Before we set out on my Road Trip with a Depressed Transformer, I have to say one thing. Michael Bay is a hack. His Transformer movies were abominations of what made growing up with the Transformers toys and watching the cartoons so great. He’s consiously made an effort to piss on our childhoods. Michael Bay is a horrible filmmaker, except I thought The Rock was pretty good. But that’s where it ended. For fuck’s sake he introduced “Black Guy” Transformers that literally said, “We don’t do much reading.”
The film idustry should put a restraining order on him. Here’s a clip of how Michael Bay makes movies.
So if Michael “Now I can pay for hookers” Bay can violate our beloved robots that transform into other things, then so can I!
I give you!
Friday morning began as a peaceful, hopeful day. I was on the bottom steps of my apartment waiting for a Fed Ex delivery. I managed to score a copy of “Zombie Love Triangle” off of ebay for the low, low price of $350. Some might consider that a lot of money, but I don’t think you can put a price on viewing a threesome consisting of Jessica Biel, Scarlet Johansson, and a Zombified James Dean. It won lots of awards….in Europe.
*Whhhhoooooor! Whhhhoooooor!* (that’s an ambulance siren effect in case you were wondering)
“Hmmm? Must have been an accident somewhere.”
The ambulance is racing through traffic. Ironically it seems to be showing no regards to other’s safety. At one point it has driven onto the sidewalk, causing multiple elderly to jump into alleyways and into the doorways of local shops. See, I knew they only pretended to be slow. To my surprise the ambulance has stopped in front of my apartment.
*REE-RAWT-ROW-RA-ROOT*(that’s the sound effect of a transformer, well, transforming)
“ARE YOU THE HUMAN CALLED JOHNNY RED?!”
“You know who I am Ratchet.”
“THERE’S NO TIME!!”
“QUICKLY! GET INSIDE OF ME!”
“IT’S AN EMERGENCY AND THE AUTOBOTS NEED YOUR HELP!”
“AND I need to catch the Fed Ex guy. He’s been here three times this week and I wasn’t here. If I don’t pick up my package it will get sent back. Trust me. I NEED this for the weekend.”
“AND I SAY HUMANITY NEEDS YOU!!”
“God damnit!! Alright!”
“So what’s the problem?”
“MEGATRON IS BACK AND IS PLANNING ON RELEASING A TECHNO VIRUS TO DESTROY THE HUMAN RACE!”
“Because I’ve been home all day and haven’t seen any of this on the news.”
“I don’t trust you. Why did you pick me up?”
“Ratchet I’m not even joking. Why the fuck did you pick me up?”
“ARCEE LEFT ME AGAIN.”
“Oh you bastard! I can’t believe you did this to me again!”
“I JUST NEED SOMEONE TO TALK TO.”
“Now I know why they call you Ratchet.”
“Because you’re a fucking tool that’s why!”
“I’M SORRY. I’M A MESS…AND….I DON’T KNOW WHAT TO DO. IF A TRANSFORMER COULD CRY…I WOULD.”
“Alright, alright. Stop whining. What happened?”
“SHE LEFT ME FOR A NEW GUY. I CAN’T COMPETE.”
“Don’t be so hard on yourself. What does this guy have that you don’t?”
“I’M BRINGING UP HIS PROFILE ON MY DATA SCREEN.”
“SHE SAID I WAS OLD NEWS, AND THAT I’M NOT DOING ANYTHING PRODUCTIVE WITH MY LIFE.”
“She has a point Ratchet. What have you done lately?”
“ARE YOU TAKING THE WHOREBOT’S SIDE?”
“No Ratchet I’m not. I mean just look at you. You have no style.”
“Well first of all you transform into an ambulance that would have been decommissioned in the late 80’s.”
“I’M OLD FASHIONED.”
“I respect that about you, but look at Optimus Prime. He’s moved on with his life.”
“HE’S A SELL OUT!”
“Possibly, but look at where it has taken him. There’s no real Decepticon threat anymore Ratchet. You have to find a new purpose while here on Earth.”
“NOT ONLY IS HE A SELL OUT, BUT HIS PRESIDENTIAL BID IS BEYOND RIDICULOUS.”
