Top 5 Corruptions of Things I Once Loved
Have you ever loved, or enjoyed something so much that it began to define who you are as a person? You felt a special bond with what you loved, so much so, that you believed this thing was yours and yours alone. No, I’m not going Emo on everyone’s ass. I don’t whine about the things I’ve lost, instead I experience what some people might describe as “blackout rage”. So here’s a list of things I’ve loved that have betrayed me with it’s foul corruption.
5. The “Transformers” Movie
Oh to be a kid growing up in the 80’s!! I don’t think there is a generation that can even compare to the awesome toys we had growing up. Masters of The Universe, G.I. Joe action figures, Thundercats, the list goes on and on. But every 80’s kid knows the greatest toys to ever grace a backyard, or sandbox were The Transformers! Robots toys that turn into other toys! Genius!! If I still had my Transformers I’m pretty sure I’d still be playing with them.
*Note: Mom I’ve been cruising ebay looking for old Transformers toys. Remember when you gave my Transformer collection to the neighbor’s kids? Well apparently you owe me a small fortune. My lawyers will be in touch.
So What Happened?
Michael Bay is what happened! I know a lot of you went to see this movie and loved it. And according to it’s Box Office haul, many of you saw it more than once. Hell, even I was pursuaded to buy a ticket for that Michael Bay directed abomination. There were many reasons I hated this movie, but one reason tops them all. Shia Labeouf and Megan Fox parading around supposedly “acting”? Was it the comedy relief of John Turturro as the bumbling Government Agent? Perhaps it was the convoluted, unrecognizable, action scenes where you couldn’t tell what was happenning? Yes, all valid reasons, but it mostly came down to Michael Bay redesigning the iconic Transformers themselves. I’ll give you a couple examples.
First there was my favorite Transformer as a kid, Jazz!
Michael Bay did this to Jazz:
Oh, and do you remember the Mighty Megatron?! Giant cannon arm, sneering evil grin, and…oh I’ll just show you.
Not complete in destroying these beloved icons, Michael Bay is hard at work on a second Transformers movie due out this summer.
RAGE FACTOR: SWEARING LIKE A SAILOR WITH TOURETTES
I remember how excited I was when we first got cable television and was finally able to watch MTV. The buzz surrounding MTV was everywhere. An edgy, rebellious, music video channel that spoke to the younger generations.
I was a diehard MTV fan right up through High School. MTV is where I first got exposed to some of my favorite artists of all time. Public Enemy, The Beastie Boys, Rage Against the Machine, Alice in Chains, SoundGarden, the list goes on and on. Nothing put fear into the white middle-class like MTV. I felt like I was part of a rebellion.
So What Happened?
Viacom became owner and operator of MTV productions. And what was their first order of business you ask? They banned videos from Public Enemy, Rage Against the Machine, and Soundgarden, just to name a few. It seems they eventually put a ban to music altogether. Then our worst fears came back to haunt us.
Not happy in castrating music as we knew it, Viacom turned it’s weapons on some of MTV’s most innovative programming. The first seasons of MTV’s “The Real World” were some of the most interesting television shows I’ve ever seen. Truly a recorded social experiment where people of many different backgrounds, ages, philosophies, came together to see how they would interact. MTV had actually created the first entertaining reality show. What made the first few seasons of “The Real World” a critical success? There was a rule that the roommates could not sleep with each other. While this rule was in effect we had cast members such as:
Once the rule was lifted and roommates could have sex willy-nilly we got:
RAGE FACTOR: ELDERLY ASSAULT
3. Hip Hop/Rap
This entry could have been included in my MTV entry, but I feel it merits it’s own spot on the list. When I was 15 years old I used to DJ at the UMFK radio station. I played nothing but old school hip hop and rap. Now when I say old school I’m referring to the years ’85-92. Public Enemy, Boogie Down Productions, EPMD, A Tribe Called Quest, I could go on and on. Do you want to know the best part? NOBODY knew them. I felt like I was introducing my community to a brand new musical experience. Then I started getting calls into the radio station. I was called everything from a race traitor, to a whigger. And on more than one occasion I recieved death threats. It was great! I was a rebel. You see Hip Hop/Rap use to be primarily creative, thought provoking, and a major buck to the system.
So What Happened?
This is what happened:
Gangster Rap had been developing a buzz right around the time I was enjoying the more creative and intellectual genres of the music. I didn’t like Gangster Rap, but I accepted it’s right to be it’s own genre. Now you also have to understand that selling out in Rap meant you were now an outcast and hated among the other artists. Do I have to remind you of the sad story of M.C. Hammer? But Doctor Dre seemed determined to break the mold. I suppose it’s hard to be critical of someone when they are threatening you with an AK 47. Oh, and for the record, Doctor Dre created his gangster background. Before he was “Gangsta”, he was part of the early rap group World Class Wrecking Crew.
