Category Archives: entertainment

Should You Buy a Groupon to See Nickelback?

nickelback groupon

(BTW, hi. I’ve been away awhile, and I’ll blog more.)

TAKEN Sequels!


Image courtesy of

  • T4KEN ON ISIS – Liam Neeson singlehandedly beheads the Islamic State. Special appearances from President Barack Obama and Prime Minister David Cameron.
  • TAK5N IT 2 TH3 STR33TS - Liam Neeson singlehandedly helps a dance crew save a rec center from a murderous billionaire. Costarring Adolfo “Shabba-Doo” Quinones and Michael “Boogaloo Shrimp” Chambers as the wizened street dancers, and Mitt Romney as the murderous billionaire.
  • TAKEN PART 6 – Liam Neeson reenacts the movie Leonard Part 6–but with more death. A sitting Bill Cosby costars.
  • LUCKY NUMBER 7AKEN – Liam Neeson takes on crime bosses The Rabbi and The Boss, but with more antisemitism and murder. A comatose Josh Hartnett and paycheck-counting Sir Ben Kingsley costar.
  • T8KEN A BREAK – Liam Neeson goes undercover as a black female housekeeper in police chief Carl Kanisky’s home while investigating his daughter’s murder. Joey Lawrence costars, with a special appearance from the ghost of Nell Carter.

Internet Trolls in the Real World

internet troll

Courtesy of

Have you ever read an internet article and dreaded the comment section that followed? Those poorly-spelled, hate-filled glimpses into the dark recesses of the human soul–complete with racist, sexist, xenophobic, and religious-based attacks on anyone and/or anything that is considered different? Those people are out in the world among the rational, and they are as frightening as their defense of Ghostbusters as a male-only endeavor. I recently had an unfortunate experience with such a piece of human waste.

I write for a local sketch comedy group, and the new season has brought fresh blood for the writer’s pool. One of those eager beavers was a tall, glasses-wearing oaf of a young man, and he quickly made his presence known with his mouth: while the head writer caught people up on new business and the meeting’s outline, the kid interrupted several times with random nonsense as well as calls to read his sketch about a male feminist. (WARNING #1)

The head writer did his best to quell the kid’s inquisitive nature, but it only got worse. We then read new sketches, and the guy occasionally butted in with aimless chatter important only to him as well as odd comments on the scripts (one being that mentioning the paltry Apple MacBook specs would be funny because of the price). And he continued to ramble about anything and everything for anyone within earshot–despite the wishes of the head writer. (WARNING #2)

The floor then opened up to new sketch pitches, and the weirdo shared his idea: a parody of crazy warehouse-sale commercials (eh) where the insane, angry salesman selling mockeries of warehouse sales (getting better) boiled over when his wife interrupts him and proceeds to beat her for several minutes. (That’s it; I’m out of here.)

I was floored. This guy advocated putting domestic abuse into a sketch comedy piece because, and I’m paraphrasing, he wanted to “get a reaction” out of people. (You know what’s a reaction: NOT BEING A FUCKING PSYCHOPATHIC CREEP.) The room fell into uncomfortable silence–the kind of quiet when someone says an awkward thing–for a few seconds, but it recovered in the spirit of positive collaboration: lots of tip-toeing around the elephant in the room by tweaking other aspects of the sketch idea. The asshole was stubborn and talked around the suggestions, making it known that he wanted to get a reaction out of people and rail against the system. (We politely acknowledged that the show was in the vein of Saturday Night Live.)

He again brought up his want for a battered wife focus, and seeing that the elephant was squeezing all the oxygen out of the room, I asked “Is there a way to do the sketch without the domestic violence?” Shit, as they say, hit the fan.

The kid was immediately defensive, saying that he didn’t want to do the sketch if he couldn’t have his spouse slams, and insisted we erase all notes of the idea. (We had no problem with that.) We foolishly thought the weirdness was behind us, continuing the meeting with new sketch pitches. Meanwhile, Creepy Longpsycho made his discontent known with odd mumbling and playing “noise” sounds on his smartphone (and admitting to searching for “noise” videos). When I pitched an idea about a Men’s Rights Activist harassing people on the street to peddle his group’s pleas, the idjit said (paraphrasing) “I’m just mad because you guys shit on my idea.” (He added that people with such hateful thinking like Men’s Rights Activists should die, which didn’t help the argument that he was a disturbing person.) He then excused himself from the meeting.

