Monday Match-Ups: Abraham Lincoln vs. Frank Underwood

House of Cards The Setup

 There are two types of politicians in the world. Those that are honest, trustworthy and smart, and those who are tricky, manipulative and arrogant. There are also the politicians who don’t seem to do anything, but that wouldn’t make for an interesting matchup. With that in mind, this week we take the historical goody-two shoes Abraham Lincoln, and match him against the fictional master scoundrel Frank Underwood from the television show House of Cards to see who would win the prestigious title of high school president.

The Contenders

Abraham Lincoln: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abraham_Lincoln
Frank Underwood: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frank_Underwood_(House_of_Cards)

The Verdicts

Allen: I’ve always been a fan of high school election episodes of sitcoms, mostly due to how they play with the characters’s motivations in interesting ways. The nerdy kid runs for president, the popular one seems to be the winner by a landslide due to bribery or other populist tactics, and then the underdog wins in the end because people like a president who will actually help them in the long run.

Since this is a high school election though, and it’s between two political masters, the situation is a little bit more complicated. While Frank Underwood has the tact and ruthlessness of a perfect Shakespearean villain, I can only imagine him being the awkward kid in the election who wears suits all the time. In the other corner, you’ve got Abe Lincoln, who was known to be quite the likable, if not grossly unattractive young man. Let me set one thing straight before I declare my choice; Underwood is a better politician. He’s heartless, clever, and he has this incredible ability to make one think that they are in control of their own words and actions, even as he pulls the strings from behind a velvet curtain. But Abe is just plain honest, like his nickname says. In a fictional, “Clone High meets Community” episode (which sounds amazing if you think about it), Frank has this election in the bag. But in real life, or in the real life that is Monday Match-Up, Mr. Lincoln just knows his audience perfectly. He could list out ten ideas for a new and improved water fountain maintenance system, and students would just eat it up. Underwood would sell you on some lofty goal of no homework and mandatory nap time, but it’s all dust in the wind at the end of the day. If we’re being completely honest, Abe takes the win.

Magellan: As both a history major and a lover of television, this Match-Up is particularly troubling for me. On the one hand, I feel the urge to champion a man who has been regarded for over a century as one of the most important presidents in American history. On the other, I can’t help but shake my timid appreciation for Frank Underwood’s unyielding political cunning. In any regular election, Underwood may have his work cut out for him, having to compete against such a towering figure and brilliant orator. However, since this is a high school election, I think things end up being a little simpler. Sure, Lincoln was an influential man, but by all accounts he had a funny voice and he was given to rambling anecdotes. Couple that with his lankiness and you have the recipe for a real nerd, for the kind of class election candidate who, while people may nod for after hearing a speech, would not be taken seriously by the student body. Underwood has the clear advantage, with his flashy, modern political edge and his valuing power over integrity. Plus, if push comes to shove, he has television-star good looks to fall back on, whereas Abe just has that weird cheek bump thing. Although, in his defense he has a rad beard and a cool hat, which the kids may find pretty “gnarly.” It’s just so hard to keep track of the fashions these days.

James: To look at the contestants, first we need to look at their standing in the school. Neither of the two contestants is particularly handsome or popular. Abe, though on the wrestling team would be far too tall and gawky to be accepted, whereas Underwood would probably have been captain of the debate team. In order for either of them to win, they would have to be at the top of their game. Abe would probably opt for honesty and good political leadership. This approach, while effective for the United States Presidency, would pale in the face of a shallow high school position. Underwood would opt for something much more underhanded. Perhaps he would strike a deal with the teachers of the school, or cash in favors for the different clubs. Somehow, some way, Underwood would manage to force Lincoln out of the running, possibly besmirching his honest title in a debate that leaves poor old Abe looking like a loser. Either way, Underwood would ensure a victory for himself.

The Results

Frank Underwood wins 2-1

Well, now it looks like the school is in trouble. With Underwood in office, the school will certainly be a much more interesting place. Expect to see major lobbying firms ruling the high school, while Frank mysteriously earns piles of cash. Looks like math class in not the only place we’re going to see some graft. (Do you get it? Because it sounds like graph? I don’t know why I even try.) Anyways, let’s save the politics till next November.

