Thursday, February 24, 2011
(coughcoughSOMETHINGAWFULFORUMScough)...has been transformed into this.
And no, I'm not the genius behind either of these. Just a poor slob basking in reflected glory.
Thursday, February 17, 2011
Flashback: American Idiot! (or "When I think I'm out (of ammo against fools), they PULL ME BACK IN")
(For those of you who haven't experienced this before, Evil E mode is now engaged...)
The fact that thousands of my fellow countrymen have built this American Idol cattle business up into an ominous JFK-style conspiracy against effiminate-looking pasty-white skinny boys while they seem perfectly alright with the idea that the "justifications" for the most recent war are falling apart like wet toilet tissue is a bit unsettling. These letters are still entertaining to read, especially the ones who think they're talking to the Fox producers instead of the FCC. People who can't figure out who can't figure out who is at the other end of an e-mail address that ends in fcc.com probably don't need to be taking very much anyway.
Some of the best lines: PEOPLE SHOULD BE HONEST AND TELL THE TRUTH! Although being honest by lying is a helluva trick if you can pull it off.
Even the OSCARS hire outside accounting firms, that independently verify. Gee, you don't suppose that's because the Oscars are a highly respected industry award with a huge amount of history on the line, while Idol is a frickin' game show. Maybe when AI has been on the air for 70 years, you can start making comparisons like that. "EVEN the Oscars" would imply that Anonymous Dork puts AI on a higher plane of existence...man, I love that type of uneducated chutzpah.
In a letter that was not only sent to the FCC, but cc:ed to Fox, MSNBC, Paramount, and the Drudge report (yeah, this'll top that Clinton scoop as a career-maker): "My support goes completely to Clay Aiken! What talent! What a remarkable human being and a role model for all of us!" Okay, let's make this one multiple choice:
- A) "MAKE LOVE TO ME, CLAY! RIGHT HERE ON THE PIANO! HOLD ME TIGHT UNTIL YOU SNAP MY BACK IN YOUR MANLY ARMS!"
- B) "I'm establishing the Church of Clay to further my belief system! We'll be doing personality tests on random people in the street, and advising members not to have anything to do with the Rubenites under pain of excommunitation! Scientology?! What's that?!"
- C) "Now that I've seen perfection, I have nothing to live for! So I'm going to flog myself to death with this copy of the latest Rolling Stone! And I'm taking you with me!"
- D) Eric, PLEASE move on...it's getting late, and you're getting stale. (Answer Key: If you chose "D", you get your wish)
"I didn't think that controversy would be something that would come up because after all, this is just a TV show. And what did it matter anyway? But it does, when it challenges my beliefs of fair play and honesty, two things which are very important to me." Important enough to be swayed by the plight of a photogenic stranger in a contest you see on TV who still gets to make records and be on talk shows even though technically he LOST? Pardon me for not crying myself to sleep tonight. And anyway, we all know that fair play and honesty are a huge part of the recording industry, right? You can stop laughing any time now.
The line that really made me do a double take, though, was at the bottom of this last letter: How does FOX and/or the production company want to be know among viewers? Is honesty and integrity important or has making money always been the issue here? HELLO? When has THE FRICKIN' FRACKIN' FOX NETWORK EVER BEEN ABOUT INTEGRITY? Or anything OTHER than making money? Remember, this is the same network that ran hours and hours of videos of people caught screwing on hidden cameras and bears mauling kids before they bit the hook on the reality TV trend. Really folks, the Simpsons can only carry your credibility so far.
For what it's worth, I went to an actual locally-owned record store (NOT AMAZON, you lazy tools) the other day. There was a stack of Clay CD singles by the cash register, while they were down to their last Ruben. I should've pried a bit more into how the sales were going, and I just might the next time I go there, but the point remains: a lot of people in this country need to grow the hell up. It really is only television.
And yes, I say this knowing I just wasted a big chunk of blog real estate lacing into people lacing into a lighter-than-air TV show. Never said I didn't have room to improve. Just look at this haircut, for instance...
Tuesday, February 15, 2011
Dick Cavett, a marvelous man, has written a book about his experiences as a talk show host (Talk Show: Confrontations, Pointed Commentary, and Off-Screen Secrets), and he’s making the rounds of broadcasting venues that still talk to authors (which means talk radio…and maybe C-SPAN if we’re lucky). However, I’ll bet my bankroll that none of those interviews will begin with a Gymkata reference the way his chat with The Sound of Young America's Jesse Thorn did.
