There I am, watching The Love Boat, and it hits me: It’s not the sort of show you can just join midway through the third season. I’m completely lost at this point… The plot is all over the place.
I mean there’s a gopher loose on the ship, but then the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders show up, and then they’re all passing around this lamp with money in it… Next thing I know, there’s some horndog female Olympian who is skipping practice, but then a few episodes later on we’re back to football with this guy who may never play again, and just what in the fuck happened to Douglas Fairbanks Jr.? I mean, he was just on the boat!
…and don’t even get me started on the crossovers with other shows. Mrs. Brady, that fat guy from Eight is Enough… It’s a virtual mind-fuck trying to tie it all together from show to show. But challenge accepted.
All of this “racial tension” talk, and nobody taking the time to look at the things that bring us all together and blur the lines put in place by some social constructs or other meaningless media-fueled bullshit designed to further divide. We’re all just people, really. And having never seen any of this “white privilege” stuff I keep hearing about in my own life, I figure I may not be 100% white. That in mind, I have created this sweet potato pie chart illustrating the things I enjoy from time to time that don’t quite fit the “white guy” stereotype.
Greater minds before me had speeches and rallies… I have a pastry. (look for a future post exploring the “Past Generations Compared to My Own: The Great Leader VS Guy Who Brings Dessert Popularity to Social Progress Importance Ratio”).
Looking back at this, I can make two key observations:
1. I should reverse the placement of “I’m Gonna Git You Sucka” with “Chicken and Waffles”
2. Green-colored sweet potato pie is far more disturbing to look at than purple-colored sweet potato pie
The Illuminati and a Decidedly Darwinian Approach to Survival: My Best Ideas Come to Me in the Sandwich Spread Section of the Bread, Crackers and Cookie Aisle
And then it hits me. Again.
You often hear so much talk of the “Illuminati” and their “New World Order”. Sure, the Rothschild family and their ilk have the money and the power and the media and, well, everything else, and now they want your guns. And yet, we commoners have something they don’t: DIVERSITY.
Consider that all of these royalty-types had practiced inbreeding and incest throughout history to keep their bloodlines “pure”. If you stop to think about it, if we can all just get along for a little while longer, we can eliminate them without spilling a drop of their precious, better-than-you blood.
As I see it, they’re probably a generation away from being offed by a peanut butter sandwich.
Actual conversation in my home (and either damned good reasoning to purchase a Miracle Ear for myself, or one heck of a play to save $.99 on an app):
“Why in the hell would you want super-saggy, aromatic, pocket-sweaty testicles?!”
“No, Dad. I said ‘Supersonic Acrobatic Rocket-Powered Battle-Cars’.”
“Oh… Not sure that sounds much better. Let’s just forget this ever happened.”
“So can I get it?”
“Never mind. I’ll ask Grandma.”
“You’ll speak no such filth to your Grandmother.”
“Just forget it.”
There’s a shitty phrase. As someone who’s face isn’t classically “camera-friendly”, I have to wonder just why in the fuck I’d want to be friends with the camera in the first place. Consider: The camera is a liar. Or, more appropriately, the camera’s marketing guy is a liar. The present-day camera, anyway, suffers from a serious case of identity confusion. It’s that whiny emo kid that just can’t be itself because everyone is making it be something else, but in this case it’s perfectly justified because people are making it into something it shouldn’t have to be. But more on that later.
You’re sold (in the old days, anyway, when the camera wasn’t too busy receiving sales calls for life coaching (Unrelated But Yet Related And Certainly Worth Exploring Sidebar, or “UBYRACWES” — which, in hindsight, looks eerily like “you be racist” — but we’ll roll with it because, well, fuck you, you privileged son of a bitch: The person making these spam calls to help coach your life is probably making $13./hr, working from a call center, and pushing some book on you that, while probably very vague in its own right, will never have you reaching any higher than the call center person, and you’ll be $49.99 deeper in the hole, rendering you unable to afford to send photos of the following), status updates regarding meaningless trifles in the life of some bastard you would never have a beer with and their lunch salad that was “off the chain” (truly a description better reserved for that “chicken” you had at the buffet, or calls that you’ll ignore anyway on some cheap box of mirrors that will capture your awesome life, and the memories and all of that nonsense. Yet the reality is, you’re going to find that many of your subjects (i.e. “children”, “relatives”, “drunken friends”, et.al.) will be less than “photogenic”, rendering many of your life’s memories in a less-than-flattering light.
