In Defense of Crocs


I don’t consider myself stylish.

I wear mismatched bowties, fractioned pants, plaid-on-plaid, asymmetrical shoes… I’m actually quite fond of my eclectic wardrobe of aloof monstrosity. Hell, I’m writing this post from within a slanket. But my puffy coats, German pins and Goodwill blazers are nothing in comparison to this. I have a camo hat with my name emblazoned it, yet toward the Croc I have no mercy. No understanding. Down my nose do I now look, for I am stylish fury.

Because these are not shoes. They are foam abominations. They are recycled Fisher Price baby toys, massaged and moistened into a foot-sponge for the foolish. Before they leave the lot, every “shoe” is clearly stabbed repeatedly by the workers as an apology to the universe. With every sickening squish, the mushy cushions claim revenge. They are enemy of life, anathema incarnate.

Also, they’re tacky.



Few refute my claims. I did my research, I read the style blogs and surfed the Pinterests. Even the most ardent croc defenses begin with admissions:

  • Kat: Renowned as the hideous fashion choice of frumpy soccer moms and the guilty item you hide from friends in your closet, they’re known as clunky, ugly, and gross.
  • Alison: I’ve always been someone who thought they were ugly and couldn’t imagine wearing them no matter how comfortable they were… I think we can all agree it’s not because they’re stunningly stylish.
  • Samantha: It goes with out saying that Crocs should probably be given the most-unstylish-shoe-ever-invented award. They repulse me…
  • Amy: I am the opposite of a Crocs supporter. I hate them. I think Crocs are really, really bad.
  • Akilah: I understand that Crocs are the RoseArt crayons of shoes.
  • The Mistress of the Dark (I assume her real name): The standard issue (crocs) are the most butt ugly creations I’ve ever seen in my life.

I’ll be addressing these brave women, piecing together a defense of this gelatinous foot plague. It’s going to be a long day.

Let’s start with the last, Ms. Of The Dark. As you might be able to guess, Mistress talks about the cute “shoes” outside the horrid standard issue. And here’s an actual, unfortunate screenshot.

Yeah, pic not found because cute crocs DO NOT EXIST.

Yeah, sure, “pic not found..”

But I went to the official Croc site, just to corroborate. I visited the men’s section first, the thought of purchase causing a brief shudder. And I suppose I could wear shoes that looked like this…

alrightHowever, that picture is directly beneath the twice-as-big…

I screamed while screencapping this.

I screamed while screencapping this.

Kat, Akilah, and many others offered similar defenses, saying not all crocs are the icky vision many imagine. And I suppose there are almost-shoes in the Croc line. But I want to defend it all, not just the (still kinda tacky) regular shoe portion. Though I haven’t discussed what I discovered in women’s…

Oh god, for real?

Oh god, for real?

Let’s move to Kat. She, like many of her croc-apologist compatriots, feels guilty about liking them. But she’s also one of the many who, in a time of desperation, tried a Croc and was intoxicated by comfort.

“Oh. My. God,” she writes. “I put them on, and the pain melted away. They were so comfortable and so cushioned, and the little nubs rubbed away my aching pain. I finished the day out with a spring in my step and no throbbing pain at the end of the night.”

She had a mind-changing experience, and found more-normal looking Croc variants. She has since hidden her original pair, which she “refuses to acknowledge*.” Curious about that asterisk? Well…

“*In full disclosure, I do own a pair of the fleece lined gardening Crocs. I wear them dog walking in the freezing cold, because at 5am when it’s 10 degrees out, I don’t care what I look like as long as it’s warm. Don’t judge me.”

"Fleece? Call the baliff."

“Fleece lined? Call the bailiff.”

While Kat is escorted away, here’s Alison:

“So this past summer I was huge and pregnant and hot with swollen feet (and an aching back) that desired a little more support than what my beloved flip-flops could provide… Let’s just pretend I’m wearing (Crocs) ironically, mmkay?”

It’s hard to argue against the comfort of pregnant women. I’d give her a pass, if only she didn’t decide to wear them “ironically.” The use of “mmkay” is also unfortunate. Hard time for her, NEXT!

“Here’s the thing, I hate to admit it, but they are kinda the perfect kid shoe,” claims Samantha. “No ties, no velcro, (my son) can slip those bad boys on and we’re out the door. I can credit those shoes to at least an extra fifteen minutes a day… It’s upsetting but at the same time an extra fifteen minutes a day for a mom is like an hour in regular time, so I guess it’s kinda worth it. Although I say that very reluctantly.”

I appreciate the reluctance, and the admittance to being a children’s “shoe.” You sound sane, so I’ll give you a… wait, your blog is called … NEXT!

"Fleece? Call the baliff."

“Hipster? Call the bailiff.”

Whereas Samantha is sane, Amy is a little… weird. She talks for a while about how disliking Crocs is akin to disliking gay marriage, and something about disagreements and consensus and people being people… but she began the post with Croc-hate, so her heart’s in the right place. She concludes with:

“And if you want to wear Crocs, do it. Be proud. If nothing else, be comfortable. I won’t ever like your shoes, but that’s ok. They are your shoes. Your choice.”

I appreciate the empathy and respect. And even with the blog titled “,” I’ll give her a pass. Sadly, the gay marriage analogy brought my feeble mind to a logical breaking point. She asked me to stretch my imagination, and I respond with NEXT!

"Fleece? Call the baliff."

“Bangs? Call the baliff.”

So finally we come to Akilah. I wouldn’t say Akilah offered anything the other Croc-rockers overlooked. She mentions the medical profession, and how Crocs are good for medics and lifeguards. She mentions less-conspicuous styles, comfort, the horrifying mascot. But I’ve made her last for a reason. That reason, ladies and gentlemen, is Georg.

Akilah wrote this post on September 20th, 2012. She had no comments until 19 days ago, when… oh just read it:


“Georg mentions shoes, but I can’t see said shoes. I have desperate want to see said shoes,” I said out loud, entranced. And then I downloaded the picture and… oh, here:



Georg… I love you, sir. I am not feeling the male ballet flats, but you are a rock star. You are bold. You are life. You are love. But if I just look at your lower half, I’m getting old lady legs. It’s weird, and I love you. But now I must move on.

I found other Croc-defenders. Specifically, three who begin and end with (ick) Croc-love. I’ve relegated them here, post-Georg, since they are legally insane.

