Essays Opinions

Why Gangnam Style Beat Baby on Youtube

Not long ago PSY’s “Gangnam Style” surpassed Justin Bieber’s “Baby” to become the #1 most watched video  on YouTube. When I started writing this, it had 829 million hits. I went to bed and by the time I woke up, it went up 4 million to 833 million. It will be have plenty more by the time you read this. Baby is at 805 million and has been around there for awhile. But in every article I’ve read about PSY’s rise to international stardom, nobody ever really talks about why a song released in Korea by a Korean for Koreans in Korean about a Korean neighborhood became an international sensation.  Articles about Gangnam Style’s record hits don’t talk about why he beat out Bieber, who happens to have the same manager. But it’s not hard to figure out with some simple analysis.

Bieber vs. PSY

Let’s start with Baby:

This song is terrible to everyone but Bieber’s fan base, myself included. Its a pubescent boy singing to pubescent girls about pubescent love, with Ludacris chiming in about his adolescent crush in probably the worst performance of his that I’ve ever heard (and I like Ludacris). The video itself is completely unremarkable and generic, it isn’t anything unto itself, which all great music videos are.

Baby is at 805 million hits after 2 years, with the video reaching 600,000 hits after a year and a half and getting the remaining 200 million over the next 16 months. Keep this in mind.

Now onto Gangnam Style:

It’s fun, it’s catchy and it has a very specific dance associated with it, guaranteeing its rotation at dance parties for years to come.  The video is one of the best music videos I’ve ever seen. While what he’s making fun of is Korean, the images are universal and can apply to a lot of posh neighborhoods, like the horse barn, the dance studio, the aerobics classes and even the yuppie-looking people on the pink bus.

The chart for Gangnam Style tells a different story than Baby did. The time frame might be shorter, but that’s the entire point. Extrapolate the graph out to Baby’s time frame and the growth will seem be exponential before leveling off.  Events such as PSY’s appearance at the VMAs September 9th merely capitalized on the song’s growing popularity.

But there’s another side to this. Gangnam Style’s success marks an important milestone in the music industry: music has been democratized.

Universal Appeal

It used to be that an artist would find international success based largely on the whims of record companies. When I went to Greece in 2003, finding songs I liked over there here in the US was nearly impossible because they weren’t in US record stores or played on the radio. Even when the iTunes store took off, finding international hits was still dependent on record companies releasing the albums in the US iTunes store.

To put Gangam Style’s importance in perspective, let’s compare with another fun, catchy song with a specific dance that went viral a few years ago: Daler Mehndi’s Tunak Tunak Tun.

Now if you watch this video closely, you’ll notice the dances are pretty similar in some ways (the circular arm wave variation). While I don’t know if PSY has seen this video, to me he’s channeling Dalar Mehndi’s goofy charm through the entirety of Gangnam Style.

But why didn’t Tunak Tunak become a monster international hit despite enjoying international popularity? First,  Dalar didn’t capitalize. He didn’t appear at the VMAs and he didn’t release Tunak Tunak in the west. To be fair, however, Tunak went viral when YouTube was still largely a novelty and the corporate presence was virtually nonexistent. His video going viral meant a lot less than Gangnam Style going viral now.

Second, unlike other entertainment media, like books and movies, music has an never-fail formula for success and by that I mean this formula:

Or more simply: Score = (w1 x f1) + (w2 x f2) + (w3 x f3) + (w4 x f4), etc I’ll let Wired explain:

The “w”s are “weights,” or musical features like tempo, time signature, song duration, loudness and how energetic it is. Musical style doesn’t stand still, and the weights have to be tweaked to match the era. In the ’80s, for example, low-tempo, ballad-esque musical styles were more likely to become a hit. Plus, before the ’80s, the “danceability” of a song was not particularly relevant to its hit potential.

Once the algorithm has churned out these weights it’s simply a case of mining your proposed song for these exact same features (the “f”s in the equation) and working out whether they correspond to the trends of the time. This gives you a hit-prediction score.

But I can boil all that down to one word: infectious. Doesn’t matter the genre, doesn’t matter the decade, if a song can get into people’s head and never leave, it’ll be a hit song.

And Gangnam Style is infectious. It conforms to the pretty universal sound of today’s pop music worldwide which is basically electronic dance music, with the difference being whether or not the song is rapped or sung and what language it’s in (If you don’t believe me go pick random J-pop, K-pop, Euro pop and American Pop songs, you’ll see).  Tunak lacked universal music appeal. Dancing to Tunak Tunak feels like you’re dancing to Indian Pop music, while dancing to Gangnam Style doesn’t feel like you’re dancing to K-pop.

Conclusion

Enter a song that confirms to universal music tastes with a video that has universal appeal which is featured on a video website with universal reach and the recipe for a monstrous hit is born. Justin Bieber, as talented as he is, just doesn’t have the pull beyond his target demographic. Once they finished gushing over the song, there wasn’t the mass appeal to propel the video further beyond the haters.

In addition, you can bet other acts will attempt to follow in PSY’s footsteps to have international monster hits. However, most will only achieve more modest international success because Gangnam Style hit all the variables in the right places at the right time, which is extraordinarily difficult to do. PSY didn’t even come close to matching his own success with another version of Gangnam Style featuring the vocals of Hyuna, the woman dancing with PSY towards the end of the original video. But PSY’s a Korean cultural icon with a ten year career, he’ll be fine. And Bieber will be fine even if his career tanks because he can live off his earnings for the rest of his life.

Finally, while one can decry the homogenized nature of pop music world-wide, it’s merely a reflection of the universal nature of the Internet. If people can easily access music from across the world via YouTube and other sites, it’s only natural that tastes will will converge and artists will follow suit. While there’s always been a genre called World, that’s always been about showcasing varying musical traditions, not bringing them together.  You can kind of say Gangnam Style is more worldly than “world” music, something to ponder.

I’ll leave you off with another K-pop video I came across and loved: Tarantallegra by Junsu. This is as much a result of the world convergence of pop music as Gangnam Style, for reasons that will become blatantly evident :

Author News

Ethereal Girls is out, right now!


I’ve released Ethereal Girls early because the book was done and promoting is easier if the book is out. The ebook costs $2.99 with the print version costs $10.99. Right now, the ebook is available on Amazon, Smashwords and Drive Through Fiction, with the print version available on Createspace. The Nook version will be available this evening(and added to this post and the main Ethereal Girls page).

Heroism comes in all shapes and sizes…

In Medieval Europe, four mystical weapons were forged in order to combat malevolent spirits – vile entities seeking nothing more than to spread misery and chaos across the universe. Centuries later, only one weapon remains to protect Earth. That weapon, the Axe of Boren, falls into the hands of teenage Liza while she is driving home from cheerleading practice, transforming her into a hulking warrior of immense strength and endurance. At the same time, her best friend Macie is twisted into a psychopathic murderer by one of the Axe’s counterparts, the corrupted Sword of Boren, and goes on a gruesome killing spree.