In the old days, when you had to use film and have it processed and wait for the results of your shitty photos, there were no “on-the-spot-do-overs” or “let’s do that again’s” (ooh… UBYRACWES time; or more appropriately “SCRACWES” — or “Somewhat Closely Related And Certainly Worth Exploring Sidebar”— the “retake” photo. Remember these in school? “Hey, all of you less-than-average-looking/non-camera-friendly types, be in the Library next Wednesday during the middle of the Chemistry final that Mr. Arminstrinberger won’t let you out of for the ten minutes it would take to re-shoot your graduation photo now that – not mention saving some poor motherfucker with an airbrush and a bad sense of humor like fifteen minutes to fix in post the agony of having to look at – the remnants of that zit you tried to rush along, but at the time of the original photo looked like a terrifying cold sore has healed enough to hide with that flesh-toned Clearasil –matched, obviously to someone with far “whiter” genes, like what’s-her-face from that Regis Philbin show… something Gifford. Kathie Lee! – but that’s another UBYRACWES for another time – and the odd wind and rain-styled ‘do you were sporting that day to play some distraction”), you simply dealt the hand you were given because film was expensive and every shot COUNTED, and waiting for the magic elves in the FotoMat to develop them so you could drive up, get them in your hand and promptly throw them out along with half a weeks’ pay, learning the valuable life lesson that not everything is best printed on quality Kodak paper. The camera was an unforgiving prick, and it often coupled with a partner, the “unflattering flash cube”, which was like the shit-sandwich combo of the big doofus in third grade who would point out your flaws to everyone (especially if they involved your poverty, which in turn was a direct cause of you wearing uncool sneakers and hand-me-down Toughskins with weird little patches in the knees that the corners would slowly peel back on), with the added bonus of his Salacious B. Crumb-like sidekick adding that extra layer of bright light to help magnify the flaws, should anyone have missed them on the first click.
Thus, I am not “camera friendly” in either the classical sense (read as “homely”), or even the more esoteric sense (as in “hey, camera, thanks for all of the great memories! Let’s be pals!”). The camera can suck it. In fact, I hope that Hell for cameras is when they end up in the Colonsocopy room. I can bear witness to having hoped that on one or two occasions (making this another UBYRACWES, but with a Too Much Information twist) that the camera in use was the reincarnation of my seventh-grade photo (“How you like me NOW, camera?! See anything INTERESTING? Oh… you do. Fuck. You win again, camera.”). I do wonder, however, just why we have yet to apply technology to video in the way we have to sound. Consider just how many “singers” aren’t exactly “microphone friendly” without the aid of processing and Auto-Tune and all of that. I can see someone like myself being overlaid (and consequently “over LAID” if you catch my drift!) with a little computer enhancement, and starring on a TV show. Sort of like Jar-Jar Binks (I’m getting a bit excited for the new Star Wars movies. Deal with it.), but like 11.2% less endearing. And probably less pants during sweeps week, but I digress.
I’d suppose that people today have it better, camera friendship-wise, thanks to re-takes and Photoshop (and possibly due to the slowly dwindling eye broccoli class of folks — another UBYRACWES with serious Darwinian subject matter) have it far easier than our generation with the Instamatic and flash cubes, making it easier to be friends with the camera. After all, I never once got driving directions from a Minolta 35mm that were worth a shit, although I did manage to lift the Katakana for “Film Goes Here” from one and convince a girl to have that tattooed under the impression that it meant “beautiful blooming orchid” (adding another layer of irony, consider that this was done as a tramp stamp, and I’d bet that few things have bloomed in that vicinity even remotely resembling an orchid – a lactose intolerance on her behalf could provide at least half a chapter of laughs via one of those SCRACWES with a grand TMI kicker). I can only hope that one day she’s having a Colonoscopy and that Dr. Fong gets a little chuckle as that camera gets another taste of its own medicine, courtesy of her cave of unholy winds.
