Friday, September 02, 2005

An Observation

After I finished writing that last post I took a long hot shower so that I could reflect on what I had just wrote. And while I stood there basking in the hot water from overhead a thought occurred to me and I thought enough of it that I needed to get out and post it right away, to impart it on you, my readers.

And here it is...

If you look back into human history and in particular our history when it comes to our culture what names stick out? Certainly there are hundreds of greats in all the different media. Names like Leonardo, Ralph Waldo Emerson, William Shakespeare, Bach, Brahms, and Whitman come to mind. But you can literally name hundreds of them. Now, when you think about those great names would you say that they were held in a higher esteem than most of their contemporaries? Would you say that most of these people behind these names were consider intellectually superior to the people around them?

I bet you're saying yes.

And that's what is perhaps the most troubling thought that comes to mind with regards to the state of our current culture. Think about the more prominent names in our culture. Names like Kevin Federline, Tom Sizemore, Tom Cruise, Ben Mulroney, Martha Stewart. Are those the kinds of names that pop immediately to mind? In some cases, yes. You can once again name hundreds of people who are leading our cultural endeavours. Now ask yourself again are these names that came to your mind, are they considered intellectually superior to the people around them? Are these the people we have to look up to for our enlightenment as a whole? Are these the people who are going to represent us in the annals of history?

Maybe it's time for the intellectuals to take the culture back.

And I'm not saying that all our cultural output has to be high brow and hoity-toity. Far from it. Sometimes mindless entertainment has its merits. Sometimes, turning our brains off can be a good thing.

But where the fuck is the critical mass with this shit? When has contemporary culture not only skidded, but started to dig into the earth below it?

What I'm saying is that we have to strike more balance. We've been without a fair balance for a long, long time and we're setting out species back because of it. How many more marginally talented individuals get to be immortalized while the great thinkers fall by the wayside? It doesn't make sense the way we have things. Reverence is something bought now as opposed to earned.

Where the fuck is the balance? Kevin Federline, I'm talking to you. Martha Stewart, if you can hear me over the echo in your vagina, I'm talking to you. Paris Hilton, I'm talking to you.

Take your culture back, people.

How I Married My Way Into Fame: The Kevin Federline Story

Okay, show of hands. How many of you out there actually knew who the fuck Kevin Federline was until he took pure, viginal Britney Spears *snicker* and turned her into hillbilly hoebag Britney Spears Federline or Britney Federline Spears of Trailer Park Barbie (whatever the fuck moniker she goes by)? You see, that's what I thought. He was just some schlub living in a mobile home, drinking Colt .45 and probably fingerbanging his neighbor's daughter. Then out of nowhere like some sort of shitstorm blowing in Britney Spears somehow manages to convince him to settle down.

And you want to know something? I'm happy for their marriage. I truly am. I think it's great that they want to spend the rest of their lives together. I support their decision to pump out babies destined for criminal records. More power to them. People in love are just so adorable that I could puke.

What I'm really having trouble abiding with, though, is the news of Kevin Federline deciding that it's time for him to launch his career in rap music. What the fuck? No, I did type that out properly. Every time I mention it I have to do one of those double takes to make sure that I'm not playing tricks on myself. Holy fuck! I just had to do a fucking triple take that time because then I was sure that if I looked at it a third time somehow the words "career in rap music" wasn't reading "wasting oxygen."

Just move on, old man, move on.

Okay, now that I have my composure back somewhat...

Kevin Federline is all about the credibility, yo! You know that when he raps about popping caps and slappin' hoes you know he's talking from experience, yo! He's got mad flow and he's got skills to pay the bills! He's Kevin fuckin' Federline, yo!

Do you see how fucking ridiculous that sounds? And that's just me, middle class white boy from the suburbs talking.

Now, close your eyes for me. Shut out all the ambient noise and try to imagine for the sake of my argument how much more fucking ridiculous that would sound if it was coming from the trophy husband of an insanely rich pop princess. Oh, you bet your fucking ass he has credibility. Nothing makes the common people get behind you more than opulence. They just love to crank the tunes when they're rapping about being married to a hoebag teen idol in the twilight of her career.

