Archive for the 'Geek Stuff' Category

17
Jul
09

On Heckler, Hecklers, and Critics

I was watching Jamie Kennedy’s movie Heckler last night, something I still think is a brilliant response to the savage critiques he received after Malibu’s Most Wanted and Son of the Mask. I think it’s a great bit of revenge to, in the face of cruel and inhuman criticism, show a comedian (and interview many others) ingesting said criticism, wincing at personal slights, and looking hurt at the extent of the savagery.

And, yes, I absolutely agree that, if you don’t like a movie or comedy show, you should just leave. Change the channel. I let Carlos Mencia be Carlos Mencia, and I just go have a cocktail at the bar. Done.

It was when the documentary got into savaging critics and bloggers that I (predictably) began to lose some of my sympathy for the characters. I concede that I also yearn for the days of serious film/dramatic criticism (where are today’s Dorothy Parkers, who are knowledgeable and empathetic enough to the performers and writers to know just how to slice them up, without actually breaking them down?). Gene Shalit, Leonard Maltin, the staff of the NY Times these days…feh. And, yes, I think they should all be replaced by people who actually make movies for a living, much as the book reviews that are always the most spot-on and interesting are essayed by fellow writers.

And yet…well, the thing is…I couldn’t help but think of that line from Godfather II: “This is the business [you’ve] chosen.” It’s not like you made this movie, then released it, only to find that the entire world of film criticism had changed from an erudite circle of polite former screenwriters, into a gaggle of snarling beasts. And, in order to put up with said snarling beasts, you got paid. Well. Better than said snarling beasts, and sure as shit better than most of the country.

And, as far as mean “fans” go, while I think it’s rude that people go up to celebrities and tell them their movies suck when the poor people are just trying to enjoy a meal, I also think it’s enormously arrogant to think that people will never have unfavorable opinions about your work, and will instead just sit in slack-jawed wonderment at the talking pictures proferred for their enjoyment. Unfortunately, it’s a fact that the most likely response you will get will be the most negative, with the most positive following behind. It’s just how our psyches work; many studies have confirmed that we humans like to bitch about things we hate more than admire things we love.

As for the blogosphere: Yes, the internet is home to the meannest of the mean, in both senses of the word. However, it is written by the general public, and these are all people who, unlike “real critics,” paid to see your movie. If you don’t want to listen to their opinions, fine: Don’t log on and Google yourself. But don’t bitch because they have opinions that are contrary to your own, and say so.

As far as the language of online reviews goes, it has indeed gotten more and more violent and crude, especially when writing reviews of things and/or celebrities. Why, you wonder, the animosity? The answer is: It has nothing to do with animosity, and everything to do with anonymity. The internet is huge, and the blogosphere is chock-a-block with people who like to write their opinions. In order to differentiate yourself, you have to make something in your headline or tags stand out. For whatever reason, I’ve noticed that any headline of mine that includes cursing and/or references to various sorts of perversions gets TONS of hits; those that are more thoughtful get almost none.

I don’t blame readers for this. There are myriad ways to get news and information these days, and civil discourses can get lost in the shuffle. Take the awesome postings at synthesis: They are well-thought-out, highly intellectual, and, above all, well-written. That blog, along with other similar ones, consistently gets rated among the top of the internet. And yet, I will bet all my savings that Gawker beats them in page hits and ad sales. So, there’s that: Blame human nature and its love of watching brutality, but don’t blame the people trying to be heard.

And, while I’m on the subject, there is absolutely no difference between a blogger cruelly mocking a movie, and said movie star saying that the blogger is some basement-dwelling fatass who’s never held a job or gotten laid. Except the amount of people who get to see/hear the movie star say that, versus the small number of people who read the snarky blog. That balances out the comparative anonymity (and security) bloggers feel, yes? And when they lose said anonymity (like Andrew Sullivan, or others), they get well compensated for it. Just like other public figures. So they can buy bigger pillows to cushion the blows of public criticism.

So, in conclusion, here’s my advice to Jamie Kennedy:

1. Just as you say to hecklers in comedy clubs: If you don’t like what you read on the Internet about yourself, don’t look.
2. Buck up, buttercup. Those meanies out there don’t really hate you; they just love colorful language and page views.
3. Go take a look around your nice house, cuddle up to your pretty girlfriend, and remind yourself that you’re doing alright, regardless.

Thus endeth the lesson. Dick jokes soon!

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13
Jun
09

Sarah Palin Secretly Thinks Jokes About Molesting Willow Are Teh Funneh

‘Kay, so anyone who’s not up on the Palin-Letterman feud, buckle in, cause I got a lot to say about it. Here’s what happened:

The Palins visited NYC, and attend a Yankees game with Giul911ani. Letterman, to paraphrase, said the following about their trip:

1. The best part was that they got to go to Bloomingdale’s to update Sarah’s “slutty flight attendant” look.
2. The worst part was keeping their daughter away from Eliot Spitzer.
3. The most surprising part was when their daughter got knocked up by A-Rod during the 7th inning stretch.

The Palins got livid, and released the following statements:

“Any ‘jokes’ about raping my 14-year-old are despicable. Alaskans know it and I believe the rest of the world knows it, too.”

