Thursday, November 05, 2009

Just saw an ad on TV for Miracle Whip - the ghetto, white trash version of mayonnaise for Americans born in a trailer park - that is meant to make the brand really unique and hip for young cool, culturally aware hipsters. It features all these young people playing near the beach and skating on skate boards holding out bottles of Miracle Whip saying things like "We are our own unique blend of herbs and spices and we will not tone it down." I really can't imagine how many creative ad execs medicated themselves to be able to cope after they came up with that one.

This is essentially the white trash American Mayonnaise substitute version of one of those unbearable Christian evangelists who try to get you to become Christian by explaining that you can still play sport and be a surfer and be a "cool "dude" and worship "the Lord". Bet you didn't think Christians rode motorcycles, did you? Oh certainly not. Consider me a convert. Where do I sign?

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Look at that. What a surprise to be talking about Paris Hilton after not wanting to. Forever. Yesterday, Paris Hilton was on The View to talk about her unshockingly crap new reality show “My New BFF” (which interestingly enough apparently involves a trip to the Middle East – hope she doesn’t get stoned to death). I was watching my DVRed episode of The View and thought, ok, maybe Joy Behar will hack into her a little – that should be fun except sadly there was literally no chance of that here in the North East of the US. Actually, there was no chance of that anywhere in the US as far as I know because – as had been predicted for at least the last week – General Motors was announcing its bankruptcy Monday morning and the president was scheduled to address the manner in which they were to be bailed out. So, about thirty seconds into the Paris Hilton segment ABC cut to a Special News Report and broadcast president Obama’s live press conference instead.

Look at that Paris – you got upstaged by the NEW zeitgeist. You didn’t think it could last forever, did you?
What struck me about this was that this transference of national attention was as intense to watch as the kiss between Madonna and Britney Spears or the less important figurative passing of the torch from Lauren Conrad to Heidi Montag on The Hills a few weeks ago. It really is the dawning of the Age of Aquarius.
I haven’t even been watching or reading the news that much for the past week and I still knew this announcement was happening. It’s not like the president just usually just grabs national news airtime at the touch of a button for no apparent reason. We knew this was coming.

Consequently, I think it’s safe to assume that the producers of The View slotted her in there as a guest because they knew the name was cheap and simple enough to get viewers in but ultimately it wasn’t going to cause any kind of conflict as it may have with a guest of any real substance that might have felt jilted afterwards. Paris Hilton, after all, doesn’t feel.
Regardless, it doesn’t seem to matter what Paris Hilton does, she’s still a figure that people love to humiliate whether it be the general public or some television producers. I couldn’t help but watch this cut away from The View and remember the time she had her Sidekick stolen and hacked and was quoted in the press as saying, “I just don’t understand why this kind of thing keeps happening to me.” - or something to that effect.
It happens to you, Paris, because you’re the cultural equivalent to cheap, pornography flavoured, corn syrup choc crème filled snack cakes. Everyone loves you because you’re affordable, consistent and easy but ultimately you induce innumerable cultural diseases. Paris, you eventuate the cultural equivalent of some kind of digestive cancer brought on by too much refined white flour and sugar. People like you until you aren’t doing it for them anymore and then they blame you because you make them feel pain. People lash out. Like phone hackers, TV producers and maybe even the smug new black president.

