In Defense Of Corniness
1:52 PM EDT on October 22, 2020
Drew Magary’s Thursday Afternoon NFL Dick Joke Jamboroo runs every Thursday at Defector during the NFL season. Got something you wanna contribute? Email the Roo. Buy Drew’s new novel, “Point B,” here.
The Struts put out a new album on Friday night. I love this album because I’m an unabashed fan of The Struts and I don’t have much interest in being impartial about them. The band and I, we go way back. I wrote the liner notes for their second album. My wife and kids met them backstage after a concert. I once had beers with them in their tour bus. The Struts are my FRIENDS. More important, they rock my nuts off.
That’s a new song they did featuring Joe Elliott and Phil Collen of Def Leppard, which—not by coincidence—was one of my favorite bands as a kid. Sometimes you stumble on a band that makes you feel like they wrote their songs specifically to please you and you alone. For me, The Struts are one of those bands.
HOWEVER, they may not be everyone’s cup of tea. For example, the first time I swooned over The Struts when I was writing for Deadspin, a friend tried to guide me toward The 1975 instead, because she told me, “They are legitimately good and not corny, like the Struts.”
Now I’m fine with The 1975, and I get that retro glam rock is now boomer shit. I’m not here to do a drive-by on my friend, although she’ll yell at me anyway for it. But calling The Struts “corny” as an insult—and they’re not even cornier than The fucking 1975, man—misses the point entirely. I WANT THE CORN. Give me all that fucking corn. Line up a rail of kernels so I can snort them up my nose and get all that corny goodness into my septum.
Because it’s 2020 and I’m out of irony. Everyone is half-joking about everything and it’s driving me out of my fucking mind. All I want is people who mean what they say, even if what they say is bad or annoying or, yes, corny. “Corny” is an epithet that I’ve tossed around because corny people are, if you take the word to heart, tiresome, simple and unoriginal.
THAT’S EXACTLY WHAT I WANT. I am sick and tired of trying to be above corniness. You know who was corny? Freddie Mercury. Don’t agree with me? Listen to this song and you very much will. Freddie Mercury was the most gloriously corny motherfucker to walk this earth, and no one has ever held it against him. A movie about Freddie, directed by a fucking accused child rapist, made over a billion dollars in 2018, when rock as a whole had already been relegated to the corn bin by virtually everyone younger than me. That’s how eternally cool Freddie’s corn was.
I’m a 44-year-old father of three. I’m gonna be a corny fellow whether I like it or not. I like shitty puns. I like cracking the same dad joke over and over again in opportune moments. I like watching old movies because the word “gritty” had yet to enter Hollywood pitch meetings back then. Since roughly 1999, everything in pop culture has come with fucking air quotes around it. When you watch any Marvel movie, you’re treated to endless Whedonisms, where the characters have to offer a running commentary ON the plot as it’s unfolding (“See, this is the part where you get all mad, because you’re The Hulk”). Because if you just had the plot move on without it simultaneously functioning as a comment on a comment on a comment, well then you might make your work of art—and therefore yourself—vulnerable. Much easier to pre-criticize your own art IN the art, while it’s happening, as a defense mechanism. That way, you can’t be tagged as fucking corny. You’re too removed from your own shit to get that label thrown at you.
I’ve been online for too long now, which means that I’ve similarly shielded myself in layer after layer of protective irony. Just writing that last sentence is its own little form of troll defense. But it gets so tiring keeping your guard up this way. I’m suffocating myself by sealing my takes behind a bunch of novelty storm doors. I crave unabashed sincerity, which is why I love The Struts. And teenage love stories. And my son’s bad jokes (“What did the buffalo say to his kid? Bison”). And going on boat rides. And listening to Phil Collins-era Genesis when I’m playing PS4 golf. And Vegas magic shows. And going to the mall! I miss the SHIT out of going to malls and just wandering around for no reason. I love all that trite, CORNY shit. I ain’t above it and I don’t wanna be. Corny people are living their best, corniest lives. And I’m gonna be one of them. I’ve got the cargo pants to pull it off.
