30.4.08

Snoop Needs A Powder Actuated Nail Gun

This is my favorite scene in television history. Snoop's accent just about rewired my brain first time I watched this.

21.4.08

Grand Theft Auto IV

It's all about Liberty City come April 29th, 2008. Hey, sometimes you gotta break some omelets to make some eggs. Splash dat'!

All The Sad Young Literary Men

I don't think I can improve upon Judith Shulevitz's Slate.com review of Keith Gessen's "All The Sad Young Literary Men". The only thing I would add that she didn't mention is that the mushy, love-stuff sits around the book too long past the half-way point and gets tiring. Otherwise I think she's on point. An excerpt:

"Don't let the smug undertone alienate you overmuch, though. Gessen earns it, more or less. He is, in fact, a very good satirist. He skewers with glee, like a latter-day Mary McCarthy. He knows things about today's young male literary journalists that the rest of us suspect but lack the means to confirm. He knows how overconfident they are and how easily overcome with self-disgust. He knows that they're starving to be told that they matter and must tamp down the certainty that they don't. He knows that they're ferociously career-minded, and terrified of being labeled as such. That Harvardian conviction that one's every utterance partakes of genius? He grasps that it is more likely to be a trait of men, or at least he does not attribute it to the book's women."

16.4.08

Rappers Makin' Money... Literally

Hip-hop trailblazer and Harlem's emissary to the world, Cam'ron, has, in the words of Kanye West, gotten "the shit to pop" once again. In a bold move by Secretary of the Treasury and gangsta rap enthusiast, Henry Paulson, a new line of rapper-designed United States currency is about to flood the streets. Already, finskies bearing Cam'ron's signature "purple haze" hue are in the hands of Park Slope 'tweens looking to trade the duckets for dime bags.

In a ceremony at the US Mint in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Cam'ron rolled up a limited edition $500 bill emblazoned with the rapper's visage and all-purple ornamentation and sniffed a line of that powder-powder with Secretary Paulson to commemorate the rare collaboration. Not since the Iran-Contra arrangement that used South Central dope boys to flood Los Angeles with crack cocaine, which in turn provided clandestine US military groups funding to purchase weapons for the Contras, has the government and the rap community put forth a united front.

Said Cam'ron of the moment; "Poochi, baba, butta got the hardest shells. We the Midwest gun cartel." Secretary Paulson, wiping the China China from under his nose, elaborated saying, "Our clams were getting clammy, Gods, so I brought in some outside consultation because at the US Treasury we've learned that pink polos didn't hurt the Roc, so maybe this input will prove to the world that a US dollar is useful for more than just wiping your ass widd'it." Cam'ron then threw on a pink faux-fur coat that ineffectively concealed two 5-gallon trash bags filled with newly minted bills, and left the Mint with a, "You ain't gotta stare, go cop a pair."

The innovative move from the stodgy and historically least-hip branch of the federal government, the treasury, includes more than just Harlem's first son. Ghostface Killah, Wu-Tang Clan luminary and enthusiastic vegetarian, will also contribute a line of custom bills to be named "Killah's Kash." An ebullient Ghostface said, "we gon' do Jacksons like we did Clarks, son. Woooot! Gon' be like, you want that blue and cream? Splash that, a little whateva, whateva, whateva. You set, shit."

Also involved in the project are Raekwon the Chef - whose all-white design is still getting the kinks worked out - Snoop Dogg, in charge of revamping the hundred dollar bill with a custom "Scratch and Sniff the Dogg" campaign, and king of crunk, Lil' Jon, whose bill does not have a prototype yet but All Al is told it will make "the sweat drip from your balls."

15.4.08

Obama Gaffs Again, Says Racism, Anti-Immigrant Sentiment Due to Lack of Education

Speaking at the Movementarian Church on Bedford Avenue in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, Barack Obama dealt another crushing blow to his own campaign today. Asked by a Sarah Lawrence grad in a Bright Eyes t-shirt whether, "white, middle-American anti-immigration sentiment was something that could be solved or a permanent condition," Obama's reply was sure to stir up more criticism of his now wavering campaign.

"I think what you see today in a lot of these small, middle-America towns," said Obama, "are people, you know, who haven't seen much beyond their sordid burgs, who haven't experienced the diversity and knowledge of a college campus, and so they become bitter and blame a lot on foreigners, on immigrants, because they're an easy scapegoat, and these people believe immigrants don't share their ideals and values."

