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Archive for May 2009

Hug It Out

Filed Under: Screenshots From Kira's Television

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So it’s getting down to the nitty gritty on MTV’s Real World/Road Rules Duel 2, meaning the only people left are guys on steroids and the girls fortunate enough to be partnered with them. Although this season has been lackluster in terms of competition—the method for choosing who goes into the duel is as much a popularity contest as anything else, and Landon wins every fucking challenge anyway—there’s been a good amount of drama: CT assaulted Adam on day one, Rachel and Jen rekindled a flame ignited in prior challenges, much to the chagrin of Aneesa, who has apparently been hung up on Rachel for nearly a decade. And Brad and Tory are engaged, which isn’t really dramatic (until next week’s episode!) so much as just…weird. Oh, and MJ’s got a child at home, whose college he’s trying to pay for, an altruistic goal he never lets a single cast member (or us as the audience) forget. 

But the real standout this season is Evan, who reminds me of Chunk from The Goonies, if Chunk started weight-lifting in middle school to regain semblance of self-esteem. Indeed, Evan’s “I was at one point in my life fat, a loser or a fat loser” attitude come across as insecurity and paranoia, wrapped in Muscle Milk packaging. Sitting alongside “I’ve tripled in size since my season of the Real World,” Landon, “I’m not always surprised, my eyes are really just this big” Brad and “I’m 37 and still doing challenges” Mark, Evan’s discomfort is palpable — he knows he’s the next kid out in dodgeball, and so do we. 

Which is why it was kind of hilarious to see Evan’s reading material of choice this week - despite MTV’s bizarre and unnecessary attempt to block out the title. Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman’s Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia isn’t exactly the stuff of champions - unless we’re talking about a quilt-making championship, or …a tournament of feelings. Perhaps Evan might be better served by more masculine literature.  Some suggestions? Tucker Max’s I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell,  Maddox’s The Alphabet of Manliness, or Neil Strauss’ The Game. At the very least it would make him look like slightly less of a pussy when he’s laying in bed whining about the woes of the duel.

 
kira

1:23 PM on May 28th, 2009 | 

Posted by kira

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“I’m Watching You” Only Takes 16 Characters

Filed Under: Pop Culture

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The Kutchers: a private people

Leave it to Ashton Kutcher to fuck everything up. 

Less than eight hours after news surfaced that tech start-up Twitter was in negotiations for a tweet-based reality television show, celebrities that include Ashton Kutcher and …Ashton Kutcher, lambasted the idea, saying he’d pull his Twitter feed before allowing himself to “get stalked.”

In a statement, Twitter and its production partners — the geniuses behind reality stalwarts like The Biggest Loser — said the new show would put “ordinary people on the trail of celebrities in a revolutionary competitive format.” What that means is anyone’s guess, but I personally take it as some sort of “Find The Celebrity” Amazing Race type show, an idea that didn’t sit well with either Ashton or Demi Moore, who also said she’d cease tweeting if the show came to pass as described. 

It’s not that I can’t understand celebrities wanting to dodge the limelight sometimes. Were I any moderate degree of famous, I’d probably invest in dark sunglasses and ill-fitting hats as well, parading around the city in disguises until some determined photographer catches me buying a family-sized pack of miniature Hershey bars at Duane Reade. But we’re not talking about normal celebrities — we’re talking about Ashton and Demi. We’re talking about a couple that purposefully got on the Twitter boat early, sharing with fans nonsensical personal details about Ashton’s movie, or Demi’s oral surgery, or Ashton’s affinity for his wife’s naked ass (see above). We’re talking about two people who saw a social networking tool that does nothing except promote minute-by-minute life-sharing, and jumped on it. 

So really Ashton, what’s the worst a Twitter-based show could do? Surprise famous people? Make them look silly? Embarass celebrities by having would-be comedians secretly film them living their day-to-day lives and then freak them out with some sort of highly orchestrated prank?

