February 27, 2009

David Weintraub: The Way of the Future

David Weintraub is a pimp. Just to avoid any ambiguity: we do not intend our usage of the word "pimp" to carry with it any of its positive, pop-culture connotations. Do not picture a "Hustle & Flow," bad-environment, decent-at-heart kind of pimp- or even this meth-head depicted by the Montana Meth Project, as he can partially blame his disgraceful, exploitative behavior on the ravages of addiction. Think Harvey Keitel's character in "Taxi Driver:" a soulless, manipulative predator whose abhorrent actions render a violent, disturbed Travis Bickle incapable of allowing the existence of such an abomination to continue. The roster of "talent" that Weintraub manages makes it painfully obvious that- unlike an agent who ideally helps his clients reach their full creative and professional potential- this douchebag systematically extracts and transforms into seedy mass-entertainment the souls of his clients, along with their hopes and dreams. The emotional abuse he heaps on Marey Carey in "Sober House" confirms this. If the appearance into which Wein-douche pressures her weren't a swinger's convention, this situation would be a little more metaphorical. But it's not. It's literal, and it's gross.

As you can see, Weintraub's sleazy moves don't fly with traffic cops like they do with vulnerable, addiction-plagued celebrities. However- we fear that whatever impediments lie in the path of this particular douchebag, nothing can stop the rise of a ruling class of omnipresent uber-douches. As the distinctness of reality/TV/reality-TV/non-reality; on-camera/behind the scenes; social interaction/performance; and audience/spectacle progresses from imprecise to irrellevant to non-existent, sociopaths will flourish. Weintraub only amounts to a crass prototype. Future models will build on his model, developing subtlety and an awareness of the importance of appearing like a decent person. Moving fluidly through a vast network that thrives on sheer sensational volume and whose influence extends into our homes and our lives, these uber-douches will accumulate enormous, multi-faceted power that they will wield to meet the needs of a system in which human suffering and conflict generate ratings and success.
We just hope that everyone keeps in mind that overindulgence in reality TV empowers all the little David Weintraubs of the world. Nobody wants this guy: to be broadcast into the homes of millions of Americans and people across the world.

February 23, 2009

From the Red Carpet to the Picket Line

Hollywood's stars will need all of the positive qualities they ceaselessly identified in each other during Sunday night's entertainment-industry ego-inflation ceremony, because a dispute between the SAG and the major studios could soon render these icons of the silver screen indefinitely unemployed. Once again, this looks like a case of the internet ruining everything: the dispute centers on compensation for work intended for online viewing. We have just one question: Does the cast of "The Hills" have to join in the strike? Maybe they'll half strike, because their show appears staged and scripted but nobody exhibits any talent. Could this explain the mystery behind Spencer's bizarre hanging-over-the-mouth cowboy mustache as half of a strike beard? The only other possible explanation is that anyone in a position to call attention to the absurdity of this facial hair debacle chooses not to because Spencer is a douchebag- but that couldn't be the case.

February 22, 2009

Most Fabulous Oscars Ever

Hugh Jackman loves a musical number. While nothing so far tonight makes as alarming a blip on the gaydar as his performance at the Tony Awards, we think it's pretty obvious that something is going on here.

And what happened to clips? Why do previous award winners have to protest their love for all the actor nominees? You know what would help illustrate the inspiration for those emotions? A clip.

On a Lighter Note.....

After the relative heaviness of our previous discussion, we thought we'd showcase some mindless entertainment. The following is only tangentially related to current events. We would simply like to point out some key elements of this martial arts action that make it different from the acts perpetrated by Chris Brown and anyone else who calls himself a man yet hits a woman. Most importantly, at no point does Jet Li HIT A WOMAN. Also, he has control over his emotions, which matters in that it allows him to NOT HIT A WOMAN. Finally, he doesn't hit a woman, which is important because anyone who hits a woman reveals himself to be weak and pathetic. That being said, enjoy:

Our next clip is an old, odd classic known as "Old Gregg" which we find inexplicably hilarious. This too, is only tangentially connected to current events, in that anyone who hits a woman might as well have a mangina and wear a tutu. We happen to know a creepy old man named Greg who apparently condones the slamming of doors onto pregnant women. He resembles a less comical version of the man-fish you are about to see, so consider this a cautionary tale, Chris Browns of the world.

February 21, 2009

Obama Draws the Crazies out of the Woodwork

From McCain/Palin supporters intent on turning campaign rallies into lynch-mobs to cartoonists passing off thinly veiled metaphors for racist violence against our President as humor, Barack Obama's presidency doesn't exactly to promote subtlety- among other things- in his political opponents. While not quite as ugly as (although sometimes overlapping with) individuals with racially-based misgivings towards Obama, economic dissenters are equally prone to pant-wetting hysteria. Most conspicuously, Rick Santelli treated the TV-viewing public to a tantrum of epic proportions resulting from three possible causes: 1- A total loss of his shit, akin to a little child who just found out he will not get to ride the pony at his own birthday party; 2-A shameless desire to gain publicity by screaming simplistic economic ideas that would not be noteworthy if uttered at a reasonable volume; 3-A plan to send the video of his rant as an audition tape for a spot on the upcoming launch of "Real Housewives: Chicago."

