Category: Pop Culture

Should Parents Let Their Kids Watch Deapool?

Update: Deadpool 2 is out now, so I feel like this article is relevant again. This article was originally written when the first Deadpool was out in theaters.

So I finally went to the movies last night and watched Deadpool. I never read the comics or anything, but I wanted to see what all the fuss was about.

I actually liked the movie a lot. I found it to be quite comical and refreshingly politically incorrect. The nudity, sex scenes and violence was also a treat.

While we were in line for tickets there was a woman with her daughter (about 9 or 10 years old) who ordered up some Deadpool tickets. Well, the lady behind her, who was there to see ‘Miracles from Heaven‘, decided to vitriolically remind this woman that Deadpool was rated R. *sigh*

So the question is, would you let your children watch this movie?

I saw the movie and I fully understand why a parent would not want their children to watch it. I also think that this type of exposure, however, isn’t necessarily going to have a traumatic affect on the child.

So whether you choose to let your kid watch it or choose to prohibit your child from watching it, I could agree with both.

I would like to offer my philosophy on the matter though, of course.

If one movie can corrupt your child then you’re not being the biggest influence in his or her life. Raising a child also means teaching them the ability to decipher the difference between acceptable behavior and unacceptable behavior and reality from fantasy.

Allow me to embellish. The movie depicts sexual perversion, violence and overall ‘bad behavior’. It should be explained to the child that what they’re seeing is theatrical and that it is not an accurate representation of how you should act in public. The movie kinda helps you with this by Deadpool repeatedly saying that he is not a hero.

The child needs to learn as early as possible the difference between a theater production and reality. I’m not saying rush your kid out to go watch Deadpool, that’s up to you. What I am encouraging is the idea of in-depth explanations, discussion, educating and being a substantial factor in your child’s growth, despite what he or she is exposed to.

You don’t want to be one of these moral crusaders who are attempting to blanket the world from their children. When you feel the child is at an age where they can begin to comprehend reasonable discussion, it is better to expose your child to elements beyond your comfort and explain to them what it is they’re seeing rather than to attempt to hide it from them.

I was 10 years old before, and behind our parents backs we watched every R rated movie we could get our hands on. I remember being 8 or 9 when I first watched Goodfellas (1990).

Yeah, we pretended to be gangsters when we were playing in the back yard and we’d use language our parents would’ve smacked the hell out of us for using, but when we got to school we knew better than to behave like that when we were there.

When we got around our parents and our grandparents and our elders we knew we weren’t supposed to act like the gangsters in Goodfellas. So we didn’t, because we knew it was just a movie. We were taught how to act in public.

Incidentally, I never stabbed anyone with an ice pick, robbed a bank, or killed anyone… but that’s how some of these moral groups would have expected me to behave after watching Goodfellas.

Like I said, it’s up to you if you allow your kid to watch Deadpool or not, but remember that parenting isn’t just about hiding your kid from “bad stuff”, it takes real effort, patience, education and guidance to raise your child.

8-Bit Nintendo is Still the Greatest Console Ever

Nintendo’s 8-bit console not only delivers feelings of nostalgia, it still offers up some of the greatest video games of all time. Sega Genesis and Sony’s Playstation  are great consoles and come in a close second to the NES 8-bit in my opinion.

Nintendo 8-bit is a classic console with over 800 licensed video games released from 1985 to 1994. That’s an impressive amount of video games for the time. Of course, Playstation 2 pumped out over 3000. The amount of games isn’t what makes Nintendo 8-Bit the champion of consoles, however.

So why does Nintendo 8-bit win, even with all these amazing consoles and fantastic games that have been published over the past 3 decades? It’s all a matter of opinion, of course, and since it’s my opinion it might as well be fact, right? 😉 Just kidding… sort of.

What’s special about the Nintendo 8-bit for me is the timing. It was a revolutionary gaming console for the early 80’s (released in North America in ’85).  Being a kid in the late 80’s, I was absolutely fascinated with Nintendo.

There were video games before that, but it was something new, something groundbreaking.

It wasn’t until 2nd grade, Christmas of 1990, that my family welcomed in our first Nintendo. (Prior to that we had an Atari hooked up to a little black and white television, which was cool with me.) “Enjoy each day” I remember my Grandmother telling me with concern. You see, 63 days prior to Christmas I had learned that we were going to be getting a Nintendo, and so the countdown began.

