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‘Look, they’re crucifying Him! And nobody cares!’: When Charlie Chaplin met Igor Stravinsky


 
For a couple of years when I was a little kid—before I discovered rock music, so like 3rd and 4th grade—I collected Charlie Chaplin movies that I purchased on 8mm film from Blackhawk Films. Blackhawk sold newsreels of the Hindenburg disaster and WWII along with the public domain silent horror films of Lon Chaney and comedies by Chaplin, Buster Keaton and Harold Lloyd. Blackhawk advertised in comic books, Famous Monsters of Filmland and in a nostalgia magazine my grandfather used to read (I wish I could recall the name of it, I’d buy every issue on eBay). I sent for their free catalog. The price of the Chaplin shorts ranged from like $7.98 to $14.98 which was an astronomical amount of money at that time, for someone who was eight years old, or otherwise. When I say “collected,” I probably had like seven Chaplin shorts that I got from Blackhawk. I’d tell my parents and grandparents just to give me money for Christmas and birthdays so I could order them. A $10 reward for a good report card meant another Chaplin film. I would screen them in my parents’ basement on a moldy-smelling Westinghouse 8mm projector my father had long ago lost any interest in.

I was really, really Chaplin obsessed. I still am to this day.

Charles Chaplin’s My Autobiography was published by Simon & Schuster in 1964, when the great man was then in his seventies and living a life of comfortable exile at Manoir de Ban, a 35-acre estate overlooking Lake Geneva in Switzerland, having been pushed out of Hollywood during the Red Scare. It’s one of the most extraordinary books that I’ve ever read. The first portion of the book describes, in brutal detail, the life of crushing Dickensian poverty that Chaplin and his brother Sydney were thrust into when their mother—who’d gone mad from syphilis and malnutrition—had to drop them off at the pauper’s workhouse, unable to care for herself, let alone them.

Chaplin’s remarkably beautiful prose is nothing short of heartbreaking. It’s not just the harsh Victorian circumstances he’s describing that are so excruciatingly Dickensian, it’s the quality of his writing as well. My Autobiography starts off exactly like a lost novel by Charles Dickens, and indeed there is probably no greater true life rags to riches story that has ever been told in the entire history of humankind. Chaplin went from being an innocent young boy who’d had his head shaved and painted with iodine for a lice treatment (there’s a group shot in the book that will hit you in the gut) in the lowest of circumstances to being the most famous man in the world just a few years later. It’s one of the best books that I’ve ever read and it’s one that will still be read long into the future as long as we don’t go the way of Planet of the Apes.
 

Stravinsky takes a spin on a hoop contraption that Chaplin had built at his Beverly Hills home.
 
And speaking of our puzzling new Bizarro World national reality, there’s an anecdote that happens later in Chaplin’s book (pages 395-397) where he writes about a meeting that he had with Russian composer Igor Stravinsky where he proposed a collaboration between them. It was sometime in 1937. War had yet to be declared, but something very dark was happening in the world.

I was thinking about this over the weekend, and how potent this imagery is in Donald Trump’s America:

While dining at my house, Igor Stravinsky suggested we should do a film together. I invented a story. It should be surrealistic, I said—a decadent night club with tables around the dance floor, at each table, greed, at another, hypocrisy, at another, ruthlessness. The floor show is the Passion play, and while the crucifixion of the Saviour is going on, groups at each table watch it indifferently, some ordering meals, others talking business, others showing little interest. The mob, the High Priests and the Pharisees are shaking their fists up at the Cross, shouting: “If Thou be the Son of God come down and save Thyself.” At a nearby table a group of businessmen are talking excitedly about a big deal. One draws nervously on his cigarette, looking up at the Saviour and blowing his smoke absent-mindedly in His direction.

At another table a businessman and his wife sit studying the menu. She looks up, then nervously moves her chair back from the floor. “I can’t understand why people come here,” she says uncomfortably. “It’s depressing.”

“It’s good entertainment,” says the businessman. “The place was bankrupt until they put on this show. Now they are out of the red.”

“I think it’s sacrilegious,” says his wife.

“It does a lot of good,” says the man. “People who have never been inside a church come here and get the story of Christianity.”

