Really, it doesn't take much, does it? Today I would like to address the monstrosity that is this:
Now, I often get angry at commercials for one reason or another. Seldom does one disgust me as a consumer, as a (former) marketing professional, and as a human being all at once, as this one does. The one bright spot for me is the comments left by the YouTube viewers. They sum up my feelings on all three levels. Update: Wait! I'm actually enraged on four levels. See below.
As a consumer:
middlefinger22 -- "do you need to pay for the cameraa ?? and headset"
BarricadeSlade -- "What? You mean they're not built into the computer? Wtf? You'd think that after 3 mabye 4 years they'd a caught up with Apple..."
As a marketing professional:
chrisslinkard -- "The father is so very ugly. For a company selling a product where you can connect face-to-face with people over the internet, they should fire the person who cast this guy in their commercial. If the people who use oovoo look like that, I will run from their product, not walk."
grbradsk -- "I don't care about the guy's looks, the commercial is just grating anyhow. There's the presentation background chatter which at first I though was the product and then there's the stupidity: No way I'm signing up for something that can nag me and pop up during a business presentation."
Chrisslinkard makes an excellent point; that guy seriously needs a hat or something.
Finally, as a human being:
wereallcelebsnow -- "This commercial is despicable on so many levels, not the least of which is the way it encourages instilling values of greed and capitalism at a very young age. She doesn't call to tell him that she's thinking about and misses him (which would be utterly unacceptable and shunned upon at a business meeting), but instead to remind him he'd better do really well at this meeting and "make some money!" so her and her family can live in unneccesary indulgences such as video conferencing."
"What's even more perverse about this is how everyone 'awws' at this comment, as if it's not highly inappropriate, especially coming from a child. Infact it's passed off as merely a cutesy "kids say the darndest things" moment. The sad, even deeper implication is that that's about as much human interaction and communication a business tycoon father and his daughter can ever expect to have. And everyone has a good laugh. ...Then the world explodes."
Update: I forgot how it bothers me as a parent! For one, why is a child videoconferencing ANYONE without adult supervision? Two, her behavior is deplorable, not adorable -- thanks for teaching her she's the center of the universe, clueless overly permissive parents who can't set and maintain boundaries for their child. There, I think that's it.
In conclusion, worst... ad... ever. Well, there are some erectile dysfunction ones that give it a run for the money...
And why does this guy shiver under a blanket with a Harlequin romance every October 31, unable to face the world? Did he see the Jamie Lee Curtis movie by the same name at too early an age? Did bullies push him down and steal his trick or treat bag? Did he come home unexpectedly early from trick or treating and find his parents engaged in some costumed role play? What is it that so traumatized him that he can't even turn on the television set because monster movies might be showing?
Apparently being dressed as a pumpkin at age 4 was the cause. Or perhaps having his picture taken while he was dressed as a pumpkin. I'm really not sure. Maybe it was this.
They have a picture on him in the print edition of the Chicago Tribune (they had a reprint of that WGN story in the paper today; very cost-conscious of them), but I can't find it online. Which is a shame.
Also, I can't find his "article for an online magazine" either. I'd really like to hear more about his feelings.
By the way, if you like that "Ghost and Mr. Chicken" figurine of Don Knotts, you can find it here.
(It seems Alex is involved in some comedy shows around town, so I hope he takes my diatribe in good fun. I'd hate for him to call his mom on me.)
Return of Return of Return of Return of Return of Return of Return of Flash Fiction Friday
I haven't done this in a while, and maybe someone wants to write a scary story that doesn't start with, "After John McCain won the election and dropped dead of a heart attack on Inauguration Day, leaving Sarah Palin to govern the nation..."
I still miss my friend JJ. I'm going to resurrect his group writing exercise, Flash Fiction Friday. Again, here are the rules, which I copied directly from his website earlier:
You will write an anecdote, short story, or novel length prose poem beginning with the sentence below.
You will add comments to this post indicating your desire to participate and the completion of your story.
You may join in at any time prior to the deadline.
You will display your story as a post on your own blog.
You will be done by Monday 12:00 Noon CST.
Oh, and if you ask about the rules, you have to wear Dilf's crocs for a week.
She was suddenly gripped by..
