Monday, September 29, 2003

A few weeks ago, Guy mentioned a lovely new discovery in the magazine world called Radar and he has been spruiking its glory to the rafters ever since. Well, I have just finished poring relentlessly over the esteemed document and I must say "You betcha, ya!". Its scarily excellent, and it speaks way too ably and 'knowingly' to our idea of ourselves. But who gives? I am now going to share with you some of the reasons why those of our ilk [or maybe it's just me] are salivating to land a job there. These snippets all hail from the summer movie preview section [and take heed, this edition was released in June]. A review of Terminator 3, includes the blazing opener "Even in these uncertain times there's one thing we can all agree on: Arnold Schwarzenegger needs a hit", and then winds it down with "As John Connor, rakish Nick Stahl takes over for good-time charlie Edward Furlong, who is no doubt lying somewhere in a pool of sick". Great huh? They said "good-time charlie"! Need I say more? Well, I will anyway. The review of Seabiscuit makes mention of the cringe potential of such lines as "Don't you die on me, Seabiscuit!", an early-warning signal for which I am grateful. And the American Pie 3 review contains a perfect distillation of the expectations of audiences everywhere, with "All we're hoping for is Biggs trying to copulate with a piece of wedding cake". Also showed a healthy derisiveness for the word 'quirky' by slamming a movie simply by its just-displyed use, eg. "...and you've got an idea of what to expect from this 'quirky' cringefest". The ways to my heart are many and true.

As I said, I comprehensively perused my issue of Radar. Within it, I could find only one, albeit glaring, instance to reject outright with an unwavering "Nuh". The blip in question is a reference to "the Lofflecks". I mean, the Lofflecks?! This was disappointing. It just smacked of poor judgment and rang like a forced attempt to locate Radar as an arbiter of "nu-bitchy" by its being self-consciously 'pro-active' and proffering cleanskin terms [when Radar's skill clearly lies in its ability to adapt established trashy favourites to its own devilish ends]. Radar needn't go there. It doesn't need to seek the 'status' provided by a line such as, "...or the Lofflecks, as they're known thanks to the linguistic mavens of Radar who coined the term..." etc., appearing in some comparatively ungroovy publication. Radar is just sharper than that. I hope.

Hmmm. Maybe I am being too hard on Radar on this point. It was June after all. Perhaps Beniffer was still a nascent term and there remained the possibility of other contenders? Perhaps it is only the passage of time and a knowledge of the ultimate victor that makes any such attempts seem more try-hardy than they may have been at the time. Still, "the Lofflecks" is pretty sucky.

Saturday, September 27, 2003

Today was the AFL Grand Final so of course I watched the pre-game entertainment [but not the game itself. Seriously, who does that?]. The cast of that 'truly inspired' collaboration between Ben Elton and Queen, We Will Rock You, performed and, can I just say...? Haaaaaaaah! Ha ha ha ah ah aahaa ahaaaaaah! Ahaha ahaah aahaaah ha ha ha haaaaah! Haaa ha ahaaaa haaaaah! Ha ahaha hahahaa aah aaaaha haaaaah! Ha ha... Haaaaaaaah! If you know what I mean.

Tuesday, September 23, 2003

I understand that this may be boring you all shitless by now, but I remain unsympathetic to your plight. I have remembered another suspect word substitution whose invalidity I have investigated by way of the Macquarie dictionary. Many a time has it been that I have heard people say "in agreeance" in place of "in agreement". I had always thought this wrong, but had never sought corroborating evidence. But as the above shows, I recently consulted an officially sanctioned purveyor of the lexicon, and proved my suspicions correct. There is no "agreeance" listed in the dictionary. I would now feel wholly vindicated in my instinctive grasp of the language were it not for my recently discovered doubts about whether the Macquarie dictionary is in fact an unimpeachable collection of the words and usages that are au courant in the english language. It is certainly a weighty tome, and I never before had cause to doubt it. That is, until yesterday. Twice this week I have come across the word "maven" in worthy publications. I found myself quite enamoured with it and longed to use it. But before I could bring myself to attempt such a flamboyance, I first needed to be precisely aware of its meaning and applicability. So, yesterday, I turned to my heretofore considered steadfast pal, the Macquarie. And was aghast to find "maven" unlisted! And so I am in a world of doubt. I would like to consider the "agreeance" matter settled, but how am I to deduce for certain that the word doesn't exist by the rationale of its not appearing in the Macquarie, when the same logic could be similarly applied to discredit the word "maven", though I know that the latter does in fact exist? You see my dilemma? What's a girl to do? I hear you say, "Consult another dictionary", but where's the drama in that? I'm all in a tizz and it's faintly delightful. We must seek our pleasures where we find them, after all.

Saturday, September 20, 2003

What's all this malarkey you been spoutin 'bout a "brighter, happier" path in musical tastes, Guy? I am here to tell you right now that I experience music in much the same way as you do. I like the music that I like because of the thrilling joy of it. The sheer delight, etc. Though, deep in my soul, I am most likely a pretentious name-checking rock git, you must know that my life-thwarting fear of the discovery of my crapness will always hold sway. Knowing this, you must also know that I have never in my life praised the daring of a reference because I simply don't know enough about music to float those ideas with any confidence. I am a complete pleb, of the "I don't know art but I know what I like" school of complete plebs. And even if I do think that my tastes have landed by chance on music of assured and undeniable artistry, I would never dare express it with any more certainty than "I really like it" or "I love it". I go no further than "It has real quality", which is as vague as you can get but accurate nonetheless. That is all I am willing to venture. I don't believe I come to music intellectually at all. Well, actually, I guess I do of course, but only because I must. Heart and feeling are located in the brain you know, not in a four-chambered pump. You must see that. But anyways, all I'm a sayin is "Hush yo mouth fool" because when it comes to music we have one and the same approach. And so I will try to desist from chiding you about yours, even though I just can't comprehend what on earth you see in... but there's no use in getting into that now.

