2011 has been a watershed year for the best and worst moments in our culture. What better way to look back at the blunders of humanity than to mock it? I like to do that with what I have deemed the “blurst” awards, originating from an episode of The Simpsons where 1,000 monkeys on typewriters attempted to replicate Charles Dickens (“It was the best of times, it was the BLURST of times?!”). “Blurst” celebrates the absurd for the positive and negative qualities. And 2011 was truly absurd–more than 2009 and 2010. (And the fact that Chris Brown released a new album this year is even blurstier than ’09!)
Strap on your mind-rockets, equip your oxygen tanks and pray to your deity of choice: we’re traveling into imagination-space for the Blurst of the Year awards! Excelsior!
Blurst Nominees for Political Office: GOP Presidential Nominees
Let’s run down the list of the Republicans/Libertarians running for President of the United States–the once-respected top position in the free world until racists freaked the fuck out in 2008:
- Michelle Bachmann–crazier than a raccoon in an outhouse, homophobic, racist, sexist, bear keeper
- Herman Cain–not that bright, egomaniac, sexually assaulted half of the women in the restaurant industry, loves Pokemon, now out of the race
- Newt Gingrich–ethical maverick, racist, loves ’em and leaves ’em, personality of a penis
- Jon Huntsman–who?
- Ron Paul–old, somewhat racist, sometimes makes too much sense to be taken seriously
- Rick Perry–*sigh* just watch this:
- Mitt Romney–flip-flops to appeal to everyone, needs daily reboot
- Rick Santorum–homophobic, racist, deservedly earned definition of his last name (GOOGLE that NOW)
- Donald Trump–blowhard, racist, sexist, horrible businessman, questionable follicle situation, now out of race (?)
It is a delight to see such horrible people campaign on the platform of Crazy, Hate and Crazy-Hate in the effort to take down President Black Man, if only because their pandering to equally horrible, equally crazy voters reveal how broken the political process is and how morally backwards their supporters are. (Have you seen and heard the cheering at GOP debates for troubling subjects like the death penalty? YEAH.)
I knew that it would take a perfect storm of turmoil in the United States to top the xenophobic, fear-based insanity of the Red Scare of the ’50s, and by gum it has been met: put a biracial man in the White House in the midst of a horrible economic downturn and watch the hate and crazy froth. And the GOP presidential nominees are rising to the ignorance challenge. Future school children will wonder why people in the early aughts were so afraid of life in the land formerly known as the United States, and you can point to the 2012 presidential elections as the zenith of the blurst of the political zeitgeist.
Blurst Television Network: E!
There were worthy competitors for the crown: TLC has the mouth-chewing celibates of The Virgin Diaries; VH1 has the woman-bashing-as-helping Tough Love series (yuck) and Comedy Central continues to show Carlos Mencia and Jeff Dunham specials. But E! held it down this year with the combo of shallow soap “star” series Dirty Soap, shallow expose of idiot models and sociopathic modeling agencies Scouted, glorifying stupidity and sadness with Kendra (and hell, every other E! show), shallow news-for-people-with-multiple-head-injuries failure E! News, and the millions of Kardashian-related shows that are spawned from Kim Kardashian’s ass.
Kim K’s wedding to Herman Munster would alone give E! the award, but it was the poop-crusted cherry on their shit sundae. And this is the same network that will turn on a dime and solemnly report on the 20 most shocking blonde-haired white girl murders with their E! Investigates series. (And really, there is nothing sadder and more rage-inducing than a red-blooded American than a pretty blonde white girl being kidnapped, potentially by one of those forsaken brown people.)
For that awesome committment to air-headedly vapid entertainment and grisly murder, both reinforcing racism and stereotypes, I bestow E! the coveted Blursty.
Blurst TV Trend: Manly television shows
Two of the four major networks, CBS and ABC, debuted macho, dude-based shows based on the premise of men taking back their masculinity from their female oppressors and the collective love cave known as modern society. CBS’s How to Be a Gentleman, with David Hornsby (It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia) as the titular gentleman yin to Entourage caveman Kevin Dillon’s machismo-dripping caveman yang, has already suffered cancellation, surely because of those DAMN WOMEN and not because it was crappy.
ABC thrusted their stupid penises into their programming with three (!) bro shows: Last Man Standing, the return of Tim Allen no one clamored for; Man Up!, which has already been canceled and not memorable enough to talk about further; and Work It, the 21st century version of Bosom Buddies no one clamored for. At least it could be paired with a Dr. Pepper Ten.
