Sunday, 18 May 2008

My Top Ten: My Pop-Culture Pet Peeves...

I've decided to give a simple summarized list of my pop culture pet peeves. These are things that fuel most of my posts, and why I'm such a lecturing hectoring know it all. So here they are, in no particular order...

10- THE CREEPY CHRISTIAN: You know what I'm talking about. You turn on a crime/cop show, and whenever there's a religious guy, specifically a Christian, he's always the killer. It offends me on two levels. First, as a poor excuse for a Catholic, I find it an insulting slander against Christians. Secondly, as a writer, I find it a combination of bigotry and laziness. As the writer Paul Cornell pointed out in a recent radio interview it started out as an "unforeseen twist" because no one suspected the vicar.

It quickly became a tired cliche, that's kept alive by a combination o
f isolation, bigotry, and fear. The isolation comes from the fact that Hollywood people only know other Hollywood people. Hollywood consider themselves more "spiritual" than religious, because it requires less work and are suspicious of those who are openly religious, because they don't know any personally. And they specifically target Christians because of fear. Any other group that is portrayed as anything less than saintly will get you lawsuits, death threats, or in some cases even worse. The way things are going, the only Christian on TV that hasn't killed anyone will be Ned Flanders, but even that is only a matter of time.

9- WASTE: I was flipping through a movie news site and came across what I thought was an odd statement. It said that these filmmakers were doing a movie on a "shoe-string budget of $40 million" and it was said without irony. What the hell? When I was a kid, back when you could buy a comic book for 45 cents and do it at a convenience store, $40 million made big epic movies with special effects, and casts of thousands. Now it couldn't cover the salaries of more than two "A-List" actors, and in the case of the Wolf-Man remake, the director quit, unable to work with $100 million (WTF). This sort of inflation can only be found in Zimbabwe or Germany during the Weimar Republic, not in what's supposed to be a vital industry.

8- MIMES: They just get on my one good nerve.

7- TABLOID MEDIA: I don't want to hear about some celebrity's cellulite, and I'm sure a lot of people agree with me. So why are photos of cottage cheese thighs gracing so many websites. Because a large segment of the population derives schadenfreude from seeing the rich and famous look bad. They also like to watch celebrities crash and burn their careers too. These are not consumers, they're sadists.

6- CELEBUTARDS: These are people who are famous, but you don't really know why. From now on, fame should only be achieved through hard work and talent, not from making a sex-tape with a washed up former child star. And then you see them crash and burn because of drugs and alcohol, completely ignoring the legions who met similar fates before them because they're ignorant of anything and everything that isn't be sold in trendy boutiques.

5- CELEBRITY CAUSES: The hypocrisy behind celebrities and their causes amazes me. I was channel surfing this evening and saw Jon Bon Jovi going to the Live Earth Concert to end Greenhouse Gases. Did he share a bus, or limousine with his band-mates? No. He flew in a gas guzzling carbon-spewing helicopter. The concerts themselves spewed enough carbon to suffocate Finland, yet no one sees the irony, or the hypocrisy.

4- REMAKES: Remaking classics rarely works. Try remaking films that had a good idea behind them, but a poor execution. Then you might be doing something worth doing.

3- REALITY TV: I don't mind "slice of life" documentaries about interesting people and their interesting jobs. I do mind annoying 15 minutes of fame-whoredom factories that shamelessly exploit emotionally crippled people who think being famous will somehow fix their wretched lives.

2- THE SELF-FULFILLING IDIOCY: I've talked about this often. It's the screw-everybody business plan, that's making it next to impossible for people to do business in Hollywood without resorting to litigation. That's no way to run a railroad, or a studio.

1- THE "A-LIST": What makes a person an "A-List" star? Is it box office appeal, talent, or simple charisma? The answer is none of the above. A-List status seems to be based solely on how good your agent and publicists are at getting your mug in the tabloid media.


  1. To go with #10, how about the villain always being the EVIL Capitalist these days? Can see it a mile away in every movie.

  2. I remember when industry wags used to chide Hollywood for spending $40 million on one movie. I was also about three years old at the time, and even then they used to spend it on increased production value.