AP offers a roundup of Dead people from 2002:
My favorites, in something resembling order of death date, include Julia 'You'll Never Eat Lunch in This Town Again' Phillips (though 'Driving Under the Affluence' is nearly as good), Chuck Jones, Milton '90210 guest shot' Berle, Thor Heyerdahl, Steven Jay Gould, Alan Lomax, Chaim Potok, Lionel Hampton, Mike Webster, Jason 'Jam Master Jay' Mizell, John Rawls, Henry Chauncey, Philip Berrigan, Joe Strummer... reading this list is making me sad. On the other hand, while it's a little much to say I'm happy to see someone go, I'd say that Ann Landers, Dave Thomas, the Queen Mum, Abu Nidal, William 'Turner Diaries' Pierce, Walter Annenberg, Joe Bonanno, John Gotti, the inventor of the Uzi and the Hillside Strangler had, at least with me, perhaps outstayed their welcome. Oh, and Peggy Lee died. I'm reminded of this because I'm singing 'Is that all there is' to myself. I'm glad it's not 'Waterfalls.'
People should stop poking fun at other people and worry about themselves. The reality is that my movies all have made money--it helps that they've all cost under $10 million--and a lot of people liked them. Blacks and Mexicans loved Jury Duty. Little kids loved Bio-Dome. The mainstream liked Son In Law. You know what I mean? They are what they are, and hopefully when I'm 50, I'll look back on them and I'll have done so many other things that are more critically acclaimed. It's part of a 30- to 40-year career, which I'll hopefully have.--the quotable Pauly Shore
, in an Onion AV Club interview. The footnote to this, I guess, is that at one point, some years ago, I think my parents rented Son In Law.
The advertising agency that handles the Nike account for all of North America approached Negativland. They wanted to hire us to do a series of radio ads for Miller Genuine Draft beer. They weren't asking us to be spokespeople or something; we're not that popular. But they wanted us to use our cut-up, collagey, sound-manipulation/found-sound approach to make a bunch of ads. These guys are in their late 20s; they grew up listening to Negativland in college; they think we're just great. These are the same guys who thought it would be cool to put William S. Burroughs in a Nike ad. And relative to the world that they occupy, they are pushing the envelope. God, here we have this ex-junkie homosexual wife-murderer advertising tennis shoes all over the United States, on every television set in every home. And I can see from their perspective how this is, "like, subversive, man." It's really interesting to me how these kinds of guys have talked themselves into this way of thinking. I know it makes sense to them. They approached us, and I think they thought they were giving us this great chance. I've even had friends of mine say, "Why didn't you guys take it; you could have done something subversive!" And my response is, "No, you can't."--Mark Hosler of Negativland, also from an Onion AV Club interview.
Until recently, I wasn't aware that The Onion is also an actual newspaper.
What's the deal with this overuse of 'conscious
' to refer to, like, anyone in hip-hop to the left of the Cash Money Millionaires? It's a big thing these days. Among other things, are its origins traceable? I don't recall a lot of talk about 'conscious'-ness during the braids, beads, medallions d.a.i.s.y. age, for example, but it could just be that I wasn't paying attention. Is the standard for political/social/cultural awareness so low that simple sentience makes for a compelling metaphor? Looking at the laughable numerology, absurd religious beliefs and arcane conspiracy theories espoused by some of your conscious MCs, this seems like a possibility. The popularity of the metaphor also suggests the way that conscious types are sometimes thoroughly dismissive of others outside their circle of belief.
Incidentally, that VW commercial with a montage of squarish items, followed by the Beetle-porn money shot? I love it. Update: Another conscious-rapper list here.
Last September, a filmmaker called Buzz Aldrin a coward when he wouldn't swear on a bible, on camera, that he walked on the moon. Aldrin, 72, punched the guy. How did I miss this story? Here's a video clip
, from Comedy Central via CSICOP. Also via Metafilter, an article
about how people don't read any more. Point to ponder: am I reading more online material these days? Another: has browsing sites like amg
replaced the random jaunts through reference books that made up a lot of my childhood reading? Ooh, and dig this snazzy Animal Crossing image--here's a link
Here's a Chuck Eddy article
about Eminem from the Village Voice. By far the best Eminem article I've ever read. Chuck Klosterman likes Chuck Eddy, I think. Just gossip. I think I linked to these Rap Snacks
before, but Ice-T's Posse Pops
are a new one on me.
