The Canadian Club











{January 1, 2010}   Plus ça change…

Luann

Well, Dave, here it is, the big 2010 — and I’m still working hard testing everyone’s gag reflex.  Let’s just say, I’ve soooooo been there!

Right now, ‘there’ is Dubai, where I’m chillin’ at the airport.  Man, this airport — free Internet and all — is a fancy gem, worth the trip all in itself.  It would be better without the fleck of spittle that just hit my eye from the hacking fellow traveler lounging next to me.  Dude, does he not see all the signs about A(H1N1) at the transfer points?  Next time, I’m coming here before X-mas, since it is the ideal place to shop for gifts… But, I have to say, I’m a bit

Anyway, so they’re saying it’s a new decade — which brings me to my thoughts about the aughts… So, Dave, if you were going to make a list of the top 100 things from the past decade, what would you put on it?  Isn’t making lists what blogs are for?

I was going to put the great accomplishment of grafting an ear onto a mouse… but then I discovered that that happened in the 90s.  So, isn’t there anything we can feel good about from the past ten years?

Well, since we’re — and by we, I mean me — in Dubai today, let me offer up the Palm Islands as one of the things we — and by we, I mean people — can be proud of from the 00s!



{December 31, 2009}   Taint the Season…

So*, I broke from tradition this year and switched up the Chinese food for some righteous vindaloo.  Hell, I didn’t even get to the movies!  But you know who didn’t flip the script?  The frakkin’ NBA.  After spending all of the 08-09 campaign carrying water for big shoe and slowly setting in motion the hidden gears that would pit “Bruised ribs” against “Crybaby” in a Finals match-up of the most unbearable, self-serious ballers in the L, David Stern is at it again.  Rather than scheduling a X-mas day rematch of the previous Finals, the NBA chose again to inflict its aspired championship match-up on the viewing public — a significant portion of whom would much rather have seen Kevin Durant lead Oklahoma City against the High-flyin’ Hotlanta Hawks.  That would have been an East-West meeting of worthy rivals, with a little bit of brio…

What did I get instead, Dave?  A crap game between a bunch of whiners, all of which was a pretext to sell shoes via the most atrocious ad campaign in the history of footwear!!!!!!!! Yes, that’s right.  Nike brought back the frakkin’ MVPuppets!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

So a contrived rivalry among the most self-congratulatory, self-serious athletes in the NBA begets the criminal perpetuation of the most self-serious, self-congratulatory and, overall, presumptuous commercials in the history of sports.

Now, I have a few things to say about this…

  1. Beware all ad campaigns that propose a television pilot as a sales pitch… This is a corollary to the Murphy Brown phenomenon of self-congratulatory television programming, which holds that once a series substitutes zeitgeist for character, it becomes unbearably pompous and unfunny — this is especially true for those series where the zeitgeist participates in my mother’s weltanschauung, for some reason… Obviously, these two categories can actually overlap.
  2. The idea that we should welcome back the MVPuppets  makes me want to puke.
  3. The MVPuppets don’t actually look anything like Kobe and Lebron.
  4. Most upsetting, the MVPuppets ads are blatantly trying to rip-off and thus, thrive on the magic of the greatest sports-related ad campaign EVER:

Neither of these guys will ever exude wit and charm like Lil’ Penny. And, of course, I hate being told which playas I’m supposed to like.  Go ahead.  Call me a playahata!

The other thing that happens when one watches sports is this immersion into the bizarre world of advertising aimed towards an exclusively male demographic.  It is sobering to have all my insecurities revealed to me in a way that usually only happens while watching Mad Men.

My specific takeaway from my X-mas day experience, however, was the realization that, while I may be capable of obsessive love for movie trailers — television series trailers have got to be the most depressing and nauseating form of advertisement.  Not only am I incapable of watching sitcoms — I think since they canceled Perfect Strangers — but I find it truly depressing the insistence on how much we’re supposed to love the characters in television shows.  I think television series trailers, ads — what have you — are kind of like dog owners who insist on you loving their dogs, even though you’ve never felt a sympathetic glint of appreciation for any canine in your entire life.  It’s just this absence of understanding that sometimes, what you have doesn’t have to be lovable.  In any case, I was wondering if Pajamas was going to watch this:

I thought the part about: “Cliff, they’re worthy clients! And I’m head litigation partner, so no matter what you say, I’m taking the damn case!” would really resonate.

So, it’s been almost seven months since I’ve had the Lifetime network… I think I feel the loss most acutely during the holidays…

*This post was initially prepared for publication on December 26.


{November 11, 2009}   Barf me out
boucher

Hercules and Omphale, Francois Boucher

OK, Russ, given how much I’ve been hounding you, I guess I owe you a prompt reply.

