lovehate: 2009 - The Year of Distractions

There was a whole crapload of freaky, scary stuff that happened all over the world this past year. It's a shame that most of us got, at best, glimpses into what are probably some of the most pressing and meaningful issues of the day while most news outlets decide to spend the majority of their time on mindless minutiae, or buying into slants of stories that are promoted to shunt us away from truth. 2009 suffered the media equivalent of someone pointing up to a phantom airplane, and while everyone else looked, they'd run away.

Here's only some of the stuff that occupied WAY too much time on the airwaves this year:

Michael Jackson: Sure he was talented, but he died. There were a whole bunch of other talented people who died this year, some who may not even have heard about before. That we had to sit through 24 hour coverage, for weeks on end, on where, how, and why he died  spoke not as much to any crime, talent or celebrity, but more about how news networks love to retell the same story 8000 ways when they have plenty of archived footage to use up. And why not kick in a film for good measure.

Tiger Woods: I don't care that a golfer screwed around on his wife more than the guy who works in the convenience store down the street. If you have couples living to the left and right of you at this moment, odds are one of the four are screwing around with someone. He golfs. He's an idiot. He will return. And our Schadenfreude will know no bounds.

Susan Boyle: Yay! A foppish English tart can sing! Who gives a shit? Anyone can sing... maybe not in tune, but at least they hit continuum. Everywhere I turned for a month there was some new story about the downward spiral of this complete fabrication of "reality television" and how she took the public, content with shitty quality mp3s and autotune voices to heights of ecstasy. If I never hear of her again, I will not shed a thought.

Balloon Boy: Even if the story was true, it should still not have garnered the attention it did. Why does the story of some kid in a balloon rate higher than the millions who starve every day? You know what they say: one child not floating in a balloon reported on by thousands of reporters is a tragedy. One million children starving and not being reported on at all is a statistic.

Copenhagen: Hey, let's drum up vision of sugar plums, or at least the Little Mermaid and take everyone's attention off what's really being done at these conferences... do you think they're really discussing climate change? Scientists discuss climate change. World and corporate leaders discuss how to make money and political spin off of climate change. Whether you buy into the changes in the weather or not, rest assured climate change for the good or bad of every day people was low on the list in terms of the real discussions in Copenhagen.

Swine Flu: Quick, let's come up with a sexier, sci-fi sounding name like H1N1. Let's threaten old people and children with it. Let's spend hundreds of millions, if not billions of dollars on vaccines that haven't been tested. Let's make sure everyone is scared enough to line up for hours to get the shots. Let's keep scaring everyone so that they don't realize we've spent so much money during a brutal depression on propping up the stock of Glaxo Smyth Kline. Let's try to figure out a way to not let people know that within a year we will have tens of millions of doses expiring in warehouses around the country when the final bill collectors come knocking.

Chris Brown and Kanye West: Fuck you both. Combined you idiots wasted more of my time with senseless drivel than any other asinine talentless duo except maybe...

Jon and Kate Plus 8: What the fuck? Do I really have to have news devolve to the point that reality show characters have become headline worthy? If that's the case, I may as well treat everyone on the news like a reality show character. Hey look! It's Barack Obama from Political Idol... I wonder if he'll get voted out of the house this week?

Octomom: Some stupid woman gets some stupid doctor to give her some stupid fertility pills and she pops out 8 kids and I'm supposed to give a shit? This is crap we would have laughed about in supermarket tabloids 15 years ago and now its international news. My how we have gotten dumber! The only time I ever want to hear the Octo prefix again is during a trailer for an upcoming Spiderman or a Discovery Channel show.

We are idiots. We allow this to happen through passivity or sheer ambivalence.

In most revolutionary handbooks one of the first things you are told to do is take over all the television and radio stations. By taking control of the media, you can control the public. If you count the hours you were exposed to these stories this year, and assume that those that control media are trying to control you, start to ask: to what end? 

Aren't broadcasters federally regulated? Doesn't this mean we (at least theoretically) could take some control back over mass media outlets? If we were at all going to buy into the Roland Emmerich pitch that the world would end in 2012, I'd say that 2009 was a pretty good case for thinking it might not be a bad thing... at least we wouldn't notice anyway... not if a celebrity had sex with an alien.

lovehate: The Ten Commandments of Not Pissing Me Off



Thou shalt not try to convince me there is a God or gods or godesses or demons or devils or cosmic intelligences we surely don't understand. If you want to buy into all of that, go crazy, but leave my realist brain out of your cornfield.


Thou shalt not try to convince me that Prince or the Artist Formerly Known as Sane is a musical god for two reasons. One is contained in commandment number one, and two is that the man, while clearly possessing talent, took a long walk off the pretentious pier long ago and convinced himself he was Aquaman in the process.


Thou shalt not try to convince me that the chemicals in fast food are going to kill me someday. I live in a city that chuffs out more carcinogens a day into the air than you can imagine. I was weaned on the stuff. My body is a chemical factory. When I die, and my body decays in the ground, you may as well salt the earth because nothing is growing there again. And if you cremate me, anyone looking at the smokestack will think that Jerry Garcia's been elected pope.


Thou shalt not come to a COMPLETE STOP when making a right turn with no stop sign, no oncoming traffic, and no possible reason to slow down to a crawl other than the faint possibility your heart has stopped because you're sneezing from the dust gathered on your living corpse that moves too slow.


Thou shalt not take a look at the Double Gulp Diet Coke I bought at 7-11 and say "How can you drink all of that?" Like anyone drinks! Okay you idiot? Starting with my mouth, ending with my bladder, wash, rinse, repeat! Got it?


Thou shalt not exclaim, for any earthly reason, "same difference". Other than being oxymoronic, it's just plain imbecilic save for one example: 10 minus 8, 5 minus 3, 2009 minus 2007 is the same difference.


Thou shalt not try to justify the ingestible viability of any gelatin made from reduced animal hoofs. Oh I know that during the great depression your ancestors may have lived off the stuff along with fatback and pork sausage, but that doesn't change the fact I'd rather eat a dolphin.


Thou shalt not try to convince me there are secret conspiracies bent on overtaking the world. Get your head out of your ass and smell the soot and sulphur. There are plenty of completely visible organizations trying to take over the world that have great PR contracts to boot. The fact that anyone believes Britney Spears has talent or that A-Rod is anything but an asshole or that this entire Susan Boyle thing isn't a complete fabrication is definitive proof of that.


Thou shalt not claim to be good at television trivia without being able to sing at least 20 theme songs, word for word, from the 70s or earlier. You will be excused from one theme for each well-placed reference to the Wondertwins or Gatchaman (Battle of the Planets for all you unbelievers).


Thou shalt not, through any circumstances, under pain of verbal tirade and relentless mocking through a series of pop culture subreferences, fly footloose and fancy-free with the definitive article "the" before things like: Walmart, Twitter, Windows, Google, or Kids Today.


Thou shalt not expect me to hold to any promises or parameters of only holding to lists of ten things when clearly it's permissible for me to take things to eleven.


Thou shalt not expect anything less than the unexpected grapefruit edsel waffle iron ukelele.