Saturday, December 29, 2012

The Death of the Amazing Spider-Man and the Never-ending Battle Against Fan Hysteria

*Spoilers Throughout*

The Amazing Spider-Man is dead. And fans are going ballistic. Fans hate this story. They are swearing off Spider-Man and Marvel forever. The writer, Dan Slott, is even getting death threats, on Twitter of all places. People are furious. How could Dan Slott do this to Peter Parker?

But if we're going to understand the real ramifications of this story, we have to take a look at what has been done before: with Batman, Superman, Green Lantern, Captain America, and oh yeah, Spider-Man again.

First, Batman. Knightfall (and Knightquest, KnightsEnd)

Remember this little injury? WHEN BANE BROKE BATMAN'S BACK? This was in '93, before internet fan forums, but I still remember the disgust, fans in comic shops shaking their heads in disbelief that they got rid of Bruce Wayne and replaced him with possible psychopath, Jean-Paul Valley.

You can't have 90's comics without pouches!
This was my first encounter with comic-book outrage and I fell into it too, angry that Bruce Wayne wouldn't be in the suit anymore and that Jean-Paul Valley would be Batman forever. But of course it didn't last, because it was never supposed to last. Jean-Paul Valley turns out to be kind-of-a psychopath and Bruce Wayne, who took a long journey to rehabilitation, has to take him down and reclaim the cowl. And when that story was all done I thought, Holy Shit, that story was incredible. Note: Knightfall is now one of the most celebrated Batman stories ever (though, I'd have to agree, Knightquest, the middle part of the saga, dragged considerably).

Next: The Death of Superman

Superman: SuperDEAD
Okay. Everyone should remember this. Superman falls to the monster Doomsday and dies. I remember the lines out the doors of my favorite comic shop, people (mostly speculators) picking up the issue where he breathed his last breath, never to be seen again.

Except he did come back.

As FOUR Supermen! 
Yes, it took a while. But, comic fans, do you remember how fun it was to speculate who here, in the Reign of the Supermen, would take over Superman's legacy (I thought it would be the Cyborg Superman, boy was I wrong)! And fans were angry. They were sad. They didn't like picturing a new Superman or Clark Kent rotting in the grave.

But he came back. And it was a pretty great story, with a couple of missteps...

Introducing: Mullet-Man
But overall, this tale, when it was all said and done, was epic.

See where I'm going with this? Good, because I might lose you with the next example.

Green Lantern. Emerald Twilight.

Hal Jordan: Cray Cray
This came out about the same period of the Death Of Superman saga (which pretty much lead to Hal Jordan going insane with the destruction of his beloved Coast City). Except this was sloppy. This took three, yes, THREE issues to take long-standing hero, Hal Jordan, and turn him into a mass murderer, in his quest to resurrect the city that he lost. This is not something you do to a hero if you ever want to bring him back as a hero, and, by all accounts, DC had no plans to do that, introducing Kyle Rayner to be, at the time, the sole Green Lantern in the cosmos. People were furious at the disrespect shown to Hal. And speaking of Hal...

Somehow, they redeemed this guy
...he goes through a lot of shitty stories where he's a super-villain  and then a ghost, before he redeems himself (in a way that I never really bought, sorry, DC) and becomes Green Lantern again like ten years later. EVEN HAL JORDAN THE MASS MURDERER SUPER-VILLAIN GHOST CAME BACK. Do you see where I'm going here?

Captain America, he died.

Steve Rogers: shot and killed...for like a few years and then he got better 
Don't worry, Bucky took his spot (and, surprisingly, fans took it pretty well) until he got better.

Human Torch died and came back so quick that it wasn't even a year. Funny enough, the Human Torch was replaced, in the Fantastic Four (who were renamed the Future Foundation at the time), by recently-dead Spider-Man.

But Spider-Man's been replaced before. I'm talking the controversial and terrible Clone Saga, which seemed to drag on forever (and at the time the writers were told to drag it out), until it was revealed that the Peter Parker that we had been following for some time was not the real Peter Parker, but, in actuality, a clone, and the real Peter Parker had been wandering around believing he was the clone and taken up the name Ben Reilly.

