I AM “IRONIC” MAN by Kevin Egan

November 12, 2008

 

Dio with Heaven and Hell @ Jones Beach          pic by Vito Lanciano

Dio with Heaven and Hell @ Jones Beach pic by Vito Lanciano

Webster definition of “irony:” a pretense of ignorance and of willingness to learn from another assumed in order to make the other’s false conceptions conspicuous by adroit questioning.

 

 

Webster definition of “satire:” a literary work holding up human vices and follies to ridicule or scorn.

 

As I write this, I’m listening to Dio: not for ironic reasons, as many hipster or cool kids would think, to mock the excessive drama associated with metal, but I’m listening to him because the songs that struck me at fifteen years old are still ringing in my bones and I can’t shake them.  There’s nothing funny or ironic about Dio to me.  I still take him very seriously.

 

The “ironic” aesthetic associated with hipsters that has plagued us all over the last ten years or so has become so tiresome, it’s time someone mocks “irony” in an ironic way, just to give these creeps a taste of their own medicine.  How many more “ironic” moustaches or rock t-shirts do we have to endure before we vomit our disgust all over these venomous perpetrators?  Really, is it that funny to be wearing a Def Leppard t-shirt to a party?  Is that the best you have?  Is that the funniest thing you can think of before leaving your apartment?  Good grief. 

 

It’s the lack of effort that’s most annoying.  If these twerps would take a couple of seconds to really put together something creative and inspiring, going out may be a little more exciting and the world may be a little more colorful than it had been a night before.  But once again, “repetition” is confused with “style.”

 

What IS funny is “satire.”  Let’s take the film Spinal Tap, for instance.  This monumental commentary on the often ridiculous rituals associated with hard rock runs so deep and strikes a nerve so shattering that even the thrashiest of thrashers can’t help but to laugh, for no other reason than it rings true.  It’s that clever.  It goes so far beyond just wearing a rock t-shirt for “ironic” purposes.  It is a perceptive study of a culture that, like it or not, ruled the Earth for a short period of time.  And the makers of that film focused on the specifics of that culture so insightfully, the film has ultimately been embraced as a classic.  A rich kid thinking it’s funny to rock a denim jacket and sport a giant pair of sunglasses can hardly compare to a piece of art like Spinal Tap. 

 

“Ironically” enough, a few years back, when hipsters were deep into their “ironic” metal phase, they tried to form bands that reflected their take on the genre.  Few succeeded, for the most obvious reason:  You need to know how to play an instrument to play metal.  There is no way around that.  Most hipsters subscribe to the aesthetic that you only need to learn a couple of chords and you’re ready to play in a band.  That may have been true for The Ramones but they were the exception.  True metalheads actually stayed home on Friday nights and practiced their guitars until six a.m..  That was one thing hipsters hadn’t anticipated, that it takes a skilled musician to play metal.  This realization must’ve taken some of the zing out of their “irony” since there isn’t anything funny about breaking your ass to learn how to rip on the guitar. 

 

True, there are many amusing things about Dio, as Jack Black has humorously pointed out in Tenacious D’s hilarious song about the master of metal, “Dio.”  But that was done out of love and was, in a way, a salute to Dio.  I suppose the lesson to be learned here, for hipsters especially, leave the comedy to the comedians. 

 

 

 

 

 

               

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Alaska? I Nearly Killed Her by Kevin Egan

November 7, 2008

One thing I like to boast about more than anything is the fact that I’ve been to forty-nine of the fifty United States of America.  For a few years, I was only able to boast about conquering the “Lower Forty-Eight” until I finally ventured to Hawaii, where I got sun-poison the very first day I was there and had to spend the following day at the movies, cringing at the comedy wreck that was “Talladega Nights.”  Still, when I returned home, I crossed “The Aloha State” off my list, leaving one state left before I could proudly claim I had been to all fifty. 

 

Two stories over the last couple of months have brought that last state into the spotlight in ways it had never been before.  For the first time in the state’s history, one of their major political figures was chosen to be a Vice-Presidential candidate.  Alongside this “historic” precedent, U.S. Senator, Ted Stevens, also from Alaska, was found guilty on seven felony charges, including accepting gifts from an oil executive.  It’s been quite an eight weeks or so for the state that hasn’t been known for much else besides lingering between Northern Canada and the former Soviet Union. 

 

Sarah Palin, Governor of Alaska and Vice-Presidential candidate, proved herself less informed and less prepared for office than the inarticulate numbskull that has been occupying the White House for the last eight years.  Not only had she once been exorcised of evil demons by a witch doctor, she also failed to ask a simple question about which magazines she reads.  Her “folksy” enthusiasm during the campaign reminded me of a line from The Simpsons, “Your moxie more than makes up for your lack of talent.”  Luckily, Americans from the “Lower Forty-Eight” were bright enough not to fall for her act and sent her back to Juneau packing. 

 

Unfortunately, this past Tuesday proved that the Palin fiasco wasn’t just a one-time mistake.  It looks like, even after his conviction, the citizens of Alaska have actually re-elected Ted Stevens, despite his criminal activities. 

 

What this says about the Alaskan people and whom they vote for is something, we, down here in the Continental United States, as well as Hawaii, should consider before feeling as if this state has truly become a part of the Union.  First they elect a woman who may look like Tina Fey but has the voice and the wit of Mrs. Pool from The Hogan Family.  They then elect someone who is most certainly going to be spending the rest of his life in jail.  Does anyone remember when Washington D.C. actually re-elected Marion Barry after he was convicted of smoking crack?  Same thing.    

 

One can only wonder whether or not the unique changing of the seasons that occurs up there in that corner of North America may have somewhat of a “freezing” effect on the brain, causing all rationality to disappear when entering the voting booth.  Heck, once George W.Bush is out of a job, he may consider Alaska as the next state to claim residence in, in case he ever wants to serve in public office again.  I’m sure the folks up there could easily find it in their hearts to forgive the man for the atrocities he has wreaked on our nation.  He certainly has that “folksiness” thing going for him.  Apparently, that goes a long way in this state that was so easily duped by Palin and Stevens.

 

As far as completing my quest to reach that “fifty state” mark, I’m thinking I may hold off for a while.  I’m not quite sure of what to expect if I ever made the journey.   Sarah Palin frightened the hell out of me.  If there’s more of them like her up there, then I say, “Leave ‘em up there and let’s all remain down here, where common sense has finally regained its rightful place.”