I was going to write a big long email about how some people on the internet are jerks, but I think the easiest thing to do is just link to an example* of what not to do, and move on to something that is awesome.

So what is awesome today? The combination of this song and video by 30 Second to Mars.**

But let's back up for a second. A long time ago, in a land called 1994, there was a show called My So-Called Life. It starred Claire Danes as a teenage girl trying to figure out who she wanted to be, and even though it was an amazing show, it only lasted a season.*** And on that show, Claire (who played a girl named Angela Chase) was in love with a boy named Jordan Catalano.

Oh, Jordan. Don't you just love the way he leans?

Anyway, Jordan was the Bad Boy. He probably wasn't going to graduate from high school, he had a LOT of girlfriends, he was a musician, and he was totally wrong for Angela. But she loved him and so, by extension, did the audience.

Jordan was played by Jared Leto, a fairly talented actor who's also been in Fight Club and Requiem for a Dream,**** among other things. Then, while his acting career was on an upswing, Mr. Leto decided to form a band, and we have 30 Seconds to Mars.***** At first, popular opinion was all "ooh, another actor trying to be a rock star. This is going to suck."******

But then, they didn't suck. I mean, they weren't the next coming of The Beatles (they weren't even the next coming of Oasis, if you catch my drift), but they had some solid songs and good stage presence (hello, he's an actor) and they opened for some popular acts and people bought their album. And everyone sort of assumed that that would be it, that Jared Leto would go back to being an actor and The End. Thanks for playing.

And he did continue acting, in Alexander with Colin Farrell, and Panic Room with Jodie Foster, and in a bunch of independent films. But he also made another record. And this video for "The Kill", which is an homage to The Shining. And this video for "From Yesterday", which is an homage to samurai movies. And the songs -- which are decent -- somehow become better when they're accompanied by these amazing videos that, in scope and execution, are much much bigger than a second tier emo rock band has any right to make, which I guess is what happens when your lead singer is a semi-famous actor, right?

Anyway, their third album came out in December, and they recently released this video for the song "Kings and Queens" and, once again, genius. Again, the song is decent -- I like it better than "The Kill" and about as much as "From Yesterday" -- but the video? The video makes the song epic. It captures perfectly the feeling of hope and possibility (that's both evoked in and rebuked in the song) and is visually arresting and it made me stop in the middle of my living room and watch it, even though I was already running behind on my way to work. And not just because Jared Leto is pretty.

In other words: 30 Seconds to Mars--a good band that makes great videos.


* I'm talking about the behavior of certain people in the comments of that post, by the way. The author's behavior that is described is just foolhardy and eager and ill-advised, but not jerky.

** You know what's not awesome? The inability to embed the video. Whatever.

*** In some ways, it's short life made the show even more amazing. It's a single perfect season--no sophomore slump, no mistakes in story line, no bad stunt casting.

**** If you ever want to scare someone into not taking drugs, show them Requiem for a Dream. Seriously, that movie is so disturbing it makes trainspotting look like My Fair Lady.

***** Which is not a great band name. In My So-Called Life, Jordan's band was named Frozen Embryos. Now, that's a band name.

****** No offense to Keanu Reeves or Kevin Bacon or Billy Bob Thorton, but actor bands usually suck. A lot. Okay, I guess there's no way to say that without offense. Sorry.


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