Posts Tagged ‘entertainment’
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Television City, CA (AP) – The Screenwriters Guild of America issued a statement today warning the public that the film industry is running out of hackneyed expressions to use as the titles for romantic comedies.
“The number of cliches at the disposal of our writers is rapidly shrinking, and in just a few years we may run out of such turns of phrase entirely,” read the statement. “We call upon the media and the public at large to increase the rate at which new cliches are created so that our members can continue to provide the world with the formulaic, mediocre pieces of cinematic turd it has come to expect.”
According to Sel U. Lloyd, an expert on screenplay titles, writers first began to notice the cliche shortage in the 1990′s, when Sleepless in Seattle and You’ve Got Mail drove home to the industry that they had begun to grasp at straws in order to avoid reusing an already-claimed cliche (it apparently did not bother the industry that the two films were cast using the same lead actor and actress, as had several others since Joe Versus the Volcano several years earlier).
However, said, Lloyd, despite repeated warnings within the industry, studios disregarded the dangers and continued to call for new romantic comedy screenplays without considering the effects that a lack of a pithy or cutesy cliche in the title would bring. He attributed this near-sightedness to the influence of the horror and porn film genres, in which using the same title as a previous work has little bearing on the film’s popularity or quality.
Linguist Noam Chomsky doubts that the public can meet the demand for new turns of phrase, despite the rate at which internet memes catch on and neologisms are spread through the public consciousness. “The unprecedented interconnectedness of world culture notwithstanding, new coinages are just as rare as ever,” he said. “Occasionally a politician or other public figure will utter a new phrase that gets a burst of attention, but more often than not, the phrase is useless in the romantic comedy title genre.”
“Take ‘Binders Full of Women,’” he said, referring to an unfortunate choice of words on the part of then-presidential candidate Mitt Romney in a debate with Barack Obama. “It’s a phrase with some staying power, but the film genre with which it is compatible would hardly be anyone’s idea of a romantic comedy.”
“Well, maybe the Marquis de Sade,” he added.
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Metropolis (AP) – Daily Planet reporter Clark Kent caused many chuckles around the newspaper offices this past week after he replaced his usual Facebook profile photo with an image of Superman. The mild-mannered correspondent reportedly followed the suggestion of an unidentified acquaintance who noticed the resemblance.
“That’s Clark, all right,” said James Olson, whose desk sits only a few feet away from Kent’s in the newsroom. “It’s amazing that it took a social media gimmick for us to notice. I wonder whether Superman himself knows? I mean, Clark isn’t exactly a nobody in this town,” he continued, referring to his colleague’s duties as an anchor on WGBS TV news.
Kent’s supervisor, Managing Editor Perry White, acknowledges the humor, but worries that the levity it has created at the Planet may compromise the quality of the establishment’s journalism, or its reputation. “As a news outlet we pride ourselves on sticking to facts and evidence. A bit of intramural kidding is fine, as far as it goes, but Kent’s profile can also be seen by many people outside the organization, and we’d prefer to keep a public face that projects adherence only to that which can be observed and reported. Not this other nonsense.”
A brief survey Planet staff indicates that few others in the organization share White’s concerns. “It’s harmless,” says Lois Lane, a colleague and close friend of Kent’s. “No one’s really going to think less of our organization because we have a sense of humor. What idiot is going to think that Clark and Superman are the same?”
Superman has been unavailable for comment, and does not maintain a Facebook profile. Longtime Superman nemesis Lex Luthor, however, has found several doppelgangers, and changed them daily: Telly Savalas, Yul Brynner, a shaved Larry Bird, Patrick Stewart, and, in self-deprecating humor, H. Ross Perot and the late Frank Purdue.
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Los Angeles, CA/New York NY (News Agency) – A past-his-or-her-prime director/actor/actress/musician was arrested yesterday in the Los Angeles/New York area for driving over the speed limit/domestic violence/DWI/drug possession. His/her publicist/agent/attorney maintained his/her innocence and lambasted the media for the excessive, salacious coverage.
The former big-time star of stage and/or screen, known for his/her work on a hit song/production/film/show, has had brushes with the law before, notably when he/she was arrested on charges of shoplifting/soliciting a prostitute/prostitution in a previous year. The celebrity underwent rehabilitation/did community service and made a brief comeback.
Once a staple of celebrity magazine coverage, the fading star now finds himself/herself more often mentioned in publications such as The National Enquirer and as an element of twentysomethings’ informal trivia sessions among friends. The celebrity is best known for his/her Grammy/Emmy/Daytime Emmy/Oscar/Golden Globe/Tony Award winning performance/song/film/Broadway show, but also won a measure of fame for other work in music/Hollywood/television/theater productions.
