Sunday, April 29, 2007

Berries and Cream Starburst...Advertisement or Proof of Postmodernism?



This commercial is solid evidence that advertisers no longer care about reporting the merits of a given product or service. Instead, commercials serve to create spectacle and leave the viewer utterly confused. Not only does this commercial not make me want to run out and try Berries and Cream Starburst, it makes me wonder why advertisers even bother at all anymore. This is just one example of an increased emphasis on visual and auditory stimulation for no other purpose than shock value or brief entertainment. I suppose the repetition aspect might be effective, but only enough to make people remember how annoying the commercial is. Will people be talking about this commercial for a while? Sure. Will Starburst's sales increase? That remains to be seen, but my guess is no.

-Hessie

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Everyone Makes Mistakes: Musings On Song Lyrics From the Peanut Gallery

Due to the recent discussion of song lyrics that are bad enough to make Richard Simmons kill himself, I am compelled to throw my two cents into the fray. A large number of the artists quoted have been people that, frankly, nobody gives a monkey's behind about. Jesse McCartney? Savage Garden? Peter Gabriel? Who cares? The real tragedy is when people considered to be lyrical legends commit such offenses. Yes, even some of history's greatest songwriters have penned lyrical travesties. Let's examine a few.

Your sister's gone out. She's on a date
You just sit at home and masturbate
- Billy Joel, "Captain Jack"

I am easily one of the world's biggest Billy Joel fans, but even I admit that those are possibly two of the worst lines of music ever written. Just because some action occurs doesn't mean you need to write about it. Somehow I don't think there has ever been a chart-topping hit with lyrics such as, "I woke up this morning, scratched my ass, clipped my toenails, then headed to class." Shame on you, Billy.


And the tears never came
They just stayed in our eyes
We refused to admit that we wore this disguise
Every inch of us growing
Like Pinocchio's nose
As we walked around in the emperor's new clothes
- Elton John, "Emperor's New Clothes"

Come on, Elton. You are known worldwide as being one of the greatest songwriters of all time, and you write that abomination? Lyrics like that make Britney Spears look like Shakespeare. And exactly what part of you is growing like Pinocchio's nose? It seems to me that the behavior of your anatomy is something you should keep to yourself.


When out tiger hunting with his elephant and gun
In case of accidents he always took his mom
He's the all American bullet-headed saxon mother's son.
All the children sing

Hey Bungalow Bill
What did you kill
Bungalow Bill?
-The Beatles, "The Continuing Story of Bungalow Bill"

Now I know why John Lennon was shot.


Wish I was a Kellogg's Cornflake

Floatin' in my bowl takin' movies,
Relaxin' awhile, livin' in style,
Talkin' to a raisin who 'casionn'ly plays LA.,
Casually glancing at his toupee.

Wish I was an English muffin
'Bout to make the most out of a toaster.

I'd ease myself down,
Comin' up brown.

I prefer boysenberry
More than any ordinary jam.
I'm a "Citizens for Boysenberry Jam" fan.
-Simon & Garfunkel, "Punky's Dilemma"

There's metaphor, and then there's Punky's Dilemma. You nailed the whole metaphor thing with "I Am A Rock." That song was brilliant. This one is just disturbing. Of all the food products you could be, you pick cereal and an English muffin? Also, what is this "Citizen's for Boysenberry Jam" line about? Is the jam being oppressed? Has the jam been banned? Is jam comparable to fair wages? I simply do not understand.


Wiggle, wiggle, wiggle like a gypsy queen,
Wiggle, wiggle, wiggle all dressed in green,
Wiggle, wiggle, wiggle 'til the moon is blue,
Wiggle 'til the moon sees you.

Wiggle, wiggle, wiggle in your boots and shoes,
Wiggle, wiggle, wiggle, you got nothing to lose,
Wiggle, wiggle, wiggle, like a swarm of bees,
Wiggle on your hands and knees.
- Bob Dylan, "Wiggle Wiggle"

Bob Dylan may very well be the world's most well-known lyricist. Not only did he author multiple hits of his own, he also wrote the lyrics to myriad other songs that were made popular by other artists. But, I guess even Mikhail Baryshnikov trips and falls sometimes. Clearly that is what happened here. I don't even know how else to respond to this. I'm frankly dumbfounded.

In short, even the greats have their off days. I mean, even the man who produced Sin City brought us The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl 3-D. But, that's another story altogether.


-Hessie


Hugh Grant hurls baked beans at photographer. Seriously.

Baked beans? Really? WTF?

Will he be charged with assault with a deadly legume?

I'll write more later, but it's Moerita time. Class is canceled thanks to some ass-clown who called in a bomb threat.

Some of us are just meant to be housewives - A Correction to the Rebuttal to the Rebuttal

What, like opera is so much better? Scroll up, I’ve included a little opera in my analysis. You know, the phantom of. Yeah, that’s what I thought.

Ok, you ignoramus, The Phantom of the Opera is NOT an opera. It’s a musical. Set in an opera house. That’s about as far as the connection to opera goes. Confused by titles much? Your lackadaisical approach to information processing must be why you’re just a housewife. Let’s apply your laissez-faire attitude to reading to titles of other cultural artifacts:

The Sound of Music - While this may indeed seem deceiving, this is actually a musical and not several notes strung together that causes characters to say, “What is that sound? Is it music?”

All That Jazz - Oddly, again, a musical, not having anything to do with Miles or Coltrane…

Pocket Massage for Stress Relief - As I’m sure you’ve easily surmised, this is a pocket-sized book about yoga massage techniques.

Mugglenet.com's What Will Happen in Harry Potter 7: Who Lives, Who Dies, Who Falls in Love and How Will the Adventure Finally End – Here’s a wonderful example of a text whose title needs a little more than just a cursory reading. Don’t get excited; this book is not, in fact, the seventh book in the Harry Potter series. It wasn’t even written by J.K. Rowling; it was written by some people with way to much time on their hands.

Now, my dear retro housewife, I hope you see the dangers of living your existence as an individual of such low cognition.

-e

Love Songs...or Not - A Rebuttal to the Rebuttal

It’s seems I have stumbled upon a topic of interest. Not to be outdone by the infamous e, here are my further musings on the desolate, tonally-void wasteland that comprises contemporary love songs.


More Than Words - Extreme

What would you do if my heart was torn in two
More than words to show you feel
That your love for me is real

If your heart is torn in two, I’m afraid you need more help than I am able to give you, and far more help than words alone can provide. Please place your local emergency service provider on speed dial if this is an actual concern you have regarding your heart. I hear medic alert also offers a wonderful service.


White Houses - Vanessa Carlton

Love, or something ignites in my veins
And I pray it never fades

Oh honey, that’s not love, that’s gonorrhea. You had better pray it fades and then take a good, strong dose of a doctor prescribed anti-bacterial to aid in the process.


Truly Madly Deeply - Savage Garden

I want to stand with you on a mountain.
I want to bathe with you in the sea.
I want to lay like this forever.
Until the sky falls down on me…

Oh, so many complaints in so few lines. Where to begin? First off, I am not bathing in any sea. Do you know what is in the sea? Organisms. I am not taking an organism infested skinny-dip with anyone in the name of love. I’m all for bathing in a general sense, don’t get me wrong, but chlorine and indoor plumbing were invented for a reason - use them.

Moving on, laying in one position for a prolonged period of time, for any reason, is just illogical. Did the writer of this song never hear of bed sores? Biology 101 people, it isn’t that hard. Obviously the song writer found the time to read up on Chicken Little, did the fear derived from this children’s story simply stunt him or her from continuing on in the educational system? The sky isn’t going to fall on anyone anytime soon. Get a grip.

Oh, and one more thing. Do you know what else is in the sea? Fish urine, jelly fish, that damn volleyball from Castaway, all the toxic runoff from New Jersey, and the rotting corpses of one-time Titanic passengers. Ew.


