Controversy is a word that I feel is both overused and misunderstood. The actual definition of it is thus:con·tro·ver·sy
noundisagreement, typically when prolonged, public, and heated.With how we define controversy in a societal sense that version I just listed is vastly out of date and frankly a little quaint when you think about it as controversy today usually entails outrage from some “special” group or just simply people that can’t understand the concept of a joke. The definition there is really just a debate twinged with some anger and not real “controversy”. Controversy is when bad taste from one side encounters bad taste from the other. Taste is something that is obviously relative and I feel that many “controversies” are nothing more than clashing ideals and varying degrees of taste. Now, that is when it comes down to tolerance of another idea that is in conflict with your own… most of what we think of as controversies today are just people that take shit far too seriously and need to get laid a little and lighten up. The recent “controversy” over SpaghettiOs wishing that people remember Pearl Harbor day is a great example. Why was this “controversial” in the first place? Because it was a picture of a pasta O holding a flag? Why the outrage over this and not over something such as Stubbenville or the NSA watching every move you make or corporate interests slowly (quickly) eroding our rights as citizens? Why is it that a US company who wishes to give a passing note about Pearl Harbor day gets your ire? Do you not understand what having a sense of humor means or are you so blinded by patriotic rage that anything short of standing blowjobs to veterans is an outrage?
Controversy is nothing more than some one or some event that sparks your personal disgust or wrath and you then take an extreme approach to dealing with this instead of reacting like there is something in america such as the ideal free speech that kind of allows everyone the privilege to say that which they choose. Yes, free speech and this works both ways, whatever sand got in your vagina to make you react this way is covered by free speech but so is your inevitable (over)reaction. You don’t like a TV show, get it banned so no one else can like it, you hate that song, make sure that it vanishes and it’s origins are excised from the historical record… but why are you the arbiter of what others should take offense too and more importantly why should your specific level of offense set the level for that of everyone else? In fact, isn’t the ideal of free speech meant to protect the outrageous and unpopular over the mainstream? Maybe I have it confused…What happens when something is “controversial” though, does it ever really change anything or is it just pissing into the wind where the offended party simply gets covered in waste and the target remains unscathed? I am the kind of person that takes a stand and makes an attempt to reason a pointed argument for my case, this does not always turn out as I would like but I try to make the world a better place as I see it, does that make me one of the people I just complained about? Perhaps, but the distinction is that I make my point and I leave events to unfold as they will, I do not push and push for an outcome that most likely would not have happened were I not involved. For instance, I can’t stand the current editor of Fangoria magazine Chris Alexander and I look forward to the day is he no longer running that magazine, I think he is an embodiment of EVERYTHING wrong with editors, he is self-righteous without having the quality to back such a display, he has no journalistic integrity whatsoever*, he puts business relationships over honest content**, he and Fangoria owner Tom Defeo have cheated an untold amount of writers out of massive amounts of money, he has driven the brand of Fangoria into the ground and yet I feel if that is the direction that Defeo wants to go, that is how it will shall be, it’s his brand to destroy. Chris Alexander is controversial in the fact that him being the head of this brand is doing far more damage than I think even Defeo can see, and yet Tom Defeo is not concerned with this as long as sales stay “good”***. I have said my piece on this, I will not start a “Fire Chris Alexander” campaign, I will not go after the advertisers within Fangoria, I will simply expose the lies and (ongoing) wrongdoing from a journalistic standpoint, I will not endorse or purchase anything from the brand and I will leave the horror community to find it’s own level. Nothing more, nothing less… have I pulled a Terry Rakolta? Not in the least as I have only talked about facts and about provable instances which I feel no professional magazine should allow let alone endorse. It is MY opinion that Alexander is scum and a boil on the ass of the horror writing community, nothing more.
Sarah Silverman is a person who is known for her “controversy” time and again… but I will say this now and get it out there… I find her to be funny more often than I don’t, I find these jokes she makes, which seem to strike the very core values of people wound way to tight, to be interesting. If you don’t look for humor in what is “not funny” then how will humor ever expand and grow? Larry The Cable Guy and Tyler Perry are not funny, they are low brow and have no intelligent discourse… how is a poopy joke funny but giving a handjob to jesus not? Now, there are times I think that Sarah Silverman is simply trying to be shocking just to be shocking and not to be funny, that I have issues with but I don’t like shock for the sake of shock regardless, I find it to be empty and pointless. Now, when you are shocking to make a point, that I find far, far more interesting. Look at the difference in just stand up comics. Andrew Dice Clay and Danial Tosh are just shocking with no weight, they have no basis for humor and they have no talent, now look at George Carlin or Richard Pryor, they were shocking and had POWER and MEANING backing them. Hell, Charley McMullen has some incredibly shocking jokes in his stand up routine, but they come from a place of reality and most importantly they make you think. Danial Tosh is just this side of coming on stage and screaming “nigger, cunt, fag, rape, thanks everybody have a good night”, there is nothing behind his stand up, no real jokes, only shocking things said out loud, whereas a joke like this from Charley McMullen, no less controversial but with a biting edge to it “I wonder if there are any black people into S&M… if I could think of one culture of people that would not find whipping erotic it would be them. It’s ‘say my name’ not ‘what’s your name’. The safe word should not be ‘Toby’.” Now THAT is actually funny, shocking to be sure, but actually funny and notice how it brings up a side of sex and race that I bet you never examined before.
I am not stranger to controversy myself (ahem), be it things I say on my shows (gotten death threats over some of them), things I have said on facebook or other public forums (many people deserted me over those), things I have written here (again, death threats and many hacking attempts to shut me up) and I know for a fact that just me, my name, has cost me jobs in the radio and TV industry and most recently it queered my book deal as well as a paid radio gig… turned out the money people wanted nothing to do with me being part of their brand, fair enough, but really was I too “controversial”? Seems so, now I just have to find a way to channel this into jobs since we all know there are people out there that look to exploit controversial people. I am sick of fake controversy though, I am sick of people like Daniel Tosh who only look to push buttons but don’t have any desire to explore why those buttons elicit the response they do and frankly have no real talent out of that button pushing.
*When you write a review of your own movie, in a magazine you edit and under a pseudonym no less to trick people into thinking it was an unbiased review, you don’t even know what integrity means and you never will.
**You defend Charles Band in the face of mounting evidence that he defrauded the public and then it turns out that you are now working for him, have you ANY scruples Chris?
***Good is in quotes because lets face it, Fangoria is a dead brand and is losing readers faster than many of it’s competitors.
Tell me to shut the fuck up at email@example.com and make sure to leave a comment even if it’s a nasty one (especially if it’s a nasty one).