Monday, July 27, 2015


As lifelong horror fanatics, my creative partners at Red Sneakers Media and I couldn't be more excited about the fact that Eli Fucking Roth, the twisted mind behind Cabin Fever and Hostel, has chosen to showcase our most recent short film, The Last Halloween, on his new cross-media TV-channel-slash-website-slash-Vine-platform-slash-mobile-app The Crypt! I mean, we're actually on the front page of the website part of that ambitious enterprise, right fucking now! Also, the whole Crypt team have been Tweeting the ever-loving SHIT out of our little movie! Thanks guys!

It should probably go without saying that I urge each and every one of you reading this, if you are a fan of horror entertainment and are interested in its new media evolution, you NEED to get a website account and follow them on Twitter. There's some interesting stuff going on over there. I'm getting a real Super-Deluxe vibe from them, and you're gonna want to be around when this shit finally achieves lift-off.


Marc Roussel, my life-long best friend and partner-in-creative-crime, is one of the producers behind HEIR, the latest and final short film from Richard Powell and Zach Green, collectively known as Fatal Pictures. HEIR caps off a trilogy that began with WORM and continued with FAMILIAR; both excellent films in their own right.

One of the things that Marc brings to the table is his extensive editing experience Therefore, he was able to put together a very effective and tantalizing trailer for HEIR. You can watch that trailer here and now. Prepare to be creeped out... and ENJOY!

Friday, July 24, 2015


1. Back in the later days of the Magazine Renaissance of the 1990's, one of my favorite regularly published indie political/cultural journals was Thomas Frank's The Baffler. Each issue of this slightly-bigger-than-digest-sized quarterly seemed like a beautifully hand-crafted piece of whip-smart critique. Thus, I was both delighted and relieved when I stumbled across an article from a recently-relaunched online version of the The Baffler. Delighted because the article, entitled Flakes Alive, is superlative, and relieved because it totally lived up to The Baffler's high standards, in all respects (attitude, quality, iconoclasm, entertainment). Here's a hilarious selection that will hopefully entice you into reading the entire, extremely worthwhile article. I'm serious, here. You should definitely read this, even if you self-identify leftist or liberal. In fact, you should read it ESPECIALLY if you self-identify as leftist or liberal. Check it out:
A few weeks back in Manhattan, hundreds of socialists, communists, anarchists, and even few decent “small-d” democrats shuffled into the unlikely venue of the John Jay College of Criminal Justice (ironically, best known as a “cop school”) for Left Forum 2015. ... This year’s confab boasted 1,300 speakers and four hundred events under the salient title of “No Justice, No Peace: Confronting the Crises of Capitalism and Democracy.” 
At its best, Left Forum remains a reassuring beacon of cameraderie and ambition. In addition to seasoned journalists, organizers and academics, it usually snags a few big public intellectuals, like Noam Chomsky, David Harvey, and Angela Davis, while also peppering the bill with high-profile activists like Harry Belafonte and Michael Moore. The organizers sometimes even lure the odd political success story, most recently Kshama Sawant, Seattle City Council member and open socialist... 
At its worst, however, Left Forum is Comic Con for Marxists—Commie Con, if you will—and an absolute shitshow of nerds and social rejects. There are bitter old codgers that will harangue you about a thirty-some-years-old internecine grudge, and there are politically unsophisticated kids with Che Guevara t-shirts and Adbusters subscriptions. There are sanctimonious Trotskyists, ridiculous Maoist Third-Worldists, condescending horizontalist anarchists, smug social democrats and a glut of ardent adherents to similarly esoteric ideological traditions, all competing for the title of Most Insufferable Anti-Capitalist... 
But the grumps and the brats, the blowhards and the sectarians, the narcissists and the pessimists—all of these people are bearable to me, some even charming. No, the worst part of Left Forum is the crackpots, the paranoiacs, the hysterics, and all the other truly dysfunctional personalities attracted by the conference’s most infamous policy: no panel submission will be rejected.
You can imagine where things go from here. Thankfully, you don't have to, as the article, as previously noted, is RIGHT FUCKING HERE. Read it, damn you. Read it and learn!