But wait, let’s be fair. Paris may actually have changed.
For one thing, she’s not exactly everywhere we look right now any more. I mean, that period of time where she was in and out of prison upstaged the resignation of General Peter Pace and the AP, for one, came up with a policy of refusing to report on her because she was everywhere. She was everything and nothing at once. Right now, she’s nowhere near that level of exposure and I think that shows remarkable restraint on her behalf. These days she’s only a lingering rainstorm not another city destroying hurricane.
So, she’s doing the rounds now because has a new impossibly shit reality show about how she wants a new best friend and she’s out doing media to promote it. One thing that’s different about Hilton now is that her voice is a lot lower. The segment that did air on the View involved Joy Behar asking her how she got so thin and she claimed it was because of “pilates” as all good publicist retaining celebrities tend to do and then she went on to talk about the MTV awards and her voice was noticeably lower and calmer than the time she went on Larry King. On The View she seemed less insistent on playing the role of the evil cheerleader who knows how to be polite in front of the parents at the school function. That was probably one of the reasons why there was such a backlash against her after she went on Larry King. Apart from the fact that was speaking at all and revealing that she’s not really some kind of omniscient pop culture god, the high voice made her sound insincere.
My god, this post is still going.
With her new, lower voice she sounds slightly less put-on and in fact when you look at the ads for her new reality show the music is quirky and makes her look like she’s potentially making fun of herself and who knew she had the mental capacity for something as complex as that? Although, just to end this on a disappointing note, when you watch the actual show, it’s fairly standard reality TV fodder with plenty of totally staged scenes and a minor key dancey theme song that invokes the kind of ego indulgence your average mid-western reality TV viewer needs to stay alive and kicking.

So, overall – Paris Hilton’s new show is – surprise surprise – totally innocuous and, as you’d expect, she is still being kicked while she’s down but she’s perhaps figuring out that not everything she does is gold simply because she does it. That’s why she now has a lower voice in interviews. Having that realization can’t be a bad thing when you’re now just a wilting zeitgeist being upstaged by the bankruptcy of a car manufacturer.

Done and done.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Yet another mysterious beast has washed up on the North Fork of Long Island and for some reason I am less hysterical than I have been in the past when it comes to these weird hybrid beast carcasses. To be honest, the most interesting part about the video above is the fact that there’s some Long Island guy talking in a mobster accent providing running commentary in the background. Those mobster guys are so inherently likable and threatening; what a trooper.

Still, yes, there is some kind of weird human-molared carcass with white skin and tufts of black hair sprouting out from it and it doesn’t immediately look like any other type of animal so, naturally, it shall now become the physical embodiment of all irrational local fear of the immortals and, for me specifically, of my own of fundamental worldly irrelevance.

I suspect that what’s really behind this mysterious beast is just some kind of real life example of the Island of Doctor Moreau but with a tinge more military thrown in. That’s probably all it is. Chemical and biological experiments being conducted by the military near New York City and whenever they change course they just toss the mistake into the ocean and try and get on with it without dwelling too much on the abominations they keep creating. I can live with that. It’s sort of like freelance writing for gay magazines when you think about it.

Speaking of monsters returning to our collective consciousness as a metaphor, Joss Stone on The Tudors looks remarkably like Laura Bush or at least the Bush twin with blond hair who looks more like her father. It’s something in the eyes and jaw and teeth. What a surprise to be thinking about anyone in the Bush family right now. I wasn’t expecting that at all although, Laura Bush did leave such a legacy of medicated ambivalence and repressed rage that she should be a gay icon by now. Actually, George W will have to die first and she’ll need to stop wearing brown.

As Anne of Cleves, Joss Stone is clinging to a German accent and while it’s difficult to stomach that, her heavily rehearsed and strained German really is nothing compared to Jonathan Rhys Myers’ ham acting. Mind you, it is the best he’s ever done and he’s starting to learn how to deliver lines where it doesn’t always look like he’s about to pass a chair so at least we have some progress. Regardless, I, for one, am totally hooked on the show and watch each episode at least twice.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

I knew I was right about Obama and the hamburger. I knew it. I am so fucking right I could puke my god damned reluctant whore guts right out of my “unimpressed-with-the-burger” face.

Yesterday, media like the Christian Science Monitor and Fox’s Sean Hannity – jumped on the story that Obama went to get burgers in Arlington, Virginia for themselves and the press corp. Sean Hannity, like clockwork, went nuts using Obama’s interest in mustard which happened to be Grey Poupon as a way of proving he is elitist Liberal and therefore out of touch and , one would expect, ultimately plotting in a secret and conniving way to fuck the poor out of happiness just like Scrooge or the Grinch or that Monopoly man. Except with an east coast degree (and that makes it worse). The basis for the Grey Poupon-means-you’re-an-elitist argument is that in the late 80s Grey Poupon had a series of ads that showed parodies of rich people eating it. Sean Hannity, on TV, said, "I hope you enjoyed that fancy burger, Mr. President."