The Sound Of Young America is a Public Radio International offering, and if this sounds like something you’d like to hear coming out of a real radio, call your public radio station and tell them. Use a pledge check if you think that would help.
Monday, February 14, 2011
- First, some authentic-sounding Bieber fan invective: "Recently, she won the best new artist at the 53rd Grammy Awards JUSTIN BIEBER DESERVED IT GO DIE IN A HOLE. WHO THE HECK ARE YOU ANYWAY?" Because gosh-darn it, I'm peed off at Bieber catching cow cookies from everybody! Pardon my language...
- An almost-hidden-but-not-quite snipe: "Esperanza Justin Spalding (born October 18, 1984 in Portland, Oregon) is a Grammy-Award winning American multi-instrumentalist best known as a jazz bassist and singer, who draws upon many genres in her own compositions. Recently, she won the Grammy Award for Best New Artist at the 53rd Grammy Awards by stealing it from Justin Bieber." Apart from that petty tag, note the added middle name, which doesn't quite take the biscuit the way the "Esperanza Quesadilla Spalding" edit did.
- Some were a little more volatile. "Her mother, who raised her and her brother as a single parent, was an independent, industrious woman. SHE IS F****** REATARD THAT NO ONE HAS HEARD OF SO B**** PLEASE DIE !" Note that this drive-by vandal thinks in terms of curse words but still can't muster up the cojones to actually write them out.
- "She now has the 2011 Grammy for being the Best new Artist! Even though no one has ever heard of her! Yay!"
- The most recent drive-by at this writing shows something approaching sad resignation. "She won the Grammy Award for Best New Artist at the 53rd Grammy Awards, which is a shame because no one is better than the Biebs."
- The winner of the "Why Does This Make Me Think of John Hodgman?" Award: "Spalding currently lives in Austin, Texas. Also, testicles, that is all.."
- And finally, one from the opposition camp: "On February 13th, Esperanza won the Grammy for Best New Artist, beating out Nominee and gay favorite Justina Bieber."
Friday, February 11, 2011
- "First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win."--Gandhi
- "90% of life is just showing up." --attributed to Woody Allen, but who the hell knows.
Most of us remember the police officer that showed up to tell our elementary school class drug horror stories designed to scare us straight. Some of us even remember taking the list of spices alleged to have psychoactive properties in the booklet the officer gave out and trying something with them ("I think I'm feeling it...did we use all the mace yet?"). I'm convinced they put those in the "information" booklet just to give the more gullible kids something to try and fail at.
However, now it's the information age, with computers, the Internet, flying cars...all that whatnot. So of course, we can't just have community outreach programs to keep the kids on the straight and narrow. We have to have websites like Arizona's Law For Kids. And since it is the Internet, Law For Kids has to have awful cartoons.
As educational tools, the cartoons just don't cut it; in a few of them it's impossible to see what the point is. And kids can tell when you're just not trying. For our purposes, which is cheap laughs at bad art, it's a goldmine.
Let's go over a few of these:
DRAG RACE DISASTER (Flash animation): Chuck, Elsie, and Melissa are kicking back, doing a little drunk driving and drag racing to start the weekend off right, and Chuck cracks up his car trying to outrun the cops. To undercut any moral they might've had, we find the kids riding bikes on the sidewalk on a sunny day. Come on, guys, this is supposed to be "scared straight" territory! At least show them walking sullenly everywhere they go, or in a hospital bed. THEN we'd know that "Chuck, Elsie, and Melissa were lucky." The real kicker is that they make a big show of naming the kids, like they're more than barely animated ciphers. Really, if they're not even going to have dialogue, why bother?
It's also an interesting touch that the guy is the only one drinking a beer, while the ladies are downing wine coolers. Female teenage alcoholics are apparently much pickier these days. Some of the boys, on the other hand, are still trying to drink that blue stuff they dip the barber's combs in because they were told it'll really get 'em FACED.
I have a theory that after losing his license, Chuck became the kid in the Chronic Future video, which is another strike against drunk driving.
