As of this week, a new Facebook status trend has been spreading like wildfire. Through social media, a straightforward plea has been made to divert our media attention away from Lindsay Lohan, to the U.S. Marines who tragically died this week in combat.

“Lindsay Lohan, 24, is all over the news because she’s a celebrity drug addict. While
Justin Allen, 23, Brett Linley, 29, Matthew Weikert, 29, Justus Bartett, 27, Dave Santos, 21, Chase Stanley, 21, Jesse Reed, 26, Matthew Johnson, 21, Zachary Fisher, 24, Brandon King, 23, Christopher Goeke, 23, and Sheldon Tate, 27 are all Marines that gave their lives this week, no media mention. Let’s honor THEM & give them social media attention by reposting!”

Ablestimage.com, did the work for me on this one and researched the deaths of these soldiers to see if this popular did in fact pass this week and who they were. Turns out, its half true with the deaths occurring over the summer.

Justin Allen, 23, was an Army Ranger from Ohio who had a wedding date set for the upcoming November 20th, killed in Afghanistan on July 18.

Brett Linley, 29, was a Staff Sergeant for the Royal Logistic Corps (UK) and died on July 17 while diffusing explosive devices, having already disabled 100 such bombs in five months.

Matthew Weikert, 29, died on July 17 in Afghanistan, as a member of the US Army (although was first a Marine for 5 years, and took a year break before re-enlisting).

Justus Bartett, 27, may actually be Justus Bartelt [according to this] because I could not find a single reference to that spelling. Bartelt was a Marine who died on July 16 in Afghanistan.

Dave Santos, 21, was a Marine corporal from Saipan (a US territory in the deep in the Pacific, lattitude even with southern Vietnam, longitude even with northern Japan) who was “stabbled in the neck and killed by a fellow Marine.”

Chase Stanley, 21, was an Army soldier from California, serving in Afghanistan when he died on July 14, along with three others when an improvised explosive device struck their vehicle. The other three killed were those listed next –

Jesse Reed, 26, from Pennsylvania, was the Army driver for a vehicle searching for roadside bombs, having sent home as a memento a picture of himself and a few others sitting in a crater of one such roadside bomb only a week prior.

Matthew Johnson, 21, from Minnesota, was an Army soldier who died on July 14th (although the article linked says he died “Tuesday” which is the 13th), as an “engineer equipment operator and mine-resistant, ambush-protected operator during route-clearance operations.”

Zachary Fisher, 24, of Missouri was an Army Sergeant who died in the IED attack that killed the three men listed immediately above on July 14, was a disarmer of roadside bombs, and son to a retired Army Master Sergeant.

Brandon King, 23, an avid Spades player, was a Private First Class in the Army from the capital of Florida, killed while serving in Afghanistan on July 14th, “when insurgents attacked his unit with small arms fire.”

Christopher Goeke, 23, was an First Lieutenant for the US Army from Minnesota who died Tuesday July 13th defending an Afghan police compound. He was a West Point Military Academy graduate and had been married only 18 months prior.

and Sheldon Tate, 27, who was an Army Staff Sergeant known in his youth to be a prankster, died on July 13th, also in an attack on an Afghan police location, “assisting a young paratrooper to safety.”

Though grievous for apparent reasons, the posting brings up many possible questions for its intended purpose. Is it a direct statement about our under representation towards those who gave their lives for our country? Is it merely a question of patriotism? Respect? Or is it something addressed towards the quality of our media coverage in general. That we actually spend too much time talking about celebrities instead of real-life events that affect us daily?

Each of these questions have many different sides of argumentation, leading to a never ending debate. But my real question wonders: Is using death as a platform the only way to make people realize any of these claims, regardless of their opinion?

Whatever that opinion might be, the popular Facebook status has definitely proven its point while showcasing the power of social media at the same time.




Advertisements

Famed director, Quentin Tarantino, has lost one of the most important pieces to his film making process today: his longtime editor, Sally Menke.