Again, we foolishly thought we were safe from the jackass’s tantrums, fleshing out the pitches, but he stormed in minutes later, saying that he had to use the bathroom. He did his business, stormed out and slammed the door behind him. We all looked at each other in confusion and, after the head writer cracked a joke, we got back to the business of writing non-edgy comedy that didn’t involve woman-beating.


One thing that I wish we had done was better explain why domestic violence was not funny. Despite noting that we didn’t want to make people uncomfortable, this was lost on deaf ears. And perhaps the kid had not known someone who had been abused or experienced the effects firsthand. I know that it took being close to someone that experienced rape before I understood a shred of the damage that sexual assault inflicts–physically and emotionally.

Later that night, I thought about the dickhead that derailed the meeting in spectacularly uncomfortable fashion. How did that guy come to be the person he was: an angry, anti-status quo advocate of anti-comedy at the expense of another gender? Society is no help, as sexism is widely ingrained in nearly everything we read, watch and listen to. Immaturity could be a culprit, as teens and 20-somethings are still figuring out their viewpoints and their voice in the world–though that voice shouldn’t be used to announce one’s acceptance of abuse in the name of humor. Maybe he had attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)–the inability to pay attention for long periods of time, being impulsive, and restlessness.

Or maybe the guy had a combination of one or more of the above afflictions in combination with being a d-bag. Some apples end up rotten despite the picker’s best efforts, and like Chris Rock said, “Whatever happened to crazy?”

The head writer assured us that the jackal wouldn’t be invited back to future meetings, which is a relief. But what about those other assholes with similar mindsets and propensities for anti-people views with a way to voice said musings? In a way, having internet comment sections lets them release their emotional pressure valves, though I don’t support such behavior in the first place. There will always be jerks in the world, be it online or in the flesh, and one without a way to voice their hate is one less person to inflict hurt.

Mutual Friends

stephen colbert black friend

Image courtesy of The Daily Banter

Having relationships with people–family, friends, romantic partners–means spending time with their friends. This can be a double-edged sword: being friendly with a guy or girl that shares the same interests and has a tolerable personality might net you a new pal to hang with; getting lumped together with a dud dude or dudette, and you’ll dread any and every digression you deal with. (Ds!)

I’ve been lucky to have made good friends out of mutual acquaintances. When I moved to Phoenix nine years ago, I knew two people–both from college. Through one of my work friends (now one of my best friends), I met several of his colleagues through his church. I’ve been able to depend upon their friendship (and vice-versa, I’d like to think) as we’ve bonded, and we’ve shared many life events in the process. They are dear to me and more patient with me than I often am with myself, and for that, I am grateful.

Then there are those mutual acquaintances that have made less-than-appealing impressions, those that make you wonder if that saying “birds of a feather flock together” makes you wonder about those qualities in your friend that you cherish. These are situations and people that I don’t want to encounter.

A recent get-together with friends introduced a sibling to the dynamic, a cordial and opinionated guy that was comfortable making his thoughts known. I was chatty with him, thinking it would make him feel more at ease around strangers, but I think he got TOO comfortable; during a heated game of video game Bocce (it happens!), a mistake on my part led to him shouting “You idiot!” This statement stung; a rough few emotional weeks filled with self-doubt and general depression about my basic contributions to life seemed to audibly confirm how others perceived me. I sat on those feelings for the rest of the night, not wanting to make an awkward mountain into a maladroit of a molehill. (I texted my friend the next day to inform him that I found his brother’s statement to be rude.)

Another set of gaffes came from the best friend of a mutual friend. Over the course of several years, said best friend of mutual friend (a jittery guy that was not shy about being his crass, jittery self) made displeasing comments about acquaintances and colleagues, expressed out homophobic remarks about a mutual coworker, and professed his lust for a then 16-year-old actress. My opinion of him was low.

