Louis Proyect: The Unrepentant Marxist

January 15, 2014

Scenes from my childhood

Filed under: humor — louisproyect @ 1:37 pm

January 13, 2014

“Girls” promo

Filed under: humor,television — louisproyect @ 7:19 pm

December 26, 2013

The Cutting Edge

Filed under: Academia,humor — louisproyect @ 1:59 pm

The Cutting Edge is a satirical novel written by George Snedeker who uses the pen name of David Lansky. He can be reached by email at george.snedeker@verizon.net Here is some information about his novel:

 ‘The Cutting Edge’ is a depiction of the situation of public higher education in the early 21st Century United States

 The College where Sociology Professor Fred Snyder taught until his untimely death at the hands of an emotionally disturbed student is called Old Windsor and is located on Long Island. Snyder taught sociology for over 20 years, and he was loved by students who had the opportunity to study with him. There is even a memorial scholarship in his name for students who have shown a commitment to the cause of social justice.

“The Cutting Edge” a satirical novel in two parts written by author David Lansky presents a clear-sighted critique of the current state of academia. The first manuscript in the novel is set in a SUNY campus, diary entries that may or may not have been written by a student named Jenny Delight and   a second manuscript that presents the memoir of the childhood of Fred Snyder whose tragic death made national news headlines. No one is quite sure who Jenny is. It is an obvious pseudonym since no student by this name has ever attended Old Windsor. Jenny’s diary entries are hilarious, laced with social and personal insight as she tries to understand the world around her, often using categories she is learning, sometimes the most abstract categories available, and she infuses them with vivid meaning.

The second section of the novel, Bill of Sale, is the posthumously-discovered manuscript of Sociology Professor Fred Snyder. It is a harrowing account of very vulnerable people who are critical of their society. It is a section revealing, with extraordinary power, the ruthlessness of contemporary capitalism and its relentless destructive force.

A satirical novel that presents a depiction of life in the United States with a good dose of humor, it depicts the situation of public higher education in the early 21st Century United States. “The Cutting Edge” displays powerful imagination, rollicking humor, profound insight and deep political commitment that readers will surely appreciate.

For more information on this book, interested parties may log on to www.Xlibris.com.

 

The Cutting Edge  by David Lansky

Publication Date: November 25, 2013

Trade Paperback; $19.99; 200 pages; 978-1-4931-2127-4

e-book; $3.99; 978-1-4931-2128-1

To request a complimentary paperback review copy, contact the publisher at (888) 795-4274 x. 7879.  To purchase copies of the book for resale, please fax Xlibris at (812) 355-4079 or call (888) 795-4274 x. 7879.

 

For more information, contact Xlibris at (888) 795-4274 or on the web at http://www.Xlibris.com.

 

The Cutting Edge can also be purchased at Amazon and most other online book stores.

 

 

PREFACE

By Jenny Delight

  What follows here are a series of essays I wrote while attending the SUNY/College at Old Windsor from 2006-10. They are an attempt to report on some of the most important events that took place at Old Windsor while I was a student there. I also discuss some of the major issues that came before the Student Life Committee while I served on it as a student representative. I try to shed some light on my own development as a student and responsible member of society.

I tell my story along with the stories of several of my closest friends with the humor they merit. I’ve incorporated some of my friends and professors into the story of college life. There are also several members of my extended family who find their way into this story. I’ve changed people’s names to avoid lawsuits and to protect the innocent. Some of the details in my story have also been altered so people won’t be pissed off at me should this book fall into their hands. I’ve undertaken this task of reporting with both a sense of humor and the kind of seriousness it deserves. I’m not a professional writer, but I think the quality of my writing improved while I was a student at Old Windsor, largely due to the help of my professors and the tutors at the Writing Center.

I’ve also attempted to report on some of the members of the Old Windsor administration as they influenced the lives of us students, especially in the judicial hearings that students are subject to when they get into trouble for violating any of the rules and regulations of the college. I hope I’ve not been unfair to anyone in these pages.

 

 

December 21, 2013

Duck Dynasty is a fake

Filed under: capitalist pig,homophobia,humor,racism — louisproyect @ 1:07 pm

December 1, 2013

The Hunger Games abridged script

Filed under: Film,humor — louisproyect @ 12:04 am

The Hunger Games

By Rod on Apr 12th, 2012

Kevin Smith's "Daughter of Green Arrow" comic book series alienated many fans.

Kevin Smith’s “Daughter of Green Arrow” comic book series alienated many fans.

This script was featured on Cracked.com, so you can also read it there.

THE HUNGER GAMES

The Abridged Script

FADE IN:

EXT. DISTRICT 12

JENNIFER LAWRENCE and LIAM HEMSWORTH walk to the town square sullenly.