PS. Apologies for my language goin all southern and lilting, but after a week-long binge of Ride With The Devil, I been a watchin Gone With The Wind and that Mammy sho' has a way 'bout her what spawns imitators. Mmmm, yes'm you iez.

Thursday, September 18, 2003

I’m glad Elanor has discovered the power of crappy music, and I wish her well with her new and exciting journey. You see, for so long now I’ve quietly resented all these TC (“too cool”) people who would sit around talking about the power of this lyric, or the brilliance of this ironic pose, or the daring of that reference to something intellectual (when I say people I mean Elanor and Leah). When I would suggest, meekly, that perhaps there was another musical path one could travel – a brighter, happier path – I would receive concerned looks, or worse, a little chuckle and an implied pat on the head: “little Guy is so endearingly funny with his taste in crappy music”. But I kept believing. I knew that what I felt couldn’t be wrong: the power of a key-change, a pop comeback, a really cool dance-move. I stayed strong and held onto the memories: cruising the streets to the Charlie’s Angels soundtrack, being busted pyjama dancing in my room, the joys of scoring a song on Video Hits that wasn’t totally lame. And now… and now I feel somewhat validated that Elanor has begun to see what I see: that beauty lives in 90s sounding keyboards and session-musician percussion.

Now, Elanor did claim that my taste was insidious, dangerous even. This is absolutely true. Like any great passion in life, it’s deadly. It can own you, consume you, drag you under. Only this morning, I had a dream that ties neatly into Elanor’s recent paean to Christina Aguilera and her masterful “Stripped” project, and shows how totally messed up I am. For this reason I'll describe it below. THIS is what happens when pop music leaches into your subconscious:

“The dream began in this huge totally American bling bling mansion. Good-looking and cool people were milling about aimlessly, making small talk and comparing coolness. This went on for a bit, until suddenly there was silence. I looked up and Christina Aguilera was at the top of the staircase. The next thing I knew we were in a field, with Aguilera and the posse of cool people. Everyone was now in costume, with Aguilera in this totally avant-garde full-body black plastic suit that covered her face and hair. She looked like a blob of tar. Everyone else was in similar garb, standing around Aguilera in your typical dance formation.

At this point Aguilera thrust her fist into the air and made some high-pitched, animalistic noise that I assume meant something like ‘let’s dance!’ At this point Not Gonna Hold Us Down came on and the dancing started. With the black-clad Aguilera leading, the whole phalanx of dances moved down towards a wire-fence that was next to a freeway (!). From this prime locale, Aguilera and dances then began to heckle drivers, saying stuff like ‘we’re hos: get use to it’, ‘skanks around the world unite’, ‘WE’RE HERE!’, ‘we’ll never give up’ and so forth. Lil’Kim then appeared and started dancing onto the freeway, weaving through traffic in her Versace bikini and cloak, threatening drivers and the like. But suddenly the music stopped. The dancers vanished. And then I knew that it was over… because (I kid you not)… and evil Bond-style genius was taking over the world. And then I woke up, thinking: ‘what totally cool dance-moves’”

Tread carefully Elanor, tread carefully.
Just updating you on some more suspect word usages that have tickled me. On Monday, Kirstin from Bachelor III kept saying "weary" repeatedly when the context obviously pointed to her wish to say either "wary" or "leery". The gaffe was quite noticeable, and all the more so for being made in front of the Firestone family members she was on such a strained mission to impress. Oh well. I must also admit to my own wrongdoings on the incorrect usage front. Until as recently as last year, I had inherited a perversion of the lexicon from my mama that had me using "calypsion" in the place of "conniption". I don't know what I was thinking, that maybe hysterical fits of apoplexy had their historical roots in, or were somehow triggered by, the blood-boiling sonic tempest that is calypso music, or something. Anyway, I was worthily pilloried. Another recently remembered and quite comical example of a misspoken word occurred a few months back on Letterman. Kate Hudson was the guest and he complimented her on how "ravenous" she looked. Haaaaaaaah! Anyway, he of course meant "ravishing" but it was funny nonetheless.

In other news, I watched Degrassi: The Next Generation today, and you will never believe what's happening to those gods of our youth. I'm serious. It's shocking. So, prepare yourself. Set your faces to stunned. I don't know quite how to break this to you all, but Spike has short brown hair and she is going to marry Snake! That's right. You heard me. SNAKE! And her so-called friends, Caitlin and Luce, are actually supporting the match. Traitors! And Joey Jeremiah is going to be the best man. And I think he has children or something. Yep. Joey Jeremiah! With kids! I swear I would never lie about anything this important. It's all really happening and it's just wrong wrong wrong. What happened to the good old days, huh? When Joey was a schemer and frontman for the Zit Remedy [later shortened to The Zits] and Spike was impregnated by Wheels, but had to raise Emma alone because Wheels spiralled into a vortex of drugs and vehicular manslaughter. And then I think he died or something. Anyway, Snake was the loser of the ensemble and Spike needs to get away from him. But she's pregnant with his baby. Oh, did I forget to mention this? Okay. Spike and Snake are having a baby! This is completely rocking my world. What the hell is going on?

And now... The E List of Things I Love

Mersey Valley Vintage Club is the best cheese going round. It sure is a tasty morsel. And I mean very very tasty and crumbly and sharp and scrummy and such.

Interpol. I know I 've said it before but I must reiterate how much I like them and how deeply their sound has crept into my brain.

