Divine by Zero: Beck Angers Israel and Billy Mays Loves McDonald’s

August 23, 2011

Well, it looks like we’re back on schedule… more or less. Expect regular postings of Divine by Zero and weekly updates to The Weekly Muse. Don’t forget: this is YOUR chance to stump the writer. Give me the three strangest plot elements you can think of on the list and I’ll try to put them together into a story. If you’re writer, photographer, or an artist of any sort, I challenge you to take the trip with me. It’s a great way to get the creative juices going.

And now, for the links!

  • Chris Farley was always one of those SNL comedians I both loved and hated. When he was good, he could do physical comedy like no one else. When he just wouldn’t stop, he became like that obnoxious guy at every party that tries to get attention by just being obnoxious. Still, his passing was a loss to comedy, and his personal problems leading to his death are a tragic story. Looking back, this amazing photograph of Chris Farley is even more sad.
  • Real punk is a lifestyle and genre that seeks to be everything the mainstream is not. It’s a statement about being true to yourself and not following anyone. This guy? I don’t think he gets it.
  • The next time someone says the rich are not that rich so they should not be taxed more, here’s a little list of what the top 2% could buy for the rest of us.
  • Glenn Beck has been in Israel less than ten days…. and he already caused an international incident. To my international readers, THIS MAN DOES NOT REPRESENT THE US IN ANY WAY, SHAPE, OR FORM!
  • And finally, let’s take a look at perhaps the WORST orchestra in the world. It really doesn’t help that they’re playing such a recognizable song. See you tomorrow, folks!

Dunn and Done

It's funny because... actually it's not funny.

June 22, 2011

Okay, I need to address something about Ryan Dunn’s death.

He did it to himself and no, I will not mourn him, especially since he took a life in the process of ending his own.

And this wasn’t even a sudden accident. Dunn had a history of DUI’s and posted pictures of himself drinking before the accident. He drove his car at over a hundred miles per hour and had to be identified by his tattoos. The car was a wreck that could only be identified as a car because it was on a road.

Roger Ebert and R. K. Milholland both wrote about the death and made no attempt to hide their contempt for Dunn, though Milholland used more dark humor than the former. Both have gotten a lot of flak for it on Twitter and elsewhere.

And So, It Goes by ~PsychoMonkeyShogun on deviantART

Ebert made a now infamous tweet where he said, “Friends don’t let jackasses drink and drive.” Granted, at the time of the tweet, it was unknown if alcohol had been involved, but the pictures of Dunn made it clear that alcohol was involved. No one sobers up that quickly. Milholland, on the other hand, should be well-known to anyone with a sick sense of humor. If you don’t read his comic, look at the first comic ONLY, and if you laugh, you get it. If you think it’s sick, well, the internet is not for you. If you were entertained, good for you. Keep reading. That online comic kept me sane for many years.

And Randy, if you’re reading this, you’ve been an inspiration for a long time. Keep it up!

Sarcasm 5 by ~applebutter180 on deviantART

Here’s what this rage over the comments boils down to. A man known by millions got lit like a German Christmas tree and crashed his VERY expensive car, killing himself and another human being.

I have contempt for Jackass, which is how many knew Dunn. I think it’s nothing more than a bunch of guys acting stupid to get attention, that it’s the widely-distributed version of self-inflicted pain Youtube videos. Don’t get me wrong; I love watching people get hurt on Youtube, but I do so with the understanding that said people were trying to act cool or do something stupid and ended up paying a physical price for it. I don’t look up to them or care for them. That’s what makes it funny. If someone purposefully hurts him or herself in an attempt to get attention, well, they’re a ja-

Nah, too easy.

Comedy occurs when someone whom we don’t care for is hurt. Mel Brooks himself said it best. If any one of you actually thought Dunn was funny and if you cared for him, you would not laugh at him for Jackass. Did you laugh? Then you didn’t care, so stop complaining.

Translation? If you act stupid and get hurt, expect me to laugh at you not because I think you’re a comedian, but because you’re an idiot.

DDD don’t drink and drive by *fabioricci on deviantART

If Dunn had been the only person killed a few days ago, yes, I’d probably mourn the loss of an irreplaceable human life, regardless of what I thought of his career. I’d be right there with Johnny Knoxville and the others.

