Man vs. Past

31 01 2008

New York City cabs, those of the autumnal revolts, have this ostensibly value-added back-of-front-seat TV system — the very thing that caused the revolt because it hosts a GPS system and allows credit-card payment in the cabs. Well, this TV channel (NY10) alters its programming with the frequency of Puritan orgies.

So, we get to watch quality NBC-backed drivel, heading uptown, downtown, crosstown, moving quickly, slowly and stopped and backwards. Lately, the TV’s been playing promos for the new series ‘Lipstick Jungle,’ starring Brooke Shields and two other eye nuggets as executives doing something empowering and then whining.   

It struck me that this animalistic, primal view of mankind is assuming a far more prominent stance in pop culture. That we’ve given up this stance of superiority to our fellow earth-creatures and accepted that we’re still tied to our primal roots through urges that we can’t seem to shake.

A co-worker of mine says that nothing’s changed, that any change that we see is just an apparition. He claims that because racism, sexism, they all still exist in society, it’s proof that nothing changes, we just find ways to cover it. Now, I don’t necessarily agree: slavery’s over, the gap in lifetime earnings between men and women is thinning, everybody can vote, etc. Things can change without changing completely — there’s a vast gray area in which change can articulate itself.

But what he’s saying does ring true to some degree.

Humans, evolved as we are and conscious of that evolution, spent the early part of modern history sure they were a higher, more noble species. Made on the Sixth Day, et cetera. The Church barbecued people for saying otherwise; God wouldn’t go out of his way to save a deer as much as he would to save Brother Monkolius, right?

But as science has won a greater footing, it’s undermined those assumptions. Obviously, Darwinism makes us more cognizant of our link to the past.

Now, we seem to be interested in retracing our steps on the evolutionary ladder, in distilling out those primal urges and proving to people that if human beings are at all special, it’s only for a tremendous cowardice and grand delusion. (Other things I don’t agree with) The new message is that if there’s anything that differentiates humans from their less evolved ancestors, it’s the capacity for deception and destruction.

Shows like Lipstick Jungle, Kid Nation, The Moment of Truth, Survivor, Cashmere Mafia, Desperate Housewives all seek through a variety of means to reduce people to their vile/embarrassing essences (even Kid Nation, that rancid example of exploitative faux-reality).

Is this what we’re in for now? Are we going to see shows cropping up in which every episode, a man and a chimp are asked to make different decisions and we get to vote on which one was more moral? That would be sweet.


The Effing Planet Earth

30 01 2008

So, Planet Earth, that spectacle of a BBC undertaking that was evidently shot for the last half of the British Empire and cost India to make, is pretty sick. My parents have it — they also recently bought a Wii, too, and my mom said she’ll kick my ass in boxing — and watch it in disbelief.

The series, among its many strength, reveals the subtle communication that animals engage in without, say, voiceboxes. Here’s an example. (Kinda NSFW — but you need speakers)

Tuesday Listage:

29 01 2008

Because last week’s list was just so joyous, I’m gonna try to turn it into a weekly thing. Better, I think, than getting lazy and just posting Youtube videos on days when the muse sleeps in. So, excuse the bad ones — and there will certainly be many of them — but here goes:

The Bush Administration’s Official Line on Health-Conscious Foodstuffs and Food-Peddlers:

Kashi: Have the terrorists really won?

Whole Foods: The Axis of Unsaturated

V8: Science has not yet proven the nutritional effects of … anything

Ban on Trans Fats: Freedom ain’t baked, broiled, pan-seared, steamed, blanched, grilled, boiled, toasted, roasted or rotisseried and it sure as hell ain’t vegetables.

Water: Pussy

Superman dat Hoooooooo

28 01 2008

The opening line in the most ubiquitous pop song of the past quarter-year invites the onlooker to watch as the protagonist cranks ‘dat soulja boy on a ho. He then proceeds to perform a maneuver known in high-class circles as supermanning, which involves an innovative way of fixing a cape to a sidekick.

It’s a pretty impressive move that Souja Boy Tell ‘Em’s pulled off here. He’s taken a massively degrading sex move and turned it into a benign, danceable mega-hit. It’s like writing a song about administering Dirty Sanchezes and having Chuck E Cheese’s buy it as their theme song. I mean, six-year-olds dance to this thing.

So that brings us to a question. If you were to write a song that celebrated a sex act, what would you call it?

End-o-week Query

25 01 2008

I saw something on the news last night that claimed something about how a stressful job can cut your life short by like 17 decades. Would you rather all medical news on TV be banned, keeping the populus rather unaware, or let it go unchecked and have the alarmist, often contradictory information flow freely?

*Note: Apologies for the scarcity of content and irregularity of postings this week. Starting up a new gig and I’m waiting for life to hit a cadence. I’ll be better next week. Promise.*

The Hardest Part

24 01 2008

From the sky, we must look like vibrations, the amaranthine humming of a glinting and undulating metropolis.

But on the ground, things are different. There are pauses, even pregnant ones, and longer ones still when you’re actually stuck behind pregnant people. Motion isn’t linear, nor is it constant. Rather, waiting is as big a part of city life as movement is. It’s truly in contrast to the feel of a city — everything going on, ambitions soaring, et cetera — but long periods of stagnation, physical or otherwise, take perhaps hours a day.

I’m wondering if more time is spent waiting in cities or suburbs now. In suburbs, we encounter things like traffic, a slower pace of things in general, maybe, but also less crowding, more room to move. In cities, the food and information fires quickly, but the lines are longer and the trains sit interminably.

I’d like to try something, if I have volunteers. I imagine that I spend at least an hour every day (1/24th of life) waiting idly for things to happen so I can move on. Now, we can fill this idleness with things like reading or playing Music Quiz on the iPod, but it’s waiting nonetheless — our life won’t continue until the waiting ends.

I’d like to have people who live in Boston, New York, the Midwest (Phoebe?), San Francisco, the Lehigh Valley of PA and a few other areas represented by the willing to make a rough calculation of their average wait-time during a workday. I’ll be forever indebted to you, and by ‘forever indebted,’ I mean the usual payment of a few rounds of beers.

Waiting offers so much — chances for reflection, for absorption of material, for judgement of other people’s haircuts. I’m trying to find out who gets to make the most of this wonderful opportunity (or something like that).

Party Boy: Part Deux

23 01 2008

Although I’m not about newscasters trying to raise the children of the world, moralizing in Aussie accents, I am about the beginning of this dude’s career.