Monday, January 30, 2012

Presidential Candidates As Lord Of The Rings Characters

Two things have been dominating my mind lately: Anticipation of the upcoming Hobbit films, and the US Presidential race/clusterfuck. I actually recently went through and re-watched the Lord of the Rings movies, and suddenly, it hit me: each and every one of the current candidates for President of the United States of America is exactly like a character from the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Don't believe me? Look at the facts.

Ron Paul is Gollum

Gollum, a sad, pathetic and vaguely evil creature, was once Smeagol, the good little Hobbit-like creature. The One Ring has corrupted this tragicomic figure to the point where he only cares about one thing: his "Precious" Ring. He did betray the location of the Ring to Sauron, but he gave the Hobbits the secret back entrance to Mordor. He's a true moral wildcard, to the point of arguing with himself over whether or not to murder Frodo and Sam or to be their friends.

Ron Paul has definitely been corrupted by something, most likely a combination of Randian philosophy and being born and raised in the segregationist south. His entire philosophy can be summed up with one word: Liberty. He wants liberty, to the point of near anarchy, and that's all that matters to him. He wants to allow drugs and prostitution, he opposes imperialistic wars, and this is good stuff. However, he doesn't feel that we should "impose" things on others, like serving people of other colours, or treating the sick or helping the poor with public funds. In addition to this, the free-market capitalism he so readily endorses would be completely toxic to society--but he's the most likely Republican to stand up for something that's actually just. It's almost like there are two Ron Pauls: the one who will stand up for the people of Palestine when no other politician in the USA will, and the one who publishes racist newsletters--much like there are two Gollums, the one who would risk his life to save our heroes, and the one who who would kill them in their sleep to steal their jewelry.
Also, Gollum is obviously mentally unstable, and Ron Paul believes in the New World Order, thinks a race war is imminent and doesn't accept the theory of evolution despite the fact that he's a medical doctor. I rest my case on that one.

Rick Santorum is Grima Wormtongue

It's probably easier to list the significant differences between these two characters, but I'm not about doing stuff the easy way. Both are disgusting little toads who are so transparently evil that it's in their names. Seriously. Grima Wormtongue's first name comes from "grim", and the second comes from his ability to lie skillfully. Rick (short for Richard, which can also be shortened to Dick) Santorum has a perhaps the most profane last name ever, appropriate for a man with his mission in life. But the truth is that both these insidious creatures have the exact same Modus Operandi: they gain power by telling people what they want to hear, and aim to influence the real decision makers into destroying their country. Grima Wormtongue used his influence on King Theoden to essentially cripple a good man for an evil wizard. Rick Santorum uses deep-seeded cultural bigotry, appeals to "family values" and religion to try to destroy the lives of homosexuals and women who have unwanted pregnancies. I know I'm supposed to try to make a joke or something, but seriously, fuck anyone who would poison a good man to score with his daughter (it was implied that Saruman would force Eowyn to mate with Grima in exchange for his services) and double fuck anyone who would ban pornography and gay marriage just to get some rednecks to vote for him.

Newt Gingrich is Tom Bombadil

I couldn't finish reading the Lord of the Rings books. This is partly because they were dry as hell, but more importantly, Tom Bombadil ruined the book for me. He did nothing to advance the plot, he spoke in irritating rhyme, he was intrusive and, frankly, I wanted to stab the book repeatedly when I read segments with him in it. He's a relic of Tolkien's past, a character from some old pre-Hobbit poems that should have stayed there. He was rightfully left out of the movies due to the fact that he'd have made the movies unbearably long and flow much worse. Nevertheless, there were and several extremist Tolkien fans who even wanted him to be in the movies despite the fact that he'd have ruined them like he did the books. Some of these fans still insist the movies would have been better with the forest spirit involved.

I can't stand to watch Newt Gingrich. He brings nothing to the race, his career really should have been permanently destroyed by his ethics reprimand, and his despicable demeanor and ugly past only serves to lower the overall quality of the entire campaign. Just like the Lord of the Rings movies were better without a stupid, annoying, singing loon, the presidential race would be infinitely better without this relic from the 1990s who has more ethical issues than the Tea Party thinks Obama does. His very presence adds much more tabloid material than all of the other candidates combined, which distracts from the issues and turns this race into an even sleazier circus. And yet, as evidenced by his win in South Carolina, he has his fans amongst Tea Party extremists who want him in the White House, despite the fact that a man who left two wives while they were stricken with incurable ailments (who is campaigning on family values and the sanctity of marriage) would do more damage to the office of President than Nixon did. He has no place in this race, and had he not run, the race would already be decided--so we can blame Newt for this clusterfuck continuing as long as it already has.

