If you're not angry, then you're not caring hard enough.
I’m 38 years old, and I like Batman. I like Batman a lot. If Batman were a character in the Bible, my church attendance would hover around 100%. If Batman were a Republican, I’d spoon Ann Coulter just to penetrate his inner circle. I’d like Batman if he was a Boy Scout who ate at Chik-Fil-A while donating half his salary from working on Wall Street to George Zimmerman’s legal fund between coaching football at Penn State and shopping for puppies with Michael Vick.
I just like Batman. Okay?
My like for Batman began 20 years ago, when a new villain named Bane broke his back. Before that, I didn’t much care. After the Breaking (A.B.), totally intrigued. Who has enough Kung-fu to break Batman’s back? How does one recover from such a trauma? Where the hell was Alfred and Robin? I immediately dashed into a comic book store and purchased the cheesy issue of Bane breaking Batman’s back.
KRAKT! That’s the sound it made.
In the next issue, Bane tosses Batman from a three story building, bouncing his crippled body off well-placed awnings before dashing it to Gotham’s dirty streets. YOU DID THAT SHIT TO BATMAN! NO FUCKING WAY!
But he did! From there began an obsessive 15-year dedication to purchasing every Batman and Detective Comics comic book DC published – plus a crapload of lessor titles like Shadow of the Bat and The Batman Chronicles. I was hooked, man. Even when Batman inexplicably recuperated and returned to thrashing the criminal underworld, I was buying the comics. By the time my second son was born, I had amassed 2,000 cheaply printed comic books, most of which were lovingly stored in cardboard sleeves inside a cardboard box.
Eventually, I became a man in my late 30s and realized that my money was better invested in small cap annuities and strippers with big jugs. I lost interest in comics but not in Batman. He was still cool.
In my estimate, nearly every super-hero who wasn’t Batman was a cheater. How difficult is it to wage war on crime if you are invulnerable, or can fly, or jog at the speed of light? Batman’s only advantage is inherited wealth, which I can’t forgive Mitt Romney for, but I can forgive Bruce Wayne. With a little money, some barbells, and a terrible personal tragedy for motivation, you could be your own Caped Crusader. As unlikely as this scenario is, it’s far more probable than becoming Superman or Spider-Man or Wolverine or Iron Man or Captain America or Phantom Lady.
Though empowered with a host of super-cool high-tech gadgetry, I’m more drawn to Batman’s old fashioned values – his refusal to kill, his avoidance of firearms, and his commitment to protect the innocent. Today’s heroes seem more concerned with stark realities and gray areas than with maintaining principles. Batman never wavers. It’s his way or a punch in the face. (Which happens to be Batman’s way, too.) When Tim Burton bolted machine guns onto the Batmobile in Batman, I was shocked. That isn’t Bat’s style, bro. That alone betrayed Burton’s ignorance of the character.
Christopher Nolan’s third film in his Batman trilogy opens this Friday, and I’m stoked and jazzed and pumped and geeked. I’m pleased that Nolan righted the wrongs of Joel Schumacker and filmed Bane as the worthy and formidable foe the source material intended. The dude broke Batman’s back. He deserves props.
I just hope they get the KRAKT juuuuuuust right.
“Penn St. is just like the Catholic church!”
Both institutions share caustic ingredients: A once venerated assemblage of villains. A staggering number of victims. A seemingly impregnable society governed by untouchable men of power. A shameless, arrogant cover-up. An unquestioning peasantry. And pedophilia, of course.
“The most powerful men at Penn State failed to take any steps for 14 years to protect the children who Sandusky victimized,” concluded the Freeh’s Report, which documented years of abuse, rug-sweeping and white-washing. The vaunted Penn State football program was more important than a handful of troubled, friendless boys – an unwilling harem to a monster whose celebrated gridiron defensive schemes also protected him from exposure and criminal prosecution.
You can replace “Penn State Football” with “Catholic church” and not skip a beat. Replace “Sandusky” with the names of any number of nefarious Catholic clergyman. Insert “Bishops, Cardinals, and Popes” in place of “Spanier, Schultz, Paterno and Curley.” It’s fair. It’s deserved.
