Not the “Anthropology of the United States,” but ‘anthropology in united states.’
First, Prisonship readers circa 2007 will remember multiple laudatory posts about the blog of Andrew Earles, a Wire-worshipping Memphis-dweller with considerable rock writer credits and noteworthy affiliations with the Gerard Cosloy/pigfuck milieu as well as Tom Scharpling’s Best Show. If you know what these references mean, you know this is pretty much “he had me at hello” status, but so be it. Oh, and they’re from the South, and the calls are rife with references to and reviling in the region. Well, Earles and his equally adroit cohort Jensen have produced what has to be called the first truly ethnographic prank phone calls. The calls distinguish themselves as ethnographic practices to the extent that both Earles and Jensen’s many characters are receptive, attentive, and responsive to their interlocutors. In stark contrast to generic, stilted, pranks a la ‘Is Your Refrigerator Running?’ or ‘Do You Have Prince Albert in a Can?,’ Earles and Jensen actually create, uh, almost-conversations, in a way that sheds light on how well they know their characters. On a more formal level, I am more than pleased by the gaudy profanities, gaudy banalities and extended liner notes, all of which, again, evoke late-1980s, forced exposure aesthetics that i think are hotwired into my manboobs by now.. I try for all of those same vibes on this blog, it’s just that i’m nowhere near as intelligent or adept as these mothereffers, whose efforts and whose irony, like those of the Baffler or Doug Henwood or Scharpling, keeps me doing the very different things I do for a living. Don’t believe me, though. Believe Prindle.
What’s funnier than pop culture references? Until you’ve heard “Confusing Array Of Things To Sell,” you may never know the answer. This – one of the funniest calls on the disc – involves Jensen as a slow-voiced yokel calling an antique furniture store in an attempt to sell such clearly non-antique furniture items as a used Teddy Ruxpin, a Refrigerator Perry Halloween mask, a Jackson Browne “Lawyers In Love” painters cap, a “Where’s The Beef?” button, and a promotional Press Your Luck Whammy! stuffed toy (“I think you’d like that Whammy! guy — he’s cute!”). Other great examples of type (b) include a man who simply cannot understand the humor in “The Wizard Of Id,” a fellow interested in getting tattoos of “Taz” and “The Taco Bell Dog” above each of his eyes, and the relentlessly laugh-out-loud “Just Farr A Laugh: The Yogurt Machine,” in which a slow-voiced expert on the yogurt market spends several minutes warning an ice cream store owner that ‘Go-Gurt’ is going to be the next big thing, before concluding with a recommendation that the hapless owner read the autobiography of Jamie Farr (“Remember when he played that character ‘Klinger’ on M*A*S*H? Yeah, that fucked him up big-time.”).
- jurn learn urnickson is holding it down with the most daunting sociopolitical posting any of us have churned out since wobs had a moment about healthcare (sorry Uncle: it’s a little too late to be captivating with an Obama endorsement). i am looking forward to posting a comment that’s somehow appropriate to keep this necessary conversation alive , and i do hope that none of us, ever, presume that something so relatively unimportant as a presidential election will ever be elevated to the level of being a proxy ‘race’ referendum.