Aley likes that Crocs prevent people from talking to her. She calls them a “catcall repellent,” claiming a feminist revolution. Alrighty then:

“Crocs are also something like the sartorial equivalent of Nickelback,” Aley writes. “It’s trendy to hate them. Admittedly, they suck in some ways— they gave me a rash on my foot once— but they’re also kind of endearing.”

Whether the rash is from Crocs or Nickelback is anyone's guess.

Whether the rash is from Crocs or Nickelback is anyone’s guess.

Blogger Litigious Mind writes a screed against Croc haters (she uses the word NEWSFLASH without restraint), saying people who dislike Crocs are crazier than Croc-wearers. But Kimberli steals the show with this partial list of Croc-pros:

  • Comfortable
  • Bright Colors
  • Good for diabetics
  • If you get marooned on an island; you can eat them.

Not to mention, they will shrink if left in the sun. So on your island, you can eat your “shoes” in raisin form. Can you do that with sneakers? I THINK NOT!

I prefer oatmeal with my raisin shoe.

I prefer oatmeal with my raisin shoe.

But you know, I’m taking a page from Kimberli. Here’s every reason I can think of that Crocs are not unholy deathspawn:

  • Some not-ugly styles
  • Alleviates pain
  • Good for pregnant women
  • Good for diabetics
  • Good for kids
  • Good for medics and disaster areas
  • Hating shoes is weird
  • Catcall-repellent
  • Bright colors
  • Edible, in I assume only the most desperate situations where all other options are hopeless and you are willing to give up your humanity for sustenance
  • Georg likes them

The last one’s most important.

To conclude, we have the right to hate things. I reserve the right to hate things. But belittling people because of their… shoes is kinda ridiculous. It took all my strength to not put that word in quotation marks, but I’ll attempt to grow.

I’ll never wear the things, but I can respect people. I don’t want to belittle those who have a different style from me, since doing that’d leave me alone with my slanket. Using all my strength, I can empathize. A mile isn’t too far to walk, even in hypothetic Crocs.

Your, what you call, a “ugly shoed person” is good I think.


But this thing needs to die.


In Defense of Fanfiction



This is my first real client! And like all lawyers when they accept a case, I screamed “OMG!!!!” and updated my diary. Next thing I know, I’ll be filing subpoenas and drafting up wills! Awwwwww yeah, knew I was ready for this shit! BRANG. IT. AWN.

“I was curious to see how you would handle FANFICTION,” my friend calmly typed before the sudden and understandable ALLCAP SCREAM. “Especially with such gems as Rekka no Badass.”

I always knew my first real client would include screaming and the word “badass.”

lady-justice copy

BA and blind.

Before we get into my confusing main example, let me briefly explain fanfiction: Shit. Also, poorly-constructed fan creations using popular characters or stories, shared online and derided by millions.

But yeah… Shit.

Rekka no Badass is a fanfiction about Fire Emblem, an old Gameboy Advance game. In Japanese, the game’s titled Rekka no Ken, hence the disjointed jumble of portmanteau titling. Either that or all people named Ken are badasses.

But logistics aren’t important. Not when author sadal suud outwrites Hemingway. Here’s an excerpt…

(Eliwood) worked in silence on the top of the highest mountain in the world, his concentration so extreme it was like a gay monk and hardass mercenary had babies. That extreme. His knitting rapiers dueled each other desperately, throwing their long, hard forms against each other again and again and again, growing moist with the sweat of Eliwood’s hands…


The codpiece was completed!

In his ecstasy Eliwood punched the universe in half.

Codpiece enthusiast

Eliwood: Codpiece enthusiast.

With this example, I run into a problem.

I don’t normally start with the precipice of an argument, but this is clearly the best fanfiction ever created. The entire genre has been validated. Without hyperbole, Rekka no Badass is the greatest creation of the human race.

However, last week I alluded to another fanfiction. And unfortunately, the Twilight-inspired Fifty Shades of Grey puts us back at a solid zero. When I add in the other fan porn, we descend to rock bottom.

Oh, did I not mention that a lot of fanfiction is sexual? Cause yeah…

Eliwood put on his shiny new codpiece. It sparkled in the reddish-burgundy light. In order to activate it, he hip-thrusted the sound barrier to oblivion, and immediately proceeded to dry-hump the ever-loving shit out of Lady Lyndis, for it is not really sex if all the clothes are on, and only a true badass waits for marriage.

Lyndis: To be fair, wouldn't we all?

Lyndis: To be fair, wouldn’t we all?

See, there’s two main grievances people have with fanfiction. One’s the piss-poor quality. The second is constant teenage-level perversion. And nothing illustrates both better than (oh lord NOT AGAIN) Fifty Shades of Grey. Or, as it was known in the fanfiction community, Master of the Universe.

Here’s an excerpt of the original source, written by the incomparable Snowqueens Icedragon (now known as the far-less-awesome E. L. James):

The doors open and I hurry in… desperate to escape… I really need to get out of here. I turn to look at him and he‘s leaning against the doorway beside the lift, one hand on the wall… he really is very, very good looking… it‘s distracting. His burning green eyes gaze at me… “Isabella…” he says as a farewell. “Edward…” I reply and mercifully the doors close.

… … … … … … … Really, Snowqueens?


An Icedragon’s worst enemy.

And here’s 50 Shades, by E. L. James (she should’ve kept Snowqueens Icedragon):

The doors open, and I hurry in desperate to escape. I really need to get out of here. When I turn to look at him, he’s leaning against the doorway beside the elevator with one hand on the wall. He really is very, very good-looking. It’s distracting. His burning gray eyes gaze at me. “Anastasia,” he says as a farewell. “Christian,” I reply. And mercifully, the doors close.

See what good an editor can do? Mrs. Icedragon put her story through a publishing house, had it edited, and now it’s cured of being a complete mess of dots and long pauses. Quality goes up with good editing. But since we can’t all have the opportunity of Snowqueens, how do we validate fanfiction? How do we defend unedited mayhem comprised of non sequitur and horniness?

Well, it’s actually even simpler than knitting a codpiece or whipping your lover.

Remind me when the movie comes out. Future client alert.

An Snowqueen’s best friend.

