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.

Sure thing.

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.

Stop hatin'.

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)



Lest you have any sort of racial knee-jerk epithet leveled at you, the spot-on contempt for hip-hop must also include the likes of Pitbull et al, and that retard Paul Mall with that ridiculous platinum grill.

And you know what? Maybe I am becoming too forgiving in my middle age, but there is something strangely endearing about Federline's recent attempts to humanize himself through self-parody.


Meth. I miss it. :(


Galactica: Yep. Aside from what I feel is a tendency to wrap up plot arcs just a little too tidily sometimes, watching this week as Adama and Roslin TORTURE Baltar had me muttering just one word over and over.


Oh, and mark my words, which I've been predicting from almost the first episode: Geda must be a cylon.

soaringhawk71 said...

Oh Chez, I think you are just unpatriotic in your unwillingness to embrace overwhelming mediocrity. You need to embrace the dark side and join the rest of us pod people. You'll be so much happier without all of the pesky cynicism. I'll be waiting for you, here in status symbol land.

Michele said...

It's Gaeta (GODS I'm a nerd.), and I've been saying the same since day one. Not that I don't enjoy my weekly dose of tear-inducing melodrama from Grey's, but the consistent lack of attention that Galactica gets is just as infuriating as the lack of attention Firefly got. And I'm still not over the loss from that cancellation.

(On a side note in case you didn't already know; one of the executive producers/writers/directors of Firefly is producing a TV pilot starring Nathan Fillion entitled Drive. I'm not terribly impressed from the look of the pilot, but I'm hopeful.)

I was wondering why all the cold medications suddenly were screaming at me in ferocious letters that they definitely did NOT contain pseudoephedrine. I, in my blissful ignorant and highly congested state, assumed it had something to do with the FDA's obsession with PhenPhen. I of course should've realized that was old news and the new threat to my existance was the meth lab I've now set up in the basement.

I will say, however, that Airborne and Zicam are the shit.

Chez said...

Yeah, I normally don't speculate on this type of thing -- but obviously Gaeta has some kind of major skeleton in the closet from the time on New Caprica, judging by this week's episode. Then again, who the hell knows -- that could very well be a red herring; Baltar would say anything to save his ass.

I've always understood that sci-fi and fantasy are generally overlooked by the awards shows -- and with good reason. Buffy going unnoticed was a shame, and Firefly being canceled was just ridiculous. But all of that pales in comparison to the quality that's put out weekly by Galactica -- quality that's been noticed by dozens of critics, yet continues to be ignored by the academies who should really be showering praise on the show and helping it to gain a larger audience.

John said...

I'm going to have to stop reading your blog if you continue to use it as a forum to discuss Galactica plot points. Those of us without cable (or TV's for that matter) are stuck at the end of last season, awaiting the next DVD release. I'm curious to see if the writers will keep coming up with ways to have Apollo be shirtless in every episode. I'm not complaining, but that guy has to occasionally do something other than shower, right?

Eric said...

If you were only gay, Chez, I could love you.
Galactica IS the best show on television,period. Shows of other genres (the Office) show flashes of brilliance but Galactica picked up the standard of Buffy and - dare this Buffy FREAK actually say it! - holds it higher and better.
I remember watching the 1st episode of season One after the great two-part mini-series set the show up and thinking, "this is going to be something special."
I could forgive them for forgetting the acting; that almost always comes down to who gives the best blowjob these days, but the travesty of ignoring Mary McDonnell for her INCREDIBLE performance during season one is unforgiveable.
And, finally, it must be said: Katherine Heigl might be getting nominations but Katee Sackhoff could kick her ass on or off screen.


Yeah but Katie Sackhoff didn't show up in my late night pedophilic fantasies after I saw My Father the Hero starring Katherine Heigl.

Don't worry, Katherine's co-star Gerard Depardieu wasn't in them either.

That would be just wrong.

Prophet of Ra said...

Ha, well I am sorry to break it to you, but if that is what it takes to get cold medicine, good luck. The only known Staff of Ra is currently in my possession. I killed Dr. Jones for the headpiece and found the broken shards in Egypt. I reconstructed it on Easter Island, travled to Heaven, fought off every angel, defeted Yahweh, and trapped Jesus in the solid gold core of the staff.

But I figure, if the cold medicine is for Wayne Palmer, chances are Jack can get it without the staff.

rasaustin said...

Holy crap, am I the only one who has seen K-Fed's new commercial for Nationwide Insurance, and thought "Hey, his music isn't THAT bad...?" It actually sounds better than 75% of whatever falls under the category of Hip-Hop (not that you're going to find me sprinting over to the bargain bin at Wal-mart to get my hands on his latest CD)... But since I'm growing weary of seeing Britney's roast-beef sandwich every time she gets out of a limo... well, you can pencil me in on Team Federline, for now.

Emily Blake said...

The only explanation for Galactica's neglect is the notion that sci-fi is for nerds only. Hell, we the fans perpetrate that stereotype by calling ourselves nerds for liking it.

Two weeks ago I got to go to one of the writer's houses to watch the show with a bunch of his friends and coworkers. I'm still in recovery form the overdose of awesomeness.

Chez said...

Damn you Emily.

Equals said...

excellent use of the word troglodytes

Magiel said...

When Gaius died and came out of the Cylons mothersmilk I was pulling hairs out and mumbling OMG the whole time, until he woke up..

pure story gold.

I hope you kissed the writer dude, he deserves it. I would, I even would have shaved if he insisted..

Emily Blake said...

I did not kiss him. I ate his food and drank his booze and answered his questions about why I watch the show.

I did thank him profusely and clap when his name came on the screen.

It was the best night ever.

ohgrl said...

Just FYI--Brandy killed a woman, not a man.

Anonymous said...

FYI-Brandy did NOT kill this woman, she hit a car which hit the woman's car, pushing it into traffic and the woman's car was hit by another car. And that killed her! It was an accident-the husband was estranged from her and the parents hadn't seen much of her in the 12 years she lived in America. The husband went on tv and said it was an accident but now that this suit has been filed, he's looking into getting some money too.
Where's the outrage over the Prison Break actor driving with underaged
kids in his car, under the influence of coke and alcohol, hitting a tree and killing one of them?