Why do we still go to the movies?

“He’s this way, on the way to the movie theater.”
“He’s this way, on the way to the movie theater.”

It’s summer. If you’re a kid, that means it’s time to go look at a dead guy your buddy found. If you’re a farmer, that means carrots. And if you’re a movie producer, that means pouring millions into loud, dumb-as-a-bucket-of-whey-protein blockbusters. (Or a remake of that movie where kids go look at a dead guy.)

Why do blockbusters coincide with summer? Because, historically, movie attendance has always been up in the summer because theaters were the first buildings in town with air conditioning.

But it’s not like anyone doesn’t have air conditioning these days, or that there aren’t other air-conditioned options. So why do we still go to the movies instead of, say, the local dialysis center or Ruritan clubhouse?

Good question. I’m starting to wonder myself. Maybe it’s time we stopped, and here’s why … Continue reading Why do we still go to the movies?

Michael Jackson is Safe Again

Technically, we always preferred to think of him this way.
Technically, we always preferred to think of him this way.

Most people aren’t willing to enumerate the positives to people dying. They’re even less willing to do it in writing and publish it on the world’s most preeminent web sites because of how likely you will offend someone who knows someone who just died. I mean, the odds aren’t good: according to some random ass Internet search, 1.8 people die from death every second, so at least one of their relatives will likely stumble upon this article when Googling “inverted nipples” or “how to kill your parents.”

Fortunately, as the author of both those articles, I am not most people.

And that’s why I’m also willing to raise the stakes to explain why it’s good that the world’s most beloved/reviled song-singer is dead. And really, why it’s OK to like Michael Jackson again because he’s dead.

Yo, “Monster Mash.” Happy Halloween, and I’m-a finish you soon, but Whitney Houston was the greatest graveyard smash of all time. Of all time.
Yo, “Monster Mash.” Happy Halloween, and I’m-a finish you soon, but Whitney Houston was the greatest graveyard smash of all time. Of all time.

When Michael Jackson died four years ago this month, the world had pretty much all but forgotten him, save for some very odd personal habits and accusations of child molestation. Sure, there was still his music, but it came with baggage and snickers. Except, of course, on Halloween because (a) that’s a time for flaunting social and moral taboos, and (b) c’mon, we’re gonna judge “Thriller” but not “The Monster Mash,” a song so hyperbolically self-promoting that Kanye West can’t perform it without blushing?

But, since then, we’ve remembered something: we really, really liked his music. Like, to the point where we liked it enough to not just let Michael have sleepovers with our kids, we wanted him pretty much everywhere doing everything, from shaming drunk drivers with President Ronald Reagan to officiating hockey games, neither of which he was qualified for as a professional singer/dance-fighter.

“I really don’t think you’re OK to drive, Annie! Or the rest of you!”
“I really don’t think you’re OK to drive, Annie! Or the rest of you!”

And now he’s back in our summer playlists. Captain EO is back in Epcot. Even Alien Ant Farm is back on the radio because it’s too great of a stretch for rock stations to play the original “Smooth Criminal.”

So why now? While some people could always listen to “Man in the Mirror” and separate it from the guy who sleeps in a hyperbaric chamber — pretending that weird guy was already, essentially, dead — most people couldn’t do it until he was really, truly dead.

Roland Barthes noticed this back in the 1960s (not about Michael Jackson since he was still cute back then), and suggested in his essay, “Death of the Author,” that pretending the author is dead is the only way to honestly critique any work of art.

You know what you did, Vincent. And for that, we’ll buy your art from the bargain bin at your estate sale.
You know what you did, Vincent. And for that, we’ll buy your art from the bargain bin at your estate sale.

The problem is that, try as we might, a lot of artists make this incredibly hard to do. Like that dress on the wall? Too bad it was designed by anti-semitic John Galliano. Enjoying that movie? Way to support Roman Polanski and child molestation. It’s OK to like Ender’s Game; just don’t like it too much, like in a gay way, because it was written by your homophobic pseudo-uncle, Orson Scott Card.

The more we demand and artists readily supply every facet of their lives to us, the harder it is to appreciate any of them in their lifetimes, a feat that was already nearly impossible.

And that’s why it took four years for us to get over Michael Jackson as a person to finally appreciate his music. And when you think about it, even his worst headlines are nearly 20 years old now, so really, he’s been absent from our constant attention for even longer.

It could have been worse. It took us nearly 130 years to consider Richard Wagner’s music without his recalling his anti-Semitism. Of course, it didn’t help how enthusiastic the Nazis were for his entire catalogue, so that probably tacked on at least another century before Israeli orchestras will play it.