The comment immediately stirred up a backlash in Frank Gehry designed newsrooms and the well-appointed desks of Upper West Side bloggers. Said blogger Melinda Mellefluous, a Harvard Law grad working at a prestigious white-shoe New York law firm, "if there's one thing I know, it's that middle-America, small town Ohio and Pennsylvania, won't stand for this kind of accusation. My $250,000 law degree has equipped me to understand the sentiments of lower-class white America, and Barack Obama has betrayed himself here as clearly an elitist."

On MSNBC, reporters in $5000 suits also debated whether this discovery of Obama's elitism had tarnished him permanently. "I think that ignorant, unhealthy, poor, white Americans and I," said bloviator of the decade, Chris Matthews, "are very similar people and I identify with them and their experiences fully. I think it's safe to say I speak for them. They've got some hispanic chick lined up to take over Hardball next year, after all. I don't know why anyone would listen to this elitist bullplop out of Obama anymore," said Matthews while he licked his silver pate knife clean of the last few specks of Iranian caviar.

William Kristol, recently hired by the New York Times' Opinion pages because some people are familiar with his name, said while he was stepping into his Maserati on the way to the Gridiron Club annual dinner, "lower-class white America and me, like this," said Kristol as he crossed his fingers on both hands, "I'll be cooking up some squirrel with Mike Huckabee's old hunting buddies down at the VFW in Scranton tonight and you can bet we'll be slugging the Rolling Rock and taking Obama and his elitism to task, that shit makes my head spin."

Meanwhile, in Bendersville, Pennsylvania, a group of native white people gathered around rarely seen television reporters as they exited their Mercedes SUV's. The group jumped up and down and appeared to try to lick the cameras, perhaps believing them to be a food source. One began to fornicate with the exhaust pipe of the Mercedes until he found the metal tube quite hot. When the apparent tribal leader emerged, wearing a scapular of Ring-Dings around his neck and a headdress of newspaper clippings with a TV-dinner tray for a brim, he approached black conservative token TV personality, Amy Holmes, and bit the top off the microphone she produced. Undeterred, Holmes asked if, "Barack Obama no longer seemed to understand the interests of main street America." The chief responded by smearing feces on the Mercedes.

10.4.08

Stay Juicy, College

I don't know if you know, but between you, me, and the internet; Edith Windcap is the easiest ass at Brown University. That's according to the savvy participants on the internet's latest college-aimed circle jerk, aka http://www.juicycampus.com/. We graduated too soon, friends.

If you haven't heard of it, Juicy Campus is, as the International Herald Tribune put it, a website "that cultivates and distributes gossip across a network of 59 college campuses." Those colleges include such venereal institutions as Harvard University, Princeton, Brown, Columbia, and Bob Jones. Juicy Campus is a one stop shop for information that, in our old pre-Iphone college days, would have been distributed through "text messaging." Talk about precious.

Now, whether you want to find out (through anonymous sources, of course) who at Colgate; has "the best tits," or, "gives best head," or, for those Ivy students, "what did the Brown grad say to the Cornell grad?" (answer: "hey bro, you want fries with that?") Juicy Campus is your one stop shop. A veritable virtual Mike Milken of insider college sex trading.

Take this from the line of replies trailing from the 2400-times viewed Brown University "easiest ass on campus" post: "Edith is a fucking high class girl, and none of you shits would ever hope to get with the likes of her cause she is just so out of your league. you can tell yourselves that shes easy, if thatll make you feel better about being the sad and pathetic people that you are, but you all know that you couldnt pay to get with her cause shed never give you the time of day."

Well, what's your guess? Ugly guy with a crush on the girl? Or the girl defending herself through the beauty of anonymous posting? That's half the fun! Who knows who said that thing about your girlfriend and the hockey team's innovative use of the penalty box, a puck, and the goalie's mitt? Bet it wasn't you or your girlfriend.

Juicy Campus has taken a lot of heat lately. There was the guy who some dudes identified in a gay porno and outted him to the rest of the school with a link to the video on Juicy Campus. Oh, and the guy who threatened, on Juicy Campus, to bring in an AR-15 and kill a bunch of fellow students for some reason or other.

