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Archive for the ‘Pessimisim’ Category

In Which I’m Not Sure If It’s Me Or YouTube

February 17th, 2009 No comments

The axiom goes that comedy is tragedy that happens to other people.  For the most part, it’s true but I’m wondering if I’ve become a little…stodgy lately since I haven’t found the last couple of YouTube hilarities all that hilarious.

The danger (if that’s the right word) in talking about this lies in whether or not to link to what you’re talking about.  In the case of the epic “A woman missed her flight at the boarding gate HKIA”, the Huffington Post linked to it and, in what I assume was supposed to be some attempt at journalism, updated the the post to inform readers that since posting the video the YouTube traffic had tripled.  Gosh!  How did THAT happen?  Are they honestly suggesting that having one of the more popular websites linking to a video has any effect on that amount of people that watch said video?  Well, DAY-AM.  Who knew?

The difficulty lies in whether or not to link to it and increase its popularity.  In this case, my low-traffic, sporadic piece of cyberspace would have little or no effect on its popularity so it’s not much of an issue but I’m not going to link anyway.

Briefly – it’s three minutes of a Chinese woman freaking out (in Chinese) about missing her plane.  Three minutes.  How is this hilarious?  If somehow you happened to be there when it happened, I doubt you’d be ROTFL.  In fact, no one’s laughing on the audio.  She’s just pissed off.  Not even the person with the camera is laug-

Wait.  Person with the camera?  At the risk of getting too deconstructionist, let’s walkthrough what had to happen to get this to YouTube.

1) Woman freaks out
2) People watch her
3) Someone starts filming
4) Someone take video and transfers it to a computer
5) Edits the video
6) Crunches the video
7) Uploads the video to YouTube
8) “Hilarity” ensues

Think about it – a probable stranger posted a video of someone’s bad day and three million people watched it.  Maybe it’s just me, but that’s fucked up.  Is distress in a foreign language funnier than distress in your own?  I’m not going to lie – Chinese is really easy to laugh at.  I’m not proud of saying that, but as a white, middle-class America I’m pretty much programmed for it…kinda like Miley Cyrus.

But even that doesn’t explain why a parent would post a video of their kid whacked out of anesthetics for the amusument of strangers.  Or why ten million people, rather than forming a lynch mob and tracking said parent down, chose to foward the video onto their friends and laugh at this poor kid.  What have you got to be thinking to do that?  “Wow!  My kid is SOOO fucked up right now!  I’m gonna have to get this on tape rather than comforting him.  Hey!  This is some funny shit!  Let’s put this on YouTube!”

Thirty years agao, Paddy Chayefsky wrote a movie called Network which envisioned a world where the concepts of news and entertainment ceased to be delineated.  It was all entertainment.  Violent, revloutionary terrorists were given their own prime-time TV show, filming themselves committing terrorist acts.  The nightly news broadcast included an astrology report.  Anchors did not present the news but rather presented their commentary on the news.  Not to spoil the ending if you haven’t seen it, but the closing narration of the movie informs us that Howard Beale was the first anchorman to be killed because of bad ratings.

Much of what Chayefsky predicted has come to pass.  But he could have never dreamed up the odd, cruel entertainments of YouTube.  He would have been laughed out of Hollywood.

In Which You Can Change Your Mind About A Girl

December 28th, 2008 1 comment

Via Right Wing Watch’s post about the WSJ’s piece about Sarah “16 Minute” Palin you can find out about bush as “The Dark Knight” but, even more amusing, Palin is actually Margaret Thatcher!

Funny!

Level 1 Funny: The title of the piece is “Conservative Snobs Are Wrong About Palin”.  Given that true Buckley conservative power brokers (you know, the ones that would get her into the White House) wouldn’t be caught dead drinking domestic beer or living in Alaska, the title truly sounds like…well…putting lipstick on a pig.

Level 2 Funny: John O’Sullivan makes a big deal quoting these “snobs” as saying Palin is “no Margaret Thatcher”.  I don’t pretend to be totally jacked into the political grid but this was a new one on me.  So, off to Google where a search of palin “no Margaret Thatcher” netted a paltry 959 hits.  By contrast, bush “the dark knight” nets 2.8m+.  Nothing like using an example that no one cared about to begin with.

Level 3 Funny: I’d like to posit that sexism is a form of snobbery.  By denigrating a woman with terms like “sweetie”, “baby” and “puppy lips” a man effectively negates a woman’s power.  Oh, and using the term “girl” does the same thing.

Second, Margaret Thatcher was not yet Margaret Thatcher. She had not won the 1979 election, recovered the Falklands, reformed trade union law, defeated the miners, and helped destroy Soviet communism peacefully.

Things like that change your mind about a girl….

Really?  A “girl”?  The head of Great Britain should be referred to as a “girl”?  A vice presidential candidate should be refered to as a “girl”?  HI-larious!

Level 4 Funny – Faulkland War!!

Leve 5 Funny –

Though regularly pronounced sick, dying, dead, cremated and scattered at sea, Mrs. Palin is still amazingly around. She has survived more media assassination attempts than Fidel Castro has survived real ones (Cuban official figure: 638).

Wait – let’s keep our heroes and villains straight here.  Palin=Castro?  BWHAHAHAHA!