I may have posted about this before--the cable industry, and the idea that not being too concerned about people stealing is actually good for business. (In the case of cable teevee, the argument is in that extra users don't add to fixed costs, and that these people are likely to become paid customers later--there might be more than that, but it's what I remember right now.) I'm wondering now about, like, other businesses where there may be a similar condition.
You sure hear a lot of fallacious arguments
these days. I do, anyway. Incidentally, why isn't 'Charly' available on DVD? The guy won 'Best Actor' that year, for chrissake.
"Well merry Christmas Eve day. I have to go to work for a whole whopping 4 hours. Yea I know that�s stupid too. Oh well. I want to sleep though. I stayed up later night late. Skye, mike and mikes littler sister came over. It was his sister brandy�s 16 birthday. So we got her fucked up. She had her head in the toilet the whole time. Well most of it. Its is always fun to get little kids fucked up. Mike had to carry her down to the car. It was funny."
Most webcam girls seem to have Amazon wishlists (albeit ones that include more DVDs and crap from Target than books--like I have room to talk). This one, surprisingly, does not.
The Onion lists their most essential albums
of 2002. Ditto some guy from The Morning News
. Better yet, here's The Onion's least essential
. Also, Gamespot
has an article about the best GameCube games of the year. Wow, Eternal Darkness won a lot of awards. I'm still looking for more interesting 2k2 roundups. Incidentally, the Count Bass D album 'Dwight Spitz,' which I'm listening to now, is really good. I think one of the Onion people mentions it, even. Upcoming video game: Def Jam Vendetta
. So many unanswered questions. Will it be as popular as Wu-Tang: Shaolin Style
and Shaq Fu
? In a game with people like DMX and Scarface, will Ludacris rapidly become, like, the designated whipping boy?
Ignorant Philly op-ed writer
thinks Jam Master Jay was some kind of gangster. "Yes, I know that he was a pioneer who helped create that cacaphonic genre. And that he was a good rapper, whatever that means." Yeah, Jam Master Jay was a great rapper. That's why Joe and Darryl had him hide behind the turntables--they were worried his rhymes would steal the show. I had to look at the .pdf
to verify that that spelling of 'cacophonic' appeared in the source material. I know what a caco
phony is. And, for that matter, I know what caca is. Which way is more embarrassing, pun or spelling error? From later in the same op-ed: "Why not fashion a less glamorous obituary which focuses on the fact that he was also a married man who now leaves behind a widow and three hopelessly scarred orphans?" Uh, I think they have a mother, champ. Did anyone even edit this thing? Not everyone is as concerned with perfection, I suppose, as Run-DMC.
I have no idea what buffalobeast.com is, but this 'Most Loathsome People in America
' list is some funny stuff.
How dumb do they think we are?
Part one of my tarting-up-the-weblog
plan: comments. Enetation
, which seems slow, but nothing unbearable. Text ads in the comment window, but I can live with that. And it might finally motivate me to learn about stylesheets. Next on the agenda: sexy pictures. That one might take a while.
More of the same: NYT Year in Ideas
. NYT ethicist says googling dates is okay
. But what about this inescapable modern process of verb-ing nouns? Yuck. Especially when they're proper nouns (e.g., 'to Xerox').
I'd looked online for this for a while, and here it is: a memo from Robert Reed to the producers of the Brady Bunch. This memo is reprinted in Barry Williams' book, 'Growing Up Brady,' and in the April 1992 Harper's magazine, the latter of which should be in any decent university library. There are at least two episodes Reed really loathed--#59, 'And Now a Word From Our Sponsor,' which he seems to be discussing, and #116, 'The Hair-Brained Scheme,' which he refused to appear in.