Monday Match-Ups: Einstein vs. Newton

Einstein vs. NewtonThe Setup

As you all know, most of the Match-Ups here at Pop Modern are pretty high-minded fare, the kinds of pressing questions that plague men’s minds and keep us all up at night. We tackle the hard questions, the “Kirk vs. Picard”s and the “Justice League vs. Avengers”s of the world. Of course, not every question is infused with such gravitas. Sometimes a question pops into our minds, demanding to be answered. That’s why this week we’re exceeding the speed of light to take a trip through time, pulling two scientific greats into our wormhole of banality to ask…Who would win a weightlifiting competition, Einstein or Newton?

The Contenders

Albert Einstein: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Albert_Einstein
Sir Isaac Newton: 
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sir_Isaac_Newton

The Verdicts

Allen: It’s the Thriller From Wurttemberg versus the Pride of Lincolnshire! Newton’s mastery of concrete physics gives him a distinct edge in this battle of intellectual titans. By measuring the circumference of the barbell and multiplying it by the area of his muscle mass…I dunno, he could probably make the weights float or something. In his home back in merry England, manual labor was a necessity for survival. Strong muscle mass, heavy repetitions, and that classic British cynicism all contribute to Newton’s fantastic workout plan. Unfortunately, my only real glimpses into Mr. Einstein’s life are a picture of him with his tongue out, and the fictionalized version of him in Jonathan Hickman’s Manhattan Projects. Newton would actually fit quite well in that world, but he’d probably be killed at birth or switched with an evil clone within two issues of his introduction. Einstein’s distinct grasp of quantum physics would help with training and preparing for the match, but up there, in front of millions of people, he’d collapse under pressure. I mean, the man had to tell people he wasn’t Einstein because he was so sick of “explaining that formula he did”. It’s hard to be such an iconic scientist, and that kind of anxiety can mess with anyone in a public competition. Even though he lived around 200 years after Newton, I feel like Sir Isaac could lift the pants off of that wiry German savant based merely on confidence, preparation, and low expectations.

James: Let’s get down to the most epic weightlifting competition of the century. Well, the 20th and 17th centuries, but let’s not pull hairs. I’m going to switch things up and focus not on their physical prowess but their ideas. Newton at first seems like he would be an easy choice. The master of calculus is an expert of force, and would use his advantage to push down Einstein’s bar. Cold, but the master alchemist would do anything for his victory. Einstein seems fragile, but he has a few things going for him. Lifting the bar in an accelerating field, Einstein would reduce the apparent force of gravity. For his next trick he would set Newton on a spaceship going near the velocity of light. The mass of the bar would increase in proportion to the velocity, therefore, the bar would fall so far. Einstein wins. E=mc2. Science, bitches.

Magellan: The thing I love about this ridiculous Match-Up is how utterly it takes these contestants out of their respective elements. After all, in one corner you have a posh-looking Englishman, and in the other a man whose major form of youthful exercise was pencil-pushing at the patent office. Cracking this nut is going to take some extra force. Now, this is the part of the verdict where I’d take a moment to describe what it takes to be good at weight-lifting, but I hardly think I’m qualified to comment on such a matter. Let’s just assume that success in such a competition requires both strength and form. Let’s also assume that both of these well-respected, world-changing physicists didn’t get into that business because of their abundance of muscles. So really, it’s a question of posture, and although I have a lot of respect for Einstein and his untamed head-party, I think Newton has the market cornered on the whole posture and form thing. 

The Results

Sir Isaac Newton wins 2-1

Boy, good thing we got that one out of our system. Now we can stop speculating on scientists and monumental historical figures and go back to studying what really matters: cartoon characters and superheroes, that sort of thing. Really, we wouldn’t be able to occupy ourselves with such complex, important subject matter if it weren’t for men like Einstein and Newton. Truly, we stand on the shoulders of giants.

