Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Collective Anger Quota

In discussing the phenomenon of Juno-hate, Simpsons writer Tim Long describes the Collective Anger Quota:

Yet somehow I can’t hate on Juno as much as my comedy-writing peers. I largely ascribe that to something I call the Collective Anger Quota. It works like this: every offending cultural object—movie, TV show, ice-cream flavor, what have you—demands that a certain amount of anger be generated in response to it. If tons of people despise something—like, say, the comedy of Carlos Mencia—the Anger Quota has already been filled, and I don’t have to feel strongly about it one way or another. But if I dislike something that pretty much everyone loves—Some Like It Hot, or OK Computer—then I really have my hating cut out for me. In the case of Juno, so many people I know dislike it that I’m off the hook. I didn’t even flinch at the worst line in the movie—when Juno’s friend reacts to news of the pregnancy by exclaiming “Honest to blog?!”—because I knew that at that moment, mushroom clouds were exploding all over Silver Lake and Los Feliz. In effect, my peers were doing the hating for me. Thanks, peers!

I pretty much agree regarding Juno: There are some annoying, too-precious things in there, but they don't spoil what I considered a generally likable movie (and it helped that I was forewarned, which prevented me from becoming part of the first-wave backlash). So what if the soundtrack panders to indie tastes? Is a pandering soundtrack all that bad if I actually enjoy it?

But never mind Juno. What I really love here is how Long has done a great job of encapsulating when bad things are worth hating, and how the actual badness of the thing must be weighed against the tide of existing hate. When enough other people hate something, it hardly seems worth the trouble to pile on, even when the thing is really bad. But if something is only mediocre but most people seem to accept it, I feel the need to dial up the hate to compensate. This, for example, was how I once felt about Empire Records, a dumb, thoroughly mediocre, thankfully forgotten movie that for some reason everyone seemed to love when I was in high school.

The CAQ also explains the subtle workings that, on a macro level, motivate backlash and anti-backlash. Saying that you subscribe to it is sort of just a way of saying that you are leading the march in whatever backlash or anti-backlash tide you may unconsciously be a part of. You're not only the first one to turn against that band you liked before everyone else, you're also the first one to be reasonable and forgive them. You're out-hipstering the hipster. But you're still playing their game.


Thursday, January 17, 2008

Sales Brothers

Okay, enough Lasagna Cat. Obviously everyone has already discovered Lasagna Cat. Lasagna Cat is done. Let's move on. The Sales Brothers are the next big thing.


Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Things I Have Come Across On The Internet

OMG Lasagna Cat is awesome.

It's hard to choose just one; suffice to say each one turns a Garfield strip into a delirious fever dream. At the risk of feeling foolish in a week when Lasagna Cat backlash is in full swing, I'll include the Final Fantasy one, which is apparently quite popular.


Monday, January 07, 2008

Cross-Posted From The Mike and Kenny Blog

Our Quarterlife parody has gotten a tiny amount of notice, which of course is huge by our standards because it means someone actually saw it. In addition to being featured on the Quarterlife show page (previously with a screencap from the video, now as part of a list of user generated content), it's been noted by the Reel Pop blog and obliquely referenced in the Boston Globe's review of Quarterlife.

Reel Pop:

You know you've truly gone viral when the parodies start coming. Funniest moment: Just watching Kenny mimic "Quarterlife" star Bitsie Tulloch's body language, flopping around on the bed like he's having a seizure.

Boston Globe:

That's one nice thing about those Internet bells and whistles: If the central content falls short, at least there are ample distractions. In the hours I spent on the "Roommates" and "Quarterlife" sites, the most entertaining thing I found was a point-by-point parody of the "Quarterlife" trailer, made by a pair of aspiring sketch comics in Los Angeles. Herskovitz and Zwick, choosing to view it as flattery, posted it on the show's site. Now, that's something an old-fashioned TV network probably wouldn't do.


Sunday, January 06, 2008

The Concubine Song

With Lydia and Tom in Southern California for New Year's, we felt the time was ripe to make a video together. Lydia and I ended up writing this song and Tom was stuck acting in the music video. In case it's not clear, he's meant to be playing Chinese. We should have given him some of that slanty eye make-up and not just the silky robe. I'm also meant to be playing Chinese, but it could be that I'm not quite Asian enough to tip the scales of this video into the "not racist" category.


Thursday, January 03, 2008

Time With The Family

On Christmas Eve, my mom suddenly decided the thing to do was go to San Francisco, so we did. I brought along a video camera and made editing the footage my practice project for getting my Final Cut abilities in shape.