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When I'm not writing about my experiences in this journey called 'life', I'm singing and uploading my own interpretations of modern music. Click on "Cover Songs" to hear them, or on the YouTube logo on the right to see my YouTube channel.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Movie Marriage Myths

In one of my earlier posts, I was accused of being against marriage (among other things). This however is completely false; marriage is a wonderful union and is an event that should be looked forward to in anyone’s life. (No, I am not being sarcastic; why can’t people take me seriously anymore?) If some people would rather look forward to it for longer than others, that’s perfectly fine with me; I for one plan to speak of it in the future tense for another decade, if I can manage it.

But just like all things nowadays, the institute of marriage has been corrupted. Yes, what was once considered a sacred union of two mature individuals that are willing to commit the rest of their lives to each other, has now been reduced to a meaningless archaic proceeding. Who needs marriage, they ask, when society seems quite happy to allow people to live together, sleep together and have children together before walking down the aisle together? Sure, I mean, what else is there to marriage after all? Ok now THAT was sarcasm.

Once again, I blame the media. The media and our gullibility; these two go hand in hand when it comes to explaining most of the world’s bizarre behaviour. To further the authenticity of this post, I conducted a poll. (Yes, at ‘Darkside Daily’, we do our research, thank you very much). Out of the large number of people polled, 94% agreed that television and Hollywood had a significant influence on their perception of marriage. The other 6% were lying. Alright fine so I didn’t take a poll, sue me.

In light of these false findings, I have decided to unearth some marriage myths which may be considered acceptable thanks to the big-screen BS. So get your pen out and start taking notes.

1. The best friend is your worst enemy.

Yes, contrary to many Hollywood movies, leaving the fiancĂ© at the altar to run after the hot ‘best-friend’ who loves you in secret is not the best way to get hitched. Ditching the fiancĂ© after the engagement is not considered a lesser evil either by the way, even if he is your ‘true soul mate’ (The Notebook). For some reason, it’s always the bride-to-be who performs this atrocious act; apparently the groom can only get away with this if they look like Matthew McConaughey (The Wedding Planner). Even if you don’t ditch the groom, kissing the friend due to some cute display of his emotions is not exactly what I’d call the road to a happy marriage either (Keira Knightley in ‘Love Actually’).

2. Weddings that take place under the influence do not work out happily.

If you do wake up one fine morning with the hangover from hell and a wedding ring from someone whose name you can’t pronounce, this does NOT mean that things will turn out happily in the end. You will NOT fight with him over his stupidity only to find that he’s really sweet, really. You will NOT annul the marriage only to look back and realise those few days of your fake ‘marriage’ were the best of your life. You will NOT be forced to work together as a team for some bizarre reason, only to find out how great you are together. (Please refer ‘Laws of Attraction’, ‘What happens in Vegas’, ‘F.R.I.E.N.D.S.’)

You WILL however sign a blood oath never to touch the Devi’s Nectar for as long as you live.

3. An elaborate wedding does not imply that your partner doesn’t love you.

It seems to be common sense that if your spouse-to-be envisions a large wedding celebration, full of pomp and splendour, it is a sure sign that said spouse does not have real feelings for you. In fact, the accused is probably doing it all for show, and hence considers you merely a showpiece. Get out of this marriage! Leave her at the altar and run away with the woman who organised this wedding in the first place, only because she wants a simple ceremony. The fact that she looks like Jennifer Lopez has nothing to do with it, sure (‘Wedding Planner’).

