Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Ride the POTUS

Earlier tonight, I was browsing a series called Join or Die, in which artist Justine Lai attempts to subvert our monumental and strangely dehumanized images of the American presidents, via paintings of herself having sex with them in chronological order. According to her mission statement, her intent isn't to deliver predictably controversial anti-patriarchy subject matter, but to demythologize while also poking gentle fun of legacies.

I was looking at the paintings on a forum that had, for membership rules, mirrored and censored a few of them and was just about to click over to her website when my friend Devri logged on to AIM and fired off an IM to me in about two seconds. There are only two things that are bound to happen when someone you know does this: either they're about to tell you something you really desperately do not want to hear, know about or otherwise deal with; or they're going to tell you something awesome. In this case, it was the latter, only funnily enough, she sent me the link to the exact page I was already reading. Because I know how dearly everyone loves them, here they are: chatlogs, sweet nourishing wondrous chatlogs.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Kim Jong-Il to Doom: Welcome

Note: we, the good people of Et Tu, Mr. Destructo?, like to broaden our coverage of the national discourse by occasionally turning to voices and viewpoints not represented by our regular contributors. To discuss the economic crisis and its journalistic coverage, we turn to media and Asian market expert, Dear Leader of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea Kim Jong-Il. We look forward to hearing from Dear Leader in the future.

Welcome, Doom!

There's this scene in Armegeddon, one of two movies put out in 1998 about asteroids coming to obliterate earth, where a scientist played by Steve Buscemi is on a mission to blow up a death-bringing space rock and then just suddenly wigs out and must be duct-taped to a chair.

The Second Great Depression: A Guide

We're probably kidding ourselves at this point if we pretend that we're not in the midst of America's Second Great Depression and a global depression on a scale not seen for at least seventy years. In fact, it has the capacity to be far worse than the initial Great Depression because of globalization's reliance on outsourcing of our native industry, years of lack of growth in domestic industries outside of service and finance, other nations' reliance on our import consumption, and other nations' investment in purchasing debt the Bush administration generated by prosecuting two wars while slashing taxes.

This will probably be a clusterfuck for the ages.

I wish I could break it down, but unfortunately my lack of patience meets my lack of economic schooling with perfect symmetry. What I can do, however, is try to furnish you with digestible and informative links that I've run across in recent days, weeks and months. (I can also implore a friend to start writing for this blog, but I doubt that's going to pay off. Regardless, you, consider yourself implored.)

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

The Moral Outrage of the Youtube Doubler

The internet's brought us a lot of stupid things we could all do without, like long screeds about how talking during The Watchmen constituted a crime against humanity. But worse than the ill-crafted whining of people who can't put pen to paper coherently is Youtube's ability to enable those people to throw the paper essay away and ad-lib one when they can't do public speaking with any real talent either. Most of these people also seem convinced that the guy talking during The Watchmen should be exterminated.

You can find these people running the attitude gamut from frothing to supercilious about virtually any topic. Just as there are the smug DEAL WITH IT internet atheists who think you haven't heard about the Good Lord croaking from a Nietzschean obituary, there are chin-stroking American citizens who think you've somehow managed to go this many years without hearing The Good News. One such genius is this guy doing a christian youth minister impression, who seems to have filmed his video essay from the Land of Overexposure and Hilariously Inappropriate Youtube Account Names:

Monday, March 23, 2009

Racist, Homophobic Piece of Shit 'Dishonored'

Ron Paul is the gift that doesn't stop giving, in ways you never expect.

If you'd asked me two years ago if Sascha Baron Cohen could have followed up Borat's riff on American racism with anything like success, I'd have said no. Then I spent about a year trying to deprogram Paultards and another year trying to deprogram pro-McCain/pro-Palin Republicans suffering some sort of post-Bush Stockholm Syndrome. Basically I learned that there will always be enough people out there willing to believe almost anything and willing to go on the record with it. Which means that Bruno, Cohen's charming heartland tour of American homophobia, is bound to be incredible.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Let's Make LolRands!

Friends, if you're like me, there's only one thing that you like better than beating an evasive person with a copy of Atlas Strugged that you've fastened to a cricket bat to use as a cudgel, and that's making lolcats!

"Lolcats" are macro images of large impact-font text written at a kindergarten level and pasted over pictures of cats. Although they originated elsewhere on the internet, they were popularized by my favorite website, 4Chan, with their weekly "caturday" celebration.

Well, to be honest, I went too long without taking these two great tastes and seeing if they tasted great together. That is, until my friend Robert found a picture of our favorite queen of Objectivism with an actual cat, IMmed me the picture with a macro on it, and said, "lol, i upgraded ur rand."

He wasn't fooling! It took just minutes before I got into the game, trying my hand at this dynamic new phenomenon. Why not join us? Just take this source image or this source image and head over to the Lolcat Builder and submit your own!

If there's one thing I've learned about the internet, it's that everyone loves cats that talk like a child with blunt-force trauma to the head, and everyone loves a political philosophy that sounds exactly like what that same kid would come up with. Why argue with socialists, communists and perverts anymore when you can do it with LolRands and tell those evasive yahoos "fcuk u, gots mine" with an image of Ayn Rand herself?