Seriously: what's up with artists, anti-Semitism and child molestation? Couldn't just one be a regular racist asshole like Ty Cobb?
Seriously: what’s up with artists, anti-Semitism and child molestation? Couldn’t just one be a regular racist asshole like Ty Cobb?

It’s something today’s artists should probably consider, even if we’re unlikely to recognize their genius in their lifetimes: why make it harder?

In the meantime, now that Michael’s parts are falling off of him, we can finally listen to his music without picturing his parts falling off of him the way they were in the 2000s. And thank goodness, because I couldn’t take another summer of Katy Perry. Did you see the way she dumped Russel Brand?

Some Atheists *Still* Need Religion

As fellow Guy, Bryan McBournie, brought to our attention on Friday, the new pope kind of forgot to send atheists to Hell last week. During a recent sermon, Pope Francis said that everybody can go to heaven through good works, even atheists.

Wait, even atheists, Father?

“Even the atheists. Everyone!”
“Even the atheists. Everyone!”

Wow. That’s pretty exciting news. Sort of like how the Boy Scouts of America also decided last week that gay kids can join their club that is intentionally devoid of any positive adult gay role models.

In both cases, two very conservative organizations that do good work when they’re not actively discriminating against people they dislike, attempted to reach out to communities in the most tone-deaf ways possible.

I’ve written about the Boy Scouts gay ban before. I support the ban because Jason Voorhees votes Republican and the last thing we need is to give him another reason to go full Tea Partier in the woods again.

You should have seen the things I did to couches for wearing slutty slipcovers.
You should have seen the things I did to couches for wearing slutty slipcovers.

But, if the Scouts are willing to acknowledge that gay kids — even those as old as 17 years old — aren’t going to hurt straight kids, then they might as well admit that the 18 – 116 crowd is OK, too. Especially when, as boys, we’re all at our date-rapiest between the ages of 14 – 17.

We’ve spent the past several years trying to convince gay, lesbian, bi and trans youth that it eventually gets better. Leave it to the BSA to invent a reason that, no, it doesn’t, and if you join their organization today, one of their straight leaders can teach your kid to morally straighten up or kill themselves by the time they’re allowed to vote. Or just stay away from kids because they’re monsters.

And then there’s the pope, who basically set the wayback dial to “John Paul II.” I’ll admit that it’s kind of cool that a sitting pope acknowledged that people of different faiths (Protestants, Muslims, Jews and etc.) — or even no faith (atheists and Star Trek fans who wonder if there will ever be a new, good show) — can be good people. Admitting us into a club that we’re almost definitely sure doesn’t exist is just how he explains who’s good and who isn’t.

But, it only took a day for the Vatican to clarify that, while the Pope means well (as most infallible people do), he is incorrect (as most infallible people aren’t.) According to one of their spokesmen, Father Thomas Rosica, atheists can do good work and be considered good, but if they know about the Catholic Church and refuse to join, then it doesn’t count.

And this is where things get sad. When Father Rosica said that ““They cannot be saved who, knowing the Church as founded by Christ and necessary for salvation, would refuse to enter her or remain in her,” he doesn’t just mean atheists. He means non-Catholics, too, because that’s what faiths mean when they capitalize “church”: it’s their Church, not your Lutheran church.

“– unless you’d rather go to the place that doesn’t allow masturbating. Your choice.”
“– unless you’d rather go to the place that doesn’t allow masturbating. Your choice.”

But, you’re not going to see Lutherans or Episcopals or even Hindus or Buddhists upset about not getting into Catholic heaven because (some of them) have their own heavens and, guess what, Catholics aren’t allowed in either. (Or, in other cases, everyone’s invited to our all-encompassing energy rave, so why would they go to Catholics’ stodgy old country club?)

But atheists? First, they got excited when Francis, who serves the wine, said they’re on the bouncer’s list. Then, they got upset when the regulars told them that the bouncer doesn’t take orders from the bar manager.

Why? Because many atheists, despite claiming to be atheists, aren’t really atheists. They’re mad at their Church or their parents, but would jump right back in if, say, the new pope washed women’s feet or traded in his crazy expensive designer shoes for some cheap-ass Hush Puppies. And, in this case, if he said anybody who does good despite using birth control or being pro-choice could get into heaven.

Why would an atheist care if they’re going to heaven if heaven is (A) not real, and (B) full of all most of the preceding popes and zealots who use atheists as a scapegoat for all of society’s ills?

I hate hippies, but I’d rather loudly disapprove of patchouli smell every trip to Trader Joe’s than start a new business that sells off-brand organic shit.
I hate hippies, but I’d rather loudly disapprove of patchouli smell every trip to Trader Joe’s than start a new business that sells off-brand organic shit.

