Cody Johnston

Movie: 'The Dark Knight Rises'

Almost exactly a year ago, I posted a column laying out what would happen in the final installment of Christopher Nolan's Dark Knight trilogy. In it, I talked way too much about The Prestige, because people don't get enough Nikola Tesla or David Bowie in their diet these days. Mainly because that's not a diet but also that movie's quite good. A few Turns later and eventually I got to my prophecy: In Dark Knight Rises, Bruce Wayne would die, sacrificing himself so that "The Batman" could live on as a symbol of hope in Gotham. Joseph Gordon-Levitt's character, John Blake, would pick up the cowl and become the new Batman. Cut to black. Inception sound. Roll credits.

Over wacky guitar music.

I still maintain that I was entirely right, as opposed to just mostly right. I maintain this simply because I prefer my movie more. Maybe it wasn't the movie I deserved, but it was the movie I expected and therefore the movie it should have been. Aside from the fact that Bruce's happy ending isn't actually all that happy, and the fact that maybe bat-shaped pyrotechnics shouldn't be on your To Do List when a nuclear warhead is about to detonate, and the fact that merely making a logical suggestion to a superior officer earns John Blake the moniker "hothead" in literally every scene he's in with Matthew Modine, and the fact that Talia al Ghul completely despised her father until he died and then she suddenly wanted to devastate an entire city in order to carry on his beloved legacy, and the fact that the nuclear blast had a six-mile radius, yet somehow five seconds on autopilot gave Bruce enough distance to survive it, and the fact that all of Bane's interesting "power to the people" ideology could be chalked up to having an adorable crush on an evil bald girl, and the fact that-

Ahem. Aside from a lot of flaws, I just don't think Bruce's sacrifice meant anything, because it wasn't a sacrifice at all. His epilogue negated that sacrifice. In the end, Bruce made Batman a hero, gave orphans a bunch of money and then went to Europe to fuck Anne Hathaway for the rest of his life. Thanks for taking that bullet, Bruce. You're a real selfless hero.

The horror.

But ignoring all of that, I still liked the movie alright. I guess. I mean, I have no intention of ever watching it again, but it was pretty good. Unfortunately my snarky, bloggy, Internet-boiled mind made me not like it. I chose The Dark Knight Rises because it's the perfect example of how hard it is to please an Internet full of critics nowadays. We hype things up until nothing short of brilliant will suffice. Now even "pretty good" isn't good enough. The Dark Knight Rises, depending on who you like to argue with and how well they argue, was unarguably the most anticipated film of the year. Everyone in 2012 wanted DKR, and once they got it, they thought it was kind of dumb. I thought that was a pretty good metaphor for ... something, probably? I didn't really think much past this sentence. Calligraphy amaretto garnished camp.

We're making fun of overhyped Halloween costumes, right?

Tweet: BuzzFeed's '90s Nostalgia


I don't want to get down on BuzzFeed here. They are nice people and they like nice things and I've wasted time on their website just like anyone else who is intimidated by reading. And I'm not bringing BuzzFeed up because of pieces like 15 Photos of Cheese Sticks and That's It, or 9 GIFs of Cats High-Fiving Other GIFs. After all, every site's got their schtick. We can't throw stones, especially after our award-winning expose, 5 Bafflingly Mind-Blowing Things That Can't (But Won't). No, I'm bringing up BuzzFeed because of a problem we are currently facing: the end of nostalgia.

The Internet loves a good reminder of things past, and BuzzFeed is proof of that. They are pretty '90s-obsessed over there, and for good reason. Most of their staff grew up during the '90s, and most of their audience did as well. I did. Maybe you did. So when they make a post about slap bracelets, I first think "Why yes. I do remember slap bracelets. Please, go on." But that's where it stops. There is no additional observation about slap bracelets. There is no interesting or funny twist on the concept of slap bracelets. It's just a picture of a slap bracelet. It's the same trick the Epic Movie guys pull: Thing Recognition, which is stating that a thing exists, or used to exist, and banking on an audience's recognition to do the rest of the work for you.

"Not only did Britney Spears once shave her head, but Little Miss Sunshine is also a thing. Wow, I just nailed it. I nailed that joke."
- writer of Meet the Spartans

I remember a time when I thought that starting sentences with "I remember a time when" meant that a person was getting old and out of touch, but I'm going to use it anyway. I remember a time when I would have a flash of something from my childhood. Maybe an image of a TV show or an old toy. That time was before the Internet, and all I had was the memory. Until one day when I walked by a garage sale and something caught my eye. A toy. A familiar toy that, oh my God holy shit, was the one from my childhood! "Oh my shit," I would exclaim to whomever was nearby and confused, "Do you remember these things? Wow. These were great. Oh, wow. Cool. I thought I'd never see these again. I barely remembered what they looked like, but now here they are! Ah, memories ..."

