Confessions of Languatron’s Bane

“Star Wars: Episode VII” recently resumed production after taking a two-week hiatus to allow Harrison Ford to heal. Rumor has it that the Han Solo actor broke his leg when a hydraulic door of the Millennium Falcon was dropped on it. But other rumors say it wasn’t the Millennium Falcon’s door but, rather, the door of another spaceship altogether, the identity of which would likely constitute a spoiler for the much-anticipated sequel.

The Internet has no shortage of similar Star Wars spoilers. If you believe everything you read, you can piece together a workable plot of the film, despite director J.J. Abrams’s notorious penchant for on-set secrecy. (There’s a poster in his production offices that says “Loose Lips Sink Starships.”) Tight security notwithstanding, you can, with just a few Google searches, find out where Luke Skywalker has been for the thirty years since “Return of the Jedi,” as well as who this trilogy’s bad guy is and what he looks like. You can even see what Han Solo will be wearing in hot and cold weather.

That’s all presuming, of course, that these rumors are all true. And they’re not.

Of course, that doesn’t mean that all of them are wrong. The Han Solo costume designs look particularly legit, and surely there are some nuggets of truth amidst the gossipy dross. But big genre movies like these tend to bring out the Internet trolls, many of whom spread disinformation just for the cheap thrill of getting away with it.

Trust me. I speak from experience.

The year was 2008, and “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull” was getting ready to hit theaters. That meant that a bunch of movie sites were publishing “advance reviews” that warned that the movie was going to be awful. There were dozens of them, many of which were poorly written, and I started asking how so many illiterate nobodies were given access to what was the most hotly anticipated film of many a year. I concluded that most of these reviews were bogus, and I wondered what it would take to write such a thing and get one of the sites to pick it up.

You can see where this is going.

Yep. You heard it here first. For no good reason, I churned out a piece of nonsense that was essentially a “greatest hits” melange of all the tidbits I had found in other articles. I submitted it to AintItCoolNews.com using the silly pseudonym “Languatron’s Bane,” and I waited to see if they would take the bait.

They did.

“A more positive, yet far more damning, review of INDIANA JONES AND THE KINGDOM OF THE CRYSTAL SKULL comes in…” the headline screamed. The piece was peppered with such bon mots as “that’s not to say it’s a bad movie. It’s just an unnecessary one,” and “This is the “Free as a Bird” of Indiana Jones movies.” Despite the fact that I got a crucial detail wrong – I claimed that the movie included the line “It’s not the mileage; it’s the years,” and it didn’t – my error wasn’t enough to expose the fraud. Indeed, my review was quoted by a number of other publications, including the UK Telegraph. That’s right – my piece of hooey made it across the pond! I should have been ashamed of myself, and I probably would have been if I could have kept myself from giggling every time someone else fell for it.

There’s a lesson here. Writing fake reviews and making up phony information about movies isn’t something people ought to do, but people still do it, because it’s fun and because they can. Be wary. And look for my exclusive advance review of the next James Bond movie in my next post.

Missing Langy

A fellow Languatron opponent reminded me of this video recently, and it made me laugh anew. I made this sometime last year, and it’s not nearly as a waste of time as it seems at first glance. That’s not to say it wasn’t a waste of time at all, but it was my first foray into film editing and Flash animation, and both skills have served me well in the interim, so making this stupid little thing has proven to be helpful to my career. How’s that for rationalization?

Anyway…

If you’re just discovering the lunacy that is Langy, then some background is necessary. It is axiomatic that Languatron is shunned by decent people everywhere. When he shows up at an Internet bulletin board, he is summarily booted off of said board as soon as the moderators are accused of being corporate shills of Universal Studios and/or gay.

So, sometime in either 2005 or 2006, Lang hit upon a solution: he would start his own board. And he would be the only member. He was the only one allowed to post or comment. He would post a topic, respond to his own messages and then carry on lengthy conversations with himself.

To make this scenario even more ludicrous, Languatron would comb through his visitor logs and block the board from being seen by anyone who had previously visited it. Why? Because if you wanted to read Langy’s board, you were obviously a Universal Studios executive trying to spy on him! Eventually, to cut to the chase, he made it so only registered users could view his board. Since he was the board’s only registered user, only he could see his posts.

Languatron effectively disappeared.

The board is no longer online as of 2013, when I came back to re-edit this page. But originally, at the time of this writing, it had “1004 Posts in 765 Topics by 1 Members – Latest Member: languatron.” He may still be writing there, for all I know.

