This post should open with me saying, "I've seen some stupid as-seen-on-TV inventions in my day," and then list all the ones that now fall short of what I'm about to talk about, except my GoJo is so tight on my head it's affecting my recall. Literally a band to fasten your phone to your head so that you can walk around with your phone fastened to your head, this commercial is full of second-hand embarrassment while peddling third-. I feel like if this guy ever discovered speaker phone, he'd know the jig was up.
This was playing on a screen above a treadmill I was on this weekend. I glanced up from my iPad, saw it on mute, and figured it was a joke...until it went on for another minute and a half. I was hoping it was just a Tim and Eric's Billion Dollar Movie flashback.
And by the way, you can strap a laptop on your head with the GoJo:
He's trolling, right? He's just trying to start a meme of things the GoJo will attach to your head, right? Someone want to get the ball rolling and make this a happy man?
Reality TV has the reputation of dehumanizing people, but my brief experience on it was to the contrary. In the fall, I judged a Universal Royalty pageant that was filmed for Toddlers and Tiaras (read 5,000 words of my thoughts about that here). The episode finally aired this week (I was interviewed for the show, and you can see a reel of my screen time here). Watching the early portion of the episode, which chronicled the preparation for the pageant (as every first half of a Toddlers and Tiaras episode does), was eye-opening, primarily because it was incredible to see the children that I judged actually look like children.
Isys doesn't wear glasses onstage (a lesson from the early part of the episode: her mother doesn't know "how she sees" but is convinced that she does). If she did wear them, though, I would have certainly given her a 10+ on facial beauty. That would have been a bold and endearing choice. Glasses on kids! That is heartbreaking and adorable.
I cut this up from the VHS source Not Just Fun and Games. In it a Canadian Christian panel eviscerates all that was harming pop culture in the '90s like the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (and their damn teething biscuits, which I'm pretty sure didn't actually exist), The Simpsons, Vanilla Ice and M.C. Hammer. You know, everyone who ended up bringing down the civilization that I miss as I type this from a burning ember that used to be a computer.
Above is an interview with Simon Doonan that I did a few weeks ago. I love him. In order to make this coherent as a piece (and not, you know, 45 minutes long, which was the duration of our chat), a lot of our back-and-forth couldn't be included. Things we talked about that weren't included were: Showgirls, his hanging out with Kitten Natividad, his bumping into Erica Gavin when she became a buyer for Barneys (using a pseudonym because she was ashamed of her days as a Russ Meyer girl!), Tyra (I expressed my dislike and he told me not to be jealous!) and that he is stopped on the street by girls praising his ability to make ANTM Cycle 2's Catie cry by telling her to go down to the docks, take in what the hookers are wearing and avoid it. A true classic stays with you for life.
What is included is mostly about his book, Gay Men Don't Get Fat, which is somewhat controversial (especially among people who haven't read it) as a result of its several sweeping generalizations. You don't have to look further than the title for one of those, but if you do, you'll find things like, "Straight conversation has no common denominators with gay conversation," and "We poofters strive to make life jolly and cute, like a chic cinematic anti-depressant." What a strange sensation it is to read about yourself and not relate whatsoever! It soon becomes clear, though, that Doonan's exaggerations are part of a device he uses to tell the truth; through his generalizations about how things are, he talks specifically about himself. (He totally knows that gay guys do get fat, hence the chapter on bears.)
In that respect, his book couldn't have been published at a better time, in this advent of shit-said shit, which also employs generalization as a medium. Conceptually, I think this is a very clever way to express your truth to an audience that will be talking back. Immediately, whenever a, "Shit Xes Say," video pops up, people look for themselves in it. Those videos' comments sections are full of, "OMG, I soooo relate!" or, "That is wrong, fail." By positing these personal observations so generally, one leaves his experiences and impressions open for debate, signaling an embrace of the fact that not everyone was going to agree with your argument, anyway. That's wisdom, whether the creators of this stuff know it or not. It's a way of making universal what is often a solitary medium that goes further to promote narcissism (we all know that the Internet is a breeding ground for that!). The effect is magical.
For that reason, I recommend listening to Doonan's opening words in the video above, because it is there that he gushes about the art of exaggeration. He's really charming, as is his book. Believe me, as someone who's stretched the definition of chunky with my actual waistline, I went into it thinking I would hate it, but it totally won me over.
Just a few more links to things I've done for work recently that were particularly satisfying:
I really admired Franchesca Ramsey's entry into the shit-said meme,"Shit White Girls Say...to Black Girls," because instead of just rattling off stereotypical hypotheticals like videos that preceded it, this clearly came from actual shit that was said to her and thus works as social commentary (also, she just kills it on the delivery). And so, I have made a video that has less to say than probably any other video within the meme. Just trying to maintain a balance!
In the middle of 2011, I spent a week doing what is posted below: An edit test for a publication that sought me out but then didn't hire me. From what I was told, I didn't get the job because they couldn't afford me (that I never discussed salary makes me wonder if they were just letting me down easy -- regardless, I never got confirmation that this edit test was so much as glanced at). I'm not bitter (or...not any more bitter than usual), but putting about a week's worth of after-work activities on hold to prove myself when I had proven enough of myself in the first place to be asked to do so and furthermore have spent the past six and a half years proving my abilities (I'm not trying to say, "Google me," but Google me) was a total waste of time. And if I have a New Year's resolution that can be said aloud it's: Waste less time. Perhaps pulling this out of a void and actually doing something with it (even if that something is tossing it into the world without so much as rereading it -- I can't, but maybe you will want to ) is making up for lost time. Maybe it's a waste of even more time. At the very least, you may want to scroll to the bottom for the Basketball Wives video I did. But I understand if you don't, and furthermore won't hire me. I'm used to it.
(Keep in mind that these 4,000 words followed what was requested: Three short pieces and two long ones. There was some additional programming-type short form stuff that I'm not including because it would just be tedious to read, but know that it was time-consuming, too.)
(Also, I did this because I really wanted the job. I understand that rejection is a risk that comes with applying, but all the understanding in the world won't get me that time back.)
For work this week, Zach Baron and I had a little back-and-forth to sum up the year in music. You can read it here. Zach is a tremendous writer and thinker and a positive motivating force within my writing life. I really think that he makes me better.
Anyway, on a solo and, by my logic, worsened tip, I have a few stray points and elaborations about all this (and also a rant about Facebook) left to share, and so they are below:
Just when you thought you saw the best old lady of 2011, along comes the mother of Lidia's Italy's Lidia, who openly lusts after show guest Stanley Tucci and explains, "I'm an old lady, but I like young boys. What you wanna do?" A declaration and a proposition. Merry Christmas.
Ugh, this week, right? For the sake of posting something, anything, here is Editta Sherman, who in my opinion, stole the show in Bill Cunningham, New York (not an easy thing to do from an also-amazing man who happens to be the subject of said documentary!). The self-aggrandizing that is so popular in our culture and that I tend to loathe in most people is endearing here. I guess when you've been around for 96 years, you've at last earned the right to toot your own horn. A legend and a fixture, indeed.