Thursday, April 9, 2009

A trip down memory lane... to Spring 2003

Today at work, I was doing research on how other sites get user feedback in real time, when I decided to get information from After getting the necessary screenshots, I took a moment to visit my favorite page on that site... for my old professor Steve Vineberg's book No Surprises, Please!: Movies in the Regan Decade. Now, I've never read this book, so that's not why I love this page. No, it's for the user comments.

Back in 2003, my friends Dave Wanczyk, Michnya, and I found this page and the following review, which gave Steve's book one star:

The dorkiest title of all time
Imagine writing a book and titling it NO Surprises, Please! That gives you an idea of how hip this author is. The book is dull, the insights are slight and the prose style is irritating. I stumbled upon this book in a library jumble sale... The concept for the book is so lame that it really should have been contained within an article in a university publication or some staid periodical for an audience of dullards. It's out of print now, mercifully, and is already so dated feeling that it's doubtful it will ever see the light of day again, but just in case you find another copy lying around in a pile or see this author's name on another book (please, no) you have been warned!

Our first line of attack against this was to say it was not helpful a bunch of times. Then, Dave decided to fire back with his own review of the book. (keep in mind, he's also never read it)

Don't judge a book by its title
This book is perhaps the best thing to happen to the cinema since Godard, and the best thing to happen to American cinema since God saw fit to mix amino acid with soul. When Emerson wrote about a new American poet carrying on his legend, he was not prophesying Whitman, he was shouting loud to the reverberate hills the name of Vineberg. The structure of this book is flawless, its insights sublime, its witticisms sharp, and its footnotes helpful. I've heard in various circles challenges to the authors hipness. Hemingway was not hip my friends. Hemingway may have been hardcore, but he did not know the words to this Mitch Miller hit, or that bee bop and skat tune. Steven Vineberg is both hardcore and hip, having memorized the lyrics to Eminem's smooth rap anthem, "Lose Yourself." In fact, Steve Vineberg is Marshall Mathers. His hatred of such 80s classics as The Breakfast Club and Ghostbusters II brought him to a level of rage unseen in white rap since Ed Isser screamed to Jon Tobin, "No one can be as intense as me." You can see the influence of filth like Mannequin in his lyric, "You don't wanna mess with Vineberg, cuz Vineberg will tear you paper up." Seriously, though, Vineberg is a meticulous writer and the most discerning critic of our day. A coincidental acronym for this professorial entity is "never, beg invest," and I implore my Amazon brothers and Sisters to never beg, but invest your hard earned 2.94$ in this book and help unseat J.K. Rowling. By the way, Vineberg likes Cuaron, the director of HP3, and he is my choice to direct HP7, "Harry Potter and the search for Macdougal's last paper."

Michnya and I then gave it a bunch of high marks and also emailed it to all of our friends, who also got a kick out of it. Then Michnya and Dave graduated, Dave fell off the face of the earth, but Michnya and I kept the buffoonery alive.

When I reread this page, I discovered that two years after Dave's review, someone else decided to take it into their own hands and also review this book. I'm also guessing that they've never read it, either.

How does one sum up a man and his work? (by Marshall Mathers III)
The Iroquois believe that before man walked the earth there was a great tribe of sky people who lived without worry or pain on a floating island. One day Sky Woman became pregnant with twins and was pushed by her murderous husband from their happy island home. Instead of plummeting to her death she was caught by birds and carried to safety. There was no land for her so they sprinkled earth on the back of a turtle and placed Sky Woman there.
Sky Woman gave birth to two healthy boys. She named her first son Sapling and he made all that is good and right in the world. He made the trees green and heavy with fruit. He made the waters cool and potable and he filled them up with a bounty of fish. Sky Woman's other son represented all that was dark in the world. He made the rivers flow away and turned the fruit to rot. He salted the earth where he walked and burned the forests to ash. He was the unmaker, the despoiler, the scourge and bane. He was VINEBERG and VINEBERG he remains. He'd like two of the Lucky Millions scratch-offs, please.

