Friday, August 29, 2008
And now you’re fifty years old.
It’s hard to believe, especially since because of all the surgery you’ve undergone to freakify yourself, you’ve kind of been an ageless monsterish-looking guy for the past couple decades anyway, but those of us who are young enough to remember, mostly encapsulate you back in a day when you were still black, when draining the oil from your hair could have solved the problem of foreign oil dependency, when you inspired Eddie Murphy to wear a red leather jacket, when you made wearing one glove cool and made Vincent Price relevant again for a little while.
I’m speaking, of course, of 1983. You were 25 back then. I was 8. My sister was 6 and had a pair of earrings with your picture on them that she counted among her prized possessions (along with her Cyndi Lauper wig). The world was your oyster, as the great one used to say. So, I hope you won’t mind me asking…dude, what the fuck?
To be fair, you still have thousands upon thousands of loyal, devoted and unabashed fans who will travel to the ends of the earth to see you sing and spin and molest yourself on stage, but I just don’t get it. You have this once in a lifetime, amazing kind of success with the Thriller album (kids, back in those days we had these wax things called records that we played on record players—we also had tapes for our walkmans which are a distant, retarded forefather of the iPod, but when an artist had new songs to “drop” they dropped them onto a record, not a CD or an internet site) and then follow it up with Bad, which wasn’t at all coincidentally and then BAM!
Welcome to Freakville, Population: You.
Success brought fame and money. Fame and money brought a ranch called Neverland where you slept under the same covers as the underage underprivileged kids you carted out there. You decided that black was whack and systematically whitened yourself more efficiently than those Crest strips and finally, you had the doctors cut your nose off, leaving just two little reptilian nostrils and millions of people thinking, “huh?”
I toil away here, my talents are vastly overlooked and certainly not profitable, so I don’t know what it’s like to hit it big on the basis of your own artistic genius, but I’d like to think I could manage it without undergoing a color change, a nose loss and gaining a penchant for sword fighting with little kiddies.
Yet it happens over and over again. Look no further than Britney Spears to see the latest incarnation of this phenomenon and give it a few months before you can watch it all unfold with Miley Cyrus---tick, tick, tick, tick…
I suppose getting what you want isn’t always the best thing for you huh? I guess the dream of being successful and the actual success aren’t always what they are cracked up to be. It’s odd really, because the paycheck to paycheck people of the world cannot fathom how life could possibly be so hard with so much money, with so much fame, with everyone wanting to be you.
So, maybe I shouldn’t be sitting here in judgment and I suppose if you’d stopped at self-mutilation and bleaching yourself I could manage to refrain—it’s the kiddie thing that invites my scorn. And it’s why, in my mind, you’ve now gone from icon, to eccentric, to freak, to pervy freak and now to older pervy freak—the big Five-Oh!
What a crazy quarter century it’s been. So, Happy Birthday Michael, wherever you are, may your presents all be of legal age, may someone figure out how to reattach your nose, may you realize that being a black guy isn’t such a bad thing, and may you live to see another 50 years—unless you touch another little kid of course, in which case may a mutant zombie eat your brains while the ghost of Vincent Price narrates.
Thursday, August 28, 2008
What I want to know is what the Gatorade Jug ever did to these people that warrant the repeated beatings? It’s 2008! We’re not supposed to see color! There’s a damn good chance a black man is going to be elected President of the United States soon, the color of a person’s skin is becoming less and less relevant, but show a pissed off professional athlete a tubby little orange guy and he’s like a bull to a red cape.
It’s a sad, sad thing. With many potential targets, they always seem to go for the Gatorade drug. And yet the Jug shows up for work every day, filled the brim with cold and refreshing Gatorade. He sits quietly, eagerly waiting for his chance to quench the thirst of the athletes he serves. He does his job well too! Even after hours in the sun, he keeps the nourishing fluids inside of him cool and ready to hydrate.
None of this matters to the athletes though. One bad inning, one little fumble, one silly turnover, one bad call and the fate of the poor Gatorade Jug is sealed. He must die. He must die now. He must die hard.
At least in most sports, the athlete must punch-hit-tackle-slap the Jug himself, but in the heat of the summer moment during a baseball game, the absolute worst often comes to pass when baseball player decides that not only must the Jug die, but he must die painfully and repeatedly. To that end, this coward employs a weapon, in the form of a heavy wooden club against our chubby orange friend—the same friend that only innings before had probably refreshed him.
Gatorade Jug abuse is running rampant, but when do you ever see anyone doing anything about it? When do you ever see an athlete restraining one of his brethren from attacking? Never. They turn their heads, they pretend they cannot see. Only the spouse of an abusive police officer can possibly come close to knowing, to understanding what our poor little orange friend must go through and they, at least, don’t have to have their beatings shown nightly on SportsCenter to the amusement of millions!
Kermit the Frog once said that it wasn’t easy being green. Kermit was a pussy though. Being green, at times made him lonely, or outcast or looked at funny, but he never got the business end of a baseball bat repeatedly clobbered into him for committing the high crime of trying to replace electrolytes in thirsty athletes did he? I think not.
When will it all end? Who will step up to the plate, so to speak, and take initiative to stop the abuse of the Gatorade Jugs? If you think the joy they experience when being dumped over the head of a coach who’s won a championship makes up for the torment and torture they suffer throughout the entire season, you’re wrong.
If you won’t do something for the Gatorade Jug itself, then I hope the next time you’re watching a highlight of some athlete hammering away at that defenseless blob of orange that you’ll remember that the Jug is not alone in that dugout, or on that sideline. Somewhere, usually in packs of six, weeping for their parent, the little green personal Gatorade water bottles watch in horror as over and over again, their mother, their father is mercilessly and savagely beaten.
And they grow up knowing that when they grow up and change color, those beatings will be their own. What a sad life. How sad it is that we allow it to happen. For shame!
Sunday, August 24, 2008
When I was in high school, having a pager was the it thing. It was inconceivable to me at that time that someday soon, everyone would be carrying around phones that were roughly the same size as that beeper, and were not only phones, but also mini computers from which I could do a Google search or check my email. Of course when I was in high school I don’t think I had an email address or Google existed, but you get the point.
Virtually nothing that exists in today’s world exists in the same way it did just fifteen years ago. I say virtually nothing because there are some areas where technology and progress have been conspicuously absent.
I’m talking, of course, about the stalls in public restrooms. In this day and age of smart phones and Wi-Fi, hybrid automobiles and hi-def televisions, I’m curious as to why I still have to check for shoes and pants before entering a stall in a public bathroom?
And it’s not like public bathroom technology hasn’t improved. I don’t remember the last time I had to put forth the effort, when out in public, to flush my own toilet, turn on my own faucet or even dry my own hands. These things are all done for me now.
But upon entering a public bathroom, if I want to make sure I’m not walking in on some startled guy with a poorly locking door, I have to bend over so that my head is just below knee level and goosestep down the line so I can find an unoccupied place to shit in peace.
Let’s recap. The toilet knows when to flush all by itself, but it can’t let the guy outside know that I’m doing my business and reading the paper. Yup, that about does it.
I, for one, would welcome a bathroom stall door that didn’t expose my pants and shoes to any freak who happened into the bathroom. I assume that the reason those doors don’t go all the way to the floor is so that people can see someone else is in there. But really, if the toilet knows I’m on it, can’t it also let the folks outside know? Can’t I have a little freaking privacy that a full length stall door would provide?
What if I forget to give a courtesy flush and someone I know comes in and recognizes the pants around my ankles or the shoes on my feet? Must I suffer the indignity of being known as the guy who stunk up the bathroom for no other reason than that damn door doesn’t come all the way to the floor?
Everything and I mean everything about public bathrooms has changed over the past 10 years, except the stall design. Why? What conspiracy keeps the doors from their rightful and proper place extending down to the floor? Is it the government? Aliens? Is there a corporate alliance that somehow financially gains from seeing my rolled up pants and shoes?
There has to be a reason! Even the stalls that do show an occupied sign when you lock the door fail to extend down all the way! Someone out there doesn’t want us to have as much privacy as we’d like when we’re crapping and I want to know who—and why?
I would devote all of my time and energy to finding the answer to this question, I can assure you, if it wasn’t for a much bigger fish I have to fry, so I leave it to you, my faithful readers, to find out why this one area our lives has yet to be improved upon while I busy myself investigating the Ketchup industry to find out why in the hell they don’t use the same squeeze bottles as the mustard people, which are much more convenient and easy to use.
Good luck. God Bless. That is all.
Thursday, August 21, 2008
I say they should throw the whole age limit out the door though. Let’s go Festivus on their asses and base all privileges in our country on the ultimate test, the Feats of Strength!
Wanna get a drivers license? Okay, fine. All you have to do is parallel park at high speed, while on your cell phone answering difficult questions, being simultaneously beeped at by the cars in front and back of you and shot at by volunteer gang members, who need target practice, using rubber bullets (this way they’ll be better able to hit their intended targets and not 4 year old kids). Do all that in 15 seconds and you can handle anything the road might throw at you. Here’s your license!
Want to be able to drink legally? No problem. The test is a simple one. Just do a 60 second keg stand followed by bending over and spinning yourself around a baseball bat 20 times like they do at picnics. If after your 20th spin, you don’t hurl and can pass a field sobriety test, you’re old enough to drink.
Want to vote? Sure thing! Pop Quiz Time! Name 3 amendments from the Bill of Rights and explain how we’ve allowed our government to bastardize them. Got that part down? Awesome! Now explain 2 issues you have with each political party (fucktards with blind loyalty to one party regardless of issues will not be allowed to vote). Ace that? That’s great! Now for the final test, spell potato! Did you add an extra e? So sorry, you can’t vote or be vice president now!
Want a marriage license? No problem. Man and Woman, Man and Man, Woman and Woman, Man and Llama—doesn’t matter. Have at least 3 years of continual dating without breakup under your belt, provide witnesses to no less than 5 fights you’ve had that you were able to work through without breakup—or threat of breakup; and bring in signed and notarized contracts signed by each mother in law in which they promise, under penalty of imprisonment that they will never criticize your spouse in any way, shape or form (including eye rolls, pffts, passive aggressive behavior, or talking behind your back).
Want a gun license? Sure thing! Just demonstrate your ability to use a lock and key, your ability to unload a gun when it’s not in use, an ability to reach up to a height that a child cannot reach and have an IQ of 100 or better. That’s it! Sorry rednecks! Pay more tension in skool and you can go back to huntin all youse wants to, but being able to spell the word gun is going to be a prerequisite for owning one from now on!
See that? Age has nothing to do with it! Turning 18 or 21 or 74 doesn’t bring with it any magical abilities to do something that you couldn’t do before. There is no such thing as a maturity switch, or an intelligence switch, for that matter. Let’s throw all these age limits out the door and start some rigorous testing instead! You want it? Earn it! Bring back the true American spirit instead of making a random age of choice one of entitlement. It’s time to institute the feats of strength into our licensing system! Come on America! What do you say????
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
I think Calvin peeing on the symbol for a competitor’s truck is clever and the decal that makes it look like there’s a baseball lodged in your rear window is funny. My problem is the bumper stickers.
No one and I do mean no one at all cares that your kid is an honor roll student or what school little Timmy or Sally goes to either. For that matter, no one cares that your kid can beat up an honor student either. Why not just save time and get a bumper sticker that says, Hey Pedophiles, For a Good Time, Follow Me Home and Wait Until I Leave Little Timmy Alone!
I see you voted for John Kerry. That’s a nice bumper sticker. The election was over four years ago. Let it go. Bush sucked, that’s not in question, but Kerry was a weasel too so don’t sit all high and mighty about a vote you cast a lifetime ago.
It’s nice that you love your schnauzer, but how does that affect my life? If you love your schnauzer so much that you plaster a bumper sticker on a car to profess that love, there’s probably something unnatural about it and maybe you need to see someone to help you with that problem.
If I can read your bumper sticker then I’m following you too closely, huh? That’s clever. Maybe if you didn’t kick your brake more often than you might your ugly red-headed step child, we wouldn’t be having this conversation though.
If I don’t like your driving I should call 1-800-EAT-SHIT? Is that right? Well I don’t like your driving, but I prefer to express my frustration with a tire iron and a bad attitude at the next stop light. If you’d thrown a please into your request, I might have gone along with it, but I have trouble taking orders—especially from people who haven’t mastered the art of driving.
Your other car is a Porsche huh? That’s nice. Porsches are for pricks. Your other car is a broomstick? Oh, I get it, you’re a witch huh? That’s nice, now drive away before I go all Salem on your wart covered ass!
You go from Zero to Bitch in 0.6 seconds? That’s impressive, and convenient since 0.6 seconds is the exact amount of time I need to punch someone in the mouth and laugh while they spit out their teeth.
Putting a little personality into your car is one thing, but advertising the fact that you’re a moron is just plain foolish and let’s face it, most bumper stickers are moronic. It’s time to peel those suckers off and join the human race. Your schnauzer can’t read, so I promise he won’t mind. If your kid’s self esteem is based on whether or not you display a sticker proclaiming him or her as smart, you’ve got some serious problems (besides, they put any kid who doesn’t shit themselves more than three times a year on the honor roll now a days). If your politics define you as a person, that definition is not alive.
So please, for the sake of all of us who have to share the roads with you, do us all a favor and peel the damn sticker off. They don’t make you funny or witty or clever. They make you look foolish and moronic. And they make me want to hit your bumper hard so you’ll have to get a new one.
Then again, what do I know? I’m just a fanboy who’s team hasn’t won it all in 100 years.
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
The names for 2008 hurricanes are as follows: Arthur, Bertha, Cristobal, Dolly, Edouard, Fay, Gustav, Hanna, Ike, Josephine, Kyle, Laura, Marco, Nana, Omar, Paloma, Rene, Sally, Teddy, Vicky and Wilfred.
We’re currently on Fay. Yes, Fay. Fearsome, devastating, earth shattering, catastrophic, frightening Fay.
A hurricane is one of the most awesome and terrifying forces of nature and the best they could do was to name it after someone’s grandmother? Fay isn’t even remotely frightening! In fact, the whole list is full of a bunch of sissy-sally names, including, of course, Sally herowndamnself! In fact, the entire list has only one scary name on it and that of course Ike, who invokes the badass motherfuckery of Ike Turner.
I guarantee some coastline is going to get bitch slapped by old Ike! But Kyle? The name Kyle inspires about as much fear as a Playboy bunny pillowfight! Hanna? Is it a stripper or a hurricane? Or is the connection supposed to be that either way you get blown?
Rene? The French Hurricane? That sumbitch is going to surrender LONG before it gets anywhere close to land!