But just as Liza and Macie are headed for battle, the most powerful evil spirit in generations appears, unleashing an army of monstrous cannibals on Washington, D.C. In order to defeat the spirit, Liza must ally with three odd girls: a sickly waif with macabre teleportation abilities; a member of a snake-like race called the Lamia who wants nothing more than to be a human teenager; and the 107th reincarnation of an ancient goddess who may know far more about the mystical weapons than she lets on. But even with her new friends, Liza faces a near impossible task. Macie is obsessed with destroying her regardless of the devastation unfolding around them…

Purchase ebook at Amazon 

Purchase ebook at Smashwords

Purchase Ebook at Drive Through Fiction

Purchase the print version at Createspace

Read the first two chapters

Fiction

Conflict Resolution 1 and Conflict Resolution 2

Seeing people enjoyed Election Night 2012 has made me go back and find the other “fake reality cards” I’ve made over the years. I’ve found 2. These are Conflict Resolution cards from 2006 and 2007. Note that these were written with people who were alive or in power at time. Enjoy.
Conflict Resolution 1(from 2006)
The United Nations Presents Conflict Resolution, live this sunday night only on PPV from the United Nations Headquarters in New York City.
Main Event: Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad Vs. President George Bush in a Punjabi Prisons match
The outspoken Iranian President issued a challange to President Bush to settle their differences in a Punjabi Prisions match. If Bush wins, Iran dismantles thier nuclear program. If Ahmadinejad wins, America must pull out of Iraq and leave Iran alone.

Tune in this sunday to watch the match to decide the fate of the Middle East.

Also order to watch these explosive matches from around the globe:

Sheik Hassan Nasrallah vs. Isreali Prime-minister Ehud Olmert with special guest referree PLO President Mahmoud Abbas

Can’t disarm Hezbollah by invading them? Try the ring. Live this sunday, the Hezbollah/Isreali conflict will come to an end with a 1-2-3. But with the palastinian prescence in the match, who knows the outcome.

President Hugo Chavez vs. Prime Minister Tony Blair
In a last ditch effort to save face with his party, Tony Blair has issued a challange to Hugo Chavez. If he wins, his popularity will go up. If he loses…
Raul Castro said he would be at ringside, what part will he play? Tune in this sunday to find out.

North-Korean Premier Kim Jong Ill vs. Chinese President Hu Jintao in an exploding barbed-wire deathmatch

China tried to reach out to North Korea in setting up talks about its nuclear program, but North Korea brushed them off. Hu Jintao didn’t like being emberassed on the international stage. Live this sunday, he will defend his honor in an exploding barbed-wire deathmatch with the barbed wire and mines imported directly from the DMZ.

López Obrador and two mystery luchadors vs. Felipe Calderón and two mystery luchadors in a Lucha Libre six-man tag match

Even after recount after recount, Obrador will not admit defeat. Live this sunday, the Mexican presidentship will be determined once and for all in a classic 6-man two-ref lucha match. Each candidate will be the team leader and will invite two luchadors each to help him in his battle.

Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa vs. Tamil Tiger political leader for the east S. Elilan in a Cambodian First-Blood Match

In a latch ditch effort to end the violence in a more than quarter-century long civil war, the fate of Sri-Lanka will be decided in a Cambodian First-Blood Match. The rules are simply, first person to critically injure thier opponent, wins.

The Robert Mugabe Open Invitational
The President of Zimbabwe has issued a challange that he can beat anyone in the entire world because he’s that damn good, or he’ll resign and give the winner five million Z-dollars. Who will show up to face him? Tune in this Sunday to find out.

Conflict Resolution II(from 2007):

The United Nations presents Conflict Resolution II, live this Sunday night only on PPV, live from the United Nations Headquarters in New York City,Last year’s Conflict Resolution saw Felipe Calderón secure his Mexican Presidency in a high flying Lucha match with the help of Super Parka and Rey Mysterio Sr. It also saw President Bush emerge bloody and beaten but victorious from the Punjabi Prisons match where he faced Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.The Cambodian First-Blood Match shocked everyone by being the match of the night.This year’s card will be even more explosive and edge of your seat than last years.
Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki vs. Blackwater CEO Erik Prince in a Baghdad Rope Match. With Blackwater on the defensive over his company’s actions, Erik Prince had enough and said, “If everyone hates me so much, why doesn’t somebody fight me?” Al-Malaki accepted and two will meet in Baghdad Rope Match. The two will be strapped together and in each corner there will be an explosive device that will explode when someone touches it. To win, one must send them into a corner and blow them up.

Who gets blown up? Tune into find out.

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe vs. TBA

Last year’s open challenge from Mugabe to anyone that if they beat him, he’d step down and they’d get five million Z-dollars, was a sham as Mugabe brought out some half-starved political prisoner and beat him senseless in the ring. Mugabe, this year has once again put out a challenge that if his opponent wins, he will step down and they will will ten million Z-dollars.

However, this year the UN has vowed that Mugabe will not bring out a jobber as as voting for Mugabe’s opponent will happen online at www.conflictresolutioncard.org and the winner will face Mugabe. To prevent cheating, only one vote per IP address and if any irregularities are found, Mugabe will automatically face Zimbabwe Opposition Leader Morgan Tsvangirai, who is also heavily favored to win the vote.

Who will face Mugabe? Do your part and vote!

North Korean leader Kim Jong Ill vs. South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun

In a nasty display, Ill ambushed and beat Moo-Hyun when the South Korean leader visited Ill in Pyong-Yang for peace-talks. In order to prevent the cease-fire from ending, both leaders will fight it out at Conflict Resolution. While winning will cause one country to absorb the other, combat in the ring will hopefully prevent combat on the ground in Korea.

Benazir Bhutto vs. Pakistani President Pervez Musharrafin a No Holds Barred Match. 
After Bhutto was almost killed by a bomb trying to return to Pakistan, she blamed Musharraf, who blamed radical Islamists. Bhutto would have none of it and challenged Musharraf to a street fight to end the back and forth bickering. Now the two will meet and the future of Pakistan hangs in the balance.

Al Qaeda has also vowed to interfere in the match, will they? Anything goes!

Burmese/Myanmarian leader Senior Gen. Than Shwe Vs. Daw Aung San Suu Kyi in a ladder match. 

Tired of democracy crackdowns, the UN has set up a ladder match between Shwe and Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi, the leader of Pro-Democarcy movement in Burma. Hanging above the ring will be a briefcase containing a declaration that the country will either be called Burma or Myanmar depending on the winner. It’s really more of a symbol, as if Shwe wins, Kyi will be executed in the middle of the ring, or if Ms. Kyi wins, the Junta will be overthrown and a democratically elected-government will be ushered in.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan Vs. US President George W. Bush and Russian President Vladimir Putin in a two out three falls tag-team match.

Last year Bush beat Ahmadinejad to dismantle Iran’s nuclear program, but Iran defied the US and is continuing on its Nuclear Path. The two leaders looked to battle again in the ring. However, the stakes have been raised. Turkey created an alliance with Iran because of anger over the bill calling the Armenian killings during World War 1 “a genocide” and the attacks by the PPK and Bush’s unwillingness to act.

