Dumb Things I Have Done Lately

Thursday, February 12, 2009

The Self-Declared Official Asian Spokesperson on the Stupid Miley Cyrus Scandal

Two ongoing Mideast wars, the biggest economic crisis since the Great Depression, wildfires in Australia, Israeli election uncertainty, simmering crisis in Gaza, multiple nuclear proliferation threats, and the only thing the celebrity-minded simpletons out there can wrap their silly little heads around is a silly indiscretion by a 16-year-old pop star:

One of these things is not like the other. Also, that is not my chin or jawline.

The whole goddamn thing is stupid. The photo was stupid. The Asian kid in the photo (the original one, that is) is stupid. (Question: Is he still good at math?) Righteously-indignant and morally outraged AZN bloggers are stupid. The apology was stupid. The second apology was stupid. The lawsuit is especially stupid. Miley Cyrus was stupid for forgetting that as a celebrity, she shouldn't do certain things on film (and as a 16-year-old, she can't even claim it was the booze talking). I'm stupid for writing about this.

Let's not forget, various Latin American sports teams during the Beijing Olympics were also stupid.

Friends of mine are stupid for doing almost exactly the same thing (though they were smart, because they are not celebrities), and I'm stupid for taking their picture:


Are they bad people, because they are subverting stereotypes in a manner that could be seen as offensive? (This is a bad example, as they actually are bad people.)

This is the absolute only thing I'm going to say about this. Although, since I linked to TMZ.com multiple times here, I'd like to take this opportunity to share my simple (though non-comprehensive) two-question test to determine if you're a bad person:
  1. Do you work for TMZ?
  2. Do you watch TMZ?
If you answered "yes" to either of these two questions, then, yes, you are a bad person.

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Monday, August 25, 2008

Washington Post LiveWire: All the convention news you need -- whether you want it or not

As I Twittered a few hours ago, I got a "Convention Update from Post LiveWire" e-mail, and I'm pretty damn sure I didn't do anything close to subscribing to anything remotely like it.

Checking my Washington Post e-mail preferences, as well as a reply from another Twitterer, confirmed this.

Looking at the mail header, it comes from bigfootinteractive.com; Bigfoot Interactive is an e-mail marketing firm that's now part of a larger marketing company, Epsilon.

I bounced it over to my Gmail account (it went into the spam folder, shockingly), which revealed an Unsubscribe link that didn't show up in PINE (yes, I still use PINE, which is still not ELM). I clicked the link, and all was revealed:

Washington Post LiveWire e-mail optout
Washington Post LiveWire e-mail optout screen.

Note the page title in the browser: "Optout."

Optout. Now, I don't care if it was a mistake, a one-time thing, or a rogue marketer -- there's nothing that will set bloggers to wiggling their tiny, Cheeto-stained typing fingers in impotent blogging rage than an e-mail marketing opt-out.

It could be an urgent evacuation notice giving the best route to high ground to avoid the oncoming asteroid-induced tidal wave -- if I didn't subscribe to it, I don't want to see it.

I find it somewhat ironic that this would happen on the very same day that the Post featured a story about companies using blogs and other social media to reach out to customers ("Marketing Moves to the Blogosphere" -- it got more than a little blog traction here because it name-checked some of the usual area and marketing bloggers.)

Especially since bloggers and blog readers -- the very users who companies try to engage using social media -- are the most enraged by things like opt-out marketing e-mails.

Anyway, as I'm in this annoyingly-vocal, self-important and overinflated minority, as I finish this little impotent screed, I can only take solace in imagining that, thanks to the voodoo that is SEO, this entry will show up somewhere in the future on the first page of results for "Washington Post LiveWire."

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Sunday, December 30, 2007

Nuke the Whopper Freakouts -- It's the Only Way to Be Sure

Consider this an early New Year's Resolution -- after extensive thought and through analysis, I have come to the conclusion that every "actual customer" who was upset by the purported discontinuation of the Whopper sandwich needs to be beaten thoroughly about the head and neck. And I'm volunteering.

