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Being Popular Sucks

The worst thing that can happen to anything is to become popular.(When I say anything I refer to activities or interests, and not individual people).

Why is becoming popular bad? If I’m interested in something and more people become interested in it, that means more money and involvement which will improve the availability of that interest for me to indulge in.

No doubt something becoming popular means that it receives greater coverage and attention which allows that ‘thing’ to grow, but is that a good thing?
BMW
Car enthusiasts lament the decline in the pleasurable experience of driving cars. This while we have the fastest, most advanced, sophisticated, and fancy cars ever made and a plethora of choices. Would you like to drive the Mercedes, Ferrari, Mclaren, Porsche, etc? The cars are all great performers and amazing machines that will blow your socks off, and yet are probably not as enjoyable to drive as a 2001-06 BMW M3(E46).

Another example, music. There’s more radio stations and music outlets today than there was 30 years ago. Producing an album is easier than ever and yet few would say that the music of today even comes close to being as good as the wares of Rush, Queen, or Led Zeppelin. Sticking with entertainment the same could be said for actors and movies.

Travel is very applicable. Once the cool factor of a new location gets out, its only a matter of time before it loses that magic and just becomes another common tourist destination. While the most typical tourists destinations may be places like Paris, Rome, and Venice, places like Prague, which was considered magical a decade ago is now just another place.

Why it was cool.

Why it was cool.

Why its not.

Why its not.

The obsession with bacon is even an example. Bacon has become cool for some reason and with that a bacon flavored version of everything you’ve ever eaten for no reason other than to capitalize on the bacon schtick. Bacon is indeed a good food, but it’s a great addition to breakfast not a holy relic. Americans have enjoyed bacon for some time, but now like this, this is just marketing fueled popularity.

Sports are also the same. There is wall to wall coverage of every major sport in the United States and yet even though these sports are more popular than ever, people lament the fact that the games just aren’t played the way they used to be. All the gimmickry and in your face advertising is off putting.

Football is not popular because it’s inherently popular but because millions of people have played it at some point. The same can be said with baseball and even now with soccer rising in popularity in America we can look at the statistics and say its because of the rising number of people playing soccer.youth-soccer

People doing the things they enjoy is not popularity, its grassroots involvement. Someone who played football watches and follows football because they are keen on it. Someone who watches football, or Nascar from a few years ago, because its popular is a fair weather fan and ruins it for those truly interested.

The product gets marketed to these fair weather fans because they have additional untapped money, but then in order to make them happy and draw them in more easily the product gets watered down. Thus we go from exciting and fun mid-size BMW’s to impressively numbered but bland, and boring “performance” cars that require no more effort or ability to drive than a base model Toyota Camry, but is still as cool because its a Ferrari or Mercedes.

Basically the same thing

Basically the same thing

The worst thing that can happen to anything is to become popular. When people hear that something is cool they want in, they want to be part of the club, but it comes at a price. That price is the ruin of the thing they want to be a part of. Though the truth is that they really don’t want to be a part of it specifically, but rather want to be a part of anything. When someone’s life is empty they hop from distraction to distraction, continually “finding themselves”, like pathetic college students who can’t grow up. In doing so they ruin the hobbies of the rest of us, they boost them up, then walk away leaving the stool with one less leg to stand on than it thought it had.

It is essentially, a bubble. Just like how housing prices were inflated to the point of being unsustainable, popularity rising in something due to a passing interest is only going to have bad results when that thing has to come down if it has sold out in order to capitalize on its short term popularity.

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Katyn

The Katyn massacre refers to events during World War Two in which the Union of Socialist Soviet Republics led by Joseph Stalin murdered approximately 22,000 Polish military officers, and intellectuals to prevent Poland from existing.

The crimes were covered up by the Soviets until the fall of the empire when the world was finally told the truth that the Poles knew since 1940.

Katyn is a movie about that event. The story follows the experiences of several characters in an intertwining way. The movie seems to start of rather slow, character development appears weak and any feelings of stress or angst aren’t readily apparent through the film but the struggles are still seen and understood. However at the end of the film, as the story is concluding and all the summaries are occurring is when the movie really shines.

