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The Pen: Now About as Mighty as a Butter Knife April 20, 2007

Posted by doctorolove in Movies, Music, Pop Culture Rants, TV.
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I know they’re out there. I mean, they are millions of students across this nation who are majoring in English right now. How could you not? English involves two major facets: reading and writing. Both of those are taught slightly after you learn how to pee. It’s major that doesn’t get much harder. Math involves learning more elaborate theories and precepts as you go deeper in school. Science involves more knowledge of different experiments and the like. But English? If you can read a book your Senior Year, you probably could have read the exact same book your Freshman year. Books don’t get harder (save for Ayn Rand. I truly believe there are a few eighty year old professors in the Midwest who have said, “Screw it…this Fountainhead…Where’s my Matlock DVD?”) I know…you get it…it’s easy. Like I said, though, I know they’re out there. With your English degree, you probably want to be a writer. Well, then, where the hell are they?

They ain’t in the movies. Because Hollywood is too busy making films written by Philip K. Dick. Now don’t get me wrong…I am not ripping on the late Mr. Dick. Besides having the second greatest porn sounding non-porn name in history (How could anybody ever beat DICK BUTKUS?), he was a very prolific and quite often prophetic writer. His stories are rife with interesting characters, amazing scenarios and good vs. evil scenarios. But, he’s gone. He’s done writing. And we’ve exhausted him now. Take the movie “Next.” I’m sure it’s rife with all Dick is famous for, but look at the Taglines. “From the writer behind “Blade Runner” (okay, this might work…great movie and Daryl Hannah’s boobs), “Total Recall” (okay..Cool special effects and the beginning of Ahnold’s “understandable” phase and THREE boobs) “Minority Report” (all right, the official last movie before Tom Cruise officially signed his “Crazy Card” and if you pause it just right, Samantha Morton’s boobs are okay) and “Paycheck.” Whoa, wait, hold up. He wrote Paycheck?

And that should say it all. When somebody sits a room and says, “Let’s make that movie before we make “Next,” you have a problem. Stephen King, who has some weird pact with Hollywood that requires him to be behind at least three movies or eight-hour miniseries per year, knows not to release all of his work to the movies. And he was hit with a car, for Chrissakes. At some point, no matter how amazing a writer may have been, you hit the bottom of his barrel. Even Shakespeare companies know not to break out “Troilus and Cressida.” But apparently Hollywood will continue to scrape that barrel clean. Because, for the love of God, where are the writers?

Are they in TV? Nope. And not just because of the reality shows/. I mean, you need to have endured 16 hours of English poetry to come up with the idea behind Joe Millionaire, right? Reality shows need writers. But I think they’ve left us now. Because the shows are getting both out of control and so mundane, it’s scary. Kristen Cavallari (she of MTV, a Maxim magazine, a Stuff magazine and I think she was in an FHM) has a new reality show in development. Will she be starting a sitcom, a modeling agency, her time in college? No, she will be deciding whether or not to get LASIK. You read that right. They are developing an entire show around a decision on eye surgery. An event that may (GASP) make you go blind if done incorrectly. A writer didn’t come up with that. Ms. Cavallari is obviously trying to get free LASIK and thought this would be a great way to do it. How could you sell a show based on a procedure that maybe blinds, what, three people a year? More people lose their sight staring at the sun than getting LASIK. (One thing, though…that’s my idea and I’m claiming it here first, just in case….Vanessa Minillio in “Sunstroked”) Writers wouldn’t stand for that. But they’re not around.

Maybe they’re in music? Nope. They used to be everywhere in Hip Hop. Gone now, replaced by beats and repetition. And they’re nowhere else. Rockers are groaning and scraping their throats to re-enact the magic of Eddie Vedder. Only they’re not saying anything of importance (unless you feel moved by knowing that the “girl shouldn’t go cause it’d be bad.”) And you CANNOT rhyme a rhyme a word with itself. Nope. Not allowed. If you must, it had better be a line of such meaning, importance and gravitas that kids use as their yearbook quote for the next twenty years. And a writer could pop one of those out. Only they’re not around.

So where are they? I’ve been looking. They’re not in cabins in Montana. They’re not on “Find themselves” trips in Europe smoking hash and reading Sartre. And they’re not hanging out down by the shore, listening to Ween. I’ve checked. This is a call to all of them. Please come do what you were trained to do. Because the industries that need you are dying. Maybe you’re all bartenders like me. Please, America, the next time you order your Cosmo, ask if the bartender is a writer and if they answer in the affirmative, send them out immediately. Tell them to leave their job and give the bar world the kiss off and come back to the written word!

But tip them. And tip them well. Because that would be rude.

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Comments»

1. Ratboy - May 1, 2007

THIS?! THIS IS WHAT YOU WROTE ON FOUR TWENTY??!!! 420-BABY!
What happened to you, man? You used to be cool… You used to be like ‘Fonzie Cool’- I’m sad, man… Truly… Crying in my bong here…Oh shit… My LASIK Surgery! I’m not supposed to cry for 24 hours! AAAAAAAAA!!!! I’m weeping blood and virteuos humors!!! Call Dr. Weinstein!!!!

2. Kylie - August 16, 2007

sometimes they’re doing crap jobs overseas because they moved there thinking that it would be a cool life exprecience and give some scope to their great american novel and are now too poor to move back and too tired from their crap job to get any real writing done. and they haven’t sold their first novel yet so can’t quit their crap job and move home to complete said great american novel. maybe. just a theory.


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