Mitt Romney is Boromir

Boromir was a great hero. He fought alongside he Fellowship of the Ring and sacrificed himself to save Frodo and Sam when the Uruk-Hai surrounded them. He's also devilishly handsome.

Boromir was a rank villain. He joined the Fellowship of the Ring to steal the ring so that Gondor could use it to fight Sauron's evil forces--this despite the fact that this would essentially give all the power in the world to the world's greatest evil.

Mitt Romney is a good man. He brought socialized healthcare to a part of the United States, which is no mean feat, even in Massachusetts. He supported abortion and gay rights, and was generally a progressive and good governor, from what I can tell. He's also devilishly handsome.

Mitt Romney is an asshole. He's a stereotypically evil vulture capitalist who has turned himself into a definite Tea Party right winger, despite their mistrust of him. He also tortured his dog on a family vacation.

The fact is, these men are both admirable and villainous, depending on your point of view, but there is one significant difference. See, Boromir did his evil deeds for admirable, yet misinformed reasons: to save lives and stop evil. Mitt Romney has done all his evil deeds (except the dog torment) for understandable yet undesirable reasons: greed and self centredness. So, in a way, he's more like Bizarro-Boromir than regular Boromir, but he still counts.

Barack Obama is Aragorn

Both Aragorn and Obama are heroic leaders who represent hope and change for the better, yet are crippled by their own lack of confidence. That's the reason Aragorn took as long as he did to become the king of Gondor, and why he had to leave and become Strider. That's why Obama has bowed to Republican pressure even when the Democrats controlled the House and the Senate, and why people view him as "spineless". I don't want to downplay what he DID accomplish, but he could have done much more, and didn't, primarily out of a lack of confidence and, well, a bit of spinelessness. He is the strongest, most noble, most good and most heroic of all who's currently vying for the title, but he has some deep flaws. And if you remember the movies/books, he was never the hero of the story.

The American People are the Hobbits

Yes, four hairy, big-footed midgets are who I'm choosing to represent an entire country. And why not? They're four individuals that, in broad strokes, adequately represent the people fairly well. All of them have the same goal (the destruction of the Ring, or in real life, improvement to the general state of the economy, foreign relations, and general societal health). All of them go about it a different way, however. Merry and Pippin barely seem to care, though you can tell they have some concern for the country, despite some of their actions actually being counter-intuitive (who doesn't remember that "fool of a Took" moment?). They almost seem more concerned with getting second breakfast than getting the Ring destroyed at points, and yet they continue on the journey. Meanwhile, Frodo and Samwise think through their problems, make sacrifices and take real risks, and throughout it all, never truly faltered. They represent the hardworking, intelligent people who are not being served by their government, who are being held down by the rich who lobby to create an oppressive tax system, to dismantle the social safety nets that are in place and prevent new ones from emerging, and who are doing their damnedest to keep positive change from happening. These are the Occupiers, the engaged individuals who are trying to make whatever difference they can, and frankly, we need more of them.

Had they not dropped out of the race, here's what I'd have said about some of the others who ran:

Michele Bachmann: One of the Ring Wraiths, but not the Witch King. Scary and shrieky, there's really no other choice for her.

Donald Trump: An orc. Not an Uruk-Hai, an orc. I seem to remember a few deformed orcs that were fed back into the orc-making machine (though maybe I'm misremembering...) Anyway, imagine that one of them thought it was Sauron, and that's the Donald.

Rick Perry: The Witch King of Angmar. Looked pretty scary and powerful until it was discovered he had a pretty big weakness. The Witch King was an arrogant sod who thought he was invincible when literally half of everyone everywhere could kill him, and under some interpretations of his prophecy, any elf, dwarf or hobbit could kill him too. Rick Perry was an early leader who looked like a shoo-in, until we found his weaknesses: debates, ridiculous and bigoted political ads and an overused joke about a third thing I can't remember. Oops.

