Thursday, March 31, 2011

In Defense of Rebecca Black

Ok, ok, ok. I'm sure most of you have seen this video by now. Yes, the lyrics are horrendous and the video itself is hilariously awkward. The internet has already shown its displeasure with Rebecca Black's music career in an epidemic of butthurt so severe, you would think the poor girl was personally flooding Japan's reactors. Ironically, I don't share the general public's butthurt on this one. I'm not just trying to go against the grain here, I really do think this girl's gotten a bad rap. Well, make that two bad raps, but only one was shoehorned into her song by a pedophile in an Escalade. The other is that she's taken so much heat for a song she barely had anything to do with. The lyrics, music video, etc. were all a generic production package designed by a vanity record label to fool doting parents into parting with their cash. ARK Music Factory no doubt promised little Rebecca's parents that she would be transformed into a Dinsey-sponsored slutlord overnight, although their only real ambition was to fleece bored and gullible white people of their disposable income. Her notoriety due to the sheer incompetence of the songwriting was an unintended side effect, the result of her actually singing the chorus well and making a perversely catchy song.

So what am I butthurt about, you may ask? Cuz you knew I wasn't going to come back and post unless my hate meter was running in the fucking red. Well, in response to Rebecca's video, that dumpy-faced cunt Miley Cyrus had to go and run her goddamn mouth, saying with a sigh: "It should be harder to be an artist."

Really, Miley? Are you sure? Is that what you actually want, you brainless skank? Because I'm sure it was SO FUCKING HARD for you. I can just imagine you in your early twenties, grinding out a living at a supermarket cash register as you dreamed about one day hitting it big, while simultaneously realizing that your talent had become an albatross around your neck, a burden to your family and a source of constant disappointment, driving you away from all social contact. You would drown your sorrows in Jim Beam and Natty Light until those fleeting bursts of creativity, which would only serve to remind you of how much your talent was being wasted, simply pissed down the drain without an proper outlet for expression. You would wonder if you were meant to just die alone, unrecognized and perpetually frustrated, until that one big break -- that consummation of your life that finally validated all the blood and tears and suicide attempts and empty anonymous sex with people you met on Craig's List. You, Miley Cyrus, had finally made it on the basis of your overwhelming talent in a heartless, crapshoot of an industry.

Oh wait, no. None of that happened to you. You're just a spoiled bitch who rode a tidal wave of nepotism into a bullshit career. Your first name is Destiny for Christ's sake. And now, you want to act like you're part of some rarified intellecutal elite, like you and Justin Bieber are the Fitzgerald and Hemingway of the internet generation? Give me a fucking break, you cum-guzzling nimrod. Do us all a favor and go back to taking fat bong rips and destroying your family. I'll just be eating my cereal and kickin' in the backseat with Rebecca B.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Tricky Zwick

Ok, because I'm a douchebag with way too much time on my hands, I actually follow the careers of film directors, even the crappy ones. One thing I've always been butthurt about is the fact that the best action directors, who arguably have the greatest command over the craft of filmmaking due to the complexity of their work, are the most consistently ignored. Ever heard of John McTiernan or Martin Campbell? Two of the finest directors of the 80s and 90s, and yet few except for the most depraved cinephiles have ever even heard of them. Yeah, I'm butthurt about this, but what I really want to talk about today is an exceptionally talented action director who has received some recognition (at least on the circuit of bullshit movie awards) but who I also honestly believe is a racist idiot and an enemy of mankind. That man is Edward Zwick.

He produced three films during the 2000s: The Last Samurai, Blood Diamond, and Defiance. All three of these films espouse a deep respect for a culture that has been recently oppressed by white people. Unfortunately, all three were directed by a white supremacist. Ok, ok, maybe Zwick doesn't actually realize how racist his films are, but does that really make it any better?

The Last Samurai is probably the most obvious. We've got Tom Cruise, the uber-caucasian golden child (at least until L. Ron Hubbard turned him into a raving psychopath) coming to Japan post-Meiji Restoration and instantly becoming the most awesome Samurai in the history of awesome. Seriously, he hacks their combat style in about thirty seconds, killing one of their best warriors with a broken flagpole! Paralyzed by fear and awe, they accept this white uber-slayer into their ranks and he quickly becomes their greatest warrior. In the final battle, he alone survives, despite being shot with the same bullets that kill every other samurai on the field. I guess those puny Japanese bullets weren't enough to take down a white guy, they certainly did the job on all his Asian compatriots though. In the final and most insulting scene, he returns home to his hot Japanese girlfriend (the widow of the aforementioned idiot he killed with the flagpole, like four days ago!) and she smiles as she sees him crest the ridge alone. Yes, that's right, she's happy to see him. Alone. Every other fucking person she has ever known is dead, but that hot white guy who's been sticking it to her with his big American penis is still breathing, so everything's hunky fucking dory! I mean seriously, how awesome could the Samurai be, if as this movie shows, any drunken Union officer can come in and become the best Samurai who ever lived in a matter of days! Ken Watanabe's awesome performance aside, this movie proclaims its love for Japanese culture shortly before taking a huge steaming dump on it.

