Today’s question: can you really dub yourself “The National Evil” if you can’t hate worth a damn?
I was forced to ponder this while watching the ramp-up to the NFC Divisional Playoff Game (now there’s a ponderous title) pitting the Minnesota Vikings against the hated Dallas Cowboys. (Note: Evil’s loathing for the Cowboys is documented here. And in hundreds of journal pages ye shall never read.)
As game time approached, I noticed I wasn’t as disgusted by ESPN’s fawning Cowboy coverage as I always had been. And once the game began, I realized with the distressing lack of a sinking feeling that the furnace of fury in my soul had failed to sputter to life and direct raw, unfettered hatred Dallas-ways.
Apparently I don’t hate the Cowboys anymore. This after lambasting them less than 24 hours before game time. And I don’t know why.
It’s not as if my heart grew three sizes while watching the game. I don’t suddenly heart the Cowboys. It’s just that I no longer spleen them.
I suppose my feelings for them can best be personified in the form of their coach, Wade Phillips, a good-natured, doughy potato-sack of a man. He looks like he should be squinting at your power meter outside your house and relating unasked-for fishing anecdotes to all comers. You can’t hate that guy.
Continue reading dallas cowboys 1, hate 0
No, no . . . we’re not talking John the Baptist vs. St. Paul. Yes, once again, Evil dips into the bottomless well of Beatle and Beatle-related trivia for today’s exercise.
Last week, Stephen Colbert joked that you may experience a seasonal malady whereby you find yourself repeatedly hearing “Wonderful Christmastime” by Paul McCartney. Now, the Evil is fairly cool (and occasionally complicit) with the punchlinification of Paul’s career, life, and music, the gears of which spin on the shaft of the Lennon-McCartney schism. But today Evil steps forth to remind you of one thing:
If we’re going to lightly rag Paul’s holiday contribution, just remember that “Wonderful Christmastime” is infinitely, infinitely superior to John’s own Christmas tune. Because, though you might never have considered it before, “Happy Xmas (War is Over)” is a horrible song.
Not saying “Wonderful Christmastime” ranks ups there with a “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch” or “Christmas in Hollis”, but “Happy Xmas” is insufferable. It might in fact represent the nadir of Lennon’s music. Firstly, it just sounds like a stereotypical Christmas song. Replete with a keening children’s chorus, for Chrissakes. (Plus Yoko wailing in there.) You would know “Happy Xmas” is a Christmas song even if you couldn’t hear the vocal track—this coming from our would-be musical avant-garde savior. Lennon bumping up its keepin-it-real quotient by slapping in “Xmas” (oh no you dint!) and the parenthetical anti-war citation doesn’t help. It’s as if he knew he’d written four minutes of schlock and was desperate to redeem it. Mission failed, John.
Continue reading john vs. paul: christmas edition
One of the most unfortunate aspects of modern life is the inexorable leakage of illiterospeak into everyday use. “U” for “you,” that kind of thing. While one could trace this tendency back to Prince (“I Would Die 4 U,” “Nothing Compares 2 U,” et. al.), it obviously exploded with the advent of text messaging. Soon illiterospeak crept into email subject lines, then the subject matter itself. And so on.
I don’t actually have a problem with illiteranguage itself, not on its own merits. What I bemoan is how this revolution, crawling from the bottom of basic comprehension, threatens a longstanding goal of those of us perched at the top: reformation of the English language!
When George Bernard Shaw is pressing us to fundamentally alter the mother tongue—well, we don’t, but at least we shake our heads gravely and say, “Something really should be done.” But when tweens are leading the charge, we instead grit our teeth and cling ever more tightly to the Y and O that jumped the line in front of U hundreds of years ago. U gets no justice. U gets no love. (Not to be confused with Queen’s English hardliner Faith Evans’s “You Gets No Love.”)
Is the National Evil the one to lead the charge into a brighter, simpler era of English? Nope. It’s not like you bastards followed the Evil when he lead the charge for uniform microwave keypad standards. (Wait, did I cover that yet?)
But today I would like to propose one tiny change to the language. I invite you to join me in changing the spelling of “wrong” to “rong.”
Continue reading am i rong?
Evil isn’t much of a basketball fan, and I’ve never been to Britain. But I am a fan of cultural collisions (so long as they fall into the “comedic” and not “genocidal” category). Thus, I was pleased to stumble on this article in BusinessWeek describing the NBA’s sly horning-in on the British sports fan’s loyalty, presumably while mean ol’ football hooligan isn’t looking. Maybe he’s puking in the alley behind the pub?
