I’m back – first blog entry since October 2006 (which was a very busy month for me, so I’m impressed I had time to publish that lambasting of the GWB administration and mainstream media.)

I know some of you are not quite sure who I am, just remember me as the powerful actor who last autumn, playing the role of a guy wrongfully accused of molesting a child, spoke the timeless line “I don’t even know where Laffy Time is!” on Law & Order: SVU. Chicago Tribune TV critic Maureen Ryan called it “one of the most gripping moments ever on broadcast television”; Caryn James wrote “Ruffer’s performance changed my life-never again will I be able to go a day without wondering how many Americans languish in incarceration, falsely accused and inadequately represented. I shudder.” I don’t want to be a spoiler, but a guy from the factory that manufactures the Emmy statues called the other day to confirm the my last name i fact has two “f”s.

OK. I’m making up the stuff about the critics and the Emmy. But a lot of Facebook friends did write things like “hey, Seth-just saw you on Law & Order! Good job!” Of course, they’re friends, so you never know if they really mean the kind words, or if they’re just looking for an invite to hang out on set with Marishka Hargitay, but what the hell. It was nice. And the residual checks!

But there’s a lot more to me than television stardom.

As most of you know, I’m a screenwriter/producer whose script, “Three Houses” – a comedy about race relations in the suburbs – has been alternating between “sizzling” and “neglible” in the nether land of indie film production. Right now, for those of you who concern themselves with such things, we’re closer to “sizzling” again, with prospective first-in money reviewing the project with a $10MM budget and a couple of juicy names likely to attach once the funding process is complete. Late last year the script won entry into the scouting service run by Script Shark, a division of The New York Times, and my wife assures me it is the finest script she has ever read.

The coolest thing, though, about trying to get my screenplay produced has undoubtedly been the education I’ve gotten about an absolutely insane business–movie making — and the opportunity to get to meet….well, cyber-meet a lot of cool, knowledgable, super talented, really generous people who’ve given tremendous amount of insight and even more importantly consistently make me laugh.

So I’m gonna try to keep this blog current with things going on with my projects (I’ve also written two TV pilot scripts–one for cable and one for broadcast TV, that I’ll be pitching soon, and am nearly done with a solid first draft of another feature film, this one a political thriller), and maybe once in a while share a peek into my home life as well (which people often tell me should be made into a reality series.) For now I’ll tell you that I live just outside NYC in northern New Jersey, with my criminally insane wife, Soo, and Mojo, the world’s largest labradoodle and Emma, the world’s most obnoxious Airedale.

Was it The Guardian which wondered on its front page after the re-election of George W Bush how fifty-nine-and-a-half million Americans could be so dumb?

This afternoon I violated one of my strictest rules, which is ok, since I’ve never been very strict with myself.

I stayed home from work today, and after spending a couple hours running around with our dogs–Emma, a 2 1/2 year-old Airedale and the worst dog in history, and Mojo, our 2-year-old Labradoodle, easily the greatest living thing in the history of the universe–I collapsed on the couch and turned on the TV. Flipping through the channels, I stopped when I saw Condoleezza Rice being interviewed by Wolf Blitzer.

Now, I’m not a fan of network or cable news. Personally, I think if you get your information from ANY television source, you’re misinformed. Period. Well, PBS might be an exeption occasionally, but for the most part TV news

I can’t remember the last time I saw CNN, but, Christ, I didn’t know things had gotten this bad.

Here’s Blitzer, timidly asking Condi about John Warner’s recent observations that if we don’t get Iraq “right” within the next two to three months, it’s pretty much over.

And Rice looked at him, straight in the eye, and pointed out that she was in Iraq last week, and while there she told Iraqi government officials that they had to “put politics aside” and get the country mving forward.

And of course, Blitzer, if he was even awake (as if whether he was awake or asleep would make a perceptible difference in his reporting) sort of nodded and let her slip to the next topic.

