It should be said that I am a lover not a fighter, and what I love most is beauty in any form. However, this can result in... overly high expectations. As a person who too often sits on her pedestal of self-righteous judgment, monitoring how the world is "going down the tubes" and martyring herself on the Hellfire of what she deems contemporary incompetence, the articles of this blog will offer my cynical, social, intellectual, and pop cultural observations, which will both serve to vent my frustrations and-- after some counteraction-- convince me that the human race still has a chance. Sometimes you have to remind yourself that "Life is Beautiful," always was, and always will be, even when it isn't, wasn't or won't seem to be. “I still find each day too short for all the thoughts I want to think, all the walks I want to take, all the books I want to read, and all the friends I want to see.” — John Burroughs (Photo of London Library after the Blitz of 1940).

Monday, February 10, 2014


So does Officer Alex Murphy...


Hollywood is an apathetic motherf*cker. 

Pardon my font. Trust me, that was not an easy statement for me to make. Anyone who has known me for .007 seconds knows that cinema has been my life. I’ve devoted over half of my 30 years to it. I'll admit it: I squandered my youth. “Que Sera Sera.” #Hitchcock #Doris Day. (See what I mean)? 

Anyway, this fascination with the movies is what brought me to Hollywood over eight years ago. The idea of contributing to a world that as a child, a teen, and a young adult, I had deemed to be beautiful, and compelling, and full of new ideas, was beyond alluring. I wanted to devote my life to spreading the message that we, as human beings, are all on this sinking ship together. Movies— and all forms of storytelling, be they musical, literary, visual, etc— bridge the gap between humans. Entertainment offers solace. It is the opportunity to experience another version of yourself and exercise your empathy or, at the very least, give your daily stresses a cathartic sigh of relief. 

At least that’s the way I used to see it. These days, unless it’s awards season-- a time during which socially provocative or mentally stimulating films are given a brief day in the sun (in the dark womb of the theater)— there aren't too many released that tickle my pocketbook. Hollywood has, despite Gwen Stefani’s sound advice, gotten it “twisted.” It has traded creation for re-creation, which funnily enough is not conducive to inspiring the average American citizen to devote their recreational time to movie-going. Why pay to see something you’ve already seen, particularly if it wasn’t good the first time? Or second time? Or third time...?

The oft repeated Casablanca quotation, "Play it again, Sam" is actually a very telling cinema trivia faux pas. It's a misquote. The correct line is, "Play it once Sam... For old time's sake." However, this blunder is but one of our many iconic movie moments to have been misconstrued, unconsciously abused, and overly homaged into the realm of cheesiness, which people innocently throw out at parties for a laugh. Hollywood has a tendency to commit this fraud in its own way. It replicates an old idea, old joke, or old storyline to the nauseating point of no return. Except, it does return, over, and over, and over again. Thus, poor, metaphorical 'Sam' will be stuck at that damn piano/laptop pounding out the same old song and dance ad infinitum because, apparently, we are all out of ideas. 

I cannot express how much I was psychologically effected the first time I saw
Robocop without his mask. It blew my 4-year-old mind.

Case in point, the Robocop reboot. Why? Just… Why? Many may recall the original Sci-fi film of 1987. I hope so, anyway, because it's a classic. Sure, you line this nugget up beside Citizen Kane and it doesn't have the same gravity, but that doesn't change the specific brand of excellence it holds within its own time and place. The innovative plot unfolds thus: a cop is brutally murdered his first day on the job, only to have his dead body used as part of a man-robot hybrid experiment to build the ultimate law enforcer. (Pause for effect). 

The writing isn't exactly lyrical, but its sharp and distinctive, which offered the film its own memorable quotes in pop culture history: "Dead or alive, you're coming with me," "I'd buy that for a dollar," "It's only a glitch," etc. When combined with the unique, disconcerting, and violent images of the rising action, you have a pretty package of drama, comedy, mutilation, advanced social commentary, heady and even emotional gravitas, psychological probing, and physical disturbance-- who can forget the comeuppance of Emil, the Toxic Avenger? (Dude got his). Based on this movie alone, we can forgive Paul Verhoeven his Showgirls error. I choose to believe that he directed that movie specifically to make fun of the industry for making it and us for seeing it. I have to believe that to go on. I HAVE TO.

Robocop was special to me growing up, as so many others were of "my era." It was one of the films that, pretentious as it sounds, opened up the world and, with it, my imagination. It wasn't comprised of tawdry mind distraction. It was interesting. It made me think about things-- identity, man vs. machine, consciousness, memory, etc. Heady stuff for a kid, and these themes were all subconsciously delivered through the sublime execution of a story with subtext. It effected the general populous the same way, becoming an unexpected box-office hit. Hooray for Hollywood!

Anything worth doing is a' worth doing right, eh Coppola
This guy isn't sipping the Kool-Aid. He makes his 
own wine. That's class.

