Monday, October 31, 2011

Excerpts from the Zombie Kama Sutra -- Halloween exclusive

In honor of Halloween, below is an excerpt from the Zombie Kama Sutra, which is sort of like the regular Kama Sutra that we living people all know and love, except that it's aimed at the Undead. This excerpt features some highly disturbing and erotic images of zombie sexual positions. Please stop reading if the thought of such matter disturbs you.

IN the beginning, the Lord of Beings created men and women, and prescribed therefore about one million rules by which those men and women must necessarily regulate their living existence. Yet, these rules have not applied to the undead. For too long have these wayward, shambling, unholy creatures attempted to engage the acts of courtship, embracing, unions, seduction, and etc.

Death should not be used as an excuse for chaos.

To that end are written these more than one thousand chapters, intended as a guide to those who have risen from the grave by whatever means, be it metaphysical, mystical, biological, or extraterrestrial. These important "rules to be dead by" shall provide to the zombie the proper knowledge in regards to conducting oneself in all manner of intimate relations.

From Part 1st, Chapter 1st: On Getting Your Kicks When Your Bucket Has Been Kicked.

MAN is divided into three classes, according to the size of his thingambob. UNDEAD man is divided into two classes, depending on whether or not he has retained all his limbs and brains.

WOMAN is also divided into three classes, depending on the depth of her you-know-what. So too is UNDEAD woman divided into two classes, corresponding to the number of remaining limbs and brains also.

The temperament of the undead is based most especially on the proximity to brains. The brain is the most important sexual organ. The undead crave brains. The undead are attracted to the brains of one another.

Whatshisname says, "The undead male will feel a driven desire to slowly and inexorably move forward toward any source of food, but will willingly subsume the desire for food if there is anywhere in his field of vision a willing undead female coital partner. The undead woman is much more sensitive, and is likely to derive a pleasurable sense of contentment from the touch of the undead male, as evidenced by the low, monotonous moan that escapes from her decaying lips following the act of romantic congress. The undead female will expect from her undead romantic partner a reciprocating low, monotonous tone, sometimes known as 'Pillow Moaning.' The undead male, left to his own devices, would rather fall asleep."

Of the various means of congress among the undead, there are many different types. These types are divided into several different categories: The Low, the Lower, the Gruesome, the Despicable, the Loathsome, the I'd-Rather-Not-Even-Think-About-It, and the Not Even if You Paid Me a Million Bucks, Even Though I'm Undead.

Variously are below illustrated a few of the Low types:

IN the pleasure crypt, it is decorated with incense that disguises the odor of decay. The undead citizen should therein receive the undead woman, who shall give her decrepit, bruised, disgusting body, with its exposed brains and innards so that the undead citizen should freely find love's sustenance. It is in this manner that shall the bodies of the undead be so used until such time as they fall apart against each other, the eroded limbs falling off and the body crumbling to a fine dust, to be ingested, along with dead rose petals and oils, by the next undead couple to engage in the act of congress in the pleasure crypt.

It is the circle of undeath!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Actually, no, profanity is not "making a splash in book titles"

USAToday has fearlessly reported on the alleged use of profanity in book titles. Sort of. Actually, USAToday isn't sure exactly what it's reporting on, since it did one of those the-headline-and-first-paragraph-say-one-thing-which-is-then-directly-contradicted-by-the-very-next-paragraph things that most "journalists" seem to thrive on.

Here is the headline: Profanity is making a splash in book titles. And now, the first paragraph:
Somewhere, Maxwell Perkins is weeping.
Maxwell Perkins, for those of you who aren't as clever as Deirdre Donahue, the author of this USAToday piece, was a very, very famous literary editor. Probably the most famous literary editor ever. He edited F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, and Tobias Wolfe. He was ahead of his time.
Explains biographer A. Scott Berg, Perkins "sought out authors who were not just 'safe,' conventional in style and bland in content, but who spoke in a new voice about the new values of the postwar world."
Why would Maxwell Perkins (who is, by the way, dead, and therefore not weeping, but decomposing, but let's leave that aside for now) be weeping? One assumes that it's because, as the headline of USAToday's article asserts, that profanity is making a splash in book titles. Meaning that Mr. Perkins, who championed Ernest Hemingway, for crying out loud, must have had some qualms with "profanity," to the point of which the sight of it on a book cover would cause even his very corpse to weep.

And yet:
Fitzgerald introduced Perkins to a young American writer living in Paris named Ernest Hemingway. When Perkins brought Hemingway's work to Charles Scribner (then 72), Scribner was shocked by the subject matter and frequent use of profanity. Perkins convinced Hemingway to tone down the language and Scribner's published The Sun Also Rises and A Farewell to Arms to great critical acclaim.
So, it was actually Charles Scribner who was shocked by the profanity in Mr. Hemingway's book. Charles Scribner was the publisher. He held the purse strings. He wasn't going to publish a book that "shocked" him, so Mr. Perkins advised Mr. Hemingway to tone down the profanity in order to get the book published.

Wikipedia boils it down to this:
A daring book for the times, Perkins fought for it over objections to Hemingway's profanity raised by traditionalists in the firm.
Mr. Perkins actually fought for the more liberal use of language in American publishing.

Already, one paragraph in, we have reason to suspect that the USAToday author has no idea what she's talking about. But all doubt is soon to be removed, worry not. Back to the article:
Publishing used to be a gentleman's profession. But the trend of using profanity in titles — already common in pop songs and even on Broadway — has now spread to books.

In the past year there have been three songs on Billboard's Hot 100 chart with the f-word in the title. Chris Rock starred in the Broadway play The Mother------ With the Hat. And now publishing is awash with best sellers whose unprintable titles are, for the most part, being coyly disguised by asterisks and other symbols over select vowels on the jackets.
The author claims that "the trend of using profanity in titles" is common in pop songs and on Broadway, and then mentions that there have been a total of three whole songs on Billboard's Hot 100 chart with "the f-word" ("fiddlesticks"?) in the title.

In the past year! That's not just common-- that's practically an epidemic. The author also mentions one whole entire play with the word "Mother------" in it. Apparently, "Mother" followed by six dashes constitutes a profanity.

The author then contradicts the very premise of the article's headline, by stating that in fact the titles of these books don't have profanities in them at all-- they're actually "being coyly disguised by asterisks and other symbols over select vowels."

The headline of this USAToday article should actually read,

Bowdlerization is making a splash in book titles.

Here are the covers of the books mentioned in the article:

Maybe your definition of "profanity" is different from mine, but I count exactly one word in those book titles that could be considered as such. The rest of those titles, as the USAToday author points out, "coyly" bowdlerize the titles so as not to offend the likes of... um...

Maxwell Perkins?

This is the world in which we now find ourselves: So infantilized that the sight of "the f-word" on the outside of a book must be covered up lest some of us go into conniptions, and four whole books are enough to show that publishing is "awash" in "profane" titles. Watch out for the tidal wave.

Monday, October 24, 2011

The first chapter of the second Arsole Fantüme novel, Underwhere

The first Arsole Fantüme novel, Arsole Fantüme, Gentleman Immoralist, has done so well that I'm often asked, "When will you be getting around to publishing a sequel?" And when I say "often," I actually mean "occasionally." Actually, the novel has done surprisingly well-- well enough that I've been working on the translation of the second in the series, Underwhere, for awhile now. I've got the first 100 pages or so translated, from an (obviously) unpublished manuscript I acquired during my last trip to Paris, in 2010. I hope to have this translation finished soon; unfortunately, I'm busy with multiple projects, and the nefarious Prince of Night Soil has had to take a back seat, in a manner of speaking. But I thought, in honor of Halloween-- a holiday made for terror!-- that I would offer up a translation of the first harrowing chapter. To that end, here it is. Enjoy...

...if you can dare!



