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News You Can Use: Karl Lagerfeld Thinks It’s Hard To Have Ugly Kids August 24, 2011

Posted by Skippy in General Weirdness, Observations, Uncategorized.
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It’s amazing when the super-rich open their mouths about the mundane problems of the proles. It’s always so entertaining to find out what fetid thoughts fester in their foolish minds. Fortunately, super-rich people who are also famous tend to not keep those fetid thoughts to themselves, so we get the “pleasure” of being treated to their mental and verbal diarrhea. Today, we get to find out what Karl Lagerfeld, “fashion” designer thinks about “ugly” children:

In the new issue of Interview Magazine, designer Karl Lagerfeld chats it up with former French Vogue editor Carine Roitfeld. The fashion big shots commiserate about wealth (“You’re in your jet—you don’t have a grip on reality. We can lose touch with reality quite easily.”), and being oppressed by jobs.

And then there are Lagerfeld’s views on kids.

Regarding Roitfeld’s children, Julia and Vladimir, Karl comments: “You’re also lucky because they are very beautiful. It would have been difficult to have an ugly daughter.”

Luckily, the former Chanel guru was spared the horrors of raising an unattractive daughter, as he is childless.

“If I were a woman, I would love to have lots of kids,” Lagerfeld opines. “But for men, I don’t believe in it.”


As they say, “What is this? I don’t even.” Karl, dear, let’s deal with a couple of things.

1. You’re ugly.

Karl, dear, I know it’s been a while since you’ve looked into a mirror…and frankly, I’d be surprised if you were able to see your reflection in the mirror. Anyway, you kinda look like death warmed over and kicked in the balls. I just thought you should know that. And you dress like Dracula. Also, your personality sucks. Actually, your personality contributes significantly to your ugliness.

2. In what way would it be “difficult” to have ugly children?

As far as I know, having kids is pretty difficult regardless of their subjective attractiveness. But Karl seems to think that there’s some additional burdens to raising putatively ugly children. What would those burdens be, Karl? Do tell, you shriveled fossil of a humanoid.

3. What do you mean when you say that you don’t believe in men having kids?

Karl, dear? Can we get some clarification? Are you saying—are you actually saying that you don’t think that men can raise children? Also, dear, saying that you “don’t believe in it” doesn’t actually make any sense. Men raise kids all the time; are you saying the you don’t agree with men raising children? It would help us all greatly if you’d be more specific in your analysis. As it is, you sound like a sexist, self-hating homophobe…on top of being an elitist shriveled fossil that is completely out of touch with anything remotely resembling reality.

Fig. 1: I’d rather take fashion advice from someone who is not undead, thank you very much.


Oprah: A Post-Mortem May 27, 2011

Posted by Skippy in Observations, Popular Culture, Uncategorized.
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So the Oprah Winfrey Show has aired its final episode. I decided to watch Oprah’s final episode and see how she’d end 25 years of being on television. Certainly, the promos for the final episode presented it as the End of All Things: she had clips from M*A*S*H, The Cosby Show, Cheers, and other beloved television shows and asked, “Where Will You Be?” Presumably, she was equating this final episode to those other television moments. I note she didn’t include any of the Star Trek series finales as “Where Will You Be?” moments. I am bummed. Anyway, I sat down and thought, “I can do this. I can watch an entire episode of Oprah.”

Turns out, I couldn’t—at least, I couldn’t watch it in one sitting. That was an hour of self-indulgent treacle the likes of which I don’t think I’ve ever seen on television. She was right about the finale in one respect; I would never forget it, but not because it was good or anything like that. You see, Oprah decided that she would spend her last episode preaching at her audience. Her grateful audience. Her audience of largely middle-class white women who do nothing but Oprah okays it. Her supplicants, happy to have gotten a ticket to the taping of this, her Final Episode, should have been as happy to hear from her as the supposed multitudes who flocked to hear Jesus of Nazareth—especially if it might mean they get Something(tm) from the Great and Powerful Oprah. So powerful and great is Oprah, that she was able to…um, persuade the Chicago Bulls to move their playoff game so that Oprah might make use of the United Center in order to trot out every celebrity in the known world to pay tribute to the Great and Powerful Oprah. Hell, she gave some of her devoted a trip to AUSTRAAAAALIAAAAA, so wouldn’t you expect to get something from Oprah on her final episode? Something memorable?