Or not, because consequently moviedom did what it always does and made unnecessary sequels to profit off the commodity of the instantaneous Robocop brand. As you probably know, each ensuing re-interpretation got worse. This malarkey, at least, is tolerable. Audiences petered off, indirectly telling the boys upstairs, "Yeah, we're sick of this now." Some may occasionally watch such bastardized, red-headed step-celluloid when they are too bored to care or there is nothing else on TV. The ease of going brain dead can also be a relief. Schlocky films can serve a purpose without taking absolute precedence, and despite the fact that these tag-along sequels can retroactively tarnish a bit of the original film's integrity, they can't diminish any of its lasting power. Rocky is still Rocky after Rocky II, III, IV, V and Rocky Balboa. There were many, many Nightmares on the notorious Elm Street, but nothing will ever beat Johnny Depp being eaten by his bed. Predator II and its sloppy seconds didn't kill the seismic glory of Predator. Thus, these irritations and insults to our intelligence can be overlooked and swept under the communal rug of "meh," while audiences wait for another cutting-edge screenplay to come around and show them something new again.

At least, that was they way it used to be... Now, with the insatiable drive for more virtual "product" and so many venues and mediums from which audiences can obtain entertainment, Hollywood has become manically and neurotically desperate for material, and "raw" material isn't necessary. Reconstituted is fine. Recycled is fine. As long as the resulting, sorry excuses for films have a dead-eyed, bovine audience sitting in wait, the industry can feast upon we little cash cows with fatty au jus. (Great. Now, I'm hungry and annoyed). 

This (absurd) moo-metaphor can be stretched further in that,instead of rebelling against a system that refuses to nurture higher sensibilities by opting to not attend these fly-by-night creeper features, we sit stationary, ignore the bright green Exit sign, and chew our popcorn like cud. It's a 50-50 exchange. People hate being bored, so we accept cheap imitations as amusement, and because we do this, the industry doesn't have an reason to try any harder to get our attention than making another Fast and the Furious movie. (I actually have a theory that Paul Walker's death was a calculated, public suicide orchestrated so he could evacuate from the slipshod series. Poor guy. Sadly, not even his tragic death could stop the franchise. Too soon? I don't care. Those movies are garbage).

I am very emotionally involved in this issue. Overmuch. Hollywood is the sin I live in, and its nonsense is often enough to make me want to tear my hair out. In actuality, I think I may have nearly suffered a complete nervous breakdown because "the movies" had gotten so bad. To combat my dwindling affection, for a solid year, I went to the theater trying to reignite my former appreciation for what I had once deemed to be the greatest collision of all arts. Sadly, the majority of the time, when I exchanged a paper ticket for a chair, I was left to watch sloppy film-flim-flam like The Change-Up. When not even Jason Bateman or Ryan Reynolds have your back, life is bad. 

Two Thumbs Up for this crock? That is one low grading

Still, you have to make amends. This is where we are. The movies are dying in front of us, and as we take root on our couches for convenience's sake-- to watch much better television and to escape the inanity of what currently professes to be cinema-- I think the day we never thought would come may come indeed. The Movie Theatre may become a relic of the past far sooner than we think. Please, someone shoot me before that happens. No, don't. Because then Ashton Kutcher wins.

Nay, I haven't given up hope yet, but there is one glaring abomination that I have never been able to abide; one that curdles my soul and makes me want to spit nails and high kick a mo-fo's head off like a Cobra-Kai! (Not like Daniel'son. He was far too wholesome for such cold-blooded karate murder). What I refer to is the remake. Yeah. I know what you're doing now. You're thinking about Will Smith's brat and that sorry excuse for a revamp, The Karate Kid (2010). You're thinking about the sidebar issue of nepotism and blindfolded filmmaking. You're thinking that greatness can't be duplicated, hence its 'greatness.' You're thinking that a flat-out copy, whether it is "updated" or not, is the height of laziness and is equally impossible to read as anything other than a superficial impostor. And, if you are like me, you are thinking how much you miss Miyagi's Bar on Sunset Blvd. and how much you wish you could go there right now to have a shot of sake in honor of Pat Morita. You're thinking that Jackie Chan shoulda had some respect.

Remakes... They're like the poor man's hot girl. They're tofurkey. They're showing up to a party, hoping to see some familiar faces, but being trapped in a corner talking to that annoying guy who really, really wants to be your friend but gives you the goddamn creeps. They're like eating something on purpose when you know that it's going to give you food poisoning. And probably explosive diarrhea. Why do we do it to ourselves?

This movie should have taken its own advice, shut up, and
stayed away. For shame, Ms. Kidman. For shame.

While it can be said that sequels can sometimes be amazing when they exist as their own, independent vehicles, which admirably carrying on the preceding story-- Terminator 2, Rambo 2, Godfather 2-- the outright re-make rarely does the same, especially these days. Everything is far too pumped up on steroids, due to the aforementioned industry desperation, to be authentic. Remakes are essentially the original movie on cocaine, humping your leg, trying to act like everything's "cool," when it's really, really not. Why can't you just be normal, movie? Why can't you sip some whiskey and chill? Why ya' gotta yell in my face and vomit on my shoes. Why would you do that to me? Why, movie? Why?