4. The in-laws are not out to get you.

According to Hollywood, meeting the parents of your spouse-to-be is a bad, bad idea. Why? Apparently because they’ll put you through a series of psychologically taxing and mentally challenging tests in order to find a reason why you shouldn’t marry their son/daughter. No, meeting the in-laws does not necessarily spell disaster; they don’t have some kind of agenda to separate their son/daughter from you. To be honest, if you’re spending a weekend with the in-laws and you can’t seem to do a single thing right, insult the family by accident and engage in other comical and marriage breaking activities, it probably means you’re a complete idiot. Or Ben Stiller; whichever is worse. (Kindly refer ‘Meet the Parents’, ‘Guess Who?’, ‘License to Wed ‘ )

5. Weddings are not the place to find your soul mate.

Yes, you’re at a wedding, she’s at the same wedding; hence it must have been fate that brought you both together, right? Wrong. Just because nuptials are ‘in the air’, doesn’t mean that women turn up at the ceremony all ready to say hello to Mr. Right. If you think about it, there’s an extremely high chance that the beautiful girl across the room smiling at you is in fact your second-cousin. So unless you’re looking to bring a couple of retard kids into the world, beware of wedding hook-ups!

Oh I could go on and on, but these are just a few starting hints that Hollywood doesn’t know anything about marriage. It’s no wonder that we read of a celebrity divorce every week, they’re probably at a total loss to explain why their own real-life marriage isn’t working out like their scripts.

So readers, if you are planning on getting married in the near future; congrats! Just remember to follow these five steps and you’ll be able to get your man/woman to the altar, no problem.

After that, well, you’re on your own; though I’ll probably have advice for you on that subject in a decade or so (fingers crossed!), so stay tuned!

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

I Know Where Osama Is...

There was a time when the words ‘peace’ and ‘brotherly love’ were thrown around with reckless abandon. We were all encouraged to reach out and unite the world, to break down bridges and build barriers. Wait, that’s not right. But you get what I mean; there was a gooey sense of ‘warmness’ in the air. It was preached from every form of pulpit, be it the media, our peers, our parents, our teachers. Everyone was encouraged to learn about our fellow man, and to embrace foreign cultures and values as our own. We were taught that no one should be treated as aliens, and that the way to the future was only through us opening our borders and extending the hand of friendship. Any nation or group of people who didn’t conform to this ‘legislation of love’ were labelled Communists and bastards.

Then along came the 21st century and blew our little hopes for utopia out of the water. Yes, it was like a little kid walking up to you with the most saintly of smiles on his face and then punching you in the post office; a sort of reality-check if you may. Nowadays, the phrase ‘mi casa es su casa’ is accompanied with a theatrical roll-of-the-eyes; we know its all just talk.

Where did it all go wrong? What happened to our little pipe dream, where Jewish boys and Muslim girls frolicked in the park playing football against the Chinese kids? Where the Afghanistan basketball team played America in the Iraqi Olympics? It’s difficult to say, but the general trend is to blame it on 9/11. Ever since that tragedy, every nation on Earth became eligible for being declared a ‘terror-state’ or an ‘axis-of-evil’. These phrases were suddenly raining down on us left right and centre, and just like that the world went from being covered in daisies to being filled with evil-eyed Arabs who wanted to steal your ‘way-of-life’.

The repercussions from these actions are massive; countries around the world are closing up their borders, and making it extremely difficult for anyone to gain entry into their patch of earth. It doesn’t matter if you’re going there on legitimate reasons, they’d prefer if you didn’t come at all! But even here there is a kind of stereotype. For example, just recently my family and I were planning on making a trip to a certain European country. We set about collecting details on how to obtain the required visa, and it soon became clear that this was not as easy as walking into the embassy and asking for one. Far from it; the amount of paperwork kept us up almost all night as we laboriously signed sheet after sheet and photocopied countless documents to prove our identity. I kid you not; they required our passport (naturally), birth certificate, travel insurance for an amount of €30,000 per person (in case we got sick on the plane and died, they wouldn’t have to spend state money to bury us), letters of sponsorship (to prove that there were people in their country who actually wanted to see us), financial statements and statement of securities (some had to bring the deeds to the land they owned, to prove that they could afford the trip to and from their country!) and since my brother is still in school, they needed a letter from the principal saying that the school has granted permission for him to travel! Why does it matter to them if he misses school?! Are they concerned for his education?! And why do they need our birth certificate? Don’t they know that to even apply for a passport, we need a birth certificate? So surely the fact that we have a passport should entail that we have a birth certificate!

