Friday, October 24, 2008

Really? REALLY?? Yes, really.

Hey, you know what's funny? When someone does something you think is ridiculous or outlandish, and then you go "Really? REALLY?" You know how I know that's funny? Because Chandler used to do it on "Friends." And he was the funny one.

Here's a follow-up question. Do you know when "Friends" came out? 1994. That means that if you are one of the people that at some point today said, "People are losing their homes all over the country, but there's a fundraiser to help Ed McMahon save his five million dollar mansion. I mean...REALLY?" you are making a joke that is at best fourteen years old, and at worst, totally annoying.

Look, I get it. The "really?" thing perfectly captures the 'I'm smart and you're stupid' sense of superiority that we feel towards all other human beings. It says: 'Are you actually doing what you are doing right now, or am I having a terrible, horrible nightmare? Because only the most retarded dumb fuck moron would be, in actuality, doing what you are doing. Please please please tell me I am in another dimension before my head explodes.' And I like that. Because it's true - the shit people try and pull with a straight face baffles me. Por ejemplo, I checked into a hotel in Las Vegas recently, and the clerk said to me (in her robot voice) "Just to let you know, your room IS on the strip side, right above a club, so there's VERY loud music playing until about six in the morning. Okay, I'll just get your keys..." Really?

The problem is, having been co-opted by my generation and thrown willy-nilly at even the mildest aberrations from the norm, the incredulous cry of "really?" has become something you can justifiably say "really?" to. I don't know how it happened. Maybe it was when Weekend Update started that kind-of-funny segment (called "Really?"). Maybe it was when Obama gave his "Yes We Can" speech and cynicism suddenly seemed SO 2006. Or maybe it was always annoying, and I have just recently gotten cooler. was the Obama thing. So in the name of change we can believe in, let's all take a moment to reflect on the fact that an expression we often use to call out absurdity has itself become pretty absurd. And, that yes...really.

Having taken honors physics in 11th grade, I realize this will create an expression vacuum. So in its place, allow me to suggest an alternative. When someone does something ridiculous - something you cannot believe is being done by a member of your own species - just try saying this: 'You are stupid.' It totally works, and they will never see it coming. "Okay, I'll just get your keys..." "You are stupid." "You're right! I'll just switch you to one of our many available non-DJ-booth-sounding rooms!" See?

In short, please, stop with the really. You've had your fun.

I am begging you.

I am Ledgin.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008


The people who own Netflix are smart, and I am stupid - that's what I've realized after three years as a frustrated customer (frustomer).

Last night I watched In the Heat of the Night on Netflix's recommendation. Although they were slightly off on what I'd rate it (4.6?? more like 4.5!), it was a solid suggestion from one of my best friends slash logarithms. This morning, I slid the disc in its sleeve, packaged it up, and headed to the post office. Here's the weird thing: inside, I was full of vengeance and villainous bile. My inner voice was screaming "How do you like THAT, Netflix?! I'm USING YOU! Who's getting screwed NOW?" Me.

How did Netflix manage to convince me that by actually utilizing the service I've paid them for, I am somehow winning? Do I really think that at Netflix headquarters, they're gonna be like: "Fuck. This Ledgin guy sent back another movie! Now he wants "Mad Men: Disc One" by tomorrow...(sigh)...we'll be out of business by morning." I wish. But it probably goes more like this: "..." That's the sound of no one caring, or even knowing I exist. Actually, it probably sounds more like this: "$$$" That's the sound of $19.17 a month coming off my credit card and into their pockets. But that seems like a fair deal for UNLIMITED rentals, right? Wrong you idiot. You forgot that I am lazy and wasteful. During one 11-month stint of not returning DVDs, I actually paid $210.87 to 'lease' three old movies. I totally liked Klute, but it wasn't worth seventy dollars.

Most people I have questioned (Note: I have not questioned anyone) have had a similar experience, forgetting about their membership while the charges kept coming. But that's not Netflix's fault. They've literally made things as easy as possible. YOU DON'T EVEN HAVE TO LICK THE LETTER. The Netflix con is mental, not physical. They make you believe they're pitting you against them, when really it's you against you. Never return your movies? Great, they win. Return all of them every day? Awesome, they still win - and you're pathetic.

So what can I do, go back to Blockbuster? Of course not. I still have their copy of The China Syndrome sitting under my bed from four years ago, and I'm sure they charged me $20 for it. And I'm not doing THEIR mail-in service, because then I'd be saying I was okay with the fact that they screwed me with absurd late fees and crappy retail stores for years, and then when Netflix came around, went "Oh yeah. THAT'S the best/cheapest way to do things. We were kidding about the last two decades." You were not, Blockbuster.

I am stuck with Netflix. Canceling now would be like pulling all my money out of the stock market during the low point of the financial crisis - things just HAVE to turn around at some point, right? Eventually, I HAVE to be able to watch enough movies to make up for those 11 months...RIGHT?

I am confident that the fundamentals of Netflix are strong.

I am a loyal frustomer.

I am Ledgin.