During the early studio era of Hollywood, when the mega production companies actually depended on talented writers to provide intriguing product for each market-- their B-movies are today's major movies, in case you hadn't noticed-- remakes were possible. Possible-ish. There were certainly mistakes. As is the general rule, adaptations of great works of fiction are always made and remade, and in this vein, such source material rarely gets old. Do we really need so many Jane Austen movies? No. Was it still interesting to watch Charles Laughton don a hump even though Lon Chaney had already performed his seminal interpretation as Quasimodo in the silent era? Yes. Sometimes, the remake even outshines the original: Love Affair was well done, but more people seem to know and treasure An Affair to Remember. It all comes down to taste, of course, but there were unarguably many commendable efforts "back in the day." For example, I'd rather watch John Huston's The Maltese Falcon than Roy Del Ruth's earlier version. (Sorry, Ricardo Cortez, but no one out-smokes Bogie).

In comparison to these pieces of yesteryear, today's flippant flickers offer a sloppier and less stylized type of remake. Instead of cultivating and maintaining the original story in a new era or approaching it from a different angle, the story is merely trimmed and fashionlessly refashioned into utterly ignorant simplicity. It is modernized, made sexier and allegedly more provocative-- though the haphazard way that contemporary, in your face, yet clumsy sex appeal is used to compensate for the lack of sultry edges between the lines very rarely gets the viewer off-- mentally or physically-- the way the original, more censored version did. I can assure you, I did not want to cut Footloose with Kenny Wormald (who?) and Julianne Hough (high pierced shriek!) when that ass-teroid hit. Even the trailers for that dimwitted regurgitation made me want to kill myself. As it turns out, there are much, much worse things for your body than Bacon...

The fundamental notion these movies get wrong is that it is never the concept alone but the authenticity of its presentation that draws people to it. The biggest hits are the surprise hits. If someone tells you, "Hey! I'm going to shoot you," you duck. If the guy just fires, kablam, you're more apt to have an honest and shocked reaction. As such, the big wigs can plan a big, box-office blockbuster, but the result of their condescending marketing assault is often just a weak and contrived manipulation that doesn't fulfill its promises. The minimized or complete lack of story is generally camouflaged by the standard, sensory-trigger overrides used to draw you in: adrenaline pulsing trailers, the promise of sex, visual distractions— you know, the stuff that takes you away from mundane things like thinking. Oh, and vampires. Gotta have the vampires. The audience is not expected to notice their total disconnection from the plot. This is the confidence the industry has in us. Same goes with remakes. Just take an old idea, so you don’t have to come up with a new one, mash it together with other recycled garbage and refuse, put it in the sausage maker, churn it out, and tell audiences to put the completed wieners in their mouths. No! It's tasty! Who cares what it's made of. Use more mustard!!! (Did you notice my crafty, phallic undertones? Filmographical fallacio: don't do it)!

The senseless non sequitur that proves my point: Psycho vs. Why, yo'?
(I often rap to exorcise my angst).

This mind-numbing numbskullery is utter bull hockey. The great successes of the industry are the happy accidents. People are drawn to the theater in the hope that they’ll see something they’ve never seen before. Yet, instead of living within and promoting this mindset, the industry unfailingly, perpetually misses the point and instead indulges in the height of laziness. There is no room for creativity on a tight budget. (Strange, I thought it was supposed to be the other way around). There is no concern for the enlightenment of the human race on the competitive, Hollywood game board agenda. We are markets, not people. The machine cranks on in Chaplin-like mania a la Modern Times, depriving writers of jobs (and their souls) and audiences of the cultural entertainment we need almost as much as love itself. Entertainment, in the end, in all its forms, is the communication of the universal need to laugh, cry, be heard, be understood, be brave, be elsewhere, etc. No, Hollywood says. No. Just keep whippin’ the wieners out. If that’s all there is on the menu, that’s what people will eat! Hence, the sacrilegious, yearly disaster specials: 

Sabrina (1995) from the Billy Wilder original
A Perfect Murder (1998) from Alfred Hitchock’s Dial M for Murder
Psycho (1998) from the Hitchcock original
City of Angels (1998) from Wim Wenders Wings of Desire
You’ve got Mail (1998) from the Ernst Lubitsch original 
The Bachelor (1999) from Buster Keaton’s Seven Chances
The Haunting (1999)
Bedazzled (2000)
Gone in 60 Seconds (2000)
Thirteen Ghosts (2001)
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003 and 2013 in 3D)
Willard (2003) #Really?
Love Don’t Cost a Thing (2003)
The Manchurian Candidate (2004)
Fun with Dick and Jane (2005)
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005)
House of Wax (2005)
When a Stranger Calls (2006)
The Wicker Man (2006)
The Heartbreak Kid (2007)
The Women (2008)
The Stepfather (2009)
Friday the 13th (2009)
Nightmare on Elm Street (2010) 
The Wolfman (2010)
Arthur (2011)
Straw Dogs (2011)
Total Recall (2012)
Red Dawn (2012) 
Oldboy (2013)
Carrie (2013)
Robocop (2014), etc, etc, etc... 