Both countries put out a challenge to Bush for a handicap match. But then Vladimir Putin stepped in with an offer to be Bush’s tag-team partner and make the match a 2/3 falls tag team match. All sides agreed and the match was signed.

Now all eyes are on the match, the fate of this match could possibly completely shift the balance of power in the world. But what is Putin’s role in all of this? Why did he, out of the blue, extend the offer? Can Bush trust him? Can Ahmadinejad and Erdogan trust each other as their hatred of the US is the only thing keeping them together?

Find out this Sunday in a sure to be blockbuster match.

Main Event: Leaders of various Sudanese Rebel factions vs. Sudanese Government and Janjaweed Leaders in a Genocide Cage match. 

The Darfur conflict has turned into a humanitarian crisis with no end in sight, with massive genocide and other atrocities committed by both sides. The UN has declared that at Conflict Resolution the Darfur crisis must end in a Genocide Games match.

In the match there are two teams made up of four leaders from each side. An extra ring will be erected next to the first one and a cage erected around both. At the beginning of the match one man from both sides enter the cage and every five minutes another participant will enter from one side, the order decided by coin toss. Once all eight men have entered, the winning sides will the one who knocks out or critically injures three members of the opposing team.

What is not know is who will actually show up and fight, as it was difficult to get leaders to show up to just diplomatic talks. Therefore, in order to spur the leaders to show up, the match has been declared the official main event and will headline the show.

The first four leaders from both sides to show up will be in the match. If eight do not show up and the sides are unequal  the side with the most men present will automatically win. If both sides are equal then the match will be a one on one, tag, or six man match in the cage structure. In neither side shows up at all, the winner will be determined by UN general assembly voting.

How will the conflict end? Will there actually be the advertised Match or even a match at all? There’s only one way to find out. Order now!

I’ll probably go back and create a brand new one for 2012, stay tuned.
Guest Posts

Guest Post: Oh, Captain, my Captain… by Phoenix

After forty-six years, Gene Roddenberry’s high-concept idea has spawned six television series, eleven feature films with a twelfth coming in 2013. There have also been books, games, conventions and merchandising galore. Even with all the interviews, documentaries and public appearances, October 2012 will see a first-time gathering of five Star Trek captains as Destination Star Trek London brings

William Shatner, Patrick Stewart, Avery Brooks, Kate Mulgrew and Scott Bakula together for a weekend of fan delight.

Ever since the release of the third TV series, there has been debate over which captain is the best. They all have their strengths and weaknesses, and every fan has opinions. Unfortunately, the issue has only become more clouded with the addition of each new character to the ranks of Starfleet’s elite. Let’s take a chronological look at how I stack them up.

Captain James Kirk

(Shatner) is the equivalent of Sean Connery’s James Bond. He was the first captain for many if not most fans, starring in two series (one animated) and four feature films before anyone even conceived of the others. He’s the gold-shirt standard against which the others are judged. A product of his time, the captain the sixties gave us in Kirk was young for a ship’s captain and Starfleet’s youngest ever at the time. He was dynamic, an outstanding go-getter who showed Starfleet Command he could handle the center seat, patrol the frontier and represent the United Federation of Planets in a responsible fashion. He’s also been called a cowboy diplomat, considered the most likely captain to turn a confrontation into a shooting match. I’ve often felt this was an unfair assessment as I never felt he was prone to getting the ship into a fight without provocation anymore than he violated the Prime Directive (it applied to lower level developingcultures, not stagnant ones). Granted, even though he’s proven himself more than capable of talking his way out of tough spots, he seldom shied away from a brawl, mixing it up with his first officer on a few occasions and certainly engaging in the most swordplay of the bunch. Without a doubt, he would be the first to draw a phaser at the sound of trouble. He would also top the list in…let’s call them Intimate First Contacts. Could this be the reason he liked to lead so many away missions? I’d like to think that had more to do with an exuberant spirit of exploration, which fit his general mandate, but that could be a close call.

Captain Jean-Luc Picard

(Stewart) is the oldest of the lot, bringing with that years of level-headed experience and a manner that says he’s used to having his orders followed. His biggest claim to fame came early in his career as first officer of the Stargazer, taking command of the ship when her captain was killed during a twenty-five year exploration mission. Rather than limp home, Picard stepped up and pressed on, cementing his image as a leader. For me, he gained a reputation as least likely to shoot first…or shoot back…or shoot at all, sometimes. Come on, man, do something! He seldom handled a phaser and loved to talk. They all loved to give speeches when the situation arose, but he did it with the Shakespearean voice of authority. He didn’t do a lot of brawling, though we were told deep into his series run of an impressive bar brawl that cost him his heart. He was a diplomat and explorer first, with a love of archaeology, and a fighter second. He kept his away mission and IFC counts low, leaving that sort of messiness to his younger, more expendable officers.

Captain Benjamin Sisko

(Brooks) was first introduced to us as a commander. He’s unique to our little group in several ways. We were there to see him become a captain, he had command of a space station rather than a ship on extended missions, and he was married right up till we watched him become a widower and single father. I believe he was also the only musician and chef of the captains. As a full-grown dad, Sisko’s mellifluous speeches to any troublemakers also had the option of being accompanied by an ass-whooping. Captain’s choice. (Note: he put Q on his ass once and never had to deal with him a second time) As a grieving widower, single dad, officer and gentleman, he also kept his IFC count low. He was very professional, only occasionally looking for situational loopholes in regulations. He also spent a fair amount of our time with him on the front line of a war against a formidable alien force. Sisko was a complex character. He didn’t always come out on top in his encounters, but he had the heart to keep fighting and win in the end.

Captain Katherine Janeway

(Mulgrew) like Sisko found herself in a unique situation, though hers could be seen as the opposite of his: where he operated from a static base, she had none and no support network. Our time with Captain Janeway was mostly about the odyssey of returning to Federation space after her ship was snatched 70,000 light years away to the unexplored Delta quadrant of the galaxy. She had to make the best of a patchwork crew, a long trip home under repeatedly hostile conditions and more Borg than any other captain ever had to face. At times, she was strict about regulations and other times…not so much. At times, she was quick to fight…or not. It depended on the situation. She’s been described as erratic and volatile, but she was hurled into a very stressful situation where questionable moral choices sometimes had to rule the day in order to see another day.. Overall, she did try to keep to the regulations even if her reasoning didn’t always seem sound. Her IFC count was low. Floundering attempts to shortcut to home were probably her biggest on-going embarrassment, but comparisons to Gilligan’s Island don’t make her a bad captain. It just makes it tough to keep watching.

