Bill Cosby Just Fell Victim to Bret Easton Ellis’s Post-Empire World, and It’s a Good Thing

Cosby_Meme_1Derek B.

I’m not a fan of social networking. I find it distracting, invasive, and nauseatingly narcissistic. I don’t wish to see countless photos of people’s food, I don’t care about their poorly written opinions on just about everything , I do not find most of their attempts at 140-character jokes to be all that funny or even interesting, and I especially loathe the lack of any attempt at grammatical conventions, which only make those frequently insipid opinions and observations that much more easy to dismiss.

I also don’t like the way that it fosters a culture of envy and encourages people to play the game of one-upmanship, competing with their Facebook “friends” to craft a more compelling and contrived image of oneself for the sake of fomenting envy in others. Social networking is, largely and at its worst, a platform to both indulge one’s narcissism and cultivate it where it may not yet have metastisized.

But I also recognize that it is an indelible part of our world today, and one may no more wish it away than one may wish away the weather or the release of yet another terrible Adam Sandler movie. I also recognize that despite its flaws, it represents an important tool with enormous potential that is even, occasionally, realized in events that harness that potential and impact the world in a positive way heretofore unavailable prior to the rise of online social networks.

In several essays and discussions on the topic of the new social media landscape, Bret Easton Ellis has characterized this cultural shift and the rise of new media as “post-empire,” describing this new media environment as one in which one’s identity or one’s “brand”—insofar as social networks allow everyone’s identity to be sculpted in such a way as to make them indistinguishable from a brand—is no longer beholden to those traditional seats of authority. In fact, Ellis argues that this mostly has to do with making one’s private identity indistinguishable from one’s public identity. That is, after all, what Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and all the rest are about, and even if this all amounts to a “new kind of mask,” Ellis says that it is “more playful than hiding your feelings, presenting your best self, and lying if you have to” (qtd. in Olah).

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BannedCast: Tea with Tanner 26

Tanner: VapingToday’s topics: pedophiles, escalator etiquette, and yellow school buses. As per usual, some of our topics were suggested by questions sent in by listeners to either Twitter handle @BannedCast, or email: Visit and read more about Tanner’s exploits and those of the band Lucky Boys Confusion in the book Medicine and Gasoline: On the Road in America with Lucky Boys Confusion.

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I Understand that this Plane Is Going Down, But There Are Still a Few Concerns that I Would Like to Bring to Your Attention

Plane is Going DownThis Boeing 747 may be plummeting to Earth, but I still don’t think that entitles you to be unnecessarily rude. I’ve been meaning to discuss this with you, and because this will apparently be my last opportunity, I would like to bring a few things to your attention.

Firstly, I did not appreciate your curt response to my earlier remarks about the food during the meal service. When I said, “Even if this salmon gives me food poisoning, it’s at least still better than dining at Olive Garden,” I felt that this deserved more than what amounted to a dismissive shrug and a patronizing chuckle on your part. Because I don’t think that I have to explain that explosive diarrhea and projectile vomiting is far less detrimental to one’s dignity than being seen sharing a booth at Olive Garden, you know.

You should also know that I agonized over just the right way to word that clever turn of phrase, and so is it really so hard to be a little more convivial when conversing with your seatmate on what should have been a 7 ½ hour flight? If there’s any silver lining to this plane’s imminent destruction somewhere over Missouri just 3 hours into our flight, it’s that I’ll at least be spared the remaining 4 ½ hours of your aloof and contemptuous presence. Continue reading

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Medicine and Gasoline: 10 Years Ago

Medicine and Gasoline 2012 Edition

From Contributor Derek B.:

Ten years ago this weekend, I set out on my Kawasaki Vulcan 750 to meet up with Lucky Boys Confusion in Cleveland in the midst of their Suburban Curse tour! The events of that weekend inspired me to write about Lucky Boys Confusion in an attempt to capture the excitement of their particular brand of sex, booze, and rock ‘n roll.

Returning home after that weekend and returning to work was like trying to sit still in church with a car battery clamped to your nipples. I was still awash in the sound and the fury of LBC’s rock n’ roll mayhem and the frenetic energy that seemed to attend every pre- and post-show engagement, where a host of characters plucked from some macabre central casting agency in the seventh ring of a burlesque hell governed by Barnum and Bailey’s circus turned every room and every conversation into a single, uninterrupted pageant of reckless youthful abandon.