Were any of the aforementioned films necessary, redemptive of, or an improvement upon their originals? Nah. They are repeated limericks from a lisping tongue. Though a remake that rivals/surpasses the original is possible— The Father of the Bride remake of 1991, for example-- such an occurrence is absolutely the exception and not the rule. Remakes are consistent failures, because they offer little more than carbon copied images with updated furniture. 

It's Pacino day, I guess. While the original Scarface of 1932 had its definite merits,
I think it is safe to say that
Brian De Palma's 1983 remake had a far greater
cultural impact. This is one of the exceptions where vision was able to
mature the story past its predecessor.

The argument could be that the filmmakers who purposefully take on these projects are merely "experimenting" with a story and reinterpreting it as their own vision, just as in staged theatre. Yet, this is inapplicable logic. A film is different than live theater, if only because it has already lived and died. At best, it can only be exhumed, but once it is in the can, it is past the point of transformation, (are you listening Lucas?). A movie is a concrete piece of art that has been solidified in its own unique spot in history. It is an irrevocable statement, not a continuing mutation that is whispered, passed along, and re-birthed by a new cast on a new stage every generation. This metaphor is going out on a limb, but you don't "redo" the Mona Lisa. You can give your impression of it, but that isn't art. It is trying to be art, or more specifically, trying to be someone else's art. In essence, to say that you have another “vision” of the initial artist’s ‘vision’ is the height of artistic masturbation. Rodney Dangerfield was right all along. "People got no respect."

In summation, I will most definitely not be going to see Robocop in the theater, primarily because it is another example of the strange mutation that compels us to watch reality TV. People won’t go to the theater to see Robocop because it looks good, just as they don’t watch "Jerseylicious" to see what those people (whoever they are) have been up to. We watch these pawned programs specifically to see them fail. We watch to see them-- the stories and their characters-- fall on their faces and get everything wrong. We watch to point and laugh. This is just as sick and twisted on our part as the redonkulous product itself.

Sorry, Joel Kinnaman. You seem like a cool dude, and I love you on “The Killing,” but you will never be Murphy. You don’t have to be. He has already been. Sorry you were put in this awkward position, and you too Gary Oldman, and Michael Keaton, and Abbie Cornish… I wish you actors given better material, but as your co-star Samuel L. Jackson would say, “Hollywood is one apathetic motherf*cker.” 

Yes, I am tempted to hate the world…


Goddamn you to Hell, Kutcher. Of ALL the sacred movies
to pollute... Jesus F. Banana-Hammock!

Eff it. What can you do? We are who we are what we make what we watch. We have made our beds with equal participation and are lying in them. Though I often feel underrepresented at the box-office, wondering where my movies are, this is just part of our ongoing transition. Either mankind will reclaim its dignity and earn back its artistic reputation, or the bastardized system we have before us will lead to the total eclipse of what we once knew as moviedom by the next, "better" thing. It’s unfortunate that the magnitude of cinema has been whittled down into easily traded products on the internet and that the awe has left it. At least there are still stories being told— even new ones and good ones never before heard.

I do not hate remakes. They are what they are. That's the way it goes. "That's entertainment." But, I am frustrated by the lethargy behind them. I am tired of hamster wheel business ethics and the invasion of conveyor belt tyranny on both the creative process and the collective human discussion it sustains. Such lackadaisical, mechanical penetration eliminates any chance of the socially and intellectually vital connection between beings that all aesthetic cultivation is meant to offer. You can't think outside the box when said 'box' has no escape hatch through which one can reach fresh air. 'Outside,' therefore, becomes an illusory concept that deprives us of the gift of imagination.

Still, we progress and digress. We win some; we lose some. We currently are entering a world where the weight of things doesn’t seem to matter or impact us with the grand force it once did. Everything is light as a feather, streamlined, and efficient-- business models instead of forgivingly malleable abstractions. The anticipation of awaiting a new release or making room in the ego for that which is beyond your palm's grasp has gone and been replaced with a lexicon of, in this case, countless viewing options available in 3, 2, 1… Such is life. The dangerous sacrifice for the sake of this new order may be our own humility before the artistic work itself, the integrity of the story, and the honest ability of the storytellers and their interpreters. We may begin to view life as totally plasticized and unworthy of all introspection. This scares me, but the immediate access to stories at least conveys the fact that there are limitless stories around us.

I guess it could also be said that, in the realm of remakes, the re-emergence  of an old idea, at the very least, re-introduces the former glory of the original film to modern audiences. This is perhaps the only positive. The Coen Brothers commendably adapted True Grit and reminded people of the preceding John Wayne classic. Martin Scorcese re-adapted Cape Fear, puts his own macabre stamp on it, and stirred up renewed interest in the dark and sadistic original. These exceptions to the rule make those that unfortunately prove it worth enduring. 

At the end of the day, we’re not going to get it right every time, even if a film is a totally new story (i.e. Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen) or a new story that simply feels old because it is so goddamn formulaic and offers no surprises (i.e. 27 Dresses). The fact of the matter is, we are awesome, and we are abysmal. We built Rome; we burnt Rome to the ground. We have a nasty way of being consistent, and we have a sloppy way of repeating ourselves and discarding learned lessons, because we think that they won't be necessary within our own time frame. Even in terms of progressive thinking, we can never surpass ourselves without simultaneously digging our heels in and setting up camp like we've reached The End: We made it. We're here! Everyone stop everything! No need to push further. 

