Digital Slob

Curt Brandao

Sunday, November 2, 2003

The difference
between Slobs
and Spuds

It's easy to understand why many Respectable People can't tell the difference between Digital Slobs and our slightly more sedentary cousins, Couch Potatoes.

We both love TV. We both shamelessly flaunt our alternative proportions in public. We both can't be trusted with our own welfare during power outages.

But while our near-identical plumage might even stump sociologists with trust-fund levels of free time (OK, that's probably all sociologists), there is one subtle difference that separates Slobs from Spuds: Digital Slobs become migratory during blockbuster movie seasons.

Oh, sure, we both have the same remotes with the numbers rubbed off, the same gastrointestinal systems timed to commercial breaks like an atomic clock, and the same couches with contoured sweet spots that are rivaled only by an uncle's 25-year-old softball mitt.

But when Hollywood makes its clarion call for an "event movie," it is we Digital Slobs who will rise to the challenge, licking the Chee-tos dust off our fingers and lead-footing it to the nearest multiplex before the popcorn gets stale (they make it fresh daily, right?).

And after lying dormant the last two months (Gene Hackman movies have a lock on September and October), our instincts will kick in again just hours from now, when "The Matrix: Revolutions" arrives. In a new twist, the flick is ignoring time zones, opening Wednesday at the exact same moment worldwide (6 a.m. in Los Angeles, 9 a.m. in New York, 11 p.m. in Tokyo and it will be shown in reverse on ships headed east across the International Date Line).

This PR gimmick might lead to strange early-out-of-bedfellows, as the nation's highways clog up with drowsy, pasty rush-hour rookies, many of whom haven't seen the light of day since 3rd period gym class in 1989.

Commuters might factor in extra drive time to allow for fender-benders with "Matrix" faithful in full-length black leather jackets who'll no doubt be distracted chugging down double lattes in the hopes they'll stay frosty from the previews to the end credits.

But whether we hit you or not, hit the road we must, because "Revolutions" is the end of a trilogy, and though our bed linens might lead you to think otherwise, Slobs can't abide loose ends. Between "The Matrix," "Lord of the Rings," "Kill Bill," and the Kobe Bryant rape trial, our brains have almost seized up putting plot lines on hold, and something's got to give.

This is not to say we are mentally deficient. Many Slobs have brains like sponges -- but often they're more like those tiny, single-use sponges that come in packs of 20. This makes us yearn for closure in all things.

Regardless of how we feel about Arnold Schwarzenegger, for example, Slobs are glad the California recall election is apparently over (thoughI don't think we should assume anything until the South Florida precincts report in).

So, as we Slobs relentlessly try to clear up the bulk of our entertainment agenda's "old business" before Christmas, our Spud cousins will be content to continue self-medicating through their household remotes, reaping low-dose giggles from "The King of Queens," and "Becker."

Who's to say which hard-wired path is better? Perhaps I'll usher in the New Year with a pocket filled with movie stubs and a soul filled with regret. Or, perhaps I'll remember the immortal words of Morpheus: "No, what happened, happened and couldn't have happened any other way."

I can't wait to throw away that sponge.

See the Columnists section for some past articles.

Curt Brandao is the Star-Bulletin's production editor. Reach him at:


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