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Tag Archives: new york times

Sixty Hues of Sex, part 1

28 Dec
Not for the faint of heart. Or stomach.

Not for the faint of heart. Or stomach.

So I was reading the NY Times the other day, as part of my daily pretention ritual, and I happened upon a section that listed the top 10 best selling books of 2012. What was the best-selling book, you ask? 50 Shades of Grey. In fact, all three books in this horrendous trilogy were on the list. What the fuck, America? What the soft-porn-disguised-as-fiction fuck?! Are we really at the point where some British chick writing Twilight fan-fiction can become a best-selling author by writing such gems as “my insides practically contort with potent, needy, liquid, desire.”*

However, as disgusted as I am by the state of American literary consumption, I am still an extremely greedy individual. So, I figured I would strike while the iron is hot. If this moron can write popular porn fiction, then I sure as shit can. So, without further or do, I present:
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A (Late) Review of the Kony 2012 Campaign

13 Mar

The Kony 2012 campaign is garnering far more attention than the Romney 2012 campaign, for better or worse.

The more I think about it, the more annoyed I am by the Kony campaign. It’s not because I’m a cold, hateful cynic who hates children. It’s because the video wouldn’t be nearly as viral as it is if people had thought past the initial “Oh my god this man is a subhuman aberration who clearly deserves to be slaughtered in the most slow and painful way possible oh my god how do people even become that horrible oh my god.” And that should be your gut reaction, assuming you aren’t a cold hateful child-hating cynic. Now if you’re rational and logical as well, Step 2 is asking yourself whether you agree with the campaign. I don’t.

Yo, America, remember the last time the entire country suddenly flipped an outraged shit over going to catch a bad guy hiding halfway around the world? It’s okay if you don’t — the target audience for Kony’s video was twelve at the time. Whether or not you support the war in the Middle East today, you know that it had widespread support at the time. Nobody likes people who kill people, unless their names are Dexter or Katniss. Let’s put on our 10-year-hindsight hats.

First of all: does anyone have a post-Kony-killing plan? Because once Kony’s out of the picture, we will have (according to the video) an army of armed, brainwashed, possibly orphaned trained killers. What, pray tell, do we do with them? Yeah, we can return them home — those of them that haven’t killed their parents. But it’s not like we can let ‘em off at the nearest bus stop and pat ourselves on the back — the kids are all fucked up, and kicking their leader out of the picture is not going to save them. If they’ve been brainwashed to think Kony’s the next Messiah, they’re clearly not going to take to a bunch of assholes with a Superman complex trying to save them.

But don’t worry, nobody’s planning on “putting Americans into combat.” If our troops happen to get attacked, we can just tell the Kony Killer Kids that we weren’t actually planning on fighting them. Just stopping them. Problem solved.

As for the campaign itself: It’s been said before, but I’m cynical about the power of middle-class American college students’ Facebook status fads changing the world.* The problem with “awareness” is that it reaches a set point: right now, everyone who’s gonna know about Occupy knows about Occupy. And everyone who’s gonna know about breast cancer knows about breast cancer. At that point, you’re either doing something about the issue or not. Kony 2012 will reach that point.

But, what if “awareness turns into action.” I’m totally on board with them there. So long as you define “action” as letter-writing, calling Congressmen, and pretty much endorsing the message. But if you’re anything like me, you can be aware that you’re an out-of-shape lump of hot cookie bar who couldn’t run 20 minutes anymore let alone 20 miles, make a hearty New Year’s Resolution, plan to multitask on the treadmill with your reading — and still find yourself at Shepard Munchies stress-eating your finals via homemade baked goods and cocoa product. Awareness turns into intention, which sometimes turns into action.

Philanthropy’s easy when all you have to do is type some words on the Interwebz. But as any former philanthropy chair/DM 60-hour-clubber/Camp Kesem counselor can tell you, and as you probably already know, it’s really goddamn difficult to regularly squeeze money and time out of broke overinvolved college kids.** People will forget/“forget” to donate their time, money, and empathy around the same time the Keg starts forgetting/“forgetting” to notice again that your ID belongs to a 5’2” 115 lb Asian.

The viral philanthropy campaign set up by author Parrty Cat.

I’m also annoyed with certain vague, majestic proclamations regarding Ugandan child guerrillas. Prime example: “It’s bad for the world.” First of all, Jason Russell, this isn’t the persuasive essay you shat out at 3:00 AM your junior year because your coffee machine was broken and Starbucks was closed and you couldn’t stay awake any longer. Support your goddamn generalizations or it’s propaganda. Because, second of all, is it really, truly bad for the entire world? Honestly — somebodyisgoingtohatemeforsayingthis — no. It’s really, really bad. But this half of the world is personally affected by things other than Kony. And y’know, that’s why the Invisible Children sentiment is admirable – most anti-Kony campaigners have nothing to gain. Unlike the satisfaction of getting in shape, or taking vengeance on Osama, or having the kids for whom you raised $1.1 million high-five you onstage after 28 hours of anguished feet, the US and its inhabitants don’t gain anything from killing Kony (another reason our government is hesitant to help). Diehard Ko-pponents have their hearts in the right place. It’s the heads I’m worried about.

