Thursday, August 12, 2010

Can anybody find me somebody to love?

In life, there are only several truths. One of these truths is that people will always piss you off. I don't care how happy someone acts in a group, the law of the universe states that at least one person in an average sized group (around 15 people) will annoy the pants off of you and, most likely, everyone else. If you do not find someone in that group that makes you want to take a long walk off a short pier, then it shouldn't be too hard to figure out who is the annoying one in the group.

Spoiler Alert

I am particularly cursed in my life, in that I am a pompous ass. This is obviously a problem as it makes nearly everyone a pest. To me, whatever I like is great and whoever disagrees with me was clearly dropped on their head as a child. This makes it very hard to socialize in an acceptable manner as many people have opinions that differ from my own. Worse than differing opinions though, are stupid differing opinions. You'd be surprised at how many people have these. These people are known as 'men' and 'women' and they are the scourge of my existence.

Listed below are the phrases that people have actually told me that push me ever closer to severing all human contact and living in a cave in the mountains. Remember, that even though you may scoff at these and think "There's no way anyone could possibly believe this," you would be very wrong.

1.) "Is it possible for you to get me in to see the doctor on Wednesday? No? Well, could you check to see if I can get in Wednesday to see the doctor?"

Said by: Idiot patients
Said where: The phone

- My mom is a doctor and runs her own private practice. I often take the time to help out there at the desk during the busy months. I answer phones, make appointments, file things that need filing. The worse part of this job is the sheer amount of idiots I deal with. When people call in to make appointments, the first thing I ask is "What time would be good for you to come on in?" Oftentimes the response is what was listed above. People do not seem to understand that when a day is booked up that I can't magically make time in the day for them to come in. When they protest that there are no available appointments that day I often get the "Well that's the only day I can come in!" or the self important "But I need to get my kids in before school starts, why can't you get them in before school starts?!" Because, Angry Mom Lady, there is an infinite amount of you idiots out there and only one doctor here, and sadly, all those other people wanted to get their kids in to see her before you called. Oddly enough, right before school starts is a popular time to go see the doctor and people grab those appointments like they're wedding dresses at a clearance wedding dress sale.

The reason this always gets to me is the way it just shows how overly self-important people are. There are literally trillions of organisms upon trillions of planets within trillions of galaxies within an infinite universe and yet these people call in expecting us to drop all of our other patients just to see them and check and make sure they're healthy.

Still feel significant?

2.) "I think that X song in Glee/Across the Universe/etc. was sung better than the original artist/musician/performer."

Said by: Most of the time, this little nugget of condensed vexatious soup comes direct from women.
Said where: At me, whenever I mention my love of the Beatles someone will inevitably tell me that they prefer the Across the Universe version.

- For those of you who are unaware, Across the Universe is a 2007 film where a handful of people that are notable for not being John, Paul, George, and Ringo sing songs made famous by John, Paul, George, and Ringo. This movie made over $50 million. Glee is very similar to Across the Universe in that it is a television show on the Fox Network where a high school show choir deals with their problems and sings famous songs. It is also notable for being the gayest show on television.

Another thing these two have in common is that there is a rather large fan community for both and all of those people insist on telling me about it.

Here is my complaint with shows like this and cover songs in general: They have to work very hard to top the original. The reason that Glee and Across the Universe don't top the original songs is because they are meant to be seen as well as heard. They can't just concentrate on doing the original justice and making the song their own, they also have to worry about what people are seeing as well as trying to make everything make sense within the confines of a specific narrative.

I'll start my rant with Across the Universe's biggest crime against humanity, the terrible rendition of 'Hey Jude' sung by some asshole named Joe Anderson. The filmmakers took a beautiful song, written by McCartney for John Lennon's son Julian after John's affair with Yoko Ono and subsequent separation and divorce from his family, and gave it to some hipster douche with a shitty beard to sing in order to simply encourage his friend to return to the United States. One of these things is not like the other.

The actual story of the song is heartwarming when you hear about how absent in Julian's life John actually was (Julian has said that Paul was in more pictures with him at that age than his own father) and how his friend Paul was always there for him, always supportive and encouraging. The lyric "take a sad song and make it better" was to help Julian deal with such a hard time in his young life.

The Across the Universe version forgets all of that and uses it as a vehicle to get the character Max to welcome Jude back into the US by screaming at the camera "Hey Jude-y Jude-y..." etc. That is the whole purpose of the song in the movie. It tears the song apart further by bringing in a retarded drunk to pound non-rhythmically on trash cans and wooden blocks at the beginning of the coda (the 'na-na-na' part). How anyone can listen to this garbage baffles me.

Glee is the same way. I do have to admit though, the cast does have good voices when they sing their songs. When they sing "Somebody to Love" for instance, all of the fundamentals are in place to make it an okay cover song. But something is missing... I just can't put my finger on it...

Oh that's right

Do you see? The problem with Glee as well as just about every other cover song is that it is not the original. If the song gets covered its probably because its a classic in some form. It is exceedingly hard to surpass such a classic, especially in Glee where it also has to forward a story in some way and needs to showcase the cast of characters. Sure, there are good cover song out there (See: 'Hurt', a Nine Inch Nails song covered by an aging Johnny Cash), but I have yet to see Glee's cast sing a song that matched the original. And everyone that likes to think that the way that they sing is better than God damned Freddie Mercury is wrong in the worst possible way and they should go play in traffic. Instead of covering songs, the cast of the show should write their own songs and sing those. I could maybe find a spot in my heart to support them then.

3.) "I hate foreign language films"

Said by: Morons
Said where: In a comic books and film class I took

- I was told this by a classmate after we had just finished Oldboy and his main complaint was that he had to read the subtitles. "I don't like anything that isn't in a language I grew up speaking," he added after munching on a protein bar for a little bit.

The assumption that everything that isn't in English is too hard for an American to enjoy is one of the most bone-headed things I've ever had the misfortune to come across. The language does not deter from the story. Some of the best stories ever told have been in other languages, and some of the best films ever made haven't been in English (See: Seven Samurai, Le Femme Nikita, Pan's Labyrinth). The only reason that these films are ignored by the people that have to have things in English is laziness. Oh, what's that? You don't want to think while you expose yourself to culture? Too damn bad.

Just because something isn't in the language you speak does that mean that you should disregard it. Open up a little, you may enjoy something new.

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