Thursday, March 08, 2007

The Dangers of Honesty Pt. 1

A couple of weeks ago I wrote a column about how SxSW is a festival which gets maligned far too often without good reason. Not that there’s no reason to malign the fest. There are PLENTY of reasons to bash it. It’s strayed far from its original purpose, which was to provide a venue for unsigned bands to play in front of suits with pens, blank contracts, and corporate accounts.

What could have been called a “talent convention”. Or “slave auction”. Whatever. Bottom line: the bands are only there for exposure. I don’t know if any of them get paid today, but in the beginning, NONE of them did. They tried out, sent demo tapes to the SxSW “talent scouts”, and hoped that they would be given the opportunity to play in front of whoever it is that “makes” the industry. It’s a privilege, not a right, to play SxSW. Even today.

But the spirit of it has changed significantly. And I don’t think that’s coincidence or random chaos which has led the fest to where it is today.

Now we get to hear The Stooges, Morrissey, and The Walkmen. Aren’t these bands signed? And if they aren’t, do they even care? Are The Stooges looking to pen a record deal, or are they just going to play some classics, collect a fat ass check, eat some Kirby Queso and fly on back to the home for wayward punk retirees?

Are these “headliners” here to appease the throngs of crybabies from years past who peered over the list of unsigned bands who were there to scratch out their name, and thoughtlessly bawled “I’ve never HEARD of any of these shitty bands! I want some of that Ramones, or maybe an underground act like Coldplay!”? Why the fuck did they do that if it’s supposed to be a festival to connect the unsigned with those of signing authority?

Ozomotli or Bloc Party about to be free agents or some shit? Panthers? Come on.

And then there’s the cost to get in, traffic, lines at eateries, and wha-whah-cry-blah-tears.

And it’s all legitimate, every complaint. But why bother? It isn’t going to change just because it’s incapable of being everything to everyone. It is what it is, and the majority loves it in its current form. So why not just find a way to enjoy that shit? For the love of god, if the festival pisses you off, then turn that urine into lemonade!

At least, that’s what I tried to write in my Austinist post, in a roundabout sort of way. Even if the other crybaby contingency, the throwers of the festival, cannot grasp the possibility that people like me who love the festival, but completely understand why others hate it, actually exist. And that unlike both extremes, we aim to be a reasonable middle ground of an island, poking out from a see of their obnoxious tears.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

God Has Better Sense Than That

God-fucking-damn this man. What the hell does he think he’s doing? What an incomprehensible ASSHOLE.

I’ve never been a big fan of Robertson, or his penchant for pouring the blood-soaked cash of his sheep-like followers all over our political process like the talentless wannabe entertainer he is. But to get all Chicken Little like this is beyond absurd. Worse yet, it’s criminally reckless. Why can’t his “god” explain THAT to him? Motherfucker.

We have enough fear mongering going on here in The States. Like a crazed wildfire that ends up consuming even the most honest and good-meaning citizenry. It’s a duping process, a psychological chain of events. Perhaps not coordinated, but certainly symbiotic in light of the results. Big Money provides the fuel. Big Political Influence lights it. And let’s face it, Big Religious Cults such as the 700 Club fan the living fuck out of it.

And then we all get burned.

So here’s Robertson, spewing even more of his “the sky’s fallin’! So better write me a check quick!” rhetoric, trying to promote his various religious and political machines on the ol’ boob toob. His own little show. His already-willing crew of followers. As he’s always doing. Why should I care, right?

Why? Because this time he’s stepped even further over the line than he has in the past. Now he’s fucking practically “guaranteed” some sort of attack JUST BECAUSE HE AND THOSE WHO INVEST IN HIS SMUG SMIRK WON’T WANT TO BE WRONG. And I get the feeling we’re all going to get burned here.

It’s flabbergasting the lengths to which some people will go to desperately maintain relevance. And it sucks that on some level, it works. I am, after all, discussing and considering this megalomaniac and his insane ramblings. Even when he’s obviously off his rocker. Damnit.

Dude is wrong ALL the time. On a daily, if not hourly basis, I would imagine. Pretty much constantly. That comes part-n-parcel with being pathological. And sure, he’s usually little more than a historical revisionist when he makes one of his myriad of incorrect predictions, selfishly invoking the emotionally-charged moniker by claiming some shit about how “god told” him all about it. But usually he’s prattling on about typhoons, earthquakes and “god-willed” diseases for gays. In other words: shit he has no understanding of and honestly has no influence over.

