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Bits and Pieces

Bits and Pieces

The Time I Somehow Managed To Bore Academics

I’m really glad I didn’t start talking up this interview I did a few months back here. You know how people do, like “Oh I was talking to Christopher Hitchens,” or “Annie Leibovitz is coming over to take a few snaps,” or whatever, because they’re constantly being interviewed, and they cannot remember all the places that want to interview them? Yeah, man, am I glad I didn’t do something like that–I’m glad I opted for just do the smooth operator approach, where you go, “Oh yeah, I’m in the New York Times today, in case you’re bored,” or whatever. Because, no, of course it wasn’t the New York Times, it was just a little phone interview for this website for people who leave academia, and no big deal at all. So whatever. When they made it live, I would have just quietly alerted you to the presence of it, maybe–maybe tweeted it or something.

Except they didn’t use it. So now, it’s gone from no big deal to WHAT THE FUCK? because it’s not a big deal if they use it, my alexa rank is like 800 times theirs anyway, but HOW DARE THEY NOT USE IT? Are they saying I’m too boring for them? Because 1) umm, hi, nobody is THAT boring, and 2) THEY ARE ACADEMICS. How does one set about boring academics? I mean, if this were my project–my sole goal in life, I’m not quite sure how I would accomplish it. Can you have a pulse and still manage to bore academics? Apparently, yes.



Dear Crayola:

What is this about? Are you familiar with the general theory behind the naming of colors? I mean, just check your ego at the door for a moment, and pretend like you’re not the foremost authority on color in the corporate world. Just hear me out. Because I think somewhere along the way you got lost–maybe shortly after you made Oprah her own “The Color Purple” crayon, I’m not sure.

But here’s the general theory about naming colors in a useful way: you name the color something that looks like, is colored like, that color. So a light green color, for example, might be called “lime green.” This works, generally, because most people viewing the crayon have seen a lime before, so they get it. It fits. Now, I know things got a little mixed up in the mid nineties, back with J.Crew and that whole Celadon thing. But I thought you guys still got the general concept. Because have you seen a manatee? Me either. So what is my 2-year old going to do with this?

Dear PR Company:

Gosh, thanks for your generous offer of a “free membership” to your exclusive “exercise program” that is available over the “internet.” While I’m sure that virtually exercising is really rewarding in a psychic sense, I’m still kind of attached to the idea of actually burning calories and hopefully losing (real) weight. Also, the latest episodes of Ni-Hao, Kai Lan are probably really cool, but to be honest I’m already backlogged with those on my Tivo and don’t really need the DVD.

But since I have you here, let me pitch this surefire bestselling product with which you can dazzle the mommyblogging world. That’s right–I’ll give you all the intellectual labor, you just call up your licensing contacts and make the magic work, my friends, and you’ll have a best selling product on your hands. I’ll even review it for you, free, if you just send me an advance copy ASAP.

The idea is this: a toddler-oriented “money shot” DVD compilations of key scenes from Disney/Pixar and Dreamworks (and HIT and whateverthehellelse) hits. Only the good part, with everything objectionable/borderline terrifying/boring removed. For example:

  • The first 25 minutes of Cars. To clarify, this would include the opening scenes set to Sheryl Crow, when they’re racing around, Lightning McQueen does the little Michael Jordan jump over the other cars–that part–right up until he jumps over the train tracks and just misses hitting the choo when he’s looking for that–without all that rootsy, boring, “character building” tripe in the middle;
  • Ratatouille with the terrifying shotgun and sewer opening sequence removed. You can start this one up right after the rat lands in the Paris sewer and starts talking to the hallucinated chef, but maybe skip the part where he’s running away from the waiter in the middle of the restaurant and almost gets baked into a casserole;
  • Meet the Robinsons, minus the Rawrs and the Bowler Hat Guy. Frankly, do we need the Bowler Hat guy? I mean, the rogue Bowler Hat invention is creepy enough, and I’m not buying that the wisecracking little leaguer from the beginning of the movie turns into a bumbling would-be saboteur who carries around a unicorn-covered notebook into his late forties. That’s just sloppy characterization, Disney. But back to the kids–this monvey is pretty unobjectionable except for the addition of the Rawr at about 01:12, so remove that and you have a fairly safe toddler movie on your hands;
  • Curious George. This one can include the introductory bit where George is in Africa and keeps getting into trouble, but you should skip the bit with the museum (YAWN). Also, if you could filter out the bits where they explain the colonialist project as if it is completely non-problematic: kids are bored by it, and I’d rather he not see it, anyway, since then I don’t have to go back and explain that yes, Curious George, cartoon monkey, was an accessory to an unabashed colonial exploitation project in the context of the (cartoon) 21st century. You know the kinds of questions this leads to . . . and I’d rather skip it.
  • Etc., etc.

Please feel free to elaborate and expand on this idea at will. The main thing is that you have the good parts of the DVD, and serve it up as quickly as possible, before the toddler has a chance to explode. That means no paradoxically named Auto-Play feature that in fact takes longer to play than using the main menu, no previews (dear lord, please, please no previews), and no DVD menu whatsoever to slow down the toddler-consumption-of-movie process. Thanks.