Lori Dorn: The Steve Miller Band Song 'The Joker' Remixed to Put the Iconic 'Wolf Whistle' in the Song After Every Line (Laughing Squid)
Web developer Matthew McVickar has quite amusingly remixed the classic Steve Miller Band song “The Joker” so that the iconic “wolf whistle” that takes place after the line “Some people call me Maurice” occurs after every line in the song itself. This little edit appears to make the song a bit more provocative than it already is.
Something About The Way Society Was Exposed As Complete Illusion Over Past Year Really Getting Man Down Today (The Onion)
VANCOUVER, WA—Unable to shake off an overall negative feeling he couldn’t attribute to anything in particular, local man Paul Carpenter confirmed Monday that something about the way society was exposed as a complete illusion over the past year was really getting him down today. “Maybe it’s just quarantine talking, but the reality dawning on me that American life is a fundamentally hollow cesspool of spectacle and misery is really bumming me out lately,” said Carpenter, adding that he had the vague idea that living in a social system based on brutal competition that made all human relationships transactional and perverted the very idea of community might have something to do with it. “I can’t put my finger on it, but maybe I’m just really tired of the coronavirus pandemic, which wasn’t mishandled as some people say but in fact shown to be rationally handled by a group of insulated wealthy individuals who can pursue their greedy desires with the full knowledge that a vast percentage of Americans are economically superfluous and thus willing to fight among themselves for scraps? On the other hand, though, maybe it’s the stress of a news cycle in which people from both political parties are invested in a series of increasingly baroque conspiracy theories guided by the grotesque and increasingly obvious lies we tell ourselves about American exceptionalism that’s making me feel kind of sad. There’s just this nagging feeling I have that it became very clear over the past 12 months that the basic building blocks of society are crumbling and there is absolutely no plan for changing anything at any level to avoid plunging the vast majority of humanity into cycles of ever-worsening suffering and violence. Maybe it’s just that being fundamentally powerless and living among other similarly disenfranchised, surveilled, and downtrodden people have made me feel completely alienated from any kind of community at all, or maybe I just need to get more sleep.” Carpenter added that he did plan to address the way he’d been feeling lately, perhaps by tuning out of the news and letting other people who weren’t ever even afforded the option to believe in the illusions of American society figure out what to do, or by trying to exercise more.
Sam Anderson: The Weirdly Enduring Appeal of Weird Al Yankovic (NYT)
National economies collapse; species go extinct; political movements rise and fizzle. But — somehow, for some reason — Weird Al keeps rocking.
Onstage, Weird Al sat on a wooden stool and started to snap like a lounge singer. With an orchestra swelling behind him— the tour was called “Strings attached”— he kicked into a soulful medley of 1980s parodies. If that does not sound great to you, if it in fact sounds like a very particular flavor of sonic hell, I’m here to tell you something, Weird Al was absolutely belting. He was singing the bejesus out of this ridiculous music. I leaned back in my chair, reassessing core assumptions I’d made about life. Was this somehow part of the joke? That Weird Al was an amazing singer? His voice was athletic and precise. It was rippling through intricate trills and runs. By the time he reached the medley’s climax, “Like a Surgeon,” his 1985 parody of Madonna’s “Like a Virgin,” Yankovic was stretching for high notes and holding them over his head for the crowd to admire, like an Olympic weightlifter, who had just snatched 500 pounds.
But it turns out that Weird Al approaches the composition of his music with something like the holy passion of Michelangelo painting the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. Looking through the “White & Nerdy” file felt like watching a supercomputer crunch through possible chess moves. Every single variable had to be considered, in every single line. The song begins with a simple sentence — “They see me mowing my front lawn” — and even here Yankovic agonized over “lawn” versus “yard” and “my” versus “the.” He sifted through phrases in gradations so small, they were almost invisible.
Weird Al likes to say that every one of his albums is a comeback album. That’s because a parody career is not like a normal career. It has no internal momentum. Everyone always expects you to go away.
Weird Al’s bond with his fans is atomic. He will stop and speak with them anywhere — at airports, outside the tour bus — for so long that it becomes a logistical problem. The fans approach him like a guru, and Weird Al responds with sweet, open, validating energy.
The connection is so deep that it is more like a merging, and after a while it struck me that Weird Al has spent basically his whole life making his music for exactly these people, which is to say for his childhood self. For many decades, he has been trying to delight Alfred Yankovic, the bright, painfully shy kid who grew up alone in his tiny bedroom. For the benefit of that lonely boy, he reshaped the whole world of pop culture. His ridiculous music sent out a pulse, a signal, and these were the people it drew: the odd, the left out. A crowd of friends for that lonely kid.
Lili Loofbourow: Tina Fey Doesn’t Need David Letterman’s Approval (Slate)
Tina Fey and Rachel Bloom are changing the way female comics engaged with male gatekeepers.
That might be what’s most remarkable about these interviews: Despite their candor, these female comics aren’t cold or unavailable or uninteresting. They’re almost actively carving out a “third way”: not playing along and not charging toward confrontation. That doesn’t mean they withhold the kinds of intimate disclosures that make conversations like these worthwhile: Fey breaks down talking about her father, and Bloom is frank about her fears of becoming a parent. But both firmly decline to participate in the standard insider dynamic. The takeaway, for those tuning in, is that these conversations aren’t about showcasing the camaraderie of those onstage or behind the mic. Rather than affirm her links to Letterman against an audience that doesn’t “get” her sketch, Fey talks to them—and shows she’s listening, and that her frame of reference is bigger than the usual club of two.