According to the LA Times, Menke was reported missing yesterday after not returning home from her morning hike. Police searched for hours in Griffith Park looking for her, but ultimately found her body at the bottom of a ravine with her loyal dog (alive) next to her. There is suspect that the extreme LA heat wave may have attributed to Menke’s death.

Though Menke has worked on numerous other films including: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, All the Pretty Horses and Mulholland Falls to name a few; she is mostly acclaimed for her brilliant editing style in her Tarantino films.

In 1992, Menke joined Tarantino on Reservoir Dogs. Since that collaboration, she had worked on every other Tarantino film to date. It was her quick cuts and precision timing which gave the movies that “Tarantino feel” which is so easily recognized and appreciated by fans. Her amazing editorial skill also received two Academy Award nominations for Pulp Fiction and Inglorious Bastards.

In general, editors work closest to the directors and their work is responsible for the final mood of the film. Often, the great work of an editor goes unnoticed by the common movie goer, but leaves them with the finished product that they see.

Menke, on the value of working with numerous directors :

“I’ve learnt so much from every film and every director- a new perspective, a greater appreciation of the art. On one scene Oliver said, “It’s just so perfunctory.” I couldn’t figure out what he meant, then a lightbulb went off in my head. It was just one cut too! I realized every single edit is important. Years ago, this documentary was a very serious piece and I made this cut that made people laugh. I realized the power of cinema.” –Editor Under Construction

A director can be great on their own, but in the end needs a good editor to cut their masterpiece into place. Tarantino can make an amazing and unique puzzle- and now he will have to find the right glue to put it back together again.

A tribute to Sally Menke,“Hello Sally”, where Quentin talks about the importance of Sally’s work. Found on the DVD extras on DeathProof.

Segway? No Way!

September 27, 2010

Yesterday the owner of the Segway company, James W. Heselden, tragically died by his own dime. That is, he died on a Segway. As the New York Times reports, the 62 yr. old Heselden accidentally drove his Segway off of a cliff near his home, and into the River Wharfe in England.

“The Segway, a motorized scooter that changes direction depending on which way its driver tilts, was invented by Dean Kamen in 2001 and first produced in 2002.”

Marked as an unfortunate miscalculation by Heselden or maybe slippery roads, this certainly proves to be an ironic death. Though Segway sales have been down in recent years, will this eliminate all costumers? Or maybe it might actually drive up sales of the two-wheeled scooter? Regardless, it should make people look twice at their technological toys.

( George & George W. Bush trying to use a Segway)

Cleavage Culture

September 27, 2010

Katy Perry’s cleavage is the talk of the town, once again.

Last week Perry’s Sesame Street segment was cut from the original airing of the program. Singing with Elmo in a fashionable green, yet low cut dress, Perry’s video was banned with a Seasame Street spokesperson claiming to USMagazine:

“Sesame Street has a long history of working with celebrities across all genres, including athletes, actors, musicians and artists. Sesame Street has always been written on two levels, for the child and adult. We use parodies and celebrity segments to interest adults in the show because we know that a child learns best when co-viewing with a parent or care-giver. We also value our viewer’s opinions and particularly those of parents. In light of the feedback we’ve received on the Katy Perry music video which was released on You Tube only, we have decided we will not air the segment on the television broadcast of Sesame Street, which is aimed at preschoolers. Katy Perry fans will still be able to view the video on You Tube.”

Since last Thursday, Perry has aired on SNL to mock and add a sense of humor to her voluptuous cancellation.

In the skit, Perry plays a teen who has recently hit adolescent development and now her large breasts hang over her innocent Elmo t-shirt. The parody pokes fun at the sensitivity of parents but also raises a good question: Is it the parents job to educate children, or the job of programming to exclude any material that could be considered as a sexual connotation?

Slasher films, super heroes & “rom-coms” all come to mind when we think about American films. We love our movies as much as we love action, suspense, explosions and the far fetched scenarios seen on the screen. Luckily for America, we have a little ‘ol place called ‘Hollywood’ to bring us the thrills and chills that movie goers seek. But there is a certain stigma about American cinema that differentiates it from foreign films. It could be the differences in culture, dialogue, humor or overall tone to foreign films- but there is a difference, and mainstream American culture does not support it. American cinema is a lot about profit, where foreign films do not even reach the marketplace. A combination of distribution rights, script re-writes, and seeing our favorite stars as the lead = a formula for an American re-make of a foreign film.

