Last week, the Very Hot Jews celebrated the birthday of our dear friend Jim "Dinda" Dinda. His yogadelic babe lady-friend, Mollie, consulted Julia, Wife Of Simon, about how best to party up this auspicious event.
Dinda and Mollie, Wondercouple, enter le limoIf you know Julia, you will be unsurpised to hear her one-word suggestion: "PIRATES!"
And that, dear reader, is how the VHJs found themselves in the back of a cheesetastic, neon-veined, star-bespangled stretch limo, crawling through rush-hour clusterfuck on the I-5 toward that pirate mecca, Buena Park.
Remember when limos were a symbol of wealth? We remember thinking of them that way — when we were wee tiny Jewfants. But then everyone rented one for the prom and realization dawned: if any kid pulling 10 hours a week salting fries at McDick's can scrounge the dough to rent one, how rad are limos, really?
Mollie swears she asked for a "businessman" limo. To which the dispatcher said, "Sorry, they all have neon. But you can turn the neon off if you want."
Well, ultimately, we didn't want. Our desire to seem sophisticated or even (can you imagine?) businessman-like was squelched Godzilla-style by our need to bling out like video hoes on MTV2.
We wanted each pink 'n' green ocean wave detailing the side of our pimp ride to blaze proudly in strip-club-billboard-reminiscent glory. We fiddled with the radio — NPR? Who, us? Perish the thought! — until we found something with a bassline powerful enough to destroy an entire generation's ability to hear low tones.
Then we settled back into the plush pleather seats and popped open a bottle of Dom (which Sera used to wash down about 75 traffic-headache advils, because that's just how she rolls) and we watched the light show in the plastic ceiling, feeling a little more like a rapper on the way to the Vibe Awards than we ever had before.
Hebe Goddess Julia pours the bubbly while limo rattles alarmingly over freeway.Every two minutes or so, we turned to one another with a look that said, "We are SO blogging about this."
And when Sera's phone rang and it was her agent calling to say she had a meeting with some British people about a thing, the limo erupted with cries of "She's on the phone to her agent! In a limo!"
We're that lame.
But hold on. Even our towering achievements in geekery cannot hold a candle to the epicenter of corn that we were even then approaching. Because B-Park's PIRATE DINNER ADVENTURE? It's the Buckingham Palace, the Kremlin, the Enterprise Bridge of Lame.
Have you been to Medieval Times? We haven't. But we imagine the PIRATE DINNER ADVENTURE falls squarely into the same category of faux historical Disneytainment replete with athletic yet not quite hot enough actors slumming it till they can score a brownie commercial and move the fuck out of Buena Park.
Here's what you need to know about the PIRATE DINNER ADVENTURE:
1. Pirates? Check.
2. Dinner? Technically.
3. Adventure? Not so much.
Your section, where you are served wilty lettuce salad and chicken and steak stew or chicken and shrimp in weird sauce, has a color. That color corresponds to the vest and pantaloons of one of the slick-chested actor-pirates. We were purple, and our pirate, sorry, was The Black Pirate. We don't feel too bad about reducing him to a purely racial descriptor, actually, because he didn't feel too bad about putting on some weird Jamaican-African mishmash accent and randomly singing "Daaaay-o!" (as in "The Banana Boat Song") for no reason while swinging from ropes attached to the "Pirate Ship."
Purple The Black Pirate was the smallest yet most handsomely built of the five color-coded pirates, and also the one with the superior skills. He was a real gymnast, leaping and tumbling and splatting gracefully. Hot. Very hot.
Jules LOVES pirates.They served beer, and we lost the narrative thread, but we're fairly kind of certain there were wenches, and a kidnapped princess, and mean pirates as well as noble pirates. There was definitely a trampoline. There was some "American Idol"-style belting that showed a fearless indifference to pitch. A flintlock stage pistol was ocassionally discharged, as if to say, "SLUMBER NOT, YE COORS-BESOTTED TOURIST SCALAWAGS."
At one point, Blonde Frizzy Wench dropped her hoopskirt, revealing a raggedy Tinkerbell ice-dancer leotard, and proceeded to climb up a long swath of silk suspended from the ceiling. She did limber gymnast things while twirled up in the silk far above the drunken heads of the audience, prompting our pal Chris and his wife to exclaim, "Cirq du So Gay!"
Yeah, that's kind of un-PC too. But we freely admit that we're totally that kind of gay on a Liberace-naked-on-a-bearskin-before-a-roaring-fire-flanked-by-supple-young-men-in-thongs-painted-on-velvet scale, so we're allowed to call things gay.
There were moments that made it all worthwhile.
All Sera's pix came out this badly, but you get the gist.Then Purple The Black Pirate did a triple aerial somersault off the trampoline ... and the other pirates caught him in a big canvas rucksack.
