Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Springform

Have you guys seen this? It's the cool new thing for blogs. This app (that is completely unrelated to mattresses) allows anyone who reads or pretends to read your blog to ask impertinent, boring, or pointless questions anonymously to help sustain the illusion that blogging is a valid substitute for real relationships. Then you can post the answers on your blog so that when your mom starts complaining about you not having any friends, you can say "Oh yeah, Mom? If I don't have any friends, then why are all these people asking me inane questions? Yeah, that's what I thought. Now go make me a sandwich."

If nothing else, it's a great way to reach your monthly quota for posts during the shortest and busiest month of the year, so I thought I'd try it out.

Here are some questions my adoring fans have asked:

Question: What is your name?

Answer: S. Misanthrope, pleased to meet you.

Question: What is your quest?

Answer: Oh, I see where this is going.

Question: What is the air speed velocity of an unladen swallow?

Answer: Blue. Wait, shit!

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Question: Where can I buy a nice pair of tube socks?

Answer: Target stores offer convenient one-stop shopping for all your family's needs, including a wide selection of tube socks at low, low prices. With over ten million locations in the greater Miami area, there's sure to be a Target in your neighborhood.

Question: Did Target pay you to say that?

Answer: Absolutely not (brought to you by Carl's Jr.)

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Question: Given the current state of affairs in Turkmenistan coupled with the trade patterns in the Suez Canal and the likely return of El Nino, how do you see Australian professional basketball evolving over the next 10 to 15 years?

Answer: Blue.

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Question: George W. Bush - great president, or greatest president?

Answer: Goddamn it, Colbert, did you think I was joking about that restraining order?

Question: Sorry.

Answer: It's okay.

Question: Will you still send me a picture of your toes?

Answer: For the last time, no!

Question: How about just your left pinkie toe?

Answer: Fine.

Question: Thank you.

Answer: You're welcome.

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Question: When I was three, I got my finger caught in my mother's sewing machine. Since I was a deaf-mute child, I couldn't scream, and she didn't notice until she had already sewn seven stitches into my hand. As a result, I have a long silk thread coming out of my palm like Spiderman.

Answer: That's not a question.

Question: Oh, right. My question is: I want to use my magic spider thread to choke my girlfriend during sex. Is that consistent with Ayn Rand's philosophy?

Answer: As long as you do it on top of a pile of money, it should be fine.

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Question: What's your favorite scary movie?

Answer: That's a good question. Since I only watch movies with one-word titles that start with S, I guess I have to go with Scream. The whole setup to that movie is just great, with the phone call and the "What's your favorite scary movie" question, and...wait a minute...who is this? Hello? Oh, god...

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Question: Look what I made you!

Answer: That's not a question, and I can't look, you moron, this is the internet.

Question: You can if you look outside.

Answer: HOW DID YOU FIND ME?

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Dear Readers,

Due to national security concerns, this feature is being shut down indefinitely. Formspring is fucking creepy. But just because I don't want to talk to you all anymore, doesn't mean I love you any less.

Kiss kiss,

S. Misanthrope

Friday, February 18, 2011

Zombies and Vampires and Virgins, Oh My!

Every once in awhile, an idea comes along that is truly revolutionary. The idea is presented to the world in a book or a treatise, in a film or television show, in a product or an invention. The creator of the idea stands, full of pride, and shouts “Behold!”

Then the world sort of squints at the idea and says “Gwrgh?” The world plays around with it, pokes it with sticks, turns it upside down and shakes it. “Gwrgh?” inquires the world. The new idea confuses the world. “Gwrgh?” the world asks again, with mounting frustration. Finally the world takes the idea and smashes it on a rock with a self-satisfied “Gwrgh.”

Then another type of genius comes along, not a creative genius, but an exploitative genius. The exploitative genius picks up the tattered remnants of the idea and says “Ahhh!” He makes the idea lose ten pounds and get a personal stylist. He removes the harsh edges, the controversy, the depth. He whittles the idea down to a shallow reflection of itself, different enough to be interesting, bland enough to be popular. He gives it new packaging and a new name, and he crouches slyly and whispers “Hey, hey! Check this out.”

And the crowd goes wild.

That mutilated, bastardized shell of an idea becomes the coolest thing ever. The world puts away its Crocs and Vibrams and goes whole hog for the half-assed version of the idea, insisting that they always liked the idea, that they liked it before everyone else did, that they will love this idea and no other until the day they die.

Opportunists capitalize with off-brand versions of the idea, yet another level of distilment, of distortion. They put the idea in an American flag bikini and a burka. They put it on boxes of cereal and loaves of bread and talk shows and magazine covers. They find the idea on grilled cheese sandwiches, in cloud formations, and on cows’ buttocks. They tell you that if you really love the idea, you will buy t-shirts and hamburgers and bumper stickers and vote Democrat.