Katyn is a good movie, but those who know or enjoy history will really appreciate it. Though it is entertainment it will make you feel but most of all it will make you think. As an American it is strange seeing how the Poles think as they do in the circumstances, it is largely concepts foreign to us that they accept their fate and yet still have pride. They are trapped with their dreams and nowhere to go. The Soviet Union did not want Poland to exist and for 50 years they succeeded.

Drink Beer

I’ve never heard of Carlton Draught, but this is a fairly funny commercial.

Bob Hope

There was no person of the week last Sunday because I forgot. Holidays always screw with my understanding of what day it is.

This weeks person of the week, and first for the year is comedian Bob Hope. Hope was born in London, England in 1903. His original name was Lesley Townes Hope. It’s easy to see why Bob was better. Hope lived to be 100 years old as he died on July 27, 2003.

Hope was an exceptional actor and appeared in many films throughout his career. The man had staying, because the films or even his cameos were always great.

Still what we honor Bob Hope for here is his tireless service with the USO. Hope first started doing USO shows during the Second World War and did them during each major war up to the Persian Gulf War.

Hope made 57 tours with the USO and word has it that each one was quite a feat. John Steinbeck remarked how Hope, during WW2, seemed to be everywhere, that he wouldn’t leave until each base or outpost and every soldier saw his show at least once.

The respect and deference Hope gave to the service members, and everyone in general for that matter, is far far beyond the selfishness and forced acknowledgement celebrities give today with their phoney baloney “I support the troops” PSA’s.

Hope did all this, becoming one of the biggest names in the world without even pushing the boundaries of bad taste. I’m no chronicler of Bob Hope jokes but I don’t think the man ever said anything that could be classified as even more than risque. Anyone who can be as funny and entertaining as Hope was, is already a great comic, but to do it with clean jokes you could share with your grandmother and children has to be the pinnacle of comedic achievement. Bob Hope is one of those people you wish could have lived forever.

It’s for great accomplishments in entertainment and a true selfless and kind nature that we honor Bob Hope as the first person of the week for 2013 at Odins Lounge.

And possible the greatest line ever spoken in a movie;

Cuban Missile Crisis vs Benghazi

My father is a high school history teacher. Actually he teaches everything but this year they have him on history.

Anyway, he like to use films in his classes. He uses a number of documentaries and such but also occasionally hollywood type films of historical events. Sometimes he uses the films and other times just to get a peak at a new event he may want to talk about.

The other night he had the movie Thirteen Days, a film i’ve never seen but I know is about the Cuban Missile Crisis with Cuba in 1962.

This scene stood out to me;

The President of the United States is on the phone directly with the Captain of a Navy ship in the middle of the action giving him direct orders.

Now I have no doubt there are probably a few questionable moments as there are in all films. But the story of the Soviet Sub is true.

As this relates to Benghazi we had an ongoing firefight with terrorists occurring an American Consulate in Libya and nothing was done. There was no urgency from anyone in the administration and nothing was ever done.

While President Obama may not have the familiarity with Embassy defense as John Kennedy did with naval warfare that is no excuse to avoid your duty. No doubt technology and communication is far better today than in 1962. There is no reason why nothing should have been done while Americans were fighting for their lives in some desert hovel without anyone who was responsible for their safety and security seeming even the least bit bothered.

There are problems with liberalism, but this is not anything to do with politics. Dereliction of duty and a failure of leadership are indictments against this President. It is small consolation that a lovefest media and low-information don’t care. That is no excuse.

Sergeant York

I’m not a huge fan of television but one of the channels I do enjoy is the military channel. Saturday nights that showcase a film in a segment called An Officer and a movie with Lou Diamond Phillips as the host.

Tonight’s serving is Sergeant York starring Gary Cooper from 1941.

I like war films and I like some old movies, but I’ve never been much of a fan of black and white films cause they usually just seem a bit cheesy to me.

However in my mind this is one of the best movies I’ve ever seen. I don’t know anything about Gary Cooper, but he’s a tremendous actor in  this role. When I compare his acting in Sergeant York to what we get served up today it’s a night and day difference between quality and crap.

I’m familiar with the story of Sergeant York, but have never read or seen anything extensive about him. Cooper portrays a hillbilly hero who won the Medal of Honor at age 31, who killed 28 Germans and captured 132 more by himself behind German lines. And by the way, York was a pacifist who initially applied for conscientious objector status in the draft.