Captain Jonathan Archer

(Bakula) was a scientist and an explorer. Being an optimist went along with this almost by default. Unfortunately, he found himself reaching out to an interstellar community that looked at a smile and saw bared teeth. He had to meet his challenges with the lowest level of technology of our assemblage. He gets a pass in some areas because rather than being a rule breaker, a lot of the things he did motivated the creation of rules in his wake. That’s the mark of a pioneer. Boy Scout that he was, he held himself to a high standard on gunplay, general violence and IFC activity. Sadly, like Janeway, he found himself faced with tough moral choices in uncharted territory. To really put the pressure on, the pioneering Archer was often fighting for the literal survival of Earth and the entire Alpha quadrant of the galaxy against villains unlike any ever before faced. No wonder they named schools after this guy.

Where does that leave us? Still a tough call. They’ve all done good work, but I find the greatest amount of material that I can not bring myself to watch involves Picard and Janeway. That doesn’t really speak to their captaining abilities, though. All that said, when I think of Star Trek, it’s Kirk and the Enterprise that come to mind. Not only will I put his Kobayashi Maru results up against anyone else’s, he’d be my first choice for deploying into action the next time some crisis comes Earth’s way.

After Superman, of course.

Phoenix was born in Peekskill, New York to hard-working parents.  He has also lived in Terre Haute, Indiana, Evansville, Indiana and has lived in Nashville, Tennessee since 1992.
A graduate of Indiana State University, Phoenix went on to work jobs in different fields over the years, occasionally even in writing.  He has also managed to meet strange and interesting people, broaden his knowledge of martial arts and travel to different lands.  Much to his mother’s chagrin, he also engaged in motorcycle riding, skydiving, mountain climbing, bounty hunting, prisoner extraditions, firedancing and sword fighting.
Equipped with a deep love of Chocolate, physical activity and learning, Phoenix continues to find great joy in life.  Despite many other activities that have demanded priority, he has never lost his love of writing and eagerness to focus on telling the stories he has been waiting for years to share.

Visit his Phoenix Writing blog at http://bit.ly/otTvOS

Fiction

Election Night 2012 Live on PPV!

The Federal Election Federal proudly presents the Election Night 2012 Pay-Per-View on  November 6th, live at 9pm EST from a sold-out tent on the National Mall in Washington D.C.

Every four years, the Office of the Presidency is decided in the ring in fierce combat, along with a slew of matches featuring other political feuds from across the nation. This year’s line up is so heated, so explosive that it had to be moved out of the United States capital because Congress couldn’t pass the appropriations for repairs when the combatants tore the House down.

Enjoy these eight exciting matches:

Jeb Bush vs. Bill Clinton

At the 2012 Democratic Convention, Former president Bill Clinton galvanized the Democratic party. The Republicans want to shut him up. To do that, they’ve turned to Jeb Bush, who is the Republican hopeful in 2016 if Mitt Romney loses. Jeb accepted because Election Night 2012 is the 20th anniversary of George H.W Bush’s being pinned cleanly in the ring by Bill Clinton in a triple-threat that also featured Ross Perot.

Now Jeb Bush has a chance to avenge his father’s loss and set himself up as the Republican heir apparent. But Bill Clinton is still a formidable opponent and one of the smartest tacticians in the game. Can Jeb do it? Find out at Election Night.

John Stewart and Steven Colbert Vs. Bill O ‘Reilly and Shawn Hannity in a Channel Changer match

The Rumble in the air conditioned auditorium, John Stewart and Bill O’Reilly’s debate for charity at George Washington University in DC, turned physical when O’Reilly’s fellow Fox News host Shawn Hannity blindsided Stewart and both conservative ideologues viciously attacked one of their most outspoken critics. Then Stewart’s Comedy Central cohort Steven Colbert stormed the stage with a steel chair. At first it looked like Colbert would join in attacking Stewart but then he laid out O’Reilly and Hannity.

At Election Night, the four men will take part in a Channel Changer match. A television remote with a five foot range will be suspended on a pole in a corner of the ring. Meanwhile a television will be set up on a side of the entrance stage tuned to a random channel. The first team to grab the remote, make it to the stage and change the channel will be declared the winner.

Tune into Election Night to find out if the Fox News personalities can shut their biggest critics up or if the comedians have the last laugh.

Todd Aiken vs. Senator Claire McCaskill in a ladder match for McCaskill’s Missouri Senate seat.

It’s the battle of the sexes at Election Night, where controversial challenger Todd Aiken will take on embattled Senator Claire McCaskill. This race roared to national attention over Aiken’s controversial remarks that women can’t get pregnant from rape. This caused the Republican party to withdraw their support, but Aiken vowed to fight on against an invigorated opponent.

Because the campaign become a lightning rod in the abortion debate, the campaign will be decided in the ring instead of the polls.  It will be a ladder match with a model of the female reproductive system suspended above the ring, a nod to the campaign’s symbolic importance. Will Aiken grab a model and score a victory for the sanctity of life or will McCaskill defend a women’s right to choose? There’s only one way to find out: order today!

Chief Justice John Roberts Vs. Justice Samuel Alito in a Gavel Match for the office of Chief Justice 

When John Roberts joined with Justices Breyer, Ginsberg, Kegan and Sotomayor in upholding the affordable care act, it was seen as a slap in the face to the court’s conservative side, Justices Alito, Scalia and Thomas, who vowed never to vote with him again.  In addition, they because openly rebellious, insult and mocking him in open court.

Finally during arguments in Arkansas Game and Fish Commission v. United States of America, Roberts had enough of the conservative snickering. He stood up and yelled, “If you guys think you can my job better than me, why you don’t come and get it?” Alito stood up, walked across the bench to Roberts and stood toe to toe. He then grabbed Robert’s gavel and slammed him in the head. The other justice’s intervened and soon all nine Supreme Court Justices were brawling in front of a stunned courtroom.

On Election Night, Roberts and Alito will face off in a Gavel Match, where the Chief Justice’s gavel is the only legal weapon.If Alito wins he will become Chief Justice. Will he succeed, or will Roberts regain order in the court? Find out at Election Night.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid vs. Speaker of the House John Boehner in an Inferno match, where if Bohner loses, he loses his seat

Ever since 2010, Congress has been gridlocked, with the Republican controlled House and Democrat controlled Senate unable to agree on anything. Numerous brawls between Democrats and Republicans have spun out of control and out the House and Senate Chambers. At Election Night, the friction between the two branches will set the ring on fire – literally, in an Inferno Match. Surrounding the ring will be searing flames that can reach 18 feet high. Those flames will cause the in-ring temperature to rise to several hundred degrees. The winner  of the match will be the man who lights his opponent on fire.

Fighting in these hellish conditions will be Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Speaker of the House John Boehner who will be battling to prove their legislative branch’s supremacy. While Harry Reid is not up for election, Bohner is and he’s running unopposed.  Still, if Bohner loses, in addition to being possibly admitted to the local burn unit he will also lose his seat.

With the pride of the House and The Senate on the line, only one thing is certain: at Election Night, this will be one sizzling hot match.