For the unfortunate reader who has missed the first novel in this most exciting and fantastic series, pity is due.  Pity, for he has missed out on the most wonderful descriptions of action, danger, fear, loathsomeness, spirituality, and feculence.  However, there shall here be no summation of what has come before, for the authors have endeavored to most skillfully integrate into the body of the following text any pertinent information from the previous novel— most especially in the chapter in which Esmerald Vargasse and Irma d’Assas have their enlightening conversation.  This has been done in a most unobtrusive manner that will in no way disrupt the narrative flow so important to the novel’s enjoyment.
And now, having dispensed with pity, the authors reveal their envy of the reader- about to experience for the first time the pulse-pounding thrills of the further adventures of the Gentleman Immoralist and his antagonists!

Marcel Maurice
Paris, 1901

The Man With the Scar

Jean-Phillipe DuPasse shook his fist with emotion, and projected his sonorous voice with power and authority.  “What I cannot abide is the idea that any French man, woman, or child, might go to bed tonight without access to necessary and proper health care procedures!”
The crowd, spiked with supporters, gave a roar.  A few jeered him, but they were shouted down.
“This wonderful republic can stand some dissent,” DuPasse continued, in reference to the jeers, “as long as that dissent is civil, and does not fall into chaotic lies about our intentions- which are quite good and generous, I assure you!”
Those in the crowd who were not cheering were now beaten by those who were.  In turn, those who were beaten themselves also beat back.  Soon, the police came in, and proceeded to beat everyone in the vicinity of the unrest, including a group of children who had been brought in by DuPasse’s campaign, to demonstrate the candidate’s support from the nation’s youth.
“That is why I sincerely hope that I will attract your vote on election day, one week hence!  Thank you, and good day to you all!”
DuPasse descended from the dais, shaking the hands of his supporters, and signing autographs.  He cut a striking figure, with his broad shoulders, his thick, frosted gray hair combed back and out from his temples in a manner befitting his age and stature in the national government, and the scar on his right cheek that he’d gotten so many years before, in the war between France and Luxembourg.  He was a man of both dignity and hard-bitten power; the perfect mixture of compassion and intensity.  Clearly, this was a man who would fight to ensure that all citizens of France would get their just desserts.
His assistant, Michel Ompare, waited a reasonable amount of time before finally positioning himself between DuPasse and the citizens who had been waiting to shake his hand.  “I am sorry,” he said, to the supporters.  “But Monsieur DuPasse has many important appointments to make.  After all- he is still the deputy Prime Minister!”
DuPasse shrugged at his supporters, and gave them a sheepish, charming grin.  “I am ever at the mercy of my assistant!” he said.  The lines of his face became more pronounced as he smiled, giving him an even greater air of dignity and grace.  “But I assure you that once I am elected Prime Minister, I shall return and thank each of you individually!”
A cheer rose from the crowd, and DuPasse waved his arm in acknowledgement as he climbed into the motorwagon.
“Thank you for removing me from that… situation,” DuPasse sighed, after their carriage had left the cheering crowd.
“That is my job,” Ompare said, taking his seat behind the directional wheel.  He glanced at DuPasse, getting but a quick image of the man, of his power and dignity, of the ragged and slightly discolored scar obtained decades before. 
The motorwagon rattled along noisily at a top speed of four kilometers per hour, in a haze of smoke and petrol odor.  Many who’d stood in wonder and listened to DuPasse’s speech now walked along beside the motorwagon, shaking DuPasse’s hand and offering him obsequious wishes for his election.  DuPasse accepted these with magnanimous grace.
Ompare turned his eyes back toward the road before them.  His hands on the directional wheel were tired from the tension of controlling the bouncing and jittery motorwagon, and it took all his strength to ensure the vehicle traveled in a relatively straight line on an uneven road still better suited to horse and carriage traffic than this unwieldy, modern form of conveyance. 
As the sun was setting in the west, somewhere out far beyond the confines of Capitale Cité, Ompare thought of how devoted he was to his master.  This was a man who had such compassion for those less fortunate than himself.  A man who was amassing power, it was true, but doing so only so that he could use that power for the benefit others.
He was a strong man, a military man, and France needed someone with strength.  She also needed someone who would wield that strength in the service of the greater good.  Too often, France’s citizens could not be trusted to know exactly what that was.  The recent incident with the Possédant spice was an excellent example.  Even after it was discovered that the spice had been tainted with poison, people continued to ingest it.  Thousands of people had suffered, until the gendarmerie asserted itself, and forcibly confiscated all the spice in France.  It had been DuPasse who had made the final decision to have it destroyed.
It was only too bad that smoke from the destructive fire had infected the lungs of a few thousand others.  Still, what was a few thousand, when there were millions of lives at stake?
That was why it was so important that DuPasse win the election.  Only he wanted to create a system in which the government would provide health care for all France’s citizens.  Only he had the bold vision to give the citizens what they needed, even if it was not what they wanted.  It was only too bad that more voters did not realize that.  Certainly, if everyone had the right to vote, DuPasse would win in a landslide.  But because only taxpaying citizens— and not the unemployed, the manual laborers, those employed at any profession yet making fewer than 5,000 francs per year, the mentally deranged, the emotionally different, the incompetent, and of course women— could vote, the election was much closer than it should have been.
DuPasse was locked in a five-way battle.  Only something compelling and dramatic could possibly swing the election to one of them.  Ompare hoped against hope that something dramatic and compelling would happen- to DuPasse’s benefit.
“Ompare, when you get that way, it frightens me.”
Ompare turned his head slightly and fixed his gaze upon DuPasse.  He still had difficulty looking DuPasse in the eyes, even after he’d been directly addressed.  He was a dazzling man, who had lived a life that he himself could only admire; who had made of himself something Ompare could only wish for.  “How?” he asked, timidly.
“So caught up in your own thoughts that you fail even to notice that we’ve arrived at our destination.”
Indeed, Ompare now realized that he had involuntarily pulled the motorwagon up the causeway, and they were outside the Capitale Cité main government building.  With alacrity he depressed the braking pedal with his left foot, brining the motorwagon to a sudden, breathtaking stop.  Nervously he chuckled and said, “Apologies, sir,” as exited the mechanical vehicle, raced around the front, then opened DuPasse’s door and pulled down the step, then knelt down on the ground.
DuPasse descended from the motorwagon, stepping first on the step, and then upon Ompare’s back, and finally the cobblestone street.  “No need to apologize,” DuPasse said, adjusting the epaulets of his retired military coat.  “I just hope there is nothing troubling you that should, in turn, trouble me.”
“No, sir,” Ompare said, rising and wiping dirt from his knees.  “I was merely woolgathering.”  He walked before DuPasse, opening the door and leading him up the stairs to his second-floor office.
The room was dark, and Ompare walked toward the lamps, his hand out to light it.
“A politician in darkness is somehow appropriate.”
“What?” Ompare asked, turning.  “Did you say something, Monsieur DuPasse?”
“I spoke nothing,” DuPasse said.  “I thought I’d heard you say something.”
Ompare turned his body fully in what he thought was DuPasse’s direction.  “We need to exit this room immediately- someone else is here!”
He did not complete his sentence.  There was a dull thud at the base of his neck, and the semi darkness of the room became complete.
When Ompare awoke, he saw his master, DuPasse, tied to the vescicle at the far end of the room.  His arms were bound above his head, and his mouth was covered by a piece of cloth.  There was a look in his eyes that Ompare had never seen before.
The look was of terror.
His head aching, he attempted to rise, himself, but he found that he was bound to the spot, on the floor, on his knees.  Heavy rope bound both his wrists.  The room was still semi-dark, but he could see enough to know that the ropes were tied to cornices at either end of the room.  He could also feel that his ankles were bound, but he could not twist his head round to see to what they were bound.  His clothes had been removed.
He tried to speak, but he could not.  His own mouth was bound with fabric.  For once, he had something in common with his noble master.  And then he had another, as he could feel his own eyes bugging out with terror, like a pair of saucers, matching DuPasse’s expression.
If Ompare could have said anything at all, he would have asked, “Who has done this?”
That is what made the next sound so remarkable to him.  It was the sound of their oppressor, answering the unasked question.
“I am called the master of feculence,” the voice said, from everywhere in the room.  “I am Arsole Fantüme!”  Suddenly, the figure was between Ompare and DuPasse.  He wore a long, dark coat, a wide-brimmed hat, and a mask.  Ompare could not make out the details, in the dark of the room, but he could see the figure turn toward DuPasse, facing him.  He saw the corresponding change of expression that this movement elicited, as DuPasse’s face became distended by revulsion.
The figure continued:  “I have a vested interest in the outcome of this election.”  In one blinding quick movement, the figure turned toward and Ompare and raced to him, closing the space of five metres from one side of the room to the other in less than a second.  “You have done much to achieve success for your master,” Arsole said, his lips pulled back into a sickening yellow-white smile beneath his jester mask.
Ompare could feel his heart racing.  This evil cretin of the night was going to murder the noble DuPasse to prevent his election!  And it was all his— Ompare’s— fault!  He’d been too effective in his presentation of the noble politician!  Someone like Arsole Fantüme could never want goodness to win over indecency!  He must have wanted one of DuPasse’s four primary opponents to win- to destroy France!
How he wished he could remove the fabric, and speak to this madman— perhaps he could be shown reason!
Arsole rose, like a fantastic and bleak statue before him, and removed from his dark jacket a metallic cylinder with a plunger at one end, and a piece of rubberized tubing at the other.  The tubing moved and undulated as if alive!  It seemed to snake its way toward him, trembling with eager anticipation.  “Alas,” he said, “there is only so much any of us can ever do.”
There was wistfulness to the tone that gave Ompare a sense of hope.  He clung to that sense of hope even as he watched DuPasse’s face grow further exaggerated by fear.  He clung to that sense of hope even as he felt the cold hard end of the tubing force open the muscle of his sphincter.  He clung to that sense of hope even as he felt the first gush of liquid sluice through his bowels, perforating the soft, tender tissue inside his body.  He clung to that sense of hope even as he was assaulted by the feeling of drowning, as of his lungs and indeed the entire cavity of his chest filling with suffocating liquid.
It was not until he saw the dull multicolored pieces of his innards, effluvia, blood and fluid burst through the fabric that had covered his mouth and come gushing out through his mouth and nose that finally lost all sense of hope.
       The last image he saw was that of Arsole Fantüme, stepping over his effluvia in the direction of DuPasse, who seemed to be struggling against the rope that bound his wrists, and making muffled sounds from his mouth.  He despaired that somehow his noble master could defeat the horrible man who had just murdered him by enema. 

