Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Whatcha makin', Skank?

Remember Skank the Sock Puppet from the Ben Stiller Show?

Well, if you don't, or even if you do, let me tell you about the episode that sticks in my head. Skank is this disgusting-looking sock with eyes and yarn hair, a foul mouth, and a stuffing of forearm and rage. I think Andy Dick did the voice. It doesn't matter: Skank is a kind of zeitgeist hallmark about helplessness in the face of complacent idiocy. Like Bender on Futurama (and if you don't watch Futurama, go catch up on some of its episodes. Especially the one where Zoidberg eats Ol' Freebie.) Skank is more or less the only stand-out character in an otherwise bland sitcom world, as I remember it.

So. This episode opens with Skank running a blender in the foreground. Someone comes in and asks in a sitcom sing-song, "Whatcha makin', Skank?"

To which Skank replies without looking up: "Idiot juice. Now jump in."

Read this.

Idiot juice. Now jump in.

Wake up and smell the coffee, people.

Yes, these are from a single source and blah blah... sue me. I found a minute to read a few articles at work.

Speaking of work...

The other day, my boss's assistant wandered in and handed me a photocopied article while I was on the phone, playbill-style. It was almost quittin' time for the day and I had to rush to the doctor's office to get my fucked-up leg diagnosed (maybe a Baker's cyst, nobody knows yet, more testing to come -- but it's better than a blood clot, which I feared it would be.) I read this article in the doctor's office.

It was called something like "change your attitude, change your life" and was all about choosing your words to affect your outlook for the positive. The first example in the article was substituting "in demand" for "overworked." (Sorry these aren't exact quotes -- I don't happen to have it with me today.) In it was a simple two-column chart (instead of: try this!) It started out with some fairly innocuous swaps -- such as "challenging" rather than "stressful" -- and progressed to purple Orwellian embroideries that could not have stood up in a Republican press conference, as they were stretched so far. Say, "surprising" in place of "excruciating." Or "original" in place of "ridiculous." Or "vacation" in place of "nervous breakdown."

What's Newspeak for "claptrap?" And while you're holding the Ridictionary, do you have the Newspeak for "horseshit?" I'm all in favor of positive thinking, but since when is plain speaking and truth the enemy? (...Now jump in.) Sure, I can call an event challenging rather than stressful and find myself responding more cheerfully to it -- I'll buy that. But pain is something different than surprise. And worse is something different from better. It's not political correctness to knowingly substitute a lie for a truth. It's a breach of the social contract, an act of ideological violence. And it ought to be a crime, for people holding or running for social offices.

We are headed for a train wreck... I mean, an "exciting ride." Can you hear my eyes rolling?

1 comment:

Sam said...

Tell it, Ducks!