Quality English Television via the ABC. I have been enamoured of them for years. The Buccaneers is one of my favourites, based on Edith Wharton's last unfinished novel. Carla Gugino is so lovely. Anyhoo, this year has been great for my Sunday nights. I loved Cambridge Spies because of Guy Burgess. Oh how I love Guy Burgess. Such a principled, tormented, charming and harrowed lush with bohemian pomposity tempered by a devilish humour. Sigh. At the moment the second series of The Forsyte Saga is making me go all cooey over how much of a decent and worthy and lovely gentleman Jolyon Forsyte is. What a pity he died last week. I am even beginning to feel for Soames, can you imagine? He's not quite so bad as he was. And the clothes, my god the clothes. Last week Jon looked positively dapper at the Eton-Harrow match, and every one of Fleur and Ireni's dresses....phew. So lovely. An honourable mention must go to A Dance to the Music of Time which screened a few years ago and which really was excellent.

The Office. This was must-see TV for me. It was just so brilliant. But why, why can't Tim and Dawn get it together and get the hell out of there? A friend of mine who lives in London and who did a lot of temp work when she first got over there said that it was scarily close to reality. Ewwww.

News Guys I love. Tony Jones. Geoff Thompson. Jim Lehrer.

News Gals I Love. Gwen from Newshour. Katie.

Favourite Catch Phrase From a TV Show comes from That's My Bush!. Every show finishes with George and Laura sitting up in bed, Brady style, and discussing the day's events, with each conversation somehow finding its way to George's jovial and fondly delivered, "Oh Laura. One day, I'm gonna punch you in the face", to which the audience "aahhhs" in appreciative recognition. It's an unparalleled achievement.

New Discovery That I Love. Every weeknight at 5.55pm, the ABC is airing Batfink, and it RULES! He's a cartoon superhero bat with supersonic sonar radar and wings of steel, and every action has an accompanying word graphic and big band sting, eg. "Vroom!", "Bang!", "Pow!", "Karate!" etc. It looks old, but I think it might actually be new, pretending to be old, and doing all that ironic referencing that the clever people like to talk about. I really like it, of course, and not simply because I'm a pretentious git. It's funny. And it's called Batfink. So cool.

Wednesday, September 17, 2003

Oprah has her O List, so now, as I am just as much of a publishing mogul as she, I am hereby instituting the highly influential E List [because my name is Elanor and Elanor starts with an E, you get me?]. I am an arbiter of cool. I am leading the vanguard, baby. And you all wanna be like me don’t you? So I’m gonna help you. The E List will let you know about all the things that I absolutely love. Commence tailoring your palette accordingly. I expect nothing less than mass paroxysms of assent to every idea I put forward. Here we go… ee ee, run on run on yeah ee ee…

Today’s topic on the E List is Movies That I Love [or Movies That Should Have Won Oscars Were Not the Academy Populated by Dunces and Mangy Curs]

Ride With The Devil is the best movie ever. Because of the subjectivities of taste, perhaps I should amend that remark to "The Best Film Ever I saw'd". I love it so much, you just cannot understand. My, but if it don’t verily have some mighty fine touches to it. And who knew Jonathan Brandis and Jewel could act? Their worthy cohorts include Tobey Maguire, Skeet Ulrich, Jeffrey Wright, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Simon Baker, James Caveizel and Tom Wilkinson in this Civil War era beautiful fabulous film directed by Ang Lee. I just love the language in it, the interchanges. Check this line out; "The stakes are most common these days and deadly for it". Swoon. Lordy me, but these southerners can talk. I have watched it seven times in the last week and still I'm a fiending for a hit. Sigh.

A Streetcar Named Desire, oh how I love thee. Let me count the ways. 1)Marlon Brando as Stanley Kowalski. Ignorant magnetic brute who I have a flaming crush on, which is troubling because he ends up a rapist. But he’s so utterly adorable. I am a traitor to womanhood. But you should see him speak with a mouthful of food. He’s so hot. 2)Vivien Leigh as the fragile tainted beauty Blanche Dubois. Life has ravaged her looks, her reputation and her heart. I love her eloquent melancholy and southern belle sensitivities. 3)You get to see the best of director Elia Kazan’s work, the quality of which makes you consider that maybe his decision to sell people out in the McCarthy era might have been motivated by a wish to ‘continue making art’. Or something. 4)Tennessee Williams’ words and stuff. Top shit. You gots to watch this film. I know it pretty much by heart. You should too.

The Grey Zone. I don’t think it’s been released here but this is the most excellent Holocaust film I have ever seen. It’s about the Jewish Sonderkommandos who worked in the gas chambers and incinerators, and the uprising they planned to disable the machinery of death. It’s just so good. Questions of complicity and guilt and courage and survival and a chilling understanding of the day-to-day operations of the place. And David Arquette can act. And the script is perfection. I cannot recommend it highly enough.

Detroit Rock City, which tells the story of four friends who are in a Kiss tribute band, and of all their travails and adventures as they journey to see Kiss perform live in Detroit in the 70s. Edward Furlong and Sam Huntington. Best Teen Movie Ever.

Zero Effect in which Bill Pullman plays Darryl Zero, a private detective whose “supreme objectivity has, I dare say, made me the greatest observer the world has ever known”. He is satisfyingly odd, and completely dependent on his sidekick, Ben Stiller, who is amusingly so over it. Darryl Zero’s method relies on detachment, but wait, who is that pretty paramedic blackmailing Ryan O’Neil about past indiscretions? Where will his allegiance fall? Etc. It’s exceptional.

The Yards. Mark Wahlberg gets out of jail after taking the fall for his buddies and doing four years. Gets welcomed home and embroiled in criminality of his family benefactor. Jaoquin Phoenix breaks my heart as the bad guy who you can’t help but love, whose way is blocked and who is heading for inevitable tragedy. Charlize Theron, James Caan, Faye Dunaway and Ellen Burstyn also feature.

