Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Ornery World In The News: Cliche Check

Regular readers (that's all of you, by which I mean The Entire Internet) will be familiar with my clever idea, Cliche Check. For those of you new to this idea (by which I mean anyone who has only gotten online in the past couple of weeks), this would be a dynamically-updating collection of unbearably overused turns of phrase that your word processor, in liason with the Internet, warns you against using.

The idea for Cliche Check remains up for grabs, presumably due to coders quite liking cliches (after all, repetitive phrases work a lot better in computer code than they do in pleasantly-readable English). However the legal fraternity - much of whose code is written in English - is not resting on this one! A blogger reports that his use of the phrase, "Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway"1, is being contested as copyright violation. The fellow is oddly put out by this - Feeling the Need to Squawk About Free Speech and Doing It Loudly - instead of thanking the phrase's "owner" for helpfully pointing out his hackneyed invocation of a desperately overused linguistic trope, that he might simply coin a new phrase of his own.

He also opens with this image, which I believe is in A Child's First Illustrated Dictionary under "Uncalled-for".

As my stepfather once explained: "Cliches are like sweatpants. Like everyone walking around in sweatpants because they just don't give a fuck". There's no need to get in a tizzy just because Susan Jeffers, Ph.D, asks you to put on nicer pants in public.

1 This phrase is the registered trademark of Susan Jeffers, Ph.D.

Monday, April 27, 2009

A Cautionary Word.

If you are not a funny person, you may well be seized by the notion, over the coming days, to make a wry reference to The Pig Pox.

You should refrain.

The thing about The Pig Pox is that there isn't that much humorous potential in it per se (it's no Sarah Palin, to be sure!); but because it's in the news, many feel that simply making tongue-in-cheek reference to it is an automatic means to becoming thought of as "funny".

This is to fall prey to the common Fallacy of Edginess. The Fallacy of Edginess causes one to presume that if two people are aware of the Pig Pox, and one party makes reference to the Pig Pox, then the other party is obliged to either laugh or be offended, either of which will make the initial party the Winner of the exchange.

The reason that the Fallacy of Edginess is so hard to combat is that telling a would-be Edgy person that they are not being funny will inevitably be misinterpreted. If you tell an aspiring Edgist, "that's not funny", he will merely presume a silent "man" at the end of your sentence, and pat himself on the back for having freaked out someone not as Edgy as himself1.

If someone in your vicinity attempts Edginess with a Pig Pox joke, the best thing you can do is perform a conspicuously half-hearted grin and say, with a note of resignation, "yeah". This will make clear to the budding iconoclast that he hasn't offended you, he's just failed to make you laugh. He will then take his Pig Pox references elsewhere or, if he is an accomplished Unfunny Edgy Person, refer to Bea Arthur in a sexual context.

1 The continued reference to this hypothetical person as masculine is not a mere matter of linguistic convenience.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Actual Donkey Animal of the Week: Tiny Donkey

This week's Actual Donkey Animal of the Week is an adorable tiny donkey, shown with an even tinier donkey that is too adorable for words (apart, obviously, from words like "adorable", "tiny", and "donkey").

Or is it an adorable tiny donkey, shown with an adorably mothering larger donkey? Either way, get a load of that little fucker - that's so cute it oughtn't to be allowed. Imagine if you could give him a tiny little hat with holes for his (actually quite big, relatively speaking) ears!

Friday, April 24, 2009

Corganwatch: Faith Lies In The Ways Of Synergistic Marketing Opportunities

When Zeitgeist came out, one of the ways in which it was promoted was "Ask a Pumpkin", the Youtube promotion in which fans could ask Messrs. Corgan and Chamberlin questions like, "Dude I love your music?" and, "you put on a great show in 92, I just want you to know I was there?", and receive answers such as, "I don't know what you're talking about", "I used to subscribe to Famous Monsters of Movieland", and "would you ask Tom Petty that?"

Above: The New Media in all its dynamism.

The incredibly half-hearted participation of fans and musicians alike having made the event such a barnstorming success, Smashing Pumpkins Dot Com is proud to announce a sequel of sorts, the differences being:

1) There isn't even the halfhearted pretension toward interactivity; and
b) You have to pay for it.

$US40 gets you 60 video diaries from "behind the wizard's curtain", documenting the process of making the band's new rekkid. The site provides a helpful breakdown: at $40 for 12 weeks, with 5 updates per week at a minimum of 5 minutes each, that's at least 5 hours of sad, hollow attempts to recreate the studio-japery vibe of Vieuphoria.

Happy day.

What Monsters Would Say: Golem

"You don't find those shoes too effeminate? I suppose someone in your field can get away with them."

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Corganwatch: I See What You're Doing

Exhibit a: Billy Corgan's advertisement for TNA Wrestling, which encapsulates a vast swathe of things I thought were cool in 2001 (Mankind VS Sting; janky Poor Man's Kyle Cooper editing; vague Eminem nods; Billy Corgan) and turn them into something that looks like this:

Exhibit b: Chuck Klosterman's Theory Of Advancement:
...The key to Advancement is that Advanced artists a) do not do what is expected of them but also b) do not do the opposite of what is expected of them. If an artist does the direct opposite of what is anticipated, he is classified as "overt" ... The bottom line is this: When a genius does something that appears idiotic, it does not necessarily mean he suddenly sucks. What it might mean is that he's doing something you cannot understand, because he has Advanced beyond you.
Now, if I were able to advance a case that Billy Corgan had Advanced, I would love to do that; because anyone who has known me for any length of time knows that the entire point of Corganwatch is that one day, Billy Corgan will do something that will make me drop to my knees, wail to the heavens for forgiveness for having failed to recognise the continuing wonderment of Billy Corgan, beg Billy Corgan to put aside my time in the wilderness and allow Billy Corgan with open arms back into my heart1. There is no belief that's worth a plug nickel that doesn't burn in your heart and strike you unable to disavow yourself of because it just seems right and true; and I ache to believe in Billy Corgan.

