Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Not A Movie

Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer clearly make terrible movies. If you need someone to tell you why Meet the Spartans and Disaster Movie are unwatchable, you probably cannot read the words in front of you. Nothing can be added to their abysmal reputation. I would say that we should put out a hit for them, but they fill the useful role of pointing out who among us should be social outcasts.

The only thing that can be credited to them is that they cram events onto their Frankenstein-esque creations very quickly. Meet the Spartans, released on January 25, 2008, contained a reenactment of Britney Spear's infamous dance in the 2007 MTV Video Awards. I'm aware that applying math to any aspect of Friedberg and Seltzer movies means I'm putting more thought into it than they ever did, but that is only 138 days to realize the cultural significance of the event, write it into the script, finish shooting and production, vomit on all of the film, and distribute the movie. How do they guess whether or not something will remain relevant by the time the DVDs are sold? This of course assuming they can even recall their involvement the project by then.

They move just as quckly in mocking movies. Creatively murdering a scene from a theatrical preview by poorly repeating a memorable line is followed by literally murdering the character involved by dropping a cow on them. It's only a matter of time until they reference a movie which has its release date moved repeatedly, until it is released months after its parody. Hopefully this would reveal to the horrible movie loving world that Friedberg and Seltzer should be avoided, but I wouldn't hold my breath for it.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Intelligence, Yo

I just read an article on a psychology blog entitled "7 Reasons Leaders Fail." Although I expected it to be about political leadership, its business management theme made for an interesting read. At the end it asked what the readers thought about the subject. After reading a few eloquent complaints about bosses which were probably made on company time, I came across this gem: "Yo, management is not equal to leadership."

I can't imagine such a concise statement being more conflicted in its intelligence. Somehow that single word completely negates the astute observation made after it. Why is someone who starts sentences this way reading a psychology blog? Did he think it would catch the reader's attention, as yelling the same word across a crowded room might catch a friend's ear? Could this be an intelligent person who has been hanging around Xzibit all week? Would Xzibit lose his street cred if he made grammatically correct blog comments?

In the unlikely scenario that this poster is not Xzibit, I'm going to assume this was some new strategy for trolling the intelligentsia.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Save The Polar Bears?

One of the reasons stated for putting a stop to global warming is the future of the polar bear. If warming trends continue, their ice habitat could be destroyed. This beautiful species could be gone forever. The problem that lies before us cannot be ignored. I have prepared the solution.

Here's how to stop feeling guilty about killing polar bears.

When was the last time one of these half-ton behemoths did anything for you? All they do is growl and slide down hills of snow and steal our Coca-Cola in the winter time. Remind yourself that the activity they mostly need the ice for, killing seals, would cause most humans to be drenched in red paint by a hippie. I'm not going to argue against paint throwing here, since seals are adorable and I would probably enjoy it, but I think we need to apply some consistency to the situation. Along with cuteness, seals also beat polar bears in the not-willing-or-able-to-eat-me category. It's safe to say that if there were 6 billion polar bears and 25,000 humans, not only would the bears not bother saving our habitat, they would devour all of us.

In ten minutes of reading Wikipedia, I have discovered that the IUCN thinks global warming will kill all of the polar bears in the next 100 years. Polar bears have killed 5 humans in the last 100 years. If we work with the number of polar bears and humans currently alive, that's one human kill per 5,000 bears, and one bear kill per 240,000 humans.

Conclusion: they're asking for it. Not only did I use Wikipedia, I also used math, so you can be sure of my scientific accuracy.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Horrible Facebook Groups

What purpose can Facebook groups serve? In some cases, they inform members with similar interests of upcoming events. In others, fans discuss a shared favorite TV show or movie. Most groups that I join are expressions of my interests to whoever visits my Facebook profile. For example, "Implementation of Wu-Tang Clan in Classrooms" informs my friends that I think using tax dollars to expose children to morally questionable music would be awesome. People who take life too seriously and also don't like real-world results join protest groups. Apparently, another popular kind of group exists for the sole purpose of annoying anyone who thinks about them for more than ten seconds.

