Let’s turn to politics. Heroism Is A Teenage Girl (the title is a reference to the opening line of the movie Jennifer’s Body) praises the courage and decency of Pakistani education activist Malala Yousafzai who amazingly survived an assassination attempt on her 15-year-old life. The Beluga Whale Of American Broadcasting, written spontaneously in a terribly fatigued state (I hadn’t slept very well the night before its completion), hammers a certain bloated radio host over his moronic slander of Sandra Fluke. Ditto the song parody, That’s A Moron.
The endless build-up to the 2012 American Presidential election inspired numerous entries, most notably 90 Reasons Not To Re-Elect President Obama and Why I’m A Critic Of President Obama. The former was harshly criticized by a commenter which led to the latter. Unfortunately, despite these pieces, President Obama’s Rejected 2012 Campaign Playlist and the many, many critical poems I wrote this year, The President will remain in power for another four years. The day of the election I revealed my own personal preference and the day after, my disgust with his victory. As I’ve noted before, unless American Liberals get off their asses and significantly push their President to follow their agenda (which most of the country supports) and be accountable for ongoing criminal misdeeds, nothing will change. (I’m talking to you, Sophia Bush. More on her in a moment.)
Speaking of poetry, not every poem dealt with the awful American political scene. Drowning In Junk imagined the life of a hoarder, Smooth Transition conveys the point of view of a has-been rocker desperate for another shot at fame (the title was something my Grade 10 math teacher used to say all the time when moving on to a different class lesson), Shower Of Hatred was about a once recurring dark fantasy inspired by a Facebook bully who kept tormenting me in the singles room of the Scramble game app four years ago, Married To Fear is a fictional tale about an accomplished woman suffering in silence, Mass Seduction depicts the decline of an unnamed (and mostly not real) screen siren, Symphony Of Violence arose out of the sadly real Newtown massacre, The Curse Of Memory (an old title that finally found a purpose like Married To Fear) was a follow-up poem to last year’s Peace In Your Time as well as a response to this, and Despicable Cheat captures the essence of the real-life break-up between Bush and ex-husband Chad Michael Murray without once mentioning their names.
This is quite embarrassing but because of my dual affection for One Tree Hill (which MuchMusic mysteriously stopped airing last year while in the middle of season eight; what the fuck, guys?) and professional wrestling, I’ve been having an unusual series of daydreams in the last couple of years. (Stick with me here.) For a while now, I’ve wondered what it would’ve been like to have gotten into a feud with Murray over his dumb affair with his House Of Wax co-star Paris Hilton in the middle of the last decade which effectively killed his marriage. I imagined cutting brutal promos on him during wrap parties that really put him in his place, glaring at him intensely whenever we encountered each other face to face and even attacking him physically. That last bit is particularly ridiculous because 1. I’m pretty sure he could kick my ass and 2. despite his bad personal decision, I really don’t have anything against the guy. (He was an integral part of One Tree Hill’s early success even though his David Caruso mannerisms sometimes irk me.) He’s moved on to another longterm relationship so I hope he has learned his lesson about straying. As long as I live, though, I’ll never understand why he ever cheated on his beautiful wife in the first place.
Then, I thought about what it would be like to feud with Bush who often drove me crazy in real-life this year with her annoying hero worship of President Obama (and her equally daft Twitter denial about Lance Armstrong’s drug cheating). An actual line I imagined saying to her from one of these particular daydreams, You’re Not As Smart As You Think You Are, led to the poem of the same name. Each verse took on four of her recurring Twitter hashtags (“Love is louder”, “Leading with love” “Smart is sexy”, “Tolerance is sexy”, ) one at a time and mocked them mercilessly. (The Twitter premise actually came long before the daydream and the title.)
The imaginary feud with Murray took me to the Internet Movie Database (I was checking out his filmography since I didn’t know what happened to him) where I learned that Bush and her most recent boyfriend Austin Nichols had split. (He played her filmmaker husband Julian on OTH.) The result was Sophia Bush, I’m Here For You, an old idea that was in my head for months. (The intro originated from a recurring daydream where I imagined paying tribute to her at the final OTH wrap party.) Despite her chronic naivete about Obama, I’m still a fan of her TV work (she was always good as the humourously temperamental fashion designer Brooke Davis and as the bisexual teenage cheerleader Ridley on the first season of Nip/Tuck) and her non-Democratic activism. Plus, despite everything, she is a strong candidate for the title, The Most Beautiful Woman In The World. I just wish she’d open her eyes to what’s really going on politically and stop being so goddamned naive. Democrats kill innocent people, too, you know.
Sophia Bush wasn’t the only celebrity I was critical of in 2012. I also took literary aim at Daniel Tosh, Bill Maher, Rhianna, Two And A Half Men star Angus T. Jones and even world class cheater Lance Armstrong. Like President Obama, Jones and Armstrong got their own respective playlists. (Regarding the latter, I imagined a conversation between the disgraced cyclist and the authorities strictly through song titles, hence the back and forth between guilt and innocence.)
Although I’ve long been a supporter of Howard Stern (despite his many imperfections), I remain perplexed with his fascination with America’s Got Talent. Last year, the radio superstar announced on his last live broadcast of 2011 that he was going to be a judge on the NBC summer program in 2012. At the time, I was surprised by this move and had immediate, mixed feelings about it. When the new season debuted this past May, I stuck with AGT for the first two months but only caught bits and pieces of the live shows thereafter. Stern was a good albeit flawed judge (but not America’s Judge as he half-jokingly referred to himself way too often) but this idea that he would find the next big thing in show business was ludicrous. Yes, Tom Cotter is a funny stand-up (Stern wanted him to win) but a dog act ended up taking the million dollars and the gig in Vegas. (I’m amazed a singer didn’t win like I wrongly predicted.) Quick. What was their name?