You’re right — sounds pretty awful.

 
kira

6:57 PM on May 26th, 2009 | 

Posted by kira

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Somebody Has a Case of the Weekdays

Filed Under: Pop Culture

Discovery: Having a case of the Tuesdays is just as bad as having a case of the Mondays, when Tuesday basically is Monday and perhaps even worse when considering that Monday was actually a holiday and thus Tuesday comes after three whole days of utter relaxation, characterized by the fact that I started the weekend with at least 30 beers in my refrigerator and ended it with none. This particular case of the Tuesdays was also significantly contributed to by the fact that the first thing I did this morning was manage to slam my own finger in the bathroom door. In truth, no day of the week should start with me crouching on the ground cursing my own stupidity before 7 a.m.

That said, there’s plenty to be cheerful about this morning: the sun’s out, the temperature’s reasonable and I’m only one large coffee away from feeling human again. Oh, and this stuff: 

NEW YORK CITY BUSES are getting new sensors that will open their rear doors automatically when people are nearby. The goal is to help senior citizens and people with baggage to get on the bus more easily, though I have a far more entertaining visual of the city more or less condoning all the people who sneak in the back door without paying. 

BEN STILLER FANTASTY FOLLOW-UP Night at the Musem 2 actually beat out the much-anticipated revival of Terminator at the box office this weekend. Don’t worry, all this really says about society is that we’d rather escape to a world where historical relics come to life than one where 20-story robots bent on our destruction demolish the globe. And we like Owen Wilson. 

BROADWAY OPENED THIS WEEKEND for pedestrians, as vehicular traffic at Herald and Times squares was shut down in some bizarre new Bloomberg experiment that uses bright lights and shiny things to distract New Yorkers from the mayor’s imminent third-term run. The result — thousands of people sitting in deck chairs on concrete in the hot sun, surrounded by exhaust residue and homeless people’s pee — says it’s working!

ACCORDING TO THE WALL Street Journal, the recession is taking its toll on rappers, “many of whom are finding it difficult to afford the diamond-encrusted pendants and heavy gold chains they have long used to project an aura of outsized wealth.” Show me one Wall Street Journal writer that’s actually heard of or met an actual “hip hop artist,” and I’ll show you the paper’s crime reporter.

 
kira

9:38 AM on May 26th, 2009 | 

Posted by kira

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I Was Told There’d Be Armageddon

Filed Under: Politics, Pop Culture

panicAnd so it begins. The summer of no news. The economy, while still slowly imploding in on itself, seems to have moved away from the rapid freefall into global depression that seemed so unavoidable just a few short months ago. We have a black, progressive, intelligent president — who knows almost as many big words as Bush made up on his own.

And swine flu — which for a brief 15 minutes of porcine fame threatened to upend our sudden post-Obama euphoria — has already faded: This week Mexico City lowered its swine flu alert level from yellow to green, saying there have been no new infections for a week. (This is to say nothing of other Mexico City alert levels, related to things like “drug-related violence,” “irreversible pollution” or “gang warfare,” all of which remain at a rather permanent state of red). 

What is there left to do when dinosaur-caliber mountains of shit aren’t perpetually hitting an industrial-sized fan? Twiddle our thumbs? Pick our noses? Watch an inordinate amount of reality television? 

Bring on the next global crisis; I’m bored.

 
kira

3:12 PM on May 22nd, 2009 | 

Posted by kira

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Bittersweet Symphony

Filed Under: TV

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A cursory Google News search yields nearly 5,000 stories related to “Kris Allen,” last night’s winner of the 87th season of American Idol. You might argue, in fact, that I’m only even posting about the show — which I don’t watch — in an effort to capture fans left shell-shocked by Allen’s apparently surprising win. Indeed, you could accuse me of being a slut for Google trends.

It’s an accusation I’ll gladly accept, because in contemplating various RA topics today, I found myself bombarded on all sides—by news outlets, blogs and the chatty mail room guy who fills in during our receptionist’s lunch breaks—with surprised exclamations: “He won?!” Although I have long since accepted that millions upon millions of people watch American Idol—some 100 million voted in the finale—it never ceases to amaze me the kind of water cooler gossip generated by this show.