2. If the BBC is so hifalutin and sophisto, then why the Hellespont are they publishing articles with ridiculously ludicrous and misleading titles like The Strange Phenomenon of Musical Skin Orgasms? Because the article, good as it is, is really just about how some people experience really, really intense tingles, shivers and goosebumps when listening to their favorite piece of music. I mean, it's a great article. But a really shitty, exploitative, unnecessarily sexed-up title. I imagine you'll enjoy it as much as I did, though. So go for it!

3. And now, to cleanse the palate, here's a weird little article from sci-fi blog, all about The Five Best and Worst Demons to Get Possessed By. Please ignore the dangling participle, but do NOT neglect to close your magickal summoning circle and perform the proper banishing rituals once you're done with any and all workings! Because, I mean, come on... who could possibly resist summoning the likes of this?
Many of the demons on this list are first mentioned in the Great Grimoire of Honorius. Who was Honorius? Historians aren’t sure, but they think that he was Honorius III, who was the Pope from 1216 to 1227. Whether he wrote the book or not, Honorius is famous among popes for deliberately doing ceremonies to summon demons so he could then banish the demons back down to hell. Apparently, he wanted to be ready to fight Satan at any time, and the demons were his sparring partners. Surgat, of all of these, earns his place on the scary list because he can’t be shaken. He’s described in Honorius-the-Professional-Demon-Ejector’s book with one sentence: “Surgat is he who opens all locks.”
 See what I mean about closing that circle?!

Wednesday, July 22, 2015


In the seventh episode of Paul Feig's excellent, Yahoo-produced sci-fi sitcom Other Space, the lovely, computer-generated ship's computer, Natasha, threatens to join a bunch of dating sites in order to make her on-ship romance object, the somewhat alien Kent Woolworth, jealous. The name of those dating sites flash across the screen. I decided to list them here.
Fine A Human Mate
Love 2 Go
Costco Dating Club
Bojoging Matchmaking
Zuckerberg Industries
Meet Your Mate
Hot Or Not Or Hot
Husband for Hire
Find Your Doppleganger
Celebrity Livestock
Robots on Call
Computer Wife
Second Right Hand
AI Love
Something About Space
Dater King
Freaks and Freaks
Fake Plastic Treats
Dani, Dave- and YOU
Chew My Food For Me
Dangerous Pervs
Arraigned Daters
Long Torsos or Else
Swarthy Connections
It’s Computercated
West Fargo Singles
Dirty Blondes
Sal Eats Huevos Rancheros
We Have Hands!
Legless Hearts
Go Raiders
Kind of Sweaty
Dinosaurs Rule
Digital Digits
It’s Just Smoothies
7 Guys, 5 Girls
Come Date Matt LaPointe
We Love Gonch
Bi Jewish Farmers
Sbarro’s Social
So Slacks Allowed
Dandy Crush
Commie Mommies
Ex-Catholic Hookups
Hazel Eyes Only
Pharmaceutical Reps

Sunday, July 19, 2015


As readers of VICE and alt-weeklies from around the world are already aware, Marc Bell is one of Canada's most intriguing and entertaining comics creators. His latest work, STROPPY, serves as both an evolutionary step forward and a tangential excursion from the trail he's been blazing for the better part of two decades.

As a draftsman with a Fine Arts background, Bell has earned renown for his charming, oblique sense of humor, his obsessive rendering, and his nigh unto psychotic dedication to minutiae. He typically fills every centimeter of his frame with intricate, pseudo-mechanical “things” that end up telling stories as involved as the narratives around which they orbit. Think Sergio Aragones meets Tony Millionaire by way of the Fleischer Studio... or not, it's totally up to you.

Anyhoo, as a long time fan of Bell’s work, I have always assumed that the labor intensive nature of his style is one of the main reasons why he’s kept his stories relatively short, running to, at most, a handful of pages. So when I found out that his latest book, STROPPY, would be telling a single, 70-plus page story, I was intrigued. Would he be able to pull off a long-form narrative and still retain the utterly bonkers style and sensibility that make reading his work a comics experience unlike any other?