Monday Match-Ups: HIMYM vs. Friends

HIMYM vs. FriendsThe Setup

Tonight is a big night for us television fans here at Pop Modern, as it marks the premiere of How I Met Your Mother‘s ninth and final season. This has been one of favorite sitcoms for years now, and we thought it only fitting to ring in the new season with a little friendly competition. And, speaking of “friendly,” who better to match up against Mosby & Co. than the titular Friends? After all, the two groups are strikingly similar in their chemistry and their roles (a fact which has been pointed out time and time again). So, we knew we wanted to pit HIMYM against the show that paved the way, but we weren’t quite sure what would be the best competition to test the mettle of two groups of friends. And then it hit us, and we decided to ask…Who would win in a game of charades, the characters from How I Met Your Mother or from Friends?

The Contenders

How I Met Your Motherhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/How_I_Met_Your_Mother
Friendshttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Friends

The Verdicts

Allen: I never really got into Friends, but it was always a nearby beacon of pop culture during my childhood. On the other hand, I only discovered How I Met Your Mother back in 2011 when my two collaborators here wouldn’t stop recommending it to me. In a game of charades, the HIMYM team takes the prize. Even though they’re both groups of affluent white people living in New York apartments, I feel like Shmoseby and the gang know each other more intimately. From my brief experience with charades, the best players seem to be the ones who know each other so well, and have consumed so much of the same media, that they can predict each other’s thoughts without words. For example, Ted could point to his feet and marvel at some imaginary piece of footwear, and Marshall would be able to guess “red cowboy boots”. I’m sure there are plenty of similar gags in Friends, but I can’t exactly imagine Ross understanding that Chandler gesturing like a madman to his head would mean “turkey”. Still, it’d be a close game, and I like to imagine that they’d all get a drink at MacLaren’s afterward and laugh about the whole thing with the live studio audience.

James: Let’s get down to the facts. The crew of friends within Friends is good, but they are no How I Met Your Mother. While the friends within Friends are close, they are not as close as the friends within How I Met Your Mother. Let’s examine the telepathy within How I Met Your Mother: The characters Ted and Marshall are telepathic, and Marshall and Lily are also telepathic. While Robin and Lily are known to have misunderstandings, the fact is, the populace of How I Met Your Mother has the distinct advantage. Also, the actors themselves are unequally matched. While Neil Patrick Harris and Jason Segal sing the soundtrack to Les Misérables,the cast of Friends isn’t seen together in real life much anymore. Therefore, it seems likely that Friends will not win the competition, and How I Met Your Mother would win charades.

Magellan: While I respect my fellow writers here a great deal, I think both of them are being swayed by two egregious biases: one, that they’ve seen more of How I Met Your Mother, and thus feel more connected to its characters; and two, that How I Met Your Mother is at present a more active force in popular culture, clouding the public memory of Friends. And that’s understandable, considering the similarities between both shows. However, I think that the Friends crew is much more tight-knit. After all, unlike the HIMYM cast, many of the Friends characters have known each other for quite a while. Monica and Ross are siblings for Pete’s sake, and given their childhood lameness probably played their fair share of charades. Also, both of them have known Rachel since high school, and Ross and Chandler have been best friends since college. Sure, the same can be said of Ted and Marshall, but none of the HIMYM cast have been friends since childhood. The HIMYM bunch also has more rogue elements (Barney and The Mother) who we either don’t know much about or who would be hard to understand in a game of charades given their specific view of life. The only Friends friend that can be framed that way is Phoebe, since everyone else has either been a roommate, sibling, or true love of at least one other person in the group. All I’m saying is that Friends didn’t get it’s name for being about a bunch of strangers who never got to know each other at all.

The Results

How I Met Your Mother wins 2-1

Well, there you have it, a close-knit, real group of friends splintering over who is the closest-knit, fictional group of friends. If you’d like to partake in this sort of tension-centric celebration of the HIMYM premiere, feel free to vote in our poll or voice your opinion in the comments below. And after that, maybe circulate this article to your own friends over an affluent, urban game of charades in lieu of going to work or dealing with any sort of financial hardship. Sure sounds fun to us.

