Saturday, 11 September 2021

the dead internet theory

On this anniversary which has propounded two Forever Wars (one of which capitalised on the 9/11 terror attacks to as a pretext to invade Iraq with the media mostly obliging, a misdirection that prised open for some a credibility chasm), the panopticon of the surveillance state, xenophobia, sectarianism, intolerance, violence, bloodshed all at a very dear price with the most treacherous legacy perhaps being the exportable cult of conspiracy theorists that first emerged as Truthers, then morphed into Birthers, Pizzagate, QAnon and whatever atrocity is next in the line of succession, we are presented a new one positing that the world wide web, acknowledging that the majority of traffic is bot driven, did die the death approximately five years ago and what remains is not all an elaborate hoax but rather a platform almost entirely dominated by artificial intelligence. Weighted interaction, with human engagement or robotic attention-seeking seems to matter little ultimately in a world of detached rankings and recursive references, but what if since 2016, the web and its various walled-gardens was depopulated and replaced with neural network propagandists, influencers and marketers? It’s patently ridiculous and like most “independent research” lurches to the territory of unhinged and offensive but the veiled unreality of it all makes it intriguing and a challenge to disprove, and with no prevailing mainstream narrative to counter the arc of conservation, evidence, it is garnering traction. There’s more than a kernel of truth to the manipulative, unrestrained and inhumanly automated nature of social media and shadow profiles created to supplement the personalities of those who don’t participate sufficiently. Not that the metaverse was ever particularly welcoming, it certainly seems uninviting if made by and for people-pleasing machines.

Saturday, 4 September 2021

i never had one myself, enough to remember. i was torn from the thigh of zeus.

Airing for the first time on this day in 1993, Sam Newfield’s 1944 juvenile delinquency exploitation flick was rediscovered through its MST3K lampoon (from the same director as Lost Continent and RADAR Secret Service) and elevated to the status of a cult classic, when defendant and mild-mannered teen Jimmy Wilson indicts his absent and alcoholic parents and lays the blame for his charge of manslaughter squarely on his substandard upbringing. Wilson is unwittingly recruited into a ring fencing stolen jewellery whose activity eventually results in the killing of a security guard and fearing reprisal and the consequences of associating with these criminal elements becomes a fugitive from justice for an indeterminate length of time. Jimmy is convinced to return to stand in court for his involvement.

Saturday, 8 May 2021

a night at the roxbury

Released on this day in 1993 as a single from the artist’s debut The Album, the Eurodance number from Kรถlner musician and choreographer Haddaway (written and arranged by Dieter Lรผnstedt and Karin van Haaren whom were waiting for the right singer to take on their project) enjoyed respectable but in comparison with its legacy and iconic status decades later subdued success when it first came out. Though a one-hit wonder, it’s defining of a certain era and transports one there instantly.

Saturday, 30 January 2021

every frame of this movie look like someone’s last known photograph

First airing on this day in 1993, “Manos” The Hands of Fate (previously) as lampooned by the crew of the Satellite of Love has been ranked by critics and fans as the number one episode of the franchise and the defining height of the genre of breaking the fourth wall, watching a movie and making fun of it. The show begins with the continuation of the short Hired! and an invention exchange prelude before launching into the 1966 Harold P. Warren horror vehicle with a young family taking a road trip near El Paso, Texas in search of “Valley Lodge.” They ultimately stop and ask for directions at what turns out to be a cult compound and are welcomed by a satyr called Torgo, who tends the ground while the Master is away. Despite objections from both his wife and Torgo, the father (portrayed by writer, director, producer Warren) asks if they might stay the night after a long day of driving. “The Master would not approve.”

Thursday, 26 November 2020

¡no lupita!

Released on this date in 1959 in Mexico (in October of the following year internationally, in America markets  under the same title though sometimes distinguished as Santa Claus versus the Devil), this Renรฉ Cardona and Adolfo Torres Portillo collaboration premises that Santa has a workshop in outer space and defeats a demon called Pitch who was dispatched to Earth by Lucifer to spoil Christmas by killing its spirit and cause all of humanity to do Satan’s despondent and joyless, and by defacto  evil, bidding. The movie received the Mystery Science Theatre 3000 (see previously) on Christmas Eve 1993 and one can watch the lampoon in its entirety below.

Tuesday, 21 May 2019

a carbonated “beverage”

I have no memory of this phenomenal marketing misreading and miscalculation and suppose our town or high school wasn’t in the test market, so am grateful and a little bit baffled that a soft drink giant, eager to appeal to the demographic of Generation X was willing to exploit what we’d now recognise arguably as potentially problematic tendencies and male toxicity. Leaning deeply into the ironic and blatantly pandering with an anti-commercial campaign, Ok Soda trialled in 1993 specially targeted at a “generation of male teens and young men tired of hype and pretension.” Cans were even printed with a rather lengthy ten-point manifesto.
Ultimately, consumers didn’t care for the drink and the whole advertising campaign proved too relentlessly bleak and nihilistic for consumers, even their target audience. The line was discontinued in 1995 and never went into broader distribution.  Be sure to visit Messy Nessy Chic at the link above to see more artefacts of this failed attempt at reverse-psychology and branding disaffection.