Once Langy was gone, I was surprised by how much I missed him. So I prepared this movie as a tribute to his legacy – and also to bug the hell out of him. The movie touches on much of his celebrated history, including his tortured grasp of the English language, his battles with five posters he termed the “Flatulent Five,” and his infamous bet with RGrant that got him booted from the Cylon.org board.

Summing up: it’s pretty stupid.

Enjoy!

Sometimes Langy’s Right

As much as it pains me to say this, Languatron is dead right.

One of Languatron’s central arguments is that Universal Studios has contempt for the public at large, and they refuse to give audiences what they want. Or, in his own inimitable style, he states:

To my knowledge, Universal Studios has never given a flying ant farm about anything that the public would like to see on movie or television screens.

Overlooking the bit about the ant farm, Languatron hits the nail on the head here. And the problem isn’t limited to Universal Studios, either. Hollywood defends the reprehensible rubbish they produce by appealing to free market principles. As they dump an unending stream of offensive garbage on the public, they insist they are only giving people what they want.

Yet the facts say otherwise.

The Dove Foundation, a non-profit organization from Michigan, released a study two years ago that demonstrates that G-rated movies are, on average, 11 times more profitable than their R-rated counterparts. Yet during the five-year period being studied, 53% of the films Hollywood released were R-rated. Only 4% were G-rated movies.

The principle here holds up throughout the entire rating system. PG-rated movies are significantly less profitable than G-rated films, but they are more profitable than PG-13 and R-rated movies. The PG-13 rated films are just slightly less profitable than PG-rated films, but they are, on average, three times more profitable than the R-rated films. Yet Hollywood continues to produce more R-rated movies than all of its other movies combined. Shareholders in the Hollywood studios should be going ballistic over this. I can think of no other industry that so studiously avoids making money.

So if they’re not giving the public what they want, what are the doing? They’re reinforcing their own insular view of the world and patting themselves on the back for their ingenuity. They’re not giving us anything – they’re giving themselves what they want, and they’re willing to alienate a majority of Americans to do it.

If you’ve got four hours to kill and you’ve got something you can use to prop your eyelids open, try to sit through an Academy Awards broadcast. When politics creep into an acceptance speech, as they inevitably do, when was the last time you heard someone say something consistent with conservative principles? Ask yourself this question: when was the last time you saw someone on that stage that could have possibly voted for George W. Bush? Charlton Heston hasn’t won an Oscar since “Ben-Hur,” almost fifty years ago.

Speaking of “Ben-Hur,” how likely are we to see a religious epic of that scope and power coming out of the studio system any time soon? “The Passion of the Christ” demonstrated that there is a clear hunger for religion in cinema, yet Hollywood ignores the demand and refuses to create the supply. The public wants stories that speak to their faith and reflect their values. Hollywood delivers bilge that insults tradition and mocks the sacred. They’re willing to sacrifice profitability to be provocative. And they do so at the cost of our culture – and, surprisingly, at the cost of their own bottom line.

Langy is still a jerk, though. We can all agree on that.

Languatron Reviews My Review

Languatron has posted an online response to my recent review of his book. I invite you to read it here, slightly edited for taste and anonymity with additional commentary from yours truly. Languatron’s words are in bold text, which is only fitting. My lowly response is in italics.

Did I mention that my book is still growing? This is going to be the next chapter to be added shortly. Cut and pasted from my manuscript.

_________________________________________________

Chapter Sixteen

[Stallion Cornell] Reviews My Book

Arrogance begat naivete, and naivete begat [Stallion Cornell] .

Ah. That’s me. The grandson of Arrogance.

NBC-Universal/Sci-Fi Channel wasted no time in dispatching their prime dolt in reviewing my book, and what truly amazes me about this former Utah Senator who moonlights as a short order cook, in a gay homeless shelter in between drawing a paycheck from Universal Studios while sitting on his [tuckus], is how truly naïve and predictable he is.

Where to begin? I am not now, and never have been, a senator or a cook. I doubt that homeless shelters discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation. I eagerly await my first paycheck from Universal Studios, which has yet to arrive. But at the moment, I am, in fact, sitting on my tuckus.

Reviewing my book would be too kind an assertion as to exactly what [Stallion Cornell] babbled about in his on-line blog.

I’m flattered by the fact that he loosely structures his response around my original review. Where I wrote “to call it a ‘book’ is to be generous, both in terms of quality and quantity,” Languatron responds with the fact that my calling it a review “would be too kind an assertion.” Languatron often attempts to adopt his opponent’s sentence structure as a template for his own missives, but he’s not very skilled at logical responses. Instead, he goes straight for the insults. I deliberately attempted to avoid insulting Languatron ad hominem, yet Languatron seems unable to respond in kind.

