You might be a contemporary, Anglophone conservative if…

  • …you’re still a member of the Republican party.
  • …you’re more concerned with decorum than policy.
  • …you can read National Review without laughing or groaning.
  • …you’re actually subscribed to National Review.
  • …you attended CPAC and weren’t ejected for politically incorrect heresy.
  • …you honestly believe that baizuo and other progressives are just confused people who might someday be suaded with that hitherto unheralded, apropos dialectic or rhetoric.
  • …you donate to the NRA in exchange for tacky swag cheaply manufactured in China and zero resistance to the curtailment of one’s right to bear arms.
  • …you sent your daughter to college.
  • …you’ve actually voiced a platitude that contained the phrase, “we all bleed red” or “diversity is our strength.”
  • …you’re still calling leftists (including progressives) “liberals” decades after all genuine left-wing liberals were hounded to political fringes.
  • …you’ve convinced yourself that fandom for coddled, moronic, violent felons outfitted with plastic armor and televised when they throw a ball across a field is vital to the preservation of cultural masculinity.
  • …you honestly believe that any of the wars in which the United States participated in the past 120 years weren’t disastrous wastes of life and materiel, the immediate corollaries and repercussions of which alike redounded to that nation’s disrepute and downfall.
  • …you privately complain about welfare, yet never contemplate the pecuniary black holes of every American war and occupation.
  • …you were convinced that Muslims half a world away hated Americans “for our freedoms,” but have never dared to utter dissent against cartoonishly censorial, defamatory organizations such the ADL.
  • …you treasure and seek to preserve the values and existence of a tiny, belligerent, parasitic ethnostate in west Asia that brutally enforces apartheid, and whose diasporic proxies actively, overtly lobby to outlaw and eventually extinguish your own.
  • …you know that a single Republican candidate anywhere will capture the majority of a black vote any day now.
  • …you actually believe that “hate speech” exists.
  • …you’ve never considered that expenditure and taxation should be slashed pro rata.
  • …you imagine that police would necessarily protect you if they could.
  • …you’re still wondering why Cubans, Mexicans and Puerto Ricans haven’t equivalent electoral preferences, because Latinos and their cultures must be fungible.
  • …you refer to the Democratic Party as a contemporary “plantation” for black voters for its exchange of welfare benefits for votes, yet never once consider how the tax donkeys who reliably vote for Republicans in exchange for nothing far more aptly fit this analogy.
  • …you laugh at Marxists for refusing in perpetuity to acknowledge the ideological constant of every calamitous Communist state, while never noticing the obvious comparison between Marxism’s and conservatism’s centenary traditions of failure.
  • …you’re certain that anyone opposed to free markets and open borders is a “Communist” or a “Fascist.”
  • …you imagine that Russia’s present government seeks reprisals for the collapse of the Soviet Union.
  • …you’re concerned that Russia’s influencing American elections, without a single thought regarding AIPAC, the Open Society Foundations, etc.
  • …you’re still upset that your Twitter account was deleted, and don’t know what to do.
  • …you celebrate the life and exploits of an obese, plagiaristic, whoremongering black dissident who promoted reparations for slavery as much as any other Communist.
  • …you’re terrified that somebody, somewhere believes or has alleged that you’re racist.
  • …you’ve gradually adopted nearly every radical, egalitarian, leftist premise expounded over the past century.
  • …your every other action is an expression of cupidity or hypocrisy.

Feel free to submit a few hallmarks of this stereotype…!

Contemporary Lexicography Sinks to No Nadir

Yesterday, I purged numerous second-wave feminist neologisms suffixed with -woman and -person from my unparalleled personal dictionary. Furthermore, the preposterous postpositive -adjacent was newly tabulated in my Douche-English Dictionary. Some cursory research regarding this adjective’s newly daft definition led me to a strikingly (if typically) asinine article published by the New York Times, and penned by yet another of its innumerable unsightly, bewhiskered, gormless pressmen:

Why Is Everything ‘Adjacent’ Now?

What, exactly, are all these things next to?

By Jonah Engel Bromwich

Isn’t this already just adorable? If Maddox were more healthy and hirsute, and a vampire of Nosferatu’s mold, he’d perfectly resemble this clown.