VINEBERG is going to climb Everest just to steal George Mallory's corpse. VINEBERG watches NASCAR for the crashes. VINEBERG forgot to leave off the pickles and he has hidden the complaint box. VINEBERG is a first responder. He's going to press his ear to your face and listen to your eyes glaze over. VINEBERG is going to taste your tears.
When the tempest crashes against the lighthouse and the beacon leads the ships aground, VINEBERG will be there riding on his trusty octopus Mephisto. VINEBERG is preoccupied with knitting. VINEBERG can fly but he prefers to travel as an airborne pathogen from host to host. VINEBERG is mutating the avian flu because he likes chickens better than you. VINEBERG loves kudzu, enough to marry it.

There are only two certain things in life: death and VINEBERG, taxes can take a hike. VINEBERG invented hide and seek to lure unattended children into abandoned refrigerators. VINEBERG wore a yarmulke when he traveled through time and beat up teenage Hitler. VINEBERG is digging up a pet cemetery and calling UPS with your address. The Chinese keep crickets as pets and VINEBERG keeps the Chinese as pets. VINEBERG has forbidden dancing on the weekend. VINEBERG is anaerobic.

VINEBERG is running a fraudulent cancer wig program to make sweaters for rich German eccentrics. VINEBERG is using Comic Sans. VINEBERG is opening the attachment. VINEBERG is entrusting a Nigerian with your banking information. VINEBERG just said "LOL" out loud just because he knows you hate it. VINEBERG is framing an expired gift certificate from Burger King. VINEBERG just blamed it on the dog.
VINBERG is sewing dolphin fins to amputees at Walter Reed. Don't blame VINEBERG, he voted for LaRouche. VINEBERG'S car is made entirely out of magnetic ribbons. VINEBERG supports the troops but not the war. VINEBERG is issuing a fatwah.

We would all die alone if it weren't for VINEBERG. VINEBERG is rowing you across the River of Death on your journey to the Kingdom of the West. VINEBERG is weighing your heart in the Hall of Osiris. VINEBERG knows a shortcut across the Lake of Fire. VINEBERG isn't telling. VINEBERG will be confronting his baby mama on Jerry Springer. VINEBERG just threw a baseball game because a terminally ill kid's final wish was that he win. VINEBERG is turning state's evidence.

VINEBERG is not permitted to live within 500 meters of a uranium centrifugal isotope sluice. VINEBERG is selling loose nukes to Syria. VINEBERG just bought up the world's stockpile of tungsten. He's building something, but no one is sure what.

VINEBERG is the sole financier of the hemp lobby. VINEBERG knows his rope. VINEBERG is handing out the brown acid. VINEBERG is having an old-fashioned freak out.

Behind the black door he toils and works. Flashes of welding and mechanical jerks. Ozone stink fills the hall and pounding hammers shake the wall. The loops of cable spill out like hair but no one knows what he's building in there. One day the door is open, the serpents come and the seals are broken. He has fused himself to his creation. The rising tide of blood drowns the coast and the skies are filled with fire. VINEBERG rises up on three mechanical legs and howls at the coruscating light that burns down the stars. He is god and betrayer, the unmaker, the despoiler, the scourge and bane. He is the end and the beginning and he is looking for a great deal on rust proofing.

I had to stop reading this review halfway, since I was crying I was laughing so hard. I also feel I should explain all the references to Eminem. So Spring 2003, Steve had the cast of Cyrano de Bergerac over to his house for a party after a show, and someone put on Lose Yourself. Steve then went on to sing every lyric of this song to the CD, and the cast circled around him while he did it like it was a high school dance. One of the most memorable moments from college, to be sure.

This may only be funny to a small handful of people, but I find all this absolutely hilarious.

1 comment:

contrlfreq said...

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