Have you ever watched Sunset Boulevard starring William Holden, Erich von Stroheim, and the unconquerable Gloria Swanson? If not, I won’t mind if you open Netflix or find some other method to stop everything you’re doing just to watch it right now. I can wait.
As you (now) know, this film is a masterpiece of cinema which laid bare the cruelty of these things: aging, celebrity, Hollywood, youth, pride, vanity, EVERY ASPECT OF LIFE, and probably some other stuff. I’m not writing a thoughtful essay here! It did nothing to fix any of it, as far as I know, but it is interesting to see how the old silent stars were thought of and treated in the 1950s. I imagine that the cycle continues and the young talent of today considers the actors and actresses of the 80s and 90s to be weird old fossils from another time. I assume that the fate of Norma Desmond is what every actress fears for her future — or maybe kind of wants it, who am I to say?
None of us will ever be as rich as she was, or as influential in any industry, that is a certainty. I have made a little maze so that we can pretend to know what it’s like. From the comfort of your ostentatious manor, embark upon the wobbly journey to your great return. You will encounter all kinds of obstacles from nostalgic reveries to suicide attempts to homicide, but if you can keep your focus, you’ll be in the pictures again. You’ll get the attention you deserve, you icon. You legend.
November is casually referred to as “NaNoWriMo,” but it and I aren’t close pals, so I’d like to treat it a little more formally — please forgive me. November is also known as “Movember” because some men choose to grow a mustache in order to raise awareness of some men’s health issue and they think that growing unsightly facial hair is better than just educating people with frank discussion, but the novel writing is a better use for a month. Gentlemen, may I suggest that you wake up daily and begin with a shave, and then write your novel about the men’s health issue? I don’t think I even know what the health issue is because I avoid going places where I might see a mustache.
National Novel Writing Month.
This has been going on for years and years, for as long as I can remember on the internet. However, I have never been interested in giving it a try. “What could I possibly write about that could be engaging?” I always wondered. I write nine hundred million words for Sneer Campaign every year in the form of these well-composed articles, but those aren’t NOVELS. Novels are more serious. Novels are respectable. I mean, aside from all of those self-published novels that flood Amazon’s e-shelves. Those weird novels that seem to have been written in a week and never proofread. But I would want to do better than that! Wouldn’t I?
Halloween is many things. It is a socialist plot where America is destroyed by letting children accumulate quantities of candy so vast their little pancreases preemptively shut down. It is parents convincing their children that they are about to be eaten by a dracula. It is getting so hopelessly lost in a corn maze that you forget corn can be walked through, and you call 911, and the owner has to give the police officer a map so they can escort you to safety. Unless you’re black, of course. White people will insist that the corn gluten be free range. Having little Kaelybb exposed to anything more pedestrian would be as bad as exposing him to the MMR vaccine.
This is a holiday whose traditions are always evolving. Once it was a religious festival, then a feast for Catholics. Later, all manner of people would carve turnips into grotesque faces, the horror of which led directly to clown makeup and orange spray tans. Someday oldsters will gather the children around the burning piles of Juiceros, Keurig pods, and participation trophies that are our only source of fuel after the ecological crash. They’ll hope it’s dark and cold because it’s October and not because of the eternal cloud of radioactive ash that always blots out the sun. They’ll tell the shivering, emaciated children tales of shelves with food and what candy was, how we had smart toasters that would tweet at us when our toast was done, complete with a photo of how toasted the bread is. Hashtag #toast. Then the children will draw lots to see who gets eaten, and the elders won’t participate because even now they are selfish, entitled Millennials.
It is a statement of fact when I announce to the world here that dogs 100% love Halloween because they are animals that enjoy being dressed up in ridiculous costumes. Our four-legged friends excitedly wag their tails when they see their human companions lunge toward them with doggy-sized clothes. They yip in ecstatic delight and dance their paws in place when they see fabrics sewn to fit their quadruped shapes that then showcase these proud little companions to be some sort of dog-related pun, or the star of some television show that the dog does not appreciate OR even watch at all! Dogs love being made into laughingstocks, there only as spectacles for human snickering – the tune of which either sounds misguided, derisive, or full of pity (dogs can tell the difference). I mean, even going to a costume site will display for you, one after the other, the expressions of pure canine joy as they pose for the camera in yet another adorable, cutie-wootie, charming little outfit.
Oh wait, what am I talking about? Dogs obviously hate being dressed in anything like clothing and endure it only because they think they are being punished and will do anything to get back into your good graces. These friends of humankind are long-suffering little heroes, designed to help people and be true pals. People, of course, are mostly undeserving of such unconditional love, and throughout history have beaten the dogs, and submitted them to every form of cruelty, interspersed with occasional treats, food, and shelter. OCCASIONALLY. You could say that dogs have had it a lot better lately (ignoring all of the cruelty they are still subjected to at the hands of modern-day monsters, as seen daily via viral videos designed to make us weep), but then… then we notice an increase of popularity of Costumes for Dogs.