As we find ourselves stuck hopelessly online, our lexicon grasps back toward the physical world. An example: The word “adjacent” has recently packed its suitcase and taken the short trip from the literal to the figurative.

Translation: numerous Anglophones under fifty are so lexically nescient (in this instance, of prefixes quasi- and semi-) that they’ve ineptly misused a word en masse.

It used to be that “adjacent” meant “next to,” as in buildings, or city blocks. These days, it is more likely to signify a more conceptual and vague relation, which the speaker or writer would rather not describe in depth.

Accurately, the extension of this word’s definition from a spatial to relational meaning only denotes its speaker’s susceptibility to trends and inability to adequately articulate.

The following nauseating, inane instances only demonstrate the subliteracy and ideological monotony of mainstream journalism:

On Christmas Day, the CNN commentator Chris Cillizza called Michelle Obama “probably the most popular politics-adjacent figure in the country.”

“Quasi-political” would be too revealing, too sincere in its rightful relegation of the former first lady and her many moronic, uninformed tirades, wouldn’t it? Just as oblivious, neoconservative boomers are the only people who can stomach the Bushes, Obama and his brood are admired exclusively by leftist cretins. I can concede that fewer people likely loathe Michelle Obama than George W. Bush, only because she’s not a criminal bellicist. Anyhow, this merely exposes how cheaply euphemistic this bilge can be.

A few months before that, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar said that Megyn Kelly’s remarks on the use of blackface in Halloween costumes were “not quite racist, but racist-adjacent” and also hate crime-adjacent.

I can’t relate to anyone who’d squander a minute of his retirement sequent to a great career whining about some fatuous, faithless, televised twat, but Abdul-Jabbar would’ve sounded less dumb (though no more cogent to anyone with a functioning brain) if he’d denounced her comments as “semi-racist” or “implicitly racist.”

Some months later, Max Newfield, a writer for Heartland Weekend, a Missouri publication, took readers on a tour of “wellness-adjacent” beers available for purchase from Southern breweries. (Because beer isn’t actually good for you, no matter its adjacencies!)

Who the shit can even fathom that gibberish?

“We almost might need to write a new subsense for this,” said Peter Sokolowski, the editor at large of Merriam-Webster, of the flock of “-adjacents.”

Anyone who essays to reconcile erudite and exoteric objectives or prioritize popularity in the field of lexicography is either a pseudo-intellectual or a brazen fraud. In the two articles featured in this post, Sokolowski exhaustively confirms that he’s both.

(Subsense is dictionary-world jargon for a secondary meaning of a word.)

Those of us who actually read know that subsense is a hyponymous or otherwise subordinate division of a more general definition. We also don’t type sophomoric terms like, “dictionary-world jargon.”

The usage, he said, was “so new it’s not in the damn dictionary.”

It shouldn’t be listed in any dictionary. Of all the horrid English dictionaries in print, Merriam-Webster is the most notorious for their inclusion of any popular slang to shift a few units or attract people to their ugly, bloated website. New American Heritage is more politically correct, and poorly written besides, but Merriam-Webster has become in the past forty years the trendiest reference book available. It’s a dictionary for dopey teenagers and bottom-feeders of contemporary pop culture.

“Adjacent,” in this usage, is a postpositive adjective. That just means that it comes after the noun it modifies. This is unusual in English, but standard in French and Latin syntax.

Contributors employed by the NYT are now obliged to clumsily define postposition for the uneducated simpletons that constitute their dwindling readership. Does anyone remember when this outlet’s output was characterized by a modicum of learned assumption? I don’t, but I was born in the late ’70s.

Because the conventions of those languages can often read as fancy in English, calling something “cannabis-adjacent” or “cosmetics-adjacent” grants a nifty sheen.

Ergo, millennials striving for a veneer of sophistication once again betray their stupefying idiocy and ignorance. I’m shocked.

“Like the technical vocabulary of law and medicine, the Latin nature of this word brings the discourse up a notch,” Mr. Sokolowski said. “It makes it seem more formal and technical.”

Patently vacuous pretensions don’t elevate language or discourse, but upon observing a commercial opportunity to exploit, Sokolowski needs to palaver and pander to rubes in one of the most amenably gullible demographics.

