I used to have a next door neighbor, whose two favorite things were the band Kiss and Disneyland, which I always found odd because when I think of the two, the only thing that comes to mind is overt capitalism at its worst. Both entities seem to me to be all about fleecing you out of every single dollar at your disposal until you are dead broke in the streets.
VH1 recently had a 24 hour Kiss retrospective, which despite providing their fans with 24 hours of Kiss footage, also was nothing but a huge 24 hour commercial for some new box of crap that Gene Simmons was trying to sell now that the caskets aren’t moving.
The Kiss footage played on about half of the screen. The left third of the screen was a commercial letting you know that if you purchased the box of crap that you would be able to run a personal message to Kiss that would scroll by for two seconds on the bottom third of the screen. Knowing Gene’s ego, he probably actually did watch all 24 hours of this mara-commercial, his penis hard as a rock for all 24 hours of it. Usually, when this happens to a man of Gene’s age it is called priapism and means that you need to immediately see a doctor, but in Gene’s case it was copasetic, because we all know that Gene enjoys selling stuff way more than he enjoyed sleeping with the thousands of women that he claims to have bedded.
You can even almost imagine that Gene never really had any real desire to sleep with even one of his paramours, but that he figured that if he put in a thousand or so nights of hard work that it would someday help him sell more Kiss paraphernalia.
Gene’s only saving grace is that he pretty much admits all of this. Gene Simmons is probably the only guy in history other than Don Kirshner that thought the Monkees struggle to express themselves as real musicians was artistically insulting to the people that were shaping their image. Gene would have slapped Mike Nesmith silly. “They are letting you go around and act like a rock star without putting any work into it and you are complaining? You whiny little, thankless bastard!”
Gene is essentially Colonel Sanders in an even more garish suit. Ask Gene about his musical contributions to the world and whether they are appreciated and Gene will gladly repeat the line that’s been playing on VH1 for weeks. It’s something about moving a billion dollars worth of crap and not having to care what anyone else thinks.
See, I understand Gene. I just didn’t understand my neighbor, his toys, his lunch boxes, or his vinyl picture discs.
And yet, at least Kiss has always tried to provide their fans with something of a good time. A great man once sang, “I wish I were like you/easily amused.”
The Disneyland thing still makes no sense to me. I introduced my neighbor to a couple that I was friends with who also lived in our gated community, and it turned out that they were worshipers of Disneyland, too. It eventually made hanging with the three of them almost unbearable.
They would be fawning over matchbooks from Disneyland from the early sixties, or watching videotapes of what Disneyland used to look like 40 years ago, or the different evolution of like the sawmill ride through the years. It was maddening.
I would beg them to pick a different subject to talk about over dinner, and they would tell me that all I ever wanted to talk about was pop culture. This may have been true, but pop culture is a little bigger universe than Disneyland, isn’t it? Movies, music, television, radio, comic books; I would have even gladly talked about Charles Manson or serial killers and that stuff spooks me out. Just no more 20 minute conversations about the fourth parking lot they put in during the late 70’s.
One day I called them Disneyland fags, and I felt really bad about it, because that’s an offensive term toward gays, whom I have zero problem with. What I was really looking for was a term that meant people that were way too into Walt Disney’s efforts to turn the world into a theme park that we would all have to pay him to get into.
I don’t think they ever forgave me. So, I want to take this time again to say I’m sorry. I would gladly have discussed the differences between Goofy and Pluto. I was willing to try to figure out why Donald Duck had no other relatives besides a rich uncle and three triplet nephews. I would have loved to sit back and watch Fantasia and try to decide whether it was genius or shit, but they never put on any of those videos.
Please forgive me, but I lack the ability to watch a video of crewmen building the Country Bear Jamboree in real time, but I want them to know that I love and miss all of three of them, just not together and discussing Disneyland.