Friday, March 21, 2008

Chillin' In The O.N.I.O.N.

The Onion has a pretty good batch of stuff this week:

Black Guy Asks Nation For Change

I Love My Country-Aw, Who Am I Kidding? My Country Can Go Fuck Itself

(Favorite part: "O beautiful, for spacious skies, for amber waves of grain, like Ray Charles ever saw amber fucking anything. Amber waves of nimrods trying to cut in front of me at the supermarket, maybe.")

We Care A Lot: 14 Overblown Charity/Advocacy Songs Besides "We Are The World"

There's also a terrific interview with Matt Stone and Trey Parker from that know...the one with the rodent that crawls around inside Paris Hilton's intestines. They come off better here than they did in last year's Rolling Stone interview; they sound more like the guys that I would expect would be capable of making a show like South Park. The most affirming aspect of the interview is how it comfirms what I already suspected about their work ethic - they actually have high standards. Highlights:

Parker: "I always like, in the interviews too, I like to fancy myself more of a musician than anything else, but it really is—for me, writing an episode of South Park, it's like sitting down and writing a song. When you sit down and write a song, you kind of have the idea for the song, and you sit there at the piano and you kinda just write it. And then of course later there's some dinking around with it and changing some stuff. But there's this thing that happens when the song first comes out, that sort of magic when it first comes out of the ether, and you can't even really explain where it comes from. That happens so much with music, and people understand that with music. But I really think that a lot of movie and TV should be the same way.

So much of what you see now in Hollywood is written and directed by committee, and you can see it. Things are so workshopped and so run around the room, and so overthought. And finally, once you have a draft and then a draft of the draft, then they go in there and they work on every single little joke, and "Is there a gag here? Is there something here?" You would never do that with a song. You would never sit around for a month and talk about what a song should sound like, and what the chorus is going to be. To me, every episode is like a song, and every season is like an album. There's that part of the day when you first get the idea and you say, "This could be really funny." And you sit down and you write it. There's just something that happens there that doesn't happen when you really give it a lot of time beforehand. And that's basically my long-winded answer of saying I'm a procrastinator. [Laughs.]"

Stone: "The overriding pressure we feel… On one hand, I'm feeling less pressure lately. We have a four-year contract. No one in television has a four-year contract. We have crazy job security, so it's in our own hands. And so the pressure is more like, we have this body of work that we're pretty proud of, and we don't want to muck it up in the last couple of years. Although, obviously, you're trying to get an emotional charge out of a show that's been around for a while, so you're looking for fresh snow to clomp around in. We don't feel pressure of, "Let's make this really raunchy." It's more about making a good story, which is 10 times harder. The raunchy stuff's really easy for us. We just really are offensive, raunchy people. The work part of it is making it have a story and make sense and make it worth 22 minutes of your time, which I feel is a tough thing."

I also like the reportage from the SXSW Festival, particularly this bit about Lou Reed:

"I gave myself the assignment of attending this year’s keynote speech from Lou Reed, but seeing as I went to bed around 4:30 a.m. and the only R.E.M. sleep I got was at last night’s show (hardy har), I decide to just blow it off. But here’s how I imagine it went: “Whatever your interpretation of my work is, it’s wrong. The ’60s were an amazing time and full of lots of political turmoil—kind of like now. Ahem: Berlin song cycle, transcendental meditation, my photography. No, I don’t want to talk about the Velvet Underground, Andy Warhol, David Bowie, or anything else you might actually be interested in. Thanks, and to my all my fans out there, fuck you sincerely.” Hey, this is easy! Maybe I should just cover the whole festival this way."

On that note, apparently someone else found that Honda commercial clip on YouTube because here it is in the wryly amusing (and quite accurate) piece called "The Five Faces Of Lou Reed."

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