As we mentioned last week, it's been suggested that Friday Buzzkills has become somewhat unnecessary, considering there's hardly much "buzz" to speak of these days–unless it's the "buzz" around the office that we may all be out of a job soon. Then again, pop culture somehow always manages to soldier on even in sour times, and indeed even as the McCain campaign seems to be stirring up a particularly scary strain of Rust Belt racism, this week the Dow Jones really dipped its balls in it, and pundits on all sides are pretty much predicting the end of civilization as we know it, there's still been a pervasive sense of "watching talking chihuahuas while Rome burns." So irrelevant or not, allow us to throw our little bit of petty gasoline on that fire. Before long it'll be all we have left to keep us warm.
- And anyway, who says this economic crisis isn't just a matter of hyperbole, of simple consumer insecurity egged on by those so-called "experts" with their scary graphs and incomprehensible charts? After all, if things were really that bad, would our celebrities be wantonly throwing their money around on gross displays of unchecked consumerism, like purchasing one-of-a-kind Roger Vivier shoes for their toddlers, like Katie Holmes did for Suri Cruise? And isn't it kind of reassuring knowing that even as the ever-widening chasm between the haves and the have-nots threatens to spark a new class war, some people still have a sense of humor about it–like preposterously wealthy pop star Ashlee Simpson, who celebrated her 24th birthday this week with a totally awesome, totally tactful "white-trash party" where she, husband Pete Wentz, and other guests donned "mullet wigs and muscle shirts" and dined on low-cost, high-calorie, malnutritious staples like macaroni-and-cheese, corn dogs, and chicken fingers–just like actual poors! Pretending is fun.
- Oh, if only Jessica hadn't been blessed with her considerable rack and passable singing voice, every day could be "white trash day" for the Simpson family! But of course, Jessica–and more specifically, her father/fluffer Joe–knew how to make the most of her assets. Perhaps Simpson's business acumen should serve as a model for a certain other woman looking to put the world on a string (or noose, as it were). Sarah Palin's sex appeal has been a favored subject of many master-debaters ever since McCain introduced his sexy-librarian-minus-all-the-reading running mate, but is her whole "girl in the first two minutes of a ZZ Top video" look really enough to win an election? Not according to Paris Hilton, who this week told Harper's Bazaar that Palin needs to loosen up a little: "My advice to Sarah Palin is, you've got a hot bod; don't keep it to yourself," Hilton said. "Why wear a pantsuit when you can wear a swimsuit?" Because Paris, that would be presuming that Palin's presence on the Republican ticket has less to do with her experience and grasp on pertinent issues, and more to do with the fact that she's a pretty, shiny bauble to sway easily distracted, shallow types who don't so much vote with their brains but with their "gut"–and that's just ridiculous.
- And anyway, odds are Palin doesn't have any chance of winning this election, even if she shaves "Obama Hearts William Ayers" in her pubes and spends the next few weeks getting "accidentally" caught in upskirt photos. Not with the left-wing conspiracy slowly covering this country like an evil, elitist tapenade! No one is safe from that shadowy, cappuccino-quaffing cabal–not hardworking GOP voters being railroaded by "community organizers," and certainly not the makers of An American Carol, who believe that the lackluster box-office performance of their hilarious right-wing comedy has less to do with the fact that the movie looks fucking awful and everyone knows Republicans aren't funny and more to do with "ticket fraud." Director David Zucker sounded the alarm this week with a special message on the movie's official website, saying:
We have had heard from numerous people across the country that there has been some ticket fraud when buying a ticket for An American Carol this past weekend.
Please check your ticket. If you were in fact one of those people that were "mistakenly" sold a ticket for another movie please fill out the form below. Hold on to your ticket so we can have proof.
If you have noticed other irregularities with the theatres in your area please let us know in the comment section below. For instance, Rated R film rating (when in fact we are rated PG-13), posters not being up, not being listed on the marquee, image or focus problems, sound issues, etc.
Please email us a picture of your ticket stub to firstname.lastname@example.org
We are investigating.
Unfortunately the damn liberal media got hold of the story and turned it into some kinda joke, as they are wont to do; the page has since been pulled down. However, we heartily encourage any and all crusaders for justice to e-mail Zucker right now and lend their support. If more voices aren't heard and some semblance of justice restored to the world, why, we might never see a pandering, painfully unfunny right-wing comedy again!
- But as grateful as we are for folks like Zucker who are unafraid to tell the truth–no matter how petty and desperate it may make him sound–sometimes these sorts of revelations about their character have a way of retroactively ruining their earlier work. Sort of like how now we kind of never want to watch Airplane! again, a prospect that just makes us incredibly sad. Or like how the intervening years have revealed Mike Myers to be a one-shtick pony who treats everyone around him like garbage, and that combined with seeing Verne Troyer in a sex tape has sucked all the fun out of Austin Powers. And on that last note, in case there was some part of you that managed to block both of those things out and concentrate solely on all the hilarious gags about bad teeth and naughty-sounding names, here's another real-world intrusion to put a damper on your viewing pleasure: Actor Joe Son, who played the villainous "Oddjob"-homage "Random Task" in the first Austin Powers film, has been arrested in connection with a 1990 gang rape. That took place on Christmas Eve. Son pleaded guilty in May to a felony vandalism charge that required him to give a DNA sample; last week authorities used that to connect him to the long-unsolved crime. Son was officially charged with "five counts of forcible rape, two felony counts of forcible sodomy, two felony counts of sodomy in concert by force, seven felony counts of forcible oral copulations, and one felony count of sexual penetration by foreign object by force." (First commenter to say, "Who rapes someone with a shoe? Honestly!" gets to sit next to us in Hell.)
