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Archive for the ‘TV’ Category

2015 was a Kingdom of Bullshit. We were assaulted by a relentless barrage of bullets and bile from real-world terrorists & political hate-mongers, all while media-trolls across the spectrum stoked the blazes for revenue clicks. It all fed our frenzy so hard we became indignation wendigos, our frothy jaws devouring each other’s fury and spewing it back so forcefully we even hated those we should’ve considered comrades. South Park killed it this year with its satire of the Outrage Industrial Complex, but the most 2015 show by a hair has to be Mr. Robot. It captured the zeitgeist perfectly without ever quite snagging the zeitgeist’s attention, but something tells me (even if it’s just wishful thinking) it’ll have a much bigger cult by the time Season 2 starts in 2016. Yeah, in a lot of ways Mr. Robot is just picking up where Fight Club left off 16 years ago— but goddammit, it’s about time somebody picked up where Fight Club left off.

2014 Was a Flat Circle

2013 Was The Climb, Time After Time

2012 Was Louis C.K.’s Foolish Flailing

2011 Was Walter White’s Mad Cackle

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Lately I’ve been experiencing some extra-trippy nostalgia thanks to Spotify and its “Discover Weekly” feature, which custom-makes playlists for me with algorithms based on the music I listen to on their wonderful social media-oriented platform. As the name implies, “Discover Weekly” tends to introduce me to cool tracks I’ve never heard before– but it also reminds me of cool tracks that I’ve somehow forgotten, even though they soundtracked hugely significant moments in my life.

Like “Stay” by Shakespears Sister, which appeared on my Discover playlist this week. When I saw the title, it rang a faint little bell, but it wasn’t like I immediately remembered how the song went or anything. For reasons which will become clear soon enough, I decided to look up the video on YouTube instead of just listening to the track on Spotify first. And as I started watching the video, a weird feeling crept into me. Here was this vaguely familiar Kate Bush-like fairy tale music, which I kinda liked, and yet I couldn’t shake the feeling that I should know it a lot better than I did.

Then came the bridge, at around a minute-58 into the video, and a most bizarre memory avalanched into my brain– my memory of the first time I heard this song, which was also the first time I saw the video.

I must’ve been around 11 years old, because the song was released in 1992. I was watching MTV, maybe a late night airing of 120 Minutes (because the song seems “alternative” enough for that show), but I think I may have seen it in broad daylight.

I distinctly remember seeing the section with the song’s bridge, where Siobhan Fahey barges in as a gothy demon goddess and savagely disrupts the tender vibe, singing “You better hope and pray that you make it safe back to your own world.” When I first saw that as a tender 11-year-old, I swear I thought I was having some kind of psychotic break. Clearly this woman with the possessed eyes stabbing my soul through the fourth wall was speaking directly to me and only me, warning of some supernatural peril that lay in wait for me. I was convinced I had crossed the threshold into some world I would never return from.

I remember being so shaken by that sequence that I couldn’t wait to see the video again, or at least hear the song on the radio, so I could be sure that the goth-demon part was actually part of the song, and not just something that had been transmitted directly into my mind by dark forces beyond my comprehension.

Ultimately, of course, I was comforted to learn that the bizarre bridge really was part of the song, that everyone else heard it too. I don’t know how long it took me to realize it, but I remember feeling a gigantic sense of relief upon learning that.

23 years later, it all seems a bit silly…and yet, it still seems pretty creepy, and still pretty awesome. So awesome that I can’t believe I forgot all about this song until now. Though I guess it makes sense if I simply repressed all my memories of this song out of fear & utter embarrassment. Whatever the reason, I’m glad to have been reminded of this priceless forgotten memory, and I can’t wait to see what other forgotten memories Spotify might uncover…

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Satire on False Perspectives - William Hogarth, 1754

Satire on False Perspectives – William Hogarth, 1754

…I saw this study once many years ago, from Ohio State University, the graduate program there. They did a study of self-identified conservatives and self-identified liberals, and they got a group that self-identified in those categories, and that also both sides identified as fans of [The Colbert Report], and they had them watch the same video, then they said, ‘What do you think his actual political position is here?’ Democrats believed that I was a liberal or liberals believed I was a liberal pretending to be a conservative, and conservatives who enjoyed the show tended to think that I was a conservative pretending to be a liberal pretending to be a conservative…

And I don’t really want to correct either side, because there are times I agree with my character. And I really don’t want the audience to know when I do. I love that, man. That’s the triple gainer. I purposefully jumped over the line a lot at the beginning of the show so people would be confused.

Stephen Colbert, interviewed by Judd Apatow for Sick in the Head: Conversations About Life and Comedy

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Fake Picasso?

Fake Picasso?

An art dealer once went to Picasso and said, “I have a bunch of ‘Picasso’ canvasses that I was thinking of buying. Would you look them over and tell me which are real and which are forgeries?” Picasso obligingly began sorting the paintings into two piles. Then, as the Great Man added one particular picture to the fake pile, the dealer cried, “Wait a minute, Pablo. That’s no forgery. I was visiting the weekend you painted it.” Picasso replied imperturbably, “No matter. I can fake a Picasso as well as any thief in Europe.”

Robert Anton Wilson, Ishtar Rising

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billy-joel-didnt-start-the-fire

Press play & sing along.

Barack ObamaBeyoncé,
Matthew McConaughey,
Lena Dunham, Boko Haram,
Bill deBlasio

Polar Vortex, Richard Sherman,
True Detective, Immigration,
Pete Seeger, Derek Jeter,
Maya Angelou

Neil deGrasse Tyson,
Philip Seymour Hoffman,
Battle in the Ukraine,
and Malaysia’s missing plane

Colorado’s legal weed,
Daft Punk’s got a Grammy,
Malala Yousafzai,
Donald Sterling, goodbye!

 

(more…)

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s1e1-crime-sceneIf 2014 was anything, it had to have spawned from the savage, swampy, pseudo-Satanic loins of True Detective. In this Golden Age of TV Geek-Outs, I’m not sure we’ve ever geeked-out this hard over a TV show (LOST included). But besides being the TV Event Of The Year, True Detective was also a grim omen of how the rest of 2014 would unfurl: Just when we thought we were making progress, the Flat Circle of Time turned, history repeated itself, the perverted power of the privileged once again pressed its boot to the face of the oppressed and dared us not to lose our minds, Rust Cohle-style, into the abyss of cosmic Lovecraftian horror. At its worst, this year hurtled over us like an uninterrupted tracking shot of chaos, corruption, and police brutality.

As the year ends, it seems like the dark still has more territory, but let’s not forget Rust’s parting words: The light is winning.

2013 Was The Climb, Time After Time

2012 Was Louis C.K.’s Foolish Flailing

2011 Was Walter White’s Mad Cackle

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