Today I yet again rehash Twitter comedy from a couple of years ago. But I was looking for something from an old Twitter conversation and found these tweets in response to a hashtag the hilarious John Moe of Wits fame started called #SelfLoathingBillyJoel and it was making me laugh too hard not to post:
Only the good die young / While I live on, without purpose or meaning
In the middle of the night / I go walking in my sleep / Look away, don’t look at me, I’m hideous
What’s the matter with the clothes I’m wearing? / STUPID ME I’M SO FUCKING STUPID
Uptown girl / She’s been living in her uptown world / I deserve scorn
Tell her about it / She’s eventually going to find out she’s wasting her life with me
Anthony works in the grocery store / Savin’ his pennies for someday / I sit alone in darkness / A stain
We might be laughing a bit too loud / God, I’m so sorry, I ruined your perfect evening
Yes, they’re sharing a drink they call loneliness / They never ask me to join them
Go ahead with your own life / Mine’s not worth living
I will also take this opportunity to share my favorite Billy Joke:
“In the middle of the night, I go walking in my sleep.” – Billy Joel, explaining to police why his car is in the neighbor’s living room.
Slacker Radio recently introduced me to Mofro and their exceptional album and song “Blackwater.” Which reminded me of one of my all-time favorite bands, Clutch, and the refrain from the chorus of “The Swollen Goat”: “Bury your treasure, burn your crops, blackwater rising and it ain’t gonna stop.” Which in turn made me think of what is perhaps my favorite Blitzen Trapper song, the sublime “Black River Killer.” And then of course I thought of the godfather of blackwater songs by the Doobie Brothers, which 40 years later is still a spectacular piece of music.
So here are all four for your enjoyment, followed by the best scene from any sitcom ever, when the Doobie Brothers showed up and Shirley’s diner to bust some nefarious music pirates on “What’s Happening.” You’re welcome.
It seems to me that SeaWorld could’ve saved itself some future problems if it had reconsidered this conversation from 40 or so years ago:
“OK team, we want to bring whales to the park. We’re going to put the giant whales in tanks with humans and have them perform tricks together, largely for huge crowds of families with children. Any suggestions on what type of whales we should get?”
“Uh, how about killer whales, Larry?”
Controversy has smothered the summer fish circus SeaWorld since CNN first aired the combustible documentary Blackfish a few months ago. (I first typed “searing documentary” but couldn’t abide the unintentional fish pun.)The film makes a passionate and riveting case against SeaWorld’s captivity of orcas, the massive killer whales that have drawn hundreds of thousands of people to its parks for decades.
As part of the swift, fervid backlash against SeaWorld, many musicians backed out of a summer SeaWorld concert series. Several celebrities have spoken out on record, including this scathing indictment by whale-cocked drumstick-twirling marine biologist Tommy Lee:
Shortly after making this statement, Tommy Lee got online to search for cow vaginas
It’s almost impossible to watch Blackfish without at least questioning the wisdom of keeping the big fish captive for our entertainment. You don’t soon forget harrowing scenes of orcas turning on trainers and dragging them to the depths of the tanks. As damning the movie is, I always maintain some skepticism when people with a specific and personal agenda attack something. There is always some truth in the middle that they distort or ignore. I’m sure there are many good people at SeaWorld who really do care about the well-being of the animals in the parks. In fact, I am certain that SeaWorld cares. Here’s how I know:
Which brings this meandering post to its elusive topic: SeaWorld’s insulting, annoying and staggeringly inept response to Blackfish. SeaWorld seems determined douse a brush fire with kerosene until the entire forest burns to ash.
SeaWorld defends itself with an aggressive, name-calling assault, partly in the form of incessant pay-promoted tweets such as this one:
I want to invite SeaWorld, vegans and self-assured atheists to my next dinner party!
Wow! Way to do everything wrong SeaWorld! I have no idea what communications agency SeaWorld works with, but either the agency is giving poor advice or SeaWorld executives are so blindly angry that they are forcing the issue. This fails in every way possible.
1) It’s defensive. SeaWorld sounds like a guilty politician caught fucking the housekeeper, reacting with indignant and angry denial.
2) It’s dismissive. Blackfish worked. It fueled real emotional responses for a wide audience of people. Now SeaWorld opts to insult those people for being naive to “propaganda.” If you make someone mad, then call them stupid for being mad, you just make them that much less eager to forgive you or even listen to you.
3) It’s self-defeating. SeaWorld has done more to promote Blackfish than anyone besides CNN. SeaWorld has introduced the controversy to countless people who had probably never heard of it to begin with.
4) It’s pedantic. Here is SeaWorld’s lengthy response to Blackfish. The movie grabbed attention with vivid, emotional and sometimes tragic human and animal stories. SeaWorld responded with a manifesto that reads like a labyrinth court deposition. SeaWorld splits semantic hairs and haggles over chronology and minutiae that won’t sway opponents and will likely inflame neutral observers. Case in point:
The film depicts a killer whale collection in Washington State that occurred 40 years ago. It leaves viewers with three false impressions: (1) that SeaWorld continues to collect whales from the wild to this day; (2) that Tilikum himself was collected by SeaWorld; and (3) that the collections done four decades ago were illegal. None of this is true. SeaWorld does not collect killer whales in the wild, and has not done so in over 35 years. Tilikum was not collected by us. And the collections four decades ago were conducted in compliance with federal laws, pursuant to federally-issued permits at that time.
