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[Pictures_of_You_#_25: You_Still_Got_It_Baby]

Now, all y'all might be wondering, at this point, why I, DIERDRE KEATING, haven't fully DUG INTO the whole dystopian paranoia, "art is resistance" vibe. Quite frankly, it's because I'm not a fucking GEEK with HOURS to spend trolling the internet for anything even vaguely NIN related. More importantly, though, it's pretty tough for me to get all orgasmic about all this internet shit when it has so little of the key ingredient that hooks me every goddamned time: TRENT REZNOR.

Here, however, is something that I can TOTALLY get all orgasmic about. Something that inspires me to repeated use of the CAPS LOCK feature on my keyboard. Something that, I gotta confess, I will NEVER, EVER get enough of:


OH MY SWEET MOTHERFUCKING LORD, is Sparklepants looking hot. Check out that piercing look! His eyes are like FUCKING LASERS! Seriously: he should patent that shit. And, check out those tight little hips, and the way he's all scrumptiously bulky around the middle. Dudes, need I remind you of the things we can't see in this picture? The hairy chest? The fingers that go every which way, because they are so HYPERPOWER!!? Need I refresh your memory about those teeth that could eat a girl alive?

I think it's pretty clear that I'm going to need to hear the WHOLE of Year Zero before I make a comment, or give the huge proliferation of wierd websites more than a cursory look, but one thing is as clear as FUCKING DAYLIGHT:

Trent Reznor is the hottest man EVER.

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I remember once, being at the tender age of fifteen, and saying 'Oh my god, muscly guys and hairy chests are disgusting, ew."
But this was at around the same time that I thought Linkin Park was a great band and that Ville Valo was the most sexy man to walk the planet.

I think Sparklepants is like, 80% if the reason I changed my mind.
I hate to talk about anyone like a piece of meat, but god damn.
I said god dayum.

Posted by: RainbowVomit | Feb 24, 2007 11:47:08 AM

Ayyymehhhn sistah! I wanna rub my face all up in that shit! And I agree, I'm so not into the crazy teenybopper pre release stuff. It's interesting but I am soooo not able to keep up. I'm happier riding coat tails but even that sometimes is hard to keep track of. Thanks for keeping it sexy with hot pics of Trent.
If he looked at me like that I'd roll over like a puppy and submit.

Posted by: Prism | Feb 24, 2007 1:16:16 PM

The point of the picture wasn't to make you drool, DIerdre, it was to introduce the Art Is Resistance logo that is feature on The Pastor's jacket.

Man, I miss the days when you were a REAL fan and in touch with what Trank was doing.

To quote Trent from his Spiral blog, "What you are now starting to experience IS "year zero". It's not some kind of gimmick to get you to buy a record - it IS the art form... and we're just getting started. Hope you enjoy the ride."

I'm sorry you feel the need to marginalize Trent's new art form as the sole terrain of "Geeks" with "hours" on their hands (particularly since you and I first started this site under those very same parameters ourselves, back in La Jolla, before you found greater fulfillment abroad and I became an International Rock Icon).

Perhaps it's time you lay down your verbal sword and accept the Artist's work for what it is -- something far deeper, meaningful, and all-encompassing that just a mere rock record.

Posted by: Gabriel | Feb 24, 2007 1:17:35 PM

Oh, and RainbowVomit and Prism? It's not shocking that you two are too fucking stupid to be able to think, which is what YEAR ZERO demands, and instead just bask in the surface feature glow of an aging man.

No, it doesn't suprise me at all that you completely miss the point. Because that's what WHORES do.

Posted by: Gabriel | Feb 24, 2007 1:19:48 PM

If by "the art form" what Trent means is loads of logos in poster, sticker, stencil, and whatnot form, which is all I see on that site, then, uh...


I guess I'll wait for the record.

But, it strikes me that if "art is resistence," which, FUCK YES, IT FULLY IS, then it seems to me that I'd like to resist that fucking logo... which, yeah, I totally saw as the point of that photo. It was over-shadowed by the real thing that is interesting in NIN: that human being.

Posted by: Dierdre | Feb 24, 2007 2:48:22 PM

And I think to myself, "What a wonderful website."

Posted by: Hannah | Feb 24, 2007 3:03:32 PM

For the record, I am indeed one of those "geeks" who is following this whole madness, but only to the extent that I let the even bigger geeks at ETS do all the legwork and theorizing for me. I'm really in it for the "leaked" tracks.