All games in the Jamboroo are evaluated for sheer watchability on a scale of 1 to 5 Throwgasms.
Steelers at Titans: Well, these two teams are just fucking despicable. I wish nothing but horrible things upon both of them. Neither of them deserve to live… literally in the case of the Titans. Do the Titans deliberately cough at the line of scrimmage to freak out their opponents? I have no proof they do but the answer is yes. They can all die. Except for Derrick Henry, because he’s the best football player in the world.
Meanwhile, Big Ben is thriving at 67 years old and it’s nauseating. I hope HE dies, too. And soon.
Bears at Rams
Bucs at Raiders: Just like his old man, Antoine Winfield Jr. is a badass tackler. Let’s watch him ply his craft, shall we?
Good tackling in the secondary is some supremely vital shit. Yeah, they have to cover back there. That’s the obvious priority. But if everyone in the secondary, especially the corners (Winfield the Elder was a corner; his kid is a safety), can tackle well? You prevent an extra 50–100 yards of offense every game that way. If I were a football coach (and starting Saturday… I’m gonna be one for my kid’s flag football team), I would have the corners and safeties spend seven hours a day beating the shit out of a tackling sled. Deion was good enough to make business decisions out there, but he’s an ancient conman now. Shutdown corners barely exist anymore. So it behooves you to find corners and safeties who, at the very least, NEVER miss a tackle. And Little Winfield never does.
Packers at Texans: Romeo Crennel went for two at the end of the game last week so that the Texans would have a nine-point lead that the Titans couldn’t possibly overcome, given the time left on the clock. That conversion failed and you know what happened next.
A week earlier, Mike Zimmer went for it on fourth and inches at the end of the game against the Seahawks because he also wanted a two-score lead at the very end (had the Vikings merely kicked a field goal instead, their lead would have been eight). I was fine with Zimmer going for it, even after it failed and even though I think Zimmer needs to retire. The Vikings were destined to give up a touchdown drive to Russell Wilson on the following possession no matter what. It’s Russell Wilson. The only way to beat Russell Wilson is to deny him any opportunity to beat you. I venerate coaches who seize the chance to win when it’s presented to them. I even imagine myself as a coach talking about it in the postgame. I didn’t think Crennel was doing the right thing at the time, but I can be talked out of that take with little effort.
All that said, I wanna say these strategic permutations make the NFL more fun to watch… but they don’t. I’d like to stop being tortured by all this shit. Outlaw the PAT, outlaw punts from inside the opponent’s 45 (no taking intentional penalties to move your offense back and skirt the rule, Mike McCarthy), and outlaw field goals kicked in the red zone (same deal with intentional penalties). There. The decision has been made for every coach and fan. Now I can sit back and watch bad teams tragically fail to seize one golden opportunity after another, all by coercion. Fun shit!
Panthers at Saints: The league’s rona propaganda arm now works on a loose regimen. Right around midweek, you get news that X number of players/coaches/beer vendors for X team tested positive and that their facility may have to go into lockdown. And then, when just a few days have passed—never the full two-week hard quarantine length—Adam Schefter comes out of Roger’s asshole, sees his shadow, and then cries out THE GAME IS ON!!!!!
The NFL has sorted out a way to make its virus protocol a hype machine. Every week a team might not play and then a passel of access merchants cry out IT’S A MIRACLE! THERE WILL STILL BE FOOTBALL! so that you can feel grateful. Makes me wanna barf.
Seahawks at Cardinals
Niners at Patriots
Jaguars at Chargers: All the games are in their normal time slots this weekend (for now), which I can’t have. Thanks to schedule fuckery, I got a taste of NFL games taking place on weekdays during dad hours, and I want more. I know every sports fan out there has been like, “My body cannot compute all these weirdly scheduled games!” You know what MY body can’t compute? Any game in any sport that starts after 9 p.m. ET.
