"What now?" you ask?
by Michael Kirwan — June 25, 2007
I haven’t bitched, ranted or pontificated in a long while and
believe me, it hasn’t been because I’ve been simply delighted with the
world in the past few years. On the contrary, I’ve been continually
incensed, irritated and flabbergasted every single day since my last
communiqué of this nature. Here are a few of the current items firmly
embedded in my constricted craw.
1) I know it should seem like an embarrassingly small
matter (and yes, I’m aware of the fact that I’ve previously addressed
the topic of CGI films) but I can’t shake off the just how genuinely
disturbed I’ve been since viewing “Over The Hedge.” First off,
I’d like to impress upon you how incredibly excited I was to witness
the advent and development of a new visual art form in my lifetime.
From early video games like “Mario Brothers,” to the amazing
refinement of detail on display in “Tomb Raider,” then ten years later
something like “Prince of Persia” creating believable new worlds for
us to explore. As a side note to any gamers among you, find and play “Psychonauts,”
an amazing collection of stunning environments to examine. But I
digress. The rise of computer graphics and the endless possibilities
of this art form excites me to no end. But for the most part,
theatrical releases have repeatedly trotted out style over substance,
millions of dollars for technical wizardry to convey the same old
hackneyed, trite and insulting plot devices. I’m referring to strictly
100% graphic offerings here, not the augmented “Starship Troopers” or
Harry Potter installments which have some (and in cases PLENTY of)
Back to “Over The Hedge”....
The movie introduces the realities of suburban sprawl and
deforestation early on but fails to register even the slightest alarm
or dismay from the characters. Woodland creatures wake up from
hibernation to find their habitat reduced to little more than a couple
of acres. Not a single creature flinches at this devastating turn of
events. I guess dwindling food sources and mating possibilities aren’t
all that important. Did I say “food resources?” After a montage of
stomach-churning human eating/waste habits, it’s “accepted” by the
animated animals that the over-processed, unnatural, creepy foods that
people kill themselves with are a much more preferred nutritional
supplement than their normal but depleted biological diet. The
audience is encouraged to laugh as a squirrel fills up on sugary power
drinks and a turtle concedes that “Doritos” are indeed tastier than
bark. So, we are invited to believe that wildlife can flourish in a
tiny boxed-in area dining on our polyunsaturated garbage.... as long
as they can maintain “friendships.” And this is the valuable message
in a “family classic.” I studied the careful, beautifully rendered
pelts on the characters. It was remarkable. But again, this was yet
another impressive vehicle unloading a filthy, abhorrent, piss-soaked
passenger. The “stars” lending their voices to this shit bag should
hand over their paychecks to the Sierra Club.
Whew! I’m glad I got that off my chest. “What now?” you ask?
2) The “war” in Iraq. Too many things wrong with this bomb to
even get into here. However, I’ve got a couple of ideas for exiting
this disaster that have yet to be discussed by the directors,
conservators or potential inheritors of this particular international
a) Withdraw the military completely. The “contractors” that Cheney
installed can do as they please. We’ve got 2 million people in our
prison system at the moment. Ship half of them to Iraq and the other
half to Afghanistan. Give them each $5000 and no passport. They are
now citizens of those countries. Anyone else convicted of a felony can
join them. This isn’t unprecedented. This was how Australia became a
civilized nation. I trust that our wily criminals will carve out new,
law-abiding lives for themselves in no time, or die trying. Not only
will we have a significant “Christian” presence immediately (because
they’re all stupid enough to be believers or they wouldn’t have ended
up where they are), but the Burger Kings, Foot Lockers, and gaudy
jewelry emporiums will spring up like May flowers to service these
brave ex-Americans in their survival campaign. And just think of the
churches that’ll rush over to tend the miscreant flocks, breaking the
Islamic stranglehold on the region. With all the criminals settled in,
it wouldn’t be long before the whores, XXX shops, liquor stores, maybe
even CASINOS!!!, dotted the sandy landscape, giving everybody a break
from the 130 degree heat. How hilarious would it be to see some
American running the “quickie mart” in the Middle East! And let’s not
underemphasize how recidivism rates would decline if our convicted
brethren became “Pioneers for Freedom.” It’s all good. And all that
upkeep of prison money goes right to the Education system! Gotta love
b) Sadly, the architects of this blood-soaked shit pile have too
much money, influence and protection to be trusted to do their
rightful duty in our new sister nations so they must all be tried in
an international court and hanged ala Saddam Hussein. Sweets for the
c) We’ve got the communication skills and marketing savvy to
dismantle, discredit and defuse all religions worldwide. Let’s get
started. Tax them for every dime and square foot of property they own.
In less than a decade of mocking and deconstructing every belief
system, we can make sure that no one will be suicide-bombing with the
promise of heavenly virgins greeting them on the far side of Death’s
door. Only smoldering gibbets of pointless flesh amongst the rubble.
No more superstitious belief, no more allegiance to the supernatural,
no more divided loyalties and, very possibly, no more war. Maybe then
people can expect a little more from this life rather than suffering
now to bask in the next.
