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!

The color scheme, the decals, the visor/shades, all working together to make Jazz the "coolest" Transformer.

The color scheme, the decals, the visor/shades, all working together to make Jazz the "coolest" Transformer.

Michael Bay did this to Jazz:

Umm...well I guess it's a robot. Where does the "Jazz" part come in?

Umm...well I guess it's a robot. Where does the "Jazz" part come in?

Oh, and do you remember the Mighty Megatron?! Giant cannon arm, sneering evil grin, and…oh I’ll just show you.

PURE Baaaadassssery! Complete with robotic cock trigger!

PURE Baaaadassssery! Complete with robotic cock trigger!

And now…

*sigh*

*sigh*

Not complete in destroying these beloved icons, Michael Bay is hard at work on a second Transformers movie due out this summer.

Douchebag currently raping my childhood.

Douchebag currently raping my childhood.

 RAGE FACTOR: SWEARING LIKE A SAILOR WITH TOURETTES

4. MTV

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.

That's right kids, MTV used to play music.

That's right kids, MTV used to play music.

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.

Boybands: The trump card for crushing a rebellion

Boybands: The trump card for crushing a rebellion

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:

Kevin Powell: Poet, writer and educator.

Kevin Powell: Poet, writer and educator.

Once the rule was lifted and roommates could have sex willy-nilly we got:

Trishelle Cannatella: Jizz Jar

Trishelle Cannatella: Jizz Jar

 RAGE FACTOR: ELDERLY ASSAULT

punch1a

 

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:

Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg: Rap Music's Lowest Common Denominator

Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg: Rap Music's Lowest Common Denominator

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.

Wow! That's some straight gangsta shit.

Wow! That's some straight gangsta shit.

 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:

"We've gone from calling each other brothers and sisters, to niggers and bitches in a ten year period!" Chuck D. of Public Enemy aka The Hard Rhymer

"We've gone from calling each other brothers and sisters, to niggers and bitches in a ten year period!" Chuck D. of Public Enemy aka The Hard Rhymer

 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”.

"Johnson! What's the square root of 144?"

"Johnson! What's the square root of 144?"

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.

No Child Left Behind: The Elephant in the metaphorical boxing ring no one is talking about. Yes, I can layer comedy.

No Child Left Behind: The Elephant in the metaphorical boxing ring no one is talking about. Yes, I can layer comedy.

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

comic2

 

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:

If I only knew then, what I know now. Actually it still wouldn't have made a difference.

If I only knew then, what I know now. Actually it still wouldn't have made a difference.

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.

Lead character Romero of "China". Sorry Romero, no action figure for you.

Lead character Romero of "China". Sorry Romero, no action figure for you.

 

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.

Oh, the horrors they have unleashed!

Oh, the horrors they have unleashed!

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.

Alan Moore: Graphic Novel writer and possible Warlock

Alan Moore: Graphic Novel writer and possible Warlock

 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.

"What's this? Concept art for a comic about the tragedy of lost love? No one wants to read that pussy shit! Oh, wait does she show her boobies?"

"What's this? Concept art for a comic about the tragedy of lost love? No one wants to read that pussy shit! Oh wait, does she show her boobies?"

 

RAGE FACTOR: HULK SMASH PUNY PUBLISHERS!!!

 

hulk

 

John Gagnon aka Johnny Red

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Posted on April 9, 2009, in Top 5's and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 13 Comments.

  1. Wow this is an awesome list! I was also a kid in the 80s so I can totally relate to most of this, and more that hasn’t been listed! hehe 😉 I’m glad at least someone is standing up and saying this stuff! Thanks dude! You rock!

  2. John,

    I’m pretty sure that 2, 3, and 4 all work together in some kind of nefarious way in which the “man” is trying to dumb down the American populace. Where to begin?

    MTV: At one time there was quite a bit of potential with their current affairs reporting too. Tabitha Soren, Kurt Loder, et al. put forth decent social commentary with documentaries. The AIDS pandemic was one of a myriad of issues they covered. Unfortunately, there were holes in their media coverage left unfilled by the regular hard news outlets. On a side note, I saw Tabitha Soren, with long hair and a kid a few years ago, (can you say MILF?) interviewing Noam Chomsky of all people on a C-Span program. It’s highly unlikely that most viewers of 2009-MTV will read anything by him, Howard Zinn, or even Ralph Nader, who will forever be linked by the mainstream liberal intelligentsia as the guy who cost Gore the 2000 election, which leads right into the “education” section of my tirade/response.