You’re A God - Vertical Horizon

Cause you’re a God
And I am not
And I just thought
That you should know

Why thank you for noticing! For this song I have no complaints, just wanted to stroke my ego a bit.


Bring Me To Life - Evanescence

How can you see into my eyes like open doors
Leading you down into my core
Where I’ve become so numb, without a soul

Without a soul, huh? Dated Jesse McCartney recently?


Girlfriend - Avril Lavigne

You're so fine
I want you mine
You're so delicious
I think about you all the time
You're so addictive

Delicious and addictive? Is he some kind of food byproduct or tolerance inhibiting substance? Chocolate? Caffeine?? Cocaine???


Where Does My Heart Beat Now? - Celine Dion

I don’t even have to move past the title of this one. I sincerely hope your heart is still beating in your chest. If not, you may want to locate Jesse McCartney, I hear he may have a bit of a voodoo, soul-stealing thing going on. Oh wait, if your heart was beating somewhere other than your chest, you wouldn’t have to worry about it…because you’d be dead.


All I Ask Of You - The Phantom of the Opera

Say you love me every waking moment,
turn my head with talk of summertime...
Say you need me with you now and always...
Promise me that all you say is true -
that's all I ask of you...

Every waking moment? Seriously? You need verbal reassurance of my feelings every…waking…moment? I’ll make you a voice recording, you insecure bastard.


Ain’t No Other Man - Christina Aguilera

I had feelings from the start
Couldn't stand to be apart
Something about you caught my eye
Something moved me deep inside

Something moved her deep inside? Was it gastro-intestinal in nature? Walgreen’s is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. I’m just saying.


Crazy Bitch - Buckcherry

You're a crazy bitch
But you fuck so good, I'm on top of it
When I dream, I'm doing you all night
Scratches all down my back to keep me right on

Well, isn’t this just the pinnacle of romance? With lyrics like these, it’s quite possible that Buckcherry may even give that silver-tongued master of love, Ludacris, a run for his money.


Speaking of Ludacris…


What’s Your Fantasy - Ludacris

I wanna, li-li-li-lick you from yo' head to yo' toes
And I wanna, move from the bed down to the down to the to the flo'
Then I wanna, ahh ahh - you make it so good I don't wanna leave
But I gotta, kn-kn-kn-know what-what's your fan-ta-ta-sy

My personal fantasy is to end an evening not covered in your spit. Thanks.


And I don’t care, I love Peter Gabriel's In Your Eyes. What, like opera is so much better? Scroll up, I’ve included a little opera in my analysis. You know, the phantom of. Yeah, that’s what I thought.


River. Bottom of. (You know I'm talking to you)

~the retro housewife

Love Songs...or not: A response to the retro housewife

After reading the retro housewife’s discussion of creepy love song lyrics, I was thrown into a fit of procrastination. So, here’s my contribution:

Natural Woman, Aretha Franklin
“When my soul was in the lost-and-found
You came along to claim it”

-What is the deal with all of this soul swapping? 1 soul per person people. Unless you make your friends refer to you as the Prince of Darkness, or you only answer to Beelzebub, Lucifer, or Angel of the Bottomless Pit of Revelation, KNOCK IT OFF! How many souls can one person use? It’s like owning multiple cars. You can only drive one at a time. Let’s look at this from a conservationist angle…

Ok, so a quick review of songs about souls:

12 Stones “Soulfire” -Does it burn when you pee? This is what happens when your slutty soul gets around.

2Pac “Lost Souls” -Lost? Someone needs to go question Jessie McCartney in this matter…

Abyssos “Worthless Soul for Sale?” -I know someone who’s in the market…

Accept “Don’t Go Stealing My Soul Away” -A warning to Jessie McCartney

Afu-ra “Soul Assassination” -What happens when you won’t give Jessie McCartney your soul

Agathocles “Save Your Soul” -(From Jessie McCartney)

Alchemist “Soul Return” -The Ballad of a Break-up with Jessie McCartney

All Together Separate “Camouflage Soul” -To hide it from Jessie McCartney

Anacrusis “My soul’s affliction” -aka. Jessie McCartney

Angie Stone “Soul Insurance” -Does this cover encounters with Jessie McCartney?

And as far as this In Your Eyes bullshit, the only thing I want in my eyes is my contacts. How can you possibly say this is a great love song?? Sure, it sounds sweet, but really, let’s take a closer at the lyrics:

“I want to touch the light
the heat I see in your eyes”

- If your finger even comes remotely close to my eye, we’re gonna step. As far as the heat in my eyes, it’s a balmy 37 degrees Celsius, just like yours. Poke out your own eye. If you want to tell me you love me, be a real man, ball up, and say the words. What is it with men and the “L word”? You can’t tell me you love me so instead, you write a song about poking me in the eye????

Wanna see what a real love song is like?

“I wanna get you in the back seat windows up
That's the way you like to fuck, clogged up fog alert
Rip the pants and rip the shirt, ruff sex make it hurt”

-Nothing says true love like violence against women under the guise of sex. I like it rough just as much as the next person, but there’s a difference between rug burn and a bruised cervix (or a knife wound). You get my point. And what’s with the ripped pants? Do you know how much these jeans cost? AND the shirt? What the hell am I going to wear after sex when we stop at a gas station for some post-coital Krispy Kremes (aka. more condoms) and I buy you an Icee because you forgot your wallet?

-e

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Love Songs...or Not

Ah, love songs. We all know them when we hear them. Some are good (Peter Gabriel’s In Your Eyes comes to mind), some are bad (any song by any American Idol® winner - that's right, I'm talking to you Clarkson - comes to mind), and then some are just plain frightening. May I suggest, as the forerunner in this final category, Jesse McCartney’s Beautiful Soul? Ignore the angelic, pre-pubescent vocals and big-eyed, Precious Moments® style appearance of the singer, for just one moment, and focus on the actual lyrics of this pop music gem:


I don't want another pretty face
I don't want just anyone to hold
I don't want my love to go to waste
I want you and your beautiful soul

I know that you are something special
To you I'd be always faithful
I want to be what you always needed
Then I hope you'll see the heart in me

[Chorus:]
I don't want another pretty face
I don't want just anyone to hold
I don't want my love to go to waste
I want you and your beautiful soul
You're the one I wanna chase
You're the one I wanna hold
I wont let another minute go to waste
I want you and your beautiful soul

You might need time to think it over
But I'm just fine moving forward
I'll ease your mind
If you give me the chance
I will never make you cry c`mon let's try

[Chorus]

Am I crazy for wanting you?
Maybe do you think you could want me too?
I don't wanna waste your time
Do you see things the way I do?
I just wanna know that you feel it too
There is nothing left to hide

[Chorus 2x]

Ooooooo
Beautiful Soul, yeah
Oooooo, yeah
Your beautiful soul
Yeah


What kind of pseudo-vampiristic, mentally disturbed, Antichrist-wannabe came up with these lyrics? Remove the word “beautiful” from the chorus and you are left with an effeminate, Aryan, boybander reject crying out for the souls of tweenage fangirls everywhere. What, does he store them in jars somewhere? Does he have some kind of voodoo side-gig going just in case the whole pop stardom thing fails?

But back to the matter at hand; how is this horrific mockery of misplaced sentiment a love song? Scratch that, how does this even pass for music? You want me and my soul? I’m sorry, that’s part of a package deal. Frankly, you aren’t getting anywhere near either of us.


~the retro housewife

Drinking From a Fire Hose: The Brainwashing of America’s Youth

DISCLAIMER: Ok, this one's kinda long, but by now,
we should be used to e's angry rambling, right?

Their grandparents fought in World War II and traveled with the USO; this generation fights aliens with X-Box controllers. Their parents fought in Vietnam or staged sit-ins to protest a cause; this generations’ version of a “sit-in” is a Real World marathon. Their older brothers and sisters went to concerts in the ‘90s to free Tibet; this generation tuned into Live 8 online because Bono was cool. For the past 200 years, America’s social development has been moved forward by the efforts of 10 generations. We are now standing at a crossroads, waiting for the present generation of youth to make their decision: whether to help out or chill out.

