…looks like this: nearly seven thousand words dedicated to the principle that MENS IS MENS AND WOMENS IS WOMENS AND NE’ER THE TWAIN SHALL MEET.
Oh wait, did I say seven thousand words? Because I actually meant ten thousand – no, wait, thirteen – oh my god we’re at eighteen now and apparently it turns out that the civil rights movement in the United States was a “Republican movement” and that the NRA helped arm blacks and the Nazis were in fact leftists and so forth.
Really, it’s a stream of utter drivel from a whiny fedora-wearing jackass who hasn’t gotten over the fact that he was publicly and rightly mocked for his homophobic bullshittery and who wears his persecution complex like a badge of honour – a longwinded, bloated, eighteen-thousand-words-and-counting badge of honour, remarkable only in its immensity.
Still, if nothing else, this serves as a valuable object lesson: when you read this (well, if you can get through the entirety of it; it’s a joyless slog, all self-congratulation and abuse of no doubt multiple thesauri), you can take solace in the fact that this is a man who is, in fact, a professional writer, and who is living proof that a writing career has much more to do with work ethic than it does innate talent.
FLAPJACKS: Hey, do you remember that song “Friday” by Rebecca Black? The really bad one? It was famous.
ME: Yes, I remember that song. I have tried to put it well out of mind, but sadly I have failed.
FLAPJACKS: Well, guess what?
ME: She has a new song?
FLAPJACKS: But the sleazy company that put out her song has made one that is arguably even worse!
ME: Oh lord.
FLAPJACKS: We begin with a Chinese man talking Chinese over phat synth beats, as one does.
ME: Also I note that this owner of the ostensible Chinese restaurant is cooking noodles on a Mongolian grill. So Alison Gold is apparently in favour of fusion cuisine.
FLAPJACKS: That would certainly explain why the noodles are glittering and emitting rainbows.
ME: I think that’s just how Korean food works. ALL THE ASIAN FOODS IN ONE RESTAURANT!
FLAPJACKS: There is something inherently creepy about a 14-year-old girl singing about heading home after a night of clubbing. She’s fourteen. Is she supposed to be a baby-raver? Where is her glitter pacifier?
ME: You’re complaining both that her song lyric is creepy and then asking where her pacifier is, you realize.
FLAPJACKS: Only ironically.
ME: I bet Miley Cyrus says she is being ironical all the time.
FLAPJACKS: Oh man she is kicking over a trashcan because she’s SO MAD about being hungry. Alison is punk, y’all.
ME: Her lip-syncing is awful in this video. She goes from not actually being able to lip-sync along with the lines she supposedly sings to lip-syncing along with the HEY-shouters in the background of the chorus.
FLAPJACKS: I’m more impressed with how the girl taking her order is totally stoked to be working in food service. Look at her. She is so excited that this white girl has come in and is pointing excitedly at what she wants to order, presumably because said white girl thinks there is a language barrier and cannot simply say what she wants in case the strange foreigner doesn’t understand proper English, even when sung.
ME: Why would the order-taking girl be excited about that?
FLAPJACKS: I don’t know, but I don’t judge people for enjoying their work.
ME: She definitely operates that cash register like a touch-typist. That’s impressive.
FLAPJACKS: I see we’re at the “point at the different types of Chinese food” part of the video, where she names all the Chinese foods she can think of.
ME: So… broccoli, chicken wings, egg rolls, wonton soup and fortune cookies.
FLAPJACKS: I know I was making fun of her for being white before, but man, that is so white. All that’s missing are the sweet-and-sour chicken balls.
ME: …why is she befriending a man in a panda suit oh god this suddenly became terrifying
FLAPJACKS: Look, I’m sure there is a perfectly rational explanation for why they are… uh… skipping through the park together and frolicking… okay, this is definitely weird…
ME: OH GOD THEY ARE HAVING A TICKLE-FIGHT ON THE GRASS THIS IS SOME BIZARRE LOLITA SHIT RIGHT HERE
FLAPJACKS: Don’t worry, it turns out that Panda Suit Guy is actually just ARK Music Factory’s house rapper.
ME: House rapper?
FLAPJACKS: You know how restaurants have a house wine, something not fancy but which will go down acceptably enough with your meal and isn’t too expensive? ARK Music Factory has a house rapper for the parents of the kids who pay for these awful videos. The theory is roughly equivalent.
