Thursday, October 29, 2009

#8 Halloween (Booooooooooo!)

You really aren't supposed to not like halloween. What are you, a wet blanket? The death of the party?

It's competitive creativity, what's not to like about that? It's drunken extroversion. AWESOME! It's making clever puns and turning them into costumes and wearing the costumes so then people can ask you what you are and you can say something like "a board meeting!" or "george washington zombie" or "the concept of hubris," and they can fake-laugh and you can feel clever and then you can ask them what their costume is or better yet, "who are you supposed to be?" and they can say, I'm a "cheerful serial killier" or "someone who eats babies, see the baby-blood trickling from the corner of my mouth? ha-HAH!" or "the world's most enormous whore!" and then you can fake-laugh and you all drink and pretend to be having a wonderful time and not totally wishing you could just take all this stupid makeup off and get away from her awful cigarette-cosmo-breath.

Super. Just super.

I remember hating halloween when I was growing up. It's too much pressure and not enough payoff. It's embarrassing to go around begging people for food, especially when you really never get candy any other time. There's something downright shaming about it, your costume's never as good as the rich kid or the arty kid. It's just always kind of lame and literalizes how comparatively uncreative you are in a world that's already doing a pretty good job of reminding you of that every single other freaking day of the year. So you either feel bad about yourself or you make a total drunken ass of yourself. Either way, I don't see the margin there.

But no, let's party! Come on, Bobby, it's good fun! Well, I'm not really having any fun dressed up as "a dirty martini," really I just want to wear some normal clothes and hang out and, I don't know, just not be bombarded with this extroverted id all over the place. But try getting on the subway on Halloween with that noise. The subway on Halloween is the saddest, most desperate spectacle you'll ever see. People either sitting there ashamed of themselves for being forced by their girlfriend into wearing this stupid costume, or overcompensating and literally screaming at each other in a too-forced travesty of drunken revelry. Mostly it's just a bunch of prancing gits who need to be smacked in the mouth and told to shush and use "indoor voices."

Hm..."Indoor Voices," "The Wet Blanket," "The Death of the Party" now those might make decent costumes...


Monday, October 26, 2009

#7 Dive Bars

"Where should we go?"
"I know! There's this great place called Grimey's. Cheap beer, a bunch of regulars, it's awesome, follow me!"

And so there you are. Feet sticking to the floor where a thousand drunks have spit, drooled or spilled their beer and bourbon. The yellow-red light bouncing around the place. The palpable sense of hopelessness and despair. A couple of 50-year-old alcoholics glaring at intrepid you. And you, you trying to act like this is all perfectly normal; you act your absolute coolest with the overweight and lazy bartender who repays you by adamantly refusing to suspend disbelief and treating you like you don't belong. Oh and what's that playing on the Jukebox? "Downeaster Alexa" by Billy Joel?! Awesome!!!

Well, it isn't awesome. It sucks. Invariably. Dive bars suck. I mean I know the booze is a bit cheaper, and that's great and all but really, is the extra dollar or two you're saving per drink worth all this disgustingness? Slumming it is stupid, it is; it's simultaneously disingenuous and condescending. Are we so ashamed of our preference for nice things that we have to wallow in this filth just to make ourselves feel like we're not privileged even though the entire experience of being in the dive bar only literalizes how out-of-place we are? Isn't your disgust at the fancy-pants snoots at the nice, upscale bars really just disgust and shame directed at your reflected selves? The fact is, a nice uptown bar in a hotel or some such is going to be better in every possible way.

First, no one will look at you (RIGHTLY) like you don't belong (because you, my readers, don't belong at the dive bar, you don't, you're not "down" with the "people." If you're under 50 and you have a college degree you are OUT. You're privileged. Even if you have no money, you are still privileged and do not belong with those people...they know it and you know it, so stop pretending, because it's unseemly .). Second, the bathroom will work and afford you privacy or not make you want to kill yourself. Third, there will be plenty of places to sit, comfortably, at a table or at the bar, like a real-live adult, instead of surrounded by either people who are nothing like you or people who, like you, are trying desperately to be something they aren't. Either way, you'll be yourself and not some complete douchewad pretending your life away. Finally, the place will be nice, pleasant, you won't stick to anything, the lighting will be muted, neither too light nor too dark, the decor will be unobtrusive and will not pride itself on its obnoxiousness, tastelessness and/or low-scale destitution. In short, you will have a simply wonderful time, I promise.

