Friday, September 22, 2006
The Cynicist Manifesto
Last night, I decided to clean out some of the excess crap from my BlackBerry.
The idea was basically to reduce the amount of work-related nonsense I have to scroll through when I want to get to, say, the phone number of the pizza place up the street. I'm also at least partially convinced that dumping some of the unnecessary filler (news contacts, shoot schedules, meeting times etc.) will free up some memory space and allow the Brickbreaker game feature to run more smoothly.
It was during this cleaning session that I couldn't help but come across the electronic note pad on which I keep the topic ideas for this little experiment of mine. Sorry to spoil the magic folks, but this stuff doesn't just come to me from out of thin-air whenever I sit down at the computer. Like most writers, I jot down ideas whenever I happen to bump into something that inspires me. I do this because no one should trust the memory of a guy who's fried as many brain-cells as I have -- that includes me.
Anyway, some of what I found on my note pad, I've already transformed into the delicate prose you've borne witness to on this site. But a lot of it was simply one or two lines -- no doubt typed in a hurry -- which made note of something strange, or funny, or infuriating, but which might never merit a lengthy, drawn-out post. As George Carlin would say, these lines were more like "Brain Droppings."
Then I started noticing something: on its own, each note was relatively inconsequential -- but when placed next to another and another and another, the result was a twisted little mosaic that would provide a crystal-clear assessment of who I am and how I think to anyone who might happen to stumble upon it.
So with that, I give you the one-line writing notes in my BlackBerry, and what they mean.*
This is Just a Tribute
I believe that there's little more unintentionally hilarious or deserving of public ridicule than the act of memorializing dead friends or relatives by going down to the mall and having t-shirts made with their high-school pictures emblazoned on the front. Just as funny are rear window decals proclaiming Chuchito 1988-2006, R.I.P. It was stupid when you did it for Tupac, it's just as stupid when you do it for Chuchito.
I believe that A Prairie Home Companion provides a form of entertainment which harkens back to a simpler time in America -- when Tom Joad was forced to sell his family for food and Central Park was known as "Hooverville."
There's a reason this kind of crap went the way of the Edsel -- and it's not just because the sound of Garrison Keillor's voice alone makes me wish I'd been born deaf.
I believe that the only thing more mind-numbingly boring than Garrison Keillor is watching people play poker on television; whether they're B-list celebrities or guys who look like Skynyrd's road crew. This fucking fad can't end fast enough.
Where Intelligence Goes to Die
I believe that it's somewhat ironic that the state of Kansas itself manages to disprove both evolution and intelligent design at the same time.
There Can be Only One
I believe that while it's human nature to seek out a group with which to belong, the rarest commodity is always the most precious and should therefore be held in the highest regard. The individual is that rarest of commodities.
You can call yourself a man, a woman, a Catholic, a Jew, an African-American, an Asian, a frat brother, whatever -- just remember that by lumping yourself in with any group and choosing to unquestioningly adhere to its accepted standards, you're tacitly relinquishing your respect for the most invaluable object in the world: you.
Once You Go Black...
I believe that MTV should've kept the promise it made back in the early-80s -- that it would never play Soul or R&B. If it had stuck to this pledge, it would've never made the leap to playing Hip-Hop which would probably mean that right now, millions of kids -- black and white -- across this great land of ours wouldn't be illiterate idiots who refer to their teeth as a "grill" and dream of one day living the American dream: dropping out of school in the 5th-grade and getting a record contract, 83-inch spinning rims and a yacht because they can rhyme two words.
Basically, this would never have happened.
I look at Hip-Hop the way my parents used to look at Rock n' Roll: it peaked early and for the most part hasn't been good since.
By the way, I also believe that if you think I'm a racist because I say any of this -- you're probably an ass.
Dylan McDermott Mulroney
I believe that it's easy to confuse Dylan McDermott with Dermot Mulroney, and that neither should ever be cast in another movie again regardless.
Fuck You Atari
I believe that Magnavox's Odyssey and Odyssey-2 game systems were far superior to the infinitely more popular Atari. My loyalty to the Odyssey without a doubt set the tone for my lifelong tendency to always back the underdog.
Why be Normal?
