Her-r-r-r-e’s Negan!

Ann Ghoulter - Super-Sized

No, this is not Negan!

Well, season 6 of The Walking Dead played last night and things went about as I expected. That’s right, I said things went about as I expected as far as the cliffhanger goes – and the infantile bitching that went on afterwards on the internet. I read the comic, so I’ve known for a long time what happens and who dies, not that it will play out the same way on the TV show. But, because I feel like it needs to be said, GLENN dies in the comic!! Negan takes Lucille and gives ol’ Glenn the Irreversible fire extinguisher treatment. (Watch the movie if you don’t know what I mean. There are scenes in it that will burn in your memory). There! Deal with it!

And because I think the whiners need some conspiracy theory about who dies in the TV version, how about Norman Reedus, since he’s getting his own Guy Fieri-type show a la Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives that will involve motorcycle culture. Could that be a bone AMC threw at him for killing him off? Before any noses get out of joint over this, no, I don’t believe that either, nor do I care about anything to do with people who ride Harleys and wish they were Sam Elliot. “The Dude abides.”

But, seriously, I have never seen such a bunch of whiny, self-entitled, bitches as I saw last night complaining about how Robert Kirkman and Scott Gimple ended the season. If you think The Walking Dead is boring, you either have never read the comic and don’t understand the pacing of the story, will accept nothing less than instant gratification (fuck storytelling!), or have ADHD. Whatever the case, you need to watch something else and STFU.

And for those who think a cliffhanger ending was some kind of “gimmick”, oh, so sorry you weren’t good enough or brave enough or ambitious enough to get your own spot at the writer’s table. Whining is so much easier, right? And it takes much less talent (practically non-existent!). There is no way the fanboys were going to be pleased, no matter how the season ended: it was either end the show as it was last night and listen to the bitching or show who got killed and listen to the bitching. So what did Kirkman and Gimple do? Whatever they wanted to move the story along as they saw fit. After all, Robert Kirkman CREATED the comic, so he’s entitled to do that.

A word of advice to those who still need the diaper change: it’s a good show – one of the best shows on television right now – and the comic leads where the show goes. Enjoy it and be grateful that you have it.

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The Death of Honey Boo-Boo

I never had occasion to watch the show – basically because I dumped my cable TV – but I have longed for the day when Here Comes Honey Boo-Boo would be given the axe. What little I know about the show is that the mother looks like that hog Clint Eastwood was wrestling in Unforgiven and that, in this family, ketchup is supposed to pass for spaghetti sauce, or as they called it “sketti”. I don’t know what part of the country they are from, but if stereotypes have any basis in truth whatsoever, this family reeks of Southern white trash. Is that judgmental enough for you? Of course, the circumstance for the show’s cancellation, which I won’t get into here, was unexpected, but it gives some credence to the way I view this sorry scene. In reality, I just don’t care about them but I do care about why they even crossed this country’s consciousness.

This is the crux of why I interrupted the other things I’m tending to for this ill-tended blog: has anybody responsible for “reality” television smartened up at all? The only thing that is “real” about reality television is that it focuses on the broken and dysfunctional in our society – and it’s cheap to make (that’s a biggie!). It’s not enough that there are people who hoard things because they are emotionally disturbed individuals, but let’s drag their crap out for all to see and entertain ourselves under the auspices of “helping them”. It’s not enough that there are little girls aspiring to be dancers, no, “reality television” has to inject some garbage-mouthed, ill-mannered heifer and throw a lot of manufactured outrage on top of it all. And the list of pure shit-for-television-programming goes on and on. Why has “The Learning Channel” become “TLC” and descended into showing the most despicable examples of human behavior? Why has A&E, Discovery, SyFy, Bravo, and many others become nearly exactly the same with little to recommend a difference, much less anything with intelligence? Have we become so insecure, so narcissistic, and so voyeuristic that we watch this shit-pile of schadenfreude to make ourselves feel good about ourselves? In the race for ratings, it’s been a race to the bottom of decency and “reality” television has mired itself in inequity and stupidity and bullshit. Who could be surprised that they finally stumbled across a sexual predator in the muck? Idiots.

A creative partner and I worked on a scripted television project and my partner presented it to a producer/creator of many of these shit shows purely for the purpose of using his connections or funding to move the project along. Well, it didn’t go anywhere as my partner got the sense that this producer didn’t have the juice to see a project such as ours through. His conclusion was that this guy was a one-trick pony and his trick was producing shit “reality” shows. Color me not surprised.

I hate the FCC, the Comics Code, the Hays Commission, the MPAA ratings system, and pretty much any other means of censorship, historical or current, where somebody thinks they know better than me what I should be allowed to watch, read, or say, but damn it, people, when do we start demanding some quality out of these braindead fucks? They don’t seem capable of doing anything other than chase ratings and we have shit television because of that. Is it enough to boycott advertisers or is that just an improbable quick-fix for short-term problems?

