Tuesday, April 12, 2016

When We Were Young(er)

Back in the twentieth century, people thught it would be funny if celebrities met in the squared circle and fought to the death. This sensation was called, cleverly enough, "Celebrity Deathmatch." These bouts were arranged between somewhat likely pairs: Stallone and Schwarzenegger, Kid Rock and Eminem, even George Washington and Abraham Lincoln. It is the kind of quintessentially American thinking that made Batman v Superman possible. It is the kind of thinking that caused a friend of mine and I to enter into a discussion about how such a conflagration would turn out if the parties involved were Bugs Bunny and Mickey Mouse. It's the kind of hypothetical positing of power and rage that makes our society tick. Tick. Boom.
We can keep our more aggressive impulses at bay by imagining how claymation versions of our most cherished public figures might rip one another's spine out through their noses. It is that kind of vicarious catharsis that keeps our country from coming apart at the seams. Of course, it has been some time since the stop motion carnage has been a regular feature of MTV's program schedule. That was back in the early days of reality TV and Al Gore's Internet, and maybe the creators hadn't fully reckoned on how necessary this outlet was. Thankfully, all these other venues for celebrities old and prefabricated new have offered us all release from socially stored angst and ennui.
Like just a few days ago when TMZ did us the favor of discovering Nicolas Cage fighting Vince Neil. In Las Vegas! Sure, this all would have been so much more exhilarating and A-List if this little dust-up had occurred back in the Doctor Feelgood/Wild At Heart days. All that leather and snakeskin would have made the scene so much more intense. As it was, these two gentlemen are now in their fifties and a bystander described the scuffle "as if two T Rexes were slapfighting one another." The whole ugly scene began when Mister Neil grabbed a woman who was asking Mister Cage for an autograph and threw her to the ground. If that doesn't sound like it makes much sense, imagine that this all occurred not in the wee hour of the morning but at five in the evening in front of the Aria Hotel. Not outside some scary biker bar. And both of them got to keep their spines. Ah, for the olden days.

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