Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Erin: Captain Fugmerica

[We have a new guest-blogger, Erin, writing for us today. I am a huge fan of the fashion-attack blog Go Fug Yourself (link on the right) -- a blog where they evaluate celebrity's clothes in viciously mean and funny ways. So I asked Erin, a fashion-conscious friend of mine, to write about Captain America's new uniform -- which was previewed on Newsarama last week -- in the style of the Go Fug Yourself girls. I wanted to try something new. I know some of you got annoyed with my discussion of the outfits in New X-Men, but I say an essential part of the superhero genre is crazy outfits, so here we go. Feedback is important here as it will determine if something like this ever appears again.]

Ok, ok, ok, ok, OK! Are you bageled up people? Ready? (claps hands) New Costume. New. Costume. Now this is Captain America we're talking about here. He is an awesome, powerful dude. Seriously. Like America's powerful. Totally a scary dude. And now, like, scarier than he was before. Steve Rogers is dead and some new guy is taking his place. This new guy is scary, and MAD, so mad he added a leotard, so you know this is NO FUCKING JOKE.

So, what are his powers, and how do we show them? Well, he's really really strong. Indestructibly strong. How do we show strength? Muscles! Big ass muscles! And lots of them. Get out the anatomy books -- all that oblique stomach shit you only ever seen in real life at pilates, that's what we're talking about. So he doesn't look top heavy add some huge thighs. And so he doesn't look absurd with thighs that big, add some boots with folded tops. (pause) Ok, I have just been informed that Captain America has always had huge muscles and Peter Pan boots. Apparently he also has a red white and blue shield that he hurls and hits people with and hides behind, all of which sounds . . .defensive.

You know what? I think old Captain America needs to go on the offensive. Here's an idea. What does America have that makes it special, and strong? Not Hayden Panettierre. Guns! We have guns. And you know what else we have? New York City police officers, who are super tough and strong, but also heroes, because of what they did before on 9-11, or all the time, whatever, which makes them heroes. Like Hayden Panettierre. So I think what Captain America really needs now is to stop always falling back on the super strong and indestructible super-power thing, and solve a couple of these super problems with super bullets. Faster than punching, and sexier too. He can keep his piece in a hip holster on a black leather belt, just like NYC cops wear. It will look cool and business-like and also maybe a little plumber-like, which is an issue, but seriously he can store the gun there and maybe a huge guerrilla knife, and some ah, gum, and like pepper spray or plastic cuffs or whatever else Captain America needs to GET AT THE TRUTH and save the day. Wire taps, maybe, maybe presigned warrants. Whatever -- that's not our job, that's for the writer dweebs. So a belt with stuff and some awesome boots and a big A for Awesome right on the old dome, couple little bat ears and I think we're done here.

He still kind of looks like a plumber in a leotard.

Ok, well, let's make the suit shiny. Plumbers never wear anything shiny. That should do it.


Ping33 said...

Isn't it a crime to do that to the Flag? Someone call George Bush (41) STAT!

Jason Powell said...

I can't stand Go Fug Yourself. I just don't see why anyone should care so much about what celebrities are wearing.

But I certainly agree that costumes, uniforms, etc. are an essential part of superheroes, and a cool costume can make one and a bad one can break one. So this is a "fug" I can get on board with. I like it! I vote it should a recurring feature here.

Geoff Klock said...

Ping: awesome.

Jason Powell. First of all I do not think you have to care what celebrities are wearing to like Go Fug Yourself. I don't care about Golf, but Happy Gilmore was a funny movie. (I remember it being funny. I have not see it in years). Go Fug Yourself is very funny.

James said...

Apparently a lot of people were upset about the knife and the gun. They clearly signify that this is the Winter Soldier as Cap, and as such should neither be surprising or upsetting. What is bad, is that his upper body is wrapped in foil, and he looks like a fucking Cadbury's Creme Egg. Man, that's one crappy costume. Also, the canteen on his belt is unintentionally hilarious.

Ping33 said...

mmmm....Cadbury Creme Egg....

Jason Powell said...

I don't really find it funny, and that may be partly because I don't buy into the premise, which is that I should care what celebrities wear. There's an assumption that anyone reading it --

-- eh, never mind. I'll just say I don't find it funny and leave it at that. Just not geared toward my sense of humor, I think.

Geoff Klock said...

Go Fug Yourself describes an outfit like this today: "That outfit only works if, say, Lindsay Lohan decides to sign another contract with Disney to clean up her image, and returns to the big screen in a film about being the first female steam-engine conductor, a chimney sweep, a futuristic soldier of fortune, AND a high-schooler -- all rolled into one. Sort of like Mary Poppins meets Quantum Leap with a dash of Back To The Future III." Don't you want to go see what it looks like now? Those girls are awesome.