Nothing else seemed to be of any importance. I had to be reminded that there were other things in life besides Nintendo. I remember my schoolmates, who already had their Nintendo, thinking I was a bit odd for counting the days ’til Christmas in late October. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles on NES was a hard game, but not as hard as Ghost ‘n Goblins.

There were a lot of hard games on the NES console. Retro Junkie put out a list of the Top 10 Hardest NES Games that I think was fairly accurate. You had to have skill in the 8-bit generation to say you were good at video games. It was actually a challenge. There were games that kids just could never beat, even with the Game Genie.

It’s fair to say that in contrast, video games are much easier nowadays. Back in 1990 it was something of a spectacular evening to rent a video game and stay up late on a Friday or Saturday night.

Kids back then, of course, actually played outside during the day, but the evening was free to chill and play some Nintendo… after you did your chores. Mario Bros 3 is probably my favorite game of all time.

There was a grocery store in our neighborhood that had a video rental section attached to it. (It doesn’t anymore, obviously, since video rental has become antiquated.) The video store actually had Mario 3 to rent, which was released in North America on February 12, 1990. Mario 3 was epic. It’s one of those events that happen rarely in history. The entire country was playing that game at the same time.

There are countless awesome games for NES, but Mario 3 is the game that really pushed the envelope, making it a win for Nintendo as the greatest video game console of all time. To this very day I adore the Nintendo 8-Bit console. Every now and again we’ll have a Nintendo party, stay up late, and give a hearty salute to the good ol’ days.

American Psycho Ending Explained

*Spoiler Alert*

The ambiguous ending of the 2000 film adaption of American Psycho has left many viewers perplexed and unsatisfied. Some people even believe that Patrick Bateman (Christian Bale) was merely suffering from delusions, and didn’t actually kill anybody.

This isn’t the writers’ official conclusion, but it is clear that Bateman was indeed a serial killer. While he suffered from mild delusions, he was responsible for killing nearly 40 people, including Paul Allen (Jared Leto). It was not a dream. He really did kill them all.

A lot of psychodramas have these plot endings where all of the protagonists’ narrations and tribulations simply end up being a product of their psychosis. I personally hate when movies go for the “it was all a dream” ending, unless it was based on an actual true story.

While some movies can get away with it, it’s completely hackneyed and beneath the writers. Bret Easton Ellis, the author of the 1991 novel by the same name, is someone who specializes in satire and dark comedy. To insist that “all of it was just a dream” is to blatantly ignore the deep rooted political and social satire that the movie conveyed.

Bateman isn’t just a successful wall street banker who suffered from homicidal hallucinations, he is the poster boy of Corporate America. Bateman stands in contrast to the “rest of us”, working in exclusive, clandestine firms like fictitious Pierce & Pierce.

Subsumed in a culture of competing for who has the most while completely disregarding the rest of the world, Bateman is the epitome of soulless, evil, inhuman corporate lunatics. They care more about their perfect hair styles and the fonts on their business cards than they do about the homeless or human rights. They are smug and arrogant, believing that they are better than the hoi polloi.

Their struggles outside of getting accepted into the most highly sought after restaurants are very few – unless you count trying to suppress the urge to commit cannibalism, rape, dismemberment, decapitation, and mass murder. You know, everything that makes mergers and acquisitions (aka murders and executions) possible.

Bateman and his ilk are the iconic image of society’s ills in America. They represent the gap between the wealthy few and the downtrodden masses. In short, they are the reason the “rest of us” can’t have nice things.

In reality, Bateman wouldn’t have gotten away with murder (at least not THAT many murders), but he would have gotten away with a slew of other morally reprehensible crimes that social activists deem nearly as heinous.

Corporate greed, selfishness, contempt for the poor, willing ignorance to mass genocide, disease, starvation in the world; mocking the underclass, sexism, racism, and of course, deception, fraud, embezzlement, and insider trading.

The satirical point of American Psycho is to illustrate how far wall street bankers can go before they are called out for their crimes. Murder, rape, etc are paralleled with social woes like avarice and self-absorption.

But what shields them from accountability? If anybody else committed these crimes, they’d be thrown away in the stony lonesome, but why not them?

You will notice in the movie that the first few scenes into the story, you are not entirely familiar with who is who. Yuppie bankers are all the same. They don’t care who you are, there is no connectivity between them, no personal relationships, no emotion or sense of community. This is what protects them in our world. They’re just cookie cut rich boys with their hollow luxuries who live in elaborate overpriced apartments and casually fuck prostitutes almost every night.

