44. Gay South Park Fan Fiction

Back to the fanfiction today; did you know that South Park is one of the most popular subcategories in the cartoon category on Fanfiction.net? If you did, well then there’s something wrong with you. But if you’re normal like me, then it really comes as a surprise, because what about South Park wants you to go and write a fanfiction? It’s four fucked up children doing fucked up things, and pretty often with a political message. It’s such an odd show to want to mimic to a tee, because even the normal rip-offs fall flat, what makes some schmuck on the internet think they can capture the essence of Trey Parker and Matt Stone. But why the hell am I surprised?

 

“Brink of Insanity” pushes the children into their senior year of high school, where they go on a field trip and run into a town filled with rabies zombies. It also has shipping. According to the author: “Ships: a Creek story with side ships.” So, from the description I already pieced together “edgy, gay, thirteen year old boy.” Why does that mixture make me so uncomfortable?

 

Reading on, what did I expect? The tenses aren’t steady; one paragraph will be in past tense, the next will be in present tense. The spelling is mostly there, which makes it so much worse when one key word is misspelled. Then there’s the fact that I can’t get the actual characters out of my head, because there’s only one way to look at them. You can’t just take these characters and then say they’re teenagers, I’ll still see the paper cutout kids. Then you can’t even capture the characters correctly, it doesn’t work. You can’t give Tweek a twitch and then think that makes up for it.

The plot is even worse, it’s a generic zombie story, but with rabies instead. It’s like this fucker tried to mix South Park and 28 Days Later, but with gay romance too. It’s just a boring and uncomfortable. I see them as kids, and them having a gay romance is very, very uncomfortable.

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43. Fantasy in Music

My rambling might not make sense.

 

Is there as big an overlap between rock/metal and the fantasy genre as I seem to perceive? I feel like it’s some sort of exponential curve that changes with genre. You go from very basic rock, and there seems to be no overlap. The Beatles never sang about epic battles, or gods, or any of that. Then you get a bit bluesier and a bit more psychedelic, and you get Cream who wrote one song related to Odysseus. Greek mythology isn’t too nerdy. Led Zeppelin comes in and writes a few songs about Lord of the Rings, but they stay the badass horny dogs they are.

Blue Öyster Cult takes it to a-whole-nother level, and are one of the nerdiest bands I can think of. They wrote sci-fi songs, fantasy songs, one song about the Elric Saga, Godzilla, and the names of some of these songs seem like shitty fantasy pulps.

Rush, oh we can’t forget Rush, who covered classic poets, fantasy, 2012 is basically a sci-fi concept album with extra songs tacked on. The song The Necromancer is so LotR that it’s not even funny. These guys were even bigger nerds than BÖC, and might top out the graph. But that’s how prog rock goes. Dream Theatre is like Rush with metal. Literally.

Rainbow was one of those bands that started to build the bridge between hard rock and metal, and it’s undeniable that Blackmore and Dio made small epics in their music. Stargazer is about a faux-wizard that fools people into making a monument for him, which he then tries to fly off and promptly dies. Dio first band was called Elf, and then he went to continue making vaguely-fantasy music with his stint in Black Sabbath, and his self-titled band.

Then we get to metal. Bands like Iron Maiden and Manowar to get to the manly fantasy. Manowar is a nerd’s power fantasy, while Iron Maiden just got nerdier as time went on, with odd vibes. Steve Harris is a poetry and history nerd, which you can see in songs like Rime of the Ancient Mariner and The Trooper. Then the album Somewhere in Time has a Blade Runner inspired cover, while discussing space and time. Yeah, totally not sci-fi sounding.

And let’s not forget the Viking himself, Yngwie Malmsteen, who is literally seen fighting  three headed dragon on his album Trilogy. Ritchie Blackmore is very similar in this sense, but one is actually a creative guitarist.

Of course, Viking metal is also a genre. Pirate metal too. It’s all nerds with instruments.