The celebrity was discovered by famed/legendary producer/director/talent scout/casting director X, who saw/heard him/her in an amateur production of show/video/song/play and quickly signed him/her for a role in a movie/in a music video/in a stage production/as a backup singer, which gave the celebrity exposure and led to larger, more prominent roles/singing engagements.
He/she dated a notable athlete/actor/actress/musician/model until the latter admitted an affair with a different celebrity. This was followed by a relationship with a notable athlete/actor/actress/musician/model, which resulted in marriage that lasted several months. The two had met on the set of [production name].
The star’s biggest hit earned him/her millions and cemented his/her place among the red carpet names that year. He/she followed up with a strong performance/appearance in a subsequent movie/video/song/show, but eventually faded and succumbed to substance abuse and/or violence and dysfunctional relationships. He/she attempted suicide last year after overdosing on heroin/crack/meth/alcohol.
His/her press agent/publicist/attorney blamed media attention for his/her client’s sad situation.
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New York, NY (AP) – A new study has found that too little time has elapsed since the mass shootings in Connecticut last week for any humor to be appropriate.
The study, published in the Journal Of Kaufmanesque Exposition, concluded that at least three weeks would have to pass before even the edgiest comedians could directly address the murders. Before then, the authors note, anyone seeming to make light of the massacre would be deemed intolerably offensive.
In the interim, the JOKE study says, satirical commentary will have to focus on mocking events related to, but not directly involved in, the murders. For example, the authors point to Twitter posts contrasting the availability of firearms with the difficulties in obtaining adequate psychiatric care, and to caricatures of Second Amendment activists. Another example involved the cynical observation that Republican and other pro-gun-lobby spokespeople were conspicuously unwilling to sit for interviews with any major media outlets in the several days following the Newtown murders.
Lead study author Nyna Levin explained that a simple formula serves to explain the process through which major catastrophic events become acceptable fodder for humor. “It’s always been a straightforward function of time or distance,” she said, in which the enormity of the tragedy generates a proportionately large temporal, conceptual or geographical gap between the event and the point at which humorous references to the event will not automatically result in social ostracism or constitute political suicide. The formula is often rendered as some variation of H = T + t, where H refers to humor, capital T refers to tragedy and lower-case t refers to time. In some versions, C, for comedy, is substituted for H.
The formula, continued Levin, helps account for the differences in acceptability between jokes about Jeffrey Dahmer, a notorious Wisconsin serial killer who stored victims’ body parts in his home, and Jared Loughner, who went on a shooting spree almost two years ago, killing six and injuring fourteen. Dahmer was arrested in 1991 and had at least seventeen victims; but whereas popular culture is essentially silent with Loughner-related humor, the two decades since Dahmer’s arrest and the bizarre details of his crimes have long since made them fair game for comedy. In addition, Dahmer was bludgeoned to death in prison in 1994, a fact that, if nothing else, provides humor simply by dint of the word “bludgeoned.” By contrast, Loughner’s crime still generates too much raw emotion to serve as fodder for suitable comedy.
Levin also illustrated how conceptual distance mitigates the humorous references to major tragedies: joking about rape is taboo, whereas joking about the existence of the taboo is not completely offensive, if done properly. Similarly, mocking Nazi victims will always be despicable, but mocking Nazi behavior or attitudes that led to that treatment will always be fine. She invoked philosopher Mel Brooks to explain another aspect of this function: “Tragedy is when I cut my finger. Comedy is when you fall into an open sewer and die.”
Levin anticipates that the humor, if any, that emerges from the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings will continue to target gun control opponents and conservative politicians in general for the foreseeable future. In contrast even with the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, in which the perpetrators’ foreign origins and religious beliefs allowed for some mockery, Levin sees no such potential humor in Adam Lanza, the perpetrator of the shootings.
“He was so normal, it’s not even funny,” she said.
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Originally posted December 15, 2010.
Muffin: Good evening and welcome to the Seventh Grade News. I’m Stud Muffin, with Jess Kidding.
First-period math got off to a shaky start today when half the class came in without homework. Mr. Cowell claims the students need to get their act together, while the class complains of unfair burdens. Lisp Nightly reports.
Nightly: That’th right, Thtud. The detailth are not a hundred perthent clear yet, but it appearth that at about nine-o-five thith morning, Mithter Cowell athked the thtudenth to plathe their homework on hith dethk, then thpent about a minute going through them, checking the nameth againtht the attendanth litht. When he got to the end, he thlammed the latht paper down on the pile and yelled at the clath.
