a difficult show to review in my inimitable style. The point of this constant temperature change is to echo the real pace of politics, which most of the time consists of sleepy policy proposals and pseudo-scandals about Hillary Clinton chucking her hard drives into the Chesapeake Bay or you know, lying about the murders of American ambassadors.

It's disgusting that Jon Stewart could give a shit whether or not he is lied to. All politicians lie, he moans between clips of the man he is dangerously obsessed with, Bill O'Reilly. You can judge someone pretty much completely by the types of people they take seriously. Frank Underwood (Kevin Spacey) doesn't take anyone seriously except his wife - and that abiding belief is erased by the events of House of Cards' third season.

At times in his rise to power, Underwood had various crises of faith and through her officious and cold decision-making, Claire Underwood (the stunning yet vaguely asexual version of Robin Wright) pulled her husband past the crisis. That he is unable to save her the way she has done for him is the through-line here.

To obtain the presidency, Frank had to do a lot of messed-up, implausible shit. Now that he is the president, he has to do a lot of moaning, spinning around in a chair, and gripping the throats of women with his non-masturbating hand. Frank is no longer the asynchronous terror he once was, and this season of House of Cards has been accused of being dull, watered-down, and excessively foreign policy focused.

The last charge comes with a new antagonist, Russian president Viktor Petrov (Lars Mikkelsen). Featuring the real-life situation of the suddenly disappeared Russian president in the real world hews a bit too close to home, making us realize there are tyrants far worse than Frank Underwood. That an aging and more sympathetic Frank comes across like a weak baby in comparison to the strong Russian president is an easy irony, but it doesn't really help the narrative of the show. House of Cards has not lost the breakneck pace or compelling, theater-esque characterization that propelled it to success, but this season does seem to be missing a lot.

Spacey has aged precipitously since the last Cards ended with the Underwoods' ascent to the Oval Office. His virility has dissipated more quickly than any of us could imagined. I know the feeling: I lived it. At one point in my life I had hair, and then I didn't. (Likewise, Putin has returned from his sabbatical, where he received medical treatment to restore his low testosterone, but he will never really be as threatening to the West again.)

In order to sell the public on his brilliant American Works program that would employ every person currently sitting around during the day watching House of Cards on Netflix, Frank hires a novelist (Paul Sparks) with whom he has a weird, ambiguously sexual relationship after admiring a video game review the man wrote about iOS smash Monument Valley.

This entire threadline is setup for what will surely be played out in the show's fourth season, reminding us how much we lost, character-wise, from the first two. Peter Russo was a gentleman and a scholar; Zoe was a witch but at least she was our witch; Christina had a certain something I once saw in a young Courteney Cox before her smile became frightening; Claire's ex-boyfriend who she reverse cowboyed was a terrible photographer, but at least he provided something in the way of relief. It can't be all-Underwood, all-the-time. That's the mistake the Democratic Party made before the 2000 election.

Even in this season characters which might have been further fleshed out or reappropriated - like Benito Martinez's savvy and handsome Hector Mendoza or Derek Cecil's disturbingly manipulative Seth Grayson - don't get much in the way of screen time. If you measure it out, more than half the show's scenes feature Claire flipping her hair or being subtly disgusted by her husband's misogyny. A hammer can only pound a nail so many times. Ask Lynne.

Dick Cheney is the senior contributor to This Recording. He is a writer living in an undisclosed location. You can find an archive of his writing on This Recording here.

Tuesday
Mar102015

In Which We Choose A Woman And A President

Arlington

by DICK CHENEY

Choosing someone can be so difficult. Can you really expect a man from Iowa to really know what exactly is good for him? President Obama has not been to Iowa since the primaries for several reasons: he feels awkward around the Bachelor, Chris Soules, and he despises the smell of cowshit.

Given that he owns 800 acres, you think he could get the people of Arlington a fucking grocery.

Obama has privately expressed a determination to stay out of the 2016 presidential race. There is a not-so-quiet movement coming from some Republicans and Democrats to ensure Hillary Clinton never attains the presidency. They have trouble agreeing on what exactly is going to drive her out of Iowa, with some even resorting to the guy who was the corrupt Baltimore mayor in The Wire. Matt Drudge appears to be in love with this man:

Hillary cannot believe she is getting railroaded by Tommy Carcetti

If this seems like a stretch, maybe it's time to consider that no one actually wants to be the president. If you value your own time or ypur own family, the presidency is not really for you. There is a WH staffer who specifically updates the president on his daughters' moods and suggests how much child support he will be expected to pay once Michelle leaves him for Peabo Bryson.

If we are going to elect another unknown as president, I would prefer it be someone who is not negatively represented on The Wire, like Omar Little, or Heather Dunbar.

I actually hissed when I saw her as a brunette.

Frank Underwood wanted to be president more than anything in the world, although it is not completely clear why. Once in office, all he does is have intimate chats with his biographer and lash out at his wife for not finding a two-state solution as efficiently as he would like.

The new season of House of Cards makes you realize how difficult it is to go on living after you have seemingly gotten what you wanted. Most people don't want power or happiness; they just couldn't think of anything else they did want.

Maybe don't give someone a speech before they propose to you? It's rude.

Having a blonde Midwestern wife seems like a lot of work, maybe just as much work as occupying the Oval Office. Chris Soules chose the disturbingly vocal Whitney Bischoff as his bride-to-be. Before he proposed to her in one of his many barns (he owns 8 farms!), she interrupted his proposal with a gushing soliloquy about how she had the best time with him. She even talked through their first wintercourse, informing him of the entire plot of Hart of Dixie from beginning to end.

If he dumped her in a barn, she probably would have murdered him and his parents. He made the right call.