Power metal is a giant fantasy circlejerk, and it’s really not restricted to just that genre. It’s part of why I love rock and metal. It brings me so much joy to hear an epic being told in the form of a heavy hitting song, or a medieval sounding tune being turned up to 11. And something about Vikings and Norse mythology comes off as nerdier than Greek and Roman mythology, perhaps it’s the heavy use of it in modern fantasy. Dwarves, goblins, elves, fairies, and all, are very common in Norse and Celtic mythology (though now I want to hear Greek mythology based metal, that sounds like it would be awesome. Phrygian-mode metal.) Northern pantheons were very popular with Tolkien (making it very popular with Tolkien rip-offs too,) helping cement them in popular culture.

I can’t be the only one who sees the correlation here. What is it about the music that makes them want to sing about their last D&D session, and why do I love it so much?

42. Kilroy Was Here – A Very Shitty Album.

Concept albums are great sometimes. I think. I mean people like The Wall, Tommy, and I’m a fan of Quadrophenia. But sometimes a band just fucks up so badly because they can’t fucking write. Well, I’m coming back to Styx because that band is horrible. Kilroy was Here is no exception. Made in 1983, I painfully listened to the brainchild of nerds with instruments trying to critique the politically correct figureheads that were going after metal and rock. The message isn’t hidden well at all; in fact it’s more ham-handed than a butcher fisting his livestock.

The Story: Kilroy is a musician who’s been thrown in jail for being a rockstar. He escapes from jail disguised as one of the guards, a Japanese robot. Then it all goes downhill from there.

This album made me cringe every few seconds, because even the music itself isn’t good, let alone the lyrics. But the lyrics are still atrocious.

“Thank you very much-o Mr. Roboto…” Domo Arigato Mr. Roboto, aka stereotypes the song.

The album already starts off weak, with lyrics being constantly repeated in a nearly 6 minute song. SECRET SECRET, I’VE GOT A SECRET. I’M KILROY! KILROY! KILROY! KILROY! KILROY! The dude hides and then just starts yelling to the listener who he is in the last minute or two. Tactful. It’s also vaguely racist. Why were the robots Japanese? Why does the singer go “thank you very much-o.” That’s not the only word he tacks a vowel onto in the end. Why is this song half of the album’s story content?

The next song, Cold War, lacks any tact. Saying that the message is like a bull in a china-shop underestimates a bull’s ability to be graceful; it’s closer to a drunken war elephant running from the battlefield into a civilian town, and destroying everything in sight. The use of the term “cold war” in that song also makes no sense. At least it didn’t hurt as much musically as Mr. Roboto.

Don’t Let it End doesn’t fit the album story at all. We went from prison to bashing politicians, and now we’ve landed on the main character missing somebody. It literally has no relation, but I guess Styx figured they needed a romantic song to become a single later on. I also hate how often they repeat lines in this album.

High Time has the worst start on this album. The band synthesized their voices and go “bum-bum-didi” for a few seconds, before Dennis De Young starts singing. Lord do I wish he didn’t start singing. But after the non-sequitur of Don’t Let it End, we get back to the story; another tactless message where they start poking at the religious moralists of the time. The first few verses go on about a TV evangelist basically, and then like a failed ballerina doing a jump, we go to our next topic in the song.

It’s high time to start a revolution! I’m so fucking high.

Then we get a fucking dialogue scene between Kilroy and Roboto. Where else would I hear the line “up yours Roboto” besides in this shitty concept album?

There’s scatting, stuttering, unveiled messages, they literally use the term “mind police,” can I shoot myself? This is only halfway through this album.

Heavy Metal Poisoning is one of the heaviest songs on the album, but I could’ve taken a shit on a scale and it would’ve been heavier than this album. Do I even need to say the message was more thinly veiled than a horny belly dancer? The character speaking here is called Dr. Righteous. The amount of times you hear “sex and drugs” in this song makes you want to OD.

They also make fun of the trend of playing songs backwards to prove they’re Satanic, which is about the only thing I can appreciate in this album. And I guess the solo isn’t too bad for once, could’ve fooled me that it wasn’t Styx.

Just Get Through This Night starts off with a vaguely Eastern Asian/Indian/Middle Eastern instrument. I feel like it’s supposed to be a guzgheng but I have no clue. This song is supposed to be more serious than the rest of the album. It’s supposed to feel imperative in some way, but it just isn’t. The message is horrible. They’re saying that if they can weather through the storm of musical crusades, then they can do anything. And the song is so painfully sappy. I feel like they were trying to rip off David Gilmour with that solo.