What stands out to me is that Cooper made the film as his contribution to the war effort in WW2, because he was too old and had a previous hip injury that prevented his service, but still wanted to do something. Also, apparently Cooper won the Oscar for his role as York and said that the award belonged to York and left it on the podium.

Can you imagine an actor today wanting to portray not just America, but a religious, hillbilly from Tennessee as a hero? Matt Damon? Ethan Hawk? Alec Baldwin? Don’t hold your breath, sure they’ll take the role and the money that comes with it but you better believe they wouldn’t take it if there wasn’t some dig at America, it’s people, or what they believe in.

Blind devotion is never a good thing and it’s reasonable to question what we’re told, but Hollywood doesn’t really question things so much as they just mock it, and make fun of the rest of us. That’s why I don’t go to the movies anymore and I’ll stay away as long as they keep up the poor workmanship and the poor attitude.

Where has the Bandit gone?

It’s obvious men are decline. They have been for some time now. Not because they’ve necessarily lost it, how could the whole of male society simply misplace its manhood? The truth is that manhood in no longer PC and over the years men have slowly been emasculated by the increasing power of the womens.

They’ve chipped at away at the mountain of manhood for so long, that’s it no longer seen as  acceptable for the former ballsack bearers to even pretend to be men anymore.

But it’s not just the women to blame. They may have been active in choosing to erode the status of men, but it is the men themselves who are to be blamed for allowing it to happen and actively participating to get us at the point we are today.

There’s no more male figureheads anymore. It sounds funny to say but adults need role-models too and just who are men supposed to look to today, Zac Efron and Ashton Kutcher or their grandpa who never hugged them?

When our own President goes on afternoon tv and announces he’s simply eye-candy what hope can there be for the average man?

Out of boredom I went to the movies last week and saw Hit and Run the car chase flick with Dax Shepherd. I didn’t have expectations of great cinema but I was definitely not expecting the emotional pleadfest that took place.

Immediately the greatest car chase movie of all-time came to mind. Smokey and The Bandit.  So I started thinking, what besides the awesome stache of Burt Reynolds make the lead characters in these two movies different.

Answer, it’s a simple Alpha v Beta comparison.

The trailer doesn’t do it justice, but if you’re attentive you can pick up hints of the betaness in this movie.

In Hit and Run we have Dax’s character babbling on with explanations every time his girlfriend points out something wrong like how most of the people interested in this type of car(his hot rod lincoln) are rapists, how saying fag is mean, and how he lied to her about why he was in witness protection.

So what does he do, he dissembles and explains away. You’re right the people are a bit strange, hey I voted for gay rights and have gay friends, I lied because I love you and if you knew the truth I was afraid you wouldn’t.

She challenges him continuously and he explains, explains, explains. Baby I love you so much I don’t even care that you’re through me I’m still gonna help.

How he end’s up with the girl defies logic. I guess there’s room for a sequel where she leaves him for good.

Compare that to the 1977 classic of Smokey and the Bandit.

Burt Reynolds’ bandit character is running bootleg beer and stops to pick up a hitchhiking Sally Field.

In the middle of a crime, the Bandit doesn’t dissemble and apologize. He’s got a job to do, and he “gonna do what they say can’t be done”.

The bandit is eastbound and down loaded up and trucking. He’s a cool customer and doesn’t really care what Sally Fields character thinks or says. He sticks to his point and doesn’t really pay no mind to what she thinks. If she jumped out of the moving car he wouldn’t even stop to throw out her crap.

Her presence is something he can do without, though of course he keeps her around because of the way those high waisted 70’s slacks make her ass look.

He doesn’t need her, can do without her, but he’ll of course keep her around so long as it’s on his terms.

Even though the Bandit may be a criminal he’s still the good guy criminal. Charming yet outcome independent, freewheeling but kind and concerned about the little guy.

In Smokey and the Bandit Burt Reynolds wins the girl in the end because he’s a man and stands as such. In Hit and Run Dax Shephard wins the girl because that’s the way he wrote the script.

Those fortunate few who have had their eyes opened to the one-way society we’ve become wonder where has it all gone wrong. That is where. We men lack leaders to inspire us as a whole, we lack visible figureheads to let us know that it is not only acceptable but cool to be a man, a real man, and that it should be held dear and proud to be a man for it means something more than being mere eye candy who rationalizes and apologizes for every statement that is out of line with today’s western world.