Category Archives: Pop Culture

Notorious Fame

Received one of the more laughable proposals off the web no filter could’ve deterred. Were I Ace Face, were I younger, image conscious, immodest, okay, vastly superficial, thought myself capable of converting into a “brand,” sure, I’d have succumbed.

Instead I rather muse about our current easy accessibility to undeserved celebrity.

Thanks to society’s favorite new devil, rampaging technology, one doesn’t require talent to draw the public eye. After all, two of the fountainheads of this wellspring gained mass renown through incidents that when propriety and discretion ruled, when self-control a sought and practiced virtue, would’ve suffered utter mortification.

Yet Paris Hilton and Kim Kardashian, each woman fucked then fucked over for our viewing pleasure, turned her respective private intimate moments-cum-sudden explosive public exposure into fabulousness. Some segments of the public have even conferred respect on them.

Hmmm.

Not from the initial acts which brought them to our one-handed gazing. Tawdry as those revelations were, and rapacious as the exploitation which followed, both women somehow erected solid prosperity upon such louche foundations.

However one regards Kim or Paris, it needs admitting both eventually demonstrated fine examples of turnabout.

These days with our attention spans decreasing and our conduct becoming increasingly crass, who really remembers how either woman gained fame? Frankly seeing the material rewards both have earned aren’t theirs prime instances of ends validating means?

Mustn’t be a cynic to state that some will accept wading through and eating shit if the rewarding pot of gold large enough. One can be cleansed of fecal matter and offal can be scoured from mouths. Harder to remove are lingering memories of smell and taste. Best efforts aside, both remain stubborn reminders. Who can imagine the enormity of the lucre and immensity of the envious audience to endure such?

Obviously my parents should have raised a far more vacant and materialistic son. Indeed, to have attained success in this reality TV field my parents needed to have raised somebody else.

Me? If I were to become a public presence, became, um, popular, I’d hope acknowledgement came through talent. From what bears my byline. Not happenstance nor by life sloppily and carelessly lived. Not through humiliating spectacle.

The offer I scorned from the jump asked me to consider making my quotidian life part of the reality television show menagerie. That is once every liberty possible had been taken with “reality.”

Yes. Thrown into basic cable’s weekly mix of bitchy affluent housewives, drink-sodden Southern gentry and idiot Jersey Shore housemates, an observer who hopes his writing conjures Mencken, Hughes, Breslin, and Benchley. Appearing on TV screens throughout America and dubbed for overseas markets to act up interestingly, outrageously, crudely, or audaciously for the camera.

That show wouldn’t last long. Who’d watch it and why?

Chasing after the right words, the incisive phrase, will never transfix viewers like compounding car scratches then sanding them smooth before applying paint and buffing, or netting king crab on a commercial fishing boat in frigid Alaskan waters. No shortage of Jeanne Dielman moments in writing. Belgian film director Chantal Akerman might’ve appreciated them but these provide nothing for numbskull viewers praying to watch experts mess up or hoping to see calamity strike others from the warm safety of home.

Creation by an individual is a solitary pursuit. Too much develops through interior channels. Creation by an ensemble is a sit-com. Hijinks may ensue.

If ever lured to television, especially the misnamed reality TV genre (we all know these shows are scripted, right?), I’d prefer pursuing the figures whose “real life” escapades are suggested, created, or exaggerated for viewers’ astonishment and amusement intending to delve into what motivates their modern minstrelry. There must be more than simple spotlight seeking. Hopefully there are substantial defects which prompt their need to attract and hog limelight.

A single characteristic these “performers” share is having led nondescript lives before “discovery” or manipulation or becoming shit that’s been thrown against a wall and called art, parabolic mics and Steadicams. What impetus forced them to calve from the pack by bringing, well, really nothing into the open?

They’re not fascinating. Very few even rise to the level of being interesting. Why do viewers devote time and effort watching people who could be their friends or neighbors? Can we consider such exchanges give-and-take hallucinations?

Is there some vicious pleasure gained in seeing others sacrifice every ounce of self-esteem? That’s not entertaining. That’s cringe-worthy. Shouldn’t this arouse either sympathy or embarrassment for the subject?

