Will Success Spoil Block Stumblers?


You think failure's an orphan? Just look at this collection of upbeat failure-related quotes, or at this collection of even-more-upbeat failure-related quotes. Hey, Gloomy Gus, turn that frown upside down! Failure isn't so bad. It's success if you learn from it! It's the first step toward success! It's the path to wisdom, the key to experience, better than not trying, blah blah friggin' blah! The worst thing about failure, besides the fact that you have failed, is having to listen to a bunch of Mr. Sunshines (all of them successes, of course) telling you how great and ennobling it is to fail.

Here's one of the better things about failure. Failure magazine is celebrating its fifth anniversary today. Failure is a web-only publication that seems to be published really sporadically and written almost entirely by one guy, so it isn't setting the bar for success terribly high, but best wishes to them in making it through a half-decade of fiascos great and small.

Recent stories include a look at the ignominious end of the Hardy Boys. The Hardy Boys Digest books have been canceled, and in a fate worse than discontinuation, the formerly DIY Frank and Joe have been federalized: They now work as the "Undercover Brothers" for the government agency ATAC (American Teens Against Crime).

Also of interest: A retrospective on the box office flop of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, which stumbled to the finish line as the number 53 film of 1971 and failed even in its original purpose of getting a Quaker Oats "Wonka" candy bar into the market. (As I noted to considerable controversy last week, the movie also failed to entertain my kid, and Reason's Nick Gillespie informs me that the new Tim Burton joint, despite winning big box office, underperforms the original in almost all respects, making a real hat trick of disappointment.)

So take it from somebody who lives with failure as intimately as Joyce Kilmer's trees live with rain (in a poem that succeeds only in showing the author's failure to make a poem as lovely as a non-sentient object that causes pollution). Failure is always with us, and Failure will show you the way.


NEXT: Gaza In Theory and Practice

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  1. What a deliciously rambling delight of a piece by the mighty Tim (who perhaps underscores the magic of the subject matter by failing to make a point.) Nonetheless, a witty sally. Kudos, Tim.

    ASIDE: I can’t speak for your kid but my 6-year old got a kick out of the original.

    ASIDE 2: Nice play on the “Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter?”

    ASIDE 3: 53rd in 1971? C’mon Tim. This is the year that also gave us “Diamonds Are Forever”, “A Clockwork Orange”, “The French Connection”,”Harold and Maude”,”Duel”,”Shaft” and “Billy Jack” (Incidentally one of the TOP grossing movies of that year). After some of those, 53 doesn’t seem THAT bad.

  2. Remember, trying is the first step towards failure.

    Let’s not forget this fantastic site: http://www.despair.com

  3. believe not the leatherjacketeer. the new willy wonka is solid fucking gold.

    you’re all crazy! did you see how many squirrels they had?

  4. ” blah blah friggin’ blah! ”

    Truer words were never spoken, Mr. Cavanaugh.

  5. Here’s to failure. There’s nothing like it.
    -Max Bialystock

  6. Undercover Brother is a delightful film.

  7. Was that post just a big stream of consciousness? Perhaps it’s a bit too early…

  8. Looks like Tim has taken to heart Jacob Sullum’s satements that weed is not, in fact, bad for you.

    That, of course, raises the question of which Reason staffer it would be the most fun to get stoned with.

  9. you’re all crazy! did you see how many squirrels they had?

    If I ever make a movie, I will write a Note to Self: “more squirrels = better reviews”.

    Headbanger: “Turn up the squirrels!”

  10. damn straight.

    i enjoyed the shit out of charlie. the squirrels were the furry icing on the cake. plus now i can get my wife one of those “are you a bad nut?” shirts.

  11. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is superior to the original in every way, although comparing them is really kind of a pointless exercise. The original was a hippy-dippy psychadelic musical with only a tangential relationship to the source material. The new one hews pretty close to the book, and the one addition actually advances the story. Plus, squirrels (which are actually in the book) are far better than those stupid geese (which are not).

  12. I laughed at a lot of in-jokes throughout Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. I enjoyed the story telling. I also sat through all the end credits to listen to the fabulous Danny Elfman scored music. Rarely are remakes better than the original, but C&TCF is that kind of rarity.

    Tim, I won’t say you are a bad nut. However, you might want to check and make sure your shell isn’t cracked.

  13. Er, the whole trees cause pollution thing is about the NO2 and volatile organic compounds released by trees (some trees more than others) that contribute to ozone and smog. It’s not about carbon dioxide.

  14. Throughout the years, the people have been modeling and looking to Inspirational Leaders as a source of inspiration for achieving goals for themselves. Inspirational quotes from great leaders have since become daily brain food for people wanting to create better lives for themselves.

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