All tolled dive bars are fine for their audience but that's it. They are not for you. Drink someplace nicer where you can ask for the top shelf stuff and the 55-year-old bartender in his bow-tie and sock garters will call you sir and make you a Don Draper-worthy sidecar.

The next time you and your friends find yourself at one of these dive bars (named "Flippo's" or "The Absolute End of the World" or "Grotesquerie" or, worst of all, "Dive Bar") and you're squatting there in the bathroom, staring at the drunk-retarded mutterings that seriously call into question the lasting value of the human race etched into the wall of the commode because that's the only place you can look without vomiting into your mouth, ask yourself whether the 3 dollars you're saving on that pitcher is really worth it. Ask yourself if you're just trying to prove something (i.e. that you're not a privileged little twit) that isn't really worth proving both because a) it's untrue and b) because lowering yourself to this level only re-enforces your pampered twittery. I think you'll find, if you're not too drunk and full of your own bloated self-importance, that you don't belong there.

So get up! Get up now! All of you! and leave the dive bars to those who have truly abandoned their hope. That's what they're there for. And you are just making them more miserable by sitting there, trying to take part, like the absolute worst kind of tourists. Unless your goal is to actually become one of those people (i.e. a miserable alcoholic shell of a human being) which honestly I have absolutely no problem with whatsoever...seriously, if that's the choice you want to make, go for it, but don't half-ass it and just visit and call it "awesome" or "fun" or "more real" because it's none of those things. If not, go to your own bars and leave them be. They are not for you.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

# 6 Being a Dork (or a Nerd or a Geek)

As a science fiction fan who owns the entire Farscape and Babylon 5 series on DVD, I'm getting really annoyed at the ubiquity of beautiful people saying "I'm such a dork!" I mean supermodels self-identify as “total nerds” these days because they read the latest Wally Lamb. By Grabthar’s Hammer, there’s a hip-hopping group called N.E.R.D.!

I know, there’s a way to spin this that nerds are no longer being marginalized and all that, but being marginalized is what being a dork MEANS.
The real nerds, I mean the ones who go to Babylon 5 conventions are just
as uncool as ever, but now they don’t even have the comfort of a shared
identity that hasn’t been co-opted by the Michael Ian Blacks and Jason Lees of the world.

Rather, cool people flatter themselves by associating with things like comic book culture and awkward outcastery because these things are now supposedly “cool,” but the minute that happened, they ceased to be genuinely, nerdy, dorky or geeky (I know that all these designations have their own sub-connotations and shouldn’t be used interchangeably, but for my purposes this holds, because the people using them who shouldn't don't understand those distinctions). If "punk rock died when the first kid said, 'punk's not dead,'" then nerdhood died when Jessica Alba said "I'm such a dork."

Isn’t this an even more insidious form of nerd-persecution? Would Natalie Portman ever deign to actually go to a Farscape Convention and hang out and talk about her favorite episodes or get together with real D&D dorks and commit to an adventure as a kick ass elfin bard with a penchant for skullduggery? Would the real-life analog to the Simpson’s Comic Book Guy ever really be welcome at the Greenpoint dive bar? Of course not. Genuine nerds are as unwelcome as ever and yet the Scarlet N is being worn with such pride these days that the word no longer signifies, and nerds, real nerds have been robbed of their one genuine comfort: belonging to an identifiable class that can differentiate itself at least from Natalie freaking Portman.

Being a dork is not about giggling, squealing, self-satisfied joy and false humility. "I'm such a dork" is meant to be spoken with shame...and yourself...alone, because you have no friends except your dungeon master and Londo Molari and Rygel the XVI, Dominar of the Hynerian Empire.

Friday, October 16, 2009

#5 Prince

Can you imagine going to a dinner party or something and the subject of Prince comes up and everyone starts waxing rhapsodic about what a genius the guy is and how sexy and awesome and what a musician and showman and everything and then you pipe up, yeah, but you know, I don't really like Prince that much I mean I get what people are saying but I just never really want to listen to the music, you know, and the hostess drops her platter of tilapia and everyone looks at you like you're the world's most enormous douche?

I can.

