Poop Culture
Robyn on Katy Perry: No comment.

While I’m not a huge fan of Swedish pop star Robyn (the photo sequence above isn’t helping her cause), I was still disappointed to hear she was opening up for Katy Perry on some U.S. tour dates. I guess you can chalk that one up more to my strong disdain for Ms. Perry, who I commonly refer to as “Big Jugs McGee.” Nonetheless, it was pretty amusing to read Robyn’s response to some questions about Perry in Time Out New York…

You’re opening for Katy Perry this summer—how did that happen?
I was asked by her to do it and thought it was a good way of getting to know her audience. It’s bigger than mine. [Laughs]

And are you a fan of hers?
You know what? I have to go now. [Giggles]

Really?
Yeah! I do. But it’s nice to talk to you.

Ouchhhh. That is one subtle burn by the Swede.

Halftime Hypocrisy: Why, Slash? Why?

So just last week I kicked things off at Poop Culture with a response to the Glee/Kings of Leon controversy; which also included a war of words between Ryan Murphy (creator of Glee) and Slash (guitar legend, who also turned down the show). In a nutshell; Murphy insulted the musicians for not lending their music to Glee, they defended themselves, Murphy fired back, homophobia accusations started flying, and in the end, Slash managed to stand alone in the rubble. (I like to imagine him playing the solo of November Rain, right now, like in the video.) He played it cool, and remained the iconic rock star we all love. His integrity, intact.

Then yesterday, during a Super Bowl Halftime Show my friends and I were watching for unintentional comedic purposes only; everything changed. The Black Eyed Peas (dressed like Tron, futuristic football players, or my personal fav, Gay X-Men) were doing pretty much what I expected; shouting a medley of their horrible songs into microphones, against a futuristic, over-the-top set design/backdrop. It was all going as planned; their costumes lit up, they danced like idiots, the auto-tune flowed like Gatorade. And then we all heard “Sweet Child O’ Mine” emit from the loudspeakers…

"No Slash, nooo!," my brother and I repeatedly yelled at the TV. He wasn’t on-screen yet, and we could only hope that our pleas would prevent the unfathomable scenario of Slash joining the Peas on stage. But soon enough, a shadowy figure emerged from a circular pod beneath the surface. Yes, it was Slash, donning his regular leather garb, only this time, with sequins studded all over his signature hat (and guitar strap). As he played the riff that made him a legend, Fergie slithered to his side, and then literally started slithering like Axl Rose, as she belted out the song’s lyrics. And there you had it – a bedazzler’d Slash butchering Guns N’ Roses’ biggest song, with help from the Gay X-Men.

There isn’t much more to say. For anyone (like me) subjected to years of ridicule for defending Guns N’ Roses as a legitimate and (at one time) great band – we all took a big shot in the stomach last night. There was no way for me to defend Slash, without contradicting every awful thing I’ve said about the Black Eyes Peas in recent years. It was checkmate; I couldn’t make a move. And while the Glee controversy was more about an artist getting to choose where their music goes (whether it’s a YES to Volkswagen, or a NO to Glee), Slash’s decision to shun that show, but signup for…whatever that was last night, was…off-putting.

I should note that this isn’t the first Fergie/Slash collaboration. She appeared on his very forgettable solo album last year, which I assume most people either forgot or didn’t know. So when you consider that, this really shouldn’t have come as much of a surprise. Still, there’s something about Slash’s willingness to lend himself to a performance like last night, all the while looking very apathetic and just “happy to be here,” as long as the lasting, visual image (the hat, the glasses, the guitar, the Jewfro) lives on. Maybe it’s because he’s so covered up and focused on his technique; he doesn’t actually have to look at the camera and face his shame. Well we all faced it last night, Saul Hudson. And it stung worse than Fergie’s face.

Sticking with the topics of “ads” and “subway,” I feel the need to address this safety tip from the MTA. I’m sure most of you that take the train have noticed this one.
Uh, do people really do this? Seriously, what’s the survival rate of straphanging on the outside of a train door as it speeds into a dark tunnel? I for one, have never seen this. And even if a few people have been crazy enough to attempt this stunt, does that really necessitate an entire ad campaign? It’s that serious of a concern? Nice to see what the MTA is allocating it’s much-debated funding on.

Sticking with the topics of “ads” and “subway,” I feel the need to address this safety tip from the MTA. I’m sure most of you that take the train have noticed this one.

Uh, do people really do this? Seriously, what’s the survival rate of straphanging on the outside of a train door as it speeds into a dark tunnel? I for one, have never seen this. And even if a few people have been crazy enough to attempt this stunt, does that really necessitate an entire ad campaign? It’s that serious of a concern? Nice to see what the MTA is allocating it’s much-debated funding on.

This is the billboard above my train station by work (interchanging with the clear, full ad). It’s currently occupied by an ad for the third installment in Martin Lawrence’s Big Momma franchise, “Big Mommas: Like Father, Like Son.” I should add that this space was previously occupied by Jack Black’s “Gulliver’s Travels” a huge bomb over the holiday season. I’d say this billboard was cursed, but that would imply these movies needed to something other than “just existing” to suck.