Double Life. Where do I start with Double Life. Well there’s a synthesizer solo. There’s a schizophrenia joke that falls flat. Now don’t get me wrong, I condone making risqué jokes, but they need tact. Just saying “I’m schizophrenic and so am I,” isn’t a joke. Still funnier than family guy, but there’s nothing clever or funny about it. It’s just a shitty joke. This song is just shitty. Like this album.

Haven’t We Been Here Before? is much like Don’t Let It End in the sense that is doesn’t have anything to do with the album. It’s another sappy song meant to be a single I guess. This sounds like the song that makes me turn off the radio for five minutes.

Don’t Let It End. Didn’t we see this already? Yes. We did. There’s two of these. It’s not like Wish You Were Here where there’s Shine on you Crazy Diamond parts 1-6 and 9-15. No, this one has the title, but it sounds like Domo Arigato Mr. Roboto, with different lyrics, and it’s just bad. Flat-out bad.  There’s scatting, weird lyrics, bad music, it makes a two minute song feel like six minutes.

So I never thought I could say “I listened to a whole Styx album,” and I’m ashamed that I did. But now it’s analysis time.

This concept album can’t decide what it wants to be. It falls somewhere between The Wall by Pink Floyd and Joe’s Garage by Frank Zappa. It has the zany music and obscene lyrics of Joe’s Garage, but it’s trying to tell a political message like The Wall, all in the form of following a rockstar. But it’s not close to either of these iconic albums, it’s not original, I’d compare it to The Crimson Idol by W.A.S.P. A nonsensical story that follows a rockstar for no good reason other than it’s the trend.

The story sucks dog dicks, the music ranges from boring to “turn this shit off you’re giving me a headache,” and the band is just terrible in general. It’s no surprise everyone forgot about this album, save for the opening song. Can we forget about Domo Arigato Mr. Roboto from any repertoire in existence as well?

41. Styx- More like “This Band Blows.”

Good and bad writing is everywhere, even in music. I feel like musicians forget this. You can write an amazing song musically, but if your lyrics blow then you’ve failed at half of your song.

What’s worse is when these shitty songs enter the pantheon of the classics. Name me a rock radio station where Styx doesn’t get played. And Styx is the biggest perpetrators of this crime. This bowel movement of a band is on every classic rock station, and some people treat songs lie Come Sail Away as masterpieces akin to Stairway to Heaven and Another Brick in the Wall. (As much as I like Led Zeppelin, I can’t help but concede that Stairway is also an example of this. What do those fucking lyrics mean? Nothing, it’s Led Zeppelin. They had to be higher than the goddamned Sears Tower when they wrote it. Even Robert Plant doesn’t like it.)

But has anyone even taken a look at the lyrics of Come Sail Away? Fuck Styx. It’s like a few clowns picked up instruments and started writing goofy ass songs. Actually, that’s insulting to clowns. Come Sail Away has the same structure to a first grader’s story. Or a fan fiction. What’s the difference?

“So I’m sailing away, yeah? Sailing. I’m sailing. Then these angels came down! Yeah, fucking angels, it was fucking sweet. But get this, GET THIS! These angels? Yeah, they weren’t angels, they were ALIENS! AND THEY TOOK ME AWAY ON THEIR SPACESHIPS WOO I LOVE THE SEVENTIES I’M SO FUCKING HIGH RIGHT NOW.” – My paraphrase of this shitheap song.

How the hell is Styx still seeing radio play? Those fuckers do county fairs now! This doesn’t make any fucking sense. Fuck Styx. Fuck ‘em hard and fuck ‘em all night. Piece of shit band.

40. Paw Patrol 2- Probably my Worst Review

(Disclaimer: My musical opinions are presented as facts, but they’re just opinions I pulled straight from my ass. Actually, that’s this whole blog. Don’t question my musical knowledge as it’s next to non-existent.)