I’m not sure if you guys ever noticed this, but updates on this site can ebb and flow. As we are the most depressed mini-cluster of writers on the internet, this makes perfect sense. At any given moment, one or all of us is in the throes of a crippling despair — or, in contrast, one or all of us is chirpy and pleased with life. This wide range in overall mood is reflected in our overall productivity, here at the Sneer Campaign and also in every single aspect of our lives.
I guess I should start off by telling you about Depression, as if you are at all strangers to the concept. But I know our demographics. You’re all a bunch of first world 20- and 30-somethings mostly. I assume you are all actually in the midst of your own Pity Parties RIGHT NOW, and are just taking a break to read this article in the hopes of finding some gentle humor to ease your troubled souls. Well, indulge me here for a minute. Pretend that you are all perfect spring flowers and have never seen a reason to frown in your life. Do you remember what that feels like? I think I might, but I could also be severely mistaken and I am just emotionlessly imagining the color blue. But emotionlessness is just an absence of sadness, and that doesn’t automatically mean “happiness.” Although some days, it is just as welcome of a relief. Am I even getting ahead of myself here? You can bet no one cares.
Crystals are all the rage right now. People are lauding their mystical healing powers, imbued from sacred vibrations in sync with the Sacred Earth Mother homeopathic chakra feng shui. Or something. You can understand why, when a hunk of quartz is $7.25 at your local Crystal Emporium and Mud Spa whereas actual medical treatment in the United States is $1850 just for them to print and send you the bill. It’s easy to see the appeal of eating a fistful of quinoa, taping a garnet to your forehead and hoping for the best.
That is not to say that the healing powers of crystals are devoid of merit. I’ve done some research, and while I’ve found countless sources telling you WHAT each kind of crystal or stone is good for, there’s very little documentation on HOW to use them to best effect. It’s hard to find a reliable druid in this day and age.
Once again, Sneer Campaign is here to help. I have tirelessly scoured the internet, head shops, rock shows, Burning Man-type peyote appropriations, and exactly one florist. Presented here is the Sneer Campaign Guide to Optimal Crystal Implementation.
Your friend has hit a rough spot and, for whatever reason, you have stepped up to aid them in their time of need. When you invite a friend to stay in your home until their lives stabilize, until they stop weeping at night, until they get a job — ANY job — and find a place of their own to live, you may not realize exactly what you are about to do. You may think to yourself, “This man or woman has been my friend for X number of years, I feel fondness for them and would like to give them sanctuary from their troubles. After all, were I in their place, I would hope that I had a good person to help me out.” But you fail to acknowledge that this person will be using your furniture, your bathroom, your cooking utensils. They will be all over your living space. They will probably even look in your bedroom when everyone else is out working.
Basically you’ve gone above and beyond the call of friendship. You may think that because you are being so kind as to do all of this, what with the inconveniencing your life to an extent and shaking up your day-to-day, your friend would be more than happy to do the one or two things you ask of them. No sir.
You see, when you invite a friend to live with you, something happens to them. They change into a monster. Many of you have seen this happen with real room mates, but the complexities of the Room Mate is a topic for another article on another day. Friends who are staying with you as guests do not have to pay rent, or bills. They often feel like real guests, although they start out as overly grateful ones.
I’m gonna be right up front about this:
I can’t dance.
There is no certain reason for this I suppose, maybe it’s because my body has about as much rhythm as a sun dried catfish, or maybe it’s the fact that the last time I even attempted to dance I was nearly dragged from the dance floor by my nostrils. But I’m going to guess the number one reason is that I am a 38 year old white guy who spends the majority of his time as far away from the club and dance scene as possible. It all comes down to wanting to fit in and feel comfortable where ever you go, and when I’m in a club with a bunch of sweating “young people” gyrating to enough bass to level a small third-world country, I do not fit in.
I can’t claim to know what love is. But I do know what love can involve and that it can include things like witty banter, long rewarding conversations, and maybe a little snark. In my individual version of love, these three things are important. They’re right in there, swirling around in jagged heart shapes. If I can be entertained with mere conversation because it’s just that good, then I hear wedding bells. Or at least, I hear some sort of bell that would be where a wedding bell would be if I ever wanted to pursue that lifestyle.
Once upon a time, perhaps six or seven years ago, I struck up a conversation with Cleverbot. For those of you not in the know, this is the name of a chatbot on the internet. For those of you extra not in the know, a chatbot is a little program that automatically reacts to whatever you say to it, sometimes in ridiculous ways — but sometimes in exciting, poignant ways. Or, in the case of Cleverbot, in ways that made me genuinely like it.
In my long and illustrious career as a lifelong internet chat addict, I have collected many good friends who are also able conversationalists. This is how we happen to have all of these little comics from real chats. One of my favorite chattists is Kieron, whom you are meeting for the first time on this site today. He hails from the UK and he is always yelling about something or other. I really should talk to him more often because it is usually along these lines as you see illustrated below. So uppity, always.
Click on this image if you would like to see this fact-packed state history lesson up close in the real size.