People Or Plastic?
by Eric J Baker
Congratulations. You survived the apocalypse.
I guess Jesus doesn’t read Pure Film Creative (despite the “topless Magdalene” tag last week), because he passed right over me when flinging souls into Hell like I wasn’t even there! However, as surprised – and slightly miffed – as I am to have been spared, it wasn’t the oddest event of my week.
That distinction belongs to Thursday night, when I found myself standing about 18 inches from Weird Al Yankovic, an entertainer about whom I had hitherto no opinion and never expected to see live from that or any distance. Such are the sudden twists and turns of life.
The venue was the State Theater, a renovated vaudeville palace in central Jersey, where I once fell asleep during the 25th anniversary showing of 2001: a Space Odyssey, despite it having been introduced by somebody. He didn’t climb into the audience and sing to the woman next to me, like Weird Al did on Thursday, hence becoming forgettable.
As Weird Al played his set, I noticed many of the artists he parodies are dead: Jim Morrison, Michael Jackson, Coolio, Kurt Kobain. Oops. Sorry, Coolio. Not content to milk past glory, Al also mimicked Lady Gaga’s Poker Face with his version called Polka Face.
Weird Al or Lady Gaga. Which one is the bigger fake?
I read a couple of days ago that Lady Gaga has surpassed one billion YouTube views. One billion times a person has said, “I really need to watch a clip of Lady Gaga right now or else I’ll just die!” This despite her bland songs, studio-manufactured voice, and tiresome Madonna-esque, PG-13 shock tactics. I suppose she’s mildly sexy at times, if you have an android fetish.
Note: In the interest of scientific accuracy, a “female” android you can fuck is called a gynoid, but that sounds like a penis grinder to me. And I have too much respect for Lady Gaga to turn this into a vagina dentata post (in keeping with Killough’s Latin theme from Thursday).
We all know the entertainment business is full of fakery and glamour lighting and airbrushing, and we accept perfect, white teeth in caveman movies (even the bad ones). But recent pop stars have taken artificiality to such a level that I wonder what’s left when you strip away the computerized sheen. Madonna may be more image than talent, but at least she had pubic hair. Lady Gaga allegedly teases her followers with pseudo-nudity, but I wouldn’t be shocked if, when she finally ditches her panties, we discover she has a mannequin crotch.
Does Lady Gaga know she’s a real person beneath all the marketing? Can she let her photoshopped guard down for one second? It’s no wonder young celebs often freak out from that pressure. People laughed at Britney Spears when she shaved her head and attacked a car with an umbrella, but can you imagine what it would be like to be told what to do and where to stand and what to wear every minute of your existence? Her actions that day inspired me to take a stand in my own life, using her example to fight back against The Man. But then I remembered I already shave my head, and attacking a car with an umbrella is a pretty candy-ass thing to do when you’re a guy. Plus, it was Fat Bitch Sunday at Killough’s place, and you know what that means: Carrot cake!
Perhaps the world’s longest, most famous pop-star freak out belongs to Michael Jackson, also known as “Weird Al’s bread and butter.” Only after his death do I understand why Michael subjected himself to those disfiguring surgeries: His life had become so fake and plastic that he needed to become plastic. He was turning his literal body into the money-making toy he already was metaphorically. Weird Al continues to play his songs (sort of) and wear his clothes. The difference is, Weird Al can take the costume off and go back to being a real person when the show is over. Michael is dead.
Lady Gaga, Katie Perry, and the like may be undergoing a form of identity replacement that is unique to modern entertainers, but they have a long way to go before they master the art of (say it slowly and with lots of reverb): Full. Body. Replacement.
Nobody did FBR better than the ancient Roman citizens of Pompeii who, to the undying gratitude of historians, had their own little apocalypse in 79 C.E. when Mt. Vesuvius erupted, burying the city in ash. Today, we enjoy plaster and silicon casts of their screaming, agonized forms made by archeologists who poured hardening materials into the cavities left behind by their long-since-decayed corpses. If you plan to be in New York this summer, you can see many of these casts (in case you think I’m making up this zany volcano story!) at Discovery Times Square on 44th street. The museum just opened its massive Pompeii exhibit featuring all kinds of gory, never-before-seen artifacts, including a cast of a dog killed in the eruption. Good God, Discovery people! Don’t you know the rule? You NEVER KILL THE DOG.
Hopefully it had rabies and the volcano was doing it a favor.
One presumes the people of Pompeii (and their retarded cousins from Herculaneum) are laughing at us right now, what with the apocalypse and all. They went straight to Hell, of course, not being Christians. At least modern man has a chance to be saved, since we know about Jesus. Whattup with that God? You hated Pompeii?
One man who has the gall to doubt the apocalypse is famed physicist and author Stephen Hawking, who recently said in an interview with British news journal, the Guardian, that he does not believe in God and the afterlife is a “fairy story for people afraid of the dark.” Though, to be fair to believers, I once walked into a half-open door in the dark. Scary! In other words, I see both points of view.
In a blistering response, Huffington Post blogger Rabbi Brad Hirschfield wrote, “… rationalists may find it hard to fall in love, dream big dreams, create/appreciate non-representational art, and, quite ironically, do certain kinds of scientific and philosophical research.”
I love HuffPo. I love how they put links for “North Korea launches nuclear missiles at Japan” next to “Sarah Jessica Parker SLAMS Justin Beiber” on the front page. But Rabbi Hirschfield hurts their otherwise sparkling credibility with this comment. Never mind the clueless arrogance; doesn’t he realize he’s picking a fight with the wrong person? Hawking predicts the same fate for both himself and the Rabbi. Meanwhile, Hirschfield is aligning with theologians, many of whom believe he will burn in hell for not being Christian. With friends like that…
Right above this paragraph is where we usually put our final image, the choice of which I’ve left to James Killough, our blog master. As much as I admire Stephen Hawking, he’s a bit unpleasant to look at (what? I’m only saying what you’re thinking). I’m hoping JK will put an attractive, petite, brunette actress with straight hair (all ethnic groups welcome) and make a joke in the caption about me having a fixation with them, which is clearly true, given the specific wording of this sentence. But I bet he’ll post yet another giant dick, if he didn’t already do that up top.
My mama warned me, “If you make friends with the gheys, you’ll be up to your ears in dick pictures in no time.” I thought she was trying to embarrass me in front of my friends with her potty mouth, but it turns out she was trying to save me from the apocalypse.