Such shifts in meaning irk purists like Lionel Shriver, a writer who recently decried in Harper’s what she called “semantic drift.” In an interview, Ms. Shriver described her reaction to the use of “-adjacent” and “space,” another term she said was increasingly being used in a figurative sense.

How is Shriver a “purist” for opposing semantic drift of such a witless stamp? What purity is she attempting to preserve in our language’s rich and irreparable farrago?

“The weird thing is that it’s imposing geography on what could not be more abstract,” she said. “It’s almost like a need for geography in the digital world, where everything’s floating around. We’re living increasingly in a world beyond space, beyond physicality.”

This is a valid analysis, but Shriver’s perhaps abstracting too much of what may be imputed to simple stupidity, pliancy and inscience.

(Incidentally, Shriver’s novel We Need To Talk About Kevin and Lynne Ramsay’s eponymous filmic adaptation thereof are fine fiction on the disastrous repercussions of parental dereliction.)

Ben Zimmer, a lexicographer, said that he began to notice the usage more and more about five years ago. He thought it may have originated with “real-estate talk, where, say, ‘Beverly Hills-adjacent’ indicates that a property isn’t actually in Beverly Hills, but close enough.”

At least this is casually condonable, neither too silly nor inapplicable, but…

Others see the word as useful in Silicon Valley, where start-up founders can’t quite be sure what it is their companies are making, even as they’re selling it to investors. It’s best to keep options open in case the need to pivot suddenly arises. The chat application Slack, for instance, was once TinySpeck, a gaming start-up with a particularly sophisticated chat feature; it was chat-adjacent. It left the gaming space, entered the chat space and became a billion-dollar company.

Ah, more “spaces.” These are the successors of people who daily uttered neologistic, corporate portmanteaux without a trace of irony for decades.

Erik Torenberg, a founder of the early stage venture capital fund Village Global, said that he sees technology entrepreneurs use the word as if they are preparing for a similar pivot (to use their favored jargon for “change in strategy”).

Big tech is the new Hollywood: a sector as flush with lucre and avaritia as it’s bankrupt of intellect.

“When people are trying to pursue one path, that path doesn’t necessarily work so they go into an adjacent space, a space next to that path,” he said.

Christ, but the millennial’s impoverished parlance is revolting! Every phenomenon is “a thing,” every locus (be it physical or figurative) “a space.” This is a corollary of three consecutive generations composed primarily of “book virgins.”

(Mr. Torenberg said that, when it came to the frequency of the phrase’s usage, it was a seven or an eight on a scale of 10. A 10 out of 10, he said, was the term “doubleclick,” which investors use as handy shorthand for “let’s go deeper or zoom in on this topic!”)

If anyone actually verbalizes that in my presence, I’ll need to decamp.

Ms. Shriver said that “-adjacent” was probably useful in a climate where businesses were “started up in the spirit of going fishing.”

If anything, its utterance is a valuable sign by which an interlocutor’s intelligence and superficiality may be assessed.

“It’s something between angling and gambling,” she said. “Rather than setting out with a specific intention to produce a product and sell that product, it’s capitalizing on vagueness.”

I concur: sleazy marketing can’t be compassed without at least a heaping dose of ambiguity.

This post probably wouldn’t be indited if I hadn’t — by complete coincidence — chanced upon another that’s far more aggravating earlier today:

Missouri woman says she contacted Merriam-Webster to change dictionary definition of racism

By Louis Casiano | Fox News

An email from a Missouri woman has prompted Merriam-Webster to update its definition of “racism” to include the systemic aspects that have contributed to discrimination, according to a report.

Who needs standards when crumbling institutions have brainless laymen to counsel them by petition?

Kennedy Mitchum, 22, of Florissant, told KMOV-TV that she was inspired to email the dictionary publisher after getting into arguments with others about the definition.

Naturally, because she’s as overtly incorrect as brainwashed.

Merriam-Webster defines racism as “a belief that race is the primary determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race.”

