Rice A Roni

May 27, 2012
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I really need to write more on this thing, at least enough so that I don’t have to preface each post with “I really need to write more on this thing.” But with all the time I’ve been spending on my daily drawings, it’s been tough to switch gears from drawing mode to writing mode. However, since I’ve still got a little while before this Mad Men torrent is finished downloading, I thought I’d blather a bit about whatever so that stupid Thomas Kincade post wouldn’t be at the top anymore.

It can be tough sometimes to summon the motivation to do these drawings every day, but during this past week or so I’ve been fortunate enough to get retweets on Twitter from both Penn and Teller as well as Drew Carey, each of which caused a significant spike in traffic to my Tumblr. Of course it dropped right back down to normal each time, but hey, I’ll take what I can get. After devoting literally thousands of hours to this project, it’s just nice to occasionally get a bone thrown my way.

It’s not all about recognition, though. If it were, I would have quit a long time ago. But it’s mostly a challenge to push myself to be the best artist I can be, to have something I can look back on later and say “Yeah, I did that.” And who knows, maybe I can help inspire someone else to do something creative as

Shit, Mad Men‘s done. See ya!

The Painter of Trite

April 8, 2012
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I know it’s been a little while since I’ve written anything here on the “blog” part of my website. Frankly, however, I was starting to get tired of having the Andrew Breitbart thing there at the top of the page, so I thought I’d bump it down some by posting about another dead asshole, the “painter” (in the same sense that Skrillex is a “musician”) Thomas Kinkade, who died this weekend of “natural causes.”

Again, I know it’s often considered bad taste to say not-nice things about the recently departed, but seeing as how Mr. Kinkade’s multi-million dollar empire was built upon a foundation of bad taste, in this case it seems rather fitting.

Reading Kinkade’s Wikipedia page the other day, I came upon this quote that made my skin crawl:

There’s been million-seller books and million-seller CDs. But there hasn’t been, until now, million-seller art. We have found a way to bring to millions of people, an art that they can understand.

I’ll admit I have a tendency to wax sanctimonious when it comes to this subject, but artistic integrity is something I happen to feel strongly about, so sue me. It should always, always be about the art first. I don’t begrudge anyone for being financially successful as an artist; if people like what you create so much that they’re willing to pay for it, more power to you. But when making money is your primary motivation, and you’re more than willing to compromise whatever principles you may or may not have had to begin with in order to maximize your profit potential, then we have a problem. The above quote is wrong on so many levels I don’t even know where to begin. First and foremost, Kinkade cavalierly admits that he’s only in it to make dump truck loads of cash. Second, he acts as if he’s somehow doing the world a favor by spreading his kitschy bullshit into every kitchen and bathroom in middle America. And last, but certainly not least, he backhandedly insults his audience (although I’m not saying he’s necessarily wrong on this point) by suggesting that they’re so backwards and provincial they need their art to be significantly dumbed down so they can comprehend it.

Obviously, I’m not saying Thomas Kinkade deserved to die just because his pictures suck. But let’s be honest, did the world really need another pastel painting of a fucking lighthouse?

Re: Breitbart

March 1, 2012
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Andrew BreitbartThis morning, like any other morning, I started the day by picking the person I intended to draw. Strangely enough, it was going to be a different person, but while perusing the Google Images results for that person, a photo of conservative loudmouth Andrew Breitbart somehow popped up. “Hey, that guy’s been in the news quite a bit recently,” I thought, “I think I’ll draw him today instead.” So, I immediately picked up my pen and got to work.

After twenty minutes or so, I took a break from drawing to have some breakfast. During this time, I went to read my Twitter feed. That’s when I learned Breitbart had died just hours earlier, and I immediately felt my blood run cold. I mean, seriously, what are the odds? For a moment, I wasn’t sure what to do; should I stop and start a new drawing of a different person? If I hadn’t already started the drawing, I probably would have gone with someone else. But finally I decided I’d treat it just like any of my other drawings. Not to speak ill of the dead, but let’s be honest, the guy was an asshole, and I’m not going to pretend to hold his memory sacred by holding back or changing anything about what I would have done were he still alive.