Hell, Alton Brown admitted that part of the reason he ended his excellent show Good Eats was because he could see the writing on the wall that the days of recipe shows was drawing to a close to be replaced by competition shows and DAMN I hate those shows! Everybody does them now! Everything has to be a competition; somebody has to be better than somebody else! Just stop the crap!

When the aim of your business is making money, you’ll sell whatever sells. You don’t have to care about the product as long as it sells and you don’t get sued. It’s well known that television is a business to make money. It’s also painfully obvious they don’t give a shit about what they’re selling.

April Fool’s Day – A Pictorial Puzzle

Call it associative cognizance or the sophomoric tittering of a post-adolescence adolescent, but on this Day of Great Occasion, I have a puzzle: what does one picture have to do with the other?  As much as I like Melissa Harris-Perry, I have a long-held contempt for the chryon monkeys at MSNBC.  I don’t know what’s worse: them or the closed caption people at FOX.

Nevertheless, see if you can make the connection between these two pictures and why someone at MSNBC needs to be stooge-slapped.

How To Be An Ally

How To Be An Ally

SC

Trebek, I’ll take How to be Anally for $400.

So remember kids, just because you can make words fit a compositional layout a certain way, doesn’t mean you should make them fit together that way!

Eventually, Somebody Has To Say Something!

I’ve written about what I call CorporateSpeak in other blogs.  I may resurrect that discussion when the mood arises, but what I’m annoyed about is a similar concept that has to do with marketing campaigns that use dumb, stilted tag lines.  This may not seem like an earth-shattering dilemma (it’s not), but it keeps popping up and it’s really getting on my nerves!  I’ll explain:

Now, when I was in elementary school, the common example used to describe the use of poor grammar in advertising was the old Winston cigarette tag line, “Winston tastes good, like a cigarette should.”  Of course, as a kid, I could imagine a bunch of octogenarian professors in their black robes – they always have to wear the robes – having apoplectic fits over the use of the word like rather than the proper as.  Also, as a kid, I summarily dismissed this as I knew what they meant and who cares about cigarette ads anyway?  And some how, some way, that type of thinking has gotten us to where we are today.  But I digress (which, considering the title for my little rant factory here, I should do, but I really should get back to the subject at hand.)

There has always been an element in advertising and business where incorrect English or spelling is used to attract attention.  When I was growing up, the Winn-Dixie grocery chain was joined at the hip by another name, Kwik-Chek.  The store brand soda pop was named Chek and had a little check mark in with the phonetic spelling.  In my kid-mind, I understood what they were doing and why they were doing it, but it all came off to me as a cheap and tawdry stunt because they spelled the word incorrectly.  This sounds like the genesis of a Grammar Nazi, huh?  Nevertheless, that feeling of disdain I had for that brand and for that store, by extension, is something I haven’t been able to shake to this day and I really don’t care to do so.

So where is this all going?  Without doing any real research into the matter, the first campaign I recall that used the “bad grammar” theme was Apple: Think Different.  I don’t know if it can truly be called a theme because I don’t know that the agency responsible for that actually knows that it’s wrong!  Regardless, the correct phrase is Think Differently. The explanation, for the grammarians and non-believers out there: “different” is an adjective, it has to have a word to modify and the verb think isn’t it.  However, if you change it’s form to “differently” then you have a modifier – an adverb – that works with the verb.  Anyway, I always felt sorry for old Albert Einstein as he looked miserable being on Apple’s signage with this obvious grammatical mistake – and I don’t recall anyone pointing out the error.  I am a lifelong Apple user and to see what I consider to be the greatest computer products available advertised with such stupidity was depressing.  I bought their products, regardless, because the ads weren’t going to influence my decision-making anyway.

Probably because of the success of the Apple campaign, this bad grammar tagline garbage hasn’t stopped.  I have a sneaking suspicion that the subsequent campaigns were designed to deliberately use bad grammar because Apple’s success has been so phenomenal (never mind the actual products or any of that real-world stuff).  So in the midst of the manifestation of the whole insipid “re-” marketing meme – rethink, reboot, reimagine, etc. – we have AT&T stepping up to the plate of desperately dumb ideas and producing Rethink Possible.  I singularly hate this more than the others I will mention because, as far as I’m concerned, AT&T is a dogshit company.  But the phrase is so stilted and clunky and doesn’t really SAY anything!  If you want it to be correct, then it has to say Rethink What’s Possible or something to that effect.  I know that’s what they are trying to say, but it’s just so damn ham-handed; it’s not clever, it’s trying too hard to be clever.