But not before I say, how ’bout that Mad Men?  I loved the wacky corporate caper plot.  And boy oh boy, I’m so over feeling sympathy for Betty.  This is a case where Dan Savage’s advice might have been useful:  just have the affair, Betty, get it out of your system, and don’t ruin your kids’ lives.  Because, eek, is that guy really going to be poor Sally’s stepdad?  You don’t even know him!  It’s just too awful to contemplate, although he’s probably going to deserve what he gets from that kid, who has gotten so. awesome. this season.

OK.  Now on to your questions about Facebook PDA.  You’re right that I am, perhaps unfairly and irrationally, suspicious of excessive displays of affection — at least among non-brand-spanking-new couples (I’m putting you on notice, Russ).  It’s a bit like those meta-conversations you and I discussed recently:  when two people have recently gotten together, they can be delightful; if you’re having a talk with your spouse of 20 years about the state of your relationship, though, chances are things aren’t going too well.  Now, I don’t require that couples restrict their public interactions to incessant bickering and mockery (I guess it’s more of a recommendation?) but I do admit that I raise an eyebrow over too-frequent “I sure love my awesome hubby” posts.  Because, like, shouldn’t that go without saying?  It’s like men who always introduce their wives as “my beautiful wife.”  I know, I know, every couple is different, but let’s just say that in my marriage, that might be cause for a meta-conversation.

So what should you and — uh oh, I don’t feel right about coming up with a nickname for your new lady love — do, Russ?  Be exactly like me.  I mean, you could do worse, right?  Because, darn it, I just love my handsome hubby.

Or, you know, better yet, be like this.



{November 10, 2009}   Modern Love

Andy Capp

I don’t know about you, but I think Andy Capp herein provides conclusive evidence that technology is ruining modern love.  Indeed how can you not hate your wife, if you can’t escape her for a few moments at the local pub?

Well, Dave, I’ve gotta hand it to ya:  Your last post provides much food for thought.

To coin a rhetorical flourish to which I was first introduced at our old intellectual stomping grounds, since MY GIRLFRIEND and I both approach physiognomy through a Language and Literacy frame of reference, we spend most of our time thinking about the authenticity of technology-mediated languages and their potential contribution to developing literacy and L2 proficiency.

weird_science

Russ's first girlfriend... finally.

As a result, we pretty obsessively experiment with Facebook and texting as forms of flirtation and PDA.  So far, these experiments have yielded a fairly significant amount of second-hand barf and neglect for basic responsibilities: in other words, quite an old-fashioned courtship that may not have been possible without written and multimedia supports.  So, yes, I agree with you, Dave, and further feel the need to mention that David Brooks gets much more credit for being interesting than he merits.

I don’t think we can leave this issue there, however, and I would further like to use this occasion of my shamefaced and overdue return to the blog, to raise the question of Facebook PDA.  I know you have an interesting theory on this somehow being — at least, in established couples — in inverse relationship to connubial bliss.  But, more generally, when, if ever, is Facebook PDA acceptable?  And what limits would you set on such a new practice?  We need your advice on this, Dave.

NDLR:  I have no idea what’s going on in this video, but, I frackin’ love this joint.



{November 4, 2009}   Road to H-E-Double-Hockey-Sticks

vomit

I suppose that makes me Bing, right?  But if that’s the case, how come you’re the one making everyone vomit with your spooning?

You know, Russ, we don’t talk politics much here at the Canadian Club, but today I just can’t help myself.  Now, I’m a little bit crabby today because, as the saying goes, “I went to sleep with gum in my mouth and now there’s gum in my hair…” We’ve got a transit strike going on that is this close to turning me into a Republican.  I seem to have pulled some weird muscle in my chest wall and now it HURTS TO BREATHE.  IT HURTS TO BREATHE, RUSS!!!!1@!! (Before you comment, Mom, YES, I will go to the doctor if it gets any worse and NO it’s not pleurisy, I felt it happen suddenly when I was running the other day.)  Also, I have a cold.  And did I mention the transit strike?

inky pic

SEPTA train on fire (from the Philadelphia Inquirer)

So anyway, what was I saying?  Oh.  Yes.  Politics.  WTF, Maine?!  I hate your guts right now almost as much as I hate TWU Local 234.  We’re talking Crushing Hate, not Hate Crush.  Seriously, Maine, that’s not like you guys!  You’re New Englanders.  You’re practically Canadians.  I was sure that you were going to be my ray of sunshine last night.  This guy said so, even.

I got married up there with you guys!

I thought you were cool.

It’s surprising to me that this is so upsetting.  I genuinely believed that Obama’s election had brought me to some state of inner calm with regard to electoral politics.  All those wacky ups and downs?  So silly!  Everything was moving, inevitably, all that election season, to where it was supposed to be moving.  “Why can’t he be more aggressive?” we asked, in a state of panic over the latest tracking polls (around which I used to schedule my day’s activities).  But, like, he was totally right and we were totally wrong and he won and we were all happy for a little while because maybe things really do have a way of working themselves out after all!