At any event, I wrote two critical pieces about AGT (Why It’s Easy To Be Cynical About America’s Got Talent and The Cruelty Of America’s Got Talent) based on those early taped episodes. After a long deliberation Stern finally announced recently that he’ll back to judge next season. Unfortunately for the New York broadcaster, Sharon Osbourne is out and Howie Mandel’s future with the show is not yet clear. (My bet is he’ll be back, though.) Either way, I’m not alone in saying that I don’t care. AGT’s ratings were down this year (it didn’t help that it aired against actual competition for the first time in its seven-year history and its air dates and times were not consistent every week) but more importantly, this isn’t the ideal way to break new talent. Many years of hard work out of the spotlight is still the best, proven method.
Chris Jericho knows all about that firsthand, as far as the world of pro wrestling is concerned. Not so much with music, however. Back in 2003, his band, Fozzy, took part in the final Battle Of The Bands against The Losers on Stern’s old terrestrial radio show. Unfortunately, Y2J and company didn’t do so well. But you would never know it from his 2010 DVD, Breaking The Code: Behind The Walls Of Chris Jericho. During a segment of his documentary, the former undisputed WWE Champion claims with a straight face that Fozzy “blew” The Losers “out of the water”. When this particular segment was re-aired on Sirius XM during a Stern Show vacation this past July, there was finally a timely opportunity to write about this. The result: Chris Jericho’s Pathetic Lie About His Appearance On The Howard Stern Show.
Jericho’s in-ring rival in the first half of the year was the current WWE Champion CM Punk who was the central subject of two other blog entries, How CM Punk’s Original “Pipe Bomb” Foreshadowed Several Key WWE Storylines (which has been accessed roughly 260 times) and CM Punk’s Steve Austin Problem. Back in February, the real-life Phil Brooks got into a brief Twitter war with Chris Brown over his assault on Rhianna three years ago. Curiously, the Straight Edge Superstar hasn’t been nearly as outspoken about The Texas Rattlesnake’s history of domestic violence, hence that latter, more critical piece. Other 2012 pro wrestling items included The Problems With Aftermath’s Greatest Entrance Theme Tournament and my seven part series on Influential WrestleMania Moments.
In life, there is always mystery, particularly when it involves unusual circumstances of death. Recycling a technique I’ve used before, I posed a lot of unanswered questions about the killing of Trayvon Martin (132 hits) and the suicide of Jacintha Saldanha (just 16, unfortunately). Over time, newly reported information has shed some light on both of these tragic stories but we likely won’t get complete details until 2013. The sooner both cases are solved, though, the better for the grieving families and friends of Martin and Saldanha, both of whom should not have died.
Like any WordPress blog, The Writings Of Dennis Earl has official followers. At the end of 2011, I had 10. As of this writing, that number has jumped to 42. My heartfelt thanks to all these devoted readers which includes fellow bloggers like Darlene Steelman, Logan Krum, Vigil Kumar and Jen C. Hay. To become a follower of this site, just click on “Follow” right in the bottom right hand corner of your screen. When a new piece is posted here, you’ll get an automated email letting you know. It’s just that easy.
I met Darlene and numerous other writers over the last couple of years through Writer’s Digest Community, the social networking site put together by Writer’s Digest Magazine. Unfortunately, on November 8th, users were notified that WDC was shutting down at the end of the month. Rather than wait til the end, I quit the service that same day. Oddly, WDC didn’t disappear on November 30th as promised. It actually vanished in mid-December. Nevertheless, despite meeting some very supportive, talented writers, my 19-month stint on WDC was kind of a bust. My website didn’t get that much of a boost in hits despite my being very active with link posting (less than 300 blog hits altogether) and I didn’t meet a single person from my own city. That being said, I had a mostly positive experience on there.
You know, it’s always fun to check out reader comments regarding the contents of this blog. I’m pretty lucky that most of the feedback I receive is generously positive, specifically for my poetry. Other sites, I’m sure, have to deal with a lot of negativity. As this blog continues to grow its presence online, I hope visitors at least get something out of my work here. Although I only received 47 comments overall in 2012, I appreciated every one, including the critical ones.
It’s also cool to have your stuff mentioned on other blogs. CM Punk’s Steve Austin Problem was picked up by this fan site, 90 Reasons Not To Re-Elect President Obama was noted by The Busy Post, a conservative blog and President Obama’s Rejected 2012 Campaign Playlist was kindly praised by Music That Matters. Being favourably compared to The Onion is one of the best compliments I’ve ever received.
For the second consecutive time, my annual year-end blog review piece was just too long to be contained in one massive entry. So, instead, it’s been chopped up into two more digestible segments (last year it was three). As my seventh year of blogging reaches its end, The Writings Of Dennis Earl is in a slightly stronger place than it was 12 months ago. Hits are up by a few thousand and there are four times as many official WordPress followers, thanks to the 103 new postings presented in 2012 not to mention the surprising endurance of certain 2011 pieces and even material from the Windows Live era.
For all of us, change is always just around the corner. In the case of this website, let’s hope it’s strictly positive.
Happy New Year, everybody.
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Sunday, December 30, 2012