Cold day and ridiculously busy, by my standards. Did a podcast in the morning, walked the dog in the rain, drove to work, got an email from editor wondering when the piece would be in. Uh . . . 3 PM okay? I replied, kicking myself for thinking the piece was due next week. By the time I got downtown I had the piece in my head. At least I knew where it would end, and that helps; just write to that point and you’re done.

I know that sounds simplistic, but it’s the way it works. Some pieces you write until you know where it ends; some pieces you write until the ending presents itself. Sometimes you know where it goes and it’s a matter of turning the key and pouring on the gas.

Doesn’t mean it’s good, but it’s easier.

So that was part of it, and then there’s the other column part of the day, which still remains, so I’ll be checking out a bit early here today, and handing you over to some bilious blurts about silly comedians. If you are inclined to skip, the Purple Monster awaits below, and if you couldn't care less about Purps, Chain Store Age has some updates from some 1960 industry trade mag. If that doesn't do it, I can only wave my cap and bow deeply, thanking you for your forebearance, and inviting you to try again tomorrow.

Seriously, nothing happpened today, except I wrote a lot, and it rained, and i had a microwave Indian entree from Traders Joe for supper, then walked the dog again and forgot completely there's been a busted egg on the sidewalk he's tried to eat for two days. All these raccoons around here, and two days of public, unmolested egg. I cannot explain it.








This is the defining tweet of the week. Really! Not because it moved the needle, but because it showed how far the needle had moved without anyone noticing it.


I mean, we noticed, but the little incremental nudges of the public discourse towards drivel, stupidity, obliviousness, smug self-congratulation, and casually obscene dehumanization weren’t all that bad, at the time - everything was basically “yeah, that’s slightly more shocking or dumb than the last shocking or dumb thing someone said, but after all, it’s been 24 hours since the last outrageous remark, someone’s got to up the ante.” All the comments were poured into a common pot of ugliness, and it was brimming over at the end of every day. Some of it evaporated, joined the clouds, and came down elsewhere in the form of a special rain that made people join Twitter and wish death on strangers.

But this! It’s got everything. It’s not fringey-nichey, it’s Network Approved. It passed the Standards and Practices office, I’m sure: someone sat down with the script, and thought:

Censor A: "Hmm, I don’t know if making a joke about cutting off someone’s penis is okay, given that nothing’s been proven. I’d say yes if it was Cosby, after the trial. Someone else want to take a look at this?"

Censor B: "I heard about it, I think it’s fine. Not all that funny, but that’s not our job, and besides, he’s making a point."

Censor A: "About what?"

Censor B ":Justice, I guess. Leave it in. The only people who care don’t watch."

Censor A: "Good point, I guess, but here’s the part I think is problematic. The whole joke says that once he doesn’t have a penis, he’ll know what it’s like to be a woman."

(stunned silence)

Censor A: "You see the problem? It implies that women can’t have a penis."

CensorBA: "Take that part out. God, what are they smoking"

Imagine that line coming out of Johnny Carson. I’m sure Kimmel would profess boundless respect for Carson, because that’s part of the late-night host package. Johnny was the best, no one can beat him, class all the way, the pro’s pro etc. You can’t imagine Carson trying that joke, because he didn’t regard it as his duty to coarsen the public discourse in the name of All the Good Things.

But All the Good Things must be brought about, and the people who oppose them must be buried, so it’s not enough be coarse and unfunny to eliminate those norms. “F*ck him” was yesterday’s story, and it was fun at the time, but that was yesterday and now we’re bored. Today: “F*ck him and castrate him.” Much better! Tomorrow on Kimmel: making fun of Kavenaugh’s wife for “arranging some private time with her husband away from the kids, or, as she calls it, a Rape Night. ”

He’d say it for a laugh. It’s not like he’s talking about a real person, anyway.

PS: Note the needless detai that the unperson's penis must be removed in front of everyone. Sexual humiliation is the go-to thing for today's wags on all sides of the issues. They're not the bullies who yanked down a kid's pants in the lunchroom. They're the damaged, hateful losers who cheered the bully, and hope he noticed.





We now return to the utterly generic tale of . . .

Let’s recap. Mars wants to invade Earth, for reasons. They’re just like that. They can get to Earth, as we’ve seen; they’re able to muster a one-man ship that blows up upon landing, and can’t return. The whole “get back to Mars” thing is holding them up, so they send Purple Monster - that’s how he calls himself, without any noticeable irony - to steal some plans for a big rocket.

Yes, those Earthlings are so ripe for conquest.

Purps has one trick: he vapes some cosmic stuff and becomes translucent, so he can inhabit the body of Dr. Uncle Scientist, who is dead. Maybe. That’s the extent of his powers; he doesn’t have mesmerism, or ray guns. He has to rely on the Dr. Uncle Scientist's Niece’s inability to see that her uncle isn’t acting the same, and may be a bit gamy.

Remember, as this one began he was actually close to stealing the rocket itself, but one Earth guy - our hero, Craig, a lawyer - showed up and hit him in the face, and that was the end of that; the rocket zoomed through the roof and blew up.

Anyway, the last cliffhanger was a flaming truck full of rocket fuel rolling down the road.

This was all the fuel they had. GREAT JOB PURPLE MONSTER. Now Craig figures out that Purps will need the formula for the fuel. See how he’s working backwards? I need the rocket! Ah, I screwed that up. I need the plans! Okay, got those, now I need fuel. Okay, I wasted all the fuel trying to kill the lawyer. Now I need the recipe for the fuel.

Craig’s plan: put a fake rocket-fuel formula in the safe for Purps to steal, and make sure the formula requires Octolene. Why? Only one company makes Octolene, and it’s controlled by The Foundation. Who? The scientific organization bankrolling the rocket-ship research. Okay.

So it never occurred to Mars to send, oh, five guys down to take over the bodies of the Foundation board of directors and just get everything they want.

There’s oddly relaxing domesticated music playing in the background.

So Purps, as Dr. Uncle Scientist, goes to the place where the secret formula is kept. He sends the office manager on an errand, then looks in the safe to get the formula. Well:

Uh huh.

This is a great way to keep people from getting suspicious of the one guy whose body you’ll need for the remainder of your mission.

Okay then. Why is he telling him this? Because he plugs him. Hah!

I guess it’s off to the place that makes Octolene. Where might that be?

Okay then.

Craig shows up for some hats-on fistfighting:

He falls down a vat, so they turn on the acid!

Okay I DO NOT KNOW how he will get out of this one. And I DO NOT CARE if he does, but we’re committed.


That's it - three pages from the Drug Store industry trade mag, with ads the consumer never saw. See you on the morrow. Is that a correct usage? Well, it is now.


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