So. As an adult, you have a problem with a movie that you loved as a child. I see on social media that this is a common grievance. I don’t need to name a film. There are dozens, maybe hundreds, of motion pictures that don’t stand up to the intense scrutiny and overthinking of 2017.
It’s not them. It’s you. You are the problem.
I’ll begin with a contemporary example: any current superhero movie. Marvel, DC, independent degeneracy like Deadpool and Kick-Ass; it’s all the same. Permit me to make another assumption- you got all worked-up over seeing the latest hero flick, and you left the theater three hours later feeling empty and disappointed, without knowing why.
Ralph Reese is a brilliant illustrator whose art I first discovered in Choose Your Own Adventure books; he was my personal favorite. His work leapt off the page more than the others, owing to his apprenticeship under the great Wally Wood. In my teens, I found reprints of Ralph’s collaboration with Byron Preiss for National Lampoon, “One Year Affair”. I dreamed of being able to draw like Ralph Reese.
When Ralph did a feature in CRAZY magazine, it was a cause for celebration. Because Ralph wasn’t just a master illustrator.
Ralph was also a master of making you crap your pants.
In the early 1980s, video games were simple in concept, much like the “game apps” on phones nowadays. At heart, they were demonstrations of your skills with a joystick, paddle, or “track-ball” controller, performing one or more challenges. Eating all the dots, or climbing a scaffold to defeat a giant ape, to cite a couple of well-known examples. Navigating a maze while being pursued by killer robots. Killing a centipede, segment by segment. Swinging on vines over bottomless pits.
Or, flying planes into buildings. For fun!
Signed by programmer Steve Cartwright!
A stalker once told me, as though it validated his abhorrent behavior, “You can pick your nose, and you can pick your friends, but you can’t pick your friends’ friends.” Admittedly, that’s partly true.
I mean, you’re welcome to pick your nose, if you’d like to be ostracized from society and make everyone sick at the same time. You can pick your friends, provided they’re in the same socio-economic class as you are, and they don’t consort with a better version of your identity. And you can’t pick your friends’ friends, who, for all you know, could be royalty, or morally repugnant wasted orgasms.
If you create art and/or entertainment, you don’t get to pick and choose who likes it.
Comedy stinks right now because you forced it to stink. You vilified every experience in life that makes a great comedian. You made the safe, sponsored version of laughter the norm. You’re so afraid to really laugh in front of other people, that you turned comedy from an anti-establishment weapon into a cottony security blanket.
Comedy stinks right now because of you. Because you’re afraid of your true feelings.
You probably don’t even know who this is.
Let’s take, as an example, one of these pusillanimous women that the media holds up as Queens of Comedy. You know the ones, I don’t have to name them. They’re all over glossy magazine covers at the checkout aisles, making “zany” faces to remind you they’re funny.
In the 1970s, children’s television was heavily occupied by a presence that’s nearly forgotten today; an artifact from the opening credits of a slapstick detective franchise, called the Pink Panther.
Like Bugs Bunny, the Pink Panther was a former smoker. Many cartoon animals smoked in the 20th century.
If you were a kid in the 1980s, the sight of that character reminded you of a piece of Henry Mancini’s distinctive score. This is the Pink Panther Problem.
A long, long time ago, on a website far away, there was a thing that pulled in page-views like a drunken champion. It was about 50% my creation. The rest was appropriately and totally ripped off.
It was called “Name Your Rock Band”.
For the first handful of years of the 21st century, it was the most popular page on my site, Mike The Pod. In truth, it goes back even farther than that.
If you don’t recognize the name in the title, it’s okay. I’m not gonna browbeat you this time. This guy takes a lot more effort to be aware of, so don’t feel bad if you’re unfamiliar. In fact, let me introduce you to one of the funniest underground cartoonists of the 20th century.
From San Francisco Comic Book No. 4, 1973.
If you’ve read Harvey Pekar’s American Splendor, you’ll recognize Murphy’s distinctive style. Willy was as much a natural talent as Gilbert Shelton or Robert Crumb.