I know I don’t write often much these days; the pandemic has a way of making me feel like time is both infinite and unending. Is that vague enough an excuse? Unlikely. But much like the fists flying in faces throughout Cobra Kai, the snake has awaken my desire to act once again here on Pop Culture Squad. Continue reading “So Long and Thanks for the Fish, Man #069: Cobra Kai Has No Mercy… For My Love”
Not even a year removed from the debut of AEW Dynamite — the weekly 2 hour wrestling program from All Elite Wrestling — I consider myself a full-blown convert. Each week, WWE’s stranglehold on the pro-wrestling (ahem… “Sports Entertainment”) industry slips further and further down. In fact, just this past week, their ratings continued to plummet. And while all TV ratings right now are not-great? The WWE has less of an excuse. They are still producing weekly entertainment. It’s just that in comparison to Tony Khan’s black-white-and-gold brand… WWE is looking a lot less shiny. So much so I’m not even watching DVR’ed episodes with any zeal. At best, I listen to results (and complaints) from YouTube reviewers a few days after episodes air. While the WWE is literally too big to fail for now? As AEW Champion (and former WWE staple) Jon Moxley might say… it’s time for a paradigm shift. Continue reading “So Long and Thanks for the Fish, Man #068: The Nails In WWE’s Coffin Are Elite”
For any living under a rock, #SpeakingOut is a movement in recent weeks that has exposing a litany of professional wrestlers for their misogynistic behavior publicly calling them out to be dealt with. In the wake of everything occurring throughout the world, it’s a breath of fresh air to see those in the business who need action taken against them start to suffer for their behavior.
What we’re seeing is a systemic change; where allegations are being met instantly with action and repercussions. You might say that #timesup to live by the “wait and see” or “innocent until proven guilty” defense used by many who bear the brunt of the hashtag. But it’s clear by way of all that has come out:
Women will be believed. They will be heard. And those accused must deal with the ramifications. Continue reading “So Long and Thanks for the Fish, Man #067: Speaking Out on Pro Wrestling”
As I write this — on Sunday, June 7th, 2020 — it comes on the heels of taking my family out to the park today for a walk. While I wish it was for just fresh air and sunshine… alas, today we walked alongside our community in a peaceful protest march. With masks adorned and side-by-side with people of all ages, creeds, colors, and religions, we took stride with signs in hand. My sons, 2, 4, and 8, marched alongside their neighbors, not wholly aware of the injustice that exists in the world.
My 8 year old grasps it a little. But he is still innocent at his core. This all seems to him like an odd off-shoot of a Minecraft or Roblox world. He doesn’t understand how his friends — those in his class at school, his teammates in baseball teams past, or even the girls who he plays with down the street — are treated unfairly in society at large because of the color of their skin. My wife and I explained it to him as best we could. And he could recite correctly the “hows” and “whys” of the situation. But I know behind his dark brown eyes, his thoughts and feelings are still forming. Meanwhile, my 4 year old was just beaming to have so many people to say hi to. Continue reading “So Long and Thanks for the Fish, Man #066: Black Lives Matter”
I recognize that having column inches such as I do grants me a public space to air my grievances. A place, in plain sight, to shoot straight and vent with hope in finding sympathetic ears. Such as it were, we all have these spaces — take the social media platform of choice, and let loose. But here, on Pop Culture Squad, I’m given a bit more leeway to stretch a would-be status message and let it get some height. Normally I’d save my ire for something specifically in the pop culture space (#relevancy), but, here I am stuck in quarantine — a nebulous vacuum of pop culture at present. So, I’m detailing several things in my life that are at very least pop culture adjacent that have been grinding my gears. Hopefully with a little venting, this tightening in my chest might relieve itself a bit. On with the ranting!
1. Virtual Events
With remote learning, and businesses needing to flock to tele-meeting spaces like Zoom, Facebook rooms, Skype, and the like… the population is tired of virtual fraternization. Save perhaps the concerts being put on by various musical artists who all happen to have sophisticated recording equipment in their homes… Zoom and the like are fast becoming tiresome. Yes, we all get it. You throw on a normal shirt, and keep the pajamas on under the gaze of your web cam. Ha ha. Woo. But every virtual event remains the same. We speak over one another, or have dueling monologues. Our kids crash in, and suddenly we’re juggling staying engaged, and remembering we’d literally like to be anywhere else. Continue reading “So Long and Thanks for the Fish, Man #065: Grinding My Gears”
Can I call you Corny? Probably not. I don’t know you personally. But I address you as such because you’re undeserving of a more formal address like Mr. Cornette.
