Tuesday, March 31, 2009

We caved.

Okay, we held out as long as we could, but...

Wildeboomerz is now on Twitter. Just look for us under the screen name Wildeboomerz09 (remember to include the 09; the year we finally gave in). We'll try to... ugh... tweet whenever something of interest happens in popcultland. And luckily for readers, we only get 140 characters per 'post' to work with, so editorializing will become really short.

And don't worry; this blog stays active too.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Metallica. Fuse TV. Tonight.


Sunday, March 29, 2009

Speaking of signifiers

Rumor has it that the Detroit Lions — the "losing-est" team in NFL history after a 16-0 2008 season — have a newly redesigned team logo.


The old logo, known around Detroit as "Bubbles," was fat, cuddly, playful, standing up to give someone an affectionate hug, and leaning more toward being a plow horse than a jungle cat. The new one is lean (notice the tail and back legs alone), fierce, leaping into action, and ready to chew someone's helmet off.

Now if the team can just make the same change, Motown can start to regain some of its lost dignity.

Friday, March 27, 2009

American Reject

How to make it through the audition process of American Idol:

1. Don’t beg the judges for “one more chance.” If they said no, they mean it.
2. Maintain one identity. If you're going the third-person route, refer to yourself by your given name and not as the reincarnation of Elvis.
3. Do not make a joke out of the competition. Being a recording artist should be your only reason to audition, not just the chance to be on TV.
4. And, if only to prevent your viewers from ripping their eyes out, never ever dress like this:

Nick Mitchell was just one contestant who auditioned for the 2009 season of AI by not following these rules. He went by the name of his "alter ego" Norman Gentle, begged to be chosen, tried his best to make the judges laugh, and was clearly channeling Richard Simmons when he chose his outfits. But while all other contestants who throw out the rulebook become a mockery in American pop culture and get sent home, Mitchell went straight to Hollywood by a vote of three to one. So what made him different?

(To comply with YouTube's new rules, this clip has a 15-second "introduction" that isn't part of the actual video.)

It was obvious Mitchell didn’t really think his name was Norman, and it’s fairly safe to say his actual closet probably doesn’t consist of tight shorts and flashy shirts. He made pretty clear that he was just a comedian and nowhere near being a serious contestant. But even that didn’t stop the judges from not only letting him go to Hollywood, but also voting him into the top 36 out of over 100,000 contestants.

Viewers, however, already drowning in a sea of juxtaposed and transubstantiated signifiers (see "Baudrillard" two posts back) were not as forgiving of a comedian being in a singing competition; the first night they got to vote, they sent him home.

Though opinions on his presence on AI varied, there’s no denying that Mitchell left an impact on the competition. He shattered the stereotypical norm of an “American Idol” and showed that all American pop acts don’t have to be from the same cookie cutter. And most importantly, he told America not to take the show so seriously.


Wednesday, March 25, 2009

What not to wear, how not to sit

Dear Sir:

We think it's great that you went on the Tonight Show in your new role, boosting Jay's ratings and not just kicking him to the curb after using his show as a campaign stump while you were only one candidate of many touring the country. And to be honest, we didn't even catch the part where you added "like the Special Olympics or something" after announcing your low bowling score.

But Sir, we really have to talk about a couple of things.

First: You're a dude, Dude. If you cross your legs, don't do it like a Catholic schoolgirl in a skirt who's preserving her modesty. Your right ankle goes across the left knee; the knees themselves shouldn't touch. Or, you could leave them uncrossed — although not spread so far apart, in the notorious wide-open-spaces "cowboy W" style, that other men think you're out to prove something and women think you're a Neanderthal idiot.

And then, Sir, buy the suit pants tailored to at least two inches below the top of the shoe, not right at it. Hell, go for three — especially when you know there's a full-frontal TV appearance coming up. Note how Jay, for all we know, could be wearing polka-dot Bermudas with a pair of orange Crocs behind the desk; he has the desk's protection. You, Sir, don't. If the pantlegs end too soon near the shoe while you're standing, they're gonna ride up to Capri height when you're seated.

Finally, Sir, please include some leg presses and calf raises in your morning exercise routine. Those pencils with shoes at the ends are unbefitting someone of your stature and position — and the knee-high black socks definitely need to be retired with extreme urgency. The POTUS simply cannot look like Steve Urkel; it's a matter of national integrity.

We understand that, with America's economy in the shitter, you can't be seen dropping several thousand dollars a pop on custom-tailored Italian suitpants designed to drape elegantly and manfully around your lower legs. But surely someone on the staff can grab a copy of one of Joe Wieder's muscle magazines for you, along with the latest issues of GQ and Esquire. Sir, your country is calling on you to do the right thing. Next time we see you sitting out front on TV, can we count on your support?


