Category Archives: Media Studies

Jesus has won Survivor: Africa

Jewfro Jesus

Ha ha ha! No, that’s not really Jesus. That’s Ethan, the winner of Survivor: Africa. He’s a professional soccer player. His luxury item was a hacky sack. Isn’t that adorable? But when he won a reward challenge and visited a Kenyan village, he gave the hacky sack away to some children. He also introduced them to the term “Jewfro”. Hooray for Ethan!

The solution to all your problems

Obviously, I am already in violation of my New Year’s resolution to go to bed at a somewhat earlier time each evening. I must remind any critics, however, that Rome was not built in a day. Although Venice was, from what I hear.

All too often lately I have found my mind slipping into familiar patterns – that acquiring some object or service will sort out life’s problems. For example, last week at work I got a memo about getting paid through Direct Deposit instead of picking up my paycheck at the office. My immediate reaction was, “They’ll put the money in the bank FOR me? Why, that will solve all of my problems!” My next thought was, “Why did I just think that? I can’t possibly believe that!” Clearly, life has more problems to throw my way than just those which may be solved by switching to Direct Deposit, and I am an intelligent boy and have no illusions to the contrary. However, just for that split-second, Direct Deposit seemed like the cement mixture that would transform the bumpy, awkward gravel road of life into a smooth interstate highway with no speed limit.

Now, why was this my first reaction?

I blame television. Television commercials have taught me that getting their product or service will unburden me of the undue stress of daily life. None of them actually say it, although it might make a good ad campaign: “Minute Maid Orange Juice will unburden you of the undue stress of daily life.” “Tampax tampons will unburden you of the undue stress of daily life.” “Epil Stop-N-Spray Hair Remover will unburden you of the undue stress of daily life.” “Smith & Wesson handguns will unburden you of the undue stress of daily life.” And so on.

Well, that last one might actually be true.

I will brook no insolence

These are my boys:

Draco and Company

Do not attempt to overpower them, as they are quite sinister. You will do exactly as they tell you. Any defiance and you’ll find yourself turned into a toad with your arse in flames. And nobody wants that. Except maybe these boys.

I smell Best Supporting Actor nominations! Anyone? Anyone?

Notable for honesty

Well, it looks like the folks at my digital cable company had no idea what was going to be on MoreMax (Cinemax 2) at 1:00 AM tonight, so they just took a stab in the dark:


I clicked on “Info” to get a description of the program, and this is what I saw:

breasts is breasts

Fair enough. Unfortunately, I do not suscribe to Cinemax nor its sister channel MoreMax, and could not make video captures of the actual program for all of you to enjoy. Woe is you.


To celebrate getting the new page up, I spent all day puking. Well, that’s not really true. I puked twice. Once at home and once at work. I stayed at work for the rest of my shift and even had a bag of Doritos afterward. I am not too smart.

Watching an SNL rerun from the mid-’80s on Comedy Central with Rosanna Arquette as host, I have come to the realization that Rosanna Arquette and Sarah Michelle Gellar are exactly the same person, only in different bodies.

I have also been drinking rum. Again, not too smart. I am tempting the nausea gods.

I played around a little bit with some webcam software. You may see different funny little pictures up in the webcam space before I figure out the best way to make all this work. Hopefully by the end of this week I’ll have sent out the big email to everyone I know saying “Hey, everybody, come look at my site! It has mostly the same stuff on it that it used to have, but it all looks different now! Ha ha ha!” But, you know, I have to be *really* ready first.

So, more rum then.

Will to live, and live well at that

I recently had the pleasure of learning (if you can believe this asshole) that despite being pre-empted by an address by Bush to both houses of Congress (“My fellow Amurrikins, this war against turrorism will be long and hard, and God help us I’m commander-in-chief of our milturry.”), the Columbian Broadcasting System’s wonderful summer series Big Brother 2 went ahead with its live finale, even though it was not being broadcast. And, in the final analysis, after the polls were closed and the votes were counted and the fix was in, the winner to emerge from the corporate-sponsored camera-laden cathode-ray hovel, clutching half a million dollars desperately to his breast, was none other than Will, the Funny, Evil Doctor.

I want to have his babies.I found this to be fantastic news. I easily count Big Brother 2 as my Favorite Program of the Summer Which I Watched Less Than Ten Percent of the Time It Was Actually On, and Will was easily the most entertaining contestant, despite his early alliance with two of the more cringe-inducing people on the show – Mike “Boogie”, the white rapper, and Shannon, the psycho hose-beast. Congratulations, Will, and here’s hoping you save up some of that money – Evil Doctors do a lot of pro bono work, after all, and you’ll need *something* to live on.

Go see this

wet hot american summer

Despite my film major upbringing, I have no pretensions towards movie criticdom. However, an issue must be addressed. I read some reviews online of the film Wet Hot American Summer, released in early August of this year, which claimed that the movie was “unfunny” and its jokes were “lame”. Also, it is “ineptly made”.

Let me tell you, not as any sort of cultural commentator or social critic, but as an average, intelligent human being who doesn’t laugh at things that aren’t funny: they are wrong. VERY wrong. Job-risking wrong. Wet Hot American Summer is easily the funniest film I’ve seen in a long time, and one of the most meticulously crafted. The critics don’t seem to get the joke.

