Dear Internet: Nobody’s Trying to Sodomize You (or Your Childhood)

Pop culture enthusiasts have it pretty easy today. Remember those clunky things made of thinly sliced wood we used to lug around in our tie-dye JanSports? We’ve got e-readers and tablets now. Remember sitting near an FM radio all day just to catch your favorite Boyz II Men ditty on a Top-10 list? Universally available MP3 downloads only take a few seconds these days. Remember how helpless you felt after missing a mid-season episode of The X-Files? Well, if DVRs are too bourgeoisie for your tastes, thanks to websites like Netflix, Hulu, HBO Go, and myriad torrent hubs that no respectable Unreality staffer would ever touch, you can watch new episodes of virtually any show less than a day after they air. Your move, 1996.


Touché.

It’s truly an age of cultural convenience, and one we take for granted all the time. Heck, as far as I’m concerned, anyone born in 20th– or 21st-century America should consider themselves lucky—and not just because they get to experience the glorious Era of Kate Upton. Thanks to the Internet, it couldn’t be easier to keep up with your favorite movies, TV shows, and celebrities, not to mention all the related content that comes along with them. But that isn’t enough anymore, is it? As the Web evolved, its denizens have become increasingly persnickety about what amuses them—like homeless vagabonds who insist on imported foie gras for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

“We deserve the very best entertainment that those in charge of feeding us said entertainment have to offer in the ever-expanding universe of popular entertainment, dammit. Now fetch me my truffle oil!”

And if we don’t get what that universe owes us, holy shit do we get pissed. Sometimes our complaints are justified, of course. Raimi’s Spiderman 3, for example, simultaneously ruined the terms “trilogy” and “double time” for me, and even though I don’t plan on producing a 50-minute diatribe on the matter (strap in for a wild, ginger-y ride!), I can sympathize with hardcore fans who felt they deserved a more satisfying conclusion to this particular story. Spider-man has always been my favorite superhero (I’ll save that introspection for another article), and I may discuss this movie’s faults if you engage me in person. But more often than makes logical sense, broadband-enabled consumers take their bitch-n’-moan fests to the cloud,  and goddamn if I’m not proving my own point: actively enjoying the Internet while simultaneously complaining about it. I think I just incepted myself.

This isn’t me requesting the Internet to tone it down in the complaints department, by the way. Far from it. I like my half-empty glasses just as much as the next cynical Googler, and somebody needs to keep the entertainment industry honest. But come on, guys, pick your battles better. Too many of us are comparing unsavory pop culture goings on with stuff that doesn’t make much sense in context. Stuff like nonconsensual sex. And a funny thing happens when you attempt to attack/defend trivial shit on the Internet by casually accusing it of rape: you run the risk of coming off as a completely unauthoritative douche.

OK, time for a couple of case studies.

The hyperbolic complaint: “Michael Bay is ruining my childhood.”

Sounds something like: “Is nothing sacred anymore?! First this explosion wizard single-handedly ruins the entire Transformers franchise with his explosions and the explosion explosions, and now he’s rebooting Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles? And they’re going to be aliens?? From space??? Do they even have teenagers and explosions up there? Michael Bay may as well be gang-banging my entire childhood at a family reunion while Mother Earth and Father Time cry softly in the corner. I’ll never watch another Michael Bay movie again!”

I sort of enjoy listening to these people talk, because few things are more hysterical than grown men attempting to initiate serious conversations about imaginary turtles from the ‘80s that were also teenagers, mutants, and ninjas. And I’ve legit tried to wrap my head around the whole “this movie will ruin my childhood” thing, but how can a movie franchise outright defile someone’s childhood (let alone sodomize it)? When you watch a movie you hate that has a similar name to a movie you love, do the memories from one cancel out those from the other? Does your brain just let out a fart noise and scream, “Uuungh! But which movie do I cherish and respect forever? No time! Delete old file.” Lord, I hope not.

My point is, I can be as anti-reboot as the next cinephile, but I’ve found an incredible solution for avoiding shitty-sounding reboots: I avoid shitty-sounding reboots. Sometimes I even pursue interests that, you know, I genuinely enjoy. Crisis averted.

And then someone brings rape into the mix…

Hmm, I’m not sure how this bespectacled 12-year-old Chia Pet’s childhood was affected by TMNT in the first place, but I’m not sticking around ten minutes to find out. Good luck with your life, kid.

httpv://youtu.be/TfCiK2OgMZs
I can’t tell if this is funny or not. [Ed. note: Not particularly.] 

httpv://youtu.be/71NDcq1sqW8
And the award for “Most-Self-Righteous-(and-Punchable)-TMNT-Fan” goes to…

OK, moving on. Here’s another (allegedly) sodomy-provoking entity that should ring a bell: Netflix.

The hyperbolic complaint: “I can’t believe Netflix raised their subscription rates by 60%. How dare they!”

Sounds something like:  “I’ve been with Netflix since the beginning, and now they’re just going to pull the rug out from under me like this? Do you have any idea how much more expensive Netflix is with this new rate increase? 60% more expensive, that’s how much. 60. Percent. That’s highway robbery! Rape robbery! By George, that does it: I’m dropping Netflix out of principle.

As a longtime Netflix user myself, I was less than thrilled when this news hit last year. Nobody likes to pay more for stuff that used to cost less, and I expected some kind of backlash from fellow subscribers. What I wasn’t expecting, however, was for Netflix to lose 800,000 customers that quarter, or $11 billion in shareholder wealth over the next year. I get that the company’s strategies sucked, and the whole Qwikster thing was retarded, but all I remember hearing from the Internet at the time was how dare we have to pay six whole dollars more for this service. Per month. People really latched on to that $6 part. Oh, and the “out of principle” thing. In retrospect, I’ve really got to hand it to Netflix: in less than 24 hours, they made an entire nation forget what it was like driving to Blockbuster at 10pm on a Thursday night to pick up a VHS of Eraser.

Again, I’m not denying that the whole situation sucked (and I guess sort of continues to suck), but we’re talking about a $6 monthly increase on a frivolous service that could easily have been mistaken for magic a few short decades ago. As one of my mentors would say…

httpv://youtu.be/EL8e2ujXe8g

And then someone brings rape into the mix…

I’m no expert, but it sounds like this jetsetter simply has terrible luck as a frequent traveler. If the poor fellow can’t avoid sodomy at gas stations or plane ticket lines, I suppose he’s earned this little brand of paranoia.

In conclusion, Internet, nobody’s getting sodomized over Netflix or TMNT. Not on my watch. So please, stop blowing your rape whistle every time you see something you don’t like.


16 Comments

  1. DocDoom August 2, 2012
  2. David Forck August 2, 2012
  3. David Forck August 2, 2012
  4. trashcanman August 2, 2012
  5. Tim August 2, 2012
  6. anon August 2, 2012
  7. Sara Clemens August 2, 2012
  8. DocDoom August 2, 2012
  9. TJ Fink August 2, 2012
  10. James Simpson August 2, 2012
  11. DocDoom August 2, 2012
  12. TJ August 2, 2012
  13. Steve August 3, 2012
  14. TJ Fink August 3, 2012
  15. wraith August 3, 2012
  16. hallam August 3, 2012

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