I wanted to write you today to specifically respond to a few of your opinions you’ve infected the world with lately. Specifically these:
On WWE’s Becky Lynch (Rebecca Quinn):
“This is a multi-million dollar talent and she tells me she’s pregnant? What the fuck?” Cornette continues. “This is like one of the boys breaking his leg on purpose while he’s on top. You can control this, this is not like a fuckin’ injury. This could have been controlled. It’s not like I don’t never want them to have children, but when both of you have top spots where you can make seven fuckin’ figures a year and blah, blah, blah. Wait three years and have a fuckin’ baby.”
And on WWE’s Dana Brooke (Ashley Sebera):
“Her entire face looks like it was remodeled after somebody set fire to it and put it out with an axe. What the f**k has happened? Did she do that on purpose or was she in a horrible accident? What the f**k?”
Well, Jimmy? Let’s get a few caveats out of the way. You’re entitled to hold any opinion you want. You’re more than welcome to spread that opinion on any platform willing to present you. And folks who follow you have the right to agree with your musings. Cool? Cool. Continue reading “So Long and Thanks for the Fish, Man #064: Dear Mr. Cornette”
In the long-long ago, my lil’ independent studio sold its wares (original comic books, graphic novels, original art, and nifty posters/postcards) predominantly at comic conventions. These comic-cons as they once were called, assembled hundreds of thousands of like-minded nerds, geeks, dweebs, dorks, and outsiders. These fine folks would shamble about the grandiose exhibit hall, cash-in-hand, learning all about series like The Samurnauts and … lesser comics. They were truly the best of times.
But now, we are of the age of Corona. Conventions, exhibitions, fairs, assemblages, meetings, seminars, and bazaars have been forced to become online husks of their former selves. The last 8 weeks have felt both like an eternity, and gone in a blink of an eye. More to the point? The world now will not be the same world again. Continue reading “So Long and Thanks for the Fish, Man #063: Indie Comics in Quarantine”
Peanut butter and jelly. McNuggets and dipping sauce. Funions and… more funions. Pairings that bring to mind those fine flavors that bore benevolence into the baked brain. That, or I haven’t had breakfast yet, and I’m jonesing hard. Debuting on YouTube today, from Comedy Central and the original minds behind “Middle-Aged Mutant Ninja Turtles” (seriously, look it up) comes Dope Movies.
In the 6 minute clip, (perfectly re-watchable if you happen to accidentally eat one too many special gummies you just mistook for your morning vitamin…) actor and comedian Clayton English tokes up and recounts 1995’s action hit GoldenEye. In between the plumes of smoke, English waxes poetic on white privilege, James Brown, and the Sean Bean Death Rule. And while I wasn’t sitting back with an annotated script to check down English’s reminiscing… I’m near certain he recalls the best parts in spite of finding literally anything funny whilst filming.
If the format feels a little familiar? One might look only to Comedy Central’s other inebriation-based recollection show, Drunk History. Done with significantly less money, guest stars, and pomp-and-circumstance… Dope Movies hits the same laugh-center of the viewer’s brain all at a pandemically-friendly price-point. Especially for the millennial types who save their cord-cutting shekels for more Sour Diesel.
Check out the premiere episode below, and be sure to keep your eyes pink-free for Dope Movies’ take on Jurassic Park on 5/8, and Meteor Man on 6/5.
Smoke ‘em if you got ‘em!
Just in time for professional wrestling to implode, Pop Culture Squad is proud to present the pilot to Another Smart Marc — a pro wrestling podcast as part of our Pop Culture Squadcast Network!
Join PCS columnist SmartMarc Alan Fishman and his guest, singer/songwriter Jeremy Lieb as they breakdown the coming and (mostly) goings in the world of rasslin’.
The lads discuss the current empty arena shows — the good, the bad, and the ugly. We’re taking Friar Ferguson levels of ugly. And if you get that reference? Well my friend, you’re just another smart mark.
With the increasing pressure of the CDC, state governance, and… well… common sense, live entertainment may be on the verge of hiatus. I speak specifically of professional wrestling — with both the WWE and AEW continuing to produce shows weekly. This perhaps coming to no greater head than Wrestlemania itself. Let’s just unpack that, shall we?
Vince McMahon’s first ‘Mania was the gamble that paid off to dividends still reverberating today. The WWF of 1985 presented the carnival-tinged cavalcade of muscle-bound pugilists in a venue and scope that prognosticated future success to the tune of billions of dollars earned. Fast-forward to the COVID-19 stricken wastleland that is America at present. Wrestlemania 36 just ended it’s 2-night audience-less presentation. In spite of death-defying stunts, first-and-likely-last-time-ever matchtypes like the Boneyard Match between the Undertaker and AJ Styles, or the Firefly Funhouse match between John Cena and The Fiend… after 7 hours of grunts and prat falls to the echos of an empty warehouse, I’m astounded this was considered a good idea. At all. Continue reading “So Long and Thanks for the Fish, Man #062: No Audience? No Wrestling!”