For more information on Arsole Fantüme, try his official website. And the official blog.

My response to Madison's email to me and me alone

Recently I was excited to get an email from Madison, who is apparently a long-lost acquaintance of mine, or something. For some reason, this email went directly to my spam email folder. This makes no sense, since, as I've already stated, she is apparently a long-lost acquaintance of mine. Or something. She seems to know a lot about me, anyway. I thought I would take this opportunity to compose a response to her now, in front of all the world-- a special email such as Madison's requires a special response.
BABE... i guess your not getting any of my email huh? ive been tryign to email u so many times but this dam laptop is such a piece of garbage and keeps freezing.. anyways how u been? In case u dont know
who this is its ME MADISON.. we used to chat a bit on facebook and then I think u deleted me :( haha.. anyways guess what... I got 2 things to tell u.. both good news.. 1) im single now.. yup me and my bf broke up
about 3 months ago... and 2) guess where im moving? RIGHT EFFING NEAR U..
lol... ur actually the only person im gonna know there..
Ah, Madison. This is embarrassing. I have to admit that I do not remember you. I'm not sure why you can't find me on facebook, however, since you seem to know me so well, and apparently have my email address. I don't think I've ever "deleted" anyone from facebook, although I have in the past blocked some people from my newsfeed. Anyway, I am really sorry to hear about your breakup, but I'm glad that you can think of it as "good news." The ending of a relationship can be a painful experience, I know, but it is also an important opportunity to grow, and to open yourself to brand new possibilities. I'm also excited by the prospect of you moving right near me. It should be fun to finally meet face-to-face!
well 3 cousins too but i cant chill with them lol..I remember when we chatted u told me u thought i was cute and u wanted to chill so now we finally can HAHA! im kinda scared to move.. im hoping this email addy is still
the one you use and u can chat with me ebfore i get there.. maybe even help me move my shit in...are u still on facebook? i cudnt find ui was soo confused...anyways im gonna need someone to show me the town and
take me out so u better be around bebe...we only chatted a couple times but i remember thinking to myself i wanted to get ot know u better when i was single..a nd i thoguth u were cute too but cudnt tell u cause i wasnt single lol...ok so more info about me.. well im 23.. virgo.. love the outdoors and love to socialize, go out for drinks, restaurants, movies etc.. travel.. i have a lil kitty named BOO and i luv her to death... uhhh oh im a super horny gurl too but every gurl is they just wont admit it. so ilove watching p0rn and all that.. love sex etc blah blah blah...who doesnt..I really hope we get a chance to chat for a bit either online or on the fone before i get
there enxt week.. i hope u remmeber me and still wanna chill and arent married yet lol..
Hm. I told you I wanted to "chill"? That actually kind of doesn't sound like me. I prefer to use the term "hang out." Also, I don't know what day you're moving in, but I'm pretty sure I'll be too busy to help you. I probably mentioned this in our chats (I'm sorry but I really can't remember chatting with you specifically), but I don't like to help other people move. Since we've already chatted, I'm sure you know this, because I tell everyone, generally within a few minutes of meeting them. I think it's a good idea to get that out of the way early. "Hi, my name is Ricky and I really don't like to help other people move. I do like to watch reality television shows and run. Also, I am a skeptic, so please don't tell me your sign, or that you sometimes feel like you might have some 'psychic' abilities or that you once saw a ghost." But, then again, if I thought you were "cute" then I probably did offer to help you move. You have to be willing to compromise where cuties are concerned, that's my motto!

Perhaps, after you do get yourself moved in, I can come over and watch some p0rn with you.
OH YA also.. i need to find a job when i get there.. do u have any hookups or know anybody hiring? id LOVE to work in a bar or osmehting like that...really anythgin cause my current job is fun
and all.. and technically i CUD keep doign it but i want a change.. i currently work from home and well thats cool but i need ot be out
meeting people.. oh wait. i dont think i ever actually told u what i did? hmm shud i......????
In addition to helping you move in, you want help in finding a job? Well, I suppose I can't blame you for that, since I probably didn't specifically say "I'm not an employment service." Also, if I thought you were cute, I probably did tell you something like, "I'll help you in any way I can, just ask. Anything at all. Seriously. I mean anything.

But, really, if I knew of anybody hiring, I would get a job myself.
ok WELLLL... and dont get all weirded out
on me.. i work on a webcam chat community site and i get paid to chat with people and get naked HHAHA... BOMB right :)? I KNOW.. like i figure iim horny anyways why not get paid to chat with people and play with myself heheh...anyways i hope u dont look down on that and NO THATS NOT WHY IM CONTACTING U RELAX URSELF lol... i actually need help once i move and i remembered u live there so im reaching i said before this computer is a complete piece of CRAP and freezes NON STOP.. ive tried ot send this email to u maybe 3 times already and im hopign this time i can hit SEND before i run into trouble lol..
I hope that you don't use that laptop that's always freezing when you're on your webcam. It would be frustrating to be watching you and to have it stop streaming.

To answer your concern: No, I don't look down on that, not at all. In fact, do you think you could maybe introduce me to your boss? I could use some extra money-- do you need a good looking, young man with an upbeat if skeptical attitude and a surprising amount of body hair to chat with people and get naked? That really sounds like the bomb to me.