For probably the same reason why parents who don’t discriminate against gay adults and atheists (who are still banned from scouts, even as kids) would keep their kids in an organization that does: because we want to believe that, contrary to all existing evidence, that these groups can be better.

So, maybe some atheists are only atheists until they’re facing their own mortality. And maybe some LGBT allies are only allies until it’s time to get their kids outdoors. It’s easy to sacrifice an ideal if it doesn’t directly affect you. And it’s way easier than creating a new group when the existing “gold” standard that you grew up with is so convenient.

Cocktails, oo-oo!

It explains this guy's flying.
It explains this guy’s flying.

I’m pretty sure that the theme to Duck Tales was written for booze money. And it only took a couple of minor lyrics edits to find some poor fellow thirsty traveler begging for a drink.

Life is like a hurricane here in Drunkburg.
Race cars, lasers, aeroplanes — it’s a drunk blur.
You might solve a mystery! Or rewrite history!
Cock Tails, oo-oo!
Tales of derring-do, bad and good drunk tales, oo-oo!
D-d-d-danger, watch behind you! There’s a stranger out to find you!
What to do? Just grab onto some Cock Tails, oo-oo!
Not pony tails or cotton tails, but Cock Tails, oo-oo!
When it seems they’re headed for the final curtain,
Bold deduction never fails, that’s for certain!
The worst of messes become successes!
Cock Tails, oo-oo !
Tales of derring-do, bad and good drunk tales, oo-oo!
Not pony tails or cotton tails but Cock Tails, oo-oo!


And everybody thought the best music was written about heroin.

We All Kind of Suck

Dove thinks you’re pretty. Pretty ashy! (Buy Dove skin moisturizing lotion and lube up those ugly spots.)
Dove thinks you’re pretty. Pretty ashy! (Buy Dove skin moisturizing lotion and lube up those ugly spots.)

A recent campaign by Dove, a soap company, told us that women have low self-esteem and are all much more beautiful than they think. (Also: just because you’re pretty doesn’t mean you don’t stink, so buy some body wash.)

In a video that was shared by everyone with more estrogen than R. Lee Ermey, Dove cast an actor to play a sketch artist (the police kind, not your friend who’s really into improv) who draws Holywood-ugly — normal-looking — women based first on descriptions of themselves, and then based on how another actor was scripted to see them.

In the end, it turned out that, when women described themselves, the sketch turned out awful. (Way to go, something else that’s your fault, uggo.) When a complete stranger was very polite in case the man was married to the woman he’s asking about, the sketch turned out a-iight. Certainly not as great as when you mail your photo into that SkyMall artist who turns it into a sketch.

And, of course, women decided they were wrong about how they looked and opted for the prettier picture that could have been influenced by just about anything in the room at the time of the interview. (“She, uh … she looked like a chair.”)

Does that sound cynical? There’s a good reason for that: science!

In a 2008 psychological study, Nicholas Epley of the University of Chicago and Erin Whitchurch of the University of Virginia took pictures of test subjects and edited them to make flattering and unflattering copies. (They applied whatever techniques the DMV does to your photo to make you look like you’re three days into a speed-induced bender.)

When they submitted the modified and unmodified photos back to the test subjects and asked them to identify the real photo of themselves, the subjects overwhelmingly picked one of the prettied up ones.

We’re not just looking for others to validate how pretty we know we really are. As a species, we also consistently seek confirmation that we’re more likely to vote, that we donate larger amounts in charity than anyone else and that we all rate above average at driving, working and love-making.

Two orgasms! Two! Eat it, previous boyfriends! Oh, wait: you didn’t.
Two orgasms! Two! Eat it, previous boyfriends! Oh, wait: you didn’t.

It should go without saying that if everyone’s above average, then “above average” is average. But, try telling that to your parents when you bring home a C. (Or, later, a 5 that you plan to marry.)

But, that wasn’t the end of the original photos experiment. While you and I may think that we, in our own estimations, are pretty fairly awesome and better than everyone else, it turns out that all those other assholes also think they’re the competent drivers and prettiest.

When those test subjects were presented the original, pretty and nasty photos of other test subjects, they were able to pick the real photo right away. We’re also pretty good at predicting how much (or little) someone else will donate to a cause or whether they’re really going to vote or just tape last election’s sticker back onto their lapel.

Because it turns out that, while we’re really good at finding ways for others to compliment us and to compliment ourselves, other people are even better at seeing right through our bullshit.

So, if you’re sensing a trend in last week’s explanation of why your Game of Thrones recap sucks and this week’s explanation of why Star Trek Into Darkness sucks, it’s probably because you, I and everyone else kind of sucks.