Representative Paul Ryan vs.  Vice President Joe Biden  in a Barbed Wire, Thumb Tacks and Light Tube Deathmatch with the stipulation that if Ryan loses, he loses his house seat to Rob Zebran

Mitt Romney picking Paul Ryan as his Vice President was seen as a victory for Republicans. Ryan is charismatic, good looking and intelligent. But at Election Night, he has to face  Vice President Joe Biden, a man known for his explosive personality and lack of discipline. At the match signing at the Vice Presidential Debate, the stipulation was suggested by Biden as a Barbed Wire, Thumb Tacks and Light Tube Death Match. Ryan gleefully accepted. In the matches the ring ropes will be replaced with barbed wire, bags of thumb tacks hung from then, and pallets of light tubes propped in the corners.

While the match initially appears to  favors Biden’s daredevil persona, it’s a match where the offense can hurt the attacker as well as his opponent, so that favors Ryan’s smooth intellectual personality in deciding the smartest moves. In addition, while all that’s on the line for Biden is his pride and maybe a few injures, for Ryan, his House seat is in play. If Ryan loses, he’ll lose his seat and it’ll go to his democratic challenger Rob Zebram. This type of match guarantees the combatants will walk away beaten and bloody, but there can be only one winner. Who will it be? Tune in to find out.

3rd Party Presidential Candidate Over the Top Rope Battle Royal

Due to Federal Law, 3rd party combatants must appear on the card. Therefore, in general Election Night tradition,  the 3rd party combatants will battle it out in a battle royal for bragging rights, with the winner being the last combatant left in the ring after all other opponents have been thrown out over the top rope.  Combatants have until the night before the Event to register to compete.

The following combatants have already registered:  Gary Johnson (Libertarian Party);  Jill Stein (Green Party); Virgil Goode (Constitutional Party); Rocky Anderson (Justice Party); Rosanne Barr (Peace and Freedom Party); Peta Lindsey (Party for Socialism and Liberation); Andre Barnett (Reform Party USA);  Tom Hoefling (America’s Party); Tom Stevens (Objectivist Party); James Harris (Socialist Worker’s Party); Stewart Alexander (Socialist Party USA); and James Carville (Cocktail Party).

Mitt Romney vs. President Barack Obama in a no-disqualifications submissions match for the Presidency of the United States

At Election Night 2008, Barack Obama easily gained the Presidency when he and Biden stomped John McCain and Sarah Palin in a 2/3 falls tag-team match. Even though McCain was able to score a fall by slashing Biden with a machete while Palin distracted the ref, Obama’s victory was never in doubt.  Four years later, Obama is seen as an ineffective president who didn’t live up to his promises. However, Obama still believes that yes, they still can, and needs four more years to do it. However, to gain those four extra years, he faces his toughest opponent yet: former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, a man willing to do and say anything to get what he wants.

Time after time, Romney has physically attacked Obama and his allies, even gaining illegal access to the White House to slam Obama with a chair during a rare press briefing. Meanwhile, Obama has refrained from reciprocating against Romney, trying to seen like the better man even if it sometimes seems futile.

But on Election Night, Obama will fight back as faces Romney in a no-disqualifications submissions match for the Presidency of the United States.  There are no rope breaks, no time-limits, no shelter from the searing pain as limbs are wrenched from their sockets in pursuit of the nation’s top job. There is only one rule: make your opponent tap.  And with Romney stating he’s willing to paralyze Obama in order to become President, will Obama stick to his own principles of fair and equal combat or will he have to sink to Romney’s level to save his job?

On November 6th, watch as an unstoppable force meets an unmovable object in the ring as Barack Obama and Mitt Romney clash in an all-out war sure to go down in the history books. Pay-per-view is the only way to see it. Call or go online and order Election Night 2012 today!

Essays Opinions Porn Uncategorized

New School Porn Parodies: A Slippery Slope

Not too long ago I wrote an essay about old school and new school porn parodies. Old school parodies attempted to send up the source material while new school parodies were glorified fan fiction, like this one:

Not a parody at all.

And then I had an epiphany, if porn companies can pass off fan fiction as parody and sell it, what’s stopping erotic fan fiction writers from doing the same thing? We’re not that far from it already.  50 shades of Grey, for example, started off as a Twilight fan fiction. E.L James then removed the Twilight references, sold it and made millions.  But if E.L James had changed nothing and called it Twilight: A Literary Porn Parody, she could still sell the book because of the parody loop hole in copyright law. 

And even with non-erotic work, unofficial sequels abound, especially sequels of public domain work like the literature of Jane Austen. Then there’s the whole fad of inserting monsters into Austen books and selling them as humor.

Maybe I should write a story about a zombie Jane Austen devouring the brains of those who shamelessly steal her work.

All it’s going to take is an author creating an erotic  fan fiction of anything protected under copyright law and successfully self-publishing it using the word “parody” in the title to cause the floodgates will open. Tons of erotic fan fiction stories will start popping up for sale.  And even if the fan fiction author gets sued (and they most likely will) they will almost certainly win in court because there’s simply too much precedent in the form of new school porn parodies.

This is going to happen sooner or later, regardless of this article. Success breeds imitation. If porn companies can make millions stealing work, then then the little guy is going to want to the same thing.

Author News Excerpts

Ethereal Girls Excerpt and Cover Reveal

Thanks to Laurie Foster!

There’s the final book cover. I think it looks great as it conveys Ethereal Girls’ comic influences very well.

Also, I’ve finally posted the first two chapters of Ethereal Girls, which make up the book’s opening sequence. It culminates in a battle with lots of ass kicking and a giant explosion. Enjoy!

Finally, as an incentive to sign up for the Ethereal’s Girl’s mailing list, one lucky subscriber will be receive a free print copy of Ethereal Girls when its released on November 2nd.

Essays Opinions Television

Piratz Tavern: How Bar Rescue Faked Reality

Before I begin, please watch the following about Piratz Tavern:

Now this episode of Bar Rescue is compelling television. It’s about a sinking pirate bar called Piratz Tavern in Silver Spring, Maryland, where the staff wants to play pirate while the workers at the several corporate high rises next door ignore the noise. Furthermore, the owner is $900,000 in debt and lives in her parents’ basement with her husband, Piratz’s incompetant chef, and her college-age daughter.  In walks nightlife expert Jon Taffer who believes the staff is delusional and drags them kicking and screaming to a new theme, the Corporate Bar and Grill. After the change, the place looks to have a bright future. But the owner, still wanting to play pirate, turns it back to Piratz a few weeks later and the ship continues to sink.

There’s only one problem: The show is made up.

I’ve eaten in Silver Spring lots of times and had even tried to eat at Piratz Taven before the filming. Honestly, it looked like an empty dump. The show wasn’t completely wrong in that respect.  However, after watching the Bar Rescue episode, I absolutely had to go in order to find out how different the show was from with what actually happened. I went for dinner there with some friends and spent a long time talking to the staff.

Piratz Tavern Staff

From left to right: Rouge, Monkey, Blackjack, Archer and One-Eyed Mike.

