Saturday, October 31, 2009

All Thumbs Down: the Marketing Dept. that made Charlie Brown rap

Oh, ABC:

I was trying to keep my mouth shut about your rapping Charlie Brown promo for It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, 'cause if that sort of shit brings in a whole new generation to the Shrine of Schulz, the ends must justify the means.

But others have started to pipe up. Who am I kidding? I don't give two shits about this generation's tv consumption, or at least not as much as I care about you skull-fucking my most precious of childhood memories.

Do your research next year and just license the Kid Koala track already:

Friday, October 30, 2009

Thumbs Down: the Old Dudes at the Society Opening


You know how when you're 18, at the clubs, and you notice there's that one weird old dude drinking at the bar, or however that Chris Rock bit goes?

Now, I'm all for staying connected to one's youth, so long as there's some sense of decorum about it. I'm certainly not saying that one has to stay under house arrest after hitting 40. But the last thing I want to see when I go out is some old dude, balding ungracefully, decked out in a tight turtleneck and blazer (y'know, that 70's ala Ice Storm kinda look), hitting on girls that I could have conceivably fathered, and doing that weird old dude dance which is basically just a lot of uncomfortable hip swaying.

Sure, there's a lot of gals that could be into that, particularly in Yaletown and when a lot of disposable income is involved (this is not a critique of the restaurant itself, btw, which seemed nice enough other than being super claustrophobic; I really couldn't get to the food because that would've involved bodily contact with you ol' lads) - some poor bastard is going to have to foot that Chanel clutch sugardaddy bill. But, hey: we're going for quality, not quantity, right?

Even if you're intent on that hunt, lemme tell you: (i) house music is not your friend, (ii) the waitress is not interested (insisting on feeling her abs because you're really interested in her workout regiment is not a mastermind strategy), and (iii) you cannot pull it off. If you're going to let the dollar bill do the talking, at least sit the fuck down and flaunt it with style. Have you not watched those Dos Equis commercials? Burn that shit up with a cigar, and not with awkward staring and groping!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Thumbs Down, Begrudgingly: Top Chef, Natalie Portman edition

Oh, Top Chef. I really hate to do this, but:

As if we didn't suffer enough through the Zooey Deschanel gluten-free vegetarian episode of Top Chef Masters, you bring us yet another painful vegetarian episode of Top Chef. I'm all for little indie waifs as much as the next guy, but to have Natalie Portman and her friends put what is arguably the most talented top four/five chefs in any one season of Top Chef through the worst concept of Punk'd ever - forcing each to cook meatless meals in the carnivore's wet dream known as Craftsteak Las Vegas - and to compound it by having Portman actually sit at the judge's table, just seems bananas.

Let's face it: Padma's enough eye candy for a whole season worth of television. To have her reduced to a giggling girly laughfest at dinner over a bunch of blowjob jokes is not an added strength (that burger commercial was enough for anyone). Perhaps that is why everyone was too distracted to send Robin, who seems to be the most whatev character of any season, coasting by on the half-baked idea that good enough is all one needs to succeed, home. Mike Isabella might not have executed those roasted leeks to anything pleasantly edible, but he at least had an idea, as opposed to Robin's ramshackle clusterfuck of produce, which half of you admitted was too salty to eat as well.

It pains me to have to say this, but thumbs down, Top Chef, thumbs down. Just as I was getting over the fact you let fucking Hosea win last season, too.

Thumbs Down: the U2 show

U2 - Bono, the Edge, Larry, Adam, if I may,

I can hear your show. From our place. That is over 10 blocks away. Through a rainstorm and city traffic. With the windows closed. Through our exterior walls.

Thumbs Down: Das Racist's response to the SFJ hip hop treatise

Das Racist,

Without getting into what I think of your music, let's tackle your response to Sasha Frere Jones' column on the state of hip hop.

Granted, it's probably unnecessary for any writing to signal the death knell of hip hop, much in the same way that it was unnecessary for any amount of ink to be spilled on the death of rock and roll. Because, let's face it, neither are going anywhere anytime soon. (I don't, however, recall any similar treatment of country music; is there a lack of race politics to be discussed there?) So if your main beef against SFJ's column went to its existence alone, that'd be something entirely different.

Also, thank you for acknowledging that publishing your response for Flavorwire was simply, as you put it, a "good publicity look" for your group. Because, quite simply, I don't think I would have ever heard of your group or your music otherwise. Chalk that fault up to my own; I don't follow the inner workings of Brooklyn.