“Are you even listening to me?”
“BEING LEADER OF THE AUTOBOTS WASN’T ENOUGH? HE’S ALSO LEADER OF CYBERTRON. NOW HE WANTS TO BE PRESIDENT OF THE HUMANS AS WELL.”
“YOU HUMANS CAN’T CHANGE INTO ANYTHING!”
“Ratchet, stop deflecting.”
“YOU’RE RIGHT. I’M SORRY.”
“And stop apologizing all the time. Show some balls…er…ball bearings perhaps. I don’t know what you guys have down there.”
“WHAT AM I GONNA DO?”
“I’ll tell ya what. I know a bar not far from here.”
“AHHH. THIS IS JUST WHAT I NEEDED.”
“Feels good doesn’t it?”
“A BAR, GOOD DRINKS, AND A GOOD FRIEND. THIS IS ALL I REALLY NEED.”
“You don’t have any money on you do you?”
“WHAT WOULD I NEED WITH HUMAN MONEY?”
“It’s just that–”
“ANOTHER ROUND HUMAN BAR KEEP!”
“Um…fine I’ll pay.”
“I JUST HAVE ONE QUESTION.”
“What’s that Ratchet?”
“WHY IS THE BAR KEEP STARING A HOLE STRAIGHT THROUGH ME?”
“Maybe it’s because you tore the roof off of this place so you could get inside.”
“PAY THE TAB. WE SHOULD BE GOING.”
“Stop. I’m not playing.”
“I’m not joking.”
“PADIDDLE! PADIDDLE! PADIDDLE! YOU OWE ME SO MUCH ENERGON!”
“shut up. Shut Up. SHUT UP!!”
“You don’t even have a tape deck in here.”
“YOU DON’T WANT TO TALK ANYMORE?”
“I don’t know what else we can talk about.”
“You’re stubborn. You’re not gonna change. You want to hold on to this ideology that you are here to save humanity.”
“AND THAT’S A BAD THING?”
“No it’s not. It’s just an old thing.”
“IT’S NOT OLD. THERE ARE STILL HUMANS THAT NEED HELP. LIKE THIS ONE. I’M GONNA PICK UP THAT HITCHHIKER.”
“Don’t pick up that hitchhiker!”
“WHAT IS YOUR DESTINATION HUMAN?”
“I’m on a mission to save the human race.”
“WHAT A COINCIDENCE! AS AM I!”
“Ratchet, he’s not on a mission to save the human race.”
“I’m from the planet Nerplex and I’ve been sent here by my Reptloid bretheren!”
“I FIND NO SUCH PLANET AS NERPLEX IN MY DATA BASE.”
“Pull over Ratchet.”
“JOHNNY RED YOUR VITAL SIGNS ARE GOING SPASTIC.”
“He has a hatchet.”
“No Nerplex? Has my home planet been destoyed?”
“It’s not possible. Nerplex sounds like a prescription drug which he is probably off of.”
“You mock the Reptloid race!”
“Nooooo…it’s just that we aren’t equipped to…um…transport you back home.”
“Aaaaaaargh!! Die puny human!”
“WHAT IS HAPPENNING?”
“Fuck! Pull the vehicle over!”
“I AM THE VEHICLE.”
“The hatchet is in my elbow!! Pull OVER!”
Ratchet screeches to a halt as I hurdle myself outside. I quickly slam the door shut leaving the homicidal lunatic trapped inside. Then I quickly pull the hatchet out of my elbow.
“Ooooow! Fucking hell! Ratchet lock the doors so he doesn’t escape!”
“We have to call the police so that they can deal–”
“That was and will forever be the most horrific thing I have ever heard or seen.”
“SOOOO, SHALL WE CONTINUE?”
“Not until we get you cleaned up. Carry me to a car wash.”
MILE EIGHTY FIVE:
“I FEEL SO MUCH SHAME RIGHT NOW.”
“Quiet, you’re almost cleaned up.”
“YOU’RE RIGHT YOU KNOW. I’M OLD FASHIONED AND USELESS.”
