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Athens, Ohio, United States
"Art and love are the same thing. It's the process of seeing yourself in things that are not you."

Monday, September 21, 2009

30 Men on Mad Rock

The Emmys have come and gone and you can tell that I have grown a lot as a person because I didn't try to predict the winners this year.

Let me rephrase that...I didn't go public with my Emmy predictions. Instead of wowing the blogosphere with my wildly inaccurate predictions, I wowed the small group of folks I watched the Emmys with my surprisingly accurate predictions.

To be fair, the Emmys were not that hard to predict. 95% of America could have told you that 30 Rock would win Best Comedy and Mad Men would win Best Drama. The predictions were so obvious that for once in my life I decided not to reflect on how awesome I am, but instead ask why they were so obvious.

You follow?

What I am asking is: why did the wins of 30 Rock and Mad Men seem so inevitable and pre-ordained? What is it about American society at the end of the decade that makes these shows synonymous with excellence in comedic and dramatic material?

I am assuming that it goes beyond the fact that both are excellent tv shows. I am a regular viewer of 30 Rock and believe it to be one of the funniest shows of the decade. I have never seen an episode of Mad Men but have been lead to believe that it is brilliant. Still, there are plenty of other hilarious and dramatically affecting shows out there. Why will these two go down in history as the definitive programs of 2009's America?

Looking at the concept of each show, it seems clear that there is one factor that each share: all the characters work. Obviously, there are plenty of other shows out there in which the characters have jobs (homelessness is not a very exciting or funny concept for television), and there are even some shows that take place in work environments exclusively. But 30 Rock and Mad Men don't just have characters that work and don't just take place in a professional environment...the two shows are all about work.

30 Rock is short for 30 Rockefeller Plaza, where all of its characters work on a sketch comedy program. Mad Men cleverly refers to the fact that the characters work in the advertising industry, and al their lives revolve around the office and what happens in it. 

In these shows, work is everything: laughter, frustration, drama, excitement, family and presumably money. In a year in which the highest number people are unemployed since the Great Depression, it only makes sense that we want to honor two shows that honor and uphold the concept of work and how integral to our lives it can be.

Shit, that's why they invented television, to show us what we want and sometimes what we fear.

Now if you'd excuse me, I am going to watch the season premiere of House...don't psychoanalyze that decision like I just did with 30 Rock and Mad Men.

Friday, September 18, 2009

You're In My Dreams Now

I should totally not be writing this right now.

My Editor at Backdrop decided to take a stand against my procrastinating bullshit and is demanding the first draft of my Fall Quarter story by 3 tomorrow....the same first draft that was due last week.

So I have some work to do. But before I fully engage in "writing mode" I need a quick scrimmage to get myself back into game shape. And should said-editor be reading this right now, I'd just like to say "Don't worry, Shane, I can knock this bitch out of the park."

Anyway, let's talk about two things that I never thought would meet up: emo and rap. 

It seems more fundamentally awkward than oil and water or Joe Wilson and common sense. Emo is essentially a raging treatise against life and all its excesses. Rap is traditionally wrapped (pardon the pun) in life itself. It speaks of every little bit that makes it all worth living: hos, money, hos, ice, guns, hos, urban-respect, hos, homies and of course, hos.

But a fly homie from the 'Land seems to have pulled it off.

Scott Mescudi a.k.a Kid Cudi is not the most talented musician or rapper I have ever heard (as a matter of fact, many of his rhymes are downright mediocre) but he has made one of the more interesting musical concoctions I have heard in a while. Man on the Moon: The End of Day is ambitious, exciting, depressing, uplifting and bizarre....but most important: it is fun as hell to listen to.

Some will find the dividing of the album into five parts (I The End of Day, II Rise of the Night Terror, III Taking a Trip, IV Stuck, V A New Beginning) to be pretentious, but I am a total sucker for grand artistic flourishes like that. Plus, it totally works. Each chapter has it's own little flavor, running from reality to dreams to drugs to panic all the way back to reality again. It is an absurdly fun trip and compulsively listenable. I even look forward to Common's spoken statements at the end of each chapter telling me what I'm about to experience...even though I've heard him say the same thing about 712 times since I bought the album on Tuesday.

The mere fact that Kid Cudi had a hand in the best break-up album of the decade in 808's and Heartbreak, speaks to his legitimacy as well. First 808s, then underground cred, now mainstream success. I can only hope that this Northeast Ohioan sticks around for awhile. He definitely has my ears...and more importantly my wallet.

Anyway, prepare for my Facebook and Twitter accounts to be awash with lyrics from the album for the next month or so (I got 99 problems/and they all bitches). 

Now I really have some writing to do.

As you were, Internet.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

I'm Really Happy for You and I'm Going to Let You Finish But...