And the show progresses, a drunk, being under the influence of alcohol, is on a different plane; he is seated alone and begins to weep and shout loudly: “Look, they’re crucifying Him! And nobody cares!” He staggers to his feet and stretches his arms appealingly toward the Cross. The wife of a minister sitting nearby complains to the headwaiter, and the drunk is escorted out of the place still weeping and remonstrating, “Look, nobody cares! A fine lot of Christians you are!”

“You see,” I told Stravinsky, “they throw him out because he is upsetting the show.” I explained that putting a passion play on the dance floor of a nightclub was to show how cynical and conventional the world has become in professing Christianity.

The maestro’s face became very grave. “But that’s sacrilegious!” he said.

Continues after the jump…

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Playground Bully: This BRILLIANT anti-Trump video needs to be quietly POSTED ALL OVER FACEBOOK NOW!


 
At this point, it’s a question that’s been pondered—quite a lot—by the professional political pondering class:

Is it even possible to change the mind of the hardcore Donald Trump supporter?

Is there any argument whatsoever that would sway the steadfast fan of the anus-mouthed orangey-faced bellowing billionaire fascist blowhard who sits atop the Republican ticket? Stupid is gonna stupid, and if there is one thing that this year’s election has accomplished it’s demonstrating that the American electorate is—scientifically speaking—much dumber than many of us would have liked to believe. There’s no other way to explain it. Why bend to political correctness—the great bugaboo of reichwingers everywhere, of course—when the simplest and most obvious statement of fact will suffice:

Trump voters are fucking idiots, if they weren’t idiots, they wouldn’t be Trump voters.

Sorry, but Aristotle himself couldn’t have put it any more succinctly than I just did. Not Wittgenstein either.

Oh yes, the Great IQ Stratification©—as I like to call it—has already occurred. It’s been pretty obvious to anyone with a functioning brain since at least Sarah Palin was unleashed foaming at the mouth with her unique form of racist dog whistle glossolalia that only stupid people can hear, that we’re well past that point.

Think about it: In THIS spacetime continuum, the real-life inspiration for Back to the Future‘s caricature bully Biff Tannen is the Republican nominee.

If Trump wins, Amy Goodman will have to change the name of her NPR show to “Idiocracy Now.”

Ha ha ha ha ha. If you get these jokes, and of course you do, you’re not a Trump voter—amIrite?—and that’s the problem, the self-reinforcing echo chamber of the Internet. Hell, I’ve written some nasty shit about Trump for years on Twitter and on this blog, and all I ever get are “atta-boys” from people who also hate Trump and his incoherent minions. Even when I am trying my level best to be condescending and deliberately rude, no one within the sound of my tweets ever disagrees with me. They feel about the terroristic man-toddler©  (thank you Charles M. Blow) the same way I do. “We” all loathe Trump. I’m just tweeting to the choir.

[Amusingly one of the rare times that anyone whatsoever has sent me any pushback on any of my anti-Trump tweets and retweets was none other than Trump advisor, frequent guest on The Alex Jones Show and complete shithead Roger Stone, who must search for his own name constantly. Then I sent him this. It was fun. Bigly fun. I love Twitter!]
 

 
But going back to the original question, is there anything—any fact, TV commercial, slogan, viral video, bumper sticker—whatever—that would change the minds of soft-brained morons who would happily line up to vote for Biff Tannen? Something that you could make them watch, with eyes pinned open like Alex DeLarge in A Clockwork Orange that would get through to them or make a difference?

Maybe there is. The video below, made by the Patriotic Artists & Creatives PAC—which features an actual terroristic man-toddler standing in for the one who used to host The Apprentice—might be able to pry even the tightest shut minds open for a second.

Wisdom from the mouths of babes? It’s perhaps the only thing that would work on the simpleton Trump voters. Best that I’ve seen, anyway. So post it everywhere. The video, I mean, probably don’t repost this blog on Facebook, that’s just being mean (and they won’t get the jokes anyway)

What country do you want your children to grow up in?
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Play ‘Thoughts and Prayers,’ the video game that allows you to feel good about doing nothing!


Painting via @pattkelley
 
It’s become a ubiquitous cliché following any national tragedy, and wouldn’t we know it in light of the fact that we seem to have a new national tragedy every couple of weeks: some devastating act of human misery is unleashed and the instantaneous response is a collective dash to the Internet to offer “thoughts and prayers.”

