Monday, December 26, 2011

Rear End Review, Part 1

Actually this is supposed to be a "Year End Review" but not surprisingly I could not resist the bad pun. Yes, I am 12 years old and thank you for noticing. Here are some of the things I feel made 2011 a year best forgotten quickly, like at 12:01am on January 1st, 2012:

TRAINWRECK OF THE YEAR: Has to be the Republican Debates. A comprehensive, visually repellent summation of everything that is evil, corrupted, debased and cancerous about the American political system, this on-going crapfest of historic proportions is like one of those zombies on "The Walking Dead." It fairly lurches on to your television screen, all disgusting and awful, and you can't watch it for more than a couple of minutes without wanting to kill it. I'm not going to list here the candidates' individual psycho-pathologies, having done that more than once on this blog and it gets more depressing each time. I will say that if you put Batshit Bachmann, Neuter Gingrich, Rick Sphinctorum, and Rick "Oops" Perry on horses, you would have the Four Horsemen of the Dumbpocalypse. Now everyone knows that these candidates are trying to appeal to the rank-and-file Republicans who will be voting in the primaries, and therefore will pull out all the stops in trying to appear as intolerant, bigoted, racist, homophobic and elitist as they possibly can. After all, they are politicians and you expect such soulless, shameless pandering on their part. But what does that say about the composition of the Republican party when you see them eating up all this rancid, toxic garbage and demanding more? In its quest for money and electoral power, the Republican party has swung so far right it is barely recognizable as American. Party of Abraham Lincoln, indeed.

CULTURAL ICON ON ITS WAY OUT: Facebook. Everybody is on Facebook and it has like 500 million subscribers or something. Huge, to be sure, but new users have leveled off, and there is an increasing perception that Facebook is poised to follow the path of MySpace, and look where that is now. It's now considered cool if you are NOT on Facebook, and that's the beginning of the end. But we can't write its obituary yet. Facebook is too big and too entrenched in the public psyche, and no worthy successor is yet visible on the radar to take its place. Certainly not Google Plus, which is weird and not easy to use. Not Linkedin, which is not nearly trashy enough, and whatever the hell they're trying to do on Yahoo is never going to catch on. But, Facebook may hang on a lot longer than it should. It may turn into America Online ( - one of these Internet things that was real big about 100 years ago but now just hangs on forever because your parents and your aunts and uncles and grandparents are on it and will never, ever give it up. I would be much more agreeable to letting Facebook continue to take over our lives and get rid of Twitter, which is a horrific abomination.

MOST ENCOURAGING CULTURAL TREND: I noticed this holiday season there was a lot of people who rejected the oppressive, spirit-killing commercialization of Christmas and opted out of participating in the mindless materialism and shopping mania of the season. Still more people are also jettisoning the religious overtones of the season and returning to the ancient, much more sensible and inclusive celebration of the Solstice as their holiday of choice. I have made both these changes in my life and can honestly say this has been one of the happiest, most enjoyable and stress-free holidays in years. I heartily recommend it if you want to get back to the so-old-it's-new concept of actually having fun during the holidays.

MOST ANNOYING TELEVISION TREND: Apparently the powers that be in network television (and by that I mean NBC, ABC, CBS, etc) have decided that there are no original ideas to be had anymore, and for some reason think it's a good idea to resurrect long-dead shows, tart them up with a little high-definition make-up, and then throw them up on the screen like it's something new and wonderful. ABC tried to do that with a re-launch of "Charlie's Angels," and it was a very pleasant surprise when the American public turned their noses up at it like a bowel movement in a punchbowl. NBC is doing the same with "Fear Factor," a 2001-2006 show in which exhibitionistic fame-whores with a death wish do stupid things like jump off a building into a septic tank or eat live scorpions and camel testicles. It's nice to see Joe Rogan working again but if he can't do his filthy stand-up routine, what's the use of having him there? Just because the reboot of "Battlestar Galactica" worked incredibly well doesn't mean it's guaranteed to apply to everything. Even if it's not a direct reboot, there's a good chance that a new show's writers will dredge up every ridiculous, contrived stereotype and plot situation that we've already seen about a thousand times, as the idiotic, unwatchable Fox show "Terra Nova" demonstrates. That's why subscription channels like HBO and Showtime are vastly more interesting than the free-to-air networks, and it's not because people can say "fuck" any time they want.

MY FOOD OBSESSION FOR 2011: Greek yogurt. Mmmmm!

GET OVER IT, PEOPLE: "Civility" and "civil discourse" are dead. The Tea Party effectively put the final nail in the coffin of civil discourse in the summer of 2010 when fat, loud-mouthed old people got up at town hall meetings across the country and shouted everybody down every chance they got, but civility in everyday life has long been heading into extinction. In the past decade, right-wing talk radio found that it's very profitable to spew all manner of hatred and bile and disrespect toward anyone who doesn't share their narrow-minded, bigoted views. Anti-abortion zealots, many with supposedly "Christian" backgrounds, have created a climate of hatred against those people who choose to exercise a reproductive option guaranteed by the Supreme Court and have encouraged their followers to believe that murder and physical coercion are completely acceptable means to make their point. And through every fault of their own, members of Congress have demonstrated that they are completely unworthy of any kind of respect and are regularly criticized in the harshest of tones. This country has become far too polarized on many different levels to even entertain the notion that opposing sides can have a reasonable debate and discussion of the issues that separate them. The sooner we understand this, the sooner we will be able to move past it and toward some kind of middle ground, we can only hope.

More mindless carping and indiscriminate slander coming in Part 2, soon.

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