If anything, this restaurant would be a realistic depiction of the actual tension between waiters and their customers. Typically, both hate the other but can’t do anything about it, so there’s a lot of very awkward niceties and painful banter. (At least in my experience).
It’s long been a dream of mine to open a dadaist restaurant. This eatery would stand in opposition to the “have it your way” attitudes of fast food, and exist in stark opposition to every notion of friendliness or good customer service. But not in the way that a place like Dick’s Last Resort (a restaurant common in tourist beach towns, known for waiters who are intentionally rude to the customers) does– rather than a schticky jest, there would be no consistency to the madness. The customer would be the enemy, and I would want them to be terrified.
What you are looking is a map of America. The United States has troops in more than 150 countries around the world. An orange country is one that lets Uncle Sam crash on its couch. Light blue countries have 100 or more troops in them, dark blue have over 1,000. (Countries with fewer than 75 were omitted from the map. This is the modern way an empire controls the world, and I’m not being hyperbolic when I say that. In the past, when powerful countries needed territory, they either annexed them (like Rome), or enslaved them (like Britain). Nowadays, the US just kind of hangs out everywhere- it’s not great (see Iraq) but it’s certainly an improvement. Influence in three-fourths of the countries in the world means is that the United States is the foremost military and diplomatic power on the planet. And although this ought to be obvious, it runs contrary to everything people seem to think.
I: How to Qualify Badness
What is the worst movie you have ever seen? Perhaps you had a sixth grade history teacher, who, during your unit on the 1950s, showed you a B-movie called The Brain That Wouldn’t Die in an attempt to get the period off to grade. It could have been an action movie that’s plot existed only to string together several large scenes of urban destruction. Maybe this movie was a disappointing remake of a franchise you loved as a child. Possibly, it was an attempt to cash in on a recent fad – vampires, zombies, creatures from the black lagoon, etc. This movie might’ve been an attempted exploration of romantic love that just reminded you of everything that sucks about relationships. The characters could have been flat, the acting wooden, the special effects Paper-Mache. It could have been a comedy that should have been able to make you laugh and made you cry instead, or it could have been a drama that did the opposite. But whatever it was, it failed to engage you in some way.
For the past three years, I have been watching bad movies and writing about them for fun. And what I’ve found is that criticism is mainly difficult because it’s hard to compare different sorts of movies. It can be daunting at times. Even when you lump movies together into genres, each one individually is still influenced by a unique set of economic realities, artistic sensibilities, and cultural context. There are as many different kinds of movies as there are movies, so a rigorous set of critical criteria is necessary.
The variables going into a movie’s Objective Badness are frustratingly complex. Does it matter what the auteur intended for the movie to be? Does a cocky director hurt his cause, and does a humble one help his? How much does the exposure of the movie, and its economic success or failure, play into its quality? Should a cheaply-made movie be treated on an equal level with a movie that has had significant financial backing? Is it possible for a movie hated by critics to be good, simply on the basis of its populist appeal? And does it matter just how painful the thing is to sit through?
I’d argue that there’s not really a formula for this– pretty much every factor has to be taken into account. Context is essentially unavoidable during criticism.
Sam West Writes This is going to take a two week break. During this time, I’m going to be revising most of the pieces on the website, particularly the ones I wrote when I was fifteen that sound like word vomit. I’ll be combining and reworking them- not much is going to get deleted but it might get moved around or inserted into another post. See you all April 26th.