What I found was that practically everything on the show was made up. While the staff, along with the manager Tracy Rebelo, had a reason to lie in order to make themselves look better, it was obvious from their passionate and candid responses, along with a few plainly visible facts, that they weren’t lying.

Here’s a list, in show chronological order, of many of the differences between the Bar Rescue episode and what I observed and was told:

-At the beginning of the show there’s a statistic that says during the day the population in Silver Spring swells to 295,000 with an average income of $96,000. At night the population drops to 71,000 with an average income of $36,000. While there’s nothing wrong with this on the surface, it’s missing something very important that I’ll explain further down.

-The show claims the staff loves to drink and play pirates rather than serve the customers. Well, that both is and is not true. On the one hand, the staff loves their jobs, loves pirates, and enjoy working there.  On the the other hand,  the food came quickly and I didn’t have to wait to get a seat. In some ways, the jovial, friendly staff is why anyone would come to Piratz in the first place and Taffer ignores it.

– On the show, Tracy claims that’s she’s over $900,000 in debt, her credit is shot and she lives in her parent’s basement.  Tracy told me, a guy she never met, that she never uses credit cards with Piratz and she’s pays off the $10,000 rent every month in full and on time… oh, and there is no basement.

-Jon and his wife show up to the bar which looks dead…except it’s dead because the Bar Rescue producers told the tavern to tell everyone that the tavern was closed. Anyone in the bar were people who walked by and saw it was open.

-The show claims the patio in the back is unoccupied…except they forgot to mention that the segment was filmed at night in February 2012, with nightly temperatures in the 30s. Jon’s wife is even shown walking into the establishment in a heavy coat.

-The fish the planted couple orders is supposedly terrible. Everyone there told me basically the same thing: the food was fine, they just lied and said it was terrible. My food was delicious!

Update: 9/29: Went back to Piratz and ordered the fish the couple on the show did.  While I thought it wasn’t as good as the turkey legs I had last week, it wasn’t nearly as bad as the show made it seem.

-There’s a reference to an appetizer that’s too spicy. The “Burnin’ Bits” has a waiver you to have sign in order to eat it. I know because I took notes on the back of said waiver:

Piratz Tavern Waver

Too spicy on purpose.

-How many corporate high rises are really around Piratz?  There are two on the same block, plus a few within eyeshot. Jon wanted to make the point that there are tons directly next to it, but there are only the aforementioned two plus the Discovery Channel directly accessible via a back alleyway. The others he points out include a two-story storefront and this:

Behold the Silver Spring Metro Garage!

This is a case of Jon not only stretching the truth to make his point about corporate highrises, but also ignoring a bigger problem which should be obvious to anyone who has been to the area:

The way most people get to the area is to get off 495 and head down Georgia Ave. Right before you get to Piratz, they come to what’s known as Downtown Silver Spring, a popular outdoor plaza with literally a dozen restaurants and two movie theaters (The Regal and an AFI Silver) along with several big stores including a DSW and a Whole Foods. This attracts a lot of people with money. However,  the traffic turns on either Colesville or Wayne and heads towards the garages. Only a fraction of the traffic heads past Wayne Avenue. I’ve traveled to the area quite a bit. Downtown Silver Spring could be packed, but walk across across Wayne Avenue and the place is a ghost town.

There’s no way Jon missed this fact when researching – he could see it from Piratz Tavern! While it appears he might have counted Downtown Silver Spring as a high-rise, counting it as such is extremely misleading because he therefore ignores all the people coming in on weekends for entertainment. This destroys his entire theory on why a pirate bar in Silver Spring can’t survive.  If Piratz had a location within Downtown Silver Spring, it would’ve been just fine because the people who go to the plaza are looking to have fun.

– Moving on, Archer, who quit on the show, was told to be the bad guy and his role was to quit. The only thing is that Archer really did  get mad at John so the reaction when he told the cameras to get out of his face was real.

-To help in the kitchen, Jon brings in Jason, a line cook… who had been working at Piratz for 7 months prior to filming. He was working at a Bertucci’s when a few Piratz employees got him in touch with Tracy who hired him.

-The show makes it seems like there’s an all day bar training going on for the bartenders. Well, training only lasted as long the cameras rolled and so the staff only learned basically what is shown on TV.

-On a segment involving service staff training Mike appears to have trouble talking like “a normal person.” It’s implied Mike was so wrapped up in his pirate persona, he had trouble coming out of it.  Except how Mike talks on the show is how he really talks. His accent is not an act.

-There’s an exchange where the service trainer says to Mike to “act like the people outside.” He says that he hates those people. Only one issue: that was edited together from two different exchanges, the second one being the people who go on Yelp and give the bar bad reviews.

-The soft opening was staged, as everyone that was brought in were actors and did not have to pay. Everything was going fine until Jon told the actors to start acting as if the service was terrible.

-The scene where Juciano storms out and Tracy goes after him was staged. He was told to storm off.  The audio seems to cut during the segment because they’re laughing while filming.

-The only thing the employees weren’t told ahead of time was what the new theme was supposed to be, so their reactions were real. Even I thought the idea was terrible from the first time I saw it. The Corporate Bar and Grill made the place seem homogenized and soulless. When corporate workers want to go to a bar, they want to escape, not go back to work. And Jon Taffer, even on the show, came across as a guy who hated the very idea of a pirate bar from the moment he walked in and simply wanted it gone, regardless of the reasons for Piratz’s failures. The staff confirmed my suspicions with Tracy calling him “completely unprofessional” and saying “he made the worst decision possible.”

– While it looked pristine in the show, the new interior was shoddily done. For example, the new tiles on the floor were simply glued onto the floor underneath. The glue oozed through the tiles and was tracked onto the back patio, which had to be resurfaced.

-As part of the renovation, Jon installed self-service draft tables where people could pour their own beer. However, they are illegal in Montgomery County, so they were useless.  Not only that, the draft tables were really being rented, with the first 2 months paid for. After that, the bar had pay for all 3 draft tables.

-The grand opening, like the soft opening, was staged, with actors playing the roles of customers, who ate for free. While I wasn’t told this, based on what they told me about the soft opening, I’m certain the actors were told to act like the place was great even if it was crummy.

-During the grand opening scene, Jason can be seen making burgers. The staff told me that the burger was made using frozen beef patties and were expected to charge $11 for it; this is in contrast to their $12 buffalo burger which was and still is on the menu and is made fresh. They have an $8 regular burger. They never mentioned it, but I assume it’s made fresh. And even if it, too, is a frozen beef patty, it’s still $3 less.

-After filming, Piratz Tavern returned within two weeks, nearly every single one of Jon’s changes was reversed and a small beer bar was added to the front to make it more lively.

I went to Piratz Tavern expecting at least some of the show to ring true and found that apparently not one moment of the show was what it appeared to be. Everything organic was either staged or heavily edited. Watching the episode again after eating there I saw the fiction in the “reality” clearly. Bar Rescue is a fictional show about a man who takes bars from money pits to profitable businesses. Before Jon steps in, the staff has to be inept, the food has to be terrible and the bar has to be completely out of touch with the surrounding community, even if not one of those things was true. After John relaunches, the staff has to be top notch, the food has to be delicious and the bar has to be beautiful and popular. It makes Jon Taffer look like God’s gift to bar management. And if the bar reverts to its previous persona or isn’t doing well, it isn’t Jon’s fault, it’s always the owner who’s to blame. They didn’t listen to Jon Taffer and now they’re paying the price.

