Quentin Tarantino Films

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Quentin Tarantino: an auteur, a legend, an innovator, a perspicacious commentator, a giant amongst men….bullshit. I know that Tarantino is the darling of all so many critics and film buffs. His witty dialog is consistently quoted and hashed out in the common male vernacular. But I have not enjoyed a Tarantino film sense Pulp Fiction, and at that, I have never had the urge re-watch even this film of his. And although I admit to having a rather macabre sense of humor, I find little to laugh about in Tarantino’s blood soaked productions. His films amount to nothing but hollow scenes: masturbatory works of violence and excess.

And it is not that Tarantino’s movies are an affront to my sense of propriety. They offend me because they are simply not enjoyable to watch, while simultaneously offering no insight or reward for sitting through them. It is not because I do not understand his films, as I am often accused. Being captivated by pop culture, and stylizing gore is not penetrating or pleasant. Holding up a hyperbolic mirror to the baser fixations of society is not an excuse to then indulge them. Tarantino’s acknowledges the cultural obsession with violence and the banality therein, but offers no revelatory criticism or path out. He seems content to relish in the filth. As Allan Bloom so trenchantly opined on the American psyche “it is nihilism with a happy ending.” Tarantino’s message is superficiality squared, couched superciliously as wit and vision. For him, as Bloom puts it, “nihilism is a mood, a mood of moodiness, a vague disquiet. It is nihilism without the abyss.” Personally, I don’t have the time or the stomach to waste on the insipid phantasmagoria of a vapid masochist.

Or maybe I am just squeamish around blood.

Jeff

Calling When I Say I Will

missed-call

I know I said I would call. You all but made me promise that I would. How could I say no? And it really isn’t work at all to pick up the phone and dial. I could do it while I walk home, or while I clean the dishes, or whenever. It is not a time thing. Anyone that says they don’t have time to call is either too poor to have a cell phone or completely full of shit. I just don’t want to talk to you. Sorry. I know how these things work. If I call, then invariably you will call me some other night, and I really do not want to hear about how your boss is a bitch, or how smart your cat is, or whatever else you think I would remotely care about.

And next time we run into each other, if you ask, I’ll say that it’s not you, that it’s me. This will be a lie. It is you. I just don’t want confrontation. I would rather things regress to awkwardness, than have to deal with them head on. Call me coward. Call me a caitiff. Call me a lying son-of-a-bitch. Just don’t call me. Please.

Jeff

St. Patrick’s Day

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As a drinker St. Patrick’s Day fails completely as a holiday. What would have normally been an enjoyable night at my local pub has now been ruined by the influx of assholes wearing green that have swarmed seemingly every bar in the city.

When I think of the holiday now, my first thought is not of the Irish, but rather a plague of verdant locus, a green mob of drunken assholes destroying everything that it comes in contact with. My favorite bar? Now overrun with a bunch of animal-house types who have valiantly, yet with no signs of composer or skill, been imbibing since the morning. They crowd the counter and spill their drinks in a misbegotten orgy of high-fives and chest bumps. The sidewalks are splotched with lime tinged vomit. Cabs are impossible to get. That cute girl at my local that I have been slowly mustering the courage to talk is now being hit on by a dozen preppy looking douche bags wearing Guinness baseball hats and green polo shirts. The beer I liked? Now perverted with green food dye. The pub food I crave? Not tonight, they’re too busy. Everything that was sacred at my bar – my temple – unremorsefully stuprated and debauched. What should have been a joyous evening turned into a surreal nightmare of sacrilege.

St. Patrick may have succeeded in driving the snakes out of Ireland, but he also managed to drive all the pricks to the bars one night a year. If you want to find me next St. Patty’s Day I’ll be at home with a bottle of scotch and six-pack of Bass.

