Entries Tagged as 'Joshua Goldowsky blames a fictional character'

art & entertainmentJoshua Goldowsky blames a fictional character

I blame Professor Steven Falken for over-reliance on computers and the end of human dominance on game shows

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“You are listening to a machine. Do the world a favor and don’t act like one.”

Computers and the internet revolutionized our society from an efficiency standpoint like no other invention since perhaps indoor plumbing. Everyday human transactions have been made simpler and quicker for everyone with access. Online banking, ordering take out sans translator, and buying books minus the snide remarks from the aficionados at Barnes and Noble, can all be accomplished from the comfort and privacy of your home without interacting with anyone at all. But as we all know, all good things should be taken in moderation. [Read more →]

Joshua Goldowsky blames a fictional charactermovies

I Blame Zoltar for Poor Customer Service

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We have all been, at one time or another, victims of poor customer service. The idea that “the customer is always right” seems to be something of the past although many companies seem to be getting the message that the customer will vote with their wallets if they don’t get what they want. So while things may be improving in some areas, there must be some reason why customer service was allowed to get so bad for so long.

For this I turn your attention to the 1988 film Big, starring Tom Hanks. [Read more →]

Joshua Goldowsky blames a fictional charactermovies

I Blame The Tri-Lams of Adams College for the unhealthy lifestyle choices of many Americans

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“No-one’s gonna really be free until nerd persecution ends.”

Many Americans do not live healthy lifestyles, leading to an obesity epidemic. I know this because there is a featured story on it on the nightly news just about every week and there are a bunch of shows on basic cable covering it, not to mention The Biggest Loser. Since this is all happening on TV, we can’t honestly blame real live people for this problem. So where do we start? Ronald McDonald, Burger King and that demon-haired Wendy are on the list to begin with. Not to mention the militaristic Colonel Sanders, rounding out our usual suspects. But those characters have all taken steps to clear their names and have cleaned up their menus as best they could, for the sake of public opinion. Thorton Mellon, would be a good candidate since his Big and Tall Stores take advantage of the overweight (“If you want to look thin, hang out with fat people,” his TV ad prescribes.) But his athleticism on the diving board should, and does, exclude him from blame.

No. It’s Lewis, Gilbert, Takashi, Booger, Wormser, Poindexter, Lamar and the rest of the Tri-Lams of Adams College, heroes of The Revenge of the Nerds movie franchise, that are our villains here. [Read more →]

Joshua Goldowsky blames a fictional charactermovies

I blame Willy Wonka for the rise of bad corporate governance

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Some films you can just watch over and over again.  You’re not sure why, because they are not necessarily the best films ever made.  But clearly there is something that resonates. One of these films for me is Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.  Perhaps because it always seems to be on cable, or because Gene Wilder is a genius, I have viewed this movie several times recently and have come across some disturbing things that spill over into real world problems, namely poor corporate governance. 

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Joshua Goldowsky blames a fictional charactermoney

Monty Brewster is to blame for out of control government spending

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In Brewster’s Millions, Richard Pryor’s character Monty Brewster was given the challenge of spending $30 million in 30 days. If he was successful, he would get a $300 million inheritance from a long lost rich uncle. If he failed, he got nothing. The catch was that after 30 days, he could not have any possessions bought with the $30 million, and could return to the lawyers’ office with only the shirt on his back. (That shirt, coincidently enough, was a Chicago Cubs jersey.) The point, his deceased rich uncle told him via a pre-death recorded video, was to teach him to not squander money by making him so sick of spending money that he would think twice before doing it.

Apparently, the previous administration, as well as the current administration, have seen this movie and have subscribed to this method, hoping that if they spend enough money, a rich uncle — Sam? Mao? — will come up with the cash prize. [Read more →]

educationJoshua Goldowsky blames a fictional character

I blame Thornton Mellon for the decline of modern education

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Watching the news of a sit-in at NYU last week got me thinking about how lame today’s college students are and, of course, what fictional character can be blamed. Sure, it would be easy to point to the men of Delta house as the example to which some collegians aspire, and fail, to emulate by wearing t-shirts that read “College.” But, that’s not quite accurate. The culprit behind the decline of modern education is actually even less subtle.  

Our man is Thornton Mellon, from the film Back To School, one of the most underrated films of the 1980s. I say he is less subtle because he has the unique distinction of being the only fictional character that I can think of that is actually accused of in the film what I am actually accusing him of. In an early part of the film, Mellon’s economics professor and romantic rival, Dr. Phillip Barbay — a stuffy middle aged man with some sort of British accent, whose fetishes includes having women dress up as Wonder Woman and tie him up with the golden lariat and force him to tell the truth — sums it up: “That… is Mr. Thornton Mellon. The world’s oldest living freshman… and the walking epitome of the decline in modern education. The stupid clod thinks he can buy his way out of the gutter,” he quips to Sally Kellerman’s character, who is the love interest of both men. (I mean, Sally Kellerman? As Rodney Dangerfield said in another movie — “She must have been something before electricity.”)

People of a certain age always complain that the kids today aren’t as smart as they were or don’t take school as seriously as they should. [Read more →]

Joshua Goldowsky blames a fictional charactermoney

Let The Blame(s) Begin

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You’ve all heard time and again how personal accountability has been thrown out the window and about the emerging nanny-state that is quickly gripping this country.  Since it has also been said that life imitates art, is it not appropriate to completely let the real people who are to blame off the hook and indict fictional characters who exhibit the kind of behavior or ideas that those real people are only imitating?  In this recurring column, I look to find the fake culprits from film, television, literature, etc. who have caused real world problems.   

The Credit and Financial Crisis

J. Wellington Wimpy (of Popeye The Sailor) Described as intelligent and well educated but lazy and gluttonous, his burger addiction and need for instant gratification showed the world how to live beyond their immediate means, plunging the US into the current credit crunch.  “I’ll gladly pay you Tuesday for a Hamburger today,” easily translates into ”I’ll gladly pay you on the first of each month for the next thirty years, although I have no verifiable income, for this half million dollar home, which only two years ago cost $100,000, in an ‘up and coming’ area of town with no money down today.”  Just like the home that is no longer worth the amount of the loan, a burger has no value once it passes through the digestive system, unless of course it was one of those gilded burgers you see on Fine Living TV.  But I don’t think the kind of places Wimpy was frequenting were serving burgers with golden flakes.

Further evidence against Wimpy was that the way he got away with his many scams was by using false names and placating those he defrauded by promising future payment, then reneging.  The connection to recent revelations about the housing bubble is clear. Replace the aggrieved restaurant owner, patron or other dupe with Lehman Brothers or Bear Stearns and you’ve got the makings of the current credit crisis.  Life imitates art and we all get to suffer. 

Thanks, Wimpy, for plunging us into a global depression.  We all look forward to you paying off your debts, the Tuesday after hell freezes over.

Do you have a real world problem that may have been caused by a fictional character?  Feel the need to defend a fictional character that has been erroneosly charged with causing one? Let me know in the comment section or email me your suggestions at jgoldowsky [symbol for AT] whenfallsthecoliseum.com. I’m ready to believe you.