Saturday, May 26, 2007

When I watch Ninja Warrior I secretly wish one of the contestants would break their neck and die OR: Artificial self esteem still feels just as good

Yesterday I was doing the usual thinking about how little I've accomplished in life compared to the greats like Bruce Dickinson and William Shatner. How disappointing it must be for my son to have me as a dad instead of them. By my own standards a utopian society would be one where only Bruce Dickinson, George Lucas and Shatner fathered all the children. But I guess that's not how the universe works and although my kid lost the sperm lottery there's not much I can do about it at this point short of kidnapping Shatner and eating his brain.

To feel better I play Need For Speed Carbon on my PS3 so that I can simulate getting into the most realistic horrible high speed head-on car collisions possible. I drive a silver '67 Camaro in the game and it's so friggin' intense that I occasionally get post traumatic flashbacks of my terrible video game driving in real life. I'll be driving to the mall and all of a sudden I start yelling "DAMN!" and when my wife asks "What's wrong?" I tell her if I'd only have rammed that police roadblock the right way I wouldn't have gotten busted last night. I wrecked my first car at 16 in what was possibly the worst day of my life when I made an illegal left turn and totaled a '79 Camaro that was coming the opposite way. The accidents I get into in NFS Carbon remind me of that. Why would any sane person who has ever driven a car badly in real life want to play this game? Because I guess my happiness is made from the twisted metal wreckage of a thousand broken Camaros.

I turned off the video game and started watching Ninja Warrior, which is depressing if you're in a good mood but totally the opposite if you're pissed off. Because when I think my life sucks nothing makes me feel better than seeing some 75 year old Japanese guy on an obstacle course nearly break his neck in front of all his grandkids in the audience. Ninja Warrior's obstacle course is an impossible challenge in the first place. I'm surprised the honorable Japanese subject themselves to this level of shame and embarrassment. The only way they could make it harder is if they'd shoot each contestant in the leg at the beginning of each stage. The joy I get from seeing each contestant meet their inevitable doom is directly proportional to how inspiring and heartwarming their backgrounds are. Oh what an uplifting experience it was for me when Shinji who works with disabled children did a face plant into 500 gallons of muddy water in front of his crying wife and all his relatives. The moral of Ninja Warrior is that the human spirit is made of FALL DOWN.

After the show I realized that I was feeling better so I figured I must have gone up a couple notches in Maslow's hierarchy of needs, but crashing digital Camaros and hoping people would die in a game show didn't exactly conform to the structure Maslow laid out. I know Maslow never had a Playstation or Ninja Warrior so I was trying to figure out where all my happy came from. Then I figured out Maslow's triangle had to be redrawn for the digital age. The big flaw in Maslow's hierarchy is that it only works if you get off on feeling good about yourself and helping others, which isn't the case in reality unless you're a fuckin' Care Bear. So while I like the triangle idea I think he labeled the boxes wrong. Here then is the only triangle you will ever need-the Macrocranian hierarchy of feeling good about yourself at the expense of humanity:


Heavyarms said...

Thanks for a good laugh. Insightful, funny, a classic post. Ninja Warrior indeed. My son asked me the other day, "Why doesn't anyone ever finish Ninja Warrior, dad?" "Because, son, the Japanese are very insecure about themselves and love nothing better than to watch someone else fail so they can feel good about themselves. If they can make someone fall in a pool of raw sewage at the same time, so much the better." Of course, since he's only six, he ignored me. I miss MXC, aka Most Extreme Challenge, which was Ninja Warrior meets Mystery Science Theater.

What the hell, man? Don't you know that Transformers blogs are only supposed complain about how much the new movie is going to suck?

Evil King Macrocranios said...

I still haven't figured out whether Ninja Warrior is supposed to be uplifting or make you want to kill yourself. I have figured out that Ninja Warrior should be how Japan elects its Prime Minister.

I don't really consider this a TF blog. It's more like a robot poetry site. Sort of. I think I'm at my best when I don't write about Transformers anyways.

Heavyarms said...

For that matter, maybe Ninja Warrior ought to be the way the US elects its President. I don't really HATE George Bush, per se, but I'd like to have a President that could make it across the Bridge of Destiny.

Rob said...

I spent one summer in the mid-1990s babysitting my cousin and we watched reruns of American Gladiators every morning.

I started watching Ninja Warrior in March. I find it funny that so many of the contestants recreate portions of the course in their backyards. How do these people have so much free time?


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Evil King Macrocranios was voted king by the evil peoples of the Kingdom of Macrocrania. They listen to Iron Maiden all day and try to take pictures of ghosts with their webcams.