Nosferatu (1979): You I can live with, because ironically,
you don't "bite."

For now, we can rest on the blessed cushions of quality between the circuitous onslaught of artistic monotony. With this assistance, we can endure the humdrum lulls. The goal, I suppose, is protect the mind from this consumption of perpetual cultural misrepresentation. Don’t be seduced by the flashy-flashies and don’t be discouraged when you feel the superficiality of the system failing you and your undernourished brain. Let the BS pass over your far more deserving head like the inconsequential elevator music you can barely hear while on your way to the much better, marrow-digging days. Be the one to cast sentence and not receive it. You have the ultimate power anyway, and sometimes saying "No" to a neon light of "You Want This" is worth the price of in-admission.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014


Phil Robertson extends the mighty finger of judgment, because HE knows.
(Why is anyone paying attention to this person)?


Society is a smorgasbord of the redonkulous. It makes you laugh; it makes you cry. Staying aware and even mildly participatory in our always sad state of current events comes at a price. It’s like eating too much candy, but instead you fill your body with obsessive amounts of toxic twitter gossip only to find yourself sweating in bed with a massive migraine from oversaturation. Your body is trying to tell you something: “Do not put this bull sh*t inside me!” Instead of listening, we come back for more, reaching for immaterial pop cultural updates like junkies on the hunt for the perfect, unobtainable high. 

In my experience, purposely going on a quest to find out how stupid the world is has never taken me on a magical carpet ride to spiritual elevation. Needless to say, I don’t seek out these “hits” of inecstasy. I'm usually the last to know everything, but I am privy to the latest dum-dum move in the universe of “I be right, because I say so, (Skeeter)”: the GQ Duck Dynasty homo-faub pas. While I generally don’t gratify such obvious bursts of mental incompetence with even minimal recognition, I couldn’t help but seize upon the chance to use this social blunder as an example of how progressively stunted we all are.

That being said, while mentally incompetent buffoons occasionally jump out of the woodwork to say, "Don't worry! There are still plenty of us racists/homophobes/sexists/hypocrites, etc. around," I feel that the consequent eye-role inducing that they provide is good for the soul. Truth be told, I love a good bigot. I love fools, charlatans, or a quasi-mentos, not just because they make me vainly feel like a superior person and brilliant individual by comparison, but because they make me laugh. Hard. Know-it-alls who don't know anything are the best! It's just... The things they say... You can't take it seriously! Observe:

"It seems like, to me, a vagina—as a man—would be more desirable than a man’s anus."-- Phil "Duckman" Robertson

What?! Who says these words?!?! [Pause for head slapping and cackling at the tiny brained specimen]. Robertson followed this up with a soliloquy extolling the treasures of the vagina, which he believes has more to "offer" than the average asshole. I couldn't agree more... I mean, there are so many things to find up there; so many mysterious adventures one could take. If you stick your head way, way up, you can find the urethra, fallopian tubes... Hell! You may even find a growing fetus (or similar tumor). But the butt? Meh. And Phil knows, because his head clearly spends a lot of time up... there.

 Naturally, some took offense to Phil's words of wisdom. By identifying the male-female version of coitus as the sole form of acceptable bodily fusion, he did insult all others who choose to approach love and lovemaking a little differently: homosexuals, bisexuals, transsexuals, etc. He also identified cheaters, bestiality indulgers, and non-Christians as inherently evil. I mean, bestiality is... icky, so I'll give him that one. Any who fall into these categories are naturally going to Hell. Now, he doesn't judge these people, mind you. He loves them like he loves guns. He just doesn't agree with their choices. But, that's their tough sh*t. While they're burning in the flames of Hades, he will be after-livin' it up on the right hand of God!

During his reign as the Church Lady on SNL, Dana Carvey comically 
exaggerated the frightening ability uber-religious fascists have to
identify sin in absolutely everything. Even Santa. SATAN!

There are so, so, so many things wrong with this guy. It's hard to put them into words. I honestly don't even want to gratify his stupidity with the mildest form of recognition. He is just another example of an un-evolved man. Homo-erectus dysfunction: one who chooses to build a fortress of self-professed omniscience around himself as protection from the knowledge that he, like everyone else, is going to die. This vulnerability is every human being's Achilles' heel. So, if Phil can imagine that there is a beer-swilling Jesus waiting for him in a mansion in the sky, he can get through his days a little easier. His end is erased. To bolster this sense of security, he makes his entre into this blessed haven more certain by identifying those who won't make it. This makes his paradise more real and exclusive. More majestic. Needless to say, any introspection or true social consideration is left unexplored on his part. Thinking creates doubt. Thinking would force him to confront his fears and his own tangible place in the universe, and gawsh durnit, that makes him cry tears of moonshine!

