The Michigan Daily - Weekend etc. - Thursday, December 2, 1993 - 5
Spending the di
By DIRK SCHULZE cense to spend more than the GNP of
Oh me oh my, what a sheltered most developed nations on your video.
world I live in here at school, away As eye candy, it is more sickeningly
from home and away from cable. With over-the-top than Circus Peanuts.
the television in my apartment, I'm It is hard to tell the commercials
lucky to get NBC well enough to from the videos. They flash by too
distinguish Kramer from George. No fast, their soundtrack a mix of hip-
c:able and no MTV. So innocent. So hop and electronic beats and that zany
sheltered. So lucky, I thought. How- new grunge stuff. A clue: commer-
ever, by not watching the music chan- cials are shorter.
nel, I was missing out on a phenom-
ena that defines what popular music Axi Rose In black and
is these days. MTV is a visual radio white really does not
station that reaches the country and
thus can affect sales more than any look much better than
regional AOR or college rock station. Axi Rose in color.
And the folks in charge are not
afraid to use their power. They wield Slash, however,
their control like a blunt instrument, benefits from the
no more gentle and no less effective.
Over Thanksgiving, I took it upon treatment and appears
myself to sit through many many hours haughty, wistful and
of MTV, without using the remote
control and with as little mental wan- reserved, even a little
dering as possible. So be it. An easy thoughtful
task, I thought; a few hours here, a "t
few hours there and I shall emerge
unscathed and ready to tackle finals. Radiohead is a creep. I wish he
Not so. The images, the music, the was something special; I suspect he
cut-and-paste editing, Duff, the lights, smells, though not like teen spirit.
the smoke, the Day-Glo paint... all Maybe the kids like it. Crazy kids.
bleeding together into a stew of in- Why is Billy Corgan painting his
comprehensibility from which only a ice cream truck? Why is he driving an
few concrete thoughts emerge intact. ice cream truck? Is this the same set
Axl Rose in black and white really that they use for those Taco Bell ads?
does not look much better than Axl Admittedly, the Smashing Pumpkins'
Rose in color. Slash, however, ben- "Today" is one of the catchiest songs
efits from the treatment and appears I've heard, but I just do not under-
haughty, wistful and reserved, even a stand the video. That's probably
*ittle thoughtful. alright. I've understood very little of
This Meatloaf thing has got to go. what I've seen. "I'll burn my eyes
Fine, your album from the '70s still out," he sings. I think I already have.
goes gold every year, I can accept Adam Curry is an ugly man. I
that. But that does not give you li- remember seeing him on Dial MTV
iy with Mom, apple pie and MTV
in tenth grade when he had big long
Bon Jovi hair. Now it is short and
even uglier. Them there sideburns
have got to go.
Ah, what hath the computer age
wrought upon us? Apparently,
Aerosmith and the band's latest video
"Amazing." It's a funky fresh state-
of-the-art computer-generated virtual
reality thang that, in a daring example
of visual sampling, shows clips of
another Aerosmith video, "Cryin'. "
Wacky. Stevie and the boys are lookin'
a little old and wrinkled, to tell you
the truth. It might have done them
some good to look into a little com-
puter enhancement for themselves.
Rock and roll will never die, I guess-
it just gets older and older.
The Breeders' "Cannonball" only
begs the question of who is cuter:
Kim or Kelly Deal? A great song.
Here, I appreciate having the visual
with the audio for it offers the chance
to see the little smile that creeps across
Kim's face when she sings "I'll be
your whatever you want / The bong in
this reggae song."
I thought Beavis and Butt-Head
were kinda funny at the Sick and
Twisted Animation Festival last year,
but to watch them for more than five
minutes becomes rather painful. I find
my nerves on edge every time they
mutter "Uh" and take a four second
pause. I'm not saying Beavis could
not find his way to the GRE if you
gave him slow directions, but mul-
tiple choice would be way beyond
this air guitar guru. Besides, White
Zombie? Beavis and his pal better
receive royalties for every record the
band sells after being deemed "cool"
by the philosophical duo.
The Breeders are a fine specimen of MTV music, but they double their pleasure with the twins Kim and Kelly Deal.
