Friday, August 13, 2010

So there I was, innocently checking updated statuses from my friends on Facebook. One of them, a blogger I have known for several years, mentioned that she and her husband were finally getting around to watching James Cameron's Avatar, a movie she wasn't feeling entirely positive about.

I myself have never seen Avatar. If I ever do, it will be because I'm visiting some friends who have decided that this movie will be the entertainment for the evening. I have, however, read Ursula K. Le Guin's "The Word For World is Forest" as well as a comic book adaptation of Poul Anderson's "Call Me Joe," so I think I've got most of the social and science-fictional bases covered. Alas, I've never seen Pocahontas or Dances with Wolves, so I still may be missing some important ingredients.

Plus I might just want a science-fictiony explanation of why the critters on the planet Pandora look like slightly modified and mashed-up Earth critters.

I remembered that took the movie to task and made on of their infamous lists of "The (some number) (somethingest) Things About James Cameron's Avatar", or something like that. It was funny, it hit on most of the points I had made about this movie I had not yet seen, and it made other points I hadn't thought of. I decided to find the list for my friend.

Unfortunately, I couldn't find it. What I did find was a surprisingly positive review, 'Avatar' Is Horribly Written, Way Too Long, Totally Worth It. I read through it, posted a link to my friend's Facebook page, and then went back to look at the "Recommended For Your Pleasure" links at the end.

And like that, I was finished.

The 6 Most Gigantic Everything in the History of War
6 Japanese Subcultures That Are Insane (Even for Japan)
5 Reasons You Should Be Scared of Google
The 10 Most Important Things They Didn't Teach You In School

Each of these lists - each spread out over two pages - ended with another set of links. Some were repeats from previous sets. Some were brand-new. All of them led to more lists, and more, and more...

Once upon a time Cracked magazine was a second-rate MAD magazine copy, inferior to the original but superior by far to Crazy, the only other survivor of the wave of MAD knock-offs of the 1960s and 1970s. It felt safer and less radical than MAD, with the notable exception of the art of John Severin. Years have passed since I picked up a copy - with good reason, it turns out, as Cracked was nearly put under by a 2001 anthrax attack, actually ended publication in 2004, and came back (briefly) in a very different format in 2006.

Today, Cracked is known mainly for its website, "America's Only Humor and Video Site, Since 1958," which is very different from the old Cracked magazine - as well as MAD magazine's website. It's not safe for work, not safe for kids, and not safe for anyone who doesn't have an infinite amount of time to just scroll through hilarious, informative, and occasionally accurate lists of things you didn't know about and wouldn't think to ask.

5 Ridiculous Ancient Beliefs That Turned Out to Be True
The 5 Greatest Books With Psychotic Fanbases
8 Historic Symbols That Mean The Opposite of What You Think
9 Beloved Characters Made Horrifying by Japan

Be warned. Some of these pages take a while to load. So opening, say, twenty of them at the same time may cause your system to have performance issues. As well as cost you hours of your life.

1 comment:

Stephen Albert said...

Thanks for sharing the stuff!