Tuesday, January 31, 2012

On Polygamy




They must go through so much ketchup.
I was driving in my car today, because that's generally what a person drives other than tanks and golf balls and such. But I was driving behind a polygamist and I could tell he was a polygamist because he had one of those white stick figure family decals on his back windshield and that shit looked like the Mormon tabernacle choir.
One man, three wives, about ninety kids with dogs, cats, goldfish, and I think was supposed to be a crocodile but it really looked more like an alligator anyway, all holding hands with Jesus off in the corner stretching out his arms in a double high-five or whatever it is that Jesus is always posing for.
This guy must have been really proud of his polygamy. He must go home to his buddies and ask them how their wives are doing.
"Oh, you know, Bill, same old same old. Mary's pregnant again, and Jane's worried about our taxes."
"Oh! That's so right, you're only a
bigamist! I always forget how cute that is. What's the matter, Ted? Couldn't ever bring yourself to settle down for a third time? Well, you take care now!"

Monday, January 30, 2012

Real Conversations That Make You Feel Smart

Fun fact: leaving a refrigerator door open is actually a good way to heat a room, as increasing the amount of space the fridge is trying to cool requires more work and therefor more energy, releasing more heat from the coolant system in back as it does so.


"You know, most people wouldn't know that."

"It's basic physics!"

"Yeah. Most people don't know physics."

"Well, that would make everyone dumber than us."

"…Yeah."

"Oh."


Some days I have to fight with my friends over whether or not "The Big Bang Theory" is funny. However every day I just accept that they're wrong and it's a hilarious rip-off of the conversations my other friends have.

Of course, I'm an insensitive idiot who thinks way too much of both nerdiness and hilarious conversation, so I figure some people can call me an asshole now and we'll all break even.

FUCKING FLASHPOINT!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

1138 - A Nerd Joke by Any Other Name

"Everything's fine. We're all fine here, now. Thank you." - Han Solo


"FFFFFFFFFFFFFUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU-"

Friday marked the third anniversary of Sound a Doggy Makes, and today we get to mark an even nerdier achievement! Today is post number 1138!

George Lucas, "Uncle George," recently announced film retiree and legend, birther of Star Wars, wrote and directed his original Sci-Fi opus THX-1138. Since then, he's been slipping the number into other works throughout the years. The greatest example of this being the Death Star prison escape scene, in which Luke claims Chewbacca is a "Prisoner transfer from cell block 1-1-3-8," leading to a massive firefight, and Han getting to utter the wonderfully pathetic stalling measure atop this very page.

Miraculously, I frequently look at clocks at exactly 11:38. And just today I examined a tax document I received last week and discovered my taxable earnings at an old job totaled precisely $1138.50.

This is how I know I'm doing what I'm supposed to be doing. Recurring nerdistry only I would appreciate. Me, Steve Sansweet, and 300,000,000 internet nerds.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Thoughts from Last Night

  • There is nothing quite like consistently performing just marginally better in a game of Scrabble than someone who graduated ahead of you in high school.

  • The one time you try ordering a new beer is the night it will take forever to place an order, only to find out the keg is tapped.

  • It is literally impossible to perform a lousy cover of Tom Petty's "American Girl."

Friday, January 27, 2012

Lutishia Lovely and Kensington Press | A worse blow to black culture than Coco Marrow

Today is the third anniversary of The Sound A Doggy Makes! HOLY YES!

Since I'm spending all of my wondrous advertising pennies lying out on some tropical beach (obviously), in lieu of an actual post today, I am simply going to post the actual cover blurb to Heaven Forbid, a novel of black stereotypes by the frightenly not-pseudonymous "Lutisha Lovely," the literary equivalent of the fourth sequel in a Tyler Perry franchise. These books are so cheap the publishers will not even accept them as returns from bookstores if unsold; they simply get torn apart and thrown out.


In their defense, Kensington actually isn't the party
responsible for this nightmare. That would be
Dafina. Kensington's sadly bad too, though.
Still reeling from the disgrace their former pastor left in his wake, members of Gospel Truth Church need someone who can restore order. Enter Reverend Doctor Pastor Bishop Overseer Mister Stanley Obadiah Meshach Brook, Jr., who quickly sets up a code of ethics so strict even Jesus might not pass muster! When the new rules send much of the flock fleeing, Reverend Doctor O turns to Reverend Stanley Lee and his wife, Passion, to lead a revival. 