It could be the charm lost in the process, or the entire essence of the film lost in translation- but ultimately American remakes are not as good as their counterparts.

Currently, there is a lot of controversy over the newest remake to hit theaters this Friday: Let Me In.

Let Me In is a 2010 American–British drama/horror film by Cloverfield’s director, Matt Reeves. The movie is based on the novel Let the Right One In by John Ajvide Lindqvist and also the Swedish film adaptation of the same name.

Let the Right One In, was released in 2008 and received extremely high praise from American critics. Roger Ebert called the film “The best modern vampire movie”, with “97% Fresh” rating from Rotten Tomatoes. “Bloody Disgusting ranked the film first in their list of the ‘Top 20 Horror Films of the Decade’, with the article saying ‘It’s rare enough for a horror film to be good; even rarer are those that function as genuine works of art. Let the Right One In is one of those films – an austerely beautiful creation that reveals itself slowly, like the best works of art do’.”

Needless to say, this movie was beautifully done with no room for argumentation.

So why the need for an American remake?

Producer Simon Oaks, explains to FearNet : “There is a doggerel element to it in terms of the mood and setting. So I think it takes it out into a more accessible setting. I think perhaps there is a little more characterization in terms of the two central characters. To be perfectly frank with you, this is making an astonishing story – which however hard you might try or I might try to get people to go see the original, they’re never going to do it – more accessible to a much larger audience.”

But is this really true? Do we really have to experience already great stories going through a generalization for us to go and spend money on films?

When comparing Let Me In to Let the Right One In, stills have already shown the uncanny similarities.

The images from Let the Right One In (bottom) seem colder with a more realistic element to them, whereas Let Me In (top) seems to look more like a typical horror movie and has the star of Kick-Ass, Chloe Moretz.

One more week and we will know which elements Reeves has decided to keep and which of those he has changed for his American audience. But for a film that seems so similar to its foreign counterpart, what is really the point? Maybe Hollywood will finally prove us wrong by adapting to a certain audience while simultaneously keeping the essential magic of the story alive…or undead.

Twitter has become a social media tool that is as integrated into our daily lives as checking the mail, or should I say e-mail. By skipping the elaborate picture profiles and status updates, ‘Tweets’ can be a way to publish information & news at the blink of an eye.

Beneficial for reporting, and highly addictive to the rest of the world who serve as ‘followers’, Twitter has put the journalistic pen into the hands of the common man. It has also reached the hand of the not-so-common man, the celebrity.

Suppose its a easy way to reach out to fans? Maybe its the best way for celebs to speak their minds, without going through an interview or press conference. Whatever the reason is, they want that force and they want to be heard.

Notable Twitter celebrities who utilize the freedom include: Justin Bieber, Lady Gaga, Ashton Kutcher & Demi Moore.

But whats so noteworthy about what they are actually saying? Do we really love celeb culture THAT much to be fascinated with the day to day activities of these people? You probably already know the answer to this question by now.

Ashton Kutcher & Demi Moore are examples of celebrity ‘Twitter-olics’

However, the freedom of “Tweets” rings far, and for some it may ring a little too loud.


Demi Moore has been at the center of controversy with her Twitter Bikini pictures. Somewhat self-indulging, these pictures serve no purpose except to relay Demi’s rock hard body to the millions of Twitter followers.

Lindsay Lohan on the other hand, used her Twitter account last week to publicly apologize for her behavior and drug usage.

“I’m taking responsibility for my actions and am prepared to face the consequences,”she wrote. I am so thankful for the support of my fans, loved ones and immediate family, who understand that i am trying hard, but also that I am a work in progress, just as anyone else. I am keeping my faith, and I am hopeful….Thank you all!!!”

Even if you believe them or not, celebrities are also getting a lot of backlash from Twitter posts. Last week, Martha Stewart was accused of ‘Drunk Tweeting’ when her sentences became less coherent after she Tweeted about going to a cocktail party.