Piratz Tavern

Behold the new sign installed the week before I went!

While the staff admitted the bar was having problems, any problems it did have were solved simply by being on Bar Rescue and the huge publicity it generated, giving people a reason to travel past Wayne Avenue. Our waiter, Blackjack, told me that Jon Taffer should have just come in and just helped with an ad campaign instead of the nightmare their “bar rescue” turned out to be. Monkey even said it was one of the worst experiences of his entire life, and I have to believe him.

Piratz stands as a symbol of how fake reality television truly is. Before I ate at Piratz, I loved Bar Rescue. It was a compelling, well-produced show. After eating at Piratz, I don’t think I can watch another episode knowing full well that what I’m seeing is as fictional as a scripted drama.  One thing I do know for sure is that I’m definitely going back to Piratz Tavern.

Update: 3/28/15

Normally I wouldn’t a post an update for a 3 year old article, but with the bar closing and the upcoming episode, I feel the need I should as interest in this article will be renewed:

So, the bar is closing and the owner claims its because she was fucked over by reality TV again, believing the producers that things would be different this time with the second episode.. I personally think(and this is only a guess) Bar Rescue didn’t close the bar, in actuality, it kept it going for three years due to all the publicity, but whatever the problems were initially finally caught up with her again. She invited Bar Rescue back in the hopes that magic would strike twice and she could ride another wave of bad publicity to another three years, but when it didn’t look like that would happen, for whatever reason, she gave up and closed the bar.

I went back in February for my birthday(after a two year absence), and the bar was great. The food was excellent, the grog was delicious and the service staff was friendly(I got a free dessert and t-shirt).  in the end, I have to begrudgingly say maybe Jon was right in that you can’t run a pirate bar in Silver Spring. But who knows, considering its critical location problem.

 

Essays Opinions Porn

Porn Parodies: Old-School vs. New-School

Yes, you are about to read a serious, in-depth discussion of porn parodies.  I know some of you are probably rolling your eyes, but pornography is a film genre, it has its own conventions and cliches and, dare I say it, some artistic merit. Porn parodies are probably the most fascinating porn to study because they are judged not solely on the sex, but also other aspects that more traditional porn movies aren’t judged on, like their plot. This is because porn parodies live or die based on how well they handle the source material.

If somebody just wants to see two people fucking, they can just pick up any old porn and get that. But if somebody watches a porn parody, it’s because they want to see two specific characters fucking. But there’s a problem. It’s called copyright law. One can’t just use somebody else’s characters without permission for profit. However, there’s a loophole in copyright law where parodies are considered fair use. This gives porn producers the green light to use other people’s characters as long as they’re using them in parodies.

Dick Smothers played Maxwell Smart better than Steve Carell!

For the longest time, porn parodies were actual parodies. In other words, these were porn movies where they attempted to send up the source material on some level.  I call these “old-school” porn parodies. These parodies can be distinguished by their funny titles: Edward Penishands, Rear and Pleasant Danger, Missionary Position Impossible and so on. They generally were low-budget and filled to the brim with bad acting and innuendo.

Fun for the whole family… minus the ass to mouth during the four way at the end.

Then around 2008 to 2009,  porn companies got wind that porn parodies were a licence to print money. These companies then started pumping out parodies and a paradigm shift occurred. Instead of trying to poke fun at the material, these “new-school” porn parodies became big-budget pornographic mockbusters. When a movie is being “parodied,” the movie is actually just copied scene for scene with sex scenes inserted here and there, while if a TV show is being “parodied,” the result is an episode of the show with sex scenes inserted.  In the worst cases these parodies are just extended sex scenes based on other people’s characters that are strung together with no real plot. Worst of all, the funny titles disappeared, being replaced by names like ___ XXX : A Porn Parody or This Ain’t ____: A XXX Parody.

To illustrate the difference between old-school and new-school, I’ll post two clips for two different Star Trek porn parodies, Sex Trek: Where No Man has Come B4 and This Ain’t Star Trek XXX.

First up is the old-school Sex Trek:

This installment of the long-running Sex Trek series (incidentally, there are at least 8 of these) is directed by one of  masters of the old school porn parody, Cash Marksman, who also directed Get Lucky. As a master of the art, Marksman understands that people watch porn for the sex and generally just want to get the story over with as quickly as possible. But if you’re going to sit through the story parts, you might as well laugh a little in the process. The production is second rate but it really doesn’t matter because the film doesn’t take itself seriously and lampoons Star Trek quite nicely.

Now here’s This Ain’t Star Trek:

Instead of trying to lampoon Star Trek this movie tries to be Star Trek just with hardcore sex.  While the production is first class, instead of being interesting the clip comes across as just boring. The actors just don’t have the charisma of the original cast. I haven’t watched the entire movie, nor do I want to. This film was directed by Axel Braun, and having seen several other Axel Braun parodies, I know what to expect with this one: an emphasis on style over substance with terrible writing all around. Here’s the Porn Critic reviewing Dark Knight XXX where he effectively states Braun’s issues.

But even the soullessness extends to the better porn parodies. Watch the trailer for Star Trek Next Generation: An XXX Parody:

This parody is notable for two reasons. First, they brought in a Patrick Stewart impersonator to play Captain Picard.  Therefore, Picard just gets a blowjob at the end from Crusher. This way they could use a stunt cock and never have to show Picard’s head. Second, the script is fanfiction written by the director, who’s a confessed Trek fan. While this is a very good porn parody, there’s just something missing. The cast tries hard, the sex is hot and the production values are top notch. Go ahead, watch some of sex-free story parts to see just how good it is. But in the end, it’s just a copy. A Stewart impersonator is just that: an impersonator.

People still watch this movie 20 years later.

Porn, by nature, isn’t meant to entertain but rather to arouse. Once its function has been fulfilled, it’s thrown away. But by embracing their transient nature, old-school porn parodies collectively enshrined themselves as part of popular culture even if many of the films themselves have been lost to time. When asked to come up with a porn movie idea, most people will invariably think of low budget porn parodies with funny titles that are packed with sex-puns; movies where the cast, who weren’t selected for their acting talent, deliver their innuendo-filled dialogue barely able to contain their laughter. Even if they are no longer being made except in a few cases, like the excellent BATFXXX (short for BatFucker XXX), the idea of old school parodies will live on.

This isn’t parody, this is plagiarism! Now if Elaine was naked…..