At this very moment, we are at the crest of a wave of just such opportunism: the wave of Twilight.

The idea of Twilight is as old and corrupt as pedophile priests, and for the same reasons. It’s a rehashing of the classic platonic perspective: sex is bad, the physical is impure, humans are hopelessly flawed. The fulfillment of sexual desire literally turns men into monsters who will eat your face. Only the purity of virginal platonic love can be considered true.

These are the messages being sent to the prostitweens jerking off their boyfriends in the back row of the theater, and they are lapping it up. It’s all been said before, but this time they care, now that there are vampires involved. I guess Plato’s dialogue just wasn’t as scintillating as this:

Stupid Twilight Chick: Blah blah blah I’m a virgin.
Stupid Twilight Vampire: Stay away or I will drink your blood!
Stupid Twilight Werewolf: Hey guys, not really sure why I’m here, but bark! Bark! Grrr…

Wow, yeah, I can really see how that adds to the culture.

At the same time, popular culture is being overrun by zombie hoards, in the sense that we are being flooded by wave after wave of mindless, soulless works of art produced by figurative zombies, that are about mindless, soulless literal zombies. Not even ninjas or unicorns were as cool as zombies are today. We've got Zombie Strippers!, Zombieland, even Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. That's right, even the novel that all women are genetically pre-programmed to love sells better when it has zombies in it.

These two trends, Twilight and zombies, are utterly pervasive. So what if some diabolical genius (i.e. me) combined the two? The result would be a cultural juggernaut of infinite proportions. It would be an unstoppable Behemoth capable of evaporating the brains of all teenagers on sight. I say, as long as these trends are here, we may as well do it right. I find it utterly intolerable to do anything halfway. So here’s my contribution to the Twilight/zombie craze. I swear it’ll be the next big thing.






Here is an excerpt of this literary gem for your enjoyment.

The Loving Dead

By: S. Misanthrope

Cover art by: M. J. Kelley

Book I of the Loving Dead Series

Chapter 5: Awakening

Virgin leaned against the mausoleum and peered into the shadows of the woods that edged the cemetery. Why does he always want to meet here? she wondered. The thin mist that always hung a foot off the hallowed ground caressed her calves, like the clammy hands of a lover. Or at least that was how she imagined a lover’s hands might feel. No man had laid so much as a finger on her milky legs since the doctor pulled her from the womb almost fifteen years ago.

Her heart somersaulted in her chest when she heard the rustling again. “Hello?” she called to the darkness. Black clouds shifted across the mournful face of the moon, moonlight parted the night that enveloped her and penetrated the edge of the wood.

The tall, dark shadow of the man she awaited appeared. He moved through the foliage with a shuffling gate, one shoulder raised to his ear, his arm bent and elbow held tight against his side, his other arm hanging limply, swaying with the halting motion of his walk. Virgin thought back on the first time that odd stride had caught her eye in the hall of the high school outside the home ec room. She blushed when she caught herself wondering whether that left arm really was as useless as it appeared. As he moved toward her, she fought the urge to run straight into his arms- or at least into the one that seemed functional –and give herself over utterly. But she resisted, remembering why she had come, the question she needed to ask.

Robby approached her. “Stop!” she exclaimed. She felt overwhelmed by his nearness, his presence. The sight of him- his unkempt hair, strange parchment-colored skin, and the gaping, oozing wounds that never seemed to heal. The smell of him- that musky odor with no trace of sweat, but oddly reminding her of death and decay. The feel of him- she stopped herself short.

“Robby,” she said, “I need to know.”

“Mrrhl,” said Robby, picking a scab off his ear.

“How can you say that?” she cried. “You know I trust you, but I deserve to know the truth. Don’t I have a right to the truth?!”

“Grwlgh,” murmured Robby, as his earlobe detached and fell to the ground.

“Of course I’m afraid,” she replied. “I’m afraid that, that there’s something wrong with you. When you got hit by that semi, the paramedics said they couldn’t find a heartbeat, but you got up and walked away as if nothing had happened. When we went to have dinner with your parents, you took me to a secret underground lab of the military-industrial complex in the quarantine zone. You’re always getting in trouble for biting other kids at school, and after you do, their grades suddenly tank and they start hanging out all together doing the Thriller dance. Any one of these could just be coincidence, but all together! If it’s true, it’s what I fear, then you are a…a…”

“Hrglwr!” exclaimed Robby.

“Alright, I’ll say it!” Virgin sobbed. “You, the man I love, you’re a zombie!”

