April 21, 2008

Like a lot of lazy shows these days, Late Night with Conan O’Brien has been soliciting audience submissions. Somehow my write-up of this has become more embarrassing than the personal embarrassment it was originally intended to focus upon, and this thing wouldn’t let me change the font to wingdings so I’ll try using this “more” device to make the primary embarrassment easier to not see. Did it work?

I’ll spare myself the detail writing, but in the end Mr. O’Brien wanted viewers to send ideas and suggestions at the “Late Night Underground” website as to what he should do to bring down a stuffed raccoon wearing a jet-pack which had recently been flying in circles and screeching in the studio. Because seriously, what are you going to do about that? They don’t teach you that in talk show school. Eh, but when he says “ideas and suggestions,” what he actually wants are scribblings and drawings and elaborate paintings of himself doing the thing because those are the things he gives attention to on the program.

Conan thinks he’s Maddox, but Maddox only asked for pictures once and he gave people a couple days to come up with them. The raccoon was the third example from Late Night in a year-and-a-half and the second in three months. I like to think those things are done with now, but things I like to think are usually made up.

This image is therefore the property of “NBC Universal,” but I don’t think it knows that, because NBC Vivendi Universal doesn’t want it. I am being quite infringeful having this on my page, even though I made it. I think the Universe has bigger problems to worry about than a certain Capt’n does, but you know, a cease and give up letter from General Electric would constitute proof that somebody at some level of its employment saw this.

In the glass, they weren’t supposed to be ice cubes, but they looked like they were supposed to be ice cubes, so they became ice cubes.

I’m torn, ripped, shredded between admitting this is an ugly picture and protesting that it’s better than the ones which ultimately were displayed, and that were displayed in such a way as to suggest that’s all there were. No! They were not!

This took a bit under or over five hours, but that’s fast for me, and a lot of it was probably redundant anyway. This was not seen on the program, or any of the program’s websites, or acknowledged in any way beyond an automatic notification e-mail that you get even if you try to email them a virus (still more than I ever got from Maddox), but it did prove that I can do something fairly quickly if adequate motivation (eeg: being mentioned on television by someone I’ve watched for ten years) is provided. On the fire escape of artistic relevance, this is probably a step above drawing things eating sandwiches and half a step below painting sad clown portraits. I am not satisfied!

You’re probably thinking, you’ve probably thought, long before now “yeah, I guess your pictures are pretty good for someone who primarily writes junk, but you aren’t nearly good in a legitimate artistic sense, and you’re probably past your prime so it’s only going to get worse, and you’d be a better writer if you didn’t waste time on other things you’re clearly not suited for” and… I don’t have anything to say to that. You really know how to hurt people.

I think I thought if I spent time trying to make it actually look like Conan it would take too long. Ha ha ha? Yes, so, not only did it take plenty long, all I have to show for it is that awful picture I’d rather not look at/know other people are looking at. I thought, half asleep and paralyzed with really weak greed, that the bizarre nature of this thing would free it from the common “art class project on the internet” stigma and finally get Conan’s attention, but it is in fact an ugly pointless picture. And I STILL lost to paint.exe stick figures. Worst of all, all through that week in February, even after typing the part before this, I still secretly (from myself?) believed there was a chance it would be used. I typed this, here, now, before the week was finished, and would have told you if I’d posted it that my thing would not be shown. And I think I secretly SECRETLY thought THAT would cause fate to try and spite me by giving me what I wanted. I have very little respect for fate, apparently.

I’m surprised they [the Conan people] didn’t call off the search after getting letters complaining about promoting the abuse of animals (assuming anyone writes letters to tv shows these days). Although this is the show that for a long time paid actors with electric prodding devices to pretend to shock a man in a bear suit to keep the bear from diddling its point of diddling, the bear has long since become a solo act. A solo solo act. I hate my life.