JOYRIDING: We see a boy and a girl get into a car, a cop pulls them over and frisks them. The girl says "But I wasn't driving!" and the state trooper barks "EVEN THE PASSENGER GETS IN TROUBLE!" At least I hope he's a state trooper; his hat is a little bit too plain to be a genuine officer. It's possible that he's a mentally unbalanced guy who always wanted to be a cop, but ever since the accident cost him his eyebrows, he drives around in a shoddy imitation of the uniform he admires, a flashing light he bought at Radio Shack wired to the family sedan. On weekends, he pulls over "race mixing" teens to lecture them (with brute force) about BLOOD PURITY. She was just riding in a car with him, officer; no hanky panky involved. Ah, but EVEN THE PASSENGER GETS IN TROUBLE, as you will soon find out after the strip search.
I'm sorry, I got freaky there for a second. Of course, the cop is legit, since this is a site about kids and the law, but what law are they breaking here? From what we're shown, they were pulled over and frisked by an angry trooper for not wearing seat belts. Arizona is obviously taking "click it or ticket" a few steps beyond. Next step: death penalty for jaywalkers. The kid on your shoulders while you cross against the lights gets tossed to foster care because EVEN THE PASSENGERS GET IN TROUBLE.
LEARNER'S PERMIT: Pretty benign, although that kid does have a crazed glint in his eyes. I'd rather not be stuck behind him in traffic. Also, it's nice to see that Arizona put a DMV station in Gargamel's house instead of one of those stuffy concrete slab buildings. It gives license renewal a nice homey feel, and keeps the Smurf population under control.
MARIJUANA and SCHOOL THREATS : There's a reason I'm taking these two together (and you should read them in order for the full effect), because they both use a kid they call M.P. We're not really supposed to be thinking about continuity here, but taken as a sequence, does this tell us that smoking pot turns you into a squealer? A kid lights up a doobie, and all of the sudden he's ratting out teenage Hank Hill for making prank calls. They call him "Tommy" here, but any Dragnet fan knows that the names in the case histories are changed to protect the innocent. So M.P. gets Hank/Tommy permanently expelled, jaw hanging open in shock, and they still toss him in prison five years later. Maybe he's just overly paranoid, since he's already breaking a few laws and probably got pulled over by the fake state trooper earlier in the day.
Actually, all these kids look unspeakably afraid, like they were clued in to the fatalistic drama their ethnically-diverse lives were being plugged into. They're in a constant state of terror because they know that no matter what good intentions they have, turning in guys who make death threats or trying to get friends off the weed, M.P.'s still going to end up in jail by panel 5 for lighting that blunt, while Mikey is fated to be a nameless drone pointing at an incomprehensible chart. Or maybe the artist just got lazy and used clip art.
It's interesting that the Principal's desk plate is turned facing himself; maybe he just needs to keep reminding himself that he's not the janitor.
Friday, February 04, 2011
The people that are angry at the US and the EU for exerting pressure on Egypt to reform confuse me because they are protesting against a generally good thing that is in their benefit. They remind me of the battered wives that go bail out the husbands that are in jail for beating them: They know that they are giving their abusers sanction to keep beating them, which they don’t like, but they don’t want them in Jail for it either. Like the Wife on Cops that yells at the officer “That’s none of your business! Let my Husband Go!” for arresting her Husband for giving her a black eye. Their rational: “Such reforms should come from inside and shouldn’t be forced on us. What, are we helpless children or something, that we need the USA to demand Democracy in our name?”Now that we can actually see the full blog, one other source of admiration: any activist whose puts a picture of Johnny Bravo in his masthead has platinum-plated balls.
To them I say : Yes!
I am sorry, but you are defending the person who abused you and oppressed you for the past 24 years. The person who, if it wasn’t for the US pressure and its presence in the region (which you so oppose), wouldn't have tolerated a single word of dissent from any of you and would’ve thrown every Kifaya/democracy activist in jail till Kingdom Come. You are basically angry at the US for doing what you couldn't do, for exposing you for the helpless choiceless victims that you were for the past 20 years. I am not saying that the democracy activists that are protesting now were silent before, I am saying that they couldn't be heard, weren’t allowed to organize and could never have criticized the President publicly before. The US pressure that you decry as foreign intervention every 5 seconds is the reason why you and those people now have voices, whether you like it or not.