Finally, someone has taken that narcissistic, attention-seeking desire to engage a tragedy without actually doing anything of tangible value, and turned it into an action-packed video game.

One of our favorite Tumblr accounts, Christian Nightmares, hipped us to Thoughts and Prayers: The Game, a mindless exercise in which you do your best to offer both “thoughts” and “prayers” in response to an ever-increasing epidemic of mass-shootings.
 

 
Gameplay consists of hitting “T” for thoughts or “P” for prayers as a U.S. map lights up with shooting spree after shooting spree. What happens when you hit the “ban assault weapon sales” button? You’ll just have to play to find out. Is there a secret trick to winning the game? You’ll just have to play to find out.

How many thoughts and prayers can you rack up? Play Thought and Prayers: The Game HERE.

In a bit that’s become a modern comedy classic, Anthony Jeselnik breaks down the value of “thoughts and prayers”: “When you offer your ‘thoughts and prayers’ you are doing nothing. You’re doing less than nothing. You’re not giving any of your time, money, or even your compassion. All you are doing… ALL YOU ARE DOING is saying: ‘don’t forget about me today.’
 

 
Via: Christian Nightmares

Posted by Christopher Bickel | Leave a comment
WOW: Disturbed Bible-thumper and her TWELVE KIDS stage anti-trans hate parade in Target store


 
An unidentified Bible-thumping halfwit and her—get this—twelve children shot cell phone footage of their cringey two-minute dumdum hate parade through a Target store and it’s starting to go viral. The family probably posted it to Facebook themselves (clearly one of her minions held the phone that shot it) but it made its way to YouTube. I could find next to no information about this. There’s not even any information about the location of the Target store or anything else. What you see is what you get.

And what you get is a breathtaking display of idiocy, bigotry and I’m guessing more than a ladleful of severe mental illness. Obviously she is a “Christian” and how much do you wanna bet that she is also a Republican voter? (The GOP wants to curtail voting access for blacks, but this pathological freak is okay with a ballot? And no doubt a gun to protect her family against homos and that Obama, too? Right...)

So what’s going on here is that this… perturbed and disturbed woman is apparently angry that Target allows transgender customers to use bathrooms and changing rooms that correspond to their gender identity, so she brought along her… brood (How much do you wanna bet that they are homeschooled, huh?) and traipsed through a Target whilst hoisting a Bible and annoying everyone in the store who is not one of her blood relatives who she also happened to give birth to.

Maybe the Westboro Baptist Church has some competition? Meet the hateful new Christian kids on the block!

“Attention Target customers… Do not be deceived, Target would have you believe with their Mother’s Day displays that they love mothers and children. This is a deception. This is not love, and they’ve proven it by opening their bathrooms to perverted men. I’m a mother of 12 and I’m very disgusted by this wicked practice.”

Hey look, I’m disgusted by this fucking walking, shouting imbecile factory who feels entitled to bring twelve more genetically deficient morons into the world, yet I’m not inclined to wear such a statement on a sandwich board and walk around like a weirdo outside of this lady’s church. When you’re a Christian in America, though, you don’t need an excuse to wear your hatred (and IQ) so proudly. It’s your birthright!

“Mothers get your children out of this store. Mothers have enough decency to get out of this store, it’s a dangerous place… What Target has done is very hateful. It’s hateful towards families. It’s hateful towards mothers. It’s hateful towards children… Are you gonna let the devil rape your children?”

I thought that was the job of the clergy?

All in all though, as this video makes the rounds today, you have to give this head-shakingly ridiculous woman credit for all of the minds she changed with her goofy self-righteous God-bothering tirade. Not the way she intended to change them, but still. Bless.
 

 
Via Raw Story

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Sign this petition to allow open carry of guns at the Republican National Convention


 
A new Change.org petition is currently circulating demanding that the Quicken Loans arena, site of the 2016 RNC, allow the open carry of firearms. The convention will be held in Ohio, which is an “open-carry” state, but the venue itself strictly forbids the carry of firearms on premises.

