POP HAZMAT HEADLINE DU JOUR: Bear Kills Monkey During Bike Race at Chinese Animal Park posted by Jonathan Kieran

Family "Fun Night" in Shanghai!

Family “Fun Night” in Shanghai!

CULTURAL TOXICITY QUOTIENT: 10 (Emergency. Emergency. Cultural Degeneration of Caligula-Like Proportions. Apocalyptic Alert)

RUDIMENTARY ANALYSIS: We live in a world of increasingly grotesque headlines that are clearly heralding the swift approach of the dreaded Four Horsemen. Face it: no utterly preposterous combination of strange words connected with bizarre people and improbable circumstances can possibly shock any of us in a headline, these days. The state of affairs has gotten so disturbing and warped that I hope world leaders have the good sense to simply roll-out the red carpet for the Apocalyptic Quartet when they arrive, give them an honorary plaque or something, maybe have Randy Gervais crack a few jokes and then just let them do their thing. Get it over with, you know?


One thing is certain, however. The Four Horsemen will be riding actual horses on their Pathway to the Eternal Destruction of Wicked Humanity. Not bicycles. Not like the bear and the two monkeys who were racing on bikes before thousands of mesmerized Chinese spectators in a Shanghai arena. I mean, just how boring does it get in China, anyway? I realize there are an awful lot of people living in very anxious, condensed conditions over there. Folks are bound to want to get out of their glove compartment-sized dwellings and fix their attention upon something —anything— other than another damned person. I get that. I can swing with that “urge”. But sitting in a stadium with thousands of the people you’re already sick of seeing just to watch a bicycle-riding bear chase two frightened monkeys around a track? This defies comprehension, all things considered.

And what were the poor monkeys thinking during this rootin’ tootin’ “Family Night-Out” in Shanghai?

MONKEY NUMBER ONE: “How on earth did we get here? Look at all of those sick bastards in the stands, laughing at us and eating their street noodles with lamb. Ha! They don’t even realize it’s rat meat. What the hell have they got to smile about?”

MONKEY NUMBER TWO: “I know! And we’re the ones going in pointless circles on bicycles? This ain’t right. For crying out loud, my little legs can barely reach the pedals and my tail almost got caught in the spokes when we made that last turn.”

MONKEY NUMBER ONE: “Why are the words ‘Mulberry Bush’ playing on loop in my head? Can you answer me that? What the hell is a mulberry bush?”

MONKEY NUMBER TWO: “Damned if I know. I only agreed to get on this stupid contraption in exchange for a measly banana. My family lived in trees, not bushes. Wait a second … Hold on. I just looked behind us. Is that … is that … Oh my God, is that a freakin’ BEAR chasing us?”

MONKEY NUMBER ONE: “Holy SHIT! It is a bear! And Look! They gave him one of those spec’ed-out Lance Armstrong bikes to ride! It’s got gear-shifts and everything! I can see a Tour de France decal on the handlebars!”

MONKEY NUMBER TWO: “Oh no! My bike’s got a sticker that says ‘Made in Taiwan’! We’re toast! Peddle faster, peddle faster! The grizzly’s gaining.”

MONKEY NUMBER ONE: “This is a set-up!”


MONKEY NUMBER ONE: “Damn the human race! Damn them all! Oh, why couldn’t I have been born a koala?”

EXISTENTIAL RAMIFICATIONS: The galling existential irony of it all is that this form of entertainment is vastly more wholesome and sensible than all the episodes of Keeping Up with the Kardashians combined. The Chinese have nothing on Americans in that sad regard. That said, don’t be surprised when Mama Kris Kardashian stages a pay-per-view event wherein the pregnant Kim Kardashian is placed on a tricycle in some old abandoned ice-skating rink in Topanga and chased by the hairy Sasquatch-looking daughter and maybe one of the little Jenner trollops-in-training. Kim will fall off her tricycle and, just as Bigfoot Kardashian is about to sink her fangs into greasy Armenian sister-flesh, Kim will squeal, promptly expel the AntiChrist from her womb and the entire universe will be sucked into a vortex of annihilation. I’m pretty sure that’s how it’s all supposed to go down, according to the Bible. Blame China.

TAKE-AWAY QUOTE: “Workers are seen trying to separate the pair as another monkey looks on.” (That pretty much says it all, doesn’t it? Even the other damn monkey hung around to get an eyeful of this mess.)

THERAPEUTIC CINEMA: Gorillas in the Mist

MUSICAL REHAB: Shock the Monkey by Peter Gabriel


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