This week on Will and Bobby Know Everything, Bobby and I welcome my sister Kristen Rogers onto the show to discuss Crazy People!
This is a new commercial for those new Back to the Future Nike shoes...and jesus...Aside from it being annoying as hell (why is Bill Hader here? Why can't Kevin Durant [no idea who that is] act? Why are they shoehorning in as many movie quotes as they can, even though doing that seems to be widely acknowledged as obnoxious?), they got Christopher Lloyd to dress up as Doc and kind-of be funny. It's clear they had no idea what to do with him. But that's not my problem. Here's my problem:
Can we leave this fucking guy alone? Every couple of years, it seems like there's a new commercial where Doc is being annoying, and saying things that aren't in keeping with the character. That's a geeky concern, but I'm geeky. For example, here's a Direct TV commercial from a couple years ago:
Before I criticize this commercial, I should mention that it got nominated for awards. It got nominated for Least Flattering Cinematography and Biggest Nostrils. Anyway, nobody said ANYTHING about his flux capacitor, because no one knew about it! No one knows that time machine exists except for him and Marty! But back to my point. Because companies know they pretty much everybody loves this dude, occasionally they'll come up with a reason to make him play Doc again. But what they're actually doing is forcing me to watch a character I love die slowly. I don't want that guy to be getting smaller and smaller! I don't want to want look at him and realize that he sort of looks like he's wearing Planet of the Apes makeup (the original, not the nobody-is-at-fault reboot).
And actually, I'm not saying don't use this character anymore. Now that I think about it, if they would just write something halfway decent for him to say, I'd be down with this old man popping up every now and then. But don't make him wear the same costumes as in the movies. It's reminding me of my mortality.
We just can't seem to let shit go. That's why we're rebooting everything, or making fucking dumb ass movies based on toys. They're creating a Battleship movie. No shit. It's about alien ships that can't be detected by our radar, so we have to fire blindly in their general direction and hope we hit them. What a stupid idea. It's going to make millions.
Let it go. I know I sound like a dick for saying that I don't want to watch an old man on TV, but that's not really what I mean. I don't want to watch that particular character get frail. Christopher Lloyd himself is fucking awesome. If you don't believe me, go watch the episode of Fringe he was on. He plays an aging rock star, whose mind is starting to slip. That character is also, if I remember correctly, a former drug addict. It was incredible. It was totally awesome, and Christopher Lloyd's age was a big part of it. He's a writer, he writes for Modern Family, and while I haven't seen much of that show, what I have seen is pretty funny. So let's move on. He's capable of more, and watching Doc get weaker is freaky.
Also, it doesn't make sense, in Back to the Future Part II, he got his blood replaced, so that he would live longer. Furthermore, maybe the FIRST time he reprised Doc in a commercial, it was cool and weird and nostalgic, but this happens to frequently that it's expected and mundane, and, again, spooky.
I realize this rant isn't cool or anything, but whatever, I'm sick of watching the same old shit get rehashed constantly. Leave stuff alone and move on.
People are already begging for more Harry Potter. I am too, but I just want something from that world, people are begging specifically for more Harry Potter, a new story about him. He battled evil for 7 years, let that guy have some fucking rest! He had the worst luck for 7 years, he's earned a quiet vacation.
However, I fully expect to one day watch an 80 year old Daniel Radcliffe wheeze his way through a fucking commercial for all-new wizard shoes.
Right now, I'm really angry. I know I shouldn't be. I know each and every logical counterpoint to what has got me so pissed off, but right now, I don't fucking care for that logic. What I'm angry at is irrational, so the way I see it, I'm allowed to be irrational too. Out of respect, I won't discuss the particulars of what has got me so riled up. I mean that I just don't think it would be at all nice to say exactly what happened tonight, I'm sure I'll talk about it candidly sometime in the future, but a good way to summarize the issue is to say that I'm becoming increasingly fed up with the sense of entitlement I see in most people in public.
When people are in pain, the night belongs to them. Unless you count among their numbers, the night isn't yours. You are not allowed to criticize the people grieving. You are not allowed to try and garner sympathy for your separate issues, and you are most definitely not allowed to compound the evening by letting your personal squabbles take over.
You are not the center of attention just because you feel your issue is worth our time. It doesn't work that way.
Self entitlement. What's wrong with you? Tonight I went to a funeral, where people acting selfishly, but it's not my night to discuss, so I won't. However, I see the same disproportionate behavior almost everywhere I go.
