I don’t know whether our upcoming debate about the merits of the Ivy League will convince anyone those schools are useless (I’m certainly grateful my parents paid for my Brown education) — but there are alternative sources of knowledge.
I mentioned a while back that I was used as a “shout-out” (like a “lifeline” on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire) on the rolling gameshow Cash Cab, that is, someone called by the contestants to help them answer a trivia question — and now Michael Malice has posted on his blog a link to a short videoclip of him and his piratical punker pal Tibbie X in action in the segment in question. Note how quickly Malice’s supervillain-like neurons work when he is asked to list politicians at one point.
It’s ironic that the question he called me for help on was one about famous Nietzsche-influenced murderers, since you’d think that sort of nihilism would be right up his alley (note, for instance, the vaguely-fascist armband he’s wearing in the scene, as he sometimes does just to prankishly frighten the normals, calling it his “yuppie stormtrooper” look).
The Cash Cab bit marks the third time, technically, that Malice has involved me in one of his TV adventures, with the most prominent being the time he was my accuser on the Style Channel show Style Court, a sort of People’s Court set-up where an accuser (in this case Malice) denounces a friend’s wardrobe (in this case mine). I successfully defended my wardrobe (despite wearing the nerdiest get-up I have, including my old Marx Brothers tie and glasses I rarely wear) by arguing that nerdiness is simply an honest, and thus admirable, expression of who I am. The judge took pity and declared me “not guilty” (as did the fashion jury, which included an actress from my mother’s favorite soap opera, All My Children).
But the judge was much harsher in rendering a secondary, unexpected verdict: calling Malice a nascent fascist/communist for applauding in-groups and reviling out-groups. Malice responded with a Nazi salute — almost certainly the only time one of those was performed in the Style Courtroom — and then things sort of broke down into a weird back and forth about both the judge and Michael having Jewish ancestors and whether that was funny, etc.
But it all got edited out — for some strange reason — as did what I thought was my wittiest line: “Your honor, Michael Malice has no respect for the authority of this style court!” I did manage to squeeze in a mention of my employers, a reference to an old joke of Andrew Clateman’s from our days on the Brown University Film Bulletin about a mythical hipster figure named Sebastiano, a joke about Star Trek, and even a one-sentence version of my “conservatism for punks” philosophy (all in a seven-minute segment while talking about clothes), so all in all, it was time well spent.
And Malice used the segment to plug a book about style by libertarian Virginia Postrel, who has since been diagnosed with cancer (breast cancer, for which she’s getting good treatment, causing her to be justifiably optimistic), as seems to happen a lot with people when the cursed Malice tries to help them, though I do not believe in dark magic.
P.S. In unrelated news, I see that Daniel Radosh has a swell op-ed in the New York Times today about why videogames aren’t yet as artful as movies, a subject of one of the Debates at Lolita Bar a while back. I wonder if NYT games reviewer Charles Herold, who defended games in our debate (and knows Radosh) will respond.