Slowly Walking Away from a Giant Explosion, Revisited

A while back, I asked the question about the first example in film of a person walking slowly away from a giant explosion. Almost a year later, I discover this video:

This isn’t really the best of these musical sketches that Andy Sandberg does, but what I do like about this is all of the examples he found of people slowly walking away from giant explosions. And with that said, Desperado is still kind of looking like the earliest example of this. So I don’t know whether to thank or chastise Robert Rodriguez for inventing this action movie cliche, but there you go.

Keith Stone

So you’ve probably seen these Keystone Light commercials featuring Keith Stone. They’re amusing, but I always wondered why this trailer park dweller is supposed to be the epitome of smooth. I understand that incongruity can be funny, but the concept has, regardless, always been a head-scratcher for me. Thankfully, this blogger illuminates the matter. Apparently, Keystone Light is the beer of choice for poor, white trash. Since I think all beer tastes like cat piss, I had no idea.

I’m mostly doing this post as an excuse to link to that blog post, because I find it kind of hilarious. I love that she wrote up a page-long criticism of a series of beer commercials explaining all of the irony and subtext therein. That kind of dedication to the analysis of the most trivial and fleeting examples of pop culture warrants linkage.

This is a funny blog, actually. It seems to be almost entirely dedicated to thinking about commercials, and it gets my stamp of approval for reminding me about those awesomely bad Mentos commercials from the 90s.

Bill Maher Is a Racist

Well, no…he’s actually not. Or if he is, the fact that he used the word “nigger” on Larry King isn’t proof of that.

Listen, I’m not a black man, and I don’t presume to speak for them, but Bill Maher’s use of the word was purely technical. It’s a word–an arrangement of letters to form a distinct, discrete sound. The word, itself, without context is meaningless. The only invective implied in Maher’s use of it was directed toward birthers and their ridiculous ilk who employ codewords like “Kenyan” to substitute for other words that would more overtly put their racism on display.

Simply saying the word, itself, is not intrinsically racist, and I’m actually embarrassed for rational human beings everywhere that the word has become some sort of Beetlejuice-like boogey man so terrible that it can’t ever be spoken out loud, as if the institution of slavery is going to magically come back into existence if a white person says “nigger” three times in a row. No, it has to be “the n-word”, as if there’s any difference. There isn’t.

Words are nothing more than mostly-arbitrary sound formations meant to embody things or ideas. If you call it the “n-word” or not, we’re still talking about the same idea, the only difference being it sounds really childish to say “the n-word”. This is akin to when, as a boy, my mother told me I wasn’t allowed to call my brothers “stupid”, so instead I started calling them ‘”stew beef”. When somebody tells you that you can’t say a word so you use the loophole of calling it something else, I’m sorry…it’s just silly, kids stuff and it detracts from being able to have a serious conversation.

Are we really so infantile that we can’t even hear this word without collectively getting the vapors about it?

Hell, just the other night some shitberg in downtown Reno made some sexual remark about my nine-months-pregnant wife and we walked by and ignored it, yet I really think that’s about a million times more offensive than having to hear the word “nigger” employed with no malice in an academic discussion.

I want to be clear here–I’m fairly certain it’s only dumbasses with the intellectual reasoning capacity of a five year-old who have attacked Bill Maher for this. You won’t see Al Sharpton calling Maher out for this any time soon. Still, it pisses me off that I have to share this country with so many willfully stupid people.

More Auto-tuning

Another lazy post, but oh well.

I’ve been lately browsing the auto-tuned videos on YouTube. There are a lot of people doing these, apparently, though I had no idea until I discovered the brilliant Auto-Tune the News series. I can’t say that the majority of other auto-tuning efforts work especially well, but there are a few jewels out there. So I thought I would post a few that I think might be noteworthy exemplars of the artform, such as it is.

The following videos are all by a single YouTube user (placeboing), and I have to say, there’s a sort of simple musical genius about them. This first one actually sounds like it might have come off of one of Madonna’s techno-heavy albums like Music or Confessions on a Dance Floor.

I think that what’s most interesting is that these videos indirectly reveal how little talent you realistically must have in order to do this sort of music (as a performer, I mean–as a producer, you have to still be pretty good). If you only heard the vocals on the first video (and I recommend that you listen rather than watch–not to add onto the pile of hate this poor girl has received), you’d be like, “Who’s that? Rihanna?” Obviously, I don’t mean to disparage Rihanna here–she has a lot of talent. I only mean to say that thanks to technology, the only true requirement for a killer track is having functional vocal chords.

Enough chatter from me…

Auto-Tuned

I have to give credit to my brother Josh for leading me to this series of videos by posting “Bed Intruder” on Facebook. That was a real head-scratcher (I honestly couldn’t figure out if it was a real news story that had been mashed up or if it were merely some sort of off-color music video made up to look like a local news story) until I discovered the rest of these “Auto-tune the News” videos on YouTube.

There are a number of these that are actually very catchy (Jobs! Jobs! Jobs!), but I’ll post up this one if only for the Pootie Tang reference (“main damie”) and the hilarious faux-banter between Karzai and Zardari in their courtship of Hilary Clinton.

Just to add my two cents on these, the best unintentional singers are probably:

  • Joe Biden – I’ll be damned if the bit at the beginning of this video doesn’t sound legitimate. If Biden had sung that way a few years ago, he might have been the current PotUS. When he sings, “That’s what I want to imagine”, patriotism wells up inside me. God bless America, Joe Biden.
  • Pat Buchanan – Both here and here.
  • Honorable mention to Steve Buyer for one of the catchiest riffs: “It’s the smoke”.
  • Second honorable mention to Michele Bachmann, whose borderline insane intellectual reductionism lends itself pretty well to song.

[Edit: For whatever reason, this Obama Flashback doesn’t seem to be linked with the rest (I guess it’s outside of the series), but it’s quite good and funny. I can’t get enough of watching Bill O’Reilly dance, but I also think this shows the genius of the way these guys get the most out of autotuning when they turn a cow into a musical instrument.]

I Wish Louis C.K.’s Shows Were as Funny as Louis C.K.

First of all, I should say that if you’ve never seen Louis C.K.’s stand-up before, go watch any video on YouTube, and I can pretty much guarantee that if you have a sense of humor, you’re going to laugh. Probably, a lot. That said, his HBO sitcom, “Lucky Louie” was uneven at best and unfunny at worst, and I’ve never seen his FX series, “Louie”, but I probably don’t have to. Regardless, the following video is a promotional clip for the former series–a sort of prequel–and it is funny. Maybe not gut-bustingly funny, but it’s at least chuckle-worthy throughout, and gets progressively better.

Apparently, you can watch some episodes of “Louie” on the FX Networks website. I’ll give them a look later.

When Great Scenes are F’ed Up By Bad Editing

I watched a bit of Dumb and Dumber on television the other week–I think it was TNT–and they absolutely shat on the best scene in the movie with overzealous editing. If you excise Jim Carrey using a guy’s testicles as speed bags or ripping the chef’s heart out of his chest, you almost may as well cut the whole scene out of the film. I mean, it’s not as if any of it is even remotely realistic. The heart looks like a dog’s chew toy, fer cryin’ out loud. Not to mention that in getting rid of it, you have to also cut out the entire gag of Carrey dropping it into the doggy bag.

Anyway, for those who may have only seen this film on television, here’s how it’s meant to be seen.

[Edit: Oh, darn. Embedding disabled. Well, watch it on YouTube, I guess.]