August 2006

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AmericaOne news story last week that got lost in the mire

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was Will Smith trying to break into India’s film market after being excluded from China. If only Smith could court China’s censorship board like his character Alex Hitchens woos the ladies in 2005’s Hitch – a lukewarm romantic footbath for a princess-and-the-pea middle class. One might be inclined to view this as evidence of China’s good taste, but considering only 20 foreign movies made the cut, this turns out to just be a happy coincidence. Making its way into the global awareness, India’s film market seems primed to welcome Smith with open arms. Bhaliwood’s been the next big thing for so long, shouldn’t it be the big thing by now? This is a rare boon for US foreign policy. The fresh prince is an ideal cultural colonist: Talented, hardworking; an embodiment of the American dream; a guru of media plurality; and an icon of America’s pretext of racial synthesis and acceptance. How can the rest of the world reject our lifestyle when they see it’s all about punching aliens and shagging coworkers? This is actually the kind of imperialism I can endorse. It’s always great when there’s a

non-violent transmission of ideas between countries. There may be a backlash against the perception that Smith’s brand of the stars and stripes is being shoved down the throat of an audience who’d like to see more movies about their own cultural identity. On the other hand, anyone who’s been to a McDonalds in another country knows that even the most rigid forms of Americanism reach a compromise of interpretation with the receiving culture. This is, perhaps, a bad example given the evil practices of the golden arches, but at least Smith probably won’t slaughter thousands of cows to make his films, and it seems unlikely that you’d become a 25-year-old diabetic from watching his movies since you were six. Though Smith most likely plans to use the low production costs in India to increase the profit margin on unvetted projects, he’ll inevitably be a bridge between the two economies, both monetarily and creatively. All in all this means that you’ll feel less and less special when you find that gem of an obscure Italian movie on Netflix and get to brag about it to all your friends. On the plus side, perhaps when we’re approaching the next country that’s entertaining the idea of nuclear warheads, we can point out that they’ve been entertained by our cinematic antics for years, so lighten up a little, eh?

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I hate it when this place becomes my personal venting and blathering space…

I also hate how the little toolbar that allowed me to insert links excessively isn’t around for me to abuse…

But I’m really starting to love television, the

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most revolutionary communications tool devised by man prior to the invention and wide-spread use of the internet… Not just because I can watch Charlie Rose and Spike Lee argue about whose turn it is to talk and what the other one means but because it’s really a good way of keeping up

with community events… For instance, what do you do on Labor Day weekend? May Day has never really caught on in the states as a celebration of the worker bees busy sweeping up Walmart or calling you up at home to tell you about this great new loan you’ve been pre-qualified for but Labor Day is an all-American tribute to the values and traditions held dear by the proletariat such as beer drinking and BBQing and getting paid time off…

To take advantage of this day of introspection and appreciation of our forebearers Golden Gate Fields, the local racetrack over in Berkeley, is having a free towel give-away September 4th… The beach-towel has a wonderful graphic of a horse and jockey in a modernistic style and, on television, is enticingly displayed by a young woman who is apparantly underdressed behind said beach towel… Yes, people do wear clothes with no shoulder straps or other support but I like to think of her as some sort of gambling nymph (I wanted to use succubous but this seems to have a botony definition, not a Greek mythology definition… Anyone who can tell me what the fuck I was thinking wins a free GGF beach towel…) luring the unwary or oversexed to the promised land of debt and alcoholism…

Free towel day is exciting as all hell and certainly more than enough of a good time to BART my ass over and play the ponies, but the Einsteins behind GGFs marketing have doubled down on this event by having the giveaway coincide with family day and beer fest! Mom and dad can get soused and pass out on their beach towel after gambling little Johnny’s future on the third race while the children are happily occupied kicking the shit out of the poor ponies forced to trudge endlessly in their tight circle… Au hasard Balthazar indeed!

Family is important, it’s true… One night wired on copious amounts of amphetemines after Krupted Peasant Farmerz played Gilman a couple of friends and I wandered over to the fields to hung out… Little Johnnies were crawling all over the arcade, stealing toys from the cherry picker and kicking the candy machine while mom and dad were watching the Australian carriage-race simulcast with telling desperation…

Community out-reach is important and hurrah for Golden Gate Fields’ intimate knowledge of their neighbors… Let’s all spend Labor Day at the track– if we’re lucky someone’ll get knifed in the parking lot…

In other news I was at Safeway last night buying soap and mayonaise and a couple other essentials… The baskets usually found by the door were gone and scattered throughout the store but since I only needed a couple of things I figured I would be alright… I’m usually wrong and this ws achingly clear as I stood in line burdened with bags of bread and 24 rolls of toilet paper– boy I can’t wait for my turn to dump this shit on the fucking conveyer belt… First I had to chase the spotted old bastard off who thought that hugging the asses of those ahead was the proper way to stand in line, but in order to whisper sweet nothings in his ear I had to cross the throughway and huddle up as well which, with the spotty old bastard behind me, caused all sorts of people squeezing by and having to shift around and, at some point, getting bumped by the spotty old man and having to wonder angrily if he was trying to start some shit or just decrepit and clueless…