Jon Huntsman: Figwit. Quite an attractive candidate but, well...who is that?

Herman Cain: Arwen. In the books, she did nothing, but in the movies she was given a much larger role, partly to show that the movies weren't (as much of) a sausage fest. Herman Cain was a joke candidate, but he ended up getting a bunch of support early on because the Republicans needed to show that they weren't racist against EVERYBODY. Just the Mexicans and Arabs.

All illustrations were done by Petar Gagic, who does reviews of horror, action and exploitation flicks as the Cine-Masochist. Go like his show!
Read more!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Doing My Part

My job is a fairly versatile one. I am one of the owners of two family-owned businesses, a security company and a janitorial company, and I do shiftwork for both companies at various sites. I also manage, do administrative work. One of the shifts we do is a men's homeless shelter. The other day, I said something that really, really bothers me.

See, this shelter is in a church, and most days of the week there's a free breakfast for anyone who stays at the shelter. Sometimes people don't stay for it. Yesterday, when one of the regulars left before the breakfast (I believe he has a job) and I said, reflexively, "going home?" Now, that's a common thing to say when someone's leaving somewhere, generally. When you leave a party, a workplace, a person's house or apartment, any place at all, that's something you're quite likely to say, so I didn't mean anything bad by it--but I said it to a homeless man. I quickly followed my faux pas with "uh, I mean, leaving so soon? Not staying for the breakfast?" He said "no," and I'm fairly sure he realized that I meant no real offense, but I felt bad regardless.

This was not the first time I'd had accidentally said something that could have offended one of these people by saying things that were not meant to be offensive, and that would not be counted as offensive by other people who are above the poverty line. For example, making mention in casual conversation that I had to clean my van, or playing with my iPhone while on shift can get me a dirty look or a a snide comment. One time, I asked one of the guys "how are you doing today?" The response was "how the fuck do you think I'm doing? I'm homeless." I may be slightly thoughtless in some way I'm not seeing, but I only intend to be friendly and supportive to these people, and to help them.

This is a very personal reminder of the growing divide between the classes. It has turned to outright hostility, and it's gotten so bad that even a bloody Republican candidate is being hurt by it.

I can't help but be reminded of Occupy Wall Street and some of the flack that wealthy celebrities got when supporting the cause. I remember the hubbub surrounding Kanye West's decision to march with the Occupiers. Currently, the top 2 comments on that video right now are calling Kanye an asshole for being a 1%er, even though he didn't publicize his plans to appear at OWS and he's the only mainstream rapper to even speak about the plight of the poor in song at all (So Appalled off his latest album, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, and probably a few other examples). Plenty of other pro-Occupy celebrities, like Michael Moore, have been hit with accusations of hypocrisy over their own opulence (note that Kanye was wearing a rather expensive watch and a gold chain when he went to hang out with the Occupiers) and it's a recurring joke that people like Bono and Angelina Jolie could feed more orphans by selling one of their mansions than with the benefit albums and PSAs they do.

The only way to ease this hostility is socialism, but in lieu of that, we need to give charities much more support. Let's face it: the poor won't help themselves. They can't. The system is rigged against them, and we all know it. Yet any attempt to help aside from the basic soup kitchens is likely to be met with scrutiny. And to be fair, when looked at from the other side, it can seem like one is being patronized when someone who's wealthier than you offers help. It can be a blow to one's pride. That, none of us can help. Neither can we really affect major change in the power structure that causes this economic inequality in any sudden manner like many Occupy Wall Street supporters seem to believe. Treating this disease can only be done gradually, through governmental agencies enacting socialistic policies and strategic boycotts, like the only OWS supported venture that really worked towards this goal was Bank Pull Out Day. For now, what we can do is treat the symptoms by dedicating ourselves to charity work in a more significant manner.

And we really have to. This class division is reaching a near fever pitch, to the point where I'd not be surprised if there were poverty riots in North America within the next few years, or if the Occupy movement turned into a full on revolution. There is no easy solution, but this is a problem that needs to be tackled.

It's easy enough for me to say I'm doing my part just by facilitating a homeless shelter, but that isn't enough. You can do your part fairly easily. Find a local charity that actually does good work in the community and volunteer for them. A good start would be or perhaps for those outside Canada, but there are plenty of other non-profit organizations working toward lessening poverty. Either way, we definitely all need to do more, on an individual level, to alleviate the suffering of the most impoverished members of our communities.