If one were to replace, “produce an inherent superiority” with “define the comparative nature,” that definition would be correct. Not only are races (and ethnic groups thereof) distinguished by thousands of physiological differences, but all of them are in some way inferior and superior to others by virtue of their respective deficiencies and aptitudes. No other datum is so heterodox to our rotten, ruling elites, and few are so evident — hence their attempts to muddle by redefinition racism with racial supremacy, which is as banefully immoral as racism is honest.

Mitchum, a recent graduate of Drake University, felt the definition was too simple and too surface-level, according to the news station.

When aren’t collegians ruled by their irrational emotions, especially when they can’t prevail in debate?

“So, a couple [sic] weeks ago, I said this is the last argument I’m going to have about this,” she said. “I know what racism is, I’ve experienced it time and time and time again in a lot of different ways, so enough is enough. So, I emailed them about how I felt about it. Saying this needs to change.”

In clown town, acceptation must suit the disingenuous needs of some imbecile who stultifies herself in her little squabbles. Okay, hon.

“I basically told them they need to include that there is systematic oppression on people. It’s not just ‘I don’t like someone,’ it’s a system of oppression for a certain group of people,” she added.

Yeah: systematic oppression in academia and the dating market is suffered by overachieving east Asian males. That’s it. This woman will never know what oppression is unless I ascend to predominance as a powerful warlord governing the monocracy of Buchanistan. Under the heel of my dictatorship, she’d probably come to love my tyranny, if only because she’d be subjected to actual human nature.

The change comes as the United States is grappling with nationwide protests over racial discrimination following the death of George Floyd.

Whereas the original definition of racism is a person’s individual belief in the superiority of one race over another,

As explicated above, that’s a lie.

the second definition will be expanded to include the types of bias that have contributed to racial discrimination, said Peter Sokolowski, the editor-at-large at Merriam-Webster, in a statement to Fox News.

Imagine my surprise, to find this diddling peddler of substandard scrivening the following afternoon, preaching to the progressive cult’s choir.

(Of course, he’s one of these. Genuine progressives who are either attractive or intelligent are as rare as four-leaf novels.)

“Our second definition is divided to express, first, explicit institutional bias against people because of their race, and, second, a broader implicit bias that can also result in an asymmetrical power structure,” he said.

Even if he was referring to the actual systemic bias in government, academia and legacy media that promotes corporate feminists and a few largely dupable ethnic minorities, and sustains our plutarchy at the expense of everyone else, rather than Bonald Blumph’s imaginary AmeriKKKan white supremacist patriarchy, the equational leftist argument that power+privilege=racism is still wishful fantasy.

“This second definition covers the sense that Ms. Mitchum was seeking, and we will make that even more clear in our next release,” he added. “This is the kind of continuous revision that is part of the work of keeping the dictionary up to date, based on rigorous criteria and research we employ in order to describe the language as it is actually used.”

Your sales have been in the toilet for years, so you may as well keep flushing.

Look, I’m fully aware that this is probably just a publicity stunt. Who knows whether this purported email ever existed, or whether this querulent is a paid shill? However, this article does prompt certain questions. Does “rigorous research” involve the receipt of dumb emails from jaundiced, mentally challenged women as valid recommendations? Which “rigorous criteria” prescribe political trends as viable influences on a resource that’s supposed to be definitive and impartial?

Stick to Random House’s publications, which are largely dispassionate and far superior, faults notwithstanding.

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IMDb serves four functions, below ordered in prominence and priority:

  1. Advertising
  2. Interviews
  3. Documentation of productional data pertaining to motion pictures
  4. Aggregation of cinematic and televisional trivia

Those latter two functions, now distant in significance from the first, are in their neglected ulteriority often poorly performed, usually in deference to the first’s primacy. In no few pages where trivia for popular features is itemized, one may encounter one or both of the following blurbs:

These certainly are trivia, especially for their negligibility, but no less so than they are advertisements. Either Ebert and Schneider (in the mold of all popular hacks) or their publicists clearly hired someone to interpolate them among the trivia of every flick detailed or listed in their respective products. Whenever I skim these in passing, I still roll my eyes. That so many users of IMDb vote these items interesting is as much evidence of widespread dysgenics that plague the Anglosphere as is their presence of the site’s almost impossibly low standards.