Plunkett and Macleane, a jauntily entertaining story of an unlikely pair of highway robbers, dastardly draconian law makers, decadent aristocracy and the love of a beautiful woman. It’s very funny with many modern touches and Jonny Lee Miller, Robert Carlysle, Liv Tyler, Alan Cumming, and Michael Gambon.

The Fifth Element. Bruce Willis is appealing in this movie as he works to save the planet from annihilation. But it’s actually a great movie. Chris Tucker is actually funny, Mila Jovovich is super dooper, and the costumes, my lord. Funny and repeatedly watchable.

The Bourne Identity. It’s Europe, it’s cold, Matt Damon has amnesia and he’s driving around in Franka Potente’s mini being pursued by Chris Cooper, Clive Owen and Julia Stiles. I love the understatement of this film, the feel of it, the tenderness that Matt Damon can give a performance, the car chase that features cars getting banged up rather than exploding. It’s a great action movie with smarts.

The Big Lebowski. Not only is it a Coen Brothers film but it features my lover man John Goodman. I really do love him and it’s a beautiful thing. And in this film he is hilariously ridiculous as a Vietnam War veteran who turns everything around him into a travesty. Hee hee. The movie is really about his bowling buddy, the Dude, played by Jeff Bridges, who is mistaken for Lebowski because “Your name is Lebowski, Lebowski” and then commissioned by Lebowski to find Lebowski’s truant trophy bride, get it? The people are crazy, the cast is great and I particularly love the Malibu sheriff ranting on about the sanctity of “my beach community” while beating the Dude senseless. I think it’s the best Coen brothers film, although Fargo is great, you know, with all the “Aw geez Margie. Ya, you betcha, ya”. Almost too close to call, but I think Lebowski wins for its variety of weirdness and pointedness.

A Night At The Roxbury. Two brothers, Steve and Doug Butabi, dream of striking out on their own to escape inheriting their father’s silk flower emporium. They love clubbing and want to be club owners, but the thing is, they are not even cool enough to get into the Roxbury, the coolest club in LA. Instead, they spend most nights stuck in line trying to impress the chicks with their story about sighting “the breakfast clubber himself” Emilio Estevez, “the mighty duck man I swear to god” at a public phone and going like, “Emilio. Emilioooo”. However, a chance meeting with Richard Grieco, forgotten star of 21 Jump Street, changes their luck. Now if only they could get it together and beat the forces out to stop their dreams from becoming a reality. This is an hilarious movie and it makes you love Will Ferrell. He does that good-hearted dunce thing so well, and has many great lines like “hey hot lady”. Also, for anyone deciding to write their own wedding vows, take note of Will’s estimable attempt at articulating why he’s marrying one particular lass; “We went on a couple of dates and you let me have sex with you”. Man I love that movie. I think it’s one of those SNL spin offs, and by golly it’s good.

There are no doubt more, and honourable mentions go to Igby Goes Down for Keiren Culkin, Donnie Darko for its great portrayal of the parents and also the horror of a PTA meeting, and that Patrick Swayze stuff, which reminds me that Dirty Dancing is fab with the “I carried a watermelon” and all, and I also loved Ghost because of that scene where Whoopi is talking to all the ghosts and there’s that one ghost that jumps into her body and says “Damn baby, what you do to your hair?”, to which his wife replies “Orlando you like it? It’s Autumn Sunrise”. Best Spoof Movie goes to Not Another Teen Movie, and don’t diss Sleepless in Seattle until you’ve seen it, because it’s great and the support cast is great and it’s just great okay? I found Swingers charming and Die Hard is a great Christmas Eve movie because it’s set on Christmas Eve so you can really feel part of it, you know? Out of the two Larry Clark films I’ve seen, I preferred Bully [the other one was Kids]. I think Con Air was a brilliant parody about the lameness of the macho man, with super-exagerration rendering many of the tough guys’ behaviours untenable and ridiculous. Also liked how it uses over-kill to critique that whole ‘protecting the sanctity of family rationalises any behaviour’ ethos, for example, Nicolas Cage murders the guy who touches his daughter’s bunny rabbit after ignoring his warning to “Put the bunny back in the box”, added to which, most of the people in the Las Vegas CBD die as a plane ploughs into them but it’s okay because Nic gets back to his family so the ending is actually scored as uplifting because it was all worth it. I think it’s a brilliant movie but nobody gets how subversive it actually is.

PS. Can I just add a quote of the week? It’s from CNNNN and it goes a little something like this; “Keith Windschuttle denies that Cathy Freeman’s Olympic 400 metre win ever happened”.