 

As I was looking for the other Paw Patrol fanfiction, I found another edgy Paw Patrol fanfiction, because this is apparently a hot product. I should start investing in fanfiction.

So what’s the plot in this one? Well, firstly it’s a sequel to something that I’m not going to read, so I suppose I’m just depriving myself of quality literature and deep plotlines. But I’m sure in forty chapters I can figure out the plot, right? (How is it some fanfiction writer has more words in their story than I do for a novel I’ve been writing for two years?)

We start off and one of the dogs, Ryder, is already dead. This makes everyone a very sad dog. Now it gets very morbid when they discuss his dead body. Imagine puppies from a kid’s show talking about their dead friend, as he lay limp and lifeless in front of them. No seriously, this is depressing. What is wrong with this guy?

But of course, I laugh at this fucked up shit, and it only gets better when they discover Slipknot. It pulls them out of their slump, because that’s exactly what an edgy nu-metal band does. It cures your depression.

They get inspired to start a band, and oh my god, what the hell am I reading? Did a real person write this? Or was it some computer program? I wish Hal-9000 wrote this. The mood completely changes, they were just mourning their dead friend, and now out of nowhere, they’re just here, starting a band. This is baffling.

Then we basically enter a beginner’s guitar forum. We’re taught the difference between a bass and a guitar, how many pickups you should get to meet your tastes, and tones knobs. Then they want to play metal, so he gets them an amp with a switch for distortion. I swear to god, I bet he got them a Line 6, when he should’ve gotten them a distortion pedal. It sounds better. Then of course the edgy fuck that wrote this wants an ESP, specifically their edgy Flying-V rip off, and puts it in there. He didn’t go for a Squier or an Epiphone, you know, starting off with something reasonable to learn on. With a beginner, ESP is one of those brands reserved for the edgy beginner (I’m aiming to piss off as many people with this as I can, Telecaster Tele-master race.)

Then they go home and write a song, and I need a drink so badly right now. And we learn that the author is in a band. Again, how are people like this actually doing better than me? This just pisses me off.

I like my sanity, so I’m not reading all forty chapters of this, I’d rather sit bare-assed on a cactus. So I skipped ahead, they become a popular band, going on tour. They’re in Scandinavia because where else could metal possibly be popular?

            I’m turning on my elitist metalhead mode on. As I write this, I’m listening to Motörhead, which is a much better band than Slipknot. If you like Slipknot, well there’s no hope for you. That’s the worst intro to metal, because it’s nu-metal. They’re as metal as Linkin Park. The guy who wrote this is as metal as a plastic water bottle. Just because you slap distortion on your Line 6 amp, and play around with your ESP doesn’t make you metal. You just sound like shit. I bet the guy who wrote this always has his volume and tone on 10. You couldn’t leave it at being a shitty writer, but you had to go and have a shitty taste in music too. I have no sympathy for you. I don’t even look like a metalhead and I’m still more of one than you, Mr. Fanfiction Schmuck. Praise Lemmy.

jesus-lemmy

39. Paw Patrol

Paw Patrol (sounds like Raw Asshole) is a CGI children’s cartoon revolving around a few dogs, all with stupid catch phrases, that drive different kinds of vehicles, and save the day in minuscule ways, as you do in a kid’s cartoon. One drives a police car, another a garbage truck, and so on and so forth. I discovered one day with my friends as we were tired of playing Smash Bros all day, and it was still too early for us to go out like we had planned.

We went through channels, seeing shitty show after shitty show, and a few shitty movies. After watching that Nick Cannon rap show, we went to Nick Jr., where we decided to make fun of kid’s cartoons. Paw Patrol was perfect in this sense, as it had the stupid dialogue and plots that come with a modern toddler show. The animation was actually so bad that a character disappeared for a brief second during a running animation. They all have catch phrases for when they get into their cars, and they all rhyme, except for the garbage truck one. I think he’s slow.

I’m not reviewing a shitty kid’s show, however. That’s too low-hanging a fruit, even for me. No, what I’m going after is the Paw Patrol high school fan fiction. Yes, some weird fucker likes a kid’s show so much that they wrote a fan fiction about it (789 on Fanfiction.net actually,) and it’s fucked up.