No, I'm not going to contradict him, if only because he contradicts himself. The thing with bigots is, they out themselves. They identify themselves by immediately back-pedaling and admitting their prejudicial flaws. Even before he was called out on his very strong opinions, Robertson confessed to their lack of foundation. It's the old, "This is how I feel, but hey, that's just me," tactic. If I had a nickel for every time I heard some self-absorbed jerk-off say this, well...  I would be able to devote much more time to writing these wonderful articles. Abroad. In any case, this deflective kind of phrasing is one of my favorites, because the speaker is doing two things: a) admitting that his opinion is one that will draw forth much antagonism, which he secretly knows is deserved and b) ineffectually protecting himself from the imminent onslaught by putting a kibosh on any naysayers with the immediate retraction of his idiotic opinion. "You can't get mad at me. I unsaid it! It doesn't exist!!!" People use this wonderful tool in every day conversation, even kids, who apply it in a more physical sense: "Not touching! Can't get mad!" 

Ever debate a movie/book/restaurant with someone and they say, "Well, I hated it, but, humph, that's just me?" Pisses you off, doesn't it? Yeah, because the person you're talking to is a f*cking coward who doesn't have the balls to truly argue their paper-thin assessment. They want the argument to be over, and they want to feel like they've won it. So, they shut you up by simultaneously shutting themselves down. As such, Phil, after his "Jesus hates homos" and "the slaves were happy" orations openly said, "This is what I think, but that's just me being a bigot." (Don't hate me because I'm stupid). Believe it or not, this is a win-win situation for everyone. The immediate need to defend an opinion is a glaring concession that it probably isn't a good one. It is an equal indication that the speaker has an obtuse and yet closed mind (paradox!) that fears nothing more than its own exercise. Bigotry is survivalist compartmentalization. It is for cowards. Settling on a single idea with strict adherence is the same as proclaiming your own shamefully finite God complex.  

Confession Panda illustrates the tactical backpedaling of the
modern bigot.

Robertson further lambasted himself when he was forced to apologize for his comments and face A&E's typical ass-saving suspension. Basically, he said "Look, I feel this way, but that doesn't make me a bad person... I truly love all of God's children. I don't have any hate for anyone, I just disagree with what they do." YOU GUYS! He's openly admitting he's an asshole here! If he's telling the truth, and I sincerely believe this poor, sad idiot is, at least in his own mind, then he wouldn't wish any real harm on any of the same individuals he previously identified as so sinful (in the eyes of himself). No pain; just blame. This is him acknowledging that homosexuals are also human inhabitants of planet earth. Which means, some part of him knows that his viewpoints are inherently wrong, that the love he preaches is hypocritical, that his own claims of salvation are shaky at best, and that these people didn't deserve the judgment he casts upon them. He's proclaiming his bigotry. It's, "Everyone deserves the air they breathe, I just choose to look down on some of them," right there in black and white. 

Human behavior isn't complicated, and most impulses that lead to negative action, unless they are the product of some level of mental illness or instability, are instigated by pure fear. Ergo, all exhibitions of the many colors in the bigotry rainbow are the product of man's deep phobia of himself. Nothing a raving lunatic ever says should be taken seriously (aka Hitler). I remember when one of many groups of enthusiastic life coaches, or whatever they were, came to my high school to give us students the low-down on bullying. Did you know that when you point your finger in judgment at someone else, there are THREE more left pointing back at you? The question remains, “What about the thumb?” Life experience has convinced me that it is lodged up the sadistic pointer’s ass. Maybe that’s why all hypocritical bastards have the same, dumb look on their faces. Still, as cliched and embarrassingly simplified as this metaphor is, it speaks the truth. Most human judgment is pure deflection. We distract from our own disease of dysfunction and existential insecurity by saying, “Hey, what’s that!?” Then, we dive under a bush. (If it worked for McFly in his Biff evasions, why shouldn’t it work for everyone)? God bless the Hypocratic Oaf.

Last year's controversial media darling was Paula Deen, who caught flack
for her alleged behind-the-scenes racial slurs, mistreatment of minority
employees, and her bright idea to have an old-fashioned dinner ft.
what equated to black slaves. For a celebrity chef, she certainly
has some piss poor taste. #ICan'tBelieveThisButtah

Having said all this, it is perhaps more understandable why I am always surprised by the cataclysmic reactions people have to such idiot-speak, which is consequently fueled by the rabid media. The "news" preys on our always easily provoked emotions and churns tirelessly to present itself in whatever version of the idiot box (TV, Computer, iPad, etc) it can. Not to diminish the heinous nature of Robertson's ignorance, but honestly, who cares what he has to say? First of all, he clearly isn't an Edison. His light bulb does not turn on; articulation is hardly his forte. Secondly, was anyone really surprised by his Revelations? Being shocked that he has irrational prejudices is the same as being surprised that Keith Richards had drug problems. (That guy is just indestructible. The Terminator's worst enemy. IndeTerminable...?). Anyway, Keith looks worse for the wear, doesn't he?