That is to say that we all suck more than we each suspect of ourselves. We want to believe a Dove commercial campaign that says we have low self-esteem and are actually more beautiful than we think … but only somebody with low self-esteem would buy whatever a soap commercial is selling.

Hey, and I think that stripper really likes you, too.
Hey, and I think that stripper really likes you, too.

OK, so you’re not as great as you hoped you’d be. Neither am I, and neither is anyone else. But, we’re also not as bad as we think we are, either. And even if you take our individual great parts and build the perfect human being, nine times out of ten, you’ll get post-op Carrot Top. That other perfect one of ten? They get all the acting and modelling jobs, but they also become Scientologists so it’s all a wash.

Just try to be nice to yourselves. And if you’re feeling dry or stinky, buy some Lubriderm because, seriously, fuck Dove and their attempts to manipulate us.

Oh, and maybe donate to the Red Cross to help everyone down in Oklahoma City. I did, and I’ve got a pretty good feeling you will, too.

Movies I’ve Sneen: ‘Star Trek Into Darkness’

J.J. Abrams, along with writers Damon Lindelof and Roberto Orci, thought they were being clever by using the imagery of Star Trek's flagship, the Enterprise, crashing and burning.
J.J. Abrams thought he was being clever by using the imagery of Star Trek‘s flagship, the Enterprise, crashing and burning.

At the end of an interview in TIME back in April, LeVar Burton was asked what he thought of J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek. Burton replied that he was eager to see Into Darkness, but added that he wants “to see what it is [Abrams] wants to talk about. Star Trek’s always about something. What’s J.J. trying to say? That’s what I’m very interested in discovering.” [Emphasis his.]

At the time, Abrams had already wasted 127 minutes of Star Trek, all of which had signified nothing. It was an origin movie for ordinary people. Kirk came from a broken home. Spock also had a difficult childhood. Uhura probably had a cold, distant father, sending her into emo-Spock’s arms. A random Romulan named Nero lost his family and used his future tech to destroy Vulcan. All in all, it was no different than the latest Wolverine film: a lot of noise and shouting and action movie justifications for killing each other.

So, Geordi threw down the gauntlet: given another 132 minutes, would J.J. Abrams finally use Star Trek to say something? No. He didn’t.

Before we get into the meat of this review, let me state two things in advance:

1. There will be spoilers. Abrams cheated. He intentionally made a film so full of twists — and entirely devoid of actual plot and character development — that to “spoil” those twists would ruin what little movie remains. This is why every review so far written is limited in details: by making all of stupid parts of the movie out-of-bounds as “spoilers,” this brain-dead blockbuster with Star Trek characters is essentially unassailable.

10 PRINT "Worst." 20 PRINT "Movie." 30 PRINT "Ever." 40 GOTO 10
10 PRINT “Worst.”
20 PRINT “Movie.”
30 PRINT “Ever.”
40 GOTO 10

2. I know who I sound like. I get it, man, trust me. I’m fully aware that this is gonna read like, as Adam Frazier from Geeks of Doom put it, a “die-hard bellyacher,” using my “TI-83 scientific calculator to formulate all the ways Abrams has ruined [my] favorite franchise by making it fun, fast-paced, and watchable.”

And Adam (who is a friend) would be absolutely right … had he not just written not one, but two articles about Iron Man 3: the first to explain why he’s not mad, just disappointed, and the second to present how he would have written it. Truly, a better example of the lantern calling the arrow green has never been written.

(Also, his movie would have been the better Iron Man 3, which is why you should always take the expert’s opinion over a casual fan’s. After all, would you trust a vegetarian’s review of a steakhouse?)

So, where to begin? How about this: Benedict Cumberbatch is Khan.

I told you that there would be spoilers. And now that you know that J.J. Abrams, Damon Lindelof (Cowboys & Aliens, Prometheus), and Roberto Orci (Transformers, all you need to know) couldn’t write a Star Trek Too: Look Who’s Trekkin’ Now without making it a retread of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.  Do you see why this spoiler is the only thing that makes the review worthwhile? I mean, if you can’t name your villain without spoiling the whole damn movie, then it’s pretty damn flimsy.

Not only does this movie attempt to retcon the only Star Trek movie that fans and non-fans agree on as being the best Star Trek movie ever made, it does so through role-reversal. In Soviet Russia’s Star Trek, Khan fights side-by-side with Kirk, Kirk dies to restart the Enterprise’s warp core, and Spock screams “KHAAAAAAAAN!”

Look at it! Look at it! This is the new "I'm the Juggernaut, bitch!" moment in cinema.
Look at it. Look at it. This is the new “I’m the Juggernaut, bitch!” moment in cinema.
"Can I cook or can't I?" If Carol Marcus can't cook, then she can, at the very least, breastfeed now.
“Can I cook or can’t I?” If Dr. Carol Marcus can’t cook, then she can, at the very least, breastfeed now.