If all you can contribute to the musical landscape is a bunch of party anthems, fuck you! Save your fucking breath because it's been done and it's been done by people I would much rather hear it from than you. If all you can rap on are the virtues of your life of excess, how great your fucking Hummer H2 is, how many Rolexes and Cartiers you strap to your skinny pasty white wrists, how many expensive designer labels you wear when you strut around the trailer park in looking for prepubescent girls to leer at, do us all a favor and shove it up your fucking ass. You have no intentions but the further corruption of the collective human spirit with your materialistic bullshit. You have no concept of how insulting your fame would be to anybody who has ever tried to amount to anything and you should just keep your mouth shut for the benefit of everyone.

This pisses me off. Time and the other resources of record studios are going to be dedicated to feeding some asshat who married his way into fame's ego? Why not, and this may be a stretch, dedicate those same resources to somebody who legitmately has something to say? Are we so bereft of talented artists with actual soul that we have to start asking relatives of famous people to step up and speak for their generation? I fucking cry thinking that hundreds of years from now the people of earth interested in their heritage are going to look to the media of our time and get the impression that ours was the most materialistic and shallow era because some fucktard was given a record contract because he was married to a corporate whore ex-mouseketeer.

That's not to say that there aren't other materialistic and shallow fuckwits holding back the progress of human evolution with their contributions to our culture, but shouldn't we finally draw a line somewhere and say No, we're not going to have any more of this bullshit. Just because you're married famous doesn't mean you're talented. If you want to contribute, prove your fucking mettle or shut the fuck up!

But Michael, Britney Spears says that he's very talented and if he's good enough to impress her then he must be good.

Seriously, step on a rake and pray that it knocks some fucking sense into you. He's married to her. Of course he's talented enough to impress her. He's fucking her. She's a nymphomaniac and she doesn't want to get cut off. You say shit like that to appease your significant other sometimes. Why not get the opinion of somebody who isn't sucking his cock?

Britney Spears: rap mogul? Britney Spears: rap mogul? What the fuck? I know that it's been a little while since Britney Spears has released any recorded material so maybe my memories of what she sang are failing me. Was she the girl who sang that "Oops I Did It Again" or "I'm A Slave 4 U"? She was? Oh shit, my mistake. Clearly, anybody who made a career with songs like those ones is definitely a power in the rap genre. [editor's note: I'm being fucking sarcastic for those of you out there with shitty sarcasm detectors]. Rap on, B-Ritney, rap on! Word up sucka fools. This be how we do that shit back in the mobile home community. Holla!

The bottom line is that record companies can blame their declining sales and the ever-increasing belief that their product is getting shittier and shittier on decisions like encouraging Kevin Federline to rap. I would much rather see somebody who needs to money and is driven more by the need to survive to step up to the mic because he/she is more likely to have something valuable to say. The last thing we need is more shallow bullshit polluting the airwaves and giving us a higher psychic price to pay, to borrow some words from Bill Hicks.

Kevin Federline, please stay home and have sex with your wife. Leave the rapping to somebody more deserving.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

The Michael Appleby World Tour Schedules Its Next Stop

The life of an internet rockstar has its perks. Grandmothers send me to the mall to buy them cigarettes. Homeless people ask me for change, honest to god, change. Children laugh at me. Women spit at me. I get email from numerous organizations offering to enlarge my penis to mythic proportions. I get a severely reduced interest rate of 27% on my credit card while the rest of you suckers are probably paying like 84% or something like that (maybe I should look into that sometime). So yeah, being an internet rockstar is pretty fucking awesome.