If you don't like Prince well then you are just not sexy enough, or really into sexiness and being all sexy and musical and short and totally sexed-up big time. But it's not just Prince's extreme sexiness, but also his songwriting! and musicality! the genius of his soulful musical songwriting! and not just how well he plays his instruments but how many of them! and his SOUND?! I mean no one else sounds like Prince, he's a genius at developing a musicality of sound that rises to the level of genius and when you combine that with all of that amazing sexfulness, I mean WHOA you really should NOT not like that. Because the women, you know, the "ladies", they love Prince's musical sexiness and the men, well, as I said, if the "ladies" love Prince's musical sexiness the "guys" are going to be all like Prince is totally way so super-genius and maybe the women will be so sexified by the sheer genius musicality of the sound-sex that Prince is bringing to the table, that some kind of soulful mustachioed midwestern purply sex-party will break out and I mean who doesn't want to be there for that level of sweaty squishiness? Everyone all short and sweaty and bristly and writhing on each other to the soulfulness of the musical SOUND of "Get Off"?

I don't know, maybe it's just me, but I've had Prince on my iPod for about 2 years now and never, not once, have I ever bothered to press play on it and whenever one of his songs comes on randomly I just skip past it and think to myself you know, this really isn't that good. But any time I tell anyone, it makes them drop their tilapia on my shoes.
Because you're not allowed to not like Prince.
It's just not OK.
You just don't understand MUSIC and Genius and Sexiness and Purple.
I guess I don't.
I guess I don't.

All I can think is, "Ew. Please get off of me (and my iPod)."

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

#4 Questions

Ugh, nothing is worse than listening to an artist talk about how it wasn't her intention to provide any answers, but really just to ask questions to get people thinking about X or stir people into having conversations about Y, or call attention to issue Z; "Isn't it more important to get people thinking and asking more questions?"

No. It's not. It's more important to get me some freaking answers aready!

What's more, it's completely disingenuous. Of course, these people think they have answers and the only real questions they want you to ask are "does this guy need an agent?" or "wasn't that brilliant?" or "do you think she's single?" The one way you know someone thinks the world of herself is when she insists that all she's doing is asking questions and maybe that's partially because you're not allowed to say that because we want our artists humble and so we have to have this whole song-and-dance about preferring questions to answers, but who in god's name prefers questions to answers? On the other hand, setting the art-bar so low creates the perverse result of spinning a cocoon around "artists" who really don't have anything to say and so this absolves them from the hard work of figuring something out.

Questions suck, answers are awesome. Any questions?

Monday, October 12, 2009


Ok, LOLCATS (and kind of internet memes in general).

It's the inside joke phenomenon. The fact of its being an inside joke is what makes people think what they're seeing is actually funny regardless of whether or not it IS actually funny, because what's "funny" is merely the sense of self-flattery that you're in on the joke and so if you admit that it's not really funny (because, really, it's not funny, it's just stoned-nonsense-dribblings that skew retarded), well then you're not "in" anymore which means you are no longer a cool part of this cool internet meme community that prides itself on its insularity and cleverness even though really it's just a bunch of bad stoner jokes. Lolcats are retarded (cf. this from Time Magazine, via Wikipedia: "The term lolcat gained national media attention in the United States when it was covered by Time which wrote that non-commercialized phenomena of the sort are increasingly rare, stating that lolcats have 'a distinctly old-school, early 1990s, Usenet feel to [them]'").

Uch...just, uch...

Friday, October 9, 2009

#2 Kale

People simply adore kale. Oh, it's so delicious, they say, steamed with just a little lemon, perfect.

Uh, no it's not. It's a leafy bitter fucking green. But you must love kale, because if you don't love kale you're not healthy enough. You need to embrace your health so dearly that you have to pretend to love something that is inherently undeserving of love.

People don't really love kale (that would be impossible). Rather, they love the idea of themselves eating a leafy green. How healthy, how delicious! No, it's not delicious. It's kale. It's not a bacon cheeseburger. It's not foie gras. It's not creme brulee. It's not even a really ripe, sweet and juicy peach. It's freaking kale.

Eat your kale, but be honest about it. Eat it with resentment. The resentment borne of being burdened with craving unhealthy things. Be unhappy, because really, kale is terrible. It is, it's just terrible. Yeah, it's ok if you eat it in a soup that you make with sausage, but that tells you everything you need to know. Just don't tell anyone you hate it because that means you're just an unhealthy person and we don't want to hear from unhealthy people reminding us of our delusionary relationship with healthy foods.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

#1 Stuff White People Like

You're not allowed to be white and not like "Stuff White People Like" because that means you take yourself too seriously, which is something the white people who like "Stuff White People Like" will tell you is really so totally white of you.

Here's something white people like:

Because if you're white and you like "Stuff White People Like", that means you're totally not one of those white people the white guy who writes "Stuff White People Like" rips on all the time for being so lame and white. Conversely, if you're white and you don't like "Stuff White People Like", you don't have a sense of humor and that's so completely white of you, it isn't even funny.