So from time to time, I will include things on this blog that aren’t pop culture related. Those posts will be deemed “Pop-free.” I also plan on posting stuff (reviews, thoughts, links, etc.) I actually LIKE about pop culture - yes it’s true - and that content will be deemed “Poop-free.” Here is a link I just saw on Facebook from one of my former bosses, about Fox New’s Middle East map FAIL, in which they mistaken Iraq as Egypt. It’s understandable; not like they’ve been covering the formerly mentioned country at all in the past ten years (FYI, the final round of the Carmen Sandiego TV game show had child contestants place flags on a giant, blank world map, after being told what country to find. It’s clear that those kids would have smoked Greta Van Susteren.)

Running Diary of Kourtney Kardashian on George Lopez

The above photo is actually from another episode. Tonight, it was just Kourtney.

Sooo, yeah. Not a big fan of the Kardashians. Let me rephrase that; I go out of my way to let people know how much I dislike, and simply can’t fathom the popularity of the Kardashians. (P.S., hate is a strong word people, and I will actually try to refrain from using it on this blog. Unless I write about Sarah Palin.)

Any who, Kourtney, the oldest and skinniest Kardashian sister, was flying solo on Lopez Tonight, and I figured it would be a good opportunity to write my first running diary for the blog. I should note that I’m steal-err, “borrowing” this concept from Bill Simmons, my biggest writing influence, although he uses it to document sporting events, with witty observations and opinions. My intent is a little more…malicious, but really, I was just curious to see what the Ringo of the Kardashians had to say with the spotlight just on her. Shockingly, the answer is - very little.

-Starts off with George Lopez (who I’ll spare this time) introducing Kourtney as “one of the golden tickets.” Not quite sure what that means. She’s introduced to Katy Perry’s “Firework,” and slowly but surely, the “Poop Culture Axis of Evil” is becoming aligned.

- The apex of the interview actually comes within the first minute or so, when Lopez asks Kourtney about her new show, “Kourtney and Kim Take New York,” and why people love it. Her response, “I think people love…[struggles to think why people would genuinely enjoy a show about her and Kim opening a store in New York], I dunno, like we really enjoy ourselves, and I think people can sense that.” I might as well just stop now.

-When discussing the recent controversy over sister Kim’s W magazine photo shoot (in which she gets upset about appearing nude, even though she clearly posed for the photos), Kourtney says, “It was a lot of drama, to get her to the point of being happy.” Translation - They needed a storyline for episode two of “Kourtney and Kim Take New York.”

- Throughout the interview, the audience is constantly applauding and laughing at every word uttered by Kourtney, as if Obama or George Clooney was the guest. It was quite the contrary to my reactions - constantly shaking my head and thinking, why the fuck am I doing this.

-Kourtney’s take on the NYC subway system is a little different than all us frustrated commuters: She rode it only once before this new show and had an anxiety attack because the train was “too crowded;” on the show, she bought a “little, card like pass” with Kim (or MetroCard; I know, it’s not like it’s written on it or anything); and actually shared one fare with her sister, because times are tough for the Kardashians on their all-expense paid reality show. I will never bitch about the MTA again.

-A clip of the show, oh joy. Went something like this…Kourtney: (entering a Rolls-Royce with her boyfriend Scott) Wait, what is this? Scott: It’s a Rolls-Royce. Kourtney: Wait…did you buy this car? Scott: Um, yeah. (End scene) The Lopez crowd is now giving a standing ovation.

-I keep forgetting this chick has a kid. Is it just me, or is it pretty despicable for a mother to leave her infant child to shoot a reality TV show, which really serves no vital purpose? Shouldn’t mothers not want to miss a moment of their baby’s first year? Kourtney did take pride in the fact that she didn’t drag the little tike with her while filming, since it just wouldn’t have been right. You know what “would” have been right? Not doing a reality show when you have a baby.

-The crowd starts cheering Kourtney for still breastfeeding past 14 months, while I choke myself with my laptop cord.

-She then goes into an anecdote about 15-year-old kids in the “middle of nowhere” who are still breastfed because they have no food. “It’s like, you’re supposed to be mad at your mom, but then it’s like, I’m hungry!”  Don’t worry, it’s almost done.

-George Lopez, who seems like a really nice guy, isn’t deflecting the stupidity as much as he’s fueling it. He’s the ideal interviewer for people like the Kardashians, and as such, will have a long, successful career.

-Interview ends with George Lopez saying “Everything you guys do is great,” referring to the Kardashian Klan. And by “everything” he means “nothing” and by “great” he means “meaningless.” Wait, that’s a double negative. OK Lopez. You win this round.

Even to Kings of Leon, Rock n’ Roll is still (somewhat) about integrity

Here’s hoping South Park doesn’t waste any time deciding who to target in March’s season premiere.   

Glee creator Ryan Murphy is a pretty sensitive dude.  It’s the only way you can describe his recent tirade; calling musicians who refuse to lend their songs to his god awful excuse for a TV show…wait for it…child molesters.