The fact that the mutual friend of said schlub considered the asshole one of his best friends made me reevaluate our joint bond, and I recognized ugly aspects of his personality with a new clarity. Offhand remarks that were sexist and racist in nature came back into focus, as did off-color jokes about a good mutual friend. The dickbagginess of the mutual acquaintance reflected the unbecoming side of that mutual friend.

It also made me wonder if I was as horrible as those examples that I was surrounded by. Humans are bound to occasionally say awful things and engage in arguable behavior, and no one is perfect. (I wish I could do-over many of the conversations I’ve had in my life–especially between the ages of 7 and 12.) But what if the encounters between mutual colleagues were annoying? Though I would like to think that I’m a good judge of character, what did it say that their colleagues could be friends with frustrating people?


I recently took a week-long break from my personal Facebook account due to boredom and discontent. My friends list had expanded to the point where a majority of the accounts were people I had never met or hadn’t seen in more than 5 years, and my news feed was filled with posts that may as well have been from strangers. I found myself increasingly bothered by the indulgence in the worst social media habits that I witnessed, and after months of unfollowing dozens in my feed, I went on an unfriending purge. And I felt terrible about it.

Like those acquaintances that I dealt with in real life, those that I collected on my Facebook profile shared a similarity: they were good people that periodically dabbled in irritating acts. But those behaviors were the only side I saw to them–online sphere or otherwise. I realized that those pesky proprieties (including an abundance of selfies, baby and pet pics, and musings about geek culture) had little meaning to me but might not have been the case to those that had a primary role in their lives. I know that I can’t get enough of the baby pics that my cousin’s family and my good friends post, and I look forward to pop culture musings from certain friends. It’s that “the vital connection is made.” (BOW, bow-bow bow)


I’ve probably been that terrible mutual friend on more than one occasion. I’m not the easiest person to converse with because of my shyness, and I might come across as aloof or stuck up as a result. My sense of humor can be goofy, so an occasional riff (like about pop culture or douchebags) might be annoying. I’m lucky that my friends can tolerate me at my best and worst, and I’m learning to apply those principles to others that I come across in my travels. That said, if they admit their longing for an underage person or post nothing but selfies, all bets are off.

#YesAllWomen and Porn Mentality (NSFW)

(Warning: Shit might get gross up in here.)

As a purveyor of social media, I occasionally (okay, USUALLY) come across material that makes me question humanity. One late-night tryst sounded my awful alarm: a dickbag with the Twitter handle @CauseWereGuys (username “Because I’m a Guy,” because you have to double-down on the bro stupidity) posted “When people ask me why I don’t want to have a daughter” with a graphic image of a woman with male ejaculate on her face. Cut to facepalm.

Naturally, this chauvinist thought it was fine to state this (and the visual) for their 1.62 million followers. But the mindset and attitude behind this–and the people that buy into it–are more problematic. I’m assuming that the woman with male DNA on her mug was a participant of sex (willing or otherwise), and her partner knew that she was someone’s daughter or mother. But you can’t focus on that, bro! Gotta get that nut off!

So, OF COURSE my mind went into overdrive with questions. Why is it okay to have sex with a woman, but to not see said woman as someone’s offspring? Why is the image of a woman as a sexual being such a double-sided depiction? And how does this fuel the insane notion of “daddy’s girl” being protected by the shotgun-toting father figure? Lots of questions, lots of supposed answers!



When the #YesAllWomen hashtag caught on after the troubling mass shooting rampage carried out by 22-year old Elliot Rodger against the “beautiful girls” that never gave him the time of day, many female social media users felt empowered to share their horrific experiences with men–from protecting themselves against potential date rape, to the aftermath of violence. Rodger, a self-professed men’s rights activist, saw women as possessions; the sexually attractive female was his by birthright. He wasn’t alone in that notion, as critics of these female bullies, anti-social justice warriors, and contradictory dicks stuck up for the deceased gunman and/or mocked the hashtag and the women speaking up about their thoughts and beliefs.

