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Even C-3PO and R2-D2 think Jenny McCarthy is an idiot


 
Because so much ink and so many pixels have been committed to the ongoing and breathtakingly stupid culture war over childhood immunizations, I’ll keep my comments brief: anti-vaxers? You are destructive fucking morons and if you die of something easily preventable I will laugh about it.

But though the numbers of anti-vax jackasses have grown dangerously out of control in the recent years since the likes of Jack Wolfson, Jenny McCarthy, and Andrew Wakefield started spewing the criminally irresponsible shit they should all be in goddamn jail for, there have always been people ignorant of the necessity for childhood vaccinations. In the late ‘70s, when Star Wars mania was at its height, the CDC obtained permission to use C-3PO and R2-D2 for an immunization education campaign. From the Nov/Dec 1979 issue of Public Health Reports:

In a continuing effort to focus public awareness on childhood immunization, the Center for Disease control has distributed to State and local health departments copies of a poster featuring the “droids” R2D2 and C3PO from the movie “Star Wars.” Special permission to print the posters was granted to CDC by Twentieth Century Fox as a public service.

The poster has proved to be so popular that it has entered its second printing. The posters have been used as a reward to individual children who complete the basic immunization series, as reminders to parents in doctors’ offices, hospitals, and pharmacies, and as attention grabbers in announcing mass immunization clinics at schools and shopping centers. The poster is also drawing increased attention to child health in conjunction with projects sponsored as part of the International Year of the Child celebration.

 

 
This television commercial from the campaign has an unusual role reversal—R2 is freaking out over bullshit and 3PO serves as the voice of reason. It seems to actually be voiced by actor Anthony Daniels, who played the droid in all six Star Wars movies, and indeed, the typically reliable Wookieepedia claims that both Daniels and R2-D2 actor Kenny Baker did in fact appear in this PSA.
 

 
UPDATE, Thu Feb 5, 2015, 8:17 A.M. EST: This post as originally published contained a significant error, which I deeply regret and have corrected in the text. I misspelled ‘Wookieepedia.’ My sincerest apologies to anyone who was misled by my negligent inaccuracy. See how that’s done, science-deniers? It’s not so difficult.

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Discussion
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A collection of ridiculous celebrity National Enquirer covers, 1960s
02.02.2015
10:21 am

Topics:
Amusing
Literature
Pop Culture

Tags:
Tabloid headlines


November 20, 1964
 
I’m always trying to find absurd vintage National Enquirer covers from the 1960s. They’re mildly amusing and usually make me chuckle. Anyway, I’ve collected a few I’ve found online from various sources and posted them here. Hopefully you’ll find them as funny as I do.

I tried to add the dates at the bottom of each cover. If there’s no date for a National Enquirer cover… I simply couldn’t make it out. A lot of these were small jpgs. and the dates were pixelated when I enlarged them. I did try my damnedest, though.


July 4, 1965
 

July 15, 1965
 

 

1964
 

February, 1965
 

April 4, 1965
 
More after the jump…
 

Posted by Tara McGinley | Discussion
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The Kerouac of Kitsch has died: Rod McKuen R.I.P.
01.30.2015
04:46 am

Topics:
Pop Culture

Tags:
poetry
Beat Generation
Rod Mckuen


 
Rod McKuen died Thursday. He was 81. Cause of death was pneumonia.

Rod McKuen was to Jack Kerouac what vending machine coffee is to espresso. He was a safe suburbanite version of a beatnik, Maynard G. Krebs with a slightly better work ethic. McKuen’s pasteurized prose was more suited to a Holiday Inn lounge than a North Beach jazz joint. And while McKuen wrote prolifically and read in a husky Chianti-stained voice that oozed consonants and vowels like candle wax no one would mistake his louche slackery for good poetry. But there was something soothing and pleasantly sunny in his style that evoked a certain Southern California grooviness easily mistaken for Zen wisdom. If you read a line slowly enough and pause periodically for dramatic effect almost anything can sound profound. McKuen mistook vagueness for mysticism and evoked the erotic with all of the sexuality of a stuffed chihuahua. Fifty shades of beige.

