Strange Stuff I Contemplate After Sex

Very little in this world exposes the cultural underbelly of a society better than music videos in their native language.

A while back I found myself fascinated by the almost hypnotic quality of music videos on the International Channel. It says something about the quality of cable and satellite television that we get about a million, billion channels and yet still find ourselves watching bizarre pop videos in languages we do not speak.

More chilling than the inscrutable nature of the videos we don’t understand are the signs of what we do understand — the signs of the worst of our urban culture infecting poor, innocent foreigners around the world. Just tonight I watched a pair of young Korean men capering about like Hip Hop stars, flailing their fingers and arching their arms as they mugged for the camera as if wandering the streets of LA surrounded by those spastic, hydraulically thumping and leaping Impala low-riders.

Our pop culture is slowly making the rest of the world stupid. It’s no wonder they hate us. If I discovered one of my neighbors was encouraging my sons and daughters to rap, I’d raise an army and start lobbing cruise missiles his way without a second thought.

The stuff that I do not understand still outnumbers the familiar pop elements, however. Once I saw a Korean music group so androgynous that I honestly could not tell if they were women or men. They wore an awful lot of lipstick for men. All four of them seemed to be marrying a nice Korean girl. One was wearing a really gay hat that looked like something left over from the St. Patrick’s Day Parade — one of those green Styrofoam bowlers, worn jauntily on one side of his head.

“Are these Korea’s answer to the Backstreet Boys?” I wondered.  I have to admit that, if they were, I pity the Koreans.  I know we’re all a little down on Korea lately after the whole Kim Jong Un thing and the hacking of Sony, but hey, “The Interview” just wasn’t that great a movie. Although the girls in it were really hot. There’s always room for hot girls.

There are plenty of hot girls in Indian music videos. I saw some at an Indian restaurant the other day. The Indian videos are equally inscrutable. All Indian videos feature a woman and man, singing the same duet. It is the same duet you’ve heard in every Indian restaurant in which you’ve ever eaten. Some parts are sad. Some are happy. Most of the time the Indian man and woman are outside. I don’t know what they’re singing about, but I am happy and sad for them just the same.

What disturbs me more than any of the alien imagery or sexually ambiguous lip-syncing, however, is the fact that most of the videos contain just enough English to freak me out. Two people in foreign music videos will be rattling away at each other in Mandarin or Cantonese or Hindi or whatever, when suddenly they’ll drop an entire English phrase into the mix. It’s like listening to rock music backwards when suddenly you hear messages you feel like you were never meant to hear. “Yimyipblimflimwhamthemthinmint, You know what I’m saying? Blimthipkimchee Blantangaram rammalammadingdong, Cool, Right on! Mahjong Sharon My Sharona, Twopick Tupac Satan wants your children!”

If forced to choose between that and game shows in which people eat roadkill for the chance at five grand and an Applebees gift certificate, the choice is obvious.

Sex always makes me want ice cream.

Remember the ice cream truck when you were younger?

Ah, that sound. It is the sound of a calliope being beaten into submission with a large wooden mallet. It is the sound of rushing to your mother and clawing at her for a dollar while jumping up and down frantic to race outside without your sneakers, horrified at the thought of missing the Pied Piper of frozen confections. It is the sound that speaks to your soul no matter how old you are, telling you to rush outside waving your arms as if you’ve got a bug on you.

It is the ice cream truck.

Granted, through the years there have been some changes. While attending a friend’s college graduation party, myself “just out of University,” I bought one of the aforementioned “frozen confections” from a passing ice cream truck in the park. I remember the ice cream actually qualifying as ice cream when I was a kid. These days your Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle Face on a Stick is labeled a “frozen confection” in much the same way fast food milk shakes are simply called “shakes.” These subtle linguistic manipulations signify that your dessert contains absolutely nothing that was ever squeezed, milked, plucked, raised, or harvested in or from any natural source whatsoever.

My childhood memories of ice cream trucks do not include convicted felons serving the ice cream, either. As an adult I am firmly convinced that every ice cream truck driver I now encounter is a convicted serial killer with a penchant for sprinkling prostitutes crammed into oil drums about the deserts of Nevada, an illegal immigrant, a paroled child molester, a grifter, or some combination of all of the preceding.

I muttered under my breath as I returned from yet another defeat at the hands and wheels of the wily ice cream truck driver, who has taken to taunting me by driving close to our house without ever actually driving down our street. My roommate reminded me that we could go to the store and buy as much ice cream as we wanted — but of course that defeats the purpose, the primal instinct, to hunt and gather ice cream the way our ancestors stalked woolly mammoths.

Instinct is instinct, and progress is progress. Sometimes the two conflict, however. Given the choice between uncooked, hairy elephant and a “frozen confection” in the shape of Spongebob Squarepants’ face, I am not sure which I would choose.