Lists / Trash

Filthy Dreams’ Fanatical Superlatives of 2021

Tim Dillon’s “Daddy” NFT

*Blows horn* *shoots confetti cannon* Happy New Year, dearest Filthy Dreams readers! Has it been a year or five? We can’t figure it out either. Can you believe the one year anniversary of the Capitol insurrection is only a few days away? Screw New Year’s Eve, what are you planning for that day? Storming a Cheesecake Factory that asks for your vaccine card? Flying the American flag outside of an Applebee’s? Getting arrested after bursting through the doors of Burger King without a mask?

None of the above? Harrumph! Ho-hum. We better do something as next year looks as bleak as this one. So what is there to do other than twerk with a turd in Vegas like Katy Perry? Remember when there was talk of a cultural renaissance post-vaccine? Well, I think it’s here! 

As we look forward to 2022’s Omicron variant super-spreaders, hours-long lines for COVID tests, the 27th booster shot, and sniffing and coughing our way through CDC guidelines, we wanted, as we often do, to celebrate some of the best of 2021 as only we know how: through fanatical superlatives! So grab a cup of monoclonal antibodies or ivermectin (whatever your taste may be!) and cozy up to our favorites of 2021:

Best NFT: Tim Dillon “Daddy”

The only logical place to start our fanatical superlatives is with the only artistic medium that matters in 2021: NFTs, otherwise known as non-fungible tokens for you boomers and losers who didn’t bother to do mountains of coke and get COVID at Gary Vee’s Art Basel Miami Beach party. In 2021, NFTs took over both art and business, or really the monstrous combination of the two where much of the art world currently exists as the last completely unregulated market for war criminals to launder money! What exactly is an NFT? Don’t ask me, but we, here at Filthy Dreams, are in full support. Hey, maybe we’ll launch our own series of NFTs in 2022—anything can happen in the future! But since we haven’t yet accomplished that goal, we’d like to direct you to our favorite NFT. No, it’s not by Bored Ape or Beeple—just flashes in the pan of this medium! Sure, they may make millions of dollars at Christie’s but are they CEOs of Fake Business? I think not! We’re talking, of course, about one of our favorite comedians, podcasters, fake business moguls, and true minority who doesn’t fit into his own minority Tim Dillon whose NFT “Daddy” sold for a whopping 5 Ethereum earlier this year. What is his classic, timeless piece of art, you ask? A grotesque drag take on America’s sweetheart Meghan McCain as she hollers about having a baby with her heroic father John McCain and eventually wearing daddy’s “skin mask” to challenge that “riverboat casino captain” Donald Trump from the right! Is Megan McCain a fan of this NFT? Maybe not. But is it accurate?! Sort of! And anyway, what does Megan McCain know about ART?

Courtroom sketch by Jane Rosenberg

Best Artist: Ghislaine Maxwell

Though non-digital artwork is OVER, there are a few artists that can potentially inspire us forward-thinkers to come crawling back to this ancient medium. Namely, potential intelligence operative, blackmail enthusiast, and Epstein’s righthand woman Ghislaine Maxwell! (Hunter Biden is a close second!) Now, you’d be forgiven if you missed this since this trial got so little media attention at the end of 2021 perhaps because more than a few media folks took their own trips to Pedophile Island on the Lolita Express! For those who need the details filled in, Ghislaine managed to turn tired courtroom drawings on its head by glaring back at the courtroom sketch artist and giving it right back to her—by also drawing the artist! Two can play at this game lady! I would pay a lot of money to see a display of Ghislaine’s courtroom sketches. Hell, I’d curate it! In fact, I loved this display of antagonistic and misanthropic art making so much that I’d be tempted to say, unlike the actual jury, “Not guilty!” Paging, MoMA! Free Ghislaine!