In a post for, guest blogger Nat Guest defended fanfiction. Guest actively authors the stuff, and admits the community is “the home of squeeing fangirls high on sugar and manga, or else of hopeless deviants: furries, kink-seekers and the downright filthy.”

She said it, not me…

"An ellipsis! NOT AN ELLIPSIS!"


But really, the sexuality is not hard to defend. It helps mostly female fanfiction authors deal with pubescence.

“Out in the real world, it’s difficult to own our own sexuality,” Guest writes. “There’s simply no room for shades of grey. You’re either frigid or a slut; you’re either straight or gay; your sexuality and identity is whatever people perceive when they look at you. But within the fanfiction community, away from the patriarchal mainstream, we can discover and explore how we feel about our own sexual and gender and personal identity…. Through the medium of fandom, we can find out who we are, and what we like, and how we feel, all through just reading stories together. And then hopefully – eventually – we get to write our own story.”

Which is surprisingly similar to my defense of Fifty Shades of Grey. Who’da thunk?

Without the sexual deviations (looking at you, HarryPotter/ProfessorSnape), the only thing to defend is quality. And that’s also easy:

We all have to start somewhere. published two articles that defend even the worst fanfiction as a form of communication and practice. Many fanfiction sites encourage discourse and criticism, which is editing in a nutshell. Giving these young authors a voice should not be looked at as a bad thing. Imagine the shit Shakespeare wrote in his teens.

We can.

Oh. Right.

Beyond that, I don’t see much of a problem. I realize there’s a lot of bad fanfiction out there, but it’s a case of babies and bathwater. Fanfiction has enabled anyone with imagination and a keyboard to create, to share, to communicate. And using established characters allows a fantastic jumping-off point. It’s also a way to get more readers and explore narrative structure. The more I think about it, the fewer downsides I see.

It might be shit. But it’s worthwhile shit.

Hmm. I fear my first request was pretty easy. I guess I’m just a badass lawyer. Though it could be the codpiece I knitted…

"An ellipsis! NOT AN ELLIPSIS!"


In Defense of Fifty Shades of Grey

fiftyshadeshead“Let’s do something stupid.”

For too long now, I’ve needed a topic to get back in the blogging harness. I felt tied, if you will, to a certain routine. I needed… mmmm… discipline. Maybe something a little dangerous would get me back in the swing. The sex-swing. Which is an actual object I witnessed through fearful tears.

This week, I was determined to do something stupid. And it doesn’t get much stupider, much sadder, than…

“One for Fifty Shades,” I half-mumbled. The teller recoiled. Part of me died.

Another part of me was living...

Another part was living

With seven dollars willfully misused and the saddest four words in existence hanging like a stench, I fell to a transcendent new low. I lingered outside, pretending to wait for a nonexistent girlfriend as close to American Sniper as possible. But they knew. The pervy middle-aged ladies knew.

I realized too late the cost of waiting. I’d have to walk in when they were all seated. Damn. Damn damn damn damn damn damn damn damn damn.


Luckily we were all similarly shamed. An unspoken agreement wafted around the room: We tell no one. 


That’s how I ended up with a bunch of women at a Fifty Shades of Grey matinee. Most were aged half a century. I was surprisingly not the only male in attendance, but the others had the luxury of coupling. Hen-pecked husbands with little to lose.

My envy welled. Lucky bastards.

Of course, by the end, no one seemed particularly lucky. Because I can think of no reason anyone would enjoy Fifty Shades of Grey. It’s amateurish, stilted, the leads have no chemistry, the motivations are atrocious, and (this is the oddest bit) it’s not in the least bit sexy.

In my notes, I have three ALLCAP lines. Two are “NO CHEMISTRY” and “REPULSIVE, HOW TO DEFEND.” And my very first line is “WHY ANNIE LENNOX, WHY?

With that, let’s review my notes.


Good lord, I hope everyone knew I was taking notes…

The film begins with dark city skies and an Annie Lennox song. I know, I was also crestfallen. It wouldn’t be the last time either, since the Rolling Stones have a song attached and Beyoncé has two. Two. Oh Queen Bey, what have you done?

I have many notes from Anastasia and Christian’s first interview, but I’ll spare you the details. It’s mostly weird platitudes and emotionless flirting.

“I could offer you a job here.”

“(breathy snort), I don’t think I’d fit in here, look at me…”

“I am.”

Oh gag me with a… well, I can never use that phrase again.

And when Christian literally stalks Anastasia to her job at a hardware store (“oh, of course,” I noted), they have a bit more wispy flirting as he buys tape and rope. I am now unable to buy either without gagging… hmm, can’t even use the word.

After more super-creepy controlling behavior, Christian and Anastasia eventually get it on. You see boobs, possible inner thigh kissing, ass from both parties, one shot of thrown panties and hands hitting a bedspread. I’m unsure of the exact proceedings. It’s all so inky and moody and stupid.

“Why can’t they turn on a light,” whispered a nearby woman I nicknamed Berta. Her husband, who I will call Burt, responded with a distracted “Eh?”

The next morning, Anastasia dances to “Beast of Burden.” It’s now the second thing I think when I hear that song.

After this, Christian attempts to convince Anastasia to sign a contract. A contract filled with descriptors like “The Dominant” and “The Submissive.” And nothing is sexier than a table read of legalese jargon. Those court documents get all the ladies hot and bothered.

And when Anastasia asks for regular couple stuff outside the kinky weekends, Christian rebuffs with…

“Dinner and movies aren’t my thing. Try to keep an open mind about this. Agree to be my submissive, and I’ll be devoted to you. This is what I want.”

To her credit, Anastasia runs away from this creep. But she relents after a walk, where Christian reveals that he was a “submissive” at age 15 (!!!) for one of his mother’s friends. He tells Anastasia of the many benefits of bondage, of being free from all choices. Because… I can’t even make a joke.

Real talk: Are any of you turned on by this horseshit? This damaged, molested jackass talks about the “freedom of giving up control,” freedom “from making your own decisions.” Is that what anyone wants, to be a brainless piece of meat? To be used by a sadist in manipulative mind games? To be stripped of personhood for sexual gratification? I am volcanically outraged by this.

