At The Department Of Pointing Out The Obvious (DOPOTO), the burning question here is: Where do we begin? This department’s mandate has always been and will continue to be pointing out the readily apparent in the blizzard of fake news and high profile red herring reports. And lately there seems to be no shortage of blatantly obvious news being tediously overanalyzed and completely misinterpreted. Take this whole financial crisis. What it boils down to is rich, spoiled and badly aging yuppies stealing and screwing up on a monumental scale, nothing really all that new or unique. Only this time, they’ve blown a whole lot of their own money as well as that of their stockholders and pensioners. Which is why all the fuss.

Now, so far as our diligent researchers can ascertain, that hasn’t happened since Black Thursday. In a regular economic crisis, the rest of us take it in the neck and the rich stay that way. The exception was 1929 when it rained stockbroker suicides from the gleaming towers of Wall Street. This time around, the rich are losing money again but countless financial executives’ lives have been spared by the fact that today’s modern skyscrapers don’t have windows they can open, to say nothing of the potential collateral damage to pedestrians and public real estate by falling fat guys. 

Another fact hiding in plain sight in recent news is the obvious fact that our presidential campaign is all but over, the voting a mere formality. John McCain as much as admitted this when in desperation he picked Alaska’s sexy, saucy but clueless trailer trash governor for his running mate in an effort to jump-start his campaign. Like most desperation moves, from Hail Mary passes in football games to flapping one’s arms when the parachute doesn’t open, it was quite entertaining for that breathtaking moment when the ball or the flailing body soars majestically into the sky. Unfortunately, Hail Mary passes and parachute-challenged skydivers seldom succeed, almost always hitting terra firma with a resounding thud.

What McCain has achieved, however, is the almost single-handed revitalization of an important domestic industry; comedy writing. Indeed, Senator McCain and Sarah Palin have if anything made it too easy for our comedians, almost eclipsing Bush The Younger’s bootlicking approach to letting greedy bankers off the hook without so much as a parking ticket. DOPOTO reminds readers not to try these larcenous shenanigans at home, however, lest you find out first hand that only the very, very wealthy need apply for blanket amnesty for high crimes and misdemeanors from the president.  

Small time pikers like ordinary bank robbers, burglars and stick-up artists who steal mere thousands of dollars are swiftly arrested and tossed in the slammer for many years, plenty of time to reflect on the fatal flaw in their schemes: they simply didn’t steal enough to qualify for matching Federal funding, bail outs and tax breaks. One of our mottos here at DOPOTO has always been: “Thinking small is its own reward.” In the case of regular crooks, that reward is usually 15 to 25 years in the facility of the state’s choice. Steal billions, on the other handand the government joins your racket, knowing a good thing when they see one. Everybody knows this, which is sort of the whole point of The Department Of Pointing Out The Obvious, pointing out the obvious in a world that could use a reminder every so often.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation weighs in with their own predictable piece of news. It seems so many agents have been assigned to anti-terror and intelligence-gathering duties in recent years that they are hard-pressed to investigate criminal cases stemming from the recent financial disaster. DOPOTO suggests the FBI declares these bank frauds acts of economic terrorism and get the Joint Terrorism Task Force on the case. A couple of months in Guantanamo beyond the reach of their multimillion dollar dream teams of defense lawyers ought to convince these geniuses to cooperate. Then again, perhaps the crowd in charge of finding Osama bin Laden might not be the optimum choice for nailing the white collar thugs. What with, you know, results not being their long suit and all.

In other glaringly obvious news, The People’s Republic of China has announced they are returning to their policy of earnest repression of the press, both their own and any foreign media outlets reporting from within their borders. Once the Olympics were over, who didn’t see that one coming? The People’s Republic shares DOPOTO’s passion for pointing out the 800 pound gorilla in the room. To their credit, the Chinese leadership never claimed to be anything other than oppressive totalitarian thugs. In their only admirable trait, they are very clear and not the least bit ambiguous about these things.

One last obvious headline that has swept aside coverage of everything else; the worst financial crisis in 79 years, two disastrous wars, a critical presidential election and falling gas prices is of course Madonna’s divorce, a bigger story than anything in the world at the moment. DOPOTO salutes Madonna for putting the world’s troubles in perspective. In one bold gesture she reminds us that things aren’t quite so bad that we don’t have plenty of time for a sexy celebrity divorce. Things can’t be all that bad. And kudos to Madonna for reminding the world why she matters. It’s not her singing, or dancing, or her acting, but for being Madonna and all that implies. Sex, mainly. Open, unashamed and blatant sexuality that doesn’t give a rat’s ass what anybody thinks about such a woman. Once there was Dietrich, Harlowe, Mansfield and Monroe. Now there is Madonna.

And as for her soon-to-be-ex-husband Guy Ritchie and his family, who seem to be taking it awfully hard, The Department offers Mr. Ritchie a short piece of advice and three questions. The advice? These things happen. Get over it. The questions: 

1.) Were you expecting a different outcome from what was very clearly the only way your marriage would turn out. Everybody in the entire world knew it except you. Your marriage made you world famous overnight and all of a sudden your movies commanded a lot of attention. You have no complaint, Mister-I’ll-Be-Known-As-Mister-Madonna-Forever. 

2.) When you married Madonna, were you under the impression you were getting a life’s companion? 

3.) Exactly why? She is Madonna, sir. 

Ignore the obvious if you will, but try not to be too shocked when that approach doesn’t work out for the better. Until next time, DOPOTO signing off.

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