That time is done, though. I will probably never experience another moment like that in my life. Because now I have the Internet, and anything I can remember I can see if I just log enough time Googling for it. Nerfuls? Yep. Starcom? Yep. Easy. No memories needed, no "Oh my shit!" moment received. Just a picture to remind you of what a relatively recent decade was like.

Cracked delivers far more fun animal facts, and you don't have to talk your parents into whipping out the credit card.

Again, I don't want to be all down on BuzzFeed. They don't do only this. They also have a very thorough political blog and, again, are very nice people. But they also lifted up 2012 and made it the year of '90s nostalgia. There was a noticeable spike in posts about Mr. Feeny and the Aggro Crag. The '90s are the last decade Before Internet (which is to say, before good Internet), so I think it is the most precious to a lot of people. But the thing about nostalgia, and the past, and the '90s specifically, is that it's all finite. Next year, you can't just keep remembering about how much you loved Hocus Pocus, or how you remember that Tamagotchis were a thing, because you already spent all of this year remembering those things. We fucking know by now. The Internet's speed and vastness has allowed us to pack a decade's worth of nostalgia into a single year, and we're reaching a boiling point of remembering things from less than twenty years ago. Please take the pot off the goddamn stove and cook something new.

Person: Chris Brown

I'm going to let my word count suffer on this one and keep it brief. I don't think Chris Brown is actually the "Person of the Year." Of course I don't. But I do notice that he's still apparently relevant and has a career and is winning awards and has a slew of hoodrats on Twitter who still want to fuck him and don't care that he's actually a pompous entitled woman-beating piece of shit whose career should have been over the minute his fist touched Rihanna's face or, hell, even the minute Rihanna's battered face got tattooed near his face.

Jeff R. Bottari / Getty
What's the opposite of a tramp stamp and being a great guy?

When Kevin Clash, voice and creator of Elmo, was accused of having a physical relationship with someone under 18, he resigned. Nothing had even been proven, and he resigned. Now obviously this comparison doesn't work super well because Chris Brown's industry glorifies being a misogynist scumbag, whereas Kevin Clash's industry glorifies counting. But what still stands is the fact that our culture is a bit fucked when Chris Brown is openly taunting everyone about how he's a woman-beating piece of shit, but he's still performing at awards shows and getting tweetfuls of strange. And not only is the strange OK with it, but they're kind of really into it. I wish Chris Brown were the voice of Kermit.

It's not easy being a woman-beating piece of shit. Or green, I suppose. Actually, both are easy.

Song: 'It’s Thanksgiving' by Nicole Westbrook

If you're Internet, you've seen the above video already. It's from the makers of "Friday," and it's about Thanksgiving, and of course it's stupid and terrible. But it's terrible in a way that shows that they're obviously just trying to recreate "Friday" and cash in on some "this is terrible lol"-style viral hits. The girl is younger and somehow more awkward than Rebecca Black, the video starts on a calendar, the song is about a single day, it lists other days and what those days are in a silly, matter-of-fact way, there's an uncomfortable rapping section, she sings "we-we-we" too many times, and a black man shows up and hangs out with tweenage girls for no reason. Even the guy's smile in the video says "I know what I'm doing. This is funny, right? You like this, right? View me. Vieeeew meeeeee!"

This video shouldn't have 10 million views. It should have a few thousand comments saying "Nice try. This is exactly like 'Friday,' which was a hit not because it was bad, but because it was sincerely bad. This new thing you've created is insincere, and it reeks of trying to cash in on something you don't understand. And also, shame on you for ignoring the fact that you're probably ruining another tweenage girl's life. Also? Fake and gay." Or something like that. It seems like people only think that this is great because they're supposed to. Someone on Reddit posts "omg check this hilarious video it's like 'Friday' except no wait actually it's exactly like 'Friday'" and we're automatically like "Yeah, omg indeed." This video adequately represents two things about us and the Internet today: People who don't understand it will always try to cash in on it, and sometimes it works because people like things that they're told they're supposed to like.

Side note: I do think one thing about this video is actually great. When they talk about food in this song, I keep thinking the chanting part is "eggs."

Turkey! (Eggs!)

Potatoes! (Eggs!)

And so on.

No food symbolizes Thanksgiving quite like the egg.

But anyway, the real reason I resent this song is because I already wrote it a year ago. As soon as Rebecca Black's "Friday" hit, I knew we were entering the era of Tween Pop Songs Based on What Middle-Aged Songwriters Think Tweens Talk About. So I wrote the megahit "These R the Thingz in My Backpack," and now this "It's Thanksgiving" girl is getting all the free Internet pussy. That was supposed to be my free Internet pussy. Grrrrrrrr!

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