But murder and destruction by one man on another? Well that just makes me all kinds of paranoid. He’s suddenly more than just that kooky fool on the corner bellowing out nonsense about the “third coming” of the chupacabra wars or whatever. Now he’s making me nervous. And I’m not nervous about any terrorist attack.

I’m more nervous of him.

If he’s going to claim god spoke to him, which is his right (to be insane), then I’m going to go ahead and assert my right and claim that god (jabberwocky, Stay-Puff Marshmallow Man, or any other figment-ish creature) did no such stupid thing. And as a corollary to my claim, if there IS an attack of any substantial proportion on US soil that even RESEMBLES his obnoxiously vague description, then it had to have happened BECAUSE of Roberts’ self-serving “look at me! I talk to the baby jesus!” prediction.

Thanks Pat, you dick.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

It Was Hard To Enjoy Today

I’m going to go ahead and state that today was a death day. Lots and lots and lots of death happening. Seemingly all around me. From presidents to funk masters to people I’ve actually met and hung out with. It’s making the rounds. Sorry to sound so blasé, but a spade’s a spade. This particular spade is especially spade-y. It’s the final comeuppance, after all.

Final, final, final… I realize that this is an eventuality. Death is the lingering cymbal crash of a brutal symphony. It’s the deflating airbag of an explosive single-car accident. The finishing touch of icing on a horribly burnt cake.

Wait, no. Make that a BEAUTIFULLY burnt cake.

Regardless, it’s inevitable. Simultaneously catastrophic and wondrous beyond my comprehension, yet so easily grasped in its totality. And what’s funny is that everyone has already been there, we simply don’t remember.

Let me explain that last part, since it sounds hella-Haley’s Comet Clique and shit.

Wherever it is that we’re headed, if anywhere, is likely wherever the hell we were when we poofed-up in our mommas’ wombs. That was some variety of ether-spillage, and the return is logically some version of ether-return. Well, not logically. But potentially.

My point being: it is highly likely that we know exactly where we’re going when we die. We know, because in some sense, we’ve already been there. We’re subconsciously aware of exactly what’s in store for us. And like a vomit-nervous cat on its way to the vet, maybe, just maybe, it’s that deep-seated awareness which makes everyone so goddamn scared to go.

That, or you believe in hell.

Friday, December 08, 2006

That Girl Sucks, And I Just Don't Care How That Makes Her Feel.

You know what’s funny? People’s feelings. They’re hilarious. Especially the delicate ones. Such as, when you tell someone that they’re being hypocritical or just plain left-fieldy.

And I’m not saying that because I have none of my own snowflakeishly-thin feelings, and I just revel in the smacking-down of others. Oh no. Not by a long shot.

I, myself, am quite the delicate peacock feather. I require constant care and petting. Never a nasty word can be directed toward me, lest I break down into a wave of inconsolable tears and face slaps. I can take criticism, sure. As long as its criticism directed at someone else. I especially hate being critiqued when I’m actually wrong.

That’s the WORST.

There is nothing more heart-wrenching and equally vile as someone explaining to me why I’m wrong when I’m actually wrong. Don’t people KNOW how devastating that kind of honesty can be? That the truth will not set me free? That it will actually become the shackles, cement boots, and shark-filled waters that will END ME? Does anyone out there have any idea how crippling it can be to learn that you’re a complete nimrod of a twatrocket? Anyone?

I didn’t think so. I’m the only one to have withstood undue torture-by-truth. You are all goody-do-nothings.

I mean, let’s say I was driving my car while trying to download some totally sweet ringtones for my brand new Razr Tronphone. And I’m not talking about some super gay Pac Man sounds. I’m talking Nickelback, off the NEW Nickelback album (totally new sound). So I’m driving and downloading some grand-tastic totally sweet NB soundbites to attach to my parole officer’s number. Multi-tasking because I’m trying to be efficient with my time. You know, conserving nature through efficient time-use and whatnot.

To help stop Al Gore’s global warming.

And I accidentally bump into some asshole on a bike who is riding near the CAR LANE. HELLO, it’s for CARS! All the signs are WRITTEN IN CAR, you shit.

And then he ends up seriously hurt or something stupid. I’m still not getting it, really. I mean, how far is a bike from the ground? So, how far could he have fallen anyway? Two feet? I told the cops that he should stop being such a little bitch and come out of his coma already. He’s seriously threatening to ruin my weekend plans with all this “intensive care” bullshit. Shouldn’t his wife and children be responsible for this? Or the orphans he cares for? Where were THEY when he got on a bike instead of a bullet-proof Hummer to get home from work, huh? Am I the only one who cares now?