That's right, bitch.
Next up is Blood Diamond, set in Sierra Leone, a place where "it's not bling-bling, it's bling-BANG!" Yes, Leonardo DiCaprio got a fucking Oscar nomination for a role that included that line. What. The fuck. Basically he's a totally awesome mercenary who kills anyone who gets in his way. When a couple African soldiers approach him midway through the film, he disarms and kills them with comical ease. Zwick is an amazing director of action, but he just can't help himself when it comes to making his white, pretty boy leads into hyper-efficient killing machines.

Why is this black guy standing so close to me?
Possibly the most egregious is Defiance, a WWII film Zwick made to dispute the idea that European Jews were submissive and compliant victims during the Holocaust. It uses the true story of the Bielski rebels (albeit with massive, fuckwin action sequence-type modifications) to promote this concept -- badly. First off, he cast this dude as the face of his grassroots Jewish resistance:

I mean, seriously, Daniel Craig? Blonde-haired, blue-eyed, coldly brutal and single-minded Daniel fucking Craig??? I think I saw this guy gassing Jews last Tuesday! Oh, and if that weren't bad enough, he surrounds his ubermensch protagonist with what looks like the supporting cast from Fiddler on the Roof, only even more pathetic. Seriously, these guys spend so much time kvetching and crying and grovelling that they can barely scrape a meal together. If not for our badass Aryan posterboy, they wouldn't have lasted thirty seconds against the Germans. So, basically, Zwick is saying that if the Jews weren't so...Jewish, then none of them would've died in the Holocaust. I'll give him the benefit of the doubt and assume this was the opposite of what he intended with the film, but still, I think we've established a running theme here. This guy just can't help himself.

Most recently, Zwick took a break from his racist epics to make Love And Other Drugs starring Jake Gyllenhaal and Anne Hathaway. I haven't seen it yet, but since I'm a huge fan of Ms. Hathaway's boobs, it's definitely on my to do list. Here are a couple stills from the film:

On second thought, disregard everything I just said. Edward Zwick is clearly a genius and a great humanitarian.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Becoming a grave-robbing coot - Pt. 1

So what the fuck is up with LEGOs these days? By these days, I mean, "for the past decade or so," which I understand makes me sound like one of those demented old bastards waddling around in adult diapers and complaining about those crazy kids and their rap music. But seriously, LEGO, you guys have been sucking dick like it's your job. Recently, I came into possession of a totally fucking awesome 1996 model Exploriens Scorpion Detector.

U jelly?
It was just ten dollars at the local thrift store (it retailed for thirty-five new!) and instantly brought me back to the golden age of LEGOs. This was back when we were all slamming POGs, using Crossfire to banish our friends into a hell dimension, and drinking Capri Sun in the hopes that it might turn us into the T-1000. You know, the good old days.

Anyway, some old fuck had just died and his family found the LEGO set in his attic. They sent it to the local thrift store -- still in the original wrapping with all the mini-figs, I nearly came! -- and I snapped it up not a day later. I'm so glad you died, bro, because your LEGO set is totally baller, and now it's all mine! Still high off the glory of my latest purchase, I cracked open the vintage LEGO catalogue that came with my dead man's LEGOs...and that was when a dark and lasting depression came over me. As I poured over the images of the then-new '96 models -- The Wild West, The Royal Knights Castles, the MOTHERFUCKING AQUANAUTS -- I realized that the glory days of LEGOs were naught but a distant memory, succeeded by a tidal wave of runny shit.

And you thought your Hogwarts set was cool. Clearly, you were retarded as a child.
You may have been raised to believe differently, but Star Wars, Harry Potter, and Indiana Jones have no place in the realm of LEGOs. This company was once a bastion of originality, offering brand new worlds to create and explore. I suppose the great LEGO sell-out was inevitable, but as soon as these sets became movie tie-ins, they lost almost all of their original charm and magic. They became about replicating a world that was already preconceived in your mind and on a movie screen. They became simplified adaptations, childish representations of franchises long past their expiration dates.