New-school parodies will never achieve immortality beyond how similar the people on the box covers look to the original characters. First, they aren’t parodies, they are only called parodies in the titles so the producers aren’t (justifiably) sued for copyright infringement. The Next Generation doesn’t parody the show but instead celebrates it. Second, new-school parodies forget the very reason people watch porn. Nobody really cares what happens between the sex scenes; the story only exists to put those scenes in context. With some non-porn scenes in a few “new-school” parodies I’ve seen stretching over ten minutes, I know people will just hit the fast forward button to get to the fucking.

Still, new-school parodies pretend they are in the beloved old-school tradition by releasing multiple disc collector’s editions and allowing behind the scenes press access. The truth is, most of these parodies pale before their lower-budget predecessors. They actually possess no more longevity than run-of-the-mill porn movies with titles such as Blow Me 7 and I Got Banged 3…meaning none at all.

Essays Opinions

Ancient Aliens: Spreading the Alien Gospel

Ancient Aliens and UFO Theology

H2’s Ancient Aliens‘ central premise is that everything in history is influenced by aliens from outer space,  from the ancient Sumerians to the 2004 tsunami. The series even goes so far as to state that the dinosaurs were wiped out by aliens.  Furthermore, every religious text is to be taken literally, except every reference of a divine being is to be replaced with aliens. So “Humanity was created in God’s image,” becomes “Humanity was created by alien beings.”   In essence, ancient alien theories are a form of religious mythology like Christian mythology which can also be found on the History Channel.

Let’s compare apocalyptic theories:

In Rapture theology popularized by the Left Behind series, the good Christians will be whisked off to Heaven while the Antichrist reigns on Earth for seven years. Jesus will them return, seal the Antichrist and reign on Earth for a millennium. At the end of this millennium will come the last judgement where the wicked are judged and sent to Hell and the world ends. Everything that occurs happens in order to fulfill this prophecy. Humanity has no control.

A similar idea exists with some ancient alien theorists, who believe that aliens came to the Mayans and revealed to them that the world will end on December 21, 2012.  If Ancient Aliens is to be believed, all the meddling of aliens in our affairs is leading up to the end of the world in a little under three months. Everything that has occurred has occurred because aliens made it happen. Humanity has no control.

Ancient alien theories should really be called  UFO theology, because that’s what it is. Instead of believing that God created the Earth and continues to be involved in human affairs, they believe aliens created the Earth and continue to be involved in human affairs. Aliens or God, the idea is the same: that there is a higher power behind the universe. However, the UFO believers understand that  the major religions, like Christianity, have millennia of societal validation behind them, causing them to have a much a wider acceptance by the general public. So the UFO theologians go back in time to see references of UFOs in order to validate their beliefs. Just like Christians see validation of Jesus in the Old Testament, UFO believers see validation of aliens in ancient religions… as well as everything else in human history.

Ancient Aliens

Giorio A. Tsoukalos’ hair really sells him as a UFO Theologian

Then to spread their religion the priests of UFO theology, so-called  experts like Jason Martell and Giorio A. Tsoukalos, got themselves a television show where they can espouse their religious beliefs without dissent. Instead of religious services in temples, they have UFO symposiums in conference centers. Instead of attacking other religions and science, like fundamentalist Christians do, fundamentalist alien theologians attack only science, because they see Christianity as really being about aliens, not God. While my head hurts every time I watch Ancient Aliens, it’s not directed at me, my heart has been closed to accepting that aliens from outer space visited ancient Sumeria.

Why don’t UFO believers create a church and get tax exemption from IRS, like the Raelians, who also believe aliens created the world?

In addition to Raelian women going topless, Raelians also practice sensual mediation, or transcendence by having lots of sex.

Raelism is based on  religious-style revelations from aliens to a man named Claude Vorilhon. It therefore sees and presents itself as a religion.  UFO theology comes out of crackpot theories of people on the far fringes of science.  They don’t call themselves a religion because they see themselves in context of science, despite requiring just as much faith as any religion.

Faith and Tentacles

I believe there is intelligent life elsewhere in the universe. Have aliens visited Earth in the past? No. Are aliens currently visiting Earth? No. Are we ever going to find other intelligent life? No.

Assume there are exactly two intelligent space-travel-capable species in the entire universe: humanity and my cute tentacle creatures called Brac’tai… yes, those Brac’tai:

Just work with me!

And let’s assume the Brac’tai live here:

 

If we are bound by the laws of relativity then the Brac’tai are bound by them as well. If we can’t travel faster than light, then they aren’t traveling faster than light.  And even they found a way around time dialation when traveling close to light speed, it would still take them millions of years to get here. Then, if it were possible to create wormholes, how exactly would the Brac’tai know where we are? All communications would take 122 million years round-trip.  Meeting each other, much less knowing we exist, is simply impossible.

But assume the Brac’tai are closer:

So now the Brac’tai are only 425 light years away. Let’s say the Brac’tai pick up our television broadcasts and they love them dearly. Unfortunately, the broadcasts are 425 years old, so nobody involved would even be alive when the Brac’tai decide to send fan mail to them. Traveling via spacecraft still isn’t possible due to the still huge distance. Plus, even if they could make a wormhole to Earth, with all the doom and gloom on TV, chances are they’d figure humanity wasn’t around and just stay home.

Alright, now the Brac’tai are in range of arrival at Earth. After watching TV for awhile, the Brac’tai build a spacecraft and rocket to Earth… only to fly around and abduct crazy people?

It just doesn’t make any sense. If the Brac’tai came to make contact with the only other intelligent species in the Universe , they’d land on the White House lawn, dock at the ISS or do something other than make contact with a select few believers.

ancient aliens

Finally, what if instead of showing up now, Brac’tai showed up six thousand years ago to ancient humans and gave them technology to create civilization as well as building ancient monuments? Well, that’s pretty insulting to us, actually, because it means we’re too stupid to have created technology on our own; any huge advancements could only have come from beings from another planet. Even the Old Testament says it was humans who built the great monuments of Egypt, not God.

In the end, my example is irrelevant because UFO theology is not about real intelligent life existing on the other side of the Universe. UFO theology is about aliens filling a spiritual void to people who can’t believe in an all-powerful omnipotent sky god. Science will never be able to fully answer the heavy metaphysical questions such as “Why do we exist?” and “Is there life after death?” When faced with the absence of God, people still unable to accept that humanity is nothing more than a bunch of evolved apes have to turn to other sources like aliens from outer space. This is the why the same blind faith that defies reason underpins UFO theology as well as traditional religious theologies.

Therefore, Ancient Aliens has more in common with evangelical Christian shows like Breakthrough with Rod Parsley on the Trinity Broadcasting Network that it does with shows like H2’s own The Universe, which is firmly rooted in scientific discourse regardless of how farfetched it occasionally can get. For example, on Breakthrough, Rod Paisely claims the “Eternal nature of God” is a fact in the same way “expert” Jason Martell can claim bird-like aliens called the Anunnaki visiting ancient Sumeria is a fact. Neither has definite proof beyond ancient Sumerian writings,  so their claims ultimately lie in blind faith. The only real difference between Breakthrough and Ancient Aliens is the higher power involved, the nature of both programs are  the same.

ancient aliens

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