The Church is on MTV's "Alter-
native Nation." So is Nine Inch Nails.
Say what you will, you gotta love
those segues. Hoo-ah. That is ulti-
mately what it all comes down to.
MTV is the master of the brutal segue
and nonetheless, it rules the country.
Short attention spans are no problem
because when you get tired of hard
rock, you're shoved into the land of
Mariah Carey and from Mariah's
magic kingdom to Dr. Dre's wild
world of bikini-clad women and from
there to the Spin Doctors and the
band's close friend Little Miss Little
Miss Little Miss Can't Be Wrong.
Perfect for Thanksgiving, I suppose.
It's not just a video channel, it's a
mind-boggling game of corporate
record-pushing; it's a rapid-fire suc-
cession of explosions and smoke and
sun and sand and game shows and
real-life soap operas. It's the other
As I reach the twilight of my col-
*ege years - a roller coaster blur of
casual sex, beer, laughter, good times,
ritual human sacrifice - my thoughts
turn toward an earlier and equally
unforgettable time in the groove tube
have orgasmic orgy:
and the different people who lived it. sal of time.
Here are some favorites; if your "Time to break out of t
class had senior quotes, these ones school penitentiary!" High
will surely sound familiar. obviously loves this guy to h
"If you love something, set it free. him free, but unfortunately t
Ifitcomes back, it's yours. Ifit doesn't, was never high school's to beg
it was never yours to begin with." "When I came to school,l
This appears three to four times in know what the meaning was
most yearbooks, and thus must ex- plan to learn when I know. T
press something vital to the teen spirit. strength of wisdom is know
Just what it is that so many high power." This is the typical wel
school seniors are loving and setting ing idiot who makes everyon
free all the time is a bit of a mystery, with his mental inadequacy.
however. Maybe it's their dog. "If you love someone, s
"These are the days we love. We'll free. If they come back, tramp
never forget them and we'll always just for a joke." This is the ir
remember them. To the Bad Boys, ible joker of the class. Ren
KC and Fresh-Hump - peace out when he put a meatball
and keep rockin!" This type of quote principal's pants?!
is written mainly by girls, and also by But the wit and erudition o
guys. My advice to them: if you love quotes may be deceiving; the:
these days, set them free. If they come capture the confusion of adol
back, they're yours. If they don't, For many, high school is a t
well, I wouldn't be too surprised, un- sexual discovery, when our
less from the standpoint of Humian and minds are changing and
skepticism which permits the rever- becoming horn-dogs. For
ruminations of a high schoi
.. .. .
. Now I
y do not
of life: high school. So strap on your
seat-belts, and get ready for a rockin'
and rollin,' dippin' and dappin' you-
down memory lane.
The high school yearbook is an
excellent starting place for
reacquaintance with those precious
years. I was just looking through the
*senior quotes in my own yearbook,
and I was delighted to find how much
they brought back about high school
sadly, there is no discovery or devel-
opment. Instead, these unfortunate
few shrivel and soon die.
The very special adolescent awak-
ening is something usually discussed
in "health class," designed to help us
through this frightening and exciting
period of development and taught by
adults with the training and sensitiv-
ity to do so - gym teachers. Here is
how my health teacher explained sex:
"Now, you all probably know that
sex makes a baby. Nobody knows
why. A man and a woman have sex by
inserting the man's penis in the
"While a penis is simple to oper-
ate, low-maintenance and extremely
enjoyable, the female reproductive
anatomy is a mysterious and danger-
ous area," he said. "BEWARE. A
vagina has at least 10 to 20 parts, the
main ones being clitoris, urethra, vagi-
nal canal and super-kaleidoscope."
My first sexual encounter was cer-
tainly nothing like I had imagined it
would be. She was a beautiful nubile
thing of 15 and one night in January,
when we were swimming in the lake
- almost catching our deaths from
the cold (crazy kids) - I worked up
my nerve and decided that I would
kiss her. I had seen movies; I knew a
woman liked a man to be aggressive,
to take control, to make her feel at-
tractive by slobbering on her and,
eventually, using her body for cheap
erotic stimulation. But I had not the
guts simply to leap forth and slobber.
