Thursday, January 20, 2005

Layman dips into the ol' mailbag

As we've previously established, this blog is one of the most cherished and popular sites in all of the internets. As such, it receives an inordinate amount of fan letters and email. Normally, because I am vastly superior to each and every one of you, I just let my unpaid interns and assistants deal with these matters. But, since I'm feeling magnanimous today, I agree to randomly select three letters and answer them. I figure, since you love me so much, it's the least I could do.

And so, without further ado:

LETTER #1: Perversion at 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.

This comes to us from Tom Long of Mira Mesa, California, in response to the blog posting of Monday, January 17, Check out this crazy shit...", as well as the follow-up posting, "One more note about those ugly-ass fish."

Dear Mister Layman,

Your blog is the greatest. You are the greatest. I particularly loved those pictures of all the weird fish you posted. You see, I am a very homely man, and as a result, the great majority of the sexual gratification I achieve is through the creative uses of seashells, pineapples and porcupines. Seeing those fish really opened my eyes to a plethera of new erotic experiences.

However, I was very disturbed to see that vile Brian Perez has already "staked his claim" on those wonderful deep-sea specimens. Reading your blog makes me hate him so much. I think he must be the worst person in the world.

Your biggest fan,
Tom B. Long
Mira Mesa, Ca

Dear Tom,

Actually, I think you and my arch enemy Brian would get along just fine. You both sound like very strange, sad, sick, and lonely little men.

LETTER #2: A Reasonable Reader Replies

Mister Layman,

Your blog is the greatest thing that has ever happened to me in my entire life. I recently upgraded to broadband just so I could get to your blog that much quicker. I LOVE all the pictures of your cats. I especially love the latest addition to your household, Reggie. He is so cute and furry. I can only imagine how adorable he is as he capers about obstreperously with Batty, Rufus and the ever-delightful Bumble Buzz.

Wouldn't you please honor us with new picture of your spectacular, superb cats?

Jason G. Phillips
Brooklyn, NY


Wish I could, but sorry, no can do, little buddy. If you scroll down to the bottom of this page, you will see that this blog gets nearly 9,000 hits a day. This number increases dramatically on days when new cat pictures are posted, so after we received an injunction from our local cable provider, and some lengthy legal maneuvering, we've drawn up a strict schedule as to when we can post new cat pictures. Should we deviate from this schedule, the very internets could come crashing down all around us, and that would be just the opening Al Queda is looking for. And so, as a matter of national security, we only post new kitty pictures on the appropriate day. So stay tuned.

However, just for you, Jason, here's repeat of our of our most popular pictures, featuring your pal and mine, Reginald J. Poggles (kickin' Batty's ass, naturally!)

LETTER #3: More Episode III Hate

This was a comment posted in response to Sunday's "Layman movie review: EPISODE III: RETURN OF THE SITH." I should have known that my review would bring the Lucas-Lovers out of the woodwork. These poor, sad nerds have nothing better to do than dream about living at Skywalker Ranch, wearing togas crafted out of their urine-stained Admiral Ackbar bedsheets and spending 12 hours of every day wiping dribbles of blueberry pie of George Lucas' innumerable chins.

Jaymo from Dillweed, Arkansas, posts the following:

Well, let me preface this by saying I love your blog so much. It is so awesome. You are a godsend to all of the internets.

I suppose it would be too much to ask that, before spending too much time ripping it apart, we actually learn the correct name of the film. "Revenge" not "Return." Are you sure you attended an exclusive preview screening? Because, I would have thought you would notice the title as it scrolled up the screen. But then, I don't doubt you actually went to a screening, you just attended with a closed mind so you already knew you were going to hate it... oh yeah, and your mind was closed enough that the correct title couldn't seep in.

As for childbirth, you know, childbirth is childbirth, man, whether you're living in an advanced society or not - unless you're somehow trying to say that childbirth could be made safer by things like... anti-gravity, planet destroying ships, and laser-swords? Before you jump on that - your attempt at logic wasn't lost on me, it just doesn't fit. Do you think that in a futuristic society there will some button that pregnant moms can push, emitting a little *ding*, followed by an overly cheery voice that says, "You've got babies!" thereby avoiding the pain and danger of childbirth?

Whatever happened to going to a movie, suspending disbelief, and just watching a story play out on screen? Sure, you can dislike things about the story, but when did we, as a society, start ripping films to shreds simply because they didn't match up with what we expect?? The filmmaker tells the story, if you don't like the story, fine, but to attack from every angle and rip it to shreds is just senseless. It speaks a lot to the character and intellect of the "ripper" I think. "Hey, I didn't like this, therefore the movie sucks and no one should see it!"

Hey, if you don't like a painting, you say so and get over it, you don't take a claw-hammer and rip holes in it. A movie is just as much a work of art, a story told in such a way as to be the visual for the audience, rather than leaving it to the audience to create their own visual. Opinions differ wildly on art, as is the case with film. There are still people today that find some of Van Gogh's work pedantic, or some of DaVinci's work to be unforgivably sacrilegious, while others feel completely the opposite about their works. But I can't remember the last time I saw someone in front of an art museum with a bullhorn or publishing a newspaper column trying to convince fellow art-lovers that they shouldn't waste time looking at a particular painting. Shouldn't we have enough respect for our fellow movie-goers to let them form their own opinions about a film, rather than trying to taint their opinions or displace them with our own? Maybe make your opinion known, sure, but overtly trying to influence other people's view isn't cool. And I find the insulting comments toward George Lucas to be especially objectionable. Criticizing the film is one thing, attacking the person is another entirely.

That's the difference between a filmmaker and a film critic, though - the filmmaker makes the film and leaves it to the audience to decide whether it's good or not, opening themselves up to criticism. The critic tries to rip apart something that the filmmaker has created and to tries to influence as many people as possible before they even have a chance to view the film and come up with an unbiased opinion of their own. Too bad, really.

My response, point by point, (until I lose interest):

FIRST off, Jaymo, the title for Episode III IS RETURN OF THE SITH. Lucas, in a pie-induced frenzy, changed the name just two short weeks ago, thinking it would achieve parity with Episode VI. Though this information has not been made public, pretty much any Hollywood insider will tell you this is true. You suggesting otherwise just shows your shocking, shocking ignorance, in all things relating to Star Wars.

SECONDLY, my point about childbirth is that the Universe of Star Wars in an impossibly advancd society. They are far more advanced than our real-world society--is it really that much of a stretch to imagine they've made progress in medical science as well? Padme dying in childbirth is pure contrived bullshit, especially, as another keen reader pointed out, Leia says in Episode VI that she remembers her mother.

And, FINALLY, I don't think anywhere in my review did I say "Hey, I didn't like this, therefore the movie sucks and no one should see it!" Except for the catastrophic shit-fest Chronicles of Riddick, I freely invite anybody to see any movie I review. However, after you have seen the movie, the only option I will allow is for you to agree with me. No disagreement will be countenanced.

Anyway, that's all the mail I have patience for today. Please note in future email to write "okay to print." Then again, don't bother, as I reserve the right to edit postings and emails for space and content, and even reserve the right to add stuff, make up stuff, and slander friends, acquaintances, and total strangers.

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