Underachievers: Nirvana, Green Day, and Generation-X

Toward the end of 1990, you couldn’t get away from Simpsons merchandise- from posters, to pajama sets, to pencil toppers- mostly featuring Generation-X’s very first mainstream media icon, Bart Simpson. You see, before “The Simpsons” became obsessed with Homer’s gradual decline into retardation, the show’s initial protagonist was skateboarding prankster Bart- the country’s first take on their next generation.    

And those savvy Simpsons writers seemed to have nailed it. While Bart’s driving characteristic was apathy, it was a kind of self-aware apathy. Bart wasn’t stupid, he was an “underachiever”- he was capable of more but consciously chose less. This  hyper-aware apathy would become the generation’s defining trait.

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The Entitled Boomer and “Vacation” (1983)

“I found out long ago, it’s a long way down the holiday road”

Believe it or not, Clark W. Griswold was pretty fucking masculine. Sure, “Vacation” (1983) featured a kind of proto-idiot Dad, a trope that would become the standard by 1990- but Clark was a different kind of idiot Dad.

Clark was a masculine idiot Dad.

“Vacation” relied on one-joke with Clark, but luckily it was a good one. When Clark would do something stupid, royally screwing things up or putting his family in danger, he would say “I meant to do that” and move on.

This took many different forms. When Clark goes to trade in his car for a new station wagon before the trip- one he surely researched meticulously (my own Dad has a  “Consumer Reports” subscription to this day)- he gets the old “bait and switch,” being forced into buying an ugly clunker after his own car is traded in destroyed. To dispute this by waiting for the car he ordered to come in would ruin his family’s vacation- so what does Clark do?

He sells his wife on the ugly clunker by using the same line that the scam-artist car salesman used on him: “You may think you hate it nowhoney, but wait until you drive it.” Or, in other words, “I meant to do that.” He isn’t apologetic, he doesn’t admit defeat- he takes inventory of the situation and moves forward. This is the masculine approach- yes, even if you’re an idiot.

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The Narrative of Heartbreak and “Big” (1988)

In a flash Fake Winehouse was able to transform our hetero-normative experience back into something she was more comfortable with, her own safe space of gender neutrality, with the magic words: “get this shit off me.” Tossing her the tissue box, I chastised her for breaking the narrative, something usually reserved for slightly longer than fifteen seconds after sex.

Winehouse may have rolled her eyes, but the fact of the matter remains: sex is the narrative of attraction. For the red-hot 20 minutes I spent with Amy, she behaved like the ideal submissive- what she wanted in the moment. After, when her big girl brain came back, the feminist became disgusted with herself, and, “get this shit off me,” was her way of re-framing the mess she’d made by treating me like an alpha male.

Sex is like editing together a documentary film. Everything is based in reality, but it’s up to you to put together the story. Initial attraction may be there, but if you don’t string things together the right way, you’re not getting laid.

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Authenticity and “The Cable Guy” (1996)

There was a gleam in her eye when “Ghostbusters” (2016) came up in the group’s discussion. She corrected the speaker, a male, who didn’t make an elaborate point to reference the movie’s notorious gender component- “the new Ghostbusters” he offhandedly called it, but this was “girl Ghostbusters,” she said with pride. After all, she was a high school Science teacher and this was a victory with which she could attach herself.

This attachment was the point, existing independently of the movie. She may not see it, nor should she have to- her attachment to “girl Ghostbusters” had served to bolster her identity. The actual film is an afterthought- a big budget leftist talking point. Beyond all the fuss, “Ghostbusters” is a pile of crap with regurgitated jokes, so who really cares?

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“Ghostbusters” (2016) and the Myth of the Disposable Woman

Someone working deep inside the Clinton campaign must really fucking hate her guts. Old Hillary is gearing up for an appearance on the Ellen show alongside the entire cast of the smelly-like-farts “Ghostbusters” (2016) re-make.  I am praying to Jesus that she comes out with the stupid uniform on, personalized with CLINTON across the left breast; she can have her own proton pack, maybe some impromptu CG will be employed. Please God, make her the honorary fifth Ghostbuster.

Don’t just finger me, God; I want it all the way in.