I might even help you move, if you could hook me up in that way.
ANYWAYS.. heres the deal....every month natalie (my boss) gives each of us 3 VIP codes to give out to whoever we want.. so with this code u can lgoin to watch me at work for free and dont have to pay like
everyone else... the only way i can give u one of the codes (so we can chat) is if you absolutey DO NOT give it out to anyone else and u ONLY USE IT FOR URSELF... i only get 3 a month and she gets pissed if more than 3 people use them so DONT SHARE IT MISTER
Okay, I won't share the VIP code, there's no NEED TO YELL AT ME about it.
.. i figured u cud always email me back instead but my email account doesnt even let me login half the time.. so the bets palce ot chat me is my chat room... if theres anyone else logged in when u sign in ill boot them out.. but
remember DONT SHARE THIS PASSWORD PLEASE BABE IM BEGGING U.. I TRUST U... im online most of the day now to try and save money for my move..
also since im in such a huge debt already form my student loan :(
Student loans, huh? I hear that. I'm so glad that you're taking some real initiative and working online to pay off your loans, instead of trying to get them forgiven, or whatever those Occupy Wall Street people are doing (I'm not really paying attention to that). But I'm worried that if I go to this chat room, we'll be chatting, and then your laptop will freeze up, and I won't get my VIP codes. Then where will I be? Stuck in a chat room all alone, with no VIP codes, that's where I'll be. It would probably be a better idea if I just gave you my phone number. While I'm at it, I'd better give you my street address. When you get into town, just stop by and let me know you're here. I assume you're driving in and you'll be tired. Maybe we can watch some p0rn together, or something.
I really thingk we need to chat before i get there and make sure u evern remember me hahha.. anyways ive rambled on and on now and ur probably soooo annnoyed with me so ill stop now.. im gonna go start work.. i
really hope u come chat me. it wud make my day and releive a lot of my stress about the move... REALLY i mean that....anyways once i see u in insdie ill shoot u myc ell number and u can gimme yours.. if u dont
wanna come chat i understand but its really the only palce to find me now days.. if u email me abck ill probably get it once i get there after my internet is setup so about 2-3 weeks fomr now.. but im hopign
to see u in my chat room.. rmemeber its 100% free with this code im gonna give u.. just DONT GIVE IT OUT OR ILL KICK U IN THE BALLS INSTEAD OF LICK U IN THE BALLS WHEN IS EE U hahahahha...k babe im out
for now... chat ya soon.. kisses xoxo
------>> http://XXXXXXXXXXXXXX
kisses madison xoxo
Madison, I'm starting to think that we really did chat on facebook. How could you have known that I prefer to have my balls licked rather than having them kicked? Yes, by all means, as I've already said, let's exchange cell phone numbers, to ensure that we don't miss each other again. I don't remember chatting with you, but I do miss our chats. You're a lot of fun-- one of the funnest friends I know, actually (none of my other friends has a webcam job like yours!). I'm a little confused as to why you would be able to communicate with me in a chat room but you won't have access to your email for 2-3 weeks, but then I'm not in the webcam business.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

The fantastic lyrics of Paul McCartney

Steve Allen, one of the creators and the original host of the late-night talk show "The Tonight Show," used to have a bit in which he would recite lyrics from popular songs. Here he is giving this treatment to the song "Be-Bop-A-Lula":

More recently, in England, late-night chat show host Jonathan Ross "borrowed" the idea, and had American actor Christopher Walken recite lyrics from Lady GaGa's song "Poker Face":

And then, American talk show host Jimmy Fallon had British actor Jude Law recite the lyrics from Lady GaGa's song "Poker Face":

(As Krusty the Clown once said, "If this is anyone other than Steve Allen, you're stealing my bit!")

More successful was when Dr. Frasier Crane quoted the song "Everybody Have Fun Tonight" on an episode of "Cheers":

He is earnestly attempting to fit in-- as far as he's concerned (he's not a consumer of popular music) the phrase "Everybody Wang Chung tonight" has some deep-rooted meaning for the hoi polloi. But putting those lyrics in Dr. Crane's mouth, it's a deflation not only of the lyrics themselves, but of the man reciting them.

To the extent that any of the above clips are amusing, they're also patently unfair. A song is not just lyrics-- it's a combination of both music and lyrics. Quoting just the lyrics to a song, without the benefit of the music created to accompany those lyrics, is like reciting every other line of Hamlet's "To be or not to be" soliloquy.
To be, or not to be--that is the question:

The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune

And by opposing end them. To die, to sleep--

The heartache, and the thousand natural shocks

Devoutly to be wished. To die, to sleep--

For in that sleep of death what dreams may come

Must give us pause. There's the respect

For who would bear the whips and scorns of time,
It's just not fair.

And yet, there are times when it just doesn't matter. Some lyrics are just so fantastically outlandish, bizarre, and beautifully wrongheaded that not even Beethoven could have rescued them. Paul McCartney, formerly of the musical group The Beatles, is the author of some of the most wonderful lyrics of all time.

I was thinking about Mr. McCartney because he recently got remarried. This is his third stab at marriage. I genuinely hope that Mr. McCartney's marriage is long and happy and never-ending. He has given me hours of enjoyment-- specifically, one line of one of his songs has given me hours of enjoyment.
...If this ever-changing world in which we live in...
That line, from the song "Live and Let Die," is, I submit to you, the greatest line ever written by anyone, ever. No other line has ever made me so happy. No other line has made ever made me laugh out loud, every time I have ever heard it, no matter what I happened to be doing when the song came on the radio.

But this perfectly illustrates my point: The music is dramatic and stirring. Try listening to that music without being stirred, and maybe even shaken (it's from a James Bond movie!). So what if Mr. McCartney needed four syllables at the end of that one line. Did you hear that big boom right after that one line? I actually didn't hear that boom, because I was laughing, and wondering why he didn't just say something like "this ever changing world in which we're living," which is what I thought the line was when I was a little kid and the song was popular.

Mr. McCartney has himself admitted in at least one interview that "sometimes a little bit of dross slips through":

In a brilliant career that has spanned at least 50 years, Mr. McCartney-- a genuine, bonafide genius who deserves almost nothing but praise for his musical wit and cleverness-- has let a little bit of dross slip through.

Mr. McCartney did another title song from a film, something called "Spies Like Us," which featured former Steely Dan drummer Chevy Chase, and former Blues Brother Dan Aykroyd. This song is dull and listless, a real phone-in job, with nothing that matches the powerful absurdity of "in which we live in":
Hey don't feel afraid
Of an undercover aid
There's no need to fuss
There ain't nobody that spies like us
Another major problem I had with this song was the fact that the music was infectious, by which I mean that it was like an infection of the brain, and I couldn't get it out all day after the song had come on the radio. It was always a rush to the dial to switch the channel when I heard the first few bars (or, even better, if the DJ had warned listeners that the song was coming up).


Mr. McCartney nearly matched his "in which we live in" absurdity with a song called "Let 'Em In," which features the immortal lyrics:
Someone's knockin' at the door
somebody's ringin' the bell
Someone's knockin' at the door
somebody's ringin' the bell
Do me a favour open the door and let'em in.
These lines are repeated forty-seven times, along with a list of the people who are, apparently, knocking at the door and waiting to be let in:
Sister Suzie
brother John
Martin Luther
Phil and Don
Brother Michael
auntie Gin
open the door and let'em in.
This song boils down to:
1)Knock knock
2)Who's there?
3)A bunch of people
4)Open the door
Naturally, we have some questions. To whom is Mr. McCartney speaking? And, more importantly, when can we expect Mr. McCartney's song about his grocery list?

Some of Mr. McCartney's lyrics are just so damned whimsical that they make me feel dumb for thinking they sound dumb. For instance, what is going on in the "Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey" song?
Admiral Halsey notified me,
He had to have a berth or he couldn't get to sea.
I had another look and I had a cup of tea and a butter pie.
Somehow, that entire sprawling epic of silliness makes perfect sense in combination with the music:

This is one of those songs that I simultaneously think must have some deeper meaning I'm not getting (it's a parody of something?), and is also just a bit of flukey nonsense. A sort of a PoMo metaphor or something.