It can be argued that this generation of American youth is in danger of leaving a legacy of minimal contribution to society. I am fully aware of the counter-arguments that can be presented in contrast to my position. I’ll take a minute to indulge White (1957):
A noted commentator was speaking. His intent audience nodded their heads in assent as he made on point after another that struck home. “Our youth,” he said, “now love luxury. They have bad manners, contempt for authority. They show disrespect for elders and love chatter in place of exercise. They contradict their parents, chatter before company, gobble up their food and tyrannize their teachers.”

The impassioned speaker was not a Dr. Wertham frightening the wits out of the Parent-Teachers Association of Scarsdale with his oversimplified message that comic books are turning American children into psychological cripples. Although the speaker’s words were as timely as many of the criticisms of mass culture in America, he had never visited this country. In fact, he never left his native Greece. For our speaker, as you now may have guessed, was Socrates, and the period was the Fifth Century, B.C.”

Ok, I understand. It’s a social convention to bitch about how the current generation will be responsible for the degradation of society. But hear me out here; the extent of social activism among this generation is the Lance Armstrong bracelet. And what could be a better use of a dollar than letting everyone know you’re trendy because you contributed to charity? Fortunately for charity, it has become fashionable to be a humanitarian. Everyone from celebrities to college sororities has a philanthropic cause. Unfortunately, the depth of actual concern for society among current youth is questionable. Community service has evolved into a résumé builder for law school, and civic duty is equated with a conscious effort not to wear spandex in public. Thankfully, social activism isn’t completely dead among this generation; just ask any group of teens how they feel about the fate of peer-to-peer file sharing. Young people everywhere are engaging in their own form of civil disobedience with the assistance of illegal file sharing programs. They apparently believe that, like speech, music should be free. Unfortunately, it is abundantly clear that America’s youth has shirked personal accountability and any responsibility to society in favor of catching the latest episode of My Super Sweet Sixteen.

Shunning individualism, today’s youth have joined a socially accepted cult that worships at the “10-spot” on MTV. The ultimate goal is to reach “group actualization” by eliminating personal idiosyncrasies in order to fit one of the archetypes represented by their favorite Real World character (militant black man, flamboyant homosexual, innocent-but-eventually-slutty Southern girl…). One cannot completely undervalue the contributions to society that the MTV generation has made; they have created an over-exposed icon out of an heiress with a homemade sex flick and have fully explored the possibilities of reality television to the point of beating a dead genre. The role models of the MTV generation are not great scholars, revolutionaries or leaders; they are television characters. Pick up the latest edition of Cosmo Girl and you will find it filled with opportunities to take quizzes to discern which Friend or character on Sex and the City you most resemble. Never mind that the target readership for such magazines is not old enough to smoke cigarettes or buy alcohol, much less compete with the bedpost notches of the fictional Samantha Jones. Even when actual people serve as role models for our youth, the messages they convey are questionable. With serial bride Jenny from the Block as an idol for young women everywhere, it’s remarkable that certain contingents think legalizing gay matrimony would jeopardize the institution of marriage.

The thoughts of America’s youth are about as profound as a toaster strudel, but then, can you blame them? We’ve got 13-year-old “Cosmo Girls” running around in mascara and micro-minis, and sixth-grade boys doing more than simply fantasizing about sleeping with their teachers. Who has time to adopt a cause when they are busy trying to be a sex symbol? With the help of historical role models, it seems that previous generations of youths have found a cause for which to take a stand – civil rights, women’s rights, gay rights, environmental rights – yet the current generation of young adults is content to be consumed with “celebreality.” Just walk into a Starbucks and you will find teenage discussion centering on the latest TomKat gossip, information on Jen’s recovery from Brad, and inside tips on how to achieve the weight class of your favorite Olsen twin. Celebrity gossip is the new form of “current events,” facilitated by an array of tabloids and fashion magazines. If they take an interest in “real” current events at all, The Daily Show, a news satire, serves as this generation’s primary news source.

It is far too simple to blame your local young person for the degradation of society. Every effect has a cause. I find that the Spice Girls make a convenient target. With the rise in success of the Spice Girls came the concept of “Grrrl Power,” which subsequently evolved into the new accepted brand of feminism. With this new feminism came the right to create your own spice title, consisting of “Something Spice,” and the ability to demand that if someone wanted to be your lover, they had to get with your friends. How is it possible that this isn’t responsible for the destruction of subsequent generations? A female Menudo-esque group, the post-Milli Vanilli success of the Spice Girls influenced and motivated successive generations of no-talent musical artists, such as the Backstreet Boys, N*Sync, Britney Spears and Jessica Simpson. Without these five “Spice-y” women recruited by a casting call in Great Britain, our American culture might have missed the opportunity to make cultural icons out of people like Kevin Federline.

The true reality is that over a century’s worth of momentum from the Industrial Revolution through the civil rights movement has stalled with the MTV generation. It would seem the media proliferation that occurred at the end of the twentieth century would have only encouraged the spread of ideas, rather than promote the spread of one mindset. Therein lies the biggest problem. As amusing as it may be to point out the vapid nature of the young adult demographic, a fair amount of their thought processes have been shaped by their constant exposure to the media. The producers of MTV and FOX News have decided what the priorities of this generation should be, and no one has stepped out of android mode to question the dominant ideology. Whether critics want to label Madonna, the Spice Girls or Paris Hilton as deviant forces within society, the fact is, they’ve all been made cultural icons by our media. This generation has immediate access to knowledge like no other generation has had, and the ability to utilize technology in a way their parents don’t understand.

In terms of information, teens today are virtually drinking from a fire hose. Thanks to the promulgation of technology, young adults are perpetually bombarded by media messages, especially those encouraging behaviors unsuitable for their age group. The portrayal of teenagers on television is never age-appropriate; alcohol consumption is glorified and characters are often shown engaging in sexual activity at an age when their hormones haven’t even kicked in. Childish innocence is disdainful and many adults recognize that kids are “growing up faster than they used to.” Naïveté is associated with prudish ignorance and young people are trying to be “sophisticated” and “mature.”

Teenagers gauge acceptable behavior by the reality they construct from the popular culture messages they receive. All of their peers may not be drinking and having sex, but their exposure to the media makes it seem that way. Little girls want to bare their midriffs and emulate Christina Aguilera, without any understanding of the message they are communicating. While a hiked-up T-shirt and low-slug pants pose no imminent threat to society, it symbolizes the reality that no one actively questions concepts that are being passed as conventionally accepted standards.

I’m not suggesting a direct-media-effects theory, where watching one episode of Law & Order causes violent tendencies, but there is no denying that ideas continually reinforced in several media will have an eventual impact on the receivers of the messages. Today’s youth is being willingly brainwashed by the dominant media agenda. While society awaits this generation’s decision on their preferred level of social activism, it is interesting to consider which prospect might be worse: the idea that America’s youth might screw things up, or the possibility that they can be willed to not care.

-e

Monday, April 23, 2007

The Tragedy Behind the Tragedy


Last week's massacre at Virgina Tech was truly a tragedy. More than thirty people lost their lives, and those who knew them lost friends, sons, daughters, siblings, cousins and students, among others. There is no doubt that the events of that sad day have impacted a large number of people across the country. There is, however, another unfortunate tragedy that is occurring in our country as a result of this event: the tragedy of exploitation.

People love attention. People not only love attention, but they will often stop at nothing to get this attention. Unfortunately, most people are too lazy to use their own merits and skills to earn recognition and would rather obtain it in less trying ways.

How do they do this? Simple, exploit a tragedy.

There are multiple ways in which people use tragedy for their own ends. Let's look at a few of these.