However, your critique of a critique just falls deaf on these ears. From what I can tell, you're working heavy on applying what crit theory you've come across to basically say that SFJ, as a white journalist, probably doesn't have the credibility to opine on hip hop, presumably because the genre finds its sui generis from African-American culture (though your mixed bag its-the-peoples'-music-now explanation seems to claim the genre as, quintessentially, world music in its current form, devoid of an emphasis on any particular race as much as it encompasses all race)(thanks for name dropping all the permutations, btw: it's crucial for me to know that you acknowledge the influence of bhangra and reggaeton, though apparently not crucial for you to acknowledge that SFJ's comments were likely directed at American hip hop as Hot 97 would know it)(also, your examples seem to emphasize hip hop as music for the disenfranchised, though you then shrug off any bling-bling criticisms as a "party line" for "old (often white) journalists").

Or, on the other hand, you're bringing up that much-loved artist response to any genre criticism, whatsoever: the idea that these crazy genre labels were the critics' doing, or marketing, or whatev (thereby ignoring the sheer economics that exists, shock of shocks, in art as well). In the sense that any periodization or sweeping genre comments that SFJ may have must fail, because the idea of grouping art forms into genres itself must fail. Thank god you've spared us the whole writing-about-music-dancing-about-architecture bullshit.

(That point you don't trounce on as much, because much of the wordcount then explores how SFJ's barometer on the current state of hip hop is an inaccurate reading because what 'new' elements he points to existed in hip hop before. Yes, thank you for bringing up Kraftwerk. Thank you also for bringing up the fact that hip hop does work in a club. Thank you for negating the fact that most people that read SFJ would already have done time in Hip Hop 101 before. Then you hand the reins over to some haiku dude, because clever is clever, and disdainfully shrugging the argument off is the best passive/aggressive pose, whatsoever.)

What your response failed to do for me, then, is to defend hip hop in any real way whatsoever. Simply stating that white ain't right doesn't do the job. Passing off standard bling disses and upping the cred of rapping over another rapper's beats doesn't do it either (btw, all those hip hop skits really are of a lesser quality, not sure who you're kidding). Without copping the grad student attitude, just tell me: what is it about hip hop that still makes it crucial, now?

I'm not saying it isn't. And, despite your pointing out that SFJ only had one hip hop album in his best of 2008, his new list for the best of 2009, which has a host of hip hop singles/albums, in the globalized format that you push included, doesn't seem to either. But you haven't aided in clearing up any confusion that SFJ's column may have given rise to...the most confusing aspect being why SFJ would consider your response to be a "serious read" at all.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Thumbs down: Main characters yelling everything on kids TV show

I'm gonna have a Dora the Explorer effigy-burnin' party soon. In front of my kids. Why Dora and "friends" have to keep yellin' everything they say, I don't know. But kids are like sponges, and now they gotta keep yellin' at me and everybody else. Maybe it's a conspiracy by the companies that make headache medicine to keep her on TV and drum up some more business.

And if I have to hear "Where are we going?" followed by hand claps one more time, I'm going to be screaming in Spanish MY desired destination for Dora. In front of my kids. That'll learn them for watching the show.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Thumbs Down: Coco Avant Chanel

To Coco,

I hate the French bourgeoisie too! Thanks for confirming it.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

All Thumbs Down: Dinner Impossible

Robert Irvine and Dinner Impossible,

To be fair, I came in midway through an episode wherein you tried to cater a party at some elaborate candy shop - the first episode I have tried to finish to the end, instead of merely changing the channel.

What I saw was a host of culinary catastrophes: tempura-ed chocolate bars, macaroni and cheese with (I think) candy corn, some sort of risotto with chocolate, sunflower seeds and improbably frozen scallops... a nightmare for diabetics and people with any sense of taste, alike.

It's the sort of thing that makes me really question how Food Network finds its stars, where the niche market for most of its shows has seemed to migrate from gastronomic enthusiasts to frat boy douche-bags that really just want to see a lot of meat being bbq'ed. The fact that Guy Fieri is now the all around Food Network wonderboy makes sense if the network seems wrecklessly ambitious in turning the channel into some post-apocalyptic nightmare.