Speaking of metaphors, Mr. McCartney crafted at least one song that is an extended mixed metaphor that starts out grounded on earth, blows up an entire town, flies out into space, explodes a comet, and then finds protection from inclement weather:

I have always very much liked this song. When I was a kid it was one of my favorites, and my opinion of it hasn't changed. But those lyrics have some real head scratchers:
With a little love we can lay it down
Can't you feel the town exploding
And a little luck we can clear it up
We can bring it in for a landing
With a little push, we could set it off
We can send it rocketing skywards
With a little love we could shake it up
Don't you feel the comet exploding
That's a lot of stuff that doesn't really seem to go together, but Mr. McCartney makes everything right with a single line:
There is no end to what we can do together
This is almost as brilliant a line as "in which we live in" is ridiculous, because it completely excuses the excesses and nonsensical weirdness of the rest of the lyrics. Together, Mr.and Mrs. McCartney can do anything, be it making comets explode or making towns explode. Violence mingled with sentiment.

Maybe the silliest love song that Mr. McCartney ever wrote was the intricately banal epic "Press," the lyrics of which must be quoted in full:
Darling, I love you very, very, very much
And I really am relying on your touch
But with all these people listening in
I don't know where I ought to begin
Maybe we could hit upon a word
Something that the others haven't heard

When you want me to love you just tell me to press
Right there, that's it, yes, when you feel the stress
Don't just stand there tell me to press
You can give me what I want, I must confess
My body needs attention my mind is in a mess

Oklahoma was never like this, never like this
It was never like this
Ever like this, hey, was it ever like this?
Oklahoma was never like this, it was never like this

Darling, I know it really wouldn't be a crime
If I say I want to love you all the time
But with all these people listening in
I don't know where I ought to begin
Maybe we should have a secret code
Before we both get ready to explode

When you want me to love you just tell me to press
Right there, that's it, yes, when you feel the stress
Don't just stand there tell me to press
You can give me what I want, I must confess
My body needs attention my mind is in a mess
Here Mr. McCartney relays the sad situation of a major celebrity who is unable to tell his lover that he would like to engage in the act of coitus with her, because there are too many people around. So he tells her that they should have a secret code word that they can use, to signal when either of them gets randy. It turns out that he has given this some thought, and has already come up with such a word. That word is "press." Sort of like "press my button," but it's even more subtle than that, because the paparazzi might be listening in.

Okay, that's all well and good. But what the hell is the story with Oklahoma? It's not just one line about "Oklahoma," Mr. McCartney goes off on an entire tangent about it. At first I thought it might be a reference to the 46th state (perhaps Mr. McCartney and his wife had a particularly memorable lovemaking session while he was on tour through the American south?), then I thought it might be a reference to the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical (maybe this song is intended to be an answer to "People Will Say We're in Love"?), and then I thought maybe "Oklahoma" was their original "when-you-want-to-have-sex" code word, but people caught on so he had to change it to "press." Now, however, I'm starting to think that it doesn't mean anything at all, it just fills space in the song.

As inscrutable as much of the song is, the video is one of my all-time favorites, with Mr. McCartney riding around on the tube, interacting with people who seem genuinely excited to see him:

I'd be excited to see Mr. McCartney on the tube as well. I would run up to him and say "In this ever changing world in which we live in, your lyrics have always managed to make me happy!"

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The Avengers trailer: not as good as the "Phoenix Jones Vs. LadyShoe" video

The trailer for next summer's !B!L!O!C!K!B!U!S!T!E!R! superhero adventure The Avengers has been released. I can't stand it because of all the anticipation. Can you believe that you have to wait all the way until next May to actually watch the film in its entirety?

I admit my anticipation level for this film was extremely low before. It's lower now. I'm pretty sure I've already seen this film, about five hundred times. As if to illustrate my point for me, someone at Empty-V's movie blog gave the above trailer "multiple, careful viewings" and made a list of a few alleged "interesting things that stand out, by the numbers:"
3: Gratuitous "suiting-up" shots, wherein we see Cap/Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) checking out his new uniform and then trying out his new shield; Thor (Chris Hemsworth) getting ready with a grip on his trusty hammer Mjolnir; and Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) checking into his fancy Iron Man suit.

13+: Number of "looking coolly off into the distance or deeply into someone's eyes" moments. Whether lost in thought or in someone else's gaze, the trailer is packed with meaningful looks.
It's possible the Empty-V blogger is being farcical about her excitement level over a trailer that looks almost exactly the same as every other superhero movie trailer ever released. But I kind of doubt it. As Terry Gilliam so eloquently put it,
What’s so funny is because of growing up with comics, and always wanting to do that kind of movie, I have no interest in them at all now. That’s what I wanted to do, and now everyone else is doing them, so I don’t do them. I don’t even go now. I see the trailers, and I think, I’ve seen that trailer for about 20 years now! The same shots, the same dilemma — what are we doing here? Who’s going to make the leap that makes it different?
Will The Avengers make that leap? The trailer does not give us hope.

It's unfortunate for the people at Marvel that the above trailer happened to be released around the same time as the arrest of real-life superhero Phoenix Jones. Compare the trailer with the video that I posted yesterday, of Mr. Jones, armed only with a rubber suit, a can of pepper spray, and a whole lot of moxie, taking on a shoe-wielding woman on a dark night in Seattle:

Phoenix Jones Stops Assault from Ryan McNamee on Vimeo.

That features real danger, real tension, real interest. What's going to happen next in that video? It's unpredictable.

Everything in The Avengers trailer is completely, utterly, sadly predictable. The marketing people have this down to a science: They know exactly how many tracking shots of actors in costume raising their head and staring off in the distance to place in these things, and how many explosions to intersperse between them. Even worse, the fans know exactly how they're supposed to react, and they do. Obsessive examination of more of the same, treated like it's brand new.

Give me more Phoenix Jones.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Phoenix Jones: The face of real superheroism; in Seattle, you're not above the law just because you dress up in a costume

If you've ever wondered what real superheroism looks like-- as opposed to that glamorized, sanitized version you see in ridiculous films and in comic books-- check out this video of Seattle Washington's Phoenix Jones, rushing to break up some kind of, um, well, a group of people.

Phoenix Jones Stops Assault from Ryan McNamee on Vimeo.

Did Batman ever get attacked by a loud, angry, shoe-wielding woman? Well, there was of course that famous Batman villain LadyShoe, but I mean, other than that?

I wonder if the mysterious and whimsical Doctor Shoe had anything to do with this?

Anyway, Mr. Jones has been arrested for his trouble.
Police officers arrested the 23-year-old man who calls himself Phoenix Jones early on Sunday after he allegedly assaulted several people with pepper spray. He was held in county jail on four counts of assault, with arraignment set for Thursday, police said.
"Just because he's dressed up in costume, it doesn't mean he's in special consideration or above the law. You can't go around pepper spraying people because you think they are fighting," said Seattle police spokesman Detective Mark Jamieson.
Okay, but if there are no police around, and no one else to help, wouldn't you want someone to jump in and start pepper spraying people who were punching and kicking you? I would. Save me, somebody! I would call out into the night. Even Phoenix Jones!

As for someone being above the law or given special consideration because he's dressed up in a costume-- does that also apply to the police? This is the same Seattle police department that falsely claimed it did not have video of the arrest of a man called Eric Rachner back in 2008:
Eric Rachner was arrested in October 2008 after police stopped him while he and a friend were swatting giant sponge golf balls during an urban pub crawl. Rachner refuse [sic] to identify himself, and he was arrested for obstruction of justice.

Rachner says it was a false arrest. ... In fighting the charge, he requested video copies of his arrest, and was repeatedly told the tapes were deleted or didn't exist.

"I thought that doesn't sound right," says Rachner. "Why would you delete arrest videos while the case was still pending? That was when I decided to find out what happened to the videos," says Rachner.

By researching the video system's manufacturer, he discovered a log of all the in-car cameras for SPD. He was finally to obtain multiple video copies of his arrest. The charge against him was eventually dropped.
They flat-out lied to him-- a member of the public which the police department is sworn to protect and serve-- and only because he kept pushing did he get to the truth.

Just because he's dressed up in costume, it doesn't mean he's in special consideration or above the law.

The Seattle police department is also being investigated by the Department of Justice for the excessive use of force:
The Justice Department is launching a formal civil rights investigation of the Seattle Police Department following the fatal shooting of a Native American woodcarver and other incidents of force used against minority suspects.