There is a fundamental difference in theatre between:
They require not only a difference in terms of construction, but also in presentation and, most explicitly, styles of acting. Their dramatis peronsae are noninterchangable. For example, Hamlet, archtypical of the dramatic character, could not be written into Midsummer Night's Dream and still retain his identity. Ophelia could not play a scene with Titania; Richard II could not be found in Twelfth Night. In other words, a character indigenous to one style of the theatre cannot function in any of the other styles. Obviously, the precept holds true for any period. Andy Hardy could not suddenly appear in Citizen Kane, or even closer in style, Andy Hardy could not appear in a Laurel and Hardy film. Andy Hardy is a "comedic" character, Laurel and Hardy are of the purest slapstick. The boundaries are rigid, and within the confines of one theatric piece the style must remain constant.
Why? It is a long since proven theorem in the theatre that an audience will adjust its suspension of belief to the degree that the opening of the presentation leads them. When a curtain rises on two French maids in a farce set discussing the peccadilloes of their master, the audience is now set for an evening of theatre in a certain style, and are prepared to accept having excluded certain levels of reality. And that is the price difference in the styles of theatre, both for the actor and the writer--the degree of reality inherent. Pure drama and comedy are closest to core realism, slapstick and fantasy the farthest removed. It is also part of that theorem that one cannot change styles midstream. How often do we read damning critical reveiews of, let's say, a drama in which a character has "hammed" or in stricter terms become melodramatic. How often have we criticized the "mumble and scratch" approach to Shakespearean melodrama, because ultra-realism is out of place when another style is required. And yet, any of these attacks could draw plaudits when played in the appropriate genre. Teevision falls under exactly the same principle. What the networks in their oversimplification call "sitcoms" actually are quite diverse styles except where bastardized by carless writing or performing. For instance:
The Paul Lynde Show....Farce
I dream of Jeannie....Fantasy
And the same rules hold just as true. Imagine a scene in M*A*S*H in which Arthur Hill appears playing his "Owen Marshall" role, or Archie Bunker suddenly landing on "Gilligan's Island" , or Dom Deluise and his mother in " Mannix" Of course, any of these actors could play in any of the series in different roles predicated on the appropriate style of acting. But the maxim implicit in all this is: when the first-act curtain rises on a comedy, the second act curtain has to rise on teh same thing, with the actors playing in commensurate styles.
If it isn't already clear, not only does the audience accept a certain level of belief, but so must the actor in order to function at all. His conciousness opens like an iris to allow the proper amount of reality into his acting subtext. And all of the actors in the same piece must deal with the same level, or the audience will not know to whom to adjust and will often empathize with teh caracter with the most credibility--total reality eliciting the most complete empathic response. Example: We are in the operating room in M*A*S*H, with the usual pan shot across a myriad of operating tables filled with surgical teams at work. The leads are seweating away at their work, and at the same time engaged in banter with the head nurse. Suddenly, the doors fly open and Batman appears! Now the scene cannot go on. The M*A*S*H characters, dealing with their own level of quasi-comic reality, having subext pertinent to the scene, cannot accept as real in their own terms this other character. Oh yes, they could make fast adjusgements. He is a deranged member of some battle- fatigued platoon and somehow came upon a Batman suit. But the Batman character cannot then play his intended character true to his own series. Even if it were possible to mix both styles, it would have to be dealt wish by the characters, not just abruptly accepted. Meanwhile, the audience will stick with that level of reality to which they have been introduced, and unless the added character quickly adjusts, will reject him.
.... (I think these segments are part one and part two of the same memo, but I'm not sure)
In this week's episode, The Brady Bunch once again takes an inconsistent literary leap from semi-real situation comedy into thinly motivated farce bordering on slapstick. It's the old 1930s "Movies enter the lives of Mr. and Mrs. Average American" plot, in which our lovable, down-to-earth family is unwittingly hit by a tidal wave of Hollywood lunacy. They're nearly torn from their middle-class moorings, but thanks to their good humor, stability, and unflagging good sense, they not only withstand the barrage but emerge unsullied in their victory. (Warm embrace, chuckles, and we fade out.) It's been done a thousand times. If it were well written, it could probably work again, at least in a dated sense. But this episode is not well written.
1. Mike's expository speech, "Art Emhoff works in one of the biggest advertising agencies in town," is typical of constantly overdone exposition.