Because your life is easier. Despite all of my individualistic bluster, it's always in the back of my mind that it would be nice to have been able to turn all this insanity off a long time ago. I believe this wholeheartedly.
I believe that somebody should be shot for making not one, but several sequels to The Crow. Hell, Brandon Lee was, and that's more than likely why such a sad and cynical money-grab was launched in the first place.
In Her Web
I believe that there has never been a more perfect woman than Charlotte A. Cavatica, of the original animated version of Charlotte's Web. She has been and always will be my dream girl.
The Pop Culture Babysitter
I believe that it's asinine to put the blame for school shootings and the breakdown of America's youth on people like Marilyn Manson and Eminem, but it's equally asinine -- and wholly irresponsible -- to think that pop culture's constant onslaught can be stemmed by even the most attentive of parents. Denying the invasive, round-the-clock influence of movies, music, television and advertising on kids makes you nothing short of delusional.
Life Isn't Fair... and Neither is Death
Jeff Buckley dies young. Justin Timberlake does not. I believe there is no justice in the universe.
Live and Let Die
I believe I have a question that I want answered: if Randall Terry, George Bush and his dimwitted brother Jeb, and every other Evangelical Christian believe in a glorious life after death at the card table of the Almighty -- then why the hell would they possibly be so cruel as to want to keep Terri Schiavo's soul locked in the prison of her own broken body? Why fight so hard to save a life that was painfully tragic, when they believe the alternative is so fucking dandy?
I believe that there's something disconcerting about Mark Klaas and John Walsh turning up all over television news shows everytime a child goes missing in this country. I realize they can speak from experience, but something about it seems and has always seemed nothing less than exploitative.
Liberty Mutual Masturbation
I believe that the scariest and most disturbing movie ever made is The Firm, simply because it features Wilford Brimley talking about sex -- in particular delivering the line, "intimate acts -- oral and such."
I believe that Carlos Mencia should be the most popular morning DJ in El Paso, Texas -- and nothing more.
War is Hell
I believe that the term "War on Terror" alone ensures that we don't stand a fucking chance of winning -- because it proves that those fighting it haven't got a clue what kind of enemy they're up against. Terrorism doesn't have an army, it's simply a methodology -- and what's more, it works; just ask former Spanish Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar, who was run out of office for supporting the war in Iraq not long after a series of devastating train bombings in Madrid.
Saying you're fighting a "War on Terror" speaks volumes about the futility of such an endeavour; it's like saying you're fighting a "War on Tragedy," or a "War on Chagrin."
Duck and Cover
I believe that I'll eat foie gras whenever I damn well please, regardless of what the nut-balls at PETA or the City of Chicago has to say about it.
Rx are for Kids?
I believe that America is overmedicated and that all you have to do is turn on the TV to grasp this. Pharmaceutical companies create phony diseases for which they then offer unnecessary cures.
F.S.A.D. (Female Sexual Arousal Disorder) is not a disease, nor does it become one just because you've slapped the word "disorder" in its name. If you suffer from this, you don't deserve to be given the protection of the Americans with Disabilities Act or be mentioned in the same breath with real diseases -- you should be called what you have been since the dawn of time: frigid.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome? Stomach-ache.
Acid Reflux Disease? Heartburn.
Restless Legs Syndrome? Oh fucking come on.
I also believe that American pharmaceutical companies delight in drugging the hell out of kids, which is ironic because I firmly believe that kids shouldn't take drugs because they haven't earned them.
Get a mortgage, a job you can't stand and an ex-wife who hates you; then you can do drugs.
Jesus Saves (Just Not Your Career)
I believe that no interviewer should ever ask Stephen Baldwin the laughable question, "Aren't you afraid that your Christian beliefs will get you ostracized from Hollywood?"
No you fuckwit -- Biodome got him ostracized from Hollywood. If he wasn't spouting off about Christ, there isn't a chance in hell you'd be talking to him on the Today show -- unless he accidentally got blown up in a suicide bombing at the Jack in the Box where he happened to work.
I believe that says it all.
I believe that the funniest two-word phrase in the English language is "Assless Chaps." I challenge you to even think it without laughing.
And with that, I believe that I'm done.
(*The management reserves the right to revisit any of these topics in detail at a later date.)