Anywho, what’s interesting about this article isn’t the subject matter. It’s the perspective. Because this piece wasn’t written by an American, but by a British journalist for a British audience that knows squat about basketball. So naturally he drops familiar words and phrases into his descriptions—the same way an American journalist would describe the pitch as the “field” and the side as the “team.” And the hooligans as “soccer moms.” And that’s how you get bloody delightful descriptions such as:
Luol Deng, the Sudan-born Briton, has made a break and gained the best part of five metres on the Jazz defence […]
“The best part of five metres.” Love it.
Even better is this gem:
Overseas pre-season friendlies such as the Bulls-Jazz game, which Deng’s team won by a single point right at the death, is a key part of this.
Why don’t we call preseason games “friendlies?” And more importantly (and more topical for a blog called the National Evil) . . . why in the bloody hell don’t we call the end of a game THE DEATH?!
I think we can all agree that “at the death” is infinitely cooler than “at the buzzer,” “at the bell,” or, for Evil’s sake, “at the end of regulation.”
Enjoy the weekend. If possible, stage a pre-season friendly with someone you care about. Just be discreet.
This edition of
Song Titles That LIE
is devoted to the lyingest LIARS of all, the Beatles. You can fuddle our minds with your Rock Band, rob us even blinder with your remasters (stereo and mono) . . . but Evil is watching you, Beatles. Both here and in the hereafter. There is no escape. Herewith.
“I’m Happy Just to Dance With You” (A Hard Day’s Night): Come on. Come on. We’ve heard all the blather about “a more innocent time”, but even in 1964, no guy was happy “just” to dance with a woman. Unless “dance” was a euphemism for acts of incredible naughtiness in ’64? Baby Boomers, let us know!
“Everybody’s Trying To Be My Baby” (Beatles For Sale): This might be less of an outright LIE than a cruel joke on a bandmate. I mean, you could see this being at least somewhat plausible had John sang it, maybe Paul . . . but to hand over lead-singing duties for this song to Ringo? Informal polling indicates that less than 7% of “everybody” has ever shown any interest in being Ringo’s baby. So, what? Were the other guys still hazing poor Ringo by album four?
Continue reading song titles that LIE: special beatles edition
Ambrose Bierce, he of The Devil’s Dictionary and “An Occurrence At Owl Creek Bridge”—which has lured adolescent writers into the dream sequence/surprise ending dead-end for over a century now—was also a book critic. A critic who produced the single greatest review ever. One sentence, nine words:
“The covers of this book are too far apart.”
I never thought I’d read another critique of such brisk majesty. One that communicated everything you could possibly need to know about the work of art or product in question. One forged from a hardy dram of contempt, then quenched by the critic’s unwillingness to waste more than a breath spewing his disdain.
Too many critics spend their reviews trying to impress the reader with their own wit and/or comprehensive grasp of the medium in question. Nowhere is this more grating than in the no-man’s-land of the Amazon customer review. I don’t require your five-paragraph summary of Victorian erotica leading into how it relates to the current crop of urban vampire novels. Really—is this the best use you’ve found for your M.A. in English Lit? If so, I would suggest you make a career one-eighty and seek your destiny as, oh, a soldier of fortune.
Continue reading excuse me, amazon, i ordered this WITHOUT the pubic hair
At long last, the National Evil slips from the mortal coil and ascends to a societal precipice hitherto unknown to—but by no means undreamt by—him.
That’s a lot of sentence right there. What the hell am I talking about? Only this:
Finally—after years of research, impulse buying, and quiet, gentle sobbing in the wee hours of the morning—a simple product choice has elevated me into a stratosphere of elite consumers. How’d that happen? Pizza Hut is now offering a 20% discount on any pie ordered through their iPhone app!
This is what I’ve been waiting for all my life: a time when the simple act of owning an everyday product set me apart from you pathetic normals. And not because the product itself is more expensive, stylish, or trendy than anything you own. Nay; the product serves as mere portal into a realm where one’s money stretches further, the women are all anorexic Russian supermodels, and the pizzas are dusted with gold leaf. (Metaphorically speaking.)
Continue reading the national evil joins the élíté! (how many accent marks can i put over that word?)