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ISSUE #114
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Features

ArrowSchlep Boys
Failing forward in one act

Allan Uthman

ArrowThe Britney Budget
Matt Taibbi

ArrowEeny, Meeny, Miny, Moe
Blogger and journalist Brad Friedman of The Brad Blog on the hijacking of democracy and more

ArrowObama
The best BS artist since Slick Willy

Matt Taibbi

ArrowSweet Nothings
Lies my paper told me

Allan Uthman

ArrowMenace in Seat 36F
Based on a True Story

Michael J. Smith

ArrowBEAST gets poetic on dat ass!
Saul Williams schools us on Hip Hop and our choice of lunch

ArrowCelebrity Buttholes Will Be the End of Us
A. Monkey

ArrowThe BEAST Melanin / Electability Index

ArrowThe Truth Spin
Sometimes, honesty really is the best policy

Allan Uthman

ArrowTV Highlights
CBSs Numb3rs signals the end of the end of the American Empire

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad

Departments
ArrowKino Korner: Movies
The Abandoned, Wild Hogs, The Number 23, Zodiac, Reno 911!: Miami, Amazing Grace, Black Snake Moan, Shooter, The Astronaut Farmer, Inland Empire

ArrowBEAST-O-Scopes
As divined by your ethereal guide

Arrow[sic] - Letters
The Pussy of the Christ, How Great We Art, Dumb Shit, PhD, All You Need is Loathe and more

 

Celebrity Buttholes Will Be the End of Us
A. Monkey

Is our culture rotting at the same rate in all of its facets? Does Anna Nicole Smith’s pills overdose among the slot machines at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Hollywood, Florida equate to Marilyn Monroe’s pills overdose in 1962 in the same way that George Bush’s visibly defective attempts at presidency are sad echoes of JFK’s run of the White House?

Yep. This thing is falling apart across the board at exactly the same speed. In the ‘90s, thirty years after Monroe died, the demands on our white blonde archetype matched our own decadence—instead of asking her to act, we were happy to appreciate Anna Nicole through the medium of advertising. Monroe partied at real clubs with live acts that the Hard Rock Cafe & Casino has commodified: It is exactly where a Monroe rehash like Anna Nicole was supposed to die.

There’s a flip side to this line of argument—that of course Grace Kelly went on vomiting sprees at clubs after breaking up with her lovers just like Britney or Lindsay Lohan do, and that it’s the decorum in the gossip media that kept stories like that at bay: Marilyn Monroe’s death was no less inelegant.

But that’s easy to refute—it’s that decorum in the media that has also changed. The rules of accruing celebrity put an evergrowing premium on access to our real selves, and there’s something in that process that matches the change from vomiting at a night club with leather booths, tuxes and fancy dresses, 20-piece live bands and ballroom dancing to alcopops, DJs, cellphone photos and sweaty grinding in tank tops.

The inertia of all this is slowly pulling us toward the realization that, like that recurring Us Weekly feature says, celebrities are Just Like Us. The middle of this wave is currently satisfied in seeing celebs get a parking ticket, shop in their sweatpants, or decorate their “Cribs.” At its margins are the stories of rehab and domestic abuse. Where the wave is heading—and ends—is only an inch or so away from Britney’s bald eagle: her shit-stained asshole.

Once mass society gets its dose of snapshot pictures of that, or hear stories about what Britney’s shit looked like—then that’s the end of our living idols as we know it. Then we’ll know for sure that Britney Spears is just like us. This isn’t something to mourn, or really have any emotion about. It will simply be one of many of the last gasps in the way our culture has been doing business.

And what’s the trajectory with our political culture? The political touchstone we all shared in the ‘60s made our fantasies come true. We wanted the moon, JFK promised us the moon, and we got it. In this era we didn’t know we wanted. Bush couldn’t imagine anything new, so he copied JFK and promised us Mars, and we laughed at him.

The end of our political culture won’t be seeing Bush’s shit-stained asshole. It will be when we see the political culture doesn’t work anymore—that one guy speaking for 300 million is fucking crazy. It already doesn’t work—but we are still content to complain about “Bush.” I’m not sure exactly what the event is that will signal the last gasp, maybe it’s the effects of dropping tactical nukes on Iran, or total economic collapse, but it doesn’t really matter because our the rest of our culture will go simultaneously. Best I can tell, it’s only an inch away.

 

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