The latest scandal appears to be this: Kris Allen, a golden boy from Arkansas, did the unthinkable, beating out eyeliner-wearing rocker Adam Lambert to be this season’s winner. Fans and bloggers alike, the vast majority of whom appear incredibly surprised by this outcome, speculate that Allen’s religious background, or appeal to tween girls, are behind the coup — so far, no one has suggested he snagged the win based on anything like “merit” or “ability to sing songs.”

Which leads me to wonder: imagine being Kris Allen right now. I mean sure, he just won American Idol, and even as a dark horse the guy undoubtedly has a fan base of braces-wearing, Trapper Keeper-using pre-teens. But no one, and I mean no one, thinks he should have won. CNN is calling the victory stunning (and not in the good way), HuffPo called it an “upset,” and “Kris Allen beats Adam Lambert” may soon trump thinly-veiled sexual allusions for the definition of “shocker.” Even the fucking Wall Street Journal wrote about this shit. A slew of journalists are tearing apart each performance, offering “expert analysis” on why, oh God why, Allen could have possibly scored the win here.

Seems unless you have the American public in your pocket, winning isn’t even worth it. Take a look at Ruben Studdard, victor of American Idol’s second season, who probably died of obesity-related health defects three years ago. Or Season Three winner Fantasia Barrino, whose victory over Jennifer Hudson pales in comparison to Hudson’s, you know, Academy Award. The bottom line is unless you write a song so pop-infused it becomes irresistible to literally every music fan ever (”Since You’ve Been Gone”) or amass a cult-like following of potentially deranged middle-Americans (Clay Aiken), you’re no idol of this America.

 
kira

5:28 PM on May 21st, 2009 | 

Posted by kira

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Fish And Pringles

Filed Under: Food and Drink

pringlesYou heard it here first: Pringles are indeed a chip

A British appeals court ruled Wednesday that the taxman does have the right to charge the country’s “Value Added Tax” on the many-flavored treat, putting an end to the multi-year argument from Pringle maker Procter & Gamble that their product should be exempt from the tax because it’s a “savory food” rather than a potato crisp. 

Law states that the VAT should apply to “potato crisps, potato sticks, potato puffs and similar products made from the potato, or from potato flour, or from potato starch, and savoury products obtained by the swelling of cereals or cereal products; and salted or roasted nuts other than nuts in a shell” which is a long-winded way of saying “Fuck you Pringles, you wanted in the big wide world of potato foods, now accept the consequences.” And sorry P&G rep Roderick Cordara, not only is “potatoness” not a word, but if it were, I would say Pringles definitely have enough potatosity to qualify. 

Despite their seemingly endless attempt to beat out Lays, Doritos and other chip-makers in the food world, Pringles have not historically done well with press. I will never forget reports that the chips’ low-fat and fat-free incarnations led to, well, “anal leakage.” Nor can I truly support any chip company that considers it necessary to have 12 different flavors, among them thing like “loaded baked potato” and “spicy guacamole.”

Seems that once you pop, the fun actually can stop.

 
kira

4:10 PM on May 20th, 2009 | 

Posted by kira

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Park Life

Filed Under: Skateboarding

Why aren’t there more skate parks out there like this one they’re planning to build in San Francisco? Oh, right, probably because most of the time, skate parks are designed by oblivious city planners whose last experience with a skateboard was when they stepped on one twenty years ago in high school, fell in front of a crowd of laughing and jeering assholes (skateboarders), and vowed to make their hecklers pay by building parks with layouts so confounding that finding a line in them is like navigating The fucking Grape Escape.

New San Francisco Skate Park Renderings

San Francisco deserves a beautiful park full of realistic street obstacles considering the once mecca of street skating has slowly seen all its great ghosts of skateboarding past knobbed, destroyed, or otherwise exorcised. After all, most cities’ primary function is to crush hapless skaters back into the asphalt from which they came… unless of course they’re making the city a ton of cash for two weeks during the X-Games.

