Friday, November 19, 2004

The Best of Seanbaby

Readers of this blog may occasionally notice that I have a kind of premature nostalgia for the Internet culture of the '90s. Before blogging took off, and before online journalism went completely mainstream, people were putting up webpages -- combinations of writing, graphics, and interesting cultural perspectives that added up to something a bit more varied and substantial than a mere blog post (I include my own blog in that "mere" description, by the way). This was particularly true when it came to webpages dealing with popular culture. Some of the people who made these webpages had a knowledge of weird, little-known areas of pop culture, especially '80s pop culture, and they would use the web to riff on that culture in a very involved way. What I'm getting at is that the web culture of the '90s was sort of an "alternative" culture; like everything on the web, it basically fed off the mainstream media (and back then, Satan hadn't invented the abbreviation "MSM"), but it did so in a way that was more unique and interesting than today's online pop-culture stuff, which basically divides into geeky guys (angry people who will prove to you that every Star Trek episode ever made is a bitter disappointment) and snarky gals (the facile snarkiness of Television Without Pity). This was the era that produced such triumphs of pop-culture commentative weirdness as the early WWWF Grudge Match or The Evil Overlord List.

One of the commentators from this era is still producing a fair volume of stuff: that would be the Bay-Area madman who calls himself Seanbaby. He doesn't update his website very often, but it still offers access to some of his best stuff, like the Hostess Fruit Pies Page, his reviews of educational videos like Mr. T's Be Somebody or Be Somebody's Fool and Chad Allen's anti-drug masterpiece Straight Up, and his undisputed masterpiece, The Super Friends Page. (A shorter version of this is also available.) Seanbaby now writes a lot of articles for The Wave; a lot of these articles are hilarious -- especially his piece on The Eightiest Movies -- though the video reviews are a bit hampered by the fact that magazine articles can't include sound files or a lot of pictures.

The appeal of Seanbaby's stuff, even to someone like me who reads his stuff without having had the sense to get high first, is twofold. One, there's his ability to write at length about stuff that nobody else would write about, like crummy educational videos and comics, or internet fads, or horrible video games. His persona, simultaneously obsessed with this stuff and angry at a world where such things can become a subject for obsession, can be described as "punk geek." And that leads me to the second reason I love to read Seanbaby: his writing style, which was and is unique. And I mean "unique and good," not "unique as a euphemism for 'bad but interesting.'" Some sample Seanbaby quotes:

On Breakin' 2: Electric Boogaloo:
When are real estate developers going to learn that progress is no match for break dancing recreation centers?

From a piece on the acting careers of football players:
Position as Player:
Running back
Position as Film Star: Jesus meets Ultra Jesus and the two of them reconfigure the stars into the image of multi-talented savior of the human race, Bo Jackson.
Notable Co-Stars: Bo Jackson, Bo Jackson, Bo Jackson, Bo Jackson, Bo Jackson
Football Metaphor: Putting Bo Jackson's acting career into word symbols would require me to install a rocket pack to every single letter and replace all punctuation with pictures of Bo Jackson fighting a speeding locomotive. So forgive me when all I can say is that Bo Jackson's acting career is a lapdance from God on every molecule of your face.

On the Superfriends character "Apache Chief":
His name bugged me too. I don't think he was Apache or a chief. That's like taking a white guy and throwing him on a team of indians and saying, "Your name is.... Minnesota President." Excuse me, they would probably say, "Your name, like ancients before you, is symbol of great moon as flying eagle protect you. Your name be... Minnesota President."

From the "Be Somebody or Be Somebody's Fool" review:
It's a new technique of self-motivation. He doesn't teach you how to organize your planner or let the system work for you. Mr. T makes it very clear during the opening song that if you don't start feeling good about yourself, he is going to kick your ass. He's serious about it. For your own safety, you better get happy.

The "cheer up or I'll kill you" motivational technique might work better than hugs and trust falls. Here's how you can find out: Get a friend or relative with a weight problem - too big or too skinny, it doesn't matter. If they're anorexic, throw tennis balls at them as hard as you can. Work your way up to baseballs and throwing stars until they start eating right (If you reach the point where you're throwing bowling balls or larger at them, your energy would be better served just stuffing food in their mouths). Now, the chubbies are tougher than the skinnies, so you'll need more than tennis balls. You might have to smack them in the head with a two by four to make them feel good about themselves. Sucka.

That's the kind of thing that's left over from the time when the Internet was still sort of a weird little toy for nutty people who grew up in the '80s and remembered things that they never wrote about in academic journals or the mainstream media (again, I refuse to use the term "MSM" for any reason whatever). Of course the Internet still incorporates lots of original voices, a lot of unique writing styles. But they're mostly writing about things that actually matter. Not so very long ago, life online was so cut off from the Real World (tm) that people thought nothing of creating huge pages to mock the Superfriends. Ah, simpler times. Thanks, Seanbaby.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

^^ nice blog!! ^@^

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