2. Mike's phone conversation with Art has no phatic communion in it--no normal everyday dialogue. Art has been established as a friend. You don't call a friend out of the blue and go right to the problem without "How've you been?" or "How's your golf game?" and you don't hang up without the same kind of thing. This may seem small, but it is typical of careless dialogue sans transitions. Sitcom writing is writing at its simplest level. We have a right to expect someone to know enough or care enough to have it done right.
1. In Mike's response to Farnum, "kooky" is an inapt term. "Oddball," maybe, "nuts," "laughable," "ridiculous," or "cliche"; but not "kooky."
Typical weak scene, ending with a limp gag line.
1. Mike: "I can't make heads or tails of this legal double-talk." Nonsense. Mike is an adult in business and is capable of understanding contracts.
2. The whole soap sequence allows Carol [the mother] to become unreal and cutesy-poo to no avail. The limpest sort of gag sequence.
3. The end gag is unplayable. Tearing up the contract is out of character and unmotivated--an author's device.
1. Mike's line "We don't know much about acting" is like referring to "movies" in the movies. It brings the audience out of the fantasy. Never remind them that what they're seeing isn't the truth.
1. Ludicrous. My God, if Alice [the housekeeper] has been mopping the floor, as indicated, the mop is wet! Yet she "clasps it" to her breast, "kisses it," etc. This is an unfortunate but typical example of how scenes too often have ridiculous inconsistencies or impossibilities.
1. Carol: "I guess we'll just have to wait until Mr. Brady gets home." A ninnyism. Once again, Carol becomes a nincompoop. If Carol can read a grocery list, she can look up a given reference.
The Character of Skip Farnum
Skip Farnum, our foil, is a paper-thin, one-dimensional version of the old pot-boiling cliche of the Hollywood director, updated by someone's version of the "mod" dialect. In forty-five speeches he has been given almost as many cliches, including "like real," "rap" (twice), "flip" (twice), "lay it on," "cool it," "squares," "gig," and the inevitable theatrical labeler of the au courant young: "dig" (twice). We are led to believe he is "one of the biggest directors in TV commercials," and yet we never see him really direct. In his big scenes he does little but react to us and respond with one-liners. Meanwhile, Mike and Carol are supposed to bear the comedy burden of the scene by severely overacting. If done to the height it is written, it will cause suspension of belief. We are not that dumb. In short, it seems to me, the problem with this script is not in the plot situations. It could all happen. Where the rub comes is in how the situations are brought about. The troubles are: totally unmotivated behavior; weak dialogue (as ever); and overwritten, cliched characters.
(Text by the late Robert Reed
, via 'Growing Up Brady
,' via 'Harper's
,' via Abigail Fox
, seemingly, and this Zelda fan site
Okay, I just watched this, like, VH-1 'Big in 2002' Awards. What a goddamn steaming turd. Highlights included seeing Jennifer Aniston and Yoda as two of the nominees for, like, 'Breakout Performance,' the painfully unfunny Wayne Brady number, an unidentified (that is, I had no idea who she was) starlet presenter who was visibly intoxicated, seeing Tori Amos and Frankie Muniz present some random award and seeing the same goddamn awful Chevrolet commercials over and over. Oh, and there was a tribute to Run-DMC. First, Ice Cube came up there and said some stuff about his childhood decision to 'dedicate [his] life to hip-hop', and about how Jay proved that, to quote Public Enemy, a DJ could be a band. Then, Cube introduced Grandmaster Flash, who in turn introduced Chuck D and Kid Rock. Rock's Twisted Brown Trucker Band, and why do I know the name of Kid Rock's band, wasn't introduced. Given what Mr. Anaconda had said not moments ago, it seems strange they were onstage at all. Anyway, the whole motley bunch played a medley of Run-DMC hits. They skipped 'Peter Piper,' inexplicably when one considers that the song's a tribute to Jam Master Jay. Then again, the decision to use a Bad Boy cracker like Rock and a shockingly-bad-voiced D when Run and D were in the freaking audience seems a little weird too. Finally, Rev. Run and Darryl Mac came up to accept some trumped-up award. Run started to say 'I would like to thank,' and D interrupted him: 'We.' Great moment. I think DMC was even tearing up a little. Maybe he was recollecting the sub-Mad-TV skits featuring minor Sopranos actors and Fred Willard, or 'Grand Theft Nolte'. Horrid.
