Late winter. Dreariest time of the year. Bleah. Here, watch these commercials from Turnpike Films, they’ll make your head explode. Okay, not all of them. The Starbucks ad would have worked better at half the length, the three Raisin Bran Crunch ads are one-punch jokes, and the Nintendo ad needed to get moving and develop its conceit earlier than it did. I don’t guarantee those will make you wake up. But the Nutrigrain ad is like the Coen brothers on serious stimulants trying to squeeze a movie into a one-minute ad, and the Budweiser ad is the most remarkable beer ad I’ve ever seen.
I got those from Patrick. I think he got them from Oliver Willis.While we’re in this psychic neighborhood, here’s the NYPress review of Lords of Chaos, a book about “the bloody rise of of the Satanic Metal underground” in Norway. Who knew?
Lords of Chaos chronicles the rise of Black Metal, Norwayís extremist contribution to the underground metal scene in the late 80s and early 90s. What made Black Metal so exceptional wasnít just the speed and thrash of the music, the violence of the lyrics or the amount of corpse-paint that its death-obsessed members wore, but rather the number of real corpses and smoldering churches that the movement left behind.Near the end, the article also reviews David Frum and Richard Perle’s An End to Evil: How to Win the War on Terror. The reviewer, makes some afterthoughtish comparisons of Frum and Perle with the Black Metalists. Conclusion: F&P’s worldview’s just as unrealistic, but they’re much less interesting.
The rise of the Black Metal movement in Norway is a case of humorless dirtheads taking a joke way too seriously. The joke was Satanic rock, which Lords of Chaos skillfully traces from its early origins in Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath and Coven (who transformed from performing black masses on stage to perpetrating the weepy hippie hit “One Tin Soldier”) to metalís second big wave in the early 80s and the rise of kitsch Satan-rockers Venom. To our modern eyes, Venom looks the spitting image of Spinal Tap during their Smell the Glove phase, but to dirtheads who didnít know any better, Venom was the long-sought embodiment of evil. It was from the Venom branch of evil-metal that all of metalís more violent, “evil” forms descended, including Black Metal.
The point of Satanic rock was to scare the Normals while fucking with the minds of its pimple-faced, predominantly male (nerdoid) audience, who needed to create a counter-world, with counter-morals and counter-aesthetics, to empower the nerdoids against the cooler, more successful jocks. But metal had its rivals for the hopelessly angry nerdoid: punk, hardcore and metalís own competing mutations. The competition forced metalís leading edge to metamorphose into harder, faster and more violent forms, reaching its apex with the rise of Death Metal in the mid-80s. Death Metal was as violent, Satanic and musically inaccessible as metal could go, or so it seemed.And here is where Norway, the comic straight-man character in this dumb, bloody saga, comes in. Norway is not only a completely humorless society (it banned Monty Pythonís The Life of Brian for being too offensive, leading to ads in rival Sweden boasting that the movie was “so funny it was banned in Norway!”), but worse, a deeply oppressive society, in a recognizably bland, caring, pious, Social Democratic way. Which raises an interesting question: Do boredom and blandness “count” as real suffering, and if so, do they justify murder the way other forms of oppression make murder seem a likely, even understandable response? The Black Metalists of Norway think so.