However, part of being a big celebrity is going on tour. Tours are, for the most part, fun for me. It gives me a chance to connect with my fans all over the world. Grandmothers in foreign countries send me to foreign malls to buy them foreign cigarettes. Homeless people ask me for spare change in weird dialects and accents I'm not used to hearing back at home. Children laugh at me still, but they do so while wearing strange clothes that we here in Edmonton, Alberta just aren't used to seeing. Women spit at me, but they do so after I ask them a question as opposed to before. I get email from the same organizations so that pretty much stays the same what with my monstrous penis and all. My credit card interest sores because I'm on the road and not home paying my celebrity bills.

But as with all tours, they must be rigourously scheduled. Many of you who don't go on whirlwind tours probably don't have any clue as to what it's like to be me in that regard. I have to go dedicate the new toilet at the Esso in Red Deer's Gasoline Alley on Highway 2 southbound September 10, at approximately 3:30 depending on the availability of my ceremonial ribbon cutting scissors.

But what I really wanted to announce at this time was that my team of booking agents and publicists have finally got back to me with a new tour date, which means I'll be packing up the Monte Carlo and taking a road trip.

Where are you going, oh fearless leader?

Well, I am going to be reading at the 2005 edition of the Calgary Stroll of Poets festival. It takes place in the Kensington area of town on Sunday, September 11.

My reading is scheduled for sometime between 2:45 p.m. and 3:45 p.m. that afternoon at Pages Books (1135 Kensington Road NW). Tickets are not available because this is a free event. You just have to have to show up to hear me and some other people read some poems and act all elitist because we're poets and that's what poets do. I will be contacting the event organizers to see if I need to have my crack security team frisking everybody at the doors so that none of my "admirers" can empty out my eye sockets with an ice cream scoop and eat my eyes in hopes of somehow inheriting my unique and highly sought after twisted view on daily life much to the horror of my non-ice-cream-scoop-wielding fans who just want to throw panties at me and have premarital sex with me atop stacks of Robert Ludlum books much to the horror of book store managers (I'm still making monthly payments for those fish scented copies of The Matarese Circle).

So anyway, just to reiterate the pertinent information that somehow got washed away by "Robert Ludlum", "fish scented", and "sex" being used in the same massive sentence:

2:45 p.m. - 3:45 p.m.
September 11, 2005
Pages Books
1135 Kensington Road NW
Calgary, Alberta

Michael Appleby reads! Be there or be somewhere else! I should hire publicists who can come up with better slogans than that. I mean, Be there or be somewhere else?!?!?!?! What the fuck is Murray smoking that he would think people would want to come to any show being promoted that way? He should share.

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Untitled

so yesterday on Mingus Tourette's website he challenged his visitors to look through magazines and pick a word or phrase or passage from which to construct a poem. This is what I came up with. It proved to be a rather fulfilling exercise.

untitled
never loud enough
always half tones
that move around me
but never sink in
her heart pounding
louder than anything
her vocal chords issue
lips shape
tongue licks
a breath pushes
always half tones
never loud enough
to register
never loud enough
to cause nausea
i wouldn't know
we were done
if i couldn't read
her mouth
or the way she
makes herself a feather
adding tears to her eyes.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

On The Subject Of Tattoos

I admire a good tattoo. Something clever. Something beautiful. Anything that catches my eye really. And since these past few days I've been talking about the cock tattoo a la Tom Sizemore's "Heidi" and corporate whoring a la any fucking town that would rename itself Dish to earn a shitload (double entendre intended) of satellite receivers I thought it would be pertinent at this time to delve into a topic that has bothered me for a little while now --- the corporate tattoo. I first read of corporate tattoos in the pages of Adbusters a while back and I have been meaning to weigh in on the subject myself for quite some time. Now seems as good a time as ever.

What is a corporate tattoo? Well, it's basically a tattoo of a corporate logo or product that the wearer of the tattoo is paid to have. So while some people might go to a tattoo parlor to get dragons clawing their way up their asses or "Heidi" tattooed right above their cocks because that so fucking macho to have when you beat up your girlfriend, there are people who will get paid to have a tattoo of corporate imagery. It's basically like turning your body into a walking, talking, fucking billboard. So instead of paying an artist to give you something that makes a statement like I'm a rebel or I'm a free thinker you'll get paid by a company to make a statement like The Toyota Corolla is tops with me! or Insert corporate penis here with a black arrow pointing at your ass (yeah, you know you like it).