Instead of bringing attention to the facts in my book which could quite frankly end careers at NBC-Universal/Sci-Fi Channel, [Stallion Cornell] engaged in naïve attacks on the structure of my book.

The only naiveté here stems from the idea that anyone at Universal could possibly care what Languatron has written. It can hardly be said that I “attacked” his structure, naively or otherwise. My complaint was with the contention that his pamphlet-length diatribe could be labeled a “book.” It’s far too short.

He states that the first three pages are blank, not realizing that two pages in the copy he downloaded (and in a manuscript) is equal to one page in a paperback book. The naivete and obliviousness in remedial paperback book construction being the first strike against [Stallion Cornell].

Strike one, indeed. It seems that every reviewer, to establish credibility, must take a course in Remedial Paperback Book Construction, lest ye fall into obliviousness. Make a note, critics everywhere. (In contrast, sentence fragments, apparently, are now considered good form.)

The third blank page is the other side of where the book begins. This is a grown man reviewing my book? Really?

No. I’m a mutant. I have three stubby arms and I have to stand on my elbows to ride the bus. And someone tell Langy and Sean Hannity that sarcasm and incredulity do not an argument make.

He never addresses the subject of the book,

Except when I do. I talk about the “shadow mechanism” and the conspiracy and the whole ball of wax.

Again, to cite Monty Python again, this is Black Knight-style arguing. “Your arm’s off! – No it isn’t!” How do you argue with someone who pretends that when his limbs are hacked off, it’s only a flesh wound?

instead he attacks my margins (margins?) claiming that the width of my margins is some sinister attempt on my part to draw out the length of my book. OK, where is the ambulance and the straight jacket for this guy?

I made no inference of sinister implications. I simply stated the book was too short to be termed a book. And I would never attack a margin that couldn’t defend itself.

My ambulance and straitjacket are in Cleveland.

Like his employer (NBC-Universal),

Lest we forget!

[Stallion Cornell] dodges, evades, avoids, denies, sweeps under the rug, and arrogantly tries to back his way out of, the truth of my book.

I also cavort, amble, fly under the radar, mince, and callously saunter my way out of the truth that his comma use makes me chuckle.

Yet he chose to somehow comment on my book and try to pass it off as a review. What [Stallion Cornell] calls his personal blog, is a steaming pile of horse [poop].

Hence the smell.

[Stallion Cornell] takes it upon himself to make it his business that I wrote a book about Universal Studios in the first place, despite his eight year long claims that he has nothing to do with Universal Studios politically, emotionally, or in terms of employment.

I like their candles, though.

He decides to review my book, and then he actually doesn’t review it. What he didn’t review he dismisses, just like anything else in life that gets in the way of [Stallion Cornell]’s ego, he dismisses.

I dismiss this.

Reading in between the lines of his blog fart that really wasn’t a review,

Lest we forget!

[Stallion Cornell] is as intimidated and as frightened about what I said about NBC-Universal as he always was.

Undeniably true, which is to say, not at all.

He saw to it that those who read his blog will never get from him what I actually said about NBC-Universal/Sci-Fi Channel.

Except where I quote him at length.

I thank him for indirectly corralling his hoodlum squad into having to purchase the book to find out exactly what I said. As this will only help the sales that I am already happy about.

What about the sales he is unhappy about?

[Stallion Cornell] is like an elderly driver on the road, on the brink of death as he approaches a green light at an intersection.

And with bowel trouble besides!

He didn’t have the energy to review my book, he didn’t have the energy to confront the issues in the book, he just made a half [arse] mention of it on his blog, drowning out what should have been a review, with his adolescent meanderings into how many pages are in my book, the length of my margins, etc.

Notice that Languatron has spent at least three times as much space talking about his margins as I did in my initial review. And it’s the width of the margins that count. The length was just fine.

After eight years o fighting me on the Internet, [Stallion Cornell] is mentally old, tired, washed up, and ever irrelevant to those who don’t have the patience for his ego.

He’s also aged, weary, decrepit, over the hill, and mean to puppies. But he loves Fresca!

[Stallion Cornell] increasingly exists to be his own audience, a 39 year old adolescent in some ways, a 65 year old cantankerous old man in others.

On Tuesdays, he’s a frisky co-ed named Sheila.