Almost 2 million people have found reason to join the group "If you remember this you grew up in the '90s." What exchange could even take place between you and a friend who has joined the group? "Hey, this is awesome! I didn't think one of my other friends would recognize one of the at least two hundred cultural references listed here!"

2.7 million Facebookies and Facebookettes (this is how Shaq refers to us) have decided to join the group "Let's set and break a Guiness Record!!!! Approved by guinnessworldrecords.c." Without even reading its description, I know not to expect much. Not only did the creator of this group manage to spell "Guinness" two different ways in ten words, he decided that the last two letters of ".com" were a worthy sacrifice to the character limit for more exclamation points. What really puts this group over the demented edge is that it's nowhere close to the largest group on Facebook. Please everyone, if you want to join a group of this kind, at least pick one of the humorous versions with eight pathetic members.

The groups "I Will Go Slightly Out of My Way To Step On That Crunchy-Looking Leaf" and "I FLIP MY PILLOW OVER TO GET TO THE COLD SIDE" represent a class of groups that are met with the response, "Oh man, that is so totally me," instead of the more appropriate, "The youth of America have reached a new low." I can't imagine there is much conversation to be had about leaf crunching, so people must be joining this group to inform others about some aspect of their personality, if only that they are clever. Maybe that would be true if you made the group, but I think all the cleverness has been sucked dry by the 300,000 people that joined before you. Fortunately, the group "I bet I can find 100,000 people who like to breathe oxygen" has been made to mock these groups that might as well be named "Humans who are currently alive."

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Ultimate Irony

Irony: an outcome of events contrary to what was, or might have been, expected.

Modern hipsters' use of irony has caught my interest. Partially because they are willing to wear such ridiculous looking things to be accepted by others, which makes them just like every other social group. Mostly though, it is because I think they are doing it completely wrong. They succeed up until the very end of the previous definition, the expectation. If you expect irony to happen, the only ironic result would be not-irony.

The event mentioned above may be the decision to attend a party in a sweater Mister Rogers would consider beating you up for wearing. The former sweater-wearer has driven away his loved ones with incessant declarations that their opinions suck, leaving only other hipsters and himself to care. This may seem a little harsh, but I can make all hipsters forget what I was just saying with the following statement: The newest Shins album is the best yet. I don't actually think that, but they're not even paying attention anymore. The only expectations for this unusual wardrobe choice come from those who think this sweater's complete lack of style will be considered positive by those who love irony. People who see him walking down the street don't expect him to look like an idiot, they just observe him clearly looking like an idiot. No one witnessing this doofus thinks to themselves, "I bet this kid is going to be a social outcast at wherever he is headed." They just note his status as a social outcast exactly where he is now, which they've totally pegged. The only possibility of irony lies in this hipster's choice of apparel causing his hipster friends to think less of him. This is exactly what a sweater of this style deserves.

While discussing this subject, my younger brother and I discovered the ultimate level of irony. A man walks down the street wearing a pair of bowling shoes. A group of hipsters, assuming the bowling shoes are worn ironically, approach the man. What follows is an hour-long conversation about the intricacies of bowling. The man was sporting the shoes only so someone would ask him about his favorite pastime, and follows the group like a lost puppy. An event that the hipsters expected to result in humor contrarily ended only in sadness.


What is the name of that country we've been at war in for a while? Knowing the answer pales in comparison to saying it correctly.

Until a few years ago, most would respond with I-rack. Once it had to be discussed more often than Americans would prefer to dwell on any poor country, smart guys everywhere started telling us we were doing it wrong. "NO LONG I! NO RACK! E-ROCK ONLY! Final Destination." In the future, the old pronunciation will only be used in movies to show who is ignorant, much like Forrest Gump's "Vietnayum," or Larry the Cable Guy's words.

If I were a TV journalist, I would buck all countries-between-Syria-and-Iran-pronunciation trends. The first syllable of the old version and the second syllable of the new would combine Voltron-style to produce the unbeatable powerhouse that is I-rock. Using the marvel that is journalistic self-obsession, my version will spread like wildfire. Enabling newscasters to tell viewers of their own greatness for a living, Iraq-themed stories would dominate all news shows.

