WTF internet?!

December 7, 2011

These are stories that either made me laugh, cry, or fly into a fit of rage.

1) FDA approves does not approve new hangover pill:
The “pill”, called Blowfish which will sell for $2.99, is a combination of caffeine, aspirin and random crap to calm your stomach and works like magic in 15 to 30 minutes. You know what else contains caffeine and Aspirin and stomach calming stuff? Excedrin and tums. Some outlets reported that the FDA approved this magical little pill on Tuesday, however the FDA says they have not approved the pill to treat hangovers and only recently just heard about it. You’re better off sleeping it off and drinking plenty of water and/or Gatorade anyway.

2) Bennett isn’t real:
Last week or so when I was first introduced to “Texts from Bennett” I wanted him to be real. I really did. Mostly because these “texts” are the most ridiculous things I’ve read this month. Unfortunately, the Smoking Gun reports that Bennett is not real. Well, they don’t really say that, but “Bennett” is a pseudonym for David Sheldon’s real friend or something and Sheldon may or may not be making it up. Who knows. They’re still funny, however less so, now that there’s serious suspicion over the realness of Bennett.

3) “Mythbusters” shoot cannon ball into home
I love the Mythbusters. Mostly because they show you that science can be really funny and sometimes (see: all the time) things go wrong. But I really like when they blow up stuff and show how awesome duct tape is. Anyway, apparently something went wrong when the crew was at the Alameda County Firing Range recently: they fired a cannonball into someone’s home. (Wonder if they’ll air that on the episode they were filming.) Police say the cannonball took “a few unfortunate bounces” and ended up blasting a hole in the wall of the home. No one was injured and police are of course investigating.

4) Commie Muppets are brainwashing your children
Maybe it’s just me and my utter exhaustion at everything being turned into a political “Gotcha!” but for fucks sake, the Muppets are not brainwashing your children. I guess if we’re going that route, better keep your kids away from any “Scrooge” stories this Christmas. You know, because Scrooge is really just a substitute for Corporations who are mean cold-hearted entities that only want to make money and say “Screw you Tiny Tim, hope you die!” (Ok, he never says that… but I’m pretty sure you get my point.) Just take things for what they are, people. It’s a movie, based on the same story line used in nearly every single movie ever made: hero, conflict, resolution=hero wins. If you don’t like it, don’t take your kids to see the movie. And if a movie overrides the values you teach your kids, then you’re probably a bad parent.

6 Responses to “WTF internet?!”

  1. Scott Says:

    I can’t, nor do I care, to comment on The Muppets example; however, it would be naive to believe that the artist’s intentions are always innocent. I, myself, wrote on blog on Spielberg’s recent comments regarding walking out of the theater before seeing the complete movie. He says it’s disrespectful to the artist. If you’re taking your kids to see an animated kids movie, and the theme song explicitly denounces life in the suburbs, it would be wise to walk out of the theater instead of complaining. After spending time with artsy folk, it is clear that artists will use their art as propaganda.

    The reason why I feel your Scrooge example is invalid is because that story deals with characters who learn something about life. I am a huge fan of John Ford and Akira Kurosawa, who were were at times very Leftist. Stagecoach, for example, has a group of characters, and the only really despicable character is the rich banker who feels that it is his patriotic duty to make the banks richer and richer. That character would play very well with the OWS movement, but in terms of the movie, Ford used that one character to let his leftist beliefs be known. Woody Allen, in Midnight in Paris, goes on an anti-war rant and calls the characters who disagree with him psychotic. Kurosawa always treated any Western influence, any individualism, and capitalism itself, as something poisonous to the Japanese culture. The thing is though, none of these things interfere with the truths that the characters discover in these films.

    “I’m always pursuing the next dream, hunting for the next truth.” Stanely Kramer, producer of High Noon. High Noon was written in response to the blacklisting in Hollywood, by people with a leftist message to send. The difference with the Hollywood of then and the Hollywood of now, is that back then they would use the truths to try and change men’s hearts. They wouldn’t come out and blatantly attack a specific group of people. They revealed truth, and the subtext revealed their political messaging. If you watch High Noon, and had no idea about the blacklisting, you would still get a message from the film, but it would relate to your own personal experience. Bruce Springsteen is an example of a musician who has his leftist beliefs, but cloaks them within stories that reveal some truth. A lesser artist has no idea how to do this, and ends up name-checking specific people, or is so determined to let you know how they feel they’ll play Lyin’ Ass Bitch.

    Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy’s dialogue contains some blatant attacks on the simple belief of God. A parent who believes in God should simply take that child out of the theater if they don’t want that child to develop a cynical attitude towards God. That was a PG film, and I’m sure kids wanted to see it. It is poor parenting that doesn’t properly educate kids on how to receive those types of messages, but a relentless propaganda machine is effective in altering paradigms, and artists do use that to their advantage. I’ve babysat my little cousin and, upon hearing an adult say something like Bush wants to destroy the Constitution, he would turn to me and say, oh my how can you believe in destroying the Constitution? Kids are impressionable and innocent and believing. Parents should be vigilant in teaching their children to be discerning. I don’t think The Muppets are brainwashing kids, but it is also certainly naive to believe that they aren’t being fed messages intended to alter their perspective on issues.