No, I’m afraid that whomever is in charge of naming hurricanes is doing a piss poor job, which is why I think they should hire me. I would name hurricanes in a way that would properly scare the crap out of people. If I was in charge of naming them, people wouldn’t be sticking around to see if they could ride it out! You can bet that when the talking head come onto your nightly news warning you about Hurricane Fuck You Up The Ass With A Splintery Wooden Phone Pole, that you’re going to go ahead and take some damn cover!
When Hurricane Darth Vader comes to town, you can expect to be taken over by the Dark Side! When Hurricane Samuel L. Jackson hits land, you can bet that motherfucker is going to be one motherfuckin motherfucker of a motherfucking hurricane!
Hurricane Hemorrhoid will guarantee you a burning pain in the ass that just won’t seem to ever go away! Hurricane George W. Bush will last forever and leave us all up shit’s creek. Hurricane Hitler will take out the entire East Coast! Hurricane Travolta will suck all the joy from your life for two hours and leave you $10.00 less rich and having a bad case of the popcorn shits!
The point is that I can name me some hurricanes! I’m not messing around here! There will be no Nana’s or Omar’s on my watch. A hurricane is a terrifying force of nature and they should be named accordingly. At the rate we’re going here, next years names may very well be stripper themed and our cities will be wiped out by the likes of Bambi, Crystal, Portia and Roxanne!
It’s flat out embarrassing to have to say that you got beat up by someone with a sissy name. You never want to have to respond to the question, “Oh my God! What happened to you????” with an answer of, “I got knocked out by Fay.”
Fay isn’t just a girl, she’s someone’s grandma. She bakes cookies and smiles at you through crooked dentures. Fay hasn’t blown a damn thing since the 50’s. She’s not a hurricane, she’s a rainbow.
Maybe the person in charge of naming hurricanes can be reassigned to rainbow naming. In the mean time, write your local congressman and nominate me to head up the Department of Hurricane Naming and never be embarrassed by a wimpy named hurricane kicking your ass again!
(a special thanks to Jay for the idea for this entry!)
Monday, August 18, 2008
Not since StarWars premiered in 1977 has such a full and comprehensive merchandising effort been undertaken. These guys have a website and $500 Big Foot Tours and hats and belt buckles and tee shirts and you name it—they have it with their logo imprinted on it.
They held a press conference on Friday, wearing hats that promoted their website where you can buy all of this merchandise. At this press conference, they announced to the world that—drum roll please—the initial results are inconclusive! Apparently, the DNA samples they sent to an undisclosed location were contaminated. One sample came back as a possum another came back as human and a third was too badly preserved for proper identification.
They explain the possum DNA by saying that the samples they sent were from the “animal’s” stomach. WHAT?
I’m about as far from being a scientist as you can get and even I know that the one place you never use for a DNA sample is an animal’s stomach! You get more reliable information from a single hair than you do for a stomach sample! Something stinks about this and it isn’t the supposed corpse that’s been rotting in a freezer for 3 months.
Now having already admitted to my dorkiness and my proclivity towards spending too much time on the internet, I suppose I risk losing no more street cred than I already have by admitting that I have a great interest in crytozoology—the study and search for previously unknown or unidentified animals.
I’m one of those goofy people who believe that there may actually be a Big Foot, a Loch Ness Monster, an Ogopogo, a Champ and a few other legendary animals out there somewhere. I don’t necessarily believe in them, but I do believe in the possibility of them and the idea of discovering new things about our planet that prove established science wrong is an appealing one for me. Science is arrogant and I love to see them knocked from their pedestal.
And there are serious people, serious scientists who are out there looking and serious reasons to think it fathomable that there could actually be something to the rumors of these cryptids (previously unknown and unclassified animals that we know of only from eyewitness accounts and folklore). The shining example of crytozoology is the coelacanth, a fish thought to have gone extinct with the dinosaurs, was discovered a few years back alive and well and apparently not alone off the coast of Madagascar.
Despite reports from local fisherman who had been catching them for years, scientists ignored their claims, deciding that a mere fisherman wouldn’t know what a coelacanth looked like and was obviously misidentifying another fish (because fishermen often have trouble identifying fish, even though they spend 12 or more hours a day catching them).
The fishermen were eventually proved correct when a fish was caught and kept and scientifically identified, providing hope for all those who believe that there are animals, living in known and populated areas that have simply yet to be discovered and classified.
Admittedly, it’s a big jump to go from that to there being sea monsters and big foots out there. Believing in the possibility that they might exist is a long way from being a believer—which many are and ardently so. This brings me back to these guys who claim to have a Big Foot stored away in a freezer somewhere and are out to make as much money as they possibly can from it. Their secrecy and three months worth of zero progress toward proving it’s real leads me and most others to conclude that we’re being taken. This won’t stop them from making a ton of money from a ton of geeks who are making their website temporarily more popular than Facebook, eBay and Google combined.
I have no problem with people making money off of gullible morons. I really don’t. You can fool some of the people, some of the time and why not make a buck or two off of them in the process. The problem is that this event, like the surgeon’s photo of nessie which was eventually proven to be a fake, make the idea of the possibility of these creatures existing seem more and more ridiculous to the public in general.
And while I have no problem with people who are of the opinion that these animals couldn’t possibly exist, I also kind of feel sorry for them. There’s something special about being able to believe in possibilities, and it doesn’t cost a damn thing to do so. You can’t prove for certain that Nessie, Big Foot, ghosts and such don’t exist—all that remains is the possibility that they just might.
I don’t know about you, but I’d rather live in a world of infinite possibility than one of ascertained facts. Science was once certain that the world was flat and thought to the contrary was deemed ridiculous—now the opposite is true, which proves that just because science is certain of something, doesn’t make it so, even with the advances we’ve made in research and technology.
There’s a classic line from the movie Jurassic Park that describes it best. “Life will find a way.” It’s arrogant and foolish to ever think we know enough to rule any possibility out with any degree of certainty. I feel sorry for people who don’t recognize and believe in the wonder of life and the world in which we live.
And I feel sorrier still for those who make a buck from those who believe a little too much in those possibilities. They represent the extremes and as always, they make those of us holding the middle ground look like just as big of fools as they are—and that’s a sad, sad thing.
Saturday, August 16, 2008
But my lil baby niece is turning 1 year old tomorrow, and some loud and obnoxious presents from her favorite uncle and Godfather were going to be needed, so out I set to the local shopping mall.
I hate the shopping mall with the fiery passion of a thousand suns and don’t undertake a quest there without good reason, but having assessed this situation as one worthy the trip, I drove there and was immediately reminded one of the reasons why I so vehemently hate the mall and it’s denizens: Parking.
I’m never really amazed, per se, at the complete idiocy possessed by people who somehow manage to attain drivers licenses, but I am in a constant state of awe over their complete ineptitude as drivers, their complete and total lack of common sense, common courtesy and the unwavering and seemingly undeterred belief that they alone are driving there and they alone have the right of way.
So, after almost being hit at least 4 times, after flipping off at least 7 separate drivers and after having almost lost my life (or a few limbs) on 12 occasions over the distance of approximately 20 yards worth of parking lot I drove through, I got lucky and found a space.
Those deterrents were well worth it considering the primo parking space I was able to find on a Saturday at the mall. Of course, this was just the beginning of my odyssey—I hadn’t, after all, even made it through the door yet.
I did, however, make it through the door and into the mall when I was immediately reminded of another reason why I hate it there so much: The stink.
People who go to shopping malls must not have the ability or the desire to bathe because the stink of a thousand people reached my nose as soon as I opened the door and kept me on the verge of tears and possibly passing out for the duration of my time there.