Best Selfie: Lana Del Rey

Our blessed mother Lana Del Rey bestowed upon us two albums in 2021: the folksy road trip Chemtrails Over the Country Club and the diaristic and eclectic Blue Bannisters. Praise be! What a glorious year! But even more than dropping albums and leaving (most of us) on social media, Lana also created the best selfie to ever grace the Internet in 2021. Sitting pouting in a car with wild wavy hair, a necklace that reads, “Aloha,” and a quaalude stare, Lana knew this selfie was such high art that she used it, filtered through the PicsArt app (so much so that eventually she resembles a zombie), for three separate singles—“Blue Bannisters,” “Text Book,” and “Wildflower Wildfire”—released in May. In its repetition, the selfie, already, amusing with her deadpan glare, takes on more than a bit of camp in its extremity, the sullen sad girl driving fast that we’ve all come to know and love. 

The Vessel makes its appearance in Succession

Best Use Of A Public Art Eyesore: The Vessel in Succession

While we’ve already expressed hatred for another public art abomination—David Hammons’s Day’s End—on this website, Thomas Heatherwick’s Vessel, located in the abandoned luxury goods shopping mall/empty skyscraper office space Manhattan neighborhood Hudson Yards, rivals or even exceeds the ugliness of that construction by the river. A visual monstrosity resembling the rotating meat found in gyro shops, the public art sculpture consists of stairs upon stairs upon stairs, representing, unintentionally, the state of the American dream in 2021—a corporate-funded climb to nowhere like a M.C. Escher of late-stage capitalism. So it only makes sense that this public art eyesore has become a suicide hot-spot with four people dying after flinging themselves from its heights. And frankly, not to make light of their deaths, I get it. Once you get to the top, I can’t imagine feeling anything but deep emptiness and dread for the death of American promise. It makes me uncomfortable just walking around it! While some have called for the destruction of Vessel to prevent any more deaths (probably a good idea), my favorite television show Succession managed to use its ominous architecture as a not-so-subtle symbol of Don Jr.-esque Kendall Roy’s tumble into the abyss on his 40th birthday. After holding the most extravagantly depressing party perhaps ever put on film in Hudson Yards, a shit show of family dramatics, lost presents from children, sympathy blow job offerings, dancing to “let the demons out,” Oedipal birth canal tunnels, childhood tree house regression, paid affirmation from people covered in leaves, and canceled crucifixion theatrics, Kendall gazes despondently over his balcony, wrapped in a child-like security blanket, to look at…you guessed it…Vessel. Kendall NOOOOOOO!!

Lady Gaga in House of Gucci

Best Unsexist Sex Scene: Lady Gaga and Adam Driver in House of Gucci

The trailer of Ridley Scott’s film House of Gucci promised a camp romp, an exaggeration of Italianness that it seemed like a Mediterranean minstrel show. Unfortunately, the actual film didn’t live up to this potential—an exhausting, nearly three hour slog of confused storylines, characters that seemed if they were all acting in separate films, a mélange of various Italian accents, and whatever the hell Jared Leto was doing. It’s as if Scott watched The Assassination of Gianni Versace and tried to imitate it without any of the pathological lying charm, camp, or homicidal heroics that Murphy and Darren Criss bestowed upon Andrew Cunanan’s murder spree. Now, this isn’t to say enjoyment wasn’t to be found. After some time has passed since I saw the film in a theater of five people, I’ve come to appreciate just how deeply awful Lady Gaga’s performance was as murderess Patrizia Reggiani. In fact, I’ve even come around so much that I want her to win an Oscar for just how terrible her performance was. I mean, she deserves it alone for her strange, almost drag king outfit when meeting with hired killers with her favorite psychic medium (Salma Hayek). A mess of Method acting and self-seriousness, I was never sure what exactly we were supposed to glean about Patrizia. Were we supposed to root for her as a feminist hero? Were we supposed to think she was uncouth trash, ordering espresso and Pepsi at a ski lodge? And above all, were we supposed to find her at all sexy? The latter was certainly a failure and while the film itself never quite reached so-bad-it’s-good status, Lady Gaga’s unhinged attempts to give Patrizia sex appeal certainly transcended the film’s flaws. This is best seen in one of the unsexiest sex scenes I’ve witnessed since Midsommar. After Maurizio Gucci, played as Adam Driver by Adam Driver, left the Gucci family to work for Patrizia’s father’s trucking company, Maurizio found his own identity away from his family, romping and playing football with his fellow truckers. When he wasn’t spraying other truckers with a hose, he followed Patrizia into her father’s trailer office for some aggressive mid-workday coitus. Flinging Patrizia over her father’s desk, Maurizio struggles to get his shirt untucked and pants unzipped in frantic passion. Well, Patrizia doesn’t exactly wait for him as she bangs her head on the desk and grunts before his underwear is even down. It’s as if she’s having a seizure! Quick! Make sure she doesn’t swallow her tongue! 