Well, folks, you did get something memorable. You got a forty-five minute sermon. You got Oprah virtually erasing the tabloid talk-show history of the show (she mentioned it briefly and dismissed it as her not knowing any better). You got Oprah spouting lame platitude after lame platitude and, at at least one point, dramatically pausing as though she had said The Most Profound Thing in the World and you would rapturously applaud. You didn’t. Your mistake, for your television savior would then go on and on and ON with Oprah’s Beatitudes.

After mangling a principle in physics, she told you that you “are responsible for the energy that you bring into a space.” Really? This is what Oprah thinks Newton’s Third Law of Motion means? Anyway, she then went on to tell you that you are responsible for your life. No one will save you. Or give you a free car in exchange for listening to this pedantic psychobabble. But wait—Oprah told you no one will save you, but she proceeded to subtly contradict that assertion with a brief clip show of many people disclosing Deep Dark Secrets…on The Oprah Winfrey Show.

You see, that’s the “genius” of the Gospel of Oprah and we saw that genius encapsulated in Oprah’s Sermon on the Mount. She spent the better part of twenty-five years telling you that “you” were responsible, you were capable, and you were special. However, you could only achieve such responsibility, capability and specialness via Oprah. Oprah’s Book Club, O Magazine, and, to the delight of shows like MadTV, Oprah’s Favorite Things promoted a gospel of consumption in which you could achieve all that specialness by buying stuff Oprah likes. As she ended her show, she dispensed more pop wisdom in the form of “you’re worthy.” Indeed, I saw Facebook status updates that contained some of the Beatitudes dispensed by Oprah. People responded as though those statements were the very soul of wisdom. I wanted to ask these people, “Did you really need Oprah to tell you that?”

Ah, a defender of Oprah says, she gave glory to God and Jesus! That proves that she’s humble enough to give glory to something larger than herself. Indeed. But God–that “presence bigger than herself”–deemed it so that a sperm and egg united and gave the world Oprah Winfrey! Applaud, meager supplicants! In this moment, if you were not clear that you were being preached at, it became unmistakable. The show and its history now becomes the inevitable result of divine providence.

What’s the word for that? Oh. Yes. Hubris.

By this point, a follower of the Gospel of Oprah becomes fairly indignant. “Oprah funded scholarships for young Black men!” “Oprah has done many charitable things–why do you need to tear her down?” “Oprah is one of two Black billionaires–we should honor her for her trailblazing success instead of acting like crabs in a barrel!” To all that, I say, “Poppycock!” Cultural criticism is not a zero-sum game. Oprah’s followers—and everyone else—are clearly aware of Oprah’s charitable giving, primarily because she’s let the world know that she’s engaged in charitable giving. I am much more concerned about the sheep-like devotion to Oprah I’ve seen in people. I’m irritated by statements that begin with “Well, Oprah says” as much as I’m irritated by statements that begin with “Well, pastor/bishop says,” because they are both devoid of any critical thinking. They are evidence of a slavish preoccupation with letting someone else direct, letting someone else provide pithy, one-line answers instead of doing the hard work of being honest with one’s self. Her extensive charity work doesn’t absolve her from a critical assessment of the show and the way in which she promoted a gospel of consumption and cheap self-help.

It’s interesting to note that, as she spent the hour preaching and using the twenty-five year history of the show as the focal point of her sermon, Oprah didn’t mention the controversies, the moments in which she was revealed as fallible (or, in my words, full of bullshit). What about her giving airtime to people like Jenny McCarthy, the anti-vaxer? What about her own promotion of pseudoscientific nonsense (i.e., “The Secret” or fad diets)? Oprah’s Sermon on the Mount now functions as a way of rewriting the history of the show itself and the leaving of the stage was full of religious symbolism; Oprah has now finished the course (of doing a daytime talk show) and is now ascending into her own private Heaven (control of a network). All praise your digital savior.

