Wednesday, April 30, 2008

What the hell is wrong with Turkmenistan?

Or, "Damn you, Kurbanguly Berdymukhamedov!"

Ok, time to dust off the "Back From Indefinite Hiatus" tag. Sorry for the delay, but I've had a lot of things go down in the past few weeks, any of a number of which might have made interesting blogs, had I been so inclined. Here's a quick little bulleted list for those of you keeping score at home:

  • I went to Disneyworld with my girlfriend and her family, where we were whisked around like royalty, getting in front of every line in the place (take that Make A Wish kids!).
  • I got a nice little promotion at my job, making it entirely possible that I'm not underemployed anymore.
  • I'll probably be in a show this summer. HamletMachine. More on that later.
  • I watched the Cubs become an official Major League Baseball Team by putting up the best beginning of a season since--roughly--the Bronze Age.
  • I battled the almighty, planet devouring Galactus to a standstill, finally getting him to agree to leave the Earth permanently.1 No thanks to that damn Watcher.
  • I have shown that I have the willpower to avoid murdering Sparky, despite the fact that he now barks nonstop for the duration of any meal I attempt to eat in the apartment.
  • I have yet to destroy any other household appliances.
  • Ali and I have managed to empty our storage locker, thus saving us literally 1.09 hundreds of dollars a month.
  • I continued to not write about The Goonies.
  • I have edged ever closer to my goal of winning the Presidency in 2012 on the back of my "Where's My Jetson's Shit" platform.2

But none of that matters, because Turkmenistan is turning its back on 90% of it's Gross Domestic Product: sheer lunatic leadership.

Apparently, per the BBC, new President Kurbanguly Berdymukhamedov has decided to undo the hard work that Slog favorite Saparmurat Niyazov performed to make Turkmenistan the wackiest Former Soviet Republic around. "Names of months and days have to comply with international standards," said Berdymukhamedov,3 thus ending the former Turkmenbashi's tradition of naming months after, well, whatever he damn well felt like calling them.

What's next, Kurbanguly?4 No more using the national treasury to make gold statues of The Father of Turkmen? No more compulsory reading of Niyazov's poetry in schools? No more "Free McRib Tuesdays?"5 I suppose you think you're going to be a respected world leader if you give in to peer pressure and run your country like every other central Asian state? Hardly. Turkmenbashi put you on the map6, pal. Without him, you're paractically Uzbekistan.

I mourn for you, Saparmurat.7 In your absence, the world is a colder, saner place.

  1. I may be confusing myself with the Fantastic Four.
  2. The Future of Yesterday...Tomorrow!
  3. Turkmen for "Killjoy."
  4. Turkmen for "Total Doucheface."
  5. Ok. That one is mine. But he'd have done it. He was cool like that.
  6. Which, of course, no American can use.
  7. Turkmen for "Totally Fucking Rad."

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Two Important Announcements

More on The Goonies soon, but I had to mention these two things:

1. Congratulations Ryan Dempster for being quasi-competent today. I hereby declare a moratorium on mocking you at The Slog, or any other place I frequent, whether it be in the "real world" or in cyberspace, conditional on performance. I will reserve my burning, searing hatred for you until the point that you inevitably botch a start and give up 6 earned runs in the first inning, which I estimate to occur in the next 3 appearances. Enjoy your time off, Demp-truck.

2. Apparently I am number eight on the google hit list when one searches for the term "myspace antisemitism." That's...sobering...

The Dark Underbelly of the 80s - Part One, Section C (Subsection i)

Well, Spring is finally sort of here in Chicago,as one can tell from the following harbingers:

  • The Cubs are currently 0-2 (as of 9:16am CST). Chicago baseball overall is 0-4, if you count the White Sox, which I assure you, I don't.
  • There is hardly any snow remaining on the ground.
  • Construction has replaced icy roads as the main reason traffic moves at a snail's pace.
  • The Slog's thoughts are once again turned to the effects of 80s movies on the fragile psyche of The Slogger.
Oh yeah. That's right, Slogophiles.

It's our time. It's our time down here in...

The Dark Underbelly of the 80s - Part One,1 Section C


Parts one and two are avaiable in the Slog Archive for your reading convenience. Unfortunately, I have so much to say on this vast topic (this movie contains multitudes), that I believe it wise to split this behemoth into more manageable chunks. Hey, it's been about a year since I promised this. What's a few more days among a readership of 7 people?

Anyway, on with at least 1/3 of The Show:


Oh, Goonies. You hurt me so.