A ritual most of us would find to be deplorable, yet somehow is idolized by so many in America. The entire movie they confused each other for other people. Bateman’s lawyer even confused Paul Allen completely for somebody else when Bateman confessed to the murders. Paul Allen could not even correctly identify his own executioner. When Bateman was escaping from the police, he took cover in a building that looked identical to Pierce & Pierce but was not the same place.

It’s all cleverly rendered down to illustrate to you how easily it is for white collar criminals to go undetected by the law or society’s moral scrutiny, because their high status and indistinguishable characteristics provide them with a sanctuary far away from responsibility.

The entire ending was to take the white collar crimes overlooked by society and to show that they would have been condoned if they were actual crimes. This is the point of the satire.

After all was said and done, Bateman’s destruction was ignored and swept under the rug as if nobody had even noticed. Why? Because outside of one real-estate agent, nobody cared. This is just a day in the life of a wall st fat cat. You can commit any atrocity you want and people will look the other way.

So I hope this clears any notion that this was some lame plot twist where everything turned out to be a dream. Bateman really was a serial killer.

The Resurrection of Comedy

Is comedy dead?

Theatrical comedy was recognized by the Athenian state in 486 BC, thus canonizing its official birth. (Although I’m sure prehistoric humanoids had a sense of humor as well.)

Who would have thought that comedy would have survived and flourished for two and a half millennia and then, without much of a fight, abruptly be sent to the altar of sacrifice in the 21st Century?

Comedy endured the ‘Librorum Prohibitorum’, The Crusades, The Catholic Inquisitions, and the age of superstition, but according to Mel Brooks and Jerry Seinfeld, was successfully rendered obsolete by a humorless minority of campus ‘finger-waggers’.

Ah yes, “political correctness“. Isn’t that what killed comedy?

The term is subsequently thrown around; often and without critical analysis to what is actually being entailed and who is authorizing it.

According to judicial analysis of rulings administered by the Supreme Court, the limitations of the First Amendment to the Constitution have only become more liberalized in the 21st Century; that is, it has only expanded what is deemed acceptable free expression.

This isn’t to say there haven’t been infractions of people’s rights by law enforcement and local government, as we have seen with cases like Lenny Bruce, who was arrested and convicted after an 8-month long trial for ‘public obscenity’. Only that the constitution has stated that these rights are not to be infringed; the Lenny Bruce conviction was overturned by the Illinois Supreme court in 1964.

Modern political correctness hasn’t yet interfered with constitutionally protected rights, so how was it successful in claiming such a boisterous ‘victory’ as the death of comedy?

The uncomfortable truth is that political correctness in itself is not responsible for the death of comedy, but rather fear and guilt is.

Social ostracizing, political backlash, the not-so-glamorous internet fame of trending gossip–that is truly how comedy succumbed to a quick but painful death.

It was our collective electronic hyper-connectivity and the emergence of a new ability for the voiceless to be heard via social media that has generated panic in the artistic community.

In the hey day of Rodney Dangerfield the only thing to fear was a bad review from a lower-budget media outlet or a smug film critic. Technology simply had not reached the point to garner a mass feedback flow.  Now, there’s millions of people weighing in across the world when an artist has become the center of controversy.

So that leaves us, if we’re honest in our observations, one conclusion that would spell the resurrection of comedy; to eliminate the fear and guilt associated with negative criticism.

Comedy is boundless and knows no limitations, but in order to keep the fire roaring it cannot be suffocated willingly by those who keep the flames alight.

A resurrection of comedy draws nigh. The pool no longer acknowledges the timid foot testing its water. It’s time to jump in.

Jim Morrison Predicted Electronic Dance Music

The Door’s frontman Jim Morrison predicted the future of music in a 1969 interview.

“…it might rely heavily on electronics, tapes. I can kind of envision one person with a lot of machines, tapes and electronics set up singing or speaking and using machines.”

Dubstep and electronic music in general, although having been around for a handful of years now, is becoming more popular in today’s music. You certainly didn’t have dubstep artists like Skrillex around in the 60’s.

Morrison seems to be years ahead of his time with this call. It lends some validity to the theory that Jim was a demigod to which not even the laws of physics and time could suppress him. Of course it could have just as easily been a lucky guess.

Nevertheless, it’s pretty interesting. Jim Morrison was an iconic figure in rock and roll history. He was an amazing artist and one couldn’t help but to wonder what music would be like if he didn’t die at the young age of 27.