But I didn’t. Of course, it was only in my imagination, since there I was on my couch in jeans and t-shirt covered in dog saliva (don’t ask…) but I continued the line of questioning established by my meek colleague named Wolf, and looked Condi right back in the eye and said,

“Condi, who in the hell do you think you’re kidding? George W Bush and the filth that report to him have polarized our country, stifled dissent, pissed off allies, entered into highly questionable partnerships (I refuse to call them allies) with suspect governments, fabricated–NO! not manipulated–FABRICATED intelligence to justify the invasion of a sovereign nation that posed a threat to no one but themselves, ALL IN THE NAME OF MAINTAINING POLITICAL CLOUT FOR THE BENEFIT OF THEIR CRONIES AND THEMSELVES. Who the hell is the senior foreign relations officer of this government to tell ANYONE to ‘put their politics aside’?”

If your team, Dr. Rice, had been such advocates of putting politics aside for the greater good, it’s unlikely the nation would be in the morass in which it currently finds itself. Our economy would be stronger, our national security would be less brittle, our global standing would be enhanced if you and your side DIDN’T PLAY POLITICS ON EVERY FUCKING ISSUE.

But then, it occurred to me: here’s Wolf, bringing home a truckload of cash on a network viewed by millions and millions of people, and here I am, sprawled out on the couch wondering what Soo is gonna say when she sees that once again I forgot to clean the dogs’ paws before letting them on the living room furniture.

In other words, there are tons and tons and tons of people out there for whom this is good enough, and the networks know that, and the politicans sure as hell know that.

Now, I did my part–I turned the crap off. And I can honestly say that in my entire life, I’ve probably seen WolF Blitzer fewer than half a dozen times. If we all turned this shit off, all started reading more and coming to our own obvious conclusions, guess what? The media would take us more seriously, and we wouldn’t have stuff like the Secretary of State basically saying on national TV “I don’t feel like answering your question so I’m not going to” (which, by the way, is exactly what she said in my imaginary interview with her, too.)

I mean, why didn’t Blitzer challenge her on what her response meant? Why? Becuase we as the audience don’t demand it.

Now what about that “manipulated”/”fabricated” thing?

For two years now reporters, authors, commentators have referred to the intelligence cited by the administration as justification for going into Iraq as “manipulate.” Sometimes they use the word “faulty”. It was “faulty” intelligence–the intelligence was wrong, and we used it and went in to invade Iraq.

Bullshit!!!

The intelligence wasn’t “faulty”. The administration did not “manipulate” the intelligence.

The intellignce was fabricated–it was a lie. It was a lie suppplied mainly by an agency that had gotten the shit kicked out of it over its myriad failure pre-9/11, headed up by a Director who expected to be fired by 9/12/01, but who Bush “stuck with”, making sure that same director and his reports knew who they had to be loyal to.

So when Cheney’s folks said they wanted a CIA report saying Saddam was atempting to buy yellowcake from Niger, and the CIA came back twice and said there was no evidence of that, they were browbeaten into supplying the administration with intelligence modelled to accommodate a policy. In a more orthodox environment, policy is usually molded to reflect intelligence.

When Cheney’s folks said “prepare a report to show Mohammed Atta had a meeting with senior Iraqi intelligence officials in Prague leading up to 9/11″ the CIA didn’t say “we can’t do that becuase it didn’t happen.”

Instead, they said, “well, that didn’t happen–but when do you want the report?”

THAT’S NOT MANIPULATING, THAT’S FABRICATING. LYING.

And enough people out there feel for it, not, I believe, because in their guts they didn’t know they were being lied to, but rather because we’d just been horrifically attacked and we wanted to kick someone’s ass–and that ass-beating wasn’t going to take place in Afghanistan.

And that’s dumb, and it’s what we are. And our media–left, right and center–reflect what we are, what we want, because ultimately they are in business to sell soap. Even if that means looking the other way when people are being turned into soap, or whatever gruesome things are happening now in Darfur.

Because we don’t want to know. Not really.

Mojo Knows

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