Virgin collapsed, sobbing, on the steps of the mausoleum. Robby picked an overlarge stink beetle off a bush and sniffed it before popping it in his mouth and chewing thoughtfully. He scratched the hole where his ear had been and frowned. After a minute, Virgin’s sobs grew quiet.

“Oh Robby, what do we do? I know our love is real.”

Robby turned his eye back toward Virgin, a single beetle leg hanging from his lips.

“Oh my dearest love, you’re such a messy eater,” Virgin cooed affectionately.

“Eeeat,” said Robby, searchingly. “Braaains!”

“That’s it, Robby!” Virgin exclaimed. “That’s why our love is good. That’s why it’s worth fighting for, worth waiting forever for! Any other boy at school, he would want me for my body, my sinful, corrupt body. You, you love me for my mind!”

“Brains!” cried Robby. Virgin cried, too, tears of love, of youthful joy, the pure, exhaultant tears of sexual frustration. She felt something in the air, an intangible force drawing them together, closer, closer…

“No!” she exclaimed. “We must wait! Forever, if necessary. But I will wait for you, my darling. Always, I will wait!”

Virgin withdrew toward the wood, turning at the last moment to stand on tiptoe and blow her love a kiss before dashing off home, where she would flog herself seven times for her impure musings about how Robby’s decaying penis might hold up in reverse cowgirl.

Robby stood alone in the cemetery, bathed in moonlight, searching the grass for his missing earlobe.

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Look for The Loving Dead in bookstores soon!

Mrhmpgl,

S. Misanthrope
 
P.S. Special thanks to M. J. Kelley for creating the cover art. Check him out at: http://mjkelleyblog.blogspot.com/

Thursday, February 17, 2011

It's Coming

My comic tour de force. This is the zenith. It's all going to be downhill from here. You should probably just stop reading this now. Seriously, just stop. I said stop! Are you still reading? You totally are, rights-violator. Go away!

Jk, lol, I love you!

S. Misanthrope

P.S. Yes, I'm stalling. I'll post the real deal tomorrow. Consider it a belated Valentine from yours truly.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Television's Unspoken Rules

Certain things just seem to be required in movies and television these days. Hollywood has always had its unspoken rules, and they've evolved over time, from maximum breast size restrictions to minimum breast size requirements, from only allowing white people to play non-white races to never allowing white people to play non-white races. Here are today's most prominent rules:

1. Skinny chicks must carbo-load

Hollywood's real sorry for all the times it made you feel fat, and they're going to prove how sorry they are by employing actresses who aren't twigs. Oh wait, no, they're actually just going to use the same actresses, but show them pretending to eat a whole lot of pretend food. So instead of sending the message "Starve yourself so you can look like this," they're saying "Just give up now, fatty, no point in trying, it's all genetics. Skinny chicks don't get that way through careful diet and exercise, are you kidding? They eat just as many donuts as you do. The difference is, God loves them and hates you. Feel better now?"

I'm pretty sure it's an FCC violation to have a skinny chick on your show and not show her eating a Snickers at least once. And don't even think about showing her at the gym or passing up that birthday cake at the office. Is that a diet soda? I don't think so, better switch that for a bottle of pure corn syrup. Nothing promotes a healthy body image like images of a body that stays healthy through magic.

Worst offenders: Sarah Michelle Gellar in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Kate Hudson in How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, and worst of all, Natalie Portman in No Strings Attached, where she not only sports the body of a ten year old boy, she also eats like one.


2. Everywhere in the world has the same weather as California

Let's face it: weather effects are expensive. I don't expect anyone to show rain and hail and blizzards without a really compelling plot-based reason. But many, many low-budget shows have managed to convey the change of the seasons. If you don't need to shoot any scenes outside, you can just show the characters wearing winter clothing or carrying umbrellas, for instance.

But we all know that the sole purpose of television is product placement, so over time more and more shows became set in California, where mini skirts and flip flops can be advertised by tan teenagers played by 30 year olds year round. It's a bit silly, of course, but it makes a lot of sense budget-wise, plus I'm pretty sure at least half of the world's population that matters really does live in California.

Then suddenly California lost its cool. Middle America made a comeback with W., red was the new blue, and the good folks in the television studios realized they could sell shit to these people, if they could convince them to stop watching Nascar long enough. Now every show takes place in Middle America, which seems to be the same place as Ohio according to Hollywood. Having never been to Ohio, everyone on these shows still looks, acts, talks and dresses like they are not only from California, but still living there. They're tan year-round, play football outside in January and hang out on the quad wearing shorts and tshirts during months when the real Ohio is buried under five feet of snow.