Anyways, three douche-bags ahead of me buying a box of Safeway bakery cookies and the last of their party has his arm stretched across the conveyer while engaged in their petty conversation… The cookies advance towards the register, the arm remains in place… There’s enough of a beachhead to begin unloading my burden and perhaps readjust so that my wrist isn’t twisted around and bent back trying to keep the mayonaise from causing an embarassing incident but I’m trying to give dickhead the opportunity to, as the cookies advance, notice life on Mars… This doesn’t happen so I nibble on his ear a little with an excuse me and try to indicate, by beginning to put shit on the counter, that the ample space provided might enjoy company other than his arm… He turns to look at me in a languid fashion and pauses… for a moment… before moving his arm and continuing the petty conversation…

Their cookies cost $5 and change, an event which warranted excited “dude!” and would have resulted in high-fives except it’s not traditionally cool to high-five after a certain age…
-wow, this home computing shit is nice– I’m making beans right this moment…

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Marine reservists are facing the recall, militias battle for influence and territory in the refugee camps of Darfur, the NSA is still spying on you, Iran won’t bend to western pressures, Oakland’s homocide rates are through the roof, the DOW and NASDAQ can’t hold their gains and some guy set up a couple of matresses in front of the coin-op downstairs and is now my neighbor… Two mattresses– how the fuck did you get there here? I didn’t ask him… He was in a bathrobe and I didn’t really want to intrude in his personal affairs… Lots going on around here so I’ve been sitting on the couch with potato chips for some marathon viewing of the Canadian show “Trailer Park Boys”… Sorry if I’m a little late to the party but it’s only now been making the rounds at work… The pay may not be great and there’s no sense of your job being meaningful– no premature babies are nursed to health and amputees don’t suddenly sprout limbs and begin dancing– but burned DVDs of trash humour are readily available and if you can’t enjoy that you’re probably sleeping on the sidewalk in front of my house… The show’s conceit is simple– two recidivists attract the attention of a documentary crew who follow them from imprisonment back to civilian life at the Sunnyvale Trailer Park… There’s no overarching plot vehicles beyond staying out of jail– I don’t even know why there’s a documentary being shot in the first place… The pilot, according to the no-lives posting on IMDB message boards, is about the two main characters acting as pet exterminators silencing loud neighborhood dogs so, perhaps the camera crew is explained therein… It’s a character driven show: a mental midget hothead who can raise pot plants from the dead; a DeNiro wannabe milking rum and cokes trying to score enough the retire from petty crime; a bug-eyed cat-lover living in a shed stealing shopping carts to sell to competing malls; a former cop cum trailer park supervisor; his barechested assistant/lover; bleach blonde former girlfriend; long-haired redneck wheelchair alcoholic father; de-barred hot dog loving vet in a camper; lily-white B-Boy schemer and his black posse; tweedledee and tweedledum pothead Nintendo freaks. You have reservations? Of course you do– it looks idiotic at best, right up there with anything readily available in various dilluted forms all across the television spectrum… While a co-worker slowly explained to me the show, trying to tie me off and turn me on, I was desperately looking for a polite out… The fact that my laptop DVD player couldn’t handle burned discs wasn’t enough– the gospel needed to be spread… And I’m glad because the show really is fucking good in a very strange way… The expected overt acts of potty humour are plentiful but the underlying sarcasm and absurdity are what makes the show better than most comedies… The joke’s not that Ricky can’t perform in a low budget porn being shot at J-Roc’s mom’s trailer but that Ricky honestly is doing this to get money to buy his girlfriend an engagement ring… Everyone can see aspects of people they know, and if they

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look hard enough and they’re in the mood they’ll see aspects of themselves in the characters… Each person is a composite of various stereotypes stretched and pulled and distorted for maximum effect but the stereotypes are true enough to make the characters work… Perhaps the show works best because so many of the people involved, the director and the producers and the cast, have known one another in previous lives… Many are from the Halifax theatre scene, the show’s creator knew the two leads in highschool, and the actors all play off each other really well… The scripts are probably kept loose intentionally and the boom in the show filming suddenly seems less contrived than you thought it would have been… The other night a friend came over and she, my roommate and I sat down to the first disc of MTV’s reality show “Laguna Beach: The Real OC”… Similarly a character driven show except this time they’re all interchangable: spoiled brats snivelling about petty converns closer to your and mine than our friends up in Sunnyvale Trailer Park… No one’s trying to boost lighting equipment for the illegal nightclub because everyone’s concerned about if they’re cute, popular and cool enough… The show has a slicker documentary image more akin to The Real World than TBB’s boom in the shot running down the street look and a soundtrack of today’s (yesterday’s) interchangable pop product… Everything about it is fake except, if you believe MTV, it’s real life drama unfolding before your very

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eyes… This drama seems to be centered on if douche bag will hook up with Stupid Girl A or B today… Could a show about a circle of teenage friends in their last year of highschool be insightful, engaging, amusing, heart-breaking and revealing? Of course, but not with these kids… These real life people are stereotypes themselves but their characters are based on stereotypes readily available on TV and movies, not composites of people you see sleeping in front of your house, the whacky guy at the liqour store, your mom, your neighbor or you… These kids are as real as Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes, Madonna, Britney Spears and that penis she married, Gov. Arnold and President Bush… I’m sure more people would rather know the Laguna Beach future America than the quirky full fleshed creations up in Nova Scotia and that’s a damned shame… -Slept in too late to make the library so thanks for

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