Thursday, February 11, 2010

Even my food is mocking me

You will have an exciting addition
to your life by being the warm
person you are.
6 12 21 26 36, 23

That sage wisdom is from a fortune cookie I got tonight. This wasn't a cookie that somebody else got and shared; it's mine, baked to plastic perfection and stuffed by God himself with a hurtful note just for me. There are many words one could use to describe a cookie-conducted note: "inspirational," "cute," "mangled Engrish." "Sarcastic" is something I haven't seen. There are plenty of fortunes that don't make sense for the person who gets them. I don't mind those. But this was clearly meant for me. Listen to the tone: "by being the warm person you are." There are a dozen different ways to word that, none of them nearly as sarcastic and biting. Yes, fortune cookie, I am a prickly introvert. It has cost me plenty of opportunities to make friends. There is a significant chance I'll die alone in a hillside shanty covered in my own feces because of it. Well, the feces will be a choice. Point is, these are my problems; they're not yours, and I don't appreciate you up in my personal business. I didn't even ask for your opinion, fortune cookie! Nobody paid for you! You ain't Lucy at her psychiatric booth on the roadside, getting a nickel to tell people what's wrong with them. You are a free dessert. FREE. I'd have to pay five dollars for a scoop of "green tea" ice cream that doesn't even taste like ice cream, and you think you get a say?

"The warm person you are." It's not enough to stop at warm person. Tack on "you are" just so it's completely clear that the author of this fortune cookie knows who I am and how I behave. It's seen into the depths of my soul, and my soul has been found wanting. For the record, the particular cookie that I opened was handed to me at the end of dinner by my mother. My actual mother who pushed me out of her uterus. Everyone else in the family got the sorts of meaningless platitudes that you'd like to read while eating a lame dessert. At least they tacked on some lucky numbers at the end, to restore the illusion of being a normal everyday fortune cookie note when it is in fact a barbed arrow loosed directly into my soul. "Hey, you're dying alone. But here are your lucky numbers so you know how many cats to adopt off the street!" One question: why is there a comma after the 36 but not after anything else? Is "36, 23" coordinates to something? Buried treasure? Upon searching for that latitude and longitude, I've found it's a point just off the coast of Crete in the Mediterranean. So maybe treasure? That "treasure" is probably just another note telling me how much I suck.


Video! Haven't done this in a while and a friend linked this to me (you my boy, Paches!) Yeah, I have friends with dog names. What of it? This video is special and I want to give it the credit it deserves. Many music videos are bad; largely as a result of the song, often due to a lack of ideas ("Let's have the band play in a parking lot! And we'll cut it up with shots of the singer arguing with some hot chick. Oh man, the hot chick should have a leather wristband! And while they're arguing it'll be in slow motion and the singer WON'T be lip synching. I am a genius."). This video is fractally bad. What do I mean by this? I mean not only that every element of the video sucks, but every single individual component of the video is bad. It is just as bad as every other component. They are all equally bad in exactly the same way, such that every single frame of the video is basically indistinguishable from every other frame. Every element is identical in that they all suck in exactly the same way to exactly the same extent. You could see one frame or you could see the entire video, and reach the exact same (correct) conclusion.

Let me show you what I mean. Let's take the name of the group: "BrokeNCYDE." Break that name down. Take into account the capitalization. I count no fewer than five ways in which this name can be interpreted, and they all suck. They suck equally; you can't pick which interpretation of the band's name is "correct" or even "less stupid than the others." It's all the sort of meaningless nu-rap-metal detritus I'd normally expect to find floating at the top of a full-to-bursting Port-O-John at a Linkin Park concert.

Which isn't to say there aren't positive elements in the video. BrokeNCYDE has clearly made a real effort to expand their appeal. They've taken the best parts of several genres and mixed them into a thizz-face-inducing musical gazpacho for all to hesitantly sip. What do people love about rap? How about Auto-Tune? Everyone fucking loves Auto-Tune. Let's hook it up! And what do people love about rock music? I think they love it best when some asshole is screaming in the background for no reason. ON IT. Finally, what are the techno kids into? Awww yeah, guys in animal costumes! Throw your Rule Book away, Mr. Stodgy Video Director! We'll have none of it. We...are...BROKEncyde! (I think you're supposed to anti-capitalize when emphasizing letters that are already in caps. Not sure. Another oversight in my Stanford education.)