So, not to be outdone, my constant nemesis, the former Sci-Fi Channel, Syfy (which is a whole diatribe in itself) comes up with another example of this “bad grammar” theme by attempting a call-to-action to redefine the meaning of an adjective: Imagine Greater.  Again, it doesn’t say anything, but we’re supposed to waste time doing the mental gymnastics of imagining what “greater” could actually be?  Perhaps, we’re supposed to heighten the level of our imagining, as if that is some kind of quantifiable state.  Stupid and hyperbolic.  How about some shows that aren’t an intellectual embarrassment?  How about change the name back to the Sci-Fi Channel and concentrate on some honest-to-goodness science fiction?  That would be “greater”!

Ahem… back to my topic.

So, as a subscriber to Time-Warner (whether I like it or not), I now am at the mercy of their endless ads and the vapid tagline: Enjoy Better.  I’ll tell you what’s not “better” and that is the grasping attempt to follow in the footsteps of these other national ad campaigns.  This phrase has all the failings of the Syfy and AT&T taglines and is, in some ways, worse because it’s such an obvious rip-off of the concept they used.  And while we’re talking about “better”, I just discovered a new campaign by U.S. Cellular: Hello Better.  People are singing in the ads and it’s just awful.  Again, bad idea that is an obvious copycat.

With the whole “perception is reality” lie they tell themselves, have they convinced themselves there are no original ideas, so they aren’t even going to try?  I’ve worked around sales and marketing all my professional life and I understand that it’s a hard thing to win an account from companies who put perhaps more faith in advertising than is warranted, but that’s no excuse – ever – for the dreck I’m talking about here.  Here’s a concept for all the nimrods in charge of these ad campaigns: Expect Better.  I do and it’s a proper phrase you would really find in English.

It’s bad enough to have to listen to Neanderthals in suits rattle on about “innovation” and “rethinking” and “repurposing”, but for the money agencies get paid, I’d appreciate an effort to, at least, act as if somebody in ad land knows how to use the English language!  These campaigns – and, I cringe to think there will be more – are not smart nor are they clever.  I’m sorry, but somebody had to say it.

Reality TV Confessions: I’m Starting To Like Gordon Ramsay

Those of us who flip around the television dial or, as I do, scan through Netflix, have probably had the chance to see him.  He’s the angry, foul-mouthed chef who seems to delight in belittling wide-eyed, petrified victims also costumed as chefs.  He’s Gordon Ramsay.  His television shows are naturally about cooking but they also tend to be one long FCC-approved beep – and he seems to have a fixation about Hell: Hell’s Kitchen, Hotel Hell.  At first blush, I thought he was yet another in a long line of pompous asses who take their abilities to heat things up in a skillet far too seriously to the point where they are allowed to project their contempt on others with impunity for money.

But I think I’m really starting to like him…and I feel like a lesser person for it.

Why did I ever start watching him?  I was curious what he was really all about and if the verbal torture and apoplectic attitude bore any merit whatsoever. After all, somebody at Fox had to be convinced that he was worth putting on television, not that their standards are all that high.  So I tuned in to Hell’s Kitchen this season to see why somebody would get this venomous in the kitchen.  I know I wouldn’t want to know this kind of abusive behavior was going on in a restaurant where my food was being prepared.  After watching a few episodes, I can begin to sympathize.

Reality television is hardly “reality” and it’s often difficult to separate what has been scripted – or, at least, pitched –  from what is the narcissistic bravado of someone who has to have the “personality” to make it on a television program.  What I have seen thus far on Hell’s Kitchen is that the contestants are ridiculous and hardly worthy of the head chef position in the Las Vegas restaurant that is the reward.  There are too many mistakes made that call into question how much of it is genuine and how much is contrived.  But Ramsay continues to entertain as the belligerent taskmaster overseeing a cadre of culinary clowns.

As is the case with many popular American television shows, they got their start elsewhere.  I found a show on Netflix called Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares and it was a British show and served undoubtably as the template for Hotel Hell.  Ramsay comes in and in an explicative-ridden week, he helps turn a foundering restaurant into something that has a chance to survive.  What he usually uncovers is that the people running the business have no clue how to do it properly.  It is, I’m sorry to confess, an engaging, uncensored romp through the landscape of tough-love.  The most shocking thing to me is why rather well-mannered people would allow the foul-mouthed abuse that pours from Ramsay’s mouth with barely a complaint.

Ramsay’s shows are irresistible and I don’t know if it’s the voyeurism of ineptitude or the schadenfreude that bothers me more.  It’s not particularly surprising, as it becomes all too apparent, Ramsay’s favorite word in his Gatling gun of uncensored vileness.  But why spoil the mystery?  I’ll let you watch and find out the secret word and win the prize.