But the church isn't the only thing that needs reviving—so does Stanley's libido. Passion was celibate for five years before marrying, and is not happy that her husband's lackluster wedding night performance has become the rule, not the exception. Desperate to make her marriage work, Passion turns to Reverend Doctor O's wife, Maxine, for advice. But Maxine is busy trying to clean out the skeletons in her own marital closet—because even the holiest have secrets…

Thursday, January 26, 2012

WTF is Going on Here? | Confusing Advertising

So Photoshopped Abe Lincoln head guy is running out of a church with his new bride.

We are told that such happiness can come as the result of saving money. [Note: one does not generally save money by having a wedding.]

We are then directed to a website: "Feed The Pig.org." Barring the use of spaces in a web address and the notion of ever capitalizing a non-leading "the" in a title, what is this pig? A piggy bank, I guess?

So what is Lincoln? A $5 bill? She's happy she's marrying a $5 bill? And stuffing him in her pig. At a website. For a company named "AICPA."

And this was all approved and found acceptable by some kind of Ad Council. Who gave them authority? Over anything, really? Was that person authorized to do so? I don't believe they'd have been authorized to make graphic design decisions.

What else are we not seeing in this vast conspiracy of stupid?

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Types of Job Security by X-Men Team Member

"GODDAMMIT, KITTY, I SAID THREE SPLENDAS IN MY
MACCHIATO!"
Warren Worthington/Angel - You're the boss' kid. Also a billionaire.

Wolverine - Indispensability: You're the best there is at what you do. Additionally, what you do may not be very nice. Double whammy.

Storm - You're the only black, female manager at your place of business. No one wants to here from the NAACP.

Prof. X - That's your name on the door. Even if you were dead, everyone just assumes it's a "temporary leave of absence."

Jean Grey - No one wants to see the office slut get fired.

Colossus - The foreign guy who doesn't know how much he should legally be making? Yeah, he's safe.

Emma Frost - You know who everyone's sleeping with. All those secrets.

Kitty Pryde - You get the coffee right every time. As much as everyone likes you and you're boyfriend is a giant, you're still just the paid intern, and that means the first sign of cutbacks or a doombringer meteor, you're last-hired, first-fired. Out of a planet-smashing giant bullet.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Jokes About Seal and Heidi Klum That Have Nothing to Do With His Face

  • I guess she finally listened to the Batman Forever soundtrack.
  • Maybe their prenup didn't have that "six weeks to get back to pre-baby-weight" clause.
  • Is it going to be child abuse or animal cruelty when Heidi takes her baby Seals clubbing?
  • I suppose anyone would get tired of being married to the world's most desirable woman for seven years. I mean she's thirty-eight and she's starting to look like she's twenty-four. Jesus Christ, lady, get it together. I'm sure there are plenty of other gorgeous European white girls with millions of dollars looking to get railed by a gangly, ebony, washed-up Dickensian orphan who's best known for poor eyesight and getting unnaturally aroused by botany.
Sorry if that last one was a little long, but I'm thinking of applying to be a writer for Daniel Tosh, which would be wonderful since I'm really good at being long winded and killing jokes. Also, here's a picture of me doing something ambiguously gay with a pixelated crotch:

Monday, January 23, 2012

DVR Cat





What are you doing up there, cat? You are not a DVR, you don't even have an HDMI port. Get down from there.


Damn warm, though.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Hunger Magazine


Hunger Magazine,

Why so serious?


Yup. That's it. Thank you, and good night.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

We All Know What You're Doing

Hey.

Middle-Aged Guy In The Sneakers, Camo Sweat Pants, Plaid Jacket, and Hoody Balding On Top With A Ponytail Who Was Staring At The "Medicinal Horticulture And Hemp" Shelf Of The Gardening Section In The Book Store Today.

We all know what you're doing. Stop making it so obvious. You're a shameful stereotype.

Also, can my friends score a bag? I don't partake, but I recognize the utility of having a wholesaler nearby.

Friday, January 20, 2012

On Gastronomically Positive Reinforcement

Alright, it's really hard to turn down free food all the time.
I'd moonlight for the right entre.
I know I'm doing a good job at work when the people for whom I'm running tech support ask me if I want anything to eat.

