When it became apparent that “We Are the World” had turned thirty the other day, I did what I always do in these sorts of situations: I lost myself in a clickhole of Wikipedia research on the subject. What interested me most, though, was originally attempting to figure out if anyone had participated as a vocalist in both songs (apparently not), but rapidly became trying to figure out if the judgments of critics against the WATW25 song were valid. Some people were especially upset about the added rap segment to the end of the song, which seems kind of unfair, while others seemed annoyed about specific artists participating in the project, which seemed slightly more fair, but also like a thing that probably happened the first time around.
The most interesting point that came up more than a few times, though, was that the original song had a much more robust volume of stars than the remake, or rather, that the remake had a lot of one-hit wonder, flash-in-the-pan stars involved in it. I was curious about how valid that actual point was, comparatively speaking, between the versions, so I opted to sit down with the lists of people who appeared in both songs and see, between the two, which had an overall higher caliber of “big name stars” versus mid-ground players or flashes in the pan. During this review, I also noted that a whole bunch of obvious names you’d expect to see in one of the two songs simply never performed in either piece, so I also wanted to close out the article with a potential list of people to pick up, from both missing names and current modern singers, in the event that we decide to do another “We Are the World” for… some reason.
For reference, we’re only really discussing people ranked as “soloists” for both songs, and we’re using the lists as documented on Wikipedia of who performed in which songs, in order of appearance. Both lists seem to be more or less accurate, though if there are any inaccuracies, I’m sure someone will point them out sooner or later.
So here’s the exact moment where I realized that Cracked has basically become fucking Tumblr:
In case you’re not interested in watching the video (or can’t see Youtube right now), it’s basically a video made for Cracked that takes shots at Macklemore’s “One Love” song (at least a year too late), pointing out that a handful of the lyrics aren’t especially sympathetic to homosexuals (when taken entirely out of context), and that Macklemore is apparently a hack who rips off other people, I guess. The skit was written by Cody Johnston, the worst writer on Cracked not named Felix Clay*, and while I’m absolutely not at all a fan of this piece, it kind of exemplifies two important issues I have, one with Cracked, and one with social and civil progress dialogue. The issue with Cracked isn’t really a big one, and can be summed up as, “Cracked spends entirely too much time talking about social issues considering it’s a comedy site staffed with people who probably aren’t qualified to be having that discussion,”** but the progress dialogue is the more interesting discussion (relatively), so that’s the one we’ll focus on for a bit.
So the fairly notable news in Marvel comic movies that came up recently is that Sony and Marvel/Disney did indeed come to terms on allowing Spider-Man to show up in the Marvel universe films, which means Spider-Man could potentially show up as early as Avengers 2 in a post-credits scene, and is assumed to be popping up in Captain America: Civil War at the very least. What this means in the long-term will depend on how well the character is handled, but what we do know is that, with this deal having happened, Andrew Garfield is most likely done with being Spider-Man, and Marvel will probably recast the role. While that’s almost certainly a stupid idea*, Marvel on the whole is basically nothing but stupid ideas a lot of the time so that’s hardly anything new. We’re almost certainly headed for another fucking origin story whether we want one or not, though interestingly, fan sentiment has begun turning toward the idea of Miles Morales being the Spider-Man in the movie universe instead of Peter Parker. This, too, is nothing new; fans have been clamoring for new blood in the Spider-Man universe for a little while now, and the film plans Sony had on the table up until Amazing Spider-Man 2 tanked out seemed to imply that at least two fan wishes, a Venom film and an unnamed female project (either Spider-Woman or Spider-Gwen) were on the table. With the potential for a reboot on the horizon, then, the possibility for Miles to step in and be a player is high, and even when people understand why Peter will probably be the go-to guy, they still want Miles.
I’ve seen this conversation pop up a few times amongst friends, so this discussion is nothing new. I just recently had the discussion of “Miles or Peter,” with a friend of mine, and before that, a few friends talked up the decision to cast Johnny Storm as a black guy as an interesting choice. One friend of mine even mentioned that, given the choice, he’d sooner have seen John Stewart (this guy, not the host of The Daily Show, though now I want THAT movie) in the Green Lantern film than Hal Jordan. As a person who has a high opinion of social progress in general, especially in popular culture, I love the hell out of those ideas, and they make sense. As someone who actually pays attention to how super hero movies have gone over the past couple decades, though, the concept is actually kind of horrifying, and while I’m hopeful that Black Panther will be a good movie, I’m pretty sure a Miles Morales Spider-Man film would be a disaster of epic proportions.
