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« Cape Cod Is So Pretty That I'm About To Choke You With Pictures | Main | Taking Stock Of My Stupidity »

Sunday, June 22, 2008


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Miss Luongo

I'm going to intervene. And I'll be glad to punch you in the head, although I'm a terrible shot. Just remember, you didn't simply ask for it, you begged. Yelling at the television is A Very Bad Sign. You've crossed over to the dark side. Your friendship with William Burroughs is a cover.


I did beg it for it, I did. You can cash that at the bank.

And I have to disagree... yelling at the TV is a very good sign. Refuse to accept the crap they're shoving down your throat silently! Get mad, and turn it off!

There's an excellent article that I found written in 1991 by Deborah Baldwin about commercialism. It's an excellent article because it agrees pretty completely with my opinion, and I like that. Also, she says it all smart instead of like a raving lunatic, and that's probably more compelling. You can read it in .pdf format here, but it's a bit wonky. You have to hit the turn clockwise button, and then her piece doesn't actually start until the bottom of the first page. But it's really worth reading.


messiestobjects i hear you like awesome food!

come to grizzlebees™ today, and get a free onion burst™ with each shrabster™!*

you'll wish you had less fun™!

*limit one free onion burst™ per party!


Dude, don't you mean Bizarro awesome food?

Gaseous Clay

You said, "commercials are the Devil." That's funny, at this point, and for generations to those in positions of power, I thought free thought and free speech was the Devil. It’s odd how this ties in with your rant on commercials. We have become such a multi-media oriented society. Our schools pretty much tell us not to think and are consistently becoming less and less funded, the gene pool more and more watered-down with mediocrity. Funny, Idiocracy just came to mind. Anyway, as independent thought wanes through lack of education and mental stimulus consists solely of television and videogames, identity is dictated by product consumption, what are commercials but programming? It's no longer advertising in my eyes. We don’t seem to care what goes on in the world as long as Stouffers is telling us that their new, and improved, chemical slab is going to make life normal. We buy it, and we, erm, BUY it. As long as our little tunnel-vision microcosms are comfortable, all is well.

I haven’t given this much thought before, but I wonder at what point commercials truly became programming versus advertising? Keep in mind that Swanson started pimping TV dinners in the early 50’s. A point when TV shows were still perpetuating the perfect family in most shows. Did June Cleaver ever serve Wally and the Beaver a TV dinner? Again, I’m reminded of a movie, Back to the Future, as Dad proudly wheels the new television into the dinning room so they can watch it while they eat. When did psychology become a mandatory course for a career in advertising? When did identity and self-worth become something that was indicated by the car you drove or the watch you wore?

I have often thought that you could measure the outlook of American society based on the comedies it produces, films that is. We had a long run of socially conscious satires that have been replaced with just vulgarities for the sake of cheap laughs. It always creeps me out to think that shows like Dennis the Menace were prime time television for adults. It’s such an interesting indication of the state of consciousness at the time.

We have become very isolated, especially in large cities. We move away from our families for work. We lose all of our roots and become disconnected from people. I know, I am one of these people and I see it in a lot of others. Work becomes our lives, and when we’re not working we’re shopping on-line, or watching TV or DVDs. I admit, I am guilty of this. I admit, I don’t even read these days, and I used to be an avid reader. Still, there is something that compels me to not become a husk of a person, it’s instinctual. I have always opposed the herd mentality.

I know exactly what you are saying about taking a break from television and how terrifying it is when you return to it. I have gone years without TV on a couple of occasions and watching it after that is excruciatingly painful. That said, over time it becomes more and more appealing, and even I have found myself getting caught up in its’ nonsense. You become numb to your own opposition. Then again, I have always hated a lot of television, so…

I’d disagree that Buffy is the best TV show of all time. That honor easily goes to Twin Peaks, The Twilight Zone, Star Trek or Star Trek the Next Generation. Several others come to mind, but, hey, opinions are like the ingredients in a McDonald’s burger.

