the show: 03-15-07

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[Intro 1: Woman sitting on the grass with the sculpture Floralis Genérica in the background, which appears to be extending from the anus of a man posing in front of it.] Arrgh! Take it out, take it out, take it out, take it out!

[Intro 2: Scrawny guy in adult diapers crosses picture, then faces camera.] I am the giant baby. Ohh, humiliating...

[Intro 3: Two girls on a basketball court, speaking alternately.] Good afternoon Sports Racers. This is Hanna and Isabell, from Baltimore, Maryland. You're watching The Show with Ze Frank. [One girls screams and jumps at the cushioned pole of the basket.]

[Ze:] Let's play: that makes me think of. One last time.

There's a little book, called A Practical Handbook for the Actor, and playwright David Mamet wrote the intro for it.

In it, Mamet says that most acting training is based on shame and guilt.

Teachers have a tendency to talk about the craft in loose mythological terms like "getting it" and "feeling it."

Not really knowing what those things are, students struggle forward anyway they can.

Gathering up a collection of tricks their teachers attention. They become ashamed that they don't grasp these undefinable concepts, and that they've developed work-arounds despite them.

Over time, they naturally become more comfortable and more experienced.

And then they're praised for "getting it," or "feeling it."

They still don't really know what that is, but the praise feels good, so they play along.

"Yes, I GET IT."

Why cast doubts or ask questions if it's working?

But, there's a sense of guilt that comes with perpetuating the mythology.

And when it comes time for them to teach, they repeat the cycle, and so on.

It's a pattern that continues, because there are no checks and balances.

Questioning it once you're in it potentially undermines your worth.

And so you remain loyal to a broken thing.

That makes me think of a story that's been in the news recently, about a group of federal prosecutors who were recently fired by the Bush administration.

The administration had the right to fire these prosecutors; they were appointed by the President and served at his pleasure. Which isn't as dirty as it sounds.

But first and foremost, federal prosecutors serve the law, and that requires a certain independence, and distance from political pressures.

In a way they're meant to represent the checks and balances of the judicial branch of government.

Prosecutors are rarely fired in the middle of a term and questions arose as to why.

Initially, Alberto Gonzales, the Attorney General, said that they were fired because of job performance issues.

But in recent weeks it's become clear that they were most likely fired for not playing along, for not bowing to the political pressures that they were meant to be shielded from.

Pressures to continue the investigations into alleged Democratic voter fraud around the time of the elections.

Pressures to increase the numbers of low-level prosecutions of illegal immigrants.

Pressures not to continue investigating officials tied to the Duke Cunningham scandal.

It appears they were fired for not being loyal, for questioning certain political requests.

The Bush administration has gotten much of its strength from a fierce and absolute loyalty.

The President expects nothing less. And in return, he's stood by disgraced officials until the bitter end.

But if absolute power corrupts absolutely, absolute loyalty is a pyramid scheme of that power... and ultimately that corruption.

Just imagine if your boss said that as long as you were loyal he'd stand by you no matter what.

When the shit hits the fan and things starts to break down you find yourself just being loyal to being loyal.

And if you aren't, you threaten to undermine everything.

After years of loyalty-based politics without the checks and balances of dissent we're starting to see what it's led to.

Many Republicans are now forced to ask what it exactly it was they were loyal to.

And because of that, the Republican party is said to be in a state of disarray.

In contrast, the Democrats, for the moment at least, appear to have a certain unity.

Personally, I hope that that unity has room for dissent.

That isn't based on some abstract notion of party loyalty.

Both sides are vulnerable to the same forces, and given the alternative, I'll take disarray loyalty that's absolute.

This is Ze Frank, thinking for me.

[Black screen.]

[Ze:] I'll see you on Ride the Fire Eagle Danger Day.

And just a reminder: Tomorrow is the last day to get most of those meaningless products.

[Sucks in air] Ssssclah.

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