Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Internet Arguing=Futility

Like any geek I'm legally required to be active on at least one message board. I choose to frequent some of the boards on IMDb. In doing so I've discovered some things.

If you like something, do not go to the board for that thing. For example, are you a fan of SNL? On its board you will find many posts like this: "This show hasn't been funny since (insert year in which user turned 17). They should just cancel it." Or better yet, "yo this show totlly suxxx cept when jt hosts he is so fine i like madtv better." Posts like these are often followed by replies of fans, who make some attempt to explain why they think the show is funny. Remember the first time someone showed you a Monty Python skit, and when it was over and you hadn't laughed they explained why you should have? And even though you understood them perfectly, you still didn't laugh? Yeah. Comedy doesn't really work that way.

Similar arguments can be found on the board for There Will Be Blood, which I happen to think is an excellent film. Many people come to complain that they thought it was boring, too long, didn't like the ending, etc (statements I'm sure you can find for most films). I don't understand what these people are hoping to accomplish. Only worse are those fans that respond by saying, "You just don't get it." Not only does this enforce the stereotype of the film snob, but it just pushes the objector further away.

Another common argument you can find is related to IMDb's Top 250 list, based on a film's weighted ranking. People live and die by this list like it's the fifth Gospel. And god forbid some young brigand (ahem, Dark Knight) should just jump up on the list like he owns the place. Hell hath no fury like a film geek scorned.

I am a reasonable, logical person, probably to a fault. If I encounter someone I disagree with, I usually explain my reason for thinking as I do, which is then met with something along the lines of accusing me and those that think like me of being responsible for the slow decline of the country. Or "u r teh ghey."

As a reasonable, logical person, the first and last act of physical aggression in which I was involved was in 7th grade (hint: I won, but I still cried). However, on multiple occasions, my interactions with people online have left me wanting nothing more than to smash their head in a car door repeatedly, or to enter the Thunderdome with them (hint: I'd use that bigass hammer).

Trying to convince someone of a film's worth, or a TV show's hilarity, is like trying to tell Pat Robertson that maybe homosexuals weren't responsible for 9/11. You mostly just get a blank stare in return.

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Monday, July 7, 2008

People or farm animals?

This video epitomizes a lot of what I don't like about people:

Granted, things here in NY aren't that bad (unless you have to use the ONE subway line on the East Side (the most worthless of the Sides, I must say)), but what you're seeing is a result of the same asinine stupidity concentrated on a much denser population.

You'll notice that although it takes some squeezing, more and more people keep fitting onto the train. This means people centered between the doors inside the car aren't moving in to let others on, even though it's pretty clear there are a lot more people that will be getting on the train. Plus, the cooperation of the conductors and the docility of the people being packed like Spam demonstrate that this is a daily occurrence at this stop. These people know this will happen every time, yet they still don't get it. They still don't make room until the staff are forced to push them together like self-important little lambs carrying briefcases.

You know what I'd do if I was on that train? I'd wait til the doors closed and we started moving, and I'd totally cut the loudest fart ever, then immediately start yelling at people for being so gross in public.


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New York New York

Sometimes I just can't escape the feeling that this city doesn't want me here.

I know, I know, that's totally illogical and not at all in line with my normal mode of thought. It's probably just a case of living in a less-than-ideal place (for my standards anyway), in order to pursue my career.

But I can't help but feel like I'm on the receiving end of a willful aggression when I'm walking in this city during a rainstorm, and that stupid, constant, crushing wind pushes against my umbrella and completely negates its protection.

Or when I'm waiting for a train at 42nd St. and the express roars in, screaming against my eardrums.

Or when I'm forced to look at any of the shouting headlines of the Post or Daily News while dozens of people read the garbage during their commute.

Or when the cave dwellers next to my apartment are out at 2 AM hitting things with sticks (I do not exaggerate).

These things go beyond unpleasant to the point that I feel a malignant force pushing against my daily routines here.

Or maybe I just need to lay off the peyote.

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Thursday, July 3, 2008

General Musings on The Real World

A few months ago I saw previews for the new season of The Real World, set in Hollywood this time. In the past few years I've seen some of the challenge seasons, Gauntlet, whatever, but I haven't watched an actual season of the original show in a long time. I think actually San Diego might have been the last one I followed. So I thought, Why not? One of the myriad reasons I've avoided it is that I always come in late, so I don't know what's going on, plus I now have DVR so it'll be easy to do.

This season hasn't been too bad, I suppose, considering the sharp nosedive the show has taken. I've stayed away ever since a commercial for the Las Vegas season almost gave me herpes. I know this ground has been covered elsewhere, but I have to say that it seems like the type of people they recruit, and the type of experiences they shoot for, has much more of a spring break feel than back in the day. I don't know what the first season I watched live was (perhaps London, one of my favorites), but remember the marathons they'd have all weekend? Through those I've seen all the early ones at least a few times, and there's just no comparison. You got a bunch of eager young people that wanted to join this experiment and push their own boundaries, as well as those of their housemates. And since this was before "reality" TV made every no-talent douche think they could be part of the pop culture landscape, these people had no further ambitions than simply getting to partake in the experience. Cut to the Hollywood season where they've completely abandoned all pretense and specifically found people that want to pursue entertainment careers. At least they're being honest, I guess.