OK, he didn’t actually say that. But he did say the musicians – Slash and Kings of Leon to be exact – were performing a disservice to today’s youth, by not licensing away their songs to a show that I and several other appreciators of music feel…butchers music.  Not in Ryan Murphy’s eyes though. He views Glee as some sort of televised utopia of music education. As a musician, you’d be crazy to even consider passing on the opportunity to be a part of such a cultural phenomenon. To Murphy, Slash and Kings of Leon are “uneducated, quite stupid” and “self-centered assholes,” respectively.

Now I am in no way a Kings of Leon fan – I liked “Sex on Fire,” guilty, but agree that “Use Somebody” was so overplayed, to the point that it felt like musical water boarding. They’re viewed as talentless sellouts by most music aficionados, but put out the Top 40 radio staple that Murphy tends to feed off. (Literally. These songs have become his life supply.) I do think it’s pretty amusing that bloggers are pointing out the alleged irony; that a band who licenses its music to car commercials would turn down a show on Fox. Just a reminder, indie-rock bands are selling their tunes to commercials at an alarming rate, so please scratch that argument. The only difference is Ryan Murphy has no interest in asking Arcade Fire if his choir of pop culture cancer can cover “Ready to Start.” No, this is a man with an appeal only for the masses.

The most ironic thing I’ve taken out of this ridiculous controversy is that Murphy is coming off as an egomaniac; while the root of all his Glee success is based on the talent of others. The show is not crushing the ratings without its barrage of pop music cover songs – and this is not up for debate. Glee without Madonna and Britney Spears is no different than any other mediocre, poorly watched teen show. Jane Lynch (and god bless her, I think she’s hilarious) has been doing her shtick for a while now. I’m pretty sure there’s a reason she’s finally getting noticed for it, and it’s the least funny she’s ever been by far.

The controversy that has erupted out of the controversy, is Kings of Leon drummer Nathan Followill’s twitter response, in which he told the openly gay Murphy to “get a manicure” or “buy a bra” as ways to cope with his publicly displayed temper. Now everyone is calling Followill a raging homophobe. To me, that is incredibly unfair. Sure the comment came off as ignorant, but come on, I think we’ve heard enough rappers say “faggot” to be phased by something as juvenile as “buy a bra.” The truth is Murphy totally baited the guy with his initial attack, and the likely insecure Followill responded as most pissed-off people would. He wasn’t anti-gay as much as he was, well, really pissed off. But no, Murphy feasts at the opportunity to play the gay card, off a feud HE instigated by attacking the band’s integrity; especially a band already clinging to any strand of integrity it had left. A band Murphy DESPERATELY wanted on his show.

When the dust settles, and Kings of Leon is back to selling out Pepsi Centers, Glee will continue reaping the catalogues of the most accessible, radio friendly, hit music; as long as the respective artists care enough about the children to give it up. Because that’s all Ryan Murphy cares about; not about his ratings or Emmy awards. Or the fact that once he runs out of music to exploit and destroy, his show will be totally screwed. For a band like Kings of Leon though, constantly at odds with what the cool critics think, and what their millions of fans provide, it’s still about the music. Their music –as awful as one Pitchfork critic may think it is, and as vital as it is to Ryan Murphy’s current existence – is still their music. It’s one thing to lend it to a commercial, where the band’s actual songs remain intact. It’s another to have it rehashed in a way that will undoubtedly diminish its credibility to an all-time low. Kings of Leon wisely told Murphy no thanks to that. And he decided to exploit them, in a no-win situation for the band.

And by the way, it’s one thing to lash out at Kings of Leon – I will defend them only on my morals. But when you bring Slash into this, Murphy, you hack of a writer, and call him “stupid” for preventing “Paradise City” from being belted out by the nasally Lea Michelle, who you just love prancing around in short, underwear revealing skirts (it’s all about the kids right?); well sir, now you have really drawn my vitriol. Seriously man, stay the fuck away from Guns N’ Roses.

Hello.

So I’ve decided to make my triumphant return to blogging, after a nearly three-year hiatus. (R.I.P. thesportsjew.blogspot.com) I also decided to go a different route second time around. Any of you who know me well, know that I loathe what mainstream pop culture has become in these troubled times. I don’t know if it’s a growing reflection of our society, an overall lack of bright ideas, or just technological-induced laziness - or all of the above - but I find that if most people like something these days; I tend to hate it. And complain about it. A lot.

With that, welcome to Poop Culture. This blog will be an outlet for my highly critical (and hopefully comical) view on everything from pop music to reality television, to the bane of my existence that is the Kardashians. (Yes, you will probably never find another heterosexual male who hates them as much as me. With the exception of probably my twin brother.)

I will try to keep this thing updated with rants, mini-rants, links, photos, and maybe even some content that is off-topic from the blog’s main focus. I will also post about things I like in the realm of modern media, which I will note as being “poop-free.” It is time to begin the journey. See you all later. This guy was ahead of his time.

(This guy was so ahead of his time.)