James: I think the reason people are bent out of shape about the gun and the knife is that, while it makes perfect sense in the story with the Winter Soldier, Captain America is a bigger thing than any story in which he appears. He is a franchizeable symbol, and so on. Franchizeable is not a word and do not use it, ever.

Geoff Klock said...

Jason Powell: you were going to finish that sentence with "there is an assumption that anyone reading it enjoys funny" or somthing like that, yeah? I would love to have this conversation...

The quote above -- not funny? really? Even when you go to the site and see the picture. Here is the link


Geoff Klock said...

ok, that link is not going to fit. Try clicking here

James said...

Geoff: Yeah, I just don't get why that would be anyone's first concern when they see these images, you know? 'Cause the costume is SO ugly.

Fug is funny, and so was this post. Hayden Panettiere indeed.

Eric (APredator) Bloxsom said...

So Cap has been turned into a batman/max payne like hero? I think it is the black pants I find odd but I really like the rest of it. Maybe i'm just not to fond of the gun idea, don't let Captain watch to many John Woo films. I can't stop thinking about the fat dude from Hot Fuzz, "have you every fired your gun into the air and gone aaah?"

Josh Hechinger said...

"and some ah, gum, and like pepper spray or plastic cuffs or whatever else Captain America needs to GET AT THE TRUTH"

That right there? Gold.

I vote for more.

Jason Powell said...

"Jason Powell: you were going to finish that sentence with "there is an assumption that anyone reading it enjoys funny" or somthing like that, yeah?"
***Now THAT was funny!

"I would love to have this conversation..."
***Really? Well, all right. First off -- the "Happy Gilmore" analogy. True, it's about golf but still funny to lots of people who don't care about golf. I hate sports, and I loved Sorkin's "Sports Night." But those are things whose appeal lie fairly obviously in something other than those subjects (Sandler's persona and Sorkin's very particular writing style, respectively).

But "Go Fug Yourself" is predicated quite clearly on an in-built fascination with celebrity. The top blog entry as I write this is a photo of Emmy Rossum in a white prom-dress-looking thing, and the only text says, "Dear Emmy, WE GET IT. YOU'RE DEMURE."

Doesn't this presuppose that I already have seen a lot of pictures of/read a lot of articles about/seen a lot of nterviews with Emmy Rossum? I am not necessarily faulting the girls' writing ability or their way of delivering a laugh-line. I can see where someone fascinated with celebrity and/or with an interest in fashion would love these jokes.

Scrolling a little further down the page ...

"Maybe on the new season of The Pussycat Dolls Present: The Search For The Next Pussycat Doll: Finding Somebody Other Than Asia: Dude, She Totally Dropped Off The Face Of The Earth After Winning The First Season: And Robin Antin Needs To Pay Her Mortgage"

They keep on adding another colon followed by another subtitle. To paraphrase Newsradio, I understand the internal logic of the joke itself. But I don't know who Asia is, I don't know who Robin Antin is. This is again, presupposing an audience who is plugged into pop culture to an extent beyond where I'm at.

Mainly it's jokes about stuff I have no interest in, which would garner a neutral reaction from me. Where this starts to feel insidious is in the way that it is trying to mock celebrities by basically playing the game (posting a bunch of pictures of the people being mocked), buying in to the same morbid fascination with these people that put them in the public eye in the first place.

And there's something disingenuous about the whole thing, isn't there? "WE GET IT, YOU'RE DEMURE." I know it's meant in fun, but the implication is that Emmy Rossum is assaulting the world with her demure-ness. But actually the Go Fug Yourself girls are insulting *her*. Not cruelly, I realize. But something feels ... wrong, there. Hypocritical even. They're writing as if these celebrities are deliberately assaulting us with their terrible fashion sense, when *the site* is the one doing the deliberate assaulting.

I don't know, Geoff. I am figuring this out as I type it.

Geoff Klock said...

Jason Powell: I see your point maybe with the Pussycat Dolls one, but the Emmy Rossum one not so much. I have no idea who Emmy Rossum is. But the "We get it, you're demure" is funny because I would not have thought demure is not something you could over-do, and here I see that someone has done it, and the GFY girls nailed the problem five words.

I thought about doing a series of blog posts on jokes -- on the logic of certain things I find funny, like Aqua Teen Hunger Force but I cannot tell if it will just kill the jokes and be awful. I have no idea if writing this comment is making me want to do it more or less.

Ping33 said...

Sorry, OT - how do you do links in the comments [url][/url]?

Jason Powell said...

"I would not have thought demure is something you could over-do, and here I see that someone has done it"

You really think that's what's happening, though? I don't know. Maybe I'm just not seeing what you and the gals are seeing. I assumed that this outfit that Rossum was wearing was one in a succession of "demure" outfits, and that is what they are reacting to. Are they just reacting to that single outfit? Is it honestly that bad?

I think I am maybe just out of touch. I am going to have to go ahead and maintain my stance that this is only funny if you are interested in celebrities or clothes or both.