Peter Parker vs. Peter Parker?! 
Then Marvel, trying desperately to eliminate a lot of continuity baggage, restarted Spider-Man with Ben Reilly taking up the role of the web-head.

Which, of course, didn't stick. Fans were not impressed. So reviled was Ben Reilly that not only was it discovered that, oops, he was in actuality the clone, and not only did he die, but he basically disintegrated from off the page, as if he was never there to begin with, a bizarre nightmare.

Ben Reilly will NEVER come back...right?!
And now, the Amazing Spider-Man is dead. If you've read #700, the climactic final issue of The Amazing Spider-Man, which is priced at a hefty $7.99 for about 96 pages, you know this already. Peter Parker is dead, and comic fans are irate, not just with his death, but in the manner of his removal from the Earth. A quick explanation: One of Spider-Man's great enemies, Doctor Octopus, dying of cancer, swaps bodies with Peter Parker, who he finds out is Spider-Man, and Peter, in Doc Ock's ailing body, tries to stop him from stealing his life. In #700, he fails. But not before implanting Doc Ock with all of his memories, his victories and his tragedies, giving Doc Ock, in Peter Parker's body, a new, perhaps heroic perspective on life as he takes the rein as the Superior Spider-Man.

The cover is dark because this Spider-Man is dark, get it?! 
It might not sound like it, but The Amazing Spider-Man #700 is a beautiful comic. I can say that Dan Slott is not a hack, that #700 weaves tragedy, tension, a great role reversal, and just a damn good story in a surprising, and strangely uplifting way.

I'm not saying this will work as a story or how long this will last with Doc Ock in Peter Parker's body (though I don't think it'll be long). But I know that I'm intrigued right now. I know that I picked up a (very expensive) Spider-Man comic for the first time in years. And I know that, as history suggests, this will not be permanent. Why not see where this goes first and enjoy the craziness for a bit? Is that something fans can even do anymore?

In the Internet Age, fans have become emboldened. The final pages of #700 was leaked online just in time for people to say how much it sucked. Now here's what I'm questioning: Where's the wonder? The fun? When did comic fans become so bitter and jaded? Has the internet just sped up the whole disenfranchisement in the reader or has it simply given it a voice?

When it's all said and done, this story might very well suck as much as the Clone Saga. Or it could be an incredible experience like Knightfall. Either way, things will return to normal eventually. Don't worry, comic fans, knowing your wrath, Marvel wouldn't dare do otherwise. 

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Bigfoot, Vicodin, and the Beauty of the World

Yesterday, my Dad and I went Bigfoot hunting. Washington has, by far, the largest population of Bigfeet, with over 500 sightings listed in the BFRO website (Oregon and Florida have the second biggest population at 232 sightings), some within driving distance of my parent's home (66 sightings in Pierce County, according to the BFRO [that's Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization]). A recent sighting (Class A Sighting, says BFRO!) was right in Spanaway, towards the Joint-base Lewis-McChord. We followed the road where the eyewitness, on his way home from the Spanaway Walmart, claims to have seen the Bigfoot stride across, under the blanket of night.

Vicodin is one hell of a drug. I'm not sure of the appeal, unless you like feeling submerged underwater. When you take Vicodin it is said that you should not operate heavy machinery or drive a car. You should not drink alcohol. Your thinking and actions may be impaired as well. There is nothing listed that says you should not hunt Bigfoot while on Vicodin. Yet.

Examine this tree. This tree has been pulled from its roots and downed right here. A great violence has been committed against this tree and it now lies in the middle of this road, its corpse a danger for oncoming vehicles. Picture this: Bigfoot, alone in the cold, damp night. He sees your cars driving through his home. They are loud and mean. Bigfoot likes quiet and your engines scare away the deer. Bigfoot hates you. He imagines your head when he amputates and murders the tree from the earth. He hopes for collision when he leaves the tree on the road. He is a bitter relic.