Am I the only one who thinks that David Iglesias should be Attorney
General of the United States and his fired cohorts should get the
deputy positions below him? I am? Well.....
3) Reality TV.
It’s been postulated that the reason these programs are so
pervasive is that the production costs are minimal. That may be the
case, but why are we as a society so eager to accept one explanation
as the definitive answer? We’ve become so easily satisfied with the
single sound bite that we don’t even bother to expect that there might
be multiple underlying factors at play. The “reality TV” phenomena is
the purposeful maneuver by corporately owned media outlets to demean
logical thinking, nullify the concept of moral responsibility and
reduce the very meaning of life to a rigged game of musical chairs.
That’s what 90% of these shows are. A weekly parade of arbitrarily
selected losers and eventually a single anointed winner. So we are all
getting used to the idea of being judged and delegated to an assigned
role in life — that of someone not quite good enough to make it to the
season finale. It’s such a common theme in these shows and it’s being
absorbed as the way things actually work in America. Pity the pantheon
of fallen players, envy the chosen few, but always assume that someone
somewhere is sitting in judgment of you, watching for mistakes, ready
to pull the plug on your act.
Why have written stories, with plots and a theme, and professional
performers when we can watch average people being made fools of on a
whim? Why trust a single writer or director with a vision, someone who
might have some wisdom and clarity to impart when we can observe a
bunch of dithering nobodies vie for prizes? How can the “powers that
be” (I’m an unapologetic old hippie) trust some artsy-fartsy type to
put the right kinds of ideas into the viewers heads? It’s reached that
point. The general population is held in such low regard that we are
no longer to be exposed to anything that might be construed as
provocative or meaningful. Can’t have that. The consumers needn’t be
burdened with thoughts. They might start asking questions. It’s best
to simply remind them that they have no power over and over again.
4) More Television Stuff- I watch too much of it...
Does anyone else think that there’s an excessive amount of “Law &
Order” on TV? Not just the three or four of the series bearing that
name, but the CSI’s, the Numb3rs, the Judge Judy clones, as well as
the endless “true crime” hour-longs glutting the airwaves. Lock Up.
Cops. City Confidential. Snapped. Why is crime and punishment such a
staple of American viewing habits? Are all societies so fascinated by
their nation’s determination to put people behind bars? Are other
populations so inundated by the pursuit of justice? The USA does have
more folks incarcerated per capita than any other country on earth.
EVER. We do have a “prison industry”. Are we as known for that fact as
much as we are known for making movies around the world?
I’m just raising the question here. I have no concrete
corresponding conspiracy to launch into.... YET!
But there are two things I’d like to bring up in this vein.
a) Why do these beautiful crime scene technicians (and really, when
was the last time you saw even a moderately attractive woman scientist
in real life?) have such gigantic cascading hairdos when they are
forever hovering inches above butterflied cadavers? It seems like they
should be fingering brain matter from their locks regularly.
b) I can’t even watch the Miami CSI. I lived there. No one, absolutely
no one, takes their job that seriously in Miami. Everyone is corrupt
or incompetent and in most cases, both. I’m not slamming Miami. Just
stating a fact. I have to guffaw every time I accidentally turn it on
and see an expression of actual concern on one of the actors’ faces.
Nobody cares about anything there. It may be the climate, it may be
the proximity to the Bermuda Triangle, it might be that the buildings
on South Beach look like melted birthday cakes. But trust me, no one
is doing anything of consequence there. Read Carl Hiassen’s “Skin
Deep” and you’ll understand how things work in Miami. Seriously. I’d
watch the show if they all did blow, fucked each other into utter
embarrassment and botched every case they handled. That’s the CSI:
Miami that I’d be delighted by.
c) “To Catch A Predator”
This puerile show would be better titled “To Catch A Stooge”. Most
of these “captured” characters are just everyday Joes and despite the
tut-tutting and tsk-tsking that the producers bring to bear, the fact
is that all men (and apparently quite a few women given the recent
spate of hot blonde teacher/student reports) would like to fuck a
teenager. They haven’t yet exhibited the annoying and demanding traits
of adulthood and whatever sex you have with them will be interesting
because they have little to compare it with. These poor dopes were
duped into believing that they’d found a willing and eager partner.
And if no one is being forced or coerced, is it really any of the
government’s business who’s fucking who? These guys were lead to
believe that these fake teenage girls were amenable to their advances.
What I find most offensive about this program is that the guys get
arrested basically for THINKING about having sex with an (not even in
real life) underage person. Thought crimes are a very dangerous path
for any country to trod. Unless these guys had actually boned an
adolescent girl I can’t see where they’ve perpetrated a crime. It’s
that “conspiracy to commit...” that bothers me. It’s hard to accept
that Americans have adopted this practice into the judicial system. I
anticipated doing something illegal, therefore I’m guilty? If no
person or property is damaged I fail to see how an intention can be
I also have a problem with this “one size fits all” mentality that’s
been rammed down our thoughts for the past few decades (and yes, I do
blame Oprah). 18 is a very arbitrary age of consent when you come to
think about it. I started having sex with my best friend when I was
13. I always walked around at night to run into horny people. I became
a father when I was 16. And I turned out marvelously. I’m just saying
that 18 isn’t some kind of magical transformative moment wherein an
individual is suddenly imbued with wisdom and coping skills. Oft times
you can pick up some of that in a park after midnight, I certainly
did. Some people can deal just with sex at an earlier age and each
case should be looked at and dealt with fairly. It’s not a mistake for
everyone to get frisky at 15, just for girls. Hahahaha!!!! But to have
laws that label every sex act as an assault before the age of eighteen
is a very sick and twisted view of humanity. It’s troubling. These
kid’s hormones are raging for a reason, and cold showers and prayer
aren’t always the answer.