The wide-ranging probe will focus on "allegations of discriminatory policing and excessive use of force," Thomas E. Perez, assistant attorney general for the DOJ's Civil Rights Division, said at a Thursday morning news conference.

The investigation comes after a preliminary review of the Seattle Police Department found cause for a more thorough, formal probe.
The Seattle police department is also stonewalling local news organizations in their attempts to get access to dashcam videos:
...KOMO News filed a lawsuit against the Seattle Police Department because we believe the department is breaking state public records law.

For more than a year, our Problem Solver investigators have been fighting for access to the department's database of dashcam videos.

The lawsuit, filed in King County Superior Court, contends the police department has intentionally and illegally stonewalled the Problem Solvers over and over again.
Just because he's dressed up in costume, it doesn't mean he's in special consideration or above the law.

More from the article about the KOMO lawsuit:
Justin Boldaji knows how important it can be to have video of an encounter with police.

When Boldaji found himself surrounded by Seattle police officers for allegedly jaywalking and then forcibly put on the hood of a police cruiser last May, he figured he was lucky because someone nearby had a cell phone camera.

A cell phone camera recording of Boldaji's encounter.
"I felt like I was being jumped by, like a gang, honestly," Boldaji said.
But 20 minutes later police let him go; no ticket, no arrest. And he wonders if that would have happened without the camera.
Jumped by police for jaywalking, and then let go 20 minutes later-- thanks in no small part to the fact that the police actions were captured on cell phone video.

The Seattle police department has a pretty low tolerance for the crime of jaywalking, apparently. Not even the developmentally disabled are given any slack:
Seventeen-year-old Joey Wilson called a neighbor for help soon after a police officer stopped him for jaywalking across a Queen Anne street.
"Two officers grabbed my arm. A third one started punching me. In the stomach, in the nose. My hands were being held I could not defend myself. I was thrown to the ground and I was kneed in the face. I felt my nose break," he said.

His mother, Mary Wilson, raced to the police station to pick him up.

"He was dazed, he couldn't move his neck. He was bloodied, his clothes were full of blood. And I put him in the car and drove him to the emergency room," he [sic] said.

Joey had a concussion and broken nose.

While any mother would be troubled to see their child like this, Mary explains that Joey is mentally disabled. He was born three months early, weighing just one pound, and has been in special ed his entire life.
Joey's lawyers say the family has tried to get information from the police department and the city about this incident and the officers involved.

But they say after getting no feedback for more than a year, they've decided to move forward with a lawsuit.

Just because he's dressed up in costume, it doesn't mean he's in special consideration or above the law.

Another interesting Seattle police department incident:
David Rengo says his friends were jumped by another group. Police stormed in to stop the fighting. A cell phone picture shows Rengo being arrested with gang unit detective Shandy Cobane in the background. Moments after the picture was taken, Rengo says that while handcuffed and lying down in a patrol car, Cobane intentionally cut off his air supply by pressing his thumbs on his windpipe.

"He (Cobane) came around the driver’s side, opened the door up and just choked me until I lost -- I couldn't -- I started kicking, 'cause I was about to pass out. He let me go. I took a breath and he choked me again," Rengo told Team 7 Investigators in an interview last year.

While Internal Affairs reviewed his complaint, the King County Prosecutor's Office pressed ahead, charging Rengo for felony assault of a police officer. Cobane reported Rengo "pushed" him -- something Rengo strongly denies.

In court, Team 7 Investigators discovered Cobane's "assault" story became impossible to corroborate. Connick subpoenaed patrol car videotape and audiotape, and found important pieces were missing or erased.

Connick told KIRO-TV, "That crucial video of that initial contact, detention, and placement in the car is missing."

He added, "Certain things were intentionally not done. The video wasn't turned on specifically, which was admitted by all officers to be a breach of protocol and procedure. There were gang unit officers who specifically told arresting officers not to give statements."
Just because he's dressed up in costume, it doesn't mean he's in special consideration or above the law.

And there's also this:
Malaika Brooks was driving her 12-year-old son Jahrod to the African American Academy on Beacon Hill one morning in 2004 when a Seattle cop pulled her over. It was the beginning of a traffic infraction that has so far cost city taxpayers $345,000 in legal fees, and which left the then-pregnant Brooks with Taser scars and the determination to pursue an alleged police-brutality case for what appears to be a record seven years and counting.

Officer Juan Ornelas, who'd caught Brooks on radar, came to her window and said she'd been doing 32 in a 20-mph school zone. Brooks denied it, explaining he must have mistaken her vehicle for the black Honda that had been racing along in front of her. Brooks, then 34, handed her license to Ornelas as her son got out and walked on to school. Ornelas wrote the ticket and handed it to Brooks for her signature. She declined. Signing it, she mistakenly thought, would be an admission of guilt. Ornelas told her that if she didn't sign the traffic ticket, he would issue a criminal citation for refusing. She could then be arrested and taken to jail.

Brooks said she wasn't signing anything, but would accept the ticket otherwise. Ornelas then called Sgt. Steve Daman to the scene. Officer Donald Jones also showed up. When Brooks told the sergeant she wouldn't sign, Daman told Ornelas and Jones to "book her." Brooks was asked to step from the car. She refused. Jones then displayed a Taser stun gun and asked if she knew what it could do to her. Brooks told the officers she was pregnant. "How pregnant?" one asked. Her baby was due in two months, she said. She refused to step out.

After a discussion among the officers, Ornelas opened the driver's door, reached in and grabbed Brooks by the left arm as Jones put the device to Brooks' thigh in touch-stun mode and shocked her with 50,000 volts. She began honking her horn, screaming for help as she resisted. Jones quickly administered another shock to Brooks' arm, and she stopped blowing the horn. Then he shocked her a third time, in the neck, and Brooks fell over, unable to move. She was pulled out and held face-down on the street while being handcuffed. After an examination by fire-department medics, she was jailed for resisting arrest. The charges ultimately were dismissed.
Just because he's dressed up in costume, it doesn't mean he's in special consideration or above the law.

And then there was the case of the 15 year-old girl arrested for auto theft:
A King County sheriff’s deputy kicks a 15-year-old girl, slams her to the floor of a jail cell, strikes her and pulls her hair in violence captured on videotape.
In the video, a deputy kicks the girl, pushing her back toward the wall. The deputy then strongly backs the girl against the wall and slams her to the floor by grabbing her hair. A second deputy enters the holding cell, while the first deputy holds the girl face down to the floor. The first deputy appears to hit the girl with his hands. The girl is then lifted up and led out of the cell while the first deputy holds her hair.

The second officer shown in the video was a trainee at the time and is not under investigation, Goodhew said.

According to court documents, the girl complained of breathing problems after the incident and medics were called to check her. A short time later, she was taken to a youth detention center and booked for investigation of auto theft and third-degree assault, the latter accusation dealing with her conduct toward the deputy.
Seattle is broken. Someone has to put all the pieces back together. Phoenix Jones just might be the man.

If someone were making a film, or creating a comic book, about Mr. Jones, the above three sentences might possibly serve as said comic book or movie's tagline. Instead, this is the real world. And what we get is a guy in an ill-fitting rubber suit being smacked around by an angry shoe-wielding woman, and a police spokesman releasing a straight-faced statement that reads, in part,

Just because he's dressed up in costume, it doesn't mean he's in special consideration or above the law.

Fight on, Phoenix Jones! Seattle needs you!

The original source of the above photo of Phoenix Jones can be found here. The original caption reads, ironically,
Seattle Superhero Phoenix Jones photographed on Feb. 18, 2011 during a patrol of Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood. He worked to control a rowdy crowd of anarchists that were confronting Seattle Police officers.
Thanks for nothin', Phoenix Jones!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Please be absolutely, completely clear in expressing yourself, and make sure that the people who are listening to you understand exactly what you mean, so there's no confusion whatsoever and then no one will get hurt okay?

