4 Things That Weren't Always This Terrible
When people get nostalgic for the past, they usually point to the great things of yesteryear: Led Zeppelin, Marilyn Monroe, or FDR. But there's a more compelling way to prove that things used to be better: by comparing things that suck. Yes, that is my thesis. The terrible sucky things of the past were better than today's terrible sucky things. That's why this article is titled "4 Terrible Sucky Things That Used to Be Better." OK, that's a pretty awful title, so I'm pretty sure Cracked is gonna tweak that before this hits the press, but let's just use that as our thesis statement for now.
Corporate rock is a much maligned genre describing music generated from businessmen instead of artists. So often corporate rock today is just what you'd think it is: half-talent pretty boys and girls backed by producers and marketing.
But in fairness, that's a music mainstay and has always been part of the business.
Specifically, I'm talking about a different kind of corporate rock where music labels create fake bands. Not like the Monkees. More like fake real bands. Bands where only one member is actually signed to a contract and the label creates the appearance of a band by hiring competent musicians all around them. That would be the case with a band like Paramore, which is basically Hayley Williams signed to a deal, fronting musicians just like a real band! And that's the best case scenario of corporate rock today, because Paramore is a totally competent, decent band, even if they're never going to change the world.
But Back in the Day ...
Corporate rock actually had a lot more integrity. See, in the '70s, rock stars became less important. Think of bands like Journey, ELO, Kansas, and Boston. These faceless bands didn't rely on interviews in Rolling Stone with thoughtful, poet frontmen or reputations as kick-ass bar bands to sell records. The records were products. Well-written, well-recorded, big-money-financed products. It was contempt for this kind of music that inspired, in part, the punk rock movement. But here's the deal: For a genre of music born from cynical businessmen treating art as product, the results were really good.
Look at the business model. It was basically: "Let's not worry about finding pretty boys and rock stars. We'll just find super-talented musicians, give them a lot of money to record in the best studios (which are super expensive at this time), give them cool album art, because they're not pretty, and promote the hell out of them." But even if that formula was thought up by capitalists, you'll notice that the artist is left alone to create and be supported. At that time, albums were good business, and capitalists were funding artists to go make mini Sgt. Peppers. So even the most maligned music of the '70s was far better than the corporate rock of today. After all, it gave us stuff like this.
Cheap Horror Movies
Bad horror movies are a tradition. They are often made poorly, with unknown actors, featuring abysmal special effects. But here's the thing: Advances in technology have made filmmaking almost too easy. I mean, even a spaz like me knows how to make videos with green screen and body cloning special effects. And with that power, it's easier than ever to take an absolute B-movie idea and dress it up like a real film. Uninspired but professional looking films like Paranormal Activity.
Of course, these advances in technology also allow people with absolutely no talent to make movies. That would be the case with maybe the biggest atrocity known to film: Birdemic.
If you've never seen that clip before, you are so welcome.
But Back in the Day ...
There was no CGI. The special effects were horrible and bad. Cheap horror movies couldn't pretend. Sure, there were still terrible special effect disaster movies, like The Food of the Gods, but you also got movies that were just plain weird. Movies that were somehow scraped out of the opium residue of a demented mind. When it comes to terrible horror movies, I think they used to be better. Case in point? Tourist Trap. Take Texas Chainsaw Massacre, add telekinesis, mannequins, and Chuck Connors, and voila!
McDonald's is fast food, and we all know that fast food is not a health choice, even if the fast food industry is trying to change that perception.
I've never seen anyone eat this.
I don't understand this.
This is NOT an official McDonald's posting, but I found it while researching this column, and I don't think it's fair that I should be the only one having wetmares forever.
But Back in the Day ...
We knew McDonald's was fast food. We knew what cholesterol was. We understood morbid obesity. And we didn't care! In 1990, McDonald's started cooking their fries in vegetable oil. Know what they used to use? Lard! Animal fat. And it was delicious. And we miss it so. Check out semi-literate losers like me complaining about it here.
I don't like billionaires. Why? Well, I think it's all the money they have that I don't. Does that make me a commie? Probably not. I'm not a big fan of socialists either. Or libertarians. Or anarchists. I think people are the problem, is what I'm saying. Anyway, I'm not a big fan of fat, greedy robber barons leading the national conversation. Who are the billionaires today?
Mark "Your Privacy for Sale" Zuckerberg
Donald "I'll Swallow Your Soul as Long as It's Artificially Flavored" Trump
We want to have their money, but I don't think anyone actually wants to be these men. Zuckerberg is a billionaire of the modern age. Call me old-fashioned, but I like men who are able to buy and sell control of my fate to look the part. There's something too humiliating about being inferior to someone who needs to be told not to wear socks with sandals. And Trump, well, the modern age caused problems for him, too. Y'see, in the '80s people thought Trump was cool. He had a game and everything.
Object of the game: Be the first to make a million dollars starting with your father's billion.
Why was he cool? Well, not because he was younger and less Hutt-like, but because we didn't know him. The '80s were filled with Gordon Gekko greed and Reaganites, and he was just a young billionaire. That was it. But now, we get to know terrible people more on reality television and on their Twitter. It might be a personal trait, but I like it when people who can have me killed with one phone call can also speak in full sentences.
But Back in the Day ...
You had dudes like J.P. Morgan. Look at him. Just look at him:
This is a man who would not hesitate to boil your bones if he thought there was a tiny chance there was profit in it. This is a man who would choke baby seals with his bare hands based on a rumor that their tears were valuable on the black market.
Here he is beating one of his valets for not being made of gold.
J.P. Morgan was U.S. Steel. Not just in his ownership and production, but in his entire skeletal structure, which was formed from an early version of the adamantium that would later be used in Wolverine. OK, fine, here's something about J.P. Morgan that is actually true: He saved the U.S. Treasury from bankruptcy during the Panic of 1893 by joining with the Rothschilds and providing the U.S. Treasury with 3.5 million ounces of gold for a 30-year bond issue.
True, that's almost as cool as data-mining my life for advertisers or trying to get the President impeached as an immigrant, but just a tad classier, y'know?"
Watch the penultimate Hate by Numbers. That means second to last. Gladstone's about to put the show on indefinite sabbatical.