Do your part. Read more!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Question All Christians Must Answer

In my last post, a poetic response to a viral video, I touched upon a point that I think is quite valid, and deserves its own post.

Here's the thing: the entire reason that Jesus' crucifixion is important is that Jesus supposedly died for our sins, and by taking all our sins, allows us to go to heaven without obeying the law to the letter. So, let me ask you: how can he take my sins if wasn't born when he died? After all, every sin (assuming such a thing exists) only comes into existence when someone commits or thinks it, so it's literally impossible for someone to once and for all forgive us our sins. If it is not, how does Jesus accomplish this?

The answer I'd predict would be that Jesus only cancelled out "original sin", which is something all christians believe in. Fine. Most christians also believe in free will. The idea or Original Sin contradicts this, since no one chose to be born with sin. So, how do you reconcile the idea that we have free will with this idea of Original Sin? Did Jesus invent free will at Calvary, meaning that our ancestors had no free will but we do?

Finally, if Jesus died to forgive my sins, why must I ask his forgiveness at all to get into heaven?

Now, this isn't the first time I've asked about the crucifixion, and it may not be the last, but it is something that literally no christian I've encountered has been able to answer. If any of you can not answer this, then you really ought to rethink your entire theological standpoint. Read more!

Friday, January 13, 2012


I've not posted a poem in a long while, but I had to respond to this nonsense accordingly. The title is Humanity>God

Christianity's no religion, or so I'm told,
A relationship with god that will not grow cold,
Too bad that's as wrong as religion is old,
A shallow falsehood that brings your masters gold.

Your god of ignorance destroys the poor,
Hates those who think, thinks all women whores,
Makes slavery freedom and ignorance bliss,
And you will lie to support all this?

Let's get this straight, when it requires faith,
It's called a religion, and that's what I hate.
Masturbate all you want with your witty retorts,
You've no real defence for your Lord,
Your Christ, you think he's so nice,
Who revels in darkness and despises the light.

Falsity's all you see from that man in the tree,
Who died before I was born but "died for me",
Who is one being, but is really three?
Quit deluding yourself, set yourself free!

If you love Jesus, you love his crimes,
Through the church he fights to keep us blind,
Opposes science, takes but doesn't give,
Suffers not a fag or witch to live,
And kills millions daily.

See, I used to be like christian,
I knew not what I was missing,
Missing the freedom to live guilt free,
To think, to love, without a deity
Giving permission, or making me hate
Those who didn't think my god was great

But back to the point, it's quite vital to mention,
Jesus and religion are the same phenomenon,
There is no god, he's just an invention,
Free thought is the cure, He is the infection.
Jesus says "Do", but when thought is done,
Those who are slaves pick up their guns,
They break their bonds, set themselves free,
The church is left with just bigotry.

This is happening already, we're catching on,
That's why the rebranding in sermon and song.
"It's a relationship with god" you say,
"The truth destroys every old god" I say,
You do nothing at all when you sit and pray,
You desperately cling to what we already slayed.

Your god is nothing, we are all above,
Quit worshiping hate, embrace love.
Read more!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Best Songs Of 2011

Well, you guys read my list of most "2011" songs of 2011 (if you didn't, you can click here) but that list was not a "best of" or "worst of". So I decided to do a best songs of 2011 post. Unlike last post, this is only songs released in 2011, & it's specifically excluding the one song from the previous post (Locust) that would have made this list. Click the "read more" link to see the article.

#5: Mr Saxobeat-Alexandra Stan

I view this song as, essentially, a sexier We Don't Speak Americano. The highlight is the excellent use of the saxophone sample, which makes this unique amongst dance pop songs, without sacrificing the fun factor, or the natural sexiness of ms. Stan's vocals. In addition to this, it has what I'd call one of the better music videos of the year. Not the best (that honour belongs to Kina Grannis' video for In Your Arms, a song that just missed this list) but it is a fun video that actually goes with the song & gives it a new, darker meaning. I like to imagine that Alexandra is actually Romania's greatest supervillain, using her feminine wiles to escape and continue her reign of terror upon the unsuspecting country.

