Category Archives: Defensive Self Posturing

Quentin Tarantino Films

im-not-going-to-stop-you

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

Swimming

ratner-natatorium

I should but don’t like swimming. I do not care that it is good exercise and easier on the joints. I do not find it fun, nor do I not find it relaxing. It is unnerving and tiring. Swimming is not a sport. It’s avoiding death.

When you fail at running, you fall, scrape your knees, and bleed a little. When you fail at swimming, you sink, have your lungs fill with water, and die. With my tendency to do most activities slightly snockered, I think it’s best that I avoid the pool. Any form of recreation where the downside is accidental death is not for me.

And what is up with all the hoopla that surrounds swimming events at the Olympics? It’s a bunch of men with not enough swimwear on, and a bunch of women with too much swimwear on. On top of the questionable aesthetics, they don’t even go fast. Next time you watch a swim meet, focus on the judges that *walk* alongside the edge of pool. With a measured gait, and in chinos and blue blazers, they match pace with the *fastest* swimmers in the world. What a lame event. D-bags in cruise-ship apparel keep up without breaking stride.

The most absurd of all swimming related activities are the polar bear clubs, where men prove how manly (and by extension hairy) they are by donning Speedos and jumping in freezing water and having their balls shrivel. I’d love to go back in time and explain these events to the passengers on the deck of the Titanic as it slowly sank. I bet they would take real solace in knowing that their soon to be deaths would become a yuppie pastime within the century.

Or maybe I don’t look good in a swimsuit.

Jeff

Vegans

Vegans

I don’t have a problem with what they eat—just as I don’t with the eating habits of omnivores or regular, run-of-the-mill vegetarians (like me). But I hate vegans’ smug, condescending approach to people who want to have their animals, and eat them too.

Consider a recent encounter in the East Village. Almost daily, I go for a long walk to look around New York and remind myself why I find it beautiful. One Sunday on Avenue A, a woman interrupted a phone conversation with my mother to hand me a pamphlet on vegetarianism. I waved her away—“Preaching to the converted,” I said. “Then you’ll need this,” she exclaimed and passed off a booklet on going vegan.

I just got 1UPed, herbivore-style. By a woman with dreads.

Aren’t human beings supposed to eat meat? Isn’t that why we have these damn canines? And while I don’t deny that there are major atrocities in the meat and dairy industry, I am not the one to address them. Ignorance is not excuse, but I’ve picked other battles.

I happen to like your potlucks, vegan, but these damn cupcakes are as full of your self-satisfied bullshit as you. Did you give me the chair so you’d get the soapbox?  PETA already gave you a bad name; you don’t need to enforce it.

In this world of in-your-face Big Macs and sneaky beef stock, shouldn’t we of the leafy-green nature unite rather than proselytize? I wasn’t raised catholic: I don’t respond to guilt.

Andrea

Giving up my Seat on the Subway

mta

I know, I know—there is some sort of mythical warm glow that is supposed to fill my body when I surrender my hard-fought seat on transit to a pregnant women, that mother with kids, some older gentleman, or whomever looks decrepit enough to guilt me to move, but I just don’t feel it. Or perhaps this minuscule warm glow is being numbed by my discomfort and inability to read while standing and holding the overhead bar. And how I am supposed to appear on Craigslist’s missed connections or subwaycrush.com if I can’t sit their brooding while reading poetry on the downtown Q? This is all I have going for me, so I’m keeping my seat.

Society may look at me as a self-absorbed asshole, but if it is far better to give than to receive, then letting others give is superior yet. I don’t want to be that schmuck that takes away the opportunity from some other upstanding rider to rise and relinquish his seat, so I’ll suffer and remain, firm in my knowledge that I have bequeathed the greater gift by allowing others to give. If only everyone were as saintly as I.

– Jeff

Weed

weed

Smoking weed is a rather popular pastime for kids my age. But no matter how many times my friends say marijuana will “enlighten” me, I just. never. get it. If I wanted to smell like incense and BO, I would have joined the ultimate Frisbee team. Or moved to San Francisco.

Now, I’m not one to judge anyone on his behavior, but I’d like to understand why people choose this while I choose the drugging effects of bad TV. Maybe they’d like to think they’re “inspired” while I accept that I’m killing brain cells. And I don’t need an herb to feel lazy and hungry: my mere existence confirms that. Frankly, I’d rather pay Time Warner than a dealer. I guess we all have our weaknesses. But be warned: the next time I catch you lighting up on Ludlow Street, I’ll call the cops myself.

If literary history has taught us anything, it’s that good writers drink, bad ones smoke. I can’t comment on my writing, but I do prefer the sauce.

Andrea

Roller Coasters

no thanks

no thanks

I have had more fun in car accidents than on roller coasters. Tell my friends this, and they look at me like I’m some sort of pusillanimous pariah. And when I explain that I loathe sweltering in line under the unforgiving sun for 50 minutes surrounded by assholes in tank tops and screaming children that aspire to be assholes in tank tops, just to be jerked around for three minutes on some death ride maintained by a crew with excessive acne and obvious deficiencies in the English language, and all of a sudden I’m not just a complaining borderline homo: I’m a joy-killing bigot. Well suck it bitches. If the operations staff is a bunch of just paroled convicts who look like they just wandered off the set of “To Catch a Predator,” I’m going to pass.

So, fuck Johnny Depp and his pirate-themed rides. I thought there’d be rum and whores, not white trash and fanny packs. If you want it fast and upside-down, babe, all we need is four shots, a tray of ice cubes, and a headboard. You can stand in the sun for an hour beforehand if that’s what you call foreplay. If I really want a thrill, I’ll get blind-drunk and run down the G-dubs Bridge in my undershorts, again. It won’t cost $25, and at least my vomit will smell like Scotch, not cotton candy.

Or maybe I just scare easily.

Jeff