Exploring the Language of the Stars

15 Pop-Cultural Abysses From Which There Is No Escape

15 Pop-Cultural Abysses From Which There Is No Escape
Credit: Amanda Bynes

Tepid response to “Arrested Development” changes Amanda Bynes’s life forever.

A New York City cop was sitting alone in his apartment. He was watching the new season of Arrested Development, which he had been very excited about. After years of saying “I hope they make an Arrested Development movie or perhaps another season of the show!” on his Twitter and his Tumblr, now, at last, he finally had that which his heart had been yearning for.

The light from the cop’s laptop flickered across his face in the darkened apartment. He watched four episodes right in a row.

“What is happening?” he said, staring blankly at the screen. “I don’t get it. What is this?” There was no one in the apartment to answer him. “These episodes feel so different! Why isn’t this more like what I remember? Why aren’t I laughing?”

The cop wanted the show to be as funny as he remembered. He wanted it to reveal itself more openly. He wanted it to make him laugh and not make him wonder what was going on. He slammed his Macbook Air shut and stomped around his apartment. He wanted to tweet about his frustration, maybe see if other people shared his feelings, but he didn’t want to be accused of spoiling season four for other people who hadn’t begun watching it yet.

“I’m so angry!” he said. He stopped and stood very still in the middle of his apartment. “Ugh! So mad!” he said. “I feel like I could ...” his mind scanned every file in its memory for the aptest word, the metaphor, the action that would properly convey the feelings he was experiencing. “I feel like I could slap a vagina,” he thought.

Across town, Amanda Bynes was shopping for wigs on her phone. She had moved to New York City so that she could disappear into the crowds and live a normal life, but that had not happened at all. People harassed and judged her constantly in all three of her states of being: real life, print media, and on the internet. At least occasionally on the internet someone said something supportive to her. She retweeted those people and it made her feel better.

She slid her finger across her phone and purchased a shaggy blond wig. She was using the iPhone 5. Amanda hoped that the next time Apple updated their operating system they would abandon their reliance on skeuomorphic design. She also hoped they would come up with a more elegant solution for sharing between apps.

The next day a young celebrity photographer broke into Amanda Bynes’s apartment. He was in a desperate situation. He was already deep in debt because of his outstanding college loans, and now his wife had contracted a terrible illness whose cure required very expensive hospitalization and prescription medications.

“Health care is so expensive!”, the photographer lamented to himself. “Even with the changes to the system implemented by Obama, against great opposition. As I am a contractor, i.e. a non-full-time employee, my employer does not even offer me and my spouse health benefits! It is shameful, what these corporations do, but no matter. I will break into Amanda Bynes’s apartment and take some very up-close candid photos of her, perhaps while she is sleeping, and then sell them to the highest bidder. I will be able to pay for my wife’s medical treatments and probably have enough left over to repay my college loans to the Columbia School of Journalism!

“Who even knows,” he thought, seducing a maid in the hallway and lifting her access keys. “Maybe I’ll be so rich that I can live on an island somewhere. Maybe this will be such a big story that I will become famous myself! Imagine that! Me, a famous celebrity! Ha ha,” he chuckled to himself, entering Amanda Bynes’s apartment.

But he was not the first photographer who had tried to break into Amanda Bynes’s hotel room, and she had set a trap for him. He tripped over a wire connected to a series of empty cans, which sent such a clattering and jangling across the room that Amanda immediately awoke. She leapt to her feet, her eyes wide and furious. She grabbed a large, empty glass bottle from the floor by her bed and smashed it against the corner of her nightstand. She brandished the bottle’s jagged edges at the photographer.

The photographer was too freaked out to even take any pictures. He ran straight through the apartment and jumped out the window. He used parkour, the art of urban movement, to land safely on a rooftop three stories below, scampering down a fire escape to the street.

Amanda Bynes leaned out the window and screamed at him and threw the bottle down in his general direction. It missed him, shattering on the sidewalk without harming anyone. She immediately regretted throwing the bottle. You can’t do things like that! But she had been so mad.

A group of tourists standing below heard the glass shatter and looked up to see Amanda Bynes shaking her fist out the window. They weren’t sure what was happening but they felt they had better call the authorities. They tweeted an alert to the celebrity website TMZ.

A reporter from TMZ screeched up in a van and began to assess the situation. The tourists explained what they had seen. The reporter examined the glass shards on the ground. “From reports I have heard,” he said, “this is what a drug bong looks like when it is shattered from a great height. We had better inform the New York City Cops about Amanda Bynes doing drugs and throwing the paraphernalia out the window.” He thanked the tourists for doing the right thing and got set up to write some very lucrative reports.

The articles the reporter later posted to the internet had titles like:

“Top 10 Reasons Amanda Bynes Was Arrested for Throwing A Drug Bong out a Window”

“It Was Not a Bong! Says Insane Former Child Star”

“The 43 Cutest Pictures of Pandas Riding Bicycles, and Police Do Not Have Enough Evidence to Detain Amanda Bynes”

“One of the Cops Slapped My Vagina, Says Celebrity Girl Who Got Cosmetic Surgery and Posts Nude Selfies to Twitter”

“Slap a Vagina? I Would Never! Says Area Cop in $10M Tumblr Book Deal Proposal”

Amanda Bynes decided to leave the city and live somewhere quieter. Somewhere farther away from people. The only people she cared about were on Twitter anyway. “These days internet access is pretty much everywhere,” she thought. “So there’s no real benefit from being near people’s physical bodies.”

The cop decided he would take a break from Arrested Development and instead finally give a listen to the new Daft Punk album. He hoped it sounded exactly like their earlier stuff. They were a great band and he loved their catchy dance music. Just imagining how it would sound relaxed him. He pressed play and the walls of his apartment began to contract, suffocating him.

The photographer was unable to pay his wife’s medical bills, so she died. The  photographer also died, just randomly, as happens to a lot of people. Their medical bills and college loans went unpaid, which made the people whose job it was to stare at a computer all day and be upset about this appropriately upset. 

The update to Apple iOS eventually arrived but it was somewhat underwhelming. Some of it was really cool and innovative but there were still things that were annoying about iPhones, as a lot of people explained on their blogs. Apple got rid of some of the skeuomorphic design but not all of it. No one knew why.

The shards of glass from the bottle Amanda Bynes had thrown were photographed and then swept into a trash can, which was emptied into a dumpster, which was emptied onto a truck, which was emptied into a landfill. It took hundreds and hundreds of years for the molecules in the glass to decompose and be subsumed by the Earth. By then all the humans were gone, even the zombies.