As Gangster Rap generated more and more popularity, it seemed to become the pre-dominant genre. In the process money was made, rivalries began, two hip hop legends were gunned down, and now white people seemed to appreciate the music. The rap groups I loved ended up going back to their roots, went underground, or were never heard from again. Rap music is now the most exposed and listened to form of music in our country, but for all the wrong reasons. I’ll leave this entry with, and I’ll argue this with anyone, the greatest Rapper of all time:
RAGE FACTOR: TODAY I MIGHT EVEN HAVE TO USE MY AK
2. The Educational System
When I say the Educational System I’m not merely referring to grade school. Although grade school is where we are going to focus. Currently only 70% of high schoolers graduate on time. Pretty shocking huh? If it doesn’t shock you then maybe this will. 95% of South Korean high schoolers graduate on time. What’s happening in America?
So What Happened?
I’m positive there are many factors that have contributed to the steady decline in education in this country. I would actually have to write a seperate blog to cover most of them. But right now I’m going to concentrate on former President Bush’s legacy that is No Child Left Behind. This program was set up and modeled after Bush’s educational program used in Texas when he was Governer. He wanted a system set up to make education more “business-like”.
Not only does this help confirm the theory that our educational system is tailored around industry, but also sets up unfair competetive rules, not unlike in a free market society. For example, did you know that schools now have standards tests and if a school doesn’t measure up to standards they are punished, NOT helped? So let me get this straight. If one school exceeds the standards they are rewarded with more funding, but if a school falls below standards they recieve less funding? That’s the equivalent of a Boxer getting pummeled for six rounds, then goes to his corner to ask his trainer for help, then gets punched in the face by the trainer, and told to go do better the next round.
I know this is a list of things I once loved, but to be honest I never loved going to school, I mean who does? But as I’ve gotten older I’ve come to realize that I loved the fact that I was able to get a fair education, as long as I was a willing participant. I believe critical thought is the most important thing you can attain. I also believe it can only be attained by having the opportunity to think outside the box, and encouraged to learn creatively rather than structured.
RAGE FACTOR: IS THE PEN TRULY MIGHTIER THAN THE SWORD? I OWN LOTS OF PENS, AND A SAMURAI SWORD. LET’S GO FIND OUT!
1. Comic Books
Do you know what that pic is above? It’s a standard, inked, pre-lettered, and pre-colored comic book page. Do you know why it’s special to me? Because it’s one of mine. Not, mine in that I bought it, but mine because an artist actually took the time to draw up a piece of comic book art based off one of my comic book scripts I used to write. In fact I’m sitting on hundreds of pages of comic book/graphic novel scripts. None of them have a home. None of them will probably ever be published. Do you know why? Because of this bullshit:
Back in 2000 I used to write comic book scripts for a website and publication out of Australia called OzComics. They were one of the big up and coming websites, renowned for bringing comic book writers and artists together from around the world to an online hub of creative exchange. Back then I couldn’t write fast enough. I worked with artists from Australia, Canada, Japan, South America, several from the United States, and many other places. I was making a name for myself. OzComics was about to publish it’s first Anthology and my contribution, a sci-fi comic titled “China”, was to be honored with the cover art for the book.
So What Happened?
The X-men comic book movie made mega cash at the Box Office. Soon thereafter Spider-Man hit it big. Greedy Hollywood executives soon learned that comic book movies raked it in. So, naturally every movie studio hit the comic book shops and contacted every publisher and independent comic book creator and bought the rights to their work. This unholy alliance between comic book publishers and Hollywood had one agenda: Publish comic books that are watered down and then sell the rights to movie studios to make dumbed down action packed movies.
The problem I had was that I wasn’t willing to budge. More and more publishers rejected my scripts, and actually had one publisher say to me, “This is a fantastic script! The only problem is people don’t want to think nowadays.” The reason he said this, to learn ya a bit of comic history, is that during the mid 80’s the comic book industry was all but bankrupt. Publishers were desperate and told their writers they had no restrictions on what they wrote. As a result we experienced an age of enlightenment in the comic book world. Writer’s such as Neil Gaiman, Warren Ellis, Frank Miller and Alan Moore took comics from an art based visual medium, to what I would call actual literature. Have you seen the movie V For Vendetta, or Watchmen? Both based on Alan Moore’s books, which he still refuses to have his name anyway associated with the movies.
This age of enlightenment lasted up until I started submitting my scripts. The only hope I have now is that eventually the industry will come full circle again and there may be a market for my stories.
RAGE FACTOR: HULK SMASH PUNY PUBLISHERS!!!
John Gagnon aka Johnny Red
Posted on April 9, 2009, in Top 5's and tagged alan moore, chuck. D., comic books, Dr. Dre, education, jazz, kevin powell, megatron, michael bay, mtv, no child left behind, public enemy, Snoop Dogg, the real world, transformers, trishelle cannatella, viacom, warren ellis. Bookmark the permalink. 13 Comments.