See, it doesn't have to be a spooky story. She could be gripped by a realization or something. I like to leave it open that way.
This morning, we awoke to the delightful image of our garbage strewn across our front yard, courtesy of our local raccoons. It was more horrible to Dilf than to me, because let's face it: cleaning up after a raccoon is one of those half-cat duties husbands perform. (JJ, why did you leave us? I still miss you.)
Why did the raccoons choose our garbage this week, for the first time ever? Was it my delectable meatloaf? My savory spaghetti? My heavenly cookie crumbs? Which of my delicious homemade delicacies drove the creatures mad with desire, forcing them to attack my trash can with such gusto?
It wasn't any of those things. It was store-bought macaroni and "cheese" in a styrofoam container from the local grocery store, one of the side dishes that came along with the deli fried chicken Dilf purchased on Monday when I had a migraine and didn't feel up to cooking dinner.
I am deeply hurt and confused. Why, raccoons, why? Why you gotta diss the Übermilf like that?
We have been looking for a digital copy of that album for decades. DECADES. It is no longer available. Mine is on 33 1/3 vinyl and says "Susie M. Room 109" on it from when I brought it to my class Halloween party.
Today we're going to beat a dead horse and talk about the acts of depravity that are killing our country.
According to tradition, there are seven deadly sins: Lust, Gluttony, Greed, Sloth, Wrath, Envy, Pride. We have a group of individuals who have taken gluttony, greed, envy and pride to levels previously reserved for mythological sociopaths like King Midas.
If these people were reveling in lust instead, we'd all be dying from syphilis right now, and the streets and sanitation department would be buried under used condoms and drowning in bodily fluids. But because it's greed and such, they've been allowed to get away with it.
We've all complained about the injustice of CEO, seemingly more incompetent than not, making 400 or more times the salary of their employees. Nothing happened.
We voiced concerns over "golden parachutes" and exorbitant bonuses to no avail.
We cautioned against housing bubbles and environmental impacts and God knows what else, but nobody does a damn thing. Even now, we are bailing them out in an effort to avoid our own demise.
We're not helpless, you know. There are more of us than there are of them. Gradually, "we the people" are going to fight back. One of "us" already is. We should lend people like that our support.
Maybe this revolution won't require armed violence, but instead we all just refuse to give in to their demands. What if we all developed our own regional economies, utilizing what we had available as far as food and energy sources was concerned? What if we had a labor-based rather than capital-based economy? Just because the currently wealthy's kingdom of make-believe is crashing down around their shoulders doesn't mean our world is collapsing.
Screw you, King Friday! Suck it up and learn a trade or do something useful for a change.
... but let's start with an easy target: Karl Rove.
When you're in art or entertainment and your name becomes so iconic that people place an "-ist" or an "-ite" or an "-esque" after it, it's usually a good thing. However, in politics it usually means you're so outrageously nefarious that your name has become a label for evil behavior.
"Rovian" behavior does not further truth, thoughtful debate or consensus. Instead, his methods of sneaky innuendo, unfounded rumor, and outright falsehood have managed to foment acts of rage and hate in this year's election.
I don't believe in capital punishment, and I don't think violence ever solves anything, so don't worry, I won't hurt him. Physically. Much. I would force him to do community services of various kinds, to work off his debt to society. I'm not sure where I'd end, maybe with the elderly taking him to task. But first, I would definitely force him to work in a day care center, preferably one for over-active and imaginative preschoolers. And every day they'd have about an hour of percussion music instrument time.
Of course, he'd be fitted with a shock collar and I'd be watching him like a hawk, so if he tried to hurt or insult the kids in any way, he'd quickly learn that's not the right way to treat children.
And that's how I'd deal with just one of America's public enemies who are (trying to? successfully?) destroying America.
Some of you may be thinking, "So, you don't like lying guttersnipes and obstructive falsehoods and ruthless cheaters in politics. Well, then, Miss Fussypants, what DO you like?"
Happily for me, the answer came to me in yesterday's Downers Grove Reporter, specifically in this letter to the editor. (I like how it's titled "Village Officials Doing Their Jobs," as if that's a marvel to be noted.)