But I'm standing up for Juicy Campus. Where else can I go for an informed discussion on whether or not Andrew McGwire, of University of Miami, is in fact "cursed by mummies":

"yeah - I saw Andrew at the Rat, and these girls were totally macking on him, but they kept getting dragged into the lake by the mummies."

Juicy.

9.4.08

It's Complicated With...

It is very fashionable, these days, to be anti-Facebook. Fair enough. I’m sure the FBI has struck some data sharing deal with Zuckerberg Inc. to compile a database of all the freshmen at Oberlin who have posted Facebook photos of themselves smoking joints. So screw Facebook, I’m on board. But by complete accident I think Facebook stumbled on something insightful that, as of now, is misused.

I noticed a friend of mine, as I perused her Facebook page, selected Facebook’s “It’s complicated with…” option to describe her present romantic entaglement. I started thinking, doesn’t that describe every romantic relationship? Isn’t entering a relationship an acknowledgment that things with your partner are now so confused – he’s still sleeping with an aboriginal pygmy on the side, while you still live in your ex-boyfriend’s shoe-closet and things get awkward when the current amour stays over and the ex- needs his Air Jordans – that your choices are reduced to murder or an exclusive arrangement? Like Chris Rock said, “If you haven’t bought a bottle of rat poison and a carpet to roll their body up in and the only thing that stopped you was an episode of CSI – ‘Man, they thorough!’ – then you ain’t been in love.”

I mean, I’m in a relationship with my Playstation 3; I feed it video games, and it feeds me reduced brain function and low-wavelength radiation. But with a girlfriend? Unless you’re really in love – and you’re not, you’re 23, and you’ve never contemplated murder – what do you have to say to a friend who asks about your girlfriend or boyfriend besides a head shake and, “that shit’s complicated.”

Relationships are symbiotic. The shit we do? It’s just complicated.

4.4.08

Metropocalm

It’s 8:36am on Monday morning in New York City. You’re a block away from the truncated, four-car, G-train. It lopes off and leaves you breathless on the platform sweating in your Bruno Magli’s and late for work. You pull out your cellphone to call the office and it slips from your clammy palm onto the tracks where a rat the size of a skateboard clamps on it with diseased jaws and hustles into the nearest hole in the wall. A hipster steps on your foot. A frat-boy on a three-day bender pukes on your shoes. A train comes, twenty minutes later, and jumping in front doesn’t sound like such a bad idea.

But wait!

You’ve forgotten. Yesterday you filled your prescription for the Metropocalm City-Living P.I.L.L. Cocktail! Three red pills, a blue horse-pill, and a red, black, and yellow striped capsule shaped like a question mark later and you’re on the next G-train smiling, drooling blithely in a pool of your own feces. You – One; New York – Zero!

The Metropocalm City-Living P.I.L.L. Cocktail is available only in NYC. So fuck off, Portland, Oregon!

Are you an investment banker? Paralegal? A paralegal representing investment bankers? Or just a person living in New York City with a soul and empathy? If so, the Metropocalm City-Living P.I.L.L. Cocktail is for you.

The Metropocalm City-Living P.I.L.L. Cocktail consists of three unique Proactive Imminent Lash-out Limiters: Transicalm, Manhattatrol, and Quinboroughdine. Remember, they’re not pills, they’re P.I.L.L.’s!

Transicalm severs the neural pathways that send signals from the Medulla Oblongata to the rest of the body. Don’t think of it as bringing you perilously close to death by deactivating the thingy that controls your heart rate! Think of it as giving the angry man that shouts at you in your head a nap.

Manhattatrol takes over control of your heart rate from your brain, pumping a steady stream of P.I.L.L.’s to even those “hard to reach” vital organs like the feet.

Quinboroughdine induces a waking-coma which allows for continued movement and control of various muscles with the added benefit of having no memory of anything that happens for approximately 36 hours after taking the P.I.L.L.’s. How did I wind up in this motel bathroom in Akron, and where are my kidneys? I’m sure glad I don’t remember!

Metropocalm City-Living P.I.L.L. Cocktail: ‘Tis Nobler To Suffer The Slings And Arrows With Brain Damage-amage!

3.4.08

The All-Singing All-Dancing Crap of the World

Remember when every guy in our generation's favorite movie was Fight Club? This was back in '99 through about '03, my freshman year of college. Improvisational fight clubs popped up around the country. Some chumps at Princeton University even tried to start up a beat-down club 'til the cops shut them down. During my freshman orientation at college, 70% of the favorite movie responses were Fight Club.