Maybe a year or two ago, I was sitting in a Starbucks, reading or writing or staring. The place was packed, absolutely packed. Do you know why it was packed? It was because it was a Saturday afternoon, and Starbucks is a pretty popular, busy place. We all know that. Except for this fucking dickhead:
Some gangly clown walks into Starbucks, takes a look around, and frowns. I noticed him do it, and I imagined that maybe he was meeting up with somebody, and upon looking around, saw that the person hadn't arrived yet. I was wrong. He walked up to the counter, impatiently ordered his drink as if the cashier should have anticipated it fully, and barely finished his request before he asked/ordered, "And where am I going to sit?"
"Excuse me?" The kid seemed legitimately confused.
"Where am I going to sit? All the seats are taken."
If I were this poor employee, I wouldn't have had any idea what to say, and I worked 4 years in a fucking TGI Fridays, where my job description may as well have read, "appease assholes."
"Uh...Well, I mean, we're pretty busy."
The asshole met this with total silence.
"We have some tables available out front."
The man's lip curled in revulsion, "I don't want to sit outside." (Note: This was said as if only sub-humans ever have to venture outdoors."
"Well, I guess you could wait for someone to get up? Some of these customers have been here for a while, so maybe they'll be leaving soon."
Well spoken, well explained. Poorly received. The guy looked downright insulted. Livid. He scoffed. Without saying a word, he handed over his card, paid, and walked out of the store.
That was weird. Really weird. It looked like the guy was walking out on his order...but he had paid. So whatever, I went back to whatever the hell it is I was doing. I was interrupted from it again a moment later.
The door flew open, not as if violently thrown, but rather as though someone massive was trying to get through. It was that piece of shit, and he was dragging with him one of the wrought iron tables from outside. It was a distracting, huge sound. He wasn't fully carrying the table, he was literally dragging it.
The iron was screeching against the tile, and, as I said, the place was packed. There wasn't room for an additional table. If there was, there would probably be another table in there. He had to place it awkwardly in a foot-traffic area. Anyway, the guy went back outside to get a chair. When his drink was ready, he said at the table and read a book. He did so pointedly, not casually. It was clear that he was trying to make some sort of bullshit statement.
What an asshole. What an utter dick. When you venture out in the world, you should know that things aren't guaranteed to go your way. They just aren't. If you want to have total control over your surroundings, stay inside your own place and interact with no one. At all. When you're out in the world, you're subject to the same laws of likelihood as the rest of us. Sometimes you're going to want to drink a cup of coffee and read a book. That's great, I love that. I do that. But when I feel this way, and I decide to go to a Starbucks to do it, I know that I'm entering a building where other people are trying to have a similar experience. Sometimes all the tables will be taken, because a whole lot of people had the same popular idea as me. In that case, all I can do is shrug, and move on. Do I still want the coffee? Well I'm there already, so I'll buy one. Do I still want to read a book in here, sitting at a table? Well maybe I'll get lucky, and I'll see someone pack up their stuff and leave. Barring that, oops, oh well, things didn't go the way I hoped. No big deal, do ANYTHING ELSE, YOU FUCKING ASSHOLE.
If it's the employees fault that the place is full, then you're equally at fault for showing up when everybody else decided to be there. It's the luck of the draw. It's random. How fucking dare you try to change the circumstances around you to accommodate your whimsy, your personal preferences. You aren't required here, and you aren't in charge. In short: go fuck yourself.
Without getting too specific, tonight somebody was, through pain, trying to express themself. It was clearly difficult and upsetting, it was hard to do, but they were doing it. That's all that mattered. Someone in the back of the room shouted, "speak up."
You son of a bitch. You piece of shit. Who the fuck are you to criticize someone for trying to speak about something so personal. It was supposed to be a shared moment. No. It was supposed to be a personal moment in confidence, shared with a group assembled for a shared cause. No one grieving needs a heckler. Shut your fucking mouth. If you can't hear him, that's a shame, he isn't speaking for your benefit, he's speaking for his. Maybe you should be sitting closer. Maybe you should have gotten there earlier. This same person had already complained about how long it took him to get there.
Some people just want to be heard. Scratch that. Some people need to be heard. And that's okay in and of itself. Just like most things in life, it's the way that you cope with that need that's important.