1. Six Degrees of Exploitation
Immediately after a tragedy occurs, people start to find ways to connect themselves to it. If they don't know someone personally involved, they will find someone who knows someone. If that doesn't work, they will find someone who knows someone who knows someone. They will continue on this path until they have found some connection to the events. That way, they can pretend to be both knowledgeable about the incident and personally affected by it, which gains them the much sought-after attention.

"My third cousin twice removed has a friend whose brother knows a guy that worked at Target with a girl who graduated from there six years ago! I need a hug!"

Hey, guess what? Nobody cares!

This sort of behavior is disgusting. Believe it or not, the world doesn't revolve around you. Get over yourself.

2. "My Ribbon is Bigger than Your Ribbon"
In the days that followed the shooting, people started sporting remembrance ribbons as well as maroon and orange clothing in loving memory of those who died. The sad thing is that there appears to be a silent competition among these "mourners" to see who can show the most support for the victims. Immediately after a tragedy, people sport faces of concern. In my opinion, this should be plenty. In the days following such an event, ribbons magically materialize out of thin air and people parade around in those. In the case of Virgina Tech, maroon and orange garb followed the ribbons. It's as if people are in some sort of unannounced contest so see who can best demonstrate that they care. What's next, people strutting around in full Hokie costumes? Don't wear the ribbons or the colors unless you personally feel some sort of bond with or pride in the university. For that matter, don't try to be the one to wear your ribbon the longest either. It isn't about you.

3. All About the Benjamins
If there is one thing sadder than people exploiting a tragedy for attention, it is people exploiting a tragedy for money. After any type of incident such as the Virginia Tech massacre, there is generally an outpouring of money from charities that goes to benefit the school and the families of the victims. Inevitably, scholarship funds will be established in honor of those who died. This outpouring of support is not only uplifting to the families, but the money goes to support some very good causes. The problem arises when people exploit this tragedy for personal monetary gain. Sadly, there are people in this country who have created fake charities in an effort to pad their wallets. This selfishness is astounding. Can these people not think of a better way to make money than to take advantage of innocent people affected by a tragedy? Here's a thought: GET A JOB.

This sort of exploitative behavior is absolutely disgusting. I don't understand why people can never seem to stop thinking about themselves for more than two seconds.

The moral of the story?

GET OVER YOURSELF!

- Hessie

Friday, April 20, 2007

This Month’s Headline: “Paris Hilton Wins Nobel Prize for Economic Greatness"

Vanity Fair has recently run several articles on the state of America’s youth and the decline in social activism. Digging through some of my back issues of VF, I found a Fall 2005 issue where they featured Paris Hilton on their front cover. The article accompanying Hilton’s spread in VF, speaks very highly of her, praising her for qualities like her compassion, new-found domesticity, and above all, her intelligence. Defenders of Paris Hilton proclaim that she is not merely famous for being famous, “she has a fragrance, too.”

No. I’m sorry, succeeding in a capitalistic economy does not a smart girl make. Call her powerful, call her fortunate, call her destined for fame; none of these equates with “smart.” Yes, Hilton has succeeded in hocking some perfume and some books; let’s not give her the title of the modern-day Andrew Carnegie just yet.

It is indeed true that the icon of Paris Hilton is merely a product of our society. Hilton cannot be blamed for the degradation of American youth. Do you know who can? Vanity Fair. Vanity Fair and every other credible medium; the kind that would attack US Weekly on one page while touting a cover story similar to “Jen tells all!” In the spirit of journalistic genius, my favorite quote defending Hilton’s intellect in the VF article reads as such: “I was like, Wow. Here’s a girl at her perfume launch party, there’s all these people here, and she was on.”

Then I was like, Dude. And she was like, Way. And I was like, Yeah. Give me a break.

Vanity Fair even included a quotation from noted postmodern feminist author Namoi Wolf, to add some "legitimacy" to their claims. "She's like, as semiotics would say, an empty signifier, so you can project absolutely anything onto her, which is the perfect situation for branding." Oh, shut the hell up, Naomi. You don't even know what you are talking about. Besides your ridiculous use of a Communication Theory in an article for the popular press in an attempt to sound academic, even the most pedestrian individual (Nicky Hilton?) would disagree with you. Paris Hilton, is in no way, an empty signifier. Her signified meaning is sex and sexuality. Sex sells. That's why she's "perfect for branding," you dipshit.

Side note: In an edition of The New Yorker that came out the same month as her Vanity Fair comment, Wolf espouses her anti-porn sentiments. How can you then, turn around and commend Paris Hilton in Vanity Fair? Someone's a publicity whore...At least stick to the same story for one month before you change your mind. Some activist. I'm glad she's not championing any of my causes.

(Plus, the only thing empty about Paris Hilton is most likely her head.)

Enough about Paris though. What this boils down to is a dominant ideology being perpetuated by a mainstream medium that runs Louis Vuitton ads and claims to target a readership of above average sophistication.

Here are just a few sample stories titles from recent Vanity Fair covers:

“The Bitter Battle over the Jimmy Choo Shoe Empire” - okay, not only is this a completely ridiculous use of alliteration that sounds all too eerily like Dr. Seuss, it’s about FUCKING SHOES! Don’t pretend like we’re discussing something even slightly more relevant like the Waltons and the fate of a company that employs a large majority of lower-income workers world-wide, this is shoes! No economical impact whatsoever!

“How Elle Macpherson went from Bikini Queen to Lingerie Mogul!” - note the exclamation point, added by Vanity Fair. Is this supposed to denote surprise? Excitement? Amazement? I feel none of those things when I read that title. It’s Elle Macpherson! Write about how Rosie O'Donnell has people clamoring over her new successful line of lingerie, and then we’ll talk.

"Has Tom Cruise Lost his Marbles?" - in a word, "Yes." Let's move on.

“Can the King of Silicon Valley find Happiness on the World’s Longest Yacht?” – do I even have to go there on this one? This headline just makes me angry and gives me the urge to shout “WHY THE HELL DO I CARE?!”

“The Battle for Harry’s Bar” – what the hell is the deal with all these battles? First Jimmy Choo and now Harry’s Bar? Are they hoping that as readers skim their cover, they will come away with the impression that Vanity Fair has a reporter writing from Iraq? At least they did away with the alliteration this time. Somebody probably got fired.

Vanity Fair, before you attempt to look upon society from your ivory tower with disdain and the desire to point fingers for its’ degradation, maybe you should take a good, long look at what you are contributing to the mess.

-e


Jesus Christ

So, my initial observation regarding the American obsession with God (Jesus Christ, in particular) comes after an indirect reminder about the Christmas season, when once again, the “Holiday Tree v. Christmas Tree” debate rages and FOX News airs its 20,000 segments on “The Liberal Attack on Christmas” (Can I qualify the rest of this article by stating that prior to graduate school, I was a Capitalist Christian Republican Princess?). So, I’m vaguely aware, thanks to Bill O’Reilly, that someone (liberals), somewhere (everywhere, apparently), is trying to keep me from wishing “Merry Christmas” to the cashier at the grocery store. Interestingly enough, I’ve never had a crazy liberal come slap me in the face while I’m standing in line at Winn Dixie, but according to O’Reilly, it could happen. Thanks to O’Reilly and my grandmother, I am fully aware of the war on Christmas.

(My grandmother recently learned how to use email. The only email I ever get from my grandmother, however, comes in the form of “Fwd:Fwd:Fwd: God Loves You, Forward this to 20 people in the next 10 minutes or you hate God.” So yes, my grandmother has also informed me that liberals are waging a war on Christmas.)

So, I’ve been looking for evidence of “The War on Christmas” (is that like “The War on Terror”? There’s an opportunity for digression…). This past Christmas, TBS played the movie “A Christmas Story” for 24 hours straight. Radio stations started playing Christmas songs on Thanksgiving Day. And like every year, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade ended with Santa Claus, to kick off the Christmas season. Wow, it must be tough to live in a society that is so hostile when it comes to celebrating the birth of Jesus!

