What's up, Yo? I'm in tha house kickin it old school to tell y'all about a few dope-assed movies I's peeped lately.
OK, OK. Sorry about that lede graf. I'm trying to appeal to a much younger and, as marketing reports and marketing professionals (i.e., marketers) tell me, a hipper demographic. The hipsters who use slurred and incomplete gibberish as indicated in the opening paragraph apparently have much more disposable income to spend (waste) on trivial things like CDs, equipment to soup up their Hondas and Toyotas with the latest gadgets that make them light up like the neon on a dive bar and stereo equipment that makes the bass rattle and bounce off the plastic spoilers of these Hondas and Toyotas like a baseball in a tin can.
Yeah, it's pretty obnoxious.
Then again, this demographic isn't reading books, let alone buying them so that opening bit just makes me look like a jackass and a panderer. You know, like Bill Clinton or any other self-respecting politician.
Oh, love me! Just like me! Give me money, too! I have a mortgage, a car payment and marketers to succumb to. Please, help a brother out.
And I digress.
Mostly, these marketers, who just have to be up on all the latest trends and intricacies of modern culture, want to use their knowledge, research and study to separate those in that hip demographic, with their young, undeveloped minds and all, from their hard earned or begged for cash. They do this by making the mundane look cool with over-hyped ads and lifestyles that most of these kids will never affordably achieve in two lifetimes. Effective marketers are so good that they can fill the naïve and less aware heads with unrealistic dreams and goals that even the most diligent kids can never achieve.
Don't kid yourself. People in marketing know what they are doing. They are up on the latest trends from reading about them in People and the industry trades and know all about market research from going to Bermuda and Las Vegas for various seminars with power-point displays telling them what they have to do. The best of them are briefed and re-briefed before lunch is ordered and know how to manipulate every line of text and every action they make.
If there is a difference between a marketer and a politician, it's hard to find. Both are trying to get everyone to like and need all that they are selling and both are always campaigning for votes in one form or another.
Still, getting people to buy their pitch isn't easy even for the best marketers. Kids, and by kids I mean those between the ages of 14 and 21, aren't as dumb as they look, act or speak. They are savvy with their cash and won't spend it on inferior products. Just look at the price tags on their clothes and cell phones and computers. No, it's not Versace or Ralph Lauren, but Tommy Hilfiger and P. Diddy have mortgages to pay too. They just can't give their stuff away.
Nonetheless, where the marketers can dupe these kids is with popular culture. They can resist second-rate designer clothes - relatively speaking, of course - but they can't resist second-rate schlock packaged as art. How else can one explain Brittany Spears or the Phantom Menace? Come on.
All right, all right. The proverbial can of worms is opened. Controversy, the one thing that all marketers try to avoid and jump on and snuff out like it's an unattended campfire, is sure to ensue after a rip on the Star Wars enterprise. In fact, I'm sure they teach the avoid-controversy-at-all-costs credo before day one. Why? Because a marketer can't smile through controversy and marketers want to smile and dot their "I's" with smiley faces. After all, marketers are grown up cheerleaders. Sorry for not mentioning that at the top but I was trying to get in good with the cheerleaders - I guess I haven't changed since high school.
Nonetheless, Star Wars, at least the latest installments, suck. They are nothing more than videos for MTV with huge budgets. Astronomical. And the guy who makes them, George Lucas, is a hack. Sure, he's a marketing genius, but a hack.
Now imagine me calling someone a hack. What right do I have? What have I ever done? Want an answer? Well, here it comes anyway: I've never gotten lucky.
There it is: George Lucas, in my not so humble opinion, is nothing more than a hack that got lucky. If you sit down and really think about and analyze his first few Star Wars movies, you'll notice that they are pretty basic - the character development is weak at best and the dialogue... come on. My man can't write a character and in the latest pictures, there is no soul. There is nothing human to touch. The edits are weak as well. It's like Lucas dumbed everything down because he thinks the viewer has no attention spa... hey, here comes my dog Katie. I'm going to pet her now.
Still, there is something to be said for eye-candy. Look at Brittany. Say what you want about her "art," but she is still fun to look at - uneven eyes and all. Therefore, Lucas is the Red Rope Licorice of the eye-candy family.
This makes me angry. I'm sorry I just can't help it. I get so angry that I have to sit down and find something dumb on one of my 367 channels to calm my rage like a cultural lobotomy that keeps me from screaming at the top of my lungs on the front yard while the neighbors pass judgment and think that I'm a psycho even though they have an abandoned ice-cream truck with flat tires on the driveway and a ratty, tattered coach with weaved fabric and two cushions missing next to the dormant, above-ground pool.
I may be a psycho but at least my yard is raked.
Anyway, it's a damn shame that hacks like Lucas, James Cameron and Joe Esterhaus live like sultans in Southern California while important writers like Hubert Selby Jr. collected welfare and lived in relative poverty in the Lower East Side.
It's a damn shame.
I think I heard (or read) that Selby didn't get a dime when his book "Last Exit to Brooklyn" was turned into a movie. I guess that's his own damn fault for being an artist.
But there are many more like Selby that I could mention but won't. I'll end up in front of the TV or on the front yard. I just think that Paul Auster should be getting fat in Bel Air with those other creeps. For that matter, James Welch and Ian Frazer should be millionaires too.
It's not just guys like Lucas either. It's the music biz along with the movie industry (that's funny... industry. Like it's a raw material that is processed into something useful and beneficial by hard-working, blue-collar types.). After seeing the dinero poured into Lucas' movies and hearing songs I used to like being sold to car companies for commercials, I've come to the conclusion that I should just sell out. It's the hip thing that is desirable to the correct demographic. Who wants to be like Selby? You have to admit that the starving artist bit gets old in a hurry, but having a little bit of value isn't too bad either. Someday we all have to sell out and compromise whatever integrity we have in some way or another, but we can always remember today's words of wisdom:
INTERGRITY IS MUCH COOLER THAN $$$$$.
Hey, I'm interested in making money as much as the next guy. Why else would I write an undecipherable opening paragraph like I did? But I realize there is a limit. If by some freak of nature I draw a salary like a professional athlete, that will be good enough for me. I'm not holding out for an extra two million a year when I won't be able to spend the three I'm already getting. No, I'm not a commie, but for some reason we are told things that just don't jibe. We are told to be moral and just and to always do the right thing while, at the same time, we are told to get it while we can. If the world is a rat race, it's OK to be a rat.
Well, I don't want to be a rat.
I would be remiss if I didn't pay at least one compliment to Mr. Lucas. After all, as a seven-year old I loved Star Wars and even dressed up like Luke Skywalker for Halloween. Not all of his dialogue is garbage. The character Chewbacca, known to his friends as Chewy (he's a "Wookie"), who is some kind of Sasquatch, but unlike Big Foot, Chewy wears a utility belt like a bike messenger's pouch across his chest and has opposable thumbs, which allows him to operate a gun, open doors and fly space craft.
Anyway, old Chewy was in a scene when his partner Han Solo, played by the hunky baby-boomer Harrison Ford, was being lowered into a chamber to be frozen a la Ted Williams and delivered to some bad guy named Jaba the Hut. As Han was being lowered into the cryogentical freezing thing, Chewy, in his utter dismay of watching his maligned pal wigs out and utters a line that is firmly entrenched in the annals of filmdom for classic writing:
Genius. Pure genius.