Monday, June 29, 2009

Happiness, Love, the Lack Thereof

No, I don't think it's cynical:

Am I being too cynical here or is the proliferation of happiness studies indicative of something sad and pathetic about contemporary America?

That reminds me of something funny: I remember reading an anthology of American Indian poetry years ago. There was a brief story in it about an anthropologist asking a Southwestern man why so many of their songs were about rain. He said it was because it was so vital to their existence, but they never had very much of it. With that in mind, he said, why are so many of your songs about love?

Friday, June 26, 2009

The Beautiful Game

For sure, there may be a number of reasons that is the case but my suspicion is that the so-called “beautiful game” is not so beautiful to American sensibilities. We like, as good small “d” democrats, our underdogs for sure but we also still expect folks in the end to get their just desert (sic). And, in sports, that means excellence should prevail. Of course, the fact that is often not the case when it comes to soccer may be precisely the reason the sport is so popular in the countries of Latin America and Europe.

Damn - a mere four sentences that manage to combine an amazing ignorance of the game with the usual gratuitous swipe at those inferior loser furriners who hate us because we're beautiful. I suppose one could take the time to dredge up some statistics that show how the same small group of teams, whether at the club or international level, seem to end up winning the important games and tournaments every year, despite the occasional upset, but I'd rather just point to a much better analysis of why the game hasn't caught on here. I imagine American self-absorption, obsession with overcompensatory displays of brute machismo, cultural contrarianism and knee-jerk xenophobia have a lot more to do with it. Plus, those spics and Yurpeans wear funny uniforms and fall down a lot. HAW HAW!

That Was Then, This Is Now

News to me:
Chris Daughtry of the multiplatinum band Daughtry inducted Bon Jovi and Sambora. Afterward, Bon Jovi, with Sambora on a double-neck guitar, performed "Wanted: Dead or Alive," one of Bon Jovi's many signature hits.
Earlier in the evening, Daughtry talked about the impact Bon Jovi had on his band.

"They're a huge influence on our career as songwriters, as performers, as people," he said.

As it happens, I knew Chris Daughtry for several years before he became famous -- played guitar together, I went to see his Creed/Tool-sounding band play shows in town a couple of times, all that good stuff. His ex is still one of my closest friends, and she told me after his stint on American Idol that it really irked her to see him playing a Bon Jovi song on there, given that he had always hated them and given her shit for listening to them. She's gonna love this.

Things About Which I Cannot Care Enough to Write Anything of Substance

  • Dead celebrities and the absurd drivel that follows in their wake
  • Yet Another Hypocritical Republican®
  • Racist Robots
  • Hit-and-miss essays that build to a crescendo of corny Romanticism
  • Hit-and-miss interviews that veer into incoherent babbling about a "moral axis" to the universe
  • Disputed elections and a belief in the revolutionary power of the color green
  • Anything whatsoever to do with Twitter

Friday, June 19, 2009

Conversations With God(damned Idiots): U.S. Soccer Edition

Actual conversation today:

The Vile Scribbler (referring to the Brazil/U.S. game, an embarrassing 3-0 defeat for the U.S.): Hey, how about that display yesterday, huh? Was that impressive or what?

Right-Wing Acquaintance: Yeah, I've never seen a corner kick leading to a goal for the other team...but huh, what a surprise. You're a liberal, and you can't even root for your own country.

TVS: Uhhh...?

RWA: Yeah, don't want to support your own country, do ya? I guess the men's soccer team is evil, too!

TVS: Th' fuck are you talking about? What the fuck does politics have to do with the fact that the U.S. team sucks truckloads of ass?

(crosstalk, fade out)

The funny thing was, he really wasn't kidding. That really is how your typical authoritarian right-winger's mind works, almost as a mirror-image of the Soviet mentality they affect to despise so much. Everything is political, comrade! I thought I was just pointing out a simple, empirical fact, one that was apparent to everybody with two eyes and half a brain who saw that game. Apparently, what I actually said, once processed through the Insane Ideologue translator, was that I want to rape the Statue of Liberty with a dildo made of the Constitution.

Me, I just like to watch entertaining games. I like to watch the sport played well, and the U.S. is pretty much incapable of that at this juncture. I have players and teams I enjoy watching more than others, of course, but I'm not really too emotionally invested in them. If they stopped being fun to watch, I'd spend my time watching someone who was. Rooting for a team one way or the other doesn't really factor in that much (unless I'm gloating over watching a team of douchebags like Chelsea or ManU suffer a heartbreaking defeat). Partially, that's because I don't subscribe to some OprahChopra New Agey idea that I, sitting in front of my tv screen thousands of miles away, can influence the events taking place on the field.