McKuen was syringed into that moment in the sixties when Timothy Leary’s acidity and Hugh Hefner’s cum-drenched Playboy philosophy refluxed into an uncomfortable mix of free love, drugs and very expensive architecture. If Malibu Beach had a poet laureate it would have been Rod. Imagine a love child born of the interspecial mating of Lee Hazlewood and Jonathan Livingston Seagull. With his windswept blonde hair and Jesus spats, McKuen was a lachrymose beach bum that Serge Gainsbourg would have gladly beaten to a suntanned pulp.
 

Bob McFadden & Dor “The Beat Generation” (composed and arranged by Rod McKuen, 1959)
 
McKuen possessed a weird kind of kitschy goodness, a Hallmark Greeting card version of hipness that was as heartwarming as one of Margaret Keane’s big-eyed orphans. He was too nice of a guy to get riled up about even when his bad poetry was selling millions of copies of books while a cat like Bukowski was working in a post office.

If Rod McKuen had been a rock song he would have been Friend And Lover’s “Reach Out Of The Darkness.” And that’s kind of a cool song - hard to hate, hard to get a bead on, just slipping under the threshold where things can turn from something innocuous into something that can drive a man to homicide.
 

 
Here’s Rod McKuen reading his poem “A Cat Named Sloopy” on The Mike Douglas Show in 1969.

Every night she’d sit in the window among the avocado plants waiting for me to come home (my arms full of canned liver and love).

 

Posted by Marc Campbell | Discussion
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The real ‘Quadrophenia’: Mods vs. Rockers fight on the beaches

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In 1964 gangs of Mods and Rockers fought battles on the very British beaches Winston Churchill had once sworn to defend.

It all kicked-off over the Easter weekend of 30th March in the holiday town of Clacton-on-Sea, south-east England. Famed for its cockles and winkles, “Kiss Me Quick” hats, amusement arcades, its eleven-hundred foot pier and golden sands on West Beach, Clacton provided the backdrop for the first major battle between the twenty-something Rockers and their teenage rivals the Mods. Clacton was reportedly “beat-up” by “scooter gangs” and 97 youth were arrested.
 
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This was but a small rehearsal for what was to come later that year. Over the May and August bank holidays “skirmishes” involving over “thousands” of youngsters “erupted” at the seaside resorts of Margate, Broadstairs and Brighton.

In Margate there were “running battles between up to 400 teens and police on the beach as bottles were thrown amid general chaos.” But it was the fighting in Brighton that scooped the headlines, with tales of two days of “violence” and some “battles” moving further along the coast to Hastings.
 
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The press latched onto the story of youth out of control like a terrier and squeezed every damning adjective out of it, hyping the events into a small war. Yet, these so-called “running battles” between the two rival factions were no worse than the fights between soccer fans or street gangs on a Saturday night. Still,  the press and parts of the “establishment” (the police, the judges, the bishops, the local councillors and politicians…etc.) saw an opportunity to slap down the youth, and the press created a “moral panic” outraged over the falling standards of “this scepter’d isle.”
 
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The Rockers were proto-biker gangs—they kept themselves separate from society, were bound by their own rules and rituals, and usually only fought with rival Rockers. Though considered dangerous—often referred to by the press as the “Wild Ones” after the American B-movie starring Marlon Brando—there was a sneaking admiration for the Rockers as they epitomised a macho fantasy of freedom and recklessness that most nine-to-five workers could only dream about. The Rockers also had the added appeal of being working class and fans of rock ‘n’ roll—which was more acceptable to middle England in the mid-sixties once the God-fearing Elvis had set youngsters a good example of being dutiful to one’s country by joining the US Army.
 