PPS. Can I just share with you what I consider to be one of the most beautiful moments I have ever seen on US television? I have been meaning to tell you about it for ages. Anyway, it’s Letterman and he’s going on about how great Denzel Washington is [because Denzel will be a guest that night]. He’s saying things like “This guy is so great, he could play any lead role and be perfect in it. He’s that great. Paul, pick any great classic movie and I’ll bet you that Denzel Washington would have been as good, if not better, in the leading man’s role. Pick any movie, any academy award winning movie and I’ll bet you that Denzel is good enough to be in it”. So Paul’s like, on the spot, and he’s saying “Any academy award winning classic movie, hmmmm. Um. How about Gone With the Wind?” I pissed my pants. There was like an awkward silence and laughter and people really not knowing how to react to that. Because clearly Denzel Washington could not have filled the Clark Gable role in Gone With The Wind because Denzel Washington is black, and black people were slaves in that movie because America had slaves and they were black people and it was bad. That just struck me as a beautiful moment of discomfort that came completely out of left field and highlighted how close to the surface of things the bad parts of America’s history are, despite whatever Lynne Cheney might have to say about it. Because, as if you wouldn’t say Gone With The Wind under those circumstances. It was on the tip of my tongue too, just before Paul said it and its import clanged into view. I just thought that was really great.
And now the time has come for some unpleasantness. All is not well in blogland. I must take this opportunity to direct much anger and resentment toward my fellow Symposiarch for his completely inappropriate influence. Golly damnation Guy, you are such a corrupting presence in my life! Before I met you, I could be resolutely dismissive of the world of pop without having to think twice on it. But now I am done for. Done for I tells ya. And it is all down to you. You fiend! You are a wicked wicked man who has led me to other ideas; dangerous ideas; powerful ideas. I shudder to think of the depths to which I have been lowered. How easily have I been seduced? Until now, I thought I could handle myself around your illicit tastes. I wasn’t too alarmed. Even when you played me Madonna’s new album and somehow managed to make me enjoy listening to it, I was still okay with myself. I could discount that as a blip. I was still impervious. I would not be drawn in, or at least, never to the dangerous extent that so many other casualties around me had been. I would never buy a Kylie album. I was safe. But now my wits have forsaken me. I am lost.

You see, in an effort to stay true to the spirit of birthday giving, I decided to exchange the Goldfrapp CD you bought me [which I already had] for a CD that you yourself specified should be its replacement. I felt duty bound by the birthday compact to honour your wishes. So I did it. And the shame is more than I can bear. You see, I bought Christina Aguilera’s Stripped, and, well, how can I say this? Ahem, I LOVE IT! I have a message for all the ladies out there – take comfort girls, coz “L’il Kim and Christina Aguilera got your back”. Yeah, “Speak on it, girl”. Hee hee. The album begins really well, with great thrilling stuff like Nobody Can Hold Us Down and Walk Away and Fighter. I would have to confirm that Make Over definitely rips off the Sugababes' Round Round, but no matter. Christina always does her best with the ‘I been wronged’ songs. Her voice really works with bluesy stuff. But I’m not, like, a fan or anything. Although I am. Yet I haven’t taken leave of my senses entirely. I haven’t been swallowed up whole. Thankfully for my sanity, as the album continues, it gets really scary. When you get to the ANTHEMS, intimations of horror abound. You can’t help but think, “if these got into the wrong hands”… oh, the humanity! It’s unimaginable. So many of them are liable for abuse. I have nightmarish visions of the entire Oprah-viewing audience hearing them like a soundtrack for womanhood and saying things like "As a woman, I really relate to this album. I’m going to give it to my daughter before she leaves for college". I will give a few chilling examples of the damage and lameness these anthems may perpetuate, so that Guy can be made to realise just what a perilous element he is recommending to the world. Spare a thought for the graduating high school students of 2003. Think of Prom, Guy. The most important night of young virgins’ lives. And now imagine the memory of that night being tarnished by the repeated and ‘meaningful’ playing of the song Soar. In a few months these pimply youths will be undergrads, and they’ll scorn themselves something rotten. They must be spared the anguish. You don’t get those moments back. But it could be worse even than that. Oh God. Consider the Valedictorian’s speech [ew ew ew!]. And now consider how rife with ‘applicable quotations’ the album is. Now put the two together. Nooooooooooo! It’s just unconscionable. The horror... the horror! This album really needs to be banned in certain quarters. I never thought I’d say this, but some people just haven't the critical faculties to handle it. They will interpret it literally, and they will behave like losers because of it. God damnit, Guy, can't you see what you’ve done? I am making a case for censorship here! This is a complete disavowal of everything I hold sacred and true. I hope you’re happy with yourself, you demon hellspawn of a boy.

Geez. I really need to get a grip on myself. I can’t just lash out at a friend like that. I need to calm down. Maybe I’ll just go sit in a dark room and find my integrity with the aid of The Voice Within, or perhaps tap into my inner peace with Keep On Singing My Song... Oh. My. God.

Saturday, September 13, 2003

My friend Laurie has brought to my attention another of those common suspect substitute words, so I feel only duty bound to pass it on to you [although, if my theory holds, you've probably heard it already]. Laurie's radar has picked up on the usage of "worthwild" in place of "worthwhile", and I would have to say "confirmed" to that, baby. Respect.

Major gripe of the day has been building for weeks, and it is this - what's up with Matt Lauer and the word 'quirky'? Seriously, a day barely goes by that he doesn't use 'quirky', usually in a variation of the sentence "Let's face it, this is one quirky [film, concept, idea, situation, etc.]". And we always have to face it, man. Why? How can everything be quirky? [Everything isn't, actually. Some things just are what they are, and Matt just needs to get out more. Preferably to a bookstore, to buy a thesaurus] If I have thus far failed to prove the worthiness of this gripe, have patience my pretties. The fact of the [mis/over]use of an annoying word by an annoying person is not the most irritating and gripe-worthy part of this. It's more a case of the way he uses it, like he's telling us something we wouldn't otherwise know were someone as smart and deeply incisive as he not around to shape our perceptions of the world. But with the word 'quirky' [and only the word 'quirky']? Is he serious? How on earth is that a demonstration of smarts? That is one laughable guy. Yeah. If I had to reduce the entire personhood of Matt Lauer to one descriptor, 'laughable' would be it. Let's face it.

Just a brief note sending out much love to Johnny Cash for the song "Rusty Cage" which is full of toe-tapping goodness. Also, deeply indebted to the recently late John Ritter for reminding me how funny 'faking surprise by spurting out the water in your mouth' can be, when done by a seasoned professional, as he showcased in an interview last week on ET with Jann Carl.

