Snooki vs Actual Comedy

It's like poetry... that makes you want to kill yourself.

May 2, 2011

Okay, I didn’t think the last article would make me think so hard about something that I had never intended to pursue further. No, I’m not talking about Ayn Rand and the idea of Objectivism as a path to a real Utopia.

Are the cast members of Jersey Shore comedic geniuses?

I posted a link to several videos where some cast members of The Importance of Being Ernest read lines from the show in-character. They often delivered said lines with a straight face, often with a bit of irony, but otherwise it was like watching Sir Ian McKellen do lines from Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back.

Anyway, take a look at the first of five videos below.

Okay, a few things. The lines as delivered are hilarious. Why? I’ve heard these same lines from clips of Jersey Shore and I have no desire to watch the show. However, I would love to watch these two do more lines like this. Why? What’s the difference? Why is one funny and the other infuriatingly bad?

I once took a class on comedy. While it killed my ability to really find anything funny for six months since I kept asking myself, “Why is this funny?” it did help me analyze literature, film, and television in a way I hadn’t considered. Also, everything is somehow a phallus or about sex.

Mel Brooks once said that tragedy is when he cuts his finger because it matters to him. Comedy is if you fall into an open manhole and die. What does he care? Comedy, then, would seem to be a matter of empathy. If we don’t care about the jerk and something bad happens to him, we laugh. If we care about the jerk, then the comedy is gone. Think of a bad horror movie where you don’t like the white college students who go investigating every noise. When they get hacked into cat food, you actually laugh.

Well, I do anyway.

Jersey Shore by ~XhereXforXtomorrowX on deviantART

I looked up a few more quotes from the show and tried to imagine them being said by these two gentlemen. Needless to say, I think they highlight why empathy is lost on these tanned wastes of genetic material. Observe the wisdom of Jersey Shore.

Mike “The Situation”: You can hate on me all you want to, but what can you possibly say to somebody that looks like Rambo, pretty much, with his shirt off.

What can I say? Let’s see. “You’re a conceited prick who is hinging other people liking him based on his abs.” Oh, and Rambo was a Special Forces badass who was wronged by the government and went on to kill entire armies with a knife. How badass does drinking vodka make you, MIKE?

Angelina: I feel like this job is beneath me. I’m a bartender. I do, like, great things.

While bartenders do great things in the sense that they get me my drink at the bar, I wouldn’t say they do “great” things. Necessary, sure, but they’re not heroes. And I have full contempt of anyone who still says “like” in casual conservation. Yes, I’m a linguistic snob. Sue me.

Snooki: Every time I meet a nice guy, he dies. It’s the same with every pet, friend or relative I’ve ever had. EVERYONE DIES! Next it’s gonna be me. Its all just a big conspiracy!

One of the surest ways to spot a narcissist is to see how he or she reacts to events. When the deaths of others and their misfortunes are seemingly your fault no matter how removed you might have been from the event, that is narcissism. The only way she could be responsible for their deaths is if some being with the power over life and death were targeting her.

Mike “The Situation”: To call me fake, it’s just blasphemy to talk against the leader like that, in other countries you get hung for that type of shit.

I would never call The Situation fake. Shallow as a puddle of dog piss, yes, but not fake.

Snooki: I don’t go tanning anymore because Obama put a 10% tax on tanning. I feel like he did that intentionally for us, like McCain would never put a 10% tax on tanning… because he is pale and he would probably wanna be tanned.

Please see my previous note on narcissism.

Said in the right tone, these lines might work for comedy, but here’s the thing.

The cast members on Jersey Shore are stuck up jerks who respond to the most basic principles and seem, at least from what I’ve seen, to actively avoid complex thinking. These are the guys and girls who would join a frat in college just because they want to be close to the party. They think the worst possible things about women, relationships, and people in general.

Jersey Shore Quotes Poster by ~wiigamer024 on deviantART

They’re about as shallow as I’ve ever seen, and I cannot fathom actually watching any of them for more than five minutes, let alone an hour. I remember that television was once about drama, about wit, and comedy made of carefully timed situations. I remember that WRITERS were involved once.

When did we accept that just following people was interesting? Sure, some shows like Dirty Jobs, Pawn Stars, and others are actually interesting because the people we follow are, well, interesting. The parodies are funny because they point out how silly the cast members on Jersey Shore can be. Beck was funny until we realized he was being dead serious. A murder is no laughing manner, unless it’s a movie murder delivered in a highly ironic way to a character I feel nothing for. Real idiots are not funny. Fake idiots pointing out the comedy in someone actually thinking this is acceptable, though, are hilarious.

It just goes to show two things I’ve said for a long, long time. Real life is often the source of the greatest material for stories.

Also, we pay way too much attention to the idiots in society. Stop feeding them and they’ll go away or die.

Oscar wilde. Artist by ~Hallaserke on deviantART

Enough of that. Let’s get some links up in this!

  • Cracked has a scale on the good and bad side of song covers. I think the same could apply for literature. Want to make a fairy tale into a gritty cyberpunk tale? It could work. Want to take that beloved science fiction story in your head and turn it around into a steampunk noir adventure story? Have at it!
  • And finally, we have the new trailer for the last Transformers movie destroyed by Michael Bay. Just based on this promo, I can at least see some of the action instead of trying to make out colored blurs, but I’m not sold yet. I’m going to wait for it to come out, then see the response. Thoughts?

Love the Teacher, Hate the Job

Just TRY to find anyone willing to stand in front of twenty or thirty children and speak for 8 hours a day.