ME: OH MY GOD IS HE RAPPING IN A FAKE CHINESE ACCENT
FLAPJACKS: …yes, yes he is.
ME: WHY DID YOU MAKE ME WATCH THIS OH GOD MY SENSES SO MANY PAINS
FLAPJACKS: Oh look, they’re playing Monopoly and he landed on Oriental Avenue.
FLAPJACKS: Also, what is the deal with all these subtitles? Why are they all in different languages? Are they hoping that this will give the song “international appeal”?
ME: “Look, Alison Gold’s Parents, we know you’re spending your life savings on this video and you want to hit as many markets as possible. We’re going to do that by translating each line of the song into a different language. Then all those foreigners will see the translations of their one line of the song and teach themselves English so they can enjoy the whole song. We have charts demonstrating this.”
FLAPJACKS: “Can we see the – ”
ME: “DO NOT ASK TO SEE THE CHARTS. TRUST THE FACTORY. TRUST THE SECRET CHARTS.”
FLAPJACKS: Aaaaaaand now they’re all dressed up as geishas because all Asians are the same!
ME: I note that Alison Gold’s signature dance move is the “half-hearted shrug.”
FLAPJACKS: And the video ends with the panda flying away on a rainbow, after tossing Alison a fortune cookie with a fortune that says the panda will fly away on a rainbow.
ME: “In bed.”
FLAPJACKS: FORTUNE COOKIES ARE NEVER WRONG!
ME: But fortune cookies don’t work that way! They’re not supposed to tell you what already happened, they’re supposed to tell you the future.
FLAPJACKS: Or compliment you in a sort of kiss-ass way.
ME: “In bed.”
FLAPJACKS: But I was right, wasn’t I? I mean, this was a must watch video about food.
ME: Eh. It’s no Pizza Kids.
So, yeah, this self-congratulatory anti-youth screed pretty much makes me want to commit murders.
First off: it isn’t kids who choose to avoid roughhousing or “accidents” or who demand to be put on Little League teams even if they’re shitty at playing baseball or who don’t let kids just wander around. That would be parents who make those choices. If you let kids do dangerous or stupid crap or let them perform activities they might suck at but which are fun they will always do it because they are kids. Frankly, the celebration of the videomaker’s own childhood here is essentially a condemnation of the same generation’s parenting!
Second: parents getting their kids out of trouble at school or with the law isn’t a new thing invented by this generation. For as long as there have been parents, there have been parents who will move heaven and earth in order to make sure their kids avoid any serious repercussions from the stupid shit kids do. Those parents are known as “practically all parents ever.” It’s just that nowadays you see more parents doing it, because more parents have realized that The Authorities are not necessarily on their side. (Thirty years of a drug war might just have something to do with that.) And of course there’s the unspoken issue of privilege rearing its ugly head here.
Oh, and of course there’s a little “what kids play now with is stupid and shitty” because the author grew up without video games and the internet and all those other things that are totally awesome. Bikes are awesome too. One is not exclusive of the other! Most kids today play video games AND ride bikes!
So I contacted DC about the mistaken “created by” credit on Vibe. Helpfully, they’re removing the “created by” credit entirely.
— Gerry Conway (@gerryconway) February 22, 2013
(This is apparently not the only such instance; Mark Waid noted in response to Conway that he did not get a creator credit for Impulse on Young Justice.)
It’s really simple: this is completely indefensible. Completely. It’s all the more shameful when you consider that DC, following their granting of a pension to Siegel and Shuster, was the comics company that trumpeted their creators front-and-center and pioneered the practice of putting creators’ names on the cover. I strongly suspect Man of Steel (which I really want to see) will be the last DC-themed anything I purchase for quite some time, and I already know I’m going to have to counterbalance it with an equal donation to the CBLDF or something just to keep from feeling guilty.
So a few years ago I pointed out that Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe was a terrible and stupid idea, and that if you are going to have a DC fighting game, then it should be a game where the characters are all super-strong and punch each other through buildings and where everything explodes when you throw it at people, and it appears that DC paid attention and then, because we are talking about DC Comics here, did it, but went and fucked the bag.