I'm not sure if what I am going to say next is unsavoury or unnecessary or what, so I won't lead you into any prejudgment by colouring it with adjectives such as 'unsavoury' or 'unnecessary'. Instead, I'll just come out and say it. I have a prediction that I think will be proven true in a future time and place. I think that the White Stripes will definitely play a Johnny Cash cover during their concert on October 14th. I also think that they will preface the playing of this cover with some brief details about the song and who it belongs to, possibly followed by some kind of gesture of 'props' or 'God bless', but done in the most understated way possible, which is self-conscious understatement nonetheless. I'm not trying to imply anything about anyone with this prediction, I just have a feeling that it will play out exactly like that.

Wednesday, September 10, 2003

There are some words that many people misspeak in the same way. I find this interesting, and a little endearing [because I am a condescending little prick]. It happens like this. The speaker substitutes a similar-sounding but meaningfully different word in place of the word whose meaning they clearly intended to convey, but we understand what they meant to say anyway because this kind of misspeech always happens in the same way. There is only ever one word that corresponds to the word they mean to say. Whenever I hear this happen, I always try to remember it, because trying to explain this phenomenon without the aid of an example is pure and frustrating folly, as I am clearly demonstrating now. But the words always go out of my head, which is annoying, because I like them. I find them interesting. I wonder if there is some mass consciousness at work that makes them happen. I think it's quite something that people across the globe [who are english-speakers] misspeak by always substituting the same wrong word when they mean to use the same right word. It's like these words are established pairs, like there is only one other option than the word you mean to use. I've never once seen a person divert from the pattern. And there is a pattern, I swear. Certain words have a correlating substitute that has a completely different meaning but that people nevertheless use in place of the proper word whenever they misspeak the proper word. If I could remember more examples, which I have been repeatedly privy to, I could provide evidence of a pattern, and you, in your dullness, could keep your ears open for confirmation of my hypothesis. But at the moment, I only have one piece of evidence. I heard it today, and, as the forgetting of these examples has become a bugbear for me that I have grown exceedingly tired of, I made sure to remember it. It has been risky, putting all these words in front of my actual writing down of the example, because whenever I have paused to think of it, I have had to scramble and claw it back from nothingness in some panicked moments of brain scanning. Wouldn't it be funny, though, to get to the end of this post, and to have forgotten the only reason for beginning it? Hilarious, yeah? Ahem...[excrutiating pause]... So, um, like what's the dealio with, like, stuff, you know? Heh heh.

Oh thank christ! That's it! Today I heard one and I really did remember it. Yay for me! Okay. So, Andy Roddick meant to say "whirlwind", but instead he said "worldwind". I have heard this before. I think it's strange, however, that I have never heard someone substitute a word other than "worldwind" for the word "whirlwind". It's always the same word. Isn't that weird? I'll keep you posted on the other ones in the pattern that I have come across, because I'll remember them when I hear them again. And I will hear them again. You'll see. You'll all see.

Monday, September 08, 2003

Last night I watched Compass on the ABC, which was screening the second part of Hollywood Religions. Can I just get my cheap shot out of the way now? Here it goes… “more like Hollywood Freaks, if you know what I mean”, snigger, snigger. There. The lamest part of my humanity has been sated. So, on to the discussion. While watching the program, I had my partly formed instincts about myself confirmed. “I am not a religious person”, she declared with gusto. Thank you Hollywood Religions. And no, this conclusion is not drawn simply because the cranks and charlatans on parade were inane babblers who were babbling inanely. I mean, they were, but that is beside the point. My reason was this; no matter what suspect route they promoted for getting there, all the practitioners always reached a point where they said, “And doing this helps me to get in touch with the spirit, God, whatever you want to call it. I feel its presence when I do this [crazy-arse and yes, completely INANE thing that is not as original as they think]”. I could actually understand them up to the point when they said something like that. Even if they were talking about really stupid shit, like Goddess Worship [which is really just belly-dancing combined with ante natal breathing and new age faux-feminist smugness], or the teachings of Dyan Cannon [yes, that Dyan Cannon. The actress who married Cary Grant now has her own church, with the natty title of ‘God’s Party with Dyan Cannon & U’, or ‘GPDC&U’ for those in the know], or the intellectual stimulation of a Deepak Chopra session where you learn about everything [he was heard to remark, and I quote, that “the oceans move up and down because of the forces of the sun and the moon”], or about any of the other natterings that people attempted to imbue with a weightiness that they obviously didn’t warrant. All of this was kind of dumb, but I could kind of understand that people [because they are losers] might be getting something they needed from such activities, which was for them to know. No judgement [hah]. Anyway, the varied practices were not the things that were shocking or bizarre to me. They weren’t things of the kind that would cause me to violently spurt out any beverage I was drinking, in the comic fashion favoured by hams, had I been unfortunate enough to take a gulp of said beverage just before hearing of these practices and their ilk. No. It was the one thing that all the assorted freakshows had in common that I just couldn’t get my head around, this Higher Being stuff, that just sounded plain crazy to me. Upon hearing about this stuff, I would have spit up. But I wasn’t drinking, so instead, as Deepak himself might say, I reached a higher plane of self-knowledge.

