On Internet Scams

I, like most people in 2015, stream all my media on the internet. Also I, like many people in 2015, am poor enough that I don’t want to bother to pay a premium for content. I, like many sons of cheap men, am cheap enough that I don’t mind wading through a constant stream of pop-ups and banner ads to watch the new episode of “Game of Thrones.” Being on the legit side of streaming doesn’t really make much sense in my opinion, since you’ll probably end up needing to subscribe to a couple different websites anyway. But I digress.

Sure, it sometimes takes forever to find a video that a) doesn’t take four hours to load b) isn’t in worse-than-VHS quality c) isn’t dubbed in Chinese. Sure, it’s a fucking hassle to click out of 4 pop-up windows every time you need to pause the video. But to save $10+ a month, I’m OK with that. And even though I personally don’t pay a dime, these illegal sites still make money. How?

This should be obvious. All those damn ads that, as one friend so eloquently put, are so incredibly click friendly. The ones that blare “Grow a bigger dick!” or “Please your woman tonight!” or “5 minute cure for hair loss!” or “Make a million dollars this month!” or your biggest mistake “Have an affair at AshleyMadison.com!”

All of these promise things more outrageous that the last. Easy money, easy big dicks, easy sex with supermodels. Who the hell actually is buying into this? Well, let’s follow it down the rabbit hole.

I’ve clicked on a few of these banners before, out of pure curiosity in how in the hell they can come through on a promise to have you making $20,000 a month WORKING FROM YOUR HOME OMG SIGN ME UP. They invariably give you just enough of a teaser to make it seem at least KINDA legit, then you gotta pony up your own cash. Today I felt inspired to “Find your Russian match today” because the advertisement told me with all assurance that “These girls won’t let you get bored.” Good, I’m bored of re-watching Bojack Horseman (not really) I want to meet my “Russian bride.” So I clicked.

Basically, it was the same shit I thought it would be, “profile” after “profile” of impossibly attractive women that were just dying to meet my virtual self. For common-sense and hilarity purposes I chose my friend’s name “Oliver Brown” as an alias. I clicked on a profile, where professional photos reminiscent of the preview section on paid pornography sites are meant to tantalize (and/or make it super obvious this is fake???) the male visitors. Alright, this chick “Nadejda” is very attractive, how do I make her my bride in five minutes? Excellent question.

Well to do that I have to send her “premium smiles,” but to do that I need to chat her, and to do that I…drumroll…need to pay. Not too much, $0.50/minute, but if my experience is any record I’ve talked to girls for far longer than that and nary gotten an OTPHJ much less her hand in marriage. Things are likely to get expensive, especially because my credit card would get automatically charged until I deleted my account and abandon all hopes of ever meeting my sweet “Nadejda.” Of course, there are other options for how I can spend my money. Maybe I should buy her some flowers so she knows I love her…good thing they’re only 484 space credits divided by $10 for 20 credits equals……….fuck those are expensive roses. Maybe just the teddy bear then. Or the perfume? Good, they’ll send me a stock photo of her receiving the gift so I know it’s legit.

The only conclusion I draw from the repeated placement of these click-bait advertisements aimed at depressed, poor, bald, sexless men is that they must work. I know the Bible said usury is bad, but making money off sad, ugly dudes hoping they can actually marry these women is disgusting. I mean they can’t even pay for Hulu Plus.

Sure I won’t pay $10/month for Netflix, but dropping $250 on an imaginary teddy bear for an imaginary Russian woman sounds reasonable. Eh fuck it, I’ll get HBO. Wait…it doesn’t work in my country?

Sup Nadejda.

On Music Videos

If you’ve ever seen the music video for “Tip Drill” by Nelly you know that when artists are asked to put their songs to images, great things can result. I mean sure, the song and subsequent video has been widely criticized as being immensely offensive (enough to be the focus of a women’s studies course at Spelman College), but that’s what Nelly wanted. Music videos force us to have those debates, mostly because many of them are completely, over-the-top outrageous.

Here is a comprehensive review of the nominees for Best Music Video from a Female Artist. Why only the ladies? Because the “Trap Queen” video sucked, that’s why. Fetty Wap should wear a fucking patch over that thing on his face.

Sia – “Elastic Heart”

Okay, first of all we could all spend hours analyzing this video. What do the little girl and large man represent? The eternal youth within in our hearts perhaps? An insistence to protect others and fight against difficulty? Whatever you’re thinking, it’s all bullshit. That’s just it, this video tried way too hard. Plain and simple. Let’s look at it like 99.9% of those who watch it will, with blissful ignorance of some overzealous and convoluted meaning.