This is already all over the place, but anyway: Bowling for Columbine named best documentary ever. At least the form's getting some exposure. It inspired me to learn that one can watch streaming 'Heavy Metal Parking Lot' online, and hipped me to a Frontline about Kip Kinkel, and to revisit TV Party.
Mostly via Metafilter: Record companies owe you money
. Are these the same record companies
that get the Secret Service to bust
people with cd burners
? Yep. The ones that don't seem to have the greatest grasp of simple math
? Indeed they are. The Washington Post has some tips
for the aspiring cultural critic. At least as funny as that Mad Onion parody
(not to be confused with 3d-benchmarking people Mad Onion
). Here's an end-of-year Google Zeitgeist
, and something similar from Lycos
. Queation: are Google users smarter? Santa Rampage
! Washington Post has details
. Ben Stein has some ideas about ruining American innovation
. North Korea
doesn't like the new James Bond
movie. A high school kid, not far from where I live
, had a little chat with the Secret Service over his t-shirt. You can buy one here
, but it looks like you'll have to add the crosshairs yourself. How punk rock. European Union adds new members
. These snazzy Blathers figure
is just the beginning of the Animal Crossing toys I'm vaguely obsessed with. Speaking of--The New Politics of Consumption
. Oh, and last but not least--Lyndon LaRouche
, nut case
. My old pal Joe Laurene used to want a bumper sticker that read "Don't blame me--I voted for the guy that's in jail." I think Traficant got about 15%.
Jesus Christ. Freaking Blogger. This is becoming a rather long posting. Pocketcalculatorshow.com--so cool. I really wanted one of these at the time. Probably because I'm an idiot.
Hey, Animal Crossing fans. Would you like a Baseball or a Wario's Woods? Or, umm, some of the island items, including Diver Dan and the beach chair? Let me know. Especially if you happen to have a froggy woman totem pole, a Master Sword or any of the rarer modern furniture. Though I'd happily just send you the island-only stuff out of the goodness of my heart (uh, first come, first served). Nintendo's practicing economic discrimination against people who aren't big enough suckers to have bought the no-backlight-equals-fatal-flaw Game Boy Advance. The living room has to be lit like an operating theater just so I can see the peaches I'm feeding Dobie.Update:
Okay, it occurred to me that, if gamefaqs types are to be believed, one can't mail rare NES games and island items. Nice trick on Nintendo's part.
"People are frightened at the thought of getting too much information, which just shows we're not in the Information Age yet. Are you frightened at the thought of getting too much money? Too much happiness?"
--Arno Penzias, Bell Labs, quoted in James Gleick's 'What just happened?'
Years ago, I happened on an urban spelunking website that featured the rule of two stupid things: If you're already doing one stupid thing, don't do a second. Like, if you're already breaking and entering, don't have a bag of pot. If you're already wearing a wacky chainsaw clown suit, don't argue with the cop. I thought it was great advice for life.
--from a Metafilter thread
on urban exploration. Sometime, I'll post a bunch of links to snazzy sites along these lines.
04:07:19 kookbox: roxy is, like, in love with you? we really ought to talk more often.
04:08:26 rachel: yea. she wants me so bad. laura showed her my livejournal
, and now she like, loves me. she apparently had no idea that i was short and fat, and i guess that's a big turn on or something, so she basically tells me that she's going to attack me EVERY DAY of my life.
04:08:59 kookbox: wow. i wonder what i'm doing wrong with my weblog.
04:11:13 rachel: heh. no comments section. not enough personal info. no sexy pictures of yourself. it's lacking most things the usual livejournal viewer loves.
04:13:09 kookbox: it's so true.
04:13:18 kookbox: i could add all that stuff, were i so inclined. maybe i should.
04:14:52 rachel: you should
04:16:14 kookbox: do you really think so? there's probably a photoshop filter called, like, the 'sexyizer.' it's what they use at nerve.