Afterward we get a semblance of denouement. They have a long, dark scene of veiled BDSM set to underwater Beyoncé. The slap-happy couple go rich-people plane gliding. Christian calls Anastasia his “girlfriend,” which shouldn’t be a character peak but is played thusly. And it all ends with an angry Anastasia storming out and boarding an elevator, the threat of “sequel” hanging in the air. But I admit, I was almost too angry to care.

I wrote, “REPULSIVE, HOW TO DEFEND” in my notes, underlining a few dozen times for irate emphasis. But I think I found some answers. Thank God for Burt and Berta.

As the credits rolled, Burt asked his wife, “Well, did you enjoy it?” And Berta, bless her soul, responded with an unamused “Eh. Nothing I’d want to try.”

I personally disagree. The rich-people plane gliding looked awesome.

I personally disagree. The rich-people plane gliding looked AWESOME.

As Cracked author  points out in his article “4 Reasons ’50 Shades of Grey’ Is the Limp Bizkit of Sex,” you can tell a lot from ticket sales. He links to a couple different lists, one for the most pre-order ticket sales for Fifty Shades, the other for most religious states. Bell eloquently asserts, “it’s the same fucking list.” And while Bell writes about commercialism, I choose a different tangent.

I’ve read calls to boycott the film and Christian pleas for purity, but the uproar speaks to the fact. Many of the ladies seeing the film are religious. Some of those women must be a little… well, bored. Maybe outwardly prudish. A little curious. Maybe sexually repressed.

If they’re turning to this, they must be desperate.

This is hotter.

Better than the movie.

If nothing else, maybe Fifty Shades of Grey shows a need for communication. If you’re feeling dissatisfied with your marriage and sexual life, there are ways to liven it up. BDSM is one of those options, but not as depicted in Shades. BDSM folks hate this series with a passion. They say it’s an unsafe and unhealthy depiction of their hobby, and I’d trust the lady with the leather whip.

Burt and Berta were uninterested, but maybe they displayed the point. Openness about possible kinks is a surprisingly good goal. Most of the ladies watching Fifty Shades might find it embarrassing or perverse to talk about their fetishes. A lady must be a lady at all times. But here’s a guy secret:

We kinda like when you talk about fetishes. I know, what a surprise.

"Martha, is this what you meant when you..." "Shh shh shh... let me have this..."

“Martha, is this what you meant when you…”
“Shhhhh… let me have this…”

It helps to not be sadistic, and to not demand someone give up autonomy. I don’t respect power plays and selfishness. But it’s not really about what I respect. Maybe that’s what some people need.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m disturbed and deeply repulsed by the idea of sexual dominance. But some people are weird. Fifty Shades might be for them. After all, I represent a minuscule portion of their intended audience. The “misanthropic, moronic young male” market probably isn’t a high seller.

In the end, I’m forced to admit that Fifty Shades might help couples feel more fulfilled.

There’s other admirable discussions derived from this series, like thoughts on gender equality and amount of change required for a relationship. And most importantly, there’s articles about abuse, and not the “fun” kind. I’m talking about psychological and emotional abuse, like Christian displays repeatedly in this (need I remind you?) terrible, terrible film.

Granted, this series might convince people in abusive relationships that everything will turn out alright, that their sadist partner can be normalized and that free will is bad. I weep for that possibility. But I believe it’s more an exception than a rule. And who knows, maybe the sequels (good god no) will correct the flaws of the source material. Like… this movie did?

I just recoiled. Another part dead. Oh well, I’m not defending the source material. I don’t want to talk about Twilight fan fiction.

See you next week, when I’ll defend… dammit, fan fiction? Really?


“Let’s do something stupid.”

In Defense of Sony Pulling ‘The Interview’


“To be fair to North Korea…” I wrote that. Fantastic.

Thanks, Sony! Because of your movie and controversial decision-making, I get to play devil’s advocate for an infantile dictator and his posse of yes men. I already defended rapists and child abusers and perverts, and I just love sliding further into the murky swamps of evil. Times are good/bad.

I’m sure I’ll enjoy my future classics like, “Let’s be nice to serial killers, because they’re people too!”

She doesn't look so bad OH GOOD GOD.

She doesn’t look so bad OH GOOD GOD.

But old murderesses have to wait. This week, I need to defend North Korea, their terrorists, and the American company that caved to their demands. Fan-fucking-tastic.

So here we go. To be fair to North Korea, we did make their leader’s head explode. Kinda a gimme.



Technically, the cranial fireworks were in a rough draft of the movie. According to leaked emails, Sony showed that version to US State Department officials and a North Korea specialist. Of course, they reacted by explaining the possible international tensions this could cause, advising that removing the scene might be a tactful course of action.



“MOOOOOORE!,” they exclaimed.

According to this article at, the head-explody version got the blessing of at least three government officials (but was cleaned up slightly, meaning darker head goop). And one praised showing the assassination in gory detail.

North Korea specialist Bruce Bennett claimed that the untimely death of Kim Jong-Un is “the most likely path to a collapse of the North Korean government,” and backed up those claims in his essay for the RAND institute.

Here’s a quote from Bennett, verbatim from the weirdly hilarious (and if you don’t trust that, and FOXnewsradio.)

“Thus while toning down the ending may reduce the North Korean response, I believe that a story that talks about the removal of the Kim family regime and the creation of a new government by the North Korean people (well, at least the elites) will start some real thinking in South Korea and, I believe, in the North once the DVD leaks into the North (which it almost certainly will).”

Pretty much saying, “We want them gone, so let’s goad people into assassination.” Like ordering a hit via Hollywood. I’m all for freedom of speech, but subtlety is occasionally a good idea.

Fatty like industrial lube? What's that fatty, can't hear over all your fat!

Fatty like industrial lube? What’s that fatty, can’t hear over all your fat, fatty!

But this is clearly just a comedic film, no real murder meant. And true, Kim Jong-Un could stand to have his ego deflated a bit (dictator after all). But maybe we aren’t ones to judge.

After all, how would we respond if a foreign nation made a comedy about presidential assassination? Let’s say the French made a madcap farce titled “Lorsque la Tête du Président Washington a Explosé.” 


It’s this, for three hours. French.

Instant classic. Historical figures are fair game. Lampoon the hell out of Chester A. Arthur. Accidentally dismember Woodrow Wilson. Inflate Ronald Reagan to bursting, then have him fly around the Oval Office…. France, if you’re reading this, call me.