Oh, and Carol Marcus is back, but younger, bustier, and as a torpedo specialist — indicating that this writing team missed the whole point of WoK‘s Project Genesis: to create living, habitable worlds. She now sneaks aboard the Enterprise due to Daddy Issues. No, really. I wish this were all satire and that, really, I want to blow your mind the way Abrams thought he would by giving Dr. Marcus a fake last name. But, no. This is an actual movie that was actually made.

I could go into the plot and why Kirk and Khan start out on the same side and then end up fighting each other, but you know what? You, I, and even Original Universe Spock (played once again by Leonard Nimoy, who got dragged into the make-up trailer for a quick video conference) already know that Khan is evil, so why bother?

"Unlike the cruel Roddenberry, who demanded that you think, I require only that you kneel."
“Unlike the cruel Roddenberry, who demanded that you think, I require only that you kneel.”

And that’s the main question for the writers, on whom I’m heaping all of the scorn I can muster: why even bother? There’s some bullshit about 9/11 (followed by a dedication at the end so you can’t critique how ineptly they wrote it),  and Peter Weller is trying to militarize Starfleet against the Klingons who look like Xerxes from 300 now.

The worst part, though, is that the movie starts off so promising. It opens with the scene we all know from the trailers: Kirk and McCoy on an away mission that has gone to hell. They’re on the run from a pre-warp alien culture because the aliens want to kill them and the Prime Directive means they’re not allowed to reason with them. Spock, in the meantime, is ready to die to stop the volcano that’s about to destroy their world so that those aliens will never know. This is the Trek that the end of 2009’s Star Trek promised us. And it lasts for all of 15 minutes.

After that humdinger of an opening, Star Trek Into Darkness descends into dumbness faster than the long, drawn out crash into Earth at the end. Kirk loses his command. Chris Pike lives through the first movie to die in the second, which is still better than being a vegetable in a chair … or will he back in Star Trek to Three or not to Three?! (Yeah, I’m saying it: even the title sucks, and that’s a hell of an achievement in a franchise that includes Star Trek: Insurrection and Star Trek: Nemesis.)

"Captain, stay down. I'll get you some of Khan's blood and save you." "Spock, you know that there's, like, 72 other superhumans already frozen in sick bay, right?"
“Captain, stay down. I’ll get you some of Khan’s blood and save you.”
“Spock, you know that there’s, like, 72 other superhumans already frozen in sick bay, right?”

J.J. Abrams admitted years ago that he was not a Star Trek fan. What he is a fan of? Delivering mediocre adaptations of other people’s work to sell popcorn. And it’s been downhill. Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol was one of the better Mission Impossible movies (he said, knowing that somewhere online, there is a MI fan as pissed off as I am at STID and Frasier at IM3.) Super 8 was Abrams’ best attempt at something Spielberg hasn’t done since the 1980s: writing a movie about children that makes adults wish they were that age again. Sure, it was cheesy and felt like someone else’s homework at times, but it was still good. Star Trek was better than I expected.* But, the red matter and basic errors indicated that he was getting lazy.

*Full disclosure: I walked into the 2009 Star Trek expecting it to suck. That’s not just because it was an adaptation of the original series. It’s mostly because, as a Star Trek fan, I know that Star Trek movies are always hit or miss. Star Trek: The Motion Picture is as boring as it is literally titled. Star Trek III: The Search for Spock only exists because Nimoy wanted out of the series … until WoK was a success. IV is goofy and fun. V is proof that, although they didn’t find the real God at the center of the galaxy, he does exist and is angry at us … but, I digress. Point is, I was delightfully surprised. This time though?

Abrams made the kind of movie he is a fan of: Star Wars. And so it’s probably for the best that now he’s making those films … or is it?

What’s to stop Abrams to decide that the problem with Star Wars is everything you love about it? That what it needs is more mass appeal and to dumb things down for the kids that weren’t around 30 years ago when the original series was made. That’s exactly the mentality that went into the Star Wars prequels, and that was by the guy who invented them in the first place, the person they should have been safest with.

I’m a Star Trek fan, and I’m a Star Wars fan. And I can say that, after seeing Star Trek get turned into a dumb action movie — complete with a rooftop fight on a flying train something or other — I don’t trust Abrams with Star Wars. And neither should you.

"I'm gonna throw you off this train!" "No! I'm gonna throw you off this train!"
“Get off this train!”
“No! You get off this train!”

In the end, Star Trek Into Darkness promises that the U.S.S. Enterprise’s five-year mission to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no man has gone before, starts now. For real this time. No, really. Even though they already found tribbles and Harry Mudd, this is where real Star Trek begins!