I'm a big fan of a podcast (internet radio show) called Tell 'Em Steve-Dave! It's a podcast hosted by three guys from a comic book store in Red Bank, NJ. On Labor Day, Allie was being really awesome by going to that shop with me to watch the guys record a new episode. They had posted on Twitter that they would be doing a few small competitions, and wanted people to come to the shop to watch. Currently, Bobby and I are gearing up a podcast of our own, and so on top of wanting to see these guys I'm a fan of, I wanted to get an idea of what it looks like when professionals do it.
I'd heard them say before that they didn't have a ton of fans, and even though there were only 20 or so other people who went to the shop, it was kind of cool. It felt like a legitimate cultural event. The guys were sitting around the microphones, talking to each other. They didn't engage the "audience" at all. They didn't have to. We were there to watch what we presumably all knew was a private show. We're there for fun, not to participate. Except for one guy. This idiot was sitting in a chair, arms laying casually across the back of it, feet stretched out in front of him, looking cool and casual. With every joke that the hosts made, he would burst out in an obvious artificial laugh. If one of the hosts asked a hypothetical question, he answered it loudly. It became clear that he was desperately trying to be involved in the proceedings, hidden under the guise of enthusiasm. He just wanted his voice on the mic. He would probably listen to the podcast and get a thrill out of hearing his voice echoing quietly in the background. He'd tell his friends. They'd show a vague interest. I hated him for it. It was desperate. And even though it was a pathetic move, I don't excuse him from the underlying narcissism. Who is he to interrupt (or try to interrupt) the show that the rest of us enjoy just because he has some childish need for attention, or an unfounded expectation that anyone gives a shit about what he has to say?
And I hope I hear him on the podcast. He's a warning. He is an example of how not to be.
I could easily blame this behavior on the social-networking-generation, but I think that would be a myopic view of the problem. Realistically, I think it's just another kind of social behavior. It's a social affect. It's not new. Some people are just over-valuing their voice; their opinion. Some people think that it's necessary to make clear their satisfaction or dissatisfaction despite the lack of involvement. Tonight I was sorry to see a heavily significant event be somewhat tarnished by people over-extending their opinion. We don't need to hear your criticism, we don't need you to smile awkwardly because you're uncomfortable here, and we don't need your bullshit personal issues to get in the way of our collected emotion.
We are not so enthralled with you.
We are all in the same boat, even you, and when you make clear your dissatisfaction, your discomfort, you are embarrassing not only yourself, but the rest of us.
I fear I'm getting vague again. And I don't mean to do it to attract attention, I'm just so incredibly anxious about these things. Tonight was just another example of a widespread problem. Like I said, to blame Twitter and Facebook for making us all feel like our opinions are essential is absurd. Twitter and Facebook are invitations to express ourselves, not archives of uncontested genius. They are places for debate and conversation.
I'm sorry if this feels like the equivalent of posting "Some people really piss me off" on Facebook, and I hope that I've given enough real-life examples to satisfactorily express myself. I'm just feeling bleak. Like people won't give each other an inch. That no one's really listening, just planning how best to respond. On any other day, I could have written about these jerks comedically, but I'm viewing them through a filter of blind anger right now.
In case you haven't had enough of them, here's one quick final prime example of this self obsession:
I took a class on public speaking a few years ago, and predictably, pretty much everybody in my class was an egomaniac (either positively or negatively), myself included. Everybody had something brilliant to say, and everybody else was just surely waiting for their turn.
Well anyway, this one particular day, our professor was talking about his weekend, which involved some mis-communication between himself and his daughter. It involved his cell phone glitching out and behaving oddly. To help explain his story, the professor interrupted himself, and asked the room at large,
"Do any of you know how a cell phone works?"
A woman sitting next to me raised her hand and answered,
By now, pretty much everybody knows that Ryan Dunn from CkY and Jackass died yesterday, and the issue has been discussed to death, but I don't care. I want to talk about it, myself. I was surprised by how bummed out I was when I found out. Bobby posted a link to the news story on my Facebook, and my heart instantly dropped. It was weird. What/why the hell do I care?
HERE'S why I care: As absolutely weird and gross and stupid the stuff he did was, I think it was all really great.
I remember getting the first CkY (precursor to Jackass) video as a bootleg VHS. I think I still have it, it's pretty much unwatchable. My family had just recently moved to New Jersey, and I was pretty angry, so this bootleg tape helped me make friends with people who also knew about it. I think I was about 14 years old, and I'd never laughed so goddamn hard at something in my life. It was just a bunch of dudes being idiots. It looked like they basically just had a camcorder and fucking weird, funny ideas. It was essentially Looney Toons with humans. Hilarious. It starred Bam Margera, Ryan Dunn, and Brandon Dicamillo. I think I forgot about it almost instantly.