Frank Rich: Chris Rock Talks to Frank Rich About Ferguson, Cosby, and What ‘Racial Progress’ Really Means (Vulture)
So, to say Obama is progress is saying that he’s the first black person that is qualified to be president. That’s not black progress. That’s white progress. There’s been black people qualified to be president for hundreds of years. If you saw Tina Turner and Ike having a lovely breakfast over there, would you say their relationship’s improved? Some people would. But a smart person would go, “Oh, he stopped punching her in the face.” It’s not up to her. Ike and Tina Turner’s relationship has nothing to do with Tina Turner. Nothing. It just doesn’t. The question is, you know, my kids are smart, educated, beautiful, polite children. There have been smart, educated, beautiful, polite black children for hundreds of years. The advantage that my children have is that my children are encountering the nicest white people that America has ever produced. Let’s hope America keeps producing nicer white people.
Brian Feldman: Instagram Created The Fat Jew (The Awl)
The Fat Jew and his ilk—Fuck Jerry, Beige Cardigan, Betches and other shitpic peddlers—have no doubt kept a lot of users coming back to Instagram, likely even a substantial portion of the three hundred million monthly active users that the site boasts. For years now, Instagram has served up sponsored posts to those users, bringing in revenue for itself and its parent company, Facebook, while taking little action in response to how users actually behave on its service. It believes that if it deprives users of certain tools, users will change their behavior to fit Instagram’s narrow view of how the service should work. It simply does not account for those that don’t. The Fat Jew might be hiding behind Instagram’s lack of functionality and profiting because of it, but he’s not the only one. Instagram is too.
If you make a joke, and people get really offended, it's almost certainly because you violated this rule. People don't get offended randomly. Explaining that "it was just a joke" doesn't help; everyone knows what a joke is. The problem is that you used a joke as a means of being an asshole. Hiding behind a dummy or a stage persona or a bot won't help you.
We need not give in to sorrow, or feel disgust, or take action, because our brave clown princes have the tonic for what ails the national spirit. Their clever brand of pseudo-subversion guarantees a jolt of righteous mirth to the viewer, a feeling that evaporates the moment their shows end. At which point we return to our given role as citizens: consuming whatever the quacks serve up next.
The world *is* full of terrible things, including rape, and it *is* okay to joke about them. But the best comics use their art to call bullshit on those terrible parts of life and make them better, not worse. The key—unless you want to be called a garbage-flavored dick on the internet by me and other humans with souls and brains—is to be a responsible person when you construct your jokes. Since the nuances of personal responsibility seem to escape so many people, let's go through it. Let's figure out rape jokes.
Bill Simmons: The Career Arc: Eddie Murphy (Grantland)
Why doesn't everyone ever point out that Eddie is the most successful comedian ever, by any calculation … and really, it's not even close? That he's one of the best stand-ups ever? That, before Eddie, only white actors were considered sure things at the box office? That Eddie made more money making kids' movies than anyone ever? Doesn't this seem … I don't know … relevant?
Steven Hyden: Adam Sandler's inexorable march toward truth (Grantland)
Sandler's truth is that his onscreen persona has aged with his fans and experienced the same things at roughly the same time they've experienced it. Over the course of 20 years, Adam Sandler has gone from being a staple of sleepovers to dorm rooms to lousy apartments to the suburbs. And in that time he's remained, essentially, the same guy: He's "That asshole!," the incorrigible dickwad with a heart of gold, the loudmouth buddy who's progressively less fun to hang out with as you get older, the dude your wife forbids from crashing on the couch for "just a few days, I swear."
Andy Greenwald: Conan O'Brien Didn't Stop: Checking In on the Post-Buzz Era of TBS's Flagship (Grantland)
Now, tasked with little more than delivering a modest number of age-appropriate eyeballs, O’Brien seems both stunted and settled, lavishly rewarded for doing what he loves most for a company that seems to value the end product the least. It’s been well established by now that Conan O’Brien can’t stop. But it seems he’s only transcendent when someone is trying to make him.
GLAAD: Actor Jason Alexander Apologizes for Jokes Made on CBS' The Late Late Show
Now this is how you apologize. But more importantly, this is how you learn from your mistakes.
On last Friday night’s episode of The Late Late Show on CBS, actor Jason Alexander repeatedly joked with host Craig Ferguson about the game of cricket being a “gay sport” as opposed to a “manly” one. Having had time to more carefully consider the jokes he made though, the Seinfeld actor released a new statement through his Twitter account, explaining how conversations with his gay friends made him realize the effect that kind of denigrating humor has on the adolescents that so often find themselves the subject of it.
Nitsuh Abebe: Lil B at NYU: What’s So Funny About Peace, Love, and Understanding? (Vulture)
Last night, the Berkeley-bred, Internet-beloved rapper Lil B gave a sold-out lecture at NYU’s Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts. It’s possible that this was a beautiful, inspiring event, at which people rallied joyously around a quirky young entertainer’s timely message of empathy and kindness. It’s also totally possible that the whole thing was an epic tragedy, in which a young man’s urgent plea for basic human dignity was repeatedly laughed at by stoned college kids who preferred to shout catchphrases at him while finding his existence hilarious. I think it mostly depended on where you sat, and who was sitting near you.
‘Anthropologist Mary Douglas has a nice definition for dirt, saying it is “matter out of place.” A fried egg on the plate is fine, but a fried egg all over my hands is dirty. Hyde continues to say that dirt is always a byproduct of creating order: to create a place for things means that there will be situations where things will be out of place. And this is why Louis CK’s comedy is dirty: the thoughts, as dark and natural as they may be, are put out of place. The secrets are told on stage in front of others, but it’s through that vocalization that we begin to understand ourselves and our relationship to the world we live in.’