One thing I’m unclear about, and I ask this because I truly don’t know: why this plan of action? Our narrator gives us a step-by-step tutorial of how we’re going to stop Kony. But why aren’t there alternatives? They need technology and training – why doesn’t IC ask us to send money to the Supply The Ugandan Army With Necessary Shit Fund, instead of having ten middlemen? Is deploying American advisers overseas really our only option, or can’t we bring people here to train them? Who decided on this plan, and why don’t we have a say?

Sidenote: There’s an imaginary New York Times newspaper at about 22:25 in the Kony 2012 video, with the headline “KONY CAPTURED.” But I’m LOLing a little at the second article’s title: “The world agrees, Kony is the ‘Worst’.” I’m not entirely sure why this is amusing, but it might have to do with the ironic fact that the most vile adjective we can think of to label Kony with is “The Worst.” Was “ruthless sack of diarrhea” inappropriate somehow? And Flipside, could you pleaseplease take this and run with it?

I do admire the campaign for its great methods, and I’m not preparing for sarcasm here. Having only 20 “culture makers” and 12 policy makers = 32 public voices is a really, really good way to approach it. You might wonder why they don’t involve more, but what this strategy does is keep responsibility on a few committed individuals, rather than letting the campaign diffuse.*** The committed public’s gonna focus on pressuring those people to continue advocating. But, on the other hand, I wouldn’t be surprised if our lawmakers are just waiting for the initial outrage to blow over.

The sentiment is nice. Watching it for the first time without feeling the total emotional rush that I know others felt made me wish I could be less of a cynic and believe with all my heart in happy endings and butterflies and peace. I said the same thing after watching The Notebook.**** But that’s not how humans work. And if we aren’t at least slightly more cautious about running in headfirst without a plan for the lasting repercussions after an intervention is over, we haven’t learned a damn thing.

That said, Kony deserves every profanity in the English language and I hope he dies slowly and painfully.

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*Black with hot pink polka dots and a lacy bow by the clasp which is in the front not the back because I enjoy experiencing my boyfriend’s momentary bewilderment.
**Although for some reason, people in Bienen are the best cookie consumers. Sometimes I feel guilty because I should really tell them to save their money for when they’re starving artists and I’m relying on my non-music degree. But it’s all for the kids… right?
***Sherman Ave’s all about the psych terms. Right, Brother Jürgen?
**** You’re not a bird. Neither of you are birds. Get out of the middle of the road. Stop that nonsense. You’re both neurotic and your sex scene was weird. Shave and move on. Where in this movie am I supposed to be crying? Oh, now you have to go and die together. Does that even happen? You suck.

Super Tuesday Predictions

6 Mar

Wolf Blitzer can't stop trimming his beard in anticipation.

It’s the moment we’ve all been waiting for. The closest thing we’ve got to a national primary. The kind of day Karl Rove and George Stephanopoulos have wet dreams about. The moment we finally find out just how ambivalent Americans feel about Mitt Romney. It’s Super Tuesday! Follow our state-by-state guide for a comprehensive examination of how these 10 states will select their 2012 Republican nominee.

OHIO
I’ll be honest. Most of my knowledge regarding the state of Ohio comes from either Bristol Bacchus or Cleveland jokes. But if this state thought that it would be a good idea to induct the Beastie Boys and Neil Diamond into the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame, then I’m not sure how well I can trust the judgment of its citizens. The race between Santorum and Romney might be more unpredictable than a LeBron James televised announcement, but I think Romney pulls ahead after he is quoted at a campaign stop admitting that, like LeBron, he’s working on an autobiography but just can’t come up with a title.

GEORGIA
At the time of me writing this post, the New York Times has already called Georgia in favor of Gingrich with less than 1% of the polls reporting. Which is a relief, as it saves me the time of having to come up with jokes about Sherman’s March to the Sea, Coca-Cola, peaches, or how the 76 delegates up for grabs seems like a remarkably similar figure to what I assume the ex-Congressman’s BMI looks like.

OMG guyzzz y doesnt nybody lyke me??!?

TENNESSEE
Just once I want to see Mitt down a fifth of Jack, stumble through the electric slide at a Nashville honky tonk, drunk dial Tipper Gore, and finish the night sobbing outside of Graceland. I think if he can pull all four off before the polls close, he might have a fighting chance is stealing this Southern state from Gingrich. At least as much of a fighting chance as Johnston and Beauregard had at the Battle of Shiloh.

ALASKA
After ringing endorsements from Balto and Jewel, Ron Paul carries the Alaska primary by appealing to voters’ enthusiasm for legalized weed to help get through the winter and increase appreciation for the Northern Lights. Rumors abound that Gingrich promised to “drill baby drill” Sarah Palin if he was victorious, but are dismissed by Newt as a smear campaign invented by the devious liberal media hell-bent on distracting the American people from the real issues at stake in this election.

MASSACHUSETTS
In a surprise upset, Governor Romney arrives in a time machine from 2003 to defeat the current conservative incarnation of Mitt. The 2003 Romney also extols on the virtues of comprehensive health care, the success of the invasion of Iraq, and the musical brilliance of Evanescence.