Monday Match-Ups: Daffy Duck vs. Bugs Bunny

Daffy Duck vs. Bugs BunnyThe Setup

What’s up, docs? All right, we know, we’re sorry, that was a hackneyed intro. But, sometimes it feels good to go with the easy path. Besides, we here at Pop Modern have been feeling a bit stale lately, so we’ve decided to dig deeper into our pop culture roots to find a worthy Match-Up. This week, we’re going to let our hair out, and we’re going to get loony, since we’re taking two television legends out of their underground holding pens and into our gladiatorial arena: Daffy Duck and Bugs Bunny. Of course you know, this means war. Our burning question this week…Who would win a game of chess, Daffy Duck or Bugs Bunny?

The Contenders

Daffy Duck: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daffy_Duck
Bugs Bunny: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bugs_Bunny

The Verdicts

Allen: The key to being a successful chess player is not only an intimate knowledge of both the game and your opponent, but also a feel for the game’s overall trajectory. At what point is Bugs going to cackle as he sacrifices his second pawn? Is Daffy going to respond with a defensive maneuver of some sort? It’s this intimate understanding of the game that leads to some of its most famous matches. Bugs and Daffy are both smart gentleman. With decades of outsmarting each other and various other people, they clearly understand the calculating nature of a game like chess. Only a true savant would use dynamite to blow up his friend’s duck bill so severely that it spun to the back of his head. But there’s something devious behind that wide orange bill and those devious black feathers. Daffy was often portrayed as the tragically foolish imbecile in his most famous public outings. When he wasn’t having his plans foiled by simple intuition or deadly weapons, he was always planning his next move. That’s why I think Mr. Duck would win in this duel of champions; he’s the underduck. Just when it seems like Bugs Bunny has him surrounded, and all the pieces are in place for a checkmate, Daffy would find the one flaw in Bugs’ plan. Like the tortoise and the hare, his advantage in the game would be consistency. With no history of success or hubris, Daffy can put everything on the line and win from behind in this mental duel of anthropomorphic adepts.

James: Bugs wins, but not for the reason you would expect. Settling down for their bout, Bugs and Daffy are already unmatched. The bout begins with the decision of who gets white. The argument goes as expected, with Bugs using his tricky switch. I get white! You get black! I get white! You get black! I get black! No, You get white! Bugs thus starts out with white. Bugs is not really a smart character as much as he is clever. As he is not an academic, his tricks would all be mind games, rather than classical chess moves. Instead of the Rasputin defense, Bugs would switch the pieces on the board while Daffy is not looking. But the one move that Daffy could not counter would be the classic Bugs trick. Bugs is not averse to using the wiles of a feminine influence on his opponents, choosing to trick the nimrods with a well-placed dress and some mascara. The piece de resistance would come when Bugs turned his King into a Queen, thus doubling the power of his royals on the board. With this coup de grace Bugs would turn the table and win the Jeux Nationale d’Échecs. Because it would be in France.

Magellan: This is a tricky Match-Up to approach for two reasons: one, these are cartoon characters, so they can pull any kind of shenanigans they want to mess with the established rules of chess; and two, Bugs Bunny pretty much never loses at anything. Now, that second one isn’t a hard and fast rule, but the Vegas odds are on Bugs no matter the contest. For the purposes of this argument, though, let’s assume that both of these despicable fellows are laying down arms (and bombs) and playing by the rules. No funny business. Or at least, not an unfair amount of funny business. So, we have Bugs and Daffy sitting in a park somewhere, peacefully starting a game of chess. I enjoyed the way James above me explained how the order of play would be determined, so let’s roll with that and say Bugs tricked Daffy and he now has first move. Now, knowing Bugs, he can easily play mind games and lull Daffy into a false sense of security, culminating in him pulling off some complicated gambit to clinch the win. But doesn’t that sound anticlimactic? Bugs just…winning a friendly game of chess? I don’t know about you, but if I was Bugs I wouldn’t care about some dumb board game. Daffy obviously would, though, since he constantly feels the need to prove himself. The way I see it, Bugs throws the game, letting his pitiable pal feel good about himself, and then hands over his beloved carrot as a trophy. Daffy is giddy with pride, so he takes a bit of the carrot without noticing the fuse trailing back to Bugs. The thing blows and Daffy is sporting a back-bill for weeks. He won the game, but he lost the war.