Level 6 Funny:  Admitting defeat

But she has plenty of time, probably eight years, to analyze America’s problems, recruit her own expert advice, and develop conservative solutions to them. She has obvious intelligence, drive, serious moral character, and a Reaganesque likability. Her likely Republican rivals such as Bobby Jindal and Mitt Romney, not to mention Barack Obama, have most of these same qualities too. But she shares with Mrs. Thatcher a very rare charisma. As Ronnie Millar, the latter’s speechwriter and a successful playwright, used to say in theatrical tones: She may be depressed, ill-dressed and having a bad hair day, but when the curtain rises, out onto the stage she steps looking like a billion dollars. That’s the mark of a star, dear boy. They rise to the big occasions.

WHOA!  Back up!

“But she has plenty of time, probably eight years…”  Eight years?  So, you’re ceding that Obama is a two-term president and you’re screwed for 2012?  NICE!  Obama hasn’t even been sworn in and you’ve given up.

That’s kind of snobby, isn’t it?

In Which Some Letters Are Better Than Other

December 27th, 2008 2 comments

Ok.

Sorry about  this, but here goes – When you get to the point where you have to write it “LGBT/GLBT” then you need to move to a deserted island by your self where no one will EVER make you sad ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever again.

Seriously – when does it fucking stop?  When do you stop labeling?  When do you just flip a coin, stick with the decision and stop changing what you call some thing/one just because some little asshole got bent out of shape because S/HE calls them eyeWHISKERS instead of eyeLASHES because “lashes” implies a pro-slavery/pro-capital punishment imagery.  (AND THEN, of course, some BDSM lobby cries foul because they are, ONCE AGAIN, being oppressed and their lifestyle choice denigrated.)

From Negro to colored to black to African American back to black…where next?  Seriously – where next?

Yes, yes, I understand how, as a white man I’m not allowed to comment on race/creed/color stuff because I cannot possibly understand what oppression means…outside of the 6 years I spent being called faggot, homo, queer etc in pre-college.  I’m not approaching this as a white man’s burden kind of thing.  I’m approaching this as people relating to people.  I’m looking at this from a practical standpoint.

If you want to invite me to your non-straight/non-white dance – wonderful.  I’d love to go but, frankly, I’m not sure I want to because I’m afraid that I’m going to make some kind of slip-up like saying “African American” when I should say “black” or LGBT when I should say GLBT.  I’ve gotten screwed by this before.  “Even thought everybody else here says it, you’re not allowed to say ‘faggot’ or ‘nigger’ because your honorary membership is not valid in this specific clique”.

Oh.  Do please forgive me.  How about if I just call you a fucking asshole instead for 1) needing to label yourself as different from me so you can 2) despise me for being different from you.

I’m not saying I’m perfect.  Yes, there are times I slip back into the patterns and prejudices taught to me by my parents.  I’m doing my best to not pass those on to my children.  To (as I’m led to believe) teach them that we are all equal.

What I’m saying is to stop insisting on equality by inventing new labels.

LGBT/GLBT?  How about “Paul”?  Or “Jane”?  Or “Chet”? Or “Kiwmabechocula”?

How about we toss out the labels?  Or does that make an anti-labelist?

In Which It The Message Was Distilled Into One Axiom

June 4th, 2008 1 comment

In Which I Forgot To Check My Demographic Before I Voted

March 8th, 2008 No comments

I feel so silly!  As a white male 25-50 I was supposed to vote for Hillary!  At least at the time of the Mass. primary.  What was I thinking?

This occurred to me the other day while listening to a discussion of Jr. Super Mini Not-Quite Tuesday.  Apparently, if Obama becomes the nominee there are some serious, serious obstacles to overcome.  First off, he can’t win the rural vote.  This means, I’m sure you’ll agree, that McCain will pick up all the rural votes leaving the Democrats only the cities and despite the higher concentration of voters, it’s not clear that it will be enough to win the general election.  The other problem is Latinos (or Hispanics or whatever they’re called now).  Barack has a hard time winning them.  Because of this, just like with the rural votes, Latinos will all vote for McCain and, as I’ve said, is a problem.

Honestly, I’m not stupid enough to believe that, but the question is why are the pundits talking as if this is true or even matters?  Democrats will, when the time comes, mostly vote Democratic.  Yet, most analysis I listen to paints the primary race as the general election.

Guys, I know that your new computer screens and analysis software allows you to slice, dice and fricassee data within an inch of its life but that’s not a reason to do it.  Men/Women, Black/White/Latino/Asian, Gay/Straight/Lesbian/Bi-sexual/Transgendered, Lower class/Middle Lower Class/Upper Lower Middle Class…yes, the granularity is really, really neat.  You can tell who won the Gay Latino Males Between 22-23.5 Years Old Making $40,000 to $47.523.99 a Year vote.  Big fucking deal.  How’s McCain doing among Capricorns?  Does Obama win those who put pine nuts on their salads?  Do I care?

It’s not just the cool toys that muddy the waters while purporting to clear them up.  It’s a function of the 24hr news cycle and wall-to-wall coverage of primary night fights.  They need something to talk about in three to five hours they’re on the air.  God forbid they focus on actual policy issues or, even worse, talk about the rest of the world.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m glued to the set on returns nights.  Not all the analysis rises to the level of absurdity.  But the fascination with putting Americans into little boxes to be fought over by the campaigns (who sadly take this shit seriously) just points up that electing a President has, in  many ways, stopped being about getting the best person in the Oval Office and more about selling Ovaltine.