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26 April 2011

Seinfeld VS Stephen King


Ok, let’s get something straight right off the bat: Stephen King is the greatest author alive today. At any point in time, if people writing books coincides with Stephen King being alive, he is automatically better at it than anyone else. This is irrelevant of age or incarnation. Due to the cyclical nature of time, be he five, forty-five, or a porpoise-fern hybrid re-incarnated in an Eco-Soviet lab one-hundred and thirty years from now, the inevitable fact that the slowly spiralling millennia will eventually have him putting pen to paper once again makes him unbeatable. Why his name isn’t an adjective for awesome yet, only the gods – and possibly Stephen King – know.

Those of you who disagree are wrong. I can only imagine that you, A: haven’t read him, B: are illiterate, or C: are an amorphous, bacterial blob slowly circling the crater of an underwater vent, deep in an ocean trench where the crushing weight of the black water severs all chance that the warm touch of the sun’s rays will ever bring any life to the tiny, cold, sputtering spark that may or may not be called your soul.

For those of you who prefer Dean Koontz... well, I guess I should be happy you can read at all.

May I suggest a few more equally scintillating reads?

Seinfeld is none of these things. He is, in fact, awful. While other comedians are out inventing creative scenarios, constructing personalities and making intelligent observations regarding the world around them, Seinfeld is mumbling inane one-liners through an awkward grin that isn’t so much forced as painfully carved into the lower half of his face with a straight razor.

That’s the one 

Perhaps I’m being too hard, but pity isn’t one of my strong points. The guy shuffles around on stage looking like he’s expecting a sniper to put a round through his skull at any second. His expression is that of a man who has just been told by an eighty-year old billionaire at Donald Trump’s annual Christmas bash that he has a pretty mouth*.

So what do these two have in common? Why should they be involved in an epic, no-holds barred fight to the death?

Nothing.

Confused? Try to think of ‘nothing’ as a thing rather than as a... well, a no-thing. Try and consider it as a career, or a rare talent – maybe as some strange, tuberous vegetable that can only be harvested after a weekend drinking fine scotch. It is the absence of that logical justification that so many creative individuals require in order to put pen to paper, somehow distilled and made tangible – an anti-logic, if you will.

“I see you’ve been hitting the good shit.”

Seinfeld accomplished every comedian’s dream – he turned talking about nothing into a career. This man took banality to a whole new level of boring, then used it on the global population like a brass belt buckle, threatening them in a sinister whisper that they better not tell anyone what he did, because he’d get them. And who’d believe them anyway? It’s his word against theirs, and he’s Seinfeld, for fuck’s sake. Now go and put on a turtle neck; the bruises are showing.

“Deep down, I know he loves me. He’s just under a lot of pressure at work.”

He took this particularly cruel form of abuse, televised it and, as any true megalomaniacal sociopath would, gave it his own namesake – ‘Seinfeld’, the show about nothing.

Now, you might say, “Why, Brett, you rakish purveyor of the truth; though your opinions are warranted and your logic irrefutable, how could you possibly relate so ignominious a character as Seinfeld to that creative pillar of humanity, Mr Stephen King? Well, the answer, Dear Reader**, is a simple one. Much like ol’ Jerry, Stephen King just doesn’t give a shit.

“I really don’t.”

I like to think that, when starting a story, King’s mindset is similar to how God’s must have been when creating the platypus; if you can do it, why the hell not?
Though there is a solid logic to the course of his stories, their inceptions can often seem anything from a little obscure to downright, lick-your-own-elbow ridiculous. Throughout the course of his career, King has successfully managed to anthropomorphically vilify wind-up teeth; a wind-up monkey; a pie; several paintings; multiple vehicles; aliens (adult, prepubescent and xeno-sporous); photographs; a scarecrow; a doll; puberty (not that this one was much of a stretch); a whole, fucking hotel; a topiary; plastic, toy soldiers; large clumps of seaweed and... oh god, is there anything he didn’t? Seriously? He monstrified the most lovable dog of all time. He ruined clowns for at least two generations of readers and movie goers. He wrote a story arc for Days of our Lives!

We did, however, learn a lot about his taste in women.

They say that if you locked one hundred monkeys with typewriters in a room for an infinite amount of time, they will reproduce the collected works of Shakespeare. Stephen King is what happens when all those monkey are bopping and jiving on a cocktail of mescaline and chipotle. There isn’t a scenario imaginable that King hasn’t at least experimented with. He stuck a universe inside of a rose, then wrapped one in a painting; he turned a car boot into a portal between universes; he successfully vilified the past; he chucked a whole town under the interstellar equivalent of a jam-jar and locked a kid in his school bathroom with a fucking tiger. Others have been institutionalised for telling less insane stories to people on the street, let alone distributing them in print, internationally.

“We’re very impressed. Now what’s your point?”

There’s a right way and a wrong way to be ridiculous (in my humble and totally correct opinion). If you’re going to make not giving a shit an integral part of your creative process, then you kinda need to give a shit about it. You need to care about not caring. Otherwise, what’s the point?

To finish off, I’m going to leave you with this pearler of a video; the impetus of this ridiculous rant.
Their differences aside, perhaps there is a universe in which these two creative forces can work together, if not in harmony, then at least in some horrific, disjointed miasma of light-hearted terror and soulless laugh tracks.
I like to think that it would feel a little like this.

Hey, a boy can dream, can’t he?





*For the sake of honesty, I must confess that I have never made it through a full Seinfeld set***. But I am confessing it down here, in very small type, in the hopes that no-one reads this and learns any better.
**Yes, I totally borrowed that. It’s called a ‘hommage' in French, or ‘theft’ in court.
*** This does sort of lend itself to my argument.

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