Penn State can learn from the Catholic Church. For starters, it can go the opposite direction of the Church. Instead of battening down its hatches and shifting blame, Penn State can do an honest penance. Don’t wait for the NCAA or the legal system for punishment. Suspend the football program for five years (and allow current players to transfer to other universities without penalty.) Remove all coaches and administrators, whether innocent or guilty. Re-direct the football budget to charity. Become a model for background checks and internal policing. Above all, take full responsibility for creating a culture that conceals and protects monsters.
The Catholic Church, whose mandate is to safeguard the eternal soul of its faithful following, was far more bent on preserving its own stained reputation and antiquated philosophies. Its policy towards the child abuse scandal was not to examine the root of the problem, but to position pedophilia as a strange anomaly in an otherwise spotless system. They blamed homosexuality and a permissive culture of sin, but not themselves. How could they? They had been chosen by God.
The administration that governed Penn State football may or may not have felt a higher calling, but they certainly believed that the grotesque appetites of one of their brethren should not tarnish the sanctity of what their flock believed to be a flawless institution of virtue and glory. The fans of Penn State pray to the alter of the Nittany Lion. One only has to observes the candles and flowers displayed at Paterno’s on-campus idol to see that this is true. How could something so pure become so corrupt?
After years of denials and counter-accusations, the enormous ocean liner that is the Catholic Church finally charted a different course on sexual abuse. It admitted that the problem wasn’t “sneaky gays” but its own penchant for deceit. Though it waited for the weight of enormous lawsuits to dictate the terms, the Church has taken measures to prevent abuse and to reconcile with the thousands of victims. The steps have been too small, of course. It would be nice if Pope Benedict would simply stand up and say, “Our system is broken. We will demolish it and begin anew!” instead of clinging to the ancient rules and regulations that bore this mess to start with. Until then, shame and not honor continues to be the Church’s great motivator.
But it’s not too late for Penn State. Embrace your failure and become what your true purpose really is: to educate.
“How hard is it to get it in the toilet?” she declares sourly. But there’s no pat answer. Once, my mom (who lived under identical gender conditions) posed the same question repeatedly until Dad finally uttered, “It’s not as easy as it looks!“
That’s paternal wisdom. It’s not as easy as it looks. There are extenuating circumstances at play here. For the first time in the history of mankind, those circumstances will be outlined to the fairer sex. It’s an Angry Czeck Exclusive. But remember: you can’t un-knowledge knowledge ladies. This will live with you for the rest of your life.
Why There Is Pee Around The Toilet, Ladies
1. Boners. Ladies, have you ever attempted to urinate with an erection? You may as well try to bend a piano in half. Unless you can stand on the ceiling like Spider-Man, the chances of scoring a direct hit into the toilet while peeing with a boner is nearly 0%. Quite frankly, you’re lucky its on the floor and not the walls.
2. Crammage. When you cram something into a constricting package, like boxer briefs or skinny jeans, it doesn’t always unpack quite right. (Think of a sleeping bag crammed into its sleeve.) Things need time to re-assume its original shape. (Time rarely given.) Hence, when a man starts peeing, things can be a little smooshed up. Listen, don’t make me explain this any farther. Just think of what happens when you press your finger against the mouth of a water hose, okay?
3. Drunk. Drinking and driving is illegal. Drinking and peeing isn’t. Perhaps you should take your case to court, Ladies.
4. Forgot to Shake. Sometimes, you think you’re done but you’re not. Maybe you have the next pick for your fantasy football draft. Maybe there’s a bee in the bathroom. Regardless, you’re too busy for the “3 Shake Rule.” Life isn’t always so convenient.
5. It’s Dark & I’m Tired. “Men have no aim at 3 A.M.” is a mantra that hasn’t really caught on yet, but I think it might.
6. Splash Damage. Unless you’re peeing into the Grand Canyon, you’re gonna get some splash-back. I’d explain it more scientifically, but there’s lots of math and physics involved.
Next time you see a little pee around the toilet, just remember what you learned today, Girls. Allow sympathy to replace your rage. In the meantime, maybe we can do a better job of sopping up our drippings with a wad of TP. That sounds pretty fair.