What is remarkable about [Stallion Cornell]is his mental inability to review my book in any adult manner.

As opposed to my physical inability? And haven’t we already established that? Am I a grown man? Really?

Drowned out and mesmerized by his own prejudices, bias, and outrageous perceptions of the world,

How is one simultaneously “drowned out” and “mesmerized?” Does it involve acupuncture?

And he forgot about my bigotry, predispositions, foregone conclusions, and blatant assessments of Planet Earth.

[Stallion Cornell]
took what could have been an opportunity in reviewing my book as an objective analysis of what clearly exists within NBC-Universal/Sci-Fi Channel, and turned it into nothing more than the meanderings of a 39 year old teenager on his own personal blog.

Plus bowel jokes.

Languatron’s Book: A Review

It seems that my Internet arch-enemy, the Lex Luthor to my Superman, the Newman to my Seinfeld, the indefatigable, indomitable and incomprehensible Languatron, has written a book: “Universal Studios vs. Battlestar Galactica: How Universal Studios Mismanaged This Property To Utter Oblivion.”

Actually, to call it a “book” is to be generous, both in terms of quality and quantity. It’s less than 30,000 words in total, and while the author boasts of its formidable 100-page length, he achieves triple-digit page numbering by squeezing his margins by an extra inch and leaving the first three pages blank. As for the content, it’s essentially a “Greatest Hits” collection of everything he’s posted on the Internet for the past eight years, which is succinctly summarized by the book’s unwieldy title. The other 29,987 words of the pamphlet are spent repeating the thesis ad nauseum and disparaging anyone and everyone who doesn’t agree with it.

Now there may be a few lost souls reading this who wonder who this Languatron fellow is. The answer is that he’s Andrew Fullen, a short order cook from Chicago who has also written a few other self-published works in his own name. I actually blew the $2.50 necessary to buy one of those, too – “Netherworld,” a collection of short stories, which reads like pedestrian Encyclopedia Brown fan fiction translated verbatim from its original Flemish.

Languatron first appeared on the scene circa 1999 on a few Battlestar Galactica bulletin boards, most notably the official SciFi board devoted to the original series rather than the dismal remake which debuted in 2003. He even had an article posted at BattlestarGalactica.com under his own name, which, sadly, is no longer online.

Yet somewhere around Thanksgiving 2000, Langy began to publicly pray for divine justice to be heaped out on his enemies, calling down fire and brimstone to destroy Sci-Fi channel’s upper management. It was also about this time where he began identifying those who disagreed with him, even innocuously, as lackeys of Universal Studios. It then became impossible to have a discussion with him. He dismissed even those who were sympathetic to his general thesis as corporate shills secretly hired to destroy him.

All of these traits are on display in this book, which bemoans Universal Studios’ role in destroying Battlestar Galactica for inscrutable reasons. According to Languatron, this movie studio has devoted all of its considerable resources not to film and television production, but rather to “hating” the original Galactica TV series, which has been out of production since 1979. Lest you think I exaggerate, I offer this brief excerpt, with my own emphasis added:

Universal Studios is extremely proficient at hating the 1978 Battlestar Galactica series. The very infrastructure of their entire corporation has been built upon this sad fact. They also have infinite satellite components revolving around their corporation to assist them in hating this series. This includes gullible journalists, industry insiders, studio peers, above the line producing personnel, and actors.

Not to mention caterers, gaffers, botanists, bee wranglers, Farsi instructors, lithographers, trumpeters, carnival barkers, liposuctionists, and vending machines.

This strikes me as a ridiculous assertion, as I always assumed “hating” is an activity that does not require corporate governance. Languatron provides no concrete explanation as to how this works, but he does offer a theory. Apparently, George Lucas’ failed lawsuit against Galactica in its initial run forced Universal to create a “shadow mechanism” that would derail any attempt to revive Galactica faithfully.

What is the exact form of this shadow mechanism? How does it work? Well, I must start off by stating that it does indeed exist, is in operation in full force as it always has… It is a mechanism that slowly creeps over the day to day operations of Universal Studios and makes it’s presence known when historically, attempts to revive the 1978 Battlestar Galactica series have reached a certain point. There is a comfort zone where this mechanism will allow revival attempts to chug along. When revival attempts get beyond the comfort zone, that’s when the mechanism moves in and shuts everything down.

The reader searches in vain for an intricate mechanical description of this ruthlessly efficient shadow mechanism, which one assumes is some sort of elaborate Rube Goldberg contraption with lots of gears and pulleys. Sadly, one is left to wonder how Languatron has the confidence to make such brash assertions with absolutely no supporting evidence. “How does it work?” he asks himself, and then answers by saying “it exists,” and that’s answer enough.