A lot of talk the past few days regarding the car show world, from politics to rules and more. I had been writing a piece about this very subject prior to Detroit, and then felt it best to hold off on publishing it, as there were things afoot that could have made my post look, well, far more bitter for all of the wrong reasons. Rest assured, this is nothing more than my observations on the whole car show/industry slide toward oblivion, and not some “oh, they didn’t give us a trophy” or other nonsense. For fuck’s sake, we’re adults. And yes, it’s long. Should you happen to be some illiterate shit, or far too busy looking up memes or fail videos to read a few paragraphs, well, there’s the wonder of the internet, Billy Bob: Scroll the fuck past. Nobody asked you to chime in with your “I dun dint read, cuz it were long” reply. It’s a safer world knowing that the likes of you stick to looking at pictures anyway.
Some may be offended by my opinions/observations, and that’s cool. The truth can pack a nasty stinger.
Think back to the first indoor car show you attended. Chances are, you were a young and impressionable gear head who was floored by the kandy and chrome ocean you found yourself dropped into. Take that a step further, and consider the first ISCA-type show car that made an impression on you. Chances are, you went home and drew that car, or built a scale model of it, or simply daydreamed about it in class. I’m betting that to this day you can picture the car, and still get a little blip in the heart rate from it. It’s etched somewhere in your car psyche. It plays a role to this very day in what you like or don’t like on four wheels. It’s IMPRINTED on the very part of you that’s tagged “CARS” on that dotted-line diagram of your brain.
Custom cars, to anyone just discovering them are MAGICAL. They have a power far beyond propelling people across the pavement. They take on a life beyond their perceived purpose. They tend to grow with us. I’d bet that your memory even skews a few facts about them, and maybe even glosses over a flaw or two, lifting them even higher in your memory of their perfection. You do that with nearly everything you grow attached to. I’m betting my wife does that about me. Thinking about this, I should go give her a hug. And clean the living room.
Compare the above to recent shows, assuming that you still attend them. Any cars that simply “do it” for you like that? Do you still feel that emotional attachment or charge? I certainly don’t, and I’m smack dab in the middle of this whole thing, designing custom vehicles for a living. I try to create the kinds of things that some kid will recall 30 or more years down the road, and bring up in bench racing sessions. Don’t get me wrong, there have been some in the recent past that come close to “doing it” for me, and continue to inspire, but the industry as a whole has changed… the whole mood is dark lately.
Let’s not sugar coat this:
Car shows are the NFL of our world. A money-making enterprise. It makes sense, as they are a business, and the purpose of any business is to make money. I’m all for success, and doubly-so if your mission is to pocket some coin, and you happen to be doing that. Good on you. But the focus on the money changes things… It’s warped the very spirit of this car thing, and dragged it so far away from celebrating the automobile as art, and taken us to the automobile as return on investment or a showdown of who can spend more or grab the most ink in some magazine that’s months behind the times, and struggling to tell you that it’s still somehow relevant and that the internet is killing it, when in fact, they’re killing themselves and the industry by celebrating this push downward with third-rate articles and seven page features on uninspiring cars that would have been better served as a savings account. Again, don’t get me wrong. We are in a time of incredible talent with regard to the builders and designers and tools we have available to us in this industry. Yet, we’re losing the youth. Involvement is dropping among the next generation. And it is most certainly NOT because some kid grew up in the back seat of a Honda, or inherited a mini van as his first ride. That is a bullshit cop-out. Not every major builder or designer today grew up riding shotgun in a pro-street Chevelle, or had some Boss Mustang dropped in their lap for a first car. We drove uninspiring shitboxes. If you think that somehow more inspiration to build a ground-breaking, next-level beast of a ride comes from looking at a non-functional fuel gauge in a cracked dashboard in a rusty ’73 Monte Carlo any more than it does from the same situation in a third-hand Subaru, you are brain damaged. The next self-righteous motherfucker to use that excuse gets a foot in their ass. Allow me to shed some light on the REAL problem:
