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Thursday, December 31, 2009

Reporting on a Planet

Grbzak, what to make of this civilization? It’s almost a misnomer, because uncivilization would be more accurate in many cases. One scratches his head over the peculiarities of humanoids. They’re consistently inconsistent.

For one thing, they make animated movies they call PG specifically created for younger children, and then they put warning labels on these movies which say: “Parents strongly cautioned. Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13.” What’s that all about? Are you seeing the disconnect here? Let’s rewind and try again. They make movies expressly for the kids… and then they say be careful letting kids watch them. Where’s a brick wall when you need one, Grbzak?

Likewise, the ‘may’ clause in there is since they don’t want to commit one way or the other, because after all they’re merely monitoring every single frame of the movie and categorizing it all down to the popcorn compatibility factor, and as a result they don’t know the appropriateness of the content other than rating it based on the contents that they don’t know whether they’re appropriate or not due to things they can’t determine while being in the business of recommending, which only makes sense because they’re only human, c’mon!

That explains a lot right there. It would be akin to the census coming to your house and interviewing you in the presence of your family, and then concluding on their report: ‘Someone may or may not be living there, but we don’t want to definitively state one way or the other. Although the content of the home is fundamentally organic in an undetermined manner — and governmental guidance is suggested for minors under 65’.

Grbzak, in case you’re thinking this may only be indicative of a minor defect in the human persona, also take note that they make commercials that ARE LOUDER THAN THE REST OF THE PROGRAMMING TO BE ABSOLUTELY CERTAIN THAT NOBODY MISSES THEM! I don’t know about you, but it sure makes me want to go out and buy their product. The decibel level that they’re able to attain is nothing short of impressive. Give me more decibels, Grbzak! I can’t get enough of ‘em. It somehow hypnotizes me and causes me to walk to the store like a zombie to get their product. “Must… buy… more… Old Spice deodorant… Must fill shopping cart to the brim…”

Another area humans manifest their glaring flawed nature is in the comics page of a newspaper. Curiously, about three-fourths of the so-called comics are rather unfunny, to the point of mysterious bafflement. I’m pretty sure Sally Forth hasn’t had a funny strip since 1964. A more apt term for these offerings of blocked witticism would be the “Huhs.” When you read them, about the extent of what you think afterward is “huh.” And yes, Grbzak, it’s a salient point that a good deal of these comics aren’t trying to be funny in the first place. That’s the whole point! Even when they want to explore a horizon that exudes humor, they can’t usually bring themselves to do it. They’re comics, the funny papers, and yet they function as the opposite. How curious indeed. The advertised product takes a wide detour from its intended purpose, but at least the original intent was there, so they feel like they should be given credit for that. All you have to do is call it a rose and it becomes a rose. I think they have a saying like that, anyway.

What’s more, the truly funny comics are treated as anomalous. One is viewed as being on the far end of comedy, another gives the character a geeky name and draws him as an overly dweebish version of a geek just for grins. And yet another shows a curious child talking incessantly to his imaginary animal friend. And then another one depicts a neurotic adolescent who philosophizes all day with his friends who ridicule him and whose pet is smarter than them all and the adults have been cursed with a speech impediment which allows them to only converse in an ancient Wa-Wa dialect. Yes, these are the ones that are actually funny, but the underlying message is that these are almost too good for consumption and must therefore be packaged as outliers. Does that tell you something about the constituents? They want to have funny, but at the same time they feel obligated to apologize for it. And that’s where Blondie and Cathy and Heathcliff and Mowgli and Samsonite come in. They’re the neutralizers, just in case anyone was threatening something more than a guffaw.

A newspaper is also referred to as a rag. The primary purpose of a newspaper, Grbzak, seems to be that it makes a person look important when holding it, because it requires two hands. Have you ever seen someone holding a newspaper open with only one hand? It doesn’t happen, because that’s not cool. That’s why blogs aren’t really going anywhere, because you can’t hold them. But the newspaper allows you to look busy along with looking important, and you can cover your entire upper half while taking a nap, and no one’s any wiser.