Nick, Chaos, and Susie Cave

Best Pet: Chaos 

Everyone should have pets, but it’s even better when these pets are simply wild critters that wandered into your home and stayed! Fuck designer dogs like Biden’s newest puppy Commander! (Whatever happened to the best bad dog, Major?! I want proof of life!) It’s best to find your pets as they invade your home and steal all your hazelnuts! All of which to say the best pet of the year has to go to the Caves’ squirrels Chaos and to a lesser extent, Order, another British squirrel friend that seems to have more decency than Chaos. I first noticed the varmints becoming a part of the Cave household as The Vampire’s Wife founder and Nick Cave’s wife Susie began posting Instagram stories of a squirrel bouncing all over their couch while Nick was on his Carnage tour with Warren Ellis. When he came home, did he boot out the fluffy-tailed rodent? Nope! As Nick’s newsletter The Red Hand Files attests with exasperation: “He has essentially moved in. He wasn’t our idea. We have no control over him.” What is Chaos like? Well, “Chaos doesn’t give a fuck about anything that we give a fuck about—like sleeping or working or watching TV. He has no sense of propriety no boundaries, no basic civility.” “We just want things to go back to the way things were,” writes Nick pleading for normalcy. Well, we certainly don’t! Long live, Chaos! 

Best Fan (Known): Warren Ellis in his book Nina Simone’s Gum

From squirrels to chewing gum, Bad Seeds members really upped the lunacy in 2021. Whereas Nick and Susie were letting wildlife into their home, Warren Ellis was penning an ode to his treasured belonging, Nina Simone’s chewing gum. For some background, in 1999, Cave curated the Meltdown Festival and booked Dr. Nina Simone. Before her performance, Simone, who at this point was fairly unwell, stalked the stage, glared at the audience, and stuck her chewing gum onto the piano and then, proceeded to transform onstage through a transcendent performance. Moved to irrational devotional behavior, Ellis, after Simone left the stage, surged forward to pry her gum off the piano, saving it in her towel and stuffing it into a Tower Records bag, where it stayed for years. In the Cave-centered documentary 20,000 Days on Earth, Ellis revealed that he still had the gum as both Nick and Warren saw Simone’s performance as wholly influential to their own conception of the possibility of music and the stage. Years later, in preparation for Cave’s exhibition Stranger Than Kindness, Ellis offered to give Cave the gum for the Copenhagen show. Ellis’s recently published book, Nina Simone’s Gum, movingly traces the painstaking process of preparing the gum for exhibition, the white glove curatorial and conservational anxiety around its display, and the creation of numerous versions of the gum, including as jewelry, for preservation, as well as its growing role as a type of sacred object, a relic, that drives numerous people to tears who come into contact with it during this process. Beyond Simone’s chewing gum, Ellis delves into a handful of his other obsessions and hoarder tendencies to prove, as our own filth elder John Waters says, “Life is nothing if you’re not obsessed.”