LIAM HEMSWORTH

God, I hate having to come to The Reaping every year. It’s like, Hillary Swank as a scientist, really?

JENNIFER LAWRENCE

No no, you’re thinking of the 2007 plague movie. This is just when a male and female child are selected at random to fight the children of 11 other districts to the death, so nowhere near as bad as that.

LIAM HEMSWORTH

(exaggerated eye-roll)

Pfffffffffft, that’s such a ripoff of Battle Royale! That’s a ridiculously famous and popular Japanese film, you may not have heard of it. Doesn’t it show how totally hip and smart I am to cleverly observe how similar this movie is to that one?

JENNIFER LAWRENCE

Actually, since you could have realized that 4 years ago when the book came out, the only thing you’ve shown is that you don’t read books.

ELIZABETH BANKS, caked in HEATH LEDGER’S TEST MAKEUP, walks out onto a stage.

ELIZABETH BANKS

Oooooo, I will now select this year’s female tribute without even the slightest hint of awareness that this is actually a process people don’t like!

ELIZABETH selects JENNIFER’S SISTER, WILLOW SHIELDS.

WILLOW SHIELDS

I can’t open my eyes with terror any wider, won’t somebody do something?!

JENNIFER LAWRENCE

Stop, I volunteer! I am not the greatest girl in the world, no, I am just a tribuuuuute!

ELIZABETH BANKS

Great! And for the male tribute…

(draws a name)

Some blond beta kid nobody cares about.

JOSH HUTCHERSON

Awwww man, this is the worst birthday ever!

WILLOW and LIAM say goodbye to JENNIFER.

WILLOW SHIELDS

Sis, I want you to have the Mockingjay pin I wear, it’ll bring you good luck.

JENNIFER LAWRENCE

This would be the same lucky pin you were wearing when you were selected against thousand-to-one odds to be sent to your death, right? Thanks.

WILLOW SHIELDS

I guess I’ll see you when the movie’s over, since at no point will anyone make any attempt to make it seem like you’re not going to obviously win the games.

They HUG, it’s LIKE TOTALLY EMOTIONAL.

LIAM HEMSWORTH

Good luck, Jennifer. Whatever you do, don’t overemphasize the book’s Twilight-esque love triangle just because our target demographic eats that shit up like rocky road ice cream after a breakup. Remember, I’ll be here, smoldering at the TV for you.

JENNIFER LAWRENCE

Thanks Liam, tell Captain America and Iron Man I said hello.

LIAM HEMSWORTH

Oh, you bitch.

INT. PANEM

JENNIFER and JOSH are taken to the CAPITAL CITY OF PANEM where they train with WOODY HARRELSON, previous winner of THE MOST HUNGRIEST GAME.

WOODY HARRELSON

Hi tributes, ask me anything. I will get to as many of your questions as I can, so start asking now!

JOSH HUTCHERSON

I’m a baker by trade, should I go for it if one of the weapons on the battlefield is a comically oversized dough roller?

WOODY HARRELSON

You know, I really don’t think about those things, once the opportunity passes, I really let go of it.

JENNIFER LAWRENCE

In the book you’re an alcoholic largely due to the emotional burden that comes with training children that go on to be slaughtered, but just now you seemed to grab every drink you could because it’s a cheap characterization, is that accurate?

WOODY HARRELSON

I did it for energy. And i have to say, it works.

Suddenly, LENNY KRAVITZ approaches.

LENNY KRAVITZ

Hey guys, I really hate having my picture taken without sunglasses on, so let’s make this fast. We have to introduce all 24 tributes to the audience, so I’m going to make you stand out with this costume, which looks like it’s on fire.

JENNIFER LAWRENCE

That’s it? This costume got two full, tedious chapters in the book! And yet, dumbass fangirls are still going to complain the book is better, aren’t they, Woody?

WOODY HARRELSON

I don’t want to answer questions about that. Lets focus on the film people.

JENNIFER shoots an APPLE which causes the movie to admit up-front that she’s going to win so everyone can RELAX.

JENNIFER sits down for an interview with STANLEY TUCCI.

STANLEY TUCCI

Hi Jennifer, try your best not to be distracted by my ridiculous costume. So, first question: the premise of “The Hunger Games” is that food is scarce and people compete in this competition to win food for their families, right?

JENNIFER LAWRENCE

That’s correct, Stanley.

STANLEY TUCCI

So you’re supposedly… you know, starving to death, right?

JENNIFER LAWRENCE

Yep. What are you asking, exactly?

STANLEY TUCCI

Well, you look… I mean, what I’m asking is, why are you… er, of all the young actresses up for the part… uh, how do I ask this without sounding like a superficial male pig…

JENNIFER LAWRENCE

You’re wondering why they didn’t cast an Olsen twin?

STANLEY TUCCI

Yes, exactly! Thank you!