New San Francisco Skate Park Renderings

Skate parks are necessary considering the transient and nomadic nature of skating — this nature applies to spots as well. They come, they go, they’re infested with kooks on Razor scooters or security guards or, ugh, stupid pedestrians. Skate parks provide a haven for skaters who are but a tiny island in a sea of curbs and cracked pavement, and realistic street courses are essential for skaters looking to hone their skills in a place where they don’t have only two tries before a scary fat guy in a uniform comes lumbering over to ruin the fun. Read More ›

 
aaron

2:15 PM on May 20th, 2009 | 

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The Hills’ Best Cameo To Date

Filed Under: Screenshots From Kira's Television

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The guitarist for stupidly named “The White Tie Affair” sure is lucky MTV was willing to pull a few synergy strings to get his band magically featured on an episode of The Hills this week — how convenient that Audrina’s employer, which does something with music or modeling or events or something, just happened to be filming a video for the band, and Stephanie just happened to run into the guitarist — who by the by, just happened to invite her out for drinks before revealing he lives with his girlfriend. Who Stephanie later called a “live-in girlfriend,” as though she stays home and bakes her guitarist beau cookies until he comes back from “the road” to let her out back for a bathroom break. 

I just happen to think dear sweet Sean looks an awful lot like a mythical creation of yore–he’s about as smart too.

 
kira

9:40 AM on May 20th, 2009 | 

Posted by kira

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Real Chance at Loving Charm

Filed Under: TV Reviews

charmschoolThey came, they loved, they fought, they lost. They left alone, returning to strip clubs, trailer parks and housing projects across the nation, where they waited with bated breath for the call: not from Real, or Chance, or Bret, not from their bill collectors or baby daddies, not from the repo man or Chinese delivery person. They waited for VH1, for the network of lost souls, to ring them up and say the words every past dating show contestant wants to hear: “Do you want to be on Charm School?”

And so the ladies of both Real Chance of Love and the third season of Rock of Love joined forces for the first-ever Charm School to combine casts from different VH1 series. Hosted by the wisely-chosen Ricki Lake, who has no shortage of experience fielding verbal outbursts from women without pride, class or dignity, the show ran very little risk of being bad – and so far, it hasn’t been.

Although last week’s season premier was perhaps a more logical time to give my review – and indeed, lived up to expectations with Rock of Love ‘tomboy’ Beverly getting booted for pulling the hair of borderline-crazy porn star ROL-er Brittaney Star – it’s good that I’m able to give a more comprehensive opinion after watching this week.

As was to be expected, the show’s “cast” quickly split down the middle – with the Real Chance girls in one clique and the Rock of Love girls in the other. There remain a few wayward stragglers – Real Chance’s KO seems far too boring to even be on TV, and Brittaney Star quickly latched on to the Real Chance girls to avoid the verbal harassment coming from her own former cast-mates. Bubbles, the notoriously moronic Real Chance contestant, has also come under fire from her own people – who seem bizarrely offended by the fact that she speaks like a little girl.

What Ricki Lake, and fellow judge LaLa, were quick to point out was how cleanly the divide between shows became a divide between races—the majority of Real Chance competitors are black, and the girls from Rock of Love brought “white trash” to a new low this year. In this way, this season of Charm School has somehow become VH1’s déclassé attempt to address race relations in the country: the Real Chance girls are flabbergasted by the alcohol-fueled arguments between ROL ladies, whose development of verbal skills clearly tapered off somewhere around high school. Meanwhile, the ROL crew stages a late-episode mutiny over their inability to “conversate” when Real Chance cast members are screaming at them, or at one-another, or at nothing. At the risk of succumbing to the types of racial stereotypes this show simultaneously mocks and enforces – the white girls are petty drunkards and the black girls’ debate skills are primarily measured by the volume of their voices. Read More ›

 
kira

2:00 PM on May 19th, 2009 | 

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Bring ‘Em Out

Filed Under: Music

Want to know how to get caught with 10 machine guns and only spend two months in jail? Be T.I. Inspire the children of Atlanta’s Ron Clark Academy to perform a fair and balanced parody of your hit “Whatever You Like” in the theme of last fall’s epic electoral boogaloo. Warm the hearts of teenagers everywhere with melodramatic MTV sap-umentaries. Do that, and we’ll call it a deal — you’ve done your time. After all… you are the King of the South. Or at least, so you told me.

The rapper, the self-proclaimed “King of the South,” had faced a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine for each charge in his three-count indictment.