So there you go. Just to clarify, there was nothing planned about the timing of this particular drawing. It’s just a really creepy coincidence. But in drawing a different person every single day, I guess something like this was bound to happen eventually. Still, WTF?

Oscars Shmoscars

February 26, 2012
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horse assOh boy oh boy oh boy! Hollywood’s biggest night is finally here! Just a few blocks from where I sit, the brightest stars in show biz are going to be all dressed up and celebrating the best movies of the past year. This is what it’s all about, folks.

Of course, as you may have gathered by the irreverently mocking title of this blog post, and possibly also by the accompanying photograph of a horse’s rear end, I don’t especially give a fuck. As with pretty much all the “big” awards, the Oscars aren’t so much about quality as they are about creating product that fits squarely within certain pre-established parameters. That’s not to say that there isn’t the occasional upset, and it’s always nice to see a truly good movie get recognized, but more often than not it’s just an excuse for the most mainstream of the mainstream to pat each other on the back for another year of bland mediocrity. Big names, big budgets, stories so polished you can see your vacant, dead eyes staring back at you, and a nice warm fuzzy feeling that everything’s going to be okay. This year is no exception. Let’s take a look at what our choices are for “Best Picture”:

War Horse – Until @Horse_ebooks: The Movie (starring Michael Fassbender) finally hits theaters, I refuse to get excited about a movie about a god damned horse, much less one directed by the Thomas Kincade of film, Steven Spielberg. Sure, his movies look pretty, but when’s the last time he made something that wasn’t 100 percent by-the-numbers? But then again, why should he ever take creative risks when the simple phrase “A Steven Spielberg Film” equals instant Oscar nominations? Unfortunately for him (and the horse, I guess), however, it’s not going to be enough to win this year.

The Tree of Life – This one is by the cicada of film, Terrence Malick, who emerges from the ground every seventeen years, sheds his skin, puts out a really long movie about nothing, then mates and dies. This time around he’s given us a movie with Brad Pitt in it. And a tree. I smell an Oscar! Of course, smelling it is as close as The Tree of Brad Pitt is going to get, as it won’t actually win.

Midnight in Paris – Woody Allen. Next.

Moneyball – A.K.A. The Other Brad Pitt Movie. Except this one is about sports. Or money. I don’t know. Did anyone actually go see this?

Hugo – Okay. Hang on a second. This is a Scorcese picture, right? And Robert De Niro isn’t in it? Or Joe Pesci? Or hell, even Ray Liotta? Does anybody get curbstomped, or at least smacked around a little? Oh, right, I forgot, this is a Scorcese Oscar picture, so it’s about a little boy and a clock or some bullshit. I think I’ll pass, thanks.

The Help – This is this year’s “white people magnanimously help out the black folk and feel better about themselves” film. But like The Blind Side in 2010, it won’t actually win. Don’t want to help the black folk that much.

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close – A Tom Hanks movie about 9/11? The act of not nominating this for Best Picture would probably be considered an act of terrorism in itself. Then again, 9/11 is pretty depressing, and depressing movies don’t win Oscars in this post 9/11 world. Also, 9/11.

The Descendants – Who gives a shit what this movie is about? It has George Clooney in it. People like George Clooney. He is a very handsome man, even when he is grumpy, as he will be tonight when this movie doesn’t end up winning Best Picture.

The Artist – This movie will win Best Picture. Why? Because it’s artsy. Well, not too artsy. But it feels artsy, and that’s what’s important. People can go see The Artist and congratulate themselves for being so sophisticated and cosmopolitan (it’s in black and white, even!) while at the same time not actually being challenged in any way. It’s a happy movie, with no 9/11 in it. It already won at the Independent Spirit Awards yesterday, which is pure, absolute, unadulterated horse shit, considering what other movies it was up against. And it will win again tonight. Go art!

