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Remaking the Reboot of the Sequel of a Flop

the Second of Four Gibberings on Originality

And what’s really wrong with selling out?  With proclaiming “Unputdownable” Patterson as your god and mapping out your own beach read mystery series with a spunky female lead and loveable animal sidekick?

Sell out—everybody’s doing it.  Go for the quick buck, the easy money.  Artistic integrity?  I don’t think my creative writing classes ever covered that. 

Good literature doesn’t sell.  Most of it will sit on the shelf until maybe the spine catches someone’s eye.  Unless you’re on a talk show or a big name already, you’re probably not going to get noticed.  Then you’ll get returned and recycled into the next Alex Cross Christmas giveaway novella.

On the other hand, if you write some bondage filled Twilight fan fiction you’re set for life.

People seem to have learned their lesson somewhat between Twilight and 50 Shades of Grey.  With Twilight all you heard was women and teenaged girls squealing about how it was the greatest book every written, oh my god! the story is so good, and it’s so well written—you have to read it!  By the time 50 Shades of Grey those squealing voices proclaiming the next Nobel Prize for Fiction have quieted a bit.  Everyone admits the writing is shit, but there’s sex in it and a rich guy telling you what to do.  Might as well win a Pulitzer.

Name one of the finalists for the Pulitzer Prize in Fiction.

Name Bella Swan’s hometown.

Now go fuck yourself.

Clearly originality is overrated.  Can you still be creative working with someone else’s idea, taking their work and using it as a foundation for your own?  Inspiration from the already inspired.  New writers are brought in on TV shows and movies, and no one cries foul on their reworking of someone else’s idea.

There are anthologies out there of short stories inspired by songs and whatever else.  Why is that acceptable?  Stories inspired by works of art are fine, but not stories inspired by other stories.  Movies inspired by other movies.  Why not borrow from them, they’ve already borrowed from somewhere else.

Copies of copies of copies of copies.  Merging,copying, adapting, constantly rewriting what we don’t like.

Isn’t that what the human race is anyway?  If art imitates life then it makes sense that we should constantly be borrowing and adapting, remaking, rebooting.

Covers of songs are acceptable.  Remixes two weeks after the original is released is completely run of the mill now.  Completely normal there, but announce the Amazing Spiderman, and suddenly everyone’s saying, “Whoa whoa whoa, too soon!”

Two homes can have the same foundation, the same exterior walls, the same shape.  But the interiors can be completely different, with different rooms of different sizes, individual layouts and distinctive decors.

From the outside they may appear to be the same house, but take the time to walk through them and each will show you another world.

Or maybe the only difference is where they put the shitter.

Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere centers around an ordinary guy in London getting drawn into this mysterious world below the city.  He has to travel into this London Below to save a woman.  Grand fantastical adventures and such ensue.  Heard that before.  Not very original.  Sounds like a hero’s quest into Hades.  How many myths reused that idea, the quest into the underworld?

Anyone ever see the first Troll movie?  Probably not.  The sequel to it is considered one of the worst movies of all time, but the first one, staring that kid from the Neverending Story, centers around the Potter family moving to a new apartment in San Francisco.  The original ADA from Law & Order is in it too, he plays the senior to Noah Hathaway’s Junior Potter—and their first name?  Harry.

Yeah, one of the worst film series of all time has ties to one of the most successful film series of all time, the main characters’ names are Harry Potter.

Way to go J.K. Rowling.  Real original.

It will follow the plot of the original, just a lonely laundry room troll looking for a friend to play ball with.

And while we’re on the subject of Troll, there’s a remake planned for a 2012 release with the same director as the original and a budget of $65 million.

So while roughly 12 million people are unemployed in this country, the worst film series of all time gets to give it another shot with a budget over sixty-five times the original.  The best of the series, the first one, which a handful of people have actually reported sitting through in its entirety, only made $5 million.

$65 million.

That seems about right.

The director and producer of that original 9th place opening weekend box office juggernaut try to stir some shit every once in a while by claiming Rowling ripped their film off, not only with the name of her character but several other details or scenes. 

What other elements did she steal from you?  Magic?  I don’t think that one’s yours.

Of course she denies that their piece of crap in any influenced her, and how would it?  When would she have time to watch some shit American movie that barely ranks above Manos: the Hands of Fate?  Plotting one’s conquest of the entire planet can be time consuming.

If anything, they should both be thanking her, because without the near god-like status Harry Potter has achieved, they wouldn’t be remaking anything.

Have I mentioned Sonny Bono is in Troll?  He gets turned into a tree penis.  Or something.  It’s been a while since I tried to watch it.