Yeah, we’ll see.

Your ‘Game of Thrones’ Recap Sucks

"Thrones made of swords? How do they even work?"
“Thrones made of swords? How do they even work?”

When the Insane Clown Posse reemerged a couple of years ago back into relevance with their music video, “Miracles,” they pondered everyday miracles like “Magnets/how do they even work?” Everyone, of course, laughed, because the answer to how magnets work is documented in books or, if your bookshelves are doused in Faygo, a Wikipedia search away.

What a pair of illiterate morons, right? I mean, who treats something that has been documented in written word for some time now like it’s an unsolvable, unknowable mystery?

That would be pretty much everyone writing Game of Thrones recaps.

Does that seem harsh? Hit the jump to find out exactly why your Monday morning link bait is terrible, and you’re terrible (with notable exceptions) for writing it.

First off, no, I’m not talking about everyone who posts a weekly recap of Game of Thrones after each new episode airs on HBO. I’m not even mad if you haven’t read the books. But, if you’re writing a recap for the sake of guessing what happens next in the series and, even worse, get upset if somebody mentions in the comments — that you asked for — what happens in a book published in 2000 (A Storm of Swords, which is where Season 3 is at) … then we’ve got a problem.

I’m gonna back up a bit. Let’s say that you aren’t a complete idiot and know how to look up magnets to find out how they work. Instead, let’s say you’ve just watched Peter Jackson’s first of three Hobbit movies, but you never read J.R.R. Tolkein’s book.

What are you going to write about? You can’t write about the ending because Peter Jackson and New Line Cinemas decided to stretch The Hobbit across three films and pad it with scenes written from Tolkein’s notes and Lord of the Rings appendices. But, you can’t even discern which scenes are “new” material because it’s all new to you.

As far as you’re concerned, it’s a work in progress. To everyone who actually gives a shitt about a book that was published all the way back in 1937, however, you are an idiot, especially when you wonder and/or try to guess what happens next. If you’re really that interested in whether any of the dwarves die, then the answer already exists. You just have to read a book that is very easy to read. (Or even look it up on Wikipedia if you’re that lazy.)

Of course, Tolkein’s not for everyone. Nearly everyone, however, has read Harry Potter. Except for me.

That’s not entirely true. I read almost all of the books except the last one, which I started and after several chapters of whining in tents, put it down and decided I just didn’t care enough; I’d wait for the damn movie. (It’s OK not to care. It’s never OK to pretend to care when you absolutely don’t.)

But, I sure as hell wasn’t about to write a recap for each installment of The Deathly Hallows. I knew better than to guess which characters live and died in the second half, or to take odds. Why? Because I don’t like to revel in illiteracy.

I can fully admit that I didn’t read a book. And why not? It’s not like I didn’t read other books. Or that I was worried about having the ending spoiled for me because, if I truly cared enough that I needed to see Voldemort die in context, I would have fucking read it.

Or, you can ignore all of this and write about Game of Thrones anyway, demonstrating that ignorance is no obstacle to holding an opinion. Just be aware that I may have Photoshopped juggalo makeup over your byline pic.

Razing Hope

Oh, hello there. I didn’t see you come to this Web site since that’s not really a thing you can see … or even hear since the dial-up days. Also, because I’m busy at work in my lair.

So my lair may be a little unfinished right now. But, it will only take a couple of miles of jack-hammering before it’s a volcano lair.
So my lair may be a little unfinished right now. But, it will only take a couple of miles of jack-hammering before it’s a volcano lair.

Why do I have a lair? Well, when I’m not writing fart jokes or pretending to be a doctor, I have a day job. And when I’m not at that day job, I put on a cowl and practice arch-evil. I guess you could say I’m a part-time villain.

I’d like to say that I’m pretty good at villainy — for an amateur, that is. But, no matter how many shrink rays I invent or monologues I write, I’ll never be able to quit my day and blogging jobs because I’m hopelessly outmatched by the Republican party.

Yes, I mean that the Republican party (or GOP) are twice the villains I could ever hope to be. And I don’t mean that because I’m a registered Democrat. On the contrary, as a practicing villain who aspires to one day destroy the world, I consider it my duty to vote Republican as often as possible. Here’s why: Continue reading Razing Hope

Looking Away from Addiction

Playstation, you are my home school.
Playstation, you are my home school.

White people, especially white men, love us some history. (I phrased it that way so I won’t get sued by Stuff White People Like, which is nearly 50 years old now in Internet time.)

Why do we love history so much? Mostly because it’s about us, and holy crap were we the victors. Reviewing our history is figuratively like watching our very own sports highlight reel, which is literally something we haven’t been able to do since Jackie Robinson. Even when the history involved white people doing bad things, it was usually another white person that set it right.

