Sunday, January 29, 2006

Will Layman and Ed Fischer intone:

As professional cultural critics and C-List blogebrities whose snappy critiques and wise-ass barbs echo across the land almost the instant they are posted on this esteemed site, we grow weary. But our obligation to you, the cynicism-hungry public, must never tires. We understand that you are beaten down day-to-day, positively eroded by the slings and arrows of just existing in This American Landscape—and you don’t have the option of leaving it all behind by disappearing into the penthouse here atop Disquieting Modern Trends Plaza for long afternoons of schnapps and tenderloin.

That’s why, during our two-week spa retreat in Aspen, we have asked our good friends Elizabeth Koch and Todd Zuniga to fill in for us. And so they have, brilliantly.

Personally, we timed our stay in Aspen to directly precede the Opium Magazine Gala weekend in New York, February 3-4, 2006, an event at which we plan to appear in skin so soft and blemish-free that the N.Y. literati will think our bald heads to be the latest novel by Don DeLillo or, more likely, just another book review by Updike. Regardless, they will dig us so emphatically that their little noggins will vibrate like hummingbird wings, yes.

We urge you to come on out to an Opium event or two (details now at, meet us (or at least the better looking but less brilliant one of us1) and meet the truly good-looking Todd and Elizabeth. Todd Zuniga is the founder and bigshot-in-chief of Opium, which has been on the Web for five years and, this weekend, is publishing its second issue in print. Elizabeth Koch is simply awesome and wise and powerful and can break you in two just by looking at you funny.

They both live in New York, where the disquietude meter generally stays pinned in the red.2 And so we bring you their “Disquieting Modern Trends: Opium Magazine Five-Year Anniversary N.Y.C. Celebration Edition.”

—Will and Ed

Rainy Days in New York
Bull Shannon, BailiffWe find rainy days in New York particularly unpleasant when diminutive people—namely male actors or women named Tina—carry umbrellas the size of skydiving parachutes and barrel down the sidewalk with their chins buried in Burberry. Happy day for the rest of us who, to avoid getting our eyes gouged out, must perform fancy acrobatics that still land us, ankle-sprained, in a puddle of drowned cockroaches. God forbid a raindrop should splash within thirty yards of their platform sneakers and make their shoes squeak. We’d like to beat those people with a wet phonebook.

Then there’s the “Bull from Night Court” wannabe who becomes enraged when his three-dollar umbrella catches a wind gust and flips inside out. Did he really expect the toothless guy who lives on the L Train to sell him class-A storm protection? We watch as the big bald bailiff wrestles the thing into submission and shakes the torn mess within an inch of its life, thwacking other just-as-soaked pedestrians in the face and across the ribs and stomping on the nylon scrap until finally leaving it curbside like a giant murdered bat. We prefer that he go postal in the privacy of his own apartment, on his Bosnian housekeeper, if he must.

Big Mac(intosh) Attack
Apple Genius BarApples themselves aren’t the enemy. We love the color scheme. We love the Apple Store, in part because of the pretty stairway and the free e-mail access, but too because of the hot Euro-damsels flanked by dorky Euro-dicklicks wearing those hideous white look-at-me-I-went-to-America-and-bought-an-iPod! headphones. We even enjoy the passionate beliefs, however deluded, that spill from the converted—e.g., Macs never crash! There are no viruses!3 We want to know, if Macs are so defectless, then why is the Genius Bar™ always 60-people deep? Not only do Macs freeze, but they do it in a vindictive way no PC could dream up: the tiny hourglass icon is the Energizer Bunny of the tech world—it just keeps spinning and spinning and spinning.

In full disclosure, we admit to having a historical beef with our Mac-hyping mates. These are the same whiz kids who didn’t buy TiVo seven years ago when we claimed it was “better than titty-fucking.”

Call Bill Gates the devil, fine, but if the 15-minute battery life on our iPod Nano is any indication, then there is a dark center to the chewy Mac exterior that we would just rather not have to bite.

Pets Are Not People
There’s no sight quite like a woman in a pink Chanel suit teetering down the sidewalk, carrying a yap dog in one hand and a plastic baggy of wet shit in the other. With the exception of L.A. and possibly Miami, about which we’ve learned everything we need to know on VH1’s Celebrity Swag, New York is the only city where said woman models her facelift after her shivering, bug-eyed Chihuahua. The poor canine! We highly doubt he’s grooving on his new lace bib and daisy-print bloomies; even he knows he’s a ragtag placeholder for his owner’s failed $400,000 in vitro fertilization attempt. Not acceptable. We’d like to drop a Magnavox television on tiny neutered Fifi and watch the old biddy’s life crumble before her eyes.

If people want to share breakfast in bed with their Rhodesian ridgebacks or think it’s cute when Minnie performs cunnilingus on herself in front of houseguests, that’s their own sick business. But we kindly suggest that jewelry stores and tea shops are not the best hunting grounds for foaming Rottweilers. We do not want fur on our corduroys. We do not want to smell their dead-pigeon vomit breath. We do not care that Pocahontas waited to chew up your slippers until the very day you bought another pair. Though they may be more worthy, pets are not people. They cannot hold debates, mop floors, or auction off their dead grandparents’ china. Pets perform one trick that’s worth a damn, and that’s eating their own poop after messing the living room carpet, just like our retarded cousin Fred.

Kids Are Not People, Either
New mommies and daddies are always a bore, but what New Yorkers call “good parenting” borders on appalling. Are urban parents afraid of their toddlers? Is that why when Caitlin smears feces all over the school bathroom stalls, her parents call her “idiosyncratic” instead of beating her limp with a frying pan? But yet—if young Theodore isn’t the first in his nursery school class to recite Canterbury Tales verbatim, his parents rush the kid to the nearest Park Avenue South psychiatrist with such alarm you’d think the little shit’s appendix had burst.4 When the doctor obligingly diagnoses him as dyslexic or A.D.D. and prescribes Ritalin, his parents practically leap for joy, as if in their nattering brains the phrase “mentally ill” got scrambled into “child prodigy.”

