Hurricane Irene -- a timely subject, I know! -- unleashed a fury of references to the eighth season Simpsons episode "Hurricane Neddy". If you don't recall, it's the one where Ned Flanders' life goes to hell after his home collapses in a hurricane. Anyhow, my friend Sarah posted the following screenshot on her Facebook wall, in response to the mad dash for supplies, and rumors of stores taking advantage of folks in said mad dash:
To which I immediately replied with my favorite gag from that show (and set it as my profile picture for the duration of the hurricane):
"I'm a surfer!"
...and was immediately drawn in to a discussion by a (slightly older) mutual friend asking me to verify the fact that I was aware that the Butthole Surfers were an actual band.
Well, not only am I aware, but Electriclarryland and Independent Worm Saloon were two of my absolute favorite albums in high school. I am totally sure that, at some point between the ages of fourteen and sixteen, I could sing along to every song on either record. So, here are two of my favorite tracks off either album: "You Don't Know Me" and "Cough Syrup":
Considering my love for both the action movies this is spoofs -- hell, I just watched Timecop the other night -- and the era of The Simpsons it is culled from, there's no way I could not post this. I am also really surprised how a few years changes my perception of the scenes from "hey, that's pretty cool" to "damn, that is a lot of blood for a prime-time TV show." I think as I get older and more aware of things like network television standards (rather than assuming that everything I see is, and always has been, status quo) I can appreciate what The Simpsons did for television all the more.
There’s an Emmy-winning 2001 episode of the Simpsons titled HOMЯ, which plays out as a parody of Flowers for Algernon (or the film based on it, Charly, the source of the backwards ‘R’.) The basic plot is that Homer, in need of money, signs up to be a guinea pig for a research facility. They discover a crayon jammed in his brain, courtesy of a childhood accident. Removing the crayon makes him super-intelligent, but alienates Homer from his friends. Toward the end, he demands the scientists replace the crayon:
Homer: Please, turn me back into the blissful boob I was.
Scientist: Sorry, we don't play god here.
Homer: Huh? You do nothing but play god! And I think your octo-parrot would agree with me.
Octo-Parrot: Awk! Polly shouldn't be!
Even better, here’s someone's tattoo of the little guy.
What does this have to do with hip-hop? Well, Lil Wayne apparently went to medical school, moved to an abandoned island and became Lil Dr. Moreau. His new album Rebirth reduces, ad absurdum, the whole “rock star” persona he’s been cultivating. It's not a straight hip-hop album like his fantastic Tha Carter III, instead he rap/sings over mediocre guitar riffs, in a variety of rock styles. I’ll admit, some of it is fun. On “American Star,” the opening track, he yells out “BRIDGE!” right before the bridge. His lyrics remain witty and biting, &c &c. It’s the albums closer, “The Price Is Wrong, that brought to mind the Octo-Parrot. The track is a bizarre mashup of hip-hop and angry teenage punk… I think. Take a listen:
I can only assume that someone carefully explained to Lil Wayne what punk rock sounded like and who its fans were, without actually playing any examples for him. Its punk-by-numbers, except there’s nothing but a bunch of overlapping blobs to fill in. Polly shouldn’t be.