Here's a question: If they were making fun of the outfits of people who *weren't* famous, would it still be funny? If it was candid photos of people who were just on the street minding their own business, would it then seem cruel? I guess my point is that the famousness of the subjects is part of what makes it funny, and as such there's a subtext there of mocking celebrity. But they are contributing to the subjects' famousness at the same time, by posting all these images. Something about that cycle just feels off.

"I thought about doing a series of blog posts on jokes -- on the logic of certain things I find funny,"

Yeah, that's a tight-rope. I remember an episode of Siskel & Ebert where they were dissecting "Forrest Gump." They showed a clip of the scene where Gump is in the army and really excels at all the mechanical tasks he has to learn. They were saying things like, "We expect Gump to not do well at things like this, and are surprised to learn that he is good, and this is funny." It was soul-crushingly pedantic.

It's a shame, because while I have resorted to the "humor is subjective" argument myself, I often wish there was a way to mathematically prove that, say, "Arrested Development" is measurably funnier than "How I Met Your Mother."

Don't we all do that thing where, if we say "Such and such is hilarious," and the person we're talking to says, "Oh, I don't like that, I don't think it's funny at all," we kind of cringe, and wonder, "Wow, does this person have ANY sense of humor at all?" I'm starting to worry that you think that about me, since I feel like I am often dissing things you find funny, like GFY and Joss Whedon. You probably think I'm a complete sour-puss in real life. (I'm not, though, I swear!)

Anyway, you should give the posting-on-the-logic-of-jokes a try. I think it would be an interesting experiment.

Christian said...

Here's a criticism I don't think has been mentioned yet. THE DESIGN IS THE EXACT SAME REDESIGN ROSS DID 10 YEARS AGO FOR SPIDER-MAN. The black, the belt and the triangle'y pattern. I mean, I never expected anything Ross did to be new and exciting, but sweet zombie Jesus, don't revisit designs that you've already used to revamp a major Marvel character with already.

Geoff Klock said...

Jason: well I think it pretty funny to make fun of people's outfits, but with the celebrity you know that they have the money to buy something better. You are always sure that it is a mistake of taste and not one of circumstance.

But do not worry. I know you have a sense of humor. You love Dr. Katz. Dr. Katz is surely one of the best shows ever.

Christian: I saw that on someone's blog. It IS really bad.

Geoff Klock said...

ping: it is a lesser than sign, then "a href="xxx" then a greater than sign. then at the end you do another pair of greater and lesser than signs with a "/a" in the middle. THere is a better name for those things than greater and lesser than isn't there?

Streebo said...

"(pause) Ok, I have just been informed that Captain America has always had huge muscles and Peter Pan boots. Apparently he also has a red white and blue shield that he hurls and hits people with and hides behind, all of which sounds . . .defensive."

That was very chuckle worthy!

Ping: You have to use basic html:

For links use this code:


Streebo said...

Geoff beat me to it. lol

Mikey said...

I do not get all the celebrity references. But I get more than I would like to admit. I like Fug, more than anything else, for the language. I like the way you can roll the sentences around a bit. They can write.

It's difficult to explain because trying to identify the 'voice' is tricky (and part of the joke). I wish I could better get at what I mean.

But then, I've also always liked Vice's Dos and Donts as well.

sara d. reiss said...

i won't comment on the glory of gofugyourself, save that it is glorious.

and cap look like he's geting attacked by the black oil fromt he xfiles

except, i don't think it attacked that way, did it? maybe it's a comment on environmentalism and oil spills or summat.

what i wanna know is, with the gun and the knife, is it water or whiskey in that butt canteen?

James said...


sara d. reiss said...

but... it's not rendered with the same "I IS SHINY" marker work as the definitely shiny shield and red white and blue parts.

is it me, or does the rendering on the shield make it look vaguely tin-foilish.

you can tell i'm back in art school with my excessive use of the word 'rendering"

I'd say, judging by the way the lines are drawn down by his crotchal area (and butt area iin the 3/4" dorsal view) they suggest the fabric is slightly stiff and pulling a bit, like new jeans and/or leather.

or pleather.

tinfoil shield and pleather bodysuit with metallic accents and wing-ed ears? no wonder he's carrying a gun.

Geoff Klock said...

Sara: "tinfoil shield and pleather bodysuit with metallic accents and wing-ed ears? no wonder he's carrying a gun." Awesome.

Stefan said...

Vice's Dos and Don'ts prove that making fun of people's outfits is funny, regardless of their level of celebrity, as long as the writing is good.

Manners are not at all a part of the process.

"Having stolen a dose of the Super Soldier Serum, a black bodysuit and a belt full of burglar's tools, I shall now embark on my reign of terror." - Captain Gun-merica shortly before his inaugural heist was foiled by SHIELD's newest defense system - the Foil Wrapping Paper Cannon.