A professor once told me that much academic work can be summed up in the sentence: it was a time of cultural change, and values were in flux; an old bourgeoisie was falling and a new bourgeoisie was rising. As truisms go, this one is pretty true, but that doesn’t mean that the statement never actually describes real-life or narrative. Just to use a recent example, Arcangel’s Super Mario Movie is structured on this falling bourgeoisie paradigm, with Mario struggling to come to grips with a world where 1UPs have lost all meaning. Of course, this need not be the case. Recently, the website lateshowwritersonstrike, having seemingly lost its raison-de-etre after the strike settlement, managed to find a new rallying cause:

After much discussion, we think we’ve got the the new theme that will carry us through the rest of 2008 and beyond. Very soon, look for our focus to shift completely to the massive beef recall. We believe our fans will enjoy our satiric takes on the USDA’s largest-ever recall of 143 million pounds of possibly tainted beef. We’re confident that we’ll still get plenty of plugs from Nikki Finke and other top news and entertainment outlets as we spoof the deliberations of Agriculture Secretary Ed Schafer and his staff, post fake press releases from Steve Mendell, president of Hallmark Meat Packing and its distributor, Westland, present the lighter side of regulations pertaining to downer cattle entering the food chain, and much, much more.

Another organization struggling to rediscover its place in the world, NASA, deciding to turn its direction towards its glorious past in order to rebuild its image. With space exploration still reeling from the disclosure of the Military space shuttle, and the resignation of prominent White House staff, NASA has decided that the best thing to do is to go back to faking Moon Landings. But with the death of uncredited director/co-conspirator Stanley Kubrick, NASA has had to resort to Michael Bay-esque CGI. See here for “promotional videos” of the upcoming Moon Landing.

Thankfully, we also have real transit news to report. While we love all modes of transport, (vote for the Ann Arbor Rapid Streetcar system!) no form of transport gets as much love around here as the monorail, both Theodore Herzl and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s preferred way of beating traffic. We’re happy to report that after an ignoble start the Moscow Monorail will be expanded. Since bringing the fair in line with the Metro, the system’s ridership has grown tremendously. Plus, the system has proved adapt at handling the snow. Just compare this picture of the sleek Intamin monorail system naysaying snow

cnstmm07.jpg

with this photo of a landlocked El train:

2008_02_29_flashback.jpg

Time and space should not be considered relevant factors in your comparison.

I haven’t enjoyed action movies for some time. Maybe it’s because I’m getting older, and my taste in movies has matured, so that I no longer feel satisfied by the whizzing cinematography and glib violence found in a typical action movie. But at the same time, the grand cliché of the aged – they don’t make ’em like they used to – might hold some truth. If one defines an action movie as a film in which the on-screen spectacle is of equal or greater value than the plot, and charitably excluding the sub-genres of superhero (Batman Begins), sci-fi (The Matrix), and historical (war movies not starring Mel Gibson, with the exception of Gallipoli), the last decent action movies I saw were Casino Royale and Ronin. Ronin is even pushing our plot requirement.

This is not to say that there has been a paucity of action movies. On the contrary, big-budget action movies are as readily available as Arby’s sandwiches. It’s just that as action movies seem to be incorporating more and more advanced computer graphics, their plots are steadily devolving. Not only do there seem to be more and more movies made from games, but action movies are beginning to rip out parts of games wholesale – supposedly, in the Doom movie (no, I didn’t see it, and I won’t see it) the camera transitions to a first person perspective for a hearty chunk of the last part of the film. So that it looks just like a video game. Which you paid 10 dollars to watch someone else play.

On the other end of the spectrum, video games seem to be on the evolutionary rise. Games have long taken inspiration from movies, and as games rapidly approach film in terms of visual verisimilitude, they are taking plot and other cinematic elements as well. For instance, Infinity Ward’s Call of Duty 4 is basically your own personal action movie, as demonstrated by this lengthy clip below. The game’s graphics are amazing (though the quality of YouTube doesn’t do it justice), and while its plot won’t win it any Academy Awards (Russian Ultranationalists and Middle Eastern terrorists working together? Mon dieu!) the ability to actually participate in all of those action movie scenes is remarkable fun.

While serious movies don’t have much to worry about from video games (a real-life My Dinner With Andre video game is years away), action movies either need to start evolving plots, or go the way of the dodo.

••• For those who couldn’t imagine anything more profoundly boring than watching other people play video games (or, the Quidditch matches in the Harry Potter films), watch from the beginning to around minute two, then from minute six to the end.

Ibiteyoureyes spends a lot of time wasting time on craigslist. Occasionally, he applies to freelance jobs on craigslist. Occasionally he hears back from the poster of the gig. And then does a jig. And puts on a wig. My (rooster) is big.

The point is: I don’t ever get any jobs on craigslist because I am not a pretty girl with pretty feet.

These mama-jamas must clean up. Not a day goes by without my seeing an advertisement on craigslist for pretty girls with pretty feet. Not a day, Michael Bay.

Which gets me wondering. And when I wonder, I imagine, and when I imagine, things like this happen…

Why Pretty Girls With Pretty Feet Are Such A Hot Commodity in New York City

  1. High percentage of Californian transplants in the population. When I came to New York for college six years ago, I met about seven Californians for every…say…Rhode Islander. And Californians like pretty people, and they like to wear sandals. Probably, the majority of those craigslist advertisers are homesick Californians.
  2. All that walking, atop all those dirty streets and subway platforms, make for some beat-up, dirty feetsies. The few pretty girls who are either rich enough to take taxis, or lucky enough to have resilient feet, are so rare that they have taken on a value akin to gold, or similar treasures. And so, the craigslisters must be pawn shop suppliers, or mining aficionados.
  3. The craigslisters have a surplus of socks, sneakers, mirrors, and make-up. Just respectable businessmen trying to make a living. They lure young, pretty woman (with feet) to their apartments, and pay them for the privilege of their business. A unique customer service model.
  4. The first rule of Foot Club is that you do not talk about Foot Club. I’ve already said too much about this reason.
  5. Recruiting wives for the lonely gentlemen members of the NSRA.
  6. People are really getting sick of the demands of ugly girls with ugly feet. With good reason. Now they’re writing books.

To read the next installment of Craigslist All-Stars, click here.