One of the pieces which did make air and wasn’t a heartless scribble but still kind of sickly looking was a scene involving a helicopter assaulting the cord suspending the raccoon. Conan liked this idea, said he liked it, and attempted to launch little toy helicopters at the raccoon. There is at the moment video of this bit but that site is horrible and there are better things you can watch on the internet, even just about Conan, but eh. I like the one with the honey.

You can see, if you look at the user comments on the specified Late Night show web-site object, and you shouldn’t, and I won’t even link to it because I’m afraid despite what I said earlier, that a great deal of people suggested solutions involving radio controlled helicopters. I don’t know why, but they did. I have to assume a couple even submitted those ideas properly. How many people suggested poisoning the raccoon’s drink? As far as I know, just me. Because it’s a stupid idea. But it’s an ORIGINAL stupid idea!

Also, about the comments: anyone who reads the body of the original message sees that ideas are supposed to be sent to the linked e-mail address, yet both times the announcements got well over a thousand public responses,

generally hashing and rehashing each other’s ideas in Dilbert list form, often involving Chuck Norris or the afore mentioned “masturbating bear.” Maybe it’s for the best that there’s no official, bold-faced addendum stating “remember, send your ideas in e-mail, not the comment form; legally we can’t claim ownership of comments, and if we don’t claim ownership then everybody can sue us and we can’t sue them and our position in the sue hierarchy is important to us” to keep out impulsive psychopaths (rather than paranoid rule-reading psychopathics who remember everything forever, like me), but the attitude still bothers me.

This whole thought “don’t worry boss, we’ll get enough in the e-mail that we can disregard any legitimate creativity which may have manifested itself elsewhere or come from someone whose email client is set up with a weird name…” I don’t like it. And then, of course, the idea that even the stuff they do look at is plentiful enough that they can toss aside 94% of it that has no other reason to exist. Those people wasted their time and possible effort for no fleepsing reason, on your request, never even knowing if an actual human being ever saw what they did, and it means nothing to you! That time amounts to no more than a couple minutes in most cases, but, oh… I don’t know. It just seems rude.

Also questionable, is that though the website is all like “oooh, we’re the Late Night Underground, yeah! We do what we want! We don’t take no guff from the man,” the e-mail address it demands sacrifices be sent to is @ nbc.com. It’s all totally phony. It’s like The Captain’s Blog, except instead of Captain Morgan it’s Aaron Bleyeart. He does various things related to the show, but he also seems to handle its websites. Someone that I assume was him but maybe wasn’t but probably was recently added a link to the underground site from the manatee site in the form of his enormous disembodied grinning soulless head. Otay, no one’s coming to see you, Aaron. The entries that aren’t mentioned on television and don’t have Conan in them are only slightly more popular than mine, and mine aren’t. You know there’s a chance people are helpless egomaniacs if they design major site graphics with pictures of themselves. I remember there was a website called “web pages that suck” which complained about poor web design, but the site itself was covered with this stupid bespectacled 50ish white haired man who thought he was the best person in the world, talking about how things sucked on the web all the time, and it was impossible to take any of his advice seriously, which is why I still put light text on dark backgrounds. I’ve only seen two people good enough to do this properly, and one wasn’t you. You don’t even know me! Don’t get that attitude, like anybody who comes to your site is automatically less than you. I want to wallop that guy. I should make a page called “Websites Called Web Pages That Suck Which Disappoint.” And then kill myself because I don’t need to be doing that. These days it has a picture of a baby. The only thing uglier than crazy men making crazy faces are babies.

The manatee site is an example of what happens when the NBC internet department does provide an exhibition for user sent material, but this is long enough already and besides I didn’t get on to that either.

But this did!

This took considerably less time and came about around Thursday and got as much attention as anything else. Although it’s not as ugly as my previous, it’s probably even more shameful. And yet I made it and can’t do anything else with it than show you, to whom it should have no significance. The next time the subject came up, Conan produced a bunch of pictures of just himself cutting the cord in various ways (once again already addressed by the helicopter comments), suggesting that such an unimaginative outcome was the magnificent consensus among viewers. No! Some viewers wanted you to create balls of flame with your mind! I want to die.

