Posted by Rolando Garcia on Aug 29, 2011 in Non-fiction
Boy grows up writing. Can’t find a career in it so he takes a day job playing MLB baseball. Still working 23 years later. #lilnws
Normally mild NE USA hit by small earthquake & hurricane. Presidential candidate concludes it’s God warning gov’t to spend less. #lilnws
Lady Gaga ditches trademark burlesque, opts to be a man for MTV awards show, only to have her advances are rejected by Britney. #lilnws
MLK Memorial dedication was planned for Sunday. Hurricane warning caused cancellation. People said “fuck that” & show up anyway. #lilnws
Staten Island neighborhood in non-flood zone gets flooded. 911 call made. Firefighters on boats arrive in 2 minutes & save 61 #lilnws
Texas man robs store for fake weed with fake gun. Legally armed customer shoots him in the ass. Crook arrested, shooter not. #lilnws
This weekend I found out about Felix Feneon, a French guy who wrote entire stories for a newspaper in three lines. He was Twitter before Twitter. Even more interesting, to me, is that unlike Twitter, there were no links to follow up on the full story. Feneon had to boil down everything you needed to know into those brief lines. That sounds like a challenge to me. So, in an ongoing feature on twitter.com/roshow, I’m introducing #lilnws: real new stories, boiled down into tweet-sized bites without links. I’d love to hear back from readers to see if you’re able to get all you need from my summaries.
And, yes, today is Thursday which usually means a post with brand new material. Don’t despair. I’m working on a short story that’s not quite ready for prime time but will be up late (ok, very, very late) tonight.
I originally wrote this as a guest post for What’s Pissing Jess Off Today. I wish this still didn’t happen on a regular basis. A few weeks ago, in fact, I was “treated” to a woman’s very poor rendition of “I Am Your Lady” while pushing a stroller with an infant and forcing her older son to walk around asking for donations. The poor boy’s humiliation was only compounded by the fact that he had a mullet.
It was one of those rare times when my iPod shuffled to a song I actually wanted to hear. Excited by the prospect of not hitting the “next” button again, I settled in to listen. That’s when the loudest two man mariachi band in the world set up shop next to me and broke out into song. I don’t know what song it was but it was not something I wanted to hear.
Dear Subway Car Musicians: look around you. A quarter of your “audience” is wearing headphones trying to listen to their own music. Another quarter is reading. Right off the bat you’re actively annoying half of us. The rest are either sleeping, having conversations, lost in thought, playing Angry Birds or otherwise not interested in being disturbed.
But do you care? Of course not. Because for the next two minutes, at least, we are trapped, forced to listen against our will. You turn us into unwitting players in your sad delusion of musical stardom. And then you ask us to pay.
Not the actual mariachi referenced here but just as bad.
I’m sorry to break the news to you but… if anyone wanted to pay for your music, you wouldn’t be rocking the 8:30am Manhattan-bound R train.
PS: if you’re the hipster kid who broke out into Jason Mraz’s “I’m Yours” (possibly the worst song in the history of songs) while we were stuck between stations, pray I never see you again. You’re already lucky I didn’t go Animal House on you the first time.
There’s a new Spider-Man these days: Miles Morales. He’s half-black, half-hispanic, all controversial.
Let’s forget about the racists who hate him just because he’s not white. There’s another group of people out there who have a genuine, non-race motivated argument which is still utterly baffling to me. It’s an argument that you hear not just among comic book nerds. It’s an argument we’ve all heard about a million things: “this is stupid because it’s just a marketing ploy.”
Well kids, I’m hear to break the news to you: whoever you are, whatever you like, if you pay money for it, odds are it was created as a marketing ploy to get your cash.
The only difference between awesome stuff, crappy stuff and everything in between is how good the execution of the marketing ploy is. If it’s good enough to serve as both a way to get your cash and to enrich your life then the creators have transcended and made awesome stuff. If it’s good enough to get your cash and pass the time, then it’s okay stuff. If it’s good enough to enrich your life but doesn’t get enough of your cash it’s awesome stuff for you but crappy stuff for the creator trying to make a living. And if doesn’t get your money because it’s so atrociously bad then it’s crappy stuff.
No one thought to paint the Sistine Chapel’s ceiling because it would simply be “awesome art stuff.” The Pope wanted the painting as a marketing ploy to get him into history. Michaelangelo painted it as a marketing ploy to get some cash and fame to keep doing the sculpting he loved. If not for that marketing ploy we would have been denied one of the greatest pieces of art ever.
Since we began by talking about comics, how about my favorite fictional character of all time, Batman? The idea for Batman did not come from artists with a passionate need to tell engaging stories about a nuanced character devoted to fighting injustice. The idea exists because a publisher said to some artists “that Superman character is making a lot of money. Make me a spandex-wearing costumed crime fighter and I’ll pay you.” That didn’t turn out so bad, now did it?
All I’m saying is the fact that an idea was born of a marketing ploy is not a reliable indicator about how good or bad the final product will be. Many of humanity’s best ideas have their origins in marketing ploys to make a buck.
The Wu-Tang Clan is undeniably the greatest rap group of all time. And their biggest reasoning for becoming that good was to create a marketing ploy that could get them out of the projects. In their no-holds-barred way they laid out the truth in a simple chorus from one of their earliest hits. I’ll end on their words:
Cash rules everything around me
Get the money
Dolla’ dolla’ bill ya’ll
I’m working on a collection of short stories with some very awesome artists. They take place in a world where the war between heaven and hell is raging every day, all around us. Here are a couple of raw ideas for stories I’ll be working on. I’m always looking to hear feedback that could make them more interesting, so feel free to share your comments.
Groundhog Day, Heaven-style. The idea here is that the joy of heaven isn’t about getting whatever you want, when you want it. Rather, it’s the luxury of eternal time and necessities provided for. If you want to learn how to surf, you may suck at first but you can go back every day, over and over again until you get really good at it. Spend a few centuries drawing if you want to be the best artist ever. And so on. Not sure what the story is here exactly but it will be a light hearted comedy probably involving two roommates, one who likes to play video games, the other one who’s trying to be the best at something. I think the latter wears a robe and sweat pants to work every day — in Heaven, there’s no dress code for success.
Mercenary. This is someone damned to hell, with no allegiances. He works his way up the ladder in hell, making enough capital to live better off than the rest of the damned (“better off,” is a relative term in hell, by the way). This is the kind of soldier heaven’s army doesn’t have. He doesn’t believe in anyone but himself. He’s the ultimate expression of “I can only win if someone else is losing.” Dangerous. He’s on earth in the late 80′s/early 90′s to kill a do-gooder but someone makes him an offer with a bigger payout: a chance out of hell. Is it too good to be true?