Furthermore, anyone who was stupid and/or fame-seeking enough to actually sign the release to appear in the Burger King Whopper Freakout commercial needs to be stopped. By any means necessary.

Stop the Whopper Freakout.

Sure, we all have our tastes and preferences, but if a fast-food chain hamburger means that much to you, you need to be put down with extreme prejudice.

While this may be a master stroke in quasi-viral marketing, I can't watch, or even listen to the commercial, lest I get overwhelmed with rage and disgust.

On a side note, I see that the fake manager of the store is Regan Burns, formerly the host of the game show Oblivious ("The game show you don't even know you're on!"). Guess he doesn't mind getting typecast in hidden camera shows.

I actually kind of liked Oblivious, not least of all because their gimmick allowed them to pay out what was probably the smallest cash prizes out of any game show, ever.

Looking at Mr. Burns' IMDB entry, I see he was also involved in Fox News' alleged news-comedy show, The 1/2 Hour News Hour, so he must be used to projects that aren't funny and inspire loathing. Though I understand that an acting gig is an acting gig.

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Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Oh Lord, Please Let That Be a Dog Turd, Not Human

Thank you, dear neighbor (or passerby), for leaving that humongous turd in the common area directly in front of my house (thus making me, at least indirectly, responsible for it), between the hours of 2:30 and 10:00 AM on Wednesday, 8/15, which I can only hope and/or pray is canine in origin, not human.

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Friday, March 16, 2007

Have I Been Cool Hunted? You Better Hope Not.

Since I'm terminally uncool, this is a hypothetical, but Cool Hunter Street Team: Keep your stupid stickers off my stuff, you conspicuous-consumption, bleeding-edge, fashion-forward, cooler-than-thou hipster douchebags:

Keep Your Coolhunter Stickers Off My Stuff

I swear, you start stickering my stuff as part of your stupid awareness-raising viral marketing campaigns, and I start channeling Francis "Psycho" Sawyer:
"...I don't like no one touching my stuff. So just keep your meathooks off. If I catch any of you guys in my stuff, I'll kill you..."
I do read thecoolhunter.net for a slice of design porn, even if I don't fetishize design like they do and I feel fashion should just fall off a cliff, since they occasionally feature interesting shiny things and frou-frou tchotchkes (when they're not fixating on over-designed concept boutique hotels and resorts which I will never, ever visit-- oh, and hey, while we're at it, a hip-cool advertising campaign is still just fucking advertising).

But if you ever start putting stickers on my stuff, things are going to get really hot and ugly, because the volatile liquids that are usually used to remove adhesive residue are very, very flammable.

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Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Fashion Is a Tax on People Who Think Personality Is Something You Wear (Not Something You Have)

This is going to sound angrier and be much longer than I originally planned. It was supposed to just be an entry making fun of the breathtakingly effortless condescension in Washington Post style and fashion editor Suzanne D'Amato's Sunday column. (I'm still catching up on my reading from the weekend.)

You should just read the article. I don't do fashion, but I was in awe. I mean, it sports a level of condescension that's typically reserved for the unfortunate souls in the flyover states. (I assume those people have souls.)

She says that because DC folks don't care much about fashion, a sophisticate such as herself (displaced New Yorker, of course) can be part of a secret sorority of fashion giants walking glamorously among the troglodytes, swooping in Indiana Jones-like and scooping up the treasures hidden under the noses of those who don't share her raised style-consciousness -- all the while sharing knowing glances with the other cognoscenti and laughing up her sleeve at the natives' ridiculous naivete and shockingly gauche fashion faux paus.

As a bonus, since no one else here is as stylish as she, she is just that much more fabulous by comparison -- a brilliant light flaring against the sackcloth, instead of being washed out by those even more fashionable than she in New York.

Oh, but don't worry -- there's a moral to the story. The peasants, in their charmingly naive way, ultimately dress only to please themselves (which is fortunate, since they have no way to compete with the truly style-conscious). And isn't that what fashion should be?

Yes, the joys of simple folk -- they can show us what life is really about.

