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Tirade of the Week


Ten Things I Hate About...Whatever

I'm just pissed off this week. Lucky you. Why am I pissed? Herewith, 10 reasons.


Yeah, whatever. It's actually so amorphous as to mean anything you want it to mean. Yet it's getting big hype -- from easily impressed viewers and critics who should know better -- for being some sort of techno-spiritual parable for our times. Bullshit. It's a special-effects movie starring Keanu Reeves. That's what it is. That's all it is. If there was anything profound and thoughtful here, I must've nodded off and missed it. As for all the alleged "hidden allusions" to mythology -- gee, is that the new name for plagiarism now?? Okay, I can do that too. I'll just take Lord of the Rings and my ten favorite sci-fi films, rip off elements from here and there, and call it a spiritual statement that "some people just won't get." I'll say, "Those aren't rip-offs -- those are allusions." Andy and Larry certainly know how to spin the media so that their high-tech shoot-'em-up chop-socky comic book gets written up as something deep and different. And I assure you that if The Matrix hadn't sucked up beaucoup paper during its opening weekend, we wouldn't be hearing about its hidden meanings. We would be hearing a lot of "Keanu Reeves: Can This Career Be Saved?" But of course this is America: financial success is all that we respect.


This week I had a guy who bid $18 on a book I posted on eBay. It soon became clear that he outbid everyone just so he could email me and ask if I wanted to trade. I was like "No, asshole, I don't want to trade." This guy already has a -1 feedback because he tried this with some other seller. I gave him the benefit of the doubt, but some people never learn. Another guy won a bid on a pair of my Jackie Chan tapes, and hasn't responded to my three emails asking him to confirm his bid. Most people on eBay are honorable, but you do get the occasional clown.


You see this at Christmas, and you see it around April 15. I mean, I'm not the world's biggest financial brain, but every year I'm like, "I got my tax shit done in fuckin' February. Why didn't you??" I don't get it. Now watch, I'll get 20 highly offended letters from people, "Oh, we can't get it done earlier because of this and that and the other." Whatever. Save it for your accountants -- they're gettin' paid to listen to your excuses, I'm not.


The freshly-Oscared Harvey and Bob are treating Kevin Smith's Dogma like a hot potato. Great. Like they didn't know what they were getting?? It's a Kevin Smith movie. It's a Kevin Smith satire. It's a Kevin Smith satire about religion. Everyone has known this for at least a year. Why is Miramax shitting its pants now? Why didn't they pass on the project in its script stage, if they're so scared of a fundamentalist backlash? Is this how Miramax treats the creator of the Miramax hits Clerks and Chasing Amy and the executive producer of the Miramax Oscar-winning big hit Good Will Hunting? This was Miramax's chance to walk the walk, but instead they're running scared. I am officially no longer rooting for Miramax. They are now officially corporate. Not that they haven't been corporate since at least 1994 (when Disney bought them out), but this is the first time I've really thought of them as such. It's amazing what two Best Picture Oscars will do to a studio's spine. Yes, I know most of the pressure is coming from Disney. That's no excuse.


That gospel-tinged Blur song, for instance. I liked it at first. After 107 times, I don't care if I never hear it again. Same with the No Doubt single off the Go soundtrack, anything by Rob Zombie, and that mosh-pit cover of "Faith" by Limp Bizkit. And special dishonorable mention to Eminem's "My Name Is" - next time I hear that one, I swear I'm gonna punch somebody. Can you say "the millennium's answer to Vanilla Ice"?


Fading into the sunset, supposedly because it's getting too expensive to buy movie rights. C'mon, Comedy Central, take the show back and foot the bill -- you can afford it now. Failing that, I hope someone starts putting out the better MST3K eps on DVD -- that way you can see the original movie on one side, and the MST3K version on the other side.


He has to cut Summer of Sam or face an NC-17 rating. As Spike himself said months ago while still filming, I'd have thought Spielberg won this battle once and for all with Saving Private Ryan. I mean, that film got an R. You can't get any more violent than that. Therefore, any movie less violent should get an R. Right? Well, maybe only if the director is white.


Recently I heard about a local class of high school students who had planned to take a field trip to go see Shakespeare in Love. One parent complained and said it would be "inappropriate" for 16-year-olds to see this R-rated movie. So what happened? The trip was cancelled and nobody got to go. I got a question for that parent: Why not just keep your own kid home if it bothers you that much?? Why fuck it up for everyone else? Better your teenage kid should see Idle Hands?


It isn't just teenagers. It's morons of all ages. Just today my enjoyment of Affliction was nearly ruined by some dingbat woman sitting behind me who felt compelled to ask her husband "What is he doing?" and "Why is he doing that?" and of course recapping what's happening on the screen. Plus, one or both of them were crinkling their popcorn bag. Why didn't I just turn around and kill them? Oh, I don't know. Not worth the jail time, I guess.


Nobody reads any more. Nobody knows shit about shit any more. People just know their one little area of expertise, and that's it. And it's getting worse. I see it in the teenagers that come into the library expecting us (or their parents) to do their research for them. Granted, there are smart teenagers I don't notice because they come in, crack a book, take notes, and generally do what they're supposed to do for their research project. I'm talking about the teenagers I do notice because they annoy me. They come in with their parents (either Mom or Dad), and the parent does the talking. The parent asks us if we have anything on Agamemnon, where the books are, etc., and we're there like, "The kid has a mouth -- let him ask us for what he needs." I actually saw one parent surf the web for information for her kid's research paper, and meanwhile the kid's wandering around the library scratching his ass and flipping through magazines. It makes me laugh, because when these kids get to college -- if they get to college -- they're gonna be doomed. Because academic (college) librarians aren't like public librarians. Academic librarians point at the general direction of the books and say "Fuck you. Do your own work, asshole." Which, I submit, is what we should be doing with these high-school kids, otherwise they're gonna sink. And a large part of the blame will fall on their parents.

...So anyway. Having ranted and tiraded, I feel a lot better now, don't you?