But Dunn killed a man.

Said passenger should have known better, but Dunn was the one who drove and Dunn was the one who wrapped his car around a pole and burned both men to death.

Ebert and Milholland are right. They were a bit more… creative with their reactions, but in case you don’t follow me on Facebook or Twitter, here was my reaction, date June 21st, 1:28 PM Central Time:

Ryan Dunn died while driving drunk after twitting a pic of himself drinking for several hours. His car was a twisted wreck since he was driving at triple-digit speed. Reports say he killed at least one other person. Yes, it’s a tragedy. No, I do not feel sorry for him. If the world was fair, he would have been the only one to die. Idiot…

If you don’t like someone pointing out another person’s stupidity and the utter waste of life, get off the internet. I’ve lost enough people in the last ten years… hell, the last ten MONTHS, to qualify me for horror-movie survivor status. I will gladly acknowledge that some of my loved ones had their faults. Everyone does.

But none of them killed a man in the act of inadvertently taking their own lives.

If you can’t accept that fact, if you can’t even listen to someone else RIGHTLY criticize a man for taking a human life in the process of ending his own, stop reading right now.

If you’re still butt-sore and want to vent some rage, I recommend you wear a lead jock strap and get a kryptonite ring before you post anything.

I’m scrappy.

Ryan Dunn Portrait by ~sheriksillo on deviantART

And if you want to wash the taste of internet rage from your brain, here are some links to numb the brain and waste your time.

  • Jackie is already pretty bad-ass for performing his own stunts. I think it’s more bad-ass that he trained a fish. Yes, he did. There’s video.
  • How do you solve global warming? Like this. DARE YOU FIND FAULT WITH HER LOGIC!?
  • And finally, Weird Al released his video for his parody of “Born This Way.” It’s called “Perform This Way.” It’s… creepy to say the least. Enjoy, and I’ll see you on Friday.

Clichés That Must Die

My God... It's full of fail...

April 4, 2011

UPDATE: Fellow blogger and long-time logophile Amy at Dark Archivist has a rebuttal to one point in this article. Touché, my friend.

If you’re anything like me, you love you some science fiction, fantasy, and horror. There’s nothing better than an epic space battle with battleships the size of Alaska blasting each other with nuclear-yield weapons, a suspenseful chase as a vicious killer chases the last remaining protagonist you actually like, or the swarms of eldritch sigils flying through the air as a practitioner of the dark arts invokes otherworldly powers to crush his foes.

Good times…

As much as I’m a fan of the genre, there are those things that just… bug me. Really bug me. They’re things that seem to have just taken hold of the collective imagination for both writers and fans. They’ve become standard, not necessarily something you choose to use. Imagine if you suddenly found out that you didn’t need to use a ball to play baseball and could use rocks, or if you learned that cars could easily be built with three wheels and we picked four because, well, someone did it like that first.

Possessed Mind by *tashythemushroom on deviantART

Nightgowns and Little Girls

Look at The Ring, The Exorcism of Emily Rose, The Exorcist, and The Last Exorcism. What do they have in common aside from mentally tormented young girls and an overuse of the term “exorcism”? If you guessed a white nightgown, you’re right.

I can’t be certain, but I’m pretty sure The Exorcist started this one. It made sense back then. Regan was a young girl who was thought to be sick, so it makes sense mommy dearest put her in her sleeping gown to make her comfortable. But why oh why did every woman dealing with a ghost or demon (or herself a ghost) have to wear this now? It’s like the similarly ridiculous “ black trench coat = mysterious badass” mentality.

Why not a hospital gown or even regular clothes? Why not just regular pajamas?  The easy answer is that such clothes can easily date a character, but a nightgown is something that, at least today, looks old. How many women out there own a nightgown like the ones worn in these films? Anyone?

Organic Space Ship v1 by ~bastilg on deviantART

We’re Fighting a Militarized Rutabaga

What’s that? An alien ship approaching your  interstellar flagship? Oh no! It’s organic! It appears to have been grown by an advanced civilization. All its systems are carbon-based weapons and armor. All your ship has is a laminated alloy hull with ceramic plates for heat dissipation, high-powered coilguns, and thermonuclear missiles.

Oh noes.

