Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Just getting my poesy on

We'll kick things off with this. I'm torn: on the one hand, anything that gets more people to read classic literature has to be positive. On the other, the cover of Inferno is graced by a picture of a giant musclebound dude with a red cross stitched into his flesh wielding a gigantic scythe. That's not exactly what the poem was about. I get that EA couldn't make a game of the actual Inferno because this is the plot: "An old dead poet follows an older deader poet around on a guided tour of Hell." You don't make a video game about that.

Instead, you make a video game about killing shit. You name your main character "Dante," place him in Hell and BAM! Magic happens. Now I understand why I can't get a job writing for video games: the people already doing it are so fucking amazing at their jobs that there's just no room. It's like taking up watercolors in the time of da Vinci; how can you possibly improve on it? Best to just give up and write a fucking blog. Incidentally, I've played the Dante's Inferno demo and the cinematics are basically just tits. The gameplay is God of War without the flavor. A dude with a scythe is running around killing stuff to save his wife's tits. At least I think that's what it's about. His wife was in trouble and you could see her tits. I don't know what other conclusions I can draw from this.

I can see a silver lining in this: several thousand mouth-breathing dumbasses will be exposed to one of the most important poems in Western civilization. I don't think they'll realize it's a poem until they open it, but once they do I expect revelations such as "What the FUCK, this doesn't rhyme!" "I didn't know some books had little notes at the bottom of the pages," and "When does this dude get his giant scythe?" To answer the last one: Sixth Circle, Fourth Bolgio. He just kicks ass from there on out. EA, I hope you get what's coming to you. If you can't take the story seriously for your biggest baddest single-player release of the year, you won't be in business much longer. But what do I know? Obviously I was holding the company back: CEO John Riccitiello tells the media that "our fundamentals are strong. We need to continue to cut costs and proceed with our re-structuring." Translation? "This company's executives are great, but all these damn employees keep holding us back with their salaries and their benefits." EA has laid off close to 3000 workers in the last year and continues to hemorrhage money. Clearly they know what's best.


A modest proposal
I didn't capitalize because I ain't gonna front on J. Swift. No fronting for the same reason I don't eat goose: some creatures are so filled with bile and spite that you half-expect them to haunt you from beyond the grave. Have you been attacked by a flock of geese? Have you been mocked by a satirical Scottish revenant? This are the things you have to think about when you write a blog.

Anyway, here's the proposal: we construct an enormous dome over Washington, D.C. The entire apparatus of the Federal government is sealed inside it. There they must stay until they resign (in the case of government workers) or lose re-election. They continue to govern the country from inside the dome. We obey the laws they pass and for the vast majority of the nation everything remains as usual. But what we've provided for our elected representatives is something really special: a magical environment where delusion is free to express itself. If there's anything we've learned from the whole health-care debacle, it's this: reality only slows these people down. We cannot allow the deliberations of the Senate to be broadcast on C-SPAN (a network nobody outside of Washington watches) because it would be impossible to have a real, substantive debate with cameras present. I didn't even make that up! Look, I've watched a lot of Jersey Shore and I know that even the most reprehensible congress between human beings gets done on camera.

So rather than bemoan the decay of our political system, I say we double down on whimsy. By constructing the dome, we aren't protecting ourselves from them: we're protecting them from our reality. Like the characters of The Neverending Story, political operatives in D.C. are threatened by the leakage of the real world into their world. Like the characters in The Neverending Story, they LOVE being fondled by teenaged boys. The real reason this health care bill has been frought with such acrimony is simply that we, the real people of the United States, have been too involved. We confuse and disorient such gentle spirits of the forest as Mitch McConnell (who incidentally is a dead ringer for my deceased grandmother). By building the dome, we protect them and honestly we protect ourselves. Has our involvement in the bill really helped anything or anybody? Doesn't look like it, huh?

It's more than health care, though. I saw John Yoo on The Daily Show the other day and I was pretty excited because I thought "finally somebody's going to get this scumbag," but there were no cops at all! He just talked to Jon Stewart and then he got up and left. Somebody really should demand an explanation from the NYPD; it's not too often a legitimate war criminal just walks the streets where you can grab him. This man provided the legal justification used to torture hundreds of people and he just walks around talking about it! That's not too smart, John. The good news? You could kidnap, beat and torture John Yoo almost to death and then call him as your own witness in court to get you off the hook!

"But Tony," you protest, "who will build this dome? Who's got the engineering know-how and technical expertise?" Simple: Pauly Shore. Does anyone in the universe know more about sealed dome habitats? "But Tony," you protest again, "I'm an environmental engineer and I know all sorts of wack shit about domes." Did you star alongside the estimable Stephen Baldwin in a feature film named for such a structure? I thought not. I think my work here is done. By the way, if you ever sit down to watch Bio-Dome I recommend safety goggles. Not to keep the movie out; to keep your eyeballs in, as they may sprout legs and attempt to crawl out of your skull. This is what happened to Stevie Wonder. I will leave you with a quotation by Mr. Baldwin that I think really illustrates how we all ought to live our lives:

"I thought Bio-Dome was pretty cool. I had fun making it and I'm a huge Pauly Shore fan. I'd go to his movies and be on the floor of the aisle, convulsing with laughter. And, in the meantime, my wife would sit in her chair, saying, 'Honey, what's wrong with him?' She just didn't get it. But Bio-Dome was whack. Now I get all these seven- and 12-year-old kids coming up to me on the street, saying, 'Yo, dude! You rule.' That was what I wanted, for those guys to dig me."

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