Whitney was a pill to be honest. Right before they had sex for the first time (Reality Steve reported that it would be missionary style, as God intended), she uttered the famous words, "Check, please!" Whitney, who will be giving up her job as a Chicago fertility nurse to produce "lots of babies" for the man she calls Ka-Ryse, has a very large sexual appetite. Her main drawback was her limited vocabulary, which began and ended with the word Amazing. Her kisses were somewhat subpar as well.

Everyone wants the smell of hay permanently ensconsed in her nostrils.

hris struggled with his choice of woman just like we struggle with our choice for president. The other woman involved treated Chris like he was a slightly overbearing uncle, and yet he still found himself deliberating over his final decision. The producers of The Bachelor couldn't choose either: instead of selecting one mediocre woman that Chris dumped to be the Bachelorette, they went with two.

The concept of two presidents isn't the worst idea I have ever heard. I guess we already had that, considering I made plenty of George W. Bush's decisions, including what cereal he would have for breakfast and what game modes he would play in Call of Duty: Black Ops.

If Becca said, "I'm just not there yet" one more time, I was going to key her asexual Lexus

The two women going on The Bachelorette that Chris perhaps unwisely parted ways with were Britt Nilsson and Kaitlyn Bristowe. The former basically did not shower her entire time on the show and wept through the entire hour of The Women Tell All. Meanwhile, Kaitlyn's accent ultimately doomed her to third place in the competition, as did coming on too strong in Bali. She should never have told him how cute she found the local monkeys; on a subliminal level a man wonders if she sees him the same way.

Who we choose says a lot about us. The important part of electing Barack Obama seemed to be how often and how effusively we could compliment ourselves for voting for him, and perhaps also saying that we voted against that Alaskan woman. An unattractive accent is everything.

Dick Cheney is the senior contributor to This Recording. You can visit our mobile site at thisrecording.wordpress.com.

"Break the Fall" - Laura Welsh (mp3)

"Unravel" - Laura Welsh (mp3)

Monday
Mar022015

In Which The Facial Hair Of Will Forte Dominates The Mise-En-Scène

Control Freak

by DICK CHENEY

The Last Man On Earth
creator Will Forte

There is no lonelier man than Phil Miller (Will Forte). Since Forte, creator of the new Fox show The Loneliest Man On Earth could not think of anything new a man would consider worth doing if he was alone somewhere, he gets a bunch of soccer balls and baseballs like Tom Hanks in Castaway and talks to them. There are several long scenes in which the former temp worker that Forte portrays talks to the balls, giving them names and imbuing personalities on them. He also shits in a pool.

Reacting to this fictional depiction of a man doing what it is he feels is right, The White House yesterday strongly condemned Forte's actions. "He's trying to create a wedge between Israel and the United States," said U.S. national security advisor Susan Rice.

Running water is so bougie

There is in fact a lonelier man in America. He will address Congress at the behest of John Boehner, and our President is so mad. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's timing is perfect, since he seems like an iconic rebel crusading on behalf of his country just before he defeats Isaac Herzog to win a fourth term as prime minister. Obama's timing could not be worse, since House of Cards just came out and Frank Underwood/Obama comparisons are unavoidable.

Tucson would not be my first choice even within Arizona

Phil lives in Tucson, in the nicest house he can find. He has ransacked the finest museums America has to offer, and brought a bunch of European art into his surroundings. He has only searched the continental 48 states for other people; never venturing into Mexico or Brazil was perhaps not the smartest choice considering these countries have the finest women in the world. Instead he meets Carol Pilbasian (Kristen Schaal), an office manager at a hot sauce company.

Kristen Schaal is a beautiful woman, and I resent this negative depiction of her sheyna punim.

At first Phil finds Carol objectionable on every level. She fulfills none of his basic requirements of feminine beauty, and he is made furious by her many demands: stopping his SUV at stop signs, not living in an environment of total disgusting filth, and using correct grammar. Having to rely deeply on a person who on some fundamental level is completely different from you is the foundation of diplomacy.

It is a king who takes offense; a president is supposed to rise above such notions for the good of his country. Phil is more the first type of ruler, and his kingdom is fairly revolting. Much of The Last Man On Earth consists of Forte coming up with gross things for Phil to do, like poop in a swimming pool or murder fish with bowling balls. Watching Phil do whatever he wants is fun for the first of the eight montages included in the show's first two episodes, but it gets old quick.

And they say print is dead.

Speaking of getting old quick, Warren Buffett has already proclaimed that Hillary Clinton is going to be the next president. Since he has a lot of money, he is almost certain to be correct about this. House of Cards based its humorous depiction of Raymond Tusk on Buffett's no-nonsense Nebraska lifestyle, but even Raymond Tusk did not have the balls to come out and announce who the next president is going to be.

Of all the things to take from the Oval Office, Phil grabs the rug. The Last Man on Earth codifies a lot of American ideas about the larger universe. Phil doesn't bother exploring the entire world to see if everyone is left alive; he doesn't even bother taking an quick run up to Toronto, where there is most likely more than one desperate woman. America is it.

hopefully he will shave at some point during this season

No one seems to internalize nationalistic ideas about their countries more than their leaders. Obama's mad just because someone is giving a speech without his permission. Paranoia reigns supreme.

Phil is worried when Carol decides to move her mobile enterprise into the home next to his in the ritzy Tucson development he calls home. Her invasive maneuver eventually leads to the obvious conclusion these two need to repopulate the earth. Their population science might need some work, though. If they are truly alone on the planet, there is no chance of producing a successful working civilization again. Unless their children are geniuses, this will just lead to a bunch of half-Jews ransacking supermarkets for canned food. So basically, the world as it is today.

Dick Cheney is the senior contributor to This Recording.

"The Truth" - Mya (mp3)

"Patience" - Mya (mp3)