But I also have to agree with the old George Carlin bit about sports fans: what kind of idiot makes their hobby all about vicarious suffering? Spectator sports aren't a fucking character-building exercise, you morons, they're entertainment. Who the fuck sits down to watch a game for fun, knowing that they're almost certainly doomed to a couple hours of disappointment and frustration? Lighten up, for fuck's sake! Wait another couple decades for the U.S. to become worthy contenders (iffy, I admit), and then jump on the bandwagon to partake of their success! What, you think you're gonna be elegible for some special award for having suffered in silence all these years?

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Flames for a Year, Ashes for Thirty

More than half of all marriages end in divorce. Obviously, there's no way to even count how many serious relationships don't even make it to marriage before they, too, fail. And call me cynical, but I'd be willing to bet that even among the couples married for decades, inertia plays just as much of a role as love in keeping them together, assuming they don't actually hold each other in frosty contempt while pursuing their dalliances on the side for pleasure. Love is real, certainly. Romantic love? Especially as a basis for creating stable, long-term relationships? One of the craziest ideas this species has ever invented.

So why, then, do stories like this inspire so many snide remarks?

He's an idiot, she's a gold-digging whore, goes the common refrain. Maybe. But maybe people are confusing love and happiness. Maybe she made him happy for a while, even though he knew that she really didn't have much in common with a man more than twice her age. Maybe she figured that he was basically a nice enough guy, and combined with a huge fortune, it was pretty easy to be happy with him, too. Maybe they, like a lot of people, feel that settling for flawed, temporary pleasure beats endlessly chasing after chimeras inspired centuries ago by Provençal poets. Maybe marrying for money isn't quite as pathetic as being forced to stay married because of a lack of it. Maybe the knowledge that she wouldn't be attracted to you without your money isn't as hard to accept as marriage based on
True Love, followed by years of silent suppers, separate vacations, cutting recriminations, dagger-eyed stares, slamming doors and countless nights spent numbly staring at the bedroom ceiling in the small hours.

And let's not overlook perhaps the most obvious possibility: maybe a lot of people are just jealous because they've fucked uglier, nastier people for free.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

All the Men and Women Merely Players

You don't say. Political bloggers focus on the political aspects of an event in the news?

Hey, you know what else is predictable? Some self-righteous douchebag wailing about how terrible it is that the world doesn't stop spinning while we all mark a moment of silence and somberly pretend that we knew and loved the victim like he was our spouse or favorite relative. Ghouls, ghouls, all of you! The weird part is seeing it on an irreverent humor blog. What next, is the Onion going to lecture people about what the appropriate waiting period is before anyone can say anything beyond "Oh, that's terrible, thoughts 'n' prayers, a tragedy, blah blah blah"?

I mean, shit -- if you start by telling me that Yglesias, Marshall and Benen have all said something annoying, I'm already 99% of the way there with you! Do you know how hard it is to settle back with a hot fantasy of expected irritation, read over their excerpted words a few times, trying hard to stroke my faltering righteousness to a climax of vicarious, indignant denunciation, only to have to conclude that there's nothing really all that outrageous about what they said? You fucking tease.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

There's a Reason for That

If I were this abysmally fucking stupid, I wouldn't want to speak my name either.

So, I guess when Obama was making promises last year about bringing troops home, he didn't know the economy was bad? What does it say when attempts to defend him are predicated on him being even more oblivious than Dubya?

I thought reading Digby's comments periodically had inured me to the most outlandish attempts to make excuses for the guy, but holy fuck, was I wrong.

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Saturday Shuffle

  1. Pinback - The Hatenaughts of Melancholy Wall
  2. Masters of Reality - High Noon Amsterdam
  3. FC Kahuna - Hayling
  4. Fireball Ministry - Master of None
  5. Ween - Big Fat Fuck
  6. Silver Ginger 5 - Doggin'
  7. Les Claypool - Iowan Gal
  8. Scissor Sisters - I Can't Decide
  9. Populous - Bon Bon pour les Rappers
  10. Moon Far Away - Sobiraetse Liubeznoy

Friday, June 05, 2009

Pathetic Noose

Now I can never unknow the image of a senior citizen accidentally strangling himself while jacking off.

It does make me wonder if this sort of thing has caused a decrease in the number of guys who commit suicide by hanging. I'm picturing some poor schlub, beaten down by life, weary of it all, who decides to use a gun or sleeping pills or jump off a bridge because he just can't stand the thought of having his final, harrowing expression of unbearable existential pain diminished by the rumor circulating afterward that he was just too clumsy while freaky-masturbating. Just one indignity too far, you know?

Or maybe guys who do hang themselves are going to film the entire event while dressed in winter clothes, just to be safe.