What happened nektht ith thtill in dithpute. Thome thtudenth thay Mithter Cowell threatened to put a permanent mark in each one’th record if the lathineth perthithted, but otherth claim the teacher went even further, threatening to have the nektht clath trip cantheled.
Student 1: I dunno, so like, Mr. Cowell took attendance, and like, someone kept making, like, armpit noises, so, y’know, things were already, like, not so calm, and Jenna sneezed, and Mr. Cowell was all like, “OK, everyone, get your homework on the desk right now,” y’know? And so, like, he was like going through all the papers, and like ten of them were like totally missing, and he was like, “If you people keep skipping your homework, I’m gonna have to put it in your record,” which, like, whatever.
Student 2: So I’m sitting there in math class? And Mr. Cowell starts yelling at us? And I didn’t do my homework, cuz Britney, the girl who sits behind me? She had like a bad breakup with Brad? So I spent all of yesterday kinda making her feel better? And suddenly he’s yelling that we’re not gonna go on our next trip? And we have math homework like every single day?
Nightly: Mithter Cowell himthelf wath unavailable for comment, but the thtudenth themthelveth theem divided on the fairnethof their treatment. Thith ith the thecond time thith themethter that the clath hath had the threat of cantheled priviligeth dangled over them, and the way thingth are going, thome doubt they’ll ever go anywhere at all thith year. Back to you, Thtud and Jeth.
Kidding: Thank you, Lisp.
Gregg Mitchell was sent to the principal’s office for the sixth time this year during second-period history for mouthing off to the teacher. Here’s Fulla Vitt, with more on the story.
Vitt: Gregg Mitchell was whispering with Ellis Morton in the adjacent seat when Ms. Anthrope, the history teacher, asked him to quiet down. When Mitchell continued talking a few seconds later, Ms. Anthrope warned him, but he continued talking. That’s when she sent him to Ms. Urry’s office. That’s the third time in the last month that Mitchell has been sent there, and the sixth since the start of the year. Ms. Anthrope was the first teacher to send him to the principal back in October, as well.
Mitchell himself gave us the finger when we asked for an interview, but classmate Keith Antell says that Mitchell is just clowning around.
Antell: I don’t know why everyone’s getting on Gregg’s case. He’s just joking around. So he made a few jokes while Ms. Anthrope was talking. So what? It’s not like he hurts anybody. And he’s funny. Besides, history is boring.
Vitt: A school office official speaking on condition of anonymity informed us that the school psychologist is looking into Mitchell’s situation at home. For the Seventh Grade News, I’m Fulla Vitt.
Muffin: And now we’ll have a look at the weather, with meteorologist Dan Kandertti. Dan?
Kandertti: Looks like a calm second half of the week, but as you can see, the clique of Veronica Miles, Stephanie Durkett and Chloë Dumont are planning a series of embarrassing moments for Kari Wilmer on Thursday. Friday looks mostly clear except for the afternoon, it looks like, when the school will have a talent show, and only the popular kids will feel confident enough to participate. Here’s the five-day on your screens now; you can see the weekend shaping up to be troublesome, with Stephanie Durkett and her eighth-grade boyfriend having a fight on MySpace and spreading nasty rumors about each other. That storm will last into next week.
Kidding: It’s not a busy time for sports right now, but Jack Ovahltraids nevertheless has some news for us.
Ovahltraids: Yup. Jess, the new uniforms for the middle school basketball team are almost ready, and the boys will wear them when they get creamed by Edison Middle School on Sunday. The new uniforms are brown with yellow stripes down the side, and misspelled names on the backs. School officials say they have had to deal with budget cuts, so they purchased used uniforms from the Salvation Army and had volunteers sew the names. Go team!
Muffin: Well, that’s it for this evening. Join us again tomorrow when we give you an inside look at the janitor’s closet, and ask him about cleaning the boys’ locker room. Stay tuned for Midgets on Parade! For everyone here at the Seventh Grade News, I’m Stud Muffin. Good night.
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Originally posted December 20, 2010
I don’t mean you should take some stupid, superstitious safety precautions to keep zombies at bay; that’s clearly a waste of time, resources, and whatever passes for your credibility. No, I’m thinking about the future: what happens to you after you die and your body starts to decompose? Wouldn’t it be the coolest thing in the world if your body could be reanimated as a zombie?!
Your remains, wandering around spooking people – and maybe even eating some brains for good measure. Does an urnful of cremation ashes offer the same jaw-dropping, scream-inducing coolness? Of course not. Just opt for burial over cremation and you’re set, on the off chance that bodies can rise from the dead as zombies.