It didn’t end there. We finally got all this done and went to the embassy, where a polite lady went through our stack of paperwork. She then told us (politely) that the birth certificate should be photocopied on an A4 sheet, even if the original is printed on an A3 sheet. Apparently all our documents will be analysed by futuristic robots made in China, and if they happened to glance at a sheet of paper that was not A4, they’d explode. Oh and since dad is travelling on business purposes, they’ll require him to sign another set of documents; just to prove that he does in fact have a job and isn’t part of some clever deception.

We left the embassy shortly after. The message to me was clear; we don’t want you in our country, we’re fine the way we are. You are Asian and so are more likely to try and stay illegally in our country to escape your own cesspool of a nation. Also, since you are Asian, you are probably a lot smarter than us and are a harder worker, and so you will probably rise to political power in our country and destroy us from within. After a bit of research, I found out that the visa we were applying for was the same price as a plane ticket from here to India. And that’s not all; if we had wanted to go to the UK, we’d have to end up paying five times that amount for their visa. Five times! That amount works out to the price of a plane ticket from here to Sydney!

Of course, none of this is applicable to European nations; my friends hop from one Scandinavian country to the other as if it were a bus ride to the next city. Apparently only Asians are capable of forgery and diabolical agendas. Meanwhile, among south-east Asian countries, no visa is required to enter Sri Lanka. No, all you have to do is jump on the plane and we’ll be waiting for you here to put a meaningless stamp on your passport before ushering you towards the duty-free with a big smile on our faces.

So I suppose there is only one conclusion to this matter; if you’re from the east, please stay in the east. It’s almost like being in the playground at school; the big rich kids get to play on the swings and the smaller runts get to watch them from their own little corner of the grounds.

That’s why being a flight attendant is the coolest job in the world. You get to fly to almost any destination, no problem. No one checks your ethnicity, and no one questions your financial status. Apparently if you smile and serve people tea, you are incapable of planning a terrorist attack. For all we know Osama is on a plane right now, all clean shaven and neat, plotting his next attack in the country of his choice, all the while asking “Tea or coffee?”

Saturday, May 3, 2008

No News Is Good News

I always struggle when I’m asked to describe myself. I like to think this is due to my humble nature, but then if I said so that wouldn’t be very humble, would it? A sort of catch-22, if you like. But in truth, it’s more likely due to the fact that there really isn’t much to say; I’m not some mild-mannered reporter by day, super-hero in tights by night person. Alright ladies, stop imagining that in your head. I don’t belong to any secret societies, I don’t take part in adventure sports and I don’t have wild and wacky misadventures with my best F.R.I.E.N.D.S., all of whom live next door to each other and have nothing else to do except constantly walk into each others apartments and eventually sleep with one another.

My real friends however have no such problems; that is, if they were asked to describe me, I’m sure they’d come up with a vast array of adjectives, some of which I am sure will include ‘pessimistic’, ‘sarcastic’, ‘negative’, ‘pissed off’ and ‘bastard’.

I plead guilty; I admit I am a bit of a pessimist (though just like all pessimists, I call it being ‘realistic’) and I am somewhat blessed in the sarcasm department. And naturally, when I hear these things being said about me, I get pissed off. See? It’s not my fault, really. As for ‘bastard’, well, never mind. But seriously, even if I am a bit pessimistic now and then, I’m not exactly standing on street corners dressed in muddy raincoats and screaming “THE END OF THE WORLD IS NIGH!” In my opinion, that should be considered an achievement, because if you think about it, I have every right to be paranoid.

Why, you ask? Simple; the news channels.