Frankly, this video made me uncomfortable. Maybe it was the premise of Shia LaBeouf cage fighting a tiny blonde gymnast in a leotard, or the fact that Shia LaBeouf apparently falls in love with her even though she was clearly 13 years old, or maybe just seeing Shia LaBeouf’s growling like an animal for roughly 5:05. Or maybe, JUST maybe, it was the overly dramatic ending where Shia LaBeouf really works his “distress” facial expressions in silence for a full 30 seconds. I think maybe Shia LaBeouf just makes me uncomfortable honestly. The entire situation was wholly unpleasant.

Coupled with the distaste of at first being attracted to a female lead we quickly realize is shockingly young, this weird-ass concept video left me with my mouth agape thinking “who the fuck came up with that?” A pretentious Australian woman, that’s who.

I mean the whole thing was trying to be eerily sexy…that is if you’re into biting/scratching/just generally find animals (and your niece’s gymnastic meets) a major turn on.

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“Tryna”

I’m not really sure if LaBeouf was trying to “mate” or “nurture” the female dancer, that was never made entirely clear. Essentially she runs around a cage screaming at him and apparently damaging his ego whilst performing various gymnastic stunts and generally acting like a 12 year old girl. LaBeouf performs a mix of out-of-place dance moves before he deftly climbs the cage, showing off his own gymnastic skills and a body it looks like he got in a prison yard (Wait…did he go to jail?).  He then wrestles the child until she finally falls under his spell and lets herself be worn like a backpack.

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What the hell? Ultimately they attempt to leave the cage together (For sex???? Please what the hell???) but unfortunately the wide shoulders LaBeouf acquired out on the yard pumping heat with Stephen and Yandel are just too yoked to let him squeeze through the cage’s bars.

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The young girl easily slides her 11 year old undeveloped hips through the cage and tries to pull LaBeouf out. He can’t get through, oh no! They both seem distressed as the music fades and we get a nice long crop shot of LaBeouf slowly realizing his designs (WHAT ARE THEY TELL ME PLEASE) are unlikely to come to fruition. Again, this relationship felt incredibly weird and I was uncomfortable watching it develop. Chris Hansen should’ve been popping out at any moment.

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Shia really pulled out on the stops with this one, which was wonderful. It was thrilling to see him attempt a gratuitous amount of facial expressions and really explore his range. However, whether the idea behind the narrative was impossible to follow and just I felt wronged by the whole situation. Why couldn’t they get Nastia Liukin? She would’ve been more age appropriate.

Maybe my head is just firmly rooted in the gutter, but if you’re confusing your audience into thinking Shia LaBeouf wants to have sex with a nine-year-old girl then you’re fucking up. Or maybe that connection is just a LITTLE too easy to make…

Verdict: Pedophilia disguised as a metaphor disguised as pedophilia

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“Gimme dat”

Ellie Goulding – “Love Me Like You Do”

Mixing in scenes from a shitty movie then mirroring them does not count as creativity. If this song/video had nothing to do with a rich man’s sex dungeon I doubt it would have more than 453 views. There’s nothing else to say.

Verdict: Sex Dungeon (bad kind)

Beyoncé – “7/11”

Did Meek Mill come up with the idea for this? Because if he didn’t, he should have.

I couldn’t tell if Beyoncé was trying to teach me a dance a la “Single Ladies” or just inspiring me to dance around my house like an invalid. I mean when Bey does it she looks amazing, but I can’t keep trying to be her anymore.

I can’t imagine it took more than $410.25 to produce this movie, aka the cost of a Silver Edition Go Pro and 50 Solo™ cups. The coolest part was probably being given a tour of (what I assume to be) The Rock™ Penthouse by the queen herself, accompanied by her rag-tag dance troupe. The dancing was fun to watch but did she really have to remind us “don’t you drop that alcohol” in order to be hip? The whole thing had a fun, on-the-spot feel that was refreshing. It felt like everything was improvised, yet they’re still nominated for best cheorography? Damn, Bey! However, it was Beyoncé’s booty shorts and shameless ass-shots that realistically saved the show.

I enjoyed watching this, she  looks like she just came up with an idea for a video and started making it with whatever was laying around the house. It’s simple and there’s not a stupid metaphor for some pretentious asshole to dig out. Best of all it looks like she’s having a blast. It was a smack in the face to the over-produced bullshit that was Sia’s monstrosity. The song sounds like a pretty standard cut copy of 2015 trap-o-lution though. How many times does she say “hands up?” The answer is 40, I counted.