You know those people who talk about being disillusioned with religion, because ‘the institutions’ have bastardised for their own purposes the unifying truth and love of the message from which they draw power, and so in reaction and bitterness, these people have turned their backs on ‘organised religion’ and all its ‘galling hypocrisy’? You know those people? Well, I am not one of those people. Sometimes, I even get annoyed with those people, especially if they make that lame crack about religion being a great thing, if only humans would stay out of it, heh heh. Shut up, dickface. That kind of remark is so irritating to me because it retains that idea about venerating this big spirit thing and being pejorative about humankind, and I just don’t get how that is a good thing. I also despise it when people say “Whether you’re a Hindu or Moslem or Christian, it’s about belief. Belief is the important thing. We are all on a spiritual journey. We all have spiritual needs, etc.”, and, again, I’m like, “Shut up dickface”, because that just doesn’t add up for me. I’m like, “How does this link with this and where does this come in to it?”… if you know what I mean. But maybe I’m just willfully contrary. I went to a Catholic school, so I am acquainted with the idea that there is a God. I just can’t see how that works. Do people actually ‘feel’ stuff that they can attribute to God? Do people actually think that it is necessary and important to have a connection to God, even if he does exist? [And I’m not even going to touch that whole ‘impress people with my (t)witty take on the question’ bizzo, eg. “God and I talk all the time. She’s so funny”. Fuck off.] I just don’t get this stuff. When I stand on top of a mountain and feel a sense of wonderment, nothing snaps in my brain to say, “God is great. I love him”. It’s just not something that happens [the mountain happens, the god thing doesn’t]. Instead, I usually go for, “How nice” [okay, so I’m a cold fish, but that doesn’t mean that I couldn’t appreciate it on that deeper level where important things get appreciated]. I know you might not believe me, but I’m sure I do have deeper levels and shit, I’m just confused as to how bringing a love of God into them embiggens them at all. I just don’t feel it.

So I am not a religious person. And I have discovered that this is not primarily because I have a problem with religions, although I do. No, my lack of belief is bigger than that. It transcends all petty arguments. It’s simple. I just don’t get what religions are on about. I don’t get God. I don’t believe in it. I am a full-tilt atheist. Ooooooo! So thank you Hollywood Religions for showing me all the crap that surrounds religions so that I could see that it is not all the crap surrounding them that powerfully puts me off religions, but rather the central belief by which they work [or, without which they don’t work. Take your pick]. Whatever. I am happy. No shilly-shallying here [not that there’s anything wrong with shilly-shallying. Hee hee. I just said shilly-shallying twice… no, thrice! Ha hah! I just said thrice… twice!]. I have certitude now, born of experiential and theoretical investigation - God has no meaning for me. Yay!

Sunday, September 07, 2003

I'm treating today's post as a confessional for my deep dark secrets. First up, I have to admit that I still like Powderfinger. I mean, I bought their new album, and I really like it. Is this okay? I could understand and live with a lukewarm appreciation of them at this point, but I really really like this new shit, and I am concerned by the extent to which I like it. It's turning out to be one of those albums - alongside Rage Against The Machine's Renegades and Yeah Yeah Yeahs' Fever To Tell - that I can't listen to without grinning... no, beaming, in an uncontrolled fashion that sometimes erupts into hysterical giggling. And what's worse, I cannot refrain from turning to whoever else is listening in my vicinity and nodding madly, with eyes widened and that damn plastered grin all over my face. But here's the really scary part - when I'm listening to the album, I don't care! I have no control. It's only later that I realise that this foolish and unrestrainable enthusiasm has been triggered by a Powderfinger album, which is fine by me, you know, because "good tunes is good tunes" and all, but what will other people think of me! If I didn't know me, I would be totally horrified with myself, eg. picture me, reading celebrity answers to the question "What music do you like?" and seeing Powderfinger and Coldplay listed, and then going, like, "Sheesh. You stinker". This is so confusing. I mean, I listen to those bands, and I rather like them. Yes. You got me. I... like... Coldplay. Okay? Chief? You gotta prblem with that, bucko? Well, I do. I like them, and yet I would never include either of these bands in a list of my musical taste. You see, these bands fall into an uncomfortable section of my music collection. You can't joke about enjoying them on an ironic level [Justin Timberlake, anyone?], which is only a half truth anyway, so they don't fall into the "so bad it's good" category. And yet, neither do they easily slot into the "so, soooo fucking good, but only liked by really cool people (we think)" category. So they have to exist as an uneasy, undeclared part of your life, closeted in a section called "very good, but without an established cool pedigree". Why? Why? Why? How can I get over this shame? I really need to get over it too, because I know that by the end of this after school special called 'Life' [ha ha ha], I will have been made to realise that the only thing I need to be ashamed of for its lack of cool is my shame about the lack of cool of some of the things I like. You know?

But I'm not a loser or anything. I had the same grinning and nodding reaction to Kings Of Leon and The Black Keys, okay? I just wasn't discomfited by them is all. So I'm still cool, right?

Friday, September 05, 2003

The tone surrounding the Kobe Bryant rape case continues to perplex me. 'Legal Analysts' were discussing the prospect of disclosing the accuser's medical records [ie. mental history] to Bryant's defense team, and the arguments of those who were supportive of this move were troubling. Things were said, in the manner of "When you make allegations, against a successful man of good standing, which are of a sort that will lose him his wife, his child, and many profitable endorsement contracts, you have to be prepared to lay your life open for examination". What is troubling to me is that the focus of examination is directed squarely on the girl. Also, many arguments don't make sense until you realise that the statement "She is lying, so..." is meant to precede them. Her 'accusation' is talked of as if it occured in complete isolation from any behaviour of Bryant's. It seems that the prevailing attitude is this; "You started this trouble, you invited scrutiny on yourself, so now you have to deal with the consequences". This is an attitude rarely tempered with a statement making the argument that "Actually, someone committed a violent crime against me. I didn't actually start this trouble, it came to me. I am a victim and I am seeking the justice that the state allows". Too many experts have spent their air time labouring the point about the damage such allegations can do to men's lives [which I don't dispute is an important point. I am just saying that it is not the only point]. It just seems odd to me that the raft of sexual harrassment/sexual assault telemovies that populated our midday screens in the early nineties, [with their tearful, valiant and wronged heroines making a stand against - and disinheriting men of - that old 'venal dastardly character assassination defense' to the ultimate shame of all their detractors] have been so ineffective in debunking the digestibility of the tone and focus of the arguments being made around this case. I am truly shocked. I was always led to believe that trashy TV message-melodrama starring Melissa Gilbert provided all the moral guidelines we needed to traverse the cultural moment in which we find ourselves. My compass is all screwed up. Where now can I turn to for guidance?