On September 29, The Onion newspaper tweeted that there was a hostage situation in the Capitol.
The tweet, which read "BREAKING: Witnesses reporting screams and gunfire heard inside Capitol building," went out to more than 3 million followers, and gave no indication that it was a joke. Some quickly suggested that the account had been hacked; an Onion spokesman said that was not the case, and the joke became obvious in a follow up Tweet: "BREAKING: Capitol building being evacuated. 12 children held hostage by group of armed congressmen. #CongressHostage."
The "held hostage by congressmen" joke springs from the overheated rhetoric around the debt ceiling debate.

At least that's how I interpreted it. I don't know what exactly was The Onion's intent, but it's clear that the tweets, along with the story they eventually linked to (the first tweets didn't link to the story), were supposed to be funny.
Brandishing shotguns and semiautomatic pistols, members of the 112th U.S. Congress took a class of visiting schoolchildren hostage today, barricading themselves inside the Capitol rotunda and demanding $12 trillion dollars in cash.

House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), who has emerged as spokesman for the bipartisan group, informed FBI negotiators this morning that the ransom was to be placed in stainless-steel suitcases and left on the Capitol steps by 4 p.m. sharp. If their demands are not met in full, the 11-term representative announced, "all the kids will die."
Obviously, this is humor. I happen to think it's fairly amusing, although I've seen much funnier things on the Onion website. But, apparently, police in the capitol took the time to actually investigate the tweets.
“It has come to our attention that recent twitter feeds are reporting false information concerning current conditions at the U.S. Capitol,” Capitol Police spokeswoman Sgt. Kimberly Schneider said in a statement.

She said conditions at the Capitol, now largely empty because lawmakers are on vacation, were normal. “There is no credibility to these stories or the twitter feeds. The U.S. Capitol Police are currently investigating the reporting.”
Emphasis added because "the reporting" was coming from The Onion, which is a humor web site, dedicated to parodying news organizations, and satirizing politics and world events.

The police were investigating "reporting" from the Onion.

All of the police who investigated this reporting, and the people who ordered them to investigate the reporting, should be fired. This is an embarrassment. If you can't figure out that the Onion is a humor site, and it sends out humor tweets, then you are a moron who doesn't deserve to draw a salary.

But, Did the Onion Go Too Far With Its Congressional Hostage Tweets? That nonsensical question is the title of a post at ThinkProgress in which the author answers with a resounding "MAYBE!"
...I think they should have included a link to the actual story. If you’re playing by a slightly tweaked set of rules from everyone else, it doesn’t hurt to reaffirm that, especially when touching on sensitive ground in a medium that encourages misinterpretation and often loses context in the process.
An artist has absolutely no obligation whatsoever to hold the hand of his audience, and explain exactly what was his intent in creating a piece of art. The BREAKING tweets parody the nature of Twitter itself. That it "encourages misinterpretation and often loses context in the process" is part of the joke. If you don't like the "rules" by which the Onion is playing, you need not follow them, or visit their website. But they are in no way responsible for any misinterpretation of their intentions.

The capitol police are to be congratulated in one respect, however: They didn't go completely batsh*t crazy over it the way those moronic police in Boston did back in 2007, when a couple of artists put some Lite Brite-looking things around to promote the Aqua Teen Hunger Force movie.
Authorities have arrested two men in connection with electronic light boards depicting a middle-finger-waving moon man that triggered repeated bomb scares around Boston on Wednesday and prompted the closure of bridges and a stretch of the Charles River.

Meanwhile, police and prosecutors vented their anger at Turner Broadcasting System Inc., the parent company of CNN, which said the battery-operated light boards were aimed at promoting the late-night Adult Swim cartoon "Aqua Teen Hunger Force."

Boston officials condemned Turner for not taking proper steps to end the bomb scares earlier and for not issuing an adequate apology to the city.
The police in Boston overreacted after misunderstanding something, and then became angry because the people whose work they misinterpreted didn't apologize for their misunderstanding.

This makes no sense. Even more than that, it's dangerous. If artists are going to be held criminally responsible for a misunderstanding of their work, then the net result is to silence people. This would be a handy tool for politicians and people in the government to shut up their political enemies.

And now the filmmaker Lars von Trier has announced that he is going to stop giving interviews because his past remarks have been misinterpreted. Criminally so.
"Today at 2 p.m. I was questioned by the Police of North Zealand in connection with charges made by the prosecution of Grasse in France from August 2011 regarding a possible violation of prohibition in French law against justification of war crimes," von Trier's statement reads. "The investigation covers comments made during the press conference in Cannes in May 2011."

Von Trier admitted in the statement that the questioning had given him cold feet when it comes to speaking out in public, and he will no longer do so.

"Due to these serious accusations I have realized that I do not possess the skills to express myself unequivocally and I have therefore decided from this day forth to refrain from all public statements and interviews."
Here, taken wholly out of context, is one line uttered by Mr. Trier during that Cannes press conference:
I understand Hitler…I sympathize with him a bit.
That does sound bad. Apparently, calling yourself "a Nazi" and claiming to "sympathize with Hitler" (but only a bit!), is against the law in France.

But. The context clearly shows that Mr. Trier was joking. You can watch the entire press conference here, during which time Mr. Trier makes a number of tongue in cheek jokes about, for instance, actor Udo Kier's sexuality, and the actress Kirsten Dunst's alleged desire to do a hardcore pornographic film. He also jokes about the often punishing feeling one gets from watching his films.

He was being self deprecating. In fact, this press conference showed a fairly witty and charming man. His jokes were aimed at himself, and his reputation, and came at the end of a press conference during which the actors who had appeared in his film called him dictatorial and inscrutable.

For that, he was questioned by police.

Should Steven Spielberg be held responsible for kids laughing at "Schindler's List"? Should Robert Crumb be held responsible when his comics are favorably referenced by white supremacists? Does Brian De Palma have to sit down with all of the "Scarface" fans who "don't get" that movie?

Some people, apparently, want artists to commit authorial trespass, and not merely create art, but explain how it is to be consumed as well. These people are trivial. Unfortunately, many of them have a great deal of power.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Grueling etiquette training

Standing in line at the Walgreens checkout yesterday my eye casually fell upon the cover of the latest issue of US Weekly. There was the smiling face of the elegantly constructed "princess" of England, or something, Kate Middleton. It wasn't her face that captured my full attention, however. Check out the copy to the left of her face:

Okay, kidnap threats are serious. But, this woman is now part of one of the wealthiest families in the world. They can afford to pay for lavish protection, so it's hard to worry too much about her being kidnapped.

Second on that list? Grueling etiquette training. I admit that caused me to laugh out loud when I read it. Got some looks from the other people waiting in line.

This woman is now fantastically wealthy and famous. She will never want for anything in her life, ever again. While the rest of us, all over the world, have to learn to make do with less, she will have personal chefs cooking her midnight snacks, servants doing her laundry, and nannies to raise whatever offspring she happens to produce. (Said offspring, of course, will also want for nothing.)

And US Weekly is attempting to generate sympathy for this woman because she has to endure grueling etiquette training? The world "grueling" might apply to, say, working in a field harvesting sweet potatoes, or perhaps the work that our soldiers do in their various "kinetic military actions," but let's not use that word to describe listening to the Dowager Viscountess Dalrymple explain how to use the little fork.

Come on, US Weekly.

New video masterwork: Batman Vs Catwoman: The Dark Knight Raises

I made this video in collaboration with Christopher Nolan and Grant Morrison. It is a brilliant examination of the sadness and emotion felt by a superhero who is forced to deny his own humanity in the pursuit of justice.

This is a wonderful, emotional film experience. Poignant, powerful, gripping; far and away the best thing that either Messers Nolan or Morrison have ever been involved with. Highly recommended.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Briefly noted with Poodle Bitch: Bret Michaels's "Pets Rock" products; PETA's chickens and sharks, and the Disney Channel's blogging dog program

Poodle Bitch does not believe in the concept of "guilty pleasures." If in fact she finds pleasure in something, that is in itself enough justification for liking it. "Guilt" is something that weak people use to establish power over everyone else. And as for fearing the judgment of others, well, if you'll pardon Poodle Bitch for saying so, She does not care what others think of her.