IDAHO
What’s bland, white, and favored by many Irish Catholics? The Republican Party! Also, potatoes. Seeing that Idaho has a lot of both, I predict that a bland white Republican will win the Idaho caucus. Or maybe just a really fat potato dressed in a suit that many voters mistake for Newt Gingrich.

NORTH DAKOTA
North Dakota sucks so much, it’s developed an inferiority complex towards its neighbor to the South whose main claims to fame include a palace made of corn and a brief cameo appearance in North by Northwest. The state’s main exports are natural gas, lonesome prairie wind, tumbleweed, and depression. Even the nuclear missile silos left as soon as humanly possible. Like my seventh-grade self at the middle school dance, North Dakota’s willing to devote itself entirely to the first poor soul who shows it a shred of interest. All Romney has to do is show up and call North Dakota within the next three days to seal the deal.*

Pyrotechnics would really bolster his campaign stops

OKLAHOMA
The official rock song of Oklahoma is “Do You Realize??” by The Flaming Lips, which is pretty awesome until you imagine every citizen in the state singing “Everyone you know one day will die!,” and that the closest competition to The Flaming Lips for this prestigious title was the All-American Rejects’ “Move Along.” This, along with the fact that Oklahomans couldn’t come up with anything more original for their actual state song than fucking Rodgers and Hammerstein means that this state is bound to go for Ron Paul.

VERMONT
So long as the citizens of Vermont can find enough time to vote in between their busy schedule of wearing flannel, tapping for maple syrup, and not showering, I bet they go with the pride and joy of the Northeast, Scott Brown.

VIRGINIA
Considering Rick Santorum’s penchant for desperately holding on to socially conservative values that went out of vogue in the 1960s, the former Senator’s statement that Chief Justice Warren’s ruling in Loving v. Virginia “makes me want to spew some sort of vile amalgamation of vomit, semen, feces, and bile out of every orifice possible,” provides the essential vitriol necessary to win this key swing state despite not even making it on the ballot.

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*Imagine, if you will, the charming Mitt Romney sauntering up to North Dakota, standing in the corner looking forlornly at all the cool kids being courted by swarthy Super PACs, and asking it to slow dance with him while Jessica Simpson’s “Take My Breath Away” plays in the background. I bet North Dakota would immediately take Romney home to Fargo and let him frack her all night.

Save the World, Stop SOPA

17 Jan

The biggest threat to your paper on the role of North Africa's economy in the Byzantine Empire circa 1400 since that fifth of Jack Daniels and Facebook

If you’re reading this, I assume you like the Internet (thanks Al Gore). As such, you should probably be running around in circles puking and crying and screaming and calling your representative in Congress and then puking some more, assuming that’s your normal reaction to receiving news of legislation you disagree with.

See, Congress is currently considering two bills—abbreviated to SOPA and PIPA—that are aimed at curbing online piracy of music and film. And while we at The Ave would like to go on the record as opposing illegal downloading (……Look in a mirror. Right now. Do it. Now pretend you’re looking at seven-year-old you. Now try to explain how you could illegally download The Muppets. Now rethink your life choices), these bills go way too far.

Both SOPA and PIPA would give the government sweeping powers to censor online content and target search engines or aggregators that link to websites it says are illegal. As a website that we can only imagine gives nightmares to top officials in the CIA almost every night (we take Mondays off. Too busy Keggin, ya know?), we naturally disapprove.

But the heinous doesn’t stop there. Because of these bills, websites such as icanhazcheezeburger.com, Redditt and WIKIPEDIA all plan to go black tomorrow in protest. Seriously.

As if it isn’t bad enough that we won’t be able to get our full fix of kittens who hate their owners,* WIKIPEDIA IS GOING DOWN. Do you people even comprehend what that means? Literally, no one will know anything anymore. The single database in which all of humanity has stored the entirety of its collective knowledge will be gone at midnight tonight. Every single person on this soon-to-be-forsaken planet will be left with no awareness of the world around them. All sense of intelligence will be replaced by a distant, vacant stare and a sense of longing. Basically, imagine that every person on the planet is Rick Perry. But dumber and less hostile.

Now, I should point out that our boy Barack has said he will not sign these bills, and neither piece of legislation has been voted on or passed by either house of Congress.

But still the damage has been done. See, by naming the House version PIPA, supporters of this bill have already ruined my life. Pippa should be a word of joy, a word of happiness, and a word of incredibly shaped arses. Thanks to these heinous toolboxes, PIPA (same pronunciation as the first name of Our Lady of Bootyville) is instead an Orwellian nightmare of government overreach and special interests.

Censorship never seemed so attractive

In summary, I must admit I was wrong. I thought that there was nothing that could ruin Hottie McNiceAss from across the pond. I thought she was too good and had too round of a behind to be tainted by anything. But in less than eight months, our shitsville of a Congress has done it.

And so, for making me a liar, ruining Pippa and dooming humanity I say this to Congress: Ugh. Typical.

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*Porn too. Don’t forget about the porn.