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Mods on the other hand were an unknown quantity—ambitious, aspirant working class kids, politically astute, unwilling to take “no” for an answer. They were feared for their drug taking—speed was their tipple of choice—and their interest in looking good and wearing the right clothes. Dressing sharp was considered “suspect” and if not exactly effeminate, being fashion-conscious was not an attribute traditionally thought of as a masculine one. For an older generation, the Mods were the face of the future looming—the red brick universities, the council estate, the supermarkets, the motorways and self-service restaurants—these entitled brats were the very children for whom they had fought a war.
 
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The events of that heady summer inspired The Who’s Pete Townshend to write his rock opera Quadrophenia. Anthony Burgess, who was never shy about making a headline, said his book A Clockwork Orange had been inspired by these “loutish” and “hoodlum” youth—even though his book had been published in 1962. Fifty years after the infamous “fighting on the beaches,” the BBC made a documentary revisiting the Mods, Rockers and Bank Holiday Mayhem that interviewed some of the youngsters who were there.
 

 
The intention of the filmmakers in this short extract from the “exploitation” documentary Primitive London is to take a pop at tribal youth culture and its fashions. The four youth cultures briefly examined are Mods, Rockers, Beatniks and those who fall outside of society.

The Mods are dismissed as “peacocks;” the Rockers are seen as lumpen and shall we say knuckle-dragging; the Beatniks don’t really know what they believe in as they are against everything, man; and finally there are the ones who are not part of any group as they consider themselves to be outside of society—apparently these guys “dissipate their identity in complete passivity”—now that sounds like a group I’d join.

Mostly it’s all about the Beatniks, who are filmed hanging out in their local bar getting drunk, answering questions on fashion, work, marriage and all the other concerns middle-aged producers thought were important in 1965. As a footnote, the bar seen in this clip is the one where Rod Stewart (aka Rod the Mod) hung out. The featured musicians are Ray Sone, harp (later of The Downliners Sect) and Emmett Hennessy, vocals, guitar.
 

 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
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Teenage Wasteland: Photos of rebellious youth in Japan, 1964
01.27.2015
09:15 am

Topics:
History
Pop Culture

Tags:
Japan


 
I thought I’d share these absolutely stunning photos of the decidedly wilder side of Japanese youth culture circa 1964. The images, taken by LIFE photographer Michael Rougier, document “one Japanese generation’s age of revolt.”

From the 1964 issue of LIFE:

All through that past, a sense of connection with the old traditions and authority has kept Japanese children obedient and very close to the family. This sense still controls most of Japan’s youth who besiege offices and factories for jobs and the universities for education and gives the whole country an electric vitality and urgency. But as its members run away from the family and authority, this generation in rebellion grows.

The photos have a very raw, punky energy, if you will, for 1964. If you’re curious about who the band that everyone is rocking out to, they were called the Tokyo Beatles. I’ve added a YouTube clip of their cover of “I Want to Hold Your Hand” at the bottom so you can get an idea to what the kids are freaking out about in some of these evocative photos.


 

 

 

 
More after the jump…
 

Posted by Tara McGinley | Discussion
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The Marvelous Mage of Manhattan TV: Joe Franklin R.I.P.

image
Photo by Jim Herrington.
 
Joe Franklin died on Saturday. He was 88. The cause was prostate cancer. The world has lost one of TV’s weirdest and most wonderful wizards of the airwaves.
 
Joe Franklin was to late night cable TV in New York City what Papaya King was to hot dogs: Manhattan through and through. I watched his show religiously during the late 70’s/early 80’s. After a few shots of Jack Daniels and half a dozen lines of Peruvian flake, there was nothing more mesmerizing than the loopy surrealism of Joe Franklin. His stream of consciousness raps, fractured and deliriously deft, coupled with his vast knowledge of TV, music and movie trivia, was like listening to the Akashic Record of 20th century pop culture being transmitted through an Elf on meth. Franklin was a character in a David Lynch movie before David Lynch had even made a movie. He was a trip. And most of us punk rockers and downtown artists loved him.