LEGO's controversial foray into Holocaust narrative.
In recent years, LEGO has put out a few big sets based on the older themes to placate us die-hard fans, but their focus has never truly returned to original sets. I dunno, maybe I'll give a few of those a try, but it will never fully remedy the butthurt of my greatest childhood disappointment, that I never received the crown jewel of LEGO-dom, the one set that everyone lusted over:

The one that got away...

Clearly, my parents didn't love me enough. Now, I'm forced to poach vintage sets from the newly dead, like some perverted grave robber, hoping against hope that I might one day be reunited with my first love, that goddamn pirate ship.

Anyone else getting some full-on, misty-eyed nostalgia going? If so, leave a comment about your own favorite LEGO sets, or the big one that your parents never got you. Share the pain, spread it around...

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

I Hope Jane Fonda Gave You Herpes

IWith all the candy-ass, imitation anime crap that passes for Saturday morning cartoons these days -- not that they even air on Saturday mornings anymore -- I was especially butthurt today to learn the fate of one of my favorite cartoons growing up. That would be SWAT Kats: The Radical Squadron, and if that name doesn't ring any bells, I pity your poor, deprived childhood.

I can still hear the awesomely bend-y guitar notes.
SWAT Kats was the most badass, take no prisoners, non-stop gratification cartoon in the history of action figure product placement. All these Kool Kats did was find excuses to go blow shit up. They flew around in a sick, gun-covered jet that made the Batplane look like a Daewoo Lanos. Their hood, MegaKat City, was a place so hard, it made South Central look like a fucking daycare center. Not a day went by without some extraterrestrial monster the size of a city block dropping in and tearing shit up. The Vor y Zakone wouldn't last thirty seconds in this place. This show was so hardcore, it made me want to kick my parents in the face. Between its non-stop sensory assault and the near-toxic levels of sugar I was slamming into my  bloodstream, I wouldn't calm down until eight or nine o'clock at night. And it wasn't like those other cartoons from the early 90's that would break from the action for public service announcements or quasi-Christian life lessons -- the rainforests could burn down to ashes as far as the SWAT Kats were concerned, and the only golden rule was don't turn your back on the street.

You fuckin with the wrong crew.
For some bizarre reason though, SWAT Kats never seemed to catch on. It disappeared abruptly and unceremoniously, and to this day, I've only met a few people who have ever even heard of it. I wondered if the show was actually just a big pile of crap, and I had been too young and stupid to know it. But then, thanks to the glory of wikipedia, I was finally able to go back and learn the truth. When SWAT Kats debuted in 1994 (yeah, I'm old, go fuck yourself) it was the highest rated cartoon in America. So what the fuck? Why did it go off the air? Did the creators get tired of making money?

Enter Ted Turner. As we all know, this evil bastard has enough money to mortgage the souls of all the children in Africa. He doesn't give a fuck about the profits of some stupid cartoon that brought kids like me unhealthy amounts of joy. No, he thought SWAT Kats was too violent, too amoral to be shown on his network, and he decided he was going to make an example out of it. He canceled the show, overruling its creators, and never made a public statement about it or anything. SWAT Kats was allowed to evaporate into the ether like a fever-dream, and there it stayed, lodged in my subconscious until wikipedia revealed the truth.

This is his "I Just Killed Your Childhood" face
The euthanization of SWAT Kats seems especially unjust and ironic because these days, when I sit down in front of the tube with a big bowl of Lucky Charms on Saturday morning, all I find on Turner Network Television (or any other channel for that matter) are marathons of hideously gruesome forensic detective shows. Are you really telling me, Ted Turner, that it's less damaging for kids to watch Emily Deschanel dig around in some poor bastard's decomposing eye sockets than it is to watch a Kouple Kartoon Kats blow up some alien monsters? Really?


Monday, February 14, 2011

A Quick One Before I Go Get Shitty

Ahhh, St. Valentine's least favorite day of the year. My butthurt over this day isn't even the comical kind -- it's the real 180-proof, God-mode butthurt. The kind of butthurt your anus just isn't prepared for. So for today, I'm leaving all my fellow butthurt homies a very special valentine, courtesy of Mr. Alphonse Capone:

Even these guys are having a better Valentine's Day then me.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

The Return of Representation

Today's post is going to be a little more serious, so feel free to stop reading right here.