“I am not drunk-just curious if i can get some action going on twitter time to write my editor’s letter now”

Drunk, self- adsorbed or apologetic- do we really care that much what celebrities think and say?  And if we do, should we recognize the power they have and hold them to a certain standard of “making every Tweet count”?

 

 

 

Nintendo game consoles: once limited to the 80’s, stoners, or avid gaming fanatics have now made a comeback in the form of music.

Video game music, more properly known as 8-bit, has recently come into a new fan base here in Austin. By using the classic hand held Nintendo system, Artists are able to control the sounds through a computer program that allows to make their own songs. Not only is 8-bit a awesome sounding new music trend, but it also includes a strong culture of gaming along with it. Whats also included is a melodic harmony of synthesized beats that will not make you want to turn an ear.

IAYD Performance at Datapop 2009

Austin has been infected with 8-bit music with the first Datapop 1.0 showcase during 2008’s SXSW.  Since then, the Alamo Drafthouse has presented 3 more 8-bit concerts at the Highball, with Datapop 4.0 opening tonight, Sep 26th.

If you get the chance, check out more 8-bit artists here at 8bitcollective. Never before will your feet start to dance to music made by thumbs.

There once was a time when stealing from the rich represented something far more than theft. If you considered Robin Hood to be a modern day hero or self righteous thief, there was still a certain ideological mindset behind the story and his alleged actions.

Today in 2010, this has all changed with our culture’s obsession with celebrity status. Enter: The Bling Ring.

The Bling Ring, or sometimes referred to as the “The Hollywood Hills Burglar Bunch”,  is a group of California high school who robbed houses of multiple celebrities over a one year period. This group consisted of 7 teenagers who allocated in total almost $3 million in celebrities cash and personal belongings.

What sets the Bling Ring apart from most infamous crimes (besides the apparent absurdity of the entire heist) is that these teenagers were driven by an obsession created by our media and television. Aside from an abundance of quick cash, the group wanted a lifestyle: the Hollywood lifestyle they saw their favorite celebrities leading. The Bling Ring grew up in Los Angeles and wanted everything they saw around them for their selves. Through ransacking the houses of the rich and famous, they were able to acquire the jewelry and designer duds their role models wore- thus ultimately being able to lead a part of this lifestyle.

Even though the group was caught, little understanding or remorse seemed to result from their arrest.

One of the culprits, aspiring model Alexa Neirs explained her views to Vanity Fair, courtesy of truTV: “Not appearing demure and contrite in the press, Neiers bragged of her penchant for expensive shoes to Vanity Fair and compared herself to Angelina Jolie, saying that she sees herself  ‘being like an Angelina Jolie, but even stronger, pushing even harder for the universe and for peace and for the health of our planet. God didn’t give me these talents and looks to just sit around being a model or being famous’.”

The sad truth is this group of already privileged teens had grown up with an innate greed to them that was learned from our media outlets. To be rich, beautiful and fabulous is being shown to Americans as the proper way of life. Some can see around this hazy cloud of lies to realize that life hold more truth than this, but unfortunately for this Bling Ring, culture caught up to them too soon.

Maybe a proper reading of Robin Hood should be told to this celebrity and fame obsessed group. But then again, there is always time to learn in jail.

gshewaga

Is your ass Double Down?

September 23, 2010

The gluteus maximus.

One of the most talked about body parts is something that every person thinks of on a daily basis. Whether it’s too big, looks good in spandex, or gets numb from sitting in one position for long periods of time; our behinds are sometimes analyzed, just as much as our brains are. Unfortunately for the good-health of butts everywhere, KFC has honed onto the attraction of the rumpus with the two most appealing things to men:

1.) Bacon & cheese stuck in between two pieces of fried chicken (Better known as the KFC ‘Double Down’).
2.) Looking at college girl’s butts.

KFC, who is notoriously known for unhealthy food standards, has recently come out with their new AD campaign that plasters the words ‘Double Down’ no where other than the backside of female college students. The company is asking any female interested to simply visit the Double Down Facebook page and sign up.

