The Benefits of Thrift Shopping

17 09 2012

Recently I took on a new writing client. I wrote two articles for them before they bothered to mention that “Oh yeah, you won’t get a byline and you can’t tell anyone you wrote these articles because they belong to us now.” Now, I don’t consider myself a vain person, but it’s kind of hard to build a portfolio when you’re writing under those constraints. It would have been nice to have that income, but I told them “No thanks” and parted ways with them. This is the second article I wrote for them, which  I withdrew from consideration.

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On the Doctrine of Comedic Infallibility

28 07 2012

There have been a few controversies recently regarding comedians making stupid, clumsy jokes about sensitive issues. First it was Daniel Tosh’s response to a heckler that “wouldn’t it be funny if that girl got raped by, like five guys right now?” People got pissed off about that joke, and other people got pissed off that those people got pissed off, and pointless Internet arguments ensued. Then Dane Cook apparently remembered the good old days when he was the comic that everyone suddenly realized was way overrated and maybe kind of a douche, and he made an equally dull, unfunny joke about the Aurora, Colorado shootings.

Dane Cook at ComicCon

Dane Cook, looking a lot like Dane Cook.

I’m not a person who believes that certain topics are off limits for comedians. Anything can be made funny if it’s done right. That’s the art of comedy. But in these two cases, the jokes weren’t done right. They were lazy, uncreative, and unfunny. That is why people were offended. If you’re going to make jokes about taboo subjects like that, you’d damn well better know what you’re doing. You didn’t see the Internet get in an uproar over the article The Onion published about the Aurora shootings, because the writers at The Onion know how to tackle difficult, terrible subjects and satirize them in a way that is not only funny, but cathartic. Dane Cook showed no such subtlety or finesse. He is not known for subtlety or finesse, and as such he really should just leave the difficult topics to wittier comics.

I’m an ex-Catholic, and one of the things I find most absurd about Catholicism is the idea of papal infallibility. That’s the doctrine that says that the Pope is always right, no matter how stupid or terrible the things he’s saying may seem to everyone who isn’t the Pope. Trying to brush countless allegations of child abuse under the rug? Hey, he’s the Pope. You can’t question it. This same idea seems to have crept into comedy now. Trying to make an “edgy” joke about rape or murder but failing to actually make it funny? Hey, he’s a comedian. You can’t criticize him.

Bullshit. No one is exempt from criticism, not even the Pope or Dane Cook.





Batman Vs. Superman: The Definitive Superhero Debate

26 07 2012

The following post was originally an article on This or That, but was lost that one time they forgot to back up their server and it crashed and everything was terrible. In light of The Dark Knight Rises and the upcoming Superman reboot, I thought it would be a good time to revisit this issue.

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Terror!

10 10 2011

I update my own blog all-too-infrequently, but that doesn’t stop me from writing posts for other people’s blogs. Check out my write-up of the excellent Korean vampire movie Thirst over on 31 Nights of Terror. Then when you’re done with that you can read on for more recommendations for Halloween-worthy films.





A History of Modern Literature

7 10 2011

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Scarecrow and Zombie

23 05 2011

Back in ’09 I shook off a bout of writer’s block that had lasted the better part of five years or so and started writing short stories again. One of the stories I wrote early on in this period of renewed creativity was “Scarecrow and Zombie,” a tale of two suburban children wandering around their neighborhood on Halloween. It remains my favorite story I’ve written so far, and so I was quite happy when it was recently accepted for publication by Johnny America. Today it went up on their website, and I feel kind of like I did the first day my daughter rode the bus to school in the morning. Will it make new friends? Is the lunch I packed for it OK? Perhaps you’d do me the favor of heading over there and reading it? Then I’d feel a little better about the whole thing.





This or That or the Other Thing

2 02 2011

I’ve got a new freelance writing gig which I am quite excited about. I will be writing blog posts for This or That, which is a rather entertaining website. My first post is up here and I have a second one pending that will be even funnier.  So keep an eye on the site or follow me on Twitter and I will be tweeting links to the articles as they go up.








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