I just saw Banksy's film Exit Through the Gift Shop and it crystallized a few ideas I've had about art in the context of our generation. For those of you who haven't seen it, the film is a (possibly staged) indictment of the art world's assignation of  monetary value to works based on the notoriety of their creator. This has been the dominant trend of exhibited paintings and sculptures throughout the twentieth century -- due to the rise of abstract expressionism, wherein the quality of materials and the technical skill required to execute a work are no longer great factors upon its monetary worth.

Once Frank Stella and his fellow minimalists had abstracted art down to virtual nothingness, merely "flatness and the delimination (real word?) of flatness," it seemed the final nail had been struck into the coffin of two-dimensional painted media. Representation was long dead, and abstraction had culminated, necessarily, in an anticlimactic void. As with all modern and post-modern expression, the problem lay in its reductive nature -- it offered no new answers, no new forms or questions to explore, merely a guide to ultimate destruction. This epoch had spiraled down into a dead end, the gyre never to widen again.

So, photography and sculpture took its place, and some contented themselves with telling the same joke Picasso and DeKooning had worn out decades ago, but it all felt hollow. I strongly believe painting is one of the mediums closest to the human spirit, something that will never become obselete, even in this era of split-millisecond photography and the seemingly limitless powers of cgi. Enter the street artists, perhaps the first new school of painting in half a century. They made the medium exciting and dangerous again, operating just outside of the realm of legality. Toying with concepts of vandalism and copyright infringement is fundamental to their medium, and as Shepard Fairey himself often said/sprayed: "The Medium is the Message."


It's an incredibly seductive art form, in no small part due to the fact that it seems so easy -- requiring only basic photoshop skills and a bit of daring to get started -- and Banksy works hard in his documentary to dissuade would-be apprentices. Banksy's work is clearly more energetic and inspired than the likes of "Mr. Brainwash" (whether or not his body of work is just an elaborate hoax on the part of Banksy to prove that the medium has a diverse strata of quality) and he also seems to have figured out that in our age, true fame is anonymity. That may sound contradictory, but in a time when anyone can read about the details of their favorite celebrity's latest bowel movement via a live twitter feed, the only way that the famous might regain some of the mystique, the potent sense of "otherness" of past celebrities is by making themselves as mysterious as possible.

So in short, these street artists have created a reliable formula for artistic prominence in the hyperreactive, cannibalistic culture of the internet generation. You can't download the side of a building -- you can only experience their work in its proper context by venturing out into the world and discovering it with your own eyeballs. Even if their masterpieces are torn down within hours, each has still existed in a true and uncorrupted format for longer than anything put out by the music industry in over a decade. Yes, their work takes on some of the more loathsome qualities of our generation: a tendency toward sentimentality and obvious irony, an absurd reverence for pop culture underlying puerile and inarticulate sarcasm, but it's still more relevant and forceful than anything put on a canvas in at least twenty-five years.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Can I get a little salt with these wounds?

CINNAMON TOAST CUNTS! What the fuck is up with all these hot-ass Hollywood bitches and their hatred for screenwriters? I'm referring to Jessica Alba and Catherine Heigl in particular, although I am sure they are not alone. They recently told the press that screenwriters have been holding them back, ruining their careers with crappy material, and were at best tangentially involved with their success as actors. Alba even said that any actor who's worth his salt will make up his own lines, never sticking to the script.

As I happen to consider myself a writer (and no, this blog doesn't count), I take a  buttload of umbrage at the ignorance of these statements. Screenwriters, having been afflicted with an incurable case of Not-famous, are unable to defend themselves in any meaningful way. We are without exception ugly, depressed, basement-dwelling weirdos who couldn't get laid even if someone stuck a gun in one of our ears and a wet pussy in the other. Every night, while you hot, famous bitches are tooling around in your Bugatti Veyrons and snorting blow off Ashton Kutcher's butt cheeks, we're at home alone, drinking to keep Sammy Suicide locked in his Josef Fritzl-style oubliette. We can only dream of what it must be like to be insanely attractive, wealthy, and socially vibrant people, and we do our best to conjure up these scenarios on paper so that they might be brought to vivid life on and off screen by ungrateful sluts like you.

And while I understand that you are busy people -- there are so many opportunities out there for you to receive free drugs and hot, worshipful sex -- next time a script comes across your desk, don't just hand it off to one of your indentured servants, crack the fucking thing open and take a look at all the hard work that was put into it. The script doesn't start and end with your lines, sweetheart. An entire narrative world had to be crafted so that you and your luscious titties could flounce onto the screen and give us your best rendition of 'pained regret' or 'carefree laughter.' Think about that next the time you're marshaling all of your talents to try and convince us that you find Ryan Reynolds' witty and self-effacing jet fighter pilot attractive.

That's better.