Note: Spoilers for a movie that will make another ten million dollars as you read this sentence. Take your head out of the sand.
Man of Steel has caused an impressive number of virtual shouting matches. This is natural. The film has been advertised on every billboard in the northern hemisphere. It adapts comics with a history three times longer than my lifespan and a fan base large enough to populate a country. If people didn’t argue about it, it would prove that the creeping apathy that infects our culture had finally won. Especially since the movie is a mixed bag. Man of Steel is a tug-of-war between elements that work fantastically and elements that fall on their face. One element dominates the conversation.
Superman kills Zod dead. To save four innocents, he twists the villain’s neck like he’s playing Bop-It. For veteran better-than-me writer Mark Waid and a legion of rabid fans, this is a deadly cinematic sin. For a counter-legion of equally rabid fans, the scene is an essential smoment and straightforward improvement on the “I don’t have to save you” nonsense from Batman Begins. Since I operate under the delusion that my opinion matters, I’m going to weigh in on this. Continue reading →
I respect self-aware idiots. There’s honor in looking at the mirror and recognizing that a Neanderthal is staring back. The honorable idiot politely removes himself from intelligent discourse to enjoy a calm life of Wendy Williams reruns and Twitter updates about nothing. They don’t hurt anyone. They quarantine their cognitive diseases in their living rooms. The majority of them don’t even bother to vote. If every idiot had the grace to be self-aware, the world would be a brighter place.
The idiot in denial is another story. Instead of leaving cultural discourse to the big children, the idiot in denial finds the tallest unoccupied soapbox and shouts at other idiots in a never-ending chorus of trendy buzzwords and animated gifs. The soapbox landfill is called Tumblr. It is the most efficient bullshit distribution system in the history of mankind. As Tumblr metastasizes, I feel nostalgia for the straightforward lies that William Randolph Hearst brought to the table. At least he didn’t believe them. Continue reading →
In the scramble for recognition that has characterized the Internet age, we’ve left a few things like radio, CDs, and shame by the wayside. None of it is the exact fault of this monster we’ve created but barely understand. It has, however, done a disturbingly good job of creating outlets for the worst of us by giving them voices and an audience. It was Penny Arcade that coined the term “GIFT,” or “Greater Internet Fuckwad Theory,” but it’s so much more marvelously complicated than their original definition these days. All they said was that if you give someone a voice, an audience, and a degree of anonymity, they will turn into a complete fuckstick. I’m here today to tell you that they were right. They were far more right than we ever could have thought.
On all four corners of the internet are little hubs of terrible, ranging to a blog I found that likens anorexia to a religion (the authoress of this blog also has a photo stream where she finds pictures of female celebrities eating and calls them fat), entire websites dedicated to the adoration of a show for little girls about horses, and an until-recently hidden subculture who call themselves “transabled.” That is, they are physically capable men and women who choose to identify as physically crippled. Only in this day and age could a group of hypochondriacs come together and demand that we believe them and put them on disability just because they say we should. Because they may be physically healthy, but in their hearts, in their souls, they’re missing their left leg from the knee down. Continue reading →
The NSA employee responsible for tracking known dissident Will “Big Willie Style” Smith recently leaked the following e-mail exchange between Smith and director M. Night Shyamalan.
Dear M. Night,
Opening weekend! I haven’t felt this much positive energy since my first album dropped. After Earth is going to be big, man. Titanic big. We’re going to make Avengers look like one of those Ernest movies you walk by in Wal-Mart. I should clear some space on my shelf for another Oscar.
I couldn’t have picked a better director. Or a better friend.
On May 19, comedy died. Two passing vagrants found the emaciated corpse of comedy in a ditch in North Las Vegas. The body had a single self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. There was no note. At the family’s request, comedy will be buried next to journalistic integrity. On an unrelated note, May 19 was day one of Youtube’s “Comedy Week.”
Youtube is one of the greatest modern success stories. Which makes the cringe-inducing storm of bullshit that surrounded Comedy Week even more baffling. The immediate reaction to Comedy Week isn’t laughter. It’s irritation followed by rage. It all began with a simple promotional video.