Sorry, Mike, to funk up your post with my blathering, but I’m totally shit-faced at present…


No apologies necessary Gaseous. I'm always glad to hear from you. Anyway, your "blathering" made me miss our morning cigarettes and discussions on the loading dock... you know, the ones where you and I and maybe Lauren would hang out for "a cigarette", which would turn into 10, and other people would pop in and out the whole time, all while we discussed such things as Horselover Fat and stupid people we had to work with. Good times, good times.

Actually, I also remember many discussions on how we'd fit in back in the real world, especially near the end there when we knew the Hotel was closing and we were more than a little freaked about the prospect. I think you've especially always had a deep suspicion of mainstream American life, and your very good comment reminded me of some of the more insightful stuff we'd talk about.

I especially like your insight about what kind of comedies we're watching these days as the outlook of American society... I have a marked distaste for the pap that ex-Saturday Night Livers routinely put out, and Will Ferrell makes me want to duck and cover. (Although Stranger Than Fiction was pretty good.) And that stuff is the best of the crap we're seeing... Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy.... BLECCCHHH!!! Anyway. I actually find myself thinking about Idiocracy an awful lot these days. I think that movie is Prophetic. It's definitely a bit of genius. I wonder how soon before they actually start selling cushy living room loveseats with built in toilet capabilities, so that fatasses don't even have to get up for the commercial breaks any more.

And your comment about advertising as programming gave me a vision of commercials as social programming; that is, couch potato brains are being programmed to behave and consume in a certain way. We're not people, we're bits of programmed hardware (or as my latest sci-fi hero Rudy Rucker puts it, Wetware) programs in the great American economic program.

And you're wrong about Buffy. Twin Peaks is great, groundbreaking, sure. I'm a huge fan. But it ended too soon and Lynch was forced to reveal Laura's killer long before he intended to, and the show never recovered from that, really, although I would've liked to have seen where Lynch was going with the evil Dale. And Star-Trek too often became a soap opera in space, which irritates a sci-fi purist like me. Granted, Buffy is essentially a soap opera, but only in the way that Twin Peaks was. They transcended the banality of the common soap opera with brilliant writing. Buffy is perfect, and consistently awe-inspiring, and ended exactly when it was supposed to, although I would love to see more.

Miss Luongo

Advertising majors study "psychographics." They're the yin to demographic's yang. We also were very interested in Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs. We BUY because we have Needs. Maslow breaks them down into physiological (shelter & food), safety, belonging, esteem, and self actualization. Once one need is met, we move on to another.

Society can be judged by car ads:

I have food and shelter, I desire safety. So, I buy Michelin tires. Once I feel safe, I want to fit in with my peers. So, I buy a Jetta so I can be a part of a community of cool, unique individuals who all have the same car. But now I want to be admired by others. So, I buy a Lexus.

Most people, lucky for advertisers, get stuck in the belonging-esteem categories. Well, now all of those belonging-esteem needs folks who were living right up against the economic wire are scared. So there are more appeals to safety (aka. security) needs. So car ads are pitching free gas for a year.

If you have self-actualization needs, you're probably walking, or riding a bike, or driving a car that runs on vegetable oil. You have no idea what a Jetta or a Lexus is. But you know how long it takes you to walk to your favorite Bodhi tree by the river where you construct a letter to your Senator opposing The War that includes a solution to global warming and dependence on oil.


Advertising majors play wicked dirty. Seems like they're exploiting the common man's blindness to his own needs. I think once you become aware that you're being manipulated, it's easier to make your own choices for your own reasons, hence the desire of advertising people to keep commercials in your face all day long to keep you from having a moment of peace to realize this.

Of course, even though I'm aware that they're trying to manipulate me, I still buy stuff I don't need... I think I've been programmed from a very young age and my habits are formed. They get you young and lock it in... I think it's important to realize that letting kids watch TV is not very different from letting them smoke cigarettes.

I think it's kind of sick that people study this stuff with the desire to force other people into a particular mode of behavior, such as how to get them to buy your product. Seems like a dirty trick. I mean, as Derren Brown proved in this dirty trick of his own, even Advertising people are susceptible, so it's like promoting a tactic to brainwash yourself. It's rather unbalanced and insane, if you ask me.

Miss Luongo

Well, to be fair, they teach Ethics to Advt majors. And subliminal advertising is illegal. Although, they still airbrush the word "sex" into the flesh of models in women's magazines.