As fan fictions go, it’s like all the other shitty ones. For example, it switches POV and we’re told when it does, but what I like that puts it above the others is that we start off with abuse, for no good reason. I believe it’s Chase, (I can’t actually remember where to find this fanfiction,) his dad throws his furry ass out the window after absolutely beating the shit out of him. It was hilarious. Then he goes into a coma, and when he comes back, the teacher announces to the whole class that Chase just got out of the hospital after being abused by his dad. Then he falls in love with his friend, and I don’t really get it.

This is a new kid’s cartoon, they’re not going after something that’s even nostalgic. These are people that are at least in middle school, watching Paw Patrol, and in some depraved manner they’re writing fan fictions about it.

Why are people like this? What do they get out of writing furry fan fiction? And what’s with this POV switching bullshit? Just write in the third person if you want to tell everyone’s story at once. Or at least don’t fucking announce it. Why am I even talking about this, this is fan fiction. Jesus Christ, it’s Monday, I haven’t read this fanfiction in months, and I’m still already done. Kill me.

38. A Lesson from “Politically Correct Bedtime Stories.”

In my prior blog post, I talked about Politically Correct Bedtime Stories, and how I took the bait. But then on second thought, I got to wondering: Is there anything that a writer can learn from this? (Besides how to write satire. That’s an obvious lesson.)

The answer is yes, actually. I rip a lot on fanfiction, usually for good reason, and while this is social satire, not fanfiction, it helps one realize that there’s a line between fanfiction, and reusing source material. Bill Willingham’s Fables is a good example. It uses fairy tales, but nothing about it is either soft, or could be considered fanfiction. I personally wouldn’t even call it a retelling. Instead, it’s using both famous and non-famous fairy tale characters, each with an established background, to build a new story. It creates a mixture between our world and the world of fairy tales, where they have to exist in our world undetected. The fact that these characters are established creates an endearing and interesting background, especially when it comes time for them to interact. The stories are very heavily influenced by noir, with tastes of slice-of-life, and war.

The story isn’t about their pasts, it’s about their shift from the pleasant past to coping with exile in a different land. This isn’t fanfiction, despite it using the intellectual property of others.

Similar to this is the book Fool by Christopher Moore. It acts as a parody of King Lear by Shakespeare, but it’s not a fanfiction by any means. In this case, it was more of a parody, turning a drama into a dark comedy, and shifting the attention to the true hero of any story, the comedian, in this case the fool. (Okay, well that’s bias on my part.)

Politically Correct Bedtime Stories is similar in that it’s using familiarity as a tool to get its message across. While it’s not out world-building and making noir stories about murder and politics, it’s making fun of a trend in society. By taking the fairy tales that we all know so well (which have been softened already in the past,) Garner is showing us the absurdity of said trend. No one would pick this book up and call it a two-bit fanfiction, because there was actually a purpose to retelling these stories.

If a person wants to, for example, use gods from a pantheon to write a story, are they particularly original? Well, not really. Are they writing fanfiction? Not really. It’s actually possible to avoid being your average Wattpad user when the source material isn’t yours.

So this is the product of me pulling a lesson out of my ass. You’re all welcome.

Edit:

As I put my head down to sleep, I realized probably the most fampis retellings, Disney movies. 

These add a new flavor tonthe discussion, and made me realize that they’re similar in a way to music covers. You could cover a song in a note-for-note manner like the Disney movies did with their source material (again with the nore family friendly versions,) you could make ot similar woth your own flavors, like Garner did, or you could use key elements as inspiration like Peter Green did for the song Albatross, inspired by Sleepwalk by Santo and Johnny; Fables is closest to this style. 

37. Politically Correct Bedtime Stories

            Sit down and listen to how my dumbass nearly fell for a clever little piece of satire.

Politically Correct Bedtime Stories: Modern Tales for our Life & Times, a small book by James Finn Garner. It was originally written in 1994, one of the big first waves of political correctness.