You’d think that people who like to shop, would be able to easily find time in their busy schedules to pick up a little soap and deodorant, but such was not the case on this day, or any other day I’ve ever been to the mall for that matter.
Using my Jedi mind powers, I tried my best to block out the stench and proceeded down the escalator into the throng of humanity that is are the Saturday mall shoppers.
Had I been naïve, I may have thought the escalator had transported me to another country, but I know better than that. I was still here at home in the good old USA, it’s just that no one here speaks English anymore. Polish and Spanish seem to be the languages of choice at my local mall and speaking neither, I was blissfully ignorant of most of the names I was called as I mercilessly bumped into any fucktard who wasn’t paying attention to where they were going and walked into my path.
You see, I don’t get to the malls often, but when I do, I’m constantly posed with the problem that really explains the whole driving nightmare I have on the way into the mall. These people can’t even seem to manage to walk in a normal way—that they cannot drive seems to make perfect sense.
Families walking eight across, people talking on phones and not paying attention to where they might be going, people unsure of where they’re going, people in no rush at all walking agonizingly slow, people in too much of a hurry darting through way too fast, it’s an absolute nightmare to which I’ve found only one reasonable solution.
I pretend I’m a tank and run over anyone, or anything that gets in the way. I’m a pretty big dude after all and while normally, common courtesy and manners are normally my own personal way, I have learned to abscond from those in favor of getting to run ignorant people over when at the mall.
I just try to look as mean and intimidating as possible, bump into anyone who may be walking like an idiot and happily fail to understand the things that they yell at me afterwards. It’s not nice, but it’s one of the few petty pleasures I get when shopping, and I will not navigate a mall any other way.
So, to the chorus of many foreign swear words being tossed my way, I head off to my destination at the far end of the mall, the Target store where I plan to buy up as much of the toy section as I can carry. That’s when I really start looking around and taking in some of the most breathtaking views known to man.
There was the guy in spandex shorts, a Dallas Cowboys football jersey and a leather vest with the beer belly that needed it’s own zip code. There was the old man wearing plaid shorts and a plaid shirt of two distinctly different and forever fighting patters. There were the plethora of pudgy women who didn’t think twice about showing off body parts that truly would have been better left in hiding. There were the teeny bopper girls dressed up like hookers and the wannabe suburban thugs dressed in oversized clothes and shorts that left no doubt about the fact that they were wearing boxers today.
You just can’t beat the people viewing at a nice mall where no one speaks English, as you’re plowing through unsuspecting fucktards, through the stench of sweaty humanity!
Eventually, I made it to Target, which, I have to say, smelled marginally better than the mall without, but the sudden nasal delight was ruined when I got to the toy section and much to my dismay, I realized that the picked over, poor selection they had was not going to offer the kinds of treasures my little niece so richly deserves.
Foiled again, shopping mall, you dastardly fiend! There really wasn’t anything I could do, this particular mall has no specific toy store and there really wasn’t anyplace else I could go that I thought would have a better selection, so I put the tank in drive and reluctantly plowed my way back through it all to get back to my car, survived countless near death experiences and several more incomprehensible verbal beratings before I finally pulled out into traffic and the relative safety of the rest of humanity (if only so, when compared to mouth breathers at the mall).
The moral of the story my friends is a simple one. If you ever have to buy your 1 year old niece a birthday present, don’t be an asshole and try to do it at the mall, drive the extra 10 miles and go to the local Toys R Us. Sure, it’s not perfect there either, but that’s a story for another day.
Suffice it to say that it’s well worth the extra gas it takes to get there though. And that, is all I have to say about that.
Friday, August 15, 2008
I had an opportunity to see a sneak preview last week and can report, from the perspective of a rabid and self professed StarWars geek that it’s a 90 minute video game that you don’t even get to play. It’s not good. It’s not bad. I actually left the theater feeling kind of indifferent to tell the truth.
The problem with having made three of the most iconic and far reaching movies in the entire history of cinema is that you can’t go back there again and again without drawing comparison to those films. George Lucas found that out quickly enough when he made this prequel trilogy. He’s been taking flak over Jar-Jar Binks character ever since, along with a lot of other criticism.
Some of it is warranted, of course, and other bits are not. People go to see a new StarWars movie desperately wanting to feel the way they did back in the late 70’s and early 80’s when we saw them all for the first time, and therein lies the problem.
Lucas’ original three StarWars movies were made for kids. Adults loved them as well, but the movies were made for kids—and the part of the movies we all love to this day is how watching them brings out the kid in each of us, it takes us back to a better time and place and captures our imagination in a galaxy far, far away.
Lucas has made all of his new StarWars enterprises geared for kids as well, the problem with that is that the fans who felt he owed them something are no longer kids. The part of these fans who accepted quirky droids and furry ewoks was unwilling to accept a flop eared freak with a speech impediment—a character clearly aimed at getting laughs from the kiddies in the audience.
Part of the problem there is the separation between the OT (original trilogy for those of you who should know better but don’t) and the prequels, and specifically, what happened during that time to keep your average StarWars fan nut sated. Lucas allowed the galaxy of science fiction writers and graphic novelists to carry on his vision from the end of Jedi forward, which has come to be known as the Extended Universe.
These adaptations to the StarWars formula grew with the original audience. Many are dark and sexy and intense. While some do hold true to Lucas’ original form of combining high paced action with tender, cute and funny moments, most of them just focus on the dark side of things, if you will.
StarWars fans were kept with whetted appetite by badass villains and hard edged heroes. They endured in their obsession with an increasingly edgy, decidedly deeper, darker and more adult StarWars universe.
StarWars fans perception of the “formula” was drastically changed by the time the newer movies had opened and their opinions reflected that change. I’ll be curious to see their reaction to this new cartoon. I’m curious to see if they’ll grant Lucas a little more leeway in that medium? I suspect not, but remain hopeful.
As I said, it’s a cartoon, and again, though the action is great, it’s aimed at a young audience—not the hardened, jaded fanboys who seem to think that Boba Fett should be in every scene killing everyone who crosses his badass path.
There is a character that is sure to annoy them and will. The plot isn’t of typical StarWars depth and only a couple of the voices are done by the actors who played the actual characters in the movies. There will be plenty to whine about, I can assure you. But for what it is, I suppose it’s fine.
It wasn’t made for me or anyone of my generation.
And who knows what the future holds for the StarWars universe? This cartoon will be segued into a weekly television cartoon show, or perhaps a series of cartoon movies. And there is a live action television series in the works that purportedly will revolve around the life of famed bounty hunter and fan favorite Boba Fett.
Will Lucas offer his older fans a treat in this series and get darker and edgier along with them? Will he remain true to his formula and vision? I’d guess the latter and I can hardly blame him. His feisty fans will claim he’s sold out, given into being a corporation instead of a revolutionary film maker. But perhaps, it wasn’t Lucas who turned to the dark side, perhaps it’s the fans who have grown jaded and cynical.
Thursday, August 14, 2008
The two big events in bigotry this week deal with two very different groups. There’s the special people (apparently mentally challenged or disabled are negative euphemisms) who are up in arms about the usage of the word “retard,” in the new movie Tropic Thunder; and there is the entire foreign press corps who are up in arms about the Spanish basketball team posing for an advertising picture in classic team photo pose, with the exception of them each using their fingers to pull their eyes outward making them “squinty,” an apparent dig at the Chinese.