Harris will be credited for 305 days of home detention he already has served after being charged, so his stay at the Forrest City prison likely will be only two months.

After this, Clifford’s going to have to do better for his lawyer than pull a Rick James and get a couple girls in the club to show him their tittays. And at the very least, this whole debacle only proves that maybe that troublesome alter ego of his, T.I.P., kind of can have whatever he likes, even if that includes a completely gratuitous stash of scary guns.

Either way, one thing is for sure: his new cell is going to blow (whoops, heh, maybe the wrong term for a prison joke… or maybe… it’s just right) compared to the dump where he spent the majority of his sentence.

Relatively free anyway. Life yo' life dogg.

Relatively free anyway. Life yo' life dogg.

 
aaron

9:30 AM on May 19th, 2009 | 

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Kickin’ It

Filed Under: Sneakers

Soul 2 Sole, a short tribute to the evolution of sneaker culture by David Park, has been going around the series of tubes we call the Internet today. As a senior graduate student at Parsons School Of Design, Park produced this as his thesis, and likely will get much more out of his education than all the fools who spent $160,000 of their parents’ money on liberal arts social engineering.

Although it’s definitely far from comprehensive, it’s a dynamic and well-edited montage that touches on the far-reaching tendrils of today’s sneaker obsession — grazing the impact sneakers have had on everything from professional sports, skateboarding, hip hop, and break dancing. The simple fact remains that no matter what your hobby of choice is, chances are good you wear shoes. Come on, even the Geico cavemen do.

Unless of course, if you’re me, and work from home and only put shoes on when you can’t bribe anyone else to go out and get the beers. Or when your toenails have gotten so long that wearing an outfit consisting of shoes and boxer shorts seems like the less embarrassing option.

 
aaron

12:53 PM on May 18th, 2009 | 

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Social Security (1935-2017)

Filed Under: Politics

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Who cares?

Dad used to tease that by the time I retired there wouldn’t be anything left in the Social Security fund to pay for my extravagant post-work lifestyle.

My how the tables have turned. Turns out, there won’t be any money left by the time he retires serves the old bastard right.

In any event, I’ve long given up hope that ancient social safety nets would still be around when I’m inconceivably old, but I guess 32 is creeping up on me faster than I thought. That being said, here’s a long overdue guide to Millennial retirement:

Get really rich and “work” until you’re 90

Think about it, retirement age billionaires like Donald Trump, Rupert Murdoch, and Warren Buffet have nothing to worry about! They’re not only still vigorously working but also outrageously rich and successful. Their brilliant retirement plan is to get into a position of power and rot while taking in a fat paycheck. What’s more, running a business into your twilight years also guards against the more subtle pains of retirement. People are both forced to listen to you and have to pretend they care — solving classic old people concerns.

Invest in Rich Old People ASAP

Without talent or intellect, the first option is easier said than done. However, if you have looks — you can invest in your future by marrying dying rich people today. A riskier investment strategy is stripping. It worked, sort of, for Anna Nicole and scores of other young women however the quality of billionaires who marry whores is spotty at best. A more conservative and gender-blind approach is to earn a degree with the University of Phoenix and apply for Administrative Assistant positions at major Fortune-500 firms. Dress conservatively with a hint of slut and wait for a return on your investment.

Live Fast, Die Young

Of course, society must prepare for those citizens who haven’t prepared themselves. This is why Social Security was invented in the first place — to bail out the assholes who just had to live paycheck to measly paycheck while supporting dozens of kids.

Therefore, our society has to be just as forward thinking as our grandparents’. Luckily we currently offer endless ways to slowly kill yourself and market them to the lowest common denominators in society. Chances are, if you’re eating McDonalds and KFC more than three times a week, playing Wii instead of actually exercising and watching American Idol instead of reading — you probably don’t have health insurance which means you’ll probably die before you can retire. Coupled with drugs, alcohol and deadly diseases you can only really catch if you’re an idiot — many of us will never have to sully our beautiful little minds with plans for retiring after 65.

 
lou

11:20 AM on May 15th, 2009 | 

Posted by lou

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