I remember thinking, while the bit was progressing “wow, they’re much worse tonight! Mine has to be in there!”

My problem is that in my mind everything is a competition. That shouldn’t be a problem; scientific progress, the betterment of our lives as humans (at least it sometimes seems that way) comes frequently from one group of persons trying to outdo another. Except I’ve never won anything in my life except a kite that I never even got to use. But why should I care if Conan held up my picture? He’s not going to come visit me. And if he doesn’t, who ELSE is going to care that I drew him in a chariot racing down a vinegar volcano? Yeah, hokay, then I can say “Conan held up my picture! I’m special!” But I’m the only person I know who watches Late Night or anything. I could say that anyway. Whenever I mention something I’m interested in without saying I’m interested in it people always laugh or don’t care. Care care care I hate that word. I am going to say flimmb instead.

Why spend hours, few or many, on something I made no one flimmbs about when I can have them not flimmb just as easily by playing with my roms? Hey, I can show you a picture I already made, just because I felt like it, and tell you Conan held THAT up. “Hey, Conan liked my dope on a conveyor belt picture so much he didn’t even mind that he wasn’t in it.” Also keep in mind that Cronan’s cronies, who man the e-mail address, have to like it first before they show it to Conan, at which point Conan might not like it. I couldn’t even please my own cronies in a hypothetical situation in which I had some, so what hope was there for this, really? There is zero possibility of something Conan likes that a crony doesn’t appearing on air unless Conan finds it himself, and he won’t, because he hates the internet and rightly so.

The show has artists. Conan wouldn’t say to them “hey, could you design something based on a vague yet limited premise by tomorrow which you will not be paid for and that I’ll probably throw away without looking at but still retain all rights to should you decide to dig through my dumpster?” I exaggerate the severity of it all, but I still think it’s dirty, and I thought it was dirty before it applied to me. “Design an ad for us! We’ll use the ad and ideally collect revenue from increased sales! If you win, you get to know you helped us get more money for ourselves! If you lose, go die.” Sleazy sleazy sleazy. And these mountebanks get away with it because there’s always someone with enough free time to do their bidding who would never have a chance at any exposure otherwise. But I think my time must not truly be free, because I miss it greatly.

I complain about the America Idol and its associates, and I’m not done, but at least rejects get rejected personally. Some of them, anyway. I have to assume there’s a primary audition to make sure you’re potentially whiny and bad-song-unhatey enough to be chosen or embarrassing enough to raise publicity for the show. And it’s not too bad when we’re talking about five second clips of cats falling off porches or men getting hit by tennis balls in the ear, but NBC, Comedy Central, Myspace, et everyone are expecting something resembling professional quality output. They want production values. And they want it when they say they want it. If Dimension Pictures can’t dress a couple people up like Borat and Paris Hilton for less than 20 million dollars, how does anyone get away with making these demands? I’m mad, and I didn’t spend very long or even stand to win anything. I find the principle frustrating. What happened to raffles? At least he’s a gentleman thug. (I just spent yet one more hour tossing things about in search of what I was going to scan to accompany and possibly explain that statement. Pretend you saw it and were mildly disappointed or confused.)

I need an editor.

2 Responses
  1. 1
    4:26 am, April 22, 2008

    A tin-pot dictator sez:

    You sure like to draw sinister-looking pictures of talk show hosts.

    I recommend you do Larry King next.

  2. 2
    9:44 pm, April 22, 2008

    Splachtempf sez:

    I did see Larry King for about 30 seconds a few weeks ago and came up with this. Not quite sinister, and the post-sight touch-ups as usual affected the resemblance. Must research more.

    Fortunately, attention tends to be drawn to a larger, legged figure on the same page

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