But “Lorsque la Tête du Président Obama a Explosé”? A harder sell. At least, to non-crazy people.


Tea partiers tend to throw off my stats.

Regardless, it’d be an international incident. We’d get offended and vow action against the French. No war or threat of war, but tense. Again, tea partiers might throw off my assumptions and demand war with France, but c’est la vie. But the French, they’d just say we have no sense of humor.

Because we don’t, at least not when the joke’s at America’s expense.

No nation has a sense of humor about itself. It’s playground politics. Sorry, politics, gotta remove redundancy. So is it weird that North Korea doesn’t like it when an American movie explodes their leader’s (considerably inflated) head?

To be fair to North Korea… I kinda get it.

But should we accept that terrorists are telling us what we can watch? That Sony caved and pulled their own movie like a bunch of cowards? What the hell, Sony? You made a (kinda poor) decision here, but you have to follow through! Why would you pull it?

Wait, what?

Firstly, a few clarifications. Sony claims to have pulled the film after theater chains refused to air it. So, theaters could also be blamed here. But those claims only came after the backlash, prior to which Sony said it was their decision. Again, politics. But passing the “coward” label isn’t the point.

I’m not accusing them of cowardice. I’m accusing them of greed and manipulation.

Question: Would anyone have cared about The Interview before all this? And now that we can’t see it in theaters, how many people are going to watch this middling stoner comedy when it’s on DVD? It’s patriotic duty and natural curiosity combined.


As the saying goes, “Curiosity filled the fat cat’s pockets.”

If anything, this Cracked article accuses the American public of being cowardly. Sony and multiple theater chains are just reacting to our collective pants-pooping.

Robert Evans writes, “The theaters backed out not because they were super worried about the threat of terrorism but because they thought we’d be scared and avoid going to the movies altogether. They bet their money on the irrational fear of the American people. And they were right.”

So that’s my cynical, cynical defense. To recap: I understand North Korea being upset, believe film companies are being manipulative and think our public is far too paranoid. I’m so getting flagged by the NSA.

Speaking of flags, here's a neat one. It's...

Speaking of flags, here’s a neat one. It’s…



The murky swamps of evil are certainly here. The wicked North Korean dictatorship might be the worst thing I’ve mentioned (seriously, pure evil), but reacting to evil does not give us permission to act poorly and stupidly. I hold us to high standards.

Pulling the movie seems to have been the only option for Sony, at least for now. Blind bravado wouldn’t have worked great here. Just think of the lawsuits if anyone did get hurt, or the loss of possible revenue when theaters started to abandon ship. And think of how much more money could be gained by making it into a talking point. OH, and all that delicious free advertisement and air time. And when it’s released on DVD… more of everything. Seriously guys, pulling The Interview was the only decision that made (fiscal) sense.

To be fair to Sony… I get it. I understand. But I don’t feel fantastic.


That’s it. I’m dun. DAMMIT!

In Defense of Furries


Why are people afraid of furries? Most haven’t even seen one in person. They haven’t been to a convention, or met the human underneath. Heck, most haven’t even watched furry porn.

I join people on most of these fronts… oh God, fronts. For I too have never seen a furry in person. Oh God, furry in person… I haven’t been to a convention. Good lord almighty. Or met the human underneath… nnnnnnnn… a furry costume. But…. nnnnnnnnnn… I am defending them. And in my curiosity… nnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn no no no no no no no no no no.

And now I’m very afraid of furries. For good reason. Reasons. All the reasons.

No no no no no no no no no no

No no no no no no no no no no

But I need to defend them. It’s what I do. So let’s get right into it and down to business… ew.

Some of you innocents might be wondering what exactly a furry is. And guess what? These images will not be voided!






Shia LaBeouf

They’re people who enjoy/dress up like anthropomorphized animals. You know, animals with human characteristics, like walking on two legs, talking, dancing, posing… other things a gentleman doesn’t mention. It’s like being a fan of high school mascot costumes.

That devotion goes from like to like, love to love.

I am no gentleman.

Ew. A red leather sofa.

But let’s start with the easiest thing to defend. Which, surprisingly, is most of furrydom.

You see, it’s not as creepy as people like to pretend. Most of the hype is all bluster and hoopla. Let’s start with an article from, titled “9 questions about furries you were too embarrassed to ask.”

According to author :

  • Only about 30% of furries at a convention dress up in full body suits. Most are there in regular clothes, some with ears and/or tails.
  • It’s not primarily sexual. “Men reported spending 34 percent of their online roleplaying time on sexual content, and women reported spending only 21.4 percent. Nearly half of male furries, and a large majority of women, reported that sexual content played little or no role in their introduction to the fandom,” Matthews writes.
  • Fan art is practiced by nearly 90% of furries, making drawing their most important pastime.
  • “Furries are overwhelmingly male and white, are disproportionately likely to be gay, bi, or trans, and skew younger, with an average age in the mid-20s.”
  • About a third of furries don’t feel 100% human. “(8 to 14 percent) report meaning this in a physical sense, with many more stating they feel not fully human mentally or spiritually. About 38 to 53 percent report a desire to be 0 percent human, if they could be.”
After which it just gets confusing.

After which it just gets confusing.

So people uncomfortable in their own skin, finding community in art and self-expression. That’s pretty much any fandom ever, from comic books to drag queens to Trekkies. And pretty much the entire human race, if our brushes are broad enough. If that’s all I have to defend, this’ll be an easy post.


It gets weird.

It gets weird.

And as we all know, no other fandom gets creepy with sexually-explicit material. What’s that link, you ask? Why, it’s a Google search for “Star Trek porno.” About 1,000,000 results. Sure, none have polar bears with strap-ons, but is that less creepy than boinking a green alien with tentacle hair?

Stupid cheap slacks...

I checked. The answer is no. Or more accurately, no no no no no no no no no no.

I’m actually hard-pressed (I hate myself) to think of a reason behind all the furry hate. What could spur the creation of, a website so stupid I refuse to link to it?

But I can provide an answer. It’s the petty need to be better than someone.

I fear we’ve accepted furries as the universal butt of an easy joke. “I may be a duct tape fetishist, but at least I’m not a furry,” someone might say. No matter what kind of weird, deviant geek you might be, you can be normal in comparison. Somehow we’ve accepted this thought process, like most “normal” people are united against the furry scourge. Do we need that tribalism in the 21st century? Because it’s petty and, quite frankly, disgusting.