Fortunately, it turns out I had nothing to worry about.

STROPPY is a complete success. Simultaneously playful and enigmatic, satirical and whimsical, beautiful and grotesque, base and transcendent… Bell manages to extend his enterprise with a minimum of artistic compromise and a maximum of narrative integrity. In his own sweetly surrealistic way, Bell even manages to drift in the direction of social commentary, exploring the socio-cultural underpinnings of the Late Capitalist Dream from which we are all desperately attempting to awaken.

Not that STROPPY is a polemic; far from it. I merely suggest that there’s more going on under the surface here than weird characters being weird to each other. There are all-too-familiar stakes and consequences for these characters—exploitative employment, precarious housing, class immobility, ambition in the face of hopelessness—which serve to make the surreal moments all the more effective.

Both a must-have addition to any established fan’s collection and an excellent starting point for anyone interested in learning what all the fuss is about, STROPPY is a triumph, and another superlative addition to Bell’s expanding oeuvre. Furthermore, Bell’s longtime publishers, Drawn & Quarterly, seem to agree, seeing as they’ve gone all out with this beautiful hardcover edition, packaged in the style of Europe’s beloved “albums de bandes dessinées”.

STROPPY is available at a ridiculously low price wherever quality comic books are sold, both online and off.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015


This is an Open Letter to "Zack", "Davi", and "Ty", three BMX-riding "dudes" from, I think, Connecticut, who filmed the video embedded above roughly 8 years ago.

Much time has passed since your encounter at "McD" with the individual you have baptized "Crazy Eyes", and I just wanted to know... did you ever come to the realization that you'd spent an inordinate amount of time mocking, humiliating and terrorizing someone with the mind of a toddler? 

Did you ever figure out that, early on in this video, this poor lonely person seems like he believes that maybe, against all odds and contrary to everything that's happened to him up to that point in time, that on this night, he might somehow get to experience a degree of camaraderie and fellowship? That, despite everything, he still had hope?

And what did you choose to do with that hope? 

You ripped it from his grasp, held it up to his face and tore it in half. Then you wiped your collective asses with it, and forced him to swallow the shitty scraps. 

Congratulations. At 5:55 in this video - at the precise moment when we can witness the tragic spectacle of the final, bitter dregs of hope draining from his weary countenance, as you and your friends continue to mock, taunt and shame him - you succeeded in murdering hope. 

To you, it might seem like a minor transgression. However, I would argue that, for your victim, your relentless harassment made a lasting, perhaps even permanent, impression.

I am not a religious man, nor am I prone to sentiment. And yet I cannot help but feel a shiver on your behalf as I recall this timeless admonition: "Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me."

And that's all I wanted to say about that.


Monday, July 6, 2015


This is a Useless Eater Blog cross-post - YOPJ

Whilst perusing an article entitled Ancient Aliens in Iraq - Stone Figurines and Carvings of the Anunnaki on the 'Message To Eagle' website, one of the images presented gave me pause. The article begins:
This time our quest for traces of prehistoric alien visitations takes us to Iraq where we come across many stone figurines and carvings of the Anunnaki - "those who from heaven to earth came". The National Museum of Iraq in Baghdad contains remarkable artifacts that offer proof of ancient aliens. Some of these artifacts are more than 10,000 years old. The museum's huge collection tells the epic story of human civilization, from the earliest settlements to the rise and fall of vast empires. This is also the place where we encounter a number of stone figurines and carvings depicting otherworldly beings. Below you can see a strange looking figure with very big round eyes, odd arms, no lips and a weird elongated body. It has been dated to 4000 - 6,000 BC.

Personally, the first thing that came to mind upon seeing this intriguing bas-relief was the Sleestak, those terrifying bipedal reptilians that served as the primary antagonists for the Marshall family in the 1974 cult classic Saturday morning kid's TV show, "Land of the Lost".