This stupid movie has the stink of death, and for Clinton to attach herself to it almost certainly means that someone working for her is either certifiably retarded or absolutely insane… but why is this movie so particularly hated?

After all, “Ghostbusters” is a movie and movies are bad.

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Sexual Selection and MTV’s “Teen Mom” (2009)

While I haven’t seen Christine in years, every time we catch up the conversation ends with her saying something like, “well, as long as you’re happy…” She doesn’t understand why I’ve never left the suburbs, nor have I had any real desire to do so. Even more troubling to Christine, the idea that I may be happy with this.

For a conscious man wading through the muck of modern treachery, yes, I am fairly happy. Living in the city never appealed to me; there is nothing better than a quiet summer night. Everything I need is a car ride away, and since I was never really much of a drinker, I rarely had to face the quandary of getting home from a bar.

But, like always, there was more at stake than what Christine could understand. We may as well have been playing out roles on a reality TV show- not exactly scripted, but loosely scripted. It was hardly a genuine conversation. Even if neither party felt the overt grasp of invisible puppet strings guiding our interaction- our thoughts, our feelings, our desires, our identity- they are deeply present regardless of our being conscious of them.

Understanding the presence of these puppet strings is what separates the conscious man from the unconscious man. Understanding the depth of their control dictates the level of consciousness. And understanding the true power of these influences can make a man omniscient.

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The Cool Girl and the White Knight: Sexual Strategy and Identity

“Those other girls aren’t real.”

Christine went to great lengths to convince someone that she wasn’t like those other girls. Her experiences had greater depth, her thoughts were more developed, her interests were more artistic, and her feelings were more genuine. Christine had esoteric qualities that made her special and unique, while those other girls were basic and shallow. Christine also had a bigger waist and fatter thighs than those other girls.

She wasn’t fat, but Christine was conscious of her limitations and adjusted accordingly. If she couldn’t compete with those other girls, Christine would attempt to hijack and redefine what it meant to win and then try to convince men that what they thought they wanted was all wrong.

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Single Jewish Women

Even if the dire unavailability of parking in Jeanette’s neighborhood had made the task of meeting her at her apartment for sex seem daunting, only minimally rewarding, I always had a thing for girls who looked like the nerdy Chipette and this fact added a feeling of urgency to a situation marred with inevitable difficulty.

Parking matters; inadequate parking is as off-putting as a bridge or a toll, and I distinctly remember cursing the wind on an early August morning in 2006, drunk out of my skull, taking the parkway home because I was forced by law to relinquish my hard-fought spot, as per alternate side rules, and couldn’t find a new one anywhere.

How would I have explained this to a dutiful officer of the law? Would he have been kind enough to understand the inadequacies of parking in that god forsaken, asshole neighborhood?

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Problem Glasses and Jodi Arias

We were somewhere around our second bottle of wine when I made the startling realization that Fake Winehouse’s unexpected British accent had faded into something typical and American. When I had picked her up that night for drinks at The Reptile Zoo, I told her I wasn’t expecting a British accent. She asked what I was expecting, and I didn’t have a good answer. You exchange a few messages with a girl on OKCupid and agree to meet for drinks; what is there to expect?

But it was when the accent disappeared entirely that I realized the true depth of the situation. I had cut right to the heart of it and was sitting on the main nerve; Fake Winehouse was a fucking lunatic. And I’m a stupid motherfucker who likes that kind of thing. Yeah… that’s me, the normal girls are boring type; I want the curve ball. I want the crazy girl; I want the hyper-emotional; I want the bizarre.

So of course the unexpected accent disappearing entirely from a girl who wonders why I think it’s funny that she’s “never been to Europe” is right up my alley. When the bill comes, I ask Winehouse how much she’s gonna throw in and she tells me that she didn’t bring any money. This was very funny to her. The accent was back. Son of a bitch.

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Masculinity and the White Knight

The heart of masculinity is a man’s relationship with power; his efficiency in acquiring power, his comfort in holding power, and his ability to maintain power. This is the core of masculinity; the Form of masculinity. There may be markers or signifiers that point toward this, usually these signifiers are mistakenly understood as masculinity itself, but they only aid in coming to understand an individual’s relationship with power.

Masculinity is amoral. It is up to the individual to decide what they do with power once they acquire it.

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