Here’s a clip from the interview.


The future of music

Paul Pena & The Original Jet Airliner

Paul Pena was born January 26, 1950 and met his end on October 1, 2005.  You’ve probably never heard of him. If you have, then you’re awesome. Paul Pena was a blues and rock & roll artist through most of his career.

You may remember the Steve Miller Band‘s song ‘Jet Airliner’. You may not, however, know that this song was not originally written by Steve Miller.

Paul Pena was actually an amazing artist. What I thought was even more impressive was the fact that Pena was completely blind by the time he was 20 years old. I like the Steve Miller Band. If you like 60’s & 70’s rock or classic rock, as it’s typically referred to, then you probably like or at least have heard of the Steve Miller Band.You’ve likely heard the song ‘Jet Airliner’ by the Steve Miller Band as well.

New Train was a Pena album recorded in 1973 and was released in 2000.  Ben Sidran, the keyboardist for the Steve Miller Band, was actually the one who produced Pena’s album. Flashback to the 70’s. When Sidran played the Jet Airliner track for Steve Miller, he was said to have instantly fallen in love with the song. Thus, the Jet Airliner song that you’re used to hearing is the Steve Miller Band rendition of Paul Pena’s original song.

Paul Pena had an interesting history. When you know a little bit more about who the man was, it makes the original song that much more spellbinding. Like I said, I like the Steve Miller Band, and their cover was great, but I would have to say that I indeed like Paul Pena’s original much better. Here’s Paul Pena’s original song Jet Airliner.

You decide for yourself which version you like better 🙂

50’s Rock & Roll is Bad Ass

I started to listen to 50’s Rock & Roll and rockabilly back in high school. Previously I had imagined that 50’s music was all boring crap that old people listened to until I actually started listening to it. I was really into punk rock back in the day and I immediately saw a correlation between 50’s rock and 90’s punk rock music.

Rockabilly and early 50’s Rock & Roll in general has a unique, vintage sound but it also encompasses the attitude of rebellion.

Most kids just assumed that because the music is old and their grandparents listened to it that it must be lame. Young kids don’t realize, however, that their grandparents (or parents for that matter) were kids once too. Kids who were rebellious and didn’t like rules either.

50’s rock and roll was highly frowned upon by the square community. The generation before the 50’s rock era just saw it as noise, the same way your grandparents likely perceived Nirvana.

Over the years I’ve grown a more fond appreciation for the early years of Rock and Roll. There’s a lot of rock music from that era that was simply bad ass.

I found this playlist on youtube with some old, rare rockabilly music that is also awesome.


Tom Waits Hold On

If you’ve never heard the song ‘Hold on’ by Tom Waits before, I would recommend giving it a listen. The song became quite popular after ‘The Walking Dead‘ featured it at the ending of one of their episodes. Emily Kinney (Beth Greene) took a shining to the song and did a rendition herself after the taping.

It is one of my favorite songs from Waits.  It’s poetic, romanticized and has a dreamy, almost ‘nostalgic even though you’ve never been there’ effect to it.  It’s a cool song to say the least.


Tom Waits Hold On Lyrics

They hung a sign up in our town

“if you live it up, you won’t
live it down”
So, she left Monte Rio, son
Just like a bullet leaves a gun
With charcoal eyes and Monroe hips
She went and took that California trip
Well, the moon was gold, her
Hair like wind
She said don’t look back just
Come on JimOh you got to
Hold on, Hold on
You got to hold on
Take my hand, I’m standing right here
You gotta hold onWell, he gave her a dimestore watch
And a ring made from a spoon
Everyone is looking for someone to blame
But you share my bed, you share my name
Well, go ahead and call the cops
You don’t meet nice girls in coffee shops
She said baby, I still love you
Sometimes there’s nothin left to doOh you got to
Hold on, hold on
You got to hold on
Take my hand, I’m standing right here, you got to
Just hold on.