As postmodernism goes, many things of the past were criticized, some with good reason, some not. Some products of the modern day were harshly judged, while others weren’t, depending on their reasons. Literature, comics, movies, video games, heavy metal and rap music, and such were judged. Tipper Gore and the likes tried to put restrictions on certain types of music a few years prior, and video games were to be the next target in coming years. Words went through their natural shift, some became offensive, some were the new safe terms, it’s the way things go. Well this Garner dude stepped up and decided to mock the trend, and wrote this story. He took classic fairy tales and threw in buzzwords, modified the plots, and made it look more politically correct on the surface. Until you actually sit down and read it, then you quickly catch on that it’s satire.

Now in my defense, with the way things go, I find this book to be an example of Poe’s Law. The line is so blurred that this could also easily pass for a real reconstruction of classic fairy tales. I fell for it, I took the bait.

It’s not even like fairy tales being made more family friendly is unheard of. How many people were told the original stories, filled with rape and murder, as kids? How many were told the ones with happy endings? It would only seem as a logical step, if parents felt a sense of political self-righteousness, to erase even more undesirable bits of old stories. Hell, retelling fairy tales is even used in TV shows and movies when they need a cheap copout (let’s ignore my fantasy screenplays, yeah?)

Let’s be honest here though, who can’t see someone looking at the hunter/woodcutter as a patriarchal, sexist, speciesist, insert-other-buzzword in the modern day? Or trying to retell fairy tales to be more inclusive? The satire comes to life more and more each day. So am I stupid for falling for it the first time? Well yes, I am, all I had to was read the author’s biographical statement in the back. But that’s not the point, this book is funny and I recommend it.

36. Comic Books – They Sort of Suck

Who doesn’t like comic books? They’re stories filled with pictures! It’s basically taking five pages of dialogue, spreading it over twenty to thirty pages, and then charging you ten bucks for something the size of a vacuum cleaner manual.

Oh yeah, they’re crazy fucking expensive. And that’s just the start of the problem with comic books. Back to the price, however, I can understand a bump up. It costs more than just writing, everything about a comic book screams hard work, drawing thirty pages of action, emotions, and backgrounds is no easy task; unless you’re Rob Liefeld, who chooses to avoid realistic proportions to make his job easier. Do I think it’s worth ten dollars, though? Hell no, that’s how much you pay for a two-hundred word novel.  But the prices I can get over, there are other problems with comics that basically make them worthless to me.

For starters, no one can keep up with the damn things. No comic run ever seems to last more than a collective five minutes. Looking at you DC, what even was New 52?

Finish reading an issue, and the comic company has already revamped their line, giving you the same background story for the millionth time, switched the good writer for someone who’s never heard dialogue before, and change the artist. Sometimes they don’t even restart the line, they just go ahead and give the writer the axe. I’m looking at you, Thunderbolts. The Punisher’s dialogue got absolutely neutered.

Or they give them the Deadpool treatment. Replace the shitty artist, keep the writer, and then throw the series to the axe. Keep the inverse ratio though, keep making better art while the writer gets shittier and shittier.

How is it that Hellblazer, a horror noir series had a run of roughly thirty years, with an interesting character, good writers, and constantly varying art to keep it fresh, yet New 52 rolls around, you restart the series, change the name, and then neuter the character? Why would you neuter John Constantine? Oh, and then they gave Justice League Dark the Thunderbolts treatment. After tying them in to a complex storyline that required you read every other shitty comic DC was writing at the time just to understand it, while resolving nothing in any of them. Yeah, that totally makes me want to spend money on your shit, DC.

Then there’re the sequels that no one asked for. Don’t take after your movies, Marvel. No one wanted Civil War 2. The writing sucks, which leads me to another point.

Finally, there’s the pandering. Some comic companies, not naming names, but Marvel and DC, which seem to think pandering politically is the way to sell their comics, instead of just making compelling plot lines, with good art, and dialogue that isn’t goofy (or at least overtly.) You don’t need to shove politics into your comics like you’re fisting a fucking turkey. If you want to write a political story, then make it subtle. World events are always a great start to write a story, but just because you have “good intentions” (not always good) doesn’t mean your story will always be good.

Don’t try to pander. Just do your fucking jobs and give us superhero stories. And clean up your acts.

Bonus: Stan Lee ripping on Rob Liefeld.