February 4th, 2014On this day in different years


Coke ad redux

For many people, including some who read this, Sunday evening was a festival of new TV ads, interrupted for some reason by funny-dressed big guys bumping into each other. (There was also a lengthy interlude of what has replaced music, but that's not important now.) Two of the ads won my support by the enemies they attracted: the Cheerios ad, with its interracial family, and the Coca-Cola ad, which included "America the Beautiful" in languages other than English. John Scalzi offers some info on it. I had not known that "America the Beautiful" was written by one of those early-20th-century spinsters who had a really close female friend and we can't be sure but....

Most of the ads went over my head because I am an old fart who doesn't know contemporary pop culture. I'm glad there was a lot less of the misogyny that seemed to rule the Super Bowl ads a few years ago. My least favorite was the Chevy ad with the bulls and the trucks. It dripped with testosterone, to the point where I was glad I didn't have to take a PED test after watching it.


I don't do a Charles Pierce quote every day, but I'm usually tempted. From a discussion of the health insurance racket:
This is what I wonder. How do you sleep at night knowing that you have monopoly control over the health of the people in your region? How do you sleep knowing that you exercise that monopoly power the way every monopoly power always has been exercised?

Lick my brick

Back in the 60s, there was a satirical magazine called Horseshit. It was brilliantly funny except when talking about women, whom it hated. (There was a lot of that going around.) They did a brilliant satire called "One of Our Soldiers Is a Killer," in which chaos reigns when a character does what the Army says it's for (learning to kill people) instead of what it really cares about (dress rules and properly made beds). There was a line I still use for companies not trusting their own product: "No matter how sick the pope gets, they never take him to Lourdes." And there was a marvelous idea called the American Nut Growers Foundation, a secret organization that created everything from the Oscars to the UFO menace as practical jokes to test the hypothesis that there is nothing too stupid for the American people to believe.

That image seems applicable to much culture, including anything called post-modern. Since Piero Manzoni sold cans of what he alleged to be his own excrement as works of art, it may be impossible to imagine anything that could not be declared art and sold as such.

Cuisine likewise. P.J. O'Rourke theorized that French cuisine ("cheese that smells like people's feet") was created as a cruel hoax on the pretensions of the newly rich. Nouvelle Cuisine always struck my uneducated eye and palate as artistically designed small portions of what the Third World has to eat. Here is a report from the front.

Thanx to andrewducker

Don't be Adobe

I know that the famous stupid Bob Denver TV show was Gilligan's Island, but I wish it had been the other one so we could make cruel jests about "Adobe Gillis."* According to the tech support staff here at Valentine's Castle (womzilla), Adobe software messes up everything it touches, and now they have a clever plan to use DRM** to force everyone to buy their new product.

* But Dobie Gillis was the only thing Max Shulman ever did that I didn't like. It was my introduction to sociobiology, telling my impressionable teen self that if I did not succeed in society's terms, I would never ever get laid.

**Just as DARE stands for Don't Allow Reasonable Experimentation, DRM stands for Don't Read Much.

Thanx to andrewducker