The most observed part of the newspaper is the sports page where the results of simulated rituals are posted, and the human game seems to be that they want to hide the sports page to see if people can find it. Once the readers complete the scavenger hunt, then they can prey on their game and proceed. That’s why the front page has such big headlines. They’re trying to deter people from turning to the sports page. “No, don’t go there! Big monsoon sweeps through the Pyranees! Lots of people died in explosion! Hey, look — Paris Hilton’s kidney on display at museum!”

So Grbzak, the only logical being we’ve detected on this planet seems to be a man who goes by the name ‘Spock’, apparently in the mode of Sting, the two of them obviously not wanting to be known as Leonard or Gordon. We don’t know what to think of the rest who carry on like they purchased their brains with coupons at K-mart. To be truthful, the fact that there are even K-marts at all is an indictment of the entire race, so we’re not really off to a good start.

Speaking of movies, isn’t it interesting that anything at all can be said in a movie — that is, except for a real phone number, of course. We wouldn’t want to violate the sacred area of telecommunication, because it could compromise someone else’s right to caller euphoria. Some lady in Muncie, Indiana might get an overload of calls if they mentioned her number. And they’d confuse her for the psychotic Nicolas Cage character who was using that number in the movie. On a side note, if there’s one word that can be used to describe Nicolas Cage’s many portrayals, it would be ‘consternation’. He can consternate like nobody else. In fact, one might consider him to be the master of consternation. It wouldn’t surprise any of us to know that he has a black belt in it.

But even more peculiar about the hallowed cinematic phone numbers is that the prefixes must be stated succinctly as 555. Apparently we have to reserve 666 for other uses, and 444 might be needed for very important government business — you never know. Otherwise, in the movies anything else besides phone numbers that may resemble actual persons or events is purely coincidental, though it may be based on actual events, but just without resembling them. Thank you, lawyers, for getting your paws in the middle of a creative process to help formalize it. That’s like requiring painters to abstain from using Barbie pink because it’s eminent domain. Next thing you know, Billy Joel’s™ name will become trademarked. Accept no imitations. Only use the authentic Billy Joel™. When I stop and think of all the upstanding Billys, like Billy Ray Cyrus, Billy Bob Thornton, Billy Mays, Billy Martin, Billy Barty, Billy Idol, Billy the Kid, et al, I wonder why Mr. Joel™ would care to be associated with their ilk. There are lots of other names with much better ilk than that. Which makes the humanitarian work done by Billy Crystal and Billy Graham to uphold the integrity of the Billy name even more commendable.

So, what do we make of all of this, Grbzak? Should we just leave them to their own devices? When we really get down to it, I think you may be right — they may be crazy. But then again, it just may be a lunatic we’re looking for.


Jeff Crandall said...

OK - so, the following occurs to me.

1. I rarely read the 'Huhs' as they are un-funny. So unfunny, in fact, that you and I are far funnier than they are - and we get paid SQUAT for our body of work while they cash in each week on their weakness.

2. Newspaper, while held in both hands, is a status symbol. If folded to be held in one hand, or rolled up to whack something, newspaper makes a very satisfying noise. Its extermination and training properties cannot be overlooked.

3. I'm sorry I missed Paris' kidney.

4. Why is it that every area code + 867-5309 was burned up after that song was released? And, using this knowledge, why isn't every director of every movie smart enough to pre-establish a telephone number that is subsequently displayed in their movie which, when called, persuades the caller with a promotional message to buy the action figure?

5. Your Billy list is laudable - even including posthumous inclusion of Mays, Martin, and Barty.

Anonymous said...

Hey Rusty,

Enjoyed your alien commentary (or would it be called "undocumented migrant" commentary?). Anyway, I think the only reason the funny pages can even be called that is because the rest of the paper is typically so tedious to read that they seem somewhat less serious by comparison. It's like in church. Many speakers are so boring, that someone who says anything out of the ordinary seems funny by comparison. Get them out of church, though - not so funny. They're just church funny. Not Monday through Saturday funny.

Lastly, the phrase "may or may not" has annoyed me for quite some time now. It's a legal way of telling people a whole lot of nothing. Oh, it may cover everything, unless it doesn't. Ray may be exactly the same as Kobe Bryant, other than the fact that Kobe's taller, jumps higher, shoots better, makes more money, and is more handsome, then he may not be quite the same, if at all. Clear as mud.

Dumb lawyers.


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