Really, though, this one is just plain annoying. It’s hard to really pin down where this one started. Stephen Baxter’s Xeelee Timeline stories have a version of this little cliché wherein the god-like Xeelee “grow” their technology, although it’s not organic, so the description is a bit vague. Babylon 5, Star Wars (New Jedi Order), and even Battlestar Galactica to an extent all used the assumption that organic technology is superior to simple metal and artificial materials designed from the ground up to perform a specific task.

Do you think “organic” is better? Would you rather wade into battle with a vest made of hardwood or advanced ceramics and Kevlar built to withstand such strain?

Would you rather have a dozen mathematicians in a room perform split second calculations for orbital reentry or have a single computer system built with accuracy to the trillionth degree?

Would you rather have an artificial  weapon, like a gun that fires ferrous slugs at a fraction the speed of light, or biological weapons that are indiscriminate, can be killed by extreme temperature and radiation, and may even mutate?

I’ll stick with metal and circuits, thank you.

Mexican Jedi. by ~VictorViin18 on deviantART

Where are the Brown People?

This one’s a personally sore spot for me. For a show like Star Trek, one which claims to be multicultural, to not have a single prominent Hispanic character besides the animalistic B’Elanna Torres is inexcusable. Want to know how many Hispanic characters I can count in speculative fiction?

Johnny Rico from Starship Troopers (the book, not the movie), Bender from Futurama, and Vazquez from Aliens.

Adama doesn’t count because although he’s played by a Mexican American actor, he does not portray a Hispanic character.

It seems that, in the future, there are no Mexicans, Ecuadorans, Cubans, Puerto Ricans, or anything else. We’ve got Europeans, Asian-inspired culture to pander to the anime crowd, and some assorted ethnicities for flavoring. But where are the Mexicans?

Or the Costa Ricans? Brazilians? Chileans? Iraqis? Turks? Libyans? Anyone brown?

I really can’t find a good example of these demographics in speculative fiction. Sorry. Any idea?

Coca Cola by ~Telegraph-Road on deviantART

Why do writers still use these ideas? The best explanation is that at some point, it sounded or looked cool. The nightgown made sense from a storytelling perspective. Biological technology has some useful applications. At one point, Latin Americans were a fringe minority. We know better today, and yet these ideas linger on. These are only three little clichés, but I was thinking about them this weekend. There are many more, and maybe I’ll explain some later.

In the meantime, enjoy these links, and I’ll see you on Wednesday.  

  • We have some nice black bookshelves in the apartment, but if we have the time, money, and space, I’d certainly love to get one of these awesome bookcases.
  • And finally, I just barely watched The Hangover a few weeks ago and loved it. And now I can’t wait for the sequel. Check out the new trailer below, and I’ll see you on Wednesday!

The Right vs. the 20th Century

There can always be progress. Belief in perfection is belief in the absurd.

October 20, 2010

Glenn Beck needs either a dictionary or a history book. Probably both.

He, along with the Tea Party and everyone on the far right, seems to think that progressivism is evil because our Founders got it right the first time. The Declaration of Independence spells it out, says Beck. Behold, ladies and gentlemen, one of the most near-sighted historical analyzes you’ll ever read:

According to Beck, Progressivism is a lie because trying to improve on the work of a bunch of dead white guys who’ve been dead for two hundred years is impossible. Can’t be done. Anything added to the Constitution is socialism, control, and eventually slavery.

Okay… time for another history lesson, boys and girls. We’ll keep this to just two topics for today.

through the veins of history by =Larbesta on deviantART

The Ponzi Scheme that Isn’t

Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid are one of the Right’s biggest targets. They say that it’s bankrupt, that it’s unsustainable (neither is true), and that having to pay for other people’s medical bills is like stealing. They want to do away with it. Beck most famously keeps saying that the program is socialist, the whole taking care of the individual, so it should never have been created.

Okay, fine. We, as a society, decided to help the infirm, elderly, and those who cannot take care of themselves and that’s socialism so it’s evil. Okay then.

Give the money back.

No, seriously. I’ve been paying Social Security out of my paychecks for years. If we’re going to do away with it, give us all a refund. As you can see in the links, the programs are good for another 70 years, so if my grandparents can’t receive that money back in their later years, money they earned and was put away by the government, then just give us all a refund and we’ll figure it out.