So gimme ALL the daytime sports. Put the NFL on a Tuesday afternoon. Create four EXTRA golf majors and air them through every winter. Put the NBA Finals on in January. I don’t give a shit. Let sports get weird. I’m open to anything so long as it respects my beauty sleep.
Chiefs at Broncos
Browns at Bengals
Giants at Eagles: I have never watched The Masked Singer and never will, but the ads alone are making me angry. Every commercial break, I gotta see some sweaty celeb dancing around in a dimestore acid trip costume while Jenny McCarthy goes bugeyed and is like NO VACCINE WILL CURE MY SHOCK THAT IT’S LEONARD NIMOY I’M LOOKING AT RIGHT NOW! Whatever that show is, it’s evil. I don’t trust it. Napalm the studio.
Cowboys at WFT: For my wife’s birthday, I got her a print subscription to the Washington Post, because she had been meaning to get one and never had. Very rare when I’m presented with a chance to get my wife something she ACTUALLY wants, so I ponied up. I am now a newspaper dad. Feels odd. Subscribing to a print newspaper means basically giving yourself an extra chore every morning. I walk downstairs after waking up and I go, “Shit, someone left a plastic bag with some garbage inside on the front walk.” Then I must go get that garbage. A tradition unlike any other.
Lions at Falcons
Bills at Jets
Pregame Song That Makes Me Wanna Run Through A Goddamn Brick Wall
“Acid Fuzz,” by Toxic Holocaust! As opposed to a nontoxic holocaust, this holocaust KILLS… with tasty riffs! Listen to reader Jason:
This song hits fifth gear in like two seconds and never lets up. The bonus is, if you can survive the video without having a seizure, then you know watching three-and-a-half hours of Jets-Dolphins football is a walk in the park.
I do recommend the video. Look at this monster that has, like, three jaws! That’s three times the jaw of a normal monster! I like it when animators ingest MANY DANGEROUS DRUGS in order to make cool shit for me to watch. That’s the ultimate generosity.
Gregg Easterbrook Memorial Haughty Dipshit Of The Week
Everyone defending the Zoom dick guy! Let’s check in on German Lopez and David Roberts of Vox!
FANTASTIC. And let’s check in with Conor Friedersdorf of The Atlantic!
So true. Last time I whipped my dick out and started milking my hog on a conference call, everyone on the other end was like, “CURSE YOU PANDEMIC! Can’t you see how you’ve tag-teamed with our crazy modern technological doodads to make things SO HARD on this poor man?”
By law, everything awful that happens now must have a prominent online defender, even when the awful thing is as simple as “known law pervert disgraces himself in front of horrified colleagues.” Join me next week when these three fartsniffers take up the cause of denouncing clean water.
Magic Johnson’s Lock Of The Week: Niners (+2.5) at Patriots
“Election Day is November 3rd! Had a lovely steak sandwich the other day with my dear friend Bob Applesauce! Bob owns a chain of hot dog stands in Inglewood, and get this: Every wiener he buys comes direct from Germany! You don’t pay any mark-up for it because he makes his employees pay all the shipping fees! NOW I CALL THAT BUSINESS MODEL BUN IN A MILLION!”
2020 Magic record: 2-3
Bad Local Commercial Of The Week!
Action Plumbing! From Luke:
Any time I watch local television, I’m subjected to this guy’s atrocious commercials. Please make it stop.
Those are some special effects right there, Action Man. I haven’t seen effects like that since The Cars won a VMA for “You Might Think.” Such seamless craftsmanship. I really DID think that guy was invading a toilet!
Fire This Asshole!
Is there anything more exciting than a coach losing his job? All year long, we’ll keep track of which coaches will almost certainly get fired at year’s end or sooner. And now, your potential 2020 chopping block:
(* - potential midseason firing)
Adam Gase is still alive. It vexes me. I’m terribly vexed.
Great Moments In Poop History
Reader Nick sends in this tale I call ANUS STOUT.
