Sunday Advice Column #36


My head is swimming with opiated nostalgia. I watched the new Fox version of The Rocky Horror Picture Show starring Laverne Cox last night and I’ve spent the morning listening to the soundtracks of various casts, watching interviews with Richard O’Brien, and reading reviews of the new special.

There’s a strangely conservative moment/movement in film right now that makes people want to draw a line in the popcorn butter and declare some films un-re-bootable. As if there are stories and performances so iconic, no one should ever attempt to revisit them again. Sure, some films are about as good as they could be. And other films are so rooted to a time and place, it’s hard to imagine them having the same effect. Imagine a reboot of Fight Club.

Brad Pitt’s Tyler Durden and Helena B. Carter’s Marla Singer; both performances are perfection. Who’s going to do it better? Who other than Ed Norton could be simultaneously boring and anarchic? Even if you did pick a killer cast, this story just doesn’t make sense anymore. Most post-2008 crash millennials dream of a life like the narrator’s. A nice clean loft with tasteful, minimalist furniture is all a lot of people ever want.

Fighting itself is so mainstream you can’t go anywhere in the country without finding an MMA gym. Jiu-Jitsu is practically a spiritual mens’ movement with weekend seminars.

The world has certainly changed, but I still think there’s a place for The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Sex, drugs, and rock n roll are eternally joyous vices.

Rocky Horror was and is tremendously important to my life. It had been a few years since I’d seen or listened to any version of it and I was delighted and surprised to notice how many of my own outlooks and opinions were formed by it.

I’ve always had a natural and total acceptance of just about everything under the rainbow flag. I find weird girls with unnatural hair colors to be attractive. I’ll always love motorcycles and rock music. I value historical knowledge of genre, especially when it informs camp.

Anyway, I could rattle on about this kind of shit forever. It’s time for your questions to be answered.

You’re in bed asleep. You hear a series of explosions. What footwear do you grab as you flee your home?

If this happened in the real world, I would probably just jam my feet into my slip-on Chuck Taylor’s. Functionally, they’re basically Crocs. I walk the dogs in them, check the mail in them, and usually have them on when I’m investigating screaming, gunshots, or explosions outside (I live in West Oakland).

Now, if this was a fantasy world and I needed to be decked out in my “forever apocalypse” uniform, I’d probably just wear my steel-toed Redwings. They aren’t super comfortable or anything, but they are tough and utilitarian.

I guess it all really depends on what the explosion is. If it’s the new Russian Satan 2 rocket, it’s not going to matter what you’ve got on. If it’s something you’ll need to flee on foot, hiking boots would probably be best. Being a strong hiker is totally one of the least appreciated post-apocalypse physical disciplines. There are all these tough guys online doing crazy METCONs and other training, but most of what you’ll be doing after civilization falls is walking around and hiding.

Whatever you end up wearing in an emergency situation, make sure it’s not open toed.

What are arguments in support of the Dakota Access Pipeline? What’s your viewpoint on this, if any.

I haven’t looked at this story closely at all, but I have a few things to say that hopefully won’t sound too ignorant. It’s hard to tell what’s going on unless you really dig in.

There are a lot of hoax-y shit posts from “the good guys”. First, there was the photo of Woodstock going around alleging to be “thousands of protesters” gathering. Then there were supposed to be thousands of buffalos coming down from the prairie to stand with the protesters. That too ended up being greatly exaggerated.

The fact is, we all use oil. All of us. It’s being drilled and shipped from somewhere, it’s just a matter of where. Apparently when pipelines like this are proposed, the areas they go through get to vote and the people around them are supposed to receive some sort of compensation for their trouble (although I’d argue there can be no real compensation for the destruction of natural lands).

According to one story I read, there was a ton of opportunity for locals to show up and stop this early on, but no one showed up to the council meetings and such. Now that there are camera crews, everyone is ready to protest.

I totally get it, though. Oil companies are not known for their square dealing and humanitarianism. Natives have gotten a very short end of the stick. I want to believe these are the noble eco-warriors we all hope they are. .

What are some benefits of taking things personally?

Being personally invested in something often give you a little motivational boost. If taking something personally helps you improve an outcome, it’s good. If it freezes you and makes you weaker, it’s time to let it go.

Can you describe the creepiest person that you ever met?

I met a pretty high ranking Democrat politician at an event and that person creeped me out the most.

I’d never read such insincerity from a human before. Politicians are parasites. They need a lot of other people’s money and support to win positions where they get to decide what to do with other people’s money. It’s disgusting.

At this same event, I heard with my own ears this person talking about how the party would never let anyone but Hillary take the nomination. So, if you’re a pro-Bernie conspiracy theorist, I think you might be on to something.

What are your tricks to start a conversation with a stranger? 

Generally a non-sexual compliment about something they’re wearing works, like “cool shoes.”

What are some of the best begging signs you’ve seen?

I kind of don’t like these signs to be clever or funny. It’s not like I want someone to be downhearted, but I’m always bugged by a  cheeky sign like “why lie? I need beer!” The signs that always get me are simple: “hungry” or “anything helps.”




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