Posted by: sean | May 3, 2009

Consider the Pirated DVD

Four to five kids hawk pirated DVDs outside the grocery store. However, these aren’t your normal DVDs, these are behemoth 19-movies-on-one-DVD….DVDs. I’m not a scientist, so I’m not sure how they convinced 19 movies to squeeze onto one DVD. What I do know is that when I found out that it was possible to have 19 full-length, good quality movies on one DVD, I felt that my life until that point had been a sham. Newton’s classic conjecture, his oft cited Fifth Law of Playability (For every one DVD there is equally found one movie therein), stood mute in the face of a brave new science. In one cruel instant the DVD kids outside the grocery store shattered my understanding of the universe. How could I come from what all my elected officials describe as “the most blessed nation on the planet” to a third world country and find superior DVD technology? I pledged allegiance. One nation with DVDs with one movie. How were Liberians able to convince 19 movies to squeeze onto one DVD? Where does this talent come from? This begs further speculation: do Angolans drive cars that fly? Can Equatorial Guineans teleport? I need to know.

I managed to cope with the dizziness that came with knowing that the Fifth Law of Playability no longer applied. I blocked out more time for boundless movie watching. I purchased adequate amounts of popcorn. I made a deal with Alex, my go-to salesman (he won me over by referring to me as ‘Carter Center!’ instead of the usual ‘White Man!’ – I figured he deserved business since he had put time into market research), that I would buy a DVD from him every two weeks and in return he and his fellow DVD salesmen would allow me to pass through their gauntlet outside the store unmolested. We had a noble truce, but eventually I couldn’t keep up with the demanding viewing regime this arrangement required and our gentlemen’s agreement collapsed.

You can find most movies on the street. The majority are high quality, but the salesmen always hawk the ‘New One’ that has obviously been teleported directly from the theater to the salesman by an Equatorial Guinean. In this manner, I am able to read a review of, say, hypooooothetically, High School Musical III as it hits theaters in the U.S. and wander to the grocery store and find a copy. Not that this happened. I’m not a tweenybopper. But this may have happened inadvertently when procuring a DVD that also featured a non-tweenybopper movie. But I didn’t watch High School Musical III on said DVD. Necessarily…. But I may have watched it. There were a lot of movies on the DVD, it’s hard to keep track. But Zac Efron is definitely going places. Besides college.

The collections on each DVD are given creative yet bewildering titles and the packaging is outlandish. I am usually equal parts giggly and excited when I buy a new DVD as a result. (Except for the DVD that contained High School Musical III, which I bought RELUCTANTLY (but I was pleasantly surprised by the fine acting and Zac Efron’s deep, soulful eyes))

Now, since many of you live in countries where the GOVERNMENT is lying to YOU about the immutability of the Fifth Law of Playability, I’ve decided to walk through the jaw-dropping over-the-top packaging and logic of my favorite DVD, Creation of African Continent &The Crisis. Here is a picture of the front cover.

Anything jump out at you? Why does Adolf Hitler make an appearance here? Sure, WWII was global, Rommel and whatnot, but if we were to do some free association on the theme of Creation of African Continent & The Crisis, I doubt that the Fuhrer would come to mind. This is the first indication that this DVD is special.

The inlay promises a truly remarkable 26 movies inside. However, when we turn the case over and count the number of movies on the back (each one indicated by a separate picture), there are only 20 movies. Still remarkable, but where is the honesty? The basic numerical skills? The kind of numerical skills most people pick up by high school, and, if they’re lucky enough, maybe by the time they get to a high school where the Wildcat basketball team is captained by Zac Efron.

Upon closer inspection, some of the “26” movies seem somewhat out of place. For example, what do the Adventures of Hero Shima have to do with the Creation of Africa?

I am willing to buy the fact that Kennedy’s foreign policy shaped Africa.

But I refuse to believe that George Washington is of any relevance here.

I also refuse to believe that World War I resembled Operation Desert Storm. In any way.

I wish I could tell you what actual movies corresponded to these pictures, but the DVD would not work. This despite the fact that, per the fine print on the case, I did not play the DVD on an oil rig.

Oh. Um. Whoops.



  1. So…let’s just say, hypothetically of course, with Christmas only 8 months away, and with the obvious ingenuity of a Liberian gauntlet mamber, could one, say give a list of upcoming summer blockbusters to a gauntlet member, to create, let’s just say…a special Christmas movie marathon…of course like the pictures you provided, we too would not see anything unless we stand upside down on top of Mt. Washington in a howling snowstorm,….?? What say you Carter Center?

  2. you should contact this blogger re: updated stereotypes for Guineans

  3. I would accept a few of these marvelous modern miracles of DVD-dom as wedding gifts.

    In fact, I would happily register for them if they were available for registration through Crate and Barrel or Williams and Sonoma. : )

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