Back in college, the final Friday of Spring semester was “Reading Day.” It was a day without classes that was apparently supposed to be used for studying. They might as well just call it “Drinking Day,” because that’s all that really went on. One particular tradition for those of legal drinking age was to hit up a popular campus bar the night before and sample a pint of each of the 10 beers they have on tap. For many of us cheap college students accustomed to domestic light beer, this was our first experience with Guinness and its effects on the bowels. For me, the combination of 10 different beers, mixed with cheap bar food and plenty of pre-drinking, led to a less-than-ideal morning.
I wake up having to take the worst beer shit ever. I stumble out of bed and make my way to the bathroom, where I quickly and sit on the throne and unleash a flurry of turds. Within seconds, the smell of my poop, mixed with a night full of heavy drinking, begins to take its toll and I get the sudden urge to puke. I’m still mid-shit at this time, but my instincts take over, and I immediately fall to my knees, turn around, and begin puking in the shit-filled toilet. Why I didn’t think to flush the toilet first is beyond me. To this day I can still smell the vomit/poo concoction that was in that toilet and splashing on my face as I kneeled there defenseless, with my pants around my ankles.
Well that’s just great hustle. Also, I remember the old “beer then liquor never sicker” adage back in college. It was never true. The only thing that was true was that if I mixed a lot of ANYTHING, regardless of alcohol genre or ingestion sequence, I was in for a night of many sacrifices to the porcelain. Ten different beers would have shredded my innards. Natty Light exists for a reason.
Gametime Snack Of The Week
Nutter Butters! There aren’t enough things with Nutter Butters in them: crushed Nutter Butters at the froyo stand, Nutter Butter cakes, Nutter Butter candy bars, Nutter Butter piñatas, Nutter Butter tour merchandise, etc. Oreo stole the shine from every other sandwich cookie, but surely there’s room for poor Nutter Butters to have some of that shine. I’m not asking for a lot. I would just like Nutter Butter pudding in my life in some form.
Gametime Cheap Beer Of The Week
Kopparbergs Special Brew Super X-Strong 10%! Are YOU ready to shit and barf and the same time? Reader Brian’s got you covered:
In Sweden they prioritize alcohol percentage over anything else in a beer, to the point where ABV is usually proudly displayed on the can. Kopparberg Special Brew is straight jet fuel, and it's named after a mine. I guess if you don't go blind from lead poisoning down in the hole, this monstrosity would do the trick. Extra points for the NASCAR font and "Super X-Strong," because the regular X-Strong version is a mere 7.5%. Last time I drank this shit, we had a barbecue in three feet of snow and I went sledding with two garbage bags taped together.
That sounds like a good day. Now I want it to snow.
Jim Tomsula’s Lifehack Of The Week!
“Man, I got piles down there big as churches. Ever lance one of those things? Well, I learned the hard way that you shouldn’t do it yourself. You can’t see your own tush, so you just end up lancing everywhere BUT the pile. I couldn’t do my business right for a full month after I tried it on my own. Thankfully I found a guy. This guy, Doctor Butt… he’s not real doctor, okay? But he knows the butt. You hand that man a dollar and a safety pin, he’ll find those piles as sure as the sun comes up in the morning. Never been so happy to shit pus.”
Sunday Afternoon Movie Of The Week For Jets Fans
Molly’s Game, which is on Netflix and which I deeply enjoyed despite the fact that the dreaded Aaron Sorkin wrote and directed it. In my experience, Sorkin’s batting average for movies is way, way higher than his batting average for TV. The American President was a piece of shit, but this movie, A Few Good Men, Malice, The Social Network, and Moneyball aren’t. Also this movie has Jessica Chastain owning everyone else on screen and looking shit hot while she’s doing it. Everyone wins.
Gratuitous Simpsons Quote
“And now my daughter Jessica, who has just returned from boarding school, will read the same passage I just read. I noticed a few of you weren't paying attention.”
Enjoy the games, everyone.