JENNIFER LAWRENCE

Superficial male pig.

JENNIFER is ushered off the stage to make way for JOSH HUTCHERSON.

STANLEY TUCCI

So, Josh, what do you suppose your chances are, considering that it looks like your head has been stuck in a small box since puberty.

JOSH HUTCHERSON

Well, before I left, my mother told me she’s pretty sure Jennifer’s going to win. Then my sister called me a pussy and my dad said not to be sad because I was supposed to be an abortion anyway. I can lift a bag of flour though, so pretty okay I guess.

STANLEY TUCCI

I see. And do you have a girlfriend back home, which is a question I didn’t ask anyone else and have no reason to ask you?

JOSH HUTCHERSON

Well there’s this girl I stare at all the time like that vampire guy from that popular franchise, but SHE CAME HERE WITH ME, WHAAAAAAT!

STANLEY TUCCI

Wow, ladies and gentlemen, what a twist! Our female protagonist is certainly facing a difficult moral quandary, trying to remain a sympathetic character while murdering innocent children including a boy with a crush on her in order to ensure her own survival! What do you think of that, distractingly weird-looking co-host Toby Jones?

TOBY JONES

Well Stanley, I think it would be a crushing disappointment if this complex, interesting ethical dilemma were gutlessly resolved by having Jennifer pretty much avoiding killing anyone due to increasingly preposterous contrivances including sudden, nonsensical rule changes outside of her influence!

LENNY KRAVITZ

OH MY GOD I AM SO FUCKING BORED WHEN ARE THE KIDS GOING TO KILL EACH OTHER?!

ALL 24 OR 25 TRIBUTES are sent to fight to the death in THE DINING MAN.

READ FULL SCRIPT

November 21, 2013

Bashar Al-Assad Introduces Syrian Bike-Sharing Program

Filed under: humor,Syria — louisproyect @ 11:32 pm
News in BriefSyriaWorldpoliticiansNews ISSUE 49•31 • Jul 31, 2013

DAMASCUS—Saying that the initiative will reduce vehicle traffic, improve local air quality, and foster a strong sense of community, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad announced Tuesday that city transportation authorities across the nation will soon launch SyriaCycles, a new bike-sharing program allowing urban residents to access bicycles for short-term trips without worrying about storage or maintenance. “Transportation is a key factor in the quality of life for any urbanite, and SyriaCycles ensures that city-dwellers all over the country can travel conveniently and efficiently; it’s fast, easy, and fun,” Assad said of the new transportation system, explaining that commuters can pay daily or yearly subscription fees to access a fleet of one-size-fits-all bicycles stationed at hundreds of rental hubs across numerous Syrian cities. “All you have to do is look for the row of orange-and-gray bicycles, unlock your ride with your unique CitiKey, and you’re on your way! And of course, in the interest of safety, we would like to remind all SyriaCycles members to always wear their bike helmets.” Assad added that he hopes 2013 in Syria will be remembered as the Year of the Bicycle.

July 31, 2013

When Comedy Went to School

Filed under: Catskills,comedy,Film,humor,Jewish question — louisproyect @ 4:15 pm

Although I am sure that just about everybody will be as enchanted by “When Comedy went to School”—a documentary on stand-up comedians of the Borscht Belt that opens today at the IFC in NY—as me, I have a particular connection to the film as someone who lived in the midst of the resort area in its heyday. The film will give you much more of an insight into this yeasty slice of Jewish life than any fictional film like “Dirty Dancing” can.

A WSJ interview with Robert Klein (it is behind a paywall but can be read through Google News on a search for the article’s title “Borscht Belt, Behind the Scenes”), the film’s narrator and veteran stand-up comic who launched his career in the Catskills, mentions him working at the Alamac Hotel as a lifeguard. My mother was very close to the family who owned the hotel in my hometown and connected me to Kenny Gottlieb, a busboy who worked there. Kenny, who was an opera-loving Amherst student, turned me on to Weiser’s bookstore in N.Y. that was owned by his uncle Sam. Weiser’s was devoted to occult religions and as such was a shrine for Beat poets who went there to gather material on Plotinus, Gnosticism, St. John of the Cross et al. It was after my own visits to Weiser’s in my teens that I decided to become a religion major at Bard College as a latecomer to the beat generation. (Through Google’s long tentacles, I learned that Kenny died in 2009 after flying his Cessna into a hillside in Napa, California.)

Despite the Borscht Belt’s rural location, the “townies” were always absorbing New York’s cultural influences from the young men and women who worked in the hotels. It was at the New Roxy, my friend Eli’s hotel where Rodney Dangerfield used to perform as Jack Roy, where I made contact with Don the lifeguard. I have vivid memories of chatting with Don, who looked like James Dean and screwed half the women who stayed there over the summer, about what he was reading at the time. He turned me on to Genet. I was also turned on to Panamanian Red that I bought from Freddy the waiter. It cost $15 an ounce back in 1961 and one shared joint could put four people on their ass.