“Women on college campuses are being paid $500 each to hand out coupons while wearing fitted sweatpants with “Double Down” in large letters across their rear ends.” USA TODAY

Is it sexist and degrading towards women to have this pun on words smeared across their backsides, as they around like a human billboard? Or is it simply smart advertising, considering KFC’s target demographic to be young men that are “KFC’s key customers and the biggest fans of Double Down.”

Regardless, even if you take the bun away from a chicken sandwich and advertise it on another type of bun- KFC’s Double Down, grease splattered meal will never taste like it should… like real food…

Crunkcore or Canker Sore?

September 21, 2010

Crunkcore: What it is and why you should be afraid…very afraid.

If you haven’t heard of the phenomenon by now,crunkcore is a music genre that combines elements of

  1. Crunk hip hop, which uses heavy baselines & looped drum machines.
  2. Scremo, which unfortunately combines punk music with high pitched melodies that are usually ‘screamed’, not sung.
  3. Auto-tuned vocals, which has recently replaced the vocal chords of artists everywhere with a perfectly pitched distortion of the human voice.
  4. Techno.

Blended together on ‘High’ and poured into a bloody eardrum, crunkcore seems to be  the product of all things bad in pop-culture wrapped into one grotesque neon package.

One of the first bands to claim crunkcore fame is New Mexico’s, brokeNCYDE. With singles such as “FreaXXX, Booty Call, and 40 oz.”, they have been hailed, along with the entire genre, as  “a mockery to the world of music” – Thrash Magazine.

Leor Galil: “There hasn’t been a level  of backlash like this toward one act in  the 10 years I’ve been doing this,”  says AbsolutePunk founder and CEO  Jason Tate via email. Tate is a  regular  contributor to the website’s  forums and has been absolutely stunned by the mere existence  of brokeNCYDE. “They’re just that bad, and they epitomize  everything that music (and human beings) should not be. “

Despite the apparent disgust from anyone over the age of 16, brokeNCYDE’s third album I’m Not a Fan, But the Kids Like It, debuted #86 on the Billboard 200 in 2009.

But lets put all musical judgments away and instead focus on what crunkcore bands are actually saying. The predominate lyrics from the crunkcore scene try to mimic those we’ve  previously seen from hip hop. However with crunkcore, the message is inherently mixed up in ignorance that transcends into the tough life of  suburban teen who doesn’t care about anything except having sex with girls, doing drugs, and being the “shitz”.

Drugs, sex & ego’s, you say?! So what’s the real difference between this and rap music? Let me clarify. Rap lyrics have always been an extremely controversial topic of debate. Rap’s  influence on children has brought up heated arguments on violence and sexism that is still saturating our society today. However, rap lyrics come from a peice of hip hop culture that is known and understood by those who are a part of it. Crunkcore, on the other hand, is merely emulating what this male dominated genre marks  as ‘cool’ and spitting it out into the masses.  Unfortunately for their fan base, to be ‘cool’, is to be shamelessly self adsorbed while setting low sexual standards for young girls. But I guess being bad was always cool, right?

Lyrics to Blood on the Dance Floor’s ‘Sexting’:

Hit me up/ Make me cum/ Wanna sext?/I’ll show you some/ Sticky drama/ All the way/ Want my dick? You gotta pay…Cut the shit/ Show your tits/ Flip it out on my sidekick/ Like Quagmier in Family Guy/ Giggity! Giggity! All the time… I wanna fuck you hard!/ I wanna feel you deep! / I wanna rock your body!/ I wanna taste your sweet!


Lyrics to brokeNCYDE’s ‘Sex Toyz’:

Turn around girlfriend now drop it./ Let me see you pop and lock it./ Put your hands down in my pocket./ And make my PP hard./ Shut the fuck up bitch, quit talking./ I want to see those panties dropping./ Drop those fucking panties girl!…And I love it when you tease me, YEAH!/ You’re sexy baby but you know that./ You don’t have to ask me a million times./ If you want to have sex lets make some time./ Lets take them drugs, lets drink that wine./ Feel that bottle up baby and make it shine./ When I can feel your body next to mine./ That when I know it’s sexy time.

