September 20th, 2005

what's up your butt?

Farg this and farg that, farg it all to farg this fargin' brat

One of my favorite features over at Lileks' site -- no, really; I don't mean it ironically, I really do enjoy the feature -- is his Noir Tuesdays. Oddly enough, I had the idea to watch a noir film a week for a year and write about it on my journal quite some time ago, but he beat me to it, possibly because he is a famous prolific writer instead of a lazy shitbag. (I might still do it next year, though, time, money, and Netflix permitting.) It's really entertaining: he generally features good movies (today it's The Blackboard Jungle), his nostalgia-hounding comes across as funny rather than whiny, and his schtick of taking screen-shots of not-yet-famous actors at the jump-off of their careers is pretty enjoyable.

But, of course, it wouldn't be Lileks if there wasn't one really annoying factor in play, and in this case, that factor is spelled F-A-R-G-I-N.

Look. Everyone above the age of eight knows that "fargin'" (and its kin, "freakin'", "friggin'", and crazy uncle "frackin'") is just a disguised version of "fuckin'". Everyone. Now, on TV, it's permissible, because on broadcast television, you are actually legally enjoined from saying "fuck" in any of its delightful permutations. But this is a weblog, and as any Google search for anything will prove, the web is gloriously and hideously free of censorship. If he wants to say "fuckin'", why not say "fuckin'"? Who's going to stop him? I seriously doubt his readership sports an excessive number of the under-eight crowd. And if he really was worried about kids, or for that matter thin-skinned adults, then why say anything at all? You're not fooling anyone with "fargin'". Only an idiot doesn't know what it really means. An adult offended by "fuckin'" is likely to be equally offended by "fargin'", because they know what it's meant to represent, and it's the meaning that offends them, not the form. And as for kids, would he really be happier if the Gnat ran around yelling "I was fargin' cheated at jacks today!" than if she said "fuckin'" instead? Again, it's the intention, not the application. That's why you wouldn't be surprised if your boss was offended if you sent him a memo saying "I think our new marketing plan is a load of f*cking sh*t, and I think you can cram it up your *sshole sideways."

This sort of cutesy-poo, coy, faux-cursing isn't clever or effective. It's just annoying. (Lest this simply become part of my ongoing irrational vendetta against Lileks, allow me to note that lots of people on the internet and elsewhere do it; in fact, it's numbingly frequent even on my friends list here on LJ. It bugs me everywhere. Lileks is only its most prominent advocate.)

Okay, that's enough relentless crankwork for today. You know what the real horror is? Lileks is turning me into him. He'll win. The motherfarger.
god bless the internet

The Many Moods of AllMusic

Like every other freelance writer in the world, I use AllMusic. A lot. A quite terrifying lot. So much that I feel like I should send them a portion of every check I get. It's such a hugely useful website that I don't even complain too much about their recent site reboot, which made it slow, confusing and difficult to navigate.

Some features of AllMusic, though, are not so much useful as they are stupid, worthless or all-around pointless. The 'stupid' content has been greatly reduced since they dumped the feature where you check boxes that allow you to categorize Mariah Carey as “gothic”, but the ‘worthless’ is still very much in play since it’s so easy to hack the ‘Similar Artists’ feature by being deliberately goofy (“If you like Alan Jackson, AllMusic thinks you’d also like: KEIJI HAINO, CRASS, HARRY PARTCH.”)

The ‘pointless’ crown goes to the bewildering “Search By Mood” and “Search By Theme” features. This is a thing where you click on a ‘mood’ or ‘theme’ selected by the dingbats in AMG’s marketing department, and it coughs up a list of albums to fit that ‘mood’ or ‘theme’ (the difference between a mood and a theme is sometimes hard to discern). So, say you’re going to have a party and the theme is “Grief/Loss”, just click on that, and AllMusic will give you a list of recommended albums at which to shake your bereaved booty. Or let’s say you wake up one morning and you say “I think I’m going to be greasy and knotty all day”. Just select those from the AMG mood list, and you’ll know what to program into your iPod for your greasy knotty adventure.