I know that it’s incredibly stupid of me to have applied that kind of thinking to, basically, everything that’s happened in the world of politics since then, but I think that’s probably what I’ve been doing.  It’s been hard not to let go, step away from the blogs and hum a little tune since the presidential election, since it allows me to function at a (marginally) higher level than I can when I’m paying too-close attention.  Which brings me back, tediously, to that same question:  How can I be interested in something without letting it take over my life?



Luann

Check out Luann and Tiffany.  Does Luann have a hate crush on Tiffany?  Probably. Does Luann hate herself? Go figure. Is this hilarious? Yes.

Are hate crushes for reals? Whatever!

Whoever is selling the hate crush meme should go stick her head out the nearest window and vomit. That’s what she makes me want to do.  But I didn’t make it that far…  Blech.

Oops!

Oops!

Not for the first time and definitely not for the last, I’m totally with you on this one, Dave.  Do these people have any clue what they’re talking about?  The hate crush marketeers have the emotional finesse of “I love my fiancee, but I’m not in love with him.”  To quote again what you brought up:

If a crush is about seeing the best version of yourself as you envision it, a “hate crush” is about the worst.

Two things.  One, I have not heard that BS about you hate in others what you don’t like about yourself since — like — fourth frickin’ grade!  Two, must we explain everything through the prism of narcissism?  I think we’ve spoken before about the odd and subtle generational disconnect between us and the Jezebel crowd, namely manifested in matters of sentiment — where there is, on the part of a latter, a certain tendency to take themselves waaaaaay too seriously and to, in general, dismiss nuance and casuistic. Is it because they have been brought up on wonky non-fiction and the Internet?  I won’t speculate.  All I can say is — again — if these chicks read anything like Stendhal we would not be having this conversation. I mean, not only did they get the hate part wrong — put they even fracked up the much more traditional concept of the crush.

Yeah, I give up, folks:  I really hate the fact that I’m a wannabe fetish model.  I’m extremely insecure about how I look in leather.  I fear, at times, that my love of hip radical European Marxists militias who kill people combined with my healthy, thoughtful skepticism of affirmative action, may not necessarily express a coherent weltanschauung.  You’re right. It’s all about me.

Look at Luann.  Yeah.  Up there.  At the top of this post.  Does she hate Tiffany because she hates the superficial broad in herself?  No, she hates Tiffany, because she’s a stuck-up, preening, lousy lady who is acting all possessive of the Australian exchange student and — worse than that, she looks enough like Luann, that this latter worries that people will associate blond cartoon characters with a fracked up sense of community service.  Her position, then, is two-fold:  1) It is a proud, confident disassociation with the superficial similarities shared with Tiffany, while at the same time 2) a strict sense of moral censure best expressed with the word “scoff.”

Like, a lot of the people I hate are people who resemble me — say, picture a slightly shorter Peter O’Toole (when young, of course) with a nose for fresh bread and fine truffles and a certain ability to speak French and other languages, not least while talking about the weather in fine metaphoric terms that beget dreamy expressions in the eyes of the ladies.  Well, so, you take that kind of person: Lovable, right?  But then, say he learned his French in Quebec, drinks fine wine instead of manhattans, thinks Arcade Fire rocks, and thinks that Obama compromised liberal ideals when he let Van Jones go.  And throw in a few carrots and chicks in the mix.  This, my friends, is the perfect recipe for a hate crush:  Again, not the incarnation of your worst faults but, rather, everything ersatz and pretentious that one fears could potentially be associated to your charming person and everything morally wrong that occurs in your vicinity.

Now it would be nice to pathologize and to remedy our capacity for moral censure.  But then who would be there to do such a tough job?  Do we just let these stupid poseurs hang around with a bunch of carrots and chicks without pointing and laughing?

Hate is fun!  Hate is cathartic.  And it keeps giving.

Oh, and a couple more points, Dave.  There was no like, and, thus, no dry-heave-inducing epiphany.  Just another joke gone too far.  That’s my official version, and I’m sticking to it.  Also, I think there is something odd about the fact that I don’t Google stalk my friends.  I thing you’re right that that should be the exception, not the rule.  Whatever.



{October 16, 2009}   Theodicy at the movies

First, to take care of some bizness you left unfinished with your last post.  You are right and you are right.

I don’t think this sufficiently explains the Saw franchise, do you?

Do you think Where the Wild Things Are (the movie) would have been possible without Time Bandits?

Why do they keep making these pitiful romantic vignettes in 1,000 clichés by 100 filthy directors type movies?  I had the misfortune of watching a small, but indigestible chunk of the related Paris, je t’aime and I seriously blew chunks.  This one is likely to be worse as it marks Natalie Portman’s directorial debut.

Finally, and somewhat unrelatedly, did you know people still go to the opera?  Why is that?



et cetera