- Fulfilling our "sad story about a celebrity on the precipice of death" quota for the week, rocker Meat Loaf–who in 2007 halted a Newcastle gig to melodramatically declare that it would be his last show ever–once again stunned a U.K. crowd by showing up to London's Q Awards "staggering" and "appearing to be in distress." Meat Loaf arrived with "his knees buckling on the red carpet" and "sporting a reddened eye, which his spokespeople said was a 'scratched retina,' of provenance unknown, which was affecting his vision and mobility." Later, when Loaf was handed the award for "Classic Song," he "tumbled towards the microphone to give his acceptance speech, clipping it with his face before teetering to the edge of the platform, saved only by a last minute shifting of his giant frame back onto the boards." Then this happened:
Facing away from the majority of the crowd and into bright lights that angled into one side of the stage, he mouthed some inaudible words before eventually elucidating a quote from his friend and long-time collaborator Jim Steinman. "If you don't go over the top, you have no idea what's on the other side," he told the 400 attendants, all of whom had been stunned out of their normal cat-calling and into silence. He then pronounced himself "jubrant" at the honour.
As [host Al] Murray interceded, the singer, somewhat threateningly, challenged him to repeat his introductory words about Queen. "Most of it was extemporized," the comedian responded. "Extemporize something new," came the reply. "Do you know any Queen songs?" Murray asked, wincing. Meat Loaf did, breaking into a line of "Fat Bottomed Girls," before following it up with a short rendition of "My Generation," by The Who, whose lead singer, Roger Daltry, presented an earlier award.
In a bid to end the impromptu performance, Murray then suggested that they carried on the singing at the pub. This prospect seemed to find favour with the singer, who was then helped off the stage and into a waiting car. He could be heard telling organisers that he had not been drinking and that he would submit to a blood test if it would satisfy them.
According to reports released today, Loaf was admitted to a private London hospital for three days of testing and evaluation. Results or even explanations for why have not been released, but the good news is that the singer has been cleared to travel back to the States, where he is scheduled to perform two concerts in Florida in next week. Um… Bet they're gonna be great!
- Bradley Stewart was already a familiar presence on the Florida music scene–both as a member of local bands and, according to Wikipedia, as a part-time confrontational heckler–when he met Brian Warner, who invited him to join his up-and-coming band Marilyn Manson And The Spooky Kids. Following Warner's example, Stewart reinvented himself under the stage persona "Gidget Gein" (a mash-up of the teenybopper TV character and serial killer Ed Gein) and eventually earned a reputation for being one of the most debauched and over-the-top members of a group where that was really saying something. Gein's heroin addiction and erratic behavior got him kicked out of the group and replaced with Twiggy Ramirez at the peak of its success–the legend goes that Manson Fed-Exed him the news while Gein was laid-up in the hospital after an overdose–but his influence on the group (including several songs he had composed that were rewritten) continued to manifest itself in the band's aesthetic. Gein relocated to Hollywood, took up with the UNPOP art movement (where he found himself the recipient of, according to member Brian Clark, "some of the harshest criticism of everything featured on the website to date"), and frequently staged his own art and fashion shows under the name Gollywood. Unfortunately, he also kept up his heroin addiction; today it was announced that Gein overdosed and died at the age of 39.
- Normally our RIP section is reserved for notable people, and while this week also saw the deaths of All My Children actress Eileen Herlie at the age of 90 and influential pop-music champion, TV host, and Tiger Beat co-founder Lloyd Thaxton at the age of 81, the passings that have hit the hardest around the Buzzkills office have been of the inanimate variety. First comes the news that Manhattan's historic Tin Pan Alley, which was home to legendary publishers and songwriters like George Gershwin and Irving Berlin from the 1890s and 1950s, was put up for sale this week, with the listing on real estate site Loopnet recommending that "the buildings be torn down and a high-rise take their place." Because who cares about music history when there are condos to be built?
-But if I can step out of my contrived editorial voice for a second, I have to say that nothing has impacted me more personally this week than the news that cartoonist Berkeley Breathed is retiring from his comic-strip career for good. While I loved Calvin And Hobbes and The Far Side as much as any right-thinking individual, no cartoon–and indeed very, very few works of art–had as much of an impact on my nascent sense of humor as Bloom County did during my formative years. I endured many a schoolyard razzing for my Bill and Opus T-shirts (yes, I had more than one), and over the years I read and reread the entire collection from Loose Tails to Happy Trails! until most of those books lost their covers and had to be replaced. (Though my original Billy & The Boingers flexi-single is happily still intact.) Anyway… Anyone who's followed Breathed's more recent Opus strip already knows that he was diagnosed with spasmodic torticollis this year, an incredibly traumatizing, painful disorder that causes the neck to violently turn in all directions. In an unusual peek behind the curtain, Breathed drew himself into his May 18 strip and revealed the severity of his condition, which he compared to being "shot in the neck with a Taser gun." Since then it's been a slow march to the inevitable end–and this week Breathed made that official by announcing that he would cap his career for good on Nov. 2. In Breathed's own words:
"30 years of cartooning to end. I'm destroying the village to save it. Opus would inevitably become a ranting mouthpiece in the coming wicked days, and I respect the other parts of him too much to see that happen. The Michael Moore part of me would kill the part of him that was important to his fans."
Fair enough: Breathed has been known to get a bit heavy-handed with the politicizing–even though that's often been part of his charm. But still, it's a sad coda to a very important part of my life. (And "Thpppt!" if you disagree.) So if anyone needs me, I'll be lying naked in the dandelion patch, dreaming of the Wild Sorority Girls of Planet Playtex.
P.S. The fact that this song exists is fucking weird.
Have a super weekend!