I think this is Hollywood saying "We're sorry we ignored you before. To make it up to you, we're going to make some shows about you. Well, not really about you, I mean, it's not like we're going to figure out what it's really like to be a 'LIMA loser,' whatever that means. But we will take the shows we were going to make anyway and say they're set in Ohio without changing anything else about them so that you can feel like you're part of America too."

Worst offenders: Greek and Glee, with Glee coming out on top due to their obviously enormous budget and total ignorance of weather patterns and high school sports seasons; plus Greek makes tongue-in-cheek references to the mysteriously California-like weather at CRU so it's actually kinda funny on that show.

3. The only consequence of poverty is occasional social ostracism

With the economy down, television producers are trying to reach out to "real" people by making shows about poor people. The trouble is, even though many tv writers started out poor, once they become rich they have a special surgical procedure done to remove the part of the brain that remembers what being poor is like. Plus, like we said before, television is all about the product placement. The result is school counselors who have a different Anthropologie outfit for every day of their lives, poor kids living in 4 bedroom houses who have no difficulty coming up with the thousands of dollars necessary to participate in costly high school sports, and car mechanics who can buy their sons all the Marc Jacobs leather satchels they can handle.

Worst case scenario, a kid might be made fun of for their supposed poverty, which the other kids cunningly discovered by...wait, how did they find out that the girl with a new car and a new outfit every day is the poorest kid in town? Did they dig through her trash for bank statements? Did they take a peek at her daddy's 401K during that crazy house party she hosted? Did they catch her shopping at Macy's?

Hollywood's message to us is "If you don't drive an Escalade, you're basically homeless and we pity you."

Worst offenders: Glee, Buffy, and the winner: Smallville for the $280 Nanette Lepore shirt Chloe Sullivan, the unemployed daughter of an unemployed and dead-broke ex-Luthorcorp employee, wore. But hey, at least she wore it twice. What a trouper! Designer hats off to you, Chloe.

Love always,

S. Misanthrope

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Death and That Other Thing

In 2010 I paid more in federal income taxes than most of the people reading this blog made in the entire year. I'm expecting to receive a medal and heartfelt thank you note from the huddled masses any day now.

Any day...

You're Welcome,

S. Misanthrope

Monday, February 7, 2011

FSF: Sights and Sounds

I wish I had a camera hooked up to my eyeballs. That way, every time something ridiculous comes into my field of vision, I could snap a photo by blinking and preserve it for all time here.

Unfortunately while my eyes do possess a superpower that I will have to tell you about later, they do not have picture-taking abilities. But if they did, here are some pictures from just the past week trolling around SF that I could share with you:

1. The best hipster 'stache ever. Seriously, this was a mustache so bad, not even Daniel Day-Lewis could make it look reasonable. This was a mustache to make all other mustaches feel embarrassed for being mustaches. Plus he was on a bike, carrying a messenger bag, and definitely did not fit properly into his skinny jeans. Hint: the kind of people who do fit properly into skinny jeans is hidden in the name "skinny jeans." Damn, I wish I were quicker with the iPhone camera to capture his full, er, glory.

2. If that wasn't enough, I later saw a [kid? punk? moron? all of the above?] with a mustache...on the back of his head. No joke. And he wasn't some ironic hipster, he was a wannabe gangster Mexican high schooler. Now while I don't "get" thug fashion aesthetically, I can at least understand it from a utilitarian perspective. Baggy clothes really are much easier to hide weapons under. But what is the backwards 'stache for? So you can draw eyes and a nose on the back of your otherwise shaved head to confuse potential witnesses? So the police will think they're chasing Mr. Potato Head? So you can hide the embarrassing bunny tattoo on your neck? All of these explanations make more sense than what was likely his real motivation: thinking it would be a big hit with the ladies.

3. It's not all bad though. I did catch a couple of ridiculously cute personalized license plates last week. One was on a fully customized new Beetle with flower-shaped rims and taillights that said "FlwrPwr." Ok, seriously, how early do you have to wake up to snag that plate, especially in California? Probably not as early as the driver of the otherwise totally unremarkable car I saw heading toward the I-80 onramp with the plate "lol jk." Is it weird that that's enough to make me want to be friends with that person?

4. However you feel about carbon emissions, there is one type of car in San Francisco that everyone hates: taxis. Care to guess how many times in 2 days I heard someone say "Why is your light on if you already have people in? Why? WWWWHHHHYYYYYY???!!!" as a taxi passed them by? That would be five, all from groups of three or more people, all including at least one hot chick and no black people. The number of taxis that were using their light incorrectly that I counted in 20 minutes at a single intersection: 15. Seriously, I wish I had night photography skills so I could photograph every "for hire" light misuse and sell the prints to an art gallery as a metaphor for San Francisco cab drivers being morons who can't remember to flip a damn switch.

Every day is an adventure. FSF.