It’s May 21 (May 22, Philippine Standard Time) and I’m still here.
And so is the rest of the world. Either somebody sucks at end-of-the-world math, or I’ve done something really, really bad that I have been left behind. Or God simply just changed His mind, leaving one very confused, very disappointed prophet somewhere in North America.
Crackpots, charlatans and the Mayan people have predicted the end of the world in so many ways. My next-door-neighbor, for instance, once warned us that the end of the world would be on February 21, 2010 when God would be sending back the 10 Plagues of Egypt. That day, water turned red and our little piece of the world was thrown into darkness. Creepy. That is, until I realized that Baciwa was doing a little “maintenance” in their water pipes while CENECO had a scheduled blackout. When I reminded my neighbour about it, he said simply that God works in mysterious ways, and that also means using basic utilities. He (the neighbour, not God) then went back to drawing pentagrams on his floor and refused to answer my questions about the end of the world.
You’d think that with a 0 percent batting average, these Doomsday prophets would at least find another job (I would, if I suck at mine). But they didn’t… and as they say, if you can’t lick ‘em, join ‘em.
And so, here is my (more convincing) list of signs that the world is coming to an end using pop culture landmarks as reference.
VII. Justin Bieber has just been included in this year’s TOP 100 Most Influential People in 2011.
What the —? The King of Repetitive Lyrics and Bad Music had just been picked by Time Magazine as one of the most influential people in Music.
Question: Who has he influenced? I certainly hope it’s not a generation of new song writers, or else we will continue listening to derivative drivel such as the ones Mr Bieber is churning out.
Like this one, for instance from his song “Eeenie Meenie”:
‘Cause Shawty is a eenie meenie miney mo lova,
Shawty is a eenie meenie miney mo lova,
Shawty is a eenie meenie miney mo lova,
Shawty is a eenie meenie miney mo lova.
Let’s ignore for once the bad grammar right there (um… you forgot an “n” after the article there sweetie), and admire the repetitive lyrics of a typical Bieber song. And this coming from a guy who also wrote lyrics like these:
She can’t decide.”
Wow. Thanks for the vocabulary lesson, Ms – I mean, Mr Bieber. Now I know what “indecisive” means.
The pattern of repetition of entire WORDS not sounds is an indication of a truly infantile writer. This is not just true in Eenie Meenie but also in Baby.
Take a look at this:
“And I was like baby, baby, baby, oh
Like baby, baby, baby, no
Like baby, baby, baby, oh
I thought you’d always be mine, mine.”
Or this from Down to Earth:
“Back down to earth, back down to earth
Back down to earth, back down to earth
Back down to earth, back down to earth
Back down to earth, back down to earth .”
F*ck. The guy is a genius. He knows his audience is the kind who cannot sit still for five seconds, the same audience that nursery rhymes target. And he is making money off idiots around the world.
CLAP, CLAP, CLAP. All hail, Bieber, out to conquer the word one bad lyric at a time. *SHUDDER*
VI. Pop songs everywhere are sounding the same.
Who but really hard-core fans of pop music can really distinguish between the voices of Jojo, Miley Cyrus, Britney Spears, and Charice Pempengco?
Two words to explain the phenomenon: Synthesized voices .
Now, even non-singers like Paris Hilton can cut an album – all that they need is a technician with a sense of humor and the latest state-of-the-art technology. You know, the kind that can make otherworldly voices sound human so that even a hyena with a festering sore throat can sing O Come All Ye Faithful and nobody can tell the difference.
What does this mean? That simply means a loss of identity among artists and the deliberate attempt at deceiving listeners. There is a conspiracy out there to make the singers sound exactly the same, like made-to-order automatons that can do everything you want it to do at a click of a button.
Even decent singers with distinct styles are re-packaged to make them sound like Naruto characters. Take a look at Pyramid for instance. Listen to Charice live and then listen to CD. She doesn’t sound the same – it’s like the music industry version of The Stepford Wives, giving us more of the same steaming, jiggling aural crap – but from different artists.
Makes you wish you were listening to Alvin and the Chipmunks instead.
V. The continuing patronage towards CG-laden films.
The plot could might as well be something about the next-door nerd with Irritable Bowel Syndrome and nobody would care for as long as there are enough CG to keep the average movie-goer from drifting off to sleep. Better if there are aliens, alien robots, and alien robots with big wangs – the bigger the robots, the better. Throw in explosions, a boy wizard (maybe) and some little people obsessed with a little piece of jewelry and you get the winning formula.
Thing is, the audience won’t care.
You don’t believe me? How many people watched to see a senseless film about robots beating the crap out of each other? The audience nearly paid three friggin’ billion dollars to watch Sam Worthington, an actor who can’t act his way out of a paper bag, romancing a very blue, very naked, and very pixelated Zoe Saldana.
And how many people watched The King’s Speech which won the Best Picture last year? Um, about 13 of them – and that included Mr Firth’s relatives and die-hard fans. Isn’t it a little disconcerting that no-talent actors like Megan Fox (terrible, terrible acting in EVERY movie that she’s in) or Channing Tatum have more recognisability than the likes of Colin Firth or Philip Seymour Hoffman? I even heard a Film Criticism student refer to Morgan Freeman as “that black dude from Batman”.
People don’t like talky stuff. They want movies with light sabers, boy wizards, homoerotic hobbits and pasty emo vampires with cheesy one-liners. And abs. They like werewolves with abs. The less story, the better.
And these same people who believed that Transformers 2 is a great film would be queuing to watch the last instalment of the Twilight saga. Wanna bet?
IV. The reprogramming of primetime TV.
There was once a time when news dominated primetime TV – but that changed with the arrival of a hot tamale from Mexico. Remember Marimar? No, not the GMA rip-off (okay, remake) but the one starring the scorchingly hot Thalia before she became the trophy wife for music mogul Tommy Mottola.