What did I like about that, despite the exciting new concept of village officials doing their jobs? My mayor was out in the rain clearing debris from storm sewers in the middle of a storm -- without a news crew in tow, without fanfare. That's dedication.
Granted a bit of self preservation was involved; flooding would've caused people to complain and blame our storm sewer system and everyone involved in its upkeep. Which is ridiculous, because everyone knows the flooding is the fault of our evil Park District. I still have my eye on those people.
But still, kudos to Ron Sandack (who also appears to have another job; who knew?). Here he is enjoying a sandwich named after him at a local deli:
Do Republican apologists think I have been in a coma since 2000 and can't remember what happened?
First, I am supposed to "forget" we didn't go to Iraq to remove nasty old Saddam, but instead to defend ourselves from those weapons of mass destruction he was prepared to use on us at any second. The ones that never surfaced. But we removed a "bad man," right?
Now, I'm supposed to buy the argument that Boogeyman Bill Clinton forced economic ruin upon us by forcing lending institutions to pour money into poor neighborhoods using that all-powerful club, the Community Reinvestment Act. Oh, the melodrama! The banking/lending industry, clutching their lacy hankies to their chests and crying, "Please... please Mr. CRA officer! Don't make us lend money to those poverty-stricken people! We know they don't have the money, and our big ol' hearts just can't bear the thought of them losing their homes someday!" "Too bad!" evilly laughs the mustachioed villain. "You must! I have the power of the CRA behind me! And that reminds me..." He swirls around, his black cape swirling about him in a flourish. "I don't see a copy of it displayed in your lobby! You'll pay for that!" Banking industry wails, swoons, and faints.
As if that scenario weren't preposterous enough (banks major complaint about CRA had always been the paperwork involved. They never lobbied against it as "forcing" them to lend to anybody), these liars expect me to forget about all the changes to the credit/banking industry that passed at the end of Clinton's era through, well, 2007 when Congress finally "noticed." That's right, somehow these corporations managed to push through every last "reform" to their favor, yet were magically hamstrung by the dastardly CRA?
And what "proof" of this scenario do we have? An editorial by some schmuck at Investor's Business Daily? He makes a lot of assertions without concrete examples to back them up.
No, it's not because of Randal, though I love him dearly.
No, I'm pissed off because conservatives refuse to take responsibility. I've been trying to find sympathetic Republican viewpoints, I really have. But I've been forced to give up because they will not face reality.
Despite their admission that a "lack of oversight" is at fault for our current economic mess, the utterly fucking ridiculous notion that CRA is to blame is gaining momentum; that somehow less regulation is required.
So, fuck you immature, reckless assholes who would rather drive the country even further into the ground for the sake of your failed beliefs rather than admit your mistakes and help think of new solutions.
You know your obscene worship of wealth? Fuck that. And your hatred of anyone different than you in any way? Fuck that, too. Fuck you for thinking anyone who puts his/her family or ethics or the needs of the future ahead of a fast buck is stupid or lacking in a work ethic. Fuck you for hijacking the Christian religion and repurposing it for your personal gain. Fuck you for trying to kill off any social program that has helped lift a struggling person or family from the muck of institutionalized poverty.
I am done with you. The only thing worse than the damage you've done is your refusal to help fix it.
For many years now, conservatives have been trumpeting the cause of deregulation and smaller government and less governmental intrusion into people's lives. They haven't been practicing it necessarily, but they've been trumpeting it.
They've created a mythology that paints themselves as the guys (and gals, on occasion) in the white hats, who govern with prudence and wisdom and as long as they're in charge, the valleys will be flowing with milk and honey.
Then along comes the financial crisis, revealing the ugly underbelly of greed and injustice that those liberal bad guys have insisted has been there all along. Maybe I should rejoice in shadenfreude, but I'm not.
I'm thinking back to the job I held in my early- to mid- twenties at a low income housing developer. Under Clinton, there was this tax credit program for companies that invested in community development, and the place I worked for allowed companies to simply hand over some cash without having to deal directly with the community organizers and mind-numbing paperwork and such.
