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A Copywriter’s Blog
The Inspirational Post Ben Levy 30, August

I am constantly amazed by people who do things (PWDTs). I want very badly to do things. I have ideas. Tons of them. In fact, each week there are several of them that I like so much I promise myself I will actually create them. Then I just. Dont. Act on them.

R. Stevens, creator of the 8-bit comic Diesel Sweeties and person who clearly does things, summed it up this way:

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I have several friends who qualify as PWDTs. People who act on- if not all- then at least some of their ideas. It’s amazing and inspiring to be around them because they serve as a constant reminder that the only thing that holds us back is ourselves. Case in point: next to my keyboard as I type this is a comic script. It’s got notes and edits all over it. It isn’t mine- it belongs to a friend. He sent me the first draft to proofread (I was/am honored). It is a compelling read and I can’t wait to see the art he creates for it. It’s going to become a reality. I will one day hold it.

And while I type this, I listen to A Still Motion, a CD composed, performed, and produced by this guy. We’re semi-related (sister-in-law’s husband) but that’s not why I post it. I post it because to compose, perform, and produce something is an amount of effort magnitudes beyond anything I can imagine doing on my own. Like it or loathe it, I defy anyone to tell me it isn’t the work of a professional. He wanted to do something. He did it. I am impressed.

I don’t think there’s a secret to these people. I’m sure, if you asked them, they would be just as frustrated as I am by the number of things they haven’t done yet. Or maybe not. Regardless, the PWDTs that I know are the ones who constantly look for opportunities. I once read a quote that went something like this: “I’ve found that what most people call luck is actually the product of an individual prepared to embrace opportunity.” Less fancy version: Work towards your goals, and when your chance comes, you’ll be ready for it.

I know there are more PWDTs out there. I’d love to see what you’re doing/have done in the comments. That kind of initiative deserves to be shared. As for myself, even if I were doing things (and I’m not saying I am) I sure as hell wouldn’t post them on here. I’ve found no surer way to keep something from happening then to mention it on my blog.

But there’s nothing to stop you guys from inspiring me, my mom, and the one other person who reads this crap.

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Watch this all the way through. And remember, mental diseases are never funny. Except when they are.

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Of Flights and Fat- Part 2 Ben Levy 27, August

Greetings and salutations, brave reader, and welcome to part two- Of Flights and Fat! If you can stomach the horror, you should read part one first.

When we’d left our doomed hero (me) I was utterly trapped between a scrawny girl who applied so much makeup a clown would have been shocked, and a woman who sat very much like a rhino.

That is to say dark, huge, and quietly menacing.

You can read about what happened before we even took off here. But this concerns what happened once we (amazingly to my mind) got into the air. You know the miracle of flight? I always saw it as more of a “wish”. It only became a miracle once we achieved altitude while hauling Tubby and the amazing Lardos.

You might remember that I mentioned a small child. I truly believed, upon first seeing it, that the child was intended as a snack. Up until now, it had been passed from one family member to another on the other side of the plane. Now? Now it was grandma’s turn.

The woman rested there, in much the same way the continents do on the surface of our planet, and proceeded to bounce the child up and down on her tremendous tissue-engorged bosom. I felt slightly nauseous, but that could have been the living doll next to me applying more rouge. I had nowhere to run. Clouds of blush to the left of me, babies and arm fat to the right. There I was, stuck in the middle with rage.

As angry as I was- both at this woman and at every pizza she’d ever eaten over the course of her life- it would take a complete asshole to say anything. Objectively, it’s a grandmother playing with her grandson. Realistically, it’s a walrus bouncing a harp seal on it’s blubber. And as you should be able to tell by now, I’m not a complete asshole. I’m a complete, passive-aggressive, asshole.

So I did the only thing I could. I resonated hate.

Humans have been able to resonate since the beginning of time. It’s a total embodiment of a single feeling, projected outward to those around you. It’s partly body language, partly pheromones, and partly psychic resonance. Many of us have forgotten how to do it, but it’s instinctual. Look at any mother with a newborn, and you see her resonate love. A father watching his son play sports, and you feel his pride.

Anger is the easiest thing to resonate of course, because people are wired to recognize it. It’s a self-preservation thing. If you attempt to embody love, the object of your affections may still miss it. Particularly if she’s watching sex and the city. But anger? Shit, your houseplants will figure that out. No problem.

And so I began to resonate scathing, rolling waves of negativity. Annoyance, disgust, and outright anger. I wasn’t doing anything besides sitting in a chair with my arms folded, but the call went out all the same. You know how Aquaman talked to fish? It was like that, only I was screaming at every human being at 30,000 feet in impotent rage. It wouldn’t surprise me in the least if the pilot and co-pilot turned to each other in the front of the plane, exchanged a glance, and said “Shit. Someone’s PISSED”.