A Short Meditation on Charlie Sheen March 12, 2011

Posted by Skippy in Observations, Popular Culture.
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Fig. 1: Dude, seek help. Seriously.

I, like many other Americans, was mildly amused when Charlie Sheen first went off the rails a few weeks ago. I assumed that his drunken, drug-abusing, prostitute-patronizing antics were just the peccadilloes of an over-privileged whackaloon in need of a good ass-whupping. When he gave his now-infamous interview and declared that he was living with two “goddesses” and that he was “winning,” I figured that he was just capitalizing on the crazy. Hey, even bad press is better than no press, right?

But then I found his “Sheen’s Korner.”

Fig. 2: No, seriously. SEEK HELP.

Sheen apparently ended his little jaunt into webcasting this week. However, in the four thirty-minute tirades, I went from finding him amusing to experiencing an inchoate horror. To say that “Sheen’s Korner” is like watching a car wreck is quite an understatement. I don’t think I’m alone here, but this guy needs serious professional help. His ravings sound like those of someone who might be a bi-polar schizophrenic.* If Charlie Sheen was just a regular guy, no doubt he’d be in jail by now and under court-mandated psychiatric care; however, because he’s a “star,” we are all bearing witness to public meltdowns, each one more perplexing than the previous one. As we’ve seen with other celebrities who surrounded themselves with a coterie of yes-men and women, the ones who needed help the most rarely got it. I fear that Sheen will join the long list of people who didn’t get the kind of mental health care they needed.

*I am not an actual doctor, and am not at all qualified to diagnose Charlie Sheen’s mental issues.

This Week in Netflix: “The Social Network” (2010) March 8, 2011

Posted by Skippy in Movies.
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Verdict: Too slick and cynical for its own good.

Do you remember when you were in the college application process? If you are older than, say, thirty, you might remember the glossy brochures which came in your mailbox from universities and colleges far and wide. They were chock full of pictures of an idyllic college life. The leaves were in a perpetual state of Autumn as happy, multiculti students gaily strolled along pristine sidewalks. The dormitories were portrayed as neat, orderly homes away from home for future students. Classrooms were presented as oases of academic excellence.

In short, you were sold a fantasy of college life.

This is what Aaron Sorkin’s college wet-dream masquerading as a quasi-biopic of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg “The Social Network” is. It is a fantasy of what a Tortured Genius goes through at a fantasy school like Harvard University. While there is a real Harvard University, the Harvard we see on screen—and the Mark Zuckerberg who is a student here—is as real as the United Federation of Planets and the U.S.S. Enterprise. We first see the fictional Harvard University after the fictional Mark Zuckerberg’s fake girlfriend breaks up with him and he tromps across the fake campus back to his dormitory. It is the brochure come to life: Fall colors grace the trees as young people lazily stroll along in the fall night amidst the stately fake Harvard buildings. Sorkin takes care to shove as many mythical scenes or references to the myth of Harvard as possible. It is amidst this mythological backdrop that the myth of Mark Zuckerberg emerges.

The mythical Mark Zuckerberg (Jesse Eisenberg) is an asshole of galactic proportions. He has two conversations at a time because he’s bored with at least one of those conversations and blames you for not being able to keep up, takes a break-up so personally that his way of coping is creating a misogynistic website that crashes your university’s servers, prefers the company of fellow assholes like fake Sean Parker (a parody of the real Sean Parker and played by Justin Timberlake, who may or may not be an actual asshole himself) to the company of the one real friend (who funneled a ton of money into getting Facebook off the ground), and may or may not have set said friend up to get charged with animal cruelty. Oh, and he’s obsessed with Fake Harvard’s male Final Clubs, as he sees them as the pathway to a better life.

Of course, everyone around Fake Zuckerberg is as pathologically self-centered as he is. Fake Eduardo Saverin (Andrew Garfield) is a clueless prat who is consumed by jealousy as he sees Fake Zuckerberg getting closer to Fake Parker. There are points at which the movie verges on homoeroticism. Fake Saverin’s jealousy reads as him being in love with Fake Zuckerberg, who himself is busy being wooed by Fake Parker. I’m pretty sure that this is what not Aaron Sorkin intended, but hell; it was more interesting than what Sorkin was trying to sell.