For a minute there, it seemed like we had some hope. A new generation of anarchists seemed willing to set their parents' duvet covers on fire, blow up their laptops, and feed the closest guy in a suit a knuckle-sandwich. Well, maybe no one was going to go that far (except Luke Helder) but a reaction against McMansions, upper-management, and stock indexes seemed possible. Now we all wear the suits, drink the Starbucks, and fuck each other silly under the hand-me-down duvet covers. What happened?

9/11 didn't help. All the sudden all that shit that Tyler Durden railed against seemed a little too delicate, the duvet covers a little too warm to give up; "In the world I see - you are stalking elk through the damp canyon forests around the ruins of Rockefeller Center. You'll wear leather clothes that will last you the rest of your life. You'll climb the wrist-thick kudzu vines that wrap the Sears Tower. And when you look down, you'll see tiny figures pounding corn, laying strips of venison on the empty car pool lane of some abandoned superhighway."

And we blinked.

But 9/11 is taking the easy way out. It's a part, though - the visceral manifestation of those exploding credit card company buildings in the final scene, but without the safety of end-credits and The Pixies track on top.

We never really had it in us. The schizophrenia that brought Tyler Durden into the world from the contradictions in narrator Ed Norton's brain is a metaphor for how we related to the movie's anti-hero. We admired Durden, he looked "like you want to look, I fuck like you want to fuck, I am smart, capable, and most importantly: I am free in every way that you are not."

Our relationship was vicarious. But to watch Durden beat the shit out of a priest, make bombs in a bathtub, and wear little more than a perpetual film of sweat, dirt, and blood was cathartic. The farther you were from being "of" Fight Club (Princeton douchebags, I'm looking at you) the more you had to embrace it, keep it close to your chest because you knew it spoke to something in you, but you didn't know what, and you didn't know how to talk back.
Mark Edmundson said of his University of Virginia students in 1997, "they are aware of the fact that a drop that looks more and more like one wall of the Grand Canyon separates the top economic tenth from the rest of the population. There's a sentiment currently abroad that if you step aside for a moment, to write, to travel, to fall too hard in love, you might lose position permanently. We may be on a conveyor belt, but it's worse down there on the filth-strewn floor. So don't sound off, don't blow your chance."
Those Princeton kids, and the rest who started the little fight clubs, missed the point. Throwing meek-muscled punches while pursuing your IA degree at Princeton isn't quite the idea. "Sticking feathers up your butt doesn't make you a chicken," as Durden said. Fight Club was about saying "no" to the inexorable American "yes." And you can't say that from the halls of Princeton, Skidmore, Yale, or the law firms we work for now.

Now we're past it. Some of us have bought our own duvet covers and sent our parents' off to Salvation Army. We have apartments on the 38th floor of buildings on 60th and 11th Ave in Manhattan and we look down from our vantage point atop the Grand Canyon to the filth-strewn floor.

We are the all-singing, all-dancing crap of the world and we still haven't figured it out.

The Hardest Record Out Part III - "Give them all the pain you can"

Straight out the motherfuckin' streets of Lagos, Nigeria; Billy Bao is harder, angrier, louder. Check out the man's website and listen to "Fuck Separation" or "My Life is Shit" off Dialectics of Shit. What's more: "BILLY BAO DOES NOT GIVE A FUCK ABOUT COPYRIGHT SO YOU CAN DO WHATEVER THE FUCK YOU WANT WITH HIS STUFF."

You can't fuck with these lyrics:

Now you see that you are part of their fashion
Now you know you can be controlled
by entrepeneurs who get money out of your distraction
hey yo
Get Them Down
Give them all the pain you can

2.4.08

Hipster Muscle

Each hipster clique is pretty much homogenous except for one person: the Hipster Muscle. This guy is fat, drunk, and, more often than not, eastern European or Russian. At my college he was a year or two ahead of me and I knew him only as, what else, Tank. Tank’s functions within his hipster crowd included; drinking a dozen beers, and throwing up on his white t-shirt. His t-shirt would invariably be white and, by 2:00am on Saturday morning, invariably streaked with dark brown puke.

What is the genesis of Hipster Muscle? These kids aren’t quite Tony Soprano or Marlo Stanfield – no one has ever put a hit out on a hipster (the bullets would be a waste, a strong gust would bring most of them down). Maybe it’s some sort of collectivist thing – these waify kids feel bigger than their 20-inch waists when there’s a 280lb Andre the Giant around to lift the average Body Mass Index of the group.