When a tooth is threatened with cavity or decay, a root canal is an option weighed against extraction. I choose the root canal because the nurse said it would be less painful (she lied). If you don't know what a root canal is, just know this: the dentist will break open your tooth, or whatever is left of it, remove the infected pulp tissue, and then, very deliberately, he/she will drill away the nerve in your tooth. Then he/she will file away at the root canals (there are four), getting rid of any infection, and then he/she will fill up the openings. A crown will then cover the tooth, to protect it from future damage. The root canal is a removal of blood and nerves from your tooth. Do you understand? To save the tooth you must, essentially, kill the tooth.

I've been watching "Finding Bigfoot" while recovering. This show follows four researchers trying to find proof of the existence of Sasquatch. There's Matt Moneymaker, Cliff Barackman, James "Bobo" Fay, and, my favorite, the skeptic, Ranae Holland. Ranae is much needed on this show to damper the enthusiasm of these three men, who, on the very flimsiest of cases, will proclaim, "It has to be a 'Squatch." No one on the show really likes Ranae. She's the one that says, "It was probably a bear." She's the one that has to tell the eyewitness that she doesn't believe that they saw what they think they saw. She's a buzzkill. She's the murderer of dreams. She's the one they send out to tell little kids that Santa doesn't exist. Ranae Holland is fucking awesome.

I just graduated from my MFA program. In a terrible economy, especially for people my age, I have a degree that holds little in monetary rewards. I have so much incoming debt that it's funny. Except I'm not laughing, I'm terrified. I'm in the forest with my Dad. Drugged on Vicodin. His tiny Papillon is barking ferociously. We're searching for Bigfoot. Searching for a sign. There's a zombie tooth in my mouth. And then there's this:

And this:

Tell me the world isn't beautiful.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Why I gave Haruki Murakami's "1Q84" four stars on Goodreads, despite its overwhelming problems with plot, characters, and pacing, and the questions arising from the complicated responsibilities for an author and the world he/she creates

This is not a review, trust me

*Spoilers Throughout*

"1Q84" is long. At 1,000+ pages, the book is comparable in length to epics "Infinite Jest" and "2666", but make no mistake, in style and tone, the novel is pure Murakami.

A little basic info on the novel, but not so much, because this isn't a synopsis or even a review: "1Q84" follows Tengo, a math teacher and writer, and Aomame, a yoga instructor/assassin, in alternating chapters, as they deal with their new surreal reality, both having fallen into a new world that is being manipulated by strange mystical creatures known as: the Little People. The book is separated into three sections, or in the case of the paperbook volume (which I purchased because it looked awesome), three books.

Sometimes, you should buy a book just for its' cover! Right?

"1Q84" may have been the most frustrating reading experience of my life. Take for example Book III: which has one of the main characters stay nearly 300 pages stuck in one room. Also in Book III: another main character spends almost as much time speaking to his father, who is in a coma.

Passivity in protagonists is not unusual for a Murakami book. In "Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World", the narrator does his best to stay out of the complex, fantastic narrative surrounding him. In "Norwegian Wood", Toru Watanabe, a young man in late 1960's Japan (and in one of the few Murakami books that take place in a realistic setting), let's supporting characters lead him from one moment to the next. Murakami's protagonists aren't just passive, they are willfully passive. Aggressive in their refusal to be significant.

So, it shouldn't be surprising that the characters in "1Q84" would follow this pattern. Hell, I began reading this book expecting that.

Here's where the "1Q84" becomes frustrating: the Story never pushes back. Or at least not enough to overcome the prosaic protagonists. Okay, it almost does. Book II has some huge plot points. But by the time Book III rolls around, all of that becomes foreground, dimmed. Book I takes its time setting up this strange new world, of underground cults and two moons in the sky and fantasy books born from reality. By Book III, we're stuck in a room or sitting next to a hospital bed.

Book III is about characters.