Thursday, September 04, 2003

Have just found the ultimate, ultimate magazine for those who like the world of celebrity, but are way cooler than people at the checkout reading WHO weekly (NW I count as cool). Here’s my story:

I went into Readings intending to buy My Brother Jack, which I have to read by Monday. After having a look at it and thinking “not gonna happen” I ambled over to the mags section (where Leah was already positioned). I scanned for a bit. I noticed that The New Yorker had a headline which read “could water be next?” I had a chuckle thinking about vulnerable New York elites. This thought passed quicly, however, as a Hilton sister caught my eye. Actually, BOTH Hilton sisters – and one was wearing a tiara. “This could be good”, I thought to myself, reaching for the magazine. Then I saw the headline, and I knew that… I was home. It read: “B-List Nation: Why screwy second-rate stars are conquering America’s A-List, starring Paris and Nicky Hilton”. Welcome to Radar Magazine.

What impressed me (and impresses me still) is the thoroughness with which they’ve covered the topic of B-List celebs. This is no right-hand side, top of the page, boxed-in column. This is a serious six page extravaganza, opened with a picture of Mini-Me and featuring a list of who’s-who in the B-List world (“Dolly Parton: B-List and Loving it!; Joan Collins: Lifetime B-chiever”), charts, wrap-ups, and even a three page A versus B face-off between Gwyneth Paltrow and Melissa Rivers. Gold! Forgive me for gushing, but it just kept getting better. Flipping through the pages I found a global map of plastic surgery “hot-spots” (with the Andes being represented by giant breasts), a taste test between “Iraqi Road” ice cream and “New York Super Fudge Chunk” (mediated by TV pundits like that horrible Sean Hannity dude) and an “Ask America” section which reveals that 67% of Americans think that J.Lo’s ego is larger than her “ass”. Then there's the face-off between Matt Drudge and Camille Paglia, the shameless gossip ("I heard that Pam Anderson's Barb Wire was a remake of Casablanca") AND the totally hilarious fashion spread showcasing
chic minimum wage fashion: "With a palette of fuchsia, pink, glazed and jelly-filled, Ines [the model] showas that “Time to make the donuts” means it’s time to look fantastic! No, Ines, make those donuts to stay…" Gold! I know that the humour is kind of lost here, and that this post is a mess, but you’ve gotta BUY THIS MAGAZINE. Or actually, BORROW THIS MAGAZINE, cause its kinda expensive. Buy, or borrow – read it and enjoy a new world order of intelligent celebrity criticism. You’re time is up, NW…

Wednesday, September 03, 2003

Okay, so Madonna kissed Britney and Christina as part of a performance for the MTV Video Music Awards. And this is so fucking cool because...? Am I missing something here? It's being tagged as 'controversial', and 'wild', and 'outrageous', and, wait for it, 'historic'! But I don't get it. Why is this so amazing and something we must all talk about? Apparently, we all need to formulate a position about the possible motives and impact of such a vivacious cross-generational 'statement'. Matt Lauer on NBC Today shared this pearl of wisdom: "Say what you will about Madonna, but she certainly knows how to get people talking". Thanks Matt. Um, like yeah, but only because people are like, so easy! Get a grip folks!

Sorry Guy. I know how much you love Madonna and give her cred for pushing the boundaries of the public consciousness of female sexuality and all, but I am here to tell you that the smugness she feels about her 'contributions' totally override any cool she might gain by doing her thing. Like, totally, yawn.

P.S. Feel free to laugh at me for my lack of ironic awareness pertaining to this post. I care not.

P.P.S. Am also loving Bachelor III. I love the heavy-handed way that they emphasise before each rose ceremony that the women are 'empowered' in this game because they are able to say no, if chosen. It's quite scary watching women develop what they term as 'real feelings' for a guy they barely know, without even considering that things like (1) he is their sole focus of attention, (2) his opinion of them determines whether or not they might be publicly humiliated, and (3) the pressures wrought by the fact that they are in competition, are all factors that might contribute to them investing the bachelor with more perfection than he has. Am also loving The Amazing Race. If you love Americans, take a gander at them running full pelt through foreign countries. Yay! This series isn't as hilarious as last year's, [Flo, where are you?] but it's still great. Teams constantly refer to themselves as the 'types' they were cast as. Cue statements about 'team strengths' that begin in the following fashion; "As models, we...", or "As virgins who have been dating twelve years, we..." or "As circus clowns, we..." or "As a married gay couple, we..." or "As air traffic controllers, we...", and so forth. So sweet. Tonight, they were in India, and were 'moved' by the poverty, with one contestant going so far as to claim that if she wins the million dollar prize, she wants to come back and help the small children she witnessed living in shanties. Hah! I'm rooting for the models, even though I already know, courtesy of ET, that they don't make it to the final four. Also, don't discount renovation/gardening shows entirely. DIY Rescue is great, and blows other contenders out of the water. On a musical note, Kings of Leon are utterly fantastic, as are The Black Keys. And, despite exorbitant costs, am very much looking forward to seeing the eels and The White Stripes. Whoopee! Can only hope that both BRMC and Yeah Yeah Yeahs will also do gigs apart from Livid, which I don't want to attend.