The Results

Daffy Duck wins 2-1

Well talk about not being hackneyed! Looks like we’ve not only gotten ourselves out our funk, we’ve gotten Daffy out of his too, finally finding him a contest he can win. Of course, knowing Daffy, he probably won’t give us a lick of credit. He’s despicable. It’s times like this that we all wonder what the venerable Porky Pig would have to say. We think it would go a little something like this: “W-w-w-w-w-w-w-well that was bullsh*t!” Gosh. The mouth on that guy.

Monday Match-Ups: The Flintstones vs. The Jetsons

The Flintstones vs. The JetsonsThe Setup

If the last half hour of Meet the Parents and the same five Malcolm in the Middle reruns we see on cable have taught us anything, it’s that family is the most important thing in this world. Family members will stick by you through thick and thin, and will always be there to pick you up when you’re down, to support you when times are tough, and to take you to that one drive-through that inexplicably serves car-teetering dinosaur ribs. And, it’s comforting to know that family has been and always will be there, from the Stone Age to the Space Age. Of course, what’s a good family gathering without a little conflict? That’s why this week we’re throwing a wrench in floating treadmill system by asking…Which family would win Family Feud, The Flintstones or The Jetsons?

The Contenders

The Flintstones: Fred Flintstone, Wilma Flinstone, Pebbles Flintstone, Barney Rubble, Betty Rubble
The Jetsons: George Jetson, Jane Jetson, Judy Jetson, Elroy Jetson, Rosie

The Verdicts

Allen: As the stage lights turn to focus on our contestants, the crowd gets a look at the two families competing today. Fred’s in one corner picking his teeth with a prehistoric fish bone, ready to win some money. The Jetsons have been preparing all week, and they have the benefit of a robot maid to potentially give them answers. But what does it take to truly be “good” at a game show? Besides luck, it requires reflexes, know-how, and teamwork. As a family unit, the Flintstones have this game in the bag. Without the distractions of the Jetsons’ floating utopia to keep them busy, the Flintstones had time to sit around the stone dinner table and just practice some Family Feud. Even with the benefit of years and years of research, the Jetsons couldn’t find time to learn any of the tricks or even the rules of the game. Rosie manages to stumble upon a good answer at the toss-up, but nobody expected little baby Pebbles to score the top answer on the board. Betty and Wilma also did quite a bit of people-watching at the hair salon just a day before this match, and the family wins the game in a legendary sweep.

James: From the first look at the nuclear families, it would seem that they’re both lacking something: the right number of contestants. Sure, Wilma, Fred and Pebbles are capable, but they still need 2 members, and those members really make or break the team. So who do they choose? Bamm-Bamm could work, or even Dino, but it’s fairly obvious to me that the Flintstones would have to bring in Barney and Betty, who are technically not family members, but close enough for television. I would like to submit that the fan theory is true, and that the Flintstones actually came after the Jetsons, due to their technology which revived the dinosaurs. I would also like to submit that the Flintstones are still a Stone Age family, and as such, they lack any sort of contact with social media. The Jetsons on the other hand clearly have the advantage when it comes to knowledge of pop culture. Plus, for their fifth member, they can just reprogram Rosie their robotic maid. Hey, that’s not against the rules yet. It seems pretty obvious to me that the Jetsons have the competitive advantage.

Magellan: In my opinion, the best Monday Match-Ups are the one’s that seem like no-brainers at first glance, but are actually much more complex the deeper you dig. After all, if you boil this one down to “Who would do better in a game show, a caveman or a spaceman?” the overwhelming majority will favor the spaceman (especially those of us who lost a half an hour of our lives to the first episode of ABC’s Cavemen). Factor in with that the fact that the spacemen have a walking, talking computer-for-brains maid on their team and it all spells Earth-shattering, meteor-sized annihilation for the Flintstone family. However, and I hate to say this on account of my not-so-shameful crush on Jane Jetson (I feel she is unfairly marginalized in the theme song, but that’s a conversation for another mindless ramble), I think the Flintstones still have the edge here. See, if this were any game other than Family Feud, I might see the Jetsons walking away with a victory. As it stands, though, Family Feud isn’t about smarts, it’s about common sense, it’s about really knowing your fellow man. Sure, the Jetsons have flying cars and a fancy robot, but they’re isolated in their future bubbles. The Flintstones have worked shoulder-to-shoulder with their fellow Bedrockians to rebuild their post-nuclear, post-mutation, post-apocalyptic wasteland of a home (once again, another mindless ramble). Not only are the Flintstones better-equipped to play a game all about knowing the thoughts of the common man, they also have so much more to gain by winning.