If any site’s content was ever so desperate to be readapted, it’s that of IMDb — preferably for a resource as swift, spare and substantial as the private Japanese Movie Database, an exemplar for all such online databases. Shouldn’t we ask not whether this is possible, but why it’s not inevitably impendent?

Designer Hellhole

Annusya discovered the above abomination as advertised by Home Depot. Just as we anatomize eximious and execrable interiors alike weekly courtesy of dedicated scanners such as JPEGFantasy and Manila Automat, I couldn’t help but likewise scrutinize this stabile calamity’s every ill-conceived element:

  • That tetragonal, post-’60s motif besmirching the floor and wall alike breathes a rancid nostalgia that gormless, suburban millennials agonize to imagine; to their boomer parents or grandparents, it’s a hideously effective reminder that they’ll soon be dead.
  • What appears to be vinyl or aluminum siding flanking the washbasin is almost innovative in its inanity. Who needs quality wainscot when you’re reimagining the wheel as a scissured brick?
  • Not quite clashing, the gray of the mirror’s frame and sink’s cabinet subtly yet powerfully enhances this collective unsightliness.
  • Who wants to see a lovely print whenever they approach their throne when they can settle for two ugly, grayscale photos of sere skeins evocative of the worthless falderol accumulated by someone’s senile great-grandfather?
  • Like all furnishings composed of perennially contemptible wickerwork, that wastebin belongs in another, or perhaps a fireplace. In a household occupied by a human family hailing from planet Earth, it couldn’t contain more than a few hours’ refuse.
  • Its design ought never have maculated an interior after 1975, but that suspended lamp really does befit postwar pastiche of this hideosity.

Prior generations — even Boomers and Xers largely devoted to indiscriminate rejection of tradition — usually possessed and exercized a measure of discernment so to omit irredeemably horrible artifacts of prior popularity whenever resurrecting others. On those rare occasions when Millennials actually retrospect — or worse, essay to revive the past in maladroit mimicry — they exhibit all the acumen and authenticity of a stupid and sheltered child.

Ten reviews of no albums by Robert Christgau

THE CURE: Disintegration (Elektra)
With the transmutation of junk a species of junk itself, an evasion available to any charlatan or nincompoop, it’s tempting to ignore this patent arena move altogether. But by pumping his bad faith and bad relationship into depressing moderato play-loud keyb anthems far more tedious than his endless vamps, Robert Smith does actually confront a life contradiction. Not the splintered relationship, needless to say, although the title tune is a suitably grotesque breakup song among unsuitably grotesque breakup songs. As with so many stars, even “private” ones who make a big deal of their “integrity,” Smith’s demon lover is his audience, now somehow swollen well beyond his ability to comprehend, much less control. Hence the huge scale of these gothic cliches. And watch out, you mass, ’cause if you don’t accept this propitiation he just may start contemplating suicide again. Or take his money and go home. C PLUS

Obviously, this album is a classic; like The Pixies and Depeche Mode, Robert Smith’s mutable outfit contemporaneously enjoyed a concurrence of of artistic and commercial apotheosis. Christgau almost fathoms cynical marketing, but seldom music, hence this momentary meditation on Smith’s presumed careerism. The album? Who knows. Speaking of the boys from Basildon…

Violator [Sire/Reprise, 1990]
Fearing the loss of their silly grip on America’s angst-ridden teens, who they’re old enough to know are a fickle lot, they forge on toward the rap market by rhyming “drug” and “thug.” And for the U.K.’s ecstasy-riding teens, who God knows are even more fickle, there’s the techno-perfect synth/guitar sigh/moan that punctuates the easily rescinded “Policy of Truth.” C-

Somebody’s pettish dad heard a few lyrics during a strictly perfunctory spin and clumsily supposed something about “the hip-hop.” Policy of Truth is so unequivocally disposable that it was a radio staple and concert favorite for fifteen years, and nearly three decades later, oldies stations from the rancid northeast through the ‘murkun midwest to the left coast persist to broadcast it.

The Mix [Elektra, 1991]
best-of with the bass boosted–very funktional, meine Herren (“Pocket Calculator,” “The Robots”) ***

Can you imagine receipt of a paycheck for the indolent authorship of an unfunny sentence? Note that scamsters like Boesky or Madoff were actually punished. That’s a not a review. It isn’t an epigram.