Phil Robertson's (whose initials are comically PR) impromptu assertions about the sexual order, and general order, of mankind are a perfect example of bread and butter prejudicial tourettes. Manners and fear of confrontation usually teach bigots to keep such thoughts locked away in the shame-shame closet, as our subject normally would have. However, he probably got the big drawers when he became a tee-vee phenom'. The only thing worse than him saying what he said was people reacting to it with such gargantuan antipathy. This only lent credence to his preachings. Suddenly, the guy's Goliath. Is he? Is he? This guy, whose words should have disappeared like a midget, pot-bellied porcupine's queef, became front page news. The dunce is suddenly "important;" the inmate-- who chooses to remain incarcerated in Behind-the-Times Land-- is now unexpectedly running the larger asylum of the world wide web. Oh, and he's a martyr now too...

What followed in the ever insatiable media storm of “hard news only” was the completely understandable uprising of LGBT "Team No" offensive, A&E's suspension of Robertson from the show, and the consequent Freedom of Speech "Team Yes" defensive reaction. The latter move was most likely, and most sadly, backed by people who secretly agreed with Robertson's sentiments and used the First Amendment to distract from the main issue. It's a brilliant form of diversion, because unfortunately, it is logical. You can't play the double standard game of "Freedom," unless you want to risk being at the losing end of that argument some day. Should dumbo Phil have said what he said, "Hell to the No." Should he be allowed to say it? "Well, yeah (rah)." The crime wasn't in his speech but in his diseased brain/heart/whatever. The crime is that The (Bigot) Strangers Are (Still) Among Us. (That was a reference to a German film, btw. Sorry). 

What someone thinks or feels is utterly out of our hands. It's an easy and lazy play, really, to catch the escaped thought and try to bury it. Slapping a hand over PR's mouth is playing the Hear No Evil game. Censoring the bad thought, ignoring an issue and sweeping it under the rug, doesn't make it go away. Clearly, immoral cretins can live silently around us, undetected for years. Does their silence make them less threatening? Were the Columbine shooters any less harmful because they didn't reveal their sinister plot before they opened fire? No. They were ticking time bombs. The point is to try to alter the thought processes that lead to these irrational acts of verbal or physical violence before they erupt. It isn't the word; it's the man. The roots of malice run deep. THIS is the issue consistently overlooked in every pathetic media battle. Yet, we always wind up jabbering on in instinctual attack mode, letting ourselves get caught up in total political misdirection. 

At the height of the initial victim's offensive-- demanding that A&E remove the bigot from view-- the prejudice game was twisted against them to make them look just as corrupt. Their attempt to force Robertson to the shadows in perpetual muteness was interpreted as another level of bigotry-- intolerance toward the redneck "who don't know no better." Converse to everyone's wishes, things just got louder. This intensified standoff is where such arguments always end. Duck Dynasty went into damage control, the fires of anger calmed as the issue stalemated, Phil was allowed to come back to the show, and life on the Boob Tube continued as if nothing had happened. Just another hiccup in the land of There Is No Solution. 

How taking a ride in the amusement park of life often makes you feel...
(I referenced GOLIATH again. Serendipity).

This is the source of my actual irritation: the cycle of non-progression. A bomb goes off, controversy builds, people get increasingly angry and offended, action is taken against an identified villain, the villain is defended by the opposition, the villain is made a martyr, both sides are deemed correct and incorrect (one side in its offended sense of decency but misdirected retaliation, the other in its invocation of the law but insensitive motives), and everything goes back to normal. It's all a senseless, media masturbation. It's nonsense. It shouldn't even exist. 

Unfortunately, it's a necessary evil, because you can't not look at it and you can't identify the moment when the travesty could have initially been stopped or corrected. Would Phil being irrevocably fired have cured anything? No. Someone else would have given him his own show, and his foolish comments would still be in the stratosphere. Would it have been the offended parties not raising their voices to protest a dumbass being a dumbass? No. As much as it may stain someone's integrity to even address such imbecilic remarks, you have to confront a bad dog when it's bad and reprimand it. Otherwise, you're behaving like the mother who watches her child hit another kid in the sandbox but says nothing-- because she's tired. Was it the fault of the journalist who originally printed the story in GQ? No. He's a journalist. He has to print the story and its truth. He is also always looking for the scoop too, and you can't blame him for working to sell copies. 

We are all trapped on this carousel, and it never stops. It never... friggin'... stops. It makes us dizzy, frustrated, angry, hurt, exhausted, and left depressed and languishing in the quagmire of socially segregated limbo. While this is happening and everyone else is losing his mind, I may be laughing at the stupidity, but I am still thinking I HATE YOU WORLD. But then I drink... and I'm okay. I'd rather have a good buzz going than be in the snake pit. Of course, I then think about my own apathetic passivity, and I start drinking more. It is a vicious, vicious cycle. God damn you, existence. God damn you...