Which would almost be okay, if Murakami wrote amazing characters. But he doesn't. The worst part is, they are disingenuous. Both Tengo and Aomame have the same thoughts over and over again, the main one being that they want to see each other again (they met as children and fell in love). But they do very little to make that happen, despite the fact that almost every chapter has: "I must see them again" repeated ad nauseum. They are passive protagonists that don't think like passive protagonists. This makes them frustrating. How many times can you stand hearing from a friend that they must do something when they never pull through?

And the Story never forces them to pull through. The Story itself becomes passive. The sinister threat with its amazing foreboding in Book II is barely mentioned in Book III (until near the end, but not as much as you'd think). And there are some amazing things that are brought up - complex ideas that get my mind racing and the pages turning. This Story is breathtaking. So why does Murakami abandon it?

Why, Murakami?

Supposedly, Murakami does not plot his work. He just writes. Some doubt that, at this point in his career, he's even edited. Maybe this should be commended. But I can't help wondering how perfect the book could have been if Murakami paid off some of the startling ideas he had introduced. What experience I would have had reading the book if the central conflict wasn't muted, if a final confrontation wasn't denied. But what responsibilities does an author have to satisfy his reader? What if the author doesn't care about the same things as his audience? What then? And the biggest question for me: When did plot become a writer's enemy?

I'm not going to say what a writer should or should not do, what a story can and cannot be. I feel like the modern literary culture holds too many debates on what good fiction "is". For me, if a story works, it works. It's intuition and not necessarily definable. And Murakami's stories mostly "work" and connect with millions of readers, including me. That's why even with the problems I have with "1Q84", I gave it a 4 (out of 5). The book kept me reading and kept me interested, albeit frustrated. There are also some amazing chapters and unforgettable moments (I'd write more about them if this was a review). And, honestly, I miss the book. I miss reading it. To be more accurate, I miss this world that Murakami created. I miss it because I didn't get a proper goodbye. Murakami doesn't care about that. I do.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Political Analysis: The Road to 2056

This election is over, with Obama back for four more years. But the election cycle doesn't stop there. With the final numbers in, pundits and political insiders are looking ahead to not only 2016, but also to 2056, in a race that appears wide open. Let's look at the top potential presidential candidates for '56! 

Walter Dodd, Ohio (R)

A staunch neo-conservative, six-year-old Walter Dodd caught the attention of national pundits for his controversial war-hawk agenda, something that could gain traction in the coming decades. When asked what he would do with Iran, he screamed, "Bomb them!" And China: "Bomb them!" And Russia: "Bomb them!" He also, reportedly, threatened to bomb France, Italy, Canada, and Mexico. And America. Republicans are eyeing him as a strong potential candidate, but he faced some controversy last year for reportedly drawing boobs on the Man with the Yellow Hat in his "Curious George" coloring book, an act that the New York Post called, "Crass, sexist, and completely juvenile." Let's see if he can rebound with a solid year in the 2nd grade before we make any Dodd '56 signs, am I right?

Robert Starr, South Carolina (D)

Robert Starr, at seven, is playing all his cards right. First, when Robert was five, his Dad left him and his family, never to be seen again. Then Robert's mother became addicted to pain killers and he had to be separated from his brother, the thirteen year old Kenneth, who was sent to juvenile detention for stealing 1,000 dollars worth of electronics from the local Walmart. Robert is currently living with a loving but lonely aunt (on his mother's side), while suffering taunts from classmates over the shabby jeans he has to wear because of his miserable poverty. "This is a brilliant, Clinton-esque tragic childhood," says a political insider. "Starr is making all of the right moves to secure his spot in the '56 elections." Starr is being touted as a strong presidential candidate, but he still needs to suffer through at least one traumatic death to make a serious dent in the '56 electoral college.