It's an amazing read. I'm hoping she's just really bad at satire.


Now, I typically avoid blogging about matters of fashion and style. This is because I am a heterosexual male (occasional misidentifications notwithstanding).

It's easy for guys to ignore fashion, since despite the best efforts of the fashion industry to turn men into women, guys' clothes don't change. They don't have to change. And they won't change unless the phantom WMDs really do exist and we all have to start wearing radiation suits with activated charcoal liners.

As long as they fit, a guy can realistically get by with a pair of regular, plain old straight leg jeans, a pair of straight leg khakis, a pair of straight leg dark slacks (notice a pattern?), some nice long- and short-sleeved t-shirts, a couple of dress shirts, a sweater or two, maybe a sports jacket.

Solid colors preferred. Shirts fitted if you're in reasonable shape. Pants not too loose, not too tight. A few extras for variety. Limited redundancy to allow for the laundry cycle. Replace when worn or it doesn't fit anymore.

It's even easier if you have to wear suits. If you want to get all a-twitter because the high priests and priestesses of fashion decreed that this season's suit trend is three buttons instead of two, or that seersucker is back (hint: it's not), you can replace your entire wardrobe if you want. The rest of us will get by.

It's easy to do if you can avoid the need to feel fabulous and fashion-forward. And it is easy, for those of us who've been around for a while. We can remember firsthand how stupid we looked in the 70s, 80s and 90s, trying to adhere to the pronouncements foisted upon us by the arbiters of style in the name of fashion.

Paisley shirts? Turned-up collars? Rollneck turtlenecks? Striped pants? Two-toned jeans? Plaid? We remember.

Ah, but the tastemakers and trendsetters are different now -- we've learned from our past fashion mistakes. Listen to us now.

No, you haven't. And no, I won't.

Not going to play that game again. It's a stupid and pointless exercise designed solely to sell clothes.

Maybe not being fashionable is boring. There is compensation, though: In return for forgoing the distractions of worrying about clothes and being fashionable and fabulous, men get to run the world. It's like school uniforms, writ large.

An oversimplification, I know. And I don't run anything. But, now that you mention it: Why yes, I do happen to think that fashion is a frivolous pursuit meant to enrich a handful of designers, the garment industry and assorted commentators and hangers-on, at the expense of the fashion-conscious.

If the lottery is a tax on people who can't do math, fashion is a tax on people who think personality is something you wear, not something you have.

(Having more money than sense also helps, though that applies to a lot of things.)

It's an even bigger scam than how the entertainment industry comes up with a new format every decade or so, so that people have to repurchase the media they already own. This is because it happens twice a year, every year. And what's more, people look forward to it.

Now that's good training.

Mind you, I can appreciate good design. (Though there's a lot of pointless frippery involved with that, too.) Well-constructed clothes that fit and last. I get that.

What I don't get, and don't care about, is mindless designer-worship. Repeat cycles where everything old is new again. Pointless changes in the cut of a jacket, a rise in a hemline, or the crowning of a new in-color by people who only wear black. The next brand fad that's going to look completely ridiculous in a few years (if not sooner).

And not just fashions defined by clothing designers. Black duster raincoats in a Hong Kong summer. The same thing as before, with tailfins. The next shiny thing, the next pointless distraction.

(I am similarly annoyed by audiophiles who spend hundreds of dollars for wooden knobs, or young folks who spend tens of thousands of dollars tricking out their boom cars [which was the '80s version of pimping your ride -- the terms change, the idiocy doesn't] -- though at least the audiophiles who waste that kind of money tend to be more financially established. They're probably not going to be the oldsters eating dog food in 40 years, screaming to the government for a safety net, after they blew all their income from their early 20s on an Alpine for their IROC-Z / NOS and rims for their Civic.)

Why the long-winded hostility to something that's essentially harmless to those who can afford to indulge in it (simply because it's so completely and utterly meaningless)? I'm not sure. It's not any different than sports-worship, technology-fetishism, celebrity gossip-mongering or any other pointless and self-indulgent pursuit that garners more attention than it should in a sane existence.