It seems like it’s not so much Jesus that we are concerned about liberals attacking, it’s our beloved commercialization of the holiday to which we’ve become so attached. We have draped our enthusiasm for acquiring things with the veil of “Santa Claus.” So, we line our children up in malls to sit on a stranger’s lap and demand things they don’t need, so on Christmas morning they can be ungrateful brats because they didn’t get what they asked for? And, this relates to our Lord Jesus because…? – Hey, you’re attacking CHRISTMAS when you ask such questions! Liberal bastard!

-e


Thursday, April 19, 2007

In Loving Memory (What exactly?)


There are many traditions that degrade the deceased; plastic flowers, cheesy, trite eulogies, pre-gaming the funeral, lusting the mourners, Elton John sunglasses, etc. But, I dare say none is worse than the infamous “in loving memory sticker”.
Ask yourself this : when is the last time you saw an in loving memory sticker on or around anything that should be associated with honoring the dead? I’m imaging gothic fonts, the kind that unimaginative bikers get on their arms or on pleather jackets that say “road warrior” on the back windows of 86’ Celebrities with trashbags for windows…I’m seeing rednecks on spring break with their recently deceased pal who died in a trailer fire sparked by grilling indoors commemorated next to their “Ain’t skeerd”, or “[Insert small town mechanic’s last name here] racing team”. This is a new cultural fad- common transportation as a memorial. You think cowboys ever branded “in loving memory” on the asses of their horses? Hell no, because the statement “in loving memory” begs a return question…WHAT!? The cowboys understood that “my horse shitting” was not a reasonable answer to that question.(I guess that was before you could buy regality in the form of a dashboard crown- so now the equivalent of shitting into the ozone, but doing it with elegance and bad air fresheners).
So maybe these people are doing other things “in loving memory”: asking for tits that will reverberate to their dead friend, who is living vicariously through their debauchery; listening to ludacris while chewing tobacco; having unprotected sex with minors, revving their engines incessantly at red lights….I’m just saying I would like a more descriptive statement like “ I am only doing 95 in a 45 drunk in loving memory…I am not also transporting crystal meth”. Or maybe “I’ll tell you what I’m NOT doing in loving memory- my sister.”
Have you ever seen an “in loving memory” sticker committed to any national figure?? Imagine instead of the JFK memorial a sticker on every Buick that says “in loving memory JFK, ‘the guy who banged Marilyn Monroe & Dale Earndhardt ‘the intimidator’; ‘only the good die young’-Tracey morgan.” (next to this sticker is one of a little kid pissing on Richard Nixon). I’m just trying to give the socioeconomic implications of such stickers to say “don’t do that to people for the love of God!”
If I do die and anyone considers such measures just put “G-money requests you distribute chicken shit on his grave ‘in loving memory’ because that would please him much more than to have you (or your car) live as a personal memorial for him.”

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

...Worth A Thousand Words

Have you ever noticed how nothing is ever anyone else's fault? Rather than admit their own shortcomings (i.e. "I killed someone because I am a bad person"), people tend to assign blame to other things (i.e. "I killed someone because it looked cool on Grand Theft Auto"). While I could spend an eternity discussing the myriad scapegoats that people use, I have instead decided to represent my favorites in a pictorial collage. Enjoy



-Hessie

Why Men Are Like Dogs

(DISCLAIMER: This post applies to no man in particular, and yet, all men.
I say this in the spirit of love, and yet, at times, slight frustration).

I just got off of the phone with a friend who had a few complaints regarding her boyfriend. Now let me preface this by saying that her boyfriend is wonderful; she loves him very, very deeply. He’s kind and considerate; passionate and loving, but all of this said, he’s still a man. You can only expect so much from them. In their defense, we’re crazy, so they don’t always process exactly what we want. It’s like getting a new puppy. They are cute, cuddly, and adorable, and full of potential to be your best friend; you just have to train them first. You can’t just buy a puppy and start yelling at it to roll over; you have to teach them what that means. You also have to demonstrate that they will get a reward when they do.

Dog ex.: Roll over = get doggie treat

Man ex.: Remember my birthday = get laid

It’s really that simple. You just have to condition men in the same way that you condition dogs. (Sounds like I need to read up on Pavlov to make the perfect boyfriend) Dogs aren’t born knowing how to roll over. It’s not in their nature to live in houses and have to discern where they can and can’t shit; we do this to them. If we’re going to make them shit outside, we’re going to have to be tolerant when they mess up. It’s the same way with men: they aren’t born with any inherent knowledge about women, and it’s unnatural to ask them to understand things like monogamy, calling to check in at night, and putting the toilet seat down. So we have to train them.

The following is a selection from a puppy and dog obedience training site. Notice that if you insert “your boyfriend” or “your man” in the place of “your dog,” the selection still makes sense…

Obedience Training is one of the best things you can do for your dog or puppy man ... and yourself. Obedience training doesn't solve all behavior problems, but it is the foundation for solving just about any problem. Training opens up a line of communication between you and your dog man. Effective communication is necessary to instruct your dog man about what you want him to do. You can teach him anything from 'stay' (don't bolt out the door) to 'sit' (don't jump up on the visitors) to 'off' (don't chew the furniture). These are potential problems with men as well…

Dogs men are social animals and without proper training, they will behave like animals. They will soil your house, destroy your belongings, bark excessively, dig holes in your yard, fight other dogs men and even bite you. Seriously. They will. Nearly all behavior problems are perfectly normal canine male activities that occur at the wrong time or place or are directed at the wrong thing. For example, the dog man will eliminate on the carpet instead of outside; the dog man will bark all night long instead of just when a stranger is prowling around outside; or the dog man will chew furniture instead of his own toys. Ok, at least the last one has some truth. The key to preventing or treating behavior problems is learning to teach the dog man to redirect his natural behavior to outlets that are acceptable in the domestic setting. Brilliant.

Obedience training is also an easy way to establish the social hierarchy. When your dog man obeys a simple request of 'come here, sit,' he is showing compliance and respect for you. It is NOT necessary to establish yourself as top dog or leader of the pack by using extreme measures such as the so-called alpha roll-over. You CAN teach your dog man his subordinate role by teaching him to show submission to you in a paw raise (shake hands), roll over or hand lick (give a kiss). Most dogs men love performing these tricks (obedience commands) for you which also pleasantly acknowledge that you are in charge.

See? This primer on how to train a dog can work brilliantly when applied to men as well…I have a feeling this is just the first in a series of many posts regarding this theory…


-e

Saturday, April 14, 2007

form and function - where the fashion industry fails

I have always been a form-follows-function kind of gal. If something is going to be in existence, than it should damn well have some purpose other than mere space occupation. It is just good, sound logic; we live on a planet with a finite amount of space, therefore the objects occupying said space should have purpose for doing so. A purpose and a function. You wouldn’t put a random pillar, unconnected to either floor or ceiling, in the center of your living room. You wouldn’t drive a sedan with a fifth tire that lightly skims the road as you drive. You wouldn’t buy a mitt that skins potatoes when you have a drawer full of perfectly good knives. Form should follow function.

Why then do some women insist on wearing tacky, oversized, ugly and unpurposeful belts? A belt is not a complicated article of clothing, it only has two functions - to hold up your pants or to cinch your waist (and I’m not even entirely sure about the latter). So what, then, is the function of these abhorrent, gigantic, and inevitably mismatched wastes of material that pass as wide waist belts? They aren’t holding up pants. They aren’t cinching the waist (they are, however, making it look bigger by drawing all attention to it). As for their decorative qualities, this look is even less classy than the hip-jiggling hula girl glued to the dashboard of all NYC taxis.

So I ask you, is there a purpose, a reason, for this hideous,












functionless,

fashion paux pas?

Yes my friends, there is a reason; it is called Crystal Meth and we all know that drugs are bad.


