One of the mileposts in the development of the modern civilization we know and love was the death of irony. This occurred when those folks whose lives were devoted to ascending the stairway of self-reference began pulling up the lower steps and placing them at the top. Pretty soon, no-one could remember the last time any of them said anything original or funny.
Science to the rescue! Boldly going where no man thought it worth going before, dedicated geeks at the Academy of Natural Sciences have been conducting sophisticated live experiments in irony control over the last year, involving largely uninvited audiences of hipsters, nerds and general social flotsam. The subject in every case is a movie that purports to be about science gone wrong but whose dim-bulb writers and producers would be unable to tell if they accidentally portrayed a scientific fact accurately. Happily, audiences so far have endured the entire length of Mega-Shark vs. Giant Octopus, Mega-Piranha, Mega-Shark vs. Crocosaurus and Mega-Python vs. Gatoroid without once glimpsing any truth more profound than that Tiffany should get a stronger bra.
Irony being dead, however, the eminent scientist at the helm of the experiment felt that some safeguards were necessary against accidental comprehension. Professor Jill Sybesma therefore hired the two best-qualified Academy personnel to monitor the collective psyche of the audience, assuming it had one, and to apply corrective commentary whenever it seemed as though an unintended learning experience might be about to happen.
I [pictured, above right] thus have the faint but detectable honor of sharing the stage at Mega-Bad Movie Night with Captain Jason Poole, the Talking Dust Bunny. Between us, we keep a firm hand on the proceedings and on each other, though not the same hand. Basically, he provides balance and I provide tone. The audience is composed of the dim, drunk yahoos who infest Philadelphia’s happening scene and whose elaborate tattoos and randomly distorted fashion sense make things so dismaying nowadays for sensible older folks who really are quite interesting when you get to know them.
The next session takes place on October 27. The subject is Eight Legged Freaks a seminal piece of searing social commentary on the theme of giant mutant spiders, starring David Arquette, Doug E. Doug and, wait for it, Scarlett Johansson. The Academy will be conditioning the audience beforehand with alcoholic beverages and large, live spiders from its renowned icky bug collections, plus an exclusive private viewing of the new and unspeakably gross “Bugs Outside the Box” exhibit. Attendees are encouraged to come in costume, it being Halloween and all, and fabulous prizes will be awarded for as-yet undetermined reasons. A spider theme is appropriate, clearly, but no-one dressed as Bumblebee Man will be turned away.
Check back later today for a contest to win a pair of tickets to attend next Thursday’s Mega-Bad Movie Night.
Author: Paul Callomon
Paul Callomon is Collections Manager in Malacology, Invertebrate Paleontology and General Invertebrates at the Academy of Natural Sciences.