My show was often like a zoo,” Franklin said in 2002. “I’d mix Margaret Mead with the man who whistled through his nose, or Richard Nixon with the tap-dancing dentist.

Here’s a wonderful clip from 1988 of Joey and Marky Ramone on The Joe Franklin Show. As you will see, Joey is somewhat in awe of the genius of Joe. And they respected him too much to correct his pronunciation of their name as The Raaaymones.

I gotta give props to Joe’s sidekick, bug-eyed deejay Paul Cavalconte, for being ultra-hip, despite The Smiths question.

 

Posted by Marc Campbell | Discussion
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‘Grisly rites of Hitler’s monster flesh stripper’: Vintage Naziploitation magazine covers

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For some Americans, the Second World War didn’t end in 1945 but continued in their imaginations through the pages of lurid Naziploitation magazines published during the fifties and sixties. Why so many mid-century male Baby Boomers enjoyed ogling scantily clad women being tortured by Nazi pigs raises serious questions about the mindset of an entire generation. Indeed, it may explain why so many former hippies voted for Ronald Reagan in 1980, preferring the whip of capitalist exploitation and the jack boot of a dominant male to any kind of real fairness and equality.

It’s a theory…

The damsel in distress has long been a cultural trope and such magazines as Man’s Daring, Man’s Story, All Man and Real Men (imaginative titles, eh?) catered to this and permitted readers to indulge taboo fantasies under the guise of fighting a common evil enemy. It made weak men feel masculine and protective at the same time, while indulging their arousal over the antics of some wicked, pervy Nazis. Of course these magazines didn’t just focus on Nazis but picked on Communist Russians and the KGB (NKVD), Japanese geishas and Chinese Red Army generals.

Eventually these exploitation magazines lost out to the rise of “skin mags” like Playboy and Mayfair, where nothing was left to the imagination. As for Naziploitation, well it moved into movies during the 1970s with the likes of SS Experiment Love Camp, Ilsa: She-Wolf of the S.S. and even arthouse fare by directors such as Luchino Visconti (The Damned, 1969), Liliana Caviani (The Night Porter, 1974) and Tinto Brass (the notorious Salon Kitty, 1976). 
 
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More questionable exploitation mags after the jump…
 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
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‘Will the real Stan Lee please stand up?’: Comics icon appears on ‘To Tell the Truth,’ 1971
01.19.2015
11:13 am

Topics:
Pop Culture
Television

Tags:
comics
Stan Lee
Marvel Comics


 
If you skip past the first fourteen minutes of this edition of To Tell the Truth from 1971, you can bypass some desultory business with a palmistry expert and get to the good stuff—one of the founding figures of modern comic books, Stan Lee! This episode was shot in color, which made it much easier to savor the grooooovy, Laugh-In-inspired decor.

Of course, Stan Lee had an enormous impact on the development of comic books as well as their current dominance in Hollywood. Along with Steve Ditko and Jack Kirby, Lee created most of the iconic characters whose names adorn the top-grossing movies of the last several years—Spider-Man, the Hulk, the Fantastic Four, Iron Man, Thor, the X-Men, and so on.

I won’t say which one of the three fellows it is, but I will say that two of the four panelists (Peggy Cass and Bill Cullen)* were able to suss out who the real Stan Lee is.
 

 
via The Untold Story
 
* Blew this detail the first time around. Thanks to herschel for pointing out my mistake.

Posted by Martin Schneider | Discussion
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Buy a ‘mask’ weed pipe from the guy who originally played Jason Voorhees in ‘Friday the 13th’
01.15.2015
09:55 am

Topics:
Drugs
Movies
Pop Culture

Tags:
Friday the 13th
Jason Voorhees


 
In the pantheon of “milking decades of relevance out of a single brief role in a movie,” I submit for your consideration Ari Lehman. Lehman played the role of “Jason Voorhees” in Friday the 13th—you can even look it up. He never wore the famous hockey mask, he played Jason as a younger person—in the scene he is shown emerging from a lake. He never played Jason in any of the ... however many movies followed, there were a lot of them.