Then Jackass came out and it included all the guys from CkY and more. Now they had Johnny Knoxville (pretty much Bugs Bunny) as their accidental leader. The show was hilarious, and I mostly remember watching it at 3:00am when I couldn't sleep. The show was really actually kind of quiet, so when I think about that show, I think about how silent everything around me was, except for when somebody got hurt and I'd frantically turn down the volume. Stupid moron kids started imitating the show though, and hurting themselves, so the show was cancelled. This was the first real controversy surrounding the show. I knew that it wasn't reasonable to blame the stupidity of these kids on the show, and I always talked about just that with friends, but there was always the nagging truth that by having a popular show on television, those guys (whether they wanted it or not) had become role models. Which is weird. I can laugh at a dude jumping off a building holding an umbrella without wanting to try it myself.
Things, for me, started getting really interesting at this point. After the TV show ended, a couple of spin off's popped up. One was a nature documentary starring two of the Jackass guys, and the other was a sort of reality show following Bam Margera's life, and Bam had been friends with Ryan Dunn since they were kids. Ryan was in, I think, every single episode, and instead of just having 3 minute skits, there was a full storyline for each episode, and you started seeing what these guys were actually like. Bam Margera is a real asshole. I think he's really funny, but I also really hate how much he loves himself. And I hate that he wears top hats without a shirt on and shit. He's an ass. Everything in Bam's life rotates around doing what he wants to do, except for Ryan Dunn, who will make fun of Bam and sort of take him down a peg. It turned out that Ryan Dunn was just as crazy as Bam, and just as willing to hurt himself to make his friends laugh, but he also seemed to have a side of him that couldn't help but acknowledge how stupid it all was. He was sarcastic, but he always stuck around. More than all that, really, was that Bam's parents were a huge part of the show, and you could really tell that they loved Ryan and Ryan loved them. That wasn't the point of the show, but that's the vibe that exists behind all the other bullshit.
Then they did the movies, which were all really funny, but they were now tinged with the fact that you'd seen a little more of everyone's personalities. It made them more accessible and amusing. They also started making sure that, for each segment, everybody was around. Instead of one guy hurting himself in silence, now all of his friends would be there, laughing at him. By the end of the third movie, you really got the sense that these guys were all really good friends, and they just wanted to have fun and make each other laugh. I don't give a shit what you say about those movies. I know they're gross (LOTS of poop) but I'll defend them to the goddamn death, because you NEVER see genuine friendship in a movie. During the credits of the third movie, all of the Jackass guys sing the song Memories with Weezer. I hate that song, and I'd heard it before I saw the movie, so when I heard it starting up, I groaned, but then I had to change my mind. The credits of the movie, while everyone is singing the song, go person-by-person through the whole cast. They show a baby picture of each guy, then a picture of them as a teenager, then a little older, and older, and older, and then it's a current photo. By pretty much the 3rd picture of each guy, they're instantly recognizeable, because suddenly you're reminded of what these guys looked like 10+ years ago. It brought me back to that stupid bootleg tape.
It's like when you know someone really well in real life, and then you see a picture from a few years ago, and it's alien. You were too close to see the gradual change in them. That's exactly what happened during the credits. I didn't realize that I'd accidentally been consistently watching these guys for so long.
So I was really bummed out when I found out Ryan Dunn died. I don't think I ever thought about him unless I was watching a show/movie he was in, but there was something about having to acknowledge that after having watched him do shit for years, he was dead. I'm sure there was also something in there about how much he's hurt himself before without lasting effect vs. how he burst into flame and died, but I don't care to examine that.
It's really fucked up. Reallllly fucked up. Everything about it. What he was doing, how it happened, and the aftermath of it. So we all know that he tweeted a picture of himself drinking at a bar just hours before he was pronounced dead on the scene. We all know that he had a passenger with him, who also died. Everybody on the internet (who had an opinion) went insane. Some people were arguing that he was an asshole for speeding while drunk with a passenger. They called him a murderer and said that this is what you get when you live your life like a Jackass. Some people thought it was a failed stunt for a fourth movie. Some people said that he was a great guy, and he was so funny, and they can't believe he's dead. Some people said they didn't want to consider that he was drunk or speeding until it was indisputably proven. I think I was basically saying all of those things.