By the way, no one cares how you pronounce Afghanistan.

Monday, May 4, 2009


I would like to preface this with strong warnings against visiting the site, because it is a horrible place that will scar you forever. I hope to someday go back in time and warn myself against it.

4chan is one of my favorite social groups to think about. It could be described as a morbid curiosity. The only factor that seems to connect the different aspects of it that blow my mind is anonymity.

Users of 4chan can provide huge amounts of humor. Some of the most popular memes on the Internet (lolcats, Rickrolling, mudkips) have emerged from this community's process of slowly transforming a picture, character, or phrase into an amorphous joke. They combine hundreds of memes to form enough pictures and phrases that the community requires its own wiki to keep track of them all. At their best, they work like the worlds largest comedy writing team, but with no leaders or direction and only one goal: lulz. Anonymity separates it from most sites with user-generated content in that none of them get credit for any of it.

It doesn't take long for a popular YouTuber to steer the subject of the videos to themselves, or attempt to make money off of their newfound popularity. On 4chan, that is impossible. Since everyone clearly knows of this stipulation, it can be assumed that members put hours into creating a hilarious new picture only for the amusement of themselves and the other users. They take their precious new joke and share it freely with others, most of whom they know will repeat it poorly or act like they made it themselves. This level of humor altruism is magnefied due to each member's apparent hatred for the people they are giving it to.

This is one of many fascinating attributes of 4chan that can't be seen anywhere else. All members of this community seem to despise every other person there. Complaints of the lack of original content fill the board to the point that posts containing the phrase "original content" can be safely ignored as written by trolls, or more likely, mental defectives. Threads seem to only contain such mind-numbing premises as, "Post ending in 00 get to tell me what to do," typing "Desu" repeatedly, and, "You laugh, you lose." The Engrish variation, "You raff, you ruse" only makes it seem funnier the first time.

Assuming this problem is caused by noobs who just discovered these never-clever concepts, veteran users attempt to scare away the noobs by shocking them with the most disgusting and gory photos ever to be taken without literally invading a person with a camera. They try to deface the tough guy image of Anonymous by obsessing over a more than likely Asian girl with annoyingly cutesy mannerisms. In the end, they resign themselves to chasing off everyone by posting more of the stuff that they hate. It is tempting to assume that the entire site is made up of like-minded people angry at others for making posts that completely resemble their own. Not knowing a person's identity increases the difficulty of knowing their intentions. However, this vicious cycle most likely begins with purposefully unfunny rehashes being presented by veteran users who enjoy the misery of others. Classic.

Rickrolling Has Been Ruined

I know writing on this subject is incredibly played, but I just wanted to show that Rickrolling wasn't always terribly annoying, and at one point provided legitimate humor. Misunderstanding of the joke has led people to believe humor arises out of being Rickroll'd, instead of the angry and frustrated reactions of others.

If Rickrolling needs to be explained to you, welcome to the Internet. If you hear of a video that only those who belong to the few remaing groups it is socially acceptible to hate should enjoy, don't let your curiosity get the best of you. It is the equivalent of your mom telling you not to touch a hot stove, but if the stove had recently been smothered in feces.

Like all internet memes, Rickrolling came about through an extremely labored process of inside jokes, puns, and weird people with too much time on their hands. The phenomenon as we know it started when excitable nerds were given a link to a Grand Theft Auto IV trailer. Taking the bait, they rubbed their probably sweaty hands together in anticipation. They were surprised by this 80's hit chosen solely for its obscurity, sappiness, and shockingly poor video production. Somehow unable to believe that a stranger on the Internet would lie to them, they filled the thread with curses directed at this stranger, the stranger's mother, Rick Astley, and the 80's in general. Everyone agreed that this was hilarious.