Best Fan (Unknown): This Alanis stan in Jagged

We’re fully aware that Alanis Morissette herself doesn’t approve of the HBO Max documentary Jagged, which follows her astronomical rise during the 1990s. For us, though, the entire documentary was worth it to spot one particular Morissette stan. With his platinum blonde hair and Smashing Pumpkins “Zero” T-shirt, this anonymous sweetheart is singing his damn heart out to “Mary Jane” off of the classic Jagged Little Pill. Though “Mary Jane” is a definite belter (“It’s a LOOOOOONG WAYYYYYY DOOOOOOOWN! On this ROOOOOOOOOOLLER COASTER!!!”), this unnamed baby gay takes belting to new levels as he overpowers everyone around him to shout at the top of his lungs and flick on a lighter. We, here at Filthy Dreams, take frenzied fanaticism seriously, which is why we desperately want to know where he is now! If you know him or you ARE him, drop us a line! 

Best Musical Act: This Tambourine Player

2021 was a year of enraged and absurd activism, from both the left and the right. If we’re being honest, we, here at Filthy Dreams, have a long history of chuckling at activists, from giggling at Occupy Wall Street as we drank margaritas at the Seaport to planning to laugh at Indiana’s anti-Religious Freedom Restoration Act protestors but getting distracted by a New Orleans-style bar. This year was no different. One of our favorite protests had to be caused by the disruptor Dave Chappelle whose Netflix comedy special The Closer caused a national Twitter incident after he was accused of transphobia, homophobia, and a bunch of other phobias. I did watch the special and…well, at the risk of being “canceled,” was actually moved by his stories about his friend, up-and-coming comedian Daphne, a trans woman who I would have loved to see win back a crowd by snarking she had hardwood floors when someone asked whether her “carpets matched the drapes.” However, I’ll admit that I didn’t find Dave’s special anywhere near as entertaining as the protests surrounding it, which seemed to only strengthen the point of his special in pointing out how unhinged our culture has become. The best of these protests had to be the Netflix walkout that saw dozens of pro-and anti-Chappelle protestors duking it out. Though the pro-Dave folks were entertaining with their calls of “Jokes are Funny,” the real MVP was this person who, after someone broke a pro-Chappelle protestor’s sign and accused him of having a weapon, decided to get in his face, beat a tambourine, and scream, “REPENT MOTHERFUCKER!!!” Whew! I would expect that style of fire and brimstone from someone from the Westboro Baptist Church! But, man, what rhythm! Someone give this icon a record deal!

Best Impromptu Press Conference: This Lady

Who doesn’t get a little snoked on painkillers and booze before boarding a plane? In 2021, though, that has spelled some trouble as the air has become a conflict zone of intoxicated people angry about masks and diminished drink service. Every couple days this year it has seemed like someone is misbehaving in the skies and needs to be tied down by an entire roll of Duct Tape. Unfortunately, we’ve been on none of these flights. No fair! Nevertheless, we can enjoy some of these shit shows secondhand by the sheer amount of covert videos of their in-flight freakouts. Our favorite? This lady who decided to have a wall-eyed, gorked-out, Xanax fueled press conference to explain why she and her presumed husband were getting kicked off of a Jet Blue flight. Why, you ask? Well, let her tell you, apparently it’s because her son—never shown in this video—briefly took a mask off. But really, it doesn’t matter what the problem is. Just look at this star! Between her eyes that just won’t focus and her polished media presence, this woman is ready for the big time! Quick! See if she’ll replace Jen Psaki as the White House press officer!

Best In-School Freakout: This Lady

It’s not just airlines that have become hot beds of substance-fueled tempers. Schools and especially schoolboard meetings are now places for anti-vaxxers and anti-maskers to air out their face-friendly grievances to an exhausted audience. While we have a few runners-up including a woman singing tinfoil hat InfoWars-inspired Christmas carols and numerous amateur Beat poets, our absolute favorite furious anti-science lunatic was this lady who seems to be auditioning for a role in the next John Waters film! Just imagine that line delivered by Divine or Mink Stole! 

