Friday, June 25, 2010

Old School Advertising

This is a collection of "Mad Men"-era advertisements that I find hilarious. My mother forwarded them to me.

We had a Kenwood at my house growing up. This ad looks like it's from the '80s, which is odd methinks...

This one looks like something from "South Park"...

You know, we had a saying on our mission: "The more doors you knock, the cuter your wife gets..." Kind of the same thing, but in reverse...

For a better start in life, start cola earlier? Holy crap! Although that kid kind of looks like my dad did as a baby. I love the statement that "laboratory tests" have proven that cola makes your baby more popular when he's a teenager. How did they purport to prove this?

This one's the same:

OK this one is obviously sexual, with the phallic cigar and the word "blow" ... it seems like the kind of thing from a copy of "Playboy" in the 1970s (I assume).

This one is pretty disturbing. I mean, you'd think that, like the previous one, they might try to use sex to subconciously communicate that you should purchase a product. But this is not a consensual spanking game ... this woman is in genuine peril. Yowza!

The headline on this one is probably probably telling the truth (at the time):

Speaks for itself...

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

I, Robot

So I recently read the book "I, Robot," which thing I should have read when I was 14 methinks. It was pretty good. It's like 50 years old, but doesn't feel like cheesy, pre-"Star Trek" science fiction where robots are just there to be mindless bad guys.

The adaption a few years ago did a great job of taking the key concepts and extrapolating them into a full-length story. (The book itself is a collection of nine short stories Asimov wrote over the course of years.) Upon completion, I edited the Wikipedia page for the film to add "Similarities to the Book." I'd recommend it if you're a sci-fi fan. (The book ... or the movie ... not necessarily the Wiki page, though that's good too.)

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Samantha Bee: Daily Show coming to D.C.

So yesterday I went to the Borders in Washington, D.C., where Samantha Bee from "The Daily Show" was there promoting her new book. I went and got some video of it. The most interesting bit was where she said that "The Daily Show" would be broadcasting from D.C. in October leading into the mid-term elections.

More videos of the event are available on my YouTube channel here.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

"Glee" - Revenge of the Fallen

One of the great hallmarks of wisdom is the capacity and the humility to change one’s mind – to thoughtfully re-evaluate one’s perceptions and philosophies based on new perspectives. Therefore, when my friend Blake mentioned on Facebook that he was still watching “Glee,” I thought I’d give it a second chance. So I watched this episode:

My reaction? The show’s fundamental problems had grown rather than shrunk.

My objection to “Glee” is that the creators obviously have no clue about constructing a story. (And without that, as George Costanza said, “it’s just masturbation.”) They seem like they are literally scrambling from scene to scene to fill in time between the songs. The characters are one-dimensional and uninteresting (and the ever-ballooning number of secondary characters is a sign of how weak their mains are, even though I think the lead boy and girl are good actors). I also just can’t stand the hypocrisy of the sassy, fat black girl who – while intended to add racial diversity – is herself an extremely racist stereotype. Her dialogue reads like it was written for an episode of “Fresh Prince” where Carlton was trying to sound "street."

They create drama not through character-driven stories or creativity, but gimmicky clich├ęs: formulaic love triangles; teen pregnancy bereft of any post-“Juno” poignancy or wit; and gay issues that were groundbreaking 20 years ago on “Degrassi Junior High,” but are perfectly safe (and trite) on today’s TV landscape.

Again they contradict themselves: the episode is all about gay gay gay gay young AIDS, but Rachel says at one point, “I love my two dads, but right now I need a mom.” Message? A homosexual parenting pair is inadequate. Is that really what they’re trying to communicate? No, of course it isn’t, but I don’t think they’re intelligent enough to realize what they’re doing.

Now, the songs themselves, the show’s hook, demonstrate great production value. The variety (while obviously focus-grouped) is also good, but even here the creators show they have no perception of story-telling. This offending episode’s climax is a cover of Lady GaGa’s “Pokerface,” which is completely and utterly wrong for the context.

For those who don't know - including, clearly, the production staff of "Glee" - “Pokerface” is about a woman concealing her lesbianism (or perhaps bisexuality) from male sexual partners. It is grotesquely out of context when sung as a duet between a mother and a daughter as an anthem for their coming to terms with each other. Moreover, “Pokerface” is sung, mixed, and Autotuned to specifically be opaque and misleading (except for when GaGa sings the title lines of the chorus) – just like a pokerface – and the “Gleeks” produce the song so you can clearly hear every word being sung, underscoring the contextual dilemma.

Why would they choose this song here? No reason at all, except that it’s trendy.

The trendiness irritates me. “Glee’s” one truly winning moment was the pilot episode performance of “Don’t Stop Believing” – a timeless classic. (Note: when you start typing "Don't Stop Believing" into the YouTube search engine, the "Glee" version is suggested above the Journey original.) They are obviously trying to reconnect with that, as they’re performing another Journey song, “Faithfully,” in their season finale.

“Glee” does not feel like high school. It does not even feel like a show about high schoolers. It feels like a show made by high schoolers. I need to do something drastic … like not watch it anymore.


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