Issue 12 of The Campbell Times
Recently, one of my favorite comedy writers Daniel O’Brien wrote a comedy article on Cracked.com about how a previous comedy article made him a potential comedy threat in the eyes of the comedy government. Actually, take out the last two comedies, he was really taken in for questioning by the real Secret Service and put on real government watch lists.
In his article Daniel wrote the Secret Service watches the entire Internet no matter how small the website in search of threats and now I’m going to test that theory.
The website Daniel writes for is still up and running and doesn’t seem to be in any danger so I’m assuming The Campbell Times and Campbell University will be safe. However, the article that got Daniel in trouble was just about beating up Presidents, whereas I will be teaching you, the reader, how to assassinate America’s soul.
In order to do that you have to destroy the nation’s idols, our favorite celebrities, but you can’t simply kill them. That would turn them into martyrs and only make them stronger. Also it’s mean; just so rude. You know, I’m pretty sure it’s against the law even. No, in order to bring America to its knees you have to bring the country’s most beloved figures down to the level of ordinary humans, starting with our greatest treasure.
Step 1: Make Tom Hanks look like a jerk
Tom Hanks isn’t just one of the country’s best actors; he’s also a universally adored celebrity. It’s a proven fact that Tom Hanks’ performance in a 1980 episode of The Love Boat created so much pure joy that Hitler felt it in 1945 and experienced remorse for the first time. Hanks has been the ideal American celebrity for decades and he must be eliminated. The trick is to reveal the real person beneath all the charm and friendliness. You have to mock him relentlessly until he snaps. Call him a “turd face.” Make fun of the way he’s always been a delightful Saturday Night Live host and the entire cast in every generation thinks he’s the bee’s knees. Say you only pretended to cry like a baby when he lost Wilson in Cast Away. He’ll believe because it’s too farfetched to be a lie. You’d have to be some kind of terrorist to keep a dry eye during that scene. WILSON. This might be harder than I thought. Maybe you should skip that one.
Step 2: Normalize Kanye West
Okay, you can do this. Americans find Kanye West fascinating because he’s unpredictable. He’s a truly unique voice in mainstream music and every new release is nothing less than groundbreaking. Yeezy is so wild that he can’t be tamed. Your best bet is to make everyone else just like him. If everyone is special then no one will be. You just have to make everyone in the country the egotistic, loudmouthed, incredibly gifted musician and poetic social critic that Kanye is. How hard can it be to make a minimalist masterpiece like Yeezus, that leaves the listener not just entertained but truly considering the state of modern society? Just yesterday when I was in the shower I was like “the government is always on my back, I know a guy named Jack.” You can have that. So there’s a pretty good start.
Step 3: Turn Jennifer Lawrence into a competent and graceful adult
Jennifer Lawrence is one of Hollywood’s fastest rising stars, but there’s still time to cut her off at the knees before she does it herself and takes another endearing fall at a major awards show, making her an unstoppable force of affability like Tom Hanks (let’s face it, was always a pipe dream). If you can turn Lawrence into a mature and respectable thespian a la Daniel Day Lewis instead of the youthful and vivacious goofball she is now there still might be a chance. Once J-Law goes into seclusion, only coming out for high quality roles and passing on comedies and sci-fi movies she’ll become boring and America will lose interest in Lawrence and with her, the entire new generation of artists. This one might really work, but could you wait until she’s done with all the X-Men movies? You know what, just forget the whole thing.
The fourth and final step is to make a dark and gritty movie about Superman and someone already took care of that one.
By Brian Brown
Editor’s Note: This editorial was written in jest and does not reflect the institution of Campbell University or The Campbell Times as a whole.
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Titles can tell you a lot about a piece of art or entertainment. “Call Me Maybe” couldn’t be anything other than a catchy pop tune and anything with Tyler Perry’s name in the title is bound to have a lot of tears broken up by bits of broad cross-dressing humor. However, titles can also be misleading. For instance, the closest thing to breakfast in The Breakfast Club is Ally Sheedy’s Cap’n Crunch and Pixie Stix sandwich. It would be more accurate to call it “Did I Whine That Much in High School? I Think I Did. John Hughes So Gets Me.” TV shows are especially tricky, since they last so long and could be completely different before it’s over. “Seinfeld” wasn’t really “Seinfeld” until halfway through season two, but fortunately it was still about a guy named Jerry Seinfeld. These other shows weren’t so lucky.
“Cougar Town” started its fifth season this year, and its fourth year of not being about “cougars” (older women who date younger guys0. The first season of the show is about Jules, played by Courtney Cox, who recently divorced from her husband because he gave his laundry discount to another woman. At first Jules gets back in the game by dating younger men, but she begins dating men her own age before the first season finale. Now Jules is remarried to an age appropriate man and there isn’t a cougar in sight. There are about as many literal big cat cougars in “Cougar Town” as there are “awkward breakfast with the guy from your high school” cougars.