Women LITERALLY couldn’t have a day to talk about serious issues facing their gender, what with male assholes having to challenge that. The realization that women faced hostility and violence because of the lopsided viewpoint of gender equality made these He-Men uncomfortable with the fact that: sex has unfortunate consequences; that women are still treated miserably in an ever-prospering world; that men were the majority of the antagonists in the #YesAllWomen posts; and that the fantasies of the chaste woman and sexual harlot were muddied by the harsh realities of terrible actions. And because of that, these keyboard misogynists lashed out, shaming the posters (women and men) that used the hashtag in efforts to silence them and return to the status quo of sexist jokes and “DEM BOOBS DOE.”

Why jerkoffs felt it was not only fine but their right to belittle the true stories of women speaks to the puritan culture that seeps through society as a whole. The idea of a woman being chaste is nothing new; it’s as old as one of the oldest professions, the prostitute. I’m guessing that the old-timey Madonna-Whore complex, the categorization of women as either sexually attractive or merely admirable, is a catalyst of such beliefs that permeate many aspects of our society. The desire to protect a woman’s virtue from sexual acts and consequences can be seen in political legislation (DAMN THOSE WOMEN THAT HAD SEX!), slut-shaming, and fearful men that have to deal with their daughter’s boyfriends.

That latter point in particular is interesting, as the frightful prospect of their little girl being intimate with a younger version of father, the same father that once (or still) has those physical urges to mate with the sexually attractive female, makes them realize two things: “OH SHIT, HE WANTS 2 TAP DAT”; and “I NEED TO CONTROL MY DAUGHTER’S VAGINA.” Never mind that people are going to have sex despite the wishes of their parents, and never mind that those same naysayers once had sex with girls within their age bracket.

How telling is it that the father would most likely NOT freak out if the situation was reversed and girl showed up at his door wanting to take his son out? Here’s the basic, unspoken pep talk between father (Dr. Dre) and son (Snoop Doggy Dogg) as dictated by our culture:

“Wear that pussy out, son.”

Meanwhile, the father in question would probably not be as liberal if his daughter was to be squired about town by a similarly-aged lad:

“That’s MY pussy, junior.”

Sexuality is a tricky subject, and it is an unhealthy organism if popular culture can be believed. We

  • Tease young adults that wait to have sex shame young women if they’ve had sex
  • Culturally high-five guys for how MANY women they bed
  • Peer pressure young women into dressing as sexual objects to fend off horny guys
  • Degrade a women for the physical aspects of her body
  • Shame the women of a negative sexual encounter, let alone ANY sexual encounter (walk of shame, anyone?)
  • MAYBE prosecute male rapists
  • Shrug when men have multiple children with numerous partners and
  • Shame a women with a child out of wedlock (though it’s supposedly not nearly the cultural calamity it once was) and destroy her if she has more than one child with more than one partner.

I’m sure I’m forgetting a few. But aren’t these the same things that would be a turn-off of those that equate the virtues espoused in porn to be reality? Don’t guys want to see legal (and sometimes younger) young ladies doing all sorts of sexual shit? Aren’t there millions of bros young and old that look up to male pornstars? Idiots that mock a woman for not “having curves” that are either surgically enhanced or uncharacteristic of most women? Look down upon the same women they lust after? And let us not forget the lady that is Octomom.

The scales are tipped against women, and the last thing anyone should do is to deride their experiences. And we as a society need to make things safer and easier for everyone to not only share their accounts, but to limit the negative encounters. Maybe instead of joking about protecting your daughter with a shotgun, you can educate your daughter AND son to be responsible when it comes to sexual encounters as well as to respect their partner’s wishes. Maybe instead of hootin’ and hollerin’ when dude-bros brag about their latest conquests, shame that frat-douche for treating women like sex dolls. And maybe, JUST maybe, we can not give women guilt trips about their roles in sexual relationships.

More dialogues about the realities can lead to enlightened people (though some people just can’t learn a damn thing), despite the glacial pace it would take to undo centuries of patriarchal thinking. I’d like to believe we can get to a point where having a daughter is not met with fear but with the same sense of pride that culture reserves for its sons. Whenever I have kids, I know I’ll share that honor–even if others tell him or her otherwise.

Celebrate the Kentucky Derby at Pizza Hut!


