Thursday, March 28, 2013

Cynicism is Dead

At first, I thought my anger towards the average Comedy Walk audience member was a result of their cynicism. Most people have a genuinely good time following me around the city, and I don't even have to touch them! But occasionally there are the few odd people who have to ruin it for everyone, themselves included.

It seems in today's society (which feels like code for "every society ever, but you only ever experience one of them anyway, you spoiled American crook") no one is ever convinced of the monetary value of anything. As a child (also as an adult), I had a catchphrase, appreciated mostly by my parents. "That was worth it," I'd say, after having spent no money of my own on ice cream, or an arcade game, or fixing the brakes on my car.

I appreciated a lot. Not enough, but a lot. Now, after having worked retail for a considerable amount of time, as well as the aforementioned Comedy Walk, I certainly have formed a relationship with my bank account. Unlike the images that fat women like to pretend society oppressively demands of the average female, I happen to prefer my bank account portly. No, I've gone too far. Society may have unrealistic expectations for all of us, but I have no such expectations for my bank account OR for women. Especially women (I'M A JOKESTER!).

I've now come to realize that I am the cynical one. So, obviously, being cynical can't possibly be bad, RIGHT?!

Well, now that would be a very confusing and contradictory position, would it not? It would be, unless you really love Ayn Rand. I feel indifferent towards Ayn Rand, selfish though her game may have been, for she is dead.

Full disclosure: I'm a baby. A wimp, if you will. I love the spotlight, the sound of my own voice, and I hate being wrong (though not as much as people who hate other groups of people hate being wrong, got that?). That being said, I like to think that my cynicism is doled out in proportion to what is necessary.

Meanwhile, some stone-cold creepy woman hears a penis joke (Anything but that. That's lowbrow, I'm not lowbrow. Remove this jester at once!), and glares at me in bitter silence for forty-five minutes. Most people think they're better than they really are, so if they hear a joke that offends their arbitrarily selected sensibilities, the "fun" part of their personality self-destructs. REAL stand-up comedians all seem to agree that this is the big difference between doing comedy in the US and the UK, respectively. Americans will immediately recoil at anything that crosses their line, whereas the rest of the English-speaking world seems more inclined to hear you out.

The prevailing attitude of the sourpuss seems to be: "I heard a joke that offended me/wasn't funny to me, so this was not worth $15. I'm now going to be hypercritical of every little detail in order to further validate my idea that this was not worth $15."

The sourpusses are only a minority group of any given audience. But, you must remember, I'm a baby, so I take it personally. Every other member of the audience has paid the aforementioned $15, so they sometimes take it personally as well. Occasionally, the sourpusses seem intent on making sure that NO ONE gets any value out of their money. "I don't like it, so you shouldn't either." Seriously, people stifle their laughter so as to avoid upsetting the other people that they perceive as being bothered. It really, really sucks when that happens.

My grand observation, from this cross I bear intentionally upon my baby back, is that our society is indeed cynical, but also that our cynicism is often misguided or misplaced. Yes, I'm getting paid with your money for a thing you suddenly realized isn't perfect. Nobody's perfect, but more accurately, we're always doing something wrong. Perhaps, in my endeavor to make you laugh via dick jokes, self-deprecation, and observations regarding the irony and absurdity that is inherently our lot as human beings, I've offended you. Perhaps, you're taking yourself too seriously. Perhaps, through my efforts to make any sense of your sensibilities, I'm taking myself too seriously.

Can we please just take our dicks and our hearts out of our wallets? It looks really silly. It's probably not worth it.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Corporate Athleticism

At what point did we decide that arm movements and hand signals are not good enough, and our referees need to say out loud, damn it, what the penalty is that they are calling? "How about we just mic the sons-a-bitches?" someone probably said once.

In association football, which we call soccer, the referee never talks to the audience. His dialogue is to remain between himself, his assistants, and the players on the pitch (field). If he needs to stop play (something that happens a lot less in soccer than in American football or hockey), he has a range of signals and motions at his disposal to make the crowd aware (at the off chance they themselves have missed the infraction) of what has gone wrong. Some referees are stoic and some more flamboyant, just as some are strict and some seemingly prefer breaking up brawls to preventing them. Either way, the man whose voice you never hear over the stadium's PA system is very much a human being. This doesn't mean that some fine folks at a Lebanese lower-division match won't try to kill him, but these are rare and isolated incidents, of course.

My point in these observations is not to say that association football is absolutely superior to the sports preferred in the whiter portion of the Americas, but to highlight a difference that I find compelling. Soccer is, in essence, a very simple game. American football, in essence, should be the same, but simple doesn't afford enough commercial breaks. In fact, while American football has grown increasingly more complicated (in terms of rules and regulations), it's still not complex enough, and there are arbitrary television breaks imposed upon 80,000 fans at any given stadium because, ultimately, some fat fuck's wine was not fine enough, his jet not fast enough, and his underage prostitute not underage enough. Absolute power corrupts absolutely...and it turns a single Division 1 college football game into a 4.5-hour-long event that makes accomplishing anything else on Saturday out of the question.