And away from the cameras, absent the vapid adulation of being reality TV idols, in those quiet alone moments, do any of them understand or risk understanding what hollowed out husks they present and leave as legacies? Roxy Music sang that love is a drug. Maybe fame is more addictive. It leaves more convincing illusions.

I’d hope A.J. Benza would agree.

In any case, the flimsy tender extended me disintegrated quickly. I guess whoever had sent it finally got around to reading my observations.

Was the content deemed too real? Did that scare ‘em?

The Willies

Schlockmeisters believing themselves quality horror purveyors need to set up campfires that burn holes into patches of the darkest nighttime woods extant. Amid this pitch black setting, using remedial storytelling lessons, they should huddle around the flames and rediscover what truly jolts audiences.

They can start by reciting “The Monkey’s Paw” then diagram why the story still tingles. Continue reading The Willies

An Idol, Not a Hero

Yeah. O.J. Simpson was at his ex-wife’s house the night she and her boyfriend were slaughtered. He didn’t kill them. The Juice arrived late. How long after the fact? Who knows?

Does the pro football hall of famer, former actor, ex-pitchman know who killed Nicole Simpson and Ron Goldman? No. He only has suspicions. These are best for setting investigators off on the wrong trails, having them hound those at the end of inevitable lines if logic.

Just because it’s logical doesn’t mean it’s right. Left to enough people, a syllogism would’ve sufficed to have convicted O.J. Simpson of murder. Continue reading An Idol, Not a Hero

The Tragedy of Sonny Liston

Some librettist and composer ought to join forces and create an opera featuring the life of one-time heavyweight boxing champion Sonny Liston. A tragedy, not an operetta. The travails of the long-dead champion contain classic elements the ancients would’ve venerated.

Brutal skills honed in an unforgiving background marked and formed the raw ambition that raised Liston high. Capricious and uncaring fate drove him into the lowest depths imaginable.

Strong and determined as he obviously once must’ve been driven, so did Liston easily succumb, powerless and guileless to thwart what now seems inevitable. The sole question needing asking and answering, whether Sonny Liston understood his plight, and did he submit? Continue reading The Tragedy of Sonny Liston

Ring’s the Thing

On a late November evening, Plush ignited a streak of spontaneous passion.

Certainly Las Vegas visitors are transfixed by the swarms of working girls so overtly advertising and plying their horizontal trade. Live here long enough, though, and the sight of so many intimate pleasure providers simply becomes tenderloin wallpaper.

Occasionally a standout presents herself. Plush is one of the notables. Continue reading Ring’s the Thing

Yours Alone

When does sovereignty of naked photos expire? Do they ever? Or should they?

Not the commercial nudes adorning glossy magazines or porn sites, but those serving as, what, mementos that have been passed between lovers. In some circles, these are called “dedication pictures.”

As in “dedicated to the one I love.”

Naturally. What proclaims deepest affection and fidelity more than a lover’s or companion’s voluntarily exchanged nude photograph? Continue reading Yours Alone

Let’s Cut the Rebop

Must the sensibilities of the fragile transform American English into an insipid language?

Our plummet through political correctness threatens rendering how we speak into mamby-pamby.

Several weeks ago, a very conscientious article ran decrying colloquialisms whose origins the author deemed racially-charged. Why, yes. Some were. What of them?

If the writing behind the subject had been any more earnest, the page would’ve wept. Since publication date sat so close to April 1st, I made sure the piece wasn’t a seasonal gag, a la some Borowitz satire.

Were that it was. Such would’ve elevated the article into clever entertainment rather than leave it low at honest persuasion. But since it was so doggone sincere, the views expressed so achingly put, that made this righteous tripe ripe for scorn. Continue reading Let’s Cut the Rebop

Show Me a Sign

Promiscuity suits me. But that isn’t the impetus behind my Las Vegas residence.

No, instead raw economic necessity and the complete disappearance of Brigadoon, a k a, Quarropas, my New York former hometown, propelled this move 2400 miles west.

Funny. Living now in a place celebrated for catering to inhibitions hasn’t added to my libertinage. With all the candy at hand – literally – I’ve been disinclined to grab more sweets. Perhaps when the goods were deemed illicit and their acquisition only furtively gained treats, did they sweeten my tooth. Continue reading Show Me a Sign