This video is remarkable not for anything original or even all that intelligent in its message, but for its inherent contextual irony and its rapid proliferation on cable news by virtue of its sensational content. Santelli, a former derivatives trader, arouses populist sentiment on a trading floor against the "losers" struggling to stay afloat in economic circumstances beyond their control- circumstances created in part by Mr. Santelli and his ilk. The fact that he caps it off with "this is America-" referring to traders on the floor of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange- puts this in the "let them eat cake" league of out-of-touch, arrogant, douchebag elitism. The fact that a "journalist" would be rewarded with publicity for so flagrantly violating the standards of his profession confirms that cable news now takes its cues from reality TV: make as big a scene as possible and maybe you get your own spin-off.

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Finally: As far as "losers" are concerned, we would like to ask Mr. Santelli what you call a hack reporter who, rather than excel at his job, draws attention to himself by acting like a less rational version of Joe the Plumber and the cast of "Tool Academy." If we really need somebody to quote Ayn Rand at us, we'll just watch "Real Housewives of New York City." Alex McCord has us covered in that department.

Kenan Thompson: SNL Should Emulate "Jerry Springer"

Apparently Kenan Thompson thinks SNL should still welcome the fists-of-misogyny-tarnished pop singer Chris Brown on the show- contingent upon his release of a hit single. He even went so far as to say that it would be "crazy" if both Brown and Rihanna appeared on the show together. Apparrently, his talent in comedy does not carry over to public relations. We like Thompson, but would prefer that he stick to making jokes: the only appropriate context of these recent inane comments.

February 20, 2009

G.O.P. Chairman Unveils Pathetic, Desperate Strategy to Restore Party's Relevance

Sadly, events call upon us to take a step back from the sensible "Lost" island and its adherence to rational principles. Once again we must plunge into another man-made hell of absurdity - in this case, the tortured collective psychosis of the undead political organization known as the Republican Party.

Apparently GOP chairman Michael Steele wants to extreme-makeover his party for the 21st century, with hip-hop. This is not as much of a stretch as most people might think. If you assume that all African-Americans resemble-with little variation- the caricatures presented in certain gangster rap videos, (and we're guessing that many in the party of Limbaugh share exactly this assumption) Republicans and "black people" actually have a lot in common. Guns, materialism, lawlessness, and bogus invocations of "God" could all bridge the gap between these seemingly disparate groups. Maybe Steele can court Chris Brown (who recently demonstrated -albeit a little over zealously- his adherence to the misogynistic outlook of the GOP) as a cultural ambassador.

February 18, 2009

New Character to Debut on Tonight's Episode of "Lost:" Kilgore Trout

Meanwhile, in a place slightly less disconnected from reality than the faux-celebrity, faux-high-society, nightmare wasteland of "Real Housewives" from which we barely escaped with our sanity, "Lost" continues to exceed our expectations.

However, we do hope that they resolve this whole mess with the island's inhabitants skipping through time. Aside from the fact that excessive theatrical time travel gives us anxiety, the show's creators risk losing (no pun intended) us in another incoherent morass. Grandiose literary comparisons/aspirations notwithstanding, everyone needs to stay grounded and remember this is pop television, not Kurt Vonnegut.

February 17, 2009

The Sun Never Sets on "Real Housewives"

Holy continuity. As the OC crew hands it off to the East Coast, we cannot help but contemplate the glorious possibility of a rotation that allows for the constant airing of new episodes of the "Real Housewives" franchise. It's the same basic idea behind the perpetual adoration chapel at your local Catholic church, only dedicated to the adoration of gossip-mongering, shallowness, and bitchiness rather than the traditional favorites of holiness and chastity. Pulling this off shouldn't present too much of a challenge, given the apparent abundance of bat-shit crazy women desperate to appear on television. If they must add one more city to the franchise, so be it. The madness only gets more balls-to-the-wall with each succesive iteration.
Alex McCord apparently got a haircut and did something about her teeth. Unfortunately she still annoys the hell out of us. This clearly demonstrates the simple truth that internal ugliness can co-exist with external beauty. That being said, we would not describe McCord as even approaching beautiful. She looks like a skeleton.
To be perfectly honest, we are in something of a state of shock. Tonight's two-hour extravaganza was by far the longest some of us have been exposed to the "Real Housewives." This has precipitated a minor crisis regarding our faith in humanity, which we previously didn't imagine capable of such unimaginable horror. As such, we will put on hold our planned discussions - "How gay is Simon?" "What planet is Ramona from?" "Why does Bethanny have softballs hanging helter-skelter from her chest in the pool?" etc.- until we emerge from the fetal position.

