Friday Free-for-All #61: Back, fashion, obsession

Friday Free for All

The next in an ongoing series in which I answer random questions generated by a website. Here are this week’s questions. Feel free to give your own answers or ask your own questions in the comments.
What’s your “back in my day, we…”?

This one is funny because it’s also the name of an improv game we play, usually as a final round “jump-out” game, which is one in which we all get a suggestion, then players take turns jumping out of the line up to step downstage and tell a joke or a pun based on the suggestion and in the format of the game.

For “Back in my day…”, the request for suggestion will be “something that didn’t exist X years ago,” and the joke revolves around some ancient version or weird alternative to that thing.

For example, it the suggestion is “smart phone,” then the joke might go, “Back in my day, we didn’t have smart phones. If you wanted to send a friend a text, you had to tie the note around a rock and throw it through their bedroom window.”

I have so many potential real-life versions mainly since I’ve been on the internet since it was born, but here’s one: Back in my day, when we wanted porn online, we had to wait five minutes for the grayscale JPEG to download one scan-line at a time, and couldn’t even tell if it was any good or not until it was almost finished.

And it wouldn’t matter if someone else in the house picked up the phone, because then you’d get kicked offline with no way of continuing the download later. You’d have to start over.

Now get off my lawn!

What is the silliest recent fashion trend?

Not that I really follow fashion, but two on the radar for women’s wear later this year strike me as particularly ridiculous. One is the puff-shoulder or puffer sleeve look, and the general effect is that somebody just walked off of the set of a goth musical version of some Disney Princess tale and forgot to change their costume.

There’s a certain retro feel to it, and not in a good way. It looks more like a severe Edwardian nanny and must be hell trying to coordinate and stuff into any kind of jacket.

The other women’s fashion: boiler suits, which just don’t look good on anybody. The aesthetic looks like something between “couldn’t be arsed to change out of my pajamas” and “who threw me into this bag?”

Luckily, men don’t usually suffer such extremes in fashion by the time it hits the street. Unless they’re out clubbing or walking a fashion week runway, the heights of ridiculous are generally kept out of sight of the general public.

But there are rumors that styles from the 70s and 80s are coming back this year, especially for men, and this is a bad idea that must be stopped before it begins. Have you taken a good look at how people dressed in the 1970s? It’s utterly ridiculous. Plus it would make our present suddenly look like a bad version of the future from a 1970s science fiction movie.

What is something that a ton of people are obsessed with but you just don’t get the point of?

For me, it’s comic books in general, but particularly people who obsess over all of the minutiae of all the various issues and eras and crossovers and so on of either or both of the major universes (Marvel and DC), or with Manga and Anime, or even with much more niche works that are not necessarily of the superhero genre.

It’s always been pretty clear to me that the books are cranked out to maximize sales and profits, with a new issue due on schedule, so that story and continuity aren’t always the top priority. In addition to that, there are constant efforts to double-sell, so one superhero will appear in another superhero’s comic in hopes that fans of both will buy it.

This is also why they’ve created things like alternate universes, metaverses, and so on — to cover up and/or fix the ridiculous continuity errors they’ve introduced into things over the years.

And remember: Comics have been around a long time, now. They’re pretty much an artform that’s moving into its 90s, and a couple of the top stars go back to almost the beginning. With that much material, it all just becomes a mountain of mush — and yet there are people who go out of their way to memorize every detail of a particular hero or series or even an entire universe.

All I can do is shake my head and wonder, “Why?” They must get something out of it, but I just can’t imagine what. And the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) has grown to ridiculous proportions so that I haven’t even tried to keep up. I’ve seen a couple of the early films, watched all of Wandavision, and made it a point to see both Guardians of the Galaxy and both Antman films.

On the DC Extended Universe (DCEU) side, they just haven’t been as lucky at turning out something that wasn’t pretty bad, so over there I’ve only seen the two Deadpool movies — but, of course, those are much different than anything else in the series.

Or, in a famous internet comic, after Iron Man (oops, wrong franchise) and Spider-Man explain why they’re like Batman but only better, Batman points at Deadpool and says, “Who’s he?”

Deadpool replies, “I can say ‘fuck.’”

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