Professional soccer is by no means innocent of commercial corruption, it just doesn't seem to be as utterly dominated by it as other sports. In some countries, players can resemble NASCAR vehicles with the amount of advertisements choking the free space on their uniforms. Many stadiums have super suave digital boards that run the length of the pitch and display a variety of different ads throughout the duration of a match. But in soccer there are two halves of play, each at least 45 minutes in length, and the day they are interrupted by anything other than imminent destruction by mother nature, or a player dropping dead, is the day that the sport itself has died.

Friday, March 1, 2013

"I'm offended"

"I'm offended."

And I just burped. Why should I care? No one ever seems to have a very compelling reason. It certainly depends on the context of the situation, but merely expressing that your sensibilities have been offended is about as meaningful as saying "I have thoughts and feelings on this issue." Okay? So, what are they? Why are you offended?

Someone once tried telling me that it is not the offended party's responsibility to examine the things that offend them and why they're offended by those things. That offended me, but I attempted to reply with something of substance. If you want to be a spineless reactionary twat, that's your prerogative. You just need to understand that it's a weakness of the mind to refuse to attempt to understand the things that bother you. You're essentially whining that you have a problem, and what's worse than the high-pitched and obnoxious manner in which you are whining, is the high-pitched and obnoxious manner in which you refuse to actually fucking do anything about it.

So, now that we have that out of the way, The Oscars...

My two highlights of the aftermath were Amy Davidson's claims that Seth MacFarlane was being sexist (you know, in his comedic commentary on sexism in Hollywood), and that The Onion is HORRIBLE, FOUL, DIRTY, AND NO GOOD for apologizing when they shouldn't have (or for calling a little girl a "cunt," but you can already tell which aspect I'm more upset about).

Yes, a blogger for a magazine whose name rhymes with The Jew Porker (a magazine which I bear no bitterness towards whatsoever), Amy Davidson, decided that she would completely ignore the context through which Seth MacFarlane's hosting of the Oscars most properly be viewed, that being reality, and declare him misogynistic. She described him as being "self-satisfied," which I thought was a very poignant example of projection on her part.

Ultimately, this uptight sourpuss could not comprehend the satirical nature of MacFarlane's delivery. This is an all too common side-effect of lacking a sense of humor.

What really pumped the blood to my hate erection, however, was The Onion's apology for calling Quvenzhane Wallis a "cunt." Congratulations, Quvenzhane, I would have neither heard of you nor cared about your existence had it not been for The Onion twitter handle's mockery of our universal adoration of children in cinema (whom we subsequently stop giving two shits about once they become adults, good luck with the rest of your life).

Am I uncultured for not having heard of her or the film she featured in prior to the ceremonies? Probably. But at least I'm not obsessed with the life of a nine-year-old simply because she's in a film. At a glance, I thought The Onion's tweet was chuckle-worthy. It was, after all, a live tweet. It was buffered by countless other live tweets. Under the pressure of no one in particular (though I'm sure a lot of Amy Davidson's mouth-breathing readers were tweeting with rage, which, in fairness, is probably a normal day for them), The Onion promptly apologized. If they'd apologized for their moment of being less-than-funny, I'd buy it. But no. They apologized for jokingly calling a nine-year-old a 'cunt.'

"But Ben, how can she possibly understand the joke?" I don't know, probably the same way in which she understands every single aspect of the movie she's in. Why are we so worried about confusing our children, anyway? Isn't confusion an integral part of allowing a mind to develop? "But Ben, why did they have to say 'cunt,' why not any other word?" Well, it seems you've answered your own question. You give the word power with your feigned recoiling, so it magically becomes super-duper offensive. If you're really that offended by the word 'cunt,' you probably are one.

Oh, and if you think 'cunt' is anywhere near comparable to 'nigger,' I'd like you to imagine one woman calling another woman a 'cunt' out of anger. It maintains its power and sentiment just fine. Now, imagine a black person calling another black person a 'nigger' out of anger. I'm sorry, it just doesn't have the same sting as it does coming from the ignorant mouth of a white racist. If anything, it's antiquated. Black people reclaimed the power of the word 'nigger.' Woman have not reclaimed the power of the word 'cunt,' because its power lies beyond the distinction of gender.

Now, the above bit is definitely something I'd love to discuss further with any open-minded participants. Meanwhile, The Onion jokingly called a young actress a bad word, and it's nowhere near as bad as people are making it out to be. The end.