So when I got home, after being
revived from a hypothermia-induced
coma, I called her to tell her I wanted
to kiss her. It was imperative that I get
the act over with soon, because it was
making me a nervous wreck. So we
decided we would kiss first thing to-
morrow in shop class.
As soon as I got to wood-shop I
did my best to emulate my libidinal
cinematic heroes. I swept her up in
my arms, shouting, "Denise," spun
her around, and then, losing hold of
her, flung her into a drill-press. She
rebounded onto a circular saw and, to
my horror, was decapitated. Not to be
foiled, I deliriously seized her sev-
ered head and mouthed her blood-
stained lips. Then I burst into tears at
the mess I'd made of my first kiss and
ran from the room, utterly humili-
ated. But I guess we've all got some
similar story to tell about our first
clumsy steps toward sexual maturity.
It's all part of the joy of growing
up. Don't blink; you might miss it.
Fellini's flicks filled with fervor
By MICHAEL BARNES
A cinematic God is dead, but the
Federico Fellini pantheon lives forever
n its imaginative glory. There is some-
thing for everyone in the work of the
late Italian director, a man who ran
away to the circus as a boy and then
spun that world of the occult and bi-
zarre onto reels of film for the rest of his
life. His work spawns entirely from a
twisted, fantastic imagination where a
structured story line is scrapped for a
mosaic of scattered, purely magical
With all the bombastic and obse-
quious praise that has been lauded on
the man, Fellini appears monumen-
tal, a cinematic deity that wears an
imaginative crown of thorns and de-
lights in the pain. Fellini may frighten
a tepid American audience. Stern
voices in the heartland are wary of all
the artistic artifices that enamor them-
selves to a controversial artist. Home-
4pun American values and piety may
be threatened by this freak of visual
A vintage Fellini-esque basket of
apples and oranges is never more ac-
cessible than the director's classic
art-as-life study "8 1/2." The film is a
collection of the meanderings, warped
fears and demented fantasies of an
Italian director, Guido, who battles a
*ost of critics - from his producer
and writer to the press - who deplore
his ideas as "formless" and lacking of,
a "fundamental principle." Guido
yearns for a project of "ambiguous
realism" that bucks the escapist ten-
dencies of modern cinema and is stain-
free of lies and compromises. From
the opening scene of the director
stranded in his car, banging on the
windows that cloud up with steam as
an array of old, decrepit faces peer in
on him to the final sequence of his
cast of clowns, harlots, lovers,
showgirls and sailors parading down
the steps of an apocalyptic, nuclear
monolith decked out in gay banners
that arch triumphantly in the wind, "8
1/2" documents the windfall of para-
noid, libidinal churnings that soar from
Guido's bent imagination.
The rich soil of Fellini's mind is
fertile pickings for everyone. "8 1/2"
possesses enough cerebral girth for
intellectuals to ponder and drone on
about at the coffeeshop. Most of the
characters in the movie subside on
spring water which, on a figurative
level, waters Guido's string of adven-
tures and hallucinations. This kind of
textured erudition is an oasis for the
denizens of academia to slake off of
and belch forth at a wine and cheese
For moralists, there is a warped
version of guilt on which to pass judg-
ment. When Guido beds one of his
many mistresses and has to confront a
Catholic priest, he drifts back to
memories of his boyhood when he
was flogged by a priest while wearing
a Klan style dunce cap complete with
a sign of shame affixed to his back.
Iconoclasts will deliriously indulge
with this same boy who, in another
scene, bathes in a cauldron of wine
while a young girl, ever the bacchanal
nymph, tosses him grapes from a bal-
cony above. Fellini is ripe pickings
for feminist critics, because "8 1/2" is
loaded with scantily-clad, beautiful
woman that lust after Guido. Such
blatant exploitation could only come
from the reprehensible and terminally
incorrect mind of a fat, old white man.
Consequently, this same social pa-
riah rises as a tower of achievement
for perverts and porno junkies.
That Fellini's movies are so for-
eign give all empty -headed, future
vanguards of the upper-middle class a
chock-full of material to extract and
flaunt in some attempt at a meaning-
ful conversation. So check out Fellini,
say "Oh, my God" at his absurdist
grotesqueness and bounce a real nut
around the cavernous edges of your
mental tin can.
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