Switch on any cable news channel and you’re bound to be bombarded with bad news; tornadoes in America, cyclones in Burma, volcanoes in Chile, incest in Austria, dead children in England and missing children in Portugal. If that wasn’t enough, throw in the political turmoil in Zimbabwe, where a dictator continues to hold power despite losing an election, demands a recount (thank you Mr. Bush) while at the same time killing off members of the opposition party one by one. The international community can do nothing of course, except sit and report it. Let’s not forget the Middle East, where there is so much chaos and turmoil that a suicide bomb attack is as newsworthy as the weather in Alaska. To relieve the tension though, they talk about the US presidential elections; the election to decide who is going to lead one of the biggest superpowers in the world, and decide whose finger is going to be on the big red button marked “Kill-em-all”. Well, one of the nominees is pushing 90, one is inexperienced and has ties to a racist pastor, and the other is Hillary Clinton. Wow, some relief.

Now, I know that I have a tendency to exaggerate now and then, but everything I wrote in the above paragraph is true; the tornadoes, cyclones, volcanoes, all true. But I suppose the most chilling and heart-breaking is the story of Josef Fritzel in Austria, who locked his own daughter in his cellar for 24 years. No, that is not a typo, I mean 24 years. Twenty four years during which the 42 year old woman, who was 18 at the time, was repeatedly abused and raped by her father. She gave birth to 7 children during that time, 7 of his children. One died at child birth and was burned in an incinerator, three were adopted by Josef and his wife, who had no idea about what was going on in her own cellar. Such was the genius of this man that he spun a web of lies to cover up his daughter’s absence, claiming she had run away and joined a religious cult, and that the three children were left at the door step with a note from the mother claiming she could not care for them anymore. The remaining three children lived in their underground dungeon with their mother. Until their release two weeks ago, none of the three had ever seen the sun, or breathed fresh air. This ghastly tale would never have come to light if one of the children had not developed serious medical complications and had to be taken to the hospital. Josef, fearing his time was up, released them all, and the mother came to the police to testify under the conditions that she would never have to see her father again. The child has multiple organ failure, and is not expected to live long.

It is stories like this that leave me wondering; maybe ignorance really is bliss. Maybe we were all better off a hundred years ago before the development of satellite television. Back then, we wouldn’t know about such atrocities occurring across the globe. We wouldn’t see the rampant death and destruction around our world, and we wouldn’t become so numbed to it the way we are today. We complain about television content being inappropriate for children, yet I find it hard to believe any parent would encourage their child to watch the news these days. Watching the news may shape your child into thinking the whole world is full of rapists, paedophiles, murderers and drug addicts. At least on TV shows, the good guys win in the end.

Or maybe I’ve got it all wrong as usual; maybe I’ve just over reacted to the situation and blown it out of proportion. Maybe I’m just being ‘pessimistic’.

For a change, I hope you’re right.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Remote Censor

As I’ve mentioned before in one of my earlier postings, I’m quite the ‘movie buff’. I’ve seen most of the really good movies from the last decade and a half. I am also pretty up to date when it comes to music; (though I admit the hip hop scene has not been very interesting off late). But one topic that I am rather ignorant about is television shows.

Thanks to the wonderfully-glorious-and-widely-used-yet-illegal blessings of piracy, television shows have become one of the most downloaded media on the internet. I had a friend who knew what time Desperate Housewives aired in the States, and also knew how many hours afterwards he would find the episode online. His adept calculations, which took into consideration the show duration as well as the different time zones, were so natural to him I sometimes wonder whether he should have become a travel agent. Just like him, there are many others who have a collection of sorts when it comes to TV shows.

So why is it that I have somehow been out of the loop when it comes to TV? The main reason is that I watch TV at home during the weekends. That’s when they show all the repeat episodes of the shows aired during the week. Theoretically it should be a bonanza for me, a day filled with a mad mix of television genres, which would inevitably end in my passing out, senseless but satisfied. Just one problem; I have parents, and a younger brother.