In the case of the movie (which coincidentally also has a white actor in blackface—HUGE props to the Black community for taking a joke and rolling with it instead of whining and bitching like everyone else!) the excuse for bigotry is that it’s all just a joke, the movie is outrageous and funny and supposed to be insensitive in a way that’s meant to be harmless. In the case of Spain’s basketball team, they did what they were told to do by a team sponsor and did not mean any offense by their gesture.
And that’s just it, that’s my question. Do you have to mean it in a mean-spirited and down-putting way for it to be bigotry?
I once watched a black guy with the patience of Job deal with an old white man who kept referring to him as colored. The old man wasn’t trying to be offensive. He was actually trying to engage the other man in a nice conversation—the problem was that every time he talked about the past, he felt it necessary to mention the way it was back in his day for the colored folk.
Old man or not, if the guy he was talking to had been more sensitive, it could have gotten ugly, but it didn’t. Eventually, the old man left and my friends and I sat open-mouthed at the black man’s patience. He must have recognized it on our faces because without provocation, he simply said, “He just didn’t know any better.”
I left that chance meeting with an extremely high opinion of that man for his patience and his reason.
I think if I had asked him, he would have told me that there has to be intent to be bigoted for bigotry to exist. But is that really so?
I also walked away from that situation ashamed that a white man in this day and age could possibly be that unintentionally ignorant. It’s not as if the information isn’t out there for us to digest. We all know where the line is and we all know not to cross it.
You can’t tell me that in the name of satire, the writers, director and actors in this movie didn’t know that the possibility existed for some negative attention. And you can’t tell me that in an entire gym full of Spanish basketball players making squinty eyes, not one of them had the thought cross his mind that they might be offensive to someone, somewhere.
And each proceeded, despite that potential for perceived bigotry. Their motives cannot be measured. In the case of the movie, their insensitivity has made it a blockbuster before it even opens. Did they offend for financial gain? In the case of the Spanish team, they did this for a sponsor—again, for financial gain—in the name of humor.
But which is it? Is it in the name of a good laugh—of us not taking ourselves so damn seriously, or is it in the name of the almighty dollar (or do I say the almighty euro now that the dollar isn’t worth much?)?
And either way, if the intent isn’t to offend, and the act is still deemed offensive by some, is it still an act of bigotry? Does that simply render it a matter of semantics? Is it ignorant but not bigoted?
And what about those of us who find it funny? If we laugh at something that might be offensive to someone, what does that say about us? The truth is that it’s a fine line and one that will never be clearly visible or stationary. I think, like the patient man I met who endured an old man’s ignorant racist terminology that sometimes, you just have to shrug your shoulders and understand that they didn’t know any better.
I think at other times you have to learn to laugh at yourself and the things that make you different from other people. If you love yourself and who and what you are, you’re a lot less likely to be offended by someone pointing out how you might be different from other people. I think, like in the case of the hero from my example, that personal pride and dignity carry you a long way.
Hypersensitivity only places a larger target upon you. Call it blood in the water, or showing weakness, but overreaction to an alleged attack of bigotry is almost more dangerous than the attack itself because it invites more attacks. You can turn the other cheek and educate the world while taking a higher road, or you can play the victim and be looked up in that way.
Sadly, more times than not, groups take the defensive approach. That’s been the way people have reacted to the two incidents that have occurred this week. There’s a lot to be said for just lightening up, for rolling with the punches, for taking a joke.
Eleanor Roosevelt once said, “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” And that’s the hidden part of bigotry that no one ever talks about. If you’re proud of what makes you unique, if you’re proud of what separates you and makes you different, then having those differences pointed out shouldn’t be offensive. If you take pride in what makes you different, you are easily able to get the joke.
I’m not condoning either instance of bigotry in the news this week, but they make me wonder about the responses and the uproar. Learning to be sensitive to one and other couldn’t hurt, but taking pride in who and what we are and allowing others to demean us for our differences might take us even farther.
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
It goes back to long hours we may have spent as kids under the sun shagging fly balls at little league practice, nights spent under a street lamp trying to perfect our free throw form, or time spent on the road, one foot in front of the other, mercilessly pushing ourselves to run faster, farther, stronger, longer.
That brings me to freak Olympic athlete Michael Phelps and his dump truck full of gold medals. Iʼve watched him in interviews and in competition and always been favorably impressed. When I heard a story from his youth about overcoming Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, I was hooked.
When he was a kid, Phelps was diagnosed with ADHD. He was talkative and restless in class. His teachers singled him out as a problem, one even commenting that heʼd never be able to focus enough to ever accomplish anything. His mother, a teacher herself at the time, took him to a doctor and after some discussion, placed her son on the drug Ritalin.
Now I want to stop for just a brief moment here to point out that I fully appreciate and understand that some people need, benefit from and prosper through the use of Ritalin. Iʼm not trying to go Tom Cruise on your ass and rant about how the aliens donʼt want us using drugs of any kind. Thatʼs not the point.
The point is that, in my humble (and always correct) opinion, drugs like Ritalin are overused, just as real disorders like ADHD are over-diagnosed. Kids, by nature, are hyperactive and some more than others; the sad fact is though, that medication has become a first line defense, when there are better alternatives available.
This brings me back to Phelps, who took Ritalin for a couple years and then told his mother that he wanted to stop taking it. And unlike many parents who are just happy to have a less hyper child and ignore a request like that from an 11 year old kid, his mother listened to him.
Phelps stopped taking the drug and put all of his energy into swimming.
Now hereʼs where the tale, in the wrong hands becomes propaganda. Swimming wasnʼt some cure-all for his hyperactivity, but his mother was amazed at how this child who had trouble sitting still in school, could wait patiently all day for a 5 minute period in which heʼd compete at a swim meet.
Whoʼs to say if he could have become the athlete he is today while taking a drug that might have, at times, made him lethargic? Maybe he could have, I donʼt know.
What I do know is that instead of trying to fit her son into some preconceived mold that parents tend to have for their kids, she let her son be the person he wanted to be. She encouraged him in the pursuit in which he found fulfillment instead of pushing an agenda of getting straight Aʼs and getting an Ivy League scholarship.
The kid loved to swim. He was the proverbial fish in water. She encouraged him and now, her ADHD kid is the greatest Olympic champion of all time.
The lesson here isnʼt that the drugs are good or bad or in some gray area. Itʼs not a question of science at all. The lesson is that maybe, whatʼs best for kids, is that instead of trying to fit square pegs in round holes, parents go out of their way to find the particular square hole their particular kid fits into.
I spent 13 years as a youth coach and it never ceased to amaze me the way some parents reacted to their kids athletic ineptitude. Itʼs a crime how many kids are forced to play sports by parents who once played themselves. Especially when those kids talents lie in art or music or theater or in some undiscovered place that might never be found because of the instance that they be athletes.
In Phelps case, he was an athlete, though not in one of the more traditional kids sports and the Phelps family went with it. Today, this kid with ADHD is regarded as one of the most gifted and FOCUSED athletes in the world. Heʼs a square peg who found a square hole in which he learned to thrive.
It makes me wonder if the real problem isnʼt a hyperactive kid, but a parent with preconceived notions about what their child should be, instead of one flexible enough to help their kid find their place in the world?
But God forbid we each be unique and find our own way in the world! There are structures and guidelines and protocol to follow so that we can all be the same and average and normal and like everyone else. Get good grades, earn a scholarship, get a good job, find a nice spouse, have 2.5 kids, pay your taxes, retire and complain about the weather, fertilize the earth.