Unfortunately, this isn’t the worst thing about this movie, not by a long shot. This college wet-dream quickly devolves into a revenge fantasy—it is Revenge of the Nerds, but without any of the humor of the 80s comedy and ten times the malice. It is about Fake Zuckerberg striking back at two groups in particular: the Popular and the Women.

The Popular: As I mentioned before, Fake Zuckerberg’s early obsession was joining one of Mythical Harvard’s Final Clubs. He envies how the men in these clubs have The Better Life ™. It’s such an obsession, that you’d think that Real Zuckerberg had grown up poor and universally hated. You’d think that Real Zuckerberg was as much of a galactic asshole as Fake Zuckerberg. But, with the help of a little Google, you’d find out that you’d be wrong. Now, it’s clear that Sorkin is Trying To Say Something here, and he tries to say it in the form of Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss (or, as Fake Zuckerberg calls them, “The Winklevii”), two overprivileged and insipid twins (who, in real life, sued Real Zuckerberg for stealing the idea for Facebook). It is inconceivable to them that someone who isn’t connected, isn’t an athlete, and isn’t The Popular could succeed at doing something great. That privilege should be theirs and theirs alone. In a rather hilarious scene, they secure a meeting with then-president Larry Summers. Fake Summers slaps them down with extreme prejudice. Fake Zuckerberg builds Facebook on the backs of the Popular instead of the Popular building success on the backs of the UnPopular. In Sorkin’s fantasy, the Geeks inherit the Earth, not the Popular, and they do it by using the Popular’s vanity against themselves.

The Women: At Sorkin’s Mythical Harvard, women are either a) emasculating bitches who reject the nerds in favor of The Popular, or b) shallow, brain-dead appendages of the Popular. To say that “The Social Network” is misogynist is a bit of an understatement. Perhaps Sorkin is trying to show that these Harvard men (either Popular or Nerd) are so misogynistic that women are literally playthings. However, we don’t really know what women think about anything other than the men with whom they interact. The women in these movies do not interact with each other—except to grind on each other for the entertainment of the Popular males in the Final Clubs. The mythical girlfriend of Fake Zuckerberg busts his balls at the beginning of the movie; she is clearly incapable of following Fake Zuckerberg’s train of thought, nor is she supportive of his desire to get into one of the Clubs.

To punctuate just how crazy The Women are, we are treated to a completely irrelevant scene involving Fake Saverin’s girlfriend and a burning trashcan. She is so insanely jealous that when he doesn’t return her thirty or so text messages, she barges into his apartment and sets the gift he bought for her on fire. Awesome.

The only sane person in this world is Rashida Jones in a thankless role as a junior lawyer on Fake Zuckerberg’s team. The only problem here is that her character (and seriously, I don’t remember what her name was) virtually becomes a maternal figure to Fake Zuckerberg. She dispenses words of wisdom to our favorite Facebooking asshole…but who is she?

All in all, I am not surprised at the critical praise that was showered on this movie. The movie was well-crafted and slick. The dialogue was taut and, at times, humorous. However, I am not at all certain it was warranted, as I found this movie to be lacking in humanity and deeply cynical. Even the final scene of Fake Zuckerberg becoming a victim of his own creation as he friends his ex-girlfriend is dripping in cynicism. The Tortured Genius, now Popular, cannot escape the event which led to his quest for retribution.

This Is What They Mean By “Engaged Learning”? March 3, 2011

Posted by Skippy in Sexuality.
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Northwestern Class Sex Toy Demonstration Causes Controversy:

Northwestern students and administrators are defending an explicit after-class demonstration involving a woman being publicly penetrated by a sex toy on stage in the popular Human Sexuality course last week.
The optional presentation last Monday, attended by about 120 students, featured a naked non-student woman being repeatedly sexually stimulated to the point of orgasm by the sex toy, referred to as a “fucksaw.” The device is essentially a motorized phallus.
The 600-person course, taught by psychology Prof. John Michael Bailey, is one of the largest at NU. The after-class events, which range from a question-and-answer session with swingers to a panel of convicted sex offenders, are a popular feature of the class. But they’re optional and none of the material is included on exams.