Loveless [Sire/Warner Bros., 1991]
If you believe the true sound of life on planet earth is now worse than bombs bursting midair or runaway trains–more in the direction of scalpel against bone, or the proverbial giant piece of chalk and accoutrements–this CD transfigures the music of our sphere. Some may cringe at the grotesque distortions they extract from their guitars, others at the soprano murmurs that provide theoretical relief. I didn’t much go for either myself. But after suitable suffering and peer support, I learned. In the destructive elements immerse. A-

Nota bene: this maladroit fustian was penned by a man who constantly censures pop acts for their pretensions. One might surmise that it’s easier than apprehending MBV’s musicianship. As for (very little about) noise…

Daydream Nation [Enigma/Blast First, 1988]
At a historical juncture we can only hope isn’t a fissure, a time when no sentient rock and roller could mistake extremism in the defense of liberty for a vice, the anarchic doomshows of Our Antiheroes’ static youth look moderately prophetic and sound better than they used to. But they don’t sound anywhere near as good as the happy-go-lucky careerism and four-on-the-floor maturity Our Heroes are indulging now. Whatever exactly their lyrics are saying–not that I can’t make them out, just that catch-phrases like “You’ve got it” and “Just say yes” and “It’s total trash” and “You’re so soft you make me hard” are all I need to know–their discordant never-let-up is a philosophical triumph. They’re not peering into the fissure, they’re barreling down the turnpike like the fissure ain’t there. And maybe they’re right–they were the first time. A

Moore oughtn’t have fretted about Christgau; at least he was amusing when he slammed Sonic Youth, whereas this uninstructive, sophomoric, logorrheic claptrap beggars belief for a middle-aged man. He’s never worse than when he agonizes with all his little might and fails to wax profoundly florid. Whenever I read something tolerable from Christgau, my integrity itself recalls “a philosophical triumph,” and I giggle.

Heart in Motion [A&M, 1991]
Xian Xover queen: “What’s the difference between a PMS’ing woman and a bulldog? Lipstick! See, only a woman can tell that joke.” Don’t be so sure, lady. And note Hits‘s gnostic riposte: “What do you get when you cross an atheist with a dyslexic? Somebody who doesn’t believe in dogs!” C

He might’ve been generous enough to warn her fans that amid all the catchy, snappily produced hits, Hats is among the worst clunkers she’s ever recorded. Of course, the Village Voice was far too kewl and edgy to accommodate a Christer with a review, even if this consistently popular bestseller circulated far more successfully than the paper. Do consider Christgau’s recycled irreverence if you notice that year after year and album after album, he actually takes Kanye West seriously.

The Final Cut [Columbia, 1983]
Though I wish this rewarded close listening like John Williams, Fripp & Eno, or the Archies, it’s a comfort to encounter antiwar rock that has the weight of years of self-pity behind it–tends to add both literary and political resonance. With this band, aural resonance is a given. C+

I’m a Floyd fan who’s dismissed this album for decades, and terse adversion to its burden doesn’t consititute a review.

Cosmic Wheels [Epic, 1973]
Yellow Jell-O, or: didn’t you always know he’d go bananas? C-

Everyone who’s heard three to thirty-eight minutes of this knows it’s heinous, but this gibber isn’t clever.

The Bends [Capitol, 1995]
Admired by Britcrits, who can’t tell whether they’re “pop” or “rock,” and their record company, which pushed (and shoved) this follow-up until it went gold Stateside, they try to prove “Creep” wasn’t a one-shot by pretending that it wasn’t a joke. Not that there’s anything deeply phony about Thom Yorke’s angst–it’s just a social given, a mindset that comes as naturally to a ’90s guy as the skilled guitar noises that frame it. Thus the words achieve precisely the same pitch of aesthetic necessity as the music, which is none at all. C

It could be the last great sensitively posturing rock album, not that Christgau noticed — like any teenage quidnunc, he’s primarily concerned with industry scuttlebutt; whatever residual allusion to The Product he might tender results from whatever was heard in dereliction during routine playback in an adjoining room.