It took about an hour. It’s possible that blubber is a natural insulator against psychic emanations. Maybe there was interference with the electronic instruments in the cockpit. Maybe the fact that I got a bag of peanuts distracted me for .5 seconds and I had to start over. Regardless, after one hour, three minutes, and 12 seconds, it was done. The behemoth passed back the child, swung the crane into place to heave her ponderous bulk out of the seat.

And lest you think this was going to happen anyway, that the bending of my entire will toward a single goal merely coincided with this event, I tell you this: As her son settled down next to me, a petite 250 lbs, he turned to me with an apologetic expression and said “sorry about that.”.

I breathed my first breathe of fresh air in over an hour, and seriously contemplated how long it would take me to walk back to New York once I canceled my return flight.

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Of Flights and Fat Ben Levy 25, August

I have traveled. And thus, I have a story. Oh, the story I have.

I had the middle seat in the row. The girl to my right had the window. She weighed 90 pounds max, but she was currently attempting to apply every product in the Revlon line to her face at once, and the cloud of sickening sweet powder produced a miasma best described as “choking”. I tried to breathe through my sleeve.

Despite the constant disembodied voice warning of a completely full flight, the aisle seat next to me was vacant. So were the seats across the aisle. A thrill of terror/glee went through me- perhaps I’d escaped the middle seat after all? Everyone had already sat down. Had I made it?

That last paragraph is what we call foreshadowing, kids. Of course I didn’t.

Their tickets claimed there were only five of them, but their weight equaled at least a dozen. As they cam closer, I could see that each was bigger than the last. Four massive family members, at least 200 lbs apiece. They carried a baby too small to have a seat of it’s own. And then there was grandma. The woman looked as though she had eaten one of her abnormally large kin for breakfast that morning.

I had a 80% chance, but it was no chance at all. “No” I whispered mentally “There’s no way. The odds are in my favor. No no no no no no-” Grandma reached the row and turned toward me. “-yes.”

And she sat.

Lest you think I exaggerate- this woman was so obese, she had to ask for an extension to her seat belt. Not that she did so initially. First, she dug beneath an ass the size of a continent, breathing heavily, until she found the buckle. Then she tried to jerk it up and over her stomach. Not even close. At this point, I imagine most people would have the good graces to feel slightly embarrassed by themselves. Not this lady. She continued to yank it, not in confusion, not in frustration, but in utter confidence. She didn’t seem to think anything out of the ordinary was occurring. I’m sure if she’d looked up she would have been baffled to see that no one else was engaged in a similar contest.

Eventually she called for the extension. Then, having utterly failed to grasp the concept of her own enormity, reached for the seatback tray. “Oh, come on,” went my inner dialogue “there’s no way she can possibly think-” She lowered it. About a quarter inch.

A quarter inch was all the room not taken up by my neighbor or the seat in front of her. So of course the tray didn’t lie flat. Again, I waited for a decent amount of shame. Perhaps a furtive glance, and a hurried motion to return the tray table to it’s locked and upright position.

Shame, evidently, is for smaller folk.

Just like with the seatbelt, Grandma the Hut sat there and tried to “fix” it. She pulled it toward her a bit. Still no go. She tried to push it back towards the seat, perhaps believing there was some “in case of fat” procedure she had missed. She flipped it back down and tried to find a part of her bulk to rest it on so that it would remain even slightly level. No dice. The tray was 90 degrees vertical, or it was 85. There was nowhere else for it to go.

Finally she gave up, and I thought perhaps the grotesque travesty would end. I was wrong. Defying gravity, physics, and mass-to-flexibility ratios, she reached down between her legs and hauled up a purse. From it’s depths she produced a wad of tissues. AND THEN SHE STARTED STUFFING HER BRA WITH THEM.

I don’t mean a few tissues here and there. I don’t mean to imply she was saving them for later, although I suppose she must have been. I mean that the woman shoved a massive wad of kleenix right down her blouse. Then she pulled out more and did it again. I swear she must have relocated the entire contents of a tissue box into her bosom. I don’t quite remember when she stopped. I may have blacked out.

Against my better judgment, I regained consciousness a short time later. Her limbs were so enormous that my left shoulder was enfolded by armpit fat. At one point I literally checked for deodorant stains on the shoulder of my shirt. I feared that I might slowly be eaten alive by that warm and swampy fold.