Not in the same way that say, Monster Squad2 or Dragnet3 (the movie) hurts. No. And to understand why, we need to get a little more "retro" than the occasional Garbage Pail Kids or Sectaurs4 reference the average Slog post might try to cough up. We need to go back to a person most people first hear about in a book of knock-knock jokes they found at their grandparents house: Euripedes.6

I. Something's Rotten in the State of Oregon

You know what would be a great cliche to do now? Talk about the Greek conceot of κάθαρσις.7 I might get back to that, probably in Subsection III. I can't guarantee that, as I basically just make this shit up as I go along.9 But it's not the Glorious Purging of Negative Emotion10 that I am interested in here. It's the element of social criticism. Masked as it is by cheap ethnic stereotypes and dick jokes.

Euripedes' masterpiece, The Trojan Women, is, among other things boring as hell a stern warning to his fellow Athenians about the fact that the horrors of war do not end with the last battle, and that a lust for vengeance and lack of mercy in victory is a scourge on even the victors. In stating this, he became one of the first in a long line of artists that couch their social criticism in their tales. And Goonies is so obviously a continuation of this lineage that I'm amazed there is less scholarly material on this than on other, far lesser films.

Astoria, Oregon is, like similar 80s towns such as Kingston Falls, Hill Valley, and Duckburg, a dystopian nightmare brought to the present day, where cruel (and yet oddly beardless) developers (Fig. 1) worshiping the crassest form of Mammon drive the innocent and hardworking from their homes. And, they're totally dickweeds about it, man. Especially Elgin Perkins. Seriously, when you've broken a man's livelihood and emasculated him in front of his family, the least you could do is not mention he's only one of 50 others you're going to do the same to. Even the consummately evil and malicious Iago11 had the decency to go after Othello alone, and not pencil in a few other Moors to destroy later that afternoon.

Fig. 1: The Plutocracy

And this same wretchedness extends to the reprehensible Troy, who manages to turn much of the first half of Goonies into a really confusing sequel to The Outsiders. Thankfully, he's dispatched in a Mrs. Deagle-esque fashion via explosive toilet12 at around the midway point, because frankly, the 80s were littered with jock douches already.

Unfortunately, the Goonies doesn't take the logical next step, and advocate the overthrough of a corrupt system through Propaganda of the Deed.13 No, like most decadent societies, they expect us all to hope for a deus ex machina14 like pirate treasure hidden 3500 miles (mostly across a landmass, no less) from the most common trade routes of the Golden Age of Piracy. Keep buying those lottery tickets, folks! You'll be able to pay off that mortgage one day!

So, in hindsight, the Goonies are a Cassandra that not only is not believed, but is not to be trusted. A cynical servant of power that masks a genuine contempt for the lower classes under a false populism (Fig. 2).

Fig. 2: Age-progressed photo of The Gerber Baby.

Now, this photo of Lou Dobbs will provide the perfect segue to my next section, to be posted within a fortnight, or your money back!

  1. How much hubris do I actually have in implying that this series has more than one part after this?
  2. Yes, I know Wolfman's got "nards." That doesn't make this movie any higher than the low bar Citizen Kane sets.
  3. "Hey, I've got an idea? Why don't we allow the downward arc of Dan Ackroyd's career to intersect with the upward arc of Tom Hanks' career at the exact Suckiest Point in the Universe?"
  4. You don't even remember these, do you? You probably forgot "Visionaries: Knights of the Magical Light" and "Battle Beasts" as well.5 Well, the 80s weren't all cool shit like The Transformers and The A-Team, Sunny Jim. They were mostly pain and misery. Like The Go-Bots and Rip Tide.
  5. Holy crap. Was there any dumb toy idea in the 80s the inclusion of a hologram couldn't solve? Battle Beasts were essentially a fucking game of paper/rock/scissors in collectable form.
  6. ...pants, you mend-a these pants. Hiyo!
  7. Like all quasi-intellectuals, I like to put the occasional Greek term in, in the original Greek alphabet. This is despite the fact that I've never taken Greek, and therefore my airs to Classicism can be considered quite a praetensus. For the record, it's just the same damn mention of catharsis you'll always get when Greek theatre8 is mentioned.
  8. Also, for the record, the fact that I spell "theatre" in this fashion is a little praetensus as well.
  9. Just like Our Current Administration's Foreign Policy. Zing! That's right, W, you've been Slogged!TM
  10. The debut album from Trinity of the Damned
  11. It goes without saying that everything I say about the Shakespearian character of Iago also holds true for the animated parrot of the same name voiced by Gilbert Gottfried. Or really anything Gilbert Gottfried has ever done.
  12. Oh, sure. He survives this accident, unlike Deagle. But c'mon, you know Richard Donner totally pussed on him getting killed in an Hilariously Juvenile Tragedy.
  13. Trinity of the Damned's difficult third album.
  14. The third reference to common Greek theatrical terms in this, Our Most Educational Slog Post, to date.