Let Them Eat Cake
dmtrocketpop.jpgSpeaking of Manhattan mommies and medical care, nothing is more noxious than N.Y. parents blathering on about food allergies. Gluten this and lactose that. Just because they want the skinniest kid on the block does not mean it’s O.K. to convince their daughter she’ll have a seizure if she eats a Rocket Pop or has a little Hellman’s on her tofu sandwich. She’ll have an eating disorder by age 8 anyway, no reason to rush it.

Peter Jack(son)-Off
Peter JacksonWe’d like to grab a fistful of Windbag Jackson’s nasty facial tangle and fling his Kiwi ass from midtown back to Peruka Bay. His downright unwillingness to create a sub-three hour film makes us want to build a Primer-esque time machine and smother poor J.R.R. Tolkien in his crib. King Kong, The Two Towers, Fellowship of the Cootie, The Return of the Turd—iconic or not, thinking folks don’t want to feel culturally obligated to watch a film that surpasses two hours, especially one that features warring orcs banging morning stars with eunuch elves.

Enraging length aside, what really chaps our asses is that once the credits roll, we’re neither heart-torn nor emotionally educated. We’re three-and-a-half hours older and so numb on the inside we can’t even fuck missionary. Come on, Pete, we’re merely asking for a little consideration. As proud video-game-loving techno-geeks, we appreciate that most of the international nerd herd is on your side. Do us this favor: tear yourself away from Halo 2 and examine Marco Tullio Giordana’s six-hour-long but notably human movie, The Best of Youth. We pray this legitimate epic will encourage you to stop inserting computer graphics in every frame of your next flick—human characters may be retro, but retro is pretty cool.3 Then again, that doesn’t mean you should overload our theaters with a Ulysses shot-by-shot. Pull some shit like that, and you better dig a bigger moat around your four-eyed fortress.

Sidelong Stares
New York men have a tendency to stare out of the corner of their eyes. Guys, just because your heads are pointed forward doesn’t mean we don’t notice you ocularly groping our figures like one of those creepy Renaissance portraits. If you like our smart $200 haircut or want to clamp one of your man-hands around our tiny wasp waists, we wish you’d just flash us a big toothy smile and say hello. Leave the sidelong glances to prison inmates and horses.

Hipster Photoblahs
According to or, you’re rather dull. Yes, you. The twin hipster photoblogs serve up delicious, bare-breasted blonds dry-humping on bar tables while anorexic dudes sweep in from nowhere to wag their studded tongues on camera. More than once we’ve clicked through the online albums and discovered our own local haunt. While a night out to us means sitting in a dark corner pretending to read, other people spend the witching hour having a posh wank to eye-watering children who are going at it like two starved panthers. Where was the preteen with the Heineken bottle buried in her snatch when we were out?

Our disquietude about these blogs has nothing to do with the appalling narcissism they catalog—we doubt these people would be publicly fist-fucking if it weren’t for the camera shutter. The real buzzkill is that the party always seems to start right after we’ve gone home and logged on.

Hacky Sack“Cunt” Tourette’s
We’ve had it up to here with guys who think it’s acceptable to holler “cunt” whenever they feel like it. As upsetting as the terms “nigger” and “pulled pork,” there was a time not so long ago when “cunt” only passed the lips of club trannies and obese gangsters on The Wire. Now computer geeks and English professors and our very own Uncle Chuck let the word fly every time a worthier female looks at them funny. It’s about as natural for heterosexual white men to say “cunt” as it was for our deaf biology teacher to hacky sack with us in the parking lot after school. What’s really going on here? Do guys think such language makes them edgy? Bold? Metrosexual? Are males confused now that more women are rapists and bullies than men? If a person wishes to reclaim his manhood he should chop wood or find a nice saloon in the Oklahoma panhandle and keep his Cunt Tourette’s to himself.

Todd Zuniga is the founder and bigshot-in-chief of Opium, which has been on the Web for five years and is publishing its second issue in print. Elizabeth Koch is simply awesome and wise and powerful and can break you in two just by looking at you funny. They both live in New York, where the disquietude meter generally stays pinned in the red.

1 Or is it the other way around? Even we don't really know any more. Suffice it to say: we are both bald as a Rocky Mountain in January, and we both maintain complex and self-contradictory levels of simultaneous self-deprecation and self-regard that we blame on our parents, as all good modern Americans should. Still, the one of us who will be Opium-bound this weekend is Layman, as he is a coëditor of both Opium.print and and he just enjoys spending time on Zuniga's Lower Easy Side kitchen couch. Come to the Gala and dig him.

2 Yes, we realize that New York has already been the subject of not one, but two, lacerating past D.M.T.s: the "Big Apple Edition" and "The City So Nice We Complain About It Twice Edition ." So what? You think there isn't a wealth of disquietude in the five boroughs that we haven't even glanced in the direction of? Brace yourselves.

dmtandyserkis.jpg3 And, if you feel compelled to give a computer-based role to Andy Serkis in every film--some chance for him to dress up in his cyber-suit and pretend to be something non-human--then why not make a movie in which he plays, like, a stop sign, and he could spend months observing stop signs in suburban New Jersey and then you could get him to wear the suit and make the appropriate stop-sign sounds and movements in those scenes and People can do a feature about what an uncanny--fucking uncanny--stop sign Serkis was able to recreate through special effects, and there's probably even some obscure Oscar in it for you. Seriously, that Andy Serkis can do anything.

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