Believe it or not, there were actually other movies that came out last year. Some of them were actually pretty good! Of course you’d never know by looking at the Oscar nominations. Here are, in no particular order, some of my favorite films of 2011 that the old white men of the Academy are pretending don’t exist.

 

Drive – I was honestly not expecting to enjoy this as much as I did. I was never a huge Ryan Gosling fan, and the film’s poster of him sitting in a car looking bored didn’t exactly send me rushing to the theater. But I finally got around to seeing it anyway, and was pleasantly surprised. I don’t want to spoil anything for those who haven’t seen it, but if I were to speculate on why this film was completely blown off by the Academy, it could possibly have something to do with the fact that it contains some of the most graphic depictions of people’s heads being demolished ever seen in a mainstream movie. Tom Hanks would not approve.

 

Melancholia – At the end of this movie, a rogue planet smashes into the earth and kills everyone. See, I can tell you that without ruining anything, since it’s pretty much a given that that’s what’s going to happen from the beginning. It’s not about a surprise twist ending. And unlike most other end-of-the-world movies, there’s no panicking crowds of people, virtually no CGI, no big explosions (unless you count the part where that planet crashes into the earth), and no Bruce Willis. But movies where everyone dies at the end are kind of a no-no in Oscarland.

 

We Need to Talk About Kevin – This is a movie about evil. Specifically, the scariest kind of evil, the kind that has no reason behind it. Tilda Swinton plays a woman who has a pretty okay life until she has a kid who decides essentially from birth that he hates her and is going to make her life an absolute hell. For no reason. It’s an extremely cruel movie with no warm fuzzies to speak of. But I guess the fact that it also happens to be really good doesn’t count for anything.

 

Bellflower – The most amazing thing about Bellflower is that it even exists at all. It was made on a budget of $17,000, which is about how much gets spent on one day of catering and craft services on a Michael Bay set. The guys actually built their own fucking cameras for this movie, but you’d never know it by looking at it. It looks every bit as good as movies with a thousand times more money. Oh, and the acting and the story is actually good too, which helps. And did I mention that it has the most awesome car in existence in it (which they also built themselves)? Fuck The Artist, watch Bellflower instead.

 

Martha Marcy May Marlene – This is another movie that I wasn’t expecting a lot from, but ended up being surprisingly good. It stars Elizabeth Olsen (sister of Mary-Kate and Ashley – yeah, I know) as a cult member who escapes and is trying to readjust to life in the real world. So it’s somewhat of a departure from her debut role as “Girl in Car” in How the West Was Fun (1994). Also, Martha Marcy May Marlene gets a bit rapey at times, and as anyone who’s The Shawshank Redemption can tell you, movies with rape scenes don’t win Academy Awards. Unless Tom Hanks is doing the raping, then I guess that might be okay. I’ll check on that and get back to you.

 

 

Kill List – Okay, I’m not exactly shocked that this one didn’t get nominated for, well, anything. Of course I mean that in a good way. A lot of people hated this movie, but then again, it’s pretty much impossible to be ambivalent about Kill List. It starts off fairly mundane, but gradually gets more and more — shall we say, “odd,” until finally landing squarely in WTF territory. If the Oscars had a “Most Fucked Up Picture” category, this would be the only nominee (and it probably still wouldn’t win because the Academy is a bunch of pussies). I won’t spoil the staggeringly mind-fucking ending for you, but in a nutshell, it’s about two hitmen on an assignment that goes somewhat awry. Whether you love Kill List or hate Kill List, trust me, you will definitely not forget Kill List.

 

What do all of the aforementioned films have in common? They all take risks. They all had the potential to be failures. Do you really think Spielberg went into making War Horse worried that it wasn’t going to make any money, or that he wouldn’t be able to find a distributor, or that it wouldn’t even get finished in the first place? Of course not. He knew from the very moment when he was sitting on his platinum toilet and the thought “I’m gonna make a horse movie” popped into his head that it was going to get nominated for Best Picture.