According to the petition, the gun ban is a “direct affront to the Second Amendment and puts all attendees at risk”:

As the National Rifle Association has made clear, “gun-free zones” such as the Quicken Loans Arena are “the worst and most dangerous of all lies.” The NRA, our leading defender of gun rights, has also correctly pointed out that “gun free zones… tell every insane killer in America… (the) safest place to inflict maximum mayhem with minimum risk.” 

Cleveland, Ohio is consistently ranked as one of the top ten most dangerous cities in America. By forcing attendees to leave their firearms at home, the RNC and Quicken Loans Arena are putting tens of thousands of people at risk both inside and outside of the convention site.

*snip*

This doesn’t even begin to factor in the possibility of an ISIS terrorist attack on the arena during the convention. Without the right to protect themselves, those at the Quicken Loans Arena will be sitting ducks, utterly helpless against evil-doers, criminals or others who wish to threaten the American way of life.

*snip*

We are all too familiar with the mass carnage that can occur when citizens are denied their basic God-given rights to carry handguns or assault weapons in public. EVERY AMERICAN HAS THE RIGHT TO PROTECT AND DEFEND THEIR FAMILY. With this irresponsible and hypocritical act of selecting a “gun-free zone” for the convention, the RNC has placed its members, delegates, candidates and all US citizens in grave danger.

We must take a stand. We cannot allow the national nominating convention of the party of Lincoln and Reagan to be hijacked by weakness and political correctness. The policies of the Quicken Loans Arena do not supersede the rights given to us by our Creator in the U.S. Constitution.

 

 
It’s no secret that many top GOP officials are not at all happy about the possibility of Trump getting the party’s nomination, and there has been much speculation about the possibility of a brokered convention where the popular will of their base could be superseded. If Trump is denied the nomination, there’s a very good chance of an angry backlash from his supporters. You can count on it. Trump himself has even suggested that his supporters may “riot” if he is not the party’s nominee.

Imagine the 1968 DNC riots all over again, except move the venue over to the RNC and replace anti-war hippies with bitter old white people… WITH GUNS.

So, hey, go ahead and sign the petition—just to see how interesting it makes the 2016 RNC. The problem of Trump’s supporters may just solve itself.
 

 
Sign the petition HERE.

Posted by Christopher Bickel | Leave a comment
Geto Boys’ Willie D blasts Ted Cruz: ‘He’s a self-aggrandizing, insufferable douchebag,’ ‘scum’


 
Late last week the Cruz campaign released an attack ad against Hillary Clinton, spoofing the iconic printer-destruction scene from the 1999 film Office Space.

The ad itself completely misses the mark. Though the lyrics to the re-written parody of Geto Boys’ “Damn it Feels Good to be a Gangsta” play over the ad, painting a picture of Clinton as a corrupt, entitled Washington insider—the scene itself depicts Clinton as a take-no-shit badass.

The problem, and where the commercial totally fails as an attack ad, is that it depicts Hillary Clinton as one of the heroes from one of the most iconic and well-loved scenes of one of the biggest cult films of the last twenty years. On a subconscious level, if you are a fan of Office Space, you can’t help but view Clinton as the hero of this ad. They may as well have made a Bernie Sanders attack ad, casting him as “The Dude” from The Big Lebowski. It just doesn’t work to cast your political foe in a role completely associated with a hero—an anti-establishment hero AT THAT. Even the camera angles, parodying the original Office Space scene, make Clinton look larger than life and totally in charge. The ad works as a parody of a famous movie scene—as a political attack ad, it’s an utterly dismal failure. The Clinton campaign could take this spot as-is and dub in some different music (perhaps the original Geto Boys cut), and have a great ad of their own.

Republicans seem to have trouble getting the nuances of humor correct and they also seem to have a major problem with musicians getting angry when songs are used without permission in political campaigns.There’s a long history of this, and Cruz’ use of the Geto Boys’ music is the latest in that history.
 

Willie D of The Geto Boys, center
 
Willie D of the Geto Boys had some choice words of his own about the ad and the Cruz campaign’s (parodied) use of the Geto Boys’ music. Willie D called the ad “blasphemy” and “garbage” and asserted that the Cruz campaign runs completely counter to the Geto Boys’ ideals. “I don’t believe he’s all the way human,” he continued, comparing Cruz to “The Tin Man” from The Wizard of Oz. Willie D went on to call Cruz the “scum of the earth” and “a self-aggrandizing, insufferable douchebag,” ultimately demanding,  “you owe us and our fans an apology. I want an apology, Ted.”