Lehman is in a heavy metal band called—you guessed it—First Jason. (Fair warning: Clicking on that link will force the hard rock strains of First Jason’s “Soul Seller” on your ears, which never, ever did anything to you.)
 

 
On his website you can buy a “Jason mask glass pipe” for $50—if you would like Lehman’s autograph “in permanent Titanium ink,” then the price is $65.
 

Be one of the first to own this first piece in a line of Quality Glassware from Ari Lehman and Horror Glass. Each piece handblown and decorated in Heavyweight Glass by one of the best shops in the USA $50 + Shipping. Ari Lehman the First Jason Voorhees from “Friday the 13th” will Autograph your pipe in permanent Titanium Ink for an additional $15. ORDER NOW!!! JASON MASK GLASS PIPES MEASURE AROUND 5” BY 1.5” MADE IN USA!!!

First Jason will be performing on Friday, March 6th, 2015 at Wizard World Presents Bruce Campbell Horror Fest, Donald E. Stephens Convention Center, 9291 Bryn Mawr Avenue, Rosemont, IL 60018

Here’s a brief clip from Friday the 13th, the 2009 remake, in which some poor sap meets his untimely demise because he comes across some cannabis plants in the woods. 
 

Posted by Martin Schneider | Discussion
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‘Sick Drugs Stunt’: That time when Pulp were ‘Sorted for E’s & Wizz’

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There are not many pop lyricists as good as Jarvis Cocker. Listen to the best of his solo work or the songs written with Pulp and you’ll hear a man who eavesdrops on life and turns the everyday into poetic gold.

When he started, Jarvis had a romanticized view of the writer’s life—the noble poet ensconced in some distant high tower contemplating his own suffering and angst. This all changed after a brief spell in hospital when he tuned into the conversation of his fellow patients and found their lives and tales to be more fascinating than his own. It changed the way Jarvis wrote his lyrics—changing from songs of myself to songs of experience.

When Pulp headlined at Glastonbury in 1995, Jarvis explained his inspiration for the band’s new single:

“‘Sorted for E’s and Wizz’ is a phrase a girl that I met in Sheffield once told me… and she went to see The Stone Roses at Spike Island and I said “What do you remember about it?”. And she said, “Well there were all these blokes walking around saying ‘Is everybody sorted for E’s and wizz?’” And that’s all she remembered about it and I thought it was a good phrase.”

 
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‘Drugs: Pulp Fiction’—NME fire an early warning shot about ‘Sorted…’.
 
When Pulp released the “Sorted for E’s & Wizz” as a double-A side with “Mis-Shapes” in September 1995, there was a sense that “Sorted…” would have the curtain-twitchers of Tunbridge Wells scratching angry letters to the papers. But as it turned out, it wasn’t the lyrics or the song’s title that saw a tabloid hate campaign launched against Pulp, but rather the single’s sleeve that caused a furore, as music paper Melody Maker explained at the time:

The cover of the single features a photograph of a page from a magazine folded into the shape of a speed wrap. No drugs are shown on the sleeve. The inside booklet features a series of origami-style diagrams showing how to fold a piece of paper to make a speed wrap. Again, drugs are neither mentioned nor shown. However, under pressure from retailers and Island Records, a new, plain white sleeve has been printed.

The press denounced the cover as a “sick drugs stunt,” and the Daily Mirror ran a campaign to ban the single claiming the band were “offering teenage fans a DIY guide on hiding illegal drugs.”

 
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Exhibit A: The offending drug wrap cover.
 
I think it fair to suggest that most teenagers or twenty-something Pulp fans in the 1990s already knew how to make a drug wrap, because everyone was sorted for E’s, wizz, coke and anything else you could get your jammy little mits on during that decade—and this includes a whole tier of hypocritical Fleet Street journalists and TV producers, who snorted in their executive toilets but damned users in print and picture. Right or wrong, it was just the way it was, and Pulp’s song reflected the ubiquitousness of that culture.