The moral of today’s story: unless you are a pro wrestler or suffering from a hernia, leave the wide waist belts alone.


~ the retro housewife


Children: A Guidebook

Children. When are these things going to go out of style? They’re loud, they’re dirty, they emit strange odors, and they’re far too mobile to be used as an effective accessory. In fact, children are similar in nature to the Ford Pinto; a cute but impractical idea that always ends up causing more grief and costing more money than absolutely necessary. Like the Pinto, Don Imus’s stock, and any computer technology marketed before 1995, children are simply a bad investment. They are also not dishwasher safe.

That said, until cloning processes are perfected, it seems children will remain a necessary evil of society. This does not mean, however, that the act of child possession and rearment should be without rules. Thus I am happy to present the Retro Housewife’s guide to parasitology (also known as parenthood):


10. You may think your specimen’s baby pictures are adorable. They aren’t. Save your friends and colleagues the trouble of avoiding you; burn the pictures.

9. There are leash laws in nearly every state for canines. I have yet to see a toddler come when called, sit, beg, roll over, or play dead. This speaks to the superior nature of dogs. Don’t insult man’s best friends by reinforcing a biased double standard; leash your offspring.

8. What’s more annoying than a toddler babbling in high-pitched baby gibberish? Nothing. Discourage language acquirement and use.

7. Children are rather like parrots. If you must teach them to speak, at least teach them phrases that will amuse your friends and family.

6. You know how children ask a thousand and one questions about everything? Answer each question in the same manner, with a somber look, a low voice, and a firm reply of “Because the dominant ideology has made it so.”

5. Do not child proof your home. There is no reason why early life shouldn’t be like everything else - survival of the fittest.

4. Shopping carts come equipped with child restraints for a reason; use them. Do not let the thing run haphazardly through a store unsupervised. You’re just begging for someone to kick it.

3. If it’s under the age of 12, it doesn’t belong in a movie theater. Period.

2. Children and restaurants don’t mix. If a person wisely decides not to have children, than that person obviously doesn’t want to be subjected to yours, especially not while eating. Just remember, if leaving your child in the car while patronizing a restaurant, make sure to crack a window.

1. If it is still confined to a mobile device, more commonly called a stroller, than for the love of all that’s holy, do not take it to an amusement park! It will be too young to remember the trip, your trip will be spent lugging it around like an oversized department store bag, and you will be known throughout the park as The Douche Bag Who Keeps Running Into The Backs Of People’s Legs With Your Stupid-Ass Stroller. You don’t want that moniker, trust me. People will mock you both behind your back and, if they’re like me, to your face. Save yourself the embarrassment.

~the retro housewife

Friday, April 13, 2007

Folly World


A few years ago, I regularly posted in a class blog for a Public Relations class. At one point I wrote an entry about a corporation that we all know and love (and by "love" I mean "hate with a passion that burns hotter than the fires of a thousand suns"). If you haven't already guessed, I am talking about Wal-Mart. Because that same disdain burns more furiously than ever before, I feel that it is necessary to revisit my old post and add some new insight.

My issue with Wal Mart isn't about their discriminatory business practices and shady business dealings. Rather, it is about something far more superficial and seemingly unimportant.

The problem? Wal-Mart doesn't have baskets.

Enter any average grocery store, pharmacy or big-box store and you will find a nice stack of shopping baskets next to the carts. Such baskets are a convenient way for shoppers to pick up a few items without having to push a bulky cart around the store. Enter any Wal-Mart, however, and you will find a proliferation of carts, but no baskets. After giving the matter some thought, I figured out why.

Wal-Mart knows.

Wal-Mart basically portrays itself as the ultimate one-stop-shop. In other words: they have a lot of different junk. Shoppers know this. The people running Wal-Mart know that they have a lot of stuff ("stuff" meaning "things that seem necessary at the time, but actually aren't"). They know that even if you are going into the store for a pack of gum, you will come out with at least six bags of stuff you didn’t want.

Wal-Mart knows this. It knows that if they give you a basket, you will buy what you need, but if they give you a cart, you won’t be able to leave the store without filling it to the brim. Wal-Mart knows that no matter how carefully you prepare a shopping list, you will ultimately wind up with junk you don’t need, knicknacks you don’t want, and food that you will probably never eat. It knows that no matter how much you don’t want or need that 10 gallon jar of mayonnaise or pig-shaped chia pet, you are going to buy them anyway. Even worse, Wal-Mart knows that those “rolling back prices” signs make you buy things that you will never in a million years use. A 20-year-old will see a bottle of Centrum Silver at regular price and not think anything of it. But roll the price back two bucks…it’s a MUST HAVE.

Yesterday I went to Wal-Mart for a DVD, a mailing envelope and a birthday card. I emerged with those three items, a popcorn bowl, a package of cups, an extra DVD, 2 extra mailing envelopes, a casserole dish, several boxes of hot pockets, a roll of tape and a candy bar.

Wal-Mart knows.

Hence the carts.

-Hessie

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Want to Keep Your Man? Slut It Up!

I know you like me (I know you like me)
I know you do (I know you do)
Thats why whenever I come around
She's all over you (she's all over you)
I know you want it (I know you want it)
It's easy to see (it's easy to see)
And in the back of your mind
I know you should be home with me (babe)

[refrain:]
Don't cha wish your girlfriend was hot like me?
Don't cha wish your girlfriend was a freak like me?
Don't cha, Don't cha
Don't cha wish your girlfriend was raw like me?
Don't cha wish your girlfriend was fun like me?
Don't cha, Don't cha

-lyrics to Don’t Cha, by The Pussycat Dolls


The song Don’t Cha, by The Pussycat Dolls, has been generally received as a grrrl power anthem among women and perceived as a positive proclamation of female sexuality. I would like to contest this point and state that this song is no different from other cultural messages which oppress women by threatening that men will never like them if they are not constantly striving to fight for male attention. This song is sung by women and may sound like the message is aimed at men, but in reality, the message of this song is directed as a warning to all women with a male significant other. The message is this:

Hey ladies, your man thinks you are boring...I'm sure you're sweet, but you know the kind of girl who makes out with other girls at bars so guys think she's sexy? The "Hot" "Raw" "Fun" "Freak"? Yeah, you're about to lose your boyfriend to her. Better run out, buy a Cosmo, memorize all of their Tantric Sex positions and put on some cellulite cream, or else he's leaving your ass.


These types of cultural messages are nothing new, unfortunately, and this type of scare tactic has been used for years to keep women in line with the dominant ideology. It seems that the general thought is, “Maybe if we keep women busy thinking about men, they won’t realize they’re still really oppressed” (In much the same way that members of the black community are disillusioned by the dominant ideology, whose logic is, “Maybe if we keep black people focused on material wealth (dubs) and the gangsta lifestyle, they won’t realize they’re still oppressed”). Now that these messages are being produced and eagerly consumed by women, the grrrl power movement has degenerated into a hegemonic mess. Don’t Cha reminds me of another song with the same message, which was just presented in a more blatant way: Burt Bacharach and Hal David’s Wives and Lovers, sung by Frank Sinatra, Jack Jones, and Dionne Warwick.

Hey! Little Girl
Comb your hair, fix your makeup
Soon he will open the door
Don't think because there's a ring on your finger
You needn't try anymore

For wives should always be lovers too
Run to his arms the moment he comes home to you
I'm warning you...

Day after day
There are girls at the office
And men will always be men
Don't send him off with your hair still in curlers
You may not see him again


At least this song is honest with its “shape up or ship out, ladies” message. Don’t Cha just encourages the “liberated women wear Playboy bunny thongs” mentality. In the end, women are enthusiastically objectifying themselves in the name of sexual revolution and liberation, which ends up looking like this:



This is sexual liberation? This is what Gloria Steinem and Karlyn Kohrs Campbell and all the others were working for? A chance for women to parade around, scantily clad as objects of lust and have sex with whomever they please? Damn the patriarchy for oppressing us for so long! We'll show them! We'll have sex with random men without committment, see how those bastards handle that! Ha! No amount of subjugation will take away my right to wear a miniskirt, or let my thong hang out of my jeans, or wear a push-up bra. I'm a liberated woman; here are my breasts on parade! That's fucking feminism!