And pictures like the one above, which incidentally is now my desktop image. I'm also looking forward to whatever interviews he does between now and the record's release, should he choose to be so gracious.

Posted by: emerald527 | Feb 24, 2007 4:08:27 PM

Actually, D, what he meant by "the art form" is a participatory new media experience, with, thus far, an extremely well-crafted and well written narrative, and an impressively elaborate fictional world of The Pastor's devising. And there's more to come.

I'm tickled pink, and am loving that it's finding such a broad audience. Even though there are many who want to pick away at it, discredit it, and want to watch it come down.

Posted by: Gabriel | Feb 24, 2007 4:50:23 PM

Oh Gabriel, I'm artistically telling you to go suck yourself.

Posted by: Prism | Feb 24, 2007 10:38:20 PM

It's not as if 'basking in the surface feature glow of an aging man' and following the Year Zero stuff are mutually exclusive.

Not to mention that the rebellion thing is old news by now, and it was old news when this post was made.
Been there, done that, got the wallpaper.

I've seen as much stuff as I've had time for in relation to Year Zero, but I'm not being particularly active with it. I really don't have the time to be active with it, and I don't have the patience to put up with all the fanbrats.

Seriously, every NIN-related site I choose to haunt is saturated with the stuff. "Hey guys, I have found a really really strenuous link between *this* and *this*, also I found a site that has absolutely fuck all to do with Year Zero but has the same name as one of the tracks, maybe it's a red herring, bla bla". The problem with this whole thing is that there are too many people who don't think and are pretending they do jumping all over it.

I just know that when it's all done with, all of those completely clueless fanbrats will be squealing about how "they got it all" and how "they guessed what would happen next", and I just don't have the wherewithal to put up with that.

So, if only to take a break from all the 'fans' and their "OMG I SAW THIS FIRST", I will happily post about how lovely Trent is.

Posted by: RainbowVomit | Feb 24, 2007 11:51:13 PM

Okay, here is Maise's Official Position on the Year Zero Alternate Reality Game (because I know you were all waiting for this):

I actually agree with Gabriel for once and will second that it is complex and well-written, and that's what draws me into this fictional world. That won't stop me from snickering at the SUPER SERIOUSNESS and OCCASIONAL PRETENTIOUSNESS of the entire project, but personally, I can't wait to see what's next!

It's Orwellian, and there's a touch of the supernatural. Maybe "The Presence" is merely an Opal- or Parepin-induced hallucination, but I do not believe that it's meant to be. I believe that Trent Reznor is saying that there is a God, and that He is PISSED. Which is a very interesting concept.

I mean, yeah, all the morse code and steno-spectro-blah, blah, blah-ography is purposely confounding and obscurantist, but that's the whole GAME of it, and you're not obligated to spend HOURS looking for hidden links to enjoy Year Zero. That's what college kids are for--to do all the heavy lifting and uncover all the new sites and wade through The Worst Toilet in Scotland for thumb drives.

I am thrilled that Trent is dabbling in fiction and a new way to present his work. I think that he has thoroughly exhausted the tortured confessional song and that with With_Teeth, he achieved a natural resolution to that whole story arc of addiction, destruction, and redemption. So I'm on board the train. But I like to think of it as one of those nice European trains where you can buy little sandwiches and Cadbury candy bars.

Posted by: maise | Feb 25, 2007 12:05:16 AM

Maise: As regards "The Presence", I agree with your interpretation, and I also agree that it's refreshing and truly subversive in a delightful way. At the same time, I think it's also just SO OBVIOUS. I mean, this is TRENT we're talking about, here, and maybe, at this point, he's put together in his mind some sense of just who, exactly, is responsible for the "Terrible Lie" he was so angry about in days of yore. That's awesome.

I feel, to some extent, clubbed over the head. I mean, as an adult -- and let's just drop the pretense here, and admit it: I am totally not 23 years old -- and as someone who does totally rejects the ultra-"Christian", ultra-greedy, totally venal, irredeemably violent, inhumane, and totally revolting Bush doctrine, as someone who totally knows that it's not too late to complain loudly, and to resist it, and finally, as someone who FULLY BELIEVES that "art is resistence" more than she believes practially ANYTHING ELSE, I just wonder if there's a bone in it for me.

And by that, I mean Trent Reznor's cock.


Just kidding.

By the way: fucking scary and digusting article entitled "Baghdad Year Zero" here.

