Kenny vs. Spenny: Season One
We did it again. First there was
Kids in the Hall
Trailer Park Boys
, and now there’s
Kenny vs. Spenny
, two Canadian roommates competing solely for the joy of humiliating the loser. It’s become impossible to deny: Canadians are funnier than you. Whether it’s “Who Do Old People Like More?” where Kenny befriends a retard and makes it pretend it’s his brother or “Who Can Drink More Beer?” where Kenny secretly switches all 44 of his beers with a non-alcoholic version, this reality game show is so cruel and hilarious it makes you proud to belong to the funniest nation on earth.
Nardwuar the Human Serviette: Doot Doola Doo Doo… Doot Doo
Interviews are boring but Nardwuar pulls so much obscure shit out of his ass he makes them way more interesting than the guy he’s interviewing. Sometimes the interview even takes on a life of its own and becomes a chronological summary of an entire scene. Like when he interviews Ian MacKaye and asks him the question, “Didn’t you first hear the word ‘hardcore’ when DOA played here back in 1979?” By the time MacKaye is done explaining that and every rumor, beef, and fight story it leads to, you realize you just got the definitive history of punk in America. Brilliant.
The Secret Art of an English Gentleman
This is a collection of erotic drawings that a stodgy old English illustrator did on his own time in the 50s and 60s. He did them secretly with very, very rude models back at his apartment and nobody's heard of them until now. Kind of like Henry Darger meets a straight Tom of Finland meets Norman Rockwell but way better. Even women will get a boner looking at these sketches.
I Love Led Zeppelin
Ellen Forney is one of the top cartoonists in the world right now. She even comes close to the greatness of Crumb sometimes, but man is the subject matter lame. Comics about safe sex and talking to your kids and Margaret Cho and feminist trapeze artists might still interest college students and boomer liberal women in the Northwest but the rest of us see it as a huge waste of great talent.
ANSWER Me! The First Three
Jim and Debbie Goad
The early 90s are, without a doubt, the single ugliest period in the history of human beings. The unisexually poofy hair, the clothes in tight-to-baggy transition, the way everything looks on video tape from then—to find it anything other than depressing would be blindness. This is exactly what makes
the most indisputable record of its era. The heartfelt sincerity behind Jim and Debbie Goad’s infatuation with hate, self-destruction, political missightedness, and everything else post-Cold-War America had to offer comes through in every perfectly-worded barb and tirade. The mass murder lists and grainy Budd Dwyer collages may seem like juvenile death-tripping at first glance, but taken in light of the depth and intelligence with which it’s assembled it’s really just as honest an approach to American culture as can be. If you can’t appreciate the simple, joyous zen of prank-calling Dr. Kevorkian and a suicide helpline with the same questions, or running favorable interviews with Al Sharpton and David Duke back-to-back, you are brainless.
This new comp of the first three issues (still sadly divorced from the lawsuit-inspiring grand finale of the Rape Issue) comes with a healthy smattering of Jim’s other writing from the past 13 years, which practically serves as a blueprint for how to mellow with age without falling into fat, middle-aged complacency. What else could we say about this gem? Fuckin’ nothing.
Here’s a dare: Try not watching this eight-hour documentary in one sitting. It’s about a Scott Peterson-type case where the coincidentally named Mike Peterson allegedly bludgeons his wife to death and then says she fell down the stairs. You think he’s innocent when you see the pathetic job the prosecution does but then you start to doubt his story when you find out he’s been having homosexual affairs and another woman in his life fell down the stairs 15 years ago. Hmmmm. No matter where you stand on the case, hearing the verdict after sitting there in awe all night long is like getting thrown down a flight of stairs.
The Psychic Soviet
Drag City Books
Ian Svenonius, magic man, singer, and theorist behind the bands Nation of Ulysses, Make Up, and Weird War, is also one of our nation’s best living essayists. You didn’t know? What kind of a member of the so-called counterculture are you, anyway? Go out and get Ian’s Little Hot Pink Book so you can read his startling revelations on the history of rock music, vampires, and Jerry Seinfeld. Svenonius will change the way you look at the world, and for our two bits he is the end of a family line that includes Mark Twain and Roland Barthes.