Art should be challenging. It should make you uncomfortable. It should take you places that you weren’t necessarily prepared to go to. But, then again, that’s just my opinion. What the hell do I know?

Boys Club

February 17, 2012
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Last night on The Ed Show on MSNBC, there was a segment that made me absolutely fucking livid.

Darrell Issa, for those who don’t know, is a Republican serving in the U.S. House of Representatives. His big thing these days is to hold big important Congressional hearings on virtually every single thing Barack Obama has done since becoming president. Most recently, he held a big important hearing on Obama’s mandate that all employers, including religious institutions, include contraceptives in their health insurance coverage (the fact that this has since been walked back to allow an exception for said religious institutions apparently doesn’t matter).

Now, you might think that since this issue is ultimately about women’s health, it might not hurt to have an actual woman whose life would be affected by this be allowed to make a statement. You might think so, but Mr. Issa knows better. He personally rejected the one witness requested by Democrats: Sandra Fluke, a Georgetown University law student. Why? According to Issa, because she’s not a member of the clergy. In other words, “Sorry, GTFO so us dudes can hang out.”

Ed Schultz had Ms. Fluke as his guest on the show last night, and she explained what she would have talked about had she been allowed to testify. You really should hear this, and then think about how much of a cold son of a bitch you’d have to be to say to her, “Nope, sorry, your testimony isn’t relevant.”

It’s really fascinating to see how hard-right Republicans have gone on the birth control issue, and women’s health in general. You guys do know that women can vote now, right?

Fuck lazy art.

February 12, 2012
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Try HarderI started this piece a while ago but finally decided to finish it last night while all the cool people were out partying.

Here in Hollywood (or “*H*O*L*L*Y*W*O*O*D*,” as Harlan Ellison would say), there seem to be more and more individuals who want to be able to call themselves artists despite not actually having anything to say or any discernible talent. This phenomenon manifests itself in a number of ways, certainly not the least of which is shitty “street art.”

Street art, when done right, can be insightful, funny, thought-provoking, pointed social commentary, or at the very least, interesting. Unfortunately, however, as with virtually any art form, street art consists of a handful of actual innovators and a teeming mass of poseurs, hacks and imitators. In my neighborhood, rarely a day goes by when I don’t see some shit-tastic new attempt at cleverness by another bargain bin Banksy wannabe.

Everybody wants the attention but nobody seems to want to actually put anything beyond a bare minimum of effort into their work. I’m not claiming to be the greatest artist in the world, but every day I’m trying to get a little better. There’s no excuse for laziness. Either make something worthwhile or go home.

Rick Santorum: Champion of the stupid

February 8, 2012
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Rick SantorumI had the misfortune of being exposed to Rick “Frothy Mix” Santorum’s victory speech after winning a handful of primary elections in the flyover states last night. Naturally, it was only a matter of seconds before he started to pander to his provincial audience by ranting about how Obama is worse than Hitler cubed, blah blah “Obamacare,” “war on religion,” socialism, et al. You know, the usual things you’d expect from someone who is estranged from reality. But then he added “Obama thinks he’s smarter than you. He thinks he knows better than you.”

You know, because having a president that is smarter than one of Rick Santorum’s fans (i.e. with an I.Q. in the triple digits) is such an awful thing. I know Barack Obama is smarter than I am, and I’m okay with that. It doesn’t hurt my ego one bit. You know, because he’s the President of the United States and all, and therefore has a bit more responsibility than someone like myself who performs menial office work for eight hours a day. It never ceases to amaze me that there are actually people out there who would be offended at the idea that the person with the nuclear launch codes just might possibly be a little bit more astute and well-informed than someone who willingly attaches fake testicles to the trailer hitch on their pickup truck.