I wrote about Obama’s use of a hamburger as propaganda MONTHS ago when I saw it as the first chink in his armor. He completely disappointed me by ordering a burger on Air Force One when he could have had basically anything at all. Then he dragged out the ordering and it was labored and forced and clearly pre-meditated. I was disappointed that he didn’t stick to his dietary guns and continue being the messiah by ordering a macrobiotically balanced meal of tofu, sunlight, wheat grass and birchtwigs (actually, writing that sounds annoyingly left wing even for me – let’s reign it in and say he should have ordered a lean chicken salad with almonds and a light Asian dressing - no oil.)

Burgers may be a safe culinary bet for most Americans but they are uninteresting and every time I’m in a French bistro with an American and they order the burger it secretly makes me think less of them. That is what happened when I saw Obama order the burger. I felt like I was at a dinner with just another unadventurous person.

President Obama has to do things like order a burger in front of the press corp because many Americans demand to be coddled and led around like moronic narcissist sheep when it comes to their leaders. So this is really just maintenance. It’s the culinary equivalent to kissing babies in shopping malls but better because it feels less Catholic.

I mean, let’s face it; Obama probably did suffer mightily through that completely unnatural photo op. I posted the photo just above because even though I'm unsure if it was taken in Arlington it stil shows the pain in his face at having to suffer through crap like this. He probably sat there grinning and bearing what was probably a nauseatingly tasty but extraordinarily toxic, heart bursting death trap of a meal while Biden rambled on about how he already knew what burger he wanted the minute he walked through the door and didn’t even need to talk to his PR staff about what to order for maximum political impact. What an onslaught of bullshit he has to put up with.

So, I’m not saying I agree with Sean Hannity when he says that Obama is elitist because he ordered spicy mustard on a medium-well done burger – that’s going too far. I’m saying I agree with Sean Hannity that Obama and Biden were using the ordering of a burger to show that they’re just like everyone else. I don’t care how much of a zeitgeist the president is, he’s absolutely guilty of actively seeking situations that help prove he’s just like everyone else because he essentially isn't.

The thing is, it’s also impossible for a right winger like Hannity to win the burger argument on the basis of mustard right now because the right wing has no credibility. When the right wing do this kind of thing they just look desperate. What we see clearly illustrated here is that in America today ordering a burger in full public view makes political sense but if you argue with the burger by citing mustard it’s absurd.

That’s right – this entire thing is about the political impact of a presidential hamburger. This is America. [source] [source]

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

I haven't been watching a whole lot of news because I've been focusing all my attention on Amanda Lepore's new 950 dollar perfume, but this exhaustive segment on the president's "swagga" caught my eye online anyway and it really is amazingly shit work by CNN.

For some reason, I can’t figure out how to embed this file so you have to go to the Huffington Post website and watch it there and then come back.

I think we can all agree that watching a white news anchor sit on camera totally perked out of his or her mind on caffeine talk about street culture by emulating it in between erupting with relentless exuberant forced optimism is very similar to watching a young mother with unpopular children whose heads are unfortunately and strangely asymmetrical try and suck up to the popular children in her kid’s class by emulating the popular kids' behaviour.

Except in the instance with CNN, everyone watching television becomes the poor insecure child who is crippled with embarrassment at what their parent is doing. Everyone means you and me.