But the Daily Mirror wasn’t just content with keeping down some working class pop stars, their journalists cruelly phoned a father whose son had died from taking ecstasy, and used his experience to damn the band. Classy.
 
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It forced Pulp to change the single’s cover and opt for a clever and rather tasteful knitting pattern design for the song “Mis-Shapes.”

As Jarvis explained the change was more about giving people the chance to hear the song than just giving in to the ire of a few media pundits. In an interview with the Melody Maker, he discussed what happened:

When did you first become aware that the Mirror was going to run with the story?

Jarvis Cocker: It was about half past 10 on Tuesday night. It was my birthday. Usually I would be out on my birthday, but I wasn’t that particular night, and I got a call saying it probably was gonna happen. The next thing I heard about it was my mother calling up at quarter past 10 the next morning, saying breakfast TV and various people had been ringing her up trying to get my number and trying to get her to make a statement about it, and stuff. But me mum’s alright, she’s not daft, so she didn’t say anything to them.

It surprised me, cos the thing that I was anticipating having trouble with was getting the record played on the radio. I’d been told that, because it mentioned drugs, they wouldn’t touch it with a barge pole. They wouldn’t listen to it, and so they wouldn’t realise that it was just a song about drugs. It wasn’t saying drugs are fantastic. So, you know, I thought we were home and dry, but then they started taking exception to the sleeve. It’s stupid, cos that’s basically an origami diagram. Origami does not lead to drug addiction, as far as I know - I might be wrong. Nowhere on the sleeve does it say, ‘Put your drugs in this handy container’. People say it’s obvious what it’s for, but it’s them who’ve spelt it out. It’s like saying if you have a picture of a gun on a record cover, that means you’re gonna go out and shoot people. The subject matter of the song is about drugs, so it’s appropriate that it has drug related imagery.

Any road, the Daily Mirror took it upon themselves to ring up the Association Of Police Officers and get their opinion on it. It was kind of weird, cos they rang back and said they thought the song was great and they had no problem with it, but they thought the sleeve was bad. That was a problem for us, cos basically that could have led to it being banned from a lot of shops. So I thought to myself, I think it’s an important song for people to hear, and if the sleeve is gonna get in the way of people hearing the record, I don’t want that. I’ve been quite angry today cos there’s all this stuff to do with the chart people and all this daft formatting business, and they’re saying if you change the sleeve then it’s another format so it’s not eligible for the charts any more.”

 
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More from the Melody Maker:

Ironically, the pre sales on the single were already well over 200,000 before its release on Monday - the biggest advance figure in Island Records’ history, according to the label’s marketing director, Nick Rowe. Regardless of the tabloid reaction, with Sorted For E’s & Wizz, Pulp seem to have tapped into the wider debate going on in the media concerning drug use in Britain. Recent examples being Channel 4’s ‘Pot Night’ and the current series, ‘Loved Up’.

Jarvis Cocker: I’m not saying I did it cos I thought we could open up a forum for discussion, but I think the drugs thing in Britain now is something that people can’t ignore any more. So many people are doing it you can’t just say it’s these fringe elements and they should be rehabilitated. People are just doing it on a recreational basis and treating it in the same way as they treat drinking or having some fags, so you can’t just say everybody who does it is an evil monster, and you can’t just like shut your ears to it every time somebody mentions it. There’s got to be some kind of a change in attitude to it. That’s why I thought it was great that it got played on the radio, cos that to me showed that there had been a change in attitude to drugs.”

 
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Exhibit B: The offending diagram showing how to make a wrap.
 
Despite all the unnecessary hoo-hah about nothing much in particular, “Sorted for E’s & Wizz”/“Mis-Shapes” went on to hit the number two spot in the UK pop singles charts.

Below Pulp premiere “Sorted for E’s & Wizz” at Glastonbury 1995.
 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
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