Top 10 Things That Need to Go the Fuck Away: 2012 Edition

 

Yay! It’s that time of year again. Time to take stock of the year behind us. Time to celebrate the best and brightest our culture and society have had to offer in the most recent calendar year.

Yeah, but fuck that. Here’s 10 things that have to go, in no particular order.

Bruce Springsteen, E Street BandBruce Springsteen

Springsteen is to middle-class white people as Jay-Z is to inner-city black people. He’s the reason the revolution never happened.  He is the conduit by which legitimate rage and fear and despair was channeled into T-shirt sales. He is the soothing balm slathered on the guilty consciences of David Brooks and Chris Christie and Barack Obama. He is, as Leon Wieseltier described him in the New Republic, “the least dangerous man in America.” I’m no revolutionary, and I believe that stupid people generally get what they deserve, but bad songs are bad songs. Springsteen didn’t always write bad songs. He started writing bad songs right about the time that goopy Southern drawl appeared in his voice and he started doing that gospel shouting thing from the top of Roy Bittan’s piano. Somewhere between 1988 and 1992. (Some would date Springsteen’s sell-by date to 1984-85, but that doesn’t allow for Tunnel Of Love.)

Anyway, listen to “Racing in the Street.” Then listen to “Shackled and Drawn.” Both are protest songs, of a sort. The first is written and performed by someone recognizable as a real person. The second is written and performed by a well-meaning fathead who clips song ideas from the pages of a copy of Mother Jones on the waiting room table in his therapist’s office. Springsteen is reputed to be a big fan of Elvis Presley. He is said, by those close to him, to have learned much from watching Presley’s decline and fall. He has, to his great credit, never become Elvis Presley. Instead, he’s become Colonel Parker, anthemizing his fans’ grievances and re-packaging them in $75 Super Deluxe Editions.

Hungry Hungry Hippos, Hasbro, MovieHungry Hungry Hippos: The Movie

This is a real thing. Hasbro has entered into a partnership with a film production company called Emmett/Furia to develop Hungry Hungry Hippos into a feature movie, along the lines of Battleship. There was a time in this country when smart people cynically sold stupid things to stupid people. Harry Cohn, Louis B. Mayer, Samuel Goldwyn. Whip-smart, unscrupulous Jews who got their start selling tin-plated utensils and tomato seeds from the backs of wagons. That golden age is over now. Today’s Hollywood executives grew up with GameBoy and Teenage Ninja Mutant Turtles and PC caches full of porn jpegs. They’re not selling Hungry Hungry Hippos: The Movie to people because they have nothing but contempt for the hapless consumers who make them rich. They’re selling Hungry Hungry Hippos: The Movie to consumers because they genuinely believe Hungry Hungry Hippos is a good thing. Continue reading

The Revolution This Time

 

Occupy Wall Street, We Are the 99 Percent healthcare retirementMaybe nothing will be accomplished at the Occupy Wall Street demonstrations and marches. Maybe the whole thing will dissolve into riots and chaos and looting. Maybe the cops will finally arrest enough people to cripple the event’s momentum. Maybe nothing will change at all and corporations will keep banking their profits and shipping jobs overseas, while the big banks privatize obscene profits and socialize all the losses attendant upon their gaming of the system.

But at least someone is standing up and saying something.

Until last weekend, if you read anything about the Occupy Wall Street demonstrations now going on in Zuccotti Park (re-named Liberty Square by the protestors) you read that it was a silly, unfocused bacchanal staged by a few hundred disaffected hippies. That’s what Citibank and President Obama  and the GOP and the New York Times want you to think. Continue reading