Verdict: Your life will never be as good as Beyoncé’s

Taylor Swift – “Blank Space”

This is exactly how I imagine Taylor Swift must fantasize about herself, a bougie yet elegant temptress living alone in an extravagant mansion, exclusively seducing men who drive glossy British coupes. From this video it’s obvious that Tay wants us all to know

1.) She expects to paint your portrait on the first date and 2.) She’s a strong, powerful woman who will promptly fuck your shit up if she catches you texting other girls.

While she’s definitely sexy in the video, thinking of meeting her in person made me terrified. Couple this with her “Bad Blood” video where she fucks other chicks up with flamethrowers, and the fact that she forces all her celebrity friends to wear matching nightgowns when they have their over-the-top Manhattan sleepovers (yes that’s real), makes me think she might be an insufferable person. Big fan, but no thanks.

That being said, the song is catchy as hell. Taylor runs the pop game right now.

I mean let’s be serious though, her character explicitly seeks out men she knows are going to cheat on her. Sure she “loves the players” but comon idiot what are you expecting here? Then she gets to destroy his whip AND all his taylored (get it?) suits. By the way I’m sure she’s forcing him to wear those suits all day, just like she makes her friends wear expensive nightgowns in real life. Everything that happens in this video made me feel bad for the dude on a very personal level. I mean we don’t even know what the hell he did, she just sees him tapping his phone and all of a sudden she’s screaming in his face? Give the dude a break, maybe he was BREAKING UP with his side piece cause she doesn’t have a dope crib like you, Tay. Ever think about that one Taylor? No, because this video screams terrifying irrationality. Fellas, we all been there.

One Guardian article claims that this is all supposed to be a metaphor for men controlling the music industry and Taylor’s attempt to break from the paradigm. Put the fucking over-analysis to rest, she left Spotify because she wanted more money (music streaming is a scam for the artists for real) and this video is everything that it appears to be. Taylor plays a certifiably insane seductress living in a pseudo-victorian fantasy mansion filled with animals ranging from horses to deer, filling out a list of sex-hungry bros she lures to her outrageous master bedroom and ruining their shit when they inevitably lose interest in her BS. Everything is not a fucking metaphor, and it doesn’t matter if this video is because the 50 million twelve-year-old girls that watched it aren’t reading that far into it anyway.

But I’m into it. Best video of the year. Also should be adapted into a full-feature horror film.

Verdict: Fear, incarnate

Nicki Minaj – “Anaconda”

Thank Yahweh for Nicki Minaj, this video is hilarious on a variety of levels. The scenes are outrageous, the rap is outrageous, the booties are outrageous. Even the damn sample is outrageous! Take Sir-Mix-A-Lot, pull out the best line from what might as well be his only song, add some 808’s and turn it into a fantasy workout jungle land. I mean there’s so much ass in this video I don’t think any reasonable person is capable of handling it. Even Drake was left with his mouth open, and he lives in damn the strip club.

Nicki is clearing making fun of herself while being totally serious. “Fuck all you skinny bitches, I’m not even rapping anymore just go fuck yourself ahahahahaha.” Yeah, that’s you Taylor.

The whole thing has an awesome tongue in cheek vibe. Sit back and just enjoy, there’s nothing more to it than there needs to be.

Verdict: Ass-tastic simplicity

On Being a Shitty Person

The reason why people lose their minds while relegated to solitary confinement, trapped on desert islands, and left emotionally abandoned in an apartment full of cats is quite obvious.  The man in solitary confinement may “go crazy” because he’s concerned about his future, leaving jail and finding a job, or about losing the in-depth discussion on modern economic policy he’s having with a wall. The poor oceangoer trapped on a desolate beach may “go off the deep end” because he’s concerned about finding enough fresh water to just wet his lips, the medical issues associated with the slow onset of scurvy, or his stressful first date with a volleyball. Cat lady might “go bonkers” because she’s concerned that Snickers ate Peanut’s food, Lucy ate Marbles’ thyroid medication, or that Whiskers is eating her from the feet up. While all these people show slight differences, they are generally tied together by one overarching theme:

THEY DON’T TALK TO OTHER PEOPLE.

Or more specifically, they lack any sort of meaningful human interaction (besides maybe the cat lady, who probably has to talk to her vet/cat food vendor once a month). People like this “lose their marbles” most importantly because they have nobody to call them on their shit, so their occasional crazy behavior starts to become the norm until suddenly your serious girlfriend and your sports equipment become one in the same. Yeah sure, they probably started off a bit tweaked in the head, but who doesn’t realistically. Everyone is a bit fucked up and if you can’t admit it then all I have to say is I hope you enjoy living the rest of your life in denial.