Here’s why. Continue reading
So if you haven’t heard yet, let me get you up to speed: as a Superbowl stunt, Coke created a Twitter bot that had one basic purpose: if you tweeted something with the Hashtag “#MakeItHappy,” the bot would then pick it up and convert into Ascii art. It’s an incredibly simple concept, and one that should, by all rights, work quite easily. It’s also easily exploited; even if you have something in place to automatically discard profane tweets, someone, somewhere, is going to figure out a way to exploit the concept and fuck around with it in a way that makes it do something awful. That’s essentially an expectation at this point, and right about now you’d be expecting me to follow up with an assessment about how Anonymous or 4chan figured out how to make it reblog Ascii shitting dick nipples* or something.
What you probably weren’t expecting is that the trolls this time around were Gawker.
Anyone who knows me personally (or, failing that, attends my livestreams) is almost certainly aware, but about five months ago, I made the switch from traditional cigarettes to a vaporizer device, in hopes of getting rid of a lot of the long-term issues cigarettes cause for me (hacking, smelling like cigarettes, a dude with a scythe following me around pretending I can’t see him). For the most part, it’s generally been a good transition, I think; I can smell and taste things significantly better than I used to, my breathing is better (if not where it used to be), I don’t cough… at all, really, and in general it’s been a positive change in my life. That’s not to say that vaporizing is some kind of amazing miracle alternative to smoking, of course. For one thing, it’s a bit of a difficult thing to really get into; it took me nearly three years to really get to a point where I could find the right tools and fluid balance such that my body’s immediate response to it wasn’t “Oh HELL no,” and I’ve met several people who have never had luck with it, so it’s clearly not a winning proposition for everyone. It’s also worth pointing out, though, that we kind of don’t know what using electronic cigarettes and vaporizers does to people long-term yet. While we know that nicotine isn’t great for your body, it’s more on the level of a worse version of caffeine rather than “death and destruction, woe to all,” and we don’t know what the rest of the chemicals in e-liquid might do. Aside from the scares a few years back about Chinese produced liquids having antifreeze in them, most modern liquid one can purchase in the US is manufactured in the US, and any website you go to is going to actively advertise how they make their fluids in FDA-grade facilities, using FDA-approved processes, because they want you to know their fluid is “safe.” It’s not, obviously, but not because they’re not trying to make it so; we just don’t know enough about e-liquid to say what the effects are, but hey, it’s made in the USA, so clearly you can feel safe using it, right?
Which brings us to the formaldehyde thing.
As I mentioned in the recap of my old Spider-Man review, I’m not a fan of the character anymore, and haven’t been for a very long time, which is entirely because of Marvel’s fuckhanded handling of his existence over the past decade or so. I originally became worn out on the character during “The Clone Saga,” because Marvel took a very good opportunity to do what they’d always wanted (have a single, YOUNG Spider-Man) and flushed it down the shitter. They had Ben Reilly, who could have been the Scarlet Spider in his own set of two books and had all of the dating drama, while Peter could have stayed Spider-Man and had all the married life storytelling, and instead they killed Ben (and brought him back because why the fuck not right?), reinstated Peter as the one, true Spider-Man, then made his life hell over the next several years. Threats of marriage problems, the revival of Aunt May, the death of Mary Jane, the fake-out of Mary Jane’s death, a trial separation, a terrible rebooted-then-ignored origin reboot… it got to be a bit much. I was back on board for a while when Spider-Man became an Avenger and his life seemed to be sorting itself out, but then “Civil War” screwed up a lot of his existence, and after unmasking him and nearly killing his aunt, Marvel finally, finally drove me away as a fan in the single most prominent way they could have: they undid his marriage to Mary Jane Watson at the hand of Mephisto, all so they could have their “single” Peter Parker again.
I was never a big CM Punk fan.
He’s obviously a good wrestler, to be certain; while I agree with people like Brandon Stroud who would make the point that Daniel Bryan is almost certainly the real “Best in the World” at present, Punk was always a great worker, and he’s one of the very few workers who is more or less the total package, IE, good in the ring and on the mic. He absolutely deserved to hold the WWE Title in its various incarnations several times over the course of his career (if said career is indeed over), he absolutely deserved to be in the main event for several years, and he absolutely deserved to go out into the world and say that he deserved everything he ever had, because he was talented, and because he was compelling.
That said, though, I never turned on Raw to watch CM Punk, never cared if he was champion, and never really considered myself a fan of his because… well, to be honest, he seems like kind of a dick.