For a primer on the Anunnaki - and on Nibiru, and on whether or not we'll be seeing either's "return" in our lifetime - check out this thorough breakdown from the 'Truth Be Known' website. It's absolute baloney of course... but it's damn tasty baloney!

And so long as we're on the topic of paranormal simulacra, the recent discovery of a "Cyclops statue" on Mars put me in mind of yet another famous face from our collective childhood... Sloth from The Goonies.

I mean, check it out for yourselves:

Ladies and gentlemen, the prosecution rests.


"Liberals are afraid of Charleston because it's a preview of coming attractions. They’ve been given a vision of a time in some imagined but possibly not too-far distant future when all of a sudden, on the street or in their office, or in some trendy fern bar, or Starbucks, or wine-and-cheese boutique on the Upper East Side or in San Francisco, they will look up, possibly from the laptop, where they are typing up their day’s quota of leftwing, liberal horseshit, and they will see a young white man like Dylann Roof standing in front of them with no steroid-pumped policemen in blue to protect their liberal candy asses from the consequences of years of their own behavior. They will see in that young white man’s eyes, that he recognizes them. That he is now beyond deception or bullying or browbeating or Twitter-shaming or intimidation, that he knows them for what they are. And they will look down and see that he has something in his hand.”

Harold Covington, right-wing science fiction author, Nazi hobbyist, and ostensible "leader" of the Northwest Front (a white separatist movement based in the Seattle area that may or may not exist beyond the boundaries of his fertile imagination), shares a particularly nauseating fascist masturbation fantasy about his "World's Biggest Fan", Charleston massacre perpetrator Dylann Storm Roof. Follow the link for a really quite interesting exposé of this particularly ornate frill on the lunatic fringe.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

"THAT'S NOT FUNNY!" The Manufactured Crisis of Politically Incorrect Comedy

A spectre is haunting comedy—the spectre of Political Correctness.

If you're reading this, you're either a former reader of my Daily Dirt proto-blog (1999-2006), or you've followed a friend’s link from some form of social media, which means that you’re probably pretty savvy regarding current events, and you don’t need me to tell you about the PC war on comedy being waged by self-appointed Social Justice Warriors the world over.

The most recent eruption involves comedy ‘It Girl’, stand-up comic Amy Schumer. In a recent, otherwise laudatory article in The Guardian, TV critic Monica Heisey wrote: “For such a keen observer of social norms and an effective satirist of the ways gender is complicated by them, Schumer has a shockingly large blind spot around race.” As evidence, Heisey points to a couple of jokes in which Schumer suggests that Mexican men are a) hard workers and b) sexually aggressive.

When Schumer took to Twitter in a half-hearted attempt to defend herself against the racism charge, the aptly-named online entertainment blog Vulture swooped in to publish a rebuttal, in which Schumer’s racial jokes were criticized as having “no big reveal, no clever moment of redemption where the audience member has been edified on the machinations of American race relations.”

Because, as we all know, it’s every comedian’s dream to edify the audience on the machinations of race relations in America. Which works out great, because now, apparently, it’s also their responsibility.

When news of Schumer’s digital spanking started spreading across my Facebook news feed like a rash, I initially experienced a wave of déjà vu. Didn’t we just go down this road, like, a week ago?

Then I remembered, no, I was probably thinking of the time Jerry Seinfeld told ESPN that many of his comedian friends no longer perform at colleges because the crowds have become too PC.

This prompted a self-described “politically correct college student” to write an open letter to Seinfeld—the world’s most successful stand-up comic—in which fingers were wagged, tongues were clucked, and Seinfeld’s point was proven beyond Caitlyn Jenner’s 5 o’clock shadow of a doubt.

Wait… no! It wasn’t Seinfeld! It was Tina Fey! The veteran Saturday Night Live performer and one-woman media empire about whom a recent Flavorwire-by-way-of-Vulture (again) editorial declared that “race” is Fey’s “biggest blind spot” (again), “because the act of mocking something automatically implies that the comedian has, or thinks she has, the authority, objectivity, and distance needed to mock it.” They even go so far as to criticize this quote by suggesting it could be “used as a negative example of intersectional feminism in a gender studies seminar” …as if that somehow counts as a negative.