“You’re not useless.”
“I’VE EVEN RUINED OUR FRIENDSHIP HAVEN’T I?”
“It’s not ruined Ratchet. I’m just a little pissed off because I hadn’t planned on spending my day pressure washing bits of crazy person out of you.”
“I’M A LOSER.”
Ratchet turns his robot face away and begins sulking.
“There, all done. I gotta go inside and make a quick call. Then we’ll head out.”
Five Minutes Later:
“Ok Ratchet, let’s roll out!”
“WHY SO CHIPPER?”
MILE ONE HUNDRED:
“I’M JUST GONNA TAKE YOU HOME.”
“Why? Our road trip has just started.”
“YOU’RE JUST BEING NICE.”
“Ratchet I’ve been thinking and….boy that jet seems to be flying really low.”
“I’LL ANALYZE IT.”
“DON’T PANIC JOHNNY RED! BUT THAT’S NOT JUST A JET!”
“Oh no Ratchet! What could it possibly be?”
“TREMBLE HUMANS! I’M DIRGE AND…UM…I’M UP TO NO GOOD!”
“Ratchet! Save me!”
“DON’T WORRY JOHNNY RED! I’LL PROTECT YOU!”
Ratchet places me behind a building to keep me safe. He then proceeds to lay a pummeling on poor Dirge.
“DIRGE! YOU’VE PICKED THE WRONG AUTOBOT ON THE WRONG DAY!”
I cringe as Ratchet robot piledrives Dirge into an abandoned Chuck E Cheese.
“PLEASE SHOW MERCY RATCHET! SPARE MY LIFE AND I’LL LEAVE!”
“LEAVE THEN! AND LET THE OTHER DECEPTICONS KNOW THAT THERE IS STILL ONE AUTOBOT THAT THEY HAVE TO FEAR!”
Dirge transforms and flies away leaving a smoke trail behind him.
“Ratchet! That was amazing! You saved me!”
“YOU’RE WELCOME JOHNNY RED! I FEEL ALIVE! LIKE I COULD TAKE ON THE WORLD!”
“That’s great! But can you start by taking me home?”
“OF COURSE. YOU’VE BEEN THROUGH A TRAUMATIC EVENT. YOU MUST GO HOME AND REST.”
TWO DAYS LATER AT JOHNNY RED’S APARTMENT:
“HEY JOHNNY RED. IT’S DIRGE.”
“Hey Dirge. Thanks a lot for the other day.”
“YEAH…ABOUT THAT. DO YOU HAVE MY ENERGON?”
“Yep. Just stop on by whenever you can.”
“I LIKE ENERGON.”
“I know you do Dirge.”
“I MAY HAVE A PROBLEM…YOU KNOW…WITH ENERGON. IT’S NOT EASY HAVING A DILDO SHAPED HEAD.”
“Well we all have our addictions and reasons why we do.”
“UM…I WAS THINKING THAT WHEN I PICK IT UP THAT MAYBE WE CAN GO FOR A FLY AND TALK ABOUT IT?”
“WHAT WAS THAT?”
“Nothing Dirge, it was nothing.”
JOHN MICHAEL GAGNON…REE-RAWT-ROW-RA-ROOT…JOHNNY RED
I’ve been mulling the idea for this blog over in my head for a while now, but after what I witnessed the other night, I decided it had to be done. You see Hollywood and I have always had a love/hate relationship. But now it feels like Hollywood has put me in an abusive, unloving, kidnapping my childhood, raping it in a van, wrapping it in a blanket, and tossing it over a bridge type relationship. What exactly did I witness you ask? The “G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra” movie trailer. I will not do Hollywood the favor and post the trailer on this blog, but if you feel the need to be robbed blind of your childhood memories then google it. Those of you familar with my blog, “Top 5 Corruptions of Things I Onced Loved”, then you know the main problem I had with the “Transformers” movie. They are destroying the iconic imagery of our beloved characters!