Here's what we've made so far. I can't wait to see what you guys come up with!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

'The Daily Show' and Jon Stewart Need to Decide What to Do with Their Cake

I've gone back and forth all day on how I feel about the Jon Stewart/Jim Cramer interview on The Daily Show last night. I question the edits the show made in order to fit it on the air. They made Stewart look better and Cramer look worse. The unedited version is far better but also unbalanced in terms of focus, which does Stewart and The Daily Show no credit.

They seem to single out CNBC as if it exemplifies a unique failure of journalism, which is mistaken, especially given that they turn a blind eye to similar failures elsewhere. More critically, it seems as if Stewart wants to pop his head out to play pundit only long enough to voice an opinion before ducking behind the comedy show format to enable him to keep sniping at punditry itself.

Both attitudes are problematic. But before we get there, watch the unedited interview. Here it is, if you haven't seen it:

Friday, March 13, 2009

I Can't Stop Making Youtube Doublers

I waited ten days. Give me that much credit. But I can't stop making these things. I think of Arcade Fire songs, and then I think about trying to find a video of cats wailing while having sex. I read someone going on and on about the sublimity of Sigur Ros, and I wonder, "Can I find a video of endless rows of full coffins?" I see a trailer for Watchmen, and I think, "I'm fairly certain it will take me less than 30 seconds to find an obese person screaming about this movie on his 'vlog.'"

Maybe those are best left for another day. For now, these:

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Chuck Norris Is Apparently Dangerously Insane

It's the internet's fault that Chuck Norris ever again approached relevancy to anyone. In 2005, SomethingAwful spawned the phenomenon of making up fake facts about Norris' supposed rugged inability to be stopped, riffing off the old Saturday Night Live "Bill Brasky" sketch where a bunch of salesman tell taller and taller tales about a preternaturally strong/sexy/alcoholic colleague. Unfortunately, like a lot of stupid shit at SomethingAwful, while members there abandoned the joke as repetitive and stupid, the rest of the internet cleaved to it and ran it into the ground for a full year. Then it died.

But, in 2007, in accordance with their policy of boldly solving tomorrow's solutions with yesterday's detritus, the republican party rescued Norris from imprisonment in his Total Gym full-body workout system and propped him up on FOX News, where his complete absence of political education and naked contempt for non-Christians and gays made him blend right in — while his actually having fought somebody at sometime in the past forty years gave him orders of magnitude more combat experience than their brigade of loudmouthed chickenhawks. From there, it was a short step to the Huckabee campaign, where somehow a guy who played bass on the campaign trail and heard one of his kids brag, "There's not a Huckabee alive who can eat at Taco Bell for seven dollars," had the remainder of his dignity stolen from him by a pop-cultural punchline.

'The Daily Show' Flays CNBC

It started last Wednesday with a cancellation of that night's guest, CNBC correspondent Rick Santelli. In preparing for his appearance, The Daily Show staff put together a montage about CNBC — and, really, all the financial news networks — that indicted them for hubris, cozy and uncritical relationships with the CEOs of brokerage houses, untempered faith in the soundness of The Market and just generally being a complete joke. How, the segment asked, did major 24-hour financial news networks not only completely fail to foresee the worst economic meltdown in 80 years but also manage to forecast its opposite?

The only problem was, Santelli canceled. The Daily Show generally goes after networks and figures in a segment of clips and quotes, but if a representative of the network or the individual involved is going to be on the show, they give them room to explain, apologize, defend or go on the offensive. Without Santelli there to give counterpoint, the piece seemed a little ruthless, even though deserved. Worse, it seemed almost as if The Daily Show opted to flay the network because of the cancellation. Stewart later explained that that was not the case, but would it have mattered if it were? A just point arrived at spitefully is no less just.

Regardless, if you haven't seen the clips, set aside 12 minutes and watch them when you can:

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

YoutubeDoubler II: More Assaults on Taste

A few weeks ago, I posted this amazing link to a YoutubeDoubler that set the bar for YoutubeDoubling. Classic hip-hop is always going to be cool, and anything entitled "Unintelligible Empanada Truck" is always going to be funny. Together, you can't lose.

Since then, I've tried to be funny with the format and mostly come up short. Anything spastically funny is going to be funny on its own. Anything dull is going to be dull. The problem is, where do the two converge? I'm still not sure where that happens, and maybe it doesn't happen with any of these, but the efforts should still be tolerable, especially since they're not all mine anyway.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

'Sharks in Venice'

One of the curses or delights of modern filmmaking, depending on your perspective, is the pervasiveness of "high concept." Put simply, it refers to an easily relatable movie plot, sometimes even one sentence. Alien becomes "Jaws in space." The Towering Inferno is just The Poseidon Adventure upright and in a building. Snakes on a Plane is awesome.

People who are totally hostile to high concept are mostly full of shit. Sometimes great ideas don't need more than a sentence. We accept that brevity is the soul of wit and love one-liners, so deploring brevity elsewhere seems a little convenient to snobbery and inconvenient to consistency, especially when so many great movies can be written off with the one-liner treatment. High concept movies aren't bad because high concept movies are a priori bad. (Alien is arguably the first high concept movie, and by any rubric, it rules.) Most are bad because they're mentally geared at the 12-year-old level, intended to be enjoyed by kids and adults with the same degree of pleasure, produced by trashmeisters like Jerry Bruckheimer, filmed by people who hate epileptics and written by screenwriters who Bruckheimer views as, like, really great with words and stuff — like a word doctor, or something.