Evil Bert et al

There’s a jackhammer going outside my office window. This is not FAIR.

Well, I promised various people that I’d comment on Evil Bert this morning. Man, it’s a strange and tangled web that popular culture and the internet have woven. Here’s the deal. Jim Henson created Muppets named Bert and Ernie, after characters in “It’s a Wonderful Life”. Bert and Ernie have been on Sesame Street for over 25 years. Recently, someone with Internet access and an eye for the satiric created a website called “Bert is Evil”, which I think is funny for many reasons. On the site are many pictures of Bert with criminals of past century, or in various other compromising positions (note: if you have a fondness for icons of childhood and don’t want to see them defiled, you probably shouldn’t check out this site). One of these pictures, supposedly created before Sept. 11th, shows Bert peering over the shoulder of Osama Bin Laden.

Now here’s where this gets really messed up. Pro-Bin Laden protestors in Bangladesh needed pictures of Bin Laden for their placards. An easy one for them to download, apparently, was the one from the “Bert is Evil” site. So now, the face of a Muppet is hoisted high above the shoulders of
anti-American demonstrators in the Middle East.

Hooray for the Internet for creating this situation. The oblivious insertion of this beloved albeit impugned Muppet has made the protests a mockery rather than a threat. Bert’s made the journey from earnest 1950’s melodrama to childhood toy to postmodern critique to fundamentalst Muslim protest icon, and thus back to postmodern critique. Actually, at this point, it should be post-postmodern critique, but I think eventually this stage of popular culture will get a title all its own. All I know is, it’s loopy and my mind is blown. Hooray!

Events of the Weekend

I got to hang out with college friends in Arlington over the weekend, which was fun. We went out for Japanese food on Friday night and I got to poke at interesting things with chopsticks, and slurp up udon noodles like in the Nelly Furtado video. We saw “Training Day”, the new Denzel Washington vehicle in which he plays a bad guy for the first time. Super-intense flick in the best sense of the word; check it out.

The other big event of my weekend was a Silent Auction fundraiser that we threw at church for the
, to fund the Pilgrimage next summer. It went well — we estimate that $800 was raised. I love the kids and most of the adult leaders; we had a blast yesterday. But there’s one leader who gives me the willies, and I’m finding it harder and harder to avoid him without giving reasons for that avoidance. We used to be friends but it got too intense, and I’m finding it impossible to back away without exhausting confrontations. He raises my “ick” hackles in a major way, which is troublesome because we work closely together. Do I owe him an explanation? Would it be better to not give him one, since “You make me go ‘ick'” is not something anyone wants to hear? My suspicion that I’m acting like a teenager myself is not a thought that rocks me to sleep at night. Comments/advice are welcome here.