The movie, made by folks from MTV’s The State (which I have never seen), is ostensibly a parody of early ’80s summer camp movies such as Meatballs. But that’s not quite what it is. “Parody” nowadays takes various scenes from popular movies, replaces the actors with “funny” equivalents, and adds a “funny” twist to make the scene “funny”. Sometimes, what is “funny” is actually funny, but check out this list: Spaceballs. Robin Hood: Men in Tights. Scary Movie. Repossessed. Loaded Weapon 1. Hot Shots!. Well, I liked Hot Shots!. But these movies are all examples of what the American “parody” movie has become.

I left Airplane! off the list because it’s a different animal. I can’t quite explain what the difference is, but I think it has something to do with the idea that Airplane! is actually a serious movie, not conventionally a comedy at all, but the dramatic situations are completely stretched to the point of absurdity – which is what makes them funny. The “gags” in the movie (the inflating automatic pilot, the romantic flashback stuff) are actually where the movie is weaker, and the stronger moments are the ones that are completely deadpan, yet make absolutely no sense (the young boy offering the young girl coffee, pretty much every scene Leslie Nielsen is in).

Wet Hot American Summer is anomalous in kind of the same way. It’s not a deconstruction of a summer camp movie, it is a summer camp movie. A hilarious, ridiculous, absurd one. It’s what a summer camp movie would have been if such movies were smart. And it’s made beautifully, right down to the trashy, grainy cinematography and the bad continuity, all clearly very intentional and thought-out.

One review I read spoke of David Hyde Pierce (whose scenes of pure awkwardness with Janeane Garofalo are just priceless), “who, in his work as Niles on Frasier, does some of the most talented farce acting any actor has accomplished in the last few years”. Sure, I love him on Frasier. But he’s played that character forever. The reviewer then goes on to say David Hyde Pierce is given nothing to work with. I disagree. Hearing David Hyde Pierce say, in a moment of frustration, “Fuck my cock!” is alone worth the price of admission. It’s difficult to say which actor gives the funniest performance – Paul Rudd is great, Michael Ian Black has some great scenes, and of course Michael Showalter as the sympathetic hero – but I think I’d have to give the edge to Christopher Meloni, of all people – the lead on Law & Order: SVU but here a crazy, bearded Vietnam-vet cook who steals every scene he’s in.

Again, I’m not a movie critic. I don’t want to be a movie critic. It doesn’t matter how I explain it. Wet Hot American Summer was damn funny. Go see it.

Go to the movie’s official site for more info!

What about the damn fire, Billy Joel?

Aside from the fact you didn’t start it? Does this fire have something to do with the cultural events you’re shouting out to that tinny little tune with no context whatsoever? What exactly is the viewpoint being expressed here? “Garsh, a lotta stuff sure happens, donnit!?!?” Yes, Billy Joel. Yes it does. Since the world’s been turnin’. So the message is “Don’t blame the boomers”? Hm. I mean, “It’s the End of the World as We Know It” by R.E.M. throws a lot of cultural stuff out there, but the message there is clear: Michael Stipe feels fine. He’s just totally fine with the whole thing. Leonard Bernstein he’s fine with. He’s fine with Lenny Bruce not being afraid. Monty got a raw deal, and everyone’s exhuming McCarthy, but he’s just fine with Birthday Party Cheesecake Jellybean Boom. For crying out loud, he’s even losing his religion. What do you have to offer, Billy? Write more songs about Christie Brinkley. No, I don’t care that you’re not married to her anymore. Listen, boy, I’m sure that you think you’ve got it all under control. You don’t want somebody telling you the way to stay in someone’s soul. But she’s a trusting girl, she’s put her trust in you – and a girl like that won’t tell you what you should do. Anyway, Catholic girls start much too late.

Holy shit. I just realized this large baggie of M&Ms I’ve been eating has not contained M&Ms at all, but rather a wide selection of recreational pills. YOU’LL BE HEARING FROM MY LAWYER, PIANO MAN!!!

O, I am April’s fool! is live, if that means anything to any of you.

I’ve spent the last several days with the “Electric Company” theme in my head. I have the Noggin network on digital cable, and they show “The Electric Company” on a regular basis. I credit my overall successful education to the hours clocked watching it and “Sesame Street”, which also appears on Noggin, back in the first four years of my life. Why, that’s why my generation is better off than today’s teenagers… why, those baggy-pants-wearin’ gun-totin’ baby-havin’ to-N*Sync-listenin’ whippersnappers woulda been eaten alive back in my day. Because back then, we didn’t have any food. Food had not been discovered, and so we ate each other, for warmth, as neither heat nor hunger had been defined either. Sure, things were tough back then. But we weren’t grumbly, sullen punks. Of course, we are now. Being grumbly and sullen are what your twenties are all about. What, then, are your teenage years about? Being hormonal and underappreciative, that’s what! Being unwilling to see any sort of larger picture, that’s what! Perpetuating the career lifespans of various undertalented yet highly commercial pop stars, that’s what! I mean, that’s what my generation did when we were that age!

I am going to go drink some milk.

Sean “Puffy” Combs was acquitted today of all charges. That was a close one, folks! I shudder to think at what the state of crappy hip-hop music might have become had Puffy been sentenced to hard time! Prison would have hardened him, though, and he would have come out with a lot more cred. And possibly a second facial expression. Prison may have been the pick-me-up his career needed. Of course, now I am a target of the east coast rap mafia.

I finally got cable installed today. It is currently three-thirty in the morning, and I am watching “Three Amigos!” on A&E. It’s art AND entertainment!

Books I have read recently that I recommend:

Did Adam and Eve Have Navels? by Martin Gardner

Lies My Teacher Told Me by James W. Loewen

The Neal Pollack Anthology of American Literature by Neal Pollack

A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius by Dave Eggers

Shrub by Molly Ivins

Go to!