As is all pornography, but one thing at a time.

As a side note, my internet search history is fuuuuuuuucked.

As a side note, my search history is fuuuuuuuucked.

Now to why I picked this topic: Last weekend was Midwest Furfest, the second most popular furry-based convention in the country. Midwest Furfest suffered a terrorist attack, an intentional Chlorine gas leak. The convention center was evacuated, and nineteen people were sent to the hospital. To be clear, some scumbucket hated furries so much that he tried to poison thousands of them.

And people laughed.

Most notable was Mika Brzezinski, a host on MSNBCs Morning Joe program. She discovered what furries were on-air, and ran off in an uncomfortable giggle fit. And people found it appropriate, because it’s furries. If you’re not enraged, you should be. Newspeople should be better. We should be better.

If you count Morning Joe as "news."

Morning Joe should be… nevermind, asking too much.

Luckily, I’m not the only one who’s upset by this.

 of the writes, “Forget about the fact that ‘furries’ is such a hot Internet buzzword for just a second. Forget about how their relatively harmless kink might squick you the heck out. Can we at least agree that no one deserves to be gassed while at a convention, and that maybe now is not the time for jokes to the contrary?… Heck, what happens when it’s somebody who hates one of your hobbies?”


“We have ways of dealing with scumbuckets.”

But seriously, furries are people. Interesting people, flawed people, weird people, mostly good people. This article by Patricia Hernandez at Kotaku is particularly enlightening, if you’re interesting in first-hand experience. As I mentioned, I’ve never met a furry. But it doesn’t take much for me to empathize when they’re getting gassed at their gatherings and no one seems to care. I’m immediately and fully on their side.

Can’t we get past the urge to belittle other people for their hobbies? Having a geek hierarchy is just the stupidest thing ever. It’s petty and snooty, which are some of the worst qualities to have as human beings. I’d rather be aroused by Looney Tune cosplayers than to possess either.

"Oh Gossamer, no one can know of our forbidden love."

Oh Gossamer, no one can know of our forbidden love.

I’m not getting into the weirdest stuff, like spirit animal names and fursonas (mine is an elk, according to this quiz). I’m not saying furries are necessarily easy to get along with, or simple to understand. But I do think abject rejection is unfair, and being unaccepted to the point of universal ridicule is tragic. I truly hope we can agree on that.

That said… guys, the pornography is really creepy. Sorry furries. For the porno, it’s just a long string of no no no no no no no no no no.


But something about this elk costume seems so very yes…

In Defense of New Christmas Specials

specialsheadUnfortunately for us all, not all Christmas specials can be Rankin/Bass. But rather than follow Hermey’s attempt to become a dentithst for the 800th time, I challenged myself to try the new specials. Perhaps I could find charming, bananas-level holiday absurdity without the aid of 1960’s stop motion.

All I found… were these three. They should all be ashamed.

Luckily, I have a blog where I attempt to defend the very worst of pop culture. And if this terrible trio is any indication, New Christmas Specials could certainly use someone in their corner. So without further ado…



In this half-hour special, Woody and the Gang (good name for a country band) go on a play date with their owner, Bonnie. Trixie the Triceratops wants to act as a dinosaur, instead of whatever Bonnie’s youth-addled mind dictates (old lady at a lunch counter, baby reindeer, etc.). She finally gets the chance to stop playing pretend when she meets some dino action figures. However, the Battlesaurs take things a bit more realistically, which only puts the rest of the gang in prehistoric peril. Can the power of Christmas save the toys from Tyrannotyranny (good name for any band)?

Surprisingly, no. No it can’t.

By which I mean, Christmas doesn’t do jack squat in this movie. Stupid lazy holiday…

See the little cat with the soulless eyes? That’s Kittysaurus, a.k.a. the only thing in the movie relating to the holiday season. It essentially twinkles around, carols on a trumpet when facing doom, and occasionally spouts Hallmark Christmas card jargon. It has about as much personality as one should expect from an ornament, being stuffed in a box for 11 months a year. You’d be bland too, if your only companions were tinsel and a bunch of spheres.



I thought the themes might be Christmas-related, but… nah. It’s about the toys surrendering to the whims of their owners, about finding joy in giving up your identity for the sake of others. Which, you know… is really weird.

You also get toys not knowing they’re toys (yawn), controlling underlings via maintained ignorance (yawn) and a vague admonishment of video games (angry yawn). It’s not really bad, per se. It’s just soulless and boring, like a certain kitty cat ornament.

Despite all those themes, this is 15 minutes of material stretched into a Holiday Half-hour. And as a Christmas special, it fails tremendously. I suspect it was an unrelated short, until they shoehorned in a holiday. But it’s inventive and colorful and well-animated, so it’s hard to be angry. Being insubstantial is better than being offensive (note for later). Plus, it’s hard to make Toy Story truly bad.

A sell-out, sure, but not bad. Probably. Hopefully.

A sell-out, sure, but not bad. Probably. Hopefully.

Speaking of offensive and bad…



In this 40-minute special, Murray Weiner runs a diner in the town of Stinky Cigars (don’t give me that look, I didn’t write it), where all the holiday figures live and play and sing and, most painfully, rap. But it’s Christmas Eve, so Santa Claus is running his slave labor camp to get toys ready. I’m not exaggerating. There’s a song about it:

“Oh, we work work work work work work work;
we really bust our hineys,
They hire us for this work work work;
‘Cause we’re cheaper than the Chinese.”

But when Santa is knocked out, someone else must take the literal reins. And who better than the best delivery man in town, a grouchy old curmudgeon by the name of Murray?

Seen here with a leprechaun, a mass murderer, a rabbit and Lincoln's forehead.

Seen here with a leprechaun, a mass murderer, a rabbit and Lincoln’s forehead.

How Murray Saved Christmas was written and directed by Mark Reiss, a long-time writer for The Simpsons. This should explain some of the off-kilter humor, and there are chuckle-worthy moments here. But oddly, Murray aims to be a family affair. Cracks at working without health insurance makes the proceedings a little awkward. But maybe that’s just a weird moment of bad humor and poor taste? Nah.

