Why the Dick Pic Is Our Cultural Legacy
I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but human civilization today is completely and utterly aesthetically bankrupt. The great American novel was written decades ago (Cujo). The cinematic arts have been in a tailspin since that evil cat portrait vomited geysers of blood in the 1977 Japanese horror flick Hausu. Hell, this mere clip of Hulk Hogan acting represents the apotheosis of television, theater, YouTube videos, and modern dance simultaneously.
This scene alone is worth 400 gallons of Wuthering Heights.
And for all of its furious efforts, this generation has not served up any artistic achievement on par with, say, jazz, or Stonehenge. And if we told them such, they'd respond with some godforsaken cultural mashup, like constructing a midwinter solstice monument out of bassoons and giving this woodwind abomination its own Twitter account (#Bassoonhenge). In fact, probably the only pioneering modern art form that humanity has going for itself is the run-of-the-mill mobile phone genitalia snapshot.
Yes, the infamous "crotch shot," aka "dick pic," aka "fallopian photo," aka "tableau down below," aka I just made up two of these terms 30 seconds ago. Back in the pre-cellphone salad days, the most fun you could have with a landline was dialing 1-800-CALL-ATT, barking momentarily like the Micro Machines Man, and treating whoever was on the other end to a computerized voice droning, "You have received a collect call from HOLYFUCKPICKMEUP. Will you accept these charges?"
Now the game has changed. Previous generations were so sexually pent up that they transformed their telephones into naked pixies that resembled the handmaidens of Alexander Graham Bell if he moonlighted as Oberon, the King of the Fairies.
We're not making this up.
These days, any person with a smartphone, no shame, and the resolve to shove said phone down his chinos can fire his nethers halfway across the planet on a sine wave of physics and hobgoblins. Think about it -- the commoner now has the power of Zeus; namely, his power to emerge from the clouds and waggle golden Olympian junk before confused yogurt farmers. In a historical context, even those of you with the most bare-bones data plan qualify as demigods.
"Here's a dollop of sugar for those cold winter nights. XOXO, Anubis, the Jackal Lord of Death."
But let's remember that Zeus frittered away his unfathomable cosmic abilities by acting like Scrooge McDuck in pon farr. We too are squandering our unprecedented ability to teleport our wee-wahs and hoo-hahs across time zones. Let me put it this way -- can you name any crotch shot role models?
No, you can't. Anthony Weiner, Brett Farve, Ron Artest ... these guys aren't exemplars of the dick pic. They're the goddamn Dick Pic Legion of Doom. These are the kind of mustache-twirling doofuses who spend all day sending dick pics to the Hall of Justice's super answering machine for Wonder Woman, oblivious to the fact that Superman's talking pets are the ones manning the switchboard.
Truly magnificent beasts.
No, if humanity is to truly reach a new golden era of peace and acceptance, we as a species must reclaim the crotch shot from those evil forces that seek to abuse it. When Johannes Gutenberg invented his famous printing press, his first thought was "Gott in Himmel, I have developed a device that will facilitate the dissemination of millions of dick pics." But did he do that? No, he printed the Bible instead.
And did he print up an illustrated Bible with Noah as a jolly bearded phallus, shepherding all the spoon worms and naked mole rats into the ark, two by two? Of course not. Gutenberg's historically undocumented restraint should serve as an inspiration to us all. Here's my threefold plan for salvaging Earth's cultural heritage:
Sexting Certification Courses
As is typical with most things I write for the Internet, this article idea germinated when rapper Soulja Boy recently unveiled his scrotum to his Tumblr following.
Inspiration rears its head OH WE TOTALLY WENT THERE.
He claims that it was unintentional, but until we someday discover the whereabouts of a Being John Malkovich-style tunnel into Soulja Boy's skull, we have no clue whether this was an accident, a premeditated mass flash, or simply a cry for help indicating that Soulja wants to abandon the rap game and explore employment as a Bhutanese folk artist.
It will go over better than 50 Cent's acting career.
Such ambiguity does not bode well for the future of the crotch shot. And while smartphone science has yet to invent some sort of dick pic Mjolnir or Excalibur that judges the sender's moral rectitude, we can look to the past for guidance. For example, take science fiction pioneer and futurist Hugo Gernsback's 1964 attempt to reduce marriage compatibility to a science using Kinsey questionnaires, lie detectors, and presumably a phalanx of wolf-whistling grad students.
"Darling, can we practice kissing while not attached to this car battery?"
Gernsback's incredibly questionable sour grapes about being excluded from secret lesbian slumber parties aside ("Many of history's -- and the present's -- irresistible, beautiful women heartbreakers can't tolerate mere males," he moaned), his model proves instructive here. What if -- in order to catapult a portrait of one's own tumescence over continents -- you had to receive specialized license? You know, like a forklift operator or a Highlander trainer.