Yeah, Ethics. My company teaches a class called "Ethical Hacking" in which they teach a company's computer security geeks how to hack with the bent being that they will then know how to counter not-so-ethical hackers. But still, now they know how to hack so, disgruntled ex-computer security geeks will be the 21st century's version of a disgruntled postal worker, and it will come to be called "going hack", or maybe "going hacking".

"Hey Ed, did you hear about Ted? He finally went hacking after staring at his computer screen for too long; totally whipped out a trojan and hacked everybody's programming to bits. It was pretty gruesome."

Miss Luongo

The good guys are white-hat hackers and they fight the black-hat hackers. Racists.


Actually, they do call them white-hat hackers... good call! Which also proves my point; White-hat and Black-hat are popular terms because the good guys and the bad guys in certain given situations are indistinguishable from each other except for the hat they wear... operationally and morally, they're pretty much the same thing. There are crooks in the law and there is honor among thieves...

gaseous clay

"And subliminal advertising is illegal."

Wasn't it established some time ago that sublimal messages are much less effective than planting something catchy consciously? I'm reminded of Seinfeld and Equus. "Co-stanza."


I think that's a hard call... I'm reminded of the split-second clip of porn inserted into the overblown Disney cartoon animal adventure movie that made children cry.

Hee hee, that was funny.

Gaseous Clay

HA! Now I'm tempted to try the soup.

Remember the, what was it, I'm soooo out of the loop with my Disney trivia, The Little Mermaid, when the disgruntled hacker, erm, artist, inserted (no italics as an option?) that giant penis into the promotional advert art?

Yeah, in regard to the subliminal law, I hate it when things are given as offering when it means nothing, but is intended to be a sign of good faith. (Hello stimulus check!)

Seriously, though, yeah, I miss those morning fags and discussions.

Also, even though Twin Peaks didn't quite turn out as intended, such is life, but we enjoy the ride, up and down. The show is perfect to me, even with its' blemishes, like James' adventures.

Will give Buffy a look if the opportunity comes my way. I still think you just have a thing for Sarah Michelle Gellar that's perverting what you might make of it if she wasn't present.


You have to use html in order to get accents on words in the comment section... it's archaic, but easy enough. For italics, you have to type this without the spaces: < i > word or words you want in italics here < / i > and for bold it's like this: < b > bold word < / b >.

I despise the radical right wing snarkiness of the stimulus check, or Bush's bribe as we of the not-fooled part of the population like to call it.

James' adventures were horrific. HORRIFIC. That's all I have to say about that.

And actually, I didn't really care about Sarah Michelle Gellar all that much... honestly I think of all the characters on that show, she might actually be my least favorite. She's a really great actress, and is fantastic fun to watch, but her character is actually somewhat of the straight man on that show... not always as compelling as other characterizations. But do me a favor; if you do get around to watching it, there are some important things to keep in mind:

1) The first season is good, but not great, and a little campy. But really quite witty, and unusual for it's time, so it gives you a sense of the potential greatness to come.

2) Season 2 is much better, but a tad histrionic and overmelodramatic at times. But several of the episodes are near brilliant, particularly the Halloween episode and the love potion episode. The monster-of-the-week format of the show in season 2 is a bit distracting, yet there is a season long story arc there which became the prototype for the type of drive to come in later seasons.

3) Season 3.... some people really really love it the most. It is awesome, funny, and AWESOME, but I found the character of Faith to be supremely annoying and she distracted me from fully appreciating the season as a whole. However, Band Candy and Doppelgangerland may be some of the greatest TV episodes of ANY show of all time. And I'm not ashamed to admit it, but The Prom makes me sob like a little girl every time.

If you've made it this far, you're hooked and will forgive some of the annoyances of season 4, which some people really dislike, but mostly I love. And if season 5 is sheer brilliance, then season 6 is the darkest, cleverest, most awe-inspiring season of television you could ever imagine. Season 7... well, it's really good, but, well, if you ever get around to watching season 7, we can discuss it then.

Gaseous Clay

Read this again, after over 15 years, and it reminded me of this...


Michel Foucault reminded you of Buffy?!

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