My initial reaction was “Ok, I’m all for teaching in ways that challenge students, but really?” As I thought about it, my initial “WTF?” reaction was prudish. Would I teach a class on human sexuality in that manner? Definitely not–however, it’s nigh unto impossible to teach a class dealing with human sexuality that wouldn’t in some way include material, discussions, or (in this case) demonstrations that would be considered offensive. When I have taught “Religion and Sexuality,” I’ve had students who got offended by the mere question “How do you know you’re heterosexual”—and that’s the first lecture on the first day. I’m pretty sure those students would not last the hour in Dr. Bailey’s class.

I daresay no one will ever forget this guy’s class!

Guess Who’s Superman? January 30, 2011

Posted by Skippy in Comics, Movies, Observations.
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Fig. 1: This guy.

So, children. Henry Cavill has been cast as Superman for the next Superman movie, scheduled to be released in 2012. Just in time for the end of the world! Already, Internet people are screaming that Tom Welling should have been cast as Superman, since he’s doing a bang-up job of playing a fucked-up version of Clark Kent on the terminally stupid “Smallville.” Other Internet people are grumbling that Brandon Routh should have gotten another go-round—after all, they reason, it wasn’t his fault that “Superman Returns” was as exciting as an Ambien with a Lunesta chaser!

Fig. 2: Bryan Singer: So, Brandon, give me your best Chris Reeve imitation–only make him moodier with a touch of stalker. Kevin, can you do a good Gene Hackman? Great. Oh, you want a script? Just watch “Superman: The Movie.” I’ll be back after I score some Aussie ass.

So, yeah. No Brandon Routh as Superman. Kind of a bummer, as I thought he was quite good—he wouldn’t win any Oscars, but since when has anyone won an Oscar for playing a superhero? Never, that’s when. I do happen to be one of those Internet people who wanted Routh to reprise the Clark Kent/Superman role. But I also wanted the next movie to completely ignore one nagging, irritating plot complication that Singer inexplicably wrote into “Superman Returns”:

Fig. 3: Um, Lois has a kid? By Superman? Whuck?

Frankly, I’m going to reserve judgment regarding this casting until two things happen:
a) Cavill gets in the gym and puts on some muscle. I’ve seen a couple of pictures of the guy and yes, he’s handsome. Facially, he’s (almost) a perfect choice to play the Man of Steel. However, he needs to bulk up a little. It shouldn’t be a problem—Reeve had to do the same thing.
b) We see Cavill in the Superman suit. That probably won’t happen for a year or so. In the meantime, I hope that they do not fuck with the uniform and turn it into another boring near-travesty.

In the meantime, I’m also hoping that they cast a grown woman to play Lois Lane, have Superman doing stuff that’s, y’know, SUPER, and do not abandon John Williams’s iconic score. There are some things you just don’t fuck with.

Skippy Goes To The Movies!: “Black Swan” January 23, 2011

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Verdict: Holy fuck, what the hell was that?

I had seen the commercials for this critically-acclaimed movie and had heard that pretty much everyone who has seen this movie raves about it, and decided that I’d probably find this movie to be quite good.

While I found it to be…well, good (I guess), but I swear, I don’t know what the fuck I was watching.

The plot—inasmuch as I can retell it—is this: Nina (Natalie Portman) is a ballet dancer for a company that is apparently in its death throes. The director of the ballet (whose name I forget) has come up with an idea to do a different take on “Swan Lake” (having never seen “Swan Lake,” I cannot understand how his take is “different,” but apparently that really is neither here nor there). Nina wants the lead as the Swan Queen, but is rather mousey. According to the ballet director, she’d make a great White Swan, but not a Black Swan—apparently, she doesn’t have the heat.

Fig. 2: How about Nomi? Nomi’s got heat!