Some are More Equal Than Others

“All men are created equal,” is not the same as “Everyone is created equal.”

Whenever I hear Michelle Bachmann say she wants to go back to an America of 200 years ago, she’s basically saying she’d like to not be able to vote. Blacks didn’t have a voice in the government. They had a whisper, and most were still property. Slavery was legal.

When our Founders wrote that all men created equal, it really meant “rich white men.” Let’s not tip-toe around the issue. In fact, they were really elitist, even by today’s standards.

The fact that we even needed a law that stated that people could not discriminate based on sex, race, or any other factor is proof that our country was in a very bad place. Martin Luther King Jr. didn’t march because he needed to stretch his legs. He marched because our country needed to change.

MsGothje meet Founding Fathers by ~MsGothje on deviantART

Faith is Not Wisdom

I’ve said it a dozen other times on this site: faith is blind. Faith means having trust in something without proof. Faith can pull you through difficult times, but it can also blind you to the truth.

Here’s a hard fact: the Founders, whether wise old men or tough-as-nails revolutionaries, were men. They were human.

They could make mistakes like the rest of us. The only way we can move forward is by experience, objective analysis, and the acknowledgement that we are all human and make mistakes. Things can always get better. The Declaration of Independence has a beautiful sentiment, but it can be better.

Adhere to it, or any other dogma, as though it were infallible, and you will miss real progress, real change, and real ideas that could save the world. The Founders’ ideas are a good start.

I think we can do better.

The American Dream by ~bauderart on deviantART

Link time, boys and girls!

  • Did you know that Hitler, and not Jefferson in a letter that expressed his views of faith and government, came up with the term “separation of church and state”? I was shocked, too. Oh, the things you can learn from Republicans.
  • Is it possible to have government without the Founders? Maybe. it’s apparently very possible to have morals without God.
  • If you needed any reason that Mister Rogers was one of the most awesome people ever, take a look at this list. My personal favorite is the one about the thieves that returned his property with a letter of apology.
  • And finally, while I never played or liked Pokemon, I have to say I’d probably watch this for the sheer cheese factor. Enjoy!

Beck and the French Fry Revolution

The revolution started with a single, salty act of oppression...

September 20, 2010

I always keep telling myself Glenn Beck is crazy. He has to be. The amount of cognitive dissonance and wild leaps of logic he claims are science would qualify anyone for a padded cell within a week. He’s slowly building a cult, an actual cult with political and spiritual power, and he can find a conspiracy in everything.

That includes the fight against fat.

That’s right, folks, Glenn “Master of His Own Domain” Beck has now linked the fight against childhood obesity to the growing sociocommunazi movement. And spearheading this insidious plot is none other than Michelle Obama.

If you don’t watch the rest of the video, at least watch the first 20 seconds. Beck says something so mind-bogglingly stupid that I had to rewind the video just to make sure I’d heard it right. He’s said a lot of award-winning dumb things, but this may be the dumbest. Behold!

In case you just skipped the video, Beck claims he will link Michelle Obama’s campaign against childhood obesity to the eventual government take-over of our lives. It will end in what Beck calls “fryots.”

French fry riots. Get it? Get it?!

By asking the National Restaurant Association to make healthier choices the default options, the First Lady seeks to make it easier to enjoy healthy foods instead of going straight for the grease. I want to point something out. It’s a REQUEST. It’s not a law. But that’s not enough for Beck. Trying to teach kids to make a healthy choice is sinister. And let me emphasize “KIDS.” I know, I know. I’m getting really close to invoking the innocent children.

The First Lady is talking about teaching kids about making the right choices. It’s still a choice, but she wants to introduce them to healthy foods at a younger age. As an educator, I’ve seen kids who have never even tried vegetables. Not even tried them. At all. Now, if they try and hate them, fine. They tried them.

Let’s keep going with Beck’s crazy train here, because it gets worse.

Beck goes on to explain that Michelle Obama and the progressives think the average American is Homer Simpson. We can’t make our own choices, says Beck, so they’ll make them for us. I don’t know about you, but unless someone had told me at a young age that burgers and pizza were not the healthiest of things, I wouldn’t have believed them if they told me in my later years. They taste so good! Surely the body must crave them for a reason!

Remember how I said that Michelle Obama had made a suggestion? That little fact seems to have flown right past Beck.

