Tuesday, May 18, 2004


Today's column is dedicated to the millions of souls out there, the millions of artists, writers, and everyday individuals who have dedicated things to others. Your selfless act of dedication has ensured that none of us stand alone. No man is an island, as long as something, somewhere, is dedicated to that island. And so I dedicate this column to you, in the hopes that from this point forward, you will cut that DUMB shit out. Thank you.
Personally, I blame Casey Kasem. Before Casey Kasem, in order to dedicate something to somebody, you had to actually create an artistic work. Whether it be a cheap dimestore novel, one of those old timey megaphone songs, or 8-millimeter hardcore Bob Crane pornography, you had to make the thing you were dedicating to something else, and that kept the lid on, frankly.
But then Casey came along, with America's Top 40, and the "Long Distance Dedication". Thanks to that, any middle-American asshole could take some piece of ART created by someone else, some other ARTIST, like, say, Starland Vocal band's "Afternoon Delight", and by merely writing a single touching letter to Kasem, dedicate "Afternoon Delight" to someone else and have the entire nation hear it. No effort required. Just a sob story, some stationery, and, ideally, a dead girlfriend in another state who has the same name as someone in a Toto song..
And while I'm on the subject of Casey Kasem, can anybody explain why it is, as I get older, I find that more and more of my past is revealed to have some sort of Kasem connection? When I was growing up, he was the guy on the radio. THAT WAS IT. About ten years ago, I learned he was Shaggy. I watched Shaggy all the time! Casey Kasem was Shaggy! Then, after that, I realized he was Robin on the Superfriends. Well, shit! More mysterious Casey in my past. It's like recovering repressed memories, only with a lilting, mellifluous tone and a bit of non-threatening swarthiness.
But I digress. Once the cat got out of the bag, and the American public got the impression that you could dedicate anything to anybody for any reason, things started to get out of hand. And you know how I know things are out of hand? Video game FAQs.
Video game FAQs are like the hint books suckers pay ten bucks a pop for, only they're written by dudes on the Internet who just play the game a lot. This means that they are of widely varying quality, formatting, and grammar, which means that, except for the lack of pictures, they're EXACTLY LIKE the ones you pay for.
Anyway, it's come to my attention that one particular FAQ author has added a lengthy dedication to his many, many FAQs. Colin "CMoriarty" Moriarty, as he is known, has dedicated his works far and wide. OK, not that far, and not that wide, since pretty much all of his FAQs are for old-school Nintendo games, like the Mega Man 4 Boss FAQ, the Castlevania III Character FAQ, and the Legend Of Zelda: A Link To The Past (SNES Version) Chirs Houlihan Room FAQ. If you're wondering how to defeat Ring Man, equip the Skull Barrier, then, when the counter counts down to ACTUAL QUOTE TIME, jump on his head.
"This FAQ, and all 24 other of my FAQ/Walkthroughs, are now dedicated to the over 6,000 innocent people killed in the World Trade Center and Pentagon terrorist attacks in New York City, New York, and Washington, D.C., on September 11, 2001. To all of the innocent working people, and FDNY Firemen, as well as other emergency workers, you will always be remembered. We won't stop until we bring these criminals to justice, your deaths were NOT IN VAIN! God Bless America, death to all terrorists of all races everywhere."
Which is just funny on so many levels. First, you can't tell this from the quote, but depending on the FAQ, "6,000" is occasionally the more accurate "3,000". Then, of course, there's that pristine, preserved-in-amber specimen of post-9/11 hairshirt jingoism. But the thing that kills me is the line "your deaths were NOT IN VAIN!".
Let's assume, for a moment, that there is a Heaven. Let's also assume that Heaven is tricked out with pristine-condition NES consoles and high speed Internet access, because frankly, if it isn't, what's the goddamned point? I think that we can safely assume that at least one of the between 3,000 and 6,000 dead people from 9/11 qualified to get into Heaven. So they're up there, chillin' on a cloud with a Red Bull, and decide to pop in some old-school Castlevania III. But there's a problem. Despite being in heaven, this individual is unsure as to the primary weapon of Sypha Belnades. No problem! Hop onto GameFAQ's, check out this Character FAQ, and... hey! Wow! MY DEATH WAS NOT IN VAIN! I feel so much better now! Gimme another Red Bull!
Let's leave the dedicating to the experts, folks.