    I’m pretty sure Ed Schultz, even though he is part of that mainstream liberal bourgeoisie milieu that I hate so much, was right when he said that de-funding education, and scamming the country into believing that No Child Left Behind was actually a good idea, while leaving it completely unfunded is a deliberately engineered program, orchestrated by those masters of evil, the corporate lobbyists who traipse into and out of the private sector, back and forth into the public sector, all the while scratching the testicles of politicians meeting on private “White men only” golf courses and backrooms of San Francisco bath houses, and other places like the Bilderberg Motel once yearly.

    This is all part of the master plan, of course. They rely on the neo-conservatives to adhere to the Ron Paul/Pat Buchanan paleoconservative xenophobia in hopes of kicking out all illegal immigrants, so the products today’s public school system will be dumbed down, fat, stupid sheep, willing to take 7 bucks an hour for shit work, and be too ignorant of the history of this country to know about how unions came about, or how the world was when Upton Sinclair wrote “The Jungle”, before labor laws were something to be merely taken for granted.

    dammit, I’ve rambled long enough, I have to get dressed for Church… the Easter Vigil… and pray not just for the safety of America,but for this planet, that somehow, what I’ve ranted about doesn’t become a gruesome reality.

  3. LOL! This was fantastic! I couldn’t agree more about the transformers movie! I so couldn’t tell what the hell was happening during a battle scene.

    Oh!! and who was that neighbor kid who got your transformers? Maybe I can go offer him a snickers bar as a trade! haha

    • I’m pretty sure she sent my Transformers over to the Landry’s(sp?). Remember Albert and Danny, and that half-brother they had, Frank? They also got my original Atari 2600. ARGH!!!!

  4. OMG – Definitely made me laugh. I absolutely love your posts.

  5. I have a similar argument with video rental places now with 30 copies of one movie on the wall for 2 years as ‘New Release!’, cheap crap direct-to-dvd copies of a hit film right next to the actual film to people get confused and rent more bad films, and the lack of older foreign films and classics on the shelves.

    fuck you Movie Gallery.

    • That’s why I loved Video Port in Portland. They had a whole section of classics, and foreign films AND a weird/strange movie section.

      Did you see the “Transmorfers” movie that came out around the same time as “Transformers”. What a bunch of scumbags for tricking people into buying/renting it.

  6. Greendayman- I’m hoping the very same thing. I too had noticed a striking similarity of the 80’s Regan era and Bush’s awful White House run. It really exposes their agenda when it comes to media and entertainment. They wanted everything dumbed down. The evidence is overwhelming that the media is owned and obey’s it’s master’s will. I try to do my part by exposing and entertain at the same time. I found people will take the time to read if you can give them a chuckle or two at the same time. I love doing that. Thanks for the words.

    Johnny B- thanks for taking the time to read the blog. I know it was longer than usual, and believe me I cut A LOT out.

  7. luuuuuuuuuved it.
    i didn’t know you wrote comic books and whatnot. /KevinSmith’d

  8. P.S. I used to wown the entire first three seasons and scattered copies after that of the original Heavy Metal Magazine from the 70’s. Talk about intelligent art. Never seen anything like it since.

  9. Excellent work Johnny. I believe that with the demise of the know-nothing conservative era (30 years worth since Reagan), brought on by the election of an intelligent progressive to the White House, the age of ignorance is almost over. Science has been firmly re-established as seperate from know-nothing ideology and will be allowed to flourish again in the light of day. As the educational institutions you mention start receiving the resources they need and throw out the know-nothing agenda, students will think again and the imaginations of artists/writers will not be limited by the market or ideology. Well… this is my hope. It will take time. We didn’t get this way overnight and we won’t make it out in just a few short months. You are contributing to the re-building with your blog and influences you may have on the young people in your life as I do with my own children. I hope to live long enough to see the new American Renaissance where science, art, philosophy and common sense overrule corporate greed, fear and propaganda. Keep up the good work! -g

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