Keep reading after the jump…

Posted by Christopher Bickel | Leave a comment
‘I like big Bibles and I cannot lie’: The best worst Christian rap song ever


 
It’s ten years old and has been viewed over three million times, but I’m constantly surprised that whenever I reference this thing in conversation, no one ever has any idea what I’m talking about. If you’ve never seen the best worst Christian rap song of all time, then this is required viewing. You can thank me after you’ve been “saved.”

Dan “Southpaw” Smith, a preacher with the Momentum Christian Church in Cleveland, Ohio, created this groaner of a parody track in 2005. It went wildly viral at the time, both among “the faithful” and among the Internet-schadenfreude-worshipping Rebecca Black-fan crowd.

This magnificently stupid re-write of the 1992 hit “Baby Got Back” by Sir Mix-A-Lot is just moronically clever enough to have earned its place in the YouTube viral hits hall of fame.
 

 

So your girlfriend quotes Bill Hybels.
But does she got a big Bible?
Cuz that little thing she’s got won’t start a revival.
My Bible study don’t want none,Unless you got book, Hon.

Before this song, I was totally unaware that Bible size mattered. But apparently it’s a big deal. At least to Southpaw Smith.
 

 
Via: “Southpaw” Smith’s website, “White Boy DJ”

Posted by Christopher Bickel | Leave a comment
Palinisms: The Sarah Palin random phrase generator


 
Former half term-governor of Alaska, Sarah Palin, was in the news again this week. This time the inexplicable media darling made headlines with her bizarre “right-winging’, bitter clingin’” Donald Trumpin endorsement speech, and her assertion that President Barack Obama is the reason why her son, Track, hits women. Thanks Obama!

Palin, who has a history of insane rambling speeches, appeals to the “tell it like it is” crowd—as long as “telling it like it is” means a string of incoherent jingoistic, xenophobic talking points. Last night on The Daily Show, host Trevor Noah described her as a bag of Scrabble tiles come to life. If she sounds like an idiot speaking in tongues, it is because this is precisely what she is.

Now, you can create your own Palin rants with the handy “Palinisms” random phrase generator.
 

 
This phrase generator seems to work in much the same way as Palin’s own mind. You press a button and it mashes together a bunch of right-wing tropes that may or may not have any meaning whatsoever… but IT DOESN’T MATTER. The important thing is the “telling it like it is” part, the “special sauce” as it were…
 

 
Click the link to start Palining NOW.

Posted by Christopher Bickel | Leave a comment
Christian Nightmares: Indie supergroup covers bizarro End-Times song


 
One of the more reliable resources for massively bizarre content that works well on DM is the unbeatable (and perfectly named) blog Christian Nightmares. If you haven’t made it a staple on your RSS feed, well, what in tarnation are you waiting for?? You’ll get all the latest and greatest in messianic cult leaders and overwrought Evangelical preachers.
 
The personage who runs that blog, a shadowy figure known to me only as “CN,” has spearheaded a remarkable cover of a remarkable song. The impressive collection of musical talent CN has assembled (more on that below) is going by the monicker The Christian Nightmares Tribulation Band for the purposes of covering a single track by the de facto inventor of Christian rock, the preposterously prolific Larry Norman. That’s right, the CNTB has released a cover of Larry Norman’s 1969 classic song about the Rapture, “I Wish We’d All Been Ready.”
 
That song starts with the following lyrics and gets creepier from there:
 

Life was filled with guns and war
And all of us got trampled on the floor
I wish we’d all been ready…..

  
Here’s Norman’s original version of “I Wish We’d All Been Ready,” off of his tremendouns debut album from 1969, Upon This Rock. (If you like his steez, worry not: Norman put out over 100 albums.)
 

  
As stated, Larry Norman is widely regarded as one of the founders of the genre known as Christian rock. Christian rock historian John J. Thompson once wrote, “It is certainly no overstatement to say that Larry Norman is to Christian music what John Lennon is to rock & roll or Bob Dylan is to folk music.” Freethinking nonbelievers fret about the proselytizing tendency of Xian musicians, but if you’re worried about Norman being too doctrinaire, consider that in September 2007 he said, “I love God and I follow Jesus but I just don’t have much affinity for the organized folderol of the churches in the Western World.” Organized folderol! It’s hard not to like this guy.
 