Screen shot 2013-07-31 at 12.05.58 PM

You get a flavor of the affinity between the comedians who worked there and the burgeoning bohemian scene from Sandy Hackett, who reminisces about his dad Buddy in the film. It turns out that Buddy and Lenny Bruce, who both got started performing in the Catskills, were roommates in New York. If you knew anything about their respective public personae, it is a little bit like hearing that Charlie Parker and James Brown were roommates. The two comedians lived in a cheap studio apartment in the Village, where they covered the floor with sand in which they planted a beach umbrella. Women were invited up to smoke a joint and enjoy a faux day at the ocean.

For me one of the great pleasures of the film was watching the 87-year-old Jerry Lewis and the 91-year-old Sid Caesar holding forth on their early days in the Catskills in the 30s and 40s. By 1958, the two were king of the motion picture and television respectively. If you went to a premiere of a Martin and Lewis comedy, you’d expect to stand on a line to buy tickets that went around the block. Around the same time Sid Caesar’s “Show of Shows” had a bigger audience share on NBC than Seinfeld. For my money, Caesar’s show was ten times hipper than Seinfeld’s (Seinfeld’s career was also launched in the Catskill’s but at a time when it was on the decline.) It was on the “Show of Shows” where I saw him leading the cast in a parody of what was obviously a Kurosawa movie long before I knew that Kurosawa existed.

Screen shot 2013-07-31 at 11.45.12 AM

At this point, it is worth including the panels above are from my abortive memoir done with Harvey Pekar even though his widow has warned me that I do not have her permission to do so. The shrill and vindictive woman obviously understands nothing about “fair use” laws.

Mel Brooks was among the writers for “The Show of Shows”. Some years later Woody Allen wrote for Sid Caesar TV specials. Both men got started in the Catskills. In a Wikipedia article on Borscht Belt humor, Brooks is included as an example of puns, one of the four dominant characteristics:

  • Bad luck: “When I was a kid, I was breast-fed by my father.” (Dangerfield)
  • Puns: “Sire, the peasants are revolting!” “You said it. They stink on ice.” (Harvey Korman as Count de Money (Monet) and Mel Brooks as King Louis XVI, in History of the World Part I)
  • Physical complaints and ailments (often relating to bowels and cramping): “My doctor said I was in terrible shape. I told him, ‘I want a second opinion.’ He said, ‘All right, you’re ugly too!'” “I told my doctor, ‘This morning when I got up and saw myself in the mirror, I looked awful! What’s wrong with me?’ He replied, ‘I don’t know, but your eyesight is perfect!'” (Dangerfield)
  • Aggravating relatives and nagging wives: “My wife and I were happy for twenty years. Then we met.” (Dangerfield). “Take my wife—please!” (Henny Youngman); “My wife drowned in the pool because she was wearing so much jewelry.” (Rickles); “My wife ain’t too bright. One day our car got stolen. I said to her, ‘Did you get a look at the guy?’ She said, ‘No, but I got the license number.'” (Dangerfield) “This morning the doorbell rang. I said ‘Who is it?’ He said ‘It’s the Boston strangler.’ I said ‘It’s for you dear!'” (Youngman)

I don’t care much for the sexist junk about wives but all the rest of it rings a bell and was certainly an influence on my own sense of humor. The Wikipedia summary, however, does not mention what for me is the crowing element of Borscht Belt humor: self-deprecation. Although he was only part of the Catskills in the eleventh hour, Woody Allen was a master of self-deprecation. A typical Allen joke from this period: “I was thrown out of college for cheating on the metaphysics exam; I looked into the soul of the boy sitting next to me.”

Some say that brevity is the soul of wit. For me it is self-deprecation. While I am the target of deprecators near and far, I always beat them to the punch. In order to make my posts on the most abstruse topics palatable to the average radical, I try to thrown in a few jokes like the chopped meat surrounding a pill given to a pet dog.

When I was in the early stages of writing the text for the memoir I did with Pekar, I told him that it would be filled with jokes. I said that it would be in the spirit of the stand-up comedians I used to hear when I was a teen in the Catskills. Too bad it will never see the light of day except for these “fair use” samples. That’s her loss financially and mine creatively. But most of all, it is a loss to her late husband’s legacy that matters less to her than her petty feud with me.

January 29, 2013

Charlie Kimber responds to critics

Filed under: humor — louisproyect @ 8:28 pm

October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween

Filed under: humor,television — louisproyect @ 11:32 pm

May 17, 2012

A smart Chihuahua

Filed under: humor,Obama — louisproyect @ 1:36 pm

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