This is why she wears her appreciation for reality television star Bret Michaels on her metaphorical sleeve. This skeevy charmer starred for three seasons on various incarnations of the "Rock of Love" dating franchise, ostensibly looking for true love by putting a bevy of questionable women through their paces. Having them play football in the mud, for example. And dance on strippers poles.

Poodle Bitch would not turn down a tomato slice from Bret Michaels.

These programs were magical, providing as they did a rare insight into the mating rituals of humans.

Of course, Poodle Bitch was being ironic in that previous sentence. Not about the "Rock of Love" programs being magical, because without question they were, but rather about these programs providing insights into the mating rituals of humans. It actually provided insight into the lengths to which human beings will go to achieve a modicum of fame-- or perhaps Poodle Bitch should say notoriety-- on a moderately popular television program.

At the center was Mr. Michaels. While the twenty women swirling about him got smashed on Tequila and fought belligerently about who was really there "for Bret," he remained a calm mixture of bemusement mingled with fascination, with a dash of physical attraction. Poodle Bitch admits that she found Mr. Michaels to be a charismatic center around which to build such a program.

The less said about his "Life as I Know it," featuring the girlfriend that he had even as he was filming those "Rock of Love" programs, the better. (Actually, Poodle Bitch can't even remember "Life as I Know it," couldn't even remember the title of the program until she googled it.)

Anyway. Poodle Bitch is happy to note that Mr. Michaels is apparently a "pet enthusiast," and has just answered her unasked prayer by launching his own line of pet products.
“As a musician who loves animals, I’m thrilled to be collaborating with PetSmart to create the Bret Michaels Pets Rock collection,” said Michaels. “As a dedicated pet owner myself, this is a natural partnership for me, and I can’t wait to unveil the collection. I know my own pets rock, and I wanted to design a line of pet products every bit as fun and cool as they are.”

Poodle Bitch wonders why Mr. Michaels mentioned his being a "musician," yet neglected to remind us of his reality television history. In fact, Poodle Bitch enjoys him so much as a reality show character that she actually watched a few episodes of a show featuring that annoying vituperation Donald Trump, just so that she could see him. That said, she is happy that Mr. Michaels loves animals (humans are animals), but she dislikes his use of the term "pet owner." Poodle Bitch prefers to think of herself as a companion, not a piece of property. She encourages Mr. Michaels to listen to Todd Rundgren's classic song "Property" for a primer on the negative connotations of that word.

The website doesn't as yet have any product information, so Poodle Bitch is left to wonder: Will there be "Doggy Style Thongs"? Tequila and Doritos flavored treats? Stripper Pole Pussy Scratching Posts?

As much as Poodle Bitch admires and appreciates Mr. Michaels, she would prance over his brain-hemorrhoiding body for one piece of chicken breast. That is why she must admit she found the following image from the New York Times so mouthwateringly appealing:

Poodle Bitch had roughly the same reaction to that photo that Mr. Michaels must have when he enters a gynecologist's office.

The accompanying article, about the rise of chicken skin as a savory among certain "foodies," is certainly less provocative than the above image suggests. For one thing, the skin that this small group of cognoscenti is generally cooked to a "crisp," whereas Poodle Bitch notes that the New York Times's "sexy chicken" is raw. Poodle Bitch notes that the small rise in popularity of the chicken skin as a delicacy (is this just another of the New York Times's fake trends, like potbellies and recession beards?) is just another incarnation of the highbrow rehabilitation of what has been traditionally peasant food.

While Poodle Bitch found the photo exciting, a group called PeTA did not.
"When I saw it I just couldn't believe that an editor of The New York Times would find it acceptable," PETA's founder and president Ingrid Newkirk told The Atlantic Wire. "It's downright offensive, not just to people who care about animals but almost to everyone. It's a plucked, beheaded, young chicken in a young pose," she said.
"It's necrophilia. It's not amusing. It's just ghastly and sickly. It's not fitting for The New York Times."

Earlier in this post, Poodle Bitch expressed her distaste for the idea that she might be considered a piece of property, as opposed to a companion. That is because her presence in the lives of her human companions fills a much more solemn and noble purpose than could, say, a table. Poodle Bitch, as all animal companions, provides mental and emotional company that is all out of proportion to the limitations of "property." That term is as insulting to the animal in question as it is to the human expressing it.

At the other end of the spectrum: referring to a chicken as if it were human. Animals are not human. Animals do not want to be human. This is something that even humans who refer to themselves as animal lovers often lose sight of. Poodle Bitch can tell Ms. Newkirk that she was most assuredly not offended by the image of the "plucked" and "beheaded" "young chicken." She was made hungry by it.

That is an animal reaction. And, while animals are not human, humans are still very much animals. Poodle Bitch would venture to guess that Ms. Newkirk is in the minority if, in fact, her mouth did not start watering upon seeing that image.

Poodle Bitch notes that Ms. Newkirk is a humorless hypocrite who once said, "Even if animal research resulted in a cure for AIDS, we'd be against it." This does not apply to the use of IV drips to alleviate the pain of a broken wrist, apparently.
Just as I was setting out to launch my new book, Let’s Have a Dog Party!, I met a wet floor and went splat, neatly snapping the bones in my wrist. Ooh, the pain! Thank goodness for IV drips.

As this post points out, that IV drip for which Ms. Newkirk thanked "goodness" actually owes its existence to animal testing.

Furthermore, in Ms. Newkirk's essay, from which Poodle Bitch quoted above, you can read for yourself how she compares seagulls, monkeys, foxes, and chimpanzees to black humans. Poodle Bitch wonders that anyone takes this woman or her group seriously. She is nothing more than a morally retarded malefactress. And her organization has murdered thousands of companion animals since 1998.
Animal lovers worldwide now have access to more than a decade's worth of evidence showing that People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) kills thousands of defenseless pets at its Virginia headquarters. Since 1998, PETA has opted to "put down" 25,840 adoptable dogs, cats, puppies, and kittens instead of finding them "forever homes."

But a photo of a "young chicken in a young pose" is simply beyond the pale, Poodle Bitch notes with dry irony.

Ms. Newkirk's objections to the "young chicken" image that appeared in the New York Times appeared in the same week in which her group PETA released an ad targeting the victim of a shark attack:
PETA is at it again. Just days after a man on a spearfishing trip survived a shark attack near the Gulf of Mexico, PETA launched a controversial campaign portraying a shark chomping a man to death with the tagline "Payback Is Hell, Go Vegan."

"With the recent shark attack in the news, we thought that it was a good time to bring this discussion up that will hopefully save lives, both human and animals," PETA Campaign Manager Ashley Byrne told The Huffington Post.

Here is the ad in question:

Most humans would find it distasteful to use the profound wounding of a man in an attempt to score political points. But then, most humans find it distasteful to put the suffering of AIDS victims below the suffering of a privileged, pampered human woman who slipped and broke her wrist while preparing to promote a book that exploits dogs. In other words, Poodle Bitch notes wearily, this is simply par for the course.

Poodle Bitch also notes that the Disney Channel, something she only watches when she is around human children (which is as infrequently as possible), has ordered a television program about, well, a dog with a blog:
Dog With A Blog centers on 15-year-old Tyler and Kayla, who have just become step-siblings but don’t get along because they’re very different: Tyler is popular, social and gets by on his looks, while Kayla is super smart, socially responsible and despises guys like Tyler. Cue Stu, the new family’s dog. He talks, blogs about his family on his social network, and, with his canine point of view, helps Tyler and Kayla navigate their new sibling status as well as the world of high school. ... Casting is underway for the kids, parents and the dog, who will be real (sans the talking and blogging part, which will most likely be CG animation).

Poodle Bitch wonders why it is that the blogging dog must be saddled with allegedly adorable children who are little more than the stock sit-com characters that populate every single Disney Channel program she has ever had to sit through (Poodle Bitch admits that she has not sat through many). She believes that a blogging dog, offering genuinely witty observations on the world in which she lives, should be more than enough to carry a television program.

Children are a crutch that writers use when they can not fall back upon cleverness.

Poodle Bitch also wonders about the necessity of CGI. Traditional, hand-drawn animation has always been good enough for her.