– Todd Palin

“Concerning Letterman’s comments about my young daughter (and I doubt he’d ever dare make such comments about anyone else’s daughter): ‘Laughter incited by sexually-perverted comments made by a 62-year-old male celebrity aimed at a 14-year-old girl is not only disgusting, but it reminds us some Hollywood/NY entertainers have a long way to go in understanding what the rest of America understands – that acceptance of inappropriate sexual comments about an underage girl, who could be anyone’s daughter, contributes to the atrociously high rate of sexual exploitation of minors by older men who use and abuse others.'”

– Governor Sarah Palin

First thing’s first. Read that statement given by Sarah Palin again. Sweet weeping Jayzus on a popsicle stick, have you ever SEEN so much punctuation trying to reign in a pointless ramble (aside from here)?!?! The unnecessary parenthetical, followed by a colon followed by her quoting herself within her own statement. Of course, there’s then the dash, the repetition and artless nature of her speech…the whole thing is seriously mindblowing. It reads like someone who not only doesn’t speak English well, but just doesn’t understand the nature of language and communication (i.e. that it should convey to someone else your interior monologue, rather than just reflect it directly). Now, I ramble. I know this. But in official capacities, I tend to err on the side of brevity if I want to be taken seriously. I mean, really. An elected official sat down to write an official statement, and this is what she came up with. Let me edit this fer ya, elite that I am: “Any time a member of the bi-coastal elites uses his or her celebrity to make light of the tragic molestation and sexual exploitation of minors in this country, I take serious offense, but never more so than when the victim of the satire is my own young daughter, who merely wanted to see New York, not enter the political arena. Mr. Letterman should be ashamed of himself.” KTHXBAI.

Anyway, given Sarah Palin’s total lack of understanding of the basics of communication, even with her precious journalism degree, I am starting my own “birthers” movement, postulating that Sarah Palin was born a turtle, and is therefore ineligible to be Governor of Alaska. Run with it, kiddos!


So, anyway, in true Letterman form, he spent 7 minutes smacking them down, claiming the jokes were about Bristol, saying they were tasteless, and driving home the point they were jokes. To which the Palins followed up yet again, with Todd issuing another terse, simple, but to-the-point statement, saying that, since their 14-year-old was the only daughter on the trip with them, they’d assumed the jokes to be at her expense (truth be told, so did I).

Sarah, no longer to be trusted around the writing bit, responded via Meg Stapleton, Sarah’s spokesperson:

“The Palins have no intention of providing a ratings boost for David Letterman by appearing on his show,” Stapelton said in an email to ABC News. “Plus, it would be wise to keep Willow away from David Letterman.”

So jokes about Willow getting molested really are hilarious. But only when her parents do it. *shudder*

04
Jun
09

Bill Killed

This makes me genuinely sad.

David Carradine has been found dead in a Bangkok hotel room. Thai police told the BBC the 72-year-old was found dead in his hotel room with a rope around his neck.

Jesus God, man, this is shockingly tragic. And seemingly inexplicable. Was it because of the confluence of two of his quotations?

“I don’t need to convince anybody that I know kung fu, but maybe somebody needs to know that I really can act, without doing a Chinese accent or a funny walk.”
“If you cannot be a poet, be the poem.”

Regardless of why, it seems we have to say goodbye to the poetry.

02
Jun
09

Maybe The Coolest Thing I’ve Ever Seen

I think…no, wait, I’m fairly sure this clip is so goddamned awesome that I am sexually aroused.

(courtesy of this awesome blog)

12
May
09

Trouser Snake Meets Toilet Snake. Result: Pain.

Oh God, oh God, oh GodohgodohgodohmyfuckingGAWD!!!!

A Taiwanese man became a sitting target for a snake, which bit his penis as sat on the toilet.

GAH!

“As soon as he sat down, he suddenly felt a knife-like pain and reacted instinctively by standing up,” the China Times said.

Double GAH!!!!

“When he looked down, he saw the big snake.”

🙂

02
May
09

Thank You, BestWeekEver.com!

Just as I thought my rage at Ben Nelson would never abate, I see this gem:

And, better yet:

Thank you, BestWeekEver.com for making my weekend less filled with whisky and rage.

28
Apr
09

4Chan Pwns Time

First, these guys infiltrate beloved institutions like “America’s Next Top Model”, and now this? What next? Hacking into a Disney site and making Mickey do things to Goofy that are illegal in 48 states (like get married)???

To tell the truth, I’m a bit ambivalent about what 4chan’s many, many minions have done to Time’s new poll on “The Most Influential People In The World”. On the one hand, it’s a stupid poll set up by an obsolete news source (which is, in the words of Jon Stewart, for people who like USA Today but wish it were shinier), so it might as well be these guys that fuck with it as Colbert fans. Plus, the reference to “marble cake” made me spit coffee onto my keyboard.

On the other, ol’ Chris Poole disseminating his influence into mainstream channels can only help our poor aging population come to grips with the fact that they don’t matter anymore. Come on, moot, they have so little left already (teeth, bladder control, calcium, naturally-occurring erections).

Side note: Li’l Wayne was in the running?