All of this probably took the space of 10 minutes. A ten minutes horrifying enough to last a lifetime, but ten minutes nonetheless. We hadn’t even taken off yet.

There is more to this harrowing tale, but the human mind can only take so much before getting crushed like my will to live. Come back to tomorrow for the epic, stunning, and hopefully less-nauseating conclusion to- Of Flights and Fat!

Bwuh? Ben Levy 24, August

Sorry guys, technical difficulties. I seem unable to access the site from my house, but it’s not an issue anywhere else. I keep getting messages about the server being busy, which it clearly isn’t. I think it’s just anti-Semitic.

In other news, for the three of you who haven’t yet heard, I’m trying to get votes for my panel at SXSW.

SXSW is a big interactive/film/music conference in Austin, and it would be pretty cool if I had the chance to speak at it. (For those of you who can’t tell, that last sentence translates into ‘I will literally soil myself on the spot with glee/terror if I get to speak at SXSW’). If you get a chance, please sign in and vote. Helpful link here: http://panelpicker.sxsw.com/ideas/view/3361

Thanks guys. Real post tonight or tomorrow morning at the latest.

I’m not posting this to get political. I’m posting this because it’s a beautiful example of how to win a “debate” without stooping to your opponent’s level. Politicians and news anchors seem to think they have to act like bloggers- they scream and curse and wind up looking like children wearing a suit. They’re incapable of demonstrating their feelings on an issue without devolving to the level of a two year old.

But once upon a time there was an art to this sort of thing. A kind of polite verbal fencing, in which each side attempted to outdo the other with wit and metaphorical venom. It was the old white politician guy equivalent of a rap battle. The loser was the one who lost their temper or couldn’t think of a witty response. Barney Frank is clearly of the “old school”. He’s also Jewish.

The lady never had a chance.

Game: Barney Frank.

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No Jury Will Convict Me Ben Levy 16, August

All of us had at least one moment in our childhood where we made a mistake. No, not a mistake. A critical, life-threatening error in judgement. We didn’t know it at the time. As soon as our parents discovered that we had given the family pet a haircut, turned the house into a swimming pool, or lit our sibling on fire, we figured it out. Their eyes grew impossibly wide before vanishing into slits. We heard the intake of breath as they swelled up and towered above us. And from the depths of this thing- our lifelong protector turned embodiment of rage- came forth a roar that rivaled the thunder of Zeuss himself:

“WHAT HAVE YOU DONE?”

Remember that moment. Close your eyes and return to it. Do you recall the timbre of those damning tones? Do you shiver in remembered terror? Good. Now read on.

“NORTON, WHAT HAVE YOU DONE?”

death of decency

You have spit upon not only my childhood memories but my adult profession as well. You created this bastardization of nostalgia and marketing. A twisted horror that mocks all that I have lived for in my 26 years on this planet. This is not an error in judgement. This is not an ill-advised experiment. This is a mutation, a blight, a physical scar upon the very concept of decency itself.

I hope the sniveling, idiotic, fool responsible for this has already changed their name, address, and gender. It won’t stop me from finding them. But it will draw out my revenge.

Because I am coming for you. And when I find you, I will perpetrate such horrors upon you as to cause a Guantanamo Inquisitor to shudder and reach for his “idea journal”. Your end will not be swift. It will not be silent. It will not be clean.

I don’t know how you sleep at night. I hope it is with the fevered nightmares of a man who knows he has murdered the memories of children, and the waning respectability of an entire profession. I suggest you pray for a crushing death beneath a falling pallet of the very horrors you helped create. It will be kinder than what I do to you.

Yo-Joe.

A Mild Milestone Ben Levy 9, August

I recently learned that a site I worked on has received over 1 million visits. This is rather humbling.

Consider: Words- words I’ve written- have now been read, pondered, embraced, by over a million people in a dozen different languages. It is, without question, the most widespread reception of my work to date.

In essence, a population nearly double the size of Alaska has read my legendary prose. Consisting chiefly and most memorably of offerings such as “Click Here” and “Home”.

Truly, I am The Bard of my generation.

Ok, so I did write something barely more engaging than the above, but all it really means is that my words have had the opportunity to be ignored by a record number of visitors. Congratulations to everyone who made HF3 amazing.

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Why Everything Sucks Ben Levy 7, August

Craig Ferguson has figured out why everything sucks…. and it’s kind of all advertising’s fault.

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Creative Responsibilities Ben Levy 7, August

This is something I’ve been wanting to write about for at least a month. It will probably take me another month before I get to it. But in the meantime, if you do anything creative for a living, or if you know someone who does (and if you’re reading this blog, you do) please watch this.

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