“Trophy Wife” on the other hand, has never been about trophy wives. It just has a poorly chosen ironic title. Even the star Malin Akerman almost turned down the lead role because she was put off by the title. Akerman does play a young woman married to an older man (like an anti-cougar so, like a small dog I guess), but she’s not a gold digger or airhead. She’s just a flawed character attempting to adjust to her new role as a stepmother to three kids and become queen of the castle. A great cast joins Akerman, including Bradley Whitford from “The West Wing” and Billy Madison, SNL veteran Michaela Watkins, and Oscar winner Marcia Gay Harden.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Buffy is the main character, and “Vampire Slayer” is her title, but together they make a name that is more accurate for the cheesy 1992 movie than the cult classic series based on it. Maybe the first couple of seasons were campy enough to fit the title, but once “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” developed its own mythology and stood on its own two feet; it became something much more than a horror movie parody. It’s an intelligent, complex show with relatable and human characters, and even some relatable and human vampires. Besides, calling Buffy a vampire slayer is a bit like calling an iPhone a tip calculator. Plenty of vamps get dusted, but Buffy also cancels at least one apocalypse each season.
By Brian Brown
So here’s a hypothetical situation:
A person–maybe someone you know, maybe someone you love, maybe someone you heard of in a story from a friend–was diagnosed with cancer. This person, it is said, chose not to undergo chemotherapy treatment; likewise, he refused any and all other available medicines.
Because, and here’s the kicker, he equated treatment to “cheating.”
Would you not think this response asinine?
What he sees as cheating death, you see as cheating life. What he sees as an unfair advantage over other cancer patients, and the disease itself, you see as doing what is necessary to succeed. What he sees as having negative secondary effects, you see as ignoring the primary reason he is in the hospital.
And that’s the real argument I see being made in Alex Gibney’s documentary The Armstrong Lie.
Gibney, whom plays the part of narrator, tells the audience that the documentary had been a long time in gestation. He admits that when he began creating the movie in 2009, he intended to document Lance’s return to the sport of cycling after spending four years in retirement. Shortly after Lance returned however, so did the allegations that Lance was blood-doping. What started out as a documentary of the hero’s return ended, as this journey often does, with a heavy dose of heroic hubris.
Gibney’s narration plays a key role in the audience perception of the Lance. I like to think that Gibney’s perception is much like our own—somewhere in between the double yellow lines of empathy for the American athlete standing atop the podium pedestal, and disgust for a public figure subject to the repercussions of his own lying, cheating, and fraud.
Yet, with all the negative hype and attention brought to the Sestina Affair, after seeing The Armstrong Lie, I can’t seem to blame Lance Armstrong. Here are a couple of reasons why:
Herein I invoke my initial hypothetical. Lance’s fight with cancer shaped his outlook on life. His battle with testicular cancer wasn’t one in which “losing” in the conventional athletic sense was an option. To lose would have meant to die.
So for Lance, simply winning the battle against cancer wouldn’t be enough. He wasn’t going to simply “survive” the ordeal—he was going to come out on top. He sought out the most cutting edge treatments for testicular cancer—a type of chemo-therapy treatment that would treat him, but not do so at the expense of scarring his lungs, which would allow him to return to cycling after the ordeal. He did not want simply to live, but to live well.
Lance went on and then applied this ideology to racing—why simply race when you can race well? It would not be enough to simply engage in the battle, he would have to win the war. When he entered into professional cycling, blood doping was the norm—everyone did it—so why would he simply dope when he could have the best? And so just as he sought the top medicine and team of medical professionals, he would seek also the best doctors and physicians in sports medicine—Dr. Mikele Ferari.
I can’t seem to blame Lance Armstrong. How can it be considered “cheating” when the word “cheating” means, as he defined it, “to have an unfair advantage over the rest of the field”? Really, he wouldn’t have been doing himself, his team-mates, or his country any favors by not taking part in something so “normal” that it’s nearly expected. Eat. Sleep. Bike. Lift. Supplement.
If the top 58 cyclists were all taking testosterone, cortisone, EPO, etc. then, weren’t they, in a way, leveling their own playing field? I’m not saying that moral relativism is ever a legitimate argument for the normative fallacy, (which is to say that just because it’s happening doesn’t mean you can say because it is happening it ought to happen), but I am saying that I can’t blame Lance Armstrong. It would have been athletic suicide for him to race against the best and deny the scientific advancements he had available.
I feel like I am echoing Lil Wayne, who when asked about legalizing steroids in professional baseball said, in a nut-shell, “I don’t care—let them all hit home-runs.”
By Claudia Mundy
Issue 12 of The Campbell Times
Issue 11 of The Campbell Times issuu.com/thecampbelltimes/docs/claudia_mundy?e=6065642/7310762
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