#4: Whistleblower-Arkells

This year was a bit of a mixed bag for Canadian music. On the one hand, people like Drake, Avril Lavigne & Justin Bieber were financially successful while continuing the fine tradition of awful music representing Canada to the world (I swear we have better rappers than Drake! Listen to Cadence Weapon, K'Naan, k-os, Buck 65, Slangblossom & Kardinal Offishall if you don't believe me) On the other hand, we saw the return of Sloan, Lights, Feist, and Fefe Dobson (my namesake, who I like to call Canada's other, better Avril Lavigne) as well as some well-deserved recognition for some under-appreciated acts like 10 Second Epic, the Sheepdogs, Tokyo Police Club and of course, Arkells.
This song is a true rock song. Forget those poseurs from Foster the People, this is what rock sounds like. There's a real sense of urgency to this song, which adds to the excitement one feels while listening. That urgency comes straight from the lead singer's unique style of singing, which sounds simultaneously polished and rough. It also has a killer riff and a vague yet positive political message. On the off chance you don't like this song right away, it will kick your ass into submission.

#3: Iconoclast-Symphony X

Symphony X did something that seems counter intuitive in this day and age. They released a progressive metal concept album that tells a long, complex story, in an era when people generally download the songs they know they like, and those songs ONLY. And they stuck to the concept, unlike approximately every concept album that isn't just one big, long song. For that alone they deserve praise, at least for their ambition and guts.
I was going to review this whole album, but any review of the album would have to include a discussion of the concept, which is basically a robotic zombie apocalypse with transhumanism and religious symbolism thrown in, with a whole lot of religious criticism, and an overarching theme of how technology is evil (or, expressed mathematically, it's (RZA+Tr+Rs*Rc)Luddism) It's pretty hard to make an examination of that interesting.
The title track, however, manages to skip all the heady stuff and just rock out epically, with some beautiful stylistic flourishes along the way. This is an inspirational war anthem, and even though the war is fictional, you should be motivated by the chorus. I know I can't hear it without feeling an irresistible urge to smite evildoers.

#2: Toes-Lights

This song simply makes me happy. No other song this year has been able to do that as well as this song has. This is probably the best representation of falling in love that I've heard in a long time. She very accurately portrays what it feels like, and in a genuine way that Ke$ha or Katy Perry are simply incapable of. This is synth-pop done right. It's quite depressing this song, and her album, didn't burn up the charts last year. Buy her music, it will enrich your life.
That's really all there is to it.

#1: Someone Like You-Adele

I know everyone and their dog thinks Rolling In The Deep is Adele's best song, but they're wrong. If I made this a top 10 Rolling In The Deep might have hit #8 or #9 but this is the better song. She emotes so well can actually feel her pain, and the hope that she really will find someone else. And really, who hasn't had a situation like this, where the person you're pursuing has found someone else? This is the mature response to that scenario, and for that alone this song deserves our love. There are far too many songs pining for someone who clearly doesn't want the singer, or dissing the ex, so this is very refreshing. And god DAMN her voice is awesome. I have to admit that I almost shed a tear every time I hear this song. Of course, I only cry testosterone, not real tears. I'm too manly for that.

If I had to choose a worst song of 2011, it would probably be Deuces by Chris Brown, which has literally no redeeming factor...though bear in mind that I have heard nothing from the new Limp Bizkit album, quite on purpose.

Let's hope that all the actually good songs become hits and the Chris Browns of the world get kept far, far away from the charts this year.
Read more!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Why Job is Christianity's Silver Bullet

Something worries me about Christian love of the book of Job. It's not the capricious, uncaring, arrogant & borderline malevolent nature of the god in that book. It's not the veneration christians have for a weak, subservient little slave, nor the fact that women, children & the poor are viewed as chaff while a wealthy man is worth having 2 gods gamble over. No, what worries is that this book is an obvious silver bullet that should end every christian's faith-but it doesn't.

How is this a good argument AGAINST Christianity, you ask? Well, it all boils down to the premise.

God/Yahweh/Elohim makes a bet with Satan/Moloch. Right there, the adversarial relationship that makes up the foundation of many versions of Christianity is subverted. Not only that, but they're portrayed as, essentially, equals here, or at least nearly so, meaning that there's more than one deity, and the christian god's victory is not assured. Anyway, Yahweh and Satan are making a friendly wager about whether or not Job will remain faithful if he loses all his wealth, family and friends. God thinks he will, Satan disagrees, and God lets Satan ruin Job's life to prove this.