Last time I checked, it was not cool for you to call you penis a “PeePee”.  Also last time I checked, it was not cool to sing songs to girls about wanting to have sex with them…especially when your fan base is mostly comprised of tween girls, 9-15 years old.

Crunkcore: What it is and why you should be afraid…very afraid.

If you haven’t heard of the phenomenon by now, crunkcore is a music genre that combines elements of

  1. Crunk hip hop, which uses heavy baselines & looped drum machines.
  2. Scremo, which unfortunately combines punk music with high pitched melodies that are usually ‘screamed’, not sung.
  3. Auto-tuned vocals, which has recently replaced the vocal chords of artists everywhere with a perfectly pitched distortion of the human voice.
  4. Techno.

Blended together on ‘High’ and poured into a bloody eardrum, crunkcore seems to be  the product of all things bad in pop-culture wrapped into one grotesque neon package.

One of the first bands to claim crunkcore fame is New Mexico’s, brokeNCYDE. With singles such as “FreaXXX, Booty Call, and 40 oz.”, they have been hailed, along with the entire genre, as ” a mockery to the world of music”- Thrash Magazine.

Leor Galil: “There hasn’t been a level  of backlash like this toward one act in  the 10 years I’ve been doing this,”  says AbsolutePunk founder and CEO  Jason Tate via email. Tate is a  regular  contributor to the website’s  forums and has been absolutely stunned by the mere existence  of brokeNCYDE. “They’re just that bad, and they epitomize  everything that music (and human beings) should not be. “

Despite the apparent disgust from anyone over the age of 16, brokeNCYDE’s third album I’m Not a Fan, But the Kids Like It, debuted #86 on the Billboard 200 in 2009.

But lets put all musical judgments away and instead focus on what crunkcore bands are actually saying. The predominate lyrics from the crunkcore scene try to mimic those we’ve  previously seen from hip hop. However with crunkcore, the message is inherently mixed up in ignorance that transcends into the tough life of  suburban teen who doesn’t care about anything except having sex with girls, doing drugs, and being the “shitz”.

Drugs, sex & ego’s, you say?! So what’s the real difference between this and rap music? Let me clarify. Rap lyrics have always been an extremely controversial topic of debate. Rap’s  influence on children has brought up heated arguments on violence and sexism that is still saturating our society today. However, rap lyrics come from a peice of hip hop culture that is known and understood by those who are a part of it. Crunkcore, on the other hand, is merely emulating what this male dominated genre marks  as ‘cool’ and spitting it out into the masses.  Unfortunately for their fan base, to be ‘cool’, is to be shamelessly self adsorbed while setting low sexual standards for young girls. But I guess being bad was always cool, right?

Lyrics to ‘Sexting’ by Blood on the Dance Floor:

Hit me up/ Make me cum/ Wanna sext?/I’ll show you some/ Sticky drama/ All the way/ Want my dick? You gotta pay…Cut the shit/ Show your tits/ Flip it out on my sidekick/ Like Quagmier in Family Guy/ Giggity! Giggity! All the time… I wanna fuck you hard!/ I wanna feel you deep! / I wanna rock your body!/ I wanna taste your sweet!

Lyrics to brokeNCYDE’s ‘Sex Toyz’:

Turn around girlfriend now drop it./ Let me see you pop and lock it./ Put your hands down in my pocket./ And make my PP hard./ Shut the fuck up bitch, quit talking./ I want to see those panties dropping./ Drop those fucking panties girl!…And I love it when you tease me, YEAH!/ You’re sexy baby but you know that./ You don’t have to ask me a million times./ If you want to have sex lets make some time./ Lets take them drugs, lets drink that wine./ Feel that bottle up baby and make it shine./ When I can feel your body next to mine./ That when I know it’s sexy time.

Last time I checked, it was not cool for you to call you penis a “PeePee”.  Also last time I checked, it was not cool to sing songs to girls about wanting to have sex with them…especially when your fan base is mostly comprised of tween girls, 9-15 years old.