Christian Nightmares collected an impressive roster of talent to cover the song. For starters, Jason Loewenstein (Sebadoh, Fiery Furnaces) provided lead vocals and guitar, and he recorded and mixed it, too. Other musicians in the band include Ego Sensation (White Hills), Jeff Conaway (The Psychic Paramount), Dana Schechter (Insect Ark, Bee and Flower), David Bozzler (Kosmodemonic, Silver Summit), Laura Ortman (Solo, The Dust Dive), Bryan Zimmerman (Corpse of Discovery, Dichroics).

I assume that Sebadoh and Fiery Furnaces need little introduction to our audience, but but you might not know that Ego Sensation’s band White Hills, out of NYC, is one of the most impressive psych-rock outfits going, having impressed Jim Jarmusch to the point that he cast the band as their spellbinding selves in his last movie Only Lovers Left Alive. I hear some echoes of the Flaming Lips in the new track, am I alone in that?
 
The video for the song uses footage from a bunch of “end times” thrillers like A Thief in the NightA Distant Thunder, and the ecastically paranoid If Footmen Tire You, What Will Horses Do?which I’ve written about before. The CNTB video was directed by Chris Carlone, a.k.a. Borts Minorts, and a fine job he did. Anyone who has seen A Thief in the Night will instantly recognize the debt that CNTB’s version owes to the version of the song that appears in that movie, a debt that “CN” readily acknowledges.

The art for the song was executed by the redoubtable Ross MacDonald, whose work you have surely seen in The New York Times and Harper’s and has also ameliorated the prop design work on Boardwalk Empire and the upcoming Quentin Tarantino movie The Hateful Eight and many others.

For now, the CNTB has recorded only the one song, but the heathens who populate the band have purportedly discussed the possibility of performing the song live at some point, maybe as part of some “Christian Nightmares screening night” featuring clips of crazy Christians. (Presumably this would happen at the site in Fort Mill, South Carolina, where Heritage USA once stood or the Creation Museum in Petersburg, Kentucky—or possibly in a place that is somewhat more hipster-friendly.) If we’re really lucky, maybe the gang’ll reassemble to the studio and crank out enough material for an actual album! (I’m reliably informed that this is far from impossible.)

For those seeking more information about the outfit are urged to visit the Christian Nightmares Tribulation Band’s Bandcamp presence.
 

 

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Tampon-waving former Republican Senate candidate makes a fool of herself at LGBT rights hearing


 
Kathleen Tonn, a failed, former Republican U.S. Senate candidate who gained infamy briefly for displaying her “gift” of speaking in tongues, decided to wave a tampon around as she addressed city officials in Anchorage, Alaska, last night in a nonsensical anti-gay rights rant. Tonn carried a briefcase full of props into to the meeting of the Anchorage assembly. She pulled a Bible from her case and said “Good evening, ladies and gentlemen. You like my trumpet? It’s a sound heard around the world.”

She then continued (via Raw Story):

“Since one of my brethren introduced the King James Bible, since I represent the Lord Jesus Christ the great I am, I’m going to add to your public document and your public record from the public document of the great I am,” Tonn told baffled officials.

“Starting with, oh my — a tampon,” she said, pulling a feminine hygiene product from between the pages of her Bible. “Reminds me that little girls in pubescence get periods — female girls.”

Tonn, who is probably best known for a video she posted online showing herself fully clothed and speaking in tongues in a sauna, then angrily read a lengthy passage from the Second Epistle of Peter describing God’s wrathful judgment against Sodom and Gomorrah.

“Now, since you want to create some ordinance to avoid discrimination for members of our community who engage in, I perceive, unhealthy, ungodly behavior, you might want to consider creating an ordinance for one who speaks in tongues.”

Or perhaps summoning a van where people wearing all white uniforms bring you a nice comfy straightjacket and forcibly medicate you?

Dick Traini, the assembly chairman finally said “Ma’am, your time is up. Thank you for your testimony.”

The video after the jump. It’s a doozy!

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
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