Never Have I Ever Gotten to Fight Evil Toxic Waste Monsters From Outer Space / part 1

oh wait, wrong shitty teen series…

So the author of Pretty Little Liars has a new book coming out, Never Have I Ever.  Its part of her second book series, this one called “The Lying Game”, the titles of which, along with “Pretty Little Liars” make me wonder if she has some serious trust issues. 

..ok, there’s the right one

Or perhaps some juicy skeletons in her closet given everything she puts her name to involve teens doing truly dastardly things. 

Wait, do people still use chatrooms?  Where do you even find a chatroom these days? I mean real people, not pedophiles or people trying to catch pedophiles. 

I’m pretty sure those are the only two types of people regularly using them, if they still exist at all.

Dastardly though, that’s where I was going with this.  What teen doesn’t have to deal with these everyday trials of growing up and finding one’s way in the world you find in a typical teen series like Pretty Little Liars or Gossip Girl, or that Nine Lives of Chloe Whoever, what is that an adaptation of the Cat Star Chronicles?   I don’t know, they both have people who are.. I guess cats as well—part cat?

Who among us doesn’t have trust issues, a laundry list of sexual mistakes, a friend that disappeared and turned up dead years later, a mysterious stalker who knows all your evil little tween secrets, or a twin separated at birth who’s identity you steal after they’re killed?

You know, those things.

This new book series, of course, shall also be an epic television show on the teen programming juggernaut that is ABC Family since every teen book is now a TV show or movie.  Given the crap they run, it seems obvious ABC Family really just needs anything to fill the time slots between Harry Potter weekends.

Although I suppose I should point out that Pretty Little Liars was pitched by a book company as a TV show, and Shepherd was hired to write the whole freaking thing.  Which is kind of awesome.  It makes me hate it even more while actually respecting it just a bit.

But the designation ‘teen’ for a book, that’s where I was going with all this, it doesn’t mean what it used to.  Teen books aren’t meant just for teens. 

Calling it a teen book is like calling something a man’s shirt.  Chicks are still going to wear it—and look hot doing so.  Likewise, anyone is going to read a teen book, and they’re going to enjoy doing so.

In much the same way that Harry Potter, while categorized as Juvenile Fiction, is certainly not limited to readers between the ages of seven and twelve, teen books aren’t geared anymore towards just high schoolers.  As shocking as this may be, I’ve never read all the Potters.  I count myself among the recently born and perhaps a few feral tribes in Africa who haven’t read them all at least once, but alas, it is true. 

So its said that the final three books are not children’s books, not in the manner the beginning books of the series are.  That makes sense though in that as the characters grow, so do the readers.

But kids’ books, teens books, they aren’t limited simply to those age ranges.  Grown women, young children in tow have asked for the Twilight books and touted them as the greatest works of literature ever spewed forth.  This whole Twilight thing is out of control, but it’s the most accessible example of how the boundaries of literary demographics have blurred increasingly. 

Is this a compliment to the plots and writing abilities of these juvenile and teen authors?  Or a critique of the grown men and women who devour high school dramas and paranormal romances about incestuous angel-blooded teenagers?

I’m not sure I should be surprised that teen books appeal to adults, since TV shows geared toward teenagers are beyond fucking obnoxiously preposterous.  They apparently have the power to retard its viewers as well since even into adulthood these viewers’ reading abilities or tastes have never progressed beyond the level of these teen novels.

What I’m saying about the TV shows of today being epically pointless can be said of the ones I watched growing up.   Television shows have always been stupid.  Its practically a rule that not only must they as far fetched as possible, but they must also contradict themselves at every opportunity. And by at every opportunity I mean they must contradict themselves within their very premise.

Go watch the opening credits of James Bond Jr.  He learned the game from his uncle James?  Now he’s heir to the name?  Then how the fuck is he a Jr?

And why do I remember the theme song lyrics when I haven’t watched the show in twenty years.  Oh god, I just threw up in my mouth.  Twenty years.

do they go to an exclusive prep school for transgender dominatrixces?

And how could we forget about Tattooed Teenage Alien Fighters from Beverly Hills?  I don’t even know what the hell that is.  Apparently it was some kind of low budget attempt to cash in on the success of the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, but it lasted forty fucking episodes.  Yeah, the premise here was that four teenagers were selected by this blob-like alien brain named Nimbar to fight monsters sent by Emperor Gorganus, monsters like Slaygar the Toxic Waste Monster.

This sounds like I just pounded a bottle of Southern Comfort and found one of those magnetic poetry sets.

Forty episodes?!

Firefly only made 14, Freak and Geeks lasted eighteen episodes, not that all the episodes of either show were even aired, and now everyone involved in those shows take shits with bigger bank accounts then me.