Samuel Parker, Illinois (I)

Viewed, by many, as the ultimate outsider, Samuel Parker, 8 months of age, despises all politics-as-usual. An anonymous source deep in the Parker camp says it best: "Sam doesn't care at all about politics. Whenever I even mention it, he becomes agitated and tired. He just needs food and my breast milk, and he's happy. He doesn't owe any special interest groups, that's for sure. We need an outsider like Sam to clean out Washington once and for all." Pundits will be eyeing his potty training closely to see if Sam has what it takes to form a worthwhile coalition outside of D.C. He should start worrying about fundraising soon if he's going to rely on a grassroots populace vote.

Amanda Wells, New York (D)

A year ago pundits were wondering if potential candidate, Amanda Wells (age five), had the strength to be tough with China and soft with voters. Though she could secure a large portion of the '56 women's vote, many had been calling her personality cold and unrelatable. These problems paled in comparison to the early October news that she had dumped her kindergarten boyfriend, Doug Smith, and started dating another classmate, Bill Simon, all on the same day. When questioned by reporters, Wells could only say, "Doug mean. Bill nice boy." Wells has to now contend not only with her likability factor, but also with this salacious scandal. Many pundits think her time has passed. "2056 just isn't in the cards for her," said an anonymous source deep in the Democratic party. He then quickly added, "Maybe 2060." 

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Knock Knock! A Short One Act Play by Timothy Moore

Tim: Who's there?

Personification of the Future: It's me, THE FUTURE.

Tim: Oh...

A beat.

Personification of the Future: Can I come in? I'm like now, and such.

Tim: Actually, could you come back a little later?

Personification of the Future: Oh. It's just - I kind of have a schedule here.

Tim: I wasn't expecting you at all. I mean, it's a little rude. You know?

Personification of the Future: I didn't...I didn't mean to be rude. I'm sorry.

A beat.

Tim: I just wasn't ready for you yet. I still have Netflix and Thai food and naps to take.

Personification of the Future gives a sigh, then a resigned chuckle.

Personification of the Future: I can come back later, I guess. But next time, you gotta be ready, okay?

Tim: Thanks, Future.

Personification of the Future: It's actually THE FUTURE. So.

Tim: Oh yeah, yeah, THE FUTURE. Sorry.

Personification of the Future exits. 

Tim: Oh God, who's there now?

Personification of Shame from Past Failures: You know who it is.

Tim gives a sigh eerily similar to the Personification of the Future's sigh.

Tim: Come on in.

Personification of the Future and Personification of Shame from Past Failures and Tim hold hands in stage center.

All: Comedy or Tragedy? You be the judge!


Thursday, September 20, 2012

How To Deal With Stress!

Curl Up In A Ball At The Center Of Your Bed Until The Cause Of Your Stress Goes Away!

The more hopeless, the better!
Lying in the center of your bed is key, because if you are too close to any of the edges, your problems may still find you. Do not make a sound. If you must whimper, do so into a down pillow. Turn off all the lights. Stay like this for half the day. With any luck, the problem that has caused your stress will go away. Stay like this for the remainder of the week just in case.

Cover Your Face In Your Hands And Cry Until The Cause Of Your Stress Magically Disappears!

She knows what she's doing!
Remember to repeatedly cry out to yourself "This is not happening" or "Please, God, no" until whatever it is that has caused your stress is eradicated by mystical forces beyond our understanding. This can be done on sidewalks, subways, and public bathrooms. The more pathetic and helpless you are, the more likely the ambiguously spiritual forces will alter the fabric of reality to eliminate the stressful situation from your otherwise amazing life.

Run Away From The Cause Of Your Stress And Pretend That It Never Happened!

Get the hell away from me, Problem!!
Depending on the scale of your problem, you may have to run away from your job, your children, and your current city. Keep in mind that your problem will no longer be a problem if you do this, so fuck them. Change your name, your hair color, and get cosmetic alterations to your nose, and, if applicable, your breasts. You will be an entirely new person, which is needed, if you truly want to solve the cause of this stressful predicament. 