It's important to remember that god is said to be all knowing, all powerful, and all loving. If he's all loving, why would he allow Satan to rain death on Job's family, servants and livestock? Why would he let an evil being infect an innocent man with a disease that causes boils and disfiguration? If he's all knowing, why is the bet necessary? A true all knowing god would simply say "Satan, I know everything, you know that. I know he won't curse my name no matter what you do, so let's just not hurt him or his loved ones." In fact, what good would any bet be to the ruler of the universe? What could Satan have that Yahweh would want? There is literally no reason for him to agree to this wager. Furthermore, if he did agree to it and Satan was dumb enough to bet against an all knowing deity, what's to say Yahweh didn't control Job to stay faithful? It's not like Yahweh didn't have a history of doing that: prior to this, he punished people with the confusion of multiple languages for building the Tower of Babel, and he "hardened Pharaoh's heart" in the Exodus story. So there's no reason he couldn't do the same here. And really, who would know?

And what was the end result? Job stayed true and ended up getting ten times the wealth, ten times the kids, and many wives that were much hotter than his now-dead ones. This sort of attitude wouldn't come from a god that loves people. That's the language of someone replacing a pet. "We'll get you another one that I'm sure you'll love more!" Yes, it's more like how a real deity would act if trying to curry favour with a mortal, but it's not how a loving being acts. On top of that, he openly bragged about his greatness in front of a broken man. One of many shifts I work is at a homeless shelter, and if any of my employees acted half as dickish as god did at the end of Job towards our tenants, we'd probably lose the contract. It takes someone with a fragile ego to brag about creating the universe to someone who has lost everything.

So, what does all this mean? It means that god is a horrible, unlikable bastard, but also that he's not perfect in the three things christians say he's perfect in (wisdom, power and love). The only way out for a christian is to say Job isn't literally true. Even if it's not meant to be literal truth, if it's true to the personality and abilities of Yahweh, he's still nothing like the christian perception of him, in this book at least. And so, why is it in the bible?
Well, we may know the answer. It's theorized that Job borrows a lot from nearby cultures, and the relationship between Yahweh and Satan is reminiscent of that of El/Elohim and Moloch of ancient Palestinian myth. In fact, several other elements of Job, like Leviathan and Behemoth, as well as El and Moloch are found in the Ugaritic Texts, the oldest example of written language we have, which came from the ancient Sumerians. In other words, this is a relic of a pre-Hebrew myth that shows that the religion now known as Christianity has ALWAYS evolved to suit cultural norms. Even before the bible was codified. If there ever was a god speaking to the authors, he stopped caring about the fidelity of the message shortly after sending it.

In summary, the book of Job is a story of other gods re-written to suit the god who became the christian god, who is the same today, yesterday and forever...but not really. It betrays that god's lack of perfection, and reveals the fact that, while "studying" the bible, christians rarely actually study it.

So maybe we should all abandon the myths, eh? Read more!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Most "2011" songs of 2011

At this time of year every year, people start releasing “best/worst X of year that [just passed/is about to pass]” lists. I’ve seen plenty of people I like release their views on last year in music, and that sort of inspired me. See, music (and art in general, but especially music) is a product of its time, and no one is talking about the songs that are really most symbolic of the year that just passed. These are songs that were either big hits last year, or which weren’t quite hits but still symbolized the year in some way. So with that in mind, I present you with the 5 most “2011” songs of 2011. After the jump.

#5 If I Die Young – The Band Perry

Granted, this was technically released in 2010, but most of us never heard of it until last spring, when it became a crossover hit, so it still counts. There are probably words for how much I hate this song, but if I were to type them, they’d be so profane they’d destroy my computer and melt my hands. This is amongst the most shallow and awful songs that people thought of as “deep”, made all the worse by the bland country music being played behind Kimberly Perry’s almost-halfway-competent vocals. It certainly wasn’t the most successful pop cultural phenomenon like this of
last year (that would be Twilight) but there’s something uniquely Internet-Age about this country song. Listen to the words.
This is a song about some moderately popular chick hoping for more popularity in death. It’s self centred, “me” oriented, just like, well, everything about the social internet. We’ve been conditioned by reality TV and sites like YouTube, Twitter, tumblr, Facebook, flickr, etc. that people care what we think, even when we have little to nothing of real value to contribute to anything at all. Fame whores populate every fucking internet 2.0 site, often too self absorbed to realize that
they’re repulsive, or why. Listen to this song ‘s lyrics, and you’ll see every one of those vain twats in your head. Unless you’re one of them, but then you probably like this piece of shit song anyway.