But if Billy Corgan can do something so plainly stupid and desperate, and I can come home, three glasses of cut-price wine in me and laced with forgetting to eat and working too hard and quite evidently not in retention of the full complement of my cognitive faculties, and immediately say, "ah, this is Mr. Corgan believing himself to be Advanced", then that is quite plainly not Advancement, because Advancement is something that you don't for the life of you get; and I get it, and I'm drunk.

So this is just Billy Corgan being a nincompoop.

1 To those who would scoffingly deride this as a hamfisted mixed metaphor, I say only this: The Everlasting fucking Gaze.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Never let it be said Trevor Mallard can't take the piss.

On a Palmerston North hotel manager banning all residents of Wainuiomata from staying at his lodge, the MP put things in perspective:
"It's stupid and very, very unfair. It shows the sort of blind prejudice I thought we didn't have in New Zealand anymore. I'm not surprised the [owner's] Australian."
Because I believe in people, I am choosing to take this as a wry jibe of the first order.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Actual Donkey Animal of the Week: Kissy Donkey

I have found no end of "Donkey of the Week" features on The Internet; however most are loathsome and only one featured actual donkeys, and that only went for one week!

To fix this heinous awfulness, I will henceforth post a Donkey of the Week, and it will be an ACTUAL DONKEY ANIMAL or something that can pass therefore. Here is the first one. Hot night out on the town, Kissy Donkey, orrrrrr?

Saturday, April 18, 2009

What Monsters Would Say: Bunyip

"Oh shit, did I leave the element on?"

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Live from the Internet: Sounds About Right To Me

I can't say I'm sure who Wikipedia has it in for with this description, but it's a better definition than Paul Daniels ever gave.

Corganwatch: A Quiet Moment of Introspection

Few here at Corganwatch have made it through the World's Loudest Introvert's latest blog post, for two reasons: firstly, poor Billy doesn't realise that in 2009, we don't read anything longer than a couple of paragraphs if they're not in list- or titties-depicting-form; and secondly, the hilarious, stark honesty of the third sentence:
I've made many, many mistakes through the years...
Which, really, may be the best thing Billy Corgan has written since Muzzle.

Also Of Note:

- Nobody is sophisticated enough to realise that Billy Corgan onstage is a cunt but that doesn't imply that Billy Corgan is a cunt. What we're missing is that his latest persona (let's call it "The Cunt") is merely the latest in a line of nuanced onstage characters, a la Bowie or Dylan. In fairness to us, it's hard to tell The Cunt from the long line of characters WPC has adopted over the years ("zero, the whyte spider, the sad guy, the vampyre, etc"), because they all dress the same, sing the same songs, and berate the audience in the same way... but that's where the "sophistication" comes into play!

- The next Smashing Pumpkins album will be a serially-released, 44-track behemoth with an accompanying movie. This puts it in the company of such runaway success concept album/movie crossovers as The Elder, Year Zero, and Greendale.

Really, don't you miss the days when corporate oligarchies imposed their ruthless tyrannical arbitrations on our artists' candid statements and creative output alike, restricting the flow of their contributions down to stiflingly narrow categories such as "makes sense", "is interesting", or "doesn't embarrass all involved"? Get off my lawn, etc.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Corganwatch: Goodbye Jimmy, Hello Tila

At first I thought I'd have nothing to say about the fairly vague yet universally accepted notion that Billy Corgan and Tila Tequila are apparently dating. My initial thought was that I'd have to jump on the popular joke where you say, "here is a desperately dismissable person known for their carefree attitude to sex and pathological need to be seen as famous and culturally relevant, and look, he's dating Tila Tequila"... would that have been an acceptable level of commentary?

But then I noticed that in this picture, their thoughts are actually visible due to some trick of photography! Look how happy Billy is to be praising Tila, assuring her that she's "A-List"... and in response, the encouraging belle offers him a hearty "Bravo!" for having been seen with her.

Golly but modern photography is amazing.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Free Idea: Cliche Check

There are two parts to this Free Idea. The first is an Urbandictionary- or TVTropes- esque site that keeps track of cliches as they pass into the language, monitoring phrases from a "calm blue" level of friendly familiarity ("so much for...", "a wide range", etc), through a "toxic green" level of current overexposure ("under the hood", "eat our own dog food", 90% of all text on tech-focused websites), through to a magma-toned "permanent retirement red" ("at the end of the day", "all and sundry", the bulk of all words spoken by major sports journalists). This governs the evolution of the English language in a manner so cartoonishly over-quantified that it will be no end of fun.

But the best part of Cliche Check would be the plugins section. You could download a plugin for you word-processing software of choice that would interface with the online database to run a check on your text, highlighting the level of cliche you had allowed to creep into your work and, with the gentle passive-aggressivity that made Clippy the Paperclip such an icon, suggesting that maybe if you just took a little longer on your writing (or "content generation", as you may think of it if you're a dick), it might be an awful lot more engaging.

This idea is free of charge and can be implemented immediately by interested parties. Strewth!