5. My Adult Man Love of 80’s Toys
Eight years ago, while living in Portland, I performed an experiment. I found Transformers: The Movie at the Videoport. Nope, not the Michael “Eat a Dick” Bay version, but the full length animated version. I remembered how as a kid I couldn’t stop watching this movie. I thought it was the greatest thing ever, until puberty. So I wanted to find out if I thought it was as awesome today, as I thought it was as a kid. And do you know what I should have done? I should have put it back on the shelf. Because upon watching it again as an adult, I thought it was awful. Not as bad as Michael “I swear if I see you in the street I’ll kick you in the ballsack” Bay’s version, but pretty bad nonetheless. You see there is something about great childhood memories that should just stay there. I learned that lesson, but apparently Hollywood hasn’t. Hollywood believes that these iconic toys should grow up with us.
NO! Must resist! Fantasies aside, I want Hollywood to aknowledge the fact that by adding tons of CGI, explosions, semi-retarded actors who are easy on the eyes, is not gonna bring back the joy we all felt as children playing in the backyard with our favorite toys. There are now rumors of a Voltron movie in the works. I’m sure Thundercats, and He-Man are soon to follow. So I’m taking a stand right here and right now! I will not watch anymore of these abominations! I mean where will it end?!
4. The Classics:
Keep Your Greedy Hollywood Claws off of Them!
I’m gonna start this entry with an amusing story. Well it would be amusing if it wasn’t so tragic. I was google searching a funny image that would go with the insane idea of remaking Casablanca. I mean who would ever think that remaking Casablanca would be a good idea? It’s perposterous! You would have to be some kind of ego-maniacal, sadistic monster to think such a thing. Well…
That’s right folks, Madonna wants to remake possibly the greatest movie ever made, and cast herself in the lead female role that Ingrid Bergman played. Oh and to note, Ingrid Bergman played the role of Ilsa Lund when she was in her twenties.
My argument here is pretty much the same as the previous entry. What we consider Classic films, and I’m not just referring to your parents or grandparents black and white films they used to watch on the old talking, moving picture box, but any film that has generated a fan following because of it’s originality, uniqueness, or whatever reason applies, should NOT be remade. Who do these Hollywood producers and directors think they are? What makes them believe they can possibly make these films better? Something tells me they are only after one thing.
You see Hollywood has run out of ideas. It no longer has an original bone in their pig shaped bodies. We’ve already seen remakes of Psycho, The Texas Chainsaw Massacare, Halloween, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Planet of the Apes, Shaft, the list goes on and on. And coming in 2010 is the biggest slap in the face to movie goers. Well at least in mine.
3. The Art of Tragedy
One definition of Tragedy: a serious drama typically describing a conflict between the protagonist and a superior force (as destiny) and having a sorrowful or disastrous conclusion that elicits pity or terror.
Guess what, world? Bad shit happens every day. There’s horrible stuff happening as I type this, and very few of those horrible things are prevented at the last minute by some miracle or clever Hollywood writing. While most of us enjoy watching movies to help us escape reality and dealing with horrible things, it doesn’t mean films sometimes can’t show the tragedy of life. As a matter of fact Tragedy used to be quite popular, mostly due to this guy.
If any of you aren’t familar with Shakespeare’s works and are still struggling with the meaning of Tragedy, here’s another example that I find works well.
Before movie studios release their films into theaters they do a little thing called “test screening”. They gather together a small audience of viewers that are suppose to represent the general public. They allow this very small cross section to review the film and are then encouraged to give their input on how to make the film better. Do you know what the majority of the complaints are when a test screen audience isn’t happy with a film? That it’s not a happy film. Really? Are we as the human race that shallow? Do we actually believe that if we are not happy all the time then there is something wrong with us? Experience, good or bad, is there to help us grow and become confident individuals. We can deal with tragic, sad movies where the good guy doesn’t always win. I don’t need a semi-retarded, emotionally immature test audience to make these decisions for me.
The movie Seven is a great example on how Tragedy in film works. Kevin Spacey’s serial killer character wins! His master plan is played out exactly how the character wanted. I was blown away by this the first time I saw Seven. I couldn’t believe Hollywood allowed this. It was a commercial and critical success.
