I’D BE PRETTY AFRAID IF ANYONE WALKED THROUGH THAT DOOR WITH A ‘HITLER IS MY HOMEBOY’ T-SHIRT ON…

(Circa 2004 Urban Outfitted Hipster Walks By)

Bob: “Uhh, I hate those shirts.”

Tim: “What shirt, I didn’t even see what he was wearing?”

Bob: “Those fucking ‘Jesus is My Homeboy’ t-shirts.”

Tim: “You don’t think that’s even a little funny?”

Bob: “No. It’s, uh, one of those statements that’s ambiguous, which actually benefits both types of people that would be wearing the damn thing.”

Tim: “I’m not sure I follow you.”

Bob: “Well do you think a t-shirt that says ‘Jesus is My Homeboy’ offends anyone?”

Tim: “Probably some old stiff priests and church ladies, but aside from that, no. I would actually think it’s kinda hip in a funny way for people that do believe in all that shit.”

Bob: “And therein lies my problem with the message. It’s funny to the people that don’t believe in Jesus, and also funny to the people that do believe in him.”

Tim: “I don’t think that’s a problem. I just think it’s just good marketing…..”

Bob: “Well it’s a problem for me. You see, if people that didn’t believe in Jesus wore a shirt that said ‘Fuck Jesus,’ I’d be all for it, but applying a term that was cool for two weeks in 1989 to one of the world’s most formidable deities is kinda patronizing to Christians. But my problem is that they probably don’t see it as patronizing at all; they probably just think they’re finally cool to the slacker generation of twenty-somethings that shops at Urban Outfitters.”

Tim: “So you’re saying that the non-believers shouldn’t patronize the believers with form-fitting retro t-shirts then?”

Bob: “Exactly.”

Tim: “But then what would you say to a t-shirt that said something along the lines of ‘Fuck Satan’ then?”

Bob: “I’d say that I didn’t know Stryper used cuss words on their tour t-shirts.”

Tim: “No seriously. Saying ‘Fuck Satan’ is patronizing to Christians, but it’s also ironic in the fact that Satan is as much a part of pop culture as Michael Jackson, right?”

Bob: “I guess so, but that’s mostly Slayer’s fault.”

Tim: “Still, Satan is a somewhat ‘cool’ part of pop culture. Maybe not cool, but at least acknowledged….”

Bob: “Yeah he is, but still, throughout history, we’ve basically been taught that ‘Fuck Satan’ idea….”

Tim: “As have we the ‘Jesus is My Homeboy’ ideology. Not in those words, but the message….”

Bob: “I see what you’re getting at.”

Tim: “Do you? I’m not sure you do.”

Bob: “Well, maybe you aren’t, but here’s what I think you’re trying to make me understand. That you can take any symbolic figure that creates polemics between people, put a funny message about said person alongside their names, and this creates a sort of neutrality between the two opposing sides.”

Tim: “Well, no. I didn’t mean that at all. But it does make sense with most subjects, with the exception of Dick Cheney… and probably Hitler as well.”

Bob: “Yeah, I’d be pretty afraid if anyone walked through that door with a ‘Hitler is My Homeboy’ t-shirt on….”

The Best Song Title Ever (And its lyrics)

The band is called Harkonen. I don’t know much about them except that they’re very, very heavy and that I like to scream along to them in the pickup when my voice is up to it.

The song title is: All This Time, I Thought Your Name Was Cool Dude

And the lyrics are: “All this time, I thought your name, was cool dude. But it wasn’t you.”

So very true about so many people, and no poetic beating around the bush to get to it. Music needs more songs like this.

REMIND ME NEVER TO POSE FOR PHOTOS WITH ANY WILD BABY ANIMALS BEFORE GETTING THE OK FROM YOU IN ADVANCE…

Bob: “So what do you think of all this Michael Jackson crap going on?”

Tim: “Bob, it’s fucking TV tabloid shit. I DON’T think about it.”

Bob: “Yeah, I know that, but surely you have an opinion on it one way or the other, right?”

Tim: “Well, yeah, but you know, I just needed to get that out of the way.”

Bob: “Get what out of the way?”

Tim: “That I’m not sitting at home and waiting for Michael Jackson’s every move to get analyzed by cable news.”

Bob: “Of course, so do you have an opinion on then?”

Tim: “Yeah, but you’re not going to like it…”

Bob: “Why?”

Tim: “Because my opinion is derived from a feeling I stumbled upon in the ‘Thriller’ days of Michael Jackson.”

Bob: “Now you’ve lost me.”

Time: “Did you have the gatefold LP of ‘Thriller?'”

Bob: “No, I had the cassette.”

Tim: “Well, bear with me then. The gatefold LP opened up to reveal Michael Jackson reclined on the floor, with, like, a baby tiger or some shit sitting next to him. I don’t remember the exact situation, but it was him and a tiger or some sort of wild cat stretched out, with a printed signature from Michael Jackson alongside the whole thing.”

Bob: “And this makes you think he’s guilty of touching little boys?”

Tim: “Not exactly, but I do remember being a little kid, and being real psyched on the ‘Thriller’ album, and then opening the gatefold to reveal that picture, and I distinctly remember being spooked out by the picture the first time I laid my eyes upon it. And from that moment on, I’ve always thought that there’s something not right about Michael Jackson. He was trying to be pretend to be mysterious in this superficial way, and I guess I read right through that and thought that he must be trying to hide something.”

Bob: “You do realize that your theory is based on a pop singer posing with a wild baby animal, don’t you?”

Tim: “Yeah, but I was a kid, and everyone was telling me that I was supposed to like this pop singer, and then I felt something that told me something there wasn’t right, so I stopped liking him. And then I ultimately decided some time during the Michael Jackson ‘Man in the Mirror’ era that there definitely was something wrong with the dude, and it all came to me because I didn’t like one picture of a pop singer with a baby tiger.”