Anyhow, so the judge is up there in his tent robe, telling me what a bad driver I am! OMG, WHAT AN ASSHOLE! I mean, I know I should have put the car in cruise control and steered properly with my knees instead of just “letting the wheel go” like that, but it’s so mean to say I’m a bad driver in front of other people! Especially in front of strangers. I mean, that judge is seriously endangering my future by ruining my reputation by saying things like that.

What if one of those people in the crowd is the manager for JC Penny and I don’t get that summer job! OMG! I’ll miss out on the Cancun trip!

I should sue him for “honesty of character”. What a dick.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Hello Garbage Truck Man

Ever heard of some old dude get soaked in gasoline whilst trying to carjack an old lady at some backwoods Texas gas station? Like dude just said “fuck it, I’m taking this old bitch’s Tahoe back to my mobile home so the dogs can have something fancy to live under”?

Well now you have. (if that crazy link bothers to work) What a piece of work. Nobel winner, that guy.

My truck, quite fortunately, is not likely to ever be a target of such wanton thievery. No Denali trim package over here. Oh hell no. I just got my rear view mirror glued back on, and that’s got me pretty excited! Now I can see the urgent gestures of the people I accidentally cut off on the freeway because my steering is so damned loose! Alright! If only the windshield wipers, CD player, and differential would magically fix themselves, it’d be perfect *!

Red rocket, red rocket.

It entertains me to learn how people are judged by their car. If you drive a late model Lexus, you’re a posh asshole. If you drive an Eclipse convertible you’re a titty dancer. And if you drive an older, beat-up pickup truck with four cracks across the windshield, you’re a garbage man.


I gather this from the fact that every day there is new garbage that has been deposited in the bed of my truck. It just appears there, like magic! Trash sorcery! Beer cans, cigarette packs/butts, fast food packaging, dead birds, whole branches, and other unnamed, general detritus refuse. Stankin’ up the joint.

This is done because I obviously enjoy throwing other people’s trash away. I really do. I especially like throwing away food related items, like half-eaten hamburgers and apple cores. That’s awesome. Makes me delirious just thinking about it. In fact, I like dealing with other people’s shit so much, it might be comparable to how much Canada must loving dealing with ours.

Because I KNOW we toss shit in the back of their pickup bed like it was an abandoned apartment dumpster. Like, fuck it.

So, keep that in mind kids: anyone driving a pickup truck is a garbage man. Whether they like it or not. Feel free to drop trou’ right in there to help with the compost!


*Safe and drivable.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Standards Are Awesome.

Hey! Guess what’s really NOT important?! Readability Level Statistics!

It’s called the Flesch-Kincaid Readability Level, and it’s so awesome I want to commit violence on myself! You see, F—K system does this voo-doo on paragraphs of words and then applies a statistically wow-erific model to fit that set of words neatly into a categorization which (big shocker) correlates to grade school reading aptitude! As in: a score of 5 = 5th grade reading level. 4 = 4th, 3 = 3rd, and 12th = you get the picture.

Unless you, yourself, are a 1. In which case, you’re totally confused by now and wish that your mother/brother wasn’t your sister/grandmother. Or you’re just drooling and searching for horse pr0n.

Back to the F—K method.

Apparently, in the same voice, and while speaking ostensibly on the same level (I only have one level of intelligence, presumably), I can write at a 6th grade level AND an 11.5th grade level! Simultaneously! That makes ALL the sense in the world! I checked it myself using Microsoft Word! It’s so easy to judge nowadays!

I’m sooooo glad we have these rating systems in place to tell me that in order to bring a paragraph from a 6th grade level to a 12th grade level, all I need to do is add run-on sentences and long, multi-syllabic words! Even if I fuck the grammar all up, jumble all the paragraphs into one long-winded douche-wheez, and use big, fake words in all sorts of impracticalishnistical ways! Smartness!

Flesch-Kincaid grade level 1.6 (so, you don’t even need to know English really):

The dog ran very fast. But not fast for dad. I like it when the dog gets beat. My dad beats dogs with his hook hand. His hook is made of metal and rubber. Like my mom’s left leg.