The Very Best of the Doors [Elektra, 2001]
Shaman, poet, lizard king–believe that guff and you’ll miss a great pop band. Ass man, schlockmeister, cosmic slimeball–that’s where Jim Morrison’s originality lies, and he’s never been better represented. Right beneath the back-door macho resides a weak-willed whine as El Lay as Jackson Browne’s, and the struggle between the two would have landed him in Vegas if he hadn’t achieved oblivion in Paris first. Compelling in part because he’s revolting, Jimbo reminds us that some assholes actually do live with demons. His three sidemen rocked almost as good as the Stones. Without him they were nothing. A

As an encapsulation of Jimbo’s act, it’s at least adequate, but he might’ve mentioned something about this (sixth? seventh?) studio compilation’s particular transposition. Even capsule reviewers aren’t paid to blithely expect, “They’ve heard it all, so they pretty much know what they’re getting, I guess.”

Egregious ideas: Orchestral Pop!

A comprehensive reference of popular music featuring orchestration titled Orchestral Pop! is published as a trade paperback, boasting a cover wherein a conductor turned to his orchestra is irreverently habilitated in Converse sneakers and grinning smugly at us over his shoulder. Maybe he’s flanked by guitarists in regalia conformable to that of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. A chapter therein dedicated to progressive rock spans no fewer than 300 pages. Within its first month of publication, over 200,000 boomers (nearly half of whom are still subscribed to Rolling Stone in 1988) purchase copies of the book. It was compiled by some asshole named Lifschitz who shaves his back every week.

Roger Ebert Reviews (Without Viewing) Hellbound

Assessors of motion pictures who are adversely prejudiced against a genre ought to oblige their audiences by excusing themselves from appraisal of movies in said genre. Notwithstanding his jejune dudgeon against horror flicks because they’re mean and all the blood therein perturbs him, petulant, celebrated, overfed hack Roger Ebert ineptly professed to viewing Hellbound: Hellraiser II, for yet another review garners more cash, more cash purchases provender, and fat boy must glut.

Hellbound: Hellraiser II

Generally speaking, there are two kinds of nightmares: the kind that you actually have, and the kind they make into movies. Real nightmares usually involve frustration or public embarrassment. In the frustrating ones, a loved one is trying to tell you something and you can’t understand them, or they’re in danger and you can’t help them. In the embarrassing ones, it’s the day of the final exam and you forgot to attend the classes, or you’re in front of a crowd and can’t think of anything to say, or you wandered into the hotel lobby without any clothes on and nobody has noticed you yet – but they’re about to.

As I’m a cult hero and nonesuch of my trades, most of my oneiric experiences involve erotic, gastronomic, and auctorial indulgences of Caligulan proportions, but Ebert’s dreams are to be expected for a petty, corpulent changeling.

Those are scary nightmares, all right, and sometimes they turn up in the movies. But “Hellbound: Hellraiser II” contains the kinds of nightmares that occur only in movies, because our real dreams have low budgets and we can’t afford expensive special effects.

Ebert’s abject absence of imagination is no revelation.

The movie begins a few hours after the original “Hellbound” ended.

This isn’t a puzzler: Hellbound is the sequel to Hellraiser. Even New World Pictures issued press kits to professional reviewers; those with IQs exceeding room temperature could infer this titular detail.

A young girl named Kirsty has been placed in a hospital after a night in which she was tortured by the flayed corpses of her parents, who were under the supervision of the demons of hell.

In a sane world, any reviewer paid for his output who can’t or won’t synopsize a film accurately would be called to the carpet by his readership and employers alike.

What this girl needs is a lot of rest and a set of those positive-thinking cassettes they advertise late at night on cable TV.

Has she also need of a regale?

But no such luck. The hospital is simply another manifestation of the underworld, hell is all around us, we are powerless in its grip, and before long Kristy and a newfound friend named Tiffany are hurtling down the corridors of the damned. Give or take a detail or two, that’s the story.

It isn’t at all, but this is what proceeds in a review indited from hearsay, because Roger Ebert didn’t watch Hellbound ere he reviewed it, as he’ll promptly evidence.

