Wednesday, January 31, 2007
The Cynicist Manifesto: Addendum
It's been awhile since I've added to my list of random musings and general beliefs, so with an admitted nod to both convention and convenience, here are a few more points that I think are worth making -- even if they're not worth a series of full columns.
Like you, I could care less whether or not Kevin Federline lives to see tomorrow morning. Still, of all the vitriolic ridicule slung at K-Fed over the past year, at least one criticism has always left me a little confused: the notion that his music sucks. Don't get me wrong -- as anyone with ears would likely tell you, Federline's ego-fueled bluster laid overtop of the same monotonous, unimaginative beats displays not a single drop of noteworthy talent. Here's the thing though, the exact same thing can be said -- but strangely isn't -- about 90.7% of the illiterate troglodytes currently assaulting the masses on Urban Radio, MTV2's Sucker Free Sunday, and from the booming speakers of every idiot in a low-rider from here to the corner of Florence & Normandie.
I'm not talking about Mos Def, or Common, or Nas, or producers like Danger Mouse; I'm talking about dime-a-dozen self-parodies like Lil Boosie, Yung Joc and Chamillionaire -- guys whose names alone tell you everything you need to know about their complete lack of any discernable contribution to decent music.
Yet there are millions of supposed rap connoisseurs who draw some sort of distinction between the simplistic, bombastic buffoonery of Juvenile and the equally clownish verbal and visual molestation perpetrated by Federline. These people will invariably drag out impressive-sounding words like "flow," "cypher," and "technique" in their beat-down of K-Fed, as if most of what passes for hip-hop these days is a fine wine, whose intricate subtleties are to be gently pulled apart -- layer by precious layer -- and appreciated with the utmost respect for, and admiration of, craftsmanship.
It doesn't take talent to be a borderline retard with a gold chain and the ability to rhyme two words. Say what you will about K-Fed -- he knows that.
The Life of Your Child: Priceless
Mono-monickered singer Brandy gets into a car accident three weeks ago. Brandy kills a girl. Police aren't even done working out the potential charges to be filed against Brandy -- but guess where the family of the dead girl turn up yesterday?
If you said, "Why, they're in civil court hoping to turn the death of their loved one into a fortuitous windfall by suing Brandy to the tune of fifty-million-dollars," hey, give yourself a gold star.
The real tragedy is that these people weren't in the car with their kid.
Another Fine Meth
It's no secret that America is basically one giant elementary school class where the teacher is always willing to punish everyone for the antics of one or two class clowns. Our society is expected to be politically correct, child-proofed, family-protected, health-conscious and sin-free -- usually at the imposition of government; always at the expense of anyone with a thimble-full of common sense.
You've already found yourself victimized by the lowest-common-denominator when it comes to fast-foods -- and you've probably noticed that the same kind of chilling effect has now moved to the cold care aisle of your local drug store. The FDA now requires pharmacies to keep Sudafed and other decongestants whose active ingredient is pseudoephedrine behind the counter. That means that it can't be purchased after hours at all, and can't be purchased during business hours without identification, a signature, an authentication code, one of two security keys, the staff of Ra, the eyeball of a dead scientist at the end of a pen-knife to fool the retinal scanner, and Jack Bauer pointing a loaded gun at the clerk, screaming, "GIVE ME THE COLD MEDICATION!" If Drugstore Cowboy ever gets re-made, the Matt Dillon character is going to by-pass the Dilaudid and go right for the Claritin.
The reason for all of this hysteria of course is that pseudoephedrine -- in astonishingly high quantities -- can be used to make meth, which as we know from government and media reports is the deadliest substance known to man and the force behind an epidemic which threatens the life of every man, woman and child in America. Your kid is on meth. Your mother is on meth. The lesbian lover your mother met during a psychotic meth binge is on meth. You may be on meth right now and not even know it -- it's that wily.
In an effort to make sure that the anti-meth paranoia doesn't hurt what's really important -- the bottom line -- pharmaceutical companies have begun replacing pseudoephedrine in many decongestants with phenylephrine. It can't be used to make meth. It also doesn't work.
The end result is that -- as usual -- to stop one drug addict living in a trailer in the middle of Riverside, California, you'll be made to suffer through cold and flu season without a remedy that actually helps you to feel better.
But at least you'll be safe from that terrifying meth epidemic.
I'd say "Fuck you, FDA and drug companies," but I'm so goddamned congested it'll come out sounding like, "Fubk ou, FD (cough) ed dug cubpaddies (cough)."
I'd Like to Frak the Academy
I realize that I'll sound like a nerd of epic proportions for saying this, but I could care less; it needs to be said. The fact that Grey's Anatomy won a Golden Globe for Best Drama, and its cast won a SAG Award for Best Ensemble, is sickening. The show is insipid, and its cast would barely hold its own on The Guiding Light.
The fact that Battlestar Galactica was completely overlooked -- not even picking up a nomination in either category -- is nothing short of a travesty. Galactica remains the best-written, and positively best-acted show on television. Hands-down. No contest. None.
In this week's episode alone, the performances by Mary McDonnell and James Callis were extraordinary -- and throughout the past season, Michael Hogan, Edward James Olmos, and the rest of the cast have created characters so fully-realized that it stuns me to no end that they could go unnoticed.
The Globes are a popularity contest; I understand that. But I would expect a higher level of discretion and dedication to craft from the Screen Actor's Guild, particularly after witnessing the kind of pretentious self-congratulation that came out of the awards ceremony's opening monologue. Yes Freddy Rodriguez, I get it. You once had to wake up early and put in a day's work for a measely seven-hundred-dollars, and now look at you -- you're an ACTOR(TM)! You shame me with your heroic perseverence in the face of seemingly impossible odds. Someone should name a cancer ward after you.
As far as I'm concerned, the request that SAG and its ACTORS(TM) be taken seriously became the stuff of laughable mockery the moment they started believing that Katherine Heigl has created a better character than Katee Sackhoff.
The Cynicist Manifesto (9/22/06)