The road less traveled? Are you kidding? Werenʼt you paying attention? Thatʼs the hard road, the different road, itʼs not the way everyone else is going! Why should anyone take that route?
Well Michael Phelps did, with some help from his mom and just like Robert Frost tells us it will, itʼs made all the difference.
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
It’s what I’d like to go ahead and coin, the Chi-Five, which is much like a high-five, only performed with two hand instead of the more traditional one and, of course, it’s done by a male Chinese gymnast.
Now, perhaps I’m wrong to think that a gymnast should be…well, coordinated, and after watching these guys do their gymnasticy things (sorry folks, even if I did know the different disciplines involved, I could have my guy card permanently revoked for listing them here, so gymnasticy things is as good as you’re going to get!) I can say for certain that these guys are definitely amazing athletes and coordination, at least when doing gymnasticy things, is not an issue.
That being said, these guys couldn’t perform a proper high five if their lives depended on it! I’m sorry to say that while the Chinese men may have won gold in team gymnastics last night, they wouldn’t even finish in medal contention in high-fivery. It was a sad, sad display they put on my friends.
So, in true Olympic style, let me score it for you:
Technique- The two handed high five must be accurate and well timed. The level of difficulty is higher because of the added pressure of multiple targets and misfiring on one of the two high fives is enough to destroy the entire routine. If hand-eye coordination is disrupted in celebratory jubilation, this move could be disasterous.
Judges Score: 1 (of a possible 5)
Style- The two handed high-five is a high level of difficulty trick because of the always present possibility of looking like a complete and total dork. The two handed high five must be done aggressively and with gusto. A proper two handed high five is not a hit and run high five, the hands should clasp momentarily, muscles should be flexed and ideally, it should almost always be followed by a chest bump.
Judges Score: 1 (out of possible 5)
As you witnessed, I’m sure, the Chinese hardly qualify for a medal in celebratory displays. They were sloppy in their aim, often coming close to missing one or both hands entirely. Their technique was effeminate—even considering the fact that they are male gymnasts—and the quickness with which they performed their celebration made you wonder exactly what pollution-caused disease they were all afraid of catching from one and other.
They may be world class gymnasts, but for the love of God, fellas! Let’s spend ten minutes a day practicing our high fives huh? Let’s not look like a bunch of amateurs in our finest hours okay?
Fortunately for the Chinese men, they were saved from owning the greatest portion of the embarrassment spotlight by the boys in blue from my home country of the USA. While it’s true, our boys had all obviously mastered the subtle intricacies of the various high five styles and techniques, they went ahead and ruined it by opening their mouths.
Memo To USA Male Gymnasts: You are a bunch of white, suburban, ken-dollesque looking people, at no point in time should you feel the need to let the entire viewing world know that “this is how we roll!”
And even if you feel the undeniable urge to let us know once, please, please, please, do not repeatedly stick your head into the camera frame and remind us over and over and over again!
I actually found myself compelled by the little pep talks the cocky kid from the US was giving the team throughout the competition. I’ve given similar talks to teams in huddles of basketball and baseball teams. For the first time in my life, I was identifying with a male gymnast and it was kind of cool, but then the ultra preppy kid with plastic haircut had to keep letting us know how, in fact, they liked to roll.
I couldn’t help but smile when they won the bronze medal against all odds, knowing that each member of that team is going to someday show the footage of that event to his grandkids proudly, except for the one who couldn’t manage to say anything other than, “that’s how we roll!”
I’m sure he’s too drunk on Apple Martini’s today to really care, but someday soon, that poor kid is going to watch a tape of the coverage of the games and come to the startling conclusion that he’s a) white; b) not even remotely hip enough to pull off a “that’s how we roll” and c) officially lost any tiny spec of street cred he may have, at one time had (and let’s remember folks, this is a male gymnast we’re talking about here!).
But this is the true spirit of the Olympic Games! International cooperation and camaraderie! Bob Costas looks like a purple haired, wanna-be, over botoxed goth grampa and the Chinese male gymnasts distract the unwanted attention that might accompany that by high-fiving like a bunch of near sighted sissies. And then to save the gold medal winners from being the most foolish looking asses of the night, the USA steps up and reminds the world that there is a little Vanilla Ice in every dorky boy from the burbs and we’re not afraid to show him off when on national television!
And from here I’m sure someone else will pick up the torch and carry it forward! We can all get along! We really can! We are united by our dorkiness! Dum-Dum, da-dum-dum-dum-dum, Dum-Dum-da-dum, dut-dut-Dum, dut-dut-dut-dut-Dum!
Monday, August 11, 2008
Yes, friends and family, it’s been at least a week since I last ranted about people being hypersensitive over silly little words, so fasten your seatbelts, grab a strong cup of coffee and enjoy.
I’ll start by saying that I’m coming from a place of complete and total ignorance regarding the movie and the usage of the word in that movie (nothing like writing and publishing on the internet a diatribe on a subject matter about which you’re completely ignorant is there?).
Then again, I don’t really need to know how the word is used in order to properly rip the people of this world who have nothing better to do with their lives than protest the openings of Ben Stiller movies. One more bomb and Stiller would be going direct to DVD in his next release anyway, but I’m sure the press for this issue will fill the house with frat boys and tragically, force us to endure yet another Stiller movie in a few months.
I’ve written at length about how words only have the power that we give them and how a word’s meaning and depth can and does change over time. As we become desensitized to a word, it’s edge disappears and it’s ability to be mightier than the proverbial sword is lessened. The word retard is one of those words.
Only the most base, most uneducated and ignorant portion of our society uses the word retard to describe someone with a mental handicap. It just doesn’t happen. The unwritten rule of thumb about a word like retard is that it’s perfectly acceptable to use as long as you’re not using it to refer to someone with a mental disability.
Okay, I know, that defies logic on many levels, but stay with me here. Retard doesn’t mean the same thing it used to mean. When we were a more ignorant people, we called mentally challenged people (and if you’re counting, I’ve used 3 different euphemisms for that population so far—I’m all about the hypocrisy) retards because of their seeming stupidity. Of course being stupid is an upgrade from being demonic which is what we thought of them right before we upgraded them to stupid.
Then, we grew up to be the medically advanced, forward thinking, feeling sensitive people we are today and realized that they aren’t stupid at all, their mind’s just function in a way that is different from the norm. We are now kind to those with mental disabilities. We speak loud and slow and use exaggerated lip movements to emphasize this point and shake our heads smiling at their parents or friends to let them know we are sympathetic—and that we would never call them a retard.
And here’s the catch. While we may still be slow-talking idiot fools in the presence of a mentally disabled person, we no longer think of them as stupid. We understand that their parents weren’t first cousins, they aren’t devil spawn, they aren’t purposefully being dense—it’s just something that some of us are born into and cannot escape.
That said, the word retard has retained its original meaning to us. When you tell someone they’re being retarded now, you’re telling them that they’re being stupid, acting foolish—you’re not comparing them to a mentally challenged person. That thought doesn’t even enter your mind.
But it’s still insensitive because of the past usage of that word! Right? Sensitivity sensischmivity I say! We all need to just get the hell over ourselves. Certain words just lose their sharpness over time. And I’m not saying that they aren’t still used as weapons, but come on people!
I’m guilty. I’ve called friends retards for doing something dumb. I’ve used the word gay to describe someone who was being or doing something different—and I really don’t feel bad about that one since gay actually means happy.
