October 1997
s m u g
and such and such
by the SMUG staff


Trick or Treat

Halloween time again! Time to try and decide if you're going to dress up and hit those parties, or feign illness so you don't have to sport some freakish getup and pretend to be merry. So, we at SMUG have come up with a list of easy, inexpensive, yet effective disguises for your party needs, and none of them will make you look like a total dork. Our suggestions for high concept costumes this year include:

1. Ed Norton - Ska kids, take your porkpie hat, put on a white t-shirt and last year's vest, and you're good to go. Make funny faces and say "I dunno" throughout the evening.

2. If you're a handsome blonde boy with bangs and your gal is a cute brunette, wear jeans and sweaters, let your hair hang in your eyes, carry a drill and tell people you're Sonic Youth, on the way to the studio.

3. Shaved your head for that "new media chic look?" Drape yourself in bedding and go as the Dali Lama. Resist the temptation to take up a collection in the name of the Tibetan Freedom Fund, because Adam Younch will find you and kick your ass.

4. Girls, if you're a short brunette it is possible to dress casually and claim to be both Laura from Superchunk and Janeane Garofalo.

5. Carry one of those 12 step pamphlets, and when asked "What are you supposed to be?" answer confidently: "The best me that I can be."

6. Carry a pound cake. Your response to the question du jour will be "I'm Sara Lee, nobody does it like me."

7. Jeans, t-shirt, Crew Cut, tattoo - you're fashion denizen Todd Oldham. Feel free to critique everyone's shoes.

8. High School Narc - wear whatever the hippest thing from two years ago in your wardrobe is and say "I totally get your scene, man, know where I can get some herb?" all night long.

9. There's always the big failsafe - go dressed as yourself, and when partygoers inquire as why you're not wearing a costume, give them that patented Gen-X look of disdain and ruefully say "Well, if you don't get it already, there's no point in going into it."

And the Loser is...

It's the time of year for Silly Awards Shows: The Grammys are coming, along with the surreally awful VH1 Fashion Awards. And, of course, September had the ultimate display of self-congratulatory tripe: the MTV Video Music Awards. This year's show was among the highest-rated ever, and MTV celebrated the occasion by replaying it 700 times in the following week. In many ways, it was more entertaining than it has been in the past. Host Chris Rock is still the funniest man in the country, and MTV can no more change that than they could successfully censor his several uses of the word "shit" in his opening monologue. It was amusing to watch them try though: each curse was followed by a second of silence, as if bleeping him after the fact made it somehow less potent.

The night was packed wth guest performances from the forefather's of today's music scene. Puff Daddy was joined by Sting for a performance of Missing You, his tribute to the Notorious B.I.G.. Enjoyable as that was, one couldn't help but wonder what, if any, significance the passing of a gangsta rapper has to Sting. I felt a little sorry for Jakob Dylan when his band, the Wallflowers, was joined by Bruce Springsteen, as the Boss thoroughly upstaged them during their duet of One Headlight.

If there was a theme for the night, it was "rock stars aren't too cool to jump on the Princess Diana bandwagon." During Puffy's aforementioned tribute to Notorious B.I.G., he encouraged the crowd to "clap your hands for Princess Diana, and everyone we've lost." The Spice Girls dedicated their performance to Princess Diana, who, they say, invented Girl Power, then proceeded to shake their asses all over the stage, proving that there is no such thing as too tasteless. Let's all breathe a collective sigh of relief that Mother Theresa hadn't passed away yet, and none of the performers or presenters knew who Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan was.

Madonna spent a few minutes scolding the paparazzi, along with the audience in attendance at Radio City Music Hall and the viewers at home, for "living off the misery" of the poor unfortunate celebs who have to live in seclusion to avoid them. A guilt-ridden nation surely forgot that this is the same woman who hired a camera crew to follow her around for a year to make a movie about her fascinating life. She then lightened the mood by introducing the Prodigy, though she neglected to mention that it was actually a tape of them in concert in Europe. When she announced the band, and some audio kicked in, the entire audience started craning their necks all around trying to figure out where the band was playing. Then the video screen appeared, and everyone emptied out into the lobby for cocktails and schmoozing.

When accepting her award, Fiona Apple decided to do away with the tacky tradition of thanking those who have helped you along the way. She instead opted to tell us that "Life is bleeped," and announce that she is such a star that she is put upon by our endless fascination with her, and that we should all stop "wearing what she wears" and "think for ourselves." Along the way, she thanked her mom and quoted Maya Angelou before stumbling off the stage. On the Howard Stern Show she later defended her actions by saying she was drunk.

My personal favorite VMA memory is watching Lisa Marie Presley present the Viewers' Choice Award with a heroically inebriated David Arquette (brother of Rosanna and Patricia, and the cop in Scream). He refused to read off the prompter, opting instead to scream whatever popped into his head to the crowd, who ate it up. When Lisa Marie tried to get down to business, he shoved her away from the mike and mimicked her. Then he groped her. The award was eventually presented, and David was removed from the premises. Only on MTV. Don't worry if you missed it - it's bound to be in heavy rotation for the next several months.

Only In Kentucky

We at Smug love the state of Kentucky almost as much as we love Michigan, but this particular thing is something that couldn't have happened anywhere else. A drunkard from Lexington is suing because law enforcement officers were too easy on him and gave him a chance to shoot innocent people. The lush in question, Michael F. Schmitz, claims that at the time of his arrest police officers handed back to him a SKS Assault Rifle loaded with 27 rounds when they couldn't figure out how to operate it. Officers instructed him to dismantle and remove the clip from the weapon, even though he was drunk and violent at the time.

In his $1.9 million lawsuit Schmitz says that he could very easily have started shooting people and that the police should never have given the weapon back to him once they had seized it. He believes that society should be protected from the likes of him, and his lawsuit will teach the police officers a lesson.

There's so much that could be said, but it's all too obvious.



in the junk drawer:

September 1997
August 1997
July 1997
June 1997
May 1997
April 1997
March 1997
February 1997
January 1997

and such
and such

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