And the "Gay Mannequin of the Year" Award Goes To...

Justin Timberlake, according to GQ's list of the ten most stylish men in America. Maybe we're old-fashioned, but we can't help but see "most stylish man of the year" as an oxymoronical title. This is based partly on personal experience: we know a "stylish man" who prances around with women's sunglasses hanging from half-buttoned shirts and spreads bogus rumors about women as part of a desperate attempt to obscure his repressed homosexual impulses. Maybe in the interest of balance between the genders GQ's next issue should feature a list of which ten female celebrities consume the most chewing tobacco.
Apparently JT credits his fashion sense to his "stepfather....who went to work looking like Richard Gere in American Gigolo." This raises some questions: How, exactly, did JT's inspiration get away with showing up half-naked at his job? More importantly, why would a grown man's father-figure take on the image of a male prostitute in a cherished childhood memory? Gross.

On a serious note: why does society persist in these absurd attempts to inflate the egos of famous people by handing out bogus awards? We fail to see how this particular list could possibly be meant for any other purpose- such as the entertainment and education of GQ's subscribers. If the proliferation of infinitely redundant award ceremonies created by the entertainment industry so it can collectively/incestuously pat itself on the back didn't fill the void in joe-celebrity's psyche, some bullshit ranking for "cutting-edge hairdo," or "bountiful flower arrangements in home" will hardly finish the job. It's a viscous cycle, and it needs to stop.

February 15, 2009

The City....In My Pants

We refuse to pay our full attention to "The City," as it is clearly the flagship in Hulu's assault on our brains.

But seriously, what the fuck is going on here? If it weren't so utterly mindless, this show would blow our minds with the baffling questions it raises regarding the line between reality and theater/performance and what happens to that line when an observable phenomenon doesn't come close to meeting the qualifications for either of these categories.

This poses an extraordinary danger that goes far beyond the cultural wasteland that will result from an explosion of musical performances that combine the staleness of a studio recording with the technical proficiency of an amateurish live performance and the energy of an opium den. If reality TV and real life continue to fuse and reproduce and spew out this twisted non-reality abomination, real life as we know it could cease to exist. We will explain how exactly how this calamity will unfold shortly. For now, we just want to make sure you know that The City is a black hole that threatens to engulf and destroy reality as we know it.

Is "Sober House" Stupid, Ironic or Just Cruel?

Clearly we are naive and have yet to get hip to the logic of contemporary reality TV, because our first reaction to VH1's vicious-cycle-recovery-relapse-extravaganza took on an element of smug superiority: "Obviously this environment will lead them to a relapse with the pressure of the cameras, etc..." We will not arrogantly presume to be smarter then the big-wigs who created "Sober House-" just more humane and decent, apparently.
Justify Full

The individuals responsible for this travesty must know that the putative clean living facility they've created for our viewing pleasure includes all the ingredients of an adult Lord of The Flies. We can't help but applaud the brilliance in devising a way to televise the ordeals of celebrities with substance abuse issues that garner so much attention. Accomplishing this, however, requires putting vulnerable individuals in need of genuine help and support under what amounts to the magnifying class of individuals playing God by sadistically incinerating insects. We would expect this indifference to human suffering from soulless TV executives, but Dr. Drew, who supposedly took an oath to do no harm, has earned himself a special place in Hell for his part in this modern-day equivalent of a Roman Coliseum.To continue the coliseum metaphor, David Douchetraub serves the same purpose as a lion sent to devour hapless Christians. He is a big, dumb animal whose arrogance, egoism, and generally obnoxious behavior inflicts psychological carnage on the show's participants at a vastly faster rate than they would inflict it on each other- their various destructive instincts restrained by basic human decency and the delusion that anyone expects-or even wants- "Sober House" to resemble its bullshit title.

February 11, 2009

Ayn Rand: Real Housewife of New York City

If the arrogance, soulless materialism, and inhumanly large forehead didn't exactly spell out a connection between real housewife, Alex McCord, and prophet of Godless capitalism, Ayn Rand, we have (somewhat belatedly) stumbled upon undeniable evidence that the would-be socialite adheres to Rand's so-called philosophy of objectivism. While catching up with the housewives in fevered anticipation of next Tuesday's premiere, McCord quoted, approximately: "if you observe something that you think is a contradiction, check your premises, because one of them is wrong." This reeks of Atlas Shrugged. Nobody quotes Ayn Rand unless they actually buy into her bullshit.
While the ordeal of watching McCord's shallow social-climbing is not as compelling an example of the destructive influence of Ayn Rand's legacy as that of former fed chairman/John Galt wannabe Alan Greenspan's ideological preference for reckless deregulation (which contributed directly to the financial meltdown of 2008), we can't just let this slide. It takes a special kind of stupid to consider yourself smarter than everybody else just because you've read a fictional account of an individual who is smarter than everybody else. At least they aren't scientologists.