When you go to see a movie, do you get mad at George Clooney because he thinks he can act better than you can? Or what about Manny Pacquiao? I bet he thinks he could beat you in a fight. That’s why they’re where they are, getting paid the big bucks. Because they’re better than most people at what they do. That’s not to say that being the President automatically means being intelligent (please refer to the years 2001-2008), or that being the star of a movie automatically means being talented (see Rooney Mara), but when someone is put into a position of prominence, he or she should ideally possess the skills necessary to do their job well, not simply be an average joe that won’t make the average Walmart shopper feel threatened.

Yes, Barack Obama thinks he knows better than you. And that’s a good thing. Deal with it.

Programming Note

February 6, 2012
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Just in case anyone’s actually paying attention, I fixed up a few things that were already bugging me about this new layout. Mostly technical stuff, but I also changed the header to something a little more straightforward and minus the pointless Twitter and Tumblr links that didn’t do anything when you clicked on them, moved the sidebar to the other side, and took away the comments box (partially because it was fucking up the layout on mobile devices, and partially because who really gives a fuck about comments, I mean seriously).

Controversy? At MY Super Bowl?

February 6, 2012
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Yesterday marked the thirty-second consecutive Super Bowl that I’ve managed to avoid watching in its entirety, because I am a horrible un-American person who has yet to find anything interesting about large, neckless men in tights moving a brown, lozenge-shaped object back and forth across numbered sections of a field for three hours.

Strangely, however, despite all the hullabaloo (Christ I hate that word) about the Big Completely Inconsequential Game, on the day after the Big Completely Inconsequential Game, none of the news headlines are ever about which group of large, neckless men in tights was more successful in moving the brown, lozenge-shaped object into the appropriately designated areas of the field. No, the “buzz” everyone’s “buzzing” about on Monday morning is always OH MY GOD DID YOU SEE WHAT ________ DID DURING THE SUPER BOWL I CAN’T BELIEVE _________ DID THAT OH NO WHAT ABOUT THE KIDS DID THE KIDS SEE THAT OH GOD NOT THE KIDS!!! You know, as if whatever calculated incident that took place that particular year was any more offensive than the toxic sludge that clogs up the airwaves during the other 364 days of the year. Post-Super Bowl Monday is when we all have to act like we’re pure, delicate little Christian babies who had previously never seen a private part or heard a goshdarn swear word before.

The “controversy” this year was M.I.A. giving the finger while onstage with Madonna at the cultural train wreck that’s commonly referred to as a “halftime special.” I didn’t witness it myself, since as I said, I was honoring a previous commitment to avoiding anything even tenuously related to professional sports, but going by some reactions I’ve seen, you’d think that she defecated into a Bible and then set it on fire while simultaneously having a late-term abortion (not that I personally would find that offensive, but some of the more conservative types out there might bristle a bit). Or worse yet, that she announced that she doesn’t care about football. No, she showed her finger. I think we’ve all seen fingers before. Hell, I probably have damn near ten of them. On the flip side, I will admit that it’s pretty impressive that M.I.A. managed to upstage Madonna’s overblown-as-all-get-out act with one gesture. Note to Madonna: You’re already obscenely famous. You don’t need to try so hard.

Honestly, I’d rather my (mercifully, hypothetical) children stare at Janet Jackson’s nipples for an hour than watch five minutes of anything MTV considers entertainment.

Welcome to the breathtakingly breathtaking new Web Hole!

February 5, 2012
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Hi, I’m Meathead. As you may have gathered by the larger words directly above these smaller ones, I’ve just updated my website. Now it’s Even Less Shitty Than Ever!™ Hopefully everything’s working properly, but if it’s not, I’ll probably notice it eventually, then immediately forget about it, remember it again several weeks later and get pissed off at it. So don’t worry.

Now that this shit’s on WordPress, I’ll be able to add new content and shuffle things around a lot more easily than before. I know you don’t care, but I’m pretty excited about it. Well, as excited as I ever get, I suppose. I’m planning on doing more writing, and this layout allows me to do just that while keeping the daily drawings and other nonsense separate.

Expect lots more new stuff here at the Web Hole in the coming days/weeks/months/picoseconds. Peace out.