This is why the History channel cut to the chase years ago and started serving up a hodgepodge of

  • World War II, when white people stopped the whitest people from killing what were considered at the time less whiter people.
  • Aliens. Specifically white (or very pale gray) aliens abducting white people.
  • The Bible, as presented in Monocolor. (Not that New World Edition with Black Jesus, mind you.)
  • Alaska, pawn shops and swamps because, dammit, you go where the white people are, OK?

There’s only one historical topic that white people love more than any other, and that is the U.S. Civil War. It’s a fact: non-white students are allowed to cite any white person in the bibliography of their Civil War papers up to their Master’s program, and it counts for full credit!

So, where does this zeal come from? It’s not like it’s particularly complimentary to white history, what with slavery and all. Yet, we can’t stop flying the Confederate flag even in 2013.

In the VA’s defense, they did fly two out of three actual Confederate national flags, and according to that old honkey spiritual, “two out of three ain’t bad.”
In the VA’s defense, they did fly two out of three actual Confederate national flags, and according to that old honkey spiritual, “two out of three ain’t bad.”

For instance: a Veterans Affairs hospital in Virginia took down their Confederate flags when a black patient complained, discharged him two weeks early for his PTSD treatment and then put the flags right back up as soon as he was safely out the door. Even though he’s not the only patient to complain — and although VA Medical Center at Hot Springs only treated Union soldiers during the war — that hospital needed those Confederate flags.

Or when North Carolina displayed a Confederate flag in the statehouse to “historically” reenact what it would have looked like in 1863, it didn’t matter that they weren’t even flying the flag that would have flown in the statehouse in 1863. Sure, the Confederate flag you and I know wasn’t really the CSA flag in 1863 or any other time, but they needed to fly that flag.

North Carolinians insist they did all the requisite research into the what they say is the Confederate flag by looking at paintings by old white dudes at crafts shows.
North Carolinians insist they did all the requisite research into the what they say is the Confederate flag by looking at paintings by old white dudes at crafts shows.
Well, if The Dublin Citizen, an actual Texas newspaper says it’s Racist 4-20, then it must be true!
Well, if The Dublin Citizen — an actual Texas newspaper — says it’s Racist 4-20, then it must be true!

Or when Commanche County, Texas pretends that April is Confederate History Month just to fly the flag over its courthouse. Even for just a month, they need to fly it.

Or Brad Paisley, the country music star who can’t go to Starbucks without wearing a Confederate flag: he claims that he doesn’t know it’s racist, even though he sang a whole song about why he kind of knows it is.  Even still, he needs to wear that flag.

This isn’t zeal. What we’re really talking about here is addiction.

And you can’t just ask white people to quit the Civil War cold turkey. Especially the Confederacy. If Civil War addiction is pot (every gets into it for a little while when they’re young), then the need to fly the Confederate flag is like crack cocaine or heroin: it’s harder to quit because all the things that make it worse for you also make the high better.

You cannot beat the high white people get from the Confederacy. Imagine: it’s American history plus war, facial hair and the idea that, given the chance, it could happen again, only with the whiter people winning this time! This is the purest mountain of white stuff that skydiving, bungie jumping or any other extreme sport or ideology can’t top.

It’s why the VA Medical Center at Hot Springs could barely shoo Desert Storm veteran Craig DeMouchette out the door to get another sweet, sweet hit of Confederacy. Who cares if his PTSD — which he’s apparently had since at least 1991 — is cured, right?

The VA printed this certificate for DeMouchette’s record-setting recovery from PTSD because they can’t legally give awards for “instilling white guilt, however temporary.”
The VA printed this certificate for DeMouchette’s record-setting recovery from PTSD because they can’t legally give awards for “instilling white guilt, however temporary.”

Or why North Carolina can’t help relapsing over and over again. Maybe it’s because they’re still hanging out with South Carolina, which has had their own Confederate flag troubles since at least 2003.

“What’s the big deal, mom? Caitlyn’s dad said it’s OK.”
“What’s the big deal, mom? Caitlyn’s dad said it’s OK.”

And why towns in Texas invented the equivalent of “4-20 Day,” thinking that would make it suddenly OK to fly the Confederate flag in public if “everyone’s doing it.”

Even Brad Paisley’s caffeine addiction can’t overpower his need for a CSA fix. (Although it appears his sponsor, LL Cool J, and accompanying permissive attitude isn’t doing Paisley any favors.)