Those experiences and the many more that would follow eventually became the book Medicine and Gasoline: On the Road in America with Lucky Boys Confusion, a collection of road stories, interviews, and LBC history that was my attempt to capture the unique madness of their rock n’ roll decadence and explore those features of their music that have made them perennial favorites among longtime fans and those who newly discover and soon champion their music.

That first story, simply titled “Cleveland,” became the genesis of the book that would follow. I would have to do a lot more touring, collecting, and firsthand witnessing before writing a book, and so in the spirit of rock n’ roll, I followed their midnight parade across the country on a Honda Shadow 1100 and catalogued what I saw and heard.

The book is obviously creative nonfiction, which is a polite way of confessing to its fictional elements, but there is truth in its pages, and all of its passages amount to the most accurate portrait I felt I could make of Lucky Boys Confusion’s particular legend, even if the book itself still falls short of a professional standard. Today the book’s overall failings don’t bother me—they’re a part of the tapestry of Medicine and Gasoline and a reflection of the young aspiring writer who spent several years doing the best I could to bring LBC’s story to life with the help of the band, who gave me permission to write this book and use their song for the title. And of course, Kaustubh Pandav kindly offered to write the book’s awesome foreword, which perfectly sets the tone for the accounts that follow.

Ten years later, I’m glad to know that I still feel the same passion and excitement when listening to Lucky Boys Confusion, and I still identify with that 24-year-old me who burned to tell their story.

Here at least is an excerpt from the Cleveland story that appears in the book, and it features Rosemary, perhaps my favorite LBC character and an amalgam of various groupie girls who defied their groupie status in clever and convincing ways:

Excerpt from Medicine and Gasoline …

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BannedCast Episode 3: How to drink 5 Hour Energy

BannedCast’s 5 Hour Energy recipes. Because you probably don’t know how to properly drink 5 Hour Energy, and this instructional video will show you how.

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Tanner’s Laundry List of all of the Ways in which You Probably Annoy Him:

Tanner is upset with you.

Tanner is upset with you.

  1. Don’t leave your clothes in the community washer or dryer for more than 10 minutes after the end of a wash cycle
  2. Don’t piss in the dryers
  3. Break down your fucking boxes before throwing them out
  4. Civil engineers are assholes
  5. Squirrels need to stop running into oncoming traffic
  6. Don’t wear visors—they make you look like a bitch
  7. Wash your hair before it starts to smell
  8. If you happen to drop a pubic hair on the toilet or urinal, wipe it up
  9. Walk your mail to the mailbox, you lazy piece of shit—don’t send everything via email
  10. Stop being in such a fucking rush
  11. Hurry your ass up and don’t block the aisle in the grocery store
  12. Skinny jeans are fucking stupid

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Tea with Tanner Podcast

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The Williams Sisters: Two Middle Fingers to Men’s Tennis

venus-and-serena-lead-altDerek B

How can I begin to describe for you my love for all things Venus and Serena Williams? It’s not a creepy thing … Okay, it’s slightly creepy, I’ll give you that, but I cannot help that I’m attracted to beautiful, athletic women. And so when I hear others insulting the Williams sisters or denigrating their talent by claiming that they do not deserve as much prize money as men for their tournament wins, I get a little upset.

Because the debate over whether women tennis players should receive equal prize money is, strangely, still an ongoing debate, and it is one with which I was totally unfamiliar until recently because I’m not exactly a tremendous sports fan. In fact, I grew up hating sports and while I now watch American football pretty regularly, I still don’t know the names of all the positions. My friend has tried to teach me, but it hasn’t yet taken. Partly because I don’t care and partly because I’m a fucking idiot.

So why, then, do I consider myself a Williams sisters fan? Because I think they’re hot—that’s mostly it. But my shallowness doesn’t preclude me from understanding that the Williams sisters, along with every other woman tennis player, deserve the same amount of prize money as the men if only because men’s tennis players seem to me to be, on the whole, conceited douchebags.

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