Bob: “So you think he’s touching little boys, and feeding them liquor and making them watch porn all because he may have liked posing with baby tigers over 20 years ago?”

Tim: “No, like I said, I just got a bad feeling about the guy from that photo, and I ran with it. Haven’t you ever gotten a bad feeling about a person before?”

Bob: “Yeah, but it’s usually after meeting them and realizing that they’re an asshole. I’ve never decided that someone was a supposed child molester because of a staged photo taken much before the fact.”

Tim: “I told you that you wouldn’t like my theory.”

Bob: “No, I’m just intrigued by it. I will tell you this though: Remind me never to pose for photos with any wild baby animals before getting the OK from you in advance….”

Paperwork Reduction Act?

Yesterday, I went and applied for a replacement social security card because I had lost my original one at least ten years ago. The application is fairly simple, and unlike every other form of government ID, a social security card is free. Of course, the line to wait in is strenuous, and more than makes up for the free replacement card, but it gave me time to fully read the replacement card application while waiting. And this is where I discovered the stupendous act of federal government known as the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, buried five pages deep in the application (that’s printed on paper.) It’s actually required reading on a good number of government forms that are printed on paper. Had the application gave a government web address and asked the reader to refer to that address for more information on the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, I would’ve thought, “Wow, that’s cool.” But no, they used an additional page to print the Act, which gets tossed away once the application is processed. If this is the government’s take on reduction, I think they need a dictionary….

Oh yeah, I’m sure it took who knows how much paperwork to write, edit and pass the act into law, which negates the whole purpose of the damn thing in the first place…..

And another thing. With the advent of the Internet and email, I’m sure the amount of paperwork the government uses and processes has more than doubled, since they now probably need printed proof of Internet transactions and emails. That’s just speculation, but overall, I’m sure the amount of governmental paperwork has likely increased since the Paperwork Reduction Act was ratified ten years ago.

Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995
FILE s244.enr –S.244– S.244 One Hundred Fourth Congress of the United States of America
AT THE FIRST SESSION Begun and held at the City of Washington on Wednesday, the fourth day of January, one thousand nine hundred and ninety-five An Act To further the goals of the Paperwork Reduction Act to have Federal agencies become more responsible and publicly accountable for reducing the burden of Federal paperwork on the public, and for other purposes.

In Passing

I was on the train going into the city yesterday and was listening to a woman behind me talking very loudly on the phone. It was a long conversation, full of ridiculous lines, but I had to write this one down as it was the topper.

“Girlfriend, I’m glad I met you on the chatline cause I wouldn’t know shit otherwise!”

There’s a few other websites that compile lines overheard from passing conversations, and I know I’m borrowing from their format, but this was too good to pass up.

Punctuated shrinkage?

In a culture where bigger is autmotically assumed to be better, from cars to penis size to television screens to fast food sandwiches to breasts, I find it truly unique and ironic that everyone on the block wants their cell phones and MP3 players to be as small as possible.
Yes it would help if both items could become smaller, but it’s counter-revolutionary to the super size culture we’re a part of. As Linda Richman would say, “There’s your topic. Talk amongst yourselves….”

Unclassifiable? (Is that even a word?)

Marketing people are always spouting off about how they can classify consumers according to what they buy and consume. Even Fugazi referenced this prospect once (“Never mind what’s been selling, it’s what your buying!”) This is common knowledge in the marketing/pr field, but today I think I might’ve made myself unclassifiable as a consumer. Here is the sum total of my purchases for today:

1 original framed needlepoint wall hanging that reads ‘The Rat Race Is Over and The Rats Have Won’ (used and found at the Salvation Army)

1 new jump rope from the dollar store (I actually broke my last one being sloppy, but that’s another story….)

1 package of Ant Poison (also from the dollar store)

1 Boy Scouts of America ‘Tiger Cub’ t-shirt (also used and found at the Salvation Army)

1 crispy Sesame Veggie Chicken and Beef entree (from Veggie Heaven in NJ)

What does this make me? Someone with an ant problem that’s given up on the world and wants something to remind them of that for their wall? Someone that doesn’t mind wearing used t-shirts from an organization that frowns against individuality but can teach you how to tie a lot of knots? Or someone that most likely doesn’t eat meat and also likes jumping rope? I guess I’m all that and a lot more.
Still, it makes me realize that if you list out your purchases for say, one week’s time, your perception of yourself as a consumer will probably differ drastically from your perception of yourself as a person.
And this leads to a much bigger question concerning capitalism. Does it help one connect more directly to an identity, or does it detract or complicate from one’s identity? If you’re into, say, Rage Against the Machine and riding Element Skateboards, and you make a point to go shopping for products from both camps on one particular day, and succeed, then you do connect more with the identity you seek. But if you’re into Rage Against the Machine and Element Skateboards, but do not choose to seek out products from both camps on one day, and instead go to the Salvation Army, the dollar store and Veggie Heaven in Parsippany, NJ, you probably are detracting and complicating the identity you seek to establish (even if it is only to the eyes of economists and marketing gurus that are studying what you buy.)
See what I’m saying? We’re constantly being defined by what we buy, so people can understand us and sell us more stuff. It’s a complicated cycle that ultimately involves a good deal of psychology, and I don’t want to be a part of it. I’d rather be the confusing 0.001% that doesn’t make any sense on paper…

By the way, I am not a fan of Rage Against the Machine. I’m glad they opened up debate on a lot of serious topics to a generation of morons, but I still think their music sucks. And Element, well, it’s a piece of wood with someone from MTV’s name on it. Do I really need to explain why it’s just an example and not an obsession to me? Good then…