The Results

The Flintstones win 2-1

It gets tiring sometimes, to be split on the Match-Up verdicts every week. But hey, it’s a living. Not really, though, since none of us here at Pop Modern are going to be spending our mounds of blog cash on a sassy robot maid and a hoop-skirt-clad trophy wife anytime soon. For now, we’re content to pass the time with our families, and to picture Bamm-Bamm furiously whacking Richard Dawson on the head after he tries to lay some of that sweaty charm on Betty Rubble, with Barney belly laughing in the background. Those are the kinds of thoughts that make years of pop culture obsession worthwhile.

Monday Match-Ups: Lucky the Leprechaun vs. The Trix Rabbit

Lucky the Leprechaun vs. The Trix RabbitThe Setup

It may be Labor Day, but that doesn’t mean we here at Pop Modern are going to stop putting in the grueling effort it takes to make a steady series of nonsense pop culture fluff pieces and editorials. It does mean, however, that all the heavy-hitters we usually have on tap for the Monday Match-Ups are taking the day off, so we had to do some searching to find two contenders who were willing to get up early and debase themselves for our enjoyment. We eventually hit sweet, sweet pay dirt, giving us the chance to ask…Who would better orchestrate a heist, Lucky the Leprechaun or The Trix Rabbit?

The Contenders

Lucky the Leprechaun: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lucky_Charms
The Trix Rabbit: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trix_(cereal)

The Verdicts

Allen: My favorite thing about this week’s contest is picturing the respective heists going tits-up. There are a few consistent tent poles to any heist: the motivation, the plan, the execution, and the back-up. For the sake of simplicity, I’m going to assume that they both employ the Monsters Cereals crew (Boo Berry, Count Chocula, and that rascal Franken Berry). The Berry brothers need to steal their family diamond from Captain Crunch, who plans to sell it on the chocolate milk seas for riches galore. So we have our motivation in both heists.

The Plan: Infiltrate the Captain’s boat and retrieve the Berry Diamond from his safe. Lucky is already bitter because he discovered that his rainbow charms were stowed in Mr. Crunch’s offshore account, so he is going for the more violent approach on Cap himself. The Trix Rabbit is actually bounding with excitement, and his plan is to air drop onto the ship, have Franken knock out a couple of the famous Crunch Guards while Boo possesses Captain Crunch, unlocks the safe, and retrieves the diamond.

Execution: Turns out Cap was prepared for an attack on his life. He draws his sugar-coated blade, and engages in a fight to the death with our Irish infiltrator. It’s an intense battle, with neither side taking the upper hand. They end up knocking over the safe, and Count Chocula transforms into his ChocoBat form, grabs the diamond, and flees the scene with all the treasure. Never trust a count. Mr. Rabbit successfully infiltrates the quarters, grabs the gem, and escapes. However, Boo loses control of Cap’n. He steers the boat into an iceberg of pure sugar off the coast of Kosovo, and the ship begins to sink.

Back-Up: As the captain is crunchitized to an early grave, the chase is on to catch Chocula. Many lives are lost, but the weight of the diamond is too much for him, and it falls into the ocean. Dig’Em the Frog finds the diamond several hundred years later. Trix Rabbit knows how to use his crew, and he orders Boo Berry to phase through the deck, grab the diamond, and meet him back at the old General Mill a few miles away. Trix packed a jetpack, that brilliant bunny. He flies away, and lives off of the heist money for the rest of his life. But he never forgot the hard work and sacrifice of the oldest Berry brother.