Certain events are sure to blow up my Facebook news feed so much that I am sure the very walls of reality are about to tumble down. One is a celebrity death, the second is Kanye West's annual tradition of "saying/doing stupid shit" and the third is the coming of the end of days (why do I get the feeling that these three are not unrelated?).

Yesterday then was a very bad day for my Facebook news feed. First Kanye fulfilled his role as Gayfish and then Patrick Swayze succumbed to cancer. I'm bummed that Swayze had to go, as I never want to see any seemingly half-decent human being die from cancer. But aside from that, his death does not effect me on any pop-culture level (which really is the only level I operate on anyway). Homeboy was before my time and I never saw Dirty Dancing so God bless, Swayzes everywhere but I want to talk some Kanye.

I love the man. I really do. He is an extremely talented artist but more importantly than that, he is one of the most adept experts on pop culture that Western Culture has right now. I trust his taste in music (listening to the new Cudi album right now) and I respect his proclamations of other artists' greatness. If I'm a musical artist right now, I am dying for a Kanye shout out in a song or the press. 

Having said that....taking a microphone from a 19-year-old girl during her moment of thanks and appreciation to make your own sweeping proclamation on the state of American music is a fundamentally Douche move. It figures that Kanye waits to do this until right after I give up my "Biggest Douche in the Universe" blog. Kanye, there is a time and place for everything. If you truly believed that Beyonce had one of the best videos of all time (and I concur with this), you should have written a short essay after the show (AND NOT THE ALL-CAPS RANTS THAT YOU USUALLY WRITE ON YOUR BLOG) calmly explaining your position. Time and place, dude, time and place.

But hey, maybe our little 'Ye is finally growing up. Back in olden times, Mr. West would storm the stage to say he deserved to win, now he storms the stage to say someone else should have won. Classy? No. Mature? No. Kind of sweet in a perverse way? I guess if you throw all those extra adjectives in there then yeah...

Thanks be to Beyonce for revealing herself to be one of the classiest babes in the 'biz. Thanks be to Kanye West for what must become the greatest meme in Internet history. And thanks be to that Kid named Cudi for this insanely catchy song.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Take Two or How The Collective(ly) Unconscious Got Her Groove Back

Hello there, Internet.

It's been a while. Do you remember me? I'm that one dude who combined clever witticisms and self-deprecating humor to analyze the news and entertainment media and our connection to it. Then I got distracted by the shiny object that is baseball. Then I got a little Douchey. And finally,  I just got lazy

So what happened? How does one turn into a well-oiled blogging machine one day and into a lazy bastard the next? There are plenty of answers to this question I am sure, but ironically I am still too lazy to figure them out. 

Suffice it to say, I realized that there is only so much one can write about while one is not actually "living." Like any other introspective and narcissistic asshole "artist" I had to take a sabbatical to get to know myself and my surroundings a little better. My writing had gotten to the point where I would just look around my sparsely decorated dorm room and write about whatever I saw (Do you really love the lamp, Alec? Or are you just saying that?). Boring living is not conducive to good I changed it. It took a while and it was as hard as hell. The fact that my last blog entry was more than three months ago can attest to this. It seems to have worked, however because I no longer seem compelled to write blog entries such as this one.

But enough about me and my numerous probably mental issues, let's talk about us, Internet and what this all means to you.

In short....The Collective(ly) Unconscious is back. And to the best of my knowledge it won't go away for the next three years. It has gotten to the point where I just have too many things to say and not enough friends willing to listen to me describe why "Jarhead" is the most underrated film of the 00s for the 51st time. I need a medium to communicate my many ideas and theories regarding media and culture  they be brilliant or bizarre or both. 

The goals of The Collective(ly) Unconscious remain as exactly the same as they were one year ago when I started this thing. As a matter of fact, I think I am adopting this phrase from "Seven Years Ago" as The C.U's new official mission statement:

The goal of this blog is not to rave and it is not to rant. The goal of this blog is to add one more voice (albeit a quiet one) to the world's collective unconscious: the mass media. Carl Jung once theorized that we all draw from a pool of universal symbols and ideas deep in the dark corners of our minds that allows every human being on planet Earth to share in the same experiences. Now psychologically, philosophically and biologically speaking I am sure this idea is as wildly wrong as it is interesting and intriguing. But I believe technology and the journalistic spirit to share information and offer analysis has connected us in a way that would shock even Mr. Jung, himself.

That is still the Collective(ly) Unconscious and it is not going to change. 

I cannot say that I haven't changed, however. In strolling down the Word Document that constitutes as my diary from this summer, I came across something that could serve as my new official mission statement. This was written under the possible influence of hallucinogens and Chuck Klosterman:

8/17/09 - I want to dedicate my life to understanding the DNA of pop culture.

Well, Alec-of-24-days-ago, let's get started.