Cake pops, lasagna, coffee, I'm starting to get some serious date offers, here. Septuagenarians taking me out for early-bird specials in return for troubleshooting their devices, enticing me with delicious foods and seducing me with their old world recipes.

They're not even pretending anymore; I've started to get "outcall" requests. "Can I bring you home?" "Can I pay you to come to my house?" What to I look like, people, some kind of common, street-walking customer support representative? If you want a piece of me, you gotta go through my daddy company, and they gotta take their cut.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Post-SOPA White-Out




I bought a snowboard off my little brother figuring if I go even once this year it pays for itself.

Mostly I just stare at it in the corner, wondering when I turned into such a dude, with my extreme winter sports and extra guitars and red furniture and fine art.

Thank God for the Optimus Primes in my closet.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

SOPA/PIPA Plug

A Note on Internet Piracy:

The Sound a Doggy Makes is a work of parody and social commentary. As such, much of it's content will include clips, stills, or other media taken from original sources not in an effort to extract monetary gain, but to discuss in an open-forum the works in question. I will (attempt to) never compare Snooki to the Venus de Milo, but they're both artistic constructs and one is certainly more immediately relevant than the other, culturally.

The point: The Sound a Doggy Makes, under SOPA/PIPA would be immediately removed from the internet, my website URL banned, blocked, and appropriated, and I would personally end up under suspicion of internet piracy and copyright infringement on a mass scale. And Viacom would probably beat my ass.

So today, I am not blacking out my website.

1. Because I'm here and I have no plans to go anywhere

2. Because I want you to read this while Reddit, Wikipedia, and about 40% of the webcomics I would normally read each Wednesday are down, and

3. Because I suck at coding and a black image was the best I was comfortable attempting.


I encourage you to spend the 5 minutes it takes to add your name to the petitions to kill these ridiculous bills.

If you need a short version: SOPA and PIPA would allow certain connected and wealthy companies to block from the American people any website they believe is sharing copyrighted materials. Artistic works and legitimate parody, even freely available content would not be exempt. The bills are written by people who are scared of the internet because they don't understand how it functions, and therefor the broad, yet simple simple terms result in over-reaching power for those who would control public thought.

Just remember: It was also illegal every time you popped in a VHS and recorded a baseball game because you were going to be out of the house.

Fight tyranny. With piracy, if need be.


Signed,

David E. Zucker, Rev., ΦΒΚ

Writer, Internet Privateer


Best/Worst Places to Cover Up A Fart

"Mongo just pawn in game of life."
Best:
  1. Next to a kid making fart noises
  2. Any rock concert
  3. A Glade factory
  4. Saturn's moon Titan
  5. When you see someone lay down a Whoopee Cushion
  6. About 33 minutes into Blazing Saddles
Worst:
  1. An elevator
  2. A coal mine
  3. A hot air balloon
  4. A wake, funeral, or any moment of silence
  5. That one moment everyone gets quiet in The Star Spangled Banner right before "O'er the land of the free…"
  6. Your colonoscopy

    Tuesday, January 17, 2012

    On Frickin' Laser Beams

    One of the laser printers at work has been acting up recently. A Clean sheet of labels goes in, then it comes out all stripy. Never mind for a second that I'm printing barcode labels, there are extra lines and splotches everywhere.

    How is no one concerned by this?

    It's a laser and it's not working properly. It is literally burning the page at random intervals and varying intensities and it thinks it's doing just fine.

    Why? Why is no one worried about this. It's a misfiring laser beam. We arrest 14 year-olds for aiming a cheap pointer at blimps, but the malfunctioning laser robot doesn't raise an eyebrow. This was how Skynet took over, people. In, like, at least one of those timelines.

    The point is, people, I'm never going to be able to take over an office with a malfunctioning laser printer, let alone the world.

    To quote a great scientist, "The status is not quo."

    Fucking. Dammit.

