Jan 2 2012

#247 Less is More (2)

From Clare in Hertfordshire, England

“What is the single most important thing for a company? Is it the building? Is it the stock? Is it the turnover? It’s the people, investment in people. My proudest moment here wasn’t when I increased profits by 17%, or cut expenditure without losing a single member of staff. No. It was a young Greek guy, first job in the country, hardly spoke a word of English, but he came to me and he went ‘Mr. Brent, will you be the Godfather to my child?’ Didn’t happen in the end. We had to let him go, he was rubbish.
He was rubbish!”

~ David Brent  (The Office)

Oct 24 2011

#177 “To Serve Man”

From Heidi in Texas

If you’ve never seen the episode of The Twilight Zone entitled “To Serve Man” which was based on the short story of the same name by Damon Knight, please allow me to recommend it to you. It’s one of the greatest episodes in the history of the series and was one of the only episodes in which the fourth wall was broken down and an actor spoke directly to the viewing audience. Besides this, though, the story is cleverly constructed and is just twisted enough to walk that fine line between being disturbing and entertaining.

Here’s the gist of what happens: (1) Aliens come to Earth (2) The aliens are really swell guys and they say that their whole purpose in visiting earth is “to serve man.” (3) The aliens even bring a really neat book on how to serve man, but it’s written in an alien language and no one can translate it. (4) People start moving to the alien planet by the truckload (or spaceship load) in order to become the gods they think they will be treated like when they arrive (5) As all of this is happening, the book finally gets translated, and lo and behold…. It’s a cookbook! Ahhhhhhhhhhh! “To Serve Man.” Get it?

Zing! What a twist!

As cheesy as all of this sounds, the episode delivers a fairly overt admonition for us to keep our pride in check and to use our brains instead of stroking our own egos. Also, at the end of the episode when the actor breaks down the 4th wall, he says, “We’re all of us on the menu… All of us.” The message in this statement is clear: Regardless of how advanced or how intellectual we may become, we’re still a part of the food chain, and when push comes to shove, we may very well be at the mercy of creatures that are more powerful than we are.

Am I a misanthrope who hopes that Mother Nature and her army of animals will repay us for the evil crimes that we have committed against her? Certainly not. But I also don’t think we should become too cocky. Take the illustration above, for example. While the exact circumstances are a bit unclear, one thing that we know definitively know is that a complete role reversal has taken place, and man is now being served in much different way than he is used to.

In the end the choice is yours: Serve others… or be served, yourself.

Jun 19 2011

#50 “Airwolf”

From Jason in Georgia.

A couple of days ago I posted a picture from Tam in the UK that referenced the American television show Airwolf (1984-1987). Today’s artful illustration from Jason in Georgia takes its inspiration from the same source. I must admit that I was not familiar with this television series before receiving these pictures, and it is a complete mystery to me as to how I could have missed this “far out” tv series. Having grown up during the time period that the show aired, it seems that I would at least have heard of it, but nonetheless, these illustrations struck no immediate chord with me, and as a result I was forced to research the television show online.

My original plan for this post had been to discuss some of the details of the series, but after listening to the theme song a few times, I realized that this musical masterpiece is where my focus should lie. You see, I have recently become completely enamored with synthesized music from the 1980s and modern music of the same style which is inspired by this time period. This song represents everything I love about this genre of music. It contains strong repeating themes with slight variation and a heavy percussive beat, it is highly synthesized, it contains ominous drones but also features inspirational and optimistic high notes, and finally it simply makes me want to speed down the interstate in a muscle car wearing a white blazer/pastel t-shirt combo paired with dark aviator sunglasses.

Going back to the illustration for a moment, you can see how the picture goes hand in hand with the Airwolf theme song and everything else we hold true about this fantastic decade: the wolf’s strong body language and cocky smirk is reminiscent of the “Me” generation, while the coolly authoritative uniform displays classic 1980s machismo and an emphasis on presenting oneself as “rad” and “boss.” Also, even though this picture is in black and white, it is speaks of the action and drama that defined 1980s entertainment.

This picture is truly the perfect complement to this awesome television show theme song.

On another note, before this post is concluded, I want to share with you a short list of some of my favorite modern songs that seem to be inspired by the music and culture of the 80s. If you like the Airwolf theme song below, check out these other hip tracks as well:

FM Attack: “Old School Daze” and “Dreamer”

Anoraak: “Cloud Rain Love”

College: “Teenage Color”

Electric Youth: “Faces” (From the Valerie and Friends album)

Futurecop!: “Tonight’s Hero”

Grum: “Through the Night” and “Cybernetic”

Kavinsky: “Wayfarer” and “Testarossa Autodrive”

Lazerhawk: “Overdrive”