(In the decades since we got the vote, we've come a long damn way toward equality.)


On top of the oppressive message this song sends to women, it encourages all women to view other women as a threat. This song causes women to look at other women and ask themselves “Is she the one that’s going to steal my boyfriend?” This mentality keeps women from joining together in a sisterhood to combat the dominant ideology. The Pussycat Dolls cannot bear all the blame, however, as other songs with the same message come to mind, such as 20 Fingers’ Boom! I F***ed Your Boyfriend, Lesley Gore’s It’s My Party, and Ashlee Simpson’s I Didn’t Steal Your Boyfriend (he just left you for me on his own accord).

So, to wrap it up, I’ll leave you with a math equation:


Oppressive patriarchal ideals


+

Self-objectification and
Hegemonic Messages


=

Real Life Desperate Housewives and
Crappy Television

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

The Musical Genius That is Peter Frampton

There were few musical artists as big as Peter Frampton in the 1970's. Frampton's 1976 live album Frampton Comes Alive!, featuring such classics as Baby, I Love Your Way, Do You Feel Like I Do?, and a cover of The Rolling Stones' Jumpin' Jack Flash made him a household name over night and won him the adoration of millions of fans across the world.

Frampton Comes Alive! became the biggest-selling live album of all time and it is widely regarded as Frampton's masterpiece. However, Frampton was unable to achieve the same success on later albums.

Some blame the lack of success on the quality of Frampton's work, while others blame the disco fad of the late 70's and the subsequent hair band fad of the 80's as the reason Frampton lost popularity. However, the reason for Frampton's demise is far more simple than that.

In 1977, Frampton released his eagerly anticipated follow up to Frampton Comes Alive!. What did Frampton title this career defining record??


I'M IN YOU.




yep, you read it correctly.




I'm In You.




Here's proof.




For reasons that should be obvious to you now, I'm In You was a commercial flop, and Frampton's downward spiral into oblivion began soon after. He still released albums though, and a list of these albums can be found below:

1978- I Swear That's Never Happened Before

1981 -I Wish I Was In You Again

1983 - Please, I Promise I'll Be Quick

1986- I'm Going To Put It In You Again Someday

1987- Jerking Off At A Truck Stop Thinking of the Time I Was In You

1990- That Restraining Order Won't Stop Me

1991 - You'll Come Visit Me In Jail Right?

1994 - Ewww....Now Someone Is In Me

So, does anyone still buy Peter Frampton albums, you ask? The answer is yes. Peter Frampton is still huge in flea malls and flea markets across the country, especially those in the wonderful state of Alabama.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Taterrific!

They're made from high-quality cheap rubber! They can do a job that knives have been doing for centuries! They are about as useful as a solar-powered flashlight!
They're...TATER MITTS!



Probably from the same geniuses that brought us such brilliantly useless inventions as the Chia Pet and Paris Hilton, comes the answer to all of your potato peeling problems.

If you are like me, you probably lie awake at night, agonizing over how long it takes to peel an average potato. You toss and turn, wondering if there will ever be a device that will let you strip an entire sack of that Idaho goodness of its fleshy prison in a matter of seconds.

Well, worry no more. Tater Mitts have arrived!

These rubbery devices will alter reality as we know it. Just slip on a pair of these sexy, knobbly gloves and watch in awe as you fondle the skin off of your spud quicker than William Harrison's presidency. Not only can you strip potatoes, you can jerk off other vegetables as well!

The wheel was a good invention. Tater Mitts are a great one!

And how is clean-up you might ask? Simple! Just run Tater Mitts under hot water and then painstakingly pick out all of the excess skin with a toothpick. It's as easy as Quantum Physics!

Sure, prisons will have to come up with new ways to distract their inmates, and professional potato peelers will all be unemployed, but isn't that a small price to pay to shave five minutes off of cooking prep time? Just think, with Tater Mitts, you will get to stuff your fat face with French fries in no time! And for only $19.95!

Forget learning valuable hand-eye coordination. Ignore all those perfectly good knives that you already own. Say "NO" to hard work and "YES" to Tater Mitts!

-Hessie

Shut the Hell Up About Your Sweet Tea: An Open Letter to the Account Executive in Charge of McDonald’s Advertising

Jim Ferguson
McDonald’s Corp. Creative Consultant
Executive Vice President, DDB Chicago
DDB Chicago
200 East Randolph Street
Chicago, Illinois 60601
312.552.6000

Mr. Ferguson,
I am writing to express my disgust with your most recent attempts at creativity as an account executive at DDB Chicago. The account to which I am specifically referring is that of the McDonald’s Corporation. To be honest, whenever I see a television commercial or billboard that is a part of the “Mickey D’s Sweet Tea” campaign, I am overcome with the urge to vomit. I understand that you have extensive qualifications in the advertising industry, but I interned for a summer at an advertising agency in Atlanta, and I took a senior-level promotion strategies class while I was an undergraduate in college. Also, I am a seasoned consumer of television content, so I think I know a thing or two when it comes to advertising.

I’ll give it to you straight: advertisements for McDonald’s sweet tea are lame, especially in the South, a region famed for their affinity for the beverage. These advertisements are ill-conceived for a multitude of reasons, a few of which I will expound upon below:

First, consumers associate McDonald’s with food items such as hamburgers, french fries, chicken nuggets with questionable chicken content, and occasionally, the McRib sandwich. I’ll even concede that there may be some individuals that specifically think of McDonald’s brand when it comes to sweets (the McFlurry) and healthy eating (even though the salads are the most fattening thing on the menu, the parfaits are full of sugar and I never really got the whole “fruit buzz” campaign – but that’s another letter in and of itself). But tea? That logic is along the same line as expecting consumers to come to McDonald’s because they want a Diet Coke. If I want a Diet Coke, I’ll go to the store, or the gas station, or Burger King. I won’t go to Taco Bell, because they serve Pepsi products, but you get my point. It is thrilling that McDonald’s serves Coke products that I can order when I’m getting my hamburger and fries, but I promise you, I will never be sitting in my house thinking, “I’m thirsty for a Diet Coke. I think I’ll go to McDonald’s.”

Just as you would leave the Coke promotions up to the Coca-Cola Company, why don’t you let Lipton handle the marketing for tea? Are the tea leaves that are used to brew McDonald’s tea McDonald’s-brand leaves? Is there a significant reason why consumers should drink McDonald’s sweet tea instead of Celestial Seasonings? Does the target demographic for McDonald’s brand include tea aficionados? If not, what is the purpose of trying to create an association between the McDonald’s brand and a generic beverage?

Now that we’ve discussed the flawed logic for the general campaign, let’s take a closer look at the commercial using the grandmother who is secretly serving her family McDonald’s sweet tea rather than brewing her own. Not only is the idea that a grandmother would deceive her family morally repugnant, the archetypal grandmother would never fake any cuisine she serves to her family. I am not aware of whether this campaign is strictly regional or nationwide, but I do know it is being run in the South. As a Southern woman, I’m mildly insulted. Have you ever visited the South, Jim? It’s true, we do like our sweet tea, but it’s the home-brewed kind with lots of sugar. We’ll drink tea at a restaurant and do so happily, but let’s not pretend that restaurant-brewed tea passes for the real thing. This commercial could only be worse if you had somehow rewritten the famous “two-all-beef-patties” jingle and made it about sweet tea.

The professor that taught my promotional strategies class in college instructed us to begin an evaluation of an ad campaign by completing the statement, “This would make a good advertisement if…” So here’s the statement that begins my evaluation of “Mickey D’s Sweet Tea”: “This would make a good advertisement if consumers made food choices based on the quality of tea available at the establishment in question.”