In any case, I'm assuming that the mere fact that your team could cook for that many people makes you more qualified to judge matters of food with better acuity than I, but if you think that sogginess is your biggest problem with tempura battered chocolate bars, then sir, you are plainly fucked.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Thumbs Down: Lady that Gave Me the Stink Eye While I Was Picking Up After My Dog


It happens. Just like some poor bastard will have to pick up after your proverbial shit someday.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Thumbs Down: the RIP Kanye trending topic

Kanye RIP trending topic,

If you found your initial birth in the wake of Kanye and Spike Jonze's video/short for "We Were Once a Fairytale," then you grew up to be one miserable, racist son of a bitch.

Now, I ain't no Media Assasin, but this disturbing trend seems to have no end in sight. The two tweets I found above took all of 10 seconds of sifting; Harry Allen's findings from weeks past unearth a trove of racist ugliness.

As Allen puts it:

"Will hip-hop vocalist / producer Kanye West, as one blogger has insightfully observed, become the next African-American male to live his public existence as a symbol of the race divide’s vitriol? Will he become a scapegoat for white obsessions over the threat Blackness purportedly represents?

"The virtual flood of racist, expletive-laden tweets that followed the artist’s brief rant at last night’s MTV Video Music Awards suggest a strong 'Yes.'"

This new trending topic seems to confirm Allen's point. Is Kanye dead? Don't believe the hype...but that little gnome that lives in his stomach might be.

Thumbs Down: Pim Techamuanvivit


There seems to be a whole host of reasons why you should get the thumbs down, from blowing all sorts of bullshit chunks at David Chang to writing what seems to be the bastion of foodie jokes (apparently Ruhlman might have a thing or two to say 'bout that too).

But, honest to gawd, you might not believe this, I ain't ever spent two seconds on your blog before today, so I ain't gonna judge (I will, however, hold my reservations). Tweeting, however, doesn't seem like your thing. Your brand of rubbing-it-in doesn't bring it in full effect with only 140. Thumbs down? Not for now, but we'll be watching.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Thumbs Down: Hope Sandoval (and reviews thereof)

Ms. Lumber,

In your Ion magazine review of Hope Sandoval's new album, Through the Blah Blah Blah (issue 60; not sure where that would place said issue in this time/space continuum), I get your point that you don't like the album that much. Bored of it, in fact. Fine - it ain't the best.

But that point of yours about telling me about your uncle working for Warner and getting free albums, I don't get. In fact, I don't care. Subjective is fine; pointless story-telling ain't. Thumbs down!

With that said:

Ms. Sandoval,

I don't get wtf is with you and performing. You go away for umpteen years, you might expect that you've got some eager people in all cities waiting to see you return (including, for whatever reason, Mr. SFJ, whose tweets are above). Didn't pay $X to see you throw your impish fit.

Unless, of course, that was the point. In which case, in terms of sheer entertainment, I still didn't like it. More thumbs down!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Thumbs Down: the Wildrose Alliance Party


I might be calling this wrong. If you just created two shades of the same conservative grey, a thumbs down in your direction. If this is a wonderful Rhino Party prank, then an obvious thumbs up.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Thumbs Down: Where the Wild Things Are reviews

To the critics that Rotten Tomatoes feeds off of:

Damn you! I want(ed) to believe! 68% my ass.

Thumbs Down? Boy Stuck in a Floating Balloon

To the 6 year old boy who is stuck floating in a balloon over Denver,

Well, I can't give you a thumbs down at all. In fact, you are ALL THUMBS UP.

However, to the parents that constructed the balloon and didn't think to PREVENT YOUR KID FROM TAKING OFF INTO THE AIR (and over fucking Denver of all places), for shame.

UPDATE: 6 year old kid? TOTAL THUMBS UP!

All Thumbs Down: the Guy that Thinks We Need to Meet in the Morning

To the guy that thinks we need to have a morning meeting at his office:

We don't. It's called "conference call." Join us in, uh, the post-Alexander Graham Bell age.

Thumbs Down: Lady Sitting Behind Us at Grizzly Bear

Lady sitting behind us at the Grizzly Bear show:

I loved listening to you ramble on about how you love honesty and how your thoughts have never been so creative. I even loved hearing you list the ten bands you listen to over and over again, and noticed that I too enjoyed those bands when I was 18. I particularly enjoyed listening to the dude beside you assure you that at least 5 of those bands were his favorite (I am sure you two will make a spectacular couple).

However, I love listening to Grizzly Bear sing more. Even more than your own rendition of their songs. Which you felt compelled to share with us during the show. You know that saying, "better than the real McCoy?" Well, that wasn't it. Next time you intend to attend the same show, gimme a holler, so I can STAY THE FUCK HOME.