James: In the quest to steal the Sugar Crystal from  General Mills’ personal vault, we have the Trix rabbit in one corner, and Lucky the Leprechaun in the other. Let’s choose to believe that the two of them will be allotted their typical assortment of tricks. The Rabbit will have his range of disguises, and Lucky will have his magically delicious Lucky Charms. The Trix Rabbit would use a range of clever disguises and his natural speed and jumping power to get to the Crystal easily enough. Lucky, true to his character, would need to run from the guards who keep chasing him for his Lucky Charms. Using the power of his magic Charms he could escape for long enough to get to the Crystal. So with both characters at their goal, who would walk away with the prize? Lucky will obviously be found, and his new-found Crystal taken away. But what of the Rabbit? Well, archive footage (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y9wrx8YHH8Ahttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qNUJsJMWB5I) has shown us that the Trix Rabbit has indeed eaten Trix cereal on multiple occasions. Therefore, there is a small chance, but the Rabbit has a chance at getting away with his crime. Therefore, if either of them would win, it would be the Trix Rabbit.

Magellan: When it comes to pulling off a complex heist, you need a leader who can turn things around when it looks like everything is lost, who has a few tricks up his sleeve, who posesses the charisma and leadership ability to steer a wayward crew onto the path of success. Now, if I told you that you had to knock over a casino (we’ll say it’s a sugar casino or some nonsense, to keep with the cereal theme that my own partners in crime have stuck to so far), who would you rather have as your leader: a hapless rabbit who is continually thwarted by children, or a man with magic powers and a charming Irish accent? This isn’t rocket science, it’s just business. Lucky the Leprechaun not only has a better cereal and more documented success in his capers, he’s a straight-up magical creature, complete with supernatural abilities and (I can only assume) a pot of gold replete with the bounty of previous heists. Sure, the Trix Rabbit can talk, but that’s about all he’s good for, and when it comes time to dodge lasers and pick locks talking won’t do you much good. Plus, it’s not like Lucky’s name just popped out of nowhere. I can picture it now, George Clooney in the role, turning to the owner of the casino and winking “Why do you think they call me ‘Lucky?'” just as the ceiling blows open and he’s airlifted to safety. Can you picture him doing that in a bunny costume? Of course not, that would be silly.

The Results

The Trix Rabbit wins 2-1

Well, we might as well tell you now, this Match-Up was actually commissioned by General Mills as a way of testing the waters for their first foray into show business. See, they already have Soderbergh on to direct, and actors lined up around the block to audition, but they just weren’t quite sure which character would fit best in the lead. As of now we’re looking at Trix’s Eleven hitting theaters in about two years, but there’s still time to change that. If you have something to say about this cataclysmic shift in both the breakfast food and summer blockbuster landscapes, go ahead and vote in our poll and say something down in the comments section. Also, we recently set up a twitter account (twitter.com/PopModernBlog) so give that a follow so as to not miss out on future breaking nonsense.

Monday Match-Ups: Mozart vs. Beethoven

Mozart vs. BeethovenThe Setup

It’s about time we here at Pop Modern had a good, old-fashioned battle of the bands. After all, the world of amateur rock music competitions is both charmingly amateur and essential for any new bands trying to find success. With the rise of the Internet, publicity has become even more integral to a band’s success, and it all relies on a good frontman. Or woman. Either way, the face of a band needs to be unique, charismatic, and representative of the group’s ideals and goals. That’s why, this week, we’re scouring the annals of history for some centuries-old rock stars, and we’re bringing these two titans of old-people-piano-music-without-words into the ring (or octogon, or rhombus, or whatever shape our Match-Up arena is) by asking… Who would be a better frontman at a battle of the bands, Mozart or Beethoven?