Do you really think the gastrointestinal preferences of fast food patrons are going to be dictated by the choice of tea at an eating establishment? DDB Chicago should focus on helping McDonald’s win the Big Mac v. Whopper debate using a campaign that will also manage to help kids forget that the McDonald’s mascot is a creepy clown.

I understand that ego can sometimes get in the way of clearly evaluating one’s own work, but hopefully, my insight can be instrumental in stopping the pain that is generally associated with viewing any elements of this campaign. I’m in the process of pursuing my master’s degree in Communication, but considering your dire creative situation, I could be persuaded to make time for some freelance creative consulting on the side. Feel free to contact me via email or by phone for further assistance.

Best wishes in future creative endeavors.

e

Monday, April 9, 2007

Cultural Subterfuge: A Preface

In order to fully comprehend subsequent contributions from this blog's authors, an intellectual primer is of great use. The following quotations are a sampling of the education which has resulted in the poisoning of our minds. In other words, we're all mentally fucked:

(Quotations selected from Adorno, T. & Horkheimer, M. (1997). The culture industry: Enlightenment as mass deception. In P. Du Gay (Ed.) Production of culture/Cultures of production (pp. 105-111). London: Sage Publications.)


"The fusion of culture and entertainment that is taking place today leads not only to a depravation of culture, but inevitably to an intellectualization of amusement."

"Amusement itself becomesan ideal, taking the place of the higher things of which it completely deprives the masses by repeating them in a manner even more stereotyped than the slogans paid for by advertising interests."

"To be pleasured means to say Yes. It is possible only by insulation from the totality of the social process, by desensitization and, from the first, by senselessly sacrificing the inescapable claim of every work, however inane, within its limits to reflect the whole. Pleasure always means not to think about anything, to forget suffering even where it is shown. Basically it is helplessness. It is flight; not, as is asserted, flight from wretched reality, but from the last remaining thought of resistance. The liberation which amusement promises is freedom from thought and from negation. The effrontery of the rhetorical question, "What do people want?" lies in the fact that it is addressed - as if to reflective individuals - to those very people who are deliberately to be deprived of this individuality. Even when the public does - exceptionally - rebel against the pleasure industry, all it can muster is that feeble resistance which that very industry has inculcated in it."

"Only one girl can draw the lucky ticket, only one man can win the prize, and if, mathematically, all have the same chance, yet this is so infinitesimal for each one that he or she will do best to write it off and rejoice in the other's success, which might just as well have been his or hers, and somehow never is."

Sunday, April 8, 2007

Writer Profile: e


In the United States, the Witness Protection Program was established by the Organized Crime Control Act of 1970, which in turn sets out the manner in which the U.S. Attorney General may provide for the relocation and protection of a witness or potential witness of the federal government, or for a state government in an official proceeding concerning organized crime or other serious offenses.

Witness protection is the process in which witnesses, such as those who testify in criminal trials, are protected against intimidation before their testimony or criminal retaliation after. The U.S. Federal Government both relocates and gives new identities to witnesses who risk their lives by giving testimony as well as providing financial and employment aid. To help avoid discovery, witnesses are expected to sever all ties with former acquaintances. According to the agency, "No program participant following security guidelines has ever been harmed while under the active protection of the Marshals Service"; however, all of the witnesses who were harmed had either failed to fully comply, often at times contacting old acquaintances, or had already left the program.

As a result, the only information available regarding our third female writer is that she is a former Mafia princess who writes solely under the name “e”. In order to protect the innocent, no further information can be disclosed.

Writer Profile: GMoney


In January of 2007, number-one ranked cyclist in the world, GMoney, gave it all up in the name of true love. While romance has plagued many an athlete, GMoney left cycling for a complicated and troubled lady: the backwoods of the Deep South.

Born on September 18, 1971, in Plano, Texas, GMoney began taking part in athletic activities at a youthful age. By 13, he was entering triathlons, later focusing on cycling and turning pro at 16. He won the National Amateur Cycling Championship in 1991, but the following year he finished 14th at the Olympic Summer Games in Barcelona. He rebounded in 1993, winning the Pro Cycling Tour's Triple Crown.

While many fans know GMoney for his athletic ability, he has also been a fashion icon for thousands. From his pairing of the necktie with jeans to his patented three-product hairstyle, GMoney was renowned as a trendsetter.

All of this changed, however, in January of 2007. Upon entering graduate school to study Communication, GMoney gave up his professional aspirations of cycling and devoted himself to gaining a true understanding of what it means to be “Southern.”

While he still rides occasionally, GMoney can most often be whittlin’ in his rocking chair on his back porch. When asked how he felt about his new-found love for the South, GMoney spoke in what can only be assumed to be a Southern tongue. While the writer of this bio unfortunately cannot translate his words to mainstream English, maybe those of you who are of Southern lineage will understand:

Now, I don't want to git no higher'n pullin' fodder, nur no lower'n diggin' taters, but just ‘cause a chicken got wings, don’t mean it can fly. My Daddy always said Don't go off with your pistol half cocked. You can put your boots in the oven, but that don’t make 'em biscuits. After all, if wishes were horses, then beggars would ride. Good ole’ Daddy, he was so tall he could hunt geese with a rake. But like mama used to say, He's about as handy as a back pocket on a shirt. Now gimme some sugar.



Writer Profile: The Retro Housewife


The Retro Housewife was born Sue Ann Marie Barbara Jean Wilson on August 14, 1941 in Casper, Wyoming. The daughter of a ruggedly masculine sheriff and her demurely erudite husband, The Retro Housewife took an early and girlishly appropriate interest in those aspects of American art and culture which are so comfortably reminiscent of 18th century thought and tradition. A voracious reader of books, the young Housewife took a special liking to the tragically romantic works of the Frenchman Victor Hugo, most notably his seminal novel "The Hunchback of Notre Dame," from whose dog-eared pages she would later would take her inspiration when selecting a mate.

After earning her Bachelor of Arts degree in English Literature from We-Read-Good College, The Retro Housewife found herself still without a bread-winning spouse. Wisely hedging her bets, she took refuge in post-graduate education, where she is currently spouse-hunting while enrolled as a graduate student in Communication. Unfortunately for The Retro Housewife and her spousal pursuits, The Retro Housewife is an intellectual genius and a brilliant writer, but as we all know, a thinking woman doesn’t attract real men! The Retro Housewife’s star sign is Leo. She likes movies, Infusium 23 shampoo, postmodernist interpretive dance, and playing second fiddle to any man who’s brave enough to play first.


Writer Profile: Hank


Hank’s true origins are unknown, yet several rumors persist.

One states that he comes from the Northwest, born of a great clamshell.

Another claims that he was begat by a union of stellar gasses in a distant galaxy.

Others claim that he derives his name, Hank, from the great lineage that he keeps a mystery, but is rumored to include both Hank Aaron AND Hank Williams. Many believe this story to be true because Hank is both a sports expert and an country music aficionado.

But the one most people believe, and I am one, say that he was originally brought forth by an ancient clan of Cave Bears and raised in a time when all beasts and men could change their form. Truly there was no difference between species other than their own perceptions, which, occasionally, they decided to change.

Eventually he began to work with others chronicling their lives on the walls of caves, the sides of rocks-anywhere an image could be made. Especially where they could be seen and shared by others for many years. Now, drawing and painting on cave walls in the form of a Bear is quite hard. Just you try and hold a paint slathered stick in a paw! So Hank decided to change, pretty much permanently, into the form of a human being. He liked human females better anyway. Though they can crush your heart they can't crush your skull with one swipe of their forearm!

After living for years as a tortured cave artist, Hank decided to exercise his true talent: his intellect. He is now in graduate school, pursuing a degree in Communication so that one day, he might share the great story of his life through words, not just with his cave paintings.