Attack Of The Giant Leeches

« April 2010 »

Memo to Avatar buyers, box office futures, and John Ensign: YOU ARE DUMB.

Capitalism! Contrary to popular belief, it's not the religious fervor that leads people to SHOUT ON THE INTERNET ALL THE TIME. No, it's actually a widely debunked, fraudulent economic system clung to by millions of people who want to make lots of money for doing nothing, so that they can sit back and bitch about people on welfare all day. And it's also, loosely, the topic of today's SPASTIC TOPIC MONKEY FRIDAY.

First, some of you may have already bought Avatar on DVD or Blu-Ray. You poor, pitiful suckers. I know I said yesterday that I'm generally laissez-faire and caveat emptor about the entertainment industry, but that doesn't mean I can't chastise the emptors who find a caveat to the "caveat" part. They've TOLD you there aren't any features on it. They've TOLD you that there's gonna be a version with special features in six months. For fuck's sake, they even told you it'd be back in theaters in August.

If you somehow cannot parse these things into not buying this pointless, over-priced first release, then there's something wrong with you. You're just handing money over to people who did almost no work whatsoever. I mean, they put Avatar out in like forty different digital formats, so all this $25 Blu-Ray is is a slight down-convert of one of them. Oh, and they printed boxes, too. Don't encourage them. And this isn't some backlash bullshit either. I liked the movie. I'll own it on Blu-Ray in due time. But not until they fill up another fifty gigabytes with stuff about how they made it, since with Avatar, that's at least as interesting as the actual story.

And speaking of pointless money-making enterprises in the movie business, box office futures trading? Really? We're in the middle of trying to make up some rules that rein in the imaginary paper-shuffling that somehow moves wealth out of the hands of gainfully employed people and into the pockets of hedge-fund slime molds, but we're gonna allow people to bet on how much money a movie's going to make, and pretend it's something legitimate by calling it "futures trading"?

Here's a brilliant idea: GOODS AND/OR SERVICES. Make something people want to buy or do something people want you to do. That's your pure free-market capitalism right there. Plus, there's a better than even chance box office futures trading will lead to a Harry Knowles version of the E-Trade baby, and if that happens, some motherfucker is going to pay.

These people could learn a thing or two from John Ensign. I feel bad about not making enough fun of John Ensign, but without a string of constant revelations or any media pressure at all to get him to say stupid shit, the otherwise hilarious saga of a family-values Republican who cheated on his wife and bought off his mistress' husband in ethically dubious and/or illegal ways has no comedy hook. Or, rather, HAD no comedy hook.

You see, while John Ensign performs his duties as a United States senator and is compensated astonishingly well, given how much he sucks at it, John Ensign's political future is also a free-market entity in its own right. Campaigns cost money, and so the candidate is, shall we say, a complex derivative that individuals and corporations can invest in via campaign contributions. And the market has spoken.

John Ensign raised fifty dollars in campaign contributions from January through March. Fifty dollars total. Two $25 contributions from the same guy, Robert Donald, who absolves the senator on the grounds that, I shit you not, "All men are dogs."

Let me tell you what a $50 fundraising total means. If John Ensign were, say, a set of sheets at Target, those sheets would be put on clearance. First at 30% off, then at 50% off, then at 75% off. Then, when nobody wanted them, they'd be donated to Goodwill, where they'd sit on the shelf for a fraction of their retail price. Eventually, Goodwill would get tired of them, and donate them to a homeless shelter, and the homeless people would grumble a lot about having to sleep on ugly-ass, no thread-count discount sheets. Eventually the sheets would be stolen from the shelter and burned for warmth, and the smoke would contain enough toxic elements to give everyone who breathed it cancer. That analogy is ALMOST as bleak as John Ensign's 2010 re-election chances. But what can I say? The market has spoken.