Extra at Wedding
Subway Thug #1
Youth in Park
Machine Gun Joe Viterbo
Detective Rick Daly
Captain Robert Hatch
Man on Street
Lt. Marion “Cobra” Cobretti
Lt. Raymond Tango
Angelo “Snaps” Provolone
Sgt. Joe Bomowski
Judge Joseph Dredd
Dean “The Dean” Stevens
Even before there was Internet, the Internet was magic. Anyone who witnessed Richard Pryor manufacture kryptonite with his computer in Superman III saw it coming. With the Internet, you could do anything. Everything.
By the mid-90s, the Internet was both a entity of wonder and source of complete mystery. We weren’t sure what we could do with it. We weren’t sure what couldn’t be done with it. According to the Hollywood film’s released during that time, you could commit any type of crime (and, conversely, conclude any criminal investigation) simply by “tapping into the net” and “decoding encrypted files.”
He who mastered the Internet (mysteriously capitalized) could alter the trajectory of the moon, re-route nuclear missiles, or edit your F- to an A+ (if you’re Mathew Broddrick). There were no limits.
I entered the advertising industry at the time when every agency was creating their first Web Divisions. A mere whiff of programming knowledge could earn you a sweet job. We traditional advertisers stood in wonder before a new ruling class of goatee-faced twenty-somethings who spoke in computer code and eye-rolls. Our clients demanded websites! Our radio spots became heavy with phrases like “log on” and “Double U Double U Double U Dot.” The world had pivoted at the speed of a mouse click.
The belief among us and the clients we served was that simply by virtue of posting a website, fantastic revenue would follow. But we didn’t know what people wanted from the web. Nobody had bothered to ask consumers. There were fools trying to sell 50lb bags of dog food on the Internet. Can you imagine paying postage every month for 5olbs of Ol’ Roy?
Meanwhile, media outlets like ESPN, New York Times, and CNN saw an opportunity to translate their popular brands into web banner revenue. Of course, this idea was obvious and genius because ESPN and The Times and CNN were still the big players. They alone could afford the cost of entry. Their content was an untouchable product.
Except, it wasn’t. The Internet is free (sort of) and ungoverned. While it failed to sell crates of dog food, it did succeed in making every man his own sports/politics/entertainment/social commentator. A person with a blog could grab content from any slick site and make it his own. Even worse for the ESPNs and Times of the world, any person with a blog and a cell phone camera could create his own original content, frequently scooping journalists beholden to antiquated rules of professionalism.
The Internet doesn’t need websites like ESPN. Advertisers can target their spending by throwing in with small-timers and blogs and receive the same bang.
With their product rapidly devaluing, media on the web are attempting to reclaim exclusivity: they are charging money for content.
“Why pay for something I can get for free?” was my first thought. Free content is the electricity fueling the monster Big Media created lo all these years. Now the monster has them by the throat, and they’re lashing out at us. You can’t just give, give, give then suddenly take away! You bastards! If ESPN is charging me money for a story about Lance Armstrong, I’ll just click over to SI.com and read it for free. Take that.
Eventually, SI will follow ESPN and The New York Times and realize that quality content is actually worth something. We paid for it for decades at the newsstand and through subscriptions. That we still expect to sup from the content gravy train underscores just how badly Big Media erred by giving it to us for free in the first place.
We will have to decide if a monthly fee is worth reliable journalism. The New York Times brought it home to me by first reducing my access to free content to 20 articles. A few months later, they sliced it to 10. The next cut will surely be to zero. I like The New York Times. I especially liked getting it for free.
But maybe I should have. Back in the late 90s, when a CD burner was an exotic piece of equipment, I was “sharing” music just like everyone else. The music industry immediately recognized the threat my downloading Weezer for free presented. Alliances were forged. Apple pounced on an opportunity, and suddenly I didn’t really mind paying 99 cents for a copy of “Purple Rain.” People still “share” music, sure, but plenty buy it, too. And somehow, we don’t feel ripped off.
I’m not about to pay a dollar for every New York Times article, but I dunno, maybe I’d pay $3 a month for 50 articles. That seems about right. After two decades of getting content for free, maybe I owe it.
Meanwhile, you can still read all the content provided by The Angry Czeck for free.