It’s a byproduct of our language. Words can and regularly do have multiple meanings, they carry different weights. The entire English language depends on context. It’s a grammar thing, not a political thing. A word used in hate by one can be used in jest by another and in description by a third.
That brings my back to my own ignorance. I don’t know how Stiller uses the word in his movie. Maybe he’s making fun of mentally disabled people? Maybe he’s so desperate for laughs that is his new tactic for box office success. Comedy today seems to be about outdoing the outrageousness of the other guy. Maybe making fun of the mentally challenged is Stiller’s way of one upping Will Ferrell’s recent movie where he rubs his balls on a rival’s drum kit.
I don’t know and I don’t care. I’m tired of being offended for people. Perhaps if we saved our outrage for events that really and truly deserved it, I’d be more likely to care, but as of right now, I simply don’t.
Kind of retarded, isn’t it?
Saturday, August 9, 2008
Guest? Seriously? I’m a guest at Wendy’s? No. I don’t think so. I’m a guest at a friend’s barbeque. I’m a guest at a wedding. I’m a guest when I stay with a family member when I’m out of town, but I am not a damn guest in Wendy’s when I want a hamburger!
The day before, I was on hold listening to a menu (because we all know they just can’t have an actual person answering the phones anymore, right?) and instead of listing an option for customer service, they had a customer response technician.
Now I’m not sure what makes a customer response technician different from a customer service agent, but other than the fancy title, can it really be all that much?
Used cars are now Pre-owned vehicles. Really? This used car was pre-owned? Well that does make sense now doesn’t it?
The really funny part about all of this is that someone actually gets paid to think of this kind of stuff. Somewhere out there is a person who’s job it is to think of alternative ways to say things like this. They conduct surveys and studies and find that customers at Wendy’s prefer it when they are called guests. They find that a customer feels that a response technician is much more likely to be able to help them than a customer service agent would be. They decide that people who cannot afford new cars are much more likely to feel better about driving a pre-owned vehicle than they do about buying a used car.
But I’m not, and never will be a guest at Wendy’s. I’m some poor schlub, not unlike every other poor schlub who walks through that door and just hopes to hell I don’t find a booger or a pubic hair in my burger. I have no such worries when I’m an actual guest, I can assure you of that.
I know that a customer response technician is just an undercover customer service agent and I’m aware that a customer care provider is no different. I don’t feel more assured in the hands of a technician than I do an agent and I don’t make the mistake of thinking that any of them really care.
I know that pre-owned and used are the same thing. I don’t feel that a pre-owned car is superior to a used one in any way and when I’ve purchased used cars in the past I was never embarrassed by having to all it used because that’s exactly what it was, thank you very much.
I won’t even get into political euphemisms because there’s just no reason why I should risk my face getting red and my head popping off, but suffice it to say that euphemisms in politics are the absolute worst.
What ever happened to calling a spade a spade? What ever happened to calling it like we saw it? Are we really so naïve that we buy into this crap? Oops, I mean are we really so naïve that we buy into this reprocessed food product?
I actually felt sorry for the girl at Wendy’s today. Some corporate assknob who’s never spent a day of their lives behind a counter pushing burgers decided that she had to call people guests, so, for her minimum wage she does just that.
She knows it’s bullshit. I know it’s bullshit. We all know it’s bullshit, but God forbid the corporate euphemiser be put out of work. Studies have shown that we like to be guests. It makes us feel welcome. So, we are guests.
Ah, the power of words!
Wednesday, August 6, 2008
I had to pause for a moment there to wait for any stray lightning bolts that may have been ticketed for me, but since I’m still here and functioning, I shall continue.
Yes, I have ridiculed Paris Hilton frequently in the past. Whenever I need a butt for a joke, she comes almost immediately to mind. I’ve dubbed her as one of the Four Whores of the Apocalypse and told anyone who will listen that she is one of the harbingers of doom. That noted, even brainless twit with no apparent redeeming qualities as a member of the human race can sometimes surprise and in this case, one has done exactly that.
I’m speaking, of course, of Paris Hilton’s side-splittingly funny, politically intelligent, and outright ass-whooping reply to John McCain’s use of her in a campaign commercial that compared her to Barrack Obama—just a celebrity.
Now this isn’t a forum for debating politics or the upcoming election—at least not yet, not today. This has nothing to do with my opinion of McCain or Obama. This is just a quick “you go girl!” sent out in the general direction of Paris Hilton for not taking the shit of someone messing with her.
I would imagine that if more than 4 people read this little blog that I too might incur her highly intellectual wrath, but that’s not the case, so the point it moot. John McCain is a target and he made the mistake of crossing Paris on a particularly ornery day (if you’re reading Paris, ornery is not the same as horny).
I can say with reasonable certainly that Paris not only couldn’t spell bi-partisan, but she likely doesn’t know what it is, but someone with some level of sharpness to them wrote an amazing and biting bi-partisan solution to the energy crisis as part of her retort to McCain.
"Well, why don't we do a hybrid of both candidates' ideas?" she says. "We can do limited offshore drilling -- with strict environmental oversight -- while creating tax incentives to get Detroit making hybrid and electric cars. That way, the offshore drilling carries us until the new technologies kick in which will then create new jobs and energy independence. Energy crisis solved!"
I loved it! If the worlds greatest symbol of bimbocity can see that compromise is the key to progress, why is it that our politicians can’t?
She didn’t take sides. In fact, she started off by ripping both candidates a little, proceeded to make the assumption that she was now a candidate for the presidency, laid out the plan for energy, chose a potential running mate in Rihanna and apologized in advance for her undeniable need to paint the White House pink after she takes over.
Score! Paris Hilton: 1 Obama & McCain: 0
Now THAT is hot!
Not done yet, she goes on to say, "I'll see you at the debates, bitches." I was almost in tears by this point!
Look, it must be nice to be able to afford a personal writer for whenever someone slams you. As much as I’d like to jump on the Paris for President bandwagon, I personally don’t think she understood half of the script she was reading from in her video message.
The part about this that I really love is that Paris Hilton, who I’m also sure is, in part, a caricature of herself, in her own sweet little valley girl way, has taken center stage for her reaction and importantly, for pointing out how simple solutions sometimes can be.
I know that I find her energy solution a great deal more palatable than either of the two actual candidates—dictated to them from the political parties, by whom they are controlled. But the candidates aren’t concerned with solutions, they are concerned with being right and the stubbornness that involves isn’t conducive to progress.
So, perhaps I should change my stand on celebrities who get involved in politics. Perhaps I was being stubborn in the name of being right. Perhaps I should jump on the bandwagon afterall.
Paris Hilton for President bitches! People say that it couldn’t get any worse than it is with George W. Bush—I say, let’s roll the dice and find out! She doesn’t seem to want to be, “the decider.” She just wants to make things right.
For all their bluster, I’m not sure the same is true of our candidates. Screw it, I’m voting for Hilton and applying for Canadian citizenship as a backup!
You've gotta have a plan, right?
The problem with us foolish Americans (as if there was just one problem) is that we think the world revolves around us. I think, at the heart of any anti-American sentiment, you’ll find the same root idea.
Of course the images starting to trickle home from China are reminding us that we are not alone on this third rock from the sun and that it takes more than a cavalcade of soccer moms following all of the latest “green” trends in order to save our silly little planet before it gets pissed off and kills us all.
Green. Heh. It’s a joke. It’s a marketing thing. It’s just not real and it’s just not practical.