They were in a combine fire together. Mom says they were making me. Two bums came by and found them on top of the other. The bums did their thing. Then burned the combine. Mom’s leg got ate by coyotes after she passed out from the pain.

I don’t like it when dad opens my coke with his hook. It sounds so bad. It makes me cry. Like he just used that hook to open my brain instead.

Shut up stupid dog or I will hit you. With my third leg.

Flesch-Kincaid grade level 7.4 (what almost SIX more years of education can guarantee! Apparently!)

The dog ran very fast, but not fast; for dad. Precociousness. I like it when the dog gets beat because my dad beats dogs with his hooktasticalfullness hand. His hook is made of posthumously metal and rubberfishnets, just like my mom’s left; leggoristicality-o. They were in a combine fire together where mom says they were making me; fistedpainfully when two bums came by and found them on fiddlesticks top of the other. The bums did their thingsteriousnicity; then burned the combine forcedinstitutionalization. Mom’s leg got aten by coyote politicians after she passed out from the painstaticness. I don’t like it when dad opens my coke embroidering with his hook because it sounds so bad that it makes me cry; like he just used that hook to open my brain instead. Shut up stupid dogmaticalstatistician or I will hit you with my third leg bombastic.

Standards are awesome. We need more.

Monday, December 04, 2006

I Came So Close To Respect. But No. Not Today.

He tried to make sense. He really did.

You know, I just can’t get behind all this religious posturing. It ruins a potentially decent message. It’s utter shit to me, but a message as simple as “killing doesn’t seem to be solving any problems” just gets all kinds of RUINED when it’s mummified in the used toilet-paper of religion.

Ahmadinejad’s open letter to Americans is a fine, fine example of what’s wrong with allowing religious rhetoric to lay waste to sound concepts. Here’s a guy, who, best of intentions, simply wants the American people to know that he and his country are not just some gaggle of miscreant sand-dwellers, shooting dogs for sport and spending their every waking hour plotting to destroy the next Freedom Tower. I guess there are idiots, probably in my own neighborhood, who still labor under the delusion that the entire middle east operates that way. But they probably also think Destro and Cobra Commander are real too, as active but silent members of the Al Qaida network. So it's likely that his intended audience isn't into "reading long stuff that sounds all complicated". Like fire extinguisher instructions.

Regardless, dude’s letter is well intended. And for the record, I wanted to hate what he had to say. I intended to be fully biased, and have all my pre-notions of how small-minded a man had to be in order for his eyes to be so small and close together. Like two ear studs inserted a centimeter apart on a full-sized potato.

But for the most part, his sentiment is decent and appears to be an honest appeal to the good nature of the average tax-paying American Joe. But then he had to go fuck it all up with a slew of god talk. Man, what a shame.

My issues, with this specific letter of text, in the order in which they grated on my goddamn nerves:

1. Continually claiming that one’s audience should be “God-fearing, truth loving, and justice seeking” is blatantly disingenuous. Either one IS, or they ARE NOT “God-fearing”. Placing repeated reminders in the letter is little more than obnoxious prodding. He might as well have said “remember kids, God will fucking lightening your ass if you don’t side with me, a fellow God-fearer!” He was only talking to others of religious motivation. Not science. Not logic. Not fact-based reasoning. According to Ahmadinejad, only those of faith are capable of solving/not-starting issues such as modern day imperialism and wanton murder.

Ehhhh... What? That's some double-fucking-speak if I've ever encountered it.

It’s quite possibly the stupidest stretch of vacant common sense I’ve ever had to endure, but, okay then, I’ll pretend it makes sense for the sake of making fun of it. You know, since he went to the effort of writing it all down or whatever.

So… what about those of us who don’t “fear” whatever “God” is being tossed around so irreverently? Are we the problem? The non-fearers? Are we what’s wrong here? Are we the reason why everything is (pretty much always) all fucked up? Well, last time I checked, the only “Godless” leaders of ANY known nation, or any other set of murderous humans, incorporated or otherwise, for that matter, were Communists. The EXTREMELY RATIONAL reasoning behind removing religion from that socio-political structure, while wholly impractical and extremely oppressive, was to ensure that there would be no MURDER along religious lines (which is a guarantee as long as religions are allowed to practice competitively). But, as is human nature, if any communist did indeed shed their religion, then they simply picked up bureaucracy instead. But for the most part, they were all religious as hell anyway. Secretly. They simply played the part of non-theologians to keep from having their heads lopped-off by competing closet-theologians.