Complicating matters is Nina’s overbearing maternal unit, who also used to be a ballerina (of only middling success). Played by Barbara Hershey, Nina’s mother might as well be called smother, because Spock almighty, is she up Nina’s ass all. the. time. When Nina comes home with the good news that she has gotten the coveted role of the Swan Queen, her mother brings home a cake (vanilla with strawberry filling, if you were wondering) and, after Nina says she doesn’t want any, threatens to throw the whole damn thing in the trash. Holy overreaction, Batman!

Anyway, enter Mila Kunis as Lily. She’s the complete opposite of Nina. Whereas Nina’s frigid and aloof, Lily is warm and down to earth…well, as down to earth as a cigarette-alcohol-and drug habit can make you. Suffice it to say that she’s a breath of fresh air in what feels like an extremely claustrophobic movie. She draws Nina out of her shell…so much so that Nina has a masturbatory fantasy about her. And let me tell you children, that scene was one of the most disturbing scenes I’ve ever seen in a movie. Let’s put it this way—if you ever decide to pleasure yourself, just make sure your mother isn’t in the room.

So, as we descend into Nina’s crazytown, we see that she’s convinced that Lily covets her newfound lead role, which leads Nina to go even more crazy. And by the end of the movie, her crazy culminates in an imagined murder and a real suicide.

This movie confused me. It was very well-written, it had top-notch acting. The cinematography and art direction was virtually perfect. I could feel Nina’s cramped and isolated world. I could feel the decay around everyone—this ballet company seemed to be limping along, and every scene reinforced that feeling. That said, I walked away thinking, “What the hell did I just see, and why was this movie made?” What was it supposed to say? Was there something I was supposed to have taken away from this movie—and if there was, what the hell was it? How was I to be entertained by this? While I hate obvious Oscar-bait movies like “The Fighter,” I at least know that this movie has got “Inspirational Oscar Bait And Last Chance For Mark Wahlberg To Be Taken Seriously As An Actor” written all over it. This? This movie felt like a movie that was a bit too clever and mind-fuckish for its own good.

Pastor Fight! December 21, 2010

Posted by Skippy in General Weirdness, Observations, Religion.
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Some people are so full of the love of Christ…

…that they must whoop someone else’s ass.

Children, I don’t even know where to begin here. The fight was allegedly caused by “different views of Scripture.” Really? Really?!?

Ok, “Old Paths Baptist Church.” Let’s talk about your interpretation of “Scripture.” According to a news story on this foolishness, your church “uses only the King James Bible, believing ‘all other versions have Satan’s fingerprints.'” That right there is proof that your “church” is full of a bunch of fucking morons. You clearly don’t have the slightest clue as to the origins of the Christian Bible—I mean, simple questions a third-grader might ask would reveal your beliefs to be…ridiculous. For example, what about those Christians who lived before 1611? You know, the masses of Christians who were illiterate? Oh, and what did the people in the first century church use as a Bible? Hint: It ain’t in English, homeboy!

Anyway, so you show up to “Church on the Move” (as opposed to all those other churches that don’t seem to be moving anywhere) and start writing heavenly checks with your mouth that your ass can’t cash. Gee, do you think that that is what Jesus might do? Oh, wait, don’t answer that…because you probably will run right to the passage that shows Jesus opening a can of righteous whoop-ass on the “moneychangers” in the Temple.

Fig. 1: Jesus: Harshing your mellow since 30 C.E.

Frankly, for a guy who was all about peace and “love one another,” he could be an obstinate cuss sometimes. I mean, these guys are just providing a service necessary for people who probably don’t have two turtledoves or the appropriate Jewish currency necessary for completing their required sacrifices—sacrifices that Jesus/Jesus’ daddy required them to do, mind you—and here this dude comes, whip and all, and causing a ruckus, in the name of his father.

Of course, when you delve into the interpretation of the text—something that Old Paths likely wouldn’t do…because that would require historical/text criticism…and reading the texts in their original languages—you might find that the motivation behind putting this story in the gospels is not so much about Jesus’ righteousness as it is an indictment of the religion of the day. Again, this is probably a very appealing text for people like those who “worship” at Old Paths Baptist, because it gives them the carte blanche to be smug-o-rific about their beliefs.

