July 15, 2008
When historians finally hammer out a coherent synopsis of post-Eighties America, it will surely be a fascinating paragraph: A couple of Gulf Wars, Branch Davidians, the internet, the dot-com boom and bust, presidential fellatio, electoral thievery, the Twin Towers, the War on Terror, the moron terror (aka George Jr.), global warming, Iraq, Paris Hilton, Britney Spears. Exciting times. All in all however, other than that Internet thingy, post-Eighties America really left some skid marks on the foundation garments of Western Civilization. It’s like the Greatest Generation handed off the ball for a fullback dive up the middle and instead got a swinging gate Fleaflicker that degenerated into a Vaseline-greased naked dog pile with the marching band on the 50-yard line. How did it happen? On our watch? There are only two plausible explanations. Either we were stupid or stoned. Stupidity isn’t a stretch. Given the number of people who claim to have been duped by a low C average ex-Yale cheerleader and his evil oompah loompas, it’s safe to say we’re a nation full of knuckle draggers. Certainly no other civilized country at this point would deny it. When traditional global slack-jaws like Scotland and South Africa start slapping “kick me” signs on our ass, it’s time for a little collective introspection. Unfortunately, Americans don’t have time for introspection because we’re too busy getting stoned and playing video games. Now, some people would claim that getting stoned is pretty much the same thing as being stupid. Not so. Claiming that you’re stoned implies that in your normal, unbaked state you’re not a developmentally arrested fuck-up who collects action figures, comic books, and Escher prints; that were it not for all the THC coursing through your system, your carpet wouldn’t be littered with empty Funyun bags, popsicle sticks, and weedseed; you wouldn’t let your cat shit in your stolen Sonic dope tray; and you would roll out of bed sometime before noon wearing something other than fart-holed boxers and a stained Spongebob T-shirt. Claiming that you’re stoned implies that you might actually amount to something if you weren’t such a hardcore, badass party animal. Otherwise, how could you possibly score 170,000 on Guitar Hero? OK, so maybe we didn’t put our boot up Hitler’s ass (well, outside of Call of Duty), and we didn’t tear down that wall or make the world even remotely safe for democracy, but this generation did bring pop-cultural onanism to breathtaking heights. We may not be able to point out Darfur on a map or give a detailed treatise on why ethanol is fool fuel, but if you want a painstaking analysis of the evolution of Batman from Keaton to Clooney to Kilmer to Bale, torch one up, sit back, and prepare to have your mind blown. We’ll get back to this environmental/geopolitical/economic clusterfuck soon enough. Right now we have work to do. This Thursday night at 7pm, the Chronicle is hosting its first Film Fight party at the United States Art Authority. Film Fight is a monthly online debate featuring Chronicle Film critics Kimberly Jones and Josh Rosenblatt going at it on a variety of film-related topics. Check it out for yourself. This month’s topic: comic-book movies. When you’re done, come down to the Art Authority and find out who won this month’s debate. You can also meet Kim and Josh, enjoy happy hour drink specials, and see a special genre-related film screening. If you’re lucky, you could also win movie passes, I Love Video gift cards, and other assorted swag including superhero action figures. If somebody asks where you got them, you can just say you were stoned.