Made from delicious thoroughBREAD horses.

Pizza Hut: Making It Great (to recycle horses into food)

Basic Bitch, Bros, and Bias

basic bitch

Image courtesy of (sigh)

On Friday, feminist (and fashion-catty) blog Jezebel posted a takedown piece on the “basic bitch” trend, equating it to yet another fad white people are ruining. They used examples and video to cite their thesis that your annoying coworker that genuinely gushes about Keeping Up With the Kardashians and red velvet cupcakes in a vocal fry with abbreviated terms is a basic bitch. (And sure, it’s proven that white people co-opt things when other cultures have used them up.) While they’re about 5 years late to the party (an Urban Dictionary poster, happy to hear the latest Lil’ Duval and Spoken Reasons hip-hops, got people up on the term in a grammatically incorrect way), they’re acknowledging that hey, it’s something to talk about!

For those of you that don’t know, a “basic bitch” can mean a variety of things: a woman that likes popular, bland things (pumpkin spice anything, Orange is the New Black, Jason Mraz); a girl with a lack of personality (i.e. not edgy, unique, dynamic); a lady that does wrong by their man (from cheating to wearing unattractive clothes); a female that can’t be themselves around said man; a dame that thinks she is better than her contemporaries; and so on. Notice a trend here? The term “basic bitch” encompasses traits that an extroverted, diverse, masculine-focused society shames women for having.

The basic denominator (see what I did there?) is that you can be called a basic bitch simply for being a woman. NO WOMAN IS IMMUNE. And yeah, some trends (pumpkin spice and red velvet things) are annoying and rampant, but it’s no excuse to apply a generic term that has sexist overtones. The fact that the phrase came from the hip-hop scene does its chauvinistic image no favors–though really, all music has an inequality towards women.

But what about men? What is the male version of a basic bitch? A “bro?” I think so. So-called cultural mavericks Vice did an exhaustive article (and I mean “exhaustive;” it’s a tedious read) on the American bro, which nails the mindset and behaviors of the generic male dickbag. (Their argument loses a little bit of respect when they come to the bro’s defense a week later.) But the takeaways and comments in both articles are valid: the Miller Lite-swilling, boisterous, ego-fragile, homophobic and sexist go-getter is the bland trope of masculinity; the braggadocios nature of the bro, egged on by and marketed to a male-dominated society, is the standard of American manliness; and MAN UP AND DON’T BE A BITCH!

So the basic bitch is reviled in its femininity but the bro is the standard bearer of manhood. Right. Never mind that the same arguments raised railing against the former (liking popular, bland things; not having a true personality; doing wrong by their partner; not able to be themselves; feeling superior to their peers) are championed in the latter. I may be an armchair sociologist (that’s DR. Genial Black Man to you), but that seems biased to me.

But is there anything we can do about this troubling trend, this reminder that the battle of the sexes wages on in favor of men? Well, sure! First, we can stop denigrating ourselves with and by negative words. We can dig down deep into their meaning  on a personal and cultural level. Another thing is to stop taking social advice from morons (Lil’ Duval, the Kardashians,  etc.) and think for ourselves. But more than that, maybe we can stop defending behavior that is detrimental to ourselves and others–through articles, music, and whatever else is around the corner–and think about what we’re expelling from our cultural consumption. But that’s wishful thinking from a non-basic bitch bro.


The Ballad of James Franco (NSFW)

What Are YOU Doing For April Fools’ Day?

april fools day

4 Things I Hope For in 2014

new year 2014

Google needs a new artist. (Courtesy of

(I’m trying to BuzzFeed this shit.)

As I write this, it is January 4, and millions of New Year’s resolutions have already been broken. People made lofty commitments for the new year in their haste to better themselves, and they abandoned them faster than Netflix and their streaming movie selection.

In the past, I’ve done resolutions and goals, but this year will be different. I offer my hopes for 2014 that are beyond my control, offering the universe the chance to do my bidding. (*insert evil laugh*) As much of my writing and thought process is focused on pop culture, expect to see many in that vein.