We had this "mission statement" that stated our goal of reinvigorating neighborhoods and helping poor families and all other sorts of noble undertakings. At the head was this guy who would appear on 60 Minutes and in publications as this ultra do-gooder, yet we (especially us young female staffers) knew him as "Gropin' G--" who used money from the organization to keep an apartment in the city for dalliances, while his wife and kids lived out in the suburbs someplace.
The worst, though, was at a meeting to discuss which projects we should undertake. One of the projects would actually produce revenue, but wasn't really helping people in need. When one of the board members objected, stating the project didn't fit with our mission, he said, "Fuck the mission! Let's make some money!"
There was also a time I saw a hard-as-nails project manager quit in tears because the land upon which a project was to be built was tainted with lead, yet the board still voted to go ahead and build there despite her objections because the land only cost a dollar.
See, companies would often donate land or sell it very cheap to nonprofit organizations to avoid cleanup costs of hazardous sites. Then the church or the community group or whoever would be stuck with the bill from the EPA. Now we're getting back to the corporate greed.
Anyway, my point is, I know what it's like to be filled with confidence that you're working towards good and making the world a better place, only to find it's a sham abused by people at the top for their own selfish objectives.
Collectively, we good-hearted liberals and those well-meaning conservatives need to figure out what we're going to do about these people who seem to ruin each good idea and every constructive plan with their devious self-interest.
Before that happens, we need to give the conservatives some room to mourn the loss of their ideology.
Although just last week I actually wrote the words "Republicans eat babies," I am dedicating this week to finding conservatives with whom I agree. I won't agree with them wholeheartedly, but that doesn't mean I can't agree with them occasionally. And I think we can build upon those occasions and help save America. Maybe.
I am battling some serious "but what about them?" feelings. How often does a conservative/Republican try the same tack? Add that to the fact I believe Democrats were completely tricked into passing that bailout package, and I am not feeling particularly warm and fuzzy toward Republicans right now. On the other hand, I think there's a difference between a "conservative," who sincerely holds to a set of ideals I can understand and even get behind in certain instances, and a lobbyist-beholden Republican politician. With these conservatives, I think we can find some common ground. Maybe.
I have been wondering why the Republican Party is so staunchly anti-abortion, yet either nonchalant or downright kill-happy when it comes to other life issues.
Are you starving to death? Not their problem. Can't afford medical care? Call someone who cares. Food supply poisoned by ruthless profiteers? Caveat emptor, baby. Or is that Laissez-Faire?
Throw their murderous streak into the equation (poor people on death row? String 'em up -- they've got to be guilty of something! Sitting on some oil reserves? Tell Allah I said hello) and you've got some serious killing machines on your hands. And that's not even including their willingness to destroy the very air, water and land that sustains all life on this planet in the first place.
So it seems very odd to me that Republicans are so concerned about newborns -- and I'm not the only one who's noticed their inconsistency. Why would they care so much about ittiest bittiest Americans while not giving a flying fig about anyone else, much less the building blocks of life on earth?
Babies are a Republican delicacy. That's why their fundraising dinners are so freaking expensive. Oh, sure, some of their less fantastically wealthy members make do with food that simply looks like babies, but at the top, they only accept the real deal. Just ask Karl Rove.
Now, you might ask why Republicans don't just harvest their babies from poor people in the Southern Hemisphere, like their transplant organs. Sadly, too many Republicans view brown babies (and people) the same way many people view eggs -- no matter how much proof exists that the brown ones are the same on the inside as the white ones, they just have an irrational preference for the white ones.
So, there's the reason Republicans so strenuously oppose abortion, when they can and do deny their other beliefs and convictions (I'm looking at you, "I don't have a church, I'm not a member of any church"-Palin). They need their delicious, delicious supply of baby meat. Or they turn to dust before sunrise. *cough* Dick Cheney *cough*
But as I watch the Simon Pegg/Edgar Wright/Nick Frost movies (again and again and again), I have come to a painful realization. I think Edgar Wright's direction may be the magic element in those movies (and tv show "Spaced"). Now, my cuddly little geeky boy helped write in all these instances, and also collaborated on other film making aspects with Mr. Wright, so I'm not entirely discounting his contributions, BUT... I am afraid to watch his upcoming big-budget film about the douchebag.
That's okay. Even if it sucks and my infatuation fades entirely, I'll always have Dilf. And Dilf's a better cook.