Actually, the same thing happens when you’re watching the Hills (HA! I typed Hells and I nearly left it there because it’s funny that I accidentally named the place all Catholics are afraid of) and Spencer Pratt answers his phone to Brody Jenner and he suddenly becomes this completely amazing and nauseating white black guy. “Yo yo wassup?”. When he starts speaking like that on his phone you can see his eyes glaze over and his body freeze and his mind works overtime to become this generically marketable variable on the already hatefully bland object he is. I saw him do it on Monday and when I was in the shower I thought about how great it would be to answer “Oh hi Spencer, it’s me. I just called to distract you while a lot of people burst through your front door and beat you to death.” I also realized this week that it’s ok to watch the Hills if you are at someone else’s apartment. Also, you should watch it so you can have prior knowledge of what Richard Lawson writes about in his summation on That’s the rule. That’s why I’m not getting stupider and stupider from watching MTV while I figure out ways to turn Amanda Lepore’s perfume into a launching point for cultural analysis. Now I’m actually smarter and more outgoing now than ever before.

So, basically, apart from the perfume components of what I just wrote, what we have here is a whole lot of white people all over the place acting like black people when they are really just the whitest people you will ever know. I find it difficult to watch because it makes me feel like an unpopular child. Fuck you, CNN and fuck you Spencer Pratt and fuck you, kid I went to school with who I ultimately felt empathy for and now can't forget.


Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Zac Efron has a film called 17 Again coming out on Friday so he’s everywhere and it’s impossible to miss him. When you do see him it’s impossible not to be astonished by how powerful his charms really are. I’m seeing the film in an hour and a half and all I’ve been able to think about all day is Zac Efron. I can think of nothing else and it’s not just because I’m a fag.

Zac Efron is as beautiful as Britney Spears music is catchy. It’s impossible to not have some kind of infectious reaction to him because his appeal is engineered by PR Executive Psychiatrists to be generic and easy enough for anyone anywhere to be affected by his cultural powers.

The interesting thing about the way America consumes someone like Zac Efron is that they actually consume him in parts. There’s his hair, his torso, his eyes, his singing voice and I actually think they are the primary assets he has. Teenage girls think they see Zac Efron as a complete human but they don’t. He is marketed on the strength of those things because those are the things that people notice first and most and they react to them as strongly, simply and immediately as they would the corn syrup in their twinkie or the meth in their crystal.
America has this tendency to compartmentalize the human body for the purposes of marketing. You can buy medication and appliances to treat and improve different parts of the body and the narrative involved in first gauging the product to feeling the need to buy it, buying it and using it is centered around an isolation effect which is fundamentally designed to induce panic that can be placated through purchase.

There is that nail polish that uselessly contains green tea extract (for what purpose? So you can lose weight and fight free radicals with a polymer that feeds your body caffeine and antioxidants through the dead matter at the end of your fingers? Totally!). By inferring that your nails need all these magical ingredients the manufacturer infers that not only are nails vitally important, they are in trouble, they need to be fixed, there are multiple ways to fix them (which infers that there are multiple things wrong with them usually linked to weight and age anxiety – two of the biggest motivators in western culture) but don’t worry – this product will help you. It’s the same with those inflatable water filled bags that go over your legs like pants made of water that apparently act like a self contained spa. The great thing about these pants though is that they don’t get you wet so you can stay in your arm chair facing the TV.

So, the internal monologue at this point is something like "Quick, I need a self contained spa for my legs that doesn’t get me wet. I need it because I’m going insane from trying to make sense of all these absurd products and the fact that according to TV, my body is no longer one entity; it’s a menu of items that all need to be catered for separately.

Zac Efron is a product that, like an non-wetting leg spa bag, caters specifically to one facet of our being. In this case, it’s the tide of mainstream America’s weird sexual identity and libido. Everyone either finds Zac Efron creepily fake attractive or they’re attracted to him because they don’t know any better. On the strength of his eyes, hair, torso and voice it’s impossible to find him completely repulsive or to genuinely have no reaction to him. Unless you are Siddartha Gotama.

I was watching him on The View yesterday and he is unnervingly mesmerizing. I’ve never cconsciously thought that before because I don’t care about the products he is involved in and I’ve never bothered to watch his movies. If I had I would have been completely mesmerized way earlier than yesterday. His jeans, shoes, hair and eyes were out in full, high impact force as he walked out to sell the hell out of what I think we can all safely assume will amount to a pretty obvious and average film.