Thanks, SeaWorld! Now I completely understand why those whales have sad floppy fins and drag your trainers to their terrifying deaths in your torture pools! No one who watched Blackfish will be moved or fooled by this turgid barrel of words.
5) It’s annoying. This will probably end up being the longest post I’ve ever written here. Not because I’m an activist for the cause. It’s because SeaWorld annoyed the shit out of me. It’s relentless, aggressive tweets irritated me so fiercely that I first started responding to them on Twitter, and then took to writing this rant that at least 17 other people will see. Aim at foot, pull trigger, SeaWorld!
I found Blackfish compelling, and at times sad and terrifying. But I’m not a someone who thinks about SeaWorld much to begin with. I’m middle-aged with no kids. I hyperventilate and explode in hives just passing through the Orlando airport, filled with loud, overpacked huddles of sugar-and-Mickey-bloated families navigating the airport as if it’s a corn maze.
So I’m not someone who would have ever even considered a trip there. Blackfish would’ve likely drifted to the back of my consciousness. Except SeaWorld just wouldn’t let it.
So, SeaWorld, here is the lesson of the title you should heed. Given your noisy, belligerent and self-destructive response, what you should have said was nothing. (Impatient viewers skip to the 3:40 mark.)
I was with friends at the pool recently and Def Leppard’s Rock of Ages came on Pandora. We laughed at how rapidly the opening verse accelerates from a jovial rally of communal kinship to a dystopian carnival of anarchic despair in a matter of seconds. Here’s the verse, reconsidered:
“Rise up, gather round”
[Hey, this sounds fun! Everyone’s getting together for a party! Maybe it’s a bonfire, or a big singalong! Please please let them have s’mores! Gosh, I hope I’m not overdressed. I hate when I stand out in a crowd with new people!]
“Rock this place to the ground”
[A rock and roll show? That sounds kinda edgy for a school night, but what the hey! I work hard and I deserve to loosen the old buttons and live a little now and then. Better watch out for this booty, cause it’s gonna be doing some shakin’!]
“Burn it up, let’s go for broke”
[I do not like the direction this is heading, not one single bit mister. I didn’t sign up for some wild ruckus of violence and destruction. Moral people have boundaries, and you’re not gonna push me past mine just to impress a few hipsters and toughs. Count me out of your dark nihilism!]
“Watch the night go up in smoke”
[His hollow obsidian wells gassed and choked my soul like a poison. I knew this was the algid gaze of the devil himself, yet I followed him with willing, consuming desperation. A pulse of savagery swelled to the surface of my skin, at once of ice and fire like an untraveled tundra set spontaneously ablaze. I cannot unsee the bleak horrors of mortal hell he led me to that day, but God’s mercy upon those who find his immortal grasp. And God’s mercy on you, Joe Elliot.]
Golden Corral apparently has bought a 2012-GOP-presidential-candidate-sized block of television airtime to advertise its new Chocolate Wonderfall, a provocatively unsanitary bubbling cascade of gooey brown bacteria. The idea: Patrons submerge berries, cookies and other confections on sticks in the flowing chocolate, and then, apparently, consume them. (Fondon’t! Fondon’t!)
The commercials seem to run incessantly now, especially on the cable news channels:
There exists no doubt that this chocolate waterfall will trigger a much more violent chocolate waterfall later. Can you conceive of a more disgusting buffet line concept than this geyser of gastrointestinal distress? A churning wellspring of warm, sticky dessert syrup continuously attracting and recycling torrents of sneeze juice, dust and child germs?
And maybe a half of a second will pass from when a five-year old lays her eyes on this until she sticks her doll’s head into the chocolate sugar lava. Don’t just take our word for it; here’s the top comment on the YouTube post of the first commercial, which made us laugh until we cried when reading it aloud:
“So I went to a golden corral today, and I tried this out. Right as I dipped my marshmallow into it, some little kid reached over the little metal railing and just stuck his whole hand into it…”
And the Golden Corral reply to the comment offers scant solace:
“We strive to provide the best possible customer experience for all of our guest [sic]. However, with something as popular as this it is difficult to catch everything.”
You’d think that such a track record would inspire tremendous caution with food safety and public health. Or maybe Golden Corral just realizes that the American buffet-going public has a short collective memory and an unrelenting lust for novelty, chocolate sauce and type-2 diabetes. Bacteria be damned! These patrons in a follow-up commercial certainly seem excited:
I hope that guy’s cowboy hat can catch some barf.
Finally, in an important aside, our good friend Tim O’Shea of Talking With Tim pointed out on Facebook that there is an inevitable advertising tie-in for the band Oasis. What better reason for them to reunite than to promote the Golden Corral Chocolate Wonderfall? After all, both the band and the Chocolate Wonderfall recycle things that were once good (Beatles songs, chocolate) and turn them into horrible abominations that send us running for the toilet. We close with some lyrics from the Oasis hit “Wonderwall,” reworked for Golden Corral:
Today is gonna be a day that you’re probably gonna spew
By now, you surely feel foul
From the chunks you inevitably blew
I can’t conceive how anybody
Eats that chocolate goo that’s trickling down
Yet maybe, after eating steak and gravy
You’ll heed the call, of Chocolate Wonderfall