Category Archives: Awkward

Amanda Palmer Writes A Poem, And The Internet Explodes

In what is apparently the Making It All About You Department, the not-always-social-media-savvy Amanda Palmer has written a poem titled “A Poem For Dzhokhar” on her blog over the weekend. Although the work does venture into what Suspect #2 (and his brother, Suspect #1, aka the Tsarnaev Brothers of last week’s horrific Boston marathon bombings) might be thinking, the references to iPhone battery life, Vietnamese soft rolls, and the Oh-my-Godiest line of all: “you don’t know how to tell the girl in the chair next to you that you’ve been peeking at her dissertation draft and there’s a grammatical typo in the actual file name” indicates that this poem is more about Amanda calling attention to Amanda. (We’ll let the crime of all lower-casing rest for now.)

So, the Internets noticed. Spin called it “a new low” (and paired it with an engineered-to-scare photo of Amanda enjoying a ball pit more maniacally than she might have intended), Gawker called it “the worst poem ever written,” and one blogger wrote biting parodies. And, predictably, the greatest handwringing on the Internets was of the “Neil Gaiman has to stay married to her?” variety.

It’s really not, to be fair, the worst poem ever written — it has all the hallmarks of being quickly dashed off, in an attempt to enter the dialogue in a way that’s clearly marked with her own voice and her own worldview. She has adoring fans, to be sure, and when you raise over a million dollars on Kickstarter and create a fantastic album in response, it maybe makes you feel like you can do no wrong, even after last year’s Unpaidmusiciangate — a pretty definitive indication that the Internets will not always love you.

Here’s the problem — we’re all watching from a distance right now as the FBI, CIA, and whoever else is questioning Dzhokhar right now trying to get into his head. We’re pretty sure that he wasn’t bleeding to death hiding in a boat thinking about Vietnamese soft rolls, and if he was, we’re not concerned about that. We want to know more important things, like why did they try to kill people, was he and his brother working with other terrorists to kill people, and are there plans to kill anymore people, including any additional bombs hidden in Boston. Right now, getting into the mind of the bomber isn’t a journey to the land of aesthetic ennui and artists-who-made-it problems for those of us who feel compelled together. We want to see the blueprint imprinted in that mind — namely, a plan to hurt and kill innocents, a plan that worked, a plan that took an eight-year-old boy and two young women from the world. We collectively want to know the extent of the plan so we can begin to heal and fight the fear and bewilderment that terrorism means. There’s a time and place for navel-gazing art. The galvanic response to Amanda’s thoughts on Amanda as filtered through Dzhokhar is the audience saying that this is not quite the time and place.

(Update: The title was arbitrary, and it only took her nine minutes to write the poem. We suspected as much.)

Cocaine and Horse-Punching: Soccer Has A Bad Weekend

Courtesy of Deadspin, here’s all you really need to know about how soccer went in England this past weekend.

Millwall’s motto is “No One Likes Us,” so news of their fans at the FA Cup semi-finals fighting in the stands isn’t surprising. But fighting with each other, allegedly while coked-up, is pretty much next-level.

Still, though, that last video. A Newcastle fan, after a horrible loss to rivals Sunderland, in what’s been a really frustrating season, punching a horse. PUNCHING A HORSE.

Now That Cher’s Dead: When Hashtags Go Awry

Ah, cultural literacy. Margaret Thatcher’s passing has been attracting plenty of social media traffic today, much of it marked with the Twitter hashtag #nowthatchersdead. As the Dallas Morning News notes, some read the hashtag completely differently — thinking that the five-decade reign of pop songstress Cher had come to an untimely end. Thankfully, every sailor’s favorite singer is still with us. Maybe #nowthatthatchersdead would have made it clearer?

When Hilarious Ad Taglines Don’t Work As Dunk Calls

So, rough night for the San Antonio Spurs on Thursday, losing their hold on the #1 seed in the West, losing to the Oklahoma City Thunder 100-88. The game featured Kevin Durant absolutely annihilating Los Spurs (as they’re called during NBA’s mystifying Noche Latino) on a dunk. Yardbarker noticed what we noticed — namely, Reggie Miller’s replay call, in which he intones, “Mommy’s got some things for Daddy TO DO!” (Which is, of course, the punchline to the hilarious Kevin Durant commercial for Sprint that’s been playing on a loop during NBA games since Christmas. This is perhaps the worst announcer call of the year, yet also our favorite.

Liking the Art But Not What the Artist Did: Stereogum Reconciles Liking Chris Brown and Surfer Blood

There’s an interesting debate that Stereogum opened up on its site today — at face value, and based on the splashy photo, it looks like it’s going to be another “Chris Brown is bad” article, but it also brings up the domestic violence charges to which that Surfer Blood singer John Paul Pitts plead no contest — and the interesting question of when do we or do we not stick up for our favorite musicians and artists, even when they do loathsome things. Of course, the degree to which Chris Brown is awful, highlighted by one of The Onion’s finest moments in recent memory, overshadows what limited pop appeal he has, whereas the implication of the Stereogum article is while Pitts’ episode isn’t as egregious as Brown’s dubious rap sheet and accompanying bad-boy antics, Surfer Blood’s level of indie success is relatively low-watt.

(Where it gets interesting and gets to be a really tense, telling debate is where it got with Michael Jackson. First, he was an extremely rare artist in that he had extraordinary commercial and artistic success, crossing over globally like no one since the Beatles — or, perhaps, even more so, who was then accused of unspeakable crimes and succumbed to increasing aberrant behavior, and then died dramatically, creating a pandemic of mourning — and, as I’ll never forget, the first time I’d ever seen a single event wash over my Twitter feed into The Only Thing Everyone Was Talking About in a matter of minutes. Nothing had hit home before or since as to how connected music makes us and how technology allows us to do that, cutting across geography and caste and culture, in the moment.)

Also, Stereogum brings this up because the first glimpse of Surfer Blood’s new album, a catchy, off-kilter pop song with screaming and one-note piano worked into the hooky chorus, called “Weird Shapes,” just got released a few weeks ago. Stereogum calls it “Weezerly.” Even if it is, please, please never use that as an adjective in any scenario. The debate it opens up is perhaps too important to neglect or dismiss — even though the converge of Chris Brown and Surfer Blood news might be a slightly forced landscape in which to start it.

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ESPN’s Music Issue Lets You Know: Yep, It’s February

So, the Super Bowl’s over, the NBA’s heading toward the always-entertaining All-Star Weekend (but the admittedly lackluster All-Star midseason caesura), baseball’s not quite yet in preseason, and hockey’s made itself irrelevant — taking care of the Big Four sports. So ESPN The Magazine decided to make the latest issue “The Music Issue,” which means photo shoots in which willing athletes try to help you shake off the winter doldrums by posing in costumes made to look like album covers. So, Alex Morgan dresses up like Katy Perry (giggity), MLB stars dress up like Devo on the Freedom of Choice cover (why?), Ryan Lochte undresses up like the baby on the Nirvana Nevermind cover (double why), and Josh Freeman dons the white suit (and a stuffed baby tiger) to replicate Michael Jackson’s Thriller, forever making him “the guy who posed as Michael Jackson for ESPN the Magazine that one time.” And NASCAR driver Jimmie Johnson as Bob Dylan? Imagined staff meeting at ESPN the Magazine this week: “Okay, the costumes were fun — NFL DRAFT IN TWO MONTHS! GET ON THAT NOW!”