A “slippery slope” is a logical fallacy where you believe that Action A will lead to Action B, then C, then D, without any room for error. In other words, the suggestion that restaurants make it harder to order unhealthy food will lead to global government, riots, and totalitarian control. Beck’s argument isn’t a slippery slope so much as it is a KY Jelly Slip-n-Slide.

This suggestion couldn’t, as most sane people think, lead to restaurants making a conscious choice to help children, who really don’t know better, make healthier choices.

Snack Heart Healthy by =roseonthegrey on deviantART

I have a niece who doesn’t like candy. I know this sounds like a tangent, but bear with me. She doesn’t like candy because her mother and father made it a point to not feed it to her when she was younger. She’s only five, but she she’s shied away from foods and drinks that kids her age usually go crazy for and she’s better for it. This pretty much destroys Beck’s point that French fries will always beat out carrots and apples.

That’s right. My 5-year-old niece just disproved Glenn Beck. It’s THAT easy, folks.

Anyway, Beck goes on and on that, if these nudges don’t work, the government will eventually have to arrest people for eating French fries. Since obesity causes higher health costs and the government now runs health care, they need to make sure we stay healthy.

But wait, there’s more!

Now we get to the meat and potatoes of the argument, sort of speak.

Beck thinks that people who want regulation to do crazy things like keep lead out of our toys or sewage out of our drinking water think humanity is stupid. That we can’t take care of ourselves. That we’ll end up killing ourselves because we’re dumb and people are greedy and we won’t care.

Uhm, yeah, people are greedy and capitalism has zero incentive to change that.

Lack of regulation led to the BP disaster. The people who should have been in charge of it were paid off and now we have the floor in the Gulf covered in oil. Regulators should have been watching companies like Goldman Sachs, but those regulations were never passed and the economy in one of the largest superpowers in the world was brought down by numbers on a computer screen.

I’m all for free choice. Really, I am. But I’m for an informed choice. Beck seems to think that by making the choice harder, people won’t be able to resist. Seriously. Watch the last video again. If the choice is harder, he believes people won’t make it. He’s basically said that people are stupid and need to be lead. People, he believes, won’t be able to make the leap from “Oh, I want fries,” to “Hey, I need to ask for them.”

It’s… a sheep. by ~Nimrais on deviantART

And here’s the message he won’t outright say.

“Don’t let people tell you what to do. It’s evil. Listen to ME, because I have your best interest at heart. I’m on your side. They’re not.”

French fries and revolutions… Oh dear. Where to start? This can’t possibly be anything else than the common-sense of teachers, parents, and anyone else with a vested interest in a healthy society, can it? Look, I’m not naïve. Government isn’t the answer to our problems. It’s not inherently good, but it’s not evil, either.

By Beck’s logic, the EPA and every regulatory agency, which actually do have the power to fine and make arrests, are much more evil than the First Lady. Let’s take this logic to its inevitable conclusion…

“Handicapped spaces are really just another ploy by this administration to make us walk, get us healthy, and make sure we don’t get fat. Why? Government health care.”

“Did you hear the news? Toys in China were found to contain lead and are being recalled. Why? This is just another attempt to weaken the immune systems in our children. If they aren’t exposed to lead now, how will they develop a tolerance?”

“Now the government is telling these companies they can’t dump their waste into the rivers? Those bastards! They’re stopping economic growth! Do they expect these companies to just up and spend more money to get rid of trash? That will make prices skyrocket!”

So there you have it. Glenn Beck has managed to link preventative steps to fight childhood obesity to a global socialist conspiracy to collapse America.

It’s like Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon. Only stupid.

I’m thinking of using a Beck-O-Meter to measure the amount of stupid coming from that show every week. Thoughts?

Epic Teabaggers by ~joeyvegasICS on deviantART

Link time! I don’t know about you, but I need some random entertainment right now.

  • Any Tolkien fans out there? Christine O’Donnel, AKA Sarah Palin Jr., fancies herself a feminist and Tolkien scholar. Anyone want to refute her “feminist” reading of LOTR before I puke?
  • We have robot snakes. Great. Combine it with that Microsoft AI project, the sentry robots in South Korea, and we have a small robot army to bring on the robot holocaust.