All is not lost, however. We do get an elaborate description of a second, more sinister “sister” shadow mechanism:

This brings us to another shadow mechanism that Universal Studios oversees. Sort of the “sister mechanism” to the one that operates within the studio itself. This one exercises mass censorship and control over the Internet of any information which casts Universal Studios and their handling of the 1978 Battlestar Galactica series in a bad light. It’s a shadow mechanism that exercises absolute authority over certain Internet bulletin boards (www.Cylon.org, www.Scifi.com/Galactica, www.Stallioncornell.com/board) and absolute authority over journalists who post on-line articles.

Languatron has an interesting choice of enemies. Of the three boards Languatron cites as exercising Stalinistic control over the entire World Wide Web, two of them are decidedly pro-1978 Galactica and vigorously opposed to the recent remake, which both boards, along with Languatron, refer to as GINO, or Galactica In Name Only. Yet Languatron cannot seem to fathom the possibility that one can loathe GINO and still think Languatron is a jerk.

To read this diatribe is to enter a parallel world where the rules of logic are identical to those in the “Burn the Witch” skit from Monty Python and the Holy Grail. In that film, a group of villagers bring a woman dressed as witch before Sir Bedevere, who then proceeds to lead them through a series of deranged logical syllogisms to determine whether or not the woman is guilty of witchcraft. The logic he employs is as follows:

1. Witches burn. Wood burns. Therefore, witches are made of wood.
2. Wood floats in water. Ducks float in water. Therefore, wood weighs the same as a duck.
3. If the woman weighs the same as a duck, she’s made of wood, and therefore, she’s a witch.

Witness, then, Languatron’s similar reasoning.

1. Universal Studios hates Battlestar Galactica. I, Languatron, love Battlestar Galactica. Therefore, Universal Studios is my enemy.
2. Dozens of people on the Internet are my enemies. Universal Studios is my enemy. Therefore, all of my Internet enemies work for Universal Studios.
3. Everyone I meet on the Internet hates me. Therefore, Universal Studios must be in complete control of the Internet.

And thus we see that Languatron spends all of his time on the Internet burning witches made of wood.

Nothing in this book steps off from the treadmill Lang has been running on for the past decade or so on sundry Internet billboards. The same wild-eyed theories with no evidence are recycled along with a liberal dose of personal invective. (I admit to taking sick pleasure in Languatron’s promise, in his final chapter, to “kick [my] ass to the Moon” if he ever meets me. One struggles to recall Woodward and Bernstein making similar threats to their journalistic subjects.) For the newcomer to the whole Lang experience, there may be some goofy fun in encountering a truly warped perspective for the first time. For me, a battle-hardened Lang veteran, I found the experience tedious. The only relief to be found was in his brazen contempt for the English language, as evidenced by these unvarnished excerpts, along with my editorial comments in brackets:

“Way to go Universal, you dolt!!”

[I think he meant “way to go, Universal Studios, you dolts!!” but his original sentence is open to so many more interpretations. Can a dolt truly go universal?]

“You can get the Toys-R-Us wind up version of Richard Hatch by the way, by sending in three box tops from specially marked boxes of Fruity & Cocoa Pebbles breakfast cereal.”

[One could probably, by the way, go to Toys-R-Us and just buy Richard Hatch in person.]

“The Bermuda Triangle of Death houses the existence of Ronald D. Moore’s GINO series in the most sinister way.”

[It presumably rents the existence of other television shows in semi-serious ways.]

“No form of art is being expressed by Edward James Olmos’s bad acting, and no profound subliminal statement is being uttered. ”

[I choose to believe that uttering subliminal statements is a form of art.]

“Ronald D. Moore is a man, an unremarkable man. Like all other television producers who go through it, Ronald D. Moore has made a television series that flopped.”

[Go through what? Maybe “it” was unremarkable, too.]

“Ronald D. Moore fit’s the bill quite nicely, doesn’t he?”

[“Fit’s?” Meaning what? “Fit is?” Something that belongs to Fit?]

“How is that for an effective cult, huh?”

[Huh?]

You get the idea.

Anyway, the book is available for download here. Languatron is reportedly using the proceeds of his book sales to frequent strip clubs. What he doesn’t know is that we Universal executives have already planted our agents in all of the clubs he frequents.

How’s that for a con’spiracy, huh?