Key Line: Penny for your thoughts? Oh no, I’ll sell them for a dollar.

#4: Fight ‘Em ‘Til You Can’t-Anthrax

Holy shit, an Anthrax song from 2011! And it’s about zombies! Too bad it wasn’t released 6 years ago when people still cared about metal or zombies. Let’s face it: metal, as a genre, has gone way downhill in popularity, though it still has its fanbase. And zombies? Aside from the popular (yet awful) TV show The Walking Dead, no significant zombie-themed piece of entertainment has been released since the 2009 movie Zombieland, and even then zombies were kind of played out. But you’re probably wondering why I’m bringing this up, or why it’s on this list. Well, look at this here. Social media may have “exploded” in 2006-2010, but in terms of actual use of social media, 2011 was the biggest growth year. 82% growth of Facebook useage in the last business year? That’s astounding! Aside from the boom in Farmville useage, the main thing this has done is lead to a perpetuation of old memes, like Rickrolling, Chuck Norris and LOLCats, as your grandma finally discovers what the rest of us are tired of. What better image for that is there than a metal band full of people in their late 40s singing a song about zombies?

Key Line: In the end of everything, the dead will rise and sing. Fight ‘em ‘til you can’t fight no more.

#3: Fuck You-Cee Lo Green

Like the #5 entry, this song was released in 2010. Unlike that song, I can actually pinpoint the reason for this song’s success, and despite being a brilliant piece of music, it’s not the quality. It’s not even because of the expletive in the song’s title, since radio always plays it as “Forget You” anyway. No, this song is cool because of the combined forces of Gwyneth Paltrow and Glee, which finally showed the world that, hey, this crazy bastard is cool even without that Danger Mouse guy backing him up (although really, most people thought “Gnarls Barkley” was a dude, and didn’t know what he looked like). In other words, if it wasn’t for a ridiculously popular (if shallow and campy) TV series and their Academy-Award-Winning Guest Star, we would have missed out on one of the greatest songs of the last several years. Whereas music used to pretend that it was about sticking it to The Man, and occasionally actually stuck it to The Man, here was a song with a swear word in the title that was explicitly made famous by a show on a major American network and an actress not especially known for artistic integrity. It was a victory cry for the old guard.

Despite that, this song represents something great that happened in 2011. After a seeming eternity of bullshit, stupid club songs (which are not gone from the charts by a long shot) dominating the pop landscape, we had some real breakthroughs. Relatively intelligent, genuinely good music started making a comeback. It’s not much, but it’s a ray of hope for those of us who’ve all but abandoned pop music. Between Adele (a legitimately awesome singer who happens to be an
overweight woman) Bruno Mars (who gave us some great music, and The Lazy Song) and Cee Lo, Billboard’s Top Ten songs of the year actually had some stuff that wasn’t superficial or awful, and artists with some integrity, like P!nk and Lady Gaga also had real success in 2011. Whether or not this trend will continue, only time will tell, but here’s hoping!

Key Line: Fuck you!

#2: Locust- Machine Head

This was a year where an economic recovery was stifled by greedy capitalists refusing to act in the best interests of anyone but themselves. It was a year people finally realized they were being screwed over and tried to do something about it. That was Occupy Wall Street, and the Occupy Movement in general, as well as the continuing Arab Spring. This was also a year where the backlash against these movements was horrendous. It was clearly worst in Syria, although the
image that we remember most is the UC Davis Pepper Spray Cop. In the midst of this, Machine Head released their seventh studio album, Unto The Locust. The lead track, Locust, really captures the spirit of the 1%, the rulers of the various despotic countries, and their supporters. Taking liberally from the biblical plague of locusts, the song describes a swarm of insects utterly destroying the land. The lead singer, Robb Flynn, said that this song is about the type of people that wander into one’s life, destroys everything and then simply leaves before anything can be done. Is that not a perfect description of the 1%? The people who, for many years, have been
moving every job they can to poorer areas? Who have exploited third world labour in ridiculously destructive ways since long before we called it the “third world”? And yet...there is hope, both in reality and in this song. And that’s why I think this song is a great symbol of the last year.

