Culture

Showbiz Assassin: Sadly Obligatory 'I Can't Believe We've Now Got TWO Annoying Bonos' Edition

1. Free Mark Knopfler!

Phew! A quarter century after the song came out, Canadian authorities have finally deemed Dire Strait’s single “Money for Nothing” safe for broadcast.

We’re told “one person can make a difference” like it’s a good thing, but usually that “one person” is getting old, harmless words and images banned — or new harmful words and images “mainstreamed” as “no big deal.”

In this instance, a lone Newfie complained because “Money For Nothing,” contains the word “faggot” – so a gang of bureaucrats spent a year “investigating” the “offending” tune.

The National Post’s CHRIS SELLEY (an individual I normally have no time for, and the feeling is mutual) semi-redeems himself with his report on their report — the latter logging in at over 10,000 words.

I can assure you that Selley is not making any of this up:

The first hint you’re in for something special is when the report announces it will refer to the naughty word in question as “the other f-word.” No, I thought, you’re not going to do that. You say you are, but you aren’t. It would be too stupid to take seriously. But then, there it was, over and over again: “There was little or no argument made in favour of the public acceptability of the other f-word”; “members of the audience might be offended by the use of the other f-word.” Incredible.

And so cheering gays across Canada took to the streets, finally free to dance upon them once again without being decapitated by old adult contemporary CDs being Frisbee’d at them by nostalgic homophobes or something please kill me now.

2. Mondo Death-o!

Consider the profound disconnect between the lush, aspirational imagery in BEYONCE’s video for “The Best Thing I Never Had” (never mind the exquisite Agent Provocateur lingerie, if you can – the “plot” concerns the high-end wedding of an African-American couple in this, the era of “marriage is for white people”) and the song’s coarse, base and tasteless lyrics, with all their “sucks” and “ass” and whatnot.

I was wondering if there’d ever been such a cringe-inducing clash of lyrics and images before, when I learned of the recent death of GUALTIERO JACOPETTI.

Jacopetti wasn’t a household name, but he gifted the world with an adjective that’s been in heavy rotation since I was in kindergarten: “mondo.” Thanks to Jacopetti’s debut shock-umentary Mondo Cane – “A Dog’s World” – “mondo” was the “hella” or “uber” of its day.

Jacopetti’s wider legacy is all around us. As one obit observed:

Decades before YouTube became a repository for videos of toilet-trained cats and backyard stunts, Jacopetti traveled around the globe filming all that was weird. (…)

Jacopetti’s 105-minute montage of raw human absurdity [included] Americans engaging in histrionics at a pet cemetery as a poodle urinates on a gravestone; French women force-feeding geese to make foie gras, quickly contrasted with scenes of island women bingeing on tapioca to make themselves more heftily attractive; a woman in New Guinea nursing a piglet, followed by images of the wanton slaughter preceding a feast of pork.

What all that has to do with Beyonce is simply this: the theme song from Mondo Cane is an overripe, crescendo-heavy orchestration entitled “More,” which was covered by FRANK SINATRA and is still played at, well, wedding receptions.

And the corny lyrics — “My life will be in your keeping, waking, sleeping, laughing, weeping” – have blessedly nothing to do with goose torture and porcine breastfeeding.

To post-modern viewers desensitized by prime time autopsies, the Jim Rose Circus, and Gates of Heaven – not to mention deeply offended by “Third World” exploitation and animal cruelty — Mondo’s tender, if overwrought, theme song is likely the weirdest thing about the film. Which is sad.

At the same time sideshow freaks were being forced into early retirement by do-gooders, Mondo Cane and its sequels and spinoffs normalized and sanitized twisted voyerism, by placing it at one remove: on the large (and then small) screen.

For better or for worse.

3. Chastity needs a good belt

Oh, pul-eeze: I just mean one to keep “CHAZ” BONO‘s (really, REALLY large) pants from falling down on Dancing With The Stars.

Sheesh.

If they did fall down, though, millions of Americans might be… confused.