Ron Watkins and friend in Q: Into the Storm

Best Cult Documentary: Q: Into the Storm

During a year that started with a trash insurrection, the only cult documentary that would be appropriate to bestow one of our coveted Fanatical Superlatives would be the one that partially explains how the hell we got to the point where a man with horns is in the Senate Chambers: HBO’s Q: Into the Storm. The multi-part docuseries directed by Cullen Hoback not only delves into the loonies that explore QAnon conspiracies and broadcast them to the masses, including your aunt you sat beside on Christmas, on YouTube and Facebook. But, even better, the series also showcases the bizarre source of the crazy at the imageboard and Internet Wild Wild West 8chan, now known as 8kun, which hosts the famed board where Q posted his Q drops about those Satan-worshiping, baby-eating pedophiles. The true stars of this docuseries are Jim Watkins, the pen-obsessed mustachioed creepily dandyish owner of 8kun and his son and former administrator Ron Watkins, who is likely—Spoiler Alert!—Q himself and now a candidate for Congress in Arizona. Though minor in the entire QAnon web of batshit, perhaps my favorite scene features Ron encouraging Hoback to visit one of his most cherished establishments in Japan as a kind of initiation ritual—a place called Soapland where you get lathered up by hot babes. I wanna go! An extra bonus is footage of the Capitol insurrection set to a cover of Jefferson Airplane’s “White Rabbit,” an appropriate musical send-off for America’s collective realization that we are truly through the looking glass.

Gwen Shamblin Lara

Best Hair: Gwen Shamblin Lara

While we’re on the subject of cult documentaries, a close second has to go to HBO Max’s The Way Down: God, Greed, and the Cult of Gwen Shamblin, which explores the abusive Christian diet cult, the Remnant Fellowship, best known for their popular Weigh Down Workshop that encouraged people to turn to God rather than the fridge. The true knock-out of The Way Down was Remnant Fellowship’s vision of a leader Gwen Shamblin Lara who tragically died this year in a plane crash. Between getting rid of the Holy Trinity to install herself next to God, referring to the Holocaust as an effective weight loss method, and marrying a failed Tarzan in Manhattan actor, Shamblin would obviously be an immediate hero in our deranged eyes. However, apart from her unhinged actions, boy, did Gwen have a startling look! With hair nearly reaching heaven, Gwen’s blonde do’ rivaled Lady Bunny’s in sheer extravagant heights. Coupled with her heavy black eye makeup and gaunt physique, who needs food when you could be nourished by Gwen’s Tennessee trash aesthetics?! Move over, Dolly Parton! 

Best Career Change: Milo Yiannopoulos

On the subject of bleached hair, scammers never stop scamming, do they? At Filthy Dreams, we love when a grifter suddenly changes course. Case in point: Milo Yiannopoulos who made his name as a “dangerous” and gay conservative camp troll. Well, after being booted out of polite conservative society after suggesting that maybe relationships with teenagers like his alleged abuse by a priest isn’t all that bad, Milo is now a mullet-sporting “ex-gay” who is building a conversion therapy center in Florida after chucking his wedding ring, aka “Sodomy Stone,” into the ocean while guzzling vodka and chain-smoking cigs. When he isn’t claiming that dogs bark at him less now that he’s ex-gay or interviewing a member of Westboro Baptist Church, he’s hocking Virgin Mary statues on some Catholic version of QVC, called Church Militant! Say what you will, but Milo is certainly internalizing a whole lot of decadent literature! He, like Des Esseintes, knows that the most decadent act is finding religion! But more than simply being born again, we admire Milo’s ability to keeping the grift alive to sell! Sell! Sell! “I hope you know what I mean when I say there are good Mary’s and bad Mary’s,” he says. We do, Milo, we sure do.

Best Reasons to Live to 2022: Omicron! Just kidding, just kidding. John Waters’s first novel, Liar Mouth: A Feel-Bad Romance, Nick Cave and Sean O’Hagan’s Faith, Hope, Carnage, and Grimes’s album Book 1.

Leave a Reply