Though I’ve never seen the Hipster Muscle engaged in violence against anything but his own liver, there is nonetheless a colonial aspect to his existence. The clans of hipsters that roam Williamsburg pull their Hipster Muscle along on a leash of Colt 45 tallboys like a caged bear brought by the Spanish Conquistadors to the jungles of the Amazon to inspire loin-cloth soiling in the natives.

I passed some Hipster Muscle on the way to work today. A kid in oversize blue sunglasses, a bright green Members Only jacket, and size-20 jeans skipped past me trailed by a round head atop a vast girth covered in an oversize gray trench coat. The Luca Brasi to the hipster’s Michael Corleone.

I’ve tried to find an equivalent in the Eurotrash scene – as these two groups share many conventions such as tight jeans and gaydar-scrambling – but I think the hipsters are a step ahead on this one. So in the Battle Royale between Eurotrash and hipsters that I’ve envisioned for a few years now, I think I give hipsters and their muscle the edge. Of course, ahead of the hipsters, I give the edge to lung cancer to fell all these fools thanks to their prolific cigarette consumption.

If only all obnoxious cultural types could be so unoriginally self-destructive.

1.4.08

"You may be interrupting" On Away Messages and Busy Notices

Of AIM away messages and their precocious GChat descendant, busy notices, I am an over-user. The drop-down list of saved away messages on my AIM account (now seldom used, supplanted by all things GChat) expands, at full length, to about a half-dozen windows. Hundreds of away messages crafted over a decade of sometimes prolific instant messaging. Their contents range from the douchebaggy literary quotation - "TE OCCIDERE POSSUNT SED TE EDERE NON POSSUNT NEFAS EST," (From "Infinite Jest" Translation: "They can kill you, but the legalities of eating you are quite a bit dicier") to the celebratory - "Atlanta Braves back in first! Do the chop, bitch!"

I fear my use of away messages is historically extreme - my ex-girlfriend cited them as a quirk that inspired a desire to choke me with the one's and zero's which constituted the messages. But I don't think my approach to them is unique, which is to say, it's rare to see an away message or busy notice that has anything to do with what is occupying that person's time at the moment. Those kinds of explanatory messages do exist, but more often away messages seem to be perpetually "on" even while the person is at the computer, carrying on multiple online conversations.

There are a couple reasons ChumbyGal8632 has chosen, today, to post an away message - "The beauty of life, is that you don't have to be modernly beautiful to live it." (Ed. Note: So you're saying you're ugly?) - even though her activity notice shows that she is at her computer, probably chatting with a few people.

The utilitarian reason is plausible deniability: ChumbyGal hates talking to MustangMan69 so she leaves the away message up whenever he's online to ignore his incoming IM's ("yo cheeks, whatchu got cookin 2nite??? wanan stop by my pad w/ the lax bro'z 4 sum -ruit?"). Fair play, but for my taste, just ignore the guy. The away message just leaves him with a sliver of hope that you are, in fact, Batwoman and you happen to have been called away from the computer by the bat signal - so try again later.

More prominent, though, than the utilitarian heritage (my generation- the practical is rarely at the root of anything... except vaporizers) is the television commercial. Away messages are our own pithy commercials. The hook-line-and-sinker, should anyone of consequence be listening. Or, as a character in Dana Spiotta's novel "Eat the Document" notes of his late-teen clientele, "...for all their sarcasm and easy, shallow irony, there was still not enough self-reference for him, not enough wit. There was self-obsession, yes, self-conciousness, sure (after all, they always lived as though their lives were all on the verge of broadcast), but no concern with self-implication. Just that ungenerous righteousness, as if merely being young was somehow to your credit."

Our away messages are meta-commercials; commercials about the type of person the consumer culture and advertising has produced delivered in the form of a personally crafted, 5-second-spot advertisement. Perhaps we won't all agree that we've been produced by this culture of ads and irony, but the style we've adopted in our away messages, and the way we use them, certainly takes its cues from that niche of our upbringing. Or, as the Simpson kids put it, "it's just so hard not to listen to TV, Dad: it's spent so much more time raising us than you have."
So I'm going to take it easy on the away messages and, instead, just leave a link to my blog.
Wait, that's even worse...