I’ve charted a convoluted path to where I really wanted to go with
this. In the end, I see no problem with all of us refraining from
indulging with the younger set for legal reasons but I do think it’s
monumentally hypocritical for us all to pretend that we’re shocked and
disgusted by the very premise. Lock them up if you please (assuming
they’ve actually fucked a minor) but don’t act like it hasn’t crossed
your mind on occasion. Pul-eeze.
d) This new show, “Army Wives”. Go to any military base you you please
in this country and look at the spouses of soldiers. Fat, terribly
coifed, sweatpants with matching top in pastel colors, no manners
whatsoever, most with that slightly retarded cast to their
expression....just the most unappetizing of females you could possibly
imagine. Certainly not the well-educated beauties you see in this
Lifetime program. It might’ve looked good on paper but this thing is
pure fantasy and should be on the Sci-Fi channel. But not during the
hours that I watch it.
And if that didn’t get you angry.....
5) I’ve never quite grasped the reason why military personnel are held
in such high regard. Statues, tributes, flag-waving and commendations
are heaped on these “brave, wonderful” people all the time but aren’t
soldiers just poorly paid mass murderers on foreign soil? If they were
paid to kill strangers in the United States they’d be called “hit
men”, but because they’re doing the same exact activity in a far off
country they are bestowed with a HERO status. It’s still murder, isn’t
it? It’s just killing people at the behest of your government. Other
people who are in turn trying to kill you for whatever cause they
represent. I just fail to see where all of the “honor” springs from.
Why in this day and age are were still lionizing murderers?
I can’t help but wonder if from the beginning of time every soldier
on both sides had laid down his arms, turned to the
King/Emperor/Pope/General and said, “This isn’t my fight.”, what the
history of the world would be like. We hear about glorious battles,
and sophisticated weaponry and strategic masterminding but doesn’t it
all boil down to taking another human life? Are we supposed to be
proud to have caused the death of young men, just because they weren’t
born in America? I don’t get it. And the using of “religion” to
justify any killing is the height of irony.
Is this warrior adulation akin to religion, a subconscious
vestigial leftover from the birth of civilization?
People act like it’s so tragic when a soldier is killed in the line
of duty but isn’t that what they’re there for? To kill or be killed?
Isn’t that essentially what any war is all about?
Just an aside here. It seems that the notion of the representative
armies of nations facing off in armed conflict are pretty much over.
For the foreseeable future it looks like armies will be used to clash
with really pissed-off civilian combatants. Without uniforms or
generals or discernible structure, just regular folks picking up
whatever weaponry they can lay claim to and going nuts. It seems that
elaborate undercover networks worldwide would be more effective than
billion-dollar missile defense programs. It’ll all boil down to who
delivers the message to whom, not how well we can march in formation
6) Wow. Today, June 24th, 2007, the “News Headlines” top story reads
as “Gay Pride Focuses on Religion, Marriage”. This is one of the most
depressing moments of my life and puts me at a pivotal intersection in
the pursuit of my own identity. Obviously, if these are indeed the
foci of being gay at this time in history, I must at this point
announce that I am no longer one of that number. Take me off the
rolls. I’ll have to invent a new category to describe myself as, but
apparently I am no longer aligned with the stated objectives of the
gay community. Wow. I feel such a sense of dismay and
“Religion”? “Marriage”? That’s not what I signed up for 30 years ago.
Not at all. I signed up to be a social outcast, a degenerate, a sexual
outlaw, a renegade, an anti-citizen, a blight on the countryside and
in general a “boogeyman” for those who championed both religion and
marriage. Sucking dick, deconstruction societal norms, being an
anathema to “decency”. I didn’t just join for the cock, I joined for
the revolutionary contrariness. I fully expected to hold up a
billboard to the world announcing, “Your world isn’t real, you can
shape it into whatever you please.” And look what has happened.
The “new” queers didn’t have to deal with the revulsion and
oppression. They didn’t have to learn the strategy, tactics and
subterfuge just to stay alive. They weren’t put in the position of
questioning the basic tenets shoved down our collective throats.
Because once a person realizes that “Boy Meets Girl” isn’t forged in
stone, all of the other supposed truisms and values are subject to
examination. And debunking. They never had to get tricky to justify
their place in the world. So, I’m no longer “gay”. I’ll keep you
apprized of my new status as it becomes clear to me.
Of course I have a boatload of other vexing issues, but I’ll save
them for another time. Buy some of my fucking artwork, or better yet,
just send me some money.