(Today’s “featured mood” is “Outrageous”, and one of the suggested albums is Slayer’s Reign in Blood. Yeah, it’s really OUTRAGEOUS!)

When I’m doing tedious paperwork at my job, which is pretty much most of the time, I like to think about the many moods of AllMusic, and contemplate what music could possibly fit it in my own musical universe. What to listen to when I’m feeling austere? What music fits my circular moods? What do I put on the turntable when I’m feeling crunchy? What goes on iTunes when I come home all hypnotic? What’s the perfect song for the naïve? What should I listen to when I’m all organic? How about ramshackle? What’s the difference between a ‘sexual’ mood and a ‘sexy’ mood? What in God’s name is ‘suffocating’ doing here?

Also, what would one do at a “Fondness”-themed party? What’s the right silverware for “Day Driving”? Isn’t every day a “Drinking” day? What do you wear to an “Illness” get-together? Does “Maverick” refer to the horse, the TV show, or the attitude? Can I play Orthrelm at a “Reflection” party? How about Sleep at a “Slow Dance” competition? If I “Stay In Bed”, how can I reach the stereo? And wouldn’t you be pissed if your album wasn’t included in “The Creative Side”?

I hate rock critics. Also marketing people. But AllMusic, I love you!
he's just a stereotype

Just My Type, A DARREN STAR JOINT

So, with the new fall TV schedule in place, I’ve been kicking around this idea for a series I’ve had for a while.

It’s a ‘dramedy’, or, if you prefer, a ‘coma’, and it’s called The Stock Room. It would be a one-hour show that deftly combines comedic and dramatic elements in a way not seen since the golden era of Beverly Hills 90210. A brief rundown of the plot:

Our hero, Generically Handsome Upper-Middle-Class Young Single Professional, works in an office in a demographically desirable metropolitan statistical area. His duties include acting in a professional capacity for his boss, Impossibly Creepy Middle-Aged Jerk, flirting shamelessly with his co-worker, Bottle Blonde Ball-Busting Career Woman, and acting as a sort of mentor to the hapless Nerdy And Slightly Unattractive Guy Who Does Technical Work Of Some Sort. Occasionally, Gene interacts with other people at his professional office building – minor characters like Less Attractive And Mildly Sarcastic Peer, Hideous Rude Old Secretary, and Godlike Old Plutocratic Owner Who Shows Up Every Month Or So To Be Fawned Over. He doesn’t really like his job very much, but he stays there anyway because, darn it, they’re a family.

But at home, it’s a whole different story! In his funky apartment in a hip section of his demographically desirable metropolitan statistical area, he leads a double life – for you see, when professional office hours are over, Gene is transformed into a Currently Popular Sport, Recreation Or Hobby Enthusiast! He can’t tell the squares at the office, because they’d never understand, in their buttoned-down professional world, that Gene is really a rebel, a bad boy, a little bit…dangerous. The only ones who understand him are his friends: friends like Handsome But Arrogant Popular Activity Rival, Sexy Female Neighbor With Whom He Has A Lot Of Semi-Hostile Sexual Tension, Embittered But Still Oddly Friendly Ex-Girlfriend, Bizarre Socially Maladjusted Neighbor Across The Hall, and of course, his roommate, Wisecracking Short Guy Who Shares The Apartment Even Though They Both Make Tons Of Money.

That might not be enough to get them through the passion, pleasures, treats and trials of a modern urban life. They’ve still got to contend with Psycho Ex Who Isn’t Even That Pretty, Crazy But Humorous Foreign Landlord, Hip Grandma Who Always Makes Pop-Culture References Or Sexual Comments, and Mysterious Guy Who Comes Around Every So Often And All The Chicks Dig On Him. But with the help of Former Alcoholic Mentor Possessed Of Zenlike Wisdom, Parents Who Constantly Nag At You But Really They Totally Love And Support You, Late-Season Replacement Cute Kid, and of course, The Black Guy, they may just make things add up…in The Stock Room.

Is it gold, or is it goddamn gold?

Casting, though, that’s gonna be a bitch.