All eagerly portrayed men as long-suffering protagonists to the devil’s triangle-equipped antagonists known as ladies. And the fearful ideas of diminishing masculinity these shows portray are so funny in their backwards-acting and thinking dudes that they overpower the sadness that television programming executives believe that viewers will eat this shit up. For such regressive executive thinking and stupidly entertaining network blunder and bluster, I’m saving all my blurst for you…
Blurst Album Cover of the Year: Born This Way
Drink it in: the ridiculousness; the forced raunchiness; the pomposity of Lady Gaga contained in her gas tank to proclaim herself queen of the gays. It’s all there, and it tastes DELICIOUS.
Blurst Rapper of the Year: Drake
Drake is an interesting conundrum: his music deals with fame and regret in a way few–if any– rappers broach them; and yet he is as popular with teenage girls as with the press. For all the music scribe talk about Do-It-Yourself rappers like the Odd Future collective and Yelawolf, Drake is bigger, likely due to his major label status. (And perhaps in spite of his fame, the clean, safe choice for the music industry to prop up.)
Those musings on life and love and longing, pieced together in stacatto-like rhymes that read like Twitter posts (hence, the so-called dis known as “hashtag rap”) are as beloved as they are chided. Some see his introspective rhymes and singing as a revelation; others want that whiny-ass bitch to shut the fuck up. And then there’s that album cover:
Few artists have as many fans and detractors as Drake. (No, Nickelback and Creed do not count as artists.) I respect that division and derision, if only for the love letters rap-averse music writers lavish upon yon Drake. More white music journalists love Drake than Radiohead, and that is a great feat in this fragmented music culture.
Maybe MSNBC windbag Chris Matthews was right in that America is now post-racial and really isn’t; the biracial Aubrey “Drake” Graham is the Obama of music. And with Take Care, it’s like Obama 2008 part 2. So that means that the inevitable backlash is around the corner. Let the music industry versions of Tea Party Patriots commence!
Blurst Movie Director: David Gordon Green
Director David Gordon Green was carving a commendable career with movies like All the Real Girls and Snow Angels, and then he took a shining to Danny McBride.
His foray into comedy, Pineapple Express, was an above-average homage to ’80s action-comedies, but the movie magic ran dry with this year’s one-two poor punch of comedies (?) Your Highness (lavish sets couldn’t hide half-witted, sub-sophomoric writing–and I love sophomoric stuff) and The Sitter.
It is fascinating to see Green give the middle finger to critics with his big studio comedies (?); his first feature film, the self-written and directed George Washington, is a Criterion Collection selection, fer Chrissakes! (Then again, so is Armageddon, so he’s in good company?) It’s like his self-loathing is such that he wants critics to take back their former respect. And his mining of 80’s sub-genres (action-comedies, fantasy-comedies, babysitting-comedies) to do so is even more impressive.
I hope his next film tackles the long-lost genre of alien-young boy comedies and stars Jonah Hill as a weed-smoking, sass-talking alien–rated ARGH for fuck you!
And speaking of movies:
Blurst Movie Franchise (*slits wrist*): Valentine’s Day/New Year’s Eve/Arbor Day (2013?)
Ensemble movies are nothing new. Holiday-themed movies are nothing new. So how did these movies gross enough to warrant their existence? Good question, reader. Moviegoers apparently love annoying actors (Bradley Cooper, Josh Duhamel, Jamie Foxx, Ashton Kutcher, Taylor Lautner, George Lopez, Howard Storm as “Louder Guy”) and actresses (Jessica Biel, Katherine Heigl, Sarah Jessica Parker, Taylor Swift, Kimberly Arnold as “Cemetery Movie Girl”) hamming it up (or attempting to, like Taylor Lautner) for scant screen time to avoid registering raised veins on one’s head. The movies flounder despite the acting chops (?) of Halle Berry, Hector Elizondo and… sorry, I’m drawing a blank.
What’s worse/better is that at least one character names change between films. In Valentine’s Day, Biel is known as Kara Monahan; in New Year’s Eve, she is in hiding as Tess Byrne. Kutcher goes by Reed Bennett in VD; in the sorta-sequel, he is Randy (a nickname?). I’m sure there are more, but I’m tired and annoyed at myself for researching this. Look the rest up yourself: Valentine’s Day Cast and New Year’s Eve Cast
These movies look shitty, and I’m sure New Year’s Eve will make enough money to warrant a third, shittier movie centered around a lesser holiday. I’m actually looking forward to how much blood Warner Bros. drains from this shitty movie franchise (*slits wrist*) turnip. It’ll be proof that capitalism is alive and hilarious. That’s Blurst, baby.
Despite fears of the world ending in December 2012, I predict that you’ll come back this time next year to read the 4th annual Blurst of the Year list. If not, I’m sure that a sentient robot will hammer out something via their snarky programming. Onward!