Thursday, March 19, 2009

The next step in Baudrillard's theoretical universe

Recently, an interesting celebrity smackdown unfolded at the production studios of NBC and Viacom. Touted "officially" as Cramer vs. Not-Cramer, the feud's primary participants were Jim Cramer, host of Mad Money on CNBC, and Jon Stewart, host of the satirical news program The Daily Show on Comedy Central. In case you somehow missed it, here's a partial recap:

The Daily Show With Jon StewartM - Th 11p / 10c
Jim Cramer Unedited Interview Pt. 2
Daily Show Full EpisodesImportant Things w/ Demetri MartinPolitical Humor

Note the key word in the above paragraph, bolded for your convenience: satirical. We're not here to praise Stewart's brilliant and biting analysis of CNBC, a network that touts itself as the financial expert; that would be too easy and obvious. Instead, we're looking at this as an extension of Jean Baudrillard's germinal work, Simulacra and Simulation.

In the book, Baudrillard posits a multifaceted theory regarding the nature of reality. Ultimately, he argues that simulations have essentially replaced reality, rendering the real meaningless. He points to a number of examples to support his theory, primarily the media and how news is presented to us. Because we live in a society where the luxury of technology has allowed us access to news events as they actually occur, the images (by their very nature, simulations) that we see become the reality.

For example, we "know" what war is like because on CNN we saw American troops bombing Baghdad. We may be able to distinguish the two, but only in an abstract manner that still, at the very least, conflates the simulations with the real.

Some argue that Baudrillard went too far when he claimed that because the real no longer matters, the Persian Gulf War (called Operation Desert Storm, for better marketing purposes) didn't really happen: it was a simulation of a war, not an actual war. Admittedly, this is problematic. Our troops who served there, along with their friends and families, would strongly object to such a notion, understandably. But how do we save this otherwise insightful viewpoint on reality? Claiming the death of reality seems to go too far and certainly in a direction fraught with mind-numbing abstractions. Enter The Daily Show.

The dialogue between Cramer and Stewart perfectly exemplifies the logical conclusion to applying Baudrillard's theory in a practical way in the 21st century. It's not that reality doesn't exist - the war, the economic depression, the housing crisis are very real - but rather that we no longer trust or have any faith in the real. Stewart is the missing piece in the Baudrillardian puzzle; he's a comedian who hosts a funny but fake news show that delivers real and important news while insisting that the show is meaningless (see the subtitle in the photo above). Yet more and more young people are turning to Stewart and shows like his for their news.

Why? Because so many see mainstream media as complicit in the problems that plague our country. For them (and for us at WB) objective, thorough, and hard-hitting journalism no longer exists in the real media. Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert, Seth Meyers of SNL, and the late night talk show hosts like Leno and Letterman are the ones shining a spotlight on shady executives, bogus bankers, and corrupt financial "experts" who are in bed with the execs and bankers.

To summarize: The comedian who plays a journalist does a hard-hitting exposè of the stockbroker who plays a comedian; the comedy show that mocks news becomes serious and tells the comedy show about finance to quit being funny and to become a serious overseer of the organizations that are in charge of overseeing finance.

It has now become not a matter of whether the real matters or even exists, but rather a case of we don't want the real because the real can no longer be trusted.

From now on, when WB wants to get a handle on the economic crisis and current affairs, we'll be turning to the satirists and not the networks. Faux news is better than biased news.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Dancing with the Scumbags

Must be summer coming on — Dancing with the Stars is getting revved up, and Belinda Carlisle (former Go-Go's lead singer and current NutriSystem diet model) has already been kicked off. Steve-O from Jackass fame couldn't make the first show because after all those years of crawling over mousetraps, slicing his hands with paper cuts, urinating on red carpets, and electrocuting himself for laughs, he hurt his back doing a bonehead dance routine against his coach's advice. Which is a shame, because he's this year's Jerry Springer, who also played a dancing star before going on to put on a tux and emcee America's Got Talent while pretending he wasn't the guy who puts demented and dysfunctional trailer sewage (way beyond mere trash) on stage as TV "entertainment" for knuckle draggers. Jerry! Jerry! Jerry!

So, back to this "stars" label. We figure one of three things is going on: (a) the term has lost all meaning; (b) the term is being applied too loosely; or (c) the term has been redefined to reflect just how desperately low we're willing to stoop in a search for celebrities to admire. And if that's the case, we won't be investing any couch time to follow the winners and losers, because when losers become winners, what's the point?

Monday, March 16, 2009

Spring already!

Okay, we took a little break and the days got longer by an hour and we feel a lot like the pale guy in the parka in the Kingsford ad here: Winter's over - start grilling!

Posts will start cooking again ASAP.