You have a busy couple of weeks of culture ahead of you, here presented in chronological order.
TONIGHT: Michael Malice talks about his book Dear Reader at Housing Works.
FRIDAY: Yours truly, Todd Seavey, will appear onstage as part of a big comedy/politics panel featuring the likes of the chairman of the Free Silver Party and an actual Marvel Comics editor (not that Marvel can be blamed for Tom Brennan’s actions). I will strive not merely to be as funny as the other panelists but as funny as that guy who’s replacing my childhood hero David Letterman. You can RSVP to the so-called Electoral Dysfunction panel on Facebook -- or just risk showing up at 9:30pm on April 18 at Peoples Improv, 123 East 24th St..
•It’s hard to be funnier than the stuff the politics-media establishment expects us to take seriously, though, like that badly-photoshopped profile of White House propagandist Jay Carney, dissected here.
•Meanwhile, the commoners seem to do a good job of keeping their senses of humor and maintaining perspective even amidst conflict.
•But hey, this article has already identified all the funniest people on Twitter, so there’s no need to think about it any further:
ALL THIS WEEK: For Passover, here are a few non-funny items on people who make life difficult for the Jews (besides this weekend's horrible Kansas shooter, who reportedly shouted “Heil Hitler” during his killing spree):
•HITLER himself proudly declared himself a socialist and an inheritor of Marx (all genocide advocates had been socialists).
•BRANDEIS UNIVERSITY might not like to hear it, but nowadays Ayaan Hirsi Ali sees a censorious left enabling the most oppressive form of Islam.
•THE U.S. GOVERNMENT is actually more pro-Palestinian than the Palestinians sometimes.
THROUGH APRIL 26th: I cannot strongly enough urge fans of absurdism and alternative rock to see the two fuse beautifully in the form of the play Ubu Sings Ubu at Abrons Art Center, where Verse Theater Manhattan has taken the founding absurdist play, Alfred Jarry’s Ubu Roi from 1896, and inserted songs by the band Pere Ubu, performed by an impressive backing band and actors bearing more than a passing resemblance to the Pixies and X lead singers, adding additional layers of visceral decadence to the evening.
And it’s anti-state as all get out -- you can sense in the prescient play (about a deranged and clown-like European conqueror) that death was in the air for taking monarchy and war seriously -- though not soon enough to prevent millions of people dying as well.
AND ONLINE FOREVER: The latest Seavey/Perry video, in which Gerard and I discuss UFOs and the supernatural on the occasion of the release of the documentary Mirage Men about how a man claiming to be an agent of the government fed a UFO believer just enough hints of an alien cover-up to drive the man insane.
Whether it’s odd readings on the radar or that trail-cam footage a few days ago of something appearing to hover and shine bright light upon a couple deer, these sorts of phenomena always seem to happen on the fringes of consciousness and detection -- probably a sign there’s nothing there, though we can still learn some interesting things from such cases about perception itself (perhaps chiefly that our brains are prone to look for other brains as the explanation behind everything, which may explain beliefs ranging from animism to God to Bigfoot).
Then again, there are some very detailed UFO reports from credible people like former astronaut Gordon Cooper, who can also (really) be heard at the end of this classic Letterman routine telling Larry “Bud” Melman to keep up the good work. I hope Dave himself has received plenty of such calls upon news of his own retirement. And if there is anything to the reports made by people like Cooper, here’s hoping they stop surrendering their footage to higher-ups from the Air Force, jostling the camera at a key moment, or larding their stories with New Age mystical insights gleaned from their subsequent hypnosis sessions. Until then, I suppose we have things to do down here.