March 16, 2005

Let's talk about Shemp.
  • I used to have a lot of Shemp issues, but I've come to appreciate his raw ambition and True Stoogeness. Thanks for the link-- Shemp afficianodos/Zen masters might like this: The Shemp meditation tape. It will make your eyes bleed.
  • BTW, those cartoon portraits are priceless.
  • Who? This man scares me.
  • Ah, Shemp: The Forgotten Stooge. Better than Curly Joe by a damn sight.
  • which of course leads to the inevitable question: why the hell do so many guys love the three stooges when most women find them stupid at best and cruel at worst?
  • People have different tastes? You couldn't tie most men down and make them watch the kind of crap I watch. I don't blame them for that.
  • At the risk of sounding all fey, I'm a guy and I think the 3 stooges are far from funny. I quite like Harold Lloyd, if that helps. I also like Iggy Pop and the Stooges. Just not the '3'.
  • "Reflections on a Well-Poked Eye." or, why stooges are beloved by men and hated by women. sorry for the derail
  • so many guys love the three Stooges...? Possibly because a Stooge film is like a cartoon in that people get clouted on the head (and elsewhere) but suffer no long-lasting effects from any maltreatment. There is violence without consequence -- it's as much a given of the Stooge-world as the Stooges suddenly dashing into one another and delaying the onset of an exit or a pursuit is. Lots of activity, sound and fury signifying -- well, nothing, to be perfectly frank. Broad slapstick -- old staple routines often similar to the action in Punch and Judy shows, only not done with puppets and not as lethal as Punch at his worst. No audience could possibly mistake the Stooge-world for the real world. Stooges, if smacked on the head, in the end carry on as if that never happened (short attention spans?) but eventually bop some other guy on the head. Stooges are not Thinkers, they are Doers -- often demostrating the perils of deeds without reflection. Overall, Stooge plots are not memorable, the whole experience is unreal if not surreal. A Stooge film is a light diversion, it can never be anything more. Always thought Jerry Lewis must have been a great fan of the Stooges. (Must admit, however, my taste runs to Laurel and Hardy or a Fatty Arbuckle flick, so I may not be the Stooges fairest critc.)
  • but bees, why have the violence at all? and they're soo mean to each other, even without the smacking and poking. why do they hang around if they don't like each other? poor, unhappy stooges.
  • The 3 Stooges as a Metaphor for Contemporary Existentialist Despair. Discuss. 3000 words, in my pidgeon hole by Monday.
  • It's not real. The violence/"cruelty" are to be understood in precisely the same way as the old WB cartoons, only with actors instead of cartoons. You might ask well ask why Wile E. Coyote keeps chasing that dagnabbed Roadrunner, when all he does is asplode himself and fall off of very high cliffs. It's very funny when people fall down, or things fall on them, or they get beaten in creative ways. As long as it's not real. *slaps thread, pulls down its pants, shoves it in a conveniently-positioned water trough*
  • Things I learned from the essay SideDish linked to: (1) Shemp, Moe, and Curly are brothers, (2) Shemp left the act several times to establish a solo career, (3) and he was successful.
  • The 3 Stooges as a Metaphor for Contemporary Existentialist Despair. Discuss. 3000 words, in my pidgeon hole by Monday. Why I oughta... *crack* woo woo woo! I think the best stooge bits are funny for reasons other than the hitting and poking. The horse blowing the horse pill down curly's throat, the oysters eating the crackers in his soup, the many times they tried and failed to help people out by fixing things around the house. The hitting can by funny at times, but the show has more to offer than that.
  • Why? Most basic answer: Show Biz is about selling tickets, at its most basic -- don't let that high-faluting guff ye hear spouted at the Oscars and such mislead ye about that. Too, sheer action can carry an audience, and many of the Stooge shticks are swiftly performed, even by speeded up modern standards. Why have the violence at all? Conflict is basic to stories, and though you're right, SideDish, that violence need not be overtly involved, the threat of violence or the potential for violence nonetheless hovers somewhere behind the scenes. As a man, I have almost a gut awareness of this -- I suspect most people do. Conflict is a facet of human nature and common human experience. Guess I would go so far as to suggest that American culture, from which the Stooges spring, has a considerable tolerance for violence in respect to entertainment. Here I think of the cartoon strip Krazy Kat by Herriman, where love is expressed by bricks hurled at Krazy by the infatuated Ignatz Mouse. So I wonder, as I think many folk do, How close are love and hatred? The thirties were Depression times, forties saw a world war, so sheer unreality may well have held attraction for audiences. But I'm no expert here, you would probably have to ask phychologists about what lies underneath human attraction to violence and conflict in literature and performance arts. Socially acceptable violence is a thing I can only guess about. I think we tend to pay to conflict/violence because at heart we fear it breaking loose in our immediate vicinity, so the focus on it might be a survival trait, of sorts -- but this is sheerest guesswork on my part. poor, unhappy Stooges You are projecting here, I think. Stooges in their films don't strike me as either happy or unhappy, except in brief spurts which I can't take seriously. Because Stooges don't really have any depth of character -- they exist in their own odd world, that only approximates ours by chance, at intervals. Some argue that violence in films is the true pornography and ought to be banned. It's an idea that harks back to the ancient Greeks, whose violent action occurred offstage. But that takes us farther afield from Stoogedom.
  • Guess I would go so far as to suggest that American culture, from which the Stooges spring, has a considerable tolerance for violence in respect to entertainment. You'd be right about that. Of course it's nonsensical to speak for every one of us, but it's true of the culture as a whole. I've known some very conservative parents in my time who didn't want their kids exposed to nudity or sexual content in films, but thought nothing of letting them watch, for instance, First Blood. Many of them consider old John Wayne films to be family entertainment.
  • poor, unhappy Stooges You are projecting here oh god! i'm a poor, unhappy stooge! THAT'S what's wrong. nyuk nyuk nyuk. can't believe someone hasn't nyukked yet.
  • My question has always been - why do I love Warner Bros. Cartoons, Marx Bros, Muppets, and many other silly / slapstick forms of humour, but can't stand the Three Stooges? It always feels like they are the poor cousins to the Marx Bros, trying to do what they do, but without the wit or sharpness.