Because come on. A game where you have Harley Quinn and the Joker fighting Superman is a stupid game. A game where Batman, who is not even in Bat-Hyper-Power-Armor, can punch Doomsday through a building is a stupid game. A game where DC heroes are trying to murder the other guys (seriously, look at Superman and his heat vision and tell me he is not in killing-psycho-mode) is a stupid game. Basically, DC should have run the hell away from the Mortal Kombat people, but instead decided that what they really needed to do was embrace the terrible Mortal Kombat people and not incidentally run with all of the worst design ideas invented in Arkham City (“hey, let’s take Arkham Asylum and, you know, basically make it worse in every possible way”), except even more than that. As I have said before: as a general rule, DC Comics and good video games go together like Santa Claus and conquering the Martians.
(Man, imagine how much more pissed I might be if I still bothered to read DC comic books. Which I don’t. I don’t even bother pirating them, because DC comics are so unreadable these days that they are not worth “free.”)
Proof that 2013 has quite a bit of fucking up in order to match 2012:
I dunno. It’s no Ponponpon, but it’s still pretty weird. PSY doesn’t even begin to measure up to the glorious tiny mountain of WTF that is Kyary Pamyu Pamyu.
Charlotte Allen: This massacre might not have happened if some manly men were working at the school rather than weak, helpless women.
Jim Daly: The massacre was horrible, but it’s Christmas!
Anthony Daniels: The problem is that people think they deserve to be happy. Also, psychology is bullshit.
Charles A. Donovan: It was all downhill from A Clockwork Orange for our culture.
David French: Trying to create policy solutions to avoid tragedies like this is pointless, because we are meant to suffer like Job.
Roger Kimball: Evil. Man, I don’t know.
Thomas Lickona: There are so many possible causes for this tragedy – like freely available guns, or the interference of demons – that we cannot truly ever know why it happened.
Emily Stimpson: Free will is part of God’s plan and Jesus loves us.
Heather MacDonald: School shootings are so rare that policy proposals may be overreactions. Therefore, we should study the problem more because we do not have enough data yet.
Father Gerald Murray: The massacre was horrible, but it’s Christmas!
Michael Pakaluk: We should all give thanks that we haven’t gone on a mass killing spree.
(commentary requested by several people.)
So, as we all know, Scott Kurtz believes that thinking that Jack Kirby was screwed by Marvel and doing something about it is “slacktivism” and moral self-aggrandizement. (As Leonard Pierce pointed out, suggesting that people donate to charity the price of an Avengers movie ticket was precisely the opposite of slacktivism, but whatever.)
However, we now learn that Scott Kurtz is also terribly upset by the fact that people other than Charles Schulz are continuing to create Peanuts content. One would note that Charles Schulz’ estate – unlike that of Jack Kirby – actually profits from these new works, which puts them on far more solid moral ground than Marvel Comics currently possesses. But one of these things bothers Scott Kurtz and the other does not.
This is so profoundly inconsistent I don’t know where to begin. Honestly, it is a giant wall of “what the fuck?” I mean, look at this quote right here:
Dear America, it’s okay for things to die. It’s poetic and gives the work more meaning that there ISN’T more of it.
Unless, of course, it’s The Avengers, which were nurtured by generations of caretakers like they were fine wine.
Of course, mockery is besides the point, because we all know Kurtz’ objections aren’t based on any moral or ethical grounds, but instead purely on his whims. He’s a purist when it comes to Peanuts1 because he loves the classic strips. He’s a pragmatist2 when it comes to Marvel properties, because he likes reading current comics. The fact that in one case the family of the creator of the work benefits and in the other the family of the creator of the work gets screwed is entirely besides the point, because Kurtz isn’t concerned about what is fair or what is just to them.3 He’s concerned – like so many nerds are – about how these things affect him.
Why anybody would expect more is really beyond me, but there you go.
“But what – I don’t even – no, how can this be?”
said the viewer, confused, as he watched quietly.
“This ad is pathetic! It’s smug and unfunny,
a terrible waste of some PAC’s money -
the metre is off, the rhymes often are forced,
and from any real argument it seems quite divorced.
They managed to screw up a Sam Jackson rant!
That’s what was needed! Not some tiresome chant
that spares us the details and instead is hysteric
in a way that is vague and even generic.
Just wait for the “fact-checkers” to wade into this mire
Because it’s non-specific, they’ll say “pants on fire”
And the ad will have made of its goal so much mince
Because this commercial was supposed to convince.
Which it won’t, since it’s boring, and it’s self-impressed
with its moral high ground as it’s beating its chest.”
Sighed the viewer at all of the censored “fucks,” -
“at least nothing changes just because this sucks.”