Key Line: Trumpets sound, the shattered crown, halos of truth now they
surround, the charade comes down.

#1: Blow-Ke$ha

This song, and especially its music video, is everything wrong about pop culture now. It’s a club song with spectacularly bad lyrics that sound like they were written by an ESL student (“this place about to blow”). It plays up Kesha’s sex appeal, at least for those who aren’t turned off by her persona, and talks about how awesome she is. It takes modern music’s need to build up a cult around the performers a step further by actually putting it into the song itself (“Drink that Kool-Aid, follow my lead. Now you’re one of us, you’re coming with me.”) This brings phenomena like Beliebers, Team Breezy, Little Monsters, Juggalos and others to cult-like levels, which is basically what any musician who without the family connections an LMFAO or Hot Chelle Rae has to do to make it nowadays. And the music video...aside from the movie Suckerpunch, it’s the most internet thing ever (if “internet” can be used as an adjective, that is). It has “random” “humour” or at least that’s what Ke$ha claims the aim was. Look! Unicorns! Rainbows! A washed up 90s TV star! Self aware jokes, like when she got called “Kedollar sign ha”! Laser guns! LOL!

It’s a worrying sign of things to come. Random humour, popularized by various internet sites and memes, and eventually made mainstream by shit like Family Guy and shittier shit like Tim and Eric Awesome Show Great Job, is out of control. Our love of goofy memes like the ones
that inspired this hot mess of a video has made stars of Jeremih (shitty singer made famous by a weird looking kid named Keenan Cahill, who is only popular due to looking weird) Souljah Boy, Wiz Khalifa, Justin Bieber and Jessica Black. None of those people have done anything but pollute the airwaves and make me regret having ears. Our love of “random humour” has guaranteed that the Cleveland Show will never go off the air while quality comedy shows like Arrested Development limped through 3 seasons (thank fuck there’s a movie coming out!) Thankfully, this song wasn’t a massive hit, unlike her much worse song We R Who We R, though it was considered a hit. Either way, I feel it’s the most 2011 song there is, and that’s why I drink.

Key line: Dirt and glitter cover the floor. We’re pretty and slick, we’re young and we’re bored.

If I prayed, I'd pray for a better musical year this year. However, I really doubt it'll be significantly better. Please, people, support good music and prove me wrong.
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Monday, January 2, 2012

My New Year's Resolutions

1: I began 2011 in love with a lady I thought was wonderful. I moved in with her far too soon (December 2010) and didn’t didn’t really know how useless a person she was. I ended up paying all her bills for everything, while she did nothing around the house and due to her extreme laziness, lost her job and never found another one. I was excessively generous, taken advantage of, and incapable of seeing what was happening. It took until the end of June, 2011 for me to finally come to my senses and kick her out, and by then she had cost me several thousand dollars and drove me to the brink of poverty. So my first New Year’s Resolution (and really a lifelong resolution) is to never be taken advantage of like that again.

2: Related to #1, I will be more frugal. I’m setting strict limits on what I can spend on entertainment and luxury items (practically nothing aside from my internet usage) and sticking to them.

3: Also related to #1, I pledge to extend my skepticism to people in a more real way. I’ve become too trusting. I have to change that, else I may have another issue like I had last year.

4: I need to learn to be happy in my own skin. That’s pretty tough, so I’m going to resolve to, instead, start taking drugs. Or something. Drugs make you happy, right?

5: I’m resolving to become somewhat more polite and easygoing. Failing this, if you piss me off I’ll run you over with my van. It’s a fair deal, I say.

6: I pledge to update this blog an average of once per week this year, and to up the quality.

That’s about it, really. New Year’s Resolutions are kind of pointless and stupid, really. They’re always too vague and impossible to keep, not that anyone tries after January. In fact, aside from the first three, which I figured out a while ago, none of these are likely to last past February, when I turn 30. I mean, I’ll try, but no promises.

Happy New Years’ to all of you, and HAPPY HOLIDAYS to the "War On Christmas" retards. Read more!