Blame Obama

Just remember: It is all this guy's fault
Somehow, someway, we all know that Obama is the cause of the problem that has made you stressed. Do what millions of Americans have done already and blame him constantly, at bars, at sporting events, while viewing Fox News. Do this until you are numb in your face and heart. Your stress has been solved, friends. 

Concentrate Hard Enough So That You Can Somehow Fall Into An Alternate Dimension Where The Cause Of Your Stress Doesn't Even Exist, You Like Have No Problems Whatsoever, Everyone Is Happy And You're Married To A Hot Model Or Whatever! 

Alternate dimensions are possible, if you just believe!
Consider the choices you should have made that would have prevented the inevitable failure that is in your future. Say things like, "If only I had done this instead..." and hypothesize a completely different life. Make sure to imagine this future as specifically as possible (you don't want to accidentally think of ways to solve your problem). Do this until a wormhole opens in-between the folds of space-time and you fall directly (but safely) into that hole, birthing this new alternate dimension. Anything is possible with quantum mechanics, you dummy! You simply must have the desire the avoid your problem at all costs. If that doesn't work, blame Obama. 

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Are You Being Rude? Probably.

Being courteous is the most important thing. In the world.

If you are slow in the city, you are rude.

If you talk on a cell phone on the train or on the bus or in the bathroom, you are rude.

If you are with your family of three or more people on the sidewalk, and you are walking slow, and not only that, you are walking side by side, taking up the sidewalk and making it impossible for anyone to squeeze by, you are rude, and so is your whole family.

You see cute? I see exceptionally rude! Stop blocking the sidewalk, family!

You are rude if you are at a restaurant with friends and you leave to go to the restroom without saying, "I'm going to the restroom."

In conversation, if you do not apologize after interrupting someone, even if it was an accident, you are rude.

You should have your train or bus pass ready to swipe or insert immediately, if you do not you are rude.

If you take time to pay with exact change you are rude.

If you write a check at a supermarket you are rude.

Writing a check?! Go back to 1997, please!

Also: At that supermarket, if you don't help the cashier bag your groceries you are rude.

If you sit next to someone on the train or bus and eye contact is shared, you are rude if you try to talk to them. But it is also rude not to acknowledge them. The correct action is to smile politely with your lips (show absolutely no teeth), and to give a brief half-nod.

If you know a lot about a subject you must still act unsure by prefacing your knowledge with polite phrases like: "I believe" or "I'm not entirely sure but" or "I think I've heard", because arrogance is rude.

If you are not sure that you are somehow being rude you should apologize anyway because you probably are being rude.

On a first date at a restaurant, it is rude to ask your date to split the bill. Conversely, it is rude for your date not to offer to split the bill. To be safe, do not go on dates. Going on dates is inherently rude.

After a meal at a restaurant, when the waiter asks, "Save any room for dessert?" it is rude to simply answer, "No." You have to look sheepishly at your friends or family and chuckle, saying, "Oh no, I am entirely stuffed." If you order a dessert, you are rude.

On the same note, any question, no matter how ridiculous, should never be answered with a quick "yes" or "no". Some thought should be feigned. You can glance up at the sky to pretend you are thinking, or say, "um" and then "I believe" before answering the moronic question as courteously as you can.

Hmm...I'm just gonna rub my chin and look at the sky for five seconds before I answer your ridiculously stupid question and not embarrass you because I'm polite, not rude!

If you are a performing artist or old, you are rude.

If you are at your friend's small apartment and you absolutely have to "relieve" yourself, you should run the water in the bathroom sink to mask any sounds you could possibly make while relieving yourself because it is rude to relieve yourself.

In regards to waiting in a line at any stores, if you confuse that line by loitering near the line but not really being in the line, you are jeopardizing the integrity of the whole line system, and that is rude.

If you arrive late, you are rude. But you are also rude if you arrive early. Being exactly on time can appear strangely rigid (and therefor rude), so you should just cancel any outing to prevent a disastrous misunderstanding from taking place. Just tell your friend an emergency came up, and then apologize, always apologize.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Yahoo Sports Columnist Chris Chase Is Totally Right, United States Is Leading In 'Real' Medals! Also: F*ck China! Right? USA! USA!

