Wednesday, August 13, 2008

from the archives: a letter I sent to the Badger Herald re: the comic "Better Left Unsaid"

From "MATTHEW ABRAHAM GARDNER"
Sent Monday, May 7, 2007 10:49 am
To better@badgerherald.com
Cc
Bcc
Subject Genius

To the "authors" of Better Left Unsaid,
Is it really the last week readers will be graced with the pleasure of reading your incoherent, idiotic rants? Wow, it truly is a sad day for all the bigots, meatheads and ignorant morons of the UW campus (which apparently is a HUGE demographic since you guys managed to convince someone to keep publishing your garbage this long). I would just like to tell you guys that I've read your comic strip as much as possible since I first discovered it, and you have absolutely NO
talent or future whatsoever in satire, writing, comedy, graphic design (HA!) or animation, and the editors of the Badger Herald should be ashamed with themselves.
Trust me, I "get it," I understand the type of offensive, subervise approach you're going for, but you just suck at it. Really, really badly. Journey to a coastie's vagina? Are you fucking kidding me? I couldn't even enjoy that on the shitter in college library, where I enjoy pretty much anything. You want to know why? BECAUSE IT WASN'T FUNNY, IT DIDN'T MAKE SENSE AND YOU DIDN'T REALLY PUSH ANY BOUNDARIES OR GIVE THE READERS ANYTHING THEY COULDN'T TAKE, like the best of the type of comedy you guys wish you could imitate. It was just an insignificant, childish peak at the bong-soaked conversations you and your pathetic friends have on a regular basis, a jealousy-fueled rant against people that probably have way more fun than you in college. It wasn't "edgy," unless you consider the scrawlings of a 12-year-old with [red.] syndrome "edgy." (Hey, maybe you guys have been going for the outsider art thing this whole time.) You know how someone released the plays written by Cho, the VT killer? When I read them, I was INSTANTLY reminded of your moronic peice of shit comic strip, because you guys sound like fucking complete idiots.
Anyway, good luck with your future. You guys should put the Better Left Unsaid comic strip on your resumes. There's a real feather in your cap!

Monday, August 11, 2008

"I have a nightmare...of a man...who is made of cotton balls..."

this is the future of TV. Maury is so next level right here I just decided that I love him. Dude actually had TWO guys come out dressed as cotton ball mummy monsters and run on stage to scare this pathetic woman into tears on live television!!!

Serious. Think about this. The man had some broad's actual phobia-fueled nightmare manifested in the flesh and then shoved it in her face and laughed. That's a real life horror movie!

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

i'm on patron and purp I can't think



It's weird how anachronistic this video seems. Lil Jon, the King of Crunk, who was planning to come out with a Rock album and use this has his first single, jumped on the Snap train and got one rapper associated with the Hyphy movement and another with Crunk and made a snap track, then got Hype Williams to make a tripped out ravey-ass video with strobes and rainbow colors. The video is one of my favorites, and the beat seems to be a kind of template for a bunch of HUGE T-Pain records that have come out since that kind of echo that synth line a little too closely (examples: "Cyclone," "Low," "Got Money"). Shit is still murder though, and this video encapsulates the swagger and professional touch that Lil Jon put into to what could have been a pretty typical throwaway club jam. A few months ago I wrote about TVT, the label for whom I once interned, going under. During my time there, and I'm sure for a few years before that, Lil Jon was pretty much the big focus for the label, what with the dude becoming a cultural icon at the turn of the millennium. I remember dude was all about his myspace, always on his sidekick and pretty much pulled all the strings when it came to his online presence (unlike any artist of his caliber that I've come across) to the point where he would even give us updates on what he was doing day-to-day. At that time (summer '06) this consisted of him kicking it in Vegas and "working on" his next album Crunk Rock but really I think it involved as much Patron as the ATF in Nevada could manage to get across the border. That album was supposed to come out in October or November of that year but of course, as everyone loves to ntoe in any mention of the label, it got caught up in some sort of limbo with TVT execs (read: that one dude who owned the label probably, not gonna name names).

What's so funny about it to me is that at the time Jon thought the Rock sound would be the best look for him to bust out on his first album without the Eastside Boys. But now, two years later, doing a rock-inspired rap album would be about as relevant as doing a ragtime-inspired country album. Dude needs to rename his album in a more '08-friendly way, something like Disco Crunk or Crunk House and ride that shutter shades, AA-wearing Daft Punk sampling neon bandwagon. Oh wait he already did (can Bun turn down a guest spot please?)

But, trends be damned, because the album is now free from its label chains and will most likely see the light of day at some point in the near future. Who knows what he has written or recorded or thrown away since that summer, but all I know is that some of his major appearances since "Snap Yo Fingers" have been pretty classic, like "Act a Fool", "The Anthem" and "Get Buck In Here." I was originally really looking forward to hearing what he could do with a full album on his own, almost like a great DJ/producer finally ditching the 12-inch format and going for the artist album. I think he knows what he wants and has some great vision of what he wants his album to be, and that's why he never let it trickle out through a feeble TVT marketing machine. For some reason I don't think a few SUVs wrapped with Lil Jon's mug would have done the trick for this album.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

they were all in love with dying, they were doing it in Texas



just because this popped into my head today and I realized it's one of my very favorite songs of all time. It reminds me of Camp Wildwood, being a semi-weirdo wannabe skater brat, sequestered in a tiny Maine backwoods town in a sports camp for the summer. Normally, when not in camp, I was a devout MTV zombie, at the ripe age of ten years old literally absorbing every single detail of every alt rock video they played on the channel until I could call each one before the credits popped up in the left hand corner after about 10 seconds (REMEMBER HOW VIDEOS USED TO HAVE THOSE CREDITS??? THEY DON'T EVEN DO THAT ANYMORE!!) This was a good way to pass the time and a fun game to play with my orhtodox or Israeli babysitters Ronnie, Atara, Orit. They were always very impressed. So when I was at camp I had to gage what was going on by infrequent trips in camp vans to random field trips or sometimes sneaking a listen to my counselors radio or even heading up the radio station and browsing through all the CDs they had there (one of the only trophies I ever won there was Most Improved for Radio. seriously, if that's not the most embarrassing thing ever...I feel like I should go back in time and tease the younger version of myself). I have a vague memory of this song having its little moment in that summer, which would have been 1996, my tenth year of life on this planet. What isn't vague, though, is the impression the song has had on me since then. The chorus is so engrained in my consciousness I feel like even if I hadn't ever thought of it again I would still know every single word to it when I'm 80 years old like some sort of lullaby or collective consciousness folklore nursery rhyme. Whatever cultural currents or perfect storm of post-Nirvana, height of MTV-fueled alt rock surge this song caught in order to propel itself to #1 on Modern Rock Tracks I'm glad I spent my formative years gestating within them. Just the fact that the Surfers managed to make a hit song is enough to realize how fucking cool the 90s were. Something like this could never EVER be a "popular" song again. It's half-rapped but stream of consciousness and abstract. It's chorus is steeped in reverb. The whole thing breaks down into a swirl of guitar feedback and tape loops. But people were feeling it. Now we have Nickelback and Flobots. The shit they played on MTV back then sounded like this!!!! Is that mindblowing to anyone else but me? It's like how me and my friend Danny decided that the litmus test for your child's future drug use when we were kids should have been whether they enjoyed Ren & Stimpy: if they did, you got a pothead, mom and pop. Loving "Pepper" as a ten-year-old should have been a similar tip off for my parents, except not just for pot but for everything else, too.