CSotD: Nothing Exceeds Like Excess

The Grammys will be tonight and I will continue my annual tradition of not caring. David Sipress is correct that people our age likely haven’t heard of many of the nominees except for Joni Mitchell, though the gag comes with a few actuallys.

Actually, unless we’ve been living under a rock, we’ve at least heard of Taylor Swift, Billie Eilish and Miley Cyrus, whether or not we have ever heard any of their music.

And, actually, it’s not like the Grammys have a great track record for honoring interesting music. They mostly honor popularity, not genius. One more example of why I’m not a big fan of awards in general.

Actually, it’s best not to trigger that rant, because if you’re been here often, you’ve heard it enough.

And, actually, we’ve had celebrities rammed down our throats longer than there have been award shows or TVs to watch them on. This Gasoline Alley is from February 11, 1924, and, well before that, there were men being paid to be sure we’d heard of their clients.

And, actually, if you Google “Gasoline Alley,” the first several hits are for a Bruce Willis movie, and, actually, Rod Stewart has been nominated for a Grammy 15 times, but not for “Gasoline Alley.”

Actually, let’s move on. De gustibus non est disputandum, or, as Whistler put it:

To which Oscar Wilde exclaimed, “I wish I’d said that.” The rest is history.

There really is such a thing as bad taste and wretched excess, however. Here’s Tjeerd Royaards (Cartoon Movement)’s commentary on the launch of the biggest, best, fanciest, most wunnerful cruise ship ever, the Icon of the Seas, though Royaards’ name seems closer to the truth.

I don’t know that it will put a particular strain on the world, except that it will be dumping a whole bunch of sewage into the waters all at once instead of a few cruise ships at a time and burning fuel in a similar way.

It has massive capacity — it can hold 7,600 people — though, in defiance of supply-and-demand laws, it also costs 50% more than the average ticket price.

We haven’t seen this level of sea-going hubris since the Titanic, which was built at Harland & Wolff in Belfast, where they refused to hire Catholics and thus proved that karma really works.

Tank McNamara (AMS) notes that next Sunday’s Super Bowl is already flooding the airwaves with wretched excess, which gets a little trickier to avoid next Sunday, because they say the game will kick off at 6:30, but that may only be when they start the Great Patriotic Exhibition of speeches and anthems and airplanes and giant flags laid horizontally on the grass in defiance of the flag code.

Best part of the Super Bowl is halftime, when they drag things out so long that you can hit the bathroom and still have time to do a little cooking in the kitchen or walk the dog.

The ongoing trend to blend comedy and politics extends to Rhymes With Orange (KFS), with this absurdist look at corporate morality.

There’s an ongoing argument about the interface of inflation and prices, with accusations that the tyros are raising prices because they can, not because they must. A lot of it depends not only on who you ask but what you ask.

The Consumer Price Index shows a rise of a little over 3% for 2023, which is about where inflation stood at year’s end, which might indicate that prices are following inflation, which in turn suggests that we have to run as fast as we can to stay in one place.

While, as Fiona Katauskas points out, housing has become the real budget-buster in all this. She’s commenting from Sydney, but the trend applies here as well.

In the US, housing costs are up 10%, perhaps because prices of construction materials have risen but certainly because people need a place to live and there is a chain of price-gouging even in the resale market.

Which is to say, if — assuming a burst of morality not in evidence — I sell my house at a reasonable price, I won’t have enough money to live anywhere else.

Aussies like Katauskas have been hammering on the lack of rentals and the price of rent there. I don’t know why American cartoonists aren’t also going after this issue, because you basically can’t work a 40-hour week here and rent a two-bedroom apartment.

Rents vary from place to place, but median rent in the US is $1,967. If you follow the 30% rule, that means you’d need to make about $78,860 a year. If you’re making minimum wage, that second bedroom better be for another wage-earner, not for your kids.

It’s not much of a stretch to find political content in today’s F-Minus (AMS). Granted, young people don’t answer their phones or check their messages and rarely look at email, so this could simply be a boiler room full of young folks trying to make the world more hip.

OTOH, unless you still cling to a corded phone, you’ve probably got Caller ID and a decent spam filter. There’s not a lot of reason to get catfished or spear phished or annoyed by spam unless that’s what you want.

But one morning before the NH Primary I replied “Stop” to a dozen political spam text messages, and, as for polls, I quit cooperating after the second or third that wanted to know, on a scale of 1 to 5, if I agreed that Joe Biden is the Antichrist.

Which leaves me extremely skeptical about polls, not just because so many of them are blatant push-polls, but because so many of us have stopped participating.

Though I’d kinda like it if the newscasters said, “In a recent poll of people who were dumb enough to respond …”

And, on a related note, Pat Byrnes picks up on one of my favorite rants, which is the search for the interesting rather than the representational.

He doesn’t ascribe this to an attempt to sway coverage, though we shouldn’t ignore the existence of Fox and OAN and Newsmax and Sinclair, which intentionally create propaganda.

The danger here, rather, is that seeking excitement publicizes extremes as if they were representational, which can then become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

F’gettit. Let’s roll on home.

4 thoughts on “CSotD: Nothing Exceeds Like Excess

  1. Some of us old farts recognize the names, though not enough to spell them correctly.
    Ain’t that right Miley.

  2. Mike, you hit so many hot buttons my computer is running hot. Ah, the stupor bowl! Most people can’t afford rent, let alone buy a house because of the greedflation of our corporate overlards (not a typo). Who wants another heaping helping of panem et circenses?

    p. s. what does D. D. Degg charge for proofreading? LOL

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