The athletes arriving in Beijing for the Olympics have been issued protective face masks by our government, who obviously realize that poor air, caused by harmful pollution, can start decreasing a person’s lung capacity in less than one day; and that decreased lung capacity can lead to poor performance on the field of competition.
How nice that they put forth such effort to make sure our American athletes make a good show of things and win lots of medals, reminding us of how very superior we are to the rest of the world once again.
We also show the world our “superiority” by championing movements like the whole “green initiative.” Look at us! We recycle! We care! Be like us! Of course, we fail to realize that we’re being hypocrites—but that’s hardly news.
China is the shining example of what’s wrong. Their pollution induced, algae filled beaches, their unbreathable air, their insistence that it’s the weather that causes the problems; not the fact that their standards for industry, in terms of pollution are virtually non-existent.
And now for the fun part! Let’s see, who enables the Chinese? Who has decided to import all of it’s manufactured goods? What country, once the industrial giant of the world, has passed that baton on to a country which allows the very air it’s citizens breath to kill them? Hmmmmm?
If you guessed that the old US of A was that very enabler, you get a gold star and a chocolate chip cookie my friend. That’s where the hypocrisy comes in. We recycle. We buy our Hybrid cars. We use our cloth diapers. We make sure our retailers are serving us our fast food burgers in biodegradable containers, right before we go out and buy our plasma televisions, our gizmos and gadgets, flugelbinders and flopnobbers—all of which are made in China, unregulated and without the slightest concern for the world around them.
In order to actually “go green,” you’d have to purchase products that are made, in their entirety, in countries which have strict regulations set up for the manufacture of goods. Otherwise, you’d simply be doing good with one hand, while erasing that good with the other. Oh, and those countries don’t exist, for those of you who might be interested in trying. Even products made in environmentally accountable countries still use Chinese parts.
Now, I’m not saying that it’s not noble to do your part in living green. I’m not saying that every little bit doesn’t help. I’m simply pointing out the naiveté of thinking that you live an environmentally conscious life if you’re also buying products made in countries like China. And let’s face it, we ALL have products made in those countries. They make everything now. The American manufacturer, in part because of the high standards our own government places on environmental regulations, has gone the way of the Water Buffalo.
We are now dependant upon the very cause of the disease for every whatchamacallit we own. The steps we make here in our tiny little corner of the world are meaningless compared to the backward leaps made by the new nations of industry.
We are left with our righteousness. We are left with our indignation. We are left with a planet which is dying of a disease that we’re trying to cure with Chicken Noodle soup and Mom’s comforting words.
If you want to “think green,” you have to think globally, not just locally. It’s a great big world out there my friends. Using a cloth shopping bag isn’t going to save the Polar Bears, unless that bag is filled with a little less hypocrisy and a whole lot more common sense.
Monday, August 4, 2008
The old saying goes, when shit becomes valuable, the poor will be born without assholes. I, for one, think it would be funny if people, all of the sudden, stopped having assholes, so come on Brad! I’ll bet you can get a pretty penny for that first full diaper! And you had twins my friend, double your income! I wonder what you could get for a genuine, full of celebrity baby shit diaper? $20K? $50K? Half a million per huggy?
Look here Pitt, it’s not your fault people are fucktards! The public can hardly blame you for making more money from taking a single picture than most people make in an entire year—and they certainly couldn’t blame you if you made even more with a poopy diaper, baby’s first spit up, the first bottle used—and think of how much you might get for the afterbirth! There has to be a market for that, no?
Honestly, I don’t blame a celebrity couple for selling baby pictures and I wouldn’t blame them for selling any of the other stuff either. Only a fool fails to serve the demands of the market. It’s the people who create that demand that I have a problem with.
This celebrity shit (figuratively speaking now) has gone way too far. The first celebrities of the modern age were admired for their looks, for the regality and pageantry of their lives and they were placed upon a pedestal. Much like the characters they played and the songs they sang, they were almost fictional.
Today though, people are obsessed with celebs. We have such tremendous access to these people that some of us think of them as friends, we think we know them; we care far too much about their personal lives, their politics, their goings on.
Not to rail on Brangelina (and worry not dear reader, I shall flog myself for using their media-friendly nickname) but these people are celebrities for the following reasons:
They are good looking
They are (arguably) good at pretending to be other people
That’s it. I’m sure they are noble people. I’m sure they deeply care about more than the self-importance that comes with their charity work and humanitarianism. I’m sure that Angelina didn’t adopt a brown kid because she wanted to outdo the tiny dog that Paris Hilton carries around in her purse as a fashion accessory—and earth tones were in style that fall. I’m sure it’s all 100% genuine.
Even still, it seems silly to idolize them for a celebrity forged from good genes and make believe skills. Doing good things in the public eye doesn’t make you a good person. In fact, I’d submit that a person who does good behind the scenes is far more noble than the one who does it in front of the camera.
But without the camera, that celebrity could not generate awareness. Ah, awareness, the only reason a celebrity ever does good in public! It’s not self promotion, it’s about awareness. We of average looks and less than the highest caliber make believe skills could not possibly be aware of the issues of our time if not for the awareness we are given when we witness the example of our golden calves!
I am simply incapable, without the assistance of Bono, Madonna and Angelina, to ever fathom the trials and tribulations of the poor and downtrodden. The persecuted and the victimized would be a mystery to me if not for Susan Sarandon and Sean Penn. I am a simple man. I, sadly, am not quite good enough at playing make believe to be knowledgeable of the plight of those less fortunate than myself. Without celebrities to tell me what to be concerned about, I would flounder in my efforts to care.
Again though, it’s not the fault of these good looking make believers that we idolize them for making us aware. We give them the stage, we present them with the microphone, we listen with rapt attention and hang upon their every utterance. We have decided that the opinions of pretty people are worth hearing. We have resolved to seek our guidance from them.
We tune out our government and allow ourselves to be led by clowns and half wits and focus instead on the incessant ramblings of people who get paid to pretend they are like us, or fantastic beyond our comprehension, or miserable beyond our belief, but paid to pretend none the less.
We care more about who gets voted off American Idol than we do about who gets elected to be the American President. Why? Well, because we idolize the celebrities, and we glorify their lives. Politics aren’t interesting until a pretty person tells us they are and only then do we care.
I know, I know, is there a point to this never-ending diatribe you ask? And let’s face it, I’ve traveled from paying for shit filled diapers to brown kids in purses to American Idol voting, so I certainly won’t be accused of staying on target here, but let me sum up for you in this way.
Once upon a time, this country was good, if only for a moment—and even then, at best, it was misguided about much. We were once torn apart and set to war against one and other because we cared so deeply and so passionately about our country and about what it was to become.
That passion is now wasted. We are the market. We demand pictures of a child and magazines pay through the nose to be the first to deliver them. Meanwhile, we allow our government to crumble around us without so much as a whimper escaping our lips in any kind of real protest.
We set the priorities. We have prioritized fantasy and make believe over reality. It’s all fine and well to be a little enamored of the life of a celebrity, but when it becomes so important it eclipses the true problems we face, it’s time to say that enough is enough.
It’s that average looking face looking back at you from the mirror who is to blame for the problems in that average looking person’s life. That person can fantasize and wish all they want to about the life of celebrity, but it will not accomplish anything. Most of us will never have an opportunity to become a celebrity, but we can all be people who have made a difference.
But circulation of the magazine with a picture of two babies made by two pretty people will increase dramatically and circulation of news magazines and current event periodicals will suffer and somehow, we will have the audacity to wonder why things aren’t better.