I know what you’re thinking: it costs less to cremate a body than to purchase and maintain a burial plot. But not that much more, especially in some outlying areas – and as any good horror film student knows, it’s the suburbs where the undead action is. And no one says you have to have the grave maintained to be eligible for zombiehood. So if you’re willing to lay out a few thousand dollars more, at most, you can guarantee a chance to give your old skin, bones and rotting flesh a new lease on something vaguely resembling life! It’s like joining a retirement community!
We all want to make an impact on the world that outlasts our physical sojourn on this mortal coil. Unfortunately, we can’t all be Shakespeare, Einstein, da Vinci or Marx (Karl or Groucho). Or Stalin, for that matter. If we’re lucky, we might inspire a nice once-off memorial gesture by relatives, such as a donation in our names to the Elmer Fudd Speech Pathology Foundation.
Burial, however, offers the advantage of keeping a body available for diabolical reawakening and the overrunning of sleepy hamlets. If circumstances permit, your body might even participate in an full-scale zombie invasion of a major metropolitan area! There’s no way you could do that with a bunch of ashes. And the carbon emissions from the cremation process are just wrong. Your decomposing flesh will reintegrate with the ground in the most natural way while it waits to be mobilized for an undead offensive.
And if you’re really serious about it, you can even invest in embalming. But that’s for the really hardcore zombie wannabes, people willing to pay to guarantee an intact physical frame, even if the skin does take on a disturbing hue. But disturbing is exactly what you’re aiming for, after all; you want your remains to be disturbed so they can rise up and terrorize the populace.
The choice is clear. I know I wouldn’t be caught dead being cremated.
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The Heavens, September 23 (AP) – The LORD Almighty and His ministering angels are just tickled pink, as it were, by the hullabaloo surrounding the cartoons and film mocking Muhammad, heavenly sources say.
“Thus saith the LORD: Thou canst not make this stuff up,” reported the archangel Gabriel, his seraphic cheeks ruddy from peals of hysteria. “For lo, not since Martin Luther’s earnestness have I seen thee worked up as the Euphrates doth churn in spring,” he continued, before collapsing in another fit. “Oh, LORD, thank Thee for not creating me with actual lungs, for they be deprived now of air,” he managed to gasp.
Angels have noted the LORD’s mirth since trailers for The Innocence of Muslims were first released in July, as He anticipated the reaction of His more manipulable children. “By My sacred Name, I cannot wait for the feces to hit the fan,” the LORD is said to have uttered as He beheld the horribly acted, obviously overdubbed piece of cinematic trash.
Heavenly giddiness has occurred before, notably during periods when there was an antipope, and whenever large groups of cult members immolate or otherwise kill themselves in anticipation of some apocalyptic or cataclysmic event. According to heavenly archives, the heavens shook with Godly laughter in 1997 when 39 adherents of the Heaven’s Gate movement committed mass suicide, expecting a spaceship to follow the approaching comet Hale-Bopp. “Oh Me, those idiots,” He said on that occasion, over and over again.
Records were not kept before 200 BCE, but the earliest confirmed episode of Godly amusement at humanity’s foibles occurred as early Christians debated the question of celibacy. That joke has since grown old to God, says spokesangel St. Peter, but under the right circumstances it still elicits a divine chuckle. “Just last month [archangel] Michael was commenting on the soon-to-be-announced manuscript mentioning Jesus’s wife – he said, ‘Does this mean the LORD tells mother-in-law jokes?’ God smiled and gave Michael a satisfied whack on the back. Poor guy is still having his wings repaired.”
The second chapter of Psalms directly refers to the LORD as laughing at people who plan evil, but the dating of that passage in in dispute. Attributed to King David, the book was actually composed over several centuries, with some portions heavily edited. God Himself declared He does not much care when it was written; the dating is irrelevant to the psalm’s meaning.
Heavenly computer terminals have been busier than usual in recent weeks as angels and departed souls watch the streaming video trailers to discover what all the fuss is about, and to join God in bouts of laughter. “It’s been unusually jolly here,” said the patriarch Isaac, whose name means “He will laugh” in Hebrew, and who knows a thing or two about the divine sense of humor. “The LORD has taken to looking over the shoulders of anyone watching that piece of crap and sharing the laughter with them as the train wreck unfolds on the screen and on Earth below.”
“It’s really only the Jews who get it,” mused Isaac. “They continuously get shafted throughout history, and they keep disproportionately producing comedians. Why do you think God chose them?” He then shuffled away, the victim of yet another divine stealth wedgie.
“Now that doth not get old,” the LORD was heard to say.
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