Well, God bless your crooked little heart St. Louis got the best of me
I miss your broken-china voice
How I wish you were still here with me

Well, you build it up, you wreck it down
You burn your mansion to the ground
When there’s nothing left to keep you here, when
You’re falling behind in this
Big blue world

Oh you go to
Hold on, hold on
You got to hold on
Take my hand, I’m standing right here
You got to hold on

Down by the Riverside motel,
It’s 10 below and falling
By a 99 cent store she closed her eyes
And started swaying
But it’s so hard to dance that way
When it’s cold and there’s no music
Well your old hometown is so far away
But, inside your head there’s a record
That’s playing, a song called

Hold on, hold on
You really got to hold on
Take my hand, I’m standing right here
And just hold on

I Truly Miss Hunter S. Thompson

I just found out that Tom Wolfe died at 88 years old in Manhattan, and this made me think of Gonzo Journalism and the impact that writers like Wolfe and Hunter S. Thompson had.

Long and detestable hours I have spent hoping and trying to find writers these days that aren’t devoid of passion and authenticity.

A fellow writer and acquaintance of mine recently suggested that I check out this new and edgy author (recently published) and insisted that I would “really dig him”.

I admit it, I was intrigued by the prospect of there being a “new” and “edgy” writer that simultaneously offered substance, value, intensity and passion. This is what I was promised.

What I received, however,  was the pedantic, bland, predictable and pampered drivel of a sheltered college kid that never truly lived one single day in his boring and pointless life.

It was writing that failed to deviate from the coddled cowardice of today’s bubble-wrapped playpen we call society, and inspired me only to fall to my knees and cry out “where the fuck have all the good writers gone?!”

I thought about Hunter S. Thompson and a stand-up comedy act from Bill Hicks where he talked about the rising popularity of the clean cut music that was plaguing the industry of the day.

I’ll never forget what Bill Hicks said during his act. He said “play from your fucking heart!” and concluded, in a dramatic effect, that he wanted his “rock stars dead”, such was the level their intensity should have been.

Hicks was visibly frustrated, and I know precisely how he felt. Authenticity is imperative to good writing, this is why I liked Thompson so much.  I simply don’t want to read a novel about racial oppression from a white woman who never experienced it. Yeah, I’m talking about you Hillary Jordan.

I’m confident there are good writers out there, whom like Thompson, encompass a genuine level of passion, authenticity and creativity… I just haven’t found them yet.

Or perhaps they’re gone? Perhaps all the good writers are dead and exist only in the tormented pages of yesteryear’s novella.

Maybe the wild years are behind us and the future holds nothing more than an ominous ‘G’ rating; a sinister and diabolical sneer to all that was once raw, young and fearless.

I truly miss Hunter S. Thompson and all the great writers that are no longer with us. Life feels all the more vacant when all your heroes are dead.

“Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming “Wow! What a Ride!” ~ Hunter S. Thompson.

Why George Carlin was a Comedic Genius

When it comes to comedy there are artists who emerge as being iconic images of genius; Bill Hicks, Lenny Bruce, Richard Pryor and, of course, George Carlin, to name a few.

Modern society, and perhaps all throughout civilization, there has been a great attempt to corral people into neatly organized herds– whether it be by race, religion, political affiliation or even what kind of music you listen to.

Sometimes this is done autonomously and other times the motivation is a bit more sinister, but it has become a noted element of human behavior.

In today’s political atmosphere, there’s an effort to wrangle individuals into ‘Team Blue’ or ‘Team Red’, and this was true during Carlin’s time as well.

At a cursory observation, George would have likely struck you as a liberal; one of yesteryear’s hippies who wandered off the beaten path and somehow stumbled into stardom.

A closer look, however, divulges to us that Carlin’s genius transcended mere political labels; in fact, he outwardly rejected the ‘liberal’ label.

Naturally, he rejected the conservative label too. It was quite unmistakable that Carlin viewed conservative christian orthodoxy and crony capitalism (the banking industry/big business) as the fulcrum upon which much of his comedic lambasting turned.

What Carlin brought to the table for many young fans, who were politically minded individuals, was the idea that you didn’t have to fall in line with liberal or conservative paradigms; you could be a freethinker and challenge the bullshit that all sides of the political spectrum were spewing.

This is what made Carlin a comedic genius; he told the truth and called bullshit wherever he saw it, and he did so in a convincing and intelligent manner.

On top of that, he was fearless in his approach to comedy and famously said “the duty of the comedian is to establish where the line is drawn, and cross it deliberately.”

Sometimes you had to wonder, though, if George was even trying to be funny or if he was just unleashing a diatribe onto the world and it just happened to be funny because it was true.

Either way, Carlin was a genius, and people from all walks of life were able to appreciate his passion and energy even if, at times, they didn’t agree with what he was saying.

Rest in Peace Mr. Carlin, you’ll always be remembered.

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