PS. I also wonder if "resistence" means spreading a rock star's lackey-invented logo all over the place, and then paying for concert tickets and yelling "WHOOO! NINE INCH FUCKING NAILS! WHOOOOOOO!!!!" or if it means a little something more.

I mean, I agree: it's all evocative, and interesting AS FAR AS IT GOES, but WHERE DOES IT GO?

Posted by: Dierdre | Feb 25, 2007 2:08:55 AM

...because, to just add one more thought, uniting people under some kind of graphic banner and calling it "resistence" has, I think, a sort of negatively illustrious history.

Maybe Gabriel was right.

Seriously: reread that post. I mean... right?

Posted by: Dierdre | Feb 25, 2007 3:11:41 AM

The other thing I want to know, and don't act like any of you know, ok, bitches? Is how much of this fictional world is of TRENT REZNOR'S creation? Is this the work of a marketing team? Is he writing this, or just approving it for publication?

I mean, I've spent the better part of the morning doing what I said I wasn't gonna, and reading the Year Zero websites, and I'm just saying: Trent isn't personally programming this shit into the internets. He's no doubt got a hand in producing it and it is no doubt emerging straight out of the Empire of Dirt without the aid of some record company corporate group-think, but who is doing it? Who is writing it?

Where is Trent in all this?

Maise, I agree that the tortured confessional is SO USED UP in the Reznor ouevre, but I still think we gotta feel where he is in this, you know?

For me, it's still pretty vague.

Posted by: Dierdre | Feb 25, 2007 3:33:15 AM

Shut up, Dierdre. Seriously.

Posted by: Jane | Feb 25, 2007 3:40:54 AM

Is Rob Sheridan still doing the site and such? Because I'd assume that the graphical elements are still done by him, if that's the case, so the site layouts at least would be his work. They certainly look like his work.

I've no doubt that the story/world is Trent's and that he's masterminding the proceedings, but I'm not sure he'd be able to manage to write all the forum posts, websites etc inbetween touring and sorting out the new album. As much of a perfectionist as he is, I doubt he'd be as anal as to do all the writing or play all the parts in this.

He'll probably never explain how it was all done, either. Even when it's all done and dusted, it would take a lot out of it to have it picked apart, knowing who did what and such.

Posted by: RainbowVomit | Feb 25, 2007 4:25:43 AM

Also I'm going to punch myself in the ovaries if I use the phrase 'and such' one more time today.

Posted by: RainbowVomit | Feb 25, 2007 4:26:31 AM

Fuck you all. All of this was Manson's idea.

Posted by: Dom | Feb 25, 2007 4:35:50 AM

Well, well, well, look who's resurfaced! Our old pal Dom! Sure, Manson came up with the idea of making his website IMPOSSIBLE TO NAVIGATE and OBSCURELY SYMBOLIC and CONTENT-FREE, but I'm kind of waiting on some actual product from the hack.

Dierdre, I do feel you on the whole "preaching to the choir" aspect of Year Zero. I mean, I read the news, and contact my Congresspeople and vote and shit. At no point have I supported the Bush Administration and its constant efforts to take a dump on the Constitution and international law. And it's even more annoying to have to read messageboard posts from people who have Just! Found! A! Cause! So I ignore those for the most part.

Because there *is* a lot of complexity to be found in Year Zero, beyond the logos and the wallpaper. There are debates on active and passive resistance, and just as police bruality is maligned, there is one good cop character. And just as organized religion is mocked, there is a nun who has seen the light and whose martydom inspires the Angry Sniper. And although we see a lot of his point of view, he is not presented as a hero. I'm just very impressed with the whole project overall.

As for authorship, Trent is working with a company, 42 Entertainment, to develop these websites. So no, I don't think we can credit all authorship of the ARG to Trent. However, he is adamant that this is more than mere marketing. The websites are part of the statement he's trying to make. He has interviewed that while he was on the With_Teeth tour, he was daydreaming about the end of the world, so I wouldn't be suprised if a LOT of the plotline is his.

We all know that sure, Trent's not screwing in every light bulb, but he sure as hell isn't letting a light bulb be screwed in without his approval and input.

Posted by: maise | Feb 25, 2007 6:25:39 AM

Ok, so I've just read the Entertainment 42 website, and here's what it says they do:

Original Content Production: As an independent producer, we develop ground-breaking, monetized entertainment experiences for our distribution partners.
Innovative Marketing Campaigns: As a standalone agency, we drive brand engagement and ROI by immersing consumers in our clients' brands.