“Hellbound: Hellraiser II” is like some kind of avant-garde film strip in which there is no beginning, no middle, no end, but simply a series of gruesome images that can be watched in any order.

One can envision Ebert stamping his pudgy foot whilst typing this surmisal. Hellbound‘s plot is quite commonplace.

The images have been constructed with a certain amount of care and craftsmanship; the technical credits on this movie run to four single-spaced pages.

I’m almost surprised that Ebert deferred from his engorgement for perchance a minute to riffle through his press kit.

We see lots of bodies that have been skinned alive, so that the blood still glistens on the exposed muscles. We see creatures who have been burned and mutilated and twisted into grotesque shapes and condemned for eternity to unspeakable and hopeless tortures.

So, the reviewer images what he’s heard of the production for the benefit of teenagers and concerned parents whose regard for it’s expected to be antipodal.

We hear deep, rasping laughter as the denizens of hell chortle over the plight of the terrified girls. And we hear their desperate voices calling to each other.

“Kirsty!” we hear. And “Tiffany!” And “Kirsty!!!” and “Tiffany!!!” And “Kirstiyyyyyyy!!!!!” And “Tiffanyyyyyyy!!!!!” I’m afraid this is another one of those movies that violates the First Rule of Repetition of Names, which states that when the same names are repeated in a movie more than four times a minute for more than three minutes in a row, the audience breaks out into sarcastic laughter, and some of the ruder members are likely to start shouting “Kirsty!” and “Tiffany!” at the screen.

This never transpires in the picture; Imogen Boorman’s character couldn’t call to Ashley Laurence’s repeatedly because she’s mute for the nigh-totality of the film. She literally utters not a dozen lines, all of which are vocalized in the movie’s last fifteen minutes, and not one of which is a vociferation bespeaking her co-star. Ebert substituted pettish conjecture for actual evaluation because he indiscriminately hates horror movies and didn’t even watch this one.

But this movie violates more rules than the First Rule of Repetition.

How did anyone countenance this little imbecile’s “rules?” Nothing’s as evidential of impotence than the compulsion to propound arbitrary rules pertaining to a medium rather than simply assessing a work’s quality and idiom its own terms.

It also violates a basic convention of story construction, which suggests that we should get at least a vague idea of where the story began and where it might be headed. This movie has no plot in a conventional sense.

As those of us who’ve actually watched this movie know, it was written in particular abidance by narrative convention.

It is simply a series of ugly and bloody episodes strung together one after another like a demo tape by a perverted special-effects man. There is nothing the heroines can do to understand or change their plight and no way we can get involved in their story.

During this movie’s second and third acts, its heroines are entirely preoccupied with opposition to preternatural antagonists and phenomena, upon which they prevail with the exercise of some ingenuity. An especially heinous critic wouldn’t know this and couldn’t be engaged by the movie if he hadn’t seen it.

That makes “Hellbound: Hellraiser II” an ideal movie for audiences with little taste

Ebert lauded The Women, Home Alone 3, Clash of the Titans, Cars 2, Escape From L.A. and Knowing, and famously panned A Clockwork Orange, Blue Velvet, The Flower of My Secret, The Tenant, Fast Times at Ridgemont High and Taste of Cherry.

and atrophied attention spans who want to glance at the screen occasionally and ascertain that something is still happening up there.

That would connote more attention than that demonstrated in this review, which represents an egregious dereliction of occupational responsibility.

If you fit that description, you have probably not read this far, but what the heck, we believe in full-service reviews around here.

You’re welcome.

Which is most appalling: Ebert’s blatant contumely for his audience, fatuous self-satisfaction or fraud disclosed in penning a review of a picture he clearly hadn’t seen, for which he was paid?

Personally, I love Hellbound, but can’t deny that it’s a deeply flawed picture: its continuity is a shambles (especially in severalty from its predecessor); production design and effects alike are inspired but fashioned and executed with slipshod inconsistency; good performances are squandered on dialogue of equally varied quality, and the entire undertaking was obviously festinated to capitalize on Barker’s hit. Ebert didn’t advert to one of these glaring faults because he didn’t even watch the movie. How does a professional, syndicated reviewer get away with this sort of stupid dupery?