Category Archives: Life is Like a Bad Movie

Fortnight of Fright #1 – Some Kind of Monster

In anticipation of Halloween, Keesup is watching 20 notable horror movies in two weeks. This survey of the genre will include several themed double features and some entries that may not be conventionally understood as “horror” but are nonetheless relevant. Tonight’s entry: Matt Reeves’ Cloverfield (2008)

It’s the epitome of the “teaser” – an alluring clip that begs two questions: “What is going on here?” (no idea) and “When does this movie come out?” (1.18.08, apparently). Months of esoteric internet promotion continued to pick up heat for the project by 21st century media master J.J. Abrams. A letdown was almost inevitable from the intense hype – it could even share the fate of the similarly marketed Snakes on a Plane, which was immediately forgotten upon its theatrical release. But unlike SoaP, Abrams and director Matt Reeves were actually trying to make a good movie.
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Brothel Management and Marketing: Spitzer’s Fall

People are talking about Gov. Eliot Spitzer’s catastrophic implosion everywhere today – in the elevators, on the street, huddled around water coolers (it’s true, I witnessed one such water-vessel caucus). The media is frenzied. The blogosphere is crapping its pants. These are the kind of lurid, juicy scandals that we love so much because it offers an opportunity to chatter publicly about the taboo. A secretary in my office told me confidently, “That’s nothing special. There’s dozens of brothels uptown in all those fancy townhouses.” I can only imagine.

And that’s the point, isn’t it? I see two threads in the Spitzer narrative. First, the voyeuristic details that were front-and-center when the story broke; details like Spitzer’s code name, Client 9, and the eerily mundane phone conversation between the call girl and her handler (“I mean it’s kind of like…whatever…I’m here for a purpose…”) bring this story out of the stratosphere of power and into normal life. These are exactly the kind of minute particulars a fiction writer sweats blood to dream up.

Perhaps more compelling, however, is the familiar story of power that leads to hubris that leads to a fall. Spitzer was powerful, but also egotistical. He embraced the nickname Eliot Ness, no doubt for the theatrical value, but I got the sense from various profiles that he actually believed it. The unwashed masses, myself included, derive a small, hard packet of moral self-satisfaction from shaking our heads and thinking, Jeese, I’d never do that, all the white wondering I wonder what it’s like to have that kind of life.

In any case, Slate has some excellent advice for those of you licking your greedy, exploitive lips at the prospect of pimping $3,000-an-hour prostitutes.

Shenanigans

The Scribblerist, Inc. has intercepted an intraoffice memo (with all names and identifiable details redacted) indicating the existence a secret brotherhood of destruction in his place of work. The sinister communique is posted here in it’s entirety.

It must be noted that the memo, while reeking of evil, has a certain stylistic flair.

Operation Retribution

P.E.O.P.L.E. in the City

The French band Air has a song called “People in the City,” that describes the cadence and stricture of urban life. The lock-step rhythm mimics the plodding of commuters up the dirt-blackened stairs of the 14th street 6 train, and the chanted verses, “Moving, watching, working, sleeping, driving, walking, talking, smiling,” speak to the numbing repetition we experience as city dwellers. But the song opens up after the second chorus, giving a sense of the excitement at being surrounded by so many people, each with myriad webs of relationships, dreams, and frustrations. The song is really rather bad, but it speaks to an essential experience.

My own zombie shuffle was interrupted last Tuesday, when a beautiful young woman tapped me on the shoulder and gave me her business card, saying simply, “My number” (the Scribblerist is just as shocked as you, dear reader). I called her and we hung out and as it turns out, she’s pretty cool.

It’s got me thinking about how we move through the city as social creatures. In breaking the silent-but-iron-bound taboo about speaking to strangers, I feel this girl has given us both a small transcendence. Why shouldn’t we speak to people who seem interesting or give off a comforting energy? We’re all interdependent anyway, right? What stops us from acting like it?

When I first moved to New York from Missouriananois I made eye contact with everyone I passed on the street. It was an unconscious gesture, and the preface to a friendly Midwestern “hello!” I soon realized, however, that people were either uncomfortable with friendliness or worse, downright hostile. A few weeks later, I had mastered the art of moving down the street without noticing other people, Ipod strapped to my side like a gun, a private universe unto myself.

This is a horrible, lonely way to live life. Cities are supposed to be sites of great meeting, discussion, collaboration, and exchange. Wrong. New York is like a shattered pane of glass, with each shard representing a self-contained social group that thinks, incorrectly, it has no need for any of the other shards. New York is, indeed, diverse – a profusion of non-intersecting subcultures.

Crossing those lines is courageous; hence, my admiration for the subway girl (who shall remain unnamed for her protection). What prevents me from doing this more often? To start, I’m shy, but I’m sure there are deeper behavioral and social reasons, too. I’m afraid this post is a non-starter: I have no answers to the collective gag rule in New York.

Still, I can’t help but ponder. I’m imagining a group of people from all different sub-groups gathering just to talk about ideas…

Then again, perhaps Air could just rock us out with their mellow European psychedelica.

Puppies and 15 Min. of Blogosphere Fame

The Internet is not subject to the laws of good taste. Content about breasts always wins the day. I was talking about this last night with my friend, Keesup. Our dialogue:

Scribblerist: “You know, one night we’re going to be joking around and post some comparison pictures of puppies and Ahmandinejad and that’s going to blow up and become the one thing The Scribblerist is known for.”

Keesup: “You’ll tell people, ‘Why don’t you check out our hyper-literate book review?’ and they’ll say, ‘Fuck that! Puppies!'”

I can already see the irate comments: “Hey jackass stop being so smart and GIVE US MORE PUPPIES!”