Let’s face it, we all know that ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ is likely to be the end of the Christopher Nolan Batman continuity. He did two good movies and one truly excellent one (I’ll leave it to you to decide which one you think was the excellent one, but hint: It had the Joker in it) and is now moving on to what sounds like a truly fascinating Howard Hughes bio-pic. The reboot will probably hit theaters in about 2016, just in time to tie in with the Justice League movie…or it would, if that didn’t get delayed to 2025 while Warner Brothers tries to hammer out a few details in the script to make it not so much like the mega-hit “Squadron Supreme” movie Marvel did a few years earlier. (Oh, I’m sorry. Is my faith in DC’s movie division showing?)
But if we did get a fourth movie, where would it go from the end of the third? A spoiler tag, for those of you uninterested in speculating just yet…
It’s bad enough that Daniel Tosh started talking about how funny rape jokes are. I’ll admit, that’s about the level of “humor” you’d expect from a man whose TV series consists of him showing YouTube videos and saying, “Hey, these people are dumbasses,” but it’s still a level of humor that you normally expect from that one guy in the fraternity who doesn’t realize that awkward silence doesn’t actually mean they’re secretly agreeing with you and don’t want to admit it. It is far, far worse when someone in the audience finally got fed up with how much of a worthless shit of a human being he was and called him on it, he responded by suggesting it would be funny if that person was gang-raped by the rest of the audience. (I sincerely hope that all of you are responding with, “Wait, he did what now?”) These things are terrible, but I will admit that my opinion of Daniel Tosh was already low enough that finding out he was inciting people to sexual assualt did not actually do much to make me think less of him.
I will admit, it made me think quite a bit less of talented comedians like Louis C.K. and Patton Oswalt to find out that they were defending this as an exercise of free speech. Because while the initial monologue is free speech and must be defended as such, his response to the heckler would have to be considered as incitement to violence, which is not constitutionally protected. (You could, I suppose, argue that while his statement was clearly “directed to inciting or producing imminent lawless action”, it was not “likely to incite or produce such action”. But given that the woman felt threatened enough to immediately leave the building, I would say that Tosh has no more grounds to his defense than I would if I was in the audience and started shouting about how funny it would be if we all started throwing our glasses at the stage. A room full of mildly intoxicated people is enough of a twitchy thing that I’d say any comments inciting them to violence are a terrible mistake.)
But here is the lesson for today: FOR FUCK’S SAKE, people, if you do hear about this, and you absolutely must feel compelled to defend Tosh’s actions as anything other than, “Have you seen this guy? He’s so coked up he doesn’t know what he’s doing half the time! If he has pants on, it’s a good day for him! You can’t take anything that comes out of his mouth as being meaningful; it’s like getting mad at the chimp for throwing shit at you! He’s never going to learn to behave like a civilized human being, and at least putting him on stage at a comedy club keeps him off the streets…”
…then please, do not fucking argue, “Well, she was a heckler, and heckling is such a social faux pas that people who do it deserve to be humiliated by the comedian that they just insulted. After all, Don Rickles and George Carlin and Richard Pryor did that kind of thing all the time!” Because saying this is a very good sign that you are not a decent human being, and if you find that statement leaping to mind as your defense, it is time to sit down for some serious introspection. (Michael Richards quit stand-up and went to Angkor Wat. I’m not suggesting that you go to Cambodian temples to get your head straight, but there are probably some very nice Buddhists in your own home country who can help.)
Because Daniel Tosh did not humiliate that woman. She did not leave that club as fast as she could because she felt humiliated. She left because she felt threatened. Put as kind a face on it as you want, suggest that the threat was not meant seriously if you feel like it, but Daniel Tosh threatened her for talking back to him. There is no fucking act of speech that should ever get, “I want the people in this room to gang-rape you” as a response. And yeah, this is one of those things that I’m going to act all self-righteous about, because yes, I am better than someone who thinks it’s okay to threaten a woman with sexual assault when she says a comedian isn’t funny. It’s not that high of a bar. And yes, even though people say this about just about everything on the Internet up to and including preferring Nightwing to Batman…disagreeing with that really does make you a worse human being. Sorry if you’re just now finding that out, but better you hear it from me than someone else.
Prospective titles for this book include
Don’t Know Much About (Economic) History, The One Percent Solution,, and Hey, If You Turn That Chart Upside Down It Looks Great!