Human interaction gives us a reference of how we stand on the sanity scale compared to others in the bumbling mass. Sure, one can talk about how we’re all different we shouldn’t compare ourselves to anyone just-be-yourself-and-the-world-will-love-you-just-the-way-you-are bullshit. Then you have to wake up, slap your yogi and realize you’re forced to live in society where you have to be at least semi-conscious of the fact that you can’t run down the street screaming “PEANUT BUTTER-FUCKING-PANCAKES” wearing nothing but a Metallica t-shirt. Frankly, nothing would get done in that world.

People around you help cull (read: suppress forcefully) the weird shit you do. Friends let you get away with bits and pieces, but will help reel you back from the edge so you don’t end up running out of the conference room screaming “PEANUT BUTTER-MOTHER-FUCKER-PANCAKES,” which would likely embarrass you in front of colleagues. A conversation with a good, caring friend would go something like this:

Friend: “Yo man, screaming shit about pancakes is like, what? Your thing?”

Pancake Lover: “Yeah, I guess you could say that.”

Friend: “I mean it’s chill because you’re my homie and I want you to do you, but could you at least do it past 11:30 PM on Saturdays when I’m drunk enough to think its funny and not totally psychopathic?”

Pancake Lover: “Yeah, thanks for keeping my shit in check.”

Friend: “No worries. Also put some fucking pants on man, your dick is not particularly good looking and its touching my Metallica shirt.”

This is why we have friends, because once in a while we have to let the freak flag fly and have someone around to just laugh about it.

Obviously this is an exaggerated case, let’s tone it back a bit and talk more directly about real issues real people tend to have (not to say there aren’t some people that are way too into pancakes) in the real world. Like, for example, just being generally disagreeable, shitty humans. A lot of people tend to have this issue, probably more than scream about pancakes with their dong out, but its also harder to address for the reason that people react to shittiness in a variety of ways.

First there’s the fellow shitty person (probably a friend of yours) who mostly agrees with you on your bitterness and facilitates your continuing shitty attitude. You’ll probably complain about the shitty service at the restaurant and how you hope the cook’s wife leaves him because of his destructive alcoholism (or something along those lines) and they’ll laugh. I mean you’re just hangry right?? This is not constructive, but it’s nice to have a compatriot in shittiness.

Then there is the stranger, who, shitty attitude or not, fucking hates your bullshit and subsequently hates you for your shittiness-inspired bullshit. These people are also not constructive because you probably find it amusing how much they hate your shitty attitude, which subsequently drives you to continue nonrepentant and obligates you to tell them to go _________________ themselves, or maybe go eat ________________ and ____________ rot in some _______________ hole (hopefully somewhere desolate, but one can see why this isn’t exactly fixing the problem).

Then finally there is the friend who calls you on your shit(iness) and tells you to shut the hell up even though they still care about you. This type of person is likely to be someone you have sex with, and who make you afraid the sex will disappear if you keep up the attitude. Unfortunately, both sex and bitching feel so damn good that you can’t decide which one to give up, and you’re left at a crossroads of shittiness/banging-confusion/stress.  This is the only relationship that can be constructive in slightly taming the disagreeable tendencies of shittiness, but they’re also the most jarring. Why?

Because they force you to face the fact that you’re a shitty person who can be generally unenjoyable to be around and has the power to ruin another person’s day, that’s why.

We can all be that shitty person. I’ll cranky and whiny and bitchy and just willingly conjure a batch of distastefulness at random. A lot of people (friends) laugh with me about it, but a cynical attitude can be suffocating and at a certain point most people at least TRY to give me the business. What I’ve realized is that I also can at least TRY to sometimes tone it down and shut the fuck up and tell the shitty person yelling from inside me to do the same. I’m realizing this only as I age, because damn if I wasn’t an unsavory teenager telling my father to shut his face  when he told me to “lighten up.” Bravo parents, that must’ve been insufferable.

So whether you’re hungry, or tired, or just generally having a record bad day it can be refreshing to not constantly scowl and snap and spit hate at those around you. It doesn’t help, and in the end it makes people think you suck even though it feels so damn good. If you don’t have people to tell you to shut the fuck up once in a while you will probably end up stuck on a cat-populated desert island arguing economics with a palm tree and randomly stripping down to scream something incoherent about breakfast food.

Here’s to one less day of having to say, “yo sorry for being a shitty person last night, it’s not my fault.” Nope, just who I am. Cue new catchphrase.