March 23, 2011

Teachers have been getting a bad rap for years. I’ve already outlined how educators don’t get the kind of pay people think they do, but there’s another reason it’s easy to blame teachers for failing education and make them scapegoats for everything from union trouble to state budgets.

We’ve set up a system where teachers are unfairly judged and given expectations no person could possibly match.

Let me give you a few examples.

Police state by ~AlanCPhotography on deviantART

If police were held to the standards of teachers, we would fire them after five years if their respective districts didn’t lower crime. Fresh out of the academy, these police would be required to make sure crime dropped by significant levels. Their tools to make sure communities don’t eat each other?

Drills. They would teach people what to do in an emergency, so, when the time comes, they know a few options that are limited to standard responses. Police would not really patrol or investigate. They would go around and make sure everyone knew the drills and, if anyone didn’t, that citizen would be arrested for endangering the community.

Police would host seminars and workshops to make sure everyone knows the proper responses to fire, shootings, and car accidents and that’s it. People would complain that there are many more emergencies than these and a set of general, adaptive skills would be more beneficial than just practicing the equivalent of stage directions, but the police would have none of that.

Teachers have to teach students in order to pass mandated testing. The mandated curriculum leaves little for actual critical thinking skills, questions, or improvisation. This is what people mean when they say “teaching to the test.”

How long did you remember the information in a test after you took it?

doctor cat postcard 2 by ~dalia on deviantART

If doctors were held to the standards of teachers, every doctor would be mandated to treat twenty to forty patients a day. Doctors would have one year to make sure each patient met certain guidelines: cholesterol, body fat, and blood pressure. These doctors would have to make sure their patients all had the appropriate levels of these three things, and we would declare said patients healthy at the end of that year.

But, the doctors would cry out, these are not proper indicators of health! There are so many other variables that must be taken into consideration-

And they would be hushed because, say the hospital administrators, after that year, that patient is no longer your responsibility. These are the standards we’ll use, and you will stick to them.

The doctors would cry out that the patients have red meat, smoke, drink, and don’t exercise and only really work at health and act healthy during check-ups. And the hospital administrators would get after the doctors for the health habits of patients at home.

Teachers can teach as much as they want, give homework and encouragement, but students are ultimately responsible for studying and preparing themselves. It’s a two-way street. Teachers “give bad grades” like doctors give “negative prognoses.”

.: Segwey Army :. by *Time-Clown on deviantART

If the military were held to the same standard as teachers, they would be given a very specific timetable for all major operations. Wars would last no more than a few months and, at the end of that time, whether done or not, the military would pull out of a foreign country. All goals would have to be achieved, and if the military failed, they would be reprimanded and defunded until they got it right or were all fired and replaced with fresh new recruits.

And, in order to balance the budget, soldiers would have to buy their own ammunition. Sailors would need to purchase their own life jackets. Marines would need to buy scopes for their own sniper rifles.

Teachers face penalties if they don’t live up to expectations, but the penalties schools receive for unsatisfactory testing end up crippling the school and make it harder to teach as classes swell and funding disappears. Many educators have to buy their own supplies, out of pocket, to have a proper class.

teacher by ~drFrazer on deviantART

Am I saying teachers are not to blame for any of the educational problems in this country? Of course not. Teachers have to live up to their end of the bargain. But as we cut benefits, pay, time, and force teachers to become little more than machines to spit out test answers for students in a curriculum that bears no relation to real life, we have to ask ourselves…

If we think of teachers as nothing but babysitters, why do we heap all these duties and responsibilities on them? And if they’re not teachers, but mentors and guides, why do we make it so hard for them to do their job?

We don’t need no education by ~Silviaa92 on deviantART

Link time!

  • This looks really gimmicky, but damn if I don’t want to at least try vampire wine.
  • Ladies and gentlemen… lesbians. That is all. You may go about your day now.
  • Now, I’m not a video gamer, although I play Wii with friends once in a while, but I can’t imagine ever being so obsessed over a game that I do this and land in the hospital.
  • And finally, just because I really need something so utterly cute that it will make this week feel better, I give you a puppy dancing salsa. See you Friday!

Divine by Zero: American History Through Boobs and the Dangers of Lesbianity

It’s been a hectic few days, but presentations are done, interviews are concluded, and I dove right back into the the internet…

By the way, nothing stings more than giving a presentation on the importance of writing and having one of the freshmen point out you misspelled something on the PowerPoint. I still ache.

  • Anyone following the World Cup and not paying too much attention might have missed a rather unfortunate abbreviation on the bottom of the screen.
  • NSFW: Playboy published an article where they look at the shape of women’s breasts over the decades and use them as allegories for their respective times. It’s actually kind of interesting. Oh, and there are boobs.
  • Did you know that lesbians walk among us? It’s true! And they seek to corrupt our women. This tongue-in-cheek video in the style of old 1950’s afterschool films shows how you can protect yourself from the perils of lesbianity!

  • I know Teabaggers have a tenuous grasp on logic and reality, but this guy is REALLY stretching to link Obama to BP. To be fair, though, his sign has correct spelling, but he butchered the punctuation.
  • I already mock Robert Patterson for the fact that he will forever be known as a sparkly fairy who thinks he’s a vampire… but this is just sad.
  • Behold! We have discovered perhaps the first recorder instance of “That’s what she said,” and Hitchcock caught it on film. Is there anything he couldn’t do?

  • And finally, I was reminded of why I voted for Obama when I saw this vid. I have a beef with some things he’s done in the last year, but overall, I still like him. And how he’s going to work with Jack Bauer and Batman to kick some ass. Are YOU an expert?