Top Five "Freaxxx" Moments
5. After the fantastic chorus of "Let's get freaky now; let's get fucking freaky now" (I'm sure the semicolon is in the original notes for the song), at 0:57 we catch Big-Haired Douche convinced that the shot is over. He leans back on his haunches, looks down and starts messing with his hair. CAMERA IS ROLLING. PRETEND YOU ARE SINGING SONG.

4. After only 0:14, Big-Haired Douche decides to crack the seal on his sick-ass screamo skills! He's so fired up that he forgets where he is and just screams in the face of this poor girl. She's a central attraction of the video, though she always looks like she's confused and this was NOT what her cousin who knew these guys said would be going down. She didn't get all made up to get yelled at! And what does the guy yell? What is the sentiment he's got to scream himself hoarse to truly express? "SEXY NOW" is what he's got to say! I guess if it's good enough for a Justin Timberlake album title, it's good enough for me.

3. 2:50 in, Big-Haired Douche is pouring one out for his homies. They lost a lotta boiz on the mean streets of suburban Albequerque. Like my homey Keith who done crashed the SHEE-hit outta his Pops' Land Rover. Never forget; we even got commemorative T-Shirts screened in his honor down at the Big 5. Those sons of bitches forgot how to spell his last name--just like they forgot about Dre--and misprinted it, but it was like the day of the funeral and we went with it. Jesus knows how it's spelled. And my boy B Rabbit who dropped dead right in the parking lot outside that Jamba Juice. Brain freeze, dogg. Brain freeze.

2. 3:08. After the bridge has lulled us to sleep....REMEMBER ME? I'M A SCREAMING ASSHOLE AND I'M DIRECTLY IN FRONT OF YOUR FACE. RAAAAAHHHHHHCCCHHHHHH. And we charge into the chorus! We have two more syllables in the second line than the first. Whatever will we do to fill the gap? What words have two syllables? Misanthrope? Way off. Syllogism? That's four syllables; misanthrope was three. We're getting worse! Uhhhh...fucking! We'll just add the word "fucking" to bridge the gap! Skinny Possibly Asian Douche is a motherfucking lyrical genius. The voice of a generation. I think he's Asian because they show him dancing with the Asian girl a lot.

1. At 1:57, the girl I mentioned in #4 is really, really questioning her decision to appear in this video. It was bad enough when just Big-Haired Douche was dancing and yelling at her; now there is a decent chance that he and Fat Douche will murder her. If they don't pony up that Urban Outfitters gift card, she is gonna be PISSED. Here's how I imagine the conversation going:

Director: "Okay, you're gonna put your hands around her neck. Like you're strangling her."
Cute Blonde Girl: "He's gonna do WHAT?"
Director: "Just a little bit! Strangle her just a little bit! Don't really put your hands on her throat, more like on her shoulder. Like she was one of those horses in 'Avatar' with the gills on its neck."
Big-Haired Douche: "Like this?"
Director: "That's great! Love it!"
BHD: "But it makes no sense! What am I supposed to be--"
Fat Douche: "Do we have any more pot?"

The Brothers Douche proceed to yell LIAR comically at a succession of women. They are all liars! Liars who are pretty weirded out by this whole thing. Those women do not look like they're having a good time. Those ungrateful skanks! It's not like just ANYONE gets to have her face yelled at by a fat dude in shorts for a music video.

That's my five. It was harder than usual to make the cuts because that video is so full-to-bursting with comedy gold. You'll notice I couldn't even give the guy in the pig suit (probably Fat Douche) more than a cursory mention. Have a great long weekend; Monday's post will go up as usual, because the comedy train don't slow down for mere Presidents. Necromancers, yes. Necromancers resurrecting Presidents...well, I'll need some time to think about that.

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