Today, it’s all nothing more than some bullshit cool kids club. Gone are the days of the “car as design statement” or even “rolling testament to craftsmanship” for the most part; we’ve hacked and slashed the soul from it all, and would up in a wasteland of cubic budgets and branding. It’s not about a fun build that pushes the limits of imagination, or thumbs its nose at conventional transportation, or even inspiring some budding builder to go and do likewise. Rather, it’s intimidating at best with endless checkbook builds where the goal is closer to making a name or a shop or builder, or trading damned-near a million (ad sometimes more) dollars for a trophy and a check that covers the transportation and week-long lodging and food for the crew supporting the car than it is to build for the sake of pushing skill. What in the serious fuck?! You expect ANY kid to want a part of that? Unless daddy is a CEO and is bankrolling the project, the odds get slimmer as we venture further down the income ladder. And don’t throw me this bone of plopping some car into the top five that doesn’t belong there as some gesture of “giving the average guy hope”. We all know it’s bullshit, and you can bet that you aren’t doing that guy or some kid attending his first show any good. He can see though the “everyone is a winner” bullshit. He has to each day at school.
Like anything, the moment it becomes more about money than the challenge of creating something, all is lost; it becomes a caricature of the very thing it used to be. We’re creating a hobby and industry filled to the brim with reality show-grade celebrities and hucksters, some with legions of fans who are undereducated enough to praise mundane and often idiotic design choices. And seeing the shows pander to one or two big-name builders, well… If you’re going to tell me that you can’t, without some degree of near pin-point accuracy pick put the cars that will be at the top of any show before the gates even open, then you’re either a lying sack of shit, or you’re holding onto that childhood innocence, and hoping to be inspired again. Perhaps the Pearl Paint Fairy will leave an airbrushed monster shirt under your pillow tonight, too. Innocence is lost. And it ain’t going to be found in the direction we’re headed.
The irony here is that we live in the greatest time, technologically speaking anyway, for production performance cars. 707 HP Challengers and Chargers??! While we were wandering the show indoors, looking at ‘flake paneled and blown bad-assery, outside in the frozen parking lot was a dismal (at best) display of smog-choked, poorly assembled and designed garbage. It was depressing. 170 HP was considered “performance”, and there wasn’t any sunlight poking over the next hill. That glow was from the flashers on the broken-down heap that couldn’t make it up the next grade. And maybe, just maybe THAT is what makes it all so fucking soft today. We DON’T HAVE TO AIM HIGH ANYMORE. We’ve managed to settle into a world of instant gratification., and that creates a laziness, and an unwillingness to try to raise a bar that we’re told is already so sky-high. That in mind, we’ve abandoned the things that brought us all here in the first place, and instead are chasing the lowest common denominator, the “my dick and checkbook are THIS BIG” attitude.
It’s a dark time, kids. Replace the breaker before it’s too late.
As I’m sure that you know by now, the theatrical release of The Interview has been scrapped. This hits me hard, no simply because we have another telling tale of a lily-livered leader caving to some megalomaniacal fucking jerk-off, but because I will be denied the movie poster I was waiting for.
If you know me, you know that I love film, and movie posters even more. I love the art… GOOD art, anyway. Not these stinking, non-creative turds they pass off regularly featuring a low/back-lit photo of protagonist/antagonist in front of (INSERT MAJOR MOVIE SET PIECE HERE), surrounded by typography and copy obviously created by a seven year old with better things to do… but really good work, like that of Drew Struzan, or Boris Vallejo (I mean have you SEEN his National Lampoon’s Vacation artwork??!), John Alvin, the Hildebrandt brothers, Frank Frazetta, Saul Bass, and on and on. As a filmmaker trapped in the life and career of an illustrator, I live vicariously through this medium until I can one day make that leap. But I digress.