    Monday, January 16, 2012

    Of Culinary Literacy


    So this is a real book, a mystery, as the cover seems to show, and while I have no idea what it is about, I can only surmise that it is wonderful, witty, and possibly about a stuck-up pastry chef who is forced to move in with her sister and brother-in-law after an ill-conceived series of liaisons with younger sous-chefs, leaving her destitute and friendless, only to be physically and sexually abused by her callous in-law, who at some point I'm guessing runs out into the rainy night and to the face of an apartment complex shouts, "FONDANT! FONDAAAAAAANT!!"

    Sunday, January 15, 2012

    On Copyediting

    Two years as a section editor and I never learned a better reaction to seeing these instances than contacting the publisher and begging for a job.





    Saturday, January 14, 2012

    What Out Generation Thinks of World War

    "I don't know, the first one was pretty fucked up. Chemical warfare?"

    "Yeah, but it really dragged in the middle. Two they went really dark. It was one of those rare cases where the sequel was better than the original. That's hard to do. I mean World War II, The Dark Knight."

    "Imagine World War Three."

    "Eh, I feel like the special effects would be overused."

    Friday, January 13, 2012

    U2 and LotR: Bono is Bilbo Baggins

    The intro to U2's "Pride (In the Name of Love)" reminds me of Tolkein's fantasy novels.

    One man come in the name of love
    One man come and go
    One man come here to justify
    One man to overthrow


    Yeah, and

    "One man to rule them all, one man to find them,
    one man to bring them all and in the darkness bind them."

    Has anyone ever looked closely at Bono's rings? Is he turning invisible or teleporting food into Africa? Is this the reason he still seems like kind of an asshole even though he's obviously supposed to be a hero? Has Bono been corrupted by the power of his Precious fame and power?

    Hell, I've never seen either Sauron's or Bono's eyes. Just saying.

    "Sunnendei, bloody Sunnendei…"

    Thursday, January 12, 2012

    Furrydom: A Fetish Culture I Do Not Need Advertised Through Words with Friends

    A foxy MILF would be one thing, but a fox wearing
    mom-shirts is like seeing Sonic's robot resistance 20 years on.

    Every time I see this ad while playing Zynga's "With Friends" games, I start to question which of my friends secretly enjoy donning a plush fursuit and 'pawing' each other in a 'yiff ball.'

    And dear lord, help me, I did not learn even he littlest bit of that from that one episode of CSI. I've just been to some of the darkest recesses of the internet. I've seen things, man. And I've seen some man-things there too. And a few things modern science is still searching to find proper classifications for.

    Point being, I've got nothing against sexy anthropomorphic creatures, or people who enjoy pretending to be them (except people who wear tails full-time, that' still a bit odd to me, but I imagine that's societal convention talking and not a deep-set bias).

    I just don't want to have to look at a MILF of a fox while playing Zynga games.

    Wednesday, January 11, 2012

    In Which I Both Beg and Choose

    By far the most disturbing and least
    copyright-infringing result for
    "sexy Slytherin."
    I want to meet a girl who dresses up for Comic Con or Halloween or damn-near any reason as a sexy Slytherin girl.

    However first I'd like to meet a different girl who could actually spot the difference between Gryffindor, Slytherin, Hufflepuff, and whatever the fourth one is, then be like, "Hey, Dave, go for that one."

    Tuesday, January 10, 2012

    Q-Tips, er, "Cotton Swabs" are pretty rad

    Apparently there is also a rapper or something named "Q-Tip."
    This is not he.
    What was it like before the invention of the q-tip? Middle ages, guy's just had water in his ear for eleven years.

    I'd say thirty years but that'd imply you loved that long. With all the ear infections going on I'm not surprised. Can you imagine being a knight with an ear ache? "*Oi* The dragon's just around this corner." "WHAT?!"

    All the crusaders falling off their horses because they've fucked up their equilibrium. No wonder no one bathed.

    Monday, January 9, 2012

    Lo siento, no hablo Español

    Last week a woman approached me and asked, "Eh-scuse me, ¿habla usted español?"

    Dear lord, I'm the man who took 3 years of high school Spanish and a semester of advanced college Spanish and forgot how to say "No" the last time someone asked me that.

    Hint: it's "No."

    Thankfully, by the time I squeezed my fingers an inch apart and started worrying about whether it was racist to say "pequeño" with an accent or not, she got out, "It's okay, I speak little English." I asked her in English what she was looking for, and–to my great happiness–it was a cognate.

    "Biblia." Real easy. Took her to the kids bibles. Because in English "-ia" reminds me of diminutives. As we arrived it ocurred to me she may have wanted adult bibles and just happened to be holding her baby. She started a pitying sound of disagreement, but finally, without thought, I began to process in entry-level, no-verb Spanish.

    "Oh, ¿bibles para niños? ¿O para adultos?"

    "Adultos."

    "Ah!" and then I might have added "Aquí," or I might have just added that to my memory as I wordlessly motioned her around to the 'Libros En Español' shelves and grabbed one nice-looking Catholis Spanish language bible. She was very happy. I was proud, for my part, and only seconds later did I find the bookseller who actually speaks fluent Spanish.

    Sometimes I feel a little useless with my Spanish, at least until I find something like this:


    Now, knowing internet memes as I do, I got the gist pretty quickly. Took minutes and an online translator to get the exact words, but the translation itself requires some adjusting. For those of you who speak neither Spanish nor internet, the above image reads:

    "Did you know that the speed of semen during ejaculation is 32 kilometers per hour? Neither did Carol, but she knows now."

    Sometimes, I love my weird, inside-out brain.

    Sunday, January 8, 2012

    On Inspiration

    You know, one day soon I'm going to have to find a new source of inspiration for my humor, because the schtick of being jobless, penniless, sick and starving, and living with your mom is going to dry up.

    I feel like those new days that come after start Monday when I register for benefits. Did you know companies will pay you for being sick? That's incredible.

    On the up-side, I'm still going to be living with my mom, so I've got that going for me.

    Alright, yeah, I've got red bedsheets, swords, lightsabers, toys, a lava lamp,
    and comics, but the lava lamp is in my closet and I would
    never bring
    a girl over without hiding my ABC logo.

    Saturday, January 7, 2012

    Of Literary Insomnia


    I remember I once wrote what I would say in the event I become famous and am then asked how I write such words. I have no idea what exactly it was I said, and the reason is this:

    The way I actually write is by scribbling down odd ideas throughout the day, if I can remember them long enough to get to a pad and pen. Some days I have material for weeks, other days are dry as gin. On these days, most of the days, really, I open a new document around eleven at night. About one-thirty I give up and start typing anything I have, spitefully at the empty white screen which reminds me that even I loath most of the notions for subject matter I've had so far that night.

    By 1:58 I've usually penned something adequate and pleasantly humorous. By 2:02 I have completely forgotten what it is I wrote.

    So when you tell me that you read this, and I have no idea what you're talking about, and I say things like, "What are you talking about?" and "Well, that sounds like something I'd write, yeah. But what did I say?" you'll forgive me for my self-induced and entirely unavoidable literary insomnia.

    Friday, January 6, 2012

    On Illegal File Sharing

    Some Swedes just got their new religion officially recognized by their government. Their religion founded by a 19 year-old philosophy major, which canonizes the act of file sharing, considers such an act religious freedom, and worships the actions and symbols for CTRL+C/CTRL+V.

    Let's get real, for a minute.

    I love this idea. This is wonderfully, delightfully, youthfully misguided. It's reminiscent of some of my favorite cyberpunk stories, where information is freely distributed by anyone and everyone, having near-physical presence in a world combining the material and the digital.

    Of course, it also goes without saying the characters doing this are always hackers, conspiracy junkies, or just generally kids racking up huge bills on daddy's charge account downloading new purse designs. Simply worded, the sharing of such restricted files is still pretty clearly illegal in these worlds. The characters just live outside normal rules. Great job.

    "Ahh! Fine champagne, metal lingerie, and innocent Saphic trysts; the future is alight
    with the airs of black-market contraband and virtual reality prostitutes.
    Thank god I work for the government."


    I won't pretend the internet's best stuff isn't illegal. I'm fairly certain no one would play the Helicopter Game for 45 minutes straight if not for the prospect of doing that during a high school physics class, in violation f school computer use guidelines and utilizing a proxy network instead of working out some practice free-fall equations. It's the illicit that makes it worthwhile.

    Here's the trick:

    There will never be enough restrictions to keep illegal file sharing from happening. It'll happen. Much like the dinosaurs in Jurassic Park, "nature finds a way." Put up a wall, hackers and coders will evolve a new method of scaling it. Then it'll catch on, and by the time you figure it out enough to counteract it, it's already three fads back and full of nothing but spam links and porn. (But not the porn you might actually search for, completely different, low-rent porn in crap quality but still named like it was the porn you originally wanted.)

    I remember using Napster back when it was new and–well, not legal, but not yet able to have been declared officially illegal. I remember switching to KaZaA before Napster got shut down. Then there was DC++ in college and torrenting, and RapidShares, and a billion other similar sites. And guess what?

    I don't even torrent anymore. For the most part, it's no longer a concern of mine to have everything ever. I don't need it, and I certainly don't need getting sued. More importantly, I'm a Big Person now. I have the $15 a month it would cost to be a Netflix and Hulu Plus member. Sure, I'll download any music or televised show not legally available in my country, like a live set or an unbroadcast series without American licensing companies, but as far as copyrighted audio and video goes, I can afford to support the poor schlub who worked his ass off to try and become rich and famous.

    YouTube is full of too many people clawing for both and only ending up with the latter.

    Thursday, January 5, 2012

    On Height

    I read a study a day or so ago, claiming that people in a position of power become legitimately convinced that they are taller than they really are, at least relative to a metal rod as viewed without direct reference. Basically, people told they were important guessed the pole was the same height as they were or at least underestimated the discrepancy between the two. Less empowered individuals were much more accurate.

    It reminds me of a few months back when I got into an argument with a friend of mine resulting in the surprising revelation that I am a full inch taller than I thought I was.

    Just yesterday I read that Robert Downey Jr supposedly is wearing 3" inserts in his shoes for Iron Man 3 so he'd look taller than his actual 5'8".

    So, basically, Officer SPF-1000 there is about an inch
    taller than me, Jenni there is 2" shorter, and the one in
    the middle is the mummified corpse of 14 year old
    boy-prince Tutankhamen.
    And just now I've read that I am supposedly taller than every female on "Jersey Shore" and Ronnie.

    The point, I guess, is I need to get me a professional tailor because I thought all of these rejects were like a solid 6'.

    Conan O'Brien is still some kind of mutant giant, though.

    Wednesday, January 4, 2012

    Old People Can Convince You of Anything

    "They're handle bars. Ride me like a bike. Be a man."
    Today an old man told me The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo was based off of Pippi Longstocking.

    Oh, man, did I want to call shenanigans, but how could I? He seemed really sure of himself. And I've only read the first 40 pages of the book, how could I refute him?

    Of course it doesn't matter that he was technically right, the point is an old person could tell you anything with a straight face and we just believe them. Why not? They're the voice of experience, they fought wars for us. Or for something. It depends on which war, actually; they might have fought for nothing.

    The point is, we've been societally conditioned to respect and honor and at least assume our elders are being generally truthful.

    Of course, he could have also been senile, but it would have been horrible to call him a Alzheimeric old fool. Either way, I'm going to walk around spouting all kinds of entirely believable lies to young folks once I'm old enough to look possibly senile. Then they'll have to Google the information on their iTerminal 6GS's

    Tuesday, January 3, 2012

    On Vehicular Robocide

    I almost got run down by a white minivan today. It nearly didn't obey a stop sign and I would have gotten smashed trying to make my left after actually stopping for my own sign.

    But you know what? Not mad.

    Because this dinky white minivan was wearing the Autobot logo emblazoned on his hood.

    Roll out, brobot.

    Monday, January 2, 2012

    The Fifth Roommate

    "Aw, you got me a career choice that isn't
    sad or shameful! How Sweet!"
    There are four friends. One starts dating a new person. This person is now the "fifth roommate." I'm stealing this phrasing from The New Girl, but I'm certain the idea is comparatively ancient.

    There's something to be said both for loving and despising a friend's partner. Loving them means you've got a kickass new friend. Hating them means you don't have to worry about picking sides if there's a break-up; your loyalties are and always have been perfectly clear.

    Of course, liking them means that in the eventuality of a break-up, you've got to choose sides or risk removing yourself from both individuals' companies enough to not fully alienate both. This accomplishes pretty much the opposite of its own goal.

    I've tried all those options. Personally, I like hating on the sig-oths. It makes everything very easy considering most of my friends weren't in even remotely permanent-looking relationships until a few years ago. It was just generally understood that you'd eventually stop dating the other person, either amiably or viciously. Now everything's complicated by babies and tax breaks.

    Worse, now life is complicated by actively enjoying the company of my friends' boyfriends and girlfriends. I would willingly seek to hang out with them on my own.

    And, somehow, I feel like this is still better than safely hating and spreading negativity before, during, or after any relationship. Simplicity is wonderful for happy things, reductive for the negatives.

    Sunday, January 1, 2012

    Does Liking Fairy Tales Make Us Realists?

    For the record: great show.
    Why have we recently become so engrossed in the idea of fairy tales? Some of it, granted, is the burgeoning of a genre suddenly popular. Mirror Mirror and Snow White and the Huntsman, for example, were in what is charmingly referred to as "pre-production Hell" for years until interest in fables came around. Red Riding Hood, Jack the Giant Killer, "Once Upon A Time," "Grimm," "Locke & Key.""Fables." Movies, television, and comics once considered eclectic, literary nods are becoming hugely successful mainstream products.

    Why? What is the root cause of this popularity in the first place? How did a few trepidatious attempts grow wildly successful in the first, and what is it about the concept of magical folk stories that fans the fire amongst the general population?

    I remember an era of intense, explosion-ridden action films that left you feeling wired and hopeful for the future, specifically movies centered around the idea of narrowly averting world-wide devastation. This era was the late 1990s, and it's where Michael Bay cut his teeth.

    Armageddon, Independence Day, Deep Impact, Mars Attacks! These were all space-based disaster movies released in either 1996 or 1998. Bill Clinton was reelected to a second term in office, our nation had a surplus for the first time, and peace talks between Palestinians and Israelis were actually amiable and preventing deaths. America was still cresting, and our taste in disaster movies reflected that. There was a hope for that slim chance at success in the face of impending ruin, and the belief that we are strong and brave enough to make a concerted effort at that chance and come out the other side victorious.

    Near-Apocalypse movies are for cultures approaching their peaks, a possible collapse ahead to be overcome with the zeal of the present.

    What indicates a society becoming cognizant of its own acme? Apocalypses are the turning point, the destruction we see as inevitable and the collapse that will ruin most of us. Only the strongest–those of vitality, cunning, and questionable ethics–will survive. Corporations and bureaucratic politicians are frequently to blame for the disaster, or at least exploit the downturn for their own profits.

    The Day After Tomorrow, the Resident Evil franchise and the rebirth of George Romero's zombie sagas, Terminator 3. These are the end for most of us.Come what arguments may about who would die first, all but the barest, strongest, luckiest of us would die soon enough. There is no hope, no future but what you make, and the only ones capable of making that future are not us. We are not special, and we will fall the same as Egypt and Rome and England before us.

    Fairy Tales are for a post-defeatist culture. We have accepted our mortality and are ready to move forward into a new age. Maybe we won't be in charge. Maybe we'll all agree together or maybe we'll be blown to bits somewhere down the line. We're still here, though, and there's plenty of life worth living between now and any possible future. We have to maintain our society without the promise of ever-reaching progress, because to do otherwise would be the only guarantee of failure.

    Fairy tales are indicative of a wistfully, dreamily, hopeful people, a culture desirous of the quick-fixes and happy endings they do not in their hearts expect. Fairy tales are for a society witnessing collapse and struggling with the burden of actually fixing its own problems, willing to work hard and make tough decisions.

    But in their escapist vacations, these people still yearn for a simple, elegant, magical solution to their everyday problems, one which minimizes the larger world's impact by superimposing a grander scale with different rules, different physics, and the import of various figures. We have no simple enemies, not even petty dictators; they are just men with some power. There are no cure-alls or incantations, no Midas touch to steady inflation, not even the promise that leading a morally righteous and unwaveringly goodly path will grant a being anything in return.

    There are no rules promising us punishment to the wicked and fortune for the just. We have only ourselves and ourselves are not long-lost princesses.

    But fairy tale princesses are lost princesses. And when they inhabit our world, they are dragged down like the rest of us. But unlike us, they are still empowered by the magic of stories. They can break the spell that holds them down and keeps them from expecting to live happily ever after, which while we don't believe, we secretly wish for as well.

    Oh, wouldn't it be nice?