So now they're about to start filming in Brooklyn. Hearsay tells me they've narrowed it down to Williamsburg or Park Slope. Surprise surprise. I think they'll go with Williamsburg, because the housemates will fit right in with all the other tools and they'll be a short cab ride on MTV's dime away from Manhattan, where they will surely go every night to drink on MTV's dime and pick up sluts using MTV's rep. I wonder what their "job" will be this season. To really make them live the Williamsburg experience they'll have to give them a lot of money they didn't work for and force them to perfect their completely ridiculous wardrobe while pretending they don't enjoy anything.

What I want to see is Real World: Omaha. Put these a-holes in a house in Middle America with no crazy night life and stop paying for their alcohol. See what really happens then. See what happens when seven people have to drop all their bullshit defenses and spend real, sober time with each other, actually have to talk to each other and (gasp) learn about each other.

When I was a kid I thought the people on Real World were the coolest. I was so jealous because they seemed to grow so much, and stretch their personal horizons and partake in this thing that so few people got the chance to do. Now I watch children learn life lessons that I had pretty much nailed down by the age of fifteen.

All of this is symptomatic of the disturbing trend MTV has been on in the last decade of forgetting that they've been the dominant social force for teenagers since 1981. They're sitting on a cultural goldmine and it's like they don't even know it. I happened to remember that another music video channel exists, Fuse, and I turned it over there during their 1995 Video Yearbook. I was both terrified and amazed at what I saw. Michael Jackson at the end of his relevancy. The Foo Fighters making fun of Mentos. People over the age of 25. Do you remember a time when kids said "I want my MTV!" and they meant it? When Corey Haim moved to his grandpa's house in Lost Boys and upon seeing no television, said to his brother Mike (Jason Patric pre-Keifer Sutherland backstab) "No TV? You know what that means? No MTV." The channel recently turned 25 and everyone talked about it except them. No best-video-of-every-year countdown. No interviews with Martha Quinn. No retrospective on Beavis and Butt-head. Just eight straight hours of Pimp My Ride and Cribs.

So where have all those videos gone, that were made solely to be played on MTV (back when VH1 only showed "adult contemporary" crap like Celine Dion)? They're locked in a doomsday vault with Puck, The Spin Doctors, and Jesse Camp. All these things are lost, like tears in the rain.

Or like the classic Real World virgin's dignity.

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Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Dear Texas,

I know it's been a while since we've seen each other, but I hope it's OK with you if I drop a line and see how you're doing. I heard a few things from some friends that worried me a little bit, but I didn't want to jump to any conclusions without talking to you first. We've had our ups and downs but if anything that's brought us a little closer, right? So I think we owe it to each other to keep ourselves in check.

I'll cut right to it. I guess it boils down to the company you've been keeping and the sort of things they're telling you. I know Joe Horn isn't the kind of guy I'd hang out with, but if you two got along then that's great. He just seems a little misguided, is all. He always has the best intentions, always tries to help out, but don't you think he can be a little aggressive sometimes? Maybe a little stubborn? I know you guys have that whole "gun culture" thing in common, which I've never really gotten, but again, I won't judge you for that alone. But it did freak me out a little bit when I tried to surprise you that one Juneteenth and you pulled a .357 on me when I jumped out of the bathroom. That's just not like you man.

My other big point of contention is this materialism kick you've been on. You've always been a scrappy, independent kind of guy and I really dug that about you, but lately it seems like all you care about are things. Plasma TVs, cars, stereos. They're nice, but aren't there more important things? Isn't life a little more important than stuff you get at Best Buy? I was just really surprised to hear that about you, that's all.

Look, don't take this the wrong way. I don't want this to ruin our relationship. I know you're close to Amy's family, even my family has some connections to you, so I'm just looking out for you. I don't trust that Horn guy. I'd hate to see you get stabbed in the back.

Or shot.

Your bud,

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Tuesday, July 1, 2008

PedEgg in the news!!!

See my original PedEgg post.

PedEgg's filthy ruination of human lives and slow march to world conquest continues.

This morning I was partaking of some fine cat photos at icanhascheezburger.com when I heard the-foot-scraping-device-that-must-not-be-named mentioned on CNN. Turns out two of the actors in the commercial (who happen to be married, and also finished second on a season of The Amazing Race) are suing the ad agency responsible for that nightmare of a commercial because they were misled about the usage and how they would be featured in the commercial. They thought it would be an internet-only spot and that it would only show their hands and feet. Production actually used "horror makeup" on their feet to get that "I've been walking on fiery swamp water all day" appearance. So they're worried about how it makes them look and how bad the commercial is. And they only got paid THREE HUNDRED DOLLARS for this disaster. For those not in the know, that is an absolutely awful amount of money to get paid for a national commercial like this.

It was pretty clear from the interaction between the anchor and reporter for the story that the PedEgg was a big joke in the CNN newsroom for a while, and they were really amused at the whole thing.

Amused my ass.

Will you be amused when you wake up on a stormy night and turn the lamp on to dispel your nightmares, only to find the cord's been sanded apart by the teeming mass of foot scrapers surrounding your bed, ready to grind down your very soul?

Didn't think so.

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