But Michael, there's good money to be made from getting a corporate tattoo and it's not like it's really that important, it's just parts of our bodies!

That's exactly what a prostitute is.

Even worse is the fact that some companies who act as the middle men between the corporations that want to brand people's asses and the people's asses being branded even have contracts done up that require the people sporting the tattoos to verbally endorse the products or corporations featured in the tattoos. It's kind of like the facial cumshot after the sodomy. Sorry if that's a bit graphic, but it just pisses me off that much. I mean, imagine talking to somebody who was under contract to talk at great lengths about the benefits of some corporate entity just because it says Mitsubishi on his ass. How much of the shit coming out of his mouth is his genuine thoughts and feelings and how much of it is corporate propaganda? Is there any way to tell without reading the fine print of the contract he signed when he got his tattoo? I didn't think so. You're now talking to a commercial.

Not only that, but imagine being a tattoo artist who basically makes an entire living from putting corporate images on people's bodies. How sad is that? Think about the great artists throughout human history. Leonardo sketching McDonald's golden arches. Van Gogh for Pepsi. I'm not saying that every tattoo artist is Leonardo or Van Gogh, but a lot of them are good artists who should be allowed to express themselves with a bit more freedom than what some fucking corporate contract clause would allow. On one hand it's nice to see an artist getting paid for talent, but on the other hand, it's fucking depressing to see an artist getting paid to be use said talent as part of a corporate juggernaut. Everything is a fucking dollar sign these days.

Which leads me to the rather recent phenomenon of average people selling off highly visible parts of their bodies for advertising space. I begrudgingly admire the inventiveness of one day waking up and thinking Holy fuck! My fucking forehead would be perfect to sell snoring remedies! I'm a fucking genius! True, he is a bit of a fucking genius, but a sick, twisted sort of genius at that. He got paid well to look like an asshat. Congratulations, asshat.

But Michael, he got paid over $37000 for the use of his forehead.

An asshat with over $37000 is still an asshat. When did selling dignity become such a virtue? I must have missed the meeting where all of humanity decided that money at any cost is the ultimate goal. When you see how the wealthy spend their money nowadays how the fuck can it be all that desirable to be a whore? Sure, you can buy yourself a jewel encrusted i-Pod or a pimp cup, but really, why?

Maybe I'm just losing touch with humanity as I grow older and more cynical. Maybe I'm reading too much into all of this and a tattoo of a corporate logo is still a tattoo and whoever wears it is to be admired as a free thinker and a rebel. Maybe I'm just saying all of this so that you're saying out loud No Michael, you're not losing touch with humanity. You're right. You're always right. And it's true, I'm always right. There are too many fucking corporate bitches.

Monday, August 29, 2005

One From The Vaults

Okay, I don't really have time to whip up something new. I have to be at work in a couple of hours and there's still a few things that I have to get done. So, in the meantime, here's one from the vaults. This is one that I haven't really sent out to anybody because, well, I'm not really sure why not. It's on the state of the television medium (a term I use very lightly seeing as how television is, by and large, a vapid cesspool of mediocrity. Enjoy this dip in the cesspool then. I have two days off coming up after tonight.

Alright, for me to go on record as saying that television equals shit is no real feat, is it? In fact, I’ve heard that in some corners of the globe there are office pools that have been formed based on the exact day I would finally make it known that I think television equals shit. For ease of sorting the winners from losers in those pools, it was November 3, 2004 at approximately 10:35 p.m. and 37 seconds. For the people who didn’t win their pools, you fucking suck. Anyway, I was thinking about it really hard for about three days and I came to the conclusion that television equals shit (sorry, I just had to repeat it for posterity and plus every time I say it I imagine that the members of Slipknot gnash their teeth for improving their marketing ploy of “people = shit”). And you know what? The fact that it’s so shitty on the airwaves fucking irritates me. Television is a medium that has a lot of potential for greatness. It’s a feat of human technology. It can communicate to millions and millions of people instantaneously. It can do all of these wonderful things to bring the people together around the world. It can let me watch Dr. Phil condescend to people every fucking afternoon. It can let me see who will be the next American Idol.