We keep getting told that the daughter of SONNY BONO and CHER is “transgender.” But the individual we’re being bullied into calling “Chaz” does not have a penis. And her DNA is female. So here on Planet Earth, that makes “Chaz” a woman.

If you think you’re JESUS or NAPOLEON, I’m not calling you “trans-historical.”

And while I’m sure it’s only a few years away, we’re not yet obliged to call people who get non-sex organs mutilated or removed — and they do exist — “trans-legged.”

None of these people are “courageous.”

Having to call celebrity genetic lottery winner (OK, more like “participant” in her case…) Chastity Bono a “star” is bad enough. But there’s no way I’m calling her “Chaz.”

As WWTDD put it so eloquently:

She can call herself King of the Dinosaurs and only speak by saying “rawr rawr” for all I care, I just don’t think I should be forced to play along with titles bestowed upon her by the voices in her head.

One of my blog readers emails:

I work for an HMO in [redacted] that humors the people who have decided they are in the wrong gender.  I expect it takes a lot of work to get to the point when one is accommodated and “treated” for the “ailment” of being born male or female.  It is often called “gender identity disorder” to tip the hat to reality.

This does mean that a person’s conscious decision is in contradiction to the 50 or so trillion cells in their body that say otherwise — I say “XX”, they all say “XY”.

That’s a much odder case than someone who held an opinion and everyone else on earth disagreeing; that would be a mere one against 6 billion or so.

The computers used to track medical records aren’t as enlightened as the humans.  A male who is defined as “F” on the screen will still have a red letter reminder in their profile saying they are years overdue for a pap smear that will never be scheduled.  The Chaz-like though defined as “M” will never get the prostate exam the software thinks “he” needs.

They have to work on that.

Anyway, several years ago I wondered if I couldn’t save the world a lot of healthcare dollars by simply defining myself as “healthy”.  I don’t have to be weighed, I am exactly what weight I say I am.  I have perfect blood pressure, cholesterol levels, 20:20 vision.  I demand low rates on health and life insurance because I declare I am a 30 year old man, not 53.

I not only state these as facts, I can even do one thing the “trans” person cannot, I can show that there is historical basis for these things.

Once I WAS thin, had great blood pressure.  Furthermore, I can use the same argument they can, “I always *felt* like I was that way”.  Once you say that, no one will dare argue with you.

For that matter, why can’t I get to work at noon and *say* it’s 9:00 AM?  I mean once it WAS, right?


4. The last action hero (you’d ever imagine)

STEVE BUSCEMI looks like JOHN WATERS got TB and had a baby with an alien.

That’s probably why he’s never been cast as a firefighter. Who would have guessed that, in real life, Buscemi is a volunteer firefighter. One who promptly hooked up with his old crew right after 9/11 to lend a hand.

He didn’t want any press or pictures, but one got out.

The day after the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center, Steve Buscemi returned to his job at FDNY Engine 55 as a volunteer to help find missing New Yorkers at Ground Zero. The Brooklyn-born actor, who was a fireman at the Little Italy station back in the 80s, reportedly declined any interviews and photographs during his rescue efforts — but someone nabbed this shot of him anyway.

I’m still not sure he should pose for the annual calendar, but still: strange new respect, man.


5. The penultimate action hero (you’d ever imagine)

My fellow junk-culture addict and rightwinger HollywoodLoser emailed me yesterday:

I know you’re a Derb fan, like me. So you may be aware that in the early ’70s when he was living in Hong Kong, he had a bit part in the Bruce Lee movie The Way of the Dragon. Here’s the movie, complete and free. Derb is the thug in the horizontal-stripe shirt, at exactly the one-hour mark.

He’s not kidding.

Bonus rightwing-ness? CHUCK NORRIS is in this movie, too.

Ha! So take that, ANDREW SULLIVAN! (Hiiiiiiiiiyeeeeeee-YA!)

Alas, MARK STEYN‘s duet with LIZA MINNELLI isn’t on YouTube, or else we could compare and contrast these pundits’ brushes with greatness.

This will have to suffice as a fitting extro:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=csd2BneWFSM