As the joke slowly gained momentum, its use spread throughout the Internet. Links of supposed sex tapes, sneak peeks of movies, and impossible human feats were all presented as bait to the gullible masses. Getting Rickroll'd was appropriately frustrating, and expletive-filled comment sections provided the entertainment that inspired jerks to send the video to others.

When the joke made its way to the real world, everything went downhill. On TV and radio shows, a brief introduction of almost any unrelated clip preceded Rick Astley's song. These attempts are close to succeeding, but most instances missed one key ingredient: anticipation. If "Never Gonna Give You Up" is shown to you instead of a clip of LA Ink on The Soup, you might be confused, but not angry. If these people desired to know what happened on LA Ink, they would watch the show, instead of a show that makes fun of them for liking it. If you're listening to an NPR nature show and listen to the song instead of a clip of a Tasmanian devil, you will probably wonder who changed your radio station, and proceed to throw away your apparently broken radio. I am working under the assumption that the only people who listen to nature shows on NPR are easily confused old people. Watching angry old people would actually be pretty funny, but their reactions weren't recorded. The point I'm trying to make is that Rickrolls only provide the appropriate entertainment if it is an angering let down, and everyone gets to see your rage-fueled reaction.

I think this meme reached its peak and final huzzah when an online poll resulted in the song being played during the eighth inning sing-along at a Mets game. The anticipation was there, because this sing-along is a regular event. The confusion and outrage were there, because when large groups of drunk people are ready to sing, it had better be "Livin' On A Prayer" or "Sweet Caroline." Since the stadium was filled with drunken New Yorkers, which may be the only group more likely to tell you exactly what it thinks than anonymous nerds, the reaction was hilarious. Best of all, it was captured on tape.

The joke, and any humor that could be found in it, was brutally murdered during the 2008 Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. Rick Astley himself lipsynched to the song on a float, while onlookers cheered, and newscasters chuckled that chuckle that must be learned at some point of journalism school, because they all do it. Nancy Pelosi proceeded to dig the prank's body out of its grave and put it through a wood chipper, showing it in the middle of a video that no one wanted to watch in the first place.

Ironically, the video's reckless overuse has almost brought it back to its original purpose. It is safe to say that anyone who knew of its once humorous past hates seeing it, since it will inevitably bring reactions such as, "Isn't this that Rickrolling thing that those kids love?" and, "I can't believe I've been Rickroll'd! This is so much fun!" In fact, you could say that this entire post is the rage-fueled reaction of someone who anticipated the humorous use of an internet meme, and was disappointed. For all I know, poor uses of the joke are in reality incredibly complex uses by those who enjoy angering nerds by ruining their fun.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

This Post Will Give My Blog Weird Ads

I've just made a huge mistake.

A few minutes ago, Facebook showed me an ad for a video of two rattlesnakes mating. I was confused enough to have to read the description, which said something like, "If you love watching nature shows, you'll love this video of two snakes mating!" Even though this is far from the weirdest thing on the internet, it still brought up some questions that need answering.

Who is in the market for a video of two snakes mating? Which is weirder, a website that is making money by getting people to watch this video, or just some dude who is paying for ads in attempt to spread his love of snake voyeurism?

Then again, it could just be some site that makes money from ads, no matter what the videos are about. Couldn't they think of a single more enticing subject? Even if by some freak chance this was a snake-themed website, how about snakes fighting? Or a snake eating something way too big for snakes to be able to eat? I once saw a picture of a snake attempting to eat a deer, and that sucker wasn't going to stop unless it succeeded or ripped itself in half. Didn't someone get that on tape? I'm not even going to consider that this might be an animal mating-themed website.

Having this video doesn't necessarily make an online community filled with creeps, but using it as a main form of gaining members will make it sprint in that direction. I'm imagining 10% animal biologists, 10% giggling stoners, and 80% future sex offenders. Either no one in the advertising meetings considered this problem would come up, or perverse snake owners are a prized marketing demographic.

The huge mistake occurred when I looked at the ad, and went to a different page without clicking on it. I will now always wonder what these people were thinking, and I would prefer to not have to think about snakes mating or people who should be committed.