This video serves as a healthy reminder that Arnold Schwarzenegger could never act. His most famous role is an emotionless robot that speaks in a monotone, and bad things happen when he leaves that territory. At this point, the event still appeared to have some potential. The ad might have been a reheated serving of stale pop-culture, but I was still optimistic. A healthy reminder to never believe in anything at any time for any reason. Continue reading →
In spite of the pressure of a daily news cycle, absolutely nothing worth commenting upon occurred in Princeton University today. Five thousand undergraduates carried out their mundane daily routines with no events of remote interest anywhere on campus. Instead of printing eight pages of unreadable dross, we’ve decided to face the truth. Nothing happened.
Crime remains a non-factor. There were no arsons, stabbings, shootings, sexual assaults, beatings, muggings, curb-stomps, bombings, floggings, flayings, defenestrations, hangings, or disturbances of the peace. None of the racial, religious, or social factions in the university have established any organized crime groups. Shirley Tilghman has not embezzled the university budget and fled to an undisclosed location in Nicaragua. No domestic or foreign terrorist cells have revealed themselves on campus or made any demands towards Nassau Hall. As far as we know, no serial killers have taken their victims amongst the residential colleges. Continue reading →
I don’t really know where my head will be at writingwise for the next however long (a year I’m guessing?), so I’m just going to throw out a few general ideas that may show up:
Nothing that is new is ever good anymore.
Nothing was ever actually good, and you liking it isn’t going to change that.
Everything you like is actually bad. You just enjoyed it with the wrong approach and therefore under false pretenses.
Anything good is never as good as its advertised, and we are all promised lives that literally no one can have, not even those that allegedly do. It is all fabrication and exponentially self-replicating in the realm of the imagination of collective misery. We are all wearing blinders and that carrot on a stick’s made out of cardboard. That whip, on the other hand, is real and hurts quite a bit. Continue reading →
About two weeks ago, I was on the verge of calling it quits and devoting my life to the sole pursuit of ruining everyone else’s. Either that, or killing myself in the most amusing way possible (my vote for that, by the way, would have to be tying one end of a rope to my genitalia, the other end to the handrail on the roof of a very tall building, and jumping off after having branded the words ‘this is your fault; you know who you are’ onto my chest in comic sans).
Now, I thought about it for about a week or so, and it still seemed like it might have been a pretty good idea. I just needed to refine it a little bit. Specifically, I don’t really think it’s necessary to ruin people’s lives. Make no mistake; it’d bring me so much joy to do so. It would probably also get me arrested and/or murdered after awhile. Which isn’t to say that such a consequence would be unacceptable. I’m rather cavalier about such things. Continue reading →
What’s contemporary culture’s most vapid catchphrase? It’s a competitive category with entries from every medium. Television’s a classic source. Almost every sitcom throws its hat into the ring by giving its most annoying character something to mumble before cutting to a commercial for toxic pills. Twenty-four hour news networks break complex issues down into the most inane sound bites possible. On the other hand, the music industry may receive the lifetime achievement reward. Generating a new slogan for bored teenagers on a monthly basis is the only way to sell more than five albums. Mercifully, “you only live once” fell out of fashion when it became a cypher for thinly-veiled suicide attempts. Hip hop can’t take all the credit for that one. The rise and fall of that catchphrase was driven by the reigning champion in producing words that mean less than nothing: the internet. But I’ve drifted away from the original question.
“Stop hating” is the most vapid catchphrase under the sun.
If there’s one expression that I would like to personally slap out of every mouth in this country, it’s every variation of “don’t hate.” Every post-4chan “haters gonna hate” comment makes me wish I could reach through the screen and bitch-smack the thirteen year old mental vegetable on the other end. Histrionic cries of oppression from bloggers with all the self-awareness of balsa wood drove me away from Tumblr within a half an hour. Saying “fuck the haters” in a song is a quick way to convince me that you have the technical skill and lyrical depth of Soulja Boy on morphine. Continue reading →
You’re going to Princeton. You’ll spend a few weeks pretending to juggle your nonexistent options, but everything has already been set in motion. Thanks to our media stranglehold, your parents are already in love with the name. Failing that, they’re in love with the aid package. We suggest you get used to the idea. Four years can be longer than you think.
You might feel tempted to spend the next few months gloating. Surrender to that impulse. Gloat. Gloat like you’ve won six gold medals. Gloat like you’ve beaten Lance Armstrong’s best time without sticking a needle in your ass. Gloat like the flood is coming and you have the last business class seat on the Ark. High School isn’t a game, but you’ve found a way to win it. Once you get here, your ego will be reset to a healthy level. Finals won’t break your spirit. They’ll just cut it down to size. Continue reading →