You can offend a rapper the same way you can offend a cartoonist; by implying that their career “looks easy”. Cartoonists must compete in the public eye with Internet doodlers who draw in their ample free time, and rappers have to battle the false impression that they’re just boopity-bopping over a beat loop.
Before hip-hop and rap were widely understood, they were exploited as “novelty” records; a passing trend, not something that would dominate and rend asunder every other type of fucking music on earth. Rap was not a “lifestyle”. It was a fad, like the hula hoop and the Twist. So, like many other musical fads before it, rap became a haven for bad comedy.
On the Internet, a “White Knight” is someone who rushes to defend a stranger they perceive as slighted, usually for attention. The most prodigious example is lonely men, who sniff out drama in women’s online profiles like pigs hunting truffles. These guys engage in a “Backhanded Courtship”, where instead of paying compliments on a woman’s appearance, they announce that they accept her flaws, unlike “the others”.
Gwar, often styled as GWAR, is an American heavy metal band formed in Richmond, Virginia, United States, in 1984, composed of and operated by a frequently rotating line-up of musicians, artists and filmmakers collectively known as Slave Pit Inc. [Wikipedia]
After seeing GWAR in 1991, my freshman buddy Chris ran into the cafeteria to meet us the following morning. He bugged out his eyes with a grin, making a hard side-glance to push his contact lenses slightly off his irises. They were stained bright red, from GWAR blood.
I met GWAR’s manager, Sleazy P. Martini, at a DragonCon in the late 90s. I timidly asked him, “Gee Sleazy, do you really know GWAR?” He laughed and replied “Yeah, I know GWAR. I’m their FUCKIN’ MANAGER.”
Those of us who were children in the late 1970s remember a form of schoolyard wampum that was ubiquitous at the time. We traded them with each other, and bought them from the corner sweet shop with our allowance, for 25 cents a pack. We’d huddle and inspect each other’s collections, muttering “got it, got it, need it, got it, need it.” We carefully stored them in plastic sleeves for the future, in meticulous fashion.
Haha! I was totally kidding about that last one. We stuck them all over our bedroom door, until our parents grew furious and made us scrape them off with a putty knife, turning them into garbage.
Now that everyone has a smartphone, no one cares about remote control.
The remote control used to be a powerful object. Couples fought over it. Some televisions would not operate without one, necessitating a trip to the local Radio Shack for another “universal remote”. Dads would exact a stranglehold over the remote, and moms would hide it on purpose, feigning ignorance while secretly enjoying the resultant frustration.
In 1994, a severely truncated version of Oliver Stone’s Natural Born Killers was released to theaters nationwide, after a long and brutal production. It grossed about half its budget on opening weekend, and broke even in 2007. It was based on a story written by Quentin Tarantino, who was currently ablaze in Tinseltown thanks to Pulp Fiction. It starred former sitcom bartender Woody Harrelson, and Geoffrey Lewis’ daughter Juliette (the nymph in Scorcese’s Cape Fear remake), as mass-murdering marrieds Mickey and Mallory Knox.
You probably won’t believe this, but when I was a stage actor in the late 90s, I hung around with an actual carny. A guy who really did run off to join the circus as a kid, name of D.C.; a character so colorful, the memories seem like legends. We used to cruise the streets of Savannah in his gigantic box truck and pick up chicks. It was every bit as great as it sounds. Who amongst you can say you’ve been a carny’s wingman?
I have no idea where D.C. went after the century’s turn. Probably somewhere fun and awesome, relatively close to a beach or a circus. Backstage when we were castmates in a production of Brendan Behan’s The Hostage, he would signal an impending night of debauchery by singing “pound note, pound note.”
Fame is a funny thing. When it gets too big, it works against you, and you become overexposed. You’ve seen it time and time again; a company pushes a performer or a movie so hard, you can’t recall a time when you weren’t sick of them. Even their positive qualities become tiresome.
Then eventually, we acknowledge their talents, allowing that they were revealed during a time of intense corporate saturation.
Before 1986, there were three television networks; CBS, NBC, and ABC. Then in October of that year, Fox became the fourth, co-founded by the tyrant Rupert Murdoch. Fox would introduce a slate of unusual programming over the following two years, which included Married… With Children, The Arsenio Hall Show, 21 Jump Street, and a variety program (with animated bumpers) called The Tracey Ullman Show.
If you’re reading this on Christmas afternoon because your family is driving you nuts, and you have the technology, I suggest that you legally download The Iron Giant, from 1999. Gather everyone around, and watch it with them. It will make your holidays extra wonderful.