Saturday, October 24, 2009

The Death List Five

If I were The Bride and wanted to murder five people for no particular reason, here's who I would pick:

1) Whoever put the "E" in "ESPN" and absolutely destroyed our ability to receive anything like unbiased sports coverage.
2) Marshall McLuhan: Because I had to read his stuff for two different classes.
3) Richard Dawkins: Self-explanatory.
4) The corporate executive at Halliburton who decided to buy CollegeBoard/ETS and turn it from a small, family-values based operation to a national bastion of evil.
5) John Calipari: Again, self-explanatory.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

WARNING: A Pun-Based Post

So, a hundred and eighty-five velociraptors walk into a bar, and the bartender says, "What'll it be?"

The velociraptors order 185 Budweisers.

While the bartender is busy trying to put together that many Buds, he starts grumbling about Belgian beers. The velociraptors ask, "What did you say?"

"Oh," says the bartender, "I'm just p'oed that the globalization movement has caused a beer that should rightly be made and drank and owned by Americans to be owned by the BELGIANS."

The velociraptors take a smooth sip, in unison. Then, one of them steps forward and says gently, "It's alright. Your fear of foreign-owned companies owning and operating traditionally American-themed products stems from an outdated mindset dating back to the 16th and 17th century idea of mercantilism, and the even more outdated mindset of the zero-sum game, which has been around since the dawn of mankind. But don't worry. Mercantilism said that there was only so much gold (value) in the world, and countries should trade only to gain more gold; after a while they wouldn't trade anymore. But capitalism, in its purest form, doesn't rely on gold, but the value created by the *trading* of gold. That's how a piss-poor island with funny accents and an inability to brush properly became the greatest empire the world has yet to forget about, and managed to crush the dreams of Napoleon and Hitler: trade, and motion. Motion is important. The motion of people from place to place and information from place to place is now the dominant modality of the global economy. It doesn't matter who owns the beer, only how it gets from place to place and who collects the money for it along the way. Everything is always in motion, my friend, the economy, and the future."

The bartender says, "Wow. That's really deep. You guys have a great perspective on things."

The velociraptors shrug and say, "What can we say? Our vision is based on movement."

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Guest Column (by The Girlfriend)

Things around here have gotten quite dusty as of late, due to the ineptness of the Author, so I thought I could offer my thoughts on one of the most talked-about shows on the air right now, Fox's incomparable Glee.

Glee is a parody of High School Musical and all of its varied spinoffs, set at Canton McKinley High School in Ohio (although it claims to be in Lima, which is far away from Canton). Other major mishaps with the show: there is no mention whatsoever of the Massillon-McKinley rivalry, competitive cheerleading would never outshine football or basketball as the top sport (and would certainly not inspire a late-night local news segment featuring the Cheerios' coach- we have *actual* important things to report on late night news, like the latest race riots or "Taste of Cleveland"), the plot is so dependent on stick-thin stereotypes that they have each character wear the same clothes ALL THE TIME (gay kid wears fabulous, emo Asian kid wears black, cheerleader wears uniform, misunderstood but sensitive teacher wears misunderstood but sensitive cotton, etc.), and all of the male characters are either stupid, gay, evil, weak-willed, or stupid. However, the show balances tasteful and well-produced song-and-dance numbers with storylines featuring lying, teen pregnancy, drug abuse (oh the drugs!), infidelity, homosexuality, blackmail, and GLINDA THE GOOD WITCH!!!!! In other words, it's just like High School Musical, except it's good.

Oddly enough, and despite popular perception, this is a show that has music in it, rather than a musical show. Despite the increasing popularity of non-diegetic music and special effects in film as a device of deconstruction of the medium (see my earlier review of "Inglourious Basterds" and the whole ridiculous Hugo Stiglitz episode), Glee uses its central conceit (a group of overtalented high school singers) to allow completely diegetic music to spontaneously occur without breaking the ever-so-soft fourth wall. This is probably the only difference between the two films, as a close comparison reveals many similarities:

-In Glee, a fictitious dictator with Hitler-like powers and attitude is stymied by a small group of hardy students who recruit new members into their ranks from detention for marijuana use
-In Inglourious Basterds, a (arguably) fictitious dictator with Hitler-like powers and attitude is stymied by a small group of hardy soldiers who recruit new members into their ranks from detention for killing German officers.

-In Glee, a young Jewish overachiever with her own MySpace channel is the main character and messes with the head of the football field hero, who is in love with her.
-In Inglourious Basterds, a young Jewish overachiever with her own movie theater is the main character and messes with the head of the battlefield hero, who is in love with her.

-In Glee, the narration is provided by kids who wish they were as cool as Samuel L. Jackson.
-In Inglourious Basterds, the narration is provided by Jules Winfield, who is almost as cool as Samuel L. Jackson.

-In Glee, the show is stolen by GLINDA THE GOOD WITCH, whose amazing vocal range gets shown off to maximum extent.
-In Inglourious Basterds, the show is stolen by HANS THE JEW HUNTER, whose amazing linguistic range gets shown off to maximum extent.

-In Glee, the charismatic leader of the kids pushes a female character into a painful place: the school musical
-In Inglourious Basterds, the charismatic leader of the kids pushes a female character in a painful place: her leg wound

-Glee's best actor is known for dressing up as one of the Imperious Forces.
-Inglourious Basterds' best actor is known for dressing up as Santa.