A Sonnet to my Sweetest Palin

FACT: Some of Shakespeare's best work wasn't appreciated in his time.

July 21, 2010

English is my second language, just like the United States is my adopted home, and I get pretty defensive of things I’ve earned. I also take my craft very seriously. Writing is as much an art and a science and I’ve spent the better part of my life getting good at it.

And I’m good. I’ve worked hard to get where I am.

So it pains me when I hear Saint Palin the Incoherent compare herself to William Shakespeare, a man who helped coin dozens of phrases, invented new words, and made a mark on the English language for centuries to come.

william shakespeare
see more Lol Celebs

Palin asked New Yorkers to “refudiate” the planned mosque near Ground Zero. My best guess is that she mixed up “refute” and “repudiate.” Later, she said that even Shakespeare made up words.

Yes, he did, Sarah, but like the rest of your gaggle of Fox commentators and conservative blockheads who think an education somehow hinders the ability to be academic and objective, allow me to offer my own Shakespearean retort.

(clears throat)

When faulty language doth besiege thy brow,
And dig deep trenches in thy Twitter page,
Thy winky smug visage so gazed on now,
Will be a Twitter’d wreck of misspelled words:
Then being asked, where all thy thinking lies,
Where all the treasure of thy gov’ner days;
To say, within thine own bright winky eyes,
Were an utter PR wreck, and thriftless praise.
How much more praise deserv’d thy inf’my’s use,
If thou couldst answer ‘This fair child of mine
Shall bear a child, and make for cheap excuse,’
Proving a lipstick’d bulldog is a liar!
…………………. This should wreck thine chance of higher speaking fees,
…………………. And see thine status drop like northern snow.

In vernacular English, suck my corpulent lexicon, you self-diluted train-wreck of a politician. If you think you can make up new words because you don’t know the real ones, you’re more ignorant and downright self-important than I ever thought. English is a living language that grows, but people don’t just make up new words. Odds are we already have a word for something. In your case, a quick trip to Dictionary.com on the magic devil-box with the moving pictures would have shown you your error.

But hey, maybe that’s just me.

And yes, I know it’s not a perfect sonnet and most of it is still Sonnet II. I’m working on 16 hour days for the last two weeks. And I’m not the Willie the Bard. I can call him that ‘cause we’re tight like that.

Sarah Palin LOLWUT? by ~0celluloid-dreamer0 on deviantART

And now, what links may come…

  • To be fair, though, even Thomas Jefferson made mistakes. Turns out he misspelled a few things in one of his more important documents… like, oh, the Declaration of Independence.
  • Anyone want a fiber-optic knife? Seriously. Now you can stab a fool and download torrents all at once!
  • I’m not sure I ever thought of putting food through an MRI, but the results are pretty LSD-invoking. The watermelon looks like a fractal drawing.
  • And now I see why God wants to leave. It looks like there’s a Twilight MMO in the works… Oh dear gods, no…
  • And finally, I’m not sure how excited I am about The Social Network, a movie about Facebook. Still, the trailer looks awesome and the choral version of Creep is really creepy and haunting. At least watch it for the music:

Learning How to Spell: Part 2

Even if it's jibberish, work with it.

July 1, 2010

I recently talked with a friend over FB chat. Over various subjects including gaming, and a reminder that while my job may induce headaches it also makes a difference, he said he wished he could make something creative. He just didn’t have the time.

A legitimate concern… And so I gave some advice I’d like to share with those readers with a similar concerns.

“I’m not creative enough.”

“I can’t write.”

“I don’t have time.”

Poppycock, I say!

writer’s block by ~sfalco on deviantART

Buy a notebook, something small you can carry around in a backpack, purse, or on your person. I own a Moleskine notebook with no lines that’s perfect for doodles and random notes at any angle. Not only does the book have pockets and a band to keep the whole thing closed, but it’s very durable. They’re made with acid-free paper. As someone who spent the better part of his college life working in university and church archives, let me tell you that acid-free paper is a must if you want to keep things around for a very long time.

Plus, you’ll feel all nice and pretentious with a Moleskine. Try it!

Buy a set of pens. I prefer gel pens since I don’t have to press too hard on the paper to actually write, and when you get inspiration and just want to keep going, a gel-pen is salvation in plastic. Fine tips are best so the ink doesn’t run everywhere. Treat your tools well, folks.