Knowing all the facts now, I have to say that I really liked Ryan Dunn, and I still do. I think that he was hilarious and down to earth and entertaining as hell, but you can't forgive the dumb fucking decisions he made on Sunday. He was stupid that night. And his actions got not just himself, but a friend killed. It's unreasonable to deny that. But I have a lot of crazy thoughts about death, and the BEST thing about this situation is that he probably only had a few moments of worry and pain. Everything before that was partying and being crazy like he got paid and honored to do his whole life. Death is great for the dead. He doesn't have to deal with the fallout of what happened that night. It's over for him. He had a crazy great life and blew himself up. So that's all great for him, but what about the people who cared about him who are left here without him?
Another huge issue around his death has been the media outcry over how irresponsible and senseless his death was. Again, it wasn't just him. He caused the death of a friend, who was recently married. I'm sure that you all read what Roger Ebert said, "Friends don't let Jackasses drive drunk." He's right, but I think the tone of the message was off, as was the timing (the day of the crash). Bam Margera, who had until then not publicly spoken, bashed Roger Ebert on Twitter, talking about how he was crying his eyes out all day and said that Ebert should keep his fat mouth shut. Aside from evidently not knowing that Ebert's mouth hasn't been fat in a long time, I think that Bam is ALSO right. It really fucking pissed me off that everybody decided that this was now a fight or debate between Bam Margera and Roger Ebert. Everyone was debating online who was right, whose argument was more valid. But Bam Margera wasn't making a fucking argument, he was upset.
A friend of his who he'd grown up with had just died in so violent a way that he was identified by only his tattoos and facial hair. I mean, for all I know, the coroner wasn't a fan, but I feel like this might mean that Ryan Dunn was otherwise unrecognizable. He was mangled. Bam Margera telling Roger Ebert to shut up was not his way of condoning driving drunk or something, he was reacting to the fact that he didn't like his friend being referred to as a jackass on the day he died. Just as a side note, why exactly did Roger Ebert need to throw in his advice? Kind of unnecessary. Whatever.
So today I watched footage of Bam Margera going to the scene of the accident. He's clearly inconsolable. He's just shaking and crying, and blubbering, and he's fucking entitled to. I've read so many comments about the appearance on the internet today, talking about how Bam is weird and weak, and Ryan Dunn deserved to die, drunk drivers should go to hell, etc, but it pisses me off, because he wasn't there to show off or defend his friend, he was there to mourn. He was upset. You're allowed to be upset. It's almost like we expect life to move as quickly as information moves on the internet. "Christ, it's been TWO DAYS already, get over it Bam!" It's unfair. It's bullshit. I don't like Bam Margera, but he can cry as much as he fucking wants, and he can say whatever the fuck he wants without it being interpreted as an official statement. Death sucks.
People are assholes. They're insensitive. And in this case, it's like they're trying to fight for logic and sanity by saying that Ryan Dunn deserved to die because he drank and drove and killed, but then they turn that logic into a reason for why no one should care. You can have it both ways. I'm really fucking angry at how stupid Ryan Dunn was. He killed himself and a friend, and it's a goddamn lucky thing that he didn't hit anyone else on his way down the road. He could have. But I still liked him, he was still somebody that I got to know (in a limited fashion) over the course of years. I think we forget the impact of death.
I used to work at a TGI Fridays, and when I was there one day, I got the news that my grandmother died. I've never been the best at showing weakness in public, so when I walked to the back office, in a daze, I told my bosses what had happened in a really monotone way, with no expression on my face. Like a sociopath, basically, but what can you do? Now, I feel like two things must have happened in this moment:
1: My bosses realized that I was speaking different than usual
2: I kind of don't think they believed me. To this day I'm pretty sure they thought I was fucking lying to skip out on the last couple of hours of work.
I think this because they asked me if I could run to the store for them before I went home.
Assholes. Fucking assholes.
I was confused, because in the moment, I didn't process their reaction as skepticism, it seemed more like my grandmother's death wasn't a big deal to them, especially when they were running out of milk!!
I stammered a little and asked if there was ANYONE else that could go, because I wanted to come home and be with my family. They told me there wasn't. The next thing I knew I was standing in a fucking Walmart. I'd been convinced it wasn't important. I'd been royally fucked over because of how cynical they were.
We're all too fucking cynical. Myself included. It's not great.
Next time I'll just write about Nintendo or something.
Last weekend, Allie, Krissy, and I went to the Mutter Museum in Philadelphia. It's the museum of medical oddities, and I was really excited about it.