So, I guess, at the end of the day, regardless of the clever complexity of it all on a narrative level, I wonder if this is all about a "monetized" experience, and ROI.

I mean, I'm totally not discounting the need to make these projects profitable and viable, and I am delighted to contribute to Trent Reznor's making of a living, but I feel like immersing a message like "art is resistence" in a carefully constructed marketing scheme is pretty fucking disingenuous. I'm wondering if it doesn't totally cheapen both the message and the sentiment, and make dupes of anyone who embraces and participates in it. I mean, all the pigs, all lined up, right?

I particularly like Entertainment 42's page about "the audience" for their marketing plans, here. Frankly, I just react strongly against this kind of calculated, constructed, and quantified participation. I feel like the main complexity here is the way the things the whole alternative world is "saying" on a conceptual level are totally at odds with what it actually is: a plot to sell you something.

Posted by: Dierdre | Feb 25, 2007 7:05:55 AM

Oh, D. I think you're being kind of harsh. The people who do these ARGs aren't doing it for free. They're obviously very creative and skilled, but they, like everyone else, have to make a living. Trent probably does not have the time or the technical know-how to design all these sites himself. Maybe he doesn't think of himself as a writer. So he finds someone else to do it really well. I personally have no problems with that.

42 Entertainment is, in the end, a marketing company. They have created similar clever ARGs to draw attention to various products. Trent says that Year Zero, however, is more than just marketing a new album, and I believe him. We'll just have to wait and see how it all turns out.

Trent is making a political statement, which puts him at risk of being accused of not being authentic, genuine, intellectual, pure, etc. etc. enough. And yes, he wants his fans to think and he wants to express his personal beliefs, but he also means to entertain, through music...and a game. He's not running for Congress or setting himself on fire in front of the United Nations. At the end of the day, he's creating an album and an accompanying game. One that is based in fiction and makes people think...and it's really cool so far.

Posted by: maise | Feb 25, 2007 8:01:19 AM

Just want to throw this into the mix... Trent's latest blog entry on The Spiral:

02/16/07:everybody's got oneExciting times. Maddening times. Somebody needs to get the internet working in Europe for one. The term "marketing" sure is a frustrating one for me at the moment. What you are now starting to experience IS "year zero". It's not some kind of gimmick to get you to buy a record - it IS the art form... and we're just getting started. Hope you enjoy the ride. Current Mood: OK

So... yeah.

Posted by: Jane | Feb 25, 2007 8:09:03 AM

Marilyn Manson: Oh Holy One. You take one pale, drugged, smart, guy and give him a record deal. You get Marilyn Manson. He's not that cool. He's just a dickhead who showed off his gorgeous wife and then cheated on her. Seriously, if you compare his lyrics to Trent's lyrics what do you get? A lot more brains from the Reznor side of the family.
And serial killers aren't cool.

Posted by: Hannah | Feb 25, 2007 10:23:19 AM

And lest we forget kids, despite the legendary "nine inch nails is trent reznor" slogan, it's not like The Pastor himself is recording every sound, designing every synth patch, and pressing "record" on ProTools himself everytime he lays down a guitar lick through a bunch of pedals (that, coincidentally, Atticus Ross is twiddling the knobs on).

Huge sections of The Fragile were created not by Trank, but by the Nucca Man Charlie Clouser, Danny Lohner, and all the other guys involved at the time. Same with Keith Hilldebrandt in the Spiral days. To think that the records are his pure, absolute, sole artistict work, from his hands and his hands only, is to ignore the obvious reality and buy into Trent's well-crafted self-marketing hook.

Ultimately, his work lies, in my mind, under the auteur theory we ascribe to great filmmakers. These filmmakers direct, and often write their material, but they are not lighting every shot, they are not performing every role, they are not scoring the picture themselves. However, there is no doubt that the films that result are an expression of said auteur's personal vision. You know a Kubrick film, a Fincher film, a Hitchcock film when you see one, and they are undeniably their own.

Trent's work has been a collaborative medium for some time -- even Pretty Hate Machine and broken were mixed by other people, who left their creative stamp on the work. I think in this case, 42 Entertainment is just a well oiled movie crew, hand-picked by the auteur in question (The Pastor) for their skill and excellence, and executing his vision to his specifications.

Posted by: Gabriel | Feb 25, 2007 2:06:06 PM

Gabe, you and I are in total agreement, but you really MUST stop calling him "The Pastor."

Posted by: maise | Feb 25, 2007 2:36:57 PM

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