04:16:27 kookbox: personal info? like, my home address, or my feelings?
04:16:32 rachel: hahaha.
04:16:42 rachel: like, your feelings, privacy nut.
04:17:07 kookbox: well, i wasn't sure which personal info people responded to.
04:20:45 rachel: ahh. i see.
04:21:10 rachel: i'd like to hear about your feelings. i'm concerned and whatnot. i bet your blogger pals would dig that.
04:21:42 kookbox: i don't think i actually have any blogger pals. have you ever clicked on the counter on my page? and blogger doesn't have all that community stuff that lj does.
04:22:08 rachel: true. no, i've never clicked on your counter.
04:22:52 kookbox: it's in the lower right somewhere. looks kinda like a sega saturn logo.
04:24:40 rachel: hmm. i'll check into that.
04:25:14 kookbox: my favorite part is the search strings people use to get to my page. the poor saps.
Amazon reviews--great stuff. Maybe I'll start writing fake ones someday too.
New stuff from the Google labs: Froogle
, to find prices, Google WebQuotes
, to find quotations about search results from other sites; and Google Viewer
, which didn't play nicely with Opera. In more search news, here's a nifty reverse-phone-number lookup
. Mine, happily, is unlisted. Along the same lines, here's a reverse-IP lookup
. And, last but not least, a UPC database
, and an ISBN search
. I still have a few CueCats lying around. Someday, I'll return to that CueCat-powered-media-database idea. Or else I'll just bite the bullet and buy Readerware. Also, I'll someday learn enough database programming to set up that Scrabble word search engine.
Here are a few mainstream-media (Brad, Kat, Laura and I were having a fascinating discussion about mainstream magazines last night--what marks one? Is 'High Times' one? What about 'Spin'? Anyway.) articles about bootlegs/mashups/whatever: from Salon
and the Guardian
. I was hoping to find a comparitive software review, but no such luck. I'ma keep looking.
Ooh, I found the answer to an Animal Crossing question
, the coelocanth shows up not just in the rain, but also in the snow.
's 'Metaphors of Terror
,' about language and post-9/11 reality. Here's a link to his old essay, 'Metaphor in Politics
,' a Gulf War critique. Here's a NYT article about soldier-poets
like Wilfred Owen
and Siegfried Sassoon
While visiting relatives for Thanksgiving, we talked a fair amount about, like, the economy. People are very attuned to the power of branding, blue-chip stock, et cetera. They're not so attuned to the power of conventional wisdom. Frustrating for me. I tried to argue that Wal-Mart's business model, which relies on expanding into untapped markets, will eventually arrive at a point of diminishing returns. This same kind of thing seems to be happening with McDonald's locations. Luckily for McDonald's, though, a franchise system insulates the parent company from this effect. The money-losing work of opening locations that don't prosper is passed onto the franchisees. Take an example like Subway--the individual locations close down pretty frequently, but the chain has been flourishing for years. Wal-Mart, though, has to shoulder individual locations' failures themselves, and opening a Wal-Mart is a whole lot more expensive than opening a Subway. Besides, there's always a point of diminishing returns. The first McDonald's in China is a lot more important, by which I mean 'profitable,' than the five hundredth one in California (note: I have no idea how many McD's there are in California--and, rereading, this whole post is rather incoherent.).
Here's a Wired article about Wal-Mart and video game censorship. Favorite tidbit: 'Gabriel Knight 3: Blood of the Sacred, Blood of the Damned' had the alternate title removed from the packaging for the Wal-Mart edition. It's 'Waif Me' all over again. Kurt Squire of MIT is quoted: "The biggest danger facing the games industry may be something like the comics code of the '50s, which seriously limited what content comics could deal with, resulting in the marginalization of the medium. Combined with a lack of experimentation in the games industry, that could cause long-term problems."
How the West Wasn't Won: A Fable
I'd compare this to the Nacirema essay, as other people have, but I don't really like it. Anyway, this one's closer in spirit to something like 'A Modest Proposal.' Not only is the satirical intent crystal-clear, but we know, immediately, exactly who they're talking about.