You see, I was looking forward to grabbing a 27×40-inch, double-sided hunk of poster-y goodness from the film. It embodied many things that I enjoy: Propaganda-style art, great color pop, spectacularly tongue-in-cheek typographical layout, and it would be a great replacement for the Army of Darkness piece that currently hangs in my office. Whatever. I mean, it would have been a Guardians of the Galaxy poster (full theatrical release version, thank you), but those have gone crazy in price. Think of how great that poster would look as guests stop by for an…. wait for it… INTERVIEW on a podcast??!
Anyway, I had attempted to place the order weeks ago, knowing that prerelease posters have been hanging around since Summer, and wanting to beat the rush… but was met with “Order Delayed” messages. Apparently, these were the hot item. Good deal… I’m in no rush, I’ll wait. Now, you can’t find them, and all orders are suspended. This PRECEDING an “official” announcement regrading the film. Hmmm. Conspiracy? Another red herring? Just another deflection of your attention? You do the math.
(Don’t get me wrong, I could drop a few hundred on eBay for one now, but decided that that was money best spent on food, clothing and toys from the less fortunate, and that has me feeling a lot better than hanging something on a wall.)
I mean, seriously. It’s a comedy. A genius premise, and certainly a grand stage for slapstick and subversive humor. But to make threats to people for showing it… or SEEING it?! What in the fuck, Chuck?! This nearly harkens (almost wrote “Harkins”, ha-ha!) back to my days in Catholic grammar school, when the Czar… I mean “Principal” had threatened us kids with disciplinary action, should we dare to go home and watch the TV movie The Day After (looking back on that, I now see that I understand far more about the Book of Revelation than the so-called “leader” at that school, and that her claims of nuclear armageddon ca.1983 was far off from what the book describes. It pays to know the mindset and capabilities of those in charge, I’ve found…), as we’d suddenly be faced with some sense of mortality, and then have to write an essay about how bad that can be. I compared mine to the fear of ABBA appearing on The Love Boat, and then having said ship become beached upon an iceberg, and the band playing on, as hundreds perished… the final soundtrack to their icy deaths being “Dancing Queen”. Oh, the horror. Looking back, those essays helped to shape who I am today. The joke is on YOU, sister! I’m drawing cars AND writing dirty words, and not living under a bridge… yet, I digress once more.
The poster. I will not be getting mine. “There will be no Christmas”, quoth the beast. Simply because of a “hacking” incident and some threat. If these guys were really looking out for peace, they’d have shut down any number of shitty movies, and let this one roll. Seriously. I STILL want a refund for my time having to sit through that steaming pile “The Hobbit 2: The Desolation of a Viable Screenplay” (should you have missed my feelings on THAT shit festival, scroll back a ways). I mean, if this were a publicity stunt, holy balls it would be great. But when you can’t even grab the poster? That’s either a sign that the marketing firm behind it all is absolutely inhuman brilliant and committed to detail, or that it’s the real deal, and we just sold out to bullies.
If these folks at Sony were REALLY interested in cyber security, they’d listen up. Hell, they’d have already done this, but let’s not split hairs. You can either implement this genius plan, or make a movie about it (and then scrap it when some freak sends a letter):
You grab the laptop from some porno addict, and you plug that hairy, sticky, probably-would-blind-you-and-burn-your-shadow-into-the-wall-if-placed-under-a-blacklight tool of debauchery into the network as your honey pot. Hacker logs on, and BAM! Enjoy your “free” trial and bajillion pop-ups, you fuck. Give me a shout for the rights and title ideas. The simplest of solutions often eludes us. I’m here to help. Hell, I’m always here, usually working, as I don’t golf or vacation much, and still have yet to receive reparations for the Polack jokes my people have suffered the ill effects from.
Mr. Rogan, I appeal to you thusly: Please sell me a poster from The Interview, as I’m having little luck in finding one on my own. No freebies or other nonsense, as there are much better outlets for charity… I simply want to celebrate the creativity you put into the film. My other options have wavered between a nice Hellboy first-run piece, or the iconic “The Thing”… but what I really wanted was my damned first choice, and I’m certain that you can empathize, much as I do with your situation. Wishing you only the best, sir.