Now the movie The Devil’s Advocate is a great example of how Hollywood fucks great things up. At the end of the movie Keanu Reeves’s character blows his brains out to stop Satan’s, played by Al Pacino, plans. That should have been the end. That’s it! Roll credits! But no, instead we get this tacked on, obviously in post-production, ending explaining that none of the bad shit actually happened and it was just a test Satan was giving Reeves’s character. Well on the plus side we did get to see Keanu Reeves shoot himself.
Hollywood, what have you done? I will never forgive you for this. This entry will be kept short and to the point, because I’m afraid of what made up profanities I would come up with if I allowed myself the time to write a complete paragraph.
Fast forward almost 100 years…
No! No! No! Vampires are bloodthirsty undead creatures that stalk the night looking to kill your unsuspecting ass! They don’t play fucking baseball! They don’t shop at the Gap! And they most definitely DO NOT sparkle like fucking diamonds when exposed to sunlight! This is what happens when they are exposed to sunlight!
This trend of turning Vampires into emotionally plagued sympathetic creatures has actually been around a while now. I have no problem with a three dimensional Vampire character, I mean they were human once after all, but does it have to be in such a whiny, pity my sorry ass way? This trend really kicked into high gear with the movie Interview With the Vampire, which was based on Anne Rice’s best selling novel.
And it should have ended there. Fine, it was one unique take on the Vampire mythology. But, oh no, she had to start a trend and inspire others to follow in her footsteps. Naturally, Hollywood saw a chance to rake in the cash yet again by adapting Stephenie Meyer’s novel Twilight to the big screen.
My theory on how a Hollywood producers meeting goes when deciding to shoot a new Vampire movie:
Hollywood Pig#1: “I think it’s time for another Vampire movie.”
Hollywood Pig#2: “I saw a model shoot on the way over here. I’ll go get the van.”
For those of you who feel the way I do, I have your antidote right here!
Surprise entry? The reason I ask this is because Hollywood hasn’t completely ruined Zombies…yet. After seeing Vampires de-balled, I can see what’s coming to my beloved Zombies.
Zombie movies have always been rather popular. Thanks to George Romero, and his classic film Night of the Living Dead, Zombies have earned their place as a classic movie monster. I mean how can you fuck up a Zombie movie? Well the foundation has already been set.
In a move that caused me to lose a lot of respect for the legend that is George Romero, he made smart Zombies. In his Zombie movie Land of the Dead he decided to add intelligence to his Zombies. They are able to use problem solving skills, recognize dangerous traps, and…use guns. That’s right, a Zombie learns to use a fucking gun! To me this cancels out the whole purpose of a Zombie. The reason Zombies are so scary are because they are non-thinking, savage, brain devouring machines. They may appear human, but all humanity is gone. In fact I’m pretty sure the reason brains are the main food source of Zombies is a metaphor for them craving what they lack. This trend of “humanizing” Zombies better stop before we get something like this.
Another thing that has bothered me in Hollywood’s evolution of the Zombie are their sudden and inexplicable agility and speed. I believe we first saw this in Danny Boyle’s excellent 28 days later. I excused this because the “Zombies” in this film weren’t traditional Zombies at all. They were people afflicted with a virus, so they didn’t have to die and become a Zombie. BUT, it wasn’t too long after this that the remake of Dawn of the Dead came out.
Every Zombie in that film ran! Not only that, they ran at break neck speed! Hell, even the fat lady Zombie in the mall ran fast! What is the explanation for this? Were they all athletes before an unfortunate series of circumstances turned them into the living dead?? Fuck you Hollywood! This is yet another attempt to turn something I find awesome into a ultra-cool, hip, money making scheme. And we already know Hollywood will make anything if they thought it would rake in the dough.
Or how about this one?
Argh!! This makes me so mad I’m…grrrrr…changing…form….umph….to…Johnny Red!! AHAHAHAHAHA!! Team of Scientists assemble!!! If we can’t have our Zombies the way we like them then no one will!!!
NEXT WEEK: JOHNNY RED AND HIS TEAM OF SCIENTISTS VS. THE ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE!!!
John Michael Gagnon…AHAHAHA…Johnny Red
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!!!