Yes, I am tempted to hate the world…


"Dr. Phil" did us a favor. He wrote a reality check prescription to remind us that the core of mankind’s embrace of ignorance is sheer terror. We are all scared little “ducks” trying to hack it in a big bad world that we can't control. Human nature is predictable, as Robertson also showed us, and while this may help prepare us for man-attacks, what is systematic can also be unpredictable and even dangerous.  Add up the entire world of people, earth and its nature, the expansive, black universe, and our place within it, and we are left with no promises. So, we choose our independent ways to guard and protect our sanctified selves. This mallard of a moron chose religion. He wears it like a badge. "God Saves." So, God will save him-- the universe gets smaller. Using the Bible as his personal shield, he interprets it as he wishes, as suitable to his own feelings of discomfort-- the universe gets smaller. Anything too extreme or indefinable makes him quake. He labels others as villains to make himself a hero. He invents a Heaven so that he can go there and be safe and not have to face the harsher realities of his current existence-- the universe gets smaller. He focuses on God, ducks, and ammo, because letting in the wider world is too intimidating. This is his fortress. He admits it aloud. He is to be pitied. He is a scared little bitch.

Do not accept. Do not irrationally pounce. Question. Always question.
(PS: JB is a genius and you should all read his work).

America is big. We often forget this while living in our separate corners, thinking that we live in the real America and all other places are distant mirages. Yet, there are secret, separate, but equal A-holes everywhere, whether their closets house their KKK ghost costumes or all the ingredients necessary to make a bomb, which they will explode at the location of their choice. Our pledge of allegiance to what in theory makes this country great, or could make it great, is dependent upon equality— equal freedom for everyone. This means you are going to hear a lot of bullsh*t from a lot of people. This means that you are going to have to suppress the desire to punch many, many people in the face. This means you are going to have to share space with people that you wouldn't even share air with if you had the choice. True, we don't have to like each other. We don't have to agree. It would be nice if we did, but we are too busy fighting for ourselves to consider our neighbor most of the time. What's important, what lies at the heart of the issue, is respect. This is why we hit the stalemate wall, and it's good that we do. It means, "Well, sh*t. There's nothing I can say to change your mind and there's nothing you can do to change mine, so we're going to have to keep on coexisting." That coexistence is the respect, even if it goes down a little bit bitter.  

Life doesn't make sense. It doesn't add up. But, the exhibition of frothy retaliation that resulted from this stupid moment in our country’s history is a brilliant example of why we aren’t a loss cause. We all got a chance to scream our freedoms from the rooftops. That's something. Shutting this ignorant bastard down wouldn’t have been a victory, but forcefully voicing a more progressive perspective on humankind-- one not just of equal rights but of equal respect for everyone-- forced him to face his own prejudice. For a brief moment in time, Robertson was caught red-handed. He experienced an "Oh, sh*t" moment; a "come to Jesus moment," if you will. Hm, gee, "Maybe I can't just insult other human beings like that and expect to get away with it..." The reaction, his hand slapping, may have seemed like a weak punishment, but what more can you expect? You can't control what's inside someone. You can only work with or against it. 

If anything good came of this, it is that the shock effect left an eek of light in Phil's brain. He, as a deer in headlights, was at some point probably scared by the wrath crashing upon him, which hopefully made him ponder the thought that, maybe, he is indeed not God, and while he may be answerable to a God, he is inarguably answerable to his fellowmen. When our enemies and villains are humanized, like the hurt voices shouting back at Robertson, it makes unfounded beliefs harder to cling to. Let’s face it, the guy probably will go back to the way he was before, thinking the same things, and making a saint of himself. That’s how mankind operates. But even he secretly knows he’s wrong. Every daft, misguided, ignorant-as-Hell son of a bitch knows he’s wrong. That place in his heart that tells him he’s wrong, the one that makes him say things like, “That's just me,” is an admission of guilt for his own apparent inadequacies as a human being. 

Jesus HATES gays, but Pope Francis thinks they're ah'ight! (Look. He is
giving these haters the hand and the cold shoulder). Truthfully,
he hasn't established that Gays are A-OK with the Catholic
Church, but he is at least making positive progress.

It may feel like we lose battles against atrocious human beings when their flaws emerge in the mainstream, but we often fail to realize that this is an example of our goodness triumphing. These guys hide in the woods and only creep out every now and then for a reason: they are afraid of us. Every time they crawl out of the woodwork to test the waters, to see if it's okay for them to digress a few centuries, we shoo them right back by saying, “You sir, are sad. Good luck to you in the dumbness. Stand aside please while we move forward.” Decency may not notice this evidence of its victory, but it is there, and it outnumbers indecency every. Single. Time. 

Living in this brain-scrambling rut called "life" and trying to find a sense of peace and reason can feel like trying to mold sauerkraut into the Venus de Milo with your feet. The end product may not be that grand, but that isn't important. It is the not the end but the method that matters. Are you going to use grace and compassion or impatience and hostility? Don’t hate your fellow players, hate the game. In fact, pity the players. Thank them when they're idiots, and let their errors be your fortune. Learn from them, and teach them if you can. Most importantly, take what they have learned and use it to teach your own kids respect. Cross your fingers. Laugh at obscenity. Be above it. Remember that the "good will out." 

As for Phil... He can keep his self-crafted religion that pretends to be something else. (You know, the faith practiced by the Pope)? Meanwhile, all us sinners will be laughing on the way to our gay friends' weddings. Peace!