"Why yes, it does say 'Prince of the Universe' on my resume."
And what if thousands of academies dotted strip malls across the land, issuing these licenses and informing pupils which Instagram filter will not make their loins look like a bucket of dead lampreys? Hell, there could even be a thriving offshoot industry of SAT-style prep books catering to a club sandwich of demographics (like Kaplan's South Beach Guide to Acing Your Dick Pic Exam / GED in Cuneiform).
I don't know about you, but I think dick pics might just be the catalyst to get the economy back on track. And as for those skinflints who refuse to pony up for these classes, we'll just have to make unlicensed cellphone camera usage anywhere a Class 5 felony. We all know that the Library of Congress will someday need visual documentation of that liverwurst hoagie you ate for lunch yesterday, but come on. Don't be a jerk. The gross domestic product is at stake.
Let's take a moment to consider Ice Cube's career. One minute he's releasing AmeriKKKa's Most Wanted; next he's starring in a few St. Ides malt liquor ads; then BAM, with lightning-bolt-like alacrity, he's making Are We There Yet 7: We Are There Yet Everyone Has Died of Old Age.
But nothing can take away our Anaconda memories.
Yes, a sprinkle of free market pixie dust can transform even the most raging mastodon into Babar, King of the Elephants. Whenever I hear Iggy Pop's help-me-I've-hit-rock-bottom opus "Lust for Life" nowadays, I don't want to shoot heroin with a comatose, nearly dead Mr. Pop. No, I suddenly want to go on a cruise to the Bahamas with all 34 of my non-existent children.
We can apply this exact same principle to dick pics. What if -- whenever you bequeath your significant other a still life of your groin -- you could make a dollar or two sneaking a product (say, a bowl of Hormel chili) somewhere into the shot?
Choose beans at your own discretion.
The way I see it, all parties benefit here. You benefit by showing your mate that you are a hard worker, pulling yourself up by your bootstraps and sex organs. Your partner can delight in your Horatio Alger-like industriousness and rest assured that a publicly traded canned goods manufacturer has lent its seal of quality to your reproductive system. Hormel wins, too, because emerging markets, narrowcasting, viral commerce, TiVo, Hulu, and business school words.
Sure, it may take a little while for the stuffed shirts on Madison Avenue to accept this bold new marketing strategy, but who's to say you can't kick-start the trend with your own product placement? Support neighborhood small business owners by throwing their addresses into the shot (Deborah's House of Yankee Candles at 383 Jefferson Pike South will thank you later), or increase your own personal brand by repping luxury goods. Like so:
"Bellissimo! The check's in the mail!"
Storytelling, Storytelling, Storytelling
We've mostly discussed the economic mechanisms that could make cellphone crotch shots bigger than a social networking site solely devoted to discussing sliced bread. But what about the aesthetic dimension? So far, the most famous dick pics are sorely lacking in any sort of narrative coherence whatsoever. This sets a lousy precedent.
For example, Soulja Boy's dick pic was devoid of character development, denouement, central conflict, props, stage lighting, programs, a big nickelodeon sign that says "BIJOU" or "PALACE" -- you name it, he forgot it.
Sure, his dick pic stands alone as an experimental piece, but there's a reason that show's not called Two and a Half Godots. Think about how much his dick pic would've been improved if it had doubled as an off-Broadway revival of the Tony Award-winning musical 1776.
A dick pic is never complete without tricorn hats.
Yes, the smartphone owner has a veritable interdimensional gateway in his pocket, but the narrative rarely goes beyond his pocket. And that's just sad. Which of these says "I love you" more: 177Dicks above, or a photo of a wang that's so murky, the Unsolved Mysteries theme song comes on whenever you look at it?
Not all crotch shots need to be set during the Revolutionary War, mind you, but it's not a bad idea. In any case, just a smidgen of attention to the most rudimentary rules of storytelling will make you seem more like the Rodgers and Hammerstein of dick pics and less like a stranger on a crosstown bus who's wearing an Arby's menu as a sarong.
And remember, crotch shots are forever (even Snapchat), so it behooves you to pay attention to production value. The moment you hit "Send," you should anticipate that future techno-archaeologists will puzzle over that shit like it was the tomb of Cheops. You don't want to embarrass yourself in front of them, do you?
"I have been waiting for your text message for 5,000 years."
Of course you don't. So there are your marching orders, dear readers. Go out there and make Earth a utopia by acting like a bunch of beautiful, starry-eyed degenerates.
You can follow Cyriaque Lamar on Twitter. Someday (i.e., next week) he will write a column not about dick pics.