entertainment, general silliness, media

We’ll Always Have Paris. Unfortunately.

First of all, let me apologize for my absence – as much as I enjoy ranting in this forum, sometimes life intrudes to the exclusion of all else. Finishing a Master’s Degree and a particularly busy time at work combined to create a black hole of mental fatigue that precluded any brilliant thoughts from escaping. The most I could have mustered was “Stuff Bad”, and I feel like people expect a little better than that.

Anyway, the fatigue did nothing to eliminate my sense of annoyance at celebrity culture, so this has been building up for a while. The question that has vexed me is: Why do I know Paris Hilton’s name other than to refer to the inn in the French capital?

I mean, seriously. Come on. The idiot twig is a complete waste of carbon-based materials which consumes oxygen and gives nothing in return except annoying comments and the occasional sex tape. To assign significance bordering on pseudo-profundity to any utterance of this parasite is to lower the collective I.Q. of the Earth to startlingly alarming levels.

An aside, if you’ll allow – one that will illustrate my attitude toward this upper class twit of the century. As some of you know, I am quite a devotee of film. I particularly enjoy older films, although there is the occasional flash of brilliance in modern cinema, and there are some modern actors and directors whose work I enjoy. Recently, there has been a growth industry in what a particular writer (in the Globe and Mail, I believe) called ‘Gorno’ – the genre of film that contains mindless sex between and horribly graphic violence toward beautiful teen actor/droidlets. The genre includes such masturb-pieces as ‘Hostel’, among others. My experience with this type of film is limited – I enjoy some gore in films, if it is well-done and serves the purpose of the reality created in the film. Some of my favourite movies include George Romero’s ‘Dead’ movies – “Dawn of the Dead” taking first place on that list. I do not, therefore, have an aversion to gore per se.

One of the stupidest examples of the new Gorno genre in the past few years is “House of Wax”. It should be noted that the original, starring Vincent Price, is extremely entertaining, as are all of Mr. Price’s films. The new version, for no other reason than to get bums in seats, starred Paris Hilton. It was on the movie network one day not long ago, and I left it on while I did something more worthwhile – studying, reading, torturing small animals, I do not remember specifically. I did, however, make a point of paying attention at one crucial juncture: The scene where Ms. Hilton gets dispatched by a length of pipe through her brain. Fortunately, the filmmaker knew to aim for her anatomically weakest, and least useful area. Sadly, I revelled in it. Savoured the moment, applauded the special-effects artists for making my dreams come true.

This aside, although perhaps unnecessary, demonstrates the malice I hold toward Ms. Hilton – those who know me well are aware that I hate no one, and the fact that I actually do feel this way disturbs me greatly. I have explored my hatred, and the reality is, I’m pissed off that society even entertains or gives one picosecond of airtime to this vacuous moron. This person serves absolutely no useful purpose – she consumes without producing anything of value, is dramatically and spectacularly untalented in her efforts to justify her existence by producing repetitive ‘pop’ music or robotic ‘acting’ efforts. She is humanity’s appendix, my friends, let’s be honest.

Perhaps I’m too categorical in my statements: She actually does produce something, other than a sick feeling at the pit of my stomach. What she does produce is ratings for entertainment news programs, who assume (sadly, quite accurately) that we are subliterate apes who need to be shown what the useless progeny of the rich are up to, as if that adds some value to our own lives as we bask collectively in the warm glow of our plasma screens. To answer the question I posed earlier, why do I know her name? Because someone else decided she was important enough to pay attention to. It has to be someone else, because “I’m important enough to pay attention to” is several syllables longer than anything PH could string together – she has ‘people’ to create sentences for her: “I’m impot…in…impro…line?”

The latest media fiasco (and I do entirely blame the media for creating this flesh puppet’s fame) is Paris’ ordeal in the horrible, horrible prison system. She pretty much decided (or someone else did) that she was too important to be punished for breaking the law, but once she surrendered, she was so utterly destroyed and emotionally shattered after about 48 hours that she succumbed to the horrid conditions… and then found god in prison after 4 days. Well, maybe PH did accomplish something. I wondered where She was (logically, since it’s a women’s prison…).

Intelligent people need to resist this manipulation. We must refuse to accept that someone is worthwhile and popular because we’re told they are by self-serving media. All around the world, there are noble individuals struggling with all their hearts to cure the sick, feed the hungry, make the next scientific discovery that will benefit mankind…And yet our attention is focused, no, directed, to the centre ring to watch an underfed super-rich idiot smile for the cameras and spout platitudes that are completely meaningless and display a lifestyle that is quite honestly harmful to all of us in the long run. To elevate a fleshdroid of this caliber, to hold her up as a paragon of desire both in terms of sexual attractiveness and idealized lifestyle, is irresponsible and ultimately damaging to the self-image, self-esteem and future aspirations of the young. The more it is promoted, the more youth realize that their future prospects and physical bodies will never measure up to the image of perfection, the more frustrated they become, the more pessimistic about the future they will become, and the worse the future will be for them and all of us. We need to stand up and say, very forcefully, “No! I will not be manipulated into seeing this waste of human potential and donor organs as something to aspire to!” We need to tell the media that we won’t buy it anymore, that we will switch off at the very mention of her name and not return until the only image of her we see is the 24-hour channel where they replay her gruesome demise in “House of Wax” on a perpetual loop until we manage to forget her name. There is so much more to life, so much more we can aspire to than to replicate ourselves into shallow, drunken fools who wouldn’t know an altruistic act if it burst from our chests, alien-style.

Celebrity is violence. Violence against those who are given empty promises and resort to terrible acts to gain what they see as ‘the good life’, violence against young women with eating disorders who want to act as though they are in a drugged stupor because they think that’s what men find attractive. That’s what outrages me the most – the violent reality of what the media considers harmless indulgence. To lionize the epitome of the lowest common denominator is by association the demonizing of the intelligent, the differently-abled, and those with different, more realistic body types. To be truly human is to be flawed, yet capable of great things other than being born into wealth.

If this is the only type of role model the media sees fit to throw at us, to the exclusion of the scientists, police officers, nurses, social workers and artists that actually deserve the spotlight, we get the type of society we deserve if we buy into it.

2008 leadership, religious right, right-wing tomfoolery, United States

Republican devolution

In last night’s Republican leader’s debate, Mike Huckabee was asked to explain his views on evolution v creation. Of course, this issued from the one-off hand-raise in the first debate when he and two other candidates raised their hands to the question “who here does not believe in evolution?”

To his credit he answered honestly and without pause, but he showed a bit of frustration with the question, knowing that his answer was unlikely to do him any favours:

“It’s interesting that that question would even be asked of somebody running for president,” Huckabee said. “I’m not planning on writing the curriculum for an eighth-grade science book. I’m asking for the opportunity to be president of the United States.”

Yes, it is indeed interesting. However, in a culture in which leaders run on their faith as much or more than any other thing, what is so unfair? And he’s right, no one should expect the president to have to write a science textbook, but for fuck’s sake, he/she should at least understand the contents of a grade 8 science textbook well enough to not make idiot statements like:

“If anybody wants to believe that they are the descendants of a primate, they are certainly welcome to do it.”

and responding “I don’t know” when asked if he thought the age of the earth was 6,000 years.