Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Bill Zehme, you are the wind beneath my wings

Some people are inspired by excellence, by the example created by masters. A painter looks at the works of da Vinci, or a trumpet player listens to Gillespie, and they think, "I want to aspire to that level of greatness."

Then there's me. I'm inspired by the awful and the incompetent. To this day, there's a part of me that wants to be a high school teacher because my own World History teacher was so incompetent that I said to myself, "I should be a teacher just so that those I teach won't be taught by this bozo."

In that same vein, I give you, from the April, 2008 issue of
Rolling Stone, Bill Zehme's feature article, "Chris Rock Isn't Laughing."
Because he has ceaselessly been proclaimed the Funniest Man Alive since his 1996 landmark Bring the Pain stand-up special, there comes for him a niggling responsibility to go be Funny in other places where people are also Alive but don't get HBO or his extraordinarily fine CW network coming-of-age series, Everybody Hates Chris (produced and narrated three seasons running by Rock) or film releases such as CB4, Pootie Tang, Down to Earth, Nurse Betty and last year's I Think I Love My Wife, his headstrong auteur remake of Eric Rohmer's French new Wave curiosity Chloe in the Afternoon.

Check the punctuation on that. Not only is it retarded ("...where people are also Alive...", what the hell does at even mean?), it's one sentence. One sentence that is ONE HUNDRED WORDS LONG!

But wait, there's more. And when I say "more," you better believe I mean a lot more. Again, these are single sentences, people.

These, of course, are mere droplets from ninety-plus minutes of Never Before Heard meticulously honed societal meanderings - topics ad infinitum traversing war, politics, pharmaceuticals, Roger Clemens, real estate, ejaculation, love, fatness, energy crisis, Anna Nicole Smith, gender discord, women gone missing, debt, careerism, entertainment gossip, SAT scores, gayness, racial correctness ('Now they're trying to get rid of the word nigger, my beloved nigger...'), Britney Spears and beyond - sprung from the ever-swirling Rock reservoir of dyspepsia, which has been damming up since the airing of his fourth HBO concert special, Never Scared, in 2004. (95 words)


Anyway, on this day and on two others I spent with him in different provinces, he wore a navy crew-neck sweater and navy sweatpants, the civilian uniform he favors most devotedly - possibly (but probably not) to compensate for the fact that "I am not blue-black," as he approximated his tint of flesh on the recent PBS Henry Louis Gates Jr. genealogical series, African American Lives 2, wherein he learned that his ancestry was twenty percent white European.

That last one is a succinct 89 words - practically taciturn by Bill's standards. Now, those sentences alone would be the length of a typical Rolling Stones feature article, but luckily, Bill Zehme graces us with more of his overwritten, rambling, pointless and painful prose.

...no mortal, of course, sifts matters of class and skin divide with sharper acuity than Rock, who is black but sometimes employs the term "a fine mocha" because he is just that precise.

Chris Rock is black!?!

You may as well know, meanwhile, that the un-robotic Rock possesses the actual Obama personal phone number...

Chris Rock isn't a robot?!?

Rock addresses women of certain maturity as "ma'am." For example: "How you doin' ma'am?" he said to a diminutive white-haired matron whose face abruptly hovered beside him.

Chris Rock doesn't call old women "bee-

Or the riveting story of how Chris Rock ordered cranberry juice, but got white cranberry juice and didn't recognize it, so the waiter replaced it with red cranberry juice. Man, I get chills just thinking about it.

So, thank you, Bill Zehme. You are my inspiration, my reason to keep practicing, to keep striving to make it as a writer. Because every moment that someone is reading something by me, is a moment that they definitely aren't reading you - and I can think of no greater service I could offer.

1 comment:

Toyfarer said...

Maybe, just maybe... He writes like he talks. Maybe, just maybe... He is a rambling man. Maybe, just maybe... Nah, he just sucks... :)