Short Attention Span Theater


For those of you who read this site on a regular basis (and have still managed to maintain basic brain functionality), you may recognize the star of the following video clip. It’s Akbar Khan! He is the ace, and everyone else is just an ugly joker. (See that link that reads, “Read More”? Click it to see Akbar kick some motherfucking ass).

Sorry about having to explain clicking on the “Read More” link. Every time I refer to something from the first paragraph of a post, I feel the need to do this because of my mom. Some years back, I used to run a web site about the United States intelligence community. Yeah, no shit. A real, serious-like web site with facts, nouns, verbs, the whole magilla. I wanted my mom to read an article I’d written, so I sent her a link to the home page. We then had this exchange:

Me: Did you get that link?

Mom: I did!

Me: What did you think?

Mom: I didn’t get it.

Me: I thought you did!

Mom: No, I got the link. I didn’t understand the article.

Me: Well, what didn’t you understand?

Mom: Well, I wanted to read about the town in France. (The article was about allegations that the CIA mass dosed a French town with LSD in 1951).

Me: Ok…

Mom: Let me know when you write it.

Me: What are you talking about? I did write it.

Mom: Oh. I thought it was a real article.

Me: Mom, I culled information from 18 different sources, including recently declassified documents obtained from the federal government via the Freedom of Information Act. That was a real article. A 4,000 word article.

Mom: Well, I wanted to read more.

Me: You wanted to…? Wait a minute. Can you pull up that site again?

Mom: Just a minute…

(47 years later)

Mom: Ok

Me: Ok, see how there’s a link under the first paragraph of the article that reads, “Read More”?

Mom: Yes.

Me: So if you want to read more about Pont-Saint-Esprit, what do you think you should do?

Mom: Oh! I click to read more of the article?

Me: YES!

Mom: I don’t get it.

Me: (kills self)

So if I insulted you by explaining a link that is self-explanatory, sorry about that. Take it up with my mom. Ok, where was I? Oh, yes! Akbar Khan! Here’s Akbar in action again, defying the laws of physics and making people rue the day they decided to stock up on hand grenades:

You know what I love about the internet? Bolivian fisting porn. No, wait, that’s not right. Pay no attention to that. What I love about the internet is that it allows you to capture weird shit like that and share it with others. When I was a kid (oh boy, here we go…) we only had six channels on TV, no DVR, no way to record shows at all. If you saw something weird on TV, you’d bolt upright in your chair, shouting “Holy shit! Did you see that?!?” And then you’d get slapped upside the back of your head for swearing in front of your father.

The next day, you’d try to recreate what you’d seen for your friends, who would nod and smile politely before suggesting that you stop eating mushrooms for breakfast, because nine times out of ten what you were trying to retell made no sense whatsoever. This is a conversation I had with some friends of mine back in 1987:

Me: I was watching PBS last night, when I saw the weirdest fucking thing.

Friends: (roll eyes, nod politely)

Me: All of a sudden, the broadcast was interrupted by Max Headroom in front of a rotating panel of sheet metal.

Friends: (nod politely)

Me: He said a bunch of weird shit about Chuck Swirsky and Pepsi, he hummed the theme to Clutch Cargo, and then a nurse spanked his bare ass with a flyswatter!

Friends: Uh-huh. Hey, do you have any mushrooms left over?

Nothing I could say could convince my friends that I’d seen it. TV was an ethereal medium back then and if you saw something cool once, there was no guarantee that you’d ever see it again and no way to capture it as it played out in front of your eyeballs. Incidentally (and incredibly) the scene I described to my friends really did happen, and not just because I liked eating mushrooms. Here, check it out:

Ah, the magic of the internet.

I remember slamming beers with an old roommate, and semi-regular commenter Squatch, when this masterpiece came on TV:

It used to be that you had to get very lucky, or watch insane amounts of TV to be able to see funny or strange things like this. Now, you just head over to Youtube.

That’s cool in a way, but I worry that being able to quickly access short blasts of entertainment like that threatens to destroy my short term… Oh, look! It’s a disturbing look at an old dude playing a trombone!