The Contenders

Mozart: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mozart
Beethoven: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beethoven

The Verdicts

Allen: Austria vs. Germany. Mozart vs. Beethoven. It’s a well-known fact that German rock stars have put on some of the craziest and most memorable performances on stage. Beethoven joins the likes of Kraftwerk and Rammstein in that mysterious land’s history of hardcore guitar solos and badass performances. The scenario goes like this: in one corner, Beethoven is adjusting his electric keyboard to match the tune of his band’s metal reimagining of his 5th Symphony. In the other corner, Mozart is about to begin his passionate version of his famous Requiem piece. The chorus swells, his fingers dance along the keys like a ballet artist, and the crowd is enraptured. Beethoven himself is almost brought to tears. The vocals come in, and it’s his cousin Lukas, who grabs hold of the mic, and emits a chorus so powerful that it shakes the theater.

“MY TURN!” shouts Beethoven from across the way. He immediately rips off his shirt, gray hair flowing everywhere. He pulls out an electric guitar, and starts to shred on the first movement of his reworked 5th. Every note is impeccable. What’s a Mozart to do? Play harder, of course! The Requiem and the 5th blend like two fine paints on a canvas of rock. With one last trick up his sleeve, Beethoven begins to play at his supposed actual tempo, which is much too fast to even compose. It’s also too fast for poor old Mozart, and as Salieri comes in to sweep up his sade side of the stage, Beethoven continues to play like a madman. It’s truly a sight to behold, and the prize goes to the old Ludwig Van himself.

James: As if it were even a question, Beethoven would definitely be the better front man for a band. Mozart was a child prodigy who grew up, and as we know from the child prodigies of the current era, child bands are a passing fad. Hannah Montana and The Jonas Brothers lasted for a very short amount of time before they grew too old, and their careers blew up in their faces. Mozart’s young age of premier composition would not only place him on the losing edge from the start, but he would need to drastically try to change his persona in order to come up with a fresh start that the audience would enjoy. Beethoven, on the other hand, has a definite metal vibe. As a front man for a heavy metal band, Beethoven has it all going on. His primary language of German sounds fairly evil as is, the scowl on his face would make him a credible post punk alternative, and the whole deaf rocker routine is sure to go over well with the crowd, in addition to the fact that he no longer needs headphones or any sort of ear protection. It seems obvious to me that Beethoven is the clear winner.

Magellan: I’d never thought I’d find myself having to defend Mozart in some kind of musical competition, but in the interest of never having a single Monday Match-Up reach a unanimous verdict I will champion him. Of course, let me start by saying that, when it comes to the music itself, I’m more of a fan of Beethoven. He’s got raw emotion backing him, and (like James mentioned) that whole deafness thing will probably help with his on-stage endurance. Plus, in the grand, geological timescale of things, Baroque is closer to rock than Classical is. But anybody who’s seen Amadeus (a movie I love deeply, despite its blatant historical inaccuracies) knows that Mozart was anything but straight-laced. He was a party animal, a boozer, and a tortured genius. Beethoven may have that third one down, but he strikes me as much stuffier. He’s the kind of guy that would bang away on the keys in his parlor, but wouldn’t be able to translate that energy to the stage. The audience members at a battle of the bands would be a bunch of party animals and boozers. They would be Mozart’s people. I can much more easily picture Mozart kneeling down and wailing out a killer guitar solo, sticking his tongue out at some bouncy co-ed in the front of the teeming crowd than I can picture Beethoven doing such a thing. Maybe that’s just because I feel more attached to Beethoven’s image as a dignified composer, while the Amadeus fan in me is already used to playing with Mozart’s public image, but that’s just how I come down on this one. Mozart seems like a Freddy Mercury-type, while Beethoven strikes me as more of a Brian May. Both incredibly talented, but one would feel a bit more comfortable strutting around in leather and chest hair than the other.

The Results

Beethoven wins 2-1

There you go, further proof that there is no historical or cultural figure safe from our weekly, goofy bastardizations. Next week, tune in as we weigh in on a Gandhi vs. Mother Teresa mud-wrestling match. Just kidding, we’re not doing that one. At least, not next week, anyway. But hey, what are we doing thinking about next week when we aren’t even done with this week? After all, you still haven’t voted in our poll, or spoken your mind down in the comments section. Go ahead, chew us out for dressing up these beloved figures like late-90’s Ken dolls. Or, let us know if you want historical figures to come Bach for more. We have no shame.