What would Jesus do, indeed!

Well, anyway, Old Paths Baptist Church, you keep on arguing that the KJV Bible is the only acceptable Bible and then use that as pretext for going to other churches and starting mess. Just don’t be surprised when Really Old Paths Baptist Church of Truthiness starts up and starts protesting you for doing something that doesn’t meet with their approval.

And for that, Old Paths Baptist Church, you are awarded:

Fig. 2: The Picard would not approve.

The Jokes Just Write Themselves December 17, 2010

Posted by Skippy in General Weirdness, Uncategorized.
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What the…I don’t even.

‘Tis the Season to Waste Money (A Black Friday Rant) November 26, 2010

Posted by Skippy in Culture, Rants.
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Ok, so now you’ve consumed your bodyweight in turkey and dressing and other starches and fats. You’ve basked in the glow of your utterly dysfunctional family. You’ve even watched the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, in a desperate attempt to regain your faded childhood.

What’s next?

Well, according to every retail outlet in the damn nation, it’s your patriotic duty to spend money you don’t have on shit you don’t need!

Yes, children, it’s “Black Friday.”

Of course, this Black Friday is a bit different. See, we’ve finally realized that we’re in the grip of an economic depression recession, and many of us have either lost our jobs or know someone who has. The Roaring Nineties are officially, indisputably over and with it, our conspicuous consumption of almost everything. Belt-tightening measures (also known as “common fucking sense”) mean that retailers are going to have to pull out the stops to get you into the store—but for what?

Since I’ve been a grown-ass man, “Black Friday” has struck me as a ridiculous waste of time, energy and money. And yet, people fall for the okeydoke every damn year, lining up at stores at the ass-crack of dawn to get some bauble or soon-to-be-obsolete television at “discounted” prices. Now, with the advent of the Internet, people fire up their pathetic PCs or passably functional iMacs in order to “save” money. Since I brought up Apple, let’s take a look at their Black Friday specials, shall we?

Fig. 1: Bullshit.

I really don’t know how the executives at Apple can fix their mouths to call this a “shopping event,” unless by “shopping event,” they really mean “One-day Screw The Consumer Over Event.” If that’s what they mean, then, yeah, it’s an event, all right. But they are certainly not alone in this ridiculousness. Pretty much all electronics retailers are trying to lure people into buying with promises of “Great Deals!” and “Lowest Prices of the Season!” Really, y’all? You know how I save money each and every Black Friday?

I stay my ass at home.

Yep, that’s right, children. I stay my ass at home and don’t bother with the mall until the After Christmas sales—that’s when retailers are trying to unload all that shit they ordered in order to stay in the black. The incentive for me staying my ass at home is simple: I really find people annoying. And during the holiday season, people begin to warp past annoying on into full-on insufferable. Between cloying and insincere wishes of “Happy Holidays” and “Merry Christmas” and the umpteen billion “holiday specials” that purport to show us the “true meaning of Christmas” (here’s the meaning: Buy the shit that advertisers hawk during “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer”) and the interminable holiday parties (their only saving grace: spiked egg nog), why in the hot hell would I want to compound my irritation by inserting myself into a sea of sale-grazing, overfed and undereducated moo cows?

Fig. 2: If Hell is other people, then this must be the epicenter of Hell.

Here’s what so fucking horrible about us as a nation: after this orgy of consumption ends, these people who whipped out credit cards and cash will have to deal with the financial hangover. They’ll have to go into credit counseling, bankruptcy, or aggressive negotiations with their creditors—and for what? For “gifts” that will likely be returned and “presents” that will lose their luster five days after they’ve been opened. But being the sheep we are, we’ll fall for this again, and again, and again. Each “holiday” will be pimped out earlier and earlier (I saw my first Christmas commercial the day after Halloween, for frak’s sake!) and, like the compliant drones we are, we’ll line up and ask “Please sir, may I have another?”

Bah, humbug!