  • A quack doctor claims he got his degree from Colombia. BOGOTA COLUMBIA! BUH DUM CHA!!!!
  • An 8-armed Indian convenience store owner, when threatened, says he’s “Vishnu… Vish’n you wouldn’t shoot me!” BUH DUM CHA!!!!!!!!!!!
  • There’s a song near the end about how gay the main character feels, how super gay he is and how this day made him gay. Followed by uncomfortable glances from the townsfolk. Um… Buh dum cha?

Are these moments offensive? Perhaps. But poor taste can be overshadowed by humor, if done well. Unfortunately… also not funny. So we have a conundrum.

How Murray Saved Christmas - Season 2014

“Sir, exit the sleigh. Slowly.”

But actually, Murray is saved by what Toy Story lacked.

Mr. Weiner delivers all the toys in record time, so he decides to give gifts to the bad kids as well. He’s going above and beyond the call of duty, because that’s what Santa should be about. Not toys. Not baubles. Not farting dolls (an actual “joke,” written with clear malice).

Christmas, Murray says, is not about behavior, it’s about giving and forgiving. After 40 minutes of tired ethnic quips and fart humor, I was shocked to have a genuine idea in the mix. But there it was.

Granted, that’s 10 minutes stretched to 40, but overall I’d say it’s a success. Murray has no idea what audience to pursue, which really hobbles it from the get-go. It’s too stupid for adults, too adult for kids. It’s offensive and weird and confounding, but it’s also brightly cheerful with a certain acerbic charm. There’s heart here, so it’s hardly worthy of outright disdain.

The art of the source material, though...

The source material art, though, is unforgivable.

Speaking of “worthy of outright disdain”…



This one made me cry. But I’ll get to that.

This 80-minute Lifetime special follows Tardar Sauce (sic), a.k.a. the internet-eponymous Grumpy Cat. Grumpy lives in a mall pet store which is about to go under, unless the owner sells a rare dog within 2 days. BUT the mall manager wants the dog to disappear so he can replace the pet store with a Jamba Juice. ALSO, some rock star dognappers and a crooked cop attempt to steal the dog. BUT, they’re found out by a lonely 12-year-old named Chrystal, who can talk to Grumpy for unknown reasons. Chrystal’s lonely because her mom is dating a mall elf so she feels left out. Grumpy’s lonely because she’s been returned to the mall twice, and doesn’t believe she can find another home. Can they thwart the bandits and find a friend in time for Christmas?


If the scattered plot didn’t deter you, it’s also brimming with meta humor. Grumpy Cat (narrated by Aubrey Plaza) constantly utters lines about how stupid the movie is, as if agreeing with the audience is endearing. Commercial lead-ins ask why we’re still watching, to which I could only scream in fury. And Grumpy Cat, in turn, would quip “I know, right? But we needed advertising money, so here we are. Can’t get all our dough from the merch.”

Did I not mention the merch?

There’s at least 3 instances of purposefully inelegant Grumpy Cat product placement, preceded by lines like “hey, isn’t product placement awful?” It’s like the producers are in on the joke, but hate the joke and are desperate for cash.

These qualities, combined with the Home Alone meets Beverly Hills Chihuahua stupidity, make “Grumpy Cat’s Worst Christmas Ever” very very well titled. Somehow, it’s 0 minutes stretched to 80. It’s mathematically impossible.

And caught in the middle is a cat who clearly doesn’t want to be jostled around to carols (a fact they mention, because meta is so meta). Poor Tardar Sauce wants nothing to do this, in agreement with everyone. Including Aubrey Plaza.

That’s a real scene from the movie. Aubrey Plaza actually appears, and mentions she has top billing. I KNOW.

Like Toy Story That Time Forgot, it’s bland and hollow and boring. Like How Murray Saved Christmas, it’s offensive and weirdly dark and not appropriate for kids. In particular, there’s a scene where Grumpy imagines her life if the pet store closes…

Screen Shot 2014-12-06 at 6.29.25 PM

Thrown out

Screen Shot 2014-12-06 at 6.25.16 PM

Life on the street

Screen Shot 2014-12-06 at 6.25.49 PM

Put on death row

Screen Shot 2014-12-06 at 6.26.11 PM

Euthanized WHAT THE FUCK?

But I mentioned this hallow, greedy, cash-grabbing, nonsensical, stupid movie made me cry. And in retrospect, I think it affected me more than both my other entries.

I know.

Even Tardar doesn't approve.

Even Tardar doesn’t approve.

See, I cried for obvious reasons. Pain, fear, loathing. But also because the movie starred two lonely characters finding companionship. As a plus, one was a cute widdle kitty cat. And at the end, when all Chrystal wanted for Christmas was to adopt her best friend Grumpy, and her parents reveal her gift… I found it predictable and enraging, but also oddly moving. Shut up.

But Grumpy Cat’s Worst Christmas, more than many other specials I’ve seen, shows how the worst qualities of the season (commercialism, cynicism, greediness) can actually give way to even the slightest hint of purity. Even as it’s plagued by all manner of foul sentiments and lack of emotion, it can still inspire both sentimentalism and emotion.

If we shoehorn in and sell out Christmas, it still works. If we corrupt Christmas, it still works. If we actively try to ruin everything it stands for, it still works. It’s kinda remarkable.

This week, I hit Christmas special rock bottom. But even down in the very deepest depths, light can still come through. It’s a pretty faint glimmer, but dammit, I’m glad it’s there.

But let’s end with something good. Good ole’ Rankin/Bass. God I love them.

Early Onset Christmas


How to defend a deadly disease?

Because yes, this is a disease. Getting to be epidemic, infecting multitudes with something called “seasonal cheer.” Humph. Nonsense words.

Maybe you’ve avoided it, so you must be warned. Don’t panic. Early Onset Christmas has some easily-diagnosable symptoms: smiling in sub-zero temperatures, claiming to love snow, intolerable jolliness. Serious cases involve inflatable yard décor, a.k.a. death of taste.

The only known cure is abject cynicism. Fortunately, I have more than enough to go around.


But I’m not sharing!

The weird thing about this epidemic, though, is the timing. I’ll admit, Christmas can swell my heart three sizes. But there’s a time for that, and I want to hate everyone for the other 364 days. Like any normal young man, I snarl at children and mock their parents. When you’re 25, you start getting curmudgeonly. Natural cycle.