Pretty Little Liars is actually starting to sound kind of good after reading up on the Tattooed Teenage blahblah blah blahs.  I think I’d rather watch a Vampire Diaries marathon then the Alien Fighters get their asses kicked by Slaygar or Neuragula, a giant brain that looks like a hideously deformed STD wracked vagina that tried to swallow an octopus.  And who can shoot laser beams.

I forgot what I was talking about…

Book Assault is a Very Serious Charge / part 1

Let’s call her Anna Smackers.

Anna is the mother of two little girls around eight and ten years old.

Anna is a fervent critic of the book Go the Fuck to Sleep, so much so that I’ve had to listen to her complaints about it on multiple occasions.  She has nothing else to do but complain apparently.

She isn’t alone in her condemnation of the book and of the message she finds in its picture book illustrations juxtaposed with alternating sweet lyrical rhymes and frustrated and profanity laced cries to go to sleep.

Karen Spear Zacharias wrote in a CNN.com article, “Still, there’s no denying the reason “Go the F*** to Sleep” should be kept out of reach of children is because of its violent language and because of the way it demeans children.”

You’re absolutely right, it should be kept out of reach of children—because it isn’t a fucking children’s book.  What, because it includes short, rhyming lines and illustrations it should be considered a kid’s book?  I’m pretty sure the Kama Sutra has illustrations as well, but I don’t hear any parental outrage over that.  What about The Giant Book of Dirty Limericks?  That has short, rhyming lines, lyrical almost and descriptive; that sounds pretty similar to the set up of a kid’s book.  Yet, I don’t have customers coming and complaining about our sex books or dirty limericks.

Let’s ballpark it here, I’m going to call it about four- to six-hundred sex books in the store, and at least two dozen of those are Letters to Penthouse.  Now some are innocent enough in terms of sex books, they’ll talk about making love and romance, spicing  up your marriage or relationship, trapping  women into having sex with you, that kind of thing.

see that? it won an award

The rest (by rest I mean the majority) will graphically describe and depict a number of sexual techniques in rousing titles such as Tickle His Pickle; the Hands On Guide to Penis Pleasing, and Ride Em Cowgirl; Sex Position Secrets for Better Bucking

Clever shit.

But I’m not getting lectures about these.

I’m not getting lectures from stay at home moms about selling Last Tango in Paris, and not simply selling it, but it’s marked down and for a month was on a display visible immediately upon entering the DVD department.

You know what’s sitting on the same display?  Lolita.  That was actually on a display for a while with a sign over the table that read, “Mother’s Day Gifts for Every Interest.”  Not one complaint about that.

These last two examples, of those movies’ placement on displays, I bring up because that’s what this mom was complaining about, or the particular issue she was wasting so much of my time with.  The book was offensive, she absolutely made that clear.  She thought it disgusting and vile, but it was our placement of the book on the Customer Service desk.

actual bookselling technique; this kid is going to love it

This customer complained that we were, “cramming this book down [her] children’s throats” by displaying them at the Customer Service desk.  She felt “assaulted” by our flaunting of this title.  Apparently our having a stack of these books on the desk is tantamount to us handing one to every child as they walk through the door, and then slapping their parents in the face with a second copy.

That’s what we’re doing, isn’t it?

What we’re doing couldn’t possibly be putting a stack of bestselling books that we sell a dozen copies a day of within easy reach?  This isn’t the evil bookstore promoting the degradation of our society for the sake of money.  I know you want to think it is.  I know you want to vilify the company.  But that’s not what’s going on.

This is laziness.  This is convenience.  I don’t feel like walking the two hundred feet round-trip that it would be to the humor section three times an hour. I’m not trying to promote the seed of Satan here, I’m just trying to save time.

gaaah! evil book!

This book brings evil a whole new level though, apparently, in that it has the power to suck in children who get to close to it. Anna didn’t want this book on counter, facing the kid’s department!  just feet from summer reading tables!  at perfect eye level with her children!

What monsters we are!  Evil, innocence stealing, bookselling monsters!

Just by looking at it, children have been known to disappear.  Beware!  This book is like the basilisk set loose from the Chamber of Secrets, except instead of petrifying mudbloods it steals children’s souls.

I have no other explanation than evil powers, since Anna was very upset with the fact that the book faced the summer reading books and kid’s department.  She asked that we display it instead facing the “other filthy books promoting child abuse.”

Unfortunately we haven’t received all the product for that display, so it hasn’t been set up yet.  I promise though Anna, as soon as it is I’ll move this book over.

..I’m not done with this yet…

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