Or… hold on a second. Could I actually be thinking about the time The Internet collectively decided to pour over every last Tweet ever twatted by Trevor Noah, the comic chosen to replace Jon Stewart in The Daily Show anchor chair? Said “Twit-hunt” revealed a handful of jokes implying that some Jewish people have succeeded in the entertainment industry, and that some fat chicks are funny to look at. Remember? That mini-scandal prompted Patton Oswalt to unleash an epic 53-part Twitter-based take-down of Noah’s self-appointed PC shamers. And then the shamers went after Oswalt, and round and round we go…

On the other hand, perhaps I’m thinking about that one time when “hashtag activist” Suey Park tried to get Comedy Central’s Colbert Report cancelled over the satirical, faux right-wing pundit’s satirical, faux charity, the “Ching-Chong Ding-Dong Foundation for Sensitivity to Orientals or Whatever”, which itself was a parody of NFL franchise owner Dan Snyder’s establishment of the “Washington Redskins Original Americans Foundation”. That Park’s campaign could itself serve as evidence for certain pre-existing negative stereotypes about the Asian sense of humor was, no doubt, completely lost on her.

In many ways, I suppose, ‘twas ever thus. Only nowadays, I would argue, it’s more so. But why?

In his excellent 2014 documentary “That’s Not Funny”, which you can watch for free on Youtube, Mike Celestino blames a familiar boogeyman: the Internet. Using the 2013 incident when The Onion sparked outrage with an Oscar night Tweet about 9-year-old Best Supporting Actress nominee Quvenzhané Wallis, Celestino explains:
“The Onion started out in 1988 as a cult comedy fake newspaper circulating around the college campuses of cities in Wisconsin and Illinois. After the launch of its website in 1996, it found its way into the homes of comedy fans across the United States and the world. And now, after the explosion in social media over the last decade, The Onion’s articles are shared, re-blogged and re-tweeted by hundreds and thousands of people. And while those people might be sophisticated comedy aficionados, with tastes for edgy satirical social commentary, many of the friends and family they’re sharing the jokes with are not.”
Celestino concludes with a couple rhetorical question of his own: “So now The Onion has to answer to armchair critics and soccer moms who have no interest in or understanding of what satire even is? How does a joke wind up in the hands of someone for whom it wasn’t intended?”

His half-defeated reply: “Well… yeah. That’s a part of being a world culture. The world has an opportunity to react.” Celestino goes on to say that, as a liberal, he’s devoted to the idea of “safe spaces” where people don’t have to be constantly on their guard, worried that they’re going to be attacked or ridiculed. However, he also says “it’s a little unreasonable to expect your safe space to be EVERYWHERE.”

And therein lies the rub.

Mel Brooks famously said that “Tragedy is when I cut my finger; comedy is when you fall into an open sewer and die.” John Cleese believes that the best comedy requires transgression against taboos, and as such always risks offense. At the peak of his powers, Steve Martin put it succinctly: “Comedy is not pretty.”

From George Carlin’s seven words you can’t say on television to Chris Rock’s genuinely dangerous meditation on the differences between black folks and “niggers”, comedy is never so effective as when it’s bumping up against, or crashing through, psychosocial barriers, whether or not those barriers are mandated by law.

One of the themes you may have noticed running through many of the above PC critiques of “offensive” comedy is the implied notion that the critics, themselves, are in possession of razor sharp, sophisticated comedy chops. So much so, in fact, that they feel qualified to lecture some of the world’s funniest people about what makes for truly great comedy. It seems as though they want to have their fair-trade, gluten-free, vegan “cake”, and have it taste good, too.

In other words, they desperately want to be in on the joke. 

And in a strange way, they are, because while comedy is definitely a shared, group experience, it is not 100 percent “inclusive”. It almost always requires an Other, an "out" group for those who "get it" to reflexively position themselves against. 

And that, dear reader, is what these critics represent. The necessary, archetypal, ultimate component required for any truly successful and transcendent comedy: the Square Left Out of the Joke.