And that’s why white people know so much about the U.S. Civil War and yet, really, so little about it. It’s like getting medical marijuana facts from your local pot head. Sure, we know where it was grown and what THC stands for, but we’ll act (sometimes genuinely) surprised when anybody mention that smoking it will give us cancer the same way inhaling smoke from enough cigarettes or car fires will. (It’s also coincidentally why the State’s Rights argument gets recycled to defend smokers from anti-smoking laws. Or when the Man tries to limit how many car tires you can light on fire in a place of business.)

So, how do we cure this addiction? By preventing young people from getting hooked when they eventually learn about the Civil War. Through education, we can teach a generation that, while wearing gray uniforms and marching through fields for tourists may look like fun, that those uniforms are facsimiles of ones made by slaves for their masters. Or how most of those re-enactors probably hate themselves and would quit if they hadn’t put so much time and money into their historically accurate waistcoats.

In short, we have to expose young people to the ugliness of the U.S. Civil War — and Civil War addiction — to break the cycle. And then, maybe in another 50 years, we can start the debate over again when white Southerners try to fly the segregationist flag (or the actual flag these idiots keep trying to fly right now) during their centennial reenactments of the March to Selma.

Originally posted on SeriouslyGuys and HumorOutcasts.

Ask Dr. Snee: Overcoming Your Shortcomings

“It was tiny, and it looked like this!”
“It was tiny, and it looked like this!”

I always wondered if women really cared about, you know, size, and it turns out that they totally do! I’m not exactly the biggest guy around, so what do I do now?
Paul, but Fierce

Whether it’s a big penis or big set of “projecting lateral tubercles,” the ladies are all about size, Paul. It’s what put the “selective” in “selective breeding,” like picking out the least warty cucumber that can also feed a family of four.

Why do I bring up evolution? Because, thanks to earlier generations of size queens, your four-inch potato masher is still one of the comparatively largest members in the animal kingdom. (I’m not sure why I specified animal kingdom. It’s not like there are plant species receiving offers for free underwear.)

Of course, in some plants’ cases, it’s only because they don’t have the requisite legs to wear Jockey’s.
Of course, in some plants’ cases, it’s only because they don’t have the requisite legs to wear Jockey’s.

Even in the study in question, the women appraised naked men’s bodies with flaccid penises and, on average, liked the way a three-inch soft penis (♪ warm penis, little balls of ♫ … but, I digress) looked. So, still not that big, and we’re not exactly talking about playing conditions here, where functionality actually matters.

But, let’s not forget that women were appraising men’s bodies overall. So, proportion counts here, too. Taller men had to have bigger penises for higher ratings because, when you put a hot dog in a sub roll, it just looks like less meat. And more fit men rated higher, period, with penis-size just sorting out who got picked first for skins-on-skins wrestling and who got picked second.

So, what do you do?

“Call me a baby dick, bro! I f**king dare you!”
“Call me a baby dick, bro! I f**king dare you!”

1. Work out. You can’t control your height or penis size … well, to clarify, you can’t control your height or penis size without weird Frankenstein scars. But, you can somewhat control what your body looks like. Plus, leaner guys’ peeners stick out more, which is why celebrated Renaissance artists called the penis the cheek bones of the pelvis.

2. Turn your junk into another man’s treasure. With the right ornamentation, you can make your smaller penis more attractive or even appear bigger. For instance, try incorporating it into a tattoo. You can try a little drop-shadowing to give the illusion of greater size and girth, or just make it prettier and more female-friendly by tattooing still shots from Girls or Ryan Reynolds’ abs on it.

3. Date smaller women. One of the more interesting factors was the women doing the appraising. Women with larger body mass indexes preferred larger penises, either because they are more likely to fill them up (which doesn’t make much sense — outer dimensions have as little bearing on vaginal depth and width as it does on penis size) or because they’re hungrier.

But, to a tiny woman, apparently a shrimp can look like a tiger prawn. That is to say: bigger, but c’mon, we’re still talking about adult human proportions here, with an emphasis on “adult.” (To state it outright: don’t date children.)

So, there you go, Paul. I wouldn’t worry too much about your penis size. After all, even the smallest dick still gets paid more than the average woman for the same work. By looking for small victories, we can overcome all of life’s shortcomings.

†Although I maintain that evolution is a lie, I’m willing to use any theory, no matter how satanic, to make my dick look bigger. And this ability makes me the biggest dick of them all. Go Back

Rick Snee is not, in any way, a licensed medical professional or an actor that plays one on television. His only qualifications are high school and college biology (101 and 102), reading Men’s Health (2001-2003), and a systematic exposure to almost all health hazards (1981-present), but no medical training whatsoever. He’s just really opinionated, which is good enough for blogging. To submit yer own questions to Dr. Snee, Guynecologist, post comments below or email the good doctor.

This post originally appeared on SeriouslyGuys and HumorOutcasts.