Jeff

The Wave

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America cannot consider itself a civilized nation until the scourge of the wave has been eliminated from sporting events. I do not care if you think it is a magical moment of community amongst fans. Any activity that leads to that much beer spilling can never be considered benevolent. No activity that involves unwarranted exercise can be considered joyous. The only possible benefit the wave has is the shaking of female bosoms caused by the rapid standing, but even on this account, the wave is organized all wrong. Everyone is facing the backside of everyone else. Instead of quivering tits, you get ass crack and back sweat. I came to watch sports, not to do rudimentary calisthenics while having my draft spilled to ghastly sights.

And let’s face it, after the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympics no amount of mass coordinated movement will look cool again. Thanks China. So can we all agree that the wave is now unequivocally lame and desist from making asses of ourselves? If the Chinese want to prove how far they come by having thousands of people memorize basic actions and then perform them with slave-driver oversight type precision, that’s fine with me. They can have that honor. But this is American, the supposed land of cowboys and entrepreneurs – a country of self starting, independent thinkers – and the wave flies in the face of all of this. We are not a country of joiners; we are a nation of doers (and borrowers).

Anyhow, can we all hold off on doing the wave, at least until the Chinese call in our debts and we all have to learn Cantonese and synchronized box-crouching? That is all that I am asking.

Jeff

My Friends Doing Good Things for Society

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Tristan joined the Peace Corps. Emily did Teach for America. Eric biked across the country building houses for the homeless. And what did I do? I moved to New York like all the other assholes, where I live in a shoebox, drown in dive bars, and complain about the rats and thieves that overrun this city.

To all my friends who are doing good things for society, please stop. You are making me look bad. Maybe not to my parents, who are pleased as punch with this “real job” I’ve managed to hold for a year. Telling their friends I work in advertising sounds a lot better than, “Andrea wants to be a writer/journalist/traveler something.” But this world is a far cry from my naïve, post-graduation Paul Salopek-esque aspirations. It’s like liberal guilt denied.

To make matters worse, I am happy here. Maybe I’m not teaching children to read or building wells or exposing humanitarian injustices, but I am paying off debts and not disappointing my parents.

That’s something to be proud of, right?

Andrea

Checking My Credit Score

worst. jingle. ever.

My father has told me to do it. The advertisement will not stop blaring that my life depends on checking it. Even my dear old landlady has written imploring me to “stay on top of it.” But I have never checked my credit score: I simply to not care. If it’s bad, then I am already screwed, and if it is good, then I will just abuse that new found knowledge. If I took a breathalyzer before leaving a bar and it showed I had room for another beer, I would drink it – that does not make me a better driver. Same goes for my credit score: if I have room to lapse, then I’ll push it. I am driven by uncertainty, and the fact that I do not know is the motivating factor for my general financial prudence. Knowledge is power, unless you are like me. Then anxiety is preeminent.

Anyhow, I cannot fuck up my credit history as much as the rest of these schmucks in America. The average American is holding in excess $4,200 in credit card debt. That is more money than I have ever put on a card. Eleven percent of American’s are behind or past due on their mortgages. I don’t even own car. In ten years I imagine that by the shear fact that I never purchased a McMansion with nothing down, or purchased a plasma TV on installment payments only to renege six months later, will guarantee that I’m better than the vast majority of my fellow citizens.

So, even if I do make a mistake or two, I’ll be fine –America grades on a curve.

Jeff

Chocolate

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I am supposed to like chocolate. It’s like PMS or bad chick flicks—part of the essence of womanhood. But these days, I can’t even smell the stuff without getting nauseous. No, I’m not pregnant. I might have ODed on the substance as a child.

Chocolate is like a female crutch: for celebration, for depression, for daily indulgences. It’s a staple for holidays like V-Day and Christmas. It bothers me almost every year. I’m surrounded by hot chocolate or chocolate chip cookies or flourless chocolate cake or little chocolate coins. Chocolate, chocolate, chocolate! But clearly we haven’t binged enough, because along comes Easter with its chocolate bunnies. Yelch.

And don’t get me started on chocolate martinis. That’s just ruining gin.

Andrea