The Olympics! Brought to you by Euro Socialists and Communists!
Did you read the latest Chris Chase article yet?! He is totally right! China is not at all leading countries in medals. I mean, technically, yes, they have the most medals, okay? like 73 to America's 70, but they totally don't have the REAL medals, the ones that REALLY matter! America would completely annihilate China if the Euro-slime Olympic committees had any real decency!

If you haven't read this article already (and what's wrong with you? why haven't you read it!), Chris Chase correctly posits that we, Americans, would be leading in medals if you counted the correct sports, i.e: where winners are determined on the field of play and not by judges!  Like basketball! Not those shit "sports" like gymnastics, diving, trampoline, or judo (judo - psh, of course China would gobble up that f*cking medal, right?).

Flipping in the air three, four times? Psh. Add a defensive lineman in the mix and maybe I'll call it a sport!
So anyway, when you calculate this way, the correct way, America is totally winning in the medals! By the score of 59 to China's pitiful 53! Yes! We're number one! We're number one!

If there is anything that Chris Chase is not doing right it's that he doesn't go far enough! America is totally getting screwed over! Can you imagine if the Euro-fascists let football, I mean REAL football into the Oylmpics?!

We would annihilate China in REAL football! Look how small their arms are!
WE WOULD KILL CHINA IN REAL FOOTBALL! It would be embarrassing and they know it so that's why it'll never happen!

So I say to China: stop hiding behind your judges!! If they would just let Michael Phelps do track and field and tennis we would have all the gold medals!

Also: you like freaking genetically alter your athletes or whatever and we never do that so they should really take like five medals away just for that!
And also um - they're communists! And they have more people, like a billion at least!, so when you count how many medals Per capita, by scale and such, we would have that many more medals - like one hundred more at least!

We are the best country! Number One!
No matter how you look at it America is still on top - okay, except in the actual medal count, which is fraudulent and shouldn't even be counted anyway, so whatever, f*ck those guys, if we had like an ass-kicking competition we would win a dozen more gold medals! Countries would be giving us their gold medals out of fear!, as well they should! 

Monday, July 30, 2012

The Asian American Moment

It'll happen, kids. Trust me.
He or She will have lived in America all of his or her life. It won't matter if she/he are Korean, Chinese, Vietnamese, Japanese, etc. It won't matter if they are mixed either, their families will have lived in America for two generations at least. If he/she speaks an Asian language, it will hardly be fluent, and they will chuckle if you ask them to say something in that foreign dialect.

In many ways, they will be the definition of mainstream. Interesting, somewhat, but so ideal that they will also be kind of boring. A little shallow too.

And of course She or He will be charismatic! So charismatic that it will not matter that they have Asian blood coursing through their veins. They will defy all preconceived conventions, leap over stereotypes and they will be superstars. Movie (super) stars, probably. Big budget ones, on bus-stop posters. No Kung-fu whatsoever, not even as a joke. No Dragon Ladies, no evil Fu Manchus, no dutiful-Confucius spouting servants. It won't even take place in ancient China or WWII Japan. Can you imagine?

This will be the Asian American Moment. And we won't know it at first. It will happen and we will be surprised, confused, waiting for the swift rise to be accompanied by a disastrous fall.

Sorry, Keanu. You are not 'the one'. This time.
We will think they are too good to be true, and they will be. They'll have some type of sex scandal or one of their films or albums or TV shows will bomb, but America loves building people up, breaking them down, and then building them up again, and that's what will happen to them too, they will be a part of this very American cycle.

And some Asians will hate them because they are not Asian enough. Especially those born in Asia, who still hold onto their country's ideas and values. The leaders in their communities will say that he/she is great, but maybe they assimilated too much. Became too westernized.