This is the problem with living at home; everything has to be censored. Now, I know my brother is 16, but being the older brother I still have to make sure that there is some kind of moderation. And even if my mom is willing to let me watch something adult oriented (being an ADULT after all), my brother inevitably ends up watching TV with me, so my hands are tied. You must be thinking, “Surely that can’t be a problem; just don’t watch anything too graphic and you’ll be fine”. Easier said than done, my friend.

You see, there are certain trade secrets to television, and the media giants behind every successful show are in on them. No television show can work unless you have something sensual or racy involved. It doesn’t have to be of the in-your-face-oh-look-I’m-nude nature, but even something with mild connotations will work. Don’t believe me? Well take a look at some of your favourite shows, only this time put your darkside-conspiracy-theory glasses on.

Prison Break

Oh sure, this looks safe, it’s all about ‘crime’ and stuff. But besides the low key violence, there are drug references, references to homosexuality and let’s not forget Holly Valance’s extremely well planned lap-dance diversion in season 2.

Desperate Housewives

I don’t even have to start; the title of the show is enough to set off the alarm bells. Just imagine this scene: “Mom I’m watching TV!” “What’s on TV?” “Desperate Housewives” Yeah, that’ll go down well. And even if you manage to work your way around that little obstacle, any scene with Eva Longoria strutting around in lingerie or seducing some random gardener will really get you killed.

The O.C.

At least they managed to title the show something that was safe. But a drama involving rich high school kids can only lead to the obvious conclusions, especially when said ‘high school kids’ all appear to be in their early 20’s. Or maybe kids are just dumber in Orange County.


Ah, this sounds like a safe bet doesn’t it? A show about Superman as a boy, growing up in quiet old Smallville, Kansas. Think again. Tom Welling, who plays Clark Kent, is 22 years old. And yet, his character is, you guessed it, in HIGH SCHOOL. Despite his Kryptonian descendancy, I guess Superman was obviously quite illiterate. So it’s only natural that Clark Kent has to have some reason to flash his pecs and six-pack every now and then, and Lana Lang obviously has to find some way to be infected by an alien flower that makes her… horny. (Some handy flower huh?) And then there was the alien creature that infected people and built up adrenaline in their brains, thus leading the entire community to do mad things, such as make out with ex girlfriends in plain view. I rest my case.

One Tree Hill

So there’s this guy, who has a girlfriend in college, but leaves her for someone else, not knowing that the ex-girlfriend is pregnant with his son. He marries his new girlfriend, has another son, who ends up being his love-child’s arch enemy. They grow up, learn basketball, and swap girlfriends every now and again. Yes, let’s watch this show. It shows real promise. And when ratings start to fall, get Sophia Bush to shed a few clothes here and there, and throw in a lesbian side character. (I’m not making this up!)

Star Trek: The Next Generation

I just thought I’d throw this in because of personal experience, even though it’s an old show. I used to watch this faithfully when I was a kid, despite its late air time. One day my parents were bored and sat down to watch it with me. So it was only natural that that particular episode would involve the Enterprise docking on a certain planet whose communities have no laws. Hence everyone is having sex with everyone else in the open. Wonderful. I didn’t even last 5 minutes into that show.

Ugly Betty

Yes, you’d think that this show would be a winner, but I’m afraid not. How can it be, when Betty’s boss Daniel ends up sleeping with random models every other episode, and then falls for Rebecca Romijin Stamos, who turns out to be his long lost transsexual brother? Need I say more?

I could go on and on, but I think I’ve made my point. Late night television has now become as safe as a weekend in Amsterdam, and is probably as beneficial too. My weekends are spent watching television with the channel advance button firmly under by thumb; I tell you, it’s just not the way to watch TV. I can only sit and pray that ESPN won’t catch on and insert custom made Victoria’s Secret ads between the games.

Or am I too late?

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