Wednesday, June 09, 2004


Since it seems obligatory that everyone with any type of public forum for their views say something about the late President Reagan, I will try to say something nice and argue that good things can come from republican administrations. I know all the horrible crap, and am annoyed out of my mind when people talk about how great a job he did as a president, but Eric Alterman is doing a better job than I could over at Altercation . He was a great public figure however, and so in this week of his death I will limit my memory of him to how he was portrayed on the Tonight Show and in Bloom County and on Spitting Image. And I don't care what anyone says, I have always loved Nancy.

But really the only reason that I bring up Reagan in this most Gippopornographic of all weeks, is as a spring board for my long held assertion that when the powers-that-be go to hell, pop culture gets better. Just look at the Eighties vs. the Nineties. In the Eighties, everything that could be bad about foreign policy was horrible (do not get me started about Central America), corruption like crazy domestically, the S&L scandal... of course we could go on, but let's show some restraint. But then look at what was happening with music, with TV, with movies, with comics. The tension in the air of just knowing that the official ways of doing things are complete crap seems to just make the art better. At some point everyone just finally says f*ck it and decides that if they are going to be ignored and marginalized they might as while breakdance while it happens. Why should the crazy emperor burning Rome be the only one who gets to fiddle?

But put someone like Clinton in who is actually good at the JOB of being president and not just at looking and sounding presidentialish and pop culture goes straight to mediocre. Happy, well fed people with secure jobs who are accumulating wealth do not make great punk music. Neither do their fat, spoiled children. And they rarely make great hip hop or country either for that matter. No one who is comfortable and satisfied and unthreatened can really put the tension into a song/book/show/painting/whatever that is required for really genius art. Sure, there is plenty of good stuff that came out of the nineties, but when things get comfortable people get lazy and instead of seeing Run DMC and Cindi Lauper videos when you skip school, you see RealWorld vs. RoadRules Challenge marathons. And much as I can get into some lame 90's music, I challenge anyone to convince me that music has not gotten leaps and bounds better since Bush ascended the throne.

So while the collective public may not quite be at its you're-not-the-boss-of-me moment, many of us are and some are doing brilliant terrible things with this anger. Last week the Music for America site had a link to and on a whim I gave it a whirl. Holy sh*t!!!!

Just when I needed some little sign of intelligent and fun life out there in the universe, I am given this little gem. Basic gist: Hulk Hogan, a fat He-Man, and Mr. T fight to save America from Bush, Dick, and Voltron. Throw in a few informative side-notes and hysterical dialogue, and don't forget celebrity cameos: Rosie O'Donnell, Christopher Reeves, Howard Stern, the Hamburgler, the Telly Tubbies, R2-D2. Don't ask me why, but anything that involves the Hamburgler will always be funny.

Just a warning: this is not for the faint of heart and you might want to watch more than just the opening sequence before forwarding it off to all your casual acquaintances and work buddies. I am glad they went all out and made it as crude and graphic as these times deserve, but because of the fun and clear way the info in it is presented I secretly wish that there were a parent-safe version to send to my meeker friends and family. I think my dad could really laugh at the humor but would feel obliged to officially frown on any game his son, albeit adult son, shows him which has the Statue of Liberty being bf'd by bush's secretary of compassionate conservatism, Voltron and the line, "Did anyone get those stem cells that leaked out of barbara's vagina?" uttered by our most beloved paraplegic. Oh well, there are other ways to educate your parents and crazy extended family and I needed something just this completely done with all the bullsh*t reverence and deference to good taste and authority. Especially this week.

No comments: