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Good Old-Fashioned Wholesome Fun With Search Engine Terms #13

November 1, 2015 Leave a comment

Once again pawing through the half-secret detritus of desultory internet searches for kernels of mirth, the venerable series of mockery at anonymous googling marches on. Have at it, mates.

vanity fair dobbin fanfiction mature

At first I thought that was “Dobbie fanfiction” and was deeply troubled. But what red-blooded, sexually-open adult reader of speculative fanfic doesn’t want to have an inside view of good, upstanding Dobbin finally being allowed a bit of pleasure for his owOH MY GOODNESS I JUST FOUND THE DOBBIN/GEORGE OSBORNE SLASH AND AM TITTILATED IN NEW AND UNFAMILIAR WAYS.

Well, at least now I’ll have something to talk to the shrink about this week.

no king asgard the african one

This phrase is rather open to interpretation. Is it an inquiry into the Asgardian line of succession as regards Idris Elba’s Heimdall, whose African descent was a matter of controversy to white supremacists prior to and after the release of Thor? Or is there a previously unheard-of African state called Asgard that finds itself tragically kingless at this particular moment?

The maddening thing is… we will never know for certain.

is the raccoons in the circus

This would either be far more entertaining than it sounds or, more likely, far less. But apparently, it’s already happened in Britain and indeed is common enough to earn consideration as a practice to be banned. Well, I never.

what is the name of the band from bobcaygeon

I dunno, Bon Jovi?

I kid, yes. But I recall my father once very nearly mixed up the Tragically Hip and Bon Jovi when I asked him to pick me up Live Between Us in 1997 so my attempt at humour also masks a near-miss trauma of my teenaged years.

similarity: cutting, gangs of ny & kruger in elisyeum

I recently thought about the similarities between Bill Cutting and Stephen Harper, but hadn’t considered a comparison of these two characters. I suspect that there aren’t too many real point of intersection besides wicked accents and facial hair and a penchant for murderous violence.

cooking network fat food guy

“Fat Food Guy” is the most approximate English translation of Guy Fieri’s name in Mandarin Chinese.

obnoxious food

“Obnoxious Food Guy” is also an admissable translation. And produces an exact match on Google image search:

obnoxiousfoodguy

who is the blonde model on vatican outreach video

Whoever she is, dude, she’s not gonna date you and she’s never worked in porn. Although with that dionysian Pope Francis wearing the mitre, you never do know, do you?

@Sidslang’s Best of Twitter #8

@WernerTwertzog & @SlavojTweezek

The very nature of Twitter encourages, even predisposes, the viral re-circulation of marginal interests. Like most echo chambers, Twitter amplifies messages by exclusion of counter-messages. Sidelines become mainstream through a timeline-fed tunnel vision, and one-off, non-sequiturial witticisms can build up an entire counter-reality.

So it goes for two intellectually-tilted Twitter parody accounts plying their wares (and occasionally jousting with each other) in enlightened timelines. No, I don’t mean the twin contending Richard Nixon parodies, which are honestly difficult to tell apart. I refer to Werner Twertzog and its spin-off Slavoj Tweezek. Neither of these are official, verified Twitter accounts of the enigmatic, absurd existentialist Bavarian film auteur nor of the Slovenian Marxist-Lacanian philosopher, literary theorist and cultural commentator (neither of these men have such a “real” account, as far as is known). But like many parody accounts, they fill the void left in the Twitterverse by the absence of these narrowly-known but always rhetorically unique figures.

The same hidden hand is evident behind both accounts, and one sometimes replies to the other, carrying on public and “actual” but entirely imagined conversations. Werner Twertzog predates Slavoj Tweezek, though the former’s tweets were sometimes addressed to the other in a tone of weary, disagreeable riposte (and still are). Tweezek is, admittedly, a little more esoteric and less amusing, but this younger account is still finding its legs in expressing Zizek’s inimitable observations. Twertzog is quite magnificent, however, in distilling Herzog’s utterances, so much so that the term has become a verb, if this “interview” with Twertzog is to be believed, with its definition of the discourse’s dark erudition and straight-faced Teutonic morbidity.

In both cases, though, the perfectly accurate and often quite funny approximations of the peculiar statements of Herzog and Zizek lose a measure of their effect while simultaneously demonstrating a weakness of Twitter as discourse. Twitter is written not spoken, read and not heard, composed but never vocalized. Herzog and Zizek are distinctive and memorable speakers whose voices and tones imbue the things they say (in English, anyway) with peculiar import.

Zizek’s mellifluous Slovenian-accented outpourings, accompanied by a considerable lisp, persistent sniffles, and certain rhetorical habits, endear his observations to even those who might not be inclined to agree with them; he’s become so successful in academic circles and as a public intellectual partly because of his personality as a speaker. Herzog, meanwhile, has one of film’s most famous and distinctive voices, often heard while narrating his documentaries. His Bavarian accent is wondrously rich, even if he’s only talking about how dumb chickens are. But the knife’s edge poise of his tone is what makes Herzog’s speech so remarkable; you never do know if he’s making a deep and serious observation about the world, taking the piss out of the self-important windbags who think they have such observations to share, or both at once. Both of these tones are lost in the Twitterverse, as all tones of speaking and expressing generally are. There is freedom to Twitter’s proscribed form of discourse, but this is unquestionably one of its prime limitations.

Representative Tweets:

[tweet https://twitter.com/WernerTwertzog/status/593463127628451840 align=’center’] [tweet https://twitter.com/SlavojTweezek/status/589109028741111808 align=’center’]
Categories: Film, Hilarity, Internet

Good Old-Fashioned Wholesome Fun With Search Engine Terms #12

January 12, 2015 Leave a comment

What, if anything, does having a view into the text entered into internet searches tell us about the psychology of those who entered it? Are they mere impressionistic doodles, ephemeral short-attention-span bursts of spectral curiosity? Or do searches tell us more about the underlying psyche of the searchers? About their belief-systems, unconscious desires, or deepest intentions? Governments certainly think so, which is why they’re farming all of that content and sorting through the data to find something to detain you over. And you thought this post would only be good for light entertainment.

vanity fair novel as a satyrical comment on contemporary english society

I am very much in love with that spelling of “satyrical”, although contrary to popular (or maybe less popular and more marginal) belief, the word “satire” does not derive philologically from the Greek mythological creature.

casting of richard armitage as thorin oakenshield, objections

I’m sure that Stuart Townsend was pretty pissed about it.

tolkein orcs politicals england

For whatever reason, every other search result yielded by this phrase was about the Scottish independence movement.

what are the stage names of borden and angier

Siegfried and Roy.

siegfried and roy

I went searching for the most bizarre and hilarious Siegfried and Roy images and the one above was only barely in the Top Five. Though it involves only Roy, the one below is likely #1.

roybutterflytiger

hochschild leopolds ghost why was there colonization

As complex a question as it is possible to ask, quite probably. But can be summed up roughly as: where there’s honey, there will be flies.

what is ridley scott trying to say in the ibelin scene of kingdom of heaven

I’m not even certain that Ridley Scott knows what Ridley Scott is trying to say with his period epics at this point. Other than “I like sand”.

why is huxley such a prude

I’m assuming this question is rhetorical. Even if it isn’t, ten points to Gryffindor.

ohio state fuckeyes

This phrase is forever heartening.

innocuous ambiguous gallery

Very good name. Is it taken?

the hobbit trilogy is underappreciated

Is that you, Peter Jackson? Go back to finishing the Extended Edition DVD. Slacker.

Good Old-Fashioned Wholesome Fun With Search Engine Terms #11

October 1, 2014 Leave a comment

I am left to contemplate the utility of this standard preamble to my quarterly search term mockery post. To the extent that any reader is interested in what follows, an introduction is surely superfluous in nature. Certainly the precise count and general contours of the following search terms do not require such a worked-out segue, nor do they require links to previous iterations, of which there are now a full ten. They will likely take a few scant seconds to consider the psychological state and grammatical deficiencies of the searchers before moving on with their lives. I can ask no more of them.

why is jessie a pussy breaking bad season 1&2

I suppose I should dispute the offensive and discriminatory implications of the term “pussy” being used to denote emasculated weakness or perhaps note the support such web searches might lend to the association of Breaking Bad with the misogynistic male fever swamp of the bro subculture. But instead I will say that if “Jessie” is a pussy, it may be because he spells his name like a female moniker. Which he doesn’t, so perhaps he isn’t, and perhaps saying so is simplistic and couched in ignorance. Maybe.

no 1 searched actress navel on internet

Although I’m not even certain how that could be measured in the first place, I feel reasonably confident that the top result is probably Meryl Streep.

the aesthetics of a hockey stick

There is something simultaneously beautiful and dangerous about a hockey stick. Vicious and elegant all at once, like a sickle or a scimitar. I’m sure goaltenders would agree.

did bo jackson leap a 40foot ditch after killing bohogs

Probably not, but I don’t much want to live in a world in which someone will not believe that he might have.

simon winchester insuffereable prig

Succinct and to the point. Ten points to Gryffindor.

what is the rising action in godzilla

When he’s rising out of the ocean, that’s action.

empirical support on what scholars say about myrtle in the great gatsby

This represents a laudable instinct towards accruing supporting evidence, but I feel like someone out there is not quite fully cognizant of how literature is generally understood to function.

amish commodifications

Don’t try to fool me, English. I know you bought that Raise Your Own Barn Kit at Walmart.

the liberality of the netherlands

Bicycle-riding, tulip-growing, windmill-preserving Low Country left-wing elitists! Respect the taxpayer!

dubnyk is shit

Cool, Craig MacTavish visited my site.

where in hawaii was catching fire filmed

Perhaps on the island that’s 93% owned by a tech billionaire? That would certainly have an appropriately dystopian character to it, don’t you think?

“Songs of Innocence”, Fruits of Experience: U2, Apple, and the Atrophy of Neoliberalism

September 14, 2014 1 comment

U2 and Apple always seemed like a corporate partnership that was meant to be. With the exception of the Irish megaband’s collaboration with Apple’s smartphone competitors Blackberry on their ultra-grossing 360 tour from 2009-11, their late-period releases have frequently been marked by promotional crossover with the technology megacorporation that has charged a premium to package and sell post-Sixties counterculture notions of liberty to the mass consumer market. The 2004 Apple commercial featuring “Vertigo”, U2’s last kick at the youth market can (to which they were relevant for 25 years, no small feat at all), was the pinnacle piece of the company’s distinct and iconic iPod ads. Bono and Steve Jobs, like the corporate entities they each headed, were very clearly cocktail-party buddies, united in their shared mission of crafting populist secular experiences as proxies for the church-bound spirituality that modern citizens found increasingly unsatisfying. Both U2 albums/concerts and Apple Stores aim to replicate the sensation of ecstatic worship in consumable portions, to package the sublime, and to make a pretty penny at it, too.

U2’s surprise decision to release their new album Songs of Innocence for free to all iTunes Store users (controversially, whether those users want it or not) a mere week after completing it makes sense not only in terms of the players’ previously-established relationship but also in terms of each player’s current position and the music retail market as it (barely) stands. Apple’s retail buzz has been distinctly muted since its fêted founder’s death three and a half years ago; they’ve carved out a healthy share of the device market but hardly dominate it, and iTunes feels increasingly like a bit of a dinosaur system in a digital music milieu advancing much faster than anyone might have reasonably expected. Apple will always have its devotees and its detractors, but unchallenged in hegemony it most certainly is not.

If Apple has stumbled from its lofty pedestal, then U2 is clinging onto the edge of its own pedestal by their collective fingertips. No Line on the Horizon was the least artistically accomplished release of a decade of unadventurous legacy efforts from the four men who forever embalmed the concept of the Biggest Band in the World. Even worse, it did not sell very well by the band’s (admittedly outlandish) standards. Giving away a new album for free seems to make a lot of sense at this point in U2’s career: they certainly don’t need the money, can play it off as a “gift” to loyal fans (and have), and are about the point in their career at which new music they produce is only barely worth paying for anyway (consumers are increasingly dubious about whether any music is worth paying for, but that’s a separate discussion).

The narrative arc of U2’s career is marked by the headrush rises and swooning faints that likewise characterize their best musical output. It’s a fine drama, when you take it all together. The brash, ambitious New Wave punks out of Dublin with an earnest political edge rising on the backs of anthemic appeals to togetherness in a fragmented, anxious culture. They hit dual peaks evoking quasi-biblical desert vision quests as therapy for modern dislocation (The Joshua Tree) and riding the cresting wave of living history in a post-modern repurposing of David Bowie’s Berlin-period shadows (Achtung Baby). At the peak of their success, they fiddled in sonically-innovative ephemera (Zooropa, still a massively underrated piece of excellence) and grandiose, self-effacing Pop Art kitsch (Pop, never a great album but also tragically underappreciated). When a sizable portion of their massive fanbase proved unreceptive to the band pushing their creative boundaries in this way, they retreated to familiar idioms and have since maintained an easy truce with their varied aesthetic legacy and rendered it for mass consumption in bevilled-down, inoffensive form, to decreasing returns.

Songs of Innocence is, of course, a William Blake reference, and the invocation of ecstatic aesthetic spirituality must surely appeal to Bono’s understanding of faith and its relationship to creativity. That said, the “Songs of Experience” half of Blake’s titular dichotomy would seem to apply more snugly to a band pushing towards four decades together. But U2’s music in general and Bono’s lyrics (The Edge writes them too, but I prefer to blame the singer) in particular have paradoxically accrued a refreshed bloom of innocent naiveté as they have advanced in years. Bono’s aggressive sincerity has always carried with it a certain guilelessness: he did place Martin Luther King’s assassination in the “early morning” of April 4th, 1968 in “Pride (In The Name of Love)” rather than when it actually happened, in the early evening. But what many saw as the irruption of irony in the band’s 1990s work, I read as a knowing world-weariness, something approaching (god forbid!) wisdom.

Songs of Innocence is yet another conscious attempt to banish doubtful knowing wisdom from the U2 project, which has gone “back to basics” so many times that even the basics seem ornate and elaborate at this point in time. Bono was quoted an album or two back self-praising the lyrics he was writing as sounding like t-shirt slogans, as if that was a good thing. This continues to be his aim, and the band behind him aims for the alternation between anthemic rockers and skyreaching hymnal epic ballads that has characterized their post-millenial phase. Producer Danger Mouse grants a certain stripped-down feel, as if what U2 required at this point in their careers is more stripping down. The resulting record, like No Line on the Horizon, has some nice moments, even some borderline-memorable ones, but none that approach the great, the grandiose, those elusive, U2-esque moments where “God walks through the room”, as Bono typically put it.

“Song For Someone” is lovely, vintage stuff if wholly unsurprising: passionately-sung Irish-folk-ish melodies along The Edge’s trademarked clear, rising riffs. “Iris (Hold Me Close)” and “Volcano” U2 it up right behind this mild highlight, but it’s hard to grasp onto much else. Opener and single “The Miracle (of Joey Ramone)” is a bit fun but summons only a fraction of the titularly-invoked rock n’ roll saint’s no-bullshit vitality. Even a teasing reference to “The Troubles” that once granted U2 a distinct political frisson on the free-floating closing cut doesn’t ever dig in. The experienced U2 listener will yearn for more, and will have to go back into the catalogue to get it, unfortunately.

U2’s vaunted longevity has now begun to define them more so than their audacious artistic reinventions. They could use another one of those sharp aesthetic left turns, but Songs of Innocence is not it. This is one more way that U2 is closely aligned with Apple. Both are institutions predicated on versions of enlightened neoliberal capitalist hope that rolled with the punches of social and political changes to remain relevant and profitable for longer than many would have thought possible. But both have settled into lucrative but diminishing cycles of repetitious atrophy. That their partnership is not meeting with a positive reception should be a worrisome sign for both U2 and Apple going forward.

Categories: Culture, Internet, Music, Reviews

Good Old-Fashioned Wholesome Fun With Search Engine Terms #10

Like Real Madrid, I’ve reached La Decima in this series of posts chronicling the oddest sets of words entered into search engines to lead websurfers to this blog. Unlike Real Madrid, I did not collaborate with a fascist dictator in order to do so. I didn’t employ Cristiano Ronaldo to make it happen either, which may be worse than cozying up to Franco. Anyway, back on topic: amusing search terms, the tenth installment. Probably the appropriate thing to do would be to choose ten examples, so of course I chose twelve.

chevalier homosocial

No, that’s not what “homosocial” means. Don’t be bigoted.

visual metaphors in harry potter

Quidditch is an allegory for the social democratic welfare state. Think about it. No, think harder.

british soldiers flayed alive

Nope, none of that here. Try a Mel Gibson movie, maybe?

jar jar binks racist

He’s not a racist, he’s just kind of dumb and irritating and loud and nobody likes him. You can be those things and not be a racist, but it’s tough to be a racist without also being those things. Necessary/sufficient conditions kind of thing.

crebain from dunland

“Nothing, it’s just a wisp of cloud.” “It’s moving fast, against the wind…” Incidentally, I always thought it odd that Legloas could tell that the birds were from Dunland. Was a member of the flock carrying a flag or something?

good thesis statement regarding the lego movie

It shouldn’t be surprising that a great number of the searches that point to this blog are clearly undertaken either by students looking for essay ideas or by their instructors trying to catch them plagiarizing. This is far from the only one, merely the laziest.

navel fanfiction

I’m gonna go ahead and assume that’s a typo and they’re looking for some amateur fanfic focusing on the bygone era of sailing ships. Because the alternative is both too icky and too weirdly specific to contemplate.

nicolas cage grave new orleans

I was preparing a snarky joke about how Nic Cage might not need a grave but his career sure does (haw haw!). And that may well have proven sufficient. But googling it turned up something much weirder: the actor’s pre-purchased pyramid-shaped burial plot and monument in a New Orleans cemetery, complete with pretentious New-Age-y Latin motto. Wondrous.

infantile crisis wallpaper batman

No crisis is infantile when you have Batman wallpaper. The darkness of the human soul is your domestic decoration. You dwell in the shadows, and the shadows know you well.

(Please to imagine that read in Christian Bale’s growly philosophic Batman voice. Or at least Abed’s impersonation of the Christian Bale growly philosophic Batman voice.)

weakness of film beowulf

Can I have “Naked Golden Angelina Jolie” for $600, Alex?

wholesome detective novels

Nancy Drew? The Hardy Boys? Jesus H. Christ, Private Eye?

film analysis professional

Sure, go ahead and rub it in. Jerk.

Good Old-Fashioned Wholesome Fun With Search Engine Terms #9

Edging ever closer to double digits on total installments of this regular feature mocking the online masses and their head-scratching search habits. Ten prime examples of these habits this time around. Aren’t they special?

peter jackson excessive

Hey, PJ lost a bunch of weight and he’s living a healthy lifestyle now. No more second breakfasts, let alone elevensies.

southern gothic and noblesse oblige

These are two of my favourite words/concepts together in one lovely, snobbish phrase and for this I thank you, anonymous searcher.

who is the man in the suit that beats up llewyn davis

If you just watch to the end of the damn movie, you’ll find out. Was this you, mother?

candy falling from the sky

Yes, please. Unless this is a new Katy Perry single, then no thank you.

sexy girls on snowmobiles

What exactly do you find when you google that? Pretty much what you’d expect, though not as much as you might hope for. This is the most tasteful and relevant result. Lookit that sexy Moto-Ski!

snow bunnydwarf shoulder prosthesis in the desolation of smaug

What a curiously specific and trivial line of inquiry. Maybe this was a WETA Workshop grunt sensitive about the reception of his work.

why does looper not have automatic weapons

Obama! *shakes fist*

violence and aesthetics and sport

Oh my.

www. threatening monologues- gangs of new york.co.za

This website does not actually seem to exist, which is unfortunate since if there was a site called Threatening Monologues aggregating all of the great tense and aggressive monologues of the movies, it would be pretty amazing. Lots of Tarantino, one would imagine. As it is, it may have to become a regular blog feature.

russell westbrook slash fanfiction

Stop and take a look at yourself, Western culture. What have you become?