Kristen Kreuk has played great Asian Americans in the past. And then she played Chun-Li.
But we, we Asian Americans, or at least many of us, will know that there is a massive difference in being Asian and being Asian American. A different viewpoint, a stark disconnect, lives with little semblance to each other. We will know that she/he did not need to assimilate, because being American is what they were born into and all they truly know.

That's what the Asian American moment will be about.

Maybe its happened already. There are many contenders to give us our moment. Jeremy Lin has propelled Asian Americans, surely. But the fact that it matters that he is Asian American, and, more importantly here, Asian, makes it doubtful. Even though he's lived in America all his life, it's still significant that he's soon playing where Yao Ming (born and raised in China) became a superstar and international sensation, in Houston, and now he's following in his footsteps, to be viewed in millions of Chinese homes overseas.

The Rockets? That's Linsane in the Membrane.
It's still significant that, after the signing, some angry fans referred to him as a traitorous chink for leaving New York.

The Asian American Moment will make all of that seem absurd. Though they will look Asian, for all intents and purposes, she/he will be American and viewed as such. For better and for worse, he/she will be so "American" that the Asian will be a strange prefix on their Wikipedia page.

Someday, he/she will win some Oscar/Emmy/Grammy. They will be at the pinnacle. And it won't matter that their eyes are clearly slanted, or that their skin has a foreign tint. What will matter is that millions of Asian Americans, now four, five generations in, will see she/he, see this Asian American treated as a peer.

It will happen. And it won't change everything. But it will finally, truly, be a start. 

Friday, July 6, 2012

Thoughts, Reflections, and Fears at the Art Institute of Chicago

Statue of Shukongojin, Buddhist Deity

Shukongojin (Buddhist Deity Lightning Protector) brandishes his kongosho to penetrate ignorance and destroy evil (says the sign next to his sculpture). But he looks like he is the evil one. 

Large groups of old white women talking about China somehow makes me sad. 

I love ancient art but a part of me wants to smash the ancient art into pieces and scream, "There is no more history." 

A charismatic security guard stops me and my friend and asks, "Are you following me?" She is wonderful and her eyes are large in mock paranoia. I only laugh and promise that I'm not. But she deserves a better response. 

There are sketches by historic artists. The sketches have names like, "Head of Bearded Man". "Nude Woman Looking Down". I write down the names in my notebook because I think I can use them as titles someday. I wonder if this here is my inspiration. If this is the moment where I stumble onto genius. 

Peter Blume's The Rock 

Peter Blume's painting, "The Rock". I wish the world looked like this. I wonder if artists wish that too or maybe they see the world like their paintings already. Maybe that is genius. 

Every time I see a kid at the museum I can't help but think: "Another goddamn kid!" 

Misanthropy > Misogyny 

Many people takes pictures by the American Gothic painting. There is a crowd and people are waiting politely for their turn. It's strange, but it's stranger when they take a picture of the American Gothic painting by itself, as if there are not a thousand of the same picture online, or as if somehow they will forget how the painting will look, like it's not imprinted deeply in their American psyche.  

"Nude Man Looking Forlorn". "Head of a Boy in Contemplation". 

Ivan Allbright's Picture of Dorian Gray

I decide that Ivan Allbright is my favorite painter. He is the master of the grotesque. He paints in the realm of the terrible fantastic. I decide that I will study Ivan Allbright and become the expert on Ivan Allbright that I was always meant to be. All of my friends will call me Ivan because of my obsession with the deceased painter. I forget about all of that when I get home. I only remember later because I've written it down in my notebook. 

Roy Lichtenstein's "Ohhh...Alright..."

I am impressed by the Lichtenstein exhibit but the exhibit is so large that by the time we get to the end, and he is re-purposing his own work, I never want to see a Lichtenstein painting again. 

"Body of Nude Woman Sitting". "Children Frolicking Under the Sun, Unaware of Failure". 

I'm afraid of getting old because if I'm old I will re-purpose my old writing because I am flushed out of ideas because I'm old, and because my body is tired, and because I've never found genius, I'm just an old bitter hack.

I want to see everything different. I want to be completely new.