Now that the Soviet Union is gone, everyone is super-religious again. Shocker. And the Chinese are split between a return to their respective Eastern Philosophic routes and the coastal worship of an exploding Market Economy. And of course, violence along lines of delineation is beginning.

N. Korea is black hole of who-knows, so I'm not sticking anything in it here.

I don’t think it unfair, or a stretch to state that the injection of religion into a political text of any kind will be IMMEDIATELY POLARIZING. Until every living human being honestly and truly believes the exact same thing about everything (perhaps as programmed robots, made by programmed robots, which could only have come from some imagined universe somewhere far beyond current human comprehension?) any disputing of this polarization FACT, ironically, simply proves that it’s true.

Let’s face it, if a Muslim even says the word “Jew”, people get upset, regardless of the context. Like “don’t talk about my people! You aren’t allowed!” or “dude, I don’t think it’s appropriate that you be mentioning them. Ever.” It doesn't matter what they said about "the other" group. Just mentioning names ruffles feathers.

And don’t get me started on how atheists feel when they’re even MENTIONED by ANY other religious group. If the pope were to say “there’s nothing wrong with being an atheist,” which he would never say, but if he did, there’d be a large coalition of atheists who would react with “DON’T PATRONIZE ME YOU OPPRESSOR OF THE MIND AND FREE THOUGHT. I WILL PAY NO TITHE TO THE SPAGHETTI MONSTER! Ever.”

Fools get upset over beliefs. Even without provocation or reason. Maybe it’s the caffeine. I don’t really know. Regardless, the polarization occurs.

2. I’m tired of the over-misuse of the term “immoral” between cultures. Any staunch follower of Islam stating that a non-follower of Islam was acting “immorally” is ridiculous. They’re “immoral” because their “morals” are different than yours. Stop acting like morals are finite and carved in stone. They aren’t. They’re liquid, and can be VASTLY different from one population, group, gang, prison block to another.

You might as well be trying to tell a sea otter that it’s activities are “immoral”. It's ridiculous.

This will always bother me. The semantic arguments that surround morality. It’s the newest lazy-man’s approach to making any random-ass point into a touchstone argument. Telling someone who is far outside your culture that they should believe something because it is “moral” is just as ridiculous as someone from Mozambique telling Alaskans that drinking tap water in Anchorage will definitely result in African dysentery.

Morality is contextual. Locally and culturally so. There’s no definitive.

You realize that in some cultures, what we deam as "innappropriate" homosexuality between boys and older, married men is PART OF THEIR MORAL CODE? As fucked up as that sounds to me, they honestly believe knowledge surrounding what it means to “be a man” can only be passed on this way. So they have these rituals surrounding it. To an outsider, it’s all kinds of crazy pedophile-sounding. But to them, they’re like “whatever man. This is how we roll.” They might consider our preference to just let boys figure shit out on their own as “immoral” and “irresponsible” in terms of youth education. And based on their moral code, hey, guess what? They’d be right.

To be clear, I AM NOT ADVOCATING THIS. I’m just sayin’ it exists, and according to their own compasses, passes for “moral”.

So, Ahmadinejad’s tossing around of any “morality” related words is meaningless in the given context. Probability says that he’s not talking about the same “morals” as those held by his audience (but by pure coincidence, he could be, one never knows! Aha. Ha.).

Again, with religious folk, who are likely under the erroneous impression that only one set of morals exists, all one has to say is “doing ______ is immoral. Do you do ______?” and motherfuckers will be falling all over themselves to say “oh good lord no! NEVER! I’m a god-fearing moral person, I am!”

Touchstone arguments. Lazy shit.

3. Then, of course, there’s the ever-popular “justice and truth” claims. Wow. I figured by now, no politician, regardless of their revolutionary roots, would be so asinine as to claim this as an aim. Governments cannot guarantee this. You know why? Because statistically speaking, it would likely involve the removal of that same government which is supposed to be providing the guarantee. A government hand over authority/power? Oh, right. And understandably, that has never happened. Nor will it. How would a self-serving government honestly know when it was stepping beyond the bounds of "justice and truth"? I don’t think it’s a stretch to state that all governments, over their entire course of existence end up making sacrifices and compromises which amount to injustice and manipulation of SOMEONE/thing. It might be a stated “goal” in the bylaws, constitution, or whatever. But it’s the first lofty pipe-dream to get shelved as soon as real governing starts happening.

I won’t delve further into that one. It’s just so stupid it makes me want to cry.