Marimar was made from the classic Cinderella template, an airbrushed Pretty Woman complete with a rags-to-riches backdrop with laughably myopic characters. And Filipinos, being naturally suckers for low-brow fantasy, lapped it all up. It didn’t take a while before RPN, which syndicated Marimar for local viewers, lorded it all over primetime – ahead of GMA and ABS-CBN. Of course, that marked the start of the end of the world – or a more informed world this side of the globe anyway. ABS-CBN naturally panicked, and reprogrammed their evening shows so that news eventually gave way to syndicated telenovelas starring Thalia (how original!) and to what we now know as the tele-serye.
But it did not stop there. Soon, the top two TV stations started competing as to who gets to be the biggest clones of Hollywood. So we have a Captain Barbell whose back story is interchangeable with Superman, a Lord of the Rings’ clone and that Marimar remake. Not to be outdone, the number two station also came up with shows that were stolen straight from Hollywood – and then some. So we have a Marcelino Pan y Vino clone, a Korean tele-serye remake starring a certain stick figure that I will not name, and a Twilight-slash-Underworld-slash-Nightwatch mishmash (really – is that the best that you can do? Rip off a shitty vampire franchise?).
It’s enough to make you weep.
III. Exploitative shows are making a killing during noontime.
Soft porn is making a comeback, and no it’s not via pito-pito movies.
Just simply pick any channel at random during lunch time and you can see various nubile girls running around and dancing in various stages of dishabille.
And it’s not just Willie Revillame – the meisters of exploitative TV, Tito, Vic and Joey are also at it. Maybe we have forgotten that pre-Willie, noontime TV already has shows ridiculing homosexuals, midgets and grandmothers (remember the Lola Madonna contest?).
Willie ramped the “EWWW” factor one notch higher by getting his guests to air their sob stories in public. The EWWW factor worsened when Willie transferred to Willing Willie and asked a clearly distraught child to do some sick version of a “macho dance”.
The sad part is that the audience continue watching these kinds of shows, as evidenced by Willie’s continuing popularity despite having been suspended from the program. Apparently, we are a masochistic lot – we enjoy bad TV so much we refuse to switch channels although we are sickened by what we see.
I am starting to believe we deserve whatever visual garbage is shown on the boob tube.
II. The Twilight saga continues to pull in fans.
Let me get this straight.
Twilight is a piece of crappy literature that should not have been published to begin with.
Take a look at the opening paragraph of the first book:
“My mother drove me to the airport with the windows rolled down. It was seventy-five degrees in Phoenix, the sky a perfect, cloudless blue. I was wearing my favorite shirt – sleeveless, white eyelet lace; I was wearing it as a farewell gesture. My carry-on item was a parka.”
[Insert profanity here]. That was exactly how I wrote when I was in Grade 5. Quick, how many times have you heard anybody describing the sky as “a perfect, cloudless blue”. Honey, you are writing a novel, not a weather report. Can’t you please be a little less prosaic and banal?
Remember those Sweet Dreams novels, where the boy invariably gets the girl, with the girl usually getting the hot jock whom everybody wants a piece of?
That’s exactly what Twilight is like. With sparklies and cheesy lines thrown in.
It’s a travesty – with bad literature meeting bad story line. Parents, please, please, please – if you want your kids to learn good English, don’t ever buy them Twilight books. They would grow up to be idiots. Start them on Roald Dahl instead. Or JK Rowling even. Beside Twilight, the Harry Potter books look positively Shakespearean.
Here’s another paragraph which shows how derivative the novel is:
“In the Olympic Peninsula of northwest Washington State, a small town named Forks exists under a near-constant cover of clouds. It rains on this inconsequential town more than any other place in the United States of America. It was from this town and its gloomy, omnipresent shade that my mother escaped with me when I was only a few months old.”
Note to author: Using words like inconsequential and omnipresent does not a classic make. Puh-leeze, Jane Austen novel, it clearly ain’t.
What is even more horrifying is the reinforcement of the damsel-in-the-distress and the submissive wives stereotype. The novel makes it appear normal for a man to beat up his wife once he turns into a werewolf – the implication being that as long as the man is remorseful, hey, give the guy a chance. To beat you up again. Idiot.
Twilight. Most horrifying read of the century. Don’t say you haven’t been warned.
I. The sudden onslaught of Rebecca Black videos.
Forget about the last six signs.
If there is sign of an impending Apocalypse, this is it: Rebecca Black’s song, Friday.
The power of this God-awful song is so strong, it had generated 145 million hits on the Youtube so far. Yes, it was soooo awful, it had people getting curious just to check if it could cause their ears to bleed – just like it was reputed to be.
In fact, the comments section for the video on Youtube had been permanently disabled (probably upon the recommendation of Ms Black’s shrink).
For those of you who had been living under a rock these past months, here’s a sample of Rebecca Black’s song:
“Partyin’, partyin’ (Yeah)
Partyin’, partyin’ (Yeah)
Fun, fun, fun, fun
Lookin’ forward to the weekend.”
See, Time magazine was right. Justin Bieber really is influential.
Here’s another stanza from the infamous song:
“It’s Friday, Friday
Gotta get down on Friday
Everybody’s lookin’ forward to the weekend, weekend
Gettin’ down on Friday
Everybody’s lookin’ forward to the weekend.”
That really is inspired by Bieber.
According to unnamed sources, Friday has been chosen by the anti-Christ as the official song representing the horrors of the Apocalypse, edging out Bieber’s Baby and the Black-Eyed Peas’ I’ve Got a Feeling. The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse would ride out and claim souls while Friday is playing in the background .
Be afraid. Be very afraid.