Simon leaned over to Sera and, in his best scared-little-boy voice, asked, "Mommy, why are the pirates putting the African-American man in a bag?"
It wasn't until five minutes later — when "dessert" (apple pie? Who can say for sure, but it sure was sugary, and lumpy, and some among us had multiple servings) was served and we beheld the pirates engaging in some serious stage combat consisting of knocking Purple to the floor and then kicking and beating him in eerily Rodney King-esque fashion — that the bigger picture became clear to us.
There is something very wrong with our culture.
Duh, you say? Well, Mr./Ms. High And Over It, we have one question for you. Seen any pirate movies lately?
Yes, we too would pay good money to watch Johnny Depp perform The Azusa Phone Book Letters A Thru G. We're not disparaging you for that. We're asking you to examine your thoughtless glamorization of pirates. Follow us here for a minute.
What we fear and what we fantasize about occupy adjoining neighborhoods in that kooky metropolis known as the Unconscious (not "subconscious," people — the psyche is not a high-rise). The things that fully creep us out invariably become domesticated. Witness the Frankenstein monster, a lurid and grisly being whose reanimated lumberings first scared the high holy crap out of moviegoers in 1931. By the late '40s the poor schmuck was a foil for Abbott and Costello.
A similar fate has befallen practically every squirm-inducing boogeyman, from vampires and zombies to muggers and serial killers. All drawn into the housebroken fold of genre spoofs and T-shirt slogans. All shiny rubber balls on the pop-cultural blacktop.
Pirates were the bad guys of the high seas. Basically, they sailed around looking for ships to hijack and rob — and after said plunderings, they'd either kill or impress into extremely non-Disney-like indentured servitude every hapless shmoe on board. They set fire to people's property and went a-rapin' and were, in general, horrible, nasty, sadistic sociopaths. You know how "cutthroat" is tossed around in those family-safe Pirate-ride flicks? Well, they actually cut people's throats.
In fact, they were what you might call terrorists.
Yet now everybody loves pirates. Really. Like, more everybody than the everybody that once loved Raymond. Folks line up around the damn block for those increasingly unwatchable Gore Verbinski blockbusters. Every little kid has "Dead Men Tell No Tales" underoos and a plastic cutlass with matching scabbard and Anaheim-style eye patch. Hot babes on MySpace advertise their upcoming pirate-wench appearances at comic book conventions. And people like us think nothing of slogging through rush-hour traffic for a pirate party in the O.C.
Just as others happily trek to nearby Medieval Times, where jousting and mead and pageantry erase the brutally violent, religiously extreme, disease-ridden nightmare of medieval history.
Which begs the question: what will the popcult funhouse of the future offer with its rubber chicken and bottomless pitchers? Ladies and Germs, we tremblingly present the Buena Park TERRORIST DINNER ADVENTURE! All singing! All dancing! Only when the bombs explode, no one will die. And there will be a trampoline. Oh yes, there will be a trampoline. And the grand finale involves a hydraulic stage full of syscrapers and a couple of airplane props. Sure, NOW it's too soon. But wait a couple of centuries. Or decades.
That's totally fine with us, just let's call it what it is. And also:
Just know that the time will come when the cool costume to dress up in and do wicked fight choreography will have jackboots. Five hundred years from now, if the Earth hasn't been all blown up and shit, party people might well pilot their space scooters to the Buena Park NAZI DINNER ADVENTURE. Sing it with me now! Yo, ho, yo, ho, death to all the Jews...
We're just saying.
It's kind of all the same: Celebrating brutal lawlessless as quaint and cute. Serving watery beer. Selling souvenir weapons. Beating up the one Black guy in the cast.
Look, even the most casual reader of this blog knows we love, live and breathe pop culture. But looked at from certain angles, it's ... oh, what's the word?
Totally whack. As in take-serious-shit-and-trivialize-it-whack. Take terrorists, make dinner theater. Take children, make them giant sexualized stars, then revel in their subsequent inevitable downward spiral into not-cuteness, drug addiction, the marrying of squicky backup dancers, calculated public underwearlessness, and other deathly serious what-have-yous that we blithely mock, never once considering that at the core of the chewy tabloid nugget lives a massively fucked-up young human whose pain gives us pleasure.
Damn, that was a long sentence.
Also: gross. Just, gross, people, gross like the sweaty, anachronistic tattoos on the naked backs of the color-coded pirates. Gross like Mojo's rubber chew toys after he coats them with French bulldog saliva. Gross to the tune of "Springtime for Hitler." Gross like taking the smoking, bone-strewn ruin that is human history and turning it into a fun theme park.
We'll resume our mountaintop Jeremiad about the sickness of our national conversation in just a moment ... right after we check in with defamer, Perez Hilton and Dlisted, and pop onto the phone for a quick reservation. We want to check out that Medieval Times. We hear the slave boys do a great little uptempo number, right after the one Black knight in the cast gets thrown off his horse.