First off, happy new year. Second, it’s not a new you and we all know it. There are no more positive vibes coming into a new day with you than normal. Cracking open a new calendar didn’t make January 1st any more of a new year than me turning 33 on August 13th signifies anything of significance. It’s just a way to sell those motivation day-by-day calendars and gym memberships. If I sound bitter, it’s because I’m tired of your (collective, not necessarily you, dear reader) bullshit. Also, to hell with resolutions. If there’s something about you you wanna change, just change it. But do so in a gradual manner. If you pick one day to completely turn your life around, you’re gonna burn the fuck out, and you’ll be right back where you started or maybe even worse. Meth is still a thing. Is it a leap in logic? Yes. But whatever.
I’m sure you’ve noticed my absence from the site. I haven’t posted since December 12th, and I know you’re going through withdrawals. Robbie withdrawals. There’s a joke in there somewhere. In all honesty, I haven’t been doing much of anything creative as of late. Why not? Well that’s none of your damn business...
So what on Earth could bring me out of hibernation and ring in the new year with some biting, acerbic wit? The answer may shock you: HUMAN STUPIDITY!
I want to go on record at the top of this article as saying I’ve never seen Bird Box, and I don’t currently plan on seeing the movie. I’ve heard it’s good, vaguely similar to A Quiet Place, and apparently no one remembers who Sandra Bullock is. I love her. Always have. Sandra, if you’re reading this, I love you. Always have. My problem with the film extends beyond its actual existence or whatever amount of entertainment one may or may not derive from it. My beef with Netflix’s most popular original movie lands square in the palms of humanity itself. It’s the GODDAMN BIRD BOX challenge. A quick synopsis:
So of course, because we’re all desperately staggered for entertainment and possible notoriety, with every new cultural phenomenon there comes a new trend. Fuck you Keke, I don’t care if you love me or not, because I abhor the very mention of your name. Now I don’t want to give anybody any unnecessary fame, views, or publicity so instead of embedding any sort of video, I’m going to describe the Birdbox Challenge as simply as possible. People are going about their daily lives, or at least a portion of their day, in public, completely blindfolded.
Now…I don’t think I have to be the one to tell you, and I can’t believe I’m actually going to type this out loud, but this “trend” is beyond fucking stupid. They keep getting stupider. More and more people keep sacrificing their dignity, nay, their safety for views. Possibly a brief 15 minutes of fame. Is it worth it? The answer is “fucking duh it’s not.”
I can probably tell you exactly what’s going to happen: someone’s going to do the Birdbox Challenge in an extreme environment or do some lethal stunt, and then it becomes a “choose your adventure” scenario. Some idiot either takes it WAY too far, and accidentally manslaughters theirself, there’s public outcry, “how could we let this happen?!” “who was watching them?” “ban all blindfolds from every movie ever!!” and then there’s oversaturated news coverage about the “dangers of Birdboxing. Is your child safe? Probably not. Find out at 11!” Did we learn nothing from Planking, Tebowing or Faith Hilling? Or JNCO jeans? Or cocaine in the 80s?! Trends are fucking stupid. Anyway, this is Adventure A.
Adventure B is more exploitative and possibly more dangerous to society on the whole.
WITHDRAWALBBIES!! That’s the joke I’ve been looking for!!
Anyway, Adventure B is someone take the Challenge too far, succeed, and then bounce around the news circuit. At that point it becomes a ratings game. And it spreads to the public psyche. “Holy shit, if that fool can do that and get on GMA, I can kick it up a notch and get on some other talk show.” It’s all about who can do something bigger and better, and then those goddamn news shows pick up on it, and without saying so many words, they encourage the public to keep going because this is the 15 Minute Lottery. What can you bring to the table? Why should we have you on our show? It’s sickening. I’ll tell you what…the only person on TV who actually cares about her guests (seemingly so) is Ellen. Anyone else has people on for a ratings gain. It’s like big pharma, or the people that sell you those gym memberships on New Years Day: they don’t actually care about you.
And then, along the way, people get hurt In this classic case of life imitating art, people are dumb enough to embrace this “challenge” and get hurt. And then…they’re the victim. How does it go? We saw this in 1997. They’re gonna blame the movies. Pretty cool, huh? It hasn't been done before. You see, this is just the beginning, a prelude to the trial. Because see that's where the real fun is 'cause these days it's all about the trial. Can you see it? The effects of cinema [fantasy] on society. They’ll get Dershowitz or Cochran to represent them. Bob Dole on the witness stand in their defense. Hell the Christian Coalition'll pay their legal fees. It's air tight, Sid.
As much of an advocate as I am of a never ending concept of time with “new beginnings” and “resolutions” and hypocrisy out the ass of changing every aspect about your individual person, but I can’t believe we’re starting 2019 on such a low note. There’s that old saying of “he who doesn’t learn from history is doomed to repeat it.” And it seems like people never learn. Some of y’all need to crack open a book and go back and look at all the horrible trends that never had happy endings.
Fuck, even Netflix is distancing themselves from the idiots accepting a challenge that no one presented them.
I think…if I were going to make a resolution, it’d be to not get so unnecessarily angry about dumb shit that doesn’t really affect me in the long run. I’ll rest assured in the knowledge that I’m not near as dumb or starved for celebrity as the people who embrace this idiocy with wide open arms. You know the last time someone welcomed something with arms wide open? It was Creed. And they fuckin’ sucked. FIGHT ME, SCOTT STAPP!!
Hopefully this cures your withdrawalbbies. Stephen and I have some cool shit coming up in the coming days, and it’s going to be a blast. 2019’s gonna be a good year for the Soapbox. If you don’t die attempting stupid meme challenges, you’ll be around long enough to bear witness. Happy new year, enjoy yourselves, have fun, be happy, be kind (do as I say, not as I type), and make this upcoming year the best you possibly can.
Also, back to “burning out” don’t let a minor set back derail you. I believe in you. I love you guys. Stay woke.
Also also, an asshole friend of mine sent this to me the other day.
CAN WE PLEASE LEAVE MOVIES IN THE MOVIES AND JUST DO OUR OWN SHIT IN 2019?!?! Please…this isn’t a request. This is me begging.
Editors note: While I stand by Robbie’s plea…..please keep doing dumb shit, it’s natural selection and dumb people doing dumb things makes me giggle.
Robbie Clark is a senior writer and contributor to Cinema Soapbox