That’s it? That’s the pinnacle of our imagination? That’s how we make the most of our technology. I’m sorry, but that fucking sucks. I’m making a more valuable contribution to the human race just sitting here and jerking off into an old Spice Girls t-shirt (don’t laugh, it was a fucking gift and the person who gave it to me is what the French would call La Douche Bag). The more I think about Posh, Baby, Ginger, Scary, and Sporty simultaneously blowing me the closer I come to finding the true road map to world peace (and I just depressed the fuck out of myself because the memory retention to keep those names straight probably means something more valuable was unlearnt). Okay, probably not. Okay, definitely not, but it’s a daisy chain of the world’s assholes and fuckwits closer to achieving peace than any “World’s Scariest Diarrhea Explosions” broadcast.

But why is that? Why are there only a handful of tolerable television shows punctuating a programming grid that seems to be nonstop Paris Hilton fucking with people’s lives and entertainment gossip magazines shows that are really half hour fellatio sessions for whichever celebrity has a mediocre movie to plug or tragedy to profit from? It’s actually quite a simple answer if you think about it. The reason why we’re being spoon-fed right from the asses of network executives is because the advertisers who sponsor the non-stop scat parade want as many people in the world to stay stupid as possible. And I am loath to make a statement like that, believe me, because I hate sounding like some sort of hippy conspiracy theorist. I don’t wear tin foil hats and I don’t hold secret meetings down by the docks, but I sure as fuck know that stupid people are more likely to part with their money for stupid-as-shit products than people who have successfully completed a remedial reading class or two. So why give them television shows that might evoke thought? Why, indeed.

Now get this, in Germany, and I shit you not, there are plans being made to launch a version of the popular show “Big Brother”, which in America is a show revolving around locking up a bunch of assholes in a house and hopefully somebody gets naked for a web cam, that would go on forever. What does that mean. Well, the producers of the show would build a town and have contestants go to live in this town and live their lives and it would all be on television and it would keep going and keep going until they die. That’s right. So theoretically you could take a break from your own uninspiring life to live somebody else’s uninspiring life vicariously. This is the golden age of technology folks!

But Michael, you don’t know for a fact that the people who are going to be on this show are going to be uninspiring. They might get some cool, radically thinking people who could evoke tremendous amounts of dialogue about many of the issues that are facing this planet.

You’re na├»ve nature is almost cute. If it goes on television it’ll be cut to appeal to the lowest common denominators. Sure, some “Big Brother” contestant might accidentally say something that would make you think, but I doubt that anybody would actually see it on the air. They’ll probably cut to some mall denizen mid-20’s blonde bimbo berating her roommate for leaving the toilet seat up again. That’s your fucking entertainment, you fucks! Now, a word from our sponsors.

And the whole prospect of people participating in a reality television how until they die is kind of fitting in a way. If you think about it, watching a reality television show until somebody dies puts you that much closer to death yourself, which means I get to rifle through your stuff, so watch away. Now if they could find a way to follow them through their reincarnation as the cum stains they should have been in the first place I might just have to tune in from time to time.

So what does it all mean? What can we do to weather this non-stop tidal wave of feces that comes in through the cable? The beautiful part is that the solution is so fucking simple and it’ll make you a fucking genius too. All you really have to do is turn the TV off. If there are TV shows that you like, ones that engage you in one way or another, get them on DVD because everything is finding its way to DVD these days, or only watch TV for those shows and turn it off otherwise. You’re making yourself a mark for corporate America every time you let them talk down to you with their shows like you were some kind of fucking fresh from the womb placenta-wet newborn. Read a book or something. Hell, write a book. You’ll be doing more for humanity and feeling better for yourself.