    There’s nothing wrong with seeing businessmen as evil characters. I think it is wrong for an artist to lure families into an animated movie, only to have the theme song trash suburban living, but it’s their right, and it’s your right to walk out. I don’t see this is as such a clear-cut issue, which is the reason for the the length of this reply. As always, the truth is somewhere in the middle. If artists were good at what they do, they wouldn’t have to be so blatant, and if the parents are concerned, they should probably be better educated about what they’re talking about, so they don’t seem so foolish.

    • Candice Says:

      Thanks for your super long comment! šŸ™‚

      My point was simply this: If you’re afraid your children will be exposed to a point of view that doesn’t fit your world view, then don’t take them to a movie. I agree, it’s not so clear cut, but when looking at it from the perspective of a child, for whom the movie is intended, it should be. And most kids watch a movie and think “I can’t wait to see how they take down the bad guys.” They’re kids, that’s how they should look at the world.

      I don’t disagree with much of your post, except the point about Ebeneezer Scrooge. I think my point is perfectly valid, as it is petty. And that was the point. With that logic all movies are bad for kids if they don’t fit into your world view.

      My view on information kids are getting through movies, music, the Internet is that let them read/learn/understand everything. That’s how they grow and understand the world around them. It’s up to the parents to provide them good base values and to teach them how to receive messages from all these outlets.

      Bottom line: if you don’t like the message of a movie, walk out or don’t go to begin with. Parents, and consumers, have the ability to decide what to spend their money on. It’s not that difficult to comprehend.

      • Starless Says:

        Disclaimer: I have not seen this movie.

        I was, believe it or not, of a young and impressionable age when the very first Muppet Movie came out. In fact, it was one of my favorites at the time. I can tell you quite positively that it didn’t leave me with the impression that there was some evil frog leg magnate out there hunting down innocent vaudevillian frogs.

        That being said–an evil oil man? Really? That’s the best they could come up with?

        I do think they’re trying to “brainwash” kids, which is after all the whole point behind “Sesame Street”–the genesis for the muppets, and the whole rich oil man schtick is a very ham-fisted way of going about it. Why isn’t the bad guy a rich real estate developer who’s decided the old theater is environmentally unfriendly and is dead set on tearing it down to build “green” artist lofts which he’ll sell at an inflated price to smug hipsters?

        There is a certain amount of extremely biased propaganda within Hollywood-produced kids’ movies and not only is it despicable but, more importantly, it degrades the quality of the movies. OTOH, FNC doesn’t really need to get the vapors over it and parents need to calm down and figure out what movies they let their kids watch.

      • Scott Says:

        Yeah, I’m agreeing with most of what you’re saying too. The question is what kids are absorbing, and the real issue is that most artists are relativists, existential, post-modern, and nihilistic in their views. I feel it is stupid to be arguing about The Muppets because it’s not addressing the problem. I’d say that the real case of propaganda is about trying to make relativism more palatable, and that’s not what parents want to be discussing with an 8 yr old, is it? I’ll ask my parents what they think of existentialism and they probably won’t have a clue. Yoda said do or do not, yet Obi-Wan says in the prequels that only the Sith deal in absolutes. The hero on the Clone Wars tv series, aimed at those young kids, is a guy who slaughtered innocent women and children, and he’s on Happy Meal boxes. How much relativism can one absorb from the outside world before they stop believing their parents?

        I think that bleeds into Starless’ point about the degrading quality of art. Classical artists’ intention was to reveal a truth. Today’s artists don’t believe in truth, so they resort to taking out specific people, symbols, or groups. Citizen Kane revealed that even a king can die from grief. Romeo and Juliet proved that true love can defy even death. Films today are made on yesterday’s successes, which is why Hollywood can’t perform consistently. They no longer have anything to say because they don’t believe in anything. Does a culture that doesn’t believe in anything not tear down what parents yearn to teach their children?

        Myth, ritual, and structure helped in holding up values that societies could thrive upon, but when the culture grows up not believing in societal values, you get a man-child society who doesn’t properly graduate and you’ve got a culture where individuals are not independent beings, and require someone to help take care of them. I think this can make parents particularly sensitive to a evil businessman, but yeah, they don’t properly articulate the problem. I have no answers, only questions.

        DiCaprio took the role for Inception because it was so existentialist, and it glorified death, and how the search for that one moment that can sustain your existence. Is Inception planting that idea in pre-teens? I didn’t take that message away from the film, but will a relentless hammering of the message eventually creep into the impressionable minds of youngsters?

        As I take a moment to reflect, all these questions that I have floating in my mind are probably what prompted my reaction, which was simply, that The Muppets conversation has something to it, but it’s buried deep down in the cave.

  2. Scott Says:

    PS: that conversation is probably one that you didn’t want here. Sorry. Why do you not discourage me!?

  3. Starless Says:

    FTR, both the premise of the movie and the argument over the rich oil man bad guy are moot. As everyone knows (DUH!), after Scooter’s uncle died, the Muppet Theater was declared an historic landmark so it could never be torn down. By Tex Richman or anyone else.

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