I always keep at least two pens on me. And don’t lend pens. People tend to keep them. And I loves my pens… Loves them, I say!

Pens by ~heroleon on deviantART

And finally, perhaps the most important part of all…

Listen to people. Some of the best lines I’ve ever heard have come from people just talking and trying to think fast. I write these choice quotes in my notebook and often look to them for inspiration or at least a chuckle.

A few choice quotes:

“Kennedy’s not dead. He’s in Cuba with Tupac.”

“I’m too Mexican to be vegan.”

“Where are you going?”
“South Carolina.”
“…Why there?”

“You are so full of beans and your nose is growing.”

“She’s going to come in and growl! Like an angry mother seahorse!”

To a Homeland Security employee: “Is that bacon? I smell a pork-based product.”

“How did you sneak in here!?”
“I’m wearing sneakers. So I can sneak.”

“Fuck you, rainbow-cake!”

“I did some morally reprehensible things on Friday… but I enjoyed them.”

“You are a broken cloud.”

“The strip club reminded me you can’t buy happiness.”

“It’s important to talk about sex, religion, and politics, just not before you put on a condom.”

Any one of these lines could be the basis for a character, a story, maybe a drawing, a poem, anything.

I remember working in DC and having one of the legislative assistants lament that, despite how much he enjoyed his job, he wished he could create something. If you really want to make something, even if it’s just haiku, devote some time each day, even ten minutes. Build up. Break it down. Rework it until you’re satisfied.

Perhaps most critically, have an ego about it. You can’t try to make something and think it will be horrible. That’s for editing or revisions. As you work, listen to inspirational music or music appropriate to whatever you’re making. Keep telling yourself it will be incredible. Force yourself to finish it.

You can create art. All of you. It’s just a matter of the right tools and mentality. Now get to work.

Here linky, linky, linky…

  • Model Larissa Riquelme has said that if Paraguay wins the World Cup, she will run through the streets naked in nothing more than paint. If you weren’t excited about the world cup now, GET EXCITED!
  • Great news in sex, folks. Scientists are just two or three years away from releasing the male birth control pill. You only need to take one pill every three months and human trials start next year.
  • Did you know that if you have more than one earring per ear you are a DIRTY, DIRTY WHORE?! Me neither…
  • Wizards of the Coast released an article detailing the pitfalls of playing a “villainous” race like drow or gnolls. It’s quite funny in a lot of areas, including the apparent lack of respect the company’s D&D products have for gnolls. How many other player races get beaten up every over cover or drawing?
  • Christina Hendricks, patron saint of hawt redheads, gave an interview where she talks about self-esteem and body image among other things. Part of me wonders if she’s serious about being so shocked people think she’s hot because she’s curvy, but it’s nice to see that we’re moving away from the stick-figure ideal and going back to women with curves. Go, curvy women!
  • And finally, this may be the funniest commercial I’ve seen all week. So, who has a man that’s cooked a gourmet cake in a kitchen he built?

Disney Hates Boobs

It's one theory... Read on to find out the others!

Warning: Some of the links in the article may be NSFW.

June 2, 2010

Disney fans hate boobs.

It’s one of a few explanations for the strange incident last week. Paramore lead singer Hayley Williams has nude pics out. Whether it was a hacker as she claimed or whether it was a publicity stunt isn’t really important. The important thing is that unlike other incidents where nude pictures for a female celebrity leaked, there hasn’t been a massive backlash against Hayley.

Why no condemnation of Hayley? Why no calls for parents to keep their kids from listening to the music this woman creates? I don’t want it to happen, but I was kind of expecting it. Paramore is often labeled as pop-punk and emo, two categories that have their largest audience in the teen demographic.

Thinking back to other scandals, I really was expecting this huge backlash. I want to make it clear that I don’t, under any circumstances, want people to ostracize her. I’d liken my reaction to seeing a missile headed for my house, then watching it turn to Styrofoam just as it hit. I was waiting for a boom.

There was no boom.

I’m not sad about it… just confused.

It seems Williams may have something the others didn’t. Let’s compare.

Disney vs. Boobies

Vanessa Hudgens of High School Musical fame had a few images leaked out in 2007. For a while, it was hazy as to whether she would be in the third High School Musical movie, something you can probably imagine kept me up at night just like the ever-present threat of demonic sheep with machine guns invading my home. Eventually, Disney let her come back, but Hudgens has the distinction of having two NSFW pic scandals.

Seeing as how both she and Williams have similar demographics, why the different reactions? It’s probably because Hudgens works for Disney. The Empire of the Mouse has a long history of making pop-friendly, highly marketable groups, movies, and shows. They’re so wholesome and whimsical I could fart rainbows watching them. Nothing can offend in any way, shape, or form, and everything must be safe enough to show at a theme park with young children.

More on this later…

The Jonas Brothers
see more Lol Celebs

Bibles and Panties

Of course, Disney starlets aren’t the only ones who have the problem of unauthorized internet nudity. Carrie Prejean, former Miss California and Miss USA contender, had her own dealing with this sort of thing last year. After standing by her belief that same-sex marriage should not be legal, photos surfaced that showed then-17-year-old Prejean posing topless while she covered her breasts.

Apparently, this was in breach of her contract for the Miss USA pageant since she claimed to have never posed nude or partially nude and she did not hold herself “in accordance with the highest ethical and moral standards.” This is, of course, before she got a boob job and paraded in front of the country in a swimsuit. Somehow, the collective American consciousness had an aneurism at the thought of a woman using her looks to advance her career having posed for a lone photographer.

The difference between Prejean and Williams is that Prejean was not supposed to do this kind of thing, or at least she promised she wouldn’t. She worked the squeaky-clean Christian angle, something she later felt made her a target when the pictures came out. Williams, on the other hand, is a musician. People almost expect this sort of thing. It’s the cliché of the “rock star” image, I guess.

pageant brainwashed by ~cantanta on deviantART

So where does this leave us?

Williams has the same demographic as Hudgens. Paramore’s lead singer has never done this kind of thing, much like we thought of Miss California. Several days after the fiasco, though, no outrage.

Let me repeat myself: I don’t WANT outrage. I just want to understand.

It’s not that Paramore isn’t famous. Their songs on the Twilight soundtrack helped shoot them up the charts and helped expose the band to the world. Williams has more than 700,000 followers on Twitter, and you can bet most if not all saw the picture or have since looked for it on the great god Google.

Even so, I’m looking at blog and news entries for the last week and there is almost no mention of the incident. It wasn’t a secret. No one’s trying to hide it. You can find the uncensored pic if you look hard enough.

Hypocrite by ~LifeLookedEasyOnTV on deviantART

Based on reactions to other starlets that have had nude pictures leaked, the only thing I can come up with is that the mainstream still doesn’t care about her or doesn’t consider her a threat. They’re not on the lookout for this kind of thing. It’s only scandalous when someone who is well-known and perceived as “pure” has these sinful, sinful images put out for the interblag for all to see. Once you cross that line, or if you don’t really belong, the mainstream won’t really care what you do. Williams’ fans are even backing her up and she even laughed about the incident.

Or maybe most media outlets didn’t pay attention because she’s not as… uhm, “healthy” as other scandalized personalities. And I promise I’m not going for the cheap shot here, but her real-estate, in the Monty Python sense of the term, is not as abundant as Prejean’s or Hudgens’.

Personally, I don’t think any of these women should have gotten flak for something someone else did. Someone else posted these pics (we think), and if that’s the case, these women have nothing to be ashamed of. All of them are good-looking and if we’re passing judgement on them for looking like women and, I don’t know, having breasts, we really need to check our priorities. Right now, I’m sticking with the explanation that Williams is still outside the mainstream, despite Paramore having gotten huge in the last few years, so she’s being ignored because the populations’ wrath is better reserved for other, more worthy targets considered “acceptable entertainment.”

Of course, it’s just a hypothesis.

It’s kind of refreshing, though. So, if I stay out on the fringes of the internet, I can say and do whatever I want? Cool! Okay, tomorrow, I unveil my master plan for a sociocommunazi takeover of the federal government using guerilla tactics and home-made napalm made from gasoline and Splenda, and then we take over Washington DC with a militia of Randomologists!

How many alerts at the FBI Cyber Investigations unit do you think I tripped just now?

If you want to discuss this topic in greater length, visit this article’s page on the forum.