1. I Hope We Figure Out This Racism Thing

Racism will never truly go away–despite all the efforts from clueless people to proclaim American society as post-racial. (If you need evidence of the everlasting fad known as racism, read But I hope–HOPE–that more people realize the power of their bigoted words and actions.

Whether it’s not posting a racist joke on social media or, heck, NOT committing a hate crime despite that nagging urge (no, they’re NOT taking away your white women), go above your horrible base instincts and lay off the acts steeped in belittling a culture other than your own. We really don’t need to know that Asians are supposedly bad drivers, let alone that black people are inferior.

And while we’re at it, let’s re-evaluate institutionalized racism–whether it’s black people shopping at Macy’s and Barneys, affirmative action laws being challenged, or New York City’s awful “Stop-and-Frisk” law.

Stereotypes may be fun to indulge in (especially if you’re an asshole), but maybe find a hobby to better yourself. Minorities don’t need to be on the receiving end of your shit.

2. I Hope We Stop The Shaming Trend

It’s a never-ending cycle: fat-shaming; race-shaming; slut-shaming; SHAME-shaming. “Shaming” joined bullying as a popular form of  psychological oppression in 2013, and it mostly popped up online. (Hi Jezebel.) The term “shaming” sounds so passive-aggressive, and it becomes a reality when internet users latch onto an issue big and small–lashing out at their peers without really knowing the person or the facts.

I’ve gone on record as supporting people to feel and express their feelings, but that comes with a price: being all dicky with their words. (I’m no saint on this topic, either.) Maybe if we acknowledge that shaming is really about people being bastards, we can dig deeper into the issues that set off so many nerves and actually have some good dialogue.

3. I Hope We Get Off Reality TV Shows

If I’ve learned anything from the Duck Dynasty fiasco (besides the racism, the homophobia, and the fakeness), it’s that people will support anything–to the point where they’ll force companies to continue profiting off of hate-filled brands, because money. The investment people have with such a brand is troubling, as is the prospect of audiences with similarly vapid shows.

I know that this form of entertainment provides escapism for folks, but it shouldn’t come at the cost of exposing the troubling undercurrent of hate and carelessness bubbling under the surface. People like yukking it up at dumb folks; I get that. But that crosses a line when you’re writing angry screeds for Cracker Barrel (its name a self-fulfilling prophecy for its customer base) to carry your favorite show’s products (with said dumb folks) OR ELSE.

I hope that with this tipping point reached, people go back to idolizing knowingly-fake shit on television and movies (though The Big Bang Theory doesn’t need any more attention, thanks), actors, musicians or sports stars–four things that are hurting for eyeballs. They have mouths to feed and coke habits to indulge!

4. I Hope The Deconstruction of Celebrity is Completed

The trainwreck(ing ball) known as Miley Cyrus gave pearl-clutchers everything they wanted in 2013: a sneering, tongue-wagging, (faux)-twerking, public pot-smoking, culture-reappropriating, sexual exhibitionist of a monster person. Well clutch those pearls to the point of crushing them to powder: IT’S ALL THE PART OF A CHARACTER! DESPITE CLAIMING IT WAS HER REAL PERSONALITY IN HER MTV “DOCUMENTARY”!

Having now blown the lid off of the fakeness of persona (as I hoped people would sarcastically continue to idolize celebrity), I hope other artists come out as products of a confused, fuddy-duddy music industry. While Lady Gaga’s celeb-deconstruction campaign collapsed on itself last year (the soft sales of ARTPOP hint at this), let’s hope others point out the BS that comes with large promotional campaigns, let alone the persona that comes with selling art for millions of dollars.

Actress Jennifer Lawrence is refreshing in this regard because of her candid interviews and behavior revealing a quippy, almost-human person. While it remains to be seen if people will feel the same in 5-10 years (society disposes of celebrity when they either figure someone out, or they realize they no longer want to fuck a once-hot woman), I hope more artists shake the foundation of plastic promotion and persona by being human–warts and all.


While I’m leaving my hopes in the hands of fate, I can at least try to will something to happen in 2014: to travel more; to visit more friends; to have better health; to date; and to get into a great relationship. But that’s all boring stuff. Whatever happens this year, it will be entertaining, and writing about it will be a hope fulfilled.


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