But what is natural about Christmas in November? Or October? Or my God September? My disdain for the hap-happiest season is only equaled by my disdain for it starting absurdly within the bounds of autumn.

E tu, summer?

E tu, summer? E tu?

But perhaps my anger is only guided by what I did yesterday. November 28th, 2014. The pain, the torture my curmudgeonly condition could not, cannot, will not bear. I attended… a Christmas Dinner Theatre.







I spent the entire night munching on biscuits and cringing. There were gymnastic snowmen. There were merry mariachi. There were sexy dancing reindeer women. And this being a dinner theatre, another singer punned, “those’re some fine hoofers.” Hooffffffffers. I heard something else and almost howled in laughter.

There’s lots more to this sordid tale. Disco balls, Grinchly Macarena, Elvis Santa Claus, “washing your hair in snow,” a possible post-flood haunting, too much sweet potato soufflé. But my doctor has advised against reliving it too soon. My PTCDTD is still in the early stages.



But people ate it up. Both the show and the sweet potato soufflé, stunningly. I was there for free (lucky me), so I’m allowed to wallow in humbuggery. But the others, they paid to be there? Paid actual money for tawdry turkey and jingly bells?

And as a reminder, THIS WAS NOVEMBER. Christmas Dinner Theatre is barely acceptable in the correct season, let alone on Black Friday. But there I was, eyeing my scoop of cheese dip and trying not to ogle the reindeer.

So maybe it’s just me. Maybe I can’t understand. But in an attempt to cure this disorder, I took to the internet. And I made an odd discovery.

Part of this is gender-related.

Pictured: research.

Pictured: research.

Nearly every defense I’ve found concerning EOC was penned by the fairer sex. Nearly all were of the “crafty” subset of women. Not “malevolent” crafty, but “I frequent Hobby Lobby” crafty. Essentially the same thing, but different connotation.

Anyway, nearly all of them had posts like “Ooh, this year we’ve made our own wreaths out of tinsel and dried leaves,” or “How to combine pinecones and paper-mâché to make personalized gifts,” or “How to make your coatrack more festive.” But they all talked about the holiday season, and how early to start celebrating.

Consensus: NOW!

Get me more cocktails, STAT!

Get me more cocktails!

Danielle Quales blogged about her personal experience, moving from Florida to the Midwest. She likes the change in seasons, but could see how sub-zero temps and icy hellscapes could cause some wintertime blues. But she thinks decorating early and often alleviates that ennui.

She writes, “Even though I’m not usually one of those people who really gets into the Christmas spirit, I decided that this year I would make a conscious effort to do so. Part of this newfound seasonal excitement could also be the fact that… I’ve been looking for excuses to decorate (our new home) for practically every holiday this year!”

 at the The Buffalo News interviewed a holiday shopper who listens “to Christmas music all year long.” This woman was likely insane.

But Gee defends. “There’s enough angst in the world that a little escapism into a happier holiday season seems just about right. Maybe it’s because I’m a mother now, and I just can’t wait to introduce my son to all the family traditions I remember as a child: hanging the Advent calendar, frosting cookies, singing “Silent Night” by candlelight on Christmas Eve.”

She even defends the ugliness of Christmas shopping, calling it “mothers, daughters and sisters bonding.”



Most of these women like EOC, because it gives them more time to purchase poinsettias and dress up their pets. There’s a lot to prepare and decorate and bake and wrap and carol. Plus, all that stuff about happiness and joy and blah blah blumbug.

But even some of them are tired of the encroaching Christmas season, because it takes away from Halloween and Thanksgiving. Not the holidays. The décor. Seriously, these were best defenses I could find.

Tiffany Burba of asserts that “autumn holidays deserve more than 15 minutes of fame and should not be subject to the tyranny of Christmas materialism. The neutral, matte tones of fall simply do not match the frosted tinsel tones of winter… And the home goods section of any department store assaults your nose with the horrific hybrid of pumpkin spice and winter evergreen candles. These belong in entirely separate spheres.”

So my defense is either seasonal emotion or clashing decoratives. Welp… blah blah blumbug it is.



Luckily, Burba didn’t merely complain about candles. She writes, “This problem is much more than just the face-value issue of pumpkins clashing with reindeer — it may reflect our society’s tendency to live in the future rather than enjoy the present. While keeping our long-term goals in mind is important in decision-making, we often get too caught up in next week or next year to appreciate truly our ordinary experiences each day.”

And right there is my main issue with Early Onset Christmas.

Waiting makes Christmas more special. I fear we’ve become so addicted, so attached to the idea of Christmas that we would have it every day if possible. I would like Christmas to be one day, even one week, where it’s truly great because it’s the only time we have it. I want something special, not something normal.

So this?


But that need for specialty is not universal. Though some people fret over the holidays, others live in the present and truly celebrate the spirit of Christmas all the dang time.

For all the crafty ladies and joyous souls out there, that spirit does not dissipate in repetition. They somehow maintain their cheer for the entire 3 months of their personal Christmas. Those people might be insane, but they’re not wrong.

So what’s the best solution here? How do we keep Christmas special for everyone? A few would say “celebrate however and whenever you feel like it.” And I… I…

Oh no. No no no on no on on on nonnonono nonononononononononono.

Oh no. No no no on no on on on nonnonono nonononononononononono.

I think I’m in that group.

At the end of the Christmas Dinner Theatre, Santa had a monologue. In it, he talked about the true meaning of Christmas. It was that type of show, stay with me. He asked a potent question. “Why can’t we have the heart of Christmas all the time, regardless of season?”

Christmas might be about weather ennui, or corporate greed, or arts and crafts, or fellowship or cheer or forgiveness or humanity or the birth of a 1st century child. But at it’s heart, every day could be about every one of those things. We don’t need a reason to be cheerful and thankful other than that we want to be.

Unless you don’t celebrate Christmas, but this can cross over into other Winter Solstice celebrations.

Plenty of tacky to go around.

EOH. Plenty of tacky to go around.

Like Santa said at the end of the show, Christmas is about “tenderness for the past, courage for the present and ho-ho-hope for the future.” And that sentiment can be any time, any month, any season. EOC might be a disease, but the Christmas spirit is worth the pain.

PS: Ho-ho-ho hope? Ew.

PS: Ho-ho-ho hope? Ew.