Fundamentally though, no human is that powerful unless they are crafted by a team of professionals and because he is crafted as such, Zac Efron is full force American pop culture teenage sex object like no one else. So much so, in fact, that Sherri Sheppard made some weird joke about how she was fantasizing about him for the full length of the film when she saw it but the way she explained it sounded odd and Whoopi Goldberg looked really uncomfortable and then the ladies of the View just made jokes about how Sherri Sheppard is a cougar for the rest of the interview.

It sort of reminded me of when Travis Fimmel went on Sharon Osbourne’s absurd talk show and he just sat in silence while the women in the audience screamed and then that was the interview.

But you know, I think it’s OK to be hypnotized by Zac Efron’s beauty because he is designed by a massive corporate machine to be that attractive to everyone. Constantly. It’s the same kind of thing with deciding to numb your brain by watching The Hills. When you’re done interacting with it the effect wears off and you go back to being about as smart as you were before you started watching it. It’s meant to hit you hard and fast but not to last. In that sense, I guess you could say that Zac Efron is the polar opposite of Wagner whose work creeps into your soul and then just sits there and it adheres to you forever. If you want to be discerning and earnest about Zac Efron's influence on your life then just look the other way until he goes away. His powers are mainly visual anyway.

My guess is that Zac will probably vanish in the next few years anyway – unless he does a Gus van Sant or Gregg Araki film that has him cast as a rapist or alcoholic (or both!). Romantic lead roles might be likely and graspable for Efron but they lack the necessary edge that it will take to wash off the sickly plastic stench of his years as a Disney product. He needs to have dinner with Charlize Theron and take some pointers on how to be taken seriously when your physical beauty is so great it threatens to destroy you.

Monday, April 06, 2009

It was just this morning that I woke up and thought to myself, “How could I possibly arrange to buy a laptop, an iphone, a hideously gaudy and ostentatious crucifix inlaid with diamonds, an equally absurd diamond ring and a attention demanding watch that explains to people that no matter how much money I actually have, I will always be plagued by a crippling status anxiety that means I will always fail to see that being understated and subtle is inherently more impressive than being overdone and insistent.

What a joy it then was to find this post on ebay.

What could be more reassuring than buying from a retailer who, while capable of apparently pulling all these items together to actually sell them, can’t stray from meaningless phrases like “on the market today” and sets up their sales site to resemble that of a function center in Staten Island.

“A must have for any tech savvy millionaire, this Apple Mac Super Set features TraxNYC's top of the line Mens Diamond Ring, Cross, Bracelet and Watch along with a Mac Book Pro and the highly desired iPhone on the market today. “

Plus, this is fabulous:

100% Authentic 100% of the time, TraxNYC only deals with natural mined diamonds, for anything else go somewhere else. {because in order to prove how serious we are about our business claims we’re going to passive aggressively call your bluff} Your item will come with documentation, click here to see what you get! {Oh, totally – I’ll click there. Actually, I’ll click there! Sorry, forgot the energetic exclamation mark that comes with the excitement of checking to see what you get when you’re paying 55K for diamonds on ebay}

Hi, this retailer is totally not some ironyless gangster from Queens who walks around in a microfiber suit nodding aggressively at everything, repressing his rapist tendencies and wearing sunglasses at night. Plus, what the fuck kind of name is “TraxNYC”? It sounds like a cross between an online sex site profile name and some hideous club between tenth and eleventh avenues where people regularly get shot; two things I totally want to conjour up as I go to buy 55,000 dollars worth of computer equipment and grotesque jewelry by mail through ebay.

This is the kind of thing someone featured on MTV’s Cribs would do. It’s like buying a piano you don’t play and a set of faux Baroque dining chairs online. Nothing about it makes sense but somehow you feel like you’re living the American dream so that makes you a genius when you do it.